Monday, June 25, 2007

The Rain…

... moved in noisily last night like a victorious army walks through the gates of a fallen city. Stealth in approach, raucous in conquest, its drops made the pitter-patter on the corrugated steel canopy of my house, much like the beating of a victory drum. There was no sense of compromise in its beat; it was, here to stay.

I stood by the window, watching a people taken by surprise, scurrying for cover, or blithely stepping out for a laugh, a good time. Its time had come. I remembered how I read somewhere that the first showers of Bombay rumbled in like a train. It is easy to associate trains with rains in Bombay- they will eventually be brought to a halt one day, if only for a few hours.

The Flame of the Forest blossoms outside my window, which I can almost touch, extending my arm from here, sway wildly, as if intoxicated. The sky in the absence of stars is a deeper blue, with only occasional blur of clouds made orange by tiny specks of sunlight trapped within. The wind is maddening, breath taking, bringing in splashes of rain, and many memories. My face is moist, and my lenses lashed with pristine drops of water- I have long given up trying to keep them dry. The wind, it feels heavenly, and almost is.

Tomorrow, there will probably be images of fallen trees, uprooted telephone poles, of trains wading through murky water. In the morning, twigs and blackened flowers will be found on the sidewalks, on tops of cars, to be wiped off by well meaning hands. Tomorrow, if this downpour does not subside, the ride back home will be murderous. But for now, I don’t want to think about that at all.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Views From an Alcohol Addled Ante Chamber.

“Draft beer, not people." ~Bumper Sticker

It is rarely that I post anything of any practical consequence. Here is an attempt at one.

Shrek is usually my least preferred drinking partner. This in spite his absolutely avant-garde taste in music, views on inconsequential things etc. However, his habit of posing uncomfortable questions is very irritating. Last time we were drinking, at some 4 AM, both of us must’ve been a bottle down, each, he asked- Alcoholic hoye gelam naaki aamra? (Have we turned alcoholic?). Between us, though, we nurse a plan to open a bar some day where entry will be based on a Multiple Choice Questionnaire (Where did Sid Vicious of Sex Pistols shoot Nancy Spungen? Girls allowed inside if they say New York, but guys have to say Chelsea Hotel.)

Anyway, the reason I bring up that discussion again, is because, I mentioned to D at Tavern the other the day that I must do a post on the top 10 18 drinking places in Bombay and she instantly offered the services of her Lenovo for it (thank you, thank you- my MacBook is indisposed, for reasons best left unsaid).

When it comes to drinking, I shed modesty, and admit, that owing to some extremely quality company (D, TinMan, Chops, Rosh, BossMan, IK, and Shrek), over the years I have developed a certain sense of discretion. And six years of doing it in Bombay, let me say that I am an absolute authority on this aspect of the city. In this respect the buck stops here.

The List only includes places, which are in currently existence. For that reason, Library Bar and Suzie Wong are not on the list. Nostalgia is dangerous when mixed with alcohol. Also discotheques and eateries, which serve alcohol, are out. The ranking also does not include places which I frequent for certain other reasons. So Kandeel where I go because there is no cell phone network coverage does not appear on the list.

(In descending order)

Toto’s Garage: Toto’s is everyone’s elementary school of drinking out. When you first land in Bombay, it forms a part of the handout given by Elders on how you should find your bearings in this city. The music is familiar, booze cheap, the staff friendly, décor, interesting and possibilities unlimited. It is a very good place to meet up, and then head out elsewhere. Turn offs: Plays the same music everyday, in the same sequence; tends to get too crowded even on weekdays, and very bad ventilation.
Café Leopold: The United Nations of drinking out. At any given time there must be people from 10 nationalities drinking. Get one of the pavement side seats to watch the world go by as you work on your beer. Turn Offs: Exceptionally bad service.

Café Mondegar: Baptism by beer. The Juke Box is a killer, and ensures that as long as you have those coins to push down the slots, you get your money’s worth as far as the music is concerned. A like-minded crowd ensures that you don’t end up listening to 50Cent, even if you run out of coins. Mario’s artwork ensures that this place remains a South Bombay legend for many years to come. Turn Offs: The heat and the AC room inside is not quite it.

