Friday, 31 December 2010

What's company and What's crowd?

There are things in life which usually people do not prefer doing alone....(there are exceptions of course).. like shopping ...watching movies...and so on.

Shopping .... girls take time to shop (generally)...either you have very very limited options as most of them don't fit (always in my case :) )....or you are thin and are spoilt  for choice....(never my case ...sigh)...either way it is a time consuming process...a friend who has sensible opinions makes the journey worthwhile ...while ones with horrid opinions or no opinions are better left at home...for instance if you are trying a hot pink top that will dazzle the shit out of everyone's eyes then you need a friend who will make a puking gesture when you are trying it...not one who will say "you like it?...ok then take it".............

Watching movies is a little trickier.....It depends on the kind of movie..if its a laugh riot then a gang of friends with whom you can just laugh your heart out is desirable..while the poignant movies demand good company or no company....the last thing you want is someone making a stupid comment while you are watching something that is sensible to you.... This year i went to watch 2 movies alone.....One was Bigelow's Hurt Locker and another was KJo's MNIK...the experience actually was not bad ! ... my popcorn kept me engaged and people's conversation provided enough entertainment during the interval.. sample this: a fellow sitting a seat away from me:"arre yaaar mera 7000 rupay gaya IPL  mein"...fellow sitting beside the fellow sitting a seat away from me: "kyu ?" .....fellow1 " mumbai pe lagaya tha na...saala chennai jeet gaya"........ it was a great challenge to keep a straight face and continue eating pop corn !...and if some of you are not as enthusiastic an eavesdropper as I can pass the 5 mins of interval by sms'ing or pretending to do so, while you play the age old snake game on your cell .

 At least I have realized that there is just no point in missing out on good movies only because one  does not have good company..better go don't have to hear your friend's yawn or stupid remarks when all you want to hear are the dialogues!.... :) Sample this: I recently went for a film where a character said "we are going off on a  tangent "....and a lady behind me questioned her friend "ei tangent maane ta ki?"................GRRRRRRRRR

Monday, 27 December 2010

Pockets, Books And Thoughts.

Well fortunately or unfortunately I study in an institution located in college street , Kolkata. The street is also known as the "boi para"..... (can be lousily translated as the book neighbourhood). As a student living unapologetically on my father's money I can't afford to care about the rightful way of buying books (read original copies), I get fake ones at bargain prices and will continue to do so till i have a paycheck to boast about.

In fact i believe reading a pirated copy is a lot of hard work and it only shows how determined and despo one can get to read a book. Sample this a friend once gave me a copy of "Unaccustomed Earth" saying it was unreadable. It did not take me long to find out why. All (and its ALL) the pages were mixed up. You begin one story reach a poignant moment only to find that the next story begins from the following page and the remaining half of the story you were reading exists 20 pages later. Well i read every single story and even numbered the book correctly. (i am impatient with kids but very patient with books and tangled wind chimes) .

But this is not what i wanted to talk about. the point i was trying to make is that i seldom buy books from the "stores" (read Starmark, Oxford and Crossword) because i am short of cash. But i love browsing and at times succumb to temptation. The last few times i went there i bought some Bengali books. The prices were really low and i was very happy because I did not think i could have struck a better bargain even at college street. But yesterday i went to Oxford , Park Street and i bought a few Bengali books but something gnawed behind my head. I saw a copy of "Shesher Kobita" (not published by Bishwabharati but another publication) being sold for Rs.20 and even some other Bengali authors had books selling at really low prices as compared to the English authors. Now I am no financial expert who understands the dynamics of the economy behind books but it just bothers me that a Sidney Sheldon (I am not looking down upon it ...i have read his books) sells for more money than Tagore or any other well-known Bengali author. Even contemporary writers in English sell their books at exorbitant prices. Even the english classics sell for more.

There's a question of demand,  but if it is low then why is it so? I fail to understand the reason why english books should cost a bomb. It is definitely not "greater" literature by any (ANY) means. Is "Shesher Kobita" a "lesser" work than "The Museum of Innocence", by Pamuk , which sells for a price upwards of Rs.500.Is something wrong with us? The way we perceive the world? I have grown up reading Sukumar Ray but i have friends who can swear by Paulo Coelho (hate his books) but who are ignorant of Feluda and Pagla Dashu. I have also fortunately been blessed with friends who are from the opposite pole and enjoy reading vernacular books.

It is not only a Vernacular vs. English divide. Pride and Prejudice and other classics sell for less money than a Jackie Collins. It bothers me, I don't know why. I am in no way the arbitrator of what other people should read and like to read but I feel as a reader I have the right to ask what is the parameter which is considered while fixing the price of a book and is that parameter a just one? Just to the author and the reader.

