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!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Pampering myself

Another birthday approaches. The Vikster (One now refers to ones self in the third person. One is easily amused!) grows older. And wiser? Word on the street is...NOT! One insists that everything one has done this year has been good and no fault should be attached to one for all one's mishaps and bloopers. (One is already *so* over "one").

Meenu reminded me that the last time I had a birthday, I wallowed in self-pity for most of the day before meeting up for dinner at Gajalee (Hooray for my favourite restaurant in Bombay!) with her and 6 of my friends where I proceeded to demolish the heck out of this full ravas fry. Thanks to C. who bought me orchids that time..I had a fun time trying to explain to the bemused rickshawwalla what I was doing at 2 am walking around festooned with purple orchid blossoms (This as opposed to all the other times when I'm festooned with Jasmine blossoms. OK. Forgive me, I just found out I'm blogging a screening of Umrao Jaan and was just getting into the mood).

I haven't really celebrated my birthday since I turned 21. At 22 I was alone in a Virginia winter, ditto 23, at 24 I actually moved apartments from Arlington to Brookline that day so I remember a birthday meal of beer and pizza, at 25 I was huddled under a duvet boo-hooing that my life was over, at 26 I was shovelling snow from my yard (ALL Frikkin DAY!), at 27 I was mourning an ex...28 you just heard about.

And now I'm almost 29. Wow. Time flies! This means in that quaint auntie-uncle lingo, I'm "running" 30. Yikes! Major panic time approaching. Should I panic now, or just wait till I actually hit the big 3-0? Hey, "3-0" is also my score with boyfriends! Is this a sign from up above? Anyway, all I know is I'm doing it with a bang. Not "that" kind, though "it" would make for a thoughtful birthday present. (I just realized I now have 4 quotation marks in this para alone. I hate my "Valley-Girl" avatar already!) Meenu and me have sat down over a drink (or was it a joint? I forget) and talked about what I should do/how I should spend my birthday. Emphasis on the word "spend". That should give you some idea.

Retail therapy! That's the ticket to happiness. Having already spent 5 grand on books at last week's Strand Book Sale ("Elizabeth of Austria, Lucrezia Borgia, The Great Mughals, Dante's Inferno, Arthashatra" - and I wonder why I'm destined to be alone LOL!), I now have a budget thinner than my upper arm after a Ramzan fast. Infusions of my meagre savings have inflated it to a respectable 4 figures and now the thought of how I'm spending it is bringing joy to my heart (and saliva to my mouth..but we'll discount that as having something to do with the Andorra's roast chicken leg sitting on my table). So what do I do with my millions? For one: I'm buying a suit. Ever since US Airways lost my baggage one nightmarish Thanksgiving, I've not had something formal to wear. OK, so I have nowhere formal to wear it to. But my friend S. (who is getting married to my other firend S.) tells me I'll be invited to his wedding. So I'm gonna look hot for all the Gujju-Punju folks out there, scarfing down my pani-puri and butter-chicken while looking supremely cool in my Armani? Ungaro? Gabbana?....Chalo, Raymonds...

Also, I'm "spa-ing" it. Yep. This homo is going the metro way. I'm planning on getting shaved, plucked, waxed, ironed and blow dried for good measure. A steam, a massage and facial later, I'm hoping to be unrecognizable enough that I can ask the same people out again. (And begin the rejection phase with a new face. Somethings never change eh?).

Actually I'm only "spa-ing" it (Why can't I say "spa-ing" without the quotes?) so I can blog about it. Also cause my friend A. tells me she had this really hot guy there squeezing out her black/white heads (what's the difference?) I haven't had either head squeezed in a while now (I pause to re-read this sentence and check if it's going to offend anyone. Then I realize, I don't give a flying fuck. Hehehe. Flying fuck.)

And then fnally, go through my phone book and call up everyone I know (or haven't erased for some imaginary slight) and ask them to join me in drinks, dancing and bitching. And presents. Lots of them (Preferably 6'2, muscled and wearing a bow. "Only" the bow).

