Saturday, December 10, 2011

Is my husband too naïve or am I too cynical?

I read this article and immediately rushed to my husband who was in the living room. To my horror, I realized I had been sitting hooked to our desktop computer for last couple of minutes reading article after article; while my husband was sprawled on the sofa holding his laptop and the Tab was lying on the carpet (also switched on). What has become of us! Is technology taking over our lives? I am not a phone person but I am a big time internet person. I love surfing, and I spend hours on the net!

Coming back to the article, if you don’t want to or have time to read the article; It is about how not to give in to the peer pressure in providing your children with the latest gadgets. It says the children are going to do exactly what they see you doing, irrespective of what you teach them.

The scene, which I described a little while ago, was a reality check for us. Here we are completely besotted with all sorts of gadgets, so much that they are almost taking over our lives and playing havoc with our attention span; and on the other side, we fear the day when our baby will start asking for gadgets because he would find his parents using one or the other all the time!

I briefed my husband about this article and asked him how are we going to handle such situation. Now just pay attention to what he said. He said we will make it a point to meet up with the parents of our kid’s buddies and we would mutually decide not to give such gadgets like mobile phones, Playstations and Ipods. I asked him, “and why do you think they would go with your plan?” He said, “because they would understand it is not good for the kids”.

Theoretically, we all know children do not need these gadgets so soon, but even we don’t, theoretically! And yet we spend so much time on one or the other! When I was a kid, I can clearly remember two such occasions, where I created a scene right at the shop to make my parents buy stuff for me. They also would not have thought of those things (one was a toy phone and another were skates). May be those things weren’t such which could impact my life so much, but giving mobile phones and Playstations are big decisions.

My husband said, “we would go to other parents’ place and discuss with them about the impact of such gadgets on children, and I’m sure they would understand our point, like we would if somebody else explained to us the same things”. I said, “you could assume that because you are already open to the idea. There’s no convincing involved here”. Other parents might have different ideas on what is good for their children". To which he said, “our kid would obviously gel with like-minded kids, who would not be very different from him, and whose parents would obviously be like them.” So you see, my husband thinks the world is a nice place where everything fits perfectly.

Then he said, “don’t be so paranoid. These newspapers, articles and programmes focus on extreme cases. Look around and tell me one such kid who is spoilt.” And like always he had a point. Then I thought may be I was getting too unreasonable. Kids are smarter these days.

Then, I asked my husband, since we already have PS2 and PS3, what is he going to do about those? “You can’t expect our kid not to play on the Playstations”. And surprise, surprise, he said he would tell him not to! That takes me back to my childhood. The more my mum told me not to have tea, I became obsessed about it, and I still am! You can’t be playing on them yourself, and expect your child not to; may be you can fix a time for it, may be allow him only when he plays outdoors. I don’t want my kid to play football with joysticks; he better goes outside and enjoys the game as it should be!

Aah! Life was so much simpler earlier. If anybody has any suggestions on these parenting issues, they are most welcome; and I apologize to keep ranting about parenting. I can’t help it; it is the only thing which I can talk about right now.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mixed Bag

Every time I look at my baby, I get all misty-eyed. And I keep thinking about this book I read sometime back called ‘My Sister’s Keeper’. I have reviewed the book here. When I read this book, the mother seemed to me a stubborn woman who just wanted to do anything (even unreasonable) to keep her daughter alive. She seemed a negative character. Today when I have a baby, I am able to understand her better. I am able to understand how devastating it can be for a parent to lose her child. My naïve self has often wondered (earlier), what difference does it make when somebody loses a child, if he has 2-3 other children. I can’t imagine now, how I ever thought like that. I am able to appreciate it a million times more that every child is unique (I know it sounds clichéd but then I have only now understood the true meaning of this oft-repeated phrase). 

My baby is 3 months old now and though I named him Dhruv, I am afraid, I hardly call him that. I (as well as my husband) keep calling him with hundred different names. Many times I consciously call him Dhruv, out of fear that later on he may not respond to his name at all, since we never called him that to begin with! But it is difficult to call a tiny baby with a name, it does not sound warm enough!

I am afraid I keep thinking about this topic more often now. Child Sexual Abuse is such a taboo topic, irrespective of the fact that it is so rampant. When you are a child, it can cause havoc in your life. When we were in school, we never talked about it. I had a few close friends while in school, yet we never talked about it. But after I moved out for further studies and started talking more with them as well as other friends, I discovered that in reality several children face abuse but keep it bottled up inside. Perhaps the awareness is more now. But even now I feel, this topic is not discussed enough, and dealt with even less.

If you have read Bitter Chocolate by Pinki Virani, you would know that the situation on CSA (Child Sexual Abuse) is alarming in India. If you ask me, I don’t care about this whole ‘India against Corruption’ thing. I care a million times more about CSA and Sexual Harrassment of Women. I don’t know why nobody does anything about it. I know many people who would put up ‘India Against Corruption’ badges and be unnecessarily voluble about how this is need of the hour, and then go on to bribe all and sundry. Why? Because nobody is watching? What about your conscience? Some argue that the magnitude is different! Well, it is only a matter of time and opportunity. If you are okay with the thought (and action), then you would be okay once you get the opportunity. Anyways, to each, his own. That’s not my point! We keep reading about CSA at an alarming frequency now. Good thing is it is coming out in the open now, much more than it ever did earlier; but what are we doing about it? 

