Wednesday, December 30, 2009

3 idiots - movie review


Finally, the much awaited review of 3 idiots! Yeah yeah I know no one was waiting with baited breath, or waiting for this review to decide whether to watch the movie or not. I'm sure you've already seen the movie in fact. This review was much awaited by me though. Usually when I watch movies, in the back of my head I'm always ticking off points to be mentioned in the review. This time however, I was just swept along in the current! Panting and heaving, I took several days for the movie to sink in and digest. Most importantly, I am still waiting for company to watch the movie again! Woohoo, what a ride!

Like all good stories, let me start at the beginning. Farhan (R Madhavan) fakes a heart attack to get off the flight he has boarded as he receives a stunning piece of news on his cellphone. Running away from his missed flight, he calls up Raju (Sharman Joshi) and conveys the news to him. Both hurriedly reach their college in the hopes of meeting their long-lost friend Rancho (Amir Khan) but instead see their nerdy friend Chatur. After Chatur boasts about how successful he has become in life, under threat of getting his teeth broken, he agrees to take Raju and Farhan to meet Rancho. As they start their journey, they go back to the first day of college.

Raju & Farhan do not even dream of pissing off their seniors by refusing to get ragged. Izzat zameen par aur haath salaami mein, they are stunned when Rancho (Amir Khan) bolts out of a senior's grip to go and hide in a room. Threatened by the senior that if Rancho doesn't come out at the end of count to 10, the senior will do mootra-visarjan at the room's entrance, Rancho shows his resourceful thinking. Within minutes he makes a contraption that when peed on, gives an electric shock to the pee-er! Thus begins the journey of 3 room-mates who soon become best friends.

Rancho is always more interested in gaining knowledge as opposed to gaining marks. Tired of his questions, his professors throw him out from almost every lecture, but this does not deter Rancho from his quest for knowledge. The dean, Viru Sahastrabuddhe (Boman Irani), hates Rancho from day 1 as he spoils his introductory speech by pointing out a simple flaw in his logical reasoning. To his chagrin though, Rancho is always topping throughout college. Although Raju and Farhan feel resentment, they do not let this get in the way of their friendship. Rancho is constantly up to some prank or the other and runs into trouble with Virus when he crashes into a wedding party with Raju & Farhan in tow. As they are merrily eating, they realize that it is Virus's elder daughter's wedding.

The next day, Virus summons Raju & Farhan to his office and explains to them that Rancho's father earns in millions as opposed to theirs. He ruthlessly points out one fact after another and convinces them to leave Rancho's company if they want to stop coming at the bottom of the list every year. Raju is the poorest and almost gets convinced to abandon the other 2 as he feels the pressure of his financial instability. However, Rancho wins him over again as he rushes Raju's father to the hospital in the nick of time during an emergency.

Falling for Virus's daughter, playing numerous pranks in college and finally winning over Virus, Rancho touches everyone's heart. However, on the day of graduation, he vanishes and nobody knows where he is. Raju & Farhan, thus set out to find Rancho and revive their friendship. Some of the highlights of the movie are the speech by a Hindi-challenged nerd (Chatur) whose speech is tampered with by none other than Rancho. The use of Balatkar in place of Chamatkar should give you a fair idea of the tone of the speech. Kareena and Amir show crackling chemistry and both Madhavan & Sharman Joshi do justice to their roles.

Now some time for serious gushing. I absolutely loved the use of common sense in this movie. Rancho is shown to be so resourceful, in the most dire of situations that I was left wondering, have we all forgotten how good old common sense works? I almost felt like taking part in The Amazing Race to see if I could prove myself to be as resourceful as Rancho. It totally changed my way of thinking. Again, the emphasis in this movie is to follow your dreams. Rancho tops the college every year because he loves machines. He always advises Raju & Farhan to follow their passion and not success. Follow excellence and jhak maar ke success will follow you. So relevant in today's times. I think the first thing I said when I stepped out of the theater was, "I wish this movie had been made 8 years ago. My parents need to see this!" The best part is, no matter how much shit the 3 of them get into, they always thump their heart and say "Aal izz well!"

Loved it, loved it, L-O-V-E-D IT!! Again, anyone accompanying me for Round 2?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Prisoner


I sincerely apologize to my readers and friends.. Avatar and 3 idiots reviews are long overdue.
However, I have a feeling that you already know from 1 source or the other that they are great movies.
I will write reviews very soon. Right now though, my mind is troubled and I want to share my thoughts with you.

When I see something extremely creative like this

I end up grappling with 2 extreme emotions. One of course is jealousy. But that's not the bigger emotion of the 2. More overwhelming is awe. Awe at the fact that the artist could think of something like that and give such justice to its execution. Awe at the thought that maybe, just maybe, even I could have come up with something so simple, but I didn't. Awe at the wonder, that what if, what if I let my mind a little free? Would I be able to explore the limits of my creativity?

How often do you realize, that your perception and thinking is so limited? How much of will power does it take to break a routine, and do something a little differently? Do it better, or more efficiently? Our thoughts and actions make up the person we are. But what if we bend our thoughts a little? Paint instead of doing chores today, dance instead of reading the newspaper, or ride the crazy bull in Gold Adlabs instead of the air-hockey? (Ok I admit, I chickened out of the last one).. This bending of the mind, getting rid of the entrapments that make us do a before b before c.. This is responsible for out-of-the-box thinking. Resourceful thinking. Like in 3 idiots...

There have been so many times when I've predicted the way a story will twist. I'm not talking about Nancy Drew, or Bollywood masala movies. A little more complicated that that (hopefully). I feel that if I put my mind to it, I can write the most complicated, jaw-dropping novel ever! So, what am I waiting for? Reminds me of the story where all employees of an office are sent to a room to meet the person who is standing in their way to success, and there they see a mirror..

So, my new year's resolution is going to be, to start writing this novel. The complicated, jaw-dropping one. And yeah, do check out that website. It usually takes me a 4th visit to start following a blog, but this one I immediately subscribed to! Really hilarious awesome stuff. Good work Rizwan :)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

No frustration, only great exhaustion!

The days of red faces, stinging eyes and aching stomach are back! I am so glad that today after aerobics class I didn't have the energy to break any chairs..

For the uninitiated, my advanced aerobics class was turning into a snooze fest becoz of terribly slow music and out of frustration, I had promised to cause some physical damage to that gym.
Cruel Intentions

However, as I said, today I thoroughly enjoyed the class. The rocking music, complicated steps and stress on memory was back!
God bless the person who invented aerobics
God bless my aerobics teacher
God bless the angel who gave her that rocking cd!

Ready to rock and roll :D

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mission Mumbai


Mission: To hunt out the best bargains and get the best variety of clothes within minimum time and budget
Destination: Thane, Mumbai
Time Limit: 7 hours (11 am to 6 pm)
Agents Assigned: Agent Bluebell (Me) and Agent Angel (Priya)
Supporting Field Agent: Agent Cheeku (Shruti)

Agent's Record Book shows:

7:30 am: Climbed into Shivneri bus, got tickets punched. Seats 13 and 14 were occupied. Rechecked ticket. We had climbed into Dadar bus!
7:31 am: Hurriedly jumped out of Dadar bus and headed towards Thane bus.
8:15 am: Stopover at food mall where brown water(tea) and cooked, fluffed rice grains(poha) were consumed.
10:30 am: Buzzing Agent Cheeku to give location co-ordinates and shelter to Agent Bluebell and Agent Angel.
10:45 am: Reneissance of Agent Cheeku's location (3 bhk flat in Thane) and admiration of cleanliness & size of same.
11:00 am: Checking for artillery (cash) and armour (card). All OK.
11:30 am: Touchdown at Nirmal Mall.

Agent Bluebell had previously used up too much of her artillery in past Mumbai and Aurangabad trips, sorry Missions,  so she had a strict order from her supervisor (Mom), to not waste anymore. Agent Bluebell sincerely swore not to take aim unless she saw a really good target (read, deal).

1:00 pm: After scanning the length and breadth of Shopper's Stop and getting scolded by the security for taking pictures in the mall, stop at Meghdoot for Thali @ 99/-
Agents were attacked by sound bomb. Aunties at nearby table aimed sharp sound bullets with names like "Rupa ni asa kela!" "Rashmi mala ashi bolli!". Agents were deafened and dumbstruck by the sheer amount of bad will, but soon recovered and aimed back with equally loud "Oh really? Tsk tsk, Rashmi should've known better!" The agents quick thinking and the policy "Join em if you can't beat em" saved them from total insanity in the nick of time.

2:00 pm: After adequate refreshments (read, filling thaali), the site where this pic was taken was reached. Just as this pic was clicked, another security guard came to shout at the agents.
 2:15 pm: Merely minutes after having "adequate refreshments", the agents spotted MacDonalds and felt a sudden craving for Shake Shake Fries. (The pic says it all, doesn't it?)

2:30 pm: More targets conquered - FabIndia, Pepe, Provogue.
4:00 pm: Decision-making capabilites of all agents were tested when there was a dilemma about visiting nearby R-Mall or some mall in Ghatkopar.
4:15 pm: Touchdown at R-Mall. Breakneck shopping at Lifestyle. Disappointment at Pantaloons as "3 Idiots" t-shirts were lame
5:30 pm: Chopper landed at Globus mall, the last of the targets which was chosen instead of Westside.

6:00 pm: Carrying a bag each from all the stores that had been visited, the agents made their way back to base location.
6:10 pm: After hurriedly freshening up, stuffing all newly acquired stuff into bags, and rushing out, managed to reach the bus-stop.

6:30 pm: Take off to Pune!
10:00 pm: Land at Aundh Parihar Chowk

Conclusion:
No of targets: 5 (Shopper's Stop, FabIndia, Globus, Pantaloons, LifeStyle)
Territory acquired: 5 t-shirts, mostly all within 200 bucks
Artillery used: Cannot be disclosed due to threat from supervisor
Status of Mission: Accomplished!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Rocket Singh - Salesman of the Year - movie review


Watch this one. Seriously. I'll write a review and might or might not convince you to go with my words. So I'm saying, just watch this movie.

Harpreet Singh Bedi's (Ranbir Kapoor) friends are worried about their BCOM 60% pass friend's career. They advice him to study for CAT and apply for MBA but Harpreet Singh has other plans. He believes that his powers of persuasion are unsurpassable and decides to become a salesman. On the verge of getting rejected during an interview at AYS Computers due to his laughable antics at trying to sell a pencil without an eraser, he is saved just in the nick of time by Mr. Suri (MD of AYS) who over-rides the Sales Manager's decision of throwing out Harpreet. The Sales Manager, Nitin Rathor, is ruthless and has a variety of tricks up his sleeve which he teaches Harpreet in a bid to help him outsmart comepetition.

On Harpreet's first assignment, the head of a firm that AYS deals with offers him a bribe. Honest Harpreet naively registers a complaint against the head in the same firm's complaint box. Mr. Suri accuses Harpreet of trying to spoil relations of AYS with its customers and in a fit of anger. doubles the targets of all his employees. Harpreet is barred from all field work and can only make "cold calls" from his office desk. Fearing that his career is virtually over, his friends suggest that he leave his job and apply in a BPO. Harpreet, however, doesn't lose heart. He finds a sympathizer in Koena, the girl handling all incoming calls, and she slips him an order out of pity. While he is being bombarded with paper aeroplanes from his colleagues who think he is a joke, out of revenge, Harpreet takes an order for a non-existent company "Rocket Sales".

Thus starts a new venture within AYS called "Rocket Sales Corporation". Harpreet ropes in other disgruntled employees who don't seem to be getting their dues and offers them the position of partners in this new company. Service engineer Giri, incoming calls handler Koena and office peon (who can't start a computer but knows how to assemble one), soon become co-owners of Rocket Sales. They start with customers irritated with AYS and soon start getting orders. While they are constantly afraid of getting caught, their orders go on increasing day-by-day due to their honesty and 24/7 service support. Just when everything seems to be going good, their sales manager, Nitin Rathore finds out about Rocket Sales.

Believe me, this isn't even half the plot. The story is unpredictable and I found myself clapping and cheering at every success of Rocket Sales, while biting my nails at every impending failure. The character-development is excellent in this movie and it has been supported by some very good acting. A very good movie after a really long time. Oh, and Ranbir Kapoor looks damn cute in a turban! This movie hasn't received a lot of publicity, but I hope my blog generates some word-of-mouth. Totally totally worth it!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

I danced!

People often ask me, what is contemporary dance? I flounder, I stutter and stammer, but I don't think I can ever explain properly. Let me try again. Contemporary dance has been derived from modern dance. It has influences of jazz ballet. Usually, contemporary dance is performed on music, (with no lyrics) and on music with less or no beats(rhythm). It is more about the natural movement of the body. On the first day of class, our Sir asked to "unlearn" everything we knew about dancing, and to start afresh. In contemporary, your body has to be free like a child's.

I hope I was successful in explaining the concept of contemporary dance. If not, you can always check out this video when you're not slumping over your desk, looking for coffee and reading my blog instead ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T46QKfRbYP8

On D-Day, we wore our costumes and headed towards the make-up room to get our make-up done. Everyone's hair was supposed to be tied up in a bun and after my make-up, I went to get my hair tied up. The lady kept saying, "Tsk tsk, your hair is too silky" and inserting another hairpin to stop it from tumbling over. Later when I removed all of them, the count came to 28! Costumes and make-up ready, we all prayed together for an awesome show. Finally, when the show started, we were all complaining of cramps due to nervourness. I guess no matter how many times you practise, you do feel nervous before the show starts.

The theme of the show was "Life and Love" which our Sir explained at the beginning of the show. First, 3 advanced batch students performed on a number. Next, a beautiful teacher-student relationship was shown by Meghna and Radhika on the song called "Heaven". Our dance of quick love was performed on a musical piece amidst flashing red lights. We felt we are practically dancing in the dark, but I guess the agony of quick love was shown through it. Me and my partner Puneet, exchange the following dialogue

Puneet: "Hey"

Me: "Hi"

Puneet: "ASL?"

Me: "23, Female, Pune. And you?"

P: "23, Male, Pune... Have you ever thought of love?"

Me: "Umm.. I am now that you're asking me about it"

And we start with the dance. At first we are dancing with the joy of a new relationship, but before long, we are dancing in agony of love too soon. At the end of the piece, Puneet exchanges the same lines with another girl, showing that love in this age gets over as quickly as it starts. Before I knew it, it was over! I danced though, I danced with all my heart and strength. I can't wait to see the video.

Next was an amazing choreography on the song "Ave Maria". It is a very slow song and the best part about the choreography was that at a time only one person was dancing, while the others walked behind in random lines to show people going about their normal lives. The effect was stupendous, according to me. Last of course was "New Day Has Come" by Celine Dion. Again, amazing choreography by our Sir, where 3 girls started first and 2 girls started 16 beats later with the same steps. The best part was that even 16 beats later, the same steps were in complete sync with the lyrics. The depiction of rain as hands randonly going up and down amazed me each and every time I saw that performance.

Finally, we all took our bows and received a rose each from Sir. It was a truly wonderful experience and I hope the next time I am a part of more difficult sequences. I can't wait for the next batch to start!

Any of you, interested in joining, the next batch will start on 4th Jan, 2010. You can email me on the blog feedback ID and I can provide you with more details. You can also log on to

http://www.hrishikeshpawar.com/

A special word of mention for all my friends who came to see my show. I felt really nice that you were there to encourage me. Thanks :D

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Liebe Und Leben


Today is the big day! I have just woken up after practising in my sleep (practise at 8:15 in the morning) and I'm all geared up to go on stage and perform. I hope I don't make any mistakes and I hope I give it my best shot. Wish me luck, guys! :D

Time: 7pm - 8pm
Date: 19 Dec, 2009 (Today!)
Venue: Kala Chhaya Studio, opposite Vikhe Patil School

Come one, come all, to see this celebration of Life and Love!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tears...

