Saturday, August 29, 2009

Of Microwave Brownies & Car Issues Induced Crankiness

I've had a mind-blowingly unproductive day. Started out with me gorging down straight-off-the-frying-pan aaloo parathas. Then I went on to make a brownie with a brownie mix that I picked up from the grocery store.

Now there were two complications - one, I was using a brownie mix, which can never equal a homemade batter in terms of taste, and secondly, I do not have an oven, just a simple microwave with micro & grill functions. Expectedly, the brownie came out tasting like crap - boiled rather than baked! And to think I took the pain of putting walnuts etc. in it.

Next on the agenda was making chicken quesadillas with guacamole for dinner. I had the recipe downloaded and the ingredients duly purchased, but the ambitious plan was ultimately shelved due to 'The Boy's' insistence we go to watch Quick Gun Murugan in the evening (chicken quesadillas were replaced by a promise to bring rice pulao & kosha mangsho for dinner, which I don't see happening either as of now).

He was in a surly mood himself, induced by the non-availability of the car of his choice. Hopefully Quick Gun Murugun will do us both some good.

What about you? How did you spend your Saturday?

Friday, August 28, 2009

SALE is a four-letter word

That’s been my mantra for the past 6 months. While every shop around has been setting itself on fire with sales, trying to outdo each other on the percentage off, I've been walking around like a race horse with blinkers on!

The past couple of months have been a carnival for shopaholics. Right from brands such as UCB, Levis, Reebok & Adidas to shops selling unbranded stuff – they’ve all been screaming ‘SALE’!! And I’ve been trying to stay away from them like one stays away from the plague, or swine flu in these times - partly because I’ve realized I need to get my investments & rainy day savings in place, partly because I felt I really need to have enough money to travel to places I’ve always dreamt of going to but never seem to have enough dough to swing a trip (read Paris, Italy, Greece, Turkey), and partly because I have a very strong feeling that if I try to stuff any more into my already over-flowing closet, my clothes might just come to life & decide to strangle me in the dead of the night when I’m sleeping soundlessly in my sexy, satiny, strappy, slinky red negligee! Ahem.

So shopping’s been out of the list of things to do when one is bored or depressed. Watching movies has been out too for the most part thanks to a movie draught over the past few months. That leaves eating out – which of course I’ve been OD-ing on, given the piglet that I am! Suddenly, I seem to have forgotten that my weight loss target was 10 kgs & not 5!

Last night I was reminded of it very rudely by ‘The Boy’ who made it a point to pinch every inch of adipose on my body and accuse me of having become complacent. He also reminded me that I haven’t been to gym in more than 4 weeks and threatened to drag me there by the hair if I didn’t get my act together ASAP! Excuse me, but aren’t boyfriends supposed to be showering you with flowers, smothering you with hugs & kisses, and pampering you with chocolates and NOT SUPPOSED TO BE TELLING YOU THAT YOU ARE BECOMING FAT!!!!!

So we literally had a physical fight by the end of which I was thrown off the bed & onto the floor by virtue of ‘The Boy’s’ sheer physical strength. But I felt strangely light (in spirit), emotionally relieved & one did after playing a game that involved running around when one was a kid. Or after a good physical fight with one’s sibling - that did not involve getting one’s hair pulled by the fistful!

So when was the last time you played/wrestled/got into a physical fight with someone? And I do not mean men beating the daylights out of each other.

PS: I didn't know what direction this post would take when I started writing it. From 'sales' we've ended up on men beating each other up. Now if this only extended to men beating each other up in order to decide who would get to buy the most number of gifts for the woman. That wouldn't be so bad, eh?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fried Chicken Anyone? :(

What does one need to lift one’s mood on a cloudy, wet, gloomy day when one is generally feeling lazy & unproductive?

How ‘bout KFC?

Yup. Kentucky Fried Chicken. Greasy, deep fried and smokin’ hot :)

I can see food connoisseurs snickering but sometimes you just CRAVE KFC. What are you to do then? Big chunks of piping hot deep fried chicken put you in such a warm, happy place. You feel satiated with the very first bite, satisfaction that you can feel deep down. A smile creeps over your surly face…and stays on. I had KFC for lunch, and I want more!!

Come to think of it, food can be such a comforting thing, especially hot food. Greasy food too sometimes, like after you’ve been on a drinking binge. Food is the one thing that remains common across moods – we eat when we’re happy, sad, depressed. It really is essential to our being.

