Thursday, October 25, 2007


On a break!

Keep watching this space for some great news!

Gosh I am acting like I have a 100 readers who will miss me. But hey even if it is just 5 of you...well watch out for me :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


"Professor Hucchuraya" a film made in 1974 had the inimitable Narasimharaju playing the lead role. I don't remember much of the film except that the story was around arranging a marriage. Hucchuraya is called in to Bangalore to sort out a much muddled love story and steer it to the happily ever after. But the introductory scene of Hucchuraya landing in Bangalore is something that I have never forgotten. He gets off a Tonga in what is supposed to be Malleshwaram if I remember it right and tries to ask the people walking up the street about the address he's looking for. Every time he asks someone the response comes in a different language - Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu probably even Hindi. And he turns to the camera and says "is this still Bangalore the capital of Karnataka or have I landed in some other place?" This is 1974 mind you and namma bengaLooru has only gotten better over the years. Now the situation is so bad that if you speak in Kannada people turn to you and say "oh kannaDa heg kalitri?" How did you learn Kannada. A question that makes me indignant needless to say. What do you mean HOW? I am a Kannadiga that's how. A friend of mine once pointed out that I was not a Kannadiga but Mangalorean !!!! I will not describe what happened to her post that question.

When we moved into this apartment after four years of touring Tamil Heartland I was so glad that I didn't have to point out the paruppus to the shopkeeper when I run out of it and that I could actually speak without wondering if I am making a fool of myself. But the truth dawned on me the day we landed back here. The auto fellows always ask "kidhar jaana madam?"where do you want to go? The shop fellows will say "madam ek dum fresh item hai abhi aaya hai" madam it is very fresh came today only. When I reply promptly reply in Kannada they look utterly startled and say "eshTu chennagi kannaDa maataDteera madam" - How well you speak Kannada. GRRRRRRR

Later I bought Worldspace simply because I happened to hear some of the most divine Kannada Sugama Sangeetha (Light music) compositions at Bheema's restaurant on Church Street. I shocked the waiters there by asking them what cassettes they were playing. They were so thrilled with my curiosity that they rattled off the whole programme schedule of the channel. So every morning I would crank up the volume and play the Sparsha Channel. One day I hear the doorbell and there's the milkman at my door with a very puzzled look. And then with some hesitancy he blurts "neevu kannaDa haaDu kELtheera? Do you listen to Kannada songs? Now it's my turn to look puzzled. Without waiting for my answer he says but I thought you just spoke Kannada you are a Kannadiga aren't you? That is so nice. I am fed up of talking in Hindi and goes away.

I've had auto drivers look at me like I am some new species when I speak to them in Kannada. I once asked an auto driver who's name was Hanumanthappa (can't get more Kannadiga than that) if he's converted to be a Delhiite because despite me speaking to him in Kannada he kept answering me in Hindi.

Why is it that people are so surprised when I speak Kannada IN Bangalore? More importantly why am I a Hindi speaking person and not Tamil, Telugu or Marathi speaking? These questions have been nagging me for the last 1.5 years and here are possible answers - some my theories and some reasons provided by good Samaritans.

1) Most obvious reason - Bangalore IS the second Delhi at this point of time.
2) People suddenly realised Hindi is our national language and so the renewed enthusiasm in speaking it (though I doubt this)
3) I was once told that I wear western clothes and hence had to be Hindi speaking. Reaaaaaally now?
4) My car is TN registration and hence I must be Hindi speaking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5) I have a nose ring like Sania Mirza. Do you mind she's a Hyderabadi which is in the south of the Vindhyas get your geography right man!

I almost did an MA in Kannada because I thought I would forget what I knew. What with just about 4 people in my life who can speak to me in Kannada!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day - My 2 cents.

"Environment is out there in the villages and jungles what can we city people do?" said an educated young man amidst friends when conversation turned to the cutting of trees in cities. Shocked as we were at his remark we patiently tried to explain to him what he could do and that environment was not just out there somewhere. I do not know what he made of it, never met the young man again. Here are somethings people listed out for him and my own list added to it.

Garbage Disposal

1) Do not throw away plastic ALWAYS recycle it.
2) Try to segregate recyclable and non recyclable waste before disposal. I say try because we do not yet have a comprehensive garbage segregation system set up but if more people start doing it we will.
3) Never flush diapers and sanitary napkins.
4) Do not mix chemical / Bio waste with domestic waste
5) Find safe ways of depositing batteries and other electronic disposables


1) Do not leave the taps open longer than necessary
2) Install Rain water Harvesting system in your houses, apartments and office complexes.
3) Repair leaking water pipes right away. It might seem like just a drip but over the days precious water is draining away.
4) Sewage water can be treated and reused for gardening.
5) Do not use a hose pipe to clean your cars and two wheelers. Just a bucket of water would do.
6) Be aware of how much time you spend in the shower.


