Thursday, December 19, 2013

Of Dolls and Dremels

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Have you heard cars, badass weapons, tech. gadgetry etc. being referred to as toys for the boys? I bet, you have… and have you ever bristled over how stereotypical and possibly sexist that is. Well, I have… and I always get mad when I hear or read it.

Who decides what I, as a girl, ought to play with or what I should fancy under the Christmas tree, wrapped up in elegant gift wrap? I love cars, machinery, electronics and gadgets… and I don’t think I take too kindly to being judged for it. And, no… it is not just these things that I like, I am a huge fan of dolls and soft toys and baby animals and all things ‘cute’. I do hate pink though… unless it is a shocking shade of it.

I believe that it is a stupid idea to force people to segregate interests and bracket them as male and female ones. Why should a woman who likes to knit be looked down upon and thought of as a ‘bored housewife’ or a woman who has an active Pinterest board of fun & creative crafts be considered a ‘sit-at-home-mom’. For all you know, they are probably taking time out from their corporate jobs to have some fun and de-stress. A hobby that does not involve a heavy tool box and machine tools and loads of grease is no less an interesting hobby. I love to build little shelves and tinker with electronics just as much as I love to bake or quill.

There is this Samsung ad that is an irritating example of the prejudiced view of a big part of our society.

Look at how it has a woman (in pink, naturally) in what is, according to Samsung, her natural environment (the kitchen) saying she uses the computer to share pics of her family. Notice how all the men reportedly use their computers for ‘serious’ stuff… and even, work! Ha!! Oh… and if that wasn’t insulting enough, they hand her a screw driver and she looks at the thing as if it is an alien dick. How hard is it to unscrew a laptop? Samsung (and a whole lot of other tech companies) have to dig themselves out of that trench under the rock they are in and see the light of day to know that women have working brains… and they can figure out tools and computers and more just as easily as they can figure out the exact temperature the meat has to reach for the perfect Beef Wellington (which, by the way, is 55°C.) Also, pastels are boring… next time you get a gadget out for women please don’t do pink!! Red is good. Red is passionate.

Sarah (my imaginary - for now - daughter), loves the Sang Noir Veyron and let’s Tia, her teddy bear drive it while she fixes the broken microwave so she and Tia can together bake that batch of chocolate cookies shaped like LOTR characters. :D 

And you can FO for judging me… both for liking dolls AND my imaginary daughter.

Also, I have to go fix the goddamn office printer!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Live-in OR Marriage

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L o r d R a j: Live-in OR Marriage - The discussion continues: For any relationship to work one has to put an effort - be it Live-in or Marriage. Some individuals think that people don't put in a...

Came across this while I dug up archives... got me wondering if ever...

**The ellipsis (...) is such a loaded punctuation symbol.


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Plato is a major influence in my life now. Especially in my non-natural relationships… in the only other relationship I have other than friends and relatives.

A platonic relationship with my man-friend (he is too much of a man to be called a boyfriend)… three years old and still going strong in spite of all those nay-sayers who told me it just wouldn’t last. People claim there really can't be a platonic relation between two members of the opposite genders over an extended period of time… especially if the two are very close. I’d say… look at us… we are really close, we have been true to the definition… Friends without benefit? ;) And the commitment we have to the relationship is as good as in the deepest, most romantic liaisons… it stops me from having a no strings attached fling or an emotional attachment to any other guy. 

Having lived his life… casual flings, heartfelt romances and all… he has come to a point where pure, unadulterated, intimate love without the physical intimacy and the heartache is like a balm to him.
Though, I have no experience of physical love, I have had enough heartache. First, a relationship gone sour because of the lack of physical proximity and intimacy and then this, a relation that works despite the lack of the same. 

I have had friends ask me if I don’t miss it in my life (the intimacy, not the heartache!)… the answer is yes, of course… but I don’t really know what I am missing without prior experience… so, it is like missing a trip to the moon, probable but not possible. And anyway I tell them… books help, as in all of my life’s other adventures… it’s a happening life I live through them.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Da Vinci's Demons

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A historical fantasy... quite an interesting watch. I like to read about and see historical characters in fictional settings which may or may not have been plausible. 
Leonardo da Vinci is an historical figure who holds captive the imagination of millions of people and I am no less enthralled by the possibilities that may have been him.

I like the title sequence... the artwork... and the CGI isn't bad.

Da Vinci's Demons title sequence from HUGE on Vimeo.

The lead character, Leonardo da Vinci is played by Tom Riley.
But the male character that intrigues me the most... and I love that subtle menace in him is Count Girolamo Riario played by an awesome Blake Ritson.
Laura Haddock as Lucrezia Donati is easy on the eye... and the character was interesting in the beginning but as the mysteries surrounding her dulled so did my interest in her.

