a quarterly e-magazine for NRIs
An e-magazine that captures the colour, culture and chaos of India that NRIs crave and miss, once every three months
trumpet lead when letters were handwritten
when cassettes ruled
Winter Edition, Nov'15 fashion fry when stylists deserted us
I grew up in exciting times, the 1990s. If you too did, you know the reason behind my wide grin and this special edition. We were a happy lot. On the big screen, actors like Govinda, SRK, Salman Khan, Karisma Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit danced for us. We danced to Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast and Yeh Kaali Kaali Ankhen. In our homes, Tara, Dekh Bhai Dekh and Shanti ruled. When it rained, we didn’t sit at home to crush candies, we made paper boats and jumped in puddles. There were no new mail notifications, the postman delivered handwritten letters. The bell on his cycle was the only notification. We loved colas, but what we loved more was Frooti, Rasna and even Boost; we all also wanted to be the Complan boys and girls. Friendship requests were sent in the form of handwoven bands. True love was determined through the tried-and-tested FLAME game. It just kept getting exciting. THE TRUMPET BLOWERS EDITORIAL FIONA PATERSON MONA EL SAMNA NAMRATA MANGHNANI SABIN MUZAFFAR ART AVI GOEL KAMAINI MITTAL COMMUNICATION
Rights: All rights reserved. The writing, artwork and photography contained herein may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of The Indian Trumpet. The views expressed in the magazine are not necessarily those of The Indian Trumpet. All efforts have been made while compiling the content of the magazine but we assume no responsibility for the effects arising there from. We take no responsibility of the availability of the products mentioned in the various sections of the magazine. Reprints as a whole or in part can be done only with written permission from The Indian Trumpet quoting “The Indian Trumpet magazine” for texts and pictorial material. Signed articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor. No responsibility can be taken for the loss of unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or artwork. Contacts: Purva Grover, founder & editor theindiantrumpet.com All queries to be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org The Indian Trumpet magazine is released four times a year. It is available to the readers absolutely free of cost on the portal theindiantrumpet.com.
The Godrej almirah held all our possessions, the cassettes held the music. Alisha Chinai, Colonial Cousins and Baba Sehgal ruled our walkman. Celebrations included a trip to Nirula’s to eat HCF (Hot Chocolate Fudge). One rupee coins were wisely spent at video game parlours. Play time on the PC was reserved for Pacman and Mario. When Mile Sur Mera Tumhara was played on Doordarshan, we sang along exuding pride. Start of school year was defined as covering up books in brown paper and going to Bata to get a new pair of shoes. We rented VCR players too, or spent Sunday afternoons playing with WWF Trump cards. International holidays meant a trip to Nepal. Toblerone was found in homes of those who had NRI relatives. The internet modems had just about arrived! Undoubtedly, the India of now is fancier, but it is no comparison to the simple, humble life of the ‘90s. In this special winter edition, we invite you to sit back and indulge in all things that made growing up in the ‘90s a wonderful time. Yes, we just hit the Rewind button. Read on, re-live. And do share your memories from that era with us. Till we meet next, happy tooting.
Purva founder & editor email@example.com
growing up in the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;90s!
theindiantrumpet.com What is THE INDIAN TRUMPET? • The ONLY e-magazine for Indian expats. • A celebration of India and Indian-ness that captures the colour, culture and chaos of India that the NRIs crave and miss. • A platform for Indian expatriates globally, Resident Indians & NonIndians. • An online bi-monthly read available free of cost for readers across the globe. Satiating curiosity about India & serving as a platform for creative expression since 2013.
Now tooting, FOUR TIMES a year!
What is going to CHANGE? • We’re going quarterly & will be releasing four issues a year: Spring (February), Summer (May), Fall (August) & Winter (November). What is NOT going to CHANGE? • Our rich, colourful & engaging themes. • Our philosophy of championing talent: Writers, poets, photographers, designers and more. • Our FREE read, available on our portal, theindiantrumpet.com • Our affordable choices to seize & gift a copy.
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It’s time for some change! The Indian Trumpet, your favourite bi-monthly e-zine catering to NRIs all over the world, is now a quarterly! What is going to CHANGE? • We’re going quarterly & will be releasing four issues a year: Spring (February), Summer (May), Fall (August) & Winter (November). What is NOT going to CHANGE? • Our rich, colourful & engaging themes. • Our philosophy of championing talent: Writers, poets, photographers, designers and more. • Our FREE read, available on our portal, theindiantrumpet.com • Our affordable choices to seize & gift a copy.
This is your space. We’d love to know what you have to say about the magazine. Drop us a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org
a quarterly e-magazine for NRIs
12 70mm TIMELESS MEGA STARS The ‘90s gifted us with movies and music idols who swept us off our feet.
PAPER BOAT ADVENTURES What was a major source of fun during rainy days? F.L.A.M.E GAME The game was used to know who was our true love. G.I. JOES AND BARBIE DOLLS AND HOT WHEELS All three ruled our toy world. WWF AND THE TRUMP CARDS Real blood, real enthusiasm! GAME PARLOURS The arcade wasn’t just a geeky pastime. THE REAL GAMES When sounds, games, fights and injuries were real. STRIKE & POCKET Carrom had two sides, togetherness & squabbles! HEART WARRIORS Social entrepreneurs or activists who are making a difference, following their hearts.
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follow the noise
56 58 64 70
18 23 38
UPSIDE OF KNOWING NRIS: TOBLERONE The magical gift from relatives abroad! BOURNVITA, COMPLAN OR BOOST? Which was your favourite chocolate drink? NIRULA’S Biting into memory lane.
CHITTIYAN – SANDESHA KYON NAHI LAYA We revisit the golden era of writing letters.
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FRIENDSHIP AND THE WAYS OF OLD Telling friends by friendship bands & the Katti/ Batti rule. A LOVE NOTE TO MY GODREJ ALMIRAH A treasure trove of memories GOOD OL’ CASSETTES! We celebrate the 52nd year of the cassette tape.
INDIA’S CABLE FABLE! Enter the hero - the able Cable!
MILE SUR MERA TUMHARA The composition on the unity of India.
THE DAYS OF PC Floppies, internet modems, UPS and stabilizers, Ms-DOS and more!
THE 1990S SCHOOL What it felt like to go ‘back to school’ in the 1990s.
JINGLE YOUR WAY THROUGH THE ‘90S What commercials do you remember the most from when you were a kid?
FEVICOL KA JOD An unbreakable bond, fevicol was always more than glue!
INDIAN POP IS THE BEST! Indian pop music is still going strong, but in the ‘90s it reigned supreme.
THAT ‘90S SHOW The decade meant half-lets-continue-ourdisasters-from the ‘80s and half-thank-god-forthe-rescue! SHOES THAT LIT UP! Joota hai ya light? theindiantrumpet.com
the globe & the gully
A LUXURY OASIS Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, a luxury resort in Dubai is a gorgeous blend of royal elegances and contemporary luxuries.
ODDLY BEAUTIFUL & AVANT-GARDE INDIAN! In the spotlight: Ashiana by Vineet, Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers.
follow the noise
BHOOLE BISRE DIN A nostalgic poem about life in the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;90s.
Indian Trumpet Loud, louder, loudest... Let's make some noise! We'd love to hear from you. Write in to us with your suggestions at
TIMELESS MEGA STARS! THE ‘90S GIFTED US WITH MOVIE AND MUSIC IDOLS WHO SWEPT US OFF OUR FEET. THEY WERE INTRODUCED TO US BY BOLLYWOOD WITH PANACHE AND FANFAIR, BEFITTING THE ADORATION WE STILL HOLD FOR THEM. words SABIN MUZAFFAR Big hair, big thumkas (dance step) and a lot of brash attitude define Bollywood in the ‘90s. It was also an era with timeless musical hits, cult classics and the emergence of fan adulation for actors including the suave Shah Rukh Khan, effervescent Salman Khan, bubbly Govinda and quirky Kajol – among many other mega stars.
The Plot The silver screen has always held a great enchantment for movie lovers, but the 1990s was a decade when Hindi cinema started becoming/ getting bigger and better. Sweeping stories of youthful innocence and love reigned supreme.
Smash hits like Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai provided eye candy for both men and women with Hrithik Roshan and Ameesha Patel’s debut performances. Such movies simply had a basic boy-meet-girl plot, with a little bit of fighting action on the side to pique viewers’ interests. But there were movies that highlighted complex, real life societal issues - Damini being one of them, which was a gritty tale about rape. Bombay was another hit about hatred, racism and love. While cineplexes filled up to see forlorn lovers yearning to be in one another’s arms – DDLJ being a mega hit that has yet to cease its magical power of adoring fans – there were some graphic stories too, such as Sarfarosh and Vastaav:The Reality, where large audiences capitulated to the poignantly realistic performances. And then there were the comedies – hilarious,
light-hearted with just the right dose of star power to make them top grossing hits of the decade. Priyadarshan’s Hera Pheri was a multi-starrer about three unemployed men trying to resolve their money issues after they receive a call from a kidnapper.
The Music Indeed music does make people come together! It is not untrue to claim that some of the most lilting tunes were composed in this era. Who can forget the sensuously sonorous song Dhak Dhak Karne Laga from Beta, starring the charming Anil Kapoor and the fascinating Madhuri Dixit or the funky sounds of Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast from the movie Mohra, sung by Udit Narayan and Kavita. The 1990s was a time of experimental music and fusion of Indian rhythms with techno beats, such as Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhen from the Shahrukh Khan starrer Baazigar. Maestro Kumar Sanu and the musical goddess Lata Mangeshkar, along with other geniuses such as Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan, Sadhana Sargam, Kavita Krishnamurthy, and many more created timeless
Image credit: Various (Bollywood free to download & use posters)
melodies. Songs like Dheere dheere se meri zindagi mein aana, Jaadu teri nazar, Pehla nasha or Dil toh pagal hai are among a very wide collection of eternally memorable hits. The late 90s also saw the rise of another musical virtuoso, A.R Rahman, with many hits under his belt including Chal Chaiyya Chaiyya written by the eminent lyricist Gulzar.
Bollywood is known for its knack of dressing actors in highly imaginative dresses and sometimes hideous headgears. Big on hair, viewers got to watch screen sirens like Rekha, Karisma Kapoor, etc. in inexplicably weird ‘headdresses’. Although the latter could carry anything with oomph and humongous poise! Thankfully though, men had little choice, saving viewers from much agony. Costume selection was another matter altogether – many a times garish with puffy skirts, lacy dungarees and a tad too tight bodice was a highly sought after affair. But that said, one can never forget the gorgeous sari Madhuri wore dancing to the tune of Didi tera devar deewana. Sari was one attire that made nations swoon while eyeing the dusky damsels of Bollywood. Even denims were quite the rage with actors both male and female, like Kajol and Urmila Matondkar who looked quite sexy and chic in a simple jeans and t-shirt. Although chest baring was a trend starting sometime in the ‘60s, going shirtless was definitely a ‘90s trend with
Sunny Deol in skimpy trunks and ‘bear’-chested Akshay Kumar and Anil Kapoor. One actor who took it to the next level – albeit the sexy way – was Salman Khan.
The Villains Notorious, boisterous with an unquenchable thirst to watch a damsel in distress dance the night away was the unruly villain. Legendary actor Amrish Puri personified evil in every villainous character he portrayed and was truly a force to be reckoned with. Shakti Kapoor who later entered the comic foray, was also known for his wicked performances. Another actor that captivated the audience was Ashutosh Rana who made audiences flinch with his malevolent portrayal in Dushman.
The Lead The ‘90s saw a deluge of movies from India’s finest including Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Govinda, Kajol, and newcomers such as Rahul Roy, Rani Mukherjee, etc. According to Surfindia. com: “Actors that made debut during this period are considered to be evergreen and flexible in their acting. Each actor or actress tried out every possible role on the silver screen and made space for themselves. From the comedies of Govinda to the action of Akshay, Hindi film industry was loaded with some unmatched talent. The concept of acting became more of a passion than a choice. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Rangeela, Dil To Pagal Hai, Hum, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge etc. are some of the most memorable Bollywood flicks of that time.”
Executive Editor Ananke (anankemag.com), Sabin Muzaffar embarked upon her professional career some 18 years ago. She is currently contributing to major publications in the UAE including daily Gulf News. A reluctant feminist, women empowerment through digital media is one of the many topics close to her heart. Addicted to the silver screen, she spends all her free time watching old Bollywood and Hollywood movies.
PAPER BOAT ADVENTURES WHAT WAS A MAJOR SOURCE OF AMUSEMENT AND FUN DURING THOSE RAINY DAYS? FOLDING PAPER BOATS AND RACING THEM WITH OTHERS, OF COURSE! REVISIT THE CRAFT AND RECREATE THE EXCITEMENT OF THOSE DAYS. words NAMRATA MANGHNANI As an Indian, the monsoon season meant only one thing: Paper Boats season! Every time it rained cats and dogs outside and we’d be stuck inside our homes with nothing but old magazines and books for company, there used to be a sparkle in every eye as that one question that reigned on everyone’s minds and lips was asked, ‘Boat race shuru karein?’ (“Shall we start the boat race?”)
Who knew that folding a piece of paper could transport us into a world of adventure and unending fun, hence making our childhood so wonderful!? Every kid used to love adventure, especially when it was an outdoor activity with a craft thrown in for extra fun.
It seems like yesterday that we were running outside and standing in a line as we slowly set our paper boats on the surface level of the water, and keeping bets with our friends as to who would win the boat race. Now who feels like grabbing a piece of paper and creating a paper boat right now, as they reminisce upon the fun we had during the glorious monsoon season?! So let your imagination float as the paper boat drifts away once again!
यह दौलत भी लेलोे, यह शौहरत भी लेलो, भले छीन लो मुझसे मेरी जवानी... मगर मुझको लौटा दो बचपन का सावन, वो काग़ज़ की क’ती, वो बािरश का पानी ! - JAGJIT SINGH
(Translation: “Take this money, take this fame as well, Snatch my youth from me if you wish. But return those rains from our childhood, that paper boat, that rain-water!”)
Namrata Manghnani believes she’s a permanent tourist: she loves to explore the world and gets fascinated by the little things in life. Born and brought up in Dubai, she graduated in Finance from Manchester, and changed career paths, recently. She enjoys writing about emotions, dances for inspiration, and aspires to be an author. She possesses an eye for detail: would never miss a fluttering butterfly or a grammatical error. She is now freelancing for magazines and newspapers, and growing as a writer with each word she pens down.
UPSIDE OF KNOWING NRIS:
THE MAGICAL GIFT THAT IS TOBLERONE WAS CHERISHED BY US AS CHILDREN. IT WAS A TOKEN BROUGHT BACK BY RELATIVES FROM THEIR FARAWAY TRAVELS AND WAS SHARED WITH US CEREMONIOUSLY, NEVER LOSING ITS CHARM OVER THE YEARS. words NAMRATA MANGHNANI images KURT BAUSCHARDT & MIKE BEALES
Those were the days when you couldn’t wait for your relatives to come visit you. Not because you missed them dearly, but mainly because you wanted to get your hands on the legendary Toblerone chocolates they got for you! In school everyone knew that getting one of these meant you had NRI relatives (staying abroad) – “Dekh! Mere liye phoran se chocolates aaye hai!” (“See! Chocolates have come from abroad for me!”) And if your kin visited you without any of the ‘imported’ stuff, it’d be considered a blasphemy! With foreign brands mostly inaccessible in the ‘90s, people relied on their NRI relatives to bring them these Swiss chocolates. As soon as the relatives arrived and finished their pappiyan jhappiyan (hugs and kisses), out came the NRI gifts: a Toblerone pack of five and maybe even a blue box of Butter cookies. Every time they visited, it was the same set of gifts – for at least 10 years or so. And every year we profusely displayed the same amount of gratitude, even if we had gotten over the exclusivity appeal of it long time ago. According to our NRI relatives, we desis (Indians) loved these brands and didn’t know of any other, and they’d feel obliged to bring us the same year in, year out. Whatever the reasoning behind it, we used to love
grabbing our imported triangular bars from our relatives, and running to a spot where we could remove the silver-foiled bar of chocolate out of its yellow box. With our eyes glistening with delight, we would break the first triangle-shaped block and then gently remove the foil over it, as we gulped it into our mouths that had been watering since our relatives entered! The taste of the creamy milk chocolate mixed with honey along with the nutty (almond nougat) sensation was to die for & absolutely irresistible – mhmmm! And this, my friends, is how we graduated from desi chocolates to foreign chocolates back in the ‘90s.
Image credit: flic.kr/p/qwgL8e
Image credit: flic.kr/p/qyk3Q3
Top 5 facts you didn’t know about Toblerone Toblerone is available in 122 countries. The product’s name is a portmanteau of the creator’s name Theodor Tobler & the Italian word ‘torrone’ (a type of nougat). The name also contains the name of the place where it is produced: Toblerone (Bern/ Berne). It is the last chocolate bar that is still produced in Switzerland. 25% of all their chocolate bars are sold in duty-free shops. The shape of the triangular bar is inspired by the mountain Matterhorn. It’s a unique design for chocolate bars and had been patented in 1909. The image of a bear is hidden in the Matterhorn high mountain, symbolising the town of the chocolate’s origin: Bern.
Namrata Manghnani believes she’s a permanent tourist: she loves to explore the world and gets fascinated by the little things in life. Born and brought up in Dubai, she graduated in Finance from Manchester, and changed career paths, recently. She enjoys writing about emotions, dances for inspiration, and aspires to be an author. She possesses an eye for detail: would never miss a fluttering butterfly or a grammatical error. She is now freelancing for magazines and newspapers, and growing as a writer with each word she pens down.
