Tuesday, May 31, 2005

taloja, karjat, gilbert hill, landmark, kababs

a long day that started off in bandra at 8 at mr chaini’s house at kalanagar- three buildings away from bal thakerays.. from where amit, sonal and me followed mr chain, his wife and a civil engineer mr mewani (now a self proclaimed expert on education) in their blue mercedes , to the taloja site where he wants a water harvesting tank below a cold storage facility built. very interesting.

from there to their karjat farmhouse where in between the 20 acres of cashew and mango trees mr chaini is imagining an educational institute of sorts- yoga and management. his wife was quite the diva of the place organizing everything and speaking yugoslav fluently for some reason. we were all very impressed.

when we got back to andheri we met saurabh and namrata and climbed the odd half round gilbert hill from where we saw the most strangest views of the city.

then we had a ‘landmark’(some competition that we hope to take part in )discussion at the office during which we did more lounging in the air conditioning than actual work. link road gave up on me today and it took almost an hour and a half to drive back home.

but now the light outside is golden.. the light that envelops the city in the last days of summer before the rains .. i bought kababs from the dude at the corner and the wind was blowing strong and the sky got suddenly overcast..... today is the first day of this light. looking forward to tomorrow. mukul says he has clicked some photographs of it.. hopefully he will post some – my camera phone cant capture the glow.

Monday, May 30, 2005

kung fu hustle

it seems like stephen chow is the next jackie chan. as far away from the self consciously poetic serious melodrama of ‘crouching tiger hidden dragon’ or ‘hero’ as possible. mad ridiculous hilarious- fantastic fun. kucch bhi kept happening. all flying people doing strange things in different styles all matrix style flying, western style gun slinging, fred astaire style dancing.. basically everything and anything went and went off very well. mukul of course fell asleep twice (how?????) but vikram and me laughed and laughed.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

back out of business

in so many ways.. need more work- for one..

and the lower back ache continues along with the neck pain.. though i regularly and religiously follow the stretching exercise routine that kalyani from dr madhu gandhis’ physiotherapy clinic laid out. its getting better- but not by much.

its surprising how i did not mention kalyani here in spite of me being twisted into all kinds of shapes by her almost every morning for 10 days a few weeks back. she was my doctor among a group of marathi girls whom i used to meet in the clinic that lay in a garage in vile parle. i have a feeling the torture she put us (me and a group of older women and men) every morning gave her immense pleasure. now she is gone away to trek in the himalayas and some other girl has come in her place. i refuse to be touched by a lackey or a substitute.


jitendra joshi: small town roots and a tv show

in an earlier post about the marathi play 'hum to tere aashiq hain' i remember speaking about jitendra joshi-host of the entertaining 'campus- a fair war' on z marathi. here he is- becoming very happy when a random girl from a random small town sings asha bhosales 'jivalaga rahile door ghar maajhe re' really well.

i love the show and somewhere in me i can feel the longing for the small town stir. i seem to have a strange nostalgic affection for these towns which i am often too afraid to state or confront for seeming patronizing. latur- a perfectly planned radial city, sholapur, amravati- so many more...

the other day i read about the history of amravati- the bhavani temple was built in the 9th century and the walls of the town in 1807 by a muslim ruler.. my mom who grew up in the city did not know that. shouldnt she have known?

i think this search for 'roots' is what is making me choose my area of research for the fellowship 'the architecture of the small town'. it is a past/history/heritage project- with each term being sequentially more problematic.

random question - what exactly does 'mofussil' mean? anyone know?


speaking of chemistry on screen – dilip kumar and vyjayantimala sizzle so much that in madhumati they burn together in past lives, present ones, ghost ones and even duplicate ones. a slight excuse of a storyline to weave brilliant songs in and out of.

an urbane engineer falls in love with feisty tribal girl who falls prey to the machinations of an evil landlord then comes back to claim him and her lover- not only in this life but in the next. a storyline mukul tells me ritwik ghatak wrote in a night in exchange for a drink from bimal roy- it sounds like he did.

