Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Movies, movies

What's a vacation without watching movies? Past five weeks, I caught up on a whole bunch of them, mostly on the plane, a few on the big screen and absolutely nothing on TV/DVD. Among all kinds of blog posts, writing about movies is probably the no-brainer-iest of the lot, and probably the most perfect topic to write about on a jet-lagged Wednesday evening.

Mozhi - I simply loved this movie. True, the end dragged a bit, but barring that, this movie was wholesome entertainment and fun. Everything was so naturally done that I felt like I was a part of the cast too. Swarna Malya could do with losing a bit of weight though. Even Jyothika looked kind of thin beside her (now that's something!)

Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna - I saw this on the plane (seriously, if hadn't watched it for free on a boring 14 hour flight, some 10,000 feet up in the air, I don't think I would have ever watched the movie). SRK and Rani Mukherjee play the two most annoying and boring people I have ever had the misfortune to meet either in reel or real life. While the story line itself sucked (ditch your marriage if you find someone else who you think *might* be your true soul-mate), the fact that SRK's and Rani's characters had actually found anyone at all to marry them initially had me stumped.

Deepavali - For a movie in which the lead characters are named Billu and Susi (and neither of whom are, like the names would have lead you to expect, dogs), this one could have turned out a whole lot worse. As it was, likeable characters, hummable music (except for the hair-pull-inducing Pogadhe song - music directors insisting on using their own horrible voices for singing songs should be made into a jailable offence) and a casual attitude made this movie just about watchable.

Khosla ka Ghosla - Nothing very remarkable. Nevertheless, it is a cute and tidy movie - can be watched once!

Corporate - Madhur Bhandarkar's movies are nowadays cast into a rather predictable mould. Nevertheless, this movie was still a decent watch in its own right. I thought Bipasha Basu did a rather decent job of portraying a high-flying business women. This is a general question: if a woman is doing well in her professional life, does it automatically imply that she is a little unsound morally in her personal life? At least that's the image that is usually painted by our desi movie-makers - wonder why!

Pachchai Kili Muthu Charam - This movie made for a gripping watch till sometime past the intermission. Then it all came unwound. Lots of dishoom dishoom where the hero (a middle class salesman) vanquishes about a hundred men single-handedly to emerge the victor turned it into a routine, logicless, mindless, time-wasting movie.

Night Time at the Museum - I think the producers got so carried away by the concept that they forgot to write a story. I remember watching trailers for this movie last year. That time I mentally noted that I should watch the final version. Too bad that the hundred minute movie did not have much more to offer than what the five minute trailer did!

Imsai Arasan 23-am Pulikesi - Who would have thought I could actually watch a full length movie featuring the loud Vadivelu? But wonder of wonders, I did and what's more, I enjoyed it! A big pat on the back to the director for also making use of a tale set in the days of yore to refer to some very much relevant current issues!

p.s. I realized just today that last week this time I was still in India. This is a rather obvious conclusion if you know that I left India on Thursday night last week (March 22nd). The reason why the realization took me by surprise is because I feel like I have been here forever. In fact I seem to remember my India trip as a vague series of incidents. Have they started doing memory wiping procedures during immigration :-O?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

And ...

... I'm back!

Past two days has been a flurry of unpacking (oh well, not really, today has been the actual unpacking, I spent the rest of the time contemplating whether to unpack), calling up people, sleeping and generally disbelieving that I was actually away on vacation for almost five weeks (*sigh*, where did all the time go :-().

Anyway, most significant event since my return was this: Last afternoon, I decided to go to the post office to post umpteen packages from India to various friends. Now, the post office closes at 4.00 p.m on Saturdays. I dillied and I dallied and finally stepped out of the house at 2.30pm - plenty of time, no? After all, the post office is just a mile away from my house. Well, here is what happened:

2.31pm: Stepped into parking lot. Noticed my black car had taken on a delicate shade of cream color thanks to several multiple layers of dust.

2.32pm: Take out my spanking new, totally cool looking "feather" duster from India and start dusting car.

