Monday, June 28, 2010

Movies watched

Are we there yet? This movie is reason# 1926 as to why one should not pick up random movies from the library simply based on the positive jacket blurbs. Seriously, any person who thinks that kids acting like selfish, insane, sadistic demons are cute need to have their head examined. Even more unbelievable, at the end of the movie, the hero actually decides that he wants these kids kids in his life. As Obelix says, "Tap, tap, tap". In the same situation, I would have probably taken a vow of celibacy for the rest of my life just to eliminate any possibility that I would ever be responsible for bringing such horrible kids into the world.

Oh God, I hate Aishwarya Rai. She of the open-mouthed, wide-eyed, "Look, I am so paavum" plastic face. I marvel at how the world conspires to make a bad actress worse:
A. dress her up in weirdo deeeeeep necked costumes.
B. Make her mouth dialogs which will never come naturally out of any person's mouth (congratulations Suhasini Maniratnam - your husband must really love you if he voluntarily agreed to let you pen dialogs for this movie)
C. Find a dubbing artiste who has a voice even more annoying than her original voice.

Some things even Maniratnam cannot save. I take back all the positive Ash-Rai comments I made post Guru-watching. I did not like the movie as a whole much either. The locales were stunning but the story jumped around randomly. Mainly, the whole movie was just sooooo boring (this, from a person who ardently watched all the episodes of Ramayan on TV).

I rummaged my head hard. I cannot think of any good movies I watched recently just so that I can round out this post. So unfortunately, yet another whine post this is.

Monday, June 21, 2010

For want of a mango...

Last weekend, I spotted an awesome sale on Manila mangoes at the Indian grocery store. Deciding to buy them was a no-brainer. S and me are die-hard mango-lovers. To our pleasant surprise, while nowhere close in taste to the divine banganapalli (sorry Alphonso lovers, banganapalli is the king of mangoes according to me), the mangoes were still pretty tasty. Needless to say, within a week, the substantial collection of mangoes we had brought home dwindled rapidly to zero.

This weekend, we went to the Indian store again, hoping to buy another box of mangoes. To our dismay, the store was out of Manila mangoes. Sigh! We did the rest of our shopping and were ready to go home when S said, "Hey, let's check out the other Indian grocery store nearby. Maybe they have Manila mangoes". We drove the short distance to the other store. I was too lazy to get out of the car, so S volunteered to go check by himself.

Within a couple of minutes, I got a call from S. He excitedly said, "Hey, they have Manila mangoes here. Come on to the store." So I grabbed my hand-bag, got out of the car, locked my door and was about to walk to the store when I spotted that the car-door was unlocked on S's side. How careless, I thought and very responsibly, opened the door, pushed down the lock and slammed it shut. In the split second before the car-door locked, I thought, "Oh, does S have the keys". SLAM. Oh well, too late.

I ran to the store and breathlessly asked S if he had the car keys. He stared at me and said that he had dropped the car-keys onto his car-seat right in front of me. Had he? Ooopz! Ladies and gentlemen, applause please: we were locked out of our car.

But - S in the presence of mangoes is a S engergized. He thrust a box of carefully selected mangoes into my hands and said, "Pay for them and wait near the car - I will go home and get the spare set of keys". Uh S, I don't want to stand in front of the car with a case of mangoes while it took you God-knows-how-long time to cover the 1.5 miles distance to our house and back. I would rather do the trip home with you. S brushed aside my arguments and I dutifully paid for the mangoes while S set off home.

I then settled myself down on the side-walk in front of our car with the box of mangoes beside me. All I needed was to coo a bit and I would have looked like a street mango-hawker. The next step obviously was to pull out my cell-phone to catch up with a friend. After a bit, I lost my awkwardness at my care-of-platform status and was yacking away busily when I saw someone running towards me. I looked up and saw in amazement that it was S! Hey, it had hardly been 10 minutes since he had left. I know he is super-fit and everything but covering 3 miles in 10 minutes seemed to be a sprint worthy of the Olympics!

He opened the car with the spare-key and we set off home. On the way, the secret of his speed came out. He had asked and gotten a ride from a Tamil couple who had been sweet enough to drive in the direction opposite to their home so that S could drop by our apartment and pick up the keys! Ah, okay, so I was not married to a sprinter after all :-D.

We reached home without any further incident. But the icing on the cake came when we parked and were unloading the groceries. S suddenly looked at me and said, "Don't you have a spare key for the car on the key-chain with the apartment keys?". And it all came rushing back to me. Anticipating this exact scenario, about a month or so ago, S had threaded one of the spare car keys onto my apartment-keys key-chain. So, all along, I had had a spare car-key right inside the hand-bag I was carrying. Too bad neither of us remembered that. Brilliant or what?

