September 25, 2010

Write a letter today

Today, I came back  from a long day, and saw a yellow package lying on a table. Then I saw my name on it. M has mailed me a letter. But this looked too big for a letter. It was a book from a completely unexpected correspondent; I remember she said she wanted to send me something, but I forgot all about it! 

Since my last postal correspondent and I are no longer on the same bandwidth, I have not received a single letter for over two years now. Though, if they opened the letters addressed to me in Bihar, assuming they've now reached, they'd be reading scandalous accounts of people's lives and equally scurrilous enquiries about mine.

Seeing an envelope with my name on it (in the 'to' section) has filled me with such insurmountable joy that I have decided to embark on a letter-writing project. There's so much more texture and flavour to letters. And letters let you say what tweets or Facebook statuses don't. And because letters are 'there' and not to be scrolled away from, they're so much more meaningful.

Write to me and I will write back to you. Or send me your address and I'll write to you first. Our letters need not be long. Or poetic. Or full of news. Our letters will just tell me you're there. 

September 24, 2010

Smell of ink

Though this is not the first time, my name in print always thrills me! Check out my interview of Surupa Sen and Bijayini Satpathy of Nrityagram in today's Friday Review Delhi in The Hindu.


Meanwhile, Alarmel Valli and Madhavi Mudgal had lovely costumes yesterday, when they performed together. Worli Seaface looked beautiful with boats floating aimlessly in the water. And I almost had a cholesterol-induced heart attack after sharing a plate of Sardar Pav Bhaji with Reuben.

I can still feel the oil slick in my stomach.


September 22, 2010

Ganesha the DJ

This post is dedicated to my unfulfilled vipralambha urge for sleep. My morning dozing, afternoon sleep and the prospect of a good night's sleep have been interrupted by real and imagined drums.

And I think fake tutaris should be restricted to birthday parties in private, soundproof quarters.

Ganesha is really, really worried. Some of the things that happened to him today are:

Random vibrating drums - Ganesha does not want to be accused of causing an earthquake. Drops of dhinchik dhinchik are setting off the seismic plate under the ocean.
Himesh Reshammiya - I really see how 'aashiq banaya' is apt, but Himesh?!

What I thought was 'Jai Bhavani' - Ganesha is very secular, but like all famous people, he is also very narcissistic. He appreciates the respect you show his mother and aunts, but how would you feel if someone sang 'happy birthday' to your mother on your birthday? Which is why he was beginning to resent the overemphasis on the family tree.

Then, as it turned out, my worries about Ganesha's injured self-esteem were unfounded. My sister pointed out I had much ground to cover when it came to interpreting aural signals. The song in question, she explained, was 'Hai Jawaani'. So Ganesha is happy again, because they are telling him how he is in that subliminally perennial state of youth. I can see him shaking his trunk and a leg (when he is not sitting) and snorting 'hai jawaani, hai jawaani'.

Nadaswaram - Why are you ending Ganesha's innings as the flippant, naughty little creature who beats up his father because the latter tried to interrupt the mother's bath? A staunch mama's boy, Ganesha must always be single and ready to mingle.

Fake tutaris - Because they sound like elephants, interrupted. Asthmatic elephants. Ghastly choking-writhing-spluttering elephants. Ganesha does not subscribe to the misrepresentation of his ilk. Any publicity is not good publicity.

For next year, Ganesha says he will bring his own music.

September 18, 2010

In which Ganesha goes to the gym


So I hear that all the fairness cream defying Ganeshas are going to be disallowed next year. I shall have one less reason to hyperventilate about nirmalya lying on the beaches. And I will shed no tears on reading Ambai's description of a powerless monolith that floats aimlessly on the Versova coast and tears fishing nets to shreds. Also, Ganesha won't have to do Fair and Lovely Ads. Or even Fair and Handsome. He doesn't support stereotyping. But he is indignant. And petulant. First they put Sugar Free in his modaks, now they won't let him paint his face and then they say he should be made of clay so that he can dissolve easily. What is this dissolving-bissolving, he asks? Are they trying to tell him that he is obese and he should go to the gym because if he doesn't go to the gym he cannot paint his face and look hot? Ganesha is really worried.

