15 from 15

My biggest resolution for ’16 is to be positive. I hurt my finger 3 days back and I took a positive step by not panicking at the sight of blood and positively put a band-aid on it from a box that had a big “+” symbol on it. So much positivity is happening! Jokes apart, I am serious about being “+”. I cannot guarantee how long I will stick to this but this is how I have interpreted my retrospects for now-  a list of all my lowlights and highlights from 2015:

1. I wasted a lot of time.
A LOT! Wasted time on stupid things on internet, on incomplete projects and on useless gossip. Lesson learnt. I should have at least written sriramajayam all this time for punyam.
Anyways, I did come across some nice magazines like outofprintmagazine and good blogs like madrasink, padmum and mrigankwarrier. Please suggest good sites that you have come across{Bhagawan ke naam pe}.

2. I was open to failures and criticism.
Failure in my life is like that one FB friend whom you try to avoid deliberately but he catches you however and ruins your mood with nasty talk. And criticism is just the elder brother of failure. It’s hard to escape from these tragic bros and it is necessary to tackle them with wit and patience. In relation to this, some reality check happened this year and I have accepted that it is for my own good.

3. Cleaned my friends list.
I still have 500+ friends in my fb list for the record. But that is not the measure you want. Real friends are those people who “like” you for what you are and help you better yourself instead of picking on your shortcomings and bitching about it. I realized I’ve few such friends and I’ve been a true friend to just some few.

Free advice: Distancing from negative thoughts and gossip will save you from lot of nonsense and gives you mental peace.

4.Traveled.
Or should I say that I took good vacation? I’d been to many new places including a new continent! I had bad experiences with some flights and better experiences with ground transportation but the best experience was to chill with the group I traveled.

5. Pushed my comfort levels.
I am not a sucker for thrills. My biggest thrill is to go to the top of a green mountain (by road, of course) and drink coffee while looking at the clouds on the same level. I had this thrill couple of times already. So this year, I snorkeled (YAY!) and zip-lined through a rain forest. You people who did scuba diving and sky diving- please don’t mock!

6. Cooked, baked and ate all of it.
What else would a foodie like me say? I took a shot at cooking a lot of recipes from yummly and numerous cooking blogs that I follow. Some of them like lasagna bombed like crazy but hey- some like veg pizza were near to pro. Once you get a hang of cooking, it also relieves stress. This strictly applies to cooking and not cleaning the aftermath!

7.Tried new things.
I tried new color on my hair, did eye makeup all by myself and also baking.

8.Became health and weight conscious
I was always cautious about my health but this year I took it to the next level with next thing- my weight. Hoping to see results in 2016 or 2017 or 2032. Or may be sometime before I die.

source: 4.bp.blogspot.com

9. Made a stranger smile.

10. Got inspired.
This is not new to me because I’ve a new list every year. My list this year has one colleague who is our entire team combined into one and one fb friend who took up a challenge in 2015 and finished it. However in my case, this feeling generally has the lifetime of a cheese stick on my plate(approx 4 sec). I’ve decided to do better next year.

11. Read zero books.
Not that I am one person who reads everything that Crossword sells but I do read books. Especially when friends like Ro recommend. This year, I read ZERO. Discounting the book that airplanes have in their seat pouch with the safety card.

12. Sang something that I learnt when I was in high school and pulled it off.
Can this be something that I can be really proud of? Please please.

13. Netflix/Hulu and chill.
Imagine a kid who lives on dal and curd rice. Send him to a lavish buffet that has a nominal fee and spread from across the world. Not that the kid has never been to a multi cuisine restaurant before but don’t you get the point already? No torrents, HD Video and no pain of searching internet.
PS: Please note that the dal and curd rice are still my staple food. Masala is okay too as long as it is not unhealthy. Cannot eat stale food however.

OMG! I’m full of analogies today😀

PPS: I followed “How I met your mother” back then for some time(but not for long). Now I wish Ted never met kids’ mother at all. ‘Kuch kuch hota hai‘ has a better storyline FYI.

