Monday, August 31, 2015

601, 600, 599, 598, 597

From www.pexels.com
Returned from Bangalore and it was a really good trip.

1. Got a superb haircut. Went to Mirror and You at UB City on a whim. A lady called Neelima cut my hair. She worked in Kit and Sam in Bombay earlier and is very very good and very very swift. Was in an out of the parlor in under 30 minutes...and this includes hair wash.

2. Took the metro. It's so great and convenient and cheap - considering the autofares and cab fares in Bangalore.

3. Ate seriously good food.

4. Had lots to drink. Toit on Indranagar brews its own beer and I tried something called the Tintin which was excellent and a variety brewed from Basmati rice - which was awesome. (I just heard that they're opening in Pune and Bombay, which is something I will very closely watch out for.) The Long Island Iced Tea at Lemon Tree topped up with Jasmine tea instead of Cola is lovely!

5. Church Street, Brigade Road, and MG Road - in that order - feel like Christmas. You walk down one of those small lanes and all the coffee shops are blaring music. They are cheery places, all in all.

6. Blossoms from where I got an armful of Barbara Cartland for a friend. She's also written a cookbook!

7. Very smart black skirt - it has pockets and a brown braided belt. And a cream top with a beaded pattern and slouchy shoulders. I got these from Chemistry opposite UB City.

8. Wisdom. I was really sad for a few days when I reached Bangalore and my pal's leaves got canceled. I was supposed to hang out with her but in any case, I generally roamed about and it just seemed very acute to me that I was by myself. With no way out. It just felt that I was invisible and irrelevant. What did I matter and what did my opinion or my feelings or anything matter? It was making me all weepy and stuff. So I used to look forward to traveling for long distances by bus - where I'd be tending to a really tender wounded heart in the comfortable anonymity that a big city allows. But I did get some time with my pals - some real quality time. Either before they got to work or during an evening when we were waiting for our dishes to arrive. It helped me. A lot.

9. Thalasserie, a Kerala joint, makes superb pepper fry. I wish I'd had more food there.

10. Lalbaugh - magical and mysterious and just very inspiring.

11. Have come back with a plan to return.





Tuesday, August 25, 2015

602

At my friend's house, I've taken to watching some cooking shows with her. One of them is 'My Kitchen Rules' which is really excellent! It's an Australian show (or rather I'm watching the Australian version) and those people are so good! Although there are a couple of mean Asian girls, the show overall has a good nice vibe. Somehow, the Australian shows don't get as vicious as the American shows.

We also tried out Thalassarie here, in Electronic City. I believe it's a chain and it's known for the Kerala food, although they have a multi-cuisine menu. The mushroom pepper fry and the ghee rice was out-stand-ing! It was superlative! I absolutely loved it!

Wrote another piece on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-grows-garden-mukta-raut?trk=pulse_spock-articles


Monday, August 24, 2015

603

I have thought of writing fiction on LinkedIn. Well, not full-blown fiction, really - maybe a vignette, a small poem, an paragraph on something from my imagination. Is that weird? Is LinkedIn not the place to do that? Those pieces will be my equivalent of the potted plants you put in an office to humanize and pretty up the place.

I put up the first one there. It's titled 'a mood'. I don't know how to link it here.

Okay. I found it: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/mood-mukta-raut?trk=hp-feed-article-title-publish




606, 605, 604: So far in Bangalore

In Bangalore now. Here for a short trip. The rain is cold.So cold. Places seem to be really far far far away from each other but the distances are choked up with a lot of prettiness. I went to Lalbaugh the other day and it was so lush and beautiful. The space around the Lalbag lake was stunning and dreamy! There were three shades of blue and grey in the skies and maybe five shades of greens in the waters. We saw the most spectacular kinds of trees with mindbendingly awesome trunks! Trees are what took my breath away in Bangalore during the first visit. Trees are what I loved this time around too!

This time I have really enjoyed the food here. We went to this place, 'Republic of Noodles' in Lemon Tree and it's a brilliant place. (This one's in Electronic City). My friend wanted her Long Island Iced Tea to be topped up with tea, not cola. It sounded interesting so I thought I'd try the same. It was delicious and made the drink even more potent. Our LIIT was topped with jasmine tea and I would strongly urge everyone in Bangalore (whoever imbibes) to go and try it out! And they had a veg soup and a poached peach dessert that were class acts.

Also had dosas at MTR that were superb! MTR, opposite Lalbag is an all-in-all superb place. It's an iconic, old establishment - they invented rava idlis (when there was paucity of rice during one of the world wars - or so my pal informs me.) We had dosas, bisibele bhat, rava idli, fruit salad, and idli vada. And coffee that came in silver cups. Like wow! WOW!

