Thursday, July 20, 2006

bangalore observations - 2

This post is has been delayed long enough.I left bangalore a month back...and have been spending hours at home, stuffing myself..and building up inspiration to go jogging every morning... amongst other things.

As I had commented in the first installment of this, bangalore did not make too good a first impression. Looking back now...things look different. My grandmom says something that I am never quite able to shake off - "when you look back at life - everything seems to take a golden hue" - she should know...she's all of 80..and it probably is the best way to look back at things.

Anyway, its not just just my days in Bangalore dwindled..I was surprised to find that I had aquired a very strong familiarity with the city - and had actually started enjoying living there. This was a surprise since, in my first month in Bangalore I was swindled by several fat- bellied landlords, and was near roughed up by 15 goons on a quiet evening in Appareddy Palya. Well, as you will most often realise when you look back at such things - they were of my own making. But you will agree that these hardly contribute to a good first impression.

One thing that the most virulent critics of bangalore cannot that the weather is superb. Sweating as I am right now in Hyderabad's customary hot and rainless mons0on, almost wishing that I was in Mumbai instead (!!!), the Bangalorean weather has taken almost utopian proportions in my mind. Bangalore, though getting increasingly choked by the stream of population pouring into it from all parts of the country, still preserves something of the beautiful small - town it once must have been. Even, the most hellishly crowded roads, are surrounded by greenery. In fact, the two laned Double Road in Indiranagar where I stayed had magnificent trees down its divider - and not the sorry excuses for trees - a hedge barely manging to hang on to its surrounding cattle - protection wire- that you see in most of such city-road dividers.

Next must come the food - and people who know me will be shocked that this comes third! Bangalore offers tremendous opportunties to a glutton such as myself - to indulge. The steaks at Indi jo's and at Miller's, the fish cutlets at Koshy's, the wonderful kabab's hanging on makeshiftt shops at the side of the streets, the bacon and eggs breakfast at an obscure coffee shop in Indiranagar - it was Food -heaven. This impression of mine might have been embellished by the fact that my previous 4 years have been spent in Pilani - a sorry village in Rajasthan (which too - amazingly- I had come to love) - where food was restricted to the very basics - we literally start having nightmares featuring Paneer Curries out there!!

And, the people. I met several interesting and even inspiring people during these 6 months in Bangalore. Most of them are researchers at DaimlerChrysler - but it would be doing them a greve injustice to say that that's their identity. I resist going into the details - since, it will make it already obscure post even more so... As far the larger picture goes - I think the people of Bangalore go about living their lives as they please - and don't give two hoots as to what you do with yours - as long as you dont step on any toes. A good thing.

To round it all off - on one of my last few days in the city, me and a friend of mine were chomping fish cutlets at Koshy's. I was getting quite sentimental about leaving the place - and was letting my mind form some lazy thoughts. As it so often happens with me and this friend of mine - these lazy ramblings end in a question that I dont really expect her to answer - framed as it were , exclusively to give me an opening to say what I was thinking. So when I asked her - "What do you think the spirit of Bangalore is?" - I had answer ready in my head. I nearly choked on the fish cutlet, mayonnaise, ketchup and coke combo that I was ingesting at the time - when she came up with exactly what I was preparing myself to say - "Live and let live"...and promptly too...

Sunday, July 09, 2006


What a month!!.. If you are a couch adorning sports lover like I am, you would have loved it.. Of course, I had my share of luck. The break between my bachelors and what will hopefully be my masters could not have been more perfectly timed, it was good ole summer vacation time again. Usually, a really bad time to be free and wish there was some football to be watched. All the leagues fold up by the mid May or so, finishing with the final of the UEFA champions league. Of course, Wimbledon takes up a couple of weeks, but for the last few years Federer has reduced it to a fortnight's waste of his time before he lifts the trophy. This month sure was different.

The Football world cup has folded up, with the unlikely Italians winning their fourth. My predictions for a great Cup for Michael Owen and England fell flat on their faces. However, England went down fighting to Portugal, my team to hate in the tournament. Kicking someone who s trying to pull your T shirt of your back, in the balls, does not seem like a crime to me at all. And after Rooney got sent off for doing exactly that, England fought like lions, and actually had more chances than the portuguese. It was all to end cruelly, in a penalty shootout, with the killer blow from my player to hate of the tounament, the pretentious Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo dove his way through the tournament, each time rightously arguing with the referee that his leg was indeed severed!!! But surely, he'll be back with Manchester United soon enough, playing alongside Rooney, and being cheered by the same English public that booed him everytime he touched a ball in the match.

Genius really does seem to come with a dark side. The Rooney stamping incident, and another that is even more vividly imprinted in my mind, that of the great Zinedine Zidane crashing his forehead into the chest of the Italian defender Materazzi. Nobody knows what exactly happened, to prompt Zi Zou to do what he did, but who would have thought that the career of the greatest footballer of a generation would have ended in this manner. Brings back memories of Maradona being banned from International football during the course of the 1994 World Cup, because of drug abuse. If this were a movie you were watching, and it really seemed like you were for a while, with Zidane rising from the ashes, and taking France with him, it would have ended with Zidane lifting the Jules Rimet Trophy aloft with fireworks exploding in the background, and of course a lilting background score playing. The climax, instead, was red card and a silence that showed the disbelief that spread amongst not just the French, but amongst football lovers the world over. Zidane walked, while life turned and winked at you, smirking that cruel smirk.

Anyway, its been treat, now back to seeing if Gerrard can lift Liverpool to the Premiership this season, over Chelsea, the one goal he has not yet accomplished. Almost criminally, and of course widely overshadowed by the World Cup, yesterday witnessed another great sporting encounter, that of Nadal v/s Federer... in the Wimbledon final this time. Nadal gave Federer several serious scares, and many times in the course of the game, the King Of Clay looked set to extend his dominance over grass as well. It was the first time I have seen Federer being not merely worried, but actually threatened at the Centre Court. I say give it one or at the most two years, and Nadal will win one in England.

Of course, there was Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble, inspiring India to an away win in the West Indies. And at the end of it, I can sigh contentedly and look over a bleak sporting calender stretching over the next month, wondering what I will do to while awat the time. Maybe, and just maybe, it's time get off my couch.