Category Archives: Mumbai

Learning Marathi

Of late in one week 2 women friends have shown interest in wanting to learn marathi. They have begun staying in Mumbai after a long gap. One Bengali who was born here, lived for a while & father being in govt services moved around. She lost touch of school Marathi. She asked me online, “How to say happy b’day in Marathi, Neeta.” I smiled told her its said, Vadhdivsachya shubhechcha.”

She asked me whether i will speak to her in Marathi. I was happy to see the enthu. She said she is scared to speak in Marathi because she fears she will make mistakes. I told her if we don’t mistakes S then we will never learn. That is about every aspect of our lives. Our whole schooling & correcting methods are DONT, NEVER, IF THEN..punishment. WRONG means bad…hey common we ain’t robots. So she is trying now.

another friend, colleague, who sat behind me again another S has been quietly learning marathi on her own. She chats wt me, asks for few words. In fact she has bought a learn quick marathi, or easy to speak marathi book. She asks few words on chat or when we meet. She is a Jain who lived in Kolkatta & can speak few languages. This S has in fact gone a step ahead. She has in fact told her father that since she lives here he shld send all her tax papers, so that she can file her IT taxes, returns fm here instead of West Bengal.

This is their Karma bhoomi & they want to keep it that way, silently. DNA has a lot of good & nice people. Really. The new HR head is a relief, considering we’ve had a track record of all sorts, especially typical bengali, this H Ghosh is like god sent. He doesn’t encourage Bengalis who show familiarity to him. Begin speaking in Bengali instantly, or say where in Bengal, Kolkatta you are fm, I’m fm so & so place, blah blah. He says his janma bhoomi is West Bengal, but his karma bhoomi is Mumbai. He speaks chaste marathi & loves Mumbai.

These are noteworthy efforts. They won’t go down in history record books, but surely we Mumbaikars need to appreciate their efforts. Somewhere i feel them being women too makes a difference. Do i sound biased? may be. But experience doesn’t contradict me. Women take that little extra effort to adjust to new environment, learn something new, equip if that creates a sense of semblence, serenity & equilibrium. Ok won’t elaborate on this too much. More so these MNSs, Sena types instead of spewing venom in the name of Marathi shld go & give bouquets to such silent residents who want to make Mumbai their home.

When i went to Bangalore in 1999, i would carry a notebook, stop all & sundry to jot down words in Kannada. Being the bureau head of a tv channel i had to pick up the language ASAP, like yday types. Coz the leading politicians feared a Thackeray type there called Vatal Nagraj. He toh does vatola of everything.. destructs. I had already learnt few words, kept my ears wide open. So that i could at least grasp the gist. Yes, i have an ear for language & more the tones. somehow across languages some sounds convey the same emotion.

Kannadiga people appreciated that i took that effort of noting, asking & making mistakes. But believe me it was easier to make mistakes in Kannada than Marathi. I’d laugh with them when i made mistakes. More so many males liked i asked them to teach some abuses in Kannada. Obviously because one must know abuses in everylang. It says a lot..

however When i began speaking in Marathi, made mistakes it was seen as worse than killing a human!

Now people won’t believe if they heard me speak Marathi today. That once upon a time (no i don’t believe in fairy tales) i really didnt know how to write or speak in chaste Marathi is something im not ashamed to say. I would listen to the pronounciations & then write what i’d heard. so, instead of writing bolayala, i’d write bolaila, because that was the sound that fell upon my ears. Father thankfully gave up on me in childhood-see where i’ve reached today- he once saw my music notings i’d written sa-re-ga-ma in English phonetics & he lost it. His temp reached sky level & whatever happened thereafter, i have blanked out …

Then many would make fun of me, haha..its not like that..arey you don’t even know? How badly you speak…do u have any shame? Arey ur a Kolhatkar, Brahmin. Initially i would get hurt, then my horns would come up toink. Excuse me Marathi is NOT my mother tongue. It is Gujarati. My mother is fm Billimora & wrote, spoke lived Gujarati. I infact learnt Parsi-Gujju vv Bilimora types. Then my entire schooling was in a British Eng school. Pl NO convent. so Marathi was a 3rd lang for me. Yes, third lang. What we were taught was mughlike a parrot & puke in the exams. Where was the learning?

Unlike most others Chetan & Kartik wld be most encouraging. Papa made me buy plays, books, said start wt easy poets, writers. His father dada was toh great person. He’d say jaude loka boltat, tu prayatna karit ahes hech khoop zala. Tu kiti utkrushta Hindi boltes…come more on tv..adorable i tell you. mother wasn’t concerned, other typical Baman neighbours would make snide remarks & evetnually sent their kids to the same school as ours.

