Friday, June 26, 2009

Goodbye MJ....

In the 1980s we stared at our black and white TV late at night and saw a thin black man win 6 or 7 Grammy Awards. At one point he said "...and this is for the girls at the back..", and removed his dark glasses and there was an ear splitting scream from the audience! He wore a lot of makeup and his eyes were big and expressive...we were duely impressed. We did not understand a word of what he sang but his attitude and dance steps and racey beats of his songs moved us. Then, a few years later with the coming of the coloured TV and VCR we watched his moves again and again. We knew the thriller video story by heart. MJ's stature grew before our eyes as did his fortunes- his ranch, his personal zoo, showcased in the video of one of his songs etc. Then came the controversies and the rapid decline in fortunes and creative output. It is painful to see an ikon being reduced to an object of pity and ridicule. Why is it that some people cannot handle success and fame? What goes on in their minds? Why do they destroy themselves in this manner. I guess we will never know!All I can say is rest in peace MJ where ever you may be, the world will always remember your amazing moves and soul stirring music.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Alone Again...

Well, Ma and baba went back home last week, it is back to the grind with 2 kids going to school and a disorderly house for me. It was wonderful to have them stay with us for these 1 and a half month or so. Ma and specially baba had to make a lot of adjustments for the sake of their grandchildren. Our Calcutta home is large and this place small with all of us hanging about all the time! The children too made concessions for Dadan and Didan, not venturing near the bathroom when Dadan is taking his bath, opening Dadan's shoes for him, pouring him a glass of water, helping Didan to carry stuffetc.
As for me, I had never in my wildest dreams imagined that i would be able to cook a meal that my parents can relish. I had rarely ventured into the kitchen before my marriage and had never cooked a meal. I used to make scrambled eggs for breakfast and the occassional cake and nothing more.Now, when baba says "bhalo hoyechhe" (the dish is good) to any of my preparations, I feel a strange elation, when ma says "tor hater ranna ta bhalo" (you cook well), it feels really great. In the afternoons when all the rooms in my house are occupied by my kids and parents, sleeping contently after lunch I experience a feeling of fulfilment...I must be completely domesticated, but that is how it is! I was very happy to give my ma some free time when she could read books or watch TV without having to worry about serving dinner or lunch! However the mite got into the habit of plucking her specs from her nose and throwing it aside so that she left the book she was reading and played with him!
Now that they are not here I have to answer innumerable questions like- "Dadan ki baire boshe achhe?" (is dadan sitting outside in the balcony), I have to explain that dadan is sitting in his own balcony in Calcutta. "dadan didan bangalore e kobe aashbe?" (when will dadan didan come to Bangalore) etc etc.
Miss you Ma Baba.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Raining Rainbows in Mysore!