Done with Season 1... looking forward to the next seasons.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Point To Ponder…

Here is something I often wonder…

Painting, sketching, drawing etc. are means by which people express themselves… it could be a representation of their thoughts or it could be a depiction of what their eyes see. Of course, at times art is symbolic but that isn’t what I am considering when I talk about what I do in this post. I am not considering abstract art either.

Artists for ever have depicted day to day scenarios and general scenery along with the more religious or ritualistic art. The artists of the Renaissance or even some of them earlier on were able to paint, sketch, draw and sculpt realistic images (with some artistic liberties, of course.) Some of the artists of today create hyper-realistic artwork… it is like looking at a photograph (only because it is a 2D image.) But when we go back to the ancient civilizations and not as far as cavemen… the art work though spectacular is very stylized and not realistic in anyway. In fact, the styling of the artwork is what mostly distinguishes them as belonging to a certain civilization. I am excluding cave art from this because well, the supplies and time were definitely limited for leisurely artwork what with the struggle for survival on a daily basis… and they weren't exactly civilized back in the day.

So, why aren’t there any realistic art from that ancient civilized age? Why is all artwork conforming to a panel like style which seems to be quite common across civilizations… there is a that lack of depth to the images, a lack of perception in its literal sense. If you were to sketch a scenery while looking at it most people, even kids, would have a tendency to create the illusion of depth by making far away things look smaller and the ones nearby larger because that is how our eyes perceive the scene. Well, unless you are a toddler who finds it difficult to wrap your head around the idea of depth your image wouldn’t consist of mostly all objects (or people) of the same size irrespective of their relative placement in the scene. Then why is that most ancient art looks like exceptionally talented toddlers created them?

Isn’t there a marked lack of perspective in these images? Albeit they are all exquisitely beautiful… I am just intrigued that there aren't many art works from that age which are less two dimensional.

Here are a few examples of various stylized depictions of scenes from around the ancient world… some like the Madhubani art is still in practice.

Madhubani art (India) - Image via Google Search

Detail of the Standard of Ur - Image via Google Search

Egyptian panel -  - Image via Google Search

Sometimes, I just get this weird feeling that ancient people saw only in 2D! :D

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Cuckoo’s Calling - Review

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I got my hands on The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith. To be honest, I wouldn't have bothered to pick it up if I hadn't known it was actually J. K. Rowling.

Did I like the book?  Hmmm… er… ok. It isn't bad… no, it is a decent read. But with all the hype around it I was expecting a detective novel that smashed conventional gumshoe accounts. Well, this is just mediocre fare. In my younger days I have read the Harry Potter Series and I know that Rowling can weave quite a tale. So, yes… I am a wee bit disappointed.

I won’t disclose much of the story as it is…you know… a mystery / detective novel, except that it is set in modern London and revolves around the death of a supermodel of mixed race. Her brother hires a private detective with an unusual name – Cormoran Strike, to look in to her death.

The characters in the novel, including our limping protagonist, are quite clichéd… some of their back-stories are unusual but that’s all there is for novelty. There isn't a feel of the city in it which helps you visualize the scenes… something is lacking despite London being a city with loads of charm and character. In fact, throughout the book what bothered me most was the odd feeling of unfinished characters, lacking a proper fleshing-out.

The book, in spite of its shortfalls is an interesting read and you’d want to read it at one go… cover to cover.
I hear Cormoran Strike is going to feature in more of her novels under the pen-name Robert Galbraith.

In the end, I would have to quote Shania Twain… That don’t impress me much!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Bright Memories…

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It’s Diwali and I am in Kuwait, where it isn't even a holiday. Well, it is Saturday and that ain't a holiday either.

In spite of that, the large Indian population in Kuwait does celebrate Diwali with as much grandeur as they can muster without being hauled off to the police station for noise and /or air pollution. The North Indian crowd is especially eager and the areas where there is a majority of them such as Salmiya see very brightly lit up and noisy celebrations. My apartment towers too have their own celebrations which I have never yet attended in all these years I have been here.

I do miss the celebrations in Bombay, especially in Anushaktinagar. The colony is a delightful place to be whatever the festival. Being a melting pot of varied cultures from within India, every festival has a multitude of flavours and Diwali is no exception. There is the south Indian Deepavali with its Deepavali lehyam, the rambunctious Punjabi & Gujarati celebrations, the extended Maharashtrian celebrations and so much more. And then there is the Diwali we kids celebrated… Noise and fireworks, louder the better, and loads and loads of it. As we grew older, we grew wiser and more concerned about the environment and so the disturbingly loud celebrations were toned down but nothing dampened our enthusiasm.

