December 08, 2006

More misheard lyrics

i try to say goodbye and i choke
try to walk away and i stumble
though i try to hide it, it's clear
i wore goggles when you are not there.

is apparently not what macy gray sang after all.

November 07, 2006

shom shom shom shamosha sha

those of you who have seen Tehelka will of course remember amrish puri twirling his pigtail in delighted-maniac fashion while proclaiming, "dong kabhi wrong nahin hota"

which is one way of saying, i've been away, but i'm back now, loyal readers. yay!

so preliminaries aside, here are things to do in when alone in panjim on a rainy gandhi jayanti afternoon.

admire the pretty colours of the buildings.

admire the cathedral, parks and floating restaurants, while reading shantaram and searching for bebinc.

September 21, 2006

time to learn kannada

you go to a beautiful theatre that is run by punctuality and anti cellphone nazis. which is as it should be. you watch chekhov's "seagull" in kannada.

you do this when you don't speak or understand kannada but fancy your interpretive skills.

you take your granma along. sitting in the front row, you ask her, "ki gal e?"
and then reply "seagulleh".
with aplomb, naturally. its the only way.

be that as it may.

a sinking feeling manifests itself, when the preplay announcement is completely unintelligible, apart from "cell phone switch off madi"

a hush falls. darkness, velvety. coughs and shifting in the seat.

the play begins.

it is a dialogue heavy play. everything is obscure. men and women stomp around, declaiming angrily. granma and i are stoic and silent when a witticism is made. we giggle helplessly when something looks funny. such as when stompers declaim angrily in kannada, ending with a "blah blah .. maadtini, YEVGENY ANDREVITCH!" or "hau da, petrushka?"


a girl wanders onto the stage carrying a stuffed toy that looks like a dead duck. that, presumably is the seagull. it flops about in her hands the way stuffed toy dead ducks are wont to do. she pats its head and sobs.

the eyes glaze over.

in the interval an usher speaks to us in kannada and is quite bemused that we don't understand.

drowning our incomprehension in bondas and sambar, we ignore the warning bells and the play resumes. we are not allowed inside. we flop about like the seagull.

without understanding what the play was about, i somehow managed to spend an appropriately chekhovian evening.

granma and i return to borsht, vassily ivanchuk and the wolves howling.

September 06, 2006


I will follow him
Follow him wherever him may go,
And near him, I always will be
For nothing can keep me away,
him is my destiny.

this was going through my mind as i heard snatches of "jhalak dikhlaja" while headed towards savanadurga on a balmy ganesh chaturthi.

you can approach sav-d from mysore road, turning off at ramnagram or the more direct way on magadi road. having tried both, i reccomend magadi road- undisturbed and serene. a treat if you're on a bike. or gunrally wandering around in a hemlet.

("ossifer, ossifer, she's calling it a hemlet!")
be that as it may.

sav-d is one of those looming monolithic rocks that karnataka does so well.
there's two rocks, karigudda - black hill

and biligudda- white hill, harder to climb and less frequented.

nandi at the top.

the walk up is steep but easy. so as you walk or clamber, you feel rather mountain goatlike. but if you sit on the slope, you start to slide down gently.

since it's a bare rock face, there are helpful arrows painted onto the rock. at the top though, the arrow painter had a bit of an incident. a set of arrows gently perambulates round a hollowed rock-formation. it circuitously leads you to a spot where several beer bottles have been smashed. the arrows then lead on towards a picture of hanuman on a rock, surrounded by dense undergrowth and a path that leads nowhere. hanuman has been garlanded and someone has helpfully stuck a plastic bag onto his hand.

"colombo duty free?" asked AC quizzically.

yes, quite.

August 21, 2006

oh sicilia!

you're breaking my heart..

is what one hopes to sing after a trip to europe.

meanwhile hectic preparations are on. i have already started-a talking like this: bella italIA! buon giORNO! cappuCINO! cannaVARO!
while the hands wave about expressively, hitting the unwary, or the long-nosed.
this was my conversation style throughout the world cup. and very annoying it was too.

so i find myself delving into:

the lonely planet guide to europe- well thumbed and stained with that doener kebob from near the muenchen bahnhof, and eaten outside the compartment because of the delicately wrinkling nose of the austrian sitting on the opposite seat.
LP tells one where to go, how to get there and how to say "you have a daring taste in leather pants" in the local language.

neither here nor there- bill bryson's record of a trip to europe. droll, but he has an unfortunate tendency to conjugate travel as an irregular verb.
i am a connoisseur of life's experiences
he, she, it are tourists
they are hordes of wildebeest crossing the serengeti in shorts and disposable cameras

ladri di biciclette (1948) - almost a fable, with marxist overtones, they tell me. beautifully made, without professional actors and with a poignancy that makes you weep. especially weepily poignant is the child bruno. there's something about a poor child in a coat and shorts that gives me the weepies. through my tears, i did wonder why they couldnt just sell some of the coats and hats they were wearing...

throw in a rollicking tale of three englishmen bicycling around the schwarzwald, the adventures of herr professor dr dr moritz-maria von igelfeld and the stuttering emperor of rome and you find me ready.


