Nov 28, 2011

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? ;-)

Nov 27, 2011

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 different word instead of FRUIT (In Kannada, our common language, if you call someone a fruit, it means you think they are innocent!), coz am anything but innocent. Not then. Not now.

To set some context, Ms Taggart was my original blogger profile name, with which I had blogged for 5 full years, but all the blogs are now dormant, deleted or unavailable for public consumption. I had originally posted this poem immediately on one of my blogs, but tempted to post it here again…

Ms. Taggart had been showing off
Her skills in making fun of people
But after she met me, she was put off
And has agreed to be my disciple

It took me a day to call her 'Fruit'
And now, she can't help but breathe fire
She has no choice but stay mute
As I take it up a notch higher

We bonded over a common language
I was laughing when she spoke
Her usage belongs to the medieval age
All the more ammo for me to poke

But I have to admit she strikes back
With wit and anger, I'm impressed
A little nudge and she's ready to attack
The way any troublemaker should be addressed

Nov 25, 2011

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!

Nov 24, 2011

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 depression. Well, we are in the almost-great-depression right now, and the references to the oil spill, the Dow-Jones index falling everyday, against-capitalism attempts by some governments make perfect sense for this times.

However, where the movie fails in its logic is , why would a railroad mean so important for the survival of a state even in 2016. Its not like the 40’s which is when the book is set that trains were the only means of reaching out into the interiors of the state.

The movie fails in areas where it is supposed to make a mark, like showing Dagny’s never-say-die attitude , or her childhood friendship with d’Anconia, her passion with Hank Rearden, or when John Galt comes to take away each of the Titans.

Also, the movie seemed unnecessarily fast-paced which is why most of the important scenes felt like they were rushed.

Watch the movie if you are a fan of the book, but keep in mind that this will not stand up to the world the book has created in your mind. Watch it only to see an effort to make a great book into a movie. A not-so-great effort.

Nov 23, 2011

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… :)

Nov 22, 2011

New Role Model

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?

Nov 21, 2011

A little DIY…

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 returning from this abroad trips which would look good when I place a plant in it. It didn’t matter what liquor it contained as long as the bottle was pretty, I told him, coz I wasn’t going to have it anyways, neither was he (This guy now sticks to his good old Kingfisher, and an odd rum these days) So this time again, I gave him this request, and an ultimatum to not come home empty handed. This time he came home with this bottle.

A beautiful blue coloured tall bottle of… Vodka, something that none of us ever had. Vodka had never been a favourite, and I lost all hopes of ever getting the bottle for my poor little bamboos. But then, due to the generous contribution of some good-natured friends, this bottle became empty in no time, and I got my bottle. Its mouth turned out to be too small to host any of the plants, so its primary purpose had been to store water, until this friend gave me an idea that it could be a lamp too.

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So this is what we did – Coil in a long series of LED bulbs into the bottle and plug in power to them. Not great in spreading light, but this lamp is a sure-shot attraction to the corner where I work.

Now that there is something more we can do with these bottles, I am waiting for the husband’s next abroad trip. :-D

Nov 20, 2011

Food for thought?

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 and see how far it will go…

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Pudina is another easy to grow plant. My maid, who has a great green thumb insisted that I have mint in my garden, and got the branch herself and planted it. It now is a cute little bush. Not enough to make mint chutney but enough to increase the green colour in the balcony…

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There is no other plant that has got my fancy as much as the Basil. I sometimes doubt that my love for pasta is because of the love for Italian Basil. I love the smell of Thai Basil and the shape of the leaves. I love to pluck the Indian Basil’s leaves and chew on them. Fresh Basil and its smell always make my mouth water and when I made my first batch of Pesto, I was on Cloud 9.

So when I was getting the home garden ready, I knew I had to have the Basil plants. N gave me a bunch of Thai Basil seeds, but given the success rate I have in getting plants out or seeds, I lost them all. That was when A was generous enough to give me a Thai Basil sapling which I asked my maid to plant in the pot. And lo… within a few weeks, I had a beautiful plant , full of leaves and some more saplings in the same pot.

