“Ride along” said life


…and this time I said ” Why not?!”

I am riding along the highway.

without a care in the world

with the wind blowing my hair

going where ever the road chooses to takes me

No plan. No predecided direction. No timeline. No nothing.

If this shift in attitude lasts a week, I’ll be supremely surprised at myself.  But it should be  worth a try, especially with all this talk about learning and being flexible and what not.

Picture taken at Biker’s Cafe. Incidentally, a good place to go to if breakfast is your favourite meal of the day.

They dont make them like that anymore…

…. films.. and in many cases, actors too.

If you agree to that, you are probably as old as me or older!  The older you get the better you appreciate the b/w era. 🙂



I watched a movie with a friend over the last weekend.  She and I have a routine. Every couple of months we meet up, talk till our jaws hurt, shop till we drop, eat at restaurants we can ill –afford and watch whatever movie is playing at the theatres. Its our way of breaking away from the monotony. Usually it works, and we return to our respective offices all talked out, broke but happy.  Everything with this arrangement is fine except for our choice of movies. The last time we saw Mausam. As you would know that movie was anything but awesome. This time we acted uncharacteristically gutsy and voluntarily chose to watch The Dirty Picture. Not a smart idea.

The only thing good about  The Dirty Picture is Vidya Balan. She undoubtedly impresses with her acting skills, but besides that, the movie doesn’t offer much. Not having seen any of Silk Smitha’s movie, it’s hard to assess exactly how close to the real character she was, but my gut feeling she has done a pretty good job of it.  At least that’s what a quick search on Silk Smitha on Wikipedia assures me. She seems to be comfortable portraying a challenging role and looks convincing throughout the film.

The first half of the film focuses on Silk’s  devil-may-care attitude and her deep desire to rise to fame and live life on her terms.  Post-interval the film depicts her discontent with relationships,  alcoholism  and her steady downfall in the industry, ending with her suicide. Oddly, the film doesn’t go beyond this- making practically no references to the exploitative nature of the films in those years  or the poverty, early marriage and ill-treatment that forced  the young girl to run away from home in the first place. To me, this was an obvious gap in the storyline.

You walk into the theatre expecting a film similar to one of Madhur Bhandarkar’s and are hugely disappointed because the movie doesn’t make it to that league at all.  Imran Hashmi and Tushar Kapoor have fairly prominent roles in the movie but they don’t do it justice to their characters. I never thought I’d say this, but I wasn’t too happy with Naseeruddin Shah either. There is no way I can find fault in his craft, but I felt something about his on-screen character didnt fit with his  real life personality.

If I were to go by the number of times the radio plays Oh la la, I’d have to call it a hit, but I think Ishq Sufiana is a far better song.  I noticed some similarities  between how this song  and  Tu Jaane Na from Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahaani is shot.  Did you notice them too?

Though Vidya Balan has obviously played a career defining role, I can’t help wondering why she had to pick this particular character to display her acting abilities. I can’t even fully understand why a biopic was made on Silk Smitha. What was so great about her? What did she do that was such a  critical contribution  to the film industry that we needed a 3 hour  film on her?  What was so outstanding or exceptional about the roles she played? If I were to ever make a movie on a film actor, I am sure I wouldn’t picked her.  Anyhow,  the movie has been made and released, but its  not a movie I am recommending.  Watch it for Balan, if you must.

Coming up next:  Green is in!

In retrospect

In the time that I have been away, wordpress has changed beyond recognition.  I am having serious difficulty finding my way around. No wonder my 250 word post  titled“Look who is back” was published as “Look who is back” and nothing more.  I thought ctrl+c and ctrl+v still worked on wordpress. Apparently not.  Technology changes much too fast, if you ask me.

So why am I back to blogging after almost a year? For no greater reason than the fact that I feel like writing again. When I shut this blog, I was at a stage when I felt the writing had stagnated. Life wasn’t offering too many interesting things  to write about. Plus, living in a new city all by myself was taking a bit of getting used to. Writing was then, obviously, the last thing on my mind.  As I type away at the key board I realise most of these things still stand true. I have a life that’s fairly  stuck in an unaltering routine. I work 6 days a week. Hardly travel (going to Bombay doesn’t count). And when I read what I have just written, I realise the writing hasn’t gone up a level either.  Yet, after a year of staying away from this blog and settling in the capital, I just feel it would be a good idea to give writing another shot. I just hope this time I don’t run out of things to say! *fingers crossed*

So what have I done while I was away from this blog?  Quite a bit! I’ve-

  1. Settled into the new job. Acquired a fair understanding of the  people, the culture, the industry. There still a lot that needs to be understood, but a decent start has been made
  2. Adapted to Delhi’s pace. I still miss Mumbai’s pace and energy, but now Delhi seems fine too. 😀
  3. Connected with lots of old friends.  If you’ve lived 20+ years in a city and you return to it, you are bound to bump into people you know all the time. I’ve meet people – friends, acquaintances, old neighbours even schools teachers, at shops, malls, on the streets and each accidental meeting has been a reason for joy.
  4.  Found an alternate hobby to baking: embroidery!
  5. Read an eclectic mix of books, the latest being Priya by Namita Gokhale.
  6.  Joined and quit the gym. I think I was meant to join gyms, only to quit them within 3 months.
  7. Moved homes. Yes, all in the span of one year, I’ve moved two homes.
  8. Travelled home to  Bombay about 4 times in the year. The parents made about the same number of trips. Yes, we are all wondering why I even  bother to live in Delhi. J I also made a quick trip to Chandigarh and Bangalore.
  9. Learnt to cook exact  portions for one.
  10. Gone back to watching movies in the theatre. Latest movie: Mausum. Recommended only till the intermission. The second half of the movie is just chaotic confusing and in part, unbelievable.

