Saturday, September 22, 2012


Come early next year …
Ganapathy Bappa has not been generous this year.  Not atleast to us Bangaloreans.
What is supposed to be a thanksgiving celebration after a good monsoon, hardly feels so this year.

This year’s Ganapathy festival marks the beginning of a year long drought as the monsoon spell normally ends with the Ganapathy visarjan.  
This year, the newspapers were abuzz with pleas from corporators and the government requesting people to buy eco friendly Ganapathy and immerse them in artificial tanks and not pollute the water bodies.  


Here is the total count of Ganapathy idols at our apartment complex that were kept for visarjan.
Not bad - about 50% of people have heeded to the call and have chosen to buy an unpainted clay version of the elephant god rather than go with the painted version. 

In the south; ok atleast in my family we always got home a clay Ganapathy.  Those were the days when painted ganapathy idols were expensive.  Over the years as affluence increased and more importantly since neighbours got home more colourful versions home we started feeling left out. Call it peer pressure or keeping up with the Joneses . We joined the gang.
The social wisdom behind Ganapathy idol being made of clay was lost in the interim.
After many years, the unfashionable clay version is back in fashion again and we made the eco-friendly fashion statement by getting the Ganapathy made out of Clay .

There was not much by way of pandal hopping in the area that I live in.  I am not sure if this speaks of a lack of community feeling or just sheer urbanization with an influx of migrants who are yet to find their roots in the neighbourhood. BEML layout had a couple of sarvanajik Ganapathy pandals like last year. 
Our Apartment had one and this was the time for residents to contribute, come together and socialize. The response including mine, was luke warm to say the least.    




The Ganapthy at the entrance of Hypercity supermarket was the one that took the cake this year.
This GEMS Ganapathy was irrestitably sweet.   
Nevertheless … Miss you Mumbai
Ganapathy Bappa maurya !!
Pudchya varshi laukar yaa !

Come early next year
At this rate we really need the rains early next year. Our borewells are drying up.

And the water Mafia is sucking us dry. Ganapathy Bappa - come back and save us.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Unusual occupations - Coconut tree climber

Coconut tree climber
Bangalore is never short of coconut trees. Coconut trees were everywhere before the concrete jungle took over. In apartments like ours where  a few lucky trees survived the axe when the builders started construction are today a welcome respite to the little greenery left in urban spaces. The coconut trees are not maintenance free. They need sprucing up.  The coconut produce is big business . It is normally leased out to the person who also climbs up to fell the produce and trim up the tree.    

He was at work this morning and so I gave my swimming practice a miss.
The coconut tree climber.
Muniyappa climbs coconut trees. He fells the coconut, cut the dry leaves off the branches and makes a living out of the per tree wages and by taking a portion of the produce that he plucks.
His is a dangerous job.   It is not just about the danger of climbing these heights. Coconut trees  abound with insects like scorpions and many of them go helter skelter when the branches are cut. A scorpion sting can be excruciatingly painful, poisonous and sometimes fatal.
He probably has no medical insurance or disability insurance. 
A free fall from a tree can paralyse the person for life.

For those of us working in comfortable airconditioned office spaces here is a blessing to count.
Or Maybe there is a lot of fun that we are missing out on. 

With rising literacy levels and a wide choice of safer occupations, it will not be unfair to say that the occupation is on the verge of extinction and soon enought machines and robots would replace the coconut tree climber.   

A search on google and youtube throws out abundant number of indigenous inventions primarily from Kerala to overcome the shortfall in the number of coconut tree climbers.  

A diesel operated motor used in yet another indigeneously Indian way. Click  Here to watch one of them . 
Is this what they call ‘Jugaad’? :)






Saturday, September 01, 2012

Puttu pazham

This wholesome breakfast of puttu pazham on a lazy Saturday morning  has some history to it.

This puttu maker was one more of my impulsive buys somewhere near wayanad on a long drive from Bangalore. 

Made out of two simple coconut shells, this is the medium that steamed puttu for a long time until the stainless steel kozha was invented. 
I had no intention of actually making puttu out of them. I only wanted it to be ornamental piece in my drawing room or my kitchen.

For months it has been lying around unused.  Today I decided to use it for what it was originally crafted for.   And wow , what was otherwise called kozha puttu did come out just as well if not in teh same shape  it would have in a stainless steel funnel.

With a small hole on one corner of the coconut shell it fits wells into the steam rising out of the cooker. A 5 to 8 minutes of  steaming  and a quick, filling and healthy breakfast is ready .

Lessons in Humility at the Golden temple

To call it a structure symbolizing classic minimalism would be an oxymoron. The Harmandir Sahib or the Golden temple of Amritsar...