December 14, 2013

Fear...

I came across this very beautiful thought, lines from a poem  -

"Fear is the cheapest room in the house.
I would like to see you living
In better conditions.
-Hafiz"



December 11, 2013

Hyderabad...

Was on a weekend trip to the city of pearls, bangles, Biryanis and the Nizams - Hyderabad! The weather was great and its a beautiful city. The ancient structures seem to co-exist very naturally with the modern buildings making the city architecturally beautiful.
Enjoyed the climb to the Golkonda Fort. The view from the top is just awesome. Walked around the seven tombs. There is a well laid path between all the tombs, surrounded with well maintained gardens and old park benches! All these add to the pleasure of walking and viewing.

The old city has the Char Minar. And Chowmahalla palace with those wonderfully crafted chandeliers. The busy streets leading to these have old buildings, the pearl bazaars, and shops after shops selling bangles - just bangles! It was an amazing sight!

There are ancient forts, minars, tombs, palaces, beautiful gardens, multi-storied buildings, beautiful temples, winding hilly roads with nice looking houses - all housed in the same city! Driving past Jubilee hills and Banjara hills gave me memories of Hollywood and Bel Air!

From the top of Golkonda Fort


Went in a speed boat around the Buddha statue in the middle of Hussein Sagar lake and it was a lot of fun. The laser show at Lumbini gardens was quite nice.

The Ramoji film city almost felt like a desi version of Universal studios tour. The sets, the hop on hop off buses going around and showing the various sets, the rides(I went in a few rides like the ranger ride, where it turns and goes 360 degrees and scares the bejesus out of you! That, my friend, is what fun looks like upside down! :) ) and the shows related to the art of film making made it a nice place to check it out.

I do not remember any inching traffic jams. The food was just great. Had the best fish kebabs and fish biryani.

It was a very pleasant stay and enjoyed some great hospitality, thanks to a friend. Hyderabad is wonderful! :)

Frozen...

Movie name : Frozen.
Watched the animation movie in 3D at the theaters last week. It was about the love of two sisters. It was beautifully different from the regular fairy tail-ish stories. Good fun.

December 01, 2013

The power of gratitude...

This is one thing I would like to do everyday - before going to bed, appreciate the good aspects of life. Somehow this positivity seems to be get carried even when I wake up and make the rest of the day beautiful. I did that randomly a couple of times and the results were consistent. But I wish I remember and get into the practice of doing it every day. Starting today I want to make this a habit.

Gratitude was something that I used to underrate, and when I read things about it, I used to get that feeling that it is some self-help bookish preaching. Observations have lead me to believe that there is something more to it. It seems like an immensely enabling force. This is a good time to be thankful for and to make plans! :)

P.S: Am thankful that I have kept writing as often as I can this year, and this is the 100th post ever in any given year! Hmm thats nice!

Yeh hawa kehti hey kya...

I used to like this song from Aryans years ago, and recently when I tried recollecting the song, all I remembered were two lines - "Bin tere mein kaise jee sakunga, Tera pyar kab mein paasakunga" and I searched a couple of times with these lines and dint find. Today was just watching songs randomly and found it - yaaaay!


November 24, 2013

Random...

What struck me today - A child's needs are basic, simple and real. Once met, there is no complaining. What happens when we grow up, that we become so...

What got me thinking - I heard something like this on one of Oprah.com videos and felt it was a very wonderful thought - "At the end of the day, week or life, what matters is have I contributed more than I have criticized!"...

November 20, 2013

The WHYs of things...

I find vulnerability a great quality. Some people can so easily put things out there and evoke a sense of sympathy and understanding from others. When I offer a sympathetic ear, I mostly do not feel my time was wasted. But if I had to tell someone that I had such a thing bothering me, I would think, would I be wasting their time, would it be appropriate to discuss. I think. I wait. I wait till I get proper time to tell a loved one, that this is what is bothering me. And sometimes, I wonder if they will worry too much and decide on not sharing it. I act all strong. I avoid people when am a mess. And people think am arrogant, self-centered.

What I truly need in my life is to be heard, to be understood. It is tiring to have things and not have someone to say it to. It is tiring to be nice to the world and in that attempt end up alone. It is tiring to deny yourself some niceness. It is tiring to be so full of expectation and pretend like I give a damn. It is so tiring to believe in magic and at the same time wonder will the show ever start. It is so tiring to be so cautious of getting hurt by being your natural self, when you can as well let go and take it easy. It is so tiring to wonder who is judging and why, when people are just like you.

Why cant I be vulnerable, why cant I be, without feeling lost or spreading myself too thin? Why cant I just ask for help when I need? Why cant I just ask for support when I need? Why is getting some understanding and sympathy a sign of weakness?  What is the fun in pretending to be all strong, when you really are not? Why should one force oneself to expect less? Why do I have to hoard feelings till it bothers me so much?  Why should I stop believing in things that I have always believed, because someone says so - really?

Do things really have to go way too wrong before it starts getting better?

Why do things become lighter when put in black and white?

November 15, 2013

RamLeela...Goliyon ki raasleela...

Language : Hindi

Watched the movie at the cinemas today. Loosely based on Romeo and Juliet. The performances and chemistry of the lead pair, the bright colours of the costumes against the dull(but not boring) colored sets, the music, the dance - all these are a delight to watch. The movie was slightly long and the violence affects. 

The best part that I enjoyed was the chemistry between Ram(Ranvir Singh) and Leela(Deepika Padukone) and they look extremely good looking! :) They believe in each others love despite all odds. They dance quite well too. Some of the outdoor locations - was it Udaypur and Rann of Kutch, not sure - they are beautifully shown. And most parts of the movie were a visual treat to watch, it was "paisa-wasool" stuff.

November 07, 2013

The "Temple run" of thoughts....

Have you played "Temple run"? For the reason that I like anything related to running, I probably like this game too. I was visualizing running like in Temple run, through the thoughts of the mind and feeling, as I forge forward, the path becomes clear and what seemed the initial obstacle goes off and is replaced with another. If you hit the road block, try running through the thoughts again.

Thoughts are what are most interesting. And one really never gets what exactly another person is thinking. You just can make a good guess. And still people communicate and think they make sense to each other! I could be telling you something and you could be understanding it in totally different way and both of us may never really appreciate how little we actually were in sync! And this could have been perceived as a great conversation we shared. It is like two people playing temple run next to each other and talking, with neither paying enough attention to the talk. So probably thinking, understanding, comprehension happens in a very personal space - in your mind/head. And the more we imagine that other people really understands us in ways that we are actually thinking, I guess the more funnier the expectations get! And the time spent in thinking and evolving and growing reduces. More energy is spent in efforts to make yourself understood, which is anyway not going to happen. It is impossible to get into someone else's head and think like them. Think about it...

I feel the closest I have got to anyone's thoughts is probably through the written word. And in written word you have probably the illusion of the comfort of understanding exactly what is being told to you, without being refuted in any which way whatsoever, unless you think otherwise.


