Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Think About It (5)

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On a day I'm suffering from a terribly upset stomach (what the hell did I eat?), this Eve Ensler quote cheered me up:

"Cherish your solitude. Take trains by yourself to places you have never been. Sleep out alone under the stars. Learn how to drive a stick shift. Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back. Say no when you don't want to do something. Say yes if your instincts are strong, even if everyone around you disagrees. Decide whether you want to be liked or admired. Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you're doing here. Believe in kissing." 

...

"Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back."

Ah! Signs.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Moo Postcards - helping keep mail alive

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The last weekend was super exciting. For one, I signed up for the first ever Bohri Mohalla Food Walk on Saturday, 1st December 2012 organised by prolific food blogger Kalyan Karmakar, a.k.a. @finelychopped on Twitter. Kalyan's blog is a veritable resource of food, glorious food. So, go look it up till I put together my thoughts on the walk itself. The other reason for my joy was a package that arrived from moo.com - a cool printing service that prints business cards, minicards, postcards and more. I ordered a set of 60 postcards from them which had 60 photographs from my travels printed on them. Cool, na?

Here are some pictures of the package and its contents:

This is what the package looked like inside the bubble-wrap envelope.

"Moo Postcards - helping keep mail alive" - Love the tagline!

Slide off the outer cover and there's a plain white box with slits to add your business card. Moo gives you this option in case you're re-selling the cards/package or handing it to a client/buyer. Thoughtful.

Opening...

And voila! Here they are...

Now to figure out who needs to receive these postcards.

Yes, these are photos that I have clicked around Bombay and some places I have visited. The back of the card remains standard with lines for the address, a box for stamps and blank space for your message. At the bottom, I was able to add my name with a copyright sign and the link to my Postcrossing profile. That's what I really intend to use my postcards for. Quite happy with the quality. But this was expected as I had first availed of Moo's service when they ran a promo offer of 50 business cards (using your Facebook cover photos and information) for free. They didn't even charge me a dime for shipping. And the delivery of the postcards came in almost 20 days earlier than the scheduled date. 

I paid for these postcards in foreign currency (burns a hole in the pocket when you calculate the exchange rates!) and it seems a tad expensive than standard postcards. But the joy of seeing your own photos in print and to be able to share them with someone else is beyond all that. Off to write the first one...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Postcard from Abu Dhabi

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Oh, look what arrived in my mailbox yesterday. From one of my favourite-st gals, all the way from Abu Dhabi... (after I pestered her to send me a postcard of course).


Thanks, Lo! I hope to see you this December despite our crazy schedules.

Ta!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Losing my religion

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"Kalina?", I yelled as he screeched to a halt. 

He nodded while three women and four tiny children kept popping out of his rickshaw. I was too tired to notice the expression on his face. Soon, I was seated inside with my bags - groceries and handbag and laptop bag and lunch bag and office Diwali gift. Phew.

"Aap <mumble mumble mumble>?"

"Kya kahaa?" ("What did you say?")

"Kya aap Hindu ho?" ("Are you a Hindu?")

I was a bit zapped at the question. Thinking I had said 'yes', he continued...

"Dimaag kharab kar diya. Yeh sab Islam waale... itne saare rickshaa mein baett gaye..." ("They've given me a headache. These Muslims... so many of them occupied my rickshaw...")

I cut him short. "Aapka kya matlab hai? Iss mein dharm kahaa se aa gaya?" ("What do you mean? Where did religion creep into this?")

Sensing that I was not particularly thrilled with the tone and theme of the conversation, he started apologising. "Sorry, sorry, madam. Maine bas... aise hee..." (Sorry, madam. I was... just like that...")

"Kya aap rickshaa mein passenger ko lene se pehle unka dharm poochthe ho? Bambai mein toh yeh sab nahi chalta hai. Yahaan sirf apna kaam karo. Dharm ko kisi bhi cheez mein kyon milaate ho?" ("Do you ask your passengers which religion they follow before you agree to ferry them? All this won't work in Bombay. Here, you just work. Why would you mix religion with anything?")

The rickshaw driver apologised once again and went quiet for obvious reasons. And then I announced to him, "Aur main Hindu nahi hoon." ("And I am not a Hindu.")

It was his turn to be zapped now.

--------

In line with the above post, here's a lovely Diwali-themed ad by a cellular service provider that I really liked. Its basic premise is "whatever be your religion, celebrating every festival is a good idea." I keep thinking of the incident above when I see this ad.