a formulaic, entertaining reincarnation drama – extremely well made with divine songs. especially the two dances– bichuua (which is supposedly a euphemism for physical desire), and zulmi sang aankh ladi.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

bunty aur babli

10 reasons to watch bunty aur bubli

  1. rani mukherjee - a real movie star and actress. vivacious. beautiful, stunning.
  2. abhishek bachchan - almost his father- and sometimes with more heart. laid back. charming. easy.
  3. amitabh bachchan. every time i see him perform all chyawanprash ads are forgiven
  4. the crazy self referential quick witted script and the unashamed indulgence in referencing innumerable classic hindi films- respectfully and lovingly
  5. the sharp tongued, clever dialogue.
  6. all the various small tiny details that are jammed into each frame- every corner.
  7. the chemistry between rani and abhishek.. that song in the mountains..
  8. the clothes.. sequins, chiffon, polka dots, mirrorwork. designer kitsch never looked so good. but then again rani can carry anything off - even the black hot pants in the 'nach baliye' song.
  9. the cameos in so many supporting roles by faces from the past.. and not to forget-
  10. amitabh and abhishek on screen together for the first time in a surreal dream like sequence .. with aishwarya looking absolutely stunning - and managing to have a sense of humour about herself. (what a good song!)

new english writing, old british buildings

image 1 – amit and me at an industrial estate at parel waiting for arshiya the fashion designer to look at her new workshop.

image 2 – the hot ugly parking lot at ‘high street phoenix’ and lunch at mcdonalds

image 3 - mukul, prachi and me walking around the streets of the fort area brazenly adding to our heritage a collection of derelict old buildings- choosing them as much for our own subjective aesthetic preferences as much as the supposed ‘value’ that the age of the building adds to the city.

image 4 – the camera shop where mukul helped paro dressed up in style for her reading, buy a camera for her film on loos.

image 5 – bcl auditorium where at the launch of ‘first proof’ an anthology of new indian writing jerry pinto, paromita vora and naresh fernandes read some of their own and some one else’s writing. paros short story about a sari with a border of hundred rupee notes, jerry pintos history of helen (its so easy making fun of hindi films) , ranjit hoskotes prose poetry, naresh ferenandes on cuba and fidel castro…

image 6 – the wine and titbits party where bahaar bought me the book and paro kissed and signed it.

image 7 - a smoky table at leopolds where many people sat around a table and half heard everything that everyone else was saying. the people being bahaar (who left early- poor thing), girish and jabeen, rahul, raja mohanty from idc who now teaches chitra, tushar, paro, saryu doshi and some woman from penguin india whose name i did not get, hansa and mukul.

image 8 – bhurji and omlette at santacruz with tushar, hansa, mukul and paro.

paro smacking as bahaar looks on

paro and me with the perfect lip-print

Thursday, May 26, 2005

suresh bhat - the poet and the man

i am completely awestruck by the great schism between the person and the poetry of my late uncle suresh bhat.

though i don’t remember meeting him very often my memories of him are chiefly of this vaguely repellant obese man who was perpetually offensive to all around him. i cant imagine anything more distanced from this man i thought i knew and his beautiful poetry that i have been listening to in the car nowadays. lata mangeshkar and asha bhosale singing in marathi to hirdayanath mangeshkars music (so underrated!).

most of the songs are these romantic languorous pieces in whose words there is a sizzle of an erotic charge. the descriptions ooze with sensuality as the woman swoons longingly over the arc of her lovers back as he sleeps too early in the dimming evening light. the slight touch, the breath, the warmth of the pillow, the waiting.. so much beauty, so delicately imagined.

it is extremely strange to imagine that this sensuality came from a man who came across as crude and unrefined. but the talent is indisputable. i guess that is why in spite of everything my mother and my grandmother still beam with pride whenever she hears a song written by him sung by the doyennes of indian music.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

made by women 2

the thing about a film festival that focuses on films made by women is that i cant seem to get the underlying theme of the ‘women’s point of view’ out of my head. although bishakha tried to displace that by saying that the agenda was good cinema and not necessarily gender- then why such a film festival? that too the second year in a row traveling across innumerable cities in the country. i wonder whether my reactions to the films i saw yesterday would have been different if they were lets say- being shown on tv or in an encounter in college .. still i guess every screening has its own chemistry and one can only judge form the particularity of the situation one has experienced..

‘harlequin’ by lotte reiniger (the blurb said that she directed the first animated feature film) charming black and white silhouetted animation about a romancing cad, his various affairs and his eventual salvation with the undying support of his lady love.

