August 31, 2008

Ramblings of a disgruntled writer

Anyone who reads a lot and blogs a lot or one of the above has surely entertained secret fantasies of 'being discovered' and writing a book. Of course the difference between you and me is that mine's not secret and hasn't been for a long time now. I read an article today about a young Indian babe who was indeed discovered and through her blogs. How come none of the blogs of people I know (including me of course) end up being 'discovered'?! And how come Penguin, Bantam and the million other publishers we know of don't seem to care about what we ramble on about? Hmph... Ok ok... I know... today is just one of those days. In a glassy-eyed vision of the future in a moment of weakness, I saw the headline 'Nanoscientist publishes first non-scientific work'. Of course, it's safe to say, some people live in dreams. And I'm not one of them. College opens tomorrow. Time to accomplish the first word of that distant headline.

August 29, 2008

Tamilgrounded

Well, I am sure many of you are aware of the 'popular' online Tamil movie site, Tamilgrounds. But what you're probably not familiar with is the pathetic customer service that they (donot) give. For starters, their customer service is restricted to 'creating tickets' to which the admin people supposedly respond. And get this... at the end of the monthly membership, instead of offering you the option of renewing it, they 'automatically' do it. And when you send disgruntled tickets asking them to discontinue the account and inform you about it, they delete your ticket to make it look like there is no record of it. I am appalled at the service and after repeated tickets, I think I am going to have to shut the bank account or block them out to have them NOT renew the membership automatically. For what it's worth, the movie qualities are pretty bad and most movies do not open at all! It's crazy how they rip you off and take absolutely no action to try and pacify their disgruntled customers! For anyone considering memberships with Tamilgrounds or Bollygrounds or any of their 'family', think again and please avoid it.

Update: I am happy to say that all my cursing has led them to discontinue my account. However, they have to 'discuss the refund' it seems. I plan to link this post to them so that they know what I am thinking. Hmph

Sleepless in Paris

I wish it were really as romantic as it sounds... apparently not, though. The vacations have screwed with my sleeping cycle. And more often than not I toss and turn for close to 2 hours every night before falling asleep and then get up with the alarm that wakes the husband, get him to rise n shine through the snoozes and then sleep away for another hour after he leaves. That leaves me all groggy till the first tea in the morning and contentedly sleepy in the afternoons, a temptation I've staved off... till today. I'd just had a hot shower, hadn't had that extra hour of sleep in the morning, had a late-nighter last night and a hell of a lot of walking in the morning trying to locate one of the dubiously located consulates in Paris. And I just couldn't resist the nap. What was supposed to be 30 minutes extended to the hour and here I am at 00:35. It's a vicious cycle I tell you. There's a bright note in all of this though - College resumes Monday. And so will my sleep cycle, I hope.

August 26, 2008

Hari Puttar

In this comedy of errors, Warner Bros is suing India's Mirchi movies because their latest movie titled, 'Hari Puttar - a comedy of terrors', sounds very close to Harry Potter. Of course, we all heard this analogy first on 'Kal Ho Na Ho'. But it seems Warner regards this as copyright infringement. It's pretty unfortunate for them that not only is Hari a common Indian name, 'Puttar' means son in Punjabi and has been in use for ages. I don't think they can win this case. Here's the full news item - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7580941.stm. What's your take?

Personally, I think Warner is being a bit unreasonable. There are many things that could end up sounding like Harry Potter unintentionally. They aren't going to be able to restrict everything. For instance, I wonder if they would have a problem with a tentative movie called 'Scary Water' which for all practical purposes rhymes with Harry Potter!

August 25, 2008

Second Attempts

I wrote this post quite a while ago. And once more I was reminded that some things require that second stab at it to make it work. Maybe its a true test of how badly we want something...enough to attempt it twice? Maybe it's something simpler like the second attempt takes the pressure off of you and you have a better chance for success. Whatever it is, once bitten twice is lucky. Let's hope that holds good.

August 18, 2008

More crispy vadais

They were a hit... and here's a follow-up effort..

August 15, 2008

The Varalakshmi Nombu

Before I get to the post, Happy Independence Day everyone. :)

Today was the first of many things... It was the first Varalakshmi Nombu for me post-wedding. For those unfamiliar with the rituals, here's a synopsis - http://www.hindu-blog.com/2008/07/varalakshmi-nombu.html. But this meant I had to shoulder the responsibility of being the 'woman-of-the-house', and cook the yummy treats that I took for granted all the years till now, wake up at 6:00 am to cook everything post a head-shower (I was allowed the luxury of sleeping-in in those premarital days), prepare everything for the pooja, etc etc etc.

