Sunday, March 26, 2006


I don't get it...I have now stayed in Mumbai for almost 3 months, 2 months during October and November and now for the last one month. Every person I have met here tells me that once somebody comes to Bombay they never leave the city. What does this city hold that seems to make thousands of people gravitate from different parts of the country to Bombay. It hits you, mauls you and then turns you into a zombie and yet people continue staying in this seething cauldron that is Bombay. I had gone to a Bengali friend's place and while having dinner her husband was telling me about how he came to Bombay after having worked with IBM in Calcutta and that he would not leave Bombay because 'once you get the taste of Bombay life" , you just can't leave this place- these were his exact words.

Yet I am perturbed more so by the vehemence with which people don't stop advocating Bombay to me. On my way to distribute wedding cards for my cousin's wedding, I travel across the Bombay suburbs. The housing is cramped, there is no sign of ventilation and the lighting is non-existent in some places. When I ask people as to what do they like about Bombay, a friend tells me that he loves the fast paced life. He says he gets extremely restless when he goes for a holiday and on one occasion on a holiday to Goa, he came back in 6 days as he got tired of not having to do anything. This city and its distances are a pain beyond endurance. The crowds, the heat and the dust...I am still struggling with it. Still trying to find my place here. Now what I would like to see is if the adage that I have been hearing with a never-ending regularity holds true for me too- Once you come to Bombay, you don't leave this city again.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

But why??

She is always ready with a smile when I speak to her. She loves to eat, to go out, the movies and all the small and simple things such as these and yet today she is teetering towards the edge of hope and has no idea what she has done to have acquired such a fate.

She loved him and they knew that 'it' would be difficult to say the least with the amount of distance between them to carry a relationship forward and yet she trusted him implicitly. This relationship lasted 5 years and they were to get married. The marriage was to take place in India. Both sides had started preparations and she was going to be as beautiful a bride as they come. Suddenly a few days before the wedding the groom confessed that he did not love her anymore. He did not give her any reason; she did not ask him for any. Maybe he was in love with somebody else or maybe he had just fallen out of love with her. It did not matter to her anymore. All that pain and suffering and sacrifices made, seemed to have come to naught. It hurt maybe more because she did not know what she did wrong. There were the associated rumblings in the society. She left home, moved to a new town and started a new life doing what she liked doing best-teach.

Time passed on and she got married to another 'him'. They met through an ad she had placed on a matrimony website. The courtship period had all the elements of a healthy romance. They eventually got married. She was happy. Again. It felt good to have someone atlast to depend on and to share one's life with. On the seventh day of the marriage he hit her. It was to be the first of many such incidents. He was whimsical to the extent of being crazy. He would not tolerate differences of opinion on simple topics such as the city of Bombay. He would hit her when she tried to wake him up in the morning. He would taunt her everyday as to how miserable she had made his life. He would hit her if the rice was hot when served to eat. She did her best to accommodate all his whims and fancies. She suffered through all of this only because she wanted to do her best to make the marriage work. But the torture continued with her having to spend some nights at the neighbor's because he hit her and threw her out. Then one day she walked out of that house and today she is living with some relatives. Yet even today she is always ready with a smile when I speak to her. She loves to eat, to go out, the movies and all the small and simple things such as these. What happens next nobody knows because the problem is nobody knows why it ever happened in the first place.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

What the f***???

I just don't get it, I am reading about it all over the web, every girl I meet has a story to say about it and yet it does not stop the sense of outrage and disgust that wells in me. The blog world is celebrating Blank Noise Project and its maddening sometimes to read what has been put up, to just imagine that women have more or less come to terms with harassment of various sorts and yet there are some beacons of hope like hemangini. Some of her story has elements of this story I wrote a long time back here.

For the women, a lot has been said and there is nothing I can say except it does not stop the feeling of shame that comes when I hear these incidents and to the men...GROW UP FOR GOD'S SAKE!!

PS: You have got to read the take Shiv Sena has on some of these issues- it takes the cake and eats it too. Sorry bad one!

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Yogender is a happy-go-lucky guy. He is about 5ft 5 inches, a mop of hair and a moustache. My first memory of his is the nonchalance and joy with which he meets everyone who comes to stay at the guest house. I have on a number of occasions sat with him and listened to his monologues. He studied till his 10th in a Hindi medium school in Jaipur. After this he decided to learn cooking and today he is an accomplished cook and can cook different kinds of cuisines. He reminisces today that he wishes that he had gone on to graduate and made something out of himself and yet he is happy with everyday of his life. To see him whistling and cooking and dancing to the tune of the TV while cutting vegetables in the kitchen is a sight to watch.

Its his wish to go the US and work as a cook there as he has an uncle who runs a restaurant of some sort there. He has also started learning to read some English as he feels his prospects would be better if he knew the language. He is a nice likeable guy and its the care he takes of his guests that I find most impressive. He insists daily that we eat only hot chappathis and that every wish of ours is met as best as he can. He is getting married in April and he has now
been quite eagerly looking forward to it. He leads a very normal and routine life and yet he is happy and on so many occasions people who do so much more or who think they are doing so much more seem to remain unsatisfied. Good for you, Yogender! Good for you!