Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Forest Cloud Conservatory

We went to the two conservatories of Gardens by the Bay for the first time this week. The conservatories are very modernistic in design- something very space-age about them.

One can always depend on Singapore to make everything slick & glam....even something as untouristy as a botanical conservatory!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Kids of the new world

One gets to hear a wide range of accents in Singapore. Unlike in the US for example, where everyone gets one homogenous accent after a while (immigrants eventually acquire the Yankee accent), in Singapore immigrants rarely ever acquire the Chinese accent. Being such a multi-cultural, cosmopolitan  country now, it's awesome that the various accents - the Aussie twang, the Tagalog English, the Indian, Malay, Korean, Jap - all get to be breathe freely in this city, without making anyone feel uncomfortable or alienated because of their foreign accent. Kids of course never have a problem with  accents. K switches comfortably between accents within seconds (he speaks with an Indian accent around Indians; with a Singaporean accent - and grammar- around Singaporeans; and with a Filipino accent around his nanny). He can make himself understood & has enough EQ to judge which accent to use when. It's incredible :)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A haiku from my kitchen

A sizzling wok of vegetables.
Tossed, turned, seasoned.
A home cooked meal for two.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Inspired

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

- Mark Twain

Margaret River

We went to visit our friends S & A last week in Perth & drove together through the gorgeous coasts of Western Australia along the Margaret River region. The weather was not as warm as we had imagined but the days were bright & sunny. The sunsets were breathtaking with the sun sinking into the Indian Ocean painting the sky in different hues of orange & purple everyday. 
The Aussies are an outdoorsy lot & we hardly saw idle sunbathers on the beach. Surfing & water sports are a big thing & the ocean itself is a stunning shade of blue.

But the highlight of the trip for us was the food! There are numerous local farms in the region, each uses its fresh produce to serve delicious meals in their restaurants & caf├ęs, often in the middle of vineyards or on seaside cliffs. 

P.S. Our first sighting of wild kangaroos is worth a mention!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Chicken

We have been annual pass holders at the Universal Studios Singapore for around 9 months now & we go there really often. And yet, I've never been on this giant roller coaster. Someday soon, I tell myself every time.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A non believer

Oh the number of people who tie ribbons & throw coins into fountains hoping for a miracle (or at the least believing that its worth a shot)!!! Have you ever done it?

Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Butterfly Farm in Penang

A farm full of butterflies - these dignified angelic beings that flutter around prettily without affectation from flower to flower delivering life forms to distant lands. What a lovely place (umm, maybe slightly creepy that these butterflies here are not scared of humans at all - they sit & stare at you while you make vigorous motions of shoo! Apart from that though, it's beautiful :))
 

Georgetown, Penang

Remember the foiled trip to Georgetown during the haze? Well we finally made good on the hotel reservation & enjoyed a great holiday there.

The UNESCO World Heritage site within Georgetown is gorgeous. Not in a glamorous way - it's old, vintage, even cracking & crumbling occasionally. But it tells the story of a glorious past when enterprising young Chinese men came to a booming Malay port, built these opulent  mansions full of busy gold inlay work & imports from Europe & China, married 7 or 8 young brides, loaded them with tons of gold & jewels & left a legacy of rooms full of antiques that are beautifully preserved. It's this dated portrait of the monied Peranakan businessmen packaged in the dilapidation of a town which has since lost it's business importance, that makes for Penang's charm.

We stayed at the "Seven Terraces" which is a restored mansion in the heart of the heritage site itself. What a gorgeous property & so tastefully decorated with vintage decor from that era! 
The Blue Mansion was one of our favourite memories from Georgetown

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Kaifi & I

We watched Shabana Azmi & Javed Akhtar's play yesterday where they read out of Shaukat Azmi's memoirs "Kaifi & I". Shabana recounted her fathers life in the voice of her mother who was obviously a very doting wife in awe of her husband, his philosophy & his work. Their love story set in the backdrop of the 'Azad Hindustan' revolution, the communist movement in Mumbai mills, the Bollywood film industry & later progressive work in a North Indian village; all made for very interesting listening.

