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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shorshey maachh .... fish in mustard, bengali-style


(image courtesy telegraph.co.uk.......)
 
Here is a very very simple yet really delicious preparation of fish. This is a typical bengali preparation where mustard is used liberally. The preparation time is very less and though there are hardly any spices used, this dish can always be counted on to impress those who love a typical home-made fish curry, spicy and tangy with a liberal hint of mustard...

Frankfurt - Germany


Frankfurt called me in October , the time I was with Lufthansa , scheduled to fly out on a month-long gruelling training session to Germany .. along with 03 equally wicked colleagues of mine ... he he he ..

well , we were sure in for some great times together .. The flight to Frankfurt was the best part of the trip , almost .. the class and elegance of flying business class on Lufthansa has no comparison .. Well-fed and well taken-care-of , the first thing that hit us when we landed at Frankfurt , was the HUUUUUUUUUge airport . If you are the kind who has lived mostly on the Delhi Mumbai airports , this is something that is definitely gonna elicit a word of appreciation and admiration from u .. loads of words actually !!

The next thing to hit us was the cold .. it was just so damn cold .. we were shivering outright . It so happened that , the weather had been predicted as warm and the day before we landed , it snowed ... we were down on our knees in the rest rooms ... yes , puking .. it was that cold ...

As we came out on the road , we could see the clean gleaming buses all lined up in neat rows . As we were given official transportation , travel was not really such a bother .. Jam packed schedules through the week , the weekends were just for us . We planned our trip to Frankfurt and very smartly landed up at the airport , to board a train from there . In Germany , this is one amazing facility , from the airport , you get the cab , the bus , the train , the metro , the flight of course ... anything .... Now the same technique has begun to make appearances in India too. We got on the train and it was one beautiful ride through the city , with its modern constructions , its wide well-maintained roads , the beautiful colours of flowers u saw on entire road stretches .. no pollution no dust , we could wear the same white shirt , without using the laundry service for 06 days at a stretch ... it is so pollution-free .

At Frankfurt , the one thing we realised was that , water was anyday much much more expensive than beer . . u literally had to shell out your major wealth for a bottle of water . As we came out of the station to the streets , music greeted us all over. We turned around in amazement , to realise that , in Frankfurt , u dont have to go find a place to party , the streets are literally turned to clubs and pubs . The Frankfurt market is one place , which , when u are in Germany , u definitely must visit . The sheer merry-making and party spirit of the people is gonna keep u cheered up for days .. The entire footpath is taken up by musicians and performers , some of them quite famous , who perform there for free .. if their music touches u , you can give them some money , else just enjoy the performance . There are people playing the flute , the drums , bass , guitar , saxophone , there are live DJ's , there are strippers , there are dancers , you just name it , they are all there .. and the beauty is the way all this gels together .. it is an experience of its kind, one you will never forget . Do shake a leg or two with the DJ , its absolute fun , we continued through three hours of cheering and sheer madness ...

Remember one thing though , the Germans do NOT look upon outsiders as friends , so please steer clear of the punks , no matter how shocking their hair or outfit might look , dont , and I mean , DONT turn around to look at them ... its the sure-shot way of walking into trouble . A very famous store in Frankfurt is the WoolWorth , that is what we were told and felt as well . Five or six huge floors of shopping , it houses some of the most sought-after names in products like cosmetics , clothing , accessories , electronics , furnishings ... the restaurant at WoolWorth is one where you should go in for the meat balls , its a kind of meat dish with spinach stuffing , romancing the most delectable species of cheese on earth .. the taste will never leave your taste buds , mark my words , u are gonna crave for it for life. This one recipe I have not yet been able to figure out .. SIMPLY AWESOME AND MOST RECOMMENDED !!!

Do shop for some clothes , shoes , bags , belts , books ( if u please ) , but try and avoid jewellery , the variety is much better in our country , if u ask me .

Moving out of the main market , grab a sandwich or pasta or some other food and drinks at any of the roadside cafes , this is something you wish our own Delhi , or for that matter , India , would adopt more freely ... its such fun , sitting out on the pavement under the shades , smelling the heady aroma rushing at you .... The entire day can be spent at the Frankfurt market , strolling around and losing yourself in the mad crowd , and dont be surprised if u hear loud Indian music doing the rounds , Germans are crazy about the Indian hip-hop mixes ....

All in all , a great place to be , if u are with friends , but if alone , its a pity, Germans are the least friendly and the most snobbish and cold mix I have seen. But check out the city , u are bound to like it for its organised culture and sheer pollution free environment .. till then , adieus ..... and danke ..

Agatha Chrisite's Miss Marple cases - Another must-have list for your book-shelf


Here are the titles under the Queen of Crime's Miss Marple series that are an absolute must-have for your bookshelf.


1. The murder at the vicarage
2. The thirteen problems
3. The body in the library
4. The moving finger
5. A murder is announced
6. They do it with mirrors
7. A pocket full of rye
8. The 4.50 from Paddington
9. A Caribbean mystery
10.At Bertram's hotel
11.Nemesis
12.Sleeping murder
13.Miss Marple's final cases (a collection of short crime stories)

Sadly I have only read 2 out of these....a huge buying spree is awaited....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Agatha Christie's complete Hercule Poirot series for your own library


Here is a list of the titles of Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot series that are an absolute must-have for all the lovers of the Queen of Crime:

1. The mysterious affair at Styles
2. The murder on the links
3. Poirot investigates
4. The murder of Roger Ackroyd
5. The big four
6. The mystery of the blue train
7. Black coffee
8. Peril at End House
9. Lord Edgware dies
10.Murder on the Orient Express
11.Three-act tragedy
12.Death in the clouds
13.The ABC murders
14.Murder in Mesopotamia
15.Cards on the table
16.Murder in the mews
17.Dumb witness
18.Death on the Nile
19.Appointment with death
20.Hercule Poirot's christmas
21.Sad Cypress
22.One, two buckle my shoe
23.Evil under the sun
24.Five little pigs
25.The hollow
26.The labours of Hercules
27.Taken at the flood
28.Mrs. McGinty's dead
29.After the funeral
30.Hickory dickory dock
31.Dead man's folly
32.Cat among the pigeons
33.The adventures of the christmas pudding
34.The clocks
35.Third girl
36.Hallowe'en party
37.Elephants can remember
38.Poirot's early cases
39.Curtain: Poirot's last case

Of these I have read 31 and have them safely tucked and displayed in my bookshelf.... rest 8 shall be acquired and read soon...

And to you, the lover of crime fiction... happy reading :)

Mouth-watering Biryani right at your doorstep... Star Biryani Vashi


If you are one of those hungry souls who are always craving for a good plate of yummy biryani and can never seem to have enough, well, let me tell you that you and me then have much in common.

I have a never-ending love for biryani... Barring the two long years when I had given up non-veg voluntarily and had managed and succeeded in overcoming all meaty temptations, I am the kind of person who is always ready to dig into a delicious dish of biryani.... Be it chicken, mutton, prawn, lunch, dinner, summer, winter, at home, or outside, a plate of biryani can never go wrong for me.... So much so that on many occasions, if I happen to know that a particular joint serves biryani, I dont even waste a single moment in glancing at their menu, well, biryani is all I want and biryani is what I promptly order, even as hubby tries to convince me to try and widen the horizon of my taste buds.... Well, I do have a crazy love for biryani but that does not mean that I like it from anyone and anywhere. Most of the biryanis in town have been a huge disaster and I have made sure I never go there again...

Since I am in Navi Mumbai, I am one of the lucky few who has access to some very delicious biryani that comes up right at my doorstep. And over the last 4 years since I have discovered its magic, their recipe has not for once changed...and that is the beauty of it. So if you are in Navi Mumbai, do call them up for a heavenly meal.

Details:

Star Biryani
Address: Shop No. 8,Ashapuradham CHS, Sector 16, Palm Beach Road, Sanpada, Navi Mumbai
Contact: 022-67930008 / 022-32206996 / 09619937039
Menu and Price: Chicken Hyderabadi Dum Biryani for Rs. 70/- and Mutton Hyderabadi Dum Biryani for Rs. 80/- (Mutton is available only on Fridays and Sundays). One plate is good for one person.
Timing: 12:00 noon till 03:00pm and 07:00 pm till 10:30pm

A little advice here... Try not to wait till the last slot as most of the time they are sold out.... you may be disappointed in most cases when you call 20 mins prior closing.... Need a minimum of 15-20 mins for home deliveries.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

150 years of Rabindranath Tagore and a touch of him in my life......


Nobel Laureate and India's most prominent poet - Kobiguru Robindronath Thakur, or Rabindranath Tagore as many know him, completes 150 years of his life this year. And though he is long gone from this mortal abode, each and every of his timeless creation will live on till the day man will continue to appreciate poetry and literature and all that the intellect stands for.