Irish Pub: The music is a big plus, and the fact that it has fallen out of favour with the jet set. This is the story of a place which lost the plot somewhere along the way and acquired a shady reputation. Turn Offs: The occasional snorter, and bad blood afterwards.

Geoffrey’s: An excellent after work hang out, possibly the only bar in town which has flashbacks of a time gone by- the classic English pub. Great service, reasonably priced, and very close to the financial district. Turn Offs: Too many people you know from work.

Hawaiian Shack: How many times have you been asked by friends who have never been to Bombay, what the Shack is like? Bombay’s most famous suburban hang out. Plays good music, but only on weekdays, especially Tuesdays. And then again on weekdays the women are close to irresistible. They get all dressed up and land up at 11PM on a Wednesday night, and you wonder what they do for a living. Turn Offs: Avoidable on weekends, very, very crowded. The drinks take forever to come, and it can turn into a sausage fest.

Wink: Yes, we all know that the Library Bar was better, but then once you’ve put that behind you this isn’t very bad. Sometimes I drink to have a conversation. The music is muted, or better incoherent, so one can have a conversation without ripping off those vocal chords. And the seating makes it cozy for a date, if one is so inclined. And the Trattoria next door is a great place for a bite afterwards. Turn Offs: The limited menu.

Janta: What would Bandra alcoholics do without Janta? Probably live longer. But once you have come to terms with those issues Janta is indispensable. Where else can you get a choice of Chinese food and alcohol at 3 AM in the night? Home delivered too. This is that place where we went towards the end of every month, when every penny counted, and when you just couldn’t bear to drink out of a bottle at home. Turn Offs: Very loud crowd and of course, no music.

Indigo: Ah let me tell you, I might say that I do not consider this important, but a few (read 5 at least), those leggy beauties around the bar, do make the experience headier. When I was younger I found Indigo a little stiff, but now my needs are more basic. A great choice of booze, (Blue Label, anyone?), good music, and stays open till quite late. Also some seriously good food on the menu. Turn Offs: Watch the Bill. And getting a place to sit is next to impossible.

Dome: The best views in town, awesome breeze, this rooftop watering hole atop the Intercontinental, is one of the best place for a quick couple after work. Overlooks the Queens’s necklace and assured to score you the best points with your date. Unless, as in my case she is a veggie, and only gets to eat the most expensive Teriyaki potatoes in the world. Turn Offs: The Menu.

Opium Den: Arguably the classiest watering hole in all of Bombay. The richest and the most successful- I mean the biggest swinging dicks in the markets drink there. The famous Oberoi view, those large windows, the super-comfortable sofas to sink in, the most softest music, for the most important conversations. A league of its own. Turn Offs; None.

Sports Bar (Express and the Original): Friendly place, booze is cheap, and it allows an occasional dunk, and a round of pool. The pleasure of watching a game of cricket all day over beers. Turn-offs: The music is too loud to have any conversation at all.

Boat Club: This non-descript Bandra bar turned a hot spot once Toto’s shut for a while. Of course, we used the go there from much before, from the time Shrek was thrown out of Toto’s. The best music on Sunday, a familiar feel and a Thursday Hip-Hop night, which had, even me hooked. IK, Shrek, D and me once drank here four days a week. Rumour has it that we funded the renovation of the place. This is also the only place where we have witnessed a “No Holds Barred Bombay Lesbians” gathering. Unforgettable. I always have high respect for a place where the DJ knows his stuff. So Umagumma instead of Coming Back to Life, and Never Rains in Southern California, played when least expected are always welcome. Turn Offs: Fudged bills, and polarized crowd.
Golden Chariot: This is a concept place. Open air; with live old Hindi film music, harmonium, tabla combo. Just love the Hemant Kumar songs they sing there. The only respectable place in town to offer this experience. Ample parking, cheap booze, plenty of dining options. Not to be missed. Turn Offs: Just the occasional aircraft taking off for disturbance.

