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Music Musings – Emel Mathlouthi

Emel Mathlouthi performed at Mehboob Studios as part of the first Johnnie Walker – The Journey festival – and part of reviving my old Music Musings series!

Emel seduced the audience with the powerful emotions her voice emitted… punching through with passion, protest, shifting from lilting to wrenchingly raw.

After the show, Emel shared how much she enjoyed their short stay in India. Yet after extensive touring also appreciated a chance to relax in the hotel, swim outdoors…

She shared that they had been to Vancouver and Montreal and enjoyed their Canadian tour. I later met the guitar player who talked about being busy working on their new CD, soon to be independently released – Ensen.

Emil Mathlouthi – Ma Lkit

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I’ll admit I’d never heard of her before the event… and yet for much of December, Christmassy music was replaced by the haunting sounds of Tunisia.

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Sunday solo salmon in Mumbai

Just after I booked my flight and stay for Jakarta, my attention turned to what needs to get done around the house before I take off for 3 weeks…

Did a little fridge digging and freezer check, discovering a frozen Atlantic salmon fillet just begging to be consumed with some assorted veggies….

My partner was on tour so it was just me, but one of the things about work travel is you learn to revel in the occasional ‘proper’ solo dinner…

So why not get into practice at home?

There you have it… found myself cooking up a storm to produce a scrumptious yet reasonably healthy Sunday dinner just for me, myself and I!

  • Poached salmon with a crazy yum citrus dill reduction sauce
  • Steamed cauliflower with a dash of tumeric
  • Toasted roasted beans with sesame, sunflower, yellow mustard and cumin seeds
  • Carrots with cumin and dill
  • Potatoes sautéed with onions a special home-made olive oil my partner picked up in Beirut, cracked black pepper and seasalt

What a pleasure… a good proper home cooked meal, at our own table, with a little music in the background. Yup… think I have my ‘home fix’ and easing beautifully into solo meals!

sunday-solo-salmon

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Holiday headaches – competing cacophony

You must be kidding!? There is yet another religious celebration to be fetted at full volume!

2013-04-Goat1This time it happens to be Ganapathi and the clanking of bells, thrum of drums hasn’t relented for hours. And soon it will be joined by the Bandra Fair celebrations (aka Mount Mary feast) with folks walking down our lane with kazoos at 2am. Seriously… Plus Eid with all the goats that have been trotted around for their walks now trotting to a different destination…

During a different festival, there was a hilarious moment on a Skype call to get the background on a project. My buddy could hear the ever increasing decibel level. And this after all the windows, doors were firmly shut, curtains drawn and extra ‘sound proofing’ added! I was even using my noise cancellation headset so I could hear clearly…

My partner has railed against religions blasting music at ear bleeding levels. More than once he has burst out in exasperation with “Does louder equal a bigger d#@k?” (more…)

Manitoba musical memories… a tribute to cold winters, warm hearts

In June I was in my home town of Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is always good to be back and there were so many special reconnects.

One evening in particular reminded me how blessed we were to grow up in a place bursting with musical talent.

Living room jam

Living room jam

I looked around the room at familiar friends… folks I grew up… folks with many shared experiences… folks whose lives have gone through many twists and turns… folks whose  hearts have been broken, mended…. folks who faced trials and many triumphs… folks who still turn to share with each other life through music…. relationships that span several decades.

After all, we were there to celebrate a friend’s 60th birthday. Six fabulous decades of merriment, mischief and more. (more…)

“And she’s back!!”

I’ve lightly alluded to a pre-occupation with changing over my visa which has impacted the entire way I’ve approached continuing to keep India my base.

Do you love Mumbai too?

Back to Bombay / Mumbai…

Short answer – I am now the proud holder of an Indian work visa! (and there was much rejoicing!!!)

Even better, I am very fortunate to partner with a company that enabled the best of both worlds – primarily support their growth while not closing the door on relevant consulting assignments in India that can be routed via their firm.

Even more remarkable, the actual submission and obtaining was relatively painless. (more on that later!) (more…)

Travel time…

Not sure if you’ve noticed but I’ve been a bit pre-occupied the last while.

