Archive for August, 2007

Big Brother Is Watching You Surf

While the whole city is stuck on the scumbag being released from prison on bail, our civil rights are being trampled upon.

In an effort to root out terrorism the city police is in the process of putting on key logging software on computers in internet cafés.

The Mumbai police will soon have khabris deployed (not physically) at over 500 cyber cafes in the city. A new software will allows cops to swoop down on terrorists the moment a keystroke is pressed at any cyber café across the city.

Investigations into the recent Hyderabad and Mumbai blasts have revealed that the planning was done using the Internet especially, chat rooms. [link]

Personally I think it is a breach of privacy of the individual user and frankly if the terrorist planners know that their communication is being recorded, they will use other means and methods of communication. But as a result of this draconian law, we will loose our right to privacy. Yes terrorism is a threat, but it cant come at the cost of our rights. If it does, then the terrorists have won, so you can pack up and go home !!

And what’s the gaurantee that the same police force wont leak out information of people visiting Orkut communities like this one and this one. Now when the Shiv Sena burns down a cybercafe, they will at least have proof that someone did logon to these communities.

Amit Varma, an ex-Mumbai Metblogger, has some tips for you to avoid being key logged if you ever need to use a cybercafe.

Goodbye, My Sallu.

Okay, I know he hasn’t been arrested as yet but it’s just matter of sometime now.

Sessions Court in Jodhpur which upheld the five-year jail term for actor Salman Khan in the Chinkara poaching case, turning down the actor’s appeal against his sentencing last year. The actor failed to appear for the hearing, saying he missed the flight to Jodhpur from Hyderabad where he is currently shooting.

Salman will now be arrested unless he surrenders before the court himself. [IBN Live]

It’s astonishing isn’t it, the way our thinking works? When Sanjay Dutt was handed with 6 years prison sentence, I felt a little bad but overall was happy with the outcome. As they say, “Justice had prevailed”, though I know there are many who would argue with me on this.

But the thing that bothered me the most since Sanjay Dutt’s punishment was what would become of my favorite Salman Khan. To make things clear, no I am not delusional – I am well aware of the fact that many across the nation are more sympathetic towards Sanjay but not Salman. To the actor’s disadvantage, his past (besides the crimes committed) has a lot to do with it as well – troubled relationships, scandals, (rumored) underworld connection, dadagiri and the likes.

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7 Mumbai Eats

Mumbai gets as good at it is in being a foodie town. However there are some things that are so uniquely Bombay-ish that they don’t taste the same anywhere else…or come out as poor imitations in other cities.

The following is a list of Eats that are truly Mumbaikerish. Not to be mistaken with 7 Eating places which will follow in the week ahead.

1) Vada Pav

The poor man’s snack. Potato Patty pressed in the middle of bread with chutney/sauce. As simple as it can get. Bang for the buck. Perfect pick up and go food. Found at nearly every street corner. Bombay’s answer to the New York Hot Dog. Should be had piping hot at a roadside vendor only. Never eat in a restaurant…its a fake if its served in a restaurant

2) Bhel

Mix some rice puffs with sev, onions, potatoes, teekha and meetha chutney add some crushed poori’s and lo and behold you have the Bhel. World over its called Bombay Bhel, here is is just bhel. Its many cousins include Sev Puri, Dahi Batata Puri, Pani Puri et al. A perfectly sumptious vegetarian snack. Can never go wrong. Has to be had freshly mixed, preferably at the stall. Definitely tastes better at a roadside hawker than in a posh restaurant.

3) Sheekh Kebab

Perfectly skewered and grilled pieces of meat cut in small bite sized botis. Its various cousins include the longer sheekh kebabs, khiri, kaleji, gurda, and in some cases chicken too. Tastes best when fresh off the charcoal grill. Onions and nimbu sprinkled over with green chutney makes it a wonderful evening/night snack. Enhances the taste and experience of alcoholic drinks

4) Roadside Chinese

Hungry Eyes, Dragon of China, Hunan Emperor, China King, are just some of the flashier names of chinese tapris all over the cities. The food is cooked only when u order it and the speed at which it is cooked is a sight to behold. Not the tastiest of meals but then everything tastes good when it is hot. Sweet corn chicken soup and Half Manchurian rice are the prize winners though lollipops come a close second best.

5) Pav Bhaji

The one dish that had north Indian origins and was bastardized by the cooks of Bombay. Its now better than the original…whatever it was. A medley of veggies mixed with tomatoes have the shits beaten out of them. They are pulverized into a puree like texture and with spices make up an amazing meal. Has to be had with a slice of butter (diet be damned) and sliced onions and oil fried in butter. If your hands aint oily, you aint eating it correctly.

