Tuesday, January 31, 2006

You Are a Glazed Donut

Okay, you know that you're plain - and you're cool with that.
You prefer not to let anything distract from your sweetness.
Your appeal is understated yet universal. Everyone dig you.
And in a pinch, you'll probably get eaten.
Sleep oh Wonderful Sleep

I woke up this morning fighting sleep
Everyday this is just getting deep

I wish I could continue my dream
But I am woken up by alarm scream

I hate the oatmeal cereal with banana
I miss the idli sambar made by my nana

Brushing and bathing and changing and running
Everyday is not a begining but an ending

Of a dream from past
a sleep that did not last...


Monday, January 30, 2006

Rang De Basanti (2006) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 4.85/5

Cast: Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Kunal Kapoor, Siddarth, Sharman Joshi, Soha Ali Khan, Alice Patten, Atul Kulkarni
Director: Rakeysh Mehra
Music: A.R. Rehman

If you want me to describe the movie in two words...Simply Superb or Watch it...

The story is about four kids who do not want to share any responsibilities of the countries fate realize what their fore fathers had gone through to get the freedom and embark in their own struggle...The only difference...They are not fighting against an invader but their own people (Their family and leaders).

Sue (Alice Patten) comes to Delhi with the help of Soniya, India to make a documentary on India. On her attempt to recruit actors she is met with disappointment meeting the students of Delhi University who obviously have no knowledge of the cautioners past. She befriends Soniya's friends, DJ (Aamir), Karan (Siddharth), Aslam (Kunal), Sukhi (Sharman), and Soniya (Soha) for her short story to portray the roles of India's freedom fighters. Later she also adds Laxman Pandey (Atul Kulkarni) to her cast. Laxman Pandey is a fierce patriot and a fanatic Hindu and therefore hates anything that is against India or Hinduism.

It is very difficult for all of them to relate to their characters as they do not know what really each of the freedom fighters had to go through. They show little or no interest and indulge in mockery. Laxman Pandey is the only one who has any idea about the freedom struggle and plays his role with conviction. But the problem is Laxman and the group of friends hate each other which drives Sue nuts and she is unable to progress with her production. Almost giving up she decides to leave after an altercation between DJ and Laxman. DJ convinces Sue to stay back and complete her project and that he and his friends will help her see it finished.

Meanwhile, Ajay (Madhavan) Soha's fiance, an Airforce Pilot and a very close friend of the gang dies in a MIG crash near Delhi. He gets blamed for rash piloting when in reality the mistake was with the flight itself and not its pilot. Enraged by the accusations Ajay's friends and mother take up to a peaceful protest and get under the lathi of policeman due to orders from political powers.

Angry and frustrated at the injustice meted to their friend and friends mother who is in coma in the hospital the youngsters take law into their hand and deal with the government and corrupt forces.

This is a real touching movie...The link between the present and past has been well portrayed. The evoking of patriotism by a foreigner is also very well done. The movie is a surefire tear jerker. Everyone has acted very well...The dialogues are also powerful and so is the action...It is not pedantic and neither does it make you feel guilty but just wakes you up.

you know what?? No review will do justice to this wonderful movie...So please go and watch it.

One line comments on the actors:

Atul Kulkarni: My favorite actor, piercing eyes and amazing screen presence and personality.

Aamir: Too old to play a college student even if he had graduated five years ago.

Siddarth: Too cute and amazing cool factor.

Madhavan: When are you going to loose the paunch (thoppais)?

Kunal: Handsome and a good actor too.

Sharman: Very naughty and cute too.

Soha: Finally she has started to act and you might be able to ignore her long nose.

Alice: Real cool...Angrezi Mem Desi Mein...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Aathi (2006) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking : 3/5

Cast: Vijay, Trisha, Nazar, Manivannan, Seetha, Prakash Raj, and many others!
Director: Ramanaa
Music: Vidyasagar

Aha! Another Vijay movie...I am sure no one expected anything new from this one...Well mostly ya...Same old story and same old action from Vijay. Vijay needs to do something different at least now...For the past few years all his movie, Thirupachi, Thirumalai, Gilli, Sivakasi, etc. Have been pretty much same. Nothing new and his acting is now getting redundant...So redundant that you can feel and see in your minds eye what he is going to do next.

Anyhoo...Trisha wields the knife killing a corrupt police officer with the help of her uncle Nazar. Vijay and his close knit loving family (dad Manivannan, mom Seetha, and sister) move to Chennai to encourage Vijay's education. Vijay and Trisha meet often and many times at the city library and their friendship develops into love...

Trisha and her uncle plan to kill two henchmen of RDX a feared rowdy in the city before they get rid of RDX...But Vijay also has plans for them and gets rid of the henchmen before Trisha does. During one of the murders Vijay's family sees him chop the villains head off in the middle of the road...Now how he escapes from the law...That we should not question...Because it is a Vijay (Illayathalapathi) movie.

Vijay then explains how RDX had wiped out his entire family that lived in what is now the City library and he was now going to take revenge on all of them. Vijay takes revenge on RDX and then unites with Trisha finishing the movie with a happy ending...

Okay...Now it is a familiar plot...Fine! But what about the stunts? Unbelievable...Really...Vijay's shirt is burning strong in the back...Our man does not bother about it...He keeps on hitting the villain and then he moves his hand in a rapid motion and the fire stops...The shirt just barely burnt for the 45 second exposure to strong flame...Good use of graphics...Really convincing fire...But hello...We are not dumb!