The days before Diwali, which was vacation time in schools, would be stormy with cleaning and shopping and running around for fixing the lighting and torans and getting last minute spare diyas and rangoli colours. Me being a Keralite did not have too many culinary preparations for the festival, but that did not stop me from planting myself in the neighbours’ kitchens, helping with the sweets and helping myself to the sweets. In spite of being a Keralite… I used to get new clothes for Diwali instead of Onam… because October to December was the festive season (vacation time) and also rained discounts.
In the late evenings, the fireworks would start a couple of days before Diwali… tiny bursts at first and then the bigger, brighter, louder and more sparkly ones would come out on the day of Lakshmi pooja. I am absolutely fearful of burns, but lighting a little cracker off the ladi while holding it in the hand and then throwing it in the air before it burst never seemed dangerous to me. We pulled all sorts of crazy stunts involving crackers and the more sober fireworks, when we escaped adult supervision, which wasn't that hard to do… anyone would have thought we were all pyromaniacs and arsonists in the making. Now that I look back, I know it was extremely dangerous and I would not recommend it to kids.

School gave way to college and then to the workplace. Diwali was all grown up now… it was more about sweets, decoration and healthy competitions and less of fireworks. At my workplace, we had 4 different studios that catered to game development for different geographical areas of the world… the festival was a time for some competing. We had inter-studio bay decoration and rangoli competitions, dance and traditional wear competitions and more. There was tons of fun to be had… and lots of festive hogging.

I look back with nostalgia to those days, even as I enjoy my new life. I think celebrating festivals is important, not just from a cultural point of view but on a personal level too. Even when you are down and out, the diya of Deepavali, the splash of colour of Holi, the reluctant garba / dandiya performance you are dragged to for Navratri, the carol singing of Christmas… or just all that yummy food… they are all enough to give you a few moments to smile, forget your troubles and live it up.

Here’s wishing everyone a happy, safe, brilliant Deepavali

May the flickers of a million diyas light up every corner of your heart and banish all shadows… and may it burst with joy like a sky filled with fireworks.

Device 6 – Game Review

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A few days back, I downloaded this game on the iPad – Device 6, by Simogo.

I am quite impressed by it. It is a game perfect for a tablet (or a phablet... wanting it to come out on Android for my Note 3.) The game is, in a nutshell, interactive fiction in a mostly literal form.

There are no gun fights or action on screen which requires you to be smushing your onscreen buttons. The flow of the game is like reading an engrossing thriller… except you actually reach the conclusion along with the character by working on the clues strewn around in the text of the novel, hidden in at times confusing, at times aiding sound bytes, and black and white images both still and moving which seem to be from the 30s or 40s.

The intro + credits montage at the beginning of the game is very British, very James Bond… and it is sad that it only played at the first opening of the game. I wouldn't mind it being available to be launched from the game by some discreet onscreen button. The game has to experienced with earphones or a headset... it increases the spookiness quotient a lot.

I don’t know if the game has any precedents, but to me it is a unique experience. The game is as fast as you allow it to be, with the text snaking around the screen, literally. You would end up rotating the screen at all sorts of angles to read it, sometimes holding it to a mirror, tapping at text or images which are actually buttons in disguise, solving cryptic clues written and many a time spoken or broadcast. There is an old world charm to it with a very pipe smoking detective vibe.

Screenshot 01

Screenshot 02

Screenshot 03

Screenshot 04

The central character from what I have played is Anna, a lady who loves her smokes, who has woken up in weird surroundings with no memory of how she got there and she has to work her way around what seems like a castle or a mansion or a very large house… perhaps Victorian.

The important part is that the player has to be observant as they read what is essentially a novel… words, numbers and dates or phrases may all be possible clues which you might need elsewhere in the game as you travel room to room exploring along with Anna.

I found the game exciting but it may not be everyone’s cup of tea (or coffee.)

I have finished 3 chapters of the story and I don’t really know how many remain… but I am eager for more.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mixed Reviews

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Okay, I have been reading. I read three Gillian Flynn novels back to back and already put up the review of one. I also managed to sneak in The Silent Wife by A. S. A. Harrison.

The connect between all these novels was that they are/were all by female authors and they all have female protagonists (or antagonists.) I decided to review them together… it is easier because of their being from a similar genre… psychological thrillers.

The two remaining books of Gillian Flynn are Sharp Objects and Dark Places (other than which I already reviewed here.)

Sharp Objects revolves around a young woman who has to come to terms with her mother who has alienated her after the death of her younger sister. The psychological stresses that tear the family apart are reflected in the step sister who is years younger than the protagonist. The story is disturbing to say the least. It highlights how unpredictable the human mind is and how much the circumstances we are brought up in may influence us, and our mental outlook. Gillian Flynn writes well, you are kept turning the pages till you are done. I wouldn't rate this one as good as Gone Girl… but it is nevertheless a good read.

Dark Places on the other hand focuses on situations that sometimes get out of hand, the helplessness we have to face sometimes and the different ways people deal with life (or fail to deal with it). Again, the character that binds the story line is a young woman who has found herself in a situation where she has to deal with the harsh realities of life at a young age. It has made her bitter and even at a later stage when she should be able to shrug off the past and take responsibility for her actions, she refuses to let go… clinging to a sense of being wronged, a sense of being entitled because she was wronged. She comes across as a shallow, selfish person… which she is… but in her is a deeper need of closure, a detachment from the horrors of her past.
This book too is a very enjoyable read. It does not follow a linear timeline… jumping from now to the events in the past… in spite of which it does not lose the flow of the plot.

