Last year I travelled to Almaty in Kazhakistan, one of those break-away nations when USSR crumbled. It’s a quaint place, and I quite liked it; the flight to and fro (that too from Delhi) was anything but. While going they tortured us by being extremely stingy in serving water. On return, they upped the ante. We reached around midnight, exhausted, and sanguinely looking forward to crash into the bed before catching an early morning flight to Mumbai. In between, I had planned to slip away and visit parents; after all, it would be callous and criminal to be in Delhi and not visit them.
I am on a house-hunt. Again. Last week, my landlady dropped the bomb that they needed the house returned; and this, after their broker had lulled me into believing the lease will be renewed. Apparently, that’s not the case. This, when (after all my doubts) I had actually started to love my current pad. I requested for a three-month buffer, and immediately dialed my regular broker. He all but groaned though nevertheless promised to help; after all, that’s his business.
I saw the first batch yesterday and like the previous two times, returned frustrated, grumpy & cribbing. Yesterday’s search added one more word from Bombay’s unique property lexicon: ‘converted homes’ ; and though I realize property is an unlisted but potent religion, still, the word flummoxed me, till the time I saw one such ‘convert’ . It means slicing an already tiny 1BHK into further two frustratingly tinier bedrooms; usually, the kitchen area is the sacrificial lamb in this sacrament, reduced to a mere apology of a sliver. In the first such house, I marveled at a family staying in this constricted space – consisting of a father, a couple *and* a huge dog!
I decided ‘Converted houses’ are not my cup of poison and I strictly forbade the broker to show me anymore such hybrids. Likewise, I also struck off any one-hall-kitchen; in one such home, I gaped with amusement at the kitchen (with a sink and gas stove) on one corner and the bed on the other. I crave my coffee cup early morning but to stagger sleepily out of bed and immediately face the gas-stove is stretching convenience even beyond my lazy limit.
My car’s front number plate has become a joke. If it had been a chain mail, it would have got forwarded the world over several times over. And perhaps (like all chain mails) return to me.
Some two-three months back, the number plate decided to loosen all its ties, and hang out adventurously. Rather, hang down. Like a good car-owner, I reprimanded it and took it to the repair-shop (one decrepit one, near my place) and replaced its screws (at an exorbitant price for the job that size). Obviously, the number plate didn’t like to get screwed. Next day, when I reached Lonavla (for a review, darlings, not for holiday – just in case you start off on how lucky I am, which I am not) I found that the number plate had again broken free, and was gleefully swinging like a trapeze artiste in a circus.
I thought I’d just leave it. Let the poor kid enjoy it’s living on the edge. (Well, procrastination and laziness were two other reasons, but I am not really going to confess that up, no m’dahlings? )
The Parsis celebrated Navroze on Wednesday 19th August this year. Till a few years back, I was quite oblivious of this festival, until I wrote a story which fleetingly had its mention. Then, I had done a bit of research to incorporate in the narrative. In Delhi, where Parsis are less than a handful, one never learns of this festival. Here, in Bombay, it is quite well celebrated, and we observe a holiday. Anyways, getting a mid-week off is always a welcome manna.
On this auspicious day, I embarked on the second phase of my Holy Grail’s quest – buying a record player. Having failed to find a good (and reasonably priced) three-speed player, I have finally settled to buy a Denon two-speed one, and had also learnt that the only shop that I could purchase it from is at Atria Mall, Worli – quite a distance from my residence (and a major reason for damning procrastrination). In between, I had bought a stand-alone Philips player, from a used-goods seller, but the sound quality turned out to be woefully pathetic, and I just packed it up, hoping to return it for whatever price I get to the same seller.
Before going to the shop on second floor, I parked the car at Atria Mall, and hailed a cab to check the shops at Heera Panna Shopping Center (near Haji Ali Dargah). I had heard much about it, but never could get time to pay a visit. The airconditioned market is a veritable maze of closely packed little shops selling electronics and leather goods and other trivia. In essence, it is much like Delhi’s underground Palika Bazaar – similar to the extent that both markets are known for their ‘gray market’ stuff, and were hugely popular in India’s pre-liberalizaton era. I walked the market’s criss-cross alleys taking in multifarious sights and smells, but I could discover nothing that held my interest.
My experience with a diet program!
Plagiarism is not restricted to our films and music. It extends to our web world too. I found this diet program here, only to later discover that it was a word-to-word lift from the famous General Motors (GM) diet program, only that the beef was replaced by bean sprouts – and this, without any acknowledgement or byline! (There is a contention that this diet might not have anything to do with the car manufacture).
Anyways, let’s start from the beginning. One fine morning I got this cosmic enlightenment that I had to reduce weight, somehow, someway. As I searched options, all got crossed off: exercise, I read on the net – suddenly, the entire body formed a union and went off on strike, hassled and agitated. Reduce carbs – this time the taste buds protested vehemently, “you can’t leave that kachori, can you?” they screamed at the top of their lungs, while simultaneously coaxing the eyes to land on that sumptuous new Pizza Hut offer card. Err, umm, ok – not that. But somehow there has to be a beginning. Eat less – and the stomach groaned like an over-stuffed but always supposedly under-fed giant. Ok, OK, keep silent. Lemme think of something else.
