Saturday, May 27, 2006

Fanaa bilkul MANAA hai

1.30am. Just back after seeing "Fanaa". I was a victim of hype. Aamir Khan looked old, fat and tired. The movie was a waste of time and an endurance test of the worst kind. It was utter trash. A pain to go through. Emotions overwhelm me and words fail me. I shall leave the job of reviews to the more accomplished blogggers. "Fanaa" elevates all other crap to a totally different level.

There will be many who will like it, but this is my blog and my space and all this is IMHO. And I also eat the words of my earlier post.

Great-bong Arnab-da - I call on thee to do a review (update - done and linked below). I totally agree - Mithunda is a God. But I doubt even he would be able to save this movie. Ah..but, he wouldn't do it in the first place na !

Views and reviews on the movie linked below
1. Rashmi Bansal - "just good old wine"
2. Uma MD - "what an awful script"
3. Anthony's Mirror - "liked the first half"
4. Nirav - brilliant post title "Fanaa(aargh)" and another follow-up post here
5. Ramya - "watch this movie just once"
6. Prakriti - "I could not tolerate Fanaa. Just could not. "
7. Opinons Galore - "awefully bad music, plain lame situations"
8. Satish V - "Awesome Shayris, Zero drag moments.Great Songs."
9. Dangermousie - "flawed movie, but beautiful and emotional"
10. Sayesha - "DDLJ pulled it off. Fanaa did not."
11. Uban - "it's so darn boring"
12. Chandni - "successfully given me a headache"
13. Aranyi - "The story was not what I expected"
14. Deep - "overall story was kind of weak"
15. The Matrix - "Just simple and plain mundane stuff"
16. Amodini - "it could easily have been shortened by 50%"
17. Thara - "It did stand up to the hype"
18. Famus - "This picture is OK"
19. Raj - "Far, far better than what I expected"
20. Rising energy - "the movie is a great work"
21. Sandeep - "Fanaa is quite a good movie"
22. Vaibhav - "Someone please gimme back my money"
23. Jai Arjun Singh - "I wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend Fanaa to anyone, but it has its moments".
24. Jayesh - "fails to evoke the ehsaas of other love stories"
25. Megha - "It keeps you entertained and has plenty of good moments."
(I'd thought of ending list, but having reached silver jubilee, am now going for gold !)
26. Kusum Rohra - Post title says it all "An insult to your intelligence"
27. Raju Bathija - "I just hated the movie. It is very boring movie"
28. Cool Nishad - "First half good, second half boring"
29. Anuja - "Fanaa is pathetic. And for bonus, it is corny too."
30. Qalandar - "Perhaps it is the silliness of the notion of politics in Fanaa that actually rescues it."
31. Toeragz - "it turned out to be the biggest disappointment after my 10th Standard Board Results"
32. Katranna - "The main romantic relationship.....actually paralleled the relations between India and Kashmir"
33. Phookas - Again title says it all "Please don't watch Fanaa"
34. Wrik - "Stay clear of it"
35. Sharad - "After a long time, a Bollywood movie has given me value for money"
36. Brangan - "Fanaa's problem is that it never really takes off"
37. Aditya - "Good story spoilt by bad direction"
38. Smriti - "On the whole, I liked the movie"
39. Way2top - "Worth watching half-the-movie"
40. Greatbong - "Starts engagingly enough but ends a big disappointment"
41. globetrotter09 - " the the night you feel much less guilty about sleeping throughout most of it"
42. Vinaya - "The movie would have been a disaster if not for these two stars"
43. SChandra - "Story is too cliched, but the movie is worth watching for Aamir and Kajol."
44. Aainaism - "The storyline of Fanaa is very unique and original".
45. Desi-galaxy - "I don't think anyone would like to see it twice, it is that boring"
46. Popcorns - "I'm surprised how a perfectionist like Aamir can sign such a film".
47. Nanuseena - again, title says it all "Fanaa !!!! another piece of junk!!!"
48. Pagala'k' - "..go to the theatre and get destroyed, or...if you're smart.. stay home and wait for the destruction to play out on TV"
49. Shweta - again a self-explanatory title "Fanaa is not a good movie!"
50. Verlisphere - another nice title "Fanaa: destruction, yeah right, of sanity!"

(*applause* - Golden jubilee and this list is now most definitely concluded!)

Epilogue - Phew ! Surely all these reviews are enough for any one to make up their minds to watch (or not) the movie. My opinion remains - Fanaa bilkul manaa hai !

Of invisible cloaks

Amit Varma asks "what would you do if you actually had a foolproof invisible cloak" and I reply with 3 possible options

1. Catch Arjun Singh, then put the cloak on him and push him over a cliff

2. Put "Bedard Baba ka palang-tod itching powder" (effective till 72 hours of first application) in everyone of Arindam Chaudhuri's clothing items. And sprinkle some on his soap.

3. Sneak into theatre halls showing "Fanaa" and reveal the end to everyone as they lech at Kajol's cleavage/swoon over Aamir's shaayari.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Fanaa philhaal manaa hai

I’m in a state of mild stress ahead of the weekend. While I’ve succeeded in booking tickets for the Da Vinci Code, I’ve failed in doing so for “Fanaa”. The reason, as we all know, is because multiplexes in Bombay have refused to show the movie, while single-screen theatres are going ahead with it. Director Kunal Kohli last night was trying desperately to justify Yashraj demanding a higher fee from multiplexes if the movie does well. Multiplexes aren’t seeing eye-to-eye and I’m a casualty of this random war.

As a stress-busting measure I thought I’d put my thoughts on "Fanaa", before I see the movie.

Story – the bare little I know is that Aamir Khan is a tourist guide who becomes a terrorist. (similar to the 1996 Ajay Devgan starrer “Diljale”, and other movies). Kajol is a blind girl who falls in love with him. Poland fits somewhere in the middle. As does a mirchi locket that Aamir flaunts in the movie (no, I don’t think it contains any secret code).

My thoughts – The idea of a blind girl simply doesn’t appeal to me. If it’s meant to have instant underdog appeal to the masses, it leaves me stone cold. And Aamir transformation…well, he’ll probably do a good job at it, but he’s becoming a bit predictable. The menacing look, the enraged cries, the tears and the pointing fingers are all something we’ve seen before in Mangal Pandey and Rang De Basanti (where he was far more effective, but also overshadowed by two killer performances - Atul Kulkarni and Siddharth).

Which then brings me to a suspicion that our hero is going to die in the movie…believe me, I don’t know this for sure, so don’t accuse of me revealing the end. I mean, what else could be more fitting? Blind girl losing her lover, first to terrorism and then to heaven/hell does make sense. Besides political correctness requires. Even Shahrukh took the deadly embrace with Manisha in “Dil Se”.

Besides the above, there is

(a) cinematography – the posters make me expect the usual sweeping shots of snow-covered mountains, close-ups of both leads, etc. etc..

(b) music – whatever I’ve heard is totally mundane and nothing to write home about. Besides, I doubt Yashraj will ever learn that songs in a movie have become a bore. Look how RDB worked around that – there were loads and loads of songs, but none longer than 2 minutes on screen and in full glory on audio CDs etc – let the viewer decide.

Ah…I’ve now realised that I’ve landed up trashing the movie before seeing it. Then why see it in the first place? I think I’m a sucker for the hype. And being an Aamir Khan fan I’d see it anyways. Even if he’s becoming predictable, the real King Khan can still hold a movie on his own shoulders. Replace Aamir with Shahrukh and I’d have given it a miss. Menacing look is one thing but the trademark Shahrukh shuddering cheeks, lips, eyebrows et al is another (except of course Swades, where he was just excellent – his best performance IMHO).

What do I finally expect ? 3 hours of mildly engaging stuff that will have me running out during the songs. A strong showing from Aamir and another from one of the supporting cast – the ever reliable Shiney Ahuja (yes!).