After years of being in denial, I’ve finally accepted that I love food. I don’t live to eat. Food isn’t on my mind all the time, but I love good food, I love eating out and I crave variety. Chinese, Thai, Italian, Mexican, Lebanese, Mediterranean…I love it all!

You know what, I think I'm on my way to KFC again. Don't snicker y'all...Remember the days you crave brownies? Or hot pakoras? Or whatever it is that floats your boat!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Shit Aaj Kal

Do I need to say anymore?

The movie is old hat. I stayed away from watching it in the theater. My cousin had it on her iPod and since we had nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon, we decided to watch it. We love movies after all :)

Someone please tell me how 'Love Aaj Kal' could’ve been the biggest hit of Saif Ali Khan’s career?? More importantly, what went wrong with Imtiaz Ali?? The man who gave us the refreshing ‘Socha Na Tha’ & the lovable ‘Jab We Met’ (the only movie where I liked Kareena Kapoor) …how could he give such a dud as ‘Love Aaj Kal’? Did the law of averages catch up with him?

I understand the man when he says he’s over JWM but that doesn’t mean he’ll give us such a bad movie. The story of JWM wasn’t exactly path-breaking - just another romantic story - but the execution was brilliant. The contrast between the loud, vivacious, full of herself Geet & the silent brooding Aditya breathed life into the movie.

The things that let 'Love Aaj Kal' down, according to me, were the following:

  1. The execution – JWM’s strength is Love Aaj Kal’s weakness. That Imtiaz Ali belongs to the neo school of cinema that propagates understated scenes & contemporary dialogues shot in surround sound is common knowledge. He had a decent story on hand but he went horribly wrong in executing it. Weaving the story of the young Rishi Kapoor seamlessly into Saif Ali Khan’s story was something new but the movie had little else to offer.

  2. Casting Deepika Padukone – Probably the biggest mistake. Whoever convinced him that she could act!! Deepika Padukone is a terrible actress - she can’t emote, nor modulate her voice. There’s this one scene in the airplane where she’s speaking to Saif Ali Khan on the phone. She’s so terrible in that scene, you want to gag her pretty much! Kareena Kapoor made a lot of noise about why Deepika, and not she, was in the movie....I hear her totally! At least the chick can act.

  3. The decision to make Saif play the young Rishi Kapoor – C’mon, some variety would’ve been nice! There was way too much of Saif in the movie, and for God's sake, he can't speak Punjabi to save his life! His Hindi itself is so anglicized.

If you haven't watched the movie already, stay away from it.

Fex, Drugf, Violenf, Fwearing...Kaminey!!

Sorry for the lisp-ing title y’all. I’m sure you’ve had enough & some more of it by now, but couldn’t resist the low-brow humor.

Moving on to what I thought of the movie – it was good. Quite good, but I do feel critics got slightly carried away in their reviews. I don’t blame them though, given that there hasn’t been a single decent Hindi movie out all of this year.

I won’t get into the plot but I’ll tell you what I liked about the movie…

  1. The realism. Charlie is a small-time crook & that’s what he’s depicted as throughout the movie. He’s never glorified just b/c he is Shahid Kapoor, the hero of the movie, and the Indian audience likes their heroes & heroines to be glorified. Remember the scene where Charlie goes back to his house to get the guitar so he & Mikhail can sell it to the Bangla gangster brothers (right before the face-off between Bhope & Mikhail)? You expect Charlie to be the brave invincible hero who’d give two hoots about Bhope. Instead you’re presented with a Charlie who is timid, maybe even a little scared in front of Bhope, a much bigger crook vis-a-vis Charlie himself. Similarly, Sweety is not a goody-two shoes heroine. She’s fully capable of conning her boyfriend into marrying her. Remember the scene where Guddu agrees to marry her & immediately she gets a call from the priest who would be presiding over the marriage, whom she has already spoken to & made all arrangements? Brilliant! She’s also doesn’t hesitate before lying to her boyfriend, and she’s no shy bride either!

  2. The Bong gangsters – Hallelujah! The Bong gangsters were an innovative concept. Do you remember having seen a movie with a Bong gangster or even a Bong villain in it? I certainly don’t. We’ve had plenty of Maharashtrian & South Indian gangsters but never a Bong gangster!

