Monday, July 18, 2011

Salaam Mumbaikars!

It has been one hell of a day... more visitors in four short hours than during the past four months!! But since all of them were interesting in their own way, I am not complaining! My only regret is that I couldn't hang with Anasuya Devi, my grand daughter, when she arrived in style ( colour co-ordinated down to the clips in her hair). Nor could I pay close attention to the beautiful chest of drawers delivered by Ahemedali , since Anandita's piano teacher was around, along with three super journos from Lokmat. We are planning a bumper Diwali issue for Lokmat, and it was an intense brain storming session that threw up some terrific ideas. Now to get down to work...and execute them. I looked for the PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE that I had responded to in The Hindu last week. But I hit the wrong key and it 's temporarily lost. I shall post it once I retrieve it. Meanwhile... I am leaving for a longish period , starting tomorrow night. I have the iPad for company.... and I do plan to blog from wherever I am. But not as frequently. My loss!!
I swear this is true but I ran into a PYT who wanted to know whether Anna Hazare was a fashion designer. She pronounced it differently, of course... 'Anna' as in Kournikova!!!


This appeared in Bombay Times today....

Who makes a city? It’s people, right?Take a bow,Mumbaikars.Let the world learn from Mumbai’s extraordinary people what it means to keep going despite the odds. Let’s face it, this time our blinkers are off. We’ve stopped kidding ourselves.We get it! Nobody really gives a damn about us. Nobody cares whether we live or die. It’s come to a point where even we have tuned out in a strange way… turned ridiculously fatalistic ,and resigned ourselves to living a life that comes minus a guarantee card.The message is clear: Mumbai has been taken for a royal ride…. sold down the tube.Deal with it. And here we were, like eager kids, waiting for Big Daddy to come and save us. Hallelujah! When was the last time anybody bothered about Mumbai’s ‘haalat’? So, it’s just as well this lunatic city carries on like nothing major happened on 13 \7. What are a few bombs here and there? R.R.Patil’s words came back to haunt me ( “Bade bade sheheron mein…”). During 9\11 Patil had become the villain of the tragedy for no reason! After all, he had merely articulated what the rest of his neta pals also felt. The others camouflaged their sentiments better, that’s all. So, it’s only fair that this time, Mumbaikars responded the way they did – those who felt shaken and stirred, went flat out to extend help to strangers. Others, shrugged and carried on like nothing had happened. While some cribbed about movie shows being cancelled and a few restaurants pulling down shutters “unnecessarily,” others put up their feet and phoned for an extra dvd or two. Terror attacks have become ‘routine’. We no longer look for logic or a reason for them. We’ve even stopped caring why they happen. And why they happen to Mumbai and not any other city. We can also laugh when the Prime Minister shows up and says something as dumb as , “ This time there was no indication of the attack.Terrorists had the advantage of surprise.” No kidding, Sir! Wow! That’s just so brilliant! You mean they were supposed to call ahead and let us know they were on the way… and didn’t? Tch tch. How unprofessional of them! What are terrorists coming to these days.Really! It’s shocking! Jaaney bhi do, yaaron. Most of us are still alive. Rejoice. Let’s switch to happier topics… yes. That’s allowed.
Mumbai will be saying au revoir to one of its most popular foreign diplomats – the debonair and terrifically charming Monsieur Francois Pujolas ( Consul General of France) and his elegant wife,Mayumi. Both of them plunged straight into Mumbai society within the first few days of getting here… making friends easily and rapidly across the board. From movie stars, models, fashion designers, painters, architects, industrialists, social activists, poets and writers, tout Mumbai flocked to their soirees, at which, over French wine and desi food, wonderful conversations flowed , in the best traditions of lively Parisian salons. I couldn’t get myself to attend the last Bastille Day celebrations hosted by Francois on 14th July. But knowing his love for Mumbai, I am sure he conducted the fete with appropriate decorum and discretion. We shall miss our French friends… and wish them every happiness in life.
What happens when two of the most blindingly good looking people in Bollywood share the same frame… and indulge in a full on, tongue-rolling kiss ? Errr… great box office? Hritik Roshan’s smoulderingly hot looks makes one wonder when a volcano is going to be named after him? As for Katrina’s well-scrubbed, chirpy and cherubic sex-appeal – shouldn’t the other glam gals in Bollywood be scraping the war paint off their faces, getting into regular clothes, skipping their punishing diets and looking as seriously luscious ? ‘Dobara…’ isn’t a great film, but it is squeaky clean.No cheapo item songs, no gutter lingo.It deserves an award just for that.And yes,the Birkin gets one , too.It’s the first time in any film that a handbag has a starring role!


goodluck said...

After a long time, a clean and regular film with beautiful people.

kiran m panicker said...

Am a regular reader of your's blog..purity of language you inherit these much knowledge in english.. What should i do for this ..through reading can i make it like you..please help me or advise me if you have time..

Jogeshwar said...

