Tag Archives: Mumbai

Conflicts for a New Mommy

Antara Roy debunks some popular myths about motherhood.

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So finally, he arrived!! After the 9 months long drill, I couldn’t wait to take him in my arms… It was different, he was red like a tomato, eyes tightly shut by the heavy eyelids; felt like a little mountain baby in my very eastern bong hands. I was a first-time mom, and it was the first time I held such a tiny creature. I was beyond elated and blissfully unaware of the days and nights ahead!! But that story of how I embraced motherhood is for my journals to bear. Here I am more interested in bawling around how a new age mommy deals with her baby, her house, her hubby and her work… oh!! Did I forget to write Indian?? Let me reframe then; ‘I am more interested in bawling around how a new age Indian mommy deals with her baby, her house, her hubby and her work.’

Why such emphasis on Indian, you ask? Simply, because we have got it too easy; it’s too easy to outsource and delegate. Baby Bathing-outsourced, cooking-outsourced, baby massage- outsourced; you name it and it can get outsourced. Where else in this whole wide world can you find this luxury? But again, luxury ensures a cost. Our traditional society has designs for a new mommy already made. And thus it is the tryst of this modern mommy to understand, embrace and somewhat rebel (ah, the best) these designs…

Myth: eat limited after delivery, especially water as it leads to obesity…

Really, and then what… Drink ghee and full fat milk which will keep you lean?? Eating moderate helps, but not limited. Eat what you have eaten all your life. Do not restrict. If you are breastfeeding you need a lot of strength from proteins and stamina from carbs. No point shying away from it. Pictures are evidence enough that even Aishwarya Rai didn’t!!

Myth: beer and wine helps in lactation…

How much so ever I wanna scream ‘it’s true and I love it’, sadly it isn’t true!! Though one glass in a couple of weeks won’t kill anyone, yet ensure you breast feed after a couple of hours of drinking it. Let your body get enough time to absorb and break alcohol, before it reaches the baby.

Myth: no rotis/chapattis/breads of any sort for 40 days after delivery

This is one of my favourites that I heard of. Apparently wheat is not good as it will lengthen the time taken for one to heal from delivery. Come on people, use logic to your limited knowledge of science. Whole-wheat is the best kind of carb you should subject your body to for the first few weeks after delivery. It is one magic ingredient that will heal your body as well as give stamina for you to do the onerous task of feeding and caring for a newborn.

Myth: post-partum depression is for the weak hearted.

And the weak hearted can be easily sorted out because they have 2 noses??!! Baby blues happen and you are bound to feel it one way or other. One stray comment on skin colour or the shape of nose can put you off or lift you up. Trust me, better days are up ahead. And there is no shame in owning up and doing the right thing.

Saving the best for the last…

Myth: baby boys put in disposable diapers turn out to be eunuchs.

Oh goodness!! I feel like taking a bat to run after these so called educated people suggesting these in a cosmo city like Mumbai. Where did our education system fail? How come people are so blissfully unaware of biology of our bodies?? Though using disposables will blow out a huge hole in your pocket and ozone layer, but u will surely get grandkids to put on cloth diapers!! :-p

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Having mentioned about cloth diapers, if you are a mommy and you read till this point, you might wanna try out these amazingly innovative products afloat in the markets of today. It’s a completely washable diaper, designed to leave kids dry on skin, while soaking up the pee and poop and keeping it in without visible accidents. It’s leak-proof, adorable to look at and very cost effective in the long run!! If you need more info about these, write in a comment and I will get back to you!!

Eat well, stay loved and spread care. Cheers!!

Parental Guide To ‘Freedom’ And ‘Risk’

parental guidance

Post the gang-rape in Mumbai, a friend observed ‘thank God, I don’t have daughters’. But Jaideep Ghosh has, and he wouldn’t have it any way.

The plus of having a teenaged child is that you get tech savvy in double-quick time. But as a parent of a teenager, you also need to be able to gauge between what is too much interference, or not.

