Monday, February 28, 2011

Fairytale wedding, the origins

I'm still so enchanted by this weekend and so tired after the last 4 almost sleepless nights that it's hard to gather my thoughts..

But let's take it from the beginning.

In B-town the majority of things happen through the word of mouth. I was lucky enough to find myself in the right place at the right time (yes, again) and one night got introduced to J, a dancer/choreographer working in Bollywood for the last 4 years. Within 10 minutes of having met each other she told me she had a gig coming up and asked if I were interested. All the details were given to me in the following days - it was a hostessing job at a wedding outside of Bombay. I think anyone who's been to an Indian wedding would have to be out of their mind to refuse attending one more:) So I gladly agreed and was looking forward to the event.

I was going to be one of three hostesses, other two being models/dancers from UK. Was scheduled to be picked up at 6am on Friday (kinda went out Thu night and ended up sleeping an hour and a half.. still haven't recovered from that one I think..). Of course there were some problems to begin with - I'd been called the previous night that the driver would pick me up from home and then we'd go to collect the other two girls from in front of one of the malls in Oshiwara. 

The driver's number I'd been sent was not valid, so couldn't reach him, didn't have other girls' phone numbers either. Had been waiting for 20mins in front of my building before I managed to secure the driver's number, then another 10 while being told he was on my street already trying to find my builiding, to finally getting a surprised call from J, who was saying I should be at the mall with the other girls, as no idividual transfer was previewed.. Anyways, hopped into a rick and joined A and Y in the car 5 minutes later. I was really tired but somehowe the girls' looks and accent (a rather heavy Russian one) threw me off - I'd seen the hostesses' photos during a meeting at the client's place a week ago and somehow neither their faces, nor the nationality, matched the picture. It turned out there had to be some changes made due to other shoots the original hostesses had been offered last minute.

And so we set off on a 3 hr long drive to Aamby Valley, a beautiful huge property where the wedding functions were about to take place. I tried sleeping through most of the journey, however poor sleep that was (I've come to realise my car sleepiness doesn't appear when I'm too tired @_@). Woke up just in time to see the mountains which surround the valley and tried to keep my balance while the driver was aggressively attacking the curvy road. We arrived at the reception of Timber Chalets, one of the accommodation spots, and met with S, organizer of the whole event. It must have been around 9:30 am by then, so we went to get some breakfast at the Four Seasons  (honestly a bit disappointing the food was.. however the view on the mountain picks was nice :) ) and met with J to check in.

One of the very typical things for me, when it comes to Indians and dealing with certain things, is how inefficient and go-the-long-way-round they get at times. The property doesn't allow private vehicles on its premises. And that's fine, as long as you provide guests with good transportation otherwise. Aamby Valley has an army of cars, mini buses and golf carts that you can call for, but the stupid thing is that each one of them can only go to certain places.. So instead of making it easier on everybody, they made it such that you usually end up taking at least two vehices to get to your destination. And by destination I mean different joints like restaurants, clubs, functions' venues - every event was in a different spot (and there were 8 funtions in total, if I'm not mistaken).

After the check in we boarded a cart and were brought to our chalet, number 280 to be exact, so we could have a tiny bit of a rest and prepare ourselves for the first 'assignment'. 

In front of our house. There were two spacious bedrooms with bathrooms and terraces. J and me were upstairs, A and Y on the ground floor. Not too shabby if you ask me ;)

Our hood!
At around 11:30 we left for the Conference Center where we were to greet the arriving guests. Together with us were a couple of waiters, armed with wet towels and soft drinks. I have to say I was surprised at how poor the staff was in there. I've heard it's one of India's most sought after wedding destinations, very expensive, but it didn't reflect in the quality of service.
Anyways, we stood there looking pretty and all cheerful saying our 'hello's and 'welcome's for quite some time. It turned out I knew some couples through my boss's family - either they were family friends or relatives. I'd also seen most of them at the first wedding I attended back in January. It was so sweet of them to remember me and always make it a point to ask if I was going to be dancing at the sangeet.. hehe

I think it was about 2 pm when we got a call from J that we should head back home to change and come to the second thing on the agenda - a pool party combined with mehndi.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Wow.

About an hour ago I've come back from a wedding. My God, what a wedding that was.
I'll tell you all about it later, but now I need to rest..
I'm so tired and sleep deprived my hands are actually shaking..

So good night for now, but stay tuned - you won't regret it!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Magu's guide to B-town: Introduction

I've been here for over two months now, so enough time for me to think I have an idea about the place and its people and definitely too short a time to be right. However, I'd like to sum up my experiences and observations and share them with you. I have some ideas for a couple of chapters, but maybe someone has a specific thing they'd like me to elaborate on. If so, please come froward :) There's still a couple of days left for me here, so even if I don't have an idea about it, I'll be able to ask around :)

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Other than that - F, my CS host from Kuala Lumpur whom I stayed with in October last year, has spoiled me big time by sending over a six pack of Teh Botol - a jasmine tea drink I became addicted to while travelling in Indonesia.



As soon as I received it, I put it in a fridge to treat myself in the evening over some good movie. The evening has come - I've just gotten back from a dinner and some sheesha at a friend's restaurant and am spoiling myself some more by sipping the taste of last year's memories.. It's amazing how a simple taste can take you back in time and enable you to relive whatever reality you remember from the past. Right now I'm on Bali, on Lombok, on the beautiful Gili.. Even more so, because M is on Gili now and I' happy for her but at the same time I envy her so much, words cannot express it.
It's definitely time to find a new adventure in a beauftiful corner of this planet.

