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Showing posts from 2011

The Shadow of the Wind

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[Note - This review will not contain names of any of the characters, because I don't trust myself to not reveal the plot of the story, and I want anyone who reads this review to actually read this book]A tale of passionate love, till the end of time friendship, ruthless hatred and extreme sorrow, the words in Shadow of the Wind wove a beautiful world of the early nineties in my mind in Barcelona.What entirely captured my attention in the first few pages and let me read the first 20% of the book was the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. The concept. The place. Its description. How little Daniel feels as he enters it. His transformation as he reads. This is what kept me going, and am glad I did.I can call this a love story and go on to talk about the love friends feel for each other, or what a father feels for his offspring, or what a boy will feel for a girl and how passionate each of these facets of love are, in this book.I can also call it an almost-horror story, with its deep dark de…

2012 Books

After having finished the maximum number of books I’ve ever read in one year in 2011, I am all excited to see what 2012 will bring in. So this GoodReads challenge piqued my interest and opened up a world of books for me. These are the books I plan to read in 2012, as a part of this challenge. The hope is that they will also broaden my view on these countries and teach me a thing or two about their histories. So what if I cannot visit them, I can atleast be there in spirit! :)1. Afghanistan:In the Sea there are Crocodiles2. Albania:The Palace of Dreams3. Algeria:The Lovers of Algeria4. Argentina:Kiss of the Spider WomanThe Aleph and Other Stories5. Belize:Wanderlove6. Bhutan:Married to Bhutan7. Bosnia:Twice Born8. Bostwana:Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide9. Brazil:Gabriela Clove and Cinnamon10. Bulgaria:The Making of June11. Chile:Of Love and Shadows12. China:The Good EarthTen Green Bottles13. Colombia:Of Love and other Demons14. Cuba:The Island of …

Catching Fire–Hunger Games - 2

Oh, what fun! Reading the second part of the Hunger Games trilogy, Catching Fire in just around 5 hours... Super fun. Though not as good as the first book itself, and starting on a sloppy love story theme filled with sentimentality and all such emotional stuff, this book did good for itself. Its anyone's guess that Katniss will be safe, but I was dying to know if Peeta will live too, and if so, what would be the twist in the plot that will ensure this. Also, by the time I was done reading 60% of the book, I was also hoping that Finnick lives too, for himself, and for some drama between him and the audience in the third book. By now, Gale is beginning to be a little of a wimp with not much meat in his character, so I am guessing his is going to be a better role in the third book. I like how these books are progressing. Some drama including romance and family sentiment at the beginning, some meat about the fights and television program related stuff at about 30%, the real games by 4…

Hunger Games

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Suzanne Collins is no JK Rowling and Hunger games is no Harry potter, but it is close. Very close. In the way it holds it excitement to the story, Collins has used many details to build a believable  Panem with the arena akin to the Pandora of Avatar, at least in my imagination. As Collins said, this book is a true mix of a reality show and a war movie, both clubbed into one. All the flavours of a reality show like drama, adventure, romance, fights are explored, some staged and some real, and I felt like I was seeing an entire season of Bigg Boss :)Right from reading about Katniss's struggle to keep her family fed do the point when she only thinks about whether they got something to eat or not when she is fighting death in the arena I felt that Katniss's character is well etched. So is Peeta's. It evolves from being just the boy who gave the bread to the boy who has a crush on Katniss to the boy who camouflages himself so well that  he wards off death till he is rescued , …

The Help

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One of the best books I've read this year for sure. This has been in my To-Read list for days but when Vaish got me the hard copy of this book as a gift, and spoke highly of it,  I immediately picked it up. I was facing a kind of a reader’s block, and this book for sure jolted me out of it. This book is a portrayal of three strong characters, all women, who do not have anything significant to look forward to in their lives, except to bring a change to the circumstances they live in. Three strong characters who looked out for each other, and had a non-conformist attitude. Three women who were the definition of girlfriends. I’ve read Gone with the Wind and To kill a MockingBird, and have a fair idea on how bad it could have been for the African Americans to be living in a white man’s world, I’ve even compared it a bit to the Untouchability practised in India (even now in some remote areas), but what I read in this book made me think about the whole issue all over again. My heart wen…

Yippeee… Baileys…

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I’ve posted the recipe here and the pic itself here, but I am not able to get over the fact that am now making my favourite liqueur at home. :-D
And the pic itself stole my heart. The Jug is right now my most favourite item in the kitchen, and I hold it in my hands atleast once a day to feel it. That’s how much I like it. :-D


Doesn’t this pic in particular look like its ambrosia in a jug? With all that soft lighting in the background bokeh-ed out? And the shape of the jug itself ? Well… now you know why I love this!

