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Showing posts from 2015

Just Two Months

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One of the very first essays that we write at schools is ‘My Home’ - back then, I pondered on what is the difference between a home and a house.  I have many friends who have left their homes at a tender age to pursue better education; to get a job or for a healthier standard of living than their primary locations. Some keep moving throughout the country because their parents have jobs which require them to get transferred periodically.
I never realized what it meant to be away from home till I got a chance to stay outside home for about two months in Kerala on a work assignment. It is tough to adapt to a new place away from the comforts of our home and its locality. A new place means finding a new vegetable market, a new doctor, the nearest bus stop, an ATM,  a new barber, a new cablewala, doodhwala, kiranawala, laundrywala and also finding new friends. I consider myself fortunate that the working hours would not last beyond 7 -7.30 pm – a general Kochi day will start at ten in the …

Uttarakhand: An Odyssey

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On a beautiful Saturday morning, it was time to board that flight to Delhi which would mark the start of a nine day full of a breath-taking experience. For me, there were many things on this trip that would be my debut; travelling through the clouds*, walking on the ice clad mountains,  trekking to heights as huge as 15000 feet,  seeing my own breath coming out as vapours in those cold nights and walking close to a 100 km in a 5 day span.
* travelling through the clouds is an over-excited first timer’s representation of boarding a plane.
Day 1: Potholes In The Air !On the 18thof July, 2015, at the Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport’s Domestic terminal in Mumbai, the most happy and excited soul was probably mine. I was enjoying it all; collecting the boarding pass, security checks, and specially the boarding. When the plane left the ground; I could see the jam packed roads, the bandra-worli sea link, the birds sitting in warm sunlight probably mocking us humans – “Did you just pay …

Art Thou Smart?

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Someone someday said and has said it spot-on that having a smartphone does not necessarily make you smart. Your phone is smart and you have to use it smartly. It all depends on how you spend time with your phone; how many nitty-gritty details you get into or how many hours can you play Candy Crush continuously. Using the smartphone effectively is more about cleaning the app cache for Candy Crush than playing Candy Crush because if you concentrate only on the latter then your phone is going to crush someday. It will lag. Just like your bike needs servicing to keep kicking the roads, your phone also needs servicing– cleaning app cache, system cache, residual, files, unused files will help your processor get more breathing space. Killing unused app processes will keep your RAM free. When these two #technocrats are happy, your phone is happy. Take care of your phone.

Phones today are loaded with so many features that life has become so much easier. Everything is a touch away. Book a movi…

On Imtiaz Ali's Jab We Met

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Jab We Met is a poetry. The metaphor is that the train symbolises the way of life. There are two passengers, two ways of life and the movie is of two halves. In the first half, we fall in love with Geet, who is a bubbly, young, carefree girl trying to live life as it comes by following her heart. Everything works fine for her that way, till the beginning of the second half.  Aditya is depressed with his life; he does not know what he is seeking but the moment he understands Geet and her world, he gets his answer - C'est La Vie.
The second half makes life easier for Aditya who learned to live life to the fullest from Geet. Taking decisions at his family business by following his heart makes his company witness success that it had never seen before.
The movie has a connect and the connector is Geet. She is so full of life that after the first half, I wished that their journey from Mumbai to Bhatinda had a little more show time. There is a sweet scene in the second half where Aditya as…

Kerala Diaries - Rendu

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Kerala celebrated its state festival Onam last week. It is celebrated over period of ten days. I was always indifferent abut this festival until I landed here during the festive season. It is believed that King Mahabali or Maveli as the malayalees say, visits them during Onam every year. Mahabali is an asura king who is good; the only bad thing in him marks Vishnu's fifth avatar - Vamana. The people under the good king's rule were happy and prosperous. The king soon developed an ego that he had everything he wished in the world.  The king had kept a yadnya where he promised that he would grant anyone with anything he asked for. Legend has it that Lord Vishnu in his Vamana avatar asked King Mahabali for three pieces of land equal to his feet. As soon as the king granted his wish, Vamana grew into the skies, kept one foot on the entire heaven; the other on the entire earth. When Vamana asked, where should he keep his foot for the third piece of land; the king told him to keep h…

