Monthly Archives: July 2010

Blast from the Past

Update for month ended 30 July 2010

I confess that I am a family man. I like being surrounded by children and really enjoy their company. Last weekend, I could not keep up with my writing as I was with a teenager – showing him around some of the sights and sounds of Mumbai. It was nice to be with him, as I returned to the 1980s when I was his age and as wide-eyed as him. It was fun exploring Mumbai that has existed for ages, but remains shrouded in some sort of invisible cob-webs that regular Mumbai denizens keep away from. Take for instance the museum-like “exhibition” of a famous book on Indian History. I have not read that book, but I thoroughly enjoyed the television adaptation that ruled the Indian airwaves in the eighties – with excellent narration from an actor who resembled the former prime minister and author of this book. This “exhibition” was truly a discovery for me as I went back in time and saw and almost lived through the golden age of the Mauryas, Gautama Buddha, the tumultuous centuries when Delhi changed hands under various Central and West Asian dynasties; the Mughal era; the European invasion; the progress made through industrialization and laying of the railways; the freedom struggle; and it abruptly but aptly ends on a positive note as the young nation enters the mid 1900s. This is a must see for any Indian passing through Mumbai, because although this is an “exhibition”, it has been here for as long as it has. Children who find history drab and boring, will see it come alive at this “exhibition”. I felt like a teenager myself, enjoying the 3D exhibits and the short and to-the-point explanation panels. So we were like two teens gawking in an empty hall where the attendants hugely outnumbered the visitors. We even visited the real museum which unfortunately for us, but fortunately for western India was shutting down early because of a heavy downpour. Unfortunately for us, because we could not spend time viewing all the galleries, but yes, we did see that great Mughal Emperor’s armour and weaponry on display; and the immaculately preserved collection from one of the most well known Indian Business tycoon’s personal collection. Only Parsis can be so selfless as to not succumb to the gavel at an auction while trying to encash an heirloom. Fortunately for Western India, as the downpour was just right to ensure enough waters filled our lakes, and our farmlands were well hydrated. My teenaged companion was almost overwhelmed as he spent the weekend in history in a crowded city, yet away from the madding crowds. Sometimes, I wonder why we grew up; but now I am reconciled to the fact that I can indeed become a teenager.

Many thought that the 18000 barrier will be breached this month, but alas, it still remained a few points away – about 8 on 29th and 132 today. And so I am quite amazed that the plucky D Street Boyz actually have that adventure and teen zeal intact. They still like to believe that their SENSEX will grow and grow, yet they selfishly want to keep it in its teens, preferably as a child. So although they can technically still keep the SENSEX a teen into the 19000s, they chose to restrict it to below the 18000s. And Indian industry played to their tunes, as one company announced good returns to spring up the SENSEX, while another softened that rise by announcing not so good ones. The government in turn is being regularly ignored, as they tinker with the Inflation and Interest rates. I think all of India is now only looking forward to a soul saving and face saving on the sports field. The cricketers are the world’s top team, but failing miserably in the emerald isle; and swimmers are literally falling into swimming pools, and the officials don’t seem to have a handle (literally) on the situation. So the SENSEX that flirted with 18000 a couple of times in the past fortnight, slunk down shyly to settle at 17868.

Catching up with the past at times is energizing. Well, for a person who is a confirmed Naughty Forty, anything that can re-energise, is welcome. So this weekend, I look forward to catching up with friends from my past, and maybe dabble in interests from that era. What are you planning to do?

Cheers and have a Nice Weekend…….