Today, for the first time in my adult life, I saw an empty road, the usual kilometre of traffic strangely absent, at the masochistic traffic lights near JVPD. I am also masochistic and go there sometimes, hence I almost felt bereft, like I was being denied my lawful right. But then, I saw many strange things today. On SV Road, I saw a group of people dancing around a cart that carried the band. No horse. Check. No bridegroom. Check. No Ganesha. Check. 

Why is it a rule rather than an exception - bring small truck, plonk Ganesha in it and fill with people until truck bursts at seams? You are not visarjan-worthy if the truck exterior has even a single inch of unoccupied protruding metal.

Today, I heard a lustily sung aarti in the cracked voice of an old Maharashtrian matron. It sounded so nice. It reminded me of Chavande Kaka, who was the daytime watchman and who sang the aarti every year. I always tried to drown his voice out because he didn't sing it the way Lata Mangeshkar did. And we kids hated him for not letting us play on the building's water tank. Now, I am tired of shrill-voiced Lata impersonators who are ably supported by bad accompaniment; the rule is, the higher the better. Much like Hafeez Contractor.

No, mungda, mungda, main gud ki kali... is not a Ganesha aarti. Gauri would fly down from the heavens to curse you if the airfares were not so high. However, I really like the remixed Ghalin Lotangan with DJ type beats on those flat tawa-like things in drum sets. Wonder how they'd remix Pasayadan. 

September 06, 2010

Extended status message

Tomorrow, Reuben and I are going to Giri Trading because our per capita income has increased, just so slightly, since the last time we went. Then, we could only look at the rows of Kalanidhi Narayanan DVDs and Aruna Sayeeram and MS and Brinda-Mukta and drool and drool some more. Meanwhile, we are also celebrating the discovery of his ancestry. He is of warrior stock. Mindit, he will banish you to Kavaratti faster than you can say Easaw Panicker if you don't give him respect.

Today I was reading about the haleem at Mohammad Ali Road and I suddenly recalled reading something about haleem getting GI status, which means it is geographically exclusive to Hyderabad and haleem made outside Hyderabad cannot be called Hyderabadi haleem. Theoretically, a vegetarian haleem is possible, I thought, though I'm not thinking of paneer...yuck! I'm just thinking of the haleem without the meat. 

September 02, 2010

Radha on pot

I have never broken pots in my life, but this year, I am finally open to breaking a leg. Anyway, my on-the-ground stability, or the lack of it, doesn’t count for much. I have been dwelling on the pot. Or the pots, since Bombay is a city of pluralisms. Today, my ears were assailed by five different types of Govinda music within the hour and for all the peeking out while trying not to fall out the third floor window of low-ventilation high AC fancy business centre where I work, I couldn’t see a handi.

Since that moment of suspension close to the slats of a window, I have been wondering what my handi CV looks like. I have never broken a pot. Yes, I once experimentally broke a kulhar, but I felt quite bad about it later. One needs to be emotionally detached from the pot. I didn’t even eat dahi until recently, so I was always quite disgusted when the person at the top breaks the handi to have the dahi go all over. Sure, my hair might benefit from the conditioning. Now I eat curd, so that problem is solved. My question is, can I have mishti doi instead? (Krishna could be fussy, why can’t I?)

Questions for employers

I have banged many pots, does that count? I have broken many mugs and priceless utensils. I even hold the proud distinction of having broken a sealed thermos full of hot water without spilling a shard of glass. Now, that is downright impressive.

What about insurance schemes and provident fund benefits? What if the pyramid under me collapses and I am left swaying from the rope? What will I do if the curd goes sour? Die of hunger? And worse still, die a bitter woman? Will a golden parachute erupt from the handi and float me down to safety and perfect curds? What is the perfect fist needed to break the handi? Are the pots glued together with Fevicol? Will they respond to soft caresses or do I need to jam my fist in? Thumb in or thumb out?

Can I pick my own songs please? Most DJs have terrible taste in music.

PS: In response to Ipsitaa, I can scream (and how, ask my parents for recos), randomly also, can dance anywhere (no I'm not telling you where I normally dance), and I love water. Red water is even more turning on. So HR peeps, when do you come calling?