So there you have it – my thoughts before the movie. Now excuse me while I go back to getting those damn tickets.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bombay Bloggers Meet - ekdum dhamaal

Driving into Infiniti Mall, Versova for my first bloggers meet, my mind was full of random thoughts. Will it be fun (beyond anything I’d thought), will there be pretty women (yes), will there be young nerds and geeks (yes), is Bipasha Basu really coming as our mystery guest (no), is food and daaru on the house (no).…and before I knew it I was staring at this big table in the middle of the place full of conversations, writing, yelling, laughing, talking. Fun. This had to be it. Bombay bloggers rock and how.

Mojitos, beer, cigarettes, abuses, flame-baits, flames, cameras, ice-cream, waffles, coffee.

And then the conversations.

Reservations, virginity, smoking, if-life-was-a-bad-word-what-would-it-be, The Times of India, IIPM, cooking, food, blogs, scum, low-lives, King Circle, Bombay, Kashmir, Pappu, ex-boyfriends, geeks, nerds, IIT, IIM, Himesh Reshammiya, Altaf Raja, Amherst, and much more. What else would you expect ?

I’ve heard of putting faces to names, but putting faces to words turned out to be a completely awesome experience.

So I’m in this corner that has Saket, Akshay, Divya, Evenstar and Vijayendra. Amit and Saakshi are at the centre, while the other side is occupied by Saket, Ideasmithy, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, John Nash (ok, ok that’s Gera, Parijat and Piyush), Selvin and Anthony. With that kind of a group, there are several threads of different conversations all happening at once. Immense fun.

We discuss reservations. Most are against it. I try to play the devil’s advocate, but Divya forces me out. Not good.

Next up – virginity. Woman bloggers Utd join me for a collective Boo! (I say "up yours" is still better) to all the men who demand virginity and consider it a personal matter of choice. And a vocal NO - demands for your prospective wife to be a virgin is not the same as demanding one of your same caste. (someone shouts flame!, flame !, flame!...I realized it was me).

Ideasmithy talks about how a blogger calling himself peskybuthonest is randomly going after women bloggers. It's good he didn't make it to the meet.

When I light up, I actually hear a woman blogger say “You know I think smoking makes a man look good”. Yes, this was real, but said party admitted to old-boyfriend syndrome. Said party also said “I suck at smoking”. I thought that was the pun of the day….no month. But she’s brave enough to try a puff and comes close to asphyxiating.

I catch the word “IIPM” and stretch out to ask Amit how we can shut it down. He says, well boss, they’re not doing anything illegal. Simple answer. I grrr and gaaaahhh, but admit he's right. He talks about the Times of India selling editorial space. I let off a few abuses. Unfortunately he has to leave to cover the India-West Indies ODI. IIPM and the TOI will have to wait.

Bombay. Ah finally. Akshay talks of Dharavi and its self-sustaining economy. Rattling of statistics from the Economist on how this massive slum is an integral part of Bombay that can’t be ignored. Evenstar talks of her trips, her photos, and why they have the patra on the overhead bridges (so that no one can spit on the tracks). She’s also leaving for Amherst soon. Sniff, sniff, I’ll miss her lovely photo posts.

Snap poll by self to everyone present. Delhi, Bombay ? Bombay wins obviously. But I did catch someone whispering to me “Dude, you’re asking this in a Bombay bloggers meet being held in Bombay”. I ignore him. (Delhi-lovers, this does not qualify as flame baiting).

Our resident geek. Mr. Gera (no, no first name, he insists) walks over to our side flaunting his baldness. I notice later he is also open to people fondling his bald pate, but only in downward strokes, not upwards, it hurts. Yes – you missed this. Google-bashing follows and webaroo DVDs (?) are distributed to everyone with the promise that IBM laptops will follow. Someone disses this idea saying “do you think we’re IIPM students!”.

If its Bombay, it’s Heem-esss-bhai (note the Gujju pronunciation). Divya groans saying she can’t take it anymore. I tell her to give in. Believe me its easier. He actually sounds good. When you can’t fight it, can’t resist it, try giving in. It’s not that bad. I go “oooooooooo”, am booed instantly, but find support in the new Bajaj “Jhalak dikhlaaaaaaaja" ad. I almost launch of into “Hai, hai, dil ki baat sun le, yaad sataye teri” and “A-a-a-a-aashiqui teri, ja-ja-ja-jayegi jaan meri”, but something tells me it’s not a good idea.

