Saturday, February 25, 2006

Rio - The Met Lounge, Mumbai

Rio - The Met Lounge
7/11 Meera Apartment
Juhu Versova Link Road
7 Bungalows
Andheri (W)
Mumbai 400 061

Tel : 5602 1389, 5604 7177

Read the Review here

The Rice Boat, Mumbai

The Rice Boat
Aram Nagar
2 JP Road
Andheri (W)
2633 6688, 2632 6688

Read the Review here

Juhu Book Club Meets Altaf Tyrewala, Author of "No God in Sight"

I had exchanged a few mails with Sonya about the Juhu Book club. I was eager to meet other book lovers & thought that this was a good opportunity.

She told me, they were reading Altaf Tyrewala's, "No God in Sight"

Time Out Readers would be familiar with his name. He has previously written about his uncle's bookstore & the Chetan Bhagath phenomenon.

Since this was my first Meeting with the club, I wasn't sure what to expect. Intellectual high-brows, Society chatterati, bored housewives, young preppy kids... But the chance of meeting the author was not one to be easily ignored.

And I am so glad that I went. The group is quite informal and all share a love of books. Quite a few are writers too, struggling to get their writings in print or established journalists. It was a good group & I knew that this was one Book Club, I would love to be a member of. Provided they didnt make me read "Roots" or "Papillon". These are 2 books I've started reading over 20 times & given up each time, sometimes even as far as 300 pages down the line.

It was good to be able to interact with Altaf himself. He immediately endeared himself to me when he recognised my name as one of the finalists of the Caferati Flash Fiction Contest He furthered it when he said that as one of the judges, he had fought hard for my story A mild mannered gentleman he was actually apologising when anyone said that there was something they couldn't agree with him on.

A lot of the members, felt the book was depressing especially since it mirrored harsh realities that take place in front of us, just that we do our best to turn our eyes away. "No God in Sight" drags your sight right back.

Altaf said that the journey to publishing wasn't as hard as it sometimes is because "The abortionists" voice had been printed in the newspaper early on & interest was evinced by the necessary powers that be. He also said that very often he reached dead ends with the tale and had to go back and start all over again.

Very often when we read a book, we don't realise how much the author has to struggle to get his words out right & to get printed & picked up off the bookshelves.

We ended by deciding that the next months book would be Philip Pullman. The first or the entire Darkman Trilogy.

Check Out
Review in The Hindu
Review By Sonya
Chandrahas Chowdhury's Interview with Altaf Tyrewala

My take : It was a very different style of writing & that itself was an instant draw. The plot seems to underline helplessness in everyone's life when there truly seems to be No God in Sight. Its not a dark view of life, but a realistic one.

India's piece of the Renaissance in Ruin

The silence rings through the waist high weeds-green, dense and prickly. I am entangled in the vegetation and yet I walk forward. Thorns pierce through my socks as I brush off the pollen. A rash breaks out as my arms glow red, I know scratching will not help but I do not fight the stimuli. I have realised that in nature’s eye humans are an invasive species. A bulbul watches us from her ivory tower in the mango tree laughing at our endeavour to fight nature’s wall of green. I let myself fall down on the lush wild green grass, close my eyes and think, “I am in Bassein, in search for haunted forts, fallen churches and a lost Portuguese principality-India’s piece of the Renaissance.”

Vasai as we know it now is the site of the ruins of the Portuguese citadel of Bassein. What were once churches, villas and buildings that supported more than 10,000 colonialists is all but overgrown moss ridden stone. I do not know why the Portuguese chose this place to be their imperial capital in India - may be it reminded them of the lavadas of Madiera. If history had played out differently this could have been the site of Bombay [well they would have probably called it something else] and we would have all spoken Portuguese instead of English.

View the entire Photo Commentary on the Vasai Fort here

Friday, February 24, 2006

English Play THE OPEN COUPLE : NCPA , 4 & 5th March

Bombay Theatre Company is staging shows of its highly successful
English play THE OPEN COUPLE , written by Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo
& France Rame at NCPA Experimental theatre on 4th ( 7 pm ) & 5th
March ( 6.30 pm )

The Open Couple ( 90 mins , English Comedy Play )

A Comedy about a couple where the husband wants a " open
relationship " wherein he is free to see other women and claims to
accept the fact , if his wife also does the same. However it slowly
becomes clear that the arrangement works only from the husbands point
of view as long as he has other relationships but when his wife does
likewise he breaks down and wants to go back to the conventional
couple situation. When he discovers that his wife has an (invented)
lover, a Nobel Prize-winning nuclear physicist and rock musician, he
tries commits suicide with a hair-drier in the bath

Set in a lively environment , the play travels through a series of
flashbacks and sets the whole story in a extremely hilarious and yet
thinking style which bears the signature of Dario Fo all over.
Extremely entertaining and a bold play The Open Couple has been
performed by several groups all over the world and is now making its
debut in Bombay .

