Intoxicating evening

Author: Basav // Category:
If there is an Oscar award for perfect cocktail; it has to go to Sunrise and Moonlight :). These are the two indigenous cocktails that I invented today. Okay, okay, if not Oscar, then at-least, the drinks deserve a Filmfare award.

It is exactly twenty four hours since I have brought this cocktail shaker (which includes couple of accessories - ice bucket, peg measure), and I was desperate to use it; just like a kid, desperate to try his new video game. Last evening, I struggled hard to open the lid of the shaker but in vain; fruitless. After, 30 mins of valiant effort,I gave up. My wife decided to return it back to the store. 
But today morning, I looked at the shaker patiently and politely tried to turn it around with complete affection & viola - it willingly responded. Immediately I made up my mind to do something exciting in the evening (as though taking away my wifes' excitement who was not all excited about my achievement).

Here are the two recipes - try it, you will definitely love it. I promise


You need:
  • 60 ml - Smirnoff Vodka - Orange twist flavour
  • 30 ml - Bacardi White rum - plain
  • 200 ml - Tropicana Real Orange juice - chilled
  • 1 Orange fruit
5-6 cinnamon sticks, a pinch of salt, lots of ice cubes

Serves : 1

Method : Pour vodka, rum, orange juice, ice cubes, salt and finally cinnamon sticks. Shake it well. Pour it in a tall glass. Add a bit of orange peel. Leave it for few minutes in the glass. Let the orange flavour from the peel be released. Add couple of ice cubes. Remember it is already chilled. Garnish it with a slick of orange.

Sit back, relax, and sip it. You will feel the rich spicy aroma of orange and a bit cinnamon. If you concentrate hard, you will feel that your are walking on the sea shore, in the early morning cool breeze, enjoying the grand spectacle of the Sunrise.

Next comes the Moonlight. ( This name has been given by my wife, not bad :))


You need:
  • 60 ml - Bacardi White rum
  • 30 ml - Smrinoff Vodka (Plain or Apple flavour)
  • 200 ml - Tender coconut water
Pinch of salt, 1 tea spoon of sugar, lot of ice cubes (or crushed ice).

Pour ice in the shaker, add sugar. Pour vodka, coconut water, then rum, finally add sugar. 
Shake it well. Pour in a tall glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge. The drink should look like clear, crystal water.

Take the glass, go to your terrace, enjoy admiring the Moon.

Expect the Unexpected...

Author: Basav // Category:
It is 1:30 AM, I just finished watching Slumdog Millionare along with my wife. It short fell of our expectations, probably because of the huge media hype. It was like any other "good" movie. Nothing great ....

This left me wondering on "what" could have been that captured the minds of UK, USA etc. so much that it won all the nominated Golden Globe awards.

I started thinking...

There have been many similar kind of Indian films where producers have cashed on the Mumbai slums,depicting their pathetic, miserable lifestyle. SM is also on the similar lines, only exgerrating much more than Indian cinemas, which I think, resulted to have a very very deep effect on the Westerners. Some of the scenes are heartbreaking - like the one where a kids' eye is "scooped" out with a hot spoon.Blind kids earn more by begging. The other sick scene where the child artist (protagonist) jumps in pit of shit and comes out. Yuck.. Indians have difficulty to stomach such scenes, I don't know how Westerners accepted. Probably they felt that the director is portraying the truth.

The storyline is exciting. Each question unfolding one chapter of Jamals' life. Jamal is the main character who is born in a Mumbai slum, deeply in love with Latika, another orphan raised in slum. Jamal is persistent in getting his love not even hesitating to fight with his brother, who has grown up to be thug. Basically, it is love story, slum life, Mumbai life, underground life and the Q&A of "Who wants to be Millionare" show that builds the excitement. As I said earlier, the storyline is exciting - but not mind-blowing.

Having said that, nevertheless, the movie is very well directed, excellent screenplay, technically brilliant (all the slum scenes are so realistically shot that you forget that it is a movie). Also the fact that this has been directed by a British director, it has more visibility and hence a larger audience. This also contributes to the success of the movie.

I'm still wondering on the "what" - forget it - I think sometimes that SM just got little lucky to get all those awards and the attention.

Shortly it is releasing in India in Hindi language. I don't know whether it will appeal to Indians as it did across the world.

Anyway, It was an amazing experience watching the movie. Wishing SM all the success for Oscars.

Day 3 – July 20th 2008 – Saturday - In Mumbai

Author: Basav // Category:
Day 3 – July 20th 2008 – Saturday

Friday night ended with good dinner and couple of Fosters.

The day started around 9:30 AM. Had a healthy breakfast of Parotas. I and Medha had plans of going for sight seeing. Morning was reserved for doing couple of interviews. I checked my emails and expected Param to have arranged for an interview with Ganesh. But there was no such email. The other candidate was Murthy. I called him couple of times. I got hold of him. I scheduled the interview at 2 PM. Failed to contact Kamal to setup the call. He did not pick up the phone. Meanwhile I finished the lunch at the TQ itself. Lunch was good. Very Tasty. Kamal called me later around 2:30 PM to inform me that he had missed the call. Things did not work out and the interview with Murthy did not happen.

I and Medha left for Andheri Station. We speculated a lot whether to carry the cam-corder. We decided against the idea of taking the cam mainly because of the fear of local train crowd. We hopped into a Ric (Rs 65 for the auto). We reached Andheri station around 3 PM. I got the first class return ticket to Churchgate. It costed me 312 Rs. It is pretty expensive.

Medha was excited about her first travel on the local train. I can see she had anxiety as well as fear in her eyes. We both got into the first class car after after missing one of the trains (because of the crowd). The station was pretty crowded even on Saturdays. Both I and Medha were imagining what could be crowd like on working days.

Reached Churchgate around 4 PM. We had not got a seat. I was curiously looking at the fellow passengers. Variety of people. I was educating her with my little knowledge on what ever I knew. Medha was feeling little shy as she was the only woman in the car. She was conscious of this fact and her eyes were fixed down staring at the floor of the train.

We came of the station. Afternoon heat greeted us. It was sultry and hot. We had tea at the destination, in-fact coffee at one of the vendor coffee day machines.

We put on our shades and started walking. That is the only direction I knew about. We spotted Eros theatre. I showed it to Medha and told her that it is one of the oldest theatres. There was some movie, I believe Jane Tu…ya Jane Na. I remember seeing the big hoarding in front of the movie hall.

I spotted a taxi and asked directions for the Gateway of India. He looked at us, and said,”seeda, second left”.

The walk was smooth, less traffic. We were admiring few of the old building of the Mumbai, its un-usual structure and variety. I was blindly following the instructions given by a taxi wala to Gateway of India and my wife, Medha was blindly following me. I can see that she trusted me thoroughly.

Then we spotted Jehangir Ary gallery and decided to check it out. It is about 200 metres from the GWI. We still had not spotted the GWI.

The cool air of the gallery welcomed us. There were 3 large rooms. We got into the largest one. It had some clay sculptures. I think so. Some clay idols with a possible theme were placed on the ground. There were many curious tourists’ faces looking at them and trying to understand the artists’ imagination. We spent about 15 mins. One of the theme was reflecting the gap in the rich and poor. There was a tribal woman carrying a child on the back and carrying a pot. She was staring at a small baby sitting on a miniature truck. This truck was controlled through a remote by the baby’s mother. The mother was depicted as a city woman, with western outfit.

Then we went to the second room. This was much bigger than the first room. This had many painting of various painters. One thing that fascinated me & Medha was a collage paintings’ by an artist named Uma. There was no brush or paint. All the drawings ( I cannot call them paintings’ ) were made of paper cutting, wall papers, photos, piece of paper etc. The kind of detail portrayed and the effort involved in such a thing is magnanimous. Truly marvelous. We quickly browsed other paintings. They were good.The crowd was increasing. We got out and started moving towards GWI.

As we were passing by, we noticed a museum next to art gallery. It was a big one. The board outside read – “Chatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangralaya”. I like museums. I assumed Medha will like it. We entered. The tickets costed us 30 Rs. There was an audio tour available. We skipped it.

The museum is surrounded by garden. The garden could have been maintained better. At the entrance of the garden you see two police men. The garden is sprinkled with many statues. These are not usual political leaders, but of figures of Buddha, monks etc.

At the entrance of the museum there is big Jain wooden mantap. It has exquisite wooden carving, very fine and delicate having the many life incidents of first Jain thirantakara, Adninath. We mentally settled down. The air inside was cool. The museum is massive building constructed in the same lines as the architecture of Bijapur monuments, having a big dome. I’m from Bijapur .

There were many collections of Sir Ratan Tata’s, which got our attention. Some old Chinese artifacts were interesting. We quickly browsed the ground floor and embarked upon the first floor. On the first floor were many old paintings, some Neolithic tools, pre historic statues etc. We contemplated on the evolution of man a bit and moved to the third floor. Lots of glass works, centuries old. Lots of Buddha statues etc. We were getting tired and it was information overdose.

We had some snacks at the museum cafeteria and returned back to the road.

Finally after admiring the massive Taj hotel, we spotted GWI, tall and majestic, at the background the Arabian Sea. There were lots of cops in sight. We were one of among the many tourists. GWI was covered with some net kind of a thing, there was some kind of renovation work going on. As we approached the GWI, we realized the massiveness of the building. Next to it, there were many tourists, women and kids in a group.

I and Medha approached the commotion and realized that it was a ferry man selling the tickets for a short trip in the sea. We decided to take the trip. It costed us 100Rs for two tickets.

The ferry was a two storey, the top was open. It was big enough to hold around 100 – 125 passengers. We managed to get two seats on the top portion. The ride in the sea lasted for about 30 mins. The boat was rocking swaying from side to side. The evening breeze was cool carrying the smell of sea. The GWI had an impressive architecture from the other side of the view against the background of Taj Hotel. There were many kids, playing on the boat without any fear on the boat. They were excited about the sea.

I was seated and oscillating - looking at the dark waters and the shore. There were some big ships, and a small island which had a strange flag hoisted. Medha was commenting about kids, elderly couple, muslim couples, water, GWI etc.

After we landed, our encounter was with on-the-spot photographers. They have a high resolution digital camera, a portable Epson photo printer and provide cheap memories for unfortunate tourists who forget their cameras or who cannot afford one. We were one among them. We got two photos clicked, one against the background of GWI and other Taj. Paid 80 bucks to the guy and started walking looking at sea. The photos had come out good. My wife realized her chubby cheeks in the photo, blamed the lazy life and rich food. She planned to hit the jogger’s park next day onwards. Women plan. Men just execute.

We walked for a small distance on the side of the GWI, surrounded by lots of tourists and variety of people. We stopped, I bought groundnuts and we decided to go to Marine drive.

We hopped into a taxi and within 15 mins, we are at Marine drive. I parted 40 bucks to the taxi. The first view of the Marine drive is that it is a place for romance. You see lots of pairs, sitting on the rocks facing the sea, their back to the traffic, holding hands, or sometimes the guy’s arm on the girl and whispering in each other ears.

But wait, I and my wife felt the exact opposite. We sat on the one of the rocks, facing the sea. At first glance nearby you spot very dirty rocks, followed by dirty shores, with almost black colored water. No cool breeze, but only loud noise of the traffic behind our back. There is no freshness around, but lots of pollution. I added to the pollution by smoking a cigarette and commenting on two crabs in front of me on a big back rock. I’m not scared by crabs, but this time, against the black rocks, two big crabs scared me.

We decided to return back. We spent exactly 15 mins there. We talked back to the Charni road station with an elderly person who kindly helped to lead us to the station.

It was slow train to Andheri. I and Medha got into the first class. No seats to sit. It was pretty crowded, probably people returning back to home after work. My wife again felt isolated mentally, as she became conscious that she was the only woman in a crowd of men. She started gazing at the floor of the train avoiding any eye contacts with anybody and wishing the destination comes faster.

After 30 mins, we were at Andheri. We got down the train. There was ocean of people at the station. I followed my instincts to find the exit. I have to avoid the west exit and go to the Andheri east. It seemed confusing on which direction to take. I mentioned about my confusion about east and west to Medha. She asked me to check with somebody. Somehow, my intuitions were strong and I took the right exit. My wife blindly followed me and praying that the exit is correct. Fortunately it was the correct exit. We started descending avoiding many travelers.

I felt little hungry after seeing lot of vad-paav stalls outside the station. I bought couple of them. We hopped into a ric and started devouring the paav. It was tasty.

25 mins later, we were in out TQ, 202. Had a warm bath and settled on the bed. It was good experience.