What shall I write about… New York, or Mumbai?

Not just my fingers, but even the cells in my brain seem numbed by this wintry cold. Yes, the last time I tried to write was on January 1st but, ironically, poodwaddle seems to have stopped ticking for me since then. Could it just be writer’s block? Well… I’ll soon find out.

Today, after almost ten years I read an old column penned by the late Busybee –  It has made me a tiny bit nostalgic… about Bombay. The crossword puzzles in The Afternoon Despatch & Courier were fun – although they were ‘no-brainers’ if compared to those in the mainline daily – The Times of India, they were fun to solve while taking a ‘tea-break’ at work (but actually sipping on an iced lassi) in the comfort of the office and cool a.c.!

“Mumbai”… yes, for centuries, the hoi polloi have always referred to now-also-known-as-Maximum City as [ˈmʊm.bəi] especially when spoken by a Gujarati, Parsi, or a Maharashtrian. The “-bai” should be pronounced to neither sound like “buy” nor to rhyme with “chai“, however warm or inviting that may sound (whenever referred to by the anglicized media – especially news-readers, or by the la-di-da of 21st century India ‘Inc‘, or Bollywood‘)… puh-lease, eeks!

Busybee’s column dated May 20, 1997 was a satire on how to beat Mumbai’s heat on sultry summer days; some of his cool ideas… (#6) have Parsi Dairy Kulfi (now that’s close to my heart and what once was close to home); (#5) Drink Fanta; (#13) Open the refrigerator door and stand in front of it; (#32) Sit in the Taj lobby. Look like you’re waiting for somebody important who is staying at the hotel [Alas, that option must be ruled out since 26/11 (another “yikes”… now, more for the reference to the date – how unoriginal can the media get – because such a nomenclature speaks of their buzzing – rather than for the actual horror of the sad event)]…  some of these are bound to bring at least a hint of a smile on a true Bombayite. Read his column (again), if you like.

But like me, if you’re looking for ideas on how to stay warm – especially with the heating boiler gone kaput since the past few days here, or to save on energy bills, read on… Farzana, if you happen to read this, please pardon me.

1. Go away to Malaysia (Far-East), Argentina (South)

2. Go to India… fly Air-India

3. Do go to work… if it’s no longer at Wall Street, go to Blimpie’s or McDonalds… food joints must always have heating… even if you’re not eating, or can’t afford to

4. Drink hot tea, ginger tea, or green tea… it doesn’t have to be at a Starbucks… forget the big bucks; buy a bag of tea leaves from a desi-grocer at the Indian market, and the ginger at the Asian grocer’s around the corner

5. Eat Dates – lots of them… home-grown in California, or imported from Oman in Muscat (if you can find those)… oh, I meant not their location on the map but in stores

6. Go watch Slumdog Millionnaire at the cinema… stay warm in the heat… so what if Indians have cried out aloud and condemned Boyle for the slur with his reference to a cur for his recent Oscar-winner’s nomenclature

7. Take a ride from South Ferry to Staten Island and back… it’s free… walking around Manhattan looking for work can get rough; don’t be hard on yourself; take heart by taking a break

8. Don’t always wait for the ice to melt… get online, get chatting, and get into Facebook

9. Spring is a month away but you can Twitter… ain’t that tweet?

10. Wall Street is pummeled and indices down at 1997 levels… is the heat up, or do you still feel left out in the cold?


3 thoughts on “What shall I write about… New York, or Mumbai?

  1. Eat dates? I’ll take your word for it on that one.

    You could also add:

    1) Hang around for hours at end on at the public library. It’s quiet and librarians are pretty timid so they won’t push you to leave.

    Thanks for the post

  2. Hey Ram!

    What can I say… I’m sorry to read about the fate of your store. Well, wishing you luck… may things improve for you (and for all of us too). Also, thank you for your comment and suggestion.

    Now, talking of dates, besides taking my word for it, also try my recipe; but first, here’s the ‘short’ story on ‘dates’… well, you’ve heard of “yang” (i.e. ‘heaty’) foods, right? Dates are yang (as opposed to yin)… but naturally. 😉 Eat them raw (as in from a pack of seedless dates) or, borrow this delectable recipe… my contribution to you towards ‘new business ideas’: You could even brand the product ‘date taffy‘. When you head to the library, carry some in a zip-lock bag; in a nutshell, these make delightful dates to keep you company, not to undermine their inherently desirable “sticky factor” 🙂 😉

    Date Taffy: Recipe
    In a wide pan, warm one tablespoonful of Ghee (clarified butter); to this add 2 cups of chopped dates. Stir continuously until the dates turn viscous. Add a few coarsely ground almonds & pistachios, stir and pour this viscous mixture onto a plate. Spread evenly; it helps to pat it quickly with the back of a small bowl may be. Since we used Ghee, greasing the plate is not necessary. Cut into pieces but do not remove from plate until they cool and firm up. Once cool, store in a container, or enjoy right away… yummy! 🙂

    Now, here’s ‘some’ food for thought before you head to the library.

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