Sunday, 30 November 2008

Mumbai is dying. Long live Mumbai.

My city has become scary. I want to yell my wrath out. I want to weep endlessly.

I don't want to hear Mr. CM declare 'we had information but it was not direct information.' I don't want Mr. Advani's futile presence in my city. I don't want Mr. Modi's crore. I don't want hon'ble Mr. Singh's 'strong words'. I want people not to come out & camp at rescue operation sites.

I want martyrs revived. I want Mr. Karkare back. I want innocent people to at least finish their meal before they meet their deathly fate. I want bullet-proof jackets that actually work. I want Moshe reunited with his parents. Irrational? What has been rational in the last 4 days anyway?

I want to appeal to all Indians & foreign nationals alike, daunting as it might be, to revisit & reunite with the phenomenal legacy that is the Taj Mahal Palace. For if we don't rebuild & embrace the Taj, terror wins. I want to spare a thought for the first 56, seemingly forgotten, who got killed at CST.

I don't want to hate that 21 year old. I want to make him fall in love with Maximum City - so much that it alters his meddled brain, so much that it fills him with overpowering remorse for what he has done to it, so much that it makes him cry. Did he not once see the beauty of the Taj, the grandeur of the Gateway by night? Did he not once feel like other 21 year olds at Leo's? Hell, wasn't that backpack too heavy? Wait. I'm talking crazy again, aren't I? What has managed to even border the limits of sanity in the last 4 days anyway?

I am not terrorised. I have retained my spirit but it certainly has been dampened. Empty local trains, empty offices, quiet colleges, bloodied railway platforms, bullet cases & grenade shells strewn about my city's streets. I am not resilient. No one is. I will not move on. This time, no one will.

I want to dine at the Golden Dragon someday. I don't want to 'wonder what that sound was' when I hear firecrackers, scooters, stray dogs playing with empty plastic bottles. I don't want my mother to be worried every time I step out, in my home city.

Enough. I want peace in Mumbai. Godspeed.

PS: Quote of the season - "Mr. Terrorist, I'm alive. What can you do? Mr. Politician, I'm alive despite you. I'm a Mumbaikar."

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Bloody Wednesday..

"..their point is to terrorize people. But I am not terrorized, and you can't be terrorized" - Mariane Pearl, wife of slain journalist Daniel Pearl

I'm tired of asking why. I'm tired of watching the news for so long. I'm shocked all this is being tagged 'mundane' because it is happening a time too many. This has to stop!

Our city is not a battleground, you know? We won't let it be. Tears. Blood. Bullets. Grenades. In the streets we walk on? At the tables we dine at? In the trains we hop?

I do not hate the faces of terror that are splashed all over the dailies today. I do not hate their fanaticism, their selfishness, their madness because there's too much love in me - for my city & its people.

I drift away in thoughts of Mumbai, flipping through these old pictures of trains, the now cordoned Marine Drive, the now eerily empty Gateway, now ground zero for the war against terror - the Oberoi-Trident by night & the sea that brought to our shores bloody aimless violence.

Global financial crises, new age terrorism - arbit, brazen & shamelessly brutal. Is this the doom our grandparents told us tales of? Or is there yet more to come..?

Before new age terror changes the face of my Seven Islands, I pray for life, happiness & peace.

Please stop the madness!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

While you were sleeping..

Dear Sir,

Hope you've been fine. What's up? Not much, I hope! :D Haven't heard from you since your last visit to Bandra, so I thought I'd write in!

Its politics season, globally at that! This morning, I was reminded of the recent displays of factionalism in Mumbai when Anderson Cooper got the TV camera to pan across most of the state-wise stats of the Prez elections for more than 50 states of the US of A. It was fun to venture out to work that day, even as parts of Mumbai shuddered to acts of fanaticism. It was also fun to see a pattern unison in the voting stats - mass patches of blues for the Obama states. A black man just became President of the United States! Even I feel an inkling of excitement sitting so far away from the action! Don't you?

