Monday, December 30, 2013

The compulsion not to infringe on his time had kept me away, but every time I have had the privilege—and what an honor, given the incessant crush of his fans and work—I’ve been impressed at his impeccable manners and gentlemanly behavior. The background was perfectly eerie, unfinished staircase leading abruptly into the air, long iron rods clanging in  the corner, no walls and rough ceilings in the building under construction—and yes, the generator van and cobra jib and vanity vans. Thank you, Sirji, for meeting M and me—though the next time I will leave the book at your door, not disturb you.

During the last week I’ve reveled in such goodness, both my friend M and K, whom we visited in Pune. Simple goodness, honest to earth goodness that comes from the heart.

A life with hope, the happiness of sunshine…that Coke print ad is simply beautiful.

Friday, December 27, 2013

For the first time in years and in this house, I have a house guest, a friend who is more than family.

Hectic days. Beautiful days, such lights it almost seems like fairyland. A trip to see a friend, such goodness, such generosity of spirit one is stopped short; almost like a mirror held up to one’s face, what did I do?
Traipsing up and down Mount Mary, the hill decked with lights, the church beautifully lit up. It is late and the doors are closed, but someone tells us the door right at the front is open, so we have a few minutes of serenity before we’re asked to leave.  Sobs, and one turn around, instinctively consoles a stranger weeping over her killed ? son. How strange is this play of light and dark.

A discovery—steps that lead down from the mount, and beautiful cottage homes that line the dim path ,all decked up and lit up. A walk through Varoda Rd, so quaint you forget you are in Mumbai; sounds of music and merriment in the distance draw us there and we watch and clap at a pre-wedding party dance, the East Indian Umbarta pani…

Such wonder, such revelry in not planning, going where your feet take you, in keeping off the beaten track!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A time for summing up. Some nice, some not.
This year translations took up much of my time, so much of rewriting;  the  volumes somewhere still work-in-progress. Own writing output was much lesser, I situation I must correct next year.  It was a scarce year with only ten acceptances and about thirty-three practice stubs for the writing group. I did many rewrites, some of which got accepted. That excel sheet is patient and uncomplaining!

Among new forms—poetry in translation and scripts, though I’m all thumbs just about bumbling along; but I like how visual this treatment is, almost like poetry, only it’s moving.
Also a time for another summing up. I opened up a portfolio on moneycontrol to track stocks that I’d sold.  Three stocks that I shouldn’t have sold when I rationalized my list in Feb last year. After cussing myself for being too hasty, I finally have a number and I can live with that without wincing.

Yesterday I cut out stars from crinkly salvaged gift wrap paper and silver foil from old Quaker Oats packages, and hung them from twigs from an old basket that I placed in a gold ribbon decked green bottle. Enjoyed the process even if the outcome is kindergarten-ish. Am going to do craft this year, methinks.

Our complex is looking v pretty with lights and stars put up, and the decked up buildings for occasional parties.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

RIP, Janet Dailey
Thank you for helping me keep my sanity.
Thank you for keeping me ambitious and grounded, so that I didn't run away with some arbit driver or dhobi.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It is V’s birthday today. The older I get, the more I wonder at how unruffled and dignified she remained as she navigated life’s storms, a widow just a year after her wedding, and in those days society far more unkind. Yet the PhD. Yet the Professorship. Equipoise.

A—much loved-strict aunt; generous giver of cookery, knitting and perpetual nutrition lessons, finally breathed her last, marking the end of an era, the last of her generation to depart. God, watch out,  delightful scolds coming your way. Homemade cakes for all our birthdays,  those fabulous sit-down lunches on raksha bandhan, new shiny clothes made for me a surprise-- right in time for family weddings, my first ever b**… so many things I never particularly said thank you for.

