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Dwelling beyond " b#ndary


Welcome to the eighth issue of Udantya! ________________________________

This month on Udantya, we take you on a tour of the world! __________________________ Backstage Pass The Essence of Udantya Megaphone A Word from the Editors Spotlight Wanderlush – Namita Azad Paradise Lost. Paradise Gained. – Aparna Vidyasagar Darkroom An Amble through Madison Armchair Critic Paris Je T’aime Jam Session Poetic Justice Beat Box Safari Cameo Mumbai Snapshots Cameo II Madras FAQ

BACKSTAGE PASS The very essence of artistic expression is that, it is captured in many different ways.

A picture, a word or a tune. Your rebellion, your journey and your destination. Here, we aim to capture it all. Join us or explore with us. Welcome to Udantya. Welcome to our creative space!

Udantya aims to be a collaborative effort. If you have any articles, photos or music you would like to share, please email us at Future themed issues will be announced a month in advance.

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From the Editors Cities play such a large part in our lives. We are from a city, we choose to move to a certain city and we dream of cities that we would love to visit and explore. This month on Udantya, we present different cities of the world. We present them in the context of our histories, our personal journeys and our adventures. We hope you enjoy our little tour! Spotlight this month features ‘Paradise Lost. Paradise Gained’ by Aparna; a snapshot of a day in the city of Bangalore where memories finally reconcile with the present day. Namita writes of her impressions during her travels to four different cities around the globe as her idea of viewing cities as ecosystems evolves. Udantya began in Madison, Wisconsin- a city close to the hearts of Namita and Aparna. This month’s Darkroom video is a tribute to and a celebration of Madison!

anthology by multiple directors, narrating stories set in the City of Love. Jam Session this month is a treat! Namita writes of the Kasane safaris in Botswana and shares some photos from her family’s collection. Poetry Jam features ‘Revisited’, a poem by Aparna and in Beat Box we highlight cities that have been immortalized in popular culture through songs and film. This month we have a debut Cameo appearance by Nikhil Ray. Nikhil takes us on an atypical visual tour through the city of Mumbai, India. Each photograph captures an aspect of the city’s spirit seen from Nikhil’s vantage point. Our regular contributor Karthik Narasimhan returns with a wonderful essay on his favorite city. It may very well be yours too. But, does his favorite city truly exist or does it reside in the realms of nostalgia and imagination? Read on, to find out.

Armchair Critic introduces the readers to the first of a wonderful global franchise of films- Paris Je’Taime (Paris, I Love You). The film is a poignant and entertaining visual

© Udantya 2011

Bon Voyage!


Paradise Lost. Paradise Gained. Growing up, we moved around a lot.  And, by moved around, I really mean across oceans and continents.  With each new place came culture shock and the challenge of fitting in.  Each move cemented the feeling of being just ‘somebody’ from ‘no place at all’. Bangalore changed all of that for me. In this city, I formed the most important friendships of my life- enduring, decades long friendships. In this city, I grew up- from a newly uprooted six and half year old to a young adult beginning a new chapter of her life. In this city, I experienced absolute bliss, many moments of euphoria, a modest helping of drama, a tiny bit of truancy, stages of self-discovery, one long moment of profound sorrow and resilience. All the while the city remained not as a backdrop or a stage but as a partner, coconspirator and friend. Another move by my family meant that over ten years my visits to Bangalore grew progressively shorter and more infrequent. Every time I was whisked away from the airport with the city lights whizzing by, I’d look out the window for a glimpse of something familiar. High rises, incredible amounts of traffic, large malls and restaurants had taken root. If I looked really hard, I could see the canvas of the old city, upon which this new one was painted. It was an unsettling amount of newness for me. I thought the city of my memories was lost.

role as a cantonment during the British rule. It is only apt that the Garden City would boast of a garden of its own. The Lal Bagh botanical gardens were styled as Moghul gardens and completed towards the end of the 18th century by Tipu Sultan. Over the years many additions were made with most of the permanent structures (the Glass House and the Kempegowda Tower) being well over a hundred years old. Growing up, Lal Bagh didn’t seem very special; it was just always there. We went there on school trips, gamboling the sprawling lawns and sitting under the tree canopies. It was the place to take visiting relatives- an example of Bangalore’s famed greenery concentrated between four iron gates. It was a place for family outings and picnics at a time when restaurants were too expensive to frequent. I remember visiting the flower shows in the Glass House, traversing and weaving through what seemed to be unending rows of flowers. I remember climbing up the rock to Kempegowda tower to buy a cob of coal charred corn and cursing the steep trek. Lal Bagh was simply one of many memories. My last trip to Bangalore was longer than usual. One day, my friend and I decided to go on a small photo expedition and chose Lal Bagh as our destination. We thought we’d see a little bit of everything-people and nature. But I found a little bit of something else.

