Monday, July 28

Bombay it is.

I realize I haven't updated this place in a considerable while. For that I'm unabashedly unashamed and utterly and absolutely unapologetic. So nyeah. But you have to admit. I was able to keep you occupied with images of humping cows.

This day finds me in Bombay, the city of dreams, the city of love. Well fuck, I have no idea if it actually is all of those, I'm just there. A not-so-early morning flight which I left the house way too early for, despite living rather close to the airport, later, I found myself in the cramped confines of a largely empty Go Air plane, which refused to leave the ground. The pilot would allow it to traverse a few feet, and then just when the engine (not to mention the passengers) figured it was time to leave the ground, he'd slam down on the brakes and the sound of a bell would chime through the plane, as if to reassure us that the pilot wasn't in fact fucking with us, and we were only progressing a stage of lift off.

To reiterate, lift off we did. I figure the pilot was a former drag racer (possibly a member of Street Devils), the last time he seemed on the verge of teasing us with another possible take-off and the engine took an even deeper breath; he chose that moment to floor it. A cramped, excessively turbulent, drowsy two hours later, all the while being stared at by a tiny spectacled girl, I looked out the window (my only respite from said girl) to see the plane lowering itself from the clouds, to what I dubbed the 'nether clouds', a phenomenon that has seemed to hang over Bombay for the month I've been here. At some point, the neat, blocks of farmland gave way to a mass of land that for some reason that defies logic reminded me of a wet dog.

Soon after viewing the little peninsula-like bit I couldn't (and still can't) name that I'd spotted on some map, and keeping an eye open for what I had been informed was the world's largest slum which I was unfortunately unable to catch, flight E717 (or something) landed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, where upon reviving Ralph and catching my network in the curiously fish-ily tinged Bombay air, an obscene number of very obscenely worded messages arrived, the gist of which seemed to promise death by paper cut for not meeting before leaving or calling and saying farewell, in this day and age where everyone and their great aunt has a cell phone attached at the hip. As the tiny spectacled girl seemed to be struggling with her suitcase, I offered to help get it down, at which point she squeaked and immediately sat down, with her hands over her head as if hoping to catch the suitcase if it fell. I decided to get my own hand bag and make my way to the little bus offering to take the lot of us off the runway and into the bowels of the airport.

I chose this bus ride to make my first phone call from Bombay, to the voice I can never get out of my head. The voice I dream about at night, and have done so for over two years now, the voice I was lost to from the instant it first fell upon my ears, when I got knocked on my ass in a way so fulfilling, so satisfying, that to this day I still remember with vivid detail that fateful Saturday evening at Le Meridian, two years ago November, when the owner of that voice's first glance in my direction sent a lightning bolt down my spine. But unfortunately, this post isn't about her, I don't feel I can do her justice here. We will get back to her though.

Received by an uncle's assistant, followed by a maiden voyage down a highway I was unfamiliar with, I felt as if I was exploring some part of North Delhi, excepting the fact that there were a lot of billboards advertising films and TV shows, and the cabs had regions of Bombay written on the backs of them . Of note would be Thane. Now for some reason I've been convinced that Thane is pronounced in a way similar to the title brought into popular culture by the play about MacBeth, The Thane of Cawdor. That (crazed) notion was shattered by someone beloved, with an unforgettable voice, which made the conviction-shattering permissible, if not acceptable and encourageable.

I'm yet to actually visit Thane, or really have an idea as to where in Bombay it is, or Worli for that matter (I know it's at the other end of this incomplete bridge next to some fort in Bandra) but I have begun to understand the layout of this city, and I can claim to have taken a ferry from Andheri to Mud Island, something a lot of the folks I worked with at that particular studio in Mud Island couldn't, as they drove (suckers). I've also mastered the train system, walked up and down Marine Drive four times (in one day) and fallen in love with the chocolate chip cookies from Candies, not to mention just about everything Mad Over Doughnuts has to offer. Yes, my cast and crew are into a lot of junk food.

I should specify as to what exactly I'm doing in Bombay. I'm working on one of the multitudes of dance reality shows on air at the moment. The only difference being that this one's somewhat newer, it's got better known faces, and it was aggressively advertised on the channel it airs on, the sister channels, the internet, the radio, every second freaking billboard on the aforementioned highway, and (apparently) all the ‘artists’ went to the PVR (I’m not sure if PVR is something different in Bombay) or something and promoted the show from there. As I'm with the production house, I have the usual production duties that include floor managing, writing out time codes during the actual shooting, supervising construction of props, and later, the editing, as well as interacting with the various 'artists' (some of which have gotten to hear the voice I love so much over the course of the numerous phone calls I make to hear that voice myself), and finally, visiting the rehearsal halls and overseeing the choreographers' progress.

