Monday, November 26, 2007

Sites, Sounds and Aromas of Bangalore

The hectic schedules of Bombay can be testing on your pressure levels and to get away from the routine, my husband and I decided to park ourselves for a whole week at my sister's in Bangalore. What better way to spend the holidays than to sit back and have no particular agenda. Waking up late, eating warm home cooked meals and soaking in the cool winter breeze of Bangalore...sweet vacations are made of these!!
One must know that in spite of the commercialization, Bangalore still remains slow and laid back compared to Bombay, which is in a way charming. Today is Day 3 of our one week holiday, and we have not seen much of the city as the shopping zones come to life post 11am and peak around 8pm.
The IT boom has given rise to many small eating joints, one of which has come out as the clear winner in the VFM category and that is- Kairali. If you like cuisines from Kerala, then this the place to visit. Located in a lane parallel to Forum Mall at Koramagala, Kairali is a no-frills Mallu joint with only Mallu food as its main offering. Ambiance and presentation could go take a hike and the people there make no bones of not having any. The menu has the basics like gruel with chutney and dry vegetable which is a staple dish in Kerala, appam and chicken curry to parota and grilled greasy chicken. Four of us had a sumptuous meal for Rs.175/- and that is truly value for moolah!
Watch this space for more on Bangalooru....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Issueless Matrimonials

Many may find the matrimonial section of a newspaper highly informative and even helpful considering our nation's preoccupation with marriage as an event or process. Either you want to get married or you are attempting to get someone you know married. The matrimonial section would naturally be one of the oldest and supposedly trusted sources to know who is or isn't tagged.

These are common emotions when one decides to browse through the matrimonial. However, I for one have always read this section of the newspaper with great interest as it never fails to provide a few laughs and always reminds me that there are wierd and desparate people in this world.

Here are some of the funnies from the matrimonial:
  • Looking for a tall, fair, slim, beautiful, educated, religious, respect for elders, cool, caring homely girl who will support to carry family forward,good understanding, and who is willing to take care of old parents. Must not be older than 25 years. Good luck searching for that one!!!
  • There are some adverts that start with -I am from a swetamber oswal jain family and I am a simple person...Very simple yet very complex, don't you think?!?!
  • Now every guy wants a simple, fun loving and down to earth girl. And that is being very specific! I suppose you can find this girl immediately, now that you have laid it down so clearly :)
  • Then there are those who have already been through the marriage cycle once- Divorces. I came across this guilty guy who was insistent on proving his innocence and his ad read- 40 year divorced male looking for a fair, slim, beautiful and all that jazz and hold your breathe and never been married girl... still fair enough... However he is quick to add that he was and is blameless in case someone decides to ask him about his marital status. He screams out, " Its all her fault!! I was a babe in the woods!!!"
  • There are parents who are keen on getting their daughters married and put up adverts that seem to be showcasing their linage more than their daughter. Father is an ex-brigadier from the army and mother is a PhD professor from some top notch college. They are all a part of some elite family in God knows where and their family asset base is a gazillion rupees .... and yes- they have a daughter who needs to get married.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Why did Albus Dumbledore have to be gay?

I don't get it...why did the most loved school headmaster have to be gay....I agree that he generally was a happy jolly old man, but gay?!?!? And Ms. Rowling says that there were signs of it throughout her books! I did not see any of them, neither did the countless kids who read them...

Just begun reading the 7th book in the Harry Potter series.... There better be a good enough reason for this twist...

Another point worth mentioning is that the last Harry Potter seems like it was not written by J K Rowling... did not have her signature style and finesse. Some lines almost seem like it was written by a flunkie wannabe writer.... Any Comments from those who have read the book???

The Ugly Fall

Its extremely disconcerting when you have missed a step while climbing stairs or tripped over the road dividers. Mostly one would think of physical harm caused or whether clothes are intact or loss of time (especially for those from Bombay!).

Personally my only concern is the number of eyeballs that I have managed during such an unattractive scene. I have this out of body experience where I can actually visualize my downfall on a busy street and it gives me the jitters. Today was one such day when I made a dash for the Bandra Local and gifted the onlookers a visual treat!! Was trying to skip stairs and the next thing I know I was sprawled on the floor with my stubbed toe! I could actually feel the distance between my eye and the surface of the step shorten within nanoseconds. Just the sheer humiliation of the scene got me to up to my feet in no time. Irony of it all is that, I fled the scene in record time and reached the platform just to miss my train!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Movie review- The Break-Up

Just saw the movie starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince talks of an average American couple who are living- in and how their domestic issues get out of hand...Both the actors do a decent job and keep the audience occupied...

