Monday, September 29, 2008

link road metro protest

this on the local public toilet on link road at kandivili protesting the metro yard that is going to 'squash' the locality under it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

the thursday in town

showing ujjan and arunav the sights of the city that include bkc, dharavi, dadar parsi colony, phoenix, haji ali, ambani house, marine drive and the fort in quick succession. the only real bombay ujjan saw was in marine drive... :) bought a camera next from reliable in bora bazaar. canon eos. this is the first shot.

later at mohammedali road with the help of antoine's gastronomical expertise ate succulent kiri, boti, kaleja on side streets anf walked underneath the flyover to minara masjid for malpua and baida roti. lovely.

phone cam


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

bombay/delhi again

the bombay delhi debate again and this time within the studio. not really a debate, more of a discussion, as the spa faculty and students are here for a week long exchange with our 3 semester masters students. arunav showed us the results of the concentration of power in the hands of a few in delhi. as national capital a national pride is summoned up as justification for the most gruesome evictions. first the asiad games, then the commonwealth and somewhere it is whispered the olympics are next. these events are used as reasons to clean up the city of everything that is seen as unwanted- or unaesthetic. today a slum along the river tomorrow a riverfront promenade. the master plan is the apparatus of planning the city. but it stays far above the everyday realities of the needs of the citizens. these have to find ‘illegal’ methods of finding space within the city. as long as it does not mar the unspoilt wide roads that separate more than connect the various fragments no one seems to bother. it is this distancing that i found so incredible. arunav said that as delhi wants to recreate itself as a global city it has to find ways to attract investment. but being so top heavy a system the only way it can do it is by top-down brutality. being so used to the insidious cunning of the developer lobby in mumbai i was pretty struck by that shameless brute force. Considering the difference between the two cities I cant help but believe that The spa course can afford its classical urban design bias while we in Mumbai absolutely cannot. but this is the kind of development that the middle classes seem to favour. this urge for a fascist dictator who will make everyone fall in line and create that simpler sweeter utopia where their children can run free and safe in green fields with butterflies. it is no wonder then that the hero of the middle classes is narendra modi. then there is the supreme court that seems to have decided it is the executive power in deciding the directions of development across the country- and for mumbai. first it was the mill land verdict, then the overturning of the 33/9 cess building case in favour of the builder, then it says that it is unrealistic to imagine sez’s (in spite of farmers complaining) only on non-fertile lands. according to today’s headlines it looks like it is heading to overturning the rights of slum dwellers in favour of the original property owners. the avenues of new delhi only seem far away from the slums of mumbai.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

i'm not there

as soon as you pin him down, he’s not there. fickle, sardonic, irreverent and honest. this is a mad warped maybe too-clever-for-its-own-good biopic of sorts that i loved. 6 actors play different versions of the man- each a different characteristic from a young black runaway kid, to cate blanchett’s spot on impression of the electric dylan to richard gere as the rebel in hiding billy the kid. heath ledger and christian bale play glam struck film star and moralistic poet- folk and gospel singer respectively. sick as i am of art that targets the usual suspects lined up (finger pointing art is what a dylan says at some point of the film- and he has only ten) i am glad that sometimes the finger is pointed at an earlier version of himself. i wish there were more like him- willingly rebelling against all expectations of what he is supposed to be or say. the rebel rebels when art is supposed to serve society by preaching messages to help improve society or when art exists only for its own sake. and while listening to the songs again i remembered again that are still beautiful brilliant incredible. i was on the verge of tears too often. maybe my dylan phase begins all over again.

photo post

avon panorama / juhu beach / new studio tables / fourth and third year students / council conference at rang sharda / oberoi mall saturday evening

old friends

i got in touch with him again. we were close once- ages ago- when we were both teenagers hanging around on the steps of karnataka bank watching the crowd go by; or the ‘i will sacrifice my love for our friendship’ that made me giggle like crazy when he fell madly in love with k; or that night when my father gave him coffee in the middle of the night before his mathematics 12 standard examination and found him writing the name of his love all across the notebook. it had been at least 12 years since i had heard from him last- and that was when after moving out of town he was supposed to have done a course in some australian university. he vanished after that. i remember reading his last email crouched over the computer in our apartment in greenbelt wondering who the japanese girlfriend was. i have tried to get in touch with him for a few years now. the remainder of his family here in mumbai has ostracized the other branch. and my phone calls to the number i had were unanswered. the other day i ran a search on google and found one entry- and that too in one strange website for networking of someone with the same name in hyderabad. it had to be him. too many coincidences- and so it was. it was good talking to him again though tinged with some kind of sadness that i could not place. and i still cant. he has had a turbulent life that cant even be described here that has left him scarred but not out. somehow he has managed to put something together now and is looking to get married this december. though he is older than me i have always felt like i needed to take care of him. and not being there as he was going through the tumult of the last decade makes me feel like i failed him in some sense.