So when I got savvy to Whatsapp, I keep tabs on my daughter. But most of the time it’s to check when was the last time she was online. If the time span is anything more than two hours, I send her a message.

I am a father of daughter who commutes in to the North Campus of Delhi University from the NCR, alone. She travels the entire breadth of the city, through some of the not-so-great neighbourhoods, and beyond. I worry. But I will be damned if I tell her not to.

But while there is no question that people’s freedoms and rights are sacrosanct, some of the reactions to the Mumbai gang-rape, or any other offence, leave me a little frustrated and a little angry.

Our politicians have never been paragons of sensitivity, so their reactions are not to be jumped on with any great gusto.

At the same time, the reactions of the so-called ‘liberals’ scares me. You cannot condone, if not downright encourage, putting women in situations where they would be at risk.

I tell my daughter to be careful, not because I am trying to impinge on her liberties. I would equally tell a son to wear a helmet if he was on a bike. And I would tell them both to be back home by a reasonable time (though the interpretation of ‘reasonable’ has always been different for parents and children).

Irrespective of which country you are in, the initiative is always with the criminal. There is no system by which the police can pre-empt a crime, without prior knowledge. That is also what makes terrorist strikes so successful.

This distinction is pretty clear for me – I won’t let anyone compromise my child’s pursuit of success and happiness. At the same time, I would not accept any hysterical banshee proclamations that ‘freedom’ translates into taking unnecessary risks.

That applies particularly given the fact that we live in a society which largely, at best, just tolerates women. Men cannot handle being bettered by women, or even equalled. Take a look at how men drivers react to being passed by women. That is a classic example. So, given half a chance, they will try to force this ‘superiority’. Don’t give them that chance.

I worry. I am always keeping track of where my daughter is. She has been brought up in the rather unforgiving environs of Delhi, but that bravado and attitude can be a double-edged weapon.

But that doesn’t mean she will sit at home. She will do whatever she wants to do, but as a sensible 20-year-old, she knows where she has to draw a line. This ‘drawing a line’ seems to be an issue with many women. To them I say, get real.

That said, I wouldn’t trade having a daughter with anything else. I would wish her a happy life, as to all women. But be a little careful out there.

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobara – Review

By Ankush Kumar

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One of the reasons why the sales of ‘Pass pass’ slumped at its launch was the movie Yaadein. Never in the history of entertainment a movie as lame as that was made, but the makers of painkillers had a smile everytime the movie was screened at any theatre in India. Once upon a time in Mumbai dobara is no different.

Premise: An extremely unique story of two friends falling for the same girl.

Plot: Well! They Lost it!

Acting: Over the top, caricaturish & Lousy.

Citizen Kane moment: A few scenes like Akshay Kumar’s bank sequence or the tayab Ali song and possibly the background music.

Kela moments: Sans the above three the entire movie.

Technical Aspect: As usual brilliant by bollywood standards, gaudy by our western counterparts.

Take home: Acting by Pitobash and Sonali Bendre.

Leave Behind: The dialogues, Rajat Arora tries too hard this time. The plot if there was any, acting a huge let down by the main cast and a disappointing result to a brilliant first part.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Sharing = Caring = Making a Difference

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

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The Mumbai Dabbawala’s deliver 120 tons of food each day, out of which 16 tons is uneaten.

At the same time, on Mumbai’s streets, there are two hundred thousand children who go hungry every day.

The ‘Share My Dabba’ initiative, a joint effort between the Happy Life Welfare Society and The Dabbawala Foundation, gets the leftover food in dabbas to the hungry street children using a tiny sticker and the extensive and efficient dabbawala network.

The dabbawalas separate the dabbas marked with the sticker & volunteers share the food with the hungry children.

Here’s a video on how it works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZC1czZofyY

A simple sticker that demonstrates that SHARING = CARING.

A small gesture that makes a difference to 200,000 and more children every single day.

Food for thought.

