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!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Addicted !

I've been addicted to a lot of things in my "short life" so far (Any more age jokes and I'll be killing one of y'all sometime soon!).. Vietnamese coffee (Diesel Cafe, I miss you!), alu parathas (I fear I might still be addicted), boys (Well, now that I haven't had one in a while, I fear I'm cured!), Jane Austen (Hooray! Pride and Prejudice this Sunday at Fame Adlabs!), Roman history (am devouring Colleen McCullough currently) and finally TV.

There are more to add onto that addiction list but I fear that since TV came into my life in 1988 (Yep. We were the old fashioned "No TV, only books" family), I've been addicted. From Krishi Darshan and Chhayageet when we only had one state channel - Doordarshan to The Bold and the Beautiful and Crystal Maze when Star TV reared it's beautiful blond firang head to Indian Idol and The Amazing Race today; I've seen, heard and remember them all.

To the point where I can sing the "Sooraj ek, chanda ek" song, do the "Tree of Unity" dance, talk like a Fraggle and tell you about the Cruz Castillo - Eden Capwell romance at one sitting. I can tell you why "Sa Re Ga Ma" was good once upon a time and I can tell you to the nearest hundred how many times Anu Kapoor cried on TV during some crap-ass deshbhakti song on Antakshari (The answer is 400). I can explain the family relationships in Khandaan and I can tell you just when Veerawali went wrong in Buniyaad. Don't even get my started on the Friends, Frasiers, Seinfelds and Will and Graces of this world..

But my all time favourites are the reality shows. I used to be addicted to Survivor (when I still lived in Boston) and got my folks addicted to The Amazing Race as well when I got back (Now Amma will not make dinner/visit plans on Wednesday night! Sweet! I've trained her well). But my all time current fav show has got to be "America's Next Top Model". Tyra Banks and a whole posse of gay fashionistas (honestly, those guys are so gay, they make me feel like Butchy McButch!) bitch, moan and criticize a bunch of low self esteem having, sob story carrying, weird disease having, gangly women with giant boobs. How much fun! I've gotten my folks into it (though I suspect Annu just watches it in case Tyra Banks has a boob pop out or something!).

It's on Sundays on Zee Cafe sometime in the afternoon..just as I'm into my post-lunch funk. Last weekend I conned Vij into watching it too...and from what I heard, she loved it. Though that could have just been the giant joint we both smoked talking. Watch Tyra bitch - inhale - eat some alu sabzi - inhale - watch more Tyra - eat more sabzi - inhale - feel guilty for eating sabzi in front of models - inhale - criticize ads during commercial break - eat chips - inhale - Laugh at Jay Manuel - ooh and aah at the make up - inhale - talk about boys - watch more Tyra - mop up alu ki sabzi with chips - laugh - inhale - cheer when token bulimic makes appearance - inhale - laugh - Boo Tyra - flip through Cosmo and do quiz - Boo Tyra again - inhale - pass out just as they're announcing who is voted off.

That is why I love my life. I can combine all my addictions into one thing. I got my Sunday joint, I got my TV, I got my alu sabzi, I got my friend, I got bitching, I got to talk about boys, I got to drool at the Cosmo models..and at the end of the day, I'm sober enough to take an auto back to Bandra. Where I spotted Kunal Kapoor getting into a car and did the "mptch mptch" sound that sidey Bhaiyya-types make when they want to show appreciation. I think he might have spotted me..in which case, that's one more stroke through the list of boys I'd totally do. Heading the list? Still Johnny Depp.

Current Music:
(Feast of) Passover - Lee Perry

To go with the whole joint theme, some fantastic ol' skool reggae with the incredibly high pitched Lee Perry. Still remember listening to it the first time at Ilya's house as he gave me a lap dance while trying hard not to wake up his old land lady. Yes. My life has been "that" weird.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Stand up for your right....to PARRRTTTYYYY!

