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Monday, May 23, 2022

 A daydream just like that  :  

Today i was free for a few hours in the afternoon . After lunch i started to daydream . It was not a passive daydream but rather an active daydream .  I mean i dreamed of Russia actively  though the computer was not near me to type the words . Can i call it a dream or daydream?. You decide  . 

I always had a fascination about russia or the soviet union which was what it was when i was a child . Those fairy tales from russia which were available in india due to cultural exchange policy . That influenced me  .  Tales of Masha and ivan with the villainess babayaga , of loving fathers and mothers , beautiful nature , small adventures what else a child needs .  

Coming back to the dream . I am in Russia  . I am in Volgagrad the place with the huge statue of mother russia with her sword raised to the sky . One of the biggest statues in the world commemorating the great patriotic war and the millions of lives lost defending their country  from nazi germany during 1940s  . I am a tourist visiting there . The year is 2024  .  I am lying prostrate in front of the statue out of respect and  a deep fascination . For me russia is an emotion and have been learning the language and history for more than an year  .  I stood up and saw a man recording me on video what i had done . He found it curious a non russian bowing in front of mother of russia statue .  He asked me about myself and why i did it .  When i knew that he was from russia i started speaking in russian  and words started flowing along with it snippets of russian history as i understood it  . The mobile video was recording . He told he was an amateur youtuber and asked if he can post it in his russian group  . I agreed .  

That night i slept in my hotel and next day there was a knock on the door . Two russian policemen were at the door .  The minister wants to see you , they told  .  I tried to wake up from my dream but could not .  Which minister ? kak ? Chto ? I mumbled in my russian .  Did you have your breakfast , Sir  ?  They asked . I thought my last breakfast before the gulags of Siberia .  Yes . I mean No .  They smiled .  Sir in russia we say either Yes or No . Not both . Sir seems like you dont know what happened . You became viral yesterday .  Your video of bowing to motherland statue and the interview in russian got a million views . The minister of culture wants to see you . Oh my God . Nadia , the famous protestor and punk rock artist had become the famous culture minister of democratic russia by this time . Did i say democratic  ? Yes  .  Russia had become a democracy in 2023  and in the new ministry with former chess champion Kasparov as head Nadia had become the minister for culture and overseas relations . The funniest was she was the only minister in the world who held rock concert still once every month inspite of official duties .  

My heart got excited . After all i am not going to the gulag  . The limousine stopped in front of a beautiful building . All moscow buildings are beautiful just like the women .  pazhalyuista  . They told me  . I was dreaming in the car  still shocked at this surreal experience . Wow . Nadia looking as gorgeous as ever i had seen her only in music videos .  Dobrey din  .  Dobrey din i replied automatically  .  And then i went mute  .  Are you the one who did a speech in russian about our culture . But you are mute now  . She laughed .  Ya magu smeyetsya ?  Can i laugh  ?  I dont know what possessed me but i blurted out . Kaneshna , patriot  ,she told .  

The temperature outside was -20 degrees . Its a cold winters day  .  Rather than an official meeting it felt like a meeting of friends .  She sang a song  for me  and i sang viktor tsois songs grabbing the electric guitar kept there . The dinner that day was fabulous .   As was customary i had already given her a big bouquet of flowers ( odd number  )  and a small gift from kerala which i had kept in my bag . We have a gift for you  .She told  . A padarak  .  Where is your passport . I got panicky  . There was no passport with me  . Then i remembered . The police had took it when they visited me in the hotel  . Those two were nowhere in sight .  I started mumbling . There you go mute again . why indians are like this ? she giggled  .  Then it happened .  I saw a tall policeman handing over a passport to her .  Is this your passport ? I  got it through sweaty hands and confirmed it was indeed mine .  Eta tebye padarak  . what sort of russian joke this is ?   Handing over my own passport as gift  ?  She was smiling  .  Look at the last page  .  It was an order rather than a request  .  I obeyed .  I saw the familiar russian tricolor and a stamp .  Eta nashe droog . This is our friend  .  He is given a permanent visa to visit anytime in russia  .  Tears rolled down my cheeks  . "Russian men dont cry "  . She said and  was laughing again  . "Eta ne russkie sloz . These are not russian tears they are indian .   " I told her  .  