I remember my first brush with the man. Having born and brought-up outside Kolkata, I was never a typical 'baangali', though my parents tried their level best to inculcate a taste of the bengali culture and sensitivity in me at every given opportunity. It is a completely different thing that over the last few years, I have myself begun to see what richness the language and its 'typical' culture has to offer. But I am straying from the point here... Starting my school in a convent, I had not a single bengali friend. All my literature was of the British syllabus and English and Hindi were the languages I was comfortable in. In those initial years my mother tried to teach me the bengali script but I always managed to escape.. I thought it had no use for me. It was only later, when I had to change school in class V and go to one which had bengali as a compulsory language, that I finally sat down with ma and learned the bengali alphabet.. though many of my friends still remember what a disaster I was at that..

All of ma's efforts at making me read Tagore's works had gone to waste. She would place a book of Tagore's poems and tell me to have a look. She would keep it on the shelf so that I knew where to get it if I wanted. She would sit me down to oil my hair and begin to recite a few lines... But I always escaped meeting the genius myself.

Then one day I read a poem called 'Taalgaachh." I think I was in class V that time. I remember only the first three lines - taalgaachh aek paaye daariye, shob gaachh chhariye, oonki maarey aakaashey.....

It was not how I had expected a Tagore work to be. The man was such a heavy-weight legend that I had always thought that his works would be too difficult to understand. But this proved to be the opposite with this poem. It was a simple poem, and I think one of the firsts that KobiGuru composed (though Im not sure about that)... The poem talked about a boy who could see a tree outside the window of his room. He went on to talk about how the tree, that seems to be standing on one foot, is trying to move up over all the other trees and snatch a peak at the sky.. It was nice, and simple....

As the fear and the weight of his genius was somewhat overcome, I decided reading Tagore would not be as difficult as I had been thinking all along. But the fact that my bengali reading was very very and very poor, was a big hurdle. If I sat with a bengali book it would take me hours to go through just the first page, and became a kind of hindrance over the years.

In all this while, ma always poured over some of Tagore in my life through her constant humming and singing. I remember each year when there was a recitation competition at the local Durga Puja pandal, she would egg me on to recite one of the poems that she had so laboriously taught me. But I never did recite them. Instead, I listened when ma sang - there was so much of Tagore in there- like 'aami chini go chini tomaarey', 'hey nuton', 'oyi mohamaanobo aashey', 'puraano shey diner kotha' 'aamar baela je jaaye' 'aakaash bhora shoorjo taara' 'aaguner poroshmoni' 'ae monihaar aamaar naahi shaajey'..... and so many more.... I loved the way she hummed and sang, the music was always so calm and soothing, though I always made a face whenever she began to sing, especially as I didn't understand the lyrics then, I slowly realised that these songs and their rythm would form a strong bond in me. That they would stir up a nostalgia in later years whenever I heard them being played in any part of the world, and hardly did I know then that, in all such occasions, I would end up lending my voice to the song as well.

I realised my penchant for singing Tagore songs soon. Well, it would be wrong if I say Tagore songs only. I loved to sing, especially in a choir, and the fact that my music teacher and the choir of my school was one of the best in Delhi, I was really excited to be a part of it. And every time we sang a Robindro-shongeet, I could feel the bond strengthening and my emotions lifting. It was strange that the one genius I had always (un)consciously tried to ignore would slowly seep into my life like this. Almost all of those who were a part of the choir knew much about Tagore, I was the only ignorant fool.... but even then I never picked up a Tagore book to sit and read.

Till date that has not happened... though I have a volume of his works displayed proudly on my book shelf.. I have yet to sit and read it... Ma has given up on me finally... perhaps she feels I am destined to be one of those 'baangaalis' who will spend their entire life on this earth without ever having read Tagore.. Not that she feels it to be compulsory for me to do so, but just that she would have liked it.

But for my mother, there is one thing that has more than made up for my earlier lack of interest in Tagore... My daughter, who is not yet three years, has already started singing songs penned by Tagore... she loves to sing and has picked up a few lines here and there that she hears me humming as I potter about the house... strange is the way of life...

Rabindranath Tagore (07th May 1861 - 07th August 1941)
Poet, novelist, musician and playwright and the first Asian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature..

Top 10 movies for your young kids to watch in the vacations.......


Vacation time and the holidays are almost over.... well,just a couple of weeks to go and you and your little one will be back in the routine of the school. By this time,most of the options for a 'to-do' of the vacation would already have been exhausted.... So now that you have done all the painting and the activities and the games and the trips, why not get a handful of interesting DVDs that your child can watch.... Make them a bowl of popcorn and sit together and enjoy... After all,once the school begins, you know you are gonna miss these precious 'mommy-baby' time.

Here is a list of the top-10 all-time favourite movies in random order that your toddler and young child will love to watch:

1. Finding Nemo
2. Air Buddies and Santa Buddies
3. Toy Story series
4. TinkerBell
5. Barney and friends - the entire series (educational rhymes,stories and songs)
6. Polar Express
7. Home Alone series
8. Shrek series
9. Up
10.Madagascar series

Microwave the popcorn, keep away the phones and enjoy a cosy movie on the couch with your lovely little one.... Have a great day :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bride for Qasab ?????


India's most hated and most expensive convict,23-year-old Ajmal Qasab, who is locked up in a solitary cell in the Arthur Road Jail,is now requesting for a wife !!!!
Sitting in a small lonely cell and having only the walls and the prison bars for company,the monster-man has now expressed his desire for female companionship...so much so that he had the audacity to suggest to his doctors that 'even an Indian girl will do'!!!!.
Being treated for minor cough and cold,the death-awaiting terrorist has allegedly confessed to his doctors that he is under severe depression and is craving for some company,well,some female company to be precise..... Aaaahhhh....it gave me such joy to read this in the morning papers today...Finally,the creature who brutally and meaninglessly gunned down so many innocents and shattered so many more for life,is finally buckling down under the pressures of being lonely and now understands the value of another human being...hopefully..
But I could not be disgusted and amazed at reading that even after having done this to India,he had the 'balls' to suggest that some Indian girl would actually marry him!!! I dont know how the doctors,whom he confessed all this to,reacted,but I hope they gave him one tight slap,and maybe a punch or two...
As if it is not enough that we,the Indian tax-payers,are paying for the meals and treatment and shelter for this monster...now he thinks that he will in fact also get a girl from our land...
If ever I could ask him one question,it would be this - What and who are your parents and your family that they managed to raise such a monster?
Wish you death soon Qasab......

Saturday, May 22, 2010

AI Mangalore Crash...worst in two decades....

The (IX)AI Dubai-Mangalore flight that crashed at the Bajpe airport in Mangalore today morning has been labeled as the worst crash in the last two decades. Of the 160 passengers and 06 crew on board,158 perished while 8 survived.Of the 8 that survived, there were 3 infants and 5 adults.The flight had 4 infants and 19 children onboard.Of the 158 bodies,72 have been identified till now.The search operation in and around the deep ravine where the plane crashed has been put on hold for now. The flight was overshot by 2000 feet and then crashed into a ravine,after which it caught fire.8 lucky people came away from death by jumping out from a crack that had appeared in the body of the craft.
The flight crashed as supposedly the pilot overshot the runway by 2000 feet. The runway at the Bajpe airport is shorter than regular runways as it is in a hilly terrain. The pilot of the fated craft,who was Serbian,has been flying in India for the last 2 years and had a total flying hours experience of more than 20,000 hours.
The aviation minister,Mr. Praful Patel,chose to take responsibility for the crash and offered his resignation,which was not accepted by the PM.
According to one newssite,the black box has been located but Indian officials have denied the same.
After the crash a few questions have been doing the rounds:
1. search is on for the Black Box
2. was there an unexpected weather phenomenon that caused the pilots to lose control?
3. were the pilots fatigued?
4. was the flight being manned by the first officer instead of the captain?
5. was there an unexpected tail wind? (tail wind is a wind that blows in the direction of travel of an object.It increases the object's speed and reduces the time required to reach its destination).
6. was the plane overloaded?
7. did rain cause the plane to skid?
8. why was there no distress call made from the cockpit?

Answers are being sought and investigations are already under way,but coming to a conclusion might take years....It is not an easy process to work out what happens inside a craft that is seconds away from death,especially as survivors are too shocked to recall the events that took place just before the fateful end,and it is mostly on assumptions and black-box recordings that investigators have to rely on.

After the crash, flight operations from the Bajpe airport at Mangalore have been resumed.

8 have survived,158 are gone...but many will remain scarred with the loss of their precious who will never return home again...To all those who are gone, May Your Soul Rest In Peace...To those who have been left behind grieving,may you get the strength to see you through this most-terrible phase, may you get peace and hope.....Amen...

From FaceBook.....with Lust.... our very own DUDS !!!!



