Sunday, July 31, 2005

One armed valour

It beats me as to how India got blown away by Jayasuriya on Saturday night. Here was a man batting with one arm and the Indians couldnt prise him out! I sometimes wonder if India's gone back to the days when it did not have the ability to deliver that killer punch to knock out the enemy, having got him on the ropes.

The only other one-handed effort I can think of right now was by Malcolm Marshall against England in 1984. He broke his thumb, but came out to bat and helped Larry Gomes get past the century-mark. When he came on to bowl, his left hand was in plaster and he bowled a vicious spell taking 7-53 and routing the Pommies.

I dont think I can really think of an Indian with a comparable performance bar Anil Kumble in the Windies in 2002 (when he bowled with his jaw in a bandage). I think our cricketers lack the courage (and gumption) to take the opposition bull by the horns (ah, the cliche!). Like someone said, "we're the best batsmen at the non-striker's end"!

PS:I have been in Clemson since Wednesday, and it's been one huge rush - running around getting things done and settling in. It amazes me that I'm 3h ahead of PST and it gives me a strange kick! Maybe I'm still in Irvine-mode.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


2.30 on a Tue morning and I'm actually blogging. Just listened to this song called "Fabric" which featured on the "Monsoon Wedding" OST. It's one of the most beautiful songs, and I can still recall the backdrop on which it was picturized - a gloomy, rainy Delhi sky.

Have always associated this particular song with gloomy evenings - especially all those Sunday evenings back home. I still do have the song buzzing off and on in my head.

Today's my last day in Irvine, and needless to say I leave with a heavy heart. It is tough to say adios to one's amigos - but it has to be done! Might be back in November for the U2 show - gives me a reason not to sell those tickets! Biking past the old haunts brought back memories.

So that's that.....

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Vasantha Bhavan

So on Sunday morning, after much efforts waking Thendi up, we set out for Venice enroute to Camarillo. Since it was almost lunchtime by the time we hit the road, we planned a lunch stop at Madras Tiffin Cafe in Cerritos (Artesia). Sundi had taken K there when he was a fresher, and K couldnt stop raving about it.

We reached the place to find Madras Tiffin Cafe transformed into Hotel Vasantha Bhavan, replete with Gulti maami as the 'woner'! We were a bit apprehensive about the food, but went ahead and hit the buffet anyway! In between all the jokes cracked at the expense of the pseud-maamis, we polished off 4 masala vadais, 3 thayir-vadais, two uthappams and three masala dosais! Gee, we sure had an appetite! We had found heaven (for South Indian food)- at last! It's unfortunate that I wont be around to relish another meal at Vasantha Bhavan soon!

Invariably at any Indian restaurant you'll find a few pseud-types. They will come in their Sunday best and eat their dosas/uthappams with forks and knives. They have this almost supercilious air about them watching us 'junglees' eating with our fingers. But when they run into trouble (which happens invariably), fork and knife goes for a toss and out come the fingers.

The maamis might have been in the US for less than five years, but irrespective of whether they are from Mylapore or Mahbubnagar district they MUST put on their best American accent. One maami got her money's worth when she asked one of the staff where she could pay in her best English (which even the Queen would have been proud of). The guy replied: "Naa tamizh dhaan....Tamizh-le pesi-na podhum! (I'm Tamilian, so please dont hesistate to talk in Tamil)"!!!! I bet the maami was suitable impressed to say the least!

Then there's the pesudo-humble maami who shuttles from table to table trying to make polite conversation with other patrons in the restaurant (much to the chagrin of her glowering hubby, who invariably has IITM written all over him). It's probably the last dregs of the dormant Bharata Natyam artiste, soon to be (or already) soccer mum. The kids ofcourse dont give two hoots about Indian food - it aint cool enough.