On that note... Hope you had a wonderful Diwali. May the festival of light brighten our minds and make us more understanding of each other - irrespective of religion, caste, class, ideology, sex or age.

Love and light,
~j~

(Please note: I do not endorse the brand whose ad is mentioned in this post. I only liked the concept and the emotion behind it.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Anti-Social Media

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My family is gearing up for my brother's wedding in early December. So you can imagine the chaos that accompanies the phenomenon called the Big Fat Indian Wedding. Invitations, what to wear, arrangements for the reception, caterers, decorators, travel bookings, shopping for a zillion things, and the list goes on and on and on. (Sometimes I wonder who really enjoys these weddings - the people getting married or the ones making a fortune out of it? The latter, I'm sure.)


While all this was going on, my parents (who are doing the 'inviting') happened to drop in at a very close relative's home only to find it locked. Even the windows were covered completely and the neighbours didn't know anything. They dropped the invite at the door and left. Soon after, they called the relative to check if they had received the card. No response. The cellular phone company's recorded message said 'switched off' or 'unavailable'. Strange. Then the parents took off for our native land, Mangalore, for a week. On return, they called the absconding relative once again. This time, he answered.

He denied being out of town or unreachable. Flatly denied. My folks were a tad surprised but dismissed it.

Facebook, a modern-day cross we bear?
Photo clicked at Kala Ghoda Festival 2010
So... The other night, we were home talking about various things under the sun and this little story came up. My brother blurted out that the said uncle's daughter (in Dubai) very recently celebrated her daughter's fourth - or was it third? - birthday. We saw the album update on the Facebook feed but neither my brother nor I had really gone through the cousin's album (155 photos in all, and I had only seen the update when my brother was online on FB). My mum then suspiciously wondered if the uncle and his wife had visited Dubai for the grandchild's birthday. Feeling almost like a detective (not really!), I scanned the album and soon found that her suspicion was bang on! Not only were the cousin's parents in Dubai, but even the other daughter with her husband had gone along. Which is all fine with us. I mean, what can be nicer than spending quality time with your family, especially when it also involves celebrating your grandchild's birthday? So nice, no? 

But what really irked my parents is the blatant lying. The uncle just said they were very much in town when it was obvious they weren't. It's not that we were probing for gossip or felt jealous of their trip. You don't want to tell the world where you're off to? Fine. But once you're back, and when you know it's not such a secret, why lie to someone's face?

More significantly, this little incident made me wonder... My parents or the uncle in question are not active in the online space. But even then social platforms like Facebook pervade and make a difference to their lives. While I have always, personally, taken to such platforms openly, I shudder to think how negatively these channels might affect us in life, our relationships and our interactions with family and friends. Social media continues to grow. Every day, newer concepts and cooler initiatives are launched. Facebook, Twitter, Orkut (!), YouTube are not the only familiar names; Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and many more have already joined the bandwagon. Can you remain untouched?

The one (obvious) lesson from this? Be careful what you upload on any of these channels. Or else something may come back to bite you in the ass. :)

On that note, thank you for reading. Goodbye, October.

~j~

Monday, September 17, 2012

Say cheese to this baby!

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Guess what just went on my lust list? THIS:



Buy the Polaroid Z2300 at the Photojojo Store! 

This Polaroid Z2300 is "a digital camera that makes sticky backed instant prints at the push of a button."

Now if anyone is feeling generous, please buy this for me! Along with extra sets of the paper for printing, of course. :)

Hope your Monday was not too manic. 

Ciao,
~j~

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rick-rolled! 9

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A little rickshaw gyan for the weekend on the sticker in front:

"Tameez se bologe toh
Izzat muft milegi."

Click to view full size image

Rough translation:
"If you speak with courtesy then
you will receive respect for free."

PS: A Google search for the exact meanings revealed that "tameez" is the word for "etiquette or manners" and "izzat" is for "pride".

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A tune for Thursday: Affirmation

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Looking for inspiration? Or maybe just something energetic to listen to? Here you go. Affirmation by Savage Garden. My ear-worm for today. I chose this video because of the lyrics on display. Sing along. And nod your head to the beat. 


I've pasted the lyrics below... and marked in bold the lines I really like. Enjoy!