Shaukat fondly remembers a mushaira she attended where Kaifi recited his poem (Aurat) which first resulted in her conviction that Kaifi, the man who wrote that verse, was the man for her. Javed Akhtar read out the verse in a fierce voice  & although I couldn't catch all the Urdu on-the-go, I had to come back home & google it for translation. 
Aurat (Woman)
uth merii jaan mere saath hii chalnaa hai tujhe
qalb-e-mahoul mein larzaan sharar-e-jang hain aaj
hausley waqt ke aur ziist ke yakrang hain aaj
aabgiinon mein tapaan walwale-e- sang hain aaj
husn aur ishq ham aawaaz-o-humaahang hain aaj
jis mein jaltaa huun usi aag mein jalnaa hai tujhe
uth merii jaan mere saath hii chalnaa hai tujhe
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me
Flames of war are ablaze in our world today
Time and fate have the same aspirations today
Our tears will flow like hot lava today
Beauty and love have one life and one soul today
You must burn in the fire of freedom with me
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me
zindagii jehad mein hai sabr ke qaabuu mein nahiin
nabz-e-hastii kaa lahuu kaamptii aansuu mein nahii
urne khulne mein hai nakhat kham-e-gesu mein nahiin
jannat aik aur hai jo mard ke pahluu mein nahiin
uskii aazaad ravish par bhii machalnaa hai tujhe
uth merii jaan mere saath hii chalnaa hai tujhe
Patience will not help you struggle through life
Blood, not tears, sustains the pulse of life
You will fly when you’re free and not ensnared by love
Heaven is not just in the arms of the man you love
Walk unfettered on the path of freedom with me
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me
goshey goshey mein sulagtii hai chitaa tere liye
farz kaa bhes badaltii hai qazaa tere liye
qahar hai terii har narm adaa tere liye
zahar hii zahar hai duniyaa kii havaa tere liye
rut badal daal agar phuulnaa phalnaa hai tujhe
uth merii jaan mere saath hii chalnaa hai tujhe
Wherever you go sacrifice awaits you
To surrender is a way of life for you
All your charms condemn you
The ways of the world are poison for you
Change the seasons to flourish and be free
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me.
qadr ab tak terii tarriikh ne jaanii hii nahiin
tujh mein shole bhii hain bas ashkfishaanii hii nahiin
tu haqiiqat bhii hai dilchasp kahaanii hii nahiin
terii hastii bhii hai ik chiiz javaanii hii nahiin
apnii tarrikh kaa unvaan badalnaa hai tujhe
uth merii jaan mere saath hii chalnaa hai tujhe
History has not known your worth thus far
You have burning embers too, not merely tears
You’re reality too, not a mere amusing anecdote
Your personality is something too, not just your youth
You’ve to change the title of your history
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me.
tod kar rasm ke but bare qadamat se nikal
zof-e-ishrat se nikal, vaham-e-nazaakat se nikal
nafs ke khiinche hue halq-e-azmal se nikal
yeh bhii ek qaid hii hai, qaid-e-muhabbat se nikal
raah kaa khaar hii kyaa gul bhii kuchalnaa hai tujhe
uth merii jaan mere saath hii chalnaa hai tujhe
Emerge out of ancient bondage, break the idols of tradition,
the weakness of pleasure, this mirage of fragility
these self-drawn boundaries of imagined greatness
the bondage of love, for this too is a bondage
Not merely the thorns on the path, you have to trample on flowers too
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me.
tod yeh azm-shikan dagdag-e-pand bhii tor
terii khaatir hai jo zanjiir vah saugandh bhii tor
tauq yeh bhii zammruud kaa gulband bhii tor
tod paimana-e-mardaan-e-khirdmand bhii tor
banke tuufaan chhalaknaa hai ubalnaa hai tujhe
uth merii jaan mere saath hii chalnaa hai tujhe
Shatter these resolve breaking suspicions of sermons
these vows that have become shackles
this too, this necklace of emeralds
these standards set by the wise men
You have to turn into a tempest, bubble and boil over
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me.
tuu falaatuno-arastuu haii tuu zohraa parviin
tere qabze mein hai garduun, terii thokar mein zamiin
haan, uthaa, jald uthaa paae-muqqadar se jabiin
main bhii rukne kaa nahii waqt bhii rukne kaa nahiin
larkharaayegii kahaan tak ki sambhalnaa hai tujhe
uth merii jaan mere saath hii chalnaa hai tujhe
You are Aristotle’s philosophy, Venus, Pleiades
You control the sky, the earth at your feet
Yes, raise, fast, raise your forehead from the feet of fate
I too am not going to pause, nor will the time
How long would you falter, you have to be firm
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Salt Grill & Sky Bar

It's Aussie fine dining; the food was great; so was the wine & the view was spectacular; we had the right company & the steak was perfect. Enough said :)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fire-Frying Pan Situation

We were in Pune last week for a family reunion & our visit coincided with Modi's big rally at Pune's BJ Medical college. The media was full of coverage of the Modi rally & while everyone knows which newspaper/ news channel is aligned to which wing, the public debates made for some interesting reading/ viewing. 

