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Monday, 27 August 2007

'Caferati' August Read-meet

I am learning to be a good writer and I am member of various networks on Ryze, which help me to grow as a writer. I write, people react, I improve my skills and I am encouraged to write more. There are many networks online and many of them interact personally too by meeting off line, enjoying the evening of fun and feast. Every month, ‘Caferati-online writer’s network’, have read-meets where we meet off line and see the actual expressions of the group members while we read our piece. It is fun, watching the expression of the dazed crowd, especially if you are reading a bold stuff, which the group members are not sure, whether it is the fiction or a real life experience. On the net, when we write, we sometimes forget, or don’t care that there are many people reading and making their own impression, but at the actual read-meet, it is a different story. We, as a reader, are conscious, of all those people listening and staring at us, watching our gestures, our clothes, and our hair, although all those members, who are present may not even be listening to us hundred percent. Some may be admiring the style of our dress, others enjoying the whiff of sweet perfume, some of them might be wondering whether we shaved our legs before coming, and some might be wondering about our private life and making their own assumption on our pattern of living. Then there will be some who might be thinking when they will eat their Samosas and Sandwiches, wondering whether they could get up, out of turn, and help themselves with the cup of coffee or visit a rest room. The point is that nobody might be actually hearing us hundred percent. So, when we finish our long story and expect an applause, (sometimes we assume, our piece is the masterpiece) we might get to see a group of rolling eyes. We, then grin, rub our palms, raise our eye brows, and look around trying to settle our gaze on one particular person, whom we feel must have listened to our masterpiece ninety-nine percent. The feed-back takes a front seat and we get what we deserve. Live performance and feedback is always intoxicating. Thus, read-meets of Caferati are fun and this month was no different. This month we had at one of the member’s private, cozy home, with books and artifacts lining the walls, high up on the 16th floor of Sainara apartment at Cuff Parade, overlooking the fishermen colony and a beautiful sunset above the calm sea. A friend who had promised to accompany me for the read-meet could not make it and she had to drop out the last minute. I decided to go alone, but I hate making solo entrance. I looked around, as I reached the lobby, hoping I would find one member to accompany me for the entrance into the group and I was lucky to meet one person at the lift. We got to introduction, she was a first-timer, I was consoling her that she need not be afraid or nervous, that she will have a great time, I gave her some back ground knowledge about the group and then asked her to make the entrance with me so that we look like great pals. Surprises! Surprise! Surprise! She was a reporter from a reputed paper! I had already given her my interview in the lift! The read-meet started with a group photograph of famous writers by professional photographer and a formal detailed introduction (glad that we could get free publicity at last!). The reporter encouraged us to boast about our work, which I shamelessly did. (I love freebees)I hope she writes about my books! I need sales! The rest of the read-meet was just reading, commenting, snacking, listening to the sparkling conversations of vibrant group, romancing the ambience and sometimes smiling forcefully at those who won’t match my smile with theirs. Later, after the meeting, smaller group were contemplating the idea of dining to gather in some restuarant. I decided to join in too without any fuss. “Let’s go here” “No!” “Yes!” “Let’s go there” “Let’s take a taxi” “Let’s walk” "It is getting late na" “Never mind, forget the dinner, and let’s go home.” Phew! I was hungry! I was lucky to get a lift back home in a luxurious car, offered to me by one of the members (Lord bless her kind heart!) Thank God we can order food from the comfort of our homes! Viva Mumbai! Hail Mumbai! The memories of the read-meet lingered on as I chewed on roasted chicken and French fries.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Went to see ‘Heyy Babyy’ thinking I was going for some pure fun

