If not now, then when ?


act your age

All of you must have heard of the concept of the bucket list. It’s a list of things you want to do before you kick the bucket ie shuffle off your mortal coil, move on, break on through to the other side…..basically die.

But before you do that you need to make sure that you live the most awesome life you can, because if you don’t, then what would have been the point ??


Some of us friends were travelling in North India a while back, all of us close to 50 from one side or the other. We were travelling by train with all its attendant facilities and problems thereof…… and of course eventually we wondered whether in the Indian context a Lota list made more sense than a bucket.

So here is a Lota list that I have put together with some help from friends, old and new, all clearly mad (why else would they be my friends?!). Archana Sinha/ Bhatia wanted to be named for her valuable contribution (I won’t tell you which number on the list haha) and although Charu did not say so I am sure she will complain if I don’t mention her…. so, hi Charu (we have been friends so long that we no longer know who is the bad influence on whom!!). Thank you Geetu for as many as three items on the list 🙂

older i get

Here is the lust, sorry, list of things to do —because if not now, then when ??

This list is strictly adults only and hey, no judging!!

chill pill

(Un –surprisingly, given that most items on the list were shared by middle class Indian women around 50 years of age, brought up to believe in and practise heterosexual monogamy, many items revolve around different sexual experiences still awaited !)

  1. Have wine with Milind Soman……in a bathtub (Just to clarify—this is NOT from my list! Some of us sapiosexuals ( Brainy is the new Sexy ?) would prefer to have Elon Musk or Shashi Tharoor on our list…. but for a chat only. Maybe with kokum soda haha.. and some cake. Don’t enjoy wine and hate tubs… )
  2. Go back to work
  3. Take early retirement
  4. Have a sex change operation
  5. Dress more flamboyantly
  6. Get botox
  7. Go bald
  8. Become thin
  9. Become fat
  10. Have sex with someone of your own sex
  11. Go on a date with a super rich person
  12. Sex on the beach
  13. Skinny dipping, Himalayan base camp, para diving
  14. Travel to Africa
  15. Get a tattoo
  16. Get a tattoo in a place very few would see….


17. It’s stuff you want to do with others and you need someone you trust who will consent!

18. Have a threesome

19. Smoke pot

20. Kiss in the rain

21. Send a fan letter to someone you admire

22. Write a love letter

23. Publish your work –writing, art

24. Go out in public looking radically different, like with a wig or clothes you never wear

25. Go for a striptease, either sex

26. Take a year off to travel

27. Live like a monk for a month

28. Sign up for the mission to Mars

29. Sign up for cryonic preservation for 200 years till we solve the problem of mortality

30. Audition for the role in Vagina Monologues of the woman who moans

‘If not now, then when?’ is usually followed by ‘if not you, then who??’ So get on with it!

whos going to stop you

Print this out, add more of your own and let’s be off!!

Do add your items to the comments list 🙂






The Game is On! (Re-visiting Sherlock Holmes)

the game is on

The joy of relishing a cracking good series or movie or book and becoming a super fan is exceeded only by having a friend or family member join the fandom with as much enthusiasm!

We saw the latest Sherlock TV series again this month after some years. #sherlock But seeing it with my daughter was like a journey of re- discovery as we saw the old tropes and jokes and plot twists from her eyes and we remembered why we had loved it so much. Every note of the tune that plays when the ‘games afoot’, every time Watson gets befuddled and annoyed, ever time Hudson comes in with tea and a yoo-hoo and every single time Sherlock calls Greg by some other name was something to look out for and delight in once again.

Not in sir Arthur Conan Doyle wildest dreams could he have imagined that the stories he wrote in the late 1880s would be not only alive in 2018 but in this awesome updated avatar full of smartphones and blogs and jokes about ‘no we are not together.’


As every Sherlock fan knows, the original stories of the incredibly clever detective were inspired by a Scottish surgeon Joseph Bell.  In his childhood, his mother would always entertain him with fabulous stories which seemed to him more vivid and enchanting than his actual life– which included an alcoholic father and much bullying in school.

As a medical student he was chosen by Joseph Bell to be his assistant and thus had the opportunity to observe his methods of deduction and diagnosis very closely. He was thus the real life Watson to his Sherlock inspiration (who he initially wanted to name Sherringford but fortunately did not!!) (Fans –I am sure you get the reference to that name in the new series! )


Doyle was also a spiritualist and despite having been raised Catholic he broke away from it soon after becoming a doctor. In fact it was in order to concentrate on spiritualism that he decided to kill  Sherlock after 6 years of writing about him.