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Am zipping through channels right now and have just seen Denzel Washington speak hindi. Made my night!

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Other than that I need to rest after the weekend, can't wait for the next weekend - a crazy high profile wedding I'll be hostessing at, already thinking how strange it'll be to leave Bombay and feeling nostalgic because/thanks to Teh Botol..



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Salsa magic

My God.
How stupid I was to let some people make me feel paranoid about doing salsa in Bombay! I've missed out on soooo much since December!

Salsa parties evenings have been among the best ones I've had here. How I've missed sweating my ass off on the dancefloor, the shame of messing it up for my dance partners ;) and the sheer joy of both making mistakes and getting it right. So much fun in salsa and bachata, so much grace that I've yet to learn, so much dance creativity waiting to be unleashed. 

There are 3 main places for salsa in here: Sundays in Zenzi, Wednesdays in Shiro and Thursdays in Kino 108. Today a friend  has organised the 1st salsa night in Balthazar and I think it should become a regular ;) Maybe move it to another day of the week though, so that they gain one more party instead of making people choose between Kino 108 and Balthazar.

There are some really cool dancers in here, have met a couple of guys whom I adore dancing with. It hasn't been long since I joined the salsa community in here but I already know I'll miss those people. Funnily enough, I've been told today that I'll be missed as well. Too cute!

I don't know what it is about sala dancers but I find their communities very open and friendly, which makes it that much more fun. In Bombay as well - the crowd's not that big, so after 2 or 3 evenings you feel like a part of this world, you feel you're among friends.



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

43 (almost) sleepless hours

So apparently sleep's overrated.


What one might do during 43 (almost) sleepless hours:

* all that's described in here and then:
* get ready and set off to a cool party in an amazing property at the shore of the ocean
* have a good time with friends, dancing, eating and drinking (ordering drinks by colour is so much fun! plus, an amazing green thai curry)
* start talking to V, who's going to Pune the next day (and you'd wanted to go there two weekends before but ended up staying home); decide it'd be cool to get a ride with her, but you already have plans to go to horse riding with F; F comes and says she has to fly to Delhi for a last minute business meeting -> 9 am you're leaving for Pune, yay!
 * come back home at around 4:30 am to get a bit of sleep but 5 mins after get a call and be told you're being picked up to go for a random ride in the neighbourhood
* take a quick shower, pack your little purse and at 6 am go out to meet your friend
* stroll around looking for an open wine store (liquor stores are called wine stores in here, although wine isn't popular at all...) and end up in some hotel in Juhu; get a call from S and be told to come to an afterparty in Andheri
* go to Andheri, almost fall asleep and at 8:10 am head back to Juhu to meet up with V; eat some eggs for breakfast and fall asleep for 20 mins
* 9:25 am set off for a 3,5 hrs drive to Pune, get 2 hours of car quality sleep
* get dropped off in front of the German Bakery near the Koregaon Park, next to Osho's ashram; find out the Bakery's closed down and it's the anniversary of a terrorist attack that had happened here
* you're hungry so looking for some place to have lunch; you notice three blondes in the characteristic red outfits that Osho people wear and follow them till you get to a little local thali joint
* order your food, find out entering the ashram would cost you almost 2k Rs., not a merry perspective as you don't have more than 2,5k Rs. on you and you need some 'safety money'; decide to somehow make it work
*on your way to the ashram you meet M, a Swedish guy travelling around India, you go for a walk together and end up getting something to drink, chat away
* shut, it's 3:20 pm already?? you need to head back home, the ashram's not happening.. lol; take a rick and go to the train station to find a bus
* get reaaaally annoyed by Pune men while on your quest to find the right bus (government, non AC), sick of being smootched at or called 'ay gora!' (hey, white!); stand in a line to get a seat number for your bus (Madame, but it's non AC, you're sure you want that one?); board the bus, get some drinks and try to find a more or less comfortable way of positioning yourself to get some bus quality sleep
* 3,5 hrs later arrive dead tired and dirty in Dadar, which seems light years away from your bed in Andheri; struggle to find a normal taxi driver (they want to charge you 300 Rs. to Bandra - ****ers); you're in Dadar East, you're told by Z to cross over the station to Dadar West and catch a cab there; you're already so tired you don't really care but do it anyways; you try to find your way through a huge crowd of people, constantly pushing and trying not to fall flat on your face
* get into a cab and try not to start screaming at the cab driver as he pretends to know where he's taking you but has no idea; call Z about a million times; Z comes to pick you up, God bless his soul
* arrive at A's place - the single coolest piece of private space you've seen in the city; a roof top flat with a pole in the middle of the living room ;), just opposite Olive
* wash your hands and face - suddenly you feel you actually still have the strength to go to rock&roll in Zenzi (well, actually to salsa&bachata)
* eat a durum on the street and then some quesadillas at Z's friend's mexican place
* take a rick and head to Zenzi - it's salsa time! dance till 1 am and be haaaappy
* get approached by N, one of the dancers, and find out you live in the same neighbourhood; get offered a ride back home and while on the way, get to know you're actually based in the same building!
* 3 am - you try to fall asleep but your body's already beyond being sleepy...



Monday, February 14, 2011

Do you believe in horoscopes?

I don't. 
Well, actually, I don't really give them much thought. Never have and don't seem to have an inclination to start now.

