Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I have a bit more stuff to take care of in the next two days and hope the house is spic and span before Thanksgiving. I am going to have a house full of people.
We also got to see Dostana last week and G and I also saw Zack and Miri Make a Porno (loads of nudity, funny movie, ends like a chick flick but ends fast). We did catch up on our movie watching schedule over the week and weekend. We also got to watch all episodes of Dirty Sexy monday (7 of them), Entourage (3 of them), Gossip Girl (5 of them, 2 more to go), all Monday and Thursday night comedy that were sitting and occupying our DVR hard disk. We rarely cooked and ate out most of our meals. It was fun. This was one week that I will never forget and I have to thank my in-laws and G's bro and his family for this. The perfect gift that any parents will ask for.
Can you believe it? I shredded two and half bags of documents that were collected over the last 6+ months and I am afraid that my shredder will be of no use soon.
As much fun as I had, I am also tired. Tired of sleeping late and waking up early, tired of cleaning (still have the bathrooms to do) and tired of watching movies and TV...
Come long weekend I might actually get home cooked food and some Baboo time too :)
Cast: Dev Patel, Anil Kapoor, Frida Pinto, Madhur Mittal, Irfan Khan, Saurabh Shukla
Director: Danny Boyle
Music: A R Rahman
Story: Based on Vikas Swarup's Q & A
Plot: A street dweller makes it to the hot seat on "Who wants to be a Millionaire," in India. The cops take him to interrogate and find out if he is cheating on the show. From him they hear a tale of loss, jealousy, love, hatred, murder and much more that can make you cringe and which helped him answer all the questions. The boy does not want the money, all he wants to do is find his lost childhood love.
Review: The first fifteen minutes of the movie makes you cringe, at the pain that is inflicted on Jamal (Dev) as well as the pain and misery that Jamal has been through in his childhood. The movie does not dwell too much on any sorrow, it has a pace to maintain, so it keeps moving on in a fast pace. Which also helps us not get tied up to one event and sink in its sorrow. Until after the movie is over you are not wasting time pondering on every single detail but when you walk out of the theater everything hits you. That is the beauty of the movie, you actually remember everything.
In some way, most of the Indian viewers will find most of the story predictable, not in terms of how the kid answered the questions but the plot. We have seen many Indian movies with similar background storyline, but the amazing part is the narration, the screenplay that makes the movie powerful and unique.
Sitting in the big theater you wonder, is this what the world thinks of India? big slums and kids being sold off to be made into beggars? Is this what the world is going to see? But then you also feel that the director has caught the essence of India that only we know and no one else, at least until now.
Synopsis: Jamal Mallik (Dev) is on the hot seat and Anil Kapoor is asking him a question and he seems to know it all. The chaiwala knows everything and is one question away from winning the grand prize. Jamal is watching himself on TV as the cop (Irfan) is questioning him on how he figured the answers for the questions out, considering Jamal has had no formal education. Irfan is confused how a slumdog is able to answer the questions while doctors and MBA's have failed.
Jamal is hoping that his childhood live is watching the show and he is hoping to reunite with her through the show. If I by chance reveal any more than this, then you would not enjoy the movie much, so go and watch the movie and enjoy it. It is one of a kind.
Friday, November 21, 2008
G and I wanted to get the car tires changed on our old Ford CV, so we thought we could get it done at Pep Boys. When we called the gentleman told us that they could change tires in 45 minutes for us. Excited that we will have spare time, we headed there immediately after reaching home. I know why all of us go to change tire right? But we are like this only!
We reach there, choose the tire we want, the guy tells us, buy three get one free. We are happy. We sign up for alignment and take our seats.
After roughly twenty minutes, the dude calls us, "Aye, come here." I was thinking in my mind, WTF, no one calls us AYE!
We walk up to him and he tells us that he does not have the tires we ordered in stock but he will give us a free upgrade. Around him four other guys stood with a serious face. They have no idea how to make their computer do what he had promised us and they were all breaking their heads over it.
So the price he had given us was $62 per tire + loads of crap + $55 for alignment (which was discounted from $70) = $410
So after one and half hour of labor we saw the mechanic drive our car to do the alignment. So G and I decided that we needed new hubcaps for our car and picked one up along with new wipers. We went over to the billing and the lady there looked flustered as she received instructions from the service guy.
I peeped into the computer and saw that they had some "Road hazard warranty" priced at $22. G and I decided that we did not need it as we did not see owning this car past another year or worst case two. So I requested the lady to take it off.
