Friday, January 28, 2011

The Mumbai Diaries Note

Watched Dhobi Ghat yesterday. And loved it.

I know there are quite a few complaints against the film that it doesn't have a story or that it is an out and out art film etc. And by saying that I love the film, I don't want to pretend to be all high-brow and all (My favourite Bollywood film is Om Shanti Om, for God's sake! :P) but this film was a real pleasure to watch even if it didn't conform to the popular cinema frame and didn't really even have a story in it's conventional beginning-middle-end structure.

However, I must state here that it's a personal choice and opinion and this kind of cinema does not appeal to a lot of people's tastes. So, I am not going to give recommendations or rating for this one. The film claims to be "Mumbai Diaries" and I agree about the Diaries part. The film is a story of four random people from Mumbai. They could have been from anywhere in the world. It is about what relationship these four people have with each other. It is about an interesting part from the lives of these four people. Not their whole life story. Not a great saga of lovers or of a family or of a nation or of a city. Just a piece of four people's lives and about their dated relationships with each other, only a matter of chance. Arun (Aamir Khan) is a very famous painter in Mumbai. Shai (Monica Dogra) is an investment banker by profession and a photographer by heart, who has come to Mumbai from New York for a short period of time. Munna (Prateik) is a wanna-be actor, who works as a washer-man while trying to make it big in the B-town. And Yasmin is the previous tenant of the house that Arun lives in. She came to Mumbai from UP with her husband.

Also, like in Peepli [Live], the film-making techniques have been experimented with and there are segments where the narrative has come out through alternative medium, like, home-made videos, photographs and paintings. Also, Mumbai is seen through the eyes of all kinds of people - Mumbaiites, tourists, new residents.

Aamir Khan, the method actor, is brilliant and impeccable as always. The new comers are all good as well. The cinematography was one of my favourite things about the film. Oh, and it's length. :P 95 minutes is good for a film. ;)

One tiny thing: according to some facebook updates, the film should have made me feel my Mumbai within me and God knows what else. While I love Mumbai and I think films based in Mumbai are awesome, especially if they try to capture the city and give it a character, like Kiran Rao tried to do, I still didn't feel anything strong. It was there, a Mumbai-ness to it. But, it was a sort of new-Mumbai-ness. Not an inherent Mumbai-ness, which would have made my nostrils flare up as soon as the attar (perfume) shop scene or the pav-bhaaji thela (the pav bhaji stall) scene came on. Like a borrowed Mumbai-ness. Or an adopted Mumbai-ness. I don't know if it was me or the film. But, I didn't feel the "Mumbai Diaries" title was justified well enough.

Apart from that, I just loved every bit of it. :)

* Pictures courtesy google images.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Taking Off

This is ridiculous. I feel like a fucking emotional atom-bomb, ready to burst at the slightest touch. Two days ago, a sweet email forward made me cry. It's absolutely stupid and time to get a hold on myself. So, I made a list of things that give me unadulterated happiness:

  1. Playing with toddlers. It makes me feel innocent and like a child myself. It was also one of the things that saved me from going absolutely crazy on The Dreaded Trip week before last. My nieces and nephews are a boon from God and very soon, I am going to steal at least two of them and run away to a far, far place. :P
  2. Music. Though, I have had it on most of the time in the last month and still felt like shit. But, it helps nonetheless.
  3. Dancing. Even when I was on The Dreaded Trip (and I will definitely write a series of posts about it soon) dancing kept me happy. Even though it was dancing on religious music in a temple.
  4. Nature. Trees, flowers and the moon. 
  5. Candles. Extremely soothing.
  6. Travel.
  7. Watching cartoons. All the depression not withstanding, Popeye made me forget everything else and laugh for a few minutes yesterday and it felt as if I had genuinely laughed after a few years! 
So, basically, I need to make a plan to get myself out of the doldrums and take control of my life once again. Because you know, it's nobody else's responsibility but mine to keep myself happy and out of misery. 

I already have started doing something about it. I have joined the last level of learning French at Alliance Francaise and oh, the joys of being a student once again! :) I have switched to part time work now, which ensures that I get enough time to socialise, study, write and just have some me-time. I will stay here until the end of May, when my French course finishes because this job offers me good flexibility (at least at the moment) and then, start looking for a better place. Also, the boss is being kinder than before after learning about my commute hours and so, is giving me more work to do at home so that I don't have to travel all the way everyday. This makes it so much more bearable. 

Secondly, I started making a list of all the places I want to go to so that I can plan and budget my trips. Because, the one thing that I am sure of is that I want to travel. But, then I realised that I want to go everywhere!! :P So, short term plans on this one. For now, I think I will visit Kyra, Sara and another friend in Banglore, sometime early March. We can re-live our Leeds time together and also, I can fool myself into thinking that I had a vacation. ;)

Thirdly, definitely, I will socialise more with family and friends so that a) I can keep my sanity; b) I can meet my nieces and nephews more often and c) I can be there for my friends when they need me. 

