Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Some Things Never Change

* Still needs the early morning coffee. And that too will be licked off my fingers. And if one drop falls off before she can get to it, off she goes into a corner and frowns.

* Still needs the chapatti and rice with dal, cooked fresh. She wont eat the leftovers from yesterday.

* Still loves it when you run your fingers over her head. She could just let you do that all day.

* Will wake me up every morning, is waiting into the late hours of the night for me to come home.

* Still asks for a kiss and makes the best smooching sounds.

I am talking about my pet parrot back home in India. Sunny. Who we still refuse to accept as a female. Come on, we got him home when he was 15 days old and the person who sold him to us said "Its a male". Male parrots develope a round red and black stripe around their necks when they turn two or three years old. So we waited, for a good three years, checking everyday for when Sunny will grow that stripe. And one fine day (s)he laid an egg. So scratching my head and staring at that egg, I said, "So now what? We change his name to Sonali?"

Too late. By this time, Sunny was a well grown talking parrot. Not only would he say what we taught him, but he would also pick up lines which were not meant for him to learn.

When Dad used to get home, he used to walk up to Sunny and say, "Sunny beta, whats happening?" and very soon Sunny was mimicking him with a "Sunny Beta, whats happening?" Hence it was too late to change this to "Sunny beti" and despite laying eggs and exhibiting all the nakhras any female would, Sunny was still referred to as a male.

As a kid I used to kiss him, and thats how he picked up those smooching sounds. A very embarassing moment when guests are sitting in the living room and there are smooching sounds coming out of the bedroom.

This time when I was in India, we tried to get him to talk. No luck. When you want him to talk, he'll just sit there, staring at you like the Buddha. And when you lie down to sleep, he'll start off. Get up quickly, get out the camera, and he'll stare at you like the Buddha. Perhaps he is camera shy. No idea. However, I love to piss him off. So since he refused to talk one fine day, I decided to spray him with water. He loves the water but hates it when it gets in his nostrils. No points for guessing what I was aiming for (ok, not really, I love him too much for that, but once in a while I do like to piss him off). Dad was playing around with the videocam and it seems the water actually distracted Sunny from the presence of a camera and we managed to film him speak a few words.

Its basically two lines

1. Sunny Beta (no explanation needed for that)
2. Kashyala ooradto tu? (In Marathi, it means - "Why are you shouting?")

Check out the video and see if you can figure out what he is saying.

Up next: Why my friends hate me!

Disclaimer: No animals were harmed in the making of this video. Cameraman does not discriminate based on race, sex, tv viewing habits or choice of underwear.

..... 55 days to go

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Monday, August 18, 2008


I have gazillion posts, all half written and never published. Sometimes, in the midst of writing something comes up and you think you'll come back to the post later. That never happens and the post just rots. Now I have no inclination to go about with this unfinished business hence the two people who read this blog shall, for the first time in its history, read an incomplete post!

I had written this post just as I returned from my India trip, sometime way back in May. If you have not been following what I wrote above, yes, it is incomplete!

* When friends used to come from abroad and say they feel the pollution in the city, I used to laugh at them. The firt time I returned home, I felt the smokey fumes the moment I stepped out of the airport. However this time I did not. I didnt go on a sneezing spree and didnt suffer an upset stomach. Something must be wrong with me.

* Traffic, traffic, traffic. Autowallas rigging their meters, asking return fare for a one way journey, constructing malls in the tighest of spaces, rude turning ruder, not obeying traffic signals, and sky rocketing prices. Not the Bombay I grew up in. But the Mumbai I have started to accept.

* I was surprised by the Rs. 20/- Churchgate return fare. Also, I have no idea which idiot moved the previous ticketing system to a dot matrix printer. Now the ticket clerk goes through a huge amount of time entering data and then waits eons for the ticket to print. The system earlier was much simpler and faster. He used to punch the ticket and bam! You are ready to go. But I digress. I remember the days after my 10th grade. For "apparently" studying diligently, I was allowed to get out of the house and party everyday.... well, party like a 10th grader. I got 100 bucks in the morning and some of my friends and I used to take the train to Churchgate (Rs. 8/- return). Getting there, we either ate at some crappy roadside place or treated ourself to Sundance cafe on an odd day. Split a cab to Regal, or walk it up, watch a movie from the dress circle for Rs. 43/-, hang out around town and take the Andheri Local back home, get off at Parle, have a softy and call it quits. That was the norm. All in a 100 bucks.

* We walked in for an afternoon show at Cinemax. Rs. 250/- a person. What happened to the good old 100 bucks a day time?

* I was walking up Juhu with a friend. We started from Prithvi's and passed by the Centaur to Mahesh Lunch home (where we decided to return for our dinner) and kept walking past the JW till we hit Shiv Sagar. Somewhere nostalgia got the better of me and we ended with Pav Bhaji and a Falooda at Shiv Sagar.

* We took the cool cab into town, which in the smouldering heat was pleasant. We got onto Bus # 324 for our return journey. For some reason I kept smiling all through that return journey holding onto the window and staring out like a child.

* Mc'Donalds with a desi touch might be nice, but nothing beats the Chocolate Ball at Merwans.

* One fine evening I took the train back from town. Getting off at Andheri, I walked into Merwans and saw they have a few loafs of bread. Just for the background, Merwans bread/rolls sell out by 5 PM, such is the demand. I called home, and asked Mom if she wants bread from Merwans. "Apoo, they sell out by 5 PM. Its 8 PM" was the reply. When I told her I was at Merwans and they had bread, "Get two" were the exact words I heard. I walked home with bread, chicken rolls and a huge bunch of assorted pastries. That was dinner. A friend of mine is so fascinated with Merwans she went and chatted up with the owner for some time and clicked his photo.
(update: I was going to put up a photo here, but now have no idea where the photo might be)

* Why does Mumbai remind me of bureaucracy, of politics, of something new, but broken? And why does Bombay remind me of love, romance, something charming and old? I'll be damned if I do not return to my favorite city on planet earth!

...... 57 days to go

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Sunday, August 03, 2008

Ek! Sirf Ek....

So if you came across an American who had never traveled outside America, and asked you to recommend one Bollywood movie for his/her viewing.....

Which one movie would you recommend?

Note: Not looking to educate him/her on the Indian culture or anything else through this movie. Perhaps, just make him/her appreciate Bollywood, or "Wow" the person.

* 72 days to go....

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