Friday 30 August 2013

Janmashtmi – then and now

Beautifully decked up Gopis (aka galz of the city), gleaming lights spread across temples, the aroma of delicacies being prepared in the kitchen, the festivity in the air, and enjoying it all from his jhoola, our cuties pie Laddoo Gopala, with a flute in his hand and a cherubic smile on his face…

Happy Janmashtmi!

Being born and brought up in Delhi, Janmashtmi has always been a big affair for me. I have lost track of the time since when have I been fasting every Janmashtmi. As a kid, my house was near the famous Birla Mandir of Delhi. Every Janmashtmi, I used to be up and ready in my new clothes, pestering papa to take me to temple. At that age, more than the bhajans and puja, I used to look forward to the lovely Jhoolas right outside the temple. Birla Mandir used to have some amazing moving Jhankis, one of their kind at that time. Many TV channels and thousands of devotees used to flock the temple garden to catch a glimpse.

 Post examining each Jhanki & enjoying the yummy Prasad came the best part – the Jhoolas and the fair outside the temple! With a twinkle in my eyes I would rush to each jhoola. I was super greedy about the Giant wheel and loved the butterfly in the stomach feel whenever the jhoola came down at a great speed. Every circle meant waiving to Papa, who would patiently wait downstairs, lovingly watching his bundle of joy enjoying the ride! I had to be forced to return home where mom would be busy preparing delicious food!

We shifted to the new house & the joy of jhoolas and temple jhankis was replaced by our very own jhanki! Me and my friends would spend the whole day creating jhanki out of household stuff. Blue surf detergent used to create river, toys to create villagers…the jhanki would be complete with a small boy & girl dressed as Radha and Krishna. As neighbourhood aunties flocked to our jhankis & appreciated our creativity, we would swell up with pride at our labour of love! Some generous aunty would sponsor the Prasad which was distributed after the midnight pooja.

Those were the days…

And now…amidst the hustle bustle of the city swelling with new inhabitants everyday, the charm of Janmashtmi has reduced to watching live coverage from temples on TV. Grandmother’s bhajans have been replaced by “Radha on the dance floor”. But I’m glad the charm of the festival remains, albeit with a modern twist (oops remix) to it!

Once or twice, we tried going to the good old Birla Mandir & Iskcon temple, but the swarm of people overcrowding the temple premises left me feeling claustrophobic. The delicious preparations are still made, just that they are now prepared by me and my mom in law. With frequent security threats, the common man now fears to venture out in crowded places on such days. Even the local Gopis feel unsafe with many a Kansas hovering around the city!

As I look at Lord Krishna enjoying his maakhan mishri , I wonder and say “Is this your Gokul?” where the Kansas have outnumbered the Krishnas

The Gopi inside sings a silent song –

Kansa bharey chaaron or (Kansas hovering around everywhere),
Kare humein pareshan, machayein shor (Troubling us),
Chalao Sudarshan bachao humein, lao chain chaaron or (Use ur Sudarshan wheel and save us),
Coz this Gopi wants a safe city once more!

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Chennai Express - Get on the train baby, but leave behind your brain baby!

I usually got for movies when I have heard good enough about them – and by good enough, I mean good story/power packed performance/soul stirring music/superior screenplay etc etc. So when I had to justify Mr. Hubby why I suddenly wanted to watch Chennai Express, a movie I was all frowns for since the promos began, it was a tough one. I had ignored all the hype and publicity, however, when every morning, the Radio Jockeys told of new records being broken, I wondered what it was that was doing so well for the movie. So, while majority of the crowd outside the theatre jostled to get their “Madras CafĂ©” tickets this Saturday, I quietly asked the staff at the ticket window for my Chennai Express ticket.
Must appreciate SRK for playing his age…has tried everything, his lucky name Rahul, heavy duty promotion, even Yo yo Honey Singh  to get the movie on with the aam junta. The middle aged grandson of a famous Mithai shop sets out on a journey from Mumbai to immerse his grandfather’s ashes in Rameshwaram…just one twist…this Rameshwaram is actually Goa. One lie leads to the other and to keep his grandmother’s faith he even boards the Chennai Express (although he plans to get down at the next station and join his childhood buddies on an all guy trip to Goa!). In comes Meenalochini (Deepika Padukone), with her beautiful South Indian accent and equally dangerous Don connection and  Rahul’s life changes forever. The chain of events sees him forced to accompany Meena and her bhai log to her village.