A very typical thing happened yet again on FaceBook. Lets call this the story of Mr. T or Mr.Baby(as he is so fond of saying).... our Desi guy, the DUD,who believes he has been sent on this planet as a gift to all the females...Sadly,all that pretense vanishes the moment he opens his mouth or types a line....Read on to know how...

Once upon a time in the land of FaceBook I joined a book group that catered to my literary interests. A few of my friends were also part of the same and all was nice and interesting as it was supposed to be.

Then two days ago,I got a message from an unknown guy,who just sent me a one-line text saying the usual 'hi how are you.what do you do?' For some strange reason I thought the name to be very familiar,and even though we happened to share 2 mutual friends,I couldn't place the guy in the profile pic.I wrote back if I knew him from somewhere and asked him how he knew those friends of mine.He gave me some very decent and mature replies and seemed to be a well-behaved chap,plus the fact that the pic he had put up had him in a professional suit and hence added a touch of elegance.It was going good and he asked me to add him up as a 'friend' so that we could discuss more on something that we both happened to be currently working on.I was glad I could ask some advice and soon enough he was on my friend list.

The next message was already a link to what lay ahead...By the second message I had become 'baby'....when I told him this was not what I had in mind he told me this was his usual way of addressing friends.....Nothing more dumb and phoney than this !!! I told him to remember not to do that again with me,and as he left for the day(he works out of India) he told me he would catch up with me later on chat and we could discuss on that 'work' thing once he reached home. I told him I would 'ping' him when n if I came online....

Next day we both happened to be online at the same time. As usual Mr.Baby absolutely had to come up with his 'typical' lines.It kept getting dumb and dumber,so much so that finally I asked him point blank - "Are you always like this or is today something special?Can you only talk like this?Coz its not even disgusting..its outright funny..." the guy at that point had only the vocabulary to respond in a 'LOL' and a 'HAHAHA'......aaaahhhhh, so sad that a nice and handsome face can go to such waste.....but what to do,some guys just don't have it!!!

Today I told him for the last time that I had thought he had something up there in his brains,but sadly,I now knew better and that,since trying to play the 'super-flirt' was his only achievement in life,it was better not to waste any more time.The guy absolutely lost it then and came down to things like 'Same to you' and all !!! I almost died laughing.....

Well it is not the first time that I have made a virtual friend.If I have come across 'trophy' losers in such incidents,I have also come across some really really wonderful friends who I can safely say are now my friends for life...

One person hails from Jamshedpur and we have a big age difference.But I can share almost anything with him and he pours out his heart to me about all his worries,how his daughter is not studying,or even as sweet as what he is planning to do on her birthday....

Then there is this very dashing and charming friend of mine..true,we met on a plane,he was my in-flight neighbour and throughout the only looks I threw his way were to see what book he was reading :)) Thankfully when we were waiting at the luggage belt,my curiosity got the best of me and I walked up to him and asked the name of the book....and now he is one of my dearest friends on FB !!!

There is this mister from down south, a man with amazing writing skills and with a huge sense of humour..... a really sweet friend who has an excellent knowledge of travel and related topics and who has helped us with his inputs time and again.. Not to mention that he is an amazing human being as well......then again, we have never met, though the effort of trying and meeting up some time in some city is still on..

Then there is this really lovely girl from Russia.We have never met and it seems highly unlikely that we will ever meet,but there is so so much we talk about and share about our cultures and country.

There is also this very sweet and enterprising young man from my city,a travel enthusiast and a leader,a great guy with an even greater heart who keeps teaching me so many things about life and people and always floods me with compliments....

There are so many good stories about friends who I have never met but they are still a big part of my life....

So,in the middle of making all these wonderful friends of mine,when I still keep getting these messages from such random guys with an intellect that matches the edibility of shit..... its really more funny than being disgusting and lusty.....
To all such D**K-headed DUDS out there.....go on and enjoy your loser status some more......

Maximum City by Suketu Mehta


Suketu Mehta left Bombay at the age of fourteen.Twenty-one years later he returned to rediscover the city.The result is this stunning,brilliantly illuminating portrait of the megalopolis and its people - a book that is as vast,as diverse, as rich in experience,incident and sensation as the city itself.'

Publisher: Penguin
MRP: INR 395

Personal Op: Its a must-read for anyone who has lived in Mumbai and continues to do so,as well as for those who are out-of-towners but would love to know what the real Mumbai is like behind the doors and many layers of faces.....An explosive and hugely revealing book that will force you to think of it even when you have finished reading the last page.. A terrific read.....

Rabbi's Tere Bin... lyrics to one of the best love songs ever... Can decode it now.....


Been listening to Rabbi's Tere Bin since yesterday dont know why...And each time I hear it I cant but help thinking of love and also missing my own Dilli....Well I remember how the song was on constant repeat mode on my desktop when it had just burst in the Indi-pop scene,and was later also a part of the movie Delhi Heights.I heard it so many times that the words were unknowingly memorised,but could never figure out completely what he was saying..Now I can and am sharing the same in case you too love to hum this one....






Listen to the song here and sing along...

Tere bin - besides you
sahnu soniya - my love
koi hor nahio labhna - i shall not find another
jo dave - who will give
ruh nu sakun - peace to my soul
chukke jo nakhra mera - and indulge me
ve main sare ghumm ke vekhia - i have gone and seen it all
amreeka,roos,malayasia - america, russia,malayasia
na kittey vi koi fark si - there was no difference
har kise di koi shart si - they all had some conditions
koi mangda meri si sama - some asked for my time
koi hunda surat te fida - some were fascinated with my looks
koi mangda meri si vafa - some demanded my fidelity
na koi mangda merian bala - none wanted my demons
tere bin hor na kise mangni merian bala - besides you no one else wanted my demons
tere bin - besides you
hor na kise - no one else
karni dhup vich chhan - shall shade me in the sun
jiven rukia si tun zara - the way you paused slightly
nahion bhulna main sari umar - i shall not forget all my life
jiven akhian si akhan chura - you said looking away
'rovenga sanu yaad kar' - 'you shall weep in my memory'
hasia si main hasaa ajeeb - i laughed a strange laugh
par tu nahi si hasia - but you didnt laugh
dil vich tera jo raaz si - the secret you had in your heart
mainu tu kyun nai dasia - why didnt you tell me
tere bin sanu eh raaz kise hor nahio dasna - besides you none shall tell this secret to me
tere bin - besides you
peerha da ilaaj - what drug
kis vaid kolo labhna - has the cure to my pains
milia si ajj mainu tera ik patra - i found today a note of yours
likhia si jis te - on which you had written
tun shayr varey shah da - a varis shah couplet
par ke si osnu - upon reading which
hanjnu ik duliya - a teardrop fell
akhan 'ch band si - what was locked in the eye
se raaz ajj khuliya - was revealed today
ki tere bin - that besides you
eh mere hanjnu - these tears of mine
kise hor nahio chumna - won't be kissed by anyone else
ki tere bin eh mere hanjnu - that besides you these tears of mine
mitti vich rulnha - shall wither in the dust.....

Kites - as good as the publicity promised.....


Ok....I am just back from the first-day show of Kites....And what a movie !!! Worth every penny spent,in fact only within the first 15 minutes of the movie I proclaimed that all the money spent on the movie was worth it...u see,Hrithik danced an awesome bone-less dance on the Fire track...if the clapping and the catcalls and the whistles from the 'decent' crowd was any indication,the movie was already a superhit in its first 15 mins...And trust me,every woman in the hall who watched the movie today,whether a school girl,a college teen,a young woman,newly-wed,young mom or middle-aged aunty,everyone was lusting after Hrithik in the hall,we all had our eyes on him,literally,and clapped with his every move.....not a stir in the crowd whenever he was on the screen..I have never seen such strong devotion in any other movie yet...I wonder how much he will be hiccuping in the coming few days.. ;)

Cast: Hrithik Roshan(J), Barbara Mori(Natasha/Linda), Kangana Ranaut(Gina), Kabir Bedi(Bob Grover), Nicholas Brown(Tony), Anand Tiwari(Robin), Yuri(Jalaan).
Director: Anurag Basu
Producer:Rakesh Roshan
Music Director:Rajesh Roshan

Plot: J is a LA-based hustler who is looking to make some quick bucks,waiting to hit the jackpot. He teaches dance in the day and sells pirated DVDs and does other odd jobs, and for a fee, marries illegal immigrants who are desperate for a green card to the US. His best buddy is Robin.Gina is one of his students who is besotted with him and one day lands up in his apartment professing his love,which only freaks out J and he throws her out. But when she goes away in her limo,he realises what a chance he has lost,and without wasting any more time,he gets back to winning her affection. Gina is the daughter of Bob,who is a casino-owner in LA and soon J is a part of the big rich family. Though he has no love for Gina,he is happy that life is finally smiling up at him... And just as everything seems perfect and things cannot get any better, in comes the twist and everything turns upside down.

