18 December 2008

Slumdog millionaire..my perspective..

Times magazine calls it a dervish delight - http://www.time.com/time/specials/2008/top10/article/0,30583,1855948_1863826_1863833,00.html 

WSJ calls it first globalized masterpiece - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122661670370126131.html

GoldenGlobe gave it a nod - http://www.goldenglobes.org/news/id/104

What happens after this ? Expections..high expections...and what happens to high expectations ? The same as to a big wave...it comes crashing down..now Im exaggerating a bit here...my expectations were not crashed as such...but yes...they were un-realised..the movie was not upto what I expected it to be...and I dont really know what I expected..but isnt that usually the case ?

Let me tell you..I am as big a fan of the under-dog getting his redemption at the end-of-the-movie as anyone else...a big fan of Mumbai - where the movie is set...and it is depicted wonderfully..though a bit more block-coloured than I guess it is..I wonder how they paint the slums as colourful when they are struggling for their daily lives...but this is one of the jarring notes...

The lead-actors being another...To give a little back story , this is about 3 kids and their coming-of-age in the grits of the underbelly of mumbai , the slums ! Each of the 3 protagonist are showed in 3 stages of their age , and whereas the youngest characters are so real and believable and heart-rending, as they grow older they do not remain so...maybe thats true with us too..Im sure we arent as cute at 17 as we were at 6 or even at 12...

The issues that are seen are all very humane...very real...very touching..horrifying at times - the beggers gang in which they get meshed for a while..the toughness and survival skills that you see in those kids, even when they are scamming tourists...the red-light area...I mean each and every of them...and no melodrama...just matter-of-fact life..the way it is actually out there...

So one would wonder why Im complaining..its because I think I see all this and I dont see any fantasy element in it..no stretch of imagination...I know it all happens..day in and day out ..along with all the other varied things happening in India..and I think that the audience here love it more because all that they see is not something they have seen or experienced or known to happen...so a sense of wonder is felt more when you see something that you havnt seen before ?? Maybe thats why I liked 'Wall-E' more...

Slumdog is good no doubt..but bollywood has produced many such movies..I mean not nearly as good..but touching one or many of the issues seen here..as well as mumbai...and slums...it just didnt strike me as unique a fare as it did to the audience here... so yeah...a thumbs up to Slumdog..but let those Wall-Es keep coming too...<can anyone tell I didnt know how to end this really ??>

19 November 2008

5 starred

Out of the 60+ odd books Ive read so far in the year and logged in Shelfari, apparently only 3 of them deserve 5 stars ..
What does that says about me ..that Im highly discerning or maybe highly stingy in giving out those stars .. ??
Anyways , the great books which deserved the 5 stars according to my self-proclaimed exalted opinion are :
Kiss of the spider woman , by Manuel Puig - I dont remember where I got the reference for this one, but I did..and I checked it out from my library and read it..
Its a very different and unique narrative style for an unlikely friendship (I think its based on real characters and events) developed between two prisoners sharing a cell, but from vastly different background and ideology and interests..the premise is interesting but made fascinating by the dialogue between the two central characters..its just great..I will try to read more by the author though I think this is his best and most well-known work..
Floating in my mother's palm , by Ursula Hegi - Hanna malter tells her life story in short snippets and each of them make you crave for more...I did read some other works by the author after this one...and though I do not remember the specifics I remember being very enamored by the book when I read it.. (does this happens to everyone or is it just me ?)
Shane , by Jack Schaefer - Recommended by some list on great Western novels and it did not disappoint. 'He rode into our valley in the summer of '89' - I am not likely to forget this opening line anytime soon..and though its a very thin book, its very powerful - giving an exact picture of the great historic western mindset..Im not sure if these are just stories or is there some reality behind it..but as a piece of fiction its a keeper..

06 November 2008

What a night - last night !

