Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Acha Tou Hum Chalte Hain....

Phir Kab Miloge you ask.
Jab Tum Kahoge.

Kahan, you warble hesitantly.
Wohiiii Jahan Koi Aata Jaata Nahi...koi traffic hi nahi hai page par.
But I hope you do.
Blogger has been Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham with me in recent times so I am trying out this avatar for a while.
 Filmy Mama
A FaceKitaab page.
Filmy Mama (koi shaq)


Monday, January 27, 2014

Mai Madeira Nahi Peeti

Yashodhara Lal--author of the much loved JUST MARRIED PLEASE EXCUSE (my thoughts on both Lal and her work can be accessed on clicking on  the link) has a new project coming out. SORTING OUT SID, and to introduce her book she has a beer and meet the author meet coming up. Details of which I am cut pasting below, but you can read more going to 

I have been trying to think back about riotous beer stories from my Kabhi Technicolor Mostly Black and White past (to which my mum may say Chal hat jhoothi) and I am all Simpering Sri Devi "Mai Madeira Nahi Peeti"..of course I grew up in the shadow of the Murree Brewery estate. Arey, kiya ghar tha Bhandara saheb ka..kiya garden. Is jehan mai bhi jannat mili and thanks to the prayers of so many thirsty Pakistanis growing up in a "dry country" uss jehan mai bhi jannat.
Now if Yashodhara had asked me to blog about some crazy stories about people I have known and vodka ...oh the tales I could tell. Vodka for a long time had been the official drink of most Pashtun students. They tried telling them about rivers of milk and honey in the kingdom come if they went teetotaler, but I am sure everyone turned up their noses and went Akkh Thuu. Our Afghan escapades brought us many a bane and some boons. But it also brought a LOT of cheap Russian vodka, leading to a popular sentiment on campus that if you were to walk past Hostel # 3 "there lie the drunk on vodka Pashtuns" past Hostel #4 "there lie the drunk on religion Jamaatis" I dont know when their vodka met their Rooh Afza but  what was once home is now one volatile Molotov Cocktail. 

I miss my drunk but lovable buddies so.

I miss how one had turned to me mournful complaining about the good ol' days , when there was even honour among thieves, kiya milawat ka zamana aagaya , times when a man bought their vice of choice you knew what you were smoking so much adulteration nowadays, you never know what the young get addicted to.

I miss them. 

My Sid would have been a Sherdil.

They ask me at times why all the raised eyebrows regarding drinking even though Maulana Rishi Kapoor has been pontificating on COGNAC SHARAB NAHI HOTI . And I tell them God knows how hyperactive I am thanks to my genetic make up  , upar se ek drunk Pashtun? Na baba na.

But if I were.

I think it will be something like this.

So here are the very simple rules: 

1. Write a post (in about 500 words) on your blog about why you would like to readSorting Out Sid. (You will of course get a copy of the book when we meet) (If you go to the site you can access the book trailer, description and excerpt) 


Write a post ( in about 500 words) on your blog about any Funny/Embarassing/Awkward/Memorable Incident involving beer!

Extra points for being saucy, witty, funny since that is what the book is like!

2. The Team at HarperCollins and I will shortlist 10 Delhi-NCR based bloggers to join us at the Beer and Blogger meet. You'll all be treated to a fine afternoon hosted by the nice folks at The Beer Cafe

Not Delhi-based? Fear not! As before, I have kept 10 copies of the book in reserve for Non-Delhi based bloggers. You can participate in the contest with the same rules above and if your story wins, you will receive in the mail an author-signed copy too. (Note: they will not be shipped abroad, but you can win them for family and friends here!)