However, have met an interesting person lately and following their advice I've visisted a certain website and got my personal portrait painted out for me. 
I must admit, I do agree with the vast majority of statements that I've read about myself. Am tempted to enter different data and see how the new one would fit me..

ALERT: This has the potential of being a mighty personal note. Do NOT read on if you don't want to meet the real me ;)

So, here it goes.
The exhibitionist in me is glad to present: A guide to Magu's psyche. 
With comments by Magu.

"
You were born with both the Sun and the Moon in Virgo. This should grant you a harmonious relationship between your inner life and your outer life. You are essentially hard-working, and you delight in giving service to others. Essentially I am hard working, although in many cases my laziness wins over. Once I start on a job, however, I do dedicate my time and energy till I get the desired effect. It is also true that any professional career not having to do with people holds no interest for me and I thoroughly enjoy being of help to others. No, unfortunately house chores don't belong in the group of services I like to undertake for others.  Your constant preoccupation with detail makes you a most careful worker, especially in tasks that require exactitude and acute observation. True. I do have an eye for details and even during this internship I've been told many times over how observant and discerning I am. I might not be so careful with the tasks I don't consider too relevant or important, never at work though. With the practicality of the Virgo sign, you enjoy sensible tasks and do not try to avoid them, especially if they involve constant change of detail. Very much so. I hate doing things just for the sake of doing them, try to avoid things that do not interest or challenge me in one way or another. I get frustrated with such, believe them a waste of time. I do have to learn patience in this field, however. Not every task we're given is going to make sense to us or inspire our minds.
You like privacy but not to an abnormal extent. Yes. I've always been a rather talkative and open person, had no problems talking about my life. About the happenings in my life, not necessarily my feelings related to those. I used to be a lot more secretive when it comes to how I feel about things, have been gradually working on that with some friends over the past few years. Also, travelling and talking to strangers has the tendency of openning you up a whole lotta more. It might have to do with the intensity of short acquaintances or the simple truth that you'll never see most of them again, thus can allow yourself to be completely frank - no threat of hurting their or your mutual friends' feelings. Sexually you are inquisitive and curious, but afraid of losing yourself in the ocean of eros. You love to work continuously in daily routines, especially when new tasks do not completely alter the style in which you are used to operating. Hmm, not too sure about this one. I generally suck at routines, have a hard time acquiring one and then an even worse time sticking to them. Then again, I say I don't like routines but for the longest time my life was so full of extracurricular activities and scheduled classes that I wouldn't survive without one. Plus, dance routines are among my favourite things in the world! As a basic Virgoan, you are humanitarian and broad-minded, without going beyond presently accepted social standards. I'd like to believe I'm humanitarian, although the sad truth is even though I notice a lot and care about how misfortunate others are, I rarely take any action. This calls for a change as well. When it comes to broad-mindedness - yes, I do tolerate and accept a lot of differences, however some of them are a no-no when it comes to my personal relationships with others. But that also has to do with very strong moral rules that I've left my parents' house with. You are prudent and like to plan ahead over short periods of time. I am prudent and like that about myself. Planning and me would make for a very long story. I like to have general projects/plans for the future months/years but do not tend to schedule them. Life's too full of surprises for that. However, having many things on my plate, I always had to organise my time to a certain degree at least, or else I wouldn't be able to manage to do what needed to be done. I like to know how today or tomorrow will look like, so I can use my time well. However, having short-term plans doesn't mean I'm not open to changes. It just means I more or less know the direction my day's going. You want to be recognized for your intellectual qualities and do not require compliments or flattery to feel inwardly happy.Very true. I think I'm an intelligent person and like to believe I have many things to offer. Always had problems with self-esteem and never saw myself as pretty/beautiful and in a state like this, whatever compliment you receive, you won't believe it anyways. It's nice to hear nice things, but till this day I tend to take compliments very lightly and not too well. The other side of the problem is that I have a hard time complimenting others, which I'd like to change asap. It's a wonderful thing to make your beloved ones feel appreciated and it's a thing I need to learn.