Amongst this is what I consider supremely challenging - making the vadais and the kozhakattais (a.k.a modak). And I took down the recipe from Patti and followed it to the P. Who said victory isn't sweet? It certainly is when it's a sweet rice dumpling like the kozhakattai.


Or the crispy vadais (though I didn't shape them too well... hehehehe. There's always room for improvement!)

August 12, 2008

Memory-card

Not the storage device. It's about my memory with respect to my credit card (or debit card if you will...) Having gone to the nearby store, picked all the things I wanted after a lot of scrutiny, verifying my list to make sure I had everything, I went to the checkout counter and handed my card for the billing. She asked me to punch my code. I do it by reflex as is customary and usually it says 'Code Bon', meaning 'Good code' or all's well. But today it said 'Code Faux' over and over again and for the third time too. That mean my card was locked. I would have to reason it out with the bank to have them unfreeze it. And worse, I couldn't buy any of the things I'd chosen. And I couldn't use this card on an ATM which would swallow it. Instead, swallowing my pride, I called my husband to ask him for my code. When he told me, it instantly registered. I had been punching in my US credit card's pin instead.

India's own shooting star :D

Finally, for the first time ever, someone has managed to win an individual Olympic Gold for India. And that someone is Abhinav Bindra. Here's his wiki page. And news of his victory. Indeed a proud moment for billion plus people in India. With the National Anthem as the ideal background music, Abhinav Bindra was crowned champion of the Mens 10m Rifle event. At least I hope this paves the way for more sportspersons in India to embrace other sports than traditionally cricket which doesn't say much either, having won the only World Cup in 1983, agood 25 years ago. Let us hope n pray that the younger generation comes up with more diversity in their sport choice and do our proud by winning honours at the International Level.

On that note, good luck, Saina.

August 9, 2008

Sneezy Jane

That's me. It's embarrassing... but just as well...its involuntary too. Every morning as soon as I come out the bedroom, roll open the hall windows, 'Aaachoooooooooo', I greet the bright morning sunshine. I have had this issue for as long as I can remember. And earlier when I got these allergy tests done, I was informed that it was because of the sudden temperature change that I was exposed to - from the A/C bedroom to the room-temperature hall. That made sense in Chennai where we always had the A/C on for the night. But how did that make sense in France or the US? We didn't have airconditioners on at night. And the morning saw no temperature change either. Yet, on an average I sneeze at least 10 times before I stabilize. And it's not one of your hardly noticeable tchs which I have seen people do in buses and public places and mumble an 'Excuse Me' thats far louder. At these times, I am like, 'Excuse me? You call that a sneeze?' Mine's more the variety that jolts the dead into the living. Loud, embarassingly repetitive (sometimes even before I can warp out an 'Excuse Me'). And it's the grossest if I am caught without a tissue of course. Recently, I read wiki and a bunch of other websites and now I have attributed the sneezing to 'sudden exposure to light'. That makes sense at any rate. You can read about the whole deal here. And thankfully I have stopped trying not to sneeze, which results in a minor implosion of sorts. Apparently that can be damaging in the long run. S tolerates my sneezes but has no idea why its recurring and why it happens every morning. He suggested I see a doctor. But I did!! My temporary solution though is to ease in the light into the hall... one shutter at a time. I'll report back to tell you if it worked!

August 8, 2008

Fancy Date

Yes... it repeated every year for the past 8 and will continue for the next year as well. It's displaced by a day and a month every year. Of course, you know what I'm talking about.. It's 08-08-08 today. Happy Olypics Opening to y'all.. And Happy Friday as well. The weekend's here.

August 7, 2008

Holy Cramp!

The thing about gymming is that you need to be in touch.... or you need to ease yourself into it. The best part is that I knew all the gyaan. In spite of that, I think the sheer excitement (:S) or the enthusiasm of joining a gym with world-class facility overcame my senses. And so on my second day overall... and first day at the centre close to home, in the process of 'discovering' all the equipment, I ended up working out close to 2 hours. And I ended in exhilaration (because of the high heart rate), took a quick shower and then came home in sweltering heat (where I thought I was going to die of a sun stroke) and while everything seemed on a high, I cramped!! Muscles which I didn't know existed announced their existence in the form of pain... :( And so, today was a rest day. Going by the pain I am (did I tear a ligament or something?), I think I am going to skip it tomorrow as well! Here's to working out and the mini-breaks it provides us in not-so-happening ways.

August 5, 2008

Pappi Bhelwali

That's what my dad called me when he learned I'd made bhel puri for the husband... Here.. take a look.

