Elco Pani-Puri

I have decided to check out all eatery places I have been planning to visit. Over the years, they have accumulated making for a really long wish list. Somewhere, I think, I too hardly believed that I will be actually visiting these food places. Like a parent who pacifies their child about buying the toy on next visit to the shop, I consoled my heart with a false promise to go there one day when I came across a tempting food post. It is not easy making plans like that. So when I started for Bandra from Virar just to savour the famous Elco pani-puri, I felt a little ridiculous.

Was it worth? Yes. First, Because I got a breakthrough from to typecast and beat myself up yet again for not working on my plan and second, the Pani-Puri was really nice. It was different because the sourness and sweetness both are on extreme level than any other Pani-Puri I had before. But it was strange that after travelling so far for just Pani-Puri, I wasn’t tempted for another round. I later realised, not that I missed, but the syrup was not hot-n-spicy. The Sev-Puri though could have been missed given it’s sloping on sweeter side and the cost that is Rs. 80 per plate, Yes, the Pani-Puri is Rs. 60!

The Pani-Puri stall is located in radius of one Kilo-meter from Bandra station, the western side of the suburb. Elco market is a street market for clothes and accessories and the Pani-Puri centre is named after this market. I took a meter rikshaw (charged according to the meter fare) from the near the railway station for which you have to stand in the queue. The are-you-serious look I got from rik driver for hiring him for short distance PLUS the traffic-jam (I experienced at afternoon hour), makes me suggest you better walk. I will do same the next time. 😛


The Missing Rains

These were the days when I’m shivering because  the floor is so cold cold cold and walls are damp damp damp
There is running nose that competes with outside rain
And I feel no longer excited
Or care for the dark cloud as the contrast background to the flying super white cranes
Isn’t it every-year ordeal when you first fall for its charm,
the various shades of green and wide landscapes looking like a bountiful farm?
then you complain about road potholes filled with water
that too mixed with the sewage, and you barely balance your walks and vehicles
missing the murky, murkier, and murkiest gutter
there is respite only because the season ends
to begin the ditto saga next year with no new writer’s amend
It was all so predictable and I knew not worse than this
and that trumping by thunderous rains on humans can be actually a bliss
there was going to be this day when the precious of gold will be liquid water
but wasn’t that to happen generations after my death when the planet turns hotter?

The Unknown Killers of Dr.Narendra Dabholkar…

Two years have passed and the state police has no clue on who assassinated Dr. Narendra Dabholkar. One perspective of mine is that we should be okay with it. At least, these no name guys or this no organisation who could not take credit of the shameful killing, now, they won’t have their name attached to this honorable man in the history. Many killers from history got famous and unworthy attention only because they could end a life that selflessly worked for the betterment of society.
As to who dunnit, we all know the culprit. It’s the dangerous intolerance for logic and open-mindedness, a shadow lurking and growing as global phenomenon, desperately wanting unjust society, unquestioning faiths and timid personalities so that few can decide rights and wrong for others.
The rightful punishment to the killers is first this, that they never get even that undue credit of being attached to the magnanimous personality in the book of history. And second, we remember in our daily lives to culture the reasoning part of our brain. May Dr. Narendra Dabholkar live in us.



I have been an ardent fan of Harry Potter book series, but realizing lately that I cannot read them again. The fantasy is undoubtedly wonderful. I can go back to Tom Sawyer unlike Harry Potter. This makes me think that when books are written with self experiences, the unmentioned overlooked human feelings are penned without caring if they will be honored or identified justly by the readers, and they in fact turn out to be everyone’s unsaid agony, they beat the best of fantasy. A book has to be one’s horcrux; a part of your soul should reside there. Then the writer becomes immortal.


Freedom not free

Ban beef ban porn
Let’s see if you can stop that deafening horn
But I cringe somewhat for that too
And what should I wear today, decides the state for you
Slowly I will give up having any say
Lose the vision of open sky
Bit by bit , day after another day.


DDLJ: The diplomacy that doesn’t work for many Rajs and Simrans of India

Television shows are celebrating the 1000th week of the movie, ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge’. The movie holds a record for running till date in a movie theatre of Mumbai, Maratha Mandir. This was a movie when released 19 years back, was loved by different genre for different reasons. Many teenagers, now grown-ups, have fond memories of their life moments attached to this movie. They mostly loved the budding romance part that they could relate to in the movie. The older generation loved that the movie upholds Indian cultural values and sets an example that love need not bypass it and undermine its importance. Now that the movie has earned some historic value I thought I need to analyse its relevance to real life and see what exactly are we celebrating. Is it a case story, a reel life though, in which love triumphs? or in which love triumphs but not before ensuring everyone is happy, especially the elders of the family?  