प्यार या आकर्षण?

love or attraction

शीला चित्रवंशि कि कलम से

प्यार है या फिर मात्र छलावा
भ्रम है या फिर दिखावा
युगों से लोग इसमें फंसते चले आ रहे हैं
ऋषि-मुनि भी तो कहाँ बच पाये हैं?
किवंदंतियां भी सदियों से चली आ रही हैं
इस युग में भी तो भरमार है

प्यार है या एक आकर्षण,
पहले तो कुछ सच्चाई भी नज़र आती थी
पर आज तो इसका रूप ही बदल गया है
प्यार एक आकर्षण मात्र ही रह गया है
न ही कोई सच्चाई न ही स्थिरता है
बस बुराइयों का ढेर बनता चला जा रहा है
यह कहाँ कोई समझ पा रहा है
युगों से तो प्यार की गरिमा व ठहराव की चर्चा भी चली आ रही है
उसके भी उदहारण हैं बहुत
पर कहाँ किसी को दिखाई देती है?
सच्चाई की प्रतिबिम्ब की झलक अंत तक दिखाई देती है
खुशबू बिखेरती है, चारों तरफ़ हवा का रुख फैलाती है
उसकी गरिमा को जानिए, गहराइयों तक पहुँचिये,
निष्ठा, गरिमा, व स्थिरता का सच्चा स्वरूप नज़र आता है
पर झूठा आकर्षण, झूठ का आधार जीवन को नकारात्मक बना देता है

कहाँ गया वह युग, कहाँ गए वो लोग,
जिनका ज़रा भी इस ओर ध्यान नहीं जाता
बदलाव आते हैं हर युग में,
पर आप कितने पानी में हैं यह सबको समझ में आता है
झाँक कर देखो तो प्यार में निष्ठां, प्रतिष्ठा,
स्थिरता एवं एक अटूट सम्बन्ध का कितना अच्छा सुखद एहसास नज़र आता है
जो लोग समझना चाहते नहीं हैं,
और बिगड़े हुए रूपों की ओर निरंतर भाग रहे हैं
यह छलावा नहीं तो और क्या है?
भ्रम नहीं तो और क्या है?

Goan Fish Curry

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Goa, the land of sun-kissed beaches and pristine blue waters, is India’s tourist haven. It is also a haven for seafood lovers. Those who love seafood, Goa will never let you down. From salmon to bombil, from squids to crabs- the quintessential Goan delicacies will always delight a gourmet. Since, Goa offers a galore of delicacies. Rice and fish curry is one of the most popular dishes of Goa. Here’s the quick and simple recipe.

pomfretIngredients

  • Bhetki or Pomfret. One can also use bombil/ Bombay Duck
  • Cooking Oil 3 table spoons
  • Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • Coconut Milk around 75 ml
  • Red Chilli Paste
  • Garam Masala
  • Salt to Taste

Method

Fry some bhetki fillet or pomfret and keep aside. In a wok add oil, coconut milk, ginger, garlic and red chilli paste and stir for at least five to seven minutes. When broth is thick add the fried fish, salt and a pinch of garam masala. It will be ready in minutes. Enjoy the cooked fish with steamed rice.

RIP Ex College Heroes

By Joybrato Dutta

What is it about college that we love the most? Education? Women? Strangers? Or is it the sense of power that suddenly gets bestowed on us. The power to handle situations. The power to stay unshackled. The power to write our destiny.

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This post is not about preaching the philosophies of life, nor is it about a moment of reminiscence after gulping a few shots. This is about mourning the death of my hero. The hero within me. Who was brutally murdered by maturity, responsibility and EMI.

The ‘bring it on’ attitude during college days inspired me to win, to beat the opposition mercilessly. Today, it quietly whispers ‘Survive’ in my ears.

Hostel life was all about being a strong bond. There was a reason day-boarders didn’t mess with hostelites. There was a reason day-boarders never dared to sit on a chair which had ‘H’ inscribed on it. Such a strong bond comes from trust. People say it takes a lot of time to build trust. But in hostel it’s different. It’s almost like it’s written on their faces that you can trust them. And of course after seeing each other naked for a year you can trust each other with your life. (Is that why a man trusts his wife? Sorry I got digressed)

Fearlessness is another quality that strengthens the bond. The biggest challenges – the Warden, the Dean, the HOD, the nerdy day-boarder who does not believe in the term ‘mass bunk’, the seductive vamp who invariably tries to loosen the bond, can be dealt easily. Of course the seductive vamp problem is dealt differently.