At the cost of sounding undiplomatic, I wanted to have a boy. When you grow up as a girl, you know enough to not want all those challenges for your child. But it has dawned upon me that now I have a bigger responsibility. A girl, culturally and instinctively, is sensitized to dangers lurking around every corner; while boys are pretty reckless. They are neither cautioned well enough, nor sensitized to risks of abuse; and many times it is too late. I have been reading a lot on the internet and my conclusion is these days boys are at a greater risk. As a parent, I don’t know how not to be over-protective in these times and age.

Since my baby is small now (he hasn’t started even turning on his sides also and sleeps around 15 hours a day), so I have enough time on hand, most of which goes on internet surfing. I have got hooked to Facebook big time. I obviously don’t like updating every single step, like what, where and why do I eat, drink or do whatever, but I like reading latest articles. Since I am mostly homebound these days, so I do a lot of online shopping – home stuff and lots of books. I have blown too much money on books recently. I would write about it in my book blog. Besides, I love buying some quirky, fun stuff, much to my husband’s dismay (but he is too sweet to say anything against it. Of course, he makes fun of me about it but that’s okay).
Anyways, I have recently discovered the following which I am absolutely hooked to: The Caravan Magazine, Open Magazine and First Post. I have read some amazing articles on these websites. One of those was about how we need to focus more onour boys, and they were so bang on. Even I think the real problem is with our boys and their upbringing, not with the girls. Rather than teaching our girls to protect themselves and give a list of do's and don'ts; we need to teach our boys to respect women. Well, to some I sound like a feminist. But I am not. Very clearly, men and women have been made differently and are supposed to do different things but apart from that, as individuals, they deserve same respect and freedom to do whatever they want to do. So as a parent, this is a big responsibility too. I think, if I am able to give right kind of values and upbringing to my baby, rather than dwelling too much about sending him to the best schools and colleges of the world; he would be able to do well for himself. Perhaps, to begin with, every parent thinks so too, but because of peer pressure and societal norms, they get lost along the way!

My husband and I are completely opposites in a few things but so alike in the rest. Anyways, he is as much crazy about new technology and gadgets, as I am about books and reading; and I don’t touch his games, he never touches my books. Not that we don’t allow each other, we have mutual dislike for them. He is a kind of much sought after techno-guru who advises on which mobile to buy in his circle; pretty much what Rajeev Makhani does on TV, he does in his circle J So, we have the usual PS2, PS3, DSLR and now the Tablet. After much deliberation, we bought Samsung GalaxyTab 10.1 inches, this Diwali. We got it for 34K and it’s worth every penny. Okay, so we also got a 1 gm gold coin with this, so that took care of the Dhanteras tradition. It is also the reason, why I am pretty much always connected. It works like makkhan! I haven't stopped drooling since the time I have been using it. We have been thinking about buying this for a while but we decided to buy a DSLR first as our sweet bundle of joy was on his way and I love pictures. I take million pictures of him. Besides, we were also waiting for this 10 inches to get launched. 7” was way too small to use it as a laptop. I have just got used to typing on it but right now I am typing on my good old desktop, because of habit!

I have these conversations with myself all the time (since I have so much time on hand and there is a limit to blabbering to a 3 month old baby), so I have a million things to write about but some other time J

I would leave you with a common joke between my husband and I.

I: We don’t spend enough time just sitting and talking, you know. Earlier, in college, you would ask me even for 5 minutes. You have changed!!! (the oft-repeated phrase between people who get married after few years of courtship)

My Husband: No I haven’t changed. I still want to sit with you for 5 minutes


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Book Fair

I have been home-bound since last couple of months. I don’t miss going for shopping or movies or eating out, but I cannot miss a Book Sale, can I? Since the time I read this piece of news, I was coaxing my husband to take me to the Sale. Now, he never really says ‘No’ to me but somehow we were not able to plan it through. Last Sunday, which was the last day of the Sale, we finally managed to go there :-)
Though I could not spend too much time over there, as our little baby had accompanied us; I still managed to buy 6 books.
By the way, it was our son’s first visit to a Book Fair, in hopefully many more to come ;-) I am just waiting for the day when I would take the little one to Book Fairs and Book Stores. 

Friday, October 07, 2011

Past 11 months or so

This post is long overdue (looking at my last post, I think any post here was long overdue in order to consider this blog alive).

Last one year has truly been life-changing. It all happened when it dawned on me last year that I would soon hit 30.

When I was doing my MBA, I was infatuated by Advertising and I was lucky to land the only profile available in advertising on campus, with nothing less than FCB Ulka! The first time I came to know that I had been selected for that profile had been the highest point in my life till then. An year or so in Mumbai doing Client Servicing, I more-or-less realised that advertising, or rather client servicing, was not for me. Moreover, life in Mumbai never appealed to me. Once you get the taste of Pune, it is hard to get over it. So, I moved to Pune about 5 years back in a Marketing Communication profile. I was asked, having worked in advertising, would I be able to adjust in a corporate set-up. I never had doubts about it. It was a great profile. But the only problem was that it was not my calling. It was not something which would fill me with pride 20 years down the line, or in short, it was not my passion.

The only little problem was that I had not really figured out my ‘passion’. The dream of being a writer is still very much there but no matter how easy it is now to become a writer, the kind of writing, I want to do still needs a lot of thought and time.

So, the idea of finding my true passion and doing what I really want to do and not wait for a lifetime to do it, I quit from my wonderful job last year. There was no plan, and nobody believed me that actually I had no plan on what I would be doing after quitting. Many assumed I was pregnant. I thought well ‘that’ you cannot hide for long.

