Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy 2011. And 2012, 2013....

So 2010 has come to a quick end. But the usual madness that surrounds it hasn't. Towards the end of every year we are subjected to the same old things that we were subjected to the previous year. And the year before that and so on and on and on. 

It starts with the year end TV specials, which are just reruns of everything you saw all through the year, repackaged into a back-to-back spectacular, along with all the movies that failed to make it at the box office. There's the mandatory day of laughter with Friends - a Star World tradition since the last five years at least. I wonder who still watches that sitcom. I also wonder who can really be friends with Monica.

Then we have the 'Best of' series - everything from videos and item numbers to celebrity wardrobe malfunctions and Salman's Being Inhuman moments are bundled into Top 10 lists by what looks like editing experts from Balaji Studios. 

And just when you think you have seen enough, start the advertisements in newspapers promising you Dubai in Dadar Parsi Colony, Las Vegas at a bar in Lohar Chawl and Mardi Gras at Matunga. Making things worse are all those live performances that are repeatedly lip-synced every year by the usual item girls - Malaika Arora, Mallika Sherawat, Yana Gupta and Tushar Kapoor. 

After the newspapers, you start getting the barrage of year end party smses. I'm guessing PR firms hire people with shaky hands, because I get the same message thrice at one go every day for two weeks. And just for the record, no, I do not want to be at the biggest party in town with DJ Kamlesh from Mombasa, belly dancers from Dharavi, unlimited Blaklabel & premium food till 5 am.

Friends soon start planning what to do. But not without asking everyone on their Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and LinkedIn accounts, as well as their neighbours, parents and the building watchman first. Then like every year, Bombay is divided into two - no, not North and South - Pro-Goa and Anti-Goa. One lot goes early and tries to find a secluded spot on the Southern most tip of Goa only to realize everyone they were avoiding has made it there before them. And the ones that stay back in Bombay panic in last-minute confusion trying to find something to do so that they don't have to spend it with Monica.

It's all the same. Every year. It starts with the usual forwarded messages and spam mail on January 1st. People will ask you about your new year resolutions throughout January. They'll ask you if you broke your new year resolutions throughout February. Then the question for March and April is "Where you going this summer?" Once people return from their vacations, the next three months are spent complaining about the rain and the heat that follows, before everyone's back to "So what you doing for New Year's Eve?" all over again.

Happy 2011 all. Hope you enjoyed reading this. Or else I'll just post it again at the end of next year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holy Smoke!

So it’s been over two years that the smoking ban was implemented in Bombay. No smoking in public places anymore. It was the dramatic end of the era – the one where you could smoke and drink at the same time. Now, thanks to the ban, everyone has moved to smoking and drinking while driving, which according to a recent survey, is not going down well with many drivers as they say it’s beginning to interfere with their texting.  

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the smoking ban, especially in restaurants. Now when I order my smoked salmon, it doesn’t smell of smoke anymore. Bars and nightclubs, I’m not so sure of. Women think the ban is great. When they get home, their clothes and hair aren’t layered with smoke anymore they claim, even though the smell of cheap rum and J√°gerbombs can be traced on them from two nakabandis away. 

 Men, on the other hand, aren’t quite sure of how to deal with the ban yet. They’re always torn between taking a cigarette break outside and ordering another beer. When on a date, this decision gets harder. Leave the girl alone inside or smoke later? Well more often than not, the cigarette wins. After all, the girl can always put on another layer of gloss, adjust her bra and check her BBM during all that time. No smoking in cinemas is fine. Anyway, missing ten minutes of a hindi film is a good thing. Hospitals needed it. So did schools and colleges. 

The initial resistance has died down and the ban has worked pretty successfully throughout the city. Except in cabs. Guess it’s because our taxi drivers are just used to saying no to everything.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Frequent Crier Miles.

So as an unmarried guy in his thirties, I have no real experience with kids, except for the fact that I still behave like one. I do babysit my nephew and nieces from time to time, and they're the most adorable little things, especially when you know you can make them eat everything they aren't allowed to, before you send them back to their parents to deal with the consequences. 

"Can I have some bitter chocolate?" says the 3 year old. 