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दोपहर के वDत अDसर जब मैं अपने कमरे में अकेले बैठा रहता हूँ, तब ख़यालों की एक टोली िखड़की से होती हुइ� मेरे मेज़ पर आकर बैठ जाती है – कब साइिकल की घंटी की आवाज़ मेरे कानों में पड़ेगी; हाँ वो आवाज़ जो डािकया के आने का संकेत देती है, और वो आवाज़ जो मुझे िकसी अज़ीज़ के और नज़दीक ले जाती है – उसके िलखे अYफाज़ों के ज़िरये पता नहीं समय का कौन सा पिहया पहन कर वो ख़त मुझसे दूर चले गए हैं, और इतने दूर चले गए हैं िक ना तो डािकये की साइिकल की घंटी सुनाई देती है, ना पोLट-बॉDस में कोई िचट्ठी पड़ी िमलती है, और ना ही मुझसे कोई डाकघर का पता पूछता है| लाल रंग का वो पोLट-बॉDस जो हर घर के कोने में नज़र आता था, उसे जैसे धरती िनगल गयी हो या िफर आसमान खा गया हो| जब मैं छोटा था तब Lकूल से घर आते वDत अDसर सोचता था: हर घर के कोने में एक पोLट-बॉDस होता है गुलाब-फूल जैसा लाल रंग का
खतों से भरा हुआ एक पोLट-बॉDस होता है|
नजाने कहां खो गए हैं अब वो िदन – वDत गुज़र गया है या िफर मैं गुज़र गया हूँ उस दौर से – पता नहीं| रेिडयो पे जब कभी, “डािकया डाक लाया - डाक लाया – डािकया डाक लाया” गाना सुनता हूँ, या िफर जब, “िचट्ठी आई है – आई है – िचट्ठी आई है” सुनता हूँ, तो ऐसा लगता है वो िकसी और सदी की बात थी| वो सदी जहां कभी कागज़ पर भावनाएं Lयाही से सजाई जाती थी – अब वो भावनाएं पुराने खतों की शDल में बंद अलमािरयों के अUदर सांस रोके बैठी रहती हैं| अब भावनाएं Lयाही का दामन थामे कागज़ पर दम नहीं भरती, बस उंगिलयाँ Oहाट्सएप पे चैट के ज़िरये बोलती हैं| ख़त िलखते वDत अगर कोई शCद गलत हो जाए, तो उसे इस तरीके से काटने की कोिशश की जाती थी िक पढ़ने वाले को गलत शCद ना िदखाई दे, पर कुछ लोग िफर भी पकड़ ही लेते थे उन गलितयों को – और जब ख़त िलखने वाले एक-दुसरे से िमलते थे तो उन गलितयों पे हँसी
रेिडयो पे जब कभी, “डािकया डाक लाया - डाक लाया – डािकया डाक लाया” गाना सुनता हू,ँ तो ऐसा लगता है वो िकसी और सदी की बात थी|
Amit Gupta plays the quintessential corporate guy, but at heart he’s a poet, writing secretly for a decade and longing for places where all horizons meet. At the moment he’s busy penning lyrics for a friend who’s putting them to music, and donning the hat of an auteur, with three plays under his belt. He loves freezing time with his camera and dabbles with the piano too. He dreams of the day when he can take recitals of his work on tour around the globe.
और ठहाकों की बहार होती थी| और अब आलम ये है िक पढ़ने वाले को पता भी नहीं लगता गलितयों का – या तो बैकLपेस का Áयोग होता है या िफर ऑटो-करेDट खुद-बाखुद शCदों को गलत से सही कर देता है|
बचपन के िदनों में जब पोLट-ऑिफ़स जाकर िचट्ठी भेजने के िलए एक :पये का खाम और दो :पये का LटेEप खरीदता था तो इस बात से बड़ी ख़ुशी होती थी िक तीन :पये में मेरी भावनाएं एक Áदेश से दुसरे Áदेश पहुंच जाएगी; जैसे मेरी भावनाअों को पर लग गया हो और वो आज़ाद पंछी की तरह उड़कर मेरे दोLतों तक मेरा संदे'ा पहुंचा रही हो| और िचट्ठी का जवाब जब आता था – तब ऐसा लगता था सब काम छोड़कर पहले ख़त पढूं और िफर उसका जवाब िलखूं| अब तो बस खंडरों से नज़र आते हैं पोLट-ऑिफ़स और लाल रंग के मुरझाये हुए गुलाब से िदखते हैं घरों के आगे पोLट-बॉDस – जंग लगे हुए – िज़दा लाशों की तरह अपनी आखरी साँसे िगनते नज़र आते हैं; बेचैन रहते हैं, पर िकसी से कुछ बोलते नहीं, कैसे बोलेंगे और Dया – उनमे अब कोई ख़त जो नहीं डालता, और ना ही उनके पास जाता है कोई – ना लोग और ना ही डािकया| इन िदनों कुछ लोग ईमेल पर बात करने में मस:फ रहते हैं तो कुछ घंटो मोबाइल पर अपने कानों को थकाते हैं| ये बात सच है िक जब फ़ोन पर बातें होती हैं तो वDत कैसे गुज़र जाता है पता नहीं लगता – रात की बात कभी भोर के वDत ख़Rम होती है तो कभी सूरज उगने के बाद – पर
उन बातों को दुबारा सुनने का मन हो तो कोई उपाय नहीं| सामने वाले की कुछ बातें जो िदल में घर कर जाती हैं – ज़ेहेन में बस वो बातें ही रह जाती हैं – अब चाहे वो बातें Iयार भरी हो या टकराव भरी| पर पूरी बात सुनने का मन हो तो – असंभव है| दूजी ओर खतों में िलखी गयीं सब बातें आप कभी भी पढ़ सकते हैं – और िजतना पुराना ख़त हो – पढ़ने में उतना ही आनंद आता है| मैने आज भी अपने दोLतों के पुराने ख़त संभाल कर रखे हैं – पढ़ लेता हूँ उUहें आज भी; जी लेता हूँ आज भी उन पुराने लEहों को – अतीत की झोली में से अDसर कुछ लEहें िनकालकर वत�मान के आसमान में िबखेर देता हूँ| वDत का Dया है, उसका पिहया तो घूमता ही रहेगा – कल लोग िचट्िठयाँ लिखते थे, आज ईमेल और मेसेजेस लिखते हैं, कल कुछ और मा?यम होगा एक दुसरे से जुड़े रहने का तो परसों कुछ और ये िसलिसला तो चलता ही रहेगा| कभी वDत गुज़रेगा तो कभी हम, कभी दौर बदलेगा तो कभी हम| पर उन रिश्तों का Dया होगा जो खतों के ज़िरये बना करते थे| Lकूल में पढ़ने वाली उस लड़की के िकताब में जो ख़त उसके दोLत ने रख छोड़ा था [चोरी से] िजसमे उसके िदल की बात िलखी थी – उन िर'तों का Dया होगा? हॉLटल के िदनों में माँ को भेजी हुई वो िचट्ठी िजसमे बेटे की परेशािनयाँ िलखी होती थीं - उन िर'तों का Dया होगा? शादी के पहले मंगेतर को भेजा हुआ वो ख़त िजसमे ये िलखा होता था, “ये मेरी ओर से मेरी मंगेतर को भेजा हुआ आखरी ख़त है, Dयूँकी कल से तुम मेरी मंगेतर नहीं मेरी बीवी कहलाओगी, इस ख़त को संभालकर रखना” - उन िर'तों का Dया होगा? शादी के बाद बीवी जब अपने माइके में हो, उसे ख़त में िलखना, “तुEहारे िबन ये चांद भी सुना लगता है और मेरा आँगन भी, जYदी वापस आजाओ” - उन िर'तों का Dया होगा? बुढ़ापे में जब वो बूढ़ी औरत लॉन में बैठे अपने गुज़रे हुए पित के पुराने खतों को पढ़ती है, और िफर आसमान की ओर देखकर मुLकुराती है - उन िर'तों का Dया होगा?
कभी सोचा है – “Dया होगा उन िर'तों का?”
BOURNVITA, COMPLAN OR BOOST? WHICH WAS YOUR FAVOURITE CHOCOLATE DRINK? words NAMRATA MANGHNANI image DOV HARRINGTON
to be prompt with their guesses. But I think the best round was the one where you had to identify the famous personality shown on the screen. The face of the celebrity would be contorted, and one would have to identify them using their judgment and strong vision. For the viewers, it seemed pretty straightforward, but only the contestants knew how difficult it was, especially since the 21” television set was placed a good 10 meters away from them! It kept us all engaged and it felt great when you were the one amongst the crowd to know the answer!
Speaking of Bournvita, you know your childhood became interesting when you started watching the Bournvita Quiz Contest on TV pretty religiously. The smarter ones amongst you actually took part in it and made sure your entire school, extended family and neighbourhood watched you on it! Aired on Zee TV in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, BQC was, back then, the holy grail of school quizzes. Derek O’Brian used to be the best TV host ever, and maybe even a role model for some. India’s most popular quiz contest was sponsored by Cadbury India and ran until 2007.
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One of the most light-hearted moments of the ‘90s was humming to the AD jingles of popular health food drinks, such as Complan, Boost and Bournvita. How can one forget ‘I’m a Complan boy/girl’ or ‘Boost is the secret of my energy...our energy’ (made even more popular by the legendary Sachin Tendulkar). And of course, there was ‘Tann ki Shakti, Mann ki Shakti, Bournvita!’. All these drinks offered a unique combination of health and taste, and pretty much every kid on the block must have tasted them as it was, without any milk: a spoonful of the chocolaty powder which would just melt in your mouth!
BQC’s fans realised how this show formed an integral part of their education outside school and hence launched a strong campaign named ‘Bring BQC Back’ on the popular networking site, Facebook, thus bringing the show back on air (Colors TV). It’s been running on YouTube now as well! I recall how our hearts couldn’t stop racing during the buzzer round, anticipating which team is going
Namrata Manghnani believes she’s a permanent tourist: she loves to explore the world and gets fascinated by the little things in life. Born and brought up in Dubai, she graduated in Finance from Manchester, and changed career paths, recently. She enjoys writing about emotions, dances for inspiration, and aspires to be an author. She possesses an eye for detail: would never miss a fluttering butterfly or a grammatical error. She is now freelancing for magazines and newspapers, and growing as a writer with each word she pens down.
FRIENDSHIP AND T
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THE WAYS OF OLD BEFORE ‘FRIENDING’ ON FACEBOOK BECAME THE NORM, WE USED TO TELL WHO OUR FRIENDS WERE BY FRIENDSHIP BANDS. EVEN BEFORE THAT WE USED THE KATTI/BATTI RULE OF FRIENDSHIP. HERE WE EXPLORE THE WAYS OF DECLARING FRIENDSHIP STATUS IN THE DAYS OF OLD. words NAMRATA MANGHNANI
Once upon a time, there was a guy named Rahul Khanna (naam toh suna hoga) studying in St. Xavier’s college. One fine day, a girl named Tina Malhotra joined his college, and he immediately went up to her with a ‘friendship band’, extending his hand in friendship. This scene from the movie ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ popularised Friendship Day all over India and the colourful friendship bands became the rage in the late ‘90s. While girls were busy choosing the colours of the threads they were going to use for their band, boys were collecting and eagerly awaiting Friendship Day. Giving someone a friendship band meant they were now your ‘friend’, and it used to happen quite easily back then: if they stayed in your building, were in the same sports team as you, rode the same bus to school, shared the canteen table with you during lunch, etc. Girls would spend hours in creating one: you just had to take three different coloured strings and cross them on top of each other (how you’d tie a plait). As the years passed and they got enough practice, they used to experiment with four, sometimes five strings. And if you got a friendship band in return, you would be flying on cloud nine! But if you didn’t get a band when you tied your friend one, you had no qualms in asking for one, as it was not fair! You’d think, “How can they not give me one? Why did I tie it to them then? And if they don’t tie me a band, how will my band count increase?” Also, if your cousins would expect you to gift friendship bands to them, you’d get offended as they are not your ‘friends’ per se. You used to think that cousins are separate, and they should wear ‘cousin bands’. But some people would even count the bands tied by their cousins (who might be forced into doing so for all you know) – after all, it was all about increasing the band count, wasn’t it?! Soon, a bet would be placed to see who has the highest number of bands on their wrist (extended to the arm if you were lucky!), and the ‘showing off bands’ session would start for the next couple of days. Because it was quite a big deal back then, that you had so many friendship bands, and hence ‘friends’!
image HAFIZ ISSADEEN
THE KATTI/BATTI RULE OF FRIENDSHIP trumpet lead
Before friendship bands became the ‘coolest’ form of offering your friendship to someone, there was a fad of ‘katti/ batti’ in the early ‘90s. This method was as fast and easy as ABC, and it didn’t require a Friendship Day! If you were mad at someone, you could ‘break’ your friendship with a ‘katti’ (unfriend) instantly; in order to patch up with them, all you had to do was say ‘batti/ buchchi/ abba’ (friend). This process was popular for quite some time, and was regarded as the most personal form of expressing your friendship to someone: it entailed an element of ‘physical touch’. ‘Batti’ required you to entwine your index and middle finger with the other person’s
fingers, and ‘katti’ required you to entwine your little finger with the person you wanted to ‘unfriend’. Sometimes, the feeling of being ‘katti’ with someone would make you sad and uncomfortable, while the person who decided to do this would be swelling in anger somewhere. But after a few days when they’d cool down and decide to become friends again and ask a mutual friend to help them do ‘batti’ with you, you’d in turn experience immense joy. A lot of emotion, guilt, resentment and exhilaration was involved in this simple ‘katti/ batti’ way of maintaining a friendship, as we became friends, frenemies and kids all at once!
NATURE YOGA CENTER
FIND THE KEYS TO THE NATURE OF EXISTENCE. OFFICE # 204, BLOCK B, ARENCO BUILDING, ZABEEL ROAD KARAMA, DUBAI - U.A.E. TEL NO: 052-6475646 OR 04-3426570
(Image courtesy: Wikiphoto, wikihow.com/Play-%22Flame%22)
THE FLAME GAME WAS THE WAY TO FIND OUT WHETHER YOUR CRUSH WAS DESTINED TO BE YOUR TRUE LOVE, YOUR ENEMY OR PERHAPS WORST OF ALL, JUST YOUR ‘SISTER’. THERE WAS SOMETHING SO COMFORTING IN ITS CERTAINTY, AND WE WHOLEHEARTEDLY FOLLOWED ITS ADVICE. EVEN IF THAT MEANT MANIPULATING ITS RESULTS ONCE IN A WHILE. words NAMRATA MANGHNANI
Once upon a time, in a land not very far away, there used to be a girl who had a crush on a boy from her class. She would open the last page of her rough book and write down her own name along with his. By crossing similar letters from both the names, she would total the number of the remaining letters and count it against the acronym of the word FLAMES. The letter she was left with would become the (future) prediction of the relationship with that boy, and she would quietly follow it... Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Well, no one’s childhood ‘love story’ is complete without the FLAMES game! FLAMES stands for F – Friend; L – Love; A – Affection; M – Marriage; E – Enemy; S – Sister wherein you could instantly determine whether a person would be your friend, lover or enemy. Whatever the result may be, you would blindly believe it to be 100% accurate as it was like a patthar ki lakeer (written in stone). There was a thin line between ‘L’ and ‘A’ though, which left us wondering what the importance of ‘A’ really was. While most of us were friends with each other, this formula only seemed to be applicable when a girl/ boy we were slightly infatuated with came into the picture.
Mostly popular with girls at sleepovers, this invention also came to the rescue for pre-teens and teens who had just entered the world of crushes and were all set to explore it. It not only helped to determine the success of a relationship, but also calculated the compatibility quotient for you. As with any other game, this one was manipulatable as well. If you were not happy with the result – for instance, if you had a huge crush on someone, but the theory proposed that the person should be your ‘sister’ – you could always restart the game using full names, initials of the person and a whole set of other possibilities. But like any other concept, this one also had proven examples wherein real-life couples were chosen and a reverse-engineering of the entire process was conducted in order to substantiate the results. We fondly remember this game changer of the ‘90s, especially those of us who used it: it’s not easy to forget the one they got an ‘L’ or ‘M’ with after all!
This simple game governed the status quo of a relationship back then, and none of the regular concerns seemed to matter or were required to be in common: looks, behaviour, nature, financial status, how many friends one had or how many books one read. All a person had to do was play the FLAMES game, and you’d instantly find out who’s fit to be your sister, who you should fall in love with or even get married to!
A LOVE NOTE TO MY GODREJ
A GODREJ ALMIRAH IS A TREASURE TROVE OF MEMORIES SPANNING GENERATIONS. BEING NEAR IT BRINGS BACK THE STRENGTH OF ITS PULL, AND A TRIP BACK HOME BECOMES COMPLETE ONLY ONCE YOU’VE REDISCOVERED ITS CALL. words DELNA PRAKASHAN
images SATISH KRISHNAMURTHY
I stepped into the living room packed with mourning men and women. The air was potently infused with sandalwood incense jabbed into oiled coconut halves left burning from various corners. In the middle of the room, lay my grandmother covered in white soft cotton – still and lifeless. People from everywhere came to pay their last respects – they shed a tear, shared a memory, whispered a prayer and chanted a mantra for the soul’s peace.
Every Indian will relate to the sentiments that are attached with a Godrej almirah. On the outside, it was only a metal cupboard but inside it was where the priciest possessions of the household were kept. It was the one thing that gave and continues giving so many Indians a sense of comfort, security and protection. Every summer when my family visited our grandparent’s place in Kerala, it’s amusing how unknowingly we looked forward to opening the almirah!
The previous night, my father called us in Dubai to break the news of my grandmother’s demise. We caught the red-eye flight to Kozhikode (aka Calicut) and after a bumpy three-hour road journey, we reached our ancestral home in Kannur, just in time to spend the last few moments with my grandmother before the burial ceremony. As we entered, in the midst of everything and everyone, I see my father stealthily pass the almirah keys to my mother for safekeeping. To the onlooker, my father may have passed just keys, but to us – our family – that meant safeguarding the keys to an enclosure that held our family memories, both tangible and intangible, for over 35 years. Yes, our Godrej almirah, was indeed one of our family’s most invaluable possessions.