College taught us to be fearless. Fuck logic, fuck ethics. Just be fearless. Just support your friend. Precisely, why I could go watch a movie with my girlfriend during weekdays, because there was a fearless friend ready to give proxy.  Precisely, why I could spend all my money on a stupid gift, because a friend will always give me the money to recharge my SIM card.

We never cared that we could be expelled. With exams round the corner we would still bunk college and go out for trips. We didn’t have the fear of empty wallets. Yes those were the days we did things we felt like.

n563520795_429786_6491Today, I have a job. I stay in an apartment in Mumbai where the rent is more than what my pocket-money used to be. I have narrowed down my objectives to that one dream. To achieve that I need money.

There have been times I felt like reacting with as much anger I had then. But today I am scared. Scared of losing my job, scared of not being able to pay my rent, scared of not being able to pay my EMIs.

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Ya, post college we all get a make-over.

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Today that bond hasn’t weakened but we all do have second thoughts. Today most of us have shouldered one family-responsibility at least. A lot of us have to repay the education loan.

Today we have learnt to take a lot of shit. We’ve learnt to bow heads. We’ve learnt to compromise, to lose, which often is the self respect. Today I feel I am no different from that ass-licking nerdy I hated during college.

We all have a role model. A hero, who inspires us, teaches us to overcome hurdles, gives us the strength to believe in a second chance and to stand up for it. A hero who teaches us to fight for what we believe.

Being SoBo! South Bombai’ite

south bombay

By Ankush Kumar

It was the monsoons of 2007 when two of my friends arrived in Mumbai for the first time. They checked into a hotel and took a taxi to come and meet me. The first question the driver asked them was ‘Sahab Bombay jaana hai’? It caught my friends a little off guard. Yes dear readers! If you do not live between Cuffe parade and Worli you ain’t a Soboiite. Someone who has lived in South Bombay takes immense pride in boasting its residential status.

If you are a SoBoiite you enjoy certain perks and benefits and are always considered a cut above the rest. Here are a few key ingredients that make you an original inhabitant of the island city.

1) If the citizen addresses the city as Bombay and not Mumbai, chances are you are talking to a SoBoiite. For them Mumbai starts at World Trade Center Cuffe Parade and ends at Worli Seaface. The rest for them is foreign invasion.

2) Majority of the shoppers in the city head to Phoenix arcade or their neighborhood malls for shopping, but unless you aint seen at the Taj or Trident shopping arcade or at the Colaba causeway (depending on budget) you aint a Soboiite.

3) You walk into a pub all decked up for the evening and are looked down upon in disdain for your over the top clothes and make up, lady you have just met the original SoBo gals. They believe more in minimalistic decking up and yet look very appealing.

4) You are discussing which Hindi movies is going to release the coming weekend and how hyped the Khan wars is right now, and someone slips in a comment that ‘the last movie he/she saw way Sholay and that also on Dvd’ understand he is true bloodied SoBoiite.

5) If you are ignored when told that you have studied in a CBSE school you know you have encountered a SoBoiite. For them Campion, Cathedral, JB Petit, St. Mary’s are acceptable schools rest are just big mistakes.

6) A suburban citizen is always excited to go to South Bombay, but tell a SoBoiite to go to the suburbs and they would need atleast a week’s notice and a promise not to get tagged in the Check-ins on Facebook.

7) Last but not the least a true South Bombai’ite will never call himself/herself a SoBoiite, the suburbs gave them this name. They don’t look down at people not from South Bombay, its just that they are not from South Bombay: -P

Journey To The Alphonso Land

By Sudhir Verma, Avanturas

Vada pav with hot tea at a road side joint. Perfect start to the Pune trip!

