Anyone for a cuppa? (Taken with Instagram)
A mix-bag of emotions, who knows what you might find in here.
Rits and me at my birthday dinner! (Taken with Instagram)
I’ve been LFW’d (Taken with Instagram)
They’re saying snake-bite, or that you ate something that caused some poisoning, but I know that you died of a broken heart. I’m sorry my baby boy for not being able to bring you home with us. I love you my angel puppy, Inca!
One year has gone by already…and we think of you everyday. When we’re celebrating, when we’re mourning, when we’re happy, when we’re sad, when we’re laughing, when we’re crying, when we’re planning, when we’re doing.
You are with us in spirit always and we love you!
Ritu Aunty, be our angel forever…
Today I was in a rishshaw. Complete with disco lights, remote controlled sound system, and booming speakers.
Sheila, Munni, Chameli and other wonderful ladies ne Pyaar Ki Pungi Bajadi. Pappa To Band Bajaaye, because Character Dhela Hai!
It’s been a long time since I’ve had one of those rides. :)
Spending the evening at home, resting the sore ankle from the rigorous physiotherapy, I decide to watch a movie from my stash. So I put on ‘Your Love Never Fails’ and settle in to be mindlessly entertained. Instead what I get is a stirring of emotions that I haven’t felt in a while, and the opportunity to reflect on some old memories.
The movie begins with a super successful corporate New York city woman’s life, being a single mom, VP of retail banking and then shows how her life is thrown into disarray with the arrival of a subpoena to return to Centreville, Texas to deal with her pending divorce and custody settlement for her daughter.
Once there, she has lunch with her still-husband–enchiladas and dirty rice; my mouth is watering. All I can think of is eating Tex-Mex food. So at 10:10 pm, I’m in the kitchen making a pork sausage burrito with Texas seasoning and hot salsa I chanced upon and keep handy for days of reminiscing. I dig in and my Texas craving is satisfied, well, maybe just partly.
As the movie continues in Texas, I am transported back to the first time I landed in Austin International Airport (which turned out to be just a little bigger than that of Muscat). Cowboy boots and checked shirts, the Frost building downtown, the University campus that became my home, the winding country lanes, the daytime bars and the wonderful Texas drawl–a dear part of my memory as I spent six beautiful years in Austin as a student.
Some people raise an eyebrow or roll their eyes when I say I went to school in Texas, clearly they think everyone is a “redneck,” to me Texas is a place where I became who I am today. I loved some special people, I lost some very dear to my heart, I laughed myself silly, I cried myself to sleep, I ate like a pig, I drank way too much, I partied all night, I worked long hours, I danced three-four times a week, I sang at late-night gatherings, I made friends for life, I let go of the people who didn’t deserve me in their life.
Life has changed so much since Austin, and I’m in a new city again, making new friends and making a new life for myself. But my heart still yearns for the simplicity of Texas. For the kind people I met, the craziness I saw, the goodness of the town folk, the sense of life it gave me.
In Austin there were a lot of firsts–my first black Fender which I sadly had to leave behind, my first car, a feisty two-door Honda civic that I adored, my first pair of professional salsa shoes that I cherish even today, my first pair of real goat skin Texas boots which are to die for, my first three-day music festival, Austin City Limits, that blew my mind, my first dance performance to the Godfather Waltz with my Texas Ballroom team.
It’s in Austin that I discovered and explored my passion for ballroom dance and salsa, dancing week after week to the music of The Brew at Copa. It’s in Austin that I realised that I wanted to do nothing other that write my whole life (and maybe dance as well). It’s in Austin that I finally learned how to cook a decent meal. It’s in Austin that we danced a Bollywood performance on the coldest night I can ever remember! It’s in Austin that I ate crawfish and alligator and was introduced to tapas. It’s in Austin that I learned how to make a killer margarita and Hurricane! It’s in Austin that I danced the two-step to the Bellamy Brothers live. It’s in Austin that I went to a Broadway production of the Rat Pack and sang my heart out and danced till my feet hurt. It’s in Austin that I worked for a non-profit, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, that I really believed in.It’s in Austin that I took a trip to San Antonio by myself and had the most memorable weekend of my life.
