Tag Archives: Bangalore

156: Another Holiday Monday

5 Jun


What if I become broke? But oh my darling, what if you become rich?

I couldn’t help adapt the popular quote to this bookshop that I first visited as a child. It was a new experience because this was a bookshop of a different kind; one where they sold old books that smelt the best and even took back books you’d finished reading. 

It was just normal instinct to walk into a bookstore enroute the restaurant my friend A and I were heading to, to stuff our face with Mangalorean ghee roast crab. 

Our afternoon was delectable, to say the least. 

154: Snapshots So Far

3 Jun

Some experiences are best described without words. 

Here are some of mine so far, and I’m letting these pictures do all the talking. 

Banana chips and post-dinner conversations


Saris, dosas, window shopping in Commercial Street.

Friday afternoons with family and these eyes

Impromptu visits, conversations, and homemade fish fry and prawn curry meals

Sunny, windy, shade-laden walks under these gentle giants

Andhra meals, laughter, and bubbly fresh lime sodas

Relaxing with baking

152: Homeward Bound

1 Jun

I’m off to Bangalore for a short while, dear friends. It’s a break I have been looking forward to, naturally, and now that it’s time to leave (yes, I’m writing this after my successful book hunt at the airport – I picked up Maharani Gayatri Devi’s memoirs), the wait has become even more unbearable. What once used to take us days to reach by train, now takes us not more than 3 hours – we’re fortunate; but now even these three hours feel like a lifetime. My check-in was smoother than I’d imagined at this hour – and everything went off with a happy, genuine smile from both sides – from the lady at the check-in counter to the lady at security check to my coffee waitress. It’s a great way to begin a day, that’s for sure.

I hope to be able to write regularly, but there might be more cheating involved during this period than I’d like to acknowledge. I’m referring to blog cheating and food cheating, of course. Sometimes it is hard to draw the line between these secondary forces that pull me to Bangalore – is it the food, the weather, the memories, the walk back in time?, because the one thing I focus a lot on, is food. I’ll write more about memories on a later post; but food really seems to take precedence. Going back to what I was saying is that I hope I can maintain this venture while I’m busy stuffing my face with the madness Bangalore has to offer.

See you on the other side, dear reader! Have a pleasant and colourful June! :)

57: It’s Time To Leave

26 Feb

I thought it’d be easier to say bye now that it’s been over a year since I moved out. But it wasn’t.

I imagined feeling less morose about leaving everything that is home, but how stupid I was to even think it.

It sucked then, it sucks now.

And somehow, I’m glad that some things don’t change, no matter how difficult they can be.

56: Bangalore With A

25 Feb

…means staying out later than I ever have, in the company of people I’m meeting for the first time.

It means getting “don’t be too late”, “how are you coming back home” texts from ma that are usually reserved for my brother.

It means being absolutely okay with doing whatever it is I want to do without the worry of getting back home before autos or taxis become hard to come by.

It means letting go and easing up.

It means being clear about not sharing Corner House ice creams with him.

It means being a little extra proud of where I’ve grown up; because hello it’s Bangalore!

:)

53: Bangalore In A Week

22 Feb

I’ve been here for exactly a week now, and this is what it’s been about, and somehow always has been, irrespective of the duration of my trips.

Visiting Commercial Street to hunt for saris, suits, the odd bangle set or so. This time it was also for Tamil Nadu cotton bedsheets.

Stopping by at Woody’s for my filter coffee or biting into a plain or palak (spinach) dosa at Shiv Sagar, followed by fresh lime soda, sweet and salt. Sometimes if we’re indulgent, we stop at that corner shop, as we have been for decades now, to have either a scoop of banana ice cream or Bowring kulfi which he now keeps.

Rushing to the tailors, both in different parts of the city, and sternly giving them deadlines that are obviously a little before my departure date.

Getting entwined in reunions of various sorts – family, friends, classmates, ex-colleagues, and of course, my four-legged family friends.

Sipping chai or coffee at Airlines and getting transported back to those bygone days. Of course the only things that have changed are that it’s a no-smoking zone now, and that I can go beyond ordering just a glass of chai/coffee for myself, even though I seldom do.

Visiting Koshy’s, if the plan works out, and ordering our default favourites just for old time’s sake.

