Feel Good

From Cleopatra’s Spa Treatment to Green Porn, we bring you the best ways to feel good in Mumbai

Meet The Bouncer For Freelancers
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 10:58

Meet The Bouncer For Freelancers

Meet The Bouncer For Freelancers 

When we first heard about Gopal Bhai, he sounded like a vigilante, some sort of urban legend. A big, burly man with a thick moustache and a safari suit, riding a Honda Unicorn bike all around the city, making sure freelancers get paid on time. That client who has been promising to pay you “tomorrow” since forever, shudders. 

Part organiser, part collection agent and part errand boy, Gopal Bhai works at a recording studio to coordinate payments, but is also hired by freelancers to follow up on cheques and to collect them, a job he has been specialising in for 22 years now. Formerly a security guard and then a body guard for a hotel owner, Gopal Bhai isn’t a towering man – he’s 5 feet 6 inches tall – but the width of his chest is used to recover your cheque. Flex-i job, indeed!

Organised Crime Buster

While the suffix ‘bhai’ comes more from respect than gangster speak, freelancers do use the word ‘intimidating’ to describe him. “I met Gopal Bhai in 2009 and have been relying on him ever since to pick up my cheques. He's great for the job and is so intimidating that production houses volunteer to mail the cheques over themselves, requesting us to not send him to their offices!” says Kim Koshie, freelance audio producer.

While 41 year old Gopal Bhai admits that there’s something about him that makes him appear like a plain clothes cop – we think it’s the safari suit, he thinks it’s a “policewala personality”- he’s really quite the gentle giant and is exceedingly polite. “It doesn’t make sense to use force to recover money. The industry is small and everyone has to work together. If the client isn’t honouring their end of the deal, I use tough love, a combination of sweet talk and inconvenience by delaying their work, to get the job done.” The muscles, he tells us, are just a front, emphasising that beating people up or getting into fights are not part of the services he offers. “I don’t have to get to that point. Look at me!” he grins, flexing.

Language List: Pali Bhavan
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 11:24

Language List: Pali Bhavan

The ongoing German vs Sanskrit debate made us want to shut them all up and learn a new language. You too? What a babe(l)! Refer to our quick directory for where to learn the usual French, German and Spanish, but also Pali, Russian, Mandarin and more.


Register for Inchin Closer’s language course and the first thing you’ll get in your inbox is a Chinese name.  Take it to class, where teachers (from mainland China) will re-christen you, compare Mandarin and Hindi to make the language more relatable and incorporate real life situations in the curriculum. This class is endorsed by the Peoples Republic of China Consulate.

Inchin Closer:Call 9870090966, see their website here.


The Goethe Institut offers intensive courses on the language and conducts half-yearly exams.

But if you’d rather have someone come over, call Saeeta Nakhoda, instructor, translator and interpreter who is willing to travel between Churchgate and Malad to teach you and your friends, and even customise a course based on your needs, profession and specifications. Geschwindigkeitsbeschrankung is her favourite German word. “It means speed restriction, and is very tricky to say out loud.”

Goethe Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan K.Dubash Marg, Kala Ghoda, call 22881791, 22027542, 22027710, visit their website here; Saeeta, call 9820996875 or email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Rs 1,500 for a 1.5 hour one on one session/Rs 600 per person for a larger group.


Among the many languages you can learn at Mumbai University as a non student there, one of the most unusual and sort of pointless (but there’s the fun) is Pali, the Indo-Aryan language used to inscribe Buddhist scriptures.

Mumbai University, M.G.Road, Fort, view their course list here.


Ashraf Saab, a sweet old Urdu teacher who resides in Andheri comes over with school level grammar workbooks, but also poetry recommendations. And if you have a few minutes to spare, he’ll tell you all about his  struggle as a mill worker in Bombay.

You can also take weekend classes at Anjuman-i-Islam College at Grant Road. Pass the one year course and you will receive an Urdu diploma from Delhi University.