More flustering and mustering...she takes off the hubcaps we had bought and the wipers and tells us $410. I tell her very politely, "M'am, we need the hubcaps and the wipers, just take the road hazard warranty off. Please"
Totally flustered she starts muttering off in a language we do not understand to her boss. G and I looked at each other, "shayad gaali de rahi hai humko, itna choti si instruction samjne mein kya tang aa rahi hai usko."
So G and I wanting to have the hubcaps installed tell her to just get the hubcaps and wipers...and pay for it. We request the service guy to resolve the dispute.
In between all this, some random guy in the store who also works there but was off duty now started to advice us. And both me and G were like, WTF? Can we have the whole crowd come and explain to us what was happening while no one cared to tell the lady that all we wanted to do was something simple?
So, finally, the car is done. We have been there 2.5 hours, no exaggeration...
We go to pay the bill, the service guy manages to take the warranty off. We pay. Then G looks at the bill and see that they short changed us $15. So he talks to the manger who has the "what now" expression and gets the $15 back...well G is a banker's son after all...
"And what about the mail-in-rebate for the free tire?" I point out.
The old service guy hands me a form and tells us we will not get it anyway because we did not buy the warranty.
I am raging mad now but I calmly point out, "no one told us that." The manager and the service guy have the "I give up" expression on their face and so do G and I. Only thing, it is our money on the line...we were about to loose $50 because no one explained the rules to us!
The manger was now really confused how he was going to give us the money back. He stood there breaking a sweat and trying to think for almost ten minutes. Then G pointed out to him that he did not care about the warranty so a gift card would suffice to make up for the difference. Then the manager looked relieved and gave us an in store gift card.
We were so exhausted and I am sure that they were too, but the point is:
- The person at the front desk should be able to understand English better. After all we are in America which is a English speaking nation. I really wouldn't expect this if I was in France or even in India for that matter.
- The computer system they have should not be easy for the floor people to manipulate but it should be easy for the manager to manipulate and change things. There are always situations that you do not expect and the manager should be able to resolve them easily without breaking into a sweat.
- Give the customer all the facts and the total cost before you do anything.
- Check your inventory before pricing a product. For us it did not make a difference if we got an upgrade...like I mentioned, we are going to trade in our car in the next year or so.
- DO NOT PROMISE 45 minutes and make us wait 3 HOURS!!!!!!!!!!!! UNFAIR. We have a life too, you know!
Anyhoo, if you are in Dallas, then this PEP BOYS is located on Forest Lane and Webb Chapel Road...Avoid it if you can!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Cast: Nandita Das,
Director: Mehreen Jabbar, Syed Fazel Hussain, Maria Wasti, Noman Ijaz
Music: Debatyoti Mishra
From the time the movie began and almost until more than half of the movie I kept expecting to see something very bad happen. Thankfully that was avoided and
it made the film watchable. If you are looking for pace and twist and turns then this is not the movie for you, but on the other hand if you are looking for
a one line story with simple narration and decent acting which at times can start becoming a drag then you might probably enjoy this movie. I have to
definitely commend the acting by all the cast members including the little boy playing Ramchand. The background score is simple and the locales where the
movie has been shot is rustic.
The story is about a Dalit family that lives on the border of India and Pakistan. The village is so small that even the luxury of watching TV or radio on a
daily basis is not available to everyone. Most of the villagers are living blissfully ignorant about a war ranging between the two countries. During these
troubled moments, a little kid after having a childish tiff with his mom accidently crosses the border from Pakistan and enters India. Promptly he is
abducted by the sepoys who are guarding the border. The child's father also wanders into the border to bring his son back also only to be abducted by the
Indian sepoys too.
Dad and son are in the Indian jail and the son sees the dad getting beaten and tortured to prove that he is not a spy. Both of them share a large room with
other criminals and those who are also falsely accused of being spies or such. The kids goes through a transformation and you can see the father trying his
best to keep his child innocent and far from the corruption that jail cells see. The child finds a caretaker in a lady cop who tries to give him the basics
whil keep him at a bay because of his caste.
My worst fear was that they might show some gruesome scenes (like what you saw in Chandini Bar) with the kid and I kept trying to look away but thank god the
director sheilded us from all those kind of information. Do the kid, his dad and mom get united? For that you will have to watch the movie.
The acting in the movie is impeccable, it is truly an art movie and not for the ones who crave commercial masala. The story like I said earlier is slow and you need a lot of motivation to watch it. I even stopped to wonder what the purpose of the movie is, considering there is nothing dramatic or drastic in the movie after the first 10 minutes. It is like a movie that was shot on a webcam placed on the boy and then edited to consolidate four years into 2.5 hours. I am not impressed with it but it can definitely be seen once when you have absolutely nothing better to do.
