After two weeks in Mumbai, I have made serious progress towards a consistent daily
diet. Every day now, I...
Eat a sweet potato and two bananas.
Drink four or five protein shakes, with two liters of skim
Take two multi-vitamins.
Drink at least five liters of water.
Eat two big bowls of steel cut oats.
Eat lots of chicken, and a few eggs.
I have resumed the flax seed oil, with the goal of having three tablespoons per day (I mix it with
So that's my baseline diet. And if I eat that every day, then I can snack on
tasty Indian food whenever I come across it. I have not counted my calories recently, but I probably need to add in another meal if I want to gain weight. I am also doing my best not to eat carbs after 7pm, but that is difficult because Indian people eat very late at night.
My friend invited me to visit a sound studio in Andheri neighborhood
while she recorded dialogue for another upcoming Hindi movie that she is in. Over the course
of four hours, I observed a few things.
A majority of all Hindi films have complete audio dubs. The video and the
audio are recorded at two separate times. After the movie finishes filming, each
actor must come to a sound studio to re-record their dialogue. This appears to
be a tiring process. The dialogue is usually fast, and the actor must exactly
match tone and pitch while keeping synch with her own lips.
The building section we were in was partitioned into two areas: Recording
Room, and Control Room. The Recording Room had a podium, a
microphone, a video projector, speakers, a large screen wall, and a couch to
rest on. The Control Room was about 20' x 20', was soundproof, and had two
couches and three chairs.
There were seven people, including myself, in the Control Room.
These people were: Executive Producer, Lead Audio Editor, Audio Technician,
Assistant Director 1, Assistant Director 2, Chubby Guy, and Foreigner (Me).
It was freezing cold in the room. The audio technician even put on a white
cotton snow cap.
They were using some sort of computer-based digital audio editing software
to record the dialogue. The Audio Technician was able to interact with the
software with much fluency. There was a special keyboard with a wheel that
allowed the staff to roll forward or backwards along the movie timeline.
We ordered hot tea and sandwiches from the studio canteen. I had two cups
of chai and an egg sandwich.
Assistant Director and Me, Outside the Control Room
Some Bollywood Sound Studio slang words that I heard:
Pilot = Original audio that was taped with the video. Ex: "Play
that back with the pilot." or "I want to hear the pilot."
This is a look at Bandra (West) from the guest room in Akshay's apartment, where I stay. We are on the 6th floor.
I promised myself I would not call this "The City of Crows,"
but they are everywhere in our neighborhood in Bandra.
I went to visit a very popular Internet travel company here on Monday.
They had hundreds of employees spread across three offices. I met with three
different people in three different departments, and I was honestly really
impressed by each person. Very, very savvy.
Akshay's sister and I went into a cell phone shop last week and there were 12 attendants.
We were the only two
customers in the whole store. The store was less than 500 square feet! Imagine
14 people standing around in your bedroom or office. It was crazy -
everybody was staring at us from behind the counter to see what cell phone
charger we needed to buy. I felt like I was on stage at a concert.
Akshay sent me an
article that noted that because India has so many people looking for work, there are a lot of
cheap and silly make work jobs.
Despite living in a really nice apartment, I have experienced the
following outages here: Water outage, Power outage, Elevator
broken, and No Internet.
I picked up 12 big green bananas from a street vendor in Pali Market for
Skim milk costs me Rs31 (US$.78) per 1 liter tetra pack from Magnet
The offices I have visited in Mumbai all seem under-lit. Like a
With any luck I will meet up with Kaushal
in Dadar neighborhood soon and get re-introduced to the train system.
I am feeling better from my cold, still eating fairly well, and hopefully
on track towards a new city rhythm next week.
I was hitting the gym very hard - twice per day, for three days in a row last week. And then I was exposing myself to the streets and the pollution and the dust. Never mind the irregularity of a new city and a new diet.
So it should not have been a surprise when I got a sinus infection on Friday. My symptoms are sore throat, runny nose, congestion, and lack of energy.
Health is very important to me, so this cold was a big blow to my psyche. But with enough rest and water, I am getting over the symptoms today. I hope this cold will build up some immunity so I can continue exploring the town on my schedule.
On Thursday I had the great opportunity to visit the set of a Bollywood
movie. One of the Indian girls that I met in Atlanta a few months ago is an
actress here, so I was her foreign guest on set for an hour.
The movie was filming in Khar neighborhood, which is near where I stay in
Bandra. Two interesting things that I observed from my time on the set of a real
The huge portable air conditioning units had to be turned off while the
cameras were rolling, presumably so that they would not interfere with the
Each take was simultaneously recorded to a DVD disc, so the
director could see immediate playback. It looked like Off-the-Shelf
components were being used. A secondary camera with MiniDV output was
probably mounted to the primary film camera. Then each take was recorded as
a new chapter onto a Panasonic DVD recorder. This is a really cool use of
technology. It seems much more efficient than the taped dailies that I saw
being made on the American Pie 2 and American Wedding sets. But maybe they use DVDs in Hollywood now.