but was disappointed. It was full of stupid jokes and bad comedy. Story of three idiots who think women are a game. Akshay Kumar, Fardeen Khan and Ritesh Desmukh, the three playboys, who think they can have every girl. (What an attitude!) Akshay who thinks, he is so smart that he can lay every girl, succeeds in wooing a simple, homely girl (supposedly) who gets intimate after brief meeting. Fardeen Khan has his Western sensibilities embedded all the way in his body language, mannerisms and accent. Ritiesh Deshmukh threatens to steal the show (something which has now become a routine) whenever he appears on a frame. His dead pan humor is prevalent once again as director Sajid Khan incorporates a humorous ‘gay’ angle to his character at not less than 4-5 instances. A baby is left in the basket at their door, one morning, with an abusive letter and these three idiots go to their numerous girlfriends to find the mother of this kid. It is very disgusting to watch them clumsily feed the kid every two hours, change her diapers every hour, act as clowns to keep her smiling, take her for evening outings and buy clothes in dozens. During the first half of the film, they hate the baby and use abusive language for a child (How can anybody ever use abusive language for a kid? It sounds very weird!) But one incident in their life changes it all and it’s time for them to sing along ‘Meri Duniya’ with the toddler for the rest of their lives. So much so that they completely go out of practice of ‘how to woo a woman’ and choose to sing lullabies and nursery rhymes in spite of being on the verge of a romp with some of the hottest stunners. Vidya Balan is a disappointment too. Badly dressed, there is something that misses out from her performance. The only good thing in the film is the smile and the emotions of the kid. Baby Johana is simply adorable and special effort must have gone into getting the best expressions from her, which is apparent, especially when it comes to all the close up shots. While her naughty winks would be remembered by the audience, her wails are of the kind that would be identified by anyone and everyone who has ever held a kid in his/her arms. Don’t bother wasting your evening in watching something as stupid as heyy baby

Friday, 24 August 2007

Juice bar 'HAS' (Review)

Every morning I have a glass of vegetables or fruit juices. As soon as my maid reports to work, she is expected to make one fresh glass of juice for me. But, this morning she is not coming and I am too lazy to make one for me. I had to go out to do some errands and I thought I might as well buy me a glass of fresh juice from road side stalls. After all, staying in India, we enjoy such luxuries. There is juice stall at every street. We get sugarcane juice (Rs5 per glass), Coconut water (Rs15), orange juice (Rs20) water melon (Rs25). The point is that it is so damn cheap and everybody can afford it if they are too lazy to make it themselves. I went to Pali Hill, Bandra and I saw this new juice bar…..hmmm! ..Juice bar!... Welcome to the health world! There was an inviting poster outside the store that pulled me in. It said ‘Get high…Naturally!’ with a pretty and slim model, enjoying a slice of fresh Pineapple. I could not stop myself from entering and I walked in. The ambience was really good, with bar stools on one side and lounge with big screen TV on the other side. The staffs, all clothe in aprons and gloves, amidst all different kinds of juicers, were very attentive. On the menu, there were the list of ‘Power juices’ which were the blend of fruit juices, with exotic names like ‘Berry Blast’ which is actually the crazy blends of pineapple, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, and apple, priced at Rs95 for regular and Rs155 for large. Then there were ‘Super smoothies’ that promised to be 97% fat free and had a chocolate treat. These were the blend of chocolates or dry fruits. ‘Masala Smoothie’ at the cost of Rs75 for regular and Rs125 for large was a creamy blend of cashew, dates, almonds, pistachio, and soy. There were ‘Low fat smoothies’ that promised to be 98% fat free. These were the mixture of fruits and nuts. ‘Fruit smoothies’ that promised up to 99%fat free and were the blend of different fruits. And there were also freshly squeezed ‘HAS it light’ that were the blend of vegetables and fruits. What I was amused was “Shots’. Priced at Rs35, there was a ‘fresh wheat grass’ it is supposed to be a fabulous shot of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants and ‘Lemon blast’ priced at Rs15, for extra hit of energy. So much variety! I am confused! What to have? What to have?.... Hmm…no! yes!, no!...umph….okay decided… I ordered ‘Cool Cucumber’. A regular of Rs65. It is a blend of chilled out mix of cucumber, apple and mint. Slurp! Sluuurrrrrp! I am feeling refreshed!

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

If our kids are on net, we, as parents, have right to know the details….

