Wednesday, August 31, 2005

mukul's birthday; manek; bhupen; joss

monday was mukul’s birthday. the celebration was a nice long rather expensive dinner at a place called ‘joss’ at kalaghoda and it was japanese cuisine time. i just absolutely adore sake. its smooth, gentle, soft. i love the warm glow after a sip. its too bad we don’t get it that easily here. the sushi was an acquired taste that i quite liked after a while but was not totally kicked about. kuntal, nandita were with us and were both looking absolutely gorgeous- kb in his beautiful blue shirt and nandita in the glow that is supposed to envelop a pregnant woman.

we had also met them earlier in kuntals beautiful apartment at manek at malabar hill. now that is a great modernist high rise. the split level apartments, the view over priyadarshini park, the room with the wooden floor and walls, the spectacular stilt area with the early modern detailing, its too bad that the society has decided to wrap the lift lobby in some tacky italian marble. it was so much more beautiful earlier. kuntal’s house itself is wonderfully warm and comfortable. we lounged around on the carpet in the late afternoon light coming in through the curtains as kb and nb bickered like married people seem to so regarding the most mundane issues.

mukul and me however went by ourselves to the main event of the day- the opening of ‘bhupen among friends’ organized by chemould at the prince of wales art gallery.

i love bhupen khakkars work. i have found it to be violent, personal, entertaining and energetic. so have i guess a lot of people. his life and his work have gained the notoriety that can only be extremely good for the prices of his paintings, especially now that he is dead.

the “soiree” was an exhibition where some of the leading artists of the country had come together to create their own dedications to the man, his life and his art. the who’s who list was atul dodiya (whom tamal told me can be seen as the amitabh bachchan of the art scene- a series of busts of bhupen khakkar in different colours- rather spooky and a notebook which was distributed quite freely), anju dodiya (his wife- paintings on some embroidered cloth), sudhir patwardhan (whom i admire so much- some screaming distorted heads), nalini malani ( strange forms and figures painted on acryilic), nilima sheikh ( tiny lovingly detailed drawings), vivan sundaram (soft grey and white landscapes of words and figures) and ghulam sheikh (quite moving digital portraiture using bhupens work and photographs in collages and installations). of course there were many more. but these are the ones i remember off hand right now.

the work was interesting, so i thought.. not necessarily very moving- though not awful. the performance, on the other hand.. someone had this great idea of getting the artists to give 30 second dedications to bhupen. that was all right until when bhupen came alive in the form of a letter, supposedly written by him from heaven for all his friends, which was read aloud by a man wearing a red bow tie. the jokes and letters ranged form the juvenile to the pointless (so bhupen is very happy that yama raja is gay…) gay jokes? when did the so called intellectual elite of the city become the cast of an american pie movie? nalini said later that bhupen would have enjoyed the performance quite a bit- he did love his kitsch. so i guess i am much too eagerly political and need to lighten up a little- but i still found it silly.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

shriya's birthday party

yesterday was shyam and deepa’s daughter, shriya’s birthday party at shyams apartment down the street. kids of all shapes and sizes playing party games under confetti, eating a ‘noddy’ shaped birthday cake form monginis, playing making preity zinta married. the older kids sat in the bedroom exchanging war stories from the floods, eating biryani and catching up with each other- neighbors, old friends and those who were once enemies. john, mary and joanna were there too though joanna threw a tantrum (so much like her father J) and had to be taken home early.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

the disadvantages of car travel: looking up at the sky and agnelo

amits helmet

the world looks so different when you are outside the capsule of the car. for the past few days i have been moving around in alternative modes of transportation around the city. it is wonderful, it is strangely new. the same streets seem completely transformed.

today i went with amit to our ghatkopar site on his motorcycle. for a change i could see the sky above bright blue with white clouds, squinting in the sun and the wind, and being able to actually experience the city first hand. that’s the thing about a motorcycle. there is something so primal about it. speed and sound. even at traffic jams, all i had to do was to reach out and touch another auto rickshaw or car. the distance that a glass pane places in between was absent and the 360 degree view helps. above us all along the way were the suspended dahi handis of gokulashthami and many trucks carrying hordes of strapping young men in matching t-shirts and shorts: “mitr mandals” of different types, on their way to conquer, singing songs, beating drums.

