Wednesday, November 11, 2009


the grand ol' piano in 'my'living of the things i'll miss the most!

Some pains are personal in nature, goddamn personal! No one else is supposed to understand what you are going through. This is one of them. As I sit here in MY room of my house…writing this damned post, I know it will be my last one here. No, if it were really mine, I would never have to leave it. Never. But that’s the catch…it is all mine right from the walls to the curtains, the balcony and the bed. The kitchen where technically, I did some of my first culinary experiments. Even the toilet seat, sitting on which I have smiled, wept, sung and come up with amazing ideas about everything and nothing!

This is the place where one fine morning, I had landed with my entire luggage clueless about this city and life. So clueless…that I didn’t even know that to the right of my house where I saw emptiness, there was actually the sea. It took me days to discover that. I didn’t know that when one walked right and took a left, one would actually reach the Gateway of India! It took me weeks to find that out. Ohh….I’m going berserk with the thought. I love the air in this house and the typical Goan food smell that fills that air, which I once hated. Most importantly, I love the people I have shared this house with and I owe them so much! The memories of our good and bad times lived together are neatly stacked in one corner of my heart.

It so hurts to leave a place which has so many memories tied to it. Here I have learnt my first lessons of life and independence along with so many other things. It has always been a comforting thought to return to this place after a long day. Why do I forget that it was never meant to be mine whatsoever? I was a ‘paying guest’ and a guest cannot be forever. But why did this day have to come so soon? I’m moving into a friend’s flat nearby and they say it would be more fun! Who cares? This is ‘my’ first house and will always be…
PS: This is one of those emotional posts which you write hoping it would lessen your pain.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Reality is Janam kii !!

Reality shows….reality shows….! To hell with reality shows. No one wants to talk about them anymore. But at times, one just can’t help. I wonder if my fellow National Television viewers have run out of ways to use their time more constructively than watching Rakhi Sawant select a groom or look after a baby. No, I have no problems with that woman or whatever she chooses to do on television. But c’mon, don’t we viewers have better things to choose from? I don’t give a damn about such reality shows, but being a media student it’s interesting to catch up on their promos once in a while.

Okay, so in the latest episode of ‘Pati, Patni aur Wo’, Rakhi makes out with her supposed fiancé Elesh in front of the baby while the baby’s parents watch in disgust. Next thing-they ask Rakhi and Elesh to have some restraint as their baby is used to being brought up in a joint family. High -end drama. Whatever. What made me write this post is the new reality show that’s gonna come up on NDTV Imagine. Guess what it is about this time? This show doesn’t look like it has been copied. Well, our people have suddenly gotten creative and as a result have come up with a show ‘Raaz Pichle Janam Ka’ (Secret of your previous birth!). In this so called reality show, host Ravi Kishan will help people unravel the mysteries of their previous births. What was I in my previous birth? Umm... great, let me give them a call. You can perhaps see me on Imagine then.

Rather than watching such highly innovative shows, I would rather get drunk. No, no...I’m taking about non-alcoholic drunkenness. Oh, did I tell you this? A few days back, I got drunk on coffee. I happened to drink this ultra strong coffee in Piccadilly. Minutes later, I was dizzy and unable to talk sense. I had never experienced such state before. It actually felt good, a non alcoholic caffeine generated high! Try it once. Gulp 2 mugs of caffeine and then watch ‘Raaz Pichle Janam ka’. It would perhaps start making sense then.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bollywood wakes up!

Exams kept me from blogging for a while. The first thing I did after the exams is watch Wake up Sid! and this is what I have to share:
At the risk of sounding clichéd, Wake Up Sid! is a whiff of fresh air. Something that your lungs so used to the carbon monoxide of Bollywood will immediately recognize. Not a great film or something, but indeed a refreshingly unconventional one! Which was the last film you remember in which the guy moved into the woman’s flat and the woman propelled him to cook his own food through questions like-‘Tumhe khana banana nahi aata naa? Kuch bhi nahi?’

Wake up Sid! breaks into a few more Bollywood stereotypes. Not that it does complete justice to them yet it’s a commendable start at least. For once, you see an obese girl as a part of the hip college gang of Siddharth( Ranbir Kapoor). Thankfully, she is an important character in her own right and not merely brought in for some cheap humour. Aisha’s ( Konkana Sen) character is fiercely independent and clear in her head about things. When Aisha and Siddharth first meet at a party and she goes for a walk with him; she makes it clear that he shouldn’t think that she wants to sleep with him. Sid snaps back saying that he doesn’t want that either. But he admits that the idea crossed his mind when Aisha questions-‘Ek baar toh socha hoga naa?’