My husband’s friends warned him that it was not such a great idea to let me stay at home. They assumed I would call him every hour, disturb him on his meetings and pester to come home soon. My husband can tell them all, I did not do that even for a day. From the past eight years of knowing each other, we enjoy each other’s company but we don’t need to sit on each other’s head all the time. We have different interests – I read, he is into gaming.  

Well, my original plan was to move around Pune and check out several tiny shops which we never really go to, spend leisurely hours at bookshops and even catch movies / film festival and plays.

We went to Mahabaleshwar on our anniversary in December and it is then that we discovered that we were expecting. I was already serving my notice period. Yes, having a baby in near future was certainly part of the plan but we never knew it would happen so soon. It was a moment of happiness as well as a lot of anxiety. We have never been able to picture ourselves as parents. Atleast for me, I get scared by the idea of having someone depend on you for everything – you more-or-less create an individual for the society and your choices will have so much impact on that individual’s life. I am more of a perfectionist and my husband is very hands-on about everything. As usual, I wanted to do everything perfectly. I was glad and thankful I did not have to run around for office and take it easy. I admire those who can balance work, home and pregnancy perfectly; I can’t.  Everyone said you could have resigned during your last trimester but I really wanted to take it easy and take each day slowly. I do not regret that decision even today, when I am sometimes overwhelmed by the demands of a two month old baby J

I had terrible nausea not only during the first Trimester but more or less during the entire nine months. Thankfully, I never threw out any food. On certain occasions I used to wonder if I would ever be able to relish food any more. Pregnancy can be overwhelming, especially the first one. Of course, I had 3 books to refer but actually experience is something else. I did not want either of our mums to be here till around delivery time because mums could be very stuck-up on their ideas and if you argue, they would always play the card of more experience!

I always went for my morning and evening walks and spent the rest of the day reading books, watching movies or sleeping. I wanted to have a normal delivery and I wanted to put in every effort in my capacity to ensure that.

I was fortunate to have no issues during my entire pregnancy but as the due date was approaching, I was getting scared. I had already discussed about epidural with my doctor but I had no idea what to expect. We even asked our doctor, ‘how are we supposed to know when to come to hospital’. I mean, it is a valid question. Nobody wants to make a fool of oneself by coming too soon or delivering anywhere except hospital; and delivery might seem easy in movies, it isn’t so in real life. Doctors are the best people to deal with it.

My water broke 12 days prior to my due date and the same day when I had met doctor for examination. She had not anticipated that I would be coming back in a couple of hours, neither had I. From what I had read in books, it appeared that my water broke and we decided it is best to go to hospital rather than rush in later. We carried our packed bag but we felt at the back of our minds that we would be coming back home and that it would be a false alarm. And thank god, we went when we went. I was admitted at 10 pm in hospital. Initially, I was at the common labour room where there were 3 women separated by curtains. Thankfully, we had checked out the labour room earlier and I was shocked to know that husbands are not allowed inside. Fortunately, there was a private labour room where husband is allowed the entire time. Of course it came at a price. I was praying that it should be available when I went into labour. The doctors at labour room had assured that usually it is available.

So, anyways, initially I was in the common labour room. Apart from the anxiety of not knowing what is going to happen in the next couple of hours, I also had to listen to the cries of fellow women who were already in labour. One lady who was next to me was crying out to get the baby out immediately. And add to that she had an old relative with her who was asking her to beg forgiveness from God for the pains the lady in labour might have given to her parents or something. So, what I deduced was that according to the old lady, the younger lady in labour was experiencing so much pain because she had given troubles to her mother / parents. I don’t have words to express myself here, on what kind of thoughts were coming to my mind for that old lady. I even asked the attending doctor to ask that lady to be quiet (I mean, the old lady). At the same time, I was also frantically messaging my husband to get the private labour room. I knew if I stayed there any longer, I would lose all my confidence.

I was lucky to get the private room. We sent my mum-in-law home and my hubby settled on one of the chairs because my contractions had not begun. My contractions began at 5 in the morning but they were not strong enough, so they induced contractions etc. I will not get into the process, but when the pain started it was almost unbearable. Since I had asked for epidural, I got it and was able to endure for another couple of hours. They let the effect wear off during the last part of labour so that I would push properly. The whole thing was a frenzy and I finally delivered at 11.56 am. I had read in books that you would never forget the moment when you first saw your child, and definitely, that moment was priceless. My baby’s eyes were wide open and he was looking at my husband. It was such a sweet moment.

Today my baby is 2 months and 1 week old (having born on 28th July) and every day is a wonder, every moment cherishable. Both of us have never been too much into kids, but our baby has transformed us. It is blissful to just look at him. Like every new parent, we click hundreds of pictures and record smallest of new things that he does. Attending to a baby is overwhelming and from what people say, it is just a beginning.

So many women have delivered babies in the past and so many would in the future. It is a natural process but now that I have gone through it, it does not fail to amaze me. It is such an incredible journey, and it seems so surreal to me now.

Sometimes when all three of us are together, I get overwhelmed by looking at our baby. It was just yesterday, we were just two of us, and now here is an adorable, tiny person, who has changed our lives forever.

