Sunday, April 27, 2008


Gilly was on a rampage today! He single-handedly annihilated the Muumbai Indians. He made 100 off 42 balls. His sixes were massive, lofty and had the right amount of power. He was an absolute delight to watch. I just wish he was with the Kolkata Night Riders!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

This is it!

The movers & packers came home this morning to take my stuff to Calcutta. All I have with me now is just enough clothes to see me through two weeks at home.

Never thought that after having lived in Bombay for so long, it would just be a matter of three days before I leave. It’s heart-wrenching. I love this city so much I don’t know how I’ll manage to stay away. I’ll go through major withdrawal for sure. I’ll always be a Bombay girl.

Life is very funny indeed. I never thought I would be moving to Calcutta. I liked the city on my various visits there – I always felt that Calcutta had the heart of a small town in spite of being a metro. I loved the laidback lifestyle, loved the fact that Calcuttans value things in life other than money. But I never thought I’d end up living there!

Well, life has its ways of getting you around to doing things you never thought you would so, and therefore the saying “Never say never”.

So yeah…this is it! Three more days in Bombay and then it won’t be home anymore. Even though I know my way around, I’ll still be a visitor to the city. But then again, I took a conscious informed decision to move out, so can’t really complain. I’d like to end this post with the opening lyrics of Vince Gill's 'The strings that tie you down'...

You're so close to telling me your leaving
Packing up your things and leaving town
If you can walk away the rest is easy
Once you cut the strings that tie you down

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Who's the daddy?

First things first - there's a correction. Gilly is not with the Knight Riders. I got that wrong. He's with the Deccan Chargers.

Now that the first weekend of the IPL is over, the Knight Riders seem to be the strongest team overall. They have fire power in copious amounts both in their batting as well as bowling line ups. The surprise to me came in the form of Deccan Chargers and Chennai Super Kings - they have pretty strong teams too. I was waiting to see the Mumbai Indians but I don't think they'll make the grade.

So...Go Kolkata Knight Riders!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Follow Me

You don't know how you met me
You don't know why, you can't turn around and say good-bye
All you know is when I'm with you I make you free
And swim through your veins like a fish in the sea
I'm singing....
Follow me
Everything is alright
I'll be the one to tuck you in at night
And if you wanna leave I can guarantee
You won't find nobody else like me

Friday, April 18, 2008

Demolition squad

A.k.a. Kolkata Knight Riders

Going by the first game of IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders definitely looks like the team to watch out for and the one to beat. They have immense fire power in their batting as well as their bowling (which will only get enhanced when Shoaib Akhtar joins the squad), they are fast and agile on the field, their body language is positively aggressive, and they displayed a hell lot more enthusiasm on field than Bangalore Challengers. They simply demolished Bangalore! Vijay Mallya must not have been a very happy man.

People are calling the IPL more of a business and money-spinning gimmick than a sports event. Money-spinning activity it might be but here's why I think sports will come out tops in the IPL - each team has players from different countries. In regular international games when these players play for their countries, the opposition is their enemy. In IPL they have to come together with the same players who would have otherwise been their enemies and play for a common goal - the victory of their team - forgetting about the country their teammates come from. It's a melting pot in the true sense of the word. It was very heartening to see Ricky Ponting celebrate his catches with the same set of Indian players with whom he was involved in such a nasty controversy not so long ago. And players from different countries embrace each other whenever a wicket fell.

I also think the IPL will give young Indian players a chance to learn from the best players of the world. Each country has it's own approach to cricket. The tips shared in the dressing room and the strategies made will be an valuable learning experience for our youngsters.

I think we should all be extremely proud of the IPL. It's an absolute revolution in cricket, and one that's been brought about by India. We all know India has an immense amount of talent in every sphere but we don't have the infrastructure and the financial resources to develop and boost all that talent. So to think that India could be the pioneer of the IPL, where players from other countries were literally "bought" over by Indian individuals and business behemoths, is no mean feat. Who could have imagined there would be so much money in Indian cricket! With the IPL, the entire cricketing world will be forced to acknowledge India as a force to reckon with in cricket, and not only a country where politics, regional biases and favoritism dominate the cricketing scene.

