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Life’s Like That: Of Memory Loss and Nostalgia

23 Jun

The Unknown Girl

I had a very sharp memory. Trust me, I did! My friends usually burst out in laughter when I try to convince them about this. I had called to wish my aunt a happy birthday and she quickly stated that Facebook has really made remembering birthdays easy. Well, you don’t really have to remember them now. A nice pop up or a side bar does it for you. I told her that I maintain a spreadsheet with all the birthdays listed on it. So far I trust my memory to look at the spreadsheet. The day does not seem to be very far when the application will trigger an email from your inbox as well. I am simply surprised by the level of emotional disconnect I would have eventually.

I was traveling to New York a couple of weeks back in the train. As I stepped in the train at my stop, I noticed this girl with a familiar face getting in as well. I knew that I knew her! But, I chose to disregard me noticing her as there was just no way could I remember her name. The subway in NYC is as accommodating as the local trains in Mumbai. With every stop it makes, a few people manage to edge out, a few squeeze in and the re-shuffling is never-ebbing. So, after a couple of stops, this unknown girl was right next to me and not noticing her was like disregarding Baba Remdev’s fast! 🙄  Before I could even think of greeting her…

She: Hey Hi Himanshu! What a pleasant surprise? How have you been? XYZ told me that you went on to pursue Master’s. Are you done with it? Oops! Lot of questions… Take your time… 😛

Me: Errr… Yeah!! 😀  (At this point, neither did I remember her name, nor did I recollect who XYZ was!! Duhhh!! ) I am here for an internship. I am going to be around until the end of August.

She: Oh that’s great! We should catch up sometime. I am going to get off at 14th. Where are you headed to?

Me: Oh just meeting a couple of friends near 33rd.

She: I guess you changed your number? I have the old one.

Me: Aah.. yes.. I am sorry, the shift from being at work to being a student happened in a jiffy for me. I could not inform a lot of

She: Yeah. I get it. So, what’s your new number?

Me: Oh yes! I am sorry… It’s blah blah blah… What’s yours?

She: I’ll ring you up once I am out of the train.

Me: (Why couldn’t she just give her number? She had to give the insurmountable “missed call”!!! ) ok sure!

I don’t think she even thought that I wouldn’t remember her name. She did give me a “missed call” and I have this number saved in my phone as the “The Unknown Girl”.

I have been trying to figure out her name by asking possible common friends. But behold! Whenever I ask this question to anyone, I only give them an opportunity to have loads of fun at my cost! 👿 😦


A few weeks back I got a call from an unknown number. The first thought that came to my mind was that it would be another recruiter calling me to convey rejection. I was going pretty crazy with the internship search then. But well, the sound on the other end of the phone was certainly not that of a nonchalant recruiter.

He: Hi! Am I speaking with Himanshu?

Me: Yes.

He: don’t tell me you still haven’t recognized my voice?

Me (After a blink, viola!!): Ohhhooo!! 🙂 Its you!!

It was an old friend of mine I had lost touch with over the years. Getting back in touch with friends is just so truly invigorating. We indeed had a lot to catch up on. We talked about the amazing trip that we had made while in college. We revisited all our typical hang outs through the conversation, talked about exams, talked about movies and several other nothings of the world. After the call, I got back to the internship hunt, but probably the anxiety was a little abated by the smile on my face… 🙂

Well, there are some moments which erase out of our memory too soon and there are these other several moments that we cherish and reminisce for a lifetime. I have certainly come to realize that neither of the two is in our control!

Life’s like that – Of moments to forget and moments to remember!