At the train station, that old man, partially paralysed, unable to speak, dressed in “good” clothes, begging…maybe the sons turned him out. Maybe he has no one. Maybe.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Time now for the sarees to be press-rolled and put away, packed in muslin and layered with shreds of dried tobacco, the acrid scent for keeping bugs away.
So that's 4 events in a fortnight, three of which were multi-event, close family functions--enough socializing to last me for the next six months.
 If I had children, I'd have prompted them to run away-- what a jhamela weddings have become.
But yes, took lots of photos, the Baroda wedding was at the Golf Club on the palace grounds-- beautiful.
This predawn, made my second visit to Siddhi Vinayak in a week-- felt blessed.
More later.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Philomena. What a story.
Reading the pages makes it come visually alive.
Reminded me of A, the same spunk-grit and at her age too.
(Also learned format for flashbacks.)
One more wedding, and the min temp back home is 16 deg.

Monday, December 09, 2013

That young girl is confident, full of hope, an optimist. Not one detour. Not one compromise. Not one second choice.

And I look back.

At her age, I wasn’t.  

But had notched up serial heartbreaks, abundant grief, a parent’s decaying physical-mental health, a painful hunt for work, a career “if not this then this….”

Didn’t know these would translate into abiding strengths decades later.  Or, maybe this thinking is delusional. :)

Friday, December 06, 2013

V, a more than a friend, almost-family, will move to another office next week. Maybe I’m getting better at goodbyes, maybe I’m getting more independent, and freer of the need to stroll across and chat. But V sat by my side explaining the rites at Baba’s funeral, and V let me to tag along with her family for Ganpati darshan at Asthavinayak, the eight principle deity temple sites… some debts cannot be repaid ever. A wistful acceptance, that is what this is. In the meanwhile I continue to glance across the aisle at her empty desk, the granite tabletop shines back.

Back in September, I did crib a little about multiple deadlines. Today I sent in a draft foreword for Bharat Trivedi’s book of translated poems—A Festival of Verse. Still some time away. Must-not-forget moment at the Guj. book launch, fulsome praise that made me blush and be thankful for that last-row seat.

Need to get back to the rhythm of writing and subbing. So many weddings, one niece, one nephew, one daughter of a close friend… infants one has oohed and aahed over,grown up and all formal… All the weddings in the family have me to-ing and fro-ing, limit the time for time pass rumination quality time… yet. Was so tough doing this week’s 400 words…luckily a news piece about a writer with Parkinson’s helped.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

On Saturday I attended a book launch; a book of free verse, Bharat Trivedi’s Acchandotsav (written in Gujarati) was released in august company without any of the hoopla that accompanies English book launches. The poet read his verse, the book was released amongst a gathering of the finest poets in the state; and then select poets were invited to read from their best work. In those wrinkles and fine lines you could see the work of a life time, of fealty to craft and line and form. In their claps and appreciation, there was understanding, there was acknowledgement of belonging to the same brotherhood. Now I need to shake off that ennui and finish up the tx.

Amazing how our elders help us and bless our way even long after they’re gone.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A mini-essay that I wrote for a book on how journaling/ writing can help you cope—HOW WRITING CAN HELP YOU THROUGH TOUGH TIMES by MJ GOFF,  is ACCEPTED! in case you want to contribute too!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Watching sunlight filter and dance through a curtain of green ; waiting for the  locality citizens’ meeting to begin.. citizens’ aware of their rights, demanding, cognizant of the power of an election year. Vigilant citizens, unlike back home, so many questions as the poltis continue to pilfer and plunder. Strange balance of the mystical and worldly, strangely peaceful.

Last week I pulled out, polished some 400 word stubs from a few years ago. Only the basic story premise remained. All else was chop-edit-change, hint of impatience. Sobering. Interesting, this evolution.

