Thursday, June 30, 2005

Monsoon, Gone Soon?

A Pleasant Day it was. But the showers were nowhere to be seen.

Expectations from the annual purported rain-fest usually run high in our country. Though it’s the flavour of the season among most analyses we follow, the South-Westerly stubbornly refuses to call itself a season. Atleast back here in the Garden City. Given to the ways of the North, the return trek back here was looked forward to with much zest usually reserved for dandiya ras’, marriages and cricket matches. (One suspects the enthusiasm stemmed more from the prevalence of pakoras, beer and dance common to all of these landmark occasions.) So here I am half hoping for a downpour to trigger an attempt at life’s little excesses. But the clouds over Bangalore have a mind of their own. They seem to have been inspired by the celebrity pack of clouds showcased in Aamir Khan Productions’ ‘Lagaan’. So the city spent a day under an overcast sky that refused to bring the house down. And the clouds spent a day over an indifferent city that refused to play a cricket match for them. This has continued for the last eight days, I am told.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Quote Unquote

"China is what the U.S. economy might look like if it were run by a consortium of folks from McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, and the CIA"
-Rik Kirkland Will the U.S. Be Flattened by a Flatter World? Fortune July 4

Sunday, June 26, 2005

“No TamilNadu Meals!!”

hat’s exactly the response I got from Selva, the friendly looking waiter at my table at the Saravana Bhavan on Janpath. Nothing could be more disappointing for a rice-eating young south Indian than being denied the pleasure of a Sunday Afternoon spent devouring sambar rice with appalam to go with some koottu, chutney, kara kuzhambu, uralai kilangu fry, sweet pachadi and some payasam to top it off – the works, basically. I had been preparing for this afternoon for a week now through the scorching work week in Delhi. The rains too failed to dampen the spirits. (The pre-monsoons have arrived in the Rajdhani, by the way) So I arrived, asked for the Meals section and took my royal perch. Only for Selva to bring it crashing down. “Tamil Nadu meals niruthi naal-anji maasam aagudhu saar…” he continued nonchalantly (“Its been quite some time since we discontinued the Tamil Nadu meals combo”). Clearly, the flabbergasted look on my face had failed to elicit a correction in the menu. The drubbing was complete.

So there was only thing left to do for any self-respecting meals-loving south Indian bloke. And that was to go to the nearest self-respecting meals-peddling south Indian joint. Which in this case was the good ol’ Andhra Bhawan. The AP Bhawan on Ashok Road has been a sanctuary for good Sunday afternoon food, as many a Delhi food connoisseur would agree. Long before the capitalists (read SB) arrived. Meal-time starts around noon and extends upto a couple of minutes past 3. As long as you’re able to hustle the crowd to get yourself a token and put yourself on the waitlist. And if you dig the tasty pesarattus, breakfast is between 7.30 am and 10. The prices aren’t exactly up the socialist tree but the meal is satisfying nevertheless. Take note, Biriyanis are Sunday specials.

Midway through my third helping of rice and sambar at the AP Bhawan (helped along by some good fish pulusu), I realized there might be an uncanny similarity to the political situation down south. The incumbent government has practiced a policy of isolation towards most groups and has also made “Volte-face!” a party slogan. Its as if they've been bellowing "No Tamilnadu Meals!" to anyone wanting to engage them in a conversation! Over the last 4 years they seem to have clearly set a record of sorts by rejecting the Left, the Right and the Centre! And the scrambles have been worth following. Ranging from fighting to take credit when a telecom major decided to invest in a manufacturing facility to the current confusion over the now-you’re-the-topper now-you’re-not situation after the entrance exams got cancelled. The judgment has been reserved and lets hope for the best.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Simply Impossible..!

As they say, It happens only in .....
(Saw this pic somewhere. Thought I'll let the world know.)

Monday, June 20, 2005


So I did reach. At the (re-)appointed hour of 6 past mid-day. Lucknow is in the midst of its annual angry summer season. Preparing to get doused in downpours of the South-West. There is something about Lucknow this summer. It’s not the ‘TAX FREE’ invitation screaming across the ‘Bunty Aur Babli’ poster. Not the 46º heat either. Not even the fact that its just another season of Beer, kababs and meaningless movies. Lucknow today looks more mobile than ever before. Definitely more than during the two years of my halt here. Either there’s more money around the regular hands that spend at the Ganj. Or the GDP in general has gone Uttar in this Pradesh of cows, rickshaws and cheap rifles.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

From The Deccan Outpost

We live in interesting times here in India. We just witnessed 2 brothers split their father’s legacy worth Rs. 100,000 Crores (!!!) and change (more !!!) right down the middle. A Prime Minister who is fast becoming non-Prime. A prominent hawk from the right trying to build bridges to the moderate centre by using the oft-misused ‘secular’ paint to color a late leader (of much infamy) from across the border. And the movie of the season down south sends a serial killer to annihilate corruption.
(To be continued…)


And here I am taking an elongated trip from Delhi to Lucknow through rustic North India. Shatabdis are meant to be short and quiet. What it can’t help is with a train accident at Aligarh. So the engine, thirteen coaches and the solitary brake van roll along wherever the rails, their switches and those guards let them. As long as they touch the capital of Avadh at the end of their meandering. The damages ofcourse are worth about 5 hours. At the current rate we’re to reach the famed city of the Bhulbhulaiya at 6 in the evening. Delay or no delay, the kids at the Khurja Shahar station are quite excited at the site of these German-built air-conditioned coaches stopping over at theirs. The coaches do look neat. There’s a North European touch definitely. Not that I’m an expert on the North European Rail Manufacturing industry. But I did notice that the window glass in the efficient toilet had Norwegian markings! The unscheduled stop at the station ofcourse was courtesy of the changed course and elongated itinerary of this Express. So Khurja Shahar is where I decided I’d scribble down between chapters from The Broker by the legal beagle J.G.
(To be continued...)