Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are you a "Snob"?

A consultant (of a different ethnic origin) - let's call him GJ - joined our team today. (These consultants are rotated around projects in our organization.)

The Manager goes around introducing him to the team and in the process walks up to my desk.

Manager: GJ, meet Anu. Her area of responsibility is blah blah blah.

GJ: Yes, yes I know Anu, I had worked with her when she was a snob.

Manager: Snob??!!!

Me: (Thinking hard - what aspect of my behavior would be perceived as "snobbish"????)

GJ: You know when she joined - she came from XYZ company - I was the one who explained all about ABC project - she was a total snob see.

After a prolonged garbled explanation it turns out that GJ thought the word "snob" meant someone who's had industry experience but has joined a new team or company.

Don't ask - I don't know how he came up with that one!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Kolaveri - My 2 Cents

What can I say - "Why this Thalaevazhi (headache) di?"

But I am not going to talk more about it. It's garnered more than enough publicity right?

This brings to mind "Cotton Eye Joe". The very first time we heard the song we thought it had something to do with "Katmandu". Now that was a catchy song...

And of course not to forget this:

What's your 2 cents?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tell it to the Trees


why not tell it to the crows - more "Indian" don't you think?

Okay for you guys wondering what I am talking about its- Anita Rau Badami's "Tell it to the Trees" - new novel.

Reference to the crows comes from another book "Crow Lake" by Mary Lawson.

Crow Lake is about a young girl, living in an isolated rural community trying to come to terms with her parent's sudden death in a car crash. Closely woven in this tale is that of an violently abusive father. The countryside is beautiful, lonely and cold...

Tell it to the Trees - no surprises here - is about a young girl whose mother is killed in a car accident. Closely woven in this tale is that of an violently abusive father. The countryside is beautiful, lonely and cold...

There is a depth of emotion, a delicate balance of sibling dynamics and a magnificent use of winter weather in "Crow Lake". Above all the novel ends awash in a resurgence of hope and successfully ties up loose ends in a subtle yet satisfying manner.

Unfortunately "Tell it to the Trees" has none of that intelligent plotting or story telling. The sickening element makes further mockery of the book. The only good thing I can say about it is that yep Badami knows how to construct good sentences - but that is about it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My Dad could have been CEO but he's a Janitor Now


He just HAD to see me perform "Twinkle Twinkle" or shoot the incredulously, amazing, terrific, unbelievable goal that won the match for our Little-Guys-Playing-In-The-Neighborhood-Park game just 1 second before the closing bell.

And to get there:

1) Dad gave up the opportunity of a lifetime
2) He ran 20,000 miles in under 6 seconds, swam in shark-infested waters, broke a Dinosaur's neck, was given 10,000 traffic citations and so on
3) He and Mommy almost broke up - but just cause he made it to the concert/game Mommy forgave him and gave up our handsome super rich neighbor next door (stupid woman)
4) Theoretically we are all supposed to live happily ever after - can you imagine doing that on a Janitor's paycheck?

I really wish Hollywood would STOP making movies with this theme. I was just thinking if this were in real-life it would be so much better for the whole family if Dad did grab that opportunity. He would be a happier man and in turn his family would benefit. As for Junior he'd forget all about that silly unimportant concert/game.

Here's the trailer from one such movie...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Down the path to DD nostalgia...

Remember the original Liril Girl?

This is what is looks like now...

Remember the Zing Thing?

...And who hasn't mocked 'I am a Complan Boy/Girl"

Good old Bajaj...

...and who can forget lil ol "keech keech"???

(DD - Doordarshan - state owned TV - the only available channel in India - those many years back)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hindi Song and a Scot Writer

Resist the urge to Google and try answer this question.

Do you know which Alistair Maclean, Sharmila Tagore is reading in this song?

After a good deal of play-rewind-play and pause I finally got the name of the book. (Then I did Google to confirm it.)

