Random Musings

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Back Again after Another Really Long Break

It has been over two months since I updated my blog. I changed jobs and have been extremely busy. I also seem to have settled comfortably into Gurgaon though I still crave to be back in Mumbai. I did visit Mumbai a few weekends back. It was a fairly short trip but it really made me realize how vibrant and full of life Mumbai is when compared to any other city. All I can do is hope that I can go back there at some point.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Anna Hazare Movement: Maybe I should have given it more thought

The Anna Hazare Movement: Maybe I should have given it more thought.
The whole of last month the media was only talking about Anna Hazare. His campaign against corruption was on full swing with the whole country talking about it. Unfortunately, I did not seem to care too much and just wanted to go on with my life. Corruption is so ingrained in our daily life that I was disillusioned about one man fasting and trying to eradicate this.
Nevertheless, a recent article in the Hindu “The Union Cabinet gets healthier” has got me thinking.  The article talks about how sitting MPs have multiplied their wealth over the last two years.  Based on the article by P. Sainath, the average worth of a union minister has risen from Rs 7.3 crore to Rs 10.6 crore over the last twenty eight months. I was reading this article and was really stunned. On one hand we, the salaried class, are slogging for ten hours a day to earn a decent living and for a measly 10% rise in salary each year, while on the other hand our elected representatives are doubling their wealth, even as they make no substantial contribution towards making our society a better place to live. Cost of food items, house rents, fuel and just about everything else have sky rocketed over the last year. But obviously this does not seem to be affecting our elected representatives. And why would it? Their wealth seems to have grown at a rate faster than most of these basic necessities that we are worrying about.
I think this article has been a wakeup call for me. Maybe we do need more campaigns from the likes of Anna Hazare and maybe it is time that we the educated middle class start questioning our elected representatives.
P.S: I have quoted from Mr Sainath’s article which was published in the Hindu on September 21, 2011. The link to this article is http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/sainath/article2470835.ece

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Samosa Incident

Here’s an irrelevant incident from my child hood. :)
The post is dedicated to my brother as this is one of his favorite things to complain. He mentions it to me and anyone around me every single time we meet.
As a child, I hated food. The thought of each meal and having to eat it was my biggest nightmare. I would do anything to avoid eating food including throwing away my half eaten, half wasted lunch before my mom saw the lunch box. I used to stand on this platform in my back yard and throw my lunch in the empty plot of land behind my house. One time, my lunch box fell down along with the food and I to jump down and retrieve it J
Anyway, let me get back to the Samosa. While growing up my mother used to buy us samosas and Dilpasand (wonder what it is actually called. It is basically a puff stuffed with coconut and dry fruits) from the local Iyengar bakery. I would always ask for one samsosa, but given my aversion towards food, would not want to eat it once it was bought. So I would procrastinate and wait for ever to eat it. Finally my mother would give up and give it to my brother to finish. By this time it would be cold and soggy and given that we did not have microwaves back then, my brother had to make do with a cold extra samsosa.  While growing up this was just a trivial incident and had no effect on me. But this obviously has affected my poor brother who seems to remember it every time he sees me. J

The phobia towards basic education

When I first moved to Gurgaon a few months back, I was shocked to see that all the house help were Bengali immigrants. In due course I realized that they were not only Bengali but also Bangladeshi immigrants.  It is real sad that most of these people are pushed out of their comfort zones into other cities to look for jobs. I wonder if the Government in Bengal even knows the number of immigrants living here. Anyway, this post isn’t about the immigrants. It is about the general mind set of the underprivileged in India.
The first person who came to work in my house brought her fifteen year old daughter with her. The girl had never been to school and had been doing house work at various houses for over five years. I offered to teach her to read and write Hindi. She was very excited the first day. She sat with me for over twenty minutes and learnt the first few alphabets. We continued the same way for the next few days. On the fourth day she refused to learn anything. She told me her mother felt it was a waste of time and she’d rather spend the time working someplace else. I tried convincing her that she ought to at least know the basics and it would help her. But she was adamant. She had no interest in educating herself while her mother was only concerned about the amount of money that she could contribute towards running their household.
A quick walk around my apartment complex shows that the place is full of migrants and none of them show any inclination towards even basic education. When half the country is steeped in poverty and basic food is such an issue, education, especially for the girl child is the last thing that most people are concerned with.
Anyway, I started writing this post because of a happy event that happened this morning.
There is a lot of construction work happening around my parent’s house in Bangalore. As expected, along with construction workers are a lot of young children. This morning, my mother took a bunch of these children and admitted them at the local government school. She got their photos taken and then got them enrolled at the school. I hope these kids start enjoying their school and  get some education at least till their parents finish their current construction work and move on to other places.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dahi Handi!!

