And the meek shall Inherit

Monday, August 28, 2006

Rahul is 40

Our buddy Rahul Garg turns 40 today, which we celebrated with a rockin party last Saturday. The wine was flowing, the food was a trippin and the company chillin. This piece was something that I had written for his roast but with Kunal, his son espousing heartfelt thanks for being a good father etc. and with the kids around, I didn’t really want to serenade the crown about “humps” and “dumps”.

So here goes buddy, you are 40 and all, but hoping that you never ever change….

Wow, Rahul is really 40

Though it may sometimes seem

That he still is in his 20’s

Not by his looks mind you

But by his various juvenile deeds

Be it banging on the utensils

Thinking he’s making sweet music

Or hopping around like a bunny

Not in the bedroom I’m referring

But on the dance floor, looking rather funny

So he cant really dance, neither can he golf

And he’s not very good with balls

Er, I mean volleyball, racketball etc

But what he is, is our Mr. Forest Gump

And though it does rhyme very well

I’d rather not say mention hump

All kidding aside, Rahul is the life of any party

With him around its never ever drab

Any gal from 16 to 80, he’ll try and grab

And green with envy, go the men

Ah, but not to worry

He’ll be snoring away by ten

Rahuls run many a marathon

And cycled to Lansing and from

I’ll tell this story about our relay

Which we nearly pretty much won

Save for one little bump

When this guy had to stop for his dump

Well, I can joke now about Rahul

Since he has a big enough heart

To forgive, forget and move on

But I can somehow guess

Tomorrow he’s gonna kick my ass

Rahul’s a great guy and all

A good friend, fun loving and well rounded dude

He’s straight forwards and doesn’t tolerate any nonsense

There may be a lot about him that we may never know

But of this much I’m sure, that whenever he’s making love

Guaranteed, he’s using both his Johnson’s

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

7/11, Bombay Blasts....Again

8 blasts, 174 killed on the Western Railway

Where millions commute to and fro everyday

There was blood everywhere, mangled bodies strewn

Rivers of blood supposedly flowed

People running helter-skelter, chaos reigned supreme

No one could be reached, over the phone

When they were just trying to make their way home

Arre yaar, what are they doing to my city?

The 7:23 Churchgate fast, Bori Bunder

Eros Cinema, Azad Maidan and the Hanging Gardens

Sri Krishna Vada Pao, Pau Bhaji “rekdis” and cutting chai

“Zara hato yaar”, “Time kya hua bhidu” and “Dhakka lagao bhai”

Are some of the things that the city beats to

Now everything stalled, the city stops

To mourn the 175, whom life has dropped

Arre yaar, what are they doing to my city?

Juhu beach and inevitably “Naariyal Pani”

At nights, the Queens necklace so imperiously lit

Yes, I do agree, Mahim Khadi stinks

But Bandstand and Walkeshwar makes one doubt

If Dharavi and the other zopadpattis

In part of the same city could be found

Arre yaar, what are they doing to my city?

Dabbawallas, rickshawallas and mazdoor

Rubbing shoulders with the seths and babus

Everyone trying to eek out a living

Finding their place in the city

The multiplexes and the malls

Are a part of the city’s ever changing landscape

Arre yaar, what are they doing to my city?

How many times will they try and exterminate?

Lives of the ordinary nine-to-fiver

What does it take to bring a city down to its knees?

Before it keels and calls it quits

Angry, frustrated, depressed, anguished and sad am I

Thinking over and over am I

Arre yaar, what are they doing to my city?

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Homestead

After a long hiatus, primarily on account of my indolence, I have returned to blogging. And especially when my faithful readers, er correction, I mean one solitary reader viz. my sister in Bombay, pleads with me to write, how can I possibly refrain?

So here goes.

The past few months have been a blur with relocation to what Firdaus’s would have referred to as the anti-paradise , Lansing, MI “Agar Firdaus bar me Zaminast na Haminasto na haminnasto na haminasto." (loosely translated “If there’s paradise on earth, its not here, its not here, its not here”. Or something like that.) . If the Michigan Militia or Klansman, happen to read this world phamous blogger, they might get set to lynch or at least pinch me for this sacrilege, but what the hell, I’ll take the chance. As the world phamous Amitabh might have said “Yeh jeena bhi koi jeena hai laloo”.

This past holiday Memorial day weekend we traveled to Northern Michigan to the Homestead Resorts, a resort about 45 miles west of Traverse City, Michigan, and nestled on the bank of Lake Michigan. We planned this trip, as most “desis” would plan it, traveled in group of about 20 and shacked up in a 4-bedroom rental house. Half the cost, double the fun. Well actually I'm being facetious, but trip to resorts and such, are best taken, in my opinion, in large groups. How else does one monopolize the swimming pools, gymnasiums or the tennis courts like it was your own personal estate? Right?