Even in the days of the original writing 150 years ago without any Twitter and shippers and fan clubs, the readers had protested so vehemently at the death of Sherlock at the Reichenbach falls that they wrote a deluge of letters to the newspapers. The publishers then put tremendous pressure on Doyle thus forcing him to write a sequel where Sherlock is seen to have miraculously survived the fall.

In fact the fictional address 221B, Baker Street receives so much post from fans that the post office has actually designated a separate service for it and there is a blue plaque although the specific flat does not even exist!


In the 1980s we saw the first televised version on Indian TV with the inimitable Jeremy Brett, which stayed true to the original with hansom cabs, tall hats, London fog and all. In those days before any way of recording and re- seeing shows, we waited with anticipation every week while it was being aired and delighted in the details from the books come alive. Jeremy played him to perfection with the disdain, the pipe, the drugs, the expression of a man with way beyond average intelligence barely tolerating the dumb masses and the unbearable dull routine of daily existence.

We thought then that he was the world’s best Sherlock possible.

Until of course Benedict Cumberbatch came along some years ago and swept us off our feet with a pitch perfect balance between detached brilliance yet the capacity for showing glimpses of a man capable of a deep (though imperfect but eventually redeeming) friendship. Of course Steven Moffatt and Mike Gatiss get as much credit for the character development and for the perfect casting of Watson and some brilliant ( though flawed) episodes and scenes.( spoilers ahead).

Not just ordinary people but literary giants like Oscar Wilde, Agatha Christie and PG Wodehouse were fans (with some people suggesting that Bertie and Jeeves were themselves a spin off)

And for those of you who are Douglas Adams/ Dirk gently fans, everything IS connected.

Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry did a brilliant turn as Wooster and Jeeves in a TV series.

Actors,  Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry in TV Programme,  "Jeeves a

Stephen Fry later played Mycroft in a Sherlock film and Hugh Laurie went on to play House. For those who notice. (Obviously! Keep up will you?) #obviously House and Wilson are a thinly veiled Holmes and Watson.  (Holmes-Homes-House). And although House M.D. is a US TV series, Hugh Laurie is as British as they come.

House Use it

Is it any wonder that House was spectacularly popular? It is basically a hospital based spin off of Sherlock. With Cuddy possibly as Mycroft and the three ducklings being Lestrade, Hudson and Molly Hooper.

Perhaps Doctor Who with Peter Capaldi has similar shades, given his brilliance and erratic behaviour, inevitable boredom, Clara as Watson and Missy as Moriarty. Maybe its a formula that just works across universes.

The latest Dirk Gently season has a Sheriff Sherlock Hobbes, who is bored in the dull ‘Bergsberg’ and instantly delights in the concept that everything is connected and proceeds to join them on the search for the boy. The games afoot.

Since then may spinoffs have been written and some have done really well. The Beekeepers Apprentice by Laurie B King is a cracking good beginning of a series which starts off after Sherlock has retired to the countryside. It has an amazing character of a young girl who is the apprentice and who eventually gets Sherlock out of retirement. For inexplicably idiotic reasons, Hollywood took that story and made it into a film with a young boy and older Sherlock, thereby missing the entire ethos of the story by a few galaxies and also reminding us that Hollywood is no place for women !

Some of the other spin offs I have enjoyed are the Mandala of Sherlock Holmes and Sherlock goes to Japan. Giles Brandeth has also written a series that I haven’t read so far, but hopefully will not disappoint.

Then there were the Sherlock films with everyone’s favourite bad boy Robert Downey Jr plying the great detective with a touch of flamboyance and a wild sense of humour. Casting Jude Law as Watson also gave much potential for on screen bromance/ gay sexual tensions between and of course Stephen Fry as Mycroft was a brilliant touch.

sherlock movie

The only grouse I have against the re-boot is that it is still so white. Sally Donovan is coloured but literally no one else is! There was ample potential for Mrs Hudson or Molly to be of Indian origin (A landlady and a doctor in UK—I mean come on!) and Watson or Lestrade or even Mary to be Caribbean or Asian. The US TV series does have a female Watson, so maybe there is hope.

