Thursday, July 4, 2013

Burning it up in the Pink City!

With rains and God playing havoc with my plans of escaping from hot and humid Delhi and going to cool Mussoorie, the destination of choice for my birthday was Jaipur. Stupid decision? Probably.

For starters, it was hot as hell, though not as humid as Delhi. Rains were predicted but did not come to our rescue during sight-seeing. But enough with the cribbing. There is a certain charm in walking through the forts and palaces of the kings and queens that were, wondering why they had separate bedrooms and imagining how their 'spas' worked.

The biggest surprise though, was the Pink City tag. I mean it's more like Brown city. And worse, freshly painted! I don't know what these guys are doing in the name of conservation, but I'm seriously concerned that the city is just going to be white-washed instead of "preserved". Initially I thought they had painted over with a totally different colour, but turns out that brick colour is supposed to be Pink. Go figure!

I broke out into peals of laughter when our guide showed us "sheesh mahal" in Amer fort. Oh it really exists? Sheesh mehel mein rehne wale blah blah.. my father says :D Did not know it is a real thing! And contrary to imagination, it is not made of glass, but mirrors! Not the whole thing of course. Tiny mirrors are stuck in different formations on the walls and roof of the mehel. Something to do with mirrors acting as reflectors to keep the positive energy (according to guide no 1) and the heat (according to guide at a different touristy spot) in.

Anuj and I also got our fair share of cheesy pictures clicked, in a mirror of the sheesh mehel, through a hexagonal hole in a structure. I really wanted one clicked in the Rani's spa, but then I wondered who would pull me out of the 6-ft deep marble square hole! Hey, I totally forgot the picture clicked in front of a huge photo of City Palace with Anuj wearing a turban and me demurely standing with a dupatta on my head. That pic is a keeper as we both look like something the cat dragged in. And it is photo-framed in a cutout of the City Palace. Phee hee :D

Then of course there was the wild-goose chase for a beaut set of bangles that I had seen in Amer fort. I should have bought them there, I kept thinking to myself as Anuj and I, getting scorched in the sun, walked for what seemed like hours for the 'lac choodi bazaar'. Which, incidentally, didn't even have the bangles I was looking for. Credit goes to Anuj for not just leaving me there and going back to the hotel. The REAL shopping started after that!

So now I've got 2 pairs of earrings, 2 pwetty kurtas, a Maharani skirt, and a mini ghagra choli (to be gifted to my niece) and a whole bunch of happy memories. Not to mention a PhD on Rajas, and why their bedrooms were separate from their Ranis.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pink birdie in the sky!

I just found this post, written over a year ago.. Wonder why I never published it..

Have you noticed, how when someone tells you about something, their excited tone can mask the most dangerous bits of information? For instance,

"Its fun to bunjee jump! Of course, you might get a headache or a heart attack while doing it, but dude, its so much fun to just let go and jump off and see the ground rushing towards you! Awesome feeling man! Out of this world!"
Something similar happened to me.

Dad: "Kite flying is so much of fun! We used to do it ALL the time! We used to have kite flying competitions and it was thrilling to cut someone else's kite and claim it as your own. The string that is used is usually coated with glass and can cut your fingers. Flying kites is so cool! I pity you children, you never had the kind of fun we did."

So there I was, with 10 colourful kites and a huge reel of glass-coated string, waiting to experience what it's like to fly a kite for the first time in my life. Several cuts and bruises later, I would just like to say, gosh Dad, you forgot to stress on the most important part! And that is apart from the strain in your neck from looking up at the kite for hours.

Despite all of that crap though, I must admit it was fun. It was like holding a very high balloon up in the sky, and controlling its movements with a string that appeared not connected to the kite. I was exhilarated when my friend managed to make it fly after several failed attempts. That was before I took the string in my own hands of course. After that I was just praying that the wind doesn't let up, lest I have to indulge in a series of acrobatics that include giving leeway and pulling the string in quick succession till it was up again. With loads of cuts and bruises along the way of course.

Fun fact 2: It's so much of fun to take a hot water bath, or cut chillies and ginger with cut fingers.

So yeah, I'm cursing as hell now, but my friend reminds me of the stupid smile on my face when I was holding the string and staring at my cute pink kite, way up in the sky.. The smile that refused to leave my face despite all the cuts and bruises.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In the blink of an eye

Why is it that something we've been looking forward to for ages, rushes by in a blink of an eye? The wait is unbearable.. We plan a 1,000 things, imagine a million things that could go right and wrong.. Tear ourselves up with anticipation and pray that everything goes well.. But you blink, and suddenly its all over.. And you are just left with memories of what happened.. Did it really happen? Or was it just my imagination. What proof is there that it really happened? For me, I'll have an extra ring on my hand and perhaps some photographs. Oh but would it compare to my anticipation and my longing for my parents to get here, for me to look in the mirror and feel like the prettiest girl on the planet that day, to be surrounded by relatives who wish well for me.. The moment itself cannot compare to the anticipation, memories alone have no chance..