My mother was our almirah’s keeper. She held the sole right to arrange the cupboard’s contents and if I was even caught hovering around it, I got a yelling to keep my hands (and curiosity) off! My mother had to be in the right “mood” to open the cupboard. She would sit me down and ask me only to watch her, “Bas dekho, don’t touch” she would say as she took each item out - one by one. Out would come brand new shirt materials, baby dresses, perfume bottles, Tiger balm, pens, paper pads, cotton buds, pocket tissues, hair and safety pins and all those list of items that would give every NRI a sense of comfort, and upon which we doted and our relatives gleamed upon as well.
One of the most important sections of the Godrej almirah was the upper mid section – a safe within the
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On the outside, it was only a metal cupboard but inside it lay the priciest possessions. cupboard. This is where every Indian mom stores gold and precious jewellery, money and important documents. My mother would open the safe behind closed doors in case we had guests who nonchalantly wander into our room. She would then open her red jewellery box and show me chains and earrings that were worn by her in her maiden days and ones worn during my infant years. It didn’t matter if my mother flaunted the same things to me year after year accompanied with a short memoir behind it. For me, it was like listening to my favourite song on repeat. Those moments were the highlights of my holiday visits – the comforting nostalgia that came about from all those items in our Godrej almirah. As I packed my luggage the morning after the burial ceremony, I could feel the lurking presence of the Godrej almirah in the corner of our bedroom. As I glanced at it, something in me wanted to open the cupboard and feel its contents. But, a mature and adult voice in my head said ‘oh c’mon, that was a
childhood fantasy! It’s nothing but a metal cupboard with silly things disguised to seem precious’. It certainly couldn’t be that a grown up girl would still yearn to reminisce upon the almirah’s contents but… what if she still did? As my parents urged me to finish packing since I had a long line of relatives to say bye to, I hurriedly scanned the bedroom for a final check when my gaze fell upon the Godrej almirah. My heart sank. I looked for the keys in the drawer, walked toward the almirah and unlocked it. As I opened the doors, a familiar scent filled my nostrils and like magic, my senses time travelled back to my childhood days. Yes, that Tiger balm, imported perfumes, little trinkets and white Egyptian cotton towels were still there. I took one last look, smiled and locked the cupboard. As I bid farewell to many a teary-eyed relative, I walked away pensive: some things in life are just not worth moving on from, just like our Godrej almirah that makes every visit back home… complete.
Indian in origin, Delna was born and raised in Dubai. A true vagabond by nature she loves experiencing world cultures through food and travel. She is a World Food Travel Association (USA) Certified Culinary Travel Professional (CCTP). Visiting Antarctica and publishing her own book are both on her bucket list. “My life isn’t perfect – but I’m grateful!” is her mantra. Meet Delna as she blogs at discoverspice.net and thenomadthinks.wordpress.com.
GOOD OL’ CASSETTES! INTRODUCED IN 1963 BY DUTCH COMPANY, PHILLIPS, THE COMPACT CASSETTE TAPE PRETTY MUCH CHANGED THE WAY WE LISTENED TO MUSIC. IT WAS THE MOST PORTABLE AUDIO MEDIA AND BY THE MID-70S A CAR WAS CONSIDERED INCOMPLETE WITHOUT AN IN-DASH CASSETTE PLAYER. THEY ROSE IN POPULARITY UNTIL THE 1990S WITH THE COMPACT DISCS (CDS) BEING INTRODUCED. THE CURRENT GENERATION IS BEING RAISED ON IPODS AND MP3 PLAYERS, BUT THERE ARE STILL A FEW HARD-CORE FANS OF THE CASSETTES THAT TAKE US ON A TRIP DOWN THEIR MEMORY LANES AS WE CELEBRATE THE 52ND YEAR OF THE CASSETTE TAPE. words VISHAL BHEERO
Remember the good ol’ audio cassette: the audio media with its 120 minutes of data that ruled the music scene for decades and symbolised the pop culture? ‘Tape lagao’ (put the tape on) is a phrase that many of us who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s are familiar with. We would rush to the market and empty our pocket money on cassettes sacrificing the ice-cream or cola for them. And all hell would break loose when a record would get stuck in the roller and a pencil would come in handy to spool the cassette. Hailing from Assam, Mumbai-based Meghna Dutta remembers the magical ‘90s, sitting on the couch with her besties, immersed in music flowing from the stereo, “Like every teenage girl, we were diehard fans of Boyzone. I listened to all ‘90s pop hits like MLTR, Savage Garden and Britney Spears as well as Alisha Chinai, Silk Route and Euphoria. I remember buying audio cassettes for around 60 to 70 rupees.” She says her mum was generous enough to fork out money for her cassette purchases and she memorised the songs as they ran on the player. Agrees 25-year-old Sneha Bhat from Mumbai,
“As a ‘90s kid, cassettes held an important place in our hearts and homes. We still have a drawer filled with cassettes and our home wouldn’t feel like home without songs playing from the stereo.” Software engineer, Kashmira Patel, who grew up in Maharashtra, and now resides in California, remembers countless road trips where the journey began early in the morning with an aarti (ritual of worship) cassette. Packing involved picking out favourite tapes and the entire trip would have four young girls singing along with the songs on the tape. She now wonders how her parents and the driver sat through that ruckus. She fondly remembers how, after moving to California, her then colleague, and now husband, tempted her to go visit him to listen to “stacks and stacks of lovely Hindi cassettes”. His lure worked for sure. From Onida to Philips, from the Boombox to the Walkman, the tape era witnessed the listening of songs in a charming way unlike today. Sneha remembers, “Rewind, check, more rewind and forward…..it was a luxury at a time when money was
pretty limited.” A huge fan of Sonu Nigam, she remembers her first buy, Tu (it had the song by the same name that took the nation by storm). “I was madly in love with Sonu and did not hesitate to buy it at a time when a single piece would cost 40 rupees.” Fashion designer and blogger Garima Srivastava Nag says she would love to relive the ‘90s, “My parents had around 500 plus cassettes and I still miss those days when they were like luxuries, unlike today where everything is available at the click of a mouse. We would make a list of our favourite songs and get them recorded on fresh tapes.” If you think the present generation is alien to the joy of cassettes (where the smart phones and downloads make music a sundry affair), think again. Nineteen year old Pune-based engineering student Bhakti has a treasure trove of 75 cassettes, “My kindergarten played nursery rhymes during play time and at home I remember having a cassette compilation of nursery rhymes, forcing everyone around me to listen every time I was bored. I still have that cassette!”
Weren’t cassettes also the perfect birthday gift one could dream of getting in those days? Meghna beams, “Indeed, it was! The joy of bringing home a cassette, the ‘sacred act’ of taking off the thin plastic transparent wrapper, readying the tape recorder/stereo and finally playing the cassette was quite something.” Sneha recalls, “We didn’t get any pocket money so my sister and I had a clear strategy - we would buy cassettes provided 90% of the songs in them were good. Besides those, we would spend our afternoons writing popular songs on paper and sharing with our local ‘bhaiya’ (shopkeeper) who recorded the songs on a fresh cassette. We gave these cassettes cheesy names such as, ‘Superhits-Vol1’, ‘Ehsaas’ and ‘Dil Ki Baat’. We had a pact with our cousins and friends too and we would hold meetings before buying cassettes; if we bought Josh, our cousins had to buy Jaanam Samjha Karo so that we could exchange it when need be. Simple and cheap.” She rues the fact that cassettes vanished from the scene suddenly, with the advent of MP3, iPod and Bluetooth.
Can the priceless Walkman be left behind for a generation who lapped cassettes for a whole decade? Meghna recounts, “When I grew up, I was still stuck on cassettes despite the fact that CDs had flooded the market. I was the first amongst my friends to get a Walkman and it was pretty cool!”For Bhakti, carrying one’s favourite cassettes and extra batteries was akin to packing luggage during exhausting train journeys. “Who can beat the Walkman?” she argues. “The Walkman was used in turns - all songs playing from Side A soon made the shift to Side B. The bond I had with my Walkman could not be emulated with MP3s and iPods.” She adds. “Not having enjoyed the charm of cassettes is like being deprived of the joy of something like Malgudi Days. It is, in itself, tragic.” Meghna adds, “During our time, choices were limited and if the cassette of an old movie reached its life span, that’s it. No Google search, no Apple store or no internet to download. There was no way we could retrieve it.” What if the vintage cassette were to make a comeback? There are talks making the rounds that Sony is trying to bring it back in a new format. Bhakti says, “The old cassette still appeals to me.” Meghna agrees, “The Sony cassette sounds awesome, I better get my cassette player ready to be back in action!”
THE COOLEST THING The generation of Indians who grew up in the ‘90s would fondly remember the time when gadgets were just about beginning to take over our lives, and how we lived in a world of Walkmans, cassettes and the modest pen or pencil which was put to good use to fix the ‘bug’ in a cassette. Running to the local music shop to buy cassettes of the latest chartbusters like Saajan, 1942-A Love Story and Aashiqui, or even the latest pop songs, would be our favourite pastime. We felt like the coolest kids on the block with our cassettes that had become our treasure trove. Media professional, Shruti Menon, remembers being gifted her first Walkman by her grandfather when she turned 11 and her favourite cassettes included Backstreet Boys, S Club 7, Colonial Cousins and Sukhbir back then. She recalls: “It had become a trend in school where we would literally show off our prized possessions.” While she was not allowed to bring her Walkman to school, she was addicted to listening to music from the cassettes and her mood would be terribly spoilt
when the latter got stuck. She mentions, “Sometimes, the reel used to get twisted and stuck and I’ve stayed up nights with my pencil just to fix it. It used to be annoying at the time, but now as I look back, these are the moments I cherish.” Her happiest moments included: “The cherry on the cake was when we shifted to Qatar and my dad’s first car, Toyota Cressida, had a cassette player!” A Pune-based book author and poet who grew up in Siliguri, West Bengal, Rachna Bansal Gupta, recalls the ‘90s as the era of soulful music and great singers, complemented by the world of simple gadgets: Walkman and cassettes made out of plastic and reel. She remarks: “I still remember how excited I used to be to improve my cassette collection. If I had a time machine, I’d love to go back in time and relive those musical days again!” If those days could be best defined, Alisha’s ‘Made in India’ that sashayed in the ‘90s would make our memories sweet and unadulterated.
Vishal Bheeroo has worked for English publications in Mauritius for five years and is currently a freelance journalist. He loves to write & blog about all things related to India. He loves Indian cinema and dreams of making a short film, someday. He is currently working on a rom-com novel and a script for a short film. He is a huge Amitabh Bachchan fan. He loves poetry, travelling and reading. He is currently based in Mauritius but has plans of returning to India, someday soon.
NIRULA’S! BITING INTO MEMORY LANE: THE FRAGRANCE OF NIRULA’S EVEN TODAY NARRATES STORIES OF MANY A HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LARGE FAMILY DINNERS, AFTER-MOVIE DATES AND A LOT MORE! words ISHANA LUTHRA • image courtesy NIRULA’S
While walking down to Priya Cinemas in Vasant Vihar (New Delhi), I remember following my nose to Nirula’s door. But sooner than I could realise, I would be pulled back by either of my parents to keep up with the family walking down the open arcade.
The very popular Hot Chocolate Fudge
I had no option but to dream of Nirula’s till the movie at Priya’s finished or till the shopping at the local market was done with. Patience was the only key. I grew up in a city where Nirula’s was a synonym for ice cream, family time and some great food!
I could hardly reach the height of the glass exhibit of the ice creams at the restaurant. I remember standing on my toes and savouring each ice cream with my eyes. Picking one to eat was a tough call. The pink strawberry, the white vanilla, the cream Zafrani-pista badam or the brown chocolate? The dilemma for me as an eight-year-old was huge. I didn’t know how to read the fancy ice cream names, and placed my order in my own little way; ‘Mummy pink-wali’, I would say. My parents were kind enough to translate that to a legible order for the cashier – ‘..and one strawberry please’. But before getting my hands on the ice cream, I had to eat the mandatory main course, only after which the ice cream bill would be served at the counter. Indian parents are always smart when it comes to making their children eat well! Securing a table on a weekend at Nirula’s was like hitting the jackpot. Being seated on a Friday evening at the restaurant, while a piling crowd gazed at you, was an absolute privilege. The typical main course for my Nirula’s-loving family would be channa-kulcha, onion and capsicum pan pizza, dal-makhani and rumali roti. Till the order arrived, I enjoyed gaping at the
Memories at Nirula’s are like many layers of cheese on their pizzas!
delicious posters of food. The mouth-watering images of ice cream sundaes were my personal favourite. After all the compulsory main course eating, finally the time for ice cream would arrive. I always believed that their waffle cones had more ice cream than the regular ones; and so they were my permanent choice. At the end of each academic year, just when the school results were out, Nirula’s offered a free scoop of ice cream to those who got A+ in their report cards. It was an incentive good enough to work hard for, and proud parents would accompany their young stars to the restaurant without a fuss too! Not mentioning the Nirula’s Special Birthday Club here would be unpardonable. Every year during my birthday
month of March, I remember receiving a letter from Nirula’s, inviting me to indulge in yet another scoop of free ice cream! The smoky aroma of the restaurant has always been specific to the eatery’s outlets; be it Vasant Vihar, B-10 Vasant Kunj or Chanakyapuri. The fragrance of the place even today, narrates stories of many a birthdays, large family dinners, after-movie dates and a lot more! The desi pizzas, hot-chocolate fudge and new ice cream flavours each month have been an integral part of a Delhite’s life. Memories at Nirula’s are like many layers of cheese on an onion and mushroom footlong. The deeper you dive in, the tastier it is.
Ishana Luthra loves to write, dream and travel: she adores her mountain dwelling,craves beaches and lives for the holidays. A workaholic in the meantime, she runs a company called Pattraco, which designs marketing content for businesses globally. An experimental cook, she loves to be with family: embracing the company of children and the elderly defines joy for her. She pens her thoughts at thesunshinepen.wordpress.com.
THAT ‘90S SHOW IN FASHION, THE DECADE MEANT HALF-LETS-CONTINUE-OUR-DISASTERSFROM THE ‘80S AND HALF-THANK-GOD-FOR-THE-RESCUE! WE HAVE SOME FUN WALKING DOWN THE MEMORY RUNWAY! words NASRIN MODAK-SIDDIQII
From midriff-baring lehengas (Indian skirt) weighing ten times the mass of the heroine to that college kid (Shah Rukh Khan did try hard) flaunting a c-o-o-l pendant and the ubiquitous colourful-pant wearing Govinda, the entire last decade of the previous century looked like the stylist’s day off. The music, movies and pop culture are a testimony to the fashion apocalypse of the times. It looked like we were caught in the trap between the garishly fit and the awkwardly flowing, all in technicolour. Even street fashion was about being extravagant, OTT and totally Bollywood inspired.
Think flashy leather waistcoat sheepishly worn over loud, multi-coloured shirts and pants, baggie corduroy jeans, stretch bands, bermudas – it felt as if in our heads, everyone secretly imagined themselves as Bollywood superstars gyrating in green fields to musical dance numbers. It was cool. There were short, terribly tight-fitting frocks, and oversized salwar kurtas (short shirt worn with loose trousers, with shoulder pads intact) in vibrant purples, oranges and yellows. Faux pas like wearing stripes and polka dots together in the same outfit to adorning jackets and stockings and long boots in hot summer were the order of the day. These fashion crimes seemed
universal (Bollywood mostly ripped off fashion ideas from the west) - denim on denim, fur coats, eye-hurting sequins and Madonna’s cone bra anyone? People really felt stylish in their glam outfits. Wedding fashion was all about Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! and DDLJ inspired outfits. Madhuri’s purple lehnga and green and white sharara (Indian pant style) was omnipresent at every shaadi even three seasons later. And it wasn’t just restricted to clothes - tacky heels, plenty of heavy jewellery, curly unkempt hair, elaborate hair dos, funny headgear and that dirty brown lip colour with even darker outline…pure fashion fails! Truly, there was simply no explanation ever for nagin (snake-style!) makeup, funny hats and yes, shoulder pads. Thank God for the serious intervention of designers like Manish Malhotra who brought in a sense of class in Bollywood dressing. Twenty years later, they still have it in them to make us go awwww! Besides, it was then when the first Fashion Week was born and though it took a really long time to pick up and multiply into the many, many, many monotonous Fashion Weeks we now have, at least the first step was taken.
Nasrin Modak-Siddiqi is a writer, foodie, traveller and movie-buff. She has many stories, some real, others figments of her imagination. On sabbatical from full-time scribing, her current motivators are good trips, meals, books or movies. She writes fiction, clicks photographs and edits old ones to add drama. Find her at continuumera.blogspot.com.
SHOES THAT LIT UP! REMEMBER THIS? JOOTA HAI YA LIGHT? JOOTE MEIN HAI LIGHT! LA-LA-LIGHT WOH BHI SHOE MEIN, KAISA HAI YEH SYSTEM? words NAMRATA MANGHNANI image KNAR BEDIAN Image credit: flic.kr/p/7zvmbw
Kids used to love sneakers, and stuff that lit up. And when both were brought together back in the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;90s, life was good! My favourite memory from school days was when mom bought me my first pair of disco-dancing shoes. It was such an amazing feeling when every kid on the block directed their stares towards the lights at my feet, which would become brighter with every step I took. Hearing them plead to their parents to get them a similar pair made me feel like the coolest person ever! In fact, I hardly know any kid back then whose eyes did not gleam with joy every time they saw a pair of disco- dancing shoes. The shoe was usually white in colour, with red, blue and green lights radiating from them like a sunbeam. It had a glow-in-thedark feature, which managed to make every little one feel like a rockstar! Namrata Manghnani believes sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a permanent tourist: she loves to explore the world and gets fascinated by the little things in life. Born and brought up in Dubai, she graduated in Finance from Manchester, and changed career paths, recently. She enjoys writing about emotions, dances for inspiration, and aspires to be an author. She possesses an eye for detail: would never miss a fluttering butterfly or a grammatical error. She is now freelancing for magazines and newspapers, and growing as a writer with each word she pens down.