Ah! I almost forgot. I primarily am writing to you with regard to this matter. As a fellow Mumbaikar, I care for you & wish to express my concern. You see, the times they are a changing. If the greatest nation on earth can metamorphose enough to elect a black African-American as its Commander In Chief, it won't be long before our Seven Islands evolve into a truly cosmopolitan, diversity-respecting, peaceful society. We are seething with positivity & our horizons go beyond North India, all the way to Times Square. Then why can't you be so kind as to inspire people (youth, especially) to channelize their energies in directions of education, art & culture? So let's look at constructive acts & give peace a chance, yes?

And hey! I was wondering if you woke up early enough this morning to watch history being created in America. Like most folks I asked, I guess you weren't awake either. Everyone was too occupied in mundane things & some even got into petty fights in the bus to work this morning. But there are still some of us who wake up everyday & hope to see a better world; some of us who share the warmth of smiles with the people we share our amazing city with. There are still some of us ready, more than ever, for a change.. & a wave of change has already hit the West Coast, while you were sleeping..

Jai Hind. Jai Maharashtra. Jai Obama.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Yes. Bollywood music, with a few exceptions, is the pits. And I don't see that fact changing anytime soon. So instead of complaining, I have decided to join the party. I knew I might have to do this, ever since Himesh became crown prince of Bollywood music.

So let us spare a thought for the unbelievably singable, danceable, hummable, messable songs of the season - Desi Girl (Dostana) , Jane Kyun (Dostana, again. This is one of the better ones though), Hari Om (Karzzz) & Thaa Kar Ke (Golmal Returns). These are the songs that take post-Diwali blues away!

Join in Muddu! Haan desi girl, haan desi girl girl girl girl girl girl girl..

Cheers. Keedas. Peace.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

So many things..

An impromptu evening out with girlfriends was about as much fun as I can remember having in a long long time. The last was probably at Umang, 2 months ago. Anyway, I digress. The kadak katting (cutting, if you please) had made me chattier than usual & the banter carried on even after I had yelled out my goodbyes, from a rickshaw, to Muddu, Apu & Stu (notice how lovely nicknames sound ending in the sound of 'ooh'). Riding past 'Jalsa', my auto waalah started sharing with me his views on the ongoing squabbles in Mumbai. Shocked at first, I could only sympathise with his getting nostalgic over how Amitabh Bachchan had inaugrated something in his village when he was all of 9. Now he drives by Amit ji's bungalow almost everyday.

I was not too keen on answering a question he posed before me - 'Film industry mein bahut log uttar bhartiya hai na? Yeh Aishwarya Rai bhi north ki hain na? He was intent on narrating to me how most of his friends are in the film-line now, doing petty jobs, but in the industry nonetheless & how he must ride his rickshaw because ghar chalaana hai.. Can anyone expect peace in Bombay? We hope..

I want to go for the October 31st concert but I need to start studying for my exams, which are 6 months away.
I want to learn how to drive a car but instead, I need to spend my mornings reading books that collectively weigh more than I do.
I want to watch Karzzzz but I need to attend classes.
How we must live between our wants & needs! Keynes zindabaad!

Happy Diwali yevrybuddy! Don't burst crackers. Light lanterns, ok?

Cheers. Keedas. Peace.

Sunday, 12 October 2008


September 29, 2008:


Obituary: This day, we wish to pray for all those who have departed & left us for a better place. Our world without you seems incomplete but I reckon you won’t be too gravely missed. Kindly observe a moment of silence for the untimely & gruesome death of Violence, Theft, Poverty and Insensitivity. May their souls rest in eternal peace.

..but this thought only flashes across my mind after the trauma has been eased, the tears have dried. The rational mind speaks after I have cried.

I tend to get too attached – to my favourite things & people alike.
The Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 doesn't matter.
What matters is the grave loss of a friend, the vacuum it leaves behind – the memories that were made together & immortalized in the last year & a half.

‘What is yours can never be taken away from you; what you lose was never your own in the first place.’
- The wisdom of a friend; too profound to ever occur to me.

The photographs – clicked, collected, cherished, flaunted..loved.
The texts – surprises, greetings, poems, songs, random conversations..memories.
The alarm clock – to wake me up to study for my FC paper; snatched away from me before the paper could be written.
The notes – written in trains & buses, not to be erased, never in hell to be stolen.
Virtual glimpses of the past leave me dazed, bruised & a tad confused. The rational mind can do nothing about this.

