Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Into the world of make believe

I am totally addicted. I realized today that I have this intense craving to read. I have to read everyday, be it a boring news article or the latest paperback thriller. I have been reading a bit of this and that over the last few months that needs to be blogged about. When I read fiction, it is extremely hard for me to get out of it, and I envy those that can allot specific times to read.

First, my friend introduced me to the Black Jewels trilogy. BTW, why is it called a trilogy when there are around 6 books in the series! Although three books form one story and the rest are offshoots. Anne Bishop is the author and the books were unputdownable. I read through the night and finished it at about 3:15 AM. Fantasy has never been a favorite of mine, but I venture now and then. This one hangs somewhere equidistant from both fantasy and romance genres.

Currently, I am reading the second book of Michael Scott's Flammel series. Yes, the same Flammel made famous by Harry Potter in Sorcerer's stone. The first one, The Alchemyst, was an action packed read, targeted towards the teen audience. The second one is Magician and continues the story. Most of the characters are drawn from history.

Talking about juvenile fiction, the other one I am hooked to is the last apprentice series by delaney. I never was a fan of horror until this series.

A new mystery series that I randomly picked, the Blackbird mystery series turned out to be a good choice.

Jeffrey Archer's False Impressions was a nice ride. Typical of his books, the female protagonist wields her wit to overcome her adversaries.

Bebris gets back to Austen with Matters at Mansfield and just being in Austenland, albeit borrowed, is wonderful.

Then the new Nora Roberts book that I am saving for the flight, coz all her books are 'unputdownable' and I cannot afford that right now. I have a few more books in the pipeline, including the beedle one, that will have to wait until after I cross the seven seas and seven mountains (+ or - a few).

Of the movies that I enjoyed recently, I have to mention Varanam aayiram and Poi solla porom. Loved Surya in the first, and the freshness in the second. I thought that the story was good in VA, but lacked something in the dialogs. Didn't seem to flow naturally. Why, o Why did he choose Sameera Reddy? Absolutely love the songs. PSP was refreshing with the story and humor, with Naazar and Mouli doing excellent work.

Then there was Dostana, a thoroughly enjoyable fare. Of course, politically incorrect. But then, when has bollywood shied from that. Right from Padosan, taking digs at any section of society have always yielded laugh riots. So, except for Bobby D, nothing jarred in the movie for me. John's 6 and Aby Jr's acting made it extremely watchable. Priyanka right after watching Fashion (gritty fashion scene wonderful kangana) was a bit too much on the senses. I watched Mumbai meri jaan, would you believe it, just before hearing about the terror strike there. Well made movie, got me wondering why people enjoy inflicting such horror on others and the same things were probably happening around the same time.

May be this trip will see me at a chennai theater. The last one I saw there was tenali at the (extremely) stinky ssr there.

Monday, December 08, 2008

counting down

A few more days before I visit home. Is it still home if it is a new home? Anyway, more than anticipation, there is this big need for rest. Not the usual heavy week, looking forward to the weekend kind, but something deeper. It will be a huge relief to see the man in my life again. For purely selfish reasons, to have a few hours to myself.

Saturday, a dialog with the tiny giantess -

brat: Mommy, when I grow up, will I get all your pretty stuff?

Me: What pretty stuff?

Brat: All the stuff to make my hair and face pretty.

Me: When you grow up, become a doctor (subliminal, eh?), earn loads of money and get whatever you want.

Brat: does that mean I have to buy everything, and not get anything of yours?

Me: You will probably get some of it. (Just to keep the peace)

I wondered if it was a case of tight fists or a fascination for what is there in front of her that got her going.

Brat: I want to be a doctor like Appa, he has money.

FYI, her view of 'lots of money', is a whole bunch of pennies, which of course the man is loaded with.

Me: Appa's kind of doctor doesn't make lots of money, you have to be the physical one.

Anyway, from there thoughts went to missing appa. She has always fascinated me with the way her mind works. She thinks everything through, which is more than what I can say for myself. That trait seems to have come from her athai.

