I describe 2011 as being the kind of year that has a bad heart. Horrible at its very core. While E and I are thankful to be alive, it’s hard for us to dismiss the fact that this has been an extremely tough year personally. Some days we didn’t have the energy to get out of bed, never mind function at any degree of normalcy. But everyone fights their battles and we have no choice but to soldier on. As we look back we realise we have a list of things to be thankful for, things that brought brief moments of levity and kept us going.
We are grateful for all the things listed below, in no particular order.
I bought this little wonder box of an audio recorder last December and in its first year these are the things it has recorded: songs in my bedroom; interviews in big recording studios, backstage rooms, dusty apartments, on the street; live concerts; blues jams around India; an iron gate with a tremendous bass note; the sounds of the city as India won the World Cup and even a soundbite from a Bollywood superstar or two. Here are some examples:
Slow Down Clown (Live At Blue Frog)
Gitanjali Jewels Ad – Behind The Scenes – Shah Rukh Khan
Watching the comedy of Louis CK makes E and me feel like we’re being thoroughly entertained and personally scolded at the same time. This man speaks the truth. Watch at your own risk.
Baking from the blog of David Lebovitz
There are a lot of food blogs, but very few have recipes for foods that actually taste good and are written in a precise and clear manner. Don’t tell a novice baker to add “a cup” of anything. What size? How tightly packed? When to add? How to mix? When to stop? This is where the amazing clarity of David Lebovitz comes in. He tells a great story, follows it up with a clear and precise recipe that already contains the answers to all the questions that may come up at each step. Between the cakes and the salted caramel sauce, we were able to make our own little treats to tide us over the bad days.
A neatly arranged, and presented, mix of selected content and randomness made for some great discoveries across the arts, science, music, film, technology and lifestyle. It was the most comforting pre-bedtime routine we could ask for.
A friend accurately described Vimeo as “the Apple of video hosting sites”. It looks great, it doesn’t destroy audio and it features very well curated videos. Some of our favourites:
Live From The Console
This monthly music concert at Mehboob Studios, Bandra has without a doubt the best live sound in the city. E and I have been to every one of the concerts and possibly for the first time ever, enjoyed the local live music scene. Click on the link above for our documentary on the event from November.
BBC One’s Sherlock
Big screen, schmig screen! We vote for the small-screen 2010 version that we discovered this year – the excellent BBC One mini-series starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson respectively. Slick, tense, stylish, and energetic, this three episode series is not to be missed.
The music alone made it worthwhile. And stop complaining about how they portrayed women. No one complained about the men in 300 right?
French crepes found in the heart of Mumbai’s business district. Lemon-sugar and dark chocolate crepes followed by a shot of smoky espresso. We were happy to part with our money for these. In the same category, an honourable mention for Mumbai’s Country Of Origin at Nepean Sea road with their excellent cakes in a jar.
[Related: Our piece on the cookies and cream jar.]
Growing up in Mumbai in the ‘80s we didn’t really have access to the movies of the time. We had a lot of catching up to do and we did it this year. Say Anything, Weird Science, The Breakfast Club. It made us nostalgic and taught us some terrific filmmaking lessons as well.
The Say Anything trailer
Cash on delivery. Efficient online service. A neatly wrapped package at our doorstep well before the estimated date of arrival. We even finally figured out what their puzzling bookmarks mean! What’s not to like?
Raise your hand if you can never look at fruit in the real world the same way anymore.
Bruno Mars – Doo-Wops and Hooligans
When you’re sitting in a hospital waiting room and part of the roof falls on you there is very little music that your brain can tolerate afterwards. It seems this year, only the Bruno Mars album provided that service. Easy, light, melodic and unaffected. Do listen.
For the hundredth time, yes E and other friends, I was wrong about Seinfeld. I get it now. Plus I heart George Costanza. That’s how much I get it.
Between Kolaveri Di and Moves Like Jagger, I admit I no longer know myself or what I will find pleasing to the ear. I didn’t get Kolaveri Di the first time I heard it. Or the next few times. It stuck around and now I look forward to the various cover versions that pop up so regularly. This one by two ladies from Mumbai is particularly awesome:
I can’t sum things up better than this sentiment by E, made in such an offhand manner, but right on the mark as he tends to be: “In 2012 if an apocalypse is all I have to worry about, that’s okay.”
Take care. Happy New Year.