‘mona lisa descending a staircase’ and ‘the dowagers feast’- joan c gratz - two clay –animation films,, the first where classic works of art morphed into one another.. while in the second forms and colors danced across the screen in abstract formations reminiscent of buds, innards, landscapes.. both did almost nothing for me except get me to raise an eyebrow- ” typical american cleverness – no heart.

‘my body’ european film about a woman’s relationship to her own body. every single aspect was religiously covered from self worth, pregnancy, bad toes, bad teeth, smiling for photographs, bulimia, anorexia, slimming clothes.. nothing new for someone who has spent two years in america every afternoon watching oprah religiously..

the day i became a woman’ – marziyeh meshkini.. iranian films have their own brand of exotica.. charming small stories with small characters but saying really large things- or so we are supposed to think..

episode 1- a girl shares candy with her male friend for the last time before she is forced ot wear the veil as she has reached puberty.

episode 2- a girl is ostracized from the family and her tribe for wanting to finish a bicycle race.. episode 3- an old woman with the help of street urchins finally buys all that she has longed for in her life and it is set out to sea in a series of rafts.. when the narrative becomes so simplified the entire movie somehow becomes a metaphor- an allegory. unfortunately none of the meanings that i could read in the rather simplistic (not necessarily in a good way) imagery were anything that went beyond pat homilies about the status of women in islamic societies.

dadabhai in a cage

dr dadabhai naoroji - first indian member of the british parliament, sitting in a cage in front of the oriental insurance building at the junction of dn and mg roads overlooking the parking lot at flora fountain with plaques below reading 'house of commons feb 13, 1893' -(?) and 'mothers really build nations' as he leads a bunch of sari clad commoners to a better future through a door.

Monday, May 23, 2005

rufus the fairy queen

rufus wainwright in concert.. hmmm...

Sunday, May 22, 2005

family photographs

the "young" - from the top left- rahul, sushma, nikhil, meghana, ashish, hetal, radhika, manish, apoorva, anand, sonal, rohan (not me), rohan (me), medha, priyanka and renuka

the slightly older- from top left- aaji, neena, suman aaji, chinmaya's mother, hetal, nikhil, kamlakar mama, anand, ashish, dharmu mama, viju maushi, asha mami, rohan (not me), shirish mami, pramod mama, usha maushi, mom, renuka's mother, arvind mama, dilip mama, hemant mama, madhavi mamai, sunila maushi, amod, suhas mama, yashwant mama, dad. (phew!)

shirish mami, viju maushi and sunaila maushi preparing for thier skit in candlelight

cousins - from top left, medha, anoushka, priyanka, apoorva

pune on the weekend

saturday morning dad, meghana, sonal and me were part of a fleet of cars that headed to pune for a ‘kelwan’.. a meal given to a girl before she gets married by her family.. the girl in question was my cousin meghana. in one of the cars that followed was her hubby to be ashish and his sister hetal. the other cars had other hyperventilating members of the family who all descended at a hotel called shreyas where after a lot of agitated discussion we finally settled in 5 rooms.

lunch at viju maushi where i tried to avoid khashaba the dog, discussed animation with manish, and spoke a lot to the adorable medha and priyanka – my cousins from amravati; slept in the afternoon and drove to m g road in the evening to buy books- then flew back to the hotel where everyone was supposedly waiting all ready to leave only to find them all in front of the tv watching football.

it got truly complicated, hilarious and traumatic trying to co-ordinate 8 cars getting to a club outside the city for the function. no one knew where it was and there was confusion big time before we ended up at this spectacular location with a terrace under a half moon and stars-some mattresses, candlelight, many aunts, grandmothers, cousins, uncles from various sides,- a skit by my aunts, some singing by my mom and sis, some performances by the bride and groom to be and appam and mutton stew and radhikas mango mousse.

salient features of pune..

