Thursday, September 06, 2012

Stop. Go. Stop. -- All in air.

I've always been very keen to know how the whole Air Traffic Controlling works, because its not like there are any physical things that are in 'air'.  Of course, traffic is coordinated with signals, and there is a whole method to the air madness, but I'd never seen it.

I could spend a LOT of time on that page in the inflight magazine which showed all the flight routes.   It was a magical page to me.   But it only included the flights that the airline whose plane I was sitting in covered.  What about the entire world?!

So while online, I looked for it, and here's a video I found.   I think its authentic, well I wouldn't know.  But I like it.   It is a 24-hour time lapse showing air traffic from a satellite.   For now, this satisfies some curiosity.

Notice how the 'hub' switches between places, Heathrow being quite a busy airport, and then when night falls, the East is relatively quieter.    All like little ants reaching to their ant hills to huddle around and get some rest before wandering off into new directions as a new day begins.

Quite cool I think.  Now I wish there was another video where they had this taken at the 'air plane' level.  You know like there was a camera on the 'air road' if that makes sense, rather than from above it all?    There has to be one like that no?  If you find it, can you send it to me please?

Today I'm humming:  Blue Lips by Regina Spektor. ....."Blue Lips, Blue veins, Blue the color of our earth from far far away...."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

She's here!

A little girl has joined our family.

After having two nephews, we are now blessed with a niece as of last night, and my parents now have their third grandchild and first grand daughter.   Might I say that she is absolutely gorgeous, and so cute?!   Some juicy, fleshy lips, chubby cheeks, and just an edible face over all.   I know, that's mean.  But I mean it in the most 'I'm in love with her' sort of way.  Really.  I am.  Sigh.

Aww....I am in London and she in Mumbai, which sucks, but I'm looking at a few pics I've received so far, and I can't help but stare at her, tilt my head back and forth poring over every little detail on that precious little face,  the way every strand of hair falls, her eyelashes, her....everything.

I just want her to wake up, and look at us, and smile, and well just grow up a bit!  This is the impatient Aunty talking.   We've waited for her for nine months!

In India, you cannot find out the sex of the baby, so there was a good amount of 'guessing'.   Oquai and I always said it was going to be a lil princess.  Well, thats more because we wanted a lil princess.  How else are we going to be able to buy those beautiful lil strappy dresses, and cute brogues from Aunty Me that we've had to pass by as we go shopping for my nephews.   It's good to balance out the rugged with some flowery prints, no?

So So So So So Happy.   I hope I can make it back home on work in a month or so.  Oquai is telling me to go now and surprise them, but I think I'll hold off, and go when my lil munchkin is out of the hospital, and in her gurgle goo goo gaa gaa state.    What do you think?  It's being more practical, and that way I'll manage to get some work done too.

Her mama, dada, and big bro are all doing well.   Yes, they are.  Big bro is veryyyy excited.  'His' baby if you please, has arrived.   He's been ever so sweet, keeping toys for his baby, and even assigning a car for 'his' baby.

My Dada (Papa M) is so thrilled.   Nana S is relieved and happy, and she says 'SSQUO, she's sooo cute, and pretty'.   I know, we are all biased.  But, all babies are pretty to us no?  And finally, us Aunties - my two other sisters and I have gone a bit cuckoo in excitement I think.  well, can you blame us?

Oh, I'm not sure what it must feel like if this baby was coming out of me, coz I was almost dying of excitement in anticipation of this little one yesterday.   It was so much that after a few hours, I thought I was ready to collapse.

Phew.  And I didn't deliver no baby.

Today I'm humming:  But you love me Daddy by Jim Reeves, a song we used to sing as kids.  And its quite apt for today. 

Pic Source:

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The 2012 Olympics Bubble has gone Poof!

It's crazy how quickly everything finishes.   The cauldron is turned off, the visitors to London have vanished, and the general commotion around events is gone.  Previously closed entrances to tube stations have opened, the volunteers in orange who are ever ready to help you with a smile (in an otherwise grumpy city) are gone too.  Poof.  Thats it.

What still exists though is the buzz.  We were at dinner just two nights ago gorging on Sichuan food and burning my tongue and loving it, and we couldn't stop the chatter about the events we went for, which one was more fun, and of course we had to discuss the really tight speedos that divers love to wear, and tight juicy butts all over the screen.  Shhh.

