Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wise Up Papa!

G picks Babs at her baby-sitter's house.

B: Papa will you take me to your office now?
G: No Babbi, they do not allow small girls in my office. *G thinks, I am smart, avoided that one. Phew!*

She is silent for most of the drive. Then suddenly she goes of into a monologue about her swimming skills.

B: I did the dumb bell, I did the board. Amma did not come with me into the pool. I went in by self.
G: Oh nice! You have become a big girl.
B: But Papa you said I was a small girl.
G: When? *G completely forgot about the previous discussion*
B: When I told you I wanted to go to your office.
G: Well, you will always be a small baby for me. *G Feels smart once again*

A few more minutes of silence and they arrive home. As G unbuckles her from the seatbelt Babs puts her hands up to G and asks him,

B: Carry me Papa.
G: You have to walk. You are a big girl now. *Once again he has forgotten what he had said a few minutes ago*
B: But Papa, you just said that I will always be a small baby for you? I know you said it Papa!

G lost all his arguments that day! :)

Love you both
Amma :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fifth of July 2000

I landed in Kansas. I was so tired after travelling around half the world on empty stomach that I was ready to crash anywhere and everywhere. I had thrown up pretty much everything I had eaten in installments. I was one of those annoying co-passengers holding a vomit bag to my mouth. So anyway, I had met Ashok and Santy at my Port of Entry in Chicago Airport and spent a couple of hours with them before heading to Kansas and I was ready to meet my brother. After I landed I was busy fighting with the cart machine not reading the instructions that asked me to deposit a dollar bill. I reasoned to myself that if it was free in Chicago it should be in Kansas too right? When I looked up I saw my brother intently looking around the baggage claim area trying to spot me. The two of us quickly hugged, picked bags, he made fun of me, and we were off in his convertible Pontiac to his bachelor pad.

Two minutes into the drive I asked my brother, "So this is America? This it is? That's all?" My brother nodded excited. I looked around at the empty land on either side of I-435 and a tear came down my cheek. "Can I go back to India? I know it is expensive but I will pay it all back once I start earning," I begged my brother. My brother freaked out. He had no idea how to handle a crying sister who was hit by home sickness already. I had barely stepped off the flight. And the more I saw of Kansas City the more I wanted to cry. I missed Chennai, my family, my friends, my house, my car, my everything, I wanted to go back to all of them and I was not sure I wanted to be in America any more.

We got to his apartment and for the first time in my life I was locked in an elevator car with a couple making out next to us. Both me and my brother were super uncomfortable waiting for the elevator to reach the tenth floor. After I saw my brother's studio apartment I was even more disappointed. I wanted my house and my room!!!! My brother assured me that in a few days we would drive to South Dakota, pick up my SIL and then move into a bigger apartment but that did not help much because my brother sucked at cooking. The food he had cooked for me made me cry for mother even harder.

For no reason (well actually there was) or rhyme, I cried for more than two weeks. I would go to my brother's school, chat online with my friends in Chennai sobbing non-stop. Then my brother took me on my first long distance drive from Kansas to South Dakota and things changed from there. We had a great time. The drive was fun and meeting my SIL and eating good food helped me a lot. Following that trip my brother and I visited Kansas State Univ. my Alma-Mater to be and I got excited. I think about this time my tears were all dried up and I was ready to start school and my new life. And by this time I had also seen my future-husband so everything was in place, life was in motion.

That was ten years ago and today I am ashamed to confess that I have been back to India only twice in the last ten years. My memories are of a Chennai that only me and people from my generation will remember and I can never forget them! Ever! They are mine for keeps!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


On the insistence of my friend Nanda, I have started to write movie reviews again and I have merged my movie blog into my regular blog. Both are the same now so that it will be easy for me to maintain them.

I was very regular until I had a baby and everything else took a back seat in life. But now that she is growing up and G and I actually get some time to watch movies, I would like to write reviews. I am opinionated and I would like to share them with you. So please feel free to comment and let me know if you agree with me or not and we can always agree to disagree.