Angela was sitting by her window, watching the rain pour down. It seemed to reflect her mood, the torrent swirling inside her. As she wiped away a tear, mutinously running down her cheek, she found a wish on her hand. An ironic smile came to her face and she closed her eyes. She willed to believe, to have her wish fulfilled. She wished with all her heart and blew away the wish. As she opened her eyes, she saw the wish had refused to fly. It stuck to her hand, glued with her tear drop..

To be continued..

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Attention seeker

Warning: Another philosophical post. Apologies to people who think its hogwash, but I tend to get very philosophical when I'm involved in anything related to dance or drama..

I have realized that almost 90% of my decisions are based on what other people think. What they think about me and what they think about what I am about to do. I play for an audience. Always. When that realization hits, it hurts. It makes me feel so shallow and empty. I have a deep-rooted belief that successful people just did what they felt like, without caring what others thought of them, and they achieved success because of their belief in themselves. And here I am, filled with nothing but doubts.

Earlier, I wanted to become a dancer. I mistook this for my passion. I thought I really wanted to learn dance. But when I looked inside, I realized I only wanted to learn it to become famous. Or to get appreciation from people, that yes, you dance well. It had very little to do with my own satisfaction. Now, I want to become a writer. And, every day I check the stats of this blog. When the no. of hits drops below 20, I lose heart. I don't feel like writing for the next 2 days. Why is everything so dependent on the outside world? Why am I unable to listen to my own heart? Why can't I untiringly just do what I enjoy doing the most?

It takes considerable effort to peep inside and listen to your heart. Maybe writing everyday helps, maybe meditation helps. I need to listen, with a stethoscope probably, or else I'm afraid I'll just waste this life trying to please everybody else but myself.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Poetry in motion..

Image Source: http://zotwire.uci.edu/images/zw_uploads/


When did you learn to dance?
Did you learn at all?
When did you care to sing?
Did you never get a chance?

When did you feel like playing?
Was there no one around you?
When did you splash colors on a wall?
Were you never 2?

When did you run like the wind?
Did you lose your breath?
When did you remember to live?
Did you? Do you? Will you?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Aurangabad Trip

Have you ever done something or been somewhere, when you've totally lost track of time? You remember looking forward to that adventure, and the next thing you know, you're back home. The trip to Aurangabad to attend a very close friend's wedding was of the same nature. I remember packing for it, reaching the pickup point and sitting in my friend's car, but after that, I cannot exactly recollect what we did. All I know is, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and it was one of the best trips I've ever had.

Highlights of the trip:
a) I drove Santro Xing on Pune-Nagar Highway. The roads are beautiful and it was an absolute pleasure to drive on them. What was more pleasurable though was sitting in the front passenger seat and hogging on chocolates (so thoughtfully kept there by the car owner) while listening to songs and criticizing the then-driver.

b) Irritating the only guy amongst 3 girls by calling him a driver and asking him if he's sure he is a guy as he exhibited no signs of being one. He wasn't sure how the AC in his car worked and had no idea how a petrol or diesel engine works. That investigation is still going on, btw.

c) Putting our collective asking-directions-in-loud-voices-from-moving-vehicle skills and finally after roaming around in Aurangabad for 1 hour, finding the "Lord's Paradise" place!

d) Seeing my friend in her yellow saree and pretty make-up, waiting for the ring ceremony to start.

e) Finding out that a girl whom we had ditched (refused to hitchhike in our car), was being put up in the same room as us! That did lead to a few awkward moments, but it was fun planning how to ditch her while going back too.. Apologies to that girl, all I can say is, each group has an energy and when a member leaves, or a new member comes in, the energy changes. We had all grown so fond of the energy that we didn't want to change it. So we're extremely sorry for the boring ride both ways.

f) Handwriting analysis (10 traits each!) in the middle of the night. I have noticed that each and every reading touches that person. More power to my intuition!

g) Shameless hollering and a lot of are-you-sure-you're-a-boy questions to our male friend because he didn't know how to whistle during the Sangeet ceremony. We danced at every opportunity we got and the uncles aunties there were wondering to which side does this party of hooligans belong to. The best part though was when we apologized to my friend for creating chaos, she said "That's why you've been called here!"

h) Seeing my friend dressed up in Navvari saree for the vidhi. She looked stunning!

i) Hogging. Loads and loads of it. After every 2 hours.

j) 4 photographers plus 1 video cameraman shooting the wedding. Photography competition?

k) My friend being picked up sky high by her mamas and cousins when it was time for exchange of varmaalas.

l) Explaining to our families why we decided to shop at Globus Mall instead of visiting places of cultural heritage like Bibi ka Maqbara and Ajanta-Elora.

m) Playing antakshari while coming back. This is a highlight because the aim is always to remember the most vulgar, cheap songs and sing them at your shrillest best.

After this, the discussions mostly turned philosophical. Although I was laughing at my friend for getting depressed that the trip was over, I myself felt withdrawal symptoms (for lack of a better phrase) when I was dropped back home. All in all, my reluctance to share or ponder about this trip in detail can be attributed to a single fact. I really, truly, lived in every moment of that trip.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Half Century to me

That's right.. My dear friends and family, you have suffered through 49 and now 50 of my incredulous-expression-generating, illogical opinions on equally incredulous-expression-generating, still illogical topics.. Now I know that writing 50 posts is no big deal, but I kind of had to ear-mark it so that I would feel inspired to keep going. All credit, of course, goes to you, dear reader, because when I imagine what I want to tell you, I write much better.. So please, keep reading :)

I attended a wedding today and I just felt really sorry for the bride and groom who were being forced into weird positions for the camera to capture forever and their relatives and children to laugh till eternity. I have decided, my wedding is going to be completely different. No photographers, coz they make you hate the day God decided that humans could have the function "smile". No random jaan-pehchaan ke log. Only relatives and close friends. I will decorate the wedding hall all by myself :D I will choose my own saree, my own jewellery and do my own make up! My reception will be more informal, not just me and my hubby sitting like robots in 2 chairs and pretending to smile with every new group that comes.

For all my talk, I'm sure this is going to happen exactly the way it has happened with other people. That's kind of sad. The important thing to remember is that it's a marriage, not just a wedding.. I wish.. *Sigh*

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cruel Intentions..


Not too long ago, at 8:00 pm every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, I used to totter to my Activa, come back home feeling very cold and on reaching up call my friends and proudly tell them
"My aerobics teacher tried to kill me today!"
or
"My aerobics teacher is crazy! She thinks her students are robots!"
I remember my stomach used to ache, I used to turn red in the face & at times I used to get blinded by my own sweat.. But I used to enjoy it to the hilt! That was real aerobics, so intense that I used to fear that my heart will fail if I take the next step.. It used to make me feel so good!

Alas, now the story is different. With some awfully slow music, and awfully simple and repetitive steps, I was about to fall asleep in the midst of the advanced aerobics session. I was jumping as much as I could so that I could get exerted at least a little bit but it was totally pointless. She just shut off the music in 20 mins and made us do stretches!

I was fuming at the end of 45 mins for not being dangerously close to a cardiac arrest as I used to be and demanded an explanation. The instructor informed me that her old cd has been ruined due to repeated re-runs and now she has resorted to some tantric chants instead of groovy music. They charge us 450 bux per student and they don't have the money to buy a new cd. Plus, when I offered to burn a CD for the instructor, she refused point blank saying those songs are not available anywhere! I have never heard such ridiculous reasons in my entire life. I even offered to burn her new CD (which has some fast Hindi songs), so that she doesn't need to worry that her CD will get ruined. Again, no!

I really like the way she takes the class but if she doesn't get a good cd very soon, I don't think I'll feel like going anymore. It would be such a pity because aerobics is the only form of exercise that I can do over and over again unlike gym or playing a sport. I dont even know whether the management of the gym is to blame for being miserly about the cds. Either ways, I'm praying that by next Tuesday she has a decent cd with her or else I'm definitely going to break a few chairs in that gym.. :P

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

PS I love you


                                          


How eager are we to fall in love? To find Mr. Right, to get married? A magical moment happens, some chemistry clicks.. We look forward to spending time with that special person.. All plans adjusted to his or her availability.. You meet him before meeting a friend, you wait for him till he finishes meeting his friends.. You wait for his call.. You long for his smses.. Every free second, he occupies your mind and thoughts.. You start planning your future keeping his in mind.. You feel so lucky to be a part of something.. A half of a complete round sphere..

