Archive for the ‘City Life’ Category

The Morning After*

I started this as a Tiny Tale. But Anish Vyavahare added a chapter to it making it a collaborative effort and a bigger story. That got up featured on Protagonize’s editor’s weekly picks. I’ve just added the third chapter. You can read just my two pieces independently or read the three-in-collaboration here. Comments awaited!

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His eyes open and he stares for a long minute. He’s surprised by his own surprise. It’s the same room that he has woken up in for the past four years, the bubbles on the corner of wall and ceiling as familiar to him as the plumbing woes that create them. His eyes flutter to his left foot, the direction, a book once told him, is where we look when we’re remembering the past. Then to the right, the direction of the future plans. He gives up and gets up, ignoring the protesting knots in his back.

And at once he realizes. He hasn’t been woken by the sunlight, most unwelcome to owners of east-facing bedroom windows. It’s the sound that has woken him up. Clattering on the tin parapet that the people below insisted on putting up last December. It’s raining.

He steps up to the window and waits for his eyes to adjust to the waking world. A few seconds pass before he realizes that it’s coming down so fast and heavy that the gray around is not his sleepiness but water, sheer water.

For the briefest second, he begins a smile, thinking the earliest conscious thought that occurs to a Mumbaiker during heavy rain. NO SCHOOL! But the smile stops before it reaches his cheek corners and he realizes there’s an investor meeting later in the day and an early morning chat with the boss to prepare. How’s he going to get to work in this downpour? He’d better carry an extra set of formal clothes, one part of his brain is already whizzing. And his hands reach for the side-drawer, groping in the musty darkness for the plastic shield for his mobilephone, lest he forget to carry it later. Survival first is the metropolitan mantra.

He should probably leave early to provide for any delays. There’ll be plenty – traffic jams, pedestrian snarls, late trains, buses negotiating puddles. As he leaves the room, his fingers brush the switch panel, turning on the light, turning off the fan and the mosquito repellent plug-in. Mid-automation, he swirls around. Even through the downpour, he can tell, the window opposite is shut. Funny. He could have sworn, it was open last night. Maybe she got up when it started raining and shut it. Maybe it was always shut. Maybe…

The doorbell rings and he rushes out of the room, all thoughts fleeing instantly. The monsoon is here and so is Monday.

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* A story about loneliness and companionship, about the weather and workaholism, about life in the city we call home.

Fiction: The Park*

A park separates them.

If it can be called a park, that is. A grassy patch chequered with muddy patches, that turn into puddles in the monsoon. The dogs like it anyhow. They keep him awake at night with their barking. Nobody seems to care at 2 in the a.m.

One such night is filled with little vapours of heat rising from under his neck each time he shifts, on the pillow. He sits up and puts his feet down on the floor. The ground is cool and the thought of sleeping there occurs to him. But he turns it aside. He’ll only wake up with aching muscles. A sudden buzzing in his ear reminds him of the reason he woke up. Getting up is surprisingly easy. He supposes he didn’t really fall asleep earlier. So he crosses the room to draw the mosquito net across the window. Small relief, that, the mosquitoes still get in mysteriously. He curses the puddles, the lazy gardener responsible for the park’s upkeep, the real estate agents for whom it’s a reason to hike up the flat’s prices.

His head hurts. The EMI is due in three days. He could put it on his credit card but then what will he shop with for the rest of the month? The incentive. One windfall that’ll take care of all his problems. But he’s having trouble even keeping up with so little sleep. And the worry keeps him awake nights. Not for the first time he wonders how different his life might have been if he hadn’t bought this flat.

A thin rivulet of sweat runs down the side of his forehead. In the heat, it is almost a relief to feel something cold. The ice of his impotence.

A sudden gust blows across his cheek and he slides back the mosquito net and leans out to catch it. It’s gone. Great, a grand welcome to more mosquitoes. But he doesn’t pull back. He’s past caring now.

When he finally looks up, hand on the window to slide it back into place, he stops. The city is never completely dark. The lights on the billboards, the neon sign flashing the name of the mall next door (another reason the real estate rates are so high) all contribute to little stray beams. Like leftovers thrown to the dogs, even the park is aglow in an imitation of moonlight. The dogs are scampering.

