I *heart* Bombay (and well..Boston)

I'm urban..in the way other people are mountain-people or tunafish junkies. I love city life...something about dreary concrete blocks and grumpy people totally gets my juices flowing. Ergo, this will be a blog about me, my two favourite cities (Bombay and Boston), my addiction to Vietnamese coffee and my views on Gregorian chant and it's efficacy in curing some types of tympannic membrane rupture. Enjoy!

Friday, July 29, 2005

That brink of hope I saw for a while was nothing but a single ray of light,
light of lunacy,
there is no sanity in the eyes of the one I gazed upon,
just a cold heart,
without a beat,
no rhythm for my passion to dance to.
A shadow from the past.
The past I wish I lived in.
But No!
I will not let you suffer because of me.

so i shall hide...
... and nothing can hurt me.

(courtesy: http://xphdx.blogspot.com/)

This is JUST how I feel right now. And have been feeling since the phone call. Weird how much this speaks to me right about now.

New Year's resolutions

I'm guessing July 29th is New Year's day for some tribe somewhere on this earth..so I've decided to celebrate by making a list of 10 resolutions for the next year. I'll let y'all know on July 29th 2006 just how good I was with keeping to the letter.

Here goes (Meenakshi, you know just why I'm doing this and feeling like I need to do this!)

1. Gone are the days where I'm going to let my wit and intelligence impress a possible mate. I'm dumbing myself down (to the level of some Chandigarh hottie).

2. No more talks of good books I read or political/religious debate. I'm now concentrating on the lives of Page 3 celebs and TV soap stars.

3. Time to clear out that closet. Bye Bye! sensible cotton wear. Hello! tight and uncomfortable lycra and blends.

4. Forget about looking slim and trim. I'm gonna hit the gym for that bulky, hulky look.

5. No more smiling at interesting people. I'm going to look past or over their heads and glower.

6. I'm not planning on opening up my heart or mind to anyone again. It makes it too easy to get hurt.

7. DO NOT fall in love.

8. There are no gay friends. Only competitors. Repeat 10 times daily.

9. Alone time is good time. Perhaps I was meant to be alone. I better learn to enjoy it.

10. Change myself. It's obvious "I" am not working. Perhaps it's time for "I-Version 2".

Current Music:
Cruisin' - Gwyneth Paltrow and Huey Lewis

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Sour Apple Martini anyone?

Not a blatant advert for this blog, but a genuine invite to try something I "absolut"ely love. I'm amazed at the number of people who think martinis are something you drink once people call you Uncleji or Mr. Bond.

I tasted my first sour apple martini at Therapy, this uber-fancy-schmancy lounge bar in New York. Since I was being paid for that evening (Well, it was a date and I was planning on putting out), I figured I'd try it out...and about 4 martinis later, I'd found my new love.Well, you say Potato, I say Addiction.

I went up to the bar and watched the barman make the drink (well, I just sorta watched the barman, I actually learnt how to make the drink later..). I tried this drink at various parties in Boston till I perfected my technique (strangely, I learnt other things that weekend in NYC that I perfected over the months in Boston...a "red-letter' weekend in more ways than one apparently). Here's the magic recipe.


Mixing instructions:

Poor all ingredients into a shaker. Shake well and strain into a Martini glass.


If you want to make it look really nice, you can garnish it with a thin slice of green apple.

What else do I like to drink? Vodka is my alcohol of choice. Grey Goose for shots. Ketel One or Absolut for martinis. I used to be a Stolichnaya guy once upon a time. Smirnoff is CRAP. As for the flavoured vodkas....shudder.

I suppose I also like Rum. Rhum Babancourt from Haiti is my favourite. Smooth and with a bite. Old Monk with Coke is next on the list. Again, Bacardi is CRAP!

And Schnapps. Peach to be precise. Just slicing up some watermelon and muskmelons and pineapples and letting them macerate in peach schnapps in the fridge and then eating them out on the porch on a sunny Boston day..umm..heaven! It's amazing just how cheap peach schnapps s in Bombay compared to the other liquors. I only assume it's becasue no one has yet discovered the uses it can be put to..

Anyhoo, it's almost the weekend (Wednesday today! Woohoo!), so it's about time I start deciding which bar gets my custom this w/e. I'm guessing it's the GB party for me on Saturday. I better drink some before getting there. It's always so depressing!

Current Music:
H to the Izzo - Jay-Z

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Habibi, ya nour el-ain!

So what kind of music do you like? A question I'm constantly asked. And one for which I have no answer. Well, no "definite" answer anyway.

Telling people I have a wide range of music I enjoy just has them telling me yeah, they like rock from 1972 to 1995 too...that's how wide their range is. Well, no. When I say wide, I mean WIDE. From African tribal chants to Basque pop. From Peruvian slave lullabies to Polynesian war songs. From Afrikaaner anthems to Turkish religious music.
It's not that I just listen once and claim I've heard it. I actually enjoy the wide varieties in music style. I can confidently say there's only two kinds of music that I, as a genre, dislike. Country-Western and IndiPop (Indian pop for the Firangs reading this...).

