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, May 22, 2006

Geeking out is so much fun!

This Sunday was Mahaquizzer 2006 in 8 cities around India..Bombay being one of them. Since I won this the last year, I figured it's worth "defending my title" this year even if it means waking up at 8.30 am on a Sunday morning to head to town. Oh who am I kidding! I'm wicked geeky when it comes to quizzing. I watched almost every episode of Jeopardy (and taped the ones I missed to watch later), I took part in the Weakest Link, I won quiz after quiz all through school and college...I even won the Bournvita quiz contest on radio WAY back when (Damn! I'm old! I was actually on radio! AM at that!!).

Anyhoo, after a night partying at the GB party ; where for a change they played about an hour of house music (leading to the queens stalking out claiming they will never hang out at a place that replaces "Kua maan doob jaoongi" with Paul van Dyke); I stumbled into bed around 2 am and found I couldn't sleep...so in goes my favourite "Before Sunset" into the DVD player and out come the Pringles, custard and hankie...my usual requirements when I watch this movie on my bi-monthly viewings. I finally dropped of to sleep about 5 am only to be rudely awakened at 8 am by my sidey alarm ringtone (I have "Carnival" for all you Nokia phone people). Spent about 10 minutes trying to decide between my lucky Superman shirt or M.'s Taz shirt. Finally decided on my PETA shirt (which I got free...I'm such a whore for free stuff) and jumped into a cab to Sophia's. I got there a bit early and looked around at assorted "competition" - all of who fit very nicely into the "I went to IIT and am a Tam Brahm" box (Check here please). I sat my non-IIT, non-TamBrahm ass way back and surprise surprise. A good omen! The desk I sat at belonged to a Mithun fan....the surface was scarred with "I love you Mithunda" and "I love Mimoh". Fantastic, I thought, this person understands why "Disco Dancer" and "Gun Master G9" were the defining moment of our lives in the mid 80's! With MithunDa's blessings, I opened up the quiz..150 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. So I'll be lying if I claimed I knew them all. I'll be lying if I claimed I even knew the answers to half. So technically, I only answered 75 questions...the other questions all got my standard fake answer - Stanley Kubrick.

What's the difference in lifespan of a Komodo dragon on the island of Flores as opposed to one on the island of Ternate?*
-Stanley Kubrick.

Where would you find Ching shi-weh and Bee-boppidy-boom?*
-Stanley Kubrick.

What, in the Bible, is equivalent to 3 lengths of rough undyed wool as woven by a daughter of Israel?*
-Stanley Kubrick.

See? He fits every question! "Do you like me Vikster?"..."err...Stanley Kubrick?"
(* - Actual questions may vary. All memories of actual questions have been obliterated by liberal doses of Heineken)

Anyhoo, I won. 54 points out of a possible 150. And my prize? A grand in voucers to Crosswords...which of course means that after a meal of Reshmi Tikka biryani at Noorani's (Honestly, at this rate, I'm going to have to give up ever fitting into my jeans again!), I headed off to Kemps Corner toute-suite.

People of Bombay. Lend me your ears. I bring you information.

There are HOT MEN who read! They hang out at Crosswords at Kemps Corner on Sunday afternoons! I almost sobbed for joy when I saw 3 of them clustered about the history section! Does this mean Bombay has the capacity to surprise cynical ol' me after all these years? I was forced to hang out in the Business and Marketing section for 15 minutes while a guy with the most divine grey eyes checked out the display (Meanwhile, I checked out his display...hot!) Snooped into his book bag at the checkout counter. Spotted "An analysis of the Zulu wars" (very do-able, pity about the wife), "Bathrooms and Kitchens" (decorating? gay? rich?), "The Da Vinci Code" (err..moving on..)...
All I know is, I thnk I know where I'm going to be hanging out Sunday afternoons now.

Current music:
Hit me baby ( one more time) - Mrs. Federline

My loneliness is killing me, and I...
I must confess I still believe (still believe)..