For once, the lead female character refuses to let ‘love’ drive her life. When the twenty year old Sid suggests his twenty-seven year old friend that there could be something more than friendship between them, she rejects the idea outright saying he is too ‘bachcha’ for her. When the inevitable love eventually happens, it is presented in a fresh way. Love is Aisha’s first article in Mumbai Beats about how a friend she met on her first day in Mumbai (read Sid) made her fall in love with the city. Love for Sid is wearing Aisha’s white kurta that he had mistakenly carried with his clothes, and drenching it in rain. And believe me, the characters in the film are so real that you can relate with them in an instant. Also, attempts have been made to make the film as unsentimental as possible. Long sequences like the one where the spoilt brat Sid is asked to leave home by his father after rendering all those emotional dialogues are without any background music or song. Ranbir and Konkana’s acting seems effortless.

On the whole, a great attempt by a young brigade of filmmakers ! Worth a watch or maybe a two. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sweet Sound


As I began writing this post, I heard an azaan coming through the window of my room. This is quite a rare phenomenon in Mumbai and I immediately realized what I wanted to write about. For the last year and a half that I have been here, I haven’t heard the sound of an azaan in my room. Chances are few that it was always there and I failed to notice it because as far as I know, there is no mosque in our vicinity. Given the vast expanse of this city, it is inane to wish to hear the soothing melodies of the places of worship. The fact of the matter is that this at once makes me nostalgic. I would wake up to an azaan, a gurbani and the loud chants of the temple together in my home town. I had a mosque, a gurudwara and a temple at a stone’s throw from my house. The religious sounds and symphonies would mark the start and end of our day. How we take for granted the once ubiquitous things that would be missed later!

I got a taste of the Israeli sweetmeat Baklawa, thanks to a friend who recently visited Israel. I am not too sure of my ability to describe delicacies. So, came to my rescue and as per their definition, Baklawa is ‘a Near Eastern pastry made of many layers of paper-thin dough with a filling of ground nuts, baked and then drenched in a syrup of honey and sometimes rosewater.’ Mouth watering, huh? Well…it certainly is. As I dug into one, my thoughts wandered to the Druze village they had come from. The Druze are a minority community in Israel who follow the Arab culture. Their faith is a mix of the tenets of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. How interesting! I held and ate something that was prepared by them. I know it sounds naïve but then it is not always the greatest of things that touches and awes us. It can something as simple as a baklawa or an azaan!

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Complete randomness and madness is all I can think of and that will be reflected in my blog too. But then, random thoughts are quite something and consequently better than the absolute nothingness that my blog has been subjected to of late. Blame the unexpected vacation that came with the madness that swine flu unleashed. Life has been twice as hectic as before. Though I love the documentary film making workshop I am doing, it keeps me on my wits end. I have felt triumphant after shooting each one of my home assignment videos. The very next day, she has sat in class, watching my videos on the big screen and tearing them apart. It feels like someone stripping your soul bare in front of everyone and you can do nothing but look her in her eyes like a harmless puppy and admit that you have done a bad job.All those camera positions and angles! But then thanks to the strict instructor, I am learning so much rapidly. The other day she asked us to shoot an interview and this hilarious thing happened. One of my friends caught hold of a foreigner on the road and said-“ Can I take you to a corner and shoot you?” And he agreed!

Well…Malhar is on sans all the madness. Too bad but swine flu did this awful thing to Malhar, St. Xavier’s annual cultural fest. Not that my heart goes out to them (my heart is strictly Sophia’s), it was a disappointing sight to see an uncrowded campus with a larger workforce than people attending the festival. It was equally disgusting to see girls in shorts shorter than their tees. Someone tell them it doesn’t make them look attractive in any way, that too in a vacant campus.

Dominos has come out with pasta in two flavours. I gave it a try a fortnight before. Eeeew! It’s seriously not worth the 100 bucks that you end up paying for a modest amount of pasta in an oversized box. Sorry for making it look oh-so-tempting in the picture above.

My house has become a mini bar of sorts with all kinds of liquor available here. Right here behind my laptop that I’m writing on are lined up bottles of scotch and beer. Holy mother! I didn’t know a bottle of scotch could be priced so exorbitantly. Thanks to my landlady’s eighty five years young brother who has flown down from Portugal and cannot breathe without alcohol. He might survive longer without air than beer. He is a tall and good looking old man who loves to pour out his heart as well as liqour and has been inviting me to have a drink with him since morning. But I have been escaping the state of bitterness in my mouth and dizziness in my head. I wouldn’t be writing this post even today otherwise.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

First Information...

