Monday, May 31, 2010

Shrek...Forever & Ever & Ever & Ever....

It’s got to be said - boys are fun but girl friends are mind blowing fun!

You can discuss the world with girl friends - from shoes to bags to clothes to the current hottest lip color to your ever expanding waistline to your love life to George Clooney & Brad Pitt to the dreamboat vegetarian vampire who can make any woman of any shape & size go week in the knees to other friends' girlfriends/boyfriends to the latest gossip - without them rolling their eyes or chiding you for indulging in gossip.

You can never discuss such things with boys without feeling like swatting them with whatever you can lay your hands on because they would either be rolling their eyes faster than a yoyo or worse still, gagging, totally disrespecting your need to honor the estrogen in your body. Lots of it if you're PMSing.

Over coffee on Friday evening, one of my girl friends & I made plans to spend Saturday together doing “girly stuff” which involved shopping (surprise!), movie & dinner.

We met up after lunch on Saturday and headed out to shop. I needed to buy a pair of sunglasses, she a pair of shoes for everyday wear that she wouldn’t mind ruining in the rains.

I ended up with: 2 pairs of sunglasses (one from Idee, a Guess house brand, and another from Van Heusen that criss cross in front like an elongated 8 and is a design I’ve been in loooooooooove with for the longest time), 2 party tops, 2 casual tops, 2 nude lip glosses from L’Oreal & Maybelline (I now have 3 nude lip glosses, someone please explain to me why!), an Aqua Blue shimmer eye pencil from Chambor, a Maybelline smoky eyes eye shadow, and a whole bunch of lingerie that you don't need to know the number or price of!

Well, lingerie is an investment, right? RIGHT?

Here’s what my friend bought: A pair of stilettos she didn’t need, a handbag she didn’t need, a perfume, two casual tops and a pair of jeans she wasn’t planning on buying! Of course, she couldn't find the one thing she needed to buy. Don't you know that always happens? Don't you?

See how much fun hanging out with girlfriends can be! Never mind it usually ends up burning a hole in your pocket. We look at it as an "investment", and we're not cribbing about our boyfriends most of the time that we spend shopping, so it's good for our relationship too!!

Armed with our shopping bags, we went to watch ‘Shrek Forever After’. The security at the multiplex obviously thought it would be too much trouble going through so many shopping bags (rare breed of sensible people working at the mall, I tell ya) and didn’t bother to frisk us. Did I tell you I loved the movie? Seriously, how could critics give it such bad reviews?

They either didn't understand the movie (I swear that's possible. A friend of mine thought the movie was about Shrek day dreaming!) or aren't Shrek fans to begin with!

The story goes something like this: Shrek is bored of the whole feeding-burping-the-baby-and-nappy-changing routine his life has become and yearns for the time when he was a “real” ogre that could scare villagers and that people were afraid of. Rumplestiltskin, the evil guy who wants to seize the kingdom of Far Far Away, tricks him into believing that he can give Shrek one such day again and makes him sign a contract. Shrek falls for the trick, only to realize that Rumple has sent him into a world where ogres are hunted, none of his real-life friends like Donkey & Puss-In-Boots know him, and where Fiona is not his wife but a warrior princess leading the rebellion of the ogres against Rumple. Shrek's only way out is to make Fiona fall in love with him and share a “true love's kiss” with him. And he has one night to do it! Unfortunately for him, she is completely focussed on her mission and does not entertain any distractions.

Isn’t this a cute story? It kept me engrossed and rooting for Shrek throughout.

The 3D factor doesn’t really add much to the movie experience but 'Shrek Forever After' is just as cute as the previous installments, has plenty of ‘awwwwww’ moments and is totally watchable, if only for the fact that this is the last of the adorable Shrek movies. And I'm a HUGE Shrek Fan (not in size, only in degree :)

Sunday was spent at home sifting through my previous day’s shopping, passing out repeatedly looking at the bills, undergoing a massive guilt trip for splurging on totally unnecessary things, watching ‘Love Actually’ for like the 100th time to get me over the depression resulting from the guilt, watching ‘Twilight’ on Star Movies just 'coz it's an overly gooey, trashy, chick flick that's sure to get your hormones in overdrive, devouring cheese & pepperoni pizza, and reading a thriller that I’m currently reading.