Perhaps a walk in Cubbon Park, which still hasn’t happened, but I hope it does.

Sinking my teeth into beef, beef, and more beef.

Now thanks to Swiggy, I haven’t found the need to get my ass to Corner House, which also is a mandatory visit. I’ve been ordering in my sundaes and indulgences ever since I got here.

Carefully picking meat off thorns as I relish my favourite – fish. Yesterday, for the very first time in my life, I stopped a fishmonger, Aslam from Mangalore, on his moped, and bought fresh mackerel and prawns from him. It’s either this or heading out to a coastal eatery to get my fill.

Stopping by at Blossom’s Book House. They’ve shifted a little up Church Street, next to Matteo. This time I was in a rush, and couldn’t stop by. But walking past it counts, right?

Making my customary pit stop at Home Stop, just because I love their stuff, always have, and hopefully always will. Now if I could only afford the many things I love. :P

Having my fill of Bangalore’s beers. Always.

And dosas.

And filter coffee.

Now that I’ve made this list, it doesn’t seem like much at all. In fact, if one were to be efficient and plan their holiday well, it would’t take time to do all this. But here I am, feeling like I’ve done whatever I came here to do, but still with a lot more left to do. Nevertheless, and with all that has come my way, I feel immensely grateful to just be here, spend time with the ones who make it worth my while, and to go back with my glass full. :)

48: Not Enough

17 Feb

I cannot feel luckier when I say that my visits back home are overwhelming. Apart from literally fighting to squeeze time with family together, sometimes even bordering on being overbearing with each other, there’s always so much to do, so many to meet and to catch up with. No amount of time feels like its enough.

I’ve already been here a while and it feels like I’ve been here forever and haven’t done as much as I could have. Even after a million auto and cab trips down, there’s this sense of incompleteness sometimes; like maybe I haven’t done everything that I came here to do. Bangalore is where my everything lay and where a considerable chunk of my everything still does lie. It’s an overwhelming experience to meet the people you wanted to meet, do the things you wanted to do, and make time for your own self. This time, especially so.

Today I’m exhausted. But ever so thankful, grateful, and just yeah, thankful some more.

46: Back To Where I Left From

15 Feb

Today seems to have been a never ending one. It started at a cruel 4am and has been on ever since…it feels like forever. What actually felt like forever was my journey to Bangalore. I did spend my time quite productively in transit – I ate, drank my tea, read my book, and slept. But it seemed to go on for longer than the scheduled 2 hours 45 minutes that my itinerary told me. It was especially trying when the captain said we’d be landing in 20 minutes but the aircraft showed no signs of descending or going anywhere but in circles. But I reached, and here I am, in Bangalore.

There’s always so much that floods my senses when I step into my city…so many big and small changes, so many reminders to tell me that I have, indeed, left. The Coca Cola factory we used to visit has now given way to a new construction. I don’t know if this is a new thing. The petrol pump I remember seeing since I was a child has been demolished and barricaded. I forgot to check whether the Amul hoarding just above it still holds fort. Tomorrow, I shall. The busses I used to travel by or watch pass me by as I waited for mine, still ply on their respective routes…raggedy, blue, and gigantic as ever. It feels like I’ve opened a closed chapter. It makes me look within and wonder just where time went off to.

While I was reading on the flight today, I came across these lines which made me stop, and read them again.

Then I felt sinkingly as if my whole life lay behind me…but at times I wondered if I had not come a long way only to find that what I really sought was something I’d left behind.

Thomas F. Hornbein

Poignant for a homecoming, more so when memories come knocking at my door.

During my auto ride today, I asked myself again if I missed Bangalore; a question my friends always ask, or used to at least. When I returned back for the first time, the answer was as shocking as it was clear – I didn’t miss the city, I missed its character, the multitude of memories it gave me, and of course, over and above everything else, I missed the people who lived in it, and still do. Today I bargained and reasoned and came to understand that, perhaps, my new home has my heart while Bangalore has my soul. It seemed fair. It seemed reasonable to feel this sense of belonging here, and there. The rest of the auto ride went peacefully thereon.

25: Phofect

25 Jan

Back when I was in Bangalore, I loved frequenting this eatery named Phobidden Fruit located in Indiranagar. I’ve written about it here, before. The weather is peachy, windy, and just generally gorgeous today. It entices me to think about lovely things like a good, generous bowl of pho (pronounced as just ph), apart from unending walks, and ice creams too.