All three books require a level of understanding of the workings of the human psyche which I believe the author has… and a certain amount of craziness which would let you come up with the ideas for these plots… which may or may not be an alarming thing. :D

All said… I look forward to more of Flynn’s works.

The Silent Wife is a book which starts of similar to Gone Girl… an unhappy couple in a relationship that’s a sham… but is not as interesting as the latter. I dislike the character Jodi for her being spineless and clingy and indecisive till things get out of hand. Here is a review I agree with... not much else to say on it because it would just be a repeat opinion.

Unfortunately, the men in all 3 books are assholes… except in Dark Places, where he is less of an asshole and more of an escapist.

Now, I am gonna catch up with a Gothic classic... The Monk by Matthew Lewis.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Are You That Someone?

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Dear Someone,

I need someone to talk to.
Someone logical and rational but warm at the same time… Someone who wouldn't chide and scold me when am being human. Someone who understands that my views are different, at times crazy, a lot of times stupid... but they are my views and are important to me so wouldn't be dismissive about them or about me. Someone who wouldn't treat me like an errant child... I don't want an extra parent, I have mine who are quite capable of getting on my nerves without needing any additional help.
I need someone who would let me be a girlfriend once in a while and let me do the things girlfriends do... buy gifts, cook you a dinner, ask you to take me out on a date etc... simple things which make me feel human. I want someone who would treasure me like I treasure him.
Get me someone who does not want to fix me all the time… Someone who knows that I rant and vent when I am upset and that's how I am… but I am NOT waiting to be rescued every time I open my mouth. I want someone who would share his troubles with me... I'd listen but not interfere unless asked to.
Would you be someone who cares and is not afraid to show you care?
I need someone I don't have to be careful around... Who won't get upset at every second sentence I say or with the things I do... Someone who understands that I can be direct and straightforward but at times I do hope you'd read between the lines... figure me out like I love to figure you out.
When I put up with your quirks and fallacies, I don't do it just because I love you but because they make you who you are and I would want none of that changed... love me like that.
Love me in spite of me.
Bring down my walls and get to know me instead of pushing me away when I reach out to you.I am tolerant but I want someone who wouldn't stretch me to the point that I break.
If you are that someone out there… ping me. ;)
I await you. I need you.

Yours if you care,

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Travel Blues


I hate air travel. I know it is the most convenient form of transport, the fastest means to get anywhere. But, I feel it is a nightmare to be cooped up for hours on an armchair and it gets worse if your co-passenger is unsavory.

It is so much nicer to travel in a train where you can get up from the seat once in a while, stretch your legs, walk around… and if nothing else, there is always something outside the window to look at. Clouds or the dark night sky gets quite boring after a while on an aircraft.

I wish the whole of the civilized world was connected by an immense railway network… underground, over ground, under sea, long bridges, scenic routes, over deserts and plains and hill ranges. It would be quite a feat of engineering and a delight to travel the lines.
Last night on my flight back to Kuwait, I had a particularly nasty co-passenger. He was sloshed and kept drinking throughout the journey and he wouldn't shut up or let me sleep. He started of decently enough but soon his behaviour deteriorated into an annoying mess. I am normally not sociable while I am travelling, I do like to keep to myself and be in my own world of imagination… and not being left alone to do that was extremely irksome. I didn't want to create a scene on the late night flight and disturb the other sleeping passengers and even then I had to raise my voice and be outright rude to him (which is not exactly my style). When he didn't relent, I tried to change my seat or even get downgraded to economy class just to get away from the horrible fellow. Unfortunately, the flight was packed. Finally, I spent around 50 minutes of my 3 hour flight standing in the aisle space near the door with the steward and hostess to avoid the creep.

Well, glad to have gotten rid of him. When I narrated the incident to someone, he chided me for playing the victim, for talking about the incident in detail and so reliving the miserable moments and making him feel miserable in the process about something that is over and about which nothing could be done… about which HE could do nothing about.
Narrating the incident was not reliving it… it was therapeutic, a way to get it out of my system… a way of assurance that stuff happens and you do not let it simmer and boil within you but let it out and be cleansed. Obviously, that didn't go well for me. As usual, I decided to rant on my blog about it and purge it… and not be judged in the process. Thank you!

Friday, October 25, 2013


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When Apple or even Google (Android) comes up with a new product or the tiniest update/upgrade for an existing product, everyone goes hyper irrespective of the relevance.

BlackBerry puts forth a tried and tested and much loved product for the rest of the world and any hype is frowned upon, their marketing mistakes are blown up to look like management blunders that could cause another 'Depression'.

