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A DINK Love Story July 17, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Culture, Family, Health, india, Life, Love, Man and Woman, Media, My Life, People, Personal, Professionals, Rants, Relationship, Relationships, Romance, Television, Writing.
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Some months back it was almost idyllic. Get up, get – ready, reach office, get behind work-stations, ideate, make proposals, discuss, debate, fight and by the time it was 7 or 8 leave.


Go home, feed the cat, call over friends or visit them, talk and chat amongst ourselves, cook if the maid was absent (she was absent half the time), watch a bit of television and wrap the night.


We were still doing programming but only the back-end. Once the show was sold and went on floors we had no control or role, which we regretted; sometimes the idea got corrupted or diluted or screwed up along the way.


And then things changed.


Now we work in different offices. She goes to the town side of Mumbai and I commute to the east of Andheri.


She has to take an auto till Andheri station, take a train to Elphinstone, take a cab and reach her office. I have to take an auto to east, which seems easy but in fact is quite painful. Nobody wants to go from west to east, because of horrific traffic and the dug up mess of Metro construction. Mine, I agree is still easier and none of it is romantic.


So of we part in the morning. And then…


Messages, phone calls, chat…thousand ways to pass those lovey-dovey messages or just a tired hi to convey feelings, but…


An on-air show is a demon. An on air daily is…people are still trying to figure that out. For the sake of understanding let’s call it a Frankenstein that will gobble up its master and everyone else in its wake. So the OGS (on going show) has no bank of episodes. Most of the time it is being uploaded, which results in a loss of revenue. So, things have to be stream-lined.


What does she do? She gives feedback. She goes through scripts and gives her inputs. She goes through segments of an episode and makes corrections. She goes through the entire episode and makes corrections.


What’s wrong in this set-up you will ask? All this correction…to feel like a boss and wield the stick and see your work on the big TV!


Everything is wrong if after returning from work at 7 or 8 or 9 or 10 in the night, you still receive 2 episodes at 2 or 4 in the morning to correct. In the meantime scripts to read and correct. In the meantime branding carrots and stick to people…editors, script-writers, creative directors, episode director and series director…


How do I know all this? Because I sit or hover (without talking to her) around her looking and hearing all this. Seeing her tearing her hair, willing to kill the person on the other end of the phone and still being super-polite. She either has headphones or the phone to her ear constantly. I think I am phobic jut by looking!


Because I see her not eating what I have cooked. Because of the too many cups of coffee that she drinks, which helps her in not eating. Because of her recent habit of picking the golden packet and retrieving a cigarette – a habit she kicked successfully for 3 months.


Because I sleep before her now. Because she sleeps at 4 or 5 in the morning. Because she still takes the calls through the early morning.  Because she gets up at 9 not having enough sleep, disoriented and when I try talking to her…she gets pissed.


She has to be angry with someone.


10 things I see everyday…20 things… July 16, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, india, List, Metro, Mumbai, Personal, Places, Thoughts, Urban Life, World, Writing.
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…in Mumbai in the month of July 2008

  1. Helmetless driving
  2. Infants hanging precariously from their mother’s lap as the father overtakes…from the left, from the right, from the center
  3. School-kids hanging to dear life in over-packed autos
  4. Half the population spitting from autos, taxis, trains, buses, windows, sitting
  5. Jumping the red light at crossroads
  6. Breaking the queue at bus stops
  7. Fudged vehicle meters
  8. Garbage
  9. Digging…and more digging
  10. Plastic
  11. Accidents
  12. Abuse after accident
  13. Spilling trains
  14. Umbrellas (it’s the rainy season here in Mumbai)
  15. People moving on…and ahead
  16. Puddles
  17. Cracked roads
  18. Construction
  19. Unfinished construction
  20. Mud/stains
  21. People talking on phones while driving an auto, car and bike!

Equals In Hate February 14, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Culture, india, Personal, Politics, Random, Thoughts, Urban, Writing.
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Raj and Abu were arrested and then released. Panic set in Mumbai. People decamped from offices. They fear that they will be attacked by supporters of these gentlemen of violence. It doesn’t matter that I am a South Indian from Jharkhand. I can speak decent Hindi and therefore can be attacked. Forget about my roots. The mob is in a mood and wants to attack. End of story.

