Thursday, July 16, 2015

Churchgate memories

When I moved back to Mumbai and started travelling by train to work, I kept revisiting all the memories I had of Churchgate, fort, south Bombay. Penning down a distinct one:

As kids we would sometimes come all the way to Churchgate from Santacruz on a Saturday afternoon and meet dad waiting outside the station coming from office. Then the station had a very different look. There were no subways connecting you to various points outside the station. Infact where the underground subway begins is actually where the station ended. We would go watch a movie, or go shopping, have food (i actually don't remember where we ate, will check with maa, it probably was satkar though or stadium) and sit at marine drive. The station looks very different now and I think its only on some movies like Chhoti si baat and others from that time that one can actually see what the station looked like then.

Later in life I started going to Churchgate regularly for my NCC trainings, when I had qualified for the BLC (Basic Leadership Camp) (I was too short for the RD parade!) and had classes in the NCC Gp HQ next to the city civil and sessions court. I remember the underground subway and the fact that one could get any cold drink for 5 rupees. We used to walk (or run, depending on what time was the parade!!) through Oval Maidan and whenever we had rifle shooting practice and the canter was leaving too early, we would take a direct bus to RC church and then run the rest of the way to the naval practice ground.

When I was in Ruia and working for TimesFM I would take the train to VT and back as that was most convenient, so no Churchgate stories there!

When I started my journey to Churchgate everyday again, after a gap of almost 15 years I was travelling in Virar trains! Stuff that you just don't get into no matter what if you are living anywhere between Churchgate and Borivali! there were a number of times when i would get a seat in the train at marine lines or after that, so i would sit in the train till the last minute and run off towards the sharing cab place. On my way back also I would be in a hurry to get into a virar/vasai/bhy local and grab a seat. Now, after moving to Malad, things are much easier, I don't mind taking a slow train either as the difference isn't much.

The one thing that is common in all of these memories over the years is the HPMC apple juice stall. As a child I would look forward to our trips to Churchgate only because I wanted to drink apple juice. I think that is partly the reason why I don't remember anything beyond the juice coz that's all I wanted!  The stall has moved from one corner to another across the station, but the taste is just the same. I had once asked the person at the counter if this was the same stall that was at the end of the station near the exit away from the platforms, where the subway now begins. He stopped and looked at me and asked if I was coming after a long time as this was years ago. I think i did faintly remember him as a young boy helping his elders in the stall. I still try and have a glass of juice every other day and whenever I do, I am reminded of all the earlier occasions that are linked with this sweet taste. Assuring me that inspite of everything about this city and the world we live in changing, somethings still remain the same :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

while waiting for the case to be heard,

one can fall asleep, i know atleast a dozen such lawyers, quite senior mind you, who would very easily doze off in a bustling court room, at 11 in the morning, sitting right under the nose of the judge. As if that's not enough, this would be accompanied by loud snoring, much to the embarrassment of the junior/associate sitting next to this prince of the dream world.

Actually I know of a lawyer who would fall asleep WHILE his case was being heard, but when asked a question by the judge would promptly rattle off the correct answer!! due credit to his silver hair!

with the use of modern technology, read while in court, play games, chat, generally faff over the internet!

watch what the judge is doing, listen, observe and judge the judge!

watch what the staff is doing, if not any of the above then animatedly giving non verbal opinions on the opinion of the judge on the case being heard

count the number of times the judge/lawyer arguing repeats a certain word and then make a mental note to use that word while arguing

and in the courts of bombay, like in the trains of bombay, be vigilant and leap the moment a seat looks like it is about to be vacated!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


She was about 5 years old, she was lying on a stretcher in the emergency ward of a government hospital in Central Delhi. She was in pain, but was also smiling at me and my lawyer friend. She was bleeding heavily but the Emergency ward was preoccupied with...well! an emergency.

I went out to check with the Investigating Officer as to what was the problem and why was it taking so long for the doctors to attend to her. I found him in a pensive mood, lost in thought about what had happened a few hours ago and also keeping track of all the points that need to be covered within a short span of time, this time, as lawyers would agree, can make or break a case especially a case of rape.