July 06, 2006


remember swami and friends? mr. sampath- the printer? the man eater of malgudi, the painter of signs?

the Malgudi days series by Shankar nag was shot in Agumbe. and now i come to the heart of the matter. ladies and gents, i present before you- Agumbe!

the cherapunji of the south, they call it, and you can see why.

there's two delightful places to stay- the one above, and one run by kasturi akka.
contact them at: jenny bai (08181) 233085
kasturi akka (08181) 233075

Apart from looking at Malgudi memorabilia and the king cobra research station, what else can one do in agumbe?

- One can sit in a slowly darkening room with large windows, listening to the dripping of the rain on the roof, and the shuffling footsteps of the lil ol lady in white downstairs. while one reads about toru climbing down into the well. and eats jackfruit chipce. it's all delightfully chilling. except the jackfr. ch. they're yum.

-one can visit the jogigundi and barkana falls nearby.

-or go on a 7km walk down to someshwara village

its quite rewarding for the views and mistiness. and for the neer dosai and banana stuffed pooris called buns. it's always plural (buns, never bun) probably because no one in their right mind would want to have only one anyway. when you need to start walking and its raining heavily outside, there's nothing that passes the time quite like a plate teeming with bunce.

the drive back to shimoga is charming. but charming, i protest! there's the interlaced bamboo

the mandagadde bird sanctuary along the way and the elephant spa at sakkarebailu.

round it off with some paddu -stumpy looking idlies with sambar-to-kill-for. and avlaki mosru -pohe + dahi at meenakshi bhavan in shimoga.

pics by: andrea and AC

June 21, 2006

candyto ergo sum

i candy therefore i am.

get it? eye candy! get it??

June 13, 2006

do you listen to classical music regularly,

you ask me.

beethoven regularly and offen bach, i reply with aplomb.

June 05, 2006

hapoos 2: the return of the evil dead

who needs 'em?
yes i know what i said a few weeks ago. something about mangoes and heaven.

verily hath the poet asked:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

i AM large. i DO contain multitudes. and in a startling turn of events/ delicious irony i am also allergic to mangoes!

unsightly boilce dot the landscape.

even if it's not an allergy, but some horrid bacterial thing. it's the end of childhood, innit?

ichabod, ichabod,
the glory is departed!

May 16, 2006

hapoos! how to eat an alphonso

take one hot summer day
get yourself to pune
stroll over to deccan gymkhana, the market. not the gym.
waddle past chitale bandhu, till you reach ingale bandhu.
remind yourself how you thought bandhu was a surname, and how you wished you were a bandhu, cos then chitale and ingale would ply you with pedhas and mangoes all day.
explain to passing chunnu that ingale doesn't rhyme with single. and pimpalgaon is a village of peepul trees. not zits.
gaze about the ingale shop
cluck at the sight of straw baskets
watch while a minion removes a precious yellow object from the straw and holds it aloft, glittering.
see the rosy blush atop the mango
go to heaven
return to earth
continue heaven n earth perambulations
stop peramb.
inspect each mango in a basket
then buy a tokri of devgarh che alphonso
and a dozen payri
transport them home and brood over them

repeat for a few days

make aamras out of payri
eat remaining mango pulp on skin and koy
watch koy slide out of hands, arc lazily through the air, slide down (white) clothes and onto floor
chase slippery koy around kitchen floor
retire abashed

emerge in clean close for lunch
warm fluffy phulkas and ghee
use remainder for milkshake
use remainder for icecream

let a few days pass

place warm ripened alphonsoes in fridge
place warm irritable chillun of the house in bibs
remove mangoes from fridge and place before chillun
watch them fall silent (the chillun, not the mangoes)
slice them correctly (mangoes, not chillun) to ensure that everyone gets large slice, side slice and koy
(description of deep golden colour of flesh, firm yet tender, aroma, teeth sinking in, intense flavour, a little juice dribbling down chin and other food porn)

other honourable mentionce- langda, banganapalli and dussehri; panha from kayris, amba burfi* (i can't believe i forgot this one) granma's mango pickle, amrakhand*, murabba, aam papri, mango mojitos.

step away from the totapuri and no one will get hurt.