The point is that BBM is a great product. It is one of the best if not the best messenger service out there. It beats the others in speed and efficiency and more importantly it is reliable and it is secure and private. Just knowing your email ID or phone number does not put you at risk of being a spam target... The BBM PIN ensures that.

So be glad that BBM made it to the other platforms and stop whining about the hype.
Enough with the stupid jokes already!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Conjuring


A few days back I finally caught up with the movie The Conjuring, which I have been meaning to watch since its release. Now, I wish I had watched it in the theater.

As I speak of the movie there might be inadvertent spoilers ahead, though I would try not to disclose much about the movie. It isn't exactly a suspenseful thriller which would lose its charm if anything is revealed but I’ll let the reader watch it and decide for themselves.

The movie is advertised as a true story based on the life of the Warrens (Ed & Lorraine) who were a couple of paranormal investigators. The story centers around the Perrons who have moved into a farmhouse which appears to be haunted and for which they seek the aid of the Warrens.

What I found interesting about the movie is that the scares used are subtle and woven well into the plot that nothing feels superfluous, they don’t seem like tactics… the scenes seem integral to the movie and I was engrossed. The movie was also paced well, no jittery or parallel timelines which sometimes hinder the flow of a plot if not executed with caution. Horror movies at times have an issue where either too much is happening or too little is happening in them… takes away from the viewing pleasure. This one has just enough going on.

Something weird happened while I was watching the movie. I was watching the movie at night (I can’t remember a time when I haven’t watched a horror film at night). There is this scene in the movie where the clocks all stop at 3:07 AM. It is a moment of importance to the storyline and to the events that influence it. As the scene played on screen and the camera focused on the grandfather clock onscreen with the time stuck at that precise moment and slowly panned out to take in the room, my brother who was until then silently watching the movie suddenly said this...

Bro: Look at that… oh my god… just look at that.
Me: (Not looking away from the screen and presuming he has seen something on it which I have missed) What do you see… where? I can’t see anything.
Bro: Look up you doofus!
Me: (looking at the top of the screen) Errr… huh?
Bro: Not the screen, the clock… our clock.

I looked at the wall clock in our living room, above the doorway to the side of the TV. The time on its yellow face was exactly 3:07 AM. I blinked and looked again, yep… 3:07 AM it was. There was no mistaking it, the clock has Arabic numerals! I checked my cell-phones, two of them… so did my bro… they all showed 2:56 AM. A weird moment for us, we never realized that the wall clock was so out of sync with the rest of the time-pieces in the house… and it was faster than the actual time. For what seemed like a long time, I kept staring at the clock face willing its hands to move… the seconds needle seemed to drag itself around and finally it completed its rotation and the minute hand moved to the 8th minute… 3:08 AM. I realised I could breathe again. Quite the longest spooky minute I have had.

I had to rewind and play the scene back as I had concentrated my senses on our wall clock.
Ah well… the spooky coincidence added to the likeability of the movie. I guess I would have missed that if I had watched it in the theater.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Feeling Blessed!

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Years ago I met this girl in school... I was drifting in a world of my own, not really reaching out to others, more acquaintances than friends until she changed all that. She became that one solid anchor that kept me grounded. A friend, a confidante, a soul sister perhaps. The one girl I could talk to endlessly, about any damn thing... from The X Files to relationships. The one person I could share my insecurities and my triumphs with equal ease. The one person with whom even after ages of no contact the break in conversations feels like we'd just hung up to answer the door. In spite of the miles between us and the years since we last met, there is no one else I am as close to... we have transcended the cliches of reading each other like open books... or even telepathy.

And today is her birthday... I celebrated with a cupcake and a glass of wine.  ;)

Happy birthday, Urmila!
Love you lots! Miss you lots!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Recent Read – Gone Girl


Just finished the book ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn. I hadn't actually set out to read this book… the Nawaab was reading ‘The Silent Wife’ and when he suggested I might want to read it too I searched Flipkart for the book and found I couldn't get a paperback edition of The Silent Wife. Gone Girl showed up in the similar items category and I was immediately drawn to the somewhat mysterious title… also it was available in paperback. I ordered it when I was in Kuwait and received it the day after I landed in Bombay.

Unfortunately, my arm hurt too bad for me to actually read from the book and I had to resort to reading the eBook version on my phone. Before starting off I had sent the eBook to the Nawaab and he got a head-start on the book… and I realized that the book was affecting him somewhat. I needed to know how and why and between long lazy periods of bored sleep and long hours of me being upset about being in Bombay I finished the book. This was a few hours back.

It is a very well written book. The characters invoke strong reactions and stronger feelings in you… of hatred, disgust, fear… appreciation and even admiration. I get excited about books when the characters have some traits in common with me and this one has more than a few that are similar… disturbingly so.

I wont give away anything about the story… the twists and turns are worth discovering on your own. I began the book expecting a thriller with the stereotypical douche-bag hubby and suffering wife or vice versa but was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't that typical at all. It is a book that holds you captive between its covers and when you are done with it you want to seek out others who have read it just so you can discuss it with them.

