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Foodie Hai To Aisa Ho

5 Sep

There are eaters and there are eaters but none capable of emptying a kitchen like my cousin U. Growing up in Mysore, he was single-handedly responsible for most restaurants changing from full meal schemes to plate meal schemes.

Theres the time when he had 3 set dose’s (that 12 in total), a bisi-bele-baath,coffee for breakfast and then went home and had more idlies that my grandma had made.

Or he time when he had his Andhra meal and then proceeded to finish off the side dishes from our plates as well (he hated wasting food).

He once landed from the USA (where he lives now) and waited for Vidyarthi Bhavan to open at 6 AM before proceeding by Taxi to Mysore…and he stopped at Maddur for a second round of breakfast.

However the one that I remember the best was during a trip to a place called Mandagere on the banks of the Hemavati River.

A group of 8 landed in Mandagere by train at around 10 pm. Mandagere station was deserted and we were hungry. We decided to knock on the door of the eatery on the platform. The sleepy owner agreed to make us idlis (poor man). At 10 paise per idli it was a steal. We also placed an order for a further 80 idlis the next morning. The guy assured us that his son would bring it over to the Travelers Bungalow where we were staying.

The Bungalow was beautiful. It was on the banks of the Hemavati river which was flowing full.

Next day morning the owner’s son showed up with the idlis and coffee (which was fantastic by the way). He also informed us that lunch would be served at noon. A full meal for One Rupee and Fifty Paisa. U was already pacing himself.

We decided to go to lunch in batches of four. Uday chooses to go with the second do I. The first batch leaves at noon and is back at quarter to. Then its our turn.

The food was simple and delicious. However the full meal scheme was a mistake especially with U in town. He decides to have 2-3 helpings of each course. Inside we can hear a heated discussion between the owner and the cook. They are scraping the bottom of the barrel in the kitchen. Obviously they are running out of stuff.

Then after its all over, U says “Maybe I will have another round” which DG (another friend with us) says “He’ll probably kill you if you ask for more”..

The owner comes out of the kitchen (he probably heard us talking)…before we can say anything he says in Kannada “Saar, I have spent full days provisions on you people, I will have to shut down for the rest of the day. Normally I serve 60 meals, today I have served only 40…please don’t ask for more..”

NOTE:  As I type this post, U is in town on a quick visit. He went into Vidyarthi Bhavan last week and when the waiter asked what he wanted he said “Bring me one of everything…” . He did the same at Maiyas the next day.

The legend continues.

Missing Bride

24 Mar

Our neighbour Murthy’s daughter Vasantha got married and moved from Jayanagar to Malleswaram. Even though the commute was 15 minutes those days, she might have as well moved to another country.

The day of her first visit back to her parents house caused considerable excitement in the neighborhood – we kids hoped to con the new husband into buying us some Dosa (our esteem of a person those days was based upon his ability and willingness to buy us stuff at the local restaurant – in some ways it still is)…this scam usually worked for a few months and then we had to find another bakra…

The family had prepared an elaborate welcome ceremony, complete with welcome “Arathi” etc etc..

“There he is” shouted one of the eagle eyed young ones from his perch on the compound wall..

There he was..we saw his scooter turning into the road and slowly make its way up towards us..but as he got closer we saw he was riding alone.. No Vassantha..

He approaches the waiting group with a shy smile…and suddenly realizes that we are all watching him..mouths open..wanting to say something but not able to…

“Vasantha Yellappa?” (wheres Vasantha?) someone finally manages to ask..

“Shes right here…” begins the husband looking at us strangely and then turning towards the pillion seat..but theres no Vasantha in the pillion..his look changes from “shy smile” to “sheepish.. what the **** happened??” in a second.

By the time we figure out..the young “eagle eyed” kid shouts again “Here she is !!!”. We all turn to see Vasantha lumbering up the street..

Turns out that they had stopped at the traffic signal nearby. When the light turned green, the scooter lunged forward causing Vasantha to slip out of the pillion seat (no she didnt fall). Mr. Husband, not realizing that his better half was not behind him zoomed off and made his victorious approach to his in-laws house …..solo.

