Archive for October, 2006

Madame Tussaud’s Comes to Town

The Mid-Day reports that Madame Tussauds, the world renowned wax museum is going to open shop in Bombay. That is a great fillip for the city.

Madame Tussauds, London’s most famous tourist attraction known for its life-size waxworks, plans to open a branch in Mumbai, featuring replicas of Bollywood and cricketing stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Sachin Tendulkar.

The plan to open a Mumbai office is part of a concerted push by Madame Tussauds’ new owners — Dubai International Capital — to expand beyond the UK. [ link ]

My only concern is, what will be the entrance fee ?? Here in NYC it is about 33 US$ and in London upward of 20 pounds.

Let’s hope they follow the “horses for courses” policy and don’t price it out of the market.

Welcome GRAZ

Graz the second largest city of Austria is part of the Metblogs family. It also helps Metblogs cross over the 50 city mark. Welcome to the bloggers of Graz.

My personal association with Graz goes back to 1995 when I first visited the city as a student of architecture, participating in a conference. Since then it has been a lifelong affair of love and admiration for the city.

Last year I wrote about Graz and its architecture

Graz is one of the most beautiful medium sized cities in Europe. The modern architecture movement there is about 4 decades old. Its developed into a movement of its own called the Grazer Schule. The state of Styria, of which Graz is the capital, elected an architect as its governor in the early 80’s and he made it mandatory for all projects built with government money to go through a process of competition. Thus every architect, young and starting, or established and famous could compete for the projects and many a new architecture star was born this way. The general public awareness about architecture is amazingly high. More of that in another post someday soon.

You can read a bit more about my personal connection here.

But wait, before you do that, hop on over to Metblogs Graz and say hi !!

[Image Credits: Hampage.Hu ]

Midnight Maddness at Mohammed Ali Road

[Phirni – A Creamy Rice Pudding, seen here in flavours of Safron and Almond]

The Minara Masjid twinkles a glorious light green under a cloud of tiny fairy lights as chaos entralls the streets below. In what now has become an annual Ramzan treat for me I decided to haunt the Khao Galli at Mohammed Ali and yes ofcourse savour every lastbit of food I could find.

It's a sweet Ramzan
[It’s a sweet Ramzan]

Here’s a snippet from my last years visit

The red hot charcoal solder as the smoke rises through the tenderised chicken and kebabs into the air, wafting into my nostrils, air such divine. It’s a frenzied scene as full pitched bazaar flows by with smiles and sighs under the green glow of the well adourned mosque and the orange glow from the alleviating traffic behind me. I glance at my wrist watch and it blinks backs 00:00 am at me. I frown in disbelief think out aloud, “It can’t be tomorrow already, the city is alive and awake” My words at any other time would have been audible but today they seem to have been drowned by the life around me.

“Aao Aao Sahb, Mensahb .. Humare Badiya Khana Khao”, “{Come one and all try out our delecious fare} shouted the man next to me in his crisp white kurta and colourful skull cap. Seeing that I was paying him some eye contact he diverted his sales touts to my directions.
People think Indian Bazaars are haphazard, I disagree each market has a finely planned out anatomy. Just like when you’re in a department store and you find the Womens section on the first floor, childrens on the second, and mens wear on the third or sometimes on the fourth depending on where they want to put the lifestyles stuff. In the same way the midnight bazaar has womens shoes, everything from skilettos to juttis on the outer rim. There is also other stuff hair-bands, clothes, costume jewellery etc etc but since I’m not the target consumer I ignore. I by pass the shoes with out second look and move on directly to the good stuff, the food. Back to the anatomy we have the dazzling variety of methais [sweets] and food of all shapes and sizes on the left. Food Court Style yet outdoor very cool.

I was there for the sweets and Suleman Usman Bakery was the place to enjoy them. Phirnis, Maalpuas yum. I lapped down a rich and creamy kesar Phirni till my plastic spoon scrapped the bottom of the terrecota cup it was served in. The Maalpaus pure heaven served hot with their crispy brown honey dipped sweet exterior and their custard creamy interior melting in you mouth as your palate just wanted more. Sensory overload.

Midnight Bazaar

My this showing at Mohammed Ali Road was pretty much like last it was just the quantity of food intake was doubled. The list included Maalpaus and Phirni at Suleman Usman (obviously), Pathar Ghosh (hyderabadi dish where pieces of meat at cooked on a preheated slab of granite absolutely delicious), Tongue Soup at Bademian, a generous intake of sugary faloodas, some sheikh kebabs and finished off with some excellent dudhi ka halwa.

Tongue Soup
[Susanna and Paul trying out their tongue soup at Bademian

It was good I can tell you that.]

Excuse me I have a lot of digesting to do and before I forget Eid Mubarak

Happy Diwali 2006

Diwali: “The Festival of Lights” is the Hindu New Year. Today India celebrates Diwali. Metroblogging Mumbai would like to wish all our loyal readers a very Happy Diwali 2006.

Stay safe, be happy, light fire crackers responsibly.

Wah Kya Mochi Hai!

In Mumbai city it’s quite a common site to see the BMC officials demolishing road-side stalls of food, vegetables, clothes, etc. and practically running away in the sarkari trucks with the confiscated goods.

