Browsed by
Tag: Bangalore

Home is Where the Heart is #AtoZChallenge

Home is Where the Heart is #AtoZChallenge

Home is where the heart is! Surely you must have heard this famous proverb. And that makes me wonder, where exactly is my heart? Is it in the home where I grew up and lived 25 years of my life, the place where I played and spent those blissful childhood days? Or is it in the home I live in now?

Years back….

My childhood days in the eighties and nineties were spent in a palatial bungalow in Bangalore. Life was far simpler then and Bangalore was an entirely different city too. Sans traffic, noise and pollution, the city would be full of blossoming trees. I grew up as part of a big joint family in this large home of ours. I consider myself lucky to have been part of such a huge family that lived together. The home had a huge front lawn and a backyard where there would be a washing stone (I wonder if homes still have those stones, with the advent of washing machines). Growing up was fun amidst grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins galore. We were a total of 15 members in the home and we all shared a common kitchen!!!!!

But as the years passed, the family slowly broke away. My matriarchic grandmother, the old owl of the family passed away. It was like as though the roots of a majestic tree had all of a sudden been cut off. The next gen sought better opportunities and moved to different parts of the globe. The other elders in the family moved on to live with their own children. My father however continued to remain in our home until his last breath. In fact the only thing he wished for, when his cancer was diagnosed as terminal was to be in our home till the end. Dad is no more today. Our good old home in Bangalore stands vacant. What once was a witness to beautiful memories, relationships, joys and sorrows, it is now nothing but a dilapidated old house.

Where am I now?

It has been over ten years since I have left my childhood home in Bangalore. Married to an Officer in the Armed Forces, transfers and movements have become a constant affair. I have moved close to nine houses in my 12 years of marriage. And as much as I put in the effort to make every living quarter I live in seem like home, somewhere deep down that element of emotional attachment isn’t quite there. It’s just a roof under which I live and spend moments with husband and kids.

My heart still lies in Bangalore, though it is now nothing but a mere house!!!!

Image: Calvin and Hobbes-Bill Watterson
The Life & Times of a City that was Once Bangalore

The Life & Times of a City that was Once Bangalore

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful city called Bangalore. It was calm, peaceful and boasted of salubrious weather throughout the year. And then the unforeseen happened. The city was struck by bad governance, corruption and an uncontrolled growth of the concrete jungle. What followed is traffic jams, garbage piles at every corner and poor infrastructure support for the common man. Not to forget the dwindling green spaces, that once earned the city the title of “Garden city”.

I still remember the day I left Bangalore in 2005. As my flight took off from the old Bangalore airport, I had tears in my eyes. This was the city I grew up in. I distinctly remember cycling down the by lanes of Indiranagar, without any fear of being hit by a speeding car. Or sitting atop in the double decker bus travelling till Shivaji Nagar, just for the heck of it!!  I would walk to school hand in hand with my buddy Vidya, chatting away about teachers, boys and all other things that concerned our lives. This was the city that gave me my first job, my first salary, my first date, and many other firsts… After eleven years, I went back this summer to what was once my home town. A month later, I had tears yet again in my eyes. But this time around, it wasn’t nostalgia. It was pain- to see that what was once a beautiful city is now nothing but an overcrowded and noisy place.

Way back in the eighties, I lived close to CMH road in Indiranager, in a palatial family bungalow. And the only big store on CMH road then was the MK Ahmed Store, This well-lit store practically supplied all the light to a major portion of the road. And when MK Ahmed would shut by 8pm (yes shops closed by 8 pm then), CMH road would wear a deserted look, except for a few stray vehicles.

Being a product of the prestigious St. Josephs College, which then was on Residency road (the heritage building), I was lucky to be in proximity to some of the best standalone theatres of Bangalore. Rex Theatre on Brigade road – for those latest Hollywood movies.

Plaza- old and quirky looking, I remember watching the Mummy here for Rs. 20.

Plaza(1).png

Image Source: Flickr

Symphony Theatre (well before it was renamed Shankarnag Chitra Mandira) was for the latest Hindi movies. And ofcourse my all-time favorite Lido theatre(I think it has become a thriving mall now). How could I forget Galaxy theatre and huddled behind it was Corner House which served Death by Chocolate for Rs. 50 then. Galaxy theatre shut down years back , but I still remember the red carpets on the slop that led to the balcony seats.

MG Road began from Cauvery Handicrafts for shoppers, extending till Chinnaswamy stadium.

mgsp2.pngImage Soucrse: Flickr

Technically the road began from Trinity Circle. However, the big stores of MG road began only from Cauvery Handicrafts. I remember Gangaram’s book bureau on MG road that would sell practically any book you could think of. At the junction of Mayo Hall was my favorite heritage hotel called Victoria. You could have the most sumptuous Sunday brunch here. Sadly today, in its place stands Bangalore Central Mall.

Family outings meant, a train ride on Puttani express in Cubbon Park, or a walk in Lalbagh, followed by dinner at MTR and an ice cream from Lake View on MG Road.

Lake view was the first of its kinds to serve Drive-in.