We were lucky enough to catch cycling around Buckingham Palace, we attended the Semi Finals of Table Tennis and rooted for Singapore, and also Beach Volleyball Quarter Finals, which I have to say was in the most awesomest location with so many location icons in the background.  And so much fun!  My hands were hurting with all the clapping, singing, and general merriment.

But most importantly, we continue to talk about the individual sports themselves, and the greatness that so many athletes showed.   As an Indian, I'm proud to say that we managed to secure six medals, which  doesn't seem like much given we come from a populous country (which is quite an understatement).  But still, knowing how things work in the country, it is commendable, and we should be proud of the progress.  Hopefully, it will encourage and motivate us to do much more, and acknowledge that sponsoring kids interested in sports is a good thing.

London is now back to normal.  Everyone is feeling the lack of Olympics, but I personally think its good that the athletes can go back and relax, the feeling of dread, nervousness and anxiety is finished.   Their stress became our stress too, but vicariously.   As Oquai says, 'they were our puppets'.   We came home and expected to be entertained at the cost of their sleepless nights, and years of toil.

So many sportsmen probably have to go back and start training immediately, in hopes for the next big game.  One person I am very happy for is Michael Phelps - he's done all he wanted, and I'm sure given his all, and has officially decided "thats' it".  I think its an awesome feeling, to go from hours of daily practice to not touching water for a while.  Imagine what he must be feeling.  Freedom.

Speaking of Freedom, how fun was it to see George Michael at the closing ceremony dishing out some fancy moves?!  And The Spice Girls!  Oh, I do heart them, always have.  I know, perhaps cheesy, but 'Wannabe' was one of my favorite songs at the time, and I think I've also performed to a few of their songs.

Looking forward, I think Rio is going to be awesome.  We are wondering if we should make plans to go, but four years down the line, how do you plan?   I believe they will deliver and I think being in Rio will be awesome if the snippets I hear about the food, party and people I've met are anything to go by.  Even mum and dad loved it when they were there.  But then they are quite into their food, drink and travel.

Did you like the 2016 Olympics logo?  I do.  Well, in part.  I LOVE the icon with the three figures, I think it is special, open, colorful, about people coming together, and full of spirit, and also represents what little I know about Brazil and its people, open, inviting, and fun.

The font is nice too (a new one created just for this logo), it is smooth and rounded, and generally tends to work well with the image if even just a tad bit too flowery for me.   And this hits me further when I see all the three items together, the figures, the font and the circles.  It is very symmetrical, the three individual parts in the overall 'oval', but I'm not entirely convinced about the roundness of them all when placed together.

I'm being picky I think.  I'll sit on this, and see how I feel in a few weeks.  For now, overall I like it a lot.  Clean. Happy. Colorful.  Depicting a sense of open energy and collaboration.  This is far from what I felt when I saw the London 2012 logo.  Ugh.  Not good.

For all those non marketing, creative people who think designing a logo is all about throwing in some colors, and fonts, and drawing figures, watch the following video - it seems simple, and in the end the visual is just that - 'simple' to the eye, but there's a lot that goes to making it what you see.  Click here to watch.  

Today I'm humming: Tonight by Summercat

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In the House of Commons

For some, watching the debates or sessions in Parliament is like watching paint dry.  I quite enjoy it.  I wanted to see them in person.  And its possible!

So, adhering to the process, I wrote to my local MP for Kensington and voila, two weeks later I got a ticket to visit Westminster and attended the public hearing in the House of Commons (HOC).   That was yesterday!

As a London resident, I pass by Big Ben, and have taken numerous pictures when my clan visits, but I had not yet ventured inside.  And guess what, I wasn't in no ordinary screening gallery, but the 'Special Screening West' Gallery which might I add allows you to enter right after the ceremonial procession.  The procession lasts for all about 58 seconds...still, it is impressive as it rings in the Speaker (John Bercow) following very dressed-up guards, someone holding a golden mast, and then more dressed-up people behind him.   This was nice, but doesn't compare to the extent of ceremonial must-do's in Cambridge life.

The session itself was on Health.   I stayed for little over two hours.  All the Health Ministers from the government, as well as the Opposition were there.  So, was Keith Vaz, but he was outside giving an interview, which was probably just how he normally starts his day.

