Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Naansense and a month in Mumbai.

[ I'm in Mumbai now. All my tech posts like the previous one on search engines will now be on WATblog.Here are my recent posts on WATblog.]

This is the tenth time I'm sitting down to write this. It should have been up about ten days back, but then ten things wouldn't have been added. Then, it would've been tentatively titled 'Tendulkar's tender tentacles'. Now that would've given you a lot of tension. Ah, enough of it.

10. I'm definitely talking about both here - nonsense and the bread - naan. Just that having stayed in Pondicherry for close to five months, it is difficult to shake off the South Indian accent. So that's naansense for you.

Naan, in this case the bread, also makes a lot of sense. With the kaamwali bai bidding us good bye, we're mostly having to eat a lot of naan. Apparently, this not(naat?) so good bai decided to do a lot of buying during Diwali with her bhais. Then while helping herself with baingan ka bharta,she decided to bid us good-bye or was she inspired while attending an RSS baithak and then boycotted us! Ah, that was too much of wordplay!

Now to the more serious mentions,

1. We still haven't found a regular bai. That is indeed unsettling.

2. Mumbai is wonderful. One word which probably describes Mumbai the best is - intense. There are way too many things happenings, there are way too many people on the roads, way too many people in the local trains, way too many scents and odours, way too many sounds and way too many things to be mentioned here. Inspite of all this, there's such sense behind the madness. I'm reminded of this post, where I had mentioned about reading books, watching movies about Mumbai. It feels good to have read those books which once one wishes to read. Gregory David Roberts's Shantaram was the first. It's probably the best investment I've made in my life till now. And it is only apt that I gifted it to Scott while he was here in India and of course, fell in love with Mumbai. Check out the t-shirts he's made. And yes, he's donating some of the proceeds of the sales to PlanetRead. Way to go, Mr. Social Entrepreneur in the making. No wait, he's already one! And yes, here's the documentary we made for PlanetRead. A long way ahead from the days of silly college videos like Over and Out and de Young Basanti. And yes, then I read Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra. Ok, the book might not have the depth of Shantaram, but is certainly wide, in terms of the time and geography he's managed to cover in the book. The book certainly justifies the time it took, seven years, and the advance Vikram Chandra got for the book.

And then Suketubhai Mehta in his Maximum City delves much deeper into the chaotic universe that is Mumbai and brings to life more of its intrigues and intricacies. Can't wait for Shantram to be brought alive on screen.

52. What? Shouldn't three follow two? Blame it on my sudden surge of interest interest in random numbers.

So here's another random list of things I've been upto in Mumbai.

23. Kaak, Chinsi, Kenny and another one 'He who shall not be named' (for the simple reason that I do not know his name) were here in Mumbai. We went around South Mumbai, I bought The Perfect Store: Inside eBay and have finished reading it as well. More on the book soon. All I remember is that we walked into Gokul Bar and the rest of it is still very hazy. How we spoke of life being a spiral and not a circle, our journey back to Andheri, how they must be the luckiest people on this earth to have caught a bus back to Surat, is all very hazy. I'm glad such hazy things happen.

24. Movies watched.

Seems like it'll take another three hundred twenty seven years for Hindi movies to be regularly screened in Pondicherry. So starved I was for Hindi movies, read Hindi movies in theatres, that I had to get my dose of Hindi movies when I came to Mumbai. Here's the list - Jaan-e-Mann, Don, Apna Sapna Money Money, Deadline - Sirf 24 ghante and Dhoom 2.

My two cents worth. No wait, I paid more for these. Anyway, here goes.

I'm no big consumer of Dabur products, but I have to say Yeh baat kuch hazam nahin hui to Gulzaar Sahab. There's no comparing Naam Ada likhna in Yahaan to huaan jo zamane ka dastoor hain, woh maane nahi dad naaraaz tha and sirf do hi mahine hai seh lo agar, mera future hai teri kasam, mera future hai jismein piya in Jaan-E-Mann. It really hurts, Gulzaarsahab. Thank God, there's Guru coming soon and it does have some good alfaaz.

Jaan-E-Mann deserves no mention here, while Don was very stylishly made. For all the flak Farhan has received, I congratulate him for taking this risk and coming out trumps. Isn't Don a hit? Guess that says it all.

