Archive for February, 2006

The Other Bandra.

Love one another as I have loved U



I was in Vasai village the other day, way-up in Mumbai’s northern quarter. It is technically so far away that it is not in Mumbai District, though practically still in Bombay [via the local train system]. Vasai [then called Bassein] was once the capital of the Portuguese colony in India but as the Marathas and the Brits mashed them up all that remains now is the ruins of this once fortified city. I went exploring these ruins a couple of weeks ago, but that is another story all together. After a sweaty day in the sun we decided we needed something chilled and refreshing. We reached this roadside eatery, the time a little after 2 p.m.

Bhaiya , thanda me kya hai,” I said him casually. [hindi : Brother, you got something cold to drink ?]

The short man in an untidy blue shirt smiled apologetically and told me.,” Sorry, hum thanda nahi rakhte hai.” [hindi: Sorry,we don’t have anything cold[drinks].]

Although brands like Coke and Pepsi are not all that old in our semi-liberalised country they are still readily available in most parts of semi-urban India.

Kyun?” I questioned him.[hindi: Why?]

Kya kare bhau, yahan Thane taluka me har din paanch ghanta load shedding rehta hai na. Toh kuch thanda hi nahi rehta hai,” he said to me in an apologetic tone. [hindi: What can we brother, here in Thane district he have 5 hours of loadshedding [powercuts]. So how can we keep anything cold.]

There is severe power shortage here in the state of Maharashtra [Mumbai/Bombay is the state capital of Maharashtra]. The state government’s answer to this shortage are frequent power brownouts, sometimes as long as 5 hours each day. Mumbai has been lucky to have been skived away from this crisis and enjoys 24 hours of uninterrupted power. But as the power shortage increases and the state government continues to respond ineffectually it looks like Mumbai too will join Maharashtra in darkness.
This looks to be the case as many of Mumbai’s power service providers are hinting at power cuts this summer.

MERC hints at power cuts in Mumbai

Gossip at Traffic Jams

Its surprising how everyone has an opinion in Aamchi Mumbai.. in the bus, in jam packed trains, on sun drenched bus stops..bustling stations, shared cabs and couple-hired rickshaws..

I just witnessed the most funny incident of my life. Stuck in a traffic jam on Link Road in the evening I was trying to avoid the beggar child irritating me on my window. A couple were cozily seated in its ric and the guy was lazily caressing the girls face.. well it wasn’t like I was peeking in.. but they were right next to me, n I was seated in a low car. There was the street urchin on the other side.. so the only side I had to look was.. you guessed it.. the couples..

Now the guy apparently does or says something wrong, which has the girl short fusing like a bulb in water. Slowly her face clouds up like the monsoon skies in Mumbai.. My friend tells me, “Keep looking, ab aayega mazaa!!” (now we’ll have some fun)

The girl says, ” Tune usko ek pura roses ka bouquet diya tha?? i would never have known.. and then you say that she was forced on you. I was right.. I know I was right” well.. duh!! why are you arguing over that then…

The boy says, ” Tina,(could it get more filmier??) you know I dont love her. I will have to carry this on till my parents dont understand that I dont want to marry her” hmmmm

” Then what was the need for the entire bouquet. She is not going to tell your parents that you gave it to her anyway..” well.. now the girl has a point..

“Look, I am tired of this arguement. If you only keep this up, toh mom dad kaise samjhenge…”

By now the ricwala.. has understood the entire conversation, the two guys on the bike on the otherside have eavesdropped on the ramayan till now.. theres a couple on another bike, who look like they are gearing up for something too..

The girl has decided that the arguement is worth dumping the guy in the ric alone. So she gets out of the ric and stamps over to another empty ric. The guy pays the present ric.. and tries to budge the girl over so she can enter the second ric. They have gone a little further away from the earlier scene of action, so now.. theres an impromptu gossip session between the ricwala, the two guys on the bike, the guy on the other bike (the girl behind him is visibly miffed) and ofcourse my friend.

And each have an opinion about how valentines day causes such fights..

Ricwala : “Aur manao..aur manao velentainas day.. hume kya bhaiya, us din bhi grahak zyaada.. aur us din ke baad teen chaar din bhi grahak zyaada.. ladka ladki aakar ricsha mein batih jaate hai.. aur kahte hai hame bhiaya ricsha ghumate raho.. fir woh kaer apna kaam aur hame kare apna kaam..” Then looking at my visibly shocked face he continued,”madam, yeh toh normal hai.. kabhi kabhi toh woh log hamko sau rupeh zyaada dekar hame keh dete hai ki bhaiya aap chai paani pi ke aaiye”
( this is what happends when you celebrate valentines day, how does it matter to us.. we get a lot of business on that day and the following days too. couples come and hire the rics and ask us to keep taking them round in circles. They can do what they want, while I do my work. This is all very normal ma’am, sometimes they give me 100 bucks extra and ask me to park the vehicle in an isolated place and go off somewhere for sometime.)

