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Showing posts from 2011

Conversations with Saundra, My First Psychology Teacher

I always wondered how could she forget. I feared she had amnesia. But she couldn't. She was the smartest, I always believed. She would have had reliable memory otherwise how could one explain her rank in the merit list? But now that I was a student of Psychology and true to its image, it indeed held a lot of answers concerning human nature. I learnt why people forget and it finally dawned upon me. It was all in the Interference Theory. All those times when she never called. Because she was suffering from Retroactive Interference. Newly acquired information competing with already known information for recall. And it also wins all the time. But then when I managed to speak to her, she wouldn't like it and asked him to stop. Why would she do that? Maybe because now Proactive Interference was at play. Already known information prohibiting the recall of newly acquired information.

And there in those hallowed pages of his Psychology textbooks, I imagined hearing Saundra Ciccarelli…

The art of killing conversations

You are tired from the day's work. You lie down in bed but you can't sleep. You are waiting for the call that never comes through. You twiddle with your phone to make sure it is working. The glow from the small screen brightens up your face. But that's artificial. You are not really glowing. Your eyes twitch at the sudden brightness.They are tired. For you work all day and you don't sleep at night. You turn the phone over and try to doze away. But the conversations start to play. They are quite clear. No static, no call drop, as sharp as your senses. But they are unreal. Like all the good things in life. Not to be confused with surreal. Surreal exists, a surreal evening for example. Unreal is fake. A fake evening can't exist. However, a fake conversation can.

The fake conversations seem so real because you have had them for as long as you can remember. The voice is distinct. Even the pronunciations you remember correctly. They echo in your mind every time you clo…

Photo Albums

There was a time when he looked forward to being in the photographs. He was a stickler for them. He always believed that they captured memories. Those moments that would soon become past would live on through the photos. Flipping through the photo album, he would often pause and stare at some of the photos. The photos of them. Him and her. It would seem like such a long time ago if he looked at himself in the mirror. He was ageing. His temples were graying. But his jaw was strong. He had circles under his eyes but the eyes still carried the old glint. He was never considered good looking, he was a regular old man.

Those photos had kept him company. The albums were a treasure trove of memories. The eyes that he had longed to see for 20 years were in there. Smiling at him. He could never picture her old. To him, she would always remain young and lithe. Laughing like a kid and crying like one too. But assuming the role of a mature woman when life demanded. She was naughty too but would…

A rainy October evening

The sun had disappeared a few hours before its usual time. Almost as if he took half day from work. There had been sunshine until about mid afternoon and then he had simply vanished. It was pitch dark by the time he got out of his house. Although it was only just about time for sunset. There were no retreating birds in the sky and no colours that usually splashed the autumn evening sky. A riot of colours as his English teacher would probably say. He walked along to the station and boarded the first train. It didn't matter if it was a fast or a slow. He was in no hurry. As stations passed by and soon became a blur, his mind raced to it's favorite spot. The nostalgia station which housed all the memories, but he simply summoned it back.

Of late he had spent way too much time reminiscing about the good times that had passed. And then he would launch into a phases of longing and grieving. This not only blocked the present but also destroyed all chances of a good future. He was no…

The world goes by

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My house doesn't have a window that I would sit at and watch the world go by. Even if I wanted to, I would have to share the space with my cats and look at a wall. Ergo, whenever I go to anyone's house, the first thing I do is I look out of the window. For most, the view is common. A collage of many small tv-screens that showcase the life and times of a hundred families. You see married ladies going about their household chores and young men and women chatting away on their mobile phones. One might even spot an adventurous couple or at times lock eyes with the pretty woman looking out of the window.

