Non-Bombay readers, move on

I went to the Malad’s Infinity 2 Mall two weeks ago, and it affirmed my belief that the universe is expanding to make room for Mumbai. One of the things I love about my job is that it doesn’t allow a goldfish existence. I get to see every forsaken corner of the city, sometimes in the same day. Even then, there are places I have never seen before.
Infinity 2 is now the mall to go to -— it has Zara, Mango, Forever New, Vero Moda, Promod, Cotton World, Aldo, Accessorize, Charles and Keith and FabIndia. In pre-Infinity terms, going to all of these stores would mean three different malls spread out between Colaba and Parel. I like wandering through these stores during sales and to be smug because I’m cheap like that. Malad is also home to MM’s malpuas (the best I have tasted) and that other malpua, *Josh.
Lacoste had invited me to salivate over their Autumn-Winter line. I associate polo tees with day-wear meant for the golf course or lounging around the sports club in. And my friend NJ who dresses only in sportswear. He recently bought a Jaguar and now I will rib him about he settled for Indian luxury car, that too one from Tata. “Does the boot catch fire,” I will ask him cleverly. But Naveen doesn’t hang out with us anymore. I don’t know why.

Coming back to Lacoste, there are few things that caught my eye. First, this styling detail of using two slim belts. I’d like to try that using two braided belts of different thickness. Also, they are bringing adorable pleated wool skirts back.

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The librarian in me wants to wear this with rich merlot cabled tights, T-strap wedges or Mary Janes. AND NOTHING ELSE. Then I will sit in a velvet-curtained room reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula and eating Galaxy. I love the Indian colours in their traditional silhouettes and this dress now sits in my closet.

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A few other things that caught my eye:
The swimsuit for the modest but chic sunbather

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Chappals for a beach holiday

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And the Swallow print scarf. I really like this print and a scarf would be a nice way to own it and incorporate into an outfit after the trend has tired out.

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This limited edition shirt with an assemblage of Ming Dynasty porcelain shards

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And these wooden soled platforms that the stylist wore. Smooth platforms are all over the trendtown right now and I would get a pair if I didn’t fall down so often.

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* I am guilty of keeping many vivacious dogs from you people. Josh is one of those puppies we’ve been pressing against the wound in our hearts. These are all excellent, excellent doggies. But they are no Boo.

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Wardrobe essentials

Upon deep contemplation, I have decided that you need only two things in your closet: A red dress and a quality shoe.

When I find it, I’ll pull that garment
from its hanger like I’m choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,
it’ll be the goddamned
dress they bury me in.

What Do Women Want? by Kim Addonizio

You’re gonna want to smile in them
If you’re gonna walk a mile in them
There’ll be times when you’ll be blue
To laugh at rainy days and then
Make your getaways in them
You’re gonna need a quality shoe

— Quality Shoe by Mark Knopfler
Given to me by merlin, who of course, is my quality shoe.

I wish a Boo on all of you

Once in few weeks, when Boo’s health takes a turn for the worse, I find myself distancing from him. It’s an inbuilt reaction to shelter myself from the inevitable pain. It’s easily justifiable — I have no household help for the summer, I work 12 hours six days a week, I go to work earlier than before. It’s much more efficient to tackle the laundry while TB takes him for a walk. Besides all the medical help we provide, what can make this better for Boo? Just three things:

1. Walks (or car rides). Long walks. Allow him to lead. Let him smell everything. Let’s sit on the grass and watch.

2. Cuddles (or just an elbow nook, a paunch, a thigh to nuzzle into. With half a face gone, he’s very vary of strangers and doesn’t allow anybody to pet him. But he still drills into my stomach, allows us to apply hot and cold compresses and pick his nose. Dogs maim you with trust)

3. Watermelons (or any crunchy fruit and peel)

Just three simple things. It’s not so hard.

Official work

We’ve just discovered that we can have our personal philosophy printed on our official business cards. We’ve been discussing it.

Namrata Bhawnani (Film critic and travel editor): Paisa phek; tamasha dekh.

Vishwas Kulkarni (Art critic): Shame is like pain. You only feel it once.

Me: I will expose if the role demands.