And then what happens when a relationship ends? A breakup, a divorce or worse.. death? Do you move away as if 2 hemispheres were held together by a cord? You walk out feeling completely emptied. You forget your own shape.. You are just a ball from which air has been taken out.. Just a lump with no shape or form.. Or memory of how complete you used to be.. Why? Why is the feeling to be a half so overpowering that even if we are left empty again and again, we still want to be a half? Why can't we rely on ourselves and be strong? At the end of the day, why does this heart yearn for a companion forever?

P. S. I haven't lost my mind. Just feeling very influenced by this very wonderful, extremely touching movie. :D

Monday, December 7, 2009

Hangover - movie review



My adorable younger brother (yes, the comp-hogging, karate chopping, little maniac) was trying to convince me to watch this movie since ages. I generally don't like watching English movies because I am partially deaf and Hollywood actors never enunciate clearly. However, for dearth of Hindi movies (Bollywood actors always shout dialogues :D), I finally gave in to his demands and started watching it on my DBB

From the word go my eyes were popping, my tongue was hanging out and I had a silly half-grin stuck on my face. Such stupendous gags are used to elicit the most surprised reaction out of you. The movie starts off with a bachelor party being planned for Doug who is soon going to marry Tracy. Alan, Tracy's brother, and Doug's 2 other friends decide to treat him to a weekend in Las Vegas.

Driving in his father-in-law's Mercedes convertible with good friends makes for a memorable road trip for the most happening night of Doug's life. The 3 friends rent a villa in Caesar's Palace Hotel and the next thing you know everything is messed up. There is a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the cupboard, one of the friends is missing his front tooth and there is no sign of Doug. The nightmare turns worse as none of them have any recollection of what happened the previous night. The 3 friends start trying to get over their Hangover and look for clues to find out what happened to Doug.

The first ploy that the movie uses to get and keep your attention is the reverse-story telling methodology where the main characters go on backing up into the previous night to find out when exactly they lost Doug. There are movies which have done this in a much better manner (Paycheck, Memento etc.). Nevertheless, in Hangover, there is a nice flow maintained in the story with all sub-plots converging towards the end. The second ploy is of course the slapstick humour and this really got me. I could not believe what I was actually seeing. Like I said, eyes and mouth wide open. What works for this movie is the heady combination of the previously mentioned ploys and excellent camaraderie between all the friends. I wish I could have seen more of the actor playing Doug, but the blond teacher guy made up for my cute-guy requirement.

To conclude, I would say, Hangover is definitely worth watching for its shock and laugh therapy ;D

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mann ka radio.. Bajane de zara..


I am feeling so happy writing this review! Jee bhar ke gaaliyan! Kis kis ko gaaliyan! H se leke S tak gaaliyan!
Ok I am scared that my blog will get censored (by God knows who) or I'll lose my readership. So, I'll try to be a bit professional :P

Problem is, I don't know where to start. Ok, I'll start with the plot, that should be easy. So the plot is as follows... Wait a minute, there is no plot! Ho-hum.. Alright alright I'll get on with it! The movie (if it can be called that) starts off with RJ Vivaan (Himmes) getting divorced by his wife, Pooja. Looking at Himesh's expression you wish the judge would bang the gavel on his head rather than on the table to elicit some reaction out of him. But, alas, such a thing does not happen and we are treated to some more misery in the form of Shanaya (the awsomely irritating Shehnaz Treasurywala who can beat Kim Sharma in a squeaking competition).

After some initial misunderstanding, Vivaan soon befriends Shanaya who is a facebook addict. Shanaya notices that after his divorce, Vivaan's show has lost its ratings. So she proposes to be a mystery caller who will pretend to fall in love with him, thus increasing his show's ratings. Why anyone on this planet would listen to an ultrasonic Shanaya proposing to a surprisingly shrill Himmes is beyond me but apparently the show's ratings do go up. Around the same time, Vivaan's ex-wife starts getting attracted to the new and improved Vivaan. Shanaya gets more than she bargained for as her parents believe that she and Himmes are really in love. Worse, she actually falls for Himmes but can see that his ex-wife still loves him. Will Vivan return to his ex-wife and own up to Shanaya's family that he never loved her or will he finally get over his ex-wife and become a part of Shanaya's family that he has come to adore? Do you really care? :D

Needless to say, most of the laughs that I got from this movie were at the most serious moments. A plus point for me was that a friend of mine resembles Himmes a lot in this new hairdo so I was continuously laughing throughout the movie. I still have no clue why Himmesh was talking like a girl. The movie is extremely disjoint and there are just some scenes strung together by mistake. Please please watch this movie with an extremely large group of friends. There is a lot of scope for humour here :D
Mann ka radio.. Bajane de zara... :D

Friday, December 4, 2009

Heartbeats...

Zakir Hussain, Shankar Mahadevan, Sivamani, U. Srinivas & Selva Ganesh = Magic!

This concert was aptly titled Heartbeats, coz there were times when I forgot to breathe and only the title reminded me to keep my heart going!

This was the first concert of its kind that I have ever attended. No songs that I knew, nothing that I even understood. Yet, it was a mesmerizing experience. Initially, we were sitting on chairs allotted to us but soon I realized that I couldn't even see the screen from that position, forget about the stage. So my purse and jacket rested peacefully in my seat while I stood at the end of my row and looked on. That was when I got the feel that I was watching a live concert! My friend, who inititally refused to leave his seat, claiming that he only wanted to "listen" and not see what was going on, soon ditched his seat and joined me. I don't know why it was so important to see. I guess, if I hadn't seen, then it would have been like hearing it on radio or something.

As I watched on, the magic unfolded on stage. At first, they all played and sang together, which was chaotic but good fun. My main pain point was that Selva Ganesh and Zakir Hussain kept playing together and I couldn't distinguish between the sounds of their instruments (Kanjira and Tabla respectively). Thankfully there were solos so good for me :D After the initial jugalbandi, there was Sivamani and Srinivas (mandolin) jugalbandi. Half the stage was dedicated to Sivamani and his percussion instruments. Towards the end of this piece, Sivamani went solo and it was a delight to watch him produce music from ghungroo, drums, thalis, water drum etc. He did his famous stick flipping stunt also, which drove the crowd absolutely wild.

Next to go solo was Selva Ganesh an he literally amazed with the speed of his one hand. He held the Kanjira in the palm of his left hand and let go at it full force with his right hand! His fingers were mostly a blur as he used the inner circumference for sharper sounds and outer part of the Kanjira for more bass beats. I was, as usual, hollering, because I still haven't learnt to whistle :(

The next performance was Shankar Mahadevan and Srinivas's jugalbandi. Shankar Mahadevan sounded like an angel from heaven and Srinivas provided the perfect melody that when combined with Mahadevan's voice, put me in a trance. This was followed by a fun-filled jugalbandi with all 5 stars with Mahadevan singing a piece, Zakir Hussain following it on tabla, Srinivas on his mandolin, Ganesh on his Kanjira, Srinivas on his drums, and then back to Shankar! I remember at one point I was holding my breath with my mouth wide open. I'll never forget that bit :D

The grand finale of course, was a solo piece by the maestro, Ustad Zakir Hussain. I think a part of the solo piece that will always stay with me is when he was moving his head and body in rhythm with the music he was playing. It was like he was sending out a message, you cannot make music that moves others, unless it moves you first. The camaraderie between the participants in any concert is one of the high points and I observed that while playing the toughest (or fastest) pieces, they would all look at each other and smile, as if sharing a secret.  I can still hear the strains of the mandolin and the beats of the tabla. Truly, an experience I'll always cherish :D

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dance Workshop



Before I go into details, I just want to inform my readers that I've added a new widget to my blog. Using this widget, you can rate each post as "Wow!" or "Yuck :P". You can see the 2 checkboxes at the end of each post. Since I am a very black and white person, I say, you either like a post or you dont, that's why you've been given only 2 options :D If you choose the yuck option, you can choose to justify it by posting a comment so that I can use it as constructive criticism for my future posts.

