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BLOG - ER Ramachandran

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The origin of Bangalore blues for President Obama

Bangalore has grown so much even Kempe Gowda, is sure to lose his bearings if he dared to set foot on a city which the chieftain once founded.

If he came across theBangalore Municipal Corporation ( BMC) rechristened in Kannada with an additional letter Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike,  BBMP or more likely known as Owners and Displayers of  Garbage the city makes in a day and  one look at his own statue would be enough to make him run away never to return.

He had named the hamlet Benda kaLooru which means in Kannada  ‘small town of boiled grams’  after eating them when he landed there for the first time. The British twisted it into Bangalore which again is going through a metamorphosis thanks to U.R. Ananathamurthy, as Bengaluru.

 Since the original name started with food, much of Bangalore’s fame came from the Eats which the city became famous for.

Whether it was the Masala dose in Vidyarthi Bhavan, Puri - Saagu in Mavalli Tiffin Rooms ( MTR),  BeNNe Masale dose in Udupi Krishna Bhavan, Rava Kesari in Malabar Lodge,  Idli, Vada, coffee in Malleshawaram Tiffin Rooms,  there was always a huge crowd waiting smacking their lips in anticipation.
Most of these restaurants had won their customers with their own specialty with delicacies such as Bisi Bele Anna served with Happala and Mosaranna for the afternoon lunch and broke into Aloo Bonda and by two coffee in the evenings when most Bangaloreans walked their cycles in one hand with an arm over their friend’s shoulder on the other like a Western Horseman, a la Gene Autry walking his horse!

Other snacks which have a stamp of Bangalore and helped students studying for exams late nights were the Kharada Bun and Baadami haalu at Harsha Stores or Ganesha Stores next to Revanna’s grocery shop in Basavanagudi.

  Snacks which are another term for Round-the-clock-eating came from Subbamma’s famous condiments stores! Located in H.B. Samaja Road opposite Medico Surgicals, and nudging next to Siddoji Rao cloth stores in Gandhi Bazaar, Subbamma’s preparations like Rave Unde, HurigaaLu, chakkli, kajjaaya, Kharada KadLe kayi became so famous, it crossed palates of Vindhya Mountains even in Sixties only to become a rage and craze in cities in U.S.

Competition to Subbamma came just a mile away from V.B. Bakeries whose mouth-watering coconut burfies and haalukova stole customers from other outlets. Further, V.B. Bakeries ran their shop like an assembly line with order matching delivery with zero waiting time to the hungry crowd at an amazing pace.
The market for Indian food rose to frenzy when Veeraswamy opened his outlet in London with most natives there preferring Indian Curry over their own Fish and Chips!

How did Bangalore contribute to Indians in US which has become a heart-burning issue with President Barrack Obama these days? In fact one should ask when eating become some kind of springboard for Bangaloreans to pose a direct challenge to US Presidents.

True Bangalore’s colleges like UVCE, BMS, Ramaiahs and others produce Engineers and more recently Software Engineers aided by sound basic Maths at school levels. When the first and second wave of engineers went to USA for higher studies and had to stay alone in bachelor digs, they had to make do with meager foreign exchange provided those days and looked for low- paying campus jobs to keep their body and soul together.

It is the Rasam, Sambhaar and Chutney powders and ‘Dhideer (Instant) Idli powders, ‘Bisi Bele ‘ Mix that came to their rescue. MTR, Subbammas and V.B. Bakeries etc   made easy to carry, easier to make Rasam and Sambhaar, which tasted ‘just like mother’s’. Rasam and Sambhaar are such versatile dishes rice, bread, chappathi, even an old shoe soaked in snow for a couple of days and cut to small pieces will taste heavenly!  As these packets made their presence at Universities in  Harvard, Stanford, Princeton etc.. US Customs, wary officials thought it was some kind of a bomb- making ingredients which will kill you by bouts of sneezing but soon learnt it was the life line of Indians going abroad. Dr. Narasimhaiah (H.N.) did a PhD in Nuclear Science from Ohio University from the Uppittu he learnt to make with MTR powder, for 5 years at a stretch. An- out- of - job Steve Jobs once confessed he survived by eating the weekly sumptuous Indian food served in Hare Rama Hare Krishna temples!

Gradually more and more stayed back to land  important jobs in corporate sector,  or for start-ups especially in Silicon Valley, raising serious concerns to US Administration. The influx of bright students from India and China on one hand to take jobs in US over the locals and flight of jobs to countries like India on the other seem to worry US Administration like hell.

Now of course, we have mothers who  go with just a  rolling pin in hand and  conjure culinary wonders  to take care of  her  pregnant daughter-in- law and can dish out a pizza  as well as akki rotti with elan’. This has become an additional source of worry to President Obama as more and more Ajjis are flooding US cities from Bangalore which is the biggest software center outside Silicon Valley. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his ministers are planning to make Bangalore numero uno Software center in the world this will only pave way for more exchanges of Software Engineers.

This only means more Ajjis will go to US and prepare their own Sambhar, Rasam and Chutney powders which ultimately may find huge market across markets in US. Another worry for US for sure, in years to come!