Zangoora: A Bollywood musical extravaganza

Billed as the largest Bollywood musical extravaganza, Zangoora — The Gypsy Price is one of the first musicals to be staged in India along the lines of musicals staged abroad. Since it’s being staged at the Nautanki Mahal at Kingdom of Dreams, Gurgaon, I had to go watch it. My only worry was that the husband might balk at the prices — the extravaganza doesn’t come cheap, with prices ranging from Rs. 1,500 to Rs. 6,500 — as he’s not into musicals and theater, but he agreed without batting an eye!

Zangoora - the gypsy prince

The Nautanki Mahal is done up in old-world style. It follows a predominantly red and gold color scheme, evoking the grandeur of a bygone era, with beautiful, huge chandeliers dominating the central dome in the waiting area, throne-like chairs scattered around, a bar at both ends of the waiting area, and walls painted to look give an inlay effect.

Photography wasn’t allowed inside the theater, while the play was going on, though I did get a shot of the stage before the play began. 😉

The story itself is simple. The play opens with the Prince Rudra’s first birthday celebrations, during the course of which the king declares that he will not charge taxes during the year, and asks his kingdom’s three chieftains to make the same declaration in their provinces. The three — Thodamal, Daulat Rai and Zohravar — are none too pleased with this decision, and hatch a plot to wipe out the king and his family.

Opening scene: elephant throne

Prince Rudra, however, is saved, and ends up with a gypsy caravan, where he is brought up as Zangoora (Hussain Kuwajerwalla), the leader of the gypsies, who sets the stage on fire with his gypsy dancing partner Laachi (Gauahar Khan). Meanwhile, Zohravar (Sadanand Patil) takes over the throne and launches his reign of terror on Shaktisheela. Of course, since this is a Bollywood musical, the story has to end well, with good winning vs. evil and Zangoora, a.k.a. Prince Rudra, winning back his rightful place on the throne as well as his lady love, Sonali (Kashmira Irani).

The dancing gypsies outside their caravan

A typical Bollywood plot, you say, whose chances at the box office may not be that great? But hey! This is live…and it’s magic!

Right from the opening scene, where you have the king and queen holding court on the back of an elephant, to the electrifying, high-energy dances, the play keeps you captivated and begging for more! The cable work is excellent, reminiscent of a Broadway musical, as actors fly through the air, spin cartwheels, fly into a dream sequence, or come onstage, suspended upside-down, to deliver prophesies to Zohravar. The sets and props are excellent, breathing life into the different sets — be it the forest, the gypsy caravan, or the throne room. One scene in particular, which is set underwater, is breathtaking. LED screens and special effects are used to show fishes and plants, while two mermaids swim through the water suspended on cables. Pure magic!

Celeberating Zangoora's coronation

If you’re around Delhi/NCR, this musical should be on your must-watch list. It’s slated to go on until December, so you have plenty of time to catch it!

Still need some convincing? Check out this sneak preview of the musical. Note: this is a shot from a promo night, so it doesn’t showcase all the scenic elements.

Liked what you saw?

Images from Reuters blogs.

My name is my identity, or is it?

Image via stanford2008

Would I ever change my name? No! Why? Because I love my name – it’s musical and has a beautiful meaning. It’s also unique, and I like that!

Most of all, though, I think this topic brings up a bigger question for me – a question of identity.

We go through life with various labels — girlfriend, wife, mother, employee, friend…the list goes on, but which of these really defines us? None of these labels is all-encompassing. If someone asks me who I am, my answer would change based on the context, my life experiences at the time, or maybe even my mood! But is that really my identity?

I don’t think so. My identity is my name — a window into my culture and myself, linking me with my parents and my spirituality — combined with my belief system, values and preferences.

What do you think is your identity? Given a chance, would you like to change your name?

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Going home to mom!

There’s no place like mommy’s home. We’ve got a long weekend coming up this week, so I’m taking a couple of days off and flying home to be with my parents. The husband won’t be coming with me this time, which is good — it will be like old times, except that my lil sis won’t be around to irritate the hell out of me!

Mom’s already decided which movies we’re going to watch together –

We Are Family

and Dabaang

We’ll also go out for some absolutely awesome Italian food to La Pizzeria, and then of course shopping and lots of gossip with mommy! Can’t wait to get home!!

Life, it's beautiful

I feel blessed today. Blessed to have great friends, an awesome husband, an interesting job and an “easy” life. Maybe part of this feeling stems from the lovely week I’ve had.

Met up with out of town friends on Sunday at my favorite Moroccan hangout, Fez Dining. Mojitos, a hot mezze platter, chicken tangine and interesting conversation make for an excellent lunch, don’t you agree?

