Saturday, 31 May 2014

Bangalore in the news...- A "Many states" Story

A " Many states " story

It's Bangalore in the news, once again.. Beautiful, blissful Bengaluru. and for all the right reasons this time...

Many many years ago, two people met at IIM Bangalore - he from the North, she from the South of India.  Both from IITs, he from IIT Bombay and she from IIT Delhi. And then, they married.. another "2 states" love story... Alok and Aina's story*.  A story created with many other IIMB 93 co- conspirators and actors supporting the plot- Hyma, Puneet Gupta, Jyoti- Rupal, Viraj-Neetu, CP Madhu, Rakesh Pandya ( Rocky), Shailu, to name a few.. A story now renamed " Many states", with the creative insight of " Jayaram Krishnan- JK" , who, rather cleverly pointed out, that many states were involved in the making of it, not just two.

They moved around states, cities and countries.. Bombay, Delhi, Glasgow, London.. but always, their first love remained Bangalore. And it is here that they returned with their two girls, Giri and Taru, considering themselves so lucky, to be living close to their closest friends from IIM Bangalore, in the heart of Bangalore, yet in the midst of two villages, Challagatta and Nagasandra, rustic and green surrounds ...

And then, some years later, their daughter Girija, did the city proud.. by topping the state Medical, Veterinary, Agricultural and Homeo exams. A determined girl, a runner, bharatanatyam dancer,budding artist, inspired by many, but very much a product of this city.

Alok and Aina consider themselves fortunate to be back here. For Bangalore it is they love. The ever-blossoming flowers, calm lakes and salubrious climate of Bangalore, unbeatable by far. And the city, their first love, inspired Alok to turn marathoner** and Aina to turn writer- even while she works as a techie in the Indian Silicon valley , she writes a blog, as the character "the amblingindian" - the female aam aadmi, ambling around Bangalore, India and the world, keenly observing, loving everything around her, everything that is so special about this place. And writing about it, in her own quirky, funny way. "A shower of flowers" about Tippasandra, "Bangalore monsoons and Bollywood", a flavourful mix of words and videos..  A book, now ready for publishing, the story of India, as written by the amblingindian, and the story of  Bangalore, coming up next...

Bangalore it is, and Bangalore it will be always.. the best..
Sketch by the amblingindians.

Aina Rao
The amblingindian.
Twitter @amblingindian.

CET Engineering topper Srinidhi Prabhu and CET Medical topper Girija Agarwal celebrate their achievements with their families (Photo: DC)

CET Engineering topper Srinidhi Prabhu and CET Medical topper Girija Agarwal celebrate their achievements with their families (Photo: Deccan Chronicle, 28th May 2014)  : The amblingindians -Aina, Taru, Alok and Giri from the right. 

* Dont get fooled , Aina is the new Nagu.A story created with many other IIMB 93 co- conspirators and actors supporting the plot- Hyma, Puneet Gupta, Jyoti- Rupal, Viraj-Neetu, CP Madhu, Rakesh Pandya ( Rocky), Shailu, to name a few..

** he is part of the Runners for Life group, a Bangalore initiative..

Saturday, 17 May 2014

India shining, once again?

Bhartiya Janata Party( BJP) Picture Courtesy Bangla News
The masses have spoken. And cast their unilateral vote. This time for the Lotus, the symbol of beauty in a sea of mud. A sphinx has risen. And so, there's hope once again for the nation. From choosing between a motley mix of partisan politicians, to the one unanimous Narendra Modi, the leader of the BJP, the Indian electorate has come a long way.Perhaps, matured even... Realising perhaps, that , in unity is strength, and in past performance, hope for the future. What else did Modi and the BJP have, in its favour? To get such a resounding victory, 279 seats in all, all at the cost of many incumbents, long standing veterans in their own illakas*, their territories? To beat the opposition so badly that they are limping to form an opposition even? From the ruling party alliance to an alliance for the opposition party, the mango peoples(aam aadmis)** and the nation have come a long way indeed..

At least, this time round, I hope the routing has come home. With a strong message. No more political cries from baby and baba for milk or votes. No more emotional blackmail in the names of the heroes of the past.The blame game starts and gets sillier.  Who is to be blamed for the rout of the incumbents ? Not the incumbents themselves, but the winner- Narendra Modi ( Namo ) of course. How could people lose if Namo hadn't won? So blame it all on Namo. Even the the seemingly invincible leader in U.P of the BSP, playing the caste card, has fallen flat. With all of her elephant decorations failing to swing the pendulum even by an inch. So much so, that she did not even open her account this time. Zero seats to her credit! Wow! What an achievement! The elephant, her symbol, laid an egg this time. This must be the first time in history that an elephant laid an egg.. A simple and stronger message from the masses to the ruling classes- so proudly proclaimed by the aam aadmi this time- " Don't ever bank on caste or oratory politics. Simply Perform or Perish. "