the frame wall being filled

on the way back from ghatkopar i caught a rickshaw and the driver took me through a new road connecting andheri and ghatkopar. on the way i was entertained by the epic drama of his life.

agnelo was his name (albert for short) and he was brought up in an orphanage near the mills of parel after his drunkard father abandoned his entire family. he studied in the local convent till the eight standard when poverty forced him to get out of school. he then decided to go to karwar – his ‘native’ place to survive. barely being able to live there he was soon back in bombay, working in a dance bar and earning 15 rupees a day with which he used to buy a vada pao every night and sleep.

he finally made it big when the father of his church gave him a recommendation letter with which he got a job at the leela kempinski’s accounts department where he met a great many people who were generous and pleasant. they all loved him for his impeccable honesty (and for his good looks) especially a man who ended up being his mentor. this man, agnelo still looks up to and says he can give his life up for him.

the entire process of getting the job was another long story that i shall skip for this record. it involves a borrowed shirt, 5 rupees in his pocket and a ticket collector he pushed onto the tracks for catching him without a ticket..

anyways, these he says were the best times in his life. after 6years of working there however, he left because of what he called ‘management politics’. he still regrets that decision. he says that if he had continued he would be earning 15000 rupees a day. anyways, after that our hero fractured his hand and realized that he has no one to take care of him- cook him food, make his bed, and realized that a man needs a maid. he saw a neighbor of a cousin and asked if that girl would marry him. she agreed, surprisingly. but it seems that angelo used to be able to do 300 suryanamaskars in one day, so he was quite a hunk. so he got married and threw a party for a few of his friends with country liquor, whiskey, beer and a hired taxi as the wedding vehicle.

at that time, angelo had become quite the entrepreneur. he had two rickshaws and one motorcycle of his own, and things were looking great. however there was still no child in the family. the problem was solved when one rainy evening he was taking a couple huddled in the back seat of his rickshaw to ghatkopar station through aarey milk colony. in their arms was a tiny bundle of white cloth in which was wrapped a small child. thinking that agnelo was a bhaiyya the couple were discussing leaving the baby somewhere in aarey as it seems, she was the illegitimate daughter of the girl. the man had dumped her and left. the girl, from what he told me was a model and could not afford this stain on her image.

agnelo at that moment interrupted the couple in the back seat and told them that he would adopt the baby. they were initially shocked but then agreed. agnelo then took them to ghatkopar station and got ‘transfer of the baby’ papers made from a friend of his. the baby was signed over to him and no contact with the couple was to be entertained since that day. agnelo even shifted his house from where he was to chembur where he still lives today (he seems to have seen the fire station- thinks that i must have earned a lot of money with it- hah! little does he know).

when he got this little girl back to his house his wife was livid and asked him to give the kid back to the people he had got her from. but angelo refused. he decided instead to take care of the kid himself. she (for the kid was a girl) slept in the back of the rickshaw while he drove passengers form place to place. one day while angelo was watching tv and the baby slept on his lap he fell asleep and the baby was injured on her chin. though the injury was not severe, angelo’s hindu kannada wife got suddenly very emotional and broke down and cried. suddenly a new found love emerged in her heart and ellis, for that was her name, has not left her side since.

the marol church was where agnelo tried to get the girl baptized but the father was hesitant when he learnt about the fact that she was adopted. ‘there was paperwork that needed to be done” he said. agnelo stormed out and lied at the vakola church and got the girl baptized. since that day he has completely forsaken the curch. the girl is now 9 years old and goes to an english medium school. angelo says that she is extremely intelligent and good looking. he says it is because of her genes from a higher class.

it was an illness that shrunk him from the body builder he was to the rather scrawny man i met today. an illness of the liver that made him so weak, he was not sure that he would survive. he sold his rickshaws and his motorcycles for the doctors’ treatments. however, the money was still not enough. his mentor then gave him the money and finally agnelo got better.