14. Met a close friend and laughed to my heart’s content.
Kd, the fire star. Someone who has her name written in RED on (almost)every page of my college life. Cheers to 10 years of awesomeness and all that! There is one more that I haven’t met recently, but all in good time!

15. Spent quality time writing in Telugu.
I wrote several articles in Telugu (most of them are lying as drafts in my gmail). I read them every now and then and edit them hoping to publish but I honestly have no idea what I want. Everything either seems preachy or pointless. I am critical of myself.

If you’re still with me – I conclude this with a hope to have a positive 16th point next year. Here’s wishing everyone a very healthy and prosperous new year.

Rant alert!

As I type this, I am listening to ARR’s Mental Madhilo from OK Bangaram and I don’t know if I like it or dislike it. I know I am inviting trouble but the magic of ARR(and Ilayaraja) seems to have faded in recent times. Let’s talk about “I”. No, it’s alright. Let’s get back to the topic. I respect ARR and IR’s respect to their professional integrity by reusing their own compositions but it has become a tiring exercise to start enjoying and stop thinking about their old songs which new ones are reminding of. For example, all those who thought that mental madhilo is brand new and has no slightest tinge of ARR’s other songs can raise your hands now. (Kamal- you can lower your hand because you do not count).

Not just that, the visuals of OK Bangaram have a striking resemblance to Sakhi and Yuva. A guy who is not into commitments and a pretty girl with curly hair who tries to talk him into marriage plus maniratnam -what strikes you if not Yuva? You can say that any scene on the Chennai local train need not be that of Sakhi‘s but sorry, romance on the local trains with hero and heroine on opposite ones does not remind of anything else. The same genius of ManiRatnam created that magic which has not still faded away. On a separate note, dear unmarried ladies, do not expect that you would spot Madhavan(s) when you footboard Chennai trains. Try looking elsewhere or at least settle with the name like I did.

The plight of Telugu movies is better not talked about because the way it is being ridiculed nowadays (by our own people) is sad. Twitter is a fresh break from facebook’s nonsense and it is where I learnt how much Tollywood is picked on. To my dismay, not all of the twitterage is nonsense. First they called our film industry nepotistic because all the active heroes we have are from the families who are being here from Indus valley civilization and never left ever since. How true because there is no stopping of heroes coming from those families. Acting skills are no longer a requirement to act in movies. We do have a few good actors who are either reluctant to experiment or falling for the urgency to make as many movies as possible to stay in light. Such movies are lacking good scripts.

Coming to scripts, I read an interesting comparison about them- that they are much like a white elephant with wings. No, not precious or something, such things don’t exist. I realized that two things which are common to every Telugu cinema these days are 1)basic outline of one hero, 1 or more heroines falling for him without even a second thought about why they should, family drama with extended members and 2)Brahmanandam. Point 2 reminds me of comedy. This was one aspect which was okay until recent times but it has started degrading too. The dialogues and comedy used to be catchy once upon a time but the increasing importance to so called “punch dialogues” has ruined the total thing. The unnecessary importance to make catchy one liners is interfering with the pace of the story. As an example, how many of you do not think Trivikram is losing it and is a better dialogue writer than a director?

Then some people said whatever innovation our directors have done are copied from Hollywood. They also said instead of spending on twitter, film makers should spend time on Youtube and learn not to copy the ideas so blatantly. I did not watch many Hollywood movies but I can vouch for two facts- Julai has a scene directly lifted from Dark Knight. Manmadhudu is not even close to “What Women Want” even though both Nagarjuna and Mel Gibbson used lipstick on their eyes. I mean there are some honest thoughts which are getting lost in this generalization and the others are just giving us a facepalm followed by a slap for watching.

Few people said we need scripts like Raghuvaran Btech because it is innovative. I was looking for the so called innovation but I slept through the movie ( well almost). There was NONE. Also, I ended up spending that night thinking about which last dubbed movie had a plot in which nobody died. May be it is a kind of sentiment there like our obsession with an “item song”.

