Monday, April 20, 2009

For Ser

Ser, my dear girl, it has kind of become the norm for me to be living parts of whatever is going on in your life with you. Its a norm I quite like. So it is no wonder that I have been thinking of all my house-shifting experiences as you go through yours. All 19 of them. 10 with the family (4 of them partial), 4 with the sis and 5 all on my own. Well don't gasp, I did say I was nomadic.

Like almost everything else in life since I was around 2 years old, I remember these also in vivid detail - the houses as well as the shifts. The weeks of sifting, discarding, discovering long-forgotten things, packing, labeling and the far too many goodbye lunches and dinners. The way a home suddenly just looked like a house on the mornings the stuff moved - stripped bare of the life and order. The way each of us would walk around the house slowly to see our private places, memorize some hidden stories or make the last dash to say goodbyes to friends (my mom has stories of me hugging a few trees and pillars). Leaving behind mornings, days and nights of your life that you had spent there - loving, laughing, fighting, growing, living.

I also remember and in brighter colors, is how different the energy and sound levels would be at the new house. The pace at which the same people, who were dragging their feet some time back, would rush about from room to room already visualizing how each place should look, what should go where, what needs to be done, who needs to be called in etc. As the big pieces would fit in and the kitchen would be set up, there would be a semblance of order again, with the numerous boxes to be unpacked in order of priority over days, at a more leisurely pace. Mostly as the day ended and all of us would sit down on the dinner table, it would be the beginning of a life in a new place and it would be the beginning of a new home. There was a strange enthusiasm and hope in that day.

The longest I lived in a house is 9 years and that was 15 years ago, I still dream of that place (a very 'last night I dreamt I went to Mandarlay again') and when I wake up in deep sleep my hand looks for the door latch at a level where it used to be in my room in that house. May be its also has to do with the fact that J went to boarding house from there and we've only spent long months of vacations at home over years. STILL, every home after that has its own precious stories and moments. Every home hurt as much to leave. From the teenager chaos of the Jaipur home and the crazy revelry of the Hudson Lines house near DU campus where J and I stayed with friends. Though I have to say that the home my dad built us in Jaipur about 10 years back (which is another post) has been an anchor through all the wandering and now with our home here in Bombay, I've known a kind of stability which is calming and (if you know me) distressing in turns.

So what I have to say to you is something I suspect you already know but it helps to hear it being said. The thing about moving is not just the pain of leaving behind a thousand memories, growing-up stories and a part of yourself with them; its also the hope of what is to come and what the new home can be. Its about the memories you are already creating as you buy a switch for this home and laugh at the silliness of expecting the newspaper, milk and cable connection to materialize on their own. Once you've shed your tears for the house you grew up in, it can only get easier. Or so they say.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Keeping us safe

The Jagrut Mumbaikar team conducted an awareness session in my society over the weekend. This included presentations by the cops from the local police station and the firemen. Not only was it a well thought-out and comprehensive talk including various scenarios like fire, floods, small household accidents, terror attacks etc. and the dos, don'ts for each. A lot of small day-to-day issues were included which made it very relevant. Also, it was very well delivered and they spoke with examples and pictures from past incidents that the team had been a part of, which gave the entire thing a lot of credibility. At the end, the society even received a certi that it has been made aware! Very impressive indeed. What was even more impressive was the huge turnout of people which stayed throughout the two hour presentation.

I think this is a wonderful initiative and they plan to do it for as many societies as possible. Would urge you all to make sure this happens for yours, the website gives the phone numbers etc. and if it isn't already on the cards you could invite them. Its good to be Jagrut afterall, my Mumbaikars.

A thousand words

Friday night saw me looking at one of the nicest night views in Bombay. We (S,Abhi and me)decided to drive to Tardeo for dinner at Oh!Calcutta and on our way we thought that why not drive around a little too. After all there's much merit in loitering around orange-lit roads at night, a lesson I learnt well while cruising the South Delhi roads. So we ended up at the point at Malabar Hill from where you can see the entire trail of blazing lights that is Marine Drive, from Oberoi right up to Chaupati. From where I stood I could see the entire arc, the lights from the cars, throng of people on the tiny beach below, the gentle waves coming in, I could even see a tiny boat silhouetted in the reflection from the Nikon neon sign across. It was one of those moments when even if there's chatter around you, you are in a place where it all seems distant. This isn't the first time I was looking at this view but with the huge orange moon that hung over marine drive, it was something else.

Given above is an example of a picture speaks a thousand words. That is, if you can find a picture worthy of the sight you see.