Adnan Patrawala, a richie, rich kid, was first kidnapped and was promised his return on the ransom of 2 crores but then he was murdered by his friends when things went mushy. The murderers, first befriended him on Orkut , a social network, and then used Fake ID (AnGEL) to lure him. Adnan was a junior college student at the Children’s Welfare Centre at Yari Road. The dead boy’s profile on a social networking site lists “driving all the way’’ and cricket as his passions. A photograph uploaded on the site by him shows his car’s speedometer touching 180 kmph. This is a wake up call for the parents and teens to avoid flashing the riches and stay within limits. Given his rich background and owning a personal Skoda and spending a lot of time in the pool parlor/game zone made him an easy pray. But what about a 16 year old, who is meeting strangers from the internet in the middle of the night? Weren’t his parents aware? This turns out to be an idea gone very wrong. It pains me to see how kids behave so irresponsibly without giving a thought as to what repercussions it could have on their families. What about parents? I meet many parents who are in 50-60 age-group and are not compu-savvy. They just refuse to learn. They openly declare it is beyond them and they will never understand. If parent block themselves off saying that computer is not their field and they can never understand or learn then how they will ever know what experiences and dangers their child is exposed to? How can they then advise? It is very important for the parents to regularly check the sites that their teenagers visit and that is possible if parents have communication with their kids. They have to win their trust. You are not expected to check the computer to see what sites he has visited, but you can talk to the child and talk about what is amusing him on the net and look for danger signs. Advice him on the pitfalls of the cyber net and that is possible only if parent are aware of the problems that arise on the net. Things go wrong when children don’t have parents for consultation. They, then, go to wrong sources for their problems and sometimes they will go even to strangers.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Trolls on their prowl…..

Today morning, when I saw a troll at one of the networks, I was disgusted with the troll and was sorry for the moderator who was the target of his abuse. I wanted to shout at him to stop his nonsense, but I was afraid of shifting his attention on me. Yes, I am coward. I cannot handle abusive comments. I like to walk away from trouble if I can. There are many networks on the cyber space and many of them are very informative and we learn a lot by getting into discussion on different topics. There are times we agree, and sometimes we disagree. It is like a meeting place where we can exchange ideas and opinions in the comfort of our house with AC on, radio in the back ground and snacks, chips and drinks at our side table. Life is good as long as it does not get mushy, and sometimes, if people go overboard, then the moderators have to intervene. But the moderators of the network have to go through lot of stress, especially if they have to deal with a troll. Troll assumes an anomalous identity and starts to make argument and accusations. I cannot understand what pleasures do the trolls get by disseminating bad advice, disrupting the discussion with their bombarding accusations? Does he want to destroy the network, so that he can start his own? Or is he power hungry so much that night and day, instead of having a creative muse, he starts bombarding irreverent facts and discrediting post? I wish they would curb their frustrations and concentrate on more positive vibes. Nursing a grudge only weakens us. We lose the power to function intelligently. It creates an uncomfortable feeling for everybody, one who shoots abusive words, the target and the audience. Why can’t we live in a healthy environment? But, I think there is no reasoning that will work. Should we ignore it or should we strike back and anger him more? I wonder what one can possibly do.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Thank God I didn’t have Nokia BL-5C battery!!

“Did you check your cell batteries,” said Sakshi, my niece, as soon as she saw me. “Why? What is wrong?” I said “Oh! There is big news on the air. If your battery is faulty, it will burst when you answer call. You might even become deaf. You better check the number on the net immediately. If you don’t check you are in danger. I went to the site of Nokia, which stated that Nokia handset bought between December 2005 and November 2006 needed battery switch. We had to identify 26 character battery identification number from the list given on their site. Nokia had announced that it would replace batteries manufactured by its Japanese supplier Matsushita between November 2005 and December 2006. It had identified that the affected batteries could potentially experience over heating initiated by a short circuit while charging, causing the battery to dislodge. Nokia has several suppliers of BL-5C batteries that have collectively produced more than 300 million BL-5C batteries. This advisory applied only to the 46 million batteries manufactured by Matsushita between December 2005 and November 2006. While the occurrence in the BL-5C batteries produced by Matsushita in the time-period specified is very rare, for consumers wishing to do so, Nokia and Matsushita offered to replace for free any BL-5C battery subject to this product advisory. Everybody started checking their mobile. Two members in my family, and two of my friends have reported this number, but are now postponing their trip to the Nokia office. Although they say that the replacement of the battery is free and they will do immediately, but they are afraid of the long queue and the mad rush at their office. I opened the back jacket of my mobile to check the number. Thankfully it was BL-4B. No need to worry, I am far from becoming deaf. At least for now……