Digant , a national award winner and India's entry to the competition section of Cannes, was shown on DD last night… beautiful story, spellbinding photography but the 11 PM slot means one can watch just a little.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My story, Parched, is up at Pure Slush for  their water theme.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The four days of Diwali break went by in a blur. Did put up a toran, light diyas, light taramandal (sparklers), eat mithai (delicious kaju katri--shouldn’t have), made tons of phone calls to wish relatives, visited friends homes, visited the janitor ladies’  tiny but squeaky clean and hopeful homes…also the work pooja that I was late for (Miss Blue stalled in the middle of the road in horrendous traffic and needed prof help. Luckily, India-style, the curious bystander who walked up to help and happened to be a driver, wouldn’t even take thank-you-money)…after another elaborate puja on Diwali day a friend forgot her age, her saree, and a step—and fell badly. By God’s grace only a bad contussion and bruises, the docs at casualty said, but for a moment I’d thought she’d collapsed….Visited the 19th C Mumbai photographs exhibit at the grand museum… guess I missed out the right century to be born in, what a grand, graceful place this was…trying to return to work even as the projects pile up…at the tree walk in MNP Dharavi I waited mesmerized by a red pierrot flitting about, and understood why people fall in love with their this ephemeral creatures.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A few yahoos, condensed:

1.One of the things that translating has taught me is sheer, cussed persistence. I’ve tried to capture this in an essay just published on Talking Writing, Balancing Words in Two Languages.

2.Thanks to the weekly exercises on Practice group, a story’s up on Pure Slush as part of their Hobbies theme. I'm particularly proud of this one, have treaded that path often.

3. Earlier this month, Footprints in the sand, a story about cultures, and a cultural potpourri was published on Looseleaf tea

Monday, October 21, 2013

Read a brilliant, incisive story by Paul Theroux y’day. Was reading as I prepared to doze off for my precious Sunday siesta, but by the tale’s end I was sitting up straight, all neurons afire. An interview with the author is here:

Funny thing at the temple yesterday, in our chanting group—a minor tiff over seating escalated to nasty abuses (quite disregarding the diety); both the gentlemen are well in their seventies. O boy. An eye opener.

Caught the beginning of Rajnigandha (1974) on one of the DD channels. After I gaped at the empty roads, zero traffic and larger than usual apartments, got tired of the pacing.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Haven’t been this unwell in years.
Yet last week I unearthed my ayurvedic medicine for fever in a strange city. And managed the flight back without getting sick. Held myself together with twine.
Yesterday I began an antibiotic for a stomach bug.

 When will it stop raining??

Monday, October 07, 2013

Miss Blue did me proud by effortlessly zooming the kilometers, the first I've driven these speeds.
Which is why losing my purse this morning is a shocker-- not much money in it, but my licence...
I think of the ancient images in the rock caves that I visited yesterday after a walk in the forest, and wonder how many ups and downs they've encountered.

Friday, October 04, 2013

The taxman visiteth.
Like many , I have received a notice asking for details, details, details...
from two years ago, when I bought the tiny house.
given that every transaction was thru the banks, and every damn transaction out of salary income, what do they want?
they'd find it worthwhile to chase a) their service kin b) politicoz of iridescent hues c) assorted businessmen 
Why the eff pick on the small woman going about her own day?

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

funny thing, getting older. One tends to look kindly upon missteps and meanderings, one’s own and other’s, learn to keep the past in the past, realize that karmic debts repaid could well be a result of one’s misdemeanors, acts of one’s omissions and commissions. And that done is done. Next year I start a new decade, no more of hiding in the late forties…for once I begin with something like hope.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

This was my world, last year...

Monday, September 23, 2013

A part of my brain looks at story arc, plot, characters. 
Regardless of what I'm reading.
Sometimes, it forgets to do any of this.
Yesterday I had to force myself to put the book aside and cook. To eat. To sleep. To function and not stare out of the window.
Been ages since I've read something as solid.What a tale.
What writer can bring forth this sort of interest for her 41st novel*!
And I'm only half way through.
(*Lakshagrah/ Varsha Adalja)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Infibeam delivered my copy of Varsha Adalja’s Lakshagruh yesterday.