These days I wonder if the films are getting bad or we have become so critical that we want everything to be super fresh and flawless (Is it too much of a requirement or is it okay asking because we are spending some time and money on movies? I don’t know). Please do not say that viewers do not have right to complain because they don’t know the ABC of film making. Film makers also seem to have forgotten the ABC and hence there is no good movie that we want to watch again when it is on TV on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Or a movie which we don’t mind watching in the theaters for a second time. Or the one we want to recommend to a friend. Or the one which is going to win some recognition.

I know liking/disliking is a personal choice and cannot be generalized. But there is a concept of majority that determines the success/failure of a film in its all dimensions like above. I also think the decade before this and even before, we saw some such movies. What do you think will their fate be had they been made today? What would happen if a film like Geethanjali is released today? Will it be a box office hit? Will our so called film critics say it is a master piece and give it a good rating? Will the twitterage accept the film or just say the film should have been a trailer for Apollo hospitals or Ooty tourist development corporation?

</rant>

Why I don’t blog often and other things

Thanks for asking. I never really thought someone will miss me blogging. As I rub the happy tears off my eyes, I get to touch the tiny brat- a pimple on my left cheek which I can hear saying ” I’ll leave one day but with a mark that I was here”. Let me tell you one thing. I have survived Hyderabad roads for 7-8 years of my prime adolescence and my face was pretty much clear at that time (whether I looked pretty or not is another question- I am not going to answer that). Don’t know why USA is so spiteful, I am always spotted with one or more beauty spots and my face has more oil than Digboi oil wells. Whenever I complain about this I just get one answer-

 ” You’re married kade. Marriage does that to you”.

There I said it for the first time on my blog- I’m married. Yes, almost for an year now. But this is not why I don’t find time to write. There is lot more to it. A tremendous change in my life occurred which is the only good thing I did after a lot of planning and research. I started counting calories and also cardio of beginner level. With only hope of losing those extra pounds that I gained after moving here. Note the drama in previous sentence and guess what happened? Exactly! I gained few more and now have reached a round figure (both literally and otherwise) to work out.

Again, the only answer I get when I whine about this is

“You’re married kade. Marriage does that to you”.

desigifs.com

I am one of those people who like to travel. Please don’t mistake to me an avid traveler who always has a back pack ready because travel in my dictionary has a different meaning. I don’t really mind going to a local place that is not picturesque or calling-for-DSLR and I would still call it travel. My only condition is that I have to to enjoy the trip. The tedious travel from my house in Hyderabad to the office location which happened to be a whole different planet from the city taught me this.

Last year has been wonderful that way- I got to tick off many places that I have on my must visit list. Kashmir to start with. I used to dream of visiting Kashmir ever since Roja. When I actually saw its snow-capped mountains and valleys with my eyes ,I felt cameras are useless. Kashmir is divine and nothing less. I wanted to write a detailed travel blog with when-what-how-where about Kashmir and never found time.

We also went to Hawaii (Kauai) and saw the most famous Jurassic park water falls with several other attractions. With legs that have the history of Vizag steel plant, a trip cannot be simple and hence the next things happened. Hawaii islands were issued flood alert on one Monday and we landed there on that Monday morning. We planned to stay there till Thursday and so said the warning about the floods. But thankfully, we covered every place on the island with some smart planning and we also did some shopping! It was one experience which definitely has to go in this blog but as you must have got it- I have the topics, but no time!

By no time I mean not even in weekends. All I get to do in weekends (if I am not traveling or visiting friends) is pressing clothes, groceries, experimental cooking and sleeping without the sense of time. Yeah, I know what you’ll say.

“You’re married kade. Marriage does that to you.”

Another topic I had in mind was that of those annoying people who try to wax eloquent of “Arranged marriage”. I believe in marriages and really do not care whether it is love/arranged. I also believe (and would like to continue believing) I got whom I wanted and that sums up to a perfect marriage. My only little peeve is that he cannot immediately get the Telugu movie references I make in every sentence (KD , I miss you!) . Well I cannot really blame him because I am weird that way. I have the history of encouraging Tollywood without any bias- be it Vinod kumar’s or Mahesh babu’s I will watch it (Just kidding, I never touched this guy’s movies).

tupaki.com

Jokes apart, My husband really is a good keeper. We are a happy couple. So are my 30 other friends who had an arranged marriage. And 100 other couples I know. There must be several thousands of such happy people. There is no golden rule about marriages and in fact any relationship. If you don’t try to save it, you’ll lose it. Well, if you want to argue that people who had arranged marriage won’t try please donate your organs to Osmania and suicide. I wanted to write it a detailed blog post to vex  out this frustration but an inner voice this time said

“You’re married kade. Now you know it. They will learn it themselves.”

