Home Sweet Home

What are dream homes made of? That’s a question I often ask myself. Swanky high-rise, plush marble floors, ample rooms, snazzy decors, location, neighbourhood, blah blah. While all those things are cool, they wouldn’t exactly compose my dream home. And I realise that no matter how many of those things you get right, your home will still be one-step short of being a dream home… Why you ask? Yeh hai Bombay, yeh hai Bombay, yeh hai Bombay meri jaan!

 

Okay let me give you my example. I live with my parents (what, it’s normal in India for a 24 yr old girl) and they bought this house back in the 80s.

 

Its a five minute drive to Dad’s office, it was housed in an old building that boasted of Scottish architecture, Italian mosaic floors and a brown-tiled roof. We were housed on the top floor, with humongous rooms and loads of airy windows. For the toddler in me, it was a great wide space for hiding and seeking. The building had a nice garden that was promptly taken over by Mum. There’s 2 schools and 4 colleges within a walking distance. There are two vegetable markets in the area, both are a 5-10 minute walk. The station is a 15 minute walk and there’s a bus-stop right under with over 20 buses connecting us to the city! Brilliant.

 

The house has few rooms but they are big and spacious. Me and my sister, have taken over the attic. We have our tiny little den cut off from the rest of the house, every teenager’s dream come true!

 

So yes, I live in my dream house. I have my parents to thank. I love it that it takes me 25 minutes to get to work on a great day and 45 on bad day! I love it that I can reach anywhere in the city in 40 minutes (on an average! Don’t ask me how long I’d take to come to Yaari road!)

 

But… there’s a catch. The area I live in is the quieter side of the town. We have few multiplexes, and even fewer restaurants around. Me and the sister are adventurous with cinema and food, and our area does little to cater to that. Most of the restaurants within a 20 minute reach are fantastic, but they’ve been here ages and we know the menus inside out!

 

India, especially Mumbai, is getting global. We’ve got world cinema releasing in our theatres, we have cuisines of the world being offered on the menus (dude! The quality is really bad and if you want the real thing, be ready to cough up an entire month’s salary!) and of course we have interesting brands coming to our malls.

 

That makes Mumbai such a vibrant city doesn’t it? Of course, but all that happens in the suburbs of Mumbai. The world cinema is released at a late night show in a theatre far far away. At the end of a tiring day at work, I don’t feel like taking a drive down through the mad-mad homeward bound traffic. And the parents don’t exactly feel great about us daughters being out in a film till 1 am and then driving back home.

 

Every week, the newspapers recommend new restaurants, new pubs. I see what’s on offer and I say, “I am going there!” Then I look to the bottom of the review and read Malad, Andheri (W), Goregaon and Mulund and the enthusiasm just pipes down. I don’t mind driving all the way, but then the prospect of spending 2 hours stuck in traffic listening to Emraan Hashmi films’ songs lifted from some Chinese musicians doesn’t excite me at all!

 

BIGFlix, the new DVD rental service on the block, has my list of dream movies, but guess what, they don’t have a single outlet remotely close to my area! And they have a rocking network in the suburbs. Result: I don’t get prompt service from them nor can I go and demand movies L

 

It is times like these when I start to think about moving to the suburbs. Life is vibrant there. With the new restaurants, funky theatres, new services offered and a plethora of pubs and clubs, I believe that the true spirit of Mumbai is out there. I share this with a friend who lives in the suburbs and she goes, “You mean you want to eat at new restaurants and watch crazy films from countries I haven’t heard of and for that you’re ready to switch places! Sounds good I don’t mind living in your exotic building, walking to work everyday and chilling….”

 

The grass is always greener on the other side! For now, I will settle for the green grass on the Parsi Gymkhana lawns that I can see from my window…

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Fame or shame!

Radio in Mumbai is pretty bland. They all play more or less the same kind of music, and every now and then an RJ pops up with some gossip (yawn!) some random callers and sometimes some crazy games.

However sad it may be, I still listen to radio when I can. While driving back from work, my de-stressing ritual is singing along to random songs over the radio. Today, I was too tired to do that. In fact, I was so tired that I didn’t bother changing the frequency when an RJ started talking about something I didn’t care two hoots about. And then he said something that made me go, “Uh, what?”

Apparently, he had dared one of his listeners to give her boyfriend’s number and the radio station would have someone call the guy and flirt with him. She, like any naïve girl, said that she completely trusted her guy and gave the number. Now, a girl in a very pretentious sexy voice calls this dude up and starts ‘flirting’. The guy tries to figure out who it is and with a few giggles plays along. She says he’s cute, she says he looked hot when he went down for a smoke earlier and then she asks him what he’s wearing. The guy chuckles and actually answers.

The mad woman then asks him if he wants to know what she’s wearing. The dude says yes!

The woman says, ‘I’m wearing nothing.’

Now correct me if I’m wrong but that does not qualify as flirting- its seduction and a very lame attempt at that!

Anyway suddenly the male RJ comes into the conversation with a creepy voice and announces that the dude’s girlfriend is on air too. The dude panics, the girlfriend is in shock and the RJ is trying to laugh at this situation.

Huh!

I couldn’t believe it. Firstly, I couldn’t believe the girl actually gave some girl the license to flirt with her boyfriend, all for 2 minutes of fame on radio and some sad gift vouchers. Secondly, how can a radio station take the liberty of playing around with people’s relationships like this?

My sympathies are with the guy. He genuinely seemed to be playing along to what he thought was a prank and he wasn’t wrong. He wouldn’t expect his girlfriend to be party to this prank. He still apologised profusely, while his girlfriend just hung up. If I was him, I would be mad as hell.

We seem to put everything, right from our joys and sorrows to our relationships, on the line for a little fame. Are we seriously that hungry for fame?

Horn Ok Please

She had driven all the way across town for a meeting, which didn’t happen eventually. The terrible traffic wasn’t helping her foul mood. She was sick of her being stuck in first gear. Her knees were hurting out of the excessive driving. The tiny rickshaws kept cutting into her lane, adding to her agony. She just wanted to get home and rest.

She didn’t notice the guy in the car next door look at her. She tried to focus on getting some song on the radio, but they were just playing songs she didn’t care about. She rested her head on her steering wheel in frustration.

He couldn’t take his eyes off her, and he knew it was rude to stare, but she was adorable. She was restless in her big huge car, shifting gears even when the car was stationary. He felt a strong urge to just roll down his window and knock on hers. He shook off the thought and smiled. He forced himself to look away. She was just driving a car next to his, she could be married or she could be a mother of 5 kids. He wasn’t the type to flirt with random girls. In fact, it was a long time since he had checked out a girl even.

While he was lost in his thoughts, she had driven away… He looked at where her car had been and shrugged. What if he had knocked on her window?