November 04, 2013

Life and the check lists...

I was channel surfing and caught a scene from "Yeh Jawaani, hey dewani" movie where Deepika's character tells Ranbir's character something like "No matter how much we try, we are going to miss somethings in life, so why not enjoy the present moment when we can". Instead of running around the place they have come to visit, they sit there enjoying the sunset in each other's company.

It got me thinking. Looks like all of us are happy in our own ways. I don't need what you have to make me happy. And other peoples' happiness, is but a perception. Our accomplishments are unique, our struggles are unique, our aspirations are unique. It is so foolish to compare. We find what we seek, and how can we compare each other when no two of us seek the same things in the same way. So life is not about having a check list and ticking it all. Even ticking it all does not guarantee happiness. Smell the roses and enjoy the sunsets. Chill. Am told we already have all that we need to be happy. So just be.

Expect less. Work hard.  Don't take yourself too seriously. Things will happen when they are meant to. Enjoy the moment. Breathe. Relax. And that is pretty much it. 

October 29, 2013

Some adventure on a weekday!...

What did I do today?
Kayaking, rafting, rappelling, aerial rope slide and even tried my hand at swimming(given that I only learnt swimming during a summer vacation as a kid and then never tried to check if I had learnt anything at all).

While rappelling, I was very nervous to even come close to the instructor as I was scared to look down. I asked him to first tie the rope and then speak to me, so that I can pay attention to the instructions! And after this, midway I felt so confident, I was giving instructions to the girl next to me about the right posture! The instructor told me politely to focus on what I am doing(and stop giving fundas to people) :P

Am I such a water baby or what!? I was in a small raft all by myself for a long time watching other people kayak, raft, swim and rope slide. Drifting idly on water and changing direction only when I was out of the shaded area or too close to a leaning branch from a near by tree. It was just amazing, idling on the water i.e.

During a conversation, I felt a strong desire to try and feel what it feels like for a non swimmer to attempt swimming. In a moment of inspiration, got into water. I kept my limbs up and it felt good to be afloat and then suddenly I realised I was quite far and panicked! Then I had a feeling am drowning. See how thinking and feeling and actually what happens are all connected. A moment ago, I was a supremely confident floating being and in a moment of doubt, I had a feeling of drowning despite the life jacket! Most of these are mind games to be won inside the head before you actually even attempt to try these!

How was the experience?
Wow, enjoyed a great deal.
Where?
At an adventure club about 50kms from Bangalore.
Would I want to do all these again?
YES, of course!

October 26, 2013

Life lessons from Leh...

When I look back at my cycling adventure in Leh,Ladhak I have the greatest memories. But everyday cycling about 40 kms for 5 days was not vanilla fun as I can distinctly remember my thoughts of those time, while I was actually doing it. The mornings were wonderful to cycle, but if it was uphill it was a struggle. The high altitude was not helping. The scorching heat of the afternoon sun, the shade-less stretches of NH1, the chilly winds of early evenings making you want to wear a thin jacket - and ofcourse the fatigue that comes with physical exercise in extreme conditions - every evening I would wonder if I could cycle the next day. And the next morning I would wake up all fresh and would have the enthusiasm like it was my first day of cycling. In spite of all the things that were not easy, the trip is easily one of the best things I have done in life.

So what was so wonderful about it? Here I am, days after turning 31, realizing my dream of being able to explore Leh which I have wanted to do for so long. I love cycling and cycling in the mountains is so awesome. I was not sure if I had the physical stamina to do such things. I wanted to check. And I did it, and quite impressive indeed. I seem the happiest I have ever in past few years going by the pictures taken in Leh! The sense of accomplishment is immense.

That is my bike! :)


Very importantly I learnt a few life lessons:
1. To conquer the mountains you need to be in good shape, more so mentally. It is so tough to believe when going gets tough. But thats pretty much the only way to do it - believing that you can.
2. If you have chosen to explore the mountains with a mountain bike, well knowing that the fuel would be your energy and it takes greater time and effort to cover the given distance compared to a motor bike - you would have put in a deal of thought and chosen the trip for yourself. Believe it. Dont wonder why do you even do such things to yourself. It mostly seems stupid midway. May be on the way, exhaustion sometimes gets the better of you and there are low times when you wonder what the heck you are doing in the middle of nowhere in that hot sun, gulping glucose water like crazy and cycling so slow that a rock at the distance is your reference for a whole hour. Think well about what you want to do before doing it. Questioning your decision after starting or mid way is a bad idea. Drop the doubts. Stick to the decision, if you thought you could do it, you mostly likely can. So, just do it.
3. Journeys are about exploring yourself, as much as they are about exploring places. Enjoy. Take your time to smell the roses, soak in the warmth of the sun, breathe, meditate, day dream, share, care. Experience. Life is but a journey!
4. Uphills are tough. But if you wanted a view, you would have to climb the mountains. Thats why you are there to begin with. If you reduce the resistance by keeping the gears at their lowest, all you need is patience and persistence to get there. Uphills are there for a reason. And a little bit of practice and right perception can get you wonderful views that you will cherish all your life. So, hang in there, and go 1-1, 1-1, 1-1 (thats the gears!) and keep at it.
5. Downhills are fun, but they last a few mins! "Fun" in life cannot be forever. "Forever" fun may not be so much fun. But to get that fun feeling - of feeling the wind in your hair and cycling like the brakes had failed and singing at the top of your lungs and being so happy - you got to climb uphill. So it is just a part of the road, you cannot have downhill all the time, if you weren't pedaling enough why even cycle. You could put yourself in a drum and role down the road or something like that! Dont expect every piece of road to be downhill. Fun journeys are not made of that stuff.
6. Interesting people add to the joy of journeys. Choose whom you go with carefully. Although cycling is a very personal journey, there are times when having someone look out for you gives a nice feeling. When you take breaks to have lunch or to energise it is nice to have people who believe in the same things as you do, and say a kind word or give you motivation or just a knowing smile. The energy drink can re-energise your body, these other things energise your spirit. And tough terrains test your spirit more than your physical stamina. You need the right kind of people around to have your batteries charged, else it may just be a tough terrain struggle you signed up for.
7. The bigger picture is what you get when you have completed it. So wait. You cannot have those great abs, toned arms and legs till you complete it. You cannot understand what you have achieved bypassing anything on the way. You have to beat the heat, climb all the uphills, enjoy all the downhill rides, take in the great views, stop and enjoy the scenarios, click snaps initially at every beautiful sight and then get tired of doing it - there is a great scenery around every corner - so instead just stop enjoy the view and then cycle on, you have to keep focusing on that next peddle when you are totally exhausted and until you can find that shade and then wonder why you are here! :P You have to do it all. Only then you know what the whole deal is. So if you havent got the big picture yet, "picture abhi baaki hey dost!" :P
8. As it turns out, when you look back you carry only the memories of the good stuff, not so nice stuff erases gradually. Tough people last, no one can take away the sense of accomplishment from you. Only you know what you are doing, because no one else can understand you and tell you what you would enjoy doing the most. 