And he realizes that he looked up because of the sound. He squints into the darkness for the source. All around the park, ghostly black shapes tower, the other buildings that share the park. It’s like a crossword or a reverse of one. More black but a few white (and yellow) squares here and there. He looks at the familiar visions of other late-nighters. A fan is going in one while flickering images of a TV from another throw out strange reflections on the facing building. And in the building exactly opposite, a blue-white window frames a dark silhouette.

He can’t see much else around it. And because they’re exactly level, there’s no sight of the walls and shadows that fall on them. He doesn’t know anything about the flat or its occupant. They face each other, separated by the park.

He feels the need to avert his eyes immediately. It feels like the figure opposite is aware of him, knows he’s been watching. When he looks up, the figure hasn’t moved. So he stares back, defiantly. But the same uncomfortable feeling overcomes him. He turns away and sits down on his bed. But once he’s sitting, he can’t see the window. So he stands up again.

His stomach flutters and little beads of sweat form on his forehead, this time a different temperature. It’s a curious, forgotten feeling, this knowing that someone else is awake at the same time. It feels companionable.

The dogs start whining again and he grimaces. He feels like he could strangle the barking ones. If he only dared. Suddenly a shout rings out and he hears what sounds like splashing water. The figure across is holding up something that looks like a plastic mug. He starts laughing. It’s effective, he thinks. The dogs vanish almost instantly.

The black shape has the left arm placed on the hip, or perhaps on the windowsill. The other arm is crooked at an angle and seems to be saying hi to him. But it isn’t moving so he concludes that it is resting on a screen. Then, impulsively, he lifts up his hand and mirrors the pose.

The figure shifts almost immediately and turns to its left. In that flash, he can see it’s a woman or perhaps a girl. Her nose is sharp and ends in an equally defined chin. She turns again. Then she lifts up her right arm and reclaims her pose. It’s like she’s saying hi back.

When he returns to bed, the clock shows that it’s seven minutes since he got up. He turns around again. The figure has gone but the light is still on. The dogs won’t come back tonight, he thinks. He lies down and shuts his eyes. In a few minutes he’s fast asleep.

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* A story about neighbors and companionship in Mumbai.

Mumbai Ka King Kaun? Deewar Pe Dekho!

A very quick update on yesterday’s street festival. It would have been nice if it had been a day-long fest and each of the events staggered a bit.

I started out with a detailed itinerary, knowing even then the futility of trying to cover all the events. Kya karen, they were all so appealing! I started with the Wall Project, because it was the first event and yes, also because it enjoys a special place in my heart. :-)

AmZ met me in Bandra and we spent a pleasant (if not fruitless) half-hour driving up and down Tulsi Pipe Road trying to find the others. The event details had only said that the project was open for painting on the blank walls left over from the earlier events. But maybe because of the heat and also since it was a less monitored event, the crowd clustered around a tree-shaded patch close to Mahim.

I daresay some people may have painted over earlier paintings. But I’m just going to take a note from a friend’s diary and say that street art is about layers over layers.

I had a run in with the shopkeeper of the only hardware shop open on that stretch.  I know it was hot but that wasn’t my fault and besides no one should be crabby about doing extra business.  Grrrrr, horrible man!


So I found myself dressed to paint in denim overalls and bright pink rubber gloves but with no paints, no brushes and no wall. Mercifully for me, Manan and his friends invited me to join them in their part of colour splashing. Here are the results.

Since they’d already started their panel, I didn’t join them but I was graciously given both the border panels to splash about with. On the right, I created a warli painting. After all these years of sketching and fabric-painting, this is the first time I’ve actually created this wall art on a real wall. Much fun it was.

E Vestigio was there all along, heckling us and snapping pics. (I do hope she’ll put up a post with them soon!) In retaliation, I incorporated her into the warli painting along with the others who were painting the wall. Can you guess which one she is? The fun bit about an event like this is the camaraderie and silliness that goes hand-in-hand with actually executing the project.