  • cultural capital of marathiness
  • where i am accused of trying out my rustic marathi accent much to the embarrassment of all around me
  • college heaven and so lots of interesting looking people everywhere
  • tech wannabe city like bangalore- but better (so say the puneits)
  • scarved mad women daaku two wheeler drivers who stick their legs out to signal turns
  • pompous marathi fair green eyed men who pontificate the greatness of marathi culture
  • roads that seem like they go around in circles
  • buildings that are two storied high claiming to be ‘heights’
  • a superior disdainful attitude to all bombayites who are either too commercially minded or too uncultured or too much in a hurry- and they are probably right
  • nicer weather in summer evenings.
  • too many of my relatives.

the revenge of the sith

could not help it.. bad timing in getting to fame adlabs drew us (ranjit, tabrez, sonal, mukul, amit, mayuri, me) in to see ‘the revenge of the sith’.. some fans, some excited, some inquisitive , some unwilling, some kicking and screaming.. all of us came out with almost the same feeling..

it was as expected.. unnecessarily overcooked gaudy animation, an imagination informed by tawdry low budget mawkishness, plot, acting and dialogue inspired by the depths of emotion felt in american soap operas.

cant waste any more energy describing the crap, being clever, being angry, trying to ridicule or dismiss the film.. the less said the better - one word sums it all up- yuk!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

albaug trip photos

amit and me

mayuri and me on the tree

samiras mad house

mayuri and anushree and the window where mayuri sees women in white at night

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

paro's question / test

the other day over a lunch at andheri east- chole bhature at ‘gulatis’- paro asks mukul and me which is out all time favourite hindi film song- doubtless to psychoanalyze our deep dark repressed desires through the choices we made.

her song was some obscure thing from ‘mere jeevan saathi’..

mukul knowing her devious motives chose ‘maine poocha phoolon se hason to who khil khilakar has liye..’ but then settled for some pregnancy song from navrang (his sandhya obsession) or ‘jane kya tune kahin’ from ‘pyaasa’ (waheeda rehman)

me? on the way back from alibaug i remember my hair standing up on end to hearing lata sing ‘allah tero naam’ from ‘hum dono’ and that flirtatious classic from the same film ‘abhi na jao chhodkar ke dil abhi bhara nahin’.

i wonder what paromita the analyst thought when i told her that.

mom refuses to choose, ranjit says 'is mod se jaate hain' from 'aandhi'.. and dad says ‘raina beeti jaaye’ .. you wanna join in?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

“dekho tv tumse kya keh rahaa hain!! “

“dekho tv tumse kya keh rahaa hain!! “

a classic one liner..

cleavage revealing village belle lara dutta in jhansi ki rani mode desperately attempting to rouse the villagers to revolt by alluding to kishan bhagwans’ monologue to arjunji as interpreted by b. r. chopras’ mahabharata..

and on the garlanded television kishanji smiles beatifically on..

from apoorva lakhia’s well meaning but tedious “mumbai se aaya mera dost”..


shriya - shyam and deepas adorable daughter

Monday, May 16, 2005

martha wainwright

if ‘bloody mother fucking asshole’ is really about her father then martha wainwright might have written the pop music equivalent of sylvia plaths’ daddy. bitter, sharp, angry, edgy - on first listening the album seems miles away from the lush melodrama of her brothers’ work. while rufus’ world is one of beautiful boys, hazy morning-afters and sinful pleasures, marthas’ is one of messy heartbreaks, desperate desires and the violent urge to define herself directly and honestly.

on multiple listenings however, they are closer than i thought- though marthas’ sources are somewhat different- country and folk rock- while rufus sources everything from classical music to big band- the faith in the pop song as a work of art stays the same. the crafted arrangements, the careful wordplay and the brilliant singing.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

the medallion

why give jackie chan who is anyways awesome enough a plot which confers upon him superhuman powers through a magic medallion given to him by a turbaned child? (whose name is jai.. is that an indian name- or just generally eastern enough for hollywood to be satisfied)

it takes away from the awesomeness that he is anyways capable of and makes him instead just another matrix character flying strung from wires or speeding about in fast motion. we have keanu reeves for that- don’t need another.

the virgin in the garden

the heroine of the first of the quartet of novels by a s byatt is a teenager who reminds me of a few girls i know- fiercely independent, intelligent, well read- who are able to see themselves constantly as performers in a case study of a greater theoretical premise. they know the theory and critique it through the practice of their own lives and seem torn between the complex emotions that they genuinely feel and the analysis of the reasons for them that they have heard through second hand sources.

to all of us who were too dim in our teens they might seem precocious, sometimes annoying for throwing in our faces the facts of our own incredible ignorance; but I think this discomfort might lie in the unease that we have with women who exude power in domains that we consider the prerogative of the male.

like all the other byatt books i have read, beautifully written, modes of language are flirted with ridiculous ease; the descriptions of the everyday are painstakingly detailed and tiring and the character sketches are spot-on; extremely literary the book is difficult, long and rewarding.