I landed in Mumbai during the rains. Having lived in Bangalore all my life, I am used to heavy rains. However, rains coupled with dirt, muck, slush and hoards of people was a complete new experience. Regardless of this, one of the things that I really admired about Mumbai was their enthusiasm for celebrating various festivals. The festive season started with Rakshabandhan in August, and went on till Diwali in October or November.
During the monsoons just like the rest of the country, this city also celebrates Janmashthami. However, the highlight of this festival in Mumbai is the breaking of the famous Dahi Handi.  The breaking of the dahi handi or the pot of curd hung high up in the air is a big attraction every year in Mumbai. There are competitions arranged each year with prize money of over lakh rupees.  Troops train for months before the festival and compete fiercely to break this pot of curd hanging mid air.  However, my experience of these competitions is limited to seeing pictures in the newspaper and I have only seen the breaking of the local neighborhood handis. And what an absolutely lovely experience this is!!
We lived at Prabha Devi.  Arpita and me. Watching the local people celebrate the festival in this area was a new experience all together. Local societies have groups and they start dancing on the roads the previous night. The whole area is filled with the song “Govinda Aal Re” on Janmashthami with people dancing and celabrating. The first time I saw it, I was surprised at watching people come together and celebrate on the roads. Usually in Bangalore, people just celebrate festivals in their respective houses but here everyone was out on the roads. The music and dance started at nine and went on till twelve midnight at which time the trained troop arranged themselves in the pyramid formation to brake the dahi handi. As August is usually when the monsoons are on in Mumbai, this entire celebration happens in the rains. Arpi and I must have been the only ones wearing jackets and carrying umbrellas to avoid the rain. Everyone else, men, women and children, old and young were openly dancing in the rain with absolutely no inhibitions and having a blast. For two consecutive years, we went to watch the breaking of the Dahi Handi. But we never danced with them. Years of living in Bangalore had made us shy to dance on the roads.J  After these two years, we moved houses and I missed out on watching the festival.
Now, sitting in Gurgaon, with no trace of Janmashthami celebrations here, I realized what fun Mumbai was and how much I actually miss the vibrant city.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Quest for a New Phone

When cell phones first became affordable, I was in college doing my B’Com. It must have been around the year 2002 or 2003. Those days there were a few Nokia models which were affordable. The most popular were the Nokia 3310 and 3315 and most of us had them as our very first phones.  Heavy competition between Airtel and Hutch (the current Vodafone, was called Hutch then and used to have a nice orange logo) ensured that SMS was completely free on most basic plans. This made sure  that we used to have an absolute blast in college. We used to send each other messages sitting on the same bench. The days of writing notes to one another on pieces of paper and stealthily passing it around were long gone. We now sent an SMS to even the person sitting next to us. Of course, cell phones were banned during class hours and we had to hide them in our bags or be extremely cautious while using them. If we did get caught, which happened to me just once, we had to pay a fine of 200 bucks and write an apology letter.
Anyway, those were the simple days when phones were used to just make calls and send SMSes. Now there are umpteen things that the phone is used for. And sadly, each new feature seems to have become an absolute necessity. Internet is a must. When I was in Mumbai and used the train extensively, internet was an absolute must to keep me occupied. Even if I had to stand in an extremely crowded train, I could log on to some social networking site and amuse myself. Music and radio is the next absolute necessity. And now GPS. I need Google maps to help me find my way around the city.
Coming back to my present dilemma. My current confusion stems from whether to buy an Android phone or a Blackberry? The Android will have real cool features but it will again be a touch screen phone and I am bored of touch screen phones and the need to look at the phone even to make a call. However, the Blackberry won’t have the cool games and Aps of an Android, but it will let me chat endlessly with a nice key pad.
And my confusion continuous. Sigh! Whatever phone I chose to buy is going to be outdated as technology catches up and comes up with something new over the next six months. I really wish I could meet the guys who think of all these things. It must be so exciting to come with these new features and see them being used by millions of people.
When I got my first touch screen phone two years back, it was the coolest thing in the market.  Now it is just another outdated phone. So I guess I should not put in so much thought and just buy whatever phones takes my fancy.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rants from a suburb

I had a nice comfortable set up in Mumbai. I guess I never appreciated it enough when I was there. Everything worked just fine.  There was a continuous supply of electricity courtesy Reliance, ample water supply courtesy the monsoons, and uninterrupted cooking gas, thanks to Mahangar Gas Palika which has smartly installed gas pipe lines in every house. (Aah! the pleasure of not having to call an agency and beg for a cylinder every few months)

