Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Call it the inevitable Glass Ceiling / the Politics of Bureaucracy..
It's really unfortunate that someone like Kiran Bedi is giving up on the system.
See this and this.

If you are one of those beings like me, for whom this lady has been an inspiration, you might want to take a look at her website / her blog

Thursday, November 22, 2007

being a 'karela kutty' -Part I

I'm told I've always been a handful as a kid.
The kind who send terror waves down their parents' spine at the thought of taking them out to any social gathering.
The kind whom I always frown at, as an adult.. like that pesky kid next door!
Bet they must be true, if all those audio recordings of my chattering as a 2 year old are anything to go by!

Papa still shudders whenever they show glimpses of the movie 'Chemmeen' on TV..he recollects very vividly the embarrassment at the movie hall when his 3 yr old wanted an explanation for 'why is that uncle beating that lady?' at the top of her voice! n he just had no other way out than getting the hell(err.. that would be ME) out of there!..
At the Museum park, I would just walk up to pluck a Nun's nose and announce that I'm going to throw it away to the crows!! (how I wish I could've done that to some similar specimens later, during my convent school life!)

But they say, more than anything else, my fave pastime was to entertain people, telling them the story of paavakka kuttan. Apparently, the hero of the story is this guy who was born out of a paavakka (bitter gourd/ karela). His unique ability was to point to anyone's (primarily, all the villains who try to poke fun at him about his unnatural birth) nose and say some mantra, n lo! the recipient turns to a bitter gourd!

little did i know that someday after a good couple of decades, I'd find myself at the receiving end of that joke! on an extremely cold December day, I find myself heading for Chandigarh.. reason? i took up a job with this company's office in Mohali..
you think that must've been a tough decision to make, considering the hopeless North-South culture divide we have in our country n all that? I'd say the decision wasn't any tough as compared to the kind of questions I got to wield from concerned well-wishers!
'You know chandigarh is infamous for it's high crime rates?' she didn't share her source of info with me though! I would've loved to quote it here!
'Are you sure you want to go to the Surd land?'
'My God, Usha, would you be taking the photocopy of a plain paper and faxing it to me with a stamp on it?'
'I've always believed there was something terribly wrong with you, but you cant be so crazy, can you?'
'Have you totally lost it?'

Over there, one of the toughest things I had to do was to educate people that "Karela" as they used to call that tiny stip of coastal land in the southern end of the map of India, is actually "kErAla"! After a zillion attempts, I realize that there's no point in convincing some people about the misplacement of 2 alphabets, who still use "then" in place of "than" and "accept" in place of "except". Talking about which reminds me of the incident when I overheard a female colleague shouting out to another male colleague to 'massage' her in the evening! after a moment, and a string of exclamations running through my mind, I realize she was referring to "message"(as in sms)!

Now that's about some Northies for whom the whole Southern peninsula is Madras..
pls. note: the earlier comment was not to poke fun by generalizing all Northies.. That was just about a small cross-section of people.. the rest of them were a very informed lot, you know.. most of them knew for sure that the most common mode of transport in Kerala was boats and that every family owned one..
during a post-lunch walk, my curious colleague from Bihar asks me: 'hey hey, tell me na, d'u guys really have boats n all in your house?'
me: 'yeah, actually we have 2 boats in the boat-shed outside our riverside house. One, we use it to go visit our neighbors and all.. and the other one, solely for fishing when we feel like having some fish fingers for snacks! cool, no?' grin.

--ok ok.. easy, my Northie friends, me no getting too biased on this one.. you know I luv you a lot to speak too low of you.. I'll be updating this space with the Southie's perception of Northies soon.. in another post.. Trust me, when I started writing this, I realised that it was overshooting the normally acceptable length of a post (you know me.. this happens to me always, my long mails are proof enough), and hence, had to mutilate it into parts!

And then there was this huge chunk of Southies (mostly AP guys) at my workplace there, who again had a li'l skewed perception about mallus... "oh you are a Malayalee?" they ask me..
"kutty??" n a biiig broad smile.. I guess, I can better classify it into a kind of evil grin..
for them, mallu girls are referred to as "kutty", just the way the Punjabi girls are called "kudi"s... now I take all the pain to educate them too that kutty doesn't exactly mean a girl.. but it doubles up as a non-gender-biased suffice to many mallu names.. not only that, it also cuts across all religions, castes and creeds.. we have moideenkutty, govindankutty and even georgekkutty...
"Lolakkutty too!!!" a wide grin.
"ofcourse yes! ah, now you are learning fast!" I grin back..
(more on mallu nomenclatures, later)

And thus I got pushed into donning this new identity.. that of a 'Karela Kutty'
No prizes for guessing who had the last laugh at that.. yes, of course, my Mummy-Papa whom I used to totally pakaofy with my Pavakkakkuttan story long back!
whoever said, 'what goes around, comes around'! :o

Friday, November 9, 2007

moviescan - Diwali special! :)

Deepavali times have turned out to be times for pleasant transitions + fun for me, since the past few years now.. the most beautiful of Diwali eves till date for me was the one 2 years back at the gorgeously lit Golden Temple of Amritsar with the most wonderful of fireworks lighting up the chilly November sky.. it was a divine evening to have spent with family.. and ever since, I've always made double sure that I have a total blast around Diwali time and make it at least half as beautiful as then.. sans the noisy crackers of course! atleast not once since childhood after burning my hand badly while trying to light up a fountain cracker when Pops wasn't around! So now all that energy which was used to lighting crackers is diverted to hogging on sweets! And no! I'm not planning to check my weight for the next couple of months atleast! ;)

btw, I did snuggle into the Diwali celebs at work too, where I got to do a Rangoli for the 1st time ever!! We did a 'Narakasura vadh' ! well no prizes for guessing that we couldn't have got any prizes.. :P It bombed royally, but the good news is that only 7/10 people mistook our Krishna for Hanuman or were having difficulty in figuring out who's killing whom! not bad, eh?

