the simple indian life (wed)

Coffee Shop at Colaba

2 Girls at Gateway of India

Boy at Gateway of India

Mumbai Beach, Morning


the simple indian life (tues)

Help me out here.

Elizabeth Hurley is staying in the same hotel as I am.

Apparently, she’s getting married in India.

I’m just dying to meet her.

She’s simply gorgeous. And I love that accent.

Every time I’m taking the lift, I’m just hoping that the door will open to have her standing in front of me.

So I’m thinking: What do you say to the most beautiful woman in the world?

I don’t want to say like How are you or How’s your day. You don’t say that to beautiful women right?

If I tell her she’s beautiful, it’s just gonna come out cheesy man. It never worked for me in the past.

You know what, if you don’t come out something for me, I think the best option is to speak Cantonese when I see her.

She won’t know a word I’m saying. She’ll just think that I’m exotic, cute and funny. She’ll probably just greet me a bit but that won’t work cos she thinks I don’t understand English.

So, just to overcome that language barrier, she’ll probably reach out and kiss me.

And maybe give me her room number.

A man can dream.

the simple indian life (mon)

Sorry for the lack of updates. But been quite busy.

Passed by Regal Cinema, a famous landmark in Bombay. It was showing Basic Instinct and Fahrenheit 9/11.

What an interesting combination.

Personally, I think both films are showing too much bush.

I dined with Bollywood last night.

And it was none other than Mrs Jaya Bachchan, herself an actress but also known as the wife of Amitabh Bachchan, the God of Indian cinema.

Unfortunately, she was at the next table.

We were at Indigo in Bombay, voted one of the best 60 restaurants in the world.

And deservedly so, because the food was truly amazing.

Over in the adjoining room, there were flashbulbs going off every couple of seconds and ENG cameramen furiously shooting away.

That was some serious flesh parade.

Apparently, I got some of the action too when someone aimed the camera right at me.

Obviously, they cannot resist my charming good looks and beautiful skin.

Bollywood, here I come.

the simple indian life (sun)

Blame it on Indira Gandhi.

That’s the message I got after reading today’s Sunday Times article.

On the plane to India.

According to the writer, it was Gandhi’s dishonest dealings that “stymied a huge country of great human capital and vast natural resources from becoming a genuine economic superpower.”

Gandhi’s corrupt ways started a cycle in which:

“every official – from the lowliest of peons to Cabinet ministers – began demanding their share. To submit a file to a ministry in order to set up, say, a shoe factory, you had to give baksheesh to the peon so that he could relay it to the clerk who registered that file. The clerk had to be paid to move the file to his supervisor and so on”

I will not comment on this until I do more research but here’s something interesting.

After I touched down, we went to rent some camera and lights. And so we found this guy who had a camera available for rental.

But he doesn’t have a tripod.

Apparently, he’s got to get it from his brother.

And he doesn’t have a lighting kit, so we went somewhere to see some friends of his.

We liked what we saw but he couldn’t get us the price because those friends of his needed to check with their brother.

Or brothers.

I heard another story of a cameraman who wanted to rent a light in India. But the guy who owned the light didn’t have the barndoor that usually comes with it.

Guess what?

He had to get the barndoor from his brother.

And that’s not the punch line.

The barndoor didn’t even fit the light.

(If you don’t know how this is like, imagine this. You want to rent a computer. The guy who owns the CPU needs to get the monitor from a brother. The mouse from another brother. And the keyboard from another brother. And to top it off, the mouse is the wrong sort that doesn’t connect to this CPU)

How all this relates to the Sunday Times article, I don’t know.

I just know that the sisters here are missing all the action.

I’m off

Dear Faithful Readers,

Sorry for the lack of update on Friday, since I try to write every weekday. Been a busy week.

I’m off to India. I will try to have mini-updates everyday, so stay tuned.

Have a great week ahead!

– Isaiah

Live a little

I saw Diane Keaton naked last night.

The rest of Something’s Gotta Give was equally lovely.

Diane Keaton plays Erica Barry, an uptight, divorced writer who falls in love with Harry Sanborn (Jack Nicholson).

In the following scene, Erica tells Harry she loves him. Harry likes her too but being a man, is afraid to commit.

HARRY: Can you cut me a little slack? My life’s been turned upside down.
ERICA: Yeah. Mine too.
HARRY: Then let’s each get our bearings.
ERICA: I don’t want my bearings. I’ve had my bearings my whole fucking life.

This Sunday, I’m flying off to Mumbai for work.

My boss encouraged me to extend my stay for a few more days. Keenly aware of its Bollywood connections, he chose to describe my trip there as a “homecoming”.

Curious choice of words.

The last time I was there, I had an entourage. If I extend my stay, I will be unchaperoned.

I am used to traveling alone and exploring strange, new worlds. Oddly enough, this time, I am not too sure whether I am ready for the clutter and chaos that is India.

My little excursion to the Indian embassy did nothing to subdue the niggling fear.

I took queue number 278 and waited to collect my visa. The collection counter was supposed to be in business at 4:15.

Alas, it wasn’t the case yesterday and you can smell the tension in the air.

It was close to 5 when the doors opened. That brought some measure of happiness for some.

It was short-lived.

Sometime between 5:15 and 5:30, the queue counter stopped working.

And Man became animals.

The whole jungle swamped in front of the counter. The cheetahs and the hares at the forefront. The tortoises and the snails, who looked like they had too much curry, were far behind.

I was in the mediocre middle.

Someone shouted, “They are still stuck in the 40s”. Another waved his ticket angrily, “I paid for express”. Others suffered silently.

It was another 15 minutes before I left that piece of India.

I am thankful that I live in an orderly and efficient society. But there are many times I feel that I am missing out on some of the fun, some of the life, some of the vitality.

I think Erica Barry must have felt the same way. Enough of bearings, enough of structure, enough of order, enough of comfort, enough of the same old boring lifestyle.

I haven’t made up my mind yet about staying longer in India. But I probably will.

It’s time to introduce a little mess, a little chaos, a little unpredictability, a little disorder into my life.

It’s time to live a little.

John Peel

John Peel died Monday evening, aged 65.

I must confess I was a bigger fan of Dave Lee Travis than John Peel. Nevertheless, in the long lonely days of my latchkey existence, the John Peel Show was often in the background.

Robert Hanks describes perfectly what I remembered of this man:

“People who spent their adolescence tuned into Peel’s Radio 1 show received an extensive education in modesty, kindness and gentle sarcasm, and learned that an appreciation of the music of rebellion and hate doesn’t necessarily preclude grace of manner and tolerance: that being nice was kind of cool.”

“But over at least three decades he mattered to his listeners not only because of the records he played, but because of the way he talked between the records (it is important that for Peel it always was between records: it would have struck him as a gross discourtesy, to band and listener, to talk over the music).”

John Peel was a man who loved music, stayed out of the way, and played his records. He’d rather let the music speak for itself.

In the same way, I will stop writing and let you hear him yourself.

I leave you with this:

“The Monday evening show the weekend after the Hillsborough tragedy was a piece of broadcasting I’ll never forget.

He said nothing at the start of his show. He just played a record. A long slow record. It was Aretha Franklin’s heart breaking gospel version of You’ll Never Walk Alone.

I looked through the glass from my adjacent studio and John was just weeping. Silently. So were all of us – his listeners.

Nothing more needed to be said. ”