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Monthly Archives: May 2014

I am quite fed up with all the under delivering politics – and failed citizenship for what that matters…

In  the end, politicians are just as good as their voters, aren’t they?

We sit on our couches and  think we are the best people to judge a sports person’s wrong move. We would have done it better, for sure. We don’t like our politicians and yet we vote for the same old dysfunctional  constellations of people, or even worse ones.

Where is active citizenship? Where is the drive to shape our lives with our own means? I am not necessarily taking about being behind the barricades, or doing anything unlawful. I am talking about actively working within and for our communities, taking steps towards building a better life. Claiming ownership over processes and outcomes.

communitygardenI believe that politics the way we know them are obsolete; I daresay even dead: The blue, the green, the red. The right, centre and left. Colour-codes and traffic signs that segregate us into  sheepish followership.

The world does not need heroes, or great acts of sacrifice.  No, the world needs many people who will dedicate some of their idle time on things constructive for their own and other people’s benefit.

Reaction is not action. Choosing something because you are cornered by an alternative option that you think is bad, is not making the best out of your choices. If the value of  our choices is just that of taking away from something else, then there is something in the whole process that does not match up.

I know. They say that in the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man rules. Still, in a part of the world that calls itself developed and civilised, that is not good enough, because we can do better. Sometimes I think that people would need to be sent off on an educational trip to India to get a grip. Pull their sleeves up and work things out. If you think we’ve got problems with our EU population of 500 million, just scale them to the  mind-blowing 1.2 million country-population of the subcontinent.

When walking around in my old city-centre neighbourhood the other day, I noticed that a small and relatively indifferent park had been turned into a community garden. I thought, now we’re talking. This is the kind of thing that perspires hope and faith in some kind of positive evolution.

Shoveling, digging, planting, weeding, harvesting. Transforming. This is  action, not reaction.

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Today my body and brain were crying out for a break after hours on end spent in front of the computer, typing (I was typing, my body and brain were the tacit witnesses).

So, I looked for instant remedy in two walks out in the sun, late morning and afternoon – that’s how generous I am.

canal

So recreational and therapeutic….

The travel clock is ticking, tic toc. Pre-traveling and project wrap-up frenzy.  Fix this, fix that.  A real bucket list overspill.

Tetris-packing, and pixelised luggage space.  The clock is ticking and the list of things to do  is in reality endless, but you just have to give up on the thought of completing. Completion does not exist.

Then there are the moments of respite. Like when sitting in the back seat of a rickshaw, occupying the only dry spot on the dark blue fake leather seat. The rain dangles from the skies like a wet curtain surrendering to its own wait.

The driver circles around the Lalbagh garden in search for the MTR, the Mavalli Tiffin Room where I have a lunch date.

I am the first one to arrive. I wait at the hall looking out on the street though the entrance door laced with transclucent droplets of water.

img_3716Then my company arrives, we pay at the till, we walk up the stairs and wait for our turn to be seated.

Then comes the tiffin lunch served on big metal platters:  Akki roti and tomato chutney. Sweet saffron ras malai and mung dal paysam. Bisibelebath. Pongal. Plain rice, sambar, carrot and coriander salad, rasam, green beans with grated coconut. Appalam. Curd rice. Yellow ice-cream, a read maraschino cherry and rust-coloured fruit.

lalbaghMy company is new, the establishment is old and I am rewarded with the best friggin’  tiffin in town.

The Indian Coffee House is committed to bringing good – South Indian – coffee  to the people since 1936 via a network of coffee houses spread across the subcontinent and run by thirteen cooperative societies.

indiancoffeehouse In an Indian city near you…For a frothy milk coffee or a savoury snack.

Urban designers seem to be living and breathing the cities they live in. That is why they are part of initiatives such as the  Urban Design Collective and organise events like Jane’s  Walk. On their free time of course.

Before coming to Bangalore and sharing a flat with an urban designer I had never heard of Jane Jacob’s. But then again, I am not very strong in architecture and urban development-related trivia.

According to reliable sources however, she was  an American journalist, writer and activist who inspired a new view on urban planning and city-building.

As part of the annual Jane’s Walk Festival, a series of commemorative walks took place in different locations in India at the beginning of this month of May. I was among the crowd that had gathered at the Russel Market at 08.30 am on Sunday morning, to document a specified itinerary with the help of their cameras.

From the starting point at Russel Market and St Mary’s Cathedral on to Shivajinagar, St Andrew’s Church and St Mark’s road until Koshy’s cafe and restaurant we were supposed to evoke  Jane’s fundamental principles through our photographs.

For me it was just a  great opportunity to release the Japanese in me before parting with the city.

I am sharing some visual imprints of this very nice way of kicking off a Sunday:

toyhorsesMy little ponies at Russel Market…

beefmarket

The Beef market…

holly_cow

and the  Holly Cow…

thelook2With the eyes on the street – the way to Shivajinagar station…

bajjisRoll them like Bajjis…

mangosMango on the go…

reservedseatsReserved seating…

mirrorMirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

butterflatColor Casualty…

img_3640Homeless but not Sleepless…

speedFrozen in time…

Jane’s Walk could inspire you too to head out on a weekend to rediscover your surroundings through your lens. Nice idea, isn’t it?

 

One of the things I love about  India is the easy access to wholesome food on the go.

Everything from hot and cold drinks to breakfast, snacks and dinner items. There is a hole array of simple eateries where to satisfy one’s appetite for a humble amount of rupees.

One of the snacks I have enjoyed almost to satiation is the vada, the South Indian savory lentil-based doughnut, served for breakfast or as a snack with sambar, coconut chutney or curd gravy.

Having breakfast out once in a while as a break from my routine of frozen fruit salads is a good opportunity to discover different corners of the city and get my teeth into sinful vadai  with the  altruistic motive of  listing the three best tasted in Bengaluru.

The title of the most crisp and tender little vada goes to Veena’s Stores in Malleshwaram where people queue as of early morning for a standing breakfast.

veenaIf this was not a post about vadas eaten in Bangalore,  Veena’s vada would have  found a serious contender in its delicate counterpart produced by the  eighteen year-old accidental cook at the so not four star hotel of Malpe Beach in south-west Karnataka. But that is a different story…

Vada number two was just the right size, crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.  It was savoured at the airy loft of Hallimane, also in Malleshwaram, a very nice location for food around the clock (their rural menu is another plus). According to my breakfast co-panelist, they serve the best  dosa in town.

hallimaneAt third place comes the Sri Sagar (CTR) vada. Tasty and accompanied by the usual chaperons, but not as minute and perky as number one and  two.

vadahallimaneHm, I think I still have space for a couple more, because, as they say,  you never try, you never know.

So, will Veena’s vada stay on top? And will the Sri Sagar vada keep its place among the top three?

Stay tuned….

sofiawise

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

The Chick on a Pea

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

Buttercupgoeswest

Buttercup is a newborn and we are taking her on a 5000 KM journey from Ahmedabad to Kanyakumari

Sadness Theory

Music with passion for the environment

zee pause café

taking a moment, having a coffee, writing down some thoughts