 It was time to leave . A hug and then it happened . A kiss on my cheek  .  There was a news announcement that it was the coldest day of the season ,. Temperature outside was -40 degrees . It was my dream  come true  .  Odin tselovat devushku v russie kagda temperatura -40 degrees .  Wake me up  ..  pashalyuista  .  

PS :  Lets be honest with no humility . None of this is totally impossible  except the kiss perhaps . Thats ok  :)   Wishing for a great future for my lyubimaya silny strana , russia moyo lyubov  .  Hope it becomes democratic and let Nadia become minister of culture  .  Maybe that is what the real russian motherland  wants who is crying at present  .  

Friday, February 18, 2022

 If there is heaven or hell or anything in between .   

I dont believe in any of the major religions . But i am sort of spiritual .  I wish to believe in another world and a soul . But there is no proof  that exists or doesnt exist .  Anyway if there is one what i want there ?  

I want to meet all the beautiful languages i am learning personified . As a budding polyglot i want to meet all the 4 Romance ( i know it has nothing to do with Romance :) ) languages in the form of 4 beautiful women . Polygamy ? Not really . They are after all languages personified and cannot be jealous of each other . Also its another world where jealousy doesnt exist . Or does it ? 

Anyway first i want to be hugged and kissed by the spanish girl . I mean the language personified . Few people can deny the beauty of spanish language . Especially in music how it beautifully rhymes with the melody and the words are full of passion , angst and whatever emotion . With my love of latin american culture and the people and spanish being my first love as the first language i started learning online its only correct that i want her hug first . Abrazos .Jaja . And of course the besos .  

Who next .  My favorite brasiliera . hey mr playboy :(  You are getting naughty . You meant languages and now you are saying brasiliera . Its because i was learning brasilian portuguese and for me the language is as musical and upbeat as the culture of brasilians . I love the way they speak , they look , their friendliness . Muito bem .  Eu gosto minha portuguese . "Your grammar is wrong"  .She told . " Give me a hug and a kiss first " . I told her .  She  gave me a hug and a kiss and a beautiful brasilian smile .  

Oh that man who was struggling with the r and j in class . The french language personified told the others . The smell of Parisian perfum was strong . But he was trying his best and he was even trying french songs with his limited french . She told others . I am going to hug him . But his french sucks . Others told . She smiled a monalisa smile . let me check how he kisses :)  

The italian lady was last . She plainly refused to kiss or even to hug . The others told . Isnt it rude . Why dont you at least give him a shakehand .  Italian woman told the others . But he doesnt know a single word of italian . he knows all the other three romance languages . i hate him . he neglected me . She asked  me if i knew even a single word of italian . I blushed . Then i had a great idea . I smiled and told " pizza " . Hmmm,  Hug ... This man is the limits . take him away and feed him to the lions Caesar . After the hug and kiss of course . 

Suddenly there was a drop in temperature .  So cold . The girls shivered , i tried not to shiver . The temperature became -20 degrees .  A beautiful woman , one of the most beautiful i have ever seen appeared .  Roosky devushka , ya znayoo eyo . The inner voice was checking if the russian grammar cases was correct ."  Daaa . Kaneshna .  Mush ."  She replied . My inner voice was again checking if her russian grammar was correct .    The other girls were looking in dismay . They tried google translate to get what we were talking about in russian .  

Ya hachu tselovat . Mne nushna obnimi .  I tried to tell her through frozen lips . The russian ever so beautiful and ever at ease in the coldest of the cold came closer and gave me a kiss and a hug . The warmest kiss in the coldest weather . 

Payyahali . she told . The others watched while we were walking towards the horizon ... of heaven or hell ya ne znayu  .  After all i havent committed any sin except getting kissed and hugged .  is it a sin in the netherworld . I dont think so ........    Viktor tsoi song was playing loudly  .  