That’s it for now. One blog post to sum up my life- relationship status, location, weekend plans and latest peeves.

You may ask “why this hurry?”. I have an answer ready-

“I’m married kada!”

Now watching: Seetharammaya gari Manavaralu

Not too long ago, in 90’s, Telugu cinema did not follow the golden rule of having a famous hero, a fight to showcase his strength, a song that follows in which he preaches how to deal with the world’s evils with peace and mosquitoes without a “Hit” bottle, a heroine with some honor that he can save in fights and loot in songs. I know and I admit that the roots of hero worship date back to 90’s and before but I certainly do not see any warmth in that worship now.

source: wiki

Seetharamayya gari manavaralu translates to “The granddaughter of Seetharammayya”. As the title says, it is the story of a girl and her grandfather. An honorable old man who sticks to his roots in every part of this life – right from the house he lives in to when to bring his daughter home for her delivery. His only son(Vasu) marries a girl against his wish and much to Vasu’s despair, Seetharamayya stops talking to him though he accepts his marriage. Vasu who is unable to take his father’s rage escapes to the US and waits to unite with him. Enters Seetha- daughter of Vasu and his wife from the US to attend a cousin’s wedding and she never goes back to her father. Why she never goes back and what happens in the extended family forms the story.

The terms like “love”, “father’s rage”, “US return”, “extended family”, “aunts” are enough to make a film with half of Dilsukhnagar’s population and call it a family entertainer to pull crowds. For instance, you can imagine one song in the US to show Seetha’s lavish life and what she is forgoing in her journey to India. There are two young men in the story who are prospective grooms for her. That gives scope for a romance track in which they can touch her and pinch her so that she falls in love. There is an old man in the story who is not fond of Seetharamayya. Strong enough reason for a big fight scene in which the village carts can be in the air for some time.

SRGM is fortunately different and is lovable for the following reasons:

  • Seetha is back to India not just to attend the wedding but for good. She has the herculean task of conveying to her grandparents that her parents are dead when they are all eyes waiting for their son’s return. Meena as Seetha is lovable and has pulled off the role very easily. Most Telugu films live on the concept “read-my-diary-know-my-story”. I think SRGM is the one which started it.

    source: youtube

  • Rohini Hattangadi, as I know now, is a Marathi theatre artist. But as a child, I refused to believe that she is NOT a Telugu and not the wife of ANR. Call it my stupidity or her awesomeness, I cannot imagine SRGM without a grandmother as perfect as her. That grandmother whose eyes turn wet when she sees her son’s family photo and she calls it the “best gift” anybody gave her. That grandmother who is proud of Seetha when everyone admires her. That grandmother who is sad that a married Seetha would leave their house someday just as her son. That grandmother who is elated when Seetha pledges never to leave her. All praises to the director for perfectly showing her affection without unnecessary melodrama.

    source: youtube

  • An audience would loathe Seetharamayya for sending away the couple (indirectly) in the beginning but as the film progresses, it is revealed that he is one person who values the relationship with his son more than his ego. That moment in which he tells Rohini that he himself had written a letter to Vasu to come down is my second favorite here. The first one is when he recites Keats poetry as Seetha watches him with awe. The thoughtful grandfather always kept hoping his son would come back to him with kids and he learns English for their sake!

    source: youtube

  •  Enough and not many characters which have some connection to the story. They are prominent and help in building the characters of the main three. There are several scenes which are tear jerkers and they are genuine. You cry because you relate to it and not because the scene is not over yet!
  •  Most of the film has been shot on the banks of Godavari (from the dialogues) and Krishna (I heard so). There are beautiful shots of sunsets and green fields with canals and it is not an exaggeration to say that the spirit of a village has been perfectly captured. This frame in the end with the message is my all-time favorite.