For instance if no one has a right to determine the price according to quality then there should an element of uniformity, if not exact ,at least the disparity should not be so damn great. A person may want to watch Heyy Baby , while another may wish to see The Social Network, at a multiplex there is no major difference in the pricing of the two movies. I just do not understand the dynamics of the pricing and end up thinking if I am the only lost soul thinking about it, and does it appear normal to everyone else !

Friday, 24 December 2010

Good-Mood-Food: The Cosmic Connection !

My mood is inextricably linked with the contents of my fridge. (I do not need to spell it out, it "shows" )

So lau and kumror torkari means I become sad and gloomy while a welcoming tub of Kwality Walls ice cream or  some good paneer curry can just make my day a tad bit brighter !

So here are my top  comfort food items ( thanks to results, relatives, lousy people in general, I need loads of comforting. A bonus is that food items do not talk so no unnecessary gyaaan !)

1. Dal- Bhaat- Aloo Bhaja: (rice, lentils and fried potatoes) Simple as it sounds any minor flaw in any of these 3 elements can absolutely ruin the experience. The bhaat cannot be gola gola (gluey), the aloo bhaja cannot be soaked in oil or undercooked and the dal has to of the right consistency. Everything right translates into pure bliss.

2. Ice Cream/ Chocolate: If you need a reason then well you need help my dear friend, you do.

3. Maggi:  Is delicious. A plate of perfectly cooked maggi infuses a "self-sufficient-individual" feel in me...okay its for two minutes ..still !!!

4.Dal Makhni: Butter in any form can do nothing but do good to one's mood. Some restaurants serve a liquidy "torka dal" that is hellish and makes me murderously angry but some places do serve up the good old one !

5. Mukhorochok Chanachur: this is Thakurda to "Bapi" which is a fake. I love the tok jhaal one.

6. Pizza: Hungry Kya?.....well I can only answer "Haaan Har Waqt !"

7. An edible home delivery meal: Being the lazy bug that I am I end up eating a lot of home delivery stuff and mostly order Chinese. Well at times what i get can solve all diplomatic problems between India and China, they will get so scared seeing the contents of the packets that they will run for cover. Once i cried the entire time eating my share of veg fried rice, the cook had been too kind with the black pepper. Then once I had a nightmare of dying a painful death caused due to gastronomical disasters because what I ate that night was supposed to be "mushroom" but was a menacing black slimy thing. So when such disasters do not occur and in a rare moment of divine kindness i get edible tasty home delivery food ...I am comforted...very much so !

8 Shingara: The good old bangali mishtir dokaan er shingara can give Monginis and Kathleen a run for their money. Two of them sitting on a plate with my evening cup of tea (with the right amount of sugar) can make or break an evening.

I must state (though it is a well-known fact) that my culinary skills are non-existent however this pseudo-expert tone is what I am extremely proud of , to the greatest irritation of my mother
(yes i criticize every dish !).

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Lets "Shake" things up a bit ...Shall we?

"Othello" being screened in Bangladesh  Othello Korlo Kelo

Sign outside a delivery room in a hospital.  Jubilous Caesar 

A hydrating skin potion. A Midsummer Night's Cream.

A birdie's migratory abode. Temp-nest

Stock Clearance . A Winter's Sale.

A Marwaari businessman paying respect to Steve Jobs. Mac-seth

Sunday, 19 December 2010

How Much Is Your I.Q ??

No need to scream a three digit figure . I am talking about your Impatience Quotient. Mine is pretty high especially about the following.

1. Break-Up/ Patch Up stories that refuse to end. When we ask "what happened" we mean "give me the spicy bit and shorten the sob story"..if that seems too crass then let me explain.... even in case of very (VERY) good friends the trajectory is something like "okay tell me- poor/lucky you- that is really great/sad-- oh there is more ?- okay go on-- God this is never ending".

2. Boring Lectures: If they are good eye-candy then may be one or two can be forgiven. You can just totally look interested without listening a word of it. But even that gets tedious after sometime. Either they dictate  or they learn and recite or say something which is comprehensive only to them. If you are lucky enough to have long hair and earphones then great, otherwise be prepared to suffer.

3. The plateau phase of a relationship: Every diet has this "plateau" phase where you do not lose weight  and everything is at a standstill. Same in a relationship. After a certain point in time there is just nothing to talk about. . and how long can one pretend to be interested in one's- a.timetable b. career c. hobbies d.crazy things. ... the Papri Chaat becomes a tasteless gravy chowmein sooner or later. ( some are great and work for years , but this type also exists ! ).