I asked him, “Par bhaiya aap unko aisa karne kyu dete hai??”( but, why do you let them do this??)

He replied,” Oh madam, aisa ek time ka 500 minimum mil jaata hai.. unko thoda akelapanti milta hai, aur mujhe petrol waste kiye bine paisa milta hai”( I get a minimum of 500 Rs. everytime. The couple gets some privacy, while I earn money without wasting petrol)

I am still visibly shocked, so the guy on the bike tells me..”They dont only cannoodle in the rics you know” Turning to his friend behind he says, ” I guess the bumpy ride gets to them after sometime”

The guy with his miffed girlfriend behind ventures a comment, ” Well.. it can get uncomfortable”

The girlfriennd gasps at this and hits him on the shoulder, “Shutup. Mind what you say in public atleast.”

The seated behind on the first bike has been all this while looking around, he then says, “Well seems like there are no more couples around here to entertain us.”

At this the Miffed Girlfriend sniffs and juts her chin in the air and harrumphs away.

By now me and my friend are doubled up with giggles and laughter. when one side of the line moves, and the car farthest away from this scene (which had a middle aged man with his noce inside the ET, thus no participation) moves ahead. Another ric trots up to our line, where we guys were waiting to swoop down on the new prey. we all peer inside, the ricwala, the two guys on the bike, the couple on the bike and my friend and me, and lo and behold… its another couple, except that they look married…
Well seems like we wont be entertained afterall.. but one things for sure.. each evening in Mumbai, millions of couples pore into rics to have their bit of fun..
If sometime anyone has too much freetime on thier hands in the traffic, and you just by chance happen to glance around, you will for sure find enough couples in rics, cannoodling away to glory…

Private Dhobhi Ghaat


B.E.S.T बेस्ट

I leaned precariously on the red coarsely plastered length of wall that made up the front perimeter of the bus stop. A bespectacled man nudges his elbow into my upper torso as he turns the crumpled pages his evening newspaper. I ignore him and look around me. People are scattered all about engrossed in various activities, like my neighbour here – who is staring open mouthed at today’s Mid-day mate. Or the giggling girls on the pavement behind me chirping about some song they like on the radio as they band their heads together and share a pair of earphones. The middle aged lady in a green sari juggling linen bags from one hand to another as her shoulders sway till she decides to balance them on her chappals. A line of rickshaws wait patiently and the rickshaw-wallahs peer out at the crowd with a strange longing, trying to make eye contact. I too stand there patiently but my mood quickly turns belligerent as beads of sweat appear on my brow. This is the time of year-sometime around mid-February, when Bombay’s pleasant weather dissolves into its usual hot and sultry experience. Oh well that’s life at a bus stop: far more relaxed than a railway station but then again the bus is a far more relaxed medium on the whole.

B.E.S.T Double Decker Bus Bombay
B.E.S.T Double Decker Bus Bombay
[Read Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport]

Mumbai Heritage: David Sassoon Library

A look at David Sassoon Library and Reading Room
David Sasoon Library, Mumbai, India

Looking on to the Kala Ghoda, on Rampart Row, this Romanesque structure, completed in 1870, is built from the same yellow Malad stone as the rest of the buildings in the row– Elphinstone College, the Army and Navy Building and Watson’s Hotel.

[Here is a look at it from the inside]

Here are some more pictures of this glorious building

Stay tuned – for next week I look at the second most photgraphed building in India (after the Taj Mahal of course)

An Empty Train at Rush Hour

A conundrum don’t you think ?

Empty trains are conundrums I'll never understand.

DUBLIN joins the gang

On the heels of Denver, here comes DUBLIN, Ireland.

Welcome to the 41st member of metroblogging.

Give them a shout here.

Chembur duo to film India’s worst famine!!

Prasad Shivramkrishnan and Dr Nilesh Chatterjee, both residents of Pestom Sagar have got together to make a movie, Annapurna, which is based on the Bengal Famine of 1943

read more..

After Annapurna, the two are planning to keep their passion for film making alive. “Our next venture would be a comedy film titled Dhanbad Mafia Vs New York Mafia, where a dacoit’s son from Dhanbad goes to New York and falls in love with a mafia man’s daughter in New York.”

I would surely have a dekko at these both movies, all the best guys in your venture.

link via Ganesh Shivaramakrishnan

Welcome DENVER

The first inductee of the year 2006 into the metroblogging family is the US city of DENVER, Colorado.

A great city in the Rockies, and a definitely rocking place !! (no pun intended).

So people of Bombay…..stop by and say hello…. Metroblogging Denver

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