The poor brain, like the poor management of public sector banks in India, was left pretty alone and deprived and tried to find a middle-solution. It’s then that this site came into the picture. It’s only for a week. And it allows you to stuff yourself. Plus, it mentions only a mild exercise. So, it should be ok. The body relented. Agreement reached. And General Motors (GM) diet begun! Be it GM diet or Santro diet or Volkswagen – what’s in a name anyways, as the Bard said!
Funny I read actor and former VJ Rahul Khanna’s fabuloulsy written post on encountering a cockroach just at the time when I am these days faced with similar problems – albeit involving a completely different species. Rahul’s tryst with a cockroach is funnily narrated. But my daily face-to-face with lizards hardly tickles my funny bones.
My enemies are not the cockroaches; I can bear them, and they look pretty mild, as compared to the animal that seems to be here, there and everywhere in my house – the lizard. When the mercury soared this month, I had to open the windows and doors; else I’d have died of suffocation and heat. But instead of any cool relief, all I got were these creepy crawly things running over the walls, and sometimes on the floors.
I live near a marriage hall. It is on the plot immediately next to the one which houses my apartment. It can be quite an irritant, considering Indian marriages are all about pomp, show and noise. Especially last month was terrible – when the Gods and their messengers had opened a small window to entangle as many willing couples as possible (so much so that as many as 30,000 couples tied the knot in just one single day!). Every evening I would come home to the din of speakers blaring out the latest hits. On the positive side, it helped me keep abreast of the latest in music. Often, the song selection was hilariously incongruous. For example, Mujhko pehchaan lo main hoon Don. I wonder what the bride’s family would think if the groom actually turned out to be one. Considering that I live in a belt known more for its crime than courtesy, you really never know!
Continue reading Living Near A Marriage Hall
I don’t know how far it is true, but I speak from my personal experience – separating a man from his moustaches is quite an impossible task. Hrishikesh Mukherjee built an entire comedy revolving around mouches – remember Golmaal? And Utpal Dutt’s indignant stand – munch nahin toh mard nahin! I sport one. But unlike Utpal Dutt in the film, I do not twirl any morality into them; but yes, it seems without them I would be not complete.
Continue reading Mustache Mania
It’s been nearly a year and a half in Nepal but I haven’t ever had a haircut here. Now, don’t be unduly shocked. For those who have seen me recently would vouchsafe that I do not carry kale lambe ghane reshmi tresses on my head – in fact, I don’t even flaunt hair long enough to match Hritik’s Mowgli inspired Krishh style (nor do I have the body to go alongwith it, but that’s a different story).
The reason for not trying Nepalese barbers is that, usually, I make once-a-month trip to Delhi, and get the needful done there, in comfortable and familiar surroundings. But during January’s trip I barely stayed home, hence did not get time at all. True, I had few hours in Mumbai, but then, I am confident Priyangini wouldn’t really have relished the idea of having a meet at a barber’s shop!
Thus, by first week February I was looking quite unruly. Also, long hair irritates – whether on my head, or someone else’s. I firmly believe a man looks best with short cropped hair (and inversely, a girl’s beauty is enhanced by her crowning glory). So before the matter got out of hand, I decided to do something about it.
Never really largely used this space as an online diary, but today I just felt like penning a few things about the day; or rather, felt like talking, so instead of being with a friend, or on YM, here I am blabbering some inane nonsensical mundane stuff; writing this online, hence please excuse the typos or spellings.
Before proceeding, another thought just erupted – I used to keep a diary many years back; the habit just petered out on its own with age; even recall ‘ordering’ my sister to do the needful when I joined hostel, so that I could come back and read about all that I missed. Well, let me not get into more memories, lest you run away- though, to think of this, the visitors seem to have dwindled here, if the comment box is anything to go by.
Shaking off lethargy, and peeling off a silly internal superstition, I decided to let my hair loose today. Consequently, I found myself at my favorite bar-cum-restaurant at Thamel. The internal demons were silent, and I knew a great evening was spread ahead. I could barely conceal my excitement when I poured the refreshing chilled glass of beer.
That done, I started to look around. Now, I have a curious habit of observing people – be it at an airport or at a bar. So, wiping the foam whiskers off after an exceedingly satisfying and gratifying ‘ gulp, I eyed the motely bunch of small crowd in that mildly lit Mexican restaurant. Here is a quick snapshot – exclusive for you, honeykins:
After another satisfying trip to Banchcha Ghar, my colleague and I decided it was a bit too early to call it a night. The casinos were an option, but having tried out most of them, I was not keen. Fleetingly, I mentioned a restaurant that had been in my eyes for long; however, I had been wary of going there alone. It had some of the most corny music playing always, and I had an inclination from the dimly lit sign-board what to expect. Catching at the slightest nod from the colleague, G, I pulled him towards the Belly Dance Bar and Restaurant, on the main Darbar Marg.