With the TGIF round coming to an end, Saakshi suggests coffee and waffles. No brainer. We congregate in the food court. More conversations.

I chat up with Parijat – one of the IIT lads. He amazes me with his clarity on what he's going to do and what he wants in life. We have a brief discussion on IIT, IIM, investment banking, etc. Also turns out that he and Piyush are also school pals from Jaipur.

Anthony talks about his cooking blog and how it gets 700 page views per day. I couldn’t talk much to him, but I’m seriously considering taking up cooking classes to increase traffic on my blog.

I tell Saakshi I liked her post on the Akbarally employees. We lament their state and the indifference of the media in reporting their case. Sad and true.

Finally, and woefully, it’s time to leave. Given the crowd and the chaos and the fun, I missed out on further conversations with Saket, Saakshi, Anthony, Selvin, Vijay and Ideasmithy. I look forward to all of it and much more in our next meet.

Phew! For all the three hours that I was there, it was one fantastic event that has left me thirsting for more.

Bombay bloggers – you rock.

More posts on the event
Amit Varma
How many roads
Saakshi (with photos of the meet)
Vijayendra (talk about silent waters running deep..)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Lost for thought

As if the company of Dilip D’Souza, his friends Abodh and Mira, his son Sahir and Sahir's cousin Varun wasn’t enough, there was the experience of walking around Chor Bazaar. It had to be a trip to remember.

(All pictures below have been processed by Azhar Chougule who, along with Samarth Bhasin, runs this superb blog - The Daily Sunrise)

The last time I came to Chor Bazaar was 15 years back, when I was all of 19 years. Tagging along then with a group of friends who wanted to buy car stereos, car dashboards, car everything, I was lost in the crowd. And I was lost now.

Our trip starts at B. Merwaan’s, an Irani restaurant opposite Grant Road station. We soaked khakhras in our chai but were sadly late for brun maskas, mawa cakes and other goodies, all of which were over for the day.

Chor Bazaar spills out on the street. Everything is sold here. DVDs, VCDs, cameras, calculators, porn, furniture, clocks, fans (table, ceiling, industrial, etc. etc), brooms, phones…the list is endless. As are the street vendors, the shops and the people.

The Pepsi crate is acutally full of a soft drink called "Fine". Fine Cola, anyone ? We passed.

I wanted to catch the old man with the shining gramophone in the background. He wasn’t too thrilled, but acquiesced all the same.

We pass two mosques - "ek naya, ek purana" we are told.

We notice a broom of a size I didn’t know existed. This was an instant hit with the kids. Two are bought immediately and the lads go about dissecting them with gusto.

Next up is jeera-golli for everyone. The colours are so much brighter now. But the thrill is the same. Even if you can’t get them as easily now near schools.

We stop for masala soda and Abodh informs me that these are still made, even if one can’t find Sosyo on the shelves. Over this refreshing drink we talk about how photography is banned at Chowpatty. Yet, Abodh said he had argued with a cop at the beach. He's posted some nice photos here.

I talk about the Mumbai Mill Land case, and Dilip reminds me of the passing away of his dear friend, Rajnarayan Chandavarkar. Brief silence.

Moving slowly out of Chor Bazaar, we are now at Kumbharwada and facing Null Bazaar. Just ahead is Ladi Bazaar and further on is Khetwadi to our left and Kamathipura to our right.

As we head towards Gol Temple (literally a round-shaped temple at a junction there), the names of the streets change. We leave Husainaya Marg, and Sayed Lane to move on to S. S. Maharaj Marg and Trimbak Parshuram Street.

This is also the area which saw some of the worst rioting in 1992/1993. I stood rooted at the Gol Temple for some moments, trying to rewind to 13 years back and grasp what must have happened then. I can’t.

This link on the Srikrishna Report informs us that the Gol Temple saw many “communal incidents”. Twenty people - largely pedestrians - were attacked and killed on one day alone - 7th Jan 1993 in this area around V.P. Road.