Anyway, no point reminiscing about the past now. I just have to learn to live and manage like the rest of India, in this small town.  L
To begin with, we have smartly taken care of the water and electricity problem by paying a lot of money to stay in a DLF construction which promises us these basic amenities if we are willing to shell out the money. Maybe we should refuse to pay taxes for the time we stay in Gurgaon. The state government anyway provides nothing here and we have to pay private agencies for basic amenities. There aren’t even street lights on the road just outside my house and I live in one of the supposed better locations in Gurgaon.
Nevertheless back to my current problem. The gas connection is the only thing we are stuck with. I have been trying to get a new connection here for a month now and I have never come across such a tedious process.
First, I need to go to court and get an affidavit on stamp paper worth 20 bucks that we are new to this place and need a new gas connection. Apparently the court is at some place in Rajeev Chowk and as my luck would be, I can’t seem to find it on Google Maps. Sigh!
Once this is done, I need to have an address proof and an identity proof which has to be given at the local gas agency.  I am still wondering how someone who has just come into the city can have an address proof. Am I expected to buy a house and get it registered in my name to show them proof every time I move cities?
Moving on, once I can manage to get these documents I have to apply for a new connection at the local gas agency. Apparently there is a waiting time of 4-6 months because the agency does not have cylinders right now!!! I was stunned. How can we have a short supply of cylinders? How are people expected to cook without LPG?
I know I ought to stop ranting now and find a solution. My existing cylinder (courtesy my Sister in Law who gave me one before I got here) will get over in no time and I need to find some way to keep the stove burning… Sigh!! Any suggestions or solutions to this problem are always welcome.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chick Lit!

I spent my entire growing up years reading chick lit. Like most other school girls I started with Sweet Valley Kids and then moved on to Sweet Valley High and whatever else was part of the series. We were allowed to pick one book ever week at the school library and I always managed to get the librarian to allot me an extra book. So, two of these books a week made my growing up years. I guess once I reached high school, or moved out of school I started reading Mills and Boons. (Can’t seem to remember when L) It was the ultimate experience to read a Mills and Boon ,flicked from my mother who always hid it under her mattress. (Did she really think no one guessed she kept them there?)  My folks never had a problem with what I read, but it was always an added pleasure to wait for them to fall asleep and then read the book in my room.
With time I got a library membership and realized that there was a world of chick lit out there waiting to be read. We had a membership at a library called Eloor near Safina Plaza. Am sure anyone who grew up in Bangalore will know of the place. They used to close for lunch at 1:30 P.M. and I used to rush there when we broke for lunch at 1:00 P.M from college.  Now when I think back, I must have read at least a book a day. J Chick Lit, historic romance, mills and boon, the list was endless.
I had moved to Mumbai at the same time Mills and Boon started selling at road side paper walas. Imagine my glee when I could get hold of a Mills and Boon just about anywhere for just 100 bucks. I think I must have spent my first year in Mumbai curled up in my small apartment reading them all the time.
I still read chick lit. But off late the books seem to be becoming really predictable and boring. I can’t stand a Mills and Boon for more than half hour. It is real sad because I spent so much of my growing up years reading them.
Random House has tried to come out with an Indian version of the Mills and Boon which is quite frankly not that appealing, I think I must be the only one to have bought and read all five of them. (I even forced my friend Neha to read them and I must get her to review one of them. Here’s a link to her blog if she ever does review them.  http://nehasbookshelf.blogspot.com/)
There is another series of Indian Romantic fiction being published by some Chennai based publisher. But they are not too great either.
Off late there appears to be a whole lot of books being written by Indian authors targeting the metro audience. But sadly, even this does not seem to hold my attention for long. They all seem to have the same theme: Small town girl, who has moved to Mumbai after an MBA from a prestigious college, who’s looking to avoid the arranged marriage market and is in search of true love!! Sigh!! Wish authors would come up with more scenarios. After all, there are people like me waiting to buy them and read.
There are so many other genres of books that I do read, but nothing gives me the comfort that Chick Lit does. Hope someone comes out with a real nice book soon.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Animal Attack!!