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the globe & the gully
A stunning courtyard that calls you to sit back and attend to wandering thoughts
A LUXURY OASIS 44 theindiantrumpet.com
Merely observe the locals, or strike a conversation with them; many tales await
BAB AL SHAMS DESERT RESORT & SPA, A LUXURY RESORT IN DUBAI IS A GORGEOUS BLEND OF ROYAL ELEGANCES AND CONTEMPORARY LUXURIES. ROMANCE THE DUNES, CAPTURE THE SUNSET IN THE LENS, HEAD ON FOR A DESERT SAFARI, INDULGE IN LOCAL & INTERNATIONAL DELIGHTS, OR SIMPLY SIT BACK AND ABSORB IN THE OLD WORLD, ARABIC MAGICAL CHARM. words PURVA GROVER
The Bedouin love for the falcon is unique
Within minutes the hospitable staff checked us in.
There’s a certain kind of quietness that only nature can bestow. To experience that you need to leave the city fumes behind. Say goodbye to the honking cars, household chores and if possible, smartphones. A couple of days ago we decided it was time to declutter, detox. With a stimulating novel and a sunscreen in tow, we drove down from Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai to Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa to embrace the divine dunes sprinkled with a touch of luxury. Forty-five minutes in and we were driving into the fort haven, the ‘Gateway to the Sun’ (Bab Al Shams - as translated from Arabic to English). My partner laughed, “It would have taken us more time to find a parking spot in Dubai Mall!” It was Friday noon.
the globe & the gully
Outside, unending wrinkled dunes. Inside, arabesque patterns, traditional moulding designs and clay pot fountains adorning every inch of this luxurious abode.
In our room; brass door knobs, traditional drapes, rugged carpets and medieval time artefacts lent an old world magical charm. A few humble handcoloured pieces of glass, stunning delicate filigree, a gorgeous subtle glow and light scattering through exquisite patterns; the Arab lanterns (lamps if you wish to call them so) further cast a spell. The only eye sore was the television set. Soon enough, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d slipped into the complimentary golden, fibre-woven slippers (the rubber slippers would have spoilt the mood!) and headed to the pool. We were here for the sun and the fresh air after all. The sun in this part of the world loves to play games and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s when the pool comes to the rescue. Looking into the dunes, the pool here is more an excuse to lay back than to swim, which worked well for us as our idea was to indulge in nothingness. Around us, kids played with beach toys, and men and women sat around the edges of the pool, securing
their place until the sun set. We imitated the adults, occasionally heading to the jacuzzi, drenching ourselves in the rain shower, swimming from one end to another, only to return to our spot. We helped ourselves to a sandwich, and beverages at the pool bar. The menu at the bar favours the meat eaters, with only fries for the vegetarians. The chef obliged to make a vegetable sandwich, however it seemed he did so half-heartedly. Drowsy, relaxed we indulged in a power nap by the pool. In the evenings, the resort offers a complimentary camel ride and a chance to pose with the falcon, followed by a falconry show. Irrespective of your age, it is your turn to hop on the back of a camel and scream in delight, like kids. The ride lasts close to a minute, there is just one camel and a queue of guests! Glove-handed, we hold the falcon, and of course pose. A trained falcon then entertains us, as it takes flight towards its prey i.e. meat held in the hand of the falconer. The Bedouin love for this sport is unique. The
If there is anything more beautiful than watching the sunset, it is watching the sun calling it a day in the sands!
To know more How to get there: Adjacent to Dubai International Endurance City, is just a 40-minute drive from the city of Dubai and only 45 minutes from Dubai International Airport. Best time to visit: OctoberMarch, when temperatures hang around the mid-20s and the humidity is under control. Summer months offer discounts & spending time in the luxe interiors is a good idea on a hot day. Desert recreation: Desert drives, camel riding, horse riding, archery, etc. are a few activities that can be indulged in at the resort. The Satori Spa offers treatments for the sole purpose of relaxation and rejuvenation in luxurious comfort. To make reservations: Visit meydanhotels.com/babalshams
majestic falcon flying in the now orange-blue skies (as children cheer for it) against the backdrop of the resort makes for a postcard perfect memory.
As night sets in, the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;resort-fortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; fills in with lovely sounds: Indian songs from Masala, the Indian restaurant; Arab tunes from Al Sarab, the roof top lounge and Western numbers from Le Dune Pizzeria,
Do remember to carry a pair of comfortable shoes with you. A sun block is another must. If you indulge in a desert safari eat light or skip a meal before.
the globe & the gully
the Italian restaurant. We choose to savour the spices, aromas and flavours of the Indian cuisine, and head to Masala (Experience shared in the feature). Coupled with the soulful melodies, there are now sounds of clanking pots and pans, clinking glasses, and long relaxed conversations until the clock strikes ten. The skies now light up with a firework display (a weekend feature); talk of a starry, colourful end to a day. Next morning, we wake up before the sun does. Our room faces the desert and allows us to romance the desert dawn. A generous, lavish breakfast buffet awaits us at Al Forsan, the all-day dining restaurant. The spread has it all covered: Humble eggs; spicy chickpea curry; huge variety of cheese; doughnuts, muffins and bagels; fruits, cereals and juices; bacon strips and veal sausages;
and much more. Indeed, the best meal during our short stay. Such a feast has to be followed up by a walk! The luxe destination is a photographer’s delight; so armed with the SLR, lenses, and a tripod we decide to go for a photo-walk. There’s a lot to capture, depending on the number of stopovers you wish to make. A stunning courtyard with seating that calls for you to sit back and attend to wandering thoughts. Outside, unending wrinkled dunes. Inside, arabesque patterns, traditional moulding designs and clay pot fountains adorning every inch of this luxurious abode. A game of table tennis, an hour at the pool table and a few chapters of the novel later, we enjoy a meal of a creamy risotto and spaghetti with meat balls at La Dune Pizzeria. Other than the pizzas, the only choice for a vegetarian is the
mushroom risotto; lip-smacking no doubt, I do lament at the lack of choices for those who prefer the greens. Now, if there is anything more beautiful than watching the sunset, it is watching the sun calling it a day in the sands! At Al Sarab Lounge, we indulge in one. The atmosphere here is eclectic, the Arabic rhythms instantly working their magic on tired minds. It’s time to head back, call of the routine. But not before we glance just once more at this adobe, which marries the humble and opulent with such ease. The path leading from the resort to the road home is now lit up with mashaals (torches fed by fire). Simplicity wins our hearts once again. We leave, taking home a lovely sun tan, the scrumptious meals, a leaf of warm luxury and our love for the sands.
The writer of the piece visited Bab Al Shams Resort & Spa in the month of October.
MASALA, THE INDIAN RESTAURANT IS A GLIMPSE INTO THE MUGHAL ERA
As an Indian, I am always wary of eating at an Indian restaurant. The judgement often getting skewed with comparisons, questions and suggestions: what’s on the plate being compared with recipes I learnt from mum, conversations steering towards merits of spices, etc. So when we walk into Masala, the restaurant that offers a sneak peek into the glorious Mughal Era and a menu spanning across dishes from North India, I am sceptical. The ambience is just right, outdoors the stage is set for a live performance; primarily crooning of Bollywood classics. Indoors, the blue walls stamped with a hint of gold, furnishings in gorgeous colours and intricate works, array of spice jars, wooden artefacts, et al transport one to the times of all things royal and beautiful. We choose to sit outside, the breeze is in our favour. To whet our appetite, we start by sipping into Jal Jeera, a popular summer beverage. Pickled onions and mint and mango chutney, along with papads give us company, as we soak in the live singing.
Filled to capacity, we let the chef choose our main dishes. Koh-E-Awadh, a house specialty, baby lamb leg slowly cooked in a sealed pot with saffron rice and tampered yogurt, came up first. Whilst it lacked in presentation, it made up in taste as the lamb was flavourful with a tender texture, perfectly rosy all the way from edge to centre! And were it not for the excessive usage of the cream we would have overindulged in it. Dal Masala (black lentils with tomato, ginger, and garlic
(Clockwise) The lovely interiors of Masala, Masala Kebab Sampler, Subz Bhojawri, Shahi Shammi Kabab
simmered overnight on charcoal) too was over laced with butter. And so was the Subz Bhojawri, a melange of fresh vegetables with cumin, whole red chilli and crushed coriander. Whilst all the three mains spelt a perfect medley of Indian spices, they lost it to the use of milk and cream; the two ingredients are often used to create rich Indian Mughlai dishes. The dishes did wear a thick, glossy and silken texture but the extra cream played spoilsport. The servers insisted we end our meal with a touch of sweet, in a true Indian way, and brought us a single portion of Gulab Jamun and Ras Malai (thankfully!); the hot and cold dessert worked well. What we took back from here was mostly the gorgeous décor, the true Indian hospitable service (the warm, welcoming staff) and the ambience resplendent with Indian melodies. For reservations, +971 4 809 6100
Arbi, colocasia root, is not a vegetable that many enjoy. However, Karari Arbi with Teekhi Ananas Ki Chutney, the deep-fried crispy fries when eaten with the pineapple chutney create a tingling sensation. The
pineapple chutney, which reminds one of the bottled Thai Sweet Chilli sauce is a perfect accompaniment, though we wish the chef had not resorted to a bottled recipe. Next up is Pathar Ke Paneer, panfried vetiver with spiced cottage cheese. The dish leaves us disappointed; not sure if it was the oil that one could taste in the preparation or was it merely the use of spices that didn’t agree with one another. Masala Kebab Sampler with three varieties of the chef’s choice of kebab served with a baby garlic naan was wiped off the plate within minutes; the chicken, prawn and lamb were all well-cooked. Next, a plate of Shahi Shammi Kabab arrived; both the minced mutton and lentil struggled to overpower the taste of the other in these patties, and failed.
G.I. JOES AND BARBIE DOLLS AND HOT WHEELS ALL THREE ARE NOT ONLY PHENOMENALLY HIGHSELLING, DECADE-SPANNING TOY SUCCESSES, BUT A PERMANENT PRESENCE IN OUR TOY CONSCIOUSNESS. words NAMRATA MANGHNANI images BRIAN FITZHARRIS, JD HANCOCK & ROMITAGIRL67
Our nostalgia of the ‘90s begins with G.I. Joes, Barbie Dolls and Hot Wheels, and ends with, well, us becoming adults. While Barbies were for girls, G.I. Joes were for boys and Hot Wheels were for both - all three were ultimate status symbol. Incidentally, Barbie’s full name was “Barbie Millicent Roberts”, and the mere mention of her first name would evoke a clouds-separating, angels-burstinginto-song type of effect. Every girl from the ‘90s remembers her first Barbie doll and/or the yearning for a Barbie-themed cake for her birthday. Such was the allure of the cultural icon, who received our undivided commitment to doting on her, preening over her, playing with her and dressing her up. Because of the sprawling range of her vocations, her hobbies and sports interests, her nationalities, friends, accessories, connections to pop culture figures and celebrities from both the big and small screen, she was literally impossible to pigeon-hole or grow bored with. Every little boy out there must have kidnapped his sister’s prized doll sometime in life in order to tease or blackmail her. Girls, no matter their age, can still journey down the Barbie aisle in the toy store and can’t help but peer longingly inside, their eyes sparkling as they see the light dancing off those shiny pink boxes. Very few toys have the kind of visceral effect that Barbie had. There was even a song dedicated to the
doll, ‘I’m a Barbie Girl, in a Barbie world, made of plastic, it’s fantastic.’ by the Danish-Norwegian dancepop group Aqua. Today, she’s the most collected doll in the world, but it’s not as if she’s just a collector’s item. Girls continue to adore her, and Mattel sells over a million new dolls a week. There are Barbie magazines, books and newsletters, public museums and legendary private collections proving that she still receives unadulterated devotion from all around the world. Did you know: Girls are to be thanked for G.I. Joe becoming the most successful boys’ toy of all time? After the runaway success of Barbie, executives at toy firm Hasbro decided to create a line of toys for boys modelled after “Government Issued Joes” - or the everyday soldiers that served in the US armed forces. G.I. Joe, often known as the ‘Real American Hero’, was a plastic poseable action figure that came with little weapons and accessories to battle his nemesis – the Cobra. Not only were they the most popular amongst boys’ toys, they also brought steely grins to the faces of collectors who liked a touch of ‘war’ and ‘action’ in their toys. They were one of the driving forces in kids’ entertainment, conquering the world of
Image credit: flic.kr/p/9oseYg
comic books, animated television, and tiny toy action figures. Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, two of the most popular action heroes from the range, served as a crucial escape from many a lonely childhood. Boys now had the liberty to go on adventures with their ‘men of action’ any day of the week: parachuting on Mondays, chasing gorillas on Wednesdays and serving in the army on Fridays!
Image credit: flic.kr/p/p8GUTX
Image credit: flic.kr/p/cyW9RC
Another popular toy for the boys of the ‘90s was Hot Wheels, the fastest die-cast car on the planet. Geared towards youngsters with a yen for speed, these cars with their creative designs and racing tracks could be found laid out on the bedroom carpet of many a young racing enthusiast. Even without the springloaded launchers and battery-run super charger power boosters, the cars could get rolling along those tracks pretty fast with the force of gravity. One just had to make sure there was something to stop the car at the end of the line, as it could easily launch wildly into space chipping a couple of teeth off along the way.
INDIA’S CABLE FABLE! THE STORY BEGINS IN EARLY ‘90S WHEN DOORDARSHAN MONOPOLIZED INDIAN VIEWERS’ ATTENTION, BY HOOK OR BY HOOK. ENTER THE HERO THE ABLE CABLE! BEFORE WE NARRATE TO YOU ABOUT ALL THE TWISTS AND TURNS, WE ARE SURE YOU CAN IMAGINE WHAT THE OUTCOME WAS ( WHEN THE OTHERWISE FAMISHED INDIAN AUDIENCE WERE SERVED A FEAST TREAT OF DELICIOUS, TEMPTING AND ADDICTIVE TELEVISION PROGRAMMES ON CABLE)- YEAH A PROTRUDING ‘BELLY’ URRR ‘TELLY BELLY’ WE MEAN!
words ANU M Blame it on shows like Krishi Darshan that were not meant for the masses or on those vertical coloured lines which seemed to dominate everyone’s TV set each night after 11 pm, but the fact is that Doordarshan could never quench the creative thirst for entertainment of Indian audiences. Neither a movie a week nor Chitrahaar being played just twice a week seemed enough. There were some programmes that were rare treasures though, including Karam Chand where the carrot-eating detective solved serious issues in the coolest manner, or the witty Byomkesh Bakshi that showed a handsome Bong boy solving mysteries one after another! However, DD had this knack of giving us one grossly popular serial every year – be it Hum Log, Buniyaad, Mowgli or Chandrakanta - thus ensuring that we watch it rather than watching any movie on VCP or VCR. It also made sure that we got our regular dose of Indianness (through Bharat Ek Khoj) and spirituality (through Ramayan and Mahabharat). But it forgot to be entertaining, while striving to be a decent TV channel. Let’s admit it – Indian viewers wanted much more and the Cable TV provided that, in abundance! The first to enter our household through cable were channels brought by Star TV Network namely MTV, STAR TV, Star Movies, BBC, Prime Sports and STAR Chinese Channel. Just imagine - Indian audiences were so desperate for entertainment that they didn’t mind watching Chinese channels, especially when
some Jackie Chan movie played with subtitles! The Santa Barbara and The Bold and Beautiful soap operas succeeded in pulling only a handful percentage of Indian population but yes MTV’s VJ Noni with her typical South-Asian accent became a household name! Let’s take an interval for the time being but don’t go anywhere as ‘picture abhi baaki hai mere dost ‘(the movie is still remaining, my friend)! Resuming the Telly Belly discussion, Zee TV made a zabardast (mind-blowing) entry and became India’s first Hindi channel on cable! It gave us both –Tara as well as Bole Taare; in other words Zee served a wonderful potpourri of programmes for all tastes and age groups. Soon, we all were addicted to Tara, Hum Paanch, Banegi Apni Baat, and the Friday favourite Close Up Antakshari. Zee’s success became a lesson for Doordarshan and it was quick to learn as well as implement, thanks to DD metro. It gave us two fabulous sitcoms in that era, Dekh Bhai Dekh and Zabaan Sambhal Ke, along with creating an epic saga of a woman named Shanti. The latter marked the innovation of a new prime time, the afternoon prime time, wherein both the protagonist (Mandira Bedi) and her black bindi (a forehead accessory) became a household favourite. That was the time when the street vendor woman who sold utensils in exchange of clothes started cursing the cable – “Bakwaas hai yeh cable. Koi Bibi darwaza hi nahi kholti.
Aisa kya dekhti rehti hai TV par? (This cable is rubbish. None of the ladies open the door while it’s running. What are they watching all the time?)” Her business suffered. The street and neighbourhood socialisation suffered. Children’s studies suffered. And what followed after this was a tsunami of Hindi TV channels and serials. Zee’s success became an inspiration for many ventures, especially Sony TV that delighted us with its dubbed sitcoms in association with Columbia Pictures Television. Remember the serials like Who’s the Boss?, The Nanny and everyone’s favourite I Dream of Jeannie! That was the time when we actually fell in love with TV! The icing on the cake was placed by Balaji Telefilms and Ekta Kapoor. Balaji telefilms hit a goldmine!