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I am still waiting for laying my hands on some Italian Basil so I can make pesto out of my own basil leaves without having to make that trip to the super market , and to make plain basil pasta. Till then, I am making do with this Basil.

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And then, there is the Lemongrass herb that I painstakingly grew. One fine day I got this craving to cook and eat Thai food, and the recipe called for lemongrass. I immediately set off to the nearest super market to buy some. Sadly, that place didn’t have any. The next super market didn’t have any too, neither did the next. Desperation took me to the Hyper City mall where I found three bulbs of lemongrass. But so shaken was I with the whole looking-for-the-herb when there is a deep craving for the food , that I chose to not cook with this lemongrass, but grow my own lemon grass. How I grew this from those three bulbs is another story, but this herb has not given up on me, so far. It gives me fresh stalks of grass every week, which i sometimes cut and throw away, because of its abundance. Touché.

And oh, the Kari Patta plant, which is now almost stripped off all the leaves, yet has one stalk for me every time I want to tadka-karo my South Indian dishes.

The Aloe Vera plant which promises eternal health, great skin , the sun, moon and the stars , has not been used for any of these purposes so far, because of which it has grown enormous leaves, stretching into my Thai Basil. And then there are the decorative plants the husband loves so much… All this on the bamboo stool that we got made for the balcony… well, that’s all to the home garden, for now, at least.

Nov 18, 2011

La Mariee

 

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.


La Mariee - Marc Chagall

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 with the person the bride loves. And a magic realism-istic feeling being shown by the flying fish in the background. And something making the whole thing grounded and real with the chick and moving man at the bottom right corner. Something about all this love getting realized, by the church like building in the background and the man beside the bride, may be she found the love?

To me also the painting spoke of love. Of Love that makes the bride want to fly in the sky , expect beautiful yet strange things a goat playing a violin. Of Love that makes her want to be grounded and may be have a house with a hen in it.

May be I am reading too much into this or may be the movie indeed did influence my thinking about this painting, but for the first time a painting (except of course Da Vinci’s. But then who isn’t interested in Mona Lisa or the Vitruvian Man?) interested me.

Now am looking to have at least a copy of the photo of this painting as a poster in one of the rooms in the house… Lets see.

Nov 16, 2011

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 Alchemist was the greatest thing to get out of Coelho’s pen or had radical thoughts about love, belonging and attachment.
A voracious reader himself, this is one of the few books I and the husband liked together back then.
But after reading the old review, I had to verify if the book meant same to me after all these years.

I am 30 now. I have read many more books, both on spirituality and by Paulo Coelho, and have started my first step towards improving my understanding of the existence of humans, the soul and everything. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am not even tad bit religious but heavily spiritual, and have begun to understand that I do not do anything because it has to be done , unless someone explained the logic behind that act to me.
Above all, I have been married for almost 6 years, hence have had my share of ups and downs in the marriage, my questions about being married and togetherness, my own set of arguments, my feeling of where-am-I-going-in-this-life, my fights with the demons society has been throwing at me and my resistance to not adhere to the norm just because I had to.
I wanted to see if Zahir would still make sense to me and if I would still continue to recommend this to people as one of the best books by Coelho and for married couples.

Well, the short answer is yes. I will continue to recommend this as a must-read for couples. The slight difference is that, I would recommend this book to all couples who have been married for a little longer while. Especially if you do not have kids. Newly-weds might not appreciate this book because of the rose-tinted glasses they see the world with. It does make a lot of difference to the way we think about marriage, the norms of the society, the rules of love and above all about ourselves.

