Sunday, March 26, 2017

Variar Bakery- A Walk Down Memory Lane

Take a stroll on the 12th main road in Rajajinagar of Bangalore and a waft of sweet baked scent will drag you to the legendary bakery of OG Variar & Sons located in an inconspicuous corner near ESI Hospital. Govinda Variar, a native of Kerala is the founder of this place who used to bake at night with rented ovens and sell them during the day in Guttahalli. Eventually he opened a bakery in Rajajinagar in 1955 and the popularity kept growing. They also have a branch near Dhobi Ghat on Chord Road. The aroma in fact defines the traffic junction, that’s the only thing that makes waiting for the signal to turn green bearable.

Nothing in the world matches the yumminess of their Dil Pasand laden with all the tutti-frutti and coconut or the perfect puffiness of their Veg Puff with the right amount and kind of vegetable stuffing. The ever loyal customer base of these bakers par excellence will agree with me. Their range of biscuits and fresh breads are a must try. Fortunately they do not use any preservatives or colouring substances. A team of the most cordial men clad in white will attend to you one by one, mind you there maybe serpentine queues while their signature items like milk biscuits, ‘benne’ biscuits and ‘khara’ biscuits fly off the shelves when they are still warm from the oven.

Transactions for the ladies are easier here; we have a separate ‘Ladies Counter ‘to attend to our orders. I remember Appa asking me to stand at that particular counter so that we could get our order faster. There was a time when people used to buy these items from the bakery in modest amounts. These were small luxuries of life which were brought home only on special occasions, if brother or I wrote our exams well or our cousins were visiting home. Today I saw some pistoriophiles at the counter buying biscuits and cakes in kilo grams!

 One of the most exceptional things about this place is its originality. No matter which day of the year you go their biscuits, breads and cakes taste remarkably the same.  Therefore binging on them might not be good for health as Govinda Variar himself opined once but trying them is definitely a must! Today I literally walked down the memory lane and got a lot of their goodies home.


#foodofbangalore #sobangalore #trellingbangalore #milkbiscuit #bangalorediaries #myblr #namoorubengaluru #ogvariars #variarbakery #rajajinagar #musteatsinbangalore

Saturday, November 26, 2016


 ‘Be proud of your town because it is a big part of who you are!’ said some wise gentleman.

“Pride without knowledge is like a tree without roots!” said somebody else, a little wiser maybe.

Of late I have begun to follow their words and I have started learning about Namma Bengaluru. What better way than to read all the literature about the place we live in? While discussing our common interests (read books!) a friend recommended me Peter Colaco’s Bangalore: Century of Tales from City & Cantonment’. I was on an eager search the same day.

“Your search ‘Peter Colaco’s Bangalore: Century of Tales from City & Cantonment" did not match any products. Try something like using more general terms or checking your spelling” said Amazon.

“Sorry, no results found! Please check the spelling or try searching for something else” said Flipkart.

 “Sorry, out of stock” said Sapna Online.

“Out of stock, it is in print Madam...” said Mr Maye Gowda of Blossoms Book House with his signature smile.

And then like all roads lead home, I sent this on our WhatsApp group of Akruthi Books.

Pat came Guru’s reply, a dear friend and the owner of the bookstore. If there is something called as cloud nine, it was this text for me at that moment. There is a reason why some book stores become your favourite, it is because they are run by warm people who make the place feel warmer than home. They make a way to your heart. They are not about sales. They are not about discounts. They are not about author meets and greets. They are not about book reading sessions. They prevail for something beyond all that, for the higher purpose of reading.

I received the book by post today and cannot wait to read it. Thank you Guru :-) I am Bangalored, of course for good. 

Off I go on a nostalgic through Namma Bengaluru :-)

PS: For all those who love reading and who live in Bangalore, do visit this bookstore at Rajajinagar, a quiet but bright basement very close to Bashyam Circle. I bet you cannot stop loving this little den and getting some books!

Here are the details:

Whom to contact:

And where it is:

 On Map: 



Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Flags and Songs

“Ah! Look at them!” I remarked.

“Today is Kannada Rajyos…ttttava magale” Appa said, as always never getting it right. Any ‘Utsava’ is always an ‘Ustava’ for him and I like making him say that. No matter how hard we try at home to correct his pronunciation he does not get better. I find it cute, his tongue rolling problems!

This was on our way back home this afternoon; a caravan of auto rickshaws was passing by us. When it comes to auto drivers in Bengaluru, there are two things one can always associate with them. Firstly their immense love for the veteran actor and director Shankar Nag which in a way defines the idea of fandom, secondly the de facto flag of our state Karnataka which flutters on their autos with much passion and pride.

Come first of November and the entire city is painted yellow and red, to add to the revelry we have the iconic song of our Annavru, Dr Raj Kumar which is nothing less than an anthem. I know you are already humming it as you are reading this! ‘Huttidare Kannada naadali huttabeku’ I must have heard it a dozen times today and definitely have sung a line or two along. One cannot resist it I tell you.

So what makes these days, flags and songs so special. Is it that we are overly patriotic about our State? A month ago or so we saw the other end of the spectrum with the Cauvery water issue which is better not discussed here. On Kannada Rajyotsava there is something beyond the usual flag hoisting and march past that happen in government bodies in Karnataka. Celebrating such days while we scoot away with our daily humdrum gives us a sense of identity and belonging. This day is not just about the formation of the State in 1956. It no longer is so simple, we are in a state of constant transition. I doubt if we can call it great though. People of this city now seek collective refuge and comfort. I was speaking to an auto driver outside my hospital today. Surprisingly his auto looked a little sober for the day. I asked him where is the flag on his auto. He replied

“Yar Madam adikella kaas karch madthare? Mansali mathe kelsadalli idre saaku!”

[Meaning to say who will spend so much money to deck the vehicle up, let it be in my heart and work! ]

He did not seem any less of a Kanandiga to me.

 The procession :-)

ನ್ನ ರಾಜ್ಯೋತ್ಸ ಹಾರ್ದಿ ಶುಭಾಳು

#Kannadarajyotsava2016 #Karnataka #namoorujana #nammabaavuta #autorickshaws #soBangalore #celebrations #Shankarnag #autodriversofBangalore #suchislife #livingtoday