I suppose my first foray into world music was at Embassy, the club on Lansdowne Street in Boston where I heard "Habibi, ya nour el-ain" by Amr Diab for the first time and realized what a huge world of music there was outside the English pop and Bollywood orbits. Slowly, I began building up my collection of Arabic music. Starting with Amr Diab and his Egyptian pop and moving onto Fairuz (Lebanese diva type music..Ya Tayr being my favourite song)..and ending where it should have all begun..Umm Kulthoum and her throaty romantic music. Starting as a Q'uran reader, she became to Egypt and the Arab world what Lata Mangeshkar is to India. To hear her sing "El hob kolloh" became my nightly ritual for months.

I moved on through recommendations form other Arab music lovers, reviews online and just curiousity till I discovered *rai*. Originally protest music from Algeria, it's now metamorphed into pop thanks to Sting's liberal use of Cheb Mami in "Desert Rose". Rai is now my favourite brand of Arab music. Cheb Kahled, Cheb Mami, Salah, Fadel and Sahrawi..too many to list! And my guilty pleasure..Cheikha Rimmitti - a 75 year old Algerian woman who grew up in the slums of the Casbah and worked as a bar-waitress and part-time prostitute. Her use of the name "Cheikha" meaning "respected woman" was a way to thumb her nose at her conservative critics. And "Rimmitti" from "remettez" or "Give us another"...the cry she heard in bars in Algiers asking for more beer. To listen to her sing "Anta Rabhi Ou Ras Mali " is simply an experience transporting you to a smoky back room in the Casbah in the 1950's with revolution in the air.

Honourable mentions go to Malouma Mint Maideh's "Ya Habibi" and DjurDjura's "Derya u Mazir" both incredible songs but whos CDs I've been unable to find.

I'd recommend any if not all of these singers and songs to anyone who reads this post. So go out and enjoy a world full of awesome beats and a beautiful language - Arabic.

In other news, I'm super excited about organizing a Bombay scavenger hunt with some fellow Orkutkars. So many ideas, so little brain to hold them in. I'm literally writing on scraps of paper as the ideas flow. Updates follow.

Current music:
Walkin' after midnight - Patsy Cline

Monday, July 11, 2005

Fashion faux-pas?

Arse cleavage.

Yes people, the fad that's been sweeping the nation the last few months. A fad, which I must confess, I participated in wholeheartedly about a month *after* it became passe. Well, you can't blame me! It took me about that long to figure out I need to get an arse first, then jeans to show it off in and then situations where I could wear said jeans (Somehow, a great-aunt's birthday doesn't seem like the right occasion to flash the family).

Anyway, I now own two "low-rise" jeans which don't quite work the magic the ads promised. Perhaps the fact that I have a normal body kinda spoils the feeling. I mean, low rise jeans need to be held up with sheer willpower, the power of the stick-out arse and prayers to a benevolent God.
While mine are held on by earth-mother hips and bones so sharp you could hang curtains off them. Not even remotely sexy. Well, peeling them off me does lend it a certain tawdriness...one that I try to camouflage as sexy by making the appropriate sexy face (which in my case consists of the look I usually give spotting a particularly delicious tiger prawn in pepper sauce).

I've seen so many fine specimens of this fashion trend in the bylanes of Bandra (one of which made me get on my knees.....and prasie the Lord for creating such beauty). On the other hand, I seem to have missed out on the class where prospective fashionistas are taught about the fact that this trend is best shown off while wearing a short Tshirt. Somehow, the flowing FabIndia kurtis I wear seem to conceal everything I'm supposed to be showing. One more reason I shouldn't be doing this...

So my point is (Do I have one??): Should I, someone who clearly doesn't have a "model" body-type - unless I'm Mr. Sudan-Darfur 2005 - should I attempt at following fashion trends that are clearly meant for guys who spend most of their lives transferring their brain cells into muscle cells?

Just to fit in? I tried the tight Tshirts and tighter jeans, I tried the all-black wardrobe, I even tried the pyjama pants (remember those? Hot in Fall 1993). All I have to show for it is an empty bed and a full closet.

Next fashion stop? Nudism. Prepare yourself for blogs about flat arses and tiny weenies.

Current music:
Time after Time - Cyndi Lauper

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Coffeeshop musings

Well, that should read Bombay coffeeshop musings. Diesel Cafe in Somerville can never ever be replicated here in Bombay (I think we're not ready for a cafe run by midget lesbian bikers yet)...

I will rate them based on several random criteria, with 10 Viks being akin to a 15 minute orgasm and 0 Viks akin to a date with Gollum

Let's start with the famous three. Oh and yeah, they're all in Bandra. Cause my view of Bombay starts at Bandra. Just like my view of India starts at Bombay. And my view of the world starts at Australia (Well, got you there! Didn't I?)