For the long answer, read on…

To start with, Zahir is a Arabic word, meaning clear. There is a similar derivation of this word in Hindi also, meaning the same. In the context of this book, Zahir is something one sees so clearly that it consumes a person’s every single thought to the point of becoming his obsession. That is what happens to the narrator in the book when he suddenly realizes that his wife has left him. Probably for another man. Without as much as a goodbye. After 10 years of being in a what he thinks happy marriage. And he cannot place why. And this thought consumes his every action, thought and word for a period of two years. He finds other things to do with his life, but the need to understand why Esther left him continues to eat  him till one day he is given an opportunity to find out why. In that process, he answers many questions he asked himself, remembers many conversations he and Esther had when they were married and rediscovers himself and almost gives himself a new birth with a fresh outlook. How he does that and if he makes himself worthy of being loved by her again or not is the story. A very well written one. Ruffling many thoughts in your head.

Like every book I read, I have a couple of takeaways myself from this book. Some very important topics that I have been mulling about and have been having internal conversations about have been touched upon in this book, and I have to start exploring them again, this time with my partner, in this case the husband. And the best part in this case is that my thought process had begun in this direction for a while now, its about rethinking it with the thoughts from this book as reference points.

One theme I have noticed so far in my life and something that is underlined in the book is the need for a closure - How important it is for a person to have a closure on anything he is emotionally connected to, without which he cannot continue living normally. Every relationship between two people, when it ends needs to have a proper closure for either of them to continue with their respective lives. For a long time I denied the need for a closure in my life, but only when I achieved it did I realize what it meant to me. A closure gives you a chance to take a look at the relationship, summarize on what it meant to you, how it has changed you and respect the other person for giving you a chance to be in his/her life. You may regret the relationship or cherish it, but giving it a closure after it ends will make you ready to move on, and to accept other relationships into your life.

On the same note comes the point of letting go. Of the past. Of things that have hurt us. And the things that have brought us great joy. Of things that we regret doing. Or people we hold on to with fear of living without them. The minute we let go, we realize the enormous space it creates in our heart, giving us an opportunity to love and feel again, a way to channelize our energies, or to live with peace with the past.

The society we live in dictates some rules. If you are married you should be with your spouse forever. You should not ever think about the other side of your spouse even if it is glaring. If you are a woman, then you should be a mother. Otherwise you are not a complete woman and have not lived life. If you have been for x no. of years, you should be making y money and should have z material possessions. You should always make your parents happy no matter how it makes you feel. Otherwise you might be a failure. So on and so forth.

We have grown up around these rules, and have been taught to live per them, otherwise we would anger the society. In living according to the rules we tend to forget how to live life. We just live it mechanically, doing things the way they are supposed to be done because that’s how they were dictated to be. We do not give ourselves a chance to think of other ways to do any of these things, and any question on that would ruffle our minds so much that we lose peace, and get scared of the possibilities life might offer if we were to not follow the rules. This fear determines the way we live, we interact and we think. The minute we dare enough to think of other options , we know there is a world of opportunity sitting there.

Like for example the story about why the two tracks in the train are 143.5 centimetres apart. The reason for this dates back to the ancient Romans, and the narrator talks about all the missed opportunities because of no one having ever questioned this rule. The same applies to marriage also. Two people who are destined to be together but with a certain distance between them. Its up to the couple to determine if they want to live like that or not. And if they do, its because they want to live and not because of external reasons.

The society says that if you have been married, then it means that you have to love your spouse is forever. The minute that thought enters your head, you take the spouse for granted. If you are busy to do an activity with your spouse today, you tell yourself that the spouse is not running away and you can do the same activity tomorrow . Most likely, this tomorrow never comes. Either you or the spouse ends up being disappointed, and like all other activities you postpone talking about your feelings also.

Because you are too busy living today. Making money. Taking that one phone call or checking that one email that requires your attention. Or simply because you are too tired to do that today. You do not realize that you have grown apart from  your spouse. A little. But like every drop makes an ocean, every such missed opportunity to talk makes you grow apart , little by little , to such an extent that you do not recognize the person you married. One fine day you wake up and wonder where the chirpy little girl you married is or where the brooding, wanting to change the world guy you fell in love was. Gone, the magic in your marriage, out of the door you shut behind yourself when you were busy living.

