Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to me....

Two legendary personalities born on the same day (different years though). R.D. Burman and second.... well, okay, should not praise myself, not a good habit. So, it was my birthday again on 27th June, my first one after marriage. As I had small small surprises for Nimit on his birthday, he did not had a surprise, but a planned outing- a trip to Yercaud- a hill station some, 30 kms ahead of Salem in Tamil Nadu, 5 hours from Bangalore. To whomsoever we told about our vacation, everyone supported enthusiastically of the place (I mean, those who understood the name of the hill station at the first place), so we were also very excited as if we have found out the best destination in the world. We started off on time, had really nice breakfast and reached Yercaud also well in time.
Now started the search for our resort/hotel. We followed the instructions for the way to the resort/hotel as per the contact person and suddenly spotted the name- “Cliffton Inn”. The name looks quiet fancy, right? But we were shocked to see that its a small house-converted-to-inn type of place. It could have been just one corner of a big resort. Nimit and I went into a state of shock and disappointment, because, both of us had also checked out its website which gave us an idea that its small but this small was not expected. Anyways, somehow put our luggage there and tried to convince ourselves that its a matter of just one night to be spent there. Next discovery was that our phones would not catch any signal in the room. WOW... my birthday, I am especially expecting calls at 12 o'clock but I would not be able to get any calls.
Finally, got ready and left for the lake, the only saving grace of Yercaud. Opted for pedal boating. It was fun, although the lake was not too big. But the weather was very pleasant. Then the deer park, where there were a total of 5-6 cages with deers, peacock, pigeons (normal pigeons, not the masakkali types), rats, rabbits etc. Thank God, they didn't put crows in the cages. Next, we decided to have nice lunch. Reached Shevroy's hotel which was over crowded. So we again thought that it must be a good place. It was good but I guess was one among the very few decent eating places and so was flooded with people. We stood near a table where a family of 3 was having their lunch, so that once they get up, we could grab the table. OK. So, have you ever had noodles with curd? Let me guess, you might have definitely ate noodles with hands (in exactly the same way as you eat rice with hands)? NO? OK. Then noodles with sambhar?? Don't tell me that you have never done that before. Even I have not done that but that family was doing exactly this. Aunty was forcing the noodles, mixed with curd, into the tiny mouth of her daughter with hands and since the girl was not enjoying the meal, her father decided to finish the noodles, and ate it with the remaining sambhar (from his South Indian meal thali).
Then we decided to cover the remaining points. Ladies' Seat, Gents' seat. Children's Seat, Pagoda Point, Shevroy's Temple- go anywhere, they were just the highest points of Yercaud, overlooking the valley. If we would have gone to any one of them, then also we may not have missed anything. At the last point, my intelligent husband got a bright idea. Rather than staying till next afternoon at Yercaud, lets go to Hogenakkal waterfalls. With that we went down to the lake again and sat there, called our folks and relaxed. Had dinner at the same place. But since we reached too early so thankfully did not encounter another noodles-with-hand episode. Packed chocolate pastries and ended the day. At 12 o'clock, was woken up by Nimit, wished and he handed over the lovely card sent by my parents and an amazing gift by him. I guess, the signal-less resort/hotel was actually planned by him so that no one wishes me before him...
Next day, we packed up as soon as possible and left for Hogenakkal. Throughout our way, I kept on getting calls for wishes. A BIG THANKS to all of you. The entrance was not at all appealing, with Tamilian and Kannad families all over the place with huge utensils, cylinders to prepare food there and have bath and picnic. We decided to have the round boat ride – coracles or paisal (in Tamil) or or Teppa/ Harigolu (in Kannada). The ride was expensive, though. Rs. 150 per head for a boat shared by 6-8 people or Rs. 600 for two people + Rs. 100 for waiting (which was anyways be default). So, it cost us Rs. 700 in total but the ride was amazing, different from traditional boating. On a small island there, you can have freshly caught fishes fried in front of you. They were amazing. For all the pure vegetarian people, it might appear as a gruesome act, but for rest, they were tasty.
After Hogenakkal, we finally reached home by evening. But the celebrations were still going on. Hubby dear got chocolates and cake and then my sis-in-law and her husband also came with chocolate fantasy pastries (yummmmmm). We ordered pizzas and another home made cake was cut in Delhi, with Birthday song sung on the phone in loudspeaker mode. Our guard came with another gift. No, he didn't give me the gift but it came from my parents and brother and sis-in-law- an amazing Fast-track wrist watch. Just as I crash landed in my bed, there came another cake and bouquet, from Delhi. What else should I ask for?

