Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Link for You to Click and Read

Bubble Wrapped is a new online monthly that focuses on NGOs, civic movements around the country and the environment. The mag looks nice and fun and I hope it meets success along the way. It is published by Chetna from Mumbai and the very first issue has a story of mine. Click here:

My surname is spelt wrong (I soooo hate it when people do that) and the article on Chennai is not mine, though it carries my byline. But just this one time, I am willing to forgive.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Minuguthare. The house of the shining star. To wake up to the faint orange and mauve hues of the rising sun outside the window of my new room. Or may be to the cold mist that engulfs the veranda and the Kashmir trees in front till mid morning. To stretch my feet and cuddle up under two thick blankets for just five minutes more.

To have a large dose of coffee out of a steel glass. To have the squirrels and the sparrows that are also fed at home interrupt my morning grunts in reply to ma’s list of plans for the day. To grunt some more when Appa wants to know what my day’s plans are. (No, I am not a morning person; I should never be expected to answer intelligently or make plans before 10 in the morning.) To catch yet another re-re-rerun of Friends in the morning. To make small talk with ma as she waters her garden. To watch as Appa feeds the sparrows and the robins some more broken rice.

To chase Ginger inside from the terrace where he is sunning himself a little too much. To have a huge library just outside my room with a tall backed wooden chair with deep cushions on them. To sometimes just stand back and admire the colourful rows of the books bought and read over the years, and to reflect over stories in and about them.

To have a farm where there are some vegetables, some fruit trees, a cow maybe. To have that project which I have for long been dreaming about going great. To go to my estate and work there.

To be able to come back, sit down with a cup of coffee and write. To stare out at the distant road outside my window along with Gin, who stares out from his other window. To have country music playing softly in the room while I write. To be able to listen to my parents’ talk downstairs.

To slip onto the terrace in the cold night and see billions of stars. To have the time to stare at them and dream of distant lands. To think of April nights spent doing the exact same thing when in fact I was to be worrying about exams. To stand on the terrace and look around at distance lights and at the trees flickering with a thousand fireflies. 

To tuck into bed and keep an ear out for the howling foxes’ call of the wild. To listen to the willowing winds as they beat around the tall trees.

To have that secret place to go to any time I want, that place where all the mountains are just to myself.

To be Home.

This is what I want the most this very moment.

But this very moment, I might as well be asking for world peace.

Monday, February 14, 2011

"I am Bryan" (!!!)

The crowd went crazy when THE Bryan Adams said that. "I am Bryan." Of course!! I yelled too and felt like the teenager I was when I first fell in love with his songs. There were all the regular favourites, 'There will never be another tonight', 'Here I am', 'Back to you' and of course 'Please Forgive Me', 'Everything I do, I do it for you', 'Summer of 69' and '18 Til I die'. Lizzie and I were quite near the front of the mad crowd, jammed between couples, young teens with their mothers (yes, really!) and other motley people.

There were annoying moments, several of them. Some near tiffs with some uncultured, arrogant bastards (can't help using that word here) from up North of the country and some irritating couples who wanted Adams to 'bajao' his songs and try some Shah Rukh Khan songs (really?Ha!) But then, there was a super huge screen, great guitar, and the band in black. And Bryan Adams!

The crowd was interesting, from Kannada superstar Shivarajkumar to aunties with diamonds dripping from their necks in the Rs 8,000 VIP section to mothers and young sons to couples to the loners who closed their eyes and soaked in the music. There were also the young boys selling Coke and Miranda in plastic cups, popcorn, chips and samosa, balancing their boxes above a hundred heads, oblivious to any screams or the strums of the guitar. All they were after was for a chance to make a living that day.

Many of his songs have touched a chord in me for the memories I associate with them. Not all those memories are happy ones. Yet, despite nearly 4.5 hours of standing on our feet, losing all sensation from being tired and then walking a mile to get an auto to get back home, I was happy. I love that guy, I love his music. I would gladly suffer all that again to hear him again. The purists who say otherwise about his genre be damned.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Nomad's Home

GoNomad is this great travel related website with sections on destinations, countries, people and the places they go to. A long, long time ago, I had written something for them. GoNomad publishes it. There is a link to it on the front page and here:

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Songs on the Carousel

A day in Mangalore was very very well spent. Friends, family, an old teacher, the works. I realize I miss that city. Mangalore is no longer that overgrown small town it used to be when I was studying there (I realize I say 'in those days' more often now; that old thing called age catching up!) Mangalore is more a city today, with ugly malls and more traffic. Yet, it isn't likely to go the horrible Bangalore way. The weather there is pits and I don't care much for the beaches as much as I do for the mountains, yet Mangalore is a lovely place to be. Once you get used to the heat, it does wonders to your skin, people are friendly, things inexpensive and even I could learn to love the beaches.

There was a time, long long ago, when I was seriously contemplating moving there. I can't say whether things are better because I didn't.

Mangalore remains one of old palatial bungalows hidden behind tall palm trees and overlooking the backwaters of the beach, of narrow roads that wind through quiet lanes, of literature and Yakshagana. And of the fairs, the jaathre, with candy and pop corn and merry-go-rounds. All so delightfully small town-ish.

On a day trip to the city, we did just that. Some moments here.
As always, I so wish I had a better camera.

It started with bad coffee at Cafe Coffee Day while waiting for the family to come by. The coffees make for a good picture, that is all.

It is heartening to see little children still being innocent enough to enjoy and burst into giggles on a ride. The seats are modern, by way of Pinocchio and Tom and Jerry, but the innocence remains.

I absolutely love the merry-go-round. The horses and the scooters go up and down and round and round. The children laugh and wave at their parents standing on one side. There are the naked bright lights that they shield their eyes from. Up and down and round and round.

Giant wheel. Another old favourite. Brought to mind evenings spent in a box car watching distance lights from the top and screaming, not because the operator was turning it too fast, but just to hear the wind carry my voice in the direction of those distance lights.

Food, unclean, but incredibly delicious. Back in college, right after classes, we would come to these grounds in the city and eat, play silly games and take the rides.

The ride we sat on. And screamed. And screamed. For memories of childhood. For the simple fun of it.

Popcorn I can pass. Cotton candy I cannot, even if you hand me a packet at midnight!! An absolute favourite. I loved how there were so many of those harsh lights everywhere. It gave the whole place a feeling of being in a small village.

The dragon ride awaits little kids. I love the unsophisticated and sometimes kitsch paintings on the sides of the rides, reminiscent of a simpler, older age.

Young boys peep into the booking office. Tickets for each are a hefty Rs 30 per head!

Ice cream afterwards at Pabba's nearby. After Ideal's, Pabba's is the place for ice creams. No visit to the city is complete without stopping by there. I had, another old favourite, Parfait, originally an Ideal's creation. More memories of college followed.

I miss Mangalore.