There were some great jingles, performances and story lines that left an imprint on our hearts during the defining decade. Many of us can still sing that Jungle Jungle baat chali hai, pata chala hai…” full on! Aah the nostalgia!! Coming back to the present, there is so much to watch yet nothing worth watching. We all have dedicated TV Channels for kids, teenagers, music, movies, sports, news, spirituality and even for purchasing things. The omnipotent remote control is used just to fiddle around, because despite having different types of content at our fingertips, we are not entertained at all. None of the television serials in today’s day and age can impact us like the serials of the ‘90s did. How I wish we had a rewind button!
Anu M explains that the ‘M’ stands for Massakali, a name earned from friends for her lively spirit. She writes with passion: every piece is her flight of fantasy. She loves music & dance; food, fashion and fun are by default her forte. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WWF AND THE TRUMP CARDS FROM TRUMP CARDS TO TRYING TO BUY FAKE CHAMPIONSHIP BELTS, THE ‘90S WERE THE GOLDEN ERA OF WRESTLING. THE BLOOD WAS REAL AND SO WAS OUR ENTHUSIASM. words NAMRATA MANGHNANI images ROBERT NELSON & GRANT BACIOCCO
We were the generation who loved to ardently believe in relatable fiction. For example, the WWF. What is WWF, you may ask? Well, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) was previously known as World Wrestling Federation (WWF), back in the ‘90s. The world of WWF took over not only our television sets, but also our living rooms where we would play with our Trump Cards for hours at end. Royal Rumble, Wrestle Mania, Summer Slam, No Mercy and other such championships were the only things every kid on the block was talking about. From Trump cards to trying to buy fake championship belts, the ‘90s were the golden era of wrestling. The blood was real and so was our enthusiasm. Collecting cards of our favourite WWF characters seemed like our only hobby at the time. And playing (read ‘competing’) with our WWE Superstars Top Trumps Cards against our friends wasn’t considered any less than actually wrestling in reality. It involved a lot of excitement, intense competition, khoon pasina (blood and sweat), and of course hours of dedication in remembering the player’s weight, rank, height, biceps, triceps, etc. You’d be willing to trade these with your friends in return for a player with a higher ranking, for example, and would even go to great lengths to acquire the ‘best’ players to add to your collection. And it wouldn’t be surprising if you’d ever had the wildest thought of stealing pocket money from your sibling’s wallet in order to get your hands on the latest Superstar collection. Moreover, owning a pack of Trump cards would come to your rescue at a party where you didn’t know many kids
(awkward much?). That special bond that was created instantly when it turned out that the stranger kid was also a 1-2-3 Kidd fan was irreplaceable. But what made the franchise of WWF Trump cards rise to fame? Was it good timing? Was it the next best alternative for kids who felt as if they were too old for cartoons? It could be any reason, but possibly the best explanation would be the characters themselves. We had a hairy giant named Gonzales, a man who had risen from the Dead and a fat man with a 59” chest and 25” biceps. We had Heart Break Kids and men who could pull off wearing pink better than any actor on screen. We would do anything to own a long overcoat, for once we wore them, we would turn into The Undertaker, walking down The Path of Destruction. Most of our parents thought that these Trump Cards were robbing us of our creativity and making us inactive. However, all they did was teach us the basics of reading people’s faces, or so to say. Don’t you remember, after the cards were dealt, the silent search that took place for the possessor of the Rank #1 card? Or the far more valuable Yokozuna card? Most of us had even made role models out of these wrestlers. As a kid if I was walking on a deserted road at night, I would feel reassured if I imagined myself wearing The Undertaker’s gloves. All fear was eventually dispelled, because, well, I was the Dead-Man. Wrestling was not as gimmicky back in the ‘90s as it is today, though. Most of the matches were won fair and square, and the storylines were rich, filled with content and solid twists, and could sustain an hour long
A trip back into the wrestling ring: The Undertaker - It is The Undertaker who should be credited for elevating WWF to cult status worldwide. Shawn Michaels - Who can forget the HBK (Heart Break Kid) and his entry song! He is often remembered as WWFâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most gifted entertainer of all time. Yokozuna - This mammoth of a man shook the entire WWF with his size alone. And probably because of the same, even 14 years after of his death, his name remains synonymous to wrestling. Hulk Hogan - Another name synonymous to WWF, Hogan has spent over five decades in the ring and also enjoyed a partially successful career in Hollywood. Bret Hart - Widely known as Hitman, he was one of the most iconic WWF superstars.
discussion. The scriptwriters of the time managed to play and toy with our emotions beautifully. When one thinks about it, WWF matured with us. The advent of the bad but cool Stone Cold, and the introduction of some gorgeous women coincided pretty well with our puberty. WWE as of today seems all about muscle and vulgarity, poor execution and more frequent kayfabes. There are no Macho Man attires anymore and the Hulkamania fever seems to have died down. The originality and the quirks of WWF are missed dearly, to this day. Do you now remember how many hours you might have spent as a kid comparing WWE stats and trading cards with your friends? Your entire childhood, perhaps!
Namrata Manghnani believes sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a permanent tourist, who cannot stop exploring the world and getting fascinated by the little things in life. Born and brought up in Dubai, she has graduated in Finance from Manchester, and decided to change career paths recently. She enjoys writing about emotions, dances for inspiration, and aspires to become an author one day. This desi girl possesses an eye for detail, and would never miss that butterfly fluttering around or even a grammatical error! She is now freelancing for magazines and newspapers in order to grow as a writer.
GAME PARLOURS THE ARCADE WASN’T JUST A GEEKY PASTIME OF THE ‘90S BUT A WIDELY ACCEPTED MAINSTREAM FORM OF MASS ENTERTAINMENT. YOU COULD BE A WRESTLER, RACER OR A DANCER JUST BY INSERTING A COIN INTO THE MACHINE. IT’S THUS SAFE TO SAY THAT NOTHING CAN BEAT SPENDING SUNDAY AFTERNOON AT A LOCAL HANGOUT, LOSING YOUR ALLOWANCE ON THE LIKES OF TEMPEST AND BATTLEZONE. words NAMRATA MANGHNANI • image PLAYPOWER FOUNDATION & CORY DOCTOROW
There used to be a time in the ‘90s before people had four game consoles in their house and a phone that had more games than phone numbers, a time when this phrase was heard in every household: “Mummy, Mario khelne parlour jaana hai... 5 rupaye de do!” (“Mom, give me 5 rupees, I want to go to the parlour to play Mario!”). It was at shopping malls that huge arcade machines could be found, followed by makeshift video-game parlours later. We honour the paise (coins) that sacrificed their lives in the last decade of the 20th century to make our childhood action-packed and fun-filled. These coin-operated arcade games were the pinnacle of the gaming industry back then, and most of our afternoons were spent at the gaming parlour desperately trying to maintain the coins we got to keep our game going as long as possible (minimum 5 rounds of those 16-bit video games was a must!). The only way to play a game was inserting 1 rupee coin at a time in the arcade machine. Upon getting a high score, you would be able to insert your initials and challenge others to beat you. The more you’d win, the more money you’d lose but would also gain more practice as well as respect, as your name would flash on the ‘top ranked players’ list. Nothing felt better
than beating challenger after challenger and getting on a nice hot streak. However, if you lost one round, it’d only mean waiting in the queue for the next 5-20 minutes with anticipation, when you could’ve easily beaten another competitor in the same time! As one entered the arcade, they could see six kids sitting in their own plastic stock behind the steering wheel, staring at eight-bit figures side-scrolling across a tiny screen, both excited and nervous at the same time, racing away to glory (Daytona USA – the arcade racing bliss). On the other end, it felt like Fight Club: tournaments for games like Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat were being held (button smashing was taken to another level here!), wherein people would compete against one another in person, while others were seen cheering for the ones dancing to Dance Dance Revolution, encouraging them to stomp the arrows rhythmically according to the beat. Some kids even used to perform token tricks at the arcade, where they would slide in the token and bash the coin slot door, letting the token pop right back out. Indeed, the arcade wasn’t just a geeky pastime of the ‘90s but a widely accepted mainstream form of mass entertainment! Do the games on the iPad have the same charm, thrill?
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THE REAL GAMES BACK THEN, THERE WERE NO CANDIES TO CRUSH OR ANGRY BIRDS TO DEAL WITH. THE SOUNDS, GAMES, FIGHTS AND INJURIES WERE REAL. WE PROMISED OURSELVES TO INTRODUCE OUR CHILDREN TO THE CHILDHOOD THAT WAS. words NAMRATA MANGHNANI • images FILTER FORGE & CASEY FLESER
As we walk down the memory lane, we recollect how we spent our afternoons trying to get hold of the Rani (queen) in a game of Carom. Our parents used to complain “Kids these days…” when we were busy playing Mario for hours together on TV. We rejoiced in relationships that were formed with Tamagotchi and due to Tazos. A flashback.
Pacman & Mario
Two games that we all adored as kids would definitely have to be Pacman and Super Mario! Holidays were spent getting through the many levels and we never seemed to get bored of it. Mario was this adorable fighter of dragons and defender of princesses no one could get enough of! The Super Mario games followed Mario’s adventures in the fictional Mushroom Kingdom. He was joined by his brother Luigi and occasionally by other members of the Mario cast. As in platform video games, the player would run and jump across platforms and atop enemies in themed levels. The games had simple plots, typically with Mario rescuing the kidnapped princess, Peach from the primary antagonist, Bowser. Playing Pacman during those old DOSmode-days was thrilling. This simple yet tough to play game required one to be witty and quick. The player would control Pacman through a blue maze,
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eating pac-dots (also called pellets) and fruit. When all pac-dots were eaten, he would advance to the next stage. He had to be wary of four enemies (Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde), who’d be roaming around the maze, trying to catch him. If an enemy would touch him, he’d lose his life and hence, die.
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Tamagotchi The name is a portmanteau combining the Japanese word ‘tamago’, which means “egg”, and the English word “watch”. A keychain-sized digital pet, this prized possession was quite the craze in the ‘90s. And why wouldn’t it be? It imbibed feelings of patience, care and responsibility into young adults, allowing them to experience the feeling of being a ‘parent’. As a virtual pet owner, you were expected to feed it, allow it to go to the bathroom, entertain it, make sure it slept, and monitor its general happiness and well-being. This egg-shaped computer soon became your pocket best friend after you invested a lot of time and energy nurturing it to become smarter, happier and less needy of attention. However, if you treated it poorly, your pet would soon become a vicious, angry, monstrous little pest who’d just beg you to press that reset button and restart his sad little life. Tazoos A tazo was a round circular disk found inside a potato wafers packet, whereby each one of them contained a score value, and a game was played to ‘win’ tazos from other players. Most kids bought ‘n’ number of packets of potato chips for the specific purpose of collecting Tazoo and increasing their collections, which depicted a varied range of characters from Confucius to Daffy Duck to Daffy Duck dressed as Confucius. Some Tazo series even featured small incisions around the outside, allowing players to fit them together and build things like Star Wars spaceships out of it – what fun!
The traditional & resplendent ambience
Oddly beautiful &
avant-gard words PURVA GROVER
AT THE H EXPECTATIONS. IN
HEART SITS TRADITIONAL INSPIRATIONS, ON THE FAÇADE ARE FLAVOURS THAT DEFY CULTURAL N THE SPOTLIGHT: ASHIANA BY VINEET, SHERATON DUBAI CREEK HOTEL & TOWERS. TAKEAWAYS: TRULY PROGRESSIVE MAGICAL OFFERING BY THE MICHELIN STAR CHEF VINEET BHATIA.
A mouthful of a tiny tart filled with a zesty mixture of chicken, mint and tamarind chutney and yogurt, with sev (crunchy small noodles look alike pieces, made with chickpeas) sprinkles is how our evening starts. Called Chicken Tokri, these are our pre-starters for a meal at Ashiana by Vineet, Michelin star chef Vineet Bhatia’s Indian restaurant. Actually, prior to this we’ve munched on papad with beetroot yogurt and mango dip too. Flavours of ginger, mustard seeds and fennel do a happy dance on our tongues as we devour the pretty neon-purple yogurt. The rest of the evening progresses in the same fashion, with our bellies flattering our ability to overindulge and our eyes ogling at each of the Pan-Indian dishes. Ashiana, as translated from Hindi to English means a happy home and at this home the staff ensures that the dining experience is a happy, well-fed one. Of course, this home looks like it belongs to an Indian king; complete with murals, chandeliers and pillars. The music in the backdrop too is of the era gone by, a refreshing change from the modern playlists. Now not everyone can get the curious permutations in fusion dishes right, as the flavours may often get ruined beyond recognition. So, we tread carefully between the sharing and contemporary menu, selecting a mix of the classics and the modern, latter said to reflect chef Vineet’s interpretation of how Indian dishes should be in the progressive world. “Are you Indian?” the server asks me and my dining partner. Our affirmation suggests we can handle our spices better than the
Broccoli Chandni, silver leaf broccoli florets in a fennel, khoya and cheese marinade, wipe off the fusion scare in the first bite. Though the crunchiness of the florets, clear and sharp flavour of the fennel and the milky cheese layer leave little room for the accompanying pineapple chutney to stand out, yet the tanginess of the fruit plays well in leading the interesting choice of ingredients. Next, we squeeze half a lemon over the perfumed Bengali Machli Tikka and enjoy the delicate flavours of mustard and turmeric against the bold flavour of the fish. The appetiser comes with a portion of spicy potatoes cooked dum-style, which leaves us consuming a bottle full of water, each! The kind and concerned server smiles and informs that he has asked the chef to tune the spices in the main course. The first main dish (even with the detailed description) was beyond our imagination, Asparagus Koftas: Cashew crusted asparagus-edamame kofta, dhokla saag, tadka makhani sauce and pepper asparagus. A few foods demand to be eaten foremost with the eyes, and this medley of yellow, green and orange is one of those. It causes an explosion in the mouth: Tender dhokla vs. crunchy asparagus spears and sweet edamame vs. bold tomato creamy sauce! We declare it as the winner, the other contenders being Banarsi Aloo and Raan Lucknowi. Cooked with dry fruits and in a jaggery-tomato sauce, we savour the potatoes with cheese and black olive sun-dried tomato naans. The Awadhi special slow-cooked (48-hour) raan is not a mere roast leg of mutton and is best eaten at a similar pace too. The dish that once enticed the royalty with its impressive portion and succulent texture lives up to its grandeur status.
Whilst tradition is tucked at the heart of each of the delicacies it is the dessert, Gulabi Gulab that causes a stir on the table. A perfectly flavoured floral end to our meal, this temptation comprises gulab jamuns veiled under a rose cheese cake, and served with rose-petal vanilla bean kulfi and rose syrup drizzled falooda for a dewdrop-meets-warm indulgence. As we leave the restaurant, the question on our mind is not will we come back but how soon can we return! Raan Lucknowi, truly royal
other diners, and so we take up the challenge, only to regret it later.
Bengali Machli Tikka, an aromatic delight
Banarsi Aloo, a classic
Asparagus Koftas, truly progressive
Broccoli Chandni, silver leaf broccoli florets
Gulabi Gulab, an ode to the rose
Where: Ashiana by Vineet, Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers, Dubai, 04-2071733 Ambience: Imperial, fine dining charm Food: Enchanting, generous fusions and portions Service: Friendly, knowledgeable staff Damage: Meal for two, Dh450. Verdict: Must-go Visit: ashianadubai.com theindiantrumpet.com
STRIKE & POCKET A WOODEN SQUARE, 19 DISCS IN WHITE AND BLACK, AND RED (ONE QUEEN): THE GAME OF CARROM HAD TWO SIDES, TOGETHERNESS & SQUABBLES! words NAMRATA MANGHNANI image TOM GODBER
A carrom board was a wooden square that had the ability of bringing friends and families together, and then tearing them apart. We often reminisce about taking the board out from behind the couch (it would otherwise be lying around aimlessly there) at the onset of monsoons, just before the first showers would hit the earth, to play a round of carrom. The 29-square-inch board used to be laid with 19 tiny discs arranged in the centre: nine black ones for one player, nine white ones for the other player and a red “Queen”, set at the heart of the discs, which was open to claim by either. The players would take turns flicking a bigger disc called the “striker” at the smaller discs called “goti” – the idea was to get the discs in one of the four corner pockets, scoring one point for each disc and three for the queen. We used to apply talcum powder all over the board before beginning the game, in order to make the surface smooth. And time would just fly by as we’d bruise our nails blue flicking the striker around the board, aiming to get hold of the ‘queen’ before anyone else does. Many a times, the striker would inevitably bounce off the board and hit someone in the eye, especially if someone was overly enthusiastic – oops!
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Namrata Manghnani believes sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a permanent tourist: she loves to explore the world and gets fascinated by the little things in life. Born and brought up in Dubai, she graduated in Finance from Manchester, and changed career paths, recently. She enjoys writing about emotions, dances for inspiration, and aspires to be an author. She possesses an eye for detail: would never miss a fluttering butterfly or a grammatical error. She is now freelancing for magazines and newspapers, and growing as a writer with each word she pens down.
MILE SUR MERA TUMHARA THE MAGNANIMOUS COMPOSITION ON THE UNITY OF INDIA INSTILLED PRIDE AND PATRIOTISM IN EVERY INDIAN words RITU DUA One of the most wonderful childhood memories that I am emotionally attached to, is listening to the song Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, religiously, and watching it with immense pride on our black and white television. Oh, the emotions it generated back then, of my India, my country! I still love this song!