One thing though, the BJP and Namo has a lot of catching up to do on. The incumbents, to their credit, had raised the HQ of the country manifold. HQ- humour quotient that is. A flurry of jokes doing the rounds everyday on the trio of mother, son and turbaned slave+ is to be sorely missed. And a lot of catching up to do anyway, on governance, roads, laws, bridges, you name it.. Everything that's been on hold or simply pushed back from the development agenda, to further the self agenda..  there's certainly a lot to catch up on. A nation watches, with bated breath, as does the world. Will the Namo magic work once again, this time for India, and not just for Gujarat? Will he stay clear of the divisive, right- wing agenda of many allies this time round, and just do what's right for the nation? Will India shine, once again?


Aina Rao
The Amblingindian.

BJP- Bhartiya Janata Party, the right wing party , who had a landslide win of 279 seats in the recently concluded Indian Election
BSP- Bahujan Samaj Party , a party in Uttar Pradesh, the largest state in Gujrat.
*illaka - a territory
** mango peoples- Common people, a term coined by some privileged politicians to describe the aam aadmi, or the common man.
+Mother, son and slave- Congress leaders( mother and son combination) and the Prime Minister.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Friday, 9 May 2014

Bangalore monsoon and Bollywood..

The first of the May showers has arrived . This time with a big bang. Torrents of rain, all in a day. The whole place is now wet and soaking, much like a Bollywood damsel dancing in the rain. Bangalore is transformed, from warm, very warm and turning hot, into cool and cooler. The grass is sprouting, leaves are erupting. The mercury has dropped, and jumpers are out. Overnight, the city is transformed, it is now back to the blissful Bangalore that we know best.

Common White Frangipani
Frangipani in the rain ( courtesy Flowers of India)
I sit in my terrace and enjoy the cool breeze caressing my cheeks. Feels like a soft, silken touch of delight - overnight this, from hot, dry, arid to cool, calm, placid. Feels so blessed, to live here. And the rains, pouring every now and then, bringing the monsoon early, with hopes of a full-fledged one later. The monsoon- eagerly awaited by all the nation. the harbinger of relief from hot and dusty days. The hope for the parched soil.. for the farmers. Reminds me of long,meandering train journeys, travelling along dry, ploughed fields, which gradually morphed into landscapes of lush paddy crops. Of the paper boats we made as children, setting sail on freshly made puddles.The smell of freshly wet earth, mingled with frangipanis and jasmines which have re- bloomed.  I inhale deeply, the smell infuses my soul and my being.

The monsoon - so eagerly awaited by many , inspires many a Bollywood gig . Remember" O Ghata Savari, from Abhinetri", meaning "O lovely monsoon", a Joyous Hema Malini  number  that i am singing today- and many more, all signifying the "Saavan ka Mahina" - the season of rain, of bloom, of desire, and joy.

Every now and then, I watch Russell Peter's joke on Bollywood and laugh out loud- it goes like this.
Russell Peters : " What does any sane person do when it rains ?"
Peters again :" I duck and dive. And what do Bollywood heroines do when it rains?"
Peters , swirling around slowly this time, and trying to act like one :" Ah.. they scream and screech, and  burst into song, they dance around,getting all wet".

 Ha, Ha, Peter, I thoroughly enjoyed that joke of yours , especially you acting as a Bollywood heroine, with your good looks and figure too. But, don't forget, Bollywood and the rains are  inseparable, like the  butterfly and its wings. A raindance here, a kiss in the rain, a heroine getting wet, this is Bollywood at its sensual best, and remember, it has to be wet and wild, wet being  the key. So you might as well start immerse yourself, dance in the rain too and enjoy yourself thoroughly.. The rain cometh, my cup of joy floweth over..

Here's a couple of numbers for you to enjoy !

Bheegi si.. bhaagi se : ( wet and running, she falls into my arms) - from my favourite movie, Raajneeti, a story of crime and conspiracy, love and loss, with another favourite : Katrina Kaif in the lead...

Bhage re man ( From Chameli), rendered by my idol ( Sunidhi Chauhan) - My mind is lost , I dont know where it goes..

Oh ghata sawari- O lovely monsoon .. Hema Malini

Copyright@ Aina Rao 2014.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

What's in a tagline?

Thanks to Rajesh Pandey , a newly found friend, i have been connecting at supersonic speed to many new people. (Rajesh P is not to be confused with other Rajesh's on my friends list, Rajesh Kumar and Rajesh Prasad- who are good ol' IITD classmates and have been friends for a very long time ). Can't match his speed though- Rajesh's facebook and twitter connections work much faster than my brain, and typing for sure. So, even while connecting online, i am still struggling to digest all these new people that have suddenly popped into my life, people who were always there, somewhere in the background, hovering about noiselessly, but not disturbing my calm existence. Until now, that is..