So here are the reasons why I'm supporting the Kolkata Knight Riders:

1. It's got two of my favorite players - Sourav Ganguly and Adam Gilchrist. They are both at the twilight of their careers. One has already retired from international cricket and the other will very soon in all probability. I have always loved Ganguly as a captain and I also admire his resilience (the way he won his spot back on the team). And I think no player can play spin as well as Ganguly can. It's also an absolute pleasure to watch Gilchrist bat. Not to mention he's a man of integrity and values (remember, he walked?).

2. The spirit with which Shah Rukh Khan selected his players - he wanted to build a winning team, not the best team - reflects in the on-field attitude of the players.

3. I love their mascot Hoog Lee and his girlfriend Shoog Lee, and SRK is the only one of the owners who has shown some enthusiasm in his team - in coming up with the name, in the marketing he has done around the Knight Riders etc. The others seem to have bought over their respective teams purely from a business point of view. They have shown zero interest in their teams. Forget promoting their teams, they haven't even bothered to give their teams names that would get your attention. Cases in point...Chennai Super Kings, Deccan Chargers, and the most retarded of them all - Mumbai Indians! Ofcourse SRK has to make the proposition commercially viable, therefore the marketing around the team, but if we get electrifying, edge-of-the-seat cricket in the process, what's the harm?

I can't wait to see what the other teams have in store. Over the next month & a half, cricket is going to be king and India will be the centre of attention of the cricketing world. The next Knight Riders game will be at Eden Garden, and it will be even bigger and better than tonite!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Less than 24 hours to IPL


Goddamn work computer does not allow uploading videos. Will upload the anthem from home. In the meantime...relish these pics!

For my Mumbai friends who're giving me grief about not supporting the Mumbai team, I'm sorry but I just can't get myself to support a team that's called "Mumbai Indians". How boring & unimaginative can you get! Even 'Vada Pao Eating Mumbaikars' would have been a better name!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

It's not easy to be me

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
I’m just out to find
The better part of me
I’m more than a bird...I’m more than a plane
More than some pretty face beside a train
It’s not easy to be me

I Wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
About a home I’ll never see

It may sound absurd...but don’t be naive
Even Heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed...but won’t you concede
Even Heroes have the right to dream
It’s not easy to be me

Up, up and away...away from me
It’s all right...You can all sleep sound tonight
I’m not crazy...or anything…

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
Men weren’t meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

I’m only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me

It’s not easy to be me


Alas, even Superman goes through crises in life!

Is this what news should be about?

The media, particularly our shoddy Hindi "news" channels, are having a field day with the story of Priyanka Gandhi's visit to Nalini, the only surviving member of Rajiv Gandhi's assassination squad. It's despicable how low news channels stoop inorder to grab more eyeballs. They don't bat an eyelid before crassly commercializing an individual's personal loss.

When a tragedy strikes, we all have questions that we want answers to. Why did it happen? How did it happen? Why us? We've all faced these questions before. Losing a parent has got to be one of the most devastating losses one can suffer in life, and when one knows that one's father did not die of natural causes or in an accident but was assassinated by a group of people, the feeling must be even worse. I don't blame Priyanka Gandhi for wanting to meet her father's assassin to get answers. She has every right to. Why must we question her motives behind the visit?

I'm sure her family must have known about the visit and if they were okay with it (as Rahul Gandhi later said), I don't understand why the entire country and it's sub-standard news channels must get excited about it! Infact, the way they're recreating the story, they're almost making it sound like she was an accomplice in the conspiracy to kill her father rather than a victim!

News channels in India are making a living out of scandals and yellow journalism. I think the government needs to do serious quality control here. No news channel should be allowed to air unless it meets certain infrastructural requirements and production quality. The government should also lay down some ethical practices that each channel must abide by if it wants to retain it's license to air. Freedom of the press is a must in any democracy, but that does not imply the right to exaggerate, misrepresent or scandalize facts.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Back to basics

I was having a conversation with a friend over the weekend & she said something that struck me as very true. She said that life seems to be coming a full circle for women.