She was gang raped by 4 boys, known to her elder sister, while she was playing outside her jhuggi in the afternoon, she was still in her school uniform and had been lured by the boys on the pretext of giving her something sweet to eat.

To keep her mind occupied, we were cracking silly jokes to which she would laugh, but we had to be careful cause if she laughed too loud she would then wince in pain. I held her hand till she was taken into the operation theatre, while leaving my hand she had a look of fear on her face and she mumbled 'didi....' Outside we spoke with her father and her elder sister. The father, an old man, a rickshaw driver was distraught that this should happen to his youngest daughter.

We waited with her till she was taken in the emergency ward as she had to be operated on. Next day came with all other important aspects to be dealt with, her statement, arrest, medical report, statement of her sisters and others. She was still in the hospital and had been advised complete bed rest. Once she was declared fit, the issue of her 164 statement came up. She had to be trained, but not tutored, it was extremely important that she narrated the important points to the judge recording her statement otherwise it cannot be relied on. At the same time we had to be sure that she is not reciting the incident like she has memorized it...gawd, it was crazy and we did not want her to feel the pressure at all.

We were waiting outside the courtroom, the girl, her father and me, while the IO had gone to the judge to inform her that the witness was here to make her statement. In the judge's chamber no one except for the girl would be allowed to ensure complete reliability of the statement, so she had to be as comfortable as possible while making the statement.

I think the biggest victory was when she came out after making the statement and narrated to us all that she said, then she looked at her father a bit scared as to what his reaction would be, and he hugged her and told everyone around that he is so proud of his daughter and that she had shown so much courage and is a brave one. the girl was so happy to make her father proud of something. Not once was she made to feel like she had done something wrong, especially by her father, some of her sisters were a bit critical of what had happened though.    

The trial did not go very well, since the girl had a very visible squint, the judge felt that she probably is not of sound mind, I cant even being to tell you the problems that I had with this mindset, but we dealt with it. Then came the stage of her evidence in court, by then rape cases were being heard by women judges, so we had a woman presiding officer, who would regularly accuse me of 'interfering' with the trial and try to have me removed from court. (This judge, btw is now in the High Court!) I would insist on sitting in court and pretty much dare her to have me thrown out, all the time waving a copy of the supreme court guidelines which entitled me to be present in court and also do my job.

I had started writing this post around the Delhi rape case and only wanted to highlight that this happens all the time and there are a lot more things that need to be done other than asking for the blood of the accused persons.... in this case the sheer insensitivity of the system was very clear, even though, mind you, the police did a good job and the IO was very sensitive, still the accused were given lighter sentences and no other action was taken.

Life in a fast train

12 years ago when i was living in this city, using the trains for travelling was the most obvious choice and was done regularly. Although the distances that I traveled everyday then, are not even half of what I travel now. I would be careful to not get into a virar fast train during peak hours especially, unless I had to travel that side for an occasional visit. Anyone who has spent more than a week in Mumbai and has been on a local railway station on the western line would know what I am talking about.

Cut to 12 years later, my abode now is in Mira Road, 2nd station from Borivali towards Virar. Even though Mira Road does not have any population residing in the West, (since it is covered by mangroves and salt pans, which till now have been protected) the rush at the station is a totally different story. Since I am a lawyer and I practice law and the High Court in this city is in Fort, I travel to Churchgate every day, which brings me to the means of transport that I use...well ofcourse, the local train, a virar train, the same one that i avoided almost everytime i came across one 12 years ago.

There are 2 kinds of trains, slow and fast. A slow train will stop at every station that comes its way from the starting point to the destination and a fast train has very few pre decided stops. The speed of the train is reflected in the attitude of the passengers. Most women who travel in a slow train regularly are far more relaxed, the general atmosphere in the compartment is chilled out and easy. While in the fast train there is a complete sense of urgency, if you dont move that one inch now, someone else will occupy that precious space and you will most likely stand on one leg for the rest of the journey.