How awesome is this song! (OK, I know about 50% of you have now lost all respect for me!)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

102 movies you SHOULD have watched

Thank you Hob Gadling (It's such an effort not to use your name!) for the tag. You clearly know how much I love movies..

Background: Jim Emerson came out with a list of 102 movies which you should watch if you want to have a meaningful discussions of any kind about movies.

And since I love talking about movies (WHAT? No Almodovar? No Ozon? No Twyker?), I sat down with this list and tried to see (and use Hob's way of noting) how many of these movies I'd seen. the results surprised me. How about you? I tag Mitli Miss, Kate, Prasad and F-Cubed. Surprise me!

* = I've seen it
+ = I've seen maybe a quarter or half of it (hangs head in shame...)

"2001: A Space Odyssey>" (1968) Stanley Kubrick (* I enjoyed it)
"The 400 Blows" (1959) Francois Truffaut
"8 1/2" (1963) Federico Fellini
"Aguirre, the Wrath of God" (1972) Werner Herzog
"Alien" (1979) Ridley Scott (* That scene with the stomach....)
"All About Eve" (1950) Joseph L. Mankiewicz (* DUH! I'm a gay man!)
"Annie Hall" (1977) Woody Allen (* Love the scene with the frum Woody at dinner)
"Apocalypse Now" (1979) Francis Ford Coppola (+ Was sad..)
"Bambi" (1942) Disney (* I cried so much )
"The Battleship Potemkin" (1925) Sergei Eisenstein (* Still remember the scene with the baby carriage)
"The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946) William Wyler
"The Big Red One" (1980) Samuel Fuller
"The Bicycle Thief" (1949) Vittorio De Sica
"The Big Sleep" (1946) Howard Hawks
"Blade Runner" (1982) Ridley Scott (+ I couldn't sit through this one)
"Blowup" (1966) Michelangelo Antonioni
"Blue Velvet" (1986) David Lynch (* Oh! hoorah for Kyle Maclachlan)
"Bonnie and Clyde" (1967) Arthur Penn (* Yep. That's dem)
"Breathless" (1959) Jean-Luc Godard
"Bringing Up Baby" (1938) Howard Hawks (* Saw this at Harvard Square)
"Carrie" (1975) Brian DePalma
"Casablanca" (1942) Michael Curtiz (* Oh do shut up Sam!)
"Un Chien Andalou" (1928) Luis Bunuel & Salvador Dali
""Les Enfants du Paradis" (1945) Marcel Carne
"Chinatown" (1974) Roman Polanski
"Citizen Kane" (1941) Orson Welles (* She's a fuckin' sled?)
"A Clockwork Orange" (1971) Stanley Kubrick (+ Why can't I sit through this?)
"The Crying Game" (1992) Neil Jordan (* This is why I always check my women)
"The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951) Robert Wise
"Days of Heaven" (1978) Terence Malick
"Dirty Harry" (1971) Don Siegel (* My dad made me watch this!)
"The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" (1972) Luis Bunuel (* Netflix recommended this to me)
"Do the Right Thing" (1989) Spike Lee (* I LOVED this movie)
"La Dolce Vita" (1960) Federico Fellini (+ I prefered the French and Saunders version)
"Double Indemnity" (1944) Billy Wilder
"Dr. Strangelove" (1964) Stanley Kubrick (* Peter Sellers roxx)
"Duck Soup" (1933) Leo McCarey
"E.T. -- The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982) Steven Spielberg (* EVERYONE who grew up in the 80's watched this)
"Easy Rider" (1969) Dennis Hopper
"The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) Irvin Kershner (* The ONLY one in the six-logy I could watch)
"The Exorcist" (1973) William Friedkin (* mmm..pea soup!)
"Fargo" (1995) Joel & Ethan Coen (* It's coollld..Oh yaa, dontcha know it!)
"Fight Club" (1999) David Fincher (* Look! It's Brad Pitt!)
"Frankenstein" (1931) James Whale (* The origanal rules!)
"The General" (1927) Buster Keaton & Clyde Bruckman