"Didn't you just brush your teeth for bed?" I say. 

"Yes, but puhleeeeeeeeeze..." she says with a look that would make Hitler flash his pearlies. 

"Ok, but just one bar." I hypnotically succumb. 

Little kids have it real good. All they do is eat, poop, eat some more and sleep. Strangely, I have a couple of friends my age who still do that. Kids are pampered all the time and have everything handed to them on a platter. Strangely, I have a couple of friends my age who live the same way. Kids throw temper tantrums, scream, cry and shout and get away with anything. Ditto with some of my friends. I love kids, except when I'm taking a flight. There's nothing worse than traveling long distance to realize you're seated next to the toddler whose shrieking can make noise reduction headphones melt. 

Fortunately, there's a site out there that provides tips for moms traveling with their wailing wee ones that may just come in handy to keep those diapers buckled up during the flight. And the bar service from being grossly misused by harrowed passengers.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Call me textrovert!

So the trend of morphing two names to come up with a third one is one bad idea that just doesn't seem to go away. It started with Bennifer, Brangelina and Tomkat before moving on to our very own Abhiash and Saifeena. And just when everyone thought it was a trend confined to the world of celebrity, in late 2009, the fashion world unleashed its worst word combination since the failure of the Tankini in the 90's - the amalgamation of jeans and leggings - Jeggings. So popular have they become with the 'in' crowd and lazy-assed women who can't find the time to squeeze into a pair of skinnies that every major denim brand has included them in their collections. The sales of regular denim jeans has seen a dramatic fall with everyone swapping authentic style in favour of comfort. Conan O'Brien tried on a pair too and called them Meggings. Will this morphing insanity ever end? Or just keep going on like Imran Khan and Ranbir Kapoor's bromance? 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fat people. Thin book.

People do crazy things for their friends - kill, steal, lie, beg – I did worse, I agreed to read a new, chick-lit book for one of mine. At first, strange things crossed my mind. Would my male friends accept me once I finished reading it? Would I wake up with a French manicure and a craving for chocolate and Robert Pattinson? But then again, you do stuff for friends and I promised to read it and so I did.  And let me tell you, Vrushali Telang’s debut novel, ‘Can’t Die for Size Zero’ was fun, witty and, rather appetizing.

Think Sex and the City meets The Food Channel and you’ve pretty much got what’s going on in the mind of Joyeeta Naik – a big woman whose friends think she should get a makeover, a new diet and a new fitness regime so she can be confident, love her body and love life. Unfortunately, or fortunately, she loves food more.

What unfolds is an exciting account of Joyeeta’s life in Mumbai, accentuated with boyfriends, ex-boyfriends, best friends, colleagues, tailors, parties, little black dresses and enough food to feed every screaming 10 year old at a Justin Bieber concert. Don’t be fooled by the chick-lit tag, I recommend this book for anyone who has a sense of humour and a stomach. Even the size zero folks. 

The 'Big' Debut.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sharekhan Trade Tiger

It's been quite a while since I've posted on this blog. And even longer since I've written a script for a commercial that has been put on air. I'm presuming most of the people who read this blog are unlikely to watch CNBC, which is why you all get a special screening here. Bring out your dhoklas and watch it. Majja!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fashion always outruns the victim.

So fashion week came and went. As usual, there was more ado over who wore what off the ramp than on it. The smoking area was the hub of pre and post show discussions - everything from anticipation about a new designer debut to rip offs, repeats of previously displayed collections and Bollywood showstoppers made the rounds. Embroidery techniques were analyzed. Silhouettes were clinically dissected. And boob job botches were the flavour of the day.

The Grey Goose lounge was relegated to last season so time between shows was spent sans espresso martinis in a sponsor lounge that barely gave guests enough room to parade their 'it' bags and air kiss with flamboyance.

Coming back to the shows, it didn't matter which designer you were going to see, all that mattered was where you were seated. First row meant you knew the designer, the organizers or your daughter was the showstopper. Second and third rows meant you knew of the designer, had a friend working in PR or your ensemble consisted of more than two designer labels and a large bag. Anything beyond the third row was frowned upon, even by the ushers.

