Sunday, April 25, 2010


Every day, the sparkle at the corner shop, fascinated Anita. She was not sure, if she should share this fascination with anybody. She loved to walk in that road everyday, just to get a glimpse of that sparkle. It was always a mystery for her to know what the sparkle was about.

Anita used to run near the shop and stand to stare at the sparkle. But the shop keeper would drive her away saying it’s not for kids. It was the time she had started reading Enid Blyton books. She sensed some conspiracy, like how it was in her books. She wasn’t sure if her dad would have an answer to this. Also, she was scared her dad might not allow her to go near that shop.

One fine day, she came back from school, and found guys wearing masks and she saw those sparkles. Even though she loved to see those sparkles, she panicked that these guys were doing something to the house. She dint say anything, and silently went to her room. That day, Anita went to bed without dinner. She never made a mention about this to her parents.

Days passed by, it was time for her summer vacation. She went to her grandparents house in a different city. Anita, came back home just a couple of days, before school resumed. In the evening, she went for a walk with her dad, only to find her sparkle shop closed. She observed this for a week, and curiosity had reached a limit. She finally decided to ask her dad about this.

Anita: Dad, why is the sparkle shop closed?

Dad: Sparkle shop? What kind of shop is that?

Anita: The one in the road corner. It’s been closed since I have come back

Dad: Oh that… they have shifted the shop a couple of roads.

Anita thought now is the right moment to ask her dad what they did. So she mustered courage and asked her dad what they do. After all the explanation, Anita asked him, what is such a shop called. He then told her. It’s the WELDING shop

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I have met very few people who don’t like road side food. But otherwise, 95% of the people I know love it.

Some of them I can think of right now:

Churmuri: with loads of carrots, cucumber, and these days mango pieces, murmura (mandakki or kadlepuri). And now we have so many options with yellow moong (heserbele), tomato puri, nippat (I don’t know what else its called)

JoLaa: the corn which is either boiled or roased on the coal, with some lemon or spicy chutney and many different flavours

Pani puri thelas: The big round puris with aaloo and spicy paani (sweet too) and the final puri where they add chat masala, make it spicy and top it with some lemon.

Masala corn: This is the American corn, which is mixed with different providing different flavours, pepper lemon, chat masala, salt. (it seems American corn has more calories than Indian corn)

The everpresent Chat gaadi: Masala puri, bhel puri, dahi puri, samosa chat, paav bhaji, dabeli, kachori chat… basically spicy stuff which just gives life to the tongue.

Lemon soda: Earlier, we used to have Goli Sodas, in the green bottle, where we would have soda and the shopkeeper would add lemon and salt and give it to us. Now it’s changed, and we have different flavors again – Salt, sweet and salt, jaljeera, ginger and what not

Dosa Camps: How much ever dosas you eat at home, there is nothing to beat the benne masale dose (butter Masala dosa)

Bajjis and Pakodas: Mirchi (mensinkaayi) bajji, Banana(baalekaayi) Bajji, capsicum bajji, onion pakoda, aaloo bonda, ambode (I don’t know what the English counterpart for this is)

Tender coconut: Paper Ganji, where after you are done drinking the water, we can just scrape the thin coconut film. Just sweet coconut water.

Sugarcane juice: Before CaneOLa s came on to our roads, we had those manual machines where the guy would put in the sugarcanes into the crushing machine and rotate the lever manually. Well they old or new, it tastes wonderful

Bakery: Aallo buns, khara buns (spicy), veg puffs and sometimes the hot tea and just baked biscuits (different varieties)

Peanuts: Either boiled or roasted peanuts, which are neatly given in newspapers which are cone shaped

Fruits n Veggies: Cut watermelons, Jackfruit pieces, Cut Guavas with salt and red chilli powder, Cut cucumbers, cut mangoes

PS: Thanks mom for introducing me to most of this. And thanks to G, he also loves all this, so we can enjoy it together

Friday, April 16, 2010

God Sent!!!

Most of the houses, have a small pipe which protrudes from the terrace, so that all that water can be drained. Well, my granny’s house too had one such thing. April, was the time when all cousins would meet. I am the second eldest person in my cousin’s list. I had just one elder brother (A) to look up to for anything. And the amount of trust I had on him was un questionable.

On one such vacation day, it was raining heavily, and water was flowing continuously through that pipe.

This was the conversation we both had.

A: ಈ ನೀರು ಎಲ್ಲಿಂದ ಬರುತೆ ಗೊತ್ತಾ? [Do you know where this water comes from?]

Me: ಎಲ್ಲಿಂದ? [from where?]

A: ಅಷ್ತು ಗೊತಿಲ್ವೇನೇ. ಇದು ದೇವ್ರು ಕಳಿಸಿದ ನೀರು. [You don’t even know this much. This is God sent.]

Me: ಹೌದಾ? [Is it?]

A: ನೀರು ನಿಂತುಹೋಗೋ ಮುಂಚೆ ಕೂಡಿ. [Drink this water, before it stops.]

I was too innocent to realize I was being fooled. And I sincerely, took that water like prasad and drank a handful. Till date, he teases me about this incident, and we have a hearty laugh.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nangu Beda.. Nimgu Beda!!