After my renewed interest in Sherlock I was browsing a few fan sites recently. Although I knew of the ‘Superwholock’ fandom from my daughters, I had no idea of the sheer passion, wild imagination, madness, obsession and the range of involvement of the fandom and the ‘shippers’. They have Pinterest pages, wiki sites, fanfiction, deathfic, Johnlock fic, paintings, podcasts, YouTube readings, YouTube videos…it’s all a bit overwhelming! And this is without counting the transgender JohnLock fiction.#johnlockfic

The obsession of the fans even leads to situations where they want leading psychiatrists to diagnose whether Sherlock had Asperger’s and if he really is a high functioning sociopath. Only to be told ( to their utter horror!) by the bewildered specialist that “well….who knows? I mean Sherlock isn’t real is he??”

As I got sucked into a veritable hurricane of words on the fan site, I eventually ended up reading this fanfic story that every site said was a rite of passage if you were a true fan.So I thought ok, cool let me check it out in my lunch break, should be fun. Well, I was weeping within 2 minutes into it and eventually so traumatized by the end that I had to go back and read it twice to get it out of my system. (Ok, ok I confess….maybe it was 12 times…. but that was a week ago and it’s still there I my head).

“He’s slyly inserted himself into all my memories as if he had been there all along. He’s at school with me, at home, in the park….”

The rest of the day and all the problems seemed ridiculously trivial in comparison. Sigh…So you have been warned but if you think you are brave enough or crazy enough to be a true fan, you don’t have a choice. Here it is. https://archiveofourown.org/works/210785

And if that doesn’t destroy you, here is a video

Have a nice life.

The Snape effect and the Improbability Drive.

So the thing is –I am an atheist. I am a scientist and a doctor. I also like to imagine that I can comprehend some of the basic concepts of philosophy and ethics and of course of evolution.

In my childhood I was highly influenced by Isaac Asimov and Eric von Daniken.While neither of their stories expressed the absence of a god, the stories of robots and consciousness, space travel and the alien theories of origin on earth resonated so much more with what I could logically accept.


What is the potential future trajectory of an invisible Being that created us like we were part of a giant set of Lego or Playdoh? Invisible force is understandable but an invisible being who made us in His or Her image. Hmmm. Nope sorry.

What about the origin of most modern religions? In which I won’t count animism and Hinduism since they are not organized like the Abrahamic ones and neither are they proscriptive like Jainism, even Buddhism and Sikhism.

Most of these religions emerged more or less around the same time approximately 2000 years ago.

So was ‘God’ waiting and watching till we evolved enough to have complex languages and writing skills before she said ‘Boo’ from behind the curtain ? These are the rules in the nursery, she then said. No shouting, no fighting and definitely no sexting. Call them the commandments or the hadith or anything else.

Honestly it all seems so pointless. If anything then that would make me convinced that God is some kind of an alpha male. I mean women don’t have time for this kind of tomfoolery. If she had created the world, we would have had rainbows every day and no one would ever go hungry.

Women don’t succeed as much at a game of scrabble competition not because they are not as good as men but because they simply couldn’t be bothered and they play it for fun!

What does all this have to do with the title? I am getting there.

Kind of ….taking the slow scenic coastal route 🙂 You know what they say about there being no path to happiness…happiness is the path etc.

In the Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, there is a scene from a quidditch match where it seems as though Snape is trying to put a curse on Harry to make him fall from his broomstick. Hermione spots this and being the smartest witch of her generation, puts a counter spell to break it, thus saving the day.

Or so we think.

Well, many books later, ( spoiler alert!) we realize , in the most awesome character development track ( matched recently by Steve in Secret Things!) , that Snape has not been what he appeared to be — just misunderstood and quite the tortured soul.

What he has been doing that day at the match is in fact protecting Harry from an even bigger curse.

The day I realised that, I suddenly saw that a lot of things seemed to fall in that pattern. The minor accident before a long road trip which then turns out to be the best ever, the hotel pickup mix-up resulting in an enormous delay to reach the airport followed by an upgrade to the first class, the sabotage which prevents you from getting the job followed by the life changing offer to work abroad, the hostile boss who almost forces your resignation followed by the best job offer ever…. You get the drift.

This is what I like to call the ‘Snape Effect’! You curse what is going wrong but in retrospect it seems to have been the best thing ever. ( Yes, yes, I know we have always had this as ‘jo hoga accha hoga’ and ‘whatever happens is for the best’ but this is my epiphany ok ?!)

