the simple indian life (fri)

Mumbai is a city of opposites.

For a city of great beauty, there is appalling pollution.

For all the glamour and sophistication of the Bollywood and the business community, there is the omnipresent commonwealth of the poor, hungry and homeless.

For a city of such illustrious heritage, there are indisputable signs of its progress.

I did not have much opportunity to walk around the city.

But when I did, I liked what I saw.

Particularly, the European-Indian architecture of its public buildings.

Call me old-fashioned and archaic. But I like my public buildings grand, primeval and with strong links to the past.

I don’t know whether you have seen the design of the new Supreme Court in Singapore, designed by Sir Norman Foster. I think someone sums it best by saying, “Who put the UFO there?”

I know most of us will not have a personal use of the Supreme Court. But imagine that one day, you are accused of a crime you did not commit. And the nation’s highest court is your last remaining hope. At a time when you’re desperate for justice, for decency, for respect, how would you feel standing before this extra-terrestrial, wok-like building?

I think I rather stay in my cell, write my farewell letters, have a superb last supper and say to the Man in the Sky:

Beam me up, Scotty.


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.