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: