Saturday, January 09, 2010

Mall-ed In

As my kids grow up I am feeling increasingly claustrophobic in a city like Mumbai. Open spaces are becoming fewer by the hour and the only place where most families head to during the weekends is one of the swanky malls that have come up in prime lands throughout the satellite city.

Cant blame the parents for this phenomenon! In this concrete jungle, all that one can see is buildings and more buildings all over. Parents have to take a lot of effort to plan a weekend trip to the outskirts (which is easily 50-60 kms away!)to have a nice family time closer to nature!

I miss the days when we used to go to local parks to play, climb trees, cycle to friends homes, gather near a pond and while away time throwing stones, make sand castles near by!

Sigh! I don't envy the childhood of kids of this day and age :(

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Greenhorn in my own country!

Goa is a place that I love going to....I can safely say this despite my recent experience!!

We usually head to South Goa - we like the tranquilness of this place and gives us the much needed break from maddening civilization. This time we decided we should explore the sun kissed beaches of North Goa. There we were, on one of our favourite rail routes in the country - the Konkan railway route. With kids, sometimes, it can get pretty tedious but with the amount of travelling we have done this year, our kids have adapted really well and they enjoy themselves from the time we leave our home! Touchwood!

This time around Goa had something different to offer us! Apart from the sun soaked beaches, every second person we bumped into was a foreigner! Every second house in every single lane, housed a restaurant offering anything from local Goan delicacies to all kinds of European cuisine! Trinkets, 'Original Fake' (!!!!!) items, Tibetan shawls and antiques, beach wear, see through clothing, you name it and it was there for picking up in every nook and corner of Baga and Calangute beach area. By the end of day one, I was tired of bargaining and started giving every shop owner those dirty looks when they quoted an astronomical price!!!

Didn't I have my fair share on day one? Do I need to go on on day two and exhaust myself further??!!!

The never give up spirit in me came alive after my morning cup of tea on day two and I was damn ready to attack the flea market the next day! What was in store for me was something I didn't expect and bargain for!

Here was a place that had more than 200 stalls mostly run by Indians. Just like what was on the streets, u could just about get anything for dirt cheap price in these markets. What took me by surprise was not the vast array of things that were available nor did the haggling and the bargaining! For the first time in my life, I was being treated like a second citizen in my own country!! Every stall you enter, you look around and pick things you like and start a conversation with the stall owner....the minute they realize a foreigner is close to entering their stall, they drop you like a hot potato and go behind them without really bothering about your existence!! Time and again I experienced this in all the stalls and in almost all the places we went to from there on.

I do realize that their main source of income from the foreign tourists and Indians go there on short holidays (like honeymoon) or during the christmas / new year season only. This does not mean that the rest of the population are right royally ignored. I managed to pick a discussion (which later turned into an argument then a sermon!!!) with quite a few people there! Somehow this experience didn't go down well with me and I am still trying to reason it out....

Until then I am going to enjoy and share the good memories of the trip and bask in the happiness and contentment of having spent a decade with my companion!! Cheers to us!!! :)

Friday, November 06, 2009

TRPs and the TV crap!

I can safely say that in the last few months I have become a TV junkie!!! Give me anything - a generous dose of reality trash or tear jerker serials or repetitive breaking news and i can watch them through the day!! My newspaper addiction has been replaced by the idiot box!!! I am now a certified couch potato!!! Therefore this gives me the right (and the responsibility!!!)i guess to comment on some trash that has been going on for a while!

For sometime now, everything that has been happening on TV here in India is being governed by TRPs (for the uninitiated - and gladly so - Television Rating Points)and day after day trash is being generated citing these points!!! I for one, refuse to believe that Indian audiences would want such trash to be generated day after day for months and years together! I think the audience is much more sensitive and sensible these days and i think there is a level of consciousness that is apparent in many cases!

Would like to cite two examples from recent shows that have made me hopping mad!!

1. Hindustan Times leadership summit! This is an annual event and this year on day two (if i am not mistaken) the guests of honour were hold ur breath (!!) George W Bush and now! don't fall off your chair reading this! - Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In a leadership summit all that the latter two could talk was about their relationship, her size zero and what not!!! Give me a break! This was supposed to be a summit that was to discuss vision 2020!! I agree people from the film industry should be a part of this summit but these 2? please! There are several others who have a whole body of work behind them and who can articulate a vision for the industry much better!!

So was this yet another case of TRPs winning over apparent merit??

2. On Zee TV, there is a serial running presently called 'Aapki Antara'. This is a serial about an autistic child and how she makes a positive difference in the life of the people whom she comes in contact with. Also towards the end of the show, real autistic people are shown and an interview with the family (usually the mother) is played. I am kind of fond of this serial for several reasons - a) rarely do tv series highlight issues like autism. I am certain that the awareness regarding this neural development disorder has increased quite a bit because of this serial b) it is a very sensitive portrayal of the girl and the situations she faces. It is very realistic and situations and the characters are very believable.

This serial comes in around 8:30pm - a time when most of the family can sit and watch. But lo and behold! the time change is happening and the serial is moved to a late night timing - 10:30pm and it is being replaced by maybe yet another trash tear jerker!!!

Does advertising and the money that comes from it have a final say in all this??? Sensibilities don't rule here I guess!

A disappointed me signing off with a prayer on my lips and hope in my heart that i can trash this idiot box fixation and get on to better things in life :)

By popular demand, I am back!!!

Nice to know that many of u have been reading my blog while I have been lazing around and now u r nudging me to get back!!

Thanks! thats a nice ego boost and would love to get back to regular blogging!!

chao! see u soon!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A service so thoughtful...