Naughty Forty

Update for week ended 16 July 2010

40 – the magic number that many dread and only a few look forward to is quite unlike the cusp between childhood and teens or between teens and adulthood, because this is not the official age that borders youth and old; but in some way it is a turning point. Physiologically, the doctors and researchers tell us that this is the time when our body metabolism slows down and we start adding to middle at this middle age. This is also a “trigger” point for bifocals or hypermetropia and so regular eye checkups start, as also other medical examinations. But those who don’t bother with such bodily trivia look forward to this age because it is fabled to be the one when one turns naughty. And with this naughtiness sometimes comes knottiness that can be avoided. So men indulge in their childhood passions and women look around for interesting company and both turn naughty in their respective endeavours, at times, resulting in relationship knots. Take the case of this film star who started fading when he turned forty and to add sparkle to starry life, he decided to get back to school (college actually) in his next film. Forget the fact that he was paunchy and going bald, and needed to dye his hair at least twice a month; but he grabbed the tightest knitted Tee Shirt, stuffed his torso into it and covered his head with a cap and sang ditties to the teenage heroine. It is a different story that no-one remembers this movie and very few remember the over forty film star. Or this model who scribbles a lot of words, on reaching this threshold age, had to meet the best cosmetic surgeon in town to tuck away those emerging crowfeet and smoothen her wrinkly fingers. She continues her trysts with the scalpel and has an alibi in a sibling who is an ace photographer. She maybe over sixty now, but tries to look and act like under thirty five. Hmm…. I don’t understand the insecurities people have with this magic age of naughty forties. This is naught my cup of Darjeeling. I just love this age, when I can do as a child, because it is a fabled thing to do, while at the same time, I can still demand some respect for my age. Thank you.

The D Boyz are a jittery lot these days – while last week, they wove wave patterns; this week they stuck to their naughty forties. Some days, they pushed the SENSEX up 46 points, on others they pulled it down 48 points and even today they nudged it up 44 points. At the end of this week, despite a reviving monsoon, a not so bad industrial production figure, a plateau-ing inflation; the SENSEX moved only 122 points up to end at 17955. The enthusiastic D Boyz did however try to break their forties curse by starting the week piercing the 18000 point ceiling, but given their weak constitution – they did not maintain it, and let go.

This weekend is going to be one for forty winks – as I catch up for the sleepless past weekends (despite “accurate” octopus predictions) and keeping our date with the grey clouds laden with heavy rain in the afternoons. I would have loved to indulge in my childhood passions of baking and art; or combining the two, but let us see which side of my forty wins – the naughty one or the knotty one!

Have a nice weekend… Cheers..

Song in My Head

Update for week ended 9 July 2010

There are songs that hum in your head when you wake up in the morning – and it could be a song that you went to bed with, or heard it recently, but many a times, it could be an old ditty that you enjoyed when you were many moons younger, and it just suddenly bursts into your head. One such song that kept humming around my already dizzy head (more on my dizziness later) this morning at 6 am, was the “aaj mein upar, aasman neeche” song breezily sung by Kavita Krishnamurthy and Kumar Sanu. It has quirky lyrics, zippy music, and the movie picturisation was rather unconventional for its time (the mid nineties). This was a song that captured the mood of a just-in-love-person, who forgets what she is doing, because she is just-in-love, and keeps going topsy turvy in her mind and does not mind it the least! The hero reciprocates and goes through similar emotions, but expresses it more physically by doing cartwheels – where he is at times literally heads down and feet up, apart from falling head over heels over his lady love. The simple boy girl routine gets a break here, because although this was a love duet, neither the hero nor the heroine meet each other during the song, except at its end! Movie songs play a large role in an Indian’s life; and sometimes this “song in the head” can get infectious if it is hummed while sipping the morning cuppa; or while travelling to work or even at the coffee machine in office. I am not sure how many people are singing this song today, or dreamily reliving the mid nineties, but maybe after reading this, many of you would!

The Aaj Upar, Aaj Neeche routine was something the D Boyz did for a large part of the past fortnight. And it was quite a dizzy spell at D Street as the D Boyz did cartwheels, spinning the SENSEX onto a wave pattern that looked like my five year olds writing practice of slanting lines and just like her, they did not manage to stay in line, but at times wove the pattern upwards and at times lower, “un-uniformly”. The teacher in us would perhaps believe that the D Boyz need to get back to writing practice; but for whatever it is worth, it has just led to a marginal upward move in the SENSEX, making investors potentially richer 259 points – ending at 17833.

I wish I could say that the woozy head I got this morning was because of the late night, watching good international football. There was none last night! But this weekend is going to be one of night-outs; and jubilation for fans of good sport. Some octopus is being riled for “predictions” and aiding this belief is the performance of the losing team… but I am not a fan of seafood; and I prefer my garlic butter on bruschetta unlike the Germans, and I am not sure if octopus is added to the famed saffron laced rice dish – Paella; or whether Dutch beer goes well with the grilled sea-mollusc. Either ways; I look forward to a great weekend; and more songs in my head!!

Have a great weekend… Cheers….