Saturday, October 02, 2010

NYC, babeh!!

A lovely Saturday morning..Bright and sunny with "Bangalore" weather..Not a usual occurrence for New Jersey/New York at this time of the year..The thought of catching a bus right outside my hotel doorstep in NJ and being dropped off at the Port of Authority Terminal near Times Square in New York City(NYC) was refreshing, after a week of intense work pressure..

My plan of going there with 2 friends changed (they couldn't make it) and I ended up going alone to NYC..I was apprehensive. One whole day alone at the Big Apple? Given that I prefer being around friends, this was a slightly intimidating thought..

11:40 AM, I hopped on the bus to NYC..The day started off on a usual note, with someone trying to speak to me in Spanish, "knowing" I am Mexican/Spanish and not guessing..I have stopped looking perplexed now and simply say "No Spanish"..

Plugged my iPod and let "Munni Badnaam" rip..Saw the first sight of NYC from the bus..With NYC, it was love at first sight in 2008. I was/am/will always be in awe of that place...

Got off the bus at 42nd street and wandered around confused for a few minutes, cos both sides of the road seemed inviting...I could see New York Times office and Madame Tussauds already inviting me to come have a look.. :)

The subway is the lifeline of NYC, akin to our Mumbai local trains. Took an all day pass and off I went to Central Park..The place is beautiful..It is not awe-inspiring, but it gets the job done. If you love seeing nature, Central Park offers that on a platter..Came across a really talented person dishing out melodies with guitar/vocals on the lawns and the lyrics of his songs were meaningful and soul searching..Headed to the Sheep Meadow, literally a place to rest on your back as you see huge Manhattan Skyscrapers..A place for all the romantics :)

Next stop was Ground zero and Wall street..Ground zero is peculiar..It is one of the places I can't seem to connect to, despite knowing the significance..May be I will after the memorial comes up in 2012..Right now, all I see there is rubble, construction and hoardings that salute people who left us on 9/11...RESPECT!!

Wall Street was next..Clicked pics outside the NY Stock Exchange..The "Bull" skipped my mind..Since I was alone and could do as I pleased, walked a few miles back to see the "Bull"..Feels nice to do things out of the routine :)

After listening to more music on the street, decided to go downtown to Brooklyn..Picked up a Chicken Shawarma and decided to walk on Brooklyn Bridge end to end(unlike 2008, when I just saw one part), admiring skyscrapers and observing Statue of Liberty appearing like a small toy somewhere to the right of Manhattan..

NYC is different..You notice South Asian street vendors selling mouth watering food and it is so unlike the America I know..I saw some awesomely tempting Chicken Biryani, but had to pass considering the amount of walking I had planned to cover all places in one day.. Some chicken, somewhere will pay for this :)

Got off at Grand Central Station, a very grandiose and well constructed station, which has featured in Hindi movies..It was 8 pm and I was kinda tired after walking non-stop from noon..Met an African-American officer at the Station and queried "Sir, what time does the shuttle leave to Times Square??"
He said "Shuttle? You are young..You can easily walk down my friend..It is just 8 blocks down the road" ..I felt like I had consumed a bottle of Powerade..I HAD to walk to Times Square after that and I did :)

I was waiting for light to fade and "lights" to kick in, so as to walk down Times Square..Tremendous sight is that Times Square..Cannot miss the Hard Rock Cafe building at the back and the huge Yahoo signboards along with the NASDAQ updates.. Walked to Rockefeller center and relaxed besides the fountain, clicked some cool snaps...

Then for the highlight of the day..Empire state Building under lights (I still donno which one I like better, Sears Chicago or Empire NYC!) Wow what a sight..
Sigh, the digital cameras of this age aren't good enough to capture these night views..Hope technology improves and we see clarity (without blurring effect) for night shots soon without a tripod..
Also disappointing was that I couldn't upgrade to the 102nd floor view due to a problem with the elevator..The officer dint help by saying, "Hey, till 1 hour ago people went to the 102nd floor" ..Too much information, bud :)

I then walked back to the Port of Authority terminal on 42nd street just in time for the 11:30 PM bus to Jersey...Saw a group of Desis chatting away..It was probably after 10 hours I had really heard people chatter...I was almost in a trance in NYC...

