Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Home Sweet Home

Home.. Just the word bring me many memories of my childhood.  After marriage we had to move around a lot and settling down had not been an option till a couple of months earlier.  We had to settle down somewhere and so we did, in a place that was convenient in all terms. 

We had bought an apartment earlier, but that was not at all convenient (I am not talking about space) so we sold it and started looking for a plot.  Finally we got one within our budget range.  From there it had been a very impatient wait.  But the workers we had were very skilled and patient.  The planning and designing took ages, not to mention the paperwork and the government offices.  Finally we did it.  We had built our home according to our taste and liking.

It was like seeing a baby grow, just faster.  And when we stand in the mere skeleton of the house deciding what should go where, we can actually see our future in the house.  It is a pleasure that I think everyone should enjoy.  Still there are few flaws and dents which I think could have been planned better.  But with the limited space and budget constraints, I am satisfied with what we have

We have tried to incorporate our past and plans for the future in the house.  I think that is what makes it feel special.  The memories we build with the house.  Though its been 5 months (can you believe it... time flies by) I feel so connected already.

We do have a long list of DIYs and tweaks that we would like to do to decorate the house.  But right now the bare walls and the sparse furniture keeps us cosy.

In the meantime I would like to record some of the improvements that has happened since we moved here.

I did not click any pictures for the purpose of blogging, so bear with me when the pics are not up to the mark.

It started from this - an empty ground


To this - a house with its full structures



To this - a house on the brink of becoming a home


Still we are really proud of our house and about the work we had done with it.  We had only gotten help for the elevation.  Even the house plan or the floor plan was designed by us, the engineer had to just tweak a few for the pillars and beams.  So there is no one to blame but us if there is a hitch somewhere. 

Though we are not the decor type we do try and make it a better place rather than an eye sore.  So I shall record some of the DIYs, tweaks and decors we do around the house.  Our home is still very much in its initial stage and needs a lot of attention and spending. We will go about it in our own pace still enjoying life with friends and family.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Bahubali 2 - The conclusion

I watched the most expected epic saga Bahubali 2 last week around this time but never got to review it as life was a bit busy.  Bahubali the beginning was a tad less announced or rather advertised.  We all had thought it was just an epic based on the myths and folklore of our ancient India.  The base of the story was kind of loosely based on the myth Mahabharath.  I mean there are two sons, one a cripple and the other the righteous.  But the cripple doesn't get to rule because he is not a cripple by body but by mind.  He, simply put, is a bad snake in the glorious kingdom.

So the story of the glorious Bahubali starts with the flashback of the dutiful servant Kattappa.  The war scenes and everything were just beyond imagination, and so gripping.  This pivotal plot just set the character of both Bahubali and PalvalDevan.  So does it decide who rules.  But the first part ends with Kattappa confessing that he killed the mighty Bahubali.  So there ends the first part.

The second part starts with an introduction of Bahubali so grandeur that it fits the grandeur of the whole film.  He is shown as this righteous ruler and caring son who is just on the brink of becoming the ruler of this mighty kingdom.  But as fate would have it, he visits his kingdom and falls in love with princess Devasena.  Turn of events leads to lot of misunderstanding, the sinuous plot of Palval Devan.  So Bahubali ends up becoming the commander in chief of the army rather than the King, just to save his word to the princess.

Meanwhile the plot thickens to banish Bahubali and ultimately kill him.  Yet they succeed in doing so.  But they do not succeed in killing his son, who is his heir to the throne.  The rest of the story is about vendetta, revenge and happy endings.

I feel the story was a bit long, some of the parts could have been cut short, like the romance between Bahubali and Devasena.  But as the story moves, the plots are too gripping to compensate for the sags.  The romance song with special effects just add more color to the movie.  The palace, the forest, the whole set is awe inspiring that you cannot find any fault with.  The director has justified why Kattappa killed Bahubali, though it was trecherous.  Otherwise the film wouldn't have grossed so attention as it has now. The facts about technology  just goes above my head.  Though we ultimately know the ending, it was still worth watching till the end.  We are proud that a south Indian film has gotten a special mention in many international screens.  Director, S.S Rajamouli and his fantasy films, like Naan E, Mahadheera and now Bahubali proves how far he can stand up to International Standards.

My not so perfect life by Sophie Kinsella

Chick lits have been my stable genre for all moods. Not just the women empowerment, but everything about it, say the fashion, the care, the romance, the drama, throw in some mystery and it is the best seller.

Some authors have been my go-to, all along. They may not be Indians and they do not depict the Indian Culture. But what with all the globalization and immigration we do get a taste of everything. The films also play a major role. So it really is not that hard to play the story in your head.