The panel on the left actually had a few pictures of gods and the pavement-dwellers asked us to not touch those. In cognizance of this, a group had left the top half empty and was in the process of creating a Pink Floyd album cover on the bottom. But the top looked rather stark. So I tempered the parts around the pictures with blue paint and created a kolam, which is fairly appropriate next to a picture of the Gods, I think. :-)

Friends and familiar faces I spotted were Neil Dantas, Shadez and Leztah. The mad (o’ wot?) Sapna Bhavnani screamed out “IDEEEEEEEAAAAAAAA!” as she flew past in an Elvis Presley wig, as a part of the Superheroes on bicycles event. A few panels down, Ranjeet, Neeraj and their gang put up their green and peaceful messages to the world.

The Superheroes on bicycles briefly sailed past us and stopped to ogle our walls and let themselves be ogled at. Much funness. Mumbaikers need to be taught to stare. :-)

By the time we packed up it was close to 8. So we made our way to Carter Road to catch the Mad Fake Tea Party. It was too dark by then and the party that had presumably been on for a few hours, was winding down. Still we got a few glimpses of funkily dressed people and the remaining postcards on the table.

All in all, we really only did one event completely but as Manan puts it,

What a wonderful, satisfying way to spend a Sunday!

Street Festival: Mumbai Ka King Kaun? – Wall Project, Sticker Wall, Board Games Bash, Pitto, Post-it Surprise, Letters, SuperHero Squad, Mad Fake Tea Party, Homemade Videos

After some exciting (and turbulent) experiences last year, here comes the baap of all community events – Mumbai ka King Kaun? (MKKK)

This event has been taking shape quite recently and is not owned by any one person or group. That’s why this post comes so late but I’m hoping it’s still time enough for whoever catches it today.

MKKK is a series of different community events happening across the city (okay, Mahim and Dadar). Since the originating idea was street art, wall-painting is still on at the blank walls of Tulsi Pipe Road in Mahim. Only this time, make sure to carry your own materials.

At other places, there are board games meets, street games, a cycling trip, funky writing events, a tea-party and some films. I’ve been receiving messages from different groups on the various activities that are happening today. So I’m going to be skipping around the locations, dabbling in a little of each and maybe snapping up some colourful images of the city having fun. Come join me!

These are the details of the initiative and each event as I received them:

The Wall Project- 3 Mumbai ka King Kaun

Remember this is not a mela or carnival with lots of people. This is all about you as an individual along with your friends and city people coming out in the open public space and doing good and yet crazy creative things. We all are here to participate so don’t wait to know who’s the organiser, committee members, event guys, or wall project guys. Simply come out and do what you feel like or attend the events and become part of them.

FAQs

– How do i participate in events?

By just being there. Whichever events you like, just show up. Join the
gang and have fun. There is no registration,no fees, forms, no stamps required.

– How do i know about the events?

Go to the Mumbai ka king kaun and check its wall posts. All the events
are listed there. Here is the link http://www.facebook.com/
/home.php?#!event.php?eid=122507234436149&ref=ts

– I don’t know anyone in these events

Thats why you should come. All the events are open for all.
you don’t need any pre permission, gate pass, or influence letter. Just
come and participate.

– Can i go to multiple events and how?

you can go to multiple events. More you attend, more fun.
You will have to take your vehicle or public transport to reach the
venue. How long this event will go on? Time mentioned on the individual events pages.

– Can i help? Can i bring in my friends family.

Yes please. By participating and being part of event as per theme and
adding ideas, surprises. All size and age groups r welcome. Bring your
family, friends etc.

HERE ARE LIST OF ALL FINAL EVENTS

– THE GREAT WALL OF MUMBAI -3

Type: Music/Arts – Exhibit
Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Time: 4:00pm – 8:30pm
Location: at TULSI PIPE ROAD, mahim
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=112649048778893&ref=mf

– STICKER WALL

Start Time: Thursday, May 27, 2010 at 5:30pm
End Time: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 at 11:30pm
Location: Carter’s Blue (the shawrma place)
Street: opposite Carter road Cafe coffee day, Bandra(W)
City/Town: Mumbai, India
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=9822921861& v=app_2344061033&ref=ts#!/event.php?eid=122220381145094&ref=mf

– BOARD GAMES BASH: Picnic at the Park

Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Time:4:00pm – 8:00pm
Location:
Nilgiri Park, Bandra
Street:
Across From Coffee Bean, Linking Road
link
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=119724104734785&ref=mf