The highlight of my Sunday: I got the pizza absolutely free! Here’s how my conversation with the pizza guy went when I called them after an hour of ordering:

Time of calling: 10.30pm

Me: You guys are supposed to deliver in 30 mins right? It’s been 1 hour and my pizza is still not here. And your shop is 5 minutes from my house!
Pizza Guy: M'am, the delivery boy must have got caught in the traffic.
Me: At 10.30 in the night? In a residential area?
Pizza Guy: Uh…erm…m'am, it’s election day today!
Me: Please tell me which part of town people are voting in, at this time? You’re giving me the pizza for free.
Pizza Guy: No m'am, I can't.
Me: Excuse me? Your policy is 30 mins or free! Is it not? IS IT NOT?
Pizza Guy: Uh....okay m'am, we’ll settle it between the two of us.
Me: Oh, I’m not settling anything mister. It’s free or I complain to your headquarters.

And that’s how I got my free pizza!

And no, I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it because these are the same guys who had refused to deliver to my place once when I had called them 5 mins after the time of their last order, saying they won’t deliver because I’m not their regular customer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So much for customer service.

What about you? Did you like 'Shrek'? And how was your weekend?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Place Where I Can Spend My Entire Life...

A few days ago The Knife put up a post on his blog asking people about their idea of a coffee shop. I wrote in a lengthy response. Of course. I always have a lot to say :)

This post has been inspired by The Knife.

Coffee shops are one of my favorite places to hang out at. Much like book shops. Whether it is to meet a friend or read a book over a cup of piping hot coffee, I can spend hours at a coffee shop. I have.

Some of my fondest memories are tied to coffee shops. Grabbing a breakfast of bagel, cream cheese & coffee with a shot of Irish Cream/Hazelnut flavor before heading to class…killing time before classes at The Daily Grind / Bulls Head Bookshop…spending hours studying for my exams or hanging out with friends at Caribou Coffee…trudging to Starbucks at 6.30am (yes, they open that early, they're not in India!!) for a final round of revision before my 8 ‘o’ clock exam!

These coffee shops were friendly and kind. They let you hang out for hours as long as you kept ordering something every couple of hours. And wouldn’t hustle you out or ask if they can get your bill as soon as you’ve drained your first cup, a phenomenon that Indian coffee shop regulars would be only too familiar with.

Indian coffee shops are abominable. They make me want to grind and French Press the heads of the owner as well as the waiters and dump it in the can! Not to mention the coffee they serve is atrocious.

Here’s my list of what I want in a coffee shop, if you care to read…

  1. CONSISTENCY CONSISTENCY CONSISTENCY. A mocha should taste the same every time I order it. It shouldn’t be ODing on chocolate one time and bitter with coffee another time. A latte should have the same amount of milk every time.

  2. The music should be played at a level that lets people make conversation or read their book or work on their laptop, things that people go to a coffee shop for in the first place!! No one goes to a coffee shop to listen to music. No one wants to have to yell to be heard by someone sitting across the table, either. For that we would go to a club.

  3. No Bollywood music please. And definitely not Bollywood music from the 80s!! Most Bollywood music is trashy and we get to hear enough & more of it on radio and the numerous TV channels that have a habit of playing songs on loop. Give us some international music…retro, pop, hip hop, reggae, Spanish, Latin American, Cuban…the possibilities are endless.

  4. Waiters that aren't retards, can understand the customer’s order, get it right the first time and can answer questions about the coffee that they serve. I also can’t fathom why coffee shop waiters insist on speaking to you in English when they can’t understand it or speak a single sentence correctly! It baffles me. I mean, come on, I’m Indian, you’re Indian. I can speak Hindi (or whatever local language) and so can you. So talk to me in a language that you understand because it makes me very very angry when you mess up my order because you don’t fucking understand or speak English!!

