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.