Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas

On Christmas eve we had the yummiest traditional Christmas dinner. The stuffed turkey was amazing & the pudding was delicious. We even had Christmas carols playing in the background :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Why I love big cities

When I first came to Dubai I was quite surprised to see how many Arabs love Indian movies, how many Europeans love sheesha, how many Lebanese are not Muslims, how many Brits think Chicken Tikka is a British recepie, how many Americans live in Arab countries, & how Indians & Pakistanis are considered the same nationality everywhere expect in India & Pakistan. The beauty about big cities is that they manage to create a mishmash of so many cultures & nationalities to create a culture of its own.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fire & Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

~ Robert Frost

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Dubai Film Festival

Whew! A week of extensive movie-viewing at the film festival just got over.

Paris Je T'aime was the best pick from all the movies showcased at the fest. The producer commissioned 21 different movie makers from across the globe to make 5 to 10 minute movies staged in Paris & has put all those mini-movies in one movie! Some stories were very romantic, some funny, some sad and one was even scary. It was a brilliant movie!

Bobby was good, but over-hyped I thought. Its a movie about the optimism that Robert Kennedy brought to USA in times of the general gloom over the assasination of Martin Luther King & the Vietnam war; and what the death of RFK meant to the people of the country. The question-answer session with Joshua Jackson (he is cute!), Lawrence Fishburne & Joy Bryant was quite good.

Beirut Diaries is a documentary made by a young Lebanese girl about life in Beirut after Rafik Hariri's assasination, the demand for truth by the youth & how the campaign fell apart for political reasons. The story, I thought was eerily similar to the Indian story (inter-faith tension, politicians blaming all mishaps in the country on neighbouring countries, bomb blast every couple of years, a youth which inherited the legacy of communal disharmony). As the film maker said in her introduction to the movie, this movie raises more questions than finding solutions.

The Namesake is based on Jhumpa Lahiri's novel, and I thought nobody could've portrayed Ashima better than Tabu. She is the star of this movie. She is so beautifully complex as a simple-minded Calcutta girl.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Happy birthday to me...

Its my birthday today!! The friends in Dubai showed up at midnight & woke me up with a cake, some alcohol & a loud rendition of 'Happy Birthday to you'.

H had planned a romantic hot-air balloon flight this morning but the rain played spoiler. Have been answering calls & checking emails all morning. Thank you everyone for the phone & email wishes!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I watched last evening on NDTV, Parvez Musharraf’s interview on the Kashmir issue. It was a relief to see peace being discussed as an option.

As an Indian I had been conditioned to thinking that the fact that 80000 people have been killed in Kashmir since 1989, has been part of a war we have fought for decades defending our national boundaries. I’m sure there is a similar conditioning in Pakistan or even in Palestine/ Israel where people are led to believe that dignity and pride lies in defending the national borders and not the lives of the people within those borders.

Its time more of us realize that it is not patriotic to assert our claims on the borders; but it is patriotic to stop this wasteful loss of lives in our country.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mrs. Henderson Presents

'Mrs. Henderson Presents' is a movie about how a wealthy & newly widowed lady started London's Windmill Theatre in 1937, which soon became famous for its nude dance shows. I watched this movie only now & thought Judy Dench was superb as Mrs. Henderson; backed by some very witty lines. The most tongue-in-cheek scene in the movie is of course when she gets an approval to have nude girls on stage only if they are motionless, because the government considered nude paintings as art, but nude women who move & dance would be just plain vulgar :)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lot to blog about!

A mixed bag of things I have to share today:

:) I’m excited that I’m going to be an aunt soon! I can’t wait to find out if it’s a boy or girl.

?? I’m curious how sushi ever got so popular the world over. Why would so many people enjoy eating raw fish?

:[ I’m annoyed why they can’t declare Eid holidays in advance, so that people can plan their new years eve better.

?? I’m looking forward to watching Casino Royale tonight. Don’t care much for Bond movies usually, but I’m curious to see how Daniel Craig fills in Pierce Brosnan’s shoes.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A piece from Tagore's Geetanjali

The traveller has to knock at every alien door to come to his own, and one has to wander through all the outer worlds to reach the innermost shrine at the end.

My eyes strayed far and wide before I shut them and said `Here art thou!'

The question and the cry `Oh, where?' melt into tears of a thousand streams and deluge the world with the flood of the assurance `I am!'


H is usually an annoying photographer; the kind who makes you pose and then hold your pose till he makes all sorts of adjustments in his camera (You may ask, "Who uses all those functions & features that come with cameras these days?"; well, he does! He uses each and every one of them!). But he does come up with some pretty great snaps when he is not making people pose for him. This sunset is my favourite one. Its gorgeous, isnt it?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Never Let Me Go

I loved Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘Never Let Me Go’. It starts off with the carefree everyday childhood of a group of students, but there is a hint of some sort of impending tragedy in these kids’ futures. It’s only when the kids grow up in the story that the plot falls into place (I wont spoil it for anyone here). The book raises questions about fate & suffering, about science & morality, about social reforms & injustice and about free will. Best of all, it makes you realize what a wonderful gift life is; no matter how abrupt & uncontrollable it may seem.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A Great Weekend

We had a great weekend, where we had absolutely nothing on the agenda. On Friday night, we went to QD’s and found a table right by the creek. Some of our good friends were there, the weather was perfect, the music was lively, the sea looked beautiful and we sat there drinking & talking till late in the night.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


This is Dubai covered in fog. On a usual day, that would be Emirates Towers in front of you. It was so murky today morning, one couldn't see five feet away.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Legends

As a kid, I was a huge fan of both John McEnroe & Bjorn Borg. So I was quite excited when I got the tickets for the ‘Legends’ game. At first, it was difficult to recognize Borg without his headband or McEnroe without his temper, or either of them without their athleticism of the younger days; but then, it was fun watching them play tennis like the good old days. After all, a star is a star is a star!

Monday, October 30, 2006


The Burj Al Arab is a majestic edifice from the outside and looks brilliant by day. I don’t get why they have that multi-coloured light effect by night though. It makes the structure look ostentatious & just takes away so much from its simple elegance.

PS: The Burj from the inside is a whole different story!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Love & Longing in Bombay

I read Vikram Chandra's 'Love & Longing in Bombay' over the Eid break. The book is quite old, but somehow I had never gotten around to reading this collection of five excellent short stories. I was very impressed by each of these stories, all set in the cosmopolitan blend of Mumbai's sophisticated as well as middle class. Each story came with a dose of irony, intellect and ambiguous endings. A book I thoroughly enjoyed reading!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Capital Punishment

I read this interesting article by Barkha Dutt recently where she makes a case for capital punishment. Personally, I find death sentence regressive as well as morally wrong. But some of the arguments in the article are pretty compelling:

"...we empowered our State to go to war and kill if needed. Not just do we sanction it; we make heroes of the men who bring home the body bags of enemy soldiers. We believe territorial integrity is worthy enough to both die and kill for. Why would we respond differently to a terrorist who declares war directly on our people?..."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Greetings for the festive season!

I love the festive season. More so this year, because Diwali coincides with Eid on Sunday, October 22. We’re celebrating the festivals at home with family. And the usual essentials for festivities of all sorts – sweets, lights, friends & poojas…(I was never big on fireworks)
Here's wishing everyone a very Happy Diwali & Eid Mubarak !

Monday, October 16, 2006

Endless Ribbon

I saw this at the George Pompidou museum. I dont recall now when it was made or by whom. But I thought it was quite a groovy piece. Its made out of a single piece of stone. And it is titled 'The Endless Ribbon'.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Les Baux

Yes, I'm still rambling on about France... :)

When we were in Provence, we drove around to some really delightful French villages.

Les Baux is an ancient village in the Alpilles mountains made out of the limestone found there. The village today still has the charm of the ancient rural life with its narrow streets, wooden shutters, limestone arches.... I absolutely fell in love with it!

I made this collage of the various pictures I took of the place...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Holiday in France

We got back from France today & we had the longest & the most beautiful holiday ever !
Paris was enchanting with its museums, cathedrals, roadside cafes & cabarets. The city itself is a crash course in the French culture. On the other hand, the holiday along the French riviera was us doing absolutely nothing by day & gambling at the casinos by night. What fun! The best part of the holiday however, was the short stay in Provence where every frame of the countryside landscape looked like a postcard!

I've uploaded a few shots. Between H & me, we're still soaking in everything we saw & lived in France...

PS: Anisha, thanks for introducing us to 'chaussons aux pommes' :)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Himanshu made this. Isn't it great?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Beyond My Solitude

'The Forerunner' is a masterpiece. The opening line of this poem is stunning. The more you think about it, the more fascinating it gets:

Beyond my solitude is another solitude, and to him who dwells therein my aloneness is a crowded market-place and my silence a confusion of sounds...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Its that time of the year!

Everyone in Dubai is eagerly awaiting the change of season. Dubai summers are excruciatingly hot & scalding and after 5 months of summer, the prospect of winter around the corner brings so much cheer and hope ("yes, we will be able to step out again!").

My personal favourite 'the-most-fun-places-for-winter' are along the sea: the creek, the beach-parks, the fishing & golf clubs (although I hate fishing and can't play golf), the Wild Wadi and now the Marina.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Movies vs. Books

Movies based on books are almost never as good as the book. The only exception I can think of is 'The Godfather' where the movie gets the essence and feel of the book itself. Are there any more?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I'm not a Lost-oholic, why I'm only in the middle of season 1 yet. But I'm getting there!
The polar bears on a tropical island was a great piece of imagination, I thought. Its almost like the writers were thinking 'Why stop now when we've got such an incredulous plot anyway!' And then Dr. Jack is so macho even the beasts on the island love him. But best of all, I love Naveen Andrews' cute Iraqi accent. Sayid rocks!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My New Hero!

I first heard of Vikaram Akula when he figured in Time magazine's 'Top 100 People Who shape our World'. Wow, what a tremendous story! A Yale graduate and later a McKinsey alumni who quit his cushy consultancy job to start a micro-finance company because, he said, "the level of povery in India was unacceptable". The company aims to empower rural women and has disbursed $72 million of loans to poor rural Indian women with an average loan-size of just Rs. 5000 to 10000. And the company has a 98% on-time repayment history! This is not a charity but a professionally-run bank; and a case-study today for all business students in the country. Would love to work with this man someday!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


When H & I saw the movie 'Crash' we got into this discussion about whether there is a difference between racism and 'racial profiling' done by the cops.

A black guy roaming around in a white neighbourhood in the US looking into houses according to statistics is most likely to be a robber. But what if he really is a everyday man looking to buy a house and checking out the neighbourhood?

An Asian guy at an airport perspiring a lot and looking repeatedly at his watch is most likely to be a suicide bomber. But what if he is just an everyday guy getting anxious about being on time for a business meeting?

Is it fair for a guy to be scrutinized by law simply for belonging to a particular race? Certainly not.

On the other hand, for the security guard at the airport whose job is to spot the terrorist amongst the thousands of travellers everyday, is it wrong to use statistical data for creating a 'profile' of the suspect he is looking for? I don't know.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Time Traveller's Wife

I read this book recently called 'The Time Traveller's Wife'. It is a love story between a time-traveller (a kind who involuntarily keeps shuttling between the past & the future due to a rare genetic disorder) and his wife. The book was not great, but was quite sincere. It does make you wonder about the strangeness of life; about how much in your life is pre-determined for you and how much is your free will; about how often you take decisions simply because you know thats how the future is supposed to be, at least in your mind; about how often you allow your past to decide your future; and about how much of your future really belongs to other peoples' futures. An interesting read.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mumbai today

My last visit to Mumbai was less than a year ago. Yet, the city has changed so much since my last visit. Some random observations:

!!! - The Mumbai airport has spanking new immigration counters where the air conditioning works.

:) - Zenzi Bar in Bandra has free salsa lessons on saturday evenings.

!! - Sachin Tendulkar is no more the king of billboards; M S Dhoni commands more billboard space than Sachin (his face is everywhere & more!)

?? - 'Nach baliye' season 2 is the most eagerly awaited tv show (wonder why it is called a 'celebrity' show when some of the faces are not even remotely recognizable!)

! - There are as many new private Indian airlines as TV channels (latest additions are Go Air, Kingfisher & Spice Jet)

:)) - Then one day the sea-water at Mahim turned sweet (Such bizzare things can happen only in Mumbai!)

I'm sure there have been many more changes, and what I got to see in my two-days stay was only a small slice of it.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Impressions of Delhi

Every city has a character. For example, I would sum up Mumbai as the 'Survival city' or Dubai as the 'Plastic City'. Similarly, if I had to describe Delhi, I would call it the 'City of Power'. Some sights from Delhi that I will not forget in a long time to come--

The Indian Parliament. Its an absolute irony that this building is the center of atrophy & decadence of the Indian machinery!

On the way to Agra, we stopped at an 'Indian Tourism Board' hotel where this little girl works. I thought she was a brilliant dancer & it is a pity that this tiny but smart package of talent & cuteness is being wasted as some silly 'tourist attraction'!

The India Gate is beautiful by night. No, it wasn't just good cinematography in Rang De Basanti:

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Math & I never got along well together. Himanshu thinks its because I'm not a logical person. I like to think that I hate math because I don't want to devote my mind to something that can be done by calculators & computers :)

You may have seen this one before: its is from the test paper of a school kid in the US...

He may not be a math genius, but I would give him marks for his sense of humour!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Joan of Arc

M F Hussain's impression of Joan of it!

Salim Anarkali

I’m not a fan of the bollywood version, but I think Salim-Anarkali is one of the greatest tragic love stories of all times. Which is why I found this really beautiful. Engraved in Anarkali’s tomb in Lahore is a little verse, which translated into English reads as:

“Ah! could I behold the face of my beloved once more, I would thank my God until the day of resurrection.”

The prince who lost his love has signed this verse not as 'Salim’ but as 'Majnu Salim’. The words have the scent of such longing, it really moved me.

Source: Found this on a great Pakistani blog called:

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Macbeth in Mumbai & Othello in UP

I finally saw 'Omkara' this weekend. I thought it was an excellent adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello & had great casting! If Shakespeare had to live in today's time in Uttar Pradesh, he would have probably picked Saif as his Iago & Ajay as his Othello.

There is one difference though in which I thought the bollywood version betrays the original. Shakespeare's Othello was a noble soldier of the royal army & his nobility and sincerity are integral to his character. Whereas Ajay Devgan as Omkara is a goonda for a local UP politician!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The children of India

Accordingto a new law under the Child Labour Act, the Indian government has ordered a ban on employment of children under the age of 14 in households and dhabas. Which is fantastic news. But I could not help wondering what the thousands of poor homeless kids working in the chai-shops & dhabas of Mumbai are going to do when they lose their employment? Who will feed them and provide them with shelter if their families were too poor/unconcerned to do so in the first place?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Thats the plan?

Wonder why they cant see that this plan wont work!


I can read ‘The Prophet’ over & over again, any number of times and every time I read it, I pick a new piece as my favourite verse. This is my current favourite:

You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief,

But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.

And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour?

In truth that which you call freedom is the strongest of these chains, though its links glitter in the sun and dazzle the eyes.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Our first skiing lesson

We decided to take skiing lessons and the first lesson yesterday was uhh, not so good. The important learning was that we both are pretty lousy at skiing. Himanshu kept crashing because he couldn't stop. And I kept slipping backwards on the slope which is funny but could also be quite dangerous I'm told. But we did have a lot of fun!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

For my sweetheart

Saw this and thought of Himanshu...
The only person I know who can watch three movies back-to-back :)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I found this really ironical. While the whole of Israel is rooting for military action in Lebanon, there is one city called Hafia in north Israel where a majority of Israelis are actually pro-peace. And this was also the first city that was bombed & devastated by the Hezbollahs rockets yesterday.

All wars are fought for political reasons. And surprisingly, politicians manage to convince people that there is actually a cause in the madness. Only those who witness the war at such close quarters can tell that it is all madness, no cause.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

More than a juice center

I was so excited that 'Haji Ali Juice Center' has opened a branch in Dubai. It feels so good to see pieces of dear old Mumbai when one lives away from it. Of course the branch in Dubai does not smell of the ocean, there is no crazy Mumbai traffic in front, no beautiful mosque in the background & there is no Abdul Kader (if you've read Shantaram :) ) who controls the mafia from the Haji Ali juice center in Dubai. But then the stawberry-n-cream tastes almost the same & the nostalgia makes the place lovlier than it really is.

I love hussain !

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Paradise Now

My first experience ever when it comes to watching arabic movies, and wow, what a brilliant movie! 'Paradise Now' is a movie about two childhood friends recruited as suicide bombers for the liberation movement of Palestine. A serious topic, but the movie is so sensitive (and even humourous at times), it opens your eyes to a whole different world in Palestine. A must-watch no matter which side you are on.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Safe in Dubai

My family back home & friends from around the world have been calling up to find out if things are okay here in Dubai (what with 'Violence in Middle East' flashing on CNN all the time). So to confirm my well being here goes a 'I am ok & things are fine in Dubai'. Sure, there is a lot of tension in the air. The mood in general in the arab world is, well, angry.

As a non-muslim living in the middle east, it is interesting to see passionate reactions of people around you. Its shocking and surprising that after so many years of violence & so many generations lost to terrorism, nobody seems to notice that violence is not taking anyone anywhere. Neither the palestines/hezbollahs, nor the Israelis.

Hope that people see reason in peace. And that goes for the people in mumbai too. I hope the hateful blasts don't come in the way of making peace with the neighbours.