Sunday, November 27, 2005
It's an elite club that gives you membership only after you complete three years of rigorous penance, but serves you alcohol at possibly the cheapest rates in Bombay. Welcome to the Press Club of Bombay.
As the motorcycle zoomed through the entrance, the first things I noticed were the huge cut-outs of campaigning political figures at the gate, and that reminded me of the same at the Chennai Press Club gates. The Chennai Press Club of course was this rather raggedly looking motley collection of houses/ hutments on prime property near the cricket stadium, and while the building of its Bombay counterpart is certainly nothing to crow about, it still exudes an auro of... awe, perhaps? Or perhaps, that's what you get when you're a fledgling journo and you're entering those portals where so many weighty subjects have been writted, debated and even plagiarised... or perhaps it was the awe of having a glass of port wine Number Seven at the ridiculously amazing price of Rs 30.
On one entire wall, Goan artist Mario Miranda, he also of the Cafe Mondegar fame, has drawn cartoons showcasing that awfully cliched profession of mine. There's a fat neta going blahblahblah surrounded by flashbulbs and warring hacks and snarling dogs. There's the TV anchor inventing stories with the 'Once upon a time...' tagline. And on the other end of the room, there's the flatscreen TV showing India losing to South Africa, while a host of grizzled journos sip their bourbons and lament the batting line-up.
Journos and flat-screen TV, you wonder? O, please do grow up!
So there was this moderately big group from the office, sitting around and talking about office politics and carnal drives, as men from the office tend to do, and playing pool at the sidelines, while dropping back to the table for some more gossip and chilli chicken wings (at Rs 25). Cheap liquor has a tendency to get you to drink more than you are wont to, so the entire gang soon starts giggling at silly jokes, and proclaiming loudly: "I'm haaaaaaaaappy!". Mingled with that hint of awe and shock among us newbies (and non-members of these hallowed and cheap portals) when we see some distinguished Member of the Press (another often used and cliched term) come over and shake hands with the Old Warhorse with whom we had come to the club. And of course, the fierce pride that surged at these moments: we have our own warhorse!
Yes, a good time. Thank you Mr Miranda and the Excise Board.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Was driving down Marine Drive the other night with a pal, and swooped down the flyover. And that's when I saw the tents and the lights. Four of them, all neatly in a line, twinkling like fairy lights on chocolate cream. Yes, that's a strange way of looking at it. They were Gujju weddings, my Sindhi friend pointed out, and each year, as the wedding season hits Bombay, the four sea-facing gymkhanas on Marine Drive will fill up with fancy tents, fancy lights, fancy diamonds and the fancy people wearing them, who will spend an outrageous amount of money to get two people married.
I think I'm jealous.
I discovered Technorati today, and that's when I discovered two extraordinary things. The first is a mention/ link to LIVINGhigh from Desipundit, considered by many to be the 'best of the Indian blogosphere'. What can I say? I'm thrilled! You can see the mention at this link.
The second extraordinary thing is that I'd beeen tagged 55 days ago (Technorati records the date too) by the nice people/person at Presstalk. It was the old 23rd post-5th line-whaddya make of it? tag, and so here's my line:
- Sudden burst of inspiration, while the bridge was crossing Kodambakkam bridge.
It's actually the explanation of the circumstances that led me to jot down the four-line bit I'd scrapped before it:
When you see scarecrows and think them men
And think them scarecrows...
I'm usually(!) a terrible poet and I have no pretensions to the contrary on this one. Kodambakkam is a place in Chennai, where I did my post-grad studies, and I remember seeing the scarecrows on top of a house alongside the bridge my bus was crossing. And I thought them men. Should I get really arty-farty and give some deep, inner meaning to scarecrows and men and whatnot?
Nah, I love ya guys too much for that! ;-)
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Idiot and the box
Was a relatively easy day yesterday, and today promises to be even easier. Am sitting at home, with stomach cramps, and had it not been for the cramps I would have called this an ideal situation. I suppose everyone would love to stay at home and watch tv, listen to music, surf the net, blog... yadayadayada.
Saw two movies last night, back to back. Courtesy my silly flatmate who hogged the computer, and so I could not ht the sack till way past 1 am. Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp, the funniest horror movie I ever saw, because Depp is a bloody genius. Flatmate thinks Christina Ricci looks like a kid, and so she doesn't like her. Does that mean that flatmate hates children, per se? Hmmm... food for thought. Famous last words in the movie? ... and home is this way! New york, New York!
But before I went to bed, I had an aaaaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwwww moment. Actually, I had several of those. You tend to, when you're watching possibly one of the best love stories made, Notting Hill. As Hugh Grant's character in the movie keeps on muttering, classic! It is, it certainly is. How strange that I find every single Julia Roberts movie adorable? I'm a sick, mushy, sick creature at heart. Gosh, I'd probably like to hug Julia to bits, rather than have demented thoughts about her in the loo. Does that make me a better person?
