Kingfisher Indiblogger Meet @ Kyra, Bangalore

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Indibloggers must be aware that Indiblogger team had organised a bloggers meet on Sunday 21st Feb at Kyra Theatre Restaurant  Bangalore. I remember last year when I had first registered with the Indiblogger I had seen that I just missed the blogger meet @ Bangalore and was disappointed. So I ensured that I attend this one.

The plan was to reach the venue at least 10 min early but in my life hardly things go according to the plan ever. Some last minute work created a delay of about 20 mins so when I rushed into the hall the sessions had already began and I had to sit at the last seats quite far away from hub of activity. By the time I had settled down the “30 seconds of fame” session had already begun it was a sort of ice-breaker session where everyone introduced themselves and their blogs etc. One of the advantages of  being the back bencher was that I was among the first to get the BEER so as people were having there moment of fame I was sipping my BEER. Let me tell you that I am severely mike challenged, that is till date whenever I was handed over the mike it ended in disaster. So I was really working in my mind how to handle my ‘mike moments’ in front of such elite audience. God probably was with me as the mike moved away toward the front from row ahead of me and Gosh I was relieved but with Indiblogger coordinators around no-one was spared not even people without blogs. Yes there were a couple of them I hope this meet inspires them enough to start blogging. So the mike came to me eventually and I stood and spoke a few impromptu words without any hesitation or goof-ups(see nothing goes according to the plan I said earlier), Thanks to Kingfisher. The BEER had cooled my nerves I guess.

Next we were given chart papers and crayons with instructions that we hang the chart papers at our backs and move around the hall to meet up with fellow bloggers and collect comments on the chart paper, person with highest comment would recieve a  prize. Let me tell you a well known secret that I am very bad at networking so first 10 mins I didn’t move an inch from my place and was sure I would not get a single comment. But you know how kind bloggers are. People came along and voluntarily started interacting and writing comments just like they do on blogs.Thats when I spotted Laxmi Rajan of  ‘gingerchai‘ and as he came towards me with a huge smile and said that he had come this side of the room just to meet me I was so elated. Thank you so much Lakshmi. Then I met Harsha who calls his blog ‘Voices in my head‘ he is a fellow blogatonic and I think most of you know him. Then came Mohan who has voted most of my posts in indivine.

My Comment Sheet

Next up were discussions on How to become a better blogger, live blogging & tweeting(some people did that with this meet as well), plagiarism, then a very important debate which was about monetization of blogs or blogging is just a passion and it was good to know that there was a final consensus that Bloggers blog out of passion and if it brings in some moolah then thats a bonus along with your creative satisfaction. Another inspiring thing was to see age range of bloggers there were teenage bloggers to someone who has retired from day job but still hasn’t stopped growing in life and blogs actively.

Amazing! Finally the meet ended at 6 PM and I left for my home after the good byes. All in all a hot Sunday afternoon was spent in a very productive way as I was enriched by discussions, interaction with bloggers.

Now those of you who have seen the ‘real’ me can you spot me in this picture from Mohan’s site. Just Try!

Ok enlarge the picture do you three guys standing right at the back and just in front them a guy is seated in black T-shirt sort of craning his neck…yeah thats me :D! I know you can barely see me(that is ‘IF’ you have spotted me), so don’t strain your eyes too much you have my Avatar anyway.

PS: As I had mentioned in my previous post anybody willing to write guest posts please email me at [dmanji AT gmail DOT com].

Goodbyes,Welcomes, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Diverse Bangalore

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If you are perplexed about the strange title  and trying to figure out the connections then don’t do it. Read the post till the end and then throw shoes, tomatoes, rotten eggs and whatever you feel like on me. The story goes like this.

This Saturday I had to drop my sister to airport for an early morning flight also one my Old friends from my school who was in town was to leave at almost same time so it was a double see off for me. The flights were scheduled at 8.25 & 9.15 respectively. But as you know the Bangalore International Airport is so far that one has to start very early and we had to start at 5.45 Am. Just guess on a Saturday it felt like midnight when my mom & sister kicked me out of bed at 5.30 AM (I was supposed to be up by ahem …4.30 AM  so absurd). So somehow half sleep half awake we reached airport and the cab guy actually made it really fast and we reached by 6.45 well ahead of time but I asked my sister to go in and I waited outside for my friend.

