Monthly Archives: July 2012

I watched Cocktail and The Dark Knight Rises last weekend. Life has been better.

I have been on a little blog break. Why, you as? Oh nothing much, I was recovering from having watched the movie Cocktail. It was a week back actually, but the staggering effect remains.  Let me break it down for you.

Saif Ali Khan’s character Gautam is a douche-bag. He goes from Delhi to London for a job, that we cannot guess the nature of till the very end. He has the worst pickup lines in history. But that doesn’t matter, because they seem to work real fine. No, he doesn’t look charming at all. He looks very much the 42 years old that he is and not in the sexy philosophy professor with slight greying hair way.

Deepika Padukone , Veronica in the movie, lives in a bachelorette pad in London, is the wild party girl whose parents don’t bother to call her much and just send her moolah, lot of. She doesn’t like to wear pants.

Diana Penty, whose character is called Meera, comes to London thinking she will be welcomed by her new husband Randeep Hooda, but he shoo-es her away. She cries in a retsaurant washroom wear she meets Veronica. Rich girl takes her home and gives her food, shelter and new western clothing. Thats a good thing for us who like to see long legs.

Anyway, long story short, Gautam and Veronica are dating casually. Gautam’s mom wants to get him married and surprise visits him in London and sees him in a Viking tramp queen costume. Veronica is not wearing pants so he can’t introduce her to his mom as his lover. So he says Meera is the one. Somewhere after this, Gautam and Meera kiss and its discovered that they love eachother. Meera feels that she is betraying her benefactor but they tell Veronica about it anyway. Veronica says she is ok but in a drinking binge reveals she loves Gautam too (WHY?!!!) in a very serious way and so Meera leaves. Then in another drunken stupor Veronica is in an accident, badly hurt, Gautam sees her through her recovery. Veronica decides that its good to be like Meera- to wear pants, to pray to Hindu idols, and spend time in the kitchen. Then she decides that she ought to be selfless (apparently yet another trait of an ideal Indian woman) and she tales Gautam to Meera in Delhi. In the end, there is another session of bad pickup lines and Gautam and Meera get together.

By the end of Cocktail, I wanted to kill myself but I made a few notes and comments.

The best thing about Cocktail : Deepika Padukone’s legs that go on for a mile.

The worst thing about Cocktail : Depiction of skewed ideas of what it is to be an “ideal Indian woman”- as someone who dresses modestly, is tamed, god-fearing,  settles for any guy,  etc.

Some questions worth pondering over-

1. Who was the alcohol sponsor for th movie? Can he sponsor me for life? No really, the number of shots of Deepika taking shots and swigs of bottles are immense. Infact, we can make a drinking game out of it.

2. Was Randeep Hooda in Fight Club or something? Why is he battered or physically hurt in different ways in every scene he features? In one scene his hand is fractured, in another, his nose is bandaged. There are no explanations given for any of his.

3. Why is the movie called cocktail? These guys mostly took swigs of bottles and were the most boring mix of people to come by, ever.

Anyway, to recover from the shock of Cocktail, I went to watch The Dark Knight Rises over the weekend. It was really interesting to see how all the Nolan fans ganged up against critics who gave bad reviews for the movie and the whole debacle of reviews being shut down till the weekend. 

Oh well, all I am going to say is that Nolan has done better and I like The Dark Knight better than the latest of the trilogy. This latest one was ofcourse nicely tempered with the climax and suspense being well executed. But with Bane (Tom Hard was great in this role btw), the villain, there was a discourse on anarchy and capitalism that desperately ought to be more carefully tackled and tread upon. I also think, that The Dark Knight Rises  stretching 2 hours 45 minutes, was  longer than necessary and some editing would have helped. I love DC comics and I love Christopher Nolan, but thats just what I think about this movie yougaiz. You are free to throw rotten tomatoes at me.

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delhi times

I left something in the hills.

This was during the recent trek in the Himalayas. I left something in the hills there. A little joy, a little love, and came back with a promise to return.
May be when I go back next time, I’ll get some of the weather back. Delhi needs it. and I emphasize, Delhi needs it.

I came back here four days back and although its supposed to be monsoon, I have not even seen a drop of water fall from the sky. Not even a bird has pissed down. Who ever in the first place decided that Delhi was a habitable place when they first started settling man. WHO?!! Its terribly hot and humid here and lately, the irritation level has been so high that getting any closer than 2 cms to even your  best friend can result in a sparta like reaction. You know like this-

“Yea we are fucking meeting after more than 2 months but don’t fucking hug me! and if you step any closer, I’ll shower you with my sweat! It’ll be sparta forevuuur!”

Yougaiz, I hope, are in a better place. Is it raining where you are? Sweet blessed warm showers like Bombay? I am longing for the smell of wet earth.  By the way, did you know that there was a word for that lovely smell- its called petrichor.