Monty looked slimmer, younger, and happier. I was glad to see him. Over the last 2 years, since he moved from Bangalore, our lives had come a long way trudging through somehow. But that’s a long personal story we’d rather keep buried.

After a few days in Pune, Ratnagiri was next, which is an 8 hour, 350 kms journey from Pune. Monty suggested I take his car, or whatever remained of it.  The blue Maruti Esteem had withered almost 13 years of interstate travel. Now the AC hardly functioned, the driver side window was stuck, and the left headlamp wouldn’t glow. Yet, in the Avanturas spirit and raised eyebrows, I agreed to take a chance. The engine was still powerful. It easily touched 140 km/h and the brakes were equally responsive.

Road to Lanja

An early start from Pune to avoid the rush hour office traffic and I had hit the highway by 8 am, en route an Alphonso orchard 50 kms south of Ratnagiri. I had intended to take a break for lunch around 1, but the road and the superb drive through the ghats didn’t make me want to stop. It turned out to be a good call when the orchard owner, Mr. Ranade, warmly welcomed me with yummy home-made Konkani lunch and an unlimited Alphonso supply.

After a quick 30 minute snooze I took out my Nikon D5100 and stepped out to explore the vast orchard. Mr. Ranade had given me a free hand. I could eat as many mangoes as I could handle, from those that had just fallen from the trees, or plucked fresh if I were athletic enough to climb the trees. I was certainly not going to let go of this opportunity. The last time I climbed trees, explored farms, or plucked fruits must have been a decade ago.

Alphonsos

Let me not even begin to count how many mangoes I had. I was acting like a shameless child who had never seen mangoes before. What fun! Over the next two days, Mr Ranade hosted me graciously and took me around his village to see the ice factory and paddy fields, taught me to milk the cows and treated me to some delicious Konkani dishes. The eating area is on the open terrace overlooking the entire orchard, with a mild sea breeze through the day making it a perfect place for a relaxed meal.

Beach

What made this whole experience even more exciting was this beautiful secluded beach just half a km from the orchard. One has to walk down for about 5 minutes from the hill to access the beach and it seemed like an easy child friendly walk. Over the few hours that Mr Ranade and I spent at the beach, we didn’t see a single soul venture out. If only I had my gang out there!

On the return journey to Pune, while I was reflecting back on the two refreshing days I had spent at the Orchard, I had no idea that the most exciting part of this trip was yet to unfurl. Let’s scroll up a little. Remember the Esteem’s left headlamp wasn’t working? Since the latter part of the drive was going to be at night, at 5:30 pm I stopped at a garage near Lanja, some 50 kms from the orchard. It was already 6:30 pm by the time the mechanic finished the job. I had tea at the small local joint and hit the road again. Just after Lanja, the ghats get denser. It must be 8 pm and deep inside the ghats when suddenly both the headlamps went off. Damn, what the hell just happened? It took me 4-5 seconds to come to a screeching halt. I got out of the car in pitch darkness and found myself just a few inches from the edge of the road. Slightly delayed reflexes and who knows!

After 15 minutes of futile effort to get the lamps up again, I decided to seek help. But who would stop to help a stranger in the middle of darkness? I assumed at least the truck drivers might, but I was wrong. By 8:45, with no help, there were only two options I could think off. Either park the car on the side and sleep the night off OR follow a bus or a truck slowly till I reach the next town. The second was going to be very tricky and perhaps dangerous, but I wasn’t going to sleep the night off in the ghats for obvious reasons. So after almost 30 trucks and buses had zipped past me, finally a truck came to my rescue, heavily loaded and slow enough to follow. The idea was to drive within 2 meters range behind the truck and follow its front headlight to navigate the turns, but it turned out to be a bad call. The truck was so wide that I could barely see its front lights and only one of its back red lights was working, so it was even harder to judge its edges. Within 2-3 minutes I was back to a halt. With nothing else seeming like a wise option, I took out my phone to dial for help. And as you rightly guessed….no signal!

Epic! I was so totally stuck.

