Sunday, August 31, 2008

Chini Kum....???

Guys.... go on.... tell me the bitter truth. Am I being a bit too sweet? Is the milk of human kindness overflowing? Am I giving you diabetes?? Nooooo... na??? Good. I think my claws are sharp enough... and I reserve my teeth for worthy opponents. Phew! Now that I've got it out of the way, let me give you a jhalak of Calicut. Renamed Kozikode, but pronounced minus the 'z' sound , as Korikode! Confusing. Why not spell it thataway, huh?? First the bad news: Kozikode is as boring as it sounds.And now for the good news: The aapams were delicious. As was the avial. The Syrian Christian beef was a bit too dry, while the karimeen was fried to a crisp and entirely destroyed.
I was invited to the bookfair and shared the dais with some really eminent local writers. There were lots of speeches. But all of them were in Malayalam. If I look somewhat glazed in the pics, put it down to total non-comprehension.The book reading (mine!!) was slightly better. At least a few people understood and spoke English.
Glad to be home for a few hours. I am breaking my Shravan tonight in absolute style. Chef Morimoto is in Mumbai for just two short days, and I shall have the privilege of sampling his exquisite cuisine at Wasabi. Champagne and Sushi? That's my eccentric preference. I don't drink sake. More tomorrow - if I get the time. I leave for Kolkata in the afternoon. Meanwhile, the Ganpatis have started arriving - glorious sight. And Kerala is getting ready to celebrate Onam. Happy days are here again!! Ciao. Jhagda karo. But thoda sa pyaar bhi...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Tata Bye Bye

Ratan Tata has long been my hero. I am so glad he has told that hysterical Mamata Bannerji where to get off. Let her hang on to Singur.... Tata is ready to set up shop elsewhere, okay?? Meanwhile, the poor Nano gets a raw deal and the world, another chance to snigger at India. What does one do with a Mamata. I'll be in Kolkata on monday ( after Calicut on the weekend), and I'll give you guys a first hand report on popular Bong sentiment vis-a-vis the Singur issue. From conversations with friends who live there, it is obvious they are embarrassed and annoyed. But the Bannerji lady is impossible to handle! Even assuming she has a point, look at the extent of the damage being inflicted on the State of West Bengal, in terms of a loss of face ( confidence, too). Just when the biz environment was beginning to look up, comes this debacle. Ratan HAS TAKEN THE RIGHT POSITION. No more bhalo bashi with West Bengal. Hello Maharashtra, Gujarat. Uttar Pradesh.... wherever.
Arundhati, my Dubai-based daughter, called excitedly to say she'd just watched Rock On.... AND..... loved it! Farhan, says my finicky daughter, is really, really hot! So he must be! Wow! So, who should be worried? Imran more or Ranbir more??
Oh... and I just loved Vijayendra's snub. Said our Golden Boy, " I am not planning to go on a date with Bipasha... are you kiding?" Is John disappointed... or relieved??
I may disappear from this space till Sunday night. You go have a great weekend... and keep squabbling!! I'm lovin' it!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Drag Artists... and more

Aamir Khan must have been paid a truckload of lolly to perform in drag for the latest Tata Sky commercial. He has taken the mythical Ardh Nareshwari image to a whole new level by splitting himself in half. One side (right) is a nagging Panju bride, the other, a chikna Panju husband. It is their suhaag raat, and guess what they are arguing about? Well.. forget that. It is such an old- fashioned ad, I am amazed that someone with Aamir's sensibility agreed to do it.I'm sure the fat endorsement fee took care of any reservations he may have harboured! Khair... the projection of the bride (in this day and age!) as an ignorant, dumb, irritating creature who fights with the bridegroom over a service provider, made me a little cross. This is funny?? But it also made me wonder why actors , whether from Hollywood or Bollywood love doing drag.And getting it wrong all the time! From Mrs. Doubtfire to one of my all-time favourite stars (John Travolta who camped it up in that silly musical "Hair''), I have been uniformly bugged. Bollywood thrives on such nautanki, as is evident in a string of lousy performances with top stars (including Bachchan) getting into women's clothing. Is it the falsies? The make- up? What is it that gives them such a kick?Howcome women are not as turned on playing men? They've done it, of course, and performed as horribly. I don't even understand the special challenge this poses to actors? Not every woman speaks in a squeaky voice, nor do a majority of women flounce around fussing with their hair , parandey, pallus and dupattas. Aamir has been married to ladies who are anything but stereotypes. He should have known better. But money talks louder than accurate representation. So be it.
Hari Puttar the desi version of Harry Potter is in trouble with the makers of the original, who have stopped the release . Knowing our wily\oily desi minds, we'll manage to wriggle out of this situation, too!
Oh... I have been Missing in Action for the past three days due to a whole host of reasons. Some of my best friends are... no, you'll never guess... whiz biz journos. Good to have gal pals like them (Manjeet, who is the head of Businessweek in India, Naazneen, who heads Forbes India, and Olga who runs the biz bureau of the Asian Age). Heavy duty bonding and brain storming cut into my precious Blog time. Plus, I did a couple of fun photo shoots for fashion glossies. BTW, what is 'Vogue India' thinking?? They've made the luscious Priyanka Chopra look like a vamp\witch on the latest cover. And Hello!! Has India run short of models? Why does every fashion magazine feature only movie stars? And insist on giving them hideous make overs???