October 24, 2013

Practicing gratitude – 2


1.      For Bangalore’s nice weather day after day – cloudy, drizzling, overcast dark in the day weather, oh-do-i-really-have-to-getout-of-bed kind of good weather. Thank you!
2.      For that quiet cup of tea I had watching the beautiful surroundings from the big window. Quiet prevailed in the day. Glad. Thank you!
3.      For the nutritious breakfast and the nice company. Thank you!
4.      For the regularizing, thank you!
5.      Downloaded some fun apps. Good job developers. Thank you!
6.      A friend shared Robin Sharma’s book. Read a few pages on my tab, some beautiful thoughts. I tried applying some. To sharing, and for trying. Thank you!
7.      For taking a chill pill, having a lazy evening with a book. Thank you!
8.      For the evening conversation. After a pretty quiet day, talking was fun and nice, interesting conversations are always welcome. “When life is tough we have to go easy, like while cycling uphill keep the gears at the lowest “1-1, 1-1, 1-1” “. :)  Thank you!


 

October 22, 2013

Gratitude - 1

Things am grateful for, today :

1.      The sound nap I had during the morning bus ride while listening to the magical voices and words on my phone! Thank you!
2.      That beautiful morning drizzle I sat watching while enjoying breakfast and the strong cup of filter coffee. Thank you!
3.      The Google Nexus 7 tab that was delivered today, I bought it online a few days back. Wonderful. To all my teamies and friends who enthusiastically participated in configuring it and giving helpful suggestions about the “do”s and “don’t”s – a big Thank you!
4.      For being able to keep the tea –date with a friend. I have become notorious these days for being a “ditcher”. I say I will come for tea or breakfast or a movie or weekend outing and somehow end up not being able to do those. I was not like this a few weeks back, either I would say “yes” or a clear “no” and stick to whatever I had said. I want to get that reputation back and so am off with my first success! J Thank you!
5.      For convincing myself to go out for a walk despite the gloomy weather and then jogging for almost 2kms to avoid getting drenched! It was amazing, sweating and feeling my sweatshirt getting heavy, while the cool breeze and that light drizzle trying to soothe me. I was initially wondering if am panting and if its audible. I wanted to remove my earphones and check, instead my hand went to the volume button. I “up”ed the volume and continued jogging. Wow. Thank you!
6.      For my stereo earphones that make anything, even my own breathing not audible when am listening to music. It made the jog so good. Thank you!
7.      For soothing my anxiety and giving me some wisdom. For trying to make things better. For trying to understand. For striving. Thank you!
8.      Finally, and very importantly for the internet that works and enables me to post! Thank you!
 
 

To The Universe...

All those books, articles and inspirational talks keep emphasizing on positive thoughts. Is day dreaming, wanting something not the same? I do not really know how to keep thinking positively all the time. “Thoughts become action”. Yes but how can you control thoughts and feelings, amplify only positivity in them and go on. It would take a lot of awareness on every second of one’s life to do so. I am not sure how to practice that also. I wish I could be given a few trail runs with some hand holding from the Universe on how this bloody thing actually works. Then I could myself tweak the settings of the Universe and get what is best for me from there on.

I am not sure where The Universe looks for, so an open letter here. Hope The Universe reads it and acts upon:

Dear Universe,

I am not sure if I know how to dream boundlessly. Give me the wisdom to know what is really good for me and then the courage to want it with all my being. Help me forgive easily, smile more often and have a good time while am alive and kicking. I would like myself to expect less from people. I could do with a good dose of clarity of thought. I am thankful for all that I have, the thing is, I need more. And since I am told I can want all that I want and have it too, I am sending out that request to you, The Universe, so that you can conspire to give me all that I am looking for. Patience is a virtue and as you know, I already have it, so please make it fast. J

Also please help me understand this secret of how to train my thoughts and make life an amazing experience. I want to be the best person I can be, help me with that. And yes, having a good time while I am at these is important. Kindly note this. I sound a tad bit demanding, but then I am told, that the Universe gives you anything that you have the courage to ask for. So PLEASE help me out. 

Sincerely,
Pratibha

October 20, 2013

Apricots!

This was a pic I had taken after having a bite of one of those yummmm juicy fresh apricots in Leh, Ladhak. I love that yellow color and their taste is fresh in my memory!



Ladhak memories make me smile from ear to ear. In the office elevator recently, I saw this man wearing a T-shirt that had "Juley" written on it("Juley" is "hello"/greeting in Ladhaki)  and something like "Heaven on earth - Ladhak" written below. I dint know the person, but I just started smiling uncontrollably at the person, and he must have wondered why! :)

I am just so happy I got to see this heaven on earth - the natural beauty of the Ladhak region with Indus, the dust/sand mountains, the rocky landscape, the azure skies and all of it. It had been a long cherished dream to explore Leh, Ladhak and am so happy I could do it this year, feeling blessed. :)

October 16, 2013

Cleansing...

After watching “Gravity”, I am wondering about “letting go”…

I let go of a couple of “materials” that were bothering me when I looked at them. I cleansed – my room I mean – and metaphorically on some level the cleansing seemed of a few things in my mind as well. I want to let go of a few more things, some irritations I have, by writing them down I want to get them out of my system. Here they go –

1.      If you are watching a movie with me, please don’t make unnecessary comments, I am hoping for the movie to entertain me, so you don’t take the trouble please. Moreover, I enjoy watching movies, so back off J
2.      If I buy something from your retail store, don’t charge me Rs.500 on my credit card and give me a bill for Rs. 499. If you want that 1 more rupee, put that on the bill. If you cannot, then key in 499 instead of 500 on your POS machine! Don’t cheez me off.
3.      Don’t give me fashion advice if you don’t know me too well(in other words if you do not matter to me so much). a) I buy what I like b) I wear what I buy. c) if I don’t care for you, what makes you believe I will care for your advice. I wear what makes me feel good, I aim to please myself, not you. Sorry if that was blunt!
4.      Please don’t make jokes about people because of their gender, ethnicity, age or background, you may do it with people who are very familiar with you, excuse me.
5.      Don’t act overly familiar with me, if you were, there was no need to act.


P.S: The below are not applicable to close friends, as they would already know these by now and in case they forget, I can comfortably express my displeasure!
P.P.S : And I heard from a good friend, that it is a good day to cleanse.. :)

October 15, 2013

Gravity...

Watched the movie “Gravity” today. The 3D effects were amazing. It is a sci-fi movie. A couple of astronauts space walking and fixing a few issues suddenly have to face a shower of debris speeding towards them (why was there a debris - again, aaah it had something to with Russians trying to destroy an old satellite or something, which back fired causing more collisions leading to the cosmic debris…something on those lines may be). Suddenly the hunky dory stuff stops and you get a grip of how very dangerous it can get in outer space. It is a movie about how humans feel, hold on to things – emotionally and how everything is life has to be sorted out in the head first, to get better, in reality.  Sandra Bullock(as Dr. Ryan Stone – yeah Clooney’s character makes fun of the name “Ryan” J ) and George Clooney(as Matt Kowolski)  play the two astronauts who survive the accident. Then what happens, do they actually make it back to earth,  makes up for the second half of the 90 mins movie. It is wonderful, go watch it.