Kerala Diaries - Onnu

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Two weeks after staying at a hotel with complimentary wifi and breakfast at M.G.Road in Kochi, I learned that every motorized vehicle here is a prospective killer. In these super small lanes, the vehicles go super fast. I have a new phobia now of crossing roads beacuse you never know which vehicle decides to surprise you. Even the government buses; they do not run, they fly. When I first saw a KSRTC bus, I noticed that there are only open windows; no glasses. Later when I boarded the bus to go to Allepey, I got to know that there are shutters inside the windows. There are no glass windows probably because of the heavy rains; the shutter type windows are easy to move up and down and need less maintenance. The big M.G.Road earlier known as the Seventy Feet road is reduced to half its size due to the Metro; "work in progress". But the size of the roads do not matter here — everyone likes to go zooooom.
Unlike Mumbai where people always run —after the trains —after the buses —whi…

On Ritesh Batra's The Lunchbox

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They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. They say it right – I agree with them and Mr. Sajan Fernandes too will agree with them. But Mr. Fernandes has nobody who will want to reach his heart through his stomach. He eats alone; travels alone; works alone and stays alone. He unintentionally glances out at his saamne wali khidki every night after eating home delivered food while he smokes a cigarette from his balcony. That family dines together every night with children running here and there; loud discussions and noise all over. There is a small girl who notices Mr. Fernandes and closes windows. Mr. Fernandes’ house is exactly opposite of them – yes literally too.
Meri Ammi hamesha kaha karti thi ke kabhi kabhi galat train bhi sahi jaga pohocha deti hai, says Sheikh who has been newly recruited to replace Mr. Fernandes who Is about to retire in a month.When Mr. Fernandes gets a delicious  dabba one fine day, he goes and praises the hotel guy who prepares the dabba …

On Ram Gopal Verma's Sarkar

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A movie goer’s perception of Ram Gopal Varma is no more like it was a few years back. A decade ago he made Sarkar. I wanted the Govinda Govinda theme to start playing as soon as I said ‘Sarkar’ in the previous sentence. This tune holds up the omnipotence of Sarkar throughout the movie. Theme songs have always worked in favour of the characters. The theme which plays whenever Maaya bhai and his gang emerges out a winner in Shootout At Lokhandwala or the theme tune in Guru which worked wonders to emphasize Gurubhai's control on the situation in those scenes where the tune was used.
RGV is known for crime based movies like Siva, Satya, Shool and Company. He credits Sarkar as a tribute to the classic film - The Godfather. If Mumbai ka king kaun?.. Bhiku Mhatre is the man who lives life to the fullest for himself, Sarkar is people’s man just like Sultan Mirza but not the one who says Dua me yaad rakhna; Sarkar says, Me kisiko sochne se nahi..karne se rokta hu - such is the power of th…

What A Pav!

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You know you are eating a wonderful wada pav when after eating one, you instinctively say, “Oo, ajun ek dya!” This superhit movie called Vada Pav stars two legends in the lead role; the potato and the besan. These two have been a part of many other superhits like the Bread Pakoda and the Batata Bhaji. While the potato is a part of many other scrumptious delicacies like Aloo Chat, Aloo Tikki, Aloo Gobi, Masala Dosa, it is most known for the exquisite desi superhit called Aloo Paratha and the international superhit French Fries. The Besan on the other hand is part of the majority snack items like the Jhunka Bhakar, Pitla, Gol Bhaji, Palak Bhaji, Besan Laddu amongst others.
Though the potato and the besan are the leads, the supporting start cast can definitely not be ignored. The lip-smacking taste that lightens up every taste bud in your mouth, comes from the amalgamation of the variety of Indian spices and the chutney that is served along with the vada pav. Worth a mention is the Ging…

On Shoojit Sircar's Piku

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Bhaskar or ratherBhaashkoris a constipated old man who feels that there definitely could be something medically wrong with him due to his old age. He makes Piku check his blood pressure whenever he gets angry – Even when he is asked to do normal blood tests; he checks reports for other body functions too, just to be sure.
He brazenly talks about constipation every time, which annoys Piku and often spoils her public image. Piku is not a vaargin; she is sexually and financially independent-as Bhaskar describes her in front of an almost stranger in a party. He reasons Piku not to get married because women who get married and serve husbands are of low IQ.
Rana Chaudhary is the owner of a travel agency who provides permanent cab services to the firm where Piku works. He has his own life problems – his mother, his sister and Piku. Piku often gets late due to Bhaskar’s tantrums and hurries the drivers to speed up, eventually ending up with an accident every second day.
The movie is a road trip…