So far good times. But I have to work from home tomorrow which I am slightly bummed about.

But you gotta do what you gotta do.

Anyway, if anyone who's reading this is in the Electronic City area tomorrow and wants to catch up, please write to me. I would need to get out to get some coffee in the evening. Let me know. You can write to me at mukta.raut@gmail.com.

Also, I'll have Tuesday and Wednesday free - so any recommendations on what I could do - most helpful...and if anyone's around to go window shopping at Brigade Road or MG Road one of these days, do let me know. Thank you!







Thursday, August 20, 2015

607: Just a little bit to get it out of the system

Met up with a couple of pals last evening at Apache, which is a Pune cheap booze hangout place, I hear. The equivalent of Gokul's or Janata in Bombay. One of my friends has moved to Bangalore and she was telling me all about the breweries there and the set up availablle for entrepreneurs who'd like a space to work off from - you get a daily pass for a fee and in return you get a work station, unlimited coffee and unlimited wi-fi. THAT is the making of a big city!

We had beers which were not very chilled until we complained. Then we got chilled beers. Then the three of us talked about spooky stuff and it was good.

I misread the date of my travel to Bangalore. I'm leaving tomorrow instead of day after which is when I thought I would be leaving. There's a ton of stuff I need to finish and I haven't even started yet. It's likely that I will need to work during the first couple of days during my leave and my laptop is on the fritz...so there is THAT.

Anyway, I have packed - mostly.

Will see how the day goes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

612, 611, 610, 609, 608: When life's good, it may hand you a lemon

I was very sleepy yesterday. It was compounded by the fact that I had very little to do and the whole day to do it. So I procrastinated. So much so that even my procrastination procrastinated. It kicked in later in the day towards tea time. Then I just felt like leaving for home without doing a lick of work. THEN I felt guilty because well, I get paid to do good work. And if good work is not possible, then SOME work - which is what I set my benchmark as. By that time, my eyes were almost shutting so I went over to Nature's Basket because I wanted to look at wine bottles. They seem to rejuvenate me somehow or get some shot of cold-pressed vegetable juices that are supposed to be good for you.

Once I was there, I thought it was no point trying to fool myself so I just reached for two cans of Red Bull instead. Also got a packet of instant Ramen that looked funky and stupid, therefore appealing, to my tired eyes.

Anyway, I paid up with my Sodexo coupons - which is the best part of buying anything from Nature's Baasket. You can pay with Sodexos and it doesn't feel like you're spending money.

The hitch, though, is that you don't get your change back.

I was just tearing up my Sodexos (from the coupon booklet) when a man came and stood behind me. I got nervous. I get nervous when there's a line behind me as I tear stubborn bits of paper from perforated sections. Anyway, I tore up maybe five rupees worth more than the coupon and handed it over to the cashier. He told me I wouldn't be getting back any change and I said okay.

As I moved away, the cashier said I could take a lemon. Maybe that's the only thing they had worth five rupees. A lemon. I picked one that was bright yellow and cheery with a cute, knobbly skin.

Came back, glugged my Red Bull, and finished work.


Thursday, August 13, 2015

616, 615, 614, 613

I searched for books on loneliness. Good Reads throws up these interesting suggestions (Jane Eyre and 1984 are part of it).

http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/3468.Books_on_Loneliness


Yesterday I did not go to work because there was another personal crisis. I cooked for a friend. I bought three bottles of wine and my friend and I had all of it. We ate on the terrace and she made me listen to some really nice songs from Qayamat se Qayamat Tak.

For a bit, we lay on your backs looking up at the sky and it was a beautiful grey-black-blue sky and thick tufts of leaves blew stiffly - the way one would swing a bottle-brush slowly.

Today I was listening to an interview where a bunch of writers were discussing David Foster Wallace. Someone suggested that maybe he tried to 'do a Kurt Cobain', i.e. - he killed himself so that he could immortalize himself a cult figure. (I thought it was a very harsh and cruel assessment). Someone else said that Wallace killing himself was not about career advancement. It was more about a mental illness. People with suicidal tendencies, someone pointed out, do not wake up every morning wanting to kill themselves. They wake up every morning thinking 'why they should not'. On the day when the answer doesn't come, the suicide happens.

People discuss all kinds of shit.



Sunday, August 09, 2015

61:7 First Impression: Man's Search for Meaning (Book I read - part 2)

Man’s Search for Meaning 
by Viktor E. Frankl




This is a vital book.


