Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I've lived in Bangalore almost all my life. I watched it grow into what it has become now. Despite all it's ills, I still feel pride when when people write and talk about my city like it is the face of progress itself. I know that I'm also in the danger of being fooled into equating Bangalore to the rest of India. Last weekend's trip was, to quote the hideous cliché, a reality check.

Bagalkot is a small town in North Karnataka with not much of a claim to fame except that it is one of the high-profile victims of the Almatti dam. When full, the reservoirs will completely submerge the old town. One of the features that will stay out of water is the Engineering college here. It has 300 students all with the same dreams that any of us had back when we were studying. Not to sound like a pretentious pseudo-self-effacing windbag, but those folks taught me a lot. A lot more than I was chartered to teach them. If nothing, I came back almost feeling guilty for the sinful imbalance in the opportunities that people in Bangalore get as opposed to those outside.

As soon as we arrived on the scene, I figured I had two kinds of colleagues with me. Those that were there to help because they saw a business opportunity that they were going to exploit. Then there were those that were feeding on the cultural cringe and inferiority complex of others in order to boost their own egos. The funny thing however was that despite the lack of any higher ideal or noble cause, it was very tangible that we were helping. So nobody really complained. It wasn't even as serious as I made it sound. At the dinner table while we shared our individual stories and laughed our guts out, we knew we had had a swell time.

What should I use here; the common emitter configuration or the common collector?
first one sir.
it is better sir.

What's your hobby?
on the road.

What do you read?
Which ones?
Ramayana and Mahabharatha.
Who wrote Ramayana?

What music do you like?
Silent music.

What is your hobby?
Visiting tourist places.
What's your favourite place?
What do you like about it?
The road is very good.

Monday, January 15, 2007


Sushmita Sen said in an interview "chastity has no meaning in the current period and it applies to both men and women". I won't venture a judgment on that line because, honestly, I have no idea what that meant. Some Tamil lawyer, however, not only understood it, but also deemed it dangerous enough to our moral fabric to go ahead and slap a case against her in court.

The same lady, it seems, evaded duties on a car she imported. Point it out if you think I'm naïve, but I see no ambiguity here. She ought to be punished here. But the vigilance officer connected to the case doesn't think so. He not only allowed her to submit a letter requesting a waiver, but also arranged a red carpet welcome when she went to his office. "
"After all she is a Ms Universe, so the welcome was natural" he says.

I once read an article that placed our national average IQ at 80. I remember feeling outraged then. Now I wonder.

Friday, January 05, 2007


The splendour is definitely gone. All you see now are the ruins. Pick a direction to look and you'll find some dilapidated building. The sheer number of construction sites and the area they cover makes you wonder about the grandeur that must have surely existed back when the kingdom was still prospering. It also makes you hate all the idiots who plundered this place. And then you look at the "Y loves X" proclamations that crowd most of the remaining walls and you realise that the race of the idiots still thrives.

The visit to the Vithala temple was probably the highlight of my trip. The musical pillars are mind blowing. This is one of the best preserved monuments in Hampi. I won't be surprised if they discover someday that even the barbarians were moved enough by the sheer beauty to spare this particular temple from destruction. To get the most out of your visit to the Vithala temple you need to have a guide.

Even the best guide, however, will not explain satisfactorily the occurence of all those heaps of rocks in this area. The explanation that came closest to making the cut was the legend that the gods played marbles here.

A portuguese traveller who travelled to the Vijayanagara Kingdom is said to have remarked about Hampi that the retina of the eye has never seen anything quite like it. You probably can still say the same thing about it. Where else would you encounter a lungi-clad waiter in a KhanavaLi serving you Sphagetti Bolognaise or a Moussaka, or a paan chewing lady dressed in an iLkal seere holding a plate of bondas and asking you in English (U.S. International) "Would you like some snacks?"

My New Year's Eve
Three balding men sported pony tails. We laughed like crazy. We went to a gorgeous restaurant called Mango Tree . The wine flowed. Sounds like fun, no?