Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The thin line.



How do we know when we have crossed a line? Or about to cross it? Or almost crossed it? Crossed it and left it far behind? There are ways to know. When someone ignores your texts long enough, when the speed radar flashes, when the teacher sends you to the Principal’s room, when your Dad sits you down to talk, when the spouse actually notices your outfit, when your kid says 'Mama leave me alooooonne', you know it. You have crossed the line. 

Image Courtesy: Here
There are thin lines between elegance and vulgarity, a friendly conversation and flirting, love and friendship, discipline and abuse, donkey and mule. If you don’t see these lines, it is considered to be felonious. 
  
Take for instance my help who doesn’t know when to stop talking. She talks too much and soon enough it goes to the next level, which is free advice. I cannot stand my own mom giving me opinions about things I dint ask an opinion for.  This is one of those situations when you cannot survive without the help, but cannot stand her unsolicited views about marriage and children, but nod along anyway . How great would it have been, if she knew that there is a line and the exact geographical location of that line. In the case of my help, the line I have set for her is not a thin line. It is bold and highlighted in fluorescent yellow, topped with night glow; so you can see it even in the dark. Sigh. Still she doesn’t see it. Like the dust under the bed or the cobweb behind the door. She just ignores it.

There is a thin line between the freedom enjoyed by a man and a woman. I have started going alone to watch movies at night. Previously this was a facility enjoyed only by the man of the house. I enjoy it when some women walking accurately on the shadows of their husbands look at me as if I was Geeta Phogat. Anyone here afraid to go out at night should try it, only for those looks you get from other women. Who knows you may as well be inspiring them to be independent! You get plenty of looks from men as well ;-). This is a personal line I crossed; it is never really a line for a lot of women. For others, it is not just a line; it is one of the Ten Commandments.

The playground where all kinds of lines are crossed is Facebook . It is a sinful, tempting place for people to break rules. It is the place religious people propagate their views, obsessed people write paragraphs about their one-in-a-million child who won a first prize in God-knows-what at age 4, ignorant people circulate chain messages and press-like-to-save-a-child nonsense. Finding a post worthy of a like on the Facebook timeline is as hard as trying to find a logical person in a crowd. 

Image Courtesy: Here
It is International Women’s day. All the women here - empower yourselves and do what you want to do, and go where you want to go. Noone is coming to empower you. Break your own personal barriers. There are no lines where you think there are. Try it. Free yourself from the shadows of others. Stop living for others. Have fun. There is only one life, stop living the life of another person.

There is a nonsensical dare in Facebook about publishing your age on Women's Day. Is that even a dare? If you want to dare anyone just be you, and do what you want to do. Start saying NO when you want to say it. Stop pleasing others. 

That, my friend, is the dare. 

Happy Women's Day !

Monday, February 6, 2017

A fangirl's review of Raees.

January 2017 is already behind us, and most of us have failed miserably in our New Year resolutions. The crowd at the gym has been diminishing slowly but consistently, and this space did not see regular updates like I expected. Resolutions give us motives to improve, but they are also secret backstabbers. Just because they exist and we fall short of meeting them, they make us feel like complete losers.

It has been a hellish month with fevers, coughs, home sickness and having to actually enter the kitchen to cook. The month after  vacationing with parents, and gradually slipping into the BTR (back-to-reality) complex  is painfully frustrating. At Mom’s place, everything is taken care of and oh the sweet bliss of sleeping till 9 am without a care in the world! Once I wake up, I could just walk into the dining room and hot breakfast would be in the casserole. Once back, I become the hot breakfast if I don’t cook up something for the hungry boys.

It is amazing how long it takes to settle down from a vacation, when the month of January silently fast forwarded itself in the background. It takes a lot of effort to step down from the clouds and feel the ground.

*********************************************************************************************

Two weeks after its release, I watched ‘Raees’.

If there was a forum where I could post movie reviews and be rated by experts, mine would be categorized as ‘Not Applicable’ for SRK movies. Being a die-hard fan-girl I should not review his movies because every word would be conveniently prejudiced. How can I focus on a movie and study the details when I am continuously distracted by the hotness that is being exuded by this human called SRK?

After the freak show that was ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ and a very forgettable ‘Dear Zindagi’, the SRK starrer ‘Raees’ did deliver a solid punch. Nawazuddin as the police officer, who takes personal interest in bringing down liquor dealer Raees, rises to stardom equivalent to SRK and this was very refreshing to watch. The script defies cliches by sharing spotlight of the megastar with the earnest police officer, who took the opportunity and did full justice. Action and punch dialogues are thrown in aplenty. Songs and romance appropriately took a backseat. Mahira Khan did not have anything to do but to look pretty, and that she did. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as SRK’s confidante did a good job, as he shared screen space almost throughout the film.