Not Just Jazz By The Bay: The only place, till recently, which offers karaoke and live bands of choice. Sadly the quality of bands in Bombay leaves much to be desired. I wonder where Sixth Sense and Deep Freez, two of Bombay’s best bands, have disappeared. I am a regular here, so the stage side tables without reservation are par for the course. As Chops would say- “quality Man, quality”. Turn Offs: Please refer to previous post.

Hard Rock Café: Bombay’s best and latest acquisition. The best DJ on the house (Baba O’Riley, anyone? And how about One, Shook me all Night Long?), senses the mood and plays accordingly. We can safely say that here, we own the floor. The high ceilings give an awesome sense of space, a thing that is very, very rare in Bombay. I absolutely love the Alice Cooper guitar on display. Plus, they also serve the best cheeseburger in town, with the most juicy veal steak within. The choice of alcohol is unlimited. Did I hear Grey Goose? Turn Offs: The irritating, uncouth south Bombay college crowd, which only wants to hear “Summer of ‘69.”

Tavern: Ah! Bombay’s best when it comes to drinking out. Small cozy place. The best collection of music, with the videos projected onto a large screen, Stuff I have not seen in ages. Alcohol of choice. No one doing the twist on Hotel California. I mean where else would you get to see an AC/DC video (though I must admit they all look the same), GNR, Coldplay, Greenday, U2, the works. Never gets crowded for some reason. Stays open till very late… in fact it’s the last place to shut in town. Turn offs: Parking.

A Certain Place in Bandra Called Home: There is absolutely no experience which comes close to drinking at home, sprawled on your bed watching the rain outside the window. The choice of alcohol, music and everything else. Food on phone, and so is alcohol. Never opens, never shuts- the perpetual hedonist alcove. Minus all the getting back worries. Not having to rely on the proverbial beer scooter. I invite my readers, for an unparalleled experience, to indulge in a choice of over 5,000 songs, and the best spread of alcohol this part of town and the most comfy settings. If you’re still with me, thank you for your patience.

Stay busy, get plenty of exercise, and don't drink too much. Then again, don't drink too little. ~Herman "Jackrabbit" Smith-Johannsen

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


D made me read Ithaca ( on Sunday.

It was beautiful, illuminating, mildly nostalgic and led to a bit of introspection. It made me wish my copy of Odyssey was around, the one with yellow, well-thumbed pages. (There was a certain joy in picking up those at Book Street, but alas). To take it off the shelf, dust it off, and snap it open once again, to let in that old book smell, which lends that distinct headiness.

I remember reading the book a few times in my early teens, conjuring up images of gods, demons, heroes, nymphs and most of all the sense of adventure. And the joys of getting lost, and finding the way back, at times almost unwillingly.

This poem once more brought up the “journey versus destination” debate. I remembered how after reading Odyssey many times as just an adventure/ fantasy flick, how once I stumbled across the inner meaning. Likewise, this poem brings to mind the subtle meaning, as the journey of the homebound soul. One realizes that demons do exist, but only within our mind, and so too does the concept of home itself (in Odysseus’ case Ithaca). Ithaca, that true home, is the reason for the journey.

But if we rush past everything that’s along the way, the markets and the wares of the world, if we do not pause to feel the first bloom of spring, the summer morning, the first rain, not let the winter chill our bones, will our senses ever know what home is when we finally arrive?

I remember reading somewhere that the story is actually that of love, not mere adventure. Odysseus was urged by Calypso, a nymph of ageless beauty, to stay back with her on the island of Ogygia, an offer with obvious attractions- physical, spiritual and mortal. However, he chooses to return to Penelope, his wife in Ithaca, who by now is well past her prime. Therein lies the essence of Odyssey: the beauty of human form is far outweighed by the glory of human love.

D'll be misseD.

(Four days, four posts- that definitely is a record.)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Marriage has teeth,

... and him bite very hot: Jamaican Proverb

Third post in as many days. This must be a record.

The Venue: Jazz
The Occasion: Weekend

I am dragged out of bed, not entirely against my wishes, by Chops and D, after I have been gradually marinated with small doses of Chivas 14 years since afternoon.