The first word that comes to mind when you watch this movie is 'WOW'..and there are many reasons and occasions for that.

1. The movie is beautiful in the way it has been shot. It flits between time, the past,present and the in-between have been shown in such a way that they all merge perfectly with each other and do not create a confusion in the viewer's mind.An event in 'then' is perfectly synced with the event that is happening 'now'. The largest share of credit for the movie's superhit status has to go to Hrithik and Hrithik alone. Be it his superb dancing skills,his super-toned-and-tanned body,his expression,his smile,his stunts,the way he emoted with his eyes,the cute little things that he does and which actually elicited 'wow' and 'so cute' from even the middle-aged aunties... it all goes to him..He is THE ULTIMATE in this movie....

2. The movie is exotic. Maybe it is the exotic Spanish dialect that makes it so,but it clearly gives KITES a really international feel. Not only the dialect and accent,and you simply cannot miss skipping a heartbeat when Hrithik speaks in Spanish!!! but also the fact that a lot of the movie has been shot in Mexican landscapes and we get to see a realistic 'sprinkling' of cowboys in the movie... It lends a whole new exotic and westernised feel to the movie.

3. The music is beautiful and soothing and meaningful and has a mix of romantic and peppy dance numbers. Once again,you could feel how much the audience loved the movie when they were singing along with the songs and nodding and moving their bodies to the dance numbers.

4. The cinematography is mind-blowing. If you have the eye of a photographer,watch this movie for its sheer capturing of landscapes and shades. Be it the rugged plains or the dessert or the hills or the dusty roads,there was beauty everywhere. In one of the fight scenes that was shot in pouring rain,you could actually see each and every drop of rain as clearly as if it was not pouring heavily but had been captured in time just for you. The water jerking off the head,the rain drop falling,the rain on the eyelashes.. everything came out in such detail that I couldn't but help giving it a special mention here.

5. Every scene was well thought and shot.. when the characters were stuck in the dry dessert,their lips actually were shown cracked and caked with dust,the hair was matte and their skin,even the lady's,was patchy and dry. This would never have been the case if it was an out-n-out Bollywood movie... our heroine would have had her mascara and her blush and her lipstick in place no matter what...

6. Barbara Mori is,yes,for the guys very very hot,I found her to be extremely cute. Of course she has a figure to die for and her accent was so exotic. Lovely. And even when she was covered in dust and blood she managed to look most beautiful in that earthy way,if you know what I mean.

7. Kabir Bedi had a charismatic personality as always,the typical one that comes with a casanova-image....a ladies' man (no pun intended).

8. Nicholas Brown(I hope I got the name right)who plays the villain has done a great job.

9. Yuri was to-the-point as always and it was a joy to see him again.

10.The one sore point of the movie was.....yes...our own Miss Kangana Ranaut. Seriously,whats with her and the psycho roles... though she does a fantastic and most natural job of it and maybe thats why she is every director's first choice when they think of someone to play a psycho.. One more thing.. she CANNOT dance.. and that too paired with HRITHIK??? What were the creators thinking? Remember I mentioned the FIRE song in the first 15 mins when Hrithik danced so amazingly as if he has no bones in his body? Poor Kangana was his partner in the same.. All she had to do and could eventually do was come dressed in an almost-non-existent skirt that amply showed off her under-things and the chunky thighs and she just moved her hands and head left-right-left-right... and was picked up in the air by Hrithik a couple of times (WOW!!!!).. that's all the credit she can take for the movie.. that and a few more scenes where she has to show her legs all the way to ...... In one of the last scenes she turns to being her true psycho self... she sits at the dinner table with a spoon in hand and looks at her image in the inverted spoon. It seems as if her spirit or ghost will just jump out of the spoon any moment... Kangana Ranaut is the only sore point in the movie and very wisely has hardly any role to play... can be totally ignored...

11. And one of the sweetest thing about the movie is the way Hrithik and Barbara have connected. Despite language barriers,one cant speak Spanish and the other cant speak English,Hrithik manages to come up with sweet little gestures and acts that help them communicate... Truly sweet and a refreshing change.

Kites is a refreshing movie in a time when movies like Paathshaala and Housefull have made us stay away from the movie hall..... Thanks to Hrithik again... ya I HAD to mention him again... maybe it will fade off from my mind a little in the next few months....

Though I see many people are condemning the movie just because they have seen this kind of a plot before, it is really unfair to draw comparisons here with other movies. Kites has been made on a totally different level and in a totally new and experimental way.As with any new thing,there are ’takers’ and then there are those who have to criticise it simply because it does not follow the set patterns that they are so used to...But that is their loss..

Go with an open mind, not one that has already been cluttered with pre-judged ideas about the movie.... Watch it with no strings attached and you will come back happy. Watch it with a set pattern and a yearn for a 'stereotype' in mind and you will be sorely disappointed... If you are the kind who likes the nonsensical KJo movies and the SRK ones, please stay home.... Kites has many fans already and not having someone in the audience who has the mind to understand this 'offering' will actually be a big help to the movie......

VERDICT: GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO GO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW.....

Friday, May 21, 2010

weekend joys and the gloom of seeing it buzz past !!!!


So the weekend is again upon us....Fri-day is almost over and it's now time for Fri-night to begin.... the excitement is palpable,the smiles and anticipation are to be seen everywhere...FaceBook status messages have begun to be typed out about how the weekend is going to be,sms-es have started to go back and forth,announcing a party here,making or accepting an invite there,mobiles are busy,the telephone lines are jammed with calls being made to colleagues and friends about a sudden Friday-night party....calls and sms-es are being dashed off to the wife/gf/hubby/bf....sorry baby,got some work,need to meet up with colleagues/clients...the bars are gearing up for FRIDAY NIGHT.....the DJ has slept well thru the day...he/she knows its gonna be a rocking night tonite... and tomorrow will be no better...by this time tomorrow,if anything,the crowd will only be more charged-up...cars will honk their way thru the traffic to the many pubs/bars/clubs/discs/hotels and generally any place that offers drinks,starters and good music(some of the guys dont even need music!!!)
By Saturday afternoon the hangover will start to fade,by which time it will be either of the two-u are either so drunk that your head is about to burst and u swear you are never gonna drink again...or u are soooo in love with what happened last night that you are already calling up friends and making plans...If thats the case,every process of Friday night will repeat,only that the discs will charge you a bomb tonite...But if you have sworn you wont drink again in your life,then its time for the house work and the house shopping....your evening(cause afternoon will be spent sleeping and grumbling) will see you in a grocery store(probably in a mall),picking up veggies and stuff and standing bored in a queue at the full counter...dinner could be in/out,depending on your mood and hangover..thus IT'S Saturday becomes it WAS Saturday...
And on Sunday...u wake up late coz ITS SUNDAY....u skip breakfast(coz the clock shows the time for breakfast is long gone and u decide to show some respect to that chap on the wall) and instead settle for a brunch....and since ur brain knows its SUNDAY and an off and a lazy day...u are sleepy again...so there comes the zzzzzzzzzzz...... by the time you wake up,the day is already gone and you realise,with a sudden ache in you heart,that as much as you had decided to spend this weekend in a special way,its already GONE....
Sunday is over and you since from tomorrow begins another week at work, you better hit the bed on time !!!!

Rabid Bull sold off to butchers...infected meat up for sale in Mumbai !!!


On Tuesday and Wednesday the papers here were filled with stories of how a rabid bull was creating rampage,seriously injuring people,especially senior citizens and posing a threat to many more. Within 24 hours,the crazed animal had injured over 51 people in Kalyan... After officials from the fire department failed to capture it,it was finally caught by 4 butchers on Wednesday evening.Immediately after that it was tranquilised by a vet and sent to an abattoir in Bail Bazaar,Kalyan,where it was butchered.
What is most alarming here is that even though the vet who tranquilised the animal had told the Mumbai newspapers that the bull was clearly showing signs of being rabies-infected and needed to be kept under observation for a few days,the dead animal was immediately sold to the butchers who put up the meat for sale.
The blame game started early Thursday morning as fire officials said the bull was at the cattle shed,a visit to which by the newspaper team revealed the captured animal had never been sent there.Later in the day the fire chief changed the statement to 'the bull died on Wednesday night and has been buried in the dumping ground"...this was again negated as the sanitary officer for the dumping ground denied any animal having been buried since Wednesday.
So now the question is not where the dead bull is...the question is...is the rabies infected meat going to land up in your plate because of the disgusting corruption of some of our officials...or are we soon going to read about a tragic death of an innocent after having eaten meat that was clearly meant to be disposed off?

