Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Frankly, I’d say the Sunderbans are over-hyped if you ask me. Tales of how dense and crocodile-infested they are is largely true, but the forest is shrinking rapidly due to the pace at which we are polluting our eco-system. Tigers and other fauna are dwindling in numbers. Moreover, the tigers have forced to become man-eaters b/c their natural prey is difficult to come by (due to the shrinking forest) and fishermen who venture too close to the forest or go in to collect honey are easier prey.
There are apparently almost 250 tigers left in the Sunderbans but you have to be really lucky to spot one. The biggest disadvantage being that one can’t venture inside the forest due to its density. One can travel only through the river, so what you get is endless boat rides! The scenery remains the same...water flanked by forests on both sides.
Tigers can be spotted only if they’re walking along the banks of the river. However, the river water itself has become really saline due to pollution, so tigers prefer to drink water from the fresh water ponds made at various places within the forest by the forest department as part of the Tiger Conservation Project.
Luck didn’t favor us and we couldn’t spot a tiger. But we saw plenty of deer and even a crocodile in the river, right next to our boat!
The Sunderbans do not get a very large number of tourists, so the tourism scene in the area is not too developed. There's only one resort worth staying at - the Sunderban Tiger Camp. There isn't much to do except go on boat rides hoping to spot a tiger! The forest is so dense, one can't even explore the area on one's own.
All in all, you should go to the Sunderbans only when you want to break away from the maddening pace of city life & you want to relax. Not a place for adventure seekers and definitely not a "happening" place!
Here are some pictures from the trip...
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I took a few quizzes on Facebook while I was home and the results were quite amusing…
Quiz 1 : What does your birthday say about you?
You are funny - Check
Your soul reflects respect, desire & generosity – Maybe. If they say so. Haven’t spent much time thinking about what my soul reflects. There’s hardly time to keep up with life!
Your gemstone: Aquamarine – Again, if they say so :)
Your flower: Daffodil – But I like gerberas more! They’re such happy flowers!! :):)
Your colors: White and light blue – What about red?
I don’t think this is a very good quiz.
You're upbeat – Check (well, generally)
You love life & exude an outgoing, cheerful vibe – Check check
Blessed with a great sense of humor, you can laugh at adversity – Check check check
I like this quiz!!
Quiz 2 : Who were you in your past life?
Result : Marylin Monroe! In this life you continue to be radiant, happy, whimsical, and daring – Check
But I do have an issue with ‘whimsical’. Of course I’m not whimsical! Moody yes, but whimsical – NO.
And I never had a white halter dress that blew in the wind! Hmmpfff.
Quiz 3: Which zodiac sign are you most compatible with?
Result : Libra
Really? That’s the only sign I’m at loggerheads with the most! Most of my boyfriends have been Librans (by some freaky stroke of luck, believe you me) & they were the ones I had the most issues with! My dad is a Libran & we see eye-to-eye on nothing. Libra-Pisces no like :(
Quiz 4 : Where should you live?
Result : New York City
You love the busy city life – Check (I’m a city girl thru-n-thru & love every bit of the city life)
You want to be able to go out at any hour of the day or night – Check (I couldn't agree more!)
You are also very fashionable and are dedicated to your job! – Well OK. I’m not a slave to fashion, brands & labels but I do consider myself to be more stylish than the average Indian woman, though I’m sure I’d want to kill myself if I’m ever surrounded by the uber-stylish Parisian or Milanese women!!
Friday, March 20, 2009
I've been down with fever, head ache, terrible body ache & a runny-itchy nose since Wednesday night. The fever comes and goes. I'll feel fit as a fiddle for a couple of hours and start feeling sick again. It's most annoying.
I'm bored out of my freakin' mind staying home. Can't read / surf the net / watch TV for too long...start feeling tired & sick after a bit.
Is this the time of year for catching the flu / viral fever?
Thursday, March 19, 2009
With twilight sets in depression. It's that time of the day which is neither here nor there...neither light nor dark. It's very unsettling and gloomy. I never know what to do with myself if I'm at home during twilight. I can only get depressed and wait for it to get over...for it to be completely dark.
I remember chewing my mom's brains every day during twilights when I was in school. I used to crib crib crib about getting bored and not knowing what to do, and my mom would be tearing her hair out in frustration!
I have to be either completely shut out from twilight (inside a mall or theater or at work) or outdoors but so busy I don't notice it! Christ, life is tough! :)
What about you? How twilight-friendly are you?
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Turns out they are husband & wife!!!