– Pitto – Seven Stones (Lagori)
Type: Sports – Sporting Event

Date: Saturday, May 29, 2010
Time: 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Location: Near Gurunanak Park, Off Turner road, Bandra west
link
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=105707762808175&ref=mf

– Ideas for the City – Post it Note Surprise

Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Time: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Location: Bandra Bandstand Entrance
link
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=127820343897029&ref=mf

– Write Letters, Sometimes

Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Time: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Location: Carter Road Amphitheatre
Link
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=127018740644109&ref=mf

– THE SUPER HERO SQUAD: bring out your cycles and dress up like a
super hero

Type: Trips – Roadtrip

Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Time: 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: starting from tulsi pipe road
Link
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=124802124206187&ref=mf

– Mad Fake Tea Party

Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Time: 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Location: Mumbai, Carter Road (Chess Tables Opp CCD)
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=124360884257969&ref=mf

– Street Festival of Homemade Videos
Date: Sunday, May 30, 2010
Time: 8:00pm – 9:00pm
Location: On the big painted wall outside Gonsalvez House (bandra Bazaar Road)
Link
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=128030557209812&ref=mf

NOTE: DO’s & DON”Ts

1) this is not a competition event/ mela/ challenge/ or reality show. It is only for us to realize our public spaces and use them respectfully, sensitively.

2) Please don’t indulge in political, religious, advertising, commercial, or promotional ideas.
Wall project or BMC will not be responsible or support any such initiative.

3) No banners, No hoardings, No leaflets, promotional material or sale.

4) Don’t create obstacles for the city in terms of noise, traffic etc. If you feel a crowd building around you best is to leave the place.

5) This is not a protest for any thing going wrong around us. This is purely an initiative to get the city people to come together and know each other and get involved in ideas to make the city space better or at least use it responsibly while having fun.

6) the event ideas belong to individuals and groups & and no Illegal activities will be entertained nor will it be the responsibility of the Wall Project/BMC

7) This event is a part of The Wall Project with BMC, along with many other similar small public events on the same day. For other events stay tuned on wall project facebook group.
LINK: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=122507234436149&index=1#!/group.php?gid=9822921861&ref=ts

if any question email us at – info@thewallproject.com

Retail Therapy

Today, I accompanied E Vestigio across the city. When I say across, I mean literally across. In the space of 6 hours, I’ve passed dug-up roads, flyovers, under-rail subways, main roads, a highway, bylanes and market roads. I’ve been inside a mall, foodcourt, chain store branches, thronged a bazaar, hunted down an inner-lane shop and bargained with roadside vendors. We started at Oberoi Mall, Goregaon East and worked our way south-westward ending at Santacruz station market.

Now ostensibly, today’s trip was her agenda, with routes, destinations and shopping lists laid out in careful detail. So how is it that I find I’m now in possession of three new handbags, two pairs of sandals, a ring, a bangle, an almost tee-shirt (returned for reasons we won’t get into now) and three packs of to-fry cheese fingers?

Let’s see, there was Inc.5 with whom my only experience so far has been these delightful creatures. If I hoped for a repeat of that, I was rather lured away by E’s more sensible and stable choices. I rather regret not picking up the omelette-yellow sandals.

Then there was the mannequin wearing a tee-shirt depicting ‘Him’ and ‘Her’ display signs, the kind you see on toilet doors in malls. Of course I had to check it out. I saw a really cool racer-back with a print of ghungroo-clad feet. Voila! It fit! It was only after I paid and looked at the bill, did I realize that I’d been charged about a third more than what was on the price tag. The salesgirl sniffed and stated pointedly that the price tag showed the material cost while any print was extra. E came to my rescue (or perhaps kept me from throwing a shopper-tantrum and screaming my head off). The tee was returned and we left. Oh well, the print wasn’t that great and anyway I can paint it on myself. Huh.

We lunched in the foodcourt, the largest, most varied one I’ve ever seen and it prompted me to exclaim,

The only other place I’ve seen such a food court is in Heathrow airport!!