I really loved reading Alistair Maclean and Desmond Bagely through high school. Although "Where Eagles Dare" and the Navarone books are more popular - I prefer "Fear is the Key", "Bear Island" and "Ice Station Zebra". And when I was watching "Inglorious Basterds" - it did bring back some memories of Navarone. I liked all of Bagley's books and "The Viverio Letter" somehow sticks in my head.

Parents and teachers were most happy to let us read these books since there were absolutely no sexplicit scenes in those books and we were almost always taken to see the movies.

My mom was rather particular about what I was reading those days. When I graduated from Maclean to Sidney Sheldon (fortunately for me the books I got had very sober jacket covers) I got away with a "You know this book is very much like that Navarone book" and my Mom not really being into books was gullible enough to swallow that and was quite happy to let it go considering I was not reading those trashy Mills & Boon.

Little did she know that it actually would have been better for me to have read the M&B for I must point out that those days Mills & Boon at least had some semblance of a story, instead of the semi-porny trashy stuff that was spewed out later!

The book in the song is "When Eight Bells Toll" - no never read it - hoping to get my hands on it...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rest in Peace...

The world has lost a really innovative thinker!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Then and Now

Okay - before we start: Just when you thought it was safe to get into the H2O...when guess what - dear Brad (is the) Pitt(s) has a movie coming out and what do you know all the gossip rags are full of Jen-Angie-Brad. From "She threatened to pull my nose" to "She withheld my Botox shots"...

Okay forget about that lot.

Now let's have a look at some nice images shall we? (Click for larger view)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Horror Movies ...(shudder)

Me and horror movies/books like to keep a good distance - like the distance between the moon and earth.

I remember being very very brave and reading "Omen" - of course yours truly couldn't get through the night despite the night light and the fact my parents room was next door.

Then some years later I saw "Evil Dead". I know in retrospect that movie is more of a slasher flick than a truly creepy horror movie - but at that time - it really scared me to the core. At night I couldn't even get to open the closet door.

(Author must mention she was well below 15 when aforementioned took place.

Then some years later - I was married with a home of my own to run and manage when the dear husb went away on a business trip. I was watching some inane Tamil channel and sure enough appears a Poojari (priest) about to invoke a ghost or some such thing. I am desperately hunting for the remote with eyes glued to the TV Screen - my brain so frozen that it does not occur to me to A) Close my eyes or B) Walk up to the TV and turn it off.

Several years later now a mother and all I sit with my kid trying to appear nonchalant as we watch The Mummy. Someone above must really like me - it was so ludicrous and full of laughs - and Mamma manages to pull off a petard.

But dear folks there is no way that you will get me to watch The Ring or Paranormal Activity and the like.

What about you all - are you brave or cowardly like me?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Faking Honesty

I'm talking about the honest "moments of truth" from our dear celebrities.

When the one who still-can't-get-over-her-divorce 'friend'ly girl-next-door turned 40, she announced on one of the shows that she was freaked out to see a gray hair. Really my dear? You bleach, color, perm and do all manner of acrobatics with you hair and you think its "cool" to admit to graying hair???

Then our Oscar winnah was gushing about how swimming in the waters of a certain lake-river-creek-whatever - must have enabled her sterile self to get pregnant and she was soooooooooo surprised and never expected it blah blah. Come a couple of years later madam has another baby through surrogate!!!

And in our own Bolly land - supposedly the world's most beautiful was allegedly raving over S Mani Ratnam's gorgeous locks and apparently demanded to know the secret oil blend that the latter used. The latter labelled the former a a very simple and down to earth girl. Yeah right.

I'm sure you dear readers have lotsa more juicy tidbits ...errr...truths to talk about dontcha???

Epitaph: Here lies the truth:-)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Nostalgia - revisited

Have always liked this song - as mentioned in one of my very old posts - reminds me of Shakespeare's "Shall I Compare thee..."