Jamie boy!

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Hehehe… I know , he is no friend of mine in real life, but the way he writes the books makes one feel like they’ve known him for years… Love the way he has written this book. And when I was fiddling around with the 50 mm lens, the book was on the table and it was in such a perfect position that it had to be clicked…

1 down... 49 more to go... !

I was chatting with this friend, and telling her how its been 6 yrs that I’ve been married, and how the husband used to be a poet back then. Also that he is still a poet, just that the poetry has always been confined to one set of women – Anyone who is not a wife. In fact , he has been exercising all forms of art that I married him for, for this same set of women. Great, no? :)During this chat session, I remembered a blog post I wrote on the eve of my first anniversary, almost 5 yrs back. I read it, and chuckled at how I wrote all that I wrote, and how that is all true. Well, there is tonnes of mush in that post which I will cut back for your benefit, but then, well… even that mush part also is still true… ;-). Now that you’ve barfed enough, here is what I wrote 5 yrs back… Long ago, someone wrote a nice poem to woo me, something which no one did for me ever. Though I understood that the poet is obsessed with tans and tanned beauties, which I am obviously not, I obliged to his wooing …

Of journals and nostalgia…

There is something about reading old journals or dairies and nostalgia, isn’t it?
While they all take us on a good nostalgic trip, the journals also remind us of what we were back when we wrote them…

Like how I am feeling right now as I am reading my journal (blog) which I wrote when I was 25…. All the songs I liked back then which I don’t like anymore, my opinions on many important things around which have obviously changed in all these  years, the things I was attached to and which do not mean a thing to me anymore, the kind of problems I had in life back then which look like child’s play now, the things that hurt me and made me cry don’t mean the same anymore…The 25-yr-old-me thought that -JKR would keep writing Harry Potter novels
I would be valuing the colour-wire-bracelet that the best friend made for me in the Basic Electronics Lab when I was in college
The transistor I stole from the Electronics lab would be with me forever, for all the great conversations I had with friends af…

Being married

I read this quote somewhere and its so awesome that it deserves to go on my blog -Always carry the photo of your boyfriend in your wallet. Look at it whenever you face any problem. This makes you realise that there are bigger problems in life.Shall we change the word ‘boyfriend’ to husband, coz I am past that stage in life? Now anyone wants to take a wild guess on whether I have the husband’s pic in my wallet or not? ;-)

On me!

What with V’s activity on my food blog increasing (read, him being mean to me as usual) I was reminded of the poem he wrote for me, back in 2009 when we(a bunch of us bloggers-turned-friends) were all into poetry(again read, talking to each other in 4 lined rhymes and pleasing ourselves calling it poetry) and some good old conversations we had (read, him bragging about all his conquests and I refuting them asking for proof). During one of our chat sessions back then, V got around to write this for me. He claimed he did it in 5 minutes flat, and like I do to his many other claims, I couldn’t refute this one, coz we were talking when he wrote this. And I must say, I liked this one and this is like the second or third time someone wrote a poem on me(No, not from college boyfriends or secret admirers as much as I’d love it to be, from just a group of girlfriends, mostly related to some leg-pulling because of my classic-foot-in-the-mouth-syndrome). Also I maintain that he could use a diff…

An evening at work

Something I posted way back in 2009 on the original Pottery Barn site and tempted to post it here again… especially given that I am not writing poetry or limericks or rhymes anymore… Decided to change the World,
Made my cloud say Hello World!
Demo-ed a smart calculator,
And it worked like a motor!
Cloud, .Net and Azure
These got me into the lure!
Tried Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V like a true dev
Saw
Http://Pagenotfound only after the dive! Clients and the servers
Some of them with the buses
WCFs, Live Services and Access Controls
My brain goes for numerous strolls!
Cannot start and now totally stuck
Muttering the unholy word, f**k
I started off on a cloud to pioneer
Only to strike the left foot with a spear!

Atlas Shrugged – The movie!

Well… yet again, I’ll stand by what I always believed in – never watch a movie based on your favourite book. Barring Godfather and Gone with the wind, there is not a single movie which brings justice to the book. But still, if it is a movie based on your favourite book, it would take immense and senseless will power to not watch it. And that is exactly why I subjected myself to this movie, based on my forever favourite book (so much so that I even once had a blog with the name – Who is John Galt?, and a blogger nickname of Ms Taggart). For starters, even I am glad that they decided to go with two parts of the movie, only that way could they even try to bring justice to the extremely verbose ~1200 page novel , cast in the smallest font. But then, the point that a movie will never live up to the detail and description that a book will feed to  your imagination turns out to be true in this case. There are couple of good points in the movie – like it being set in 2016, and a time of great…

The whole world looks at you, honey…

I don’t know if I read this somewhere or if I imagined I read this or if these are lines from a song I heard but can’t remember which one as is often the case or if it is starting of a poem in my head, something which I didn’t care to finish as always … but these lines have refused to leave me for a while now…
The whole world looks at you, honey
Would you turn around and look at me?