If you dare enough then you will face the situation and make amends. If you chose to ignore this , you will continue living, not your life, the life someone else has dictated for you. Add kids to this equation and it changes totally. Even if you realize that you do not know each other anymore, you will sweep this thought under the carpet called Family Life in your mind and stay together for the sake of kids. You live a life your family wanted you to live, and not what you wanted to live. You are not happy. You are just living. And giving unhappy or not-in-love parents to your kids.

The key to all this might be in not taking the person in your life for granted. Respecting the person’s presence, valuing the fact that he/she has thought you good enough that they are staying in your life, caring for you , appreciating you and loving you. Living life every day like it were your last. Now, the last one takes some effort to live up to, but one can always try to be there.

In short, you do not have to do things just because that’s the way they are supposed to be done. You should do things because YOU want to. You should stay with a person because YOU love the person and not because you are married to him/her. You should have kids because YOU want to have kids and not because you are feeling lonely or that your marriage seems to be going nowhere or that’s what your spouse wants to do or since that’s what all married couples do. You should continue working not because that’s what all grown-ups do, but because YOU love what you are doing.

These kind of thoughts are branded as being selfish in the world we live in, but aren’t we all our own islands? We have come to this world alone and will go alone. We will just be gifted by the presence of other people in our lives, they are not here permanently. So why plan your life’s decisions around what other people want you to do. Yes, you can give some concessions to the people in your life, but letting people decide your life’s course would mean you are living their life, their dreams and their plans. Not yours.

As people, we grow everyday. The experiences we face everyday, the learning we encounter with each experience, and the exposure certain things give us, all of these change us , in most cases make us better people. Similarly the people in our life also grow everyday. That is the reason why most of us do not connect with our schoolmates or college friends anymore. We are not 20 anymore when life was just a big party. One way to tackle this is by talking. With at least those who mean the most to us. Regularly, and with an open mind that the other person is growing too. His thoughts need not align with every thought of yours like how they used to be. Respecting the person’s judgement when we talk lets us accept the changes they are going through. Since man is not an solitary being and has contact with various people throughout his life , its up to the people in his life to make themselves worthy of his love. If everyone thinks this way, they all would strive to be better people , so that the ones they love would love them back for what they are, and not because they have to.

The other thought is to accept that nothing is permanent. Not a single thing in this life. This feeling you get when you see your spouse at this instant, well that’s not permanent. It will change a bit the next instant. The pain you feel when someone hurts you, that’s not permanent either. The car that you love so much that you spend hours on cleaning it, well , it will get spoilt any day. Similarly, the life you build with a lot of planning , love and care, that could collapse too. Knowing this, accepting this and still continuing to live will bring a lot of peace and happiness.

It might look like I have launched on a tirade here under the pretext of Zahir, but trust me, when you read the book you will encounter such thoughts yourself. The books makes you think and question many things in your life. Your love for your spouse. Your definition of success. Your need for people. Many of the decisions you’ve taken so far in your life. Your possessiveness towards things you own. All of these. Thinking about them all after you are done reading this book will make you a much peaceful person. And bring more love into your life.

Again, trust me on this.

Nov 15, 2011

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 during those hot summer afternoons) , learning how to draw my first ever cat drawing from you(the drawing teacher that you are, you taught me the technically right way to do that), standing for hours in front of the big beautiful tilting mirror in your room and play with the cousins and run away the minute we heard your TVS come in, wearing that saree and imitating Maami talk to you and see you smile with joy at your little niece do such antics, buying you one perfume bottle every time we visited and seeing you smile like a small child…

I can never forget the happy smile in your eyes when you met S the first time, and learnt that he spoke Kannada. And then you went on to have long beautiful conversations with him, and me listening to you talk to each other in the background. That peace it gave me to know that you approve of my husband, and in fact loved talking to him… You were closest to being a grandparent to me. And today I don’t even have you.