For The Love of My Son by Margaret Davis


For The Love of My Son by Margaret Davis
Genre - Non-fiction

'When Margaret Davis's beloved son Steven was murdered in the Philippines,where he lived with his wife,a former prostitute,and their two children,Margaret travelled across continets to track down her son's killers and rescue her grandchildren.
For The Love of My Son is the horrifying but utterly compelling story of her perilious journey,but also of how she has dealt with her crippling grief and has striven to save two small children caught up in the violent crossfire of their parents' failing marriage.
It is a tale of two cultures that clashed,with terrible results. And it is a tale of how one mother,faced with her worst nightmare,has fought for justice for her son and some kind of healing for herself and the others left behind after his death.'

Publisher: Hodder Books

Personal Op: A must read for every parent....A heart-wrenching read of every parent's worst nightmare turning into reality..

The Collector's Wife by Mitra Phukan


The Collector's Wife by Mitra Phukan
Genre: Fiction
'This is the story of Rukmini who is married to the District Collector of a small town in Assam, and teaches English Literature in the local college. On the surface her life is settled and safe,living in the big beautiful bungalow on the hill above the cremation ground, seemingly untouched by the toil and sufferings of the common folk below. Yet each time there is an 'incident' in the district, the fear and uncertainty that grips the town is reflected in her own life. The violent insurgency that grips Assam runs like a dark river through the novel and forms its backdrop.
The Assam students' agitation of the 1970s and 1980s that began as a movement for self-determination has grown into a full blown insurgency. Kidnappings,extortion and political instability are the order of the day. The issue of illegal migration from across the border has spread mistrust and bitterness among the peoples of the region and Rukmini's world is pervaded by this ever-present threat of violence. The meaninglessness of it all,the complexities that divide 'them' and 'us' and the point at which the two merge are all explored in this powerful novel.
The final denouncement is horrifying and yet true - for there can be no other 'end' to such a tale,where the personal is so densely interwoven with the political.

Publisher: Penguin
MRP: INR 350/-

Personal Op: Well written...a nice read....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Blue Bicycle by Regine Deforges


The Blue Bicycle by Regine Deforges, Published 1981, Publisher:Charter Books

'France 1939...a time of lost innocence and newfound courage, As the gathering storms of war cast a shadow over Europe, one woman vowed to never surrender her heart. Her name was Lea Delmas.....
A woman who risked her life to save her country's honour....who denied the passions of a perfect soulmate....and who dared to love a man she could never have......
In the glorious tradition of historical bestsellers, this epic novel of love and war captures the triumphant sweep of an unforgettable era. Discover the joys of one of the most beautiful,compelling and romantic novels ever written.....'

United Coffee House , Connaught Place, New Delhi


If u are a Delhiite and a frequent CP-visitor and a foodie by birth , just like me and my hubby,well then u cannot ignore this place . Amidst the hustle-bustle of CP , the chaat-waala tempting u to dig into those mouth-watering masaaledaar dal-chaat or aaloo-chaat , if u are in the mood for some real food, this is simply ur destination , where ur food hunt comes to an end . If u visit CP and dont eat here once , I am sorry , u lost it ...
On most occasions , u would see a long list of people waiting for their turn to get in , and yes , u will have to wait , come on , achchha khaana paane ke liye thoda time to khona partaa hai na !!!! The friendly old man at the entrance will keep on apologising to u for the delay and will assure u that it wont take much long .. well,we being regulars now , he has actually started recognising us! As u step in , u cant but help look up at the huge chandelier on the ceiling . The beautifully done ceiling definitely needs a mention here ... There are a lot of tables , but as there is always a crowd , u will have to really look around for a place.
The waiter hands u the menu and then starts ur real test ... what to order ... in an amalgamation of the most fine dishes , how can u afford to select one and miss out on the other ... well , looks like u will have to come over next time for the remaining many dishes ..
For the meat lovers: the absolute must-haves here are butter chicken , mutton curry, murg handi , murg lababdar , there is meat cooked in spice and herbs , meat cooked in nuts and cheese , meat in simply hot spices , murg tikkas , kebabs , tandoori , sizzlers....
For the vegetarians: the must-haves are dal makhani, kaali dal,spicy paneer , kadahi paneer , shahi paneer , a few other paneer preparations , there is a very good dish in aloo , i really dont remember right now , but do ask the waiter for the special potato dish please ...
For the breads u may have rumali roti , tandoori roti , lachha parantha , pudina parantha , or aloo-naan , or butter-naan ..... thats just gonna melt in ur mouth ... its ok to cheat on the diet part once in a while , dont u agree !!!
For starters , u may select out of the many soup varieties , they are quite good . Plus as the wait time for food will be a bit longer than usual ( the place is always loaded with people ) , its a good idea to order together and ask for the soup or drinks to be brought first .
For families with kids , u can ask for the kid-chair , they have arrangements for the same ..
The ambience is very nice , with friendly waiters and good music in the background , not too loud and neither too soft .. There is also a live performance by their in-house singer , whose attempts are not the best but still good . The food is very reasonably priced.
United Coffee House is a sure-shot winner all the way , u can assess its popularity by the various groups of people waiting patiently outside ,patrons as well as first-timers,waiting just to get in and dig in to their favourite dishes . Whether a romantic evening , a business dinner , a casual meeting with acquaintances , family or friends outing , or just a quick grab , this is THE PLACE in saddi Dilli !!! Do let me know once you go out for this gastronomical extravagance ... till then , just think of the yummy food ...
Verdict: MUST VISIT

The Rajneeti(c) troubles of Prakash Jha


So as the movie was gearing up for release in the near future, the political film has again run into trouble with the Censor Board. According to the latest reports, Prakash Jha's Rajneeti, starring Ranbeer Kapoor and Katrina Kaif, is too close to real life politicians, a fact that is bound to cause a lot of unpleasantness and discomfort to the politicians of the 'real' world.
Apparently the Censor Board is now of the opinion that the hard-hitting political drama is a little too hard-hitting in some portions, where the difference between real politicians and their 'reel' counterparts becomes uncomfortably thin....
Earlier it was implied that the film had been cleared by the same Board as it was not found offensive,abusive, or too violent. But this latest reasoning of the Censor Board seems to have some 'real' reasoning behind it.
For starters,did some of the politicians object to scenes from the movie? If at all the difference between 'real' and 'reel' is going into oblivion, where is the harm? We all know the bare truths about how our politicians perform. So what is the harm in seeing the same being played out on the screen? Last heard India was still a democracy....

I am not a big online buyer, but I have had a few good online transactions sometimes. One transaction that I had not bargained for was a fraudulent transaction,an experience that has left a bitter taste in my mouth forever.

The website in question is www.firstandsecond.com

As a warning to my friends and all the readers: PLEASE DO NOT EVER MAKE AN ONLINE PURCHASE WITH THEM! They will charge your credit card for an absurd amount and will not even send your order to you.

This is what happened:
I had placed an order in March 2008 for a book which failed on the screen but magically got completed later. My credit charge was for Rs 2600 whilst the purchases I was looking at were only for Rs 500..

When I called back the customer service desk, they immediately stopped the shipment and got it returned. This is acknowledged below.

See the airway bill track below:

Origin Destination Weight (Kg)Type --> KALKAJI VASHI 1.8 Document --> Transhipment History --> Location Date Description Remarks MUMBAI 20 Mar 2008 Shipment returned to orgin DELHI-HUB 20 Mar 2008 forwarded to MUMBAI KALKAJI 19 Mar 2008 forwarded to DELHI-HUB KALKAJI 19 Mar 2008 Received at Branch......

How can a shipment be forwarded to Mumbai and returned to origin on the very same date? Were they using teletransportation? Absolutely ridiculous and fraudulent.

However, I am still to receive a refund on my credit card or by other means. I spoke many times with the customer service executive who was initially polite but later turned extremely rude and B*****
I have requested a refund on my card - more than 2 years ago !!!!! If it ever gets processed (which is only a wishful thinking) I will update this review with the refund procedure.

But as of now.... DO NOT CARRY OUT ANY TRANSACTION WITH WWW.FIRSTANDSECOND.COM frauds of the FIRST order.....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Need some new space....now !!!!