I was a kid when I heard this for the first time. Mom was saying this to some shopkeeper. “ನಂಗೂ ಬೇಡ ನಿಂಗೂ ಬೇಡ Rs.45 ಮಾಡ್‌ಕೊಳ್ಲಿ. (not for me, not for u, lets make it 45) And this was when mom quoted 40 and the shopkeeper quoted 50. It used to be fun going shopping with mom, esp to see her bargaining. As years went by, this just rubbed on to me. Ofcourse, I am yet to master this, and a couple of years in US has surely reduced it. But yes, I cannot just leave it.

Some of the conversations which mom has had.

Location: Saree shop, Malleshwaram

Mom : ನಾವು ಮಕ್ಕಳಿದಾಗ್ಲಿಂದು ನಿಮ್ಮ ಅಂಗಡಿಗೆ ಬರ್‍ತಾದ್ದಿದ್ದು. (we have come to your shop from the time we were children)

SK (shopkeeper) : ಅದು ಸರಿ Madam. ಆದರೆ ಕಡಿಮೆ ಆಗೋಲ್ಲ. (that’s right madam but not its not possible)

Mom: ಏನ್ರೀ ನಿಮ್ಮ ತಂದೆ ಇದ್ದಿದ್ರೆ ಕಡಿಮೆ ಮಾಡ್ಕೋಟಿದ್ರು (if your father was here, he would have surely done it)

SK: ಅವರು ಮಾಡ್ಕೋಟಿದ್ರು Madam. ಆದ್ರೆ ಈಗ ಆಗೋಲ್ಲ. (He would have done it Madam, but now its not possible)

Finally, after 5-10 mins of bargaining, she would actually get the stuff for the price she wanted.

My granny is no less.

Everytime she goes to a saree shop, she says this – ಏನಪ್ಪಾ , ಇಷ್ಟೊಂದು ಸೀರೆ ತೊಗೊಂಡಿದ್ದೀವಿ, ಒಂದು ಬ್ಲೌಸ್ ಪೀಸ್ ಫ್ರೀಯಾಗಿ ಕೊಡಬಾರದ (we have taken so many sarees, can’t you give a blouse piece free)

Or sometimes she says - ವಯ್ಯಸದ ಅಜ್ಜಿ ಬಂದಿದ್ದೀನಿ, ಇಷ್ಟು ಬೆಲೆ ಹೆಳೊದ (old granny is here, you are quoting so much)

It was always fun to go either of them. Best part about it was they would never be rude to the shopkeepers, my granny would even know how many kids that man had by the time she came out of the shop.

And next time either of them visited, they would be welcomed and many a times offered some cool drinks too. Ofcourse as a kid, these were my perks for going along.

Best till date is when mom and bro came to visit me when I was in Hyderabad.

We were in Charminar, it was my wedding time, so mom wanted to do some shopping.

We went to a shop where they sell, beautiful laces, some shiny threads etc. After, selecting mom started her bargaining.

Mom: क्या भय्या इतना बोल रहे हो, तोड़ा कम कीजिए ना (You are asking for this price, reduce this)

SK : नही मेडम जी इससे कम नही होगा. (no madam, cant reduce further)

Mom: अर्रे भय्या मैं Bangalore से आई हून, अगली बार घर में शादी होगी तो आपके दुकान में ही आना है ना? (I have come all the way from Bangalore, next time when there is a wedding, we will come to your shop only right)

SK :ज़रूर आईएगा आपही की दुकान है. लेकिन आप Bangalore से Hyderabad क्यों आओगे (ofcourse, please come. But why will you come from Bangalore to Hyderabad

Mom: मैं तो यहीं पे पैदा हुई थी ( I was born here!!)

Bro and Me: (stunned looks with the expression – what?)

After we came out of the shop, we told mom – all these years we thought you were born in Bangalore:)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Life !!

Its Gen-X era now.

We seem to have broken ourselves from a lot of superstitions. But there are some which we are still holding on to.

Incident which happened recently:

A family is searching for a suitable groom. An alliance comes through some matrimonial agencies. The mother of the groom calls the girl’s parents. Both the moms speak to each other on phone. The prospective groom’s father is no more. After the basic horoscope matching, the guy and his family decide to come home, except his mom. The reason why his mom wouldn’t come is coz she is a widow and since it’s an auspicious occasion, she wouldn’t go and visit the girl, the first time.

Why are we still having such beliefs that a widow would be a bad omen?

Isn’t she the guy’s mom, without her, he wouldn’t even be existing, how can he consider her inauspicious?

Why dint the girls’ parents insist that it’s ok, and that she could come over too?

I know if I ask these questions to MIL or even mom, they are gonna say, You’ve become modern? I am pretty sure, they wouldnt know the reasons either

An old lady, if her husband is alive, is given utmost importance in any ritual as she is Sumangalee (Suhagan in hindi – not a widow). But if another lady of the same age or even elder is a widow, is considered inauspicious.

So a lady’s worth is decided by the existence of her husband?

What kind of a society is this? I am not being feminist here. But, I have a question.

In case the guy’s father was a widower. Would he also get the same treatment? Would he also be barred from certain rituals or gatherings? If they do so, I am not aware of. If it’s done, it is definitely wrong.

Most of this is done by the women themselves.

And to think of Sati system was eradicated, to give the women life after husband’s death, What a Life!!!