My father moved into the house, which we still own in Kammanahalli, about 25 years ago. In those years, as its name suggests, Kammanhalli was literally a “halli” or a village. It was the back of beyond.

A mud road connected our house – one of only four houses on the lane – to the main road. The Bangalore municipal corporation did not provide water to the locality, so my father actually bought his own water, and this from a man on a bullock cart. Our sewage collected in a septic tank, somewhere deep in the ground, and was cleaned annually – once again, by another man in a bullock cart.

In 25 years, much has changed. Street lights, sewage lines and tarred roads came first. Then, I also remember the day when our road got its first bore well, and the municipal corporation began to supply the area with water soon after (even if it was just two times a week!).

There were other signs of change as well. New houses, new shops and new people. Now, our lane has 10 houses – some of them double storied, and home to at least six families (each!).

Our family was the first to bring a computer and a car into our lane, but now every other family has one of them too. Our neighbours come all the way from remote districts in North India to Afghanistan.

And here’s the clincher – garbage actually gets cleaned every day, and it’s hard to find an open garbage dump anymore!

Four years ago, I remember blogging here about how prosperity had come to Bangalore, but had bypassed the “halli”. I can’t say that anymore.

As the line of swanky new shops on the main road continues to advance one step at a time, the lines that link the richer residential localities and the “halli” is finally blurring. Development has indeed trickled down.

But for that to happen, it’s needed many little steps on the ground. A series of good Congress and BJP corporators, who’ve built on each others successes. The Congress brought lighting, sewage systems and water. Then, the BJP maintained it and also added garbage collection. Funds were actually utilised to benefit residents, till each of us can finally see a difference.

So, if successive administrations work together, there’s nothing that they we cannot achieve.

But most importantly, we need citizens to step forward to both build and maintain these localities. Every time when a city corporation fails us, we must have vigilant citizens, who pick up the phone and demand action from their local corporator. Like my mum does!

So yes, change is slow, but if you persist, it does finally arrive.

A call to prayer

Posted: June 20, 2015 in Life and Living
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A prayer thought in silence.
The solitary comfort of a hot cup of chai.
The stillness of a walk in the park.
A newspaper pondered in pensiveness.

Mornings,
Rest my spirit.

But now,
New voices,
Clamor for my attention.

At 5 am,
The call of the muezzin.
At 6 am,
Superhit bhajans.
At 9 am, Sunday,
The dancing Pentecostals.

 In my view,
Spirituality resonates loudest,
In human hearts.

Not over loudspeakers.

So, as promised, here it is then, my new blog dedicated to the glorious world of cinmea that will journey with me through my experiences in the movies. Welcome to the “Movies I Can’t Forget”

https://moviesicantforget.wordpress.com/

And if you’re still reading this blog, I look forward to your views and other comments.

Five years ago, I ambitously made a list of the 116 films that I wanted to see during a short break that I was taking from the corporate world. Today, less than half way down that list, I realize just how difficult that task would have been accomplish in a meaningful way over a couple of months. But over the last few years here are some of the incredible 44 films that I have seen from my old list that have also done a lot to change my perspective of cinema.

  • It Happened One Night (1934)
  • Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) – Seen
  • Modern Times (1936)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (1939)
  • Rebecca (1940)
  • Citizen Kane (1941)
  • Double Indemnity (1944)
  • The Lost Weekend (1945)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
  • The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  • Sunset Blvd. (1950)
  • All About Eve (1950)
  • An American in Paris (1951)
  • Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
  • From Here to Eternity (1953)
  • Roman Holiday (1953)
  • The Caine Mutiny (1954)
  • Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
  • Marty (1955)
  • Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)
  • 12 Angry Men (1957)
  • Some Like It Hot (1959)
  • Psycho (1960)
  • The Apartment (1960)
  • To Sir With Love (1967)
  • Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner (1967)
  • Oliver! (1968)
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  • The Godfather (1972)
  • Chinatown (1974)
  • The Godfather, Part II (1974)
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  • Jaws (1975)
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
  • Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
  • Apocalypse Now (1979)
  • Raging Bull (1980)
  • Ordinary People (1980)
  • Terms of Endearment (1983)
  • Amadeus (1984)
  • Platoon (1986)
  • Goodfellas (1990)
  • Groundhog Day (1993)
  • No Country for Old Men (2007)

