Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cheers to Maggi !!!

A new day and new ambitions of experimenting in the kitchen. I thought of making besan rotis. Not really experimenting as I have made them back home too. And even if I say so myself they tasted real good. I went to the market and bought all the necessary ingredients for it. My mouth was already watering at the thought of eating besan rotis. I prepared the batter and poured it on the griddle. And I was 'yes' humming along my favorite song .

Now, came the time to flip it around, and guess what - it crumbled and looked like halwa. I threw my first effort into the dustbin. Didn't lose hope and gave myself another chance. I thought it could be because I was making it after a long time.. So once again I poured fresh batter, flipped it and again it crumbled.

3rd time not lucky.. All my efforts went in vain. Too tired to make anything else and put off with my inability to make something so simple. After preparing a meal 3 or 4 times on my own, my confidence levels had soared but, now... they all came crashing down. I was hungry too - suddenly my sub-conscious started humming Maggi's commercial - 2 min ruk sakte hain sar ke bal reh sakte - Maggi Maggi Maagi....

And, my smile reappeared and I quickly prepared a meal of Maggi noodles and ate them with equal haste. From the core of my heart, I wanted to thank Nestle, who has been making this wonderful product for years for thousands of people - bachelors and inexperienced cooks like me, across the world - and esspecially in India – the largest consumers in the world. To my mind, the world noodles is synonymous with Maggi only. We all can survive on Maggi alone. It can be called a boon for us; something we can never get bored of. I have been gorging on it since I was 4 years old and I can have it all my life.

I then thought of digging out some information about it. I found out that it came to India in 1983. It traces its history to the 19th century when the industrial revolution in Switzerland created factory jobs for women. So women had no time to prepare meals. The problem was spreading, and a solution was needed. The Swiss Public Welfare Society asked a miller named Julius Maggi to create a vegetable food product that would be quick to prepare & easy to digest. He came up with two instant pea soups & a bean soup- the first launch of Maggi brand of instant foods in

It made life really simple for us for me. Maggi Maggi - best to survive on. Cheers!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fit the role

Do I fit the role? Am I the right age for the role? My daughter is giving an audition in
another studio. If she is right for the role, I can get her here right away.
I hear these lines a hundred times a day as I take auditions at Nirvana Studios.
Nirvana. What an apt name. All those who come here are looking for their version
of nirvana-the ultimate salvation and bliss. It’s crazy- aspirants with parents in tow;
parents with aspirants in tow. Little babies barely out of their cribs to those with one
foot in the grave. Some known faces; some unknown. All with the same question on
their lips: Do I fit the role?
After a lady aspirant’s performance, Bernard, a runner in our company says: I wish
we could take her. She brought tears to my eyes. I said: If I could, I would take each
one. Their passion and dedication is so evident in their performances. It is heart-
breaking to see the disappointment on their faces when they are rejected. You can see
the dream crumbling, the hope dimming.
It takes a lot of zeal and spirit to be a part of this industry especially as an actor.
People are real professionals here in Mumbai in the sense that they are not modest
about their talent. Modesty gets you nowhere in this industry. Pushy, aggressive, bold
are the magic words. Sometimes even known faces get brusquely rejected by casting directors. But then you desperately need the job and an actor has to show humility and swallow his pride. Talk sweetly with every one until you get the role. The only thing that helps them face humiliation is the determination to succeed.
What a tough life it is for an actor! Sigh! Only a few are actually from Mumbai, most
have come from outside to fulfil their dreams. From small towns and remote villages.
Some have sold all they have in exchange for a bundle of dreams. They flock to the
City of Dreams with hope in their eyes and a prayer on their lips. All looking for that
one chance when they will hit the bull’s eye. To see their names up in the credits,
their faces on the screen, the ultimate nirvana.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

'Truly Yours'

This is about you and your feelings. Those feelings that you always found very hard to explain. You have always been an emotional child. You always pretended to be strong. But your heart was always weak. You cried alone sometimes when you saw others in pain. You could not see tears in anyone’s eyes. You loved your family a lot. But you could not express or say a few words to your mom & dad. You always feared that you would cry in front of them. You would rather crack jokes that would make them laugh. You would sing, you'd dance. But never would you say you loved them.

You loved your grandmother too. Often, she would come to live with you all. She used to sing songs. One of her favorites was “ichak dana, bichak dana, daane upar dana ichak dana ichak dana.” You, your brother, your sister always used to like it. She used to give you all massages with coconut oil. She made mouth watering pickles. Sang you lullabies, had told stories when you were a kid. She was very nice. But you were always so rude to her that you made her cry once by saying something, you shouted at her. Your sister told you this, and you too cried later, but you could not muster the courage to say sorry to her. You knew she was an old lady. She couldn’t walk properly. But you have never really helped her coz that would bring tears in your eyes. You promised yourself that you would not cry. But you couldn’t really help your tendency.You called your self ‘bloody weak’ at times. You never found an answer to your own question of why you are always rude to the people you love the most.