When we went through the revolving metal gate, it was as if time had stopped. The din and chaos of the traffic was shut out behind us; the air was sweeter; the crowds were gone. It was all the same. There was a group of young students on a trip from Madurai; young children played games and ran around as their folks watched them from picnic blankets on the The Bangalore of yore was known as the Garden City lawns. Vendors sat in all the same places, selling the same of India. The streets were lined with trees and the air was food- corn, peanuts and bhel puri*. And the Glass House stood always cool. The city was calm and elegant- a legacy from it’s large and resplendent. © Udantya 2011

We spent a few hours, sauntering about the gardens, chit-chatting with the people around, asking some if we could take their pictures. Everyone was warm and friendly. It was the simplicity that I was used to. It was a wonderfully cathartic for me- to be able to reconnect. Spending that afternoon in Lal Bagh, I felt as if the city was still the same at its very core. Later through the trip, I spent time riding around in autorickshaws** from place to place, haggling with the drivers; walking around old shopping areas, mapping out old routes and roads, and just really looking. It was as if my eyes were adjusting to the bright light of change. Once it all came into focus, it really wasn’t so foreign and unfamiliar. Finally, paradise was not lost, after all. *Bhel puri- A spiced mixture of puffed rice, peanuts, onions laced with sweet and spicy sauces. Common street food. **Auto-rickshaw- Three wheeled motorized transport.

- Aparna

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Wanderlust When we got talking about the ‘cities’ theme for our Udantya issue, my mind traveled back in time and sieved through the last two years of adventures. My professional commitments gave me the opportunity to visit various places, but once I got there, I realized that I had a personal drive to explore new lands.  Whether it was the auto ride in the rain on the bustling streets of Delhi,  the quiet drive through remote highlands of the Isle of Skye, the morning breakfast in a cozy cafe looking out on to the castle in Prague or the manic movement on the London tube; each experience has stoked my sensibility and has kept me questioning.   I believe that cities are by far the most intriguing ecosystems to exist. They are composed of a multitude of landscapes- bustling streets, quaint corners, homes, apartments, skyscrapers, studios, the green and the gray. You see people from all walks of life- the young, the old, the driven, the laid back, the front-liners, the back-benchers; and every so often you bump into the explorers. And in between these settings and faces lies a panorama of cultures, social settings, interests, norms, religions, beliefs and practices that gives each city its flavor and various parts of that city a different shade.

give him. I would be on my way to visit a national historic monument where I would encounter tourists like myself, photographing every corner in the hope of taking back the feeling of awe while standing in front of a beautiful piece of architecture.  A stop by local tea stall to grab a quick snack, and I would notice a gang of school children on their way home, lost in giggles.  A quick ten minute walk and I would be standing outside the gates of Delhi University waiting to meet my friend. There, I could smell the scent of youthful India.  Back home, and the sounds of galicricket** would seep into conversations with my granny.  Time had stopped at the historical monument and started again outside Delhi University - I felt as though I had traveled in a time-machine.  Each and every encounter would make me stop and think of how everything harmoniously co-exists and how this city has given shelter, joy, and aspiration to each and every one of the lives that has stepped on its soil.