Each of them beautiful classics, alive and powerful in my mind. But I also realize that unlike in the past, there has been no blog to capture that story. So here’s to the remaining 72 – some among that I have seen in parts or a long time ago – and also another blog that will tell their story and pay homage to that glorious world of cinema that I have always loved.

A house becomes a home

Posted: October 19, 2014 in Uncategorized
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It’s been more than a year since I moved into my new house… And slowly, but surely, a house has become a home. A view of the world from my writer’s desk.

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I See India…

Posted: August 9, 2014 in Life and Living, Photography, Writing

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In the statue
Of Infant Jesus
On my cab driver’s dashboard.

My cab driver,
A Muslim,
At Infant Jesus,
Every Thursday.

In thalis at Christian weddings,
Jesus in puja rooms,
Indian biryani.

In Eid Mubarak,
Happy Diwali,
Merry Christmas.

Three greetings, one reply,
“Same to you”
“Aapko Bhi”.

In Kabir’s dohas,
The tricolor,
Jodha-Akbar.

In Irfan Pathan,
Declaring,
He was proud to bowl for India.

Irfan Pathan,
Almost burnt alive,
in Gujarat 2002.

In Nargis epitomizing Mother India,
Sania rallying for India,
Priyanka turning Mary Kom.

In politics
That gave us
Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister,
Abdul Kalam as President.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
President Abdul Kalam,
Both, at the same time.

In Mumbai’s apartment buildings,
Teams in global corporations,
A Pub and an Islamic Boutique, standing side by side.

In those moments,
When Mubarak is Hindu,
Lakshmi is Christian,
Andy is Muslim.

Yes,
I see India,
All around me.

India has become.
I choose to believe.

We cannot be undone.

(A poem inspired by a blog post that I’d written a couple of years ago on “Incredible India’.)

As I look back over my blog, I find that two years ago at the same time, I was in the middle of an important exercise—I was house hunting.

It’s taken two years for that journey to reach fruition. But yes, in August 2013, many lifetimes later, I can finally say that the search is over. I do have my own space.

It’s a two-bedroom house in Kammanahalli. Yes, it’s a bit of climb. But I love my two enclosed terrace gardens that go along with this space.

I found the house through the conventional route—a real estate agent. Infact, it was the first house that I saw. But there was something about the house that called to me. Maybe it was those two enclosed terraces that gave me lots of space for experiments in the garden, and so I said ‘yes’.

There was also one moment that did it for me. It was when I stood in the second bedroom, with the sunlight streaming in through the windows, and looked into my neighbour’s terrace garden. That’s when I knew beyond doubt that this was the house for me.

Then came the negotiations with the landlord that saw me exceed my budget by over Rs 2000. But I liked the place, so I gave in again.

After all the agony with my mother and the sense of being stifled when I lived in an extended family when I was married, it feels so good to have my own space. And so, this is another journey that comes to an end🙂 Another bridge that has been crossed on the road to self-reliance.

The house does have its shortcomings. I hadn’t noticed during my first visit that my street was noisy. It already has two restaurants, and there is a third one coming up! Also, it’s a long climb to the second floor, especially when you are carrying things all the way up many times.

But it’s such a lovely compact house, with space for things like gardens. It’s also a new construction. And once I am in, I do manage to shut the whole world out.

So I get up every morning to the sound of birds chirping in my neighbour’s terrace garden, and the sound of my mother’s nagging voice seems far, far behind. I also look forward to having my friends and family over to visit. I want this to be the open house that I had always intended my home to be, and that my mother never let it become.

Location: Kammanahalli, HRBR Layout

Size: 2 Bedroom 1,200 square feet

Price: Rs 17,000