Kevin Lobo (Night life and music correspondent): Mein randiyo se baat nahin karta.

Reema Gehi (Wet behind the ears. Theatre correspondent): I’m cool. I’m hot. I’m everything you’re not.

SM (Features editor, published writer): Ja, ma chuda.

FAQ: How is Boo?

Physically, Boo is going through a gamut of treatments. We are doing what any self-respecting double-income-no-children household should do — throw money at cancer. He has been through three rounds of radiation (13 sessions) and the tumour has eaten through the right side of his face. You can see the floor through his upper lip. In fear of secondary infection, we dust turmeric at it all the time. Sometimes, his lymph nodes swell and retain fluid. His gums bleed. His weight is a precarious 26 kilo. When I pet him, I am eerily aware of the shape of his skull. Because of radiation, his mucous and saliva glands are over active. He drools to the floor and needs nose drops to breathe effortlessly. I pick his nose regularly.

Chemo may not be an option because of his kidneys. Leech therapy is scheduled on Saturday to reduce swelling. He is undergoing re-connective therapy and Reiki. The Sai Charitra has been read, Mary of the Mount beseeched, Zorastrian jashn conducted and benign Tibetan monks won over. A small network of believers prays, chants, sends him positive energy consistently.

Essentially, my boy remains bouncy. He loves his diet of mashed rice with liver/mutton soup, spinach/beetroot puree with sticky black tar-like iron syrup and powdered medicines. He attacks his food with gusto many times a day. He’ll lick powdered tablets mixed with honey. He loves his trip to vet/hospital/holistic healer, all of whom are conveniently located in the wondrous DOWNSTAIRS. He hops into the boot of the car, greets the doctors and naps while waiting. His needs are simple — long walks, hugs, banana peel/watermelon chunks and a soft stomach to drill into. He still makes us laugh. His world is still interesting, friendly and filled with never-ending banana peels.

Like his healer says, “Boo is having a ‘the body is suffering, not me’ experience.”

Evening entertainment

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This is Sam. To put it kindly, he is simple. Simple as in the sound two cells make as they clang around in his cranium. Sam comes for a walk at the doggie park on Carter Road, Bandra. Someday, Sam is going to be my friend and will no longer recoil when I make eye-contact.

Till that day, he will remain Rock’s bitch.

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See that tiny fellow there? That is The Rock. Can’t stop The Rock. He should be a motivational speaker. He sees a new dog come into the garden and thinks, “Bitch is fine” or “Dawg’s going down.” And then relentlessly chases, trampolines up on and harasses said four-legged creature till it jumps over the wall and swims to Dubai to seek asylum.

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Only Marshall remains unfazed. Marshall is a retired barrister-cum-neurosurgeon who sits in the far corner. He spends his afternoon napping in overstuffed leather chairs in gentlemen’s clubs, but tells his wife he is going for an important meeting. Marshall doesn’t talk much but is great with babies.

The other regulars at the park are Wall.E, Bono and Frisky. Bono is a black Great Dane who comes up to my waist. I want him in my house so I rest a book or cup on his head as he follows me around. Wall.E has the face that launched a thousand canine products. Frisky has the ardent soliciting nature of a stray. He stands on your foot, leans against you leg and before you know, you’re picking off his fleas.

Pillow talk

Shall we switch on the fan tonight?

No! You can put it on if you want my legs to cramp all through the night…

No, it’s okay. I will sacrifice for you.

…and then in the morning we will have to amputate both my legs. And then you will have to carry me piggy-back to beg at signals. And I am 67 kilos. Though I think I’ll lose at least 10 kilos if both my legs go. Hai na?

Easily. And then you’ll die of gangrene and I will pull a handcart for a living.

You won’t go back to being a technology journalist after I die?

No.

Take the train

At Kurla, the Second Class Gents compartment is packed like Rakhi Sawant’s blouse. A fight breaks out between two strap hangers, and the amalgamated crowd rocks back and forth. People shout.

“Bas kar maadarchoddo, koi gir jayega”
“Aee! Aee! Band karo!”
“Akal nai hai kya tum logo ko?!”
“Shhh! Shhh! Hurr! Hurr!”
“Maar, Amitabh Bachchan, maar”