30 June 2007

I rant therefore I yam

People People People . I am sick of seeing people. All of the same size , same colored clothes , same sneakers and all in pairs(NOT the shoes).People in Bangalore tire me.Today , I somehow found myself telling a friend I'd meet her at Garuda Mall.At the entrance we were greeted by an idiotic show with a even more idiotic hostess.Ahem a "beauty" contest apparently , like the zillions were'nt enough for these people to display their inner beauty.And coming to that , what's with this weird haughty expression people walk around with? What is that look trying to prove?

Fuschia Pink anorexic girl : What is thees?
Corn guy :Corn
FPag : Oh ok , give me some without the butter or the masala , half cooked
Ok, now that sounds like Horse feed to me.

Don't people go out with friends anymore? And why am I asking you this question ? Because , we are a little antisocial and we have just "2" close friends. Whatever happened to meeting old friends at a cafe? Why is everyone wrapped around someone or the other? I'm not even sure they're wrapped around the same person for a long time ! Or maybe I'm a chip off the old block?
More than once I remember the good old days in college when a bunch of us would head to Lake View or a Barista and talk noisilly about everything under the sun and never once bother about whether our shoes matched our bags or worse , someone else's bag.Sigh.Maybe I'm growing old.Maybe there are no more interesting and good people in the world.Interesting men sounds an oxymoron.Oh so sigh.

Anyway , friend and I felt nauseous just walking there , we burst out and headed straight to Crossword.Got myself Mark Haddon's " A Spot of Bother". Now , I shalt lay meself down and proceed to read it peacefully accompanied by a cup of coffee.

26 June 2007

A Thousand Splendid Suns

No , this is not a book review .. I do not possess the talent for it . Its about the book , the feelings that KH manages to wrench out of you and a heightened sense of responsibility towards the world we live in and finally , a prayer for all those people in Afghanistan , and all other war ridden nations in the world.
I think ,probably what hits you most are the people in it , these people are like our brothers and sisters , you see these people in every man or woman you see on the streets in India , they look like us , they eat like us , and yet they aren't safe like us.
The lesser said about the book , the better.I feel it would be belittling to say that the book is well written and the author paints a lovely picture with his words.It is for you to read , feel and find out.

To quote from the 17th century Afghani poem that the book derives its title from..

"One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs.
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls."

Need I say , a must read?

21 June 2007

Wisdom cometh with a price

Apparently my wisdom teeth (All four of them , bless them all) seem to have a mind of their own.If the X-ray has to believed , theres one thats growing perpendicular to all the others , rather like a rebellious middle child.The reason why I visited the dentist , for the first time in my twenty odd years of existence was because the LLM2 (lower left molar no.2) , yes, I named them chronologically , is growing into the jaw or rather I think thats what the dentist said.
Mind boggling question no.1 : Why do dentists assume you will have a full mouthed reply to their "Coffee addict?"
"First time?" questions while they've thrust a cold poking device into your mouth?
Anyway , the dentist made up for all the torture the tooth's been giving me. He is cute and smily and curranty eyed :).No we cannot consider him since he's married and incidentally his wife also practices , so shush all you match makers.All great things in life are rich ,high caloried or married (pathetic quote and extremely cheesy ? Imol effect, my friend)

To add insult to injury , the nose decided to give in and refused to perform its normal functions and instead chose to run down like a small waterfall (the ones that you chance upon when on a trek , rather like a nameless little image of the main one :)?Now I'm describing a waterfall ??? )
A visit to the good old family doc followed."Is your mother ok ?" he asked considering my Mother visits him as often as she buys the vegetables ."Yes , doctor.She's hyperventilating thrice a week , so all's good".Apparently a case of a slight chill and a slight infection in the throat, or so he said.How would he like it if I called a heart attack a slight stoppage of blood to the heart I'd like to know.A stubborn molar and a disobedient nose are just as bad. So hmph.