It has been a long time since I updated my blog. I keep making these resolutions about writing at least once a week, but for whatever reason it doesn’t seem to be happen.
Anyway, I am making an effort now. At least this one post J
Last Friday was like any typical Friday. I had a deliverable and was frantically trying to finish work, and simultaneously make plans for the weekend. (No point making plans here given that I hardly know anyone. Oh Mumbai! How I miss youL)
I love Fridays. It is such a lovely feeling to know that there are just nine more hours of work left and two whole days of doing nothing after that. Anyway this Friday, I was outside my office, walking in the parking lot, talking on the phone as I do every day, when a crow swooped down and hit me hard on the head. Before I could react, the crow was back once again and attacked my colleague who was also walking and talking J
And this set the pattern for the day. Any of us who took a break and went upstairs for a short walk was attacked by the crow. Apparently, the crow had just laid eggs in a very pretty nest really high up in the tree and was being overly protective and wouldn’t allow any of us to walk under the tree!! As luck would be, my car was parked right under the nest and I had to wait till it got real dark to leave for the day L
Anyway, I assumed that this was to be my only interaction with animals but was sadly mistaken.
On Saturday morning, I was happily lounging on my sofa reading the paper, when H called me to the kitchen. There was a monkey in my kitchen. It had actually opened my fridge, taken a mango, neatly removed the skin, left it on my kitchen floor and was blissfully eating the fruit!! When H tried to shoo it away, it got aggressive and tried attacking him. What a nightmare!!  We finally got it out of the kitchen and closed all the windows. After that we the spent the weekend being prisoners in our own house cause every time we opened any windows even slightly, the monkey was back.
As I write this blog, I just realized that I can’t remember if I shut the windows today. Let’s just hope I have and there are no more interactions with crows, monkeys and god knows what other animal.
Hopefully, I’ll be back soon

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Bangalore girl has sadly moved to Gurgaon

It has been a hectic few weeks. Studying for my exams, (with the desperate hope that I pass at least this time), packing (we had to leave Mumbai, and shift to Gurgaon.. Sigh!! The change has made me immensely sad) have kept me really busy with absolutely no time to write on this blog.

Anyway, now that am stuck in a city with absolutely no friends, this blog will again become my only source of entertainment.

Gurgaon has been an absolute change in comparison to Mumbai. It lacks the vibrant culture that was so typically Mumbai.

There is just one road with a lot of malls. Makes me wonder why all the malls were built one next to the other on the same road. Thankfully the traffic is not as bad as people make it out to be. To be frank I have never waited at any signal for more than one red light which is an achievement after travelling in Mumbai.

The people here seem to be highly aggressive. No one seems to care too much about road rules, but everyone is just waiting for a chance to pick a fight. This morning Harsh told me that between accidently touching another vehicle and damaging my own car, I should chose to damage my own car!!!

Am sure with time, I'll get used to even this city.

But Bangalore and Mumbai will continue to be my favorite places and I just can't wait enough to go back to either of them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

After another long break :(

It has been a very long time since I updated my blog. A month to be precise. I could blame it on being busy with work, but that wouldn't really be true. There have been times when I have updated this blog while travelling, between work etc etc.

I think this new obsession of watching Sitcoms is the main culprit. All my free time seems to be dedicated to watching 'The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family.

Anyway, here I am back to writing something.

A lot has happened since the last time I was here. I went on a holiday to Hyderabad, we WON the world cup (Whoopee!!!), Anna Hazare has become a household name, the summer heat is back with a vengeance turning Mumbai into a furnace, the IPL has begun (No point in really mentioning this because I don't track it) and I watched the much awaited Abhishek Bacchan movie Dum Maro Dum. I also watched Rango, but I don’t think the movie even deserves a mention.

Anyway, I watched Dum Maro Dum this Saturday. When I went in to the theater I did not know that Bipasha Baasu was the female lead. I kept thinking it was Deepika Padukone (Dumb.. I know.. Many people have already told me this). That was the first disappointment. The movie started off quiet well with the drug mafia theme. But all the unwanted violence was just such a put off. Guess poor Abhishek is just going to be saddled with another flop movie.

I am now waiting for the IPL to get over and some decent movies to release. It’s time we had our weekly dose of entertainment at the theaters, just as its time I started posting more.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Where has the famous spirit of Mumbaikars disappeared?

I am not from Mumbai and have never witnessed the strength and resilience of the people either during the rains or the terror attacks. However, am sure every Indian has heard about the Mumbaikars 'never say die' and always helpful attitude. I myself have witnessed incidents in the Mumbai local where people have gone out of their way to be helpful. But of late, this attitude seems to have taken a turn for the worse.

A heavily pregnant woman entered the train this morning at Bandra. As always the train was jam packed. She fought her way towards the seats. But not a single person offered her a place to sit. People pushed past her as they moved in and out but still ignored the fact that she was heavily pregnant and in a lot of discomfort. Two college students were playing on their blackberries, comfortably seated at their window seats showing no empathy for this poor woman.