Madrasapattinam (2010) - Tamil Movie Review

Ranking: 4/5

Cast: Arya, Amy Jackson, Nassar
Director: Vijay
Music: G.V. Prakash Kumar

As soon as I saw this movie I called home to talk to my parents, who had actually lived in Madras around the time this story was set. Yes, my parents are that old and yes my father remembered a lot of things from his childhood. I asked them if there were really trams in Chennai, if people really rode on boats over our esteemed Coovum, if there was any significant freedom struggle in Chennai, and father had answers for all of them. We had an hour long conversation at least. It was fun, to see Chennai through their eyes. With just that the movie had already won my heart.

Now coming to the movie itself, it has a very Titanic touch, and a sort of Lagaan-ish feeling. More Titanic though, by the way the movie drifts from present to past and back, seamlessly. While I felt it had semblance to Lagaan only because of Parithi's (Arya's) attire and the small fight sequence. Other than that, this movie was on its own. The songs, the sets, the language, everything had a very good period touch and we all know how difficult it is to make Period movies and make them not look and feel anachronistic as well as fake.

Old Amy Wilkinson (Carole Trungmar) old, ill, and fragile comes to Chennai with her grand daughter in search of Parithi. As she gets off the airplane in Chennai airport, scenes from the past and present intermingle. She is looking for her lost love, Parithi in a city that houses millions today. All she carries with him is an old photograph and memories from days gone by.

Young Amy (Amy Jackson), had lived in Chennai with her father, the erstwhile Governor of Chennai during the last days of British Raj. She is betrothed to marry the Police Commissioner as arranged by her parents but she falls in love with the young, rustic, and brave Parithi. Her fiance and her family show strong objection to the affection Parithi and Amy show for each other and try their best to break up the relationship. Just before Amy is shipped back to England along with the rest of the English, Parithi gives her his mother's Thaali that she wants to return it back to him or his family. And the search continues in Chennai.

Will she find him? For that watch the movie.

I loved Arya's acting, though at times he played too much of an angry-young-man he still carried off the movie brilliantly. His attire made me wonder why the director had to give him a look similar to Aamir in Lagaan. Amy, acted very well too. She is pretty and she suited the role aptly. Even the old Amy for that matter fit perfectly into the role. One thing I loved about the movie was that the Brits spoke in English and did not get a voice over in Tamil through most of the movie. Maybe, a first in Tamil cinema. It was impressively done. Also the comedy track in the movie is subtle but consistent making sure that the mood is not somber even in some serious situations.

Every generation will enjoy this movie, it has all the drama, action, love, mother sentiment, and love-opposition, as required by Indian movies but blended in smoothly into the story. It is not overdone and it shows Chennai in its Glamor and beauty in its hey day, of which we have just heard of. There are even shots of the old Spencer's Plaza that burnt down and Coovum actually looking like a river and not a sewage canal. I really enjoyed watching this movie.

Let me know what you thought about the movie!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


It has been so long since I wrote anything here last time. I don't know why but I had so much going on that I could not spend any time on this little personal space.

Anyways, I have been planning on writing a post on My Ten Years Living Away From Home Country. I know I am lazy but will get to writing it up soon enough.

Upcoming events in my life: My ten year courtship anniversary with my husband. It has been that long and yet feels like yesterday! And not to forget my seven year Registered Marriage anniversary. WooHoo! Feels good to see the years chalking up. Yes, I am growing old and graying fast but life is also progressing.

If you are really bored then feel free to read my short love story here, here, here, here, here, and here. Yes, I wrote them in small parts :)

Cute things my daughter said, at least it was cute for me:

1) We went for the Shakar-Ehsan-Loy and on our way back I asked her, "So Babs, did you like it?" She promptly told me, "What a good performance Amma." Too much of Dance India Dance.

2) I dance around a lot in the house. I love dancing. So when I was doing one of my impromptu performances through which my daughter and husband are forced to sit through daughter said, "Amma ke liye sab log ek bar zhor dhar thaaliyan." Yes, really, too much Dance India Dance.

Love you lots Babs!

Your Amma :)