I love the last scene in the movie, where the camera whirls above their heads, while Hugh's reading on the park bench and a preggers Julia is lying down with her head on his lap.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Newton never encountered this apple!
Have I talked about my iPOD? I've desisted so far, because I don't wanna sound like a strange demented moron talking about gigabytes of music and strange mp3 music being uploaded/ downloaded (which is it?) that I will probably never listen to, but still looks good on my GB meter.
It's not one of the sexy minis or nanos, but I love it nonetheless. I love how I wheedled my bro to give it to me. I love how I look at it with the yearning affection of a nurse breastfeeding a child, while Apple charges. I love the way the chargemeter blips up and down, up and down while the current makes it STRONG....!!!
Ok, so this is obscene.
So, let's talk about gigabytes now. It's a 20 GB baby, and I have only about 4 GB filled. That too, with up to 56 albums and LOADS of mp3s not filed under any particular album. There's loads more space, loads more music to download, and my flatmate is going to kill me, if I cut down her internet time any more, because of uploading/ downloading (which is it?) my iPOD with music.
Yep, the walkman looks pretty sad and morose on the cupboard top these days. ;-)
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Fish is good, most of the time. Not immediatelly after you see The Penguin in Batman Returns eat raw sushi the simple and bloody way, but good at other times.
Especially, if you're Bong like me.
But there are things that I haven't done, in the fishy scheme of things. Even the Bong scheme of things. For one, I haven't ever been to the Chittaranjan Park's all-too-famous market, or even the park itself, in all the time I spent in Delhi. Never hobnobbed with the bhadralok crowd there, shopping for their chicken or mutton or their piscean meals. Strange, really, given that I seem to have explored all the possibilities of kathi rolls that the capitol has ever attempted.
Number two, is to have rohu or any other freshwater fish while here in Bombay. Actually, the same goes true for Delhi as well - I barely touched fish of any kind in the capitol. Here in Bombay, the fish has been strictly Arabian Sea fare - the rawas' and the surmais and the bombay ducks. And of course, the crabs and the prawns. Whenever we go to O Calcutta, my brother and I studiously avoid the freshwater fish, even though the steward tries to make us notice it time and time again. There's an implicit understanding: rohu is for Calcutta and home.
Did I just get mushy in my fishy tale?
Sunday, November 13, 2005
The morning after a great time in with friends. Sunday morning, and I have to just duck in at work for some Monday morning work. But before that, it's time for breakfast. Rather, brunch, given that it's past twelve-thirty that Aristera and I finally head out. JATC and Crepe Station are too far, and Bombay Blues in nearby Phoenix is too... um... jaded. So we decide to have a traditional Marathi ishtyle breakfast.
K's right in a comment of his: Bombay does have her own charms.
No bhejas needed to be fried for this one.
We duck into a chhotu place called Sri Krishna's (100% veg) and take a table near the hustle and bustle of Senapati Bapat Marg outside. My office is right across the road. And we order misal pav. A bowlful of broth, with channa and namkeen floating in it, chopped onions, tangy lime, and a great meal over all. The pavs had no butter, but we hardly noticed. Hunger does that to you. The coffee was delicious, as well. Reminded me kinda of the steel-tumbler combo of good ole Chennai, but not really - very frothy capuccinno-like here, with a very sharp coffee taste. Woke me up.
And sheera. The perfect way to end the meal. A bowlful of warm halwa, with loads of kishmish inside, and it was a yummy, yummy meal.
By the way, there's something new on Gabbles, called One More...
He lay back down on the bed, put an arm under his head, and looked up at the ceiling. He wondered whether he should give Aniruddh a call tomorrow on his cell phone, but thought better of it. Give it more time, if you call him now, he'll think you're desperate, and that was the last thing he wanted. It was important to play these silly little games, he realized, even if you didn't exactly believe in them. He looked at Aniruddh's name and number on his cell phone display and smiled, and jumped up, when the phone actually started blinking and buzzing, playing Beethoven's Symphony Number Six as if its very life depended on it.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Odds and ends on a drive
I've been missing Delhi a lot since yesterday. Actually went through a number of blogs and offline conversations yesterday that reminded me of the time I spent there. The fun times and the bad ones. The long drives, and the... nopes, no short drives ever in saddi Dilli.
Was returning from Sahaar yesterday, after dropping brother dearest off at the airport, and the lovely long drive along the highway so reminded me of Nehru Place and GK and all those silly farway places in South Delhi I spent so much of my time in. Something therapeutic about a long drive even while you're the passenger. Gives you a lot of space and time to think and remember and feel, really.
About the time we were all in Blues on Connaught Place, the night before my ex-roomie was about to leave. Crazy silly conversations with one half of a table I didn't much like. What's her best ass-et? hahaha.. her ass! Cringe and laugh, but hey, I was the one who made the joke in the first place, na?