A quick narrative, free of  convoluted passages and double meanings to trip one up…
Engrossed. After so long!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Am I glad I pushed myself to the movies, to watch Madras Café.
What an immense movie. Brave.
Tough as hell. Panoramic. Colossal.
Solid story line, if too close to the truth.
Splendid casting. Acting.
The scale of it all!
The constant drone of the helicopters that hover over the “usual everyday hello this is Sri Lanka” scenes—that drone still resounds.
No wonder I was glued to my seat, staring at the screen like one possessed.
No wonder there were not more than 5 people in all the theater.
But what a movie.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Delighted to announce publication of two stories on Star 82 Review. 

Free time. On a Sunday. What a luxury…I stacked unread n’papers and discovered a few steals like Shekhar Gupta’s Second Draft about IPKF’s foray on foreign shores, not to be missed. Not for the faint of heart.

Also watched Bhag Milkha Bhag, so sharply scripted and made.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

yesterday was ganesh chaturthi.
the hymns at the Ramakrishna Math still resound.

tsomoriri, hemis, the dunes in jaisalmer, that strange sense of déjà vu at patwa haveli that drew me back there just to gaze at the façade when the moon was high in the skies; the tree walks, birding trips, the stillness of lakes and a bird flying high…. among the million and one things that I said thanks for. Unimaginable, wonderous things.

Monday, September 02, 2013

I need periodic doses. Of lush green. Of the wind in the trees. Of  the wind etching waves on  water. Of birds, mostly unknown; and making their acquaintance the first time via the camera.

I’m back from three days spent at a farm somewhere in the middle of Maharashtra. So remote that you cant find it on googlemaps. The insistent call of the babbler resounds. Is there anything more plaintive than the peacock’s plea?

A dose of still peace.  The bonus this once was hearing the life story of some one who lives his life on his terms, making the transition from corporate to animal breeder to farming and niche tourism. Very inspiring.

Stepped on the porch of author Gauri Deshpande’s  house… what a vista…do homes carry the imprints of people who lived there long after they’re gone? My despair at not knowing Marathi, the language she (mostly) wrote in... but what a lineage, THE Iravati Karve's daughter... Yuganta!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

“Did anyone say ‘Thank you’?” The rickshawalla said, navigating tricky traffic....
“When it didn’t rain all these religious folk held prayer meetings, pujas… churches, everywhere… but this year did anyone say ‘Thank you’?”
Know you see why I like using public transport. 
You never quite know what you’ll find.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sometimes, miracles happen.
Sometimes, you get a chance, an outside chance, at a dream. And can barely breathe.
Sometimes, a lot of deadlines rush in at the same time, clamoring for attention, hurtling on your mind with their fists, seeking attention, pushing, shoving, demanding to be heard; dreams are like that.
And you take a deep breath.

Sometimes miracles happen

Monday, August 19, 2013

ok. Ok. A’bad has nicer roads. And lesser crowded buses. Yet.
I still think it was nicer twenty years ago. The roads, not the people. they are the same to same. Uniquely nasty.

I still haven’t gotten over my disapproval at having my requests for directions (in clear Guj.), answered in HINDI. What jokers.

And yes, I'm mad. Every damned second word changed in the tx? What d'you need a translator for?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

On Independence Day, a salute.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I ration watching these images to once a week. 
How can ten days make you homesick for a place. How.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Images from the Leh Palace.
A shadow of its past self, like these barely-visible images on the walls
To get the real import, stare, decipher these with care.

Very interesting:

Monday, July 29, 2013

I’m back
My soul- errant, vagabond
snagged on a sharp rock
atop some mountain pass
finally free

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Random images from July 13... walking along the Indus

Thursday, July 25, 2013

alpine-like meadow
blooms tremble
streams gurgle-race to the lake
a lark trills swoops trills
yodels to first light
snow streaked mountains

squeals of snow-fights
Karakorum outlined
servicemen at crisp attention
camera cliks
t-shirts emblazoned “world’s highest motorable pass”
the heightened drumming of my heart
rockside temple at impossible angle

I exult

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Skies above
dappled waters below
Cupped in the palms 
of snow-flecked mountains

perched, remote
the end of a winding trail
I’m drawn

hazy memories, past lifetimes

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

blog break

more than butterflies, and tingly tension… wondering what 11k feet and 18 k feet will feel like, when the oxygen content in the air falls sharply. packing etc etc done a few times already. …next post after the 23rd, bye…

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Silonda trail with the tree group

 Sunday trail in the forest not ten minutes from the expressway...serene and beautiful and wet...