Up until about 30-40 years ago, women thought their primary duty in life was to look after their house, tend to their family & raise their kids. They were happy doing all of that, and sure enough, working women were a rarity.

Over the course of the 80s & 90s, when feminism crossed western borders and spread to all corners of the globe, and women's liberation became the norm of the day, we saw a rise in the number of women who were willing to place their careers over family life. They were ambitious & unapolegetic about it.

Now, we seem to be coming back to the point where women are once again giving more importance to their husbands/families as opposed to their careers. I'm not saying women are not ambitious anymore, but more & more women are willing to make compromises in their careers as opposed to their personal life. They don't think twice before relocating to another town if their husbands get a good job opportunity. They are increasingly opting for part-time (consultant) or work-from-home options so they can give time to their kids. Many are even willing to give up their careers completely because they feel they ought to give more time & attention to their families.

Feminism & women's liberation are still around, but the more subtle type, not the bra-burning variety. And it's more at an individual level - women are increasingly able to make up their minds about what they want in life, and stand up for themselves, rather than getting in mobs & trying to save the women of the world!

I think it's an evolution we have gone through as a species. So until hardcore feminism sweeps over us once's fun being in the time & place I'm in!

Dezzert anyone?

I strongly recommend the strawberry baked cheesecake at 5 Spice, Bandra. I can't believe I'd never tried it before inspite of being a 5 Spice regular. IT IS TO DIE FOR!

I've been trying to find such a cheesecake in Bombay for the past five years but none came close to it. Have it & you will know what I mean.

Just remember to order the strawberry BAKED cheesecake & not the regular strawberry cheesecake.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Show me the money!

I've been writing a lot of 'filmy' posts these days, but I'm a movie buff & I live in Bombay (that too in Bandra, the celebrity central of Bombay) so I can't escape the clutch of Bollywood :)

Read in Bombay Times today that Hindi movie actresses are charging never heard of amounts these days! While Ms Rai charges 3-4 crores per movie, Kareena Kapoor & Katrina Kaif charge in the range of 2.75-3 crores. Excuse me...did I read Katrina Kaif?? The lady cannot act to save her life! Race being the latest case in point. She's pathetic in the movie. She's really there just to look good. She's expressionless, can't emote, can't speak Hindi without an accent. I'm sorry lady, you are not going to get sympathy from me for not having been born & brought up in India. You should atleast have learned to speak in Hindi before you thought you were entitled to "act" in Hindi films. Just because you are tall, thin & fair-skinned with half firang parentage does not qualify you to become a "Hindi film heroine". Incidentally, she's charging even more than Rani Mukherjee who commands Rs 1.5-2 crores per movie. Even Deepika Padukone, who is only one film old, charges 1 crore. Preity Zinta doesn't even figure in the list of the highest paid actresses mentioned in Bombay Times.

As for Kareena Kapoor...well, I don't usually like her but she did a good job in 'Jab We Met'. Even the movie was quite breezy & entertaining, and she shared crackling chemistry with Shahid Kapoor. Too bad they broke up.

Have to give it to her for losing all that weight, but seriously, don't you think 49 kgs is underweight for a person who must be atleast 5'3" tall? Btw, she has amazing arms. I always notice women's arms because it's been my dream for quite a while to have perfectly toned arms. Even when I was a regular at the gym, I used to work most on my arms and got them quite a bit in shape. Bipasha Basu has great arms too.

The quintessential Bandra girl

I'm often made fun of by my colleagues because I live in Bandra, the "hep & happening" suburb of Mumbai, as they call it. If you live in Mumbai, you'll know that conversations with strangers begin with "So where do you live?" The part of Mumbai you live in becomes your identity. So whenever someone I'm meeting for the first time asks me this question & I say "Bandra", I invariably get the "Oh, you live in BANDRA" reaction, and I am automatically a brat with no sense of value for money!

