September 11, 2016

A Garden in Bombay

In a city like Bombay where one spends better part of life buying a house, it is sort of impossible to own a garden. So you make do with what you have. Builders don't even give a balcony, a verandah, a courtyard, a long corridor, so forget about a garden. But I wanted one. 

Let's say - 
Mera ghar khali tha, udaas tha, kuch kami thi...
Phir meri saheli ne mujhe money plant ki cuttings di...

The four strands of Money plant gifted by a good friend, brought greens to my house. Now they have grown meters and meters of vines, with cut offsprings growing into new plants. Three survived out of these and grew into massive multiple vines of money plant, climbing walls, dropping heights, surviving and fighting where no plant would survive. Imagine they grew big and bigger in just one small bowl of water - Took roots, multiplied, held mud, spread on walls. They took the direction I gave them. Took whatever manure or water or sunlight I gave them. I took bits and put them in water and they grew into babies and then parents themselves. 

The biggest survivors I have seen.  The delicate, pretty, high maintainence plants failed to grow on the ledge of an 11th floor. But hardy plants grow anywhere with anything, because they believe in adapting and growing despite all odds. They don't ask, they don't take, they seek and they give. 

This was just the beginning, after that any plant I introduced grew too. These money plants created an aura of happiness around my plants. They nourished the soil, cleared the air, created the soul of a garden where all plants flourished. The remaining seeds from fruits and vegetables in the kitchen, were thrown into spare pots and they took roots. All kinds of strange plants from water melons, to capsicums and even pumpkins grew. They don't meet my tummy needs but they meet my happy needs. 

They keep my home warm on cool evenings, cool on hot summers, humid in dry afternoons and dry in heavy rains. Only a fighter knows how the city is and these small joys are signs that you have built a home in the concrete and created a place for yourself in this strange tough city - only you understand the joy of owning a garden in Bombay. 

Singing and Dancing on the Streets

Top 7 Street Songs 

The craze of streets is much before the world of Google and Pokemon. There is a song for every thing, even streets. These top street songs will turn any street to a dance floor! Play on! 

Kabhi linking road 
This has to top my list with the mention of probably all the famous streets of erstwhile Bombay, this song is a street lovers dream. It's romantic, it's cute and also informative. It's like a running advertisement of google maps. 
Kabhi linking road, kabhi warden road
Kabhi cadell road, kabhi pedal road

Kabhi berey road, kabhi parley road
Kabhi mira road, gorbander road

Dunkin road, lamington road
Cadell road, kabhi pedal road
Churney road, kabhi arthur road
Turner road, kabhi carter road.

Tap tap tapori
With streets comes the roaming and with roaming comes the Romeo. So a Romeo song is important, with Tap Tap Tapori rocking the charts. Youth is a phase when all go round and round the streets, to find a purpose in life, and when you do that honk your horn and sing tap tap tapori! 

Street dancer 
What can be more street song than one which has 'street in its lyrics, and in the main line. This got to be on this list. It's hard not to break into a dance, on this song. The energy and the coolness is so Bollywood 80s, my Favorite kinds. 

Hindi sadak - English street, tamatar - tomato. Same same
The movie and song talks about the life on the street, which is what street wala does too. While we know that a street has its underbelly but we cover only the happy side of it. 

Patakha Guddi 
Jugni, patakha, Guddi - the symbolic representation of a nomadic and spirited woman on a trip of life. Just open the window and feel the wind in your hair with this song, and all the troubles of your life will fly away as you move ahead! 

So gaya ye jahaan, So Gaya hai rasta 
The soft humming movement of the car sings a lullaby to you with this song. On so many night trips this song has helped me realise how life is  a journey and not a destination. 

Staying alive  
Are you wondering why does this song feature here. One can never forget the sight of, John Travolta strutting on the street to the sound of Staying Alive. that's how you walk on the street. That walk was nothing less than a street dance. 