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

 It is said life is short for good souls. Maybe she was too good . Except for the occasional insects she caught she has not done any crime . She was always sweet . The daughter of the cat who has been around our home for many years . Her grandmother was the oldest cat around the house .  I still remember the day when her mom brought her to our home back door . For a full day she was on the compound wall hesitating to jump down and her mom doing her best to encourage her . Cats have nine lives . I wish they had . This one had only one . She died yesterday night . A dog bite .  

She was at first never looking at me in the eye . I was never a cat person and i also thought that since she was stray cat she had no reason to gaze at a humans eyes . But as the days gone by the kitten started being more and more playful . It started staring at me . I used to give her food .  She graduated from eating from the ground to eating from her dedicated bowl .  She used to sometimes be in the bowl as she was small . Later even when she was bigger it was funny seeing her trying to fit in it . She was extremely playful to her mother and the pappa cat who used to visit every afternoon and be near the door . Dad who used to fight with the male cats around  and even was not so friendly with his wife had a special place for his daughter . She used to play with his tail and jump and irritate him . But he was always so patient . The daughter used to lick him from head to toe .  Even when she was older she tried her best to drink her moms milk .  

She was one of the few cats who used to climb the tall trees around . We had to shoo it away as we were afraid it may catch some birds . But it was interested only in climbing . Sometimes scared to come down .  

We had our play routine . And one of the few stray cats which came immediately to the door when i opened it . We were scared the ceiling will fall as she used to jump and come from a high wall when the door was opened . 

Yesterday night there was a cats cry and a dogs bark . Rarely dogs come from outside .  Morning there was no response to calls , And soon she was seen . Spread out . Just a few months old , just after the first few weeks of her finding a new boyfriend she died . Killed by a dog .  Natures course . But she is too young . I wish i will see her in the netherworld . I want to see her first before all the animals which have formed a bond with me .  What else to write . Nothing .... Momu her name ..... Given a portuguese name moca which she never responded .  Malayali kitten never reached proper adulthood as fate had other plans for her .  

Sunday, June 13, 2021

MUsic the solace

 The 9 mm semiautomatic pistol was aimed at his heart . The white police officer could easily get away with it . For the victim was a black man . Yes after the shootout there will be the "usual " uproar of a racist overtone . But in this case he could get away with it as the circumstances he could explain . And yes with his ingrained racism he wanted to pull the trigger .

But a second before pulling the trigger at the black man he saw it . The 6 stringed instrument freshly strummed alongside the black man . And that second hesitation was enough for him to escape with his life . For though a criminal he had better things to do than to kill a police officer or be a martyr in a police shooting .

After the criminal escaped the officer was still standing staring at the 6 stringed instrument , a crudely made acoustic guitar left behind by the black man . And the middle aged officer was thinking back to his  own  teenage years .

A product of a broken home which doesnt discriminate between black  , brown or white . Bullied terribly in school and college he found solace in music . Specifically the music of the blacks . As a youth he knew though discriminated against in every sphere blacks were disproportionately represented in the music industry . And all his heroes and heroines were black . It was not a conscious process as music didnt have any color that he knew of . But he read somewhere that music of americas originally came from africa . He read that every day the slaves had one respite from their agonising and mundane existence . The world of dance and music which their forefathers gifted .

Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson , Gloria Geynor , Ray Charles , Stevie Wonder , Whitney Houston the list was endless . And in his troubled youth these were his gods and goddesses who took him out of his troubles , gave him hope and made him pursue life once again . He thought again . Without them he may not have survived his teenage years . And for a moment he stared at his gun . The instrument he carried to protect the people but which lost its meaning . That was his last day at work .

He took up a job with an agency working with  homeless black youth guiding them and integrating them into mainstream society .And yes in his sparetime he started to strum the guitar with them . And the black gods and goddesses of music were watching him many from the nether world .......

Heal the world ... Make it a better place ,.. for you and for me ,, and the entire human race ..( Michael Jackson ..)

