I have to say it. I hate to say. I have been tagged.
The misfortune that has come upon me is my own doing. I incurred the wrath of a candid friend - also my favorite anonymous blogger. She was tagged and tags can sometime put bloggers who choose to be anonymous in a tad uncomfortable position. Well, one can’t really be candid.
I tried to give her a hard time. In return – the vengeful one tagged me. Tagged by someone, who, as a norm, refuses to tag anyone.
I therefore pick up the tag and try to do justice to it.
So here goes – The Four Pointer.
Four places you have lived:
1) I have lived for the longest time and continue to live in a little suburb in Mumbai. A little more than half a century ago, the suburb was a quaint little fishing village. It has now transformed into a bustling town – known for its spiraling real estate prices, shopping, nightlife, sea front promenades, and now its increasing expatriate population. And now a sea link.
2)My coming of age years. For the first time in my life, I had to move out of Mumbai after I was head hunted and landed my second job. I relocated, for a few years, to the little city not far from Mumbai. The city, then a haven for pensioners, middle class locals and students from all over the country, was just about finding its feet and preparing itself (unknowingly) to become a poor mans replica of Mumbai – inheriting all its problems. The expressway between Mumbai and Pune wasn’t built then. I lived in all sorts of rental accommodation – from a one-room pigeonhole to a two bedroom flat shared with five other fellow savages. Freedom - I have have never had as much fun. The best days of my life – house parties, army rum, sex, chilly evenings, jackets, hill stations, rain, bikes, the first steady relationship, parsi food, failed attempts at trying to cook, nostalgia…
3)Hotels. I have lived in all sorts of hotels in countries all over the world. Good hotels, grand hotels, bad hotels, small hotels, big hotels, dodgy hotels, dingy hotels, cheap hotels and expensive hotels. I have stayed in hotels for work, holidays, after missing flights and on romantic getaways. I hate hotels.
4)Hotel Decent. Anyone who has seen ‘Jab We Met’ will remember the dodgy hotel from the movie. I have, unwittingly, stayed in place exactly like that. Picture this - The room next door creaks opens. The door closes. Animated chatter. Giggles. The sound of locomotion. Creaking bed. Giggles. Animated chatter. Door Opens. Door Closes. Twenty minutes of silence. The door opens again. Repeat.
Four TV shows you love(d) to watch:
Now this is a tough one. I have never thought much of the idiot box and I don’t really enjoy idiotic company. But still….
1) He-Man and the Masters of the Universe – I watched this animated series as a child, faithfully, every Sunday evening – with bread and jam. For some reason, I had to have bread and jam religiously, every Sunday, while I watched He-Man take on Skeletor. Another reason I can’t forget the show is a recent incident in a church during a christian friend's wedding mass. During the service, the priest asked the congregation to bow their heads and make a silent prayer. One could hear a pin drop. A little child, sitting in front, across and not far from me, took this opportunity to draw his imaginary sword, raised it towards God and screamed “ BY THE POWER OF GREYSKULL. I HAVE THE POWER”. The priest quickly forgot his prayers. The congregation tittered. The mother was embarrassed and the father beamed – proud of his son.
2) Giant Robot – A Japanese series dubbed in English and another childhood favorite.
3) Man vs Wild - Bear Grylls and his hair-raising adventures. Pure adrenalin. Real.
4) MTV Roadies – Corny and voyeuristic reality TV. But the concept of a long cross country road journey appeals to the traveler in me. Also, Raghu Ram, in my opinion, is brilliant.
Four places you have been to on vacation:
1) Goa – The 12 hour drive from Mumbai is brilliant. The romance in the air, the sound of the sea, the food, the people, the unhurried lifestyle - the place is intoxicating and it isn’t just the cheap alcohol. I slept on a beach once – lulled by the sound of the waves in my ears and the cool wind in my hair. I opened my eyes to a fresh early morning breeze and watched local villagers, at peace with themselves, walking past, smiling, unhurried, for an early morning service at a local church which opened up to the beach.
2) Mangalore – My grandmother’s village. Coconut groves, mango trees and jasmine plantations. The laziest place in the world with the sweetest smelling jasmine scented air. I go there when work gets to me and when I want a few stress free and lazy days. Once there – I just sleep or put my feet up and read. Heaven.
3) Phuket – Thailand… Thailand… the ocean… snorkelling…scuba diving… corals… water sports… the nightlife… need I say more…
4) Kashid – Read Goa but closer to home.