For now, all I can do is pray that everything goes right. And I will take a moment when its all happening, to go off silently to a side and say to myself, yes! its really happening and perha give myself a pinch...

Pic source: http://ayearofsignficance.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The paratha paradox

I love parathas. They're roti and subzee mixed all-in-one! You can just roll them up and be done with dinner in a few bites. Or lunch. I mean, alu parathas are heavy, I assumed they're best for a good heavy lunch.


Boy was I wrong! As I landed in the land of Parathas and looked forward to filling myself to my heart's content with alu paratha, muli paratha, gobi paratha and even rabri paratha, I found out that looking for a paratha in the north after 10 am is like looking for water on Mars.

Plus if you ask any waiter or a street vendor for one, they look at you as if you've come from outer space. "Paratha toh sirf dus baje tak milta hai madam."

Considering how I'm never up at that hour, (dozing either at home or in office) I wonder when I'll get any parathas. I think parathe wali galli might be the only place in the entire Delhi where you can get parathas in the evening. I say lunch, they say snack! Jheejhus!

Image courtesy: http://chakali.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Rockstar.. Yeah right!!!

You know you've come for a terrible movie when:
1) You wonder when the movie is going to get over and realize that the interval is not here yet
2) You want to kill the reviewer who gave the movie 4 stars when he should have actually given half
3) You thank God you reached twenty minutes late and missed the beginning of a pointless movie, the plot of which was much better shown in its two minute trailer

I generally enjoy movies, irrespective of how boring or pointless they are, but this was the first one I felt like leaving half way through. I didn't leave because I thought, there must be some point, come on some point! But as I found out at the end of three excruciating hours, there was none.

The movie was extremely disappointing for two reasons. First, from the title it seems like the movie is about the life of a musician or 'Rockstar'. That is absolutely misleading. It is a love story. Period.

Second, the editing is terrible. I once heard from a good writer that the art of story telling requires a sense of which parts you delve on and which parts you fast forward. The plot is in itself flimsy, and bad editing makes it worse, as the movie delves on the boring love story, and fast forwards the so-called heartbreaks that turned the protagonist into a 'Rockstar', thus making it lose credibility.

In comparison, I would say Rock On came the closest to actually showing, to some extent, the lifestyle of musicians. At least it was believable. This movie does no justice to its title.

Ranbir Kapoor has tried hard and is endearing in most parts as the brash Jat boy who wants to become a cool rockstar. His transition from a geeky college kid to a seemingly heartbroken adult is smooth albeit the hard knocks which cause this transition are not convincing.

From what I've gathered so far, the guys love Nargis Fakhri and I must say that lady can point her toes. Her short dance sequence in the beginning and in Hawa Hawa are a pleasure to watch. However, her acting and her accent made me cringe.

The chemistry is sizzling between the lead pair. A R Rahman's songs are delightful and apt for a love story but not for a 'rock' movie which this anyway isnt.

It seems as Imtiaz Ali warms up to the art of film making he is getting more cautious and commercial. His 'Socha Na Tha', though a love story, was extremely off beat and fresh. The same goes with Jab We Met. He's now going to direct a South remake. I hope he shows some creativity there at least.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I am....

I bring a smile to your face,
When I ruffle your hair,
You can only feel me,
As you close your eyes,

And dream of hot summers and warm breezes,
Or wish for cool winters,
I accompany you in all seasons,
In all moments, on all occasions,

But then I disappear,
And the leaves don't breathe,
The stillness dulls you,
It aches in you, throbs in you,

So you build a high wall,
To capture me the next time I come around,
I resist once,
I resist twice,

I break your wall,
And break free again,
For I am the wind,
Only a fool would try to contain me,

Instead, wise women have advised,
Don't try to capture me,
For I'm the sand that'll slip out of your fingers,
I'm the water that'll dry in your palm,

I'm the wind that'll never stop,
Instead of trying to stop me,
Spread your wings and come fly with me,
Come, see the world as I see it,

Beautiful twilights that only seem pink from earth,
Twinkling starry nights not hidden by clouds,
Waves hitting the coasts for miles and miles,
Rolling green meadows with violet tulips,

I might disappear once in a while,
Just flap your wings harder then,
And soon you'll find me by your side,
Lifting you, taking you with me to eternity

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Zindagi Na Milega Dobara


Finally it's here! I feel like I've been waiting to write this review since ages.
Let's not forget the FR: Liked it at a lot of levels, and it moved me too, but didn't touch me...