It’s about a doctor who underwent the concentration camp experience and, based on his experience, devised the theory and practice of logotherapy. Logotherapy is the treatment of a condition or a disorder by linking it to a person’s will to find meaning in his or her life. It is quite a major school of psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. The premise, put simply, is in a quote cited in the book, “A man with a strong enough why can put up with any kind of how.” (It’s not the exact quote but close enough.) The book, towards the end, has some tools to understand and apply logotherapy to one’s life. 

My interest in this book, however, was more at a small, individual level – as in, how do you butter bread or pour tea after you’ve come out from a concentration camp? You have lost everything - all your loved ones, your life’s work; you have undergone pain, you got through day after day clawing at any shred of kindness you can find (some prisoners would actually give one of their shoes to someone who’d lost a toe to frost-bite, even though they knew that they would suffer the same fate). These people who've gone through so much - if they survived the camp and were freed, they’d commit suicide. 


From what I understand, as long as they were in the concentration camp, they had a will to live. They had a purpose – to get away from the horror, to reunite with their loved ones, and to return to the life they had. Once they got free, maybe they didn’t have their loved ones anymore, they didn’t have the goal to get away from the camp, and they had the burden of the traumatic memories to carry for the rest of their lives. The clincher, is that piece– the.rest.of.the.Life. Considering that seems endless, why bother to continue living? 

This is where Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy comes in. The discipline is about finding out what goal is meaningful, as opposed to joyous. This was a huge revelation for me. Many times we get possessive about pain because it gives us a reason to continue living – because the maybe the goal of getting over the pain is the goal we move towards. If we happen to accomplish that, then what’s left?

As with books about the concentration camp or any such horror in history, I’m always intrigued with the human-scale bigness of the people who underwent that. There is a part of the book when Viktor is lying down at night in a cell that’s choked with a hundred men. He’s thinking about his wife. Somewhere in the distance, he hears a violin playing. It was his wife’s birthday that night.

Many times in the book he writes about how the memory of his wife and his love for her kept him going.


It’s a very good book, especially for the times when we forget just how much muscle love and meaning can have.

617

This British astrologer talks about his personal experience about curses. I found it very moving, especially when he talks about how he empathizes with whoever feels cursed.

Here is the link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qOjvB1oRnk

It feels very genuine. He lay out how much his own charges are, how he gets nervous when he talks about the kind of backlash he's expecting or the kind that came his way earlier.
 

Friday, August 07, 2015

620, 619, 618: Recommending eats in Pune (Part 1)

1. The Book Song CafĂ© in Aundh behind McDonald's: The first thing you should know is that it's very very cute - like dollhouse cute - and maybe that's why I'm gushing. Neat space with nifty knick-knacks and books in Korean. There's a tiny patio, a space on top where you sit on the floor along with some stuffed toys seen in a teen's room, and maybe two small tables on the ground level. I love that space for the nibbles of good taste that spot is surrounded with. You get a great assortment of herb teas (I like their white chocolate and lavender) and very nice French toast. Also, I'm partial to the hazelnut black - which is black coffee with hazelnut flavour. They don't accept cards, service is slow-ish, and no takeaways. But it's a pretty, pretty spot with some good stuff. Reminds me of a simpler time - which is exactly the mood I go for when having coffee.

2. Malaka Spice, Baner: I think that a restaurant is evolved when they have thoughtful non-chocolate options on the menu. Or something other than honey noodles (which really, when you think about it is what?!) Anyway, the monsoon menu at Malaka has some options made with jaggery that are very, very good! The other night, I just had soup and 3 desserts - all jaggery-based. There was a jaggery pudding which comes looking really tiny on the plate - like an innocent, lost continent. But it's flavorful and somehow, just right when you mindfully eat spoonful after spoonful. They also have a wedge of jaggery tart that is served warm and, from how wholesome it feels, maybe with grandma's blessings. This was my favourite. The other thing, that I really wish Malaka increased their portion of, was the jaggery ice-cream served with caramelized oranges. I got only two scoops of that sweet churn and two quarters of the orange. There should be three scoops and 5 quarters of oranges. I don't know how I arrived at that number but it feels good to my heart.

3. Kimling, Aundh: Some days, I get tired of places serving so little food that it looks like the grub is painted on the plate. Kim Ling is not that place. I love how a thick wad of spring rolls comes laden on a pan or how the noodles overflow from the bowl or the soup looks like it's a river in spate. I love this place because one does get tired of this minimalistic nonsense that is taking over the world. Less is not always more. Sometimes less is less only. Sometimes the heart just needs to burp at the sight of plenty.

