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Showing posts from August, 2007

Glow of hope

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I saw a full size print of this painting at my cousin’s house & it has fascinated me since then. My aunt explained that the original is at the Mysore palace and I am now planning to get hold of a print copy myself. I checked around on the net and found that it was also attributed to Ravi Varma and people had, wrongly, written articles around the painting considering Varma as the painter. I will hopefully go and see it the next time I get a chance to go to Mysore.

The display at Jaychamrajendra gallery at Jaganmohan palace highlights the famous "Lady with the lamp" painted by artist SL Haldenkar usually mistaken to be a work of Raja Ravi Varma

The painting is currently on display on the second floor of the museum, in an enclave with a curtained window. The enclave is normally darkened, which highlights the subtlety of the glowing candle in the piece. When the light is turned on, the painting reveals remarkably subtle shades of pink and lavender in the woman's sari. Open…

Barbers & Barber poles

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How many of you know this famous sign signifies a barbershop? They are not usually seen in India, but I learnt recently that there is plenty of history behind it!!

As a child, in places like Pallavur which we visited during summer holidays, we got haricuts from the traveling barber. He was summoned a few days in advance, and he would come by with his sheet and worn out implements. My grand uncles used to say that he did one hell of a job. But well, for me, as a kid, barbershops were terrifying. They say I used to bawl for years. Now of course I enjoy chatting with the barber. I came across the first female barbers in USA, later in UK. Man, they sure are chatty!! The one I have now is a Srilankan lady, so we talk about music, Bollywood and Muthaih Muralitharan or Jayasurya…

The best I have come across are in Turkey, oh! were they good. You don’t have to say anything, they knew precisely what to do, like my favorite ‘Balus’ at SM Street and now also located on Mavoor road. The Turks also …

A trip to NAPA and music thereafter

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Friday was rough; I had a tough day at Napa Valley.

When I wrote that line, I thought about a tour guide’s recent remark and laughed. A couple of weeks ago, we had guests at home and we were taking an LA tour – Hollywood and all, with the awestruck guests. The driver of the tour bus / tour guide was a sharp Croat, who came up with very witty one liners now and then. While we were passing the Beverly hills Blvd, he would say – Look at all those nicely dressed, pampered & rich women, they are having what they would call ‘a tough day’, the poor things, they have to wake up late, have a long & leisurely breakfast and then rough it out with a tiring shopping day. Then they have to sit in the hot sun and eat that salad costing $150, at that classy star restaurant, man! what a rough life!!! And of course, we all laughed.

Anyway the not so rich and not so young guy who is writing this had a rough day at Napa valley. Now those of you who know about Napa must have sniggered, like we did i…

Driving a Ferrari

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People who read my earlier blog on the Montblanc Meisterstuck would have read of my stupid desire to own a Ferrari. Naturally a pipe dream and we all agree with that. But well, hear this now. I got to drive a Ferrari two weeks ago. My cousin owns one and we had a go at it, while at Cleveland Ohio.

It was an exhilarating though short-lived experience. I did not really let rip on a highway since I was new to Ohio roads and since I had no plans of making close encounters with animate & inanimate objects. And of course, I was nervous and worried about insurance and other mundane matters. Behind the wheels, it felt great revving the engine up and speeding up to 60-70 mph in a flash (Less than 7 seconds is what the specifications state). The steering was hard (trying a U turn took an effort), the cornering reasonably tight. The 6 position stick shift was a bit tight, the engine took 10 minutes to warm up initially and putting the car into reverse required pressingdown the shift to engage…

Eat what we have and pay what you like!!

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There has always been a dormant wish in my mind – to start a restaurant, but the ‘missus’ does not agree that it a good idea. Even though I tried explaining about the subtle differences between our bus stop ‘chayakada’ (tea shop) and what was in my mind….I tell her that she should view me like Bachan saab in “Cheeni Kum’ and not like the pot bellied guy at Ananda Bhawan…but she just grunts ‘Hooo hrrm’…Apparently there is a big difference, not just in height & pony tail…I guess it was not entirely appropriate to compare myself with Bachan saab!!!