The confrontational dialogue exchange between the villain and Vijay towards the end is real good. I felt it was powerful, effective and also funny. Trisha needs to show more emotions...Her face is pale and lacks expressional variations.

The movie once again is in no comparison to good movies like Kanda Naal Mudhal or Thavamai Thavamirundhu...But you can see it once...If only the violence was lesser...All actors wanting to shed their loverboy image to become action heroes can only lead to violent movies...

Monday, January 23, 2006

All The Fight Stunts!

We are still not in the eighties. We know that it is not real, everyone knows that it is not the hero but the Stunt man who is performing those unbelievable actions scenes or the rope that is making these hero's fly from one place to other! (Note: None of these movies are released as Sci-Fi or Fantasy movies...They are Really trying to depict real life...At least that's what the director claims!)

Every Hero wants to project himself more powerful than the other. When one hero does something atrocious the other tops him by doing something even more ridiculous. Let us not forget the power dialogues preceding all the fight scenes...WHY?? No wonder when you see a hero in real life you think..."Huh! This guy in reality is so small?"

Beyond a certain point is just gets boring...I wish I could forward all the fight scenes and move ahead cause I know the way this is going to end...No Surprise...Hero wins...All villains dead or groaning in pain! There is no such thing as a one man hero and depicting one is just taking advantage of the movie goers time and money.

Fine! You want to prove that the hero is almighty and strong like Hanuman and can kill 30 villains without getting hurt! Agreed...But what about the excessive use of violence, hand cutting, head flying??!!! Do we really need to see all this to get the essence of how bad the villain actually is?

Why can't we just make simple movies, movies that do not have to necessarily depict hero's as superhero's. Movies that we can enjoy and not have the heart and stomach feel sick. I want the movies that Mohan acted in to come back...The ones of Sivaji, Gemini, to come back...Even MGR's (his fight stunts were amazing but never gory!) but stop the prototypical movies being made by Vijay, Ajith, Simbu...

Mulatchi naal ela kooda vidala adhukulla ivanga ellam dialogue pesaranga! STOP THIS!

Badra (2005) /Saravana (2006) - Telugu/Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 3/5

Cast: Ravi Teja, Meera Jasmine, Prakash Raj, Deepak
Director: Devi Sri Prasad
Music: Boyapati Srinivas

No Telugu person can convince me that Ravi Teja suits the role of a final year college student...Leave alone a college student. He nowhere resembles a college student to start with. Reality Check...He is old and should never again do a role of a college student.

Now the story...Same old, same old! Ravi Teja in the title role is a college student who falls in love with his best friend's sister on seeing her on a DVD. He decides to accompany his friend to his village after college to meet Meera Jasmine (Anu in the movie) who is coming back from London.

Ravi comes back to his house on the day of his sister's engagement with Meera on his tow shocking everyone in his family. His family takes good care of her until one of his uncle talks ill of her. His father keeps calm until one day he sees Ravi hurt and lost on the street after Meera Vanishes. On questioning Ravi tells the flashback...

In the village Ravi meets Prakash Raj his best friends brother and learns that he is a warlord in the village fighting a dispute that has been going on for ages between two families. Prakash Raj wants to put an end to it. A lot of fun filled moments for Ravi Teja and Meera Jasmine before Prakash Raj approaches Ravi Teja asking if he would marry his sister. But before this news could be passed on to Meera Jasmine her whole family but for her is wiped out by the enemies. Ravi kills one of the prominent members of the opposite gang thereby earning their wrath.

The villains chase him to the city of Hyderabad where Ravi Teja resides and try to harm him and Meera...How Ravi and Meera escape from them forms the rest of the movie.

What do you think? Seen it before? Trust me you have! It was called Okkadu in Telugu and Gilli in Tamil. Now this movie is also remade in Tamil by none other than our little super star Silambarasan and Jo. I can so see Simbu mouthing power dialogues like Ravi Teja. The only good thing is Simbu is younger and does not look bored like Ravi Teja did.

The comedy is pretty decent in the movie and the way love develops between Ravi and Meera has been shot well with good humor. I wish that the violence was less and I did not have to see a hand being cut or a head rolling (trust me they were not necessary to make things clear!). The music is neither hummable nor memorable.

Meera has acted her role very nicely. She is a nice actress...But is she pretty or cute?? Debatable! Ravi Teja...Need I repeat myself! I seem to be writing this one to many times for most of the movies being released...." If you have nothing better to do...Then watch this movie...Else save your time for better doing better things in life."

Paramasivam (2006) - Tamil Movie Review with Spoilers

Ranking: 2/5

Cast: Ajith Kumar, Laila, Prakash Raj (PR), Jayram,
Director: P.Vasu
Music: Vidyasagar

Ajith Kumar almost 35, started his career long time ago with the movie Amaravathi. He was young and cute and went unnoticed. Then he came back with Aasai - A good hit and he has not turned back since...Well at least until he became fat and started acting in crappy movies. Really...He is a Supreme Star with a Thoppai also running in several directions when he hits the villains...

Now he is back...Lean and Mean...Also old! He looks tired and haggard and he desperately needs a hair cut. His build really looks better now that he has lost all his stomach flab but the face???!!!