In the HOC, they talked social care, NHS, insulin pumps, Nursery Milk Scheme, MP's having to defend their responsibilities, and boob jobs and man boobs, no kidding!!

This is because a Cosmetic Surgery bill was presented to the House which included the details for doctors to adhere to certain Minimum Cosmetic Surgery Standards.   It is an important thing, but boy was it interesting to see the MP's faces with smirks, smiles, and pent up giggles around the house when stories of breast enlargement was talked about.  Those smirks didn't last long, or were quickly converted into a well-positioned comment with a colleague so that it didnt seem 'wrong'.  What followed so quickly was 'sad face' and 'shaking of the head', like the MP could not believe that such things were happening, that it was the saddest story on earth (even while she giggled inside).  How two faced!
Heated discussions ensued and made it interesting, and they silently peeked my interest in politics as a profession.  Very silently.  I think it was more to do with the exhilaration you must get to defend and support causes that you strongly believe in.  Plus, YOU are the voice for your people, that's a big deal.    This world comes with the downside too...and for that you need rhino-like skin.  People are brutal.   

So, back to the session, MP's are quite easily admonished by the Speaker, which reminds you of a class room session, only filled with more rules and tradition.

Some of what tradition dictates is: 

- you address the Speaker only - fine.  

- you follow the strict guidelines as imposed by the Speaker - fine again

- you address your fellow colleague not by their names, but by 'The Honorable Gentleman' or 'Honorable Lady'.  That is a requirement presumably to show respect to a fellow colleague especially useful during heated dialogue.   And yet, it is perfectly alright to follow it up as - 'If the Honorable Gentleman would please shut up....'   Hilarious.  Welcome to politics, ya?!

PS: Thank you Malcolm Rifkind for the opportunity to see our Leaders in action, and to get a glimpse of what they do everyday.

Today I'm humming:  Twist and Shout by The Beatles

Monday, July 16, 2012

I get it: Stephen Fry is very smart

TV in London is not great.   I guess I should mention that I'm not allowed to have SKY cable in my building, and I honestly believe that the Virgin Media package leaves you asking for more, a lot more. 
It's a struggle to find many decent TV shows to watch.   There are the NatGeo shows which are awesome, and some Discovery ones too. My default is the ones mentioned, and Food Food Food (which if cancelled will break my heart, but will make Oquai quite happy).   And then there's the reality stuff - chat shows, The Voice, and wide-hipped, but hot Dashians, the 'Housewives from....' all over the world I think, by now, but, it is so so hard to find a show that I can leave on for a good hour.

In the midst of all this TV madness, I've been introduced by Oquai to 'Quite Interesting' - and boy, I wonder where I was living all this while.  I feel like I've lost out on so much QI time!

It's a panel show, and quite an interesting one.   It's possibly the ONLY talk show on TV that does not discuss celebrity break ups, or the weight someone has gained, or express fake pity on someone who has OD'd.

Stephen Fry is a wonderful host, and has his sidekick Alan Davies on every night, with five different guests.  The USP of the show is in its ability to discuss topics that prove that you are really well read, have fantastic deduction and analytical skills, are a trivia hound, or are just plain smart - hence QI (you know, IQ, QI...I think).   So, as an example, can you tell me who received the first driving license? Or how the word Hagrid or Dumble Door originated?

It's not so much the correct answer that is is being sought after, as it is the process of arriving at what 'could' be an answer.  It's all about making it interesting.   It could be funny, it could be dead wrong, it could be that there is no answer, as is the case in the 'hypotheticals'.   It's all about the train of thought that any of the panelists start out with.   It's wonderful to watch them sometimes as a team, to take one word and lead it to another way of thinking.  Team effort you can call it, with words and actions thrown in that are simply quite hilarious sometimes, and silly the others.   Unless of course you get a braniac who just blurts out the answer - 'Hagrid came from Hag+ridden, meaning you were bothered by a hag or witch, or in other words, a nightmare'.   

Such a spoil sport.  Hmmph. 

Oh and as a by product, here's another tidbit, if you ever pronounced J.K. Rowling as 'Raa-u-ling', you're wrong, its Ro, as is 'Row Row Row your boat' Rowling.   There, that's better.