Keep the following in mind, please: 

1. The Title of your blogpost must be ''Sorting Out Sid - Beer and Blogger Contest''
2. You must include a link back to this post somewhere in your post for your entry to be valid. (Let your readers find their way here and check out the contest for themselves!)
3. Please ensure you leave a comment to this post with a link to your entry ( Otherwise, how the heck will we find it?)
4. It is optional to include the book cover, book trailer or book description in your blog post. (You'll find them all right here.)
5. It is also optional to spread the word on social media about your entry to this contest, or to include the link to the book page on Flipkart 
6. Both points 4 and 5 above will certainly win you my love and affection, if not necessarily the contest ;)
7. The contest is open until 31st January 2014 only. The decision of the judges will be final. No late entries will be entertained. In fact, if you get your post up before 15th Jan,you may be one of the Early Bird winners to be announced on Jan 20th. So don't procrastinate - get going. Come on - there's free beer at stake! Ha ha. 

Look forward to getting your entries. All the very best! And remember, there will be 20 people who get free signed copies of the book (10 from Delhi and 10 from other locations!). So go on and let the beery ride begin! 

Cheers! *Clinking together of beer mugs*. 

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Mere Dil Mere Musafir

Look at these images. Kitne khush. Kitne piyare. 

 These images are from October. 
Sri Lanka.
Island Paradise.
But what to do when you realise the serpent in paradise.
So much depression.
So much crying these past two months.
It seemed we may have to bid Dilli goodbye at one stage.
mere dil mere musafir hua phir se hukm sadir ke vatan badar hon hum tum dein gali gali sadayen types

As you all know I had made Dilli my Pindi. So so easy to play these mind games with myself.
Same Pindi (in diaspora) population. Pushto in the bazaar. Sweetpeas in the parks, and hoards of Afghanis on the street. Yup, it was the 80s and Pindi reprise. And me with my movie writing gig. And freelancing. And book projects. I was living the good life.

So months of tears, trials, tribulations. Crying in Calcutta, crying in Delhi, crying in Noida even as I welcomed Dipali to the NCR.
And as it happens in the movies by the end of the year it was a happy ending.
A family wedding.
Guwahati visit.
Sister and niece nephews visiting.
And the other nephew from Team "Loved From The Beginning"
And brand new cousins and second cousins Arhaan has been acquiring visiting us.
it made for a very Merry Christmas.
And this time I took him over to Amritsar as we bid goodbye to my family as they crossed the border.
And I came back with a new resolution.

tension dene ka
But that is a brand new story.
I am moving house.
This time one with an attached uncle aunty downstairs who wear carpet slippers, and play bridge every evening.
And there are cats.
I promise to be back.
And bring FUN ANEELA along.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tumne Mujhe Dekha Hokar Meherban

That earlier postNo no no "unpartitioning"... and no no no Channeling The Voice of the State, or that the Internet Is Wrong. That post was written in great anger, definitely hastily written, and trying to say how  exasperated I was that the more things change the more they remain the same..I have been an insider/outsider to India since 1997.
Yes , when it comes to the long long history of all that plagues the region , sixteen years is but a moment. But there are days when I wonder Kab Tak. And then this ad happens, and I think for a minute "perhaps it is because we just have these pressure cooker moments, where we cry and vent" and go on to our Regular Programming lives the next moment. Waiting till another feel good, but not requiring anything other than sharing a videos, opportunity.

that nothing in the ad challenges a certain discourse everyone is comfortable with is another issue.

Khair,  I would rather we watch this video. That Rocky could sing this for Yaum-e-Azaadi..Independence Day is so so remarkable. And that one could say Yaum-e-Azaadi Mubarak in the 1960s and no one said Hain? Ye Kiya Kaha? Is it Persian? Iski Hindi Google Karo 
well that is just the icing on the cake.
Or jhajjariya.
Chalo jhajaariya hi sahai

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kabhi Khud Pe Kabhi Haalat Pe Rona Aaya