The movie starts with a bomb blast in Coimbatore showing all burnt and charred bodies for a very long time...Gross! A good cop, Rajesh who had predicted that this might happen a few days before the incident and gets killed by his colleagues. Prakash Raj (PR) is asked to handle the case of the bomb blast. He takes Ajith's help to uncover the terrorist ring under the advice of an ex-cop (Nazar). Ajith is in jail for killing five policemen to avenge his father's death. PR fakes Ajith's death and gives him a new identity.

Ajith is sent to live in PR's house in Ooty where Laila and her family are also living as tenants. Ajith unable to see Laila being tortured (because she is crazy) by her step mom offers to marry her paving way for a couple of duets!

Meanwhile Jayram (the mallu guy) is a CBI inspector who is in hot pursuit of Ajith's whereabouts. Don't know what purpose his role serves but he is also there and therefore I had to mention it here.

Now Ajith kills a villain leading to a swamiji villain who leads to real Pakistani villain (Musa Ali...hahaha). Now that Musa's identity has been revealed he gets worried and takes cover inside PR's boss's house before he sets the bomb off during an International IT meet in Chennai.

Climax scene...Total tension...Ha! You would think...But the whole scene is so stupid that it is funny! Ajith who takes a room and stays in a hotel next to PR's boss's house tells Laila where is going to stay (do assassins or people on a mission do this??) who in turn tells it to Jayram (really we don't know what he is doing in the movie). Now PR smartly alludes all the terrorists one by one and gets them killed by Ajith (Man are those terrorists dumb). In the meantime Jayram is knocking on Ajith's door...Ajith smartly escapes and starts chasing five terrorists who are human bombs...

Now you would think that terrorists dress discretely...But not our dudes...They all wear black in black bikes with black helmets and travel in a gang. Now Ajith our professional bike racer tries to show his talent in that department. Most boring fight scene ever...To save a hundred innocents Ajith kills a hundred innocents...So much for protecting India! Although he does save the IT meet and India's image to the world.

This is another thing that surprised me...How does one travel between Chennai and Ooty in a matter of hours? Anyhoo after finishing his duty of tracking the terrorists Ajith runs to Ooty to take Laila and run away from PR after learning that PR wants to kill Ajith. Ajith is running, PR is chasing...Finally they all meet...Climax...PR lets Ajith to live and also gives him a passport and visa to go and live abroad with Laila...More climax...Jayram comes and tells STOP! Only to give a big lecture and let Ajith go...I still do not understand what purpose Jayram served!! I do not even understand the purpose of the whole movie so I will let Jayram go!

Conclusion: Boring movie, boring story, total nonsense, total waste of time. In a normal Indian movie you try to forget an essential element called logic and enjoy the movie...But this one is just way too bizarre to give it any allowance. So sorry Ajith...You are in good form but your movie still sucks...So maybe it was not your physique that was affecting your career after all...It could have been your bad choice of story.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Our body is like a credit card company...

Credit Card company...Provides you with balance transfer option. But you need to pay off your low interest balance before you get to the high one.

Our body loves to take in all sorts of food but when you work out it looses the good fats and cholesterol before it looses the bad and high cholesterol and fat.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Udhaya Geetham (1985) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 4.5/5

Cast: Mohan, Revathy, Lakshmi, Anand Babu, Sendhil, Goundamani
Director: I need to watch the movie again to note this
Music: Illayaraja

This movie was released sometime around 1985...So around twenty years ago...But even today it is more fun to watch than movies like Aaru and Majaa...Wonder why they cannot make movies like these any more. Not only is this movie a memorable but so is its music. I was watching this movie for a second time after twenty years and I still remembered most of it. Ask me the story of any recent ones...The stories today seem to contiguous.

Arun (Mohan), a prominent singer is in jail with a death sentence looming over his head. He meets Shanthi (Revathy) during one of his concerts and is followed by her on many occasions into the jail and outside too. He shows nothing but animosity towards her behavior and keeps pushing her out of sight. But Shanthi is persistent and does not give up either.

Leela Chowdry (Lakshmi) is the newly appointed Superintendent of Police for the Madras Central Jail and is merciless. However Shanthi with her smartness talks Leela into getting her married to Arun. Arun also agrees to it after a lot of thought and deliberation. Leela arranges for the wedding to take place in her home.

During their first night Shanthi drives a knife into Arun's stomach and explains that she is none other than the sister of Anand (Anand Babu) whom Arun was accused of killing. Arun and Anand sang and danced for a music troupe before Anand's murder. Arun explains his side of the story in pain and proves his innocence to her. Shanthi realizing her mistake now starts to set things right.

The story has an amazing comedy track. If you remember earlier Sendhil and Goundamani comedies (this is much before Chinna Gounder) you will surely remember jump lingam, thengai la bomb, naina, the rogue tree swami, and so on. Looking back it seems like even Goundamani did some sensible comedy (like what Vivek is doing now) back in the eighties before kicking Sendhil became his norm.

Mohan a hero who has delivered so many hits in his hey day is forgotten now...Only the music from his movies are remembered. I cannot say that he was as good as Rajni or Kamal but in his own way his movies were entertaining and had at least 80% assurance of making it in the theatres. Plus all his movies had some of the best music composed by Illayaraja. I think he might have been the only Tamil actor who could not speak Tamil but still made it big with dubbing. I also don't know how many of you remember Anand Babu, comedian Nagesh's son, as far as I remember he was one of our own Tamil Industry's first disco/break dancer. It was nice to see him do some of his moves in this movies. He was a decent actor lost in the annals of movies just like Mohan. Revathy and Lakshmi are good as Shanthi and Leela chowdry.