Current Music:
Messiah - Handel

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Halle-lu-jah! Haaaaa-hale-le-le-lu-jah!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

It's lunchtime and..

I'm going through all the blogs that are listed on the right hand side of this post (*gestures with Vanna White-ish motion towards list*). I find that my friend from college Hob Gadling very kindly tagged me on the 20th of December and true to my procrastinating self, I'm only getting around it today.. almost a month later. Sounds about right eh?

So here goes...drumroll please (I'm suffering from watching the Golden Globe presentation show twice and the first episode of American Idol; 2 hours long; twice as well..) This is Vikster's list of his Top Ten favourite things to eat. And no, the rump of a Midwestern farm boy does not count.... Does it?

10. Alu Methi : Potatoes and Fenugreek (for my 4 readers in Israel and South Africa and ... Borneo?) to be more precise. I can eat about a ton of this at a time if I have some steamed rice and dal (sheeth ani dali toi in Konkani) to go with it. Everyone's happy. My dad cause I'm eating vegetarian, my mum cause I'm eating green stuff and me...cause I like it!

9. Tiramisu : I'm not a huge sweet things fan usually but I'll do anything for some good tiramisu (Did you know there's a tiramisu candy bar now?). Sadly haven't found any good stuff in Bombay .. besides the stuff made by the Italian chef I was schtupping for a while. So I guess store-bought Trader Joe's stuff still rules in my book.

8. Chicken Shawarma : I share a love for Chicken Shawarma along with Ariel Sharon and Saddam Hussain (food of choice for ageing overweight Middle-Easterners!) I thought I'd never eat good shawarma once I moved out of Brookline (Shawarma King on Beacon Street rocked my life for the 2 years I spent at Coolidge Corner). And guess what? Biona in Bandra (Hill Road) has quite a similar quality. OK, so here it's saltier, the tahini is not as good and the cook isn't a hot Arab hunk from Nablus...but so what?

7. Chicken Cordon Bleu : To be more specific, the one at Cafe Mocambo in the Fort. Deep fried chicken fillets, stuffed with ham and cheese in a creamy mushroom sauce with bacon and truffle garnish. Thud.

(That was the sound of me collapsing as the giant ball of grease traverses my blood vessels and f's up my brain)

6. Garlic Pierozhkis : To the desis who dunno what a pierozhki is .. it's a Slavic dish that sorta looks like a stuffed karanji - if the karanji was made of maida, stuffed with garlic mashed potatoes and boiled. I can eat it any which way. Just boiled with some olive oil dressing, smothered in pasta sauce or deep fried with ketchup. I think I once went for 2 whole weeks eating nothing but pierozhkis. And drinking nothing but plum brandy. And watching Tarakovsky over and over again as I debated how to slit my wrists. Ooh Slavic depression, how I love thee!

5. Kaanda Bhajiya : Onion Bhaji as the Paki restaurants in London call it...The perfect accompaning dish to a hot cup of ginger tea. It's the quintessential Bombay monsoon meal. You get soaked on your way back home, you wade through 3 feet deep gutters, you dodge drowned rats and homeless people, you come home to a leaky 300 square foot house, put your feet up and enjoy your Kaanda bhajiya! The typical Bombay guy experience.

4. Chicken Pot rice : I'm addicted to the one they make at 5-Spice in Bandra. People who know me in person will know why 5-Spice is my new favorite hang out place in Bombay (hehe!). And their pot rice is total paisa vasool. 180 bucks for a meal for two? Awe-bleddy-some as Diandra Perolina Elvira Soares-Figueriedo aunty would say (If she could afford the restaurant to begin with..)

3. Bombay Duck fry : At Gajalee, Vile Parle E (I'm secretly proud of being one of the first people to eat there..we went there on the opening day. Us from Bandra and the Deshpandes, Sahasrabuddhes and Mashelkars of the area). For a Tuluva place, they sure make very good Bombay Duck (*takes break to point out to 3 readers in Ottawa that Bombay Duck is a fish native to the Arabian Sea near Bombay*). Best way to eat it? Squeeze some lemon juice on some well battered, deep fried bombil and you're good to go.

