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.......