Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I visited my wonderful friends Anil and Gayatri and their cute-as-a-button son Nikhil on Sunday. They live in a building right beside Shivaji Park ... a famous piece of land that has created many a cricket star (ok... yeah, it has a big historical and political past too... and is significant in the whole Shiv Sena arena I mentioned earlier but let's not dwell on them too much again - we're strictly left-wing live-and-let-live here at BNACGD Blog!) ... and each day you will find every inch of grass is covered with young people living the dream of one day playing cricket for team India. It's quite a magical place and the agreeable noise of bat against ball and the shouts of boys and men playing their favourite sport has something very comforting about it, especially later in the day as the sun gets low and kisses the dust in the air. It's a nice place to be.

After a fantastic lunch cooked by Gayatri and a lot of great conversation and music (some Pink Floyd to reminisce about the concert since we'd all gone) I visited Anil's CG business. It's a lovely office with mosaic tiles on the floors and brightly painted coloured walls. Nikhil was proud to show me every little detail... each bathroom included! Anil drove me part of the way home and I grabbed a snap of a crazy sight.... the photo really didn't come out but it sums up one of the truly unique things you'll see here in India.... an entire family on a motorbike! This was Dad, Mum and the kids..... *three* kids...... ... two in front of Dad on the petrol tank.... and one behind squished in between him and Mum. Amazing. I wish my photo wasn't blurry... but here you go.

Another snippet.... tonight I had the most wonderful visitor. In my kitchen... on the 17th floor.... a *beautiful* glassy green gecko! :) Very handsome... and BIG.... I tried to catch him to rescue him....but he was not having it. So gorgeous... I can't imagine how he got in... or will get out. I am a bit worried... I hope I can see him again though. I shall call him Pepe.

Monday, February 26, 2007

happy everything

Whahoo..... Happy Feet just won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature a couple of minutes ago! :) watching it live :) Congratulations George Miller.... I could see how touched and happy you were! Pretty fantastic to have worked on the winning movie :)

yes.....a contrast to the last post I know.... conflicts, conflicts.....

Sunday, February 25, 2007

have mercy

my heart is crying

http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/ ...the Rape of Sabrine.....

my tax dollars are paying for this.....

I want to throw up


I forgot to mention.... something totally trippy the other night. Prashant and Vani had taken us out after work (by *us* I mean myself and the new LA visitors who arrived last weekend - Wilmer and Chris). We had gone to a great joint right overhanging Juhu beach called the Vie Lounge.... very beautiful, and I had lobster to die for! Anyhoo.... we're driving home in Prash's car and suddenly .... next to us on the left hand side... the nose of a monster..... nope... I'm not talking about an elephant.... it was ... a Rolls Royce! And not just any Roller... it was enormous... like something out of Batman.... a big grey ghost..... mygod.... we were in shock!

When Jenny and I had stayed in the Marine Plaza hotel a few weekends ago, during breakfast overlooking Marine Drive we had seen a yellow Ferrari drive past. That was pretty mindblowing at the time.... especially as it shared the road with a cart being pulled by two giant elegant white brahmin bulls. Then on Friday night a Porsche was parked by the ATM machine. A Porsche with a big splat from a bird on its windscreen mind you ;) hey... if I was a bird I'd be aiming for the best car too.... have *you* seen Jhankaar Beats? either quantity.. or quality I say!

I'm used to seeing Ferraris and Lamborghinis and Lotus and that sort of car in LA.... but I still got excited with a Rolls or a Bentley.... I had driven by the Rolls Royce show room at the Millenium Mall and always said 'who on earth would actually drive that on the streets of Mumbai??' ... well... now I've seen it! Vani said it was a politician.... hmmmph.....

Saturday, February 24, 2007

honeymoons and rockstar red

Last night I went to see a new movie... opening night - a new Hindi movie. It's called Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd and it's a comedy. Obviously, it was in hindi.. but lots of english and it was completely easy to understand. The story is of 6 couples who take a package tour in a bus to Goa for their honeymoon. Though a comedy.... there were lots of quite serious issues that come up.... and lots of melodrama as well. Funnily enough.... Dia Mirza who I had met last Saturday on set with Vivek was in it, as was Arjun Rampal who was standing in front of us at the Roger Waters concert! So there you are then!... small world :)