So that ended a day well spent. The next time you get a chance, quickly make a trip to NYC..Chuck the long drives, subway is the way to go..Walk down the street and "feel" New York culture first hand...

I simply love New York City...It is therapeutic..

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A phenomenon...

As I sit on a looong cross country flight with nothing to do till I land in San Fran, I thought it would be apt time to pen a blog on one of my favorite cricketers..Somebody that has redefined the word rebel.

In an era where hundreds are scored everyday at the Sinhalese Sports club, with Mahela achieving a stupendous 2 tons every week and Samaraweera contributing a generous 3, Virender "Viru" Sehwag comes across as a breath of fresh air.

The pitch, the bowler, the crowds are all taken out of the equation..Agreed, bats have more wood now and pitches are made for bullies, but seeing Viru bat, the mind boggles..How can someone be so carefree, especially in a country like ours where every move of a celebrity is scrutinized every second...
It is almost as if Sehwag is spared...As if he is given a license by the mad media ready for "Sansanikhez khabar" like Sachin Tendulkar having a sore throat, or Shah Rukh Khan skipping lunch and repleneshing himself with Gatorade.
Haven't heard media persons call many Sehwag shots "reckless"..This liberty isnt given to many, but honestly, Sehwag has shut mouths...

When all your adrenaline rush fizzes out (Not Sehwag's..He seemingly has adrenaline supply for life), you realize there is a method to this madness..You cannot dominate attacks all over the world with a mad max like, almost arrogant strokeplay and a supposedly non-existent textbook technique..

Sehwag has always been an entertainer/dasher..On a green top in Bloemfontein in November 2001, Ntini and Pollock were making the ball talk, yet it was almost
impossible to seperate the novice from the veteran(A veteran who can hold a bat, by the way!!)..The frame was the same, the strokes oozed the same audacity...Agreed,its a bit exaggerated, but you get the point...

I can't help but point out a decision that changed Sehwag's life..Who else, but our adorable Dada could have made that decision...
Dada was never himself going to face up to the new ball(No chance in hell!), but his shrewdness told him that on wet English pitches, if his loose cannon fires off, the cat would be set amongst the pigeons..That hundred at Trent Bridge wasn't Sehwag's best, but it gave him self belief and touchwood, that hasn't changed till date..

The odd rush of blood apart, he settled in to the role perfectly...Another turning point was his discussion with Sunil Gavaskar in December 2003.India had
come off a superb upset win, beating the Aussies at the Adelaide Oval, thanks to a man-of-the-match performance by that hardworking, mortal-genius from Bangalore..

Sehwag and Chopra went up to Sunny and he told them about the starts they were squandering, thereby letting the team down..He opined "Give the first hour to the bowlers, the other five will be yours"...
Almost as if to impress their Sunny bhai, the two Delhites followed Sunny's word to the T...The first hour was one of total respect for the bowlers..
Sehwag is funny..He was almost waiting for the clock to tick..The same ball that was defended in the first hour, was now being dispatched with disdain..He would have had a riposte ready "Sunny bhai, ek ghanta beeth gaya"..

Observe his batting closely and you will find that whenever Gavaskar has existed within Sehwag in the first one hour, he has scored big. The Multan 309, the Chennai 319, none of them were slam-bang from ball one..

The innings that defines Sehwag is however, that 293 at the Brabourne Stadium...It was almost as if he wanted to welcome cricket at Brabourne after so many years..
Surely, the oldies wouldn't have seen this kind of audacity at a place that was the cradle of Indian cricket in the 70s...

Sehwag has now added a totally new dimension to test cricket..There are certain games that India can win only if Sehwag erases the deficit at his pace..
Take for instance, the 387 chase at Chennai..SRT and Yuvraj were amazing on Day 5, but that 83 off 67 balls on the evening of Day 4 was divine..Let this be clear, only HE could have done something like that..And he did..