At home speaking to aaji was NO issue. Or writing letters to her. She’d listen to my sister & me fight..argue…she’s say say kay stupid, idiot, donkey monkey bolta ek mikina..marathi bhanda ki..My aaji, granny was a doll personified. I’d have killed someone & she would still have protected me like i was an innocent child. So she wouldn’t pull me up. the childhood days the Father was on another planet, I say fm Hitler’s planet. Baba is polar opposite today. We sat down & did translation of Srikrishna commission & India’s riots cases post Babri masjid demolition. A person wanted those translations, every morn baba & i wld sit at the table & work..with all fights, arguments, snide remarks he against Muslims, me against the Hindus, especially Bamans.

Mother aai was the best. She’d say jaude mala he yet nahi tevdha jar ka ala tula,khoop zala. So learning marathi was daunting for me early in life. then because i spoke chaste, eloquent English i was derided, looked own upon. It is easier for these ladies. Maharashtrians are less mean to these women. Like most indians they too are victims of symbolic gestures.

One who shows enthu, tries needs to be helped & encrouaged i feel.

Historic day for Mumbai & state police force

I write this with great pleasure, as i do feel vindicated. I hope the player concerned realises what a league he has left behind. it is abso clear, MN Roy will have to GO as the DGP on May 31, when he retires.

2 days ago i was on way to Bhiwandi, when i went via Thane commissionerate’s office. The buzz was ‘Tklya’ is on his way out. That is the word used…abbreviation for a bald person in India -taklya. Roy is to go across for a meeting on May 29. At this talk the local constables too have been called. The police asked me, “so madam do you think he will go?” I like this question coz i’ve been waiting for this man to get out of the police force. NOT because i’ve taken him on, yes i have. But because he is a through corrupt, inefficient & abso dishonest policeman. In addition to carrying his northern feudal mentality. So i was all the more amused that Maharashtrian cops asked me what i thought.

Just last week i had gone over with few other female junior colleagues to meet the home secretary Chandra Iyengar. The minute i spoke of my favourite cop, Hassan Gafoor, she was a hen whose feathers were ruffled. She was emphatic, nasty, sarcastc & went onto say, “Gafoor is not on my radar…ok” “He is not my background, foreground…no one is talking of him, ok girls…” i want to laugh. Has she bit her tongue. Because i remembered this exact conversation at the Thane commissioner’s office. What has this lady got into? She along with her dear, ‘Shiva” for us commoners it means D Sivanandan, the commissioner of police…they with Roy had formed a conglomerate in the officers circle. Poor lady. As a woman i’m sympathetic that she lost out on the dominating, patriarchal male monopoly of IAS officers. She was denied the post of Chief Secretary. But this moron lady made her displeasure known reg Gafoor. Coz he had the balls to say that the 2 South Indian officers & 2 north Indian officers stayed put at their homes & cabins rather than step out on the night of terror attacks, 26/11, 2008.

She was their shield. She wanted to put Gafoor in a fix & had initiated a departmental inquiry & wanted to earnestly give an extension to her favourite ‘taklya.’ what went wrong then?? only they can answer. The police force is tainted. One joint commissioner is alleged to provided women & Rs 20 cr for a Mumbai posting. He was posted at a place near to mumbai where one minister has a stronghold. Well, he’s alleged to have eloped with a married lady despite both being formally married to other spouses…now that’s what a cop is for you in Maharashtra.

Taklya or as Roy is called…has already got into innumerable problems, legal, ego, corruption, protecting tainted officers & taking bribes to hush murders & cases. Well he hated some of us reporters because we’d ask questions about it, question his proximity to a political person- his godfather along with those of NCP; some gangsters too i’m told. He was the first ever CP who had to issue clarifications that he isn’t close to any political party or person.

Then his posting to the post of head of state police -TAINTED yet again. He was without any post for 6 months….was seen at every Page 3 party. One really has to be thick skinned to be like him. The former DGP of anti-corruption, Chakraberty took this man to court. He was then posted as DGP..he did all in his capacity to get an extenstion.

Now the Thane cops tell me, “Madam this meeting on 29th is vv imp.” Is it I ask…why? They had a smirk & said, “Because constables too have been called.” I had this huge frown, my anntenaes went up! Is it? so? Its good to sound dumb when wants the other person to say something….’Bcoz madam it means the DG is saying, tata, good bye… haha they laugh. I was like, ok…constables..ho hum…but why?? “Because he wants to talk to them, which the DG never does. He doesn’t go down to this level. TO motivate them, blah blah…madam this is his farewell talk.” I see…

so I spoke to few other senior cop friends & sources they were like, “Neeta he’s calling for farewells. He’s attending parties galore.” I was like what’s new? huh he & few others thrive on it…so they were like, “No there has been a circular for raising money for his final farewell by the police club.” The one at worli…i was like wow! There is some god. Finally after all his powers, all what he has done, the money he has, he can’t change his destiny. He will get NO extension, he has to LEAVE.