4. Bollywood Comedy Films: They never make me laugh. I only get a royal headache. Period.

5. Relatives. Self-appointed caretakers of your future/love life/ marriage/ education/career/ daily routine. I miss having a ferocious Doberman when I see the worst samples of this breed of human beings.

The list is endless but these are pretty much the worst of that list.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Lessons Learnt Through Literature.

This is not for you if you are 1. Brilliant 2.Intolerant 3. My Teacher.

1. Never sit to read a theory essay without the OED

2.Mr. T.S. Eliot should have stuck to writing poetry.

3. "Studying Literature" can sometimes be synonymous to taking your favourite pizza under a microscope.... you are not allowed to eat it, only look at it closely analyzing the ingredients, the food group in which those ingredients belong, the country the ingredients originated in and so on.

4. You should more or less read/know/have heard about everything..... and I mean everything.

5. The text is GOD. It can save you when you know nothing ...and again I mean nothing else.

6. Your favourite item does not define the entire buffet. If you have a good starter, the dessert might be a nightmare. For  eg. Don't be excited seeing Jhumpa Lahiri or Rushdie on the stage, Mulk Raj Anand may be laughing hysterically at you, behind the curtain.

7. If you do not understand anything do not call up your friend. If you are lucky they'll tell you they did not understand either , if you are not God's favorite child you will hear an hour long lecture that will confuse you all the more. If she understood better she wouldn't have been your friend ! Get it?

8.  Don't call up any bespectacled-good attendance person 2 days before your exam, your self confidence will be broken, crushed in a grinder, dissolved in a solvent and then finally it will evaporate and cease to exist.

9.  You are still human if you don't like certain poems, Don't go by the "fuck off you animal " look some people give you when you say you hate an author.

10. Do not write blogs 3 days before your exam like I am doing. Go and study.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Sunday Ho Ya Monday..Roz Khao Anday

I have been  a vegetarian for the past few years .... But I am not a vegan I am a lacto-occassionaly-ovo vegetarian... I eat my share of cakes and pastries ("eat" is such a polite understatement...such a civilized substitute for ...uhhhhm..."hog" ")....... but this post is not to endorse eggs ..its just some harmless rambling about them....

interestingly I particularly avoid dishes where the egg is very visible as an "egg".. like an omlette , a poach and my dad's favorite dim shedhho...okay my feelings for dim shedhho or boiled egg..needs a little elaboration here... I mean ya its nutritious , ya its filling, but it smells awful, I can understand that very kind mothers earnestly want their sons and daughters to grow up tall and strong so that they can epang opang jhopang through life BUT they can feed them boiled eggs at home !!!!!!!!!!!! Why torcher other souls by stuffing that awful boiled egg in their kid's tiffin box?...... and some moms even unleash all their motherly love by placing a shondesh (a sweet dish) right beside the wholesome (read bad smelling, yucky looking) food indeed......!

Coming back   to what I eat.(its my post remember !) so food stuff, where the egg is invisible...uhhmmm those dishes are absolutely irresistible ..pastries, cake , pudding...[when I eat these I try to convince myself by my jethu's argument- these eggs have not been fertilized by the morog (cock..u c) so technically no chick in the egg, so they are vegetarian eggs...] ..oh and by the way, an advice for people cooking cakes or puddings for the first time....go easy on the eggs...friends can be polite about too much salt but too many eggs just hits you on the nose...too yucky for you to actually even think of being polite!

I remember as a child I had this great craft book which was like a Disneyland on paper for me....I would take great trips....dream about making the incredible stuff , try them, spoil and waste  a lot of it and object was this gigantic tree with painted egg shells on the branches, I thought of trying that and to the immense relief of my mother I just thought...........

Then there is the old take an empty shell put those eye dropper things on top (which actually looks like a penguin head)  and paint the shell black and white ..voila ! there's a penguin...I was successful in creating it !!woo -hoo! (yaah that's  BIG for me because when I draw something I need to label it for the world to understand)...

There's something about those catch phrases of advertisements that you remember after ages....thus it is with "sunday ho yaa monday roz khao anday" ...... haha and well may be I'll do a post on ad jingles, since for an entire month I was humming "doodh doodh doodh doodh"..sigh ! the age of innocence...(still love it  !) ...imagine singing that in college !

Well as for endorsing eggs , nothing did a better job than that Govinda and Sanjay Dutt song..."aao sikhau tumhe ande ka funda"........a whole song dedicated to Bollywood is truly unbelievable !

Talking of eggs how can I not name my favourite detective in the whole universe, the little egg-headed Belgian Mr. if his little gray cells were not enough to charm me ....his short height and the egg head made him all the more adorable .........

