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Posts Tagged ‘Mumbai’

Stranger – WordPress Writing Prompts

Posted by Sowmya on April 29, 2014

Have you ever had a random encounter or fleeting moment with a stranger that stuck with you?

That’s the prompt for April 24 but I thought of giving it a shot today.

This one particular encounter with a stranger has stuck with me for over 12 years now. It’s surprising because I was just a mute spectator to the event and not an active participant. By yet I can’t seem to forget that incident and think of it often.

It was during my CA articleship time. I used to take the public bus or BEST, as we called it in Mumbai to my place of work everyday. Since it was one of the more popular routes, the buses were crowded. And when I say crowded I mean ‘don’t know what my feet are stamping and can’t feel my arm’ crowded. It was the routine everyday and I was used to it. My Walkman made things a little easier to bear.

This lady was sitting with a couple of bags on her lap. She was probably in her mid thirties and dressed in a sari. She wore spectacles and her hair tightly combed into a plait. Another lady was standing near where the first lady sat and had a large bag in her hand. She was holding on to the bar at the roof of the bus for support and for dear life too, I guess. Her bag was constantly hitting the face of the lady sitting, who frowned. I saw it and shrugged. It was a situation you could not blame either. One could say, at least she got to sit. So what if a bag hit your face a couple of times. Another point of view could be even if one is standing, you should not inconvenience others. This continued for a few minutes. Then the lady who was sitting addressed the standing lady and offered to hold her bag for her.

I was amazed. She actually turned a problematic situation into one of kindness. She helped not only herself but also the other lady. Her empathy won the day for both of them. This could have easily been a situation that could have ended in a shouting match between the two with ugly words to boot. But this lady turned it all around.

I was so inspired by her. Later, during my work years, I often thought how I could turn the problem into a kindness or an act of goodwill and make it a win-win for both me and the other person. Thank you lady, whoever and wherever you are. Can’t forget this incident ever.

Posted in I BELIEVE, INSIGHTFUL?, MUMBAI MERI JAAN | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bullet point feelings on Starbucks coming in India

Posted by Sowmya on October 22, 2012

Yes! Starbucks is in India finally and in Mumbai particularly. Aren’t we all excited? Mr. Schultz was on all the news channels all weekend with Mr.Tata and expressed hope and joy for this new chapter in our brew history.

  • On one side, I am excited. I have always enjoyed the Starbucks experience, the few times I had a chance to.
  • Though my head tells me that it is just a cafe, there is something very cozy and comfortable about a Starbucks that I have not found in other mass scale cafes.
  • I hate few things more than instant coffee ( and that is saying a lot). Most coffee experiences outside home have been an endurance test of the worst kind.
  • But Starbucks gave me a wonderful ‘Chai Tea Latte’ which reminds you of the masala tea back home. That’s another reason I like Starbucks
  • Had I been in Mumbai, I would surely not have been one of those to rush to it on opening day. The crowd defeats the entire purpose of going to a cafe.
  • But I am surprised at the extreme emotions it seems to have generated.
  • One one hand, are the people who actually stood close to an hour for a cup of coffee.
  • And on the other, are those who are decrying these people because they are blindly following all things American.
  • I am finding it hard to be on either side.
  • I would rather go to a relatively quiet cafe (preferably the single brand, stand alone, hole in wall ones) but I can surely understand those who went to Horniman Circle last weekend.
  • It is an exciting event especially when SB respects the Indian palette to introduce ‘Elaichi mava cake’.
  • And lets face it, the snacks at CCD suck! Totally!
  • I would go to SB for the cakes even if not for the coffee

Come soon to Bangalore!!!

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There is a first time…..

Posted by Sowmya on October 24, 2009

…for everything. For me, this is the first election that I did not vote. I have been extremely sincere every time –be it the Lok Sabha or Assembly polls –to go and cast my vote. Most times, my family and I were the first people in our polling booth.