Her latest topic of conversation is about death, rebirth and God. At this point, I think she has wrung me dry and probably knows more about it than me. For now, I stall her by saying she can ask Appa such questions when she sees him. I can't wait.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Life goes on...

Over the last few weeks, I have tried. I start to write a post but am unable to proceed beyond a few lines. An eventful month, to say the least.

It was not my dad and it shouldn't have hurt, but I had to go through it yet another time. My father in law passed away 3 weeks back and we have all changed. It was expected, yet unexpected. We knew he was counting his days, but hoped he would be around to see the kids one last time. But in a sense, there was closure for his kids, which I will never be able to claim. Every death, near or far, takes me back to those black days when I lost mine. A death at 80 is not as horrible as one at half that age. A loss is a loss, but there is also the feeling that a life was well-lived. It was time and the rest of the family took heart in the fact that we did our best for him.

The tough part is for the m-i-l, to be uprooted from the life she knew for the last 50 plus years. Granted, there are no responsibilites piled on her shoulders, but the move is going to be tough on her.

So, I have come out of that haze. Preparing to visit at a tense time adds to the stress of temporary single parenthood. But, beneath all that, I am getting a break for 3 weeks, which by then, I will fully deserve.

There is a new respect for my mom, and the other moms who went through this at a much younger age, bearing the responsibilities on their shoulders, taking care of home, hearth and business. There is a new appreciation for the paper chores that my hubby takes care of, that I have been trying to handle. There is a new confidence that I can take care of everything if I have to. Although there is definitely no inclination for that.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Gaayab, choley gaache?

No, I didn't! Been busy with a new job and more activities with kids.

Did my civic duty, which took an hour early in the morning. Longer lines are promising even though it is not the best when there is a meeting scheduled.

While I am here, I need to blow the trumpet a bit. Girl got into the final round of the regional 24 game. Got her mug in the local and all. This is a fun game. We use a deck of cards, pick 4 number cards and work it into an arith expression adding up to 24. You can +, -, X or /. It takes some getting used to and then you start seeing the patterns.

Imran Khan is so cute, looks ages younger, but still. Saw kidnap on sunday. As someone else reviewed, it was mostly a movie for guys, what with minisha lamba doing a mandakini a la ram teri...

Hari puttar was an unashamed copy of home alone and the funny knife scene from kungfu hustle (that is so funny, even when copied). And to think that there was a case against the movie. I think they filed it wrong. If instead of harry potter, the home alone guys had filed the suit, things would have been different. But then, we (as a nation) are experts in this kind of ulta-pulta only.

My younger one is going thru some j pangs as the older one gets some recognition. Big girl won a coloring contest recently (prize was a toysaurus gift card) and then the paper article. So the little one wants her pic in the paper too and dad has promised her one if she also wins a few laurels. Sowing the seeds of ambition. BTW, she wants to be a doctor. Why, because dad says that is where the money is. And she loves that. She is almost 6 and wants us to work more, so that we can make more money so that she can buy more stuff. matlabi! Can you imagine her at 20? Dad has started buying lottery every month or so.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Call from a recruiter -
Client wants to know when my EAD expires.
me - Don't have one as I am a citizen.
Recruiter - so you have a green card?
me- ???

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Scenario common to a lot of Tamil movies -
wife/girlfriend/female lead is wayward. The hero gives a resounding whack on her cheek and hey, look, she is now the "model" Indian woman.

My question is, if the heroine were to do that to the wayward hero, will he reform? Or does it have to be the slow and patient, ever-forbearing way?


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

True feminism

To me, it is when I don't have to worry if a leader is male or female, when being a female doesn't help or hinder what I want to be and where I want to go.

There are folks out there who think a woman's role is in the house. I did meet one dork like that, who insisted that his future wife would stay at home and he would deal with all outside matter. It is a different story that the wife he eventually married didn't think the same and the joke was on him. Then there are folks who think a woman should take over, irrespective of whether she has the ability, just by the virtue of being one.

When a person is not afraid to point at another's faults, without having to worry about being targeted by 'feminists'.

When a baby is born, and the first question people ask is how is he/she doing, not what gender.

When there are no more ads that promote fairness to be a stepping stone to success.