Three friends embark on a road trip in Spain that is to double up as a bachelor party for Kabir (Abhay) who has recently proposed to fiancĂ© Natasha (Kalki). Imran (Farhan) and Arjun (Hrithik) complete the troika of the three musketeers, who were once very close, but now awkward with each other due to old differences. The road trip acts as the vehicle for the friends to resolve past differences, rediscover each other and of course realize that “you live just once”.

Abhay Deol once again impresses with his ability to effortlessly slip into any given role and make it memorable. The fact that both the other main protagonists share a soft corner for him, and slightly cold vibes with each other, also help Kabir to come across as the most likeable of the three. The initial awkwardness between Imran and Arjun due to past differences somehow carries throughout the movie, where there is no warmth even when they reconcile. It’s Kabir running the show, who truly makes you believe that maybe, the three musketeers did exist.

Contrary to what most critics have said, this movie is not comparable to DCH simply because both movies deal with different issues. DCH was coming of age, ZNMD is about what happens after you've made your choices. What happens after you've proposed, after you work 16 hours in your dream job, earning millions...

The movie opens with Kabir down on one knee proposing to Tanya, who agrees to marry him. Elated, he  sets off on a bachelor trip with his two closest friends Arjun and Imran. According to a college pact, each person gets to choose one adventure sport of their choice, which the other 2 have to participate in. The chosen sport is a surprise till the friends reach the destination. 

With every silly prank they indulge in, and every crazy sport they survive through, the friends grow closer, rediscovering each other, and reconsidering decisions that they thought were fixed. Kabir finds his girlfriend changing completely, while Arjun wonders whether making money really makes him happy. The movie builds towards conquering fears and realizing that zindagi na milegi dobara.

Although it is easy to dismiss this movie as a typical “rich people doing cool things” Bollywood Yashraj fare, a deeper look reveals how true director Zoya Akhtar has remained to real life. For instance, in every vacation, one assumes that each moment is going to be picture perfect from the word go. But in real life, vacationers suffer from holiday anxiety and often end up ruining their holidays.

So do our main protagonists, when fast-talking, money-minded, severely hassled broker Arjun almost cancels the vacation due to his work, and mysterious rivalry with Imran. The first fight erupts as soon as they hit the road, with Kabir pleading with the other two to let bygones be bygones and not ruin the trip.

A special word of mention for Hrithik Roshan, as he plays a  rude, money-minded guy with a delicious nonchalance, making jibes about salaries without a thought to anyone’s sensitivities. At the same time, his vulnerability as someone whose life is governed by the clock and his phone pulls at your heart. His transformation then, when the beautiful scuba instructor (Katrina) changes his way of looking at life, is both believable and endearing.

Some of the most profound moments are captured during and after the adventure sports and Javed Akhtar’s poems lead a surreal charm to the excellent scenery. At the end of the first adventure sport, with the gorgeous Laila (Katrina) guiding the friends through a beautiful scuba diving experience, all four come back onboard their ship and sit in silence, barely looking at each other. Their relationship deepens here first, where they enjoy each other’s company, without speaking a word, which can only happen when you share a profound experience with someone. The scene is made even more beautiful with miles of water on all sides, the boat rocking gently and Akhtar senior’s poetry in Farhan’s voice, resounding with the soothing background music. 

When you travel miles away from your close ones, and experience something they haven’t, you can’t help believing that you’ve changed a little, forever. With this change in mindset, come doubts about almost every decision governing your life.  It is these doubts that Zoya truthfully brings out in this movie. 

The songs are mostly hummable, with senorita being the only foot-tapping number. This song also marks the high point in the camaraderie between the stars and the sexy choreography does add to the swoon factor. 

The three good looking dudes manage to steal your hearts, but unfortunately their chemistry leaves much to be desired. Akhtar’s jokes could have been funnier, and the dialogues at some point literally make you cringe. Katrina, however, looks gorgeous throughout and convincingly plays the part of a carefree scuba diving instructor who lives life to the fullest. Kalki also impresses as she switches between loving and manipulating her boyfriend with equal panache. 

The film’s USP is its superb cinematography, and the gradual warming of relations between the three friends. I could relate to it especially because of its core theme, which is that one should spend his/her time doing what one loves best. We often box ourselves in, conforming to society, following rules blindly and running in the rat race to achieve society-defined success. But the realization, that we live just once, can often come when least expected, and then turn our lives upside down for the better. Watch this movie for the fun ride of three friends as they rebuild lost friendships, rediscover nature and its beauty and realize what has been missing in their lives all along. You might find your perspective changing too...