The movie is really good and worth watching if you can get hold of the DVD and like most movies from that era it is rated for family viewing. So enjoy watching our very own Mohan holding his trademark Mike on a stage...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Most of the time when we want to prove ourselves at work we only have one chance - Do it right the first time, especially when you are at a new job.

There is a deadline...Your boss needs some information on something very important...By giving him the answer you can prove your mettle and command over the project...But at that very moment the answer is eluding you in spite of you knowing in your mind where it exactly is...

There are two ways we react to this typically...

Option 1: We panic and tell the boss..."I know where exactly it is...Give me a second...Last I remember is that...But wait, let me check it..."

Wrong answer...The above is done mostly to keep your bosses attention with you while you are searching for an answer. You should remember two things...One...You will not gain your boss's confidence or attention by given him unsure answer...Two...By letting your boss breathe over your neck you are never going to find the answer in record time.

Remember, you only have one chance and you should do it right the first time.

Option 2: Just say, "Let me get back to you with the answer."Not only does this give you time to look for the answer peacefully but also with less tension and when you give the correct answer the first time around...Everyone is happy.

By following the above approach not only do you get your answer correct with ease but you also induce a sense of confidence in your attitude. You do not crumble under pressure and keep a level head. But remember you still only have a few seconds before you can give the answer and not for ever...

Oka Oorilo (2005) - Telugu Movie Review

Ranking: 3/5

Cast: Tarun, Saloni, Raja
Director: Ramesh Varma
Music: Devi Sri Prasad

The movie is total time pass...From the beginning of the movie you know that there are only two this movie can end and it is how it does. So we can say that it can be a bit boring if you are the kind who expects thrills and chills in a movie.

Lalitha (Saloni) moves into the village where Ravi (Raja) and Seenu (Tarun) are living. Seenu and Lalitha become fast friends which makes Seenu jealous initially. Though over time the three kids become inseparable until Ravi's family moves to Hyderabad. Seenu and Lalitha grow together becoming real close friends. They are always together and even go to the same school and later college.
Seenu's Aunt (Nirosha) an NRI settled in America tries to get Seenu married to her daughter. She tries to poison Seenu's father and kick Lalitha out of the picture but Laliltha's and Seenu's commitment for each other holds strong.

Friendship paves way to love for both Seenu and Lalitha. One of the guys in the college jealous of their relationship tries to harm Lalitha and Seenu. This leads to Lalitha loosing her father who is her only family. Seenu's aunt takes advantage of the situation and plans to leave to America with Seenu the very next day. On hearing this Seenu elopes with Lalitha to Hyderabad.

As luck would have it Ravi rescues Seenu and Lalitha from the perils of big city and takes them home. Seenu a rich kid, pampered all his life has no aim in life and has no intention of working either. Lalitha convinces him to work but her attempts are futile. Out of guilt Seenu leaves for Vizag...What happens next?? Take a wild guess? Like I told you...Only two things could happen...

The village beauty on the banks of Godavari are postcard picture perfect but it seems like there are no other houses in the village but for a set of Lalitha's house and Seenu's. What are the directors thinking?? That someone can get a visa to go to America the very next day they please to? Come on...Get a life...At least tell that a visa application will be submitted the next day instead of saying "Seenu will leave for America the very next day."

Acting: Seenu's and Lalitha's character portraying one of lazy rich kid and a responsible girl are etched out very convincingly in the first half that lays a very solid foundation for the second half of the movie. Both Tarun and Saloni have a very good on-screen chemistry and have both acted out their parts very well. Raja, first time I am seeing him, has also done a good job and not only that he is also handsome!!!

The music is like any other telugu movie...A little beats and a little melody...Ok!

On the whole you can watch this movie with your family, very simple and a happy-go-lucky movie. I still like the way Telugu movies capture village beauty...Lush green fields and wide water bodies...hmm....So if you have nothing better to do then you can bank on this for decent entertainment.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Monday, December 12, 2005

Girish and I went in for a late breakfast. The breakfast was Ah-mazing. I ate so much that I was almost about to burst. Then we wandered around the hotel more...Browsed for sometime...Then got back and got ready to head for lunch and show Girish some Chennai.

Thameem maam came and took Girish, Shaw, mom, and me to Karaikudi Restaurant. Girish was disappointed that he could not eat Nethili fish there as fishermen had not ventured into the sea for over a week but satisfied himself with mutton and chicken dishes that he immensely enjoyed.

Later we showed him Marina Beach, Besant Nagar Beach and Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium before we headed back to the room to pack and leave for Mumbai...It was sad to leave mom and dad and go...I have left them and gone many times and felt sad all the times but this time it was different. It was also very sad to leave Thameem maam and Priya and Chennai. I requested Thameem maam to drop me off at the airport in spite of the hotel accommodating one for us so that I could spend my last few moments in Chennai with my Thameem maam...

The drive to the airport was tiring as it had rained again causing traffic jams at every corner. But we reached the airport and tears were about to roll down my cheeks when Thameem maam left abruptly not wanting to see or hear any of it...Ramesh had already reached there and he led us away from mom, dad, and Shaw into the airport where he walked us all the way till the gate before he also left Girish and I alone. Then Jet Airways took us to Mumbai!!!

