Sunday, March 16, 2008

Happy Sunday!!

Look what I bought this morning. That’s a 7th to my Lonely Planet collection and a 3rd to my Calvin & Hobbes set.

I love book exhibitions and 20% discounts!!!

Happy happy happy!!

Bars, and other hang-ups

It’s Saturday night. I’m home. Not like I didn’t want to go out tonight, but all my energy got drained this evening. And I didn’t find anyone fun enough to go out with. I typically have very low tolerance for evenings spent with couples. No, it’s not the pressure to de-single myself. Rather, I get very bored. I’m quite a romantic myself, but not the ‘let’s do a romantic dinner, and meet with friends who can we bore the shit out of, with all our canoodling’. I like hanging out with a few couples. Vani is a lot of fun even when Nobby is around. Bharati and Hari are really fun too.

So I decided to stay back and read this book on Bombay city. I also realized I’m adamant about calling it Bombay as opposed to M**bai. It’s a hang up. Just the way I say “Leave this with me” as opposed to “Leave it to me”. I find the latter a lot less credible. This came up a few days back and maybe a certain Mr. Sawhney will relate to this, if he ever reads it.

The alternate plan was to hang out in a club in Saket. It didn’t appeal much to me. Saket, or the club. I would rather go to a bar.

I’ve had this ‘clubs vs. bars’ moot point with my friends for ages now. I don’t go clubbing. I think 2 years of B school partying killed my inclination to plan, dress up, and dance in a group of 400 unknown people. B school partying was very different. Every other Saturday, all of us would finish our work by midnight, after which we’d begin partying at L-square, and old basket ball court, right next to my room. I don’t recollect wearing anything other than old tracks and a grey vest as these parties (will try to dig up an old picture). Everything else, including the shots, babushkas, hook-ups, fights, people passing out, more shots, is the same. The bang for the buck, i.e. the party for the effort, was much higher!

Bars, on the other hand, are different. Now one has to come to terms with the fact that L-squares won’t happen once you’re out of B school. Given that, I like to spend my Friday evenings with friends, catching up over beer (I end up drinking very little of it, but providing a lot of the entertainment). U2, The Doors or Cranberries playing in the background can make it a fairly light start to a weekend.

I rarely find bars over-crowded, with men wearing orange shirts with “Lady killah!” written on them, and women wearing red stockings matched with red gloves (No kidding, that what’s I saw at Agni, one of the happening clubs in Delhi). Plus, Delhi women, when all decked up can give me quite a complex. That lot thankfully is always pulled towards clubs.

It’s a pity Delhi hasn’t imbibed the bar culture well. We had Turquoise cottage, which they shut down because it was not in an ‘authorized’ area (read crowded commercial complex, with multiplexes, apparel stores and fast food joints cramped together, with a little hole in the wall spared for the bar. In short, a highly inappropriate location). I honestly wish the Delhi government would expend its energy in other things.

So we’re left with TGI Fridays now, where I end up spending most of Friday evenings. I do wish one of my enterprising friends in Delhi takes a cue from the Hard Rock Café in Bombay, Mojos in Bangalore, Crazy Elephant in Singapore, Finnegan’s or the standard Deutsche Haus in KL, Chapandaaz in Madrid, or any bar in Munich (this list is clearly not exhaustive- its what's I know from my very limited travels). I’m sure there are at least a few hundred people in the city who like to spend their Friday evenings with friends over beer, chicken wings and Classic Rock.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Delhi and Bombay

What I love most about living in Delhi is how there’s always a fun way of spending a cold Sunday morning. A few Sundays back, I was a little under the weather and needed to get away from my room, which gave in under the cold wave and started to look gloomy. Walking back from the Republic Day parade the day before, I had seen there was a photography exhibition at National museum: A tale of 3 cities, by Pablo Barthlomew.

For those who love Delhi and Bombay and are intrigued by the layers of mystique that lie beneath the outer rough and tumble, this is a compact view into how these cities looked a few decades back. And a refreshing change from typical street photography. Not that I don’t like the latter, but its becoming increasingly difficult for photographers to differentiate street pictures, given how much interest the subject has generated among the amateurs in my generation, including me.

So the photographer dug out all his old black and white photos, and selected a few (not more than 30) which he felt would best describe his youth spent in the 2 cities.
Our lives haven’t changed as much. While the cities look very different from what they are today, the theme was Pablo, his family and friends. It was re-assuring to see how similar his life looked to the way you and I live today. I was always accused of being too proud of my youth, and I didn’t exactly disagree. I think Mr. Barthlomew and I have something in common there.

The curator was nice enough to let me take some pictures (included here).

I had been to Bombay 3 times before I saw this exhibition, and sure enough, I was in Bombay the next weekend.

I love big cities (and even smaller ones). I’m often disappointed at people whose love for one of Delhi and Bombay almost automatically implies a strong dislike for the other. I love Bombay for the sea, the disappearing lines between the classes, Hard rock café, and the freedom to approach a cute guy in a bar without him thinking he’s going to take me home. I love Delhi for its open spaces, the little coffee shops, central Delhi, its limitless art offerings, Delhi University and the option of long late night drives and ice cream waalas.

Will talk about Bangalore (my 3rd favourite in India) very soon!

Thursday, March 6, 2008


It’s sunny March. I love March. I used to love October. I think I still do. I have loved it every year.

It’s been 6 turbulent months.

6 months back, I was in Mexico. I love visiting new cities. Except maybe Hyderabad (and I’m still struggling with why I didn’t like it as much), I have loved most cities I’ve been to. I liked Mexico. I liked Cancun. But I think it’s the only place I will try not to visit again. Especially, since there are a lot of boxes I need to check before that.

When I was in Mexico, I knew I was going to change a lot. I knew the next 6 months were not going to be easy. For the 48 hours I spent on a plane to make it to Mexico, I brought back a lot of disappointment, and occasional tears. I cried on my flight back. The only thing worse than crying 24 hours is a jet lag following that. The struggle has eased now. There was disillusionment, loss of confidence, insecurity, gloomy Friday evenings, even weight loss (which is incidentally not always good), growth, questions, new interests, continuous inspiration, new confidence, great friends, sunny Sunday afternoons, disappearance of the last few traces of fear, more weight loss (and then it is that good), regained faith in romance, and a re-enforced desire to start, continue and end things in style, all in that order. The struggle isn’t over. It won’t be over. But I’ve begun to accept and even like the real world that I became a part of only recently.

I’m getting my passport renewed. I waited 6 months for this. I’m planning a new vacation. I haven’t seen much in Europe.

Much love,