Category Archives: Bangalore

Chapter 6: Dinner was Great !!!

Love cannot be forced and it cannot be coaxed. Futile attempts of finding a mate are often made by putting best friends together hoping that since they get along like a house on fire, there is nothing that could go wrong. So when Ajay was coaxed into asking Maya out, she had given in. Ajay Reddy was that one guy who everyone knows in college. Not particularly spectacular in anything at all, he somehow still rose above the average. The fact that his father was loaded helped, but it wasnt the money. Ajay was a nice guy (I give credit to his mother ) and you knew it from the very first time you meet him. Ajay had met Maya during one of those innumerable events that college always throws up, given the authority to lead a team and had handed over the reigns to Maya completely. But his operational skills were indispensable. When a guy has a car and knows the streets of Bangalore like the back of his hand, he is indispensable.

That how they had met, they had become friends over the event and when college ended, Ajay was the only one left of the huge circle that Maya always had around her. They had grown closer over coffees, talked on the phone for hours together (Maya doing most of the talking) and somehow everyone else had decided that they would be perfect together.

Ladies, just so you know, when a guy is told by his friends that, ” Why arent you going out with this girl who knows you so well and accepts you for who you are ?” , every guy starts thinking of whether its a possibility. When the friends dont stop asking the question, the idea grows and is often accepted. Thats how Ajay thought he was in love with Maya. That is why he asked her out. Maya said yes coz she knew Ajay was a nice guy and would have no hidden surprises.

Dinner was at one of those places in Koramangala that you always pass by but never enter wondering if its too expensive. The host knew Ajay personally and escorted the both of them to a table that seemed to have been set specially for them. Money does have its advantages. Everything seemed to be going fine, except that both were extremely conscious. Ajay was wondering if Maya even realized what a big issue this would become for his parents, Maya was wondering if Ajay would want to kiss good night. They always hugged, but this was a date. It was then that Hari had broken through her thoughts, his face suddenly appeared breaking clouds in her thoughts as if asserting his claim on her. Maya almost choked on her pasta. The evening ended with both parties wondering if anything important or stupid had been said. The drive to her apartment was quiet, both lost in thoughts. When Ajay had rushed around to open her door, reality hit like a brick out of the sky.

This was it, the door was 5 steps away,4,3. As they turned to face each other, Ajay was the first to speak, ” This was a bad idea.”

Relief hit Maya like a freight train and she had to stop herself from shouting in joy. But the smile she had was one of understanding. They had tried it. They both knew it wouldnt work. Then Ajay asked the question, so simply that Maya was speechless for a few seconds, ” Who is he ?”

This was the connection people saw. The fact that each could read the other like an open book. This also was why they could never be lovers. For even true soul mates need secrets.

“Dinner was Great ! Thanks for a wonderful evening.” , said Maya and quickly went into her apartment. Ajay was left staring at the door. But true sport that he is when he smiled and turned around, looking through the key hole Maya knew they would be alright.

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Chapter 5: Here

Chapter 1: Here 

Chapter 2: Encounters with the Fairer Kind

Drinking too much has its after effects. The eyes betray what chewing gum and a long bath try to hide. Hari however didnt have the long bath or the chewing gum.  He was walking around in auto pilot mode. His lips were speaking, his hands and feet were doing their jobs in perfect synchronicity. In all appearance, he appeared normal.  The only thing missing in the whole picture was his incisive mind and the undertone of sarcasm that was his signature. Vijay was the first one to notice it.

“Who is Vijay ?”, you ask. No ? “Who is Hari ?”. Ah ! Forgive my manners. Lets roll the camera back to the beginning. Harikrishnan Nair, aka, Hari is your typical run of the mill Mallu who roams the vast concrete jungles named Bangalore. Oops, Bengalooru. He is 5′ 11″ (an inch short of the 6 feet that he believed was his birthright), fair (thanks to a bloodline that should be purple for all the royals that adorn the walls in his ancestral home in Kerala) and one of those few gifted designers in India (his websites are among some of the most shared on Facebook under varying adjectives like cool, awesome, etc..His brilliance made him pretty famous among the more talented of the designers around the city. He was also known as a stickler for quality and time. He wouldnt be rushed into anything and he would always deliver on time. Designing was a passion for him, which was fine except that when the client is a nincompoop who has no sense of color or aesthetics, he went ballistic. That is where Vijay comes in. Vijay was the guy who kept the company from going bust. The guy who kept he genius of Hari’s designs under constant control. He had learned enough through DIY books to make the minor changes which made their brilliant creations, more acceptable, more corporate, more boring (according to Hari).