Black music

 If you ask me what sort of music i listen to and like i would say .."I like numerous artists but i have a soft corner towards black music " . Last two weeks i have been repeatedly listening to two jamaican beauties both black . One is Liz Mitchell and her group which is world famous . Yes  , she was the lead singer of Boney M the jamaican born singer who thrills us with heavenly music like Brown girl in the ring , Sunny , Rivers of Babylon etc. If this black jamaican beauty was just a coincidence in my favorite list what about Precious Wilson , the lead singer of the group Eruption which gave us famous songs like One way ticket to the blue. 

My favorite as well as your favorite Michael Jackson whose album Thriller is in the guinness book of world records again makes black music my favorite genre  . Bob Marley , Ray Charles , Stevie Wonder , Rihanna , Alicia Keys the list is endless . (Yes i understand Alicia Keys has mixed racial heritage ) . And when they were segregated and put to the ghettos still new music they made as exemplified by rap music and the like . I like Akon too . 

Speaking about Black music much of the music which we dance to originated from blues music . And blues music is intimately related to the blacks . Packed like sardines in slave ships nearly 2 million of them perished at sea . Those who survived and entered into slavery in americas had only music and dance to continue their humanness . Of course with the abolition ?  of slavery the music entered mainstream and mixed with various music but still retaining the thump of the african drums . Though their music became mainstream still racism in its subtle forms is rampant . 

Swahili is an african language and yesterday was listening to Boney M version of this beautiful song . It was awesome hearing and seeing the translation of this african song , sung by a black jamaican and to the booming music . Though the song is upbeat is the music telling us to give the blacks the place they deserve , a retribution to the 2 million who were killed before they could spell human rights.. I read somewhere that though the civil rights movement helped it was the black music in the decades that followed that helped further to reduce racism . We have numerous black artists these days and very popular . But still in mainstream life still racism lives on showing the double standards .   ...

Please read up the middle passage in slave trade in wikipedia . Many blacks refused food and died , some jumped into sea , some were fed to the sharks . But a few cursed their captors with their african spells . Maybe that spell maybe the reason even a person with  most racism stands up when listening to a music live  perfomance by a black artist .(see live perfomance of Gloria Geynor I will survive )  

For me black music is just that : a melodious but survivor of the spirit of their forefathers  . And lets fight racism with music . 


music teacher blog 2015 ---old blog

 My music teacher who taught us music in school passed away today . He was a nice man . And he taught music the language of the gods . That makes him doubly nice . It was one class which all of us looked forward to not because all of us were so musical but it was a very relaxed atmosphere where he used to teach us to sing . And it was a realisation that all of us can sing , and in that class there was no class difference . A few of my classmates became professional singers , most enjoys music , some amateur singers . And remember our school was a highly competitive school of course not a music school . 

Coming back to my teacher maybe subconsciously he made us connect that music means relaxation . I think in latter part of class he resorted to story telling maybe after getting fed up of our raspy voices in an all boys school . And on a personal note again I  wanted to gift him a musical instrument an electric keyboard as he lost his voice for singing in latter part of his life . I take life for granted and though i had the money i kept postponing it due to various reasons . Afterall i thought whats few weeks delay got to do with a gift of which even he is not aware . 

Anyways i heard today of his death and reminded that never take life for granted , We all will die one day but never delay anything especially expressing gratitude . Stopping this short post and may his soul rest in peace . 

Food options trivandrum --old blog from year 2015

 Though being a trivandrumite minus the full blown trivandrum langauge ( its famous :) )  i was hesitant to write about eateries in trivandrum mainly because we had few eateries compared to comparable cities be it ahmedabad , kochi or coimbatore . Not anymore trivandrum has a range of choices these days serving all sorts of delicacies . 

Arya Niwas , near Thampanoor : If you want to sit in style and have vegeterian food there are many places in trivandrum but for a nice dosa and filter coffee one of the good places is Arya Niwas . This place is easily reachable and walking distance from railway and bus station even for the laziest like me . Service is brisk and a upscale feel (read 3 star like )  . When you go with family / business associates this is important and especially as a visiting group traveller  . 