PS: Master Mama is my Mom’s elder brother, whom passed away on 15th Nov, 2011, after years of being bed-ridden and unwell. :-(

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-Morrison and in-love-and-hence-will-do-things-to-piss-off-lover-and-media-Salman-Khan in a very good-looking, extremely well-dressed-in-its-own-new-way Ranbir Kapoor romancing a just-about-okay-looking-really-big-unnatural-looking-pout-just-cannot-act-for-nuts-Nargis-Fakhri, killing himself out of frustration at not getting to sleep with her, and hence writing and singing great songs composed by AR Rehman.
Well, this is the movie in a nutshell. Now add a cheating-on-the-husband-angle, one could’ve-been-dealt-with-better-divine-intervention angle, police-chasing-Jordan-for-no-apparent-reason angle and a very weak, discontinuous editing job. You have RockStar!
 
Don’t get me wrong. Its not a bad movie. This movie had the potential to be a good one, had it not been for the whining Nargis Fakhri and her pout, the cheap antics of the Platinum music company head, the whole extremely-ridiculous you-should-have-pain-to-be-a-great-artist(Everyone in the story team totally forgot the great musicians who have had sober lives – Bono and ARR himself for example!) and the various angry outbursts by Ranbir Kapoor for no logical reason.
And why the whole cheating angle? Why should Heer chose to cheat on her husband? And if she felt guilty about it, why should she be doing it with Jordan? No, am not against people cheating on each other and all, but the illogical cheating is what I don’t get. In this day and age when people are free to be with whom they want to be, and without anything binding Heer to her husband, why didn’t she just dump her husband and go with Jordan if she loved him that much?
 
And getting the cancerous-about-to-die-Heer pregnant with Jordan’s baby is just, well… cheap. There was no need for this angle in the movie, and Jordan would’ve been pining for Heer even if she wasn’t pregnant with his baby. Also, the Free Tibet concert with Tibet being blurred out. Cheap again. The mention of the forest being cut to make way for the city and the absence of the parinde , well, not required. What is the character doing to substantiate his interest in these causes apart from just fighting with the police?
And what were they trying to show when Shammi Kapoor’s character shakes his head sadly at seeing Jordan’s poster for the album ‘Noir’? That he is going the wrong way? Well, didn’t he already know that Jordan was never the ordinary guy. And he wasn’t on the roads begging after a big fall from grace. So why the whole sad look?
 
And why on earth was Jordan running away from the cops in Prague or Verona or whatever awesome-looking-place it is? And if he was indeed performing in that place, why would the cops not know him?
 
This and many more such plot gaffes killed the movie for me.
What it should’ve been is just a guy’s angst at not being able to be with the woman he loved and hence transforms that pain into music. It could’ve been an honest attempt to show a love story.
 
Not a love-cum-musician-story. Not a sorry mish-mash of all the bad-boys we know in the media. Not how Jordan has an affair with Heer and tries to break into her house or pines to sleep with her or kiss her. Not how he became a Rockstar, coz being a Rockstar is not about being a bad-boy. Not how Jordan uses his pain to gain an image and show his attitude to audience.
The only things I liked in the movie – the music and the clothes. Though many say that this isn’t certainly one of ARR’s, I loved the songs. I enjoyed all the songs and the way they were shot. I loved both Heer’s and Jordan’s costumes. Brilliant work at building a separate style for them both. I loved the locales, and cinematography.
 
But if you ask me who the Rockstar in the movie is, I’d say Mohit Chauhan. Period.

