December 31, 2006

End of an era...

Its the end of the year... for many reasons, its the end of an era...

Well, this post is the last one of the year... I have mixed feelings about this year... while some moments I cherish and can never exchange for anything else, overall I felt that this year for me was a year in wait... literally for many many reasons... I have been waiting for many things to end. And nothing has.. So, for selfish reasons, I can't help but push this year behind and look forward to a more fulfilling 2007. However on the bright side, I have matured as a person, learned more about people, maybe lost a lot of my innate innocence in not-so-pleasant ways, gained new perspectives on things and people - so maybe it involved a lot of pesonal development. But I am not sure it was necessary for me at a stage in life where I am looking forward to many important things, a Masters Degree amongst many.

It was the end of an era of pure bliss with my dear Nokia 3100 which I still cherish. With the technological advancements, it was but natural for me to go savvy and choose a more loaded phone like the Samsung T629 which I have now had for just over 24 hours.

It was the end of life for Saddam Hussein. He was the first political leader I knew when at the time I was 8, he (read Iraq) invaded my then home country, Kuwait. The only positive I attach to the whole traumatic episode that me and my entire family were very lucky to have been on vacation in India at the time it happened - 2nd August 1990. So we didnt have horror stories like all our neighbours and friends who went hungry for days as they evacuated the country. It wasn't easy as a 8-year old to understand why we'd been uprooted from one place to an alien country - my good old India was alien to me having lived most my life till then in Kuwait. My bro's this post gives a better perspective of things. However, the point being, no matter what a cruel ruthless man he may have been, I couldnt but help feel pity at the way his "illustrious" life ended... at the gallows with media coverage and people dancing over his remains.

This year...

People use me... England wins the Ashes

My jobsearch's kickstarted... Saddam Hussein is executed abruptly and people dance over his remains

My advisor won't look into my thesis... Google buys Youtube

I have papers published and more invitations for technical writing... Italy beat France at the World Cup

My bro drops in for a surprise visit... The biggest hurricane in 50 years strikes Australia

I have a tizzzzzzy vacation... Aiswarya Rai marries a tree to rid her "Manglik" stamp

I have developed truckloads of patience... Movies like KANK are called BoxOffice Superhits!

I did most of the work for my Masters... And the temparature on Dec 31st in Cincinnati is 56 F

I could keeeeeep rattling n rambling.. But the bottom line is

Bye Bye 2006! Happy New Year 2007!!!!

December 29, 2006

New Look

After getting inspired from Bala, I got this new template for my blog... But well, thing is, I was working on modifying this other template I really liked. I tried making it 2 column from 3 column format and I am having a hell of a time doing it. Meanwhile, this is my blog for now.. Enjoy it!

December 27, 2006

~Toll-free calls~

Ever haggled with the CSRs of any organization? Most likely, it took you an hour to get through to a human voice after making the multiple choices to a computer and listening to umpteen music notes and promotions that they keep running you through. I have dealt with a whole bunch of CSRs and most of the electronic companies route your call, right to guess where? Good Old India... the flourishing BPOs.. The Padmanabhans become Paddys, the Thirunavukarasis - Tinys, the Margabandhus - Marks (ok- u get the point!)

So when I spoke to the HP guys, it was an Indian dude who promptly started with "Hi I am John" and the second he realized I was an Indian (and a southie at that), said"Actually Janardhanan.." and started flirting! Gosh! But well, he did help me out.. The reason all this came to me was my tryst with T-Mobile yesterday. I wanted to switch the whole account from Ali's name to mine and so I haggled on and on and on (I also wanted a phone upgrade) and was put on multiple holds which disconnected twice! And each time I called back I had to explain everything again. On the third occasion I really snapped. Spelling 'Jayalakshmi Parasuraman' is no cup of tea! And not a holiday for certain!! I couldnt blame the new CSR who picked up and however, an hour after I started, I was done! Whooooooooooooooooooosh! Actually that reminded me of the funny time I called the "No more offers" number to stop the whole lot oof junk credit card offers I was getting. After painstakingly spelling out my 22 letter name, and my address, the computer said, "Please say your name and spell out any words that could be difficult." I was dumbfounded. One attempt later, it said "Please confirm, you address is: 5-0-6, 112363597503, Wrightman Road." I hung up.

But then I remembered the time Time-Warner had overcharged me and I rang them up on a weekend thankfully and from my cell-phone thankfuller-ly (for those who don't know, we can make free calls from our cell phones on weekends). So, I tapped it on Speaker and did my work as I kept hearing the buzz of advertisements, and music for precisely 47 minutes before the call dropped! My roommate was telling me recently that she had called the Reliance people recently for some problem and had ended up spending an hour with a rude woman who refused to understand ehr problem or help her out and transferred her to multiple people with no avail! Whats with these people? I mean, why are they in the business if they don't wanna help? And why have these toll-free numbers at all if they are going to spew their domestic temper on us? From the customer's point of view, he's first been cheated (or overcharged or some thing) and then he has to put up with some random person's vile temper! (I must accept that many people are sweet.. it just rattles your brains when some aren't!!)

In retrospect, we all have troubles with something or the other and at some point will resort to calling these guys for some help. It just makes sense to not have wait times of more than 10 minutes or atleast have a queue information system that tells you you would have to hold for another 6 minutes (like out phone information system in Chennai) and keep up its electronic word! Most times like this, I wanna be in a wizarding world, where a Reparo or something would probably accomplish in ridding my woes!

PS: All you Harry Potter fans, await my post on the latest book/movie or both.. Coming sooN!

December 22, 2006

~Vivah Reloaded!~

Ok ok... Of late, I have been writing soo many movie reviews, I have been thinking of either renaming this blog to "Random Reels" or making a new blog, possibly by that name. (Any other suggestions will be welcome as well) So, I thought I should spice up this review. This will no longer be a simple review of the movie. Many people have done that. So, before scooting to the other part of this blog, my vivid imagination, lemme quickly summarize what I thought about this movie.

Old fashioned romance rocks!! For the life of me, I can't picture me or any of my girl friends ever pull off the Poonam character E-V-E-R! I can't imagine being intrigued by a mere brush of fingers (even from the guy I am to marry) or the half-glances, etc. And thats why I thought it was sweet. So out of place in the contemporary society of miniskirts and Mallika Sherawats. Subtle.. sweet... surreal and feel-good. Ofcourse, the movie had a storyline, and its exactly that, a line - the caption of the movie: A journey from engagement to marriage. True to their word, or line if you like, there wasn't anything else. The people's characters are all unbelievably good. And there are hardly hassles or hurdles till a very predictable climax. And ofcourse, all's well that ends well. And you knew that the second you saw the Rajshri banner and not after 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Ok.. so what would happen if you (if you're a girl) or your girlfriend/fiancee (if you're a guy) were like Poonam? That head-bowed, tow-staring, hardly uttering a word, a-perfect-advertisement-for-a-lapel-mic kind of girl? Someone who's heart flutters at every touch, whisper, glance? Someone who would burn from one glance of your beau's? Simple, beautiful, salwar-kameez clad? Well, on some level, its probably every man's dream.. But the minute he realises he has all the reins on this relationship and he is not just going to have to come up with great ideas to keep the romance flowing but also to hear a few golden words from those forbidden lips, he's gonna lose it pretty soon (unless he is a male chauvanist who wants every iota of control on his woman). I tried imagining me as a submissive (Ok, I am not implying that Poonam is submissive in the movie, but there was no evidence that she was not!), docile woman who nodded to every khwahish of her man and it cracked me up. Me never looking up at the guy, never voicing my opinion, wow! It will be a totally new perspective and probably worth a try (on a day I wanna get someone to LAUGH!) And I'd like to hear all your views (not on me, DUH!, but on the girl u're with - or would like to be with, or just yourself-should you be a girl) Will be an interesting analysis...

Go Post!

December 15, 2006

Woh Lamhe

Disclaimer: This blog has spoilers

And I am back to movie reviews... I have been busy over the past few weeks with multiple paper submissions, etc but I did take time out to watch this movie, something I wanted to see since I read its first promos.. For those of you who don't know already, this is a movie based closely on famous erstwhile late actress, Parveen Babi and her torrid romance with Mahesh Bhatt. What makes it "authentic" is that Bhatt is the producer of this movie.

The basic starcast is Shiney Ahuja (of Hazaar Khwahishen Aisi fame), Kangana Ranaut (hadn't heard of her before this one) and Shaad Randhawa. So, the story is something we've heard of (even if not in retrospect of Babi's life). Famous actress, Sana Azim (Kangana), struggling director, Aditya Garewal (Shiney) and pimp-cum-boyfriend, Nikhil (Shaad). The actress, though beautiful, talented, immensely rich does not control her life. She is instead controlled entirely by her creepy, all empowering, multiple-timing, no-good boyfriend. Contrary to a boot-licking director, Aditya is a man of attitude who not just thinks Sana is ugly, having covered her natural beauty under layers of make-up, and also covering her real persona under the wraps of stardom, all controlled by a jerk of a boyfriend, but also choosing to voice this very vocally in a party with Sana as the guest-of-honour! She doesn't take this easily and as with most women (I wonder why!!), with her ego challenged, can't resist Adi as a director and agrees to tone-down her artificiality and act for him in his movie. Shiney has some very good dialogues in the movie at this stage and doesn't lose them and my respect for him as an actor is still on a high shelf after I first saw HKA...