While I lay in my bed after calling off my day, I made up few points in my mind, which I must share:

1.Whenever you go on a vacation, always take other's feedback and book the staying place only on recommendation (don't follow what the website shows, the photographers and the site designers do amazing job in fooling people). If no one had been to that place, look for a hotel which atleast have a spa and other activity area (like TT, cycling etc), just to ensure that it is big enough.

2.Always carry sufficient stock of snacks, as we had, so that if you wish to avoid the noodles+curd+sambhar site, you can go back to your car/hotel and have your snacks.

3.Check all the taps and bathroom accessories before handing over the remaining tariff amount to the hotel people, so that you are not stranded in the middle of your bath for water. Don't ask from where I got this point.

4.Check if your mobile is catching the signal in the rooms, specially if its your birthday...

5.Even if everything goes wrong, don't forget to remind yourself that its a vacation planned by your special one to make your special day the most amazing time with bags full of feeling. This thought will definitely bring a smile on your face and everything will seem to fall in right place.

Thank you Nimit for planning my birthday in such a lovely way and thanks to all of you for overloading me with gifts, cakes and wishes... Love you all....CHEERS!!!!!!!!!!!

(Just for summary sake: 5 cake+pastry cutting ceremonies and 4 times birthday song in a single day)

Friday, June 25, 2010

What was that???

Last night just before sleeping was watching my current favorite program on Sab TV and there comes the advertisement break. One of the ad actually left me laughing, even when I was all alone in the room. It was not the funny ad but such a stupid one. 
A man is shown running away from the police force wearing a ghaghra choli (female dress) and the force enters a house where all the females are dressed similarly. One of the constables tries to put the veil off from the face of one of the ladies and the force is surrounded by all the ladies present in the room. The goon is also watching their pathetic situation. The head decides to call their boss over the mobile phone. The head is having his lunch and to pick up the phone, he needs to wash his hands but he could not wash. Why?? Any guesses, which product is this ad for? No, not the liquid soap.
V-Guard pumps. Since there was no water in the tank and the head's pump was out of service, there was no water in the tap and thus he could not wash his hands. I mean, c'mon, what was the need to show such a thrilling story? Right now, I cannot suggest some other plot for V-Guard pumps ad, but give me some time and I promise I can come out with a better and much more relevant plot for the pump to make an advertisement on.

Talking about recent ads, I love few of them:

1. Happy Dent ad where men eating Happy dent chewing gum replaces bulbs and lights in the entire village. 
2. Tanishq Wedding Jewelery ad, where a daughter falls in her mother's trap to get married by looking at all the pretty jewelery and the end is amazing. The wife, sitting at the rear seat of the car, sends the SMS to her husband, sitting in the front seat, taunting him of not understanding what a woman wants even after 25 years of marriage. 
3. ICICI bank ad, where an elderly lady keeps on talking to the ICICI executive even when the branch is about to close. Though, that ad still could not convince me that ICICI is such a lovely bank, since I know the reality, thanks to few of my friends working there, but the ad is nice.
4. Saffola Gold ad, though they use the same concept again and again, of a tired husband and a worried wife. This time, when the kid asks his father to become a horse and the father tells him to have a crocodile ride rather, because, crocodile lays still at a place and the father gets to sleep on the floor.
5. Another Ad of, if I am not wrong, Apollo Munich, where a husband and wife wakes up with all the clocks in their house ringing the alarm all at the same time and just when they were worried about whats happening, they saw their child standing at the door with his father's jogging shoes in hand, telling him to wake up early and do some exercises, for healthy living.

There were so many old ads which are still fresh in our minds for there were very limited number of ads and they were so simple to understand and apt for the products. But now in a day, you can watch atleast 10-15 different ads, of which most of them are such waste that you don't actually feel like watching them, forget about buying the product.

