Tuesday, October 24, 2006

postcard from j: happy diwali

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It’s the remix age. The time for remakes to take centrestage. Can renaming be far behind then? What do I want renamed? DIWALI. Yes, you heard it right. The ‘festival of lights’ has long been dead. So, now I propose to rename it to ‘Awaazwali’ – the festival of noise. Maybe I could drum up support through an online petition. It seems like the in-thing to do anyway.

NOISE RULES. Period. My teenage neighbour lets arrogance get the better of him. Here I am, shouting from my third floor balcony at about 11:00 pm telling him to stop bursting those ear-splitting festival crackers. The only person going crackers is me and probably the 90-year old lady from the adjoining building. I have an article to write and my brain only works late at night, thanks to the few golden moments of silent bliss. My article is not even in outline form.

First and foremost, the boy and his co-conspirators have violated the deadline set for bursting crackers (and other assorted noise). In a circular of the housing society we live in, it is clearly mentioned that no crackers shall be burst between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am (I still find this timing absurd… Why do people get cheap thrills by bursting crackers post-6 am?). Second of all, he bursts those ‘bombs’ in the main compound instead of the enclosed garden area which has been explicitly stated in the same circular. Further to these obvious reasons of my being peeved, the boys have the audacity to leave the remnants of packaging strewn all over the place.

I shudder to think what would happen if my brother or I were ever inclined towards such callous behaviour. My mother would, in all likelihood, cane us to death or worse, tie us to one of those ‘ Diwali rockets’ and transport us to outer space.

Let’s stop and think of the consequences of our actions. Celebration of one’s happiness need not be at the expense of someone else’s discomfort or ill health.

Monday, October 02, 2006

postcard from j: baby boom

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2006 is turning out to be a year of babies. Everywhere I look, I see someone I know expecting a baby. And recently, in the space of one week, I visited three newborn bundles of innocence :) born to first-time parents...

And some more are on the way...

Good Luck to all the parents and to these beautiful bachhas!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

postcard from j: mumbai tadka (1)

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Starting today, I'm going to keep my finger on the pulse of this wonderfully weird and vibrant city called Mumbai. I will update you on anything and everything that catches my attention in posts titled "Mumbai Tadka". So be prepared to get the latest gossip and goings-on. Who knows, even you, yes YOU can be quoted or featured here!

Overheard in the 8:46 AM Churchgate Slow today:

Sari-clad woman bitching about a whole lotta men (possibly at work) to salwar kameez-wearing missy: "... and that Rahul nah is ultra smart."

Methinks "ultra smart" is English for "maha shaana".

Sunday, August 27, 2006

postcard from j: twenty seven not out

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Yup, its my happy budday day ;) and I turn 27. Wait, should I say I complete 27? And that I'm actually 28 from now on??? Errr... too much confusion! So, I'll just say that I turn 27 on the 27th of the 8th month of 2006. You may be wondering why am I sitting in front of the computer and keying in a blogpost... Well, even I don't know why. When this year began, I decided that I would bring in my birthday in a big way. Lekin as they say, some things are never meant to be!

So, what should I do now? Reminisce? Mope? Get drunk? Celebrate??? Hmm… celebrate! But what? I’m still single, still not financially independent, still overweight, still a hundred light years behind keeping up to n number of resolutions. But I will quietly celebrate because there are some things that I’m truly thankful for. Like…

* The company of friends. In the last couple of years the friends have been largely online but I’ve met some of the best through social networking.
* My single status, since it lets me be whatever I want to be, do whatever I want to do, and still be open to lots of experiences.

Thank you, Blogger for giving me this platform for my thoughts, my voice. Not many people read what I write, but for me, just having my posts published is a great high in itelf. The other high I get is from my favourite vodka! So, cheers to me, happy birthday and let the vodka always flow...

PS: Song playing in my mind right now is from the Hindi film “Sunny”:

Jaane Kya Baat Hai, Jaane Kya Baat Hai,
Neend Nahin Aati Badi Lambi Raat Hai...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

postcard from j: a deluge of memories

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Someone forwarded these pictures of the deluge last year! No, this is not to depress you, but to serve as a reminder of what we Mumbaikars have had to deal with - crumbling infrastructure, insensitive governance and a beaten spirit.

We can't blame Nature's wrath for everything, can we? Let's be sensitive to our surroundings now. Contribute to a clean and green Mumbai for us and our children. You don't have to join politics to make a difference. Just remembering NOT to spit out of the train/bus window, teaching your child (and adults too) NOT to throw that sweet wrapper carelessly on the streets, and by NOT being blind to our fellow citizens.