As the story progresses, you would think that Sana who'd broken free from her boyfriend's shackles would blossom in the obvious love that Adi showered her with. Instead, though the love is on either side, she falls prey to Schizophrenia, with her personalized mental element being a woman who follows her around threatening to ruin her. Admitted in a hospital and helpless, Sana is forced under the mercy of her greedy mom who is willing to subject her daughter to multiple shock treatments if that means that she can be on her feet soon and keep the money minting going. Adi, unable to see this kidnaps her away from the hospital to his sister's in Goa where he nurtures her to health.

And so it progresses... before ofcourse she neglects her medicines, attacks Adi, runs away, disappears for 3 years before attempting suicide and turning up in a hospital before well, dying.
The whole movie has this poignant feel about it and though its downright not moving to tears and stuff, it makes you actually relate it to the life of a real person and how sad and wasted it was. With stardom, the money, and everything that an ordinary woman would dream of, this one woman was reduced to her shadow before she caved in to death.

Ofcourse, though the movie was based on a real-life scenario, the end and some parts of it are fictitious. And towards the end, Shiney does overact! :)

A good movie... no extra add-ons... very down-to-earth.. worth a watch.

December 4, 2006

The good launderers~

Dig for quarters... pile up the clothes... take the detergent and the fabric softener and importantly, check if the machines were free... Sounds familiar? It was laundry day again! But luckily for me n my roomies, the laundry is right next door! And so, I waded across to find it empty and then dragged my basket across the carpet next door and dumped the clothes into one of the free machines and chugged up the machine. I placed the basket under the counter and let out a sigh of relief... 12:16PM...No hassles for the next hour atleast! Phew!

I came home and chilled with my thesis and almost forgot about my clothes churning next door. Almost! I glanced at the clock on the microwave. 1:26PM. I remembered the bunch of times I had gone to the laundry in the past to find water trickling out as the machine drained the last time. It was boring. I thought I'd give it another 10 minutes before checking. 10 minutes melded into 30 and it was 2:00PM when I realized. When I got there, I saw this note atop the next machine (the one I hadn't used) - We came down twice. You had'nt taken out your clothes. We've put it in the dryer for you. Surely, they didnt mean me? I opened the machine in which my clothes were supposed to be. Sure enough some unfamiliar clothes sprung out at me. I opened the dryer. And sure enough, my clothes were all sitting in. Blessing the soul who did it, and scribbling a Thanks so much :-) at the bottom of their note, I put in the quarters and cracked up the dryer. 2:05PM. No worries for atleast the next 75 min.

Or so I thought! It was 3:45PM when I looked at the clock next and hurried over next door. Another note - We came down thrice. You hadn't taken your clothes out from the dryer. We put them in your basket for you. We found your credit card and left it lying on top of your clothes. I tilted the lid up and there it was, right on top. Another Thank you note later, I left with clean clothes and I sent out a little prayer...

If it weren't for the good samaritans!

November 30, 2006

The Ring

No no.. This is not one of those horror movie reviews or a praise of the Lord of the Rings or anything like that! This is something that really happened and drove my cousin nuts and indirectly, well controlled my own life for the possible 3 hour obsession.

So it happened that I used to have an amethyst studded sterling silver ring which I used to wear on my right middle finger (no intentions though I have fantasized showing the finger in the process of showing people my beautiful ring - wicked me! :)) It turned out to be pretty lucky - don't ask me why I think all this jewelry stuff has a lot of luck attached to it. I have been told by preachers that diamonds are real luck deciders - either they are reaaaaaal lucky or they aren't. Luckily the one(s) I have ended up with have been good for me. Ok to cut the long story short, this ring over the couple of years that I have worn it lost each amethyst steadily and soon was barren and poverty-stricken so much so that people asked me alll the time - "What happened to the ring?" I also have another funda that if you dropped the used ring into a river (not lake, not sea, not well, you get it, not any other waterbody), a wish made alongside would come true. So you must be thinking Ohio River was the lucky one - nope, not that murky river! Some river did get the blessing and I sure hope my dreams come true!

Anyways, so while I was at New Orleans, we got into Claire's (sure every woman in America knows of it) and saw this sterling silver ring ( a li'l thicker than I wanted.. but the right color and with very few stones likely to fall). I tried it on my left hand, same finger and with the tie-wrap around it it was a snug fit. I asked for my cousin's opinion and got the green signal and bought it! I was excited!! I had been missing playing with this ring ever since I foolishly threw it away and no sooner was I out the store, I ripped the tie-wrap off and tried it on my right hand. Imagine my horror when it just wouldn't go through! Frantically, I took off the ring from my left middle finger and tried it. It was a snug fit. Thats when the biological mess struck me. The right hand, being my primary hand was a fraction larger than the left. I had never noticed it till I got this horrendous confirmation now.. Sob sob..

So we got home... me midly heartbroken and my cousin unaware of what was going to hit her. We'd rented a bunch of movies to watch over dinner and I played "Beyond Borders". All along, I didnt realize I was doing it, but apparently I was subconsciously fiddling my three rings amongst the 6 fingers (leave out the thumb n pinkie) I could. And also I was slowly dawning into the realization that this was bugging my cousin and she was throwing me these intermittent doleful glances. But I couldn't stop it! It was almost like I was possessed and I kept trying them in combinations that made me unhappy that my ring finger of my left hand remained occupied. (It indicates engagement, you know?!?) And I uttered the dialogue that she is unlikely to forget.

"I understand how Frodo must've felt..."

The look of exasperation on her face left me in peals of laughter and was worth every cent I paid for the ring. When I told her that I was dissatisfied with the arrangement the rings were finding on my fingers without me feeling like tearing it out and that I was thus going to leave it behind for her, I got the paisa vasool factor from her 'Are-you-really-now?' face. And when I told her my ring and river theory, I gauged that if I left the poor ring behind, it would probably feel itself flushed down the potty.

I herded it back. It is now sitting somewhere on our front room divan. Soon, I am going to have to decide its future... Maybe it will just hang around my neck as a weird locket on my gold chain... who knows!
PS: That pic is not really The Ring. I shall put up its own pretty pic soon!

November 27, 2006

Dhoom Again..

Warning: This blog is sprayed with a few chosen spoilers. I have tried to write without giving away much. But if you still think its a risk, don't bother reading further!!

And so it was a pleasant night in New Orleans and my cousin and I decided to stick to our original plans of watching Dhoom II that night with her friends. We got there early enough for the 9:45PM show and good too. The theatre filled up briskly enough and a few trailers later we were underway... The first robbery strikes you as downright cheeky and I found it almost impossible to digest. And soon, I thought up of a few flaws in the ploy and started vocalizing it when suddenly I had an epiphany -- Leave the brains behind and enjoy the movie!!!

One if the things that struck early and struck hard was how good Hrithik was looking. He was smoking H-O-T! Even men could probably find enough to ogle at -- a tanned, 6-pack ab treat, shirtless enough of the time, just made my day (or night!) To top it, Bips was looking gorgeous too.. She was smouldering and looked a million bucks. This mismatched pair sold out what might be the real-life couple! All in all, I liked the fact that everyone looked soo earthy and brown, rather than the pale-heroine look that most women have been getting over the years. This look made them look appealing and fresh in a very earthy manner and well, made you eat your heart out!

Performance-wise -- Hrithik really needed this movie. Though Krrish was a hit God-knows-why, you can be guaranteed he worked up a decent performance here. Abhi baby has never been short of performances, however, here he looks constipated in almost all of the song sequences and his dances never stood a chance against Hrithik anyways. Aishwarya Rai once more proved that she was the bimbo variety and could'nt act for nuts. Her introduction was a total disaster and proved once more why good-looking people should stick to the ramp and not wander over to the silver screen! But I warn all u Ash fans and oglers, there's nothing even on that department here. She looks quite shabby and her character is very very bimbo like with an annoying parlance specific to her in this movie. Gosh! Maybe the position for bimbo-hood or whatever it is that it is called didn't feel filled enough for the director. He came up with a way of reducing Bips' perfectly well formed charcater into a twin bimbo! Why?!?!? Uday was his usual self with a bunch of well-timed crack-ups that made it more entertaining.. Some things didnt change from the previous movie!