SRGM to Telugu Cinema is what Saaransh is to Hindi cinema. Intense play of emotions and can be a heavy dose if you are watching it after a heavy Sunday lunch. I wish it was fast and short but I also think such a film should not be altered. Because every frame of it is honest and is a toil to reach out to the audience without any compromise on the values.

Yours truly, Avakaya

I know you’re smiling at the title. I also know that you’re drooling at the mention of my name. Such unconditional love makes me all emotional sometimes but I wouldn’t shed happy tears to not spoil the taste for you. Instead I will simply continue to please your senses and enjoy this bliss like a king.

Mixing of the spices with mangoes.

Mixing of the spices with mangoes.

You are the one who gave birth to me. You picked the choicest mangoes from town, cut them as diamonds and mixed them with spices in measures. Thus I was born. You gave me a new home in those tall porcelain jars and I moved in to your house. Or your kitchen to be precise. Our relationship this way has been continuing for centuries together.

Jaadi (porcelain jars) for storing pickles.

Jaadi (porcelain jars) for storing pickles.

I sometimes wonder if I can cater adequately to your spice lusts but your pleased faces and happy tummies fuel me. Best of all is that each of you love me in your own way. Let me explain how.

  • A typical grandma loves to mix me with hot rice and add ghee. She lovingly serves it to the kids leaving them clueless wondering whether the taste is because of the hand that is serving or the food in the plate.
  • A young lad loves to have me with dosa/idli/puri because I am the safest and next tastiest resort when there is no chutney at home.
  • A smart mom loves to cajole her kids into eating greens and lentils with a pinch of me on the side of the plate.
  • A lazy bachelor loves to have me with rice or maggi without having to cook other sides.
  • Believe it or not, I am also taken with pizzas and pastas sometimes thus adding the Indian touch to Italian pride. You may want to talk to the owner of this blog to find out more.

Your love for me is not limited to the four dining room walls. You proudly share it to relatives and friends and also take a taste of their handmades. You send me across seas to serve your progenies and I am proud to say that there is no NRI suitcase which doesn’t include me packed and sealed.

I sit in the plane and go whee! source: colourbox.com

Not to forget, you have given me a cult status in your gult movie by saying- “Amma, Avakay, Anjali eppudu bore kottavu. ” I cannot tell you how much it means to me. It is this admiration which keeps me going though I’m (in) a pickle!

I thus speak on behalf of all my cousins – maagaya, thokku avakaya, bellam avakaya, dosa avakaya and usiri avakaya- Thank you!

See you in your next meal.

Of Solitude

Solitude, according to wordweb, is a state of social isolation. What my little brain tells me of this is – To be solitary, one has to log off FB/Twitter accounts, look for a place where there is no second person and should indulge in something for self.  This ideally should mean that solitude is a state of body and not of soul. Right? Wrong!

Physically being away from people is not exactly solitude. Possibly it just means that one is lonely.  And such lonely thinkers are very much prone to ugly thoughts which have the knack of opening a gift present packed with “depression” without their knowledge.

Some examples:

  • Unreasonable questions:

aavu goda meedaki ekki akkada peda ela vesindantav?

Pic says it all.  The moment such a question strikes is the moment in which you’ve stepped on a landmine. Congratulations, until you know the answer you cannot budge.

  •  Spooks that can scare the hell out of you.

source: clipartpal.com

I don’t generally believe in ghosts  but when I’m alone or it is dark outside, I do.

My honest advice is to master at least one religious prayer based on your trusts. Or if it is beyond you, you may  want to ponder mythologies or myths in them. For example, what ornaments Sita must have been wearing during their exile for her to throw them down to ground?

  •  Why relationships can be disastrous some times

The most useless discussions one can have with self are about relationships.  And quite dangerous too. Because they affect the self-esteem of the thinker. When alone, some people become extremely critical about their partners and eventually end up reaching the summit of self-love. Some others keep blaming themselves for being bad judges and bad decision makers thus belittling and hating themselves.