Coming back to the main topic, today I attended a dance workshop organized by Hrishikesh Pawar, my contemporary dance teacher. Whenever he takes our regular classes, he always shouts at us "Move! Move in the space! Don't be so restricted!". I used to always be scared of hitting the person standing beside me (not that its a very small hall, but still) and used to dance as if someone has tied me up with ropes and then asked me to dance. Quite funny if you imagine it actually.

Today's workshop was about exploring space. A man named Dmitri conducted the workshop. He made us do many exercises which made us aware of the space we are moving in. The whole idea was to increase the awareness of the body, right upto the tips of your fingers and toes. Most of the exercises were in groups and it was amazing that without prior co-ordination, we just managed to move along with each other in the space. There was one particular exercise where we had to dance with a piece of newspaper in a pair. Each pair gave a different flavor to their chemistry. While one group showed lead and follow, another showed cat-fight, a third showed sharing, ours showed playfulness. Same music, same props, but the interpretation was vastly different. All this with absolutely no prior choreography or discussion.

During the workshop, I realized that I am too conscious while dancing and I end up holding my breath a lot. Holding up your breath, informed Dmitri, makes you smaller and a very constricted dancer. Most importantly, I danced without any inhibitions towards the end. It was all about exploring space and you can do that in any way right? This phrase "exploring space" was alien to me till today, but now I finally get it. I haven't stopped dancing since I've come back and I feel like I've got much more confidence about my body right now. I've always noticed that after such activities the body-mind connect is palpable. Its like someone has turned you inside out. You start seeing things about yourself that you never saw before. Even people who dont know dance should go in for these kind of workshops. I shall dedicate a separate post to convince you of the same :D

Most importantly, I will be performing as part of beginner's batch of contemporary dance class on 19th dec. Friends, you've been given adequate notice, so please turn up! Any other souls interested in knowing about contemporary dance, email me at the feedback address provided at the top right corner of my blog and I will let you know the TDV of the show. Tinkerty tot!

REFLECTIONS..

I came across a very interesting post from a blog on my blogroll. The author is a friend of mine and I believe a very talented budding poet.. Take a look at this poem she recently put up:

Thankyou...

Thoughts run helter–skelter
In search of words to express
Their benevolence.
Words hither-tither wander
Collecting the alphabet and
Having its complete license.
None of them knowing why the haste
Have finally, reached what so long
They have chased.
And that is …
THANKYOU!!! 


Such a brilliantly worded poem used to denote such a sweet and simple idea. I could actually imagine a person, who had the good stroke of luck to have something really nice happen to him. I could feel him searching for ways to express his joy and gratitude, searching for letters, words, sentences.. and finally saying the one phrase that would best express his happiness.. Thank you! 

Deepti has this amazing art of writing about really simple experiences in a beautiful way. Her poems have such a natural flow of thought that you don't realize that you're reading a poem. I used to try my hand at poems before and the juvenile crap that I've come up with is best left to my poor abused diary :P But Deepti, girl, you rock! Please keep writing more and more such poems..

For more poems from Deepti, please visit


Keep rocking, Dips!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The written word..

This is my favorite phrase. The written word. It doesn't literally mean just one word written somewhere. It could denote anything from a treaty, to a contract, to a poem, to a story to an entire tome!

Most of my friends complain that they can never write a blog, or that even if they do start with one, they're not sure if anybody will read it. I know I used to feel the same way when I used to see really good blogs. All it took me was one bad blog to realize that Hey! I can write much better than that! Inspiration is all around us. You decide what inspires you.

My primary inspiration for keeping a blog can be best explained by Boman Irani's dialogue from Bluff Master. Roughly translated, the gist is as follows:
"How old are you? 28 years old? Out of 28 years, how many days do you remember? Birthdays, anniversaries? 50 days? Out of 28 * 365, you only remember 50 days? What about the remaining days?"

My blog, my dear friends, is a way to keep track of each and every day. Jab hosh sambhala, I had grand plans for myself. I would become a movie star, a celebrity, a great dancer, famous, well known! I didn't become all of that (yet :D), but my story is still so amazing. I had never imagined that my story would be so full of life and colors. If you think back, you'll also realize, that your story, though different from what you had imagined it would be, is breath-taking, wonderful, autobiography material! Write about it, cherish it, treasure it, you never know who might derive inspiration from your story. I urge all my readers, please start your own blogs! (That does not mean that you should stop reading mine :P) Write about stuff that you are passionate about, like to do, let your thoughts and words flow!

When you do, please add your blog links in the comments section of this post. Same goes for people who have already started their own blogs. Let's be a part of each others' stories...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Marathi Baana

If instead of writing on this page, I could simply splash it with colors, that would be the most accurate description of this dance-musical. You know, sometimes, you just can't believe your good luck? You wonder what you did to deserve such good treatment? I am not exaggerating when I say, this is exactly how I felt within the first 30 mins of watching the show.

Let me rewind a little. The show was held in Bal Gandharv theatre. Usually, this show is performed at the level of Zaanta Raja. Now anyone who has not seen Zaanta Raja, you should know that it is a grand affair which is impossible to fit into 1 tiny theatre. It is usually conducted on a big open air ground with 2 screens and adequate speaker systems. Same is the case with Marathi Baana. So you can imagine how they managed to fit their entire performance on that tiny stage of Bal Gandharv theatre!

The theme of the show is to display the various castes-subcastes in Maharasthrian culture and also to display the various festivals celebrated in Maharashtra. Each caste was shown with the help of song and dance dear to that caste and it was really amazing to see the wide variety of cultures present in Maharashtra. The best part, I believe, was the anticipation of the dances which would receive a "Once More!" They were automatically rewound and repeat performed for the hungry-eyed viewer! When that happened the first time, I couldn't believe my eyes, but sure enough the last 30 seconds of the dance which received a resounding "Once More!" was performed again! Truly a treat for the eyes and ears!

At half time, I was saying to my friends "My God, they should charge like a 1000 bux for that!" I guess the tickets would be costly when it must have been performed in the open air theatre. After interval, it was time to showcase the festivals of Maharashtra. I swear I choked up when they showed the Ganesh Utsav. Their picturisation of a family gathered lovingly around the elephant God made me see my own home! Apart from this there was also a short segment on how marriages used to be in the good old days. The show has 150 participants and at a time there were at least 50 people on stage. The costumes deserve a special mention, as they literally made the show dazzle. And of course, not to forget, excellent use of lights!

The dances were interspersed with songs that described the innocence of youth, romance, koli geet etc. which played their own part in setting the rhythm and pace of the show. The dances were mind boggling because of the beautiful choreography and the awesome synchronization. When one put his hand out, the other would catch it even without looking. That is trust, co-ordination and practice!

For the first time in my life, I seriously regretted not knowing how to whistle. I was clapping and hollering as hard as I could because I wanted them to know, I really wanted them to know, that they had made me so happy! Do not miss this show, if you get a chance, do watch it. It is a heady mixture of live catchy music, awesome choreography and most importantly, a peep into our very pretty Maharashtran culture!

Monday, November 23, 2009

2012 - movie review

I was very excited to watch this movie what with all the forwards on email and SMS coming my way predicting end of the world in December 2012. And like 90% of eagerly awaited, much-hyped movies, this one too completely failed my expectations.

The plot is as follows: John Cussack borrows his kids from his estranged wife and her boyfriend to take them camping and spend some quality time with them. As they head towards the Yellowstone national park, they see military choppers flying overhead and hear about some army operations going on in the same park. Please tell me, which father in his right mind will willingly take his children to a place where army operations are going on? But our daring hero doesn't think twice of the danger he is putting his children in and heads towards the park.

An African American scientist, (I forget his name), comes to India to visit his Indian scientist friend and soon discovers that the crust of the earth is heating up. As a result the crust is shifting, which will lead to pole changes and disastrous earthquakes. An escalation to the US President soon starts a secret mission to save the human race or at least the elite few who can afford to save themselves.

Meanwhile, mysterious cracks start appearing on the face of the earth all over the world and the estranged wife finally calls the hero and her children back when one such crack rips apart an entire supermarket. Acting on news from a crazy RJ in the YellowStone park, the hero soon figures out that the cracks are going to get bigger and worse. He urges his family along with the new boyfriend to escape with him towards a ship which will save them all from the mighty destruction.