However the movie ends very abruptly...what I really want to know is whether the scriptwriter intentionally ended the story or had a writers block...

Any budding movie makers have a view on this movie?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Twenty20 Cricket-End of the traditional format as we know it?

The Twenty20 matches are a real treat, with some terrific fielding, tight bowling and batting that is laced with plenty of sixes and boundaries and all of this in under three hours. This new phenomenon seems to suit every viewer and the sponsors are not complaining either. This form is gaining so much popularity, that we even spotted some otherwise reclusive Bollywood wives at the stands.. Hey who does not like some sporting action with filmi masala too!!

In what was the conclusion to the Aussie tour of India, the Indian team clinched the Twenty match in style yesterday and apparently retained their status as world champions in this form of the game. That brings me to the question-Do our boys have the aggression in the regular 50 over matches? Are they physically up to the 50 over matches anymore? Are these victories pure flukes?

Well time will tell, but till then the media will have tonnes of good stuff to talk about Dhoni's Devils!!

Tampered Rickshaw Meters

Mumbaites tend to use public transportation a lot more than people from any other city. Our trains, buses, taxis and auto rickshaws do a decent jobs of getting people from one end of the city to the other.

However over the years I have noticed that auto rides have become expensive. It is common knowledge that auto drivers are tampering the meters so that they tick faster. A rickshaw ride from Khar gymkhana to Bandra Station used to be 1.20-1.30 on the meter about ten years back. One thing I know is that the roads have not expanded, but the same ride now results in the meter reading 1.60-1.80, which strengthens my theory that meters are getting shamelessly tampered with.

The charge for a ride from Khar to Powai on a Sunday morning with minimal traffic would be around Rs.105/- but on one occasion while making the same trip to our Church, we encountered an auto driver who was charging us Rs.140/-.

There is also the theory of MH 02 and MH 03 auto rickshaws where the meter reads differently for the same journey. I have not yet been able to get my brains around it firmly though.

While this is becoming a menace to the regular travelers who have to fight it out everyday, the out of towner will not even know the difference and will be truly taken for a ride.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

What do we mean when we say...

Have you noticed the words " Horn OK Please" at the back of trucks? what is that all about?

Ever wondered about the phrase " Believe me you"? It almost sounds grammatically incorrect.

For those of us who travel by buses, you hear the conductor instructing people in marathi by saying " maage chalaa" which literally means "go behind". But since we are inside the bus, I wonder behind whom are we actually going?!!

When you has one too many ice creams, you hear the phrase "Be careful, you could catch a cold"। Why would anyone want to catch a cold and how do you do that anyway?

There is a phrase in hindi called "दीवारों के भी कान होते है". Loosely translated in english it means " that walls too have ears" and hence one must speak softly lest you let out some secrets. Well that still does not make much sense to me.

Selling Denims

Notice how denim adverts position their brands these days? Check out the latest Levis ad for their skinny fits... The campaign is called ‘Stuck On You’ and promotes a line of jeans that are so tight they appear like they’ve been painted on you.Do we really want clothes that seem like body paint??
Or the idea that denims are to be worn by anorexic men and women....I speak for all healthy (read--plump) women when I say, jeans are my birth right and I shall wear it!
Its a wonder how the Levis store has not yet been vandalized ever since the Stuck on You campaign has been displayed in the stores across the city. Maybe Kangana Ranaut is a hot favorite with the moral police!!

Friday, October 12, 2007


Marketing gurus keep talking about meeting the consumers needs. So much so that each customer must be treated differently...they say its the era of customization!!

But some incidents takes the concept to a new level... For instance on our way back from church, we would notice a beggar making pit stops near every vehicle.... However what we did not notice was, that he too had noticed us every Sunday morning.. Couple of weeks later the same beggar comes around in front of Badigar Uncle's car with whom we traveled and instead of the same sales pitch, he stretched out his hand, gestured to us and said " God will bless you"!!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Page 3 everywhere

Browse through the pages of leading dailies and all you read about are, starlets purchasing swanky apartments (emphasis on buying the entire floor!) in upmarket neighborhood...or about some famous Hollywood couple who are in town and their daily agendas. With the recent victory at the Twenty20, much has been written about the team's nocturnal activities too!News like these really get a lot of eyeballs. The idea of news reporting has changed and the the people running these newspapers have the general public eating out of their hands by printing high quality trash.

Do we hear about seemingly real issues like the pathetic conditions of roads in the same upmarket neighborhood? Not much coverage is given to inconvenience faced by the residents of the locality that was turned upside down with the arrival of Hollywood biggies. And lets not forget that there are other sporting events apart from cricket.

