Sunday, March 15, 2015

Re-reading Classics -- Escape into paradise

Surprisingly, March has been a month of reading. I started with some of the books I loved and then moved on to ones which I could not remember at all. The ones I re-read this month include the following:
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Pollyanna by Eleanor H Porter
  • Emma by Jane Austen
I am currently reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I am trying to read 1 book from an author and then going back to them again hopefully next month. Unfortunately, Emily Bronte, has written only this book. Though I recall having read it, when I re-read it, I could not remember much. It was quite surprising. I have not yet finished reading it, though. Hopefully, some memory will return.

I have always wanted to read Alice in Wonderland - I remember reading the book when I was a kid and getting lost in the book and being unable to figure out what was going on and getting very confused. I also want to read all the books in the Chronicles of Narnia series, by C S Lewis.

I know I tend to read a particular genre for quite a bit and then drop it like a hot potato. So, let me see how long this interest in classics perseveres. I may not even continue after this month. Fingers Crossed!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Absolute Barbeque -- Restuarant Review

After a long time, we were doing a team lunch and the venue chosen was Absolute Barbeque. Its quite popular and everyone knows about it , apparently, but I was clueless. I thought it would be similar to Barbeque Nation in concept and so was a willing recipient of the treat.

First, the location, it is near the Park Hotel near Innovative Multiplex, Marathahalli. Its on the 3rd
Absolute Barbeque
Floor. We were having our treat on Friday and so the place was packed. It took me a while to find our group (Yes, I was late). They had already started on the starters by the time I joined.

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When I joined I was asked if I was vegetarian or Non-vegetarian and when I said I was vegetarian, I was served a pineapple slice. The taste was a bit strong for me but I was unable to place it. A colleague mentioned that it was cinnamon. The pineapple, shorn of its external coverings, looked like 'Shawarma' - a non-vegetarian dish. (It took me the entire lunch to figure out the name of the non-vegetarian dish!) The other starters were the staples: Mushroom, Paneer, Corn etc. Then, I noticed water melon, some mixed vegetables including the big chilli (used for chilli bajjis). Apart from this, I was served crispy masala corn that I enjoyed quite a bit and a potato vada which was quite spicy. 

There was an option to choose an item and watch it being grilled - they called it the Wish Grill or Exotic grill. I was not in a mood to experiment - also, broccoli was one of the options and so I gave that a pass. I think the Non-Vegetarians had some very different options for the Exotic Grill - Rabbit, Quail, or Emu. I remembered to make a note to inform the Arien. 

The main course was a number of gravies, steamed rice, and a veg Dum Biriyani on the vegetarian side. I noticed that the staples were there in the non-vegetarian side. I had rotis and decided to get started on the desserts. The dessert section had a number of goodies: Phirni, Gulab Jamoon, Apple pudding, chocolate pastry, Italian pudding or mousse, and of course the Wish Ice-cream - the flavors chosen were bent, and beaten into submission and served as three scoops by the server. I did not try that either. I opted for the Gulab Jamoon, the chocolate pastry, and the Italian thingie.  

Whenever we have team lunches, we usually split up into two groups - the veg and the non veg groups. So, I do not have much of an idea on the non-veg starters.

Now, to the real question: How does this restaurant compare with BBN? Well, obviously they are quite similar but this place has certain exotic options for non-vegetarians. BBN has the Kulfi and they have the Wish Ice-cream. BBN has a decent number of different vegetarian starters and so has ABS2 though I liked the BBN's options better. Price-wise BBN is priced slightly less than ABS2, at least the one at Banaswadi. Ambience was good.

Rating: ***1/2

Friday, March 13, 2015

I - Movie Review

Got around to seeing my first Tamizh movie this year - I. The last time Shankar and Vikram got together, they gave us the hugely successful "Anniyan". So, naturally, there was a lot of hype surrounding this venture. However, according to me, it was all for naught! The movie released more than two months ago but if you have not seen the movie yet, watch the movie and see if you agree with me or not. *Spoilers*

Vikram as the bodybuilder

Vikram as the model
Vikram is into body building and is trying to win the Mr. Madras contest. At one of the contests, the other contestants were real body builders, I think, and it was difficult for me to accept that Vikram won the contest. Another contestant wants him to lose and Vikram wins in spite of not having the superior body.  But, then that is the typical bollywood way.