 Post the Big B utterances, the attacks on taximen and vendors etc, the locals vs outside discourse has traveled quite a distance. Many a political pundit has discussed it threadbare, interpreted the nuances of chaos. Delhi’s Lt Governor has also contributed his bit in the round table.

 Some of the articles are almost apologies for the MNS. They say that Raj action’s are nothing but an articulation of a long-festering desire to teach the North Indian a lesson. A north Indian who, as the Lt Governor has said, likes to break the law and take pride in it. A north Indian is not as law abiding as a south Indian.

 I am from Jamshedpur. The quaint, small town was originally in Bihar. When I went to study at Hindu college in Delhi, I was not a resident. I didn’t stay in the hostel. I had to look for houses as paying guests etc. The minute Bihar escaped my lips, the demeanor of the landlord changed. It was a NO. Some were either careless or daring or unbiased or badly needed the money. Or they had the wisdom to realize that students will always be students, a bit confused, disorderly but eventually manageable. Thanks to them, I am earning today.

 The north is upset at the assault. So is the entire country. The anger on the street has found a fount. Behave or else…go back.

 Some things have to be kept in mind before Raj T becomes the mascot for increasing civic consciousness. North Indians spit after eating paan and guthka. So do most of the Gujrati traders. North Indians molest girls. So do Maharashtrians. We all know what happened on the New Year night. North Indians revel in breaking the law. All of India does that. Most of our governments do. West Bengal under the Marxists of Budhadeb is the current poster boy. Te culprit’s riots in Mumbai, Godhra and other parts of India are known, but they roam free. Law is broken every day.

 Constitutional rights are broken every day. In the year 2000 when I went to open my bank account in SBI, the person there asked me why people come to Mumbai at all? I threatened him with a police complaint. Marathis in Mumbai can break a law, flaunt their language and get away. For the same crime, a non-resident has to face more and dish out more.

 Indians have to face up to some facts. We might be a young, vibrant, growing nation and economy. But we are also blind nation. We do not accept the ills that plague the nation. Everything is old, ancient, blessed by the Gods. We who advertise for a fair, white, tall, well-proportioned, Convent educated boy or girl feign hurt when people accuse us of having double standards. Let’s accept that we are bigoted. That we have a long and tiresome journey ahead. That we are partisan and biased.

 In one way what Raj’s actions have revealed is the fact that an illusion is broken. Muslims should be happy in India. Hindus are not preferred or favoured in India. It doesn’t matter if you are a Hindu or rich. Bachchan is both and yet became the target. So there is some hope left. We hate everybody equally.



Long Live Hindi Cinema February 6, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Bollywood, Cinema, Culture, Entertainment, Films, india, Political, Writing.
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In the 80’s this was how a regular Hindi film played itself out.

 Hero has a family…mother, father, sister.

 They live in Virpur, Shantinagar, Rampur etc.

 They are under the omnipotent feudal lord.

 They common villagers till the land, somehow scrape lunch and dinner and constantly have to protect their ‘izzat’, ‘jaan’ and ‘zameen’; that is self-respect, life and land, in that order. Self-respect is a tame word, in plain words they had to constantly be aware lest somebody owning allegiance to the feudal overlord rapes them.

 Eventually they were raped. The Hero, till the rape, an innocent man with ideals, goes mad with rage. His father by now had also been bumped off, the cattle killed and the land confiscated.

 The Hero, using all his skills of detection, finally manages to locate the culprit…the Villain of the piece is having a ball.

 He is surrounded by girls on all sides who are dancing.

 There is song, dance and wine all around.

 And the Villain is in very august company…he is with the Police Commissioner.

 This cliché was forgotten by me. I thought I had moved on. Assumed that times have changed. That these scenarios happen only in the Bandlands of UP and Bihar and now that I am in Mumbai, memory was no longer servile to itself.

 But all that changed after the MNS supporters attacked north Indians. As the city was burning, well, at least, simmering, and there was fear all around, Raj Thackeray was seen chilling with the Police Commissioner, at his daughter’s wedding.

 Long live Hindi cinema.





Gandhi’s Last Thoughts January 30, 2008

Posted by astralwicks in Blogging, Gandhi, india, Personal, Politics, Thoughts, Writing.
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Does it matter, thought the ashes? I have been dead for so long. 60 years isn’t it? The million specks asked themselves and didn’t even bother to answer. Long, in fact, all of them agreed.