Anyway, the silver lining was the purchase of Khaled Hosseini's newest , was so thrilled to spot the book in Landmark , it made the rest of the day pass less painfully , ah the book , the old non-judgemental friend.Detect a hint of bitterness there ? Yes , it calls for another post :)

11 June 2007

Home bound


The Altoid has moved into her “home”. June 10th will be remembered from now on, just like May 13th is .Newer curtains will be procured every year to mark this day and the slightly older ones will be shifted to the dining area, the linen cupboard groweth.

To us four, a home is almost a part of the family, the fifth and the sixth members of our household. Which explains why we pamper them and pet them and clothe them like they were our offsprings. Which also explains the psychedelia in the drawing room . Each member feels it her right to buy whichever color and whatever thing that she fancies.Why her and not he ? The Dad is, but naturally the onlooker.He is the guy that did all the framework ,the walls and the beams , we do all the colors and generally , whatever we want.

A huge Singaporean multi-colored fan adorns one wall, the sensible Altoid figured, it didn’t matter what color we painted the walls, the fan would definitely go. She didn’t realize half of our guests (all old and nearly blind) would feel the same.

Or like that Kerala “Lady with the lamp” print I got of Raja Ravi Varma.I got it for 150 rupees , after much haggling with the vendor , after shaking my fist at him and telling him the great Ravi Varma would be ashamed to see his work of art being sold by that mercenary. Anyway , the lady looks kinda confused standing in front of the telephone table.

Mom , on the other hand loves diyas , idols of God and brass platters . Which is why you would find an idol of Lord Ganesha facing a platter of pink gerbras floating serenely amidst floating candles and money plant (?) leaves. Art , they say has not any rule.

I hope her new home would be to Alto, what her old one will always be. The stretch of land where we stuck together lived together and stayed together.

The home is where the heart is , or rather where the “hearth” is : )

04 June 2007

Gerald Durrell


Yesterday, I got back home at around 6 and decided to visit Landmark . Its one my favorite places in Bangalore .Rather like a temple for books. Just as you enter , you get a whiff of the Cookie Man’s cookies , Kalmane’s coffee and that weird soap place’s smell (They sell soaps that cost 80 bucks a gram!) all at once . Very typical Forum feeling.

A vacant eyed help at Landmark(they were REALLY vacant ! Mix of brown and grey and expressionless) told me Khaled Hosseini’s latest would take a couple of days. Picked up a Bill Bryson for Mom(She’s visting Altoid for a month and she needs something else to think about other than thoughts in which the pilot highjacks the flight , she boards the flight to Tokyo instead of DC, the customs mistake her rasam powders for drugs .. you know all this could fill up into a new post entirely)

Anyway , I picked up Mitch Alboms’s latest “For one more day” and then my old favorite Gerald Durrell’s “The picnic and suchlike pandemonium”. A collection of short stories, this. The entire Durrell family decide to go off on a picnic one hot summer morning , take food that could feed an army , mistake a dead decaying horse for a rock and a resting point , for more of the painfully funny details , do read the book.

Some hilarious excerpts ,

“Do you think there’ll be enough food?” asked mother worriedly.

“I thought we were only going to Lulworth for the afternoon” said Leslie . I didn’t realize we were emigrating.

“Larry dear !” cried mother. “What a lovely surprise!”

Larry made his first verbal commitment to his family in ten years.

“Have any of you got colds?” he rasped irritably.

“If so, I’ll go to a hotel”

“Well I didn’t hear any tickety” said Leslie.

“Now –now dear don’t quarrel “ said mother peaceably.”After all , Jack is the engineer in the family”

“If he’s an engineer , it’s a curious sort of technical language they’re teaching him now “ commented Leslie.

“Engineers in my day didn’t discuss their tickety pings in public”


Am already well into the second story now ,I plan to finish it up in a couple of days and then lay my hands on this book.