Aren't we all a little street lovers. Life is what but a long long street and all you can do is sing and dance as you move along  🛣

May 21, 2016

Vintage Video Games

Childhood is a special time - time so shirt yet vast. Sometimes there was so much time to do so many things or and sometimes none at all. Once an adult you only wish your childhood was longer especially when it is full of lovely things and beautiful memories. And one of the things that took a lot of our time were Video games. Every mothers tool to make you do everything in lieu of reward, punishment or discipline. 

As a kid of the 80s I have my own share of video games. visits to friends and family during summer holidays meant playing video games on summer afternoons. Moms were ok with less study burden and keep the kids busy and quiet while they enjoyed summer siesta or finished chores. The home was peaceful and kids got along well only if they played fair turn by turn. 

I loved this one simply because I have spent hours and hours playing it. Competing with self, others or even computer. Stage after stage, row after row, the game has kept me engaged. In retrospect I feel I like games with patterns and aren't video games all about patterns. 

Battle city
I loved this one. Can you imagine the options to play two players against the villain tanks. The brick and metal blocks, power and the life boosters. You could even create your own battle field. I had awesome fun creating interesting symmetric patterns and sometimes weird ones. I created metal blocks around the sacred eagle base and locked myself in another metal cocoon. Ha ha the fun of creating stupid battle grounds mostly to confuse the villains. Only battle city allowed that. 

It will probably tops the list of all kids. There are no two doubts about it. It was a cute game with amazing surprises planted. Bonus points, mushroom power, flag jump, cute dresses, and fancy caps. I loved it all. 

The awesome commando guy was like the video version of Rambo. What physical strength and fighting skills. Climbing mountains, jumping valleys, skipping waterfalls, rolling cylinders, and killing villains who weirdly kept running into him just like that unless the main villain of each stage came for the big fight. Each villain was unique and bigger than the previous one and they were all magnificent. Any one who loved a good fight would love contra. 

Road Fighter 
Tiny cars and tight time limits to reach the finishing time line. I obviously couldn't beat my brothers in but I still enjoyed it. The left and right moves, the crashes, and the refuel stations. Time is kicking. 

Remember the swingy music that played with this game. Each stage was like a circus show and I loved each with its fire circles, monkeys, swinging and all. 

The sound for pacman was unique too. The maze of eating circles and the boxy aliens, what more is there to say. Just keep playing. 

Excite bike
This game was so much fun. The Olympic style bike lane which requires right amount of accelerator and clutch and even brakes. The hurdles and the jumps accompanied with falling and getting back up. Did you also pull the speed button to save time to get back up on the bike, it was standard but I still kept pushing  the button. 

Such wonderful memories. There were more like donkey kong, tennis, space invaders, and so many. The video games evolved but some continue to stay with us. May be the next time the cousins get together we should have a round! 

January 31, 2016


There are movies, TV shows or videos you like and follow. But it's very rare to find a complete channel with so many wonderful shows. Each is like a gem set in a beautiful jeweled necklace. Each show is different and intelligent! The content and concept is unique and new. It's educative as well as entertaining! Here are my top favorites - 

Mahabharata by Culture Machine
The cartoon depiction of Mahabharata stories is the most unique way of storytelling. The powerful and effective scenes and voice capsules of minute or two are a breath of fresh air amongst all other daily soaps and epic mythological serials. 

Stories by Rabindranath Tagore 
There are many renditions and interpretations of Tagore stories. This show is probably one of the best ever. Anurag Basu in his beautiful Barfee style lights up the screen with grEat characters, strong dynamics of human relations, depth of emotions and great stories. How many authors or creators can claim the fame and name of Tagore. A unique story tellers whose stories will live forever. 

To go around searching the Ekaant. This word is so beautiful. Probably so unique. Lonely probably is the closest but it misses the emptiness. The show covers remanents of past - the heritage temples, palaces, forts, cities. The empty corners once inhabited. The sounds of past. The open doors and windows. The stories in the wind. Listen to the dialogues as delicate as pearls in a necklace - 
Jammu- Kashmir itna bada hai, ke Jammu uske saamne ek tippini sa lagta hai. 