When I miss Texas, I go eat Mexican food, and though it’s good here, it will never be the same. There’s something about the Texas air that can never be replicated.
Sigh! What I would give for a Trudy’s Mexican Martini and Tinga Tacos. How many nights have been spent there with friends? How many special occasions celebrated at the outdoor tables off 30th street? I can never forget those moments.
Any rich enterprising youth looking for a business idea? I have one for you–bring Chipotle to India. I will eat there day and night for the rest of my life! Anyone coming from Austin please gets me one of their delicious giant burritos, pretty pretty please!
These are just a few stories of my time in Texas, and this is for all my friends who I’ve know since then. I miss you all and I think fondly of the wonderful times. Austin, your love never fails, you will always be home to me.
The adventures chalked the letters GTT on their doors as they ventured out seeking fresh starts.
I’m Gone To Texas (at least in my mind)!! Hook ‘em Horns!!
The Free Hug Campaign is something that will always stand out in my mind as a unique yet simple idea. Here is a unusual sort of campaign extension that tells us that machines are people too and need some lovin’ as well :)
I’ve recently rewatched Dhoop Kinare, a show that I watched as a child, with my mom and sister, never really understanding much, but something about the language kept me engrossed and had a soothing effect on me.
It’s been many years, and now the show is being recreated by Indian TV show experts as the serial Kuchh To Log Kahenge. As I compare the two shows I notice some stark differences, that speak volumes of the change that has come around in the last 20 years in the world.
Firstly, the production quality of Dhoop Kinare as you watch it now, seems so dismal. At the same time, it reflects the way things were then, basic and simple. Simple clothes, bare minimum jewellery, the simple engagement scene, the old-fashioned phone – all reminiscint of the days before malls, mobile phones, text messages, and elaborate weddings.
Secondly, what I see, is that the KTLK has thrown in twists and turns beyond beliefe, making it a battle between good and evil, a tussle of wrong or right, a fight or faint situation, whereas the original plot is a simple love story, and a struggle between the heart and the ego.
I suppose what sells today is drama and over-the-top antics, but if it works I guess they got it right. Though, I truly prefer the innocence of the original show and of course, the fact that its in Urdu makes me feel even more dreamy when I watch it. I keep trying, but I don’t understand the meaning of every word, but it never stops me from getting the story and loving every minute of it.
What amazes me though, is that what seems to be a rather major issue in KTLK, which is the age difference between Nidhi and Ashutosh, doesn’t seem to come up much as Ahmer and Zoya back in the day. There is the occasional mention of the age gap, but no one seems to object to the union of these two characters, neither people of their own ages, or the parents generation. This came to me as a pleasant surprise, considering that in today’s day, age seems to be a point of concern for many, and people do react unfavourably to the union of older men and much younger women.
Maybe we could learn a thing or two from the show that has gone down as epic in the history of Pakistani and Indian TV.
Timing is everything and it seemed to be written in the stars that the Urduwallahs, a club started by two Urdu enthusiasts, picked February 14 to host it’s inaugural gathering, a Mehfil of those who have loved, are starting to love, or want to fall in love with Urdu.
Several events made this first session even more surreal: the eve of renowned Urdu and Farsi poet, Mirza Ghalib’s 143th death anniversary; the launch of Tere Bayaan Ghalib: Letters and Ghazals of Mirza Ghalib, a special album completing the final work of the late ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh, by Gulzar and Salim Arif on February 15; the death of acclaimed Umraao Jaan lyricist Shahyar; and a day celebrating love, which resonates through the language and world of Urdu.