Dhoom 2? It's got Hrithik written over it all the way. The liplock aside, Aishwarya looks more like, like Sneha Ullal. Bikinasha, Abhishek and Uday just manage to pass the muster, helping us pass pop-corn with ease.

37. Books read

- Maximum City

- The Bachelor of Arts

- The Perfect Store: Inside eBay

- In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India. Makes for an interesting read. Having read India Unbound earlier, this book helped me put the various aspects of India- social, political and economic, in the right perspective. Long way to go before I really understand the dynamics of this mystery that is India.

- The Big Red Fez: How To Make Any Web Site Better by Seth Godin. I regularly follow Seth's blog, and just like on his blog where he simplifies marketing,in the books he provides real life examples to simplify web design.

All books recommended for reading, depending on your tastes and sensibilites.

58. Books to be read

- The Alchemy of Desire by Tarun Tejpal. Wonder how tasty will that be? Yes, this is in refence to this. Scroll down and you'll come to know why. Anyway, I've developed this strange liking for writers from Tehelka. Bunker 13 by Aniruddha Bahal. The rpm from that book is still very fresh in my mind. Read this to know more!

- Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog. Thought it's time I read some sensible stuff!

57. Some more movies I watched while I was not blogging
- Kannathil Muthamittal
- Pithamagan
- Fight Club(again)
- Full Metal Jacket.

Whenever I walk in the teeming Mumbai crowd, I imagine everyone marching on the road saying - "This is my rifle, this is my gun". If you've watched the movie, you'll know what I'm talking about.

63. Really glad that I'm back to quizzing. Because I'm not a B-school student, for purposes of convenience, I'm a student of NMIMS and Das remains my partner for any online B-school quiz. What's more, it was a heartening return to quizzing as Das and I teamed up to win the second prize in the entertainment quiz by IIFT. Another matter though that Dipubhai and I could not make it to the finals of quiz conducted by Avinash Mudaliar. But then, answers like the Marlboro man, iPod shuffle and more importantly FabIndia will help us take pleasant memories from that quiz. But just one point of bother - do fun and entertainment in a quiz have to include references to balls and let the tongue and cheek go haywire of tongue-in-cheek.

108. Watched Shazia Mirza perform.She was funny, hilarous, outrageous, serious, over the top, stinging all at once. But her honesty and straighforwardness are what make her more appealing and entertaining. If all her gigs are her real life stories, then this woman surely has the nerve!

457. Watched Kashinama at The Prithvi Theatre Festival. Was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Ok, this I have to write. I was standing beside Kay Kay Menon and then I asked him who the performer was. Swanand Kirkire,came the answer. No sooner did I exclaim - Oh Hazaaron, did Swanand began Baanwra Mann, followed by Raat Hamaari toh bowing to audience's request. His Main solah saal ka would be ideal for the short film on social networking I'm planning to make. Plans are to run into him again at Prithvi and ask him for the same. I know it's a tough ask, but I'll try.

3124. Shortfilm reminds me of the documentary/shortfilm Komal and I are planning to make on the recent 'corporatization' of Bollywood covering the latest attempts at
innovative marketing and promotion. We've got the basic framework worked out. All we need to do now is just go out there and do it! Promises to be exciting. What say? Ms. Big shot journalist! [ Ah, how much I'll have to hear for this]

5372. Conversations with Prayas have been educative and enlightening in a sense. We've discussed(a lot) over coffee, some Italian dish I can't remember and dinner. Hopefully, something concrete will emerge out of those discussions. Personally, Prayas has been a great person to spend time with. I shall start contributing for Mumbai Diaries soon and get invloved in the short film competition Prayas mentions on his blog.

6453. Ok, Pandora can read my mind. Talking of music, Mumbai's Rainbow FM is really good. I like it not because it is the only station which plays English music, but because unlike the RJs at Mirchi, Red, One, BIG or City, RJs at Rainbow are restrained and not shouting over the top of their voices.

3241.DesiLassi is up and running. We're still contemplating on how do we position it. Positioning might seem a fancy term, but doing business on the internet is definitely not easy if there's no focus. The DesiLassi blog is up. Promises to be a fun ride. Finished a pilot TV show episode for BookBox. Feels good to have done most of the things by my own - shooting, post, pre and free production and editing!

367532. And finally,

If you find love on the internet, will you say it was love at first site?!
If you work on the internet for a long time, will you be keybored?