October 11, 2013

Duaaa

I was cycling in Leh, and I heard this song while resting for a while around noon time. It so happened that a fellow cyclist had stopped to rest and I too was looking for some shade and so stopped to rest for a while. During the conversation, he just asked me if I have heard this "Duaaa" song from the movie - Shanghai. I had not, and so he played it for me. It was so soothing and nice. I instantly copied the song and ever since keep listening to it almost once a day. Check it out if you have not heard it yet...

October 07, 2013

mmmmmm...

You know why babies need someone to rock their cradles while they sleep? Rocking is not just a lulling action, its a bit more than that. The world is too new for them and they rely heavily on the mother or another family member, like a doting aunt(like me! :P) to give them that comfort that everything is okay with the world, that the baby is being taken care of.

As we grow up, some part of us still craves for that reassurance from someone familiar and trust worthy to tell us everything is ok with the world. We cannot always expect ourselves to be rational beings. Caring and needing to be cared for is ingrained in us. Being vulnerable is not always a sign of weakness, it is being human too.

October 03, 2013

Lemons and lemonades!

Office bus came 30 minutes late due to some technical issues. Once we(another person who gets in the bus along with me at the same stop) got to know that, we went to a near by darshini, had an idly, vada and by-2 coffee! Then came back to the bus stop and enjoyed a nice ride to office.

Well, so what does one do when life gives you lemons? Chill. Enjoy fish biryani with lime soda in the company of friends! What else? :)

September 30, 2013

Drizzle...mmmm


Drizzling in Bangalore. Feels nice. Awesome weather, may cause a few hiccups with traffic, but today feels like - "So what"? :)



September 27, 2013

Lucia..

Movie name : Lucia
Language : Kannada

I just enjoyed watching this movie. The movie deals with lucid dreaming. The story movies back and forth between reality and the dream that Nikki, the hero lives and dwells in. The script is great. The actors are apt for the roles. The movie is very engaging.

Now and then I would get a couple of doubts, like the hero tells the heroin, that she will know why he is against her wanting to be an actress, and tells her when she realises, she'll come back. Of course she comes and she seems to have realised what he meant, but as audience you have no clue, why! I am not sure if I wasn't paying enough attention or this was really not dealt with.

But overall a landmark movie in Kannada and deserves an applause for the effort. I would highly recommend watching the movie.

And btw, I liked that "Tinbeda kammi, tin tinbeda kammi" song, very catchy and enjoyable! :)

September 25, 2013

The lunchbox...

The lunchbox movie was a good watch. The story is set in Mumbai. In the rush of life, things are forgotten. The purpose of life begins to fade away if we cannot experience and share. Life isn’t all that lively if we don’t care.


There is a line, which went something like “if you don’t talk about things(from the past and even the present), they cease to exist”. Excellent performances. It seems slow at places. Just make sure you watch the movie in a quiet place. I happened to watch it in the theater and for some reason strange reason the audience was somewhat a rowdy crowd, who kept commenting now and then. To me the ambience makes as much a difference to watching a movie as the story does. So I would have liked to watch the movie in a quiet place. 

September 22, 2013

In the land of apples and apricots...

I had some of the juiciest apples in Leh! The fruits seem to be grown in almost everyone's backyard there. There were also lots of apricot trees in the gardens. Having fresh apricots were a very tasty experience!




The local markets had all the fresh produce of fruits and vegetables. I guess all these are organically grown and much cheaper! No fancy packing, and taste heavenly.

Local market

September 21, 2013

Movies I want to watch...

Want to watch "Lunchbox" and "Lucia". Seem like two quite interesting movies I would like to catch up...

September 18, 2013

Playful shadows...

There are wonderful shadows cast everywhere on the beautiful landscapes of Ladhak. The clouds cast shadows on mountains. The mountains of the plains and roads and other mountains. The trees on the roads. Airplanes on anything underneath. The shadow play of the lights was a photographer's delight. 

Many a times, the shades from these shadows were a real relief for a biker from the scorching sun.  

Just amazing :)


September 17, 2013

Mountain biking....

I was on a holiday to Leh, Ladhak, Jammu and Kashmir for the last 11 days or so.  What was I doing? Well I was on a mountain biking trip J How cool is that! The bikes aka the geared cycles were extremely good for the terrain and it was a wonderful experience. The best part of biking in the mountains is the meditative aspect. The terrains are tough and the weather in Leh is ruthless to the extent of literally sucking up all the moisture your body dares to expose. If you breathe through your mouth instead of the nose, the food pipe dries up! The dehydration left to itself can cause depression is what I heard, so even to keep oneself sane, one needs to hydrate as often! The early mornings and late evenings are chilly and the late mornings and noons are unbearably hot(for a Bangalorean i.e) and dryness is irrespective of day or night. Given the fact that I had all the time in the world, I became very aware of the body and mind. Any physical activity under extreme weather conditions is a mind game to begin with. 

The first day of the trail run(it was about 25kms!) I just wondered what on earth made me enroll for this, it felt very tough and I felt very unfit. The next day I was far more comfortable and by the fifth day the bike and me were almost so much in sync it was difficult not to believe I hadn’t done mountain biking before in my life. I learnt to synchronize breathing patterns with pedaling the bike, handle the steepness of the mountains with the bike, learnt to negotiate the hair pin bends. 


The roads - the roads in Ladhak deserve a special mention. They are extremely good, better than the roads in metros may be! The biking experience in Leh can be said to be of supremely high quality because of the excellent roads! Three cheers to the roads! :)

The azure skies provide a sense of calm that can only be experienced.

And the sense of accomplishment is so awesome. Imagine climbing mountains with your raw physical power for a fuel, what in the world can match that! The travel and the adventure add to the fun. The whole ride was on NH1 and most of the route was next to the Indus river! Scenic. Fantastic. Breath-takingly beautiful. I would highly recommend the experience. It is a doer’s delight. At the end of it all, you not only get a sense of accomplishment, you also get a toned body – that is a big bonus now, isn’t it!

September 04, 2013

Looking forward to...

Everyone needs a break, and what makes for a good break - travel of course! Pretty excited! :)

August 31, 2013

Sulking and how!

May I say, I have sent my "hope" for servicing, so sulking big time today. :P

I really liked the thought, so here it goes in the blog!


August 22, 2013

The Illusionist...

Watched the movie last evening. A period film. Nice plot, my smile was intact when the curtains fell. Enjoyed. I have seen a few movies with a similar feel, but this was released back in 2006 and may be had I watched it back then, I may have found it quite novel.

