Thursday, December 27, 2007

One night in a Train...

Third posting in one day? Looks like I am making up for lack of postings over the last month or so...anyways...I was reading through one of my old blogs on trains and then I remembered one incident that happened to me during one of my journeys and thought why the hell not blog it down!

So I used to do my internship in Bangalore during my seventh semester college. I traveled to and fro between Bangalore and Chennai very often that I sometimes wondered why I bothered to work away from home when I missed home so much! Anyhoo...that is besides the point and coming back to the one Sunday night my friends Thameem and Bino came with me to the station to see me was an overnight journey and I was seated on the two seater window side which also gave me the top berth. I love top berths as I can sleep as long as I want and wont be disturbed by others...but I never liked sleeping on this side of the train for two reasons...(a) the berth is short and I have to crouch to sleep...not that I was tall but I was tall enough! and (b) because I felt like I was in public view and hated that feeling... I got into the train, put my bags in place and I was about to step out to join my friends till the train started to move...but then I noticed a jackass who was sitting at the aisle right across from me checking me out and then gave the sleaziest wink one could ever possibly give...I was so pissed off...I went and complained about him to my friends...

Bino the smartass told me to slap the guy with my slippers if he made any stupid move and told me never ever to take a night train when traveling alone and so on and so forth...way too much advice from both of them...and thankfully the train was ready to leave...

I got back to my berth and sat down for a few minutes before climbing up and getting comfortable to read my book...then from the corner of my eyes I saw that same jerk jeering at me...and I swear to god I don't know what got into me...I sat up, patiently untied my Nikes, dusted one of it with my hands and then checked to see if he was still looking...which of course he was...I picked it up and moved it to show that I will slap him with my shoes...God you should have seen the look on his face...he turned over and fell asleep and I did not see him at all after that!!!

I felt so proud of myself although I did not sleep much that night...mostly because I was scared of my new found bravery and its consequences....but the next day when I reported my act of bravery to Bino he was dumbfounded...he could not believe that I almost followed his advice and from then he has been scared for me for my own good...He has been minding what he tells me lest I go and do something stupid at the spur of the moment...

I was lucky that the guy did not turn around and do anything nasty or that no fight ensued after I waved my shoes...I am not sure I would advice girls to do that...but then it does make you feel better that you did not let go your dignity in front of some stupid prick!
Buh Bye 2007...Welcome 2008!!!

Another year comes to an end...and I am going to be a year older in the next three months...Cannot imagine or believe that I am 30 years surely zips past if you have been busy!!! Compared to 2006, 2007 was very mild.

The beginning...I mean the very beginning of the year sucked. Girish's project came to an end and for the first four weeks he was busy looking for another project in Dallas so that he would not have to leave town and leave me alone...

But February bought in good news...Girish got a new project in Dallas and I was pregnant! What more could we ask for! Life seemed to be going on the right track! Then when March came I went back to my alma matter (KSU) for placement interviews and Girish and Shahid also drove down to spend time with me and my was awesome fun!

Girish, Rama and I went for my first ever Golf tournament in town...The Byron Nelson and got to literally brush shoulder with Veejay Singh and see Phil Mickelson in beautiful that was though a bit tiring...

I turned 29.

Then Rama left town to move to the group had seriously gone through size Preetha, no Monee, No Rama...Sappe and Thakur away in Austin, Kapila busy with was just me, Girish and Shahid hanging out...occasionally Sammy joined us when he was not with his Aiyash dosth log...Megha also joined us when both her and hubby were in town...but quintessentially it was just Girish, me and Shahid and Sammy once in a while...

But then Girish made some new friends at work...whom we hung out with a few times...things kept rolling and this new group also partied like us...but now I was pregnant I had to skip quiet a few...Shahid's "School-Boy" theme 30th birthday party was a success and it was followed by a Hawaiin theme party for Malcom and so on...

Went for AR Rehman concert!

A Picnic at Lake Lewisville...

Preeti's Birthday party

Adarsh's Birthday party

B and M's Housewarming party

Nalex House Party

My Baby hosted by my family, one at work, one hosted by Milo and ADT, and one hosted by Giri's mom...Dare I say I was bored...hehehehe...

Runjhun had her baby Ahana born on August 5, 2007.

Life went on, with me busy being pregnant and getting prepared for the darling to come...who was a whole week and two days past her due date and still did not want to pop out...had to induce her and introduce the world to her...Sanjana, born on October 17, 2007.

Nitesh and Gayathri had their son...November 9, 2007...also a week past due date!

One more waiting to deliver, but in January 2008...Seems like all my friends decided to pop around the same time!