Lunch over, me and the husband went over to a friend’s house to drop off some things at her place. That supposdly short visit turned into a talkathon and dinner. We alternated between longing around in her living room and running out to the balcony to look at the sky as the sun set over Delhi. Pleasure comes in the small things sometimes. Isn’t that a pretty sky?

A perfect Sunday gave way to a busy Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and then we had a holiday on Thursday for Janmashtmi (Lord Krishna’s birthday). I spent the morning lazing around at home, reading, surfing the net; then headed over to the gym for a workout and finally to the parlour for a haircut and pedicure. I’m totally loving my shiny red toes! Don’t they look pretty?

Friday started off slow…no work in at all in the morning, so I was able to book tickets for my visit to the parents. Luckily for me, two projects floated in in the afternoon, so I had something to keep me constructively occupied 🙂

Looking forward to the weekend now — got to finish packing since I leave on Tuesday, have to buy some gifts for mom and dad, and will probably catch up with a few friends too.

Life…it’s beautiful!

So, what’s your week been like?

A crazy thing called love

While channel surfing today, I happened upon a program called The Great Indian Love Challenge on MTV. The program “tests” the measure of love on TV! Lovelorn contenders are given three tasks to complete to get something special for their special someone; it could be a romantic vacation, a diamond ring or a Longines watch!

In the episode that I watched, Harshvardhan Rane did three tasks to win a diamond ring for his girlfriend, Meenaxi Das.

  • Task one – His body was painted so it looked like Superman’s suit; he wore just the trademark Superman red underwear and cape. Attired thus, he was to go into a crowded mall and sing Hindi film songs.
  • Task two – He was taken to an akhada (wrestling ground), where he had to fight three wrestlers. 10 rounds, 1 minute each; 10 chances of getting pinned down; he had to make sure he wasn’t pinned down all 10 times.
  • Task three – He was taken to a walkway with three arches. The arches would be set on fire – he had to walk from one end of that walkway to the other, while being set alight himself!

Before the third task, Yuvi (the VJ hosting the show), got Meenaxi at the venue, told her what Harsh had done for her and why, and told her what his third and final task was. There was the usual crying and pleading for him to not do it, and he was all fired up (no pun intended) to go through with the task to get her the diamond ring and see her happy.

A round brilliant cut diamond set in a ring

Image via Wikipedia

Like I said, interesting concept; I was hooked onto that particular episode, to see the tasks and if Harsh would be able to complete them. What really struck me as I watched was how much he loved Meenaxi – doing those three tasks wasn’t easy! The first opened him up to embarrassment, the second was the most dangerous – one of those wrestlers getting over-eager, and he could have ended up breaking some bones – the third looked dangerous but was done under very controlled conditions and with all safety aspects taken care of.
The sincerity with which Harsh did all the tasks made me feel all happy and fuzzy inside. During the second task he was tired, he was outmatched, but the thought of Meenaxi, of seeing a smile on her face, made him go through and manage to avoid one pindown right at the end, when he was most tired.

I have just four words to say: Three cheers to love!

Do you have any interesting love stories to share? Something special that a special someone did for you?

100 posts!

Image by Rachel Smith via Flickr

Spiritual Sunday #2: Relax With Nature Sounds was the 100th post on my blog, woo-hoo!

As I look back over the posts and my reasons to start blogging, I see how much I, and this blog, have evolved. I’ve tried my hand at blogging a number of times – I had an online diary with a friend and a personal journal on, then I moved on to Blogger for a couple of months, and finally ended up here, on WordPress, where I have maintained this blog since December 2006.

There were long periods inbetween when I didn’t post at all; but almost 4 years and 100 blog posts later, Modern Gypsy (formerly known as Mindchatter) has evolved from being a purely personal blog, where I didn’t bother about any reader interaction, to becoming what it is now – a mix of personal and fun stuff, and hopefully, an expanding base of readers!

There’s still a long way for me to go, and a lot that I still need to learn, but I’ve enjoyed the ride so far!

So, here’s a big thank you to all my readers, to all of you who have left comments and encouraged me to continue to write, and to all the lovely bloggers out there who have inspired me and helped me grow!

Dagny Taggart, or Scarlett O'Hara, or maybe…

Over at, the prompt was to choose which book character you’d want to be. As I thought about it while idly browsing through some of the answers, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to come up with just one character. I mean, how can I ever let anything be that simple?! So, here are just a few of the characters that I would absolutely love to be!

Dagny Taggart, the protagonist of Atlas Shrugged. She’s smart, intelligent and objective; takes independent decisions without bowing down to the baseness and commonality of society; she’s the epitome of woman as an equal to man without having to shout about it from the rooftops. By extension, I’d also like to be Hank Rearden – who though he knows the value of his metal isn’t able to see the shallowness of character in his mother and wife because he doesn’t think like that – and so wrongly believes that no one else does – or even John Galt, who shows all people who love their work above all else the “light.”