But for some lucky ones, there is a vast garden in sight, maybe even the entire city for a few. A couple of friends in Thane who live on the top floors of high rises literally look down on the whole of the lake city. The ever green Ghodbunder road with small hills rolling by its side or the glimmering Thane Creek. I have been lucky enough to visit a friend's house that overlo…

Fab India Bhurji

Okay before you actually think that Fab India, the popular ethnic wear brand has come out with it's own version of Bhurji Pav containing organic spices, vegetables and eggs laid by hens reared on cornfeed, allow me to dispel all such thoughts. I am referring here to the Bhurji Pav wala outside Fabindia, Kala Ghoda. I visited this small table stall that dishes out Omlettes, Bhurji, Egg Pulao, Vegetable Pulao and Masala Pav today. But at a Bhurji Pav stall, you order Bhurji. Made with two eggs, few slices of tomato, chopped onion and a secret masala this was one of the best Bhurjis I had tasted in ages.

Over mouthfuls of hot morsels, I spoke to Karan a migrant from Delhi, who runs the stall. He tells me that he has been around even before Fab India set shop with a sense of pride in his voice. He starts his business at 7PM and shuts down by midnight, using up about 3 crates of eggs every evening. My friend Kiran, who is an aspiring solicitor told me how he and his colleagues spent a…

Songs on the local

Local train journeys are generally quite a drag. There is no room for standing around and no room for conversations either. You only grumble about the inefficiency of the trains and flinch everytime the fast local slows down. But there are those odd moments that add the extra to the ordinary train journeys. Today when the fast turned to slow and moved past Andheri, I heard a familiar tune playing nearby. Normally I am intolerant to people who play loud music in the train and I don't let them too. However, this gentlemen played his songs on a low volume and seem to be enjoying the music immensely. His eyes were shut but he wasn't asleep.

Once we passed Jogeshwari, the song changed to Woh Jab Yaad Aaye and I heard his voice. He was singing. Not humming, singing along with Mohd Rafi with more or less the same pain in his voice. The longing of a lover lost in the maze of the past is a universal feeling. And no wonder I stopped reading and listened to him as he sung his blues away…

Of scents and smells

He was like a dog. Not only did he have the tenacity and loyalty but also the sense of smell that all canines possess. He would sniff out the weakest of smells from the remotest corner. He would be called in to locate the origin of the stench when a rat decided to commit suicide in their store room. He was not averse to stench but extremely weak to fragrance. Especially when it belonged to a woman. A woman who smelled good stirred something within him. He greatly appreciated the company of such women for he would be intoxicated by their scent. Especially hers. She smelled unique. When they were wrapped up in each others arms, her scent would excite him more than her touch. Although now she was gone and wouldn't come back; her scent would linger in his nostrils making him nostalgic from time to time.

Over the day all he did was pore over his books. The books were meant to decide his future. The books were not particularly uninteresting. He would forever be engrossed in them. It w…

The TC

Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ticket Collector, Western Railway, stood calmly under the indicator. As the lady announced the arrival of the Churchgate local. His shrewd eyes were surveying the platform for offenders. They fell upon a young boy lugging a battered bag looking lost. He was clearly a student, not native to the city. Hari walked upto him. Slightly nervous at facing the TC, he meekly wished him Namaste as he was taught to and started scrambling for his ticket. Hari placed his hand on the boy's shoulder and asked him where he planned to go. He told him he had come to give the Railway Recruitment Board exams and was headed to Thane but couldn't figure out how to get there. Hari smiled and gave him clear instructions. He also wished him good luck.

No doubt Hari identified with that boy. Several years ago after his dreams of becoming the collector of a district never materialized, he had somewhat reluctantly given a similar exam to become a TC. They were burdened with targets …

A Meal to Die For

Prologue: Such calls didn't matter to him. He had grown accustomed to them. This one however was eerie. It wasn't a cranky zealot on the other line, it seemed like a man who was sure with his intentions. He stuck his ground and challenged the caller before hanging up. It had started to drizzle. The clock of Rajabhai Tower struck 7PM. He had to get going.


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It was a quite evening. Monsoons should have ended by now but the dark clouds were not ready to go yet. There would be an occasional shower presumably an attempt of the clouds to make their presence felt. As if the darkness they brought to the usual bright sky of Bombay wasn't enough. He waited patiently for her. He knew she would come, she had said so. He was standing by the parapet, staring at the waves that licked the plastic laden shore of Marine Drive. He had an urge to walk down the rocks and into the murky waters of the Arabian. H…

Sakaal

Zhop nahi kahi yenaar mala
Zhoploch tar ti swapnaat yenaar
Mazhyakade bagun ti hasnaar
Me kahi karaychya aadi
Sakaal honaar.