Monday, 13 August 2007

Healthy Fruit Juices

I wish somebody had told me this before. I am beginning to understand that 'proper eating habits' are so necessary for enjoying a healthy life. My heart bleeds when I have to dig into my money bag to pay those medical bills and doctors. Damn it! The medicines are so expensive! The money that I could use for traveling and for seeing the world, I have to share with my doctor. Nah! I don’t like sharing my loot with those greedy doctors, not when many medical conditions can be treated more effectively with dietary changes. I think it is very important to place much emphasis on the requirements of a basic health diet for maintaining bodily functions and optimal resistance to disease. They also use diet controls and applied nutrition to stimulate and potentate the body’s recuperative powers in case of acute and chronic illness. I have finally realized that natural foods have their powers to keep us healthy and healthy juices have additional cures. If I wish to improve my skin texture and moisture and reduce the body heat, a mixed juice of Orange, Ginger and Cucumber works wonders. Also to improve my skin complexion and bad breath, a mixed juice of Tomato, Carrot and Apple helps. To improve my skin complexion and metabolism, sometimes I drink the mixed juice of Papaya, Pineapple, and Milk or the mixed juice of Apple, Cucumber and Kiwi. A mixed juice of Carrot, Apple, Pear and Mango clears the body heat, counteracts toxicity and decreases blood pressure and fight oxidization, whereas a mixed juice of Honeydew, Grapes, watermelon and milk increases the cell activity and strengthens body’s immunity system. I have learnt that using the proper combinations of Apple, ginger and Celery is known to prevent health problems such as cancer. It can reduce cholesterol and improve stomach upset and a headache. A mixed fruit juice of Pear and Banana can regulate sugar content in our body. A mixed juice of Pineapple, Apple and Watermelon is helping my body to dispel the excess salt and nourishes the bladder and kidney. A mixed juice of Banana, Pineapple and Milk can prevent constipation. To boost and cleanse our system a mixed juice of Carrot, Ginger and Apple is all that we really need. And Thank God it is not too late! I am starting to enjoy pain free life!

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Chak de India (film review)

When my friend suggested we go for this film, I kind of wriggled my nose.. it might be boring, I thought, who would want to see the movie on Hockey…..but I am gladI went, it was one of the most interesting movies that I have seen since a long time. It is a story of an Indian hockey player who is dishonored by the society for losing a match against Pakisthan and is called a traitor, a friend of the opposition team. Seven years later, he is back as a coach, and promises to get the World Cup for Indian team by training the ladies' hockey players. The film is about anger, ego and pride, it is about the strength of unity and above all, a message to the society that women should be taken seriously as they are capable of their undefined courage. Their camaraderie and bickering is well projected and every girl stands out in her role (pun intended), whether it’s centre-back, right outer, or centre-forward! The movie is enthralling and spectators in the theatre, at some moments forget that they were watching a movie, as they cheered merrily, clapping in unision, with the tears in their eyes. Sharukh Khan once more proved himself to be the king of stars with his superb acting. There’s no gloss, nor glamour; no skimpily clad women, nor any item numbers. In short, there’s no fluff; this film is heavy on content, and scores big time. This is one film that celebrates women power!!! Don’t miss it…..