Or the umpteen times Sharon and I sat at the McDonalds in Rajinder Bhawan. Chicken McGrill and Cold Coffee. So many Cold Coffees. And the over-expensive and hyper-yummy ice creams at Narula's. We talked of everything then. Sometimes, I think we were closest then. Sometimes, I think we're closer now. It's a no-win situation really, but I don't wanna sound morbid.
Those were.. the best days of my life! - bryan adams.
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Let's cut the FAFF, did ya say?
Let's talk about the games mediapeople play. With each other, no less. We share a love-hate relationship with each other. when it's time for a drink, there's no better place than the Press Club and its discounted liquor, and when it's time for a screw, it's a no-holds barred contest.
The funny thing is, it's so no-holds barred, you feel like laughing.
Cut to Scene One: Busy press conference, where Mr BigWig is hurrying away, followed by a swarm of cameras and reporters. It is an unwritten rule among TV journalists that in such circumstances, when the BigWig is giving bytes, all the cameras will face him from the front, and the person asking the question will also be there - in front. That's when Mr Extraordinaire from N*** comes from the left and asks his dumb question, and BigWig turns thereon! Everyone else curses and mutters, because then they realise that the N*** cameraperson had slunk away to the left earlier, in a preplanned move, and is the only one getting frontal pictures of BigWig yapping, while the rest have a shitty profile.
Cut to Scene Two: A big cement company has just declared its results in a fancy press-con, and bytes are being taken all around. Finally, it is our turn. Now, I'm not really in this beat, but since I was in the neighbourhood, decided to tag along. My colleauge sits with Porky Lech, the MD of the company, who never takes his eyes off her boobs while answering her questions about operating profit margins. After he goes, she gets Beanstalk, the CFO of the company, to talk to her. Meanwhile, high-flying Diva Bitch from C*** walks over to Porky Lech, takes his hands in hers, clasps them tight, presses them against her heaving bosom, and says raucously that C*** and Big Cement Company share such excellent ties, that next quarter they must get exclusive info prior to the normal media release. As if this weren't bad enough, Diva Bitch's l'amour provokes Porky Lech into raucous laughter of his own, whereupon he starts guffawing like a pig in a barn full of fodder - HAWHAWHAW! You can imagine what happened to the soundbyte my colleague was taking.
I swear: I saw that damn sly vixen Diva Bitch actually steal a smirk in our direction.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Monday morning blues, did ya say?
Took a much needed break from work yesterday. Feels kinda satisfying to stay home on a Monday morning. To wake up really late, to yawn, and then go back to sleep again. ;-) To switch on the radio and listen to Jaggu and Taraana banter on for twenty minutes while still sleepily enconsced between the sheets. To wonder idly when I should have lunch: three, or four o'clock...? To be glad I'll finally get the chance to do those niggling little chores that I've been meaning to for soooo long... the lamp to buy, the sketches to frame, yadayadayada.
And here I am at work again. Tuesday morning. Felt inclined to call up sick again this morning, but prudence took over, and cautioned that I need my salary to maintain my expensive tastes. (Not so expensive, really...) And I guess the holiday helped. The holiday and the iPOD. I'm a horrible, horrible person who's showing off his latest new toy to everyone at the office. Sitting and typing this shit while listening to Wo Pehli baar from Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi right now...
Singularly stupid movie, by the way.
O, and I still need to get that lamp. Tonight. Perhaps.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
It was the fireworks. The best thing of all. O yes, I know that we should be cutting down on noise pollution, smoke pollution, child labour that goes into making all those fireworks, and a million other things that 'good' and concerned citizens should be upto, but... in the end, the fireworks simply don't brook a damn.
Happy Diwali, and I groaned as I drove down to cover the muhurat trading session at the Bombay Stock Exchange. Shook hands with gujju bhais, wished them happy deepavali, patted the head of a junior Shah well on his way to the trading terminals, and generally did some high-power networking and byte-taking. This is awful, I'm the only f***ing reporter working today - the entire office is on chhutti! Grumble, grumble, and then I saw Monster-in-Law. Totally yummy flick. I love yummy actors. I really do.
And when bro and I went over to Rustom's for some post-dinner ice cream, we saw the crackers in the sky. This is not my first Diwali in Bombay, but it certainly was my first Diwali on Marine Drive. It's amazing. F***ing amazing. Standing there at Pizzeria, looking up, left, right. Not knowing where to look. Dodging stray sparks that rained this way, and laughing, and going back all the same. It's ridiculous what Mumbaikars will do. It's funny and heartwarming, as well.
Those are the kinds of moments that stay with you. That define a city for you. Bombay by the sea. Crowds laughing, lit up under a stupendous and never-ending array of dazzling light.
Happy Post-Diwali Post!