Raees is a good watch, whether you are a SRK fan or not. If you are a female SRK fan, then there is the added advantage that you get to see the dimpled smile peeping out of that hot beard and drool. Male SRK fans can watch the movie for the action and fearlessness of this alpha male that is Raees and get goosebumps. If you are not a SRK fan you can still enjoy the movie because it is one of a kind from the usual stuff that is going on the Bollywood now, which is biopics on sports legends, stupid family dramas or useless romantic shit in  general.

Watch Raees. Not for SRK, but to be reassured that Bollywood is not dead. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Follow by Example.

Back from a month long vacation in India, my monotonous workplace appeared bland and discolored. When homesickness gripped me, the resolution I made for the New Year flew out of the window. I usually never make resolutions, mostly because I am horrible at following instructions, even my own.

We have a rule of carefully using words while at home. As the little boy has an internal recording button always on, he keeps using the same words as me, even the tone of speech. I want him to be soft spoken and gentle, which is the exact opposite of me. Hence in order to show by example, I have decided to reduce the intensity of violence and decibel level. Going by neighborhood feedback, my voice can be heard two floors below mine; hence the last month was peaceful for them in terms of noise pollution. However, whenever we want to improve, there will be obstacles. Even Adam and Eve had, right? It is when we say no to the snake that we emerge successful. However snakes these days are not as straightforward as the snake from Eden Garden. Today’s snakes are evil backstabbers. Even if you say no to the apple, they will find ways to eradicate every other fruit so we have no choice.

Me, after two glasses of wine.
Image Courtesy: Here

Words like ‘stupid’ ‘idiot’ and ‘bloody fool’ have been frequent in my vocabulary since school days. However, when one becomes a parent, forgetting these are only one of the sacrifices one has to make. To add insult to injury, I met (still meet on a daily basis) more idiots and bloody fools at this stage than ever before. I am therefore left with the only choice of clenching teeth in frustration. Being human that I am, one day I said it and my little one said ‘What is ploody foo ?’. I pretended never to have known that word ever, and said ‘what? Whaaat? Whaatttt? There is no such word’. I know that it is not possible to unlearn any words. I am the bloody fool. I am the mother who taught her kid abusive language. Thank you very much.


In India, there is no way one can live to meet such resolutions. With demonetization in place, every retailer, auto driver, bus conductor will bring out the demon in you. Auto drivers are the worst. When I ask balance to these guys they look at me as if I asked them loan. Arrey, I gave you what your meter showed in red digital numerals, now please give me what is rightfully mine. My money did not fall down from the sky, it was hard-earned by saying yes sir, okay sir (without clenching teeth of course, never never) all year. One auto driver had the audacity to say, ‘Madam, people like you should not even ask for four rupees to a person like me’. From which angle did I look like Nita Ambani to him, I’ll never know. I replied ‘What is four rupees to you, so it is to me’. He laughed. I didn't. That infuriated him further. So now I have to laugh when he laughs? Get ready to have your patience tested my friends. Little boy was watching me speak argumentatively to a driver. This was not going to be an easy resolution. It needed and needs me to change as a person from the inside. This is impossible, as I am set in my ways, and I am not the Dalai Lama types. I am more like Kung Fu Panda. Inner Peace, here I come. Dishoom, dishoom.

Still I am going to try. Whenever I hold the door open for the person behind me, say ‘Thank You’ when I don’t have to, smile, be kind, I am shaping a human. I have to be aware every second, be conscious, and remember that the tiny human cctv is following me everywhere including trial room. What can be more frightening than this? God is watching too.

But God said not to fear humans.

Seriously. I need wine.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A very viral Christmas!

It has been a relatively long gap between posts, caused by projects, viruses, travel, packing and Christmas. I came across a person who asked me about my last post which now looks to me like I wrote it eons ago. Nobody blames their predicaments on Christmas, but I do because I am weird tired.


When Santa drops a virus in your stocking.
Image courtesy:  Here


Doctors may say that viruses are air or water borne, but I insist that atleast some are borne from sadism. One such virus launched a deadly attack on both the boys on the crucial penultimate days of November. Our itinerary for annual trip to India was supposed to start on the 8th of December. Year end tasks and handover, pack for 30 days for three people, feed them medicines and food and listen to their fussy complaints, it all felt very anti-Christmassy to me. The silver lining with the boys falling sick is that they’d have no sense of taste or appetite and whatever neutral uncomplicated food with salt is fine for them. However, silver lining comes on top of piles of crap. I had been a bad girl so probably it was Santa who dropped that virus in my stocking.

