Tuesday

Garden of Eden


We all have our favourite teams in the Premiere League right? Well I had been rooting for Kol Knight Riders since day 1. Reason 1- Dada, Reason 2- SRK, Reason 3- my fave city.

So here we are - the setting- Kolkatta. A match between the Kol Knight Riders (KKL) and Kings XI Punjab. The result has to be a no brainer right? It has to be advantage most definitely, for Dada and his men...

Well, if you were sitting amongst the mammoth crowd there, you wouldn’t be so sure till the last ball was bowled! Tension in the pit of stomach, the match result right up chasing the wire, the game swinging sometimes the Knight Riders way and more often than not Kings XI way!

Glorious Eden Garden packed to capacity, with over a lakh plus people, all rooting for Dada and his team of valiant Knights. What an evening it was. Large screens covering the ground, the hoi polloi and the masses of Kolkatta rubbed shoulders with each other, all reveling in this mammoth party zone, the night sky was beautiful and clear, the air was expectant with tension and drama.

A day & night game, the public willing the Knight Riders to go for it,
Eden Garden, with its floodlit huge night lamps was picture perfect, the deafening roar of humans mixed with drumbeats and stereo sound; made for a mind-blowing wonderful atmosphere. Am a total convert to this T20 format - what an absolute experience watching this game LIVE

Dada had a competitive total to chase, and a wicket that he and his men were familiar with. But the second innings didn’t go the scripted way!

Wickets toppled, runs were not scrambling on the score-board, the strangled muffled sounds of a 1 lakh plus crowd in the stadium was close to suffocated silence, shuffling restless feet, willing the Knight Riders to ride the storm.

And Umar Gul takes strike, and whoosh! Did he make the crowds start to breathe again? His first six off the first ball he faced, had the crowds on their feet with elation as if they had won:-), the next six off the second ball had the voice box of this 1 lakh crowd, restored:-) There was palpable tension now. Then came Dada with his fabulous six as if to say "nothing comes in my way to victory, I swear!":-)

This saw the Knight Riders turn the heat on, and get a fabulous, inspirational win, that helped restore battered pride. I promise you, nothing compares! The Premiere League is here to stay:-)

And of course having accidentally eavesdropped into a high octane debate happening around where we were seated- so vehemently some agreed and disagreed to " IPL wants to mix sex with cricket", another said "so what’s wrong with it", another said " they will make cricket more juicier than Bollywood if they do that" speaking of the cheerleaders. Infact one individual also remarked that " native Indian men are sex starved. When they come to US for a short visit, first thing they do is go for ‘escorts’ and call girls. It gave IPL a clear idea how to sell these western cheerleaders and make some more money”. And soon the game had started and all eyes were trained on the pitch:-)

Well, not withstanding this sex and cricket debate, what a sensational victory that was in the Garden of Eden:-) Folklore will be made of this Sunday game and the creators were none other than Dada and his golden men!

Monday

Goa and Music



There is a palpable excitement I feel, when I land in Goa, almost instantaneously, expecting something magical to happen.

The cab that takes us to our hotel has lovely konkani music playing as if to signal the party is on! He played traditonal songs, folk music, right through our 45min ride to the hotel- mwaah, lovely!

As we enter our hotel there is lovely local music streaming through the doors!I think music flows through the blood of every Goan. I later understood that, in schools, music is encouraged whether it be singing, playing an instrument or creating beats.

Goans love for music can be heard round the clock, not only in the houses but at social occasions. The talented goan musicians dish out popular Indian and western hits and not forgetting the show stopping, foot stomping goan manddos which get goans of all ages up on the dance floor.

Goan music merges Indian and Western traditions, and the Mando is a treat to hear. Starting with a sad beat, gradually it ends on a faster beat known as 'Dulpods'. Based on the Latin American tune, Mando is sung by girls and boys in chorus or sometimes one line of the song one after the other. Beckons one to move:), just as we did on the boat, on the river Mandovi.

At lunch time in the hotel coffee shop we met some fellow holidaymakers who let us know that Roger Waters was playing LIVE the same evening. My God Pink Floyd , well not entirely, but nonetheless Pink Floyd legacy in the flesh!

We made our way that evening to see Roger Waters, a rock concert like I've never seen before. An unforgettable night , probably one of my favourtite rock shows amongst the ones I have seen all over the world. All credit goes to the fact that it happened in Goa:-), the people, the swaying, no smashing bodies or puking adults, the production of the event, roger waters himself, the open spaces, near the water front, all of it cast a spell on me, marvellous:-)!

I went to the flea markets by day and another by night, and o boy! I was surrounded by trance, hip hop, psychedelic beats, with many shop keepers selling mp3's and so many locally composed cd's, that I was quite baffled by it all and not sure which one I wanted to buy, because truly, any music in Goa, sounds pretty awesome!