I will take a moment here to thank my wonderful husband. I married my best friend. I have always considered him a better human being and much more balanced than I am. I get agitated by smallest of things but he never loses his patience. He took great care of me during entire pregnancy, attended all appointments, cooked for me when I was too nauseous and cheered me on when I used to get overwhelmed. I was extremely clear, I wanted him during labour, and he held my hand the entire time. I always tell him, he is so lucky to have seen the birth of his son, even I haven’t, and neither have so many other people! He stayed with me in hospital. During initial few days, ad even now, he would get up along with me to attend to baby, if he needs a change. A couple of days before I delivered, I wrote him a small note that said I would try to be a good mom, but I knew, he would be the greatest dad ever.

And now, with our son, we take each day at a time.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Three movies in one Evening

We watched 3 movies yesterday- back to back, and they are all comedies. Here’re the quick reviews:

Bheja Fry 2
I wanted to watch this movie since the time I read that there is a sequel to Bheja Fry. I had absolutely loved the 1st one, so despite the mixed reviews, I went for it. First of all, sequels are tricky issues. When one makes a movie, he does not visualize a sequel. It is only after the movie works, do people think about cashing in on the plot. AlSo, sequels have to live upto a lot of expectations. I think Bheja Fry 2 did fairly well. I was not too keen about any romantic angle for “Bharat Bhushan”. Such angles usually end up looking forced or not funny after a while. Thankfully, the movie does not dwell too much into it. It is more of the situational fun and Bharat Bhushan’s idiosyncrasies.

Vinay Pathak has done a good job as the lovable idiot. His scenes with Suresh Menon are hilarious. Kay Kay Menon is okay, while Amol Gupte seems a little over-the-top, but over all, the movie does entertain. I liked the movie but I loved the first one better.

Kucch Luv Jaisaa
The trailors promised an interesting premise of how love fizzles out after a while in marriage, and you start taking each other for granted. But unfortunately, the movie does not take off well from the premise. Shefali Shah and Rahul Bose make an unlikely pair but most of the time you end up feeling that Bose does not fit the character well. Shefali plays a married woman who has been so wound up in her life around husband, kids and home that she has no life of her own. When husband and kids get too busy in their daily routine, she feels neglected and unwanted. On her birthday, which neither her husband nor her kids remember, she decides to go out and have fun, do things which would not be expected of her. So she goes for a makeover, buys a car and follows a stranger around the city.

I would say I did not like the movie much. It did not have any high moments. It was a very thanda-kind of movie.

Chalo Dilli
Thankfully we watched this movie last, so the boredom of watching KLJ waned at the end. Though this movie also got mixed reviews, we thoroughly enjoyed it. Vinay Pathak does a fabulous job again. But then, these are the characters which he can play with his eyes closed now – lovable, over-the-top, good samaratin! Lara Dutta (the sophisticated, corporate woman) and Vinay Pathak (the motor-mouth, over-the-top businessman) become unlikely travel companions by the turn of events, and the movie charts the ups and downs of their journey together to Delhi. It is basically, Vinay Pathak who entertains you throughout the movie with his antics, while Lara Dutta has also done a decent job. Everyone in the support cast is good, only Yana Gupta's item song looked a little forced.

I totally recommend this one for a relaxed, weekend afternoon timepass.      

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fox History & Traveller’s What’s with Indian Men

There is a fixed set of channels that I surf on TV – Star World, Zee Café, Movie Channels and English News Channels (the font size, vocabulary and background music of Hindi News Channels don’t suit my sensibilities). It is only by chance that I landed on Fox History & Traveller, and I was pleasantly surprised to catch this new Travel show that goes on to explore what is it with “Indian Men”. Hosted by actress Sugandha Garg and model Indrani Dasgupta, the programme is breezy, fun and entertaining. I have seen the Delhi episode and the Goa one. 

In the Delhi episode, when Sugandha asks a Delhi guy what is it that makes Delhi men more aggressive than men anywhere else in India. He said it has something to do with the “butter chicken”! He goes on to add that as you go further north to Punjab, the quality of “butter chicken” improves and so does the aggression of men. While you see they don’t make such good “butter chicken” in South or in Mumbai, for that matter. Well, that was one smart and witty answer.

Next show is on Jaipur.Catch the show timings here

Image source:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

About Books and Bookends

Indian Fiction

Since the time ‘Five Point Someone’ changed the face of Indian fiction, the industry is flooded with this new genre of books, made popular by Chetan Bhagat. Personally, I don’t think highly of his books. But I would give him the credit for bringing an entire generation to the wonderful hobby of reading. Even my husband, who by the way hates the sight of books and has probably read 2-3 non-academic books in his life, has read FPS in one sitting.

There is a section of people who perhaps take reading as a medium to pass time and expect nothing else. They are not expecting ‘acquaintance with another world’, ‘enriching their language or knowledge’ or ‘though provoking insights’; they are just looking at it as something they can easily relate to.

But for me, reading is a serious business. I don’t take it lightly. There is a world of books out there, even a lifetime is not enough to read them. So, I would rather pick books which mean something to me - intellectually, emotionally stimulating, something which leaves an imprint long after I have finished reading it.

So, after reading ‘One Night @ Call Centre’, I have steered clear of this entire genre. It does nothing for me. I do enjoy chicklits once in a while but I would still prefer someone like Sophie Kinsella. I think she is hilarious. But after reading all her books, I am enjoying even her writing a little less now, because they are all very similar in tone, manner and story graph.