The Writers

World renowned and winner of the Nobel Prize, Dario Fo is well known
for his huge entertainment value coupled with apt social comment .
Franca Rame is his partner in writing and commands equally high
status. The couple has worked for the past several decades worldwide
and written , directed and enacted performances all over the world.


Director : Dinesh Singh

Production Designer : Shiekh Sami Usman


Nazneen Madan
Jagdish Rajpurohit

Tickets : Rs 150 available directly at NCPA

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Literary groups in Mumbai

Guess you might have read last months Time Out which spoke of literary groups in Mumbai. Caferati was one among them. India Today too had an article on the same topic in the Simply Mumbai section. I've just compiled a list from the two. Spoken to a couple of moderators and got a little more details. Thought I would share it, since I've already done some ground work.

Blithe Spirits
Group of PG Wodehouse enthusiats who meet in Worli on last Sunday of each month.

Contact :

Literary minded folks who meet online at
This months real world meeting is at Kaifi Azmi Park, Juhu at 4:00PM on the 26th.
No membership fee.

Juhu Book Club
Monthly reading group. Free to join. Just need to love Reading. This month's book is "No God in Sight" by Altaf Tyrewala. Meeting 24th Feb at 7:30 with the author. You can check details of the other books we have read at

No membership fee.

Contact :

A Poetry focussed group that meets at the Sunken Gardens at the NCPA on First & Third Tuesdays of every month at 5:30 pm

No membership fee.

To be a member fo this group, email

Contact :

Indian chapter of International association of Poets, Playwrights, editors, Essayists & Novelists. They hold regular readings and workshops. You can be an Associate member or a full member. No qualifications to be an Associate Member. . One has to have 2 published works for full membership.

The group meets once a month at Theosophy Hall. 3rd Floor. Marine Lines.
Membership fee is currently being restructured.

Contact :
Or Tel : 22039024

The Poetry Circle
A workshop for both established poets & budding versifiers. They meet in the Fort area on the Second Friday of each month at the Kitab Mahal (4th Floor) D N Road.

To be a member fo this group, email
No membership fee.

Contact :

The Cha Writers Club & Booklovers Club
The Cha Writers club is open to all. To join the Booklovers club one has to be above 18. Both groups meet once a month at the Oxford Bookstore, Apeejay house, 3, Dinsha Vachcha Road, Churchgate.

No membership fee.

To be a member of this group, email at

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Discarded Cigarette Butts, Music, Fusion, Goa1000 Supari

Akshay Writes :

An additional sound resonated in the background as I walked past Capital Cinema. It wasn't the usual cacophony of passing traffic or the buzz from the evening commuters walking to the station or even from the bunch of Jhunka Bharkar stalls that line the street peddling everything from Vada-pavs to Indian Chinese. What is that sound? Can it be music I thought to myself in disbelief. Walking towards Azad Maidan the sound became more distinct till my eyes confirmed it, yes music it is. The Giant dustbowl that is Azad Maidan, which is usually inhabited by hawkers, stray dogs and cricket enthusiasts, was converted (a part of it at least) into a stage with lights and everything.

Even though my ears were throbbing and the bass was slightly on the higher side the music was enjoyable. If you're wondering , the Pakistani Rock Star Ali Azmat was playing. If you have not heard of Ali Azmat, he is the lead singer of the well known Paki rock band Junoon. Songs like "Sayonee" got automatic lip service from the crowd. Speaking of the crowd they where divided in two distinct types 1 - who stood at the front and knew all the lyrics to the all songs and made strange hand gestures in the air and 2 - curious public who just wanted a piece of the action. Oh I love free concerts.

Read the description & see the photos

B.E.S.T बेस्ट

I leaned precariously on the red coarsely plastered length of wall that made up the front perimeter of the bus stop. A bespectacled man nudges his elbow into my upper torso as he turns the crumpled pages of his evening newspaper. I ignore him and look around me. People around me are engrossed in various activities; like my neighbour here - who is staring open mouthed at today’s Mid-day mate. Or the giggling girls on the pavement behind me chirping about some song they like on the radio as they band their heads together and share a pair of earphones. The middle aged lady in a green sari is juggling linen bags from one hand to another as her shoulders sway till she decides to balance them on her chappals. A line of rickshaws wait patiently and the rickshaw-wallahs peer out at the crowd with a strange longing, trying to make eye contact. I too stand there patiently but my mood quickly turns belligerent as beads of sweat appear on my brow. This is the time of year-sometime around mid-February, when Bombay's pleasant weather dissolves into its usual hot and sultry experience. Oh well that’s life at a bus stop: far more relaxed than a railway station but then again the bus is a far more relaxed medium on the whole.