Few of the recent ads which I hate: 

1. As mentioned, the V-Guard pumps ad
2. Nirma- where a lady starts singing the traditional Nirma ad, in the most annoying way addressing not a human but the dirty water which was about to splash on her. When she is singing, everything (including the dirty water) becomes still and when the lady finishes her torturous song and indicates the water to fall down, it does... Pathetic.
3. Various undergarments ads, the most annoying being (don't remember the brand) where the chimps are playing around with the man's garments and the same brand, a lady is washing her man's undergarments along a river bank. And the Akshay Kumar's Ad of "Fit hai boss", where he fought as a blind man, only to be later realized by a lady that he is not a blind (when he points out in such stupid way, that her top button is open)
4. Uninor Ad, where a father is scolding his son when he has decided to opt for service over joining his father's shop. And just then his sister comes with his (or someone else's) mobile when he gets his joining confirmation and the father embarrassingly announces that he will bring the sweets in the evening. The son also announces with the utmost pride “Ab mera number hai”. Good, thats what the company Uninor wants to spread, but his joining confirmation could have come on Airtel as well. So, is it about the pride of a person whose fortune has turned skywards or about the mobile connection or its connectivity.
5. Intel Pentium ad, where the growing up of two friends is shown along-with the growth of Intel. Though concept is good, but the other dumb fellow is really irritating with his annoying exclamations and expressions.
6. Once upon a time came Surf Excel's ad where a small boy kicks and fights a pit in which his little sister has fallen and was thus crying. To make her happy, he fights.. so came the message: “daag lagne se agar kuch achcha hota hai, toh daag achche hai”. It was a cute and very relevant ad, but the recent one in which a student imitates like a dog to cheer up his teacher (Ms. Rosy), whose dog has died, it doesn't look cute to me atleast.
7. Akshay Kumar's Ad of a mobile phone where he messes up the entire kitchen of his hotel because he is playing tennis with his ad and laughing and his laughing is so very irritating that you want to change the channel immediately. 

The list, again, can be endless with so many annoying and amazing ads- new or old. I can keep on writing, but you can also contribute with your most favorite and most annoying ads in the comments section. Thank you. And Ad agencies and the brands, please give some nice sensible ads, else you are hurting yourselves. CHEERS !!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Templates

Sometime back I was discussing with my friend about very limited template designs at the Blogger (Sorry, blogger, bitching against you on your site only). And guess what, yesterday only, I saw there is a new feature on, new colorful templates, which can be customized in many different ways.

Ever since I found this out, I have been trying different templates. But either I am not able to put the correct template and matching customization or the templates are bright/too boring to match my taste.. Anyways, this is the third template which I have put up since yesterday and I swear I will keep on experimenting with them till I get the best according to my taste. Current one is very bright. Thanks Blogger. All you bloggers, keep experimenting...CHEERS !!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

This is the Rajneeti...

Went to watch the much awaited movie on this Saturday- Rajneeti. The reasons being- Prakash Jha's movie, amazing star-cast, anticipation of how Katrina Kaif would portray the role of Sonia Gandhi, it being a modern day Mahabharata, expecting a good direction and story etc etc. Though the story was more or less expected- how ugly the politics can become but was interested in its execution.

The songs had already become my personal favorites, slow and melodious but discovered that a fast number which I had become fan of (thanks to the FM radio) was of Rajneeti only. Anyways. The opening and reviews of the movie has been great, which further encouraged us to go and watch it.

We missed the beginning, thanks to my laziness on Saturday, for which I should not be blamed, because I get only the weekend to rest and if...Ok, sorry for diverting from the topic. So the movie. Before getting into the movie hall I thought that Katrina Kaif is the central character and Ranbir Kapoor has a real short role, kind of guest appearance. But as the movie moved on, I realized that Katrina has an important role but not the main protagonist and Ranbir Kapoor had the longest and the most important part to play. The pace of the movie was fast and gripping. Manoj Bajpai back in form after a long hibernation and as usual acted superbly as an angry son furious over being neglected by everyone as the next natural heir to the party supremo post, including his own father. Nana Patekar as silent pillar to Arjun Rampal and Ranbir Kapoor, playing the Rajneeti. No songs were included in the movie, apart from being played here and there in the background. The scene where Arjun Rampal is blown up in the blast was terrible. For a long time there was a silence and the noise kept ringing in my ears for long. I guess that scene reminded me (us) of Rajiv Gandhi's assassination. Arjun Rampal does have a very strong voice, I must say, though he remains expressionless most of the time ever since he has started acting.