*from chitale

May 02, 2006

this works on many levels

wanted to go rappelling this weekend. but the crowd was unfamiliar. and i prefer to go alone.
y'know, i'm not a social climber.

April 28, 2006

splat! - the transcript

me: i was traumatised by bubble gum bubbles as a chile

the blob says: i wasn't. parents wouldn't let us touch bubblegum

i say: (does it want to hear my story or is it going patter on about its own life?)

the blob says: (you patter. your turn.)
: (jupatter)
: (jupiter)
: (said the German)
: (be that as it may...)
: (we are all ears.)

i say: (after having patrick pattersoned to your heart's content)
i: so tehre i was, in calcutta
: a wee tot

the blob says: (that was a strange man)

i say: 5-6 years old

the blob says: (oh, that was Gladstone Small. sorry.)

i say: had never eaten bubble gumb before
:(i love calling people gladstone small!)
:(i'm going to call you gladstone small now!)
: so there were these neighbourhood kids

the blob says: (now she's announcing her insults?)

i say: brother's age
:(shh, gladdie)

the blob says: that ineffable age

i say: when they found out i'd never blown a bubble
: they gave me some "chingum"
: and asked me to chew
: i chewed, shrewdly
: and shrewd, chewedly
:then there was that whole complicated technique of blowing the bubble which i couldnt master
:once, the whole wad went flying through teh air

the blob says: heh

i say: so then tehy said (in silken tones)

the blob says: as you goggled at it

i say: this is the easy way
: took chewed gum
:stretched it over my mouth and told me to blow

the blob says: you've indubitably spent time amidst the most interesting people

i say: so it was a stretchy membrane over my mouth

the blob says: (mit silken tones. i don't think i've spent any time with anyone with silken tones)

the blob says: ew

i say: but i couldnt even ohfrabjousdaycalloohcalay
: cos there was chingum over my mouth
: and chestnuts in my hand. so when they asked me why i had chingum on my face, i said they were chestnuts, not chingum. and in my hand, not on my face. but (sigh) they couldn't understand what i was saying, cos i had chingum on my face.
: and then, having tired of this game
: they ripped it off my face
:(luckily the moustache wasnt in evidence then)
: and made a chingum necklace
: which i then put on
: many were the bitter tears i shed
: while trying to remove my chewedup jewellery
:and i still cant blow a bubble
:(and i NEVER chew gum to this day)

April 24, 2006

hum bhi agar bacche hote..

hum bhi agar bachhe hote
Naam hamara hota bubloo gubloo
khane ko milte laddu
aur duniya kehtee
heppy budday to you

April 18, 2006

the worst way to start a post

is with the words-
"you know what i REALLY hate about.."
it's whiney.
and boring.

and it's usually followed by "now don't get me wrong. i'm as tolerant as the next girl. but when it comes to.. "

be that as it may.

you know what i REALLY hate about going to a public bathroom? it's having people constantly turn the handle to try to get in. repeatedly. as if they expect that the inmate will have slipped through a warp in the space time continuum. and the bathroom will be theirs. forever. muahahaha.

now don't get me wrong. i'm as tolerant as the next intolerant girl. bathroom emergencies happen. they are a part of life. universal. verily hath the poet said:

breathes there a man with soul so dead
who never to himself hath said

the rest of the pome is not about bathroom emergencies. but you do see where i'm going with this?

so if it 'twere a b. emerg. say so! pound on the door! shout it out! we will evacuate the building.

but (and this is where it gets cunning) this happened to me in a gym bathroom. there's only one of them and it's primarily for clothes-changing. there are a myriad normal bathrooms right outside the gym. they're flushing themselves while waiting for your patronage.

so it's sheer impatience, innit? and the bathroom door handle jiggler, once done with the gym, no doubt gets behind the wheel and in traffic at a signal, with no traffic moving, unbuckles the seatbelt. gets up. and SITS on the horn. awaiting more sp. t. cont. warps.

what to do with such a person?

and what to do with the blogger who complains so much?

bastinadoes. and blueberry muffince respectively.

April 12, 2006

let he who is without sin stone the first cast

apparently, they're wailing, gnashing their teeth and throwing stones at vehicular traffic all over bangalore, because the "thespian", "dr"rajkumar is dead.
lumpen elements!

i baked a cake yesterday that was a bit of a lumpen element.