I mean, how was I supposed to know? They don’t even look like each other! Well...ok…a husband & wife aren’t really supposed to look like each other…but there’s a husband-wife vibe between them...which is completely missing in this couple!! I mean, why would you salivate at a public place watching your wife sprawled out across the floor? Wouldn’t you get enough of that at home already?
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The book is about a girl, Becky Bloomwood, who is an obsessive compulsive shopper. She has maxed out all her credit cards and is neck deep in debt, yet she cannot – just cannot – control her shopping urges. She always finds a reason why she needs something (that she wants to buy), however bizarre it might be! She’ll go to any lengths to buy things, even if that involves borrowing money from people or hiding merchandise from customers at a store.
Which brings me to my absolute favorite sequence in the entire book.....
So, Becky is looking for a weekend job which will help her pay off her debt as her regular weekday job does not pay her enough to support her outrageous shopping habits. She lands herself a job as an assistant at a clothes store, which she thinks would be a glamorous job where she’ll be required to help customers select their outfits, give them styling tips etc.
On the first day of the job, she turns up dressed her stylish best (of course, if she’s going to give styling tips to her customers, she's got to look the part herself!) but is made to change into the store uniform that has nothing stylish about it. And instead of being asked to give styling tips to customers, she’s made to fold clothes that customers discard after trying on!
On the first day itself, she spots a pair of zebra-print jeans that she loves and plans to buy during her lunch break. However, a customer picks them up for trying on, along with 3 other outfits. So she lies to the customer that they are allowerd only 3 outfits at a time inside the fitting room (though they're allowed 4) & insists on holding the zebra print jeans back. And then....she hides them!!!
And pretends she doesn’t know where they went!!!
So obviously she’s fired on the spot....but she asks her manager if she can quickly do some shopping on her employee discount card before leaving the store! This incident had me in splits.
There are more such funny incidents in the book. The excuses she gives to her bank for not paying up (including that she's finally found her savior in Jesus Christ), her accidental run-in into her bank manager & his assistant who have been trying to track her down for ages & whose communications she has been repeatedly ignoring, are outrageously funny.
The last 30-40 pages of the book were a let down though. Unable to take all the sh*t in her life, she escapes to her parents’ house where she tries to help people & to set things right in her life. Suddenly, she’s not herself anymore! She sorts out her finances, pays off all the debt & also ceases to be funny. So does the book. That’s not how you want to end a really funny book.
They’re apparently making a movie based on the book. I hope they don’t make a dumbed-down high school version of it! This is a smartly written, witty book & and they should make a smart, crisp movie out of it.
Some people warned me not to read this book as they found it to be depressing. I wonder how?? There’s only one way you can find this book depressing, i.e., if you think you have a “shopping problem” yourself.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Carolina Herrera 212 - $67
Post from Moonshine wishing me a Happy Birthday and admitting she found me 'frivolous' when she first met me (and which I shall forgive her for given that she & her husband are such sweethearts) : ..........
You know the drill :)
Friday, March 13, 2009
In 2 days, I’ll be 29. Yet, even yesterday at the gym I fed in 28 as my age on the treadmill, stepper & cycle! That's probably what I'll do even today & tomorrow! :D
Maybe it’s the realization that 30 is inching closer b/c of which I won’t let go of 28….but I think it’s b/c I’ve always been this way. I won’t admit to myself or to the world that I’m a year older until I ring in my birthday.
Birthdays used to be HUGE affairs when I was a kid. My mom was absolutely awesome! Until I was about 10 years old, she used to organize these big parties at home for me where she would invite all our relatives (there were so many of them!!) and my friends from school. There would be at least 40-50 people for every birthday & they would bring the nicest gifts. The only gift I never got was dolls (I never had Barbie as a kid!)
Mom would order the biggest cake, in different shapes & sizes. My favorite was the cake in the shape of a house (when I was 3-4 yrs old) which I wouldn’t cut b/c I thought the people living inside would die if I cut the cake! The tackiest was a heart-shaped cake which this one aunty insisted on bringing on one of my birthdays. It was a homemade cake with cherries & had no icing on it.....what crap! That was the saddest cake I ever had.....I remember crying so much over it that my mom had to order a fancy cake for me at the last minute. Poor mum....don't know how she managed to handle the aunty!
The best part of my birthdays though would be my dresses! Did I mention my mom is awesome? MINDBLOWINGLY awesome! I had the prettiest & the most trendy dresses among all kids I knew! My mom was great at keeping up with trends. She used to get these beautiful gowns stitched for me! Imagine, I wore gowns for my birthday as a kid! I also wore spaghettis, tube tops, halters before anyone else did!