So finally that day has arrived when I really, and I mean,really, DON'T have any more space for my beloved....I have tried every space there was, and even where there was no choice left,I really really tried to compromise and accommodate. Tried with tact,with reasoning,with pushing and frustration and anger....but it just doesn't seem to work anymore..
For you see,I am totally unable to get a place for my books any more.... my beloveds, the ones I cherish with all my heart,the ones who have continued to be my friends since the past so many years,who have grown with me.....I have tried all ways in my bookshelves,tried to make space in every inch that was left unoccupied,also tried (though unsuccessfully),to take up some space on hubby's shelf....but now the options are over....
He says I should stop buying now,that I should start a library and begin to rent out my books to strangers !!!! My books...to strangers ??? Is that even a sane thought !!!?????? Remember those moments when you pick up an old book and bury your nose in the yellowed pages....aah the fragrance of the written world....the way the sound of those pages create a flutter in your heart each time you flip the pages with your thumb? Each of my book has a special memory attached to it,I remember clearly when I bought them...And I always write my name on MY books and also the year and month it was purchase in...imagine the joy of opening the book 40 years from now and seeing those fading names? I have with me a few very old books,books that my maternal grandfather had bought or had been given as a present by my grannie,the front page still has their names on it...even after so many years....and I love to see it always..thinking of the time she must have given it to him,those times,those memories..
My daughter has inherited a huge love of books and I know I am going to give all of these to her....right now I have around 200-250 of them,but I know they will keep growing as the years progress :))
Of course I will go and get lots and lots and lots of books,but first let me get back to try and make some new space.....

Lake News by Barbara Delinsky



If you like the typical American lit,this one is for you.....

What happens when the media goes out of hand and comes up with falsely construed stories,in a bid to sensationalise things,creating havoc in the lives of those involved? What happens when innocents are made to look guilty and their character is front-page news for the entire nation to assassinate? How do they deal with life when friends and family begin asking questions,when jobs are lost,when privacy is turned into full-time air-byte?
Lake News is the story of Lily Blake,a young musician,who is falsely accused of having an illicit affair with the Cardinal....As an unscrupulous reporter makes up a false story of the steamy affair and its sordid details, Lily finds her world crashing and her options closing off one by one.....

Verdict: An OK read...

As written on the cover jacket:
'After an unscrupulous reporter falsely accuses Boston lounge singer Lily Blake of having an affair with a newly-appointed Cardinal,she is hounded by the press,fired from her job and robbed of all public freedom. The humiliation and violation of privacy leaves her no choice but to retreat to her rural hometown of Lake Henry,New Hampshire.
In search of refuge,Lily forms an uneasy alliance with John Kipling,a former Boston reporter with trust issues of his own.Now editing Lake Henry's local newspaper,John cannot ignore Lily's appeal or her plight - even at the risk of taking on his former colleagues.
Surprising and deeply satisfying,LAKE NEWS offers an intimate look at the complex relationship between an enigmatic man and a vulnerable woman,both struggling to find a new sense of community in a strange place they once called home.'
Publisher: Pocket Star Books

MERU in 'Mega' Trouble as driver commits suicide


In another blow to the MERU name,a 75-year-old taxi driver,Veerpal Singh, committed suicide on Tuesday morning by jumping from the 05th floor of the YMCA hostel in Colaba,where he had been living for the past 30 years. In his suicide note,the deceased has blamed Meru cab company for forcing him to take the extreme step. According to the police,Singh had given his taxi permit to Meru for Rs. 2 lakh and was supposed to receive the money a month ago.Rajesh Puri,CEO of Meru cab company has stated that he is not aware of the suicide but would find out about the same.
It is to be noted that the suicide happens in the same month when more than half of the Meru drivers had pulled their cabs off the Mumbai roads in a protest against bad working conditions and insufficient pay isuues.
Personally,I have always had a great experience with the Meru cabs and can only hope that whatever the issues are, they get resolved soon amicably,with everyone happy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Harihareshwar, Maharashtra - India




When the Gods made this Earth, according to what many of us have been led to believe, they must have thought of keeping a few vacation destinations exclusively for themselves. And maybe that explains how, even in this mad and busy world of today, we have a place that has almost never been touched by a crowd, never yet been spoilt by the excessive commercialisation that the human race is so famous for. There are many such places here and one of them has a name called Harihareshwar.
Lying peacefully along the Konkan border of Maharashtra, this place is a mere 200kms from Mumbai and a travel time of just a little less than 2 hours from Navi Mumbai. If you ever want to experience the sheer joy of seeing a beach and a hill station at the same time then this drive is for you. We travelled in the month of October, the drive up the hills was breathtaking and we were surrounded by clouds. As we drove downhill the beach spread in front of us as if by magic, it took our breath away. You have to be there at least once in your life to know that this will be one of the best drives you have ever had. The road is a little bumpy at a few stretches and those who have a problem with hill drives are advised to carry adequate remedies (read Lemon juice and Hajmola) as the hill curves are pretty sharp.

And now for the details.....

Distance to destination by road: From Mumbai approx 200kms, from Pune approx 140 kms.

Time taken to reach destination by road: From Mumbai approx 3 hours and a little short of 2 hours from Navi Mumbai.

Conenctivity: By air reach Mumbai and then you can either drive, hire a cab (approx Rs.3500-Rs.4000 rent). Tourist buses ply from Mumbai and Pune. By train the nearest station is Mangaon about 65kms from Harihareshwar.

Accomodation where we stayed: MTDC resort, District Raigad, Harihareshwar beach.

Contact Info: 02147-226036 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              02147-226036      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Check-in Time: 10:30am

Check-Out time: 09:00am

Type of accomodation: Konkan House AC.

Room rates: Rs.1500-Rs.2000/- per night as per 2009.

Room Info: Spacious and clean, double bed which is comfortable enough for 2 adults and a child.1 extra bed can be placed on request. A huge balcony overlooking palm trees and the beach. Attached bathroom equipped with a hot water system. Clean and spacious. TV and Intercom that can be used to converse with the staff and with occupants in other rooms.

Type of food: The best bet here is surely the day's fresh catch. Be sure to have a word with the chef who will personally guide you about what will suit your taste. We had a lot of help in deciding the fish as we were travelling with a baby. Also check out the onion pakodas, they are simply a must have with those steaming pots of tea. The North-Indian is alright, as this is not their forte and expecting so would simply be a mistake on our part. South Indian fare is also delightful.
The resort is extremely picturesque and has a sea-side open breakfast area, a park with swings for the kids and lots of greens where you can walk and spend a quiet private date with nature.

Food to be had at the local market: A must-visit place for all the fish lovers is a small eatery called Hotel Prasad in the local market. Ask anyone at the resort and they will guide you, they did so to us too.

Nearby attractions: Shreevardhan beach at a distance of approx 20 mins from Harihareshwar MTDC Resort. Apart from this there are several temples in and around Harihareshwar, one of the most famous being the Kalbhairav Temple. But I will not be able to shed any lights on the same as we were only attracted by the beach.

That’s more or the less the main info that you would need to take into consideration before planning a trip. Do so and have a wonderful time.... Happy travelling :)

Palm Beach Road Navi Mumbai weekend drag racers


This Saturday night I had gone to bed with the thought that my Sunday would begin late late late....I really wanted to sleep in late, to lose myself in the comforts of the cosy comforter and be lost to the heat and the world outside....But some people had other plans....
Just like every Sunday morning,even before my dreams had begun to fade,even before Mumbai had properly woken up, I could hear the whirr and the drone of the engines even before they were close. The sheer power of the bikes was enough to wake me up from miles apart.As I heard the approaching roar of the bikes I threw away the comforter and rushed to my balcony.And I was just in time...for the first bike was just on the highway then,a dashing black machine with the rider geared in a perfect match of black gloves and black helmet and jacket.How I clapped like a silly school girl.I have been watching these guys zoom and dhoom past my building for the last 2 years and wait for them every weekend.A few second after this came the yellow,followed by the green and purple and orange and red and a few more......Though I love living on the height that a 23rd floor apartment offers,this height is sure not great enough for me to catch a glimpse of these guys.But then,I have the added option of seeing them cruise through the entire stretch of the road,vrooming past all other mere machines on the highway,turning heads and eyes each and everywhere,creating that drone in the heart.
It is dangerous and it is illegal and it is really a big big dare....but still,I really love it when these guys cruise past,and I really imagine that maybe,just like John Abraham was in the real Dhoom,maybe he sometimes joins in here as well...but then again, I am just being as wishful as a silly little schoolgirl......