Looking at the way people were rushing around, pushing carts, driving their cabs, on their way home, selling bhutta, channa…….and to think that for days at a stretch, there was arson, riots, loots, murders. All of it, and much more. I still couldn’t get it. I still don’t.

Cut to the present. Both kids are now tired of walking around. So are we. They leave in a taxi, and I follow soon. The crowds begin fading as I reach Marine Drive.

I never thought I’d be a lost within Bombay but today I was. Lost within the streets of Chor Bazaar, lost for thought at Gol Temple, and lost for the myriad of experiences, that is this city.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Bombay's Diaries, part 3

I’m concluding the Bombay’s Diaries series with Part 3 which has another five posts on all feelings Bombay among bloggers. The posts are about a bus trip, fishes drying at Carter Road, Bombay’s real nightlife, matka and a Chennai-ite’s view on Bombay.

Anil Purohit runs a lovely blog with lots of posts on Bombay, making it tough for me to pick one. The one I’m linking to is about Anil’s trip on BEST bus route no. 496 to SEEPZ. “The conductor, a middle aged Maharastrian man, lean build, wore his uniform with the first button unbuttoned, showing white vest wet from sweating at the neck, and used his sharp voice to good effect in goading people into making space for new arrivals getting in. He looked the kind who did no one any favours nor expected any in return, and wouldn’t be bothered with socializing or getting into conversation of any sort. The kind who felt strongly about morality but wouldn’t say anything about it unless in close company.” [Full post is linked here].

Extempore takes a friend down Carter Road and tells us the meaning of “koliwada”. “Wondering what a koliwada is? Allow me. The original inhabitants of Bombay are the kolis, a community of deep-sea fishermen and a koliwada is their settlement along the shore. Mumbai, the official name of Bombay, originates from Mumbadevi, the patron goddess of the kolis, enshrined to this day in Dongri. A number of well-known areas also owe their names to the original koli versions. For example, Kolbhat is what we know and love as Colaba. :-)” [Full post, with some nice photos are linked here]

Mukta thinks comparing places to Bombay is not fair. And that Bombay is aloof, distant, yet complete. Touche. “So I don't really get belligerent when people say how much cleaner the other places are or how much warmer the neighbors. It is mostly true. I also listen quietly when people comment on how rumpled Bombay's fashion is - how tackily wearable the clothes and how impossibly practical the accessories. Fine. Sartorial elegance is a flippant virtue.” Her anger on a TV show sparks off a brilliant post on Bombay’s nightlife. No, not the party variety, but this variety. “There are plenty of people in this city who don't go to pubs or clubs. And yet, these people will vouch for Bombay's 'night life' - because 'night life' in Bombay isn't about exclusivist alcoves.” [Full post linked here]

Matka ! Remember a young Paresh Rawal debuting as “Annubhai” in “Arjun”? Yes, he was running a Matka “den”. Satish explains the intricacy that is Matka. “Matka is a form of gambling that originated in Mumbai or Bombay as it was known then. It started around the same time as the closure of the cotton exchange figures of opening and closing that used to be transmitted to India and was gambled on. It was started by a gentleman called Ratan Khatri. The way it operated was very simple.” [For more on this simple addiction, read his post linked here.]

1$ Saint, a Chennai resident, wonders what Mumbai has for him to shift base. “My family friend and I were taking a drive to drop her son off at Dhirubhai Ambani international school. I’m quite and yet to wake up completely, I’m looking out the window admiring the empty road which would soon disappear to the naked eye. Unexpectedly I have a question shot at me “So when you shifting to Mumbai?” I wonder why I was asked that question. But then I begin to answer it in my mind. What does Mumbai have that I must shift base? I go back city storming.” [For eight facts he notices and his final decision, read the full post here.]

Thanks everyone for your enthu. I will never ceased to be amazed at the different emotions this one city evokes from its denizens and from people visiting it. Here are the links to the earlier parts

Bombay's Diaries, Part 1

Bombay's Diaries, Part 2

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bombay's Diaries, part 2

Part 2 of my Bombay’s Diaries series (Part 1 is here) contains five bloggers experiences of all things Bombay - its people, its places, the names of these places and even a riveting fable (thanks for the tip, Vij!). There’s also a lethal reality check post on local train travel (thanks Anon). Take it away, desi bloggers.