The plots are great, some of them leave you feeling wonderous about the ingenious thinking on the visual design front (always a good feeling!) ...The stunts are unbelievable (exactly that - great to look at, totally flawed at logic and not worth 2 hoots of science - Einstein n Newton can be found turning in their graves!), the cinematography terrific and the action, good. The music was a letdown after the catchy numbers of Dhoom I. A couple of numbers, Dhoom Again and Crazy Kiya Re are the only ones that stick to your head... But the background score is rocking and leaves you humming forever!! The choreography was great and all in all, the movie is a total masala flick, all entertainment... It lasted about 2hrs 45 min and ran soo smoothly that you hardly felt the time pass. One of the major improvements over its prequel was the cut in the final chase sequence which was annoyingly long in the former. Here it is crisp and is over before you know it. I am not going to give anything more away... I am just going to conclude by saying - Dhoom II - definite babe magnet (Hrithik hasn't ever looked more appealing and for me, he was the show-stealer!) - A complete entertainer, a total worthwhile watch....

November 20, 2006

Happy Holidays!

First up, for all those people with end-sem exams still around the corner, don't curse me just yet. Its Thanksgiving! And I am Thankful to the United States Government for having a 4-day weekend this time of the year (Believe me, when you are doing your thesis and nothing else, everyday is a holiday. But the pressure is sitting on you and you can't relax!) But TG is when everyone has a holiday (unlike Veteran's Day in OH) and you could fly places or have people visit you and thats what it is - 4 days of FUN! Not to mention the sales in most stores for the holiday season. Whats sad is that u dont have paid holidays.. but well, u can't have the cake and eat it too!

Lately, I have had the feeling that I have been travelling a lot. And it is true.. Every month, I have been away for atleast 4 days.. Its been great.. I have seen a lot of unseen places, done a lot of new things and travelling is one of my passions... I just love seeing new places, cultures and people. Its all soo entertaining and rich and leaves you content with a whole new experience on your stride.

My latest conquest placewise is going to be New Orleans. My cousin sis is doing her PhD there and we haven't seen each other for over a couple of years. And with a good deal, there is no good excuse. And so, off I am for a good 5-day TG vacation to see her and the Katrina-hit place. I will have more to talk about once I am back.

For all those with no holiday plans, don't fret... Christmas is around the corner too and thats a loooong vacation to look forward to. And for those with plans, do share what you're doing... Happy Holidays everyone!

November 15, 2006

The brownie candlestand...

It was my Birthday yesterday and my friends had already had a surprise party for me on Friday (the aim was to really surprise me and surprised I was!). And so to commemorate the actual occassion, my roomies baked a brownie for me. And the area they spread it over was huge and so the poor brownie barely rose.... With the candles embedded, it was a perfect candlestand... the most yummy one I have tasted (I haven't tasted any other!) There are some real funny pictures of me trying "cut" the flattened surface and feed my roomies... But I'll save that up for later. For this brownie's part, it had the honour of being the reason to name one of my gifts after it... a teddy bear that one of my roommates gave me.... Isn't he adorable?

November 13, 2006

Don -- A twist in the tale

Warning: There are spoilers ahead. In case you haven't seen the movie and intend seeing it, you shouldn't read further.

Ah.. Here I am.. back with a movie review... late again... but nevertheless... I probably can't sleep if I don't put my thoughts on my blog! It was another SRK movie and it took most of my will-power to convince myself I wanted to see this movie. And I am going to be honest and accept here that I voted to see this movie this past weekend amongst the few other lousy choices I had. I must mention here for the benefit of the non-existant few that this is a remake of the 1978 Amitabh starrer cum cult hit movie. Many songs are reproduced and given a, I want to say fresh whiff, but I'm afraid I don't lie

So, amongst us we had V who'd seen the movie, raved a bit about it and was going to keep us informed about it should we miss a few golden moments. And the movie starts in a cafe in Paris where SRK is using a RAZR and just utters "Don" into the mouthpiece. While it zooms out on his face, the first thing you notice is that he's aged. He really has. At 42, he looks every day of it, lines on his face and everything. Plus, they've given him this hideous hairpiece - a chinese wig as we all christened it (the hair was too shiny n sleek n silky to be Indian). And for most part, I couldn't keep my eyes off the reflection from the hair.

One of the first things you tend to notice is that the movie is slick. The cinematography rocking. The sets good. Locations foreign. Modern gadgets, et al. No waste of time. It cuts scene by scene very swiftly and doesn't drag the wee bit that its predecessor did. Comes the song, "Ye mera dil..", the Helen seducer number, you are shocked by how incredulously out of place Kareena Kapoor looks. Not only is she an average dancer compared to the smoking siren Helen was, you are certain to feel that she is suffering to catch up with the pace of the song and unless a man were thoroughly desparate, he would hardly wanna be in the same room as her, let alone be seduced. In contrast, Priyanka Chopra wasnt so bad a replacement for Zeenat. But she could've been better. Boman Irani who plays the inspector is his good self and Om Puri's involvement seems abbreviated. Arjun Rampal has done a decent job. And obviously poor SRK has done his bit to emulate the master (in the villainous part, I must accept he is good. But the other part makes up for this good perfomance - a total fiasco

When the simpleton SRK is introduced is the moment of truth that SRK was good for all the anti-hero roles he's done. His two roles in this movie contrast so much you can make the stark difference. As a villain, he is slick, and importantly believably wicked. Whereas as the innocent guy, a Bhaiya at that, he comes across as plain and artificial, especially because his dialect undergoes rapid changes from "humra" to "humara" and "ka" to "kya". Its distinct and is a big hole in the whole plot.

The biggest credit for the movie must go to the story tellers and the cinematographer who have certainly used the mold of the old movie to fashion something new. A big word of praise must go to the guys who thought up the theme of the original Don. To think such a complicated theme at a time of limited resources and making a blockbuster of it is something. This movie is smooth, sleek and slick. It moves rapidly and you hardly realize you have gotten yourself into a 2 hr 47 min commitment.

There's a big twist in the tale. In this one, the Don kills the simpleton way at the beginning and misleads everyone to think he is the simpleton posing as the Don to get all the benefits of the innocent man. This is tastefully revealed in the last scene and though there've been hints thrown all along, its only at that scene that one tends to pick the fragments and piece the puzzle together. And that literally spread this warmth inside of me that instantly endeared the movie to me.

And for this, Don to me, is a good movie. Definitely worth a watch -- Go for it.

November 9, 2006

Psycho fear

This post is by my good friend, Vidhya who has been wanting to write a guest entry for quite some time on my blog.. So, have fun (rather get scared!)

Most people who know me know I have this humongous fear of psychos .... everytime a new person hears me say this... they are like "Where does that even come from? It's not like u meet a new psycho everyday and you know them enough to be scared of them." But like they say... its the fear of the unknown. and like I say fear of the illogical.My most famous answer to the typical "Are you scared of ghosts?" is "No..I don't know if they I don't know if I should be scared. But psychos... I know they exist. I am scared of them..really scared..its my biggest fear." (Ok.. so there you have something that you probably didnt know of me before reading this!)

Proved by the fact that all of us once saw this movie "Campfire Tales" which is like this collection of scary stories and the story which freaked me most(and I could not sleep well for the next 3 days) was the one in which this guy meets an 11 year old girl on the net and then comes to her house knowing her parents are not there and kills her dog OVER the stories in the which people get killed brutally in lonely jungles by weird creatures, ghosts haunting people and killing them...What did I tell you all!!"Me is scared of Psychos"..hehehehe

The first time I saw one of those psycho movies (it was SCREAM to be specific) ... I was shocked..petrified..there was no logic to any of those acts...killings they were..but I would rather there was some logic to why they happened. Ok, if not something as sensible as killing the killer's family burning his/her house,teasing/raping /cheating the younger/older sister/brother like our hindi/tamil/... movies ......atleast something as trivial as act of anger/passion! But no here were people who were stabbing each other while they were talking to each other (in the last scene to be specific). Thats when I started reading up on psychos, serial killers, their crime stories...and I used to wonder how can u be screwed in the head, kill people and how will people around you not know..I mean there are so many people mean they r always there) and if not ...neighbours (nosy maamis. How do you get rid of them.. If you find out, please pass on the info to me as well...have been trying to do that for years now! Gosh!!), milkman(he knows you from ur bachpan...if not he atleast knows you enough to know ur schedule), laundry wala, Grocery store wala(he knows u enuf to have the usual stuff sent to ur house on the 1st of every month), paperwala.. so many thoughts..fear of the unknown like I said...