Monday, August 25, 2008

Missed me??

Stop! Don't answer. Why force anyone to lie.... act polite .... and say, "Oh Yessss!" I'm not fibbing when I say I missed you.... missed this space. No excuse. Just one of those Never on a Sunday thingies. Meaningless, really. Not as if I observe the Sabbath, or was doing something exciting. Or was I ? Well... that depends on whether or not you find watching Mallika Sherawat 'exciting'! She's one gutsy creature, and I love her for it. Smart, too ( heard her on cnbc, and not once did she say,'ask mummy,'). Why then does she act in such dumb films? I went to see That Mughal -e- Azam nonsense just for her. And I was not disappointed - by her. She is incredibly hot, with a near perfect bod ( like Malaika Arora's... but more voluptuous). She acts better than Rahul Bose ( at least in this turkey), and sizzles more than Bipasha Basu in the Lucky Boy item number from BAH.BUT SOMETHING VITAL IS CLEARLY MISSING FROM THIS RED HOT STAR'S RESUME. It's called a HIT. Why?? Any answers?
If you ask me, MAXIM has got its ratings completely wrong. Deepika P IS THE 'SEXIEST WOMAN ON EARTH?' Are they kidding me? She would not win a Miss Dombivali contest - no figure, no sex appeal, no looks. I mean.... look at her closely. Go on... jawline? Too wide. Eyes? Bulging. Hair line? Untidy. Speech? Verni. Sure, she is graceful and can act reasonably well. But she ain't hot! She is not MAXIM material. Plain and simple. It's like Playboy bunnies and impressive chests. You don't make the cut unless you wear a D+ cup. Maxim falls into the same category. Just like a Sonam Kapoor or a Soha Ali Khan (unclad and airbrushed in risque lingerie) just don't cut it in the sex appeal stakes, neither does sweet Deepika, who is like a Kori roti - it needs fiery chutney to spice up the taste. Mallika is the entire masala ka dabba on her own. Huge difference.
But we all know how these so-called polls work. How easy-to-fix they are. It is all about the money, honey. Is anybody fooled? Naah.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Shraavan ka Maheena

The best thing about this month? FOOD!Last night I drove for an hour to reach Faral Heaven. I felt like I was back in my mother's kitchen, with my grand mother on hand, helping aie to cook up a feast for the family on a shravan monday. Some of the 'pakwanna' I sampled at Gypsy Corner, took me right back in time. I hadn't tasted bharleli vangi in years, nor enjoyed a delicious fresh tender peanut curry poured over steamed broken rice. Rahul Limaye deserves far more culinary recognition than his present one, which is as a Dadar phenomenon. Perhaps he is happy enough with his position as the undisputed Aamti King of the locality, but I would like him to receive the sort of accolades we reserve for a Rahul Akerkar. I mean, Rahul's a great chef, but we adore him because he is sophisticated,amiable, hip and successful. So.... he serves a great rissotto at Indigo. But wait till you try the other Rahul's (Limaye) masala bhaat eaten with oli kobi chi bhaaji. As for Limaye's range of freshly ground chutneys... omg... each one had a distinct flavour that perfectly complemented the dish it was accompanying.The thaalipeeth was outstanding, but the batata wada was the real star. If you think this was just another potato patty, think again - this was a symphony of tastes, blended into a scrumptious ball, served with a fiery red chilly-garlic chutney. The sooran kababs were terrific, too.And so was the die hard Dadar crowd (Mohan Wagh eats dinner there every night! Nana Patekar and Mahesh Manjrekar are regulars) at adjoining tables. I so enjoyed meeting Limaye's lovely daughter Aditi who is an accomplished chef herself and runs an independent catering business... besides supplying mouth- watering desserts to her dad's restaurant. I promptly called up Rashmi Uday Singh to share my discovery with her. She was on her way to Delhi but has promised to go hogging with me on her return.
My Friend Bhawana Somaaya was with us at the dinner, and there was much to celebrate - her latest book (translated from the original Gujarati)is called Krishna - The God who Lived as a Man, and is being launched by Rani Mukherjee on monday. Perfect timing.As she bit into a fried green chilly coated in aam chur,Bhawana outlined her plan for the evening.We continued the conversation over an exceptional cup of tea(lemon and ginger) at a Barista down the road. What a perfect evening! Pure bliss. When was the last time any meal reached those inaccessible, metaphorical taste spots on my tongue, inside my stomach, head and heart??

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ask Mummy....

