Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Modi does it again...

I mean...what exactly is happening?Narendra Modi was born ..what..in the 50's? So he basically grew up in the 70s..Spent his 'formative' teens years in the age of flower power...and yet there he is...staring at us all from the 1st pages of a leading english daily...worshipping on dussehra..not the triumph of good over evil, but the weapons of destruction.
He bans liquor in his state, in the process just ensuring that people who can afford it pay double the amount for the same brand of booze..and the poorer section just gets cought up in hooch deals..
He prays in front of a display of guns n heavy machinery - probably his proof of being masculine enough to rule a state..
And the media, either in a mocking or celebratory tone decide to highlight the picture.. Maybe its needed to let ur state progress..How'd it look if Buddha Babu started carrying around a hand grenade with his ever-so-white dhuti-payjama? Even after Nandigram, the picture does strike a bit odd. But in Modi, it suits perfectly.. As if we knew all along this is him. In reality..Hmmmm....Innocent until proven guilty, that is.
P.S. Modi did get Ratan Tata finally!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Marathi n Hariyanvi ...Goes n makes khichudi

My recent trip to the capital did change my outlook somewhat..
For one thing i never realised it would be hard to say goodbye to my friends - again. I dont belong to an emotional family...My mom, unlike most filmy moms as depicted by Farida Jalal and Kiron Kher (remember Hum Tum?), never shed one drop of salty water when i left for Delhi to study. Even though I'm sure she was moist eyed the last time I left home (she claims otherwise though).. But this time, saying good bye felt worse than anything. Maybe because in my heart I know the chances of me going back to this city that i love is next to nil (and quite subject to the top boss' mood).. I had so many things to do ... places to visit..things to buy...(OMG..I didnt even get a duplicate pair of beer glasses that i bought for Mayank last year).
My F.R.I.E.N.D.S are the best i could find... I mean who else would return back after working till 10 pm and then cook the most awesome chilly chicken... And then adding extra kishmish to the daal..even as out turqouise cottage plans got cancelled.. And another who made sure I had a chance to have 'isspecial posto' curry the day i left. Oh and we even managed to do DDLJ train scene in the station with the Hariwanvi police watching us like he had scene a cross betweeen a ghost and Kasab!!
Things, however, are not as superb as i thought it would be in Delhi. Cabbies are the worst...Constant bickering with auto wallahs about the fare takes away half the energy of Delhi-ites, (probably the reason why the Metro construction work goes ever so slowly). Working till late is also a headache, come back home at 10..and most lanes would be pitch dark. Mumbai in that sense gives you a sense of freedom and (maybe, false) security. If it wasnt, then Delhi would have a night life worth envying.
But food...wonderful food...magical fooooood..He he.. Momos and chaats..chilly potatoes and chuski..It actually brings the taste buds alive.. and for one living on a regular diet of 'pao' for all meals.. it was gastronomical heaven!!!
Shopping is supposed to be great there.. But the stocks dont seem to be changing much in all the time I left the city.. I saw the same pink t shirt, the same kinds of skirt, the same collection of shoes in Stilletoes...
I realised why exactly i love Delhi, in spite of its potholes and politicians...and delays and traffic.. and autos and crude hariyanvi language...its where I enjoyed freedom the most...where i realised that the world does not end after crossing Lake-Town .. where i felt i could actually have an unconventional live-in with my friends from Calcutta... Mumbai is supposedly the city of dreams .. But Delhi gets that tag from me..
But now, sadly I have to grow up..My friends in Delhi are busy with their life..and I should get on with mine... Let the memories remain.. Maybe it is good i couldnt do everything i wanted - gives me an excuse to go back..

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ek, do, teen, chaar...Ganpati ki Jai-jai kaar

Considering the fact that I spent my whole life in Kolkata celebrating the Durga pujo in all its splendor, the Ganesha festival in Mumbai was a more calm and serene affair.
I have seen too many of those Bollywood songs, with HUGE Ganpati idols and loads of people thronging the streets. Maybe that made me expect that it happens like that in reality too. Slightly off-mark.
There are some nice pandals here and there, but mostly its a family festival with people celebrating and worshiping a one-and-a-half foot idol. The lights...hmmm...were unimaginative. Plain rows of lights (like the ones which Amitabh Bacchan wore while dancing to Saaraa Zamanaa) dotted each of the streets. I don't think I would have realised there was a puja going on if my roommate didn't talk about Lalbaugcha Raja. That, my friends, is the famed puja for which people stand in line for hours at an end...A colleague of mine went at 6 in the morning. By mid afternoon he was too tired to even get out of the line...Needless to say i would never stand in a line for so long...No matter how "jagrat" the idol is..or how yummy the modaks are...
Yes, i wasn't much impressed by the whole event..(which by the way is still going on)...
But...yes...there is a but...I loved the days of immersion. Last week, when the immersion was taking place there were groups of as little as 6 people carrying an idol in their arms, shouting Ganpati Bappa... And kids were dancing, aunties singing, teens romancing outta the corner of their eyes... The lane itself was crowded with Vada-Pao stalls, n firework shops, vendors selling balloons and soap-bubbles...The works...Indian kitsch in all its glory!!
And yes...the modaks..those are N.I.C.E. I even tasted one made out of Kaju...and another which looked refreshingly like a momo..
All I need to do now is to ask some localites how they feel during this festival.. People at home would probably call a strike (or a Bangla Bandh with Banerjee didi) if they were asked to come to office every single day of the Durga Pujo.. And I'm sure recession or no recession..people still shop as much in Gariahat and New Market before the festival..Unlike that, here its not much about show..(don't ask me what IS it about)..But as long as people enjoy and worship something like that...I cant complain...
And now i have to wait for tomorrow...One more day of immersion..and lots of crackers..and chants...and oily food!!!!