And now that i have connected, it is a struggle not just to digest their names, but everything else they do. Someone is a lawyer, a tech geek, a music afficiniado, a poet, a photographer, and all that in one. And another one is a green energy specialist, and evangelist (whatever that means), a business owner and now, me thinks can add the title- a business exitor too( meaning that he has got a successful exit by way of palming the business off to someone else), and so on and so forth. Whoa! all that in one?  Not that there is a dearth of titles to use , but, somehow , shouldn't one shudder and shy way from having a serpentine tail attached, isnt having a serpentine name awful enough?..  CIA, , CISF, CFEE, PMEE, CISS, hiss, hiss..blah, blah..., or a writer, creator, an auditor, a fund manager, a techie( actually a risk/compliance professional- whatever that means), a singer, blah.. blah... blah.. blah.. Of course, one could ignore the more mundane ones, wife, mother etc,. those are not for public display ever, detracting as they do, from the desirability quotient( DQ)..  

But the one to like best, in the wake of all these long tailed titles, is the simple "Nobody" already taken by another friend Rakesh Godhwani, leader of the IIMB alumni association. Quite innovative and unusual. "Nobody"- says nothing, yet says a lot. Certainly says a lot about humility, about knowing who you are, and your place in this world, really a miniscule spec in the realms and aeons of cosmic creation.  And then, the classic dilemma- should one go by another " Nobody" and risk too many of those floating around, indistinguishable from each other. Or should one take recourse to the other three ' somebody", " anybody" or ' everybody", if there has to be a tagline, that is. 

Well then, as taglines go, i might just stick with mine " Aina - the Amblingindian".  "Aina", a mirror- a reflection of everything I am . And "Amblingindian"- a reflection of everything I see as I amble around.. Yes, Aina- the amblingindian it is. Simple, yet profound. All those reading- go for it .. Do think of one for yourself too.. 

Tagline "Aina - the amblingindian"

Aina -The amblingindian.

P.s special thanks to the trio of Rajesh's (Rajesh Pandey, Rajesh Kumar, Rajesh Prasad) and a fourth- almost, but not quite (Rakesh Godhwani) for inspiring this post. And a fifth friend ,Dr.Rajesh too, for his tips on good health and spirits...

Friday, 2 May 2014

The harmony of Hindi

Of late, perhaps in celebration of womanhood, i 've been humming a lot of Bollywood numbers, all female ..

Firstly, the " Halkat jawaani" a raunchy and ribald potpourri of Hindi,Bhojpuri and English, meaning little, but taken to a different level by the bold rendition of Sunidhi Chauhan, an alltime favourite and also my idol. And another one, also by her, a soulful, silklike " Mera Ishq sufiyana", also meaning" My love is so pure and true", and then moving back in time " Maar Udaari"- a lovely combination of Punjabi and Hindi from the unforgettable movie " Pinjar " in 2003, " Kangna re, Kangna Re" - a Rajasthani- Hindi flavoured ballad from the mystical Paheli in 2005, and suddenly, changing tracks, a deeply melodious " Aaj Jane ki Zid na Karo", an evergreen ghazal by the sonorous  Farida Khanum, from Pakistan.

Each one, so different in its style, its tempo and taste, yet so much the same.. they are each an expression of womanhood, of the joys that come with being a woman, sometimes in love, and sometimes just pining for it. But equally, they are an expression of a beautiful rainbow of languages, culminating in what feels like Hindi, but is really a crossover from Marathi, Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, Punjabi and Urdu. Like a swathe of colours, a wave of the ocean, the language seamlessly flows, taking with it a multitude of  cultures, experiences, blending them so beautifully into a sea of song and dance. The Hindi that we know today, so flexible and versatile, having merged over eons with any manner of language, sometimes even reinventing itself into a new style, the "Hinglish". But my absolute favourite, and the wellpoint of many an inspiration, at work and in life, is the point where it meets so effortlessly with Urdu, drawing carelessly from the idyllic poetry of Gulzar, and the breathtaking beauty of Kashmir, into a creative cauldron of sorts, as in " chali re , chali re .. junoon , ko liye ", all about an obsession with love. A delightful symphony, not just of song and melody, but also of language.. You have to see it and feel  it to believe it !

Aina Rao.
The Amblingindian
1st May, 2014.

From my favourites , a little known, but unforgettable melody below..
"Maar Udari " - " take flight, dear bird, for you are in love.. take flight and fly away with the lovebird of your dreams"

" chali re - chali re " - " away i go, carried on wings of obsession, drinking droplets of time... My heart has flown from its cage, falling in love..."

Kangna Re - " Dear bangles, light up with the sunrays"

Dear Readers,
If you want the full translations of any of these numbers, do write to me or post a comment and I will try my best to do justice to the beautiful poetry, this time in English.. Thank you, Aina.