day trip to alibaug

it felt good to get out of the city even if it was only for a day when amit mayuri anushree and me got into the car on a drive where ella fitzgerald kept getting played even on shuffle mode. we got to alibaug ostensibly to take a look at the houses vandana is building in alibaug.

alibaug is really strange with tons of rich peoples' large designer estates in the middle of tiny villages that seem unaffected by them. vandanas contributions to the landscape were simple low rise, far flung homes with sloping roofs and laterite clad walls that stood amid the barrenness that summer brings to the area. samira's mad mariwala house was just next door with its metal barrel double heighted living room and its other whimsical eccentricities that may seem awkward to conventional eyes. i loved the ‘meditation room’ – the metal container from where you look upon the woods.

whats it with kihim beach? absolutely no places to eat. after attempting unsuccessfully to find a beach side restaurant we ended up at some place called ‘windmill’ for lunch, bumped into ameya from the first year, debated the relative merits of bar dancing (i was for it while anushree was against) and came back home after a detour that involved mayuri and me on a low hung branch over a flowing canal, amits incessant photography with nishesh's digital camera, cut watermelons and mirchi and salt on cucumber.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

how did the big bang bang?

q: how did the big bang bang?

a: two parallel universes in the form of membranes; postulated under ‘m’ theory after the 11th dimension was added to string theory from supergravity when a crisis emerged with strings vibrating in 5 different ways; collided with each other while oscillating or rippling. the stars were born when these ripples merged and separated.

ah… i see… this is the theory of everything.. Fabulous mumbo-jumbo to me, I wish i could imagine the dimensions or the membranes.. its like some strange spiritual speak that could very easily be coming out of the mouths of a new age guru.. what has happened to science.. and where was I sleeping when this was going on?

ps: my father, cynical as always, says that was a masterpiece of ‘k u b’ – or ‘kaise ullu banaya’ – his theory of the real world- only three spatial dimensions- add one for time. though i know that he secretly always believed in the 'nth dimension'

courtesy: space and time on bbc horizon: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2001/paralleluni.shtml

Friday, May 13, 2005

the attack of the clones

lucas george overrated is.. clones the attack watching i am tv on.

someone please explain to me why does everyone good and clever speak in a shuddh american twang and everyone evil or stupid a caricature of some ethnic stereotype.. except yoda the wise who speaks in inverted sentences oops- sentences inverted speaks in who.

i have never been a star wars junkie- so i find these prequels to be neither disrespectful of the earlier trilogy nor am i blind to the fact they are pretty much awful.

basically bad teen action films with every caricature and cliché possible, set in locations typical to those films like an american diner, or a mansion, or a mobile home- all rendered in bad overpriced animated set design. the action scenes and the costumes look like they were imagined only to be franchised in merchandise of various forms- mcdonalds freebies with value meals or video games.

i am glad i did not fall for the hype and pay good money to see this in the theater. am going to be more glad if i am able to avoid ‘the revenge of the sith’ too.

be with me, may the force.

and is that ayesha dharker in a one scene role playing the queen? real hollywood breakthrough, eh?

characters volume three: meet aaji

leela bhat (once leela ketkar).. wife of the late yashwant bhat- my grandparents on my mothers side.. once residents of the dusty small town of amravati near nagpur in a large red house (which i remember only through fragmentary images- like the large arched window in the living room, or the really dark interiors, or playing cards in the tube light in the evenings or the courtyard that it enclosed.)

mother of three children- usha- my aunt, anita- my mother and hemant- my uncle. as their children moved to mumbai the large red house soon was subdivided and sold as aaji and baba moved to a small flat easily accessible from both their son hemants’ and our places.

one of the original ngo women, aaji spends almost all her time imagining new ways of generating funding for a womens and childrens development organization in amravati- ‘vanita samaj’. they run a clinic and a school of the underprivileged and she is always looking for sources of funding. using every trick that grandmothers know to get their way- including emotional blackmail, anger, begging she manages to collect enviable amounts for the place. the entire family is involved in one way or the other in the collection of funds. i help in some of the letter writing.

when she is not collecting money for the vanita samaj she is busy imagining ways of getting all the grandchildren married. now that rahul (my elder cousin) is set, i am next in line and am a perpetual disappointment to her in not willing to tie the knot to some pretty marathi girl. though i remember falling for her powers of persuasion once and spending an evening walking anti clockwise 4 times around shivaji park with one eligible bachelorette making small talk about small things. since then i have suitably avoided any such situations sometimes awkwardly, sometimes skillfully.