Oh well.. what the heck. May be I will finish this after all…
The whole world looks at you, honey
But here I am, behind you
Hanging on every word you speak
Dwelling on your every smile
Liking what you like, doing what you do

Waiting for you to like me
May be, you'll notice my presence
May be, you'll want me too, someday
Would you turn around and look at me too?

Hmm… Feels little desperate, lonely and vulnerable.
But then the first lines in my head called for it -  the whole oh-am-so-unwanted-in-this-world and look-nobody-loves-me tone of these lines… :)

New Role Model

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Christine Lagarde . First woman head of the IMF. First woman ever to become minister of Economic Affairs of a G8 economy. Swimmer. Lawyer. Need I say more?Also read this article Guardian article – Is this the world’s sexiest woman?

A little DIY…

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We had a lot of glass liquor bottles from the wild days (that’s what I’d like to think of them, please don’t burst my bubble, now :-)) up the attic for a long time. They would’ve been there had it not been for the idea that we could use them to store water, and get rid of the plastic bottles. So that’s what these bottles have been useful for, scaring away innocent teetotallers who visit us for the first time, giving us enough gaalis from the family for having finished off so many bottles, and enough jokes for the both of us to laugh about thinking of all these. Dad particularly bought into this idea a lot and started collecting these bottles for me. He’d give them to me every time I visited, the empty ones, of course, and I used these to grow my plants. The bamboos and the money plants, the low-maintenance ones which look beautiful when grown in these bottles thus giving a new purpose to their existence. After that, I’ve started asking the husband to get me liquor when he was returnin…

Food for thought?

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No, its for the belly, at least in this case… Ever since the thought of eating healthy has entered this pea-sized brain of mine, growing my own food has been a dream. This big balcony we have in the house got me one step closer to this dream. I now have couple of herbs which I use in my day-to-day cooking. Two types of Tulsi, Aloe vera, one Arika palm tree and a couple of Bamboo plants comprise the home garden, for now. There are big plans to grow the Italian Basil, tomatoes and chillies too, but given my green thumb, lets see how far I go… Coriander is one of the easiest to grow. Just squash some coriander seeds and pour it into the pot. Water it daily and wait for at least a week. The sprouts do not look anywhere like how a coriander leaf is supposed to look, but hold on for another week and see the beautiful coriander bush in the same pot. I am so in love with this bunch, that I’ve decided that I am not going to cut this one out. I am just going to let this bunch stay in the pot an…

La Mariee

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This is the painting Anna Scott and William Thacker talk about in his house in the movie Notting Hill, the dialogue being exactly this - Anna Scott: I can't believe you have that picture on your wall.
William: You like Chagall?
Anna Scott: I do. It feels like how being in love should be. Floating through a dark blue sky.
William: With a goat playing the violin.
Anna Scott: Yes - happiness isn't happiness without a violin-playing goat.
Anna also gifts the original of this painting to William towards the end of the movie. In all the times I’ve seen the movie(which is at least 5 times so far), I’ve not noticed anything peculiar about this painting. But the last time I saw it over last weekend, I was intrigued by the painting. There must be something in the painting.
I looked up the painting and found the above jpeg. More information about this painting – here.There is indeed something about this painting. Something about yearning. Something about love. Something about wanting to go…

The Zahir

The first time I read this book was in 2006. I was 25 and was just married , the entire world looked rosy to me. I was discovering books, the spiritual side in me , and trying to get to my own set of definitions on many things in my life and in life in general. Above all, I had decided to love everything Paulo Coelho would write.Yesterday when rummaging through my old blog, I came across my review of the book ‘The Zahir’ when I read it the first time. What I wrote there piqued my interest. Though I do not feel the same way about Paulo Coelho anymore (from being someone who used to worship him , I’ve grown to be someone who accepts that he can write bad books too, and hence like him for just the two good books he has written, at least in my opinion and not buy his books anymore), I realized that the review I wrote had many points in it which still made sense to me. For years, I’ve recommended this book to many newly-weds, many friends who had some interest in spirituality or thought Al…

