Thursday, September 28, 2006

Good in small doses

Mumbai, or Bombay, as I prefer to call it, is great. Sure, it is dirty, crowded, hot, sweaty - all the works, but all the same, it is THE big city in India. Delhi got too unwieldly to be a city so they made it a state; Bangalore lacks the vision and openness inherent in the Bombay culture, and Pune is still suffering from the younger-brother syndrome because of its proximity to the great city.

It was interesting, to meet different people there: on one hand those that had "made it" in Bombay, the established marketers, IIM grads, hotshot media people, and on the other, struggling writers, economists and such like, biding their time in the crazy maze of the city.

The traffic was crazy: I could see cars lined all the way along Peddar Road while I sat with AG in a taxi in the hot and humid sun. My sentiments were echoed in Sacred Games, Vikram Chandra's new book about Bombay which reads more like a Ram Gopal Verma film than a much-anticipated Mumbai-book.

Cafe Mondegar made it all good with its jukebox where we requested All I Want Is You to cap off a most pleasant afternoon.

But I wouldn't trade in Bangalore for Bombay - I think I have gotten too used to the small-town life now to swim in the ocean anymore...

Friday, September 15, 2006


"I feel
Like I'm slowly slowly slowly slipping under
I feel
Like I'm holding on to nothing"

Today is NZ's birthday, so I called her in the morning, China time, in one of my insomniac fits. Our lives, lies and loves seem to run in parallel, even though we're not constantly in touch.

Both of us lament the lack of openness in our "Eastern" cultures, both of us are misfits, both uncompromising. Maybe that is why we both are unfit for life in the East. At least that's what we feel.

I wonder if we are like those Westerners so easy to spot in the Orient, who feel that they are meant to be here. I think we are more like them than the other Easterners who migrate abroad, to seek a better life or more money. It is much more than that for NZ and me, and I say that without any pretense.

Maybe it is our fault that we do not feel that we can have the freedom we long for here. After all, a person should be strong enough not to care what society thinks about them. But I guess we are not. In this society where everything is frowned upon, I feel it will be hard for us to be that self-assured.

Hopefully life will turn out to be more than a lemon.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tattoos and lamb kebabs

The other day I was out with VT, SM and R at 1912, a nice place here in namma Bengaluru. Music could be helped though, starting out retro (Karma Chameleon??) and finishing off hip-hop (Daddy Yankee - can't help but snigger whenever I say that...).

Anyhow, that isn't the point of the story. So SM asked me where she could get a tattoo from, and VT and I pointed her to several tattoo parlours here. The main discussion though was about what to get tattooed, and where. I'll leave the "where" part to your collective imaginations, and get to the "what" part.

I am vacillating (and guys, PLEASE don't steal this, although I realise imitation is the highest form of flattery) between a kite and my initials in Hindi, or the Chinese word for "rain", which incidentally is the meaning of my name. Or just keeping the skin bare. SM wants a sun with "squiggly rays", and some abstract spiral thingy. Then I asked VT, over a plate of lamb kebabs, what design he was planning to get.

He wants to get a "P" tattooed over his shoulder, which is incidentally the initial of his girlfriend's first name. I was floored. What a lucky girl P is. Reminded me of the Italian footballer Fabio, who has his wife Andrea's name tattooed on his arm. I mean, do these women realise how lucky they are? Have no doubt: VT's estimation in my eyes rose a hundred-fold.

When will someone get my name, or initials, or anything referring to me tattooed on his body, I wonder? Somehow I despair.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Am I real?

Meeting so many "actual" journalists has me in a tizzy... Here I am, comfortably ensconced in my air-conditioned office with my eyes glazed from looking at too many press releases, and there are my fellow journalists, slogging their asses off in the wilderness that is actual journalism. Am I really a journalist? I don't really know. And with the one-line journalism that I mostly practise, I really am at a loss to figure it out.

I want to WRITE! Really, really write. Know what I am talking about. I don't know, maybe I am being too hard on myself. Or maybe.. I overestimate myself. When it really comes down to it, I might just get up in a huff and say, "Crap, so much work!" Maybe I like my cushy job, easy to do and to forget about. I have just been working for 2 years, and am already thinking about when in my life I can take time out to do the things I really want to do.

Maybe I am thinking about too many opportunities lost. But still, life is good, or more aptly, could be worse.