The Ringside View

My attempts at writing have always been stacked up in old diaries and scraps of yellowing paper.Time,neglect and phylum insecta however, always ensured that the gibberish i scrawled, never would see the prying gaze of an alien eye.Years later, i still scribble once in a while - this time in word documents stored in some obscure folder somewhere in the innards of my C drive.I am unearthing some of them and opening them up for the interested.To get what i call - The Ringside view.

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Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Nice place to be - addendum

Michelangelo, the great sculptor places his hammer and chisel down, steps away and scrutinizes. The form and expression is alright. The marble from father’s quarry lacks luster these days though. Wonder why, he thinks. It’s over chipped a little near the left hand, and it’ll need a chip or two near the shoulder blade, he made mental note. The unveiling happened at the king’s court the following day. When the silken sash slid off the marble structure, Michelangelo, waited for the prying eyes to scan and exclaim. Exclaimed they did. And in unison – ‘Too much detail missed I say’. And as we pane out of this frame, Michelangelo is seen sitting hand on chin, saying to himself - ‘What the fuck do I do now’.

It’s easier when you’re a blog writer though. When people post reading scream – ‘Ayyo, too much detail missed’, you just scream back and say – ‘Ok fine, I’ll add addendum’. ‘The essence of the city can never be captured in four odd paragraphs I try telling’. ‘Fine, add two more. Six should cover it’ comes reply.

And that ladies and gentlemen, is the inspiration for the addendum.


Chapter 5: How did I miss these out? Apologies and all that.

Let us put ourselves at the Bible Society end of Mark’s Road and turn the knob on our time machine a fifty years back. Biff!!! South Parade sans road dividers and raging traffic. Tree lined promenades and Lord Cubbon’s park a beckoning green in the distance. It’s fifty years back people and those were the days when traffic junctions were not yet named after leg spinners who with due assistance with Bangalore born umpires took ten wickets in an innings. And Koshy’s is still there; serving hot appams and creamy stew every Sunday morning. You roll back the knob and it’s still there. Another generation at the helm, but sill serving evergreen favorites like in the hey days. It’s quintessentially old Bangalore. And omitting it from a list of this kind would be sheer sacrilege.

Healthiest bar to go to on a Friday night (or Saturday afternoon or Sunday evening) – Sreeraj Lassi Bar. On a summer day, you have to be deft in your movements to tilt the table fan in your direction without the people in the arc noticing; but once that’s achieved, you’re pretty much ready to order. We always tried a Hayward’s 5000 ad simulation back in the college days.
‘One Fruit Salad with ice cream’, I would say.
‘One with double ice cream’, Suri would interject with mean looks and all. It’s not an appreciated stunt but on boring balmy afternoons when nothing happened one moment after another, it’s a harmless self amusement trick that’s worth attempting.

Best sweet tooth moment in a shopping avenue – Bhagatrams. A huge urn the size of a mini coracle and a 100 golden brown jamoons living swimmingly in cardamom laced, pistachio laden sugar syrup. Downing them should well be classified as a class one tier experience but what makes it even more blissful is the total lack of ambience in which you get to devour them. They recently upgraded the dim lit, oily walled, ‘shoulder push people buying khova and halwa’ kinda ambience to a more conservative sweet shop style. What a shame.

Best place to eat biriyani – Last day of exam in schooldays roughly translated to – Chicken biriyani at RR followed by ice cream at Lakeview. Little wonder then that I always scored least on the last paper. You were always in this godamn hurry to get those essay questions out of the way and head to the mecca of Andhra Biriyani. The restaurant however strangely closed down for a considerable period in between and the Nandhini’s and Nagarjuna’s filled in to take its place. [RR has reopened on Church Street in a new age avatar and the food is still mighty good. But that old charm is gone and had they called it by any other name, one really wouldn’t have noticed]


Chapter 6: Last Course.

75 paisa bun – ‘You are all convent educated Western block fellows maga. You are not aware of the simple joys of Vijaynagar’, Kams ranted. I sniggered and followed him. One storm drain jump later we were at a typical end of the street type Iyengar bakery. I peered at the glass showcase. The usual suspects were all there – desiccated coconut smeared honey cake, chocolate cake with cream made of pure dalda and cocoa powder, huge circular dil pasands, vegetable puffs, an array of savories in glass bottles et al. The smell of freshly baked bread wafted through as the bespectacled, white vest clad, threaded Iyengar looked our way. '75 paisa bun kodi sir’, Kams ordered. The man blinked then bent down and emerged with a golden brown beauty. In a jiffy it was cut into four quarters and served on a morning edition of Praja Vani. ‘Yeshtu’. Kami asked. ‘One tonty-five’. Change disbursed. ‘Adhe maga problemu’ Kams continued, gorging the 75 paisa bun which costed one twenty-five. Legend has it (or so Kams claimed) that this bakery was a local favourite for buns which costed 75 paisa. So despite inflation and all things financial, they decided to call it 75 paisa bun and charge it 1.25. Wonder how much the 75 paisa bun costs today?

Chinese on a budget – Little Chef, Church Street. (No longer there). It was officially what you called – Garage food. You could go in big groups and sit on discarded Ambassador seats and order anything from Chicken lollipop to Egg Hakka Noodles. However one fine day we go to Little Chef and our familiar cashier from Sanman Darshini is at the helm. He beams a hundred watt smile and says –‘Banni sir banni.Evaga navve sir managementu’. We were like –‘Oh super’. But when the Schezwan fried rice had Tomato bath flavours and the Hakka noodles tasted vaguely like the Shavige bath back at Sanman, we decided we may as well save the travel and have the originals.

The end.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hayward's 5000..hehehe.. quite hilarious macha!

September 30, 2007 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yipppeee! Koshy's finally there!!! and Little Chef - I'm so thankful to you guys for having taken me there :-)
- Lals.

September 30, 2007 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Little chef was so much a choice during those college shoestring budget outings

September 30, 2007 2:34 PM  
Blogger Bikerdude said...

Anna! Leg xerox please! What a lovely I say.

PS: Indiana's kaage burger only you have left out, but nuff said after saying kaage burger I suppose :p

September 30, 2007 11:35 PM  
Blogger Pri said...

omg little chef!!! someone told us about it one time and so we went. it was terrible. i was scared i would catch something.

October 07, 2007 3:25 PM  
Blogger Pri said...

oh and that koshys is so annoying. i have never successfully made it on time to eat the appam and stew. never! and they're too arrogant to make a little extra. idiots!

my dad claims their coffee is still the best in Bangalore. i love their bread butter.

October 07, 2007 3:28 PM  
Blogger Sharad said...

Kami would love this piece! I did mention this incident to him a few months ago and he was ecstatic.

October 16, 2007 8:46 PM  
Blogger Piscean Angel said...

hmmm... nice one ... just wanted to add a good continental place to your list. I guess it's not the "old bangalore" stuff but it's a great place ... Cafe Frescoes, Cunningham Road.

November 19, 2007 1:16 AM  

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