This morning.... I went off to my Bollywood salon in the gorgeous Union Park area of Bandra for a haircut and colour. This time I wanted to mix things up a little... so I asked Raychel to go for a more vibrant colour. We picked one out of the book... and boy have I gone RED... I'm a rockstar now! It's vibrant and wild.... they took a photo of me when I left. They were pretty excited about it. I like it a lot.... a rich deep, purpley maroony red. If I stood out before.... now I have a big arrow flashing on my head... haha! ;)

Raychel told me a lot of stories about Bollywood stars I can't put on the blog... pretty gross stuff. It's kinda like all those rap stars lives and videos - times 10.... it can be an ugly world. Not unexpected... and not unlike aspects of Hollywood at all either. She is the stylist to Sunil Shetty... who is thankfully a sweetheart she said... and she goes on set and on location with him. Everything she sees and hears from her stylist friends... and shared with me - just very sad and unnecessary. Oh well.... it's a dog eat dog world .. and there's not enough dog to go around....

floyd and floating pigs over mumbai

Returning from a morning on the set after a couple of nights of not sleeping... I was so wiped out and I just slept a lot of the weekend. The Sunday night was another great night... a Roger Waters concert - the closest you can get to a Pink Floyd concert nowadays - something you only get to do once in a lifetime I think... especially since I missed out because of geographic location earlier in life. The amazing thing is that if it was LA I would have had to have bought tickets months in advance and they would have been major coinage... but I got these on Friday for me and 3 friends.... and they were for the best 'seats' (it's all standing room only) at 3000 rupees each (roughly $69 which seemed pretty amazing for what Roger Waters).

So.... my Indian brother Pavan came to pick me up... and he brought along Mandeep, my trusty friend, confidante and coordinator from work, who had been at his house for lunch and was travelling with us part of the way. We piled into an auto... quite a pinch all three of us, as those boys take up a bit of room. :) It was fun... we were in high spirits and there were lots of laughs. It was warm but a really nice day - the streets were alive as always and we saw the cats roaming around the fish market waiting for tasty morsels to fall.

Mandeep jumped out at an intersection, and we continued through neighbourhoods I haven't seen before, including the one where the leader of the Shiv Sena, Bal Thackeray lives. He was a cartoonist once... but is decidedly un-funny now. He started the ultra-conservative Shiv Sena political party in 1966 based on the beliefs that Maharashtrians deserve more rights in Maharashtra than those who are not from Maharashtra. There has been a lot of violence because of it.... and lots of the principles of hinduism seem to have been thrown by the wayside..... but then fundamentalist groups always do that, don't they. He sure lives on a pretty street ;)

Pavan and I reached the Bandra-Kurla complex... a huge area/street with big corporations on it...opposite the world's biggest slum. India is world of contrasts.... but you get used to it quickly in a strange way. It's a massive street... about 4 lanes on either side, which is something I hadn't seen for a long time, other than the highway. Of course... noone is actually following those lanes when they drive... so it's much more lively :)

We meet Uma, another coordinator, who is very excited to be coming to the concert. We've decided to meet at the ICICI Bank building and then catch an auto to the concert grounds... so we head there (after some confusion as to the direction... but following the mass of people seemed the way to go) and then find ourselves overwhelmed by the number of people! we thought since they hadn't sold anywhere near the full compliment of tickets at the top end, that the line would be short to get into the 3000 rupee area..... but we were way to hell and gone when we finally got to the end of the line!! I was trying to meet my friend Anil and his wife and friends... but there was little chance of that!

Finally... close to the time the concert was due to start, the 4th member of our group, Prem arrived. He had ridden his bike and had his bag with him... something the ticket said was forbidden... so I figured I'd play the 'girl' and 'firang' card and carry it myself. We were herded through the seperate sex screening - a regular thing here. The ploy seemed to work... there was some questioning but they let me in and I handed the bag back to Prem - no worries!

We only just got in and walked over to the stage as the concert began. We were so close... 20 feet if not closer! Incredible. Of course... being standing room.... and me being a midget... it wasn't the best view I could have had. But then... Indians are shorter than, say, Americans... so I was better off than I might have been. We looked up and a few people in front of us was a Bollywood star - Arjun Rampal. Hehe.... he didn't stay that close for too long but it was fun to see him up close and personal-like.