What good can happen to a person who can be so insensitive as to steal an indispensible part of an average teenager’s life? What will I tell him if I should happen to meet him?
The thoughts keep coming – what if? But why? Why did I not? The rational mind answers – it was just meant to be..

To the world – memories will be made again.
To my cell phone – there will be no one quite like you.
And lastly, to my aggressor – may the monetary benefit from your stealth suffice to buy you back your dignity.

Yes Peru, even this is Bombay.

Cheers. Keedas. Peace.

PS: Yes, I lost my cell phone to an act no less than an act of terrorism. It is not the end of the world. There have been other mind-numbing realities that have caught me by the collar & shaken me up in the last 12 days. But the Nokia 6233, I still miss.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Pichle dus mahinon mein..

This morning I caught myself chatting away with friends, unaware of the time & not too worried about being late, at 10 am outside Churchgate station. I'd met an aspiring CA, senior from college & another friend from Office who goes to a different audit client now & thus we don't meet anymore.

Later during the day, the light of realisation shone upon me - I had chosen the life I'm living & enjoyed the little quirks it brought along - the only social life that remained was in the share-a-cab queue for a cab to Nariman Point! Haah. For once, this Monday, I felt good about the whole brouhaha they call 'articleship'!

Pichle dus mahinon mein..

(A tribute to articleship & the joys it brings!
Sing to the tune of 'Pichle saat dinon mein..' from the movie Rock On!!)

Mere blue pens ki refills, teen aadhi padhi novels
(na na – na na na, na na – na na na)
Junk food joints ke phone numbers, aur nostalgic kuch papers
(na na – na na na, na na – na na na)

Mere lunch mein green chutney ka zing,
Mere trinkets aur chandi ke rings,
Pichle dus mahinon mein maine khoya;
Kabhi boss se dhuli main, aur, kabhi colleagues ko dhoya..
(na na – na na na, na na – na na na, na na – na na na, na na – na na na)

Red sneakers aur black ghadi, pyaari thi mujhe badi
(na na – na na na, na na – na na na)
Meri denim ki jacket, tennis aur TT rackets
(na na – na na na, na na – na na na)

Do 'classic rock night' ke passes,
Mere thick-rimmed geeky waaley glasses,
Pichle dus mahinon mein maine khoya;
Kabhi coffee-powered chali main, aur, kabhi khule-aankh soya..
(na na – na na na, na na – na na na, na na – na na na, na na – na na na)

Kaise bhoolon gyaarvah jo month aaya,
CA books ko maine haath lagaya,
Kaisa din tha jis din unko maine pehli baar read kiya tha!

Woh books jo nikley study cabinet se bahar,
Maine jaana kya hai bukhaar,
Maine brains bhi khoya hope bhi khoya;
Kabhi zoron se hasaa dil, aur, kabhi phoot photo ke roya..!

Maine pichle dus mahinon mein yeh sab hai khoya..!

Sincerely hope Farhan/Luke/Purab is reading; just like that! And yes, Rock On!! does not need my review/approval. I'm starstruck all over again, I'm crowd-surfing - only in a parallel universe! Lauuu-ed the flick!

Cheers. Keedas. Peace.

[PS: Mondays are now officially parody-days! :D]

Monday, 25 August 2008

Vodafone Woes

(Lets forget all about inflation before reading this, yes?)

a.) This post is an outcome of the sudden break in the daily schedule. The fact that I had a Monday evening without class was so exciting, I didn’t even mind walking up to the Vodafone store to annoy them ‘happy to help’ kids!

b.) This ‘Monday evening at Vodafone store’ is not my idea of a fun-time off. But you see, when you’re paying through your nose for something as vital & essential to survival as text messaging, you don’t mind a 10 minute walk & a 40 minute wait (about which, we shall talk soon..)

I was actually doing something different this evening – different from the usual ‘class’ that is. I was walking to the Vodafone store. Okay, I'm over it now.

These guys are rip offs. The bill last month was a shocker. Ask my folks! It was about time I went to talk business with one of them Vodafone fellows and that was exactly what I intended to do. But like every girl on a mission, I had to battle it out – with the hordes who had incidentally planned on paying the store a visit at exactly the same hour.