The last one year , I have had to use the local  train extensively and this trend of absolute disinterest towards are fellow passengers is really worrying. I hope we soon change for the better and go back to being the helpful, accommodating people of Mumbai...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Then and Now

Growing up in the sleepy town of Bangalore (it was small, sweet and sleepy till the IT crowd decided to descend on the poor city) I was a crazed SRK fan. The craziness was not limited to just me but also extended to my friends from school/mother/ grandmother/ all females around me. My father/ brother/ cousin/ other male members could never understand what we found in this hyperactive film star. But we girls were crazy fans.
When I was in school I had his posters all around my room. My cousin once gifted me a life size poster of SRK and I carried it back from Bhopal to Banaglore by train in an AC 2 tier compartment with an entire berth just dedicated to the poster :)
I think I must have watched every movie of his. When I was younger, most of them were with my mother who took me for his movies the week they released. She even bought tickets in black in some really seedy theater near Majestic for us to watch Yes Boss. She bought me the music cassette of all his movies which I played non stop for years. I have enjoyed all of his older movies: DDLJ, DTPH, Yes Boss, Duplicate, Baadsha ( We went all the way to the erstwhile Lido to watch this), Kal Ho Na Ho, Pardes, Main Hoon Na (this is my best memory of an SRK movie with a very close friend. Have never had so much fun watching an SRK movie again) etc etc. The obsession with SRK was so great that the day I finished writing my CAT, I rushed to the theater with a very good friend of mine to watch Don. The tickets were sold out, but we conned someone into giving us tickets (the first row) and had an awesome time watching SRK play Don.
Anyway, I moved to Mumabi a few years back, and moved into a PG. As luck would be, I met a person who was crazier than I was about SRK. Along with her and another friend I actually went to SRK's house in Bandra and asked his security guard when we could spot him. Thankfully this was the lowest I have ever fallen.
With time, SRK made some not so good movies and I slowly lost interest. Guess he now tries too hard now and has lost a little bit of the charm that he had before. Or maybe, I have grown out of the phase of liking movie stars. 
For most of you readers who are wondering why I am going on and on about SRK, my friend Smita who was also a fan of SRK asked me what I think of him now and this got me thinking. How did this star fall from being my absolute favourite to just another star in just a few years? Not very appealing movies/ scripts or is it just me growing up??

Butterflies in everyone's stomach :)

Thursday, the day we have been waiting from since last Sunday and the day we have to face Australia is finally here. I would like to think that I am still not affected by the cricket bug and I really don't care about today's result. But I know that is not true. Just like every other India, I am terribly worried about our show down with Australia today. Australia might not be at their best, but no one can predict the Indian's. We might just play one of the best matches of our lives, or millions might go to sleep today, terribly disappointed.

Many people haven't turned up at work today wanting to watch every bit of the match, and I hope taking the day off pays off for them. Am sure after this match, we will again be in this state of tension, if we have to play Pakistan. But atleast for today, Go India Go. Win this match and show the Aussies!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nano, when will you be mine??

I have finally learnt to drive! Or so I would like to convince myself!  (I still can’t reverse or park but I hope to get there in the next six months)
The learning process began in August last year when I joined a driving school. I wonder if most people know that there is actually a queue to join a driving school! I had to wait for two months to just get a time slot which fit my schedule. Anyway I spent a month with the driving 'Master’. (The trainer expected to be referred to this way) It was the most useless month. The master controlled the car from his end and kept telling me how beautifully I was driving. However, there were some times when he was preoccupied with phone calls and I was left to control the car. This total of half an hour must have been my only training in that one month.  Anyway after a wasted month, Harsh started teaching me to drive. The initial few months were real hard but after six months of diligent effort (although only over the weekends), I have finally learnt to drive!
Now am all set to have a car of my own and my current desire (A desire which started the first time I saw the tiny blue car zipping on the road  ) is to own a Nano
The desire just increases each time I look at the yellow/ red Nano maneuvering the tiny roads of Vile Parle with such absolute ease.  A friend of mine has actually spent time noticing all Nano drivers and come to the conclusion that they all look extremely happy and always have a big bright smile on their faces!!
The moment Tata announced the launch of this small car; I wanted to own it just because it was a Tata product and so cool with the low cost price tag. Now every time I see the tiny Nano whizzing past me (it once over took our Ikon), my heart stops.  I hope I own one very soon…

Monday, March 7, 2011

Does retail therapy really work?