This song was telecast for the first time on Independence Day 1988, after the telecast of the Prime Minister’s speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort. Highlighting ‘Unity in Diversity’, it is a perfect ode to the different linguistic communities and the varied cultures of India that stand together despite the cultural nuances. It shows how we become one heart - beating with the same rhythm, especially when it comes to our motherland. Twenty seven years back, late Suresh Mullick conceived and directed this legendary song. The concept was developed in the same year it was telecast, by Lok Seva Sanchar Parishad, and promoted by Doordarshan and India’s Ministry of Information. It was composed by Ashok Patki.
a go at it, so he could see if he could bring some innocence to the lyrics. At his eighteenth attempt, the young lad got it right and so emerged the now famous line Mile Sur Mera Tumhara. The young account manager is none other than Piyush Pandey. To get the right fusion of music, Mullick obtained the help of two geniuses from two different streams of music Louis Banks and the late P. Vaidyanathan, a classically trained musician. Together, they created the magical score, rendered by three prominent singers – Bhimsen Joshi, Balamurali Krishna and Lata Mangeshkar. This magnanimous composition on the unity of India not only instilled pride and patriotism in every Indian, but also carried forward the legacy of Jana Gana Mana composed by Rabindranath Tagore and was proclaimed as the unofficial national anthem of India.
The challenge was to bring together a potpourri of music - Hindustani, Carnatic classical and thirteen popular, both traditional and modern, languages and regions into one single piece that was harmonious to the ear as well as appealing to the eye. Raga Bharavi, a sampoorna raga (one that has all seven notes in its scale), was chosen as the base for the music.
The concept was so inspiring and the cause so noble that many celebrities joined hands to make it a success. It featured national icons of the time, including the main vocalists, sports stars such as Srikanth, Kirmani, Prakash Padukone, well-known film personalities like Amitabh Bachchan, Kamal Hassan, Shabana Azmi, Hema Malini, Waheeda Rehman, Sharmila Tagore, Javed Akhtar, Tanuja, Mithun Chakraborty, Jeetendra, sitar maestro Pt. Ravi Shankar, tabla maestros Alla Rakha and Zakir Hussain, artist Mario Miranda, dancer Mallika Sarabhai and many others.
After trying his luck with some Hindi geniuses, the director convinced a young account manager to have
The cinematography of the video is just amazing, as it not only shows the incredible beauty that India
possesses, but also touches upon the progress and the futuristic infrastructure of the country.
the Indian flag. The aerial view of the Taj Mahal and
I vividly recall the opening lines sung by Bharat Ratna award winner Pt. Bhimsen Joshi and how I would run to our TV room so as not to miss even a single word. I would not understand what was being said in other languages but would definitely sing along. My favourite part was towards the end when a hand is seen playing the keyboard and kids wearing jerseys of each colour from our Triband come running to form
River were enough to weave magic that transcended
the Bong boatman slowly rowing boat on the Hooghly across the length and breadth of the country. It still echoes in my heart and is just enough to sweep me off my feet, to give me goose bumps, to moist my eyes, to make me stand up and salute to the tapestry of natural beauty, my country, my India. Jai Hind!
(Information source reference: Wikipedia)
Ritu Dua, a banker and teacher, now focusses on what she enjoys most: art. Selftaught, her forte is mixed media. Besides her charity exhibitions, sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worked with an NGO, shown underprivileged children how to turn recyclables into art, and volunteers at Dubaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Al Noor School. She has recently moved from Dubai to Mumbai, India and is spreading the love of art there. She also celebrates all things delicious at beneathmyheartart.blogspot.
THE DAYS OF PC! FLOPPIES, INTERNET MODEMS, UPS AND STABILIZERS, MS-DOS AND MORE words VIREN PAREKH • image CLINT SHARP
Getting a new computer in the ‘90s was always a big occasion. Now in 2015, looking back, it seems funny how unbelievably complicated it was to get that elaborate piece of equipment home. A brand new computer table, meant to house the computer, had to already have been purchased. And then the day the computer would be delivered was eagerly awaited. There was an air of uncertainty about how and what the computer would exactly do. Everyone in the house, based on inquiries, hearsay and the newspaper articles had some expectations from the computer: Dad wanted to email his clients instead of sending expensive and poor-quality faxes; Mom was still sceptical that she could talk AND see her brother in the US for free; for us kids it was going to be an array of opportunities to play games, chat with random strangers and “browse the www” (like the cool magazines said). Dad was also looking forward to the freebies he was going to get with the computer (dust covers, the free CD storage rack where he planned to put his Mohammed Rafi CDs, and the mouse pads). The fact that each piece of equipment came wrapped in bubble-wrap was in itself an occasion which merited joyous celebration. After each bubble had been burst, it was time to turn on the computer and have a look. Of course, this could be done only after mom’s mandatory puja (act of worship). It was a bit funny to see mom apply the vermillion tikka on top of the monitor and lay some fresh flowers at its base. With the computer baptized, it was time to take it for a spin! In the days that followed, countless hours were spent playing games (RoadRash, Wolf 3D, Dave, Prince of Persia, Allan Border cricket), being creative (MS Paint, WordArt on MS Word) or trying random things which we learnt on DOS at school (this bit always made us feel like advanced programmers!). On other days, we just sat in front of the computer, looking at the WinAmp player visualisations and hearing it blare out the mp3 songs of the ‘90s. Of course all this was dependent on whether our elder siblings let us play. Otherwise, you just pulled a stool near the computer and watched them go at it,
giving live commentary on the game they were playing or the drawing they were trying to make on MS Paint. The initial mayhem and bullying to get a chance to use the computer was later resolved by an elaborate plan, defined by the parents who were harried by the daily fights. “No more than an hour a day, two on weekends!”. Internet time however, was strictly monitored and approved by mom. Especially in the afternoons, since once we got connected, the phone would be busy and no one would be able to call. This would generally prompt mom’s friends to come over, concerned that they could
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not reach her on the phone for a long time. Similarly, a friend’s busy phone for too long was a clear sign he/ she was on the internet, and it was of course time to go to their place and poke our noses into what they were browsing. Games would be traded with friends using floppies and CDs. Fights would break out if we received our favourite CDs with scratches. UPS and stabilizers were bought after the power cuts became frequent. Extra RAM was purchased after the computer felt a bit slow and could not support the games. Dad got angry and bought anti-virus software after we downloaded some dicey stuff without checking. The printer helped our school projects and helped print
photos of our Bollywood heroes and heroines for the wall of our rooms. This stopped of course, after dad had to refill the colour ink cartridges twice in a month. Jennifer Lopez/Tom Cruise screensavers were a rage. In addition to the dancing/singing/mimicry routine, parents would now parade kids for understanding computers and typing fast. Even today, a glimpse of the old computer can be seen in the old photos, commanding its presence in a prominent corner of the room. The monitor beaming a bright blue wallpaper, looking smart with the faint remains of the vermillion tikka still present. And once again the memories surge, of the lazy afternoons spent playing computer games and browsing the internet!
Viren Parekh, an internal auditor by profession, moved to Dubai in 2014. An avid cricket fan, on ‘match’ days you’d find him enjoying a drink and watching the game. On other days, he loves to read & write and play the guitar. This traveller nurtures a dream: To set foot on each continent in this lifetime. You can write to him at email@example.com.
WARRIORS idhar udhar
OTHERS CALL THEM SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS OR ART ACTIVISTS WHO ARE ON THE PATH THAT I LOVE TO CALL ‘DEEP INNER JOURNEYS’. FOR ME, THEY ARE HEART WARRIORS.
They are the ones that heed their higher calling, see an unmet need and step out to change one wounded or needy heart, one step at a time. My life is full of such people who have impacted my life consequently, as my interest in arts for wellness and social change intensifies. This piece is an ode to the Heart Warriors. words JAN D’SA
I wanted to feel with my skin what it felt to have paints on my feet and feel the canvas on my skin. ZAAHIRAH ZABEEN MUTHY I first met Zaahirah Zabeen Muthy at an art market where we were both exhibiting our artwork. Becoming an art activist was a life-changing experience for her.“I’ve been influenced with touching people’s lives since high school when I joined Mauritius Red Crescent. This led me to get involved in the TeenHope project which empowered school drop-outs to return to the educational system.” She ended up supporting organisations in Mauritius, working with the rehabilitation of drug addicts, HIV carriers and AIDS sufferers as well as commercial sex workers. She says, “I have seen with my own eyes the harsh circumstances that people find themselves in, right to the point of deprivation and death.”
Earlier this year, I was fortunate to be a part of her Zee Arts 20/20/20 art project at the Dubai Special Needs Centre. Painting with a special needs child named Nazer opened my heart to a new world; one of the many inner journeys that changed my life inside out. “The concept was to bring twenty local artists to mentor and paint alongside twenty special needs children. The artworks will bring 20 corporates bidding for them so as to raise funds for the cause of Dubai Centre of Special Needs. I am grateful to Barclays Bank for choosing to work with us on this initiative.” I am also fascinated by the fact that Zaahirah painted with her feet at the Sikka Art Fair early this year. She recounts her experience in India where she met a girl with no arms, who had the knack of painting with her feet. “I wanted to feel with my skin what it felt to have paints on my feet and feel the canvas on my skin.” More on this art activist: thezeearts.com
Moving to Dubai opened different avenues for Zaahirah. She founded the Zee Arts Community platform that she says, “Is a not-for-profit platform that empowers emerging and leading artists to give back to the community. It aims to be a vehicle of social message where we support the community while
creating awareness about a particular cause.”
MELISOULA MILLS When I think of Melisoula Mills, I find myself in a dream where the sunshine dances happily on my face, the sand melting my feet into the Thar desert, before I sip a cup of heavily sweetened masala chai (flavoured tea) at the Exotic Marigold Hotel under the stars. This may be a dream to you and me, but Melisoula is living it. Not only did she establish her coaching business called Leader of Hearts, she is also the owner of the Golden Marigold Hotel in Jaisalmer and organises wellness retreats called Sunshine Safari in the Thar desert.
Imagine voyaging overland on a camel for half a day, or better still, twenty days; and finishing the expedition at the Golden Marigold Hotel. Melisoula adds, “As part of the experience, we offer various sacred rituals around burning away what’s not true for us, around the camp fire that we create and build together. Songs, mantras, visualisations, dance, mindful walking and eating, meditations and celebrations are all part of the experience.” It sounds like a great way of getting rid of the mind chatter, allowing the mild desert winds to loosen all our worries and uncover our soul’s calling. In addition, in her Leader of Hearts business, Melisoula teaches women to awaken to their true essence. “She also loves to paint, dance, sing and be silly for the sake of having fun and indulging in life’s magic,” she continues. “If you are feeling the call to do something more with your life, then that call cannot be ignored easily. Witnessing people come home to their magnificence is such an honour and that’s why I love what I do.”
When I ask her why she chose the Thar desert, she matterof-factly states. “I did not choose the Thar desert, the Thar desert chose me. I’m a self confessed beach addict and the Thar desert would have been the last place I would visit. But life had a different plan, one that I couldn’t have planned better.”
To top it all, finding love in the desert couldn’t be just a passing coincidence. Her chance meeting with Photia in Jaisalmer blossomed into something beautiful but is a love story for another day. I suppose it’s easy for love to come to us when we are functioning at our optimal level and from a place of courage and conviction.
I am hoping to try the Sunshine Safari expedition as part of my continual self-discovery journey on my next visit to India.
Meet Melisoula here: leadersoftheheart.com and goldenmarigoldhotel.com
She shares why she gave up her position as a lecturer in a UK-based university and bought a one way ticket to India. “Although I loved teaching students, presenting my research and publishing my work on a global scale, I felt trapped in this well of disconnectedness. I needed to experience a feeling of absolute freedom and the confidence to live a life that was true to me.”
If you are feeling the call to do something more with your life, then that call cannot be ignored. easily!
THE WILSONS The Wilson family live in the heart of Kolkata’s slums. They set up Ashadesh, a social enterprise whose ultimate goal is to increase the quality of air in the slums, and Kiran, where women are taught to create sustainable businesses by making unique sari jewellery.
We feel that living among the poor has been of immense value. They are content with simplicity.
It all started in 2008. Steve, an engineer, and Jane, a nurse, felt a calling to move to an urban slum in a country they hardly knew. “The notion of leaving mainstream life in our home country, Australia to live and work among the poor had taken a grip on us. As we started to think more seriously about it, an obvious question was where we would go. For some reason, India stood out, and Kolkata in particular.” The integration of their children into the slum community was highest on their list. They were three years old and one and a half year old at the time.“While it was hard for us adults to learn a foreign language, our children adapted very well to a new culture and learned the language quickly. They have made some good friends in the neighbourhood kids but are also aware of their Australian heritage and appreciate the cultural differences between Australia and India. We homeschool them, and the curriculum provides a significant source of connection to their home culture.” In 2012, after much research into the carbon emissions of primitive cooking stoves that the community used, the Wilsons formed Ashadesh, which provides newly designed improved stove options. The high volume of carbon emissions from the stoves were causing breathing problems and many slum dwellers died of complications. Steve cites the Global Burden of Disease Study that states that 3.5 million people die annually due to indoor air pollution using traditional coal stoves, because they end up suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumonia, heart disease, stroke, cataract and various cancers. Given Steve’s background
in engineering, developing the Ashadesh concept as a realistic model to provide cleaner air, was pretty straightforward. “Organisations can now purchase carbon offset from us which provide the funds to enable us to subsidise the stoves. We must be doing something right because one of the doctors who returns to the slums every year for medical camps noticed that the rate of respiratory diseases had lowered in the communities where we had been supplying clean burning stoves.” The other social outfit, Kiran, was started in 2013, for the women of the community. The sari jewellery they make is purchased wholesale. Each one is created with excellent craftsmanship and dedication, something that I very much appreciate, as a result of my own handcrafting journey. Living simply is the Wilson family’s motto. “We feel that living among the poor has been of immense value. They are content with simplicity. We now have a far deeper understanding of the life of the poor and see the excesses of consumer society in perspective.” I was certainly curious as to whether Steve and Jane had mastered Bengali, having lived in the community for a while. At the time of the interview, it was very hot in India. They have so kindly taught me what to say “It’s so hot these days, it will be wonderful when the rains come,” in Bengali which I have included below. িক গরম পরছে আজকাল ! বৃষট্ ি আসলে খুব ভালো হবে ! Ki gorom porche ajkal! Brishti ashle khub bhalo hobe!
Jan D’Sa is a molecular biologist and medical writer who loves the adventure of making a difference through powerful storytelling and her artwork. She blogs at TravelArtsLife about awakening your world through experimenting with artforms, solo travel, sustainability and social change. Living up to her passion for healing and saving lives, she is equipped with a Masters Degree in Molecular Medicine, which builds upon her life’s calling in using arts for wellness and social change. Upon popular demand, she has designed a self-paced e-course for those who desire to use spontaneous poetry and doodling as a mindful meditation practice or to get unblocked. The course can be downloaded at travelartslife.com/doodlepoem
THE 1990S SCHOOL
words VIREN PAREKH
I always had the ‘butterflies-in-the-stomach’ feeling when school was approaching. The annual vacation (read mandatory trip to Dada-Dadi’s/Nana-Nani’s [grandparents] house, or an escape to a nearby hill-station) was done and dusted. The two Kodak rolls containing 40-odd photos each, had also been developed and the photo album, seen multiple times. Inquiries were now being made with elder siblings and friends in the same school as to what lay ahead in the next year of school, who the teachers would be and whether they were strict or “cool”. The thoughts of waking up early for school and (gulp!) homework loomed in the mind and the vacation’s blue summer skies were slowly getting murkier as June approached, bringing with it, another year of school.
It wasn’t all ominous though. The best part of going back-to-school was here too. A sequence of clearly defined, joy-inducing shopping rituals would now be followed: buy new books and the standard brown wrapping paper, labels, pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, shoes, ties, uniform and (when lucky) a new schoolbag too! And what about the goose bumps of day one?! The nervous build-up of excitement of seeing the current crush again. The eagerness to show-off the brand new double-decker, tiffin box. The mystery of what sports “house” we’d be part of (red, green, blue or yellow). The secret hope of being allocated to the same classroom as our other friends. A million thoughts rushed through our head, as we picked up our bags for the first time in the year! Back-to-school of the ‘90s!
Viren Parekh, an internal auditor by profession, moved to Dubai in 2014. An avid cricket fan, on ‘match’ days you’d find him enjoying a drink and watching the game. On other days, he loves to read & write and play the guitar. This traveller nurtures a dream: To set foot on each continent in this lifetime. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SHOES THEY CAME IN ALL TYPES AND SIZES. “REGULAR” AND “RAINY”, CANVAS AND BLACK. THEY WERE A CONSTANT SOURCE OF PUNISHMENTS FOR US AND WE HAD TO KEEP THEM CLEAN TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE! words VIREN PAREKH Standard black shoes for “regular” school days (read non-sports and rainy days), white canvas shoes for the sports days and rainy shoes (there were the ones who wore the more functional plastic sandals and there were the snooty kids who wore the big rubber gumboots). Footwear would be bought before school re-opened, of course, and there was an air of excitement as we waited for the shopping day to arrive. At the shoe store (invariably Bata), the measurements were taken and the vaguely familiar salesman made the perfunctory and cheerful remark of how we kids had grown up. As the shoes were tried, dad would come up and press the tip of the shoes (toe-end) to see if they were the right size. As a rule of thumb (toe in this case!), there should be some space to allow for the feet to grow and potentially stall the inevitable expense on new shoes as we would grow out of these quickly. All three types of shoes would be tried and purchased and at the counter, dad would buy the other paraphernalia which went along with the school shoes; socks, polish and extra strings. (Image courtesy: Adidas)
Looking back, the shoes bring back many memories. 1. There were kids who struggled with the shoe laces and were always seen at the end of the day, struggling to run and walk with their laces open and trailing behind them. It was only when a helpful friend/teacher came to their rescue, that they heaved a sigh of relief. to wash them/ apply white polish. Of course another working solution found was to rub white chalk available in the classroom before stepping out to the assembly halls. It was a source of mirth to see these kids huddle together and take turns at applying chalk on their shoes just before the call for the assembly.