  5. HOT COFFEE SHOULD BE SERVED HOT, NOT LUKEWARM. Contrary to what you may tell me about cappuccinos having originated in Europe where they prefer it lukewarm, there’s nothing more putting off than lukewarm coffee. This too makes me very very angry. And for God’s sake, your waiters don’t even know the difference between a Latte & a Mocha, like they would really know how Europeans like their cappuccino! (I kid you not, I once asked a waiter the difference between two types of coffees mentioned on their menu, and his answer was “Mam, this is coffee and that is also coffee”!!!!!)

  6. Black coffee should taste bitter & strong, not like tasteless hot water. For that, I'll drink boiled Pepsi. Neither should a cappucino or a latte taste like milk. I'd drink milk for free at home if that's what I wanted. Don't skimp on the coffee!!

  7. Coffee shops shouldn't hustle customers to order more or get the hell out as soon as they're done with their coffees. Don’t start clearing away their table or asking them if you can get their bill as soon as they’re done. Give them some time.

I like my coffee shops to have a quaint feel to them, to have soothing yellow lighting, not too bright, comfortable seating, and to play Christmas carols around Christmas time. But then that might be asking too much of Indian coffee shops when they seem to be centuries away from getting their basics right.

Image Courtesy:,,,



I watched 'Kites' after work on Friday. 8pm show. First day of release. And the theater was half-empty!

I may have nothing new to add to what’s already been said about the movie all over the papers & the internet, but I didn’t pay 310 bucs for nothing! So I’m going to trash the movie even more.

Here’s a quick no-brainer - What does it mean when you let off a man who's obsessed with killing you and has been chasing you tirelessly throughout the country, a country as big as the United States at that, and when you finally have him in your trap, you let him off by saying “Main tumhe maarne nahin, samjhaane aaya hoon. Mera peechha chhod do”? And then you let him off, just like that!

It means you will die and so will the others with you. And that’s exactly what happens in 'Kites'. Our hero is obviously stupid, and thanks to his stupidity he dies and so do his wife and his best friend.

There are many other loopholes in the story. How can a man have 11 legal marriages? How come the entire Las Vegas police department is running around the country along with the villian who's chasing the hero & heroine? Do they have nothing better to do? How can the unarmed hero single-handedly cause multiple police car crashes, roll cars off trailers onto police cars, jump from one moving vehicle to another, jump from a car he's driving onto a hot air balloon that's already in the air etc. while the cops are dying away like flies?

Then there are hilarious dialogue such as “Mujhe desert mein akela marne ke liye chhod gayi?”

And then there’s Hritik Roshan’s hideous attempt at doing an American accent. I say ‘hideous’ and not miserable, because I don’t think he tried hard enough in the first place. And that’s what gets me up the wall - Indian actors boast so much about being talented and dedicated and committed to their craft & their profession, but when the time comes to put in an effort to portray a character convicingly, most of them don’t go that extra mile. If you’re showing an Indian as an American citizen, implying that he was either born in America or moved there at a very young age, he should speak with an American accent. Not some strange put-on accent.

So what was the undoing of 'Kites', according to me?

An intelligent filmmaker (Anurag Basu) directing a massy, nonsensical movie written by Rakesh Roshan, to show off his son's green eyes & six pack abs. The plot hangs by the thread, and that’s a real shame given that 'Kites' is based on a beautiful and very original premise – that kites always soar in pairs and one always ends up bringing the other down.

They could have had a gripping story about love and betrayal had they tweaked it a little bit and executed it better. The story was right up Anurag Basu's alley. In fact, he could’ve made the same movie in his own style - gritty, low budget and made with the aim of telling a story and not paying homage to Hritik Roshan's good looks & rippled abs - and done a very good job of it!