It made me sit up and examine some of the thoughts that run in my head and also made me look into my relationships in a new light, especially since there are things I have in common with the Gone Girl!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

How Do I Move On?

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Life has a way of throwing you a curved one when you think everything is all set for an easy home-run. Deep inside I know I am grasping at straws to stay afloat. This is me letting off steam… not wanting to explode all over the place… and so today on this blog I vent in a controlled manner.

How do I move on… when I am in a relationship with the right guy at the wrong time? When my future with him is a blank with nothing to fill it with… When my present is a struggle I seem to be losing… a fight to be happy with moments of joy stolen from the time meant for priorities that do not and never will involve me. How do I move on when lost as I am in this sea, he is my pole star? He fills my sky. I see nothing between and beyond his brilliance. I swim towards him… and he retreats away from the horizon… forever unattainable. How do I move on when my heart is still warm from an endearment he uttered ages ago? When he first held my hand, it wasn’t a tingling feeling that coursed through me… no first blush of love… but a surge of power, of confidence to take on this world… and a sense of security that he’d stand by me forever. His kisses as rare as midsummer snow, they sent through me an electric pulse that melted my chains, disintegrated my inhibitions and made me look at the world through the eyes of a woman. How do I move on when I am still his girl, but not his woman? He brings out the best and the worst in me… but he brings me out. How do I move on now that I am unmasked?

I convince others that my life is perfect… and I ache within… I ache for him to whisper in my ear again the confirmation of the love with which he claimed my soul. How do I move on with so much hurt inside me? 

Yin to my yang, he and I, we make a perfect circle. How do I move on when no on else measures up to him? I have shed tears with him and been delighted when his face lit up with a smile. I have fumbled and hurt him and fought with him and then cried and made up. How do I move on now when my cheeks are still wet with tears?

Tell me… how do I move on when every fibre of my being refuses to let go? How do I move on when he would not move on?

These winds of winter... they are robbing me of my spring.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

First Impressions of BlackBerry OS10

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I finally gave in and bought myself a Q10. In two minds I was for a long while wondering if I should upgrade my trusty Curve 9360 (which was a gift from someone special) to a Bold 9900 or a Q10. Finally, at Alghanim’s Xcite showroom, I made the impulsive decision to go for the handset with OS 10 on it, in spite of the added dinars. Er… just saw a Star Wars clip!

I had my apprehensions, compounded by the earlier online reviews and the general impression of it having a steep learning curve, even for existing BlackBerry users. Now, I cannot be slotted as an exclusive BB user as I lug around a Note 2 and an iPad most of the time, along with the workhorse BB. All my devices have a specific use in my style of operations so I do not mind the extra number of devices.
Coming back to the Q10… this baby looks good. It feels just about right in the hands, though I would have still loved a smaller handset more. The material and finish is really great… the back cover is almost velvety to touch. Frankly, my first impression of the glass weave back cover when I saw the images and videos was quite bleh… but in actual, it is pretty. Anyway,my friend bought me a functional BB flipcover for it so the phone’s all covered up in work clothes… expensive work clothes, I might add.

Here’s the Q10 posing for my Note2… all dressed up and in the nude! ;)

The screen is gorgeous, even though it is tiny compared to the behemoth of a phone the Note 2 is. It is an AMOLED and that shows up in the saturated colours and deep, inky blacks that makes the display pop. I instantly fell in love. The keyboard… aah… if there is one thing that BlackBerry perfected, it is the physical QWERTY keyboard… it is a delight to use. Satisfaction guaranteed when you feel the chiselled keys under your thumbs and delicate click feedback they provide. Love that the keys are a bit larger than they were on the Curve and so me with my long, self-manicured nails can go clickety-click on them without mistyping too much. About that… mistyping is quite a tough task on the BB, the dictionary and autocorrect on it is amazingly accurate and unlike the iOS, it does not try to autocorrect every damn word you try to enter… so slang and Hinglish stay the way you want them.

Operating the interface on the Q10 is like… er… for want of a better word… like foreplay. Gestures is what they call it, but they are more like caresses… sensual strokes on the screen. Ahem… Hmmm… moving on…

The BlackBerry Hub is just about the best thing I like about the phone. I so miss it in on my Note2 and the iPad… I remember Samsung (TouchWiz) having some sort of a social hub earlier on which they did away with because it was quite clumsy. The iOS is just beginning to realize that social networking is here to stay so there isn’t much you can expect from them until future OS releases. The Hub on the BB integrates all your email accounts and IMs and social networking sites… everything in a neat array, messages and notifications can be individual or clubbed as conversations… and the best part… they can be accessed from any screen of the phone, doesn’t matter if you are in the middle of some silly game (No, Nawaab saheb, I haven’t installed games on the phone… so you can stop sharpening that machete now). The gesture that let’s you peek in to the hub is called… what else but Peek. It is a perfect way to get a glance of what’s new in the hub and if it is important enough for you to let Red Bird spare Moustache Pig.

