Kappu Ice cream

 

You open my cupboard, you’ll see black clothes. Black shirt, black pant, black jacket, black bra, and all that. You open my shoe cupboard, and it’s the same; black converse, black running shoes, black ballerinas, black kolhapuri; you get the idea. So when I heard that had black ice cream, I had to eat it.

It’s not that I haven’t seen black food, sometimes my friend burns the chappati and it becomes dark brown, almost black. Sometimes you forget about the food you had hid in your bag, one fungus infestation happens and that also becomes green, and then black.

But black ice cream was not rotten food, anthe. Something about charcoal, they said. I’d been reading quite a bit about going zero waste, and charcoal was supposed to be a natural cleaning agent used in tooth paste and stuff. Instead of tooth paste, I could just consume it, an organ version of detox, you could say.

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The first store with this black ice cream to open in Bangalore was Fritz Haber, a place too far and inaccessible to civilization. So I waited, these fads catch on, you know. Soon enough, Mama Mia opened in Indiranagar.

The store was lit dimly, like it was a Hogwarts corridor. It had a brown wall on one side, and white one on the other. The brown wall had some fake plants, and some white and purple pebbles in a Keventers bottle. The white wall said ‘La Dolce Vita’ in cursive, and it was quite catchy. Eno pa.

I knew what I wanted before I even walked in. The extravagant menu on the wall behind the counter made no mention of anything remotely close to the word ‘black’, so I looked through the ice cream storage and found the black ice cream in the furthest corner. ‘Vanilla Startdust’, I think it was called.

Teddy being the thoughtful child that he is; he read my mind and got me the black ice cream in a black cone. Wowzie.

I shut my eyes tight, hoped it would be nice took a leap of faith and gave it a lick. It was sugar. It was just plain sugar syrup, and nothing else. It didn’t even taste like vanilla, da.  Teddy being the whiskey aficionado, heard that some variation of chocolate ice cream was called Whiskey-something took that. Good thing he uses his brain sometimes.

And the black cone? I hoped it would at least be crispy, but no. It was thick and chewy, and faintly tasted like egg. As I finished the last bit of the black chocolate ice cream stuff that I had, I knew that I would retreat back into my rocky road cave, and would never try to be adventurous with my ice cream again.

 

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Makalidurga

As I stood at the edge of this unknown lake, grey clouds surrounded Makalidurga. Behind me herds of sheep neighed and marched, cows moo-ed, and a dog barked. My friends chatted away in the distance, something about Coca-Cola or Sprite. But in the silence, you could hear the wind rushing, the slow gurgle of the water, an occasional spit-splat as the stones hit the water. The hill looked different now, greener even.

The betta from afar

Makalidurga, is a tiny hill beyond Doddballapura, that’s set in a district with the same name. A railway line marks the entrance of the hill, or rather the climb. The route till there is accessible by car or bike. After a tedious process of registering with the forest department, our climb began. The internet said it was a 4/5 hour climb.

As we made our way through the sandy shrubbery, we were asked if we could carry a small bag of cement to the top. ‘For the temple construction’, they explained. A few of my friends offered to, and I have never seen them regret a decision more. Far away we could hear the saffron people screaming ‘Jay Hanuman’, it echoed down the pathway. Later, we were told by the yelneer anna that people (read men) came specially to carry bags of cement to the top.

The path to the top was marked by white arrows, some on the ground, some on the trees. And for those who could not afford to look down, the path was marked by saffron ribbons on the trees. Surprisingly, the place lacked monkeys; there were garden lizards, and some bugs and insects. But no monkeys.

The hill, though green, was barren. It had dry grass that left scratches and cuts on your hand, it had trees, but no shade, it had rocks that were heated up by the sun above. But it had these flowers, the size of a big ant, and the colour of the sun. When you stood on the edges that the paths offered, you could see those great fluffy clouds casting humongous shadows down on the fields below, and nothing ever looked more enthralling and unique.

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You’ve reached the top when you see this.

Climbing Makalidurga was tiring, exhausting even, mostly because of the scorching heat. It was a three kilometer trek, but it seemed like it was 30. Finding water there is hard. At each edge, you see humongous lakes surrounding the hills. They’re waters reflecting the clouds above, but on the hill itself, you’re left parched.

Once you climb it, the lakes around are your motivation to come back down. Right on top is a small fort and an even smaller temple, and a poorer attempt at a man made lake. Makalidurga is said to have been a fort for the Vijayanagara empire where army exercises were conducted. Cannot imagine what they were thinking.

Some useful tips:

-Carry loads of water

-Shades and a cap too

-Wear shoes that are not worn out

-Don’t impose your ideas on others

-Be kind and respectful.

Over and out.

Rolled Over

I’m not much of an experimenter when it comes to food- my taste buds are particular about certain flavors. You take me to Kamat, I’ll get Jollad Rotti; take me to any Darshini, I’ll get a Rava Idly; take me to a pastry shop, I’ll get pineapple or chocolate; like I said, fixed.

When I went to Roll Over, a new ice cream parlor in the locality, I closed my eyes and picked something chocolate in it- Oreo Overload, and V went with Filter Kapi.