The concert itself is hard to describe. Roger Waters was amazing.. he sounded just like the albums. His band was phenominal. And he played hit after Pink Floyd hit. It was very moving. The whole stadium was singing each song... and I found myself choked up many times just overwhelmed at hearing the songs live and not really believing that I was doing so. The only thing that was a little disappointing was the light show... or lack of it. There was some nice pyrotechnics.... but not the giant computerized moving lights you think of with Floyd. But still.... it was wild. At one point a HUGE inflated pink pig balloon floated over the crowd. It had things written all over it.... very political statements... even some in hindi. [NOTE: follow that link and you will find a reference to the pig on Feb 18th 2007 in Mumbai ] A lot of general things, and some relevant to India about getting rid of the caste system and saying all religions are one. But right across the arse... 'Impeach Bush Now' :) sweet! The coolest thing... and none of us knew if it was scripted or not... it got loose from its ropes and just flew away.... into to the night air over Mumbai.... quite a sight to see.

The encore was unreal..... the whole stadium thundering and screaming 'we don't need no education'... and I couldn't help but remember the last day of primary school when we played that on a cassette and totally upset our teacher..... haha.... it was a great moment... and it must be an anthem for a generation I think. Then my favourite song of all... 'Uncomfortably Numb' .... big lump in the throat. I had my cell phone held up to record on its crappy video camera.... and so did everyone else. In the old days at a concert.... you would see everyone holding up cigarette lighters. Now it's the slightly blue glow of the cell phone screen. Modern technology.... it looks cool though.

I was a sweaty, numb-footed mess when the concert finished. We stood outside for a while hoping to meet friends but getting cell service was impossible and the sea of people made meeting pretty hopeless..so we headed on to find autos for Uma and Pavan, and I would catch a ride on Prem's bike. The weird thing was the way all the autos were acting.... they just did not want to give *anyone* a ride! It was quite odd.. still don't really know what the story was. Perhaps the masse of young people was a bit scary and they didn't want to risk it..... but they weren't stopping for anyone. We decided that Prem would give Uma a ride to her train and Pavan and I would start walking to a meeting spot.

It was a really fun walk.... VERY LONG but totally enjoyable with many people and a warm infectious evening. At one point, a long way from the stadium, we went past where a muslim wedding was ending.... and many women in long black burkhas were walking in front of me. The first one really caught my eye. She was so slim and so obviously had such a gorgeous figure underneath the black garment. I got a glimpse of her beautiful eyes. She walked with such a sexy attitude and was just so eye-catching and marvelous. Then coming up behind her, were three more women.. and their black burkhas were all covered in little black sparkling twinkling sequins and decorations...all stitched into the fabric. It was great to see how they were expressing themselves and all the lovely little touches coming through when at first you can't tell anything about them. It made me really smile.

We walked and walked.... all the way to the end of the Bandra-Kurla Complex Road... over bridges and past water.... to the edge of Bandra. Finally met Prem waiting on the bike, and Pavan was going to get an auto while we headed off on the bike. It was a great night!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

stars in my eyes

Ha.... my life :) Pinch me... or rather ... don't :)

I was talking to my Mum on the phone at 8:30am... still lying in bed, when my phone buzzed with an sms message. It was an sms from Vivek with details on how to get to the shoot at Film City. He said he was only shooting until lunch so to come early. He gave me the number of his assistant in case I had any trouble.

I didn't even have to contact him... I was floored! Needless to say I was out of bed and ready pretty damn quick.... went down to the street and crossed to the line of cabs. Before I knew it I had all the cabbies around me trying to determine 'which' Filmcity I wanted to go to. Um.... I'm pretty sure there is only one! So... since my Hindi consists of a few words that don't help in cases like this..... I called Vivek's assistant and got him to talk to them. I was on my way! The cab driver said 200 rupees for the fare and I just agreed.. which was a bit silly, should have been a metered fare, but oh well, who cares ;) The drive took me near work and to Goregaon East ... it was a beautiful drive, through some neighbourhoods I had been to, and some new ones. Such activity and life everywhere. I just can't ever get enough of it... drinking it up every day. Even last night, I got a bike ride home from a friend, and just round the corner from my house... an elephant! Just walking on the street... I am so lucky :)

So... the signs appeared for Filmcity and the landscape changed to more rural... we approached the gate and the guard said 'no' to my 'I'm a guest of Vivek Oberoi' ... so I called his trusty assistant again and the golden road was paved. It wasn't far to the shoot. There were lots of people milling about... like a set anywhere. I was led through and suddenly... could see Vivek sitting on the hood of a jeep being interviewed. I stood nearby and watched a little and looked around at the surroundings. One woman questioned my presence but immediately it was fine when I said who I was with. Many faces were staring at me... but that was fine, I understood I wasn't really part of the scene and was a firang to boot.

