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Showing posts from November, 2008

Remembering Mumbai

Anyone who has ever been to the city has a story to tell. An aunt who visited Mumbai just once sometime in the 80s, still talks about how her two word Hindi vocabulary of 'aage' (straight/further) and 'oopar' (up) quickly dwindled to just one during an autorickshaw ride. And how it left her directing the driver to go up-up-up to her sister's house.

An aunt-in-law who visited us when we were there couldn't understand how they managed to build the buildings so tall and conceal all the wiring inside the walls.

My mother still recalls the time she shopped for vaazha-thandu in Matunga for varalakshmi nonbu one year. And how she brought it all back to Andheri alongside fisherwomen with their baskets of the day's catch.

I have a sister who is living there and one day some years ago, she lost the keys to her apartment. It was fairly late in the night and she went straight to the first policeman she saw to ask for help. Together they combed the suburb for a locksmith …

Memories of food - Milkmaid

There are few things that taste as good in real life as they do in nostalgia. Reminiscing about food somehow has the strange effect of cancelling out such pointless concerns as calorie counts and hygiene issues that often plague real life savouring experiences. However, there are a couple of exceptions that almost always taste as good in real life as they do when dreaming about them in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon budget presentation. One of them is masal vadai. There has never been an occasion when the experience of sinking my teeth into one has been anything other than exceptionally joyous. The second exception to this rule is condensed milk. Or to give it its brand-turned-generic name – Milkmaid.

Growing up, we rarely had any tinned food. Milkmaid was perhaps the only ingredient that came in a tin. And the opening of one such tin was a ceremony deserving of its own Olympics. First, there would be a crowbar with large piece of smooth stone on one end and a stubborn tin on the …

A quick tale 217

Shop in the time of credit crunch

Who are all these people, you wonder one day as you sit in a cafĂ© sipping a warm mug of hot chocolate and watching pedestrians on the road. Why are they walking around with pendulous shopping bags? you ponder. What is inside those bags? It is not summer and it is months before Christmas. And if newspapers are to be believed, we are in the middle of a credit-crunch (you, like most others don’t wish to be bothered by the economic-minutiae but generally assume that it means tighter purse strings). Which brings you back to your question - who are all these shoppers?

You sip your tepid chocolate. Perhaps this woman here is celebrating the 5th anniversary of her graduation and has decided to gift herself a unicycle which is now flat-packed and she has to assemble it all herself. Perhaps that man over there has suddenly felt the urge to spend a ridiculous amount of money on vast quantities of shower gel and enamel paint. May be this young lady here has just fo…