March 5, 2007
Greetings! Thanks for stopping by.
It has been almost a year since I left India and last posted on this blog. Please note that I have moved cyber addresses, to www.missadventures.com.
I'll be up and blogging on missadventures.com from a new and exciting location shortly. In the meantime, please have a look at some of my best India photos on Flickr.
April 21, 2006
It's not fair to compare Bombay and Hong Kong, two bustling Asian cities once under the realm of Britain, but I couldn't help doing so while on a recent trip.Continue reading "From One Colony to Another"
March 19, 2006
Good news, everyone! As you may or may not know, in between voiceovers, observing India, and blogging, I've also maintained a pretty full freelance writing/editing schedule. The results of those long days and nights last fall have been two guidebooks on Italy that I am quite proud of.Continue reading "Not India, but Italy"
March 08, 2006
I apologize for the long silence. In fact, not much has been happening around here. Well, not much except bird flu, temple attacks, and presidential visits. At this point, nearly two years later, India and Bombay have almost become everyday for me. And, sad as it may seem, there comes a time when you become used to (desensitized to?) chaotic driving, street urchins, milk deliverymen on bicycles, unnavigable, paan juice stained sidewalks, piles of burning trash, incense, crowds, poverty, nouveau riche techies, and holy cows. It's almost time to move on.
That said, I occasionally see things here that I wouldn't see anywhere else. Take a look at the photo above, taken by a friend of a friend. That's an actual billboard (called a "hoarding" here) with statistics that aren't too far-fetched. I don't know why the designers of the sign used a coffee cup, but there you go.
By the way, as I seem to have run out of words about India, I may start posting some fun photos on occasion. If I put up several at a time, they may even amount to a feature-length article. Figuratively, that is...
January 12, 2006
Senator John Kerry came to India recently to discuss, among other things, his opinions on outsourcing. During the U.S. elections of 2004, Indians (or at least the Indian media) never quite warmed to Kerry, so I suppose this was a chance for him to go on a goodwill tour and to see outsourcing at its, well, source.
Of course, outsourcing is a very sore subject in the U.S. and its impact has unfortunatley turned some Americans against South Asians. Its short-term effect has meant that many Americans have lost their jobs to workers in India that can do their jobs, if not more efficiently, then more economically. I even have an Indian-American friend whose relative lost her job to an Indian in India!
After being in India for a while, however, I can't help but be a little touchy when discussing outsourcing with my compatriots at home. The people that I have met here that work at BPOs (Business Process Outsourcing companies) are some of the most diligent, hardworking people. And they aren't just involved in the telemarketing fields. BPOs such as Wipro, Tata Consultancy Services, e-Serve, and Datamatics have stretched their tentacles to cover industries like IT, banking, finance, government, and entertainment. In fact, outsourcing is involved in almost every industry I can think of (which is even more than the average American can think of), so it isn't going away anytime soon.Continue reading "I Heart Outsourcing!"
January 11, 2006
Bombay is one of the most progressive cities in India. For most intents and purposes, both the New York and L.A. of India.
It is also the capital of of Maharashtra, a state that is proving to be more backward which each report of a book ban. On Monday, the Maharashtra government banned a scholarly book by James W. Laine on the life of Shivaji entitled, The Epic of Shivaji. The government had previously banned Laine's other book, Shivaji: The Hindu King in Islamic India, in January 2004. The latter title is available for purchase here.Continue reading "Book Bans and Other Stupid Govt Tricks"
January 04, 2006
I don't think I had ever planned my life beyond 2005, so New Year's 2006 hit me from the out of the blue. We hadn't made any plans for New Years, either, figuring that something low-key would come along. Ha! This is Bombay. Something came along, but it certainly wasn't low key.
A friend of a friend of a friend got our gang tickets to the Viren Shah New Year's Eve party in Worli. I still don't know who Viren Shah is, other than Page 3 Material, but I'm grateful I was able to show up at his fully-catered bash with free tickets. Nevertheless, it was the epitome of Bombay excess that I have come to despise. (Forgive me for looking a gift horse in the mouth...)Continue reading "Plus ša change..."