I believe the sun should never set upon an argument
I believe we place our happiness in other people's hands
I believe that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you
I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do
I believe that beauty magazines promote low self esteem
I believe I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love until you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

I believe you can't control or choose your sexuality
I believe that trust is more important than monogamy
I believe your most attractive features are your heart and soul
I believe that family is worth more than money or gold
I believe the struggle for financial freedom is unfair
I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love until you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

I believe forgiveness is the key to your unhappiness
I believe that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed
I believe that God does not endorse TV evangelists
I believe in love surviving death into eternity

I believe in Karma what you give is what you get returned
I believe you can't appreciate real love until you've been burned
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye

- Savage Garden

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Rick-rolled! 8

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My 'Rick-rolled' series is back. And do watch out for at least two more of those later in the week.



It's in Marathi, so I'll try translating it (though the flavour and tone may be completely washed out.). It's a graphic image of Shivaji, the Maratha warrior after whom everything in Mumbai seems to be (re)named. 

The vertical text reads: "Jaanta Raja" meaning "People's King". The text below, "Baghtos Kaay Mujra Kar", is actually tricky to translate. Crudely, it reads: "What are you looking at? Dance!" I thought this line was really funny.


Hope you enjoyed this Saturday postcard. Off to attend a story-telling session at MCubed Library and then to lunch with old friends. 

Cheers,
~j~

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

D-rain Day

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The city has been pounded by relentless rain since Monday bringing life to a pathetic crawl. Imagine Goregaon to Andheri by car on the Western Express Highway taking three hours! Yes, three hours. And we were supposedly in the non-traffic direction. But when there's water-logging, it just doesn't matter which direction you're in. It's the famous Bombay monsoon. Hard. Cruel. Unforgiving. Not romantic, these rains at all. (#note2self: sue the movies for making us believe it's so wonderful to get soaked). And it continues to rain as I tap at my keyboard now.

Monday was also THE day for an important decision that had to be made. More on that in time to come. Ironically, I had tweeted late Sunday night about wanting to give up something and that I was open to suggestions. Replies ranged from Twitter (hahaha, not yet!) to rickshaws (one day, someday...), from maida to sugar (totally doable, but needs motivation) and from swearing (which I don't do anyway but thanks to the Goa trip, I do let out stray expletives. Please excuse.) to cricket (!). Tch. Anyway, I did give up something with said decision. Let's see how it's all going to pan out.

In the meanwhile, let me share a lovely site I came across: Induviduality. Belongs to Indu Harikumar, a designer and children's book illustrator from what I could gather. How cool is that! There is an interesting project that she is participating in and you can read about it here. It has something to do with one of my favourite things in the world: postcards. So... go, read.

Since I started following her on Twitter as well, I found this absolutely stunning piece of text she had posted a while back. Read it quite a few times and just had to post it here (I've linked to the original image itself). Hope Indu doesn't mind.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading today's post. I'm hoping - really hoping - I can do as many posts I can. There are too many thoughts that I need to articulate in words. So, time for much action. *fingers crossed*

~j~

Friday, August 17, 2012

The 'fast' lane

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Hi there! This evening, I'm off to Mohammad Ali Road and its environs for the annual food extravaganza during Ramadhan. Here are a couple of old posts I had done on the experience in the past:

My first trip ever: Fasting, Feasting

Last year's iftaar tweet-up: Eat Street.

And Fast Food - a favourite photo of mine (not from a technical perspective, but for how it eventually turned out with its limitations).


Today, I'm accompanying a new group - most of them known via Twitter - to the southern corner of the city. It's Friday night, and I'm expecting it to be a bit crazy with the crowds. So, let's see how it goes. Will try and update this post on Monday or so. Not tonight or the weekend because I'm off to Kolad for an overnight 'adventure' trip tomorrow. I was supposed to take it easy this week, but the social engagements have just been piling up one after the other since Monday. I really need to learn the art of saying NO and managing to still keep all friendships intact! Hope to survive.

Do take care of yourselves (this should be a #note2self) and have a great weekend. :)

Ciao,
~j~

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Shop Talk

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It has been a very busy few weeks at work thanks to a mega sporting event in London that concluded on Sunday (in the wee hours of Monday for us actually!). And I was feeling awful about missing all the monsoon sales that so many retail stores were offering. So, I took an off on the first occasion that I could and spent a good six (!) hours at the spanking new Phoenix Market City in Kurla. Yes, Kurla - that drab and totally unsexy suburb in central Mumbai. More about that later. 