I quite like having loads of beautiful clothes to wear. I am sure every does. But I am not much of a shopper. I hate the process of wading through racks of clothes, choosing something I like and then trying it on for size. The wait outside the trial room, the innumerable sizes and fits that have to be tried on before I actually find something that fits and makes me look presentable are few more tedious issues that discourage me from entering shopping malls.
Anyway I set out early yesterday morning to find myself something to wear for my birthday. I actually reached Shoppers Stop even before it opened and assumed that I would be the only one there.  (Who else gets up on a Sunday morning and reached a store at 11 A.M.??) Unfortunately, I was mistaken. There was a queue to enter the place even before the shutters were opened. When I finally did enter the place, I had to wait in another long queue to get a gate pass made to carry my Kurta, for which I needed a matching Chudhidhar, inside. In front of me was a middle aged woman with a haggard expression and a ton of clothes. She had two shirts, two pairs of shoes and a set of infant clothes that need to be exchanged. After waiting for fifteen agonizingly long minutes for the middle aged woman searched her huge bag for all her old bills, I finally got my gate pass made. It took me five minutes to realize that they did not have the Chudhidhar in the color that I wanted. I spent another five minutes trying to find something else that fit, another ten minutes standing in queue paying for my purchase, fifteen minutes returning my gate pass (This time, the guy in front of me was exchanging eight pairs of trousers. I actually counted them and was stunned that somebody actually bought so much at one go and then returned to the store to exchange them) before I could actually get out! The total time in selecting my outfit was five minutes and the remaining half an hour was spent waiting in various queues. This makes me wonder if shopping is really a fun activity. I’ve left a poll on the right. Please do let me know whether you think retail therapy works, or if it is a boring activity that just needs to be endured.

Friday, March 4, 2011

End of three months of glorious weather.. Sigh.... :(

Mumbai, rather Bombay as my parents still refer to it was synonymous with extreme weather. My mother's greatest worry when I decided to shift to this city was how I would manage the rains. I first landed in this city in the month of August when the rains were at their worst. The first time I travelled to Parel from Thane in August was when the city was experiencing one of its worst rains. The road was flooded at Lower Parel and I was actually lifted into a Pepsi van by a nice cop and dropped off outside my place of work.  The only other bad experience was after watching the movie Sarakar 2. The rains were really bad that night and it took us nearly three hours to travel from Andheri to Prabhadevi with the water level reaching the car window.

Besides these two bad experiences I have quiet enjoyed the rain, either when I am sitting in the comfort of my house, or inside a car. (I hate the muck which covers my feet, the filth at Dadar station, and the general tendencies for auto’s and cab’s to disappear from the roads once a few drops of water start falling) Earlier, when I stayed at Prabha Devi, I used to walk to Worli sea face with my flat mate Arpita and we used to sit there waiting for it to start raining. We always left the moment it started drizzling :)

Anyway, the summers in Mumbai are no better. It gets so unbearably hot that I don't think I can ever step out after ten in the morning and before six in the evening (I will now have to start reaching work earlier to avoid the heat. Sigh!! Weather woes never end)

Despite these extreme climates for most part of the year, this winter (December 2010 to February 2011) has been one of the best times I have spent in Mumbai. The weather has been absolutely perfect the last three months. (I came down with viral fever thrice over this period, but I am choosing to not blame it on the weather!) It actually got so cold that I needed to wear a sweater/ jacket few times. We made the most of this winter and went out as much as possible, especially to outdoor restaurants ( By outdoor I mean, repeated visits to Yellow Tree at Bandra and one visit to Karl Residency in Vile Parle.). I made a resolution to make most of the weather and go on walks every day. I did manage to do it a couple of times. J
March is here. And with it comes and end to three months no heat/ rain. We will now go back into the cycle of extreme heat and heavy rains. I know global warming etc. etc. is not a good thing. But its effect led us to have a peaceful three months in the otherwise hot and sultry Mumbai.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Not Yet Smitten by the Cricket Bug :(

I remember the last Cricket World Cup very very well. Am sure every cricket fan in India remembers Reliance's "Karlo Duniyaa Muthi Me" with Shewag waving his bat and mobile phone and Shewag's mother sharing with us her Kheer recipe (I only remember her talking on TV, I don’t remember the recipe)

I watched every single match; pre match and post match session with my mother and brother. My father joined us towards the evening when he got back from work. But the three of us were at home and watched every single match. That said, more than the matches, it is Mandira Bedi that I remember. Just wondering what she was going to wear the next day provided us with enough excitement. :) ( I distinctly remember her wearing a tri color saree with noodle strap blouse for one of India’s matches)

My father, as is my brother, is a great fan of the game. So, I have grown up watching the game. I knew every player in every team. I knew the World Cup schedule by heart and I knew which team was good at what. Every morning, I got up and faithfully read the Hindu to see what the cricket experts and specialists had to say about the game, and the Times of India to read the mere mortals views on the game. (My father calls the Hindu a text book. It has accurate, to the point information. Growing up I hated the paper, but with age I have realized its importance. The Hindu’s online paper is the first thing I open every morning once I get online)

Back to the last World Cup. That one month was dedicated to the game. We were excited about it for weeks before and felt sad about not having any entertainment once the season ended.

Anyway, all this was four years back, when I led a simple life in my parent’s beautiful house in Bangalore.

