How to forget the girl on the bike?

She turned to see if her husband had also heard the laughter. He was lost in his own thoughts while driving. Sighing, she went back to looking out of the window, soon lost in her own thoughts as well. She smiled when she saw the girl laughing again. Something her partner said made her throw back her head and laugh like a happy kid, her hair flying wildly as the bike sped past their car. She kept staring at them for a while, remembering herself as she used to be. Remembering the girl who was madly in love. Love, that was never meant to be.
She sat smiling for some time. How did life change so much? How to come out of this constant crushing feeling of fear that things will never get better? She looked at her husband again, trying to think of something to say to him. Anything. There must be something. A piece of news she had read, or something about the book she was reading? She could say something about their family members, or how about that latest piece of gossip she had heard at work? With a feeling of helplessness she kept thinking of one topic and then another as words kept failing her.
“How was work today?”
“Usual. What about you?”
“It was good.”
And once again that uncomfortable silence between them continued. Silently, they both continued saying all the things they were scared to say out loud to each other. She could not blame him for anything. He was a good man. He had tried from his side. Had he finally given up? Oh, if only she could hear his thoughts for once and know what he was thinking. But the silence had crept in between them like a heavy presence. Always there, never leaving. What could she do? A small part of her replied “Everything”.
But then…How to forget the girl on the bike?

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Hourglass Inversion

“Ignite the flames,
That burn the ashes down insane.
Make this day.
Remember that I’ll never give in.
I never left this dream”

– Hourglass Inversion

DREAMS. That beautiful secret world where we escape when we sleep.
Those beautiful stories that our mind conjures up and even though we
forget most of it, the beautiful feelings linger for a long time. But
what about the dreams we see when we are awake? Those obsessive dreams
which refuse to leave us. Dreams that keep us awake and make us fight
against everything to bring them to reality.

I feel fortunate to be friends with four such dreamers. Dreamers who
dreamed of cheering crowds, worshiping fans, and yes, the fame as
well. But mostly, dreams of leading their lives musically. Dreams of
spending the rest of their lives cocooned in a warm musical blanket.
They are the alternate rock band “Hourglass Inversion” from Pune,

Today, finally, after a long road of struggle, they stand on the brink
of fame. Today, they have finally started hoping that the dream which
kept them awake for so long, is perhaps, now just round the corner.
Today, their music is silent in anticipation. Today, they represent
India in the Hard Rock Cafe’s Global Battle of Bands.

It is perhaps cruel that music should be so beautiful. It has the
beauty of loneliness, of pain, of strength and freedom. The beauty of
disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature
and everlasting beauty of monotony. “Remember Us”, reminds me of all
of these. But it also reminds me of the pain, the anger, the
helplessness hidden inside each one of us. It reminds me that in spite
of everything, we should never give up and keep fighting. My
interpretation. Do give a hear to this new explosive expression of
feelings on the below link and DO VOTE. Remember Them.

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Kayani Bakery

Most famous, The Shrewsbury Cookies

Once you reach MG Road East Street Old Town, Pune, you won’t need any directions to locate the Kayani Bakery; the smell of early morning freshly baked breads and cakes will guide you to this old British era building housing this legendary Irani establishment. Legend has it that if you visit this place 15 minutes after opening time (7:30 am), chances are you won’t find some of the most famous delicacies on offer here. I dismissed this as a myth and reached the bakery at 7:45 am on a Saturday morning. Well, needless to say, now I believe in the legend.

Kayani Bakery was started by Khodayar, Hormazdiar and Noshir Kayani in 1955. They had emigrated from Iran before 1947, along with a group of people, many of whom settled in Pune and began the business of bakeries. The first thing that caught my eyes after reaching the place was the crowd coming out; each carrying huge bags brimming with bakery products. I went out and double checked if I was at the right place or had mistakenly entered a grocery store. I was at the right place. I entered the dimly lit bakery and immediately, I am sent almost a century back. Dark wood paneled doors welcome you as bright rays of the early morning sun dance through the tall windows. The owner of the bakery sits right at the back on a wooden chair, manually writing bills and filling them up in their records. Chefs bustle about in the kitchen and batch after batch of hot freshly baked breads and cakes keep rolling out. The service outside was prompt, so it is always better to be prepared with your order.