Mothers Kitchen near Bakery junction :  Trivandrum is famous for sadya the traditional food of kerala . Depending on style it can be 10 to 100 side dishes though 100 + was for Maharajas in ancient time . Still a good sadya usually had in times like Onam is a spectacle to eyes , ears ( typo:)  ) and tastebuds . The nice thing about Mothers kitchen is they serve this awesome sadya 364 days in a year . Thats great indeed . They have different varieties of sadya but stick to pure south indian sadya .  Evenings they have dosas different varieties but sadya is sadya  . 

Villa Maya : Its near west fort area and this is a renovated old palace like building with history from Maharaja times . The ambience is top class . You feel like you are the maharaja or maharani or prince when you visit there as many of the old furniture is still there . One of the top rooms is like fully airconditioned even with no airconditioner on because of traditional construction . Food is expensive ( read 4 to 5 star prices ) but visit it for the superb ambience . Food is good but not value for money so eat less , look around more and if lucky may find a princess there :)   They have live music too some days  . 

Indian coffee house :  This is more for nostalgia especially for people who have lived in trivandrum years back . They should try out the MLA quarters indian coffee house or medical college branch . They have beetroot predominant filled masala dosa which is unique and cold coffee which is also nice . 

Zamzam hotel , palayam :  If you want to eat a lot of chicken in all its varieties along with falooda ( thats not a combination i know )  head straight there . Without putting a hole in your pocket they have a variety of nonvegeterian kerala and arabian dishes and is a popular local eatery . Crowded during weekend nights good to go with a hungry stomach . Even if you eat to your hearts content wont have to wash the kitchen plates . 

Thathkaaram :   175  metres from statue junction . : This place more of kannoor cuisine has nice fish biriyani and north kerala dishes . Food is tasty and dont forget to finish with a sulaimani .The ambience is good with some models of buses etc built inside the restaurant . My only grouse is the place is mainly for eating and less for talking . So eat there and for talking go to any of the lounges in trivandrum . 

Cherries and Berries : Kerala had connections with outside world before america was born . But food was never cosmopolitan here . Luckily these days to have good continental food no need to go outside trivandrum . Cherries and Berries is a lounge coffee shop place where in a coffee house ambience you can talk and eat continental food . From cupcakes to pancakes , meat filled european things ( names i dont know being a local thirontharamite knowing only malayalam:) )  this place has been tested by my friends and certified as European as far as it can go .  

Nirvana lounge : Music and food always mixes . A place with a buddha theme and music to fill your ears and the soul (does it ? )  a very relaxed ambience  and at a posh locality near golf club . So take a walk and listen to music and eat seafood momos , the specialty there  . And if you are really tired ask the band to accompany you for a song which you can sing . They will oblige . 

Saurashtra hotel near East fort (122 metres away : my geography is poor , you might have guessed now , directions always google )  ..This place has awesome pooris and some side dishes which are unique . Dont expect the gujarathi thali of ahmedabad but this is a unique but cheap in price place . For less than 65 rs ( 1 dollar approx) can fill the stomach with hot pooris . This place is not great in ambience and is a "local " place in thirontharam language . But i love it . Place is little congested too so may not be appealing to a tourist . 

Kethel chicken hotel at plamoodu junction: This place is the place to go for coconut oil fried chicken in a special spicy gravy with lime juice and chappathi . Dont eat anything else from there but eat minimum 3 full chicken per person if u can . The chicken is small and good for placing a bet on how much chicken you can eat . 

Mubarak fish hotel : chalai :  a very busy ethnic place this is also not great in ambience but fish lovers will love it . Prawns  , squid and the usual things available at sea is made tasty there . Have it with rice and prepare to queue up at midday . 

Will write on Kovalam eateries in a separate blog . Please comment and share if you like , Someone might be hungry and their life may be saved