As I took the journey yesterday with millions of Americans, actually millions more across the globe, though safe and alone in my living room , I could still feel it happening...
I was part of History making event yesterday - watching the poll results come in one by one for the Presidential election , an half hour of panic around early results...which brought me back from the mundane tasks to sitting tightly in front of the tele with laptop on...
Pennsylvania called for Obama !
Ohio now..
Every pundit is saying that they dont see how Mccain can add up the numbers after this and no Republican has gone to White house without Ohio..but they are still cautious..not calling it in for Obama..
Virginia , North Caroline, Indiana too close to call..
Nail-biting wait for rest of country polls to come in..
And its 11PM EST, west coast polls close...and all the screens - CNN, FOX, MSNBC sweepingly declare Barack Obama as the 44th President Elect of United States of America !!!!
What a sight...what a moment...overwhelming !! All the tele coverage is on the Grant Park Chicago event and there are no words needed...the crowd is jubiliant..laughing ...crying...jumping...
John Mccain gives an extra-ordinarily gracious conceding speech...packs off Palin back to where she came from <grin> ..hope we never see her again !
Grant park again...and the First family arrives on the stage...I cannot even begin to imagine what must be going through their minds right now...its huge, HUGE moment for each of them..
President Barack Obama is sombre and solemn..he knows the weight of the responsibilty on his shoulders and 'though we have come this far, we have to go a lot more ahead'. ..
A quick grin flashed as he leaves the stage and my heart is full of over-flowing emotions...I know that this is not the end of the problems..
but that I have participated in this historical event..tracked it day per day..poll per poll..hoped and despaired..and seen it to its rightful culmination !! GO BARACK !!

17 September 2008

My literary podcasts

Being the bookworm that I am , I have a range of literary podcasts that I listen to usually when I workout :

Here they are :
This twice a week podcast features some interesting authors and chat with them..
From across the ocean, Simon Mayo and a book review panel discuss and dissect 2 books per week .Its funny to hear 'Sarah Palin' mentioned in conjunction with 'Breaking dawn' hearoine (Stephanie Meyer's book) ..It just shows how notorious she has become in such a short time..was it only the labor day weekend before which no one even knew who Sara Palin was ??
Every week Book review editor Sam Tanenhaus talks about books, authors, current best-sellers and other sundries happening in book world. Fast paced overview of the book world.
Michael Silverblat, the show's host and guiding spirit talks to established , new or emerging authors every week with particular insight on the their works..the host has his own thoughtful and philosophical style that I found a bit slow at start but really started to admire henceforth..
This podcast show introduced me to Mavis Gallant and I shall remain eternally greatful for that..
Every week , New yorker invites one of its current authors to pick and read a short story of their own liking..Both the author reading and being read reveal a lot about their works and thoughts..
A weekly conversation about whats new in the New Yorker . Touches on various current issues with the New Yorker contributing authors.
In the inimitable style of Neda Ulaby , this weekly podcast invites authors to read from and discuss their works.
I particularly liked the Bastard of Istanbul, Enchantress of Florence , An age of American self loathing and so on..
The host and studio audience hear and talk to world famous authors once a month.
Isabel Allende's interview was such a beautiful dialogue that I could just go on listening to it ...

10 September 2008

Do your bit

You think about contributing in some ways and the doors open one by one...
I found 'Bloggers Launch TrainforHumanity.org Humanitarian Initiative' today ..do take time to read, think , assimilate and do your bit :
Over the past five years, 200,000 civilians have died due to violence, malnutrition, and disease in Darfur and an additional 2.2 million people have been displaced. We want to do something about it.

Fed up with watching humanitarian crises on the evening news and not doing anything to help, a group of bloggers (most notably, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits) have created and founded the non-profit Train for Humanity, which is an online humanitarian awareness and fundraising organization.

Over 150,000 new blogs are added to the internet everday. Train for Humanity’s mission is to utilize the web, social media, and blogging, in tandem with athletes in training, to support organizations that help prevent suffering and alleviate the pain of children, orphans, and refugees who have been displaced due to genocide or internal strife and war within their country.

Quite simply, they believe - getting fit + social media + blogging = social good

The three pilot project athlete-bloggers, Mark Hayward, Dan Clements, and Leo Babauta are hoping to raise awareness for the current crisis in Darfur and funds for the organization Darfur Peace and Development. All three are training for endurance events of varying distances ranging from a triathlon to a marathon.

They hope to show people that with a little creativity and innovation, anyone can assist and make a difference in the world. If you would like to learn more, have a look at the Train for Humanity website and please consider sponsoring one of them or spreading the word.