There was a brief pause in the interview and Vivek got his assistant to usher me into his trailer. I was offered chai or water or anything I needed... but I felt way too high on adrenaline to need anything. I sat for a while.... then looked at my Roger Waters tickets (concert tomorrow) and gave my friend Anil a call to talk about the plans for meeting up. We were talking as Vivek entered the trailer. Man...did I hang up quick! He blew in with a whirlwind of noise and presence.... all in black in his character's costume ( you can see it in the movie posters - he wore the shirt that is in the close up picture and everything else including all the wristband stuff and necklace you see in the walking shot - quite overwhelming). He apologized for the wait as he was being interviewed by the BBC. He sat in a leather chair and started to tell me the story of the movie. "Shootout at Lohkandwala"... which happens to be where I live, in fact. It's based on events that happened in 1991 when over 280 policemen surrounded a building near mine and spent over 6 hours in a shootout.

Vivek is playing the upcoming mafia gangster Maya Dolas from the underworld of Mumbai who was disobeying his boss, the big don of the underworld. Maya gets killed in the shootout. It sounds like a great dramatic movie.... I can't wait! He was really into it... very serious about the story as he described it. It was interesting just to watch an actor talking about his role and the movie - almost obsessive - all encompassing. Just the way you would hope an actor would take the seriousness of the role to be.

About this time I started to realise how freaking odd it all was that I was sitting there having this conversation with Vivek Oberoi... haha.... I felt very comfortable, and it was just so surreal! There was a knock at the trailer and in comes a gorgeous Bollywood star... Dia Mirza.. who was Miss Asia Pacific 2000. I had seen her in Dum with Vivek and he introduced her to me very sweetly and was so gracious. She was very nice to me too and she had just returned from Barcelona so we talked about Gaudi and her impressions. She is playing the only reporter who was actually on the scene during the shootout... and Vivek told her about a compliment she was paid by another actor who wished that he was killed by her instead. He wanted to fall off the top of the building as he was firing when looking down at her.... and the way he acted it out to us was quite funny. I had to pinch myself... here was Vivek acting out in the trailer to me and a Bollywood actress... what tha'?!

She left and we chatted some more and then headed over to the set. It was time for some filming! He introduced me to the director Apoorva Lakhia, who had very cool tattoos, and I sat next to him at the video assist, and watched as dozens of people organised the shot. It was within the Lokhandwala complex... with burning cars, cops shooting and *General Meyhem*. Very cool! Dia came and sat behind me and started to go through her dialogue sheet with someone.... it was fascinating to listen to and watch. One thing I have always loved about the Bollywood movies I watch is the type of language they use... a blend of Hindi and English - and I turned around and watched as she made pencil edits on her script and saw how it was written in the beautiful Hindi script with all these English words dotted amongst it. She had some lines missing and was synching it up with her coach... and I loved to watch her write the hindi next to the english... her handwriting, as all Indians seem to have, was immaculate. Puts me to shame.

The director was hopping up and down from his chair taking care of final details. He finally sat and alternated between a microphone and a walkie talkie, the call for fire was given... and the cars were lit and began to burn pretty hard, 'roll cameras' ... and finally 'ACTION'.... all hell breaks loose! Guns firing everywhere... but it's mostly around the corner from where we are sitting and we see it all in the video assist... it is a great shot... panning camera past crouching policemen firing like crazy. It must have been such a war zone back in 1991, I can't imagine.

At the end, things return and we wait as everything is readied for a repeat with a different camera move. We roll again and the director is in love with this take. Got it! After a little while, Vivek returns laughing with the crew, finds me and asks if I would like to see the set. Of course! He leads me though and we walk into one of the buildings. It is so authentic.. I truly feel I am in a street.... it's not like a set in Hollywood where if you look a little closely it feels fake... this just looked real. It was Lokhandwala! I was impressed. We got inside and he showed the wooden structure that holds the facades together and what they climb up to get to the upper levels of each building. I just couldn't get over how authentic the place was. The look was great. He said it was all constructed in 15 days... and it looked like it had been there for years.