Remember Sridevi's one and only quote when she was the reigning rani of Bollywood? No matter what Sri was asked by journos, her one standard reply was, "Ask Mummy..." Well.... that's exactly what the Bombay High Court has told the warring Ambani Brothers, believe it or not!! Poor Kokilaben. I would hate to be in her shoes. What the courts find too hot to handle has been conveniently passed on to Mrs. Ambani Sr. Like it is so easy for a mother to sit the two naughty boys down and say, " Beta.... aisey mat karo.... gas de do, na?" Justice J.N. Patel made this preposterous suggestion, even as Baby Brother Anil said he was willing to meet Big Brother Mukesh, 'anywhere, anytime,' to sort out the prickly issue . Fortunately, the Bench had the good sense to add that since this was not merely a family dispute, a quick resolution is in the public interest.Let's see how it pans out...
Meanwhile, the Shabana Azmi issue is hotting up - and how! She called this morning, but that was to invite me to stepson Farhan's movie 'Rock On.' Naturally, we got talking about the controversy and she expressed her distress at just one isolated quote being taken out of context from a lengthy interview with Karan Thapar. I suggested that she circulate the transcript of the entire exchange, in order to provide the full context. Don't know how much that will help. Often these things spiral out of control and snowball into a gigantic national controversy - which is exactly where this is headed. The film industry is taking sides, and now Shatrughan Sinha has jumped into the fray as well.Shabana will have to walk over egg shells for the next few days, till this blows over.But she is not an adept, seasoned politician for nothing.However, some of her industry colleagues are not as intelligent or well-connected. Arshad Warsi should stay out of this and stick to Gandhigiri, before a short-'Circuit' takes place.
Since so many of my blogdosts have written to ask about Kiara's health, I am happy to report I just spoke to the vet, who is confident Kiara is responding to the treatment.As for those of you who want me to put up her pic (she's a real stunner!), I'll seek help from my youngest daughter Anandita. Till then, pray for her speedy recovery.
And Happy Janmashtami.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vijender ki Jai ho!

The latest cutie\hottie on the block is India's boxer Vijender Kumar. Now that's a real success story. The guy is the son of a humble bus conductor who comes froma village of boxers in Haryana.The dapper six footer , as media reports describe him, is pure star material - from attitude (sticking his tongue out at lensmen), to focus and determination, this 22- year -old has it made. From modelling to movies won't be that hard a leap, and I'm pretty certain there will be dozens of talent touts\scouts chasing the winner now. If anyone can challenge Dhoni's supremacy in the endorsement stakes, it's this guy.
Meanwhile, my main concern is reserved for Kiara, my spirited Irish Setter , whose second home has become the vet's clinic. She has contracted tick fever, her spleen is enlarged and she is uncharacteristically droopy. But such is her temperament, she refuses to fuss or resist... that's the stuff a true champion (a perfect lady!) is made of. I am so proud of her.
As I am of Marathi Mulgi Madhu Sapre who is in town with her Italian husband to expand their gelato business. She came over last evening and we bonded over weak tea and Kolkata sandesh (God bless Amishi!). Madhu was looking like a bronzed sea goddess, tanned and fit. She is ready to catwalk at the forthcoming Couture week. I can tell you, she can outclass the current crop of trashy\tacky models with absolute ease. Now wouldn't it be terrific to see someone like Madhu in that Bigg Boss house? She is such a natural and her marathi\italian accent while speaking english would be a treat to hear.
Well.... off I go to chew on a bajra roti (with a generous dollop of ghee and a limp of jaggery - yummmmm).I am missing my daughters Avantikka (London) and Arubdhati (Dubai).All I want from them is a big hug, the dvd of Woody Allen's latest film 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' and Pond's Cold Cream. Yup. The search continues...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Daal Mein Kaala

What?? Two posts phataphat! What to do... I experienced blogging gadbad again this morning, when that post disappeared. If my good friend Olga hadn't sent me a Lindt Intense Orange chocolate at that precise moment, I might have burst into tears. It was sooo intense and yummy (zesty after taste), I decided to postpone weeping for a while and concentrated on sorting out my messy accounts.This was to distract me from the major credibility problems posed by the bakwas news about Jade Goody's abrupt exit on account of a cervical cancer scare. The whole thing sounds rigged and fully fake. Look at the timing. Would any sensible woman travel thousands of miles with such a grave report pending? Jade received the bad news on camera - of course! All these reality shows are bogus. Everything is pre-scripted and orchestrated - don't you fall for that bunkum.This particular House of Horrors is filled with handpicked characters - all of them equally dodgy. Notoriety sure does pay! Look at the line up of rogues. Rahul Mahajan ( keep those potties clean, boy!), what's his face Nirupam, and that comely moll Monica (we can see what Salem saw in her!).If they could, they would have roped in Maria and Jerome, too!
If being bad pays such rich dividends, why bother being good?
Jade Goody must have pocketed a neat sum for showing up. I sincerely hope the whole cancer thing was a hoax.

Rejoice! Successor found...