Take a moment now to thank life for what you have - your child


It started out as a perfect weekend - staring out at the sea and the world from my balcony with a mug of coffee in hand,sitting to a perfect late brunch,spending a long lazy afternoon in the swimming pool and heading out to the mall right across my home.The day was well spent and just like that the weekend was almost over.And finally,after a nice weekend as we slipped inside the comforter,I realised all was not really well.For as Navya put her head on my arm in her sleep,my arm burned and my cheeks were stinging with the heat..she had the temperature again and as I looked at the scary little blink on the forehead thermometer strip reach the 'high' mark,we rushed out of bed,grabbed the house keys,and bundling up our baby in our arms,rushed to the hospital...
It was 2am when we reached there and our baby was moving in and out of sleep...but we kept telling her she would be well soon and she remained calm and content in her mamma's arms.
We were sitting in the lobby waiting for the doc to come out of the OT,he was operating on a little baby,whose family was seated in the lobby with us.I didnt know it then,but all the family members were crying.I could see they were stealing glances at the baby in my arms,thinking of moments when their precious was safe in their arms,crying now at being helpless,waiting for the doctor to come out and tell them how it would be.The mother was faint,she kept crying and weeping and being comforted by family,but I could see none of it mattered to her...there was only one thing that could be any solace,to have her baby back in her arms. For as the doctor put the stitches and the cuts on that little body behind the closed doors,she felt each cut and the pain of it in her heart.The family members too were crying,but careful not to do so in front of the mother who was already distraught with grief.I could not even begin to imagine what the mother might be feeling right then,I was scared that if I thought of it,maybe some of it might rub on to my side as well.I clearly did not want to imagine that situation,not for myself,not for any parent ever.
I looked down at my little doll in my arms,her eyelids had already drifted off to a dream world,her hot cheek resting against my chest,her heart at peace in her mother's arms.And right then,seeing my little child safe and happy in my arms,a silent thanks went out to someone out there,telling them this was all I ever needed...that my child stay happy and safe always....and to thank life for giving me this blessing....For every moment that I have been angry or irritated at my child,I am ready to give my love and heart a thousand times over...just like any parent would.
Right now she is much better,and I hope the mother in the lobby has got her child back too....
I can only hug and kiss my baby so much now,and since I know how much she means to me,I will do it as often as I can....And you too.....dont wait for a time or a reason,just hug your child,give them a kiss and tell them they are the best thing that could have ever happened to you.....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I Hate Luv Stories.....And KJo...and Luv (Shatru Uncle's son that is) !!!!!



KJo,aka Karan Johar's next movie, titled I Hate Luv Stories, is lined up for release on the 02nd of June 2010....And as a typical movie-lover I am dreading what is in store for us now ever since I dared to go out there and watch those two really Really REALLY and I mean REALLYYYYY over-hyped movies called 'Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna' and the recent one 'My Name is KKKKKK-Khan'.Ok, so that was a mistake and I should have known better...But how was I supposed be so clever as to dodge the typical Bollywood trap of buying crap ???!!!
Well, there are many stories out there that have already begun doing the rounds now that the Imran Khan(what did he do after Jaaney Tu ever since 2008???) and Sonam Kapoor (remember that giggling girl in Dilli 6 ? U don't remember ? Well,not your fault really!!!) are coming together for this one.....
To begin with,it is Mr. KJo's project...... ok, no comments....
Secondly, it brings to mind one newbie who made a very dud (nothing similar to its rhyming partner stud) appearance in a movie whose name I cant even begin to remember... But of him I remember enough coz his ghostly face had haunted us over the innumerable TV trailers of the movie that was about to be release and was released without a single person realising that it had actually released... Well,no big mystery,I am talking about Luv Sinha,Shatrughan Sinha's son...remember him ? No? Well,again...cheer up,its not your fault.....

Now the new movie of Imran and Sonam is nearing release and hence the newspapers are growing fatter and thicker each day with new stories of these two...Stories of how these two shared a lovely camaraderie on the sets,how Sonam fell into a pile of cow dung,how Imran played pranks on her,how they hit it off,how Sonam flashed a certain pair of 'assets' at Imran,how comfortable they were doing even the 'un'comfortable scenes - all this and more is being fed religiously into the reader's mind by the tabloids and the production house to make the viewer's mind 'Luv Story' ready...Now, even after all these juicy gossip and feeders,if we decide we are not too ready to go for the movie,or if we still feel that I Hate(d) Luv Stories...then who would be blame here ?? Wondering still.....

Akshaya Tritiya and the Greece effect


Today is Akshaya Tritiya, the Hindu holy day,ruled by the preserver-god of Hindu belief, Vishnu. According to the Hindu mythology,on this day the Treta Yuga began, and the river Ganges, which is considered to be the most sacred river of India,descended to the earth from the heavens.
The word "Akshaya' in Sanskrit means one who will never diminish. This day is believed to bring good luck and success and is considered particularly auspicious for starting a new venture.One big tradition that has seen itself turn into a ritual over the past many years is the rush among customers to buy gold on this day.It is believed that if,on the day of Akshaya Tritiya,one buys gold,their luck will hold good for the rest of the year and it will be a sound investment. And especially this year,it seems it is gold that has taken the meaning of 'never diminishing' a bit too seriously,what with reaching its all-time high !!!!
This year,that is 2010,the crisis in Greece has severely hit the bullion market and the price of gold has broken all previous records. At the moment,as of Sunday the 16th May 2010, gold is priced at its lifetime high so far - a staggering Rs.18,300/- per 10 gms !!!!!
Ironically,this time I bought something for the first time on Akshaya Tritiya for my daughter and myself.Are you buying something?
Some believe it is a dampener and there will not be the usual rush in the jewellery market this season,but most of the Indian markets are still seeing families heading towards the gold counters,while jewellers are keeping their fingers crossed and the yellow metal continues on its climb.....

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Bonesetter's Daughter - Amy Tan


A haunting tale of a mother and daughter focusing on the relationship between an immigrant mother and her 'naturalised' citizen daughter.
The book moves between the 1930s and 1940s in China and the 'now' of 1990s in San Francisco. As a daughter finds it difficult to come to terms with her mother's 'supposed' obsessions about her 'own' culture and traditions,she eventually learns of a past that will make every piece of the puzzle fall into place.
Ruth Young is a Chinese-American ghostwriter who helps authors of self-help books write out their words. She is in a relationship with Art, who is divorced and whose two young daughters are now a part of Ruth's life too. Ruth's mother,Lu LingYoung, is diagnosed with a terrible memory loss problem, she is almost on the verge of Alzheimer's, and it is at this stage when things at her mother's place are going completely crazy that she decides to move in with her.
As we read the pages we know how Ruth faced an extremely traumatic childhood.Her father passed away before she could remember him and her mother had to raise her all on her own.The young Ruth is forever scared of her mother,scared of her sharp and scathing tongue and scared of making her sad and more miserable than fate has already made her. Now,when her mother is old and frail and cant seem to remember things,she decides to be a 'mother' to her mother.As she starts to take control of her mother's life,she finds notes that her mother had begun keeping when she thought she was begining to lose her memory.This is how Ruth will come to know of many links from the past that were till now incomprehensible to her.
A lovely read,poetic,full of Chinese traditions and appealing to the senses in a visual feel.

Earring trend this season - The bigger the better !!!!


So girls its official....now you can bring out all those danglers from the box and get all set to mix and match !!!!
The hottest accessory trend right now is to flaunt your chunky ear-pieces...whether with the traditional saree, the salwar kameez, with the ethnic kurta-jeans or even with pure western, the big fat earring has made a comeback with a vengeance and is making a style-statement like never before. With young college girls to our Bollywood divas taking over the fashion secret that has always been associated with the 'earthy' and 'intellectual' look, the most prominent piece of accessory this season is the earring.

Be it the chandelier ear-rings, the studs, the long serpentine ones, the round ones with small detailing, the jhumkas or any of the chunky variety you may have, just use a little creativity and it can be your 'piece' of the evening.
If you are wearing a heavy ear-ring make sure your hair is in place, you would not want your strands to get entangled and create a mess the whole evening.If it is suitable,tie it up in a ponytail or a nice neat bun.If you are keen to keep it open,make sure the hair has been conditioned properly and does not look unkempt.
If you are wearing a saree,tie up the hair and line your eyes with kohl for the 'classic' look.Keep other jewellery to a minimum,or better still,don't wear any other jewellery. Maybe a thin kada on one arm but thats about it,your main jewellery is the ear-piece.
With a salwar kameez you can wear coordinated earrings.You can wear a kameez with a heavy neck border,that will negate the need of a neck-piece.While wearing a heavy dupatta make sure the ear-rings dont get caught in the fabric.It could result in a rip in the dupatta or even your ear-ring getting broken.
With jeans and kurta wear ear-rings that are appropriate. You can choose from a variety of chunky ear-rings,but avoid going over the top,as some pieces look great with a typical traditional ensemble but can be a complete disaster when mixed and matched.....
So go on and bring back the 'classic' desi look......

Andre Agassi Open(s) many doors in the till-now unknown stories of tennis


Are you an Andre Agassi fan? Have you too watched many of his matches and simply sat through all of them,impressed at the serve of that hand,drooling over those long shiny locks that flowed around in the tennis courts? Have you loved him,cheered him,followed his games,just the way millions have done in all parts of the globe at some point or other? I was a huuuuuuuge fan and terribly terribly in love with him, still am...
If you are an Andre Agassi fan, his autobiography OPEN is something you definitely need to read.
The book is named OPEN and there lies the biggest truth - here,for the first time ever, Andre Agassi opens up a world to his fans that was till now unknown. And it is not only about him that he speaks here,but also about other tennis legends,people he played against,people who shaped his life in many different ways and also people who have been a constant strength and support in his life. He is honest and simple in his words, and though he talks at length about Brooke Shields and their married life and later divorce, in no way does he belittle her or grudge her anything.The book goes on to shatter many beliefs we might have had till now about him and a few others. And as we turn the pages, we realise that truth is not what we always see or are made to believe, truth is infact something that lies beneath all the pretence and the facade.... Read this book and trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Publishers: Harper Collins
Price INR: Rs.599/-

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A few re-runs we would always love to repeat.... Here's which ones..