My idea had been to serve Desi, authentic South Indian fare, especially Malabari & Palakkadan dishes to the unsuspecting desi’s and non desi’s out here… I have not come across any such place in the USA, so far…but, well the idea is still in deep freeze and not expected to thaw out, ever. So I try out my hand at cooking during week ends, seriously enjoying the process…especially with a CD of old (sometimes ancient) Malayalam or Hindi son…

The tale of Monte Cassino

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Recently, as a tourist to Washington DC, I sauntered along like many others, rapidly past the WWII and Vietnam War memorials, taking in a superficial view of days gone by and sacrifices long forgotten. Oh, It was not my war, I thought, the Washington DC sun is hot; let me get a move on before the Washington monument line opens up…That was probably a bit callous, I agree.

A fellow blogger (thanks to GVK’s introduction) Abraham Tharakan steered me towards a long forgotten war where many thousands of Indians died fighting a foolish & stupid battle, the ‘Battle of Cassino’. This one took me to the Liri valley, where unfortunately over 5,000 Indians perished in a war that they had nothing much to do with, really.

Which country provided 2.5 million soldiers for a war, soldiers who wanted to be soldiers, many Punjabi’s and Nepali’s, bearing in mind that not a single one of them was a conscript? It was India and the war was WW II. Who remembers the 35,000 or more Indians who laid their live…

The painting assignment

Jamal saw the ad in the local paper – it asked for experienced painters who had some exposure to the print industry, location - in Alkhobar Saudi Arabia. Little did Jamal know of the rigours and tasks that awaited him in the desert sands. He wondered if he was the right guy, but he wanted a job. The ad asked him to appear in person for an interview at an address in Mumbai. He was a painter all right, but not one who had any idea about the print media and all that, he was a house painter in Malappuram. He did know about emulsions and grades for brushes & rollers, he knew how to painstakingly do a house over in the hot Kerala sun, but like I said before, he wanted the job. So off went our enterprising Mallu friend for the interview. Our man got the job finally, but that is another story and not entirely pleasant reading. The guy at the interview told him nothing about the job (he was told not to ask too many questions by the brusque interviewers), Jamal assumed that he would have to…

Oyster pails and Greek helmets

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I must confess that the idea for this article came from the ‘food network’ which we watch once in a while when the many serials on TV have run their course and there are no more channels to surf. This one was very interesting, talking about the connections between oyster pails, fast food and Greek helmets. Aha! Wonder what they have in common? Read on..

Let’s start with a statistic. Did you know that Chinese take away alone outnumbers the total purchases of MacDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger king and such the in the USA? Unbelievable, eh? Well that is a fact. US spend about 170 billion dollars on fast food annually!! The first of the lot was a food chain called White Castle from Kansas that’s served steamed burgers (called Slyders) since 1916 with fries and cola for 5 cents. Since people had a pretty poor opinion on the meat used in the burgers, white castle opened up the manufacturing process of the burger to the public and that has how it has been since then – open kitchens. 27 years late…

Mungaru Male

Not since the ‘Bandhana’ songs (and Dr Rajkumar’s ‘Belathigalagi Baa’) has a collection enthralled me like the songs from ‘Mungaru Male’ - the present rage in Karnataka and a shining feather in Kannadiga caps…Mungaru male means Pre monsoon showers

Listen to the title song yourself, sung by Sonu Nigam. It is a fascinating song that has been going round & round in my head for a few days now. The movie has more great numbers by Sonu, Shreya, Udit & Kunal Ganjewala, but nothing to beat the title number though. Sonu has sung it with such authority and some of the inflections that he has brought to certain parts of the song, have to be heard to appreciate…As you listen, you may be reminded of many other songs, but this composition eventually stands tall. One of these days, I will find a translation of the lyrics, they are quite poetic, actually!!



Mungaru Maleye

Mungaru Maleye….Yenu ninna Hanigala Leele
Ninna Mugila Saale, Dhareya Korala Premada Maale
Suriva Olume Aajadi Malege, Preeti Mo…