Showing posts from July, 2008

To All The Girls I've Loved Before

And while I'm thinking about all the ladies from the past whose style I love - the Miss Johras and the Sulochanas and the Sandras from Bandra, here's a piece I wrote for Time Out's last anniversary issue where they'd asked some of us to write about an era we'd liked to have lived in in Bombay.. TELEPHONE GIRLS It’s the 1930s and freedom’s in the air. Not only because JRD Tata makes the first civil flight from Karachi to Bombay, or Gandhi issues a call to Do or Die from Manibhavan. Bombay in the 1930s is not a bad time and place to be a woman. A Congress sub-committee on women draws up recommendations based on radical feminist ideas which see women as individuals with rights to work, property, divorce, and equality within marriage. Amid some shock, R.D. and Malati Karve start a family planning clinic with contraception counseling. The archbishop of Bombay suggests starting the Sophia College for Women. An alluring magazine advertisement asks: “Have you a Telephone in

zara hatke meri jaan

This is just a random associative post about words and language and life- one of those days when too many thoughts trip over each other in your mind without necessary developing into a big pattern.. Have been listening to Rabbi's new album. While much more uneven than his first - which I don't think people ever listened to fully - his big hit did him a big disservice - this album has a some really nice tracks and most of all, I think his ability to make very urban seeming songs and touch on some in between note of relationships is his strength. Another reason I like him is that he sings in Punjabi - a language I ought to know but don't, and now regret not learning. But because the jacket carries the translations of the songs, because they aren't the hey ho, let's bhangra type of thing, I can listen to the words and learn new ones and make pictures in my head. I think he's very good with grown up love songs (which means they contain an element of sexual tension

budding promises

Yes! There are buds on the chinese rose plant - I'd been losing hope. Meanwhile the mogra is sitting as sullen as a backbencher - I don't think it's grown even a leaf since it came. But the double jaswanti blooms and blooms and blooms. Each morning I get up and shuffle out of the bedroom and then I see a fat, showy red flower blooming with its chest stuck out and it wakes me right up. I hope this lasts.....


Was talking to an unweildy writer friend about his chronic bad behaviour and inability to finish book. Was talking with knowing wisdom and the scolds prosaic intractability. When he pointed me to THIS PIECE How accurate! How I laughed! But no, I did not write a word after, only this. But I did preen at the preening chinese rose and go out and scan a form.

not a good day for the roses

Ever since I read Heidi (about a dozen times as a child) I've wanted a magical window - like her round one in the loft with its views of a starry night. I've been quite lucky to have a room with a view wherever I've lived. Even Baghdad where there was a panorama of the river Tigris (and the orange akak against a slatey dawn sky when the Iraninian Phantom planes raided). I struggled for a while with the balcony in PMGP, making a little seat there, but the shortage of space meant it was always getting used as a storage ground and was sat in very little. In this house the window sills are big enough to sit on. My dad, the only time he visited here, used to sit on the window sill and trim his moustache, read the paper, chill - the only time in my life I ever saw him so lazy and relaxed. He too reacted with childlike pleasure to the hidey hole feeling, that unexpected extra space the window sill yielded up and would like to put things there, neatly, as was his way. Then one tim