I love my mom :)
So....the 29th birthday’s in 2 days & for the first time in my life, the excitement hasn’t caught up with me. God, this is really scary! I’m so the 'countdown-to-birthday' type of person! I look forward to my birthday with as much excitement & anticipation as I do to Christmas. For me, it’s just a beautiful, happy day!
I have to have my day FULL of plans. Can’t spend the day at home, I HAVE to be out for most part of the day hanging out with friends or family - doing things. I’m not the quiet birthday types & also don’t like to spend the day watching a movie (that’s a good 2-3 hrs gone!). I go out for lunch, meet people for coffee, meet some more people for dinner, shop....
Of course, I take the day off :)
After all, birthday comes just once a year…..just like Christmas!! :))
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I haven’t been too fond of Holi since 12-13 years of age. That’s when I got totally turned off Holi & stopped playing it. Part of it was b/c the wet colors we used to play with just wouldn’t come out. I remember scrubbing myself to death with Rin (yes, Rin!!!!!) as I’d have school the next day, and would still end up showing up at school colored pink!!!
The other part was b/c I had a horrible Holi experience the year before I stopped playing, which I’ll spare you of. Let me just say that the part of India I grew up in believes in ‘dirty’ Holi. In fact, the dirtier the better (and no, I’m not considering having raw eggs thrown at you as ‘dirty’).
Even now I don’t understand why people like playing with wet colors. Dry colors, or gulal / abeer, as they’re known are so much better. They don’t stay on your skin or your clothes. You can still show up at work the next day looking like a normal human being than someone who’s been dyed pink!
I had an argument with a friend of mine over this last night. A bunch of friends played Holi in the morning. No, I didn’t go & thank God for that….they smashed raw eggs on each other’s heads! There’s nothing even remotely tempting about that for me.
So….this one friend had a presentation today & he requested the others not to put wet color on him. BUT….as we all know, that doesn’t really happen, so the guy has had to turn up for the presentation in all his ‘pink’ glory!
This other friend of mine kept insisting that work can’t control one’s life & what he does on a day off is strictly his business. His boss/clients have no say in it. I thought this was exaggerating it way too much. This isn’t about work dictating one’s life, it’s just about being responsible & professional.
I mean, SHOULD you show up at a client presentation colored pink when you’re the one presenting? And if do, do you really expect the clients to take you seriously?
I would definitely have a little 'discussion' with my reportee if he/she turns up for a client presentation with Holi colors still on. What about you?
Monday, March 9, 2009
This is what happens when you do something like that…
You get snubbed and how!!
Also I’m very curious why she was chipkoing more into Amitabh Bachchan than her husband? She was clinging on to his arm throughout the ceremony!
It was hilarious! Female ‘Ghajini’ in the house? ;)
And that’s saying something.
Aishwarya Rai’s definitely.
Not to mention she's looking good after a very long time! She has an atrocious taste as far as Western outfits go - especially gowns (remember the parrot green gown she wore during her first appearance at Cannes?) - so maybe she should stick to sarees!
Check out the outfits of the dancers in the performance by Abhishek Bachchan. What kind of outfit is this???
Shorts for one leg & trousers for the other. Really…..who comes up with such designs????
Did you know that Priyanka Chopra turned Fashion down initially? Apparently, she did not want to do the movie b/c of the grey shades in Meghna Mathur’s character. It took a lot of convincing on Madhur Bhandarkar’s part to get her to do the movie.
And apparently Aishwarya Rai is upset with PC b/c in her acceptance speech, she mentioned Aishwarya Rai’s beauty & Kajol’s talent!
Ha ha! I don’t blame PC for not noticing Aishwarya Rai’s acting talent. We didn’t either!! ;-)I don’t understand why model-turned-actors get so defensive when people run down their acting skills. They started out being models, not actors – so what’s the big deal? They become actors not b/c they have this storehouse of acting talent bursting to explode! They get into movies b/c of the money & fame that comes with films & becoming a model is a short-cut to getting into movies. If they are dying to be “actors” in the true sense of the word, they would start their careers as actors or take the theater route. Simple! So cut the crap, shall we?
Most lacklustre appearances of the night.....
Some color wouldn't have hurt, would it? :)
A LBD would've looked much nicer than this drab black gown!
Burning question of the 54th Filmfare Awards – Why was A R Rahman seated in the fourth row?????
Why should Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Gauri Khan, Abhishek Bachchan etc. be sitting in the first row while A R Rahman is relegated to the fourth?
