On Bestu Varas

23 10 2006

Hope you all had a nice and colourful and cheerful Diwali with your loved ones. I wish you all a healthy, wealthy and fun-filled new year!

I’m just back from a laid back trip to a waterfall place. The highlight of the trip being, three blissful hours of doing nothing, sitting under a playful and refreshing little waterfall and being happy. No spa, no massage, nothing else can compare with the way a dip in a rocky stream soothes.

 Stretching exercises Waterfalls Waterfalls

Lush green forests, elephants, abundant waterfalls and nice people. If not for Diwali, I couldn’t have asked for more. As much fun as that was, I had my moments when I missed the Diwali festivities. As a consolation to me, some four houses had lit diyas at night in the 120 km stretch. When we landed back in Bangalore today morning, I was quite happy to see both the sides of the roads filled with left overs from fire-crackers. Considering I am not even much of a cracker person myself. Phooljhadis and chakkars is as far as I can go. I was happy to see a a lot of parapet walls still holding lines of diyas sleeping tight after a tough night of illuminating. And, today is bestu varas, the beginning of new year. I’m squeezing all the five-day festivities into today. A saree has been donned, smiles are being given freely, saal mubarak wishes are being smsed, sweets are being gobbled, diyas and phooljhadis shall be lit. 🙂

Totally unrelated, last month I was on a reading spree. I read a lot of books, of varying languages and quality. There is this one book I want to write about. Since I am too lazy to make it into a separate post, I’m squeezing it in this Diwali post. The book is Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry. I am a total fan of Rohinton Mistry, but I think I loved this book the most, probably. There are a whole lot of interesting and well developed characters in the book. There is this person called Yezad in this book. When he is introduced, Yezad is in his late thirties or early fourties. He is a Parsi and has been portrayed to be a non-believer. He doesn’t believe in the typical religious stuff like going to the fire-temple regularly, etc. He laughs at people who do so. And then slowly his life changes and he finds himself gripped in troubles. And somehow to find solace, he catches hold of “religion”. To some extent in spite of his troubles, he does find some peace. Years pass, and his worldly troubles are relieved. But by this time, he has become dependent on his religious activities for support, even when his life has looked up. He somewhere succumbs and gets addicted to the same frivolous activities, that he once loathed. For example, he is extremely upset that his son, has a non-Parsi girlfriend.

I think the journey of Yezad has been beautifully captured by Rohinton Mistry. I can now personally understand the older generation’s obsession with the so called “religious activities”, better. It would’ve probably started as a very personal and enlightening experience. And then the essence of spiritualism would’ve got lost somewhere and mostly all that we see now is a big list of dos and don’ts. That’s all.

Never mind if none of that made sense, just go read that book. And that’s a lot of chatter for bestu varas. Have a good year ahead, everyone. Dont worry, be happy.

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Starved of donuts

14 09 2006

We’ve borrowed/copied/learnt so bloody much from Amberica. (Thats what a neighbour aunty calls America. She’s an ardent worshipper of Goddess Amba :)). Accents, movies, two-day weekends, cuss words, tv shows, jennifer aniston hairstyles .. so much. Then why God why can’t a single baker in Bangalore learn to make a decent doughnut from the US or wherever else they make the best doughnuts? Or donut is it? Whatever. I had one today and that had …. hold your breath …. *choke* JEERA…. in the doughnut!! #$@!!@#.

 Donuts

DROOOOOLLLL!! Someone get me a napkin NOW.





An idyllic weekend at Coorg

10 07 2006

Got a chance to stay at the Orange County resort at Coorg this weekend. This sleepy 120 acre resort is probably one of the best places around, to enjoy a tranquil holiday amidst nature. The rooms are exorbitantly priced, but if you have the money it is totally worthwhile for the experience that the place ensures.

We stayed at Kodagu styled cottages, which looked like old Kerala houses to me. The cottages are very tastefully done, giving ample privacy and sunlight. There was a very warm and cosy feeling at the cottage that I really liked. They have taken quite a bit of effort to make the place unintrusive, eco-friendly. You find an occasional noise-free, pollution-free battery operated buggy carrying luggage or people around the huge campus.

Lazing at a hammock.