I'm not a Modi fan. He's too right-winged to be a leader of my choice. But I'm not a  Congress fan either & I have no doubt that the country would run into economic catastrophe under the Gandhi leadership; that the money earmarked under the Food Security Bill will never make it to the poor & there is a multi-crore corruption case around every corner. And this is precisely the reason why Modi has caught the fancy of the nation's urban young. He may not be aligned to the spirit that is the building block of the country, but is there really anyone else, anyone at all, who's likely to change the economic reality of urban India? It's hard to say what really is the biggest crisis in India today - the economic or the social. And its therefore difficult to say whether its more pressing to depose someone from power who is unscrupulous in one area rather than the other.

Most young Indians I know are clearly convinced by one over the other. I don't understand how. 

The Garlic Ballads by Mo Yan

After Mo Yan won the Nobel prize, his books started getting displayed prominently in bookstores in Singapore & I almost picked up a copy. But then my friend S had one too & I borrowed it from her roughly 3 months ago. And I finally finished it last night. 

It's meant to be a hard-hitting, covered-in-reality-poverty-&-brutality sorta depiction of China in the 80s. Having said that how many pages can one read of poor peasants getting tortured by authorities or a young girl in love getting hammered by her family? There was a complete lack of humor or respite from the constant pitiful reality & I can't say the book made me feel much other than disgust beyond a point. I come from India & I get the psyche of honor killings. I also get the day to day callousness towards human life for those who live in abject poverty. I also understand the author's need to strip naked the ugly face of the Chinese political & social truth. But for me, it didn't make for a good read. The story needed some shreds of happiness or normalcy in the lives of its characters for the reader to feel something for them.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

4 going on 14

After watching all the news about the new royal baby, 4-year old K asked me today, "Why does England have a king instead of a government?"!!!
Seriously, how fast do kids grow up these days? 

Cardbot

Saw this robot sculpture made out of recycled cardboard at the National Library last evening. Pretty cool isn't it!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

An evening at an unknown island

I had never swum in the ocean before. I have always had a fear of the ocean waters & the farthest I would go was until my feet still touched the ocean bed. That changed last weekend though.
A new fear conquered :)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Georgetown Art Festival

We were all set to go for the Georgetown art festival today & so excited too! But we watched the PSI levels in Penang quite closely till yesterday & finally decided not to make the trip. As luck would have it, this morning the winds have changed course & the haze has cleared almost completely from Penang!!! Aargh!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Haze in Singapore

This whole week has been a trying time for mothers in Singapore as we watched the pollution index in Singapore go well above the "hazardous" levels and were not sure what to do while our little ones coughed and wheezed. While we stopped short of doing the rain-dance (because its traditionally performed outdoors & weren't sure whether the rain gods have x-ray vision to witness a dance performed indoors), it was a whole week of kids being trapped indoors. It sounded terrible (kids are genetically predisposed to be whiney when kept indoors for extended periods of time) but then when the universe hands out lemons to you, you gotto make some lemonade right? We did more jigsaw puzzles, reading, art work and pretend-play this week than we would in a whole month :) 

Of course my Curious George wanted to go out and "check what the haze smells like" every now & then! 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bintan Weekend

It's been very stressful & draining few weeks at work. And sometimes all it takes to unwind & put things in perspective is a little weekend with H, little K & a few friends. I have never found a massage to be so valuable before. Much. Needed. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The Visa Queue

The brown & yellow queue snaked long & far;
Letters, bank statements, testimonials (in duplicates of course) firmly clutched;
A job. A scholarship. A holiday perhaps?
Waited at the end of that never ending snake.

Impatience & light perspiration, gosh!
They filled the part of the room where the wall clock ticked behind the rude clerk.
On the other side though in that same room, there was only beautiful promise & anxious hope;
Of an escape to that first world country where dreams came true.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

The Storm Story

Little K loves listening to stories & I love making up stories for him. But today I prodded him to write one of his own. He did a pretty good job for a first time author & even provided illustrations :) These are his own thoughts & vocabulary (and religious beliefs about resurrection!); I only jotted them down. He starts off with a warning that this is going to be a very scary story!