Wednesday, July 03, 2013


Zero feet, aka sea level. And 18,000 feet. Scary difference, that.
Will the lungs take it? Survive that thin, fine air?  And the brain, given to long hours of vacant nothingness, staring into the distance, how will it weather those steeps?
We shall see.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013


A final final goodbye to Google Reader. Life feels strange without it. Like an arm cut off or something. Ok, Ok, I’ve taken a backup AND switched my feeds to more than one reader. YET. Why why why do this, goliath google?

LaLa. That’s how you’d spell Tata, after reading this. Such are the perils of the profession.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Yesterday I went to town, to the Fort area—and came back, all in a span of three hours thanks to the local “fast train”. Even in the non rush hours, the trains were full. Which is why this new train corridor seems interesting—Colaba Bandra SEEPZ…all of this 33.5 km underground. They forecast 13 lac passengers/ day by 2016. Given the terrain differences-- the city is a chain of islands joined up, and part marsh land, part sea—  construction would be quite challenging, I think. But anything that takes pressure off Western Railway and the expressways would be a lifesaver.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

In my compact apartment where every square inch is precious, I have a ledge-garden and a sill-garden too, recently prettied up with containers from fabfurnish…Here’s this lovely  garden from Japan, via

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Delighted to announce publication of my story, Regent, in the “unofficial unofficial biography” of Catherine the Great, from Pure Slush. What an interesting, powerful woman...tough life.

Today I sat in bumper to bumper, inch by inch, pouring rain traffic for all of twenty minutes. Thank you Dhanno rani aka Miss Blue for behaving so well despite mostly being driven in gear1.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Watching the names of the missing roll by on TV to the backdrop of an inane dance reality show , it sinks in…the entire country has been flung into a state of mourning, not one state left untouched… all “our people”. Yes, manmade disaster as my friend S says.

Friday, June 21, 2013

I pick fallen flowers on my morning walk, and a collection of red-white-orange sits in a glass bowl on the dining table. The next morning I take them back, and get new blooms. Something inherently satisfying, something that connects you, binds you to the earth in this search for blooms.

A few days  ago I went all the way to Tao gallery, Worli (in pouring rain, which is a great deal since I tend to remain glued to my seat in this weather) for Somenath Maity’s exhibition at Tao art gallery. Impressive work – all structures. Lovely space, perfect setting for the canvases.  His style has evolved, more bold strokes, larger canvas, simpler forms. A sufi shrine by a lake, lapping waters and a psychedelic yet perfectly calm night sky. A fort in darkness except for lights by the parapet, and above a deep night sky with the stars twinkling messages in morse, or huts  in the foliage on a hill; take your pick. Huddled buildings holding in their secrets, even the windows barred. Modest homes take on a glow from the festive lights around, lights that seem to light up the sky…These were my favorites, and returning home I watched the dark waters lapping Samudra mahal and the mosque; as well as the sheer intent energy of the waves hurtling on the sealink… and I wondered what Somenath sir would have made of these…

Re Twitter and writing:
"When I think about Salinger in his later years—literally half of his life—I feel exasperated by this withholding and the elevation of silence into the highest virtue. And I also feel that there really is a wisdom in this attitude. We live in a transparent age, and yet there is much of value that happens in the opaque quarters of our own ambivalent minds, seen by no one else, and seen by us only after a long period of concentration and looking."

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rain. More rain. Even more rain.
Couple of days back, I began walking in the morning—even in the rain, raincoat +umbrella etc.
Drenched, along with the green.
Life looks so much brighter after.

