Sunday, October 23, 2005

amritsar to chamba

first post of the trip.. just to update everyone on the highlights- a more detailed boring description that will be (hopefully) lightened up with photographs later.
writing from the chamba hotel after a ride through wild flowers and fields; pine trees and barren mountains to dalhousie and then chamba. dalhousie was cold as hell and the mall road was a shopping spree for woolens. the way up and down had women puking every ten minutes.
yesterday was when i decided to live my twenties all over again when sachin, nikhil and me gave up our plan for a bicycle ride in amritsar and ambitiously rode 28 kilometers to the wagah border to watch the display of chauvinistic nationalism - dancing to 'mere desh ki dharti..', waving tricolours, bhangra on the streets, and lots of bharat mata ki jai. the rise was longer than we expected and though we had many breaks for food and photographs, we were exhausted by the end of it. on the way back, our bicycles were on top of a bus and us with them ducking in the evening light so that branches and electric wires dont cut our heads off.
the summer palace of ranjit singh is dark in the evenings and beautiful. the trees loom above you in the darkness spookily. the palace itself is tacky and needs lots of work. the road from the summer palace leads directly through the ram baug gate to the inner city and the golden temple. sachin, nikhil and me drove through many of these 12 gates - the gullies and the chowks on our trusty bicycle shired at a ridiculous price from an old sardarni near the bus stand. that night the three musketeers went swimming at 2 in the mornign in the amrit sarovar of the golden temple. cold water, cool breeze, the music was off and the temple was beautiful. the coffee afterwards was good too.
more later, i am tired now. see you guys..

Monday, October 17, 2005

the day of leaving

when everything that needs to be done has to be done in one day, it can drive you mad. the day started with a meeting with resul at 7.30 in the morning at his goregaon flat. in college all the odds and ends of the end of semester had to be sorted out; which included internship programs for the final year, thesis guides, third year studio programme, etc.. mukul on the highway and had lunch at thai ban.. then shoppers stop and bought some stuff for the trip. met amit at globus, went to ganesh’s house for a meeting. his son vinay, who studies law in bangalore was here too. then a kerala ayurvedic massage in borivili to set my nerves at ease. packing in 15 minutes- two light bags have been favored to one heavy bulky one. two books- the poetry compilation and 'soul mountain'.. nikhil, sachin and amita for company.. the train to amritsar is at 10 from borivili.. ‘the golden temple express’.. shall try to write from there.. shall be back in bombay on the 30th. see you guys then..

Sunday, October 16, 2005


learniing some bad habits from my family. high on two vodkas, chocolate and almond cake and a beautiful cuban cigar at satish uncles place today at lunch. smooth lovely. another family event celebrating new entrants - meghana's ashish, siddarth's jasmeet and adheem's sharon. a gujju boy, a sikh woman and a catholic from bandra. our tradition of secularism continues in the next generation. fun time.

thomas hardy

i have always found it very tough to read poetry, except for the michael ondaatje’s relatively easy image heavy poems and a few more exceptions. i bought the book ‘the harvill book of twentieth century poetry in english' after deciding that reading poetry was a skill i had to develop.

i started the book with some thomas hardy poems, which i found very often sickeningly romantic, as he perpetually pines for places and times when he was happier. this constant nostalgia for bygone eras and quest to find happiness in the past was not particularly appealing to me, even though i always thought that i was a little sentimental in nature.

still liked some poems though – ‘a broken appointment’ where he is accusing a lover who does not love him about not having the politeness to keep an appointment; ‘heredity’ in which he examines his features and traces them in the future and the past; ‘thoughts of phena’ about someone who died; ‘afterwards’ about how he hopes he will be remembered; ‘during wind and rain’ about the last days of a home.

a weekend round up of the semester end

the end of the vasai fort project with a jury of young architects from the city: sanjeev punjabi, kaif faquih, shantanu poredi and chirag jain. the kids had worked really hard this time and had fairly good sheets and good models for the jury. nice the work was and the externals seemed to like it too.

post jury i celebrated in a haze of hookahs and low light, satin seats and glass bead curtains at a “lounge bar” called ‘quilla’ near amboli. meghana, sonal, ranjit, amit, tejas and me- heady long island iced teas and inconsequential music with a sardar dancing solo on a smoky dance floor. soon we were there too.

i leave on monday for amritsar with the third year. study trip. which means more organization, inspiration, exhaustion.

meanwhile as i get older and jaded the debate rages on about the value that young people get within the school. i am all for them and their energies, while others feel that their immaturity can be dangerous… to whom to they form a threat, i ask?