Live and let Mumbai live!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

postcard from j: surviving 7/11

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Sunday mornings usually mean waking up late, followed by a leisurely breakfast and devouring the newspapers. Today also started off the same way. Until the newspapers happened.

Suketu Mehta’s guest column in Sunday Mid-Day moistened my eyes. I feel like weeping uncontrollably. The past two weeks have been hard for Bombay – my city, the city of dreams. But whose dreams are we talking about? Last night, my friend Minella delivered a healthy baby boy weighing 3.5 kilos. What kind of a future are we bequeathing him? Is this the city that he can be proud of living in? Will he grow up as a carefree kid playing gully cricket without the imminent fear of terrorism looming large?

We haven’t mourned for our dead. We moved on, thanks to our famed ‘spirit’. I haven’t grieved at all; that’s why I have this sick feeling in my stomach and now I want everyone to really mourn not only for the 190-odd people who have died in the serial bomb blasts but also for the city of Bombay (or Mumbai). The people here have no choice but to get up the next day, say a prayer and head to work. After all, most of us still have to feed our families. We still have to commute in inhuman conditions, still slog for long hours to earn a pittance, still hope to return home safe and sound, still pay taxes to an irresponsible government. And still say “Mumbai meri jaan…”

Insurance companies want to make policies costlier as Bombay’s “becoming more dangerous”. Real estate prices don’t seem to believe in gravity. The cost of living here is not in keeping with the standard of living. A colleague, who will be a father soon, wonders why did he ever leave Dubai to return to Bombay. Young people are ready to dismiss this great city and call it names. Someone I know remarked that “Bombay is somehow becoming like this cheap whore who can be screwed by any passing sadist....”. Sad, but true. 12-year-old Harsha Malaney asks in her essay “…whatever happened to ‘conscience’?” What answers do we have for our children? What about those who can’t just pack and leave?

I grieve today for the victims, for the injured and for their families. A work week doesn’t grant you the time and opportunity to grieve. Please don’t salute our spirit because our spirit is long dead and buried. The soul of this city had been consigned to the flames years ago – I don’t know when it started but we are ‘death-in-progress’. And even though I am an optimist, I don’t see us rising from the ashes. We are just too tired, too scared and too resigned to our collective fates.

I may have joked a million times about ‘dying single’ due to a dearth of intelligent men. But today I know for a fact that I am dying single. Who knows, I may find my prospective soul mate in one of our local trains only to discover that one or both of us will never return home to the other.

Friday, June 16, 2006

postcard from j: small wonder!

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I watched her as she squeezed herself between two strangers, one being me. We were sitting on the 3-seater of the bus' top deck. My tired eyes barely noticed her face when suddenly, I realized the burkha-clad woman had a child in her arms. He was tiny, frail and very very fragile.

I love children. Love to hold them, to play with them, to entertain them and be entertained myself... But this child somehow held my attention in a different sort of way. I was almost afraid to even touch his chin. A conversation with the mother followed. I asked her how old he was and she held up her hand and indicated 5 months old "lekin bahut bimaar rahta hai". That got me curious, so I probed a bit. They live in Govandi, a suburb in central Mumbai, close to Chembur. It turned out that the little fellow was physically weak since birth. "Woh tho royaa bhi nahin...", she said with a sad face. The children’s hospital was unable to make him well and many people had asked her husband and her to visit some baba who would definitely solve their problems. So they were actually returning from one such visit to a faith healer. I told her to hope for the best, that the Almighty has a plan for everyone, and not to lose faith.

Her husband was standing, waiting for a vacant seat. She seemed quite worried and understandably so. I suddenly remembered about my family’s recent visit to the Shrine of Don Bosco’s Madonna in Matunga and how I had a few blessed medals from there. So I searched my bag and happily found a golden medal of Infant Jesus. Giving the medal to her, I mumbled something about Infant Jesus taking care of her child. Her eyes lit up, she tugged at her husband’s sleeve and thanked me. Embarrassed by her thank-you, I told her to thank only God as only He has the power to make the impossible possible.

When I finally got up to alight at my destination, little Mohammed Anees was sound asleep, thanks to the pacifier (which the mother thought was a bad habit to catch). And Naseem Bano (yes, that’s her name) had a few less creases on her forehead. I felt a strange sense of serenity within me as I jumped off the bus and made my way through the chaotic neighbourhood.

