Monday, April 17, 2006

slouching away from bethlehem

In spite of having lost phone connections, a computer and practically my entire home to renovations last week, it was an excellent time to take a vacation. I was holed up in a strange house with no access to any of my gadgets, but I felt connected to civilisation. I was in Bombay. My powers of objectivity were orbiting Mars. And life was beautiful.

Some reasons why this may be the case.

Mid-Day: Dear Jet Airways, it was I who stole the Mid-Day copies on each leg of my round trip. Forgive me, but they were as plums in an icebox to a starving woman.

I mean, what is this Mumbai Mirror balderdash? Yet another withered ad-horse slouching out of the underbelly of the ToI Response department. A few pages of perusable whimsy good enough for before the day's first chai. When the sun is overhead and you're workin' those tough streets, baby, it takes the Mid-Day.

Salman Khan: I figured why no one in Bombay has yet gone rioting over dead and diminished celebrities. It's because they're too busy reading Mid-Day. I wonder what might have happened if, last week, the positions of the esteemed Dr. Rajkumar and Salman Khan had been reversed. Or perhaps there'd still have been riots in Bangalore. And young men in Bombay would still have been taking off their shirts. My mother had the last word on the subject - "he's a fool, yaar, that chap!" - but there was a lot that came before, in the 200-odd pages of newsprint scannable on a daily basis chez Roswitha in Bombay. Being an undiluted product of the western suburbs, I cracked up at something that was on the news channels a few months back:

(Puppet) Interviewer: Where'd you get your accent from?
(Puppet) Salman Khan: Yeah, I grew up in the West.
(Puppet) Interviewer: Salman, you grew up in Bandra.
(Puppet) Salman Khan: Yeah, man, 'swhat. In Bandra west.

Bandra: I want to grow up and own a thriving costume jewellery business and a devoted and unsuitable restaurant owner from Waterfield Road for a husband. And we will have a rowhouse on Hill Road (next to Holy Family Hospital!), because Bandra West is just that awesome. I'm not quite sure why the three bazillion restaurants I went to were all required to flash the fake bamboos-and-mulberries decor, but hey. It's Bandra. A place called 'Bread Boutique' has actually not shut down in this marvellous place. It's a mystery and a wonder.

Food: As you may have guessed. I spent rather a lot of time in Bandra restaurants. Well, I ate. I ate Chinese food, Indian food, more Chinese food. I ate three scoops of ice-cream in one sitting at Gokul in Santacruz (if anyone has the opportunity; go for jackfruit). I ate peanuts at Gokul in Colaba, the original Seedy Bar and House of General Ill-Repute around them parts. Vada-pao. Even more Chinese food at Ling's Pavilion.

But most of all, there was home food. Barrels of it. My insides are still trying to recover from the assault of curd and coconut. I feel a little more ready to take on the world and its oily mirchi ka salan now. We Mallus may not know how to throw a party, but I think we're pretty okay at stuffing people's faces so that they don't actually miss the loud music and silly dancing.

Family: I hate to say it, but I'm not sixteen anymore. I love my parents, man.

Friends: The communications breakdown meant I didn't get to see people I wanted to meet (such as Imhunt) but I did catch up with a few people and had a great time. Really great. Maybe we can all have adjacent rowhouses in Bandra?

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Ah, that Tim Supple production. It was good. In fact, it was most high and excellent. I had a great time, mostly because I could understand everything except the Bengali and Sinhala, and the Malayalam/Tamil actors had Viv and me laughing our heads off a significant number of times. It was like being in college again - a sense of wonder assailing the mind, people one had exchanged class notes with on stage, familiar faces all at hand, and enough stupid people in the audience - "what's he saying ya, I can't understand this language!" "see see, she has abs! but they didn't have gyms in those times!" - to keep one smug.

It'll be boring in Paradise without all this nostalgia.


  1. One thing abt the ol' city that never fails to amaze me is the number of new eating places that seem to have cropped up every time I'm back there!! And that only means more places I miss out on :-<.

  2. "these actors work out or what?"

  3. Actually, Faezeh works at a gym. So that explains the abs. :D
    Sorry, couldn't resist. You can always throw a stapler at me. God knows they grow in abundance at the office.

  4. Few points.

    I live in Bandra.
    You never called.
    You know Kate and she has my nummber.
    You were in my neighborhood with Bread Boutique and Basilico.
    You watched Midsummer Night's Dream the same day/show as I did.
    I had no idea you were in Bombay.

    Which all leads to:

    I am sad.

  5. @ kray: I know. I KNOW. Bombay's never been so attractive as when you're absent from it. Sigh, huh.

    @ viv: "eh no ya!"

    @ tanushree: i don't have too many to spare at my desk! but thank you for obliging us with the truth of the matter. i knew there was a lot more going on in arden than i suspected.

    @ vik: next month, promise!

  6. Anonymous12:41 pm

    Hard pressed for time one Sunday I dashed into this Bread Boutique, Bandra & picked up a choco chip cake bar & a banana loaf for friends in A'bad...yuck yuck yuck sorry to say...color fools the nutrition to boot..w-h-a-t a let-down..