Some of the shows were pure drama. Some were fun. While some were so drab, even women with fresh botox hits managed to crack a yawn.

After a show, models flit around and take pictures for the press, sip a glass of wine, smoke a cigarette, and dutifully repeat it after every show for the rest of the week. As for the guests, well, they pretty much do the same.

But fashion week is quite a learning experience. Here's what i learned: Eating small portions of food throughout the day balances off the alcohol. Carrying extra cigarettes is vital. And saying that something is 'So last season' is so last season.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Can Style (You think?)

So I took a break from my mundane advertising routine to style a fashion show in Delhi. Three actually: Only, Jack & Jones and Vero Moda.
Big brands. Even bigger list of models. 46 in all.
Let me tell you, fittings and putting together looks for 20 guys + 26 girls = 1 not-so-well-slept me. But it was an adventure since the minute I landed to the time I got back. The pace was frenetic, which only slowed down a bit after the Delhi biryani was digested. But once evening came around, everyone was up and at it again. Cue sheets were rehearsed, clothes were slunk into, hairstyles adjusted, faces touched up, bodies bronzed and was show time!
Models walked the ramp with clockwork precision. A slew of Bollywood celebrities followed suit to catcalls and never-ending flashbulbs. While Hard Kaur, in her desi hip hop swagger, ended the show on a note that made all the hot blooded Punjabis shake their tandoori behinds.
The party continued till dawn.
My hangover lasted a lot longer.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Tick tock...tick tock...

So we all know Bombay is a city that just doesn't let you breathe. And even if it does give you a window to breathe, the smells could land up killing you anyway. The pace of the city is frantic. Everybody's on the move. Everybody's rushing to get to somewhere - their workplaces, their lunches, their plastic surgeons. Everybody's catching a bus, train or plane. And everyday there's someone falling off each one of them. No one stops for anything. Except perhaps to bribe a traffic cop for jumping a red light so they can hurriedly be on their way again. 

Work's hectic. 

There's breakfast, lunch and dinner meetings, drinks with clients, drinks with potential clients, drinks with ex-clients, even drinks with colleagues to discuss your constant drinking.

And then there's the partying. It just don't stop.

There's parties for everything - a movie launch, a movie flop, a new fairness cream, a tanning lotion, a new wine, an old wine in a new bottle, a new designer, an old designer with a new face - and the beat goes on and on. Whatever free time used to be there has been usurped by twitter, facebook, linkedin, google chat, angry birds and mafia wars.

And you're still wondering why I haven't had the time to update this blog?

Saturday, May 22, 2010


So just when you thought anorexia and size zero figures were swallowed whole by a hearty chunk of fat or Susan Boyle for that matter, truth is, it never really did go away did it? Everyone and everything is out to look fitter, slimmer and more attractive than ever before.

The iPod Shuffle has been slimmed down to the size of a phone chip. Phones are getting thinner and thinner. Never mind that their users can sometimes be a bunch of fatheads. Skimmed milk, diet drinks and low fat cheeses are now available with the local Baniya. Pity he doesn't see the need to give them a try. And laptops are lighter than ever before. Adaptors, wires, chargers and other laptop accessories, however, have decided to protest and get bigger than Donald Trump's hairdo.

Diets and exercise have stiff competition from cosmetic procedures that are available to anyone willing to trade an arm and a leg for well, a better looking arm and a leg. Why spend months at the gym when you can have your tummy sucked out and your face botoxed while you pretend to step out for a business lunch one busy Monday afternoon?

Think about it. I know my Baniya never will.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Off The Shelf

So when's the last time you walked into a bookstore? With everything available online these days, we're slowly losing touch with some of the little things that once gave us pleasure. Turning the pages on a Kindle isn't quite the same as cracking a spine and getting that 'new book' smell waft through one's head. You need to touch the pages and feel them to really connect with the author. Walking through the aisles of a bookstore is far more exciting than browsing the new arrivals at Sure flipkart delivers books to your door, but wouldn't you rather go out and get a book than wait patiently for the mailman to drop by? This whole technology thing is ridding us of the simple life. Well, got to go now. I have to water my plants and tend to my garden on Farmville.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Video Ga Ga