August 20, 2013

Theatre

Author : W. Somerset Maugham

She is the greatest actress of her times in England and yet Julia Lambert leads a very lonely life in a loveless marriage. When she is on stage, she delightfully engrosses the audience - pure genius.
A whimsical consent to having tea with a persistent young fan changes her life and opens up a stormy romance. The immensely talented woman, with a great reputation for being a loyal wife indulges passionately with the young lover. So much is at stake. She is middle aged and he is a few years older than her son. She realises that the love is not as much from the other end. How does she get a grip and deal with it? Does she emerge sane and sound after the stormy affair, is the rest of the plot.



Brilliant. I kept hoping for Julia even when she was doing what seemed outright foolish, that is what Maugham does, he doesnt let you(the reader) leave the protagonist's side even when you feel they are doing things they ought not to do. Maugham helps you understand the protagonist so well that it feels very natural what they do, since you know why exactly they do.
Absolute delight if you are a Maugham fan.

August 13, 2013

Writing...

I sometimes wonder how, many a time, my expressions are heavily borrowed by all that I have read over the years. Do I really feel like that or is it that these come closest to what I could put in words – I am not sure. I guess as a reader, one enjoys a certain passage, when we come across word associations that are not common, and that take our imagination much closer to what the writer visualized - almost to the level of actually viewing the scene or the reader gets such an illusion (:P), that is what is wonderful. 

Previously I would just enjoy writing even if I used many clichéd expressions as long as they were what I wanted to say, but clichéd none the less. Probably the clichés were intentional, to make myself familiar with those word patterns. Now I feel I should try writing in a way that can be called my writing style. A style originates when a perspective is translated aptly into words. Since my perspective of everything is different from anyone else (the truth, the world, anything and everything  can be quite different in my perception, you see) my writing style, if nurtured in all its rawness might be interesting! J Does that mean I don’t have a writing style yet? Well, no, I may or may not have. What I mean is till now I have not been a conscious writer. I mostly write to capture my comments on a certain event. There is a trigger and the writing is my response, a response I would like to keep track of, and hence goes in to the blog. It is more anecdotal. I want to(or rather wish to) intensify my observations to details. Shift the focus. Hold the view long enough to let the writing cover the scene as close to as I saw it. There is also an observation on my criticism skills – when I like something, I like it – I cannot pick loopholes in it, it is not that I avoid it, it is that I am blind to it. So if as an observer I hold my attention a little longer, I may see the drawbacks as well, or would I? That is something I need to try a little more. Aha. Now, what do I write on? 

August 04, 2013

Happiness and repetition...

I was reading the last few pages of “The unbearable lightness of being”. A phrase struck me, “happiness is the longing for repetition”. My initial reaction was like “Really!?” and slowly the thought started getting more agreeable.

From a young age, I associated life to be exciting if new things happened in life all the time. I was raised in a small sleepy town and I don’t think I believed my life was very interesting back then. But when I look back, I had one of the most amazing childhoods, a kid can have.


Each year of primary school felt more or less the same. I may have learnt new stuff at school and read different books every year – but same set of friends, same teachers, same school building, same play mates, same pets, same summer classes even. I yearned for change and exploration. Waiting as I was, with the first opportunity I got, I packed my bags and left for the city. Whenever I got a chance, I explored places. A few times, I welcomed opportunities that gave me a chance to relocate for work. I enjoyed staying in the new places for a while. Then I had to come back. I turned out more rooted than I had fancied. Even in Bangalore, I stayed in a number of localities. Last few years I have had a lot of changes, traveled and explored a great deal - more than ever in my life. 
Now I seem to yearn for my “old” life – a settled existence. If as a child, someone had told me how lucky it is to have a simple, normal, "boring" life, I would not have believed! Being nomadic isn’t glamorous at all to me now. Am done with wanting life to be an adventure every day. I want repetition of normalcy, of being surrounded by loved ones, of a simple existence, every day so much like the other – simple and content. Somehow it makes a lot of sense to me. It was as if those thoughts had been brewing inside for a while and suddenly reading those lines in the book, made me aware of my own thoughts.  

July 29, 2013

Random...

I have been wanting to write about a few things from last couple of weeks. Like writing up a review of “Despicable me 2” which I watched. Then, I was in the live audience of a TEDx event and thoroughly enjoyed most of the talks.
But then sometimes if I don’t write them soon after I feel like wanting to write about them, a little later it feels like a self imposed assignment! 

I read excellent reviews for “Bhaag Milkha bhaag”, but the duration of the movie somehow is not very encouraging. Even D-Day reviews are good. Let me see which movies I really end up watching in the theaters. 

I watched the movie - "Love in the time of cholera" yesterday. Having read the book, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie. The passages from the book kept coming back. Then a thought occurred to me, had I not read the book, I dont think I can appreciate such movies. There are a lot of subtleties in the visual medium, which I cannot right away get, particularly when the cultural aspect of the backdrop and the time in which it is set is not familiar. The book on the other hand gives a lot of context and is easier to follow and you as a reader can decide on the pace.

 Well, the weather in Bangalore does not permit much these days, if it is drizzling in the evenings, all that one wishes to do is get cozy in bed with a nice book!

July 19, 2013

Of Love and Other Demons...

Author : Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Translated from the Spanish by Edith Crossman.
Pages : 160

Intense. Gripping. Moving.

A twelve year old Sierva Maria, daughter of a noble man - the Marquis, is bitten by a rabid dog. Months pass by, there are no signs of rabies. With a mother who hates and an indifferent father, she finds a family amidst the slaves and speaks many African dialects.
Rumors spread - about her being possessed by the demons when she shows no signs of rabies even after months.

The "authorities" gets involved and a young priest is made in charge of exorcising the evil spirits. As he gets to know her better, he realizes what the real demons are. A young man, a teenage girl. The more they spend time, the more they end up in love. And the world they inhabit, does not understand.


The narration is lyrical. Expressions like "..the enormous tolling of four o'clock sounded in the cathedral and resounded in his belly." and "...a tunic of coarse linen with patches worn thin by abuses of soap." made me wonder that such familiar knowledge of the senses could so wonderfully be translated to words and with such economy!

Very enjoyable.

This particular observation am going to make does not concern the review of this book - these days, am not sure of the exact reasons, but when I read/watch a story, I appreciate and accept it for what it is and have the patience to hang on - till it gets gripping. Hmmmm how nice is that!


July 18, 2013

Immortality...

Author : Milan Kundera

A few weeks, the first time I paid attention to the name Milan Kundera(In Pamuk’s – “The naïve and the sentimental novelist”), the Indian-ness of the name struck me. I was curious how I had missed an Indian writer who had impressed Pamuk. I wiki-ed and found he was actually Czech born. Later I started looking out for his books and the first one I found was “Immortality”.