It happened one night


I simply have to find a dermatologist nearer home, I thought. It’s ridiculous to be stuck in a thunderstorm at 7PM, with no call booth in the vicinity, no electricity and that too in a low-lying part of the city. I looked with dread at the rising level of water under the railway bridge , there would be NO way my rickety kinetic could wade through that water , it wouldn’t start after that , and I would be doomed to be stranded in the pouring rain 15 Kms away from the warmth and safety of home .Why ! Why did I have to be this brainless?(Genes! Screamed my head , all coz of Amma!)

I looked mournfully at the crowd that had collected under the measly shelter to find a cheesy ruffian winking at me. Sigh...Right then, I found somebody jolting my shoulder and I turned around to give the guy a piece of my mind, rain be damned.

“Oi?” was precisely what escaped from my mouth.

“R!!” said a familiar friendly voice


Here , I must add that I associate people with places. Anybody I see outside of context is regarded with extreme terror and a prolonged freezing of the face into a look of horror.

“Judging by the expression , it HAS to be you , R!!”

“S! Where! When !Here? How!”

The initial excitement ebbed away to be replaced by discomfort. I could bear the silence no more.

Well, where have you been all this while? You just disappeared all of a sudden didn’t you? Its been five years? I asked.S shuffled her feet uncomfortably .I couldn’t help but notice the huge red bindi that kinda cried out “I’m married! I’m married!” and the mangal sutra that looked more like a golden shackle. You got married? I yelled accusingly ,And you didn’t even call me?

S tried to pacify me by patting my shoulder rhythmically whilst moving her hand up and down frantically. By then, the rain had subsided and the vehicles were clearing up. I offered to drop S home after a cup of coffee.

A little while later , we were comfortably seated in a cozy little garden café .The trees swished their branches softly to shed the little drops of water off their leaves , the birds emerged from their hiding places and the squirrels came peeping out of their holes. Bangalore looked very much at peace with itself,rather like it was saying , there , that wasn’t very bad was it?. A very ideal setting for shared confidences.

It was then that it occurred to me that , just maybe S didn’t want to tell me the whole story . I don’t know what it was, I think if you grow up with a person, spend years with them, you just feel these things. I knew she didn’t want to talk.

We walked out of the café , with her hand on my shoulder whilst I chattered on about my studies , my tuitions , my crushes and my dance.

Yes , as long as it feels the same , nothing else matters.

03 June 2007


Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches;
And charging along like troops in a battle,
All through the meadows the horses and cattle:
All of the sights of the hill and the plain

Fly as thick as driving rain;
And ever again, in the wink of an eye,
Painted stations whistle by.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Trains have a wonderful way of doing that, don’t they? I’ve always loved train journeys; they bring a strange sense of peace and melancholy in me. Ironically, my cab route passes very close to a railway track and I look very much like the perched mournful caged bird that awaits a miracle to occur.

The last journey was with my friends from the old company; we had laboriously pored over numerous maps of South India, refreshed the website for Indian Railways a zillion times, and had booked in bulk. All 7 of us were aged 21 coz I was too lazy to type in each name (Well, why 21? If I was lying anyway, why not do some wishful lying I thought). The previous trip had been to Dandeli, we were a bunch of 16 people from work, we had two whole compartments to ourselves, it started with who liked who in which team, and who thought who liked who, followed by a rather raucous anthakshari session , needless to say we were the only people with happy ,bright faces , the other faces were a combination of groggy , plain livid , agonized ,pained ..yes yes , we were traveling with a bunch of stone hearts . Another thrill is sitting on the step and watching paddy fields and farms go by : ) , seeing a kid waving madly at you and you wave back with a very happy ,mad grin on your face (The manager is , when necessitated, treated to a very watery smile , like the watery coffee that’s available at Amrutha Darshini)

Some day, SOME day, I will take off on a rail tour and go all over India!

*Images -The Ming


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