Finally all this gave way to my kinda day - I slump in a shack by beachside, find myself a super vantage deck to worship the sun, request for the music to be louder from inside the shack, and it all merged so well with the sounds of wind, surf and voices- Goa- ah! Where time passes slowly and the music keeps you company:-)

Saturday

Speaking of a capital city


Two guys are fighting and a third guy comes along & tries to make peace.
The first two get together and beat him up.

Friday

What’s this hoopla about Goa?


I was in Class 5 when I first went to Goa with my extended family, and some recollections of that trip:

We checked into this govt hostel for Rs 20/- a night and my uncle was nowhere to be found, when I went looking for him, (he had the keys to my baggage) I found my old uncle smoking! He was an absolute non-smoker, never seen him smoke before! And now in Goa he was transformed! :-) Wow that was amazing!

Next day at Vagator beach –my brother in law is most happy being on the beach. Reason? Not the surf and the sand but the nude sunbathing bodies. And for a na├»ve 5th standard student like me this was most embarrassing:-)

Evening dawns- everyone is chilled, like never before, the city seems to have taken away this family’s inhibitions and worries. My older coz sister offers me a glass of beer mixed with fanta! “You are on a holiday, go ahead and drink- we will not tell your mum!” And omg the first sip and I was ready to throw up, it was horrible! I went behind the bushes and chucked it all down and they were most happy thinking I had guzzled it all – looking at me furtively from behind their glasses at night, “is she tottering yet”!:-)

Another evening and this north Indian family (excluding me), went berserk on sea food, it was the yummiest meal for them, this vegetarian had the most feeble weak dal and rice:-)

And I can go on and on about these foolish escapades and the many susegado’s, the thonged men, the drinking binges, the beautiful days of non ending conversations, music and parties, betting and casinos, unique pottery that stole my heart, 3 of us girlfriends traveling by a scooter /bike, the sea, the palm trees, the relaxed atmosphere, Tiracol estuary, all of this brings a smile to mah face;-)

My love affair with Goa started then, since I was in 5th stdJ My Dad could never understand what appealed to me about this ganja hashish smoking old port! For him it was just a place to do business, for me it was a place to relax, unwind and be anonymous, relax like one can never, in ones own town, wear or don’t wear any clothes and nobody there really cares, it is and has always been a place to “just be” for me:-)

So you see this hoopla about Goa is a very personal thing, you gotta seriously love your freedom and yourself to want to be in Goa!! Indulge and be free, that’s what Goa has been always for me:-)

Monday

Benares is Varanasi




A friend of mine nudged me to watch this brilliant docu on NatGeo or was it BBC, on, Varanasi. Not a romanticised version of this religious city, nor a drubbled to the ground version of dirt and grime and pollution in the Ganges river, but a very matter of fact narration with as many aspects as could capture of a city where people celeberate birth and death with equal piouty

I was simply captivated! I absolutely have to see this holy city myself- not as much from a spiritual point of view but from a discovery context. I want to see the waters in the day and by night, I want to hear the temple bells and see the magical aarti's by evening, feel the civilization and live, breathe on the steps of Ganges. To hopefully, get a small glimpse, into the soul of this most mystical city of India

Here I come Varanasi- next month definitely, as the wanderlust has now bitten bad, for this "must visit", on my list of travels:-)

Wednesday

Aamchi Mumbai!



Its May in India! Traditionally a hot month all over the country. Irrespective of where you maybe, Goa beachside or high altitude Bangalore, or in aamchi Mumbai, the heat is a killer!

Then again maybe its my intolerance of the heat that makes me feel absurdly bothered! Today travelling from Santacruz to Andheri to Chembur and then back to Bandra, simply had me in a tizzy! Despite a beautifully strong aircon in the car, the effort it takes to cross the road to go to Alpha and then on return to wait for the car to come out of the parking - the sun beats down unrelentingly and I can feel the sweat beads start to form on my forehead! If this is not enough the human traffic on the roads is another story altogether! Given thr is'nt enough covered parking in the city, the car often has to be left parked right under the sun, as a result by the time you come back to the car, you are sitting in a ultra hot oven!

Once inside Alpha the aircon is just for namesake, because the door is perpetually being opened every second, the number of people inside the store is phenomenal- how can the aircon possibly keep pace with this churn?!

Gosh, when will May give way to the monsoon clouds I see forming every evening in the skies? When will the rains cool down this parched city? When will the cart pulling man heave a cool sigh of releif. When will the scattered thin green in the city learn to shrug off the dust n grime and breathe and grow again?

Need rescue and respite from this Mumbai heat soon!