Call Ashraf Saab on 9323284889; see Anjuman-i-Islam course details here.


Besides classroom sessions, The Japanese Learning even teaches the language over Skype. Also see courses at Kaizen Linguistics.

Japanese Learning, Namdar, Jeevan Vikas Kendra Road, Koldongri, Vile Parle (E), call 9833118648/022-26822779, course fee – Rs 12,000 (class), Rs 14,000 (private tuition) per month, visit their website here; Kaizen Linguistics, 338, Mastermind I, Royal Palms Estate, near Aarey Colony Goregaon (E), call 28788940, 9821844265, course fee – Rs 16,000, visit their website here.


If you go to Goa often, knowing Russian may come in handy. The Russian Center offers courses for students and business people in a center that also houses an art gallery, library, reading room, film screening center and ballet studio. Pirouette!

Russian Centre, 31 A, Dr G Deshmukh marg, Breach Candy, call 23510793. See their website here.

How To Be a Professional Gamer
Monday, 24 November 2014 09:53

Meet Bhavesh Nachnani. He’s almost 28 and works in sales at a German company. On his table you’ll see an MBA degree, but also a bronze medal in gaming from the Asia E-Sports Championship that he acquired in 2012.

An unlikely candidate to be a professional gamer (he doesn’t tick any cliches – teenager, tattoos, unemployed – in our heads), we spoke to many like Bhavesh, a thought spurred on by last week’s launch of MTS’s first multi-player gaming platform for India, Game God, to find out what’s it’s like to be a professional gamer, how gaming has grown in India and how you can get there, even though you’re not a kid with afternoons to waste away at a gaming zone.

A gamer for the last nine years, Bhavesh says age is just a number. While he has seen working professionals in their 20s and 30s turn pro gamers, he still doesn’t feel like the scene in India allows you to quit your job for gaming. But the landscape is slowly changing, with a growing number of gamers, and companies like MTS  investing in the scene.

If ex-gamer, and gaming event organiser Ashwin Jain is to be believed, there is great potential in India and especially Mumbai. He started out with small tournaments where the top prize was a pair of headphones, or an optical mouse. Cut to September, 2014 where he put together the first edition of Mumbai Electronic Sports Championship with a bounty of Rs 1 lakh. “I was expecting anywhere between 300-400 gamers to show up since it was the first edition, which is why I was pleasantly surprised when 2,000 of them showed up,” says Ashwin. A second season is expected soon.

Girl Power (On/Off)

Gamer and freelance graphic designer in her early 30s, Dipika Jerome confirms this in her own small way, talking about how traffic to her gaming zone in Bandra, has more than doubled in the last year. We met her last Friday at Maximum Gaming, a space pasted with black wallpaper, decked with black computers, a random advertisement hanging on the pin-board reading ‘to protect your eyes during long hours of gaming, wear xx lenses’. Dingy? We thought so, but Dipika clarified, “the place should give the feel of a den,” suggesting that the darkness is actually by design. There were a bunch of people in their early twenties playing DOTA 2  (Defence Of The Ancients 2), while a teenager yelled at a man in his 30s, his team mate, “BEHIND YOU! BEHIND YOU!” Too late to respond, both of them were killed by terrorists. The kid was angry, it was game over for both gentlemen. Escape. New Game. Enter.

Who said you live only once?

Riffreel Turns Your Clips Into A Video
Friday, 21 November 2014 11:25

What: Surrender your GoPro and iPhone clips to riffreel and they’ll use them to tell a story, check their Facebook page here, each video costs Rs 1,800.

Why: You’ve just captured some cool footage on your scuba diving trip to the Andamans, but don’t know what to do with it? Hand it over to the guys at riffreel and they’ll sift through your clips, edit it and add a soundtrack to create a fun story. They’ll even work with footage from smart phones and GoPros.

When: You want clip art.

bpb Buy: Cotton Candy Maker For Your Kitchen
Friday, 21 November 2014 11:19

What: Cotton Candy Maker by Nostalgia on Elitify.com, Rs 5,995.