I enjoy reading Indu Sundaresan, Shashi Deshpande, Jhumpa Lahiri but I do not have any favourites per se. Surprisingly, I am yet to read Salman Rushdie (I have started ‘Midnight’s Children’), Kiran Desai, V.S.Naipaul, Vikram Seth (a fat ‘A Suitable Boy’ awaits my attention) and so many more. I don’t read authors, I read subjects.


If you love books, you would certainly love cute / interesting bookends. The first time I saw Mukul Goyal’s ID Bookends in BBC Good Homes, I hunted it down to a store in Pune and bought it (though frankly it was a bit expensive but they look lovely). I also love these ‘quote-unquote’ and ‘a to z’ bookends. I have not been able to find them anywhere so far!

Reading Pause

With some renovation stuff happening at home, and the carpenter giving us a tough time going far beyond the schedule with no closure in sight, I have not been able to concentrate on reading any book. There are atleast 3 different books on my side table, which I intend to read simultaneously. All 3 are very interesting and completely different. I won’t name them because the moment I say I am reading this book, I struggle to finish it, and this has happened too many times now so I have become quite superstitious about it. I can certainly dwell on the kind of books those are - 1 is a historical fiction, another on Indian English language and the third one is a non-fiction.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Movies, Books, Expensive Hobbies etc

Weekend Movie
As I was blabbering the other day about how I had won CNN-IBN’s “really tough movie quiz”, I received few DVDs and this gift voucher for Book My Show (500 bucks). It was there with us for over a month now, so we decided to catch ‘Dum Maro Dum’ last Sunday. I usually prefer going for the morning show or afternoon show since the crowd is considerably less, so we went for 11.30 show.

Well, I completely enjoyed the movie. All actors have done a decent job and for me, the fact that I did not even look at my watch once throughout the movie, is a proof enough that I had a good time. Frankly, there is no story per se, but tell me, did ‘Dhoom’ have any story?  The narration is pretty tight and screenplay is good. I liked most of the songs, especially this one. Dum Maro Dum remix is just about OK.

I AM releases today and I am looking forward to it. I was quite impressed by the way director Onir raised fund for the movie through social networking sites.  Besides, yet again Onir has chosen some sensitive issues to portray on the big screen, and the movie has a great star cast.

Hot topic
It is getting hotter day by day, even in Pune. It is almost impossible to step out till the sun is there. It is hard to believe that just 4 days back, on last Sunday, we had some pre-monsoon showers and such amazing weather. But atleast, good thing is that it is quite cool during night and in the early mornings. OK, so I am still quite far from watching the sunrise, atleast I am getting up before 7 am these days. I am so proud of myself.

Meeting a friend
Since the weather was good and we did not have other plans, we decided to meet a friend on the spur of the moment. There are so many friends who stay close by, but due to insufficient time or laziness, we never get around to meeting them. So, this time we decided, we would not plan too much and just go! It felt so good. Hope to do this more often now.

Book Mania
So, now with no job, nothing much to do at home really and since none of my friends are enamoured by my freedom yet and they do have their jobs to attend to, so I am catching up on my reading like there is no tomorrow. All these years, I bought so many books but never got enough time to finish them all. I have also joined a couple of Book Reading Challenges – South Asian Challenge 2011 and Book Reading Challenge 2011. I try and review every book that I read. It brings a certain amount of discipline in reading and writing.

This year, I have finished following books:

And what else, I gave myself an early birthday treat and ordered 6 more:

IPL Season 4
My favourites Chennai Super Kings are on 3rd position right now, and I was quite impressed by their fielding in the first match against Pune Warriors in Chennai. They played beautifully. Mumbai Indians are still ruling the charts though and looks like they are definitely in the Semifinals. They haven’t played even 7 matches yet. CSK and KKR are likely to be the other 2 teams and I am quite clueless as to which one will be the 4th team, as things are really unpredictable.

Photography is an expensive hobby
We are planning to buy a DSLR now and hubby is doing all sorts of research. I would like to explore photography, but right now, frankly, I don’t know much. So, he does the research and discusses with me. One thing I definitely know for sure, even an entry level DSLR is going to cost us a bomb!
Thank god, I am not into latest mobile phones, and I have been happily using my Sony Ericsson for last 3 years. I don't even pay much heed to it. In any case, hubby makes up for all my aversion to technology. But I must admit, the first time I saw Samsung Galaxy Tab, even I was besotted by it; though the price was quite a put-off. Spending so much for something which is anyways going to be obsolete in a couple of months, is beyond me!

Apart from hoarding books, I discovered that I also collect interesting notebooks. Here’s a look at my collection.

The Royal Wedding
Indians are known for over-the-top, ostentatious weddings. And then I read this. Why should one spend so much on a wedding? 
So far, I was not swept away by the frenzy around this wedding, but I did happen to catch Prince William and Kate say "I will" on one of the channels because well, all news channel are tuned to this mother of all weddings! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Different Strokes

Finally, I have got what all of us crave for – Time! So I have been catching up on a lot of reading, watching news, watching movies, reading newspaper and going through piles of magazines.