1) Use public transport as much as possible
2) Switch to CNG where possible
3) Do not burn garbage

Avoid Plastic - Do not insist on plastic bags at shops. Carry your own cloth or paper bags unless it is raining.

Don't have to become a high flying activist...just little things one could do around the house is enough to save the environment. It's not out there!

I am falling in love

With God's own country

The houseboats on the backwaters

Chinese fishing nets at Fort Kochi

Alleppey Backwaters

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Chak de Kudiye! (for non punjabis like me it means something like "Buck up girls")

Here's a very interesting take on this year's surprise hit movie Chak De India! Surprise because it is actually a good movie and not like earlier SRK hits - Kal Ho Na Ho and KANK.

All the gals and boys reading this blog (I know atleast 2 people read this regularly :) Please leave your comments on the article here on my post. I am just curious.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

True blue Bangaloreans?

"Ek roti tees paise bekadre vayinko lyakpote get out" which in English means "one roti costs 30 paise buy it if you want else get out"

This was the result was the collective creativity of we second graders many many years ago. I don't remember if I was part of the creative team (not even sure if it was one of us or someone else in this wide wide world) but I sure thought it was very clever and never missed an opportunity to flaunt it. My parents thought it was funny the first 2 times I said it but not so funny after a dozen times.

I recently remembered this because V & I still speak like this at times. It goes like this.

Me: Is that chapati soft?
V: yeah aaj kal teek hi banta hai. (these days it's like this)
Me: What do you mean? Idukku munnadi ippadi kedayada? (earlier it was not like this?)
V: Not like that. Munnaadiya vide ippo nalla irukku (no it's better than before)
Me: Naaleyinda neene maadko haagadre (you make the chapathis from tomorrow)
V: No aisa nahi yaar... (I didn't mean it that way)

See what I mean? There are reasons why we speak like this. In order to explain the reasons I'll have to start from the start.

My parents are quite linguists themselves. Being from Dakshina Kannada (DK) they automatically speak 2 languages Tulu (they both spoke two different versions of this) and Kannada. In addition to that they were people with loads of friends and so they understood Konkani and Malayalam.

And then they moved to Bangalore (where the Kannada is very different) and this being the ever cool cosmopolitan city their language skills only got better. Mom taught Kannada in a school where the majority of the population was Tamil speaking (both teachers and students). So she learnt that too. She can put any Tamilian to shame with her Tamil now. I was born into this high pressure learning zone. It so happened that the family that agreed to look after me when both of them were at work was Marathi speaking. So the first language I learnt was not Tulu or Kannada but Marathi!. Mom says she had to keep the girl from the family around in the evenings to converse with me. After a while they couldn't take it any more and decided I would go with Dad to office to get Marathi out of my system. It helped that Dad was running his own business. I don't speak a word of Marathi anymore but can understand some.

I was put in the same school that Amma taught and so I too learnt Tamil in addition to English and the mandatory third language Hindi. National language took centre-stage in my life with advent of Doordarshan. I learnt all my spoken Hindi through Ramayana, Mahabharatha , Buniyaad and of course Amitabh Bachan and Mithun Chakraborthy movies. I owe it all to the idiot box and the celluloid...

Later in college I was introduced to Ghalib and Jagjit Singh and so Urdu entered my vocabulary. And simply by the virtue of being in Bangalore Telugu was inducted somewhere down the lane. During college and initial office days Hindi and English was the mainstay. What with half the office filled with junta from every other state.

Then I moved to Tamil Nadu. Where my Tamil language skills were refined. I even learnt to read a bit (how else does one get into the buses there?) What was supposed to be a brief one month stay turned out to be 4 year long sojourn through the Tamil Heartland. Today I can speak Iyer aathu Tamizh to Madurai Coimbatore sing song to murderous Tamil they speak in Chennai. My first big job as journo was with a Hindi news channel and so watching all those 70s and 80s Bollywood cinema finally paid off. Soon I was not only having day to day conversations in Hindi but filing stories in Hindi from Tamil Nadu mind you...(albeit typed it all in English. The producers tried very hard to make us learn Hindi typing but that was the limit) In the midst of it all Malayalam the only other south Indian language I didn't learn all these years was making way into my system...I fell for and married a Mal guy! So now I had that too to learn (how else could I hope to impress my in laws my charms weren't family friendly!) Now V himself was quite a linguist. Mal guy brought up in TN and then did his college in Hindi heartland! So dating days we spoke Hindi, Tamil and English. Poor guy even pretended to understand all the Urdu poetry I would let off :D

So between us we had about five languages. Hence the confusion!

And last year we had a brain wave and decided to add some international flavour to this confusion we took up Spanish classes. Thankfully the madness ended with level 1.

We try very hard to keep the language in one region at a time. We even drew up a calendar! We said we will speak nothing but Kannada and Malayalam and we would give 2 weeks each. But so far hasn't worked.

PS: I do believe that living in Bangalore one usually speaks at least 2 languages other than Kannada. And since we went on an overkill I do think we are living up to the tradition in a big way. Hence the title.