Friends from a tender age, it is rarely that two minds gel so well. They were the perfect partners, Vijay the face for all the terrors Hari could dream up and boy could he dream them up. Both mothers were blamed equally and took all of it with a smile. A smile that knew they were destined for greatness. The growing up years saw them develop distinct personalities. Each a compliment to the other. Where Hari was impetous, Vijay was restrained. Where Hari was a perfectionist, Vijay liked to compromise. Teachers always wondered how long it would last, this friendship that was stuff of legend, not something real life could sustain.

While Hari excelled in Math , Vijay tagged along through the humanities stream in the same college. Brothers from different mothers, they were just too used to each other, that the absence of the other was a thought that never occurred. The move to Bangalore was also together, Hari got that first job as a newbie designer, while Vijay had joined an NGO. The social streak in him made him seem gullible but he had a knack for closing deals that was seldom predictable.

Now 5 Years later, they had quit their 9 to 5 jobs and joined together with seed money from the mothers and had set up shop. Vijays network got them loads of requests, Hari’s wizardry on the computer made them the duo that everyone wanted. They could deliver the perfect blend that you wanted. Add to the medley, random designers and coders that Hari found from everywhere, they finally were growing. Both in numbers and in revenue. This was going to be a good year. Last nights bash had been the celebration of  150 websites signed, sealed and delivered. Monumental yes, memorable yes. But Hari was distracted.

“Whats wrong ?” Vijay confronted Hari, “What scheme are you dreaming up now ?”

“Nothings wrong. All is well. We just hit 150, the team has come together,” said Hari as he closed the door to the apartment,” and… and I think I am in love.”

“Ah ! There it is. Again.” Vijay said. Lets go back into the black and white flash back mode here. Hari as you have seen by now was a man driven by passions. Matters of the heart were a constant ailment for him. He had had numerous encounters with the female kind, each time declaring that this one is different. Vijay had stood by his side through them all. Watched him float on clouds in the beginning, then slowly get see him fall into a spiral of complaints (mostly regarding his freedom, to go wherever he wanted, to drink, to smoke and  to not be dragged around town on trips that seemed to be absolutely pointless) ending finally in a couple of weeks of drunken nights, crying and laughing, shouting and silent, till the storm abated.

He never let his work fall during any of these many encounters and Vijay felt relief. This was another of those poor women who had been attracted to the magnetic energy of a man who was absolutely confident of himself. The guy who seemed lost without a care, the kind that every girl wanted to take into her arms and shelter. It will pass, Vijay thought and let it go.

Vijay had fallen in love once, still was in fact, with a girl who somehow decided to love him back. Tina was HR team lead for one of the companies Vijay had pitched for in his NGO days. He had stuttered through the entire meeting and was completely surprised to receive her call 3 days later.

“When are you going to ask me out ?”, she had asked,” Its not good to keep a girl waiting.”

That statement gave him courage. A courage that he had never felt before. ” When should I pick you up tonight ?” he countered.

“Tonight ? Isnt that a little too ambitious of you ?”

“I think we have both waited long enough for this moment. Lets make it Lunch. Right Now.”

“Nooooo.” She said, wondering how he seemed to know what she wanted and cut the phone. He walked into the office 45 minutes later with a bouquet of roses and a smile that was irresistible. Both off them didnt return to work that day.

I digress. Sorry. Back to Hari. He was going mad , he decided. This girl was different, he knew somehow. He was trying to figure out how to find her in this city of teeming millions. Creating plans and scratching them out almost immediately. There had to be a way. “Wonder if she even noticed me ?”, he thought.

She had. But Maya had a bigger problem right now.

 

Chapter 1 here

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PS: Bring out the Red ink, Usha and Sashu. Dont have any others I can call regulars who will be ready as soon as you two.

A Walk

Lets just take a walk, you and me

A stroll around that park, of all others free

You can hold my hand like that just above the elbow

Lean on my shoulder and match step for step

 

Lets talk of things we thought we had forgotten

of things we want to forget and of things we never can

Lets talk as if to ourselves but only somehow better

Lets share this space, this moment, this heartbeat

 

Lets leave what needs no telling unsaid

Lets not wonder of where it will all go to in the end

Lets forget time and promises and all else that isn’t you or me

Lets take a walk, just you and me

Suit Up ! Its gonna be Legendary !!!

Its a well known fact among my wide and narrow friends list that i am no cricket fan. I dont know who holds what records and which team to support for the IPL.

I have been silently been a bystander for most of the ongoing matches in the World Cup because ” Frankly my Dear , I dont give a Damn”. But being Indian and living amongst the most vocal supporters of the game, i cant help but sit up and take notice now that India is in the semis.