At the time of your birth the zodiacal sign of Scorpio was ascending in the horizon. Its ruler Mars is located in the tenth house.
Your life will be marked by your shrewd, secretive, obstinate, clever, and reserved disposition. True, true although not sure how secretive I might call myself, true - I'm stubborn and strongly opinionated (although I do like to hear people out, even if it won't change the way I perceive things), true - lots of self-restraint in me. You remain an enigma: with these traits, your life events could be either very tragic or very fortunate. I'm an enigma to myself even. So many contradictory thoughts and feelings at times. Have heard I'm hard to figure out quite a few times.  To which category of Scorpio do you belong? There are two types, the extremely emotional, attracted by those pathological aspects of biological relationship, or the highly mystical, concerned with spirituality. I'd bet I'm the first one. I am extremely emotional, a bit too touchy at times, take other people's actions and words very seriously. Plus, am the biggest crybaby you'll ever meet. You are a person of extremes, very sensitive and desirous of attachment. Definitely so. 3 x yes! There is some attraction to the occult or to psychic phenomena. You are active in the sense that there is a psychological struggle going on inside you between the positive and negative poles-those of affirming and satisfying or rejecting and repressing. I guess this is exactly why I'm an enigma even to myself. You are very intense in your feelings and remain passionately attached to the person you love. True. That's exactly why I don't give in easily and have my guards up 24/7. Once I get attached to someone, there's no going back. I'd go as far as to saying I'm afraid to let go emotionally because I know how vulnerable and dependent I can be. Similarly, when you dislike someone you are very fixed in that feeling. I think that's also true although for the longest time there haven't been people I could have said I disliked. Of course, there are people whose company I do not seek or enjoy but that's about it. Also, can't recall hating anyone. However, there is room for optimism in that: whatever type of Scorpio you may happen to be, there exists a desire deep in your inner self for psychic regeneration. At some point in your life, after the occurrence of a major dramatic event that will affect you deeply, the goal and entire expression of your ego may alter entirely. Afraid of a dramatic event then - only really shocking things can completely change our personas. And I do not wish for such an event in my life, as I assume it would be a tragic one. The intensity and profundity of your passion, however, will always be constant. Yes, passionate is a word I've heard many times about myself. I also believe there's a lot of passion in me. Passion for people, for dance, for travelling, for food. You have a tendency to go into the shadows and secretly plan the course of action you will take, reluctant to let others know the exact nature of your mood or feelings. In a way, yes. I need some emotional and intelectual intimacy. On the other hand, sharing some plans with people has a very selfish reason to it - once you spell it out, people will check up on how you're proceeding with your plans - a great way to motivate you to keep on going, to get you back on track if you somehow loose sight of the thing you want. In your sexual affairs you are full of passion and strong attachment. Exert more control over your passions; don't be so resentful of others. Will try to, promise. Use your strong will and character for favorable and beneficial things. You have a strong inclination to be involved in medicine, perhaps even surgery. Never thought of it. You are attracted by research and investigation in general. Yes. I like to know things, although have become ignorant lately. Shamefully so. Used to be up to date with all that was happening in the world. The last couple of months have seen me living in the moment and my own little reality so much, that I've forgotten the bigger picture. Your life will be geared to the attainment of prestigious positions in the world. Yes please! Your temperament is that of an ambitious person who can blaze for herself a path of individual realization. I agree with that as well. Still need to build up some more self-confidence in order to follow through with my plans and not give up on the finish line, as I've done so many times in my life. You are very independent, and prefer to have your own business or enterprise, disliking unwarranted advice or unsolicited assistance. That'd be about right. Can't imagine and don't want to work in a formal, corporate environment. For some time now I've been convinced that whatever I end up doing, it'll be within the frames of my own business or a freelancing job. Mars here gives you the dynamism and stamina for possible success in business or a profession, as your energy will be able to carry you through the turbulent and unstable periods which you will experience in the professional world. I hope Mcity's partying won't suck all the energy out of me, it's true that I highly depend on it in the years to come. At times your emotional nature may override your intellectual limitations and these are the moments when you should take extra precautions. Your destiny will require many critical decisions. Fortunately, you will be able to respond to the urgency of the moment, for you meet crises with bravery and composure. I needed to hear that one. Sometimes I overstress for nothing but it is true that when there's a real critical moment, I know how to stay composed and logically search for solutions. Coming to India might be one of those critical decisions I guess and one word I've heard most often from people listening to the whole story is courage. I've been told people admire how brave I was to hop on that plane (I always answer that it would have taken far more courage to actually stay in Warsaw and lead a 'normal' life, trying to find a 'normal' job, then moving to India).

Saturn is in the first house. Saturn's placement here gives you a conservative, sometimes gloomy and self-denying outlook on life. True, fortunately and unfortunately. In many ways I'm very conservative and old-fashioned, sometimes I think I have too many rules for my own good. But then again, I do take a lot of pride in having most of them, they make me like myself. Self-denying - unfortunately true as well. Because every contact is of great importance, you tend to be rather detached and even aloof so that you can be sure exactly where you stand. As I've mentioned before - guards up so I don't get attached emotionally to people who won't return the favour. You can be self- conscious and may feel awkward and prudish with others who appear to take things more lightly. I do. The depth with which you look at yourself is characteristic of the way you relate to others.
You were taught very early in life to be self-reliant, and you were often given more responsibility than usual for your age. I would agree with the first one, not necessarily with the second part of the statement. I don't think I had more responsibilities than I should have, although I think to a certain extent I was made aware of how things were looking out for us pretty early. Be it the nature of some relationships inside the family or the financial situation in our household. I don't think it's a bad thing. And yes, I've always somehow felt more mature than other people my age. Maybe it's only my righteousness speaking though. Your intellect is constant and usually unfettered by momentary feelings and whims. Logic plays an important role in your thinking processes. I am a very logically and realistically thinking person. I do act on impulses and like being spontanous but it never is reckless (well, almost never) and however crazy a thing seems to be, it's been analysed and quickly estimated. Grandiose schemes and theories have little interest for you. Theories and games do not interest me at all. Once you accept your own limitations and face up to your challenges and responsibilities with a sense of purpose, you will be able to succeed in whatever field you decide on. Your health is generally good, so long as you exercise sufficiently to relieve tension. Exactly what I haven't been doing lately. These are the 'psyche healthy' things I've been mentioning in my last posts.

The Sun was in the tenth house at the time of birth. The Sun here promises honor, success, and prestige in adult life. Publicly you appear as a vital, proud, powerful person. So I've been told. Your individuality has the need to manifest itself publicly and often to foist its energy on others. I think I come off as too overwhelming and lound. A couple of times have promised myself to work on that but all the energy I have needs to be vented somehow, so I end up being the good (?) ol' me. I've been suggested to try meditiation as a means of calming down a bit and finding better balance. You have come to life with a satisfactory physical and moral heredity and you are going to acquire the favorable disposition of many persons of power to assist you in your ascent through life. You promise?
Your liabilities include an exaggerated pride, arrogance and a tendency to rely too much on your own resources. All three are true. Have been trying to fight those, hope I'm on the right way.