My first encounter with this paradigm began in Delhi, India. I often found myself traveling in an auto-rikshaw*, driven by a man who’s home ran on the few rupees I would © Udantya 2011

My nomadic self then traveled to the vast landscapes of the grandiose United Kingdom. The eye catcher for me, was just how simply past was intertwined with the present.  Whether this was the non-stop movement in London or the laid back country home in Edinburgh.  Each corner carried a trace of heritage that grounded its

existence. I frequently used the London tube as my mode of commute and it would always be an interesting experience going eleven floors underground into a concrete jungle and then walking out in to the historic Westminster Abbey or St. Paul Cathedral.   Similarly, the Royal Mile, adorned by the Edinburgh Castle at one end and the Royal Palace on the other, would widen down to boutiques and chain department stores.  This dichotomy was a remarkable showcase of eternal balance that will forever keep the people of these lands bound to their histories. My most recent escapade has been to the beautiful city of Praha - commonly known as Prague - in the Czech Republic.  This has been the most challenging expedition for me because Praha was a city where I did not know the language.  This however, set the precedent for my four days there.   It was an opportunity to observe and understand the dynamics of the city through the impressions it left on me.  I would begin my mornings with breakfast in a small cafe in a different part of the city each day.  Each street had its unique line of buildings, some brightly colored and others decorated with Gothic architecture.  Yet each carried a warm feeling with it- whether it came from the old aged nanny drying her morning’s laundry or the young mother sitting on the balcony and knitting a sweater.  Walking towards the town center, I could always hear local musicians playing

from blocks away. As I crossed the infamous Charles bridge, my eye would always catch the exquisite charcoal sketches by the street artists. The grandiose castle towered  over the city but did not overshadowing the scenery.  It fit perfectly with the calmness of the city and only added to the historical traces that lingered everywhere.  My idea of a city being an ecosystem is much more subtle when it comes to Praha.  There is no single predominant idea or concept here but rather a perfect balance between cultural and historical heritage that is preserved in the city’s geography and surroundings and practiced by its people. Every morning I wake up having dreamed of a new adventure in a new city. Letting yourself loose in a land unmapped, amongst faces unseen and in cultures and lingos unknown only to discover a part of yourself is possibly the best high. With every new city through which I adventured I turned myself into a sponge, absorbing anything and everything it had to offer. This experience is one I hope to revisit and I hope to grow with each escapade. - Namita *Auto-rickshaw- Three wheeled motorized transport. **Gali-cricket - Cricket played in the streets often times by young children.

© Udantya 2011


An Amble through Madison I’m a true Badger, having gone to both undergraduate and graduate school in Madison, WI at the University of Wisconsin. That being said, I’ve been there a long time! Over the years I took a LOT of photographs. When I left Madison this year (having finally graduated of course!), I felt the need to do something to honor the city that I love so much and a city that has given me so much. This is the result. I know I haven’t gotten every campus building or every coffee shop, but I hope the video conveys a sense of the city, its spirit and its beauty. On Wisconsin! -Aparna © Udantya 2011


Paris Je T’aime There’s a word for love in every language and so many synonyms in the English language. It’s a testament of the universality and the various nuances of love. Young love, love for family, love that is failing, fleeting or fickle; love at first sight, compassion and of course friendship. It’s only appropriate that a film that celebrates these various shades should be set in the city of love- Paris. Paris Je T’aime takes the audience on a tour through the various parts of the city, telling human stories at each stop. The film is made up of eighteen vignettes told in the unique narrative style of eighteen directors. In each story, a little bit of Paris seeps through and comes alive, colored by the stories being told. You see the city’s eccentricities, its culture, and its diversity. We see bits of the famed Paris nightlife, all the wonderful sights of Paris- the Eiffel Tower and the banks of the river Siene, and the people of Paris. In this city, people from all walks of life and cultures converge- immigrants looking to make a fresh start, those young and hopeful- artists or students, tourists, and of course the native Parisians. There’s a little bit of something for everyone in the film- comedy, tragedy, fantasy and the absurd. The film even features a vampire love story and one ghost story! The cast is stellar, featuring a variety of international actors and many familiar faces. I found some stories to be more compelling and interesting than others but overall the film is simply delightful. I have to say, my favorite segment is ‘Quais de Seine’ directed by Gurindher Chaddha (of Bend it Like Beckham fame). It is a story of overcoming first impressions and prejudices to follow the path to friendship. The narrative is incredibly subtle, with much conveyed by an expression or a glance; the dialogue is simple and evocative. Paris Je T’aime is the first of the ‘Cities of Love’ franchise of films that narrate stories centered in a particular city. Those of us who love our cities- the cities whose every corner is familiar and whose spirit is a part of our own, will definitely appreciate these films. The next installment, New York, I Love You, was released in 2009. Next stop, Shanghai, Rio and Jerusalem! All aboard! *Photo copyright by respective production studio and/or distributor. -