And a Semi – Final against our age old rival across the border Pakistan. I hereby repeat my oft repeated statement that i know a few pakistanis and have found them to be very level headed and friendly. Actually very difficult to recognise the differences between them and us if they are not six feet tall and dont mention their surnames.

But coming back to the game. An India – Pakistan match is the epitome of media created frenzy. Women who care even less than me about cricket are glued to the nitty gritty details suddenly, colleges are considering a leave and companies are going to suffer from record absenteeism.

Apparently Chandigarh airport is full of private jets and low cost carriers are selling tickets at four times the normal rates. Match tickets are selling at double or triple in black. Consumerism is on its high.

The match itself is going to be Awesome and Legen- wait for it – dary (in the words of the now famous Barney Stinson). Shahid Afridi being the highest wicket taker must be praying real hard that Sehwag and Sachin dont make a mockery of him. Yuvraj will be looking to make the most of his long waited and new found return to form.

Its true that the World Cup is the best present the Indian team and the country can give that God among Mortals, Sachin Tendulkar. A century against Pak bringing on 100 international total would be awesome. Bring back Yusuf Pathan into the team and let him also have a go at our brothers from another mother.

I am and always will be a Football fan rooting more for Arsenal (Go Gunners ) than Royal Challengers but this one time i am totally and completely willing to be painted blue for the team that a billion hearts supports.

Go get them India, this time lets go all the way..

Pakistan, here we come…

Here Again..

Every step of the way i take..

I wonder if i went wrong somewhere..

Every morning at day break..

I get that unusual tingling fear..

 

I have been wandering off track i know..

But the picture isnt any clearer..

I still have no idea where the road oes go..

But somehow life and death seem nearer..

 

I am taking a plunge again into deep waters..

I need to find my corner in the world..

Its scary and exciting, any other takers ??

Everythings better shared i am told..

 

Cheers to a brand new beginning..

A toast to what might be the last stand..

If i lose my way again wandering..

Let me be, in my dreams grand..

Finally Free

A wounded heart bled too long..
Over someone long since gone..
Nights and days in stoned numbness..
Countless moments of self despised craziness..

She over me had such magical hold..
Never before and never again will anyone else with ease mould..
Ears longed for a silent word..
That never came ,that was never told..

Ages of solitary confinement i went through..
While friends around me i ignored like strangers new..
Hoping against hope for a comeback act..
A stupid heart couldnt understand obvious fact..

Finally, somehow light has broken through..
Freedom beckons, i am long overdue..
Rhyme or reason ask not of me..
I am just singing, happily free…

Review – Ali Baba Cafe & Restaurant

Ali Baba Cafe in Fraser Town was a surprise find for me last week. Bored as usual, i pestered my room mate into going out for a drive and one thing led to another and we ended up in Ali Baba Cafe at around 9p.m.

The first thing one notices on entry is the distinct Arab artifacts and paintings on the red walls. The first floor which is the restaurant has a very well thought out seating arrangement and makes a person feel at home almost immediately.

The service is pretty standard for a medium sized restaurant but it is when it comes to discussing the menu that they excel. For Ali Baba serves something unique to Bangalore with its Bhatkal Cuisine. I was first vary and then pleasantly surprised by the flavours that were served up in front of me. Everything from the dishes to the spoons, from the tea pot to the handis shows the amount of thought that was went into the design.

For those still not convinced, just go and try the Bhatkali Biriyani and trust me you will become instant fans. The kebabs all have different names than usually seen in the restaurants that dot Bangalore, so go ahead and experiment.

Dont forget to finish off your dinner or snacks with their Persian Tea (its moroccan tea as in the menu).

If you are not a foodie like me, then go to Ali Baba for its Sheesha’s. The shamiana on the second floor itself deserves special mention. The colorful and elegant Sheeshas that they serve that mesmerizing pass time of the Gods are more than their moneys worth. Have a hookah sipping some Persian Tea and you will get a glimpse of how it really is to be done.

So finally for the rating: I give Ali Baba cafe & restaurant 4.5/5 overall and recommend it whole heartedly to anyone who loves his meat and likes exploring the varied sights Bangalore has to offer.

Dhobi Ghat – Review

Kiran Rao’s claim to fame was that she hooked Aamir Khan, period.

Her directorial debut was expected by many, self included, to be just another star wife deciding to do something with all the free publicity and money thats part of the package.

Surprisingly, Dhobi Ghat is an amazing directorial debut.. The movie is amazing.. I mean the critics have already panned it for its non commercialism or lack of the typical cliches that make a bollywood film. But inspite of thanks to the absense of the nonsensical extras, the movie is brilliant.