Here's some brilliant news! Nari Hira (the Magna bossman.... and my first and last boss)told me last night that he had found my successor. Never mind that it has taken 30 long years! But.... she's here, she's hot... and he will be unveiling her in the next issue of 'Society'.I know you can't wait that long to find out her identity, so let me reveal it right here, right now. Trumpets.... roll of drums.... the lady's name is Simi Chandoke (she was also one of Nari Hira's editors ). I am delighted... big bhoj off my shoulders. Congratulations Simi! Nari insisted I had become too establishment for his tastes ( well darling, I am not editing Stardust, anymore), and that Simi is the one who really, really rocks!! I completely agree. She sure does. I love her spicey, sexy, spunky column in Bombay Times. And the picture is delicious, too.
Happy , Mr. Hira ?? Ha. Ha. And welcome to the crown, Simi.
Gosh... do I hear several sighs of relief??

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Making Hay( wood) when the sun shines....

Disgraceful!! Call that a security lapse?? I call it collusion. How could American Kenneth Haywood waltz out of the country so easily, even though there was a look out notice against his name? He managed to get out of India from New Delhi's International Airport, even while he was being questioned for his involvement in the Ahemedabad blasts. His computers may have have been left behind with the ATS, but he has flown the coop along with his family members. It goes to show just how lax our systems are - suspects, terrorists, criminals and drug dealers are free to come and go at will, because we are not efficient \ serious \ honest enough. Our cops manage to bungle nearly every major case. Haywood has claimed a top cop asked him for a bribe to 'fix' his papers. I would believe it. And a bribe must have been paid for him to slip away so effortlessly. I am equally certain a deal was struck at the highest levels with American agencies and our diplomats agreeing to a certain modus operandi. Haywood's innocence or complicity in such a serious and sensitive case, is not the issue. That he cocked a snook at Indian laws and fled,is far more worrying.This will effectively put an end to the terror trail. Haywood will be forgotten by the media. Till another set of blasts rips our country apart.I agree all Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims. That's the uncomfortable truth.
What is happening in Jammu & Kashmir ought to serve as a wake up call - will it?Corrupt politicians are playing a dangerous game, playing into the hands of traitors and separatists.If we don't act now, one more battlefield will witness a bloodbath.
Haywood was no victim.By letting him escape, we have compromised our national security .Again. Will those responsible be made accountable? Not a chance...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Kissing coach required

'Bachna...' was just so much fun!Worth the pricey ticket and popcorn. A far better entertainer than that silly Kinng flick. The sardars were more authentic, too. Especially the dishy Kunal Kapoor playing a love lorn husband.Nangu Kapoor did not have to display his butt in this movie, but had the kudis swooning nevertheless.He is a serious cutie, this Kapoor boy, with his droopy, crossed eyes, sad sack expression, rosebud mouth, obvious hair weave, lantern jaw and fixed up teeth. Slouchy, hip sex appeal a la Hollywood heroes. As an actor there is an effortlessness and ease about his performance ( last seen in 'Rangeela' - Aamir's most consummate role to date) that reaches right out of that silver screen and aims for the audience's heart. Everyone loves this goofy guy - even other guys. He is non-threatening and adorable. Only problem? He looks a richie rich kid every inch of the way.Big plus in a breezy movie like this one, but may limit his roles in future. The three deviyaan look incredibly awful in the first half. Strange. Did they hire new designers, stylists, make up artists for the post-interval segments? Prakash Padukone is far, far prettier than his daughter Deepika (she can act, but is no looker), Minnisha and Bipasha looked like Ranbir's much older cousins - at least Bipasha looked scrumptious and hot in the Capri sequences. But the Lamba girl was such a wash out. As for the kissing... oof, one would have expected the two real life lovers, Ranbir and Deepika to get it right. But no.... Our actors can't kiss, saala.Kuch coaching-voching ho jaye??The best thing about the movie? Its contemporary tone, lingo and situations.Definitely worth a dekho.Bips is like melting hot chocolate on a cold Alpine night. Or several shots of tequila in a Mexican bar.Entirely and unambiguously delicious. Like her boyfriend John Abraham in the promos of Dostana, Karan Johar's official Gay film.Can't wait to see this one...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Vidya Balan's slip is showing.... again!!

