Tuesday, February 3, 2009


As the Raven flies…

You bet! You read the heading right. Raven is the name of helicopter flown by Captain Mody, around Mumbai with the winners of Hindustan Times’s,‘India’s Super60’-contest.

January 26, being Monday-holiday was an extension of lazy-Sunday. As usual I picked up Hindustan Times from the stack of newspapers and extracted HT-Café. ‘Super60’, whopper response to the ‘INDIA COOL CONTEST’ printed next to HT-Café’s masthead caught my eyeballs.

But of course, I had emailed an article describing the sixty things and personalities, which make India cool. Now over to HT-Café’s Super60 list from A to Z. I started comparing my selection list with the published icons…

‘Abhinav Bindra, A R Rahman, Aravind Adiga, APJ Abdul Kalam, Ayurveda, Azim Premji, Backwaters of Kerala…. The list went on. I was like… oh yes! It’s all mine. I scanned the center spread. The Red-stripe at the end declared ‘FIVE WINNING ENTRIES’. Five? How’s that? On 21st January, Hindustan Times had advertised the ‘Super60’ contest as ‘Two lucky winners will be treated to a chopper-ride around the city and have their articles featured in HT-Café.

Guess what? My name was there on that Red-stripe at 3rd position. Naturally I was excited to be the one among five winners but the chopper-ride was promised only for two lucky winners.

Imagine, winning the contest but not getting ‘the prize’. I mean HT won’t be giving the chopper-ride to the 3rd winner, when they had already declared it for two winners. The chopper-ride around the city costs Rs. 20,000/- per person. Even though I was feeling on ‘Cloud 9’ already, I couldn’t break the news to my friends. What could I have told them? “Look! I have won the contest but I won’t be getting the prize”. How hyper is that?

I spent the whole day checking emails. Next day, I received the congratulatory call from Hindustan Times about the chopper-ride. On Saturday, Captain Mody warmly welcomed the winners at Juhu aerodrome.

Captain Mody acquainted us with the route, we would fly and the swanky helicopter named ‘Raven’. Raven was so ritzy that all of us went photo-frenzy. We clicked close-ups, blow-ups, and group-photos with Raven as the poster-stud in the background.

Finally at 10.30 am, Raven, the black beauty took off to give us the ‘Out of blue’ experience. The ride was splendiferous to say the least.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Yes! Mumbai smells. When the train leaves Bandra station, chugs towards Mahim, the dark salty creek odour overpowers all the Mogras, Chamelis worn by the ladies in the compartment.

That day was no different. Our train had just left Bandra station. I was expecting the usual creek odour, even crinkled my nose in anticipation. But hey, wait! What’s this? Abracadabra? Has the creek water been replaced with Tata’s eau-de-cologne? Or my nose been dreaming Premium’s eau-de-cologne?

The source of cologne stilettoed in the compartment and took the opposite seat. Instinctively my stare followed her from toe, stilettos actually to her head shimmering with highlighted, silky hair.

In between there were micro-skirt, spaghetti –top, manicured nails-painted black a-la-Aishwarya Rai in Dhoom2, tattooed shoulder blade, wine red juicy lips, diamond studded upturned nose. I can go on and on, describing the PYT (Pretty Young Thing). Suffice it to say that the total effect / the end result was straight out of Vogue-cover.

I was not the only one mesmerized but many other ladies were also darting sideway glances in her direction. Some of them were envious, some jealous and few were pure aesthetic like yours truly. I heard one lady whispering to other, loud enough to be heard by the whole compartment- ‘Aaj kal ki ladkiya! Sab make-up ka deekhava hai. Sachcheka toh zamanaa raha nahin’. Many of the ladies nodded in assent.

The journey continued.. Mahim..Matunga. The train was entering the Dadar station and suddenly there was cursing, crying and shouting at the door. The visual that accompanied the sound was somewhat matching to Meera Nair’s movie ‘Salaam Bombay’. An urchin boy, 8 to 10 years old was crying. His face was smeared with red-sticky ghootkha juice. Apparently a bully urchin boy had spit the ghootkha on that little boy’s face, just for the sake of fun and then jumped out of the running train

‘tchk .. Tchk.. Poor boy’ echoed through the entire compartment. The PYT got busy extracting the water bottle from her tote bag. She sashayed straight towards the boy. Washed his sodden, snooty face. Wiped it clean with tissues and coolly returned to her seat. She resumed reading “Brida” by Paulo Coelho.