Cast: Abhishek Bacchan, John Abraham, Priyanka Chopra, Bobby Deol
Director: Tarun Mansukhani
First off, for those who think this is a rip off a "I pronounce you Chuck..." I am sorry but it is not. The concept is similar but the story is not. The movie is funny, right from the word go. Definitely seems to be the fantasy movie the K.Jo would enjoy making considering there are more scenes that expose John A's rear than we see Piggy Chops. Even though actually have Piggy wearing only the shortest of short skirts and shorts, the camera always seems to land on John's well toned chest or his butt...and of course there is a scene where John gets wet in the rain wearing a white shirt...If this K.Jo had a choice probably he would have made this movie with just John A in it.
Anyways, enough of that and moving to the story...Neha (Piggy) owns a posh apartment in Miami and is looking to lease two rooms to girls only. Sam (Abhi) and Kunal (John) are two bachelors who are trying to find an apartment in a short time and they keep bumping into each other all the time. Realizing that they both have a common need for an apartment and after falling in love with Neha's apartment they decide that the only way to move in would be to fake gay.
Right from the time Sam and Kunal meet, the movie starts rolling and you are always at the edge of your chair laughing. The love story of how Sam met Kunal, or when they are introduced to meet M, Neha's boss M (Bomman), or when Sam's mother (Kiron Kher) lands in Miami to see if her son is really gay, and her departure back to London is so well entwined into the film that it is brilliant.
Usually a K.Jo movie formula is like this, the first half you roll on the floor and laugh, the second half right after the interval you are crying your heart out waiting for the movie to end...but thank god since this movie was only produced by K.Jo I am glad that the first 3/4 of the movie is hillarious and the typical cheesy, corny, annoying parts of the movie are short and crisp and shoved to the end.
So continuing the review, Sam and Kunal being straight fall in love with the obviously hot Neha who is oblivious to it and instead falls in love with her new boss Abhimanyu (a stone faced Bobby). Abhi seems to suffer from facial paralysis and you cannot see any emotions from his stone face. Happiness, anger, sadness, excitement all looks the same. He is the only annoying factor in the entire movie and we could have probably had Akshay or someone else in that role.
This comes as a shock to Sam and Kunal who are already fighting each other over Neha. The rest of the movie is goes about how Sam and Kunal try and foil the love budding between Neha and Abhi. What happens? Watch the movie.
This is definitely a fun watch. The movie is very cool, and set in uber modern times, but certainly not one you will watch with mom and dad. It caters to both gay as well as straight community as you get to see loads of John A stripping down to undies at the blink of an eye and you rarely see Neha fully clothed. I absolutely loved all the dresses she wore though I am pretty sure they will look good only on girls with good figures but I am sure that I can carry a saree off better than her. The only saree she wore in the movie was vulgar and annoying and she herself did not look comfy in it.
Did I talk about the music yet? No...so here it is, even the music and its choreography is hillarious. All the songs are catchy and funny and they do not slow down the pace of the movie. I love the "munda satta dol chadgaya..."
Anyways, enjoy the movie and if you don't let me know why.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Yesterday a friend of us sent us free passes to the movie Slumdog Millionaire, which had Anil Kapoor, Irfan Khan playing important roles and set in the backdrop of Mumbai.
We reached the theater at 7 but were told that the movie was already sold out. Not wanting to give up hope and having nothing else to do, we decided to wait for sometime before working on Plan-B. The wait was endless, well it ended at 8.10pm when we got to meet the director of the movie, Danny Boyle, a Brit.
He stopped and said very excitedly, "Oh you guys got a tee-shirt even," in strict cute Brit accent. Ya while we stood in the line, we got free tees that read "Slumdog Millionaire" in the front.
I quickly pointed out to him, "But, we are not allowed to go in to watch the movie."
"OOh, is it because the theater is full? Did you guys get the tee's as a consolation?" (Brit accent)
"I guess so, but hey, tell me what did you think of Anil Kapoor?" Me ask.
"He was brilliant. It was fun working with him. But this was his first English movie, so he was a bit nervous." (More cute Brit accent)
"And Irfan Khan?"
"Brilliant actor too. I had fun shooting the movie."
"The greatest city."