Imagine a Khap Panchayat in place of Amrish Puri, the antagonist of the movie, and think if it is possible to win its heart to let a certain Raj and Simran marry. How can one apply the tactics used in the movie to convince their parents or this Khap Panchayat if Raj and Simran belong to different castes/ different religions/ different mother tongues/ same gotra or, or, or they want a terrible, terrible thing like to just live in together? I.e., without getting murdered promptly after expressing their intentions. I want to add LGBT community to the above list of objectionable matrimonial alliances, but their right to love doesn’t exist according to the last year Supreme Court ruling!!!

If Raj and Simran are not honourably murdered then they get to live a life full of soured relations with their prior-to-marriage dear ones. Soured relations is a minor mental harassment compared to a total boycott by the community cast upon the couple’s families. Then the Newton’s third law of rippling takes place and the parents pass this torture to the couple by cutting-off ties or disowning them to prevent inheriting properties, or even family titles. Few fortunate couples can be forgiven for their sin with time, yes, but a sin it was, better get that. Such a marriage not working is an assertion to ‘we-told-you-so’ and a lesson for others in the clan. 

‘DDLJ’ was the first movie that highlighted a certain feature of the life of NRI. It brought to notice that not all NRI comfortably adjust with life at foreign shores. However, this inability to cope with different environment has been wrongly named as patriotism. Some of the people who leave for abroad take with them their version of India, a highly regressive one, then preserve it from getting affected by the geography there, and live in a place which is beyond recognisable as India for Indians too.  We here in the mean time have done away with many of  rituals to suit to the new times. It was new for me that a Simran there with a British citizenship was so helpless since she was nurtured to the adulthood with the everyday dose of ‘Indian culture’ and subjected to emotional blackmailing by the parents. There, in the heart of a first world country, she needs approval of  her father for every other small decisions. This is because the world around her, full of western culture, is evil! We really need to challenge this superiority complex harboured in the name of patriotism that we have a copyright  to  emotions, motherhood, justice and so on. On the contrary,  our emotions dry up very fast and we don’t understand a mother’s love a bit if the child is born out-of-wedlock or while getting rid of female foetuses, and our sense of justice doesn’t  stand up against either nepotism or  prejudices for other castes and religion. 

What things can justify murdering your children? I have tried to think on it whenever I read a new honour-murder story in the newspaper. Is it like a right to pull out  a thriving plant you planted because later you decided it grew and spread in wrong direction against your expectation? Could it be as easy as that?

Why an individual’s right to choose life partner granted by our Indian constitution is not respected enough? Why the ‘Bhartiya Sanskriti’ thinks an 18-year-old is mature enough to vote in an election but not enough to have a say in his/her marriage? Just why the elders can’t keep away from matrimonial business of their children unless asked to help? Why a youth’s important decision making opportunity stolen from him? Aren’t we continuously manufacturing a society full of people who never learned to trust their judgement and take responsibilities because they believed their parents know the best?

The message of the movie, or a belief  passed down to us in the name of culture, is that it is wrong to question older generation or traditions or  at least not vigorously shake them. This has been one of a deceptive but successful ploy that has made us a numb society today. If old methods of living weren’t rethought, reshuffled and rearranged, we could not be holding on to today’s technology that we term progress. Sadly, the need to recheck social beliefs, unlike technology, is always discouraged with terminology like disrespect to elders and dishonouring of older values.

We need that our culture also inhabits the idea to respect  newer generations of the society. That, their ways and thinking are not devils plan to rule the world. They are experimenting with world and they have as much right as the older genration.  And sometimes this needn’t be told with a sugar-coating, especially dealing with rules that deny someone a right to live, and a dignified one at that!

The movie pampered people who fear losing family values but don’t flinch much on loss of human values. It is a politically correct movie. But our political correctness in not correct enough.


Alice and Me in Wonderland

Only I know how I finished reading Alice in wonderland when I was young. I had to read it then because everybody read it. From the start of it, I did not find a talking rabbit or a grinning cat amusing, rather they were unpleasant. I even did not like the ‘tail’ designed poem then. Everything was someone’s lot of fantasy there and I felt punished for it. What if I write such weird imagination? Who will want to read it?

Even so, I loved the half namesake of it, Runaway Alice. There was a story here, a genuine story of an orphan girl. The acceptance struggle (actually the effortless bonding) on both sides, the girl and the foster family touched a chord in me or I thought that was something a child can relate to. Runaway Alice has till date remained with me.