“Life’s Like That” is a segment where I narrate incidences that have transformed from mere thoughts to wonderful memories. Click here for more posts in the segment! 🙂

Life’s Like That: Of checked-in babies :-P

29 Dec

Time flies – they say! A quick realization that I am already a semester old as a student struck me as I completed my last examination. After a considerably huge hiatus I was feeling declutched. After a demanding load of course work and harassing finals, a break was certainly much needed. To get away from the snow and the winter of Pittsburgh, I decided to visit my aunt at Houston where the Sun shines bright! 🙂 For those who know me, I need sunlight to function. (Ya ya! You are already cracking jokes about me being a plant incarnated as a human etc. Grrrr! 👿 )

The tickets were booked and bags were packed. I was waiting for my bus early in the morning to take me to the airport. I am mostly engrossed in the nothings of this world and this day was no different. While I was thinking about things ranging from how can Madhuri Dixit be so beautiful that I am completely at lack of words to describe it to thinking about what all would I get to eat at my aunt’s place ( 😛 Yeah! I always think of food! 😀 ), I was greeted by a friend who was also heading to a warmer place – LA. I would like to assume that my friend was as glad to have my company as I was to have his. But then, that’s just a way in which I like to think of myself to be likeable! 😛 😀

Now there is something which I have to confess. I am not the kind of person who would go ahead and strike a conversation right away. However, if the wavelengths match, I tend to blabber uncontrollably 😛 Well, as you must have guessed it already, it was the latter with this friend of mine. Our conversation started with how everyone gets disillusioned about snow after landing up in a couple of snow storms to how it was a bad idea to take an early morning flight. We shifted soon to our past travel expeditions. It did not take long for my friend to state how annoying kids turn out to be as fellow travelers. I chose to not voice out my disagreement as I could see the indignation evidently 😀 The following statement by my friend stayed on my mind for quite some time:-

“Kids should also be checked – in with the rest of the baggage in aircrafts!” (ROFL.. 😛 )

We reached the airport and went to our respective terminals wishing each other happy holidays. My flight was on time (the reason for a special mention of this is attributed to the fact that flights are delayed perpetually during the winters! L ). I boarded the flight, found my seat and wished a good morning to my co passenger who had a very pleasant demeanor. Once again, it was the other person who instigated the conversation and we started talking about the nothings of the world.

My co passenger was a tax consultant visiting some of his clients at Houston. Coincidence indeed – we had a kid co passenger in the row ahead of us who had probably just got up from his slumber and was playing and chuckling with his parents. Soon he seemed to be irritated by the fact that the aircraft was not moving and so he started crying out loud! I mean really loud! My co passenger exclaimed that the boy reminded him of his own son and this is what he said –

“Oh! I just love their voices and noises. Heavenly!” (yet again.. ROFL.. 😛 )

The irony of the situation made me smile mysteriously. The unsent message to my friend on my cell phone  reads:-

“After all, there are a few people who find the cries of babies heavenly! 🙂 ”


“Life’s Like That” is a segment where I narrate incidences that have transformed from mere thoughts to wonderful memories. Click here for more posts in the segment! 🙂

Life’s like that: Of ifs and but(t)s :-\

13 Apr

Life has strange ways of teaching us to laugh till we breathe and love till we live. I guess my fit of realization has struck yet again!

But naturally!

I have always found it difficult to mention the most embarrassing moment of my life as there have been many such moments and in fact they keep happening day in and day out. So much so that now I have got habituated to them. On a day when I feel that I haven’t been in a situation that I never wanted to be in, I feel a little void in my life. Well! There are many such voids, not just in my life, but in my brain as well, but let us not venture into the obvious. So, it was one such sober day when nothing eventful had happened since the morning and I had not realized it till the time something eventful happened!

The project I was working on was in the unit testing phase and I was executing some test cases. Now those who know me, know that I am totally absent minded to the extent of even disregarding if someone pings me. Believe me I don’t do it on purpose. It is just too profound for my tiny winy brain to goof up a code and a chat at the same time. So I stick to messing up only one thing at a time. But this time it was different. My client coordinator was trying to ping me and ask me which test cases I had executed and something seemed to have gone wrong with the messenger. So, she came to my desk with a hope that the test cases are going fine. This is how the conversation went:-

She: Hi. How’s it going? How many test cases have you executed?

Me: Doing fine. I executed a couple of them.

She: Anything annoying?