It is not an Aamir Khan movie in the sense that he does not take over from the first scene with a powerhouse performance that leaves you spell bound. But Aamir essays a role in his usual perfectionist style.

The heroine , rather the lead female role, played by Monica Dogra, plays the NRI Indian to perfection. You have to meet a few of the kind to actually believe its possible. The best of which is expressed when she visits the film theatre to see a hindi film for the first time.

Prateik (i hope i spelled tat right) Babbar is a find, his role of the silent bewildering brother in Jaane Tu ya Jaane Na was just a teaser of sorts. The wannabe actor dhobi boy who falls for the first girl that was nice to him touched a few strings with quite a few friends. Most girls dont know the effect they have on boys when its such subtle things that make a world of difference.

The girl that plays Yasmin, Kriti Malhotra, is almost poetically portrayed. Aamir addiction to her justified. I am surprised that Kiran Rao got so many things right about how men think and feel (but it shouldnt be difficult to guess)

Oh and the ones that wonder why the movie ended like that, just know that there was no other way it could go forward.

I loved the movie, i am not saying there are award winning performances or gut wrenching beauty. Dhobi Ghat is more an experience to be savoured like a fine wine. Its the after taste that makes you feel good about it.

PS: Yes Aamir Khan paintings are wretched, but thankfully we are spared that sight for most of the movie. Anybody who liked them can take a hike, that will not be entertained as a point of debate here.

PPS:

Alpha and Omega

Its been too long this blog has been sidelined to almost anonymity and now since i am jobless and bored in my beloved city, some places and sights bring back fond memories..

But as always forget the memories and lets talk of things in general..

First things first, please consider this my public apology for any ghastly, idiotic, crazy or inconsiderate mistakes on my part, both intentional and unintentional, for all of the last year and the one before that and the one before that and so on..

Secondly, i wish everyone a Wonderful New Year and the best that life in its many mysterious ways has to offer.

Now that the general chit chat is taken care of can someone tell me whats the point of keeping on blogging when apparently i have too few readers and my original plans of writing a book later on and earning money thru google apparently isnt going to be turning true..

On the update sort of mode, lets just say that i have jumped into the entrepreneurial bandwagon and since have done nothing of value in any sort. (Theres great freedom in telling people that u are planning something or in the process of setting it up.) Thanks to more committed partners/ friends the said projects might see light of day in the first month of the new year.

New beginnings, new dreams and new hopes for the new year and a pretty uneventful 2009 has brought my life to something close to normalcy and it gives a sense of relief.

So as always i sign out with enough food for thought and wishing everyone once again a Happy Prosperous Fabulous New Year

A New Bangalore and Some Revelations

Being back in Bangalore feels great but being reminded over and over that the city has changed is kinda freaky.. Over the last fortnight, i have met very happily gay and proud guys, an always improving standard of beautiful women and more coffee shops than anything else. The funny thing is they are all full.

The people seem as always very welcoming, the auto drivers as usual impossibly conniving and friends as always late. The drizzlings rains add that hint of romanticism to most souls around and everything feels right.

But as always reality hits u in the face, i read of 15 year olds being stabbed to death over pigeon races, unbeleivable prices at the latest hotspot in town and the fact that commercial street is somehow a lot more expensive than it once was.

But more than anything else i hear repeatedly of young girls being beaten up by their so called boyfriends. I met one such girl a couple of days back and it evokes a wide range of emotions. An anger so dangerous i still dont know if i’ll end up kicking this total strangers butt, disbelief at how a girl could take so much and still forgive him, some more of the same when the guy thinks he can get away with it by saying sorry, an unfamiliar pride that i have brothers, cousins and friends actually think he should be castrated and a long lost feeling of concern for a total stranger.

I mean i am a big supporter for the PETA cause but i always thought educated women could always take care of themselves. I stand corrected. I see a new side of women which i wasnt aware existed. A total almost blind devotion to the person you love (no marriage yet remember). I had failed to understand it earlier i guess, maybe because i was too close to see things objectively. Here it was crystal clear that this young lady was head over heels for a guy that didnt deserve it. And she still blames herself for some of it.

To all the women i have met, i salute your undying spirit to move forward against all odds, to try and keep a relationship alive surviving  mental, emotional and physical abuses. I salute you for what you achieve in spite of all that and i salute your humility. Suddenly i have a liking to the women who step forward, to those who claim what they deserve and walk as if men are below them.

To Men, mostly the young ones wh0 believe the world is their oyster, you are up for a surprise and sooner or later you are gonna get your ass kicked, by life and if you are not careful by the woman you love or pretend to.

Come to think of it, if you believe the bible arent women like the beta version of the first version of human beings called Man – Food for thought !!