I wanted to pick a few things for myself and also make the most of the discounts by picking up future gifts at a steal*. And after those six hours, I returned home happy and sad. Happy because I found some great bargains and sad because the wallet was considerably lighter.  Le sigh. 

My tweet captures it all:




Ok, now for the fun part. Let's list out what all I picked up. Better still, here's a snapshot of practically everything:

Click the photo to see a larger version.
1. Khaki cargo pants which can be rolled up to the calves and buttoned up. Ideal for camping and that upcoming rafting trip. From Pantaloons, flat 50% off.
2. Dark pink poplin cropped pants. Debenhams, flat 50% off.
3. A - Black and white kurta, very comfy and interestingly is short in the front and longer from behind. From AND, not on sale. :(
3. B - Sunny yellow top with a collar of sorts and a little embroidery around the neck. AND, flat 60% off. Both AND tops were picked from the Pantaloons store.
4. Gift packs from The Body Shop. Only the Tea Tree stuff (green pouch) had a discount of 25%. The other three packs were at 50% off.
5. Butterfly stamp set in a wooden box. To decorate my cards, bookmarks and postcards. From Accessorize, flat 70% off. Woohoo!
6. Gold (not real, duh!) disc necklace and earrings, Accessorize, flat 70% off again. My favourite purchase.
7. Vintage bird design dual mirror, Accessorize, flat 70% off.
8. Socks! Set of five ankle length ones from Debenhams, flat 50% off.
9. Brown and white flat sandals. Charles & Keith, flat 30% off. Could've got them for half-price when the store had that offer on one of the days last week.
10. A - Navy rose canvas tote. Debenhams, flat 50% off. Simple but lovely. Told my mum she could use it. First, she grumbled that I spent way too much and then of course said she doesn't mind using the bag. Mothers, I tell you!
10. B - Purple (yes, I'm still obsessed with that colour) quilted satchel-y bag. Also, Debenhams and at 50% off. In fact, both bags together cost me just under Rs. 3000. Good, no?

Oh, and I also visited Di Bella - a cafe that claims to be "Australia's Ultimate Coffee Experience". The cappuccino was really nice with a touch of chocolate at the rim of the odd-shaped cup. I didn't add any sugar, which means it's #win in my books.

So, what did you think of my splurge? Did I go overboard or was it a worthwhile shopping trip? Let me know in the comments. And also, if you have suggestions, ideas and tips like the one below, leave a note.

Cheers,
~j~


*My Top Tip: Buy interesting and non-perishable gifts during the sales that make great gifts through the year. For example: books, stationery, jewellery (not gold/diamond, but sterling silver is a good bet), girly accessories (clips, hairbands, scarves), bags, travel stuff (like those nice passport holders at Accessorize and Debenhams), or even crockery (if you have the storage and patience). Food and personal care products if an occasion is close enough to the date of purchase should also do.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday Fiction

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I've been meaning to write something this month, but so much has happened since June. The brother got engaged (wedding's just 4 months away!) and work is a little too hectic at the moment. So, instead of doing a random post, here's something I wrote as part of a future assignment for DD's Travel Writing Bus. It's based on a theme we were given and it's supposed to be longer (got stuck and haven't been able to rewrite since). I'll aim to write from scratch if I can't add to it. As always, feedback is welcome.

-----


We drove in silence. The darkness outside was strangely comfortable. He placed his hand on my knee.

"It will be ok. Don't worry."
"Hmm..." I drifted off again.
"What's on your mind now?"
"Nothing."

I noticed he had taken a detour. 'Great! Now he wants to talk.'

But silence again. Suddenly, he pulled over to the side of the path. Where are we? I turned to ask, "Wha-" and there! His hands hold up my face.
"What do you th..."
"Sssshhhh..."
He kissed me. Slowly. Still puzzled, my brain's refusing to register this. It doesn't help that the radio starts playing an inane song. 'Do I want this? Or not? I thought I always did but - stop thinking, woman!' It's been just two seconds and my mind's racing away as if to catch the Virar fast. 

He looked at me. Intense eyes. It was a conversation alright.

Monday, June 25, 2012

And the award goes to...

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... Dilip D'Souza!

I'm thrilled to let you know that Dilip, our writing mentor and friend, has won the Newsweek & The Daily Beast-Open Hands Prize for Commentary in South Asia. Long name for an award, no? But hey, it's going to a very deserving person.

For a report on the event in NYC last week, click here.

And below is a video chat with Dilip himself:





In case the video doesn't play, click here to watch it.

