Living, Surviving & Writing
Writing about Bangalore can be quite a task, there is so much to write about yet one is constantly looking for what to write. Where does one go looking for something to write about? Among some of the various things that I have posted, I have considered & then refrained from writing about dead rats on the road which I see when I head out of home for my morning jog (there are quite a few along the entire stretch & they are there everyday), the pretty girls I see when I step out for my stress busting evening walk (& wondering where they reside for there are none like them near home) or about the pick up girls who position themselves opposite Manipal Centre in the nights wearing some outrageous costumes & make up …& still getting picked up. (By others I would like to clarify)
Living & Surviving true Bangalore style.
Right from your steaming hot corn to the… what is that called….umm I think it is the dried up banana pieces mixed with some onions & masala there is a lot of variety out on the streets for a quick snack. Tried the dry bhel puri handed over to you in a nice paper cone & a plastic spoon? The Bangalore Only ingredient in this is the ‘nip-pat’. One day at the VV Puram circle near VB Bakery I was puzzled & amazed when a push cart vendor was selling what he called Boti masala. Boti? Well, how do I describe this Boti now? Its Yellow looking, tube like, crispy & fried (hope you got it. I remember as kids we would put it into each of our fingers & bite it off slowly…uhhh… boti that is). So this person was selling that with the typical bhel puri wallah masala. Tried it out, very nice, very unique. And then there are these new age pani puri wallahs. These guys offer you only pani puri & something unique about them is the sukhi puri (puri without pani, stuffed with a little smashed potato mixed with some masalas) that they’ll give you at the end…for free.
Have you come across the ‘shake of the head’ type reactions from Bangaloreans? Didn’t get it? What happens when you stop an auto & tell him where you need to go? A shake of the head. If it is a vertical shake it means ‘Yes’, if it is a horizontal shake it means ‘No’. Of course the treat is when the horizontal shake is combined with a frown & an attitude that almost says “Why the hell did you stop me & waste my time?” You also get a ‘shake of the head’ from the sales people/counter staff/shop owners. “I need a Visor for this helmet?” A horizontal ‘shake of the head’ followed by sudden concentration on the other customer standing near by. When the other customer struggles to describe what he wants, the shopkeeper begins to make a face, then makes it & when the other customer is finally done explaining what he wants comes the reaction – a horizontal ‘shake of the head’. This could also come your way if you are looking for directions. You approach two men smoking in public, one of them looks at you, you say “13th Main 2nd cross” & pat comes the horizontal shake of the head & he will then turn back to his partner, “huh I was saying….what was I saying?” A shake of the head is all that it takes. No word said, no “I am sorry….” expressed.
Being bored also is very much a part of the Bangalore experience. Come weekend its time for boredom. And how to kill it? Go watch Taare Zameen Par in a multiplex paying Rs 250 for a ticket. What to do after that? Head to Cha Bar at Leela Palace & drink masala chai paying Rs 30 for a glass that a monkey is holding & which is very painful for you to hold. What to do after that? Head to Crossword or the newly opened Reliance Time Out & shell out Rs 300+ for a …’How to manage your personal finance’ book. Then comes the odd holiday in between the week, like we recently had. Why should a week day holiday be any different? Boredom, Boredom & Boredom. So what to do? Go watch Taare Zameen Par again with your friend who hasn’t watched it, at a single screen theatre paying Rs 50 for a second class ticket. After that what to do? Head to the Johnson market & drink chai paying Rs 3. And then what to do? Head to Blossoms on Church Street & in their non fiction section on the 3rd floor spot the same book you bought over the weekend. Out of curiosity you check for the price of it here & learn that the price here is a good 80 rupees less than what you paid for. The rest of the day is spent fretting over this discovery.
Wish you all a very Happy New Year 2008.