For the uninitiated, viral fevers are fevers accompanied by body pain and intense fatigue. It results in bad mood, blame games and worse, the spouse compared his trivial back pain to labor pain on one of those frustrating days. This was when I, very painstakingly sealed my mouth, else there could have been a chance for me to go to jail. I deserve a special jury award. This whole ordeal was like Bobby Deol and Poonam Pandey acting in a movie directed by Kamaal R Khan. It is a combination of disasters trying to numb the brain and test patience. End of day it was not like one could sleep in peace, because body temperatures of the boys soared high at night and monitoring them left me drained of my last drop of sanity  energy.

As I sat in the plane on the 8th of December, I heaved a sigh of relief looking at my waist which had become thinner and sexier in the process. Even the super skinny jeans had become loose. The timing couldn't have been better, as I can eat more Xmas cake now at the cost of these boys who had gained weight eating my brain over the past week. Oh also, one of the days they were sick and sleeping, I went to watch the Shah Rukh Khan- Alia Bhatt starrer ‘Dear Zindagi’, as a treat to myself for holding up coherently during catastrophic times. When no one appreciates you, you treat yourself. Trust me, it feels really, really good because you know exactly what you want and you do it. Alone. Take time off, break out from the chains of responsibilities, soar high, let your hair down, breathe.

Thankfully, unlike the last movie I watched which was Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, 'Dear Zindagi' was good in terms of presentation, concept and relatability. Alia Bhatt did an excellent job, the bearded Shah Rukh Khan was immensely hot and sweat inducing, which was the whole point of paying at multiplex rates to watch him. This is a movie you should watch if you had tiffs with your parents at some point of growing up. We may disagree and argue with parents still, even when we have grown and have children who argue with us. The movie makes you understand it is normal and healthy to argue and there is no need to beat yourself up for it. The movie made me feel good because that is all I basically do, which is argue.

Back to Cochin, I also watched a Malayalam, Mohanlal starrer ‘Oppam’ which took away three hours of my life and hard earned money I am never getting back. Then I watched the best Bollywood movie that released in the recent past, ‘Dangal’. This is a gem of a movie, every man who feels that his mother, sister, wife or daughter were born to clean his plate and cook for him should watch it. I got goosebumps and tears during various stages of the story which is proof for how much penetrating the concept is. The movie ends on a very uplifting note and leaves a lasting impact.

Finally it is all Christmassy now, with family, cousins, nieces and nephews, cake and wine. I hope you all had a merry Christmas too. I am looking forward to write more frequently in 2017 and try my hand at movie reviews. Signing off for now J

Wish all my readers a happy New Year 2017 ! Eat, drink and be merry !


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Mushkil in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.

Lately, I'd been a lousy friend. My friends warned me against watching the movie Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, but I went anyway thinking what can be so mushkil and even checked in on Facebook only to be trolled by them eventually. The people who helped this movie collect 200 crores are the ones who were carried away by that scene in the trailer wherein Aishwarya licks whipped cream off Ranbir’s face. Let’s not forget the highly addictive ‘Bulleya’, title track and ‘Channa Mereya’, which has been playing on loop in the ipods of most people.

We planned to watch it on a weekday evening, one hour after regular office hours. However winter has started and evenings are so dark and murky, that my son  thinks that I am picking him late on purpose. Well, I am not in a position to talk to him about seasons or the earth’s orbit, because I haven’t been able to explain how he landed in my stomach before he was born in the first place. 

Night driving is not my favorite sport whatsoever, but Fawad Khan makes everything possible. I was just two minutes away from the mall and in some inexplicable puerile excitement I missed the turn. The next thing I knew, I was driving on a four lane road, with direction boards above me pointing to Neverland, Nowhere, South Pole and Eternity. My head was completely blank; I had no plan B and was driving aimlessly in alien territory. Middle Eastern roads are very charming and unforgiving at the same time. Once you miss a turn you get to see the entire country with no one to ask directions to. The night was not getting any younger. Fawad Khan, you idiot. How can you be so handsome that you literally derail women from focusing on real life? This is not cool. Stop being so hot. 


Image Courtesy: Here
Down the road somewhere I saw an exit with a familiar name, took it, and in another 40 minutes reached back to the mall. During those 40 minutes of adventure, my heart thumped like never before and blood circulation was so wild that once I reached back to the mall I was revitalized in every sense. Rejuvenated, and fresh as a Lily. Who needs a spa when one can get lost and get the same effect?  However my brain was shredded and strewn inside my head and it took me some time to pull myself together and start remembering details like my name and phone number.