After consulting a few regulars there, I found out that the must order products there were the famous Shrewsbury, Tangy Orange and Blueberry Brazilian nut Cookies, and the Rum, Chocolate-Walnut and Mawa Cakes. Given the 15 minutes delay in my arrival, I managed to buy only the Chocolate-Walnut and the Mawa Cakes. These surprisingly affordable cakes were worth every bit of praise they have received over the years.

Of course, if you are looking for a glamorous and fancy bakery experience, this is not the place to go to. Visit this place if you want a change from your hectic daily computer infected busy lives. Soak yourself in the simple, charming, and laid back atmosphere here. Enjoy the routine of chatting up with the old parsi couples who visit this place religiously. Maybe look around the locality and explore the magical early morning old Pune town. And while you are lazily exploring the surroundings, the legend continues.

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Welcome Monsoon

At the end of the long dark tunnel, lighted with occasional orange halogen bulbs, I see a foggy grey sky. Grey clouds, grey raindrops, a long grey road winding towards an unknown destination, and a vast shifting grey sky covering it all.

The Mumbai-Pune Expressway in the rainy season. Here, you don’t just drive. You either drive and feel euphoric. Or, you sit next to the driver and feel jealous. I was feeling jealous to my core seeing my friend conquer the beautiful grey curves of the expressway. If the road was magnificent, the surrounding was simply breathtaking. The beauty of the Western Ghats during the monsoons cannot be described in words simply. It can only be felt and experienced. Only eyes can see this grey and green beauty. Only the skin can feel the drops of rain falling on your face when you look towards the dark grey sky and close your eyes with a feeing of extreme joy. Words don’t do justice to the fresh dampness around. It can only be smelled.

No, words can never describe this beautiful feeling and we all sat there speechless… Lost in our own thoughts.

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The Tribal Cultural Museum, Pune

Situated in the Queen’s Garden area of Pune, the Tribal Cultural Museum looks like any other old multi storied government building (the museum is located on the premises of the Tribal Research and Training Institute). The building from outside does not give any hints to the visitor about the vast collection of the tribal treasures displayed inside the museum. The official timings of the museum are 10:30 AM to 5:30 PM and it remains closed on Sundays and all government holidays. A modest entrance fee of Rs 10 (free if you are a child and Rs 200 if you are a foreigner) takes you inside. The museum has been divided into multiple sections. One can see different artifacts and photographs along with their respective documentation about Maharashtrian tribes like Katkari, Madia, Mavchi, Pawara, Kokna, etc.

Bamboo & Paper Mache Art

Bamboo & Paper Mache Art

The first section of the museum displays the famous and intricate Bamboo Craft items from Nasik and Paper Mache animals from Jawhar. This section also documents the following interesting ritual from the Bhil tribes that reside in the mountain ranges of Satpuda mountain in northern Maharashtra:

“More than one wives system is followed in the Bhil tribe. At the time of marriage of Bhil, some specific amount has to be paid by the groom’s father to the bride’s father.”

Various photographs on display show the multiple facets of a tribal life; the tattooed face of a Madia tribal woman, tribal huts, paddy fields, tribal men playing their musical instruments, etc.

Ghangali, Chikori & Various Farming Instruments

Ghangali, Chikori & Various Farming Instruments

The entrance of the next section is guarded fiercely by a “Shinoli”, the figure of a bull on a wooden pillar, erected by the Madia tribe on their graves. A major part of the second section is dedicated to the musical instruments of the tribals. Most of the tribals make their own musical instruments from pumpkins, bamboo, wood, animal skin, clay pots, seeds, iron, etc. On display are such varied musical instruments such as a “Tibuli” (rhythm instrument made of goat skin), flutes, “Chikori”, “Ghangali”, “Tappa”, Bugle, “Pawari”. Also displayed in this section are kitchen and other tribal items starting from a noodle maker to utensils made from dried Gourd; various farming and hunting instruments to colorful necklaces for their Bulls. A display of Black Magic artifacts like whips, barbed wires and idols of black magic deities ends this section on a frightful note.