Now it is four days before New Year and I am writing my second blog of the day with the idea for another one already brewing in my mind...whatever happens life keeps on rolling out surprises good or bad at us constantly...hope it is mostly good and that all uneven things gets smoothened out in due course of time...

Wish Y'all a Very Happy and Successful New Year 2008 Ahead!
I cannot believe that it is a month since I last wrote anything down here in my blog...Wonder what is keeping me away!!! Sanjana is about ten weeks and one day old now...that makes her seventy one days old. That does not sound like too much for us but in baby world those are little milestones. Her two month anniversary was followed by her getting her first set of vaccinations...four shots in one day...two on each thigh administered within seconds by two nurses at the same time...poor baby she cried and wailed which brought tears to my eyes...not bad...she did not fall too sick or anything...just a little temperature and loads of sleep and self pity...

From my personal experience...

Kids when they are just born are cute but have no personality...they pretty much drink, poop/pee, and sleep the whole day and time during the first few weeks surely pass at a slow boring pace. The felt like I did anything...I was like a feeding machine for the hungry baby...but now that she is two months old she spends more time awake...and it is so much more fun. Sanjana now has a personality, when I think of her while I am at work, I know what she might be she would move her head or her hand and also Girish and I have managed to decipher what each of her cries refer to...

When Sanjana goes LEH...she is hungry which is the most essential information that we need...the rest of the noises are mostly for diaper change or sleep...if she ain't going LEH we check her diaper or rock her to sleep and everything is peaceful. In fact she has stopped crying much at all...most of the time it is just complaining...when we leave her alone for a long time...she goes AII...AIIIIIIIIIIII...and when we get closer to her she smiles!!! The smile that comes rarely is so precious!!!

This will be Sanjana's first New Year...and I hope that the following years to come will be filled with promises and a bright future for the little angel in our life...So here is Sanjana and her family wishing everyone a Very Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Jhonny Gaddar (2007) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 4.5/5

Cast: Neil Mukesh, Dharmendra, Rimi Sen, Vinay Pathak, Zakir Hussain, Govind Namdeo
Director: Sriram Raghavan
Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy

This movie is a must watch. I wonder why it did not get enough publicity in spite of being one of the better movies released in 2007. Classic crime novel with perfect twist and turns and an awesome ending to the brilliantly directed and executed movie.

Five people who are partners in running a shady dance bars and obviously involved in shady business get a deal where they invest a small sum of money to make a very big sum that will be split five ways. The head honcho of the gang is Dharmendra and the youngest in the group is Neil Mukesh who has an affair with the wife (Rimi) of one the group members.

Everybody makes a plan to move the money over to Bangalore for the deal while Neil makes his own plan to rob the money. In order to do so he kills one of the gang members and hide the identity of the traitor he commits one crime after an another...does he get caught in the end? There is no fun if I reveal the entire story here especially in a crime story...

Definitely a must watch as well the songs are a must hear. Total party mix and cool music. A couple of songs are available in Tamil and Telugu too. The screenplay is awesome and the story is brilliant...I cannot repeat it more...just watch it.

Vivah (2006) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 2/5

Cast: Shahid Kapur, Amrita Rao, Aloknath, Seema Biswas, Anupam Kher
Director: Sooraj Barjathiya
Music: Ravindra Jain

So this movie is one of those safe movies that do not deter from the norm set by HAHK and DDLJ kind of movies. They are long, melodramatic, and no villain kind of movie...even if there are villains they become good all a sucky movie if you are not the Hindi soap opera kind of a person.

Amrita Rao is the neice of Aloknath (master of tears) who raises her alongside her daughter and feels more close to her which triggers jealousy in the mind of Seema Biswas who is concerned about the well being of their own daughter.

Aloknath's friend brings in an alliance from Anupam Kher for Amrita's hand in marriage to Shahid. It is love at first sight for both of them. The engagement is done and date for a wedding set.

The entire household of Aloknath and Anupam Kher decide to meet for a vacation at Somsarovar and they sing and dance together until they have to cut the vacation short and head back to town for a business deal. Shahid leaves abroad to score something magnificent in business and life is all great...

The night before wedding, Aloknath's house catches on fire and in an attempt to save her cousin Amrita is engulfed by fire. Thanks to something...god knows what, her face remains untouched. Shahid the gentleman that he is marries her in the hospital bed as promised on the day of the wedding...See I told you na...these people are suckers for sentimental stuff...

Anyway all's well that ends well in this movie that is a family entertainer, if your family is into boring movies...this can definitely take a miss if you have better things to do.

