Halli daariyalli….evening hothinalli

It happens often. And it can drive you crazy. Atleast it happens to me. You suddenly remember a song, and then you want it badly. So badly that it can drive you insane.

It happened to me again.

From somewhere out of the blue, an old kannada song called ‘halli daariyalli’, started to haunt me. A song that I vaguely remember seeing Kokila Mohan dancing in some jazzy dinchak outfit. A song that had made my new ‘Dyanora’ color tv proud, some years back.

I kept tossing and turning last night in my sleep, trying to remember the song fully. I woke up singing the same tune. I could not take it any longer. I needed it. And needed it really bad.

I tried googling it with no luck.

Then I youtubed it. And i found this interesting clip. Though it isn’t the original, I must admit that the dude out here has done quite a brilliant job of it. So watch it to get an idea of what this post is all about.

I had no clue which movie it belonged to. But I could bet that SPB was the singer. 

So, with this limited knowledge I first went to the neighboring music stores, Planet M, Music World, Calypso and a few others. Unfortunately, noone knew what I was talking about.

And then I remembered this unique tiny shop called Totalkannada.com located in the basement opposite Pai Vihar, Jayanagara, a shop completely dedicated to kannada movies, music, books and other “Jai Karnataka Maate’ paraphernalia. 

This was my last resort. I was going half mad. And I hoped and prayed that I find it there.

As I entered, a salesgirl was sitting at the counter. A simple young kannadiga girl, who was almost dozing off to some old kannada melody on the speakers that was apt for a sleepy afternoon like this. There was another lone customer loitering around and messing up the alphabetically arranged Vcds. 

One look at her and I was convinced that she would have no clue either. 

With full anxiety, I leaned over the counter and whispered adding the customary ‘maydam’ before every sentence to sound as authentically kannada as possible….

“Maydam, ondhu haadu hudukutha iddini…..(I’m searching for a song) …….halli daariyalli”

She turned down the volume of the speakers that was playing ‘Namoora mandaara hoove’.

I repeated my request ‘Maydam…halli daariyalli’, with an irritating eagerness that I didn’t care to hold back.

She turned the volume further down and closed her eyes to concentrate on getting the tune of my request.

I impatiently waited for that one customer to clear the field, and then cleared my throat.

“Maydam …haadla..(can i sing it?)”

She nodded impatiently.

I looked around and broke into the song accompanied by a half-hearted jig, to add some excitement to her memory jogging process…..”Halli daariyalli……tan ta daan ta da taan ta da taan…” and abruptly stopped, wishing that her imagination would take over with this cryptic clue.

She gave me a look as if to say “Go on…don’t stop, it’s coming …it’s coming in my head…keep it going”.

So I took a good look around and continued….

“Halli Daariyalli……tan ta daan ta da taan ta da taan…

Thampu breezinalli…tan ta daan ta da taan ta da taan…

hmmmm hmmmmm hmmmmmm…something something and 

ooru inda bandanu Mr Maraaanu”

She showed me symptoms of having heard it before. Her eyes lit up and she started mouthing the words to herself. She closed her eyes and transported herself back to her ‘Dyanora or Solidaire TV’ days. 

I encouraged her further by again repeating all that I knew.

She jumped “Correct. howdu….ivaga nyaapka barthaayide…..Englishu Kannada mix maadi ondu haadu” (Ya…now I remember, it’s a song that mixes up English and Kannada words)

I was thrilled to bits and continued…’ya ya, haaruthide love birdsugalu…..’ and was promptly interrupted by some fool who walked in wanting some Darshan hits.

The imagination that we had built up till now was drowned the minute she slipped in the ‘Darshan Hits’ CD to test it. The sepia toned imagery floating in the air was ruthlessly spoilt by the garish garbage that belted out of the speakers.  

I casually asked that customer “Saar Halli daariyalli haadu yaav picturu antha goththa?” (Sir, do you know which movie is ‘Halli Daariyalli’ from?)

He meditated for a while and said with supreme confidence “Halli Daari alla adu…halli meshtru…..Ravichandran picture” (No …it’s called halli meshtru..a Ravichandran film).