I now work nine hours a day with hardly enough time to speak to my husband, let alone watch a match. (Working cannot really count as an excuse because my father has been working through every World Cup and is still charged up each time) I don't seem to be excited about the World Cup at all. I tried to muster some interest and started betting with my office colleagues. But it has been a week since the World Cup has begun and I haven't watched even one match. (I have only lost money so far betting on old favorites who seem to be losing).

Sometimes I wish I never had to grow up. What fun it was to sit at home with my mother (who can never remember the score or even who's playing), my aunt (who always asked Why?? (never how) a person got out, after he got out!!), my dad (who always switched of the TV if India showed signs of losing), and my brother (the most normal person to watch the match with. He would consume loads of kaju, lassi (more "moree" to us South Indians) and onion pakoda and hope India won).

I am just hoping that this weekend’s cricket party at my house in Mumbai is a success and I am able to rekindle some of the old memories watching India thump England.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Back after a brief hiatus!

The last few days there have been a lot of people asking me why my blog went private. I thought my only readers were Smita and her poor office colleagues who were coerced into reading. But am glad to know there are loads of people who actually find reading my blog an enjoyable pastime.

So am back to blogging!! I haven't done anything much the last few days. But this weekend promises to be fun. Am hoping to watch Tanu weds Manu and Saat Khoon Maaf.

Will be back with more soon.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why can't we have more relaistic cinema??

This weekend I watched the movie Band Baja Barat

The movie was not too great. But the 2.5 hrs that i spent there got me thinking whether the average Indian woman is anywhere close to what these movies portray her to be.

My first grouse is the heroine's perfect hair. Every time she moves her head her hair sways in perfect tandem with not a strand out of place. I might be tilting towards a biased opinion in this matter, given that am blessed with just few strands of hair. But after having carefully examined a lot of woman in the local train I can say with some degree of accuracy that no one has such perfect hair . (I just quickly looked around my office. Not a single woman seems to be blessed with such gorgeous hair) Why can't Hindi cinema be made with more realistic actors? I would love to see a movie where the heroine with normal hair and skin with some blemishes.

Anyway, moving on. The heroine starts talking to the hero, an absolute stranger in a bus. I have never in my life spoken to a stranger irrespective of how good looking he was in a bus/ train/ plane etc. More often than not I don't even look at the people around me. So am quite amused that the film portrays a girl who's willing to talk about her business plan with an absolute stranger and then goes on to start a business with him
These are just two indents that am writing about. The movie was filled with such absolutely unrealistic episodes culminating into a perfect happy ending. It is nice to watch such glossy movies once in a way, but I really wish Bollywood makes more realistic films potraying normal women.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

“Collapse your Buttocks on the Ground!!!!"

My friend Smita (by now most of you reading this would have guessed that my friend refers to Smita) was having a very stressful day at work. Part of the stress might have been because she spends more time chatting with me than working. Anyway, when she complained for the umpteenth time about how much work had oiled on and about how much stress she was under I blurted out “Collapse your Buttocks on the Ground” and that was the birth of this current post.
For those of you who weren’t born in Bangalore and who did not have an aunt who made you tag along to her yoga class, here’s what “Collapse your Buttocks on the Ground” is.
When I was growing up, my mother used to drop me off at my grandma/ aunt’s house very often. By very often, I mean almost every weekend, holidays and any other day when there was no school. 
My aunt is a stickler for doing things as per her set routine and never liked to change the way things were done. So when I was unceremoniously dropped at her door step, she had no option but to take me along wherever she went. Consequently I used to be dragged off every morning to her yoga class. This was a yoga session for middle aged woman and was fairly uneventful till the last twenty minutes. This was the time when the woman did their Shavasana. Just before starting this particular Asana which was more of a license to go to sleep than an actual Asana, the trainer would yell in her high pitched nasal voice “Collapse your Buttocks on the Ground”!!!!  Yes, she actually used the word buttocks and wanted everyone to collapse them on the ground!!
The first time I heard it as a clueless eight year old, I burst out into a fit a giggles and to this day I start laughing just thinking of the number of sessions I attended waiting for the trainer to scream these very words. J
I wonder if this yoga session still exists, And if it does, all of you who visit Bangalore must do a session. Trust me; you will remember “Collapse your Buttocks on the Ground” for ever after that.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The End of Another Weekend

Why does this happen every week?? The weekend just files past and before I realize the Monday morning rush is here. :(

However, the good things is, that I can now start planning the next weekend and hope that it will be less stressful than this one.

This weekend must have been the most tiring weekend ever :) Even the weekend before I got married seems calm in comparison to this weekend.