It's a pity Karan Johar gave up his "candy-floss" style and tried to make "grown-up" movies with themes and plots from old Hollywood flicks. Catch the sheer creativity and originality in this one:

This song is sheer poetry -

Back to Shah Rukh for this one:

...and though I don't really like Mrs. Rai Bachan - can't help liking this song:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mrs. 'arris

Anyone remember Paul Gallico of "The Show Goose" - and the original "Poseidon Adventure"?

I was just recollecting Gallico's story of a London charwoman who saves up money and goes all the way to Paris to buy a dress from Dior. The book was called "Flowers for Mrs. Harris." I think subsequently there were a few other Mrs. Harris novels. (Yes, I know I can look it up...but...)

I recollect Gallico's zany style of writing in particular his "First string of unprintable words" and a few pages later "Second string of unprintable words". Then I think there was a Chauffeur who cannot identify the source of a rattling noise despite taking the car apart - and Mrs. Harris stumbles on the solution - a dropped hairpin or aspirin tablets.

If I get that book - maybe its a good time to read it all over again and catch out on what I would have missed when I was a kid:-)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Who woulda think...

After the debacle of the infamous Jerry Seinfeld commercial - I was pleasantly surprised to come across these little gems from Microsoft...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Last Evening by the Lake...

We go for a walk around a lake near our house. The lake is artificial - created to handle rain water overflow. The path around the lake is about a mile and a half, with beautiful willow trees and a couple of hillocks. I am constantly reminded of one of my favorite books from childhood Enid Blyton's Secret Island.

Last evening the sky was a spectacular song of lilac and pink wisps of clouds, an almost full moon lit up the twilight sky. A lone mother duck was protectively swimming around her little duckling. A lady was walking a mean looking dog (some dogs no matter how "cute" or "cuddly" they may be have this certain nasty look)!

A "Donahue" was flexing his arms and a nordic blond showing off his ugly tattoos with those creepy Gothic sinister looking creatures all over his torso. Ugggh! People I hate tattoos. Especially these kind. Coming back to Donahue - that's a name I assign to overweight balding middle aged men - with ruddy complexions who look like bank managers. (Are you actually asking, "Why?" - then you need to be certified - not me).

Going for a walk there again - hope it will inspire me to write better posts than this :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Reverse Peeping Tom Syndronme

Okay there is probably a correct term for it - but I am not going looking because:

a) too lazy
b) don't want to visit any dubious websites (which could literally open up a can of worms)

What I am referring to is a series of murder-mystery books featuring amateur detective Rei Shimura (she's half Japanese and half American) who lives in Tokyo, Japan. The first book "The Salaryman's Wife" was quite interesting - but the rest of the series headed steadily downhill.

Each book takes up a certain aspect of Japanese culture - kimonos, or manga for example, and the story revolves around that.

I wont get into too many details about the books themselves but what struck me was that in each book - there is a voyeur - ranging from complete strangers to Rei's own aunt who witness or overhear Rei's "intimate" moments.

Wait ...wait... wait the reason I noticed this was that I read one book after the other and couldn't help noticing this and it was almost as if Rei has this hidden longing in her that such things should be witnessed!

If you have ever read this series - let me know what you think...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Miss New India


This is not about the Miss India beauty contest - but the book "Miss New India" by Bharati Mukherjee. Though, I daresay the book is as frivolous and meaningless as those contests.

From Amazon here is the gist of the book:

Anjali Bose is “Miss New India.” Born into a traditional lower-middle-class family and living in a backwater town with an arranged marriage on the horizon, Anjali’s prospects don’t look great. But her ambition and fluency in language do not go unnoticed by her expat teacher, Peter Champion. And champion her he does, both to other powerful people who can help her along the way and to Anjali herself, stirring in her a desire to take charge of her own destiny.

