Saturday, January 30, 2016
Sunday, December 20, 2015
So we finally watched it!!!
Let me set the stage first: I wasn't a super fan of the Star Wars movies growing up. Though I remember watching the original trilogy on a VCR in the 80s and my dad explaining parts of it to me, I was too little at the time to understand and appreciate fully the trilogy. I had liked it a great deal, but not to the extent of holding my breath until the next episode came out. I watched the prequels trilogy later, but wasn't blown away by it. It's only two years ago, that our little Super-Fanboy at home, used his force to get me to re-watch all six of the movies, and that's when I was really wowed by them. Also, having a human Star Wars Encyclopedia at home helped (he even knows the back story of why Mace Windu has a purple light saber). Evidently, all we had to do was search our feelings and find out what we already knew: We had to get tickets for this movie on the first day of its release. Having already bought every Star Wars merchandise there was to buy, a movie ticket seemed like a cheap cherry on top that we could buy for the Super Fanboy ("Buy we must, my young Mama padawan", he said wisely.)
Back to Episode VII:
Star Wars was a difficult story to tell. In any era. Having to create the expanse of an alternate galaxy, create alien life forms, political and physical landscapes, droids and battleships, and then to tell the story of good and evil within a 2-hours movie format must've been a daunting task for George Lucas. He did it nevertheless, with a personal passion that's evident in every scene of the original movies. And because it was this 'one man passionately climbing a Mount Everest of a plot', I felt forgiving towards many of the weaknesses of his movies.
Episode VII, on the other hand, is a Disney production. Maybe that's why I don't feel as forgiving. It's a media giant, not a solitary George Lucas. To me, Episode VII is too much laser bullets flying and people running, and not enough quiet time. To me, Kylo Ren isn't as sinister as Vader was and he felt just too amateurish to give me the chills (maybe he's meant to be an amateur baddie, a wannabe-Vader, still grappling with how not to see the light on the dark side). To me, Rey is not as compelling as Luke was. And the movie oozes of overly sentimental rehashes of the original, that just made it feel like a blatant cry for love from the fans of the old movie. Other than those moments, I don't know, this could've been an Avengers or Transformers movie... They all feel the same to me.
I don't know if I can put my finger on it... Going from Lucasfilm to Disney, was a bit like moving from a crumbly old villa with character to a plush modern condo with a jacuzzi and tennis court. With the same rehashed furniture. You'll either love it or you won't. I didn't.
Will I still watch Episode VIII? Yes, absolutely -in its first week too. I'm every marketeer's shameless dream!
Wednesday, November 04, 2015
Sunday, October 11, 2015
Watched a great movie last evening: Jafar Panahi's Tehran Taxi. I didn't know how celebrated and controversial a film-maker Panahi is in his home country of Iran. But I did read a bit about him beforehand. A brief background: He had been banned by the authorities from making anti-regime movies and was even put under house arrest; but had made a couple of movies while he was still under house arrest (I know, what a guy!). Now he has been out of house arrest for a while (though the big brother is still watching him) and working as a taxi driver (well, sort of), and this new movie of his has been shot entirely by a stationery camera in the taxi with the look & feel of taxi camera footage. To emphasize that it's not a movie, there are no credits either.
With this information, you might expect some sort of rebellious & tough movie. Well it is that, but it's also unexpectedly & wonderfully humorous, fun and sensitive. Loved it!
Friday, September 04, 2015
When on social media, people can be so frivolous with their own credibility. When re-posting something, they barely give a thought to whether what they're re-posting is accurate or not. In a time where all the information is on your fingertips, why are some people still re-posting stuff like "leaving a chopped onion overnight in your fridge can make it toxic" or "100000 likes will give this little girl a new kidney"...? Perhaps people feel that re-posting something doesn't necessarily mean you're endorsing that statement as true. Wonder why that is... Would you repeat verbally in a face-to-face conversation that same statement?
Friday, August 21, 2015
As I mentioned in my last post, little K has started going to a 'big school'. Literally. The school is huge and built like a maze and I'm constantly worried about losing K when I go to fetch him from school. But here's the most difficult part for ME about K's new school: Getting him ready on time!
Chinese torture technique #1...take a 6 year old who normally eats a meal in 15 mins; give him 35 mins to finish his breakfast on a school morning; watch him procrastinate swallowing that first bite for 30 mins; then watch your blood boil while you stuff his face with the remaining food in the remaining time of 5 minutes!
Ps: I'm so tired!
Monday, August 17, 2015
Friday, August 14, 2015
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Did I mention that I went to the Nehru Planetarium? For the first time since I was 11 or 12 perhaps. And let me say, it didn't disappoint. Have I seen cooler science centers or space centers? Yes. But having said that, a child doesn't care about cool. All K could do was marvel at the science of space, and gape at the graphics (updated with a lot of cool Hubble Telescope images) & soak in what it means to be part of The Universe (which he now understands is "ginormous").
While we were in India, K picked up something unexpected from his older cousin: he is now obsessed with Roald Dahl books! Thought he would enjoy them a couple of years later, but he is loving them already (expect for The Witches, which fascinated him immensely but also gave him nightmares). Started with Fantastic Mr. Fox, and let's just say, he kept digging ;)
I'm so excited, we finally have a favourite author in common!!!
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Our last stop on the long Indian Soujourn was the land of Sula Vineyards, Nasik. We went there to see our friend & spend some time with her little boo. Quite unexpectedly, Nasik treated us to some great monsoon beauty. The network of waterfalls & rivers leading to the mighty Godavari (the starting point of the river is very close to Nasik), made for a very picturesque setting. There was that moment under the waterfall when one wonders, why do we have to live that city life at all.