I think the way Mumbaikar's responded shows that they have become desensitized. It's not the spirit or resilience that keeps them going as most people put it, it is the selfish need to survive.

ashwini said...

Bombs and later investigations remind me of the Thompson and Tompson twin detectives from the French comic book'Tintin'!
I think now the worry is of floods starting all over India due to Monsoon showers, what next? We have to get immune to trouble, I suppose.

As for the French couple? I dont think the common man would care less who came and went, and the wineing and dining the 'Bourgieosie' of India, makes no contribution to their life.

Good luck with your work!

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Latha said...

Shobhaa De answers the Proust Questionnaire.

What is your idea of happiness?

It varies from day to day. Rainbows make me very happy. I am an absolute sucker for mushy, melodramatic films. Baby smells. I can’t get enough of my granddaughter Anasuya Devi and her combined smells – a bit of puke, baby cologne, spit, poo – all of it. Just the thought of being at a great bar in a great city with a great person making great conversation – yeah, that definitely does it for me. So does red lipstick.

What is your greatest fear?

Losing control. Mainly over my mind. Being dependent, helpless. Being terminally bored. Being STUCK – mentally, emotionally, physically. The overwhelming desire to flee from tiresome situations and people – and there are so many of both. How far can I possibly run?

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Napoleon. What a man! What courage. What a life. He should have married Desiree, his first and only love. History would have been different. No Waterloo! Moral of the story: Listen to your heart... and save your ass.

Which living person do you most admire?

Binayak Sen. Cerebral. Courageous. Committed. And sexy. Now, if he’d only get on with the damn revolution!

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Impatience. I get easily bored and restless. And I am extraordinarily poor at camouflaging my feelings. This gets me into big trouble. Oh, I am numbers challenged. I can’t count. This can be most embarrassing when calculating tips and taxi fares. My inability to fake it, whatever that ‘it’ is. Dirty bathrooms phobia – there’s got to be a name for this!

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Lack of civility and grace. Boorishness. Vanity. Self-obsession. Crude and coarse behaviour. Pompousness. People who yell at waiters and ask that most annoying question: “Don’t you know who I am?” I’m always tempted to step in and say very loudly, “We all know who you are – the world’s biggest ass****.”

What is your favourite journey?

Into an interesting person’s head and heart. Find me that interesting person.

Who is your favourite painter?

M.F. Husain, by far. Picasso and Frida Kahlo are top favourites. But Husainsaabis above and beyond them all. Simply put, I was privileged to have known a genius. To have watched him at work and play for forty years. What a rare human being. So full of contradictions – arrogant and compassionate, impossible and considerate. But never ever BORING!

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Patience! Why lose time over something that does not captivate your imagination instantly? Nothing really comes to those who stand and wait. Don’t fall for that line ever! Just go grab whatever you desperately desire before someone else beats you to it. continued......

Latha said...

On what occasion do you lie?

When the truth really doesn’t matter all that much. And I can spare someone’s feelings in the bargain.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?

Ummmm…. let me put it this way. I have really nice ears. The nape of my neck isn’t bad either. Both remain hidden from view, so I can safely boast!

Which living person do you most despise?

All godmen and godwomen. At the moment, Baba Ramdev.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

No kidding! Goddammit! Are you sure??? Seriously speaking. On the contrary. Go to hell! Hello darling! Devaa Devaa!!!!

What is your greatest regret?

That I didn’t take tango lessons in my youth, preferably in Argentina. That I haven’t met Antonio Banderas. That I am not Woody Allen.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Words. My family and our pet Kiara. The moon. Gulmohurs. The heady fragrance of jasmine garlands.

When and where were you happiest?

Whenever my mother cradled me and placed my head in her lap, gently stroking my hair and forehead.

What is your present state of mind?

Restless. Of course. But restless-happy, as opposed to restless-frustrated.

How would you like to die?

Beautifully, dramatically, with a pen in my hand, a smile on my lips, smelling ofArpege, wearing red lipstick and high heels.

What is your favourite motto?

Don’t let the music stop – dance on! And the Benjamin Franklin quote: Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Travel. Taking time off from writing. I am a workaholic. Holidays are precious and treated like guilty pleasures. But I have still to teach myself to switch off completely. I’m always on the job, taking notes, scribbling observations. I often say to myself angrily, “Get over it, De. Get a life!”

Shobhaa, you can cut & paste these as your next post if you want.

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jamesreegan said...

I think the way Mumbaikar's responded shows that they have become desensitized. It's not the spirit or resilience that keeps them going as most people put it, it is the selfish need to survive.

Kapil Gosain said...

Was good to read your blog.I love to talk about Mumbaikars too. Being a true Mumbaikar and knowing the spirit of Mumbai I hvae a few posts of my own on traits of a Mumbaikar and one on comparisons of Mumbaikars to Delhi'ites.
Would love to know your opinions.
I love talking on this topic too. But I love to speak about the people in the 2 citites more than the city. Would like to know your opinions on it.

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