Thursday, November 26, 2009

Off the railway station, Bandra

You will find this same pic in my yoga blog. But here I want to write about something else ...

My car disgorges me at this spot. It is 5. am.  I tell the driver to park the car, alongside a few feet off. You don't feel strange here, being the lone woman -- the men are busy and incurious. They know I am not a pick-up and understand that I have come for pamphlet distribution. Mumbai is that sort of city. I am directed clinically to the youth handling the pamphlet distribution. He is a Maharashtrian and I am relieved. They are the sweetest men, generally, and very chivalrous... I find that the Maharashtrian men have the best respect for women in the whole world. I had written earlier: when I distributed the pamphlets the first time, I remember the vendor, a Maharashtrian, actually told me to keep ten bucks (that I had to pay him). It was his way of saying, I respect that you, a woman, are doing this on your own... It felt so lovely. I kept that ten bucks for long, because it is that sort of thing about this city that makes you love it... and it comes from the locals. Even my driver, a Maharashtrian, when I give him some small extra cash if some such mission (pamphlet distribution, or early morning workshop) went off well -- he will brush it aside with affectionate brusqueness.. That is also so nice... Tell me where else in India -- I mean in a city --  u will find that attitude?

Well, everybody says this of Mumbai -- that it is the outsiders who make it what it is (I am an `outsider' in that sense too). But actually, it is this Mahashtrian ethos that allows you to be who you are (an enterprising woman) without disturbing that enterprise you bring to your task with useless labels -- woman, alone, rich, poor, jeans-clad, saree-clad, old, young --  whatever else that the rest of India (try this in Delhi, for instance, and you know what I am talking of) assigns to a person and tries to suppress you from there -- that is not there in Mumbai. And that comes from the Maharashtrians. A staunch cleanliness of behavior. Whatever else the debate may be -- on who makes this city and the rest of the blah -- there is no doubt we can  reach where we want -- reach right to the stars -- because the original locals have no quarrel with you doing that..  We must salute that laissez faire ...It is the soul of this city...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Zenzi -- a young place

The Time-out magazine `insight' on the place was a bit out-dated. So we three, the family, (going by the review) -- sat waiting for the tables to clear for the dance to start. But the dance was happening inside and we did hear the music vaguely out. So we must say we overate, just waiting, thanks to the Time-out mag's misleading review:) But the food was sooo delicious -- I loved the calamari best. My kid ate a lot of exotic stuff too -- but she does not like to share so I don't quite know how it all was. But that she licked her plate clean  -- which means it must have been good. She is fussy that way. Then the family shamelessly `washed' the whole thing down with a huge pile of French Fries. So gross, no?

Any case, Zenzi is a very young (This web site has NOT been updated since September!!).  No board outside and while we, non-Bandraites, asked about to locate it:) Meaning of Zenzi and how to pronounce it? Go here

Very few women, wonder why. Fast-moving crowd. Since the lounge bar was sooo cold we wanted to come out to the tables outside and managed to get one pretty fast. People stand about nursing drinks too. That sort of chilled out place. And quite a few pick-ups. A old, white woman with a gigolo beef-cake.  The reality show girls with a fellow with a lot of money, loose chest and belly and even more loose wallet with a white woman wanting a free India ride... Nice short clothes, taut legs, as far as women went. Why is that young Indian boys look so thin and without any body tone? My daughter has been cribbing for long that there are so few boys in her circle  who like to physical activity, be it dance, a good work-out at the gym or even games. Sooo boring. You can see evidence of such sloppy physical fitness at places like Zenzi. Only the young boys from abroad look like they are into any sort of physical activity.  My daughter looked archly at me and said, Mom, whom are you checking out. Hey, I told her, I am into this fitness business. (And I know for one, that our men simply hate working out. So it was my keen marketing eye that was trying to see if there was any potential here. No, there was not,  I concluded:)

Not surprisingly,  our boys don't even seem to have interesting women about them. The proportion man-to-woman was like ten to one here!! Maybe the girls crawl out later in the night. Even the dance floor the proportion was this low. DJ Amol was there. I did a Ranbir Kapoor act on the floor, but the music petered off, so we -- heavy with good food -- decided it was time to leave and go to bed. Yawn!!

Where and when?
12 pm – 3.30 pm (Sat, Sun only), 7 pm – 1 am
183, Waterfield Road,Near National College,
Bandra (W), Mumbai – 400 050price : 1000-2000

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tch! Tch! Toilets in Mumbai stink:(

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First of course, the biggest problem in this city is that there are not enough toilets for its populations. So, the city stinks as a whole.
Then, last year or so I read the amazing news that builders were thinking of dispensing with providing toilets in low middle class homes and the flat-buyer will have to do it up himself. What a stupid suggestion. However, with the recession,that sort of clout the builders weild in the city (where they can say free parking and charge a bomb or say parking for all, and not provide space for cars) has been hit. So even if they wished they cannot carry off the devious plan of making Mumbai more dirty than it is -- because the market has shrunk so much they are giving away free furniture  for the buyer who is not going to be too happy to get a house without a toilet.

Any case, all my years in Mumbai I have never visited a Churchgate or VT station loo just for the dread of it. When I came to city, and though I could see the gold beneath its crap-strewn pavements, I was overwhelmed by just how dirty it was. Spit and crap so much all over that its citizens had simply stopped reacting.

However, all this all of you already know. I am cribbing about the fact that toilets are so bad in established places.
Here is a list I recently visited:
  • Ravindra Natya Mandir -- 
* Absolute horror. We paid Rs 300 per person for the ticket. But paisa vasool only for the artist performance. The rest of what the center provided was pure crap:  The flush was leaking, so water was all over the floor. There was no place / peg where one could hang a bag -- an essential for women who all carry handbags. So should we place it on the floor which is so leaky, wet and soiled over?
*  Even more drastic: no lights in loos. Only central lights burning. The toilet door is high. So, if you shut it you cannot see anything, including where the toilet seat is!!
* No dust bins in loos. Where does a woman drop her sanitary napkin? If in the toilet, then it should flush. Since it was not flushing, then imagine how horrible for women who want to change sanitary pads.. Terrible... in the dark, not seeing a thing, holding on the bag, changing the pad  -- Inhuman.

So, if using the toilet, u must keep the door open and struggle about 

Nehru center: Nice and functional.

Tata Theater: Good, neat and has hooks, lights, and everything

In Orbit theater: Great loos. But the cleaning girls can be a bit aggressive: they will push the brush into where you stand. It is some atavistic anger-release for them I guess. But since the loos are clean, I normally suffer the indignity of such misdirected aggression.

Oberoi Mall: Same as above, including the cleaning girls. Its a tribe thing I guess:)