The band is a new one. I have seen their name on hoardings, but never heard them before. It turns out that they have a particularly good bassist, and great choice of music. As we enter we are treated to a near perfect rendition of almost the entire The Wall Vol 1. Side A. After this some Nirvana, then again some very, very good Dark Side of Moon. Agreed, the lead vocals were a little feeble, but then that could be a technical issue.

Suddenly, a bunch of high-pitched women start screaming those horror words: “Hotel California”. Now, I have nothing against the song, but just that it is one of those which have been rendered boring by repetition. Any band which performs this, or even Sweet Child of Mine, is downgraded two notches in my scheme of things. Horror of horrors, the band decides to play this song, with the women breaking into a jive on the song with their men folk. Ugh!!!

Inspired by their success, they go on to ask for Sweet Child (a very good song, but not again please!!!), converting the purist again. This time I decided not to even look at what dance form befitted that song. My friends and I shake our heads in dismay, but then I am reminded of a verdict passed by KD recently at HRC recently, when they were playing some seriously puppy love music (and obviously to the gallery). KD had said: “DJ o toh manush, oro niche jineesh potro ache. Chhoto chhoto jama pore kochi mey guli giye ‘summer of 69’ chaile, koto baar mana korbe.” (Roghly translated: The DJ is a man too, he has things down under to take care of. When cute girls wearing short dresses come up and ask for summer of 69, how many times can he say no.”

Well, that explains. And I was just hoping things wouldn’t boil down to “Summer of ‘69”. And thankfully it didn’t. What transpired next was a little more horrific though. It turns out that I knew those women, actually their husbands. They work in the same firm, but in some obscure department though. Then I made the next mistake of telling my friends that. And the wrath is now directed to me and I am told five years down the line, I will find myself in a similar situation- when my wife and her hysterical friends will be screaming likewise and break into a tango over Sweet Child. And I won’t know where to look.

Later at night walking on Marine Drive, I wonder if that is possible. Perhaps. I am sure each of those guys considered themselves real cool cats/ rock stars, or whatever, strumming that air-guitar while waltzing with their wives. Maybe they even appreciated their wives’ sense of music and timing; and their choice of dance form (man, I am married to the Prom Queen). May be they felt a certain sense of pride in it. Maybe that’s what marriage does to you. Maybe I do not understand their Point of View. Maybe that’s why I am where I am today.

If I get married, I will do it with the knowledge that it is going to change me like no relationship ever has or even will. But I just hope the changes are not of this nature.

PS: I do impulse shopping every Sunday evening to fight the crabby pre-work week mood that I am in. This time I bought a mannequin- i.e. everything that was there on it, and then a bit more. Odd sized shorts (which a friend calls Pauni Chaddi), matching T-Shirt, floaters, sneakers. Would have bought a jacket as well, but they didn’t have my size. And then D bought identical sneakers too, but in a lovely pink. All from the same Nike store on Linking Road. Damages? INR20k. Sunday Bloody Sunday!!!

Calvin (on Sunday): Any day you have to take a bath and go to bed early isn’t a day off in my book.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Buy That House … Now!

My second post in as many days and that’s something that doesn’t happen too often. And on a similar sounding topic. But no.

Last night on the way to Jazz, D, driving, asks me, why don’t I buy a house. She recommended a certain “almost south” Bombay property with a going rate of INR21,000 per sq. ft. (approximately USD500). That would typically translate into a cost of about INR 25 million for a decent house. Wow!!!

Now, its not as if I am a novice in these matters. For the last three or four years, with little money in my pocket, and thus an axe to grind, I have been prophesying a crash in property prices in Bombay and other such cities. But now it is unlikely to happen very soon. It is a classic case of markets remaining irrational longer than anyone can remain solvent.

But as a financial markets professional, I am expected to have a certain understanding of basic economics and I would be foolish to ignore the arguments that can be sought in the same to explain the current bubble phenomenon.

(The views that follow are personal)

I know at least 200 people who can afford a house that expensive. Mind you, afford, not simply write out a cheque. The difference between buying a house and buying any other item is that most people often leverage themselves quite easily. Take my example. I have been considering a new car for the last few weeks. However, even though the current choice is considered an expensive car, I am slightly averse to taking a loan to buy it. Thankfully being under-invested I can probably write that damn cheque and drive the baby home after the rains are over. However, if I wasn’t, I would probably have had considered something a little less expensive.