First impression :  Great ideas thrown at you in randomness. On the cover is a review quote that says – “It will make you cleverer, maybe even a better lover. Not many novels can do that.” (The smart cover designer put in a place where a reader notices it despite the small font.) I was curious, “a better lover" of what!? I could not keep the book back, the question was too interesting not to pursue.
After a few chapters, when the seeming haphazard-ness of topics, thoughts, ideas – brilliant though when I considered them individually, I so deeply wished for some order, some chronology and some sense in the bigger picture terms. But I could not give up, nonetheless. What about the answer I was seeking. It took some effort to keep me going and I felt like a “wanna-be” intellectual trying to read something smart, just because it claims to be – and to seem smart and in the process hoping the book smartens you in some-way kind!

I, as a reader am very comfortable in my skin. I care not much about being an intellectual. I say so, because at a certain time, I strove to be one, but no more. I am more the fun kind of a reader – no strings attached, just seeking pleasure in the company of a book, if I could say so! I prefer reading anything that I can lay my hands on and interests me. I just want to read all kinds of interesting books just to see how it feels.

Cons:
It was like the novelist took no pain to arrange his thoughts. Just wrote them as it occurred to him(Was there no editor at all one wonders initially!), he keeps throwing Goethe, Beethoven, Bettina, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin at you, amidst the actual characters – I take the liberty to use “actual” since the author himself talks of a heroine for his novel, and I refer to her and everyone related to her as the actual characters. References to history and Bible(Kundera suddenly mentions “Simon” like we all know him and you wonder who is Simon now, although from context I get what Kundera wants to say, I was plainly irritated by the suddenness! I look at the author when he writes in first person - like a good friend who takes me through the story introducing people I do not know and maintains that basic courtesy and not throw people and references at you like that! Or is it precisely so, that he thinks of you as a good friend, he takes the liberty to do so! J ).
I did not even know Goethe, Beethoven and Napoleon were contemporaries! I was only glad I knew they existed once! Then I suddenly find Goethe talking to Ernest Hemingway and give up all hopes of recollecting anybody from history correctly, when to my relief it turns out its an imaginary conversation they have in the other world!
There are some places where nothing seems to make sense, and you need to have patience! That’s one thing that this novel almost demands as a pre-requisite(if you are like me – a first time reader of Kundera i.e)!



Pros:
If you pursue with a little more patience, you will slowly get a hang of his narrative style and random references don’t annoy you anymore. It does not bother you if you don’t understand what Kundera is talking about when he seems to start off on something totally new thus far , because in the next few lines or paragraphs you know it will be made clear and he will give you more context eventually. And his references may be seem absurd, but on closer observation you don’t need to know history or Bible to get what he is saying – it’s the parallels he draws - between the people of then and now, of the situations then and now – and how what you say has been said before – someone else in history has been there and done that - how what you think has been thought before, what you feel has been felt before, that gesture – that facial expression – that feature- you think is unique to you, could be your mother’s or father’s or someone in your family tree so long ago before you, that you never got to see! When you get it, you go wow! 

His observations about many things change the way you feel about things. The way he talks about ‘life theme’(something like - even if you started your life all over again, it would more or less be the same, set around the same theme!) , how time is circular and how beautifully he puts it.

Brilliance! Great observations. That acute sense of humor! A joy to read! (All these appear at the back cover including “one of those great unclassifiable masterpieces that appear once every twenty years” – taken from book reviews, but these were my feelings as well – like the book says, what I have to say has been said before! :P)

You need to have patience for wonderful things to unfold and make sense to you. When it is in progress, it may or may not make any sense. Wait. Patience is a virtue. J
I was in no hurry to finish the book, I savored passages that I enjoyed - slowly, soaking the ideas, warming up to the brilliance and germinating thoughts. Mostly with a smile!

Some brilliant lines from the book. They are flavored with humor, that only makes the brilliance strike you with a smile.
Check these out:

“When someone is young, he is not capable of conceiving of time as a circle, but thinks of it as a road leading forward to ever-new horizons; he does not yet sense that his life contains just a single theme; he will come to realize it only when his life begins to enact its first variations.”

“…Nineteenth-century writers often ended their novels with marriage. This was not because they wanted to save the love story from marital boredom. No, they wanted to save it from intercourse!”

I think, therefore I am is a statement of an intellectual who underrates toothaches. I feel, therefore I am is a truth much more universally valid, and it applies to everything that’s alive”.

“Many people, few ideas: we all think more or less the same, and we exchange, borrow, steal thoughts from one another. However, when someone steps on my foot, only I feel the pain. The basis of the self is not the thought but suffering, which is the most fundamental of all feelings. While it suffers, not even a cat can doubt its unique and uninterchangeable self. In intense suffering the world disappears and each of us is alone with his self. Suffering is the university of geocentricism.”

My take : Highly recommend it! Go ahead, enjoy! J

P.S: I found my answer to “a better a lover of what!?” question. Icing on the cake, indeed!


July 11, 2013

A favor...

Years ago, I wrote a post. It was a simple, yet profound idea.
Usually, I shy away from asking. Well, if "you dont ask the answer is always a 'no'".
Hmm so am going to do some asking to the Universe! :)
I am asking you - the reader, for a favor. I have been wanting something for a while now. Can you please pray for me? :) Thank you!

Lootera...

Movie : Lootera
Language : Hindi

Why did I watch : New release, a period movie set in 1950s around the time when Zamindari system got abolished, looked interesting from the promos.
(Why do I even have this section when I write movie reviews I wonder, I just love the theaters, the darkness, the big screens, the uninterrupted joy of watching the movie, the surround sound, the smell of popcorns, the promos before the movie starts! I love the experience of watching movies on the big screen! I anyway watch most of the new releases with a decent imdb rating.)

My take : A Zamindar in Bengal dotes on his only daughter - Pakhi, and tries his best to be the mother as well, whom she has lost.  A young archaeologist Varun comes along and asks the Zamindar for the permission to excavate around the temple with a golden idol, that belongs to the Zamindar. Turns out Varun is not who he claims to be, but unwittingly falls in love with the Pakhi. Torn between the “duty” of being a “looter” and a lover, the twists and turns of the story demand for a decision and he chooses duty, as he feels that is in the “best” interest of his lover.
The world, even in the 1950s was round, and of course they meet! What happens when they meet - does she take revenge or let go, does she love him or hate him – that consists the rest of the story.

There is a scene where you know their fate – Varun and Pakhi’s i.e, but with all your being you wish they could be together when you know however you see it, there is no way that is possible – that moment of absolute helplessness of the twisted fate of the two lovers and sincere wish against all odds, contradicting one another – I was almost in tears for Varun, although he is the bad guy!
The chemistry between Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha as Varun and Pakhi is quite good. There is a scene where they look at each other and exchange feelings worth several pages of dialogs. And you sigh, getting it all!

It is inspired from a O’Henry’s short story - “The last leaf”. I would say worth my while and money. Enjoyed the show.

July 08, 2013

The naïve and the sentimental novelist...