P.S: If I manage to take a picture which captures it all for me, will post. Don't like any I got. Could any of you out there help?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Celebrity Spotting

As is always the case at Prithvi, there was much celebrity spotting, though a piece of Prithvi furniture called Makarand Deshpandey was missing. Shashi Kapoor was there, looking far more handsome and elegant than he did in his younger days - white hair, white kurta pajama. Its only natural that he be there to watch a play, still it was kind of nice to see him, he looked a little unwell though. There were a lot more, including the newly famous Jago re guy from the Tata Tea commercial - who hung around before the play long enough to be spotted and left soon after some people obliged.

I don't think I have told you this, according to S, I am a magnet for sidey celebrities or may be I am the only one in this world who recognizes them! I think I remember Parul mentioning in one of her posts that she saw and recognized Ritu Shivpuri ... now that's the kind of thing I am talking about! In every flight, every mall visit, visit to our club, every time we are eating out - I almost always end up spotting them, its like they know I am around and come crawling out of the woodwork. The ones from TV soaps, I don't know too many but I'm so good at the game that I look at body language and know that they think they are celebrities!

The dictionary of course doesn't have the word 'sidey' so it technically doesn't exist but I love it, it so fittingly describes a certain kind of people.

Anyway, don't trust S's claim about the sidey bit, he includes Vir Sanghvi, all politicians and even Shubha Khote and her daughter Bhavna in sideys. Imagine! That woman Bhavna starred in Dekhi Bhai Dekh, that should mean something! Not one to give up easily, I am out to prove him wrong. To make it harder he has refused to admit evidence from incidents more than two years old, which ruled out my Quali days when I could recite the breakfast menu for most airlines , traveled with flight full of TV cast and crews for popular (unheard of) soaps which made all aunties run amok and moved around with the likes of Imran Hashmi, Mahesh Bhatt and the idiotic curly-haired guy from that man's bleach cream ad. Er, I think I lost the point a bit.

He also passed the ruling that the people I 'go' to see in plays, premiers, concerts, FW etc. do not qualify as a 'spotting'! How unfair is that! I should take out a morcha against such heartless rulings!My protest is even more centered around the premier(s), though there's only one I have ever been to, its the quality that matters after all and it was to the premier for Rang De Basanti I went and how not to term spotting the cast as spotting?!Is there no justice?! I only hope those not part of the play/concert/premier/FW and present as audience are admissible or I will have to call the human rights people.

All this talk reminds me of two landmark celebrity events in my life - my meeting with the very good looking Rajiv Gandhi when I put tilak on his forehead and he pinched my cheeks in return (I was all of 8) , a mousy looking Soniya Ji was also there. The second event happened many many years later when I walked into the elevator at Holiday Inn, Pune with my dad to see Dharam ji there, noticing my wide-eyed excited look he leaned and said to me in his Dharam voice 'Hulloo Laidyee'. It was totally cool, my dad only asked me later who the gentleman saying hello to me was and S hullo-laidyees me every so often to bug me.This was also my very first celeb spotting. In later years with freshers parties and college fests being infested with known names it no longer remained a novelty. Anyhow, I am mighty proud of the ignorant or disdainful look I manage for the wannabe celebs. Its another matter when I spot some real celebs
(by my standards) and sports people or its someone I know my mom would be majorly excited to know about and so I frantically SMS her ... she's the only one who truly shares my enthusiasm. Or J. Or may be Abhinav.

Still in recent times I have proven S wrong with more thumping evidence, what with PC, Bebo and Saif (flapping his arms, imitating an aeroplane at security check) hovering to be spotted. S only sighs about me and the family being filmi :)

Jis Lahore Nahi Dekhya

My foot is a bit better but hasn't healed as it was supposed to, so I'm still not allowed to move around much. Given this, quest for entertainment available at ground floor level took us to one of my favorite places - Prithvi, I have written about my love for the place earlier as well. This was followed by a long, relaxed din at Mahesh Lunch home. Abhinav was also with us and its a weekend tradition all three of us have come to enjoy and look forward to.

The play we watched was 'Jis Lahore Nahi Dekhya', its a much acclaimed one which S has been wanting to catch for some time, we did manage to for their 139th show. The script was very tight with sharply drawn characters and many acts which were short and crisp, they made the story progress very well. The actors were all really good and though it would be a treat to watch Surkeha Sikri play the key role of Ratan's mother (as was the case in its initial days) overall the performances were really good. The story though set in post-partition Lahore is very relevant today, may be far too much for comfort.