The concept of rolled ice cream was fairly new to V and I. We stood there looking at the guy beating my poor Oreos and ice cream up; he then made up for it by massaging my ice cream very sensually. Next, he patted it to sleep rather smoothly. And then, he scooped it all up, rolling it in the process.

As visually appealing as it looked, I must tell you, I was super disappointed. I loved the crunchiness of the cone. But the ice cream, not so much. Contrary to the name, there was no over load of Oreo at all. Rather, I could see specs of Oreo in my ice cream but taste more of vanilla, and almost nothing of the Oreo. The Filter Kapi, was quite bleak too – with the slightest tinge of coffee flavors. And there were three tiny rolls of ice cream which just got over, with a few minutes. I don’t get these new places and their obsession with serving tiny amounts of ice cream. (Corner House, bless you!).

The ambience of the place was comparatively appealing to V, he seems to like places which are bright and have white lights everywhere. But if you’re a dim place nocturnal creature like me, then here’s another red flag.

Nevertheless, I’m pretty determined to go try more flavors, and maybe change my opinion of this place. But until then, Rocky Road for life!

 

Corridors

I’m not really sure what it is about corridors that fascinates me. I think it’s not knowing what’s on the other end. Or sometimes it’s the path in itself. Nevertheless, each one has a story to tell in itself. Maybe it saw the royals stroll rainy evenings, or it gave joggers some respite; maybe it stayed too still while tourists clicked away on their cameras. Or maybe it did nothing. Maybes, and more maybes.

 

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Inside Hyderbad’s Nooks and Corners

It was a regular day in Hyderabad. The city and its traffic didn’t make me miss Bangalore for a minute. The only thing that did stand apart from Bangalore was it’s ancient structures.

The city was full of surprises. There would be a series of newer shopping complexes, international brand stores, and then suddenly, an old ruin would emerge. Every other old structure would have a dome, or a few. Enough to make an tourist believe it was a place.

‘Madam, vegetable market, madam. Very fresh carrot, beans, sab milta’ the autowala informed from his cheetah printed shiny seat.

Chowmahal too, was a surprise. A random majestic metallic gate between a bustling street, and an even busier market. As the name suggests, it is home to four mahals/palaces. Each one more exquisite and regal looking than the others.

Uniformly painted in shades of white, beige and pale yellow. The windows were the deepest shades of brown. The lake, though green, perfectly reflected the structures adjacent to it. The garden, was home to a few canons, reflecting all the war and destruction the rulers boasted of.

The palace was now home to all of the Nizam’s possessions. His china, his woodwork, letters he wrote, stationary he used, swords that belonged to his armies, guns he took on his hunts, vintage cars that he collected, satin sofas he once sat on sipping his scotch, jewel studded pots he once smoked on; everything preserved like it was bought yesterday.

The chandeliers were a work of art in themselves, each one sparkling rays of the sun that came in through the window. And the windows? Don’t get me started on how precisely sculpted every last curve on the patterns were.

I doubt anything I pen here could even come close to how elegant the monument was.

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Goa.

Clear blue waters till the end of the horizon. The sun shinning on it beautifully. Whosh of the waves hitting the shore. Warm, toasty beaches with tall coconut trees swaying gracefully. Overpriced plastic bottles lying on the ground, around empty dustbins.

Two-wheelers zooming every where, honking noisily as they try to get to the beach. Tiny tattoo shops asking you to get ‘flying butterfly’ tattoos. Magnificent old churches and their Sunday masses. Tourist guides hovering around you, offering guide tours (even of empty beaches).

Oh! The smell of goan fish curries in the air, which makes even a vegetarian’s mouth water. Alcohol bottles clinking, and tipsy men trying to be heard over the cackler of others. And of course, drunk men openly flashing and molesting women, while they smile proudly.

Yup, Goa.

 

Bus Stands.

In my previous post I mentioned about sitting at the bus stand and not wanting to go to work.The bus stand, like I said, was a melange of people. If I wasn’t lazy I’d have written about all of them.

A scrawny woman who always chewed pan came here every day unfailingly; she sat on the bench to the left corner and carried a basket far too big for her. She sat there till she finished chewing the first ball of pan, and made garlands out of flowers. She never got on to any bus.

Next to her sat a woman, who styled her hair differently every day, she was shorter than I. She wore neon-green aviators and always carried a book with her. She used her finger as the bookmark, but I never saw her read the book. She just sat there and listened to music on her little black ear buds till a Volvo to Banerghatta arrived.

The other was a guy was about 6 feet tall who went to the gym behind the bus stand. He always had a red backpack he wore on one side. Somehow his walk reminded me of the proud-walk the Emperor does at the end of the novel the Emperor’s new clothes.

Occasionally, I met a classmate who was always more than an hour late to her place of work. She interned at a neuropsychiatric hospital, and didn’t really seem to care that she was running late. (I don’t recall seeing her on time to class either)

‘Sitting here at the bus stand seemed far more interesting than getting on a bus and going to work’. It truly was.