Now, does that make me a believer of fate and destiny (or as my autocorrect is offering a belieber of fat and density)?

Do we see patterns that we want because that is who we are as humans? We see gods in stones and good luck in a four leaf clover. Do we matter to anyone other than ourselves and a handful of other people?

In the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams described the improbability drive.


For those with a sci or sci-fi bent of mind, and excited about the madness of Elon Musk trying to put a Tesla car into orbit around Mars—here is the theory behind the Improbability Drive.

According to the books, the drive was inspired by the fact that although particles are supposed to appear near the nucleus of an atom, there’s an infinitesimally small chance that these particles will sometimes be found far away from their point of origin. The scientists who built the Heart of Gold then theorized that the same concept could be applied to space travel, allowing a body to travel between locations without passing through the intervening space. Thus the improbability drive was born.

I can’t resist sharing this fabulous, gorgeous Quantum Physics joke here 🙂

Heisenberg, Schroedinger, and Ohm are driving in a car.They get pulled over.

Heisenberg is driving and the cop asks him “Do you know how fast you were going?”

“No, but I know exactly where I am” Heisenberg replies.

The cop says “You were doing 55 in a 35.”

Heisenberg throws up his hands and shouts “Great! Now I’m lost!”

The cop thinks this is suspicious and orders him to pop open the trunk.

He checks it out and says “Do you know you have a dead cat back here?”

“We do now, asshole!” shouts Schrodinger.

laughing with tears

Anyway, back to the science:

Quantum physics actually shows that a particle might not be exactly where [one] would expect it to be. On the tiny scales that quantum physics describes, there’s something called the ‘probability distribution function’ for a particle’s location. It shows where the particle is most likely to be [but] that region extends out to farther distances, albeit with diminishing probability,” explained Millis.

Maybe that is really what we should consider worshipping since it is as likely to grant our often crazy and desperate prayers as the belief that there is someone/ something out there that made us and actually cares to listen when we ask for help.

Or maybe there really is some force out there that is providing the Snape effect. Maybe without that things actually would probably be much worse….

Who knows? As my sister has been asking—will this all make sense in the end?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Maybe the mistake we make in asking that question is the assumption that when we end is the end.


The story will go on even after us and beyond us and somewhere at the end of all that……..then maybe it will all make sense……..

Maybe not…….



Wakanda, those women and just WOW!

black-panther-latitia-lupita-danai-angela-1(An unscheduled post to just alert everyone to the awesomeness that is Black Panther and to exhort everyone to see it in theatre in 3 D now !)

We saw Black Panther last night, after many months of restless anticipation ever since we had seen the trailer.

And we were blown away right from the opening scenes till the very end.



What a powerful story and what a kick- ass boost for women.

Of course the story revolves around a King but trust me, the women in this are more than equal in every way and the men treat them with utmost respect for their wisdom, their capacities and their power. The only romance is short, realistic and as a relationship negotiation among equals.

These women are all over the movie and the screen, looking insanely gorgeous with sculpted fighting fit bodies, being seen as inventors, rulers, spies, managers. And so witty! Their eye rolls, snarky asides and simple laughter was such a delight to hear!

The Queen Mother with white dreadlocks, the genius inventor who shows the finger as well as is madly funny, the spy with the focus on philanthropy, the best warrior in the kingdom who is willing to kill her lover when they find themselves on opposite sides of a righteous war— all these women seriously each need their own movie !


There are many other ’in’ jokes and comments that it has taken us till 2018 to bring to mainstream cinema—get out of my way colonizer?! Haha. And Martin Freeman as the token white person and the villain being the white person were touches of brilliance.

The country of Wakanda itself is breathtakingly beautiful and the women and the story is so engrossing that one almost doesn’t focus on the fact that it has been directed and edited so sharply.

My girls and I were so delighted with the movie I would have gladly bought a home theatre system right away and watched this movie in 3 D on a loop for hours….

What a wonderful world !

wakanda forever





The Golden Temple

I visited Amritsar last year with some friends. I have written about our visit to the Museum of Partition and Jalianwala Baug in this earlier post https://thatwhichiam.wordpress.com/2017/08/16/the-museum-of-partition/

Here I am just going to post some photos from the visit to the Golden Temple. It has had its troubles in the 1980s and I lived in Delhi as a child during the Operation Bluestar and the subsequent riots in Delhi followed by the assassination of the then PM Indira Gandhi.