"The Godfather," "The Godfather, Part II<" (1972, 1974) Francis Ford Coppola (* Who hasn't!)
"Gone With the Wind" (1939) Victor Fleming (* I watched it with my mammy)
"GoodFellas" (1990) Martin Scorsese (+ Watched this at Bryn Mawr)
"The Graduate" (1967) Mike Nichols (* I heart Anne Bancroft)
"Halloween" (1978) John Carpenter (* And we had to suffer the 6 sequels)
"A Hard Day's Night" (1964) Richard Lester (* Beatlemania!)
"Intolerance" (1916) D.W. Griffith
"It's a Gift" (1934) Norman Z. McLeod
"It's a Wonderful Life" (1946) Frank Capra (* Mandatory Christmas viewing!)
"Jaws" (1975) Steven Spielberg (* Just saw it last night again!)
"The Lady Eve" (1941) Preston Sturges
"Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) David Lean (* A white man who loves 'em brown? Hells yeah)
"M" (1931) Fritz Lang (+ Ironic I couldn't sit through M...)
"Mad Max 2" / "The Road Warrior" (1981) George Miller
"The Maltese Falcon" (1941) John Huston (* The hats! I tell ya!)
"The Manchurian Candidate" (1962) John Frankenheimer
"Metropolis" (1926) Fritz Lang (* Of course! A masterpiece spectacle!)
"Modern Times" (1936) Charles Chaplin
"Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975) Terry Jones & Terry Gilliam (* Ni! Ni! Ni!)
"Nashville" (1975) Robert Altman
"The Night of the Hunter" (1955) Charles Laughton
"Night of the Living Dead" (1968) George Romero (* mmmmm...brains!)
"North by Northwest" (1959) Alfred Hitchcock (* I love the corn field scene)
"Nosferatu" (1922) F.W. Murnau (* I miss the Brookline theatre!)
"On the Waterfront" (1954) Elia Kazan (* Marlon Brando WAS such a hottie)
"Once Upon a Time in the West" (1968) Sergio Leone
"Out of the Past" (1947) Jacques Tournier
"Persona" (1966) Ingmar Bergman
"Pink Flamingos" (1972) John Waters (* John Waters..How I love thee)
"Psycho" (1960) Alfred Hitchcock (* Well duh!)
"Pulp Fiction" (1994) Quentin Tarantino (* I love the Uma/John dance)
"Rashomon" (1950) Akira Kurosawa (* This movie got me interested in Samurai culture)
"Rear Window" (1954) Alfred Hitchcock (* Such a classic)
"Rebel Without a Cause" (1955) Nicholas Ray
"Red River" (1948) Howard Hawks
"Repulsion" (1965) Roman Polanski
"The Rules of the Game" (1939) Jean Renoir
"Scarface" (1932) Howard Hawks
"The Scarlet Empress" (1934) Josef von Sternberg
"Schindler's List" (1993) Steven Spielberg (* I saw it again..and it hit me just the same)
"The Searchers" (1956) John Ford
"The Seven Samurai" (1954) Akira Kurosawa (* Samurai culture is weird)
"Singin' in the Rain" (1952) Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly (* The dancin'!)
"Some Like It Hot" (1959) Billy Wilder (* Men in drag? Why yes!)
"A Star Is Born" (1954) George Cukor (* Cukor's made all my fav movies)
"A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951) Elia Kazan (* STELLA!)
"Sunset Boulevard" (1950) Billy Wilder
"Taxi Driver" (1976) Martin Scorsese
"The Third Man" (1949) Carol Reed (* Cold war thrillers are awesome)
"Tokyo Story" (1953) Yasujiro Ozu
"Touch of Evil" (1958) Orson Welles
"The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948) John Huston
"Trouble in Paradise" (1932) Ernst Lubitsch
"Vertigo" (1958) Alfred Hitchcock (* When ya have it, ya watch it)
"West Side Story" (1961) Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise (* I think I remember all the songs)
"The Wild Bunch" (1969) Sam Peckinpah
"The Wizard of Oz" (1939) Victor Fleming (* I'd have to return my pink card if I hadn't)

So this means I've seen 52 out of the 102 completely and 6 of them incomplete. Methinks I just found something to do for the next month! What's y'alls scores?