Congratulations, DD! We are so proud of you.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

RIP, Maximum City?

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Of late, I've been disturbed with how Bombay/Mumbai is turning out to be. I love the city to death (appropriate, no?) but increasingly I'm running out of reasons to defend my love for it. They say it's the city where dreams come true. But whose dreams? The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. 

And those in between? Well, we are basically fucked. 


The common man - or woman - is helpless. Everything seems to run in this vicious circle. People give bribes, people take bribes. People want a corruption-free system but are forgetting we are the system. If we don't stand up for what is right, if we don't speak out against injustice, then who will? The politicians? Judiciary? Police? But who put them in those positions in the first place? Think about it.

Maximum City, can you magically revive yourself? Any more of this disillusionment and I will give up.

Sincerely,
~j~

Monday, June 11, 2012

Depressed...

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... and feel so helpless after reading this:


And to think I posted this photo on Instagram just yesterday...


When did my city go to hell? Or rather become hell.

RIP, Bombay. RIP, Mumbai.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

May-be-not

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23 days into the fifth month of the year, and I'm wondering where did the days go. And I also realise that I haven't blogged at all this May. Largely, I've been busy with domestic duties and a few social engagements. You'd be surprised to see how much housework can take out of you!

May - when flowers explode with colour!

In other news, we had a really wonderful writing class at MCubed Library a few weeks ago. And you know what? I discovered that I could write a bit of fiction (meaning something that didn't get inspired by my own life experiences). And that really thrilled me no end. I'm feeling horrible, though, for not doing a round-up of that and the previous meet-up of DD's Travel Writing Bus. Maybe I should combine the two in one post? Maybe. Fingers crossed.

And then, earlier this week, a few of us dropped in at I-Bar at Bandra Reclamation (never knew it was packed with so many F&B outlets) for Music at The Big Mic - a platform for upcoming musicians to showcase their original music. We went to cheer our writing buddies, @loneladysherpa and A, who formed part of a trio called Little Boys Who (quirky!). I'll try and post a video of one of the songs soon. They were marvellous... and we were subjected to some other interesting genres too. Like Hindi/Marathi Hip-Hop (which we preferred over the chap's English bit) and Punjabi Rap (never mind!). A notable performance was by this girl named Gitanjali - great voice and guitar strumming. Sherpa Lady treated us to a round of chilled beer and soon we went gallivanting around Carter Road to talk up a storm.

Before I-Bar that evening, while I was waiting for @gauravraikar and @AnOddYellow, I found myself at a cafe called Lancy's Java Joy. Ummm... yeah, it sounds like it's trying too hard. But I had nowhere to go considering it was a Monday and Candies was shut, and the other places looked intimidating for a solo girl. Was promptly greeted with a cheery "Hello, ma'am!" as I entered. 

"One cappuccino, please?" 

Maybe he saw my face more intently and figured I need a really good dose of caffeine because that cup of coffee ended up keeping me awake till 3 AM! And I had to wake up at 5.30 AM. Imagine how insanely sleepy I was the whole of Tuesday!

So things to blog:
# DD's Travel Writing Bus - Part 3 & Part 4
# Social Media - forgot what I wanted to write about
# Short conversations that I've made note of on my commute
# Phone buying travails
# Pune - damn! Completely forgot I had gone to the neighbouring city for a couple of days. 
# IPL, cricket, Dravid - hmmmm...
# Jeera Aloo - I cooked!

Ok, I must stop. Or this list will never end. Maybe I'll squeeze some time for these posts soon. Maybe. Maybe not.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Dreamscape

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I rarely recall my dreams. Encouraged by @krist0ph3r who asked me to blog about the one I tweeted about (see above), here are the details: 

We are seated in one of the 10th Standard classrooms of my school. No uniforms. My best friend in school, P, is also there. Strangely, I can't recall any other 'faces' or 'names' but it felt like everyone was attending. We were definitely there to study. Definitely not a reunion. P says that now with her child (a son), she's not sure how regular she'll be at class. While I, the single one, am quite enthusiastic about studying again.

Suddenly, I notice my bag/books are actually missing. Even my mobile phone is not there. Thinking that I left it somewhere on the school premises, I leave the classroom.

First, I go and meet Ravi - the school watchman. He doesn't know a thing about any bag or books or phone.