Honestly, I don't understand what's the fuss about living in Bandra or what's so extraordinary about it. It's a place I like & therefore, I live here. It's thriving, it's lively even in the middle of the night (and I don't mean only clubs/pubs, which I don't visit that frequently anymore), people who live here are chilled out, and it's's got great restraurants serving a diverse range of cuisines, theaters (posh ones such as Globus & Suburbia as well as more mass theaters such as Gaiety-Galaxy or G-7, as Bandraites lovingly call it), both branded as well as street shopping, coffee shops, the sea (Bandstand). There's no reason not to live here if you can afford it.

Ofcourse, had I not been able to afford it, I wouldn't be living here. And ofcourse, I pay a price for living here! Rent is much steeper in Bandra than in other suburbs. I can get a similar house for three-fourths or even half the rent I pay in Bandra (depending on how far North I'm willing to go), in another suburb. But I choose to live in Bandra because I think it's a great suburb with a great spirit.

So for all the people who think I'm a brat because I live in, I'm not. Daddy's not paying the rent, I am :) And I think it's a fair deal we all live in a cheaper place, so you have money to do alot of other things. I live in a more posh area, so I sacrifice some other things in life. But I'm happy because ultimately it's all about priorities.

Cola Wars

Seen Pepsi's new 'Youngistan' ads on TV? I have only one word for them - Whatever!

I think JWT is completely ripping Pepsi off! Or maybe they're just going by the brief given to them by the Cola major - "Get as many celebrities as you can on board, content doesn't matter. We're following a predatory strategy here!"

Whatever the case, the ads are dumb and not worthy of the viewer's 30 seconds. I can remember only two Pepsi ads that were good - the 'Hi, I'm Sanju' ad with Amir Khan & Aishwarya Rai and the 'Bubbly' ad with SRK.

The 'Hi, I'm Sanju' ad was original, intelligent, funny and was aired after Amir Khan's 'Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar', when the character 'Sanju' was still fresh in the minds of people, thus encashing on the popularity of the movie. We also liked Aishwarya Rai more at that time...she was the green-eyed girl & not the plastic moron she's known to be today.

The 'Bubbly' ad was an instant hit because of it's 'Be my lover Bubbly' jingle that was cute & catchy. And ofcourse it had the affable SRK in it, doing his usual tomfoolery. I still find myself humming the 'Bubbly' jingle sometimes.

I'm not a big fan of Coca Cola ads either. They don't make much of an impact though I must give them credit for originality. Even content-wise they are slightly better than Pepsi ads, and they're not as celebrity-centric as Pepsi is. While Pepsi's strategy is to sign every new "big" kid on the Bollywood block, Coke has stuck to Amir Khan and now Hritik Roshan. I think Ms Rai also moonlighted for them sometime ago.

I think among all soft drink companies, Mountain Dew has the best ads. First, the 'Bad Cheetah' ad & now the 'Dar Sabko Lagta Hai, Gala Sabka Sukhta Hai...Dar Ke Aage Jeet Hai" one. Atleast they've been sending out a consistent message since their launch in India - that Mountain Dew is for the adventurous & brave-hearted. Coca Cola's message too has been consistent - they emphasize on brand loyalty & a clear brand association (Thanda matlab Coca Cola). Pepsi on the other hand has been all over the place with no clear message or brand association. They come across as a confused, wannabe set of people. They indiscriminately sign on celebrities who have no connection to anything that the brand stands for, thus ending up with a fuzzy brand image.

Being a Bong

This came to me as a forward from a Bong friend & it's so funny, I just HAD to put it up. No offence to any Bongs. I have plenty of Bong friends & am about to start living in their midst. Read's really funny. I personally can vouch for Bongs' love of carbohydrates...they LOVE rice & potatoes!


There are two kinds of Bengalis that I know. Probashi or Expatriate Bangalees, a fairly large and diverse group about which I can't write as I am one of them. And Bengalees who are from Kolkata. This group is incorrectly known as Bongs, as they are merely a subset. However, this is the only group which matters. Gokhale told of them, long years back, "What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow." To which Rene Descartes responded, "I think (today), therefore I am (Bengali)." Like all other
Nobel Prize Winners, Oscar Awardees and most successful Indian cricket captains, Rene Descartes was also a Bong (this fact is not known outside of Kolkata).