My cell phone was flicked in the bus last week. Thanks to my habit of checking my pockets every ten minutes, I realized it soon enough to let everyone in the bus know about it. Some noise followed by a bout of sadness when I missed the tiny gizmo which was followed by a lingering sadness that I would stop missing it too soon. Those who foster a strong detachment from such worldly possessions will understand the last sentence well. Anyway, the responsible citizen in me yanked me to the police station the following day.

Lodging an FIR is no child’s play as many of you might know. You are reduced to a hopeless wretch if you are not taken seriously and if they do, it’s still a hopeless case spending four good hours of your life in a police station. Fortunately or otherwise, I fell in the latter category. I looked around for some signs of familiarity owing to my knowledge of Bollywood movies. Alas! There was none to be found in the spic and span police station with sincere faced officials who were all ears to my complaint. But trust me, I had no clue that writing an FIR was something akin to writing fiction. The drab part was when the officer started taking down my family background. I never thought I could write a page long essay on my family. What followed gave me a sense of sitting in a Creative Writing class. The inspector crafted a story about how I lost my phone. After listening to my version, he added his own bits to it apparently to make the case simple and more convincing. After writing a few sentences in his impeccable handwriting, he would read them out to me and look at me in the same way as I look at my proff after dishing out a piece of ‘creative writing’: seeking a go-ahead that gives one’s artistic morale a boost. How imaginative these police officers are! Why don’t they do workshops for us?

This exercise stretched for hours as someone or the other would disturb the flow of his story or he would have the urge to go to the other side of the room and shove some tobacco into his mouth. I was visibly yawning by the end of an hour when he offered me the special police station tea. Cutting chai with masala and an aroma that fills one’s senses! It gave me the drive to carry on for the next 3 hours. When I finally looked at my watch to leave, the kind hearted cop offered me his dabba sensing that I would collapse any minute. I smilingly said a Thank you and left, before barging into the bakery nearby. Too bad I can’t give u a glimpse of my first FIR as along with my phone, my camera too has gone for a toss 

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Salaam Bombay!

A flyover near Peddar Road at peak hour due to a strike that disrupted the traffic

My journal would be the best place to translate these thoughts into words but I choose to do it here for many of my friends are curious to know what my first day in Teach India was like. I will describe it bit by bit. After a hectic day in college, I took a bus to my destination which was a municipal school in CP Tank. Which age group I was going to choose, what would be my days and what subjects I would teach were playing on my mind all along. As I was looking out of the window, I saw these highly decked up women in low cut blouses standing across the road. One woman outside almost every house, staring at the traffic. I had seen a red light area only in movies before and it dawned on me where I was. I shook myself out of daze and focused on my prospective students again.

In no time I was climbing the stairs to the third floor of an obscure municipal school building. What I saw there was a far cry from what I had anticipated. Children of age groups 5-12 were to be seen on the floor, some scribbling in their notebooks, some running around and others simply yawning away their time. Kids as young as a few months old crawled beside their elder brothers and sisters. I was greeted by an enthusiastic ‘namaste didi’ as soon as I entered the room. The coordinator informed me that teaching in that centre was considered the toughest challenge as the kids there were literally from the streets. Children of the commercial sex workers and single parents and the ones who had fled from their homes formed the bulk of the crowd.

I tried to break the ice with most of them. I largely succeeded barring a few of them who stared at me as if I were a Martian creature. This five year old bundle of audacity was keen on knowing me inside out in the very first few minutes of our meeting. I couldn’t stifle a grin when he asked me in his broken Hindi if I would come to his place with him. Not so politely though, in an almost intimidating tone. In the adjacent room, the older lot was preparing a dance for an upcoming Rakhi programme. Most of them slept on the pavements and the market areas as I found out in course of their introduction. They wanted us to view their performance and even told us what they would want to learn. The two hours I spent with them seemed so less. They all wanted to know when I would next come. I returned with a promise of seeing them the following week. I can’t wait to go back to them. After all, I have so much to learn. Life’s way beyond what I have lived so far.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mind your Rs !!

The Taj on Day1 of Clinton's visit

Whoever has managed to impress someone with an accent? All the same, when has that stopped people from making comical displays of bizarre accents! The last straw are the people who choose to do so in public. Huh, imagine what an ordeal it is to hear such people indulging in public speaking! I had to go through one this morning and the fact that our woman was speaking for an NGO she works for made matters all the more hilarious. More than her speech, I was concentrating on the rolling of her tongue at all the odd places that gave her that aao-so-aao-weird-accent!