When having a female boss is not a big deal.

When a woman reaching the top is not a big news item.

And a personal favorite, slightly on the flippant side - when the woman of the house is no longer expected to cook.

True feminism is when it ceases to exist.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Information Quotient

So the McCain is trying to lure Clinton supporters with his new ad. And the average joe might be pulled. How many of us know what Clinton's policies were compared to Obama's and the Mc's?

So the guy hasn't faced the violence of war. May be that is a good thing. How does being a POW make you a capable leader?

The reporter wanted to know what Michele Obama was wearing for her speech. Go Figure!

Another article surveyed people regarding their voting preferences. One smart lady was a Clinton supporter, but now plans to move to the other side. Why? The name is too weird, doesn't sound American. Wants to vote for a true American (link1, link2). In a few decades, the majority of Americans will have such 'weird' names.

PS: I am thinking of investing in a dunkin donuts. Then buy a t-shirt, may be.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You mean, there are others?

Most of us are aware that Cheetah girls are doing bollywood tomorrow on Disney at 8pm EST. There was an interview in one of the newspapers and this line got me wondering:
Bailon: We got to see Mumbai, which was an amazing experience. That actually was the first place we ever went to, and it's like the third-noisiest city in the world.

That there are two other cities that rate higher than Mumbai in the noise index. I am assuming she didn't visit any other cities in India. So, what were those two?

The first time I visited India after moving to this country, was to my 'pukkaam' in Calcutta. I couldn't sleep for a few days, partly due to jetlag, but mostly because the street noises and bhajans ran through most of the night. Of course, it took only a few days to get back into the thick of it.

And then, I am reading a book that is partly based in Tijuana, Mexico, and it talks about horns blaring rather than brakes working, cause it is a sign of machoism there. Hmm! I think it goes much beyond that in India.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Oh Man!

You might want to go out and buy some watermelons. There is a sharp indication that the demand might go up. Check this out.

A Texas scientist says the fruit contains bioactive compounds that relax blood vessels, much like Viagra.

PS: All the puns were unintentional. So I say!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

A month? really?

I didn't realize it has been more than a month since I last posted. Been busy, new job, adjustments, etc.
The younger brat starts public school this month. She is so excited. I hope she loves it as much as her other school. I am slightly anxious for her to fit in. Not just the fact that it is a move from a well-cherished montessori to a public one, but because she is a brat of the first order. Why, you ask? There we were waiting to pick up the older one from her camp, and this one gets carried away by curiosity and flicks the fire alarm switch. The building had to be vacated till they ok'ed it.
She can be highly amusing if you were not her parent.

We went to the mall the other day. Just a little one on one time for mom and dot. She looks at the dummy's dress in Pennys and advises me to lose some weight so I can wear such outfits. Do note here that her voice carries to a couple of nearby cities in her normal talking range.

She wants me to go to the hair salon, and make my hair straight like the other time. She doesn't like the curls. Oh, and color it blond.

She wants to be a dance teacher when she grows up. Not like athai or even amma, but like her ballet teacher. Boy, talk about coconuts!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mike Man of the 80s

Anyone who lived through the glorious 80s tamil filmdom cannot forget the face that launched a lot of Ilaiyaraja's golden gems. He caused quite a craze among the teenagers and youth of that decade. And when you remember him, you visualize him with a mike. Such was his fame as a reel singer. Now there is news that he is back.

He was the quintessential singer, who would cough blood (or by any other means) and die at the end of the movie. His broken tooth (supposedly) added to his charm. S, my best friend during that time, was totally crazy about him. She would watch the movies very early on as her dad worked in the film world. The following Monday, we would be subject to the story recitation filled with her own brand of sarcasm. And during that period I never missed watching movies. Yes, during that time I hardly saw movies at the theater. Only dear DD. Anyways, she had this total crush on Mike Mohan and some of it rubbed off on us. She would describe the scenes, costumes, etc and for us, it was like watching the movie. I loved watching oliyum oliyum when his songs came up. And I can't think of him without thinking of her. She taught me a lot about humor.