  3. Loved the fact that Vishal Bharadwaj didn’t feel the need to add subtitles where the dialogues are not in Hindi…dialogues by the Bangla brothers, the drug dealers, Priyanka Chopra’s dialogues in Marathi etc. The audience is left to fend for themselves, and while we may not have understood each & every word, we were able get the gist of the whole thing. That’s showing some respect for the audience’s intellect - an alien concept for Bollywood.

  4. It was great to see a movie where no single character dominated. There was surprisingly not much of Priyanka Chopra (I’m wondering whether she’ll be nominated for an award in the Best Actress category at all). 'Kaminey' was as much about Bhope & Mikhail & Taashi as it was about Guddu or Charlie.

  5. The humor - 'Apna haath Jagannath’ written on the bathroom door, Sweetie having conned Guddu into marrying her & having made all the arrangements already, Guddu getting stuck on Charlie’s name while being interrogated by the cops (he keeps going ‘Ch’, ‘Ch’, ‘Ch’, ‘Ch’ & one of the cops who thinks Guddu is taking them for a ride goes “Ch*****, that’s us!)

I’ve said this before & I’ll it again – Vishal Bharadwaj is just such a talented man!!

What Do You Carry With You?

Big bags are currently 'hotter' than baked potatoes straight out of the oven. Men have been perplexed by what such monstrous bags could contain for quite some time now. Here's my list:

  • Wallet
  • Cheque book
  • Shades
  • Glasses
  • Hair brush
  • Face wash
  • Moisturizer
  • Hand cream
  • Cell phone
  • Sanitary pad
  • Meftalspas
  • Saridon
  • Perfume / deo
  • Book (at most times)
  • Wet wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Face towel
  • Umbrella (during monsoon)
  • Chap stick
  • Gloss
  • Eye liner
  • Pen drive

No wonder my bag weighs a hundred lbs all the time! Anyone out there that can beat me? :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Do I Have the Right?

Boy was out of town all of last week, has hardly spoken to me all of this week & not met up with me even once during the entire week. He gets done early today (Friday night) while I toil away at my laptop & face the most definite prospect of working tomorrow (Saturday), probably late into the night if I want my Sunday off.

He leaves work early without a care for how I’m doing, how much longer I’ll be at work, will I get back home safely etc., and goes beer drinking with his equally useless guy friends. I SMS him twice while he’s guzzling beer & he replies with a one-liner only 2 hours later!

I ask him to sod off & he says I’m getting mad at him because I’m irritated at work! Grrrrrrr…Do I have the right to be hopping mad at him or not??!!!

Because I have an Opinion on Everything

According to the US Customs & Border Protection, SRK was detained for questioning because the promoters of the show that he was going to perform at were under the scanner of law enforcement authorities in UK, US & India for dodgy financial transactions & links with the underworld. Moreover, one of the promoters bears the same name as the London-based leader of Pakistan's Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) party.

Now that the cat is out of the bag (or so we think), here’s my two cents worth.

I think SRK needs to get a life AND a grip on reality. And stop taking the title of ‘King Khan’ (who is above all) so seriously for Chrissake! He might be Shah Rukh Khan on his home turf, but for the US immigration officials he was just one of the million foreigners who enter American soil everyday & who had a red flag against his name.

The officer who stopped him was merely performing his duty – failure of which could have meant his neck on the line, had this “suspicious” foreigner carried out a terrorist attack on America. If anything, we should laud the officer for being vigilant & proactive. But we (Indians) are not used to things like 'vigilance', 'pro-activeness', 'efficiency', 'honesty & integrity in our jobs', 'all people being equal' etc., so I can understand our outrage against the incident. If only our officers were so diligent, we wouldn’t have hundreds of terrorists sneaking into our country every day.

Think about this – there hasn’t been a terrorist attacks on American soil after 9/11. Or in UK after the July 2005 London bombing. Or in Spain after Madrid. While we have been pounded repeatedly since the terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001 – Ghatkopar blast in 2003, Mumbai train blasts in 2006, 26/11. Not to mention the countless smaller blasts that keep taking place in Kashmir & the North-East almost on a daily basis.

Fear psychosis? Sure. About time we had it too.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hail Allegra

The weather in Calcutta right now is playing havoc with my upper respiratory tract.

I developed an upper respiratory allergy about two years ago thanks to ‘big city living’. Bombay gave it to me as a gift when it could’ve gifted me much better things...such as a sea-facing apartment on Bandra Bandstand! I’d never have deserted you in that case Mumbai, you know that right? :)

Apart from the fact that I could be closer to my family (I hail from the cow belt), I moved to Calcutta so I could have a better quality of life...shorter commutes, better work-life balance, a nicer home for a lower rent, no need to depend on local trains more than I would depend on a doctor when I was dying, and a break from my allergies.