Read the entire Photo Commentary Here

Monday, February 13, 2006

Caferati + British Council Flash Fiction Contest

Caferati conducted 2 contests, Flash Fiction and SMS Poetry as part of the Kala Ghoda Festival.

The Theme for Flash fiction was "Black Horse" and an entire story had to be told in 300 words.
For The SMS poetry contest the theme was "Love" & it had to fit into one sms (160 characters)

Read the shortlisted SMS Poetry Entries

The winners were

1st, Rohinton Daruwala

2nd, devashish makhija

3rd, Rinku Dutta

You can read their poems on the shortlist page, against these codenumbers: 53, 18 and 32 respectively.

Read the shortlisted Flash Fiction

The winners were

1st, Misha Singh

2nd, Annie Zaidi

3rd, Pawan Sony, Shiladitya Chakraborty and Anita Vasudeva

You can read their stories on the shortlist page, against these code numbers: 57, 71, 30, 89 and 77 respectively

The judges scoring can be seen at (SMS) and (FF)

(I was one of the finalists for the flash fiction but scored quite miserably on the second round of judging...)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The One Tree Music Festival

The One Tree Music Festival
Promoted & Produced by Oranjuice Entertainment & Fountain Head

Feb 11th
The Earth Wind & Fire Experience featuring Al McKay
Kool & The Gang

Had an absolutely brilliant time.

Courtesy a friend, we got passes for the Johnny Walker Lounge.

The entire expereince was very different form all the other concerts that I have attended. The previous ones being Rock & all.

There was hardly crowd of around 750 people. So there was no pushing, shoving & jostling. Entry was peaceful. Everyone was strolling around casually. Since no matter where you stood you could easily see the stage or the screen.

Being at the lounge was an added bonus. Free Johnny Walker cocktails or "On the Rocks" plus some bite sized munchies. But the biggest bonus was the cordoned off viewing gallery on either side of the Controls. Although it was a way off from the stage, it was slightly elevated & the platform on the left was, Hold Your Breath... Absolutely empty. Saw Sanjay Dutt on the Right Hand Side, so entire junta & press was in a feeding frenzy on the other side. But we had our own quiet private concert.

Preferred this lounge to the DNa organised ones which are to the left of the stage. But guess it isn't practical to have a lounge in the middle of your 7000/- & 5000/- rupee ticket holders.

Brilliant experience. Wish I could have watched the Blues Brothers tomorrow, but you'll soon find out why I couldn't.....

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

My Batchmate's gonna be On Air Tomorrow

Hey this is one of my batchmates. Prashant Vadhyar who has got his own musical outfit. Do listen to him. He is great !!!

U can read more about him on My Other Blog

If u like what u hear, U can mail Prash on

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Prashant Vadhyar
Date: Feb 8, 2006 11:20 AM

Shameless Self Promotion!!!

If you're in Mumbai, hear my song "My Baby Is A Fine Wine" on GO92.5FM
tomorrow 9th Feb at the following times -




Musika Originale

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Myriad Images At A Mumbai Barber

Akshay Writes :

A glass store front, rimmed with wooden blue welcomes me. Etched in red on the glass are the styles and fashions the 'Hair Cutting Saloon' deals in. Barber shops in India come in various avatars viz. the corner nahee [barber] who sets up his unpolished mirror and rickety chair under some tall tree or a puccha [brick] barber establishment that employs several such masters of the trade. Scissors, brushes, stainless steel blades, and circular foldable plastic razors are the versatile tools of their trade. Inside men wait patiently on worn-out rexine sofas, hiding their faces behind a local newspaper or a glossy gossip-spilling film magazine. As I enter the men make space for me, bunching up together almost by reflex and one of them hands me an old issue a film magazine.

Read entire article & view Photoblog here

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Kala Ghoda Festival

February 4th-12th 2006

Every February, the pedestrian plaza around Rampart Row near the
Jehangir Art Gallery comes alive for this festival celebrating Kala
Ghoda, south Mumbai's lively arts district. The setting is one of
Mumbai's finest, surrounded by a wealth of historic buildings such as
Elphinstone College, the David Sassoon Library and the Watson Hotel.

A rich programme of music and dance is promised. Expect performances
from Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (pictured), a Pakistani singer, Charlie
Mariano, a jazz legend, and Eric Trufaz from the France and British band
Shri Live. History buffs should also look out for the special heritage
walks organised as part of the festivities.

The Kala Ghoda Association has information about the festival.

If you want to download the XL worksheet, visit