Myboli? Tell me that it’s true.

Yes, Mumbai is the name of the city. Yes, we still insist that Bombay is an emotion. Yes, Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra.
But is it, really?

We’ve put a couple of centuries between us and the founding of the city. So, just like all our peers, not a lot should have changed.
Rome got through a series of rulers, but still managed to keep its Italian alive.
New York and London witness an influx of millions of émigrés every year. Even so, the buzz of whatever the immigrants got with them is quickly drowned by the tidal wave that is English.

Then, why is Marathi dissipating from the very substance of the city?
Is it just too weak to stand up to Sindhi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Bengali, and Hindi? Or is it too accepting of all the others who invade her home?
It has let everyone believe that Every Maharashtrian Guy In The World punctuates every other sentence with Jai Maharashtra and Aai zavadya, and that the Marathi populace eats nothing but Kande pohe and Vada pav.

We’ve now reached the stage where the Maayboli is treated like a fungal infection. It’s allowed to flourish in patches, and frowned upon if and when it tries to spread.

Some enclaves of Bombay are still trying to keep the fire burning. Dadar, Thane, Girgaum, and also Dombivali still have a Marathi thing going on. Sustained populations of Marathis know their culture, and have learnt to respect it.
Many families of the middle class Marathidom still want nothing more than a moment of peace, and Zee Marathi.
Yet, we also have the next generation waiting eagerly for Mondays and Thursdays, when iisuperwomanii unleashes her next video on YouTube.

So, what now?
Maybe, now we wait. We wait for there to be Marathi AIBs, Marathi Honey Singhs, and Marathi Arnab Goswamis.
Hopefully, that will get tomorrow’s adults awake, and ready to smell the Sol Kadhi.
Meanwhile, I just hope that Central Railway continues playing Labhale Amhas Bhagya on Matunga station. I couldn’t have been happier.

Please wait, while I get all dreamy and philosophical.

It’s almost 3 months now.
I’ve made it to the college I could only dream about. You could also say that I have made friends. Somehow.
I really don’t know how these people tolerate my ramblings about country capitals and spell checks.

Even so, a lot has changed since my last post.
My cat has stopped behaving like a mute idiot and now makes weird, kittenny mews very unlike his similarly built peers.
I have realised that one’s academic status can full well become one’s identity. Introductions these days in college HAVE TO have at least one mention of my exam rank. Merely calling it awkward is a crime.
I can also manage to cook a meal now; without whining, breaking down, giving up, or all of these at once.

I am an adult now. And this means that I’m expected to behave like one. Drat.

I’m also an “American Return”. Yes, this is the exact phrase which the women of any middle class Marathi family use to describe people who’ve been to The Promised Land and back. I don’t know why, but they have started to alter their demeanour around me like pot-bellied uncles do near Sunny Leone (and I’m not even remotely as sexy).
Maybe these ladies think I’m going to marry their daughters right after I’m done recounting my visit to the US.
YEAH, LIKE THAT’S EVER GOING TO HAPPEN.

Meanwhile, bring on the Ferrero Rochers! Besan laddoos are so passé.

There are a very few things more intense than shopping with your friend.
Yes, that’s sarcasm. If you didn’t get it.

This just dawned on me after a recent experience in Forever 21. I always regarded shopping as good; not as terribly boring as it is stereotyped. But Namrata, you massacred all my whims.

With what started off as an innocent request, I accompanied her. After about half an hour of staring at mannequins and random women, the boredom got to me. Then was the phase of “Did you like this? No? What about this one?”
And then when she says no yet again; and again, and again, one really has to resist the urge of slapping your best friend right in the middle of a store.

A tip for you guys, who are naïve enough to accompany a frenzied female for shopping:
Don’t go. Just don’t.

I’ll assure you, your patience will wear thin; and the desperation will drive you to great (and horribly perverted) lengths like lifting up skirts of mannequins to peek underneath.

Shopping is disgusting. There. I said it.

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The internet supports my argument.

Do mannequins wear underwear?