Bye for now.....more useless ramblings to follow !

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

A Few Films , Which I Saw In The Theaters And Then Felt like Murdering Myself-2

4. Inception: This might raise a few eyebrows (for the first time i don't regret the fact that very few people read my blog). The first response that this elicits is that i have not understood the "complex" movie, well, trust me i have ! I had previously blogged about it but that was more of an outlet for the extreme levels of annoyance that i experienced immediately after watching the film.

I think now i am at a better position to explain why i did not like it. Reason 1. Flimsy Plot: Leo knows how to plant ideas in dreams, tries it on his wife, screws her up, she dies. Goes on trying it on every one else, gets screwed up himself, lastly tries it on one guy, takes help and well they succeed. Yes there have been films which have had thinner plot lines, sillier concepts ( example: all the rom-com's), but they never pretended to be anything else. 2. simplified execution: everything was  simplified to the bare minimum. To show leo's levels of subconscious, they showed an elevator scene, how much more explicit can you get? They did try a great deal to impress with all the time travel, which was gripping in the beginning but in the last few minutes of the film, with three incidents happening at 3 levels , i was yawning, not out of confusion but out of boredom. 3.overdoing the dream and "subconscious" thing: I mean for someone who has not seen any movies related to this concept , this might seem like a great idea, but the truth is better films have been made on this subject. Altering dreams was a part of Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, but there this was a concept used in the plot, it was not the plot. Here the novelty of the "idea" dies fast, its a bore-athon for the remaining part of it.
what however saves it , is the brilliant cinematography, the visuals when Leo and the Ellen take a walk, and he is explaining stuff to her, is breathtaking........

I think the biggest thing that worked in its favour was a bad first lot of audience...they had never seen anything similar to it......the time travel, cinematography overwhelmed them, they praised the movie to the sky and then the reviewers gave a lukewarm response (at least the reviewers i read and consider level headed- A.O Scott, Rajeev Masand) and well the rest like me , followed the herd to find out what's happening? why such a loud buzz about it??? sorry folks...i was seriously disappointed!

5. Autograph: For Inception I felt bad that i ignored Masand's and Scott's implicit advice, but for this i do not have any cause to blame myself. Another Rituparno Ghosh wannabe movie that just failed to make a mark. Great songs...i mean GREAT songs but terrible movie. Nandana looked caked with make up. The romance between the couple looked so forced that i thought they were real life siblings forced to act in a romantic role. The movie within a movie device , so beautifully employed in Abohoman , was ridiculously employed here. The change in Indraneel's character was just weirdly abrupt !...and Prosenjit overacted in the first half ......especially during his first encounter with the wannabe director in his flat. The actors looked ill at ease on-screen. Plot could have been executed better in a less "wannabe-aaantel" or "o-i'm-so-intellectual" way.

Very little was real about the film despite the efforts to keep it so. i mean Nandana leaves the house at night then goes alone to that highway dhaba to pay the little boy, and the whole going-for-dinner-every-night thing was irritating, no sane girlfriend would do that and no boyfriend would tolerate that ... (okay this is a personal opinion). It was a total headache generator all the way...i expected a mature performance from Prosenjit (like in Dosor)...but again was disappointed. The ending was  irritatingly cliche, with Nandana going to a hill station to teach (like Kareena in Jab We Met).....there would be no unemployment in West Bengal if getting such a job would be that easy (did the director wonder what the GJM is revolting about in Darjeeling??? ).....and why is teaching the most depressing alternative to a screwed up life??? well lets face it...not all teachers are frustrated souls (some are for sure !)............and i was totally taken aback by Mr. Barun Chanda's review in t2... he found Abohoman difficult to understand , which i definitely did not ( may be Shob Choritro was a little too much of a poetry to digest but certainly not Abohoman), and he pointed out several flaws in Autograph but not the fact that it was a hacked up effort of employing the devices of movie within a movie....flashback scenes etc......... neways....

That's the end of my's praying i do not waste my dad's money watching any stupid film the next year!!

Friday, 3 December 2010

A Few Films , Which I Saw In The Theaters And Then Felt like Murdering Myself

Posting about them on Facebook would be a way to get some instant reaction but this time I want to avoid that so I have taken refuge in my little-read blog. Many of these movies have been "loved" by people who will leave no stones unturned to murder me in cyber space, if they hear I have hated these movies.

 A Warning -  These views are far from those highly intellectual criticisms by some people , who having watched a few Kurosawa's and Goddard's  think themselves to be amateur film makers or critics without whose expert opinions no one should venture to make or watch a film. These are the random thoughts of a person who has bought the tickets and the popcorn with her own (okay her father's !) money , and is entitled to her own biased opinions !