What I didn't count on happening within the first two weeks, but did intend for eventually was to work with the director. He initially gave me the slightly creative task of assisting the chap who handles all those funky colored moving lights all over the set and picking out appropriate color schemes for the various performances. Fortunately, the same chap found me amiable enough to teach me how to use the majority of his own, as well as the DOP’s lighting console. Following this, I got to handle camera cues during the actual shoot, and finally, wound up with director during the technical rehearsal, making sure the performance rehearsals were being shot and any and all openings and color changes were duly noted, and conveyed to the camera crew during the actual shoot. I don’t think I need to mention just how elated I really am throughout our three shoot day each week. I am still convinced I’m screwing up on a regular basis, something I keep asking a colleague of mine to point out for me.

I’m yet to truly explore Bombay, and I really think I ought to get started on that, considering I’ve been here a month and spent most of my time at work, or else in the loving arms of the woman with the unshakeable voice (over the phone though, unfortunately, she’s in Delhi). I’d appreciate any and all recommendations; I may have this Thursday off.

For the record, I didn’t think this post would do adequate justice to my beloved, so there’s a whole post about her coming up. Just keep pushing me to post it.


Keshi said...

so ur bak..from outta space? :)

WB Mumbaiyya! ;-)


Sutta said...

So, finally you're here too!
Well, welcome home son.
Bombay is bliss! Period!
And no doubt the motherland for aspiring film makers like us.

Drop me a mail. We both into the same shit, or should I say boat. Whatever! ;)

Silvara said...

hahah about time woman!

Bombay has some magic about it I believe...have fun :D

Horrendous word verification today...yech :(

Aurora said...

Welcome back, o tall one. And do post about 'her'. We wait with breath that is bated.

Arthur Quiller Couch said...

Enough about Bombay. Tell us about her.

??! said...

Lookie, lookie, lambu-ji's back.

Right, firstly, it's 'Madh' island, not Mud. Just saying. And Tha-nay is in the backwaters of the eastern suburbs.

Recommendations depend on where you're based no?

Mystique said...

yeah, it's madh island.
and stop calling me silly child okay?
once is enough.
welcome back to the blog though.....

Opaline said...

Hahahaha, "mud" island.

Perakath said...

Dude you talk to your car on the phone every day??

Anindita said...

Mud island?! LOL!!

Anki said...

u did marine drive without me


well wait for me for the prawns n beer

Anki said...

orrrrrr we watch batman at the fake IMAX

its close to Thane :P

Chrisann said...

you're in my city!!
what did you miss on my blog?

SIM said...

Lets not forget my actual comparison of your use of the word 'Thane' with the river 'Thame' and the impromptu poem that followed suit. It was almost as hilarious as the 7 rounds around the Shangri-la roundabout!
And we wanna hear more about this beloved, enigmatic voice. Wink, wink!

Pri said...

ooh ooh is this the same show where the inter caste/religious couples from various corners of india declare their love for each other in full filmy style on national tv in the hopes that their parents will become convinced that they are in fact made for each other based solely on how awesomely they dance to the latest hindi tunes? if it is i hope you did not approve the ginormous flowers that make up the permanent backdrop.

we missed you kid.

Renovatio said...

Things got a bit hectic. They still are. I should hopefully get around to posting here more often.

I wouldn't call it shit par se, we do have the second highest TRP in reality right now, just 0.09 short of Fear Factor, which is expected to fall now that Yaana Gupta's out of it.

Well I'm sure you've got a whole lot to say about Bombay's charm sitting in Sydney and all, right? I'm not the only one who hasn't been writing, you know...

Be patient, little one, I'll put it up soon. Rest assured, the one with breath most bated is the author, waiting to see her reaction to it once I put it up.

It's coming, soon. You will believe a man can fly.

I know, horrid joke.

@The Expletives
Well I'm aware that in Hindi it's Madh Marve, pronounced Maa-dh Maar-vey, though now that I think about it, I didn't see much mud. I blame the guy who told me its name.

@Silly Child
Don't remind me of the time you asked me to come meet you when I was shooting at Madh Island.

Come to think of it, there was a lot of mud on the banks when I took the ferry from Versova with my colleague, when he refused to pay an auto guy a hundred bucks to get us to the studio. He ended up paying 90 anyway, but only after we'd walked four kilometers first.

*sigh* If only. I could use that girl around here right now. Ya know, when sometimes you just need a hug? Wait, we're talking about Aurelia here.

That Pepito is a bad hat. Muahahhaha. Eat Madeleine.

Your own fault man. Don't show up in Bombay days I've got a shoot.

Um, the fact that you're just about tying the knot?!

@SIM *ahem* Goddess
That Shangri-la incident was completely and utterly your fault. You were supposed to tell me which turning to take. Madam's just so popular that her phone wouldn't stop ringing and allow her to inform me.

Don't worry, I'll have more about 'the enigmatic voice' up fairly soon.

No no, it's the one where those people dance to music.

CrazyDiamond said...

ah young love...tell us.