So I walk up to the chapel, which used to be the library during our actual school years. And then I spot something that looks like a phone at the base of a religious statue (again, no idea whose statue but it was wooden and sunshine had directed itself to its feet). As I pick it up, I realise it's not a phone at all but a part of a phone or toy phone (like a screen). Strange. I pick it up quickly as I start to hear voices. So I stay put and wait quietly in the shadows. They don't know I'm there. A boy and a girl. Students. Standing there. A couple? Not sure. And a nun has also arrived. Lecturing them about something. I can't really hear their words. Were they caught red-handed? But I get the vibe that they are just friends.


That's it. I can't remember anything else. I'm sure there are hidden meanings in them, especially in the chapel incident. The whole I'm-single-so-I-can-do-whatever-I-want theme is so blatant though.

A penny for your thoughts, Kris?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Going mmm... over books!

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My mother is an avid reader. Has always been for as long as I can remember. Her funny sitting position perched atop a chair or the sofa or even on the floor with any reading material is an enduring image in my mind. That love for the written word has probably been passed down to me genetically and I remember how we'd devour all the newspapers and magazines that were borrowed from our old Goan neighbour, Cajetan Menezes (God bless his soul!). 

Uncle Cajee used to work with The Times Of India and had a free-flowing supply of not just the daily broadsheet, but also magazines like Femina and Filmfare and those amazing Indrajal Comics. As a child, I never really had access to a lot of children's books. They were far too expensive to keep buying and the only ones we "invested" in were the massive 22-volume hardbound World Book Encyclopedia series (still have the full set!) and a few books that some travelling nuns sold to us at our doorstep. Some books came by way of birthday presents or annual day 'prizes'. I loved them all. 

And then libraries happened! First, in school - where I was introduced to the Magical Faraway Tree, laughed at Mr Meddle's silly ways, went crime-solving with Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, and imagined boarding school life at St. Claire's. And later, in college. Not just any regular college, but the one which housed TWO libraries: St. Xavier's, Mumbai. While a lot of my time did go to academic reading in the 'Reference Library' and its special 'Honours' section, the 'Paperback Library' also held its charm. Sometimes, a romantic charm. We'd walk - literally - into couples getting cozy behind shelves of books in dusty corners. Or had to race to the mezzanine area to hog one of those comfy chairs to snooze on. Occasionally, the action would be punctuated by the librarian sternly berating a student about books returned late. Another cool thing about studying in South Mumbai was the number of street vendors selling books for cheap. With a princely sum of a hundred rupees a month as pocket money, those guys were a godsend. A favourite haunt of mine, though, was The New And Second Hand Bookshop near Furtado's music store in the vicinity. Established in a forgotten era, the store was crammed with books from floor to ceiling with barely any space to move around. I'd squeeze in between a proper shelf lining the wall and a tower of stacked books (sigh, I was thin then) and gleefully browse through them all. Only to finally emerge - triumphant - with a book that I could afford and a layer of dust all over me. I heard the store has now shut down. True? Hope not.

And looking at the lack of libraries for children in my own locality, I always harboured a dream of starting one. I had started buying second-hand children's books for this very reason. A friend, who I had casually discussed the idea with, handed three of his own books to me as a 'start'. I had even christened it The Reading Tree (a bit lame now that I think of it). But somewhere along the way, that dream took a backseat while work took over as a priority. Space at home was already a constraint, so where would I house a library? My own reading habit took a beating. So when I read about the Mcubed Library in Bandra, I was thrilled. And when I actually visited it, there was this warm feeling and not to mention, a silent kick up my backside for giving up on my own dream. It was possible. But I never tried hard enough. Nevertheless, kudos to the three ladies who strived towards making this library into a reality.

Mcubed caters largely to children at the moment. But shelves have appeared in the next room ready to be lined with books for grown-ups. Even film screenings and a mathematics class have been organised here. Do swing by the cheerful place and say hi to Vibha - one of the brains behind the library - or the ever-smiling Medha who mans the registration desk. Volunteers are more than welcome to lend a helping hand, and you can also contribute by donating books (and anything else the library needs). Just ask!

Contact details are given below (go!). For some more photos, click here.

Mcubed Library, Bandra
  
Mcubed Library 
(Maharashtra Mitra Mandal),
Princess Building,
D'Monte Park Road,
Next to Bandra Gymkhana),
Bandra West,
Mumbai, India - 400050.

Tel: +91.22.26411497
Email: mcubedlibrary@gmail.com

Open everyday
Weekdays: 4pm - 8pm
Weekends: 10am - 8pm

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bookmarked!