Why: Coiffe pink clouds in your kitchen with this adorable cotton candy machine that turns bad days into fun fairs. It comes with two plastic cones and a sugar scoop (sugar not included) and is a great alternate to that microwave you were going to gift your just-married friend.

When: Now. It’s important to floss daily.

A Penthouse For Your Party?
Thursday, 20 November 2014 20:08

What: Rent Monica Chudasama Vaziralli’s Penthouse Terrace, 8th floor penthouse, Oricon House, K Dubash Marg, same building as Kaya Skin Clinic, call Deepak on 9769836640 for inquiries, location scout and price details by appointment only.

Why: An 8th floor penthouse in Kala Ghoda with a 2,500 square feet terrace, ghosts of previous pretty parties and a view of Prince of Wales Museum, is yours if you want it. For a price and one night only! To be or not to be Gatsby?

Owned by Monica Chudasama Vaziralli, famous for her soirees and often spotted on Page 3, this plush pad is rented out for parties and shoots. The terrace wraps around the building and is attached to a 1,500 square feet living room and dining hall that can also be used. Fits 120 party people (swinging of hands while dancing is accounted for in the space).

When: Now. Better safe than soiree.

Art In The Park
Thursday, 20 November 2014 19:49


What: Art in the Park, an art and culture festival at Priyadarshini Park, Nepeansea Road, between 4 pm to 10 pm, free entry.

Why: First you cribbed that Mumbai has no parks. Then you found a park, stood under a tree, and looked at your phone the entire time. That’s not what Davies’ ‘stand and stare’ meant, you know. Take some time off from your gadgets this weekend to walk through Art in the Park, a festival at PDP that will feature music performances by tabla expert Anuradha Pal and musician Aditya Kalyanpur; exhibits by students of the JJ School of Art and Raheja School of Arts; pottery and book readings for kids.

When: Garden State from November 22-23.

What's Up With Mumbai's Rooftops?
Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:09

Floating high above the traffic you’re currently navigating – Bombay, you beast! – are four rooftops where new plans are brewing. One invites you for yoga by the sea, another lets you have parties on a socialite’s penthouse terrace, while you huddle around a vegetable garden with fellow farmers on a flyover farm, yelling “winter is coming.”

I Am Alchemy: A Sea Facing Terrace To Exercise

Launching on November 25, I Am Alchemy is a 200 square feet Khar terrace with a view of the sea, the shade of palm trees and the sound of wind chimes. Here, kickboxing coach Farooq Mistry, yoga teacher Sunaina Rekhi and meditation master Mark Luburic will take small batch classes and be the start of founder Harpreet Singh’s “fitness community”. Ex marketing at Vh1 and MTV, Harpreet had this idea when he quit his job and moved to the mountains for three months. “Living in a village called Bhagsu, where people from all over the world taught all kinds of things, was like the MBA my dad always wanted me to do.”

Plans to expand I Am Alchemy include a new line of juices and fitness food.

Getting there: 20th Road, Khar West (full address will be updated as soon as the space opens), call 9820715063 to register, see the schedule of classes on the Facebook page here.

Monica Chudasama Vaziralli’s Penthouse Terrace: Rent For Your Next Party

An 8th floor penthouse in Kala Ghoda with a 2,500 square feet terrace, ghosts of previous pretty parties and a view of Prince of Wales Museum, is yours if you want it. For a price and one night only. To be or not to Gatsby? 

Owned by Monica Chudasama Vaziralli, famous for her soirees and often spotted on Page 3, this plush pad is rented out for parties and shoots, and was last seen in an ICICI commercial starring Amitabh Bachchan. The terrace wraps around the building and is attached to a 1,500 square feet living room and dining hall that can also be used. Fits 120 party people (swinging of hands while dancing is accounted for in the space).