Back to the trailer and we continued to talk. He asked exactly what I do and it was so nice that he really seemed to be interested. We discussed the company and our facility in LA and now Mumbai, and all about my coming here and how I love it. It was such a comfortable time... lots of talking of India... and what makes this wonderful country what it is. We talked of his life and living in New York and London.. then his schooling in different places including the exclusive Mayo College near Pushkar in Rajasthan. He was telling me of the beautiful inspiring buildings... the house he lived in was built by the Maharajar of Jaipur for his son. 30 foot ceilings... incredible details everywhere.. he loved it.

At this point 3 women arrived... they were representatives of the Cancer Patients Aid Association, a group Vivek has been a spokesperson for for 5 years. He is so passionate about the topic... and has facts and figures about the affects of smoking pouring out of him. It was a really great discussion... and could lead to some collaborations with Rhythm and Hues if the planets continue to align themselves in the way they have been for me! ;)

We chatted of many things - much talk of Mumbai and how you get sucked into its spell. Riding on bikes and how wonderful that is, the bond between young guys here... and how that is different in the US. He told us how when he lived in New York studying, he worked in modeling and did quite well for himself, then managed to save 70% (because he's Indian) ... haha .... He was able to look like all sorts of ethnic groups... hispanic, native american, indian, south american... it sounded pretty cool. He loved New York. But India was always calling and he couldn't stay away from this magical place. And it was struggling from nothing to prove his talent and make a name for himself.

The Cancer reps had to leave for another meeting, and we continued to talk. He wanted to know where I was from... so I shortened the story and made it New Zealand mostly. He LOVES New Zealand... says it's his favourite country. One day he wants to travel from top to bottom and east to west. He shot Naksha there in Rotorua and was telling me how he stopped at a homestyle cafe one day in his costume and realised that he had no money to pay but the lady was fine about it. He went back later with flowers and to pay them... he was impressed and said he's never experienced that anywhere else but India. This led us back to talk more about India and how amazing it is. As he said about Mumbai... once you are caught in it, you can't leave.... and he said there is a saying that anything you create here, like a business or any such success, you can't transplant that anywhere else... you can only keep it here.

We talked about Australia a lot too ... the differences between NZ and Oz.... he was fascinated to hear of the rascism as he had never experienced it. I pointed out... 'hey, you are a movie star... it's going to be a little different for you there' and he was very interested to talk about it all. Then onto Los Angeles and what that was like. I described my LA and how it's probably very different from the one he experiences, less fake and more down to earth. But then here the people are just so true when they talk.... and instantly onto another level, they say what they mean, no falseness and no pretense. just people. The whole morning was such a good conversation :)

But finally.. he did have to get back to the set. But he said he'll be filming again and I should definitely come out. He'll sms me. He took me out and then got his assistant to help me to an auto. Before I knew it I was in the auto and on the ride home. Surreal and lovely and comfortable. I really don't know what to think or feel.... I know that if I had met a star in Hollywood and had that experience it would not have been the long and meaningful conversation where you actually talk of things you love and what matters in life. It was another uniquely Indian experience.... and leaves me breathless.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

no chutti ;)

SMS - 15th Feb 20:16 Hi Vivek, we met at the Marriott last night and you said to sms you about coming to your shoot. The 16th was it? Just say the word and I will take a chhutti and come! -jude

SMS - 15th Feb 21:15 Chutti! That is so sweet! Well im not shooting tomorrow, 17th is when im shooting at filmcity. Pls sms me 17th morning n i'll organise it. See you then. Lv ~VO


[chutti or chhutti or chhootti or chhooti (as 4 people at work spelled it differently for me today)... is a day off]

this is for lil kim

So... I got a request from Kim in LA... 'more Bollywood' .... so I thought I better oblige ;)

Yesterday was pukey Valentine's Day... a sad day for me... but Vani got me and Jenny out and did some wonderful things. We went to her temple and had a very moving blessing from her priest, and we moved about the beautiful building placing the most saturated orange marigolds and other flowers and leaves on the feet of Shiva and Ganesha and Nandi and Krishna and I found tears streaming. It was very wonderful.... very moving... and I now have a golden orange and red string wrapped around my wrist that will stay there until it bleaches white and falls off.