Anyway alls well that ends well…Everyone had a good laugh… the new guy bought us extra stuff just to stop us from teasing him.

Vasantha didnt think it was funny thinks it was their first spat.

The Hall Ticket

16 Feb

Events evoke memories. Nikhil’s preparation for his tenth board exams took me back to a time when I almost didn’t make it to mine.

Hall tickets were given. Like all my other friends, I took the hall ticket to the local Ganesha Temple where the priest “blessed” was then bought back home and mom checked every detail on the thing to make sure it was okay. The name, date of birth etc etc…

“Its very important” she said.. “the name had to be correct”

“Oh well” said dad.. “If its printed wrong, we’ll just change his name”

Fortunately everything was okay. During my younger days, my name frequently got changed to “Vijaya”.. that extra “a” turned it into a girl’s name.. so I was glad that the name was right.

After the initial euphoria, the hall ticket was kept in a “Safe Place”.

The concept of a “safe place” has been immortalized in houses round the world…. It generally means “never to be found again”…

The day before the exams, there was a suggestion to “tape” the hall ticket to my exam pad. But wait a minute… where was the hall ticket?? !!!!!

No one knew..not mom, of course not dad..not Aditya (he was 4 years old at that time)…everyone was a suspect…we looked everywhere, the house, the neighbourhood garbage pile (thinking maid had thrown it)…no luck !!!

So, the day before my tenths, I am not sure whether I will be allowed to take the exam. Not the sort of mood you want to be in when you are going to be writing (at that point in time), one of the most important exams of your life. Getting a duplicate was out of the question.

Next day, mom went with me to Chandrashekariah’s (KSC, the HM) office. After some discussions (and KSC berating me for not taking care of things), it was decided that he would accompany me to the exam hall every day and tell the external examiner that I was to be allowed to write the exams.

So, the rest of the exams went that way. I’d go and wait outside KSC’s office, he’d come out 10 minutes before the exams stated and led me to the room. He never forgot to wish me luck.

As for the hall ticket….thats still a mystery…
Cross posted on Vijaya High Chronicles

In Police “Custody”

7 Feb

Vaarning.. local lingo and local englees speakings

As I see motorcycles without lights, and bicycles bearing three times the allowed number of passengers cruising past the cops, I get carried away to simpler times when the cops had little else on their plate and would spend the evenings tracking down bicycles without lights and people riding doubles.

One such even occured when Madan, Mubasheer and I were coming back from the movies. Yes, there were three of us on one bicycle.

Our technique was perfect, everytime we approached a junction, two of the “illegal” passengers would get off and walk past and then get back on after we passed the policeman.

On that fateful day, not only were we overloaded..we were “Under-Lit” (no lights). If anyone has ridden a bicycle with a dynamo, they know what a pain it is. It derives its  power from the wheel.. it also makes the bicycle that much more difficult to ride…and gives you a hernia…so normally it was not used.

So that evening, we had successfully evaded getting caught and and were finally on the home stretch. We were passing by an usually empty junction where suddenly a policeman jumped out of the darkness and caught us….

The three of us were dragged to the Ashoka Pillar Police station where we had to wait for the constable’s boss… the “daphedaar” to direct his attention at us.

“Yenro? Tribbal riding hogtha idra… baddi makkala” (Loose Translation: What I say, you are doing triple riding??? you sons of loans)

We were quivering…shaking…I was thinking about jail…the movie we had just watched was a story about some guy who ended up in a Mexican Prison. Imaginations ran wild.

Mubi was giggling. He always had (even today) the ability to see the funny side of things…. he pointed out that the daphedaar had his zipper then all of us started answering in a half giggly and half nervous voice.