Now, the temple is a beautiful place, quiet and clean. We were lucky to have a cloudy day with some smattering of rain giving us this incandescent light in which I manage to capture some spectacular photos all on my phone camera. We visited in the morning for the langar and again in the evening for the prayers.

arch with a view

blue lake

clouds and temple

stunning cloudsother dome

I was very intrigued to learn that Sant Namdeo, one of the saint -poets of Maharashtra is highly revered by the Sikhs and 62 of his hymns are part of their prayers ! He was born in 1270 and travelled around India along with Jnanadev and eventually ended up in Punjab, where he lived for 20 years.

” The thundering resonance of the Word has liberated me while living”


As always, though fully appreciative of the beauty and purpose of such places of worship, as a space for refuge from the crazy troubled world, as a safe haven, I return even more mystified by those of faith who can actually pray–basically at all and especially in such crowded spaces, no mater how clean and relatively quiet !


Mil gaye naina se naina

Oye kya baat ho gayi !


In tribute to the wink that has mesmerized the nation last week here are some lovely songs, old and new talking about eyes as the window to the soul and the expression of love.

Thank you Priya for distracting us from our daily messy and chaotic lives. Gau rakshaks, NiMo scam, Metro digging up all of Mumbai…………all forgotten by one delicious wink.

And here are some songs dedicated to the magic of such eyes !










While searching for the songs I remembered, I also found this other blogger’s post on a similar list but with very different songs !

Check it out here if you are interested


The universe in the eye of a lizard

A lizard had fallen on the window of the car just outside the driver’s seat and it was staring him in the eye, from a distance of a couple of inches.

D: “Isn’t God amazing that he made the eye of the lizard exactly like ours but so tiny?!”

Me: “Well…’god’ made the lizard’s eye first and then we evolved…”

D: “Haan, woh bhi sahi hai….That is true. But you know that a lizard eats only insects and thus takes lives every day and is definitely going to be reborn same or lower life form……maybe even as the insect it eats. Chitragupta sits with his records of our good and bad deeds and decides where we should be re-born.”

Me: “Sure, but cows eat only grass and don’t all end up as humans. Not only that, they probably accidently eat lots of insects sitting on the grass too.” (Unless they are battery farmed, I thought to myself, in which case they probably get sheep blood pellets which eventually causes mad cow disease).

D: “Haan, woh bhi sahi hai….That is true. And human beings also sometimes have to kill. Like Arjuna on the battlefield. My neighbour and I were discussing the Mahabharat and he asked me what I would have done if I was Arjun. Standing on the Kurukshetra, facing all the Mahapurush like Bhishma, Dronacharya.”

Me: “Well, those ‘Mahapurush’ weren’t of much help when it came to saving Draupadi from being disrobed and insulted by Duryodhana and Dusshasana were they?? Not to mention her own brilliant husband who agreed to wage her in the game like she was an object that belonged to him.”

D: “Haan, woh bhi sahi hai…..”

Me: “She had five husbands and the only one she wanted to marry in her next life was Bhima because he was the only one who stood up for her. “

D: “Yes, true….But who can fight destiny?”

Me: “Mmmm……maybe humans? Isn’t that why we believe ourselves to be superior to other animals on this planet? And look what a mess we are making of it!”

D: “The other driver was saying that soon we will have robots managing things. Maybe humans will have more time to create relationships.”

Ha! I thought to myself. Humans are more likely to engage in even more conflict and horrors rising from boredom, lack of gainful unemployment and even more expensive and dangerous toys.

By this time we had reached our destination.

D: “Oh look madam, the lizard just jumped off. No escape from the re-birth cycle at least today…”



Madhubala -The Queen of Hearts

Last year I wrote a blogpost on her birthday, which of course coincides with Valentine’s Day.

Here is the link https://thatwhichiam.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/jab-pyar-kiya-toh-darna-kya/

Meanwhile everyone’s favourite RSS has suddenly declared themselves in favour of Valentine’s Day, stating that if young men and women don’t fall in love then how will they marry and then how will society progress. Right. Society has been progressing based on a legal and social institution created by patriarchy within the confines of heteronormativity and where monogamy is compulsory mostly only for the women involved.