Midweek partying is such fun. I feel so evil going out for a drink..OK many drinks..OK many MANY drinks on a Thursday night when like all good Hindu boys I should be praying before Hanuman - The monkey God. Well, you won't catch me on my knees in front of someone sworn to celibacy - God or no God. I didn't do it for Father V. (my school principal) and I ain't doing it for no one!

Anyway, Thursday night found me at Zenzi in Bandra. Managed to get out of dinner with the folks soon and headed over toute suite to watch Vidur Kapoor - a gay Indian stand up comic performing there. Walked in around 8.45 pm to meet a couple of friends I knew were coming...and got started on the beers. Zenzi has good Sour Apple Martinis but they're a bit expensive for a middle-class Bandra boy like yours truly...so I stick to the (again, vastly over-priced) beers while I'm there. Anyhoo, there I am, being all flirty and floozy (That friends, would be my regular Thursday night persona..I'm Miranda all week and Samantha on Thursdays). And then...

Louis XV said it best when he declaimed "Apres moi, le deluge". I walked in and made myself comfy, and then watched the parade of the creme de la creme of Bombay gay society. Hot man after hot man, interesting woman after interesting woman. I'm stunned silent (OK. I'm totally lying here..I can never be silent..let's say I was stunned "less garrulous"). Where were all these fine specimens when I was hanging out at the bar at the GB parties? Where did all the lesbians come from? Why are there no straight people at Zenzi? Why am I drinking beer instead of my usual martini? Questions followed questions. (OK so there was a fine sprinkling of people I detest, but that's just the perils of being a first-class bitch)

Watched Vidur do his act. I loved it. Perhaps I related a lot to being a gay immigrant in America...and the humour therein. Though I recognized a couple of the lines...very Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I do so love that movie and the bitchiness in it...."I may be gay, but I'm not blind". I so totally want to say that to someone when he asks me out. Though with my luck, I'll end up saying it to myself (seeing as I'm doing a lot more "with myself" nowadays..wink wink). The audience loved it as well...how could it not? A predominantly gay group about evenly divided between the fags and the dykes (The dykes all sat on the floor while the fags queened it up on the few chairs..Sigh! Will our desi women never learn to demand more?)....the jokes played right into the audience. I stood right in front of 2 hot dusky women with fabu bods. Later discovered they were Diandra Soares and Sheetal Mallar. (This sentence for the token straight man I know reads this .. gay men - you have been warned). The two of them were hot. No other word for it. Abso-fucking-lutely hot. For a brief 2 seconds I wondered what watching them make out would be like. And then I spotted a hottie and spent the next 2 hours staring at him. There is now no hope of me ever changing teams methinks...Bye Bye Bi.

In short, had a great time. Drank a lot, flirted a lot, met people, finally met a fellow blogger (Read his take here..I guess he hated me when we finally did meet). I do take getting used to .. especially when I've been hitting the beers. I can't wait for more stand up stuff in Bombay though. I'm dreaming of the day we host Margaret Cho, Eddie Izzard and Ellen! Till then, I suppose we'll have to make do with Shekhar Suman and the ironically named "Great Indian Laughter Challenge"....

Current Music:
99 Luftballons - Nena

T. (The straight German model who shares his tokes with me) and me plan on singing this in German at Not Just Jazz next Sunday..knock the socks off the Sheetals and Karans in South Bombay!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Valentine's diary

9 am: Wake up to the sound of my cellphone going absolutely beserk. Apparently, I've been receiving text messages all morning..it's just that I haven't been able to wake up enough to realize that annoying beep isn't the 1920 Bentley that James Purefoy is driving as he drops me off; from a grassy knoll along his manor house to a teeming immigrant block of flats. (Note to self: Do not read Victoriana just before bed)

9.15 am: Check messages. 2 pity SMSes from happily afianced woman friends, 2 SMSes from people I can't trust and 1 from someone who I detest. Fantastic. Happy Valentine's day indeed!