6) Mewad Ice Cream

There are the Naturels and the Gokuls of the city but nothing beats the simple taste of Mewad Ice Cream and Fruit Salad. Be it Anjeer Draksh, Badam Pista, or the full or half fruit salad with icecream, nothing ever tasted better. Still at Rs 5, it gives a fantastic value for money taste.

7) Pepsi Cola, Gola, Sherbet

Pepsi Cola here is not the coke rival I am talking about. Its the long thin tube of plastic containing frozen ice in different flavors. There are milk varieties too. It was staple food in my childhood and I dare say it still is. So is the ice golawala and the sherbet he makes. One has to try the tiranga….or the tricolor gola there and show their patriotism.

So now as your mouth is watering….what are your 7 favorite Mumbai Eats ?

7 best places to get a good shopping deal

I am shopoholic! Shopping is therapeutic for me, and the best part is that after a shopping binge I dont regret my actions since I know that I have got the best deal I am Mumbaikar and hence I know were I can get what at the lowest possible rates. Like me every Mumbaikar loves to shop; kids, couple, college going teenagers, office goers every one like to keep updated with the latest fashion and trends. So it is not a surprise that we Mumbaikars are willing to go to the end of the world to purchase things at the most reasonable price one can ever find. Mumbaikars are bargain savvy and are always looking for the best deals they can lay hands on. Hence it is natural that Mumbai has hundreds of bazaars that cater to the Paisa vasool mentality of the population. I have lived in at least 5 cities in the 24 yrs of my life and Mumbai bazaars are the most unique and fascinating places I have come across. One of the reasons being that each bazaar has a history of its own and each specializes in selling particular goods. So Mumbaikars are well aware precisely which market they can get what. Before I go with the 7 best places to get a good shopping deal here are a few rules you must follow while shopping anywhere in Mumbai

Things to keep in mind while shopping Make sure you demand for a bill after every purchase (Not applicable when it comes to street side shopping)
Always bargain. You will almost never be told a reasonable price at the first go
Do not buy from the very first shop you enter/vendor. Visit as many shops/vendor as possible and buy where you get the best bargain
Try and be a regular customer for one or two shops, so that the shopkeepers know you and you get better discounts than others
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7 Famous Mumbaikars

Mumbai – City of dreams and nightmares. Everyday hundreds flock here to realize their dreams, be it for success, fame, money and many a times as grim as feeding their hunger. Known to be ruthless in its ways, to succeed here one needs have two very important necessities on their side – the survival instinct and the Lady of Luck.

With a number as high as 15 million, there are only a handful among its population who have managed to standout and make a place for themselves in the hierarchy of our dubious society. And keeping in mind the “7 Things about Mumbai” theme, here is my list of 7 most popular citizens of this city, who in very real terms ‘Live Life King size’.

Bal Thackeray – When you mention Mumbai and Politics in the same breadth, the one name that immediately makes its presence felt is, Bal Thackeray, the man behind the now “tainted” political party, Shiv Sena. Often referred to as the ‘Tiger’ by his followers, the cartoonist turned politician has been a center point of many controversies ever since he founded the hardline Hindu party more than 35 years ago. Frankly speaking, I completely detest this man and his party’s so-called philosophy of “sons of the soils”. The reasons are innumerable – their intimidating and (often) violent campaigns, fanatic beliefs, self appointed moral police behavior, vandalism and last but certainly not the least, Mr. Thackeray’s role in sparking anti-Muslim violence in Mumbai, which led to more than 1,000 deaths.

However, no matter how corrupt and immoral his actions have been over the years, the fact still remains that even today Bal Thackeray is described as the uncrowned monarch of the western Indian state of Maharashtra.

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7 most popular waterfront public locations

Mumbai is a city surrounded by water. And it is not a surprise that Mumbaikars love to find their bit of solace by the sea side. It may be just an outing on a Saturday or Sunday with the wife and kids, or maybe some low cost lovey dovey time with your girlfriend, or just to unwind yourself with your friends, the sea side is one of the first choices for Mumbaikars. Even the tourist have all the sea side location prioritized in their must visit places, even though in a weird way they are seeing the same sea every time i.e. Arabian Sea. So what makes these various sea sides of the same sea different? Actually it is not much of the sea that people look forward to but the flavor each place by the sea has to offer. So here we go with the 7 most popular waterfront public locations of Mumbai.
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7 bizarre ways to die in Mumbai

Oh yes, everybody, we love the Island City. Not for its glittery Page 3 crowd, not for Bollywood, not for the stock markets and business hubs. We love it because it is a city of survivors, it is the city with a never-say-die attitude. Well, why not? That’s the only way to survive the mayhem of Mumbai.