Me: It mostly looks good but… (Before I could complete the statement) 😳

She: I don’t like your but! 🙄

There was silence for around half a minute which was followed by a guffaw, laughter and monstrous uproars from all around my cubicle that lasted for the rest of the day. Even the most silent person around who in the last year and a half has barely uttered something more than a silent ‘Hi’ was laughing his lungs out.

It had become definitive of embarrassment for me. 😳 People quipped every now and then chuckling a joke, wittiest one liners here and there. The fun was enough to get people smiling for the rest of the week. The entire world seemed to conspire against my innocent buttocks!

My life as a dog..

And why did I mention that there is no dearth of embarrassing moments in my life? Because I can write pages and pages about it wasting the server space of CH1. The day my behind became an object of insult, I went into my thinking-about-the-past mode only to realize something about myself which my sister put it across to me as bluntly as always.

I remembered this incident that happened a couple of years ago. The washing machine at my place had refused to work and the prompt 24 hour service of the manufacturing company had taken nearly 72 hours to come and pay the visit to the affected area. The day finally arrived when the mechanic arrived. He was welcomed by my mother. You really don’t want to be welcomed by her when you know that she doesn’t want to welcome you. If you know what I mean! After a round of choicest of opening lines threatening the poor mechanic to take his company to the consumer court, mommy dearest finally let him in to look at the broken machine.

He was just about to enter the bathroom when yours truly did something for which he has been known across the lengths and breadths of  Khaandan’s residing in the vicinity. The noise was monstrous, as if the sky had broken down. Before your dirty minds concoct something out of the noise, let me curb all your imaginations and tell you that I SNEAZED! Accchhoooooo

So what? The mechanic stepped back hurriedly and asked – “Do you have a dog?” 😈 😳

Once again, there was a silence for half a minute and then there was a blasphemy of pick ons:-

My mother (Laughing uncontrollable): No No! we don’t have a dog. We have a son.. and he doesn’t bite.. HA HA HA HA 😆

My grand mother (Not caring enough about the serial running on the TV now as she had something juicier): God knows how that sound comes from that tiny little thing I call my grand son! 🙄

So there I was, once again a laughing stock for an absolute stranger who later on went ahead to mess up the washing machine further as a result of which we had to replace it with a new one.

And why was I reminded of this incident when I spoke with my sister? Because this is what she said:-

“You have an ugly but(t) and you sneeze like a dog. Do you still need reasons to know why you are single?”

Life’s like that..Of rhymes and goof ups!

29 Dec

Just another fit of random incidents which tickled me a little on a snowy morning. Some memories never fade, some just swift pass like a gentle breeze and some are meant to bring that little joy in your life which unintentionally brighten you up.

A medley of sorts!

I do talk to a few of my friends and relatives through video chats on skype and gmail every once in a while. This is my way of ensuring that they don’t erase me off their memory disks totally. Such a pest I am! :mrgreen:

So it was one such Sunday morning when I was video chatting with this uncle of mine whose daughter, Pillu (as I call her) is now old enough to chirp up nursery rhymes (Yeah! I have cousins who are that small!). Clad in her pink frock, frolicking away on her little kitchen set, as soon as I called her name, her distraction was evident and she came running towards the screen only to discover that it was me who had called her name. I could see the sense of surprise transform into the oh-its-just-you emotion in her eyes so clearly. It was almost enough to make my day.

My aunt wanted her to recite all the nursery rhymes she knew. She was just not interested in flaunting her intellect. She did not refute or anything, she just ignored my aunt totally. After a while, when my aunt had pestered her enough, this is what she did.

(The conversation was in Marathi. This is a decently attempted English translation)

Aunt: Wont you sing your nursery rhymes for Dada*? Sing Brother John… Jack and Jill…

Pillu (exclaimed): Brother John…

Me: Yay! 😀

Everybody was quiet and listening attentively to Pillu

Pillu (looked at me in the screen and gave a sheepish smile):-

Are you sleeping, Are you sleeping,

Brother John Brother John,

Jill came tumbling after,

Jill came tumbling after,

Ding dong bell… 🙄 😯

(Sing each line in the respective tune and you’d know the wonderful medley that Pillu created)

She came up with this awesome medley, partly because she was vexed enough by her mom’s bantering and mostly because she seems to be totally talented. Ahhh.. that is what is going to happen to my cousins you see.. Talent is going to overflow.. 😆 (I can almost sense you all throwing tomatoes at me.. the rotten ones..)