And seriously, how much does Stephen Fry know?   He's from Queen's College, Cambridge which probably explains it.   Did I mention, I'm from Queens' College, Cambridge as well?  Hmm...there's something about 'smart by association', no?

In other news, I'm off to the UK parliament tomorrow for 'Question Time.  I wrote to my MP, and got a ticket for the session.  It's going to be on Health.  Tres excited.

Today I'm humming:   Mais Que Nada by the Black Eyed Peas 

Monday, July 02, 2012

It's been a while


It has been a while.   It's one of those things.  You think you will be able to have the mindspace for many things.   And once you start work, there are many other things that occupy the mind and some things go on the back burner.  A pity really.  But, its the way life works, the items on the list keep changing per the priority for that time.

I'm hoping I will choose to write a bit more now because I have a bit more time on my hands as compared to previously.  Soon, itll be a lot busier, so until then at least I'm going to give it a shot.

I'm still in London and while the city has definitely grown on me, I'm not convinced by the sun's ability to ignore this piece of land far too often.  I hesitate to curse it because I wonder if it believes in spite.  At this point, I'll take any visits it makes, so wouldn't want them to reduce.  The past week has been glorious.  Today...hmm...grumpy!  But, I'll be nice and expect good things in return.

It's also a new time for me as I am now venturing to start something on my own.   Something within the kids space.  Its going to be quite the eventful, challenging journey as I tread through completely new waters in some respects.  It's just the beginning, but so terribly exciting.

I'm not sure who is around from the old blog friends I had, and who isnt, but in the coming week, I hope to pop by and see what everyone is up to.

Feels good to be back.

Today I'm humming Everyday I'm shuffling by LMFAO

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Where's your voice at?

The voice is first heard when we popped out of a tummy, all goo'ed up and icky, but we were still the most sought after thing to be held and admired. Isn't it a wonder how all we see through the goo is the little wonder.

Over time this voice goes through learning, performing, and adapting phases, to then become an inherent part of our personality, charm and identity.

Some of us may have this voice altered through voice lessons, public speaking classes, or leadership workshops, or then just living with someone who doesn't particularly like your style of speaking!

And that's just the physical voice.

Then there's the voice that identifies your thinking, beliefs and values. It's a completely different type of voice, that firstly takes years to find, and then develop as time goes on. While the two are very different, I see them both intertwining so much that the extent of their relationship begs for a separate discussion. It'll definitely help me make lucid my own opinions and ideas about the subject! It's quite a murky and highly intriguing area.

There are no hard and fast rules that can be listed, but there are some generalized impressions that exist socially. I read a bit online and what I gleaned from some of the forums (vs. articles, because sometimes it's more interesting to read what a regular person thinks, rather than a bubbled academic version) is this - People have created criteria including loud, soft, confident, shy, introvert, extrovert, leader, follower etc. and these criteria have undergone combinations to arrive at a person's personality traits. For example, I've picked a sample of the most basic ones -

Loud people are more confident?
oud people have empty heads?
Soft-spoken people are shy and not confident? Or

Soft-spoken people are more sure of themselves?

Then, to complicate it further, let's mix the other voice. The one that reflects your values, and helps carve your character.

If you are loud, does it mean you have stronger beliefs? Or is the other way around?

It's all meshed together, but with specific paths within the mesh if we choose to look carefully. Still, perhaps there exists no clear cut answer because haven't these opinions or voices been shaped by our own circumstances or environments which are unique to us alone, and oblivion to others?

I have no answers, as I sit here today and type this, I'm thinking about the trigger for this post - an article by Christopher Hitchens in Vanity Fair "Unspoken Truths". It really is very well written piece that moved me (thanks me love for sharing).

It is eye opening in that it makes us realize how easily we abandon the importance of our voices until we have it no more. The voice, both literally and figuratively support each other and should make its way to the forefront of you, whether it is said loudly or softly. In Mr. Hitchens words, "So this above all, find your own voice."

PS: Thanks Casey for the nudge.

Today I'm humming Ne Me Quitte Pas by Regina Spektor

Friday, March 25, 2011

Will I see you at the Royal Wedding?

Tell me. Soon. We can make the necessary preparations.

Kate insists we make it.

Apparently, the word has spread back home in Bombay too.