And he had to go...and there the four of us stood knowing the finality of the situation. If the friggin director could not get us in, then no one else could. We turned around and headed outside...angry but really feeling consoled that we got the tees at least and got to chat with the director, who of course might go on to win the Oscar for his movie or at least get a nomination...so yay!
And that is the reason why you guys won't get a review...yet!
PS1: My friend had a camera in his Google phone...but he refused to use it because he would not be in the frame as he would be the one taking the pic.
PS2: We had already tried the angle of "I want to see Mumbai...please let us watch the movie...haven't been to India in 6 years" angle with the ushers, and nope, did not work either.
PS3: We are still on for watching the movie this weekend, what say everyone?
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I moved to Chennai and all seemed fine. People used to really speak a bit different from what I did. I sincerely tried my best to keep my accent the way it was.
Time rolled on and after a few years I had my own car and I would drive around Chennai running errands or spending time with friends. One day I was driving with my mom taking her to get some shopping done when an auto rickshaw cut me sharp and I braked just in time to avoid our vehicles touching. I got so mad that I chased this guy down near a signal and rolled my window down (forgetting mom was sitting next to me) I yelled at him, "Mavane sollitu vandhutiya? En vandi dhan kidaichitcha unakku?" (Dear Son, did you tell in your house and come? You found only my car?)**
I saw the auto driver's jaw drop. Looked like he was in a state of shock. He then saw that my mother was sitting next to me. He looked at her and asked, "Enna ma idhu? Ponnu ipidi pesudhu?" (What this is? Why girl talking like this?)
My mother polietly told him, "Sorry thambi, but neengalum konjam parthu dhane ottanum?". (Sorry brother, but you can also pay attention while driving right?)
"Adhukunu ipidiya ma?" (For that? Like this?)
"Bayandhutta pa." (She got scared) My mom told him. I quickly jumped in and said, "Bayam ellam onnum illa...kovam dhan." (No fear and all that, anger only.)
And we left the scene as the signal turned green.
My mom chastised me and told me that it was not right for me to abuse anyone, especially an auto driver, especially when I am alone. She kept repeating what if he had said something back, blah blah blah. That truly did not stop me from being polite while I was on the driver's seat...my dad told me that it will take driving on the streets of Chennai to turn a saint into a swearer...and I was no saint to begin with anyway.
But, the point is, that it was that day I realized that I had become a Chennai-ite or a Madrasi. I had blended in, I spoke their language. I could speak it as a second language and had no problem. Worse, I found out that I could no longer remember what it was to speak Tamil like a Tiruchy person. Damn and from then on, there was no looking back and all my friends who knew me in Chennai will attest to that. I could swear like a sailor and speak Madras Bashai with elan. No problems there!
Do I regret it? No, I will just add the dialect as a feather to my already existing list of languages I know to speak. It is a dialect that only a few of us can speak and understand! It is ours and ours only!!! Made in Chennai...
Why was I reminded of this? Well, I was listening to a Madras Dappankuthu song the other day from the movie Aaru, and it was fully in Madras Bashai and I understood not just the lyrics but knew exactly what he was talking about...weird...Yes I am a MADRASI! Even after 8 years of not exactly living there.
PS: If you have not heard it, listen to the song "Azhagukku Thai Poruppu" from Azhavandhan. Amazing song. Simply beautiful. The lyrics are great but the music is brilliant too.
The translation above it more like transliteration...
When people get angry at someone for doing some wrong driving then they usually question them with the "mavane..." It simply means, did you tell in your house that you won't be returning back? Did you find only my car to fall and die?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
That life is not about you (or me), at least not always. There are others, going through similar or polar emotions just like you are. Everyone is a center of their own world or universe. We must give everyone their due and give them time and space.
So I learnt today. That it is not just me who has problems. There are others around me who are my friends who are also going through crap. But in moments of tension and such I forget. And when I hear it from them, I am covered with shame, that I was selfish and thought only about myself, my baby and my family...
Friday, November 07, 2008
I wonder who it is actually we are talking about when we say ABCD (American Born Confused Desi’s).
Here are the reasons why I think that the first generation Indian immigrants are more confused than the second generation kids and how we cause the confusion in our offsprings who are born and raised in a foreign country…
- Most of us do not leave India and move abroad because we felt oppressed, or were ill-treated, or had issues with the government or anything like that. People who actually face that do not have the choice of leaving
at all. India
It is us, the middle class or the upper middle class who have everything we want (in moderation) in
This very choice also acts against us. For example the minute we land here we start looking around for comparable stuff, like the guy who irons your shirts for just Rs.1 (hardly even 10cents) or for the guy who will deliver your fruits and veggies to your home. From there the longing starts and for every other sentence we keep telling each other “This time, last year, I was eating home made food that mom made for Diwali, and look at me now, sitting here, in a new country, eating the nonsense that I cooked.”