Let me clarify that we are not against love. We have a problem with the obscene display happening in the name of love during days like Valentine’s Day… have you seen the cards that youth exchange during Valentine’s Day? They show couples kissing. Is that our culture? Is it how we should be celebrating love?” Jwalit Mehta, Bajrang Dal Ahmedabad president told DNA

I think he is right. Maybe we should celebrate Kamasutra Day instead. Maybe they can block Rajpath with the same dhurries they use for Yoga Day and we should do an internationally televised display of Kamasutra positions in order to reclaim our culture from the evil Western influence.

I can see the TRP rating for this going stratospheric.

Of course not all romantic relationships are sexual and vice versa. Sexuality is a vast spectrum and there is increasing recognition for the asexual minority who do feel love but have no sexual desires.

Of course there are the aromantic, the pansexual, the demisexual and the sapiosexual.

Labels and definitions and concepts aside, even the most aromantic would surely hum along to these  impossibley romantic and fun songs from Madhubala’s films. Enjoy !

  1. With Dev Anand


2. With Guru Dutt


3. With Kishore Kumar


4. With Ashok Kumar


5. With Dilip Kumar


And the last one to keep you humming all day

The Queen’s Necklace: Marine Drive, Mumbai

IMG_20170523_085434Most coastal cities have a marine drive or a marina, which is set up as a beautiful promenade and is full of walkers and families and dogs being walked. Mumbai also has one which may be similar to any of these but with the distinction of being immortalized in so many songs and movies that none of the others can lay claim to!

This is a photo I took of the Marine Drive in Colombo where they have this gorgeous train track running literally on the beach !!

train by the coast - Copy

Marine Drive is close to 4 km long and was constructed by late philanthropist Bhagoji Keer & Pallonji Mistry (trivia—his son Cyrus was recently nominated as ‘heir’ to the Tata empire). It is a concrete road along the coast, which is a natural bay.


 I always find it the most beautiful during the early evening even before the lights came on, where the swaying palm trees also added to the romantic feel. (ruined forever by some crazy people who dug out the coconut palms fringe and planted some ugly short trees) On the increasingly rare occasions that I go into SoBo I always make sure I return by the Marine Drive and enjoy the sight of the sea, the people, the space in which Mumbaikers make their own quietness, holding hands, walking looking at the sunset, sharing an umbrella. under the umbrella

During the monsoon , the sea lashes and strains against the edge, barely keeping it from swallowing this megapolis whole…

rain clouds

The official name for this road, though rarely used, is Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Road. The promenade is lined with palm trees. At the northern end of Marine Drive is Chowpatty Beach. Most of the buildings which were built in the 1920s and 30s are in a unique art deco style.

Of all the ways in which Mumbai has been called a city of dreams, at least one is literal. It is sometime in the late 18th century, and the engineers of the East India Company in Bombay are losing a battle against the sea. They’re dumping boatloads of stone into Worli creek to build an embankment, but it has collapsed once and it collapses again. That’s when an engineer named Ramji Shivji Prabhu has a dream: the goddess Mahalakshmi and two others inform him their stone idols lie submerged in the creek. Can some space be made for them on land? Prabhu has them fished out and installed in a shrine built nearby on land gifted by the administration. The wall holds! That embankment – the Hornby Vellard, completed in 1784 – was very real and can be said to have given shape to the modern city. Over the next few decades this was followed by the construction of causeways to link the seven islets separated by sea and swamp.

old bombay map

Another dream in which it played a part was that of a tall young man who came to Mumbai in search of a job in the film industry. He had no place to stay and slept a few nights on one of the benches on Marine Drive. He still stops by sometimes to take a look at it.

Nariman Point is a business district in Downtown Mumbai and is named after Khursheed Framji Nariman who had initiated the area’s development as an extension to the Back Bay reclamation.

Prior to 1940, the area was part of the Arabian sea. A popular leader of the Congress, Khurshed Nariman (affectionately called Veer Nariman), a Bombay Municipal Corporation corporator, proposed to reclaim the area from the sea near Churchgate. To accomplish this task, the shallow seafront was filled with debris from various parts of the city. Reinforced concrete cement was also used, the steel for which had to be purchased on the black market at higher prices due to World War II. The entire cost was estimated to be ₹300,000 (equivalent to about ₹99.4 million in 2017). Additional reclamations were carried out in the 1970s.

mumbai from the skies

Some charming and beautiful songs have been picturized along the Marine Drive (and I found that there is apparently even a movie named after it! )

  1. SRK makes a super dramatic entry in (super hit!) Deewana, riding on top of a whizzing block of ice


2. AR Rahman composes the perfect peppy bike ride song for a carefree, sunny morning. And at that point we hum along since we don’t know yet what Vivek Oberoi has in store….