meanwhile, naturally the pakistan plan has flopped, though as a concept it was relly useful because ofr achange i got all my paperwork in order- tax returns, lic payments- for which i went all the way to town on thursday after college. was not that pointless a trip though. spent itme at oxford book shop, bought sonal ‘a whistling woman’- a s byatt’s final novel about frederica potter; met mukul and amit who were also in town and had dinner with them at ‘candies’, bandra. candies is so gorgeous in the evenings. the christmas lights that twinkle above the terracotta floor and the wrought iron tables with painted tile tops. the food is not bad either.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

engagement - 'reflections'

yesterday evening nilesh and yogita got engaged yesterday in a “small” ceremony where a lot of people were invited. the hall was opposite shoppers stop in andheri, and the both of them were looking very happy; nilesh in his blue kurta with a gold dupatta and yogs in a fancy orange sari with matching bangles and necklace. all the couples were son being pestered by everyone around to get engaged immediately so that prasad could get a discount in buying the wedding gifts.

mukul came a little later and the two of us went to this preview theater in bandra- dimple- owned by the kumar gaurav family to watch bejoys’ debut 7 minute film: ‘reflections’ in which mohanlal daydreams of relationships with various women, one of whom was juhi babbar whom bejoy is currently seeing. the movie was all slick surface and the press was there to interview the boy though their cameras spent a lot of time lingering over juhi and her mother. mohanlal could not come. dinner was sizzlers at kobes.

happy dassera to all..

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

strange dream no 732

last night. a christmas tree in my room with shiny bright things that i am undressing. each of them gives out a ticking sound that scares me into running out of the house as i realise that each of them is a bomb. as i race out the tree explodes- every thing is still shaking as i walk back into the apartment only to find that nothing remains. i still can see the room, empty and barren, and can still feel the sadness of losing something beautiful.

against plurality

while reading 'recodings'- hal foster

in a world where all positions are valid, there is no right and wrong. this self conscious amoral embracing of anything in the name of plurality allows no critique. with everything having an equal value- nothing can sustain meaning. but how do i critique my own sense of the ‘good’ without being able to appreciate a different perspective?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

all that is solid melts into air : the experience of modernity

a book that makes so much sense in todays desperately shanghaiing mumbai.. an exploration into the meanings of modern life and the dialectic between the violent thrusts towards modernization and the urges of modernity; the book traces these forces in the work of goethe, marx, baudelaire; in the literature from the strange surreal city of st petersburg and in the devastating urban renewal projects of robert moses in new york. through it all marshall berman makes a case for celebrating the internal contradiction of the modern self and its power to resist and re-imagine itself through performance in the classic public realm: the street.

Monday, October 10, 2005

three dreams in one night

a long white bar like interior with rooms shaped like enormous teeth- glowing white pure as if made of light. i am skating free around these placing colourful eccentricities in the gaps- toys in red and yellow plastic- little homes and machines that move; or glittering mineral crystals that are supposed to bring luck. i am trying to involve shipra from the fourth year.

a grey hospital on a mountain that i can fold into my pocket. i live in a nomadic community with a few friends.. there is a tree that we carry around, along with reams of glass beads that we decorate the hospital building with; the tree forms the center of our nomadic community wherever we decide to set up base- we drag it behind our trailer.

for some unknown reason i am dancing behind usher as he races across bandra bandstand; everyone thinks he is a murderer but me. then i hug him and he disappears and becomes nikhil; who is sitting in a room outside my house breaking down and crying as he is accused of killing someone’s son.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

designer clothes - jigsaw puzzles - haircut inspiration - tax returns

shopping at inorbit on sunday – the only weekend while sonal is here. ritu kumar blouse and skirt for her- she looked lovely in them and also in a red jari speckled sari that was rejected only for being far too expensive to wear only for one day- the day being meghana’s wedding day in december.

at crossword mom bought a renoir 100 piece jigsaw puzzle that she is sitting in the living room trying to decipher right now, while i got me an anthology of twentieth century english poetry. i had carried my book to the barber today thinking i will get time to read while the dude cut my hair- but the guy was too enthusiastic and kept talking to me while he gave me a ‘captain marvel’ haircut- so he said… (he watches cartoon network to get inspiration for his styles- but the other guys prefer their 80s hindi potboilers) .. the head massage was intoxicating and a little tipsy i probably tipped him too much..

prabodh meanwhile has taken all my papers to file my returns in the hope that i will be able to apply for my visa to pakistan in the coming week. lahore from amritsar via the wagah border.. just next week? i am so unprepared.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

a description of my dancing

prerna chawla from the fourth year on her blog : "billy elliot meets saroj khan"

