Rent-a-taxi service we have all heard of.

A cab service by the women for the women? Well..Bombay has this unique 24-hour car hire service, which when contrasted to the likes of the black and yellow or even the Cool Cabs makes for a pleasant change. This is a cab service ONLY for the women folk - a very novel idea indeed.

The sliver-white cars with a purple pink logo are chauffeured by women dressed in purple and pink too. This is an exclusive for women cab service on the lines of Dubai’s “Women’s Taxi”, UK’s “Pink Ladies” and Moscow’s “Pink Taxi”. The taxi interiors are clean, functional, have glossy;s thrown in, a comments book, and a fully working Air conditioner!

When I spoke with the lady driver A, she said to me it’s not only safety concerns that have prompted the move of such a concept in Bombay, it’s a need, when women sit in a taxi, they don't feel comfortable — it’s everything from hygiene to the driver gawking at you in the mirror to the attitude and behaviour of rudeness and belligerence one has to put up with especially given that you don't seek a free ride in the black and yellow! in fact I know of some colleagues who arrive by the last flight into the city late night, and hire a cab frm the airport, often pretend to be on mobile phones when alone with male drivers to create a feeling of safety.

It is an acute contrast in this new taxi fleet — English speaking women graduates driving you around the city, as you paint your nails or curl up with a magazine, or simply chat with the lady driver in a friendly manner - The cars are colour branded to ensure women are not picked up by bogus drivers and all of the company’s drivers are female, uniformed and trained in self-defense and first aid too.

To protect the drivers and female passengers, this company operates a “through the door” policy, which means passengers are safely inside their destination address before their driver leaves. I know I feel terribly unsafe walking the distance from the road to my door step when I alight from a normal cab especially if it is at a late hour

I must say I was impressed with the quality of driving, there was no iffiness to it, the cars were well maintained and above all there was basic social graces that were in place and made the experience very comfortable.


A week full of conferences and conclaves

Why do most people attend events and conclaves and seminars? I for my part have done the rounds of Nasscom, Economic Times Compass and now FICCI. For the learning's? Yea sure. But more often than not it is for networking, exchanging visiting cards, reconnecting and connecting with industrywallahs!

I over heard last week at a dinner do , someone whispering why FICCI is a no no for him. It is too much about television and entertainment he thinks. And this gentleman thought they the entertainment guys cant or don’t think beyond themselves. He thought it was meaningless and irrelevant whatever they do, considering they do not cover 80 per cent of the industry. They just cover entertainment industry, and for them entertainment is the world.

So. with much trepidation I started out to attend FICCI – touted to be the largest media and entertainment convention in Asia. Despite the many allegations hurled at the event year-on-year – same people, same subjects, just networking not learning – FICCI continues to be an important event on many calendars, including that of media magnates, Bollywood rulers and the government.

The names at the event are as big as can get, and there are international dignitaries too, not to forget the Indian film industry honchos, who have a lot more to discuss this year.

As globalization brings in crossover and mingling of cultures with the film industry too playing a critical role, there now seems to be an increasing demand for Bollywood films in the West. The next couple of days will see Television Radio, Internet, Print all under the scanner- it promises to dish out some unusual fare or so is my expectation


New releases: Simple or Smart- Take your pick

Billu brings a tear to the eye at the same time a smile to your lips and you realize it’s a nice warm film – helps you appreciate the people you have in your life.

Irrfan steals the show with his portrayal of Billu, the barber. This actor is truly blessed with talent and craft. He always pitches his performance just right. There is not a single discordant note in his performance, which is like sheer poetry. In this film, he underplays Billu and his angst, and delivers his dialogues with just the right kind of punch. In the recent years, Irrfan has emerged as a force to reckon with, his performances have appealed to all strata of moviegoers and his work in Billu will only cement his status as a remarkable actor He is quite the life of the film.