Anyhoo, it was a relief to see a computerized, touch screen token generating machine at the doorstep. A very Matrix-esque backdrop it was – blinding white walls & the machine. Technology for the masses - I give credit where it is due. And then the time killing began. I couldn't help but frown at the staff who very gingerly, served with a smile. Well, again, the smiles were appreciated. But then again, they had better serve us with smiles – those smiles were burning holes in my Dad’s wallet you know.

This was my vengeance for having chosen Orange/ Hutch/ Vodafone. Somehow, after 294, 297 & 303 had all gone before me (292) the wait was over. As regards the injustice, probing into the matter proved futile. Weary, I walked to the appointed counter to hear the customer care executive say, as if having read my mind, “Sorry to keep you waiting (wide grin)”. An apology? Solace; momentary but solace nonetheless. I giggled in my head & managed a blasé smile – “That’s alright (not)”

Talking business was easy. This was the fun part. I bashed him & demanded a cheaper tariff plan. I probed into a scheme & smirked when I hit bull’s-eye & actually blurted out – “ that’s the trick”. A little later, in realization of my shameless assertiveness, I toned down & settled for a scheme that I might term ‘slightly better’ than what I was living with for all these years.

The hour at the Vodafone store was worth the mindlessness of the initial 35 minutes & the engaging, almost bargain inducing 15 minutes at the customer-desk. I walked out, feeling a little empowered & a little guilty –
“I'm sorry God, I know it isn’t that guy’s fault that service providers are such rip offs. He just happened to be in my line of fire. Apologies.”

Text messaging will hopefully be taxing only on the thumb & a little easier on the pocket now. It is amazing how these network provider companies make mass-popats out of all, yes all of us! Then again; can’t live with them, can’t live without them!

PS: No more venting out anger in the next few posts. Promise. But while we're at it, can someone please make local trains emptier? The Churchgate fast is khachakhach crowded even at 1.30 in the afternoon!
One more thing - we need more 'Rock On!' like music in Bollywood. Not 'tujhe Aksa beach ghumaaon, aa chalti kya?'
And also, Splitsvilla must end. Period.

Cheers. Keedas. Peace.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Snooze On

Snooze On! - hai yeh clock ka ishaara

Snooze On! - har takiyaa pukaar raha

Snooze On! - arey uthta hai kyon tu?

Snooze On! - Monday mornings aa jaayegi dobara!

[Because sometimes, parodies just happen - even on Monday mornings :)]

Thursday, 24 July 2008


Passing thought:

'Oh come on, you ought to know how bloggers feel about comments! A 'comment', to them, is like their stipend - a minuscule symbol of their tireless labour being appreciated. A small little thing, yet immaculately invaluable..'


'Its a different story some bloggers are affluent in both comments and stipends. Hmpf.'

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Re: Anger management

  • First, global warming, climate change & the universal crisis is all boo-huggie. Then, the poor ol' scientists & professors who proposed theories of a universal crisis, who drive around in economy class Santros & Swifts are penalised by sky-rocketing fuel prices and those who don't care two hoots about how much petrol their Z-Class Volkswagen guzzles up, drive around town (the air conditioning switched on, mind you) mocking at everyone who doesn't want to take his car to work today - courtesy price hike. Anyone ever heard of progressive taxation? How about using progressive pricing for the amiir baap ki bigdi hui aulaad? Why must the economising, level-headed man pay for the exorbitant petrol?
  • Lock a bunch of girls desperate for a date with a wannabe Roadie in a huge house together & what do you get? Ans: A bunch of losers who would go no end to an appreciative gesture from a guy who was just some guy a couple of days ago. Sheesh - who knows these guys even now? Whatever happened to feminism & self-respect? Hell, I don't even know where to start making fun of this show! Die Splitsvilla. Period.
  • I don't get eunuchs. Not all of the ones we see in trains & all are genuine, methinks. What is on their mind? "Look kid, I'm a man in woman's clothing. I rubbed my palms all over your head & blessed you with a good husband & a happy life. So give me your money. Now."
  • As it is, the whole idea of 'working' in an 'office' is gradually seeming quite banal. To top that, when I do manage to waste time by colouring cells in MS Excel sheets in the colours of the flags of the countries playing Euro 2008, some random female/ male must, mandatorily peep at my monitor & give me the 'OMG you're wasting time!' look. Where is the love, people?
  • I'll kill anyone who spreads her legs while seated in a local train, in order to occupy more space/ sit comfortably. I'll also assault anyone who litters. Ok, maybe I won't be that harsh. But that doesn't mean these kinda people don't enrage me!
  • I had fond memories of the epic Mahabharata. You'll pay for this, Ekta K-kk-kkapoor.