Master Mama…

And it finally happened. You are relieved from all the physical pain you’ve been enduring for years now. You left us, and went to a happy place.We all know it must’ve been very tough for you to accept that you are not the tiger-like man that you used to be, and that you had to depend on someone else for the easiest and smallest of your activities. And how you would cry every time you would see me come visit you. And see S talk to you in his broken Tulu. And try to converse with us in your feeble voice. And then cry again, because you knew you weren’t audible and that we would have to see you at your vulnerable worst. :(I spent most of my summers around you, all of them my most happiest, growing up taking one Cadbury’s Eclairs from you each day(quite an expensive deal 23 years back, a story everyone in the family still talks about, about how you pampered me in  your own sweet, silent way), being paid in paisa for every grey hair we plucked (that is how you used to keep us kids occupied…

So, who’s the RockStar?

Though I did not understand what the whole deal with ‘Socha Na Tha’ was, and think that ‘Jab We Met’ was a nice movie and that it didn’t blow me away, and that ‘Love Aaj Kal’ was a decent movie, I agree that Imtiaz Ali is a good director, there are no doubts in that. And a good dialogue writer too. So where did he go wrong with Rockstar?
In my honest opinion, what is wrong with the movie is the plot. Its just not present. Or let’s just say, its too weak. So weak that if it were to try to stand on its feet, it would make a big hole in the earth beneath it and fall down. You get the point , right? Heavy, but weak. Its like he planned to fit in all elements into the same story and make one movie out of this all. Well, this had material for atleast two movies – one love story, and one story on how a boy turned into a rock star. Both would’ve sucked big time, but nonetheless, it would’ve been two stories. You get the point again , right? No? Imagine this - Glimpses of a wannabe-Jim-Morriso…

Notting Hill

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The first time I heard the song ‘When you say nothing at all’ by Ronan Keating, I fell in love. With him and with the band that he belonged to, Boyzone (yeah yeah, boy bands and all, I know! :)). But only recently did it occur to me that this is OST for Notting Hill, and that I hadn’t seen the movie at all.

And the minute I finished the movie, I knew this made it to the list of Movies-I-Watch-When-I-Need-Comfort and hence one of my most favourite movies. After all , I’m just a girl… standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her… Everytime I listen to this dialogue, tears well up in my eyes, I cry. Every.single.time.
I cry for the vulnerable girl standing in front of the boy she loves, asking him to take her back and understand her, love her and care for her.
Honest, deep, poignant, vulnerable, slightly desperate for love – this scene is the most defining moment in the entire movie. Anna’s character jumps out of the screen and suddenly feels live, like someone you know could’ve sa…

The weekend that was…

Starting from Friday evening, I - visited in-laws who live 30 kms awaycooked a complete Telugu/Tulu meal for friends who were coming in for lunchbaked a whole lot of items in the evening, some of which fell flat and some of which turned out goodwatched all the sitcoms (7 of them!) and a movie (Nights in Rodanthe – beautiful but depressing movie, btw)had Neer-dose as an elaborate Sunday breakfast did a small DIY project with an old lantern and some LED lightshelped a nephew move into his own room and set it up a bitan evening in Hard Rock Cafe two movies after the evening – Notting Hill and Under the Tuscan SkyFor someone whose idea of a perfect weekend is when she curls up on her couch reading something, and cooking a nice meal for dinner, this is way too much activity. Sometimes I wonder if I am really a super woman or just a restless person trying to find her Zen… :-|

Zahir – an old review

[I posted this review in May 2006 on an old blog after reading the Zahir. I finished reading it again in Nov 2011, and there is a new review up here.] And the feeling that is still lingering on my head is that there is a Zahir in everyone's life. Zahir is this void in your life which doesn't let you do anything in peace, which haunts you, which forces you to do things you don't like, which makes you feel obsessed about the void... All in one, Zahir is what you can say - your calling... Its something which you are meant to do. Its something that you want to do, something which you sent on this earth to do... Never thought that the author of Alchemist can write a book of this measure which touches a totally different dimension of love. The tenacity of the narrator on the book to find where his is wife though for different reasons at different points in the story, the mysticism revolving around the character,Mikhail; the love Marie has towards the narrator; the explanation w…

Void

This morning as I was sitting and trying to meditate, the whole thought of void got into my head. Yes yes, I know you are not supposed to think about things when you meditate, but isn’t that what happens exactly when we try to meditate. Given that I was trying to catch up on some Vipasana, I let the thought fly by, since that is what you do in Vipasana. Let the thought run its course, instead of struggling to suppress it or ignore it. I wanted to see how far the thought process would go, and what other thoughts spring up as a result of this one. Well, for once, I had questions – Do I have a void in my life? Did I ever have a void in my life? What did I do when I faced the void? What exactly is this void? And as with what happens with all the questions that come to my mind, being the little Miss Know-it-All that I am, I also had the answers. Well, the answers might not work for everyone, and for sure do not apply to all the situations in my own life, but they do solve most of the emoti…

Ayn Rand and Me!