Shah Rukh Khan really does not have to do much to portray a superstar. He gives the character of Sahir a certain kind of warmth, which is quite endearing. SRK needs to be admired for two reasons. The show belongs to Irrfan, although SRK could've forced himself in every scene. Also, he has chosen to opt for a film that's not one of those run-of-the-mill types. In terms of performance, SRK shows his true potential towards the finale

The narration is very entertaining, the 3 songs of SRK are visually brilliant and placed perfectly. The music is good. Love Mera Hit Hit and Mar Jaani are the pick of the lot. Billu Bhayankar is funny and stays with you long after the credits roll.

Contrast this with Dev D. Cracker of a film. My vote for its nomination into an Oscar for certain.

It’s experimental, real, layered, new, innovative, complex, and everything to do with human emotions of the good and not so good kind! O my God the music is a double whammy! The soundtrack of this movie is an out an out winner. Emotional atyachar at best defines the movie exploding with myriad emotions. And the camera man has not been afraid to venture into new territories to symbolize and define and interpret the Director, Anurag Kashyaps, gripping story telling.

I feel if I put too many words to such a powerful cinema I will degrade it to another commercial movie. I am affected by this movie. I loved its songs. I loved the 3 men/witches and how integral they were to the plot. Abhay Deol is a star! Can’t imagine anybody else doing this role with Abhays panache.

Wow where was Abhay Deol before this movie?!


The colour of Love

The innocence of Mother
The adoration and pride of Father
The need of a sister
The unspoken language of a brother
The seduction of a lover
The stable strength and depth of a husband
The power of a friend and friendship
The innocence of a new born baby
The askance of a pet
The serenity of a home
The togetherness and apanapan of a family

I instinctively wanted to root the colour of Love into white, but soon realized Love has soo many facets, so much depth - could I really slot it into one colour?

For me maybe the colour of Love has to be the colours of a rainbow

It's blue because it can bring peace and tranquility
It's green because it can cause envy
It's yellow because it radiates
It's white because it can be innocent
It's red because it can be passionate or dangerous
It's black because love when goes wrong could cause negativity
It's pastel shades because it can be young and soft
It's bold colors because it can stand apart from all else
It's plaid because it can be confusing

Love is a splendid array of colors and patterns, interweaving causing both happiness and sorrow, joy and pain, forgiveness and hatred

Love is. . . . a vast universe where a sense of oneness develops, unable to be quantified or defined by words or expressed in colors, the colour of Love can be felt inside the soul


We question her even before she is born!

Have you seen the movie ALL OF ME? The hero one day wakes up one morning as a woman - a man within, only his physical appearance has changed! It was funny! But the film also addressed some real issues plaguing our society.

Look around you –and assess for yourselves - is being a woman in our society a reason for smiles or laughter or fun? Be it the Mangalore incidence or the Gateway or the Noida or the Ita incidence with the 6yr old child and the cop? Women being kicked around and manhandled on the pretext of protecting Indian culture?

If this was not enough to bring angry tears to the eyes, you have to listen to men justifying on TV the actions of others because they were only behaving like older brothers?

We take celebrities to task if a black buck is killed, and yet we have seen these women molesters walk away free from jail. We reward men for doing what they have done- not only did they get free publicity on TV they walked away from their one day judicial custody with pride and smirks on their faces as they won their battle against these ‘lose moraled’ women!

In a chat with a handful of so called progressive men of our society I heard one of them justify the actions of the men in the attack episode of Mangalore. I was even more amused to hear a male colleague state that women need to be controlled. Is this a self appointed right I asked? He was indeed very iffy in his reply. Added to this another girl agreed with this progressive male set on why the Valentines day celebrations should be nipped in the bud, and why women should not be allowed love marriages and why women have absolutely no right to think for themselves or take any decisions on their part alone without consultation with a male bread winner of the family.

In our country, a woman’s right to live is questioned even before she is born with pre birth sex selection so rampant in progressive cities like ours. Frankly none of this shocks me - I see sexist stereotypes around all the time. It doesn’t matter which school or college they’ve studied in or the kinds of books they may have read while growing up.

I am not trying to influence men to think otherwise but these are some issues which I think our world definitely needs to ponder over

So coming to this movie I started talking about - in a funny kinda way- this movie depicts how terribly difficult it is being a woman, because you are principally dealing with fragile male egos and age old conditioned minds.