Wish you were me?

Nowhere special to go, no one special to hang out with, read all the books I have, heard every single CD I own, watched every movie out there and then some, climbed every mountain / forded every stream, drank enough coffee to make my bladder beg for mercy, singlehandedly finished off the entire rum production of the nation of Cuba, walked through Bandra till my shoes wore out, played a half-dozen computer games, sat through some excruciatingly boring TV, spent "quality time" with my parents, learnt the words to "Kaddish" (Hebrew), "Boro Boro" (Persian) and "Abdel Kader" (Arabic), realized I only have 8 people I would want to invite to my sister's wedding, wrote another chapter of my book, spent 4 Grand that I should not have on fantastic shoes, ate at Basilico alone 3 times, walked through Banganga, got sick from too many Punjab Sweet House samosas, deleted some email and a lot of phone numbers, refused a woman, lost a kilo, bought "The Faraway Tree" by Enid Blyton and drowned in nostalgia, sorted out my photos from Virginia, began writing 2 letters - never finished, read some Cafavy, investigated MBA programs and immigration options, divided my friends into 4 groups - straight men (30%), straight women (55%), gay men (10%), gay women (5%), pondered my views on reservation, abortion and illegal immigration over many cups of chai, downloaded my first ringtone ever - The winner takes it all (Abba), ate some beef, smoked a joint, cried over Sigur Ros songs, laughed at Russel Peters, discussed AbFab and Little Britian with a friend's ex, called the barman at Seijo "Myfanwy" as I ordered a Bacardi and Coke, went sherwani shopping, yelled at guy throwing trash out of his car on my street, created a manifesto for myself if I ever chose politics as a career, tried to learn Photoshop and Dreamweaver, started a Bombay community on Orkut, went running on Bandstand at midnight, stood in line at the new KFC, set up an appointment with the dentist, window shopped at the mall, ate a footlong Subway sandwich and still felt hungry, lost my house keys, did a Tickle quiz, shaved my head to spite my face.

This has been a week in the life of the Vikster.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The city

You said: "I'll go to another country, go to another shore,
find another city better than this one.
Whatever I try to do is fated to turn out wrong
and my heart -like something dead- lies buried.
How long can I let my mind moulder in this place?
Wherever I turn, wherever I look,
I see the black ruins of my life, here,
where I've spent so many years, wasted them, destroyed them totally."

You won't find a new country, won't find another shore.
This city will always pursue you.
You'll walk the same streets, grow old
in the same neighbourhoods, turn grey in these same houses.
You'll always end up in this city. Don't hope for things elsewhere:
there's no ship for you, there's no road.
Now that you've wasted your life here, in this small corner,
you've destroyed it everywhere in the world.

Constantine P. Cavafy

Friday, May 05, 2006

I'm a retailer's dream!

It's that time of the month. Well, not "that" time of the month..thankfully! I'd probably faint every few weeks if that ever happened, what with my phobia for the red stuff and all. Sometimes when I look at the PMSing women I know, I'm reminded of the old Jewish prayer "Blessed are you Hashem, who has not made me a woman" (OK, so PLEASE don't engage me in a discussion of how this is a good thing cause men are thankful they are men so they have MORE mitzvot to perform....).

What time do I mean? Oh, shopping time! The beginning of the month, when I get that happy SMS from my bank saying my salary is in and awaits my grubby touch. This month, thanks to a couple of judicious stock sales (Yes, the Vikster is getting more concious of his finances now that he's what...only 29 years away from retirement), I find myself with far more money in hand (or in giant box with lots of buttons) as compared to genteel poverty-stricken months passed. How much money, I hear the masses ask. Ah, a gentleman doesn't tell you that...however much he may "kiss and tell".