While the first attempt at following the truck was useless, I decided to give it another shot, but this time perhaps a car. Finding a slow car was going to be much tougher, but luckily I found one, slowly working the ghats’ turns. For the first time ever I was happy to see what I saw next, an L (Learner’s) mark at the back of the car. No wonder the car was so slow. While it was slightly easier following a car than a truck, it was still a risk. If you are ever driving on a dark road, try it maybe. Switch off the headlamps for a few seconds. Just for the kicks! You’ll know the feeling. For the next 30-35 minutes, I followed the car and reached Malkapur. It must be about 10 pm, but the town still had some life. Yet, what were the chances that I’ll find a garage open? Nil. They were all closed. Disappointed, I walked up to a tea shop to ask if there was any lodge I could spend the night at.  The tea shop guy was a young boy, Ashok, who was in a mood for a chat. And I needed someone to crib to. He started to brag about this world famous mechanic in their town who could repair anything. You bet! I told him I once had a dog that could wash clothes.

But he insisted and offered to take me to the mechanic’s house. Thinking that this could help me get back to Pune tonight, I accepted the offer. We waited for his father, who had gone to get some dinner, to get back so he didn’t have to shut the shop. While we were getting into the car, two more boys jumped out of nowhere and got into the rear seat. For the first time that night, I felt the “oh shit’ feeling. They were Ashok’s friends and joined in since for them it seemed like an adventure to take me to the mechanic’s house. But I wasn’t feeling that adventure, especially on a night that had already been too strange. I took my time starting the engine, giving myself time to think if I wanted to bail out of this. I decided to go ahead with it. If these boys meant harm, they were already in the car. I had to deal with it now. They guided me towards some dark by lanes and I was scheming on how I’ll jump out and grab the tool kit if the need arose. Eventually, they lead me to the mechanic’s house as they had promised. We had to wake up the mechanic but he very amicably helped me out. Turns out that previous mechanic at Lanja had used an inferior fuse which gave up.

The Saviours

Within 5 minutes the lights were on and I was back on road, but not before I had captured them all together with my Nikon. I dropped the boys back to the tea shop and offered them some money and a box of Alphonsos for having been so kind. They politely declined the offer saying it was their duty to help someone in need. With a promise to stop by for tea whenever I visited their world again, I put some Floyd on and accelerated towards Pune.

One of the most memorable trips in Avanturas’ journey.

PS: The Orchard is 190 KMs from Baga Beach, Goa. If you are travelling to Goa, it’ll be a good idea to add this experience to the itinerary. 

Best season: Jan-April.

For details, connect with Avanturas.

Ship of Theseus: Movie Review: Story Sails Into The Hearts Of Film Lovers

ship_of_theseus

By Ankush Kumar

Once in a while comes a man who does not even try to be part of the crowd? There are many who believe they possess certain inherent qualities that will help them be part of the masses easily.

But individuals like Anand Gandhi choose to wait relentlessly for their time to come, and today it’s his day. The day ‘Ship of Theseus’ sails into the hearts of many film lovers. This movie instills pride in you for being part of a humble but subtle audience that craves for true cinema. It shakes up the inner core of your emotions and guides you into a spiritual journey. 

The story is set in Mumbai about three individuals and the impact on their lives after certain circumstances. The name of the movie comes from a Greek philosopher’s musing ‘ if a ship is changed plank by plank, log by log, will it be the same as it started out to be’? Anand Gandhi’s film goes through a similar pattern of fate.

The first story is of a photographer whose life changes after a cornea transplant,
the other one of a man who is against animal testing in India and third of a man who has just been donated a kidney. It’s a movie where the actors have put in their hearts and soul in bringing forth the dilemmas of their journey.

The cinematography by Pankaj Kumar is outstanding keeping in mind that most of it is done hand held. A special mention has to be of actor Neeraj Kabi who stands out amongst others. His performance will draw comparisons with Tom Hanks in Philadelphia.
Lets celebrate the courage of Anand Gandhi and his cinema.

Rating: 5/5