2. Mackeral Rechiad : The only (food-related) reason to go to Goa methinks. Fresh mackeral stuffed with vinegary spicy Goan masala and fried, eaten with some hot steamed rice and perhaps some gravy from your friend's xacuti. Awesome. Mackeral being a very oily fish to begin with has that smooth gamey texture that makes it so tasty with rice...plus it's Goan food which I love anyway!

And the number 1. thing I love to eat is...(Johnny Depp! oops..wrong list)

1. Crab in Coconut curry : Amchigele (Konkani) style! It's been my favorite dish since I discovered what a mess i was allowed to make at the dining table while eating it. Now that I've mastered the art of shelling a crab with the tips of the fingers of my right hand alone (woohooo! Resume-worthy skill methinks!), I demand this all the time from po' ol' Amma who realized soon enough that the cons of being a good cook are the incessant demands from me!

So there you have it, my top 10 favorite things to eat. A prepondrance of fishy things pays homage to my Konkani heritage, the random foreign maal on the list is thanks to my years in random foreign lands (Or "vilaayat" as I like to call it).

It's been 2 hours since I started this post. It's made me so hungry, I've had to order in a couple of burgers to fill up that nagging, gnawing, gaping hole in my stomach. Munch.

Current Music:
Laissez-moi dancer - Dalida

If I was a drag queen performer , this would be the song I'd sing. But then I'd have to shave my legs...and there's not time enough in this epoch for me to get anywhere with all that hair!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Morning Cock

Originally uploaded by TheHotVikster.
A picture of a toy I saw in a shop window at Baga beach.

It's made me laugh everyday I've looked at it. And I'm so glad I have it now to look at.

Thank God for cheap Chinese toys.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The little Indian that could...

That would be me. Atleast, that's what it's taken me close to 2 weeks to come up with. To weigh the pros and cons, to assess my options, to come up with reasons not to, to procrastinate and hope it goes away, to walk away and let the thoughts come flooding in, to take a break from it all and see what happens. It's all come down to tonight.

Tonight is M. birthday. Well, it's morning in Boston so I suppose he's just waking up about now to a cup of birthday cheer. And I'm petrified he's not alone. Alone like I am. Alone like I feel.

It's taken me 2 weeks to decide that I will call him tonight and wish him a happy birthday and the best that life has to offer. Because that is what I want for him. For him to be happy, successful and smiling. The way I remember him the last birthday when he was holding me at the bar at Seven watching Meenu and the gang dancing away. Or smiling with that mischevious glint in his eye when I told him what his birthday present was going to be that night.

I miss him so much - it physically hurts. I didn't think I felt this strongly for him. I thought the feeling would go away in time. I thought I'd meet other guys and I'd soon forget. And guess what? It has only gotten stronger. The guys I've met have only lead me to believe that M. was the one for me. And I let him go. I feel like such a fool about it today. I could have had it all...and I chose to leave it and come back to Bombay thinking I could be happier. And I'm not.

I hope this call changes things. I don't think he wants me back...all I want to do is hear his voice. I haven't heard him call me Twigster in 6 months now. (BTW, that name has nothing to do with my frame..more to do with my love for a certain Pizzicato 5 song) I think I would be crushed if he had someone else in his life. But there's nothing I can do about it is there?

Well, there is. 2 weeks of thinking (and 3 kilos down...man! Stress sure is a weight killer!) and I now have a resolution. I'm calling M. on his birthday. And I'm doingmy darndest to get back to Boston and him. Even if he's not available anymore, I have a goal to work for.

N. thinks i'm chasing a mirage. V. thinks I can find someone here and forget. Meenu thinks I have to try to move on. And God knows I tried. Even found 3 guys I thought were dateable. And? One fucks around, One is not into "relationships" and One lies his teeth off. The cream of Bombay's crop. Huzzah for the single life!