Friday, October 07, 2005

headphone dandiya

i am sorely disappointed by the court order to allow navratri celebrations till late at night; rather than until the 10 o’clock deadline that was set. first there was my irritation that such a deadline existed in the first place- such middle class, middle aged morality but now, besides the obvious annoyance at such a blatant example of favoritism towards a particular community (christians were not allowed to conduct midnight mass!); i am really pissed that i don’t get to see the wire free headphone dandiya i was promised by news reports. can you imagine these gujju boys and girls, dressed up in their finest, twirling around to music that only they hear? from reports (dishita from the third year) i heard that only little kids wear these headphones- sometimes.. too bad.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

a 'thank you' post

thanks to everybody who wished me on my birthday- from everyone who called- babu, shyam, sushma, paromita, nishesh, tejas, nilesh, yogita, paragi, kshama….. to everyone who sent sms’… fourth year students( every five minutes a new sms), madhushree…. and those who met me and wished me- saurabh, jude, lalitha, deepali, kausik, amisha, nikhil, supriya, dnyanesh, amol, .. and those that did not remember and whom i shamelessly reminded. thanks to the third year class ho embarrassed me (and sachin who shares the same birthday) by singing “happy birthday to you…” loudly in class at least four times intermittently in a dummy drawings jury for their vasai fort project that started at 8 and ended at 2.30.. what a way to spend the morning of your birthday. thanks to amit and mayuri for buying me that fabindia lamp that is sitting on the bar in the living room right now; and amit for the lunch party at alfredos’.. thanks to mukul boy for buying me bjork and madonna videos from katmandu and being nice enough to drive me across town in the evening for the freshers party at ‘seven’ above ‘shoppers stop’, and to the cook at golden orchid for the flavour of the pot rice and teriyaki lamb; and many thanks to all the kids who wished me for my birthday while dancing wildly to remixed bollywood and bhangra.

a nice birthday.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


happy birthday to me

Monday, October 03, 2005


yesterday.. the meetings.. lokhandwala; then mayuri, amit and me at sea view killing two hours watching sunlight make pools of glitter on the sea through an overcast sky; the saraswat colony meeting at mr nayampalli’s house with mr jariwala and mr mukherjee as they told us stories of the time when the water reached up to their houses and the britishers had set up camp out side the colony; prasad and rupali at the zunka bhakar, and the sparc fiasco that prasad described all the way back to his place.

it is strange when huge amounts of funding are given to people with no expertise in a field- and only because they claim to love the “sound” of a language; or when two people are forced to admit a secret in public because of an innocent question; or how a non governmental organization manages to fool the entire world; and how even they don’t mind making smaller sacrifices for what they see as the greater common good. it is also strange when, there are things that we all know that no one want to talk about- though it is the only thing on all our minds. somehow, we sidestep the issue or drown it in blustering talk.

and.. sonal is back in bombay for her dassera holidays and kshama called in the evening to wish mom and me for our birthdays and so that we could wish her- happy birthday kshama!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

sunday morning

its sunday morning and i am looking at a day with non stop meetings from morning till the evening. i need a holiday!

yesterday was the 13th day event of prasad mothers death at a hall opposite sion hospital. a huge number of people from college turned up, including nilesh, rohit and yogita just in from delhi. spoke a lot to rupali who told me her sparc horror story and about the guy who had such a big architectural business that he could not afford to send her an sms with his address. after he did, she naturally erased it.

i parked the car facing the opposite direction like an idiot in front of amits house later in the day and the car was promptly towed away. while mayuri was trying to give me a ride to the traffic police chowky her bike broke down. it was quite entertaining – this comedy of broken down vehicles. we worked out three estimates for the flat sitting in the office (again!) until it got late.

gave them a dinner party at copper chimney in anticipation of my birthday (4th october- for all you who don’t remember)

today morning in the living room over coffee, cuddled underneath the covers mom, dad and me spent some time talking about complicate things like the loss of idealism and where do we go for dinner when sonal arrives (which is today.. )

Saturday, October 01, 2005


don’t you hate it when you get up in the middle of the night, not able to fall asleep again, thinking of the most irrelevant useless things, that should definitely not be the cause of insomnia? like why qazi is still around in fame gurukul; or a phone call you should have made last week but did not; a study trip that is still far away- or those odd meaningless dreams .. when i woke up right now i was trying to find my way through wet mud around an apartment building in marve, in grey morning light, from which naked people kept walking out to defecate on a beach- in line. disgusting. in the building all my students were waiting. i remember saurabhs face as soon as i entered. can someone please analyze this one for me?