2007072458070201_597368e.png

This was considered a cool outing. Oh not to forget, the butter masala dosa at Airlines hotel near Lavelle road and the annual visit to the HHF fair(Hindustan Handloom Fair) on RBANMS ground to enjoy the Giant wheel and Tora Tora rides.

The old airport served as a sort of marking for the city. Areas beyond this especially were considered outskirts. Marathahalli was in its truest sense a village which many in Bangalore hadn’t even heard off. And Whitefield was only a station that I saw when on my return train journey from Chennai.

Utility building was the only sky scrapper and shopping here was considered splurging.

MG_Road_Bangalore_with_public_utility_building_(perspective_corrected).png

Image Source: Wiki

The red colored BTS buses were used by many as a means of transport irrespective of the financial status. The brown Pushpak buses were a luxury. You could travel to any part of the city by reaching Shivajinagar bus terminal or the Bangalore bus station.

DoubleDecker1990

But then all this was way back. Bangalore today is a burgeoning city. In our quest to create a world-class city, we have erected malls, constructed flyovers, and built apartment complexes at every corner. But in the bargain we have actually lost what once was a charming and beautiful city. Bangalore may probably never regain its lost glory. The only thing I could hope for is not push it to a limit where it may just crumble and collapse under the weight of bad governance and poor infrastructure projects.

#Eurovision2016- Through My Black Box

#Eurovision2016- Through My Black Box

Sdownloado it is that time of the year again– the time of the Eurovision Contest 2016. The Eurovision Song Contest or often shortened to ESC or Eurovision, is the longest-running annual international TV song competition, among European nations. The competition has been in existence since 1956. Each participating country submits an original song to be performed on live television and radio and then casts votes for the other countries’ songs to determine the most popular song in the competition. The contest is one of the longest-running television programmes in the world. 

Way back in the eighties, with just a little black and white television set and a handheld radio in homes for entertainment, information about contests such as this, was minimal. My father had a strange fascination for the Eurovision contest from his younger days, and would somehow manage to keep a track of it. I distinctly remember him tuning into a black hand held radio, that had this really long antenna. Every night, it would be pulled out, and placed against the parapet wall of the balcony in Bangalore. He had demarcated spots where the signal would be at its best. And lying on straw mats next to it, we would listen to the contest, as we gazed at the stars in the sky. I distinctly remember one his favourites. It was the West German entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979, performed in German by Dschinghis Khan- a 6 member group.

Over the years, as I got entangled in the process of growing up and living life on my own, this small pleasure of listening to the international shows and music, disappeared from my life. My dad left this world a couple of years back and one of the things he left behind for me was the black hand held radio. I sat last weekend tuning in wondering if it would be of any use, when all of a sudden, the signals came back, all loud and clear. It was Eurovision time again!!!! And was I glad.

Despite social media having come up in many ways, despite online telecasts on You Tube, the joy of listening to the songs from that black box was immense. The radio had a magical mood enhancing effect!

imagesEurovision 2016 will be hosted in Sweden. The country clinched the top spot in 2015 thanks to Mans Zelmerlow and the song Heroes. This year’s competition is set to be a banner year with a revamped voting system , the return of some nations that were absent from recent years, and a special guest country making another appearance. The first semi-final for Eurovision 2016 was on Tuesday May 10 with the second following on Thursday May 12. The 20 successful countries will join the Big Five and the reigning champions Sweden for the grand final on Saturday May 14.

 

 

New Clothes Through The Year?? #AtoZChallenge

New Clothes Through The Year?? #AtoZChallenge

nNew clothes are always such a joy to wear. How I love the crispness and smell when they are fresh out of the store. And I am sure it is not just me. Practically every single soul gets that streak of joy on a day when new clothing is worn!

On a recent trip to the mall, I was unable to resist some of the attractive deals flaunted by apparel stores to lure potential buyers. I ended up returning home with heavy bags and a lighter pocket. As I stuffed the newly acquired pieces of apparel into my wardrobe, I glanced at the pile of other clothes. Some used a time or two, some hardly worn. And here I was adding more to the collection. I promised myself I would not buy any more apparel, until I was done wearing most of them… Hmmm I do hope I keep up the promise I made to myself.

But pondering over this, I realized how things have changed for us Indians over the years. With the opening of the country’s economy and the mother of all revolutions, the internet revolution, there is a paradigm shift in our spending patterns. Shopping has now moved from being a means to cater to our necessity, to a leisure activity. And this is true for not only the urban upper middle class or the middle class, but also among the lower income group.

This was really not the way it used to be way back in the eighties. New clothes used to be restricted to festivals and very important occasions such as a wedding in the family. As a child I distinctly remember waiting for Diwali (the festival of lights). It used to be the one festival where the entire family would shop for new clothes. In fact, it used to be the only time in the year, probably we used to shop and make use of those glorious sales put up by stores. Way back then, there were just three destinations in Bangalore to do the best of festive shopping- MG road, Brigade Road or Commercial Street. There weren’t any malls and residential colonies seldom had apparel stores (unlike now where most residential areas have become pseudo-commercial hubs).

Dad would plan this extravagant shopping session a week or two before Diwali. And the entire family would shop till we drop….cause the next occasion to do so would turn up only after a year. At the beginning of every New Year, when the calendar used to arrive at home, my first job would be to circle Diwali.

