This one is tops in my list of unbelievable kitsch. What you see is a man selling hot coffee, tea, and cocoa from the back of a tempo with a chandelier in it 🙂 Yes, look again, peer into that interior – it’s a full blown chandelier! I loved it!
This was taken at the Rijksmuseum as I waited in the freezing cold drizzle to buy a ticket around 5pm. I think our well decorated coffee vendor’s sell-rate was close to 100 percent. And which Amsterdammer or tourist wouldn’t want a hot cuppa from a man with such good taste in interior design and a fetchingly homey little ‘coffee shop’ even it’s really the back of a three-wheeler? 😀 The warm yellow glow, the aromas – he truly outdid himself, no? 🙂
and in Mumbai 😉 But not in Amsterdam, even if you’re Batman 🙂
This charming mime was on Damrak around the corner from Dam Square where Darth Vader, the Joker, a mummy, and a robot were all posing.
But Batman‘s always been my favorite and he bowed to me ever so courteously, I was charmed.
So I dropped a few cents into his bowl and then we blew kisses at each other. And I walked away smiling. Or not. Maybe that just happened in my head. 😉
I went to Bhopal to report on the 25th anniversary of the Union Carbide/Dow gas leak and found there was so much more to the story than that one night and the inhalation of the poison. There’s stories of shirked corporate responsibility, incredible government oversight and cuckoldry, stories of death, cancer, spontaneous abortions, animals ripping open, respiratory illnesses, ongoing denial, costly treatment, ignorance – and through the rips, hope. The commemorative Bhopal statue was designed by a Dutch lady called Ruth. And it’s symbolic. This replica is in the office of the Chingari Trust. The women of Bhopal really have been key in carrying the struggle forward — to make sure that the world doesn’t let another Bhopal happen.
Even for me – an educated journalist who considers herself abreast with news – it was an eye opener – how the water is still contaminated, how everyone drinks it daily because there are few alternatives, how the children are stunted and sick and dying. I have hours of audio and hundreds of photos to prove it. If you want to see them or listen, email me. I’ll share. Meanwhile, visit www.bhopal.net and www.bhopal.org to raise your voice. And check out the Chingari Trust if you want to contribute something towards the children.
What a thrill, right? To see my brother’s film posters on buses and walls 🙂 But the movie was unfortunately timed; it released with 8 other films and was almost totally ignored by the mainstream press (Ok, the Mumbai Mirror did review it and decimated it, but the Times Group seemed to have decided to boycott it. Others said they’d had to choose three or four of the eight and “Toss” just didn’t make the cut).
So, we tried to salvage some of it by creating a buzz in the social media fraternity and while that didn’t really take off either (logistics, quick-changes of movies in theatres, I left for Cambodia), it interestingly garnered a mention as a sort of case study in Campaign India magazine. It didn’t talk about the results, but I’m glad someone noticed the effort! Read the story Do Indian Bloggers affect consumer views? here. What do you think?
So, you know the potato crisps you get at the old-time movie theatres? Not the branded ones shilled by film stars – the ones that look like hey, they could have been fried and packaged in a cottage industry around the corner? Well, turns out that they kinda are! This was the glimpse I got into a wafer-ki-dukaan in Kotachiwadi one afternoon. Behind the posh, clean counter with the sealed bags of all kinds of fried farsaan was this massive man with an even more massive set of utensils. Look at the size of that ‘pateela’ and the fryer he’s using to literally paddle the crinkle-cut potato wafers in the scalding oil! Don’t miss the salli (as in salli-boti) and the already fried chips in the forefront.
P.S. Kotachiwadi was beautiful; really a small glimpse of Mumbai’s colonial past with the Portuguese architecture and the brightly painted cottages 🙂
It was janmashtmi – nothing, as far as I could tell, to do with Hanuman but voila, we turned a corner near the Metro cinema and there he was, being readied with much dusting and oiling to be taken elsewhere in the city. Later that same night, we ran into him on Mahim causeway! 😀
I guess you can get an idea of how large he loomed from the perspective around him. So very cool!
As we got out of the car to hit a trendy night spot off Linking Road, in Bandra, this bizarre shape on the sidewalk caught my eye. It was suspended in front of a lighting/lampshade store and I wondered if they’d accidently left an exotic shade out by accident when they shut shop. It took me a few seconds to figure out that it was a homeless man who’d made himself a cocoon to sleep mosquito-free! He’d hung his machchhardani from a hook in the awning and made a bed out of his bags. Voila! No malaria, scratches, or dengue for this enterprising citizen. I don’t know where he got it from or how long he’s been here (had it been day time, I would totally have asked him, but he wouldn’t be sleeping there if it were and, anyway, I wasn’t going to wake him up to do so.) Nevertheless, I was completely wowed!
What do you do when you’re bored? I often think that if I had a job that was mostly sitting around and waiting, I’d read. Most of our nation is illiterate, though, I know and everytime I see a cabbie or a watchman reading a paper, I get really happy. One recent afternoon, Aalaap and I were wandering around Dadar waiting for a bike to be assembled for purchase when I decided I wanted a nariyaal pani or something cool to drink. We found only mausambi juice and across us, I noticed the rest of the vendors – the banana seller included, had a game of chess going on. Attaboys! 🙂
Thank goodness this is only supposed to happen once in this lifetime. It was such a bad experience I’d be loath to wish it on an enemy! To start with, the registration location (“Badminton Hall”) was ridiculously hard to find and there was a lone policewoman trying to impose order outside. She did eventually let 10 people in at a time. Her directions about what to do inside were literally directions: “Turn right.” What I saw is what you see. And beyond these people were ceiling high stacks of paper. After waiting in two lines (once to receive a “number” – ward? Jaago Re neglected to mention this one) this absolutely rude woman said she couldn’t accept my PAN card as proof of my date of birth (regardless of what their web site says) and if “sir” said it was ok, she’d take the voter registration application. But “sir” flipped past the PAN card and fixated on my mobile phone bill as not being valid proof of address, instead. After raising my voice and demanding his name and ID number (to the absolute unconcealed delight of at least 300 people), I finally got them to accept my application and give me the counterfoil.
It didn’t seem to matter to them that they don’t make the decision about whether my application is accepted or rejected, they’re so used to playing God, they wouldn’t even take it! I was shaking with disbelief and anger about how difficult the bureaucracy makes it for even the people who DO want to vote. 🙁
All around me, people were being turned away for missing documents. There was someone in line ahead of me who’d returned for the fourth time! Why is the correct information not publicly available? And how can these officials be this rude to fellow human beings?
So the blog, my email, and my ISP has been down for a while. But the folks at Network Solutions and Dreamhost seem to have finally made their peace and let me transfer my domain name. And MTNL restored our broadband service (so it now functions for more than 30 minutes a day), at approximately the same time. I’ve been working random hours and places. And on one such jaunt, I caught sight of this kid having his bike fixed on the sidewalk. And when he straightened up, I noticed his shirt. Look closely. 😉 Cue orchestra! Celine, honey, you’re on!