Acharyaji, the park garden expert, created a lovely cactus display for the planter tray I’d bought from Fabfurnish. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Last night, timepass channel surfing brought me to DD Bharati and the tail end of a documentary on one of the country's foremost poets, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. Where the v/o went on about how he is being forgotten, even in his home state.

I recalled lines which I'd learnt in 1980, word by painful word for this non-Hindi speaker... how can someone with such a legacy be forgotten?

उद्देश्य जन्म का नहीं कीर्ति या धन है
सुख नहीं धर्म भी नहीं, न तो दर्शन है
विज्ञान ज्ञान बल नहीं, न तो चिंतन है
जीवन का अंतिम ध्येय स्वयं जीवन है
- from Parshuram ke updesh

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My sympathies with the Taksim square protesters.
More gardens, less memorials please.
in the ALM park, the kailashpati are in bloom. 

Last week, the powers-that-be chopped blunt the decades-old trees in my colony. I hope next lifetime the tree-maulers are reincarnated as trees.

Monday, June 10, 2013

So over the weekend the monsoon announced its presence. Big bang style, furiously, sheets of water and all.
I dusted off the music system and made a color coded pile of the books I've yet to read. 
Not only because someone seems to have appropriated my old leaky black umbrella for themselves, but also because this is the first working day of the week so one must seem busy, and also because I'm not sure if the subways would still be flooded,and what about parking, and truth be told whether Miss Blue aka dhanno rani (with me at the wheel) have the requisite skills to negotiate our bumper-to-bumper expressway, I'm not at a friend's book launch this evening. And feeling guilty as hell about it. Not attending a book launch is a mean, dirty and underhand kind of a thing to do...I agree, Sorry, Icy.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Anyone who can think up a business model to address the needs of the old, with offspring abroad-- is going to make a ton of serious money. 
Forces one to think of one's situation too, a decade or two down the line.
last few weeks have been busy.
too many unexpected things. travel, travel, travel. And work interspersed.
the markets have been skittish.
after the first rainshower, nothing yet, but coming soon soon soon...gray tinges the outline of huge clouds spotted thru picture glass windows.. The full power, thundering monsoon...we wait....

Monday, May 27, 2013

The heat hits at you like a wave, scorching searing burning, even if you keep telling yourself it isn’t hot, it isn’t hot, just 43 deg C, the weight on your forehead and the sweat sheet on your back tell you otherwise. You look at words trying to read, to think to write but your eyes seem clammy and your head hurts, not comprehending.And this is without stepping outside the house.

When the train reached big city bright lights this dawn I was delighted to be back; delighted the first time in sixteen years.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The rare and much valued Rudrakhsh tree in the park is slowly dying, Acharyaji, the head gardener tells me.
The leaves are drying out, and the roots refuse to respond to cajoling.
I think the roots are not getting the space to grow, to push ahead.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Delighted to announce publication of a short essay in my local magazine, The Mahakali Voice. “Ode to green” is about the delights of walking round and round for an hour in a none-too-large park.

Last night I sneaked into a neighbor's house, duty-bound and much too late for a "Mata ki chowki", a prayer meet to the Mother Goddess.Left a few hours later, humming along and refreshed after an impromptu family-only singing spree, including two garbas that I sang, their bonhomie and boisterous cheer quite infectious.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The amaltas are fading out slowly, their yellow dimming, bidding adieu. Even in this a special kind of beauty, but you need eyes to see it. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

A one-and-half year old stuck at the top of a slide, too terrified to move—her mother  finally gives in to my pleas, climbs up and nudges her down, I catch her safely and hand her over. Makes me wonder how many times we need a gentle nudge in our lives. Or a pair of hands willing to pull us away.