 

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If a body catch a body in the rye…

If you’ve read the ‘I believe’ column on the left-side bar of my blog page, you would know that I love the Beatles. I am even listening to them right now because this post is remotely about them. If you don’t like the Beatles, I suggest you still stick around and read this post or another one like this or this one on Walter Kitty’s diary.

Ha! Now that I am done with the day’s bit of good deed and self-promotion, I shall get to the point.

So over the last two days I read The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. You might say that I am reading it too late but I admit that I was a lousy English literature student.  For those of you who haven’t read it, here is a short synopsis.  The book is about Holden Caulfield, a 16 year old boy who is deeply disturbed by the phoniness he perceives in people around him. He is wary of almost everyone and is afraid to accept change.  The book is Holden’s own narrative in the form of a cynical chatter coupled with wry humour, that reminded me much of Woody Allen’s films. Perhaps it had something to do with the 1950’s New York slang, but the nervous tone and tangential streams that Holden’s mind goes in, are reminiscent of Woody Allen’s character in Annie Hall.  Holden talks about the time when he gets kicked out of his third Prep school and the ensuing weekend in New York. This is a bildungsroman novel (a “coming-of-age” novel), and the reader engages with this adolescent boy’s  personality and emotions through his thoughts and actions.

the catcher in the rye – JD Salinger

With the themes and motifs in The Catcher in the Rye, one understands that Holden perceives adulthood to be a world full of phonies and admires the innocence in his little sister Phoebe. He says that the best job for him to protect children from falling off the cliff while they are running around and playing in a rye field. He would be the catcher in the rye. The fall over the cliff is, for Holden, the plunge into adulthood, that he himself is unable to grapple with. He can’t fathom emotional and physical relationships, despises all kinds of pretense (though readers and even Holden realize that he himself is phony in some ways), is quite fickle-minded, unable to find a path and doesn’t even see any point in “finding a path” for the sake of a phony moronic herd of sheep called society. (Phony was among the top used words in the book. Don’t blame me bro.)

I suppose that for the inner-conflict that Salinger explores, a lot of readers might be able to relate to Holden’s character in The Catcher in the Rye. Written in 1951, this character is often called the original ‘angry young man’ and resonates a tension that bumps off into the reader too.  The compulsion to categorize people’s personalities as either black or white , does not allow Holden to perceive people as just being different hues of grey.

However, for me, this very attribute of perceiving everything as a shade of grey, disallows me from having any definite unshakable belief in anything. My mind is my own devil’s advocate. My facebook political view says that I have a ‘socialist heart with a capitalist brain’. Do you see? It’s not as if I am sitter-on-the-fence all the time, but I do believe that everything must be analyzed on a case to case basis.

So if a guy like Holden who is a black-and-white sorta guy, can’t hold it together and neither can a grey-vision girl like me, then what the hell is going to work?! Oh darn, this book must have gotten me really depressed. Depressed, that was another favourite word in the book.

Hey but I was telling about the Beatles and this book , right? Thing is, Old John Lennon, was assassinated by one Mark David Chapman in 1980. Lennon was shot dead outside the building he was staying at. After shooting him, Chapman hung around waiting for the police to arrive. While waiting, he read a book. He had signed it from Holden Caulfield and wrote ‘This is my statement’. He carried this book to his court trials and also quoted from this for testimony. The book was The Catcher in the Rye.  Chapman repeatedly said that this book triggered and inspired him to kill John Lennon. One explanation (also the most likely)is that Chapman thought that if Lennon talked about love and peace, then how could he have millions. He thought Lennon to be a big time phony guy and decided that he had to die. In a later interview,  Chapman said that he killed Lennon “to acquire his fame”.  Lennon was a grey man, and Chapman couldn’t take that.  So another music died.

the day another music died.

The Catcher in the Rye has often been called a hate manifesto because of a few other assassins also fancying the book along with having a flair to kill famous people. But meh, I don’t think it was that at all. The ambiguous ending in the book allows the disenchanted whites, blacks and greys of the world to just suck it up and go ahead any way.  I liked some of the images he Salinger shines into our mind. It just made me glad that the book hasn’t been made into a movie yet. You know, sometimes you don’t want your imagination of something to be spoilt with a movie image.

Lastly, but NOT the least, I also learnt from the book about what fishes and ducks do when the lakes and ponds freeze during winter. Holden is always pondering over this in the book. The book doesn’t give the answer. But I ‘googled’ it. oh yea!

 

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Duma dum mast kalander!

Since I am sitting so vella in Kuwait during the holidays and don’t have much to do, apart from the occasional internship work, fun reading and watching movies, I have been venturing into the kitchen once in a while.

A few days back I made the Hyderabadi Dum Biryani. My non-vegetarian friends always make fun of me saying that biryani can NEVER be vegetarian and that anything that is called biryani or is supposed to be eaten has to have some meat in it. But that’s just what we made- Vegetable Hyderabadi Dum Biryani. Boy was it delicious!

