Notting Hill is one of the most sublime and exuberant love stories of our times. Truly, isn’t it? Well, I watched it years back but watching it again and again isn’t a crime.

Think about this, you falling in love with an actress who comes to purchase a book from the most boring book shop in London and ends up in your bed as you spill cappuccino over her slickly dressed attire in your jolly good neighbourhood street. Yes, you can fantasize about such encounters and we often dismiss such aberrations as creative foolishness of a novice head. But Notting Hill is a reminder to say that such impossible stories can happen. It doesn’t say it will happen but such is the paradox of life that magic could just be around the corner without you blinking an eye for its oblivious and cheeky presence. Doesn’t matter if you don’t manage an actress as your lover or wife, but you would have borrowed a love story of a lifetime. For your life. 


My enchantment of ‘Notting Hill – The Movie’ extended many years later when I visited ‘Notting Hill – The Neighborhood’ in London last year. It gave me this vivacious feeling that my stay in London was incomplete without paying a drop in the streets of Notting Hill. Nothing came close to the film but the inspiration of a cajoling and middle class neighborhood in London was the dazzling leaflet of the day.

your smile when I wake up is the sweetest good morning wish. you sitting in my lap when I have my lunch makes me drool over you in a flash of cuddling romance. another smile when I leave for work keeps me soaked for the rest of my day. when I am back, your smile is what I wait and despise the day that took a long time to get over.

yes, your smile is magic. yes, your smile is my energy. yes, your smile is my way forward. yes, you smile and I smile. vicious kisses all over.

He never possessed this classical, mellifluous aura of a playback singer, that others of his generation could pull of with aplomb. But Mukesh was a genius in his own right – signature voice, oodles of melancholy, the staggering high pitch verses and the magnetic bliss. He made a trademark out of his vocals that seldom could be emulated, the richness that usually is unseen in such unconventional ways. It would be caressingly apt to put it through, like this – Mukesh can sing your songs, but you will have a tough time singing his.

mukesh

Raj Kapoor made him his household playback machine and the juggernaut is an iconic partnership for Indian Cinema. From ‘Aag’ to ‘Mera Naam Joker’, RK’s phenomenal run with his soundtrack was incomplete without Mukesh’s voltage juxtapose and Shankar Jaikishen’s ethereal scores. His ‘Kabhie Kabhie’ still haunts the ones who had a brush with the original.

A legend in his own melodious ways, Mukesh was a resonant chord of the sublime times.

When you have the ability and sustenance to prevail but you refuse to take that one single step, it’s called circumstantial reluctance.

When you have all the dimes and pennies in this world, you vent for the riches. When you have the dollars and pounds, you miss your dimes. That is so human.

When you have the banks to keep all your treasures of life, you prefer to keep your dreams in your pockets. You pockets are easier to access when dreams come true.

We want more and more of everything in life, but we possess less of everything that is required to achieve the more. Get ready and be authentic, all the more is yours.

‘Am I the best’ is a question I often ask myself.
Brutally, the answer is yes. Confidence, yes. Arrogance, no. Well, a bit of it actually.
‘Best’ is usually the most used and most abusively used word around.
Gives you this feeling of anonymity in the vicinity of giants twittering around the epicenter.
Yes, I am the best.

What indeed is the best of you? You the human being, you the professional, you the conscious dweller or you the outsider in a world of conniving emotions?
Yes, the best in you is a segmented potion of your bilingual buckets. You live in each of them, in moods and shapes.
People around you see the segments in you, they don’t see you. They will never see you unless you show the face of it. But is it that important? Is that a milestone?
You are the biggest asset in your life because you believe you are. Yes, tell this to yourself, everyday, every time. People who want to see you, they get to see you. Not outside but within. You are visibly hidden and secretly adrift.

We are impostors of our own self. We decide to have different personalities in various spheres of our society. Yes, it demands so.
No, not pretentious but the ability to not showcase the real you to all is a skill. You don’t inherit but you develop the nuances of it as you grow.
Growth. Yes, we want to grow but sometimes, growth needs to be refined to understand the science of evolving.

Are we predators? No. Second thoughts, yes.
Predators of a different kind. We are intellectual predators.
We hunt opportunities, search avenues, build relationships and develop a clan within enhanced parameters of our dimensions. Parameters change, but evolution doesn’t.
Yes, I am the best.

Conquer others? No. Rulers conquer, leaders become examples by practice.
Gather respect? Yes, a gradual process though as intangibles consume time and ability.
Buy love? Yes, not platonic but through mutual understanding and admiration for each other.
Excel? Yes, but not on the rampage.

Yes, I am the best.

The news of ‘The Dhaba’ in Ballygunge Phari closing down came as a shocker to us. I really felt an era has come to an end.

We used to live in Ballygunge Circular Road in the 90s and we visited the Dhaba quite regularly. It was our favourite neighbourhood Dhaba. As kids, I remember pouncing on those Butter Nans and Malai Kofta. Yummy and delicious they were! Friendly staff and quality food was home to this extremely popular south Calcutta restaurant.

30 years down the line, we still love visiting the Dhaba. My parents don’t live here anymore and I live in Newtown with my family. Whenever they visit Calcutta, we make it a point to have lunch or dinner at the Dhaba – it was our family destination and the fondness appears to have extended beyond generations. In fact, it still remains my dad’s most revered restaurant in Calcutta.

IMG_9453

We visited the Dhaba on 24 Jan 16. That was the day my son was born and we celebrated by having lunch. The restaurant has an unique attachment to my family, in a way that we have spent some special moments of our life in the restaurant. Our last visit to ‘The Dhaba’ was on 8 May 16.

When I read this article today, first thing I did was call my dad and tell him that his dear foodie destination has closed down. He was terribly disappointed and exclaimed that we will have a tough time to figure out our next food destination during his next visit to Calcutta.

I second his thoughts. ‘The Dhaba’ will be sorely missed.