today he drives a rickshaw that belongs to someone else in the eastern suburbs of mumbai and talks a lot to passengers who sit in the back seat.

agnelo's rickshaw

today i learnt one of the most important disadvantages of car travel- i would never have gotten to hear this story.

the event management school

the event management college continues its good work. every day something seems to be happening in college. something big and something essential. some highly vaunted event to inspire/ upgrade students. and do they appreciate it? who knows? but one thing for sure, it sure makes for very tiring days for us. and of course while all this madness is all around, the work front is also getting quite hectic, besides of course the fact that all the paperwork in the world.. car loans, tax returns, passport verifications.. all want time and energy spent on them.

as you can see, i am almost drowning in things to do. yesterday and today were expecially tiring. prabhakar bhagwat, landscape architect from ahmedabad whom samara had got to school showed us his work. some gardens and fountains, some golf courses and free standing walls.. it seemed pretty so-so until he showed his project at timba – where a stone quarry was completely transformed into a forest through a very gentle process. that was truly amazing.

office under way

after that amit, mukul and me went to the office to choose stone for the flooring. the tiling in way under way and it is not looking as bad as i had imagined it to be. might be habitable again soon. then a meeting at 6 at abha’s place for the street furniture at haji ali. mukul’s parents are here from delhi for a few days and we picked them up at the airport. i was so embarrassed with all the stuff from the office sitting in mukul’s car. i got home and prepared for my ‘who lives here?’ lecture to the second year theory of design course.

friday was probably more busy, after third year design studio, looked at vandana’s thesis students work, then the first year workshop opening. for those who don’t know, the first thing the first year does in school is a workshop the kausik handles with the help of a few final year students and the fellows. this year some spectacular things- a floating hand that opens and closes.. chinese fans that suddenly block the staircases, a wobbly staircase.. this workshop is absolutely amazing in the things that emerge. all preconceived notions in the new kids are broken. fabulous fun.
the first year workshop

at 5 was the opening of the ‘american roadside architecture’ exhibition opening and all of the faculty and students were around to see the photographs of the american vernacular and to eat the rather nice cheese sandwiches. i was so tired by the end of the day and was dying to get home. took a rickshaw home with aditya and mayur from the 3rd year.

the exhibition

and the commonwealth accreditation association inspection is now on the 4th, 5th and 6th of october which means that one month to put that gigantic thing together- the very thought is making me tired.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

'love film', 'ohayo'

it was a good day on sunday for movies. the first was ‘love film’. it was only on saturday that i was raving quite stupidly about how much i disliked the rather content less moody meanderings of wong kar-wai’s ‘in the mood for love’. though i found much to love in that film, the characterizations had left me completely cold, and besides feeling a little zoned by the perpetually intense atmosphere, i was quite cold about the film. i was just talking to mukul about just how different istvan szabo’s ‘love film’ was.

the movie follows a childhood love through the troubled history of hungary post world war 2 when it was taken over first by the nazis, then the russians and communist rule, and finally in 1956 when russia re-invaded it to crush the hungarian revolution. a love is separated across country lines and belief systems, while kata is in democratic france, jancsi decides to stay on in communist hungary. somehow jancsi gets an opportunity to visit kata across these lines.

the movie is divided into two clean halves, the journey to her and the time that they spend together in france. the story of their childhood is told through sudden non- linear flashbacks throughout the film. these memories are evoked through recurring fragments of voices and of images that occur throughout. i think the movie worked for me because it was able to contextualize the love. it was not only about two abstract beings in a space of beauty, but about real people who form a relationship in a charged political time. to me, this rang true.

ozu's ‘good morning’ is set in a tiny housing colony somewhere outside a large city in japan. in this community, there are four to five families who live in vaguely americanized japanese homes. the tatami mats, the screen doors are all present but in materials that are strange and new- ribbed glass, polyester, plastic. this disjunction between the two- a firmly rooted cultural tradition, and the power and the allure of the changing times seemed to be the main theme of the movie as the wave of a new economic system leaves its disturbing and fascinating imprints on the people of the community.