So what's going on with music channels these days? Channel [v] only plays hindi music. MTV has started showing hindi films, reality shows, more reality shows, and if you're lucky, a rerun of one of those reality shows. And Vh1, the only saving grace for international music lovers at one time, is now showing films, America's Got Talent and promos for every forthcoming hindi blockbuster. Is this really the death of the international music video? Is You Tube our only option to catch Lady Gaga hard-selling everything from Diet Coke to Wonderbread and Miracle Whip? Must we go through Alka, Sonu and Bappi to get to Goldfrapp? I used to be in love with music channels. We had a great relationship. But sadly, it's all over now cause they're just not playing my song.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


So what's the deal on celebrity endorsements? Take the IPL, for instance. There are more logos on the cricketers' jerseys than perverts on a Virar local. Watch any match, and you will probably see your favourite cricketer get more screen time on commercials than out there on the field. They're peddling everything from shaving creams and writing instruments to clothing and surrogate soda water. Doesn't matter if it's got nothing to do with the sport.

Some celebrity tie-ups are just misfits from the start - like Salman Khan and Dollar Vests. Seriously? The man's never covered his chest in his life. Or Abhishek Bachchan and Flying Machine jeans. With his legs, he'd be better suited for Kentucky Fried Chicken advertisements. Maybe his father can give him a Parker pen to sign the contract.

It's sad but true - there are very few models and fresh faces in advertising today. Blink and you'll miss them. But don't worry they'll probably land up in a Bollywood film, walk the red carpet and be signing new advertising contracts before you can say "Freida Pinto."

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Home is where the Poggenpohl is.

So every real estate developer these days is trying to entice buyers to live beyond their means. Promising them the sun, moon and stars, all from a private wooden deck of course. These buyers, who were earlier satisfied with a one BHK with 'partial' sea view - even if it meant standing on a chair to get to see a wave - are now lining up to get home loans because nothing less than a Philippe Starck tub will do for their wives to soak their cellulite in.

Private spa pools in every room, helipads and automated lighting are other big draws. Don't know why, especially in a country already famous for water shortages, excessive noise pollution and power cuts.

And then there's the clincher - Californian landscaping. It's something every new township boasts of, though no one is really quite sure what it really is, especially those living in California.

I'm sure it won't be long before you drive by a tiny fishing village and see little huts with wooden flooring, net curtains and Koliwada landscaping. But until then I'm just going to get back up on my chair and catch a calm, briny breeze before that chopper rolls in. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rush Hour

So what's the story on the traffic situation in Bombay? There are more cars and cabs in the city than diamonds at a Sindhi wedding. The traffic moves at snail's pace. And the potholes have roads. You have to dodge pedestrians who've never heard of zebra crossings, taxis that have never heard of indicators and bus drivers who have never heard of lanes. If that's not enough to keep you awake, the endless honking will. People honk for anything. They'll honk if it's hot. They'll honk if there's a pothole in the way. Some even honk to find out why you're not moving - at a stop light. New cars are being launched every week. The Tata Nano is available for the price of a Bottega bag, even though the bag may have more room. There's talk of a new underground metro system and a new monorail project that will probably be ready by the time every other country is offering space travel. After all, speed is something no one in this city is familiar with.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Does size matter?

So what's the story with everyone's obsession on size? Men always want everything bigger. Houses. Cars. Biceps. Amplifiers. Televisions. Burgers. Their women's breasts. Everything needs to be big, big, big. While women spend their whole lives wishing they could get everything smaller. Except when it comes to engagement rings, of course. But let's not go down that aisle right now.

A recent survey just revealed that most British teenage girls want to grow up to look like Kate Moss. What stupid kids. Don't they know that they should not grow at all if they want to look like her?

Diets are no longer casual food restrictions. They are calculated down to every micro-milli-calorie. Forget caviar, these days a sliver of iceberg lettuce on a silver platter is considered an indulgent lunch. Some celebrities even share the same eating habits as a Somalian, except that the Somalian probably looks healthier than they do.

What's wrong with tipping the scales occasionally? It's good to let go sometimes. Eat what you want. Drink what you like. And what if that belt doesn't buckle up or that zipper doesn't go up on your skirt? Big deal.