And BBM is as good as ever… and now there is voice call and video call available on it. But, I have had a few glitches with BBM and the Wi-Fi network at work… seems to be some sort of router issue. I need to switch off Wi-Fi and use only data (which is a bummer for me) when I have to use BBM at work. But it works like a charm at home over both Wi-Fi and data.

BlackBerry has always provided native support for almost everything I need on a work phone and so I haven’t really needed to wade deep in to the App World or what is now BlackBerry World. The lack of apps doesn’t bother me so much.

I am yet to try out BlackBerry Balance which would separate my work profile from my personal profile… I need to look that up because the Q10 is an extremely personal phone for me and also the only phone with which I might actually do office work too.

So far so good… both the upgrade to OS 10 and the purchase of the Q10 seem to be good decisions in spite of them being spur of the moment. Also, I’d like to thank the Nawaab for the reverse psychology he seems to have inadvertently used on me. :P

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Achievement? Being of Indian Origin!

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In India, we have a very simple approach. We wait for people who have Indian roots to achieve something good in life, like going to space, designing overpriced speakers, winning Nobel prizes or beauty contests. Once they do that, we declare them Indian citizens in one fell swoop. No visas, no red tape and absolutely no care for whether their Indianness had anything to do with their achievements.

-- Krish Ashok ('The browning version' in The Hindu)

According to the Indian media, even achieving something of their own isn't needed for someone of Indian origin to be hailed for 'placing India on the global map'... being within a 50 meter radius while Kate Middleton gave birth is enough!

*Rolls eyes*

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Speech Impediment


Image Courtesy Google Images

I recently started a form of self-prescribed and self-developed form of speech therapy. I do not have a speech impediment or disorder of any known sort… but, I do have a small issue with the way I talk to people. The issue has been bothering me for a long while, and I worry that at times someone might even take offense about it.

The issue is that I am an involuntary speech mimic. When I am talking to a person in English (it might be happening with my other languages too, but I haven’t noticed it), I tend to mirror their speech patterns and intonations and to an extent, even their accent. It is almost a reflex action and I am honestly embarrassed by it. For someone who has heard me speak in my normal manner (which I have been told is neutral English with the slightest of British emphasis on certain words), this sudden change in my speech pattern while talking with them could be offensive… it would appear to them that I am mocking their speech. I would like to assure them that it isn't the case… this synchronous behavior on my part is purely involuntary.

The other issue which hampers me is that the previous pattern of my speech continues until I am in conversation with someone with a different pattern of speech/accent. It takes me a few lines of conversation to synchronize with the new accent and intonation. So,  if I have been talking to someone with a heavy South Indian accent for a while, my English is tinged with the accent and when I start talking to someone with a very pronounced Punjabi accent, after the first few lines of conversation where I sound South Indian, I start sounding all Punjabi. I do not realize the switch being thrown in my brain… though I have now started to try and monitor my speech to catch it and try and rectify it…which is why the therapy.

It is a simple way I have devised to try and cure myself of this disorder… I talk to myself! I talk to my reflection and get rid of the last accent on my tongue and then I talk some more to get my normal speech back. It also seems to help my imagination (which, by the way, is out of control)… I weave conversations with my id and ego. Sometimes in my mind I switch to a person with a good hold over the language and someone whose speech and way of talking and whose mind I am well acquainted with and then I debate with my imaginary, real friend.  

I hope that I get rid of my problem soon. 

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Weighing On My Mind


I have a weighty issue... It's my weight. It has been almost an exponential progression in the last few years. In college when almost all my friends were underweight I was the perfect weight for my height... Not a kilo more. Yet, I was referred to jokingly as 'moti'. With a waist of 28" the playful jibes didn't matter to me... I knew I was tall enough to balance those 'extra' inches.

After college, happened a job in Gaming... In spite of it sounding exciting, it was actually a sedentary job that required endless hours in front of the PC with rarely a stretch of any muscles other than those in my fingers. Combined with a lack of exercise, my haphazard timings of meals played havoc with my body. Naturally, the waistline now measured 32"... That's a four inch increase in 2 years. 
My sedentary lifestyle continued with my later jobs. Food habits were equally bad... though there was no binging on unhealthy food. My body's metabolism rate took a beating and since then it refuses to breakdown what little quantity of food I eat. That quantity has often been described as 'chidiya ka khaana' (roughly translates to feeding portion of a sparrow)... But, it has not stopped my body from storing up all that as fat just in case it has to face a decade long famine.

Well, now I am on my 6th job that involves sitting on my bum all day and have completed roughly a decade of wheeling my office chair around a maximum of 180°... And NO... I am definitely not gonna tell you what my waist measures now! What really bothers me is that I have to lose over 30 kilos to be considered fit.