Oberoi Mall has successfully pulled off what none of its earlier counterparts in the areas could. It combines the cool of the western suburbs’ InOrbit while also catering to the more ethno-diverse population in the eastern suburbs. Town be damned, Mumbai’s disposable income is never more visible than in the suburban malls. There is a certain new-money loudness in these places. There is also a refreshing lack of world-weary cynicism. E gushed and gushed about the food court before capturing our mood with,

Such simple things make us joyful, no?

Yes, indeed. We remember shopping centers, neighborhood kiranas and restaurant food. Malls, food courts and glitzy stores are still a big, very big deal in our lives.

As we were leaving, I just had to check out Rhysetta. Esbeda introduced me to colourful-but-classy bags; it was good to find another brand that offered the same. I was intrigued by a bright yellow bag with a black handle. The sunshine colour seems to have been my theme today. E very pointedly said,

If you wear them all together, you’ll be a dirty fellow.

…which of course meant I had to take the green instead. It’s neon green, not a dull/sensible colour by any stretch but I’m still rather in lustful desire with that yellow bag. Maybe I’ll trip back tomorrow to do an exchange. (Forgive me E, you’re just going to wear sunglasses when you see me next!!)

There was a black sequined bag I almost bought except that its strap looked more like a fracture-cast bandage on my arm than the mock-bracelet it was supposed to be. Undeterred, I stopped at another bag shop while E walked into the FabIndia. None of my shortlisted choices met with her approval though, so I walked out purchaseless. FabIndia, on the other hand, never failing to please, put me in possession of two bags. One is blue raw silk with buttis print and metal kadas for handles. The other is a black silk with buttis and looks like an open envelope. How could I *not* buy those?! Money is to be made so it can be spent on such wonderful things (okay, after the basic necessities).

The bazaars outside stations are throwbacks to creditcardless student days of raste-ka-maal-saste-mein bargains. My loss of the yellow sandals still smarted so instead we made up by buying two pairs of gladiators, one black-with-metal riveting dominatrix and the other brown-with-bronze buckles sensible chic. E’s superb bargaining ensured these two cost me less than the price of that one yellow pair.

And when all of this was done, I had burned off enough of calories and water-atoms to be ravenous. So I picked up the cheese sticks for dinner.

Yes, it all makes sense in retrospect. Try telling that to my wallet, though.

E thanked me at the end of the day for accompanying her on her errands. I said, “No, thank you. I had so much fun!!” Now I think she should thank me again. You see, when I shop on my own, I usually know what I want and how, where and for how much I want to buy it.

But malls, display windows and charming streetside sellers aren’t designed for people like that. They are focused, diabolical strategies to target unsuspecting people who haven’t really been intending to buy anything at all!! A good friend isn’t someone who puts up with bad roads, horrible weather and crowded stores with you. All of that is part of the thrill of shopping. A good friend is the one who is willing to take that final risk of putting herself in the eye of the marketer’s fire. It’s really like being on a diet and agreeing to walk through the diary products section of the store with your friend who wants to get to green veggies on the other side!

But this is all said in jest. At the end of the day, my toes hurt, my scalp feels itchy from all the dust and my face muscles feel like they’re sagging along with my limbs. But I’ve had an uncommonly long chat with a good friend, laughing, discussing serious stuff, being silly, grumbling about men, work, life and such, bitching about prices, brands, styles and other people. E Vestigio, poppet, thank you, love.

I feel good. Retail therapy? Maybe it does work after all.

Dischordian + Gillian Grassi: UTV World Movies and Music @ Cafe Goa

Movies & Music with Bombay Elektrik Projekt

I was at Café Goa this Wednesday (20th January) for the UTV World Movies & Music event organized by the Bombay Elektrik Projekt. As it was, the trek to Bandra is a formidable thought (and I stop short of saying ‘unrealistic’ since that’s what’s I call travelling to town). In typical Mumbaiker fashion, I aim for efficient usage of time so I clubbed this with another event – meeting a longtime friend/reader of my blog. We decided to skip the movie in favor of coffee & chat and come back for the music performance.