December 28, 2005
Another sign that Bombay is booming: it seems like a new club opens each week. Since I arrived over 15 months ago, a number of new clubs, including Zenzi, Seijo and the Soul Dish, and Squeeze have opened in Bandra (north Bombay), the home of the nouveau riche, Bollywood stars, and the majority of Bombay's decent clubs. Still other clubs, such as Enigma (at the Juhu Marriott), have reopened, cheesier - as I understand - than ever before. South Bombay has even gotten a few hangouts of its own, including the Intercontinental's Dome, a stylish, white-couched restaurant-cum-lounge on the hotel's roof with sweeping views of Marine Drive.
Bombay certainly loves its clubs, and the more vapid the better. Like New York or, say, Madrid, most locals prefer to go out as late as possible. The only problem is that many clubs end up shutting down by 1:30 because of assumed or actual police interference. It's weird - you arrive at midnight and the music stops an hour and a half later. Though I love Bombay, I'll never consider it a world-class city until it stops living in fear of corrupt cops or Shiv Sena goons.
Anyhow, although I have pretty much outgrown the clubbing urge, I have to get out of the house once in a while. For some reason, I often get questions from people who read this blog about the nightlife scene in Bombay. And, now that New Years is nearing, I thought the time was right to answer them. So, here's a short run-down of some of Bombay's clubs. Keep in mind that I am very biased and not easily impressed:Continue reading "Queen of Clubs"
December 14, 2005
Bombay has changed to Mumbai. Madras to Chennai. Calcutta to the much less evocative Kolkata. Now, it looks like Bangalore is jumping on the renaming bandwagon. It intends to change its name to Bengaluru, which means "the town of boiled beans" in the local Kannada language.
Is this really necessary?
When a friend sent me the headlines for this story, I thought surely it was a joke concocted by the editors of The Onion. I have no problem with people wanting to get back to their roots, but this whole renaming trend in India comes at a big financial (changing street signs, maps, and tourist materials) - as well as an emotional - cost. Imagine changing New York's name back to New Amsterdam...
I think Rohinton Mistry summed it up best in a dialogue featured in his novel Such a Long Journey. In this dialogue, two characters are discussing the renaming of Bombay streets and landmarks:Continue reading "The Town of Boiled Beans"
November 11, 2005
I'm finally back to work after three restful weeks back in the States. Besides traveling around and seeing family and friends, I had the chance to while away a few afternoons in some national and state parks, including Wakulla Springs, where I saw alligators grinning in the sun, and Sagamore Hill, the former home of President Theodore Roosevelt. October in Central Park was such a wonder - crisp, cool, on the verge of autumnal metamorphosis - that we even spent an hour one afternoon in a rowboat on the Lake.
Now, after having felt the first chill of fall in more than 14 months, I've returned to an incredibly temperate and languid Bombay. It's post-holiday time here (I missed Diwali and Eid-al-Ramzan festivities), but it's approaching wedding season. Soon all the cricket lawns lining Marine Drive will be alight in candles and torchieres and festooned with marigolds.Continue reading "Bombay in November"
September 26, 2005
September Ho Gaya...September is gone. And I didn't even have much time to blog. I did some traveling - again to the Golden Triangle (see below) - went to a film shoot (see my last post), attended the Elle Decor India Design Awards, and also found time to check out the Ganpati Visarjan (immersion) on Chowpatty Beach. For a brief moment, totally unrelated to my Bollywood filming, I was even offered a part in an Indian soap opera! Sadly, that didn't work out because of timing. But I'll still keep my hat in the ring for future opportunities.
All of that and work - including full-time and freelance editorial stuff - has not really allowed me to blog lately. Still, I wanted to share some stories and pictures because October will be even busier.Continue reading "Golden Triangle and Ganpati"