Sunday, August 09, 2015
Went to Prithvi in Mumbai to catch some local theatre. After about 15 years or more. And exhilarating as it sounds, it's also a little sad that Prithvi is no longer the low-key hangout of the arty-farty crowd dressed in traditionally woven cotton saris & carrying jholas on their shoulders. Neither is it home to experimental theatre like it used to be. It's a much more commercial establishment now with back-to-back house-full shows. While that's a big yay! for the local theatre scene, it's also another little treasure island lost to Mumbai.
By the way, traditionally woven cotton saris have also been commercialized, or rather Bollywoodised, by a certain sari label named Raw Mango. The world is going bananas.
I haven't spent a lot of time in Delhi, but on this trip we spent a few leisurely days there, and you know what, we actually had a lot of fun. Despite all the negative stereotypes about Delhi, it's such a culturally rich city. We stayed at the Delhi Gym (little K was so thrilled that he was neighbour to the Prime Minister of India!) & walked around the gorgeous Lodhi Gardens, went shopping in the hoity toity (in a rather chaotic way) Khan Market, ate some delicious North Indian food, went to a folk artisanal center, and soaked in some hot Delhi sun at Qutub Minar!
And now here's the most exciting part: we did not take a flight to / from Delhi. Instead we did the overnight Rajdhani! Travelled in Indian Railways after eons & what a fun experience it was. So many great childhood memories of hot chai, sleeping on the top berths, singing songs aloud & watching mom clutch her valuables even when she was fast asleep!
Our family vacation this year was in the beautiful hills of Himachal. We made Macleodganj our base & walked through the small-town narrow* lanes to & back from Dalai Lama's residence, ate Tibetian food, shopped for trinkets, and enjoyed walking through the clouds. We couldn't have wished for a more perfect weather!
* Incidentally, the fact that the hilly roads were so narrow was apparent only to us tourists. The local cabbies seemed to drive like they were on a 8-lane freeway. We even saw a taxi-wheel go off the edge of the road (right above a valley), & as the other taxi drivers got off to help pull the car up, it all seemed like a normal day in their lives rather than a near-death accident into a deep valley.
Friday, July 17, 2015
The next stop on our Great Indian Sojourn was Purushwadi. Google Maps may tell you that this tiny village is close to Akole, but really it is close to nowhere! It's in the middle of mighty mountains and under the open blue sky, but pretty darn far from any other town (let alone city). The reason for our visit was to watch the fireflies extravaganza in its natural setting. You see, fireflies mate in late summer (just before monsoon begins) & it's a miraculous sight watching them glow all around you...it's like Christmas lights surrounding you; except that it's all nature. It's an experience K & I will remember all our lives!
The other fun part of this trip was that this was our first go at "rural tourism". And I don't mean the kind where a village-like experience is recreated for the pleasure of tourists...Purushwadi was very real & very basic! Cow-dung floors, village huts, bulls ploughing fields & bathing in gushing rivers.
You've got to love the spirit of the young entrepreneurs of Grass Routes (www.grassroutes.co.in)...what a well-executed concept promoting rural tourism and such a great social cause bringing city folk & village folk of India together! Our host was this young village guy from Purushwadi, living with his financially-independent tractor-driving farmer-mum, pursuing his BSc in Agriculture, aspiring to do an MBA & showing us proudly the beauties of his village.
So little K finished his kindergarten end of May and he & I took off to India for a two-months long break. It's been our longest holiday ever and the longest we've been in India since we moved out of India (such are the perks of not being a corporate slave).
The first leg of our trip was in Pune. We went trekking on Sinhagadh, ate dosa at Vaishali, petted rabbits at Japalouppe, spent time on J & S's horse farm, had lunch at Jadhavgadh, spent quality time with M, N & little A. It was a perfect break...much needed.
Sunday, May 24, 2015
We were pretty late in watching this movie. Way after all it's Oscar buzz. So glad though that we watched it! It's a movie that stays with you in your subconscious long after you've seen it and brings back flashbacks from your own childhood & adolescenthood, of all teachers good & terrible, of all the tribulations & humiliations of your early days, and puts in perspective what your ambitions really do to you. Most of us make pay-offs not as big as the young drummer, but we do make smaller pay-offs every day to achieve our own version of ambition, unhinging our minds every day looking for that rare approval from someone else. And after all that, we don't even aspire for greatness...'above average' stokes our self esteem just fine.
I've always wondered how life would've been if I wasn't directionless as a youngster; if I had known clearly what my passion is and what I wanted to do with my life; if I was confident in my individuality & not directed by the herd mentality; if I had ever pushed my ambition to reach for greatness...I wouldn't be me today. On some days that feels like a good thing; on some days it doesn't.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Monday, May 11, 2015
We organised a little neighbourhood fair to raise money for the victims of the Nepal Earthquake. It was a great experience for little K to see his father run a face-painting stall, me doing a photo-booth and K himself helped out at the football booth. He has been full of questions about earthquakes and fault-lines and Mount Everest since.
Thursday, May 07, 2015
Tuesday, April 28, 2015
We watched a Nat Geo documentary celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Telescope in orbit. It's such an inspiring human feat. And of course I love this picture of "The Pillars of Creation". (Read this if you don't already know about it: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillars_of_Creation).
The cosmic brilliance of this picture makes one wonder:
How can we not marvel at the enormity of the empire He orchestrates,
An explosion here with molecules playing havoc giving birth to entire galaxies,
And thousands of light years away, at the same time,
A little child's silent prayer to make the rain stop so he can play.