That’s broadly it. What have you been guys been upto- Dipali, SMM, Vimmuuu, Monika, Crafty, Homecooked,Swaram, S&S, Hitchwriter?

Stereotyped? Who me?

Bharat Bandh on Monday found me sitting at home, twiddling my thumbs and discovering how stereotyped I am. As it turns out, very. Well, not exactly very but fairly. As I sat reflecting, I realized there were so many stereotypes that I have grown into-behaviours that I didn’t display when I was younger but are today a part of me.

Let me draw up a list of some of the common stereotypes that I don’t/partly /wholly fit into (Sorry IHM, tweaked your meme a wee bit!).

I drive ( is that still a stereotype?). That doesn’t mean I like to drive. Traffic in this country is a battle- its exhausting, senseless, noisy and most often haphazard and directionless. But give me a car and an open road and I am only to happy to drive.

I like the outdoors. Staying out of the house. Roughing it out. ( I think I like staying in the house as much as I like staying out of it. But the staying-out has to be for a limited period of time. A home bird can stay away for only so long.)

I can manage my finances enough to survive. I need to get better at it.

I can fix things around the house. This is an area where the father is The Expert. I am about 1/100 as good as him but I manage the basic stuff. Just don’t give me anything with too many screws and tangled wires.

On a regular day it takes me 10 mins to get ready. On others its about 20.

I don’t  do or understand make-up.

Till very recently I was unaware of  retail therapy. Now I swear by it.

I sincerely believe chocolates solve problems. Minty, nutty ones do a better job than their plain counterparts. It’s hard to believe that as a child I did not like or eat chocolates.

I like  a practical  approach to life. Well, at least on most days! 😛

I think animals (domesticated ones at home and wild one on tv) are nice. Dogs are wonderful. Cats are cute when they are kittens, and reptiles are best kept far way. Cockroaches deserve a non-violent death and if I have to help them move on to the other world, I prefer to do so using Hit. From a distance of 5 feet or more.

I can keep things to myself. Even gossip.

I am not gadget crazy but I can (and do) appreciate objects like cell phones ,laptops and ipods.

I was a member of the “I only watch English movies and listen to English songs” club, but I gave up the membership some years ago.  While the quality of Hindi (aka Bollywood) songs has improved considerably (take for eg.this ), the hindi movie scene still has a long way to go. But at least, I don’t resist Bollywood flicks as ardently as I used to earlier and once in a while they make a movie like TZP and my faith in the industry is restored.

The sports section of the newspaper is the only section I never read. Sports channels, the only one I never surf. I was a decent athlete in school. Sadly, the present doesn’t reflect the past in any way.

I like pink. And blue. And green. And yellow.

I can whistle. That’s what happens when you try to copy your friend at school. You end up with skills that has great show –off value  at age 15 and little practical application later in life.

Masood thanks for tagging me. Since all of you seem to have done this, I am not going to tag anyone. Take it up if you haven’t already!

And finally…the answer..

I’ll be honest. I have never had so much fun with a picture quiz before. So far all the little quizzes I’ve done here have been quite a bore. They are never tough enough and you guys are able to get the right answer in a try or two. But this last quiz was something else. It really got you thinking didn’t it?  Five days of thinking and guessing is quite enough and its time to take the mystery out of the  fruit, and we’ll do that, but in just in a little while. First lets review some of the answers we received. Some of them were expected, some unexpected and some were actually way out of my realm of knowledge! I expected to hear plums and berries as answers, even apricots. But guava and apples? Now those were quite surprising!And crab apples and mangoustines? I had to google  to find out what those were!

The answer to the quiz is really rather simple. Its something you’ve probably eaten a hundred times but never seen in raw form. Let me show you another picture. Does this look more familiar?

Garcinia indica

Yes, you got it right. That’s  kokum.  The picture in the quiz was that of the fresh fruit. I expect you are more familiar  with the dried fried version of the fruit.

Fresh kokum fruit

Kokum or Garcinia indica a fruit of a tree native to the western coastal region of the country.  It’s used in Marathi and Gujarati cuisines and,if I  am not mistaken, in some South Indian cuisines too. The dried fruit is used as a souring agent in dals and curries and also for making sherbets. You must have heard of Sol Kadhi. If you haven’t, the next time you cross the western coast, I suggest you find yourself a glass of this refreshing drink. If you like coconut and the distinct flavour of kokum, you are sure to love it.

We found the fruit in the sabzi mandi the other day and couldnt resist buying some. How can you not buy fresh kokum?? Its such a rarity.  Not knowing how to cook with it, we took a few pictures and turned it into a quiz!

The only one to get the answer right was Rani. Good show, girl!! Vimmuuu,I could have named you and Masood here too.Not as people who got the answer right but as people who came up with the most original and brilliant answers. May be if you keep up with the creative guessing, in the next quiz I will. 🙂

Coming up in the next post- a award and a meme.