My favorite authors have been Meg Cabot, Sophie Kinsella, Marian KeyesWendy WaxJill Manselland many more. Sophie Kinsella's The Undomestic Goddesswas the first of her works that I had read. It was excellent. After which I have read many chick lits. And I have come to a stage where I can decipher the pattern. A girl with an ordinary life is on her brink and some mess comes along by the way to wreck her life. Enter the charismatic hero who by all odds rescue her and they lead a very perfect life. It’s the same over and over again. But how the plot and scenes are set and moved plays the pivotal role. My Not So Perfect Lifecould have been a bit more interesting.

Katie Brenner, the research associate who had just joined Cooper Clemmow, has the not so perfect life. She hates everything about her life and envies her colleagues life. But little does she know that the glossy and perfect picture that they paint of their lives has another side to it.
She is fired from her job and her dream to become a Londoner is getting blurry everyday with every rejection at her job interview. Her saving grace is the job her step mum offers, to setup their family business. She goes back to Somerset on the pretence that she is on a sabbatical.

Her dad's glamping business picks up and as fate would have it her ex-boss comes to stay. Katie's revenge and plots on her ex-boss is hilarious. But soon she gets to know her boss's true colours. She soon sees that no one’s life is perfect and she learns her lessons the hard way. Will she really help her boss get her job back, will she get love of life and will she ever leave Somerset to become a Londoner? Finally, she is ready to face the world as it is, without the glossy veneer.

It was a light and quick read. But it was kind of predictable and the plots could have been a bit more interesting.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Last Juror

Part 1:
William Traynor, the college dropout, is a happy come lucky guy.  He takes up an offer from a small county newspaper, The Times.  After a few months, the owner of The Times sells the newspaper and Willie buys it thinking it would be a gold mine.  As luck would have it, turn of events made his paper selling like hot cakes.  One major break was the murder by Danny Padgitt which made his paper very popular not just among the locals but also a few bordering counties.

Part 2:
He covers the murder, the witnesses, the trials and everything around it.  Danny Padgitt gets life sentence for his murder and is sent away.  Story moves on for 9 years during which William and his newspaper grow to become famous.  Willie finds a new home (which again is handed to him at a much cheaper rate), new friends and is all ready to settle down.  When a dry spell occurs, Willie is lucky that something interesting keeps happening for him to fill the pages.  His friend Callie Ruffin and his Thursday lunches with her make a true bonding. Just when life begins to turn monotonous, Willie decides to sell the paper.

Part 3:
Danny Padgitt gets a parole after 9 year and the whole county is shocked. Two of the jurors gets killed and the county assumes that Danny Padgitt is back for his revenge.  The whole aftermath of the murders is the end episode.  Willie starts his career with a murder and finally ends his career with the newspaper with a murder.

I had read "The Innocent Man" by John Grisham and it was what made me buy this book.  Though I had bought this book around 2010, I finally got the chance to finish it.  But I was disappointed.  In The Innocent Man, Grisham never lets us off the hook.  We keep wishing and praying till the final end.  But here the plot is revealed and the killer is also revealed.  I had not much interest in the court scenes which he tears apart in The innocent man.  Half the time I found it difficult to keep reading, partly because I had guessed the killer and it was disappointing that I had predicted the turn of events.  The narration was fluid but I constantly lost track of the time, this novel being a period story.  Other than that it was a very light read.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Vardah Storm



Since a couple of days there has been warnings about this storm.  But since storms are a very regular thing in Chennai, I took it very lightly.  Since yesterday night there has been light to medium rainfall and from the morning it has started picking up pace.  But whenever there is a storm alert we normally look for the rain.  But this is not the regular thing, is it?  There has been news from everywhere that this storm is very strong and is defying many calculations that has been predicted before.  It is not going to weaken as it makes its landfall in Chennai.

As I write this entry I sit amongst a very scary and precarious situation.  I can hear the ripping of many asbestos sheets, and the swinging and swaying of trees.  Since morning trees has been torn apart and uprooted totally.  This is just the view from my balcony.  I cannot imagine the scenario throughout Chennai.  We have hooked just our modem to our inverter and so this has been our constant source of information.  As per the news, thousands of trees have already been uprooted.  The eerie whistling and enormous gusts have started becoming more intense.  We sit here saying our prayers as the Vardah storm continues to tear the city.

I cannot help but imagine the plight of Marina Beach.  Since the eye of the storm is located just a few kilometers off Chennai, Marina should be very rough.  People of the low lying areas have been evacuated and taken to a safe place but still the waves would have inundated those places.  The state has declared a holiday for not just the students but also for all the government and Private concerns.  I can see why.

As I type I hear a snap and my bathroom padlock has come apart (yes, the PVC type door and locks).  From what we can gather, its going to be a really worst situation till 5 PM.  Last year December it was water and this year it is the storm.