We were left in fits of laughter.

The curious ‘case’ of yours truly..

Those who know me well, or who have met me or who have had the privilege of taking my case, know how easy the task is. Most of the times I don’t even realize that people are having a good time.. err… at my cost. It was still fine to see the people I know take my case. What happened over the weekend has only convinced me that I ought to run away to Himalayas to seek divine help to be able to make me not to susceptible to pick-ons.

So there is this really awesome Chinese joint in Jersey City which I do visit once in a while. I had a friend visit me over the long weekend of Christmas and we decided to dine at this joint. With hogfull eyes, we entered the restaurant and ordered an awesome sparkling wine. We started looking into the menu card for the entrees when the waitress came to serve something to the folks sitting next to us.

She (sniffing..literally): Gosh… I smell something’s burning.

She (screaming looking at me): Sir your menu card is on the candle lamp. :X

Me (embarrassed. Didn’t know what to do! Thought for a second and then said.. aah. This is just one of those goofed up performances I keep giving every now and then): oops! I am so sorry… 😳

I just picked up the freaky candle lamp and put it on the table adjacent to ours. My friend was laughing like a maniac and needless to say this incident was publicized to the entire circle of case takers as the ‘latest best’. What more even the folks sitting on the adjacent table were happy to get entertained. Well, I had decided to go with the usual stuff which I always order and not indulge myself reading the menu card again. As I shut the card and kept it aside, the waitress came running and picked it up and quipped.

She: Let me pick it up before you do something… err… something happens to it. 😈

Me: 😦

She: Just kidding..! 👿

Me (to myself): Yeah right! You have no idea how I am going to be picked on by what you have just done! 😕

I guess I should rethink about the ‘talent’ that my cousins have ‘like me’.

Well, as I say… Life’s like that!

P.S: Dada in Marathi refers to elder brother. Which by the way is 22 years older than Pillu! 😆 I even have a new born cousin who I am sure will come up with something more dreastic in years to come.. 😛

Life’s like that!

14 Oct

It is time for the second installment of mindless ramblings of a hopeless soul. Hopeless enough to hibernate for almost two full days of the long weekend which was supposed to be the last long weekend before the winters set their foot in. Well, as I mentioned, hopelessness encompasses everything else!

Presenting before you – confessions of a demented mind:-

Yeh hai “Bombay” meri jaan!

Just like the local train network is the life line of Mumbai, Subway is the life line of New York. The characteristics of any mammoth metropolis can be seen even in New York. The never ebbing inimitable stench of the underground subway stations, the trains being weirdly scheduled to arrive at 12:32 and depart at 12:33 🙄 , the crowded compartments of the train, the silence and loneliness felt in the few square feet of area overpopulated by humans, the perspiring anxiety while running to catch the train which is going to be the last one and the inexplicable pace that life seems to have in this city that is trapped in all these people traveling in and out of the Subways.

But, what distinctly makes the Subway journeys memorable quite often are the street performers. The hoopla players, musicians, dancers, skaters and singers – such a conglomeration of creative abundance a few feet under, in a way enlivens the monotonous expressions of passengers, just about enough to get them back the next day with a bit more pluck than before.

I was at the Times Square a week back, doing my part time job of NY tourist guide (Its good to have an alternate profession in these times of recession you see 😉 ) for a friend. We were at our boisterous best when we got down at 42nd street. For those who don’t know me, I have a terrific appetite to speak endlessly without making much sense. Rather any sense at all 😛 . Our loud voices were suddenly muted by this flute player who was playing the hit song from the Hindi film CID – ‘Yeh hai Bombay Meri jaan’. I personally found it to be quite intriguing for him to play the song in the heart of New York City. But, there was surely nothing to complain about it!