But I was in India when all these thoughts swarmed in my head. When I came to US and we were driving through freeways and there I saw them...hugeeeeeeeeeee farms...and right there...bang in the middle of that farm a house...and no civilization around for atleast 40 miles. I had found the solution..I screamed(almost screamed Eureka!) "They must live here" (ofcourse everybody else in the car inlcuding my then boyfriend(now husband) gave me this look which I usually reserve for people whom I doubt of being psychotic).. The psychos who continue to kill people without others knowing must live here..nobody knows them.. God knows in how many years they must not have met others(except the ones they kill ofcourse..muhahaa)

ok J tells me(as I am typing) I am being judgemental... that not all of them are psychos...But all I am trying to say is the kids who grow up in such isolated junta socialization with other humans...its such a conducive environment for them to become PSYCHOS and continue to be so without others knowing.

So... question answered and hence fear rooted deeper inside me( DUH!! my answer meant they exist..who knows when u might encounter one)

Cut to last week (hindi movie style...2 years still with my morbid fear of psychos..roomies aware of my fear and also of my skills of exaggeration or nautanki as they say)
I went to the library to get some movies. I found this movie called "Kiss the Girls" and read its description. I remembered reading review long time back and thought why not..though description did mention it was abt a psycho, serial killer..c'mon I am brave..and even if I am not its fun to be a li'l scared sometimes(the stress is on li'l here). I got home told the roomies that I wanted to see the movie and was excited about it and was warned by roomies with dire consequences that I shud not repeat previous week's stupid act of starting a good movie at 10.00 in the night on a weekday when they have to get up early every weekday morning. Hyped the situation(as usual) and told my roomies they had to be home by 9.00 on friday night as we had to see the movie together and it would be fun!!

Friday Night (Scene)-
Roomies home at 8.59 PM(literally) and letting me know in a sarcastic tone that they are home before 9.00 ..yeah yeah!!I do have a clout over them....didn't you know!!!Ok fine. That might just be in my dreams..HMPH!(as J says.... its her blog shud use her style word a l'l :))
We start dinner and movie. Starts not too scarily...Guy dragging a girl whose hands are tied,hair upheaveled, shabby so on and so forth...she is begging him to not kill her...and all he wants her to say is " I love you"..she says it...not sincere enough...cut to next scene she is dead.

Then some normal drama of a police officer (Morgan Freeman) whose niece has been kidnapped by the same serial killer along with 8 other women, 3 of whom(obviously none of the 3 is the niece... Duh!!warna suspense kaise rahega) were found dead in the jungle. By the time Morgan Freeman comes from Maryland (or was it NY??Bah!! does not matter) to North Carolina -research triangle(here we go off into this techy discussion of the history of research triangle-hmn digressing tch..tch!!) we had finished dinner. Then P goes inside the bedroom with her fone leaving us watching the movie. When the killer who calls himself casanova and will be addressed as casa by me for the remainder of the blog, entered Ashley Judd's house to kidnap her we were at the end of our wits. It was a sight to behold with J seeing the scene thru the spaces between her fingers(which were part of her hands protecting her face from casa-muhahaha), V looking the other way and asking me what was happenning and me gritting my teeth, clenching my hands still seeing the movie.

After a few more nerve wrecking scenes when Ashley Judd was ready to escape from Casa's clutches there we were again P(who was back by now) & me clenching each other's hands now for support and other 2 in their old positions of the veil of fingers and head turned the other way. And so we continued till the end where we came face to face with Casa. At the end of the movie we exchanged a few fearful glances before anyone opened their mouths again. The only thing any of us could say is how scary it would be if we were in the situation.Then we were informed that our door had not been locked a few days back in the night by one roomie and we all swore we would check the door 2 times atleast every night.

To surmise the situation they are out there and we need to be on our guard. I mean we know the stories of the killers who have been caught but not all of them have been and their stories might be more gory. So the next time you enter your house and a stench hits you its probably not the trash you haven't thrown out in a week but your neighbour whos killing innocent people by the night or day and storing the bodies( or worse body parts) in his house........No!!Duh!!!I am kidding ...It may be the guy who lives in opposite building ...Muhahaha...

Television in the United States

I was jobless at 5:00PM last evening (believe me I did a lot of work through the day) and so flipped the TV on. And what should I see but The Maury Show. I don't know if any of you have seen or heard of it. But its one of those shows with the audience watching. And its one of those shows where you disclose to your spouse (or bf/gf) that you cheated on them with someone else (usually a close associate of the spouse, or a relative) or you maybe telling them that they are not the father of your 20 children. And this is just one show. There are many many cheesy, useless shows like this one: Cheaters, The Jerry Springer show, The Tyra Banks show to name a few.

It beats the hell out of me to understand why people would wanna tell a loved one the deepest, darkest, most shameful secret of their life, in audience view (nonetheless jobless millions like me who may happen to catch it on TV) and then weep, and dramatize on TV. Sometimes, the stories are sooo recurring I am sure these people are paid to come onstage and create the emotional drama. No one in their right minds would wanna expose themselves and embarrass themselves and their loved ones like that on TV.

On one hand, atleast the Maury show has the consent of the people appearing. Whats Cheaters about on that note? Some creep sneaking up on you and your personal life with video cameras and crews stalking you... (ok.. u might be doing something morally wrong, like say, cheating on your wife - but they can leave you to deal with your morals - you don't need some third person telling you what you're doing is wrong!) Another thing I don't understand is, how is this happening in the US? Aren't there privacy laws? Can't these people sue these shows? Whats that about?

And whats with all these judicial shows on TV? There are these: Judge Mathis, Judge Judy, Judge Hatchet and what not. All these people listen to lousy third-rate cases and pass verdicts on them. God! I miss the Tony Danza show on that note. It used to come every morning at 10:00 I think. He was rocking... looked nice, had a great voice and his show had many mini portions - an interview with a star, a small cookery thingie, the streets of NY something, etc. It was pleasant, nice and charming. Why can't more shows be like that?

All said n done, I think the best part of the TV shows are the evening sitcoms - Friends, Seinfeld, Raymond, Will n Grace, My wife n kids, King of Queens and all that, wherever you can catch them (If you time yourself well you can catch one of these in quick succession to the other in different channels!) And some shows like House, Grey's Anatomy, Ugly Betty, etc. Or the reality shows - So u think u can dance or maybe Hell's Kitchen, etc. The worst of the lot are the "fashion" shows like Desire or Fashion House, which come across as sooo sleazy you can weep!

Ok, I guess I've written a mini-saga here... Enough cribbing... I thank the TV for making the evenings go by though I am a pure bookworm and hardly used to spare time for the Idiot Box.. up until now.......

October 23, 2006

Reflections on Sudha

Ok.. I m going to quickly summarize the pros and cons of a truly liberating Carnatic vocal concert by renowned Sudha Ragunathan.


1) It lasted 3.5 hours and was sheer joy and bought back fond memories of the December music season back in India
2) Most songs were fairly popular ones (and she even sang a varnam - a slightly unexpected event at a concert)
3) The accompanying musicians were damn good
4) Some audience requests were entertained
5) Right here at UC and importantly FREE!


1) Sudha was a li'l hoarse - not her best performance
2) The audio at DAAP left a lot to be desired for
3) One keerthanai was about 45 minutes long with huuuuuuuge gaps of vocal performances, completely interspersed with a lot of mridangam and the morsing (well it was all good.. but really, we were there for Sudha.)

All said n done... a carnatic concert is a treat for the soul, especially for someone like me who has learned it for a better part of my life.. And I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Kudos to SABHA for organizing the event and lets hope there are more to come, before I leave UC, selfishly so...

October 22, 2006

A postcard from Diwali

A picture sure as hell can substitute a 1000 words... A glimpse from a simple Diwali celebration at home in Cincinnati...

October 20, 2006


First off, here's wishing everyone a very very Happy n Safe Diwali!

Its that time of the year again... when I feel most homesick.. when I feel I SHOULD be in India, no matter what. I miss everything about Diwali.. the crackers, the sweets, the colours, the Lakshmi Puja, the smoke, the TV programmes, the smell of gunpowder in the air, long after the crackers have rested, the sky going ablaze with sky crackers, the lights, the Diwali "marandhu" - that sour, horrible thing you had to eat, the sleepless night before with my bro, the early mornings, Jani (our building's ex-doggie) running and hiding under the staircase, the travel to the temple with a million stops waiting for every atom bomb on our way to explode, pinching my ears shut, the lamps, the million phone call wishes and so much more I could go on forever.

I think off the top of my head, if on any random day you were to ask me which day I would like to be transported to India... it would have to be Diwali. I miss crackers sourly... expecially the "Red Forts", my favourite variety to burst. Yeah yeah, I know its like "burning money" literally (but I have never had more fun doing it) and yes, I also know that its child labour (but its not like the cracker industry can't function without child labour.. that they arent doing it is not entirely my fault!) and air pollution ( I have no smart responses for this one).