Basically I took so much effort and was even willing to get lost in the wilderness to watch this movie for the below reasons.
  • The melodious songs. I know that’s not a reason to watch a movie but for me it is. 
  • Shah Rukh Khan - He had a guest appearance for hardly five minutes. He did not look good, his role was horribly constructed and the dialogues during those five minutes were abysmal. 
  • Fawad Khan. His screen time may have been ten minutes, but anything for Fawad, any day. 
As a die-hard fan, I am highly disappointed with SRK for agreeing to say those dreadful dialogues in this otherwise below average movie. Secondly, lead characters making jokes about a terminal illness is dreadfully insensitive and callous to say the least. This Karan dude is funny on his talk shows. He does not seem to see the thin line that separates humor from absurdity.

The movie in general is a lame try to redefine love and friendship which Karan does in his every other movie. Dude, even my five year old understands the difference between the two. Friendship is a subset of Love, but Love cannot be equated with friendship. Karan tries hard to prove that LHS equal to, but not equal to RHS, and in the process, failed a movie, talented actors and scores of audience. To be honest, the movie up to twenty minutes after the intermission was tolerable. Beyond that, people continue to sit inside the theater either because there is some nachos left to be finished, or because they are watching the movie inside a mall on astronomical ticket prices. In my case, both. Sigh the movie was colder than my popcorn towards the end.

I now understand the value of my friends who advised me against watching it at a theater and wait for the dvd instead. What would I do without you guys? You know, what we have is not just friendship. I think it is love. Or is it?  


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The hues of patience.

Image Courtesy: Google Images
There comes a time in everybody’s lives when their sanity, patience, and endurance threshold are tested for quality standards. This can be achieved by subjecting our homes to maintenance, otherwise known as painting. I begged, pleaded and threatened our building caretaker in that order for the past six months  for painting the house and stalked him until he started running at the sight of my shadow. Finally he messaged me on whatsapp “Madam shall we come tomorrow? Sure? Confident?”

So these are the same guys who frequently come to change the lights, pipes, and unclog blocks in the kitchen sink. Their proficiency to paint a wall is comparable to the kiddo using water color. The paint they brought saying ‘yeh bahut mehenga paint hai madam’ was as good as water. This is how painting is done when the quarterly goals of the maintenance department include ‘Paint the fourth floor apartments’ and all you have is two hours to finish it. Meanwhile some of our friends invited us to their homes to spend the night until the paint smell was gone. Well what do they know about the smell of water?

So the highly deceptive, pretend painting went on in full swing, with the furniture positions maintained intact as the wall behind them is clean anyway. Logic, people. Who is going to look behind the cupboard, c’mon! Whatever the kiddo wrote on the bedroom walls was also preserved, because they apparently assumed that the picture he drew was incomplete. ‘Picture abhi baaki hai mere dosth’ types. I have never come across such thoughtful and logical painters all my life. Coming to think of the whole ordeal, they were even concerned about our health, hence brought odorless (colorless) paint. I feel pity for my friends whose homes stank of paint odor. We should not just acknowledge these guys with regular wages; they need standing ovation for going out of the way to make sure nothing changes in the house. Literally, nothing. Meanwhile I couldn’t help noticing the man of the house walking up and down displeased and highly irritated. The last target, the living room is where his first family is lodged; the home theatre systems. His priority, concern and last but not the least, his love.

The living room escaped the highly professional water coloring because the man of the house did not want his first family to exist within the confines of cheap paint.  When you have a tiger for a pet, you also need the Gold Hummer for it to travel. So there was texture paint, surfaces meant to reflect and contain the sound, and a lot of technicality involved in what we, cheap humans consider as mere ‘painting’. Meanwhile some of our neighbors started wondering whether we have additional secret rooms as it was taking longer than it did for them. 

The dining table and chairs were moved around to keep more relevant stuff, which of course did not include food or humans that he shares the apartment with. Dismantled home theater speakers sat comfortably on the chairs while I had my meals standing and kiddo had his on the kitchen slab. Stuff from the living room was moved to other rooms. My time on those two days was effectively spent finding misplaced toys and arranging food for the professional painter. When the husband is gadget savvy, be prepared to be treated like a third wheel.

Finally the walls are done, and things kept back at their rightful places after a night of toil and backbone strength test. It looks like a brand new apartment. Finally it smells of paint in the living room.

And I guess we are back to being his first family ;-)