What more, after playing the first stanza, a singer popped up from no where and started singing the song as well. From their accent, they seemed to be Turkish (He pronounced the ‘j’ in jaan as one would pronounce ‘z’ in zebra, and he had a very prominent ‘h’ sound after almost every word that ended with a vowel – Quite a peculiar trait of Arabic/Persian/Turkish folks.). They were soon surrounded by a noticeably big crowd and what followed the performance, was an encore.

We enjoyed the song thoroughly, we cheered, we clapped and we tipped. After spending the rest of the evening at Times Square relishing how electricity can be burnt/wasted in the most beautiful way, when I returned back home, I logged in to check my e-mails. As I don’t get to read the Indian news paper daily, I have subscribed to some news letters and feeds. The very first news headline I read was of the great Thackery cub doing his thing again – this time to the Johar khandaan’s not so shining sitara, Karan. I wondered at the irony of the situation still humming the song that I had enjoyed a few hours back. The song is immortal. There is no way that ‘Yeh hai Mumbai Meri Jaan’ can make one tap his/her feet the same way as he/she would upon listening to ‘Yeh hai Bombay Meri Jaan’. With everything being ‘Mumbai’ed from Bombay, there still are some things which sound right just the way they are. Wake up, Raj!

The Dunkin’ Encounter

I had never really eaten a donut before coming to Uncle Sam’s home. Dunkin’ donuts is apparently world’s largest chain of baked products and they are not exaggerating when they punch their tag line – ‘America runs on Dunkin’.  It is the staple breakfast/snack of the urban and the suave, the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the famous and the infamous – everyone!

There’s a DD store right across the street from my office building and being smitten by the fragrance, the taste and the feel good freshness of the store, I do land up visiting the store quite often. Just a few days back, when I went on one of my usual jaunts to DD, the old lady at the counter suddenly chirped –

DD: Good evening sir, how can I help you?

Me: Can I have a small coffee with milk and sugar and. (before I could finish)

DD (Volume increased, garnished with a smile): A Boston crème donut?  🙂

Me (Starry eyed, not knowing how to react): Yes indeed. You guessed it right! 😀

I just did not know how elated I was to see someone predict my mind just so perfectly right half a world away. I just didn’t know how to thank her enough. I just didn’t know how I could express the ‘tadaaaaa’ moment. Well, I thanked her once again and asked her if I could treat her with a donut to which she agreed. On my recent two visits, I haven’t really found the need to place my order, the moment I step in with a smile, I know there’s someone ready with it!

I happened to narrate this encounter to one of my close friends who quipped back – ‘Yeah right. Everyone below poverty line knows you and everyone above knows me!’

I was yet again speechless. A different kind of a ‘tadaaaaa’ moment!  😛

That’s the way it is! So long..  🙂

Movie Review: Little Zizou

25 Sep

Abstraction and metaphoric references have been a very prominent form of creative expression in film making. I don’t really feel that abstraction is a difficult form of expression, both for the creator or the viewer. But, I strongly feel that the amount of lucidity in abstraction predominantly decides the way the director of a film wants the viewers to perceive it. For instance, No Smoking by Anurag Kashyap did come across as a very slick attempt at abstraction, but it seemed to be more absurd than abstract.


Little Zizou is a heartfelt attempt at showcasing the way every egotistical citizen, politician and nation devastates the life of the actual ingredient of the civilization – the common man. Sooni Taraporevala, the director of the film has narrated the tale with the backdrop of the Parsi community, which in a way is metaphorical. The animosity between two distinct individuals, results in the disintegration of the already fleeting Parsi community. This can be perceived as a miniature of the war between nations, the tug-of-war between two political parties or a mere squabble between siblings. Sooni surely comes across as a highly articulate and intellectual film maker.