Recently there was a death in the family and I happened to be there to witness almost all the rituals associated with the cremation of the dead person. I have my own reservations about the rituals that are followed in our community but what touched me the most was the service that was rendered by few elderly men from my community to all sundry who need it. Let me rewind a bit....

Years back a group of men who were nearing retirement got together and decided that they would help families who have lost their near and dear ones and who are not in a state to plan the cremation all by themselves. With the help of the limited resources they had they made contacts with the local crematorium (so that u don’t have to wait for long for ur turn to come!), contacted vendors who sell things related to a cremation (new clothes, puja items etc etc), organised a death certificate from the local municipality and most importantly these days (they come at a premium believe me!) arranged the pandits!!! As soon as they come to know that there has been a death (mainly through word of mouth and through the hospitals and doctors that they are in contact with) they take over the proceedings and ensure that the family doesn’t have to run around at such difficult times and face red tapism, corruption and other issues at such a sensitive moment in their lives.

Best of all this is that, it is voluntary work and they don’t charge a penny for this!! You could donate whatever u want to, to the group...that’s about it. In today’s times we rarely get to see such a selfless service. I have seen so many charity activities in the last few years that I have been in this field but haven’t come across anything more thoughtful and sensitive.
Hats off to this group of young men!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Culinary Novice.....

Cooking and me have always been far apart....during my late teens and early twenties when most girls were busy coaxed by their mothers to learn some basic cooking, my mom used to never let me enter the kitchen! She used to say when the time comes u will learn to make a meal so don’t waste your time now!!! At that time I found what mom said to be very weird because she was so unlike the rest of the pack!! Later, as I grew older and wiser (!!), I realised my mom was way ahead of her times! She wanted me to learn other important skills in life and she was egging me on to take on bigger challenges in life!

Today when I look back I am so glad I am not one of those kitchen bound women (no offence please!) who find it difficult to let go and get insecure if that space of theirs is taken by another woman!

Now, as a desperate attempt to get some distraction in life, I have taken to cooking like never before....I was never one of those who liked to cook a regular meal...this time I have taken to making desserts and puddings! I find myself looking up sites for interesting recipes, talking to friends who have tried some simple mouth watering recipes. The enthusiasm has gone up several notches as the first two attempts have received good reviews and I have been nudged to try more!!

I am finding my energies channelized in a yummy way and I am finding this very therapeutic!

For those interested in getting simple dessert recipes, mail me!!!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

IPL fever is back!

I was one of those who was initially skeptical about the way the IPL would take shape but as the inaugural version kicked off i was hooked to each and every game and ofcourse my money was on Chennai Super Kings...I watched the spectacular closing ceremony and the finals of season one and i was awe struck...i knew and realised then why all other sportpersons in this country crib about the kind of atention cricket receives here....obscene amount of money was spent on not just getting players in the teams, but getting cheerleaders, the advertising, the merchandise etc etc ...

Season 2 is going to start within the next few begins with the auctions! Pakistan players are not going to be there...not sure if they are going to be missed...except Sohail Tanveer of Rajasthan Royals...who was the spearhead bowler and gave several match winning performances! Clarke has pulled out and its expected many other Aussies would not join in too...A lot of speculation going on that KP is going to beat MSD in terms of the highest paid non icon figure. Apparently, Royal Challengers are really keen to get him!!! Lot of internal shuffling happening too...Uttappa swapped with Zaheer Khan...similarly other teams are planning their strategies too...

The glamour quotient got bigger too...Shilpa becomes a co-owner of Rajasthan Royals! Smart move i must say! She is really cashing in on her popularity in that English players are jumping into the IPL this season!

Me?? I am going to glued to any bit of information that going to come by on the IPL...I somehow dislike Lalit Modi but need to give it to him - he has created a humdinger!

How far will u go for money??

Few days back i happened to watch The Moment of Truth for the first time. Was channel surfing and chanced upon this reality show. Five minutes of viewing and i was hooked. The questions got personal with each level and as a viewer i started getting very uncomfortable. But i was amazed by the ease with which the contestants could answer some very touchy questions especially in front of their family members....

left me this all staged?? like WWF (oops! its called WWE now!) or are people really willing to put their personal relationships at stake for that kind of money??? A lot of us do keep some part of our lives closely to ourselves and would probably share with close friends only so what prompts someone to share such sensitive stuff on national TV?? With so many reality shows hitting Indian TV, that day is not far away when an Indian version of this show comes on one of our channels!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The firang connection!

I have been observing a recent phenomenon in Bollywood....the advent of dancers from the west!! Off late, I don’t get to see any popular song and dance with the local dancers - u name a chartbuster from any movie in recent times or for that matter chat shows and it has gori girls gyrating to oft so heard tunes of music composers. Also there are hardly any gora dancers in these groups mind u!!! Whereas this was not the case with local dancers...the hero always had male dancers giving him a run for his money in the background!

This is happening inspite of several reality dance shows which have given wanna be choreographers a good break in the film industry...a case in point is Rajeev Surti . For those who have watched Nach Baliye season 1 will remember, he was the choreographer for varun and rajeshwari and he mesmerised one and all with his unique style and grace. It was his luck that Farhan Akhtar was one of the judges on the show and he promptly signed him on for Don!!! The rest they say is history. There are several such success stories in the past few years – reality tv is big time in India these days and every channel worth its money has a dance show on it.

Despite these developments why are our choreographers (there are no firangs who have come in this category as yet – it is still ruled by the Khans and the Merchants!!!) , producers and directors looking for company from the west?? Hold on!! I am not ad venting here a viewpoint thrown by quite a few philosophy redundant political parties or proving a case in point for them but I am raising this because I am curious as to know why this development has taken place when there is no dearth of talent on this front in this country.