The ingredients (including the teekha /meeta chutnies) -


The end product (phenomenally yummy - ask S if you want)


And... I made theplas for dinner today. Pictures later!

Gymmu-Gimmu

Its a Tamil habit, I think, to rhyme one word with another that makes no sense most of the time. The exceptions are aadu-maadu (goat-cow), veedu-kaadu (house-forest), etc. But usually its really senseless things like paalu-geelu (milk-senseless_word), kaapi-geepi (coffee-senseless_word), or dressu-gissu (Dress-senseless_word)... Ok you get my point. Actually I don't know why the senseless word usually is a rhyme of the original but with a 'g'.

Anyhoo, coming to the point of the post, I joined the gym finally today. And they have a lot of interesting things going on... There are dance aerobics, even salsa lessons and all over at the gym. This seems to be a great way to melt away time (and weight, I hope) over the vacations. And on other days. I've taken an annual membership. And my Patti asked me over the phone, "Gymmu-gimmu poitu vandhiya?" (Did you go the gym-gim?)

Hence the title of the post. :)

August 3, 2008

Citysnoozers awakens...

And finally, here is the long-awaited post on Bruges on Citystalkers. Lets hope that the Kumbakarna phase for that blog is finally over.. Fingers crossed.

Happy Friendships Day

For what it's worth, Happy Friendships Day to you all... Well yeah, I believe in Friendships but not Friendship Days... Not now at any rate. Yes, I was one of the naïve ones that jumped the bandwagon and bought dozens of colourful bands to adorn the wrists of my closest friends, pledging my friendship to them and in turn flaunted a wristfull of my own. The irony of everything is that this phase was most popular when we were back in our undergraduate days or school. When you actually tied bands on your friends that you spent the entire day with... and went home and made calls and spoke to for hours on the end. People who you had with you all the time, yet felt the need to 'make you own' by brandishing a band on them. How things have changed over the past 10 years. Now we are all miles apart, talk once in a few months at most and yet, we are secure in our bond of friendship. A few years after college, the gestures dwindled to emails at most and nowadays - nothing. Even still, the friendship burns strong, a warm glow that ignites you from the inside when you think of those people and the times spent with them. And now I see these 'days' and the rest of them (V-Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, blah blah) for what they are... business tactics to lure the insecure into buying tonnes of junk that gets discarded anyways. Isn't it more special when you do something out of the expected? Like buy someone something for no reason other than that you thought they might like it... make a call to those friends on random days, not because of birthdays or anniversaries or emergencies... It feels so much better that way and definitely means a lot more.

However, K, M, S, G, NK, SO, VR, PT - I miss you all. Happy Friendships Day.

August 1, 2008

Cinema Cinema

Disclaimer: There is no doubt about Kamal Hassan's genius... Fewer movies have made as much an impact on me as Michael Madana Kamarajan. But did he have to do these 10 roles?

So out of sheer boredom and fueled by the summer vacations, I ended up buying an account with one of the Tamil movie online sites. I chose Tamil thinking S and I could see a lot of dinner time favorites. I don't know about that but the first choice of the movie was also the most obvious, Dasavatharam. This Kamal Hassan movie has made headlines all over the world for a variety of reasons from budget to plot and obviously the most important being the fact the Kamal, the lead in the movie has played 10 different roles. Having heard terrifically rave reviews about the movie from tabloids to reliable friends, we were very excited to watch the movie.... for about 15 minutes. At the end of the movie, I was left gawking... and not in the good sense. It became very obvious that the script was tailored to somehow accomodate the 10 different roles that the lead man wanted to play and create history. And in that sense, he did. I don't think anyone is going to attempt anything like this for a long long time. But the worst part was that none of those getups were really required. He could've been content with just playing 2-3 of the main roles and hiring accomplished actors for the rest. Instead they spent a whole lot of cash, time and effort in creating 10 distinct personalities, 7 of whom were totally uncritical to the plot and a couple ended up resembling one another! Some of the get-ups actually looked like the human version of Shrek in Shrek II. And chaos theory as the central theme turned out to be too chaotic and the tsunami scene that people raved about was total disappointment. It was crazy. And Kamal Hassan taking up the screenplay as a 11th role was probably the big damper in the whole fiasco..

On a totally unrelated note, I acquired a DVD of Dhoom II and decided it was well worth a wasted afternoon to gawk at Hrithik. So subconsciously as I watched it, I counted him wear 8 different disguises - all of which looked convincing and looked great on him. While I reached no.8, my heart beat a little faster. What a humungous disappointment it would've been to Kamal Hassan had Hrithik equalled 10 in a totally unintended and unassuming manner. Lol!