we see all of this through a charming and very funny story of two brothers who decide to protest their family’s reluctance to buy a television by not speaking at all indefinitely. while this is the central storyline of the movie, there are many others that run parallel and playfully alongside. all the characters seem like caricatures in a soap opera and behave as such and the jokes range from the subtle to the flatulent. i had no idea that ozu’s films could be so funny. in spite and because of the cuteness of it all (especially isamu- the younger brother’s ‘i love you!’ and his hand gesture to ask permission to speak), i loved the film.

the irony of it all is that the tv finally enters the house when the father realizes that he is going to need something to occupy his time after he retires. reminded me of robert venturi’s big gilded tv antenna on the old peoples home he designed in philadelphia.

Monday, August 22, 2005

new car

well.. more news.. there has been a problem with my back for the past few months- actually almost a year. the reason for the pain in the lower back and (sometimes) the neck has to do with the zen car seats .. so i think. a higher car will definitely help, and although the discussion has been on for a month or so regarding changing the car, things have finally taken shape over the weekend. mukul and me did the first reccy and dad mom and me went around yesterday..

in the running were the hynudai santro and the maruti wagonr for their higher seats as compared to the other small cars, but in the meantime we also saw the new fancy offerings from both companies.. the hyndai getz and the maruti swift. looks wise the getz beats the swift- so i think, the swift looking like a strange samurai to me. both were rejected because of cost and fuel efficiency.

so it was back to the boxes, because both the santro and the wagonr are rather squat. i found the wagonr a little odd in every way.. the strange horns at the top, the weird back.. and the santro seemed more stable and relaxed.. so the santro it is..

and suddenly we are now looking at a new car.. as of today, my good old 5464 zen is now no longer with me- in a flurry of activity the santro dealers have bought it and i am now carless for the next ten days until a white santro arrives.

Friday, August 19, 2005

'l’argent' . 'koyaanisqatsi'

robert bresson 'l’argent' was his last film. i think what i most admire of both ‘mouchette’ which i have written about earlier and largent is the taut simplicity of the story. there are no meandering meditations, or metaphorical diversions. held together by a tightness of narrative and frame, it is through the very carefully developed clarity that complicated ideas get expressed. the movies were both so ‘constructed’ i think will be the word. the central character in l’argent is a delivery man whose life gets completely destroyed when he unwittingly uses a forged note in a restaurant leading to resulting violence on him and by him. i was reading about him on the net and i found out that he uses ‘models’ rather than actors. there is a particular way in whish they are used in the film, carefully and minimally.. i was trying to avoid the word, for some reason- but there it is. minimalism.. it made the trauma of the narrative somehow less overtly emotional and far more intellectual. i don’t think we were supposed to relate to the characters as much as try and understand and analyse their motivations and understand our own morality and ethics through them.
i don’t trust and cant relate to a wide eyed environmentalism that exults about the purity of nature and wails at the evils of man’s intervention; that harks back to a time of cave paintings and the untouched beauty of nature. are we really that separate from nature.. are we not natural? americans seem to feel this guilt far more than we do. one hour and 27 minutes of wordless , except for philip glass’ soundtrack going koyaanisqatsi in a drone periodically.. of spectacular images of nature and urbanity all trying to wake humanity up to the ‘life out of control’ that we have created. the naivety of the argument was awesome.. not that there was anything that resembled an argument – just a simplistic one liner.. ‘nature is so beautiful, man is so ugly’.

just like most of hollywood shlock.. beautifully made and terribly stupid.

mangal pandey - the rising

the new aamir khan film is awful..
it is so awful that i sincerely believe that it can be used to turn same people into raving idiots if they are made to watch it more than once. a cliché ridden, overblown drama with absolutely nothing to redeem itself. you have a budget that is huge and a star cast to dream of. 4 year to make this piece of garbage?

the acting is at best terrible. aamir khan leads the mediocrity with a moustache that shows more emotion than him. if its pointing upwards he is proud and if downwards to the dharti he gave his life for it is either wet in holi or holy water or has just gone skinny dipping in the river with or without rani mukherji.. rani tries hard to do a madhuri mujra while rehman tries his hand at re-doing maar daala. the only thing notable about ‘vaari vaari’ is rani’s hand gesture going straight down like a knife on her chiffon clad cleavage. while the country was supposedly rising, cleavage, for sure, was falling. kiron kher, for gods sake! and the lesbian gypsy dancers from a remix video gyrating with aamirs moustache this time inebriated. and mangal himself, well, he came across as a complete dimwit. not as much as ketan mehta though who shows as much talent at hacking together a film as butcher with a hammer.

exotic india was in full bloom throughout the film.. the natives danced with their hands flailing in the air bare chested wearing dhotis in sepia.. it did not help much that we saw the entire film in flashback from the point of view of the despairing british officer who believes that he is the reason for mangal’s stupidity..

we all came out in excruciating pain, howling for mercy especially after hearing kailash khers incessant nasal high pitched title track going ‘mangal mangal mangal mangal mangal mangal ho’.. rani in a turban on a horse wielding a sword at the end was i think the last that we could take.


the godavari ghats

i have always had a particular affection for the city with its clearly comprehensible structure, its vibrant godavari ghats and its newly developing areas with typical bungalows and apartment buildings at the fringes of the city. it must be because through my architectural career i have been part of two studies that concentrated on the city. the first was a nasa (national association of students of architecture) study that i was part of when i was in the 4th year of architecture at lsr. my first ‘urban’ study, as it was. we did not win the competition but i still insist it was the best study of the bunch that we saw at bhubaneshwar. the other was when i was a teacher for ninad’s class in the second year and we went to the city on a study trip. naturally, the throbbing activity of the godavari ghats ended up being the site for a highly controversial project. the stories that came out of that project are legendary.. sunil thavre’s ‘open to sky from the side’ story or the north signs on elevations that he actually tried to explain and justify to suneet who was towering above him in his threatening manner.

i love the godavari ghats. anything happens on them. though filthy and very disorganised, i love the fact that auto rickshaws as much as bullocks are brought there to be washed, people pray, people sit- and this time the river was full and flowing.. kids were frolicking in the water.. very exotic india and i fell for it all.. i am wary of rejuvenation that bureaucrats will carry out in the area in the bombay beautification mode, flower pots and lighting schemes. the cleansing of the chaos will probably destroy the madness that i love so much..

anyway, this time we had gone for a completely different reason. the entire family was to be entertained at yashwant mama and amods place on the road form nasik to sinnar where they have their rubber molding factory. over the past 12 years their family has hit the big time and made a lot of money, built a big house with 11 foot high ceilings and kota floors, with two cars, and it was about time that we all saw it. the pretext for the gathering was meghana’s ‘kelwan’- a meal that the family of a girl is supposed to give her before her marriage. as a result even the poor in-law to be ashish was dragged into the event where the men guzzle alcohol incessantly in the darkened outsides of the house while the women sit and talk in the lit interiors of the kitchen and the living rooms. this gender division is rare in my family but always seems to happen at these extended family reunions.

'license no 1' claims to be the first shop to have a license to sell alcohol in the country- 1857 the date

pramod and hemant mama admiring the quota for one night

three cars left with three people each on saturday morning- i bunked school for this. mom, dad and me in one, hemant mama, madhavi mami and aaji in the second and dharmu mama, nikhil and usha maushi in the third. the entourage met at ‘midway park’ somewhere on the highway for breakfast and then proceeded together to nasik. yashwant mama, asha mami and amod were very hospitable and generous- great meals and lots of alcohol. we were shown around the gorgeous house and important details of effort pointed out with great care.

nikhil and me shared a room the first night in a rest house overlooking the main road ‘shalom’ it was called. the next night we had to move as dharmu mama needed a room for himself and it was the 4 bachelors anand, ashish, nikhil and me, that ended up sharing later. this discrimination against the unmarried must be stopped!