- It is our generation that always keeps talking about wanting to go back. Not that of our children, who are born Americans or Canadians and remain Americans or Canadians, and yet are called ABCD’s.
- If the kid is sick, we are the ones who think, should we give them Ayurveda, homeopathy or allopathic treatment. The kids actually would prefer to go to a doctor and listen to them.
- We are the ones who are confused because we want to celebrate Diwali and then Halloween too.
- We want our children to learn to speak in English with the local accent but also send them to Hindi/Tamil/Telugu/whatever language classes in an attempt to keep them speaking in Desi when they grow up.
- We are also the same parents that start talking to the kids in English as they grow up and then complain to the outside world that “My son only talks in English with him. I don’t know why he is not talking in Telugu any more.”
- We are also the same parents who take our kids to Geetha classes, Vedha classes and also force them to live in a country which is not based on the Geetha or the Vedha.
- We want to take our kids to Burger King but we want them to eat Veggie burger??!!!
- We want them to learn Ballet and also learn classical music or the other way around, go to Opera classes and learn Bharatanatyam…
- We want them to wear Ghagra to dance Dandiya and then change over to a cocktail dress to go to a friend’s wedding?? And you take them to a cocktail party but give them glares when they reach out for the champagne??!!!
And we do all this so that the parents (us) can boast that their kids are all rounders who are Americans or Australians but are very much Indian in their life choices??. Do the kids really ask you to teach them lifestyles from two different worlds? Do the kids really want to know what it is to be an Indian living in
This video will summarize what I want to say…part of at least.
With that I sign off this week...see y'all next week and hopefully it is more brighter for all of us!
PS: If you have an opinion but cannot express it freely in the fear of getting branded and you go with the herd then what is the point of having an opinion at all?
PS-2- Blogger is very annoying and is messing with my formatting! GRRRRRRR
This blog is not a take on any particular country. The only country that is a constant is
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I must admit though that these elections were by far the most fun to follow. G and I stayed up last night to see Obama's speech before we hit the sack talking about it for sometime. Tears welled up in my eyes to hear McCain's speech. The respect I had for him just doubled the very minute he started talking. And when Mr. President-Elect came on the screen I could feel the energy, the vigor, and the charisma that we are going to have in the White House for the next four years and I felt proud.
Like many have repeated it time and again, this is definitely a change and the change has happened, and this sort of a change can only happen in America, which is exactly why this is one of world's greatest country. And I am so proud to be here.
PS: The small things that make me love USA more...yesterday I was driving back home with babbi on a crowded road and I saw an Emergency vehicle drive up on the opposite side which was so packed up at the intersection. But the minute he turned his lights on everyone scurried over to make room for him to drive. That very act of trying to let the person in urgency go made my heart well up.
Disclaimer: I am an Indian and will remain one until I choose to change it. And I love my country as much as I love America or even a little more for the memories and the great opportunity it provided me with. India was the country chosen for me and right now America is the country I chose...No one to attack me with "You are a fake Indian," and such comments...I spoke what was in my heart.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
The mood is now set in, because the fear has set in. I am all ready to tackle the few knowns and the many unknowns...and then Chennai Electricity Board (CEB) decides to play with my life, er, exams. Magically the lights will turn off, the fans will stop running, no power. The entire neighborhood will walk out to their porticos and we will sit gossiping. This was the typical time for families to chill.
But then our heroine aka ME will be freaking out. There will be a couple of kids who would be smart alecs and would tell my mom, "I have to do third revision aunty, other than that I am ready." The my mom will look at me, and I would tell her, "I have to start reading amma." And the glare I would get back from her would summarize what she meant to tell, "Look at that girl and look at yourself, shame on you."
Why am I writing it now? Certainly not to make a joke of my then sorry plight but to draw an analogy. I moved to Dallas in 2004 and started working here. I had every opportunity to write my IDP exams and my exams for Leed...but what did I do? Party, party and more party. Now all of a sudden I want to prepare for the exams and guess what happens? Yup the power goes off, yet again, just in a different way, in that I am dealing with more responsibility in life.
I sit back and think, well, I cannot obviously blame Baboo, because I am now well aware that what I did not do before Baboo would not be done now and I should not blame her for my laziness in general. But I do know that I did pass those exams in spite of doing just one revision if at all, so my life still has hope!