Your grandmother had always struggled. She was a brave lady. But then one fine day, she lost her son and that broke her. She was completely shattered. You wanted to yell at the top of your voice. You wanted to talk to God. Why, why her? You wanted to comfort her. But you are ‘you’. You never did so.

She fell ill. She was living with your uncle. You never really bothered to go to meet her. Because you could not see her in that condition. You used to talk to her on the phone. You never had time to visit her. But once when you were working in your office you’d thought of visiting her. You met her, you talked to her very politely. You rushed to the loo to cry after seeing her. She became very weak. You knew what was coming…when she said in her grim voice that she was going, you told her jokingly that she had to play, massage & sing songs for your kids. Everyone laughed, she too laughed. You wanted to hug her tight, you wanted to comfort her and tell her that you really loved her but you could not. You all left, you heaved a sigh of relief that at least you had met her. You somehow managed to take time out from your new job and you knew that you would be very busy now.

You were in your office editing when your sister called you up to tell you that "grandmom is no more." You composed yourself and promised yourself that you would not cry. But when you told your boss what had happened you started sobbing and you kept saying that “you don’t like crying in front of anyone.” You took a metro to go to your uncle’s place. You turned red, your eyes were swollen, and you were looking sick. People were looking at you. But you cared for none. You met your sister half way. She too was crying. She was closest to her. You both reached there and you saw the body of your grandmother. You stopped crying. You went out looked up in the sky, yet again you requested God to just send her back for 10 minutes. You would say things you never said, gave her a hug which you always wanted to, tell her that you really loved her. You wanted to take care of her.

You sat beside her body and you were shaking sometimes her hands & sometimes her legs. You were tickling her body thinking that she might laugh, thinking that she might get up. You couldn’t believe it. Your sister had gone totally crazy. You were taking care of her too. This time you were taking care of everyone. You seemed strong.

When you thought that everyone’s asleep, you went into a room - you cried like a small baby, who has lost her doll. Final departure time of your granny had come.It was time for her last journey... She was looked like a goddess in a white saree with red roses. You stood in silence ignoring everyone. You stepped out and you realized your tears had dried out. You were just watching the ceremony lifelessly. There were bands playing music and a very grand seat for her because she died old. And she had seen her son’s son’s son. So she was going to heaven. You walked with your sisters bravely to the cremation ground. You saw her body dissolving into air, water, earth, fire, sky. You couldn’t cry any more.

You watched everything in silence. You came back home. You looked at her photograph. You said sorry to her and also expressed that you really loved her. You just wished to have expressed this when she was alive, that you loved her. She came into your dreams a couple of times. And you took care of her in your dreams. You were happy that she had not forgotten you in heaven.

Now, you often look up in the sky and you plainly tell her how much you love her.

Whenever you see an old lady, you jump to help her. It's been two years and you still miss your granny. You know that you will never feel her warmth again. You've realized it late. But at least, you have.

You have learnt one thing - express your love and say that you care. Tell a person a hundred times how much he/she means to you never pass a chance to do so now. You’re becoming a good girl. And your granny must be so proud of you.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bumbum Bumbai, oops ’Mumbai’

Bumbum Bumbai, oops ’Mumbai’. My maiden article on the city.

The pounding of my heart was keeping pace with the sound of the train’s chug-chug as the train approached the Borivali station at Mumbai. Countless thoughts and doubts were crowding my mind. “Had I made the right decision?.” “Will I regret leaving Delhi?” “Will I like the city?” “Will I make friends here?”………

I had not even stepped on the soil of Mumbai and was already missing my family. Flashes of all the happy moments spent with them came rushing in my mind’s eye. A feeling of emptiness filled my insides.

I got down at the station, clutching my belongings and my wildly beating heart. The train left taking away with it my link to my past. The disembarking passengers melted away into the arms of their loved ones. I felt abandoned and alone. My brothers were not to be seen. The sense of desolation deepened. Little girl lost in the big, bad city.

After a 15-minute wait – the longest 15 minutes of my life- I saw my brothers rushing to meet me. I was too relieved to admonish them for being late. We headed for my new home, where my uncle and aunt welcomed me warmly. I was already feeling better. At least I had someone in the city. I thought of the hundreds of brave souls, who come to the city of dreams without knowing a single soul. We chatted for a while and the rest of the day flew by in a whirl. I kept wondering if I’d be able to adjust here. I was still missing home.

On my earlier visits to Mumbai, I had found the people here rude in the way they talked and behaved. I hated the local trains, the crowds, the slums and just about everything. In short, I just hated Mumbai.

But this time I decided to go with an open mind, without any pre-conceived notions and prejudices.