Physical Description:
The Bong has a large head, glasses, glistening hair and dark skin. Older Bongs develop an ample stomach to balance their large heads. This happens by the age of 25. They smell of Keo Karpin or shorsher teil (mustard oil). The average life expectancy is 65 years. What is even more impressive is what they do in those years. Outside Kolkata, regardless of weather, sex or age, Bongs can be seen in Monkey Caps. This is a must-have accessory as well as a sign to recognize other Bongs. (please see second update for more). The Bongling can often be recognised in either over-sized or under-sized school uniforms. The Bong mother's second biggest fear (See diet for the biggest one) is that the "porer bochor o lomba hoye gele abar notun skirt kinte hobe!!" or "Next year, if you grow taller, we'll again have to buy a new skirt!!" Thus, the school uniform is selected to last at least three years. Thus the uniform sits as conspicuously on the Bongling as the plumage of a macaw.

Early Years :
While most Bongs are born with innate talents in singing, dancing, painting, film-making, cooking or embroidery, their creative talents are honed even before they can start speaking. Frequent meets are organized between infants and their successful ancestors and other relatives. MA degrees (preferably from Cambridge , at least from Presidency or Jadobpoor - Jadavpur University) are displayed over the cots. The infant is exposed to the best of Bengali thought - Marx, Bentham, Kalidas, Tolstoy, Chekhov*. This increases the sizes of their heads and the height of their ambitions. Similar examples, though rare, can be found in European tradition as well, like in the case of Mozart. In India, however, Bongs have the sole preserve on such activity during infancy. Soon, when they grow up a little, their characters are honed in the best of schools. Here, I am not referring to the South Points, La Marts, Don Boscos and all. They are important in the nurture a Bong child goes through. What is even more important are the schools the Bong child passes through before school and after school. Many a Bong child wakes up at five o'clock in the morning to attend swimming classes. After one hour of swimming, he attends tennis coaching before rushing off to one of the South Points, LaMarts etc. mentioned above. School finishes by two or so, from where he scoots along to Singing/ Instrumental Music/ Dance Classes, then tuition (for at least three of all five subjects). He rounds off the day with coaching on either Debating or Quiz. Many a Bong mother will carry the child along through this day, feeling equally energized. This behavior is again not restricted to Bongs. It also seen within kangaroos in Australia who rush along from one clump to another bush.

Growing up:
Soon the Bong attains adolescence, doesn't find friends of his age (since everyone is competing for the Nobel Prize or the Indian captaincy) and finds intimacy in conversation in his/her parents and poems of T.S.Eliot and Pablo Neruda. When school ends, they move on to the good colleges- Presidency, Xavier's or IIT Kharagpur. The best of them, though, move straight to Joo (Jadobpoor). However, in recent years, Dilli (Stephen's obviously) is becoming the preferred destination for some escapists. In colleges, they decorate their rooms with books or portraits of Kobi Guru (Tagore). On the opposite wall, men would have posters of Che/Maradona and women would have Enrique Iglesias, thus expressing solidarity with Latin American culture. All of them share equal interest in the Bong-Rock (Bhumi, Chondrobindu, Cactus, Usha Uththup, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple).

Later Years :
Bongs mature early. Critics have said that they grow old early, but that is nothing but old hat. Years of toil and Eliot would obviously bestow wisdom. The reason they look older is because the sole purpose of a Bong's life is to win the Nobel Prize or the Oscars (and in recent years, captain the Indian team). With great responsibility comes great age. Add to it the chlorine in the swimming pools and you know why Bongs grey prematurely. As far as their mission in life is concerned, they have been very successful at it. Every Indian Nobel Prize winner has been Bong. So have the Oscar Awardees. And most successful Cricket Captains. And Bipasha Basu. Once Bongs have kids though, their mission on life changes. The only raision de'etre for them is making sure that their progeny achieves the heights that they could (or couldn't). Hence, they are mostly found outside of schools, colleges and tuition classes, with mats (madoors), mugs (of chaaa) and mouthfuls of goppo.