After this, its just destruction and more destruction. The movie-makers have found a sadistic joy in showing the destruction of all famous monuments and the annihilation of the human race. It's just our hero running ahead with his family while destruction follows behind. The second half is tiresome with the same sadistic destruction taking place over and over again in different forms and at different places.

The plot pretty much follows all Hollywood movie disaster plots with the boyfriend getting kicked out and a second later with absolutely no remorse, the hero getting back with his estranged wife. The use of the word "Mayans" drove me crazy where it was repeated over and over again "The Mayans knew this all along, The Mayans predicted this years ago" and had a childish immaturity to it. If ever there was a stupid, insensitive and useless movie, it is 2012.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Haatala valan (good habits)

When it comes to cleaning the house, I was not a very big fan of cleaning it up like a maniac every minute and making sure that every second, each and every thing is in it's proper place. I used to be very lazy and I rarely bothered unless some guests were stopping by. Even then, it'd be a sweep-below-the-carpet kind of cleaning up. Here's the funny thing. Every person has his/her own grime-tolerance level. People with lower levels of grime tolerance are forever running around with brooms either behind dirt or behind higher-grime-tolerant-people (Mom: "Clean this room up or I'll hit you with my broom!")

However, for some strange reason, my grime tolerance level has reduced and I'm making sure that the house is clean and everything is pretty much in its place. Of course my high grime tolerant brother can't find most of his things now, but I'm feeling good. I feel like coming back to my place at the end of the day, and if I take care to clean up every day, then it doesn't become such a huge task that I feel like cleaning up only after a 100 days. So, thoda far, majha haatala valan lagalach shevati (I developed a good habit).

Cleaning up for the sake of it and cleaning up as a habit are 2 completely different things. There's also a lot of planning involved. Once you cover basic cleaning, you think of decoration, beautification.. Let's shift our focus to the city level. When I see well planned roads, sewage systems, transportation, I imagine a very big woman with a very orderly mind and very big hands (with good valan or habits), planning the way her "home" should be and then taking painstaking efforts to make it just so.

If we go towards developed countries, why do their cities look so well planned and structured? Doesn't it look like there is one entity, who might be feeling that the piece of land given to him/her is actually like her home and he/she has to take the utmost care to make it clean, accessible and pretty? Doesn't it look like ticha kevha tyacha haata la valan asel? If you are good at planning such a great city, making proper use of the space given to you and also making sure that any maintenance work is immediately taken up, I believe tumcha haata la changla valan ahe. I also believe, that as Indian citizens, we need to practise haatacha valan when we are out on the roads. Most importantly, I believe, in important positions in our govt (urban devpt), we NEED people jyancha haatala valan ahe. Well structed cities which work efficiently dont come with sweep-below-the-carpet cleaning. They can only come with people who have good habits to begin with. That also includes you and me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mumbai Part III

Before we hit the sack, some grand plans were being hatched. Key words: Juhu Beach, 6 am. Not happening! Especially after the near-passing out experience at Leopold and gappe shappe till 4 am. So I woke up at around 10 the next day only to find my dear friend all ready with breakfast! Poor thing, I doubt she hardly got any sleep. Obviously after hogging so much at night, my stomach had to put up a sign saying "Ek-Do-Teen-Char, Band Karo Yeh Atyachar!". Alas I had to give a miss to those tasty grilled sandwiches.

I sustained on Neembu Pani and finally got ready for some Mumbai style mall shopping! This series of Mumbai posts would be inadequate without a mention of some other nice places that we saw the previous day. I think the one that had the most impact on me was the Oval Ground. It was this huge oval shaped ground where lots of kids were playing cricket and other sports. It looked like the ideal spot for a nice picnic. Apart from this, we also saw a very pretty Flora Fountain which was built pre-independence and is a postal address in it's own right! A glimpse of the towering World Trade Centre was on the cards and we sipped some fruit juice at a nearby juice stall while marvelling at its height.

Coming back to Day 2, we went to Inorbit Mall. Now, I've grown up in Dubai so I'm pretty used to malls. Even then, (or maybe it was because I was seeing a mall after ages), I couldn't help looking around awe-struck. The best thing about malls is that they are so well organized. Everything has it's own place, including the food court. Its pleasurable to shop during the day coz the natural day light and the artificial light merge together to create a soothing ambeince. As we started window shopping, my friend threatened to buy me something. I was already so embarassed about the amount of pampering I was receiving. Nevertheless, she did end up buying me a pretty Staedler pink dress, for which I was gushing for like a half an hour. I also bought myself a long top from a cool shop called "AND". There was a lot that caught my fancy and I noticed that the kind of variety I saw there could not be found in the malls in Pune. Someday, when I've got a fatter purse ;)

After the successful shopping stint, we both came back home. On my special request, my friend had made veg frankies and it was killing me to think that I wouldn't be able to have them on account of my mutinous stomach. I had a chat with it and it agreed to not create further problems on the ransom demand of a Coke. Thus, without further ado, I wolfed down 2 yummy frankies and started wondering how to double cross my stomach into overlooking the delicious chocolate pudding. After the delicious lunch, it was time to start packing my bags.

I confirmed and re-confirmed with the stupid Prasanna Travels franchisee that the volvo would leave from Borivali at 3:30 pm and that it would stop near Arya Dairy at 3:45 pm. After freshening up and saying my goodbyes to her in laws, I left from her place. I soaked in every last visual, sound and smell that I could during my final drive on Mumbai roads(for some time to come at least). My friend and her husband came to drop me and we reached the bus stop around 3:40 pm. There was no sign of the bus till 4:00 pm. It was very hot and a pain to stand in the sun with no shelter. Plus my stomach wasn't exactly happy about the chocolate flavored double crossing and I was becoming increasingly cranky. Finally at 4:20 I lost all patience.

I called up the Prasanna Travels office and asked them where was the damn bus. I got their standard reply "It's on its way". I persisted and that lady gave me the driver's number. After standing for 45 mins in the terrible sun with an upset stomach guess what I got to hear? "The 3:30pm bus has been cancelled, the 4:30 bus will be leaving in 5 mins". I wouldn't have minded going to jail right then for torching and stoning a few Metro Link buses. My friend's husband suggested that I should not rely on Metro Link and should take any AC bus going towards Pune. Finally at 4:50, after standing on that bus stop for more than an hour, a Neeta Volvo came by. I got a seat all the way in the back but by then I was so tired that I was ready to sit on the roof if they agreed to take me home. I said my goodbyes and boarded the bus.

The one thing I didn't know was that Neeta Volvo has offices on the Mumbai Puna route at every 0.5 km. If while coming to Mumbai we were stuck in Pune for 1.5 hours, Neeta created a new record by keeping us stranded in mumbai for 2 hours before we actually hit the highway.  Mercifully though, this bus skipped the entire Baner Aundh stretch and went straight to Chandni Chowk. I got down at Paud Road and got a royal sawaari (my bro in our Ritz) back home. Home sweet home!

Of course, this post wouldn't be complete without a mention of my final revenge. When I came home, my parents called me up and I told them everything. They were yelling at me for like an hour about how I took disadvantage of my friend (the food, the staying, the dress! *blush*). So, I finally decided enough was enough. My friend had casually mentioned that she was dying for some Bakerwadi. For some reason, when I had gone to the sweets shop in Pune (before), I bought Chiwda and pedhe for her. So after coming back, I first went to the DTDC courier guy and and told him that I needed to ship out some Bakerwadi. I thought he would point at me and laugh but he just asked me to get it in a box so that it doesn't get crushed. I sent the Bakerwadi by express courier and the next day my friend was shouting at me "You bloody idiot, who couriers Bakerwadi!! What is wrong with you? My in laws are shouting at me!".
Revenge. Is. Sweet. :D

Jokes apart, thanks a lot dear friend for the wonderful and amazing experience. I will always remember it and it wouldn't have been so beautiful without you. Cheers! :D

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mumbai Trip Part II



Ok, so this must be like the cheesiest pic ever, but trust me, there were guys who were actually getting their portfolios done in front of the Gateway of India! No kidding!