Who can miss the Gulti family from the deepest parts of Karimnagar district! The hubby looks like he walked straight out of some comic strip - a living example of Homer Simpson (D'oh!). The wifey ofcourse has been in the US for just two years and hasnt been suitably Americanized. The kid is completely desi, drooling and regurgitating stuff all over the tablecloth much to the mother's amusement, and screeching at the top of it's voice!

Oh in all this, forgot to mention the three morons watching and laughing their guts out!

So thats that...The only minus point for Vasantha Bhavan - their saunf is pathetic. God knows what rubbish they smoke and pass off as saunf !

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The quest for a good 'South Indian' restaurant

K, V and I have been desperately seeking a good South Indian restaurant for the past two years. In our quest, we have visited (not necessarily eaten) at some interesting places. All have been in CA, except for the one I visited in Irving last week.

With all due respect to the restaurants dishing out Southie fare, you folks havent an iota of an idea of how to make good idli/vada/dosai. I'm sure all the ABCDs must sure be impressed with your fare, but for hardcore connoiseurs like V, K and yours truly, your idlis taste like thermocol, the sambhar gives gutter water a fair competition, and your paper dosai tastes a tad better than what else - PAPER!

In the same breath, I cannot but humbly request the 'woners' (read: owners) of the Saravana Bhavans and other 'Bhavans' to kindly refrain from serving up stuff like "Pollock" (read: Palak) Panneer and the like. Let's try and stick to our respective domains of expertise and experience. Fusion is good (undoubtedly), but like someone said, it often leads to confusion.

One of the no frills attached places I've been to is the Komala Vilas in Sunnyvale. This is a frequent haunt for desi dudes (and their spouses) after a tough morning's cricket in the vicinity. The coffee's really good, but the rest of the stuff wasnt up to the mark. Ah and one more thing - the cashier bills you Indian-style, on chits of paper!

We've attempted raiding the Saravana Bhavans in Sunnyvale and Cupertino on more than occasion - mainly coz of the name! On one occasion, there was a power outage in the Sunnyvale area (and we had to satisfy our hunger on some lousy Subway sandwiches), while on the other two occasions, we just couldnt get into the place.

A few months ago, we hit this place called Tirupati Bhima's in Milpitas. It's supposedly run by Sri Krishna Sweets (the naming funda still intrigues us), the famous makers of that lovely jilebi and mysurpa! The place had just opened and despite waiting for an hour, we couldnt find a table. But then we werent as aggressive as some of the Andhra folks there!!

Last week, thanks to Narayan's buddies RD and Mr. Balla (who I discovered was a couple of years senior to me in college) we ate an excellent buffet at "Rice and Roll" in Irving. It blew our brains out, and had our mouths watering. The vadas and dosas were out of this world. I think all of us gorged mainly on the vadas and dosas - tandoori chicken and lamb curry be damned! Ah, and we topped it off with some home-made mango ice cream. All in all, I wonder how we drove all the way back to Austin after such a heavy meal - hats off to Narayan!

I cut myself short here.....the crowning glory shall be revealed tomorrow! Till then will have to leave u well...smacking your lips waiting for tomorrow!?!?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

And then there was one....

One of the main reasons I got past the first few weeks here in Irvine was thanks to the incessant jokes and discussions we guys had in Cornell - some lasting till 5am. It went a huge way towards keeping my thoughts off home and other 'sentimental' stuff!

We are a crazy bunch, each one a specimen in his own right. Each of us has our own 'style' and idiosyncrasies. But yeah, we had a blast - even after we moved to our own apartments in Verano later on.

The bike rides to the beach.....
Hangin' at Donut Star....
The dinner discussions....
The I-90 incident....
The 'sanitary napkin' stealer......
The joint cooking sessions.....
Weekend cleaning sessions.....
EA Sports Cricket 2004 tournaments.....
Road trips to SD, the Bay Area....
Putting fundae........

And so a fortnight from now it will be one dude standing in Irvine. Hopefully each one of us will find our Valhalla (or has already found it)!

So this weekend it's one last time..before we turn the page...and another chapter comes to an end...