Back when my bro used to be in India, we had a ritual almost... We used to stay up half the night watching some silly TV and then shower at 3:00am and be downstairs with our first "lot" of crackers by 4:00am... all b'coz we had to be THE first ones to create the bang from Sai Dharshan. Ah those were the days... we used to exhaust the morning lot of crackers well past 7:30am and then be rushed upstairs to attend Dad's fone call (he was in the middle east at that time). Then Amma used to force this Diwali "marundhu" down our throats. I used to hate it... it had this extremely pungent taste about it... After that, we just about had time to hog on all sorts of sweets n savories, catch a few glimpses of Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan's genius on the violin bfore falling into an exhausted slumber... The routine changed little once my dad was back from the Middle East for good. Because by then, my bro was out here in the US. So, my dad virtually substituted my bro.. And we had a blast... literally, bursting crackers like maniacs.

Late-afternoon, early evening types, the women of the house (I am a girl!), decked themselves in all their newly purchased grandeur and used to whisk us to the temple. And those were the times we delighted in stopping the car sooo many times, waiting for every 'bomb' on our way to explode peacefully rather than rip our tyres apart... The temples had the hugest serpentine queues of the year, only closely competed by Tamil new Years.. And once back, the evening saw us with a huger lot of crackers, more people (the cousins used to join in) and more fun...

Meanwhile, the elders of the house had their own entertainment in front of the Idiot Box. The different channels would all fall over themselves to try and provide the best programmes of the day. What better news for the consumer than that... With some major Rajini movie on one, and a Kamal flick in the other, it was more a question of what to watch than what not!

The kids (us) were back home in time for some sumptuous dinner... some more TV, while the elders settled in for cards, more crackers later that night... Oh God... whats there not to miss?!?!
So, all u folks out there with the opportunity to celebrate... Go ahead, let your hair down and party, burst all the crackers you want... Think of us.. who'd give anything to be there now... Eat allllllllll those sweets (get a toothache.. I dont care... anyways dentists are cheaper out there!!), watch all the TV you can.. Take this time to live life...

Happy Diwali everyone!!!

October 13, 2006

Swara Raaga Sudha

I donno about u... But if you are half the carnatic music fan that I am, this is something you wouldn't miss for the world. Sudha Ragunathan's giving a concert... right here at UC... All for free... What more could you want? Check this out and be there :-)

Dream diary

You would think that to prompt such a post I must have had a phenomenally interesting dream last night. Quite the contrary... I had one of those inconsequential, baseless and incongruous dreams where my dad does my homework. WHY? Thats something I don't have an answer to.

While walking to school with my roommate, I reflected on some of my more colourful dreams. And I mean literally... I can remember the clothes people wore, the colours of the upholstery and virtually every conversation. Its like a movie every night. And I dont know about you... but it has its "intervals" when I toss n turn n get up after which it kicks back and resumes.

Most of my dreams have been the action-movie types... totally lifted off some action flick, where I am the heroine saving the world, or some abandoned puppies or just about anything. I tried once interpreting my dreams once. I am the impatient variety and I could'nt sit n read through the whole thing. I got to the part that seemed like it would unlock my dreams-

Page 231: Heroic dreams: Such dreams occur to those who are insecure on the inside and want to prove a point to the world. These dreams are usually fraught with a lot of events, violence at the end of which the dreamer arises victor............zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

What a truckload of bullshit... Given a chance to interpret my own dreams, I would rather say it displays "love for the peace of the world" or atleast "love for animals" (Both of which are true).

Page 437: Incongruous dreams: Dreams with no pattern or concurrency occur to the restless mind. Such dream patterns show a disturbed sleep and the REM (Random Eye Movement) of such a person is extremely high expressing a high state of alertness. At this phase, this person can be woken up with much ease than otherwise. These dreams need not necessarily mean anything............... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

And thats when I gave up trying to interpret my dreams. I did'nt need a book to tell me that. And certainly not a 500 page one at that... I think my friend's interpretations of my dreams are far more interesting than what these experts offer in books. For example, a friend remarked, "Maybe you want a dog.." when I told her the doggie dream. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? I can hear her voice in my head now interpreting my recent-most dream - "You miss your dad." Yep... thats about it...

On a concluding note, I googled "Dreams". Guess what it churned up? There's actually a dream hotline - 919-933-4377 where you can call up for free and recount your dreams. I'd rather do a dream blog to share my own nocturnal experiences... what say u?

October 10, 2006

Lage Raho...

Of late, I realize that the only blogging I do with any dilchasbi is movie reviews! And yeah yeah, I realize I am a good amount of time late... But I had to dispense my visesh tippani on the movie having caught it an entire month late...

With soo many phenomenal claims about the movie, the expectations were sky high and I must say it did not disappoint one bit. Munnabhai and Circuit are right on track with the sequel to the legendary Munnabhai MBBS. I did not watch a cheap version on Freesports simply because I didn't want to ruin the experience for me and after a failed trip to Indianapolis a month ago (we were wrongly informed on the internet that it was running in this remote multiplex) to try and catch the movie on the big screen, I was determined to wait some more till the DVD (or a rip) came out. And then came the opportunity, all golden... Sachin's birthday, a wonderful downloaded version, boasting to be better than the theatrical experience itself, at where else, but 427 ERC, our very own fashioned kutti theatre.

Most of the cast of the movie is very familiar. The movie itself, rolls out on a similar note of what seemed like an extortion with Circuit executing it as the henchman of Munnabhai, who is the same old dada... and this sequel doesn't pick up where the original left. Munna is not married to Gracy nor is there a Short Circuit in picture. They are very much single and ready to mingle... Ofcourse they had to create some space to introduce the very appealing Vidhya Balan somewhere. And Boman Irani is back again (without him Munnabhai wouldnt be what he (it) is). This time he is a Punju Sardarji and a businessman, with a mildly evil business-oriented mind.

Unlike its prequel, for the lack of a better word, this movie comes with a theme, woven delicately in the background. There is a Baapu (Gandhiji) sentiment interweaved with the workings of the human psyche. And just when there was some disbelief on my part to think that the movie had some supernatural effect to it with Munna being able to see Baapu and communicate the Gandhian ideas to the world, they revealed that he was really just a hallucination created by his own psyche. The scene where this was revealed was dealt with quite brilliantly and jars you to the reality that this is.

Also, making an appearance once more are a few other familiar faces like Jimmy Shergil, our Dr. Rustum, Pappa and the others all in tiny li'l cameos, effective and comical. Vidhya has done a good job and has a role fairly equal to what Gracy boasted in the previous movie. This movie had its share of sentiments and "touching scenes" as well... one being notably when Circuit and Munna share a heavy moment laden with tears and sentiments, very uncharacteristic of the pair and leaving the audience a little uncomfortable.

All in all, with a brilliat screenplay, great dialogues, excellent cast, and terrifically-timed comedy, this movie had the sure-shot formula for instant success. And few things could go wrong.

So, Lage Raho Munnabhai!

September 19, 2006

Find 6 differences between the 2 pics

This was a funny forward I received... Very very mean, but nevertheless... here you go...

I think it has more to do with the identical posing... what say you?

September 15, 2006

Vettaiyadu Vilayadu

Disclaimer: These views are based purely on the fact that Kamal Hassan just plays a hero in the movie. It does not justify why someone of his caliber had to do such a movie.

Spoilers: There are spoilers ahead.. If you haven't already seen the movie and intend doing so, don't read any further.

Ok.. So last night Vidhs n I were sitting huddled over one laptop and watching a stolen copy of VV. And the first impression was that it was gripping. The cinematography was excellent... I didn't get bored one bit.. As much as I'd seen rushes of the movie, I wasn't prepared to see how much Kamal Hassan had aged. It wasn't the bags under his eyes... It wasn't the flab on his frame.. It was everything.. His voice.. His look.. His persona had aged. And in retrospect, I can't say why he had to do such a commercial movie... Why it wasn't an offbeat Kamal movie... Something of the lines of how I couldn't understand why Aamir did Fanaa..

That apart, the screenplay was good.. The cinematography excellent and the plot gripping. It seemed like a lot of inspiration for Gautam Menon about the psychopath serial killers came from the likes of 'Scream'. Gore and blood and gruesome murders are nothing new to English cinema. However imagining a psycho genius killer in a Tamil movie hit home and actually creeped me out a little. And as I watched the movie, I couldn't help comparing it to Kakka Kakka (KK), Gautam's last. And some things were obvious.. Like his fascination for the names 'Ilamaran' and 'Maya', both of which feature in this movie also.

The romance between Kamal Hassan n Jothika left a lot to be desired. In fact, it was very abrupt and when you think about it, downright stupid. The heroine had no role in this movie.. She was a psycho herself on some level, essentially an emotional wreck from a failed marriage and the shadow of a person she must've been. The effect is that Jo comes across as lifeless and totally dispensable. It seems that her only use in the movie would've been so she could be kidnapped by the villains to blackmail the hero, an age-old ploy, a repeat from KK. It was unfortunate that it was Jo in both cases as well. Besides, killing her seems to be an ending that Gautam Menon likes. Or so I assumed... our version of the movie ended there, where Kamal picks her seemingly lifeless body from that pit and weeps. I was later told by a friend that the movie continues to one scene more where a "6 months later" is flashed and goes on to show her live n well.. This is another thing that reminds me of my KK DVD which has 2 endings as you please. One with Jo living and the other with her dead(the directorial cut n the theatrical versions respectively).