Second time in the great city...It was scary...The taxi driver was a character...He refused to tie our suitcases that were placed on the overhead shelf of the car...Which could potentially fall over on any bump...and he did not care...He drove around not even knowing the directions and later tried to cheat us...Girish's dad and brother Mahesh both had to fight him off.

I entered Girish's house for the first time kicking a coconut after Aarathi. It was very nice. We spoke for a long time before we hit the bed...

Another day closer to leaving India...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Sunday, December 11, 2005: My Wedding

The rain had stopped and it was perfect. Thank god that it had stopped raining after 7.00pm last night and it did not rain till the wedding was over. I was woken up at 5.30am by Thameem maam. I got ready in a simple saree and was waiting to be called.

Mom came and took me up to the hall where a small pooja was performed and my head was anointed in oil and asked to leave. I had like twenty minutes to change from the simple saree to another simple silk saree after a hair wash and be ready for another pooja...Girish also had to go through similar thing before me...

Thameem's aunt (Kupi), Priya akka, and Thameem's sister (Roshni Akka) tried their best to drape my saree, do my hair, do my makeup, and to get the jewelry in place. A lot of things were missed out in the round as people ran down calling my name...Angry I was late...and I was rushed to the hall once again. One more pooja and I was given my wedding saree to get ready in within another ten minutes this time...Girish had already completed this formality and was ready for the next one in his wedding dress...

I ran down and got ready as fast as I could and this time adding all the missing jewelry pieces...We did miss the chandra and the surya para this time...But it was okay...Once again I was ready for the show when people came running down trying to rush us through the process...

Finally...The wedding...After a lot of poojas and fun stuff we were asked to stand...With Girish's right toe on my right toe placed on a small stool and a dhothi raised between us we waited as our parents completed all the final pooja's and exchanged betel leaves, flower, and banana...Girish tied the knot...It was perfect...We then played the exchange of the garland...and then more poojas...We also did the circles around the mandapam and the putting-of-the-metti (toe ring). Girish hurt me like crazy while doing that...But I did not cry...Later we had more pooja's in front of Agni...

Then we had a small find the ring game...Girish beat me 2-1. We had the throwing of rice by all men followed by a lamp pooja by the women. Girish's mom gave me the diamond earrings and insisted that I wear it then...I had like ten women trying to get the earrings swapped...It was funny and slightly painful. Friends and family came to wish us luck...It was very nice. Girish and I were tired and were ready to sleep...But then we had lunch and then waited to send all of Girish's family away before we cleared off from the hall and drove back home.

At our house I packed all my clothes so that I could leave directly from the hotel to the airport...It was tiring...Girish and Shaw took a nap but I was busy trying to clean up as best as I could. According to the rules...We could not leave our house between 4 and 6 as it was bad time...So we waited till 6 and left for a temple...Shaw, mom, Girish, and I. Dad was going to have the car drop Ananda Athai to her home and then join us at the hotel after cleaning the house some more.

We went to a temple on Nelson Manickam Road and prayed and left for the hotel The Park on Numgambakkam High Road near Gemini Flyover. It was beautiful. Thameem and I had selected this hotel after checking out the rooms and facilities. We stayed in one of the most expensive rooms. It was awesome...The treatment, food, decor, comfort...Everything...Mom, dad, and Shaw stayed in our adjacent room. Girish and I had fun exploring the hotel and its facilities and eating a lot. It was three in the morning by the time we slept...Now Married!
Saturday, December 10: My Reception

I woke up to see Shaw sitting in the living room bored and waiting to talk to someone. The minute I squinted he walked up to the bed and sat down next to me trying to chat up with me. Later everyone went to eat breakfast while I had a bath and got ready. Shaw and I later went to browse and came back in time to get ready for a small nalungu pooja at Kumar uncle's house. It was beautiful. Curie Akka, Bharathi Aunty, and Sukanya also joined us there. Mom, myself, and Archana were also there along with Thameem and Priya. After the function we had lunch there and got back home to leave for the beauty parlor (Lakme).

It was almost 3.30pm when we got there...They rushed me in and got me ready with makeup, hairdo, and saree in Gujarati style with jewelry. It was 6.00pm and I was ready for the show...(PS: if you plan to get your makeup at Lakme...Remember to ask for Maria...She was simply the best! She knew what she was doing and she did not make me look painted...instead she gave me a very natural makeup that was just perfect and in no photo does my face look too oily or too white).

Rain stopped us from getting to the hotel on time but still we reached there at 6.30pm. Girish was yet to come from the temple after his nalungu and mapillai azhaippu (bridegroom welcome). The photographer came in and took some photos of me solo and Girish dressed in his suit. By the time we got up to the Hall it was almost 8.00pm, slightly later than the time we had put on our invitations. Thanks to the rain a lot of people made a delayed arrival and it was okay.

The reception was total timepass. I felt bad that I could not spend time with everyone who had come but I guess that is how it works...Girish, thank god did fuss at all...He was a little hungry but put up very gracefully...He was such a sweet heart through the whole process...A darling that he is...

Dinner was good and I ate to my hearts content...There was carrot halwa which was Girish's favorite and he had fun...One more photo session with me in my Ghagra and Saree before I retired to bed for the night.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Friday, December 9th, 2005

With the wedding just one day away the tension was mounting in the house. Everyone was running helter skelter trying to finish up small things. Thameem came home around 10.30am and we both left for Pondy bazaar again for last minute shopping. We bought bangles, broaches, and other small items. Went in for an amazing lunch at an Andhra lunch home...Awesome!

