Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Today it rained... So since gambolling around in pouring always looks like sooooo much fun (at least in the non- horror movies) I walked in the rain. Definitely not one of my brightest ideas. It was aaall good till the effects of soaked clothes and a November chill led to the inevitable. Singing and dancing in the rain my foot! More like shivering in the rain and then the train. Oh dear Lord that train! The one day when I would welcome crowds of heat emitting, wind blocking women, I get an empty compartment. I totally get why so many animals and birds hate the water. Air and water may be essential elements but combined they can be perfectly awful. So here I am, soaked to the skin, (thank goodness I didn't wear white today), sitting in a draughty compartment slowly turning into a popsicle. And I'm not the only one. The girl in front of me is just as water logged. We took one look at each other and just burst out laughing. Make up, hair do's, clothes... All ruined by a freak cyclone in the Arabian Sea. So much effort washed away. Stupid cyclone in the Arabian Sea! Now for an hour long ride to my stop before I can mercifully get into warm dry clothes.
I think priests should really reconsider the whole burn in purgatory thing. Right now the fires of Hell seem positively welcome! Wet clothes in a draughty fast train...for an hour.  Now that's suffering for you. Fire and nice warm heat? HAH! Bring it on!

Friday, November 6, 2009


I recently visited my Brother-in-law and his wife in Bangalore. Now I've heard of the infamous 'Bangalore Traffic' and quite frankly I confess I used to think that it was exaggerated. Of course in my defense, in the recent past I haven't spent more than a weekend in the city at a time. This time however we decided to drive around in our own vehicle. The experience was... enlightening. I have come to the conclusion that Bangalore drivers consider driving on any asphalt surface to be a form of Extreme Tetris. Any and every gap MUST be filled. Only then are you eligible for bonus points. I'm still a little clueless as to the grand prize but I am sure that the scoring system is brisk and unforgiving. An aerial view of Bangalore's roads would, I am sure, make any efficiency expert proud. Not one square foot of asphalt is left untenanted by a vehicle. Even trucks and buses are avid competitors. I imagine parents telling their kids, "If you leave a gap in the road you will go straight to hell! Honk as much as possible, refuse to signal and never make the mistake of staying in one lane." Chaos Theory has nothing on this.
Another thing that I noticed is that size doesn't matter in the least. Even a miserable little motorbike can take pangas with a car, bus or truck. And amazingly the motorcyclist will, after executing his move in this game of extreme tetris, give the oncoming driver a dirty look like its that guys fault. You have to admire the sense of security with which these motorists zip around the place. I mean, I for one would be a gibbering wreck within a few minutes of executing hair trigger moves of that caliber. Of course I don't have any faith whatsoever in the skills of the on coming driver. I realize that is perhaps where I err.
The title of this post comes from our experience of driving into Mysore to check out the Mysore Palace and the Philomena Church. Apparently all roads in Mysore have deadendas. Note that a deadenda often refers to a fork in the road or a T-Junction. A standard statement from a helpful local to a slightly frazzled and thoroughly lost outsider would be "Aah Mysore Palace? Deadendaright." followed by a satisfied look that most well meaning Samaritans wear after doing their thing. It takes a little while to figure it out but we got there in the end, mainly because my Brother-in-law was reasonably familiar with the local lingo.
Word to the wise, if you are planning to grab breakfast on the way to Mysore, do it in Bangalore itself. Whatever you do, the roadside idli-wadas are solely for the adventurous(with the chutney in packets that should never be opened in a moving car).
No matter what the tanga wallas and touts tell you, the entrance to the Mysore Palace is through the South Gate, parking costs Rs. 10 in the parking lot not Rs. 40 and the Palace is NOT closed till 2:30pm. Also if you're going to buy a hat at the stalls outside the entrance, go to the third vendor and bring the price down to Rs. 50. He will start at Rs. 150.Don't be fooled.
If you want something to munch on, there is an amla seller with the most awesome salt and chilli masala mix for his amblas. Word to the wise, there are two ways of tackling this. One being to munch up as much as possible of the amlas when everything is dry. Second, and far more interesting, let the amlas stay in the masala mixture for a few hours, longer the better. The water seeps out creating a most potent mixture that defies description. One sip of that mixture will clear your head, bowels and whatever else needs clearing. After your eyeballs have returned to their sockets that is. Idli's too can be dipped in this mixture and eaten... rather an interesting combination. The memories tend to return with amazing clarity the next morning. But then again, what adventure comes sans the side effects.
Guntur Chicken is another experience that simply must be had. And don't waste your time diluting it with anything. This should be had unadulterated. Preferably chased with the amhbla and masala mix. All your happiest memories flash before your teary eyes. you might re-think your position the next morning but I say, live with no regrets. Deadendaright!