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Posts from — January 2015

Saturday Tirade: Who Am I?

‘Who am I’ is a cliched question. Constantly being asked, forever flaunted, indiscriminately repeated and never resolved. I have tried to define myself way to many times now and words always fall short.

How does one define oneself? Why does one need to define oneself? Can one not be the undefined? The unlabelled? Vague and obscure like that tantalising island shrouded in mist?

And yet every time this question comes up I get lost in thought, sucked into another cycle of trials and attempts to answer the question. Not so much to the person asking the question, but to myself, to reason with and quieten the monster this question awakens.

‘Who Am I’.

I know who I was and it is this knowing that causes conflict. I am not the same anymore, I have changed, evolved and what not. Like they say change is the constant and yet I am what I was, I am what I am and I am much more.

So, here’s another attempt at definition, a list of all I am, not OR but AND.
I am a…
– Human
– Girl
– Woman
– Daughter
– Sister
– Wife
– Doggie Mom
– Friend
– Writer
– Imagineer
– Bibliophile
– House Manager
– Crafter
– DIYer
– Jugaadist
– Hoarder
– Washerwoman
– Gardener
– Blogger
– Doggie Vassal
– Food Conjuror
– Poop Examiner
– Pee Appraiser
– Meat Sorter/Meat Box Maker
– Personal Doggie Exerciser
– Poop Collector
– Glorified Charwoman
– Grudging Chambermaid
– Reluctant Cook
– Happy Baker
– Biker
– Traveller
– Adventurer
………
………
………
And the list goes on.

I came up with these in 10ish minutes. I’d be a lot more if I had more time, I guess. 😛

Who are You? Does the question haunt you too? How many of these are you too?

I’m constantly striving and working towards the day with I make peace with all I am, with who I am. I don’t know how this can be done, or ever if it is possible but for now I’d say it’s an uphill task and an uplifting journey. 😀 Have you found the answer? The secret to making peace with ‘Who Am I’?

****This post was inspired by and written for the #UseYouAnd activity on BlogAdda. Now here’s the compulsory text… “This post is a part of #UseYourAnd activity at BlogAdda in association with Gillette Venus“.****

Photo Credit: Chenthil Mohan

January 31, 2015   No Comments

Video Wednesday: The BSF DareDevil Motorcycle Show

It was republic day this week and it was after years that we watched the Republic Day parade at Rajpath on DD this year. As mix of tradition and technology, we watched it all on YouTube while it was Live Streaming from DD. 😀

There were a lot of beautiful performances, partly I think thanks to the desire to impress Obama but what stood out for me were the BSF DareDevils. These guys I have seen over the years doing stunts on motorcycles that defy the eye and mind, yet I’ve never tired of them.

I seem to remember the DareDevils motorcycles being Royal Enfields since forever. However as a child I didn’t see the difference between an RE or any other bike. But having ridden a Royal Enfield for some years myself, I have an attachment with RE’s now and seeing them being used in such amazing ways, makes me all warm inside with a big smile on my face.

Motorcycle stunts aren’t easy. I should know, I’m terrified of even letting go of the handlebar, forget standing up on the bike and other such stuff. 😀 So, this week here’s to those DareDevils, their courage and the hours of practice they must put in to pull off such amazing feats.

Stunts by the BSF DareDevils Team in the 2014 Republic Day Parade

The 2013 Republic Day Parade stunts by BSF DareDevils

Here’s another where these guys have broken world records!

There were some new stunts this year, but new or old they were all wow ones. But my favourites were seeing the guy sitting sidesaddle working on a laptop, and other one where the rider controlled the bike standing on top of a ladder.

Which one’s did you like the most?

January 28, 2015   No Comments

Tuesday At The Movies: Into The Woods, Baby and Gone Girl

I’ve made progress on the movie list. Not by leaps and bounds but like the cliche says, every step counts. 😀

Last week I watched 3 movies with Che , out of which one was in an old school theatre. It was such fun to buy a balcony ticket after ages and sit in a non-A/C theatre in slightly uncomfortable seats. And the snacks, they were simple and affordable compared to the 100’s we spent at the multiplex.

I looking forward to more movies in theatres, before they disappear and we are left with only the multi-screen monsters. The non-fancyness of the theatre didn’t take away anything from the movie experience, I think it only added to it.