Scarlet O’Hara, the flighty, tempestuous heroine of one of my all-time favorite books – Gone With the Wind. I love her flirtatiousness, her verve and vigor for life. She’s selfish to the core and knows how to use her charms to get exactly what she wants. In love with the idea of love, she fails to see that Rhett Butler, not Ashley Wilkes is the love of her life. (I was lucky enough to not have made that mistake!) But when push comes to shove, she rises to the occasion and through determination, sheer will, and good old fashioned shrewdness, keeps her family together and drags them out of poverty.

Harry Potter, the wizard who was able to survive the dark wizard Voldermort’s killing spell. With the love of his mother as protection, a lil help from his friends, and an inquisitive mind, he’s able to triumph over evil time and again.

Lady Mutnodjmet, Nefertiti’s younger sister, protagonist of Michelle Moran’s Nefertiti. A herbalist, level-headed character who gives up most of her life to ensure that her family’s name isn’t forgotten in the sands of time.

And of course, this list can’t be complete without my favorite childhood characters – Nancy Drew and Mr. Pink Whistle! The first, my teenage hero – the fearless mystery detective – the second, my absolute favorite childhood fantasy – the magical Mr. Pink Whistle, who quietly does good and sets things right. I can read his books even today and still be fascinated by him! (Shhh! Don’t tell!)

So, which are your favorite book character(s)?

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Reflections in the rain

I enjoy monsoons. There’s something about the rain that brings hope — it’s a time of regeneration and joy; growth and introspection.

An impressionist painting

While driving to work today, the sunny skies suddenly turned dark and the rain started pouring down. Caught up in traffic, I turned the car wipers off. As the rain sluiced over my windscreen, the world outside turned into an Impressionist painting — blurred and beautiful. It took the chaotic traffic and huge puddles out of focus, prompting me to reflect on the parallels that we can draw between this moment and life.

When standing in a jam, turn the wipers off and enjoy a moving Impressionist painting. In life, stop and smell the flowers! How many self-help books say this…and yet, how many of us actually take the time to do it? Try it. Just 5 minutes of being present in the moment will give you a high unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

When you’re stuck in traffic with nowhere to go, turn up the music and groove to the beats. In life, when you feel like things are going on on auto pilot, it may be just the time to stop “doing” and to think about what you can change or how you can shake up your routine.

When you’re driving through a downpour, it’s best to go slow. In life, when there’s a lot that’s coming your way and you feel overwhlemed, it’s best to take out some time for yourself. Even if it’s just 15 minutes to meditate or destress. You’ll feel relaxed and will be able to tackle things more effectively.

When storm clouds gather, turn on the headlights! In life, when you’re confused, bogged down by your thoughts, shine the light of reflection on yourself. Try using mind mapping or brainstorming techniques to work through your problems and come up with creative solutions.

When day turned into night

It’s amazing how you can draw parallels from situations around you! Are there any other parallels you can think of? Do leave a comment, I’d love to hear them!

(Images © Modern Gypsy)

Rediscovering one another

As the rain comes pouring down and the roads get flooded, I know that I’m going to spend most of Saturday at home. The husband will also be housebound, as he can’t go teach tennis in the rain now, can he? But as I try to plan the day ahead, I realize that our plans always always involve going out somewhere — be it to catch a movie, shopping, or dinner. We seem to have forgotten the art of staying at home as a couple and doing things together.

So today, as we may not have any other alternatives, we plan to sit together and rediscover the art of spending quality time at home as a couple. Wish us luck!

Two quotes on which I could base my life

We talk a lot about the values that shape us as individuals, but have you ever thought about basing your life on quotes? If a quote or two were to define you as a person, what would they be, and what would they say about you? The question at Plinky prompts was “What is your favorite quote and why?” Instead of just listing my favorite quote, I did a little soul searching and came up with two that really define me…

“There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope.” — Bern Williams 

This quote has been my rock during all my dark times.  There is a certain sense of faith in these words — just like day follows night so hope follows a problem; how can it be anything else? 

There have been many times when I’ve repeated this quote over and over again to myself like a mantra…and it has always calmed me down and helped me to hope.

The other quote I absolutely love is:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, Champagne in one hand, strawberries in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO – what a ride!" — unknown

What a pleasant departure this one is from the current fad of starving yourself to look thin, the race to become a size zero, of a negative body image and a denial of the sensuous pleasure in food. What happened to enjoying life, to living each moment fully? Instead we run around trapped in a negative body image forced upon us by fashion magazines, forgetting that it’s important to be fit not size zero (yes, there is a difference!); that we have one chance at life, and it’s a short one; that every pleasure denied is a pleasure wasted. 

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