It is a series of lectures by Orhan Pamuk. I had read his books ‘Istanbul’ and ‘My name is red’, and ever since, loved the way he writes. This book is a personal account of what Pamuk thinks about how the novel is read and what goes through in the mind of the reader. He sometimes gives an academic background and sometimes gives insights about his own experiences while reading or writing a novel. The latter is what interests me more. I am also making a note of the books he seems very impressed with, for future reading.

This on the dedication page, made me smile - To Kiran Desai.



I could relate to a lot things I do as a reader, as I read through the first chapter – “What our minds do when we read novels”
- like I try to guess which part is fiction and which part is real in story based on the author’s own life experiences!
- I also take moral stands sometimes about the characters and at times it actually affects my pace of reading, I realized this influence after reflecting on what I read on the subject! I need to understand the characters for who they are to enjoy the story better. In future I got to remember this!
- at times I keep looking for hidden meaning in anything, even when there may be none!
- I imagine what may happen next while I am reading and sometimes am thrilled if it turns out some other way and sometimes disappointed.
- keep searching for that “core” of the novel .

The second chapter/lecture is called “Mr.Pamuk, did all this really happen to you?”. It deals with how readers sometimes speculate and to an extent believe that some facts about the protagonist of the novel is based on the author itself. Pamuk gives an anecdote from his experience.

The third chapter is called “Literary character, plot, time.  I found really interesting – “People do not actually have as much character as we find portrayed in novels, especially in nineteenth –and –twentieth –century novels.” He being a 57 year old at the time of writing this goes on to say “human character is not nearly as important in shaping our lives as it is made out to be in the novels...”. When I sometimes unconsciously compared myself to a character I was reading about in a novel, it would leave me dissatisfied, I kind of know now the reason!
While describing the role of a plot in a novel, he says that protagonists are not just invented. A novelist’s desire to explore a certain topic shapes the world of the protagonist. The writer tries to see the world through the protagonist and this could leave aspects of the writer in the protagonist as well vice-versa. Very, very interesting thoughts and to me they give a fresh perspective.

Words, picture, objects – in this chapter Pamuk talks about two kinds of writers – visual writers and verbal writers – based on whether the writer triggers the visual imagination of the reader or the textual imagination.

A chapter titled “Museums and Novels” draws parallels between museums and novels. J There are interesting observations on how a reader sometimes uses the novel she is reading to give a certain image.

“The center” deals the core of every novel. The kernel around which the narration evolves. He mentions as a writer, the techniques employed sometimes to make the center less evident while sometimes efforts are made to make it more evident. There are some philosophical thoughts about life and its meaning in the same context, about how the center is what the reader and the writer strive for in a novel and how that gives satisfaction to both.

It is not a book I would read in one shot. I was reading other stuff and would come back to read a chapter and take a break before returning to it.

Pamuk uses metaphors to get across certain aspects of the art of writing a novel– like a scene from Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, which he uses to compare finer aspects on novel writing, while another - classical Chinese landscape painting, he uses to bring out the “bigger-picture” aspects. There are several of these, but these were the ones used across the lectures, so I remember it.


Reading the book, has made me more of a conscious reader. I become aware now, when I am “judging” a character rather than understanding it. When I began reading the book, I thought I was the naïve kind of a reader, but gradually realized that am not solely of any kind, sometimes naïve and sometimes sentimental/reflective reader. I had not imagined a book on such a subject, since it has a more academic tone, to keep me absorbed! Pleasantly surprised indeed! J

July 06, 2013

Sawaar lu....haaye sawaar lu...

This song from the new release "Lootera" called "Sawaar lu" is so melodious and has an old world charm - sounds like a song from some Dev Anand movie. The simple lyrics, beats, the voice of the singer(Monali Thakur) - totally, a mesmerizingly beautiful song! It has a playfulness to it that makes me smile.

This part of the lyrics particularly caught my attention and I took an instant liking to those lines:
"Baramade puraane hain, nayi si dhoop hai
Jo palke khatkhata raha hai kiska roop hai
Shararatein kare jo aise bhoolke hijab
Kaise usko naam se, main pukar lu
Sawaar lu, sawaar lu"

The song picturization is also nicely done. 
Have been humming the song for a few days now...

July 05, 2013

Summertime...

Author: J M Coetzee

A young biographer - Vincent tries to construct the life of a deceased Nobel laureate - John Coetzee– at the time of which John was trying to establish himself as a writer, through his thirties - with a series of interviews of various people, mostly women. Vincent chooses these people based on John’s notes.

It is a reflective piece of fiction. Autobiographical to an extent.


My great take-aways:
o   The whole narrative is a series of interviews. Lovely conversations. Delightful insights. [This is what I feel - Conversations, interesting and engaging,  be it with a person or in a book, active or passively involved,  are one of the best indulgences of life. ]

o   The women interviewed seem very real. That goes to show the author has a great sense of observation and understanding of the human nature.

o   Great men, even a Nobel laureate for that matter, may have confusions, needs to sort of things to getter a perspective, may not be sure of his calling and lead a “boring” existence! Lives of great people may not be a series of exciting events. [ No one ever claimed so, just that as a child I expected life to be a series of fun adventures and exciting moments as an adult – the greater the person, the more I felt his/her life was interesting. Only life itself, literature and insightful interactions sobered me down to accept the plainness of adulthood and the ordinariness of life!]

o   John is an introvert [And it turns out, an introvert is not closed or cold when he starts writing!]. The book has interviews at first followed by notes of John. One of the points in the notes about dance can be linked back to the what a Brazilian woman thought were John’s undue advances (as shared in an interview) when he tried to learn dance from her! It is actually comical if you could link the two!

o   A grown man’s struggle to understand his own father, how without a woman the two men of the family have nothing to bond over and just co-habituate uncomfortably! He is ill at ease with people who are not ill at ease! He is a product of a damaged childhood, as his notes say. His relationships and expectations from women don’t seem natural, it takes effort on his part to even have them in his life, he is not sure if he belongs in their world and all of it is obvious to the women.

In the notes section there is a mention of one John’s lists titled – “Ways of doing away with oneself”.

If literature cannot open up to you the life in all its variations, and give a peek into minds and lives of people very different from yourself, what else would? Life is too short to know all kinds of people. And it is always a pleasure to read a book like this.

o   There are very interesting ideas, to ponder, muse about. Hmmmmmm. Thoughts and ideas that makes the reader feel like having a very intimate conversation with the author(of course the reader is a “good” listener here!)  are some of the best moments of reading a book. This is at the fag end of the book, and by then you know the kind of person John is. I was nodding, smiling and couldn’t agree more!

o   I love the cover picture of the book. This was what caught my attention first.

Enjoyed reading the book a great deal. A delight. Makes me wish living was as pleasurable an experience as reading a well written book! J

July 04, 2013

Now you see me....well, I almost did!

Movie : Now you see me
Language : English
Why did I watch the movie : New release, promo was too good!