10 am: Walk into work. Realize very soon that there's some sort of Val Day party planned. Secretly hatch plan to develop headache at about 3 pm.

10.30 am: Hide in bathroom to avoid persistent questions about my plans for the night. Thank God someone left a Mumbai Mirror in there to read. Amuse self by reading sex advice column. (Note to self: Frequent masturbation does NOT lead to slight curvature of penis)

12 noon: Decide to skip lunch as it will involve going to a restaurant full of happy couples. Survive on raiding A.'s lunch box and leftover wafers.

1.30 pm: Will this day never end! Check out funny Val Day email forwards sent to me by colleagues. Hide thoughts of strangling cute puppies behind thin smile. (Note to self: Thin, sardonic smile suits me. I should try it more often. Very "I lost my love in the Great War" look)

3 pm: My head hurts (practise session). Receive email saying I am the DJ for office partty to start at 5 pm. Very quickly realize I am to be mocked for my Arabic and Greek music tastes. Hurriedly download "Kajra Re" and "Dus Bahane". Computer protests at choice of el musico crapioso.

4 pm: No, I have no plans for tonight. Decide to print it out on a sheet of A4 paper and pin it to shirt. Start looking through cellphone to find someone to go out with.

5 pm: The party. Avoid dancing proles by pretending to sort music playlist. Am quickly spotted and made to jive surrounded by 55 bemused colleagues. Much half-hearted clapping and much half-assed dancing follow.

6.15 pm: Remember appointment with "Big Lez TV executive" deep in the 'burbs. Panic ensues as I try to make my way out of the office. People mistake me pushing for a new dance move. Am soon pushed back into place. Sigh.

7.30 pm: Cafe Coffee Day, Fun Republic. Waits for "Big Lez" and alarmed to find "Hot Minion" show up instead. Talk of freelance writing project ensues. Waiter snubbed when he assumes we're a couple. Scented candle offer refused politely.

7.45 pm - 8.30 pm: Rickshaw ride back to Bandra. Frantic cellphoning to anyone I assume is single and available. 6 rejections. Sign from God? THERE IS NO GOD!

9 pm: Amma assumed I'd have a date. No dinner prepared for me. Sigh. Am not living up to the expections of my parents (as usual). Decide to take a hot bath and brood.

9.15 pm: Phone call while I'm in shower. Rush out. It might be someone asking me out! It's Meenu. Am invited out to dinner with her and A. and a couple of friends. Think about it for ...10 seconds and say yes. Atlast a chance to wear my nice pants, show off my new haircut and try out my new conversation starters (Note to self: If you try too hard for a possible date, you'll never have the chance to use any of what you prepared)

10.30 pm: Walk into Subway. It's the only restaurant in Bandra that doesn't have a 45 minute wait (or is full of happy couples). I order the # 6 footlong. It costs me 275 Rs. I pay up gladly assuming I'd be paying the same if I was out on a date.

11.30 pm: My conversation on birds and travel is getting me nowhere. Decide to call it a night and take my 6 inches back home. Polite laughter around table as I explain I meant my leftover sub. Decide to head home inspite of kulfi (from Turner Road gaadiwalla) offer.

12 midnight: Eating sub in bed while watching Baywatch. Yasmin Bleeth is making out with some blond hunk. Reflect on me making out with said blond hunk as I chew on my honey oat/chicken/lamb pepperoni/olive/southwest sauce.

00.45 am: Clean crumbs off self. Pick up study of Stalin's henchmen. Settle into bed. Reflect on what I would be doing at 00.45 am if someone had asked me out. Realize I'm better off dreaming of James Purefoy.

3 am: Wake up in cold sweat. Dreamt Beria was caning my buttocks in the Lubyanka. (Note to self: OK. Sono more Stalin's henchmen bios at night either)

Here ends the Valentine's day celebrations of a single gay man in Bombay. Office parties, meetings with hot businesswomen and dining on subs alone while watching Baywatch.