April 07, 2006

alfred hitchcock presents

alfie was really good at those hitchcockian moments.. in rear window, when jimmy stewart is sitting in the dark in his wheelchair and the baddie's* footsteps can be heard approaching.. and then jimmy can see the light under the door reduce..

marnie's got only one moment like that. when she's safe-robbing and doesnt see the cleaning lady. and then she does, and takes off her shoes and puts them into her coat pocket and tiptoes past. but (the horror, the horror!) a shoe is about to fall out of the pocket! you can see it edge out. she has no idea!

all the psycho babble in marnie apart, its so watchable because of its whole aura of a clean, well-dressed, slightly old-fashioned world. tippi hendren, sometimes credited as 'tippi' hendren, is always in suits with a gleaming bouffant and stuffing cash into her yellow leather handbag. and sean connery, who shurprishingly, he doeshnt shpeak like thish, is quite the hatted company big-pot. and there they are, watching horses race while a vaguely crafty sister in law watches tippi (or 'tippi') through the corner of her eyes.
that's the vag. cr. s-in-l's eyes. not tippi's. or 'tippi''s.

ohh, there's just something about hitchcock that takes you right back to the 60s, when men were real complex, strong jawed men, women were real tortured, spirited women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centuari were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.

*i was 10 when i watched this. he was a baddie. humour me.

March 15, 2006

holi colours, batman!

i've been a bit tardy with the blogs lately, haven't i? well don't think i don't know it. i do.
there have been patchy drafts, here's a few of them.

his eye is on the sparrow
on the disappearing sparrows of bangalore*

bruce, jet and dande li
yes. quite.

my new avatar as a gooroo
the hairstyle- bouffant. the name- sigh baba

connect quiz questions that reflect my stream of conciousness
frinstance, connect simone tata and british airways to ira.
s tata- started the cosmetics company lakme
british airways- once applied make up to all the boeings
no, it uses the flower duet from delibe's opera lakme
which is about (and this is where you need to be shrewd) an indian princess called lakshmi (lakme).
and isnt lakshmi the goddess of wealth?
just like ira is the goddess of knowledge.
you knew that and are no doubt peeved because i gave away the answer.

if you were a musical instrument, what instrument would you be?
ans: you would be a harpishchord

they may be the merest sketches, but you know how the posts wouldve turned out, don't you?
(leans back with eyes closed)
you know my methods, watson. apply them.
"dash it all, where's my persian slipper? you're *wearing* it?"

*no, they don't disappear one feather at a time. they're not cheshire cats, are they?

March 08, 2006

a pelican at blandings

and another one at lalbagh.

so if you're in bangalore, go before 8 a.m. to the lalbagh lake. walk around it till you reach the slightly smelly part. there you'll see a large pelly sunning itself. and a bunch of cormorants diving for fish.

enjoy madi.

February 28, 2006

Guten Tag!

there i was, all fresh from a vacation at a beautiful estate that grows a plant who's product i eschew. all rosy cheeked and plump, i looked. when wham! this tag hit me.

it's about books i've read, own, am reading, want to read, should've read but've been terribly terribly busy, promise to do so soon, it's on my list, in the fullness of time..

it's been 2 days since i wrote the above. can't post anything else either, can i? with this large dead bird stapled together, hanging around my neck.

so i'm just going to rush this, with my fingers in my ears and screaming "LALALALA" to avoid hearing the whispurred suggestions, and the "how could you leave that one out?"s. and am modifying the categories.
that's not allowed you say?

so here goes nuffink:

Total number of books owned
A few hundred, prob'bly less than 500. Scattered hither and thither.
have only recently taken to buying books in any quantity, cos i always had access to great libraries. must do a post on my top 10 libraries soon.

Books i've made people buy
the star's tennis balls- stephen fry. hated it. hated myself for making brother buy it. hated fry for writing it.
the school for scandal by richard b sheridan. what's the point of making someone buy a book if they won't read it?
a day in the life of ivan denisovich by solzhenit's in

Last books i read
Two lives by Vikram Seth
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
The Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer
My name is red by Orhan Pamuk
In the company of cheerful ladies by Alexander -i wish i were precious ramotswe- Mcall Smith
Schroedinger's kittens and the Search for Reality: Solving the Quantum Mysteries by John Gribbin
(phew! that should neutralise the g. heyer!)