My stomach is churning

since yesterday when I read about the polls favoring Mccain-Palin..I feel physically sick ...my husband's birthday was just a dull day...I feel doomed..and I hope I am wrong...

and let me tell you - I am a non-american person working here in USA, I cannot vote , I cannot claim to be an expert in politics but I do understand that Mccain - Palin to repeat a cliche, will be more of a same or worse since Palin will be one step away from presidency..what will she do if such a situatin arises ? Ban abortion ? Ban books ? Are we moving ahead in the 21st century or backwards ? Since when did war became a word from God ??

I am not so naive to assume that Obama is an answer to everything and all the problems in the country will go away if he is elected..but atleast he does not seem to a bible-thumping, self -righteous prig to me..and the party, the democrats stand for liberal values which do resonate with me...

I cannot express or expound on all the thoughts going on in my head right now..but it is with a disbelief that I am looking at this situation right now, as I did 4 years back when Bush was re-elected..

 I  dont know if I should distance myself from this political process..shut my eyes and ears and my brain..how else will I survive the next 8 weeks ?? I cannot change anything anyway...

Im not sure I can do that though...I cannot be aloof from what is going on around me..even as an observer..

I am perversely attracted to every political tid-bit on the internet and I am a zombie from trawling all those news sites...so guess I am doomed till November and I shall be keeping my fingers crossed and praying with my eyes tightly shut (its more effective that way ) that American people make the right decision and take this country back to the right path of being the great nation that it was....

09 September 2008

My International Literacy day participation

Today , listening to the book podcast on KCRW bookworm, I thought I should contribute to this effort, which brings me so many author's voices and such thoughtful and gentle voice from the host - Michael Silverblatt.
So , thats one of the things..I will go home and donate to this literary endeavor ..<since all the KCRW sites are blocked from my office :( >
Two, is getting a kindle (as a gift) counted as a literacy pursuit..I guess I could..since it allows me to read more :-)
Thirdly, I thought I would read some good book yesterday , but I was not in a mood..was a bit low ...cause of which is thought for another post...
Lastly , the Booker shortlist is announced and it has one of the books that Ive been dying to read - Amitav Ghosh's 'Sea of Poppies' .. I shall renew my efforts to get hold of it ...The full list is :   
  • The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant
  • A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz
  • The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher
  • Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
  • The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry
  • The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

Happy International Literacy day !

Today is International Literacy Day and this year's slogan is "Literacy is the best remedy" .. linking good health to literacy !
I was inspired to celebrate and found this on the internet <courtesy http://www.nifl.gov/nifl/literacy_day/ild_local.html>

Suggested Activities for Individuals

  • Take a field trip to a local literary landmark.
  • Learn about and support local literacy projects.
  • Join a book discussion group.
  • Develop a home library.
  • Sponsor a child in a reading program.
  • Give a book as a gift.
  • Volunteer to read to patients in a hospital or nursing home.
  • Get a library card and use it.
  • Share your enthusiasm for a book with a child.
  • Read books aloud to family and friends.
  • Reread a favorite book.
  • Ask your friends to tell you about the books that shaped their lives.
  • Help a child write and illustrate a book.
  • Attend readings at your local library or bookstore.
  • Recommend a favorite book to a friend.
  • Use television to encourage reading.
  • Teach someone to read.
I am going to think about it and see how I can contribute or celebrate my literacy :-)

30 August 2008

I have been thinking

Where does inspiration comes from ?
Watching Olympics last week, one thought came again and again to my mind - how does it happens that one day , somewhere in a distant country someone wakes up with dream of going and winning in olympics ?
Someone who is not connected to Olympics in any way...who had no idea about what it is..still finds some inspiration..some motivation ...to dream...
Where does it comes from ? What drives people to spend years of their lives training for an obscure skill or sport...
Similarly, we keep reading...hearing about the freedom fighters who fought for Indian independence..there were some who were totally unaware of having any personal life or ambitions..who gave up wealth , love and comfort for a cause which so burned them...that they could NOT not do anything about it ..
What drives a person to rise above the mundane, the humdrum , to dream of something even they dont know exists ... what drove them to walk to their deaths with open eyes and arms extended...
I search in the dictionary and find Inspiration defined as Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity.
Passion is defined as any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.
Is this what is the driving force of the athlete from an unknown country or Shahid Bhagatsingh who marched to the gallows with 'Inquilab Zindabad' on his lips ?
Is what Im describing called Inspiration or Passion or does this phenomenon has any other name ?