Epic grams 
Capsule of trivia and information like animated Wikipedia. The show is interesting and informative and interactive in dialogue style.  One on Ivory show was just brilliant. About history, about craft, about commerce,  about heritage, about economy - pure story telling 

Raja, Rasoi aur Kahaniyan 
Love for food and the stories behind it makes this show probably the most tasty one. The folk and regional food of the people, for the people and by the people. What is the story behind food? What was farmed and found here? What was the impact of travelers and history? What are the flavors? What is the origin? What is the similarity or difference? For God and the man! Remember the one on "chappan bhog" - Pure food for the soul! 

Devlok by Devdutt Patnaik
Hindu Religion and its interpretation, symbolic reference of Gods, Vedic stories, legends of Gods, principles and guidelines of the ways of a good life! 

Jaane Pehchaane with Javed Akhtar
The yesteryears of 50-60s with black and white and technicolor films where men were gentlemen and women were ladies. Yes known very well known from fairy tales. 

Back to Flashback with Javed Jaffery
The rocking 90s, my childhood years,   this show is so aptly named Flashback for the people of my generation and Javed Jaffery adds his brand of quirky and fun comedy!Never miss it! 

Magic of Ancient Architecture
The stories behind creation of legmen art monuments - architecture, science, plans, execution, visions and stories behind the magnificent creations of Indian cultural heritage. 

You know why I love this channel because the shows here are like my blogs. Pure story telling and nostalgia - the key themes of my blogs. Infact This channel is perfect for conceptualizing shows on my blogs. 
Imagine a show on- 

The streets have lives - downtown, old town, city center, China market, bazaar steer, mall road, waterfront, beaches, village streets, alleys, beaches and forest trails. So many walks, so many views, so many lives - the story of the streets. 

A class vintage show on all things vintage. The old shops and their owners running their family business of preserving and selling past. Real Antiques, rare jewellery, the vintage curios, poster boards, tin boxes, metal toys and kitsch. The heirlooms of the royal family, the keepsakes passed over generations, so many stories to be told. 

This show is all about books and reading. Lit fests, book reviews, author interviews, book recommendations, history of writing, famous quotes, literary forms - purest form of story telling. 

Epic, isn't it. 

November 29, 2015

TraveLearn - Travel and Learn

makes a person of variety, 
makes you experience, 
makes one accept differences, 
makes you realise that people are not equal but more than equal, 
makes one wiser and understanding,
makes one at peace with all.
Only if there was no need for belonging, we would all be Mavericks...

The desire to see the world comes with the desire to learn from it. 

When you visit nature you see hills, rivers, skies, snow, winds, beaches, seas, oceans, borders, countries, landscapes, seasons, the flora, fauna and the food! You learn geography and biology. 

On those walks to the down town, old square, forts, castles, temples, churches, mosques, bazaar, alleys, festivals, Listening to the hearsay, folk tales and myths. You learn history. 

The dynamics of maps, time, distance, currencies, counting, budgeting, professions, supply- demand, buy-sell, business, economy, money both making and spending. You learn finance and maths.  

More you travel more you observe, talk, listen, articulate, gesticulate, expressions, signs, words, sentences, conversations, write... This is when you learn Languages, as many as you want, No limits. 

The culture, the laws, the traditions, the lifestyles, the behaviours, the politics, the personalities, the religion, the family, the friendships. You learn Civics, philosophy, political science, even moral science. 

Visits to farms, vineyards, orchards, forests, geysers, thermal parks, underground mines, import export, logistics, Chinese factories, German engineering, Arabic oil reserves, and natural resources. You learn agriculture, horticulture, chemistry, engineering, mechanical, technology and all the handi crafts. 

Whatever you want to learn, there is a place to travel to. There is no need for school, teachers and education system. All you need is the sky, feet and eyes, the learning will follow. I believe instead of 17 years of education each student should travel the world to learn. Nature is a great teacher and traveling is a great medium. 
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