Even before we could enter the slim entrance, shady and dirty, with the walls and staircase with myriad graffiti, G remarked, “Man, this seems sleazy”
After another satisfying trip to Banchha Ghar my colleague and I decided it was a bit too early to call it a night. The casinos were an option, but having tried out most of them, I was not keen. Fleetingly, I mentioned a restaurant that had been in my eyes for long; however, I had been wary of going there alone. It had some of the most corny music playing always, and I had an inclination from the dimly lit sign-board what to expect. Catching at the slightest nod from the colleague, G, I pulled him towards the Belly Dance Bar and Restaurant, on the main Darbar Marg.
Even before we could enter the slim entrance, shady and dirty, with the walls and staircase with myriad graffiti, G remarked, “Man, this seems sleazy!”
Since I have no decent topic to write on, here is a collage of a few sights and thoughts while I walked the streets of Kathmandu. For those who know the layout of the city will understand the route I took. This is a presentation of half a journey, sliced midway, lest some stalker finds his way to my home.
The maid is on leave; in fact, she has not come in since the time I returned back. For the first two days I gave her the benefit of doubt of not knowing /remembering my return date. Today, I verified from a couple of other places where she works, and learnt that she has indeed been on an extended Holi holiday.
(I wrote this at the airport before departure; I am reproducing this piece, without editing or changing the tense and sequence. I had thought I would get time in Mumbai to post it, but it was quite hectic and jam-packed, hence, could not…)
I am waiting at the airport writing this post; by the time it reaches you, I would be in Mumbai, sucked irrevocably in a slush of meetings.
Hell, I always get the timing wrong- the last time I was stuck at a lengthy immigration counter, and caught the plane nearly the sameway as one catches a DTC bus at rush hours! This time, chastened, I have reached airport earlier; lo, it’s absolutely empty- had my coffee, loitered at the duty free, done my immigration, over with the security check…and still have some one hour to spare. The sequential number on my boarding pass wickedly grins that I was the first to check in.
Every time I read a film review in the newspapers, I am always left wondering how much of it is true and genuine, and how much a mere extension of the PR plan of the producers. If in a good week some four films are released, is it humanly possible for someone to see all four and write comprehensively or cohesively on each of them?
I have a lot of friends who decide to watch a film basis the next Times of India review; Nikhat Kazmi (their resident critic) is an excellent writer (in fact, she is one of my inspirations) and her views are often right on track; but, I never form my opinion of films purely on her comments. For me, she is an enjoyable writer who just happens to comment on films!
Ok, Ok, I have not gone crazy; my spellings are quite good otherwise. But it seems it s the current trend to make spellings look like the type that I have converted them into in the title of this post.
Converting the innately phonetic Hindi language into the Roman script can be tough, and often with results that are risque . I mean, a simple sentence like mujhe chhod do can end up sounding more an augur for vulgar than just a plain yelp for help!
Aside from the fact that our film industry has largely tried to thrust upon our throats a prejudiced sexist view of women in their films, beyond the celluloid screen also they have displayed a remarkable chauvinistic approach, even when their offspring are concerned.
Otherwise, why should it become a norm that whereas the star-son (irrespective of the fact that he is worth the money or not) will be inevitably launched with full fanfare and hype, the daughters have always had to find their own launch pad to be catapulted to the celluloid stardom? Ironically, despite this lackadaisical approach by their own parents, the daughters have been able to make more name and fame for themselves (and their parents) and the sons have only acted largely as cumbersome liabilities, be it a Kumar Gaurav, or Tusshar Kapoor.
So, a fiery Kajol, despite having the illustrious Nutan for an aunt, and a respectable Tanuja for mother, had to face the camera with non-stars like Kamal Sadanah (Kamal who?) and a blue eyed chic (pun) hero (name forgotten now) in obscure films like Bekhudi and Udhar Ki Zindagi. Her cousin, Rani Mukherjee, had even tougher times. At least Kajol got a good director for her debut, Rani started off in B-grade social films like Raja Ki Aayegi Baarat and Mehdi, opposite some non-descript actors like Fazal Khan.
So Venus kissed the sun in full heat and passion, leaving the blazing star with a haseen daag, which all viewed with sheer awe and delight. The newspapers and the news channels went amok explaining the phenomenon, both scientifically and astrologically.
Venus (and her Greek counterpart Aphrodite) has always been associated with love and beauty. Her depictions in paintings have been of a nubile nymphet with a playful smile. In fact, this has been the attitude and outlook of most Westerners when it comes to love- a passion of the heart, to be enjoyed, cheered and honored. Love, in their literature and films, has been always been full of feel-good humor and froth.