Eh?.... what's that?..... where's the Bollywood?... :) oh... you were listening! ok... so we head to the Marriott for dinner... sit amongst the pink teddy bears and copious red roses... delight in the buffett of champions, then spend a little while at the Bombay Baking Company's bookstore and then begin to head towards the door to leave.... but.... *suddenly*.... I feel Vani grab my sleeve and DRAG me in the other direction while saying 'Jude... Vivek Oberoi'.

Now.... you gotta understand. I am a Bollywood movie nut... from quite a while back now. And in LA... my favourite star became the aforementioned Vivek Oberoi. He acted his pants off in 'Company' (no... not literally 'off'.... you know what I mean people!!) and that was his debut which caused a stir here in India.... and he's had an up and down career since then. People look at me very strangely when I say he's my favourite... and I follow up with 'also Ajay Devgan and Abhishek Bachchan'... which calms them down somewhat... but Vivek is the one I wait to see. In dramas.... that's his best.
My first instinct was... 'ugh.... no .. I look a fright... I don't want him to see me like this... and it'll be like a little fan-girl!' But Vani was like an adrenaline-junkie and could have dragged a double decker bus over there at that point... so suddenly we were right up to his entourage and I heard her say "excuse me, my friend would just like to meet you' and I was thrust forward.

Ba-dumm... ba-dumm... heart in throat... ok... just don't be dorky... try and be charming.. don't fall over...

And then we are chatting and he is lovely and we are having our photos taken and he's all interesting! I ask him what he's been filming.... he says something called 'Shootout in Lokhandwala'.... and I knew of it, it's based where I live... which we chatted about. Then I asked if he had been filming in Dubai.. he was surprised I knew (I read the web!) and then he rocked my world and said, 'well, we're filming in a couple of days. Why don't you come? Take my number and sms me?'

Um..... knock me over with a feather people....

hehe... I have Vivek Oberoi's number in my cell....

Of course... who knows if he will actually reply to the sms... but I sure as hell hope I get to go to the shoot. What a blast that would be. I will have my ears and ears open that day! Can't imagine it :) I will keep you posted for sure!!

that enough Bollywood for ya Kim? ;)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

bad timing

why didn't I come to India 10 years ago.... when I wasn't too old?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

a little masala

Whahoo..... it's been a big weekend. Lots of activity and lots of photos taken.... at last!

Busy busy week starting work on Golden Compass, and then the company meeting on Friday night. Jenny sang and was really charming and funny and won the crowd over in seconds. Audie did his crazy white boy dance and had us screaming for more... his last day... he has left India now! sad :( Lots of people sang and danced and a great time was had by all, followed by the big elaborate wedding-style cakes and food and music. Friday night I was out drinking at a bar in Bandra - just a good regular bar with a jukebox, good music and lots of people. Keeping an eye on the cricket on the big screen - South Africa vs. Pakistan. I'm getting used to the smoking inside... my eyes don't water or get bothered by it at all anymore. It was a late night.... only about 3 1/2 hours of sleep before Jenny and I had to rise and prepare for an 'adventure'!

Our excellent guest coordinator Ruchi had organised an Autorider car for us... it picked up Serkan and Burcin just after 6am and headed over to get us. We then had to drive east to the highway - which is the one big highway running north-south down the peninsula. It feels odd to be on it... like being transported back to LA for a moment. We stopped to pick up Prabhav, one of the coordinators who is moving from matchmove to join us in lighting (yay), and then headed south to Sachin's house. The plan was to try and catch the Saturday morning training of the race horses at the Mahalakshmi Race Course right next to where Sachin lives... but we had to get there early. We thought we may miss them... but our timing was perfect. The morning was just magical (that word again)... with dew on the grass and mist in the air. There were lots of people out walking and jogging amongst the footpaths through the horses training areas. It is quite a beautiful and peaceful place. Voices are lowered to not startle the horses...and the atmosphere is very calm. There is something about the smell of horses and the sounds of their footfalls that always takes me back to being a 10 year old horse mad little girl just so desperate to have anything to do with those giant majestic animals. It wasn't to be.... but I can still feel the magic when I'm near them. Perhaps in another life. Not racing though....

We walked through the warm up area through to the track and across to the lovely landscaped gardens in the middle. People were stretching, doing yoga and jogging everywhere. What an amazing thing to be allowed to come in the race course for free and do this! I took lots of photos and drank in the atmosphere. The sky was so dramatic as the sun rose... and when it peaked through the clouds and over the building we suddenly felt its heat touch us and knew the day was going to get hot.