What happens next is a series of humorous moments, songs, and some emotional scenes to get the story going. The Sri Lanka boat scene and the marriage ritual scene reminded me of essays we had to write in exams – there used to be a minimum and a maximum word limit. Perhaps the Director too had to display his "Bhakwaas" ideas for full 141 minutes. So while there were some good scenes, there was no shortage of redundant scenes the director filled up all across by bribing the editor.

Boy meets girl, gets trapped in her don father’s territory because of her one lie, runs away, comes back, runs away again, this time with the girl…some age old senti moments, one song here and there…a climax with some action…typical SRK emotional drama with a frequent “Chennnaiiiiiii..Chennai Express as if to remind u of the movie name to cover up the weak grip of the story….u feel motivated? Well, I don’t.

If I write more about the story, there won’t be any motivation left for you to watch the movie. So lemme jump on to the good part…yes there was a good part to the movie as well. And that was Deepika. She has been a lucky mascot for SRK (Om Shanti Om, Billu). This time, the leggy lass outshone the king khan with her full clad girl next door look and a very cute South Indian accent. It was a treat to watch her utter dialogues in the typical accent and sing across the messages to an amused SRK in Bollywood parodies.

Music is good, atleast worth donning the phone playlist till some new blockbuster comes in.

I know most of u, like me would have already watched the movie, to see what the hype is all about, or worse still, due to shortage of good releases recently. But for those who haven’t seen yet, I suggest u can wait and catch the movie when TV channels decide to purchase the rights.

So, get on the train baby, but leave behind your brain baby!

Enjoy the movie while your mind relaxes back home!

And no prizes for guessing my favorite scene from the movie…

“Kahan se laye tum aiseee Bhakwaas dictionary?” Mr. Hubby and I have been forcefully garnishing our sentences with the customery “Bhakwaas”..:)

My rating: 2/5

Thursday 15 August 2013

My “Chak De” Moment!

Happy Independence Day to all my readers! Although Independence Day comes once a year, as an independent woman with a mind of my own, I feel one should celebrate one’s independence every day – by exercising the freedom to feel, think and express!

As a kid, Independence Day meant a lot to me – the choir performance, rehearsals for the functions, march past, tricolour flowing with pride amidst the salute of rose petals! Wow! I used to look up to the chief guests at our school function every year and wonder they are so lucky to hoist the flag!

As they say, life throws the unexpected when you expect the least. Two months into our marriage, Mr. Hubby & I decided to make full use of the long weekend Independence Day was offering. So, with our friends, we set forth to explore the beautiful locales of Almora & Ranikhet. I still remember having reached the KMVN guesthouse late in the evening before the I-Day & crashing in bed just after dinner. Our room faced the front lawn of the guesthouse.

On the morning of Independence Day, I woke up to spot the beautiful tricolour wrapped from my room window. Usually I give the Independence Day functions a miss. But somehow that day, the hills around, innocent faces of the locals gathered and the wrapped tricolour waiting to unfold fragrance of freedom with the rose petals filled me up with a child like excitement. And the patriotic me woke Mr. Hubby & friends. “Hey, they have organized a flag hoisting here! U will also get laddooos! Let’s rush!” I screamed as a sleepy and surprised Mr. Hubby took baby steps to the lawn, rubbing his eyes.

Everything was set, the tricolour, patriotic songs, laddoos. Just that there was one problem – there was no chief guest. The manager of the guest house along with another official were doing the never ending “pehle aap, pehle aap”. Probably they desired some third person to come and invite one of them to do the honours. Third person did intervene, only to make matters worse for them!