Cheers. Keedas. Aaarrghh!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

..yu hi nahi dil lubhataa koi!

Platonic love doesn't last, every love-story must end on an airport; no matter what, the hero will get to the love of his life before her flight takes off to another world are only a couple of movie clichés I detest. Needless to say, Bollywood movies with these clichés are not too likeable. But there is one that is.

Imran Khan aka Ranjhore ke rajkumar Jai Singh Rathore looks, acts & laughs like chahu-jaan, a lot! Genelia is the bubbly, loud Meow but Imran pretty much steals the Aditi-show. Its not the most imaginative storyline but there's just so much truth, honest college humour, Bombay & Imran Khan (sigh) in it. We call some movies ridiculous. This one was insane! Who makes a debutante ride a horse around South Bombay? Abbas Tyrewala does - and how! This one is filled with new faces & hilarious stereotypes we fail to notice. I like the attention given to fine details - like the choice of tea cups to match Mom Ratna Pathak's personality & like Mayank Shekhar rightly observed, her collection of books. Speaking of the integral soundtrack, Rehman rolls out a winner, yet again!

Besura singing, tragedy-struck melodramatic dialogues like "one Coke..on the rocks" make this flick a laugh riot and all the Bombay locales make Bombay all the more loveable! Its probably the first movie (I cannot think of any other) I have watched on the big-screen twice in the same week & enjoyed. Its almost like watching a friend's video documentary on the lives of, well, his friends! Easily, 'Jaane Tu.. Ya Jaane Na' is one movie with an airport-scene climax that I loved dearly!

Cheers. Keedas. Peace.

PS: Can't wait for 'Rock On!' and must get back to studies. Hell, two back-to-back movie reviews. Where's the nerd brigade!?

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Aamir - The non-JTYJN/ Ghajini one.

For those looking forward to watching Haal-e-Dil/ Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic, I suggest you stop reading this instant because there is more to Bollywood than flowery romances & size zeroes. The new in thing is off-beat cinema. Tell Aamir about it!

Yes, calling a movie ‘off-beat’ has become a cliché. Off-beat could mean Tashan. My condolences with all those who paid to watch it; but I digress. The off-beat I speak of blows my mind away, time & again. It’s more of a movement – to break away from the mainstream BS. From what I recollect, it started with Swades, gained strength with Rang De Basanti, amassed thousands with Lagey Raho Munnabhai & its only gaining strength. What has pleasantly surprised me yet again is a wonder mini-flick called Aamir.

An asthma-ailing, flustered Rajeev Khandelwal clinging on to a red suitcase; minimal, curt dialogues; vrooming of a dirt bike, ticking clocks as background scores and snippets of the Bombay most of us don’t get to see give the movie an eerie feel. Aamir could easily mark the genesis of a new genre in Hindi cinema. In fact, it carries forward what Being Cyrus had kicked off, in some ways.

Speaking of genre, the music is anything but the stereotypical commercial nautanki we are generally exposed to. Amit Trivedi does very well to bring in some quirkiness to the soundtrack. I’m a fan!

I must admit, to watch a K-serial heart-throb do so well on the big screen was a tad unexpected. Whoever knew Rajeev Khandelwal could act ‘and’ look good! Ergo (in case Rajeev is reading) –
‘Dear Rajeev,
To hell with shaadi-vivaah, ghar-parivaar dramas! You ought to be doing more movies. The 8 o’clock soap & Ekta Kapoor you walked out on was good riddance!’

The flick starts off in style. Initially, it seems to be going nowhere really. The momentum builds gradually. The punch is packed only towards the fag end – a crescendo of sorts. The lead of the movie calls it a ‘psychological thriller’. I cannot think of a better description without giving away the storyline!

