Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thanks Kuber, Geetha and Rane family

Thanks Kuber, Geeta and every member of Rane family for being saviour of my mother's life. Definition of clairvoyance says it as 'A power to see objects or events that cannot be perceived by the senses'. But for me, it wasnt just your clairvoyance but your immediate collective response to respond to the situation in an effective manner that deserves our accolade and gratitude.




Govt Colony Bandra East - an article in Times of India

With the redevelopment of Government Colony at Bandra (East) round the corner, nostalgic old-timers say it was the best place to grow up in.

"We had the feeling of living in one big family," said Syed Ismatulla Pasha, a resident from 1964 to 1977, who now lives at Andheri. "As kids, we played together and went to the same school. We practically lived in our neighbours' houses," he said. "Whenever there was wedding in the neighbourhood, all of us worked as if it was in our own family," recalled Pasha, general manager at an IT firm.

The colony for state government employees was developed on 100 acres between 1958 and 1968 and its two and three-storey buildings have almost 5,000 flats for Class I to Class IV employees. Now, these are to be replaced with 12-storey buildings.

Manisha Gujar spent 25 years there from 1961 to 1986 and is still attached to the colony. "I know every lane and every building," said the mother of two grown-up girls. She said that it was such a safe place that her parents were never worried where she was. "Now, at my sister's place, we constantly check whether her son is within the building compound."

Government Colony was predominantly Maharashtrian, but no one felt like an outsider. "Our neighbours were brahmins and we had the best of relations with them," said Pasha. Gujar pointed out that almost all Muslim families had Hindu neighbours.

The colony is the perfect example of a planned residential enclave with abundant open spaces and roads intersecting at right angles. Although a sizable number of the flats were for Class III employees, they had a comfortable carpet area of 350 sq ft, cross ventilation, high ceilings and an open air balcony.

According to entrepreneur Anil Nair, who lived there from 1962 to 1988, the distinguishing feature of the colony is the quadrangular buildings with a large open area in the centre. "Each square had its own cricket team, its own Ganapati mandal and its own 'holi' pyre," he said, adding that boys used to go around collecting wood from wherever they could find it and then drying it meticulously a fortnight before holi.

The worst time the place has seen were the communal riots of 1993, where Muslim bakeries and shops in the colony were torched despite Kherwadi police station being located in it.

"It was a conservative place and girls kept to themselves; it was scandalous for a girl to speak to a boy," remembered Nair, who recently organised a reunion for his SSC batchmates of 1977 from Cardinal Gracias High School, which is on the edge of the colony.

The bonding between neighbours who came from the same social strata led to life-long ties. Gujar, in Mumbai for a few days, is visiting old friends. Pasha is till in touch with his brahmin neighbours although he moved out of the colony three decades ago. In fact, many old neighbours still live together in other parts of the city, thanks to the cooperative housing societies they formed before retiring.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Detroit of India : Pune or Chennai ?

Here is an article in a recent wall street journal that talks about Chennai as a new Detroit . It's also interesting to read the interactive comments from readers who analyze the ramifications of the fall of Detroit and environmental effect of rampant industrialization of China and India. I am not sure how far is Pune behind Chennai as an auto hub. Mercedes, Skoda, Tata, Bajaj, Volkawagon in Pune versus Nissan, Hyundai, Ford and BMW in chennai. An old article on Pune as a motor hub.

Chennai or Pune, India's emergence of economic might is pleasing.

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Friday, July 09, 2010

USA, Russia Trip

Narita, Los Angles, Las Vegas , Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Venice, Miami, South Beach, Islamorada, Key Largo, Key West, Lion Safari, Everglade, Orlando, Disneyworld, Downtown Disney, Kennedy Space Center, St Augustine, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Ocala National Forest, Lake Charles, Mobil, Pensacola, New Orleans, French Quarter, Baton Rouge, Houston, Galleria., Domodedovo Airport, Lenin Prospect, Moscow, Kremlin, St Basil Church.

In Australia, it was southern most point 'Wilson Promontory in Victoria'. This time, in USA it was turn to visit Key West. Why Are they called Keys ? A question was answered once I came back. The word "key" actually comes from the Spanish word cayo, meaning "little island". This is not one island but they are a chain-like cluster of about 1700 islands . They begin as we we past Everglade National Park - South of Miami , dividing the Atlantic Ocean to the east from the Gulf of Mexico to the west. Seeing the home of Earnest Hemingway was great albeit from the tram car - Conch tour . We had no time as the tour to his museum would get over by 5pm and it was few blocks away from Tram station that would close by 4pm. We decided to hop into a tram and say hello to his home from outside. The historic district in Key West is the largest collection of charming wood frame houses from Victorian Era. What is unique about them that they conform to same theme yet are different in color and style. U.S. President, Harry S Truman made 11 presidential visits to Key West totaling 175 days of his Presidency. Harry S Truman Little White House is the Museum. The conch tour begins at the Front Street Depot and ends it in Mallory Square. A 90-minute journey makes loop both ways through Old Town Key West thereby giving equal opportunity to people on either side of the tram. Key West is all about Cuba, her culture and how wonderfully US has marketed that. Cuba is an enigma to many and Key West is a closest one can get to feel about Cuba without being there. All visitors relish cuban cuisine browse through art work of Cuban creativity and as evening sets in party with cuban drink, music . Visiting Key West is an expereience.