Saturday, March 7, 2009
There's something to be said about Saturday mornings where you have no where to be by a certain time. You read the newspaper leisurely while you sip on tea, check your mails, check in on your friends on Facebook. Breakfast happens in its own sweet time. The entire weekend stretches out lazily in front of you. It's a blissful feeling.
You appreciate Saturday mornings more when you've gone through the grind of working four consecutive Saturdays in a row. A working Saturday somehow kills the entire weekend!
Gym beckons. Couldn't go for a month due to work pressure. My gym instructor kept calling me. I took his calls the first couple of times and then I stopped taking them b/c I'd have to give him the same explanations every time he called...."I'm swamped with work. I've been working till 11 in the night every single day, when can I come to gym? So would you please understand & I'll come when work gets easier?" So finally, he got smart and started calling me from numbers I couldn't identify. He got me there! Now that the work pressure has lifted, I'm going to happily trundle off to the gym in a bit :)
There are other things I want to do.....get a pedicure, a face massage. Maybe I'll put the head massage off till tomorrow. Want to watch 'Milk' & 'Revolutionary Road'. Wanted to watch 'The Reader' as well but after reading reviews, decided to pass on it. Doesn't sound too exciting, sounds slow rather. Want to check out this pink, orange & white dress at Benetton...it's a sporty-summery dress which ends right above the knee and will look awesome if worn with a pair of sporty white pumps or strappy white flats.
All these and more will happen in their own sweet time. 'Coz I have the entire weekend in front of me & nowhere to be! :D
Knock on wood.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Sometimes your closest friends fail to understand you. Sometimes they are quick to form conclusions. Sometimes they are so blinded by expectations, they can’t bring themselves to respect the way you are and accept you for it. You try and explain it to them a few times, make it up to them, take the (misplaced) blame even, just so you can preserve a friendship that means something to you. But you do reach a point when the only thing you can do is let go. For how long can you keep acting the way people expect you to act?
I don’t understand why people expect you to act a particular way in the first place, and get offended & upset when you don’t! Is that fair? Agreed, there has to be some level of expectations in relationships & close friendships, but the beauty of a friendship over a relationship is that you’re not supposed to prosecute a friend over unmet expectations. Friendships lose their meaning the moment they become binding.
Especially for free-spirited people like me. I dislike being tied down just as I detest tying others down. You will not find me holding grudges against friends who forget to call back or do not call back for whatever reason. If I want to talk to them badly enough, I call them back. I don't sulk when a friend cancels. It's okay...things can come up. The world isn't about to end, and neither is our friendship. I do not expect people to act one way or the other, I do not hold them to what I think they should do! I give them their space when I feel they need it, they do not need to spell it out.
Similarly, I need my friends to not expect me to act in a certain way & get upset when I don't. If you can't understand this bit about me even though you claim to know me so well, our friendship had a chance in hell to begin with!
Unfortunately, as I have learnt the hard way many times over, not acting the way your friends expect you to act can often be misconstrued as not caring enough, not being committed enough to the friendship or not valuing it enough. Apparently, bonding over brownies & cheesecakes & shopping for shoes isn't enough to seal friendships. Is anything?
Friendships thrive when there is a willingness to accept the other person the way they are.
They are meant to be fun zones, not an element of life that stresses you out & ties you down. That’s what relationships are for! Sometimes, your closest friends fail to realize this, and you wake up to this realization only after things have fallen apart. Completely.
P.S.: Title of the post borrowed from Chinua Achebe. Feeling expressed - heartfelt.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
We (women that is) love our shoes. They are an integral part of our existence & happiness, and can go a long way in getting us attention. Sadly, they can also be a source of much worry. Ever had the heels/straps of your shoes give way while you were traveling or on your way to a client meeting?
It's one of those things you wish never happen to you. But what happened with me today takes the cake.
I wore my new shoes to work (lovely white ones…I’ve wanted white shoes for a long long time), and just as I was about to step out of the cab in front of office, the bow on top of both shoes fell off! All within half an hour of wearing them! And I paid 1000 bucs for them. They were apparently stuck on to the shoes & not stitched on.
So...I pick up my pretty little bows & walk in to work all upset & just then a colleague goes, “Hey, nice shoes!”
You can imagine the look on my face!!
And what’ll you guess, during the course of the day, at least 5 other people have complimented me on my shoes! And I’m like “They’ll look prettier with BOWS on them!!!”
Said with a mix of anger & 'poor me' face :(
Oh well, life is tough.