He came almost then and cursed me for giving wrong info about the commute time and he reached more than 2 hrs before time. But I reasoned the lack of traffic in early morning and faster cabs was the reason for miscalculation.
So we caught up on the old times and remembered all misdeeds of those good old days and were laughing our a*** off catching strange looks from onlookers cause we were near departure gates and generally people are serious and anxious for their departures. Actually we have been like this since school days though we are now ‘responsible men’ but we become we when we are together.  So after reliving those crazy times my friend left off.

I  still had to wait because I had strict instructions from my mom to stay till my sister’s plane takes off. You know how moms are she is perfectly aware of the procedures at airport, that a visitor has got nothing to do once the passenger gets past the main entrance gate but  I am mama’s good boy you see.

So with nothing to do but wait I started observing the people around and as usual there were so many travelers and people who have come to see them off. Actually the scenes at an airport/ railway station / bus station amuses me a lot. Always you’ll see people saying goodbyes to their loved ones many times trying to stop their tears. You get to see plethora of human emotions which is somewhat similar always. Like there was one married girl who was traveling alone I guess maybe first time and her mom was busy clicking here parting shots on mobile with requests to smile back not understanding that poor girl had to push the huge luggage trolley and also show her ticket, id card to the security officer. But I guess all moms are alike and probably she’ll not see her child a long time so the frantic photo session. Then there was a group of IT professionals who were leaving abroad probably. How did I guess? You see a crow identifies a crow easier. I mean I have been in this industry for so many years I know better. One guy’s dad was shouting last minute instructions to his dikhra about travel docs,passports and the theplas packed or one sister was hugging tight her little sister and asking sternly not to cry who was trying real hard to stop the tears. Emotions, emotions and emotions.

On the other side at the arrival gates there was welcome hugs, feet touching and smiles. Emotions of another type. There were others who were searching their name placards maybe landing in city first time. The scene in a railway station is mostly same only difference is that you are with the traveler till the train is actually moving and people can hold hands right till the end.

The airports, railway stations excite me a lot for I love traveling and I feel like getting into one of trains or planes and leave. While I was watching the biggest show on earth called ‘life’ unfolding and me framing a ‘winner post’ for the blog (Don’t laugh like Shilpa once said we bloggers always think posts) I saw a familiar looking young Gora(White),thin but very handsome  guy getting in and I was trying to figure out how do I know him as he was just few feet away from me on the other side of barricade. Just then I heard an exicted girl telling her boyfriend “look its Neil Nitin Mukesh” then Jhonny Gaddar flashed through my mind and was about to jump the barricade but by then he had reached the security and was gone and I was left trying to figure really I was so close to one of the hottest rising star of Bollywood yet couldn’t recognize him in time.  I quickly messaged my sister about the fact that I may have seen NNM to which she replied it was NNM cause he was in city last Friday and probably returning and chidded me for being such a dumb not to get an autograph at least. But Guys nobody actually noticed him because he looked so different from his onscreen look. Anyway my sister informed that she has boarded, seated and flight is about to leave and I updated my mom and walked towards the BIAL volvo buses. One of the Bus that goes nearest to my house was just starting to leave so quickly got into it for home.

So Goodbyes, Welcomes and Neil Nitin Mukesh all connected in a single post but wait what about diverse Bangalore. Well its like this while I was on the Bus which had a few foriegn travellers as well, stopped at a signal on the NH-7 there was a shining BMW, a road roller, a state of art BMTC Volvo A/C bus(our bus), a two wheeler with two sheep, two men and a tractor with grass stack all jostling for the same road space well thats Bangalore for you when you enter this city like my friends say a “Global Village”.

Mungaru Male in Bangalore

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No I am not breaking any news before you start making any conclusions, I am telling that I am not talking about re-release of the Kannada Blockbuster “Mungare Male” in Bangalore. A film about immortal love in the First Rains.

rain

I am talking of “Mungaru Male” which means the First Rain. First Rain brings much needed respite from the blistering heat by the cool and refreshing showers.  Doesn’t First Rain remind us of our childhood days when we used make paper boats and play with them in puddle of water formed across the street or get scolded by mom for dirtying our school dress, shoes by jumping into to muddy pot holes while returning from school.

tasting-rain1

Then in teenage First Rain sets your heart pounding with love, You want to walk in the rain hand in hand with that ‘special someone’ not worrying about the  world or stealing your ‘first kiss’ in rain. Then sitting in wayside “chayer dokan”(tea stall) and sipping hot tea and hot singara(samosa). Yes First Rain evokes the romantic person in you and you feel a sense of freedom to run around without caring a damn about anything.

