Saturday, December 20, 2008

power to the pao's

It’s three nine in the morning.

A bad back is keeping me awake. I was sitting by the window staring out. And pretty much smiling as cars whizzed by.

Really, this city does not sleep. Or maybe it’s just the season and a Friday night put together. But even the promenade in front of my house had groups of people on their bikes, or clustered around their cars. Smoking, drinking coffee from the cycle coffee guys and generally shooting the breeze.

Then at three sharp the cop van slowly rolled by, asking folks to get a move on. Nothing rude, or strict or cop like. Just a general, “ okay it’s three am, let’s clear the promenade.” And the groups slowly drank up their coffees and moved on.

All easy, and civilized. And so Mumbai.

Then there are the anglo Indians. Or the catholics. Or the Christians. Or the maca paos. Or the macs. (Okay they are called this because of their love for Pao, that yummy square bun like thing, so popular here. Tip: Add butter to a hot pao, dip it in your tea, and go straight to heaven).

They had a Christmas Bazaar at the Bandra Gym today. And even non members (sigh) could buy a fifty buck coupon and enter. The grounds were packed. A salsa performance, followed by Jim reeves songs, followed by Christmas Carols, followed by Goan songs were being broadcast from a make shift stage. And a large square of stalls formed the centre.

Christmas cakes. Cookies. Brownies. Aunty Maria’s chocolates and marzipan. Edna’s goan sausages. Clarrise’s vindaloo and sorbatel. Little pao stuffed with mince. Patties. Chops. The list is endless.

The place was packed, booze was cheap and overflowing. And the atmosphere was festive. People were eating, wishing each other, dancing, getting quietly sloshed.

The world was at peace. And Aunty Maria and Uncle Barry should stand for elections.

Really, maybe I’m biased because my parents grew up in Anglo Indian schools. My dad in particular had a huge number of Anglo Indian friends when he lived in Pune. Our neighbours down the street in my grandparent’s home were Anglo Indian’s. And they were for sure the coolest, the most fun loving people on that street.

But I think it’s more than that. I think the Maca Pao’s have just managed to hold on to their sense of community. And their way of life.

And more importantly, their idea that good food, good wine and good times are more important than good car, good TV, and good gold jewellery in the bank locker.

So more power to them. And more spirit of the Christmas bazaar to the world.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

you are invited.

have tried to combine my favourite things - nostalgia, vela giri and design.

and voila.. here's my second blog. it's called

if you have the time please drop by, and tell me what you think.

dhayawad and all that.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

the persistent pursuit of trivial things

Watch MTV roadies auditions.

They are super entertainment, especially for voyeuristic junkies like me. That apart, I’m figuring out that the difference between my youth, and the youth of today, is fame.

Yeah, they will do anything for it. Raghu, the hot guy who’s thought up the show is the guy who interviews these poor suckers. And he thrives on insulting them. You loser. You asshole. Dance for me. You’re a fucking bore. Take off your shirt. You call that a body?

Oh man, it goes on and on. And they just take it. Because they all want the fame. The camera on their face.

I’ve been thinking if anyone I knew in college would take this kind of stuff. Nope. Don’t think so. Maybe we just didn’t know what a high fame can be.

But ya, more than the music, the language, the clothes, the ambition, it’s the hunger for fame that’s been added to the equation.

And oh, the new GQ (not the Indian one), is fantastic. It’s the celebrating 20 years issue and I’ve been trying to finish reading it for the last one week. But it just will not get over.

It’s got interviews with Tony Blair. The Oasis boys. David Lynch. David Beckham. Andrew Flintoff. Eminem. Sir Alex Fergusson. And yoo hoo, Jack Nicholson.

Get your hands on it. If you don’t have to buy it, and can flick it from a friend or office, even better.

And I shall sign off with three things you should know (all dug out from the said GQ)

By 2008 annual production of Havaianas had reached 105 million pairs, with five pairs being manufactured every second.

Well, that’s quite a feet eh?

By controlling the enzyme regulating blood supply, the key ingredient (sildenafil citrate) enabled anyone to have sex for up to four hours. That’s how Viagra works.

Uh... actually I’m sorry I’m was the damn traffic.

Youporn. The youtube of porn. All free, all shaky digicam real!

Hey...why does your fiance look so familiar? Where have I seen him ya?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

can't say it any better

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

- Robert A. Heinlein

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

like microwavable popcorn

Should write.

Can’t write.

Am writing.

Slight explanation on the above:

What’s the point of a blog if you don’t write.

But too many things keep cropping up. Work. Social life. Interesting movies. And the terrorist attacks which keep intruding in to my sleep. My space. My newspapers. My conversations.

However, I’m going through a phase. Stories that were stuck are cropping up like mushrooms. Dusty ideas that were put in the last filing cabinet of the brain are jumping up and down.

Basically my head is popping with plots and thoughts.


But apologies to my neglected blog.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Oh, Mama, can this really be the end...

Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.
Bob Dylan

Today I don’t want to talk about terror attacks. And outrage. And anger.

Instead I want to talk about Mumbai.

You see, I first came to Mumbai when it was Bombay. And I was eight months old.

My grandparents lived here and my mother had grown up here. This was her home. And for me Bombay was always summer vacations. So for two months, every year, till I was 15 and till my grandmother died, here’s what I remember of Bombay.

Lovely empty streets with grand buildings on either side. Fiat Padminis (with fans inside) that seemed so posh compared to the large ambassadors you saw in other parts of the country. The curve of the road, when you were about to reach juhu beach. My father and I catching a bus to go to Regal to watch Superman. We never got tickets, so my dad and I made the long trip, from Sion to town, again the next day.

I also remember at least one evening in those two months, when my grandmother never cooked, and instead we ate sev batata puri from the man who walked past our house at 6 pm every day. I remember the lady who came with the cow at 12 noon. For ten paisa you could feed the cow grass. I remember learning to say “kem cho?” from the Gujarati neighbours, and then progressing to “ ramu che? (wanna play?) from their kids.

I remember the film producer who lived in the last house down the lane. Because every evening at eight, all the kids in the neighbourhood would grab their seats on his living room floor. He was the only guy with a VCR, so every evening we watched a movie. Every amitabh movie, every jitendra-sridevi-jaya pradha movie, every mithun movie, I would have seen in his house.

I remember my mother and father holding hands. This was the city of their courtship. I remember the Anglo Indian kids, all five of them. Who lived with their mother in the fourth house from us. Preeti, Pravesh, Praveen, Pramodh and Prabha. I remember them talking about school socials and dances, while I watched wide eyed and madly besotted, with all five.

I remember playing dabba eye’s spy. Langdi tang, lock and key, crows and cranes, seven tiles. All on the main road in front of the houses. The bus stop that came up in front. The thrill of the double decker bus. Chocobar ice cream. Taking the night bus from my aunt’s house in Mazgoan, and passing the drive in theatre. First you smelt the creek, then you heard the distorted voices of the actors, and finally as the bus went down that long road, you saw disjointed images on a large screen.

I remember Bombay. Young, carefree. Filled with laughter, bell bottoms and endless optimism.

My memories are sepia toned. But now this city is mine. And I hope someday my kids, or your kids will remember it the same way.