mamma mia . washington dc . euro trip

‘mamma mia!‘ the joy of pure fluff- that too fluff from your teenage years. not that i was ever an abba fan (or that i still am) but it would be churlish to deny the mindless effervescent fun of a ‘dancing queen’ (turned here into a feminist anthem of sorts) or a ‘take a chance on me’ - even though the lyrics are less than schoolboy poetry- broken feathers that need to be put together and other such nonsense. the silliness of the 80s is my kind of nostalgia – taking broken wings and learning to fly again- but when its meryl streep- by far one of the most beautiful women i have seen on screen- i am an abba fan.

in gore vidal’s ‘washington dc’ i kept the company of scheming politicians and publishers from two families in the war and post-war years of the united states. its part of his ‘narratives of empire’ series i found out and now, completionist that i am, i need to read the rest.

and on tv ‘euro trip’. terribly patronizing american film about 4 teenagers in search for a good time in europe. horrible.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the hole. kharghosh

the breach of a boundary in between two apartments in a dank decrepit apartment building in taiwan opens up the possibility of tenderness between strangers. there is absolutely no outside to this world of interiors where the rain pours in and novelty songs that mimic american 1950’s musicals are performed with glee. meanwhile over the television set- the only window to the world outside – dire warnings are announced about the end of the world as water runs out and a fever grips the population that turns them into roaches.

we went for the premier of kharghosh at a preview theater in fun republic. a young boy scurries in between a handsome young man and his lover carrying letters to and fro. along the way he grows up too. i loved the scene where we walk behind the girl as she steps down to the men waiting for her; and the green room that opens out suddenly to golden fields and a forest.

Monday, September 15, 2008

vasai wedding

amit gangadharan, our neighbor got married last sunday all the way in vasai. the roads to there were so bad that we got lost and missed the shaadi at the temple but managed to make it for the reception on the first floor of a rcc frame sabhagruha with photographs of dead gujarati men and women staring down at us. why would you choose to be remembered for posterity with any of these expressions on your face?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

white tigers

i killed time in inorbit waiting to drive to kurla to pick mukul up yesterday. on the streets and the edges of the mall i clicked photographs of so many of aravind adiga’s white tigers. apparently docile, subservient and respectful to the men in the cars and the women on the cell phones; but inside resentful and angry, waiting for a bottle to break so that they can jab a shard of glass into someone’s throat. more power to them!(?)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

food porn

i did not know that ‘food porn’ was a well known term. i am anyway completely obsessed with cooking shows on tv. for someone who hates to cook this is truly a voyeuristic delight. no show titillates so much as nigella lawson’s. the close close ups of ripe fruits, luscious flesh, dripping syrup are all seduction with no hope for climax. and there is also her clipped british accent as she naughtily describes in loving detail the smell of and the texture of the blueberry pie, turns sideways and bites into the steaming hot freshly baked purple.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

confetti . agnes of god . the calcutta chromosome

confetti - reality show on theme weddings turned into film. all romantic fluff feel good end and along the way some silliness about tennis themed, musical themes and naturalist weddings. if it wasn’t so cute it would be nasty. But all it was is annoying. agnes of god – jane fonda plays psychotherapist to nun accused of killing her child- the son of ‘god’. a thriller which ends with a whimper because of a copout ending. the same happens in ‘the calcutte chromosome’ amitav ghosh’s dan brown type thriller about sinister doings by a cult group surrounding some blundering colonial doctors working on malaria. In both, the book and the film, it turns out that the battle between faith and science is always won by faith. and it is scary.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

some oberoi shots from the new phone

a wednesday

Disgruntled common cleans up the “cockroaches” of international terror and in the process hopes to give us all oppressed everyday people a hero who comes from us. All very well, but done before with a little more style and less political correctness in ‘dombivili fast’. I was put off then by the common man vigilante and was this time too. But I would have forgiven all if the film was better made. It had all the trappings of a good film but somehow the parts did not come together well. The acting was good, The aerial shots of the mill lands from where our terrorist has his high tech center of operations were spectacular. But the perpetual crane and track shots, The sound design that came with ominous whooshes and sudden thuds punctuating the action reduced the film to a Bombay version of a Hollywood action thriller with none of the adrenalin rush. Die hard badly done. With a moral at the end.

post traumatic stress party at gokul

indraprashta and a new phone

the first shopping mall in borivili that had an atrium. Does that make it a mall? Shops sell second hand cell phones, gorgeously decadent prints on clothes that spill out into the atrium’s landscape and decorate the ceiling.

on thursday i bought a new phone with a new camera opposite at the nokia shop. these are the final pictures from the old one.

ganesh on wednesday. john that evening