The Moon was found in the tenth house at the time of birth. Among other things, this is an indication of your ability to adjust to varying conditions. I believe that's been estabilished a while back. Whatever your temperamental qualities may be, destiny will place you in situations where you will have dealings with the public. I can't see it any other way simply because I love being with and among people.
Some public note could eventually come your way. Yet you should remember that the Moon successes are rather ethereal and do not maintain a permanent state. Imagination, a tenacious disposition and ability to relate to the public are among your attributes. I've noticed that and also have gotten very positive feedback. Even such a small thing as this blog. The comments and thoughts I'm being given have planted a little seed in my mind. A seed that will hopefully grow to be quite a satysfying and successful project. Outwardly, you will appear as one who reacts to emotions rather than to reason, yet you attempt a logical rationalization of your impulsive notions. Heh, didn't I say an almost exact thing a couple of lines ago? You will better develop your potentialities in any professional circle where your natural inclinations can be reasonably manifested. 

Venus was found in the tenth house at the time of birth.
You will appear as a person who seeks harmony, inclined as you are to observe the aesthetic value of all things in life, to engage in artistic activities and to possess all that is lovely and beautiful. I do observe the aesthetic, I do enjoy artistic and creative activities in life, I used to want to possess. Or rather, I still would like to but acknowledge the fact that I'd rather have great experiences than possessions. I don't enjoying shopping anymore, to be honest. Sure, buying nice things makes you feel good, but I don't need it and I don't seek it. You have sufficient potential to achieve success in life, especially if your occupation is artistic or musical. I'll make it one then, even better;) Much of your success is a consequence of applied interest and hard work; you posses merit and ability, and your congenial, intelligent manner produces a very exalted image. That's not for me to judge, but I hope it's true. In any case, there are very good possibilities for the acquisition of some social distinction, a good reputation and financial success at some period of your life. 
"

Pfeew, that was some soul searching :)

And I guess now that I've gone through it sentence by sentence, it kind of is correct..
If you're up for a little experiment, I'll give you the link to the test and you tell me how true it turned out to be in your case.

Could there really be something to all the horoscope craze around the world?



Saturday, February 12, 2011

A stalker's day

Have had 3 stalkers today. And the day ain't over yet.

Stalker #1

I took a rick in the early afternoon to go and meet T, the CSer from Nasik. It's quite a long way and for almost half of it I was being followed by some jerk in his black hyundai. He was with his friend and the moment he realised there was a white girl in the rick, he couldn't stop staring. At one point I thought he would get cramps in his neck. No, I hoped he would. He went as far as opening the window whenever he could get a clear vision of me, apparently the glass was too dirty or something.. That has happened before though, so I wasn't that gutted. However, this guy has taken it to a whole different level. 
He would actually drive as slow as my rick did, causing even more traffic behind us. When he had to go faster and take over some cars in front of us, he would later pull aside, wait for my rick and then catch up with us, making sure he's driving in a way that enables him to stare at me some more. He was doing that for some good 20 minutes!
Luckily my rickshawalla realised what the guy was doing and I could actually see him trying to avoid the car.

Stalker #2

Went to the Kala Ghoda festival and had some random guy follow me around. He didn't bother me too much. It's just the awareness of someone constantly looking at your back is a bit annoying.

Stalker #3

Decided to walk back home from the bus stop. Already on the straight road leading to my house I crossed paths with some guy. He seemed very pleased to see me, I just passed him and continued to walk. A couple seconds later I can hear a car driving next to me. Literally next to me - the guy must have been going at some 15 kph. I turn my head and see him smiling and getting ready to talk, so I look back ahead and walk as if nothing's happening. He takes over me and pulls aside a couple of meters ahead. I pass him and ignore the 'Hello' he's saying. So he takes over me again, pulls aside a couple of meters ahead and waits. His window's down, his smile's intact and I try to ignore him again, passing the car and walking straight on. He does the trick for the third time, this time making a strategic mistake - there's a pavement going around the walls of my building, so I don't even walk next to him but head to the left handside of the road. Once again pretending not to hear the 'hi's' he's desperately throwing at me.

Seriously guys, what's wrong with you?

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Other than the 3 episodes mentioned above and a ricksha guy who wanted to take me for a ride, both literally and figuratively speaking, today's been a great day. One of the healthy ones :)

I met with T in Candies, a famous spot in Bandra. I loved the place the moment I entered it. Great vibe, a cool young crowd, good music and a huge selection of delicious food snacks. Quiche lying next to samosas, chicken pies side by side with paneer rolls. And the prices were really friendly as well. The only problem was the waiting time - it was pretty crowded, however definitely well worth it. After lunch we caught a cab and headed downtown for the abovementioned Kala Ghoda festival.
I was there for about two hours, wandering among the stalls and the continuous flow of people. Some stalls were only commercial but there was a part of them belonging to different NGOs from all over the country.  Numerous associations whose members and people they help out have made jewellery, bags etc to sell and raise money. I bought a couple of small gadgets happy that at least some % of the spent $ would go for a good cause.
I was walking around minding my own business when I heard some music and saw a small crowd. I went to see what was happening and discovered an all-male show in the middle of the street. Was taking photos and videos when...