4. Food Court, Baner: Whatever else you have in this place, definitely try out their tandoori food - especially with people from Delhi who make it their job to not like anything from anywhere. A friend from Delhi almost teared up at their chicken sholay kebab. And I would earnestly recommend their tandoori mushrooms. Not the tandoori mushrooms with melted cheese - which is strictly okay - but tandoori mushrooms that are perfectly seasoned and marinated and charred. Eat two plates of it with a broccoli and badaam soup.

 

Monday, August 03, 2015

621

This piece of lush beauty is from www.pexels.com

Weather so soulful, it feels like destiny.

622: Wines, dessert at Malaka Spice, getting stranded and other things

Today, there were four glasses of some mediocre merlot and a nice dessert wine. There were two glasses of chilled white wine. There were three desserts - jaggery pudding, jaggery ice-cream, and  jaggery tart - all at Malaka Spice. There was a late night drive with someone we just met. The car ran out of fuel on the highway. Then even later my friend and I went for a drive by ourselves. There was a near-enough accident with a car with two boys who chased and followed our cars until they had shouted an abuse and showed the finger.


That was the day today.

Add caption
 

Sunday, August 02, 2015

623: the day i looked good



Last night, I sat in the car after driving back from Phoenix. I'd returned from a work trip to Lonavala. I'd slumped off in the cab ride to office. By the time I reached work, I was shivering with hunger and fever. My neck hurt. A slow fever was taking over. I wanted to get away soon from work, so my friend and I decided to watch a movie. So after a 12 hour work-day, I drove to Phoenix. There was a mighty traffic snarl. Took me two hours to reach the cinema. My eyes watered and my knuckles were clenched. I was very angry.

It was again a really late night. I had started feeling weepy all over again. It's like clockwork how the dark pain unspools on nights. Then the song 'Kuchh toh bata zindagi' from Bajrangi Bhaijaan came on. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwrCYAIdkeM) I love that song and I love that movie. This song is picturised on Nawaz, Salman, and the little girl when they're looking for the girl's home. They haven't found it yet but the mood is still cheerful and soft. Like when you know that from wherever you reach, there'll be no further walking or struggle or the possibility of getting up an going again. For some reason, at that point, I just felt that I have no home. I don't have a situation from where I feel I will not have to struggle any more. And all this while, the many meditations, the abstinence from liquor or everything else - last night, it felt that I was punishing myself. Like I was serving time interminably. All that was making me brittle and I was crumbling.

I don't want to die like this. Even if I have to live with this weepy chaos every single minute of my life, I want it to be well taken care of. It is still a part of me, however it is. Long time ago, a man I loved very much had told me, in anger maybe, that it was my destiny to cry. Much of my time since then has been either trying to get him to take that back or prove him wrong or worry about whether he is right. He's not in the picture anymore but somehow that statement had become my dictum to live by or against for all this time.

I feel now I am done.

Today I had fever and some weird deliriums. Later a friend got kharvas which is a sweet, milky pudding made of the cow's first milk. It is so tasty! I sat and ate one square at time, just soaking in he sweetness. Not worrying how fat I'll become or whether my pants will get tight. We went out to a pub after. I simply wore loose clothes. I drank beautiful, ruby colored Absinthe. After so many years of not touching liquor, I had Absinthe. I swayed to the music. My friend and I sat somewhere with our drinks and giggled. She clicked us.

In the picture, I glowed. The hair looks glossy, my eyes are bright, the skin's glowing, and I actually look beautiful!

Sometimes I feel that I think that my destiny is damaged in some way. And when that person said what he said, I felt that if I argued long and hard, then that wouldn't come true. But a destiny, broken or not, is what has kept me going for so long. My pain, my joy, my other end of the parallel line...today, I drank to that.

Even a broken destiny, I'm guessing, can say 'Cheers!'





Saturday, August 01, 2015

624: First Impressions: Drishyam

It is unnecessarily slow and loud in some places and although one remains a huge Tabu fan, one wonders if she's becoming a contemporary Rakhee of sorts who always has problems with her sons (Namesake, Astitva, Haider, this one...). Rajat Kapur is wasted in a linen shirt, and who is that napkin who plays Ajay Devgn's wife? But in places where it's only Devgn, Tabu, and that stellar cop - Gaitonde or Gaikonde, I rooted, I cheered, and I applauded. Ajay Devgn's eyes need their own separate credits in casting.

It was a good watch, all in all...