Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chaos at Big Bazaar

The recent "Sabse sasta din" sale held by Big Bazaar on Republic Day created absolute chaos, record sales, traffic jams and lathi charges. The Lower Parel outlet in Bombay that usually gets 3,500 walk-in's got 30,000 people that day, and had to eventually close the shutters at 1pm and call the police for crowd control. Unofficial sales figures of that single day's sale are estimated to be Rs 30 crore for stores nation-wide. Not bad for a days work, I guess.

Along with the good, the bad of the Indian retail sector was highlighted that day. Customers are willing to spend and stock up on goods for upto a year in advance (where they will store them in tiny Bombay apts, beats me though), but retailers are not prepared with properly trained staff, required levels of inventory and especially, customer relation skills.

Here are the articles from the Mid-Day and The Hindu.

Right here, right now

I just love the chorus of the rocking "Right Here, Right Now" from Bluffmaster. The combinaiton of a superb beat and beautiful lyrics makes for a really great combination.

Here's a snippet:

Waqt ka kya bharosa
banke paani beh jaaye
kal agar na mil paye
reh na jaye baat baaki

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Single-brand retail permitted

FDI in retail has been permitted to upto 51% for single-brand products by the Indian Government on 24th January 2006. This is great news for several international brands who are wanting to increase their operations in the country and do not need to go through the franchise route to sell products.

Read the full article here.

The Wheel Turns

From today's Sacred Space in Times of India:

The Wheel Turns

There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment. A man's whole life is a succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there will be nothing else to do, and nothing else to pursue. Live being true to the single purpose of the moment.

Everyone lets the present moment slip by, then looks for it as though he thought it were somewhere else. No one seems to have noticed this fact. But grasping this firmly, one must pile experience upon experience. And once one has come to this understanding he will be a different person from that point on, though he may not always bear it in mind.

When one understands this settling into single-mindedness well, his affairs will thin out.

From Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Republic Day

Today was Republic Day and as always it was great to watch the parade on tv. The BSF men were superb as always, perched on bikes and creating pyramids oh so nonchalantly. The best part for me was listening to the national anthem. There is something so special about hearing a military band play the national anthem. They make me feel so proud and patriotic. I just love bands, they bring back so many memories from school days at Sanawar, when we marched just about everywhere. The commentary on Doordarshan was pathetic as usual, especially during the flypast when the camera focused steadfastly on the crowds pointing to the sky and the commentator got as excited as if a six was hit at a cricket match but alas we didn't get to see the Sukhoi 30's or MIGs doing their stuff.

PS: This is my 100th post.........calls for a celebration.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Goa

Ah Goa! Its another world out there, more mentally than physically. Something in the air that ensures that you forget about work, worries and concentrate only on relaxation. The most serious discussion of the day was usually...what beach to explore and the ongoing contest as to which joint served the best pina colada, little umbrella's and all. I guarantee you it definately tastes better when sitting on the beach, sand inb/w your toes and waves gently crashing nearby.

We stayed in south Goa in Benaulim, which is a very nice wide beach, not too overcrowded or dirty as yet, as Calangute has become. Souza Lobo's on Calangute is the only worthwhile attraction left there, serving fabulous food since 1932. They didn't dissapoint and we spent a thoroughly enjoyable evening, listening to a quaint trio and eating local food.

We also explored Palolem, Colva, Varca in south Goa and Dona Paula and Miramar in Panjim and by far Varca was the best. Miles and miles of empty beach, with no shacks, no vendors, no stray dogs and no garbage, only the sea and the sun to yourself. There is absolutely nothing better than a sight like that. To me, that is the best part of being in Goa, to rejuvinate and prepare for life back in the real world.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Our endless doorbell

Anyone who visits our house always remarks and the number of times the doorbell rings, so I decided to keep track of them for a couple of days.

Here is when and why it rang yesterday.

  • 6:55am------subhadra, cooking maid
  • 7:30am------nitin, milkman
  • 8:30am------anjali, cleaning maid
  • 9:05am------deepak, driver
  • 11:10am-----trash ladies
  • 11:30am-----vegetable sellers
  • 11:45am-----courier, for landlady
  • 1:50pm------delivery
  • 4:20pm------delivery
  • 9:15pm------eggs and bread wallah
  • 10:20pm-----dhobi


And here’s the list for today.