“Ayya Caaanstablu… forty three” he called out to the villian who bought us in… “eee nanna makkala hatthira hatthu rupayee fine iskolappa” (take 10 rupees fine from these sones of mine… “hello father”)

“Yenu saaar..” Mubi pipes up…”namma hatthira hatthu paisa kooda illa” (rekspected saar.. we do no have even 10 paisa)…then he suddenly said… “cycle alli idhe saar” (money is in the cycle)…

“Aaa Sari… hogi thogondu baa… ley 43… karkondu hogo” (ok go and bring.. hey 43 take them)…

Now how the guy let all the three go downstairs I dont know.. but along the way Mubi explained that we were going to make a run for it…while he took the bike and ran…we were supposed to run in different directions…

“You can never get a good job if you have a police record” I remember someone telling me this…now not only was I going to have a police record I was going to be a fugitive as well…

“” I hissed…” I was too scared…”. Fortunately Mubi was scared of me becuase I was his only hope for passing Sanskrit exams… so that plan was not carried out…

Of course there was no money in the cycle… so we just stood there with stupid grins on our faces… the constable was about to say something…when… Suddenly there was chaos, a group of people were dragging a man to the police station… from the abuses that were being hurled, we deciphered that the guy had been caught red handed while stealing….

Behind the group was the inspector…”Yay 43… ivanna volage karkondu hogo” (Take this guy inside)…

Suddenly we were all forgotten…all the attention was on the new situation…and the entire procession made its way indoors…

As if on cue Mubi slowly started pushing the bicycle and then picked up pace..jumped on it and cycled away with Madan and Me sprinting behind him…we looked behind to see if the Rakshasa (sorry constable) was after us.. but obviously we were yesterdays goods…

Did not go near Ashoka Pillar for the next 3 months….

The Dog

18 Nov

I don’t have a dog now.. never will.. thats not because I don’t like dogs.

“Dad can I have a dog?” used to be my perennial question to my dad.

“We already have you” used to be the answer.

So I decided to take things into my own hand and started scouting for a puppy.. after many days of asking.. Jayarama who used to live down the street said he knew somebody who knew somebody whose dog was expecting a litter. I had to pay Jayarama one rupee for his efforts.

Life went on, I forgot about this “request” and continued with my quest for a dog…

One day out of the blue, Jayarama appears at my school during lunchtime. “I have the dog” he says excitedly.. “I left it in your backyard as no one was home”.

I was ecstatic.. my own dog. I promised to pay Jayarama later – he wasn’t happy with that but one rupee was was a lot of money and I didn’t carry money around in 6th grade.

Continue reading


12 Nov

Heading back to my Engineering College days (see how effortlessly I dropped the hint that I did Engineering).

So one fine day the “Blood Donation” camp arrived…all of us volunteered. Not because of any sense of service but because not donating was tantamount to being called chicken and your name would go up on the toilet walls (no one wants their name on the toilet walls).

Come the day of the camp and all of us hesitantly made our way to the venue. Rumors were already floating around “Seena Fainted” they said, “Muthu’s blood was blue,” someone else bleated…”They could not find Sanjay’s blood type”… it went on and on. The only positive thing was there were free bananas to be had..and in those days anything free was worth it…

The first step in the process was to determine the blood type. One of my other classmates Vishy and I gave our samples together..we screamed when the finger was pricked to draw some blood…I kid you of course. Then there was this 10 minute wait while we anxiously waited for our blood types (what if we were like Sanjay???)…

While we were waiting.. we glanced across the room where bottles of blood were being collected from the other folks (oh by the way, it was an all boys college… thats another story).

Suddenly our thoughts were interrupted by the person who took our samples.. “Vokay… both of your blood types are Hopeless”…

Our worst nightmares came true.. Vishy and I gave each other a mutually sympathetic look. “Wwwwhat?” we managed to quaver… the guy gave us and annoyed look and said “Yes appa both your blood types are Ho Plus”… and he proceeded to write the words O+ on a sheet of paper… “Yuver blood is HO PLUS.. UNDERSTOOD AAA??”.

We understood.

P.S: Sanjay’s blood type was HO PLUS as well…

New Post on Vijay High Chronicles

4 Sep

Check out Missing Classes on the Vijaya High Chronicles Page

Cross posted at: The Vijaya High Blog