So my parents are coming in for my graduation which is on April 30th, and my one sister is still working on her hubby, since work may keep him away. We're hoping not. While discussing all the issues related to coming/not coming, when to come, when to leave, when is the launch of his fund etc. So, in all of this my sister decided to throw for hilarity purposes mainly, 'the attendance to the wedding' to the conversation as well! I'm glad that the response she got was him giving a cold shoulder to Kate, but a keen
attempt to be there for 'my' graduation.

The thing is this, if we are anyways in the area, why not experience London at the time. I doubt we can head anywhere outside coz the place is going to be c.r.o.w.d.e.d.

In any case, we don't have much time as we have a dinner to attend in Cambridge the night prior to graduation which happens to be on Kate and Willy's wedding day. So, we had to RSVP to Kate with a 'No'. Bummer.

Kate's not happy. But, prior plans were made, so we must abide by them.

How about you? You going? What you planning to wear? And will you hug The Queen, or just do a plain 'ol curtsy?

Today I'm humming: F*** You by Cee Lo Green

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Secret

In whispers it is talked about
Intentionally so

Oft the hiding is not to hurt
Oft it is the contrary

Then, a secret is shared
You are suddenly closer

There's nothing like openness
A feeling of welcome

A surge of fresh, pure spirit
Clean as the back of a pristine white swan

No hushed tones, no planned conversations
R.I.P - A secret

Happy Birthday Sampy, my always-to-be naughty but bestest little monster.

Today I'm humming: Why by Anthony Newley

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Crufts 2011: A few hours into the world of the furries

This week has been dominated by images so hard to see, and hard to believe, of cars being overturned and sailing along what you feel can only be a puddle of water that a child plays in, and on which he set sails his little toy cars.

No puddle it is, but a massive amount of water that make it all seem so fantasy like. But, it is true.

The containers are not LEGO pieces, and the cars not toys, and the bodies, not mannequins. It's reality. Doesn't it humble you so quickly irrespective of your pride, arrogance or level of position in that big job of yours, or status in society. Nature keeps nepotism at bay, and if it has to hit, it is sadly unforgiving, it takes the good, the rich, the not-so-good and the poor all in one sweep. Such is the power.

From afar, I pray.

In the midst of all this, I was reminded to watch Crufts, the most famous Dog Show in the UK. I remember trying to help my landlady's daughter register 'Molly', her new puppy for Crufts about a year ago. I didnt see Molly in the finals, but I have a strong feeling that if I looked carefully, the kids were in the audience. Maybe Molly will make an appearance next year, she did jump on me a lot, not something the Crufts judges would give her high marks for, but she ranked top in my books for all the marks she made on my clothes.

This Sunday, for a bit, I concentrated on trots, agility, the personality, the shape of the head, the well groomed coats and the dangling tongues! So fun.

And here is the winner -

Vbos the Kentuckian aka Jet, a flat coated Black retriever walked away with 'Best in Show'. 9 years people. He keeps himself well, wouldn't you say?

And Reserve was won by the only bitch in the finals, a baby really, named Jilly. Quite a cutie. It's great that she won 'Reserve', especially for being the youngest and the only girl.

In other news, I'm gonna start work in less than two weeks! I've gone through the stages of complete and utter excitement, to 's***, I'm gonna have to wake up early and go to work'.

Now, I have a sense of calm. It has sunk in, and I am actually very excited to go to work, but cherishing the next week and a half. I'm still concerned about the waking up, but it's the type of work I'm gonna be involved in that is keeping things excited! And I hope it does so for a long time to come.

I will be working at Disney in the Toys area which is where I wanted to be, so I couldn't have asked for anything better. Plus, my commute is gonna be good. People who have worked there have enjoyed their time there, so I'm keen to enjoy mine as well.

To a new beginning! Big-eared Mickey, I'm honored to be one of your peeps.

Today I'm humming: The one who will love you most by Brett Dennen

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Egg has arrived on the red carpet - oh and Lady Gaga was around too

A simple display of *OTT?

Or pure genius?

"How Blah!", Gaga thought as she sat tweeting on her smartphone while waiting for a new level of bizarre clothing to be designed for her for the 2011 Grammy's, "to wear something and walk on the red carpet like other talented mortals."