Nov 14, 2011

Notting Hill

 

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 said this , or may be you could’ve said this too…

Nov 13, 2011

The weekend that was…

 

Starting from Friday evening, I -

  • visited in-laws who live 30 kms away
  • cooked a complete Telugu/Tulu meal for friends who were coming in for lunch
  • baked a whole lot of items in the evening, some of which fell flat and some of which turned out good
  • watched 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 lights
  • helped a nephew move into his own room and set it up a bit
  • an evening in Hard Rock Cafe
  • two movies after the evening – Notting Hill and Under the Tuscan Sky

For 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… :-|

Nov 11, 2011

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 which makes you realise that love can be changed throughout the life of your marriage; - The manner in which each of the smallest emotions are described by the author is commendable. (On second thoughts, Alchemist is also a love-story with a different measure!) At some points during the book, I felt that the author must surely have experienced all those emotions, coz the portrayal cant be so real unless you go through them.

And I am damn sure that at the end of the book, the reader will know quite a few things in general also. May it be the reason behind the 143inches between the two rail tracks, the flirtatious game in the Tengri tradition, the name changing ritual of the steppes, the rule of the steppes, or the energy of love.

Knew that Paulo Coelho is a good author, but the feeling that I got after finishing this book is something which I cannot express in my words.

All in all - this is a very good book. My recommendation for any reader...

Lessons I learnt after reading this book:
1. Love is not always constant. Never follow rules set by someone if you don't know the reason behind the rules.
2. Now don’t jump off the reign and start devouring all Paulo Coelho's books lest you end up getting bored of him like what happened with Dan Brown.
3. Try to tell a few people about this book. Who knows, they are also suffering from the Zahir? And might want to read it... You would've introduced another person to the beautiful world of books...:)

Nov 10, 2011

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 emotional puzzles I faced so far.

To start with , I think that needs and void are inter-connected. Sometimes it so happens that you would’ve never known that there was an emotional need and it would’ve been getting filled via some means. But when the means suddenly stop, the void appears.
Basically void is this huge need that has to be expressed. A feeling in your mind which has to be expressed. It could be love for a spouse/significant other, maternal feelings, love for a pet, wanting to serve the society , love for a sibling, a deep dependence on friends… etc.

What we do with the void determines our personality. Some of us might go berserk at the void and try to fill it up with material possessions. Some might turn to religion and look for all the answers in religion. Some might turn to spirituality. Some might just become depressed.
Rebound relationships, adopting a kid, a mid-life crisis, an extra marital affair, babysitting a pet, trying to replace the sibling with similar people or looking to replace the sibling’s place, getting new friends, an endless string of relationships with people of the opposite gender, immersing oneself into their career… these could all be examples of how one gets over the void.

I was thinking about how I tried filling up my share of voids. Back when I was much younger and faced with a void, I tried filling it up in a stupid manner. Something that I have never been proud of.
But even as I grew older , I noticed that every time a person left my life, I tried filling it up with another person. Sometimes more than one depending on how important that person is/was.
And when I look back, think and make comparisons on the original person and the replacements (which is a terrible thing to do , btw, both for the original and the replacement person), there have been times when I was happy at having done that. And sometimes I beat myself to it, at how I could’ve replaced the person X with the non-deserving person Y.

That was when Vipasana helped me. The first time, and every time thence. Acceptance, Impermanence and Understanding – the major mantras in dealing with matters of the mind.

The next time I was ready to take a trip to the Guilt-Land, I told myself this – Agreed that this was not the right way to do it, but back when you did it, it seemed like the one. And it helped you get over the void. And no, you did not replace the person/need. You just were looking to channelize all those emotional energies to something else because you did not know how to cope with the void. That only emphasizes the importance of the need/person in your life, a compliment to their/its existence in  your life. All the things you’ve done when faced with the void are justifiable in their own way. But here’s a learning – Identify the next time you face a void. Treat this void better. Mourn the loss of the need. Think through your replacements and then go ahead for one.

Trust me, this helped. Immensely. I’ve come to terms with the things I’ve done in the past. I’ve got a learning on how my mind works when faced with a void and I have a better idea on how I will deal with it.

I know this is a long topic and not something that will be done with just a post. Yesterday being the day when I saw many close friends expressing their need and hence the voids in their respective lives, and me thinking about it for the longest time possible must’ve led this early morning discourse on the whole process of wants/needs/voids.