It’s whole other story that once that these road-side hawkers are back at the same place the very next day, either by bribing the BMC officials or by the influence of their local political party.

But then there are some who go a step further and come up with innovative ideas to sustain their source of daily bread-&-butter. And one such example is a cobbler named Namdev Shelke, who in a way has beaten the law with the help of the law – literally.

Mid-Day reports:

A cobbler on AB Nair Road, Juhu, against whom residents of the area have been complaining regularly, has now got his lawyer by his side.

Says Shelke, whose stall measures 4×6 metres, “While I have a licence for a 1×1 metre stall, I am yet to receive permission for extending my stall. I fear the BMC may demolish the extension any time; in fact they have already done so a few times. That is why it is reassuring to have my lawyer friend with me.”

Kelkar, who claims to be a social worker, is from Shelke’s hometown in Vidarbha and has been seen at Shelke’s stall for the past two to three months.

“Kelkar’s presence has assured that residents do not start arguing with me. The residents are beautifying the area and want me to shift. His presence in the shop has helped bring down the complaints. Otherwise, they would ask me to move every week,” says Shelke.

Ever since the incident with the lawyer, residents have avoided another confrontation with Shelke. An ALM member Nina Fernandes said, “Once we find a 1X1 metre plot of land, he will have to go. Then, I am sure, the lawyer will not be able to do much. As of now we feel that there is no point arguing with the lawyer until the land is ready.”

When I read this story, I couldn’t help but tell myself “Ki boss is Mumbai-nagri mein yeh surely ek hatke addmi hai”. What say?

Diwali Wishes


Wishing each and every one of u a colourful and bright Diwali

Its gonna cost u less to dirty ur city now

Yes u r right now its gona cost u less when it cometo dirtying mumbai city because the fine amount determined for offences such as littering Mumbai’s roads or defecating, urinating, bathing or spitting on them has been brought down from Rs 500/- to Rs 100/-. The decision follows last month’s public hearing where citizens’ groups pointed out that the punishment could not be implemented simply because a large majority of the people who indulged in such activities would not be able to pay up. In a way this is a good decision if ther are enough people to do the policing job but other wise its just another trial and totally gone waste efforts. Its high time we realise tht our city need a little bit of of attention when it comes to the cleanliness department. I wish there could in many Rani Mukhajees of KANK ( a cleanliness freak) in real life that too in Mumbai :)

Gandhi-giri saves Sanjay Dutt (for now)

It seems like Gandhi-giri has managed to save actor Sanjay Dutt from landing-up behind bars, well atleast for the time being.

Dutt along with 25 other accused in the 1993 serial bomb blasts case appeared before the TADA court today. The actor is charged with possessing an AK-56 rifle and destroying it with the help of friends. He has already served 18 months in prison in connection with the charges against him.

NDTV reports:

Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt appeared before a TADA court on Wednesday in response to summons issued to him.

The summons were issued by designated Judge P D Kode, who had asked Dutt and 25 other accused to appear before him for giving their attendance on Wednesday.

The court is giving the verdict in phases and has exempted accused on bail, including Dutt, from personal appearance. However, they are summoned to the court periodically.

The court has so far not declared when it would give the verdict on the alleged complicity of Sanjay and a group of his friends who helped him in destroying the weapon.

Outside the court, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told reporters that the verdict on Dutt is expected after Diwali holidays.

And as always, members of Bollywood Industry have stepped forward to show their support for the man; who they claim would never to anything to harm his own country’s sovereignty.

All I can say is that with his political connections, father’s good-will and Bollywood Industry’s influence, it seems highly un-likely that he would be severely punished. But then I could be completely wrong.

Boycott Shiv Sena

I seriously feel that the main honcho-ponchos of Shiv Sena Party have nothing better to do these days. Not that they ever did much for the city’s betterment but atleast they were never so frequent with daily new headlines.

Couple of day’s back they were busy ripping off posters and having a showdown with their newly-found opposition, Raj Thackeray’s Maharahtra Navnirman Sena. And on Sunday, Mr. Bal Thackeray threw another bouncer by urging fellow Indians to boycott all the matches involving the Pakistani cricket team during the on-going Champions Trophy.

DNA Mumbai Reports:

In a hard-hitting article in the Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna, he said, “We have been saying for years now that there should not be any cricket match between Pakistan and India. We are also cricket lovers but not at the cost of our national pride.”

Citing the July 11 train bombings here in which nearly 200 persons were killed, Thackeray asked, “How will the country progress if we are not even able to demonstrate our condemnation of Pakistan’s terrorist activity by boycotting cricket match with it?”

On the heightened security around the stadium here to prevent Shiv Sena members from disturbing the match or digging up the pitch, he asked, “Why so much effort to protect our enemies?”

For once I agree with Mr. Bal Thackeray’s ideology. I mean seriously, why we should go thru so much effort to protect or bear our enemies – So let’s start by boycotting the Shiv Sainiks from creating nuisance in Mumbai city. Haven’t we been tortured and troubled by them enough!

Mumbai In 55 Words #4 – On the fly love.

meet me at six at west side ticket counter.
one face in a sea of faces,
my world comes to a stand still.
an announcement blares out of a speaker,
hurry up we’ll miss the train.
stand at the door, hold tight.
watch the city fly by,
the wind on our faces,
destination Victoria Terminus

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