2.34pm: Wow, this duster is really good.

2.40pm: Beat out the last of the dust out of the duster and toss it into car boot. Car looks almost clean. Nice!

2.41pm: Step into car, insert keys and turn on ignition.

2.42pm: Engine goes *knock*, *cough*, *splutter* and refuses to start.

2.44pm: Several repetitions of previous state provides conclusive evidence that the car battery is super dead. *Sigh* and I thought only I had post-vacation blues :-(!

2.45pm: Call AAA and send frantic SOS. A technician will be there to help me out by 3.33pm. What!?! 3.33pm? You mean the 3.33pm which comes 27 minutes before the post office closes at 4.00pm - oh no, oh no, oh no!

2.50pm: Update from AAA - technician will arrive in next 15 minutes max. Phew!

3.00pm: Watch AAA truck whiz past my apartment complex from my vantage point outside my apartment complex.

3.03pm: AAA coordinator: Where are you - our technician can't find you outside your apartment? Grrr!

3.15pm: Walk to the AAA truck parked in front of the wrong apartment complex - AAA technician and I finally meet. Drive back to my apartment complex in the AAA truck and AAA technician meets my car.

3.21pm: AAA technician: Your car battery was just dead but it is working, so no need to replace. Hallelujah :-D!

3.23pm: AAA technician: That's right, just put your foot on the accelerator and let your car run for 20 minutes. Oh okay!

3.23- 3.43pm: Car hums while I try to ignore the curious looks I get from other people coming to the parking lot.

3.44pm: Drive to post office. Go, go, GO!

3.50pm: Parking lot of post office is choking full.

3.52pm: Parallel park on the road. Car is now parked practically in the middle of the right lane. Darn!

3.54pm: Parallel park again - car no longer in middle of right lane. Cool!

3.56pm: Arrive running at the post office, lugging two bags full of packages. *Huff* *Puff* - please God, please let them not close the post office now!

4.05pm: Post office no longer allowing new customers - but I am already being helped. Yaaaay :-D!

4.17pm: Everything safely mailed out - I am the last remaining customer. Post office staff patiently wait for me the clear out so that they can shut the office for the day.

4.21pm: Back in car with a huge grin. Never knew just posting packages could bring about such a feeling of accomplishment :-D!

Yup, story over and yup, there is nothing more to it.

p.s. Like it or not, regular blogging on this blog will be resumed from now on.

Friday, March 16, 2007

What a vacation!

Saturday, March 17th morning, India time.

Two days ago, in preparation for my departure today, I was busy calling up people to say good-byes, busy shopping for things to bring back, busy getting sweet requests from people, busy feeling bad about a four-week vacation getting over so fast.

And then, my eyes decided to act up (I think I will write a whole new blog about the experience). With my new 20/20, non-contact-lensed/non-bespectacled vision, thanks to my LASIK surgery of two weeks back, I had expected a world of difference in my life. But nothing had prepared me for just how much difference I would notice in so short a time.

Everyone I know who had undergone the LASIK procedure had not had any out of the ordinary problems. But of course, like in all other things (hehehehe), I am super special. Two days ago, the area around my eyes puffed up. I am not exagerrating when I say I woke up looking like a halloween pumpkin with two slits for eyes :-(. Apparently a cold (without which any trip to India is incomplete) I had caught had reacted with some of my eye medication to result in this unwanted makeover to my face :-((.

A panicked and rushed trip to the eye doctor got a report of super-healthy eyes with a not-so-healthy super allergy around it. With a minimum time of five days for recovery.

Which is how, instead of being busy packing and feeling homesick for my departure to the US today, I am sitting typing this post. I am staying put in good old Chennai till next week by which time I will hopefully be back to normal. My manager at work has been really nice about this unexpected 'vacation' extension, so I am a bit relieved. I guess a vacation with a face without too many defining features being visible and being forced to stay indoors isn't really much of a vacation, but at least I am at HOME :-D!

So people, please to postpone hiring the red carpet, flower girls, trumpeters etc. etc. for my welcome to next week :-P!