the house

"the lovable belled vehicle"- translated from marathi collects garbage every morning from yashwant mama's house

the first evening was more alcohol and drunken revelry, will someone please explain to me this urge for intelligent smart men to become silly slobbering idiots by drinking oneself into a stupor every afternoon and every evening that men have? i don’t understand it- i guess i am just a boring superior shy snob. anyways, i was not the only one who got annoyed at all the nonsense.. the women as a whole seemed also pretty pissed off, especially the so called guest of honor- meghana.. who admitted to being a grouch at these events.

where sita was kidnapped..

outside the house where sita was kidnapped

religious books at the kalaram temple

the next day was even more sight seeing. in the morning a small group of us took off for the old town for the kalaram temple, the sita gupha and the ghats. i surprised myself by remembering the roads. nasik, by the way is supposed to be the place where ram spent his years in vanvaas. sita gupha is where ravana came and kidnapped her. the place where she was supposedly lifted from is not a little house in a vada style with strange plaster of paris depictions of the event. directly opposite is this weird temple in a cave. you enter through a building that looks like a residential building and enter the shrine through a tiny tunnel leading you downwards. inside a three claustrophobic chambers connected by narrow doorways and staircases, the first with ram, sita and laxman, the second with a tortoise and the third with a shiv ling. the kalaram temple is a mammoth hunk of black stone with hardly any decorative work.

the ketkar women (and the variants) at the sinnar factory

the shop floor..

after we got back to the hotel and had a meal of dosas we headed for the planned excursion to sinnar to admire the factory of rubber, which was very impressive. what was more though was the ‘gargoti’ museum. some dude has decided to make a museum in the nowhereness of the sinnar midc estates dedicated to natural minerals, especially those found in the maharashtra region. amethyst, gold, silver, quartz, etc. exquisite colors and forms, amazing structure. bought me a bunch of stones- could not help but fall for the hype.

the kitschy statue in the atrium of the museum.. the world is mapped on the roof

stone.. minerals..

puran polis and whiskey for lunch.. so we left immediately after – 5 of us and drove though the old town again before ending up at a movie theater, a marathified fame with sabudana wada instead of chicken sandwiches. ‘mangal pandey- the rising’ is a crime. it is so awful that it deserves a separate post.
the guests of honour.. madhavi mami, meghana, ashish, hemant mama, anand

mom as the madam of ceremonies

the spoken word skit- with aaji leaning to listen

back at the party place, amods house the real event had begun, naturally with some more whiskey and vodka. women of the family put on a great show. the spoken skit that sunila maushi, viju maushi and maushi put on was a blast and then, as usual, everyone performed, except the kids who sat on the side and watched. i did a bit of dancing with amod, and was pretty much aghast at his bawdiness.

the khardi house

on the way back, the entourage stopped off at hemant mama’s khardi plot where a small shack has been built. the site is spectacular in the rains, green with a stream flowing through. naturally, i got allergic to something in the air and with eyes water and sneezing left for mumbai as soon as the booze got out of the cars.

three city views

carter road, bandra from abha's house
south bombay with shreepati towers- the tallest building in mumbai from dina mehta's house at nana chowk
colaba causeway from shai heredia's house

Thursday, August 18, 2005

a long break

enforced though it was by net connections that refused to work at home ( finally fixed yesterday by anand and iqbal); and also by college computers that decide to hang or crash as soon as i have finished typing a really long elaborate post on the past few days.

there is so much that has happened since the last post.. the long weekend in nasik, babu's new babys photographs, college restarting, mariam dossal's lecture, and three films that i need to practice writing about much to the annoyance of a large bunch of the readers of my blog.. so, i dont know where to begin..

i think i will wait for today evening to see whether my nasik post can be retrieved from the computer lab before i try and type it again.. so expect another longer post later.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

retiling . crawford market . nagdevi street.

the evil fungi spreads ...