3. The perennial lazy bums who got hauled up by the classroom monitors for having dirty shoes. The instances of “haul-ups” increased on days when they were supposed to wear white shoes. As the year progressed, the shoes would get dirty and the only solution was
Even though canvas shoes have arrived back in fashion today, memories of the times when we protected them from dirt and how the whiter the shoes were, the happier we felt, bring a smile to our face.
2. The aforementioned snooty gumboot kids revelled in the fact that their ankles would always be free of muck during rains, but their revelry came at a price. The wide gumboots allowed water to seep in and soon enough, they had squishy wet socks which they had to endure through the day. And yes, they could not run as fast as the others.
CHART PAPER THE DIFFERENT HUES OF CHART PAPER, THE CAREFULLY KEPT BOTTLES OF JOKER GUM AND FEVICOL. CHILDHOOD PROJECTS WERE ALL ABOUT PICTURES, COLOURS AND HAVING A LOT OF FUN!
words VIREN PAREKH
And it was time for the first project of the year! The topic had been announced and the kids had gone berserk about the things theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d do on the project. One thing was for sure; no matter what the idea was, the canvas on which it would be presented would be the good old chart paper. The very evening the project was announced, hordes of kids descended at the neighbourhood stationery stores with their parents to stockpile on the only necessary project material â&#x20AC;&#x201C; chart paper! After careful observation of the shelves holding white, yellow, pink and blue chart papers, we would point at the colour of chart paper that best suited the occasion. Other necessary equipment (sketch pens, rulers, scissors and the works) was also stockpiled. Back home, the chart paper was neatly rolled and tied up with a rubber band and kept carefully in a safe spot to avoid bending and soiling. To prevent the soiling, an additional layer of old newspaper was rolled over it. The roll would be opened only in the end, when all the necessary pictures to be pasted on
the chart papers were finalised and okayed by mom/dad/tuition teacher/ elder siblings. The picture selection process was enjoyable, yet nerve wracking. With no Google searches available, the only repository of information we had was the vast collection of old magazines and newspapers, securely stored by mom in a cabinet, who waited for the cabinet to get full so that the old newspapers could be sold off to the bhangarwaala (scrap dealer). Strict instructions had already been relayed that the dealings with the bhangarwala would be completely freezed till all the old magazines and newspapers had been scanned through and the pictures, finalised. It was a secret wish of every student that the pictures were available in the magazines or in the special glossy Sunday newspapers. Once the pictures were finalised, it was time to cut them carefully and keep them aside before they would be neatly captioned and pasted on the chart paper. The pasting process was not without a firm protocol and needed strategic insight. Finally, with the positioning decided, the glorious
white chart paper would be unfurled and straightened out by rolling it multiple times in the other direction. The margins of the chart paper would be drawn up, and the pictures would be stuck within them.
Once the glue (read: Joker gum or Fevicol) had dried off and the pictures had been stuck, it was time to draw the outline of each picture with different hues of the sketch pens. The person with the best handwriting in the house had already been beckoned to caption the pictures. Of course all the lines to be written would be first written with a pencil and then, once spell-checked and proof read by mom, it would be written upon again carefully
with a multitude of colourful sketch pens. Finally with the text in place and the pictures already embedded on the chart paper, it was time to apply the finishing touches (name, standard, division on top of the chart paper in the margin, quick proofread and little flourishes with the sketch pen to beautify things). One more admiring look and the chart paper would be carefully rolled up again and tied with the rubber band. As the bands snapped on the rolled up chart papers, a secret hope of scoring full marks on the project sprouted in the minds of all the kids. The roll was then kept away, one last time, before it was carried to school with pride.
MAGNETIC PENCIL BOX THE OLD PLASTIC PENCIL BOXES WERE NO MATCH FOR THESE SLEEK MAGNETIC PENCIL BOXES! THEY WON OUR HEARTS IN AN INSTANCE!
words VIREN PAREKH
It immediately caught my eye as she took it out of her bag. The white tube-light on top of our bench glistened on its shiny cover. It was amazing, stupendous and marvellous. It was the first magnetic pencil box I had seen. I still didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know it was magnetic of course, but the secret was unravelled when she easily popped it upon with her thumb and it snapped back shut on its own when she had removed the pencil. I looked at her beseechingly and her eyes granted the permission; I could touch the box! It was really soft to touch and the box was double-sided. I opened it myself like she had, four fingers at the back and the thumb opening it with a light push. Inside, each different piece of stationery had its own compartment. The pencils had their grooves. The fat erasers and sharpeners sat in their houses. The small ruler and more pencils were stationed on the other side of the box. My hand got a gentle rap from her when I repeatedly opened and shut the box. I looked
at my own pencil box, shamefully red and shamefully plastic. The soft click of the magnetic pencil box and the loud crack of the plastic pencil box cannot co-exist on the same bench, I resolved. That day at school was but a blur with the focus on the magnetic beauty. The evening was spent in a round of request to mum and dad on the merits of a new magnetic pencil box. Finally dad gave in, of course and I let out a squeal of delight as we left for the stationery store. I stood on my toes as dad asked the guy at the counter to show us the magic boxes. Of course the box selected by my process was vetted by dad. Anything that was too expensive and fragile was frowned upon and was selected only after a pleading look. As I walked back home, with one hand held by dad and the other firmly clutching the magnetic pencil box, I silently wondered how much power the magnet had and how long it would last.
MILTON BOTTLE NOTHING GAVE US MORE PLEASURE THAN A SIP OF COLD WATER FROM THE MILTON WATER BOTTLES words VIREN PAREKH As we left for school each day, mom would do a quick quality check on us by scanning the usual cause of complaints/ discipline issues. The hair would be combed/ plaited one more time, the nails would be checked to ensure they were clean and short, the shoes would be inspected for any speck of dirt. Then came the final check, whether the tiffin box was in the bag. As we left, the final item to be handed over was the water bottle. Mom would fill the water bottle at the last possible moment to ensure it remained cold for a longer time and this always caused a last moment frenzy with the bus/ rickshaw driver waiting and then honking for us, while mom smiled sheepishly in the background. Almost always a Milton, the way we held our water bottle changed through the years in school. The traditional hung-over-the-neck style was common during our primary school days and was used as a measure by parents to ensure that the bottle was not misplaced by us as we negotiated our way to the school by bus/ rickshaw. Mom would carefully adjust the handle on the strap of the bottle to ensure that the padded plastic section would come right over our necks and did not hurt us. As we grew up, however, this style was seen as embarrassing and we changed to the â&#x20AC;&#x153;slung over the shoulderâ&#x20AC;? style in a bid to look a bit more cooler. Some even had the habit of swinging the bottle like a pendulum as they walked, much to the discomfort and agony of anyone within a 2-3 feet radius of such kids.
The bottle would be safely hung on the side of the backrest of the bench. Not always though. Over the years, we had all learned to be more wary of our surroundings and on days when a student (especially the bullying back benchers) did not get their bottles to school, the water bottle would be kept right next to us instead of being slung on the backrest behind us. It is funny now, to think of the times when we would deliberately interrupt the class by asking the teacher if we could drink water.
The many memories linked to the water bottles are still so fresh. Like the way in which, on summer days and sports days, mom would give us the bigger Milton bottle which was generally reserved for family picnics, and fill the bottle with ice-cold water and top it up with some ice-cubes as well! Or the notorious bottle flights, when we used to entangle two water bottle straps and pull in opposite directions and would generally end up on our backsides, much to our amusement. Once we had finished all the water, we would often sing and speak random words inside the empty water bottles, just to listen to how different and funny our voices sounded. Even today, after all these years, seeing a water bottle on a chance visit to the supermarket, or seeing a school kid with the bottle hung on the neck brings a faint smile and the memory of the days gone by.
BROWN PAPER THE HEADY PAPERY SMELL OF NEW BOOKS AND THE FEAR OF THE NEW SESSION’S SYLLABUS, ALL WRAPPED UP IN BROWN PAPER, WITH SNIPPING SCISSORS AND STICKY SELLOTAPE STRIPS (OF COURSE WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MOM TOO!). words VIREN PAREKH
One of the first lessons we learnt in teamwork was the brown paper wrapping exercise for our new school books. It was a carefully observed ritual which involved us and most often, mom. The new textbooks and notebooks would be carefully stacked in a pile on the floor. The daunting pile of books would rise to our eye level, as we’d sit cross-legged in front of it and eye it like a mountaineer eyes a far-off summit. Mom would break the reverie however, with the snipping sound of the scissors and we would go about the task with an armylike discipline. Mom would do the honours, by pulling off the rubber band and straightening the roll of the brown paper, coated with plastic film. Each book would then be laid on the paper, and the rigorous process would follow. The art of wrapping the books was guided by its own holy proportion of sorts! Open the book half way, ensure each edge is about an inch within the brown paper, cut off the brown paper above the mandatory one-inch mark, make the incisions on the top and bottom centre of the wrapping paper, wrap the paper over the edges of the book-covers and secure the paper flaps tightly, with neat strips of sellotape. The mark of a well-wrapped book was the tightness of the wrapping paper over the edges. Any mistake which left the edges puffy would be frowned upon and carefully corrected by mom. Book after book, the pile of unwrapped books would reduce and next to it a pile of smart-looking brown books emerged. With the last book wrapped, out came the labels! Although each label had the same details (name, class/ standard/grade, division, and school) to be filled,
the colourfulness of the label was one of the first expressions of individuality and preference. The most favourite label, of course, would grace our favourite subject’s book and vice-versa. The daunting pile of books, now ready, would be given another look. Finally, the leftover wrapping paper would be rolled up carefully and tied with the rubber band and stowed away for future use.
GEOMETRY BOX THE GLISTENING, ORANGE (CAMLIN) OR RED (NATARAJ) GEOMETRY BOXES WERE NOT JUST ABOUT DRAWING THE PERFECT CIRCLES OR FINDING THE RIGHT ANGLES. WE LEARNT NEW WAYS TO MAKE THE GEOMETRY BOX MORE INTERESTING AND A MEMORY FOREVER! words VIREN PAREKH We waited with much excitement for our math class teacher to come to class. As per the instructions received in the last class, the Camlin/ Nataraj geometry boxes had been purchased and the students were curious about what lay ahead with respect to the geometry box; right from the first day of the session. The inquisitive ones had already started using the geometry box in different ways.
sheet would almost always be un-punched and had to be perforated with the compass needle to be able to tie it up.
The ones near the window were using the metallic body to reflect the sunlight either on the class ceiling or on the faces of their friends seated elsewhere in class; The arty ones had drawn geometrical shapes using the protractor and set-squares and couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wait to show it to the art teacher; At least three incidents of the sharp needle on the compass being poked into the backsides of students had been lodged through the day; Rat-tattat-tat noises came from different areas of the class as the benches were being pulverised by the compass needles.
4. The names we engraved on the benches with the compass.
What happened in the math class that day is now but a blur, however, the memories attached to the geometry box live on vividly! 1. Supplementary pages to be tied to the main answer
2. The way we felt, little engineers and scientists using the various instruments. 3. The way we stuck out our tongue slightly between our lips as we carefully drew the circle with the compass.
5. The way our parents convinced us to stick labels inside the geometry boxes with our names because all the boxes looked similar and there was always a concern of misplacing/ interchanging the boxes. 6. The displeasure we had when we were forced to share our geometry box with someone. The orange/ red geometry box came with a black plastic tray which would hold the various instruments. The tray could be lifted, and served as the best hiding place for some extra money given by parents or the secret love letters given to us/ to be given by us. The bright red/ orange geometry box is something we will always remember!
INK PEN THE LEAP OF FAITH FROM PENCIL TO THE INK PEN WAS NEVER GOING TO BE EASY AND WE DID IT OUR WAY! WE BATTLED OUR WAY THROUGH SMUDGY INK PENS, TIPPLED INK POTS, UNIFORM STAINS AND BROKEN NIBS! words VIREN PAREKH It had been an anxious moment when the class teacher had announced on the very first day of Grade 6 that we had to say goodbye to using pencils. Everyone already knew what lay ahead. We had seen our elder siblings/ cousins/ seniors use those shiny ink pens. They looked and smelled funny and even today, after all these years, the memory of an ink pen engulfs the mind with its distinct smell, the purplish blue pages and the round, fat Camlin inkpots of glass.
Ink pens changed our lives. We felt grown up. The pencil scribbled notebooks of younger students now elicited smug smiles and a feeling of being older. Our parents bought these pens for us and they were handed over to us with much fanfare. The classic Hero fountain pen was now our new companion. Blue and black Camlin inkpots were bought. Even today, the memories of our first experiences with the ink pen are fresh! 1. With the ink pen, we had to be more responsible. Each day, another ritual was added to the school day. This would involve waking up slightly earlier and refilling the ink pens. For protection, yesterday’s newspaper would be kept on the dining/coffee table and the pen was refilled. It would always be yesterday’s newspaper and not today’s, else it would draw a huge scolding - the spill on the freshly delivered newspaper.
2. The feeling of horror on days when we forgot to refill our ink pens. This would be further exacerbated if our friends were not carrying an extra pen. We tried and failed miserably to shield the pencil in our hand from the prying eyes of the teacher, who would shake their head and remind us (“for our own good”) to be more meticulous. 3. The war-like situation at home when we came back with our school uniform dotted with ink stains. As we changed our uniform behind closed doors, mom would begin a tough line of questioning to figure out how we got the big stain on our uniform. Generally, the scolding given would be less severe if the stain was partly someone else’s fault. 4. How can we forget the broken nibs? Hurried writing or a slight application of extra pressure meant that the nib would break with a blunt breaking sound. This was probably our first experience in disaster management and it is funny to think how we would frantically reach out for paper scraps to stem the flow of ink and save our notebook in time. Sometimes, innocent handkerchiefs had to be sacrificed for the casue too. And some of us would clean the ink residue on the pen on our hair! Broken nibs also meant new pens and this would always make us happy secretly. Mobiles, tabs and laptops may now rule our lives, but the ink pen still holds a special place in our hearts, like the adamant stains it left behind on our uniforms.
PENCILS OUR OLDEST FRIEND IN SCHOOL! WE WROTE OUR FIRST WORDS WITH IT, DREW OUR FIRST MASTERPIECE WITH IT AND SCRIBBLED OUR FIRST LOVE LETTER WITH IT. CAN’T THANK IT ENOUGH! words VIREN PAREKH
It was a daily occurrence, to enter the class and find our friends huddled around a dustbin, sharpening their pencils. Quickly, we too would join them with our Nataraj pencils and sharpener and exchange notes about what happened since school concluded yesterday. Concerns about unfinished homework would be shared, nods, gestures and suggestive looks would be made as and when our crush would enter the class. As we walked away, we pricked fingertips with the pencil ends to see if they were sharp. We had quite a few brands and types of pencils to choose from, the most common brand being the red and black Nataraj pencils. Then came the Apsara black and grey pencils. Some used the ones by Camlin. There were others who used the fancy pen-pencils in which you inserted long, thin lead pieces and had to be careful not to chip the lead away. Then there were the other fancy pencils with the erasers at the other end. The erasers did not last too long though and were generally not as good as the quality of the “non-dust” Apsara erasers! Some of us would pride ourselves on sharpening the pencil without causing the pencil shaving to break, and would then go on to make flowers from it and show off in front of our classmates. There would be others who would sharpen the pencil at both ends for fun and then would ensure that all their pencils be immediately sharpened at both ends. Very risky, though.
Even today, using a pencil at work brings a rush of old memories of the school days gone by!
Of course, the pencil wasn’t just used for writing. We had devised other uses too! Most of us would chew on the pencil as the teacher would read from the book or solve math problems on the writing board. It was almost an involuntary habit which we formed and thought that it helped us concentrate. There would be others who
would (much to the horror of others) use the pencil to scratch their back or poke inside their ears. Then, of course, there were the pen and pencil fights! We would use the desk (generally meant for two students) and flick the pencil from one end of the desk towards the other pencil. The more powerful and skilful flick would overpower the other pencil and send it flying towards the floor. This was frowned upon by the teachers and many of us were given the usual punishments and scolding for indulging in these pencil fights. Some of us would also remember the way we would keep a one rupee coin behind a page and use a pencil to inscribe the design of the coin on the page! And finally, many of us indulged in the shameless disfiguring of the pictures of national heroes on history books.
WATER COLOURS ARMED WITH WATER COLOURS AND A PAINTBRUSH, THE WRITER REMINISCES HOW HE FELL IN LOVE WITH MORE THAN COLOURS ONE SCHOOL YEAR! words VIREN PAREKH Through the whole of last year, I had been secretly admiring her. This year, to my delight, we had been seated together. I could see her eyes shine brightly through her spectacles as the art teacher announced we would no longer be using crayons, starting this year. She seemed to be excited about using water colours. She had always been good at drawing. Even before the art class would begin, her palette was out, free of any paint which she had used the last time. The water colour box sat next to the palette, then came the tube colours and the bottle colours! Next to the colours, a small steel bowl would be kept in which she would carefully pour water.