  • After World Cup, I thought I would be watching every match of IPL. Unfortunately, it is too much cricket and the matches start so late in the day (4 pm onwards) that I prefer to do other things, rather than sit and watch matches. However, I do watch all the matches of Chennai Super Kings. I am a Dhoni-fan after all, and he is throwing in quite a few helicopter shots too.    
  • It seems Sri Lanka government and Cricket Board is hell bent on getting the national cricketers back by 5th May. I fail to understand all these discussions! Wasn’t it made clear from the beginning how long IPL is going to be played, then why this last minute changes? I am sure Sri Lankan cricketers would not appreciate it.
  • Come May 1st, female badminton players will have to wear skirts for tournaments. Read this. I was watching this news item and several badminton players like Saina Nehwal, Jwala Gutta, Ashwini Ponappa are quite OK with this attempt to glamourise this sport. I particularly loved what Gopichand had to say about this. It was something to the effect that there are many things which should be done for marketing this sport well, and this isn’t the most important of them all.
  • I have also been eyeing gold prices (just out of interest and not to invest) which don’t seem to be slowing down at all. But actually it is Silver which has turned out to be the best performing asset in the last 5 years. Read this
  • When I read this article in Outlook, it was as if I was reading my own thoughts. It was heartening to see how so many people joined hands with Anna Hazare for the Jan LokPal Bill. Those who were not joining it in person at Jantar-Mantar or various local venues across cities were supporting it through Facebook, Twitter and SMS. But I did not join this “fight against corruption”; my conscience did not allow me! Who am I to raise fingers at politicians, as if I have never been party to the corrupt practices which are order of the day? It did not feel right. Moreover, Jan LokPal Bill is not the solution to all forms of corruption. Of course, there are enough arguments that we need to start somewhere but the point is if we need to start somewhere, we need to first look within. (This is strictly my personal opinion) 
  • I am really looking forward to the release of this unusual movie called “I AM”. Read all about the movie on its official website
  • Recently, I watched “Tanu Weds Manu” on Tata Sky and absolutely loved it. OK, I could not understand the characterization of Tanu as well as Manu for a while but then I just stopped being too logical about it and let it go. It is in the genre of ‘Jab We Met’, which I still feel was a better movie but this was good too. What I fail to understand everytime I see Kangana Ranaut is why she did whatever she did to her face. Her lips look grotesque and there’s something weird about her face too. Just as we were getting used to her curly mane and strange accent, she goes ahead and spoils her face. She used to look refreshingly different. Now, she looks weird. But my love for Madhavan continues J I have already seen the movie twice, and apparently there are talks about a sequel too.
  • I am always on the lookout for good books. Here’s a list I am looking out for:
The Locust and the Bird by Hanan AL-Shaykh 
The Lotus Queen by Rikin Khamar 
Why Loiter? Women And Risk On Mumbai Streets by Shilpa Phadke, Sameera Khan, Shilpa Ranade 
·        want to buy a good SLR camera soon. I have always loved photographs much more than videos.  

Monday, April 04, 2011

And the World Cup comes home

I have never been a cricket fan. But being the younger sister to a cricket fanatic and the wife of a sports freak, it was inevitable!  

I wanted India to win the coveted World Cup badly. I was ready to do anything. I would evaluate my every action, whether sitting on a particular chair helped or sleeping helped, if watching each ball made a difference to India or standing in the balcony was more auspicious! Initially, I thought, not watching the match will be more favourable for our side, so during Semi-finals, both I and my dad would watch all the crap on TV or read or sleep, do whatever, but avoid watching the match. We would invariably, catch the scores on some news channel or internet. My husband could not understand the logic.

During the final match, I had already given the first innings a miss, while trying to engage myself reading a book, which by the way, was unbearably boring. So, I dozed off a couple of times until my husband returned from office, and asked me if I was crazy not watching the World Cup final, and if I was in correct state of mind, not supporting the team. (As if he had doubts!). I was crazy, not watching the fabulous game. Because of my stupidity, I have no memorable moment from India-Pakistan Semifinals.

But before it was too late, good sense prevailed. It is always a joy to watch India bat; after all, we have a fabulous batting line up. Even after losing wickets of Sehwag and Tendulkar, Indians had not lost hope. And wasn’t I lucky! After all, my generation is going to recount this victory to the coming generations for years!

I have always had a soft corner for Dhoni. He is just our age, and look at the man’s credentials already. Under his captaincy, India has won:
  • World T20 - 2007
  • India No.1 team in Test Cricket - 2009
  • ODI World Cup – 2011

What’s more, his Chennai Super Kings have even won the IPL 2010. Since I am not a true follower of cricket, I would not even know his other achievements on the field.

For me, the most special thing is that he is the man who brought Jharkhand, even Ranchi, on the national map. Earlier, if you said you were from Jharkhand, many people were not able to tell Chhattisgarh from Uttaranchal or Jharkhand. Then you would prompt with “Bihar”! To which, you would get one raised eyebrows and remarks like “Oh Lalu!” in the most derogatory tone of voice. Now, when you say ‘Jharkhand’, you know people are going to recognize the state and even approve with a smile “oh Dhoni!” and confirm proudly, “yeah, the same place”.

What I like best about Dhoni, is the way he conducts himself. Coming from a humble beginning, this man has adapted beautifully to the changing circumstances of his life and taken everything on his stride. I have never found him overawed or too impressed by the glitz and glamour associated with cricket, and never overwhelmed by the kind of money he is making now. Perhaps his best trait is his ability to keep his cool in all circumstances, on the field or off it. And he speaks quite well too. 

Yes, Dhoni was the reason why I wanted us to win the cup badly, but Sachin was a bigger reason. For a man, so humble and inspirational for an entire generation, he deserved to see all his dreams coming true. Dhoni could still have chance in the next World Cup, but it seems unlikely that Sachin would play in the 2015 World Cup. And winning it in his home ground, takes the icing on the cake. If India had won in any other country, the victory would have been as sweet but the celebrations would not have been as magnificent! Few will be able to forget the fluttering of their heartbeats, on watching the Indian cricket team go around the Wankhede stadium holding Sachin aloft.