Friday, 10 August 2007

Kite runner

Today, I just finished reading a book titled ‘Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It is a very touching story about a twelve year old boy named Amir. He is desperate to gain the approval of his father and resolves to win the local kite-fighting tournament to prove that he has the making of a man. His loyal friend Hassan promises to help him. Hassan and Amir are good friends and Hassan is very faithful to him. He listens to his stories, cleans his room and accompanies him in all his pranks. He is a low-caste servant who is jeered at in streets of Afghanisthan. Amir feels jealous of his natural courage and the place he holds in his father’s heart. On the day of the tournament, Hassan runs for the kite that Amir has won, and is abused by the group of boys. Being a coward, Amir does not protect his friend and the guilt haunts him for many years. After Russian invades Afghanisthan and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realizes that one day he must return to find the one thing that his new world cannot give him. An opportunity to be good again. On an invitation by his friend Rahim Khan, he returns to Afghanisthan only to witness the war torn country. He is asked to rescue Hassan’s son ‘Sohrab’ from Afghanisthan and take him to a secure place . The relationships are beautifully etched out and your heart reaches for orphan, Sohrab, who, through his silences expresses the deep pain of growing up in the war torn country and the impact it has on his innocent mind.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Lieder (Series of songs tied by a single theme) and Arias (Opera)

Saturday is the day reserved for pure fun. No serious work, no thinking, just window shopping, dinning or a movie, and if I have friends dropping over, nothing can be better than to lay back and relax. This Saturday, I had a special treat, a grand privilege to attend a soprano. I had read about Nicola Beller Carbone's vocal presence, musical sensitivity, diversity of style and dramatic talent combine to make her one of the most outstanding artists of her generation, and this was the opportunity I could not afford to miss. My friends and I took a taxi and reached NCPA at Nariman point to witness the most beautiful opera performance. It was the evening well spent and I was enthralled by the fluidity in her voice as she sang with feeling and exemplary taste, without straining in the final notes of the upper octave. We were given a booklet which had the English translations of her Spanish lyrics and that made it more interesting. Spanish has always been my favorite language and it was a great experience to hear the lyrics in Spanish. I specially love her performance of the song called ‘El Majo Discreto’ (The discreet lover) that was sung in Spanish and it sounded sweet and its translations went something like this People say that my man is ugly It’s possible it may be so, for love is desire That blinds and makes dizzy There are times when I know That if you love you can’t see. But though my dearest is not a man Whose beauty shines and surprises, Yet he’s discreet and keeps a secret I confide in him, knowing he’s reliable. What is secret That my man keeps? It would be indiscreet Were I to tell It takes no little effort to know The secrets of a man with a woman We were zapped by the magic in the voice and the clock ticked by silently and quickly, and long before we realized it, one and hour half seemed like a short span. After the show, we were starved and grabbed the good portion of cheese, toast, fruits and wine. I am still in that spell. The magic lingers on……

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Lie if you must, but only when, you want to save the truth from pain

Why do people lie? Are they afraid of telling the truth? I meet many people who will just lie when it is not even necessary. I hate telling lies and will not lie even to save face. I tell my friends you can swear on my honesty. I go for shopping with my friends and they shop like crazy. But they go home and hide the stuff. They will not show their spouse what they have shopped. Some of them will not tell the actual price of their loot. Imagine buying a branded bag of fifteen thousand rupees and quoting a price of two hundred rupees to their inquiring husband, even though they bought it from their own saving. They will wash their new clothes to make them look old. They will scratch the price tag and pretend that they bought it on sale. They justify their action by saying that they don’t like unnecessary taunting of their spouse. Some of them pretend to be too much concerned. Every time you call them they will say that they have been so much worried about you and have been trying to call you and inquire about our well being, when in reality they have not even bothered at all. With mobile phone, telling lies is become even more popular. They will be dining in a fancy restaurant with their friends but will say that they are eating dhal-chawal and are very lonely. The fact is that truths is always out and imagine the embarrassment. The person learns to distrust you. The satisfaction of fooling others is always short lived because the guilt feeling is very sticky. I shall never be able to risk that!