My fitness issue is complicated further by my tendency to spiral into depression for long periods of time... Sometimes spanning a year. These phases make me lethargic, more sluggish than I'd care to be. Add to that my general lazy demeanour and I have carved out for myself the perfect route to obesity. This becomes a vicious cycle... Every time I look in the mirror I find I hate what I see and that makes me sad. The only saving grace is, until now, depression hasn't caused me to over-eat... But, it makes me sleep. Sleep a lot. And then there are hormone problems... That's as tiresome as it gets!

Anyway, I have decided to take matters into my own hands... Be my own inspiration, my own motivator and crack the whip on my own bum! I may have found help coming from totally unexpected quarters... But, that's another story... for another day.

So today I charted a diet plan for myself, nothing fancy, no flash, no miracles expected... A simple light diet that avoids heavy carbs like rice and potatoes and yet satisfies hunger. Now, motivating myself to exercise... That is an uphill task indeed. I am trying to find interesting alternatives to the gym which frankly, I abhor. Maybe Zumba! I haven't figured out how yet but I know I have to sweat some of my weight off!

In the pursuit of that satisfying meal which is healthy and nutritious but does not insult my taste buds, I tried out something that came highly recommended by a health conscious friend (and by some magazines). It is this 'supergrain' quinoa. I tried it and it is easy to prepare and suits Indian cooking styles... So, I have replaced rice in my mostly South Indian menu with quinoa. I am liking it so far... But, the stuff is a little on the expensive side. 

I made my first quinoa dish yesterday... Quinoa Pulao. The recipe is same as any simple pulao where the rice is substituted by quinoa.

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Monday, September 02, 2013

Satyagraha - A Review

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** Spoilers ahead (if it is possible that this can be spoiled any further)** 

I happened to watch the movie in a theater here in Kuwait; I don’t usually watch movies in the theater. I wait long enough for them to be out as DVDs and then watch it from the comfort of an armchair at home.

It so happened that considering I haven’t had much reason to complain against the movies Prakash Jha makes and that the star cast seemed decent (barring Kareena who can’t act and Amrita Rao, who I haven’t really had a chance to see in a role where she needs to act) I gladly went along for the movie.

My badI :(

As soon as the movie started and I saw that there was a special thanks to Rupa Undergarments, I got the feeling that things are on the brink of a downhill tumble. I wasn’t disappointed at all. Not one bit.

Apart from the shameless plug for everything from undergarments, tea and atta to ‘superior quality’ cement to ABP news channel (which I did not know even existed), the movie is a study in superficiality.

It had the ubiquitous item number… a babe in ethnic clothes, low on the waist line and lower on the neck line, gyrating to a folksy tune set to a contemporary dance beat. Some earthy sounding lyrics and lots of latkas and matkas and dead-pan expressions were passed off as seduction. That very important requirement of a Hindi movie being catered to the viewer is thrown into the ‘plot’.  There is this old masterji (Amitabh Bachchan), respected by the townspeople and a strong upholder of the truth, of what is right and what is just and his son who diligently tries to follow in his footsteps… then there is his wayward friend (Ajay Devgn) for whom the end justifies the means and who is fine with succeeding by unscrupulous means. There is the ‘sensible’ reporter (Kareena Kapoor Khan, making faces again) and this peppy girl-next-door (Amrita Rao, desperately trying to make any face that might register as an expression) is the upright son’s love interest. Add Manoj Bajpai in yet another variety role of corrupt politician and the stage is ready for some socio-political action. Oh, I forgot to mention Arjun Rampal in his very ‘different’ portrayal of a hot headed youth who hopes to make it big in politics… a la Rajneeti, maybe Chakravyuh or I dunno… they are all different after all!

Dadu Bachchanji pays homage to AnnaHazare with his aamaran annshan (fast unto death) and is bumped off anyway for his efforts! The Aam Aadmi Party is similarly represented by ‘Jan Satyagraha Party’. The characters are all farcical caricatures of some thread or the other of the current political fabric of India. None of the characters command any empathy from the audience and nothing onscreen can be related to with any sort of depth. It is like badly written fan-fiction about the Anna Hazare movement.

The otherwise good actors struggle to make sense of the half-baked roles they have been given and the bad actors (the girls and the dude with long hair) are in no position to redeem themselves in anyway. Amrita Rao, in most scenes, appears to wonder what set of which movie she has walked into! Kareena tries to be strong and pull off something way beyond her acting skills. Gorgeous she is, emote she cannot. Period.

Ajay Devgn has never been so weak with his performance in any movie of his I have ever seen. Manoj Bajpai has his moments but there is far too little in the movie for someone his caliber. He gets repetitive. Arjun Rampal rocks the screen with his good looks and I didn’t notice much of his ‘acting’… and I know I couldn’t have missed anything there.  :)

I would say, Prakash Jha needs to wake up and smell the coffee… dig through the stories he has to say, make that sequel to Rajneeti he plans to do and erase this Atyagrah from his own and the public’s collective memory as soon as possible.

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