I am not saying people don’t take loans to buy a car, or a computer, it is just that in each of these cases there is an option of scaling down ones expectations, or desires and buying something out of savings. Not so with property anymore.

The problem with property is that one almost always will have to leverage. There are exceptions, but they are about 15 in my set of 200. So when I am borrowing I might as well buy quality, as long as I can foot the EMI. The other problem is that most people I know have little idea on what to do with their money. As the economy grows and we get the best bargain deal on our compensation, the resultant lifestyle leaves little time to consciously deploy that money. So after having burnt fingers with some investments, and dealing with spiraling rental yields, you look to land. So the demand for housing remains undiminished.

The next issue is that of wage inflation vis-à-vis the more commonly discussed consumer/ wholesale price inflation (CPI/ WPI). In India, we are currently seeing an explosion in wage inflation- this in the context of the fact that owing to structural and political policy CPI and WPI are targeted by central banks and kept low. Consider this, while WPI hovers around 4.50 to 6 percent, y-o-y, what are the chances you would settle for that kind of a hike the next time your boss calls you in for a compensation review? Highly unlikely. Such a vast disparity in these two measures leads to what is commonly called flight to quality. At a certain level, we realize that our earnings are growing much faster than our expenses, and hence we need to either escalate the quality of our spending (which is equivalent to moving to a higher consumption curve) or invest. This is a somewhat modified adaptation of the IS-LM model of macroeconomics.

Under a flight to quality scenario, quality housing, say in Cuffe Parade (or downtown Shanghai) is likely to remain expensive even as those in Dahisar are affected by factors such as rising cost of leverage. The cost of leverage is however the same irrespective of where you buy the asset, since the bank is not going to charge a higher rate of interest for property in the former. Quite the other way around, actually as the former is a better security. Moreover, since the people who buy property in search of quality, have a seriously steep forward income curve (i.e. their expectation of what they will earn 5 years from now), they become insensitive to small increases in interest rates (cost of leverage), since if you believe you will earn twice of what you earn today three years from now, you are unlikely to believe that you will run a 20 year mortgage for its entire duration.

Wage inflation is very grainy, different for every layer of society, different for every industry, and so on. Ideally under the wage Price/wage spiral concept of economics, this would lead to demand side inflation, and also pass through of labour cost into finished goods prices and the situation and could be explained very easily, and possible remedied with traditional macroeconomic policy measures. However, the situation in present day India is a little different. The highest wage inflation is in the services sector. The biggest consumer of the services sector is not in India, but overseas. Hence the burden of higher wages is passed on to clients in the US, or say Europe without any follow through effects on local prices.

The situation may reverse under the following circumstances though. First, wage inflation in the services sector becomes so high that India ceases to be a destination for outsourcing. It does not even have to get there. There might emerge a stronger, cheaper exporter of such services. Under these circumstances, wage inflation in those sectors will dip sharply, or even turn negative. Second, taking cognizance of this overheating, the central bank decides to mop up all available liquidity in the financial system. It has happened once before in the 1990s. Under that situation, money will not only be expensive (i.e. high rates of interest), it will be scarce, i.e. people will either run their loans to maturity, or at least be sensitive to its cost, or finally the demand for assets will plummet. Under either circumstances, interest rates in India will head very, very high. So whoever has been talking of overheating of India’s economy, ain’t seen nothing yet.

However, since either of the above two scenarios are unlikely in the very recent future, it is advisable to look up the property section in today’s (Sunday) papers and consider buying that house.

If I sound doomsday-ish and depressive, I shall leave you with this thought carried in the Times today (was read to me). With H.E. Pratibha Patil emerging as the strongest candidate for that big house on Raisina Hill, the term “R...pati” has come under threat. May be we should replace it with “R…patni”. But since that is likely to be a longer debate, let us settle for “R…Aunty” in the interim.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Moving On, Maybe

"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming."
- Pablo Neruda **********************************************************************************

I have finally gotten myself to reconsider my choice of address. After close to six years in this house, it feels a little strange that the decision to move is an outcome of materialism, not from boredom, or a cataclysmic move out of the city or country, or even , marriage.