Ok, I am completing this post after starting it about a year ago...! So then it has been more than a year now that I take these trains and has anything changed? Well I can tell you, the feeling in my stomach and the fluttering of the heart is still the same, the moment I see a train coming on the platform that i am suppose to board from. First come the questions.. will i be able to get in to it?? then come the chants... just get into it just get into it! And when the train actually slows down all hell breaks loose! the pushing, the shoving, the shouting and finally the last split second decision of leave it or hang on. I generally leave it, did hang on sometimes and completely hated the near death experience.

But now I have become a little better at boarding a train, more so because I can schedule my life around a 07.47 or an 08.09, or a 08.57 depending on what my day looks like. The best of course is the 10.13..... yes i do take this train sometimes, it is a ladies special fast local. I just cannot get over the smiling faces, soothing voices and courteous behaviour of the women in this train. There is no sense of panic, no mad rush, everyone is ok about reaching their destinations by 11.15. wish all trains were like this.

The journey back home is not so bad, since I board at the starting point, i almost always have a comfortable place to sit (as opposed to the 'fourth seat' which deserves a post of its own!). even then one does tend to schedule life around the 6.33s or the 7.40s etc...


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Main kya likhoon!

too much has altered in my life, dont know where to begin writing...therefore I will write about something that has not changed..... the ability of hair dressers/stylists across the country to ensure that no matter how i ask them to cut my hair, i end up looking like a fat, short, chubby and obviously female version of Amitabh Bachan from yesteryears!!

And that just gives my hubby an opportunity to humm the music played when amitabh bachan in Hum becomes tiger again. Please see the movie to understand what I am talking about!!

see at 4.18

Saturday, March 31, 2012

My undying love for POHA

So I am half Maharashtrian coz I spent 20 years of my life in Mumbai and now after 12 years am back to Bombay and then I am about to marry a half Maharastrian, but more on that later, coming back to my love for poha. Poha is a common breakfast snack in Maharashtra, they have two varieties of it, 'kaande pohe' which is poha with onions and 'batate pohe' which is poha with potatoes.

I discovered my love for poha in Delhi amazingly when I started living with putey and she would occasionally bless me and Suchi with poha, with potatoes which she would promptly pick out and leave in my plate and peanuts (have to write a post on my undying love for peanuts too!) and then whenever we were on some trip towards alibag/pune etc there is a small stopover where you get the best poha in the world (or so i thought), its called Dattaguru snacks.

Recently I started appearing in a case before the Indore High Court and thats when I discovered indorey poha. OMG I love the way they make it, its just a bit sweet and is served with chopped onions, indorey sev and a dry masala. Its just amazing,  have been for this case 4 times I think and all I have the entire day is poha at the high court canteen or at the LIC canteen opposite the high court. Its worth a try for sure. And actually one is suppose to have jalebis after it, but that is something I havent tried...yet.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Homeward bound
I wish I was
Homeward bound
Home, where my thought's escaping
Home, where my music's playing
Home, where my love lies waiting
Silently for me

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I am Bored

Well since i have too much work and the main one being reading company law, I am obviously BORED!! There is a reason why I kept away from this side of the law, coz it make no sense to moi, but unfortunately life has other plans for me and when you begin representing workers in courts, you need to smarten up and be aware of all the tactics that the corporates will employ to outwit the workmen of their measly 0.001 percent income in comparison to the profits being made by these companies. Pooh!!

Anyhow, since I am bored, I am looking for something to take my mind off bloody company law, therefore I blog and think uff wish something exciting happens to me! But then, wait a minute... hasnt my life been way too exciting in the past few months? I mean come on, the trial finally got over, i got involved in defending some other human rights defenders, things moving in professional front and most importantly the biggest development ever in my life.... :) obviously love love love...

Then why the hell am I not on some lovely beach, soaking the sun, talking sweet nothings with my beloved, or why am i not in Bombay sitting at marine drive, holding my beloved's hand staring into the wide expanse of the sea, or why am i not just on my terrace sipping tea, discussing future plans with my dear and getting lost in each others eyes...gahhhhhhh, because guide to companies act is beckoning me! uff bloody