I looked around to see if others were as annoyed as me but people have a knack for masking their emotions, it seems. It was no way I could believe that the brown woman in a semi-Indian attire had foreign roots. Gaining such a heavy accent in a few years of studies abroad was out of question. Even Katrina Kaif who grew up in 18 countries doesn’t have such an incredible accent, for God’s sake! Maybe I am focusing too much on this lady.

Okay, the other important news is that Hillary Clinton stayed in the Taj for two days. When I was on my usual weekend visit to the Gateway, I was appalled at the security arrangements there. This was before I had read about her visit in the papers. I thought it was one of those terror threats or hoax calls that keep happening in this city. Thank God, it was none of them.

The other thing that happened was an interactive session with Milind Deora (the sitting MP from Mumbai South) in college. I love this young and electric brigade of Gen- Y politicians. Politics seems so much more accessible and cleaner business now. Here was this young man wearing a full sleeves white shirt, black pants and a disarming smile discussing the flaws of the system and his aspirations with the students. So candid and easy going! He seemed one of us even as the girls oohed and aahed at the end of the session. And the most interesting part was that he proposed to organize a trip to the Parliament for us. Ohh…how sweet! I hope we have more politicos like him in the time to come.

PS. I just heard Hillary Clinton on one of her interviews on the T.V and believe me; our woman from the NGO beats her hollow in rolling the tongue!! Tut-tut.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Project Fever

Last week went quite hectic with a mound of project reports to complete. I am still sitting on some of them while a few have seen the light of the day. Nevertheless, projects are a fun part of academic life (read media), one gets to meet interesting people all the time. What’s more, one learns to deal with sundry people, right from the ‘Hey dude, wassup?’ kinds to ‘Sorry, I don’t have much time’ types.

As a part of a Media studies project my friend and I had to visit a few radio stations and ask them some stupid and other not-so-stupid questions. The expedition began with Radio One’s office at Tardeo. We were sitting in the lounge when a tall and fair guy with curls opens the office door for us his chewing gum bubble going off on our face. ‘Yes?’ No… You gotta learn some manners dude! Anyway, this person turned out to be the Creative Head who was going to answer questions for us. For each question I would throw at him, he threw questioning looks back. As if wanting to ask-Is it a valid question? We wrapped it up fast and thanked him for his precious contribution. ‘No probs man…no probs.’ I don’t like people who aren’t Goans and yet address their sentences to ‘men’. They sound so damned sexist. I wouldn’t have liked him anyway.

We moved on to Fever’s studio at Andheri. They sat us in the Board room and after a while, a stout man with scanty hair walked in. My friend and I threw the how-is-he-gonna-treat-us looks at each other. He happened to be the ex. National Creative Director of Fever. We were still skeptical about things when he ordered coffee for us. And trust me, the man loved to talk! Over mugs of coffee, I had to take down endless pages of information he blessed us with. Such an unassuming and down-to-earth character, we were falling in love with Fever. We were also shown around the studio which was a splendid visual delight! Didn’t someone tell us not to judge a book by its cover?

The next studio we visited was of Meow which we had a hard time locating. Then this Creative Head guy sat us in an obscure place which looked more like a store room and turned out to be a bigger jerk than the first one. All our questions seemed to be lost in the rings of smoke he so stylishly and shamelessly blew on our faces. Neither of the two parties could quite stand each other. I suppose there is not much I want to write about him. I would rather talk about the last and a pleasant experience with Aakashwani, the government run radio station. True, they don’t have flamboyant offices and cool dudes but they have a lot to offer. Our visit there was worthwhile and the normal looking people there treated us well. All said and done, I am a little more experienced now !!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


There are times when it is just inevitable to write a post, however reluctant or occupied one is! My wait is over finally…the rains are here! The skies have literally opened and it has been pouring since midnight. I love the sound of the rains through the window. And I love the feel of it against my body. I even love to get splashed by a speeding car and I love wading through knee deep water. How romantic I make it sound! More than anything, I love sitting in the college canteen on a rainy day like this, chewing the fat with friends for hours over piping hot coffee. Trust me, it’s lot of fun! Any crap under the sun starts making sense on such a day.

We all had been longing for the rains. The situation was getting from bad to worse. Imaging having no water supply in a bathroom in south Bombay! I had to go without a bath for a few days. Okay, this sounds snobbish but then it’s the way it is. The town had never seen a crisis as far as water is concerned. This also reminds me of the bizarre poster I saw the other day. This was put up near Pizzeria in Churchgate. ‘Let’s Blame the Politicians for the Failed Monsoons’. Come on, now what have the poor politicians got to do with the rains huh? Yeah, they are definitely responsible for a lot of things but….rains? Anyways, now that they are here, let’s all rejoice to our heart’s content.