Hooray for the single life...I think.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Birthday weekend extravaganza!

(Out of the Blue, Bandra) Waiting for the rest of the party folks to arrive. I'm wearing blue tinsel from Cheap Jack (Thank you Meenu!) to tell the waiters that I'm the one they should be showering their love and affection on...

The party is underway...This is what drinking wine does to me. Suddenly I'm Madonna with the shiny boobies. Of course, I'm still old enough that to me they're the cutting edge in pop culture..

The delicious German PR guy wasn't available so I got the next best thing. Chocolate cake fed to me by the very awesome Meenu.

(Redlight, Kalaghoda) Sanj clearly hasn't drunk enough beer to be as happy as me. Then again, it's hip hop, it's a club and I partied like it's my birthday...drank Bacardi like it's my birthday..

The ladies think I'm irresistable. Shweta can't keep her hands off me. Too bad the hottie Manchester Punju boys dancing about 5 feet away didn't think the same...

(Enroute to Purple Haze, Bandra) You talkin' to me? (The DeNiro impersonation might have worked if I wasn't so damned happy!)

(Thai Ban, Bandra) Clearly, having your fiance sit on the other side of the table has Shweta confused about just which man she really likes. Or maybe the shirt was way too bright to look at directly...

Friday, February 03, 2006

10 things about err..nothing really...

1. I had one of the funnest birthdays yesterday. Finally realized I have an awesome group of people to hang out with here in Bombay. No more whining about loneliness..I mean; when you have friends who will wear silly hats (Christmas leftovers from Cheap Jack?) and cheer you on as you flirt outrageously with a painfully cute German PR guy (In my case, the flirting involved insulting his mother tongue and then having him sing Happy Birthday to me in Portuguese..), who's alone?

2. Chinese food never fills me up. I can eat till I'm bursting and yet come back home and raid the fridge. It's gotten so bad, I have to warn my mum to stck the fridge for after dinner when I do out. Damn you ajinomoto and brominated vegetable oil!

3. One can't have enough books. After having bought about 12 books from the Strand Book sale (read about my previous Strand-ing here), I managed to buy 5 more this afternoon from Crosswords. Has anyone else realized what a rip-off Crosswords is? Expensive books, bad choice and NO non-fiction!! So now I have 15 books to read (I'm so happy!). 15? Well, I've already read 2 of the ones I bought at Strand (both highly recommended: Last Spring - The Lives and Times of the Great Mughals and Hitler and Stalin - Parallel Lives)

4. The Kalaghoda festival begins tommorrow. Something very exciting is going to be announced on this blog then. Keep your eyes peeled. (*retching as I get a viual of peeled eyes*)

5. Someone told me today that I don't look 30 one bit. Well, thank God for that..seeing as I'm only 29. And post-spa session tommorow, I'm going for the barely-legal (for all you porno afficianados out there) look.

6. Am very anxious. Hair cut tommorrow at Nalini and Yasmin's. The last time I went there I got a fantastic cut while ogling the scrumptious hair stylist colouring some pot-bellied Sindhi businessman's 3 hairs (a la Homer Simpson). This time I want the same..but I just found out the person who cut my hair the last time doesn't work there anymore. Gasp! The one great hair cut in years and I lose my stylist. A. suggests I wear a hat till I locate her. I'm wary of doing that for 2 reasons. I don't own a hat and secondly, what if she's working some salon in Goregaon? Dare I be seen in such a place? (I'm so shallow I'm about 0.5 inches deep. No jokes please.)

7. It's time to retire the Ipod. I spotted the Shivsagar delivery boy with the tell-tale white ear phones as he (as usual) nearly ran me over on his bhaiyya bicycle. I know Bandra folk tip well, but honestly! Enough for the dude to buy an Ipod? (Am reassured by the fact it's probably a Chinese rip off but still! Strangers won't know!)