Other things were similar to the Hollywood sets I have visited, like special VIP trailers for the cast and free water and fruit snacks. And, of course, lots and lots of people pottering around :)
I met the Director, the Writer, the 1AD, and a few other people. Everybody was really nice to the farang (foreigner) on set.
I am going to try and type a little something here whenever I get on the internet. Here are a few random notes.
The big bananas have green and brown skin. I thought they were spoiled,
but I found a perfect fruit inside.
This morning I bought 2 dozen eggs and 5 kilograms of chicken. That is 11 lbs of skinless, boneless chicken breast for Rs912 (about US$23) from Joseph's in Bandra.
Akshay's little sister helped me find the place; it is right across from Gold's
Vegetables are crazy cheap.
Most families eat dinner REALLY late here, like 8pm or 10pm every day.
A few notes about toilets now...
All of the Western toilets I have seen have cheap plastic seats, while the
remainder of the bowl is usually a nice porcelain.
When you flush, it is like Niagara Falls. I think 30 or 40 gallons must
pour down the drain.
Most all of the restaurants and coffee shops and gym bathrooms here in Bandra have had toilet paper. But hardly will you ever find towels to dry your hands.
Some of you noticed that the gymnasiums I reviewed in my last post were very expensive (US$100 per month). It is true that these gyms are the creme de la creme of Indian offerings.
The same could be said about my current living conditions. I am very spoiled right now in an awesome neighborhood that has many Western conveniences.
If you were hoping to see me review cheap dhobi wallahs (Indian laundry men) or the best street food, I am sorry to disappoint.
I plan to try to live and document a very cosmopolitan two months in Mumbai. India gets a bad rap in America as a dirt-poor, lazy, third-world country. And there certainly are those elements all around me.
You can find Old Meets New in a lot of cities in this part the world. But what I love here are the arts and the intellectuals and the media in Bombay. And I think there is a special mix of New here.
Here are some notes from two gyms I have worked out at in Bombay. The two gyms I have visited are Gold's and Talwalkar's. Both are in Bandra, a neighborhood in Mumbai.
Talwalkar's Gym in Bandra, Mumbai, India
The gyms have an abundance of personal trainers on the floor. Their advice is pretty
good. I was instructed to "Full range of motion!" and "Push
and breathe out" and "Two more!"
It is fun to work out while listening to the soundtracks of my favorite
Bollywood movies over the loudspeakers.
Both gyms also wouldn't let me do free weights until I had warmed up on
the treadmill for five minutes. That is awesome and a good practice.
After working out at Talwalkar's for the past three days, I can say that
the trainers there are very knowledgeable about exercise techniques.
One major complaint with both of these two gyms - The free weights are
totally unorganized. I always have to hunt for the other 10 kg barbell.
Hardly anybody re-racks their weight on the bars, too. It is a mess.
Talwakar's gym has a shaker machine! I actually saw someone using
it today. The trainers told me it is a good massage after you work out.
Gold's gym had a nice water cooler, but what caught my eye was the two
other unique free workout beverages - Lime juice and Sugar water.
Talwalkar's offers visitors a free 3-day Membership plan. Gold's offers a 1-time workout pass. Both have a one-month rate of Rs4,000 (approx $100).
Scott and Billy asked me about the food I packed for India.
Why are you taking that much food? Is none of that (easily?) available in India? -Billy
Thank you for asking. I love having a rhythm to my life, and an important part of that rhythm is eating and working out. So I brought the fish as an insurance policy in case I needed to eat some healthy meat for two weeks while I got situated.
To my knowledge, you absolutely cannot get flax seed oil or steel cut oats here in Mumbai. I found advertising posters for the same brand of whey protein that I take (ON brand, vanilla flavor) at a Gold's Gym here. But there is at least a 300% mark-up in cost because it is all imported from the USA. And I have been told that the Indian-brand whey protein is very low quality and doesn't have the glutamine or BCAAs like ON brand whey.
Can you remind us avid readers why you love steel cut oats so much? -Scott
Sure, and also thanks to Scott for asking. First, the oats keep me regular and have lots of fiber. But mainly I love them because steel cut oats are a GREAT source of carbs. They are much better for you than regular oatmeal because steel cut oats are more nutritionally dense than regular rolled oats. It has to do with breaking down the starches.
I am in Mumbai now (Bombay) and staying at Akshay's house in Bandra. His family is great and he is being a nice host. I will check email and update more after breakfast or tomorrow maybe. The weather has been fine and it isn't as hot as I thought it would be. And I have been eating really well.
¶ Permalink 7/13/2007 10:56:00 PM2 comments
Today I am flying to Mumbai (Bombay), India. I will be there for two months - until September 16th. This is a personal, non-business vacation.
I do not have any plans to become a yoga master or to convert to Hinduism. With any luck, I will even find an apartment with air conditioning and a Western toilet.
Everybody asks me, "Why are you going to India?" And I have been telling people that I am going to juggle, I am going to work out, and I am going to cook a lot of oatmeal. I am going to do what I love.