BENGALURU: Hegiddeera? I am well and this time, dying to get back home! I do suppose my ‘ooru-sickness’ arose from the fact that I had been invited to the hip-n-happening, uber-exclusive club, Soho House, by Harry Kosato of Kikkoman. The snazzy club was teeming with eminent people in the hospitality business who were speaking at a day-long ‘Culinary Experts Meet-up’ and lo and behold! My beady eyes espied a gaggle of prominent ‘namma ooruians’!
I all but jumped into the arms of Aslam Gafoor, Jackie Pinto, Vikas Seth, Vicky Ratnani, Karen Anand, (both honorary Orruians.) and a myriad of other familiar faces. I even met VJ, actor and model, Sarah-Jane Dias and we reminisced about the first film we had done together. We were pitted against the likes of Girish Karnad and Waheeda Rehman and we recalled being tongue-tied around them till she found me chatting with them like we were old pals! Though formidable talents, they were generous and gracious and put us all at ease.
The party made me feel nostalgic and miss home. Usually, my stay in Mumbai is packed with activities, catching up, and trying out different restaurants and different cuisines. From the ‘hotels’ to the ‘hawkers’… there was no respite from me. But on this trip, my single focus was getting my work done, and it did get done in record time! Now it’s time to head back like a weary Ibn Batuta’!
Mumbai holds a lot of heart-tugging memories for me. My schoolgirl crushes, the abandonment and freedom of growing up in a city with no restrictions, friends, adults, and experiences were a part of my multi-cultural diaspora. I blossomed in Mumbai…and since I had a strong connection to Bengaluru, I was a perfect bridge of being outspoken and intellectual along with being respectful and deferring. I met my non-traditional Mumbaikar husband here and we very organically moved into a long-term marriage. A lot of who I became as a young adult – with two kids, restless and undecided about my future – was because of the mentorship of Saeed and Jennifer Mirza, my neighbours. I immediately adopted them as my earth parents!
All my connections with organised charity, sustainable ventures and my association with NGOs started with Jennifer. We’ve hugged trees together that were slated to be chopped, she taught me how to be resourceful and helpful rather than being a bleeding-heart impediment. And Saeed… Saeed was and is my hero. A writer, filmmaker, published author and the king of rhetoric, my eyes shone as he recounted all his stories of his travels. He once said that he took an empty bottle with him to (Mesopotamia) Iraq, to capture the air of culture and learning!
As a young restless mother, he ‘allowed’ me to hang out with the writers, actors and screenplay developers while they laughed or argued threadbare, the political and social scenario. A true-blue ‘nukkad’ where ‘humans’ got together to discuss, debate and share. That is when I decided that the ‘preforming-arts’ and writing would be my forte.
We met up over a drink to discuss his latest book, I Know the Psychology of Rats. Knowing my fearless friend, the title is self-explanatory!
It will make great reading on my journey back!