Say a prayer for Baby Anees, will you?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

postcard from j: 06/06/06

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Its the day of the devil. Or so they say...

For me, its the day that two people exchanged vows and decided to walk through life as a married couple. Two people who have left an indelible mark on my life. Two people who promised to be there for each other through good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, till death do them part...

Two people who are the reason for my existence and the reason why I'm grateful to be alive.

Mom and Dad - Happy Wedding Anniversary! Its been 30 years since you said your "I Dos", but your love is youthful as ever.

Friday, May 12, 2006

postcard from j: somewhere among the hills

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I'm typing this from an ancient cyber cafe in Kinnigoli in South Kanara (conveniently referred to as Mangalore)! Ok, ok, I won't crib - quite grateful actually to see a PC with a net connection! Missing Bombay a bit.

Don't get me wrong, I'm NOT missing the office at all. In fact, I'm dreading going back. I think I need to go backpacking or something now. That's a thought! Actually, too many rogue thoughts are clouding my mind right now... and this post is turning out to be aimless! Which also happens to be my current state of my mind.


Gotta go... before its too dark to find my way home!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

postcard from j: living waters

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Surely, one may have wondered about the postcards theme that I use for my blog. There is a very good reason for that - a Jesuit priest introduced me to the dying practice of writing and sending postcards. No, I'm not talking about those really pretty picture postcards that you receive from some relative or friend who went backpacking across Europe. These are the typical postcards available at your friendly (and increasingly redundant) Indian post office - those dull yellowing rectangular pieces of paper which challenged even the most articulate among us to fit in the right number of words in the limited writing space on it.

I have received a few postcards from Father G in the course of my interaction with him since 1997. And each one has been inspiring and much treasured. The last few days have witnessed high drama with regard to the Narmada Bachao Andolan - Medha Patkar's fast, Aamir Khan lending his support to the cause, Arundhati Roy's comments, Narendra Modi's retaliation, legalities, court cases... By now, you may be confused about the point I want to make.

Its just that recent developments related to the NBA reminded me of one of Father G's postcards (dated 23rd May 2002). Father G was involved with education of a tribal group in Shirpur, Dhule (Maharashtra). So, without further ado, I'm quoting from that postcard:

I've just visited the Dhadgaon hills where the breathtaking Narbada flows, a most endearing river - like some attractive woman none can resist. Only the demonic dam blocks her course, denudes good former agricultural land of the adivasis, makes rampant tree-felling of the hills along the river a business prospect. Medha Patkar's NBA is doing splendid work uniting poor tribals displaced from their homesteads. I had a teachers' training over 2 days in one of their remote residential schools. It was an education for me.

Beautiful, isn't it? Makes you wish for more postcards like this. Father G is not a fan of technology. It took him ages to get 'online', and use email. Concluding this postcard, he wrote:
In that world IT is non-existent & irrelevant. For that matter most of modern technology is that way...
*Sigh* I don't know what I would have done without modern technology and its evils. But then, I don't think I would have ever wanted to miss any of his postcards. Now, don't you wish you received a postcard today?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

postcard from j: b for bangalore

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Hmm... so Bangalore made it to the news for all the wrong reasons. It was sad to see such disturbing images on television - especially the one of the cop being chased and beaten.

Its been a little over a year since I started blogging. Ironically, its Easter Sunday today and it was Easter Sunday last year too when I created my first blogpost! So, what am I gonna blog about today? Bangalore! Why? Coz the last few days had so many TV programmes on the Garden City that I am almost compelled to key in my thoughts about the B-city. First, CNN-IBN's "The State Of Bangalore" followed by "What's Cool" in Bangalore. It brought back memories of my trip last year.

For me, Bangalore means:
# My good friend Ranju, who got me back to my reading habit and also introduced me to blogging.
# Rahul Dravid - the cricketer, the man **dreamy-eyed**
# Blossom's - truly a treasure trove of books. It ought to be a tourist attraction.
# Pubs... hmm, the last time, I didn't really get the time to explore the famed pubs of Bangalore. The 13th Floor was a nice experience, and the view from up there was spectacular.
# Cool weather - it was freezing when we were there.

# Heartbreak (Don't ask why!)

Let me smile awhile at the memories of namma Bengalooru flooding my mind right now. And Ranju, you still hafta show me 80% of your city. And no, I'm not letting you off easily this time - Peco's awaits my presence, right?