But this time, since I am not in Mumbai now, I did not vote in this year’s Assembly polls. Feels horrible! Really! I can hear all you cynics out there saying – what’s the point? What are we going to change? Whoever is voted to power will do the same thing and ruin the nation, etc etc. But as a citizen of a democracy, it is my duty and my right to vote. I should cast a vote and pay my taxes. I know my vote may not make a difference and my taxes probably go into the deep pockets of those who I vote for.

But I perform these duties with the hope that some day, someone will change all this. It may be me or someone else but I know it will happen. Don’t ask me how. I have no clue of that. But some day, during my lifetime, I shall be proud that I unfailingly played my part as a citizen and am seeing it pay-off well.

But if I delve deeper into the issue, it’s kinda confusing. I am patriotic and all that. I love my country and am proud of it. Though I realize that there are almost 30 states and few lakh square meters which we call India, my country is Mumbai. Somehow my patriotism seems to be confined into that tiny little island. I do think of India as my country but what I discover now is that though I have a vague idea and feeling about the rest of the country, India, to me, essentially is Mumbai. Whenever I have lamented in the past week or so about my first no-show at the election booth this time, I am told that I should not be voting for the Maharashtra Assembly any longer but for the TN government formation.

Ideally, I should. But a part of me votes because I care about Mumbai and what happens to it. I believe that ‘Amchi Mumbai’ has a right to decent facilities and proper infrastructure. Sadly, much as I try, I do not have any similar sentiments for Chennai. The patriotic fervor in me does not rise when I speak about Chennai. Delhi may be capital, Chennai may be home town but when I shut my eyes and think India, it is the 8.43 local and BEST buses along with the choking traffic jams and Gateway of India which come to my mind.

On paper I am patriotic. Hugely! I am filled with sarcasm dripping words for my NRI friends and relatives who, according to me, have abandoned their country when it needs them most. I am filled with pride for each and every achievement of my country in any field. I abhor the general jingoism surrounding Indians abroad because I believe they belong to their country of residence and it cannot be classified as out ‘India’s Achievemnt’ in any way. But am I patriotic in the real sense? If I was, then should not Chennai’s water and power problems make my heart bleed as much as Mumbai’s overcrowded trains and potholed filled roads do? How different am I from my NRI cousin who has settled abroad?

Am I guilty? Of what?

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Hitchhiker’s Guide to Arranged Marriages -Part 2

Posted by Sowmya on July 16, 2009

Hope all you guys could digest Part 1 well and I am stretching imagination to the limits when I say all of you are more than eagerly waiting for part deux.

Me thinks that before I reach the ‘boy meets girl’ stage I should elucidate the types of guys you usually meet (rather I met). This obviously can’t be an exhaustive list but covers the usual suspects –

Maun vrat Muni -The true believers of ‘Silence is golden’. It took all my energy, effort and patience to get a 2 sentence worth from them. Any question was met with a single word answer followed by “u?” Something like –

Me: So what do you do? (lame question, but what else does one say?)

He: I work in blah company as blah. U?

Me: I am an investment banker working in blah company. I did my schooling and college in Mumbai as also my CA.


Me: So what is your work profile

He: Blah. U?

Me: Blah blah blah blah blah blah(pause for breath) blah blah…….


Such encounters ended with me trying to tear my hair out

Motor Mouth -Talk of opposites!! These guys, a rare breed i agree, ask a question and answer it themselves. And you are enriched with knowledge about them, their families, neighbours, friends, colleagues, state of this country, next rainfall, sensex movements, bollywood gossip,….in effect everything. Something like –

He: So what do you do? I work in XYZ company as ABC. During weekends I watch movies, catch up on some reading and meet my friends. Last week we saw this movie -it was so bad. I have decided never to watch movies with that actor ever again. Btw did you know he is going around with this actress. They have a flat in Andheri. Must have made lot of money to buy flats in Andheri. The real estate prices are shooting up like crazy. My cousin bought a house in Chembur for $$$ last year. This year my neighbour bought it for the same amount in Vashi. They shifted yesterday and we are having new neighbours tomorrow. Actually they were supposed to shift today but had to postpone because of the rains. That reminds me, what was your 26/7 experience? You know what happened with me?…………… 