Oh-oh, the Balan girl has done it again!Vidya just can't seem to get it right. This time it's the cover of 'Savvy' which features Vidya in yet another disastrous garment with her bra straps in full view. Does the actress not own a strapless one? Has she never heard of certain basics like not weraing beige lingerie inside a black strappy number? Why doesn't the lassie just hire a stylist in order to avoid frequent and embarrassing fashion faux pas? We were together at a function in Delhi last year, and I found her to be an intelligent, well- mannered, likeable young woman. We didn't discuss fashion, but we did talk of other less mundane things.Vidya is appealingly non-filmi... almost 'normal'.Somehow, she has not been able to transcend her spectacular debut performance in 'Parineeta'. The more she tries to compete with younger sirens and sport sexy western wear, the worse she looks.But the bra shot takes the cake.It is just sooooo careless and clumsy. And on the cover, at that! Tch, tch, Andrea.
On a completely different plane, I am not convinced the Queer Zaadi march was the best idea. The media treated it as a tamasha, with most reports sneering at the campiness of it all. Yes, it is a small beginning. But an appropriate one?? Laxmi, the Hijra is likely to become the Poster Person for the movement, now that Salman Rushdie has made her the focus of his AIDS essay. Good for Laxmi. But what happens to the anonymous Gay looking for nothing more than the right to lead his\her life in peace??
Talking of rights, my old school friend Shabana Azmi has spoken to Karan Thapar about her difficulty in finding a flat in Mumbai because she is a Muslim. While I can understand her pain, I also want her to know I was chased out of Bhendi Bazaar, nearly spat upon, hissed at and told to get lost. Why? Because I was wearing a saree and sporting a bindi. Didn't realise that was a crime these days? It was a nasty experience, particularly since it is an area I have been frequenting over the years and always considered my backyard.I can tell you I am in no hurry to go back there. It has been made abundantly clear that certain communities are no longer welcome. I am equally hurt, bewildered,anguished and disturbed. I thought this was my city, too. All of it. Not just pockets.Shabana and Saif are not isolated victims, or hand picked targets. I want them to know the discrimination goes both ways. And is a sad comment on how polarised we really are.Why go all the way to Jammu & Kashmir? Try walking through Null Bazaar.... if you dare.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Raksha Bandhan. Whose raksha.... what bandhan?

This may sound like sacrilege, but the whole business of rakhee tying has lost its meaning and significance in this day and age. I'm sure a lot of women will agree when I say that men need our protection much more than we need theirs these days! I have never relied on a man to 'protect' me, even as a child. Often, I have found myself coming to the rescue of guys who appear far weaker.... physically and emotionally. Maybe it's time to reverse the ritual and get brothers to tie those fancy threads on the wrists of more capable sisters. Better still, why not make it more democratic? Let it go both ways. Just like the mehendi ceremony at desi weddings these days, which encourages the participation of the bridegroom and his cronies. It is not unusual to see henna-ed paisley patterns on the palms of hirsute male invitees at society weddings..... nobody laughs.
The most meaningless practice of all is the custom of 'adopting' rakhee brothers. I don't really get it. But if it works for you....? Virtual rakhees are equally silly. But in these days of virtual love and more...why not?
My painstakingly written patriotic blog disappeared into cyberspace last night. But, I must wish you all a belated Happy Independence Day regardless. Like I'd written, I was immensely pleased to note that more and more people are proudly flying the tri colour now. This was the mushy mood in which I met one of my all time heroes this morning - our former President, Dr. Abdul Kalam. And he said something wonderful to the assembled students - let the tricolour fly in your heart. He said several more , equally inspiring things to the audience, in a manner so humble, childlike and spontaneous, that he instantly won a lot of hearts. Such a shame he was not given a second term as Prezzie - ironically, due to his growing popularity!! How devilish our politicians are. And how passive are we to allow them to manipulate us with such ease.
Salman, Tussi Great Ho! Imagine HIM, of all people in Bollywood, posing grandly on the cover of BT with the Indian flag , while reminding readers that it's important to adhere to traditional Indian values ! Rich irony. Great timing. Superb p.r. Will that save the film?? Too early to say.But his smirk says it all, anyway.
Did Rajdeep Sardesai have to all but keel over with gratitude thanking Aamir Khan for gracing an Awards' function? It was embarrassing, to say the least. And insulting to the Unsung Heroes being honoured on stage - it was supposed to be their moment, remember? Not Aamir's clever brand extension ...TALKING OF WHICH, this smart Khan has outstripped the others efortlessly. He has been roped in to sell India, by the government. What's the bet he's up for a major national award next year. Bhushan or Vibhushan??Who knows, BUT the Padma is his for sure.Aamir is smart.Very, very smart.He will sweep all the awards this year, and send his little mascot, Darsheen to pick them up.Perfect way to have his cake and eat it too!Aamir Tussi Amazing Ho!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Childline needs you

I have to be upfront - vested interest and all that.This has to do with the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning the judgement of the Mumbai High Court in the Anchorage case , involving two Britons (rearrested) accused of child abuse.CHILDLINE, THAT TOOK UP THE CAUSE OF THE MINOR BOYS 7 YEARS AGO, discovered to everybody's horror that the middle -aged Brits were about to waltz away - acquitted of all charges. This has got to be a really perverse legal call, given the sensitivity of the case and the overwhelming evidence stacked up against the Brit 'do gooders' at the shelter in Colaba. Oh, the vested interest reference is to my direct involvement with Childline - I ran the Dream Run at the Mumbai Marathon two years ago, to raise funds for Childline. I can proudly claim that I managed to raise a respectable amount that far exceeded the standard contribution. This was possible because Shikha, who works with Childline, was a great motivator, who pushed me into pushing myself. It was a fantastic experience, and I am glad I participated.I got to know more about Childline's activities through Shikha and other social workers, and pledged my whole hearted support to it.Well, the next Mumbai marathon is upon us, and though I won't be running, I'm planning to help out regardless.Starting with the 10th September initiative.The date 10 9 8 also happens to be the helpline number for children in distress.Several interesting initiatives are being planned around it. For more info, visit the Childline website. And if you too feel strongly about the Anchorage ruling, make sure your voice is heard. Because children need us. Desperately. And paedophiles must be punished. MUST!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