Ironically, my work-life balance has gone to the most rabid dogs after moving to Calcutta, my allergy has become much worse & ever-present, and I’ve started getting symptoms I’d never experienced before...breathing trouble, itchy watery eyes, perpetually congested nose, even sinus pain!

My allergy gets aggravated when it’s cold…and hot…and humid. In short, there is never a time of the year when I’m not scratching my eyes or sneezing or blowing out my nose (gross, I know, but better you read about it than having to go through it yourself every day). Thank God for anti-histamines!

But wait a second, anti-histamines are a tricky business. They can get seriously addictive and can themselves trigger an allergic reaction, like nausea & giddiness, as they did in me!

Determined to find a permanent solution to my allergy problem, I decided to visit an allergy specialist – who spent the first ten minutes of our 20 minute consultation extolling himself & his state-of-the-art allergy testing laboratory, the next 20 seconds listening to my symptoms, the following 10 seconds examining me, the next 1 minute writing down allergy tests worth 4 grand & a truck load of medicines he wanted me to take continuously for the next six months, another minute telling me to stay away from pollution, fumes/smoke of any kind, pollen, dust particles outside & inside my home, on my curtains, bed spread, pillow, couch (I forgot to ask him how I'm supposed to manage that), and the remaining 8 minutes convincing me to do all 4k worth of tests on the same day at his grand laboratory – or at least 3k worth if I didn’t have all the dough on me at that moment! Was he a doctor or a (dying to name the community) businessman??? I’m still trying to figure that one out!

I raced out of his cabin faster than I’d walked in with my runny nose, itchy eyes & wheezing lungs, and ran straight to my physician (darling, he is) who told me there was no need to get so many tests done and sent me frolicking home with 3 tablets of Allegra & a nose drop for the next 3 days. May the God of anti-histamines bless your fish-loving Bong soul, Dr N!

The tests? I thought medical science had made technological advancements of monstrous proportions and gone were the days when tests used to be fussy, laborious & time-taking. Apparently not. The test the 'crazy allergy doctor' wanted me to do entailed several days of sitting in his self-proclaimed world-class laboratory where he would inject 207 known allergens into my arm!!! Inject, not spray, mind you. Errrrrr…were his brains out of his Jockey-french-cut -underwear-wearing mind to even think I’d agree to subjecting myself to such torture???

I mean, seriously…207 times??? I’d rather menstruate for 207 days at a stretch! Or maybe not.

Maybe I should turn to homeopathy though I hail from a family of non-believers (read doctors). It did work on my recurring throat infection after all. At least ‘crazy allergy doctor’ gave me the diagnosis.

Scribbler on the Roof

Thank you Knife for my first ever blog award – The Superior Scribbler award! This award is a creation of The Scholastic Scribe.

I’ve been blogging for quite some time now…will complete 2 years in December. But I've never got any awards. It didn’t bother me a bit because I blogged mostly for my own entertainment & because I love to write (Most bloggers ARE aspiring authors, afterall. The ones that are not think of blogging as a waste of time!) The best thing about blogging is that you can get published!

Now that I’ve got my first blogger award, I’m super excited, like a kid that gets a candy when he least expected it!

So, first the rules:

  1. Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
  2. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
  3. Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
  4. Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
  5. Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.


Moving on...Here is my list of the people I'd want to pass this award to. A couple of these people don’t blog anymore (for whatever reason) but they deserve it nonetheless.

Moonshine of ibelieve – I’m proud to claim that I got her initiated into blogging because SHE IS DOWNRIGHT FUNNY! And a friend to boot. I enjoy reading her posts tremendously. These days though she has been blogging with reduced frequency (and she has her excuses in place :). I literally wait for her to post!

Mumbai Diva…Dipika Singh…whatever you want to call her! She’s not a “friend” as such, as in I’ve never met her or spoken to her personally. I stumbled across her blog on one of those days when I had way too much time on my hands than I could kill. I simply love the way she writes. Extremely eloquent & fluid in her writings. She’s from Delhi but she loves Bombay too!

Ashwin of Chaos Chronicles – What can I say, he’s a crazy guy! And random...very very random. Ashwin, if you do still blog somewhere…anywhere…even if you blog only about chainsaws, dark comic strips & demented video games, please pick this up. And give me your URL while you’re at it!