Gillian Grassie

The opening act was by Gillian Grassie, a harpist from Philadelphia on a year-long tour of several countries including India to study the relationships between new technologies and independent music scenes around the globe. I managed to catch only the last few minutes of her act and what little I saw was quite mesmerizing. The harp carries associations of white-clad angels and an otherworldy, semi-religious feel of music. Gillian’s music was none of those things but managed to bring a sweet freshness to instantly hummable tunes. Her fingers seemed to be feather-touching, almost dancing on the strings of the harp (which was almost as big as her..and here I thought the harp would be a much smaller instrument). The harp provided only a very soft background to the songs which primarily rode on her voice. It’s quite impressive to create a song purely from one’s voice, virtually unassisted by the grandeur of an orchestra and Gillian pulled it off, holding the audience spellbound. I do wish I had made it to the venue earlier to catch her entire performance.

The headlining act of the evening was Dischordian, a venture by Garreth D’mello (also of Split). Dischordian is described as ‘an attempt to move away from the wall of sound and aggression and testosterone that makes up most rock music, an attempt to strip music down to its basics’.

Dischordian at Cafe Goa: 20 Jan 2010

Garreth was accompanied by Howard Pereira on his guitar and Agnnelo Picardo (Aggie), the percussionist/trumpeteer. The last began the evening, hugging a trumpet close to his chest while listening to Garreth and Howard spark up the show. I’ve never seen a trumpet that close. The advantage of a place like Café Goa is the proximity it provides between the performer and the audience. So I kept my eyes trained on the trumpet, an instrument I only have vague associations with, of loudness and some sort of stiff-necked wedding band. Thus it came as a pleasant surprise when the trumpet actually made its entry into the music at ‘The Old Whore’. Aggie led it in with the kind of regal dignity and grandeur that you would associate with a quiet, well-built black man who surprises you with jazz. Yes, jazz was unmistakably what I heard in Dischoridian’s sound everytime the trumpet was a part of it.

Garreth himself has tremendous presence on stage. His face is boyish and manner as laidback and easygoing as his Goan roots. But when he begins to sing, those notions melt away as you are carried off in the power and forceful magnetism of his rich voice. It’s a deep voice, the kind that sounds mature and all-knowing with wisdom that comes from having experienced excitement and grown past it. Possibly because of the selection of songs and the jazz feel that I described earlier, it also felt like a strong but gently caress, the sort that can crush but knows how not to.

I’ve heard ‘The Old Whore’ before, live as well as a recording. It has a classic country-western feel to it. Some artists sound much better in person than on the polished finish of a recording and Dischordian is certainly in this category.

Scourge of Love‘ revved up the tempo and suddenly the audience was drawn into the performance, before we even knew it, thumping our feet and trying to sing along (or hum along at least). This is when Swati who had accompanied me clapped her hands and called Garreth, India’s answer to Kurt Cobain (which elicited a weak smile from Garreth when I told him later, followed by a hasty retreat).

The piece de resistance of Dischordian‘s performance has to have been ‘Bucket of Blood’ (I actually thought that was ‘Bucket of Love’ when I tweeted about it);-). It’s a racy, foot-thumping number, all adrenalin and blood-rushes. I’ve not seen Garreth in his former avatar but several people I know have given me a pretty graphic account of his rockstar days as a tee-shirt ripping stage-stud, girls screaming et al. His shirt stayed firmly on and he remained seated but this song was a more than adequate hint to those days. And yes, there were a lot of people screaming, even in that tiny room in the café, men and women alike.

Agnnelo Picardo of Dischordian

The trumpet was replaced by a sort of bongo (hand-drum?) for the same song and served to showcase Aggie’s talent. All artists are trying to communicate something in their own ways and media. Musicians face that challenge by appealing to something whose response can’t often be quantified in words – melody, beat, the combination of the various sounds made by wind and strings and voice. Some instruments like the guitar and indeed, the human voice make that connection a lot more easily but it is a greater challenge to connect with the audience with the more distant (but grand) percussion. Aggie displays as much presence as Garreth does, in a different way. As the lead guitarist and vocalist, albeit with his own brand of showmanship, Garreth is the flash-and-dazzle of Dischordian but Aggie makes his presence felt subtly and yet, noticeably. It’s an impressive talent and makes for a great performance.