But on a suicidal occasion that one wants to remember the ways that Yamraj plays peek-a-boo with us here, one comes up against some rather bizarre options:
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7 Nuisances in Mumbai

There are a lot of small and big incidents that annoy the heck out of me. The seven things that really annoy me are

1) People asking me to turn off my lights on the motorbike in daytime.
If by mistake my headlight is on and I exit my compound, each and every single person on the street will say “Boss Light Light”. Its as if the world will end that instant unless I turned it off immediately. Its not like the BEST is going to charge me for it. And funnily all over the world, its mandatory as a safety regulation to have the headlights of motorcycles on at all times. They are called day light running lights.

2) Dumb people spitting out of moving vehicles
I hate it when people just spit out of a moving bus or car with nary a care for the other users of the road. As much as spitting is bad, this is even worse. In most cases if your window is down the spittle flies into your car and soils your clothes. If I had my way, I would keep a water gun, fill it with goo and catch up with the “spitter” and plaster him/her with goo.

3) Cabbies Driving around empty at 2 kmph
Empty cabs driving up and down busy roads at 2 kmph trying to pick up passengers. In doing so, they screw up the traffic even more.

4) Hawkers not allowing cars to park in front of their stalls
This especially happens on Linking road. First of all the hawkers are there illegally and then on top of it they dont want you to stop or park your car there, even if it is legal. Same goes for the stupid security guards outside designer shops, who also dont want you to stop in front of their shops. Its not like their shop hoardings are at ground level and no one will see them !!

5) Hijras
Hijras (eunuchs) drive me nuts. I can understand if they just wanna beg and move on, but they start touching and groping you, especially if you are on the bike or in an auto rickshaw.

6) People Talking incessantly on cellphones in indoor public areas
We have become a city of cellphone users but most lack the etiquette that needs to come along with it. You find people answering their cellphones in restaurants and theatres and talking away as if they are in their own living room. If you have to answer the call, excuse yourself and go to a place where you dont disturb others by your loud talking. And whats with the shouting on the cellphone. It is not mandatory to talk loudly. You can talk in a soft voice.

7) Shiv Sena
Everytime I think the city is moving forward economically and politically the ugly head of Shiv Sena rears up. The latest episode in Thane just proves that they have nothing constructive to do and are today a shame and abhoration on the name of the “Marathi Manoos”. When and how can the city get rid of this, the biggest nuisance ?

7 Places to sight a Bollywood Star

Cinema is India’s great social leveler: from the President right down to the cobbler, everyone loves a good film. In fact Mumbai boasts the largest movie industry in the world. Heroes drive around in flashy cars, oomphy actresses cavorts in its bitsy mini skirts and the poor boy always succeeds against the rich villain. Bollywood film stars are demi – gods and the reigning matinee idols and also a BIG tourist attraction. Every time I visit my home town my cousins would want to know which star I bumped into, if I have an autograph of Shahrukh Khan, if I have a picture with some etc etc. I always managed to disappoint them, not because I have not bumped into a Bollywood star but just that I am too embarrassed to approach them while they go about partying, shopping or eating (what ever they are doing).
I maybe a little timid to ask for an autograph but if you have the guts then here are 7 places I can guarantee that you are most likely to bump into a Bollywood star.
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7 Islands of Bombay

bombay_map_1700.gifBombay as a city is about 400 years old. Unlike Delhi, it is relatively young and therefore all the more interesting in its rise to becoming India’s Urbs-Prima.

Looking at Bombay today, it would be hard to imagine that all those centuries ago, it was a bunch of small islands. Officially Bombay was a group of Seven Islands, which now exist only in maps. These islands were over time joined by landfills, nature and what have you.

Proceeding roughly south to north, the seven islands ceded by the Portuguese to the British were

1. Colaba: whose name is a corruption of the Koli name Kolbhat.

2. Old Woman’s Island: (alternatively, Old Man’s Island) a small rock between Colaba and Bombay, whose name is a corruption of the Arabic name Al-Omani, after the deep-sea fishermen who ranged up to the Gulf of Oman.

3. Bombay: the main harbour and the nucleus of the British fort from which the modern city grew; it stretched from Dongri on the east to Malabar Hill on the west.

4. Mazagaon: a Koli settlement to the east of Bombay island was seperated from it by Umarkhadi and Pydhonie.

5. Worli: north of Bombay was seperated from it by the Great Breach, which extended westwards almost to Dongri.

6. Parel: North of Mazagaon and called by many other names, including Matunga, Dharavi and Sion. The original population was predominantly Koli.

7. Mahim: to the west of Parel and north of Worli, took its name from the Mahim river and was the capital of a 13th century kingdom founded by Raja Bhimdev.

By far there were more islands and there still are a few but these formed the city as we all know it.

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