Now on to the movies I watched –

Into The Woods


What happens when you take Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Jack and the Beanstalk, put them together and give it a modern twist? You get a kick ass fairy tale movie from Disney! 😉 A must watch…
My favourite scene was when Johnny Depp howls at the moon in a way that only he can make sexy. 😎

 

Baby


Don’t go by the name, this has nothing to do with those little wailing, pooping bundles. This one is an all out masala action thriller. Not the perfect tight storyline but it still did have me sitting at the edge of my seat most of the time. It also does have some mushy gooey dialogues that had me falling off my chair in laughter!
My favourite scene was when Akshay Kumar charges into a room to save the damsel only to find the damsel has saved herself! Full to full woman power! 😀

 

Gone Girl


I’d been meaning to read the book before the movie but I finally gave up. The movie is neat, the story is awesome and I definitely need to read the book sometime (especially since Che says a lot of stuff was missing). I never did see what was coming as the story unfolded. Don’t miss this one…

So that’s it for this week. I’m hoping in the coming week to watch some movies on my choice and by myself for a change. 😀

What have you watched recently?

January 27, 2015   No Comments

Pimples: The Volcanoes of My Face

I’ve had a pimple problem since puberty. The pimples have been here for so long now that it feels like I’ve had them forever. So long that I can’t imagine life without them! 😀

It all started when I was in my teens, that time and phase in life when weird stuff starts to happen – armpits start to sprout hair, mounds start to form on the once smooth chest, the meaning of pubic hair suddenly becomes clear…

It was in those years when my body started to change that pimples erupted on the smooth ground of my cheeks. They were huge angry bumps that hurt and itched like hell. Red and inflamed they spewed white goo when squeezed.

Yep, I have that peculiar quirk, I can’t keep my fingers off a pimple. If a pimple shows up, before long you’ll find me peering into a mirror and squeezing the pimple dry. I could write a PHD on the art of pinching a pimple.

I simply can’t tolerate the sight or the itch of a pimple. No matter how many times, Mom, Aunts and friends sat me down and explained the repercussions of pinching pimples (they said more would come, it would leave marks and what not), I just couldn’t stay off the pimple pile.

Other than pinching pimples over the years I’ve also tried numerous solutions and nuska’s as we call them in the hope of making them go away. Face packs, creams, face washes, face scrubs, fruits, foods, drinks, allopathy, ayurvade, … you name it and I’ve most probably tried it.

Some things worked well and helped control the amount but nothing made them go away or stop reappearing. I was told over the years they would stop, getting married would make them go away [apparently sex was as solution 😀 ], producing babies would help, but God help me, coz nothing else did. Even today they keep sprouting though the month and in larger number around my menstruating time. :(

However here are some things that did help me (at least partially) –

  • a glass of warm water with a tsp. of honey and juice of half a lime on an empty stomach in the morning
  • neem based face washes (Have tried a few, time to try Garnier Pure Active Neem now)
  • Johnson’s baby soap
  • washing my face twice a day
  • clarithromycin cream
  • a face wash of my own concoction of powders (I’ll share this recipe someday soon)

All said and done, what worked best against the pimples and made my life, skin and self-image better was, making peace with it all. I now am happy for pimples, they make for good time pass at the mirror and my bumpy pimply face, marked and scarred by years of volcanoes adds to my character. 😀

****This post idea came from a contest run on IndiBlogger by Garnier for their new Garnier Pure Active Neem facewash.****

Photo Credit: Chenthil Mohan

January 26, 2015   No Comments

Friday Review: #WhatNextAmish?

This is an odd review but WTH, it’s still related to books. 😀

Two weeks ago I received an email from the Westland Publishing team asking me if I’d like to participate in solving the mystery of Amish Tripathi’s new book. Is there any way I could have said no. 😀

Anyway to cut a long story short, after a long wait my surprise arrived two days ago. Here’s what I saw when I opened the carton. A pretty little treasure box.

Inside the box there was an instruction leaflet, a bottle with stuff that looked like mud and a scroll.

The leaflet is the usual type with a welcome message and instructions on how to make entries in the contest.

The scroll however has some interesting clues…

The scroll reads – “A blazing torch in the dark, the city I come from is that of knowledge, and knowledge shines through. Hold me with reverence, good people. I am a bigger clue than I might appear to be. Speaking of rising from the element, as opposed to letting it eventually consume you, the history of my place of origin is as colourful as the traditional art it is known the world over for. A city with a productive present, its yields in the past went on to change the face of ancient India.”

So what’s this all about? Basically this is Amish and WestLand promoting Amish’s next book and doing it in style. I’m glad to see stuff like this finally happen in India in the book space. WestLand is sending 150 or so fans clues that will lead to the subject of Amish’s next book. 5 winners will get gift vouchers worth Rs.500. The prize isn’t compelling enough, I’d have preferred early editions of the book or such but just using the mind to solve the clues in the reason for why I’m participating.