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Beef Pho with Vietnamese Iced/Cold Coffee

If there’s anything that’s light, playful, and embracing in its ways, it’s a bowl of pho, I assure you. It promises and delivers love, warmth, generosity, good health, and so much fun. Like in the post I’ve attached, the assurance of all things good which you might find yourself craving all at once, can be found in this dish. There’s a beautiful broth, non-sticky flat noodles, succulent meat, crunchy vegetables, and the lift and perfume of spices as you dig deeper. What steals my heart is the role that star anise plays. This dish has always been perfect, and one that I’m afraid to try anywhere else for the fear of being disappointed, to very plainly put it.

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Chicken Pho

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Chilli Beef

The restaurant, on the whole, is colourful, and alive, which I love about it. The fact that it isn’t as bright and brimming with natural light, is a slight regret I have about the place, but given that it’s in a restored bungalow on a canopied Bangalore street, it’s understandable, and even pardonable, if natural light really does matter to you.

Because I’m a creature of habit, and because this restaurant isn’t even close to my area of functioning, my infrequent visits find me ordering exactly what I trudge all the way to this place to have: pho. Their chilli beef is a total knockout too, and if you’re feeling indulgent or ravenous, it’s a wonderful dish to begin your meal with. I personally try to avoid it, not because it isn’t amazing, but because I like to indulge and treat myself to the perfect marriage of flavours that a bowl of pho presents me with. This dish becomes a little extra special when it’s rainy or overcast and chilly. Perfect.

This isn’t a paid review of any kind, and how I wish it was, because I’d love to savour this magic at this very moment. However, the weather here made me put my thoughts on Donald and Melania Trump, among other hugely overtalked issues, aside, and remember what would complement it best instead.

If you’re in Bangalore, and enjoy a bowl of noodle soup, do drop by and treat yourself to a chicken pho, if not its beef counterpart, which I recommend more. :)

5: BLR–DEL

5 Jan

The biggest win for me right now is that I logged in here, and didn’t log out within five minutes, leaving an insipid spirit of a draft behind. I had some idea about what I wanted to write for my next post yesterday, when I was to focus on whatever else was at hand then. But here I am, logged in, and letting my thoughts go crazy as I examine what seems to be a growing tribe of split-ends on my mane. As I pull them apart, the only thing that still screams out to me, as it did all of yesterday, was this urgent prayer hoping and praying that Bangalore doesn’t become the next New Delhi. A lot of me will never accept this drastic shift because all of me still believes that there is a core difference in the mindset of both these populations, but that seems to fast fade away, or is on its way to fading away. This stuff is an everyday, “regular” matter here, in Delhi. Bangalore seems to be catching up, unfortunately. I’m not going into the whats and whys and hows because I don’t want to.

There has been a substantial shift in my home city, and I feel it every time I visit home. I love my city, but it isn’t the same, and never will be. January 2017 will mark 20 years since we moved back to this city I’m always proud to call home. It means something. It means everything to me. And it’s heartbreaking at many levels, because here is this pseudo south-Indian, north-born-confused-south-Indian, so to speak, living in that part of the country where being South Indian is novel, and I use that word with great padding. I’m proud of my legacy, which comes from both parts of the country…I really am someone who belongs here and there, and nowhere all at once. But I know where my loyalties lie, even if that means being the odd one out at many a discussion, and jokes. Bangalore was always, in my eyes, a class apart in so many respects, but that voice seems to be getting meeker because of the reality we’re faced with, every day. I guess I will always belong, and not belong. The biggest task has been to understand and accept the differences, the reality of creating a new home which is so far removed from the one I used to call home (and still do). It hasn’t been easy, and I haven’t gotten there yet. But that’s me digressing from what was on my mind all of yesterday – Bangalore, please don’t become the next New Delhi.

Moving on, I still haven’t figured out what it was that I’d decided to write about for my fifth post. Oh well. This isn’t a new feeling, and is one that I experience every single weekend when I walk into my kitchen. My mind is always rife with ideas about the many things I want to make and for us to have together; except when it comes down to actually cooking. What a mindf**k. :P