- Aparna

© Udantya 2011


Around the Globe

Tucked away in a small corner of Southern Africa lives the exquisite city of Kasane in Botswana. Most people may never come across this name in their lifetime but I’ve been fortunate to have spent innumerable weekend getaways there. Kasane is home to one of most populated wild animal belts in the Southern African region as well as the world’s largest inland delta, the Okavango Delta. An adventurous safari ride through the jungles or a quiet evening spent looking over the Chobe river, you experience the purest form of nature all around. A lot of people often ask me how growing up in Botswana was and I can only answer that question by saying it’s a world in its self that can only be understood once you go there. Therefore, I definitely recommend your next vacation to be nowhere else but Kasane. Below are a few photographs from my trips to provide you with that extra piece of encouragement! - Namita

© Udantya 2011

Poetic Justice

In this city, one comes to escape. Perhaps a vacation; perhaps one stays.

In This City

Or out one goes,

In this city, a life begins

the shackles now broken; hope begins; dreams awoken.

and so does promise and a future within.

In this city, stories abound.

Or time may stop,

Stories of yours and all around.

for a human mystery, at its end.

Life comes full circle,

In this city, love take shape.

in this city, this city of mine.

years of stories, together they make. Or a broken promise;


leaving a heart that never mends. In this city, memories haunt. Lurking in mind and sight, they taunt. Or memories linger; sweetness entangled in the reality about.

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Beat Box This month we share with you examples of cities that have been immortalized in popular culture through songs and film. This song is a wonderful ode to the city- a city of promise and adventure. His lyrics “I want to wake up, in that city that doesn’t sleep, and find I’m King of the Hill, top of the heap...” succinctly summarizes the dreams of many who move to New York, even today. In 1994, communal riots broke out in the city of Mumbai (formerly Bombay), ravaging the city and destroying lives. The composition captures the poignant tragedy of the riots for the eponymous film by Indian filmmaker, Mani Ratnam,  that is centered around the Bombay riots.

This is a short documentary seen through the eyes of four men who moved to New Delhi, or ‘Dilli’ (the Hindi pronunciation) to earn a livelihood. It takes the audience on a journey into the city that gave them the opportunity to sustain the lives of themselves and their families and is a wonderful depiction of the dynamics and intricacies of this vibrant city - the capital of India. During the 60’s, a newly independent India was revealing in its new found freedom. However, much of the country was still being developed and travel was a luxury afforded only to a few. Filmmakers recognized the country’s wanderlust and made several films (Love in Tokyo, Around the World), shot internationally, allowing film-goers to travel vicariously. Needless to say, Evening in Paris was a smash hit that year! Here are the opening credits of the film. © Udantya 2011


A Mumbai Minute A land that makes dreams come true; not for all, but a chosen few. Many come from far and wide, to make a name; only to stand in a queue. Live in its womb and soon you experience a change in your world view; For, this is a place where you realize how far you can go; or learn to make do. A strange machine built of human flesh, blood, and nerves of cold steel. This city that seven lands make, has many secrets under a glittery peel. Its ivory towers and many dark slums work just as a watch balance wheel. It need never sleep, as some frolic all night, while others work for a meal.

Metal serpents move through the concrete foliage with its belly full people. Like bees from their suburban hives, to work till they are old and feeble. Not all spend their day staring at screens, working in a steel and glass steeple. Creativity has the support of many patrons, like an artists work on an easel. From times of the Queen, it has been, the commerce capital unto this day. As waves of euphoria and despair, rise and ebb when sentiments sway. It captures the imagination of a nation, on a reel that is played, till it's cliche. If you want to be a cynosure, a magnate, a star; it's only work and never play Welcome to a city of opportunity and duplicity, formerly known as Bombay.

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Mumbai Snapshots Inside Story Cafe Mondegar, or ‘Mondy’s as it is popularly known, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Colaba. It’s a great place to get a feel of Mumbai and its people. The food is great and not taxing on the pocket. You can't go to Mondy's and not have a beer! There are plenty of restaurants, bars and clubs in Mumbai for all tastes. For a city that hardly sleeps you can find food and drink round the clock; although alcohol is only served up to 1:30 AM.