It started raining by now and we were on our way to Fatema's house...I was going to get bridal henna done...If you are getting married and want to know her information...Shoot an e-mail...She is simply superb. I am not kidding because...Normally my hands only get orange after five hours of drying but this time...It turned a perfect red and only after four hours. It was beautiful...She was fast...She did all the way upto forearms and my feet in just three hours...

Later we went and picked up Bino, Archana and Jinga (now called Dalia) from Central Station before heading home to eat Malai Kofta and Fried rice from Saravana Bhavan.

Shaw was coming in at 2.00am or 3.00am late in the night and dad was going to pick him up with Ramesh. Ramesh insisted on going alone but dad was adamant to receive his son...So off they went while I slept after scraping off the henna from my hands...It was RED!
Thursday, December 8th

Too many things happened over the last few days and next few days. Yesterday I had to undergo a Pre-Makeup session at Lakme. Gosh it was awesome. I was there from 10.30 through 4.30...a little hungry at the end of it...But who cares...It was Ah-mazing...

Mom and I got our facials done, hand done, and hair did...I also got waxed and toned for the Reception exercise. Total time pass. Later we went to shop for small items in Pondy Bazaar and also had lunch there at Saravana Bhavan.

We bought the Temple jewelry at a Kerala Fashion Store. We also went to GRT again to do some last minute gold and silver shopping and realized that they had messed up our kuthuvilaku order. They promised to give us an upgrade for a lesser cost and more silver weight and also deliver it to our home...Thanks to mom's friend Karthik (from Villivakkam) there. We also picked up some silver we had given for polishing and then Thameem and I were off to pick up my Ghagra and the blouse I had given at Jothee's to be stitched.

At Jothee's it was fun...Minor adjustments had to be done...But all was well. I have to mention here about the lady tailor at Jothee's...She was a diva. To get something stitched from her we had to beg and wait for more than 20 minutes each time putting up with her tantrums and attitudes. But whatever it was...We were happy with the finished product.

Later Thameem decided to take me to a fancy restaurant as he had not taken me to one since my landing in Chennai and we decided to go to Mainland China at Quality Inn Aruna off Sterling Road junction. But for Priya who was in office wear both me and Thameem were in street clothes. We were totally dressed down and all the more embarrassed to see others so well dressed and stylish. Anyhoo, as usual we ordered too many appetizer and hardly touched any maincourse. I was amazed to see how the spending power of people has increased in Chennai...College girls coming with friends to eat in a restaurant where each item is more than Rs.300. And yeah! We saw Director Bharathiraja here...

By the time I went home it was almost eleven and dad was waiting at the gate as they lock the gate due to petty thieves in the colony. I was so tired that I slept as soon as my head rested on the pillow anticipating longer days to follow...
I don't understand...Why should we (girls) be thin like a stick?...Remember being slim is out of the window...You have to be thin and two dimensional to attract men's attention?

After all it was always in fashion to be fit or maybe a little on the plumper side for women...You know...Like well endowed women?? All the temple sculptures from India, Roman and Greek sculptures have never depicted woman as being SKINNY...Yet when they cast woman for a period movie...Why are they skinny? Isn't that being anachronistic?

I just feel that woman who are fit and healthy looking look their best against those who are thin and skinny...As (again I think) their faces are just too stuck-to-the-skull and trust me that is ugly...

Most of the models and actress today look much better after they add some weight...It's like great body but sorry about your face...

Hah! Maybe I am just frustrated that I am not thin and wanted to justify my figure!!!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Kastooriman (2005) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 3.5/5.0

Cast: Prasnna, Meera Jasmine, Sarat Babu
Director: Lohitdas
Music: Illayaraja

Prasnna and Meera Jasmine go to the same college and are at loggerheads on more than one occasion. Prasanna is an introvert and Meera is not. The individual characteristics of both the characters are etched very nicely and are also portrayed aptly.

Prasanna who is assumed to the son of a very rich film producer in actuality is a pauper. His father, Sarath Babu, was a very rich producer at one time but gambled away all the family's savings. Prasanna's family is in debt beyond redemption and everyone is banking on Prasanna to get them out of the mess. Even their poverty and desperation is shown in a very light manner thus taking away any gloom...At least until this part.

On the other hand Meera's life is not so peachy either. Her sister is married to a police constable and have a daughter together. Meera's sisters family along with her sister's mother-in-law live with Meera and her mother. Her sister's husband is interested to take in Meera as his second wife. Meera who is against this goes through a lot of emotional torture and also sees her sister and mother go through physical and emotional torture from her brother-in-law. Meera is the sole bread winner of the family. She works as a nurse at a few houses and goes to college at the same time.

In spite of the misunderstandings and quarrels Meera helps Prasanna in a very tight situation thus bringing them both together. Meera helps Prasanna who tops the University to pursue his IAS education in Delhi.

In the meantime Meera's BIL still tortures her and now starts hounding on her for talking to Prasanna. The beating and verbal abuse is now a regular occurrence. Also, Prasanna comes back from Delhi to realize that his father has already engaged him verbally to one of his debtors daughter.

A slight twist in the tale and the movie ends...