I controlled all my urges to slap him. And let him groove to the irritating tune of his latest purchase that was blaring from the speakers.

Thankfully, the guy was happy with what he was hearing, and he soon exited leaving us alone to resume our exciting search.

And the salesgirl promptly returned. 

I took off from where we left.

“Correctu madam….English Kannada mix…haaruthide love birdsu galu…oduthide cowsugalu..”(love birds are flying and cows are running)

“Hero yaaru gotha?’ She asked frowning hard.

“Seriyaagi nyaapka illa madam…Kokila Mohan anusoththe” (Cannot remember clearly….I think it is Kokila Mohan)

“Haan…” she jumped in excitement and promptly returned with a Vcd of the movie ‘Kokila’.

We quickly poured over its contents.The Vcd also contained a listing of all the songs. But no, this number did not feature.

She was visibly dissappointed with her ineffeciency. And I was visibly happy that she was taking such a keen interest in this.

We both agreed that it could only be SPB who could have sung this song.

She kept humming the tune to herself, as she rummaged through dozens of SPB hits looking for this number.

I picked up a bunch of illayaraja hits hoping that I’d find it in them. I always felt it had a very ‘Illayaraja’ flavour to it.

But we both failed in our searches.

She then picked up a big fat book, a kannada cinema encyclopedia and began searching for it. 

After about 20 minutes of pouring into it, she lifted her head and looked at me strangely.

She studied me carefully.

Obviously there was something running in her head.

And then she said in a nervous whisper “Actually nam bossige gothirathe. Andre ivaaga nidde maadtha irthaare!” (Actually my boss would know. But he’ll be sleeping right now).

She was mentally weighing the worth of this deal. Even if she did identify the cd, it couldn’t be costing more than 30 Rs. Was it worthy enough to spend a phone call? Or risk disturbing the owner at such an untimely hour?

I could sense the dilemma going on in her head. 

I put on the most desperate face I could. 

She pondered for a while and thankfully decided that it was more important to please me than worry about the deal and her boss.

She hesitantly picked up the phone and punched the buttons.

I could see the tension on her face.  

“Sorry sir…..ondhu customer bandidhaare…halli daariyalli bekanthe…yaavu piccharru antha goththa nimmage?” (There is a customer searching for halli daariyalli song here. Do you know which movie it belongs to?)

There was a pregnant pause. She made unpleasant faces at me, imitating her boss’ mood at that time. 

She tried to sound her polite best as she responded to him “..’Muniyana maadri’…..andre adralli Shankar Nag alva…haaan….correctu…….Kokila Mohanu idaane…thumba thanks sir” (Oh Muniyana Maadri…but isn’t that Shankar Nag!….oh ya right….even Kokila Mohan is in that one. Thank you sir)

She hung up and bit her tongue feeling happy that she was done with the difficult part. She rushed and reached out for that Vcd. And ran through the listings.

Yes. The song did feature.

She handed over the vcd to me and said “Boss kopuskondru…parvaagilla….nimmage haadu sikkthalla!” (Boss was wild. But it’s ok. Atleast you found your song).

I grabbed it and was all set to rush back and listen to it. 

But she held me back for a few minutes, frantically rummaging through a few other Cds. I was getting impatient. I had dug out the exact number of notes needed for the transaction, to make it as speedy as possible.

She finally returned with a compile of SPB and held it out to me.   

“Saar. MP3 nu sikkthu…beka? Beri 25 Rupayee!!” (I also got an MP3 of it. Do you want it? It’s only 25 Rs!!’)

I knew that she was doing this only to justify the deal in her own head.

And I could have paid anything for such sincerity.

halli

 

 

 

 

So here it is……I later found it in on youtube….Now that i know which movie it belongs to.

 

Thanks to someone, who’s so passionate about their job.

The biscuit man who never smiles

I have taken it upon myself to advertise the places I love. I picked on this one because I’m sure that this place will never ever advertise.