Diet is as important as Robindro Shongeet. There's nothing that a Bong can't eat. However, they prefer protein over other food groups. The largest source of protein for them is fish, then meat, and then mishti (sweets) made from milk. More than fish itself, it is the knowledge of fish which is coveted and enjoyed. Carbohydrates are tolerated if they are fried in oil or if it is accompaniment to fish. Luchis (somewhat like aPuri), Telebhajas (pakoras) and Phuchkas (Paani Puri) are the favoured source of carbohydrates. The young Bengali though invariably always has Farex, Lactogen and Waterbury 's Compound. As far as they most important meal of
the day is concerned, please do note that what dieticians have been saying in the last few years, Bongs have known for centuries. Breakphast/tiphphin is an occasion where the entire family comes together, to watch the office-going Bong male and school-bound Bonglings eat. The Bong woman's biggest fear is that "Shokale bhaat dal mach bhaaja na kheye beriye gailo" or "In the morning, He went out without eating rice, dal and fish fry." To round off the calories, Dal is often accompanied by aaloo bhaate, aaloo bhaja, potol bhaaja and various other heartily fried stuff. Not for the faint-hearted.

Mating and procreation:
A few Bong end up being in relationships, which lead to love marriage. This is sometimes shown in movies and song. However, most do not have any such social malignancy and end up marrying the woman of their mother's dreams or men of their father's choosing. This results in mixing the right genes for the next cycle of Bongs.Love marriage, by its very nature, is random. It sometimes results is tragedy, like marrying into another country (like India ). Hence, it is avoided, wherever possible.

Social Life:
Adda, robindro shongeet and cha. Repeat. Do note that the young Bong doesn't have a social life (at least not till he wins the Nobel or gets a Government job). And phootball. the Bongs have had an illustrious history of achievement in football. Every para (neighbourhood) has stories of when they won the World Cup at the expense of the next one. The last time it happened in my parent's para was in 1986, when Argentina won in Mexico Diego Maradona, who looks Bhodrolok enough, give or take a few lines of coke, or a few sprigs of grass, scored famously using his hand, a skill which he learnt in Kolkata.Over the last few years, Brazil has been gladdening the hearts of the many Zicos being born in Kolkata after 1982. The only team which is not Bong is Germany as they play with more efficiency and no creativity, which thus not support adda. Do not ask of a Bong ever doing anything of substance on the phootball field, as then the Bong will keep you occupied about Jakarta,1962. "Chuni Goswami je Ball tule dilo PK ke. Match-er aagei bolechilo, "Ekta Ball debo. Daam kore maarish. Gol hobe"." Chuni Goswami put a football up for PK (Banerjee). He told him before the match itself, "I will give you one ball. Hit it with a bang.Goal will happen." Obviously, it is also the crowning moment of Indian phootball.

While you may find a Bong in other places (like occasionally in offices), the best time to observe a Bong is in his natural habitat - the best of colleges, the best of schools, the best of coffee houses. It is here that he will tell you about Balzac while she will recite poetry with gay abandon. To mix in with the Bong, apply Keo Karpin to your hair and carry a jhola......and dont forget the thick glasses. Hopefully, they won't notice your small head. Do not worry about not knowing the language, as the Bong likes being heard more than hearing.

Famous Bongs :
Many famous Bongs have been referred to in this extract. Hence, this section is used to debunk that big myth about Big Bongs. People believe that Bong men can't be hunky....... ...., or carelessly famous. If so, then what about Abhishek Bachchan (via mother), Saif Ali Khan (via mother), John Abraham (via girlfriend), Hritik Roshan (via grandmother) , or Sonia Gandhi (via cat.... seriously, she's from Kolkata). Bongs in Literature, Film, Art: Everywhere you care to look.

Closing Word :
Being Bong, at the end of the day, is a state of mind. Or, a case of being discovered by them.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Bombay Summers

Summer has finally arrived in Bombay! It's hot & humid. I went to Kolkata in March. It was already muggy there, and coming back to Bombay was a pleasant change. I was wondering how come Bombay was still breezy & dry-ish. I guess April just had to come around! Kolkata is supposed to be much worse during the summer. I am so going to die!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Any random shit!