So after a grueling 5 hours drive from Lansing we made it to Glen Arbor, where the resort is located. Some of the gang had already reached the resort, and refreshed themselves with samosas and “chai” tea, while some others from our gang were still en route. The heated pool of the resort seemed welcoming since it was a hot day and driving forever had taken the “mojo” out of most of us. The pool turned out to be the proverbial manna, since the kids had a blast and subsequenly they built up an appetite, while the adults just chilled out in the hot tub.

After the swim, sitting on the deck outside with our drinks and munching on desi snacks while discussing inane topic made Suresh’s quip about “living the good life”, feel oh so true. The gambling session after dinner went on till the wee hours of the morning with good natured ribbing amongst each other and bawdy jokes taking center stage.

The next morning, Aarti had us in various contortions with her introductory yoga session, while her husband Bobby made yummy pancakes for breakfast. From scratch( and no, he didn't scratch).
The yoga session was so good that no one seemed to mind the occasional flatulent mishaps by several of the participants. The others just held their breath, longer. But the yoga left us well stretched, relaxed and reinvigorated to do justice to Bobby's pancakes and Sadhana's scrambled eggs. After devouring the breakfast some of us took off for golf, while some others for tennis and the kids and the moms headed for the pool. Though the golf course was a small par-3, 9 hole course, the picturesque view of lake Michigan from the tees was a sight to behold. Rahul’s dad who is visiting from
India, played some good strokes and we had some good laughs during the game. Neel, Rahul’s son, was a life saver, since he was helping us looking for our lost golf balls, which BTW, must have numbered in the dozens.

After a sumptuous lunch and some rest we headed out to Traverse City and spent time along the Marina.

On Sunday morning, chaos reigned supreme, with the Yannamani family heading back to Detroit, the Macedos shacking up with the rest of us and their friends headed back to Cleveland. The pool and some cold beer seemed inviting under the circumstances, and that’s where the rest of us ended up. It turned out to be a glorious day, with plenty of sunshine, people lazing by the pool, cold beer and the tepid water of the pool. Better yet, the Yannamains decided to stay back, the Macedos shacked up with us and their friends decided to drive back to Cleveland. And all was well with the world. Later that evening we took a pontoon boat ride on the lake which had the kids and the women squealing with delight as the catamaran floated over the waters of Lake Michigan. The shoreline and the clear blue water that reflected like turquoise on a clear sunny day, was a spectacle to behold. After the boat ride, at Supriya’s recommendation, we drove to Old Mission Point lighthouse , on the northern peninsula of Michigan, the drive interspersed with Michigan wineries and the gorgeous sight of Lake Michigan visible on either side of the road. After returning from an arduous driving schedule, Supriya regaled us with old Hindi melodies, with yours truly and Rahul chiming in for some off-key chorus. The last I remembered was dozing off when the conversation veered off into the realm of gas and sound effects related to gas. Hmmm….

Monday morning after a quick jog with Rahul, around the cruel elevations of the Homestead, and our stomachs filled with the delectable breakfast spread, we made our way back to drearydom, our jobs and routine lives. All in all it was quite a weekend, where Rahul’s wife Seema, his mom and the rest of the women kept us well fed, with quality R&R and excellent company and fine spirits.

This piece cannot be completed without a word or two about the resort The Homestead. It may lighten your wallet a fair bit, but the experience is truly worth all the travel to get to this Michigan’s well kept secret. The kids had a blast and so did most of the adults. I know at least Seemz and yours truly did.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

For Nita.....Wherever you may choose to go

With her warmth, love, compassion and generous heart

She engulfs everyone who gets to know her

She reaches out to those who need

And stands up for the people she loves

Not one, is oblivious to her giving deeds

During good times, she’s close to celebrate

And closer when times are hard

Knowing Nita one can never lose

She’s all heart, tis much is true

So I presume, would have said the bard

With the guys, she’s one of the boys

And with the women, she holds court

Clearly loved dearly by all

And miss her, we shall severely

Her friendship, help, passion for life and support

She listens to all with a patient ear

Offers comfort, solace and words to allay fear

A friend, counselor, home doctor and advisor is she

For advice, ‘Don’t worry ya, It’ll be OK ya’ she asserts

And deep down you somehow know

Things will turn out OK and that right is she

All those years of good times, that we’ve shared

At countless mirthless jokes we’ve laughed

Shots of tequila and lime we’ve downed

While most others, upon it frowned

You’ve fed us, counseled us and helped us care

For our sonny boy, Sidharth, love you’d spare

With Vinod and the kids, as you set sail to the motherland

And we see you guys off, with bajja and band

We wish you the very best that life’s got to give

Be happy, be healthy and you’re already wise

Stay well, be good, we’ll miss you the most, oh dost

But most of all we’ll miss hearing, ever so often

That comforting, ‘Don’t worry ya. It’ll be Ok, ya’ over the phone

Thanks Nita, for Everything.