29 August 2008


I dont know when it started...was it the olympics..or was it much before that..click click click...searching for news on the web...on anything interesting that is going on..
Olympics made it quite obvious to me I think...never before in my 8-olympics past life have I been so fascinated with it...and media fueled it...I keep looking for more information ..dont know what exactly..but keep looking...never satiated...
After Olympics I was lost for a day or 2 and on I started again with DNC - it is quite fascinating to watch a man's unprecedented rise to power...but I think im getting a bit obsessed here...I am looking for all the obvious news coverage...and as if that was not enough I want to go into the specific searches...and the history...and opinions..
Why do I care so much about what others think of something...Do I even know what I think about all these things ??

25 August 2008

I like the change..

There were days...when our weekend..or rather Sunday would start with me waking up late...lying in the bed some more to read a book...and then R and I heading for a niice breakfast...brunch maybe ..come home satiated...watch a movie...langorous days..come to think of it not so bad...
but now...we want to wake up early..so as to miss the weekend crowd on our biking trail ! pack off our bikes and off to a 6-10 mile of biking workout..and it makes us sing ..makes us want to do better...again...gives us a great sense of accomplishment in the day...what could be better than that ?? I like it !

19 July 2008


So I skipped rope today...and it was great ..cant even remember how long ago I had done that last...! I remembered my cousin who skipped her way to weight-loss...and did she loose it...
Im not really looking at weight loss as a goal..rather being healthy...eating good..staying fit...Im getting more and more invested in that..
I used to be so anti-gym...they are pretentious ..boring..cooped in ..blah blah..
On the other hand I do not have enough self-discipline or patience to do what needs to be done at home..Im just thankful I realised that about myself and my need for some sort of physical activity just got too big to ignore and I joined the gum ! and Im discovering new stuff everyday...today was jumping rope !!
Internet is such a blessing...it has every kind of info...you just need to know what to look for....I am finding out all kind of things about workouts and diets and trying to apply it all..
Im quite proud of myself for taking this step..
Im also happy for quitting on coffee...It had become addictive ...even though it was just a cup a day..but still I didnt like the dependency and I quit !
I thought it would be tough..but it wasnt ..except for weekend ..when we go out a lot ..then I just have a coffee..I dont want to be too obsessive about having/not having it...
I just had to jot somewhere about the positive things in my life right now...

15 July 2008

Health tips

White is Not Right: Having a love affair with white bread, white potatoes and white rice? Kiss them goodbye. Although you were taught otherwise, breads and cereals made from white flour are not good for you. White flour simply breaks down into sugar. Not only is too much sugar bad for you, you ultimately crash as quickly as you peak and therefore you are hungry again in no time! Guess what. You eat more and more until you fall asleep. In the morning, you wake up and have a muffin and start the process all over again.
Go Nutty for Nuts: Stop worrying about nuts being fattening; forget calories. Scientific evidence suggests (but does not prove) that eating a handful of nuts daily will give you less probability of heart disease. Nuts are rich in fiber, and antioxidants and high in Omega 3 (the good fats shown to lower LDL cholesterol). Personally, I have a handful of walnuts, almonds, pecans and 2 Brazil nuts each morning, with my coffee. (Yes, I do drink coffee).
Avocado is your Best Friend: You are probably thinking right now, this whole list is full of fat (!!). It is - but it's GOOD FAT. And, if eaten in proportion, it won't make you fat; that's a promise. I eat half an avocado every day. Avocado is considered the world's healthiest fruit, because of its nutrient contents such as vitamin K, dietary fiber, potassium, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin C and copper. Health benefits include lowered chance of heart disease, stroke, cancer and Alzheimer's disease; keeping you young, fit and fabulous.
Reverse your Meals: Most people don't eat breakfast, have a sandwich for lunch and gorge on a big dinner. This my friends is waistline suicide. Its been said a million times before, but eating a big breakfast, a smaller lunch and a tiny dinner will do WONDERS for your jean size. Also, try not to eat after 9pm. Can you possibly imagine the joy of going to bed on a stomach that is not bloated or having to concentrate on digesting that rack of lamb you just ate? For one, you will sleep better and secondly, you'll wake up with a healthy appetite.
The 80/20 Rule: Eat healthy 80 percent of the time - the other 20 percent - eat whatever the hell you like (but not after 9pm). The whole point of eating well for the long term (your whole life) is knowing that you can also have whatever you want sometimes and that yes, a little bit of what you fancy really does do you good.