Four of your favorite kind of food:
1) Indian – The diversity in the country is demonstrated through the variety in food options.
2) Indian Chinese Street Food – The Indianised version of Chinese food tastes best at any local street side thela – especially on a rainy evening. Triple Shcezwan rules.
3) South East Asian Food – Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese food, the best-looking food in the world.
4) Irish Stew & Stakes - Sorry, that probably makes it five. But I cant help it. It was tough short listing five in the first place.
Four websites you visit daily:
3) Candid Talk (Cant help it – Choco is prolific, writes everyday and writes well)
4) My company website (sorry… cant disclose the name… or I wont be anonymous anymore)
5) Used to be Expressive Silence too – but she pulled the blog
Four places you would rather be:
3) The Lake District – One of the most beautiful places I have been to and the best place to enjoy English weather (I personally find English weather to be the most fair weather in the world – I wonder why they complain)
Four things you hope to do before you die:
1)Travel around India for one month. I want to travel by train in second-class compartments with no fixed destinations or plans, with a limited budget and without mobile phones or plastic money. I want to live among the people and stay in cheap hotels. I want to travel to the heart of India – to its villages, B towns and C towns – and stay with people in their homes. My destination each day and the mode of transport decided spontaneously at the spur of the moment. My fellow travelers – my books and my camera.
2) Learn the guitar and master it
3) Learn to para glide
4) Retire by the time I am 45 and then write a book
Four novels you wish you were reading for the first time:
1) The God of Small Things – A book that probably wrote itself and Arundhati Roy just took credit. Never have I read anything more magical - influencing and manipulating the imagination, making it soar high and dive deep, all at once. After every few pages – I had to lie back, let my mind take over and imbibe the magic bit by bit. The only book I have read twice.
2) The Fountainhead – A book that has had an immense influence on life. .
3) My name is Red – I did not have to read this book. It sat up and spoke to me. All its characters, animate and inanimate - had life. Brilliant narrative
4) Swami and Friends – For its simplicity. I wish I could write like that. I wish I had a childhood like that. I so wanted to grow up in Malgudi.
5) The Famous Five – I know I am cheating but I want to be a child again and run to the local circulating library. The smell of old books combining with the smell of incense. Pick up a Famous Five book. Run back home and start reading the book with a mom-made Salami sandwich. Aaah! Why did I ever have to grow up…
Four movies you love:
1) Dev D – Or anything by Anurag Kashyap (I loved No Smoking). The film turned Devdas on its head and the visual imagery influenced me to write “Mother Loves Jeremy”. Now I wait for “Paanch” to see the light of day.
2) Life is Beautiful – Chaplinesque. The only movie that made me cry aloud… and I looked so stupid because I think I was smiling at the same time. The father – a hero to his son, both in a Nazi concentration camp and separated from the mother, tells his son that the camp is a game – and the one who gets 1000 points first wins a tank. Inspiring and beautiful. Funny and heart wrenching. An underrated masterpiece.
3) Oldboy – A South Korean. A man is kidnapped and imprisoned illegally for 15 years. He spends the 15 years in one claustrophobic room – with no access to the outside world. For 15 years he plans his revenge and trains himself. Only – he cannot seem to think of anyone with an incentive to do this to him. After 15 years – he is released – as suddenly as he was kidnapped. The man, a misfit, in the outside world, now has only one objective – to find the man who did this to him. The end hits you like a brick that falls from the top of a high-rise and hits you bang on the head. The film was plagiarized in Hindi and made into a bad film called Zinda.
4) Mard – I watched this Amitabh Bachchan starer some 25 times on home video when I was a kid. I still like it. The film is an absolutely regressive, B grade and senseless pot-boiler. Imagine this - A father, a king in exile, has british soldiers hot on his heels. When the soldiers are about to get to him – he picks up his little son, an infant, and with a knife carves “MARD” (Macho Man) on his chest. The infant smiles back. Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota (A real man never hurts). The child grows up to be the Mard jisko Dard Nahin Hota – Amitabh Bachchan.
There... Done...dusted... And dedicated to Choco...
I know I am supposed to tag someone... but tags can be real drags... anyone who is inspired enough to do so can please pick up this tag and waste a post on it... only... please come back and leave a comment... so I can come over and read and be happy that someone else also had time to waste...