If you haven’t watched it yet & do not idolize Mimoh Chakraborthy/ Rani Mukherjee as a fairy, please watch Aamir.

Cheers. Keedas. Peace.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

The IPL hangover..

Not many missed this tourney & boy was it the instant coffee of modern day cricket! Ergo - the non alcoholic, caffeine hangover & I’m throwing up (figuratively of course) all over about it..

Mahi ve!
Young guns afire - the ‘boys’ of regional Indian cricket were some of the many ‘finds’ of the tournament & how! Swapnil Asnodkar, Virat Kohli, Gony & the likes are the new poster boys of Indian cricket. Non performers in the Indian squad, about time you scoot out!

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen:
A slap in the face (not the ‘3 crore ka thappad’ type) to all those who opine Sachin, Sourav have lost their game & McGrath, Gilly, Warney oughtta play golf now. My heart goes out to Adam Gilchrist & Glen McGrath who play just like they did, maybe a tad better, back in 1996. Kudos!

Cricket clichés:
44 days of incessant cricket implies 44 days of non stop commentary & voilà – all the overused commentary lines are overexposed & for the keen listeners, like yours truly, to laugh at.
When asked about what the batsmen opening the 2nd innings ought to do:
“The boys must just go out there & play their natural game. They really need to hit the ball.”
(Hit the ball? Whoa hold on a sec! That’s a bit of rocket science for the average batsman)
Ravi Shastri at the post match presentation. At *every* post match presentation:
“What a game!”
(Love you Ravi. But really, you need a new opening line)

Crouching tiger, hidden Watson!
Marshy & Watson were easily the firecrackers to the celebration. Who knew an Australian could do Punjabis any good!? Unheard of a couple of months ago & quite the steal at the IPL auction (in hindsight), these fellas were worth every Rupee spent on them & are here to stay! Paisa vasool, I say!

Mera Billy mujhse meow..
Rheumatoid arthritis gave him his crooked-finger action – one that has spelt doom for many a batsman. But no arthritis was going to pull this man down – who has earned accolades for his unmatched style & for the zing he has brought to his otherwise banal profession. Billy Bowden sure lived up to his ‘showman’ tag & inspired Koertzen too! I *heart* Billy!

Hussey toh phasi!
It was like playing gully cricket with men from The Oz, really. Aussies just rushed in from all sides into this tourney. History was created when Symonds was embraced by the people of Hyderabad, welcomed with biryani & when Warney was cheered for in the stands of Wankhede, not Dhoni & when Gilly probably lost so many matches he might not have lost in his entire career. No monkey business, this Aussie influx! How about Warne as the new Indian team coach, eh?

Amongst other samachaar were the most expensive trophy – ever & also the goris cheering et al. Yawn. No prizes for guessing that the cheerleaders did not manage to ‘spread the cheer’ all the way to the desi babus who’d organise hartaals at the drop of a hat.

The nerve wrecking final had my head in splits the next morning & did not help the manic-Monday situation. Bah.. Who is complaining? I’d love to do it all, all over again. Next year.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Dear Peru

Dear Peru,

We haven't spoken in long & there were a few things on my mind I'd wanted to share with you. Like they say - there's no time like the present, so here goes..

You have always been someone I've envied.

You can call a spade a spade while I wallow in my diplomatic & pretentious ways.

You sing along aloud with every song playing on your pod, no matter if you're walking down the busiest road in town; while I am wary of not jaywalking or flouting traffic rules.

You bring chatter to the Escada-scented Ist Class & make lively casual conversations with the Marathi-speaking folk of the IInd; while I merely stare into a banal self-help book or try to look smart reading the Pink Daily.

I sit on the first bench in class, frantically taking notes as if every word I note down will be stashed in my memory forever & I hear you giggle, from the 8th bench or something, enjoying & understanding what the professor says.

You can throw on an old shirt & have a bad hair day & still make it through with the unfading smile; while I almost always fluster over matching my shoes with my bag.

We rub shoulders with the same people, go to the same places, do the same things & yet for you, all of it is so refreshingly different!

When I grow up, I want to be just like you!
Happy Budday!