... eating into the walls

the retiling of the office (its becoming a bathroom almost as we tile from floor to celing some of the external walls and up to 3 feet on the other walls) is under way. there is fungus everywhere and the walls are peeling the plaster so forgive the necessary evil when you guys come to see it.

sindoor for the interior

then yesterday amit and me went to south mumbai to buy infill for sujeesh and bindu’s frame wall. very entertaining day. walked around in the narrow streets of the ‘native town’ . streets specializing in all kinds of materials and goods. bought some totally funky things.. decorations for a party, smiley faced balls, coloured bottles and a bell near mumbadevi temple.

'iku' . 'un chant d’amour'

it was monday that mukul got two films from sarvodaya.. one awful – that we gave up in ten minutes, and the other probably one of the best films i have seen.

‘iku’ was an 'experimental' futuristic cutting edge sci-fi animation porn film with pointless sex (not that that was unusual) but unbelievably boring (which was).

‘un chant d’amour’ is a 25 minute black and white film- completely silent except for a great soundtrack made by french novelist jean genet. the only film he made and if you have to do just one thing in your life – you must do it like this. i don’t think i have seen eroticism or longing portyrayed on screen that powerfully especially in the scene where the two men smoke a cigarette through a hole in a wall.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

updates: homes, tushar, juries, parties, butterfly effect

its been a long time since i posted anything on the blog. that does not mean that nothing has been happening of course.. as the blog is supposed to document even the most mundane but as this post comes after a really long time, i must use this one merely to record as best as i can the weekend that passed.

friday: after unsuccessfully trying to give my car for servicing at sai services, andheri (they were dealing with the post flood car victims), mukul and me drove in his car to shai heredia’s huge apartment in a building overlooking colaba causeway.. ‘lucky inheritance’ she was saying. it must be strange living directly on the causeway. while for me it was always a place where only strangers exist, for her it was very different. she had stories of druggies she knew, the shopkeepers, the foreigners who lounges in the various back streets of colaba. quite a scene from that ‘shantaram’ book that everyone seems to have a copy of. met these two giggly girls there who work with her, one of whose mother is the director of vjti and live (she says) in a haunted house on the campus.
tushar's train compartment commuter travel enabler

tushar was having his opening at chemould on the first floor of jehangir and that was the primary reason mukul and me had come into town. it was his first opening since i have known him. there were about 5 or 6 pieces- paintings, installations, a movie and a web site, and tushar himself was in uniform. ‘unicell’ was the organization that claimed to create commuter enabling systems like footrests for people who hng on to the trains, etc. everyone was there.. sen kapadia, atul dodiya, madhushree, paro, sharmila (naturally), kausik and mohua, neera and arvind adarkar, tamal (whom i was meeting after years). i find chemould claustrophobic even when there are just 4 people in the room so a bunch of us sat on the steps outside smoking and nursing our drinks watching people go in and out and bitching about almost anything. the post-opening party was at a zhunka bhakar turned restaurant at the foot of the world trade center at cuffe parade. the entire bunch of people descended there having drinks from madhushree’s car and sitting in the pavilion like seating overlooking the empty parking lot gossiping and flirting.
mukul and tamal outside chemould

mukul and me left early for the party at velocity at tardeo. i never liked the space anyways, but this time it seemed even more tacky. double height space with the bar at one end and a stage. the music was all this revved up bollywood. nilima and her friend, mukul and me danced for a while and left soon after. alok and doc were there too and so was sushil madgaonkar whom we had just left at cuffe parade.

saturday: the big third year jury that started in the morning on friday restarted at 1 in the afternoon after the third year had its ‘journey of sewage’ film viewing. its turning out to be a very tough project. i think we will have to focus the students immediately into something very concrete soon.

sunday: mom, dad, geetu and me were invited over to dina and asif mehtas house for an all veg family lunch. the huge flat full of objects collected form all over the world is in a building right near ‘shreepati towers’at nana chowk - the tallest building in the city. spectacular views all over the city are now being interrupted by the newly reconstructed buildings courtesy section 33/7. aditya, their son, is doing his finance at ut, autsin with a minor in urban studies and played sim city 6 hours a day. asif mehta’s father was a bjp councilor and has books by and on gandhi everywhere you looked. after lunch we all went shopping for a refrigerator for geetu at sony mony, andheri.

got home after picking up ‘the butterfly effect’ and mukkampost bombilwadi on vcd form just dream.