QueerZaadi March

I wish I could have joined the QueerZaadi March at Chowpatty this saturday. After India's Union Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss pushed for the scrapping of the draconian Section 377 of the IPC, it has given the Gay community in India a tremendous boost. Such a show of solidarity (the slated march) would not have been possible even two years ago, when Gays in the city were faced with constant threats, especially from corrupt cops who never failed to remind them of the law. Vulnerable and defenceless, Gays were reduced to either suppressing their inclinations or going about their lives in a clandestine manner, wracked with fear and guilt. My only regretabout the planned march is the use of the word 'Queer' since it has inbuilt implications. It suggests that Gays are odd, peculiar, bent or somehow not 'normal'. If the organisers of the march had thought about this aspect, perhaps they might have called it something else.
I also hate columnists\journos who write pro-Gay pieces captioned 'Some of my best friends are gay." It is akin to saying "Some of my best friends are dogs." It reeks of condescension and a patronising attitude, even if the intentions are wonderful. Why single out Gays for such special treatment? Do we also say, " Some of my best friends are Dalit\Muslim\Hindus"? Or has the time come to declare ones position in such a brazen way? If so, how awful. Well.... here's wishing all the very best to the March for Sexual Freedoms on Saturday .

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

when plants die

Strange. I didn't think I would feel this devastated when the recent cyclonic weather in Mumbai destroyed two of my favourite plants.... took them away. One was a delicate bamboo that i had nurtured over four years. It was my favourite. Why? Because it was so undemanding... it never sulked, nor did it ask for any special treatment. Quite unlike my frangipani, which was moody, even downright rude! It had flowered just once.... and most grudgingly. I had greeted the fragrant blossoms with whoops of delight.And showed them off to indifferent visitors like they were my grand children. That was it. Perhaps embarrassed by all the attention, the frangipani had withdrawn into a sullen refusal to produce more blooms. Despite the petulance, I loved its graceful branches and bright green leaves. I even loved its bare phases when the branches resembled amputated limbs.Now that's gone , too. The cruel fury of monsoon winds blew both these beauties away. And suddenly I was left with the abandoned ferns that had stubbornly stayed on. I stare at them and feel nothing. I continue to mourn the ones that have gone. I wonder whether they will miss me as much as I am missing them.
People can be divided into Plant Persons and Non-plant persons. You now know which category I fit into.The best plants are the ones that someone presents you. Someone who understands.And it's always interesting to see which plant that person picks. My friend Punita , who runs a charming art gallery called Hacienda, always knows. The loveliest plants in my small collection have come from her. I don't know how to break the news that the two I lost were also given by her. She may have forgotten. But I haven't. For, to gift a plant, is to gift life. It is a responsibility. And an honour. I feel like I have let Punita down. I hope she forgives me...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Kinng is actually a joker

It's a con job. Or... a corny job. Clumsy, clunky,pointless and boring.This is what happens when people like Bamzee get a bit too big for their boots and try to fool the public. Rubbish is rubbish. The Sikh angle is dishonest and manipulative. These guys are a bunch of losers wearing stiched, satin turbans - the kind worn by streetside magicians. Completely ridiculous and an insult to the community.Red Hot Akshay at size zero is a shadow of his former hunky self. No wonder his performance lacks oomph and energy. As for the anaemic Katrina Kaif with her butter -won't- melt in -her -mouth, put -on sweetness, she is as lifeless as the Sphinx.Between the two of them, the heat they generate wouldn't light a bulb (if you are looking for a furnace, check out Mallika Sherawat in 'Pagli or Ugli' ). 'Singh is Kinng' is a total dud, and I am amazed some critics gave it a 3-star rating. It makes me wonder if there is a herd mentality at work somewhere ( press show ke baad, opinions milaao, joint decisions lo, aur chamcha review likho). It is such a nonsensical effort - what Bamzee was thinking (money!)?Akshay looked yummy only during the Punjab sequences, dressed in colourful mulmul kurtas. Since this is a full on Punjabi film, with a few scattered hindi dialogues, subtitles would have helped. Even though there is nothing to understand or follow - no plot, no story.Kirron Kher looked sooooo awful, one had to shut ones eyes and hope she'd go away. Sonu Sood didn't get Lucky , even if his name was Lucky in the film.Australia's Gold Coast looked gorgeous and far sexier than Kaif and Dhupia put together. Akki can't dance, saala! What and who does that leave? Ranvir Sheorey??? Snoop Dogg?? Oh.... how could I forget the chicken in the opening scene delivering what is by far the most energetic and convincing performance in this turkey of a film. Bilkul bekaar.Save money. Save time. Save the chicken.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

China scores a perfect 10. India 0.