an amazing networker, she is able to trace my family to the most obscure areas of the world.. she has already shown that there is absolutely every single state of the country represented in the far reaches of the branches of the family tree. my father insists that she will be able to show exactly how bill clinton is related to us is she needs to.

his '‘out-law’' he calls her.

great cook- as we all insist our grandmothers are, her speciality- at least to me- being the mango pickle that is packed in many jars in late summer for distribution to the family.

she takes a walk every evening and is flirted with by every man in the neighbourhood. one in particular being the young parsi man with tight shorts and t-shirt and a few labradors who insists that he is her boyfriend and calls her 'leela'- much to her amusement.

she loves the event of a ritual but does not care for the religious reason for its existence- secular, liberal, energetic, a lover of music, reading and culture as much as my grandfather was.

from the stories i hear it seems like there were musicians and books streaming through the amravati house perpetually. the stories also include snippets of a life in a small town- the dogs that were so devoted that they followed the car home from kilometers away, the well in the compound where everyone learnt swimming by being thrown into the pool by her brother who lived close by, and so many more.

i have a strange proxy nostalgia for all of these images that i have never experienced myself but can see the spaces where they happened. i love the stories- i make them part of my heritage.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


the screening room

yesterday was the birthday of the alternative film venue- vikalp. i don’t know how many of you know of the genesis of vikalp- but it was born when the official film festival rejected a number of films that were controversial in nature- that spoke about the gujarat riots, etc.

as a reaction to this, film makers decided to start an alternative film festival just opposite the ravindra natya mandir where the official film festival was taking place in a building called the ‘bhupesh gupta bhavan’. this building i am sure has some strange history which has led to it becoming an icon in the left-wing world of the city, with che guevara posters, etc. this building was also the center of the world social forum in mumbai. anyways, all this low cost left wing ness is not very comfortable. the ‘auditorium’- if you can call it that is this multipurpose room where makeshift arrangements are made to see the films. it is extremely hot and the sound isnt very good. in spite of all of this, the auditorium was full and the films were all interesting.

paro commiting hara kiri after the screening

the controversy around the development of the mill lands was covered by more than one film, ‘a tale of two cities’ was one – pretty much straightforward issue documentary, madhu’s amitabh bachchan film was i guess also looking at similar issues but with far more sophistication and humour. there were two films made by the children of mill workers that were also shown- one about hair cutting saloons in the area and another about the impending demolition of the only marathi language theater of the area ‘bharat mata’.

paro showed two films – one on the mill lands and another on the new trend of 'vegetarian only' high rises in south mumbai with her and renuka shahane dressed up as godesses by tushar. hmm.. and then there were the others.. a film on dhol players living off azad maidan (very interesting), one two shot film about ‘what goes around comes around’ ('right here, right now'), one nri tribute to his mother by showing how samosas are made (?) and one black and white film noir tribute that looked like it was american- ‘the incredible shrinking woman’ which according to me was trite. the last film was on the slum demolitions mentioned in an earlier post- but it was so hot inside i could not wait anymore and spent most of the film outside in the slightly less sweltering lift lobby waiting for the film to end.

later cakes were cut and birthday candles were blown before which i emotionally blackmailed kalpit into contributing to abeers collection box for the continued survival of ‘vikalp' and am asking all of you to do so too. hopefully they will afford air conditioning one day- but will it be politically correct? will we feel the trauma of mill workers if we are not sweating, i wonder. am i being too flippant? have we lost our sense of humour?

a 'go vikalp' cake

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

'the war of the worlds'

the hollywood highly anticipated film of the year- i have to join in the fray. steven speilberg and tom cruise team up after the exciting 'minority report' to redo h g wells' 'war of the worlds'.

hopefully it wont wallow in the speilbergian sentimentaility that pissed me off so much in 'schindlers list' or in 'saving private ryan'. no matter... we still have to go see.. slaves that we are- to the cult of the hype.

a section of the highway

anything that grows in the way of speed must die on the western express highway. entire chunks of hills, fully grown trees and the homes of slum dwellers have been sliced into clean halves by the clean hard lines of efficiency, leaving the unoffending parts standing. like section lines in a drawing.