Staarin – Well, she got me initiated into blogging. I’m not sure she blogs anymore but she had a long-running one. If you're still out there chica, pick it up!

Moksh Juneja – Now, this one’s still a blogger...and a celebrity blogger at that! Other bloggers have asked me whether I know Moksh Juneja? When I’ve replied in the affirmative, I’ve been asked “THE Moksh Juneja”? Yes lovelies, "THE" Moksh Juneja. There's one for you, Moxi!

So pick it up & pass it on, party people! And thanks a lot to the people who read me :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Financial Planning in the Times of PMS

(Title inspired by 'Love in the Times of Cholera' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

A was trying to instill better financial discipline in Scarlett. In the middle of the conversation Scarlett starts crying & here’s the conversation that ensued:

A: Why are you crying?????

Scarlett: (Sobbing) You have no idea how long it’s been since I’ve gone shopping or bought something nice for myself!

A: How long?

Scarlett: (Screaming through sobs) Six months!!

A: (With raised eyebrow) Really?

Scarlett: (Completely hysterical) What do you mean ‘really’? It’s been six months! I haven’t bought any clothes or shoes or bags for myself! I’ve only bought a pair of flip flops, that too for 250 bucs!

A: Why haven’t you bought anything?

Scarlett: Because most of my money goes in paying my fat-ass landlord and my student loan and my stupid maid and milk man and newspaper guy and cable guy and my electricity bill and telephone bill and my goddamn investments! It seems I earn just so I can pay people!!!!! And if I go shopping all the time I will not have any savings!

A: (Cautiously) You can go shopping some times.

Scarlett: (Wailing) No I can’t! I can’t!

A: But why?

Scarlett: (Screaming) I just told you why! Don't you understand English?

A: I do! But why are you crying?????

Scarlett: I haven’t been shopping in six months!!!

A: Don’t cry! I’ll take you shopping this weekend. We’ll shop all weekend. You can buy whatever you want. Clothes, bags, shoes…whatever! Just please don’t cry!

Scarlett: (Crying even louder) It’s not about shopping!

A: (Confounded) It isn’t?

Scarlett: No!

A: Then what is it about?

Scarlett: I never seem to have enough money to buy all the things that I want to, in spite of working so hard.

A: So it IS about shopping!

Scarlett: No it’s not! Why can’t you understand!

A: OK…whatever. OK let’s make a plan….but stop crying first…Jesus Christ!

A: OK, here’s the plan…I’ll take you shopping every month & you can buy whatever you want to. But don’t cry!

A: (Hyperventilating, doesn't know what to do) Oh God..Oh God..Oh God…Why are you crying?????

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Halfway There

I’m halfway down the road to losing 10 kgs. I’ve lost 5kgs (11 lbs). Flat.

I didn’t know how I’ll manage to knock off 10 kgs when I started out. Anyone who’s tried losing weight knows just how difficult and frustrating it can be! You can keep sweating it out at the gym & starve yourself to the point of dizziness, without any results. But now I know...losing weight is tough but it’s doable. If you do it the right way, of course. And the right way to shed pounds, while ensuring they don’t find their way right back on to you, is to not kill yourself at the gym or starve!

Ironic, isn’t it?

You don’t need to work out for more than 1-1.5 hours at a time. You just need to do it consistently, under proper guidance, and you need to do both cardio & resistance training. You don’t need to skip meals, go on crash diets or live on fruit juices. You need to eat more frequently than you normally do...about 5-6 small meals a day, but you need to be sensible & careful about what you eat. You need not deprive yourself of food you love either (whatever that may be!), but you need to eat those things in moderation & know where to stop!

A big credit for the -5 goes to A. I was making only half-hearted attempts initially. He was always pushing me to do it (I mean, the man has not an ounce of fat on his body. He isn’t thin either...he’s just perfect...but he still thinks of himself as overweight). He’s gone completely out of his way to drop me at gym on days when I was slacking off...he’s rearranged his plans countless number of times so I could accommodate gym & he could still get to see me...he cut down on eating out himself because I was trying to avoid eating out. So more than myself, I’ve done it for him. And I’ll go the rest of the way too, for him.

In fact, I’m feeling adventurous & think I’ll give myself a stretch target - to lose a total of 12 kgs instead of 10. Howzzat??