Went off on a 2day trip to Mysore with Ma and Baba and the kids, thereafter got so involved with my virtual farm at the Farm Town in Facebook that this space got a little neglected! Then comes the gentle prodding of who else but my trusted friend 2b'smommy and I get out of my lethargic stupor to recount the adventures of the weekend. Well, we set off in the morning, on Sunday, in a taxi which we had booked for two days. It takes 3hours to get to Mysore. The bookings had been done by the Mr at the Mayura Yatri Niwas which is a Karnataka govt establishment.There is something unique about the countryside in the South- it is highly urbanised. Ma observed that the moment one gets out of Calcutta one finds nothing but rice fields stretching far into the horizon, not so here. There are fields, but the highway is dotted with shops and hotels and Cafe Coffee Day and McDonald's outlets every 30 kms!The moment one gets out of Bangalore on the Bangalore-Mysore road, one hits upon the town of Ramanagaram which is the place where the film Sholay was shot. This place is rocky and rugged and one can easily visualise Gabbar walking amongst the hills!This place is a rock climbers' paradise and is scarcely 50km from Bangalore city. Right after that comes the town of Chennapatna famous for its wooden toys, there are several 'Toy Emporiums' on the highway itself. Thereafter we come upon Mandya a sugarcane hub and finally Srirangapatna and Mysore.
Mysore is a very laid back city, even the cars seem to loll on its streets and the people's movements are slow and leisurely! We breezed straight into our hotel and had a quick lunch and a short rest before setting off to explore. First stop- St Philomena's church, which is my favourite- it has the highest steeples in Asia! Then we went to the palace, only to find that the whole of South India had converged upon its ticket counter! We had chosen to come to Mysore on a Sunday because the palace is lighted up in the weekend and presents a lovely sight, however Sunday is not a good day for going inside the palace. We beat a hasty retreat and set off for the Vrindavan Gardens which is 19km away. These gardens are built along a dam on the river Cauvery and presents a beautiful landscape. It also has a light show in the evenings at its fountains. We stayed for some time and had tea/coffee before it started to rain. It was raining off and on that evening. we had seen a beautiful rainbow just outside the palace. There were many enterprising chaps selling umbrellas and plastic caps at the gardens. Our driver Ramesh lent us his umbrella and I bought another one from the garden, however it became clear that we will not be able to wait for the lighting of the fountains. The kids played around the fountains for sometime before we headed back for Mysore. We saw 2 more rainbows, one at the gardens and another on our way back. By the time we reached Mysore it was dark and the Mysore Palace was all lit up and sparkling. There was no more rain then, thank God, otherwise the lights would have been switched off. The driver, Ramesh said that even he was seeing these lights for the first time, although he had brought tourists here several times, he generally goes to vrindavan gardens at about that time and thus had missed this sight. We stopped the car and took in the sight of the grand palace shining like gold.
The next morning we were at the Chamundi hills by 9:30 am. There was no entry fee on that day, this is another place that should be avoided on Sundays because of the milling crowds and the entry fees. We visited the goddess in peace and quiet and felt really good. I had come here with my parents in law on a Sunday and we could not enter the temple because of the long queue! On the way down we got a bird's eye view of Mysore city and a good close view of the huge Nandi statue on the hill, I had missed this on our last visit as well! When we reached the palace after that we found it to be nearly deserted compared to the commotion that we had witnessed on the previous day. Baba, the mite and I sat outside while Ma and the Brat Girl took the tour of the inside of the palace. You have to remove your shoes while entering the palace building and Baba cannot walk without his shoes.
We checked out of our hotel, next and after having a hearty meal at Kamat Restaurant we set off for Srirangapatna. We went to the Sangam first after a brief round of Tipu's fort. Baba rested on a chair at a river side shack while we went to dip our feet in the water. When we reached back Baba had calmly dozed off in the river breeze! Ma wanted to know the names of the two rivers that met the cauvery in the sangam. Ramesh asked one of the shopkeepers selling knick knacks at the river side, "gotilla" (don't know") comes the answer! Here is a man busy earning his living, of what use to him is such knowledge!?! We got the answer from the toll guys at the govt toll collection shack!
Then to Tipu's tomb, an extremely peaceful place, Ma and Baba spent some time sitting under a tree there. The mite refused to get out of the car and baba asked me to go and sit next to the chap! The last stop was Dariya Daulat Bagh, Tipu's palace...which looks like a hovel when compared to the Mysore palace of the Wodeyars but houses some exquisite wall frecos and some remarkable line drawings by a British gentleman called Thomas Hickey! No photos are allowed inside both the Mysore Palace and the Dariya Daulat Bagh. After this survey of Srirangapatna we set off back home through Mandya, then Chennapatna, where we stopped for tea/coffee at Cafe Coffee day and finally Ramanagaram till we reached good ol' Bangalore happy to have spent a wonderful two days at a place so full of history and natural beauty. Pictures turning in now folks!! I dedicate this post to my friend 2b's mommy. I will read all the others' posts tomorrow...yaawwwnnn... goodnight!