Once upon a time there was an old village. There were big mountains in the village. Suddenly a volcano erupted from a mountain & lava fell. Then it started raining & there was loud thunder. A storm started & all the water from the storm fell in the river. Even the crocodiles in the river got scared.
People in the house were scared because there were cracks in the house & it was breaking. There was more rain & thunder. The hot lava got extinguished by the water. But the storm broke the house & all the people were dead.

Then God came alive. He took the people from under the soil & called an ambulance. Suddenly the storm stopped & the sun came out.
An ambulance came & took people to the hospital. The doctor checked them & helped them & they got better. They sat in a taxi & went to the village to build their home again. It was still drizzling in the village.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ramen

My favourite Japanese Ramen restaurant has closed down leading to some acute ramen cravings this week. A few random google searches later I have this recipe which I intend to try out. The best part is that there's no seaweed in the ingredients - that's my least favourite taste in a ramen soup!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Importance of being Earnest

We watched a local Singaporean production of this Oscar Wilde play & quite enjoyed it. The production had a twist - it worked with an all male cast, and quite cleverly made a point about the gay rights issue which doesn't get discussed as much as it should in Singapore. The lines are incredibly witty & hilarious, and the plot in all its silliness pokes fun at the pretensions society forces upon us. The performances were outstanding. We quite enjoyed this play & look forward to some more productions from Wild Rice!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Reality

The Italian film festival came to Singapore & we found ourselves at a movie named 'Reality' which apparently got some great reviews at the Cannes.

It was an interesting movie about a not-so-rich neither-too-poor fish seller in Naples who happens to audition for the "reality" show Big Brother. I've never watched Big Brother but I have seen enough reality tv to be able to imagine what it must be like. Our protagonist soon starts losing his grip over what's real & what's not. The movie makes you wonder whether selflessness could ever be a natural human trait, how would we behave as humans if we weren't so acutely aware of those watching & observing us, whether we do stage our lives (to varying degrees) based on who we think is watching us, and whether the real me is the person I am in my private thoughts or the one I am in things I say aloud or do. We do all put ourselves in the Big Brother house; seeing ourselves from other people's points of view, don't we.

The movie layers within itself a lot of the movie makers thoughts on religion, the seduction of instant fame & celebritydom, and a social commentary on working class Italy. A great watch.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Melancholy

We picked up this piece of art in Pune around 2 years ago. The art collector we got this from showed us a number of pieces made by the same person (a Calcutta based artist named Dilip Kundu who struggled to make ends meet most of his adult life, wasn't very well appreciated, and one ominous day, while still a young man, he simply left home never to return. To this day, Kundu is still reported missing & presumed dead by some, perhaps also by the family he left behind...but today 3 of his works of art are displayed at the National Museum of Modern Art in Delhi. As the unfortunate cliche goes, his art & genius were appreciated after he was gone.) The story of the artist says a lot. Its evident he was a depressed soul. And while most of his work is beautifully imaginative in the most curious way, it reflects a brooding unhappiness of the artists soul. We fell in love with all his works the moment we saw them - most of them were very intricate; in varying shades of black; quirky & outlandish; and they were invariably melancholy & disturbing. That made us apprehensive about putting one on the walls of our home. But we eventually had to get this one. It's relatively less - um, how do I say this - its relatively less 'disturbing' than some of the others, but this portrait of a man weighed down by all the stuff he has been carrying on his shoulders resonates with everyone who has ever carried any baggage. I love the simplicity of this monochromatic man, he makes me shed a tear, he makes me want to reach out & share some of the weight he carries with him. He has my pity because he seems to have lost hope & he makes me wonder how he could've created art without hope...because surely, this must be a self portrait.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Cooking NANTA

Here's one thing I haven't written about yet from our Korea trip, but I really should: the NANTA show. Its a high energy dance/ martial arts/ juggling/ drums/ comedy show based on a story of a bunch of cooks preparing for a wedding party. It's very Korean in its comedy & it's style. There's no talking, so no language issues, but theres music made out of kimchi pots & onions being diced in mid air. Gotta love the originality & creativity of the concept. And it was pretty hilarious :)

K's Fireman Birthday

On his 4th birthday, K lived his lifelong dream of being a fireman :)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

K's Taekwando lessons

It started off just like the movie 'The Karate Kid'. K used to press his nose against the glass window of the Taekwondo studio & watch with wonderstruck eyes the kids inside practicing their martial arts. He learnt a few moves on his own, by just observing them practice. Before long, he was pestering us to sign him up & we finally did. And just like the movie, he's pretty awful at it & hopefully will improve until he turns into a little Bruce Lee by the end of the movie :) For now, he's nowhere close to catching flies with chopsticks!