I discovered a new restaurant in Bandra today. Khaan-e-Khaas at Pali Hill. I'd been reading about it on someone's blog but surprisingly never noticed it though I'm a 5-Spice regular & also go to Papa Pancho quite frequently.

Ordered food home from Khaan-e-Khaas. The service was quite prompt. They told me they'd take 45 minutes to deliver at Reclamation but they were there in 30 minutes flat. I opened the door & to my surprise the delivery boy goes "Hello madam, how are you?". He totally floored me with that & I found myself saying "I'm actually very good, thank you!" with a BIG smile :-) The place has earned brownie points from me just for that. How many delivery boys do we come across who're pleasant & amiable. Most are rude, scowling & never give you change even if they have it on them! Khaan-e-Khaas gets 10 on 10 for politeness & courtesy.

I would rate the food as 6 out of 10. I'm no connoisseur of food. I neither know nor have ever had the inclination to learn how to cook but I do eat out quite a bit. I've had better Punju food before. Khaan-e-Khaas' food is slightly more towards home food, in that they use less oil as compared to other restaurants (which I was thankful for given my recent low carb diet) but sometimes you just crave spicy, oily North Indian food ;p


I consider Preity Zinta to be one of the smarter actresses we have. I used to think she has half a brain (as compared to most other actresses who are brainless twits). But of late, I've been watching her on TV attending INDOOR reality shows, press conferences etc. wearing humungous sunglasses!

Big sunglasses definitely are the latest fashion statement but come on, PZ...We think you're more intelligent than that!!


Midgets in Brazil have formed their own football team! That's what I call true human spirit & the love of the game. Viva Brasil!!


Have seen a couple of promotional videos for Kolkata Knight Riders. They're filmy alright, and even a little silly but then, that's Shah Rukh Khan for you! I am definitely supporting the Knight Riders. They've got Sourav Ganguly & they seem to have the right spirit towards the game. When SRK was selecting players for the team, he didn't say he wanted to build the best team. He said he wanted to build a "winning team". That's the spirit needed for competitive sports; you play to win! Besides, Kolkata Knight Riders is the only team that's creating excitement around the IPL games. Teams such as Jaipur, Chennai & Hyderabad are nowhere to be seen or heard. And Mukesh Ambani has given his team THE MOST retarded name ever. Mumbai Indians?? I mean...Seriously!!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Survival of the fittest

On my way to work today, I saw a sight that almost tore my heart.

Anyone who has been to or even passed by Dadar train station knows how crazy the place is! It is swarming with people. Infact, swarming is an understatement. There is no word that aptly & sufficiently defines Dadar station - it is simply a phenomenon to be experienced.

I usually take the Mahim-Dadar TT route to work (so I don't pass Dadar station) but today I took Tulsi Pipe Road as I had to drop my roommate along the way. Both are just as bad but Tulsi Pipe Road takes about 15-20 minutes longer because of the bottleneck infront of Kamla Mills & the excruciatingly long traffic light right before Phoenix Mills!

Outside Dadar station I saw about ten people, men & women, fighting with each other to get inside a cab. And I mean a physical fight. They all ran behind the cab, and when it slowed down, they started pushing & shoving each other to get inside. It was a painful sight & it made me question whether living in Bombay is worth all the hardships people have endure.

People are packed like sardines in local trains, commuting by road is a nightmare thanks to the constantly deteriorating traffic situation in the city, most people can't travel by cab as it is fairly expensive. We pay astronomical amounts as rent that make non-Mumbaikar's eyes fall out of their sockets when they hear of it, yet live in flats the size of shoeboxes. The air we breathe in is saturated with all the pollutants one can possibly think of. We frequently read of leakages from sewage pipes into pipes carrying potable water, in the newspaper. The infrastructure is crumbling as the city is bursting at its seems with people. Everyday is a fight for survival. Is this the life that we want for ourselves? Is this the life we want to give to our kids?