That third person was me - God knows what enthusiasm got me that moment – I walked up to them and said “Can I hoist our tricolour?” They first looked at me in shock, for, clad in a long skirt & jacket, I looked far from a chief guest. But I did wear the right smile and the right tone. They must have been annoyed, for I was about to snatch their chief guest moment. But still, they were really sweet enough to say “Sure, let’s change things by getting the flag hoisted by a lady this year!” I was all smiles & couldn’t believe this had happened to me!

A shocked Mr. Hubby rushed to grab the camera as he didn’t want to miss even a single moment of his wife’s VIP moment!

As I pulled the string and the tricolour unfolded its beauty, I promised the tricolour that no matter what happens around me, I will never lose faith in my nation. I may not express my patriotism formally but I will definitely keep the flame alive in my heart – by doing my bit to better things around me.

Dreams do come true. No matter how much we crib about the sorry state of things, if we dream of a better nation, someday it will come true, we just have to make the first move….Just like my dream of hoisting the flag came true! My Chak De Moment!

Jai Hind!

And to those of you who still doubt my story, here’s a proof of me giving a tom n jerry smile and hoisting the tricolour!

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Book review: Love is a Vodka

Author – Amit Shankar
Publisher – Vitasta
Pages -203
Price – Rs. 195 (you can also grab it from
That's my copy

Sneak preview from the cover -
Being a love child, Moon is anything but a conventional teen. With a leading TV news anchor as her mother, an aspiring entrepreneur as her boyfriend, the word LOVE baffles her. The whole idea of having one partner and love being eternal intrigues her. Life turns upside down when she falls for her mother’s boyfriend. Destiny further complicates things by blessing her with a mega modelling assignment and turning her famous overnight. A war between her head and heart exposes her to various hues of love. Will she decipher the true meaning of love?

My review –
When Blogadda sent me this book as part of their review programme, I was kind of doubtful whether I would be able to finish the book on time, since we had a hectic schedule planned for the weekend. But a rainy Sunday afternoon with hot Cappucino ensured I finished the book in flat 4 hours! Somewhere inside, we galz like the mushy fiction and this book does full justice to that – perfect for the “me” time on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

After flipping through the few pages, the surprised me was forced a detour back to the cover. I wanted to ensure if the author’s name I had read on the book was indeed a male one. Coz with every flipped page, I felt in conversation with a 19 year old gal. I am still amazed how he managed to do it, but a big hand to him for such a perfect portrayal of the girlie emotions - Right from that first attention seeking glance to the fun of being approached, the irritation of being approached too much to the fun of being pampered like a princess. You can almost visualize frame by frame as you read on.

Moon, the protagonist is a true epitome of teenage – where impulse comes faster than presence of mind and the heart manipulates mind to serve its own selfish interests. While on one hand one can’t help but admire the protagonist for her bindaas and bold nature, a lot of sympathy flows too, for the loneliness amidst the camera flashes, the insecurity amidst a comfortable life, dilemma between true love or the lack of it. The girl who is bold enough to make the daring moves in her relationships is also a total softie inside who keeps pushing herself to keep the relationship going until there is no pulse left. She doesn’t hesitate on getting her hands on her mom’s boyfriend, but at the same time values commitment and her own set of rules in love. She knows how to fall, get up, wipe off that pain and move on, something she has inherited from her super successful single mother. There are moments of Dilemma, between the ethical and unethical and every time self induced logic comes to her rescue, albeit with time, the heart casts a spell on logic and its role reduced to merely justifying the impulsive ways of the heart. But that’s adolescence and we all have turned things around to suit ourself sometime in life, haven’t we?

However, while the taking you through the roller coaster of adrenaline, oestrogen and lot of emotional and impulsive moments, the author doesn’t get swayed in the fancies and remembers well in time to convey the right message to readers. The mood swings of Moon along with the apt narration (with sufficient dozes of the “F” word) keep the reader well connected with his/her own teenage years and that’s where the author scores brownie points. Although predictable at some points, it is a fun read, just like “one time watch” movies. Short and sweet.

The author –With writing that’s thought provoking, the author Amit Shankar already has two books to his credit – Flight of the Hilsa and Chapter 11.  Recently discovered that he also blogs here.