A decent movie, may be watched with the whole family...A little scary at times, especially the role of the Police Constable's mother and her verbiage...But for that the movie is very nice. I would not watch it if I am in a happy mood cause it did bring out a tear or two on more than one occasion...

Prasanna has really molded himself into a decent actor over the past few years. Apart from comedy he can also do serious roles and he carries the character very well on his shoulders. Meera Jasmine, well she is a National Award winning actress...But still her overacting and childish acting gets on your nerves at times. If you look past that...Then it is okay. Sarat Babu a veteran in such roles is good as usual. The mallu actor (I am guessing) who was the police constable...Was Great...He really scared the crap out of you...It was because of him that I could empathize with Meera's character...

Anyhoo...The movie is very watchable...much better than many others that have released over the past few months.
This has nothing to do with any of my India-trip Posts...But very importantly my Best friend Nanda's wife Sri delivered a Baby Boy - Lil' Nanda on January 6th. He shares his birthday with three great people I am aware of...Balaji (my brother), AR Rehman, and Kapil Dev.

Congrats Sri and Nanda. I am very confident that you will make great parents and bring up a proud son!


Thursday, January 05, 2006

November 27 - December 7th:

Got to do a lot of things during these few days...Can't really track the events chronologically here but will try and recollect most of them...

  • I went shopping with Vani to shop at Spencers Plaza. It is huge. Really...It can be compared to any decent sized mall in USA and what is better...They actually have enough car parking...No kidding! I went to only a couple of shops as I had to meet Showkath after that...I went to Fab India...A store everyone told was great to buy cotton salwars and kurtas from. Honestly, I just about liked it...You know...It is not a very shopper-friendly place. The supervisors including the watchman follow you everywhere you go and they annoy you by asking you if you wanted to buy everything you tried on...and they do not let you try on white kurtas...How am I going to know how it looks unless I try it? The watchman told me that if I try a black one I can figure it out...I was soooooo mad...I told him to keep his kurta up his #$%...
  • I went for a small dinner with Showkath and Co to GRT Grand Days...It was amazing...The spread, the service, god...This is what I missed in Dallas. There were like 10-12 appetizer, like 10 veggie and non-veg dishes, and here is the best...About 20 desserts...yumm...Just thinking about it makes my mouth water...and all of it for just...Rs.350...Just $7.50.
  • Then We did the garment and jewelry shopping for my wedding. Just buying all the jewelery took us like a whole damn day. At the end of which we were super tired and all this in spite of buying everything in the same shop.
  • Okay so there is only one shop that I like when it comes to buying jewelry. Maybe that is because my mother knows a guy there very well that we get Amazing discounts and we also get great service and treatment. It is GR Thanga Maligai (GRT). Everyone knows this place in Chennai. It is huge and they have all jewelry you need. Another place that is small but also decent with some more modern designs in Khazana. I liked the patterns they had but their collection is no where in comparison to GRT's.
  • Saree...Very important for the wedding and reception. I went to only three shops because I only had so much time. Given a chance I would have spent more time walking up and down of stores but in one way it was good that I finished the shopping in a matter of two hours. Thanks to Thameem and Priya.
  • Kumaran Silks and Pothy's were my choice. I did go to Nalli and another so-called fake Kumaran but they were no very impressive. I bought my Chennai reception saree at Kumaran and my Bombay reception saree at Pothy's. Awesome selection they got and the treatment is good if you are going to pay big bucks. So I did not mind shopping in these places...Less tension and more work.
  • Ghagra...I had to buy this for my reception in Mumbai. I again visited Man Mandir, Naidu Hall, and many other stores in Chennai. Really, I did not like anything in any shop but the ones in Man Mandir. Every thing else looked cheap or tasteless. Man Mandir really has class and they have a very wide price range. Please visit this even if this is not the store where you will buy your ghagra. Also remember that this store has more than just ghagra, they even have amazing designer sarees.
  • Then you will need a lot of the fake jewelry or fashion jewelry as they call it. Let us see...Like...Hand set, chutti, necklace, ear rings, fake nose ring, etc. Which are for the reception and then you will need somethings similar for your wedding. Go to Jill Mill, it is a subsidiary of Sr Kumaran Silks and it at the entrance of Pondy bazaar from Panangal Park. They have everything under one roof. But they might be slightly over priced. If you want to buy something cheaper just walk down the road and on either side you will find stores...Try Narayani Pearls, they are very customer friendly there. Remember to buy the temple jewelry for your head. It is beautiful...
  • In between on Dec 2nd I also went for my visa...read my blog on that experience...It rained the rest of the day and stopped me from doing anything more.
  • Met a few of my classmates for lunch at Residency...Again..Food....Ah-mazing...What service...What quality...What quantity...pitchitanga po!
  • Also got my beautician fixed up at Lakme for the reception makeup...Cost me around Rs.5,000. Did not know what I was going to get for that...But everybody told me that they would do the best work and so I took advises...
  • Visited a few of my family friends in Chennai with my parents. It was a little tiring traveling in Chennai in car during rains...But hey it was worth the trouble as this would be the only way I could meet them before the wedding. Of course all these people are or have been very important to me at one time in my life.

This is all I remember trying to scrape my brain but I will add more as I remember things.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Saturday, November 26th, 2005 12.30am at Vijaya Park Inn, Chennai:

Dad was running around the hotel room restless. He was angry it was 5.30am and he unable to take a shower because there was no hot water in the shower. Annoyed he called the Housekeeping at the hotel to realize that it was only 12.30am and that the hot water will on after 4.30am. Mom and I were also up and I we glared at dad for doing what he did. It was jet lag...