I used to advise people, without of course implementing it myself, that one should consider the following three paths to induce excitement in life- change of jobs, change of marital status or change of houses. Of these change of houses is the simplest way out of boredom. Suddenly one is faced with some small shake-ups and in many cases it is quite welcome.

I have kind of found myself a house. It is not in Bandra, where I hoped to live out at least my single days, a location I have defended in numerous fora , mostly office parties since my colleagues- every single one of them chooses to live townside. The closing argument in all these debates used to be that in Bandra I can get drunk and walk back home.

That apart I quite like Bandra. The place is young, and cosmopolitan. While there is a Catholic overhang, but it is not definitive. Most of my friends live, or used to live here once. I still bump into strangers every once in a while who I end up being friends with. It is open, yet non-intrusive. There is a certain colour to the suburb, a zest which I absolutely adore. Be it the Christian bakeries, or the eatery strip along Carter Road. Be it the little bars, or the big discs. Be it the cheap liquor and the 3AM home delivery of Janta, or the chic restaurants of Landsend. It has everything. And best of all it has the sea closeby.

This house I live in, like any other that one would inhabit for 6 years is full of memories. But now the walls are peeling, and it really isn’t quite it. For sometime now, the directions to my place have always included the phrase- the most dilapidated building on 36th Road. Over the recent years many people have offered me various arguments to move. From D’s outirght disapproval (it’s a fuck all place to stay) to Trips’ clairvoyance (you’ll never get married if you stay in this dump). To AD once conceding, many months after breaking up, that it was a depressing place to come back to at night with me, to IK’s diplomatic (It’s a good house, but you know you deserve and can afford a lot better).

And of late the long drive back home has begun to bother me quite a bit, and with the coming monsoon it will only be worse. Even though I now have a driver, I still remember the fact that in the last two years I have had to walk back home from Mahim or Prabhadevi, in heavy rains at least once.

The house I am considering is on Altamount Road. Swank building with Page3 occupants. It has lovely views of the sea from a bedroom window, of Marine Drive from the other, and that of a densely wooded park, that you thought couldn’t exist in this city, from the hall- though the windows themseves are not quite as big as I’d like them to be. Its current residents chose to colour the walls of the hall and one of the bedrooms in red, while the other, where their kids stay is blue. But that is a minor deterant. The current occupant’s wife could make out that I didn’t quite like the walls from the grimace on my face and suggested that I get them painted, and I said if I had the temperament of going through a paint job, then I probably wouldn’t be moving houses at all. I have already started planning the furniture, low seating cane in the hall, wrought iron in the bedroom, while the other one (that which overlooks the Queen's Necklace) will be just for my books and music- something I have always wanted. The house is obviously expensive, but not entirely unaffordable. It is seven minutes from work in the morning and about 15 on the way back. Best of all, it comes with a rare 3 year lease.

So what exactly is the problem? Well to begin with, the area. It feels like a 100 years old as soon as you get on the road off Peddar. D’s first reaction when I mentioned this possible relocation was – You can’t do that, you’ll age so much faster. Also I cannot move in before August, and that does take away from the right here right now pleasure of making decisions. Also, all my friends currently stay in Bandra and I see myself there every weekend anyway (of course, according to BossMan, I should keep both houses). Then the fact that I am not entirely convinced that I should move out of Bandra.

But the problem with Bandra, apart from the ones I mentioned before, is the fact that my friends seem to be in the change mode too. Bose is off to Paris for good, and D to London for about two years (which is just the same). IK is going to be in NYC for a good part of the year now, and that just leaves Shrek who I almost always meet only at Hard Rock. So all those pluses wil sooner or later be gone. Perhaps I should consider the offer made by Two recently and try a different city for a bit. And Tokyo did sound enticing. New place, new languange. Enormous anonymity. According to Buch the city is so fast that just looking out of the window numbs the mind.