Friday, March 17, 2006

postcard from j: the centurion

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Rahul Dravid completes a century of tests at the Wankhede Stadium, Bombay tomorrow! Let's raise a toast to my absolute favourite...

Felicitating Dravid - Dravid honoured ahead of 100th Test

Peer Praise - Sachin raises a toast as skip joins Club 100

And Some More - Dravid's 3-D effect

Thursday, March 02, 2006

postcard from j: bushed!

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This takes the cake!

Bush's 'official' dogs get presidential treatment

NEW DELHI: A five-star hotel in the Indian capital is playing host to a special team that is part of US President George Bush's security entourage - some 65 dogs that are referred to as "officials".

The specially trained dogs were flown in as part of the multi-layer security for Bush and have been put up in deluxe rooms at the Le Meridien Hotel in central Delhi.

According to Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) MP Nilotpal Basu, who gave the information to the media, the hotel authorities initially refused to accommodate the four-legged "officials", saying they did not have provisions for accommodating animals.

"But the US officials apparently insisted that they were not dogs, but skilled security 'officials' and no one should call them dogs," Basu told reporters at Parliament House.

"These dogs cannot be called animals. They can be addressed either by their ranks such as sergeant, major, etc. And the hotel staff had to accept it," he said.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1434327.cms

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

postcard from j: goodbye my lover, goodbye my friend

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James Blunt, Goodbye My Lover
Album - Back To Bedlam

Did I disappoint you or let you down?
Should I be feeling guilty or let the judges frown?
'Cause I saw the end before we'd begun,
Yes I saw you were blinded and I knew I had won.
So I took what's mine by eternal right.
Took your soul out into the night.
It may be over but it won't stop there,
I am here for you if you'd only care.
You touched my heart you touched my soul.
You changed my life and all my goals.
And love is blind and that I knew when,
My heart was blinded by you.
I've kissed your lips and held your head.
Shared your dreams and shared your bed.
I know you well, I know your smell.
I've been addicted to you.

Goodbye my lover.
Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

I am a dreamer but when I wake,
You can't break my spirit - it's my dreams you take.
And as you move on, remember me,
Remember us and all we used to be
I've seen you cry, I've seen you smile.
I've watched you sleeping for a while.
I'd be the father of your child.
I'd spend a lifetime with you.
I know your fears and you know mine.
We've had our doubts but now we're fine,
And I love you, I swear that's true.
I cannot live without you.

Goodbye my lover.
Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.

And I still hold your hand in mine.
In mine when I'm asleep.
And I will bear my soul in time,
When I'm kneeling at your feet.
Goodbye my lover.
Goodbye my friend.
You have been the one.
You have been the one for me.
I'm so hollow, baby, I'm so hollow.
I'm so, I'm so, I'm so hollow.

Thank you, James Blunt!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

postcard from j: tagging along

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Tagged by a visiting blogger and also by my good friend Ranju (the smart girl that she is... she tagged me on Y!) , here's my list of eight points that I want in my dream man:

Target: Male (but obviously... )

1. A great conversationalist and listener.

2. A terrific sense of humour.

3. Good table manners and general etiquette.

4. Has to be a foodie; Must love pani-puri or atleast support my love for it.

5. Should be kind to children and get along with my friends (no two ways about that).

6. Must be thoughtful and remember birthdays/anniversaries and make them special without being materialistic.

7. Must love walks and drives. And atleast a bit inclined towards books, movies, music and/or cricket.

8. Finally, he should be intelligent enough to make love to my mind.

Asking for too much, eh?

PS: Hafta squeeze in one point... He should know how to jive so that he can teach me to... !

Sunday, January 22, 2006

postcard from j: pic me up

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I just created a photu blog to upload my camera experiments. So now, its from postcards to picture postcards!

This is just the world I live in and the way I see it. Do look up:


Thursday, January 05, 2006

postcard from j: snapshots - nariman point

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Friday, 30th December 2005

A Smoggy Afternoon In Bombay

© ~j~

Sunday, January 01, 2006

postcard from j: its a six!

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OK, don't be confused at the title. Its just my way of ringing in the New Year (yeah, '06) with the enthusiasm of a cricket fan!

Was wondering if I should do one of those year-end-recap posts or a what-lies-in-store-in-the-new-year post. Honestly, I still haven't figured it out. Or, maybe I'm gonna just let it be...

But here's wishing one and all a smashing 2006. May you receive all that you deserve and desire!

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