When I think about how some voids have been filled up in my life and in others’, I cannot help but think – this is all coz of us being humans. Supposedly the third most intelligent species (oh yes, I totally believe dolphins and mice are the most intelligent. Got the whole H2G2 reference?). If we were like any other animal , except of course a dog, we would not even face a void. We wouldn’t need to deal with it. Or if all us were sanyasis, and didn’t need or want anything or anyone for our living, wouldn’t it be a great life? But then, we are not… and till the time we attain our Nirvana we have to deal with voids. Make stupid mistakes. Learn from them. And deal with the voids again. The whole cycle of life!

Nov 9, 2011

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 when I grow up.
Someone whom everyone trusted, whom people respected, and loved - I put John Galt on the pedestal.
Now almost a decade after reading that book, my feelings have not changed. Yes, they have matured a bit, but that was because I have grown up.

John Galt is still on the pedestal, but Dagny Taggart reached that place with her strength & never-say-die attitude. Francisco still stays there, but now I understand him better. Hank will always be where he is, but what now I know why he is not willing to share his success. And yes, I still loathe people like James & Lilian.

I still dream of going to my own Galt's Gulch with like-minded people someday.

But the most important thing this book has done to me in all these years is to give me a model. In the form of different characters, Ayn has clearly written down the streaks each person should have in his character, and like they say character is destiny!
Now coming to the other book, Fountainhead - after having read the earlier one, I was so besotted with Ayn Rand that I had to read this. At almost 21, I read this book for the first time.

That instant, I fell in love with Roark also. He appealed to me then, and the young me did not understand Dominique better. And I hated & sympathized with Keating at the same time. I almost ignored Gail Wynand.
But now after so many years, the practical me does not let me feel the same way about this book anymore. Yes, its a classic, but I still fail to understand why Dominique had to go to Keating, and then to Wynand and then ditch him at the hour he needed her the most and then go to Roark finally. No, don't get me wrong here, I am not preaching that she should've stuck to one man, I just fail to understand the motive behind giving your own self so much torture and glorify it. I do not see logic in the love she had for Roark.

However, Roark - his slender yet agile body, orange hair, long fingers, his calmness yet determination, his art still are etched the same way in my mind's picture.

But now, Gail Wynand is almost my favourite.
I love this guy who had the guts to accept the mistakes he did and goes to great heights to bring himself peace. If someone works on something from which they don't expect any material benefits but just mental piece, then their strength to do that is what is commendable.
I love the way he would handle his relationships and his love for Dominique.
I loved the guy's silence when he accepted Dominique's & Roark's relationship.
I pitied the helplessness which made him ask 'Is this the first time after our marriage?"
I got inspired by the way he stood for a friend and sailed him through thick & thin.
I love the way this guy handled his enemies..
In short, he is my new hero.

This is what I love about these two books. I love the way Ayn Rand does Hero worship, yet makes the woman protagonist equally strong. The love the main protagonists share in these books is unique. They don't crave to be together, they don't even share a complete dialogue, they just love each other. Yes, it seems impossible for anyone to share a love like that in real world, but she makes sure that this kind of love at least lives great in the dreams.

And this proves to me that a book which will not change the way you feel towards it even after a 100th read is a classic, or rather your favourite book!

PS : Except for some edits, I wrote this post exactly 3 years ago. I have read many more books after writing this post, and have found some classics too. In fact, in contrast to what I always thought about We, The Living, I quite liked it when I read. I loved Kira’s character – her love, her friendships, her determination, her hatred. Everything.

But Atlas Shrugged still has THAT place in my heart. It is the first book that told me what a hero should be like, something I read when I was forming my own ideals, my own role-models and my own landmarks. And Atlas Shrugged, Dagny, Hank and John Galt have a huge influence in the way I think, I act and I believe. Something a classic should do!