But First Rains in Bangalore means beginning of a nightmare. I remember 3 years back when I first moved to this city and in the first rain wanted get wet my local friends stopped me vehemently saying that “Bera appa, Jwara gira agothe yen martia”(NO man if you fall sick then what will happen) very true theres a high possibility of that.

BangaloreRainRain in Bangalore means a road which look like “dried river bed”(a term coined by Times of India to describe the hapless condition of roads) turn into a river which is a driver’s or rider’s nightmare. To add to it all the ‘development’ work start with the first drops of rain as if the authorities here wake-up to the “need” of the hour. Like currently drainage work is going -on in front my house and they have created a huge moat right in front of main gate with just a narrow stone slab(like a draw-bridge in yesteryear castles) to cross-over and reach the road. yesterday nights rain has filled-up the moats and I am just
thinking to release some crocodiles into the moat so that at night when we remove the draw-bridge(stone-slab) no-one(burglars) can think of “conquering” our castle(home). Talking of drains well they are most frightening ones as one of the “Killer drains” snatched away a little boy from his mothers hands last week and the military still is unable trace the boys body. And our civic authority chief when asked about the incident blamed the mother for being careless with her son, Now tell which mother will allow her only child to walk into danger “carelessly”.

rikpluieThe rains in Bangalore happen mostly in evening peak hour(6 to 9 PM) when you are to return home from work but the torrents and uprooted trees throw the traffic completely out of gear making your return to home a real painstaking affair.

Finally the first drop of rain means a instant power-cut and you are sitting in a candle-lit room with incessant rain outside, in this condition all the romantic ideas go out of the window.

I am wondering is it the situation thats making me crictical of the “Mungaru Male” in Bangalore or do I need check my ‘talkai’/’mundu’ I mean ‘head’ in English for Grey hairs to bring back the romanticism of the First Rain.

PS : The title has been borrowed from a friends Orkut status message.
PPS : Technically this years “Mungaru Male” in Bangalore happened a few weeks back but yesterday’s rain inspired this post. As they say “Better late than never”.

Image courtsey :
http://theimpulsiveram.blogspot.com/
http://verbivorehere.wordpress.com/2009/05/06/summer-rain/
http://digitalinindia.com/
http://treasurethoughts.blogspot.com/

The lovely summer morning…

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summer_morningToday I woke up pretty early at around 6 Am(way too early). It was a quiet morning and after a hot night yes Bangalore’s hot nowadays it was really refreshing. Sun had risen but it was mild so it was quite cool and I went out to my Balcony with chilly morning breeze greeting me. I saw the children from the neighbourhood cricket summer camp playing to become tomorrow’s Sachin, Sourav, Dravid. The sounds of the boys with a background score provided by cuckoos, Indian mynas(strangely I don’t see crows and sparrows the most common birds of India in Bangalore) delighted me. Seeing those little boys I lost into my own childhood when summer vacation was a real fun and in the early morning my mom used to wake me up(to my utter dismay come-on it was SUMMER VACATION) and send me to play with the neighbourhood kids. We used play under the gul-mohar, jamun and other trees. We boys used to climb the trees and tease girls from the branches above(though some tough girls used to follow us but it was gr8 fun). By 8 AM it used be very hot and sunny in Hyderabad so we rushed indoor after some frantic calling and kaan moola(ear pulling) by our moms. Once inside my mother used give me and my sister crayons and water colors to draw and my favorite was ahem “Bajar”(market) with mostly fishsellers with huge bonti(A Long blade, You can refer Jhumpa Lahiri’s Mrs. Sen’s story from her book “Interpreter of Maladies” for more apt description), though occasionally I used to draw hills, mountains, rivers, villages I mean “scenery”.

trees

Then the summer morning in Kolkata during my teens was spent well again waking up early and going to swimming club in “Dhakuria Lake” and after swimming lessons used to have breakfast of Ghungni(a special Bengali Peas curry), pau ruti (bread) and cha(tea) there in club, then spending the time under the trees around the lake with nirbhejal adda(chatting and discussing girls, politics actually everything under the sun)  till noon when we had to run home for lunch.