Windmills of Color Street vendors are all over the place! From snacks to toys , to watches and clothes, you can find everything sold on the streets of Mumbai. The most popular places are the Colaba Causeway and Linking Road. The variety and colors are unbelievable! You might buy something even if you didn't intend to in the first place. Bargaining is a must to complete the experience.

Twinkling City The skyline of Mumbai is one of the tallest in India, with the top 30 tallest buildings of India being in Mumbai. A walk during the night on Marine Drive along the Arabian Sea is fascinating, especially during festivals. It is a nice place to sit with friends and talk, while eating some kebab rolls from Bade Miya.

© Udantya 2011

My Garden Home Hiranandani Gardens is designed in the neo-classical style of architecture; inspired localitynestled amidst the greenery of Powai Hill, located opposite the Powai Lake. It has been my home in Mumbai since I moved here. I like it because I can escape the noise and pollution of the rest of Mumbai. Here, it feels like another city altogether and is most beautiful during the rains.

Shiny Shoes The local train stations offer everything one needs when on the move. Millions of people commute using the local trains and most tasks can be taken care of near the stations. The picture shows a man getting his shoe repaired (realizing it needed to be repaired after being pushed out of a crowded train). Shining your shoes is really cheap (Rs. 5 or 0.10 USD)! You can go to your office everyday with your shoes polished enough to see your reflection in them!

Victorian Mumbai houses some masterpieces of Victorian architecture. The British influence on buildings in the city during colonial era is very evident. However, the architectural features also include a range of other European influences such as German gables, Dutch roofs, Swiss timbering, Romance arches and Tudor casements often inter-fused with traditional Indian features. Mumbai, after Miami, has the second largest number of Art Deco buildings in the world. Most of these building have now been converted for commercial purposes.

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Meter Down Taxicabs arrived in 1911 to complement horse wagons. The black and yellow Fiat taxis in Mumbai, are an integral part of the city's heritage and have been depicted in numerous Bollywood movies. I have always wondered why the meters on these cabs are on the opposite side of the driver and on the outside, requiring him to move all the way to the other side to turn the meter on, before getting back to the driver's seat. Why not just put it inside the car on the center of the dashboard?

Law Takes a Rest The Mumbai police force is well known for their toughness on crime. Being one of the most populated cities in the world makes it a tough task to keep crime away. I often wonder how 25,000 policemen keep a city of more than 20 million safe. They have had to deal with underworld gangs and in recent times, the threat of terrorism.

Rush Hour The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), previously known as Victoria terminus is one of the terminating stations for the local railway system. It made its way into popular consciousness in recent times by the film 'Slumdog Millionaire' and the 2008 terrorist attack on the commuter trains. The crowds are unbelievable during peak hours and it may well be one of the most crowded stations in the world. The station is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a known for its Victorian and Gothic architecture.

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Regal The Regal Cinema is an Art Deco movie theater located at the Colaba Causeway. The Regal Cinema was built during the cinema boom of the '30s during which, Plaza Central, New Empire, Broadway, Eros and Metro all opened in Mumbai. Now many multiplexes have opened all over the city that is famous as the movie capital- Bollywood (Mumbai is the second largest film producing city after L.A).

Shoe String Shoes of all styles hanging outside a shop at Elco Market, Bandra. Shopping in Mumbai is really fun! You can get almost anything if you look hard enough. In fact, that is one of the reasons that most people appear very fashionably dressed in the city. Don't forget to check out Fashion Street for bargain fashion.

Ghost Compartment An empty compartment on the local train, that is rarely empty. The suburban railway system in Mumbai carries about 7 Million people per day and is the cheapest mode of transportation per kilometer, in the world. It is an experience to travel on the train during rush hour in the general compartments (unreserved compartments). About 4,500 passengers cram into a nine-car train meant for 1,700 people; about 16 people per square metre of the train!

