Archive for December, 2007

I am not an Anti-Party Animal

It’s the time of the year were partying is a must for each. People are busy drilling a hole in their pockets buying passes (or in a more sophisticated way should I say ‘invites’) to the hottest and the most happening parties in town. I never got it in the 25 years of my life, what is it with expensive parties and New Year celebrations. And probably I will never ever get it. Is it worth spending through your nose just to shake your hips and gulp some booze along with some Pg3 socialite aka some Saas Bahu / Reality Show celebrity who won’t even bother to know your name? I never really missed those chaotic New Year parties where inebriated strangers next to you brush their sweaty cheeks to yours after the darn count down. Is it the way you want the year to be. All booze and no money? Or would you prefer to spend the New Year eve with your love ones or that special one in your life. New Year has become an excuse for some to just blow up the hard earned work and an opportunity for some to make a quick buck by hosting such senseless parties.
Let me clarify that I am not an anti-party animal. Don’t get me wrong. I love partying and hell I like to do it a lot but among people I know. My friends on whom I can lean over when I am completely sloshed and am assure that I will be dropped home safe and sound. So this New Year party hard, party loud and party safe. Happy New Year.

Amazing Race 12 Returns to Bombay

The Amazing Race 12 returns to Bombay in today’s episode. I am live blogging this as the episode is aired.

After landing at CST International Airport the contestants have to

* Find the M. R. Naik newspaper stall in Khar Danda. Contestants reaching at night realize that the stall opens from 6 AM to 10 PM and so they all land up sleepingn on the benches. Finally the stall opens and they get their copy of the TOI which will have an ad that leads them to their next clue.
* The TOI ad asks them to find their way to Chauhan Alteration Tailors at Saint Joseph Church Road, near A. B. Nair Road corner, Juhu. Once at the tailors they get their next clue.
* At this point they reach a roadblock which consists of two tasks and teams are required to do just one. The first option is to paste movie posters on the walls of an “underpass” or what is commonly called in Bombay as Subway. The other task is threading garlands. The contestants find themselves at the Dadar Phool Bazaar where they have to create one full “haar”.
* One of the teams has a penalty that takes them to a yoga guruji at Dariya Mahal where they have to complete a series of funky yoga poses before they can continue.
* The poster sticking task was done by the teams with mixed results. The garland threading was an easy one.
* However none of the teams were in for what was next. At Kabutarkhana they picked up a clue that needed them to ride a “cylinder-wallah” cycle and deliver 3 gas cylinders each to two different addresses. That was fun and I think a bizarre task if you are not from Mumbai. After delivering the cylinders they then need to find their way to Bandra Fort at Land’s End.

That is the end of this leg of the race.

The competitors were generally really competitive and though they cribbed a bit, that was the typical touristy gripes that people have with cities they visit the world over. The race ended with one of the closest finishes in a long time. It was great to see Mumbai on TV and from the eyes of foreigners.

Urban Poverty: Dharavi

Dharavi in Mumbai has long been India’s and Asia’s largest slum. And people have used that as trivia to awe audiences in stupid conversations. However in the last year Dharavi was the main feature of two international and reputed publications…the National Geographic and Economist.

Image Courtesy Economist.

This month the Economic Times writes about Urban Poverty in India and focuses on Dharavi

For thousands of men like these, Dharavi is a wonderful opportunity. But for millions of Mumbaikers, it represents a cost. Their city, South Asia’s biggest, is choking. Its infrastructure is a crumbling disaster. And yet over the next decade, the UN says the population of Mumbai will almost double, making it the world’s second-biggest city after Tokyo. Massive urban redevelopment is required–starting with Dharavi, at the city’s heart. By one estimate, the slum’s land alone represents $10 billion in dead capital.

For a decade, the state government has tried coaxing the slum-dwellers to let it bulldoze their hutments and build high-rise apartments instead. Each dispossessed family is entitled to a flat of 225 square feet. After 30 years, they will be allowed to sell it. But only a few have accepted this offer. So now the government is trying to enforce it. In August it put the bulldozing and redevelopment of Dharavi, in six parcels, out to tender. The work was due to begin this year. But it has been stalled by bad press nationally and local protests, organised by Mr Korde.


Live In Chawls, No Delivery for you.

As Mumbai grows in economic power and the culture of consumerism and consumption takes place, there are bound to be some downsides. One of them is the class society syndrome, whereby you are judged by where you live. In a sting operation by Mid-Day, they found that a lot of the fast food chains would not deliver to chawls.