*short break as I try to digest the fact I just called myself a gentleman..I mean the only thing "upper-crust" about me are the boogers in my eyes the first thing in the morning*

Anyway, along with my new Meenu (for shopping purposes only, so you can breathe again Meenu!) Ami, I went along on a shopping expedition through Bandra in the middle of the workday. Of course, I failed to realize it's now the middle of the blazin' summer in Bombay..so to the despair of Konkani ammas everywhere, I have to inform y'all that I am now 2 shades darker. Certain people I know (I'm looking at you Canadia-mundas) will fail to see the point, but the vast majority of you Fair and Handsome wallahs - I hear you clucking in sympathy already. I think I might have to give the ol' sunscreen a go...much as I hate the coconutty smell..I smell like a Lola Kutty (Or should that be a Baby Jose Verghese) when I slather it on.

Trudged all over Linking Road looking for "the" perfect pair of jeans..I thought I'd found it at Kink at Waterfield Road, but I (along with Ami) was distracted by an incredibly hot guy with an incredibly hot girlfriend trying out jeans. How hot, I hear Vij ask. Well, lets just say, so hot, that I couldn't even concive of doing the nasty with him. Instead, I'd pay to watch him doing the nasty with someone else..I could just see myself clutching my caramel popcorn and cheesy nachos watching him go at it like a rickshaw-wallah on E. Of course, now I couldn't try on the jeans I'd picked out cause ..err.. they turned out to be a bit tight in the fly region. *Old jungle saying - Hot model make Phantom jeans swell something awesome* Instead I had to pretend to be interested in some el crappo belts while the rest of me had time to err..relax.

No luck at Kink, we headed off to Sign O'the Times..the Irish sounding boutique staffed entirely by Bhaiiya minions of Gujju owners. Where I found "THE" pair. Of jeans that is. And of course, me heading out to shop for "just the one" thing means I end up lugging home crap that I defineitly don't need. Like a pair of linen pants..that are TRANSPARENT! What was I thinking? All Ami had to say was "Your ass looks rocking in that" (Well, I think the actual words were "Ass rocking chhe" in the faux-Gujju that Ami and me speak) and I had my 1200 Rs. out to buy them. Damn. This time I'm determined to put these pants to good use. I'm wearing them to the Gay Bombay party tonight. And if I don't get a hottie to talk to me (or my ass..I'm not picky) with my transparent pants, I will officially take myself off the market. (With these pants) As G-d is my witness, I shall never go hungry again. Funny how Scarlett O'Hara declaiming is appropriate for every one of Vikster's crises.

Did I mention the wicked expensive shoes I was "forced to" buy the day before? Well, I was all set to escape with these cheapo shoes when, *cue angelic music*, the sales guy showed me this awesome pair of calf-leather two-toned (or three-toned..I wasn't sure. Not wearing my glasses does have it's disavantages) shoes. According to him, they "matched my personality". And you know what? They do! Like my new shoes, I'm soft, come in a variety of shades and am VERY VERY expensive. I wore them proudly to Sanj and Shweta's engagement..where I pointed them out to everyone to admire. Yes, it's tacky to do that. But they're so awesome, I want to buy a pair of pants that flash red arrows to draw attention to them. (It's just a matter of re-embroidering the ones I have that direct attention to my ..err.. man-place)

I spent a lot of money. And whoever said money can't buy happiness was lying! I spent last night hanging out watching "The Amazing Race" in my new linen pants wearing my new shoes thinking "Right now? Fuck yeah, I'd do me!" And then I did...

Current music:
To celebrate the engagement of my 2 awesome friends - Shweta and Sanju, I'm listening to "Saat Samundar paar (main tere peeche peeche aa gayi) A song that provided ample scope for interpretive dance at the function. Congrats again you guys!