Tuzhyashi me kadhi bolnaar
Tuzhya javal kadhi me yenaar
Ashich sakaal hoth rahnaar
Me uthloch nahi tar
Yeshil ka ga tu?

Zhop kahi yet nahi
Bhuk kahi laagat nahi
Tu kahi bolat nahis
Ti kaahi nahi bolnaar
Kaaran sakaal honaar

Ashich saakal ekda honaar
Aani mi jaaga nahi honaar
Sagle kaaljit padnaar
Mhannaar aata kaay ha uthnaar nahi
Aani tevha pan ti yenaar nahi

Nallonnam Kazhikuka - Eat Well at Hotel Deluxe!

Today was a day of bad moods. Everyone I came across was in a bad mood. Guess that rubbed off on me too, so I packed my bag and headed out on the street. Unsure, hungry and angry for no apparent reason, I started walking towards VT. Passing the numerous booksellers, performance enhancer pill doctors who now stock dildos in all sizes and of course pirated software and porn vendors, I turned towards Pratap Lunch Home on DN Road. My on-the-way-developed mission was to find a certain Hotel Deluxe, famed to serve good malabari food. Since I was not in a hurry to find it I didn't bother asking anyone.

I simply moved past Pratap Lunch Home and many other small eateries including one bar. I reached another lane where I turned left and saw a famous fish joint, now a posh place- Mahesh Lunch Home. Walking towards it, I spotted a small lane just before Mahesh, I decided to enter and as luck would have it, Hotel Delux stood right at the end of it, welcoming me.

Hurrying up, I entered to fin…

The Ugly Face

The truth hurts. Most often living on lies is better than facing the stark truth. The hideous truth, that bares its ugly face to you. The face doesn't leave you. Even when you look away, close your eyes or try to sleep. It is staring at you with a smirk. Eventually you fall asleep and it manifests itself into your dreams. Blowing itself to humongous proportions and driving your sleep away. As you jolt up on your bed and break into a cold sweat, it startles you again. It now laughs, a wicked ringing laughter. That doesn't seem to wake anyone up except you. Ignoring it, you hide under a blanket. Twisting and turning until the sun starts to shine again.

But at the crack of dawn, only ghosts disappear. The light drives away all evil. But truth is no evil. It is the highest virtue. And practitioners of truth need to be worshiped. The honest need to be revered and respected. And one need not feel any hatred to the person who reveals that ugly face to you. However, agonizing it mi…

Musings on a rainy afternoon

Change is the only constant they tell you. But then they say somethings are meant to last forever. The world is full of contradictions. And so is the human heart. Maybe thats why one finds himself in a dilemma more often than not. Choices within choices, options within options. And one continues to play the Russian Roulette. You are safe until the bullet is safe within the confines of the cylinder. The muzzle stares at you with a grim smile, it's just doing its job. You got to let it be. Press the trigger knowing all the consequences that will follow. Sometimes the bullet and the muzzle align. And what follows is pain. Excruciating pain. Sometimes it is powerful enough to kill. But most often it doesn't. Leaves behind an ugly mark though. A cruel reminder of your poor choices. Of the poor calculations of your chances. But more over it is a stark reminder of your foolishness.

Regret is a by product of a decision that's gone wrong. Regret can hold you back. Intensify the p…

Fresh off the Dock!

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Family gatherings are a great time to talk about food. And especially when you have members who are fond of budget friendly eating out places. These places are what I feel like the underdogs of a team. Always overshadowed by the media hyped-shinier places, they continue serving good food in a manner that could be best characterized as unassuming. So when my cousin spoke of a place known as Central Lunch Home, where she regularly ordered from my mind was busy conjuring up images of the dishes she spoke of. However, she had never visited it, it seemed like a good place. Google search revealed it's menu and a couple of photos but no reviews. It didn't matter, I had Shweta's thumbs up and that was sufficient.