8. The weather is absolutely dreadful In Bombay right now. Half the junta here feel cold and need the fan off (*points finger at Amma and about half my workplace*) while the other half need the temperature to be close to freezing point cause it's so hot. Why can't we have one of those extreme climates we keep hearing about? When it's cold, it's very cold, and when it's hot, it's very hot? No issues then no?

9. I made out like a bandit this birthday! My sister gave me what seems to be the contents of her pension fund, N. bought me a gargantuan bouquet of flowers (for the record people, I LOVE lilies..Calla lilies if you can find them here), P. got me bookstore vouchers, Meenu - a very appropriate card and an awesome dinner organized, Grandma gave me the usual 501 Rs. (I could use her L&T shares though).

I need more birthdays..suddenly I don't mind getting old.

10. Vacation planning is on in full swing. Now that I realized I'll never be able to afford a place here in Bombay, I guess I'll be one of those DINKs (without the D though..does that make me a SINK?). Lots of money, no responsibilites, no future plans living it up in Ladakh, Turkey and Serbia (My three destination choices so far.. Ladakh cause it's so beautiful, turkey cause I love Tarkan and Serbia cause I got a bunch of friends who've promised to share Belgrade's charms with me).

Current Music:
Everytime you go away (you take a piece of me with you)

If this was one of those Hindi movie titles taken from songs, I'd love to watch EYGAYTAPOMWY...

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

February 2nd.

In between answering the many phone calls (Thanks all who called!) and fielding questions from assorted people ("How does it feel to be 29?", "Are you looking forward to 30?", "Shouldn't you get married soon?", "What are you getting for your birthday?") and politely answering ("Good", "No", "No", "Dinner with Meenu"), I've spent 30 minutes on my guilty pleasure this morning. No. It's not what you're thinking..and that takes me about 10 minutes only anyway.

It's reading and editing Wikipedia. Anything that sorta sounds like my name deserves my full attention. And anything that combines my fondness for history, writing and trivia will grab me forever. Does this mean I should be looking for a quizzing historian who writes? Nah. What I need is a "hot" quizzing historian who writes. And is rich. Can't forget the rich part. It would help if he's around my age as well. (*short break as I draft a personals ad to go on www.datehothistorians.com*)

Anyway, as countless Hindi movie actors have said after they wake up in a strange bed with a tomato ketchup laced bandage around their head (Or Nirupa Roy...in EVERY movie!).."Main kahan hoon?"

Oh yeah. Wikipedia.

It tells me that I share my birthday (the "exact" date to the year!) with....


This might explain my fascination for the lines "Lucky that my lips not only mumble/They spill kisses like a fountain//Lucky that my breasts are small and humble/So you don't confuse them with mountains".
And my fondness for yelling "Le do lo le lo le..le do lo le lo le" at inappropriate times (The good folks at Sahakari Bhandar don't like it when you say that after spying a 2 for 1 special on Axe Deo).
Don't even get me started on "Underneath your clothes"...

I also share my birthday with Ayn Rand (Hate her!), Dana International (How appropriate that an Israeli transsexual Eurovision-loving singer shares this day with me), Christie Brinkley (She's the Uptown Girl...I guess that makes me a Downtown boy?) and Farah Fawcett (I knew it! We both have the same hair/smouldering glance thing going on!).
Wikipedia tells me this is also the day Nell Gwynne, Tallyrand and James Joyce were born!

I'm in great company so far! Hang on...I spy Howard Johnson as well! Oh that's just the low-fat icing on my low-fat, eggless, creamless, sugarless cake! What better person to share your day with than with the founder of the rent-rooms-by-the-hour hotel!

Current Music:
Ao na dance karen - Nazia Hassan

She's still my favourite diva. Whatever happened to Zoheb Hassan? He was hot! Anyone remember the Nazia-Zoheb hour on DD Sunday mornings?