Day 2. I had to go to Bandra in a local train. I felt as though going to the battle field. My aunt gave me detailed instructions and I followed them diligently. She had told me to go into the 2nd class ladies compartment. I asked a few commuters where the ladies compartment would stop. And then there I was- in a jam-packed local train. I looked around and saw a sea of faces-women clutching their bags, chatting, arguing, fighting, smiling, some looking out with bored expressions, some even sleeping! Women in all shapes and sizes and appearances from fashionably and smartly attired office goers teetering in their stilettos to fisherwomen in their traditional dress.

I was struck by one fact: everyone seemed busy and nobody was interested in what others were doing or wearing. Delhi is so different and class conscious I thought. Well, one ‘plus’ for Mumbai, I thought.

A fascinating peculiarity of local travel here is that the train doubles as a mobile market. The range of items being sold in the train is mind boggling-from vegetables to knives to nighties to groceries. A vendor selling earrings was screaming out his wares: earrings, clutchers….only 5 rupees. I was just looking at the items and before I realized it, he had thrust a box in my hands and disappeared. How trusting, I thought. I examined the contents of the box. Some of the earrings would probably cost at least 5 or 10 times more in a mall. He returned and I bought two pretty pairs.

The train reached Bandra and I did not have to step out or walk to the exit. You just get swept along with the crowds. Just make sure you face the right direction!

I reached Pixion studio and ...…

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


tak tak tak…tak tak tak

I kept knocking against my aquarium, but Harris was no longer scared of me…she was not diving into the depths of her ocean world just to avoid my pat. She wasn’t petrified of anyone no more…Her tiny little body was silently floating…there was no movement at all. I poured some of her favorite chips yet she remained still & did not budge an inch to savor her favourite snack. This was enough for me to realize that she was now gone forever… I had now lost my Harris.

In the meanwhile, Steve (Harris’s mate) was also very quiet…he kept swimming around her & staring at her – expecting her to move any moment…all in vain. He was gradually trying to come to terms with life without his partner…

Steve had realized now that he had to swim alone…

Live alone…in fact exist alone.

There was now no one to play with any more, no one to share with…I poured down some food for him too but Steve was in no mood.

Having lost Harris, I was now really concerned for Steve. I didn’t want to lose him too. Every morning before going to work and every night after returning, I ran to Steve, just to make sure he was OK.

I finally decided to return Steve to where I’d got him from as he did not seem he had the will to live anymore…once he was in the aquarium in the shop I was sure he would be better off with friends & foes from his species. One morning before going to work I could clearly make out that Steve seemed to have completely lost the zeal to live. I kept praying in my heart so that Steve would survive just one more day – I tried telling him to hang on so he could be with his friends very soon.

Obviously no one can fight destiny.

The next morning he was floating in his tank. His golden body was now completely placid…he seemed to be resting in peace…

Deep down my heart I always knew Steve would never make it without Harris. Now I realized they’d be together – in another world though.

As I silently gaze at the empty aquarium, I miss their silent hullabaloo. Somehow their presence had so much positive energy that it filled my house with life

Though I had bought them for a video project for one minor scene - they gave me the best shot of my film.

Their memories still linger when I am alone… their excitement to catch their chips, their frenzied moves at nights which sometimes frightened me, their playfulness & how nervous they both got when I cleaned their tank.

How much I was scared when I first took them in my hands. I was literally jumping and yelling & everybody at home found it quite amusing.

Now, as I gaze at an empty aquarium, I miss them so much. Must say my house was full of life when they were alive. I have never had any pets in my life so far…they were the first and also probably the last.

Steve & Harris – my rock stars !

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Every time I walk by the lanes of my alma mater I feel more and more detached from it. It surprises me that how quick things change. Hardly two years ago, this place belonged to me or rather i belonged to it. But now, I no more feel a part of it. Though sometimes memories flash by but with time even they fade away.
With time everything changes but the most amazing thing is that a few people always remember you. These are the people who deal with more students than any teacher would ever in their lives. They are the only constant factor of every college – students come & go, teachers move on but these men are there forever. They may not remember our names but they always remember us. We never exchange any words with them but they are always right there to help.
They are the unsung heroes of every institution – the back bone of our education. But all through our college lives we hardly ever acknowledge them - they are powerful but mostly at the clerical level.
I am speaking about the people who sit at the reception, who are your college guards or your canteen wala chotus...
Today, I had gone to college to collect some documents .Guess what? My work got finished in just 15 minutes because Mumtaj bhai, a helper in the office had already prepared my required documents and I had requested him only once over the phone )
Its hard to remember how many times I ever had a word with him without any personal agenda and today how willingly he helped me out without any self interest. The most moving part is when I said thanks to him (Mumtaj bhai) & he replied vehemently “nai nai koi aur kaam ho to phir batayiega ,thanks kehne ki koi zarorat nai ye toh mera farz tha.”
It touched my heart so much that it compelled me to write this tribute to all the reception wale bhaiyas , guard bhaiyas and to all the canteen wallah chotus.
You complete our life in college days . You always help us in every nitty-gritty.. You fulfill our attendance registers by filling it. You are always there. We may never say, or realize but without you people our life would be quite incomplete”