So she sets off to Bangalore, India’s fastest-growing major metropolis, and quickly falls in with an audacious and ambitious crowd of young people, who have learned how to sound American by watching shows like Seinfeld in order to get jobs as call-center service agents, where they are quickly able to out-earn their parents. And it is in this high-tech city where Anjali—suddenly free from the traditional confines of class, caste, gender, and more—is able to confront her past and reinvent herself. Of course, the seductive pull of modernity does not come without a dark side.

First off, it looks like Ms. Mukherjee read a brochure by one of the third-rate call centers in Bangalore. Also looks like she saw a documentary on the lives of call-center personnel and then just thought up a book.

Some things I found totally ridiculous:

Anjali wants to run away and the catalyst for this is a brutal and horrific rape. What was most surprising about the whole thing was that Anjali is not in the least bit traumatized by the incident.

Then just as if to compensate - some time later there are pages devoted to apparent PSTD after another horrifying incident. But most unbelievable and lacking in depth.

Add to the mix international terrorism(yes really!), a gay American cohabiting with a caricature of a trans-gender person, a series of crazy coincidences and altogether TV Soap like one-dimensional characters.

Bangalore wilts and dies with Mukherjee's descriptions. Call Center personnel are reduced to teeny-bops who will head for the nearest bar given the slightest chance.

Read this to recoup from the travesty that passes of as a book.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Learn by heart and say it back to me...

..doesn't seem to be popular here in North America. Nor is that quaint "explain with reference to context" that goes "explain who said this to whom and why".

Poetry seems to have taken a back seat in my son's classes - he rarely has any of those.

So for today I leave you with these classic "byhearted" gems:

Poem 1

Yet beautiful and bright he stood,
As born to rule the storm;
A creature of heroic blood,
A proud, though childlike form

Poem 2
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Poem 3
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

Poem 4
Rise, brothers, rise; the wakening skies pray to the morning light,
The wind lies asleep in the arms of the dawn like a child that has cried all night.
Come, let us gather our nets from the shore and set our catamarans free,
To capture the leaping wealth of the tide, for we are the kings of the sea!

Poem 5

THE wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

Not a poem but one of the bard's finest:

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar

...and finally not a very popular one- actually quite a creepy one - but I love the cadence;

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
`'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more,'

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Haunting Jasmine

By Anjali Banerjee.

Quite an interesting concept.

Jasmine is asked to mind her Aunt's bookstore on a remote island, while the latter is away in India. As the name suggests - the bookstore seems to be inhabited by spirits. Not just any spooks mind you - but those of famous authors from Edgar Allen Poe to Kipling to none other than Jane Austen.

That's what got me irritated. Why Jane? Because everyone knows her? Because "Pride" has been washed, rinsed and repeated a million times over in a million ways? GAH!

Many of the events in the narration seem rushed and hurried - they are off to a slow start and it's like Banerjee wants that particular incident to come to a convenient and final conclusion and can not be bothered with the finer details.

However despite this it must be conceded - Banerjee writes well - and I love the non-appearance of "being brown" in a white world angst.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Hands up all ye who find badly streaked hair totally annoying.

I am not talking about folks with gorgeous natural looking highlights - nor about the casual highlights that liven dull looking hair.

I am specifically referring to certain desis who seem to believe that having unnatural, ugly, blonde streaks make them look Caucasian! Hello. Oh! Let's not forget that artificial, twangy, horrible put-on accent too.

Did you honestly think you would get away with this "disguise?"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

...of Simon Baker and bit parts...

Simon Baker is more known for his role as the unscrupulous, but extremely charming Christian Thompson in the "Devil Wears Prada". That role was so inconsequential that any seasoned actor could have just gone through the motions.

However, I found his bit-role as Petengill in "Red Planet" much more intriguing. It might have been a bit-role but it asked for much. A team from Earth lands on Mars - and owing to various mishaps - they all know they are going to die in about a quarter of an hour and in those last stages Petengill inadvertently pushes Santen to his death. And this happens - about 55 million kilometers away on the desolate redscape. Guilt-ridden Petengill re-joins his other comrades - but lies to them that Santen jumped off the cliff. Gallagher and Burchenal don't quite believe it but let is pass - they are all about to die anyway - since their Oxygen supply has almost run out.