Once again dad was rummaging through the luggage looking for his razor. Mom also woke up and joined him and I woke up due to the commotion. Dad was confident that it was 6.30am and he was upset that he had actually overslept and now he wanted to shave. I checked the clock once again and it was not even 4.30am. I was really angry now...But each one of us were going through jet lag...and so mom and I attempted to sleep once again and this time till 7.00am.

Thameem, Kumar uncle, and I helped dad and mom move into a house we had rented for a month in Annanagar before heading out to shop. The apartment was on the 3rd floor (Indian) and there was no electricity that day due to some maintenance work. It was miserable...Climbing up and down with our heavy 70lbs suitcases. Kumar uncle bought us wonderful lunch that we devoured.

Thameem maam and I went shopping to Lifestyle and Globus and bought me a lot of clothes for over Rs.11,000.

Recommendation 1: If you have a decent budget and do not want to spend time bargaining...Visit the following stores:

Lifestyle: Great shoes, purses, and decent salwars. The store is slightly cramped in the women's and mens garment section. But it has very trendy stuff for a reasonable price, especially if you convert it back to dollars.

Globus: Good collection of pants, skirts, salwars, kurtas, accessories, tees, business wear, etc. I really loved this store, my personal favorite. In fact, I shopped for more than Rs.30,000 in this shop alone.

Shoppers Stop: Very sober colors. I really did not like their collection much. I visited the one in Chennai as well as in Mumbai and I did not find anything that Wow-ed me. Nevertheless you do find some interesting clothes and accessories here too.

So after a tiring day at shopping I went home to have dinner that Kumar Uncle had bought with mom, dad, and Thameem. Thameem stayed over with us tonight. Total timepass.

Marriages are fun! But when it is yours...It is all the more fun mixed with some confusion and tension. Mine was similar...After almost knowing the guy for five and half years we finally decided to tie the knot in the auspicious month of December. Since my whole family lived in the US of A all our friends took over to help us with all the wedding preparations in Chennai, India. Thameem and Kumar Uncle along with others totally finished most of the work before I landed in Chennai on Nov. 25th morning.

I want to write a concise journal of my trip to Chennai, Bombay and back which also includes my Wedding and Receptions and I hope to provide some helpful information to future brides.

November 25th, 12.00am at Mumbai Airport:
Girish and I land in Mumbai and clear through immigration and wait for our baggage while a Northwest Rep comes to us with our names written on a board. I pray that they have not lost any of our bags and he assures me of the same. The handsome rep informs us that Northwest Airlines has arranged for lounge stay and dinner privileges at a five star hotel for the night till my connecting flight to Chennai and they were also extending it to Girish as he was with me. Happy, we walk through the customs and get stopped to have our bags checked. Nothing found we continue to proceed and check-in my luggage in Jet Airways before we get our cab ride to the hotel.

The lady at the Jet Airways counter confuses me. She is not sure where the cab will pick me and she tells me that Northwest does not provide any such privileges and I should go to the domestic terminal alone. Panicking I run to Girish and ask him to leave and that I will leave to the domestic terminal alone in the airport bus. Girish leaves and I now walk back to alight the bus and I realize after talking to another representative that there was some confusion and that a cab was waiting for me outside, the same place where I said bye to Girish. I walk out and see a whole bunch of people staring at me...First time after five and half years I see so many Indians at one time (I saw almost 10,000 at Dandia night but they were mostly ABCD's). I was scared and I was not sure if I should just take the airport bus to the domestic terminal and forget my five star privileges. Thankfully I get dropped at the hotel where I make a friend who is also on her way to Chennai and spend the rest of the night trying to fight sleep at the hotel.

I get on my Jet Airways flight to Chennai which gets delayed for over an hour due to a sick patient on board. I am tired but unable to sleep as a result of excitement. I have to mention here that the hospitality in Jet Airways is probably the best I have been meted with so far.
Well mannered and extremely friendly Airhostess, clean interiors, and great food make the journey a very pleasant one.

The flight takes off from Mumbai airport and I am in for shock...As I see not the Arabian Sea but a Sea of slums in front of me which then get lost between the low lying dense smog! Finally the plane goes over the sea and off towards Chennai.

As the airplane began its descent all I could see was not the farm lands but only giant puddles everywhere...For a second I thought I was in Minneapolis. The outer low lying areas all seemed to have been flooded by the incessant monsoon rains that thrashed the south over the past couple of months. But I felt good, I was home.

Thameem came to pick me up at the airport and I decided that I will not sleep for the rest of the day to avoid jet lag and get used to the IST. We stopped by at the hotel where I was going to spend the night with my parents (which was also the hotel where I eventually got married at) before leaving for Velachery where Thameem stayed. We picked up Priya dropped her off at Central Station and en-route I slept like a baby in the car.

I wore my seat belt and shrieked every time someone came 2 inches away from the car. I found fault with so many things that by the end of the day I could have written a 10 page essay on how things should be changed to compare to the US of A. All the while Thameem just smiled and said, "you will get used to it and start ignoring them in a couple of days." Which is what happened eventually.

And so the day ended with me sleeping like a baby till 12.30am on Nov. 26th...

Continued in my next posting...