  1. One of the many delightful songs from CID, with the instant recall opening bars on the harmonium


4. Young women wearing sarees and singing and dancing along the road, free as birds, playing a cheery tune. It could have happened and continues to be possible (hopefully!) only in Mumbai!

5. Has the joy and romance of the monsoon ever been captured more naturally and beautifully than here? It can make you so nostalgic for those carefree days of one’s youth….when Mumbai was really so beautiful and the monsoon truly so magical….when the skies were darker, the rainy days quieter and the evenings colder…..

6. This mellifluous Kailash Kher song is from one of my all- time favourite movies—Waisa Bhi Hota Hai part 2 (there is no part 1. Yes that is how crazy it is). It’s a bit of a cheat cos this is not on Marine Drive but it is shot on one of the sea-facing areas of amchi Mumbai so it’s being snuck in here!


7. A stark, biting political story and Mumbai flashing past in black and white. Has anything changed in the way politicians behave and the common people suffer?? (I want to do an entire post or even a series on the wonderful films made by Jabbar Patel)


8. Finally, even Coldplay seem ‘magicked’ by the spirit of Mumbai in this hymn for the weekend


Yeh hai Bombay meri jaan

Since Bollywood is located in Bombay, obviously many songs are shot in the studios here.

But there are some songs or situations that are so unique to the city that they simply could not have been picturized elsewhere. Either showcasing the sense of freedom or the seaside or the pressures of urban life or the dark underbelly, Bombay/ Mumbai is itself integral to the song.

Here is a first list of some favourites, old and new, with the madness, masti and magic of the city and its crazy inhabitants captured in these songs:

1. The classic tribute from the movie CID, picturized on Johnny Walker. (Sadly the first line Ae DIl Hai Mushkil has been used as the title for an incredibly idiotic movie made recently.) CID is a crime thriller starring Dev Anand and Shakila and also the debut film for Waheeda Rahman.

2. Madhubala and Bharat Bhushan in a thriller named Gateway of India. It has an intriguing story line “A young heiress, on the run from her murderous uncle, roams the streets of Bombay where she runs into a series of shady characters. To escape from them, she makes a rendezvous with all of them to meet her early next morning at the Gateway of India.”

3. Amitabh Bachchan in and as Don. In retrospect his character embodies the migrant workers who come to this city from UP ( and Bihar and elsewhere) to make a new life. The surma, the pan chewing the clothes.

4. Nana Patekar does a star turn in this blingy song from a super fun movie–Taxi no 9-2-11. It involves a taxi driver on the run from a passenger. While Nana Patekar is of course superlative, John Abraham has also done a decent job as the spoilt son of a businessman.

5. I have not seen Aap Ki Khatir but one song in it composed by Bappi Lahiri became so popular it completely eclipsed the movie. 

6. Those were the days of charming movies with simple stories. Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman reminded me of the simplicity of the TV serial Nukkad. This charming song seems to be picturized in a proper chawl, probably a first since Sai Paranjpe’s movies.

7. Bombay to Goa–the anthem to eve teasing songs in which AB seemed to specialized in the 80s and 90s ( Jumma Chumma de de ?). It remains immensely popular even now and is guaranteed to get everyone on the dance floor !

8. Rangeela re-wrote Urmila’s career graph and also gave us a very different story. The film may not be seen as woman- centric, but it was really the character of Mili who defines the entire story. Her ambitions, her family, her friendships and eventually her choices. 

9. This song is from one of my favourite movies–Jhankaar Beats. Juhi Chawla, Sanjay Suri, Rahul Bose and Rinke Khanna made for an unusual cast which worked really well ! Very urban professional characters, a sub plot around tributes to RD Burman , quotes from Sholay and a running gag around condoms made it a very unusual mainstream film in 2003. This song says aptly Bombay, Bambai, Mumbai may mein pagal ho gaya !

10. To end this list here is  A.R. Rahman’s genius music from the movie Bombay.

The next list will be focussed on Marine Drive in Mumbai. Wait for it 🙂