The way every single individual from the team dedicated this win to Sachin, is remarkable. Always a sucker for emotional moments, the Indian team’s moment of glory even made my eyes well up. Needless to say, cricket will now be a bigger religion in India, if that is possible. But I am sure nobody’s complaining. The victory on Saturday showed us all what a unifier it is. Indians can disagree on every single thing but when in comes to cricket, everyone’s on the same side.

What a way to start IPL now!

(Image courtesy:

Friday, March 25, 2011

What a day!

What a day, really! After about 5-6 months, I had this sudden urge to splurge on books and yesterday, splurge I did! Here are the books which I bought through Flipkart yesterday and most of those are already on the way: 

Earlier I used to compare prices on different websites but now after much experience I am quite assured, I will get a good deal at Flipkart. Their customer service is good and prices are always competitive. I have explored enough options to now bank on them completely.

And to add to the joy, the whole universe knows by now, how India had a spectacular victory over Australia yesterday. I was never a cricket person, but of late, I have been converted into one. All by choice. I definitely want Sachin to have the honour of a World Cup in his career. He deserves it.

So, now I go back to reading the 1000 pages 'Parva' by S.L. Bhyrappa. I am going to take a while on this. But the book is worth it! Holding it is the only difficulty I have, when I read it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Home Makeovers

I love doing up interiors and home makeovers are always a treat to watch. Quite by chance I saw Colin & Justin's Home Heist on BBC Entertainment, and these days, I am quite enamoured by their home makeovers. And they do it in 6 days flat. It is interesting how they transform homes.

I do have a couple of issues though:

  • They do not seem to have a low budget
  • Most of the times, they replace everything including ceilings, entire floorings and furniture
  • The homes usually end up looking fabulous but devoid of personal touch
  • I don't like wallpapers too much. They make the space look a little suffocating, especially, if put up on all the walls and in bold patterns
  • Too many white furnitures and upholstery, and too many decor items. Whites are extremely difficult to maintain (next to impossible)
Well, it is aired thrice daily, featuring different home heists. Pretty interesting!

(Image courtesy:

Monday, February 28, 2011

Saat Khoon Maaf

I saw ‘Saat Khoon Maaf’ recently, and I was disappointed with the movie. I read several reviews, all bad; and yet I wanted to give it a chance. But I did not like it.

  • To begin with, the hall was almost empty, barring handful of people; and a few left somewhere in the middle. People who could not go (like my husband) started chatting on their mobiles or yawning every few minutes.
  • I think, the way, movie was publicized was misleading. Which part was comedy? The only part which I really found hilarious was when they showed ‘4 more to go’ in the interval.
  • Priyanka Chopra was not bad in acting, but she looked bad throughout the film. I did not understand many times, how she was shown aging. Of course, the movie incorporated important events to give idea about her age, but you can simply show the year. I remember, in this scene, she is dancing to ‘Darrling….’, she looked young, but soon after, when she is shown after her Russian husband’s (Aleksandr Dyachenko )death, she suddenly becomes old. In fact, atleast they attempted to make her face age but her body wasn’t quite aging. A thin, old woman would certainly look different than a thin, young woman.
  • The characterization of each husband (perhaps, since they were too many) appeared quite hurried. After a point, you felt that the director just wants to throw in a bit of the husband’s personality and go on to his murder. And since one already knows that all of them are going to be murdered, one also waits for the reason the guy gets killed. But that’s hardly the thrill.
  • In certain cases, one feels that Susanna could have just left the husband, why she has to kill each one of them is not too clear; or perhaps as explained in one of the scenes by her butler, it was part of her personality, she never changed her path!
  • What was Usha Uthhup doing in the movie, nobody could understand. The other 2 staff of Susanna, were weird. In fact, all 3 were a little over-the-top on many occasions
  • Songs were not too great either
  • As long as the parts of all the husbands go, most of them were good. Neil Nitin Mukesh, Aleksandr Dyachenko, Annu Kapoor and Naseeruddin Shah were quite good. I thought, Irrfan’s character was not etched out properly. It was too hurried. I did not like John’s part too much. Apart from that, Vivaan Shah was impressive. Konkana Sen did justice to her guest appearance. 
And finally, Susanna really had a terrible luck in marriage, while we had a bad day. 

(Image courtesy: Wikipedia)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I won a TV Quiz

Today, just when I got up, an unexpected message from an acquaintance about something entirely different, made my day! While exchanging messages, I discovered that I won prize for a really ‘Tough Quiz’ (that’s the name of the quiz, by the way) on CNN IBN’s 'Now Showing' (presented by Rajeev Masand). Well, I don’t even know what time the show is on air. I had happened to catch it on one of the days, and I happened to know the answers (with help from hubby) of that particular quiz. The Quiz is not the usual no-brainers where the answer is right in front of your eyes. In these, you would either know the answers or you would not. They have an audio clip, a screen shot from some movie and 2 more questions.

It is exciting because I have never won any TV Quiz before. The ‘Bournvita Quiz Contest' Book that I won ages ago, does not count because it just came by post. 