I have lost touch with this dear friend and would really love to get back in touch with her. I think she is related to Suresh Krishna (SIL). If anyone knows her, please drop a note here.

I am not sure if he can capture the audience as he did decades ago, but he is going to try. Lucky us :-)

PS: Anyone know which sun tv serials he was involved in?

Monday, June 30, 2008

A feast for the eyes and the senses!

Opportune enough to be in town when Raja and Radha Reddy were performing at the SSVT in DC, I got to enjoy a wonderful performance. The auditorium seems to have updated(?) their sound system. As a result, there was some faulty wiring which caused us to wait outside until 6:30 (when it was scheduled). And then, to see that the first three rows were papered out. There was a 20 minute delay while they were getting the lights and sounds ready. When they closed the curtain, I thought that was also part of the testing phase. Thankfully, it was time for the show to start.

After a lengthy introduction, they started with maha ganapathi. I usually watch out for 2 things - good abhinaya and strong araimandi. Both seemed to be absent. I guess age has something to do with it. The second one was a tarana in eka tala by Pt. Ravishankar. Awesome composition. The dancing duo warmed up a little and it was enjoyable. They had added this piece in fill-in while their girls were getting ready, as they had just landed.

The next one, inarguably the best piece, was by Raja-Radha's daughter, Yamini. What amazing flexibility! Her Shiva tandavam was exceptional, her abhinaya for the navarasas, her footwork, her poses and especially her balance in holding those poses. I was impressed by how rigid her upper body was, when she went down in muzhumandi and back to araimandi. My younger girl declared her 'awesome' and decided she wants to do such poses when she 'growed' up.

Next was Bhavana's turn. But before that, the wiring went kaput and they had to change the sound system. Through all that, Bhavana stayed a pro and didn't move a muscle. While the other girl had showed her prowess in tandava, this one showed her prowess in laya. Oothukadu's composition on kalinga nardhanam was beautifully handled by her.

The finale was by Raja & Radha Reddy. The first half was the ras leela of Krishan and Radha, while the second was Krishna's gitopadesha to Arjuna. The duo were in their elements here. Except that Radha seemed to find the tai-ha-tai-hi sections a little too fast and her hands were below shoulder level. But they didn't seem to hinder the audience's enjoyment.

Usually, when a dancer's child performs, there is a more than normal critical eye watching for faults. The two girls seem to have surpassed their parents. Of course, they still have a way to go, but they are very much on the right track.

The live orchestra added the needed support. Nattuvangam was by Kausalya Reddy and was commendable.

On a tangent, Kausalya is Radha's siser and Raja's second wife. Bhavana is her daughter while Yamini is Radha's. But they seemed quite a team on stage. That in itself is something.

Of course, that has nothing to do with the fact that they put up a wonderful and amazing show.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Favorite literary characters

Altoid has tagged me and since this is a favorite topic of mine, I am going to be prompt at responding. I am sure I share a few of these at least, with fellow readers. While thinking about this, I remembered writing about it some time back. Good to know my memory is somewhat intact.

I had listed these then.
Scarlett O'Hara - of Gone with the Wind. A definition for optimism. The never say die woman, not perfect, but possessing a lot of strength.

Tracy Whitney - (If Tomorrow comes) Another one for strength, courage and smarts.

Howard Roark
- (Fountainhead) Believed in his convictions.

Wooster and Bingo Little - (PGW creations) funny dudes

Dumbledore - (Harry Potter series) Basically, the likeable old guy. The grandfather figure. I still like him, inspite of the shades of grey in the last book.

Samwise Gamgee - (Lord of the Rings) loyal like Hanuman :-)

Elizabeth Bennett - (Pride and Prejudice) No pretense in the land of pretensions

Atticus Finch - (To kill a mocking bird)Good samaritan and a good father

Sirius Black - (Harry Potter series) the underdog, unlucky fella, true friend

Hercule Poirot - (Agatha Christie creation) for his grey cells

I have to add Ron Weasley to this list. Also, Draupadi as Chitra DB portrayed in palace of illusions. Then, there is Birbal from the ACK days, Cleopatra (a book I read long ago of the same name I think), Vandiyadevan (Ponniyin Selvan), inspector Sartaj Singh (Sacred Games), and many, many more. I know, only ten for the tag, but seriously, it is hard to limit to 10.