The best thing about 'Kites' is Barbara Mori. She's really pleasant on the eyes, emotes well despite the language barrier and puts in a restrained performance even in the most emotional & dramatic scenes. Not shrieking, yelling over the top like our Indian actresses, Kajol included.

PS: On an aside, multiplex tickets have become ridiculously high. 310 bucs for the fifth row from the screen!! To sit amidst popcorn & soft drink glasses littered all over the place!! They don't even bother to clean the theater before the next show. And I’m talking about Fame Adlabs, not some small time local multiplex. So Fame Adlabs, you guys suck. I think I am going to revolt - given the care-a-damn attitude of the staff at Indian multiplexes, I'm going to refuse to pay anything above 200 bucs for a movie. They don't deserve a penny more.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The View From My Bedroom Window

This is what I see when I look out my bedroom window on a rain-soaked day...

On a Spring morning, these trees are laden with white & pink bougainvilleas.

I guess there's hope yet in this world :)

Monday, May 17, 2010


...with hideous shoes thrown in at the end. Mallika Sherawat at Cannes 2010. I am speechless.

Cannes-t Get It Right

What can I say except that it’s a shame that women who’re in the glamour industry and who have a retinue of designers and stylists designing for them and styling them, cannot get their act right. At the biggest red carpet events at that.

Aishwarya Rai’s first appearance at the Cannes Film Festival 2010 in a pale blue Elie Saab Couture gown was a disaster.

There were a number of problems with her look:

  1. That gown is meant for someone thinner and more toned than Aishwarya Rai, currently. She looks like she’s gained quite a bit of weight recently, which is fine. Totally fine. But the fit of that gown is very unflattering on her. It makes her look podgy and highlights her big hips. She should’ve chosen a gown that suited her current body type better and congealed the flab.
  2. The color of the gown on her skin tone, along with the mute make-up, make her look completely washed out. She should’ve gone with a pink/pink-purple lipstick. A little bit of pink, rather than nude, on the cheeks wouldn’t have hurt either. L’Oreal generally does a much better job of her as far as her make-up is concerned, so I’m surprised.
  3. THE HAIR! THE HAIR!! THE HAIR!!! L’Oreal needs to shoot their stylist. NOW!

Her second appearance was MUCH better in comparison, but she still doesn’t quite cut it for me.

This gown again highlights her big hips and fully exposes her untoned shoulders/chest/arms. An off-shoulder gown with an empire waistline or a silhouette that’s more clean & structured from top to toe would be more flattering on her.

Aishwarya Rai did give us a fab look later which is up on my Ab Fab blog!

All said and done, I’m surprised that L’Oreal’s stylists mess her up so bad at Cannes almost every year. If it's not the outfit (remember the parrot green Neeta Lulla horror?), it's the hair!

I think Aishwarya Rai should seriously consider traveling with her own stylist - one who can give her an international look given that it's Cannes and she goes there as one of L'Oreal's brand ambassadors and not a representative of India/Bollywood per se. Afterall, she looks much better at events in India. Her stylists know what looks good on her and what doesn’t, where as L’Oreal’s stylists may not understand her face/body type so well given that they are more used to European/American faces & body types. And come on, after being in the industry for years, Aishwarya Rai should know what works on her & what doesn’t!

Deepika Padukone also made a Red Carpet appearance but in a sari, an off-white & gold Rohit Bal saree to be precise.

The saree itself is nothing exquisite, and it's more suitable for a formal dinner or wedding.

Secondly, it's tied too low (that large expanse of midriff does not look very elegant with a sari). The pallu is pulled up too tight and falls unevenly at the back. The blouse looks like it’ll ride up any minute! (Someone please explain to me why she's jutting her chest out in that picture?) Even her make-up is amateurish – the base is unevenly spread (notice the dark areas around her mouth).

I feel Deepika Padukone should have worn a gown on the red carpet. She has a very Western body structure – tall & lean – she would’ve looked good in a strapless gown.

What are your thoughts on these appearances?