10 June 2008


Following the Obama news trail it suddenly struck me that maybe Obama is a Leo (sun sign) , that would attribute to his phenomenal rise..and indeed I found it to be true...as seen in the wiki entry :
    "Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. (born August 4, 1961) is an American junior United States Senator from Illinois and the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2008 presidential election. He is the first African American to be the presumptive presidential nominee of any major American political party."
and ofcourse I am not the only one thinking about this, as you will see if you do a simple google search with 'Obama Leo' ..
I have a few Leos in my life and have a healthy respect for their effortless personality and conviction of belief in themselves..or ego as you might call it...but in this case warranted ..
Im just glad my hunch proved to be right :-)

23 May 2008

I think the world is sinking

Yesterday a friend mentioned that he checked out a book from library 'The world is flat' and I quipped ..no..its sinking !
But then I realised its true...given the situation in China, Burma, Afraica .. the soaring fuel prices , the food prices , it does seem
to me that the world is sinking...and unless we take a consious step ...live more consiously this will just go on...
Do you feel the same way ? Are you doing something about it ?

16 May 2008

Going to try this today .. thanks Allrecipes !

Easy Pesto
Submitted by: Rebecca Jane Thompson
Rated: 4 out of 5 by 71 members
Prep Time: 2 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Ready In: 12 Minutes
Yields: 6 servings
"This is the easiest pesto recipe, using easy to find ingredients. It can be prepared in 2 minutes after you toast the almonds."
1/4 cup almonds
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
1 pinch ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Place almonds on a cookie sheet, and bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly toasted.
2. In a food processor, combine toasted almonds, garlic, basil, olive oil, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Process until a coarse paste is formed.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2008 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 5/15/2008

16 April 2008

Happy thoughts...far and loose

but here it is..another one...I was reading the FingerSmith by Sarah Waters yesterday and was deliciously surprised by the end of Chapter I !
I liked how it took me unawares...wanting for more..this is what reading brings gives you...unexplained intimacy into some strange time and period and people .. :-)

14 April 2008


equates happiness..isnt it...atleast for me..so I try to keep my mind at peace...banish petty thoughts....be clean...white..calm...

On other happier notes...yay...I finally bought and installed a bird feeder and added 4 flowering plants to my small garden :-)

11 April 2008

Tough one...

Its a difficult day to note any happy thoughts...quite a depressing thing happened at work today ...and though Im just an observer...it saddens me much...I cant say much more than this...

08 April 2008

6th April happy thoughts

Some holy time in the temple , a new recipe tried, a cute lunch bag brought and opened my birthday gift..15 days in advance :-)))

06 April 2008


5th April -
A nice relaxing day, a classic movie (Godfather), biking in drizzling tranquil park , a beautiful dinner (Fiamma's) and good talk with my dear hubby....there is nothing else this gal would want...

03 April 2008

Happy happening of the day

Spending time with my dear cousin and his sweet wife...good food...and some good laughs...

02 April 2008

Loving loving loving these

Happy Thoughts

This being my birthday month , I have decided to start blogging again and also note down what makes me happy each day (atleast this month), in a way be thankful for what I have...

Today - 1st April -
As learnt from Gretchen from http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/ , money used in the right way can indeed make me happy - I got my house cleaned today first time by an external entity and that made me really happy...Im going to do this more often...it was just letting myself realise that I cant do it, and I was really hating not being able to do it and having the house untidy too...
The feeling of coming to a clean , lighted , warm house is amazing...hope I remember that..

A hint , rather actually knowing my bday present makes me very very happy !! :-))

Something I learnt today -
You cannot be in control of everything, even if its yours , and when you know you are not in control you have to let go, trust and be positive !