I don’t even know what I have won. I think there are some DVDs and Gift Vouchers, but nevertheless, I’m happy :-)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A beautiful, forgotten song from Daddy

I was just listening to songs on my computer and came across this beautiful song from Daddy which remains my all time favourite.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bipasha's on wrong foot!

I was shocked to see this picture. First of all Bipasha engaged 2 kids to tie her shoelaces, then she had the audacity to upload this picture! What was she thinking? She couldn't even imagine what trouble she will get into for this? Such naiveté, really! Twitter is really a great tool to connect with fans, but they should at least know how to handle it. 

And then she is calling these two kids, her sister and her friend. Who believes!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A few good movies

Clearly, I have not written a word since ages now! I have not even bought a book for a long, long time (which is really not an issue, as even if I don’t buy books for next couple of years, I would still have loads of books to read). Besides, I don’t read ‘Outlook’ front to back, as I do ‘People’ as soon as I lay my hands on it. Yes, I am vain. I have not parted ways with atleast last 2 years’ editions of ‘Femina’ and all of ‘BBC Good Homes’, ‘Living etc’ and ‘Outlook’. And therefore, I have also lost all rights to crib about any of my husband’s stuff not kept in place, because my books and magazines occupy every room, every corner. So, I have made peace.

I have not read much in last couple of months, but I have been able to catch loads of good movies on TV.

I happened to catch “Saaransh” a couple of days back. But since the power went off, I had to watch the last 40-50 minutes on YouTube. The one thought that cropped my mind while watching this was how Mahesh Bhatt used to make such great movies once! (‘Arth’ remains my all time favourite). Saaransh is a not a formula movie, just a good movie, which you would want to watch again and again. 

Dead Man Walking
Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn deliver award-winning performances in this amazing movie. I was bowled over by both of them. They were too good. Dead Man Walking is a movie adaptation of a book of the same name. The movie tells the story of a special relationship developed by Sister Helen Prejean (Susan Sarandon) with Matthew Poncelet (Sean Penn) who is on a death row. Poncelet, alongwith his partner, is accused of raping a teenage girl, and gruesome killing of her and her boyfriend. He is awaiting his execution. Sister Helen agrees to help him in his final appeal to change his execution to life imprisonment. Read more about the movie here.   

16 Blocks
I just happened to catch this movie out of the blue. On 14th February, every channel was playing romantic movies back to back, and there is a limit to watching mush. It gets boring, repetitive and unbearable after sometime. It is like reading Mills & Boons back to back for the entire day, and remember, I am not a teenager any more!

To begin with, I love Bruce Willis. In this movie, he plays this alcoholic detective, who is entrusted with escorting a fast-talking witness to the court. A few minutes into the movie, and you get to know that his colleagues, the city police force, wants this witness dead. I loved the fast-pace and intense action in this movie.

Love Story
I had never seen the movie adaptation of the overhyped book of the same name by Erich Segal. I think, by now, everyone knows the story of ‘Love Story’. When I read it first (one of my really close friends gifted it to me), I could not understand what the hype was all about! It is one of those things, which everyone loves, and you don’t so much, and you are convinced, perhaps there is something wrong with you only.

Anyways, I watched this movie on Valentine’s Day weekend. If not anything else, I found it pretty endearing.

A Few Good Men
I have seen this movie before, but I love nothing more than a good court room drama. Tom Cruise makes it easy on the eyes too :-)
Even apart from him, the entire cast is fabulous and once the trial starts, the movie holds you well till the end.

Read more about the movie here

My Sister’s Keeper
The movie is actually based on an award-winning book of the same name. I have not read the book but after watching the movie, I look forward to reading it. The books are almost always better than their movie adaptations.

To briefly describe the story, it is about an 11 year old girl who files a case against her parents for medical emancipation. The couple has 3 children. When their eldest daughter, Kate, is of 2 years, they came to know that she suffers from leukemia. The youngest one, Anna was conceived by IVF to become a donor. Over the years, she has been a donor in treatments required for Kate. Now, she is expected to donate her kidney to her elder sister. Anna comes to know that the operation would be a major one, and on one side, it does not promise life for Kate, it also means that it is going to impact Anna’s life in a big way. The movie takes off from there.

On one side, you feel that Sara, their mother, is not doing wrong because as she says she is looking at a larger picture of the entire family. She is obsessed with doing everything possible to save Kate. She believes that Anna is not able to appreciate the impact of her decision at her age. In her defense, to begin with, Anna was conceived to help her sister. But as I am saying this, it is also true that Anna is her own person. She cannot be ‘used’ to treat Kate, even if she was given birth for this purpose. It is not morally correct and unjustified.

I absolutely loved the movie. Though they have departed from the ending of the book, the movie is worth watching.


I don’t even remember how many other good movies I have seen in last couple of days. But I was just thinking one of these days, when I was bowled over by one of the English movies, most of the hindi movie ‘actors’ are essentially non-actors. Most of them are overrated and without talent. I can’t even name one favourite actor or actress. There aren’t any. I would say I love performances. Tabu is the only actress who comes top-of-the-mind, especially in ‘Namesake’. I liked her in ‘Cheeni-Kum’ as well. Why she needed to do ‘Baat hamri Pakki’ is what beats me! For that matter, Irrfan Khan was also superb in ‘Namesake’.

I also watched ‘Yeh Saali Zindagi’ this weekend. I would post a review soon. For now, listen to this beautiful song from the movie. 

(Images source: All images have been taken through the internet from various websites. All rights pertaining to these images are duly acknowledged.)