Earl Grey and English Breakfast

Each and every region has its ‘ispeshal’ beverage. Germany has beer, Russia has vodka, South America has coffee, and India has tea.
Merely calling it ‘tea’ is an understatement. It is chai. Humare bharat ki shaan hai woh. 😀
Yeah, I know; tea is originally Chinese, and is publicised by the Brits. But in essence, it is Indian.
Wherever you go, however high, or far; this chai will never let you go. She’s like that irritating insurance salesgirl, who calls repeatedly in spite of you telling her to stop.
She’s buttery and fat in Ladakh. She’s pink in Kashmir. She’s from Darjeeling, the Nilgiris, and Assam. But you just can’t just generalise her. She’s omnipresent.

My point in all this is that today, tea drinkers are dwindling. With the advent of high end coffee shops, tea is beginning to lose her importance. Yes, coffee is great. But she’s a moody bitch, who will give you a caffeine jolt, and then a slump like never before. Tea won’t set expectations that high. Still, whatever she sets, she fulfils. I don’t even remember having a slump after drinking a cup of tea. And mind you; my cup of tea is humongous. It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. (Pardon the pun.)

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Cutting chai. Just perfect.

So, the next time you’re asked “Tea or coffee?”, I’m sincerely hoping that you’ll pick tea. And go for English Breakfast. Orange Pekoe. Hand picked in Darjeeling.
As for the sugar in your tea, that is a story for another day.

Khari ki story

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Worth the hype.

What makes khari biscuits so endearing?
They’re just little rectangles of puff pastry that you eat with tea. Nothing extraordinary, or elaborate.

Even the sadakchhap chaiwala of Mumbai knows about them. Yet, they have that aura of sophistication, of daintiness, paralleling to the socialites of SoBo. (Visualise Maya Sarabhai, all those of you who’ve never met one 😛 )

Maybe it’s the careful handling it needs, in order to eat it without crushing, that gives it that extra outline of subtlety.
That’s also why little children despise the khari (Me too, because I always had to clean up more than what I actually ate)

But now, I’m a purist. Eating only butter khari, and not those abominations they call ‘malai’ or ‘jeera khari’.

And, it should be eaten only with tea.
I’ll repeat if you didn’t hear me.
It should be eaten only with tea. Not coffee, or milk, or anything else.

If anyone is still wondering what this khari biscuit is, and why I am gushing over it; then visit an Irani café and ask for Khari biscuits. I’ll promise you won’t stop eating them.

Dreaming about you

The other day, I was dreaming. Dreaming about you.
Yes, you; with the white feathers and salmonella. Yes, chicken, you.

You were a kebab, then a biryani. Then you changed into a shwarma. You shifted shape; luring me into your trap.
But suddenly, I realised . And I woke up. End of story. 😦

What I realised is that I am a vegetarian. By choice. (An ovalactovegetarian, to be precise. 😛 ) Weekends at our place are usually marked by me quarrelling for a vegetarian option during lunch, and my father and brother trying to convince me that it is a waste of money. But hey, it’s a free world, right?

I am a vegetarian by choice, a dying breed; hunted down by temptations of KFC, chicken tikka masala and that Maharaja Mac at McDonald’s. Studies prove that vegetarians are smarter; live longer, healthier, and more fruitful lives than you carnivores.

And to those of you asking where we get our protein from? It’s from substances called daals (lentils, for you firangs).
If you want to convert, or want to argue, I’m open. >:)

A Brown Valentine

It’s that time of the year!
When you start seeing red, without anyone punching you in the face. Red roses, red hearts, red clothes and red lipstick marks on white shirts. Red is everywhere!

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Personally, I think Valentine’s day is a sham, started by gift collections and flower vendors to fleece those ignorant cheapos who think red roses are romantic.
I have a solution, like I always do.
For all you corny couples and those chocolate junkies (calling yourself a chocoholic is horrible) like me, I present my idea:
Let’s make Valentine’s day brown. With chocolate. Yes. Muuuuch better than roses at least.