In college the swimming club was replaced by the Gym and after the work-outs we used have boiled eggs, bread and milk for breakfast. With time the relevance or the utility of Summer morning was gone as that is the only time when I get some sound sleep in cool atmosphere so that I can recharge myself for the “hectic” day ahead but on days like today when accidents happen I go back to the “Happy days” of life and a feeling for the necessity of the ‘Summer Vacation’ arises.
 
Image credits :
http://www.hudsonvalleypainter.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/070802-end-michigan-rd-500.jpg
http://www.pbase.com/royalld/image/82497587

The Sunday morning fishy affair

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Statutory Warning : This post is purely for the Non-vegetarians, so vegans, PFA, PETA, Green Peace and all other animal right’s supporters please excuse, I respect your views and if this article hurts your feelings I don’t mean to do it. 

 gariahatmarket

One of the true Bong(Bengali- as the people from West Bengal a state in the eastern part of India are called) identity is bajar kora(going to market for vegetables and fish). This is a daily morning affair for a Bong in Bongo(West Bengal), its generally done by the male member of the family who goes to the nearby bajar (market) with tholi(bag) for daily supply of vegetables and fish. I think every male bongo sontan(son of bengal) has been to bajar at least once in his lifetime. The traditional bajar kora(marketing) has got two major parts one being vegetables and essential other one being the fish and another optional third part being khoborer kagoj(News paper), misti (sweets), ful(flowers) etc. We cherish this bajar kora lots of funny stories are associated with it like one man is going to bajar with tholi another asks “ki dada, kothay cholen ? bajarey naki?” (what sir, where are you going to ? market?) and the answer might be “na football khelte”(no going to play football). Now I said fish being essential because its world famous that bongs are very mecho (fishy literally, i mean fish lovers). A meal for bong without ek tukro maach(a morsel of fish) is not a meal at all.

The moment you enter the market you’ll come across a lot of din with the maachwalas/maachwollis(fish seller male/female) shouting at top of their voices announcing their varieties and prices. The typical conversation in mach bajar(fish market) is “kire shyamal aaj chingri koto kore ?”(“hey shyamal(the fish seller) what’s the price of prawn[chingri] today”) though you may have heard the price from the shouting Shaymal but you want know your special price. Answer generally is the same price. you say “koto kore dibi bol”(“In what price you’ll give me”), Shyamal may say “arey Sona da asun apni nin na…ei 1 kg tol to”(“Oh sona da[thats ur name followed by respectful “da”] come take” then shyamal instructs to his assistant give 1 kg”), then Sona da(you) jumps and will say “ore dara agey koto kore dibi bol tarpor aar ek kg ki korbo gusti shudhu ke khawabo naki”(“hey wait first tell the price and what will I do with 1 kg shall I feed my forefathers from 14 generations”). In this way bargain goes on and finally the price, quantity etc is agreed and the transaction is done. You return home satisfied with the deal u got and happy that one more day your family can have their favorite item on their paat(meal). On they way back you meet your acquaintances and the conversations can be “sona da bajar korlen naki ? ki maach nilen ? koto kore porlo ?”(sona da coming from market ? what fish you bought? what was the price you paid?” ). You answer everything except you don’t disclose the real price if the person is not any one close as you have got an exclusive deal which obvisiouly can’t be made public. BTW Shymal above can be replaced by Nantu, Pintu, Pocha etc Sona da can be Amiyo da, Bachhu da, Bapi da or Chingri can be one of the innumerable fishes in that fish infested state 😉 

Now if you have read thus far and thinking bong’s bajar kora is fine but where’s the “Sunday morning fishy affair”, well friends have patience every story has a bhumika(back drop) thats what I was doing till now.

photo_hal

 So being a true bong it was my daily ritual when I was in bongo(West Bengal) to do bajar a tradition passed down the generations to me. But now that I am a bong not residing in Bongo and as they say you can take a Bong of Bengal but cannot take fish out of a bong, I have found out a bajar(market) rather a macher bajar(fish market) in Bangalore. Though in this silicon valley of India you have fish stall and vegetable sellers selling vegetables on hand cart right at your door step nothing can compare a bajar and bajar kora. But the hectic schedule and distance has made the daily affair to a weekly affair or rather a weekend affair mostly on Sundays. 