Getting there: 8th floor penthouse, Oricon House, K Dubash Marg, same building as Kaya Skin Clinic, call Deepak on 9769836640 for inquiries, location scout and price details by appointment only.

Essential Reading Before Comic Con
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 19:11

If we say ‘Comic Con’ and there’s an empty speech bubble hanging over your head, we can help. Ahead of the annual comic convention in Mumbai on December 19, we get the deputy editor of Tinkle Comics (cue nostalgia), the creator of the first manga series in the country and also the founder of Comic Con India, among others, to help put together a required reading list for you.

Prepare for many manga titles, blood, gore, silent comics, a short story called 'Three Septembers and a January’ and another that asks this: what if Superman had been raised in the Soviet Union? 

Dolly Pahlajani, Deputy Editor, Tinkle Comics

Thirty Days of Night: This series by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith, is my absolute favourite because of its brash, unique strategies of vampire attacks and its bold, gory art.

Lucifer: I particularly like Mike Carey's writing and he has written most of this series that revolves around its biblical namesake. It traces the Prince of Darkness' adventures in heaven, hell and everything in between.

Sandman - Fables and Reflections: This is a collection of short stories that follow the journey of Sandman, the bringer of dreams. I particularly like this story called 'Three Septembers and a January' in which one man claims to be the king of the United States of America. Brilliant storytelling by Neil Gaiman.

Lucky Luke: One of my non-horror preferences (ha!). Lucky Luke, the daredevil cowboy and his horse, Jolly Jumper, bring the Wild West alive for me. Moreover, they are created by Morris, a Belgian cartoonist whose art I admire. It is also co-written by Rene Goscinny, the same guy who wrote Asterix.

Iznogoud: Another non-horror. Another Rene Goscinny series. This French comic has me in splits whenever I read it. It's about Iznogoud, the Grand Vizier to the Caliph of Baghdad, who does everything in his power 'to become Caliph instead of the Caliph'. And his schemes are so hairbrained that one can't help but love the guy... and laugh at him.

Hush: This one's Indian. It's a silent graphic novel by Manta Ray. Being a writer, I know how hard it is to tell a story without words but this comic has done it spectacularly.

Groo the Wanderer: I absolutely love Sergio Aragones' loony art and storytelling. Groo has both and therefore, is a treat to read! It traces the adventures of a well-meaning but bumbling warrior, Groo and his dog, Rufferto. 

Batman's Arkham Asylum: Ordinarily, I steer clear of mainstream superhero comics. But this one was a compelling read. Penned by Grant Morrison and illustrated gloriously by Dave McKean, this book is madness that transcends all boundaries of thought. I love Joker and this book brings out his character to the fullest. The bonus? In the hardcover, I found the entire script written out with basic sketches and layouts!

Abhijeet Kini, Comic Artist and Illustrator, Creator, Angry Maushi series

Angry Maushi - Second Blood: It’s a dark socio-political satire which follows a typical Mumbai maushi who can’t stop complaining about everything that’s wrong with the city, from the autos to the politicians to Bollywood.

Milk and Quickies: A comic book experiment which is quite dear to me, it comprises five short stories, written by a friend, with a different art style (designed by me!) for each one.

V for Vendetta: Everyone recognises the Guy Fawkes Mask. An iconic comic which till date is a symbol for political resistance. It’s very well written and illustrated.

Red Balloon: Inflated Animals, No Egos
Thursday, 13 November 2014 17:54

What: Red Balloon service for balloon decoration, call 8087227661 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 Why: Get your mind and balloons blown by the guys over at Red Balloon. Call in and they’ll send over a truckload of balloons and with 100 inflated ones costing under Rs 1,000, they win over other pricey services like Party Hunterz. These come in any colour your sky desires, metallic finish ones and in shapes ranging from round and heart to Mickey Mouse. They can also send over Anil to your party, a sweet man skilled at making balloon animals. We’re take one poodle and one inflated ego, thanks!

When: You want to score some good blow.

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