Parzania (2007) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 2/5

Cast: Parzan, Sarika, Naseerudin Shah, Corin Nemec
Director:Rahul Dholakia
Music: Zakir Hussain

Millions of movies are made on riots. And then they dedicate it to the people who have suffered in them. Do the people who suffer in these riots really care to see their life made into a money making machine? Is a movie on how they suffered really going to help them in any way? I hate to see such movies and the ranking I have given is my personal opinion. As much as I love watching movies I don't like to see or hear people suffer however much it is a part of our generation. Plundering and rioting have always been happening and chronicling it over the past thousands of years has not changed the basic inhumanity in our human nature at times of instability then why make a movie out of it and generate income out of it? Somehow this seems like blood money to me.

The story focuses on Godhra riots in Gujrat and how people inside a Muslim community are affected from it. It narrows into the life of a Parsi family of four. The son is lost during the riots and the parents agony of searching for him.

The actors have done a good job and the movie is good too...but I did not want to hear graphic details and get scared. Certainly not one to watch with children.

Gandhi My Father (2007) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 2.5/5

Cast: Dharshan Jariwala, Akshaye Khanna, Bhumika Chawla, Shefali Shah
Director: Feroz Abbas Khan

The story is about the neglected son Harilal Gandhi (Akshaye) of M. K. Gandhi (Dharshan) better known as Bapu or the father of India. Harilal left with his family in India to fend for himself while his father and mother (Shefali) work in South Africa fighting inequality. Harilal gets married even before graduating from school or getting a job. Gandhi does not approve of it. Harilal later leaves his wife Gulab (Bhumika) to join his father in SA only to find that his father does not show any nepotism and at the same time does not encourage his son either. Harilal fights alongside his father but in the end tries to come back to India disowning his father.

His life goes through many downs and few ups...and the few ups also brought upon due to his getting influenced by wrong people. Every time he strays he comes back home to his
mothers comforting shoulder and a father who wants to help but is not sure how to. A father of the nation could not take care of his own son...such was the irony.

The reason I have given such low ranking for this critically acclaimed film is because of the fact that it is a little too slow and feels like forever. I was totally impressed with the acting aspect as well as the story but the movie could have had a better pace. There were a lot of things about Gandhi's life that was revealed here that I never knew before and it surely shows a different perspective on his life than what we have always been exposed to.

Movie can definitely be seen once though it does not boast of any entertainment value...a documentary of Harilal Gandhi's life at best.

Water (2005) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 4/5

Cast: Lisa Ray, John Abraham, Seema Biswas, Sarala Karyawasam
Director: Meera Nair

This is definitely a brilliant movie showcasing India's religious and social practices around the time of Independence along the banks of Ganges. The story is about young and old widows alike who are banned from their regular life and sent to a hostel for widows where they have to spend the rest of their lives away from family, friends and fun.

Little girl Chuyia (Sarala) a widow gets sent to a widow hostel in Varanasi where she is expected to spend the rest of her life. Shakuntala (Seema) takes Sarala under her wing and keeps the young blood from making too many mistakes and offending people. Sarala who does not even understand clearly why she has been sent away from home finds it difficult to conform to the norms of the hostel and keeps getting in the way of the warden more than once.

Kalyani (Lisa) is a beautiful widow who also lives in the same hostel but does a few things differently as she is a breadwinner for the hostel while she sleeps with many powerful men across the ghat. Kalyani is taken by a eunuch pimp who is in liaison with the warden for taking Kalyani across the bank of Ganga. Kalyani is frustrated with the hypocrisy of the system and wants to escape from it.

Chuyia on one of her escapades with Kalyani meets Narayan, a young graduate who has come home for the vacation. Narayan falls in love with Kalyani and wants to marry her. Kalyani with the help of Shakuntala leaves the hostel to marry Narayan. Only half way through to Narayan's house does she realize that Narayan's dad was one of her night time client. Dejected and heart broken Kalyani commits suicide.

What happens to Shakuntala and Chuyia forms the rest of the story...

Very heartrending but I am sure most of it is still in practice in parts of our country. We cannot completely get rid of our social evils but we can always hope for reforms...

Brilliant performance by young Sarala and the rest of the cast too. Wonder why this movie did not make a cut for Oscar...

Dus Kahaniyan (2007) - Hindi Movie Review

Ranking: 3/5

Now wondering why I have ranked the movie above average in spite of it bombing at the BO? Well there are some stories that are really interesting whereas a couple that are blah and a couple that are cliche. So reviewing all 10 stories in short form...

Cast: Arbaaz Khan, Mandira Bedi
Director: Sanjay Gupta
Verdict: Interesting
Arbaaz and Madira have been married for quite a while with neither happy in the relationship. Mandira is cheating with her boyfriend who is in the army and is leaving back to his post. So he gifts her a diamond necklace that she is not sure how she would wear in front of her husband. So she plots with a jeweler to make a coupon out of it so that her husband can pick it up and thus make black into white. Her husband sure enough picks it up but Mandira is in for a shock when she heads out to pick it up from him!