If you visit the macher bajar on Sunday here you get to see the neo rich bongs in full colors there get ek tukro maach(a morsel of fish) to their paat(meal). What is predominantly a male affair in bongo here we see it as full family outing with husband, wife, in-laws, kids, siblings who come packed in Santros, Altos, Maruti 800s i mean at times you feel they are in for a picnic. Bongs being garrulous you can imagine the decibel levels in the market. You need to go early otherwise you’ll see stylized bong women in all shapes and sizes dressed in sleevless and skirts or tight jeans/T-shirts blocking your way and almost screaming “Shiekh[fish seller] ek achha sa bora sa Katla nikalo, dim nahi hona”(Shiekh bring out one big and nice katla[a fish variety] should not have eggs) while their men watch timidly from a distance who are only called at the time of payment. Hats off to these liberated, independent women who share everything equally with the men. Also if you look at the quantity of fish they procure… ahem it can feed several dozens for a gala dinner. So after these self proclaimed Divas let you some space you tell “Sheikh ek der kilo ka Rohu ya katla do”(Shiekh give one 1.5 kg size Rohu or Katla[fish variety]) which you get and also you have to specify “bengali cutting” for the fish to be cut and cleaned as per the standards of Bengal, this is a bonus as nowadays in Kolkata u need to pay extra to specialized cutters doing the job for you. After ensuring the week long supply of maach(fish) you move on to sobji bajar(vegetables market-well you can’t only eat maach whole week), which I avoid as I prefer the home-delivering hand-carts for vegetables .After sobji(vegetables) you fill yourself gorom singara, kochuri and misti(hot samosas, kachoori and sweets) and finally you head home feeling happy that one more week you can be a true Bong and successfully concluded the bajar kora expedition of the Sunday. 

So till next Sunday “Benche thak Bangali, dhoodhey bhaatey aare maachey”(Long Live Bengali with milk, rice and fish[staple food]).

Bonus :  Those of you want to get fishy, Bong way. Check out the Recipe of Bengali Macher Jhol(Fish Curry) –   http://bharatbhoj.com/2008/09/rui-macher-jhol/

Image credits :

http://www.shunya.net/Pictures/NorthIndia/Calcutta/GariahatMarket3.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/co4am7

Powerless in Cybercity

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Powerless means without power… the electricity that runs our tv, fridge etc all the stuff. Yet another evening was wasted courtesy to the power cut in the city which is called the ‘cybercity’, ‘the silicon valley’ of India. Three years back when I first moved into Bangalore I was shocked to witness the long power cuts. I mean you want watch tv in the evening kaput …everything goes dark…. u want to a have hot shower before leaving for office no power so, no hot water… weekends plagued by day long power cuts…. all this reminded me of the dark days of my school years in Kolkata when we used study under candle light or oil lamps but that was only in the evenings and that too decade and half back. It was truly nightmarish to relive those dark days in fact worst situation in Bangalore.

Two years back my friend had devised a ‘Curse CM’ formula…. that is if the power went off for more than 30 mins in the evening, he would curse and call names for the then CM and within 5 mins power would be on… don’t if the CM heard or somehow it seemed to work but now with the change of CM its stopped working. Its quite frustrating to have candle lit dinners regularly, you really don’t what you are eating. Specially these summer months are peak of survival woes with no power, no water nothing to do but wait and hope.

It surprises me to see the basic infrastructure (bijli, sadak, pani) issues in a metro like this, especially being grown up in another metro which is far more improved in the bijli, sadak, paani front. Elections come and go, governments change but issues remain. The two things about this city the weather and the people that kept the hope till now, with the weather worsening, its the people who are the last refuge in this city.

BTW there’s a positive side to it this city does not need to celebrate ‘Earth Hour’ once a year…its doing a lot to save us from global warming by following ‘Earth Weekend’ ‘Earth Day’ ‘Earth Evening’ ‘Earth Morning’. Actually I generally don’t rave and rant about things like these but sometimes you get too f***ed up….

So here i am waiting for the next powerless moments in Cybercity ….