Delhi-ite Zombie lists ten reasons why she loves Bombay. “I have been to Mumbai only once but I know if I ever have to leave Delhi, Mumbai would be the place I would love to move to. I seriously believe I was born to Mumbai...Delhi was an accident called Fate.” For her ten reasons and an A-to-Z of Bambaiya language, click here.

As part of his Bom v/s Del series, here's Dhoomk2’s take on Bombay's people. “The proudest moment of a Bombay person's life is when the taxi-driver delivers exact change, in multiples of Rs. 1. This happens only in Bombay (obviously, they discount the Kolkata bus conductor, who gives out 10 paisa, as the economy there has a different currency altogether). The second proudest moment comes when they travel in well-packed trains at 9:30 am in the morning and get occasional glances of the sea. This experience, however, is more the stuff of legends than reality. Anybody who complains about the fact that they were pushed in by the crowds and therefore couldn't really see (anything, leave alone the sea) is a Delhiite.” Read the rest of his post here.

Vijayeta talks of the five stages of becoming a Bombay convert, which also correspond with the five stages of death. “Bombay. 4 A.M. But then, the city never sleeps, or stops or some such line about Bombay, That Woman couldn’t really be too bothered to recall. It was an early morning shoot for a music video. And there was a minor traffic jam on the Western Express Highway. At 4 AM. That Woman sat in the cab, suddenly surprised at her nonchalance about the traffic jam. This should have unsettled her. But it didn’t! Was THAT happening to her too?...... Bombay is one huge impending deadline and a barrage of new assignments, and if there is anyplace that will make you feel guilty for not getting around to something, it’s Bombay.” For more of her fascinating story, click here.

With a profile that starts with “Born, brought up and bred in Bombay”, I’d have been a fan of Abodh anyways, And he’s also the CEO of WSD India. In this post, that’s almost a walk around these places, Abodh echoes one of my frequent thoughts about this city when he says “Living in Mumbai, we must have always wondered the origin of names of neighborhoods that we reside in or have visited.” And no Abodh, I didn’t know that “Mazgaon : The name was derived from 1) Maza gaon- which means my village in Marathi 2) Maccha Grama – which means a fishing village.” To discover the names of some other places, click here.

A post like this is a good reminder of the shocking indifference of Bombay’s people. Atanu Dey says “Mumbai is what I would call the Triple Point of the World and indicate it as Zero Degrees Human….. Sardine cans have been put to shame when they are compared to Mumbai locals. Those trains are designed to carry about a thousand people. They routinely transport about five thousand people instead. And most of these five thousand make it to their respective destinations.I say most of these make it home because a very small insignificant percentage don’t survive the journey.” For more on how people are disposable, click here.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Bombay's Diaries, part 1

This was an idea I got during the big Bombay v/s Delhi debate on Dhoomk2’s blog.

Bombay evokes strong feelings among everyone, including bloggers. Love it or hate it, you can’t ignore it. So, I thought of starting a small blogroll linking up various interesting posts on Bombay all over the blogosphere. I’ve called this series “Bombay's Diaries”.

Disclaimer – I’ve picked up some posts from obvious places like desipundit and Mumbai-metroblogging, besides Dhook2’s above series. Others I’ve googled on blogger, and some others I’ve stumbled upon by plain chance (!). Errors and omissions are entirely mine.

Here’s part one consisting of ten lovely posts on the city I'm addicted to from the Indian blogosphere.