Warli Painting, A Shinoli, Tribal Silver Bangles and part of a Cow Mask

Warli Painting, A Shinoli, Tribal Silver Bangles and part of a Cow Mask

Immediately, however, the visitor will find himself in the colorful world of tribal arts and craft. While the black, brown and maroon Warli paintings displayed in this section show the earthen side of the tribals, the colorful and vibrant hues of the tribal masks show their more fun and colorful side. This section ends with an open air display of life size tribal painted huts and statues of tribals engaged in various domestic activities.

The last section has on display a large collection of tribal ornaments made of silver metal and colorful beads. The collection also displays metallic tobacco containers, Madia Combs (also known as Hichadi, which is personally carved and presented by a Madia boy to his girlfriend when he decides to marry her), bottle openers and various copper motifs. A small collection of metallic statues of tribal deities ends the tour of the museum.

The museum manager and caretaker are available throughout the tour for any questions the visitors might have. There are not many a visitors to this place on a saturday (most school tours are conducted during the week) which gives enough time to explore each section in detail without feeling rushed and admire the simple, colorful and self sustainable life of these tribes from Maharashtra.

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Turtle Diaries

JJ is a “Red Eared Slider Turtle”. He came to be with us as my 25th Birthday present. Following are a few photographs from JJ’s first few days with us.

Looking into the Ocean:
This picture of JJ was taken during his first week with us. We had just finished decorating his tank with wallpaper, stones and leaves. We had selected an ocean background wallpaper for him and had placed a rock in front of the wallpaper for JJ to sit on when he got tired of swimming. When we put JJ inside the tank he simply went and perched himself on the rock and kept staring at the wallpaper. He kept staring at the deep blue picture of the sea. I don’t know what he was thinking at that time but I sometimes think that maybe he was trying to imagine what his life would have been outside the four walls of the tank and in a vast ocean. He continued doing that for a long long time for the next few days. Then slowly he started getting used to his surroundings and his new life inside the tank.

Coriander and Loose Motion:

The first time we tried to feed JJ coriander leaves, he fled with lightening speed to the other end of the tank. He didn’t come out of his hiding place under the rock for a long time. Maybe he didn’t like the strong smell of coriander. This happened when he was just a week old with us. Next week I tried again. Instead of trying to feed him, I simply put a coriander leaf inside his tank. Slowly and cautiously he swimmed towards the leaf. He inspected the leaf for a long time. And then within seconds the leaf was gone. We fed him a few more leaves and soon he finished up an entire coriander stick. And then disaster! JJ’s poop was always green in color because of the turtle food we used to feed him. But suddenly he started giving out brown muddy poop. The entire tank filled up with brown JJ poop. Maybe he had loose motions. Or is that what turtle poop is supposed to look like when they eat natural food?

Who is that on the other side of the tank? This was one more of JJ’s many first time antics inside the tank. He would keep looking at his own reflection in the tank trying to figure out how to reach the turtle on the other side. Sometimes he would wildly start flapping his hands and legs and try to climb out of the tank. Like manyof his other doubts, this one too soon faded away. Either he realized that the reflection was his own or he just gave up as the turtle on the other side as unreachable.

Smile Please:

On a lazy rainy monday, the Indian politicians declared Bharat Bandh. I woke JJ up early in the morning before anyone else got up and took him out of his tank. It was time for JJ’s morning walk in the balcony. I placed him on the floor and he started walking wildly on the floor, flapping his hands and legs madly as he always does while swimming, covering himself with hair, dirt and what not on his way. It took a long time and various positions from my end to take this picture as he would not stay at one place for more than a second. Finally, the red light in my camera caught his attention and he kept looking at it while I finally clicked this photo.