I will pass on the honors to Rads.

Monday, June 16, 2008

And the let down - The Ten

I had a lot of anticipation for Friday night, eager to see the ten on the big screen. The show, supposed to start at 7:45, started close to an hour late adding to the already long haul. Touted to be kind of a pathbreaker in make-up and special effects, it was a let down in those departments. I loved the chola period piece - although the movie failed to establish the connection between the past and present, except to show the statue resurfacing. A bit of a stretch there.

The violence that started in that first part didn't reduce in severity and that was a big drawback for the movie. Rather than adding to the movie, it took away. Does Kamal seem to prefer showing more than necessary violence in recent movies? It is not always needed. Thankfully my younger girl slept through it whereas my older one hid behind her fingers whenever it got gruesome. On hindsight, I would have preferred to have not taken them.

The make-up, oh the make-up. Enough has been said about the shoddy job done on the 'American' roles and the 'paati'. He did go through a lot of trouble to do it, but he needs to know when to draw the line. He could have had an international cast and the end result would have been much, much better. The Japanese role was slightly better.

The one that really took the cake was the telugu one. Balaram Naidu got the theater in splits. His face said it all, when a guy introduces himself as Narasimha Rao. His wig for the scientist role looked too artificial. Paati's role had some laughs too, but the make-up spoilt it. Poovaragan was good - the make-up, the accent and the walk. Some of the characters were well-etched. I would really love to see a spin off on Balaram Naidu, great potential there. Some of the characters seemed to have been added on, just to show what he could do with a bit of make-up.

Asin had a good role, suited her, though a little dumb at times. A huge cast, some of them showing up for hardly a minute or so, made it kind of hard to keep track of everything. Mallika Sherawat got a small role (considering the length of the movie). Tamil song in a las vegas strip(?) club. Gruesome end. If he could have, may be he would have done Asin's role too. When I said that to my s-i-l, her remark was that, it would have been 'asingam' instead of asin. A PJ, I know.

The climax was laughable w.r.t. special effects. Couldn't they do a better job of showing the tsunami? Looks like they ran out of money when it came to that. But the places where they show two (or more) Kamals fighting looked good. At times, you forget that some of these characters are done by the same person.

There was his usual debate about the existence of God. Why did they have the moorthy on stage when he gives his final speech? Considering his beliefs, the fact that he did the Nambi role with so much conviction and aplomb shows how good an actor he is.

Having said all that, the movie was entertaining, if you could forget the two major glitches (Makeup and special effects).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Build up

After a long time, I am really looking forward to a Kamal movie. They have given it a lot of build up. Here is a peek from youtube.

The movie has passed through the clippers yesterday. People raving about it after seeing the beta version. The audio releases tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

"Easy" mac

It is normally easy to fix easy mac lunch for kids, as the name implies. Duh! That was the menu for the kids' lunch today. All you do is open the cover, remove cheese packet, pour water upto the mark, zap for 3 minutes, mix with powder and transfer to lunch box. Easy, right? Except that I missed a crucial part. After about 2.5 minutes in the zapper, I noticed that there was an unusual amount of smoke swirling behind the glass door. Opened and almost choked on the fumes. Definitely toxic. Closed the door, opened the windows and the back door to let fresh (cold) air in, so that I could breathe. Luckily, once I threw the container, there was no mess left. Except of course for the smell of smoke that seems to have taken residence with us.

Yep, water is very essential to any kind of cooking!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Palace of Illusions

I usually faithfully read all of Divakaruni's books, though I haven't liked all of them. I was going to wait, but Rads'review intrigued me. That this book is based on one of the greatest epics ever.

I have to say, firstly, that this is a well-written book. Especially if you have read Mistress of Spices. The style is smooth and not at all abrupt.