However, they discover to their surprise they can breathe after all - Mars seems to have a thin but sufficient layer of oxygen. One would think at this stage remorse would set in and Petengill would redeem himself - but no - he continues to move along his selfish path - and in true movie vengeance meets a gory, horrible death.

Nicely acted part that.

Another good role was in "Something New". That movie had a lot of potential - but was totally spoilt by trying to hard to present a upper-middle-class black woman (Kenya) trying to level both the racial and sexist playing field. Simon Baker plays her counterpart - white, low-class, not-so-well-to-do Gardner (landscape architect - my foot!).

Throw the couple into a hot inter-racial relationship. Kenya has to work hard to overcome her prejudices - she is expected to date a successful, educated, upper-class BLACK man - you see. Baker as Brain on the other hand is unbelievably sympathetic and readily puts up with Kenya's tantrums. To screw up matters further - into the fray enters - the perfect black man that Kenya had been searching for before she met Brian.

Unfortunate - this movie could have done so much better. The racial aspect - stands so blindingly out - that it seems to be a mockery. And there was no need to add that extra character - just to show what Brian is not.

Anyway, coming back to Simon Baker - I am not a fan of his. It was just the co-incidence of seeing him in one movie after the other that prompted this post.

Simon Baker aside - Carrie Ann Moss (of Matrix fame) stars in Red Planet - she carries off the role well. But I think her best role is that of Natalie in "Memento".

Friday, May 13, 2011

I wonder...

...how many folks:

saw "An Affair to Remember" after seeing "Sleepless in Seattle?"

read "Q & A" after seeing "Slumdog Millionaire?"

made inevitable comparisons between "Stepmom" and "We are Family" and agreed that the kid in "Stepmom" was really cute - but the kid in "We are Family" was equivalent to nails screeching on the blackboard?

used to love listening to "Careless Whispers" and then their kids (who think - trust mom to like a barfy song by such a LOSER) show them this...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

..of cabbages and kings...

Watched an old movie "Mission to Mars". D-uh! While the cinematography was really great - can't say the same of the story. A really advanced civilization waits for eons for human contact and that really advanced civilization - cannot distinguish who's come knocking at their door? Besides it would be so easy for them to make a quick trip to Earth than wait like this. And they have a really crude "weapon" system?? In a timespan of one year a single astronaut is able to create a self-sustaining greenhouse that produces oxygen?????? Also the lead actress imitates Annette Benning right down to the short clipped hair. Most irritating.

Read "The Way Things Look to Me" by Roopa Farooki. Surprise - it's about a character with Aperger's. But I will say the book is well-written no unnecessary melodramas! It was refreshing to see the characters despite being Irish-Pakistani - don't have a "cultural identity" conflict.

Stopped like a responsible citizen at the "Stop" sign. It was my turn to go - but an impatient driver didn't want for me to pass and zoomed off. I ignored that "violation". Suddenly a patrol car zoomed up from the left and chased and stopped that car. Did I feel vindicated - nah! It didn't really matter to me at all. You see when I really want something like that to happen when it matters it doesn't. Gah!

Saw "Adjustment Bureau" - I felt Matt Damon wsn't up to par. Emily Blunt was really good. Also saw "Source Code". Was trying to tell my friend that "Source Code" was like a combo of "Groundhog Day" and "Avatar" and asked her if she had seen "Groundhog Day" to which she replied "Many times!" LOL.

Monday, April 25, 2011

...and why are your nails - I mean - why is is your nail so long my dear

When we were shuttling to univ by public buses it was a ubiquitous phenomena to see bus conductors grow the nail of their pinkie and lovingly paint it a garish red or in some cases dye to a shade of puke-inducing orange (with mehndi).

