The Italian Adventure Digest

Short link to read about the adventure in Chronological order

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On a rainy day in Barcelona

Strolling briefly in Barcelona on a rainy day, I captured some scenes through my lens. Wish to see more of the city but hopefully on a sunny day..

Every city has its characteristics but then if you have seen too many of them, then you start seeing similarities with other places you’ve been to. I was reminded of Mumbai, Hong Kong, Berlin at different instances of my stroll in Barcelona. See for yourself and tell me what thoughts comes to your mind!

Fear

I am not sure when did I start getting afraid of things. It’s quite difficult to admit considering that people think of me as a courageous person. But the fact is that I have become quite fearful of doing new things. Earlier, I remember, I would just go and do something and think later but now it is too much thinking and less doing. Don’t know when did that transition happen.  This is not how I like myself to be but don’t know how to get over it. I don’t usually quit if I start something but these days the difficulty is in taking that first step itself. Hoping that this is only temporary and I will get over it soon. 

Bollywood Magic

As the world is being swept over by the last magical act of Harry Potter and the gang, I’m getting lost in the magic of bollywood again. That’s a different kind of magic. It brings a smile on the faces, tears in the eyes and songs on the lips of millions of Indians – no matter how troubled or happy they are in their lives. One enters the cinema hall and the magic starts. You just get engrossed in the life of the protagonist and go through all the emotions that he/she is going through in those two/three hours – carefree, happy, sad, angry, in love, betrayed, sense of duty, contentment and above all – hope! You take vicarious pleasure in visiting the places where you wouldn’t even have dreamed of!
             Now you must be wondering why am I writing all this? Today, on the radio I listened to a beautiful song from the 90’s which just took me away to an old time (when the only care in life was passing the exams!). I used to look forward to watching the movies. The new breed of Bollywood movies are made in what they call “contemporary” style. Somehow I don’t feel like watching them – they don’t make you forget the daily humdrum, rather they make you see ugly sides of a lot of things. Why would I pay money to go and watch that!! Aren’t newspapers and news channels doing that job already? I’d rather watch some old movies which still bring a smile!                
        But that’s what I do. Doesn’t mean that others don’t like watching these new kind of movies. May be they feel good that way. After all the movies are made for every taste. But whatever the case, at least the evergreen Bollywood music is something which is still there. So all is not lost yet. As Shakespeare says “if music be the food of love, play on!”. So until I get my hope back, I’ll enjoy the music :-).

http://jsplashindia.web.officelive.com/MIDI/MIDI/HINDI/PUKARTA.MID

A Garden in the "Garden City"

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been living in Bangalore but strangely, I never had a chance to go and see the Cubbon park. So one weekend when I got the chance to go there with some of my colleagues for an event, I made full use of the opportunity to explore a bit of this landmark of Bangalore.
                Now Cubbon Park is an interesting park – it is both a park as well as a thoroughfare! And many may not know, that it’s official name is Chamarajendra Park ! It is at the central location of Bangalore surrounded by many old and new landmark buildings such as the Vidhan Soudha, the high court, UB City Mall to name a few.
The park itself also houses a lot of buildings – like the Sheshadri Iyer Memorial Hall, KGS club etc.
                          I went inside the red colored building which I’d seen many times while passing from inside Cubbon park – that’s the Sheshadri Iyer Memorial Hall – now the Central Library. It’s huge with so many sections that I estimate it would take two days to just skim through each section! The books looked quite old and I wondered how many people would have read them in the last 90 – 100 years!
It was quite pleasant to walk inside the park and explore the stalls  – the bhelpuri, the roast corn, the fruit chaat & the tea stall (that was outside the park) :-). There was enough time in between the event to be able to walk to UB city and come back! I’m sure that the park would look even lovelier in the spring season when all the trees would be in full bloom.May be I’d go in spring too. But for the moment, I’m glad that I got to explore it, which might not have happened if there was no other reason to go to the park! Until next..keeping the eyes open for other chances to explore..

An Evening of Networking

I know I’ve been lagging on this front even though I have a lot of things to write about – like my hiking trip here in Odenwald and also of my solitary trip to Koblenz – I will write about them too – mañana.
For now, I will put down my thoughts about the wonderful evening that I spent in the company of ladies from my organization here in Germany.

I was informed about the networking meeting last week by a friend.The venue was the lobby of the guest-house where I am staying. I was a little apprehensive about going all by myself but then as with other things in life, I decided to give this too a try. And I am glad that I did. I was already informed that the protocol is to get acquainted with at least three women in the group.
So I strode right in – asked the group if it was that networking meeting and introduced myself. By the end of the evening, it wasn’t three but ten dynamic women that I got to know. Most of them are from Germany but I also met one who hails from Ukraine and one who is an Indian but based in Palo Alto!
It was a good mix – in terms of seniority, diversity as well as the kind of work they do in the organization.
I really liked listening to their opinions about their work as well as life in general. One of them even showed a lovely compilation of pictures taken by her and her poetry!
I also liked the way the conversation was free flowing – we didn’t have to make an effort to talk with each other – even though we were complete strangers a while ago. 
I guess that’s destiny – which brings people together – by some force or the other. Alright..I’m getting philosophical again. So getting back on track – I really enjoyed my evening. The meaning of the German greeting “Guten Abend” is quite clear to me now :-).

P.S. Respecting the privacy of the people I met, no names have been quoted.

Khansama restaurant at the UB City Mall

Ok..no baking so far..but I roasted cashews in the oven. So far so good.