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Here's yet another one of my spur-of-the-moment projects: bookmarks

You may recall my posts on the lovely writer's group that I've been part of recently. For that first meet in Thane, while I was burning the midnight oil over my assignment, I thought why not make something with a personal touch for everyone as a little token of my appreciation. And what could be better than bookmarks, no?

Now, it was really late that night. So I didn't have much time to ponder over the look and feel of the bookmarks. I decided to make them of plain - but slightly textured - paper along with polka-dotted red ribbon to go into the punched holes. While going through my notes from the Kala Ghoda Travel Writing workshop, it made sense to jot down learnings from it on the bookmarks. They'd serve as reminders of the insight we gained and the fun we shared.

See some pictures below of those bookmarks (click on them for a larger view):

1. Folded the paper sheet sharply and wrote the text at intervals

2. Cut up along the folds, punched holes, threaded the ribbon

3. Stopped to take stock

And voila! Here they are!
Need to rack my brain over what to work on next. Birthday greetings and bookmarks are done. Now what?

Thanks for reading.
~j~

PS: Happy to report that a lot of the people did like these simple bookmarks.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Halla bol!

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A picture postcard from the Rajasthan Royals vs Mumbai Indians match I went to last night at the Wankhede Cricket Stadium, Mumbai... 

Kevon Cooper fielding close to the boundary line near our pavilion

Detailed post with some more photos to follow. Watch this space.

~j~

PS: Since no cameras are allowed into the stadium, photos were clicked on the phone. Hence, low on quality.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Mulling over mulberries

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"Here we go 'round the mulberry bush, 
The mulberry bush, the mulberry bush. 
Here we go 'round the mulberry bush, 
So early in the morning..."

And then I learned that mulberries don't grow on a bush. Ok.

My first memory - and the only one till recently - of the mulberry tree is from childhood. Probably as far back as 20-25 years at least. That tree was in a neighbouring compound but its branches hung over the wall that separated its owners and one of the buildings in our colony. Behind Building No. 2 actually. Where the water tank was. Still is. We'd sit on the tank surface to play make-believe games like Teacher-Teacher and House-House (was the word repetition for effect?). And during the hot summers, we'd happily fight for the red mulberries that were within our tiny grasps. Red because we were impatient. Red because we didn't trust birds or insects or friends enough to let them survive to be purpley-black-sweet. Along with the tiny avlas we'd pluck from a tree in our own compound, the mulberries were a favourite of mine, their slight tartness savoured with much delight.

Cut to 2012. I had forgotten all about mulberries. Till a random walk through Bandra's Bazaar Road one Saturday afternoon led a friend and me to a drab-looking transit camp where we chanced upon this glorious sight...

Lining someone's humble abode, a little tree stood tall. One whose roots were unfortunately trapped in ugly, grey, hard cement. But one whose lovely green leaves were interspersed with bright red and purpley-black fruit. When I looked up at those hues against the sun, scenes from my childhood flashed across my mind. The friend helped me pluck a few berries and I was thrilled to get a taste of that very childhood in that brief passage of time. 

 
Click on the photos for a larger view
A lady seated outside her home opposite the tree looked at us in amusement. She mentioned that the local children did pluck the mulberries and even though the branches over the roof were tough to reach, they'd still make a dash for them. A man seeing us in conversation chipped in with his two cents. Said he's been living there since 41 years and that the tree has been around all those years. Really? Then an elderly woman passed by and mumbled in Marathi about how eating too many mulberries caused one to feel terribly hungry. Or that's what I thought I heard.

The tree in my neighbourhood is no longer there. Probably hacked down by the owners. Sad, no? But... Mulberries! Who would've thought these tiny clusters of fruity beads could spark off such long lost but precious thoughts? 

~j~

PS: While reading up on mulberries, I learned about Vincent Van Gogh's painting called The Mulberry Tree which was inspired by a "superb autumn". Look it up!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Massage Raju

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Walking around Bombay certainly has its rewards. Like this little gem we found on the sidewalk of a badly traffucked (Twitter term for being stuck in terrible traffic) lane of Bandra last weekend: Massage Raju!


Was that a title? Or a sentence where "massage" is a verb? Ewww...

And then S used G's phone to call the advertiser in question who said something about doing "chest massages" which left us in splits. Maybe madame can update us on the actual conversation sometime soon...?


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