I'd forgotten all about them.

On our India trip we went to visit a cousin of mine who stays on the distant outskirts. We had a most delicious lunch and my cousin and her husband were extremely courteous.

On our way back, however, we had no luck in getting an auto back. Then my cousin suggested we take the bus back since the bus depot was very close to her house. We had no choice but to hop on to the bus when my Brat spotted the long nail, red nail polish and all. I was so amused to see this tradition hadn't died out.

We subsequently spotted quite a few auto drivers sporting the Long Nails too. Ofcourse my Brat wanted to know "why". Sadly I don't know and it didn't occur to me to ask (though I daresay the drivers may have got offended).

So, if anyone knows the secret of the the long nail and its origin - please do enlighten me.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tulip Time

April end and the arrival of May.

Park on the shores of Ottawa's Dow Lake to take in the tulips. There are supposed to be over 300,000 tulips planted here.

From Wiki:

In 1945, the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in gratitude for Canadians having sheltered Princess Juliana and her daughters for the preceding three years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, in the Second World War.

The most noteworthy event during their time in Canada was the birth in 1943 of Princess Margriet to Princess Juliana at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The maternity ward was declared to be officially a temporary part of international territory, so that she would be born in no country and would inherit only her Dutch citizenship from her mother. In 1946, Juliana sent another 20,500 bulbs requesting that a display be created for the hospital, and promised to send 10,000 more bulbs each year.

The festival begins
Princess Margriet returns to Ottawa to attend the Canadian Tulip Festival in May 2002.In the years following Queen Juliana's original donation, Ottawa became famous for its tulips and in 1953 the Ottawa Board of Trade and photographer Malak Karsh organized the first "Canadian Tulip Festival". Queen Juliana returned to celebrate the festival in 1967, and Princess Margriet returned in 2002 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the festival

Tulips are ofcourse associated with Yash Chopra's classic:

But the song I prefer over that one is:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Missing in Action


had been to London to see the queen.

Not really, had been to India.

Have a set of random images in my mind.

The fascinating method in which the construction workers pile the bricks on top of their heads and walk up the steps unaided and without so much as putting a hand to keep the bricks safe...

The tender coconuts - and the expertise with which the vendor lops off the tops...

Watching World Cup on a gigantic screen ... and the ear splitting fireworks at the end...

The gang of hijras (transgender people)who would inevitably accost your auto. They never demand money from the auto drivers but from us hapless passengers!

My brat swatting away at the mosquitoes with the special "insect bat" loaned by my brother-in-law!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Somewhere in Time

Another time travel movie that didn't quite gel with me was "Somewhere in Time".

It's the story of 28 year old playwright Richard Collier (Christopher Reeve) who is strangely drawn to the portrait of young woman at the Grand Hotel. He learns that woman is a 1912 actress Elsie McKenna (Jane Seymour) and realizes that this woman was the same old lady that had given him a pocket watch way back in his graduation in 1972 and had requested him to go back to her. Go back - as in not only reuniting with her but literally going back in time - back to 1912.

Now for the aarrrrgh part - Collier through means of self-hypnosis wills himself back to 1912. In order for the suggestion to work - he has to ensure that all the objects he sees and the clothes he's dressed date back to 1912. Collier finds a Visitor's Book from 1912 with his signature in it and this convinces him that he can indeed time-travel.

Which he does. He finds Elsie McKenna and discovers that she is the love of his life and the feeling is mutual. However, he is abruptly yanked back to the present day when he unfortunately discovers a coin from 1979 in the pocket of his suit. The time-travel process has not only aged him but has weakened him tremendously.

The ending was also aaaargish - with a suggestion that Collier and McKenna are united in "heaven"????? after Collier dies heartbroken. And before you ask - why he could not go back in time again - that is obviously because his mind and body are too weak to do so. (Thank heaven for small mercies!!).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Time Traveler's Wife

Some were asking, given my fascination with time travel, how is it that I haven't blogged about it?