The cottage opened into a private pool! Apart from the common swimming pool, some of the cottages had a private swimming pool.

The water in the private pool looked even more inviting at night, with the lamps on.

On the banks of overflowing Cauvery river, nearby.

A certain somebody was missed. Blame the weather. Blame the rain. Blame the cosy cottage.





House hunting

7 06 2006

I have a budget of Rs. X for the monthly rent of a house. I am mentally prepared for 5% more than X, if the house is extra nice.

In one of those crazy house hunting trips, after a series of crappy, crammed houses that fit nicely into your budget, the broker shows you a bright and happy looking white house. With spacious rooms, three balconies, an airy kitchen with a cute little window and one of the bedrooms has a french window that opens into a king sized balcony. I am imagining the colour of the curtains and hubby is talking of romantic corners. The rent is almost double my budget and the worst part is we are considering it! Although for that amount, the house is a steal.

Will we let go of our hard earned money for the beautiful moments that the house promises? Or will we be practical and save that money instead?

Hmm.. I hope someone doesnt grab that house before we make up our minds.





Cotton saree shopping at Chickpet

21 05 2006

Chickpet – the saree shopping paradise in Bangalore. Yes, I discovered it finally. After two years of living in this city, it is a little late, but I'm glad I finally did. This long narrow lane called Chickpet is in the heart of the old Bangalore city, with hundreds of small shops on both sides. All the shops claim to be genuine silk dealers and the two words Kanchipuram and silk society occur in almost every other shop's name. For a first timer there like me, it can be a little overwhelming and confusing to decide where to go for saree shopping. If you really need a comparison, picture Chandni Chowk in Delhi or Teen Darwaza in Ahmedabad. Personally, I love shopping in old city markets and I don't really mind the crowd as long as I can breathe and there is enough good stuff to look at.

Coming back to Chickpet, I can safely say that the sarees here are definitely cheaper than the shops on M G Road, but you have to be careful as a lot of sarees sold as silk sarees are not genuine silk. I went there looking for some soft cotton sarees and I bought four of them. I would highly recommend this shop called Ashok Silk House in Chickpet. They have been in this business for more than 40 years and have maintained a low profile shop. The guys there are really patient and gladly show you their entire collection without forcing you to choose. They have a mindblowing collection of both cotton and authentic pure silk sarees. The sarees are modestly priced and it is a fixed priced shop, so you dont have to worry about wasting time in bargaining. Oh and they also accept cards. (Some of the shops in Chickpet, dont). Their address is #200, 1st floor, Chickpet and they are open on Monday-Saturday from 10.30 am to 7.30 pm. Unfortunately, Sunday is a holiday. You can contact Mr. Bharat on 9886408362 or (080) 22873926 for directions.

These cotton sarees were priced at around Rs. 350.

And these have light embroidery on them. Priced at Rs. 550 only!

Happy shopping. 🙂





Wanted

18 05 2006

A 1BHK house in Bangalore.

  • In and around Domlur, Airport road. Not more than 4-5 kms away from say, TGIF.
  • In peaceful residential locality and with easy access to grocery shops.
  • First floor and a decent verandah preferred.
  • Should not fall under the mosquito municipality.

And ofcourse the lesser the rent the better.





Family weekend

16 05 2006

My family was visiting last weekend. We were running short of ideas to keep everybody interested and busy. It is tricky, to keep a bunch of people including restless 10-12 year olds and senior citizens, entertained and happy at the same time. Bangalore, unlike aamchi Mumbai does not have too many options for family outings. Thankfully, Sam and the kids had pretty much chalked out the plan. All in all, it turned out better than I thought. Everyone liked …

The flops were trips to Forum and Big Bazaar. The idea was to give a taste of the mall culture, but on a Saturday it is just total madness at Forum. Even worse at Big Bazaar. We ended up spending a lot of both money and time waiting in really long queues to pay for the unnecessary stuff we bought. More than anything else, you end up feeling like a tiny worm when you go at these malls. The ladies wanted to go to Chickpet to buy some good quality cotton sarees, but none of us had been there and we were short of time so saree shopping was ditched.

Oh and apart from a rocking weekend with great company, I got a cute tshirt as a surprise gift! 🙂