I met two Pakistani in Florida. One at Car rental and other at the luggage showroom. Normally, seeing anyone from the asian subcontinent, they would be warm, extra hospitable and would definitely converse in Hindi or Urdu. Here both stuck to English and only business talk. There was no smile or warmth , a sense of being extra guarded. With luggage salesman, there was no interaction despite my Japanese colleague buying his bag. I too didn't want to make him uncomfortable. At the car rental, I had to give him my passport so felt it would be natural to talk to him. He said he is from Karachi Pakistan and said would love to visit Mumbai to my responese ' Karachi is nice and similar to Mumbai '. He stuck to English and was quick to wrap the business transaction. I could feel their vulnerability in identifying themselves as Pakistani and felt sad about them.
It's wonderful to be back to New Orleans after almost 20 years. Last time, It was just the River walk. This time, it is French Quarter, Charles Streetcar, Walk and ride past Business District, District, and Loyola Universities.

Chima Brazilian Restaurant introduced me to ' Caipirinha' , a national cocktail of Brazil, made up of cachaça, crushed fresh fruits and crushed ice. The most popular fresh fruits used to create Caipifrutas are tangerine, lime, kiwi fruit, passion fruit, pineapple, lemon, grapes, mango, cajá, and caju (cashew fruit). Churrasco a grilled meat delicay from Latin American countries. I stuck to chicken served in a manner that reminded me of Greek Sword. Tee Jay Thai Sushi restaurant in Fort Lauderdale was an interesting combination of Japanese and Thai dishes . Casablanca Restaurant.
St Augustine is a lovely pristine town that froze in medieval time frame. Walking visitors, bay with boats, decorated map posts, the place looked similar to combination of Old Goa and Panjim next to Mandovi river . Driving past St Augustine ,we reached Lake city at 11 pm, a sleepy town that didn't show much except silhouettes of tall trees on either side. Stayed at Days inn - first hotel sign that we saw. Was delighted to see sign board of Noodle House but realized soon that it was Hoodle House. Tried to take a drive on desolate road flanked on one side by Target trucks and other side old gray colored houses that came straight from American movies in 60's. No sign of any restaurant and we decide to take u turn. We were tailed by another car that followed us to a small right lane but as we took u turn, it vanished. At green ' ishara', we were flanked by the opposite van and one from the behind by another car. Both being driven by young blacks. They started honking with apparent intention of ' get out of my way'. We head back towards hotel and see ' sheriff car' parked on the right side with headlight on. Seeing our car, it swerves and follows at a distance. As we give indicator to turn towards our hotel, it zooms past us and parks at petrol pump opposite our hotel, parallel to the road with lights on. It's comforting that this road is patrolled and guarded by police.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Lata and Pancham.... some great songs

Pancham is not associated with Lata as much as with Asha & Gulzar... ...Ijaazat, Namkeen, Ghar ..... The songs sung by Asha for Pancham were pathbreaking, innovative and experimental and were tough to render too. But so are some of Pancham and Lata and they are memorable too....


Kitni khoobsurat yeh tasveer hai.....
Tere bina zindagi se koi......
Tune O rangeele kaisa jaadu kiya.......
Haan jab tak hai jaan jaan-e-jahan...........
Baahon mein chale aao............
Jeevan ke din chhote sahi..............
Kaanta lagaaa.............
Jaane kaise kab kahan.............
Tere liye palkon ki jhaalar boonun..............
Tere bina jiya jaaye na.............
Kitna pyara vaada hai in matwali aankhon ka..............
Saajna mein sada tere saath hoon..............
kuch na kaho...............
beete na bitaye raina.............
Na koi umang hai na koi tarang hai............
Apne pyar ke sapne such huye.............
Jaane kya baat hai.................
humne sanam ko khat likha...................
Aisa samaa na hota.......
Gum hai kisi ke pyar mein.................
Chanda o Chanda................ Lata Version
Jogi o Jogi.............
Kasme Wade Nibhayenge Hum
Tujse Naraaz Nahin Zindgi,
Dilber Dil Se Pyare

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Happy B'day Cho Cho