Well, for a start - I have somehow instinctively avoided the book when it came out, and never even bothered about the subsequent movie. Then one fine day I found the DVD in the Library and decided to watch it.

**********SPOILERS AHEAD**************
As I had kind of guessed the time travel part is just a convenient plot device. Henry (Eric Bana) has this weird "genetic disorder" where he time travels though not by his will. He first meets Clare (Rachel MacAdams) when she is six - and with the perfect innocence of childhood Clare has no trouble believing Henry is a time traveler. He keeps visiting her on and off and they share their first kiss when she is 18. However, from Henry's perspective he meets Clare for the first time only when she is 21, Clare is totally prepared for this visit while Henry is totally bewildered. I found this a little hard to analyze -how come Henry doesn't remember any of his previous visits - till I figured out that it is a much older Henry that had visited Clare before. Another confusing aspect is the story is told from Clare's chronological timeline rather than Henry's - so that makes it really hard to know who the "real" Henry is.

Clare undergoes several miscarriages and it is suggested (though not proven) - that the fetuses have time traveled. However, Eric and Clare eventually carry a daughter Alba to full-term. Alba is also a time-traveler though unlike Henry she can control the traveling quite effectively.

What I hated the most was Henry reappearing even after he is shot dead. Logically there is no person - so how can he time travel? Another illogical bit was that the same set of clothes are left for Henry always. (When he time travels it is without his clothes so he needs to find some clothes where ever he happens to land up. So he requests Clare when he had met her when she was a child to leave a set of her Dad's clothes for him.)

Finally, even if this were meant to be a "love without borders" kind of love story - it didn't turn out to be that compelling.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kalo Dant, The Clock and The Chair

In my last post I promised to talk about "Gypsy Folk Tales". This is a fabulous collection of tales from way back in 1966 by a Marie Voriskova. Now I don't remember any of the stories but do remember the main character Kalo Dant. Here is a sample of what the stories were like.

"Granny's Wonderful Chair" by Frances Browne is also a collection of stories - where Granny's chair tells enthralling tales evening after evening and also conveniently doubles as a mode of transportation to get from one place to another. Gutenberg has the ebook for free!

"The Cuckoo Clock" by Mrs. Molesworth also on Gutenberg is the story of a girl who comes to stay with her aunts. The house is magical and so is the Cuckoo Clock. There is a live cuckoo in the clock and the girl climbs up to visit. The cuckoo takes her to many lands - including the far side of the moon!

Also remember reading books set in post war Germany by Margot Benary Isbert. At that time I was really too young to understand the horrors wrought by the war.

What childhood books stick in your head even after so many decades have passed? Please do let me know.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Of this and that...

Haven't been able to blog in a while. We've been having some tight deadlines at work and after a long strenuous day I didn't really feel like looking at a computer screen all over again!

Some friends were discussing our favorite childhood reading treasures. I have always been a fan of Enid Blyton and I think my best book was "The Valley of Adventure". Summer holidays meant reading "Phantom" comics - anyone remember the purple tights and mask? Devil? Hero? the infamous skull cave and the famous "good" and "bad" rings? A kindly neighbor S used to lend me his set of comics year after year without fail. Wonder if he still has them.

They made a movie way back in 1996 starring Billy Zane and Catherine Zeta-Jones - but that was a miserable flop. I vaguely remember only appreciating the secret entrance through the waterfall as being the only thing they got right.

Also remember reading "Mandrake the Magician" - and the newspaper used to carry a comic strip called "Modesty Blaise" - that we weren't really supposed to read. Nilanjana has written an excellent piece on Modesty in her post.

Used to read a quaint book called "Granny's Wonderful Chair" and another one called "The Cuckoo Clock". A wonderful collection of "Gypsy Folk Tales" - these alone merit a separate blog post.

Talking about S - his father was a renown musician - and that got us discussing veena. I used to play the veena eons ago - but when I started travelling I couldn't cart it around and that was the end of my playing.

