Wednesday, April 29, 2009

dundu mallige

When we decided on this apartment the main reason for choosing a ground floor was the fact that i can have a little garden and see a piece of the sky when I stepped out. But then once we settled in we realised the apartment association had stipulations on what to grow and what not to grow in the garden. They love croutons and croutons only. Very few flowering plants and absolutely no veggies. No sir that would bring down the value of the apartment! And I tried to grow a little hibiscus plant and every time the poor thing grew a little taller than what is thought aesthetically correct the gardener chops it off. It is an eternal fight!

Somehow in the milieu of ever changing gardeners, one of them thought it was a good idea to plant jasmines. None of them survived except for the one right outside my door. Every year around this time it flowers. There is such palpable excitement about it. Women, old and young stop to see how many have bloomed. And pluck one or two. They love to stop by and talk to me about how wonderful it is to grow jasmine. And to see it bloom. We discuss why the others didn't survive while this did. My cook's daily routine is to count the number of buds and wonder about the one or two missing. She tries to encourage me to wear one on my hair. I love jasmines but the moment i wear it I get a mother of all headaches. So I stay away from them. A reason not good enough for my cook.

Today even the water delivery guy stood to admire the jasmines. "Madam mallige hoova bittide" he told me excitedly.

When there is such incredible excitement about it then why would the association not want flowering plants? Since when did a bit colourful blossoms started playing such vital role in real estate prices?

I don't get them. They even pulled out my lemon grass plant when I wans't looking because it was growing very unruly! I don't want your manicured gardens! Give me Cubbon Park over Lalbagh any day!

It is because of this apathy only that Bangalore is losing its green cover and turning hotter by the day!

PS: The title of the post is the name of the jasmine in front of my house.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A stitch in time...huh!

The first time I was introduced to stitching was in class 7. We used to have mandatory craft sessions post final exams. And we were taught stitching and embroidery that year. We had to bring a piece of white cloth and some coloured threads. The intention was to make an embroidered kerchief. I hated it! Did not complete the little red flower with chain stitch borders. Amma who was by then pretty much convinced that I'd not do anything "girlie" in life kept that piece for posterity. Which she also used to prove at regular intervals that I never completed anything I started. Sure enough she had plenty of opportunities to wave that little white cloth in front of me.

Meanwhile my hatred for stitching continued unabated. I was very careful about not tearing clothes cos then I'd have to stitch it. Amma was generous enough to handle anything that happened to my favourite clothes. Otherwise I managed with safety pins for years on end. If my needle and thread prowess was a criteria for marriage I'd have remained single! It was a running joke in the family that I'd never have those romantic stitching based moments with my husband. Remember those movie scenes where the husband realises just before leaving for office that one of his shirt buttons are off and there his handy wife with a needle and thread fixing it in a jiffy? That's what I was deprived of (I am not complaining :) So one of the mandotory questions for V apart from if he liked garlic was if he can stitch. He could tolerate garlic and could do his own buttons. That settled many a domestic issues that would've cropped if not already discussed.

I continued my friendship with safetypin for years post marriage too. Then I went for Sav's wedding. I knew the girl was creative but the handiwork she had shown on her wedding trousseau truly amazed me. She had great influence from her ever creative mother and aunt too. The three together looked like needle and thread goddesses to me. I came back mighty impressed. Then I told myself that if Sav can do fancy emboidery then at least I can attempt stitching and that it wasn't very adult like to use safety pins. And it wasn't too domestic to use needle and thread either. (Somehow that was a connection in my head. I didn't see stitching as a survival skill. Cos when in class 7 while the girls were asked to embroider, the boys were doing something with batteries and cars. A girl had to stitch you say so I won't do of those causeless rebellions of my life). Gradually stitches replaced safety pins. So much so that the pins completely dissappeared from my house. Amma was relieved and V was amused. Sav was duly acknowledged :)

I even enjoy embroidery and stitching these days. Do little projects and am very proud of it. It is surely a creative outlet when one is stuck for ideas. But if someone makes it an issue of womanhood or motherhood then it is another thing. But till then I am having fun.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Elections and television

I love election time. It is the best time to watch the politics unfold in its full glory. No holds barred! And when years ago when we were introduced to Psephology by Prannoy Roy (now Dr) it was fascinating. There was a new way of looking at the election process and try to understand the complex ways of Democracy.

But over the years with every media house laying claim to how specialised and exclusive their coverage is we've kind of lost the big picture. The images are so skewed that we can't tell what's real and what's hype.

And even the way the elections are referred to isn't flattering. One channel keeps referring to the great Indian election "pageant"! To me the word means something frivolous and I am offended. If I type the word into this is what comes up.


1. an elaborate public spectacle illustrative of the history of a place, institution, or the like, often given in dramatic form or as a procession of colorful floats.
2. a costumed procession, masque, allegorical tableau, or the like forming part of public or social festivities.
3. a show or exhibition, esp. one consisting of a succession of participants or events: a beauty pageant.
4. something comparable to a procession in colorful variety, splendor, or grandeur: the pageant of Renaissance history.
5. a pretentious display or show that conceals a lack of real importance or meaning.
6. (in medieval times) a platform or stage, usually moving on wheels, on which scenes from mystery plays were presented.
7. display or pageantry.
8. Obsolete. a stage bearing any kind of spectacle.

Another channel referred to it as Indian election "circus"! Circus?

This is what throws up


 a large public entertainment, typically presented in one or more very large tents or in an outdoor or indoor arena, featuring exhibitions of pageantry, feats of skill and daring, performing animals, etc., interspersed throughout with the slapstick antics of clowns.
2. a troupe of performers, esp. a traveling troupe, that presents such entertainments, together with officials, other employees, and the company's performing animals, traveling wagons, tents, cages, and equipment.
3. a circular arena surrounded by tiers of seats, in which public entertainments are held; arena.
4. (in ancient Rome)
a. a large, usually oblong or oval, roofless enclosure, surrounded by tiers of seats rising one above another, for chariot races, public games, etc.
b. an entertainment given in this Roman arena, as a chariot race or public game: The Caesars appeased the public with bread and circuses.
5. anything resembling the Roman circus, or arena, as a natural amphitheater or a circular range of houses.

I think I will stick to newspapers and local gossip for information. At least they give the election process the respect it is due.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The King is here

I am referring to the king of fruits Mango! I LOVE THEM. Long live Mangoes! But what surprised me was the discovery that this yummy thing is our national fruit! (Here's the proof) Now why didn't I know that before?????

How appropriate! I also discovered that India produces the largest number of mangoes in the world and that we have over a 100 varieties of them. I have only eaten about dozen of them so far and have 88 more varieties to go. This needs some serious planning I say.

I miss the days when we just sat on the Kushala maami's Chavadi (verandah) with a basket of ripe mangoes and just gorged on them first thing in the morning, everyday through out the summer.

I have kicked off this season with some Badami variety. One is not getting fully riped ones yet so I store them in my rice dabba and check on it everyday if it has ripened. Sometimes I can't wait so I eat the raw, tangy ones squeezing my face into a million angles. But what joy :D