Now on to solving the clue… At the end of the Shiva series I remember having a feeling that his next book would be based in the South of India, I even mentioned it in my review of the Shiva Trilogy but I can’t seem to wrap my mind around the clues.

And this isn’t the only clue. There are two others sent out to others participation. Here are all three…

Most people seem to be of the opinion that it will be either Ramayana, Mahabharata, Buddha or Ashoka. Most weightage is being given to Mahabharata since Amish mentioned it in the second book of the Shiva Trilogy.

But as of now I’m inclined to think his next story will be based in Kancheepuram. If you ask me why, I don’t have all the perfect answers. I started out with the feeling that his next book/series will be based in the South. With that in mind I went hunting for learning centres in the South and came upon Madurai and Kacheepuram as probables. But Madurai does not have any world famous art, Kancheepuram on the other hand does. So.. That’s my guess. How the other two clues fit in I can’t figure out. 😀

Two other places I have on my shortlist of three guesses are – Madurai and Tanjore.

Amish will reveal his next book’s teaser trailer on 23rd January at 6:00pm at the Jaipur Lit Fest and that’s not to far off, it’s just a couple of hours away. Let’s see what comes up…

Back to why this fits into the review category… This is a review of the promotion of Amish’s next book and I am impressed by what the WestLand Team is doing. It’s a well planned event that is causing the right amount of hype in the right circles. Kudos and 5 stars for their efforts. 😀

Update: Amish revealed the title of his next book. It’s Scion of Ikshvaku. I’ve kicking myself coz I have another book on the same topic on my reading list right now. 😀 But really I’d never have guessed that and reason is that I’d thought Amish would be more, that he would not take up the same old ghisa pitta Ramayana story and rewrite it. Maybe he make that fun too. Who knows, time will tell. For now, here’s the teaser trailer…

Additional Info: The book is expected to be released before October 2015 and there will be 4 to 5 books in this Ram series! 😯

January 23, 2015   No Comments

2014: The Year in Books

Though I read over 50 books last year, it wasn’t the best of years in books for me. I started the year with a back log of books to review and with all that was happening, I just didn’t find much reading time in the first half of last year.

Not reading enough leaves me cranky and grumpy. I need my escape time in each day where I leave my mundane life behind (not that it’s boring in any way) and slip away into a world of fantasy, where I can be a Bridget Jones, fall in love with a Darcy, solve a mystery with a Mason, and all such stuff.

I spent until about May scrambling, trying to catch-up with the lists, unhappy while doing what I love the most, then it broke and I gave up. I realised that I was unhappy because I wasn’t reading what I wanted in the little time I had. Not that I didn’t like the books lined for review, I had chosen them but I felt I wasn’t reading enough of what I wanted to read.

I let go and started reading what I wanted to. It definitely made me happier in the little reading time I used to get. I did a few reviews in-between but they weren’t much at all.

I enjoyed reading impulsively, choosing what I wanted with randomness and picking stuff from my Forever-TBR without feeling guilt. It’s how I landed up with the Perry Mason series.

Perry Mason was on my TBR in college but somehow there was always something else to be read and I never got down to reading Mason. Now years later I’ve started and got hooked. Of course it helped that these are fast books so I could read more and catch up a bit with my book challenge numbers.

Two years in a row I’ve tried to read a 100 books in a year and haven’t managed it. I was hoped the Mason series would work out as a good cheat but well, it didn’t. :(

But it did help cross the 50% mark though. 😀

I managed to read 59 books out of the 100 I had targeted. Not too bad considering the chaos of 2014. That said, this year I’m back to trying for the 100 number but with a few learnings.

Biggest learning – I need to reduce the number of books I review and read more books from my Forever TBR. 😀 With that in mind I’m going to be turning down more books for review (I hope), finishing the pending review list and reading lots of stuff I want to.

Ok this post has gone on too long. A post on stats and books and another on my learnings is due but that’s later. For now I’m heading back to reading. ;D

January 22, 2015   1 Comment

Video Wednesday: PanCake Art

Pancake Art Shark by Brek Nebel

Thanks to WhatsApp I’ve been getting some awesome videos to watch. Recently Pancake Art has been doing the rounds and I saw these two cool videos, one where this guy creates various apes and monkeys and another with pancakes that look like the Beatles. Here they are –

That got me wanting to see if there was more out there. And guess what, I found lots of them…

The ones above are by Nathan Shields and he’s awesome. You can check out more on Nathan’s site SaiPanCakes.com or his Youtube channel and tell him who to pancake next. 😀

But Nathan isn’t the only one out there. Jim makes 3D pancake art. Check out his Golden Gate Bridge.