‘the butterfly effect’ started out great, with all the disturbingly violent imagery. was quite spooked. until they took a good idea and beat it to death. ashton kutcher could not stop going back to his past to change one small thing that he does so that he lives a new future. it got pointless and quite boring.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

'hulchul', shopping, prithvi

In ‘hulchul’ akshay khanna and kareena kapoor play start crossed lovers who are born into warring families leading to much ridiculous and silly humor and final reconciliation. Jackie shroff, arbaaz khan and paresh rawal play akshays brothers, suneil shetty plays kareena’s; amrish puri is the dad and arshad warsi- akshays best friend. the movie is full of misogynistic flatulent and juvenile jokes. Mom and me laughed intermittently and fast forwarded all the songs.

Yesterday after the first day of college when amit, saurabh and me finally got somewhere with the Bhopal competition; ak and me went shopping for clothes and shoes to shoppers stop, juhu. This latest addition to the chain is huge glass clad façade right in front of chandan cinema. While I bought me a pair of new shoes, amit went wild with shopping and bought a pair of shoes, two trousers and two shirts.

I must say that prtihvi café is all atmosphere in the evenings. A man playing the flute, hot irish coffee, the theater crowd and almost anyone with tendencies towards the “cultural”. Orange paper lamps, the kadappa benches, the intermittent bells from the show currently on, the blue tarpaulin on a bamboo frame.. as far as star-gazing is concerned , its like the hangout for the cast of the alternative set- stars of the new wave of “multiplex” films, who are big stars when they guest appear on tv crime shows,, makrand deshpande and kk menon – just yesterday.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

‘the serpents egg’

on the last day of the enforced holiday.. though i did go to college in the morning (like i did on friday and saturday) to check out if there was anything to be done. it was completely shut and juhu scheme still looked like a disaster. came back home and decided to watch on eof the bergman films that have been sitting at home for the past few months 'the seprents egg'..

it was the first film i have seen based in the berlin of the 1920’s that focuses not so much on the horrors of the holocaust but on the festering hatred that led to it. in bergmans film from 1977 a jewish aamerican trapeze artist and his sister in law are mourning the suicide of his brother when a strange series of mysterious murders begins to draw them into their web.

what starts off as a relatively straightforward story suddenly goes wild in the second half of the film as new facts reveal themselves about the clinic where they work and the man who gave them shelter. the movie touched upon the cold hard rationality of the pseudo-science that led to the systematic annihilation of jews and allowed human beings to be treated no better than cattle.

“in a serpents egg the transparent outer membrane can barely conceal the fully grown reptile inside.”

besides this fairly obvious explanation for the title, there were many more instances where instead of trusting us to understand bergman insisted on making the characters vocalize their emotions,’ i am feeling guilty’. nowhere here the innuendo and dense metaphors of ‘the seventh seal’- for me- losing something on the way and getting a little too pat and predictable. even the characters seem stereotypical. still definitely worth watching though if only for the last 20 minutes or so and the portrayal of the gradual build up of fear around the characters.

Monday, August 01, 2005

mukul as swami

amita kale in newsprint

now.. who cares anymore.. after a teaser campaign that went on for far too long which started out with people with duct tape over their mouths and ended with yuppies and other pretty people subscribing and old women and ugly people unsubscribing the dna newspaper is supposedly out. forget the bigoted snobbery that was so annoying in the campaign, right now i cant think of a single reason that i need to read what it has to say.

here is one of the last of the series that they have before release and amita kale (consultant poet activist) is not related to my dear friend amit kale (architect associate friend)

ps- whats with the glut of newpaper ads around anyway.. hindustan times, indian express, mumbai mirror, dna. do we really read that much in mumbai?