... this happened :)

Strolled around some more, bumped into A, a friend who was about to go back home to Bandra. I asked her how she was going and she answered she was thinking about taking the train. My smile became that much more radiant and I asked if I could join her. So, FINALLY!, I took the train back home. And guess what? It was the most comfortable and the quickest journey thus far! All the things people have been telling me were such exaggerations, I won't even comment on it. 


The train took 40 minutes to reach Andheri station. I couldn't find a free rick and already being in an adventurous spirit ;) decided to take the local bus (see E?? I dedicate it to you ma cherie! :D), which was about half an hour more to get to Infiniti Mall, where I got off and walked home. So all together, it took me less than an hour and a half to reach home, costing me the total of 15 Rs. (8 for the train ride and 7 for the bus), as opposed to two hours in a hot taxi breathing in all the pollution and dust, and having to pay 450 Rs. for the said pleasure.
Loved loved loved today.

And as I've mentioned - today ain't over yet. I've a bit of time to rest now and at around 11 pm I'll be off to Kino's Cottage, a cool property a friend rents to throw some kick ass parties from time to time. Good drinks and even better food - someone's ready to party! And the thought of going out tonight is actually a pleasant one ;)




Friday, February 11, 2011

Mumbai trivia

People don't walk in this city.

Of course, when I say people, I mean the people I hang out with.
They're always in a car, a cab or a rick. Walking 500m is too much for them. Really really.

It's funny what things you might miss when you go abroad. I, for one, miss walking. Walking around the city, walking while doing the groceries, walking to a bus stop or to my friend's place. Back home I prefer to walk even when I can take a bus or a tram. Walking makes you slow down, gives you some time for yourself (even if you're a fast walker like me), creates an opportunity for social studies.

I spent a lovely evening with E, some heart to heart girl talk and then a walk from Bandra to Juhu beach, and some more walking on the shore of the ocean itself. It felt so good!
And of course when our Indian friends heard about it, they wouldn't believe it at first and when they did, they wouldn't understand it.

And I need a lot more of evenings like this one. Soothing, relaxed, cheerful and healthy. Healthy for my psyche that is, as all the food in San Churros with S# 1612793 and later in Theobroma with E is definitely not healthy for my body. At least my soul's rejoicing at the amount of chocolate I've had today..


A storm's coming my way

I think I've reached a point where I'm bored with all that jazz.

The last couple of  nights have been a bit more quiet than before - Sunday night at Zezni's Salsa night and then a house party with Z, Monday business-like drinks in my beloved Indigo (good Green Apple Splash folks!), Tuesday a nice Small World meeting in Aer (33rd floor of Four Seasons, sweet panorama of the city), good biryani and durum (yes, there's a place in Mcity where I can eat a durum!!!) with S&Z followed by some cool hip hop beats at Zenzi. Wednesday began with lunch in Indigo, a loong nap that kinda threw me off and then the evening at WTF, followed by Firangi Pani (like 10mins away from my place and some good music!) and my saying no to partying on. The guys ended some good couple of hours later. Yesterday was supposed to be a movie night, but they've printed out the wrong screening time in the papers so we were late for the beginning of the movie. We headed to Temple Flower for some good Chinese style rice and then went for P's little get together in T.G.I. for a mini 'pre-launch' party (he's publishing a book based on 'My brother Nikhil', which he produced as well). I was told there was going to be a latino night at Balthazar so dragged S out of T.G.I. to arrive there and see that they were having some small bday party and actually there was no party to speak of. I said hi to a couple of people and wanted to leave but then S, the guy managing the place, started the whole 'oh, but you must start the party girl!' talk and being the goodhearted person that I am, I gave in. I did my best but the crowd just wasn't willing, so I left a bit after 1 am.

And it's all fine, it's just that I've been a bit of a shell of a person since Saturday. I talk and laugh and dance, but my heart's somehow not there. Plus, have not been feeling that well physically lately.

It's definitely time for a change - something's building up inside of me, but I can't really put it into words just yet. Or maybe it's exactly the feelings related to the up-coming change that are already beginning to surface? Afterall, my Indian adventure ends in a little more than 3 weeks..


Have also been thinking lately, which is never a good thing if you ask me.
Wondering about friendship and why I call people my friends. Wondering why most of the people I call friends are not actively present in my life.
Wondering about my place in the world and if I have one. Don't feel attached anywhere which is as much of a good, as of a bad thing.
Wondering what my aim is, if I have one, if I need one, if I can pin one down.
Wondering about the choices I've made and why I've made them.
Wondering about relationships. No, don't let me even go there.
Just wondering you know.






Monday, February 7, 2011

Two days of madness

As opposed to the last couple of weeks and weekends, this one's been mad.
Srsly.

I was supposed to leave for Nasik and the Sula Wine Festival on Friday evening. But then plans started changing, not really too surprising..., and I decided to take a very early Sat morning train with B, a CSer I'd travelled in Goa with. The train departs from Victoria Terminus downtown and it'd be a pain getting there in the morning - I'd have to leave home at around 4:15 am. I was on the phone with B and he told me I should come downtown, could crash with him at his friend's place and we'd take a taxi to the station together. He also invited me to some stand up performance in Bombay Gym, one of the best country-club-type-of-things in the city. I decided to get ready and try to make it on time.
Pretty soon, however, it was obvious that I wouldn't - the show was starting at 7:30 pm, I was at least 1,5 hrs away, it was 5:15 and I was just about to meet with S to grab something to eat. So I wrote B I'd be meeting him after he finishes at the Gym and set up a meeting for a drink with M, an Indian American I'd been mailing and txting with through Internations. So I met S at Novotel, grabbed some goodie goodie

carbonara with garlic bread

and

mushroom foccacia in mint chutney with masala fries

 All while enjoying a very nice sunset.