Picture from here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Smart phone

I am not much of a gadget-geek. As long as a gadget does what it is primarily meant to do, I do not care for bells and whistles that come attached to it. Thus, for the longest time, my cell-phone did exactly one thing and did it well: it was an excellent mobile phone. It had a great signal, clear un-garbled voice and good battery life. It had neither a camera nor a mp3 player. In other words, it belonged in a cell-phone museum. But I was extremely pleased with it.

AT&T finally got fed up and sent me an ultimatum asking me to upgrade my phone - they were no longer going to even support the technology my phone was on. Sigh! Oh well - I upgraded to another phone with good reviews for voice-quality and battery life. The camera and mp3 player on it were basically a joke though. No problem, I use my canon and my ipod for those purposes anyhow!

Last year, I bought an iPhone for S as a gift. S is not much of an Apple fan though and re-gifted the phone to me after a couple of months of use. I was annoyed at having to give up my beloved no bells and whistles phone. But hey, you don't keep an iPhone lying around with no one using it.

Thus, I started using the iPhone. Initially, what I loved about it was the in-built GPS. It worked so well when we concocted plans on-the-go to visit a previously non-visited destination - just google the address and feed it to the map application - nice! The next draw was the availability of so many good apps for free. I went into app-overload mode for a couple of weeks. Then I began loving the ability to check weather/stocks/email anytime, anywhere.

iPhone, how do I use thee? Let me count the ways:

  1. I set the alarm for the morning wake up call and also use the snooze function extensively.
  2. I set up appointments and reminders on the calendar.
  3. As soon as I wake up, still lying down, I check personal email on it - reading email from family is a nice way to begin the day.
  4. Checking and replying to work emails when I am supposed to be on-call off-hours is such a cinch.
  5. I love,love,love the maps and GPS functionality.
  6. I make shopping lists on it.
  7. LoseIt is an awesome app for tracking calories.
  8. I carry it to work-meetings and fiddle with it when things go too off-topic (no one knows that you are not using the phone to check work emails >B-))
  9. I use it to listen to music.
  10. Occasionally it has served as a stand-in camera when I miss bringing along the real camera.
  11. Locating restaurants in a new area is so easy.
  12. So is browsing for vetti things like what the "Congress-created dust bowl" sign you spotted on the highway means.

Oh, I could go on and on and on. I realize now: A smart-phone is one of those things that you do not miss having in your life till you have owned one.

However, I do have a gripe - the iPhone mostly does not have a strong enough signal and the voice quality sucks. Really, would that be too much of a requirement to ask of an i-PHONE?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010


Last week, for two consecutive days, whenever I walked in home after work, I smelt a strong orange smell at home. Wow - the mandarin oranges that I bought at Costco really do have a very strong smell, I thought. I asked S about it and he shrugged, "Maybe!".

On day three, I once again entered into a house smelling of oranges. I told S, "I bet the oranges are going bad - the whole house is smelling of them!"

I rummaged through the sack of oranges. Though I really couldn't smell the oranges any stronger at this close range and I couldn't find any spoilt oranges, I finally managed to find one misshapen, squished orange. I triumphantly pulled it out and said to S, "Aha, this is the culprit!". S asked, "Are you sure? This orange does not have any smell at all!" I stubbornly said, "This has to be it, there is no other source for the orange smell."

This was when I noticed that S was having an undefinable look on his face and was shaking silently. I demanded, "What?".

S burst out laughing, "Hahahahah - I found this orange-scented room-spray in one of the cupboards the other day and I have been spraying it every evening since then. I have to appreciate you though! You are one mighty talented detective - you so smartly deduced that the strong orange smell was coming from one squished orange with no smell in it whatsover - hahahahahah!"


How that orange-scented room spray came to be at home is a mystery still unresolved.

Friday, June 04, 2010


Call me racist but I always used to think that highly flexible body movements were out of reach of Indian women. As graceful as many female Indian dancers are, I never thought flexibility was one of the strong points as far as the women were concerned.

I have eaten my words (and my prejudices) since I saw this video. Start watching from minute 3.00 if you want to cut the chatter.

Isn't that such a magical performance? The girl, Sai Pramoditha, has done her puppet act so well. So bendy, springy and flexible - wow!

As an aside, the show itself, called Jodi No. 1 Season 4, features several ultra-talented, creative and gifted dancers and choreographers competing (pretty civilly, I must say) with each other to get the top spot for the best dancer couple.

What a pleasure it is to watch a reality show that showcases such deserving talent!

I like the sound of that!

My friend V once told me that he read somewhere that salsa (both dance and the food) could be so popular because people love to say "salsa". I am not sure I love saying salsa quite so much though I love the food as well as the dance. But there are other words I like the sound of. I also like the way they roll off my tongue.

Here are some words I like listening to or pronouncing:

Sugar, shoes, chalk, meal (it is always a disappointment when I realize for the n-th time that the boring chapathis and dal I had for lunch is a "meal" too), juice.

Off the top of my head, that's all I can think of.

But if you kind reader folks will post some words you like in the comments section, I would love to read about them.