The other two women, the one who plays Rani (the KK Thoothu varuma girl) and Kamalini (kamal's first wife) have both played nice li'l cameos along with Prakashraj.

another major complaint I had with the movie was its logistics... The time intervals discussed and the monetary affairs don't corroborate with the rest of the movie.

1) As medical students from India, first, the guys would hardly have gotten a US visa

2) When Amudhu punctured Raghavan's( Kamal) lungs, he told him he had half n hour to live, after which Kamal plummets down the window into the dumpster. That means that within half n hour he was rescued, and so the airports would've been warned about the escape of two "wanted men" and with a sure shot transit between the USA and India, they were bound to be caught before they landed on Indian soil and escaped through Mumbai.

3) Two medical students had the time and money to actually go all the way from the USA to India to kill a bunch of people and come back and go back again as they pleased. How??

4) How come Anderson's working alone with no other NYPD cop involved?

And a whole bunch more.... All said n done, I felt that Kamal Hassan was in the movie only because his English accent is unmatched by anyone else in the Tamil industry. The movie was more about the plot, than about the hero. Vettaiyadu Villaiyadu.. Worth a watch by those who don't get turned off by gore and psycho killers... atleast on screen.

September 8, 2006

Viva Las Vegas

I was at Vegas for the long weekend. I could write a mini-book about it. But I am not going to. I have a million great pictures from the trip. I chose to share this one... An explosion of lights..

Maybe this will justify one of my career choices as a photographer :-)

August 30, 2006

My darling notebook

Warning: The following post is sprayed with a lot of simple computer jargon..

This blog is dedicated to My Darling Notebook

In case you're wondering which notebook of mine gets all that love, its my laptop (or lappie) as I call it! When my anna first bought me the lappie, I was in complete awe of it.. And when we were configuring it, I was asked to name my very first laptop. And impulsively, I named it "My Darling Notebook" and it has remained its name since.. And I had no idea what the repurcussions were... In time, I burst out laughing... Every time I shut down the system, it would ask me innocently, "Turn off My Darling Notebook?"

Why am I writing all this? I was trying to fulfill the dream or rather, the vision I blogged about in my previous post... thesis in a coffee shop. I am at the Starbucks galleria... About 2 hours ago, while I was downloading a PDF, the system abruptly sprang up this blue screen that said "System Error.." and before I could read any further, it shut down... I was shocked.. but figured this was My Darling Notebook's way of asking me for rest. And who was I to deny it... I gave it rest.. for 2 whole hours... Snuggled in a comfy sofa upstairs in Starbucks, armed with a coffee I didnt wanna drink (but an essential part of the vision), with my notes, papers, headphones, etc., I start up My Darling Notebook.

He starts up innocently enough and it takes me a few minutes to realize that something's terribly wrong.. He's at the "Windows is starting up screen" for full 5 minutes before asking me for my password and for a full 7 minutes after that.. NOTHING.. I am in primary shock now... And instead of giving him time to start up, I do what most panicked people do, hit all sorts of icons, the Start Menu and anything else I can think of. He doesn't take this well and he's hung for another 10 minutes, giving me the blasted hourglass - his processing signal... All this sounds like less time.. Please sit next to your comp willing it to start and watch how the time crawls - you'll know then. When I hit Ctrl+Alt+Del next is when my secondary shock comes.. the screen doesnt appear for like, 7 minutes! I am the poor soul who doesn't know she's supposed to have tertiary and other whatever-ary shocks to follow. I decide I will give My Darling Notebook more time and go to use the restroom. Tertiary shock is when I am back and STILL the Task Manager hasn't come up. Out of sheer panic, I keep the power button pressed for a few seconds, a forced hibernation for My Darling Notebook. By now I am sure, one of my RAM chips has crashed.

I start Him up in Safe Mode and it takes 4 minutes in safe mode to get the Control Panel up. I right click on My Computer and try to get the damned properties to check the RAM. After 2 whole minutes, 704MB, He proudly announces (which is what its supposed to be). Thats when the first tears of anger spring up... My whole research is royally screwed if My Darling Notebook decides he's had enough of his memorable existance. I am now talking to him and coaxing him to spring up with life... He doesn't listen for 10 minutes more.. And I have Him started in normal mode now. I decide not to hit any buttons hastily but to give Him "waking-up" time. Meanwhile, while I can, I get AdAware working... better to untrash Him when I can... In time, His performance improves and slowly but surely My Darling Notebook is making a recovery...

Lets hope He lives a long and fulfilling life... Three Cheers to Him!!

PS: I had my Wallpaper as the Cincinnati Downtown nightshot. I swapped it for a few trashy moments to a 'Pirates of the Carribbean' one, to fulfill my obsession with the series and the "crash" happened soon after. One of the first things I did in 'Safe Mode' was to restore it back to the Cinti one... Supersition does work sometimes, huh?

August 28, 2006

Of hot coffee and brewing thesis...

I've always had this vision... Of me sitting in this quaint little coffee shop (but with Wi-Fi ofcourse!) with just the right setting, not too many seats, not too crowded. I see myself sitting in this unseen corner of the coffee shop, adjacent to a window, opening out into the world. On my table, is this steaming cup of coffee and my laptop, open with everything I need for the thesis writing - the PDFs, the diagrams, the Word Documents, the Emails.. the works... This is how I have envisioned writing my thesis...

Now for the moment of truth.. I don't like coffee!!! Coming from a Tamil girl, currently in the US, I bet many eyebrows will be raised. The only coffee I willingly order is cold coffee (believe it, its the smell, sometimes and bitterness mostly that I dislike!) and cold coffee thankfully eliminates both the factors! Alright, time to appease the offended.. These days I do have a lot of coffee and I feel bad having missed out on the "filter-kaapi" back home. I mean if I can live after drinking all this strong n bitter trash, back home's Narasus, Bru n leo wouldve been divine, I guess... So, my vision still has all the coffee and the thesis. I donno if the coffee is going to be refilled.. I sure as hell know my brain has to be...

No, I am not done with all of the work for my Masters, but I am going to write my thesis, just the way I want to. I am going to haunt the Starbucks gallery, Ben n Jerrys, even PotBelly on Calhoun and maybe I will go as far as Sitwell on Ludlow, in search and expectation of fullfilling my vision and seeing if living it feels as good as imagining it.. Wish me luck! :-)

August 26, 2006

Template Changes

Just experimenting with a new template... Comments anyone?

August 24, 2006


In my opinion, nothing describes the scope of the word "If" better than Rudyard Kipling's rendering of it. If you haven't already read it, now's the time. Click here.

If dreams could be instant reality, what would you dream about? They say be careful what you ask for... It might just come true :-)

As I browsed through the channels on TV last night, I caught one of the million "medico" shows aired on them and it made me lament on how I had wanted to become a doctor (The sight of internal organs in public view revolts me.. I wouldnt have lasted a day... But there's nothing wrong in wanting to be a doctor!) And soon me n my roomie went on to a fantastical ranting of what we would be in an ideal world where you got the opportunity you wanted... Here's my Top 5 and I'd love to hear all yours too.. So, when you comment, you'd better include your Top 5...

Number 1: Globe Trotter - World Traveler - Travel show hostess

This is one of my dreams and I have promised myself that I will make it a reality. Life's short and its okay for me to be globe-trotting with the love of my life, maybe backpacking on the hills of Andulasia or go on a wild animal safari in South Africa or just use conventional travel to see places, for about a year... Even as a child I saw this travel show hosted by Nikhil Ahuja on Discovery Channel and it seemed like one of the most fascinating things to do. He gave way to Dipti Bhatnagar on some other channel and it seemed like the most "romanchak" thing to be doing, going places, sampling cuisines and saying "Mmm... Absolutely lip-smackingly delicious!" (Okay, I don't eat non-veg.. But my viewers needn't know that!)
The perks: Never boring, new places, easy money, free travel, good luxury... What else could anyone want?
The cons: Keeping the public interested... all's well when you are going to Paris, Italy, Rome, etc. What happens when you have to go to say, Spitzbergen?