Akshay Mahajan walking through Dharavi. “Ramshackle corrugated tin, plywood, plastic, pukkah bricks, sheets of asbestos, sweat, toil, people and garbage make Dharavi, just like piles of earth, sand, clay and other materials make ant hills. It is hard to find an idle soul in Dharavi, it is a cesspool of activity, buzzing with energy and ingenuity, always fighting, always dreaming and looking to the future. It is then that I realised that the only idle soul in Dharavi was me". [more here]

Lazyreader on traveling in Bombay’s local trains – an experience bound to evoke strong feelings. “The process of traveling successfully on a train in Mumbai (Bombay) is one that requires cunning, shrewdness, strategy, agility and a killer instinct. All seats are not the same. Window seats are best, followed by middle seats and finally aisle seats. This is because, as the train fills up, crowds push down on the chap in the aisle seat, the effects of which can be felt right up to the middle seat. no matter where you are on a Mumbai Local, you still have a long way to go."[more here]

Punds swoons over Mumbai’s rains – “For some strange reason, the first rain was always supposed to be on 8th June. No particular reason. Even if it was the first drizzle, it had to be 8th June. This year the monsoons are late. When the rain pours and the cold wind blows and everything becomes wet, that is the time when you make your trip to the near-by Vada Pao stall. One of my favorite pastimes during heavy rain when going out is restricted was listening to music. The old Kishore Kumar songs are my favorite. Not many songs have been able to portray Mumbai rain with all its beauty." [more here].

Sonia Faleiro describes her ordeal in finding accommodation in Bombay “Marshalling all forces in search of flat No. 5, has led me to conclude that far from being the City of Dreams, Bombay is actually the City of (Renters) Screams. For no matter how hard you work or earn, when it comes to renting a home, you cannot but feel inadequate. You gleefully move from a one bedroom to two, then realise your three-year-old nephew couldn’t kick a ball without having it smash back into his face.” [more here]

Kaushik Ramu talks of the swarming life in Bombay in a moving post. “I belong nowhere, but Bombay gives me places I can call my own, in my own quirky ways, in a crowd of a millions. I have walked around Fort in endless, aimless patterns, in the heat of the day, in the dusking glooms, in the solemn yellow daubs of night. Where I pause, letting the eye linger on high Victorian friezes, I sense the heart of this large amoeboid form , and its throbbing, bustling beats.” [more here]

The Atticus Diaries has a wonderful post on his conversation with a cab driver from Santa Cruz to Churchgate “We share a strange kinship – I and these skilled jockeys of black-and-yellow warhorse Fiats! We have left families far behind – a loving mother in Chennai, kids in Bulandshar, parents in Jharkand, a nine-year old daughter in Varanasi, love in Bangalore… And here in Mumbai, we ride the streets in search of a brighter tomorrow where our suns will rise on togetherness and love.” [more here]

Govindraj Ethiraj gets stuck on the Western Express Highway and coins the term “sequential jam phenomenon”. "You return to Bombay, after more than a month outside and hope that life is a wee bit simpler. In the city in specific and country in general. After all, the term developing nation ought to mean development. Actually, it only gets worse. I now have a term that defines the attempt to move from point A to point B: its called the sequential jam phenomenon. And I suggest you factor this into your calculations." [more here].

Dilip D’Souza walks around to discover villages in Bombay, and finds Chimbai. And Ramdas. “From Chimbai, the small Bandra fishing village where Ramdas lives, to Dadar is easily 5-6 km. That Ramdas biked that distance and back, twice a day with large loads, impressed me greatly. Chimbai is known as an old fishing village. By now, it is just another part of Bandra, if a more crowded and downscale part of this upscale suburb. But even so, you'll find women every day, sitting on either side of the lane through Chimbai, calling out from behind little makeshift tables piled high with fresh, dripping, aromatic fish.” [more here]

Vazu the terrible has an unnerving experience on a wet day, only to discover there is honour among thieves. “Mumbai is one hellava place. You will find the most stunning of all experiences. Some things that make you think, "Is this place for real ?". I started recounting all my experiences only after I left Mumbai…. In all this hungama (chaos), I realised that I dint even know the name of the friend-in-misery. The city seemed to me like one big karma wheel throwing your karma back at you.” [more here]

Evenstar finds co-passengers pushing hankies to their noses as they pass Mahim Creek. “Between Mahim & Bandra lies a place for Mumbai to clear its bowels and sins, depending which side you are on. Mahim Creek, popularly known as 'Bandra ki Khadi" lies between Bandra & Mahim. In the train, conversations become hushed, handkerchiefs are promptly put over noses, and most smiles disppear on days the odour is too strong. And then Mumbai begins dumping its secrets into the murky waters.” [More here]