But then I think about the last few years and I realize that there was once a time, may be two years back when I was in a similar situation. RV had just moved to Dubai, Viper and Nu to HK, Buch to the US and Tinman headed home to Hyd for good, and I was almost friendless. But back then, because I was in Bandra, I was able to form new conections. It might not be as easy to repeat that considering I am on the other side of 30 and too far gone in my ways.

Let’s see.


"Before I can live with other folks, I've got to live with myself. One thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience"-
Atticus Finch. To Kill a Mocking Bird. Harper Lee.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What’s playing now?

Just happened to browse the Top 25 list on my Ipod on the way to work this morning and was quite surprised to see some of the entries. Most wouldn’t rank as my favorites, and I’d be even more surprised if I admitted to people that I liked some of those songs. But I guess listening to music on the Ipod is a very, very different experience, compared to any other music experience. I tend to choose songs because it just goes with a certain mood I happen to be in at that point of time, without wondering where the damn CD is.

So here goes…

1. P.I.M.P. (50cent). Now you see why I was surprised. This song has just grown on me. Every time I am feeling reckless, and slightly high gear, I just tune into this. And this also happens to be the only hip-hop song I’ve heard more than once by choice. Also helps that 50cent, alphabetically is just below 4 Non-blondes. Wassup Gangsta!!!

2. What’s Up!. (4 Non-blondes). While the song does happen to be an old favourite, the reason why it ranks so high is purely alphabetical. Also helps that it often captures a certain state of mind. But seriously T.O. what really is going on???

3. Feel (Robbie Williams). Have no clue how this song crept up my chart. Nice, but not so.

4. Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) (Greenday). Love the muted “fuck” uttered when Billie Armstrong screws up his opening chords- twice! I have always have had this thing for acoustic stuff and slightly vagrant visions of a “fork stuck in the road”. And in the endgame, is that not what matters most, whether you had the time of your life? I think Greenday is a good band, our coming of age punk rock.

5. I Don’t Wanna Talk About it (Various). Now I know the original (“the” Rod Stewart) is the best, but I somehow like the Indigo Girls version better. Just love it actually. And I also like this band in particular, their activism, taking a stand attitude. Am thinking of doing a post on them later.

6. Chelsea Hotel (Leonard Cohen). Now, that’s a shocker, because I almost always listen to this one and the one that follows only at very select occasions, not because I like them less, but because Cohen does tend to depress me with his absolutely raw lyrics. And also because the music, is no music. Its just not hummable. But lovely lyrics anyway.

7. Famous Blue Raincoat (Leonard Cohen). I love the concept of this song. And that of a thin gypsy thief with a rose in his teeth. But Cohen is depressive, hugely.

8. Under the Bridge (Red Hot Chili Peppers). Now that’s more like it. Love the peppy, artistic, distinctive music of this band. Much like Coldplay, they make music that one can tell from a mile. Songs like Tell Me Baby, like Snow… and so many others. I find it sad that most places only end up playing Californication.

9. One. (U2/ Johnny Cash). Can’t decide which version is better. While U2 sounds better at Hard Rock Café, Cash (in his baritone voice) is much, much better on the way to work. “Did I disappoint you, leave a bad taste in your mouth? You act like never had love, and you want me to go without”. Wow!!

10. Don’t Cry. GNR. Now this band has that special, special place in my mind. This is the only band that I can say I belongs to my generation, and who grew up with me. November Rain, Don’t Cry and Paradise City. What mind-blowing music.

11. Shook me All Night Long. (AC/DC). Would’ve expected this song to figure much higher on the list, but then, well. What a song, what lyrics, and what a fucking typical AC/DC video.

12. Can I play with Madness? (Iron Maiden). Can I? Can I? Yes, yes! And that is my pep up song as I walk into the trading floor.

13. Diamonds and Rust. (Joan Baez). I like songs with a story, a dedication. Chelsea Hotel for Janis Joplin. D&R for Dylan. “Our breath comes out, white clouds, mingles and hangs in the air”. And elsewhere, “We both know what memories can bring they bring diamonds and rust.” Does it get any better?