Monday, 6 August 2007

Hey, I am getting old.. tksh..tksh…

I knew I was getting old, physically, when my body started complaining. It started with waist pain, so much so that I could hardly walk. After series of clinic visits, kidney stone was detected. The treatment involved proper diet, exercise and laser treatment. The pain stopped and I was cheerful but not for long. Now its knee, sitting too much time in front of computer, leaves me with frozen knee. My knees hurt and as I climb down the stairs and doctors have warned me of Arthritis. Arthritis, which affects more than nine million people, is an inflammation of the joints and its causes are not clear. I have been surfing the net for its causes and cures and have found out that arthritis is caused by the body building up acid, which crystallizes and lodges between the joints. The acid crystals become surrounded by fluids, causing swelling, soreness and stiffness. So it has been concluded that the condition would be alleviated by cutting down on acid entering the body. By controlling the amount of acid going in through diet we can aim to increase the alkaline resources in the body that can cause the crystals to break down. Apple cider vinegar and honey has been recommended for its alkaline overall effect and it helps to create the right environment in the stomach to start off the digestive process. If we follow the regime strictly by avoiding alcohol, cutting out foods with refined sugar and any citric fruit, as well as taking cider vinegar, mixed with honey, hot water and molasses, after every meal, combined with vitamin supplements - including A, B, magnesium and calcium - and a hot bath in Epsom salts, we can succeed in being pain-free and totally mobile. And as the causes of arthritis are not clear, some doctors are very skeptical that a combination of diet, cider vinegar and Epsom salt baths would help. But it is better to discuss our problem with our GP for any side effects before taking any purported remedy. However, thousands of arthritis sufferers have been helped through a combination of the acid-free diet. We cannot expect results overnight - some people take months to respond, others take years - but I can believe that this combination is the key to getting rid of arthritic disease.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Auto drivers of Mumbai

Yesterday, I was stranded on the road. There was a row of six auto rickshaws parked in front of me and all refused to take me. It was raining heavily and I was very tired but I could not find one auto that was willing to go. They were all waiting for long distance passengers.

I lost my head, screamed at the driver, removed my note pad and pen and started to note down their auto rickshaw numbers.

Suddenly, they started to protest,(Surprise) one of them came forward and told me not to jot down his number and went to the other end and fetched me another passing auto and I smile victoriously as I settled comfortably to reach home.

Now I am wondering, what could I possibly have done with those auto numbers? Whom would I send? Would any action be taken against those drivers? And why were they afraid that I might report? I was only threatening them and I am unsure as to what I could possibly do?

The auto-guy, who ferried me to my destination was actually forced by these morons to take me and he was arguing with me throughout the journey. He challenged me that I could do nothing and he boasted about the tricks that he had used to confuse his other passengers: for example-

1. He would tell the cop that his meter was down and that he was waiting for somebody else, and he would accuse me of forcing him to abandon his previous passenger.

2. That it was time for him to give his auto back to the owner and he was getting late and couldn't take any more passengers.

3. He even boasted that if the traffic cop had forced him to allowa passenger into his auto then he would drive for few meters and then pretend that his auto is spoilt and will not drive and just present to look into the engine to see the problem with his vehicle. The passenger had a choice of waiting till he explores the problem (in that case the meter will still be running) or they, the passengers decided to change over to the another auto.

“Madam,” he said, “if you are smart, we are smarter. We live in a country where everybody is corrupted and you can do nothing about it.”

But yes you can do something. I discussed this with few of my friends and they told me that I could post my complaints at
In general, locals and visitors can expect an unusual outlook on life, navigation and find out that what might seem like a simple process of getting from point A to B is, in fact, not.

Traveling back to his parents home in India after living abroad a young man hired an auto rickshaw to complete his journey. Giving the driver the address and attempting to settle on a price the journey began. Passing through a new district the auto stops to refuel. Soon they are off again but before the young man can determine where they are the driver has parked and joined some friends in a food stand. Infuriated the young man looks over to see another identical rickshaw pulled up along side his own with an older man waiting inside. "I have been sitting here waiting almost two hours and still have not arrived at my destination!" He declares in rage. "Two hours, is that all?" asks the older man in a relaxed voice. "I have been waiting here since they opened the food stand."
That's auto ride for you!!! Enjoy!!

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