This review is a part of the biggest <a href="" target="_blank"> Book Review Program </a> for <a href="" target="_blank">Indian Bloggers.</a> Participate now to get free books!

Saturday 3 August 2013

How I learnt the value of honesty & compassion…

Childhood is that Golden stage when our characters are formed. Like clay are delicate the minds of the little ones. How you shape them is what you get out of them. So a good deal of responsibility lies on parents to teach them how to do right.

Having born and brought up in a typical middle class family, I was blessed to have parents who introduced me to various hues of life, yet kept me grounded in an excellent manner.  In the limited means they taught me to live unlimited moments of happiness.
Youngest of the herd, I was a typical pampered, naughty kid. If there was one thing that could scare me, it was my mother’s angry eyes, coz that meant a hamper full of troubles – she wouldn’t talk to me, make me confess my mistake and find my own way out. No matter how much I hated it back then, it has helped me in the long way. Today when mom is no more, I still know what she would have thought it right and what wrong…

Mom was a regular with morning walks, and I would often accompany her to the nearby park. Her passion for gardening was as strong as my passion now for blogging. She would tell me about the various plants and flowers that we saw and many others that she had seen over the years.

I still remember the festival of Diwali when I was eight. The preparations for the Puja were on, when mom asked me to get flowers from our garden for the Puja. Like mom, I was in love with my garden. It was my mom’s labour of love and my pride as I would often bring my friends and show them the beautiful flowers mom had grown. I used to strictly follow mom’s instructions of not plucking flowers. We had recently been blessed with roses with fragrance that was so divine. So that evening when mom asked me to pluck the roses for the Puja, I got kind of sentimental, since I didn’t want to let go of my garden’s beauty. So, I had a plan in my mind. Two houses away lived Sneha, gal who I was at loggerheads with, since she would always dominate the gang in all the games we played. She was a Bi..g child and had hit me too on few occasions. So the tiny but clever me decided to even it out with her.

Sneha’s family was busy inside with the Puja preparations. Their garden, a tad smaller than us, boasted of some amazing cactus plants. But there was just one rose which Sneha was very proud of. So instead of plucking the rose from my garden, I tiptoed into their garden and plucked the only rose - a revenge well taken.

Like a warrior back from a war won, I handed over the flower to mom. However, she was quick to realize it wasn’t from our garden since the characteristic dark maroon color and the strong fragrance of our flowers was missing. The more I tried to lie, the more I got caught in my own web. In tears, I finally confessed my crime.

“An eye for an eye, just makes the world blind beta”, was all she said. As I told her about my issues with Sneha, mom said “would you like it if someone stole flowers from our garden, especially when we have just one left? Love, my dear wins wars that best of weapons can’t”. So, mom asked me to quickly pluck some flowers, go to Sneha’s house & give it to her mom. My face was red with fear. Here was I dancing around with my revenge taken and here was mom ready to make me feel embarrassed in front of my enemy. But an order was an order. So, with a sheepish look, I went to Sneha’s house with the flowers and rang the bell in hesitation.

As Sneha’s mom opened the door, I offered the flowers “Here are some flowers aunty, u wil need them for the Puja”, I said. “Oh thanks Beta, by the way we too just had a rose in our….”, her eyes went to the rose plant in her garden & were left wide open at the sight of the missing flower.

Now here was my moment of truth. “I am sorry aunty, I plucked the only rose from your garden. Sneha had been troubling me for a while and I found this an easy way to get back at her. But my mom has made me realize my mistake Aunty. Compassion is the best key to win over your enemies, not revenge. Please don’t say it to Sneha. I will be embarrassed.”…I was running out of breath with nervousness and my face turned red when Sneha appeared from behind her mother.

But all mothers are made of 100% love and compassion, so Sneha’s mom, instead of scolding me, took me inside and listened to my issues. She then made her daughter apologize to me & told her “see how her mom has taught her the right message. Learn to own up your mistakes like her. ” Sneha too was feeling guilty by now. “Friends” she said and offered me her hand. I smiled and we became being the best of friends.
That day, by doing what is right I learnt one of the biggest lessons of my life…honesty pays in the long run and compassion is the best weapon to win over your enemies. Thanks mom, for teaching me to do what is right…

I am sharing my Do RIght Stories at in association with Tata Capital.