"Gimme a chance to be born on Grammy day. And make it not-so-simple", she continued.

Quickly the creative geniuses picked on the key ideas:
  • Lady Gaga does not want to walk the red carpet
  • Lady Gaga wants to be better than the rest
  • Lady Gaga wants 'Ooohs' and 'Aaah's'
  • Lady Gaga wants to stand out (or rather sit in)
  • Lady Gaga wants to be OTT (surprise surprise!)
  • Lady Gaga has a new album called 'Born This Way' coming out soon

An egg! So simple in its look, and grand in its symbolism of birth.

No, she won't just walk with half-boiled eggs and create some twisted story while talking to Ryan Seacrest about her new 'Born this Way' album. No siree! This self-expressing diva will BE the egg, and someone will talk for her. How ingenious.

The best video (with not the best audio, since there are prohibitions of good videos uploaded just yet here in the UK) is here. You are DYING to check it out. I know, coz you cannot miss this. Click here and then watch Video 1.

I have to say when I first saw the bottom half of the interestingly skinny legs of the men carrying something on what seemed to be a palanquin, with a skinny woman by their side, I felt, 'Now that's OTT, and how like Lady Gaga to do that'.

As the egg made its way down the red carpet with only one stop, at the E! booth, her spokesperson said, "She is incubating until she is ready for her performance!".

At this point, I'm finding all this genius. Hilariously, business-wise and in Lady Gaga'ish style genius.

Call it attention seeking, call it making a statement, call her crazy. It worked! Everyone is talking. It's Lady Gaga. You expect the bizarre, different and supremely quirky. Record a conversation with anyone about Grammy's 2011 and let's see the percentage of times the egg is not mentioned. I say we'll come up with a big fat egg. A zero. Nada. An egg is after all how life begins for many beings on the earth. It is crucial.

Nicki Minaj (left) thought with her leopard print outfit, she could never be upstaged, but I bet she didn't think the possibilities of being upstaged by an egg.

Today I'm humming: Poker Face by Lady Gaga

*OTT: Over the Top

Monday, February 07, 2011

The choice: Being a cannibal or just being rude

I haven't tasted human flesh and I hope I never do. It's just how I feel. There is a certain absurdity to the thought that discards any potential of rational discussion of 'why'. Why don't I like the idea of eating human flesh?

Have you been around a table and hear someone say, "There's a tribe in India, the Aghori sadhu's who eat human flesh', to which you could possibly hear, 'Eew' or 'how could you?' or "that's just plain cold-hearted and yuck!"

What is it that makes us discard the idea of chomping on human flesh? Why can't we think of a juicy piece of buttock meat, or thigh meat, whatever you are into, rolled through a skewer, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled liberally with adobo seasoning?

  • Is it because there is a thinking brain inside each of us that recognizes pain, but more importantly can voice it through shouts for help?
  • Is it because it is conditioning of the mind with the deep-rooted idea that we do not betray those from our clan
  • Is it because of emotions and the connections we have with people, either by seeing the sadness or fear in their eyes and being able to empathize with that?
  • Or is it because we are just consider ourselves superior enough to do it to other animals BECAUSE we think:
  1. They cannot display all the emotions we relate to (i.e. fish don't make loud crying sounds), so the pain or heartlessness is peripheral and hence easily ignorable.
  2. We can ignore the painful cries because we don't understand them (e.g. a pig wailing as it is chopped)

We are empathetic, some more than others (e.g. vegans, nice people), but we enjoy the meat so much that we have adapted our minds into a process where it is 'OK' for planned death to happen to certain animals.

Then, we try to hide the process of killing (KFC will not show you explicitly how they kill chickens), and then bask in the idea of humane killing - if we have to kill anyways, and that's a given, let's do it in a slightly less painful way.

Don't we have different standards?

As you can see in the video above (See it now, if you haven't already), there is a practice in Madagascar where a high ranking person/guest is offered to eat the foreskin after a boy has been circumcised.

Andrew Zimmern
, some call him the crazy guy coz he really eats anything, visited Malagasy as part of his 'Bizarre Foods' show, and witnessed the cermony in the video. For a guy who eats pretty much everything, this was still very difficult to comprehend on many levels.