Seema, Sourin and Sidharth

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bollywood Jhatkas ans Matkas

Our buddy Prabhakar sent out this hilarious parody of a Bollywood film song, which had me in splits and rolling on the floor.

If any of you know this comedian or even know which movie this song is from, please let me know. Check out his expressions and his body movements. Will definately give Salman or Sharrukh a run for their money!

Check out the video here, but be careful if you are at work. You will be laughing your ass off, much to the consternation of your colleagues.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Death,'Born into Brothels' and the SOTU

Last September, I had written about my neighbor Tom, who was dying of lung cancer and the doctors had decreed that he had about 90 odd days to live. Well, Tom died peacefully, in the comforts of his house, this past Saturday. He did not wish that his wife should witness him dying thereby banishing her from the bedroom, during his final living moments. As Pat, Tom’s wife, tearfully recounted later, she peeped through the window for one final look at him, and saw him take three short breath of air, and then passed on to the great unknown. Earlier in the morning, he was seen crying, since he did not want to face the inevitable.

It was a beautiful day on Saturday. Unusually warm for bitter Michigan winter weather and the sun was out in all its glory. Tom, as per his wishes, was cremated.

Last week we watched the excellent documentary ‘Born Into Brothels (2004)’ by Zana Briski. This documentary focuses on the lives of the children of prostitutes in the red light district of Kolkata, Sonagachi. This documentary tells the story of the lives of the prostitutes through the eyes of their children. Zana attempts to teach photography to these kids and tries to make sense of the pictures captured through their lenses. No different from the ‘Saalam Bombay’ and ‘City of Joy’ movie milieu, what is a bit different in this documentary is the closeness to the characters viz. the children. One cannot help notice that the innocence of these children is long gone and acts that would be considered preposterous for the rest of us, is just routine life for these children. Just because they do not have a choice, I guess. And what a depressing life it is.

Most of these kids very well know that their lives will be dragged into the same gutter that proliferates all round them and that there is simply no recourse. They have simply resigned themselves to whatever life has dished out to them. It’s definitely worth a watch, if only to realize what kind of miserable lives people lead in this big bad world, and that children should be guaranteed a better life, anywhere in the world, no matter which parents they are born to.

Last night I happened to catch the State of the Union speech by President Bush, which came across as the same old rhetoric about Iraq and Al Qaeda. This time he mentioned fighting off competition from emerging economic giants like China and India. Impressive, huh. The Axis of Evil, Iran was beaten down for its nuclear ambitions with the President addressing the people of Iran directly, in an effort to free them from the reign of their oppressive “clerical minority”. Ugh, huh, I hope this is not heading where we think its heading.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bhai Log aur Ek Behenji

Five of my favourite bloggers, Anand, Dilip, Shivam, Uma and Vikrum have started a new blog called ‘How the Other Half Lives’ which as the About section of the blogs details will illuminate the trials about the lives of the have-nots of our society. This is a small paragraph from the introduction of the blog

The vast number of homeless immigrants who pour into India’s metropolises every day and live in slums are the other half of a shining India. We know that India still remains deeply divided between its elites and its have-nots; a divide so great that much of the elite does not even see it, happily believing that the nation as a whole is on its way to superpower status. There is no doubt at all that economic liberalisation has helped a section of the economy, yet there is equally no doubt that there are faultlines in economic growth and equitability. Social rifts - such as those pertaining to caste and communal tensions - intersect in complex ways with the changing economic landscape.

This blog will attempt to explore that uncertain terrain. It will focus on the “other half” that is often ignored by a market-driven mainstream media. It will attempt to present a fuller picture of India and a fuller examination of issues of concern than what we normally see around us.

Personally I do not know any of these fine bloggers, but having read them for quite some time now, and having followed their writings and beliefs one comes away with the opinion that these are “good people”. You may disagree with some of their view point, feel melancholy at some of their writings, incensed at a few and agree with most of them. No matter what state of mind the writings leave you in, they will never disappoint you. Guaranteed. At least I haven’t been.

Go on and lap it up, fuzzball.