I still look forward to this festival. I still mark the calendar. I still buy new clothes for the family on this day. But what has significantly changed is the fact that I also buy clothes at random occasions all through the year.

And the result of all this, an overflowing wardrobe, and diminishing excitement that lies in the ritual of shopping before Diwali!!

Of Bitter Gourd Chips and Memories

Of Bitter Gourd Chips and Memories

This morning, as I was buying vegetables from the vendor in my colony, a very unusual thing happened.  I glanced at a pile of fresh bitter gourd. Something stirred within me, and in a flash of a second, I was transported back 25 years. I have always disliked this vegetable and seldom buy it. Yet today, it was something else…

Way back in the eighties, when life was far simpler, my family lived in big independent bungalow. I have been fortunate to have grown up as part of this large joint family. The home had a lawn in front, a backyard that had a washing stone (I wonder if these washing stones exist anymore, with the advent of washing machines). Growing up was fun amidst grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins galore. We were a total of 16 members living under the same roof and sharing a common kitchen!! As the years passed by, the next gen sought better opportunities to move to different parts of the globe. My grand mom, the wise old owl of the family, passed away too.  It was like the roots of a majestic tree had all of a sudden been cut.  The other elders in the family moved on to live with their own children. My father though, continued living in the home till his death last year. He had only one wish, when he knew his cancer was terminal, to die in his home.

A mere house now, it still stands tall in Bangalore- vacant! I seldom think much about it. So caught up are we in our daily lives that often we fail to relax, breathe and give a thought to what was once ours.

Today, the pile of bitter gourd took me back there. I remembered the grand “shrardam” ceremonies my grand mom was so particular about. Shrardam is a Tamil name for the function that is done in memory of a departed loved one. It is an elaborate affair, with an array of dishes that is prepared and served on banana leaves, to Brahmins, and then to the rest of the family. It is believed that the departed soul visits the home on that day. One of the dishes my mom used to prepare on this day was fried bitter gourd.

My dislike for the vegetable dates back to these days, when I used to push those fried rings right under the banana leaf I ate on.

bitter_gourd_chips

But my grand mom’s watchful eye would often foil my plan, and I would invariably end up gulping it down with a glass of water. I wondered- why would the departed soul want to eat bitter gourd? Wouldn’t he just stop coming back?

A faint smile crossed my face as these visions crept in my mind today. I bent down and picked up a kilo of the tender bitter gourd.  How I wish I had someone to tell me to eat it today. I came back home and fried them in rings, just the way mom would make it. They still tasted bitter, but there was a magical sweetness to it to today!!!!

Strange how something I disliked could actually trigger a plethora of fond memories.

So have you had an instance where something you disliked brought about a surge of emotions that were pleasant? Would love to know about it.

Image for representation purpose only. Source: www.awesomecuisine.com

What is it that Men's Cricket has that Women's Cricket Doesn't

What is it that Men's Cricket has that Women's Cricket Doesn't

As a child, I always thought the national sport of India was Cricket. There has always been a lot of pomp and show around the sport. So much so, for most of us cricket is an obsession. The sport has crept into our lives and made its presence so strong that almost all of us Indians live, eat and breathe the sport, irrespective of whether we are actually playing the game.

Oh! By the way I was talking about the men’s cricket team in our country!!!!

Sounds rude and shocking?

Unfortunately this is the truth. Most of us are seldom aware of the existance of a women’s cricket team in the country.  And even if we did know such a team existed, how many of us actually know the players??? Wonder why we fail to acknowledge their contributions to the sport in the same way as the men’s team.

The New Zealand women’s national cricket team has been touring India from 28 June till 15 July. The teams have been playing a series of five One Day Internationals (ODIs) and three Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is). All the matches including five ODIs, three T20I and one tour match against India have been hosted at Bangalore. I caught the live telecast of the first ODI on Star Sports. It sure was a fun match to watch. But what really hit me odd was the empty stands of the stadium. Was wondering if a similar tour by their male counterparts would garner a similar audience.

Anyways, the Indian team crushed New Zealand by nine wickets in the fifth and final one day international match winning the series by 3-2 margin.  The win also brought another piece of good news as the Board of Control for Cricket in Indian (BCCI) announced a cash award of Rs 21 lakh for the team(by the way that’s for the entire team, and not for an individual player) as they fought back valiantly from being 1-2 down to win the series.

It’s time we acknowledged the contributions of all sportsman(may be woman here) equally !!!!

The team that did it Source The Hindu
The team that did it  Source – The Hindu

And here is the team that did it:

  • Mithali Raj (captain)
  • Ekta Bisht
  • Rajeshwari Gayakwad
  • Jhulan Goswami
  • Harmanpreet Kaur
  • Veda Krishnamurthy
  • Smriti Mandhana
  • Niranjana Nagarajan
  • Shikha Pandey
  • Kalpana R
  • Sneh Rana
  • Poonam Raut
  • Deepti Sharma
  • M.D. Thirushkamini
  • Poonam Yadav

Kudos to the team!!!!!!!!!