Monday, August 10, 2009

'Public Enemies' & Bra Shopping

Yes, you read that right. So those of you who’re not interested in my bra shopping trip this past weekend, or find such a topic offensive, are advised to skip to the second part of this post. Unless you’re also not interested in ‘Public Enemies’, then you can skip this entire post!


I detest bra shopping. I think anyone who’s above a 34B does. Am I right?

I don’t squeal at the sight of sexy lace or cute polka-dotted bras like many other PYTs.

It’s very difficult to find the right bra – one that looks pretty/cute, yet gives your breasts the support they need and gives your body a nice contour. Needless to mention that most bras that do all of the above-mentioned things cost a bomb! But the process of trying one bra after another to find the one that fits right is extremely tiring.

To make matters worse, there are so many companies in India offering a wide range of bras these days, both in terms of designs & style - racer-back, push-up, cross-your-heart, padded, strapless, clear straps, under wired, demi-cup, convertible, multi-way, t-shirt, minimizer, maximizer, shelf, peephole etc. Trial sessions are exhausting!!

This past weekend Marks & Spencer, where bras retail at Rs 1300-1400 a piece, had an up to 60% off sale, including on lingerie, which is a rarity. I needed to buy a couple of t-shirt bras so I went.
The store was a madhouse! Aunties carried armloads of sexy bras into the trial rooms and remained there forever. Frankly speaking, I couldn’t imagine any of them being able to carry off any of those bras. No offence to aunties but I somehow can’t imagine chhachh-drinking thepla-serving aunties with potbellies & hips wider than the state of Texas wearing sexy barely-there bras.

And this one aunty told her husband to kindly stay away from the bra section of the store while she shopped for bras. I’m sure they were married for more than 20 years!

AND…what’s with lecherous middle-aged men with pot-bellies & oiled hair standing in the bra section, leching at women buying bras??!!! It’s sickening! They make you so uncomfortable…it seems their tongue would hang out any moment.

So did I find the right bra? Yes, I did! It was a steal too, considering it’s a Marks & Spencer bra. I got 2 for 1400 bucs, where as each of them individually would’ve cost about that much without the sale. So yayyy!!


On a totally separate note, I watched ‘Public Enemies’ this weekend. Had to b/c of Johnny Depp. The movie revolves around the notorious bank robber of the Depression era (1930s), John Dillinger, who became such a huge problem for the United States government that they had to get the FBI involved in capturing him “dead or dead”. Of course, as in all movies that have the battle between vice & virtue as their pivot, this movie too has a predictable ending, but the cat & mouse game keeps you engaged. More than that you marvel at the self-confidence of the outlaw – manifested in the number of times he escapes from jail, walks into the room of the ‘Dillinger Hunting Squad’ at the Chicago Police Department (without a disguise), asks for the score of the baseball game & walks out, and how he sneaks out undetected (again without disguise) even when he’s surrounded by the police!

I won’t rave about the movie but I found it reasonably good. It’s engrossing throughout, has a brilliant background score & a smoldering Johnny Depp (no surprises there :). Christian Bale (Batman) was suitably subdued. Marion Cotillard is far prettier in real life than she’s looked in the movie.

If you love Johnny Depp, go watch it! The movie is no ‘Finding Neverland’, ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ or ‘Charlie & the Chocolate Factory’ but it’s still worth watching for Johnny Depp.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Truth Is Out There

The title of this post is borrowed from one of my all-time favorite shows: The X-Files. It was a cult show where all (female) fans lusted after Fox Mulder, and desperately prayed that Mulder & Scully would hook up by the end of the show – which unfortunately didn't happen.

The subject of this post, however, is quite different – the reality show ‘Sach Ka Saamna’, the Indian adaptation of ‘Moment of Truth’.

The show has created quite a controversy in India, to the extent that it was discussed even in the Parliament! Television shows are apparently more important than issues of national importance. Imagine that!!

The show was criticized for being anti-Indian “culture”, whatever that is!

I’m not even going to get into the “culture” argument here. I just have one point to make in this regard – as long as the participant, who is an adult, has no problems spilling out intimate details of his private life on national television, I don’t think anyone else should.

If you find the show offensive, don’t watch it. If you think it’s unsuitable for your children to watch, don’t allow them to.

In short, a group of people cannot dictate what the entire country gets & doesn’t get to watch.