Ajay Devgan is a superb actor but I think he could have done much better than this. He seemed confused and diverted from his character when Manoj Bajpai included him in the party. As in, he entered with lot of aggression but afterwards looked as if he was caught and dragged unaware of what is happening around; the expression on his face after seeing off Nana Patekar when he named his father as the candidate from his village and I thought he would react more aggressively when his biological mother would unfold the truth that he is her son. But he was cool and calm and much more concerned about his loyalty towards Manoj Bajpai.

Another thing. The sequence when Bharati tells her truth to Ajay Devgan, it was too much of Hindi which is not used in today's time, specially this coming from an urban lady was not acceptable. This kind of Hindi is expected to be used in official communications in politics but not in personal lives. Also, apart from everything else, I was not much convinced of so many murders and too much of violence shown in the movie. Those killed were not just the side kicks of the politicians, they were the prominent members of the leading parties of the nation. Amidst all the killings and violence, the elections were still on and Ranbir Kapoor, a suave and PhD student (far away from being political) managed to float an entirely new party in just few days prior to elections, get his brother married and manage funds for the party, file for the candidatures and even bribe away few of the ministers from Manoj's Party.

But all in all, I may rate it as 3 or 3.5 out of 5. Much much better than so many recent movies and must watch types after 3 Idiots, though 3 Idiots was like 5/5.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We will never grow up...

I reached home dead tired and hungry, already making a list of what all to do once I reach home, in how much time. Reached home, drank something and ate any and everything that came my way, eatable obviously and went out again to the market.

Our friendly neighborhood mall-Spencer, is a life saver. Quickly scanned through few t-shirts and selected the one which he once said that he liked. Went to the kids section and asked for the balloons. The salesman started showing me all kinds of balloons- mickey mouse shaped, heart shaped, random shaped, magic balloons (which will change its color once inflated). The magic balloons actually caught my attention for few seconds, like a temptation. But decided to get the normal random shaped ones and the small birthday candles.

Next, the cake. I booked it at a place but when I came back, it was already sold. Not fair at all. Felt like kicking them hard. Ultimately had to get only the pastries. Arranged for a bunch of roses, a coffee mug and a card. Rushed home and did something which, I guess, I had not done in the past so many years- I blew up the balloons. Put everything neatly in my cupboard and pretended as if nothing has happened.
I was not preparing for any kid's birthday party. It was for my husband, Nimit- his first birthday with me. Won't disclose his age but he is way ahead of even the teen-age. Even I am nowhere close to the teen-age but somehow your birthday or someone's specials' birthday turns you back to a small kid. You feel like cutting the cake after blowing the candles, listening to the birthday song (how-so-ever badly sung by anyone, like I did), expecting surprise gifts, calls from your friends and relatives (all these at 12 o'clock specially), wearing something nice (new or old but which makes you look stunning), completely energetic, even when people around you may not be even aware of your birthday, trying to return thanks for the wishes in different ways, checking your social networking profile filled with wishes and comments, eating something nice....

Even when you keep on saying that “I am too old to celebrate my birthday”, but you do expect and feel all these things. I remember last year I was definitely happy as far as my birthday celebration go. But was deeply hurt by just 2 scraps on my orkut profile, only to discover later that I had turned off my “birth date to be displayed to others” option, hence my friends didn't know that it was my birthday.
So, even though Nimit may/may not have been expecting anything special at 12 o'clock, there I was, all set and ready with my little little surprises and the smile on his face was priceless. Eager to cut the cake (pastry), when I had to remind him to blow the candles before cutting the cake and one by one revealing the gifts.

I wish him a long and healthy and prosperous life ahead and that he celebrates each of his birthdays with me and I will make each one of them equally special for him. Love you Hubby and Happy Birthday again....