We went back to Sachin's apartment... our mouth's were shaped for breakfast! We were treated to the phenomenal hospitality that guests receive when visiting an Indian house.... and before we knew it Sachin's mother had plates of delicious sweet and savory tasties appearing before us. The cooked breakfast dish itself was soooo tasty.. I need to check with Burcin for the name and description... but it was so tasty and I had a second helping. Just really appetizing food for the morning. We ended with hot drinks... I had a great traditional Indian tea... aaah..... to die for :)

Sachin uncovered his electric keyboard and Jenny played... very well! Some Scott Joplin and then Chopin.... and then Sachin played. He had us in stiches when he turned it on to auto play but mimed along with great drama.... the fact he is a dead-ringer for Jude Law made it even funnier. He then pulled his guitar out and played a bunch of wonderful songs.. some Hindi and many western. We had a great sing-along to Hotel California, more Eagles and Eric Clapton. His sister also entertained us with some beautiful singing.... what a family!! We felt so lucky to be welcomed into the house and so looked after... it was really lovely to just be in someone's home and feel that 'family' feeling.... it's been a long time.

It was time to move on to the next part of the day.... Sachin drove with us the short distance to Dhobi Ghat... which is the giant outdoor laundry area where clothes from all over the city are brought and washed in open concrete wash pans. The clothes are thrashed to within an inch of their lives.... phew. It's dramatic! The guys are standing deep in the water and get very wet... they must be the cleanest people in the city for sure! It's a sight worth seeing.... such hard hard work.

We said goodbye to Sachin and drove downtown to the Prince of Wales Museum. It's a gorgeous old building and although some of the galleries are very hot inside it's full of great stuff to see. We only saw a fraction of the exhibits... the most fascinating being the history of Bombay. Amazing to see how the 7 islands were joined with landfill to make the peninsula... hard to imagine! Some beautiful old Indian coins too. I want to go back and see more... the silk paintings were wonderful.

After the museum Uma, another coordinator from work came and met us. We were tired and hungry at this point, so headed to Khyber for lunch..... the same place that Arun and I had eaten what seems like soooo long ago. We had a table upstairs again. Such a cool restaurant design. The food was delicious... I got these tasty little sweet potato slices with different sweet chutneys on - mango, pineapple and tomato... soooo good! Kheema and cheese naans to round it out.... yeehaa!

OK.... I need to go have a shower.... I have a pinched nerve down one side of my back and through my arm, and it's driving me nuts! Very painful and hard to move. I've uploaded a bunch of photos to the flickr site... and I'll continue this blog and the photos tomorrow night after work. Dial up is slow ;) News is I might be on a new DSL ISP soon.... but not holding my breath... :)

Saturday, February 3, 2007

saturday snippets

The office boy has just come by and spooned the most delicious little cubes of fresh coconut sprinkled with large-grain sugar into my outstretched palm. This sort of thing happens most days at work... someone will come by with a chocolate, an Indian sweet or this sort of fruit treat... delicious, comforting and luxurious all in one go. :) I am so lucky!

As I rode the auto in this morning.. I watched two small girls at the intersection selling little hanging decorations to the auto drivers and motocyclists, which they hook onto their vehicles. These attractive little danglies are a cluster of thin green chillies stacked one on top of another, with a small lime at the bottom. I have to ask the significance of it... I imagine it is some nice thing bringing luck and good fortune. Haha... perhaps it wishes for a break in the traffic! But it is very pretty and cheerful, and I like it. At night, in silhouette they can almost look like big creepy spiders as the chillies stick out at all angles!

[NOTE] I found out they are to ward off the evil eye.... I think I should get one and hang it off my computer at work ...might have better luck with rendering ;)

I came in to work today to meet my friends and visit my office mate who had had a really unfortunate accident. He was walking back to work by the InOrbit mall the night before last, jumped on a bit of the road he hadn't normally walked on and fell in a 5-foot deep hole :( He broke his ankle in the most terrible way and luckily there was someone with him to pull him out and get help. It sounds just awful though. He was taken by auto to hospital (there's a picture in itself folks, imagine what that was like!) and had to endure some painful stuff to get his foot back in place. I have a photo of his foot .. it is mighty freaky! I'll post it when I get it from Imran. Satish my man... I am in awe of you! We are all waiting for you to return :)