Me: (Thank God! I chose the seat facing the TV)

Floodgate -When I started this post I swore I will not reveal any regional biases that I strongly possess. So I shall keep that word and continue. The rest is upto your imagination and understanding 😉 Quite a few of the guys I met were totally smitten. NO! Not by me. Not at all that. But by the general female population. Any lady and they would drool. It was quite embarrassing to handle that. If you like a guy drooling over you all the time, go ahead. But I could not. I ran like….like I have never run before. (And I have never run before)

Ice Ice Baby -Talking of opposites, I also found quite a few who thought they were the Almighty’s gift to womankind….like they are doing me a big favour by sitting at the same table. Well, well. Keep those thoughts and go home dude! Something like –

He: Actually I am not in much favour of this whole arranged marriage stuff, you know. Its like…like….crazy man. I mean how do people do that kind of thing.

Me: (Grrr… go home and stuff yourself dude) hmm followed by plastered smile

Medieval Man – Actually most guys are medieval….even those who think they are ‘modern’. But as far as they make an effort….I forgive them. I am quite benevolent that way 🙂 But some take the cake. Sample this –

He: I will let you do whatever you want.

Me: (And please introduce yourself Mr. God Almighty)  Oh !

He: As far as you take care of my parents and do everything for them, you can do anything you want.

Me: (Ah! What untold freedom. I am speechless) Hmmm

Yeah! I tell you they were fun.

Ideal Man -Most welcome to my humble abode to meet him 😀

I’ll conclude in Part 3. Keep watching this space!!!

Posted in I WENT TO, INSIGHTFUL?, MUMBAI MERI JAAN, NOW THAT'S ME, ZILLION YEARS AGO | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Tag along

Posted by Sowmya on June 30, 2009

Hi…found an interesting tag after a long time….courtesy this awesome blog.

So here goes –

A – Available?

Mom, Dad & bro… always.

B – Best friend

Hubby dearest…….such a cliche relationship we have…but its the best thing to have happened to me 🙂

C – Cake or Pie?

Hmmmm…tough one….Cake…No pie…..No Cake…….you get it

D – Drink of choice

In the morning -dikashan coffee without sugar, post lunch a boiling hot tea and a vodka sprite in the evening

E – Essential thing used everyday


F – Favourite color

Blue & Red

G – Gummi bears or worms

Neither………some more options please

H – Hometown

Mumbai….the one and only

I – Indulgence

Hand bags / purses, clothes, stationery (trust me it is an indulgence when you see my collection)

J – January or February

February……its my birthday! Also the climate is the best that time

K – Kids and names

Not yet……..but I know its going to be a looooooooong typical Iyengar name

L – Life

is strange……..when you yearn for something soooo much and then actually get it, it does not seem so important anymore.

M – Marriage date

November 22

N – Number of siblings

One and only bro……..a fantastic character. Never let him know though

O – Oranges or apples


P – Phobias

None really though I am the cause of many phobias for people around me…hehehe

Q – Quote

Unquote (Am I missing the point here?)

R – Reason to smile

When hubby wakes me up in the morning ….such a rarity nowadays (I have been waking up before him for all of 2 days including today)

S – Season

All of it……..life is fun all year round

T – Tag three people

I tag all the unsuspecting victims who read my blog…(insert evil grin)

U – Unknown fact about me

I blog

V – Vegetable you do not like


W – Worst habit

Never remember social niceties (Is it that bad??? 😦

X – x-rays you have had

None that I can remember

Y – Your favorite food

Anything I dont have to cook…..specially if hubby cooks for me…..Coming to think of it I love his fried maggi & aloo parathas

Z – Zodiac:


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