Have gently coerced two of my good friends into reading the chapters; for burrs and thorns, and oddness of phrase that would SHOUT out to a non-native, but things that I would drive a road roller over. We shall see.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

above: The Vishal Bharadwaj in conversation with Salim Arif
below: the verdant valley view from the open area... the silence has to be believed
Cinema 100 at Whistling Woods, May 11, 12
Installation art: A portrayal of Awara

Kaan/ Cannes!

Wall of the greats

Two views of the inspiring

Yearwise, the stalwarts

Alumni filmi achievements

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Saturday was the first time that I’d ventured to tinsel town in sixteen years of living here, but 100 year celebration of Cinema is reason enough. 
“Fillum city?” I’d asked the man on the bike at the signal, our human GPRS better than any google maps. Incidentally, google maps place you in the middle of that green forest patch of Aarey milk colony, or what little remains of it. Before that I’d spent HOURS dredging up from memory the shortcuts the parent and I took in the 90’s and I was SURE one could reach Film city that way, but luckily better sense prevailed and I took the expressway. “Right and then sharp left and then…Follow me!” the man said, with a flourish entirely apt if he were galloping on a white steed instead of his bike, and that is how I  reached the sylvan, forest-like enclave. Locating the Whistling Woods Film Institute (WWI) was yet another adventure, since there aren’t any people around at all as the road winds and turns up and down hill, and but of course I reached the wrong spot—the set of Mr Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saraswatichandra… what an immense, grand set. After parking under a generous banyan, and trying to cajole a guard to stay parked there, I finally trundled my way to the institute quite some distance away… and what a marvelous place!  The ebullient energy of the crowd, the neat installation art, a certain electric something in the air…the sheer confidence of the students--with all this wandering about I was late for the inaugural… but after waiting outside the auditorium, the guard was kind and allowed me in… jostling crowds that had to be seen to be believed. Was privileged to hear the greats—screenwriters Salim Khan, Subhash Ghai, Anjum Rajabali, directors Gauri Shinde, Anurag Basu, Amol Gupte, Vikramaditya Motwane, and then a special Q& A session with Vishal Bharadwaj…the evening topped up with a superhousefull screening of Bombay Talkies. Muchly grateful to Little Miss Blue, aka dhanno rani, for having steered me there and back safely, it was close to 9 PM when I got home… but what a treat!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A whirlwind week.

My friends Anju Ghangurde and PT Jyothi Datta, both excellent journalists worthy of the old school-drilled facts-journalism, co-edited and researched a book authored by  Shri MKB Nair (89), Anju’s father and Dy Editor of The Economic Times for over three decades. What a tribute, and what terrific documentation of some of the events that shaped India’s history, a ringside view of epochal events, with his trademark honesty and directness. I was privileged to witness the book launch, even though I went to the wrong venue, “something to do with cricket in Bandra”.

More later.

Mago sent in this link for the book:

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Once again I take the roads I used to know well twenty years ago. It is dark, Sunday crowds throng the roads. High rises and office blocks have overtaken known landmarks. I ask for directions and am answered in Hindi, perhaps they aren’t used to seeing a tired woman with a backpack that hour of the night, but I’m supercharged, my first ever BRTS ride, zipzapzooom, and a stranger, a lady with a bandana covering most of her face, offers me a scooter ride, I ride pillion after  decades. The city is scorching even as it races after new new new, makes me grateful for the slow and plodding pace of change in the hometown. Between the tragic-comic drama of those two days, and the stranger in that second class compartment who mentioned assisting on several films but didn’t look the part-- these have given me enough “raw material” for a lot of tales.Mogambo khush hua.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wonderful walk through Dharavi Nature Park y’day, the dumpyard-converted-to-miniforest. The kadamb was in bloom, the arjuna in a leaf-and-seed-shedding phase. Made my acquaintance with lots of trees, textures and scents I didn’t know before.

Season’s special: Tadgola, that raw, no-taste fruit of the palm.
Chilled,  a shortcut to bliss. Almost makes up for not being able to eat mangoes. Almost.
Datura, the killer, solanacea

ashwagandha, withania somnifera, the brain tonic