Anyway, this post sounds like such a downer. But I am down. I'm chipper and jumping all over the place 360 days of the year. But those remaining 5 days...Oy! Those 5 days! For all those who tried comforting me the last few days...thanks! I'll be much much better tommorrow. For al those who missed me and emailed asking for a blog post, thanks! Bet you didn't think this maudlin drivel was what you would get eh? And for all those comments asking me to "Get a life" and "Die fag die", thanks as well! You obviously took the time out to come to this blog and read.....

Current Music:
Some GODAWFUL Indian Idol shit my parents are making me listen to.

If I wasn't depressed then, I sure am now.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Goa diary - Part 1

My first vacation in 2005! (OK so I'm not counting the days I spent doing "volunteer work"..cough..unemployed..cough). For the second year in a row, I "did" Goa. Along with everyone else in Bombay it seems. Then again, proportionately, I think there were more Delhiwallahs there..lots of "haalthee-waalthee" Punjabi mundas with fair skin, aquiline noses and atrocious English and worse manners. But I digress...

I made Goa plans with a bunch of fun friends of mine..and friends of theirs. All "family".. well, except for the straight women who came along with us. Had a harrowing time trying to locate the car we were driving in at Bandra East. Man, the traffic in that part of the city is HORRIBLE! Anyway, found the car, found the driver and off we went..driving off into the sunset (well, not quite..seeing as driving due west would send us into the Arabian Sea and enroute to Somalia - NOT where I planned on spending New Year's Eve). Realized very early that our driver was a maniac, a speed demon, insane actually. This made us break off ou journey a little earlier than we expected...spening the night at a ratty old hotel in Chiplun - about halfway to Goa. After donating what seemed like the better part of a pint to the mosquitoes of Chiplun (I got a thank you card from their happy buzzing children yesterday .. written in blood?), we took off after many groans and moans at 5 am. (Minds outta the gutter..it was wicked early that's all..and COLD!)

And passed miles upon miles of beautiful Konkan scenery. I think I quite bored Ro's ears off yapping about the differences in architechture between Brahmin tiled roofs and Kunbi ones. Man, I need to forget some of the trivia I'm carrying around. I need one of those Dumbledore pensieves or something. Anyway, about 20 hours after leaving Bombay, my sore litle ass got to Baga-Calangute..into what seemed like the precursor to Spring Break in Cancun...only with HOT HOT HOT HOT men around and very mediocre women. That's what will remain the lasting memory of this vacation for me. The men were incredibly hot. The women? Not quite.

And then the vacation melts into one vision of "wake up, breakfast, beach, lunch, beach, tea, beach, club, dinner, club, bar, club, sleep". Lather, rinse, repeat.
English breakfast - sausages, bacon, toast, marmalade, potatoes, tomato and Heinz baked beans with a huge pot of Assam! Man, if I ate breakfast like that everyday I'd turn into Ariel Sharon's younger, obese'r brother! It's a wonder I even had room for lunch follwing such a breakfast...and the couple of beers that followed. And all this EVERYDAY for 3 days! Not to mention the lunches at Sousa Lobo's, the shopping at Casa Goa and the 3 km trek up and down the Baga-Calangute road pushing off the cabbies, the Rajasthani lantern sellers and the Kashmiri handicraft guys (Though I wouldn't have minded taking home a couple of those Kashmiri shop guys...man! That militancy and bad weather breeds some hot guys up there!). I resisted shopping till the last day..and even then I ended up buying cashews (My favoutire Konkani dish tendle-bibbo upkari is made from it..).

I felt weird a few times...I had spent last New Year's Eve in the VERY SAME place but with M. by my side. It felt weird to go places where the two of us had enjoyed ourselves so darn much. Passing O'Pescador where I sang a song for him over dinner, walking past Roseal's - the shack the two of s spent our days at, even eating beef stroganoff at Sousa Lobo's..all mixed up with mackerel Rechiad. Everyone a memory of a lost love.

The next post will be about my fantastic (tres tres fantastique) New Year's Eve watching the fireworks on the beach and dancing the night away at Eden - Calangute's very own gay club and about the fun people I met in Goa...2 of whom I would have dated - had they been available!

Current Music:
Missing - Everything but the Girl

Like the deserts miss the rain. Ah well...C'est la vie, non?