Then on Facebook, my friend Priyanka sometimes posted some lines from Alice in wonderland that were quite tickling. How come I don’t remember them reading, I wondered. After few such posts, Alice in Wonderland was on my wish list.

At one’s minor age, the wit behind the wordplays in the book is hard to grasp, especially, if English is not the first or enough prominent a language. Also, wise words like ‘if you don’t care where you want to go then it doesn’t matter which road you take’ can intrigue you only when your wisdom tooth grows its root at the backend and spreads to the enlightenment corner of the brain.

So if you can relate to my experience of Alice in wonderland pick up the book and start again. Thank you Priyanka, for this happiness, I owe you!


“And how many hours a day did you do lessons?’ said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject.
Ten hours the first day,’ said the Mock Turtle: ‘nine the next, and so on.’
What a curious plan!’ exclaimed Alice.
That’s the reason they’re called lessons,’ the Gryphon remarked: ‘because they lessen from day to day.”


False Pride

The songwriter of the movie Purab aur Paschim writes a complete lie in the song when his lyrics say ‘kale, gore ka bhed nahin har dil se hamara naata hain’(Unlike rest of the world we Indians aren’t bigots). It must be an ideal India he and many dreamed which is not a reality, not yet. The nature of social discrimination in our country is so vast that it should be confusing for people in how many ways we are different but we remember it all when we come in contact with others.

I had not wanted it to post this on the blog. I wrote my disgust on the following incident in a private mail to my brother and my sister. My sister Meg suggested me to put it on my blog. To put in her words, “the least we can do is call this out as the nonsense that it is”.

The reason I did not want it to put this on blog is I felt the ones who were discriminated do not know they were, why bring it to their notice? Though I realized that the ones who face it directly or indirectly, we kind of want to pretend they don’t see it. They do and the good thing is they are vocal about it.

It is easier to write on politics than social evil. Everyone hates politicians, why shouldn’t we? They make money, big money. It is difficult to write on social evils that involves real people in our circles. We the people who will look like we are in agreement with caste discrimination as a social taboo but will carefully check and mind our ways of association with others, will not proceed further without checking their surnames first.

So here is what happened-

Today the maid made it clear in the conversation that she is no longer working for ‘that’ house. Whether she was giving me an account of how many cleaning jobs she had or she gave me a deliberate idea of leaving that job, I don’t know.

‘That’ job means a house of other caste people that her community considers low and they would never think of working for them.

Couple of days back she complained how it is only now that she came to know that they were of this caste, and how she would have never taken up the job if she knew it earlier.

She shocked me. Even though I know how caste problem still exists I could not have imagined its existence near Mumbai and so in-your-face. I had told her how ridiculous I thought of her not working for them which probably resulted in the morning conversation.

I remembered the time when the maid’s husband did not have a job and she complained daily about it. I remember her telling me how when certain employer did not treat her nice and me becoming sympathetic on it. I have been protective of her against any discrimination in our home since my mother never understood the need for a maid. After all this, it is shaking me to the core that she wouldn’t have thought kindly of me if I was born to that caste or if I was married to someone from that caste.

‘That’ house people stay in another wing of the housing society now but they lived on same floor last year. The lady literally rescued me when I was in dire need of a witness in police station for the passport procedure. What is more amusing, they are cleaner and organized than us, the maid had least job to do there. I remembered how I had tried suggesting hiring our maid to the other neighbors from the same caste when the woman of the house was hospitalized. They considered my suggestion but did not take it. Is it possible that they are quite aware of and have experienced racism already? I’m trying to realize how many times I would have faced this humiliation if I was born in another caste and what kind of person I would have been. Certainly a lot less considerate of this society!

Nowadays, daily in the morning, I don’t feel good to see the maid. But I also know she is not one person. There are these close relatives and I see their superiority complex is being passed to the next generation. They are a tradition that ought to have been wiped off by now but one thing about time that I have come to realize is unlike technology, the progression of a society is not an automatic process with aging years. It completely halts without a deliberate push and can even roll us back to the dark age.

The thing is I feel this shook me because I don’t believe in the idea sowed deep in our mind by the religion that is we are destined to be born in certain caste which most people believe in. Otherwise people would have been less tolerant about ridiculous practices if they thought there was a probability it could be them suffering insults like this.

It is not going. I’m more disturbed because we don’t even have a wind of change flowing that will correct all this. We have quite compromised with the situation and there is no dissent that will bring any further revolution.