Batbitch said...

Got it done, I see.

Now where's the next one?

IdeaSmith said...

Too late for recos I am, it would seem. Instead I'll just give you a late welcome to my Island City. Will you come to the tweet-up this Saturday?

gunj said...

ur mumbai flight reminded me of things from Shantaram, his first experiences n sorts!

Alok said...

So I'll get reminded of you the next time I see a Dance Reality Show. That would be never.

Welcome to Bombay!

I Love this place.

five_silver_rings said...


By the way, I'm not meeting you the next time, until and unless you that grumpy look off your face... I'm serious.
Attended a Bergman documentary screening yesterday at Xaviers Institute of Communication... Boy, are the kids over there, DUMB... they didn't appreciate the screening one bit..

Also, low balance. Call please?

Absolutely Normal Chaos said...

Honestly, I've had enough of Bombay in books and movies to last me a life time. What I would really want to know about, in fact, is your beloved :)

TS said...

Leaving Delhi, for Bombay?


Mystique said...

now shut up.

I love Lucy said...

You were missed,kiddo :)

And who is this woman that has stolen our young friend's heart thusly?

And pray,what dance show is this?!

Vartika said...

bombay it is!
give yourself and the city some time...and you'll figure out why they say bombay is the stuff dreams are made of!

five_silver_rings said...

I love lucy: On behalf of Reno (since the man is 'oh so busy'), he's working as an Asst. Director for 'Zara Nach Ke Dikha'--now, not too bad for a 19 year old, is it?

Reno: Sorry, was bored.. Thought I might as well do some good enlightening people :D

The Dude said...

Hey Ren, good to see you again, nice to see most of the blog-sphere familiars still around.

congrats on the bombay move and the quick moves up the ladder, shows you got talent for certain (and maybe some luck?) if these guys are willing to put all that to you so soon. nice! :)

im not a huge bombay person, never had a chance to spend a lot of time there, but in the few that Ive been it seems like a city with a lot of potential.

my recommendations (though bear in mind i havent been there in a bit) is go to Mondies (or Cafe Mondegar) on Colaba I think, Jazz by the bay is a good spot.. if I think of any others, Ill let you know.

I have to admit though, the fact that you can get late night home delivery of almost anything is a major plus point for bombay in my book.

congrats again, too bad we never go to meet for that beer in delhi, ah well - next time!

chandni said...

finally u post!!

I love the chocolate chip cookies from candies!!!

Trust me, bombay is wonderful..

But knowing that u've lived in delhi forever, you might disagree. As an oiutsider to both cities, I love bombay more!

Sine Qua Non said...

Since this has turned into an opinion poll of sorts...Delhi rules. But but Mumbai is always fun in a chaotic frenzied way, especially for people who have glamorous jobs like yours (shifting lights! wow-ee).
Do we get any insider dope on starry tantrums from the show?
ooh...awaiting next post.

jerry said...

Thank Gods, those cows were getting to me!

The Dude said...

And he's gone again... :P

Ren, youre turning into me man..

goethe's curry said...

This blog's been left open like a wound. For quite sometime now.
Posts to come?

Renovatio said...

@Goethe's Curry
It's ironic just how you described it. A wound. It's wrecking me. Give me time. My apologies all around, I'm sure you'll understand.

Curator said...

Submit your best posts (only the best) in and compete to be featured in the top voted posts everyday.
The top posts get mailed to more than 2000 elite members everyday.

- Zero Tolerance for masala pics - the source site will get banned for good
- avoid posting more than 3 posts a day from the same source site
- clear and compelling headlines.

Good luck !!!

LostLittleGirl said...

Aaaah. I'm going to be in bombay as well, for a long long time. I'm waiting for the beloved post :)

SUBHADIP said...

Such a great piece of writing..thanks one of the most beautiful blogs..if you can please visit and share your comments..

Bluebutterfly said...

For me (a true delhite) it will always be Mud Island, but why is it called so.....?
Though I have heard that winters are'nt really great down there.
Get your ass back up here.

The Dude said...

still miss you man, at least post and let us know you're still in one piece.
hope alls well.

Aeris said...

You have disappeared into thin air. I know you're in Bombay but why aren't you ever online/updating?
Wakey wakey!! *pokepokepoke*
Happy belated birthday to you :) And happy birthday to her :)
Hope you guys are having blast, making beautiful new memories (among other things :P)

Aeris said...

PS - I'm blogging again. I'm not gonna make some huge statement about how I'm going to be super regular this time, because I never keep my word when it comes to that... But yeah, feel free to pop in whenever :)

wiseling said...

and Bombay is the city of your dreams and the city of your love... which is why you should come back now

Cold Sake said...

I just sauntered in here to say hi! And you're out of my darn city. Hmmmph.

The Dude said...

well, ce la vie mon ami, mayhaps someday you'll blog again, till then Ill see you round the bend.