Photo courtesy:,,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Square Watermelons

Yes, these are watermelons! They grow square watermelons in Japan!!
They grow them inside square glass cases, so they can fit easily into a refrigerator and you can stack things on them.
Aren’t they just so cute? You can, like, sit on them!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Pertinent Question

The Boy is forever perplexed by the question - Why do women check other women out?!!

In case you haven't noticed, we do. All the time. And the answer is simple - we don't check out the women, per se. We check out what they're wearing - the clothes, their shoes, the bag they're carrying, and their sense of style in general.

The Boy then goes on to make a very relevant point - if women are busy checking other women out, when do they check men out? And do they notice men checking them out?

Yes, we do. Both. Did no one tell you women are great at multi-tasking?!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

I Am So Thankful...

...for a boy who notices when I get a hair cut or am wearing new clothes, will happily go shopping with me - rather insists he accompany me on all my shopping expeditions because he thinks he has a better sense of what suits my body type than I do. Which I'd say is partially true because I've been known to buy something just because it has a great color/print and may not really suit my body type or is a size smaller, in the hope of becoming thin and fitting into it some day!

He has the patience of a mother and the interest of an art lover buying art, when it comes to shopping. The only time it isn't fun is when we're walking around malls for close to 6 hours, without food or water, because he wants to buy himself a pair of jeans, and we haven't bought a single pair by the end of it!!

And you want to know what's worse? Him picking out slinky, barely-there dresses for me that are two sizes too small. And then cribbing about how fat I am...and that I don't gym enough...and I eat out too often...and I don't do the only thing he has ever asked of me (ie., go to the gym regularly)...and look at that girl in that slinky little dress...and when will you become thin enough to fit into them? And then sulking about it till the cows come home (you'd think I should be the one sulking after such mean comments).

Sometimes I wish I had a boy who couldn't tell an LBD from a maternity dress. But I? :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Thousand Splendid Suns

I loved Khaled Hosseini's 'The Kite Runner'. The line "For you, a thousand times over" followed by the image of a boy walking with drops of blood trailing behind him will stay with me my entire life. I get goose bumps thinking about that scene from the movie adaptation of the book.

Still, I was a little hesitant to read Hosseini's second book, "A Thousand Splendid Suns". It's been out for a while but I never bought it because of two reasons - a) The premise of a mother-daughter story did not interest me much, and b) Everyone I knew who'd read the book said it wasn't as good as 'The Kite Runner'. Still, there was a little part of me that wanted to read it, and a very dear friend of mine gifted it to be on my birthday. And so I read the book.

'A Thousand Splendid Suns' is the story of a middle-aged woman and a teenager in war-ravaged Afghanistan who are forcibly thrown together by circumstances and develop a mother-daughter bond over time that culminates in immense sacrifices on both their parts. It's the story of the hardships, the brutality, and the deprivation they endure under the Taliban rule. Mostly the brutality at the hands of men. And they don't even have a way out.

The book will not touch your heart or move will wrench your heart. It's made me eternally grateful for the part of world, the religion, the family I've been born into. I really truly lucked out. We've heard stories of injustices towards women under Taliban rule, but if the book is anything to go by, very few other communities would have faced the kind of atrocities that Afghan women have.

Most of you would have read the book, and for those who haven't I'm not going to put any spoilers in here. Because I think it's a beautiful book, one you should experience for yourself. Maybe not as haunting as 'The Kite Runner', but it's beautifully written. And it's very very depressing. Just when you think you've read the worst, it makes you plunge further into depression.

I finished the book a couple of days ago but I'm still not ready to read another one. Don't think I will be for a while. I tried - I picked up another seemingly mellow book thinking I might as well read it while I was in that state of mine. Couldn't. Picked up a funny book, couldn't read that either. I need to let 'A Thousand Splended Suns' seep out of my system before I can let another in. Just that I don't know how long it'll take!

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Every once in a while you hear something that is as outrageous as it is hilarious.

