Friday, October 24, 2008


This is my favourite Diwali story. Years ago, I used to work in Mumbai, and travel to Pune for each weekend. I used to dread going back to Mumbai by train. The dread started when the train used to hit those ungainly, ugly and squalid suburbs. It had many terrible sights, and the fact that it was kind of dark helped me a little since I saw less of the filth.

That year, Diwali was on a weekend, and after a nice round of festivities, I was headed back to where my dread was. But this time it was different. As soon as I reached those suburbs, they had all miraculously transformed. Each hut, each small chawl room had a bright Akashkandil sparkling away. Instead of the normal bad view, it was spectacular lighting- one room at a time.

There is something about an Akashkandil that makes you calm. Try staring at one today.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Told ya!

Hah! I'm no soothsayer, but I did predict that we are going to thrash them Aussies soon. And a lil gloating becomes a small joy(atleast till they come back for the next test and try to thrash us!)
It was wonderful cricket from our side, although it was a no-contest. Ideally, in an exciting test match, there should be some tension, some palpable twist in the tale, but here, Dhoni, Ganguly, Tendulkar, Ishant and every body else ensured that there was none.

Not that I'm complaining. I hope that all Indian fans remember this when they criticise our team next. It is a fickle sport, and small joys like these should be remembered...

I guess thats why all those cricket reruns showing India winning are so popular!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Water from the Sky

A few days earlier, I'd gone to the Gordon House rooftop hotel, where wok was had and wine was drunk. While this was the normal course of events to be expected in a fine dining place, what was really different was the peace that I felt as soon as I entered the place.

I tried to understand why I felt so peaceful. Was it the natural light(it has a glass covered roof, open to the sky) or was it great food and company?

While all the ingredients were indeed there, it was one thing that stood out. They'd let water flow from the rooftop and it was a beautiful spectacle. It was also the noise of the water as it came down from the glass roof. That is the most soothing sound ever!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kojagiri night

Kojagiri night is a perfect little small joy. Not much of a festival, it comes between two biggies- Dassehra, and Diwali. But the full moon that the Kojagiri night holds is beautiful, isnt it? Thankfully, this time around, even the late rains let up and we had beautiful moonshine, a slightly chilly atmosphere in Pune.

As a kid, growing up in a small city, Kojagiri was a fun night for many reasons: your parents actually let you stay awake a little more than usual. They took you out to either a park nearby, sometimes a hill, or the university gardens, or sometimes your own terrace. They gave you either Basundi or masala milk to drink. Sometimes, old hindi numbers were sung, and as a child, you'd always feel special, knowing your vacation is coming soon, with the promise of firecrackers and holidays out of town.

Life remembered backwards. Always a paradise!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Oh Captain my Captain

Sourav Ganguly will always, forever, remain to me as India's captain. He's just made me sad by announcing his retirement, but paradoxically, I'm happy to see him go on his own terms. He's brought joy to my life by his off side play, and ecstacy and pride when he took off his shirt after we won that Famous Natwest Final.

He will undoubtedly be followed by the others, but for now, let's just celebrate the Prince for who he is. He's going to play a few more tests, he will still wear his heart on his sleeve, he'll still irritate the opposing team, and ensure that he stays in our souls.

He'll still run in to bowl like he was really fast, he'll still run his runs harder than his partners(without possibly realising it) and despite all of his obvious failings, he'll still captivate thousands like me for a few more days.

I guess you can feel happy and sad at the same time!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Smoked out of Swagat

This new anti smoking law is a bit weird. While things are obviously better within restaurants and pubs, and stale smoky air doesnt hit you so hard, a night out with the boys at a typical drinking place like Swagat becomes a bit weird.

I'd gone there last Friday, and Swagat still remains superb- the fish, the drink, and the weird talk that only males can enjoy(a combination of boasts, fake stories and laments about how the world isnt the same anymore with sudden departures into the world of cricket and politics).
But the smoke wasn't there, and it felt a bit funny. Not that I'm much of a smoker, but the ambience felt a little wrong. So sue me.

By the way, has anyone wondered why, if India is truly serious about anti smoking, that it hasn't banned cigarettes but public smoking? Democracy works in strange and wonderful ways, but this ain't one of them:)

But as I stepped out, replenished with the queerest of male customs- the boys night out- I noticed something nice. My eyes werent burning because of smoke like they usually do, and it felt good.

Perhaps there was a little fire without a lot of smoke this time in good ol' Swagat.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Flannelled fool

Every time it's the end of the monsoon, I become a flanneled fool. At least in spirit. To any non-cricket lover, of course, you have no idea of what I am talking about. Its when I feel most patriotic towards the country;when my mood is completely dependant not on how well I am doing in life's challenges but how Sachin and Kumble are; when newspapers are read/not read depending upon how the Indian team is doing; when everything else becomes a blur as we await the new cricket season's delight and torture.

Wishing suddenly takes on a different meaning; lucky seats are alloted within the family and it is quickly ascertained who the "panwati"(unlucky omen) is. Life becomes uncomplicated. If India win, I dont snarl at anybody. Otherwise, even the most beautiful winter day gets a passing mark from my side.

Sometimes I wonder how I feel to be a slave to the emotions that arise in me when an international season is about to start. But I have a good feeling this time... I think we are going to thrash the Aussies...