It was late and I wanted to take a train downtown, but I was tired and already getting a bit sick again, so S insisted on putting me into a taxi. It was sweet and considerate of him, but I got stuck in traffic again and reaching Breach Candy, which is still quite some way from Colaba, took me  1 h 45 min. I got off the taxi, B greeted me and showed the way to his friend's. She's an elder woman leaving alone in a big, if only a bit unkept, house and his friend and him help her out from time to time. A sweet person, but rather old fashioned and going out to meet with M would be more than a hassle. I don't spend my evenings out in this part of town and told myself I couldn't miss the opportunity. So, being me, I decided to take my backpack, party till the morning comes and then meet B @ VT at 5:30 am..

I took a taxi, went to Leopold's (finally got to see the famous joint!), met with M and started the evening out. We went to Polyester, a place I fell in love with the moment we entered it. A very funky space, colourful lights, hippie flowers on the walls. We grabbed some drinks and as the place was still empty (it was around 10:30 om I think) we went to some nearby pub, got ourselves a bottle and numerous redbulls. An interesting conversation and 2 hrs later we headed back to Polyester where the party was already full on. Met some cool people, danced to some good hip hop beats - good times! Already by that time M had decided to head to Nasik with us, so we went to get his things. We even shortly considered taking his car and driving down there but decided agains it in the end. So, M packed his bag and we found ourselves wandering around VT and looking for breakfast. Some time later we saw B, got ourselves tickets for the nearest train and set off to ensure we got seats. 

That process took us a while - the first and last 3 compartments are 'regular', meaning you don't need any reservation to sit in them. That is, if all the seats have not been 'taken' by guys trying to make some money out of you, by getting into the train as soon as it comes on the platform and 'saving' seats for future travellers. Then there are a couple of 'pre-booked' compartments that you should buy tickets for a day in advance (our cost 51 Rs., these ones were around 150 Rs.).  Guys already wanted to pay the extra 50 Rs. per person to take the 'saved' seats but we decided to try our luck further down the train. And it turned out that the last compartments were pretty much empty so we could choose where we wanted to sit. It's a good thing we were at the station that much in advance or it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, to get any seats later on. Already about 15 mins before leaving VT the train was packed. Of course people kept on getting in on next stations, occupying the floor and standing between rows of seats (pretty much like me during my 11 hr train journey on Java). 
So we're sitting on the train, it's about to leave the station in a couple of minutes when M suddenly decides he doesn't want to go, says his good bye's and leaves. I start laughing and not thinking about it too much, try to get some sleep. Luckily I manage to do so, although I wouldn't call it quality sleep :)


Indian trains are really loud. Not really because of the machine itself but the people in it. There's no 'consideration' for the peace of mind of fellow travellers - people shout one to another, play their music (that part's actually not that bad), don't try to stop babies and children from crying.. Getting out of the train can be a bit of a problem so there's also a lot of screaming, arguing and general commotion before every station.

Somehow the train managed to be on time and it took us 4 hours to get to our destination - Nasik Road. I was gonna spend the night at B's friend's place, together with about 20 other people who were coming down to T's for the festival. We met some of them at the rick stop, said our hello's and started the half an hour drive to T's place. I was already half dead after a pretty straining day/night and the huge pollution in Nasik wasn't helping my cause. Of course there's  lot of pollution in Mcity but it looked, felt and smelled to me that Nasik's even worse. After a couple of minutes I already had problems breathing and had to cover my nose and mouth with a folded towel.

We arrived at T's, a huge couple bedroom bungalow, I took a shower, ate some breakfast (how I've missed eating eggs!) and took a short nap. I woke up to see a whole bunch of new people and the old ones alredy a bit tipsy on the Black Label they'd been savouring while I was sleeping. I got dressed, waited for the guys to figure out transportation arrangements and we left for the festival. It wasn't a long drive and we were six in the car so I ended up travelling with style on the front seat..


We reached Sula vineyards a couple of minutes later and immediately got stuck in a line of cars waiting to enter the premises to fight for a parking space. The guys decided to park before the grounds of the vineyard, so we left the car and took a short walk to the festival itself.





We started off in the vineyard's bar with a couple of bottles of wine and some crackers with cheese (stylishly served on plastic plates ;) and I met S, the actor, chilling with a bunch of friends.
B and I had to wait for his friends to reach the vineyard and give us our invitations. Once we got those, we entered the festival's grounds. There were some food stalls, a couple of souvenir stalls and a stage where Indian bands were perfoming. Now I have no idea about Indian music (bolly doesn't count here) so didn't know what to expect. I loved one of the bands though - Tough on Tabacco. 

ToT on stage.


Loved them live!



The next band performing was Something Relevant. Didn't like the guys in the beginning but later on they had some good songs.


Unfortunately due to certain circumstances I left earlier than I was supposed to, thus not seeing the best evening performances, nor attending the afterparty. The good thing is that I got a ride back to Mcity with R, S's friend. There was a bit of a hassle with collecting my backpack from T's - couldn't reach anyone on the phone 'cause they didn't have network coverage or the people I could reach didn't know T's address, R was in a hurry and I was almost left alone in the middle of Nasik, having to go back to Sula, somehow find T, drag him out and beg to go with me so I could take my bag.. But luckily after half an hour of stressing out and trying to find that one little side road leading to his bungalow, we got clear directions and a rickshawalla who got in the car and showed us the house. I picked up my things and 5 minutes later we were heading back home.



Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mcity's new mini-socialite?

On Thursday evening I met with a fellow CSer with whom I couldn't schedule a meeting for like 3 weeks. We grabbed a drink in a pub close to mine and headed to Olive. For the first time I went there without S (and J, the CSer, is from Delhi and hasn't been socializing in here, so didn't know the spot) and was surprised to see that wherever I turned, there were people I know. Better or less, sometimes can't recall the names to be honest (I'm sorry but when you meet 10 people every second day I find it almost impossible), but faces which smiled when they saw me and lips forming a peck on the cheek were all around. I do somehow seem to know a lot of people.

T, an Australian friend based in India at the moment, calls himself the Professional White Guy. I'm wondering if the Professional White Socialite is taken and if it'd earn me a living in here ;)




PS
There's especially one night with some bar dancing involved which seems to have fixed me in people's memory for good.. It's been already two weeks I think, but I still meet new people who immediately after shaking hands with me and exchanging names ask "You're the dancing girl from Balthazar, right?"
Getting the party started with S, the actor.




Thursday, February 3, 2011

'Tonight's gonna be a good night'

Yesterday definitely was a good night, folks!

Of course some things didn't go as planned, others appeared unexpectedly..
S decided not to go, E got stuck at work and couldn't join me either, so I set off downtown on my own. Before I left home I set up a meeting for a night time jog along Marine Drive, thus along the ocean. I don't even have a big bag with me here, so ended up packing my sneakers and jogging clothes into a plastic bag.. So there I was - heels, a dress and a small silver handbag in the right hand, a big ugly plastic bag in the left ;)

Of course forgot that in here you should order a taxi beforehand (I almost never use those) so ended up in a rick, going to Bandra to change into a taxi I find there. Find one I did and 1,5 hrs after having left home I arrived in Trident. Went to the ballroom where the event was being held, met with a CSer who'd invited me to come and enjoy the gala, left my ugly back at the DJ's and went to get myself something to drink. I really like that ballroom (have been there briefly two weeks ago for the pre-marathon thingy) but I did feel kind of awkward, standing there not knowing anyone. Luckily M proved to be a great host, introduced me to his friends and I took it from there. I arrived at the hotel at around 9 pm and at 10:30 pm I was already meeting M (the Koyla drinks M from Tue)  for the jog. Basically, I got to see the boring part of the event - Q&A with the champions and a little contest during which you could win a signed bat. Of course it was boring only to me, as I've no idea about cricket nor the athlets involved, but everyone else seemed to be really excited. The moment they were starting to serve food and a renowned jazz singer was taking the stage, I had to leave.

Going out of the hotel was quite funny - I passed the reception while going to the restrooms (in the dress etc), changed and 5 minutes later passed the reception in my jogging outifits. Stupified looks followed.

It was a very leasurely jog but the atmosphere of the place was magic. The sound of the waves, whole families enjoying the ocean and the night sky, the lights of the city and the passing cars.. It was one of these moments when you love your life and see how lucky you are to have the opportunity to enjoy such simple pleasures.

I was already going back home, tired and sleepy, when someone (yes S, you) started using emotional blackmail on me and I had to give in, so ended up hitting Trilogy at around 1:20 am. Didn't feel like going there at all but the DJ made it all worth it last night. He was killing it! We had a blast and I was back home a bit before 4 am. Of course, that's the time when all my friends are online so chatted and skyped till 5:40 am. 
And then I collapsed.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Never a dull moment in Mcity..

Yes, I know the posts are getting boring.
I go about how much I want to rest but never do.
It's just that it looks like cool things never cease to find me..

Yesterday ended at 4 am again, although I was home by around 1:30 am. The Leela event turned out to be 'just' a standing buffet for the exhibitors of Mumbai West fairs (travel fairs, about 20 or 30 tourism boards from all over the world have been invited for a so-called road show in India).  I might have been disappointed had I gone there just for that, but seeing M was so cool! We had some laughs and I left the place at round 8:45 pm to head back to Andheri, from where I was being picked up by another M. We ended up going to Koyla, a very cool restaurant on the rooftop of a three story building. Really nice space, chill music and a good fruit salad!

Today in the morning had a meeting with a colleague at her place, so went to 4 Bungalows, from which I headed back to Lokhandwala, to have lunch with C, a Canadian I've met on Friday. We met in Indigo Cafe, I love this place! Reaaaaally good food. My fav? Chicken wings in blue cheese sauce! Although their sandwiches are great as well..

That was supposed to be it, maybe some salsa dancing in the evening.

So guess what?

Yup, was supposed to rest today, so, naturally, got invited to a big event in the cricket world (which India's crazy about) in Trident, a hotel downtown. How do you say 'no' to meeting 6 Captains who have won the Cricket World Cup, a jazz band performance, hosted dinner and wine?
I was invited alone but asked if I could bring two extra guests with me and after a while got the green light. So me, S & E are hitting the town tonight, wearing some fancy clothes and wishing for a rocking time!


And after Trident? Who knows.. 
Afterall, I never know what''s gonna happen in the next hour, as there's never a dull moment in Mcity..


PS
And I'm taking these babies with me.. ;)