i wish these were better photographs but this is all that a camera phone out of the tinted glass of a maruti zen speeding at 80 can capture- after all it is for my comfort that this devastation is necessary.

cafe olympia

lunch at café olympia on colaba causeway in between meetings. the classic irani hotel. double height with a mezzanine, marble topped tables, wooden furniture with decorative glass. and great food.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

the view from the window of the living room

sara din sarabhai

on star one- i have spent almost all of my waking sunday watching the back to back episodes of 'sarabhai vs sarabhai' - a mothers day special on star one- the yellow washed new star channel. i am watching a hindi sitcom regularly, i think after decades. a comedy about 'high society' and 'so- middle class' values.. i am just so 'downmarket' nowadays.. the show is great fun.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

assorted asides

Besides the heritage presentation meeting on Wednesday the other big meeting of the week was the academic council meeting today which never fails to give us all in the school trauma- if only for all the paper work we have to generate to prove that we do actually do some work in the school.

We presented the status of the three design cell projects - the juhu market proposal, the aga khan housing study and amisha presented the sustainability of commercial buildings project. Long and packed with so much tension these meetings are even though there is nothing really to get tense about.

Also this week saw the final Thesis presentations of the leftovers of Ateyas Class. Eshraj, Nehal, Noella and my very own Khyatee and Kiran Kolhe. Khyatees rather well made annex ot the Opera House got into a controversy because she did not 'respect' the earlier building enough. Kirans project suffered from a severe lack of architectural skill. I wish I had a photograph of Khyatees model.

The office refrigerator is still largely empty and amit keeps taunting me about it. I am going to get some bread an butter and keep it in it to make him happy. Meanwhile, our phone from MTNL has not yet arrived and Mukul completely blew his top at the smiling obsequious man who came to solve the problem. Letters to the press have been threatened. Hopefully, that should make someone act a little more quickly.

Meanwhile my swimming plans seem destined to fail. Every evening on my way back I plan to go to the club to swim and reduce the burgeoning ponch that makes my mom so livid. This week when I got there the pool was invaded by the crew of a 'd' grade hindi film with tara sharma and 6 other swimsuit clad babes.. three bikinied blondes and three slightly more clad desis.

I had to retreat to the lap pool where throngs of kids were learning to swim, until the film crew followed me there for the beauties to pose seductively under waterfalls. I should have tried out for a role as an extra- maybe I could have then finally been able to get a dip. But I don’t think I will look good in a two piece.

‘hum to tere aashiq hain’

the stage

the audience
the brand new theater in borivili is the probodhankar thakery auditorium with its enormous terrace from where u enter the auditorium. the terrace is fantastic to wait on and watch throngs of hard core marathi middle class families come out for their cultural evening out. the interior of the auditorium is all wood and air conditioned. very plush.

this week our cultural evening was when madhavi mami, mom and me went for ‘hum to tere aashiq hain’- a play that i was told is extremely funny and entertaining, having won loads of different highly respectable awards.

the play was formulaic froth about the travails of recently married couples with the usual one liners about the laziness of men or the cantankerousness of women, except in this case the man was hindu and girl muslim- the big twist being that the differences that emerge between them are not because of their differing faiths. and this rather conventional story was told in a school play idea of entertainment by inserting hindi film song interludes to entertain and a sutradhar who told the story while participating in it. very disappointing.

the cast was generally ok, except for this guy called jitendra joshi- who i had seen earlier in a play called ‘mukkampost bombilwadi’ where hitler loses his way as he is flying from japan to germany and lands in a coastal town called bombilwadi. that play was hilarious and joshi was fantastic. another place i have seen this guy is a show on zee marathi called ‘campus- a fair war’- a half hour piece where every week he profiles people and events in different colleges across maharashtra. with an absolutely great sense of timing, a chaplinesque physical humour and sensitive and intelligent approach, the show is extremely entertaing because of him. the best host of a how on tv right now- i think.

Friday, May 06, 2005

copper pod and laburnum

copper pods at gorai

laburnums on the highway

and suddenly all over the city now there are golden flowers everywhere you turn. copper pods and laburnums. sweltering heat, clear blue summer skies with white tufts of clouds and bright yellow flowers.

the rain trees are dark and gloomy with delicate pink buds. waiting for the fiery gulmohurs to bloom.