I have read bits and pieces of the great epic in its English Translation. And as far as I can recollect, I don't think I have read the Draupadi/Karna angle before. May be I skipped that part or may be it is a regional thing. I have always heard that she was devoted to Arjuna. Since reading this book, I have heard of other Bengali works that mention the same angle. And we know that works on the epics can alter a bit, according to the origin of the writer and suspension of reality is a norm in these cases. All the characters are infused with CBD's visions of them - a tiny bit is visible in the spices used for the brinjal fry, the yearning for fish curry and a couple of other instances that struck me as typical Bengali at that time.

Most of the events related coincides with what I have read earlier. Although the viewpoint differs. Divakaruni has weaved Draupadi's personality in such a way that the story flows very well and through her. In fact, all her characters are very well-etched. Kunti is shown as an archetypal mother-in-law, wanting to make sure her position among her sons is unshaken by Draupadi. Kunti's subtle power struggle, Drupad's vengeance, Dhritirashtra's jealousy, Gandhari's wifely devotion, Duryodhan's hatred, Karna's loyalty, Drona's love for his son, they all are very much alive in this book.

Vengeance is what Draupadi learnt in her cradle, and that is what feeds her later in life. As a brash young woman, she is ready with her barbed words. Over time, she learns to tame it some. She is shown not as a paragon, but as someone with a lot of faults. In short, human. And that is true for all the characters in the epic. Even Yudishtra had his faults. As human beings, we are all fallible. To me, that is something Mahabharata teaches - to accept one's faults and learn to live with them.

Then the war. The havoc it causes. When there is no fairness in it (is there ever?). The inhuman side of it. How even good men lose a little of their soul in the killing. (Harry Potter and horcruxes, anyone?) The aftermath, that is worse than the war itself.

Above all, there is Krishna. The cushion that helps devotees when they land hard. Although, there is no sermonizing, far from it. A hindu fanatic might take a cudgel against her for writing Draupadi in such a light, with an improper yearning. But, it needs to be taken as a work of fiction. A fantastic one in that.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The king of pickles

One of the best reasons to look forward to spring, is the advent of the mango season. And it is heralded by the appearance of those tiny baby mangoes. Which brings forth a load of nostalgia.

I have fond memories of my mom using the stone container to marinate the tiny mangoes. And of me finishing half of them before she got around to adding the spices. Older than that memory is the one where I sneaked into my paati's maavadu jaadi, grabbed a handful, washing them in the warm tap water and happily snacking away.

Ever since coming here, I had to satisfy myself with store bought bottles of maavadu, supposedly just like homemade. None of them really had that special taste. Then my uncle-in-law recommended the thangam brand from thaayaar dairy (for the uninitiated, it is near Mambalam station and I highly vouch for it). We were hooked. My luggage on return trips from India definitely included a couple of packs. They are packaged nicely for such trips.

So, when I saw these baby mangoes at the Indian Grocery, I was tempted. I was unsure, but was willing to give it a try. I called my mom for her recipe and tried my hand at pickling. Maavadus can easily spoil if not pickled properly and I was worried that it might not marinate well. So I was shaking the bottle every chance I got, to make sure that they were pickling nicely.

I was hesitant to try it, mainly because I made a very tiny batch and was afraid it would be gone quickly, just like the huge batch of mango pickle (molaga maanga) from last week. Anyway, I found the courage to inaugurate today and I have to say, it has turned out ok. May be not thangam maanga ok, but close. I am thinking I could have made a bigger batch. But then that would have invoked the most famous cooking law - the smaller the amount, the tastier it is - or rather, its corollary.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring break!

Had a wonderful vacation, though short!

Sometime back, I read this book, Daughter of the Stars by Phyllis Whitney. It is based in Harpers Ferry, WV. I was intrigued by the place and decided to add it to my vacation plans. It is not too far from where we are and one can spend half a day easily. Most of the interest is due to John Brown, when he raised a voice against slavery, a pre-cursor to the bigger movement. It is at the junction of three states - MD, VA and WV and 2 rivers meet - Shenandoah and Potomac. Shenandoah is an Indian name meaning Daughter of the Stars. Jefferson spent a lot of time here, and there is the Jefferson Rock, which is a great spot from which to view the 3 states. There is canoeing/rafting for those interested. The season starts in April, so it was not crowded. The picture shows the confluence of the two rivers.