Since I already had a crush on her, I used to find her intimidating. Her army of different colours did not help matters much! My own colour collection comprised a small colour box with just six colours and a half-pencil sized brush, and was no match for hers. As the art teacher would arrive and give us an assignment (an option between object drawing, a village scene or “my favourite festival”), me and most of the boys would go about the job with little interest, however she was a girl possessed. The big drawing book would be opened. A pencil would be produced and she sketched the outline of the drawing with much concentration. The right hand would keep drawing, while the left hand managed everything else: propping up the spectacles with a finger before the lenses fell low or flicking away the strands of “boy-cut” hair. As the drawing was completed, the teacher would be consulted regarding the drawing and the colours to be used for painting and then she would set about the task. Safely tucked away in the bag, came an assortment of brushes. When I had asked her, she had told me that the brush sizes were different and she used a brush, depending on the drawing. Her painting style was in contrast to her usual careful self. When she’d draw with the pencil, she’d be careful about measuring and would give attention to every detail. While painting, it
was a completely different her. Swift, audacious strokes of the brush would attack the sheet. Generally gentle, it was a bad decision to interrupt her when she drew. When I did, she would almost snap at me, only to return to the painting. The brush seemed to be guided by a supernatural force as it dipped the right colours, went to the sheet and left beautiful swirls, strokes and spirals. Then it would be quickly cleansed in the steel water bowl, only to return to the colour box for the next round of ammunition. Amazed and in awe, I would set my pencil and brush aside to watch the poetry in motion. With the last few strokes coming on, there would be a crowd around our bench, with all her friends coming over to see the new masterpiece and suddenly, without warning she would stop and hold the piece up with a bright grin, signalling the completion of the drawing. The teacher would come over and praise the drawing and I’d try my best not to show the mess that I had created. The bell would ring and she would carefully keep her painting supplies inside the bag, cleaning away any mess she may have created. We both then waited for the next art class.
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JINGLE YOUR WAY THROUGH THE
WHAT COMMERCIALS DO YOU REMEMBER THE MOST FROM WHEN YOU WERE A KID? words SHARRAH KAPADIA artwork MINIMAL AD POSTERS 2015/ MANOJ NATH
Advertising has become a massive industry today with almost every brand spending an exorbitant amount in an effort to create awareness and ensure top of mind recall. The point is to break through from the clutter and make that one ad that resonates with the brand and ultimately becomes the anthem of the moment. That’s the power all brands crave! I have to be honest that most ads these days lack that power of connecting with the audience. Although they’re technologically advanced and have the best picture quality, etc., they seem to lag behind in creating that connection. As a child who grew up in the ‘90s my life revolved around ads, to the extent that I’d be humming those jingles or punchlines throughout the day, especially while climbing down my building stairs or in the bathroom! Sometimes I’d recognise the brand merely on the basis of the tagline. That, I would say, is the purpose of advertising. So let’s shed some light on the good old and definitely most talked about Indian ads of the ‘90s era. The Dhara oil ad surely had all mouths watering as soon as it was on air. It was as if my whole house was encapsulated by the aroma of the garma garam jalebis being fried in hot oil! That indeed was a sight
to see which triggered the sweet tooth for me and it was a compulsion to binge on something sweet after that, while humming the tune of the jingle “Dhara Dhara, shudh Dhara”. That’s the impact that the Dhara ad created. View the ad here: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=mk8Z0WbSWV0
seat! These are sights that you see and perhaps say “It happens only in India”. View the ad here: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=HwKvR7hGJZI
The ONIDA TV ad with the devil and his oh-so -ferocious horns was another scary yet popular
Another popular ad was the Bajaj scooter ad – it was as if Bajaj was the traditional scooter of all families. Every middle-class family’s favourite son was “Hamara Bajaj”. It was quite surprising to see how strong that scooter was – it could easily accommodate a family of four and sometimes five with the youngest child seated on the portable seat attached to the front
ad. I remember as a child I’d be freaked out by devils and ghosts and my mom would always use that as an excuse and say “complete your homework for the day or the ONIDA devil will come and punish you”. But having said that ONIDA was and still is a reputed brand; I remember how in the ‘90s having an ONIDA TV at home was like a matter of prestige. View the ad here: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=_tishLr19-c ‘The Complete Man’ ad for Raymond created waves in the ‘90s. It was a big risk that the advertisers took by targeting the metrosexual, caring, family man who was very different from the way men were portrayed in the ‘90s. Those were the days of the angry young man, but Raymond succeeded in making its mark in becoming the preferred choice for shirting and suits for men. Be it a marriage or a business meeting, every man wanted to be ‘the Raymond man’. View the ad here: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=PUZ3yoJaklU The only chocolate that I grew up eating as a child was Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. It indeed was the ‘taste of my life’, as the catchy punchline ‘Kya Swaad Hai Zindagi Mein’ suggests. The Cadbury ads created such a stir back in the day, that till date it’s probably one of the most eaten chocolates in India. And what’s commendable is that the brand continued to dominate the market with only one milk chocolate flavour, which surely indicates it’s not always about variety, sometimes it’s just that one product that hits the sweet spot and boom, the job is done.
View the ad here: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=w_pWJKr5gAg It’s a known fact that Indian food is lavish and filled with richness and flavours. I’m sure you’d agree that Papad is an integral side dish of the Indian diet with innumerable varieties, including masala papad, fried papad, roasted papad, etc. But how can we not mention the all-time favourite Lijjat Papad featuring the cute rabbits that actually got me to eating papad in the first place? The funniest bit in the ad is the ‘Karram kurram’ part which actually refers to the sound made while eating papad. View the ad here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v= lSYMX6PmT34&list=PLnvAphLl_arHmFIUSEHN8MCuf S4jZBCAH&index=6
My day would be incomplete without an ‘Utterly Butterly delicious Amul’ butter toast for breakfast accompanied by a glass of Amul milk or ‘doodh’. This ad resulted in a sigh of relief by all Indian mothers who had to struggle to get their children to finish their glass of milk every morning. But after this ad their worries came to an end as the kids themselves would say ‘give me more’! View the ad here: https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=NAyW9XGOna0. Well that’s all folks. This was just a small fragment of commercials that I remember from my childhood.
Sharrah Kapadia is a PR professional with five years of experience. She is passionate about writing, a complete foodie, a movie buff, an avid reader, enjoys cricket and swimming and loves speedy bike rides. She is also a volunteer at the Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special needs.
Manoj Nath is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Bengaluru. Currently, he is working with Hewlett Packard as a Marcomm Designer. He is an avid reader and a big fan of R.D. Burman, and can play his best tunes with his harmonica. A pinch hitter in cricket, this Bong loves punning with words as much as he loves his sweets and fish curry! Although he confesses that he is a die-hard fan of North Indian cuisine too! He can be found at manojnath.com.
FEVICOL KA JOD AN UNBREAKABLE BOND, FEVICOL WAS ALWAYS MORE THAN GLUE!
For me Fevicol is not just a glue - it is a bond which will actually not break! Fevicol has been one of the most legendary brands in the world of Indian advertising. All the ads are simple, straight forward and directly touch your heart. A perfect blend of theme, idea and creativity - each ad is a brilliantly woven story. True to its tagline, ‘Fevicol aisa jod lagaye acche se accha na tod paaye’ (‘Fevicol creates a bond that the best of the best cannot break it’). I remember seeing an awesome print advert, where the god of death Yama is trying to pull out life from a person whose ordained time has come. He is unable to do so, as the body is found lying next to a tin of Fevicol. And the best thing is the tagline which says ‘Fevicol aise jod lagaye Yamraj bhi tod na paaye’ (‘Fevicol creates such a bond that even Yamraj cannot break it’). The hen and the egg ad is another favourite of mine. The cook in the dhaba (roadside restaurant) is breaking eggs in a wok but one egg doesn’t break…he tries again…he keeps trying hard with zor laga ke haiishaa playing in the background but to no avail. And then he discovers that the egg doesn’t break because the hen has been feeding herself on the grains stored in a Fevicol can! Oh, the memories attached with these ads! Bonding has become synonymous with Fevicol. The artist in me and this glue have been bonding together for ages. The beginning of a new session in school
meant a new bag, new books and new stationery, which of course included a Fevicol bottle! I still remember that peculiar smell I used to detest when I had just begun using this glue…open the stick once and the whole house will end up smelling like it. But now the same smell is my favourite when it comes to art and craft classes.My favourite memory is the rakhi making competition in school. It was more important to get Fevicol than the ornamental decorations for the rakhi! I won the first prize and the whole credit, of course, went to my favourite glue. I didn’t care if I got it on my hands, uniform or desk or if my hands got tacky later on or if the smell lingered on until after lunch, I continued using it for all my projects without any chip chip (stickiness). I loved to put a thin layer of Fevicol on my entire hand and then let it dry. After it dried completely I would peel the glue out of my hand where it’d look as if I was removing my skin! There is something so satisfying about that sensation. Actually, I enjoy doing so even today. Finger-picking the sticky congealed remains off the top of the plastic glue lid used to be fun too. It is not only relatively clean and easy but also satisfies some obsessive-compulsive instincts, and gives us all some smooth streaming for the rest of crafts day. I love these lines: ‘Doston aisa chipkaye ki nikle nahi. Aisa pakde ki choote nahi. Aisa jode ki toote nahi. Yeh sunke aapko kya naam aata hai (pause)... Jee haan! Yeh usi ka vigyapan hai!!
Ritu Dua, a banker and teacher, now focusses on what she enjoys most: art. Self-taught, her forte is mixed media. Besides her charity exhibitions, she’s worked with an NGO, shown underprivileged children how to turn recyclables into art, and volunteers at Dubai’s Al Noor School. She has recently moved from Dubai to Mumbai, India and is spreading the love of art there. She also celebrates all things delicious at beneathmyheartart.blogspot.
words RITU DUA
INDIAN POP IS THE BEST! INDIAN POP MUSIC IS STILL GOING STRONG, BUT IN THE ‘90S IT REIGNED SUPREME. BE READY TO LOOK UP YOUR FAVES ON YOUTUBE, DANCE WITH ALL THE ENTHUSIASM OF A GROUPIE, AND BECOME ‘INTERNET BROKE’. words AANANDIKA SOOD
Before embarking on this piece I have a few confessions to make. First off, let me acknowledge the fact that I haven’t worked so hard on a piece before this. I don’t mean to boast but writing comes a wee bit more easily to me than other numerous things I do. This one piece took all my strength and by the end of it I was exhausted, bleary-eyed and breathless. Also I must include that I was very close to being internet-broke. Before your imagination takes off on wings and you imagine me running on a treadmill writing this piece, let me tell you why. I was exhausted by the rush of the numerous songs that filled my mindspace gushing out like a river which is suddenly allowed to flow after its path had been obstructed by a big rock.
I was bleary-eyed from seeing one video after another on YouTube (which kind of left me internet-broke). I started with Colonial Cousins’ Sa Ni Dha Pa till the time I and Shankar Mahadevan both became Breathless. Of course, that wasn’t all. I had to travel back in time and revisit Ila Arun’s Vote for Ghagra and Bichuda Bichuda. I had to put on my headphones for Thanda Thanda Paani and Amma Dekh Tera Mundaa Bigdaa Jaaye. Sweet melody rang through the house as I raided a website for downloading Aryans’ Aankhon Mein Tera Hi Chehra, Junoon’s Sayonee, Mehnaz’s Mausam, Sahotas’ Teri Meri Gall Ban Gayi. Daler Mehndi’s Tunak Tunaked in my house and my 7-yearold added a few bhangra steps to her repertoire.
Jassi sang Koka Tera Kuch Kuch Kehnda and Dr Zeus’ Don’t Be Shy My Honey (yes there is a sweeter version which is nothing like the Bipasha Basu number from a recent horror flick). Then came a friend for a cuppa and we together ogled Milind Sonam first in Alisha Chinai’s Made In India video and then in Sonu Nigam’s Deewana. Mother and daughter also sat down to gaze at the lovely Lisa Ray who starred in a few of my all-time favourites. One being Daler Mehndi’s Har Taraf Tera Jalwa which has the peppiest beats of all time and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s amazing rendition Afreen Afreen from the album Sangam. By the way, did you know that Daler Mehndi, in his pop videos, has given a break to quite a few beauties in Bollywood, Priyanka Chopra being one of them? Pop music, short for popular music, had started making its presence felt as early as 1950s and ‘60s when musicians began to borrow from almost all forms of music to churn out something extremely eclectic. I think we can credit Pakistani singer Nazia Hassan for kind of bringing the pop music into our bedrooms and drawing rooms with her song Aap Jaisa Koi Meri Zindagi Mein Aaye from the 1980 release Qurbani. Hassan was all of 15 years old and had met Feroz Khan, the film’s director, in UK at a party where he asked her to meet Biddu, one of the pioneers of Indian pop. And the rest as they say is history. Biddu and Hassan came out with the smashing album Disco Deewane. The album featured Nazia’s brother Zoheb and it became the best selling
90s album in as many as 14 countries besides India. But it was the nineties, which can easily be called the ‘it’ decade for Indian pop. In that one decade Biddu launched many a talented artiste. He gave us Alisha Chinai and her debut album Made in India; launched Shantanu a.k.a Shaan and his sister Sagarika via the song Aisa Hota Hai and the heartthrob singer of that era Sonu Nigam.
If Pakistani singers kind of started it, our Punjabi artists residing in the UK, USA and Canada took it to the next level. Steven Kapur, better known as Apache Indian, who mixed reggae and bhangra beats to give hits like Chok There, Don Raja, Arranged Marriage in 1993 and Boom Shack-A-Lak, released in 1995, is one of the pioneers of Punjabi pop music. 1998 saw Rajinder Singh Rai known by his stage name Panjabi MC give the world the super hit bhangra track Mundian To Bach Ke Rahi. Baljit Singh ‘Bally’ Sagoo broke onto the scene with
Besides Nazia Hassan many other singers and bands can be credited with fanning the pop music fire in the Indian subcontinent and more so in our own country. Remarkable amongst those would be Vital Signs, Junoon, Strings and the likes. And who can forget the college anthem of all times Purani Jeans and Ali
Haider who also gave a sweet melody in Chui Mui Si Tum Lagti Ho. Then there was Adnan Sami with Lift Karadey and Tera Chehra.
his remix of the Asha Bhonsle number Chura Liya Hai Tumne from the film Yaadon ki Baaraat. The remixes were just another extension of the booming pop songs and soon we had DJ Aqeel shaking us with the remixed version of many popular movie songs like Nahin Nahin Abhi Nahin, Tu Tu Hai Wahi, and so on. Bombay Vikings brought us retro numbers like Chhodh Do Aanchal and Kya Soorat Hai in a new avatar. While the Punjabi men and women were readying the stage, the language was gearing up to hit us like a tornado. On the scene arrived Malkit Singh, soon joined by Harbhajan Mann, Sukshinder Shinda and Jazzy B besides Daler Mehndi, Jasbir Jassi and Dr Zeus. Armed with the dhol, tumba and the algoza they gave us upbeat, frothy, foot-tapping numbers in heaps.
Women too weren’t far behind. Anamika moved into our hearts with her take on Kahin Karta Hoga Woh Mera Intezaar. Suneeta Rao huskily sang Paree Hoon Main and serenaded us. Shweta Shetty with her Johnny Joker and Anaida with Oova Oova were full of oomph. If Raageshwari was all sweetness in her ’97 release Duniya, Suchitra Krishnamoorthi was innocence personified with Dole Dole and Dum Tara. And who can forget the variety of moods created by the music of such stalwarts like Parvati Khan, Sharon Prabhakar and Ila Arun, all in the decade of the ‘90s. Soulful music also flowed aplenty in that decade. For me the top of the line is KK with his ballad singer’s voice. Remember Pal and Yaaron? While comedian Mehmood’s son Lucky Ali sang Teri Yaadein Aati Hai, ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas intoned Aur Ahista Kijiye Baatein and Chupke Chupke Sakhiyon Se Wo Baatein Karna Bhool Gayi. The lady with the mellifluous voice Falguni Pathak sang Maine Payal Hai Chankayi. Silk Route gave us Dooba Dooba Rehta Hoon, Euphoria created Dhoom, and Colonial Cousins’ Leslie Lewis and Hariharan assembled all the ‘saat sur’ in that one song Sa Ni Dha Pa. While Shubha Mudgal’s Ab Ke Sawan was energetic yet soft, her collaboration with Sukhwinder Singh for Pyaar Ke Geet Suna Ja Re
was full of all things Indian. Bali Brahmbhatt gave us Tere Bin Jeena Nahin and Jojo sang Woh Kaun Thi. The nutty Devang Patel who gave us reworked international hits was a class apart. Kamaal Khan descended on us with O Oh Jaane Jana and Shibani and Aslam crooned Ho Gayi Hai Mohabbat. The term pop music is inseparable from Bollywood music. Some people would rather argue that the term could possibly be used exclusively for music and songs used in the Hindi films. According to Simon Firth, a renowned sociomusicologist who specialises in pop music, pop music is created to please everyone and not as an art form. He goes on to add that pop music is driven by profit and
commercial reward. This purpose is served well by the films, wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t you agree? Shankar Jaikishan, C. Ramchandra, S.D. Burman and many others also employed the principal of harmony and simple verse which forms the base of pop music in times gone by. Singers of great acclaim like Asha Bhosle and Alka Yagnik also sang pop numbers like Jaanam Samjha Karo and Saare Sapne Kahin Kho Gaye while Sonu Nigam and Shaan belted out Deewana, Bijuriya and Loveology. Remo came with Hamma Hamma in Bombay, but before him Baba Sehgal had come with
Aaja Meri Gaadi Mein Baith Ja in Miss 420. And of course there is Anu Malik, and Sunidhi Chauhan who also deserves a mention here though she arrived a tad bit later. Various music competitions have brought in many fresh sounds to the fore like Abhijeet Sawant, Rahul Vaidya, Vasundhara Das, etc. These and many more such as Rabbi Shergill, Chinmayi Sripada, bands like Indian Ocean and composers with classical as their backbone are at the helm of things and I am sure we have much to look forward to.
Aanandika Sood aspires to be the rolling stone that gathers a lot of moss. After 8 years of writing copies and columns, editing and scripting stories and honing her PR skills, she is now playing the part of a freelance writer and a mommie. She lives in Kolkata and can be found at aanandika. blogspot.in.
words ANJANEYA SARANGI
Anjaneya Sarangi started writing poetry at the age of ten. Other than poetry he is fascinated by piles of books, smell of rain and charm of journeys. Currently pursuing his further studies this 20-year-old from Sambalpur (Odisha) continues to write poems, read books and make travel plans.
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