Anyway, so as I sluggishly threw my body into the back seat of the car, I started looking forward to seeing the real Mumbai. My friend and her husband kept pointing out various landmarks and giving the history behind them. After driving around in the car for about an hour, our first major landmark was Worli sealink! My friend's husband graciously asked me to sit in the front seat of the car. (We had a driver along, so only one other person could sit in the front seat). The driver stopped the car just a few minutes away from the bridge and we switched places.

We all rolled down our windows and I caught the first glimpse of the sea link. It looked magnificent! A gigantic half spiderweb hung from the highest pillar and spread out to hold a part of the bridge in it's clutches. I was sitting with my eyes and mouth wide open as we entered the sea-link. At exactly that moment, it started raining lightly and "Kya karoon" from Wake up Sid started coming on the radio. I couldn't have asked for a better ambience. :D  As each string of the web swung by, first slowly and then faster and faster, I could not help but marvel at the beauty of the moment. Truly, truly etched in my mind forever.

Unfortunately, only one of the pillars has that spiderweb kinda hanging strings, the others are plain. So it was doubly special when I saw it for the first and the last time in all its glory :D Later, while coming back, it was dark and to tell you the truth, it needs a lot more lighting to make it look even half as pretty as it does during the day. Anyway, as we crossed the sea-link (my friend's husband helpfully informed me that it was a 4km long stretch :O), I caught sight of the Haji Ali Dargah. It was really far and I wouldn't have known if Jeeju hadn't told me but once I saw it, I could see 100s of pilgrims queueing (WTF is the spelling of this word!) up outside. Some day, soon hopefully *sigh*

Our next stop was Gateway of India. I had this stupid grin stuck on my face ever since I entered the Worli sea-link and now it just got wider (as you can see in the pic above :P) Here's the thing you never notice in those pretty postcards. There is a HUGE open space in front of the gateway, where millions and millions of people come everyday with their families to spend a nice evening. The sheer amount of space available made me delirious and I felt like skipping about merrily. I settled for something better though, got myself clicked in a 100 different poses! The Taj was also impressive but the whole shooting episode kind of made me sad.
After a few more crazy pix, we went behind the gateway for a lovely boat ride.

I'm generally scared of getting into boats especially since I have no confidence on my traitorous legs (yeah yeah I know exercise will help me get control :P). So it was with some hesitation that I stepped into the boat. The three of us rushed to the top of the boat for which we had to pay 5 bux extra but the view was amazing. As the Gateway-shaped lights started going farther and farther away, it became darker and more peaceful. The breeze was just lovely and we had a good time talking about this and that. I think this was the first time 3 of us sat in front of each other and spoke. We spoke about the past, about college, hostel, about the present, job, about the future, job, marriage.. It was surreal.

When it was time to get down, I was shaking in my boots. Just as I was about to take a superman leap off the boat on to firm land, the boat moved away from the steps. Thank God I did not jump. After 2-3 mins of adjusting, the boat showed promise of sticking to the rocks and I said a short prayer and jumped out. Aha! That wasn't so bad ;) Next on our entertainment list was to take a ride in a "Victoria" buggy. I hope I used the right term. At first, I was really excited about it, but just when we were about to climb one, I actually saw what a Victoria was. It was one poor horse pulling a damn big cart which was decorated like a damn throne and had a million fatsos sitting on it. I just lost heart. I feel very tender towards horses, especially after reading "Black Beauty".  So, before I burst into tears about how lonely horses were and how they had to work all day with bits in their mouths and how they had no friends, my friend and her husband whisked me away to our next tourist destination!

Till now it was pretty dark and hence the right time to see the "Queen's Necklace". The whole Marine Drive stretch is called a Queen's necklace because it's semi circular in shape and at night, if you see it from the sky, the lights on Marine Drive make it look like a Queen's Necklace. From Nariman Point, you get a perfect view of the Necklace. Even though it's not at a higher altitude, you can still make out the curve. The really wide foothpath made me really happy and we took a nice walk while enjoying the breeze and discussing how the terrorists actually came into Mumbai. Unfortunately it was low tide, so I couldnt really hear the waves but it was soothing nevertheless.

From Nariman Point we went to Leopold Cafe for dinner. I walked in expecting a really posh place but got thoroughly disappointed when I saw the interiors and the overwhelming smell of beer almost killed my appetite (that is a mean feat, fyi ;)) I guess Jeeju sensed mine and my friend's discomfort and herded us upstairs. Ah! now that was something to look at! Beaut interiors, awesome music and lovely beerless aromas floating around! That's what I was looking for! Oh and of course, there was AC :D So we settled down, ordered food and again fooled around with the camera. After some signature analysis and promises of a full blown handwriting analysis to come later, we dug into the delicious food.

Clutching my stomach and swaying like a drunk, many people must have thought that I had more than my fair share of beer at Leopold's, but truth was I was stuffed! Once I ate so much that I was about to pass out, and at Leopold's I was pretty much near that stage. So as I tottered towards the car and crashed into the backseat, I prayed to God that the end was near. The end of the night that is :D But of course, how could I forget, I had promised my friend a complete handwriting analysis and once we started talking, we couldnt stop till 4 am! Now that's real friendship according to me. You notice the time only at 3 am and then say "Damn its 3 am! We should get some sleep" Only to realize 5 mins later "Damn! It's 4 am! We should REALLY get some sleep!" I miss having slumber parties!

Anyway, so finally at 4 am we decided enough was enough and that we would discuss about the rest of our friends later (Hehe). I fell into a deep sleep dreaming about the great shopping expedition soon to come!
Part III coming soon folks! ;D

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mumbai trip Part 1

My long leave from office was about to start and I desperately wanted to go on a mini vacation to forget the extreme stress that I had faced in the last few days at office. After an unsuccessful attempt to tag along with a friend who was going home to Delhi, I got myself invited over to my college friend's place who is married and staying with her in laws.

Of course I was embarassed, but she made me feel so comfortable that I didn't think thrice about it. So I merrily went and booked my ticket to Borivali from Prasanna Travels, little knowing that very soon I would hate the very sight of that name(Prasanna, not Borivali). More about that later, don't break my story! Anyway, on the fateful day, I boarded the bus at sharp 10 am from Paud Road. Till 11:30, we had received a complete Pune Darshan and reached Rajeev Gandhi bridge (Hinjewadi flyover), waiting to make full utilisation of every penny that stupid MetroLink spent on its petrol. It was so frustrating that finally some of the passengers started complaining. I guess we hit the highway around 12:00 pm.

My friend had asked me to get down at R. A Dairy in Malad but the driver refused to admit that he would be passing from there. Finally he agreed to drop me near Oberoi Mall. So I got busy reading "Catcher in the Rye" (really funny book, review about that coming up on http://esolitmaniac.wordpress.com/ ;)), while listening to songs on the Mumbai FM. My very huge misconception that Mumbai FM plays better songs than Pune FM was complete shattered as there was more variety (like 8 channels there), but all of them were celebrating CHILDREN'S DAY! So I just bid my time till Oberoi mall showed up and kept updating my friend ("Just passed Dadar, crossed the airport.... ").

Finally, the driver called out "Oberoi MALL!" and I hurriedly got down. He had stopped the bus just where the flyover started. I stood like a fool looking in all 4 directions for any sort of mall, but all I could see was roads and cars! Just as the bus was about to leave, I caught hold of the conductor-kinda-guy-but-not-exactly, and asked him "Where is the damn mall!" He pointed a finger in some random direction, jumped into the bus and stormed off. Excellent!

Mercifully my friend had informed me that I had to get down near a signal, so I kept walking in that random direction which that conductor kinda guy had pointed me towards and I found a signal. I could see Oberoi Mall from below the flyover and heaved a sigh of relief. Then was the best part. I was carrying a small trolley bag and I had pulled out its handle with which you can drag it along on its wheels. I had to call up my friend to inform her that I had reached, so I picked up the bag, hung the handle on my arm, balanced my purse in one hand while opening the zip with my trolley bearing arm, pulled out the phone, balanced it against my ear, and started talking to my friend. I swear to you, people on the road were giving me a stare wondering "Should we admit her to the mental asylum right NOW?" Nevertheless, my dear friend showed up in 5 mins in a car and whisked me away to her home!