Books I've been reading for a really long time
Classical music by someone or other
Schroedinger's kittens and the Search for Reality: Solving the Quantum Mysteries by John Gribbin
(ok, so i've finished it, in a sense. in another sense, it's finished me. and in another dimension, i'm still delving into its guacamole, the tortilla chip of my curiosity)


Books i own, have started, but haven't read enough of to put them in the list of "'ang on a minute, i'm still reading em"
the second sex by someone de beauvoir
the jungle- upton sinclair
moby dick- herman melville

Books I've loved, lent and lost
twere better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all
-St. Augustine
twere best to have lent only after strict background checks and keeping the borrower's first born as deposit, than to have never Lent (or even ash wednesday) at all

Taliban- Ahmed Rashid
Friday's Child- G Heyer
We the living- Ayn Rand
Paperweight- Stephen Fry. someone left my favourite Fry on an Airbus. the horror, the horror.

and i will stop there, leaving for another post the categories-
books i'm currently reading
books i wish i'd written
books i sometimes wake up thinking i have written
books i've reread so many times i can quote random passages from them
books i've taken on trips
books i've read on the subway that have made me look cool, intellectual and leftwing
books i hide under a pile of prev. category books while checking out of the library, to avoid breakdown of cool
und so weiter..

February 09, 2006


devbagh is, of course, paradise. an island off the arabische see.

robi babu said of its nearby environs,

"The beach of Karwar is certainly a fit place in which to realise that the beauty of Nature is not a mirage, but reflects the joy of the Infinite within the bounds of form and thus draws us to lose ourselves in it"

there were bottlenose dolphince bouncing out of the waves.

the nearby beaches could be swum in.

ideal for a spot of snorkeling.

and the obligatory log huts, brahminy kites, full moon nights, barbeques on the beach, crab curry and games of beach bolleyball. and falling out of hammocks in a manner reminiscent of that nescafe shake-shake-shake ad. except no fluffy dogs jumped over me. but i won't go on. not to spare you, but just. gunrally. won't go on.

February 02, 2006

January 25, 2006

Bandages i have known

was at the nurse's office last week. the wound in my right palm was cleaned with orange non stinging liquid, to the accompaniement of much clucking. then it was swabbed and dried and a soft cotton pad was laid on it. my entire hand was swaddled with gauze. some sticky plaster was rasped off and liberally stuck all over.

this sent me into bandage-musing-mode..

if i'd been a heroine in a hindi movie in the 70s- 80s, i would stub my toe and be sent to hospital where they would put a cute patti on my head. only the forehead portion would be seen, my long hair would drape well over the rest.

more likely to be in a nurse's office though, is a hero in a movie of the same era. he would hit his knee and get a cute patti on the head with a blob of blood showing on the temple. he would have to be tall to carry this off well- mithun and amitabh were very convincing cute-patti-sporters. nothing says macho, yet vulnerable, like a cute patti on the forehead of a tall hero, eh?

but the puffect bandage scenario would have to be the mother who falls in front of a car, scraping her knee and getting a p. on head. this is a patti of a different ilk - not particularly cute. shaped more like a helmet, it is wrapped around the forehead, sides of face and chin so as to present to the audience the maximum impact of wounded motherhood.

found some bandage-bustingly funny reviews at bollybob. a sample:
"the ultimate fate of every widowed mother in India is to receive a head wound" - from a review of Taarzaan- the wonder car

"Ruby (Amrita Singh) is a notably PECULIAR girl. I say notably, because she's even more peculiar than the characters Amrita usually plays. Bollywood directors loved to see Amrita Singh do two things: flamenco dance and get playfully tortured." from a review of Mard

(the bollybob link was suddenly down, keep trying)

for those of you for whom patti means grandmother, this is a very weird post.
for the rest of you, it's only mildly weird.

January 18, 2006

oooh, my sssinussesss!

a snake was found in the bathroom today. alarums and excursions because it was thought to be a kobra. hurried call to the good folks at the katraj snake park who identified it as a lil ornament and took it away to release into the wild.
exeunt from left of stage while ssspeaking in sssibilant hissssess.

January 05, 2006

a frisson of excitement .. running up and down my spine as i read vicky seth's "two lives". thanks for buying it AND reading it so fast, Tan.

frisson rissons:
there are a startling number of commanalities and coincidences that seem to link vicky s and i together. german, economics, cello and ira and and ..
gives me a very melee' main bichchde huay feeling.
he's such a brilliant writer. he is rapidly climbing up the ranks of my favourite authors. he has already stepped on the heads of kafka, philip k dick and austen. ishipishi and fry are edging about, trying to make rheum* for him.
remember suitable boy's praha shoe company- that denizen of stolid czech shoe makers? years after reading it, i woke up one morning and set the pigeons all a-flutter when i slapped my forehead and exclaimed "of course! praha is bata!"
this has now been confirmed. vicky's father worked at bata.
i like to have these things clarified and sorted out.

* "i want a rheum"
"a rheum?"
"yes, a rheum"
"you said you wanted a rheum?"
"i know what i said!"