China's 'Wow' moment stunned and surprised the world. Yes. We expected a Big Bang. But THIS big? The only thing that ruined our viewing pleasure was a Bore called Boria, whose annoying 'commentary' drove me up a wall. "See, see, see...." he kept repeating. Heck, man. That's exactly what we were doing. What else do people do in front of television screens? Shut their eyes?Agreed, the man is knowledgeable. He knew his stuff. But were we dying to know which star athlete he had run into 10 years ago? The spectacle unfolding in Beijing was breathtaking enough... we didn't need to be constantly told how stupendous the'Olympian' moment was... how history was being made, how 'the entire world' was holding its breath at that critical moment. Hyperbole? Man... this guy was hysterical as he ranted on and on, providing zero value addition to the visuals we could all see for ourselves without his juvenile prompting (" See, see, see those smiles.... see, see, see those happy faces").
Our pathetic contingent sauntered in like the athletes were taking a post-dinner stroll at India Gate. Lacklustre, unimpressive - and imagine such a dismal debut in our 'enemy's ' backyard?? How the Chinese must have gloated! Sania and Sunita were the worst offenders, clad in shabby attire. Did they think they were at a warm up session in Chennai? The excuse was they needed an 'assistant' to help them drape a saree!I felt ashamed and angry at the sight of this motley bunch. India is light years away from pulling off anything even remotely close to this feat. Thank God for the presence of Sonia Gandhi (why doesn't the otherwise elegant lady use an anti-perspirant to rid herself of those unsightly underarm sweat patches?)waving enthusiastically - nobody else bothered to give us a second glance. Compare the coup pulled off by the canny Swedes, whose athletes wore versions of the Chinese cheongsam and fanned themselves with traditional Chinese fans - but bearing Swedish colours! What a charming tribute to the host nation - and what a clever marketing trick!
I could go on and on. But let me save my wrath for the next post, which I shall devote to a disaster called Singh is King! Do they think the audience is a joker??

Friday, August 8, 2008

One billion Indians. Zero medals??

Ok. I confess. I am a pessimist. But only when it comes to cometitive sports and our radd-thobda athletes.A couple of hours from now, millions of viewers the world over will be glued to their tv sets waiting for the Opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics. Me? I'll be eyeing a different sort of athlete doing his thing - Akshay Kumar.We need more Akshays in our national squad - fit, ambitious, focused and raring to go people,with Akshay's killer instinct.Instead, we have rounded up the usual suspects and packed them off in ghastly, ill- fitting, shiney blue suits that make even the sexy Sania Mirza resemble a Punjab Highway restaurant hostess - just this side of dhaba chic. Medals? Don't make me laugh. Apart from our sharp shooters and weight lifters, the others are there for time pass. Nobody expects them to win - and they aren't about to surprise anybody either!India is anything but a country of losers. So what happens to our sportspeople when they go overseas?Howcome such a huge nation can't produce even a single real champion?Ethiopia, for Chrissake, routinely throws up medal winning marathoners. ETHIOPIA!!
Well... at the annual Satyanarain Puja at our home last night, I sent up a small prayer for our great and good Olympic hopes.As the green -eyed (I swear!) pandit rattled off sanskrit shlokas mechanically and at break neck speed, I put on my best pious expression and kept a beady eye on the pure ghee prasad (saffron sheera ). Didn't want our Irish Setter to stick her nose into the handi and defile God's own food. Kiara (the setter)is a real foodie (wonder where she gets that trait from???). She loves Italian coffee, freshly brewed. And the divine honey -and -cracked wheat bread (from Moshe's)- well toasted, of course . Last night she discovered Nalini's cupcakes. Hold on. That sounds more obscene than it actually is - my daughter Arundhati received the said cupcakes, baked and packaged by a certain Nalini, as a birthday gift from her friend Anoushka. Clear enough??They were sinful -looking,but being a good saraswat brahmin woman observing the holy month of Shravan, I skipped the treat. And took Kiara's appreciative bow -wow ,as approval. Would love to take Kiara to the movies with me. But then, I'm not Paris Hilton... and Kiara's not a Chihuawa.
If Singh is King, is Katrina the Queen? Watch this space...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bank-vank. Credit-vedit

I love my friendly neighbourhood bank. It is far from fancy and has plastic flowers as decor. There's nothing hi tech about the set up. The atm facility is a joke. And I don't receive computer statements. Mercifully, there is no relationship manager to deal with either.The guys and ladies who work there speak marathi and marathi-hindi. No english. In other words, it is devoid of 'suits' and sharp bankers in even sharper designer ties. But when it comes to delivering the goods, these chaps score over their hip counterparts many times over. I have had the most awful experiences with big brands like Citibank and American Express. Their billing is wrong so often one wonders whether it is a genuine mistake or a con. Card statements are invariably loaded to favour them. Even after cancellation. I keep receiving annoying phone calls with veiled threats from some bloody call centre, demanding 9,000 bucks, which i don't owe, since I'd closed the account years ago. Perhaps the 'sophisticated' computers have forgotten to talk to each other and communicate this basic info. There is no way of clarifying since one never gets to speak to a human. After the twentieth recorded message and thirty minutes later, the process begins all over again.
Compare that nightmare to making a single call to a Sonawane or a Chaphekar, and hearing a familiar voice saying,"No problem, madam...ho jayega." You can keep your phoren bankers. I am cool with my local Maharashtrians. Jai Shivaji.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Brangelina Babies