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Power Center The Brihanmumbai Mahanagar Palika* building. It is the civic body that governs the city of Mumbai and is India's richest municipal organisation. Its annual budget is even more than that of some of the small states of India. It is also known as the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM). Forty percent of India's taxes come from this city alone! Mumbai handles over 35% of cheque clearances in number, and 60% in value- more than ten times than that of any other metro. *Palika: (Sanskrit) Municipal Corporation

Racerback A beautiful girl waits to hail a taxi to get home late at night. Mumbai has one of the best nightlife scenes in the country and it is relatively very safe for women- unlike most other cities in India. Mumbai is also very fashion forward and all the latest trends can be seen at night, in clubs and restaurants. If you are young and single, then this is the city to be in!

- Nikhil

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Dream City

___ Everybody has a favorite city. A place where you would LOVE to live. Come on, you can’t deny that! All of us, at some point in our lives, at some random gathering at a friend’s place, in a seemingly innocuous conversation, would have let slip the statement “Dude, I wish I lived in New York, ran in Central Park everyday, partied like an animal into the wee hours of the night, and lived the good life in the Big Apple”. Or, “Oh man! I would give 1 crore rupees to be back in my old home in Ballygunj, Kolkata, eat rossogollas at K.C. Das, enjoy the breeze from the Hooghly atop the Howrah bridge and attend Rabindra Sangeeth recitals in the City of Joy”. Many a time I myself have been pushed into a dilemma, by the omnipresent Mr. Subramaniam and Mr. Ranganathan of Chennai (formerly Madras) with a piping hot cup of filter coffee in their hands, demanding that I declare my undying love for Madras and vow that there’s no other place on earth or in heaven, where I would want to eventually rest in peace! “After all it is your native place. Never ever forget where you came from!”. Truly wise words indeed. Well, SURPRISE! I have a favorite city too; well, town actually. But it can’t be found on a map. It is a town that I have never been to, let alone lived in; but a town that I know like the back of my hand- Malgudi! Malgudi is a fictional town, somewhere in South India, which forms the setting for most of the literary work by R.K.Narayana pioneer who revolutionized modern Indian English literature. For kids growing up in India during the eighties, Malgudi carries special significance, as a series called ‘Malgudi Days’, based on R.K. Narayan’s books was televised in Doordarshan (India’s National television network). R.K.Narayan whips his wand out, conjures up a whole new world of Malgudi and fills it up with unforgettable characters. Malgudi served as a perfect canvas for R.K.Narayan’s timeless classics such as The Bachelor of Arts, The Guide, The Man-Eater of Malgudi, etc. The most endearing of them all is the first novel that R.K.Narayan ever wrote- Swami and Friends. Written in 1935, in pre-independence India, the novel looks at the world of Malgudi through the wide eyed amazement of a ten year old boy called Swaminathan. It describes the life in an traditional upper middle class South Indian boy in a linear narrative, employing simple language- a perfect foil for a child’s thought process. In the process Narayan captures the ethos of the era; the tumultuous times of the freedom movement and the British Raj’s rule in the country, the system of schooling, prejudices and class conflicts in a non-judgemental manner. All through the book, we journey along with Swami and his gang of friends through the streets of Malgudi, to his school, past the river that flows by the town, and to the groves and woods that stand beside it. The legendary tale of ‘Swami and Friends’ opened my eyes to a whole new world; a world that never existed, but was at the same time all pervading as a quintessential South Indian town. A tale, that never actually happened, but yet somehow has happened to everybody. Characters that are completely fictional, but bear an uncanny resemblance to your family, friends, neighbours, schoolteachers, postman, and the friendly shopkeeper. Swami was every Indian kid! Swami’s experiences were every ten year old © Udantya 2011