I strongly believe may 31st, is HISTORIC for mumbai & state police. We are truly embarking in a new environment, new league & new times. I am in favour of gafoor because he is honest. He is NOT tainted & gives an ant’s arse to anyone to tries to bribe him. He is my hero, someone i look upto & see that there is hope…i’m waiting for this hope in media & journalism too…let’s see…i wonder what will happen to Iyengar….what happens to the other 4 cops??

Also for the sake of 26/11 widows & their families i hope my cop friend Gafoor talks.. henceforth stands up for what he believes…i can only hope…may be this decision & new posting will motivate him.

Magic Rains

Ok firstly its raining so I’m abso thrilled…..i feel as if oxygen’s pumped in me & I’ve got a lease of life. It’s a strong feeling once i exprience I can continue living wt all the downs, flips, sickos & miffs the next six months…

Its dat times of the year when Mumbai looks its romantic best! Bombay has this permanent romantic look when it is overcast…the old buildings of South Mumbai looked washed and wear a pampered look.

Summers are the worst for me & this city. I’m at my worst, dunno…something seems missing. I’m out of sync with myself, people around, the city…hate it most from April-mid June..even the atmosphere seems dull & uninteresting….trees look soooo very sad, droopy, lifeless like the still waters of our Arabian Sea. The sea also wears a dead pan expression. Lifeless B’bay is & all seem to be in an aggressive mood set to kill each other. May be they should compare rates of crime in summers to the rest of the year in B’bay.

Summers are time when I’ve quit jobs becoz I’ve woken up to realisation that the job or boss is NOT worth all the effort I’ve put in. I’ve disassociated myself from people because I’ve reached a stagnation point. Every summer I want to run away from this city to the Himalayas.

Generally this mood continues Till…wait…when those lovely drops of water bathe the earth…aha…the scent of the first showers on the earth is my all time favourite turn-on. The trees look suddenly alive again.. Leaves looked washed & sparkling green…the Arabian Sea is ferociously black…pl its nothing to do with the sewage treated water that flows in there…it is the blackish-red colour that indicates, ok friends the rain gods are here.

Rains are really a life giver forget the role it plays in the nature’s cycle. It’s my oxygen in real life. I can tolerate people, idiosyncrasies, a lot more bullshit being said or happening around us. I really am in a world of rains…a quick trip to Lonavala, Khandala-vow! The charm of these hill stations in the rains is awesome & abso rejuvenating. Nothing comes close to Khandala & Lonavala in rains. Tiny Waterfalls on the horizon, huge water falls meandering from the peaks around…misty mountains, clouds on the roads, drizzle to heavy rains…the total green beds of fields around, to the grass and mountains…it’s a different beauty & romance altogether. It is the additional vitamin that Bombayite needs once a year.

Oh! Yes that I almost forgot other best essential, hike to Matheran. Take the last 12:44 Neral train. Stay over at the station with mosquitoes biting into ur body. One has to wait till early morning & the climb begins. Rains lash on ur head and as you meander ur way short cut thru’ the mountains or the tar road, this is my annual pilgrim…well some fondest memories are also associated with this hill station so I would rather relive them visiting it.

Bombay meanwhile has this lovely sleepy look. One would like to eat hot bhajiyas, sip chai looking out of my balcony…the cacophony of this city ceases to exist. I’ve stopped searching why I get so more tolerant & love myself the most during the rains…I dunno. I love myself otherwise too but this time of the year I really don’t think I pay attention to anyone but myself…haha

Yes, there is muck & now recently discovered one gets leptospyrosis if one walks in the mucky waters of Mumbai…how come earlier too we waded thru’ this shit water & we didn’t get this disease? Fuck knows…but even that wading is a challenge worth taking. Which ever organisation I worked and however far (only twice in my life I had jobs that I was compelled to really travel far), I waded thru’ dirty waters and heavy rains…it gives some kick.

Covering news in rains is mixed…In 1996-97, gosh I had to cover the floods for tv news. Changed transport some 5 times, hitch hiked (ya the mike was the passport to free bike ride!) then reached the favourite spot for tv news-no not Milan subway-but Sion raiway station. It beats Milan subway believe me. Its always flooded even with slight showers…

Yes, instances of people helping is all time reality. However the most interesting part is heavy rains lash the city every year, city gets flooded, life comes to a standstill and then the moment it stops raining, the roads become spotless dry! Magic..but then it begins getting still all over again…wot to do dats life in Bombay!