Number 2: War correspondent - International Journalist

No, I don't want to be a newsreader at the desk.. I want to be the one they say, "Lets go over to Jaya at the site of the deadlock between Iraq and Kuwait.. So, Jaya.. how does it look out there?"
And no... I am not someone rallying for wars out there so I can be a correspondent. I just want to be in the thick of the action and not in the protected newsroom. I want to be able to reach to the people and get the feel of the real world. I got a little bit of it even as I started a small charity thingie back in Chennai. But my dreams encompass something larger. And by international correspondent, I could be this major undercover reporter for NDTV or BBC or something. With a gazillion news channels springing up, this dream job of mine is up for the grabs.
The perks: All of that excitement and you can never go out of a job
The cons: If you're reporting on a conspirational issue, you can be certain to be hunted down (not literally)

Number 3: Actress - Drama artiste

Everytime I see pathetic movies, I am reminded of what a brilliant actress I am.. And no, there's no lack of modesty here... Yes, I am one of the worst liars you can see... And people who know me will tell you that my face can almost precisely express everything that my lips might need to say.. Consequently when I lie, my face and lips tell different stories. But that apart, I am up there on the acting scale.. I can produce tears if I tried a li'l bit and I have done everything from dramatically pretend my hand was fractured as a "April Fool's Day" joke to mime wheezing when I didnt wanna stay in class... And more than commercial cinema, I envision myself in off-beat plays and live performances than in front of the camera...
The perks: Applause.. applause.. applause!!
The cons: Being branded as a particular variety by people who have no guts to try it themselves

Number 4: Nature Photographer

This might be one of those things I sure as hell will give a try eventually. I am camera-crazy... But mostly prefer being behind the lens than in front of it. And abstract pictures, "on-the-spur" pictures are those that delight me most. I don't believe in making people "pose" for photographs... The more natural, the better... For people who think they need to look awesome in pictures, I have no patience. My photographs fulfill my needs for memories of the moment.. not something someone later looks at and says "Wow you guys are standing so symmetrically!". Thats why I would probably be better off shooting for the "Natural Geographic" or something. You can't make animals and plants pose! They are off-beat and natural and priceless! Or other pictures I'd like to shoot are those vintage scenes which make your heart bleed, like those pictures of an old bent woman, picking tea in one of the plantations in Nepal, so she can feed her hapless 3 year old. Touche!
The perks: The camera allllllllllll the way!
The cons: Nothing I can think of... Well, maybe you like 1 out of 25 pictures you shoot... With the evolution of the digital age, that hardly counts.

Number 5: Author-Writer-Story Teller

Writing is one of my passions that has outlasted many others through the years. I wrote my first "story" when I was a 8 year old in bed with Chicken Pox and each thing has given way to another and I wrote books and stuff... With my other career options outlasting this one, I haven't gotten to "publishing" any of my work.. But this is soo close to reality, I can almost taste it.
The perks: Time flies as your fingers fly over the keyboard too!
The cons: Writer's block.. sometimes you just don't know what to write...

So, what if... well, this is the time you'd think what you'd want to do with your life in a parallel world and put it down on my blog comments... Keep the imagination wild!

August 18, 2006


Disclaimer: This post is in jest... You Mo-Towners, I loved every moment of it (well, almost!) and don't mean to hurt you.. This is just a girl's perspecive of an evening at a bar...

Bar-ring(v): The act of sitting at a bar with a huge group of friends and drinking the night away

OK, so last week was a friend's graduation party which I'd happened to grace... I would guess its customary to visit a bar once the ceremony is over... to celebrate, to get drunk, to get high and to make complete fools of yourselves... What better opportunity and what better ambience than a sports bar, called "Gibbies" where we'd informed the waiters n waitresses that this was an important day for some few (4 out of 30!) and we were going to bring the roof down and that they couldn't object to it.

I am not a habitual(or even an occassional) drinker(?!?) So, when the first round of drinks were being ordered, I politely declined the alcoholic stuff and stuck to a coke. Beer was the choice of the night as pitcher after pitcher arrived and I slowly, but steadily I witnessed the transformation of men into pigs! And soon, as the quality of the drink improved (increased), the quantity decreased and the intoxication increased... With every drink after the initial 4, their speech started slurring, their movements jarring, topics deteriorating, repetitions aplenty(!), vocal talents exposed (read singing after drinking!!) and what not!

Having read about this scenario in countless books and seen representations in movies, I thought I was prepared to watch this out. I was I guess... But what I wasnt prepared for, was what the practical implications of being present there... My drink became a refill of the coke and then a "Sex on the beach", a simple cocktail, with the alcoholic powers of vodka.. It was a rather interesting drink. I sipped a couple of times and thats all I could take. I mean, drinking for me has its limitations... No more than 2 sips at a time! Which would explain why I ever havent gotten "high". Next up, someone got some vanilla-rum-coke combo which tasted very interesting too... For 2 sips once more... And last but not the least, whiskey - Jack Daniels with coke... For allll that people had raved about whiskey I had to try it out... Even in their drunken state, the boys seemed to realize that it was maybe a bit too much of a drink for an amateur and so watched carefully as I tipped the glass into my mouth and took one sour sip (I must emphasize I hated it.. It was bitter and disgusting and no matter what "high" it gave people, one sip was too many for me). The boys' concerned expression turned into hurt as my face turned into disgust! That was enough alcohol for me and I demanded pineapple juice. The bar for all its fame couldn't gimme a decent pineapple drink. It was thick and gooey and more concentrated than what natural pineapples can ever produce. Nevertheless, a welcome change from the alcohol!

Apart from that, I spent the night fighting (verbally), flirting (generally) and scolding (those who couldn't take their ears off my conversations with others!) I discovered many kinds of people, made a lot of friends (though I bet some were soo drunk they wouldnt recognize me the next day if I walked past them!) As I waded out to take a phone call and back in, I had an American dude ask me "Can I buy you a drink?" Having seen Joey do this in F-R-I-E-N-D-S, I almost burst out laughing but somehow managed to mumble straight-faced that I was "with friends" n get away! Another practical reality- I won't go into the gross details: Don't drink too much... You'll wanna pee.. and the restrooms in bars are not functional, let alone clean!

All said n done, if you haven't done it at all, I would suggest you should go barring with a bunch of friends.. Its fun... (to do it once in a while). I wonder how the boys do it on a weekly basis... But I guess boys will be boys and maybe a li'l bit of alcohol in their system in the weekend evoked the required guilt to multiply efforts through it to do some productive work.. I'll never know... But maybe its best left unruffled. :-)

August 14, 2006

Its definitely "Goodbye" to KANK

Disclaimer - Views about the movie are strictly mine and I if you don't agree with them, you and I should probably never meet again!

Scene: An optimistic gang of 9 @ Northway Theatres, Pittsburgh
Time: 6:05pm - almost just in time for the show
Movie: Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna - Karan Johar's latest

Ofcourse I had decided to keep my expectations @ rock bottom.. Another SRK-Karan Johar flick.. overreaction was expected aplenty and I wasn't disappointed from Scene 1. SRK as a soccer player wouldn't sell even in ethereal world... And with Jersey No. 7 and a tattoo screaming 'Victory', a certain ex-Man-U and current Real Madrid star would probably commit suicide if he saw who was impersonating him! (Well if that was too cryptic for all of you.. Its Becky darling) Whoosh! And then comes another unbelievable scene... Rani Mukerji in full bridal attire sitting unaccompanied on a remote garden bench while her wedding vows need to be taken in like 5 seconds. And who should come by her, but the soccer star SRK! And though he's married and she almost is, there's a lot of chemistry between them and guess who gives her the boost to overcome her doubts about her darling husband-to-be, Abhishek, but a total stranger - SRK?

Then comes an accident and soccer superstar becomes a bitter brooding wretch who is too much of a man to be able to take his wife's success in his stride. The typical inferiority complex sets in. Atleast ere theres some reason for discomfort. The other pair is unbelievable... A doting, dashing, darling hubby in Abhishek, admittedly a little childish, endearingly so, adores his wifee, Rani and she is a mass of stone... Untouched by his affections, saddened by her good fate and uninvolved in her marital life. (Doesnt make any sense!) And so, the two bitter souls through quirks of fate are thrown together and as they work at fixing their own marriages, they end up setting themselves up. How that is "love" is once again beyond me.. And guilt brings in treats for the respective spouses who are naive enough to believe that the bad patch in their marriage is finally over and that everything is all good and fun. While Preity and Abhishek are out celebrating the success of their marriage (without their spouses - WHY would they do that?), this unlikely bitter couple in love sleep together.

Woven through all this is an ungainly role for Amitabh - a womanizing Papa.. Who celebrates his late wife by being with every 20-something he can set his eyes on... And only because its Amitabh, you can probably take it without flinching. Aby baby is Abhi's dad and Kiron "the gorgeous" Kher is SRK's mom and their flirting is unbearable. This couple chances upon Rani n SRK cootchie-cooing. And that signals the end of the stupid affair when they decide to come clean with their spouses. Neither Preity nor Abhishek can take it. While Preity implodes, Abhishek explodes and they both get rid of their spouses. Rani and SRK dont admit that they are now free to see each other and instead live a life of misery for 3 years assuming that the other is happy. BS!!! I wont go into the details.. but then they do get together in the end (And dont feel sad for Preity or Abhishek.. they've moved on too.. with different people).