On Anurag Kashyap's Bombay Velvet

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An anti-hero and his side kick, a rich and powerful antagonist, a glamorous heroine and a rags to riches story. This is not about the angry young man of the 70s; it is about the new angry young man - Ranbir Kapoor – I am Johnny Balraj, nice to meet you..  
The remarkable and vivacious sets recreate Bombay from the 60s and the 70s and make you go for a ride down the lanes of Bombay in style. The amber colour tint to the film brings back the Eastmancolor era.  The classic vintage cars, smoking pipes, double decker buses with monkey brand advertisements, almost empty streets and Amit Trivedi’s jazzy music score only add to the detailing required for a period film.
Anurag  Kashyap’s Bombay Velvet is more than just a typical rags to riches story. The story details on how Bombay was reclaimed from the ocean. The seven islands in Bombay were bought together by the then influential people of Bombay.  Jimmy Mistry and Kaizad Khambatta are media kingpins who are rivals. Johnny Balraj is the guy …

An Epicure's Singapore

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Back here in India, while I see all those mouth-watering culinary pictures of the ensemble of food available in Singapore, I can only wait for that magical ticket to Singapore to land in my hands. We all know that there is the Merlion, the Marina Bay Sands Skypark, the Singapore Night Safari, the Universal Studios, the Singapore Flyer and the list can go on for ever. But there is also the Roti Prata, the Oyster Omelette, the Chicken Rice, the Chilli Crab, the Barbecued Stingray and even this list can go on for ever. Singapore is a food haven and all your gastronomic desires will take a deliciously deep breath when you’re in Singapore.

So which is the best out of all the lip-smacking delicacies? The question is, why are you trying to pick just one; pick more and in all conscience you just won’t settle for one when you are kept in the middle of a culinary orchestra. We’ll just try to fit in five of the most fabulous Singaporean delights on your plate.
Roti Prata A Punjabi might have w…

Being #Together

Main aur meri tanhai Aksar ye batein karte hain Tum hoti to kaisa hota tum yeh kehti, tum woh kehti Tum is baat pe hairan hoti tum us baat pe kitni hasti tum hoti to aisa hota, tum hoti to waisa hota Main aur meri tanhai, aksar yeh baten karte hain

These famous lines by the famous Javed Akhtar portrayed on screen by the one and only Amitabh Bachchan expresses that even in his loneliness he is thinking of her; what she would have done if she was with him; if they would have been together. Togetherness brings in so much hopefulness to us. I always look forward to be with people that I love.
At school, I had many friends. I made quick friends. Did we even need someone to be a friend to talk to in school? I would absolutely talk to anybody and everybody. Being together had a completely different meaning in school. I do not remember what we talked about when we were children. Even today, when I see children walking in groups and going together to schools babbling continuously, I wonder what they …

Change to #StartANewLife

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Change is inevitable. Change is for good. There are many situations in life where you sit, think and decide. You adapt to something very different than your existing routine.  Risks are important to do good and live better. These risks are nothing but changes to #StartANewLife.
A big decision in my life came when I decided to buy a home. I was not sure but I had to make this purchase sometime in life. It was just that I had not decided what time. The increasing retail rates were the obvious reason that convinced me to buy a home immediately. Buying a home is an interesting task that can get boring if you overdo it. Many of my friends have already booked a home a home. The common mistake that everyone makes is looking at too many homes. They all had seen so many homes that they were spoilt for choice and in the end the negotiation would be – konsa bhi le le, bohot ho gaya. Even I came upon this situation because the investment Is so much that we spontaneously go on looking if there is…

How IT All Started

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Often thinking positive and thinking forward can solve a mighty portion of glitches in your life. When nothing is going your way, you still have to continue working towards that hope which drives you from failure to failure.
Dreams are relative. When I was in school, I thought getting an engineering degree was enough to rest for the rest of my life. In college, there was a new task other than studying – getting placed. There would typically be four rounds; aptitude test, group discussion, technical interview and personal interview. For these four rounds there would be four hundred students from different branches of engineering because even if you select any branch for those four years, you end up coding software programs for the rest of your life. Nobody knows the reason for this spectacular phenomena because the day somebody cracks the reason, we will not have fresh electronics engineers thinking – “Why did we study diodes, transmitters and semi-conductors for four Julian years?”
Get…