So I have been having a chat with friends why I am not feeling the love when it comes to the Fair and Lovely-isation of partition memories, of history, of closure. There is a problem when one comes up with naive approaches to what vexes us. Don’t go into a gendered, class, colour inquiry into why Preeto from next door didn’t cut it for that high flying job—slap on some fairness lotion and it will all be OK.
I wish I knew why I was so angry. Is it because like everything else, an angst that has plagued my generation, is now up for “commodification” too?  Forget problematic ideas of nationalism, bureaucracy, foreign policy, visa regimes, the military industrial complex—all that we needed was a better search engine.
Am I exhausted with more of this It Aint Getting Fixed Until YOU Come Over And Make Up.  This, this subtext...we left and I am not coming back, even if I miss you so. That the “happily every afters” can only happen recreating a bit of Lahore in Delhi. For you know who watches cricket, flies kites, fumbles with biryani IN A LAHORE KITCHEN. Civilization, culture, humour tou him is paar le aaye. For across Wagah is where the Wild Things Are.
Or am I amused with how Dadaji ki mithai ki dukaan tou hadap hi li paying for that overpriced air ticket..For let us just sanitise any mention of crossing on foot, trains; lest Train to Pakistan starts coming up in their Google search results.
Or is it because I cannot take any more of this “baat nikli tou har ek baat pe rona aaya” approach towards our lives here, memories of there. That you have a good cry, vent and then make peace with status quo. Forever conflict avoidance, never conflict resolution. Having these Hallmark, ah! I have something in my eye episodes just reminds me of how Merinissi has referred to women and shrine/sanctuary culture.  It is therapeutic for them as they could then openly give vent to their emotions: grief, frustration et al—but then it also robs them of the ability and energy to bring about any change. For surprise, surprise there is no anger left in them anymore. And until there is anger, dear Google there can be no change. I would have rather the ad agency had been given a different brief, get them angry enough to change the way things are for them, help them search for a way that friends do not keep pining for each other in different ISD codes.

Throw that up for me in my search results, please, for I am done crying. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Tis the season of PG Wodehouse. 
In fact I have contemplated calling up the newspaper vendor to cancel the dailies, replacing them with a Wodehouse each morning instead 
I approach the newspapers with a wooden spoon, poking them around a bit. They have delivered enough heart attacks; I now expect the horrors to slither out from between the folds of the paper . Groping, gliding. Waiting to strike me  down.
So yes I have rediscovered Wodehouse.
And I sit in the armchair chuckling.
And A sidles up "Why Are You Laughing,Mama?"
"Oh it is something I am reading. It is really funny, let me explain," and then looking at him, I add, a little bit unkindly I must say "But you cant read, can you? Yes it is very difficult to explain".
Patting him on his head "You learn to read OK and then you will understand all these jokes".

The next day, and the day after that, and the day after..A sits in his car seat, or is brushing his teeth, or is finishing breakfast or playing in the park and will burst into giggles. Like really full bellied, contagious laughter, and you ask him curious. "Why Are You Laughing?"
And he "Oh it is something really funny...but" and here he looks up at me, eyes glinting "But it is so difficult to explain. Oh look I have to take a bath".

So yes A :12 Mom: 0

This afternoon he settles down and placing his hands in his lap, asks me earnestly
" You know"
"My school..-----School" (Name withheld for I do not know the school's privacy regulations)
"They sing the ABC song. But they sing GHIJK Ellomennemmopee. What is this Ellomennemmopee? It is Ell Emm Enn Ohhh Peeeee. Ell Emm Enn Ohhh Peeeee. Why do they sing this Ellomenemoopee?"
" Cant tell. It is probably for when you grow up to  have something to blog about."

In other news we have a new driver who drove a Gypsy for the Dilli Police before.
Consider Project Extreme Makeover beginning now. Seat Belts for him check, Stopping at Red Light check. Kiyonke Madam Gypsy me Tou Ye Seat Belt Waghera Tou Nahi Tha. And Sir ko kabhi bhi kacheri jaana partha tou ye red light wed light....
But he is so polite. Always in our seva "Madam Koi Chinta Ki Baat Nahi"

So how have you all been? 
Let me sign off now with the only ABC I can remember

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Baat karni mujhe mushkil kabhi aisi to na thi le gayaa chheen ke kaun aaj teraa sabr-o-qaraar?