For a change I totally loved doing all those girlie stuff.. mebbe the fact that I wore a pinkie salwar suit helped! got mehndi done on my palms too! for the 1st time since my schooldays!! The ladies were all looking awesome in sarees and I'm so inspired by that, that I'm planning to get some for myself sometime soon.. well I better get it before all this festival induced euphoria wanes out of my mind!

Plus, this time around, I've diverted some of that energy towards bollywood moviegazing as well.. the primary intention was to save my eardrums from the noisy Bangalore Diwali. So my Diwali gift for you folks is gonna be Movies!! yay!! Now dont start pestering me for movie tickets!! Ok it's Diwali and all dat, but it clearly doesn't make me feel thaat big hearted! I'm anyways feeling all generous to share some recommendations if you are planning to go the movies this evening to save yourself from the chaotic noises around!

JAB WE MET : too good he ji! :)

It has everything going well for a warm and sweet bollywood love story with cute-ish moments and all that..
for a change they have shown the spine not to slant towards adding a pinch of the hollywood-ish masala / techno fx in sound/visuals as they've been doing it since sometime now.. this one is all nice n desi, just like a big mug of lassi.. malai maarke!
no villains n grue.. a happy fairytale-ish story
journeys!! hmm.. perfect setting for a successful bollywood love story.. n the Punjabi background for the balle balle effect!
confused ppl.. confusing situations.. guess 'confusion' has become the all time favorite ingredient in bollywood masala mix now!

You just cant stand Kareena's histrionics? well be prepared for a change.. in this one, she yaks a lot as usual, but surprisingly doesn't get onto your nerves.. she looked very real and in every shot, she reminded me of one or the other of my happy-go lucky punjabi kudi the extent that Shahid's performance seem to have got kinda overshadowed by it!
music is fun as well!

The spirit of the movie is very similar to that of Imtiaz Ali's earlier 'socha na tha'. If this is his style of movie making, I guess I'll be looking forward to his next as well! Infact, I thought his screenplay in 'Ahista Ahista' was also nice, except for the way the story ended!

LAAGA CHUNARI MEIN DAAG : bhagwaan keliye mujhe chod do!

Misery at it's best.. a protagonist who fails to see the difference between empowerment and being manipulated .. a mother who prefers the honor of her house(note: not family) above that of her child's.. a sister who sounds more immature than an average school-girl (atleast in the initial half).. a cowardly father who's resigned to his life and family and fate, who believes his misery is because of the fact that he doesn't have a son.

The irony is that after all the hoopla about 'beti chali beta banne' and those 'today's woman' lectures in the movie.. at the end of it all, the ladies needed their knights in shining armors to make their Dad proud of them!
and i guess i cannot stand to see an Anupam Kher / Jaya Bhaduri / Harsh Chayya for sometime now!
the only good thing about the movie is the song: 'hum to aise hain bhaiya'.

On an afterthought, even the other Pradeep Sarkar movie, 'parineeta' never made any sense to me! I don't seem to relate to (let alone empathise with) his female protagonists at all! The way they act and re-act to situations is totally different from the way women usually do in the world i know of! a quick note to myself: avoid watching anymore of Pradeep Sarkar movies if you've got to save yourself from brain hemorrhage.


Statutory warning : stay away from the walls.. banging your head on them could be highly injurious to your health!

if you manage to sit through the whole movie, you might also need to resort to the kind of laughter therapy which Dr. Asthana used to do in Munnabhai!

The movie: remember your worst nightmares? with incoherent visuals n feels n random scenes and places and people.. where you try to make some sense out of all that and finally resign to it and just numbly go through whatever you are taken through.. this could be almost equivalent an experience. carry an aspirin along if you are planning an attempt to understand the movie!

Later in the evening, i saw a moth fluttering away inside the reading room and found myself involuntarily wondering whether it could be the soul of the coakroach which I had brutally murdered that morning when it sought refuge in the reading room after surviving the Baygon attack in the kitchen.. Never underestimate the adverse effects, a Bollywood movie is capable of doing to your unsuspecting subconscious mind!

JOHNNY GADDAAR : has an edge!

The plot is good. Very unlike our usual diet of RGV sponsored Bollywood perspective of Underworld stories.. The twists, almost always are predictable, but the pace more than covers up for it as it doesn't give us many such occasions where we can think ahead of the pace of narration. The POV of the audience is that of the Criminal, which makes it all the more interesting than just sitting back and watching some bunch of nerdy detectives unknot the mystery.

Brilliant performances too! n yeah the Neil guy is something to look forward to.. reminds one of Saif's performance in 'Being Cyrus'. understated in terms of mainstream bollywood style, yet very powerful!

Can't think of writing more about it as it's been a while since I watched it. Though I'd definitely like to recommend it!

That's it for the moviescan for now, folks!

A movie which I had really wanted to watch in this while, but unfortunately couldn't make it was 'Loins of Punjab Presents'.. hope to get my hands on it soon!

Not really excited about Saawariya/OSO somehow! Infact I guess the promos all over the media was an overkill to the extent that one wonders whether the festive mood in the air is because of Diwali or the movie releases!

Have a happening and safe Diwali, people!