Here's something for you -

You are a true explorer, an adventurer, someone who loves people and always wants to learn more about their lives, their traditions and be them, if only for one day. This means you try to be as gracious and respectful as you possibly can because you understand and even preach that what someone does 3000 miles across from your land, is normal, by their standards.

So then, if you are sitting amongst a group of 50 tribesmen in Malagasy, with women, children and all the locals crowded around the petrified little boy, and the proud Chief, waiting for the ceremony to begin. Then, the snipping is done, you hear the wails of the boy no more, there seems to be an energy of celebration, and just then the Chief turns and offers you a banana with a little piece of skin on it (did you just squirm?), all eyes on you with awe and wonder of this precious visitor being honored with this offer - What would you do?

Today I'm humming: Govinda by Kula Shaker

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

'Away we go' - are they F*** up's?

Social networking sites help. I heard about 'Away we go', the movie through a friends post on facebook. I know her, and so decided that if she liked it, then it's worth a watch for sure. Plain ol' primitive word of mouth reference does have its place even in the modern world, its just that the medium of dissemination has altered.

Last night I caught Away we go on TV. I propped myself cosily on my couch, made sure I was in easy reach of a snack, water, the remote and my phone somewhere around and started the movie.

Firstly, I was excited about the movie because it stars Maya Rudolph who I think is hilarious, and quite love her from the Saturday Night Live sketches. John Krasinski plays the male lead. He is the guy best known as Jim from The Office (US).

It's an easy-to-watch movie, can be regarded as slow, but I didn't mind it coz it gelled with the overall theme of the story. It was a pleasant change from watching action thrillers, and reality shows where Kendra shows off her booty with hard hip-jerking movement, 'Go kendra, Go kendra!'. I find it too funny!

The story of the movie, without giving away too much is this: Maya is pregnant (6 months), and both Jake and Maya are figuring out their place in the world, and considering options on where they'd like to raise this new addition.

They question their position relative to the 'normal's' of the world, and aren't sure if they are f***-ups because at 34 (Jake is 33) among other things they 'have a cardboard window'!

They decide to 'go' and explore new places to find the perfect spot. In the bargain they explore not only places, but come into close proximity with lives of people dear to them, and also confront past fears. They do get to the crux of it all in time, which is to cherish what THEY have.

And what they have is a cute, fun and 'knowing' dynamic which only the inhabitants of a relationship can understand. It may seem bizarre, silly or mushy for others, but it's perfect for them.

I really liked the calmness, but warmly funnyness, and understated performance of Maya, which is rather different from her crazy side on SNL. Jake isn't awesome, but his character works, coz he's a nice guy. A bit goofy, but nice.

The movie isn't perfect, but here's what I liked:

  • It makes you reconsider the 'wish it were me' syndrome? Coveting another person's life, job, or perceived happiness is tricky. You can't be sure you want it until you've walked a few steps in that persons shoes
  • It allows people that society thinks should follow a pattern, to NOT have a pattern and be Ok with it
  • The simplicity but strength of a relationship that is not displayed as overtly passionate, but it so so special
  • The marriage certificate is precious, but it is not a requirement for commitment
  • Maya Rudolph's freckles and facial emotions
  • Maggie Gylenhall's very very emotional, but hysterical, "I reject your aggression"
Not every movie has to move you enough to make you want to conquer the world. Some movies sneak by stealthily and leave you with a little more warmth and something to think about, smile about and plenty of good music to listen to. Away we go did just that for me.

Today I'm humming All of my days by Alexi Murdoch (also in the movie)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A box of fresh organic vegetables at my doorstep - why is it still so daunting?

Last week I caught up with two classmates from Cambridge who are now in London. We met at Baity Kitchen - the Mood Food deli, a gem of a place in South Kensington that I've been meaning to visit ever I read about it. Recently opened, it is small, but super cute and homely with delicious Greek food. The hosts and servers are very nice, almost shockingly so given the overall level of customer service in this country (as compared to NY). A pleasant surprise and a definite edge over many other eateries.

After going through the usual pleasantries with my dinner buddies, we got down to job talk, heavy gossip, the lack of sun in London, the characteristics of your 'ideal' man/or the type you are attracted to, our travel plans, and ingenious ways to be invited for classmates' weddings that hope to be in exotic lands including Russia, India, Uruguay etc. We decided that we have to start early if we want to be on the guest list! How insensitive and sly no? We had a great laugh about our charming ways.