Which reminds me - have you watched this video on YouTube on the most intesnse taekwondo fight? :)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Where we stayed

I don't think I've written about a hotel before on my blog; but that's because I don't get easily wowed by hotels. They're usually just places you stay at when you travel. Today though, I'm going to blog about one in Seoul. 12 6 Mansion is a small B&B in the most beautiful & artsy part of Seoul. Its run by 3 sisters - one is an artist, another an aspiring screenplay writer for korean movies - both very interesting girls we quickly made friends with. They live with their mother, who makes delicious Korean breakfast & a cute dog named Shiru. There was something very personal about the experience of staying here. Hyun Chung was our friend, guide, translator & introducer-to-great-Korean-wine; and Su caught little K's fascination*. The place is designed with a lot of Su's own artwork & some great kitch design. We loved it!

*Btw, K was considered very exotic in Korea - people came up to us all the time to click pictures (sometimes without our consent) of K - and while most often we had no clue what they were saying, their gestures suggested that they were taken in by K's eyes or eyelashes. Maybe he has a future in K-Pop!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Jeju Island

We knew Jeju was going to be pretty. That was a given. But there were a few surprises about Jeju. Firstly, it wasn't the cosy tiny island we'd imagined it would be - its almost 3 times the size of Singapore (but less than half the population as Singapore). Secondly, the weather forecasts in Jeju were deceptive. They said Jeju would be warmer than Seoul - and it was - but the wind straight from the South China sea - that wind was underestimated by us! We now know what all those woolen neck warmers & ear warmers are for :)

Jeju is a volcanic island created by an eruption some 25000 years ago & has some interesting looking seaside landscape (including pillar shaped rocks, rocks that come out of nowhere in the middle of the sea, and of course the very Asian rocks-with-folk-legend-stories-attached-to-them). We did little hiking trails (as much as we could do with our lazy 3 yr old). The most famous trail in Jeju is the climb atop the massive volcanic crater; we managed to go only half way up there. But the highlight for us was our first glimpse of the cherry blossoms :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Seoul

Seoul was unexpectedly romantic & charming - and though this sounds corny I'll go ahead & say it- soulful. We came here expecting a bustling Asian city - the likes of HK or Bangkok; but Seoul turned out to have a quaint charm about it steeped in culture, with a great art scene & the friendliest unpretentious people. It probably had to do with the fact that we stayed in the old part of the city away from the shopping & residential areas. We stayed between the two gorgeous palaces in Seoul & spent our days walking aimlessly past the little cafes & hanoks; the antiques & artifacts market in Insa-dong; the heritage homes of Bukchon & the tiniest of coffee shops which surprised us with design & aesthetic charm beyond their street-side norm. The food was amazing & the calories consumed far outweighed the calories burnt by walking.

We are in Jeju now & will write more about our days here (cherry blossoms!!!)


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Argo

Finally watched the movie & enjoyed it heaps....but what the hell is an 'exfiltration expert'? Could that really be someone's real job?

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Soul set on Seoul

We are going to Korea in 2 weeks time & its been fun planning this holiday! Our first stop is going to be in Seoul & we've been checking online for places to stay. That's how we came across the traditional hanok inns of Korea- I haven't seen one yet, but just from the photos I'm in love with their earthy, minimalistic & oriental look & feel. H isn't much of a fan of the idea of sleeping on the floor though. So maybe we'll book ourselves in one just for a night or two. Also, thought the traditional ondol floor was an interesting concept!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Life through the eyes of the unfortunate

Some of these pieces of art on display at the National Library are interesting & almost all of them send a chill down your spine. They tell stories of atrocities in or by the developed world.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Lego exhibit by Nathan Sawaya

I was awestruck by the patience; the sheer patience of this artist. I usually give up after the first 10 blocks!

















Saturday, February 09, 2013

Shobana's Krishna

Shobana performed her dance musical Krishna at Singapore's Esplanade theatre yesterday & I quite enjoyed the show. It's not easy to make an age-old dance form like Bharatnatyam current & also accessible to the man-on-the-street. I cringed at times at the classical dance to Bollywood tunes; it felt wrong. But I get the idea & I get what she was trying to do. Having said that, the most beautiful & captivating part of the musical, for me at least, was the traditionally choreographed dance of Krishna & the gopikas. It was exuberant & full of soul & a joy to watch. There were no translated English dialogues or dhinkchak beats - it's just dance the way it's supposed to be.