My issue – or rather wonderment – is with the people who choose to appear on the show.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that the show host knows the most private details of the contestants' lives - things relating to their marriage, sex life, familial relationships, reproductive history etc. Questions that if answered “truthfully” (as decided by the polygraph) can break their homes. Obviously the contestants must be sharing such personal details with the people behind the show, before appearing on the show itself. What makes them do that??

A friend of mine said that fame and the desire to be on national television make people come on the show. I think that applies more to shows such as Roadies, Splitsvilla etc., and isn't the driving force as far as this show is concerned.

I think it’s money that gets people on this show. Which brings me to my question - are 5 or 10 lakh rupees worth devastating your entire life for?

I wouldn’t think so, but apparently there are people in this country that do!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Damn the Kids

Let me say this unequivocally – I hate Indian kids being brought up in America. I have seen enough of them in my family & in families known to us to come to this conclusion.

Two of my cousins – one 8, the other 10 – are visiting from the US. My aunt (their mother) decided to spend a day with my sister & me and got them along. The kids are obnoxious! They would want coke & chips in the middle of nowhere and would throw a tantrum till they got it! They made a mess of my house…walked all over the place with dirty shoes. They were about to jump on my bed with their shoes on when I shrieked!! They dropped coke & pasta all over my house, dropped food on my laptop, and this morning I found tassels pulled out of my rug!!

The funny thing is that American kids are not so ill-behaved. They’re taught to behave themselves in front of other people, but Indians abroad tend to spoil their kids. They feel guilty about not being able to spend enough time with their kids as they’re working – something that wouldn’t have happened in India. The concept of letting kids grow with nannies or at a crèche is still relatively new in India. Kids are left with their grandparents if moms are working.

Or they feel that if they’re able to afford things for their kids that their parents couldn’t for them, why shouldn’t they let their kids have those things? They don’t realize how irreparably they’re spoiling their kids.

It’s so important to bring your kids up right. The way you raise them will ultimately reflect in the kind of human beings they turn out to be. That’s a huge responsibility. When they grow up, the things they do will not only impact their lives but also those of others they come in contact with & society as a whole. Strangely, people never think of it like that. They want to have kids just for the heck of it…just because that’s the thing to do, a natural progression after marriage.

As far as I am concerned, I think kids stop being cute by the time they’re 4-5 years old, and turn into a menace. A pain. I don’t think I want kids, insensitive as that may sound. No, I’m pretty sure I don’t.

P.S.: I loved it when Alan from 'The Hangover' went..."I'm not allowed within 200 ft. of a school...or Chuck E. Cheese"

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Parlez Vous Francais? Oui, un petit peu

French is a romanticized language across the world. It's the langage de l'amour. It's the language they speak in Paris.

I always wanted to learn French, so when I realized that my college had a foreign language requirement (which I could've gotten out of as I could speak Hindi fluently) I saw it as an opportunity to learn French and grabbed it with both hands.

I don't know if there's any truth to this but there is a myth that a human brain has the most trouble learning a third language. Thereafter it becomes easy, as in the brain can process successive languages with more ease.

Maybe there is some truth to this, or maybe French is just a difficult language to learn, particularly as an adult. I would go with the second argument, given that the French only pronounce half their words & sentences, and the pronunciations in no way reflect their spellings!

I had a very tough time picking up the language while kids in my class chattered away in French. Most of them had already learnt Spanish in high school, and that made learning French easier for them since the two languages share a number of common or similar words. Also, it didn't help that my French classes were held in the gloomy, dimly lit basement of the foreign language building.

My instructor, an American of French origin, would sashay into class every single day and start chattering in French. She wore a peculiar perfume that to this day reminds me of her. I guess I started associating that perfume with my French classes, and I cringe when I smell it around me even now!

The classes were still bearable - we'd watch French movies, do group exercises etc. The excruciating part was the practice sessions where we sat in isolated cubicles with a headphone on - we would have to write down what we heard on the tape and record some of our answers to questions asked by the voice on the tape recorder.

I was not very good at French, and I hated it more because it was a language I really wanted to learn. What made it more frustrating was that the French that is taught in classes in America does not prepare you to understand the way the French speak the language! I suffered through it for 2 years but I don't have much to show for it.

So I've been thinking of brushing up my French and am considering enrolling for French classes at Alliance Francaise. I can probably jump the Beginner's level and start with Intermediate French. But I also really want to learn Spanish. If you ask me, I think Spanish is a much prettier language. French is quite guttural at the end of the day, though not as guttural as German.

So...French or Spanish? Help me!