...but it is true, I might have been reticent about writing about certain issues in the past but never shied away from logging in. As Gulzar wrote for Aandhi "Waise to amaavas pandra dinon ke hothi hai, lekin is baar bahut lambi thhi ", so why am I taking these long breaks?

And what did I do in these long moonless nights?
Whiled away days in Phuket, Bangkok, Berlin, Budapest, Helisnki, Amritsar, Goa
and brief periods in Delhi
(cue in Haiii!)

But I could have been sitting in my study in my chair as I do now
Coaxing my words off the ledge
Thinking Thinking Thinking
What Next? What Next?

What will be my legacy? 
Why have I lost the plot?

But today it is difficult.

Today we will go through my album for the past couple of months

We went to the aquarium and reptile house in Berlin yesterday.
" So what do you want to see first?" I ask him. "MOSQUITOES!" he tells me
This is Helsinki. Suomenlinna to be preciseCan't tell you how tempted we are to fire A all the way to Estonia

Hvitträsk, Kirkkonummi
Oittaa. Could there be more consonants?
Burnt to a crisp in Budapest. Or as Bhansali would rush to assure you Italy
The Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf Tsunami for Change Slogan would be a total fail here in Khao Lak

Kar Doo Status Update? Having Lunch With The Wahe Gurus in Amritsar?
Ruet e Hilal Committee Goa Branch..waiting waiting waiting for the Eid moon to be sighted
Ek Tum Hi Nahi Tanha Ulfat Me Mere Ruswa Is Sheher Me Pindi Mardan Se Mastane Hazro Hain. I believe for a certain amount your pledge becomes a part of living history at the Golden Temple. Amidst the ubiquitous grants from martyrs and military units posted to the city; there were also interesting stories . Who were they? Saw pledges from Pindi. This one mentions a thou rupees from Sangat Peshoriya!
Also 51 rupees from  Bibi Sant Kaur and Kaka Jaswant Singh from Mardan.

I was in Amritsar to pick up my niece who you may remember from her trip to Melbourne in 2009. This time she was crossing over from Wagah/Attari...such an interesting time to visit, though I realise the young may have no occasion for history.
some thoughts as I wait this side for her to cross over.

# The morning had started with watching Sur Kshetra on TV. Ghulam Ali et Asha Bhosle singing duets over the expanse thats Runa Laila squeaking Bangladesh Ko Na Bhuliye!Stuff writes itself.
..#Ok Attari paar. Zaara mode on.
.#Me (to the driver) Next time please take me to galli where Manto lived
Driver ji: Aap next time aayengi aap ko kuan dikhaonga jahan Luv Kush ke kapde dhule
#Sister and me fight over Whatsapp across Wagah. This could make for a lovely short story.
#Lovely songs on at the Attari Passenger Terminal. KARMA ka soundtrack . Assuming they are Dilip Kumar Nutan fans
#It starts raining They take down the Indian tiranga Stops. Fly it again. And I WOULD GET exhausted when my mum said take in laundry take out
#Guard telling me Ethru Baith jaa. Wapas nahi jaande wali aap di niece. My sister whatsapping me niece's A level results as they got out just then. Me shouting them over the customs to the niece.The things these borders hear.
#Guards congratulate me over her results!Fun!!
#Indian custom guard to niece: AAP KE ADAAB BAHUT ACHE HAIN. Niece : Thankss.(Whatsapps me: pssstt what's ADAAB? )

We all returned happily ever after.

I went up and down in the Shatabdi where at one point they served me heart shaped veg cutlets which I took as a very fortuitous sign.

Is se aage ki kahani koi na pooche.
Heart is heavy
Words go out to play Without permission
Prayers from me to you