According to an Iranian cleric, "Many women who dress inappropriately cause youths to go astray, taint their chastity and incite extra-marital sex in society, which increases earthquakes".

Yes, earthquakes…no less. Maybe this is the reason behind earthquakes almost on a daily basis in California! The fault line that runs down the state has nothing to do with it.

Who needs geologists when we have religious fundamentalists to explain nature's phenomena?

And of course, the pure innocent things that men are, they have no contribution towards these earthquakes whatsoever.

The cleric has also said that calamities are the result of people's deeds, and we have no way but to conform to Islam to ward off dangers. Therefore, every woman, regardless of her religion or nationality, must cover her hair and bodily contours in public and offenders should get punished.

Isn’t that such a delightful thing to hear in today’s day & age?

To protest against this, on April 26, women across the world came out of their homes minimally dressed and the day was celebrated as ‘Boobquake Day’. And what do you know...Taiwan did face a 6.5 magnitude earthquake on that day!!

I’m just thinking….can you imagine how much extra-marital sex needs to happen simultaneously around the world to cause an earthquake? A hell of a lot, nay? ;)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Loyalty Test

People are so warped. And stupid. Take Dimpy Ganguly-Mahajan for example.

Dimpy-Ganguly Who, you ask?

Well, this is the woman who risked getting humiliated to her bone on national prime-time television by appearing on a contest to marry the drug addict, alleged (ex) wife-beater Rahul Mahajan. If that wasn’t proof enough of her warped-ness, here’s more…she subjected her husband, who she married at the expense of earning various colorful epithets from co-contestants, to a loyalty test via ‘Emotional Atyachar’.

For those who don’t know, ‘Emotional Atyachar’ is a “reality” show that subjects one half of a couple to a loyalty test by planting a bait of the opposite sex. If you agree to ride the bait (pun intended, of course), you are finito. In Rahul Mahajan’s case the bait was Nikunj Malik, one of the women who he had short-listed to marry him on his retarded marriage show.

Dimpy, who must be exceptionally intelligent thanks to all the feesh she must have eaten while growing up in Kolkata, came up with a very innovative reason for putting her husband through the test. According to her, she was sick of being asked about Rahul Mahajan’s loyalty towards her by the media. So she decided to put all questions…and rumors of his infidelity…to rest by nominating him for this show. “Unknown to him”, of course. And he was "surprised but very understanding" when he found out that the entire thing was a set-up. Of course.

And of course, we also understand that there was no planning, no collusion between Dimpy & Rahul Mahajan on this. That Rahul Mahajan was not aware that he was participating in a reality show. That this wasn't a way for the couple to make some quick money while Rahul Mahajan grovels at the feet of senior BJP leaders to let him contest the next elections.

The things people do on getting famous! I wonder what Dimpy would've done had Rahul Mahajan taken the bait? Would she have divorced him? Howled & wailed like a true Bhartiya nari who worships her husband? Or pounced on Nikunj Malik live on TV for a full fledged tear-each-other's-clothes-out cat fight?

Now that would've made millions of men happy. Beer, the TV remote and two women getting on with it in front of them...what more do men want?

PS: If what Dimpy claims is true, and Rahul Mahajan really didn't know he was being set up, I must hand it to the girl. She really is intelligent. She's gotten back at her husband for the potential humiliation he put her through on his marriage show, on the same platform. Moral of the story? Eat more fish!

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Read this.

Speaks volumes about us as a people. The TRPs of this show - whatever show it is - are undoubtedly pushed up by aunties who're frustrated with cooking, cleaning, multiple child-rearing & and pot-bellied, fat ass, lazy husbands, and by mid-age crisis sticken uncles who don't get any "action" at home and therefore, like to see women getting beaten up, exploited and oppressed (it's their perverted, indirect revenge on womankind).

I'm thanking God for a mom who sticks to movies on television (honestly, I'd much rather she watch cheesy Hindi movies of the 70s/80s than such regressive shows), and a dad whose TV viewing habits revolve around Nat Geo, Discovery & Animal Planet.