Shobana has an amazing stage presence. My eyes were on her the whole time she was on stage. She did have to give up on her feminine charm as she played the male character of Krishna, and while I missed her feminine grace in her dance I won't hold that against her. I was still watching her :)

I can't say I'm a fan of the format - the bastardisation of a classical dance form. But I didn't hate it either. The Bhagwad-Gita retold in 5 mins was much too rushed though for a play that meant to explain Krishna's philosophy. But then again, most traditional dance forms love Krishna more as a poster-boy for the gopikas than as the advisor & philosopher to Arjun. That's how he's remembered best in Bharatnatyam.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

SEA aquarium

K was super excited about going to the aquarium today. He had decided beforehand that sharks are going to be his favourite. He was slightly overwhelmed though by the scale & variety of marine life when he finally entered the place. He hadn't imagined that so many creatures could've existed in water. At the end, he asked me if I thought the ocean was prettier than the earth :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola

I didn't know what to make of the movie title but it made us curious enough to go watch it. And I quite enjoyed it. I can see why some people didn't though - its a whimsically made movie, bordering on the insane; but thankfully I was in a mood to lap up all the quirkiness that Vishal Bharadwaj could throw at me.

There aren't that many Indian movie makers who are brave enough to attempt a satire that so smugly refuses to put a boundary on imagination. Like Salman Rushdie's writing or Picasso's paintings, Vishal Bharadwaj's movies are gutsy in their quirkiness. That I love. I loved Pankaj Kapur's portrayal of the divided face of the Indian upper class. How tough is that character to pull off, to balance comedy with evil & tomfoolery with graveness. I loved Shabana Azmi's witches-of-Macbeth portrayal, especially in some of her monologues. For a restrained actor like her, it couldn't have been easy to be so overtly over the top. And I loved Vishal Bharadwaj's unhindered style. Its not easy at all to layer a satire under the bizzarre silliness of pink bulls & zulu dance troupes. It could easily be mistaken for just silliness.

Perhaps the movie could've been shorter, snappier; but I didn't get bored. I did wonder where it was going for a while, but that didn't last long. Its not a movie I loved, but I liked it a good deal.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

OH Open House Art Walkabout

We went for the art walkabout 2 years ago. It was a strange experience then...going through people's homes looking at the art in their very 'heartland Singapore' setting. This year, the walk was in a more familiar setting. It was set in the financial district. And went through my office! :)

The coolest part of the tour this year, for me, was an installation in the Google office. How fun is that office! Not only is it yellow & green, it has a swing in its reception & a wrought iron spiral staircase running in the middle of the office space. The installation in that office, was very cheekily called 'search for happiness' .

Personally, I liked the setting of the tour more than the art itself. Singapore's business district has its own unique character. The old(ish) law firms from the 80s, the swanky trading floors of the new banking giants, the evergreen appetite of the construction sector, the reclaimed earth & the ever receding seashore. The tour takes you through all of these. It is pretty awe-inspiring, intimidating, glittery & ruthless all at once. The theme was 'Happiness Index' though & that isn't easy to forecast in this part of the city.







Monday, January 07, 2013

What's reality anyway!

K celebrated Christmas with his little friends at home this year. A friend of ours dressed up as Santa (a very good one too!) & put in an appearance with some gifts. And although K found the Santa completely believable, a slightly older friend of his raised some very pertinent questions about why this Santa couldn't have been real.

I dread having to deal with questions on "is this real?" when it comes to K. We did have a conversation about "Is Spiderman real?" & while he didn't seem heart-broken to have found out that his beloved Spidey is make-belief; I certainly felt like I've destroyed something precious in his imaginative world.

While in India, we picked up a children's book on the Ramayan & K loves reading it. Of course the question had to come "Is Ram a real person?" My reply was, "Some people believe him to be real, some don't". He mulled over it for a while & finally said, "I think he's not real because this is just a story. Monkeys can't really fly". We just left it at that.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The Delhi Protests

Sitting here in Singapore, its quite scary reading online news in India these days. The barbarianism of the perpetrators of the heinous rape case in Delhi frightens me, yes. But what frightens me as much (or more) is the public reaction to the news. My facebook pages & the internet in general is full of people asking for these men to be castrated or tortured or publicly stoned or at the very least, killed.

I don't have sympathy for the men; god no! But why has the news of a savage act turned so many online readers into savages? Why do we suddenly start demanding eye-for-an-eye even so many centuries after the caveman died? It's as barbaric & reflects as badly on a culture that should know better. Maybe its anger. Or frustration. Or the nature of the internet - anonymity always brings out the worst bullies in us.