By the way, I forgot to mention a joint treat by some colleagues at a place called Khansama in UB city. Seems like most of the restaurants in Bangalore belong to the BJN group. In the last two months, I’ve been to two others belonging to the same group – IndiJoe and Samarkand. IndiJoe’s has a totally different ambience – quite a variety of sizzlers and a good place for guzzlers! Samarkand has the theme of Afgahnistan (even though the city of Samarkand is in Uzbekistan) – the menu is presented in the form of a newspaper and drinks menu is on the label of a bottle! I guess I have mentioned it before, but just repeating it for continuity here – the last time that I went there was about 4 years back and I didn’t like the vegetarian food that much. But this time, the vegetarians also had a good time.

Now to Khansama, another place for Indian cuisine. It took some time to reach that place on a Thursday evening but once there, it was a good evening.

The ambience – there were animal heads (bison,tiger..) on the walls (alright fake heads but the skin on them appeared real..can’t say!). There were swords and there were guns and also a painting of a king in his court.

The food – The vegetarian food was alright – we had some paneer dish, some potato and a veg seekh kabab for starters. The roasted corn soup was also good and I’d like to try the recipe. For the main course, there was a mushroom dish, adraki gobhi (cauliflower), dal and some kind of kofta. They were alright but the naans were a little chewy – I had better one at Samarkand. However, one of the hard-core non-vegetarians didn’t like the food from the start. Don’t know whether the others liked it or not but they were not complaining. The rasmalais in the dessert was alright..of course not the “melt in your mouth” ones but good taste. But the gulab jamuns were not that great. One interesting thing was the stuffed dates served at the end of the meal – they were stuffed with the things one puts in a sweet paan (gulkand, saunf etc..) and served on a bed of crushed ice in a box.

The conclusion – If you like Indian cuisine, you have one more place that you can go if in the mood to spend. Not extraordinary but an overall good place.

Of busy weekdays and busier weekends

Of late I’ve been so busy at work that didn’t get the time to do anything else. Today waiting for something hence the time to “pen” a few words.

Yesterday night, there was a rare celestial event – Mars being visible so close to the moon. I am so glad that I have this great camera that can take decent pictures of the night sky.
I am not sure if it’s the effect of the closeness of Mars to the earth, that I was getting a little more temperamental than usual (I’m an Arien, for those who didn’t know until now, which is rules by the planet Mars as per astrology/mythology/…).
Whatever the reason may be, yesterday I was feeling angry at a lot of things since morning and by the afternoon I was in such a sullen mood that I decided to return home early and calm down before I say things which I shouldn’t.
So after reaching home, I chatted a little with my neighbor about all sorts of things except work, we had some tea and I felt a lot better. Talking with a friend really works wonders. Thank God for people who can bring a smile to the face, however bad the mood is!
Thereafter, I connected to the office network for completing some pending work. I am convinced now that with a calm mind, things that don’t appear to have any solutions before, start looking a lot less intimidating.
Then there was a plan for a team outing and the colleagues asked if I could join them, then they’d pick me up from home on the way. I agreed and we went to a restaurant called Samarkand. The theme is Afghani (though Samarkand is a city in Uzbekistan 🙂 ). This restaurant is on Infantry Road, near Commercial Street. It’s non-vegetarian food is quite famous. I’d been there abut four years back and didn’t relish the vegetarian stuff then. So this time I was a little reluctant when the colleagues had decided on this place but it was a pleasant surprise that even the vegetarian dishes were quite good this time. Only spoiler was a piece of chilli that I’d chewed by mistake and then had sugar, sweet chutney, ice cube, water – one after the other in a desperate attempt to put off the chilli-fire on my tongue!  After a while it was soothed and then again I could start getting the taste of things :-).So amidst laughter, good conversation and generally cheerful atmosphere, we had our dinner and the evening was well spent.
Now when I reached home, then I remembered that it was the 27th of August and a friend had forwarded a mail few days back with the information of Mars getting very close to earth. The mail also mentioned that the next time this would happen in the year 2287! So I immediately grabbed my camera and went to the terrace to capture the moment. So as you can see below, there is a spherical object near the moon – that’s Mars! You can see bigger pictures by clicking on the link here.
That’s all in a day’s work..until the next story..

Hindi Play in Bangalore

Yesterday I went to see the 50th show of a Hindi play here at the Rang Shankara theater with a friend. It is titled “Bikhre Bimb” which roughly translated would mean “Shattered Images”. It’s written by Girish Karnad and enacted by Arundhati Nag.

The protagonist of the story was a middle aged novelist Manjula Nayak from Bangalore, whose novel had instantaneously propelled her to fame.
The story started with her coming to a TV studio for the recording of her speech on the success and inspiration behind her novel. But after the speech, the play started with a conversation between Manjula and her conscience. The “conscience” part was recorded and shown on the TV screen prop on the stage. That was an interesting feature of the play. As the dialogues between herself and the conscience progressed, the audience got to know about her life, her insecurities and the pain of having a physically challenged but a beautiful and intellectually superior younger sister Malini, who had somehow connected on some level with Manjula’s husband after she came to live with them (on the death of their parents).

The twist in the tale was that the novel for which she had attained fame, was actually written by Malini and found by Manjula after Malini’s death. Manjula sent the manuscript to a British literary agent under her name and it got accepted and published. But this dishonesty made her husband so upset that he left her and went to the US.
The play ended with the image of Manjula saying that she was now Malini under the disguise of Manjula.

The play was packed with powerful emotional acting by Arundhati Nag but also had some humorous lines which saved the play from being too heavy.

All in all, a well spent evening.