14. Build me Up. (The Foundations). Love the movie, the song, peppy, fun, and full of memories.

15. She’s a Rainbow (Rolling Stones). She is, isn’t she? All of seven colours, and sometimes a bit more. The thing about Rolling Stones is that they are such a super live performance band that once you’ve heard them live, you just can’t take it otherwise. My personal grudge against them is that they never sang Ruby Tuesday at the concert I attended. But then… I can’t get no satisfaction!

16. Best of my Love: (The Eagles). My all time favourite Eagles song. “You see it your way and I see it mine, but we both see it slipping away.” Don’t we baby? And you’ll say… Awll the time!!!

Now I’m bored… rest later.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Mini-size Me

The problem of being an odd size means more often than not I end up at the tailors. I like being there though- get my choice of fabric, and having spent a large majority of my life being terribly unkempt I am now at last waking up to the pleasures of fine dressing. I have always been choosy about footwear, but that isn't quite in the same league.

Off the shelf, I can buy shirts of only one brand. And even that brand reserves plain whites and blues for my size. I mean who gets to decide that big guys can wear anything they want while we have nothing more than blues for a wardrobe. If there can be outlets for over-sized women, why not for under-sized men!!!

Recently I was pleased to note that Lee has introduced a line of skinny jeans. Thank God for that. But while I do get the rare size in denims, with trousers... no way!

Which brings me to my current predicament. Finding myself at home in Bandra at 7PM on a Monday evening (a rare event), I decided to get myself new trousers. Being a veteran in superstore mega-disappointment, I headed to a fancy tailor. Unable to make up my mind in choosing between charcoal grays or fine pin-stripe blues, I ended up buying quite a bit. Am not used to much choices in life, you see.

However, it means now I'll have to wait a full 48 hours till the tailor turns the cloth to something wearable. Women definately have it easier- just buy a nine yard sari, wrap it around and there you go.

Now, by instinct, I am an impulse shopper- I even walk into Shoppers Stop on a Sunday evening just to de-stress. Whats the point in having money when it can't translate into things you fancy and whenever you fancy them. Having to wait for 48 hours I run the risk of losing interest in the purchase altogether.

I guess its the punishment I get for not gulping down every single glass of milk that Ma placed in front of me.

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted." - Mae West
(Ooooh what a drift!!!)

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Compliments Limewire...

Friday night (the most important time of the week) at Bombay Gym. The old company re-unites- Rosh down from HK, Pom from Indo... and the rest from the trading-floor here. Alcohol about to come out of my ears, and suddenly this long forgotten song is played. When sobriety is restored (late, late on Saturday evening), its instantly downloaded. I had forgotten how much I liked this song once (and of course the reasons why).



You talk like Marlene Dietrich
And you dance like Zizi Jeanmaire
Your clothes are all made by Balmain
And there's diamonds and pearls in your hair, yes there are

You live in a fancy apartment
Off the Boulevard Saint-Michel
Where you keep your Rolling Stones records
And a friend of Sacha Distel, yes you do

But where do you go to my lovely
When you're alone in your bed
Tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look inside your head, yes I do

I've seen all your qualifications
You got from the Sorbonne
And the painting you stole from Picasso
Your loveliness goes on and on, yes it does

When you go on your summer vacation
You go to Juan-les-Pins
With your carefully designed topless swimsuit
You get an even suntan on your back and on your legs

And when the snow falls you're found in Saint Moritz
With the others of the jet-set
And you sip your Napoleon brandy
But you never get your lips wet, no you don't

But where do you go to my lovely
When you're alone in your bed
Won't you tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look inside your head, yes I do

Your name, it is heard in high places
You know the Aga Khan
He sent you a racehorse for Christmas
And you keep it just for fun, for a laugh, a-ha-ha-ha

They say that when you get married
It'll be to a millionaire
But they don't realize where you came from
And I wonder if they really care, or give a damn

Where do you go to my lovely
When you're alone in your bed
Tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look inside your head, yes I do

I remember the back streets of Naples
Two children begging in rags
Both touched with a burning ambition
To shake off their lowly-born tags, so they try

So look into my face Marie-Claire
And remember just who you are
Then go and forget me forever
But I know you still bear the scar, deep inside, yes you do

I know where you go to my lovely
When you're alone in your bed
I know the thoughts that surround you
'Cause I can look inside your head