Garreth solo

Garreth performed solo on ‘One of these days‘ and ‘How I wait”, which while melodious, didn’t quite send me into rapture like the earlier songs. They could just be the kind of songs you’d prefer to listen to within the intimacy of headphones and in solitude rather than with a big group of people. Fortunately Howard and Aggie returned to perform ‘She lied to me’ and a cover version of Jello Biafra’s ‘Are you drinking with me, Jesus?‘ which really had the crowd howling in appreciation. The other songs they performed were ‘Same old conversations‘, ‘Your Right Heel‘ and ‘Baby, Maybe’.

The performance closed a few minutes after midnight.

The neighbors are complaining. You wouldn’t think an acoustic band could make much noise. But apparently we can.

was Garreth’s wry observation as the audience begged him for an encore.

In sum, the evening was well-spent and totally worth the trip to Bandra. The second half was good but I think the first few songs took away the show. Dischordian is great, live in action and I’ll gladly make the trek again to hear them. I would also like to hear their recorded songs to be able to compare it to their live performance. But my feeling is their real talent lies in the tangible connection they are able to make with their audience when they are right in front of them.

The BEP Movies n Music event at Cafe Goa

* Dischordian is on Facebook and Twitter. The Bombay Elektrik Projekt is on Facebook. My tweets of the event are hashtagged #bep.

Vasai Road: Love, Rum & Dancing At The *AlienPhyre Wedding

I’m just home from an amazing weekend. Actually it was only one evening but it packed in so much that it feels like I had an entire weekend.

My friend Reena got married yesterday to her longtime sweetheart Melroy. I met Reena through Adi and bonded with her at The Wall Project. If you visit the Tulsi Pipe Road stretch just to the left of Matunga Road station, you’ll still see our works of art.

Reena’s is the first one after the tree and is very much like her…pretty, graceful and romantic. It says,

You are one big fairytale waiting to happen.

Spitphyre's Fairytale

(more…)

Stupid Stupid Stupid – Album Launch Gig

It feels like in this time-starved city, it’s hard enough to fit in one interest (I have two) along with a career, family life, social life and love life. One prioritizes so I picked books & writing while a lot of other wonderful things got left behind. But every now and then you run into one of them and it’s like meeting someone you believed you could be in love with if there had only been the time.

I have never really been a part of the music scene barring the occasional Roger Waters or Mark Knopfler concert (okay, okay Bryan Adams as well…sheesh..). But that’s stuff that EVERYONE in this city does, it’s practically a ritual. But to truly enjoy something, you need to be able to experience as many variations of its existence as possible and not just the well-marketed ones. So I jumped at the opportunity to check into the music scene.

I was at Zenzi Mills last night with Swati and Sumanth for a gig by three bands – The Mavyns, Sridhar/Thayil and Medusa. I was there courtesy my friend AmZ who plays bass with Sridhar/Thayil. The event was to launch Stupid Stupid Stupid, an album compilation of various young and upcoming Indian musicians including the three bands that played. I got there too late for The Mavyns and didn’t catch much of Medusa so I’ll focus on Sridhar/Thayil since I was there through their entire performance.

Amit Ahuja (AmZ)

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The Sapling Project

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Me and Ranjeet are doing a small campaign to plant and share saplings, free of cost to one and all in different parts of our city.

Do check out http://thesaplingproject.com/ for more details and to sign up for the saplings.

Hopefully if we manage to get more friends interested in the idea , we should be able to trigger similar endeavors in different cities all over India

Do lemme know your views/inputs .

Peace &  Breathe Easy :)

I Style! – Going Places, Well-Equipped!

Landmark is having their annual sale! Of course you knew that if you are a book-lover in this city. But did you know that they don’t just have their regular (great!) books on sale but also a load of cool stuff as well? Check out what I picked up for the princely sum of Rs.199. That’s the lovely Dipali who showed me the bag and agreed to model it for I Style! as well.

Lets go places wide

EcoFrendz is a brand that has retailed bags from Landmark before but I’ve never seen some of these designs on display before. The bag I bought is khaki coloured cloth with a black cloth strap. Now normally, I’d pass off this stuff as being too stereotypical social worker stuff. But look at what’s on the side. It says ‘Let’s go places’ and it even has a real compass hanging down the side! I can see myself carrying this with jeans, salwar-kameezes as well as a skirt!

Lets go places zoom

Now I’m a sucker for toys like that, it’s kitschy, it’s cool without being flamboyant. How’s that for I Style!?!

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