Was just going through the data on my laptop. Wanted to do some cleanup and hence checking which files would be worthy of the recycle bin. Scanned scanned and scanned. But still unable to make up my mind.As most of the stuff on my laptop are ones that have been with me ever since English Television made its entry into India..And looking at them,couldnt help but jot down a few of the top series of all times that we would just love to watch and watch and watch....All in random order...

The Indian series:

1.Hum Log - Indian television's first soap opera aired on Doordarshan,it is the simple story of a middle-class family in the 80's and their dreams and hopes. Main characters:Basesar Ram,Bhagwanti,Lallu,Nanhe,Badki,Manjhli,Chhutki,Dadaji,Dadi.

2.Byomkesh Bakshi - Based on the fictional detective character in Bengali literature by Sharadindu Bandopadhyay.The Hindi TV Series was directed by Basu Chatterjee.Main characters: Byomkesh Bakshi(Rajit Kapur),Ajit,Satyavati.

3.Tamas - Revolves around the lives of Hindus and Sikhs during Partition of India.


The English series:

1.HeartBreak High - An Australian TV series dealing with the lives of the students of Hartley High,a tough high-school in a multi-racial area of Sydney.Main characters: Nick,Christina,Rose,Con,Danielle,Steve,
Yola,Peter,Jodie

2.I dream of Jeannie - An American series about an astronaut and a genie in a bottle. Main characters: Jeannie and Capt/Major Anthony

3.The Wonder Years - An American TV series revolving around the lives of Kevin,Paul and Winnie,who are on the verge of starting junior high-school in 1968.

4.FRIENDS - An American sitcom revolving around a group of friends based in Manhattan. Main characters: Rachel,Monica,Phoebe,Chandler,Joey and Ross.

5.How I Met Your Mother - An American TV Series that involves the main character, Ted Mosby,telling his children in a later year in the future,about how he met their mother. Main characters: Ted Mosby,Barney Stinson,Marshall Eriksen,Lily Aldrin,Robin Scherbatsky.

6.Desperate Housewives - Revolves around the lives of four female friends, Susan Mayer, Bree Ven de Kamp, Gabrielle Solis and Lynette Scavo and their families, who are neighbour in Wisteria Lane. The fifth friend,Mary Alice Young, commits suicide in the opening season and continues to remain a part of the show.Main characters: Bree,Gabrielle,Susan,Lynette.

7.My Name is Earl - An American comedy revolving around the life and doings of Earl,a petty crook with occasional run-ins with the law.As he wins a lottery for $100,000,he loses it immediately on being hit by a car.This leads him to believe in karma and he vows to do justice to all those who he had wronged in the past,some way or the other. Main characters: Earl,Randy,Joy,Darnell,Catalina.

8.The Big Bang Theory - An American comedy revolving around the lives of four geek friends and their female neighbour who is an aspiring actress and works in a cheesecake factory. Main characters: Leonard,Sheldon Cooper,Howard,Rajesh and Penny.

9.Mile High - A British TV series based on the lives of the cabin crew and pilots of a budget airline, FRESH,based in London.It revolves around their lives,both in the air and on the ground.Main characters:Will O'Brien,Emma,Katherine,Jason,John,Janis, Lehann,Marco,Poppy,Capt Nigel,Charlotte,Jack,Rachel,Lorna,Dan,Ed.

10.Two and a half men - An American sitcom revolving around the life of a jingle writer, whose world is turned to chaos when his uptight brother gets divorced and moves in with him,bringing along his young son.Main characters: Charlie,Alan,Jake.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The first word of a language..the first word of civilisation ..... what was it ?


Came across these lines.....so simply put, yet holding the seeds of our origin..

From Amy Tan's book - The BoneSetter's Daughter

"What do you think was the very first sound to become a word, a meaning? I imagined two people without words, unable to speak to each other. I imagined the need.
And then I realised what the first word must have been: ma, the sound of a baby smacking its lips in search of its mother's breast. For a long time, that was the only word the baby would need. Ma, ma, ma. Then the mother decided that was her name and she began to speak, too. She taught the baby to be careful: sky, fire, tiger.
A mother is always the beginning. She is how things begin."

The official cheers age worldwide


So the Maharashtra government has decided that if you are below 25,you cannot hold your drink,literally..As per the new law coming up in action in Maharashtra,any person below 25 years will not be served alcohol. Don't know if this is good or bad or right or wrong,but here's a list of what the rest of the world thinks of the legal age when a person is mature enough to drink and purchase alcohol:


ILLEGAL:
Afghanistan,Brunei,Bangladesh,Iran,Kuwait,Saudi Arabia,Yemen,Pakistan(21 for non-Muslims)

Below 18 years:
Botswana,Eritrea,Morocco(no limit on drinking age),Sudan,Tunisia(15 years),Zambia,Haiti,Georgia(no limit on drinking age),Cyprus,Germany(16-18),
Gibraltar(no limit on drinking age),Luxembourg,Malta,Netherlands(16),UK(age 5 in private,age 16 in public with a meal and accompanied with an adult,18 otherwise)

18 years
India-18 to 25,varies between states.Drinking prohibited in Manipur, Gujarat and Mizoram.
Cameroon(purchase age 21),Egypt,Ethiopia,Ghana,Malawi,Namibia,Niger,Nigeria,Rwanda,
South Africa,Swaziland(no limit on drinking age),Uganda,Zimbabwe,Argentina(no drinking age limit),Bahamas,Belize,Bermuda,Bolivia,Brazil,Canada,
Chile,Colombia,Costa Rica,Cuba(no limit on drinking age),Dominican Republic,Ecuador,El Savador,Guatemala,Honduras,Jamaica,Mexico,Panama,Puerto Rica,
Uruguay,Venezuela,Azerbaijan,People's Republic of China,Hong Kong,Israel,Jordan,
Malaysia(no limit on drinking age),Mongolia,Nepal(no limit on age of purchasing alcohol),North Korea,Philippines,Singapore,Taiwan,Turkey,Turkmenistan,Austria,
Belarus,Belgium,Bulgaria,Craotia,Czech Republic,Denmark,Estonia,Finland,France(no limit on drinking age),Germany(16-18),Hungary,Republic of Ireland,Latvia,Lithuania,
Macedonia,Moldova,Montenegro(no limit on drinking age),Norway(no limit on drinking age),Poland,Russia,Portugal(driniking age 16),Romania(no limit on drinking age),Slovakia,Slovenia(no limit on drinking age),Spain,Sweden(18and20),
Switzerland,Turkey,Ukraine,Australia(no limit on drinking age),New Zealand(no limit on drinking age),Fiji,Guam (US),

Above 18:
Parts of India,Nicaragua(19),Paraguay(20),United States,Japan,Oman,South Korea,SriLanka,Tajikstan,Thailand(20-no limit on drinking age),UAE,Iceland,Sweden(18and20)

No Limits:
Armenia,Cambodia,Lebanon,Macau,Albania,Greece,Italy,Serbia

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Exclusive Heights

The headline in today's paper read: The Height of Exclusivity:Mukesh Ambani builds highest compound wall in town.
So? Is it such a big thing? We all know the kind of (un)wanted attention the 'stars' get in the dreamland, Mumbai. If you have ever gone on a Bollywood house spottin,you would have seen the amount of crowd that can always be seen standing outside the houses of the rich and famous. If you have ever been around any of these.... Jalsa or Prateeksha (Bachchan's), Mannat (SRK), Galaxy Apartment (Salman Khan), Palazzio (Hrithik), Yash Raj mansion, the Kapoor bungalow (Rishi and Ranbeer's abode), Aashirwaad (Rajesh Khanna), Saif-Kareena-Karishma (they have apartments in the same building), Rekha's bungalow....you would have noticed the crowd of fans and even the paparazzi, with their camcorders always on and recording every happening and every car going in and out of the buildings...So is it such a wonder then that these 'famous' personalities would want to preserve some of their own privacy for themselves? What all these 'personalities' share with each other is their 'high' compound walls....and understandably so.
Now even the Mumbai Traffic Police has issued warnings to tourist buses that they are not allowed to stop in front of Jalsa, and have banned them from entering the lane that leads up to Palazzio....
Since they cannot control the crowds outside, let these 'stars' control the views that the peeping toms standing outside their house would otherwise have been dying to get .....

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