I want to touch up on Sehwag's average one day/t20 record some other time, but test cricket is what makes a cricketer..21 hundreds in 79 test matches, playing like "that" is something else..I bet nobody would have put money on it in 2001.

U gotta be kidding me...U don't average 54 in test cricket with a strike rate of 81, while making massive, gargantuan scores..You just don't,unless you are Sehwag..

It has given me immense pleasure watching the great man from Dilli for 9 years now..
Here's hoping his mind remains as uncluttered as ever and that the genius of Viru Paa boggles my mind further..

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day!

Mother's Day is here!! Not that I need an occasion to tell my Mother what she means to me..Touchwood :-)

People address Mothers lovingly with all sorts of names. Maa, Amma, Mom, Mommy,Maamaa..I call mine Mummy..

I quickly decided in the evening to give Mummy a surprise by singing this song and sending it out to her..Am glad she loved it! :-)

I take this opportunity to wish Mothers all over the world a very Happy Mother's day..
All of us cannot do enough to show you how special you people are..HONEST.. :-)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kahi to hogi woh..

A romantic number beyond compare,with a subtle sadness/poignance attached to it. A genre that appeals to many..

The song starts with hope of finding one's beloved and the protagonist explains, why she is THE one and why he cannot live without her..

The recommended way to enjoy this song would be to close one's eyes..U are sure to be transported to another world by A R Rahman..One of his more "composed with the heart" numbers..

Trivia: This is a 2 singer song (Rashid Ali and Vasundhara Das)..I had no patience to find Vasundhara before the recording and had to sing both myself! Anyway her voice is more "robust" than Rashid Ali's making it easier for me than I thought!

And it was sung from start to finish in single take.

If this song reminds you of your beloved, I will consider it to be a good attempt.. Let me know ;)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Nammuru slaaang

My favorite city. My home.There are lots of things this city means to me..This blog is a satire on Bangalore life, especially its ethereal slang..

2001 May..I relocated to Bangalore from the lovely coastal city of Mangalore..
My baptism by fire with the local lingo began when Mom sent me on an errand to get cashews.
I am particularly notorious at placing vegetable/dry fruit names in any language bar Konkani, so I was told Cashew is "Gerubeeja". "Vondu packet Gerubeeja koDi" I said at the Kaka store in typical Mangalore accent..Kaka was baffled..I then had to say "Cashew" to see a bulb glowing in his brain.. I went home surprised and told Mom "U told me Gerubeeja..But he says Godambi"..First lesson learnt in my head.."Sach,your Kannada is different from the language spoken here"...

This incident impacted me..I became unnecessarily conscious of my Kannada. Early years of engineering, I spoke to my best friends only in English..People who didn't know me might have assumed I was arrogant.."Ganchali biDu Kannada mathaDu" (Hey,leave your attitude and speak Kannada) types..But I was striving for perfection, which I also knew I wouldn't attain without fumbling a few times..A Catch 22 situation..

Luckily, things changed as I began to rapidly embrace Nammuru culture..Things especially changed when I landed in the US in end 2006 and became part of a closely knit (touchwood!) Arizona gang that was made up of hardcore Bangaloreans.Bangalore Kannada slowly, began to seem like a breeze..

The best way to become a Bangalorean,I realized in 2001, was to commute by public transport.You not only learnt the routes, but also got to feel the pulse of the land. Let us be honest, just the IT professionals don't make Bangalore..The lower strata, i.e. lower middle class and the poor form an integral part as well.

Let me list out several hilarious I-have-seen-it scenarios..These can be envisioned on any street in Bangalore..I reiterate that I have utmost respect for my folks and this is merely laughing at oneself...Here goes!

1) Mostly,when left to themselves, guys talk filth..No two thoughts and there is no exception to this rule..NONE :)
But when a girl/girlfriend is around, the language appreciably changes.So if you are seen foul mouthing your way to glory in front of a girl, be prepared to hear this from a bystander "Ree..ladies mundhe hangella mathadbeDree ree.."(Don't speak like that infront of ladies, man..mannn)..
It registered after a couple of times, that even if there was only one girl around,the word always used is "Ladies" :)

2) Jaggesh, the Kannada movie actor pronounces "Touch" as "Taechhh" (like "Awww..taecching").But this usage is as old as the aborigines...While playing gully cricket in childhood,if the batsman did not walk after an edge behind the wicket, the wicket keeper would shout "Taaech aythu maga gaeranTee :D" and vociferously point to the blade of the bat where the ball apparently made contact :)

3) GoLo antha atthbiDodu: translates to sob uncontrollably. But doesn't mean that technically..
"AvLge vondu saNNa maathu heLidre, goLo antha atthbiDthale maga" (I say one small thing means, she goLo cryingu) :)

4) Tiffan (not Tiffin) : I thoroughly desist this word.It is a dirty replacement for breakfast. I learnt this word on the city bus. To strike up a conversation, strangers ask one another "Saar.Hengiddira? Tiffan aytha??" (Sir, how are u?? Tiffan overaa?) I used to have a weird feeling in the mouth on hearing this word then..Things haven't changed :)

5) Rof hakodu: Rough up someone/try to impose yourself on someone.
"Mon monne huTTdavnu, baddi maga henge rof hakthane noDu" (day before day before born uu, how he rof putting see see) :)

6) Nanna magane: Literally means My son..But isn't that.It is used effectively to express surprise, praise, anguish or lambast someone..
"Nanna magane..huDgir mundhe doDDa saadhu thara aDthiyalla, nachike agalla ninge?"
(My front of ladies, sage type you shameaa?)

7)Kivi mele hoova OR chombu hakodu or Topi hakodu...means fooling someone.
"Avnu mathaDod noDidre, dodda Don ankobeku.. Naanenu kivi mele hoova iTTkonDiddina?"
(The way he talkingu, it seems he is big don..I what flower on earaa?) :)

8) Oh ho ho ho bandbiTTa..literally means oh ho ho he came..
"Oh ho ho ho..Navella 10 dinadinda plan maDthaa iddivi. Ivnu yellindano bandbiTTa noDree" (We planning for this from 10 days, he came off suddenly from nowhere) :)

9) Da/man/machi/macha/maga/guru/mom: How can u call someone other than your creator as mom? Never understood that part...Anyway :D
But all these are ways of addressing a close friend or buddy or chaddi dost...
"Macha hengiddiya..tumba time aythu..yenu,ee kaDe kaNsode illa anthiya"
(How are u man? Long time..This side, no seeing only) :D

10) Blade: either means one who utters a lot of lies or something that is absurdly expensive (taken for a ride)..
"Avnge clear aagi heLde, Forum mall alli baTTe konDkobeDa, blade hakskonthiya antha..KeLidre taane"
(I told him clearly, don't buy clothes at Forum mall..U will be ripped off..If he listens,no!)

11) PaTaisu: to tame or impress, especially a girl..
"HuDgi paTaisodralli avnu punTa maga"...(In impressing girls, he is damn good!)

12) Joint/ JaainT:to come together.Always wrongly used in place of word "Join" by the auto and taxi drivers of Nammuru...
"Saar, aa roaDu alli mundhe hogi jaainT agatthe" (That roadu, in front will jaainT with other road)

13) Kai koDodu: cheat or deviate from the plan..
"10 ghantege Lalbagh hathra barthini antha heLidlu, kai koTbiTlu guru"
(She told she will come to Lalbagh at 10 o'clock..She gave hand) ..

14) Yedva tadva: All possible ways/methods..
"Uthharakumara baDDi maga avnu..Yedva tadva reel biDthane"
(He is Uthharakumara..He puts reel/lies in all possible ways)..

Nammuru slang is odd, awkward and even at times gramatically wrong..But its comic punch lines are second to none. :)
We love YET crucify our Kannada, just as they do Hindi in Mumbai. But fun is where/when language is used liberally, not according to the whims and fancies of certain people /rule book.

In 2001, I couldn't have imagined that my Kannada would be as Bangalored as it is today..But I am proud it is..I am in true love with this great language's flavors as much as my mother tongue Konkani...

Nammoor bhaashe sakkath bhashe kaNree!!!:)