High on the Highway
Cast: Masumeh, Jimmy Shergill
Director: Hansal Mehta

Verdict: Blah!
Two college graduates who are in love with each other have a habit of getting high and taking a walk along the highway. One such night after their graduation when they are walking down the road a bunch of goons try to kidnap Masumeh and succeed in spite of Jimmy putting up a fight...Masumeh gets helped by the cops but what happens to Jimmy???

Cast: Amrita Singh, Parmeet Sethi, Minisha Lambha
Director: Meghna Gulzar
Verdict: Good
Amrita's daughter Minisha has just been engaged and her father is out on business once again leaving the ladies alone. Amrita has led life without love mostly and on this particular day her daughter dons her mother with a colorful dupatta and comments on how pretty she looks. Amrita realizes that it is the night of full moon and that as her lover had promised would be waiting outside the door. For once she decides to open it and let her desire take over her. After spending the night with him in the fields she returns home while many villagers notice the colorful dupatta on her head and mistake her for her daughter...

Strangers in the night
Cast: Mahesh Manjrekar, Neha Dupia
Director: Sanjay Gupta
Verdict: Good

Both Mahesh and Neha have the habit of discussing past distractions in their relationship on their anniversaries. Mahesh's forces Neha to tell about her experience and she does so with passion about the guy's whose hands she kissed and by whom she was so taken in a railway station's waiting room alone in the night and with whom she would have done anything...As we see Mahesh getting jealous Neha unravels the twist in the story!

Cast: Manoj Bajpai, Diya Mirza
Director: Sanjay Gupta
Verdict: Cliche

Manoj moves into the same apartment as Diya Mirza and they become good friends. Zahir wants to take the relationship to another level but Diya shuns him away. He is ashamed. One night while spending a night with his friends visiting many bars in the town Manoj sees Diya who is a dancer in a dance bar. Angry Manoj rapes her without hearing her protests when she comes back home from work...

Cast: Neha Oberoi, Aftab, Anupam Kher
Director: Jasmeet Dhodi
Verdict: Bore

Neha meets a lady on the train on her way home where she was getting engaged. The lady gives her a earring and vanishes at the next station which happens to be Lovedale. Neha wanting to return the earring alights and follows the road to a house where Aftab is painting. They become acquainted. Aftab attends Neha's engagement and feels hurt. Neha is also unhappy and her father questions her doubt...Neha tells about Aftab and her father tells her his flashback about how he met a lady on the train to whom he had gifted one earring before the train left the station. Neha and her father compare the earrings and decide that her meeting Aftab was no coincidence and she breaks the engagement to join Aftab...

Sex on the Beach
Cast: Dino Morea, Tarina Patel
Director: Apoorva Lakhia
Verdict: Extreme Bore

Dino picks up a book on the beach with the title Death and writes his name and date of birth as instructed and starts to read the book. A seductress steps out of a jet ski and sits down next to him and she invites him over to her house for dinner. Dino goes over well prepared with wine and condoms only to see the girl also very eager...but when Dino falls into a short sleep he wakes up to see her dead when he goes close to examine her she is actually alive and chases him to the beach...

Rice Plate
Cast: Shabana Azmi, Naseerudin Shah
Director: Rohit Roy
Verdict: Cliche

Shabana plays a staunch brahmin widow on her way to visit her grandchildren by train. In a hurry she forgets her wallet in her house and heads to the station. She orders a plate of rice in the station with the change she has and leaves her table to wash her hand. When she comes back she sees Shah eating it...Angry that Shah was stealing her plate Shabana forgets that Shah is a Muslim starts eating out the plate...

Cast: Nana Patekar, Anita Hassanandani, Rohit Roy
Director: Sanjay Gupta
Verdict: Cliche

Anita and Rohit are newly wed on a bus who start a small quarrel and Anita moves away from Rohit to sit adjacent to Nana who is carrying 11 smiley baloons with him. On questioning he tells her how he has to present his wife with the balloons everytime he has angered her and how she bakes a cake if she angers him. He explains to her how life is too short to spent fighting...When getting down at the stop he forgets to take with him the sorry card that he had written for his wife. Anita follows him to give it to him...

Rise and Fall
Cast: Suniel
Shetty, Sanjay Dutt
Director: Sanjay Gupta
Verdict: Okay

Sanjay has been called by Suniel at a lonely place to have a last meeting. Suniel advices Sanjay to leave town and settle down while he can take care of business here. Sanjay realizes that his friend has invited him to murder him and challenges him...realizing his fall Suniel tries to call off the the background we see young Sanjay and Suniel trying to make it in the big bad world....