The protagonist of the film, Xerxes, is a 11 year old die hard fan of the soccer star Zinedine Zidane, nick named Zizou and that is how Xerxes is also fondly called that way. Xerxes’s mother had passed away when he was small and he has been living with a belief that his mother is watching him from above. Although a stereotypical setup, the Parsi backdrop adds a certain level of freshness to it. His elder brother Artaxerxes has a typical ‘cool dude’ persona. He is shown to be an amazing caricaturist and an avid blogger (His blog’s name is ‘Bawa’s blog’. A contemporary and funky name indeed) who is struggling hard with a couple of friends to create a flight simulator out of a crashed cockpit. Their father, named Khodaiji (which means god-like) is a self proclaimed religious deity who fools the beliefs of the Parsi community for his own vested interests. His secret liaison with his assistant is detested by the kids. Their fraudulent mechanisms to extract money from the common Parsis irritates Artaxerxes enormously and that is how he gets inclined to the more progressive and modern clan of the society.

This progressive sect of the characters in the film fall in the Boman Presswala clan. Boman is shown to be a pragmatic, regular bawa next door who runs the only Parsi newspaper Rustom-e-Sohrab trying to unfold the reality of the crook masquerading as Khodaiji. Due to the closely knit communal setup, Boman and his wife have been shown to be very close to Xerxes and Artaxerxes. Artaxerxes dreams of having the love of his life in Zenobia, Boman’s elder daughter and Xerxes and Liana, the younger one, are as good friends as Revs and Nero.

This entire plot of the film in itself has a lot of freshness to offer. Being a semi-Mumbaikar, I could relate to the lazy lifestyle of the Parsi community which has been enunciated with such finesse in the film totally. In the deeper sense, each and every character in the film is yearning for a dream to be fulfilled and the story essentially revolves around the conflict between Boman and Khodaiji which crumbles the dreams of everyone around. At the end of the day, we all have a zillion dreams fulfilled and a zillion more that remain dreams. Yet, we feel content, we stay happy and don’t really blame our helplessness. May be we are all programmed that way. Doesn’t this really appear to be a miniature of what seems to be going on between India and Pakistan for decades over Kashmir, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for Cauvery and Anil and Mukesh Ambani over Reliance Gas?

The treatment of the film on the contrary is not really high voltage. It reminded me of the films made by Basu Chatterjee and Hrishikesh Mukherjee who tried to sketch the small but unconventional, mundane but vexing and troublesome yet helpless problems of the common Indian.

Little zizou has everything to offer in bits and parts – the comic timing of Boman Irani (Boman Presswala) and Lyanah Bativala (Liana), the wonderfully fantastic puppy love between Imaad Shah (Artaxerxes) and Zenobia (Dilshad Patel) which is marred by the hunk (John Abraham) Zenobia falls for and the sheer innocence of Jahan Bativala (Xerxes). It is an all-Parsi film, right from the filmmaker to the actors to the crew members and that may be one of the reasons for the film being so successful in throwing an authentic Parsi colour on the celluloid. The guest appearances by John Abraham and Cyrus Brocha are indeed a breath of fresh air. A well timed comedy by Kunal Vijaykar who plays one of Artaxerxes’s friends and the noteworthy performances by Zenobia Shroff as Boman’s caring yet strong hearted wife and Mahabanoo Mody-Kotwal as the eccentric grandma who is just not ready to relinquish her already falling resort house in a beach city do linger on the viewer’s mind for a long time in a joyful way. The unconventional background score by Bikram Ghosh is also praiseworthy, however, in the flow of the movie, it seems to go unnoticed.

Along with all these pluses, I do feel that the climax of the film should have been handled in a more dramatic way. The series of events that seem to bring everything fall in place to the end appear to be done in a jiffy, pretty much to maintain the length of the film. A few more minutes would not have done any bad to the film, only given the director enough scope to make the climax look like one.

Little zizou is a different film in more than one ways and it has not only fuelled the dormant new wave cinema in India, but has also brought a whole lot of good performers and artists on the forefront. Talking of cinematic metaphors, I would strongly recommend Katha Don Ganpatravanchi (The story of two ganpat rao’s), a marathi film by Arun Khopkar and the famous Chicago, by Rob Marshall are worth a watch. Although, Little Zizou seems technical lacking in front of these films, it is surely a true entertainer which has a message tagged along in a subtle way. Go for it!

My rating:smallstarsmallstarsmallstar

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