Congress counts 8 Oscars as part of UPA `achievements'
24 Feb 2009, 1005 hrs IST, TNN
Keen to be part of the euphoric `Slumdog' bandwagon, Congress has counted the eight Oscars as part of the UPA's `achievements'. The party lost no time in claiming credit for the `Indian triumph' and hinted that good times had come with the UPA government.
In an unmistakable resonance of the previous NDA government's `India Shining' slogan, Congress floated the idea of an `achieving India' and listed among the milestones the Indo-US nuclear deal, Chandrayaan, near 9% growth and the total sweep of the Oscars.
"They represent the finest traditions of our film industry and are an inspiration to all of us," Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said. Her party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi went a few steps ahead and termed Slumdog Millionaire "a film of India, for India, by India" and talked about the "conducive atmosphere with emphasis on good governance contributing to an achieving India".
Sensing a feel-good factor before the elections in the massive success of the film, the party sought a closer association with it. Singhvi raised a toast to the film's music director, A R Rahman, calling him a "wonderful symbol of India" and embodiment of Indian nationalism.
Unable to wait for the Oscar moment to slip away, the spokesman sought to put the good story in perspective by contrasting it with what he projected as the BJP's disruptive politics. "There are parties drawing us back to the dark ages," he said. Making the reference to the rival BJP clear, Singhvi targeted L K Advani for the "gimmickry of rath yatras and pumping iron before the cameras".
Reminded of the criticism the film had drawn for showcasing India's poverty, Singhvi said such laurels had not gone to every other poor country. "Half the world is poor, there are countries poorer than India; but the film is a celebration of creativity," he said.
I really have no words to describe our politicians except that they're unparalleled in the world.
Unrelated to these claims but on a similar topic, agreed that 'Slumdog...' may not be a great piece of cinema (though I personally liked it quite a bit except for some inconsistencies/loopholes in the script) but we need to see it in the right context - which is the context of global cinema, and Hollywood in particular.
Hollywood isn't used to this kind of cinema. It's probably the first time they've seen a movie based on the slums of a "third world" country. For them, 'Slumdog...' had a novelty factor attached to it. Plus, people in America generally have such a financially secure existence, thoughts & visions of poverty move them. And when it is shown as graphically as it was in 'Slumdog...', well, they give awards.
Coming to those who've been saying 'Slumdog...' isn't the greatest of Rahman's work, and so a big deal should not be made of his win at the Oscars....Again, we need to see Rahman's work in the global context. Rahman has so far worked solely in the Indian film industry. This is the first time he worked on an international platform and his work was appreciated. His earlier movies were not promoted at an international level, nor were they meant for the international market. Had they been international films, who knows, he would've won much earlier!
Though I get the most baffled by people who're going about saying that with 'Slumdog Millionnaire', Indian cinema has arrived, the world is at Bollywood's feet etc. Do they not realize that 'Slumdog...' is in no way representative of Indian cinema? It is a movie based on India, with India as a backdrop, a movie 'on' India & not 'by' India. So what are we exulting for? Indian cinema has not arrived or gone anywhere! The only people who you can say have arrived are Rahman & Resul Pookutty. Had the movie had an Indian director/producer, one could've said Indian cinema is going places. 'Slumdog...' is a Hollywood movie.
And then of course, there is the controversy about the makers of 'Slumdog...' selling India's poverty to the West for their own gains. Well, Arvind Adiga should be accused of the same then? Read 'The White Tiger' and you'll know what I'm talking about. It's also one of the most well written books of recent times.
Coming back to the 'Slumdog...' controversy, Danny Boyle was not making a documentary on India. Neither was he on a 'let's-help-the-children-of-Mumbai-slums' charitable mission. He was making a movie and the purpose of any movie, apart from entertaining, is to make money. What part of that is not understood? In fact, the makers of 'Slumdog...' have made investments in the names of the child actors of the movie (who were taken right out of the slums) which will pay off once the kids turn 18. Something to the tune of 25 lakhs per child. There are so many Indian film makers who make money out of showcasing Indian poverty. Have they ever done something like this?
Heck, have we - the citizens of India - done anything to alleviate the poverty in our country except pretending that it doesn't exist! We live in the high-rises of Colaba, Cuffe Parade & Bandra where property prices are out the roof, with slums in our backyard!! Yet, we cringe when those very slums are shown on screen. Why? Let's face up to reality. Such cruel poverty exists & it exists all around us! But since we choose to pretend it doesn't exist, an outsider needs to come to our country & remind us of it by shoving it in our faces.
So let's not prosecute others unless we are willing to take blame for our own apathy, insensitivity & inaction. Fair enough?