Monday, May 7, 2007

Temptations begin at Home….and Salvation….is right round the corner….

Books and Drinks……would they ever go together????? YES…..especially if you happen to be by the mountainside in a temperature closer to zero than 40 AND if both of them: kithaab and sharaab – are at an arm’s distance. Welcome to the world of Vallavaru, Nallavaru and Chinnavaru……..which comprised of a retired airforce man, a maverick phy.-chem wizard and a specimen who could never say no to anything in this world.

Three men from different generation and yet and yet a common interest!!!!! This had to do with their basic philosophy of – Living life to its fullest AND subscribing to Oscar Wilde’s view that in order to resist a temptation one needs to first surrender to it. This common strand of thought led them to design THE library – an aesthetically designed state of art monument – wide variety of books that would interest any bibliophile, a cozy, almost cryogenice ambience that would make you want to cuddle up in a diwan or a bean bag AND a expansive bar which had an assortment of liquors catering to diverse taste and which not only served the purpose of satisfying your thirst for the –OH but also served the functional purpose of keeping you warm in freezing temperature. And yes…..I forgot to tell…..this library also has a vast array of music collection most appropriate for the place – lilting tunes of Rafi, Hemant Kumar et al.

These three protagonists shared another common facet – their family. They were the Tau, Pa and the Son…and their credo was…We Are Like This Wonly………..

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Benz Diaries – Nalaabhaaham

This story spans my prefinal and final yr in Kkdi. On the weekends I would go off to Soda’s house and there we used to improve our cooking skills.
Soda was living with his father, paati and sambar. Paati was one wonderful lady – very jovial and VERY tolerant. She gave us full freedom to exploit her kitchen. Soda was a character. I first came to know him through my sister and then through the years we started knowing each other better. The more I know of him, the more I am amazed at his sincerity at whatever he does.

What started as a cooking for 3-4 people soon turned into a community cooking. At best we had 15-20 people in our home.

The protagonists were sambar, myself quarter, H1, soda, gymJ,gateMani. Scienti and whoever who wished to come. The previous day we used to make a rough cut menu. GymJ used to bring a bag ful of rice from his house. I used to bring some vegetables. Once in Soda’s home we used to inventory all that was available and all that was requirements. The next 30 mins we spent purchasing. Our staple used to be rice (plain and pulao), roti, eggs, beans,dal, carrot, potato, tomato, onions, capsicum…well….anything and everything we could lay our hands on.

We used to work in batches. One group for kneading the dough and rolling it, one for cutting vegetables, one for mixing condiments and making pastes, one for cooking, one for washing the vessels and one for eating and watching TV .

Fortunately none of us cared for aesthetics while cooking…….we were strictly functional. Hence the vegetables never had any shape in our dishes neither did the rotis.

Sambar was our chief chef and myself his apprentice. Our cooking style was instinctive… us touch artistes. And our vessel utilization was minimal – we preferred eating out of our vessels…a la Satte pe Satta.

Excesses & shortages (both of dishes and the condiments in them) were commonplace. But the long time we spent in cooking the dishes and the fact that we had invested heavily in it ensured that we ate whatever was made to the last morsel. Through such frequent exercise at self-flagellations did we become the descendents of Nala :D

Benz Diaries - Benz and the Beautiful

Looking back, I can say for sure that most of my learnings in life has been during my 4yrs stay in Kkdi. I learnt to listen, I realized I am not the centre of the universe. More importantly I saw in front of my eyes the whole process of dreaming and working towards converting the dream into reality.
Okay...back to the world of Benz. There were lot more colorful personalites both in my friends cirlce and in my family circle. If i am not describing them now it is because of my inability to verbalize the effect they have had on me. Still I'll open out as and when the story warrants.
Two parts into the Benz diaries and I havent yet spoken of two things - Benz and girls. So this part is dedicated to them.
Well, at the end of my 1st yr, I decided to move out of hostel and live alone. Reasons??? to learn to live independently, to learn to understand life, to have a private space...truth is.....just for the heck of it. Hindsight almost always gives us plenty of attractive explanations...but truth is always..the truth. And so I moved out..stayed as a tenant of one Mr.Salim Bhai, was living next to my relatives and in their house I ate. About them....later.
For my commutation, I was given the Benz by my cousins. One of the most aesthetically ( my eyes) functional machine which was both rugged and stylish. My Benz epitomised the saying that the best of things are characterized by their simplicity. The Benz cycle....a ATB ranger which was bought around 10-15 yrs back when cousins were just out of their school. It had all that was required ( or JUST what was required) to ride a cycle. - a frame, a handlebar, a seat, 2 wheels, 2 tyres and a poor imitation of a mudguard. What it didnt have? - brakes, bell, carrier (carrier ilaadha cycle dhaan da kaadhalukku ethadhu therinjuko?????) , a proper cycle stand,. You get the picture right? And it was riding this Benz that I had all of my memorable experiences.
And girls......there is a simple explanation...most of them ran away from me or avoided me for obvious reasons. There were few whom I befriended although in general we had only a business like relationship in college. There were few interesting characters too.....
One was Narasimha Pallava's daughter- a very spirited character who always wanted to excel in whatever she did. As close to a rowdy as you can ever get, she was liked by one and all.
Then there was Babli - the greates OTMP (batch consensus..u see), a tomboyish character who loved to scrape.
And then bringing up the flank was Swarna akka, a very affable type of person, most down to earth and always ready to listen to our woes.

But Benz and the Girls were two mutually exclusive sets............