Minor things like listening to music, watching more films (especially comedies) and reading more books go without saying. There, I have a plan now. Now, all I have to do is make myself feel some motivated to start doing at least one of the things. The rest of the motivation will come from doing that thing. Or, so I hope. We shall see. I will keep you updated. :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sun!!!!!

Here's to the person who reminds us of our balls of steel, to our spine, to the vegetarian birthday lunches, to the bra-shopping, to the Pearl-bitching, to the mother shocking, to the innumerable memories and to soul sisters! Happy Birthday, my darling! May God give you the best of everything - just like you deserve!

I love you!

*Image courtesy google images.

Oh Star, Where art thou gone?

Something is very seriously wrong with me. It's probably called "growingupoplasia". But, I have never in my entire life been so depressed. I have always been a very bubbly and optimistic person, to the extent that sometimes I even give myself a headache. But I think one of the most important reasons behind my happiness and cheerfulness was the security. I knew exactly what I wanted from my life, what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it, everything. Everything was so much easier.

But, last year changed everything. It changed my perspectives, my aspirations, my ambitions, my dreams, everything. And now, I no longer know exactly what I want. I don't know in which direction to move forward. Or even whether to move forward or not. I have even given up on my PhD application. If I am not sure that I want to be in the academics, then there is no point in doing a PhD at all. And even if I do decide later on that I want to do it, I can always do it. But if I jump into it right now, it will be a three year commitment. And I don't want to find out in the middle of this very expensive commitment that it's not exactly my calling. I just don't have enough motivation or inspiration to actually pick up my pen (metaphorically only. I actually mean type it out) and formulate my application.

What I am sure I really want to do is travel. So, I think I am going to appoint that as my new goal. Only, this travelling is a very expensive business. So, I am going to work like a donkey so that I earn enough money to travel. And go, visit Sun in New Zealand. Of course, it will probably take me about 2 years of savings or more if I stay in my current job. It's stupid, shitty job that doesn't even pay me well. I don't know why I don't just quit. It was so much easier to tell people to quit if they are not happy doing something. But, I am so confused about everything in my life that quitting will only make me panic even more. Besides, the mind-numbing job gives my over-alarmed, over-working brain a rest.

And I should not even get started on how much I miss Atom and how much it is painful to actually think of it as a hopeless situation. Bloody unfair life, go screw yourself. I just don't know anything anymore. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Questions of Security

I am a fairly confident person generally. I am mostly sure of myself and know that I am totally worth it. Not in an arrogant, over-confident manner. Or at least, I hope not. But I know I am good and won't let anyone ever walk all over me.

But, strangely, I am very insecure as well.Very, very insecure. When a friend gives more importance to someone else or something else, I get jealous and insecure. When my mum used to pay more attention to Hoppy (because he was 5 and I was 16) I would get extremely jealous. Thank God, THAT phase has passed. But, I am still quite insecure when it comes to friends and boyfriends. Especially with boyfriends, I become really insecure and surprise myself that I could be possible of that. I have almost always succeeded in managing a facade of nonchalance and indifference, projecting myself as confident and all. But it's just that, a facade.

I have often tended to blame my first boyfriend for that because I found out that he had been cheating on me with at least 2 other women. But I know that is not true at all. I don't even think of him anymore at all. It was such a long, long time ago. And I have always been like this ever since I was a child. Very possessive. I even feel bad when I lose a pencil because everything that I use becomes special for me.

With CPV as well, I was extremely insecure. Maybe not so much that he would cheat on me. But that he would not find me good enough, that inspite of all the love, he won't find it enough to commit to me, that I will always be just this aside in his life. And so many of these things happened inspite of all my efforts. With Atom, it was better. I don't know if I had become more self-assured or if it was because Atom is so much more reliable. But I wasn't insecure about him or his affections. I was insecure about the situation. Of course there was nothing I could do about it. But, it was easier with him. And mostly, it was because we had no expectations from each other. We knew we only had a few weeks together. So, we kept surprising each other with the depth of our affections. But, it was still different in terms of insecurity. Meaning that it didn't exist. :P Which was a good thing. Maybe I am moving towards a better and self-assured me. Or maybe it was just chance. Whatever it was, it was great. :)

Anyway, I am going to bring this rambling and useless post to an end and say goodbye to you all for the next 10 days. I am going to Gujrat for a religious trip with my enormous family, because of which I am already flipping out and thinking of ways to smuggle in a few ciggies here and there. :P I am sure I will come back with lots of angry and frustrated posts.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Birthday Wishlist

Not possible ones:

1) One No-need-to-get-depressed-this-is-the-right-decision-in-life guide, please.
2) Sun
3) Atom
4) Tickets to Jaipur for the Lit Fest and somebody to convince my boss that one more week without me won't kill the office.

