Saturday, July 30, 2011

Things I dont understand about Mumbai

What happens inside these Video Game parlours - why do they have dark tinted glasses and why do only seedy uncles go in. I have never seen a kid enter it so I wonder if these are indeed video game parlours

Bajaj's monopoly in the autorickshaw market. These machines are outdated, underpowered, flawed in design. Any manufacturer can clean up these flaws and launch a much better version but that just hasn't happened. Admittedly, TVS has launched one recently but it doesn't seem to be picking up. It's almost as if all the laws of market dynamics don't work when it comes to autorickshaws.

How Muslim-owned hotels manage to keep the prices of their food low while providing great quality and quantity. On the other hand, the Udipi restaurants (basically the AHAR group) keeps cribbing about new/increased taxes, price of raw materials, price of diesel and use these excuses to justify increase in prices.

(I'll keep adding to this list - last updated 31st July 2011)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Me and Maine Pyaar Kiya

Maine Pyaar Kiya was being shown on cable today and my brain cells flashed memories of the first time I saw this movie in my head.
It was my building's annual day celebrations. From what I remember, it used to be held just after the monsoons. And the magic of Bollywood would play out under the stars in building #99, Dev Ashish.

There would be buzzing excitement for weeks before D-day -- the older guys would do all the work and set up a stage at one end of the road. We would have sports competitions during the day, which would extend into the night. I have a couple of pictures taken at night where I am doing the frog jump and balancing a marble in a spoon. My mom had prepared me by arming me with the biggest spoon in the house :D

In parallel, the Satyanarayan Pooja would usually be set for the afternoon in the building's elecricity meter room. Could there be a better place to hold a havan? I have a faint feeling that my mom dad sat for the pooja that year, or it might have been the year before -- I was only 6 when this happened so please excuse my memory (or lack of it).

The evening was reserved for adult games, no not that kind. You know... stuff like housie and musical chairs. I am not sure if someone performed on the stage, or if it was used just to house the Satyanarayan idol after the pooja - and I think there used to be dinner for everyone.

The one thing that I do remember are the ice sculptures which were brought in the evening. There would be replicas of animals, fishes, dancing girls and what not. They would melt away as the evening progressed so you wouldn't really be able to make out what it was by the time dinner was done.

You would have noticed that I am good at digressing :D ... So after all the festivities were over, it would be time to watch a movie. I am not sure if this happens anymore in Mumbai, but I am glad it lives on in my memory.

Some one would get a VCR player and rent a cassette of the latest Bollywood movie. Extension cords were sourced out to set up a TV on the street outside our building and everyone would huddle up in front of it.
As a kid, I was mesmerized - sitting on the chattai, being bugged by mosquitoes, and throughly enjoying Salman Khan and Bhagyashree being "good friends" on screen.
Movies and cricket were and still are the opium of the masses in proletariat India.

I think I fell asleep just before the movie ended, or my Mom asked me to come back home because it was too late. And for days after the experience, I was dying to watch the movie again, to see what happens in the end.

I think kids shouldn't be shown movies till they have comprehended the difference between the real and make believe. I was 4 or 5 when I watched Tezaab in the theater. My mind thought that everything that happened in the movie was for real and couldn't make out how Chunky Pandey was alive and kicking in another movie. According to me he had died in Tezaab.

Ending with a prank that was played on me in the School Bus just after Maine Pyaar Kiya was released:

Evil Senior Girl: What is the name of Salman Khan's latest movie
Innocent Me: Maine Pyaar kiya
Evil Senior Girl: Haaaw, pyaar kiya? kiske saath?

No wonder I hated the sight of girls back in school.