A very good friend of mine shifted into this fabulous new house and I along with a lot of other friends, her cousins, mover and packers, cleaners and lots of pizza and choco lava cake helped her to shift. I would like to think that I was of some help, but I strongly feel I panicked at the sight of so much stuff and wasn't of too much help :(

Anyway, I hope this week  flies past, faster than the weekend went by and I do not have too much work to do!! 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bangalore girl's Jaipur Visit

It’s been three days since I got back from Jaipur and I have finally found the time to write about my trip.
I spent 3 beautiful days last weekend and early this week in a Palace converted into a bed and breakfast in Jaipur. Initially, I felt a little sad for the Chomu family who had to convert their beautiful palace into a hotel. But the initial sadness was replaced with absolute delight when I looked around the beautiful property that was to be my home for the next 4 nights and 3 days. The rooms of the palace have been let out for people to rent, and the common areas like the dining rooms and front lawns are open to the guests staying at here. It was the apt place for a romantic like me to dream about a Rajput prince whisk me (in my Jodha Akbar costume) off into the desert. (Nothing like this happened. I am destined to find such romantic rubbish only in the Kama Kahani seriesL)
Anyway, coming back to Jaipur.
 I’d been dying to see this famous city of the Rajputs and watching the movie Jodha Akbar only made me want to see the pink city of palaces more. But I was sadly disappointed. The first thing that struck me was that the city smells of urine. It made me quiet miserable because I was dreaming of a beautiful pink city with palaces and forts. Instead I saw a city filled with heritage hotels. The royal kings are now just hotel owners and most of the beautiful palaces are just hotels.
Despite this slight set back, Jaipur is still a beautiful place to visit. The old city which looked more orange to me than pink was truly gorgeous. However, this view is from sitting in an auto. I wonder if I would have still thought the city was beautiful if I had to walk through the dirty bazaars J
I did see a few monuments like the Hawa Mahal but was shocked when a tourist tried climbing up a wall to get a picture and landed up breaking a piece of the beautiful monument. I even saw the Amer Fort. They have an audio guide there and I finally got my dream of being transported into the land of Rajputs. The fort is beautiful and the commentary and music makes you feel like you are actually living over a 100 years back, in the middle of the kings and queens.
Back in Mumbai now.  It’s going to be a fun filled weekend as a very good friend turns a  year older!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In pursuit of 9:29

Every weekday morning I have one simple aim. Catch the 9:29 train from Vile Parle. However, on an average I manage to catch it only once or twice a week
Catching a train on time must be one of the simplest things to do. How hard can it be to leave the house on time and reach the station on time?? But over the last few months, I have realized that it is a very hard thing to do.
I spend a lot of time planning my mornings with the aim of reaching on time. But invariably the unexpected happen or rather the same things happen unexpectedly. I get stuck on the sofa reading the Mint. (happens nearly every day). I can’t find anything to wear (rarely), can’t find a place to park cycle (only on the days I take the circle to the station).
Anyway, today was a normal day and I left the house at a decent time and reached the station at 9:27. I had two entire minutes to reach the platform but still missed catching the train. College students were as usual loitering on the steps at the station, blocking the route for hurried office goers like me. End result, I missed my train waited for 20 minutes and took the next one. The train was empty, I gossiped with my friend Smita till I reached my destination. Not a bad start to an otherwise boring Tuesday.
Just three more days left for the weekend and am off to Jaipur on Friday evening!! Woppie!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's Finally Here

Friday is finally here!!!! Woppie!!!!

I love Friday evenings, especially when I walk out of office. The feeling that I don't have to do anything productive for two entire days is the best feeling ever.

To be honest, I start waiting for Friday evening from Sunday evening itself. Am invariably sad on Friday evenings that it's time to get back to work, but the thought that Friday is just five days away always gets me going.

So anyway, Friday's finally here!! This weekend is going to be super exciting because my husband is going to run the half Marathon. I can hardly run half a km and am very impressed that he's running 21 kms. I think I should go and see him run. But getting up on a Sunday at 6 in the morning will just be way too hard.

Anyway, time to log off. Shall post more about the Marathon on Sunday

P.S.: Do any of you think I should do the Mumbai Cyclothon next month??

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

This and That!!

If you had spoken to me last week (or if you knew me last week), you would have known that blogging was not something that I had even thought of. But a friend of mine started writing a blog last Friday and I’ve been hooked on to the idea ever since. This seems to be a lovely way of spending a boring afternoon rather than complaining to anyone available on G talk about how bored I am. So here I am writing my first blog!!
I spent the last few hours thinking about what to call my blog. Close friends helped but it was my husband who finally came up with “A Bangalore Girl in Mumbai” and that worked perfectly. After all, I am a Bangalore girl living in this big dirty but exciting city J
So here I am. All set to enter the world of blogging and open my thoughts, raves and rants to the world in general
Hope you enjoy reading my blog and hope I sustain my enthusiasm to keep blogging


Aparna Singh