Possible ones:

1) The F-Word by Mita Kapoor
2) Chick Lit: The New Women's Fiction by Suzanne Ferriss and Mallory Young.
3) A CD of all the awesome Shania Twain songs
4) More dhotis and T-shirts in my wardrobe

So, I know exactly where my first pay-check is going. :P

Sunday, January 2, 2011



My parents are making me go to a pilgrim place in Gujrat with the whole family (40 very religious 50 year olds and about 5 20-somethings) next week, which is why I can't go to Jaipur the week after that. (Argh! times 1000)

And this year Candace Bushnell (for all you ignorant people who don't know who she is, she is the author of Sex and the City) is going to be there as well! It's research, guys!

And my dad used the worst possible arguments ever for this: 1) Lit fests keep happening. You will get another chance for something like this. 2) When will you ever get a chance to go to a pilgrim specially organised by one of my uncles for the whole family? This after he knows that I am not very religious.

I could only stare open-mouthed at him.  So, I won't ever get a chance to go to a pilgrim place in Gujrat with my family but I will somehow get a chance to listen to and interact with a 52-year old American author, who is one of the greatest pioneers of the chick-lit genre in popular culture at a lit fest.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Year That Was...

First of all, Happy New Year to everyone!! :D

I am a bit of a boring person. So, I don't like 31st parties. Everywhere is crowded and expensive and I get bored. I can celebrate the New Year's on 5th, if you want. I have nothing against the excuse for celebration. But I do have a problem with spending my time being jostled around and all, after I pay a LOT of money for a good time. So, that's the reason, why I was sitting at home, writing this post rather than partying the night away somewhere.

Anyway, this is going to be my obligatory year-end post, where I rewind my year and re-live the various important moments from the past year.

January, 2010: The birthday month. :D First time in my life that I got completely sloshed and experienced a hangover. Not pretty but definitely a watershed moment. :P Also, I visited Misty in London, travelled around London and fell in love with it! I totally want to live there once when possible.

February, 2010: Quite uneventful except for a day trip to Scarborough and Whitby, which was quite awesome! :D

March 2010: I went for my first Couchsurfing festival, MADchester and made loads and loads of cool, new friends. Also, S met M and my days were over. :( :P

April, 2010: I started blogging with my first post dedicated to my girls, Sun and Moon. Here's to the Celestial Goddesses! :D

May, 2010: My trip to Scotland! :D (Notice how most of my "special moments of the month" have got to be travelling things? :P) But, I went to Scotland for another Couchsurfing do, Edinburgh Rocks! And it was great. One of my favourite events was Free Hugs. And then, when we travelled around, apart from the Highlands, which were obviously pretty, we also went to St. Andrews, which was low-profile but so extremely pretty. Also, when we were here, I went to my first real beach, with good weather and all, in England - something that I missed about Mumbai! It was just the best. :D :D :D

June, 2010: I presented my first academic paper at a conference ever and it was very much appreciated by everyone. So, I felt ecstatic that I can do something intellectual like that too. :P

July, 2010: A complete waste of a month, to be honest. :P I was *supposed* to be working on my dissertation, due to which, I didn't go anywhere, didn't do anything. But, I didn't study either. So, mostly, I vegetated in my room watching stupid sitcoms and films and not doing anything. :/ But, I also discovered the hidden talent of mine of making awesome cocktails at home. :P

August, 2010: A lot like July, except in this month, there was a bit more working on dissertation. Finally, phew. :P

September, 2010: I finished and submitted my dissertation!! Woot, woot! :D A very exciting and amazing academic year came to an end with that. :) Also, I went to North Wales for hiking with my housemates, which was a bit of a debacle but EXTREMELY pretty. AND, I went to Northern Ireland with S, which was THE BEST vacation in the UK. It's the most beautiful place in the UK and everyone should visit it. Also, I met Atom towards the wee end of the month and struck up a great friendship with him instantly. September, was, without a doubt the best month of the year. :D

October, 2010: Well, Atom and I became officially involved. And then, I left. :( But, I came back to Mumbai!!!! :D I met my family and Moon at the airport and totally realised how much I had missed this place and these people. Lots of mixed emotions in this one. Peaks of happiness and depths of depression.

November, 2010: This was the month of drifting along without any particular goal. Probably the saddest month of the year, where I didn't know what next. I hated that feeling of hanging in the limbo. Nothing happened except for a few poor efforts at finding a job. And finding myself. Which, just for the records, I still haven't.

December, 2010: Firstly, I found a job that I like. So, that drifting mode suddenly came to stop, which was a good thing. Coz, if I had brooded anymore, I would have gone crazy by now. :P Then, I went back to England and had the best time of my life there. I officially became a post graduate from a reputed English uni. :D I didn't let a single moment go by without soaking in everything I knew I would miss, especially, Atom's company. I spent a very short but a lovely time with him.
But, also, I returned to Mumbai single. Anyway, ever since I came back, I have been working like a maniac, leaving the house at 7:30 am and returning at 10:30 pm. So, I haven't had time to brood. Not that I am going to. It was all for the best and I have no regrets.

All in all, a very very very good year, 2010 was. :D I am sad to see it go away. But then again, I intend to make 2011 as interesting as 2010, if not more. :D

So, Happy New Year, guys! Hope you have a great 2011. :D