1. Anuranan : I was blissfully having a good laugh at the Shopper's Stop at Forum when my friend reminded me that we had tickets for this film. So I reached Inox (a few minutes late as usual) , and the first scene that awaited me was Rahul Bose feeding a reluctant Rituparna "daal bhaat" from a spoon addressing her very fondly as "NONI"..... well i don't know if this scene fills a normal human heart with lots of tender emotions, all i could feel was my brain trying to suppress my mouth from puking bile. This scene pretty much set the tone for the rest of the movie. I am all for Woman- Power but if any word could describe the performance of the two women , in my mind, the word is "nyaka". On the other hand Rahul Bose and Rajat Kapoor were fairly normal. Rituparna's  melodramatic sadness was irritating as was the million "shona" 's slipped into each sentence they uttered. I almost  sank into my seat out of boredom when Rahul and Raima sat in the mountains admiring the moon or the mountain or whatever! then suddenly there was this loud bang and I sat up straight thinking Inox will collapse , only to realise that Rahul Bose had died (didn't come as a surprise as I almost thought I died at that moment with the noise). I asked my friend if he was suffering from any terminal illness, thinking that perhaps I had missed a dialogue but was a sudden death. FINE! The movie dragged on as usual. The cherry on this cake of delicious boredom was a scene towards the end where Raima is in the hospital (recovering or dying I neither remember nor care about). Rituparna goes to visit her and all Raima can tell her is that she couldn't fly like a bird, the way she wanted to . Okay, my translation has killed it so I will explain. .. Raima was a soul trapped in a loveless marriage with a businessman. She was tied to this boring humdrum while her soul wanted to fly, she had even told her husband once that she sometimes thought of flying (to which Rajat replied "Try kore dekhte paro" me the only LOL moment of the movie), ultimately she is unsuccessful in having her flight of escape and that's what she is trying to say. Very artistic, very poignant, but  .Exactly how magnanimous was Rituparna.....??? I mean if I was in her place I would go   " FLY? MAY YOU DIE AND GO TO HELL, my husband went on a trip with you alone and he died. 24 hrs with you equals death , you rotten woman! "... but then may be that is the difference... i always have a heart of stone in comparison to the director who seems blessed with one made of sponge ....that can soak up tears in gallons. I remember me yawning, smiling and lashing out at the film with my friend as we prepared to walk out in the end and suddenly there was this sniffing noise , both of us looked around and saw an elderly woman crying and glaring at us. I asked the lord to bless her as I walked out ...........

2. Kidnap : did not want to watch it, but did not have enough resistance to withstand an old cherished school pal's fancy about Mr. Imran Khan. So well braced myself and went in. The movie began and....... that was it.  Almost all the reviews have said what's wrong with it. The mother looked younger than the daughter. The hide-and-seek game between Imran and Sanjay just refused to end. And Minisha in a bikini is what horror stories are made up of ! Enough said . But no one liked this movie so it was exclusively my fault !

3. Wake Up Sid: Cynical and misanthropic that I am, I do enjoy Rom -Com's. I can cry buckets watching When Harry Met Sally, Notting Hill, or the SRK movies  . Konkona is a good actress, Ranbir looked promising, so what could possibly go wrong with this one ? No answer, so just headed for the theater.
It began at an okay pace, and then Sid flunked, and then he went out of the house and and then he woke up .......just that I forgot how many times he woke up throughout the movie. Konkona's voice seemed whiny and it just shook my nerves. The "realism" of the film was touching , to say the least. I mean really which son leaves his house without his camera that perhaps costs a few thousand bucks? Getting a job seemed like a cakewalk! Seriously all bosses look like Rahul Khanna and they invite you to listen to Jazz. With a few months salary you can totally buy a flat and then even have money leftover to waste the costly Asian Paints tubs, by spraying paint on your walls randomly. Then you can do up your house with a green ugly chair and loads of ugly tuni bulbs and manage to get complimented for that. If these things happen all around me, then sorry I have missed it totally ! In the end with all the boiled and poached eggs, mangoes etc, I really got confused, in the end I did not know who was wearing whose kurta and running for whom. I talked such a lot during the movie, that the sad looking girl beside me scolded me . Thank God it ended ! On a serious note, no romcom's are expected to be realistic and candy-floss romantic movies do not expose the gritty realities of life....but then they do not pretend do so either ! Here was a movie which promised something and did not deliver and bored me instead. It is well-shot and good time pass. I still watch it when it airs on TV but not the whole film, NEVER the whole film. Don't have that much patience !

.....................................will be continued in my next post.