From there we drove to Williamsburg, VA (thankfully avoided I495). Since we had already been to colonial Williamsburg a couple of years back, we decided to concentrate on the rest. While the old man spent time chasing holes on the green, the girls and I visited Yorktown and Jamestown. A good doze of history to be had. Then there was Busch Gardens. It was a lot of fun, dug a big hole in our pockets and one day was not enough. We missed some of the shows and it was cold for water rides and the sky ride. But the kids had a wonderful time and so did we.

A short drive brought us to the Chesapeake beach, but it was too windy and too cold to step on the sands. But we loved the underwater bridge tunnels.

There is also the Presidents Park close by, which is worth an hour or so. All the presidents' giant busts, a replica of the oval office and half of airforce one, can be toured in a quick trip. That is Coolidge in the picture, with Abe taking up a little of the background. The kids had fun reading about presidential nicknames (sounds like a Jeopardy category!).

Food was no problem as there are all types of cuisine to be had. The lone Indian restaurant was a pleasant surprise and had a decent fare as well as decor. And that is a lot to expect indeed! The thai place was good too, except the husband decided to order thai hot, which is worse (or better) than Indian hot. Each spoon of Panang curry needed a glass of water.

Like all other good things, it went by quickly and I am already thinking about my next vacation, another mini one, this time to the cradle of liberty!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Raghuvaran no more?

I saw somewhere that he passed away on March 19th due to his alcohol addiction. I haven't seen anything in the major sites. That is a sad tale.

Friday, February 29, 2008


A few days back while on the phone with the in-laws, mom-in-law mentioned this remarkarble and unbelievable phenomenon that was on jaya tv as she was talking. Something that someone had not only witnessed, but also recorded with his cell phone. It is now up on youtube.

So siddhars do exist outside of SunTV soaps, eh?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sad news about writer Sujatha

All good things must come to an end. Came across this article about writer Sujatha's death. Story on Behindwoods.com.

One of the few writers that I read in Tamil, he was well-appreciated among us for his science-themed fiction. The one who made Gino come to life. I didn't know he was Abdul Kalam's classmate.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Eastern contemporary dance

Of late, there seems to be a plethora of dance groups performing fusion dances. They are based on classical styles but seems to draw from other styles too. Recently, I happened to watch a bunch of techies in art. A group of collegiates from Bangalore performed a few numbers that were wonderfully choreographed. The music, they said was drawn from various sources - oxygen, morning raga and so on. It was tailor made for their items. There was one on trimurthi, one on Dasavatharam and one on ramayanam. The choreography to depict kaliya nardhanam was awesome, as was the final fight between rama and ravana. The kids enjoyed it too, which is something. And that is the whole point - passing it on to the younger generation. It may have to be adapted, but it cannot be allowed to die.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Out of hibernation

Been some time. I do feel like a sloth, hence the title. I am still getting used to white weather and not sure if I will ever be acclimatized.

I have been reading a lot since I seem to spend a lot of my evenings shuttling the kids to one activity or the other. Madras on rainy nights by Samina Ali was one of the latest. Yet another Indo-American author with her first one. Interesting. Gave a glimpse of muslim India at a depth previously unknown.

Then there is my favorite gaslight mystery series by Victoria Thompson. I have finally managed to get up to date with her books and am eagerly awaiting the next one. Her series deals with murders investigated by an Irish detective and a high-society-born-married-down-widowed-midwife. There is another underlying mystery about the midwife's husband's death and the next book is apparently about that. Set in very late 19th century New York, the police commissioner in the series is Teddy Roosevelt, the soon-to-be prez. I got curious and googled and found that he served as a NY commish for 2 years. The atmosphere depicted seems a lot like India, a few decades back. Could easily be adapted to tamil movies.

On a segue, the little one has started music lessons (carnatic and piano) this month and it is a trial to both the teacher and the parent. She can't sit still for a minute. Looking at the positive side, I am learning to play the piano.

The big baby has turned out to be near-sighted and is proudly wearing her extra pair of eyes. She is extremely happy that she can read the time off the cable box.