My take: Very interesting idea – four magician loot a bank and distribute the loot among the audience, during a magic show in Las Vegas! There is no evidence that the police can use against them. The movie begins with a series of interesting magic tricks by the 4 magicians, and you as audience would be thrilled! Then the 4 of them meet and magic tricks at a grander scale happen and wow you. 
Then comes the climax. It seems so hurried. You would be eager to know how the earlier “magical” stuff would get explained and you are waiting. More or less you are left with the same feeling even at the end of the movie! Except for the last 15-20mins, the movie is wonderfully exciting. Liked all the magic. J

July 01, 2013

Beauty and the wrath - in the beautiful lands...

Have been reading reports of the floods in Uttarakhand over the past 15-20 days. I had been there last August and a week or two before I went there were flash floods. But I never imagined the magnitude of floods to be as it is now.

While I was there I had seen land slides, fallen bridges, the tar of the roads swept away by rains make the rides bumpy. Had experienced the perils of driving in the rainy weather on the winding narrow roads sitting next to the driver in a small bus. On one side was a mountainous “wall”, that could give way anytime and rain boulders, stones, pebbles and soil, and anything that the loosened earth from the rains had in it, which was just yielding to gravity. On the other side were the deep valleys, beautiful for an onlooker but if the vehicle lost control, hardly anything recognizable could be retrieved.

Can you spot the road there?!

Rubble from a land slide...



Life there is not easy like in the plains, everyday is an adventure if you think about it. The most beautiful picturesque river can wash everything in the way if the rains persist. I remember so distinctly sitting on the banks of river Ganga in Haridwar, just keeping my legs in the water sitting on the steps – that itself kind of scared me, because the current of the river was so strong and just the immersion of a few centimeters of myself was enough to make me feel like being carried away by the mighty river. I am talking of the calmer times of the river when the river was flowing well within the danger limits. Imagining the ferocity of the river during the floods is plain scary.

A bridge view of civilization on the banks... 


Some say the calamity is man-made, deforestation loosens the soil, the washed away soil increases the level of the water in rivers, the rivers gets ruthless almost to the extent of wiping out the very civilization it had created around the banks.


My sincere wish is to preserve the forests, rivers, valleys, lakes and mountains of Uttarakhand, it is the land of a lot of the most beautiful places on earth. 

Engulfing beauty - a blissful feeling!
I have had spiritual experiences just looking at the wonderful natural wonders here. May peace and green prevail.

Picturesque journeys, happy memories! 

June 28, 2013

Raanjhana...

Movie      : Raanjhana
Language : Hindi

Why did I watch it: New release, good reviews

My take   : I am not sure if it is that if I like a movie on big screen, I more often than not, like it – but I felt I liked this movie. There was something very convincing about the script – as to why the characters take those crucial decisions to alter the course of the story, there were some surprising moments when the medium of connect was more verbal than visual – some amazing dialogs(there were a good number of gaalis also, I couldn’t follow them all though!).

There are some good performances –Dhanush - I actually disliked, liked, sympathized, sort of disappointed and finally kind of adored the character of Kundan, the protagonist – if an actor can so convincingly do all that to the audience he must have done a good job. There is nothing portrayed about Kundan that is larger than life, since this is his first movie that am watching I did not even have an image in mind to cast him into, and he surprised me, pleasantly. Sonam Kapoor – looks like the lady can act as well, I am a fan of her dressing sense, but this is her first movie that I watched in the theater. She comes across as a determined Zoya, a bubbly girl, who at times is helpless, at times ambitious, in love but who definitely keeps her scores. She seems sincere, but her deepest agendas are hidden. Shrewd yet vulnerable. Abhay Deol has a small role as Zoya’s love interest, he does a neat job.Also, I liked the role of Kundan's friend.

The story is mostly set in Varanasi or Benaras. The backdrop of Ganga, Aarati going on, temples makes it nice to watch. 

I must say more than 80% of the time I found the movie engaging, but there are moments when the flow is disruptive –may be there are no loose ends in terms of logic, but there is abruptness in the flow. Feels like the film gives too much emphasis on the lead characters at times, making the rest of the cast foggy.

There was a time when I could never sympathize recklessness of people in love,wanting to be with the one they love the most,  particularly when one of two involved is not as keen, – I would wonder how can people be so selfish and how they cannot care what the society would perceive them to be - it is actually strange given that I am able to sympathize about that when am older! I mention this as I only sympathized with Kundan for what he does on Zoya's big day, which indeed surprised me! I judged him ofcourse given the situation, but then somehow could see why he did that - the screenplay ensured that!

I liked the song "Tum tak, tum tak". Melodious and nicely pictured. I cant recollect any other song! 
I liked the last scene, the last narrative Kundan gives! Beautifully written.  

Would say, go watch it, it is different, you may even like it!

June 25, 2013

The lord of the rings…

         
A friend recommended that “The lord of the rings” is a wonderful book/movie – told me about ents, hobbits, Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas and nazguls and got me interested. I had tried watching the movie earlier and somehow could not get much of what was happening. If there is a movie or a book in the world not worth missing, I would want to definitely check it out. So I picked up the book, the size was not very encouraging. Till Frodo meets Aragorn the story seems somewhat slow, and the weight of the book bothered my wrists. After that I could not be at peace till I read the book and watched the 3 part movie. Wow, what a story and how brilliantly told. When I read that Gandalf goes into the darkness in “The fellowship of the rings”, I randomly opened some page ahead of where I was and looked for the word “Gandalf”. Only after confirming that he will reappear did I continue reading. I wouldn’t have read further if he wasn’t there! The story is all about hope and friendship and believing in good. The spirit is amazing and the characters are delightful.

I liked how Frodo overcame the evil influence of the ring, was moved by Sam’s faithfulness, loved Gandalf for all that he was, for being there when anyone needed him and being so wise and guiding them all. Aragorn is very real, very brave but has a lot of self doubt. When the time comes, he musters all the courage he can find and conquers his doubts and does not give up hope throughout. He trusts deeply and lets go when needed. Very human, his goodness is the only super power he has. Pippin and Merry are two most delightful hobbits and the episodes with Treebeard are so entertaining. The hobbits in general are such simple creatures and in the movie the Shire is shown to be such a wonderful place. Loved it more than where the elfs lived. Many characters create a lasting impression. Even Gollum creates a lasting impression, with his creepy possessiveness of his “precious” and the constant battle he has with the good side. His self talk, as shown in the movie is scary and interesting at the same time.


I initially had a notion that fantasy was not what I enjoyed reading. I am not sure how I got the idea. I used to think the same many years ago about science fiction until I got hooked to Doctor Who series. And it is surprising given that I while reading these books I half believe that they happened and in general I believe in miracles and have a very active imagination, sometimes dwell in imaginary stuff for so long that, I feel alien in the real world!

It is one the nicest books I have read. The movies are beautifully made and it is a very good adaptation of the book. Loved reading and watching it.

A big thank you to the friend for suggesting it.

One thing that I have in common with the hobbits is the fool’s hope, like Gandalf puts it! J

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