I remember a very similar situation back in 1994.  There were no inverters and even the emergency lights were battery operated.  We had no power for around 3-4 days (if I recall correctly) and we had to fill our buckets with the rain water from the outlet pipes.  The whole area was so dark without electricity and there was this constant howling of the wind.  Coming to think of it, those days were so eerie.  Lets see if the storm weakens around 5 PM.  Along with Chennai, Puducherry, Cuddalore and Coastal Andra Pradesh are also hit.  Lets pray that everything will be normal again and everyone be safe.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A new rule in temples of Tamil Nadu


Imagine this! You get invited to a party.  It is not a big splash, event of the year party but just a very simple get together party of your friends and you.  Days together we would start planning - the dress, the jewels, the accessories and even the shoes.  We just don't walk in with our plains just because they are our close friends, who really know and understand you.  We really would do every step to enjoy the evening.  So much work and time for one evening.

Again Imagine this! Your star birthday is next week.  The elders of your family ask you to visit the temple and perform a few rituals.  Do we really bother much about anything?  Do we really plan about our dress, the way we look.  We simply enter the temple with the same attire we had been donning since morning.  Why such difference?  Because we really know that people would judge us and God does not.

Recently in Tirupathi, the world famous Hindu temple, there has been a rule to wear only traditional dress otherwise one cannot enter the temple.  It was followed strictly for a while and then they had to be changed only for special tickets.  Tirupathi is a small town only known for this famous temple.  There cannot be anything important for a devotee who has planned the trip months ago, securing special darshan tickets.  Yet people visit this 'kshetram'- holy place with all kinds of trendy dresses.

A similar rule has been passed in Tamil Nadu's famous temple as well.  It has come effective 1st of January 2016.  People were outraged by this atrocity(?!) simply because they could not enter the temple with the dresses they had attended the party with.  Gone was the plan to kill two birds with one stone.  They had to go home and change simply to enter the temple.  What would have happened if this were vice versa.  Would they have attended the party with the traditional dresses.  I don't think so.  They would definitely have gone home to change into stylish, trendy dresses.  Who would want to look like a country bull anyways?? So why this fury only with temple.  why do people take everything granted with temples.

I read a 'whats app' message a couple of days ago.  It says, if a pub says one is not allowed if they don't wear shoes, we accept it.  But if the temple says we cannot enter without traditional dress, we oppose.  Well said.  A temple is a place of peace.  It is a place where we become one with God, through our undivided meditation and chantings.  How bad it would be if trendy clothes do just that.  It would be a mere distraction and nothing more.  If we should want to flaunt ourselves there are other places.  A temple requires no jewels, no make ups, no gaudy perfumes, just sincere devotion.  It is a place where we can be ourselves without others judging us.  So please wear our traditional attire at least in temples.  Please don't get me wrong.  I too wear western clothes.  But I simply cannot understand the need to wear them in temples.  If we can take hours to dress for a party or a function, why not take minutes to change into a comfortable Salwar Kameez before entering the temple.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Pasanga - 2, A Review

On New year's day we went to watch Pasanga 2 directed by Pandiraj.  A lot of good reviews about the film, so had a good vibe about the film.  This is the last of the kids trilogy Pandiraj had been directing.  Pasanga and Marina are among the best kids movie and I was sure Pasanga 2 would not be less of a standard.  But a few comments were made that it was in the lines of Taare Zameen Par or Anjali.  Though the story handles a very similar story with similar emotions, this also explores about the pregnancy, its effect on the child's birth and the child's character.  A lot of research has gone into the making.  Like kids waking the parents as soon as we are in the bed, the long queues for getting admitted int he  top school, report cards atrocities and many many more.

In 'Taare Zameen Par' the child is sent to a hostel and similarly here too the children are sent to a hostel.  This paints a rather painful image as if the boarding schools are prison.  But these kids diagnosed with ADHD get a breath of fresh life with the amazing duo, Suriya and Amala Paul.  Sometimes the kids behavior gets too far like insulting the Secretary of the building because she is a very uptight character.  But other than that the story drives its message as to believe in the child not just in the school to build their future.  It is worth a watch to learn for ourselves the common mistakes that we can avoid and to handle our children better (whether ADHD or not).

My kid thoroughly enjoyed the naughty, witty plays of the children.  The part when Nayana narrates a story to get admitted in a school was the best.  My kid couldn't stop wondering about it even after coming home.  A more thoughtful message would be to learn the talents of the kids and nurture them.  Who knows what great height they could scale with their born-talents?

The climax scene however apt and touching for this movie, makes me wonder and compare with "Taare Zameen Par".  How many ever times that I watch "Taare..." I am bound to cry.  Well Pasanga 2 movie climax could have been better, though it drives a very compelling suggestion to boost the children's morale.  In my opinion the story slumps after the interval.  But a clean movie, worth watching with the whole family and no awkward scenes even for a second.
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