Sunday MiD DAY: When I am paying for my order, why do you refuse to deliver? Is it only because I live in a chawl?

Dominos at Colaba: Sorry sir, it’s our company policy.

Of course when the head honchos at Dominos corporate land are questioned, one gets the corpo-bullspeak that is only taught at MBA schools.

Chief Executive Officer of Domino’s Pizza India Ltd, Ajay Kaul told Sunday MiD DAY “We do not differentiate between our customers. All customers are equally important to us. It’s untrue that we don’t deliver to chawls as a policy.”

“Since we are a delivery company that offers a guarantee of delivery in “30 minutes or free”, we have certain policies that help us keep up with this promise to our customers. We deliver in a pre-defined delivery area, which excludes locations that take more than 10 minutes to locate and deliver”

Dominos and McDonalds, that sucks. Lets see you do that to an address in Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, NY.

Shivaji Park should be alcohol free ?

This is another entry in the “WTF Mumbai” category.

Seems that some stupid Congress corporator wants to stop the New Year’s eve party at Shivaji Park Gymkhana, because of the consumption of alcohol at the party.

“Shivaji Park is a pawan bhoomi (sacred land) and here the members of the Gymkhana will be drinking alcohol. By doing this, the members will be insulting not only the leaders but also the rich and varied culture of Maharashtra,” said Sawant. “If alcoholic drinks are served in this park, it won’t be tolerated.” [link]

How the hell does Shivaji Park become “pawan bhoomi” is beyond my comprehension.

Only flowers

I’ve developed a rather late interest in flowers. And why not? With all the frivolous things that we spend on, a little bit of beauty is much appreciated. Why must a gift always be intelligent or useful? How about just alive? Nothing better than a flower then. Here’s an account of my most recent floral jaunt.



New Year Eve Hotspots

OK lets contemplate a hypothetical situation. It’s Dec 27, 2007 and I still havent made plans for New Year’s Eve in India’s most happening city. Not wanting to just land up anywhere….and with money and accessibility to tickets no issue, where do you think I should go. And why do you make that suggestion.

I would love to see your answers in the comments section.

Look What Santa Brought to Arthur Road Jail

If you are Mohammed Kalim Sayyed, Sarvan Venu, Dilip Kumar Jaimangal Singh, Sudesh Vishram Parab, Bharat Magan Makwana, or Pravin Balkrishna Jadhav you are definitely not reading this. Unless of course they have internet access at your new government issued accommodation.

You are where you are because you were drinking and driving on Christmas eve. Of course I don’t know anyone of you and therefore will not get into character assasination. However I firmly believe that if you do the crime, be prepared to pay the fine.

Hopefully the two weeks to a month that you all will spend in “hawalat” will make you ponder why you are there. It does not help that there are others like you

who often flung the money at the police and abused them. …….impose a token fine and give stiff sentences instead. [link]

Good going Mumbai Police. Tighten the screws and keep it up.

Ex-PM Benazir Bhutto Assasinated: Democracy goes for a toss in Pakistan

Ex Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was assasinated earlier today at an election rally near Rawalpindi in Pakistan. She had recently returned to Pakistan after a truce of sorts was announced between her and Dictator Musharraf who rules Pakistan after usurping power from a civilain govrnment in 1999.

Benazir Bhutto was the first female elected leader of any Muslim nation, and it is this singular achievement that overpowers all her wrongdoings. She was no paraih and has been in the news for amassing huge sums of wealth for herself and her family. However she was the one shining beacon of hope for a democracy in an otherwise failed democracy.

Hopefully, this will jumpstart the country out of its stupor and incite the people in non violent ways to kick Musharraf out of power and restore a real, elected leader.

For more on the spot reporting head over to Metroblogging Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

Vegetable shopping

Once, during my winter vacations, my grand-mother sent me downstairs to buy some vegetables. I knew nothing about veggies of course but her reassuring face hovered above from the balcony as she said she would point out the fresh ones from the rest. So I skipped down the stairs to catch the vegetable cart. Once I got to the bottom, I realized that he had started wheeling the cart away and was already at the end of the block. As I climbed up again, my grand-mother chided me

Why didn’t you call out for him to stop?

But I did! I kept shouting out ‘Bhajeewala! Bhajeewala!‘ but he didn’t stop!

Oh you silly child! They are called Sabzeewalas!

What? But he is a Bhajeewala, why should I call him anything else?


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