A Zero,One Point Five & a Six

That’s the relative boozing experience of the three 26-year-olds who entered Jimi’s beer cafe last Saturday,going by the number of beer mugs they have had all their life .Mathematically speaking,both Krish & Vini had infinitely more experience than me,so to say. A quick flashback to how it all started. Every time ‘Zero’ and ‘1.5’ passed by Jimi’s beer cafe to meet the other zeros,0.25s & 0.3s (if you discount the vodka panipuri they all had which had more paani and little vodka) at Shanti Sagar, the two would wistfully look at the Jimi Hendrix poster at the entrance and say – one day we will conquer this place. Straight out of an 80’s Bollywood movie where the mafia don stands on the edge of the rocks by the sea while staring determinedly at the Mumbai skyline through his kaleidoscopic shades and tells his future side-kick, “Ek din yeh saara sheher meri mutthi mein hoga”. So as I was saying, it all started with eating too much Pav Bhaji and Masala dosa at shanti sagar.

On the historic evening, we stepped into the cafe. We took a 6-mug(Vini) along with us because we thought it’ll be better if we have an “experienced” hand with us, even if it was only a 6-mug experience.As I went in, I felt the eyes of every drunk there glaring down upon me. Its as if they knew. As if they were all thinking “Look at this. Here comes a zero”. As it goes,5 minutes later, we were walking out of the place. Jimi’s beer cafe had nothing but beer! Only beer is just not done for us pros.We need stronger stuff. Also there was the loud music. Hurt my eardrums.What do kids listen to these days! We quietly hopped to Enigma nearby.

After a round of intense speculation and brooding on boodyweiser (Thats what Krish said!), foster and other options, we ordered 330 ml of beers. 6-mug pro haughtily said “330 ml is nothing” and ordered another vodka for himself. The beers came quickly, I took the beer in my hand, heard myself say “You are straying from the path of Dharma,you $#@@#$”, ignored it,said cheers and took a sip. No surprises there.It tasted awful.Vini’s vodka cocktail was much better. Having finished the beer with the help of masala peanuts, I waited for the sensation to kick-in. Nothing happened. Zero mug dutifully raised this query to 6-mug. 6-mug smugly replied “Ha ha,nothing will happen with only this much.Take something more”.”Damn!”. 1.5 mug chipped in as enthusiastic as ever, “Pavan,rum order madona,BY-TWO!”. Ordering by two’s, two by five’s,three by seven’s.The side-effects of having too much coffee at Shanti Sagar. The rum arrived, and it actually tasted good, probably because it was a cocktail,again. Come to think of it now,the addictive influence of alcohol seems totally wasted on us guys.The rum got over too, and we sat there waiting for some fantastic feeling to blow our minds or whatever they call it. And we just sat staring at each other’s faces.Nothing happened. The three mugs were like “Isn’t this supposed to be good enough for a high? Do we need to drink more of this?Should we order something more, and share it, by three?” . Eventually we just paid the bill and walked out,giving each other tough looks and thinking in general “Meh.Seems like I’m too tough for this stupid alcohol have any effect on me”. The truth is that the zero mug & the 1.5 mug had no frigging clue if they were doing this right or not.  And the 6-mug was after all a 6-mug; he didn’t know shit either. And that’s how our night of WIN and LAME ended. But I did keep my promise I had made to a fellow zero-mug on my last birthday. I msg’ed him, “I did it!”

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The Mirchi-Bajji Affair

If your ‘native place’ is North Karnataka(I won’t bother mentioning the exact place.Most Bangaloreans know N.Kar as one humongous flat piece of rock, with no boundaries) and you live in Hyderabad,I will be damned if you haven’t had some aspect of your life influenced by this masterpiece food item : the Mirchi Bajji(MB). It will suffice to say we are as passionate about Bajji as a Bengali is about a Rasgulla or a Mallu is about Parotta Egg Curry, probably more because the hotness quotient is more in a Mirchi bajji than the other two. Take my family for instance,myself included.Roughly speaking,the count of the mirchi bajjis we consumed during the 90’s was greater the cumulative sum total of all varieties of fruits dad got home during that period .Not that we ever complained. In fact, dad is still famous in the larger family circle for his Bajji fetish. All my elder cousins still never miss an opportunity to pull dad’s leg when they meet him – “Dattu kaka, nim makklige mirchi bajji tandilla(You didn’t get MB for your kids)?:D”.The proud gentleman that my father is,he would vehemently go on denying all the allegations and declare that he hasn’t been tempted by them in a long time now.

The Mirchi Bajji affair resurfaced during our house warming ceremony last week. Apparently, dad had ordered the cook to add the ‘delicacy’ as part of the lunch menu :D. At the last minute,some one found this out and politely suggested dad to change it something else,because having MB again is too boring.BTW, have any of you tried asking for sambar with your dosa at MTR? If yes, have you noticed the startled and offended looks the oldies sitting around you kept giving you for asking sambar? I tell you,never ask for sambar with dosa at MTR(or any of the popular breakfast joints in South B’lore). Coming back,my father’s antagonized facial expression was the same when asked to cancel the MB.  So me and some relatives were reminiscing this with amusement while going to the new house (dad was not present with us), our hyper-talkative and mutliloquent driver who works at dad’s bank piped in without warning “Saar eats lots of bajjis at work”. He didn’t need much prodding to gain full dramatic flourish before continuing – ‘What do I tell? Saar keeps sending me to get MB for him. I tell him that he needs to stop now and I wont let him go down like this. But Saar says – “What can I do Narsimulu?(cough cough) I need these. I can’t carry on without the bajjis.(cough) Don’t argue too much.I’m doomed anyway. Just get me those damn things(cough cough cough)”.My heart bleeds for him. But I am helpless’ he concluded. When contacted, dad had this to say “Aa soolemaga hang andna (That fellow said this)? I’ll see him at the office”.

(Disclaimer: Everything below as narrated by my brother)                                                  Mom has her own mirchi bajji story. The other day as I was going out, she said she felt like having MB and asked me to get two of them. Just as she had the first bite and was going for second,she froze. Tears started rolling down from her eyes. I was puzzled “Mummy,enaytu”? Mom went full retro. “Beta,this incident happened 22 years ago. You were still a baby then.We were traveling somewhere and the train stopped at a station.Your dad got hot MB and passed them to me from the train window.(Maybe all this started on that historic day). Nothing has tasted the same since then. I’ve been looking for the same out-of-this-world taste for the last 22 years now, and without success.Today,finally, my quest has ended with these bajjis”.I think she stopped short of saying ,”This is why you were brought into this world,my son. This was the purpose of your life. To get me Mirchi bajjis”.Sigh.

Another unrelated but funny incident. My dad and I were looking for an address in some locality in Hyderabad. Dad spotted a man getting into a swanky car,went to him and casually inquired about the address we were looking for. The guy totally panicked,frantically mumbled something and tried to get away quickly. Meanwhile, I walked up to him and shook his hand.He smiled back pleasantly and sped off in his car. Puzzled,dad asked, “That guy didn’t even tell the address properly. Why did you shake his hand and why did he smile at you? Do you know him?” I was hysterical with laughter by then.Struggling to control my laughter, I told him “Pappa, that’s Shekhar Kammula,director of acclaimed movies like Anand, Happy Days and recently, Leader. You totally scared the poor guy”. Dad was surprised, “Oh Happy Days director-aa?” and then,”So why is he roaming on the roads like this? Is no one giving him work these days?”

P.S: I suddenly wonder what’ll happen if one day Dad somehow stumbles across my blog and goes through it? Have I written anything that he would be proud of? Proabaly not. I will be extra careful :D