A long, and painstaking account and I had to relive the torture! The first half hour is quite funny with good comic timing... the rest of it is a total pain in the ass and completely unbelievable. The movie is based on an english counterpart, "Closer" starring Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. Though I havent seen it, ofcourse I can vouch for the fact that it will probably be a trillion times better. SRK has overreacted beyond imagination and the way he cries makes you want to pull you arm out of your sleeve and play with it so you have something to do! (Courtesy: Joey in F-R-I-E-N-D-S on Janice's laughter!) Except for Mitwaa, even Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy failed to impress... The songs have an uncanny resemblence to te 'Kal Ho Na Ho' numbers which were better by far...

All in all.. even if someone paid you, its not worth the watch... BEWARE!

August 4, 2006

Copy Cat!

This is from here. And I have happily copied the template and used it coz I havent blogged in ages!!!!!!! So, here goes...

I am thinking about...
How my thesis and currently my whole existance is the whim and fantasy of a lousy cleanroom equipment.. Makes me realise how I have always hated electrical equipment (Yes, I am an "Electrical Engineer", but here there's no such thing as an "electronic" engineer... Grrrrrrrrr...

I said…
Nothing. I haven't spoken in the past 3 hours.. Believe it! I am in ECSS from 7:00am.. no one interesting around!

I want to…
Finish my research soon, get a job and then take a trip to Paris.

I wish...
Life was as it is in Hogwarts - Magical.. That way one could accomplish a gazillion number of things with unbelievable efficiency.. Best let me not get started.

I hear...
That UC is finally almost done with all the construction! Whoopee!

I wonder...
How I can do nothing all day without losing patience while waiting for the damn machine!

I regret...
Nothing. Whats done is done... I hardly ever do anything so phenomenally wrong to regret it! hehe...

I am...
One of a kind. Don't judge me before you know me. And once you know me, there's no one like me.

I dance...
With energy! (And am conscious in the beginning!)

I sing...
All the time... In the bathroom, while writing my thesis... whenever.. wherever...

I am not always...
Talking! Yeah.. unbelievable but very very true

Is the center of my existance... In India, I was a forced eater (amma n patti used to force me with food at the right times). Here, I appreciate it much much more... And all the time I can readily fathom what i am going to have for my next meal! And now its 10:15 am and I've been up since 5:55am.. That makes me.. TERRIBLY HUNGRY!

I write...
Because it has always remained one of my passions. Those close to me will tell you about my articles with magazines, my various, "fiction"-writing stints, books and what not..

My passion...
Music... It just transports me to an ethereal world... But I am captivated by many passions... Reading is another which I would never trade for... Chai.. probably the blood in my veins :)

I confuse...
Chicken and Kitchen! Isnt that unbelievable? I was booking a cabin for us friends to stay in Gatlinburg. And I actually paused while asking "Do you have a fully equipped kitchen?" Because what came in my mouth all along was "fully equipped chicken"!

I need...
to get my head in the right order... to utilize time and stick with schedules and accomplish everything I have ever wanted... Its that easy!

For you other copy-cats... what're you waiting for? Just copy! :-)

July 13, 2006

Did everything have to go electronic???

It was just one of those days which reminded me that life back in the late 80's was maybe a teeny-weeny bit better than it is now, in solely one respect.. and I expect you will be taken aback by what I will say here -- Lack of technology... Don't mistake me.. Its completely wonderful that the world has shrunk infinitesimally and that everything is now on the Internet blah-blah-blah.. And if u r wondering why I reached such a ridiculous conclusion, its quite simple... I was reading an ebook!! Hehehe..

I was reading 'Memoirs of a geisha' on my computer in a sitting position, using just a finger on 'Page Down' to race through the pages and yes, in 2 days at my jobplace I was done.. But what did I miss here? Curling up with an actual book! Nothing beats the feeling I get when I am propped on my stomach with a book in one hand, coffee/tea-cookies on the reach of the other and flipping pages rapidly, tuned out from the world, earning all sorts of curses from anyone trying to grab my attention without physically yanking me.. Its sooo amazing... And the pages themselves have this smell which I am addicted to.. It could be the fresh smell of glue from a new book or the faded, thumbed smell of an old one... Books are my passion and sometimes I feel I am violating them by having an ebook collection as such... You may tell me that I could have my tea/coffee with my laptop too... And yeah, but we all know the feeling isnt the same... We all know I couldnt be huddled in some corner of the couch with a laptop.. That I couldnt walk with my book or find a patch of grass and settle down there on my back, the book shielding me from the sun - well, you get the picture!

And then a few days ago, I see this device which is probably already in the market or definitely getting there, which is actually called ebook reader or something and looks like this. Get more information on this here.

I mean what is that?? Why would anyone violate a sacred book?? I am sure it has a million advantages -- storing million books in one exam-pad sized thing... And yet physically simulating the book... blah blah.. But being a TOTAL bookworm (not in the nerd sense), I cannot accept this much of an unnecessary (or so I think) advancement in technology... I am paranoid about all the books I own.. When I lend a book to someone I am very particular that I get them back in the same state and I hate people who fold the pages to mark their pages... HELLO.. Ever heard of bookmarks? I mean fold your book pages.. Not mine!

In resignation, I guess this is the future... There are already books which dont publish in a paper version at all.. And ebooks are cheaper (many many are free) and convenient, etc. Maybe I am just old-fashioned and someday I maybe able to make my bias not exist anymore... For now, its all about my paperbacks (and hardcovers sometimes!)

June 26, 2006

If only we could apparate.......

Apparate: A spell used by witches and wizards to travel from one place to another instantaneously. This is the term used when the witch or wizard appears. -- Courtesy, Harry Potter glossary

Saturday morning... post brunch... sticky summer... 20min walk to the bus stop... You know how it is... You just wish you could be transported to the spot of desire in the blink of an eye. Thats when I thought of apparation. How it would be if we could apparate from one place to the other. Instantly. My roomie and I were walking to the bus stop and she being almost as Harry Potter frenzied as I, I mentioned this to her. And within seconds.....

These were some of the initial consequences I could think of...
1) Ofcourse all sorts of transportation would be decommisioned - Bus/train/road/air travel wasnt ever required once you could just wish to be someplace and find yourself in it!
2) The economy of the world would crash - Think of it.. It would be enough for any one family to have a single house in one place. Example - If you had a house in India... why would you pay rent here in the US? You could simply apparate from the university to your very own home for tea/a nap/dinner/TV and what not? This is just one of the simple consequences. Think of everything you do/buy on a daily basis and you'll realize the magnitude of things that will get affected.
3) Accidents!! - There would millions of apparation accidents that have to occur with people vanishing all over the place. If the concentration levels aren't so great, it would result in splinching! (Splinching: Injury caused by careless apparation where the wizard/witch leaves behind body parts and are not transported in whole to the destination of choice) With this, we can be rest-assured to find eyes/ears and what not in all sorts of places!
4) Ministry of Magic - It would be ludicrous to suggest that one could apparate without a governing body. Ofcourse a ministry would evolve to help set things right, if not to regulate things from going wrong!

Ok ok... I am sure most of this just flew right over some people's heads.. But those were just the practical consequences I thought of.. Imaginatively there could be a lot lot more! It then occurred to me that with the possibility of apparation, it wasn't right to want to apparate from anywhere-everywhere! So, I thought up some basic guidelines that apparation would have to comply with...
1) Age restriction - Apparation strictly allowed only at the age of 16 - we don't need kids splinching all over the place!
2) Minimum and Maximum distances - Ofcourse this is essential. Think about it... If there were no restrictions, given the lazy bums that people are, they would apparate from the bottom of the stairs to the top! There has to be a minimum of 250 miles distance (~4hr driving distance) and a maximum of say, 3000 miles (I'm guessing india will be in this range.. hehe) from place to place. For everything else, use the fully developed transportation system! Lets not crash the economy more than we should!!
3) Apparation contracts - It would be illogical to suggest that once you reach one place, Rule 2 still applies and you could simply add on the distances by multiple appearances. Thats not only unfair, but stupid as well. Like we have wireless provider contracts (T-Mobile, Verizon, blah blah), there should be apparation contractors with different schemes. Ideally, a person should sign a year's contract for a stupendous amount of money (which would include a training in apparation, and a choice of 5 destinations they would want to apparate from 1 central location they choose)
Example: For me, Central Location(current): Cincinnati, OH
Five Destinations: (1) Chennai, India (Duh!)
(2) New York, NY
(3) Paris, France
(4) Egypt
(5) Australia
Everything else, I can pay n travel!
3) Contract renewal - Every contract needs to be renewed... once again at a stupendous fee.. but you get to choose a different central location and a 5 different destinations (if you want to!)

I could go on and this really set my imagination on fire! So I request whoever reads this to come up with their central location and their 5 destinations... will make interesting revelations about yourself, if I daresay!