boy’s experience. So much so that, when you read the book, you actually transform into the ten year old Swaminathan and start living his life! Albert Mission and Board high schools suddenly became real. The friends circle comprising Rajam, Mani and Sundar- the hero, bully and the class topper respectively, immediately became your best buddies too! Monday morning blues, faking illnesses to evade school and failing miserably in the process were scenes from every boy’s life. Rushing home after school for a cup of coffee and running off to the field for a game of cricket; waiting until dusk, till the ball can’t be spotted anymore; lingering on at the street corner to discuss the day’s game and deciding the strategy for the next; analyzing each player with profound insights that would put Richie Benaud and Harsha Bhogle to shame; and coming home grimy and muddy, much to the chagrin of our mothers! Add to that the thought of plodding through homework everyday- ludicrous amounts of arithmetic tables to memorize, dates and events in history to have at the tips of your fingers (that India is a land of rich and diverse cultural heritage, doesn’t really help in this case) and tons of verses of unintelligible of Tamil poetry from the 2 AD to recite from memory (legend has it that if the verses memorised by a child in Tamil were to be engraved, the Big Temple in Tanjore would run out of walls!). It all sounded exactly like a day of my life growing up in Malgudi, err Madras. But, Malgudi was Madras! Albert Mission became DAV Higher secondary school; Board high school was Vidya Mandir; Ellaman Street was Thiruvengadam Street, Nallappan’s grove was Besant Nagar and the river Sarayu which meanders past Malgudi was the Adyar river that forms a quaint little creek when it merges with the Bay of Bengal (comparing the Adyar river of Madras with Sarayu, relies heavily on the reader’s sense of optimism and ability to invoke poetic license in heavy measures!). The city was replete with character’s straight out of the book, weaving you into its fabric. Malgudi was literally a microcosm of every Indian town. It could beautifully morph into the city you wanted it to be- Madras, Trivandrum, Bangalore, Jalandhar or Pune. It resided in your head, feeding on your experiences and growing in your mind. Truly a ‘dream city’. The only difference- the Malgudi of your dreams is caught in a time warp. It doesn’t evolve with you. It does quite the opposite. It takes you back in time; to a time when life was absolutely blissful, a fragment of your past. That’s when you realize that your favorite city actually exists only in your dreams. You sit back and question, Am I really still young enough to party into the wee hours of the night? Don’t you get K.C.Das mishti in the Indian store in the neighbourhood? Or ask Messrs. Subramaniam and Ranganathan, clutching your cup of hot filter coffee, A special dosa plus mini coffee in Saravana Bhavan, Madras costs 100 Rs. Can you still afford it?

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Glossary Rossogollas- sweet cottage cheese dumplings soaked in sugar syrup, a delicacy from the Indian state of West Bengal. Rabindra Sangeeth- a distinct genre of Bengali music featuring songs written by the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Hooghly- The river that flows through Kolkata, a distributary of the Ganges. Richie Benaud- Former Australian spinner, who later became a celebrated commentator of the game. Harsha Bhogle- Cricket analyst from India Big Temple, Tanjore- The temple of Lord Brihadeeswara in the city of Thanjavur, India. A UNESCO World Heritage site. Mishti- The Bengali word for sweet. Dosa- A form of crepe or pancake made with rice flour and lentils. A popular delicacy in South India. Saravana Bhavan- A popular chain of restaurants in Chennai. Messrs. Subramaniam and Ranganathan- Common names in Chennai. Something to the effect of Tom, Dick and Harry. - Karthik

Š Udantya 2011

FAQ We’ve had a few questions over the past few months, so we thought it would be a good idea to chart out our very own FAQ page. Do you have specific requirements to submit to Udantya? Absolutely not! We love it all; the quirky, the unexpected and the conventional. Share your ideas with us. We want to highlight creativity and artistic expression in all forms. Since we are a web-magazine, we have not yet felt the need to set any page limits or length restrictions. If that changes, we will let you know! How much time do I get to submit a piece? We usually announce the following month’s theme when we release an issue. Our rough editing scheme is as follows. (When you email us to contribute to a particular issue, you will get a set dates for that month). -We usually ask for a short summary of your idea for the intended piece by the end of the first week of the month. -The first draft follows roughly a week to ten days later. You can submit a first draft even if you didn’t tell us your overall summary. Partial drafts are also accepted, so that we get an idea of the direction of your piece. -We like to work closely with you and reserve a week thereafter to finalize a draft. Our goal is to facilitate your vision for your piece and we view this portion of the process as a team effort. Can I send you stuff even if it doesn’t fit a theme? Yes, of course! We will try to find a place for it. You may even give us ideas for more themes! Might I make a suggestion? Yes! Questions, comments, suggestions and ideas are all welcome. Just email us at

© Udantya 2011

Udantya Issue #8  

The eighth Udantya Issue is on Cities.

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