  • 7:10am--------subhadra, cooking maid
  • 8:20am--------anjali, cleaning maid
  • 8:30am--------nitin, milkman
  • 8:40am--------nitin (a different one), car washer
  • 9:30am--------deepak, driver
  • 10:30am-------trash ladies
  • 3:40pm--------courier
  • 5:30pm--------courier
  • 9:20pm--------eggs and bread wallah


Well, it really is endless some days, this incessant ringing of the doorbell and to add salt to our wounded ears, the doorbell is not your ordinary variety. As a tribute to Bollywood, it plays a different film tune each time, sometimes getting lost in the music from the radio. There is a bias towards Madhuri Dixit with mostly her songs like ek, do, teen and didi tere dewar deewana et all but thankfully there are no words, only instruments. Now that we’ve been here for almost a year, we’ve realized that this is quite a popular type of doorbell in
Bombay and it’s become part of our experience of living in the city and we’ve got quite used to it, although we still turn it off from a hidden switch inside on Sunday’s for some peace and quiet.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Bluffmaster

We saw Bluffmaster last week and it was good fun. Aby baby has done a great job and looks fab as usual but the real winner was Ritesh Deshmukh, who was superb with his one-liners and comic timing. The other really, really, great thing about Bluffmaster was that the city of Bombay was almost like a character, the sights all so familiar and real, garbage, peeling paint and all, not sanitized like in a Yash Chopra movie. About the music; it was just too cool and totally different from a regular hindi movie.

PS: We saw it in the new Red Lounge at Cinemax and I tell you the theatre really makes a difference. You could see a bad movie there, but still enjoy the 'experience' of it, I guarantee you.

Meatloaf excess

Ok, I'm totally meatloaf-ed out. I've made it 6 times in the past 5 weeks and I'm done with making more for a while. We've had a really hectic entertaining schedule since the first week of december and each time, the meatloaf has been requested. I'm really flattered, but now need a break from it.

Its been quite a relavation for my parents who are visiting us to see me comfortable and confident as a hostess and cook. When they visited me a year out of college in Kansas City and I served dad a bowl of tortilla chips and salsa as a snack, he thought that was the extent of my skills in the kitchen, and filled up on them.....I did serve him chicken paprika for dinner, which was a bit of a shock for him. But, this is totally unexpected of me, to cook a meal for upto 19 people and not get too worked up doing it. I've grown up quite a bit in the last couple of years and have realised I really enjoy entertaining.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The truth about Bombay

Here's the truth about Bombay in a post by Sakshi on Metroblogging Mumbai.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Flying truth

Here's a link to a post by Shravan on his blog The theory of looking the other way that really tells the truth about the airlines in India--low cost, high cost, they all believe in treating their passengers like cattle. Enjoy the read and book your next ticket with caution.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Memories and mapmaking

There's a great article called We are Mapmakers by Anthony Doerr about maping the memories of the past on The Morning News. I too have an abundance of memories of our childhood home and orchard, exploring the streams, hunting for berries (my darling niece, Saffron is carrying on the tradition to the next generation), collecting cocoons and pinecones and hunting for the elusive 4 strand pine needles which would grant any wish.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

In the new year...

Its a new year, already. This one came sooner than usual, it seemed. Now that its here, we've got to get some basics for ourselves straight from the start.

*Try to not buy more than 6 books each month
*Pls, buy yourself a closed bookcase, so the books you buy each month will survive the dust and dirt that this city encases them in
*Read the entire paper-not just the funnies and astro section
*Explore the city
*Discover a new restaurant--we love you mezzo mezzo, but we've pretty much tasted everything already
*Disconnect from the fishy smell and try the local seafood--esp. Salt Water Grill
*Learn to like this city, especially since we just renewed our lease

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Bombay-scape

We did a lot of driving this past week to attend wedding and reception functions in Colaba. Both were on the same day and I decided to come home in-between, so ended up spending almost 6 hours in the car that day driving between Navy Nagar and Lokhandwala. Pretty crazy for an in-town wedding, but that's Bombay I guess.

Driving through Mahim I saw just how efficient Indians can be when they want to be. There was an impromptu sidewalk sale in the area around the Sitla Devi Mandir when the cops arrived and in the blink of an eye the roadside sellers concluded their transactions, packed up their goods into bundles, propped them on their heads and ran across the street. I have never seen such an efficient and quick response even in the new supermarket stores, which just goes to show that if we want to be good at something we can, but why is it always in the wrong direction.

This was also the day of the arrival of the BJP and Congress leaders in town and every tree, pole, building was covered with their banners. Some had both LK Advani and Sonia Gandhi's banners tied together, possible the only show of unity between the parties ever. If only our politicians could forget about politicking and focus on progress. Wishful thinking or likely future? I'm hoping on the latter.