Hadd hogi!! Somethings in life should be a little sacred? Like babies?? Your own babies, for chrissake?? How can any parent hawk pictures of their bundles of joy to the highest bidder? Crass and commercial are polite terms to describe such transactions. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt earned an indecent amount of lolly in exchange for a picture exclusive of their newly born twins. The justification is that they will donate the money to a charity of their choice. How noble ! But why not dig into their own deep pockets and donate that? The whole issue of innocent (even unborn!) children having rights , is a sensitive one. What if the twins decide to sue Brangelina later in life for intruding into their private space? Anything is possible in America.Several kids of celeb parents feel violated by the constant scrutiny they are subjected to. Some enjoy the spotlight, others deeply resent it.Who protects their interests? Closer to home, if Niketa and Haresh Mehta are compelled to go ahead and have the baby they clearly don't want, what will that baby's future be?If the baby survives and grows up eventually, there will be no escape from archival records that will show an unambiguous rejection from the parents. What a terible realisation to live with! What can be worse for any human being than to know he\she is unwanted by the very people who have created him\her!
As for Hollywood's high profile twins - God help them. As also David and Posh Beckham's gorgeous boys who will soon be up for sale to endorse various products - Armani boy briefs, maybe?? Like father, like sons. It's all in the jeans... err... genes !

Monday, August 4, 2008

Shravan Monday

Driving back from Alibag this morning, listening to Gotan Project, I wished I was in Buenos Aires. I love the tango, and fantasise about the day I shall arrive in Argentina, meet an exceptionally talented dancer... perform in Havana.... and never come back to this ridiculously monotonous life, avoiding potholes and pot bellied cops at hazaar nakabandhis en route. Alibag may be divine, but getting there and back is no fun at all. However the sight of several Ganpati idols being transported from Pen to Mumbai, lifted my spirits a little. As did an enforced stop at a highway hotel incongruously named Marquis Mohur, serving 'pure veg' greasy food to desperate motorists looking for a loo (No lights. No water ). I was fasting (first Shravan monday), and in no mood to watch my children hogging stuffed alloo parathas dripping ghee. They told me I was just jealous(I was!).To make matters worse, I received a call from Sharmila Thackeray (relax. It wasn't a threat from Raj). It was about - food!! Her friend Aditi Limaye, runs an amazing restaurant in Dadar called 'Gypsy' and right now there is a Shravan Food Festival going on. This was torture! I was famished. Irritable. And discussing kothmir wadas with Sharmila.What could be worse? Watching 'Ugly aur Pagli', said Noel, my daughter's piano teacher, as she attempted to play 'Lara's Theme' for the zillionth time. I like Mallika Sherawat almost as much as Laxmi Mittal likes her. But not when I am fasting and thinking spiritually uplifting thoughts.More slaps than kisses in the movie, said Noel sadly. I told him to watch the original. It is Korean. What irony! Someone copied a Korean original!!Just for that I shall watch the bloody thing.Blingggg is Kingggg launches on the same day as the Beijing Olympics. I'll watch Akshay. You watch the opening ceremony. We'll compare notes later.To all my blog dosts, a belated Happy Friendship Day!

Friday, August 1, 2008

'Society' strikes .... again!!

Yup. The super team of Ashwin Varde and Manjari Bhatnagar have done it yet again in the latest issue of 'Society'. They've gone into wild territory and come up with a couple of red hot scoops. While most celeb publications these days focus on pouring honey over their subjects, 'Society' has boldly talked about a couple of high profile marriages breaking up (Queenie and Raja Dhody),A talented actor ( Saeed Jaffrey) flushing a promising career down the tube, Amar Singh sulking about Parmeshwar Godrej ignoring him... and a real biggie - Jyotiraditya Scindia's marriage to Priya Gaekwad collapsing. Now that's what I call spunky society journalism the way the rest of the world knows it. Not the sickening pr puff pieces that pass for the stuff in other glossies. Taking on big names in the social whirl takes guts. No shortage of those in Nari Hira's stable. And welcome to the club, Pronita Hira ( we are also waiting for the third generation of Hiras to carry on the family biz !! Hint. Hint).Poronita's piece on Saeed Jaffrey showed competence and promise. Nari Hira must be really proud of his young daughter-in-law.
What depresses me the most about current society journalism is the lack of critical standards. Anybody and everybody is described as a 'style icon'. Some trashy socialite buys A Birkin, and she is lauded for her great taste. Come on, guys... all it takes is money to acquire a Birkin. How about some originality? Individuality?
Frankly, the only model with both is Bhavna Sharma.The rest look like tarts or clones.Bhavna is the one - love her assorted looks and the red and luscious lipstick. Keep pouting, girl...