I followed the recipe from this website here where Dassana gives out recipes for lip-smacking food and always has beautiful pictures of food that makes you really feel like cooking these dishes. Check out the recipe here – http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/hyderabad-veg-biryani-hyderabadi-vegetable-dum-biryani-recipe/

Here is a picture of my attempt that almost failed because I ignored the gas with all the commotion online about the Higgs Boson particle being found! woohoo for that!

Image

My attempt at Veg Hyderabadi Dum Biryani

Doesn’t it look delicious?! Oh it was! So after all that absolute lack of modesty in my culinary skills, I will leave you to trying it out yourself.

Have a nice Sunday. I hope you are not being subject to watch Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham on TV right now. I can hear just the sound from the other room and I just cannot believe that Indian audiences could ever be corny enough to like that movie and I could be corny enough to have danced excitedly in front of the TV copying this,  even if I was 11 years old. 😐

Kthnxbye!

 

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July 8, 2012 · 6:49 pm

how to pay condolences

My boss at the place where I am interned recently lost his father and so I had a few days off too. When he got back, I realized that I am supposed to be an adult now and am responsible for paying my own condolences. I asked my parents what I should say, looked up youtube for ‘how to pay condolences’ and even rehearsed. And yet , I screwed up. 😐

Youtube has nothing noteworthy on this subject, btw. There were just news reels about famous people going to pay condolences on the death of other famous people or fans of musicians crying their lungs out.

I don’t know whats wrong with me. Usually I never tend to be able to grasp the gravity of death and mostly I guess, even deny it. I’ve never had anyone super close to me pass away, just my maternal grandfather.  I was about 15 then. I did like him a lot but don’t think I cried about it at all.  My friend Vidya lost her dad not too long back, and since she was my own age and had known her for many years, I knew how to console her and allow her to accept teh situation and grieve at the same time. But this was my boss. I’ve barely known him a month.  So I was talking to another colleague and was already smiling when my boss came up front for the first time since his father’s death.

Me: (smiling)Hello Sir, how are you?

Boss : (pleasant and grim) I’m good.

Me: (still smiling :O :O) I heard about your father. Im so sorry for your loss.

Boss nods.

Me: (controlling my smile) Was he unwell?

Boss: Yea, he had been hospiatlized.

Me: (trying to look serious) and you got back…? [I din’t even know if he had gone to home country or nt or where his father had been. Hence, the trailing off of the question.]

You see? It was bloody awkward and I had actually smiled! and that was inspite of the rehearsal at home. I think its a defense mechanism of some sort where I try to allay the sadness of death with a smile and pretend like it does not exist.

So I end up having a pathetic expression thast somewhere between laughing and looking serious.

Like this –

Confused laughing + crying expression

Do you guys know what I can do about this ? How do you guys pay condolences\ to your friend or boss? What are the right things to say?

I have been saved the grief so far, but there is an age after which I suppose one finds oneself in such situations more often. So I’d better be ready, eh?

 

 

 

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my 500th blog view

I had 499 views on my blog. So I logged off and viewed my page so that I could be my 500th viewer. For some reason It did not count. 😦
Let me know if YOU are my 500th blog viewer. 🙂

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My obsession with potty

I am obsessed with shit. Yessir, you read right. I am scatologically obsessed and my friends know that I usually have atleast one conversation about shit everyday.

My theory is that this is a hereditary behaviour which I picked up from my grandfather over the years. He is 86 now, but even when he was much younger he would be quite tensed about (a)time and (b)shit. So when we are to leave on trips or a journey, he would insist that we reach the train station 2 hours before the train actually leaves. We wake up at 4am to catch a train that leaves at 11am from the train station that is only one hour away. He was always nervous like that. But when coupled with potty, its a whole new level of absurdity. In a recent journey, when I had gone to get my grandparents to Bombay from our village,  he refused to get started on the journey because he hadn’t been able to shit since that morning.  He did coem with us finally, but that was only after he and my grandma fought World War III.

Anyway, I have taken it up from this amazing grandpa of mine and worry like hell if If can’t go, especially before a journey. I drink two glasses of hot water every morning to flush all ‘toxins’ out of my body. When we got the University internet student ids, I discovered that the Admin had put various filters on the University internet connection. How did I find out? It was because I Google-ed the word ‘SHIT’.

The first word I google-ed when I got my personal internet connection on campus was the ‘shit’.

Fortunately, I have good enough bunch of friends are used to me now and are not so disgusted if I talk about stuff related to this. Infact, they know that I will definitely know the solution if they are having a bad stomach. 😛

Incidentally, I also have friends who are as scatologically-obsessed as I am. One of them in my university even made an art exhibit revolving around this subject and made stencil paintings associating shit with political, scoial, sexual, popular, comic, anthropological conventions. It was really cool!

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I think Ivan is presently even using this for his Mphil thesis so you so how pre-occupied some of us about this subject.  Across most societies it is treated as something profane and talking about it is considered impolite, uncivilized, a taboo, indecent and a lot more. But I really don’t see why its so disgusting.

Everyone shits! Even the king and queen.

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