  • “What-if”

The dreadful question that is proven to have ruined happiness of several curious-but-not-risk-taking souls. Wondering what is on the road not taken is not probably wrong. But assuming it is ALWAYS brighter will only ruin the peace of mind. And will certainly make the current place seem dark.

  • How to change the world.

With due respects to all the people who really brought some change to the world after solitary contemplations, I feel it is very likely for one to get lost in this thought process. One of the reasons for this could be:

IMO, this kind of  isolation does more bad than good to anyone.  The best way to enjoy solitude is to keep the negative thoughts away and have at least one of your senses engaged. Touch the bed, sleep in the bliss. Eat your favorite item, devour the blissful taste. Listen to your favorite music, enjoy the blissful tunes. Read a good book or go visit a nice place, look out for the bliss in them. Smell the rain,  smell the aroma of filter coffee in your hand and enjoy your solitude- it’s a bliss!

A labour ward

source: guardian.co.uk.

(Wholly inspired by a friend’s article)

“Aren’t you excited?” Deepthi asked me as I was putting on the white coat with no much interest on my face. Genuinely I was not excited. I was plain scared. I know it is a miracle that a living being is born, fed and safely guarded inside the mother’s flesh for  nine months and it is this miracle that keeps the generations alive. But the delivery of her baby is definitely the most traumatic test a lady can ever take.

The OBG(Obstetrics and Gynecology) posting for the year started that day and I had to observe deliveries as part of my learning. Deepthi’s enthusiasm made me feel like a sissy and I entered into the much dreaded labor room with my hand clutching hers. The doctor was gently patting on the patient’s legs and yelling at the top of her voice to push the baby out. The patient was a young woman probably in her late twenties and was writhing in pain with loud screams. The screams and yells started roaring in my ears and at a point I felt my heart beat was much louder than them.

“Look the baby is coming out!” One of our classmates noticed it first. The doctor’s face lit up at its sight and she told us that it is called the crowning of the head. Each of us was asked to come forward and take a glimpse of the miracle. Deepthi finished her turn and took my hand in hers. I leaned forward deciding that I would just peek. I saw a small blood covered head that was struggling to come out. Suddenly I felt the whole room was turning upside down and I realized it was nausea.

“Take a deep breath. Relax and try again.” Deepthi whispered in my ears and I followed her. I leaned again and one of our classmates pulled me back. The last words I could hear were “Take her out of this room.” I was taken to the rest room where I threw up in the sink at every recall of the little head. Tears gushed out from my eyes and I started wailing.

“Hey, its alright. You’d be okay. You’d be a good doctor.” Deepthi comforted me with her hands on my shoulder.

I firmly decided that I wanted to be a good doctor so I pledged to myself that I wouldn’t panic again. We went back to the labor room and saw that it was not yet complete. I did not blink my eyes and whatever I saw left all weird thoughts in my mind. “Isn’t it human to pass a law that child births should be banned and adoptions be encouraged? If this how a baby is brought to this earth, how can one even think of hurting/assaulting it? Those who do infanticide should be made to deliver ten females as the penalty. How do some women deliver twins and triplets when it is so difficult to get one come out? How and Why did God get the size proportions so wrong? The baby is never going to come out. ”

The baby was almost pulled out or rather pushed out and the jubilant look on the doctor’s face confirmed that whatever has happened was not a conspiracy against woman kind. She cut the placenta and handed over the baby to one of the attendants who took it away to some other room.  Soon we dispersed from the labor ward and I called up my mom to tell her that I had successfully survived watching an obstetrical delivery for the first time.

“How was it?”

“I still cannot believe that I did not get a syncope.”

“(Chuckles) Do you remember that your grandmother bore thirteen children that way?” she reminded.

“We should build a temple in her name.” I said and I meant that. I heard my mother laugh aloud and I suddenly felt I was missing her at that moment.

“Mumma..I love you.”  I said wholeheartedly.

She smiled again and said “Love you too.” I hung up and brushed aside the tear that rolled down on my cheek.