The kitchen shuts at 1530. We were at Causeway at 1515. We were prepared to be turned down but to our surprise Manoj, welcomed us with a polite smile and made a few recommendations. We were in an experimental mood so didn't opt for the Thali which Shweta had mention…

Jimmy Boy Ahoy!

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For folks who are friends with Parsis, their food is just an added benefit of their friendship. But for lesser mortals like me, this is only the stuff one reads about. So when a friend recommended this place, a plan was put in place and here we were. It was a deserted Sunday evening at the usually bustling business district of Horniman Circle when we alighted from the cab opposite the Hermes showroom. A small walk down the circle and we were walking in the first lane passing the about to be opened Bademiyan the Restaurant. Our destination for the evening was Jimmy Boy, one of the few eateries in the city serving authentic Parsi cuisine.

Located on a corner of the street as all Irani eateries, this revered place was unusually empty. Excited as we were, we entered and made our way to the mezzanine floor, only to be stopped by the manager. He was quite unapologetic of the fact that they wouldn't switch on the AC for only the two of us. So we settled for a corner table by the window…

Final Goodbye

Today I visited my school church after 5 odd years. In spite of passing it everyday to work, I never stopped by. But today was different. Over a 100 people had gathered in this 450 yr old building to bid a final goodbye to Deacon Jerome D'souza, father of one of my closest friends. There were many familiar faces belonging to the small catholic community of Poinsur. There were our football coaches, there were old principals on the dias helping the other priests with the ceremony, there were retired teachers, school children, old friends, mothers of old friends, the pork shop owner, teachers in service and numerous other family members and friends. They all turned out in large numbers to take part in this mass.

The goodbye mass as I call it. Silent prayers, recalling of pleasant memories, the choir singing hymns and the priests presenting a different perspective of death. I am not a devout person, nor hold anything against the devout. But this was different. The atmosphere albeit …

Decision

There comes a time in one's life when you have to stand up and take the harshest decision. It might not be the best but often necessary. And could fill you up with utmost regret, spite and hatred towards yourself. But it is inevitable. It must be done. Whatever the outcome maybe. Once the mind is set and the deed done, there is no looking back. You have to stick to it even if it's repercussions throw you off the track. You need to dust yourself and get back on the track. There is no way out. There is no undo button. There is no justification. There is no forgiveness. Just you and the world. Game Over.

Sunsets and Surfs

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Most times in life, happiness comes from simple things. Although I can't and I shouldn't generalize, lets just say that I speak for myself. Some of my best memories comprise of the most simplest things in life. I don't remember particularly how the hotel room was at Kaniyakumari, but I can still feel the wind blowing at the Swami Vivekanand Memorial Rock or picture the three distinct shades of blue that surround this island. And this trip we made way back in the winter of '99. The amount of happiness that one derives is not at all proportional to the money that one spends. But then since I don't have much, I probably look at maximizing my satisfaction with every purchase. However, cheaper, inexpensive things have brought me and the people around me long lasting happiness.

A kind word, a simple meal or a walk on the beach all make up for some really good memories, for the happiness that they bring along cannot be compared with anything. Of course a material purcha…

Birding on the Local!

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You hear the horn blowing and the long snake like machine rumbles onto the platform. Suddenly you are awake. Your senses go into alert mode. You get in the stance, take one deep breath and brace yourself for the onslaught that is about to follow. It gets over in 10 seconds. Everything is a blur by the time you manage to grab a seat. The timing of the jump is crucial. The train has not stopped but if you manage to get in while it is in motion, you my friend would be rewarded with maybe the fourth seat. But the downside is that there are plenty who have perfected this jump so this often results into a scuffle and occasionally a fight. But this article, is not a part of Dummy's Guide to Train Travel series although a lot of these corporate idiots who migrate to Bombay could do with one, this my friend is about Birding while listening to market updates and men gossiping about their bosses.