#1. Mocha:
Location: 6 Viks (Hill Road good, parking issues bad)
Attitude of serving staff: 5 Viks (Slower than a tortoise with arthritis)
Hotness level of customers: 5 Viks (Call Center kids with lots of money and streaky hair)
People reading books/Working: 1 Vik (Reading? What's that?)
People on dates: 7 Viks (90 Rs. for a brownie? Well, since I have to impress you....)
People on same-sex dates: 3 Viks (Is it because of the uncomfortable chairs?)
People on same-sex dates with guaranteed action later: 3 Viks (Look for the people sucking on their hookah..meaningfully..)
Hookah availability: 9 Viks (And they have Sour Apple!!)
Hooker availability: 5 Viks (It is Bandra after all...)
Coffee taste: 5 Viks (Too much foam on the cappucinos)

#2 Barista:
Location: 5 Viks (Linking Road, way too crowded to just hang out at)
Attitude of serving staff: 8 Viks (I like the sorta self-service thing they have going on)
Hotness level of customers: 4 Viks (National College and MMK Sindhis)
People reading books/Working: 6 Viks (Mostly while waiting for someone)
People on dates: 5 Viks (Too many chances of being spotted by aunty on her way to buy petticoats)
People on same-sex dates: 4 Viks (Too many chances of being spotted by uncle on his way to buy petticoats)
People on same-sex dates with guaranteed action later: 7 Viks (college kids, 'nuff said)
Hookah availability: 0 Viks (Non-smoking joint..AWESOME!)
Hooker availability: 3 Viks (Hard to tell with all the low-rise jeans wearing Sindhans around)
Coffee taste: 8 Viks (Finally, a good cappucino!)

#3 Cafe Coffee Day:
Location: 9 Viks (Carter Road and next to my house...sweet!)
Attitude of serving staff: 6 Viks (Could do with some training..still too slow)
Hotness level of customers: 9 Viks (Smoking hot!)
People reading books/Working: 0 Viks (Me too hot and sexy! Me no can read. Me into modelling)
People on dates: 9 Viks (Are there no single people anywhere?)
People on same-sex dates: 8 Viks (Is everyone gay or are straight men into other straight men now?)
People on same-sex dates with guaranteed action later: 8 Viks (Something about the sea...or trees)
Hookah availability: 0 Viks (Too cool for that!)
Hooker availability: 9 Viks (And pretty blatant ones at that!)
Coffee taste: Who cares!! The people are hot!

Current Music: None
Am singing Beethoven's Ode to Joy instead..
Freude, schöner Götterfunken, Tochter aus Elysium,
wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!

Friday, July 08, 2005

A good flush never hurt anyone....

Holla to all my blog afficianados (all 4 of you..P.S. your checks are in the mail).

I'm sorry it's been so long since I blogged but things have been weird and uninspiring out here in torrid then rainy Bombay. I tried infusions of bear claw in lizard bile, crack cocaine snorted off a virgin's belly, saliva of albino crows..everything. Including boondi raita. And if you knew me, you'd know things would have to get really desparate for me to bring out the boondi raita....

Nothing. No words sprung to mind. No incidents required retelling. No personalities warranted making fun of.. (Mrs. Fonseca, my English teacher probably rolled over in her grave.."Vikram, no ending a sentence with a preposition". "But Miss, poetic license, Miss!")

Anyway, today's topic deals with purging. As the owner of a body Kate Moss would spit out her daily cracker ration for (I have been called svelte and nymph-like by drunk English lit. grad students), it would make sense that "that's" the purging I'm talking about. But, in the immortal words of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, "Nein!! ich denke Sie haben das misverstanden ".

I have spent the better part of a week purging my cellphone of phone numbers. Numbers I have never called or people I don't recollect were easy enough to get rid of. "Friends" were harder to erase.
Friends in quotes because that's what I thought they were. Loyalty and honesty is what I prize above everything in a friend. And when either of those are lost, I lose the friend. With no regrets at all. Then again, this time, I actually had regrets losing these friends. We had spent hours hanging out and sharing things (From bhelpuri making tips to bodily fluids!). I loved and respected them as people. And they couldn't do the same for me. I had to think long and hard if I was willing to forgive. And I couldn't.

I lost 4 "friends" this week.

I feel so sad when I see them around but I can never get back to being comfortable around them. My earlier friendliness has now been replaced by a formal "Hello, How are you?" kinda treatment.

I thought life got easier as you grew older. Now I know, it's not true. You have so much more invested in human relationships as you age that losing one just makes it all the more harder to move on from..

Dedicated to my new "Aquaintances".

Website du jour:

My pictures. And why not some shameless self-promotion I ask!

Music du jour:
What have I done to deserve this? - The Pet Shop Boys

Seems rather apt, n'est ce pas?