Given we were eating delcious food - a moroccan chicken and rice with olives, tabbouleh salad, roasted chicken, and macaroni and cheese in truffle oil - the conversation steered to cooking.

R'all says that she orders a vegetable box on a weekly basis from Able and Cole. A box full of fresh, seasonal organic vegetables delivered to your doorstep with recipes to match the ingredients. 'Delicious' she says, and 'healthy'! The perfect alternative to munching on deep fried sweet and chilli crisps'. I say, ', waittt a minute. Not entirely true you know'.

It sounds pretty awesome, especially with the spoon feeding they do by providing recipes too. Given her enthusiasm for it, I must consider. And yet, I can't. Not yet anyways.

On one side, being a diligent carnivore, but now with herbivorous habits neatly imbibed more and more over time, I still find it overwhelming to think of this big box sitting in my kitchen. Oh the pressure to devour all the supposed goodness! On the other hand, it will be healthy. And on yet another side, the scary thought of looking at rotten veggies at the end of the week.

I am being pessimistic, but I know myself. The few veggies I do buy sometimes rot if I'm not quick enough. Now, I am cooking a lot more so the waste is lesser, but a box. I mean, its a box full!

Perhaps in the future when I have someone to 'manage' the box, when it is not solely 'my' responsibility, I will welcome the box. Until then, I'll stick with the little packets of brussel sprouts, three carrots, coriander, one small cabbage, one portion of spinach, a cucumber and lots of potatoes and meats to tide me through the week. Baby steps.

Today I'm humming Consider Yourself from Oliver Twist

Monday, January 17, 2011

Annette Bening wins the Golden Globe and I am thrilled

Annie is a star. Period.

I've always found her tres interesting. She comes across as someone strong, but with a sensitivity that cannot be completely ignored. She has that womanly delicateness even in her deceptively stiff, straight and no-nonsense elegance.

She's terribly articulate, charming as hell, and has a presence. Her being quite tall surely adds to it, and whatever we may want to say, taller, does command a different type of attention. You see the person more easily, especially in crowds, and aesthetically and objectively speaking, height does me anyways.

So, Annie in her dark, super trendy glasses and black dress definitely rocked the Golden Globes last night. It went on until too late London time so I could see only half of it. I did get to see enough of Annie though. See, here's the thing, in my opinion the dress wasn't great. BUT it was a nice style, and it fit her like a glove, but it's Annie that made the dress look like the way it did. It's the package. Warren Beatty, you are a lucky man. And she a lucky woman. You two look good together, and are a testament to success in marriage in an industry that holds onto divorce or breakups more than togetherness.

The Kids are All Right is the movie for which Annie won. She plays a lesbian woman in a relationship with Julianne Moore (also love!), and trying to have a happy life with their two kids. Interestingly the kids have been brought into the world by both the mothers, each delivering a child that has been fathered by Mark Ruffalo, who was the sperm donor. The movie revolves around these five characters and how the dynamic changes when the new 'Daddy' comes onto the scene.

Ms. Bening does a wonderful job, and so does J. Moore. Annie is the provider, and the care taker of the family displaying outward strength, and possibly hiding the vulnerability of a lover when she's scared about the future of her troupe. She's protective, headstrong, very capable, and beautiful.

To Annie:
"I like you Ms. Annie, but my gal pal Nata
loves you if you know what I mean. So imma leave you to her. She can deal with Mr. Beatty. We were considering making a trip to Costa Rica, and while I sip on a bacardi, she plans to check out the women. I told her that she should forget the 'women' and just call on Ms. Annie. What do you think Annie? It'll be fun. You in?

Other highlights of half the show that I watched:

- Ricky Gervais, the host of the show: hmmm I get what you were going for, but maybe you took it up a bit too much. These H0llywood types are sensitive people you know. Ego's are pretty much what they hold on to.

- Robert Downey Jr. You are a smooth, charming, intense and funny man. Like Like very much.

- Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Colin Firth are continued favorites. btw, Al's got a new gal. Not impressed.

- Note to self:
Need to watch Black Swan and The King's Speech

I am looking forward to the remaining half of the show which I think airs again a decent hour.

Today I'm humming We're Going to Be Friends by Jack Johnson