I have been here, in darkness. Why was I kept and why am I being set free? Am I being set free? Well, I can’t do much, can I? I shall stay where they put me and go where they send me. Air, water, muck everything’s the same for me.

But inspite of these and many more suspicions and apprehensions, the ashes woke up; ready for the final journey. No bath or towel, just stay put, it advised itself. As the morning gave birth, birds could be heard. Some unfamiliar sounds and some completely new. But I remember all of them. From tomorrow I will not be able to hear any of them. So long, my friends, the ashes said, silently and wondered if anybody hears anything silent? A little while later, footsteps could be heard. The light was switched on in the room and more than usual activity could be thinly guessed. What is going to happen?

Incense. Can’t they stick to the old ones? These smell synthetic; are they? Too many questions, old man, came the internal rebuke. O.K let me sail through today and then…

These footsteps are different, small…ah some kids have been marshaled. Will they sing songs?

Noises, more noises, who are these people? Some noises I know. Do they still love me or is it all? Why are you so suspicious, Gandhi’s ashes asked Gandhi? Just relax. You are dead, gone and they are laying to rest your last remnants. Be happy, you can sleep peacefully from today. You will take less space on earth. Lesser people will remember you, exploit you and your belongings and life…well, it will move on.

O.k from now on silence, vowed Gandhi.

Garlands…their smell mixing with the incense. Feet. Phones, so many ring tones. Murmurs. Bhajans. That little girl has a good voice. Dignitaries I think by the tone. Now what? I am being lifted. Is this my last day here? These walls, curtains, Mani Bhavan, my friends, I will miss you all, always.

Ah, the sun. So the journey begins again. Are there many people? Traffic and horns, too many horns. Am I on a hearse, again? Am I blocking traffic? the horns must be for a reason. Do they know that I am going forever today? Move on old man.

I hear the waves. Is it Girgaum? Must have changed in these years. I am enjoying this in fact. Why this silence?

Oh the sun stings. Haven’t seen rays in 60 years. Thanks for opening me up to the radiance. I love it. I thank you all.

The water looks dirty. Those days…they are gone, it’s o.k.

Water is cold. I am traveling. Where will this lead me? Ah, it’s the deep end of the ocean. Fishes. Beautiful.

All That We Leave Behind December 6, 2007

Posted by astralwicks in 2008, December, india, Mumbai, New Year, Persona, Random, Reflections, Thoughts, Writing.
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The wind was blowing today as I stepped out of the house. The leaves were swirling and the sun was hiding. Behind smog I think. There were no clouds to be seen. The closest Bombay gets to winter, in mornings and night.

The fishmoners were already selling their catch of the day. Children felt chilly but challenged the cold, just like others before. Mothers accompanied them, some of them weary already, like others before. Older people had mufflers, half-sweaters and a glass of hot tea or coffee in their hands. They massage the container, warming their freckled skin, which refuses to warm up.

Doctors are having a windfall. More cases of allergies because of suspended particles in the air. Bronchial asthma has visited quite a few people I know, including myself.

The 1st week of December 2007 is already on its way out. It’s the time of reckoning. Wistfully, twirling a glass of wine in our hands, we wonder, ‘how quickly the year has run out on us’? We add further, ‘this happens year after year and yet…’. The year annotated by birthdays, anniversaries, accidents, tragedies and melting ICE.

Melting ICE is more definite and irrevocable than TIME nowadays. But lets get back to December. Parties. I want to party but have not in some months. Small tragedies amongst our circle of friends, tight schedules and broke status, all have conspired to keep our group happy with phone conversations, sms’s and a couple of visits to the theater.

December is also the time to break all resolves. To binge, to not care, to be happy in excess and abuse, to sink under, to pamper and be pampered. And it’s also the Universal time to make new resolves, resolutions, promises and oaths. The yearly cycle after hitting the high notes, calms us down, makes us introspect, lets the past breathe, so that the 365 days live once again, briefly, then expire once again, suddenly, at the stroke of midnight and gives birth to the future.

For a few minutes, or some would even say, some days, into every new year, time doesn’t exist. The new year takes time to wake up from its slumber. It seeps into us, creeping up, like a subtle smell, that numbs us, makes us comfortable. We are thrown against each other along the way and we acknowledge each other like old friends now, almost taking each other for granted.

And then winter and december appear in their cold sillouette. And we stop in our tracks and get nostalgic once again. To everything gone and everything on its way.