Then there’s the Pancake-Designer with this Simpson that even behaves like the real one. 😛

Check out Miss Recipe’s intricate lacework, birds and flowers…

And last but not the least is Jenni Price who’s Teaching the Bible one Art Pancake at a Time.

And if you are wanting to try it out, here’s Kirby and Charlie trying their hand out at it. It’s a good tutorial.

If your wondering about the shark right at the top, go check out Brek Nebel’s art on his Tumblr blog. Man oh man! He Rocks!

This whole thing about pan cake art is really cool when you think its and art form and yet its food! 😀  I’ve got to try this with dosa batter!

January 21, 2015   No Comments

Tuesday At The Movies: 6 Movies in 20 Days!

Che and I enjoy watching movies, of course we don’t have the same tastes but there is enough of an overlap to provide for combined entertainment. Over the years we have watched a lot of movies together, most are his selection as he does a good job of choosing movies to watch. I could count on my fingers the movies I didn’t like out of his selection.

That said, this year I’ve set myself a bit of a tall order. I want to watch a 100 movies this year. It isn’t much if you compute the year to have 52 weeks. That’s two movies a week and that should be easy. Well, here’s to hoping it is that easy. 😀

This year I’d like to watch not only the movies Che selects but also quite a few others of my choice. There’s the Sudeep Project I talked about earlier that I’d like to complete this year. I’d also like to re-watch a lot of movies I’ve seen and loved over the years. Apart from this I also want to try and watch some classics, some B&W’s, some milestone movies and a couple from the must watch before you die list. 😀

As you can see that’s a lot of movies. I’m going to have to sit down and make a list one of these days. But it’s already 20 days into the year and I’ve made some progress on the movie list. Here’s the movies I’ve already watched.

1. Doom 3

We started the new year with this one. Don’t look at me all funny before of our choice. We wanted an all out masala no-brainer to enjoy on Jan 1st and this one fit the bill. 😀 My thought: It is a masala no-brainer!

 

2. Michael Madana Kama Rajan

According to Che this is a Kamal Haasan classic and I ain’t arguing. For me some of the movie was lost in translation but I still did enjoy the plot and story. Kamal plays 4 roles and manages to make each one of them distinctly different from each other. It’s a well done performance.

 

3. The Imitation Game

Based on the life of Alan Turing, the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, this movie at the end had me sputtering with anger at a society that kills genius because it’s gay!

 

4. Maze Runner

A young-adult post-apocalyptic science fiction, this movie is good masala. Another one on the lines of The Hunger Games. The first part of a trilogy, I enjoyed watching Maze Runner and look forward to the next two.

 

5. Ankhon Dekhi

This movie I highly recommend. No big names and yet a big story. The movie has a simple thought – you should believe only that which you can see, feel, hear and experience for yourself. It is this thought that sets the stage for the entire movie and yet the end is profound and left me dwelling on it for hours. A must watch!

 

6. Big Hero 6

I like animations and the ones made by Pixar always strike a chord. Set in San Fransokyo this is the story of a boy and his special bond with an inflatable robot. It’s an exceptionally cute movie with lots of emotion and morals. Want to know more? Watch it! :)

 

Well, that’s it until now. But not to bad a start eh!? 6 movies in 20 days, I’m quite on track. Let’s see if I can over shoot that 100 number. 😀

January 20, 2015   1 Comment

Video Wednesday: Namma Bengaluru

I’ve lived my entire life in this city, and that’s not a short span any more; it’s 35 years! I’ve seen this city change, evolve, get modern, lose it’s innocence, you name it.

Bengaluru is hardly the Bangalore I knew and spent my childhood in, and yet it still has hidden treasures that take you back in time to the city of old.

While so much is changing here, some things are still the same, or at least striving to stay the same, like ‘swalpa adjust maadi’. 😀 These are not just three words, they are the attitude of this city and well, I hope that doesn’t change.

Enough of the nostalgia, here’s the video that got me all nostalgic. 😉 The Fatafat Lungi Production guys have put together a Bangalorean version of #ShitPeopleSay. Enjoi!

If you’re not a Bangalorean or don’t speak great Kannada like me, the video has subtitles, just choose the option at the bottom.

I laughed my ass off at the louwu, mauz, oota aitha, nice bath, go ya, play off John Denver and lastly the awesome way to learn the Bilahari raga. 😀 What stood out for you?

January 14, 2015   No Comments