I love this song (couldn't find it on Youtube) - it kinda sounds like fusion music doesn't it?

(This site will take you to Music India Online - and that song is from Chitti Babu's
Tribute Volume 2 - song Sara Sara Samraika Soora)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Winter Comfort Food

Rich, bubbly tomato soup with crunchy toast and an old Shah Rukh blockbuster - a perfect combo to beat dreary winter evenings.


Come Christmas time the stores are flooded with Scottish Shortbread Cookies. I don't like the ones with the granulated sugar sprinkled on top - but will take them when we run out of the plain ones. Sit in front of the blazing fire, with hot cups of tea to dip these delectable cookies into with a game of scrabble or monopoly.


When I was a kid my mom used to make what I consider the best rajma I've ever eaten. The secret apparently is that she didn't really put any special spices into it. I came across this recipe - probably that's the way Mom used to make it. I'll have to check with her. Rajma and hot rotis make for a simple but delicious winter supper.


Last but not the least - our very own erstwhile rasam! I love melagh or pepper rasam - followed by tomato rasam. We don't normally drink rasam like soup but prefer to mix rasam with hot rice and a dollop of ghee. Pure heaven!

(P.S. Is it my imagination or is my waist band getting a bit too snug?)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Down Memory Lane

I grew up in a small town, really beautiful, but isolated. Do you remember Maria in the "Hills are alive?" - well that town could easily replace the beautiful mountainside.

Being so small, there was just one little village shop - it's a wonder that he stocked everything from a pin to an elephant in those tiny premises. Grades 1 to 3 were in a tiny little convent school tucked away on a little cliff.

When I was about 5 or 6 the teacher wanted us to bring in a set of color pencils. Those days a brand called "Camlin" that comprised a dozen stubby pencils was all that you could get. All of us seethed in envy at one kid's magnificent metal "Steadler" box that someone had got him from abroad.

I told Dad he had to go to the little village store and get me a box of Camlin pencils. Unfortunately the store had run out and would only re-stock on their next trip to the nearest big town. I was totally disconsolate and devastated what was I going to tell Miss J and worse how would I bear the ridicule of my classmates?

The following morning had me weeping and wailing and being towed along to school by the maid. We walked through the roads of a big boarding school (where Dad was a teacher). Mrs. E, another teacher spotted me and when she found out all that despair was for a box of color pencils she promptly took me to her office and fished out a set of colour pencils and to my gratification - they were not the short, stubby pencils - but the longer 6 inch ones (like some folks say sometimes size does matter). My tears chased away and a smile on my face I set off for school again.

No doubt Mrs. E will not recollect this incident - but the fact I do remember this after so many years does show what an impression it must have made on my young mind.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Down Under and Rolling Pins

How many of you have rolled out "chappatis"?

I remember when we were kids our moms would call us into the kitchen and permit us to roll out the last 2 or 3 chappatis. We would brandish the rolling pin with great pride and carefully get them done.

Dads would accept the offerings with a show of great enthusiasm and joke about how they ate their way through Africa or Australia given the pathetic shapes of our chappatis. My dad the born school teacher he was, never lost an opportunity to educate. Out would come the dog eared atlas and the coincidence between our chappati shape and one of the continents would be pointed out as no mean feat of achivement, some fact and figures about the said continents would be sneaked in. Obscure jokes like small wonder the chapatthi was like Africa because it was as mostly dry like the Sahara would be bandied about.

Come a generation later - my offspring wants to try roll out a chappati. The proud mom hands over the dough and rolling pin and watches. (She has secretly downloaded Google Earth).

"EEEE--OWWWWW," goes the said offspring when he is done, "This looks like a gross underwear!"

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year Resolution

The next time someone tries to be clever, and says something like "What part of 'do not step on the grass' did you not understand?" - I am going to reply, "All of it!"

Happy New Year folks.