Novices Arwa Mamaji and Priya Nijhara, have developed a passion for Urdu, over years of listening to ghazals and songs, started the group recently and also run the blog www.urduwallahs.wordpress.com. A very successful turnout of 45 plus fellow Urdu-lovers brought sheer excitement and happiness to these young Urduwallis, as everyone settled in for an evening drowned in sher-o-shairi.
“We want to create a young, chilled-out Urdu space where we can get together and discuss interesting Urdu films, motifs, and song lyrics,” says Arwa as she introduces noted Urdu writers Salim Arif and Javed Siddiqui to the mehfil and the evening gets underway.
Salim saheb begins with a question, “What does the word ‘Urdu’ mean?” Someone says it is derived from the word ‘camp’, as a mix of Farsi and Hindi to become a common language in the army base camps at the Lal Quila back in the day. Salim saheb continues to explain how Urdu developed as a link language between cultures and ethnic groups. He also reveals how the Urdu Bazaar in Delhi is not known as such because of the bookshops that line the streets, but because this is where the soldiers lived and where, over a period of 200 years, Urdu as a language came to acquire complete expression.
Javed saheb then took all the Urduwallahs through a brief outline of the life of Mirza Asad Ullah Khan, who took the pen name ‘Ghalib’ as his own and went down as one of the great Urdu poets in history. Ghalib though know as an azeem (great) poet, his Diwan-e-Ghalib consists of less than 2000 poems. The beauty of Ghalib’s poetry, Javed saheb says, is its ability to stay relevant through the generations. He believes that it communicates and answers your questions at any stage in life, and in Ghalib’s words you will hear something that makes sense to you.
Now, getting into the intricacies of Ghalib, Urduwallahs listened to the opening lines of the TV serial, where Gulzar introduces viewers to the backdrop of Ghalib’s world, the rustic streets, the tattered curtains in the doorways, a goat bleating through the early morning mist in Gali Qasim Jaan, Ballimaran, Chandni Chowk, where Ghalib resided.
The discussion intensified on the understanding of Ghalib, and we come to understand that there are two types of writing in Ghalib’s poetry. Ghalib considered himself to be of Iranian descent and thus embraced the Turkish style headdress, which is now considered a part of his eclectic personality. Ghalib fancied himself a poet of Farsi, and it found its way into his work, these poems being the ones that are often hard to understand. These cannot be explained in words as much as they must be felt through the poetry itself. As the years passed, Ghalib’s poetry simplified, and gems like “dil-e-nadan tujhe hua kya hai, aakhir iss dard ki dawa kya hai,” emerged which are simple and need no pondering.
To introduce a young Ghalib to the Urduwallahs, Arwa played a clip from the serial showing him as a smart aleck young boy. She let it play out well into “un ke dekhe se jo aa-jati jai mounh par rounaq, who samajhte hain ke beemar ka haal achha hai. hum ko malom hai jannat ki haqeeqat lekin, dil ke khush rakhne ko, Ghalib ye khayal achha hai,” and the Urduwalllahs sat smiling to themselves, snapping their fingers, and singing along softly.
While popular notion believes that a good poet is one who has fallen and then lost in love, Javed saheb explains how Ghalib’s poetry was deeply influenced by being broken-hearted over the many things that went wrong in his life. A difficult relationship with his wife, seven children who died very young, a beloved brother who lost his mind and died a sad death, paperwork that kept him in a constant state of debt, and a house that he could never own problem-free.
Salim saheb delves into some of Ghalib’s letters, of which he wrote plenty, to show that despite all his problems he was a quick-witted, high-spirited man, who learned how to laugh at life and make the most of the tragedy of it all. His letter to Syed Ahmed Khan, whose yearly request for a foreword by Ghalib was eventually turned down, is cultured with humour and cheekiness that has to be heard, even though all of it may not be clear.
A bell rang out signaling the end of the time allotted for the mehfil, even though we were already over by a half hour. The evening closed with a never-heard-in-public reading of one of Ghalib’s poems and the promise to meet every second Tuesday of the month for many more evenings of reminiscing the words and works of the great Urdu poets.