Tag Archives: Mumbai

Away from home

27 Apr

A month ago, I took a giant leap. I decided to move out from Sopara and stay as a PG in Worli. Why? Because, enough is enough. I quit the horrendous train battle. After 7 years of being a sheep in the huge flock which gets pushed to die in a compartment of Virar local, I now decided to put an end to the nightmare. I should’ve done this long back but you know you can’t pay peanuts for rent in Mumbai. It’s not that I can afford it now, but now I am in a position where I can at least make ends meet.

New place

New place

Fortunately, I did not run from pillar to post to find a place. Thanks to father’s BMC contacts which helped us to get a decent place in the city. What I discovered was, these BMC officials have the entire city on their speed dial. What enviable contacts. Superb. So finally moved in. Roommate is sweet but very conservative. Does not drink, hates maggie and pizza, makes excellent tea. But very cordial. Drags me to Worli Sea Face every night for a 45-minute-run. In short, everything is fine.

New place

New place

What sucks is bus travel. I loathe the bus travel. The only good thing is that I reach work in 15 mins flat! Reaching work so quickly is a dream. Imagine an hour and half time cut down to fifteen fucking minutes. Also the largest numbers of jerks are to be found in bus. God those deliberate dhakkas and irritating stares is what women who travel by bus has to face every day.

But I miss home. I miss Mom and Dad like crazy. Though I am just an hour and half away, I still feel that I am in a whole new city. I miss talking aloud, making a mess at home. I hate how dad gets teary-eyed when he leaves me at the station every Sunday. I miss making fuss over a vegetable that I hate. Here, I eat everything without questioning the cook why she made it. Also, I have started cooking. Horrible chapatis and tea is what I make now, but I think I will improve.

The other day, I forgot to close the windows as I was in a hurry to catch the daily bus. You won’t believe what happened! Pigeons came in and shat on our clothes which were kept for drying on the clothes line! Also once I opened the cooker immediately after I closed the gas to see whether the rice was well cooked. Boom! I ran out of the house, praying the neighbours shouldn’t come running. A lesson well learned.

So yes, this is how I am living these days. The new found freedom is liberating but sad at the same time. But I am going to listen to Darwin who says, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”

Lessons learned from a trek

7 Oct

I felt the need to put this down, because I don’t want another ‘oh-my-god-i-am-dying’ person while climbing a fort. I went with my office colleagues this weekend to Karnala fort which is about 55 km away from Mumbai. While, I thought that I was going to have a merry drinking, eating easy time with the colleagues, but I had no idea what was waiting for me. I thought, we were going to the Karnala bird sanctuary, where we would do some ‘bird-watching’, spot a peacock, sing some songs and head back. But, here I am rubbing Iodex to my entire body. But, but, but. It was an ecstatic trek. Though, I huffed and puffed my way towards the fort, but I did get the ‘oh-my-god-i-did-it’ feeling at last. And, I think trekking is about that feeling. Now, I have put down some points that I think you need to do before or while on the mission.

Karnala fort

Karnala fort: The movie ‘Jait Re Jait’ was filmed here, btw.

Never be sceptical about a trek: It is either you are going or you are not. Like, I was unsure till the last minute. But then I suddenly decided to go. Make up your mind the day you come to know about the plan, and then prepare for it.

Always google the place: I did not do this. It’s absolutely necessary. We are not kids anymore who tug along with our dads who take us to places. You must know things about the place.

Treks are not for dieters:  I realised this when I was panting like a dog during the climb. It’s been a month and I am only on brown bread. Also, I had not eaten enough the previous night of the trek. If you ever plan for a trek, do not, I repeat do not diet. At least a week before the trek, eat everything healthy you can get your hands on.

Sports shoes are sport shoes, and trek shoes are trek shoes: I skidded innumerable timesbecause of my shoes. There was no grip at all. The trek guide kept on saying, “wrong shoes, wrong shoes” all the time.

Always carry a cap: Though, you will look like a monkey, but it’s ok. I remember how Sun God was punishing me for not carrying a cap. Next time, I will.

Do not climb alone: Now you are not some Aron Ralston who would survive a deadly situation. Always climb along with your group. Do not meander alone.

Warm up is necessary:  It is a no brainer. You cannot decide to jump out from your cubicle to land straight away on a mountain (which I did). You need a plan. Like a proper fitness regime that willprepare you for the mission.

Never quit: I was about to quit right when I was 10 minutes away from the fort. It’s terrible, this feeling. Never succumb to this feeling. Take your own time, but do finish the climb. Reach on the top. There is something special waiting for you there.  Keep pushing yourself. Reach to the top.

P.S: I would like to thank my colleagues who helped me to get through this. Yoshid, Chille and Sunil, it would have been very difficult without you guys. Also, the trek guide Sanej. A big big thankyou!

Meet Ravan and Eddie, my new friends

20 May

‘Chawl nahi dekhi, toh tune kya Mumbai dekhi?’ was once the question asked by a Koli aunty who was travelling with me in the same train compartment. We were discussing the damage caused due to a fire accident at Bandra east in 2011. Many huts and chawls were turned into ashes.  Now, whenever I pass by a chawl, I remember her and the question.

Ravan and Eddie reminded me of that conversation. Kiran Nagarkar’s book pays ode to Mumbai chawls which are now losing its architectural significance. The book archives the ‘Bombay’ of the 50’s and tells the tale of two contrasting characters with the city as a backdrop. Ravan and Eddie epitomises the spirit of the city, it’s moodiness and taste.

If you haven’t visited a chawl, please do. And then read this book.

If you haven’t visited a chawl, please do. And then read this book.

Ravan Pawar, a hindu and Eddie Countinho, a catholic are Nagarkar’s characters that take you through the journey of the city and its people. Though they are poles apart, their lives are intertwined. Ravan carries the heavy blame of killing Eddie’s father, while Eddie’s way of taking revenge is by being the best boy in Ravan’s RSS contingent. Their naivety gets polluted by intrusion of religion and they fell into a trap of scorn, competition and false hatred.

From water wars to Afghan snow powder,  Nagarkar chronicles the life and things through brief mini-essays.  The book stresses on how privacy in chawl is a non-existent term. ‘Ravan and Eddie’ tickles the sexual quotient of the middle class Bombay in an irreverent and wicked way. One cannot imagine a submissive wife trying to kill a husband during an intercourse.  Also, one cannot imagine the ‘other woman’ and a dutiful wife living under the same roof peacefully.  Nagarkar depicts sex as raw and unapologetic, and therefore it’s beautiful.

‘Ravan and Eddie’ is one of the best books written on the city. If you haven’t visited a chawl, please do. And then read this book. They will be your friends for life, both Ravan and Eddie.