I am a huge Ayn Rand fan. I haven't had the patience to dig up her Objectivism theory, but whatever small I understand of it, I like it. But more than these, I love her books.
Oh yes, I haven't read all of them, just Atlas Shrugged, Fountainhead , both of which I read a decade ago, and very recently We, The Living, but more about this one later.

I was barely 18 when I first read Atlas Shrugged. Picked it off my uncle's bookshelf and started reading it. At that age, I totally loved the guts Rearden had, and hated Lilian. I loved Dagny's resilience and hated James's weak attitude. I adored Francisco, and loved the two professors. I imagined that Galt's Gulch is for true, and dreamt of going there some day. I loved the sentence, 'Who is John Galt?'. It looked like a answer to many questions that teenage brain of mine had. And above all, I worshipped John Galt.
Someone so intelligent, so persistent, and so determined - I thought I should have those qualities …

Tell me you don’t love this… really!

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Original Link - Here

Gilmore Girls, Again

As you read this, I would’ve finished watching the season finale of Gilmore Girls, and wished yet again that they should’ve ended it with Lorelai getting engaged to dear old Luke instead of just the kiss, and hoped again that they make something more out of this awesome series. I will continue to be a lifelong fan of Lorelai, Luke and Emily , and may be Rory and Logan also, but what I will miss most is Lorelai, her awesome attitude, her non-stop-talkativeness and her cool puns. Meanwhile, read this – A NY Times article published right after the season finale was aired.

#357

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Hehehehe… And we wonder why things turn out the we want them to… And try to be control-freaks! :)Original link here!

Lunacy, you said?

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And that my dear friends is why I love Chuck Lorre. Original link Here!

Gilmore Girls

Its like an obsession. A big big one. Every waking moment of the day I have, I want to watch the series. Currently in the Season 5 , Episode 20, I finished all the earlier ones in just a matter of 2 weeks, back to back, sometimes as much as 8 episodes per day, the maddest day being 11 episodes in one day, each episode being ~44 minutes long! :-)Yes, the last time I felt this obsession was for Castle, and before that Friends, and I didn’t watch even these at this rate and urgency.Its a need to find out what happens with Lorelai and Luke, what Rory does, and what trick Emily comes up with next in her attempt to do good to Lorelai… this list just goes on. But I guess what is keeping me hooked to this is the big crush I have on Scott Patterson, and the girl crush on Lauren Graham. Both of them incredibly good looking, and great actors. Both their style of talking, the numerous pop culture references, the male suitors the Girls get… each of this is a reason…Just in love with the series. :)

Truly, Madly, Deeply. Really?

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Aargh! Crappiest book EVER!
Absolutely terrible style of writing - even a 15 yr old can write better. The author can sure do with some Beginner's writing courses.
Absolutely no writing editing. The writer did not ask for a critical opinion from anyone. I am damn sure.
Terrible plot. Done to death. Not handled properly. Bad choice of adjectives to describe the lead characters, and its like the author is obsessed with the good looks alone of Seema and Rahul. And what description of the looks... Hah!
Yes, the author sure needs to re-visit his English.
At various times while reading the 136 pages of this book, I got up from my couch, slapped myself in my face for having bought it, and then went back to re-read it, in the hope that the book might not have been stupid, it probably is coz I misread the previous pages.
I wish Indian authors stopped writing with the sole motive of getting their books made into movies. I understand that they get paid heavily, and Chetan Bhagat must be some kind …

So many books, so little time!

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Books were one thing that bound us together – me and the husband. From the first ever time we met and discovered that we both loved GodFather equally, to discovering Paulo Coelho’s genius in Zahir and Eleven Minutes to re-discovering that he is highly over-rated to reading each others’ favourites, books have been one thing we could talk about, any time. We love our books, both he and I. So much so that , before we could even discuss marriage, we discussed what we would do with our books. We both laid conditions that we would not disturb each others’ collections and that we would not read the same book at the same time, and so on. An ideal holiday for us is to laze around on a lazy boy/bean bag/hammock/beach-side-chair and read a book. :-) No wonder why our parents ask us why should we even go to a different place when all we want to do is to sit and read. :-)So when we both moved to our first home, he from his parents’ house and I from my apartment which I shared with my friends and M…