Irrespective of how great a city Bombay is, this is a question all of us living in this "great ruined metropolis" (in Salman Rushdie's words) must ask ourselves - is it all really worth it at the end of the day?

Sky's the limit

One of the things I love (can't really call it a hobby as I don't get too many opportunities to do it) is to watch planes take off & land. It's beautiful, serene & exciting at the same time. Though I find them both equally enamoring, if I had to choose between watching planes take-off or land, I'd probably choose the former.

I just love to see the huge planes taxi, gather speed & finally soar into the sky! It's a sight for which there are no parallels in this world.

It also makes me wonder about all that mankind is capable of! Sure, we cannot ourselves do everything in this world, but we can make machines that can do almost everything! We have so much constructive energy within ourselves, yet all we seem to be capable of thinking about (these days) is war & destruction. What a waste of talent, energy & potential!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Roti, kapda aur makaan

This is something that any person, especially singles, who have come to Mumbai in search of better career prospects will identify with. The rent situation in this city is not only unjust, it's appalling.

I live in a one bedroom house in Bandra (better known as 1BHK in Mumbai). My roommate & I pay twenty two thousand as rent every month. We're vacating our house at the end of this month, and the guy who is taking it up after us will be paying thirty thousand for the same house!

Landlords in the city seem to be minting money at the expense of hapless tenants. My landlords are a Catholic couple in their 50s. They are really sweet people...they are gracious enough to invite us to their house during Christmas, Easter etc. They regularly enquire about our well-being, whether we need anything, if we need anything fixed around the house etc. But they are quite fixated over money. Why shouldn't they be, you ask? After all, it's a deal you made with them...they let their house to you, you pay them rent. That's all fair. My point is - is such a high rent justified?

There are so many other expenses that single people living & working in this city have to bear. Transport costs, electricity bills, paying the housekeeper, groceries etc. A better part of our salaries goes in meeting these expenses. It seems that we earn just so we can pay other people for the services they provide us!

I'm not sure the situation is any better for couples. They might be a double-income couple but they may also have other significant outgoings, such as EMIs on cars, other durables etc.

I always thought the rent situation in the city would reach a point where it would not be able to sustain itself and rents would come crashing down. But that doesn't seem to be happening what with the constantly increasing demand for houses and tenants willing to pay higher rents than ever before. I don't know how but somehow the situation will have to correct itself...sooner rather than later.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Man proposes, life disposes

My whole life I've been fighting to convince myself that the way our lives turn out is the direct outcome of the choices we make. That there is no such thing called 'destiny'. We always have a pick one path over the other, to go this way or that, to stay or walk away, to resist or give in. However, as the years go by, it becomes harder and harder to convince myself that this is entirely true.

For instance, I'd never thought I'd go to the US to study. Right through school, I believed I was headed for Delhi University for college. However, the opportunity to study in the US presented itself and I took it up. I didn't go seeking it, but once I got the opportunity I went after it.

Once I was in America, it was almost a given then I would finish college, take up a job there itself and settle down. Life, however, had totally different plans for me! The situation became such that I had to return to India. I'm not saying that was a bad thing, just that I hadn't planned it that way! During my four months in the US when it became apparent that I would have to return to India, I tried very hard to find a means of staying back but I couldn't.

A year after I'd been working in India, I got a call for an interview at a company that was the biggest brand name within my industry. After an excruciatingly long interview, they made me an offer that I accepted. Thus came about my move to Mumbai, a city I love to death! Again, I wasn't looking for this break. It came to me & I decided to take it up.

Seems like history is about to repeat itself now. When I was contemplating a move to Calcutta for personal reasons, it didn't happen. And when I stopped thinking about it & shifted my attention to Delhi instead, I got a job offer from Calcutta that was both lucrative & compelling.

I do think our life is an outcome of the choices we make but only to a certain extent. The options that we must choose between are thrown at us by life itself. It is the greatest of all masterminds. So yes, with each passing day I'm inclined to believe that there IS a force called 'destiny'. Nobody can take away from me, what's meant for me. At the same time, no matter how hard I try, I will not get what doesn't belong to me. I will get only what is meant for me, and that's the way it will be!