The monsoons are here and the area surrounding the railway tracks on the Western line has been…

Cadavers of King Edward

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Technically it should be the Cadavers of Seth Gordhandas Sunderdas Medical College but then it wouldn't have a ring to it. Just like most of the institutions of Bombay. But that's another story to tell. This post is about my visit to King Edward Memorial Hospital, without being ill. A government hospital, typically is a depressing place. Overcrowded with patients belonging to lower income groups, with no air conditioning, and the ubiquitous smell of antiseptic. There are patients lined up everywhere and the entire scene stands a stark contrast to the likes of private hospitals. But there is one thing that lightens up the atmosphere. Hope. This is the common feeling that binds everyone in that area and keeps them going. And then there are smiles of relieved patients and their relatives. It is quite heartening. A microcosm of the human struggle to survive. Only difference here unlike the wild, you have fellow human beings to help you through.

Dressed in white, young and old, m…

Set Free

A cloud of smoke rose in the air
For broken was the door of the lair
And bells of freedom started to toll
Fresh air gushed into her soul
A smile long lost crept onto her face
This was the end of a crazy race.

She danced and sung with joy
Alive she felt, no more like a toy
Tired of being ordered, she felt sick
Only if a better choice she could pick
With regret and remorse in her heart
Bull's eye would never hit her dart

But it was soon to be the past
Her misery would end at last
As I delivered the last command
Asked her to leave this cursed land
Regret filled my heart that moment
but this, the only way to end her torment

Disturbed and amazed, she drifted away
Wondering if this was all an absurd play
Dark nights and terrible times came
Was this all a part of some wicked game?
But dawn arrived with news of victory
And that puff of smoke helped her break free.

Mother's Day Pizza Special.

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Today being Mother's Day we decided to make Pizza. Although Aai wouldn't sit down and let me do all the work, I did a significant amount. So technically I made all the 6 pizzas with a little help from Aai. So here's how I made the good old Indian style Pan Pizza. Normally we always skipped the sauce so after reading up on it's importance, I decided to make one. I googled out a very simple recipe by Amul and modified it. I simply added a chilly or two to the onion paste, lots of pepper powder and finely chopped capsicum to the sauce.
The base was the regular mass produced one that is manufactured somewhere in Saki Naka. I heated the pan and tossed in the base. Let it warm up for a bit and then applied butter. The spread a thick layer of sauce and sprinkled capsicum and onions. Could have added Mushrooms but totally forgot about them. Then grated cheese all over it and let it cook over low flame. Kept a lid on so that the flavors were trapped inside. After about 6 minut…

Simple Joys and Battles

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One of my good friends stays at BKC. One of the coolest places to live if you ask me especially when there are not many residential complexes. Bandra Kurla Complex is an upmarket corporate zone, housing offices of major corporations including the RBI. So the usual din that surrounds residential localities is absent but not missed. The calm is pleasant and it is fun to watch corporate workers go about their daily tasks in their glass enclosures. Sometimes you even spot a few of them unwinding over a game of ping pong.

But this post is not about BKC. It is about one of the few double decker BEST buses that ply on the roads of Bombay. I am talking about the 310. The lifeline of BKC. It connects Bandra Terminus and the railway station to Kurla zipping across wide roads and neon lit trees. Running packed always this bus transports numerous construction workers to various building sites at BKC. Not to mention several other employees that work in the shiny glass buildings that render BKC it…

Community Policing and Self Defence: Tools against Urban Crime

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Amidst Fukushima, 2G, Adarsh and CWG probes and amidst the Cricket World Cup, you might have missed the suitcase killer. Last week a suitcase containing a woman's dead body is discovered at Juhu Beach. The undergarments are missing and she is smothered. On Monday at around 2am, another suitcase is found at Sandhurst Road station. Inside lies the dead body of a 4 month pregnant woman clad in salwar kameez. Her undergarments are missing too and post mortem reports reveal that she had intercourse and died of strangulation. Both the incidents are similar except for one part. Rape. However, the modus operandi seems to be of similar nature. Both the women were in the age group of 24-25. The bodies have yet to be identified. Both the cases equally shock us. Source: Indian Express.

Several questions are raised about the security of women in the city. And if the cops don't manage to nab the killer(s) soon, the terror would spread. In such a scenario how do we react? Do we wait for the …