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

video
video
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 institute...so 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: 
http://www.indussource.com/Product/General~Non~fiction/Biography/The-Unknown-Nair/122.aspx

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.