Fukrey is total entertainment Re…

(A super delayed post…but didn’t want to miss this one as I loved the movie)

What do I say about the movie…

An unusual title, an unknown cast,
But when I saw the movie, I was left aghast!

Yep, that’s Fukey for u…2.5 hrs of total fun! A movie that emerged with no big expectations yet made its presence felt amidst the heavyweights.

The story of 4 Fukras has many laugh till u drop moments. A story which could have easily fallen pray to the drag bug has been well managed by the Director Mrigdeep Singh Lamba.

Dreams drive the whole story, beginning with the dreams of the 4 Fukras to make it big, their sprint on the wrong highway to achieve their dreams, a nightmare by the name Bholi Punjaban (Richa Chadha) & finally, like all good Hindi movies, the happy ending with the dreams coming true….so, its all about dreams.

All the Fukras are in a race to follow their dreams – Hunny (Pulkit Samrat) & Choocha (Varun Sharma) with their dream of going to a cool college with hot galz; Lali (Manjot Singh) with his dream of joining his childhood crush in her college & Zafar (Ali Fazal) with his dream to make his mark in the industry. Choocha with his gifted dreams is Hunny’s golden Hen. Hunny decodes the dreams to come up with lottery number & the result is 100% money assured with the lottery ticket seller banging his head in frustration. Just that their 100% result doesn’t get replicated in their school results & they both lookout for easy and assured way to land up in the college of their dreams.

In comes Panditji (Pankaj Tripathi), the ordinary college gatekeeper with his extraordinary links and operations. Panditji assures them admission provided they arrange for the moolah…but Fukras are Fukras, so he guides them to Bholi Punjaban, the lady don who decides to fund their lottery deal. A heavy meal, lullaby on guitar, perfect seva by his friends, everything was set for Choocha to see that golden dream that was to change their life forever. The dream does change their life, but in the reverse gear…as Choocha is unable to sleep that night in excitement & cooks up a false dream that bombs at the lottery counter.

What follows then is a comical account of how the Fukras try to save themselves the wrath of Bholi Punjaban…a rave party, police, lot of run around and some funny stupid moments that keep the audience well entertained.

Choocha with his funny look & dumb personality brings about maximum punches that leave u laughing out loud.

After a small cameo in Oye Lucky Lucky Oye, Manjot Singh has finally got his break and has done a good job as the typical Delhi guy desperate to shed his correspondence B Com image and hob nob within the cool campus crowd!

Richa Chadha although has done full justice to the character of Bholi Punjaban, but I was left wondering if she likes the word “versatility”. The big mouth desi woman is a job she does well in every second movie she signs up. However, if u want to stay here for long, u need to evolve my dear…

“Get inside the role”….seems Ali Fazal took these words too seriously in his role as the shy Zafar, coz after a while the other actors take all the attention as well as the meaty dialogues. Seems u didn’t get Biryani for the Director, Ali.

In her small role, Priya Anand leaves u impressed with her perfect portrayal of the Delhi girl next door.

Ram Sampat has struck the right chords with the title track & the song Ambarsariya (sung by his wife Sona Mohapatra).

A nice one time watch, u will love Fukrey, especially if u are a Delhiite. Shot entirely Delhi, it has the local flavor that a Dilliwala can relate to – so when a smackie thief steals the cylinder from Lali’s bike while he is striking deal with Babaji in Gurudwara, a dillliwala can understand and smile.

And now for my favorite scene from the movie –

Hunny & Choocha in their desperate attempts to make some money to escape the punishment of Bholi Punjaban, decide to perform at a local Jagran. Hunny plays Durga mata ka Sher while Choocha happily dons a peacock’s costume. The Lion makes a grand entry at the right time in the Jagran & impresses the crowd. But the peacock is attacked by local street dogs & leaves the audience waiting, even as the Jagran singer repeatedly highlights the word “mor” (Peacock) in the song to call the peacock. I was just holding my stomach and laughing!

3/5 from me...