It’s a place that sells biscuits. I choose to call them biscuits and not cookies, because I don’t want you to wrongly visualize a ‘Frazer Town Anglo Aunty in an apron, baking goodies’ and corrupt the simple imagery that this shop has.

It’s called ‘Shobha Baking Products’ or ‘Shobha Bakes’ or something similar to that. A tiny shop run by an average looking man wearing a checked bush shirt. It’s so unnoticeable that you’re bound to miss it.

Get to Jayanagar and take the road that leads Jain Temple to Ganesha Temple. You’ll surely reach Ganesha Temple because I told you… you are bound to miss it. It’s about 2 to 3 shops before Ganesha Temple, on your right. 

No fancy baskets in golden paper and red bows. No tins with retro graphics. No bright orange or yellow walls. Nothing that transports you to the Irish countryside. No experiential gimmicks. No nothing.

Just an uninviting shop with boring glass showcases styled like an Iyengar bakery, containing biscuits tightly wrapped in polythene packets. Each weighing 200 gms with a red and white sticker saying Rs. 30. 

As soon as you enter, you’ll be stared at by a middle aged poker faced man. All he does is gives you a nod, to acknowledge your presence. He just needs an assurance that you haven’t walked in to buy fake jewellery, verify some address or ask for the timings of the neighbouring shop. So, start the transaction by announcing the purpose of your visit.

“Biscuits”.

Once he is relieved that you are actually a prospective customer, he’ll promptly attend to your needs. But don’t be disillusioned. This man who never wastes his smiles, is probably the sweetest and the sincerest trader I’ve met in my life. 

He’ll now pull out a tray and place it in front of you. Then open the oven and start placing warm samples of his biscuits one by one, announcing the variety as he goes. “Sweet and Salt Wheat”, “Sweet and Salt Ragi”, “Masala Wheat”, “Butter”, “Ginger”, “Cashew”, “Coconut” and finally a biscuit that has a nickname “Melting Moments”. That’s his favourite part. He’ll wait for you to quiz him on the last one. “A variation of coconut” he’ll reply and walk away to the counter, leaving you undisturbed to do the tasting. 

I’ve been there many times, and by now he knows me by face. I have tasted all his biscuits. And still everytime, he religiously goes about placing all the samples for me to taste. Even after me telling him that I’ve tasted it before and don’t want to taste it again, he refuses to break the ritual. Only later did I realize that his intent is very noble. The biscuits he stocks belong to the current batch, and he wants me to taste the current sample before making up my mind. 

The biscuits are divine. It’s like they’ve been delicately held together only to crumble inside your mouth. They’re light and have the right amount of spice in them. My favorite is the sweet and salt. It’s almost like they’ve been programmed to release the taste of sweet, and the taste of salt, in alternate bites respectively. “Melting moments” is aptly named so and the ragi variations make you relook at the non-glamourous cereal in a new light. Reaffirming that he’s been the best student of the baking class he attended.

All the varieties are round and of the same size, slightly bigger than a two rupee coin.

Once you’ve made your choice, he’ll reappear. After you point out the preferred choice, he’ll pick the relevant packet and tell you one little detail that he’s proud of. That he uses no ‘vanaspathi’ in any of his biscuits. I have never seen him pushing down any rejections down my throat. He’ll only talk about the ones you’ve selected. A rehearsed 20 second speech on the biscuit you’re about to take home.

He also makes Nippat, Kodbale and Chakli in a few variations and sometimes he stocks bread. In case you enquire about the snacks, he’ll remind you that none of his snacks are fried but all baked. His bread is not as soft as bakery bread, which he explains “You should judge a bread by its taste and not its softness. Add more yeast and it’ll get softer but too much of yeast is fattening.” His bread is of an unconventional size, and I agree, it does taste better. It’s unbelievable that his snacks aren’t fried because they taste as good as the fried ones, if not better. 

I think he should be the benchmark to marketing men. He’s never intrusive, never smiles to add to the pressure and at the same time, extremely passionate about what he sells. If only our powerpoint addicted marketing maniacs learnt this simple lesson, they’d do far better. 

I don’t think he’s famous yet, and that’s precisely why I’m doing my bit.