the zipless life

May 25, 2012 § 17 Comments

those in the know tell me that the true indicator of really sound screenwriting or editing or background music in a film, is that it doesn’t draw attention to itself, it just brings cohesion to the ultimate idea of the film and makes it better. the upshot is that if it’s really good, you will remember a great movie and have no recollection of the editing and dialogue and music as separate things. that’s an interesting idea and i have never thought about it like that.

i ate somewhere recently that had a very interesting interior. it was all brown and shadows with the strange overhead lighting that always brings to mind police interrogations in movies – but also with a single very beautiful wall. a regular wall with sconces displaying bottles of wine and packages of tea and all manner of things that have labels which are cool to read – but also Fiestaware, which i have not seen in India so far.

have you ever eaten off heavy ceramic? no sharp, tinny klink-scratch-klink when you eat, no, your flatware strikes your plates in these rounded, muted tones that is lovely to hear, like the sound of heavy brass bells in the distance, the ones with the dirty satin flags tied around their necks lining the steps cut into the rock winding up to that monastery, a blur on a cloud, a birdcage in the sky – you look up and squint against the bright white sunlight and a flock of red robed birds appears. smiling eyes, grubby faces, dirty flags and that flat, pale sun with its cold, white light.

hmm, anyway.

brightly coloured ceramic is a gorgeous thing.

later that night i went to get banana chips from the small, incredibly cute marathi restaurant next to where i stay. it is like a scaled down, toy version of everything a restaurant should be. the tables stand on dinky, stainless steel legs with delicate rounded feet, sighing sadly every time a heavy vessel is set down on them. the chairs are tiny and accommodate only a modest quantity of ass, with the rest left to hang unloved from the sides. the table fans are all angled lovingly towards each other, such that if you passed through exactly the right spot at the right moment, you would be caught in a dramatic vortex of humid air – but everywhere else is still as a calcuttan sunrise.

anyway, i go there to get my fresh chapatis and raw banana chips. i stand at their takeout counter, which consists of an old wooden school desk attached to the uniformed paunch of a beautiful man.

he is a man rather like a squirrel is a rodent; strictly for the purposes of taxonomy and displaying none of the rougher characteristics of his brethren. his hair is waved, his cheekbones are as glass, his moustache is adequate and he has small, bright eyes that fit his face with a satisfying neatness. i wander up to him every night and watch him gaze mournfully from under a thick fringe of dark eyelashes while i hem and haw and eventually order the same thing.

he is always on duty at the takeaway desk and always very evidently bored, which is not surprising. his voice is polite, but you can see it in his feet – small, nervous feet with pale purple veins and finely formed toes, tapping impatiently on the stool he sits on.

he is a rather beautiful man.

anyway. last sunday, i am lurking about the gateway of india, eating an orange rather messily and waiting for my friends. so i’m just walking around harmlessly – looking at people, reading the romantic exclamations on the wall of the public toilet, trying to spot a celebrity stepping into the Taj hotel – and then i see this really incredible looking thing – you’ve got to imagine some form of large, predatory cat growing four wheels, a bumper and hideous camouflage – and that is what this thing was. an armoured vehicle with tinted glass and metal wings. an annoyed, ugly feline of a car – so of course i get rid of my orange peel, wipe my sticky hands on my skirt, cup my hands around my eyes and try to peer into the car to see what other treasures it may conceal in its ugly stomach.

and lo! like a vast, khaki coloured butterfly does a police official alight in my vicinity.

“kya hai, medam, aap ko kya chahiye” his voice is stern and tone is nasal. I Am A Danger To The Establishment.

“bas andar dekhna tha.” i say, sidling away quickly and putting my hands behind my back. i am met with cold silence. Tinkerbell does not approve.

“yeh dikhane ki cheez nahin hai.” – the matter is closed but i try once more.

“ek baar please. police gaadi ko andar se kabhi dekha nahi hai, na” i add, winningly.

“madam, yeh aap ki khush kismat hai.” says Toad Fairy, pat.

oooooooo, burn.

welcome to bombay :)

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§ 17 Responses to the zipless life

  • Ashcharya says:

    surprisingly, i can say that i have had a meal at that somewhere; (and that never happens). more surprising still, i have had banana chips from those corner shop things in bombay; (surprising because i think i have had a total of not more than seven different kinds of food items in my life) even more surprising, i’m starting to see a trend, is that i’ve seen the armored vehicles next to the gateway that you’re talking about.

    anyway. pleasant surprise to see another post.

  • I was afraid you’d retired from blogging and moved on to more interesting things. I’m so glad you’re back. I like lurking alone at tourist spots too! And I have seen the insides of an armoured police vehicle. I really hadn’t done anything wrong. I was lurking around the Bombay High Court during my legal internship days and met a kind police man to chit chat and do time pass with. Bombay is so much fun that way!

    • i wasn’t actually lurking alone, i was waiting for some friends so we could go here actually. also i haven’t moved to any more interesting things.. im doing and thinking roughly the same things, but have no urge to add yet another rambly opinion to the vast interwebz :-)

      what’s inside the armored vehicle????

  • Karthik Sivaramakrishnan says:

    The cheek to ask a police office if you might peer into his vehicle! :))

  • Sroyon says:

    I found this cafe in Reykjavik, which is like a scaled down, toy version of everything a cafe should be. I think it’s my favourite cafe in the world.

    Also:

    and lo! like a vast, khaki coloured butterfly does a police official alight in my vicinity.

    This was the moment to reveal some orange peel which you had secretly concealed behind your back, squirt juice into the policeman’s eyes, steal the car keys while he claws at his eyes and screams in unbearable agony and humiliation, steal his revolver too for good measure, and drive off into the sunset firing shots into the air.

  • Anurag Rana says:

    ‘…the chairs are tiny and accommodate only a modest quantity of ass, with the rest left to hang unloved from the sides’

    Brilliant. Whattey post! Welcome to Bombay! :)

  • vishvak says:

    was there a masala vadai inside?

  • kro says:

    good lord. indigo deli?? Ive heard its prices are ludicrous

  • Shashank says:

    haha.. well written.. typical mumbai.. :)

  • Greetika says:

    I loved this. I could hear your practical voice. “bas andar dekhna tha” :) how are you?

    • excellent, friend. :) i was just asking roomie how you are and what you’re up to. then i read your blog; came away learning nothing new but feeling like i had. clever one you are.

      as for how i am, i’ll answer specifically with reference to one post of yours – i am lukewarm but i think i’m FINALLY in the mood to hotten :)

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