Will the real issues please stand out?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cashing in on Marathi

We live in Mumbai and manage a bit of marathi every now and then. But how many of us are well versed with reading the instructions on forms given in government offices that are actually in pure marathi. I did learn to read and write elementary level Marathi in school, but this form was a total bouncer. When you want to get these forms filled at such government offices, you would inevitably struggle to understand the instructions and then after having given up, try and look around for help. But what do you know... there is a good Samaritan who willing to help you fill the form, but, for a minimal fee of Rs. 10/-.

Ever wondered who these helping hands really are? Maybe the government is seriously finding alternative sources of income... think about it...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Beanbags anyone?

Thought I'd take a break from noticing stuff peculiar to train journeys and write up about something else. I have always come across this sign on walls of run down buildings - Beanbag , Contact 24xyz423.

I never gave it that much of thought, but when there were too many beanbags on sale across the city, I decided to investigate the situation. That did not go too far though as I was informed that there were in fact people who had beanbags to sell!!

Have you or anyone you know purchased such a beanbag?!!? If yes please do write in.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Whats your style quotient?

I am not that into fitness, but the second class was really working every muscle in my body. Within a few months of train traveling I decided it might do me some good by cutting the first class train pass. Now the first class travelers are a different lot altogether.
Have you noticed the elderly ladies discreetly sizing up the chattering college kids? Unfortunately their silent sneers go unnoticed by the youngsters who are busy recounting what they saw on the latest episode of Boston Legal on Star World. Or when a tall woman gets into the compartment unawares of the eyes that are following her ( your eyes included!!). Cell phones pretty much decides for you where you stand in the cool quotient chart. An N series can get you approving looks and then there are folks like me who still carry the 3310! I for one tend to notice whats the latest in clothing and footwear while on the train... a few tips here and there don't hurt anybody!
Whats most interesting is to listen to women talking about office politics, whose earning more than them, which girl in college has her way with the guys and the list never ends... And in all of these conversations, you have to pick out which are the fake phirangi accents!!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Perils of participating in seat booking

We looked at how to handle getting off the fast train. Hope you have been getting better at it. Instead of maneuvering the fourth seat while we shall get ourselves acquainted with pros and cons of seat booking, a phenomenon peculiar of Mumbaikars.

It so happened that I always got into the train very early on at Khar a good 6 stations before the real good crowd pours in. On settling down for the third seat from the window I assumed that there was just about enough place left for a three year old. Once we reached Kurla, a crowded suburb in eastern Mumbai, a rush of women got in as though that was the last train for the day and began booking their seats. Unaware of the trouble that lay ahead, a collegian booked my seat just around the same time that the fourth seat occupied by a rather tiny lady was vacated at the station that I was about to get out. Now imagine the scene that erupted when two seats were up for grabs at Chembur. The altercation that broke out between the young collegian and the other ladies around for the third seat were a sight that would give anyone a sore eye. Well the fourth seat… who cares about that one anyway!

The next time you let someone book your seat, make sure you lay down the rules!!

Rules of train travelling

Have you ever traveled by fast trains during peak hours, be it by the first or second class and felt that your feet aren’t really moving but you are getting off the train anyway? If not, then read on and be prepared for the ride of your life, which could be more disconcerting that a ride in Essel World’s roller coaster!

Now you must know that I am yet a novice at train traveling and I am slowly learning the ropes. So I figured that I would be doing some social service to those uninitiated who will soon be taking their first train ride in Bombay.

I have had the opportunity of traveling by the Virar and Bhayendar fast train from Dadar station and my first life saver lesson came from these trips. Now listen carefully and please be with me while I relive those few moments while alighting at Bandra station which is the next stop once the train leaves Dadar. The key is to know when to get off the train. Now you may say, well that’s easy… get off when the train comes to a halt at the station. However if you don’t register the smaller nuances of the system you could very well get off at the next stop- Andheri! Let’s back up a bit and learn how to get it right. Step one is to survey the sea of humanity when the train starts slowing down at the station, just so you know what you are up against. Step two- very important one, is to take your position at either of the ends of the door and if possible merge into the interiors of the train door. Next when the train completely halts, hold your breathe and let the throngs of women jostle their way in. Under no circumstances should you get off before they get in or engage in any altercation with them directly. Avoiding eye contact would help in going a long way. Any action of the sort can cause serious injury. As they say, hell hath no fury as a bunch of women scorned in a local train. Here’s the finale. Once the women have gotten in and are comfortable, you may get off just before the train moves to its next destination.

Hope you have had a grip over the scene by now, if not, do not sweat. We will go through some more of these life saving lessons in the near future. Next lesson will deal with the perils of the fourth seat! Till then happy traveling