We reached home, freshened up and lunch was served! The poor girl had taken a lot of efforts for me and I felt really pampered :D We had chhole, paneer bhurji (which was AWESOME!), gobi ki sabzi, pooris and the best part, chocolate pudding! I went straight to heaven after taking a bite of that. It was the most delicious and satisfying lunch I ever had. :) After such an awesome lunch, I seriously considered how bad it would be if I spent the whole evening sleeping in while dreaming about the fantastic chocolate pudding and trying to digest what all I'd eaten. But of course, my fantasizing was cut short by her husband pointing to his watch and saying "15 mins!". Bed, Ac, Pillows, Blanket, I didn't want to leave any of those!!! Argh X-(
I reluctantly got dressed and went down with my friend and her husband. Thus, started the most exciting part of the trip!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Murphy's law of Driving & Radio..

Law: The best song on the radio comes when your are about to park.

So, I'm driving my car and listening to songs from FM.

94.3: "Jiska koiii nahi uska toh khudaaaa haiii " Switch!
98.3: "Prem ki nayya hai Raam he bharose... Please call me Sud, just chill... " Switch!

Switching view between the road and my music console is making me go cross eyed but I need good music to drive well!
101.00: "Aap humra sajanwaaaaaaaaaaaaa" Switch!

Narrowly missing an autorickshaw

91.1: "Aaj Din Chadeyaaaa.... Aur kahi saare gaane, stay tuned! Aji sunte hoooo!" Switch!

Now trying to go by gut instinct. Hit the wrong button instead. Get player back to FM mode with some difficulty. Finally get bored and listen to
94.3: "Ghantaaa singh"

Manage to skillfully maneuver (more like narrowly miss colliding into the wide open gates of my colony) and just as I'm about to park

98.3: "Chor Bazaari do nainon ki.. "

Sigh.. Stupid radio!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ted(, please) talks!

Thanks to Deepak:

I got introduced to the exciting world of ted talks. Here's the link to the original website:

I cant think of a good way to explain, so I'm just going to borrow their introduction:
http://www.ted.com/pages/view/id/5
"TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with the annual TED Conference in Long Beach, California, and the TEDGlobal conference in Oxford UK, TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Program, the new TEDx community program, this year's TEDIndia Conference and the annual TED Prize."

For the first time, "talks" were organized in India. This event got over yesterday and pretty soon the videos of the talks held here will be up on the website. Till I was waiting for those, I browsed through the website and checked out the most recommended talks. The ones in the jaw dropping section are truly mind boggling and I thoroughly enjoyed Hans Rosling's way of presentation.

A lot of the speakers have extremely innovative methods of presentation and there's a lot to learn here about new subjects and presentation skills. Apart from that, maybe the makers of Ted realized that humans are basically lazy by nature and they absorb knowledge much better if someone TELLS it to them as opposed to reading up and finding out for themselves. (Ok, that's definitely me :D) Of course, a lot depends on the presentation skills but its a really neat way of gaining knowledge. I say, Ted, Keep Talking!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani - movie review



First and foremost, this movie makes no sense. Absolutely no sense! After every two mins, I was saying "Kahihi!" which is the marathi equivalent of "WTF!" So much for my adventure of watching a new movie second day second last show :P But of course, my review is fresh and I have not read any other reviews to bias my thinking. So there!

Coming back to the movie, it was advertised as the mother of rom-coms in Bollywood (to be appointed so by the people who watch the movie I believe), but I wouldn't bestow that title on this film. I was expecting at least a new story but the story is the same old and it doesn't even have any twists. Very predictable. Boy meets girl, falls for the girl, girl loves somebody else.. Typical love triangle. But there are a few reasons to watch this movie (if you HAVE to invest in an adventure to prove to yourself that your life isnt extremely dull)

The first reason to watch this movie is that the chemistry is amazing between Ranbir and.. his friends! There are quite a few laugh aloud moments (if you remember to leave your gray cells at home). Most importantly, Ranbir carries off his role as small town bumpkin who barely knows English with an earnesty that is heartwarming to see. I believe he wont be able to give such a raw performance as he grows older and more seasoned. Apart from that, he dances like a dream and I thoroughly enjoyed "Prem ki nayyaa".  Katrina is surprisingly looking overweight and not at all compatible for lean, boyish Ranbir. Her acting didn't move or touch me. She should learn some Hindi so that she can get more variety of roles. I'm so tired of seeing her with a stupid accent and being in a dilemma about marrying the hero because he doenst speak English (Namastey London, and now this movie)

Having recently watched Wake up Sid, I feel that Ranbir can be placed in any setup, situation, background, role and he can make you believe that he IS that person. I'm eagerly waiting for Rocket Singh.. As for this movie, watch it only if you have a crush either on Ranbir Kapoor or Katrina Kaif.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Kaafir(s)

A very very cynical friend: "Graphology? That doenst work! I dont believe in it!"

Me: "What is there to believe? Its not a religious faith that you need to believe in it! Its a science!"

AVVCF: "To me, its similar to palmistry and mythology.."

Me: "I told you around 20 accurate traits about yourself, which I didn't hear from your mouth, and you're telling me that its equivalent to Palmistry? WTF!!"

AVVCF: "Yeah whatever, you just got lucky I guess. Its not so easy to judge me by my handwriting.."

Another in the series of graphology posts, this one I dedicate to human psychology.

Most of my friends refuse to "believe" in Graphology. They refuse to give me their handwriting. I believe they have something to hide. Maybe past affairs, maybe something else. Problem is, they don't know exactly what all I will be able to see in their handwriting. Apart from that, most people have the belief that they are extremely unique. Relying on a science whose methods of investigation include collecting samples and then categorizing people seems too much like compartmentalizing. And people hate to be told that they are like someone else.

I used to be that way too. I am unique, I am different, Graphology can't slot me into a type of person! Now I feel, hell, if I'm like everyone else, good! I'm not suffering alone! Everytime we're stuck in a problem, we take tension, we dont know how to get out of it, we feel we are the only one suffering. But if you keep this in mind, that you are no different, you are just like everybody else, there are people who've made worse mistakes than you, taken worse gaaliyan than you, you start feeling calm. Belileve me, it works. Its a pleasure to discover that you are not very different from others. You are not an island, stuck in the middle of the sea. So shut up and please give your handwriting for analysis!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The last to cross the finishing line..

I was watching the Marathi Sa Re Ga Ma Pa recently (ok my ear was in that direction while I was chatting on my DBB), and I heard this contestant singing some Marathi song. As usual, Mom's running commentary was going on side by side where she was rating each singer.

For this particular singer, her comment was "Phaarshi kahi chaangli gaat nahiye, sundar ahe mhanun azun ahe show madhe" (She didnt sing that well, they've not eliminated her yet coz she's pretty)
I finally turned slightly more than my half ear towards the show and I noticed that she sung neither too good nor too bad, just about average. I guess she looked half pretty. I wondered if what Mom was saying was true.

A few weeks later, again same scenario, I was listening with half a ear and I suddenly started hearing Maayya Maayya from Guru. At first I thought some music channel was on but when I looked up, I saw that the same female was singing this song. Apparently when there are non-Maharashtran judges, a few hindi songs are allowed. And she was singing it so well! She got all the pronounciations right, she got all the surs right. She was sounding like a Maharashtran Sunidhi! She got the highest marks possible and one of the judges promised to compose a Marathi song that only she would be able to sing. What a moment of glory!

I then wondered, why was it that she didn't perform so exceptionally well during her other performances. Was she incapable? I think she proved that wrong going by her Mayya Mayya performance. Was she lazy? Or maybe she didn't particularly like Marathi songs. Whatever the reason, with one song she justified the reason for her presence in the competition and proved herself to be capable of winning the competition. This just goes to show that no matter how much you are lagging in a race, you should keep striving. You never know when your efforts will pay off. Gives me a lot of inspiration to continue writing coz right now I believe I am way behind others. But patience and persistence does pay, it seems :)