What do biryani, wrestling, Russel Market and children have in common? A fantastic ride through 1920s in Bangalore! My new short story ‘The Biryani Choke’ is a rollicking tumble set around the opening of the Russell Market in Shivajinagar of the 1920s.
The story is being published in an anthology by INTACH Bangalore appropriately called Eleven Stops to the Present: Stories of Bengaluru. If you don’t know, INTACH Bangalore are folks who are known to conduct terribly entertaining heritage walks in the city. The anthology is the brainchild of Meera Iyer (who wrote Discovering Bengaluru: History. Neighbourhoods. Walks, a must-have book if you like discovering history by foot) who has also written a story in it. Other amazing writers in it include: Aditi De, Anirudh Kanisetti, Anitha Murthy, Edgar Demello, Meera Iyer, Menaka Raman, Nagaraj Vastarey, Sandhya Rao, Shruthi Rao, and of course Zac O’Yeah.
Upcoming anthology by INTACH
Eleven short stories for children, by eleven awesome writers who take you on a journey through Bengaluru and Bangalore, from about 2000 years ago to the 1980s
The book is an ambitious idea to introduce the city’s history to children through fiction stories set in different periods of Bangalore (or Bengaluru, that’s also history now). When Meera asked me to write a story, I knew the place in Bangalore I wanted to write about. I had already been there….
It was while showing another friend this city that I found out how deep I had fallen for it. I never knew it existed. I should have, but like any other relationship, it’s always the family and closer friends who get to know that you are hooked. You never do.
Self-realisation is like myopia. Closer you are to a feeling, the lesser you see.
Slowly but surely, I have formed a steady relationship with Bangalore. It all started with little references to the weather, the innocent expressions and the drunken walk of people in casual conversations. Then it was little things I would smile about when I was about to sleep.
Thoughts of a perfect day gone by. When I took a walk on Sankey Tank as the sun melted into floating clouds. Animated, passionate conversations with people over a cup of filter coffee and how to brew a perfect cup. The personality of people based on the style in which they had a dosa. How we would laugh while taking a U-turn to go straight on a road. How a lazy conversation with a cop and a shrug accompanied by a smile can get you out of a possible ticket. A small chat corner that manages to make people in a 50m radius salivate. The red flowers which fall as the yellow flowers spread across shady trees on the streets. A hearty conversation with a woman who I just met on the road. Turtles and petals floating lazily in a dirty pond of an ancient temple. The cool feel of stone. The heady smell of agarbati, colourful pooja flowers and yellow lights that physically bind you in a magical spell. A rare bout of writing when my hands would glide madly looking for the right keys to be pressed while I looked out of a balcony.
Maybe it was the people I met. Maybe it was the weather. Maybe it was the work I did when I came here. Does it matter? I fell for this city. Isn’t that what love is? Little by little it gets under your skin, everyday, every moment.