Same Pinch:

This too happened during his lazy rainy monday morning walk. I placed the toy turtle in front of him and he got scared of it. Immediately his head, hands and legs went inside his shell. But after some time, very slowly, he took out his head partially. The sight was really funny. After some time he simply fled in the opposite direction. Yes, we do have a very fattu turtle!

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Phone Hunt

Using a Nokia 3110 for five years is stretching things a bit too far. Bought at a modest amount of 5000 rupees with my first salary, I can hardly complain about the durability, sturdiness and all the other adjectives that Nokia usually boasts of.
I had been trying to buy a new mobile for the last two years now. I had even spent a very major part of my free office time browsing through all possible mobile brand websites instead of gossiping with my female colleagues about the latest office news or chatting with my latest office crushes. I had bugged innumerable people for their feedback and visited every electronics showroom around. Brand after brand were rejected with one excuse or another. During a moment of self enlightenment, I even ended up comparing my mobile phone search with the activity of groom searching (hunting?).

Me: You remember the first time we bought a mobile? We just bought it. Did not think much about the features, colours, facilities etc. And eventually got used to the phone and very slowly fell in love with it too. But now, the more we are exploring our options, more confusing this activity is turning out to be.
Roommate: What’s your point?
Me: Maybe groom hunting is similar?
Roommate: You are losing it you know?

So anyway, looking back, here is a list of options I considered and eventually rejected and then finally bought a new mobile after five long years:

Nokia: Already used once. The experimental Taurean inside me absolutely FORBIDS me to use it again.

HTC: Heavenly mobile phones to die for. ANDROID! Everything I want in a mobile. In a moment of extreme love, had gifted one to my ex almost a year back which was duly lost by him a week later. We broke up a few months after that. Have hated the brand ever since.
Sister: No Blackberry didi!
Ok. Sulk. Move on.

Motorola: Will definitely reconsider the day I finally start living in a cave.

LG: Huh?
Dad got a bold. Any devious/emotional way to get it from him?
Friends: No Blackberry!
Ok. Sulk. Sigh. Why are life decisions so complicated? When did life become so confusing? Growing up is tough. Move on. Anyway they don’t have FM.

iPhone: Drool worthy. EVERYTHING. SIMPLY EVERYTHING. (Note to Self: Need to hunt down a rich husband ASAP)
NB: Being a girl does have its advantages at times isn’t it.

Samsung: Ever met a person you have just hated without any reason the moment you met him/her and cannot even describe why exactly it is so? Me and Samsung have the same relation.

Reluctantly I started browsing Nokia phones. Even finalized a couple of models. Finally a major life decision taken. Not 100% happy with it but remember the groom hunting analogy?

Then last month, I catch the following news on IBNlive:
Just In: The Rs 10,990 Blackberry Curve 9220.
What further catches my attention is the following line on Page 6: “A feature that is rare for Blackberry phones, the 9220 comes with built-in FM radio“.

Something similar?

Yes, something quite similar happened.

I start feeling like Tom from the famous Tom & Jerry cartoons. I imagine my eyes popping out with a loud “DOINK” sound the way Tom’s does when he sees the ultimate femme fatale pink & white cat. Nokia gets rejected on the spot. No amount of convincing from anyone could now stop me from buying this mobile. It was love at first sight. The excitement level goes over the top when I finally bring home the new Blackberry Curve 9220. Blissfully going through each and every feature of the phone, feeling satisfied to have FINALLY bought a new mobile after five long years, I feel happy.

After the initial excitement dies down a bit, I put the mobile down and keep staring at its black body for a long time. And then, I wonder…what the hell am I doing with a business phone anyway? Should have gone for one of those pink glittery ones to maybe bump up my non existing pretty lady aura a bit?

Note to Self: Should someday accept it that girl’s really are always confused.

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