Lots happening behind the curtain with the upshot that in just a few hours I will be on a plane from Mumbai to London… enjoy the weekend there catching up with my partner, seeing him perform, hopefully meet a few friends!

Partner and I at BAFTA

Partner and I last year at BAFTA

Then hop on another plane to Toronto. Hope and pray everything goes smoothly with my Indian visa submission.

Hop on another plane to Winnipeg to spend some much needed time with family and friends.

2015 family reunion

2015 family reunion

Then hop on yet another plane back to Toronto where my sincere wish is that a lovely new visa will be ready and waiting for me. Pretty please!

And then, yes you got it… hop on another plane back to London then home to Mumbai.

Do you love Mumbai too?

My adopted home…

Won’t bore you with the details but this is a big change for me. Til now I’ve been terribly spoilt in the visa department. With a flourish of a pen all that changed. So now… my fate is in the hands of some random stranger. Just as it is for many people. Wish me well!!

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Rules are meant to be broken…

It doesn’t take anyone long to realise that in India ‘rules’ are not really unbreakable ‘rules’ in the strictest sense.

They are often more like ‘wouldn’t it be nice if…’ sorta aspirational guidelines.

Or something put on paper so long ago no one actually has a clue why it is there.

Or it is a deliberately placed reason to extort… I mean monetarily punish hapless ‘rule’ breakers.

This evening I took a stroll along the Bandra Reclamation promenade. Hidden away behind aluminium fence was a sign with the ‘rules’.

I decided may as well test the theory to see how many of the ‘rules’ were broken wittingly or unwittingly during my walk. (more…)

Office art in Mumbai – Lorenzo Quinn

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These days I’ve spent a lot of time popping in and out of various office around Mumbai for a hectic series of meetings.

Every once and a while, I come across something that makes me pause….

Like these two piece by Lorenzo Quinn at India Bulls Finance Centre in Mumbai.

Lorenzo Quinn La Dolce Vita

About La Dolce Vita, Lorenzo shares:

The thrill of living the dolce vita in Rome must have been amazing. My father tried to describe it to me many times as I was growing up. It was a world full of hope and rebirth, a feeling of eternal spring for humanity. For me this sculpture represents that joie de vivre and the total abandonment to the child within.

Lorenzo Quinn Two Sides of Nature

And the Two Sides of Nature, he shares:

We often ponder which road to take. I wonder a lot about the good and evil in the world. There is a constant battle within us between these two. The Ego and the Superego – and in between is the Id. This sculpture symbolises all the parts of the inner self. We hope that what prevails is the Golden part of our soul.

Lorenzo Quinn Two Sides Close-up

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Temperature Twins! Mumbai vs Winnipeg??

There are a lot of things different about living in India vs Canada… not the least of which is typically the weather!

When people think of India, they immediately imagine blazing heat!

And Canada? Let’s just say the exact opposite…

And if its Winnipeg? Try swirling snowstorms. And Mumbai? Warm, humid perennial summer!

So this week when my father mentioned how nice and warm it is in Winnipeg? I just so happened to check the temperature…

There in Winnipeg…

2016-05-06 Wpg

And here in Mumbai….

2016-05-06 Mumbai

Are you kidding me? How rare is it to have EXACTLY the same temperature in two such otherwise different climates?

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Bagel Shop ‘Adda’ in Mumbai

The concept of an ‘adda’ in India is broadly a gathering of people in prolonged conversation. What primarily comes to mind when I hear this word is a group of guys in Kolkata in animated earnest debate, perhaps over a cup of chai collected by the side of a road.

In Mumbai, you can indeed find pockets of the ‘adda’ culture and my partner can often be found hanging out at his ‘office’ aka The Bagel Shop

So often that it is well known which table is ‘his’ and there is even a photo  next to ‘his’ table with a quote from him about the Bagel Shop being his ‘adda’.

2016-01-30 Denzils Adda

Any local hang-out spot near you where you can count on a good conversation?

Other Sunday Snaps:

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