Image courtesy: www.

Vikram is a great fan of Amy Jackson, a model who has been shooting a number of ads with Upen Patel. Vikram takes on a temporary bodyguard role for Amy while she is in town and he shares his card with her. While you wonder if Amy and Upen are having an affair, she is actually trying to fend off his unwelcome advances. As a result, she gets pulled out of various ad projects. In a fix, she contacts Vikram and transforms him into a model.

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Vikram after I
They are to travel to China for an ad campaign and Ojas Rajani is in charge of converting him into a model. Upen is surprised that he has lost out a number of campaigns as a result of Vikram's entry. Ojas, falls for Vikram. Vikram is unable to act and struggles to emote in the China ad campaign. The director of the shoot asks Amy to profess love so he can emote better. Amy is not comfortable but agrees. And soon, he is acting pretty well and the shoots are a walk in the park for him.Ojas lusts after Vikram and breaks the news to him.

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He refuses to believe until Amy accepts it. This shocks him but he completes the shoot. Ojas is upset. Amy feels very guilty and returns his love which surprises Vikram after an absolutely unnecessary and totally contrived dishum-dishum fight with a number of chinese extras and a local tamizh dialok delivery by the two actors!

They decide to get engaged when they return. Meanwhile, the ad agency which gave Vikram his
Vikram as the beast - Dream
break is planning to shoot an ad for a product that is good and Vikram refuses to shoot for the ad and also gives a statement to the media about his decision. This affects the ad agency adversely. Vikram and Amy get engaged and then things change. What happens next is not too difficult to imagine. The story is told in a non-linear manner, with the present story interspersed with flashbacks.

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I liked Vikram in his body building avatar. His physique is exceptional, specifically the torso. But, his legs are quite lean and do not appear muscular. At the contest, all the other body builders seemed to have very muscular legs. I thought he looked old in the model look, with a clean shaven face, which everyone in the movie raves about. His beast look in the dream sequence was pretty good and the other look was frankly scary. Kudos for carrying the different looks.

Suresh Gopi, a famous malayalam actor, plays a prominent role and Santhanam is Vikram's friend and supporter during all the changes from good to great to horrible. Upen Patel, Ram Kumar Ganeshan, and Ojas are caricatures. Ram Kumar Ganeshan is blessed with his dad's dialogue delivery and sometimes it is a major distraction. Not what I expected from a Shankar movie. Anniyan was far far better. Robot was very good. This movie does not meet those high expectations. A pity!

Wah Wah
  • Vikram's acting prowess.
  • Vikram's ability to don multiple looks for his role in this movie
  • Special Effects
  • Picturization of the Ennoddu Nee Iranthal (More like a musical) and Marasalaittean (Special effects)
  • Songs were ok.
Blah Blah
  • Old wine in new bottle - Typical revenge story with beauty and the beast thrown in
  • No twists at all - the one twist is also so clear early on that you are just waiting for it to happen - No surprise
  • Neither the role of the main cast or the supporting cast was well fledged out - some of the villains instead of being scary or terrifying were reduced to almost caricatures and were comical.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Collected Short Stories and The New Collected Short Stories -- Book Review

Finally, my first book review in 2015. Well, I have read these short stories a while ago when they were sold as separate books. Yes, a long time ago :) The Arien got me these two collections of short stories for Christmas. I got around to reading them this month. The Collected Short Stories is a collection of three books: Quiver full of Arrows, Twist in the Tale, and Twelve Red Herrings. Some of the stories are good, some are predictable, some are just ok. I think I preferred the stories from the "Twist in the Tale" book of this collection.

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If you have not read any of his books, you could start with the Collected Short Stories.

I have been reading and re-reading Jeffrey Archer's books almost as often as I read Agatha Christie's books. And, I enjoy them a lot. However, I do not like his newer short stories that much because somehow they seem quite predictable. Its also possible that after re-reading his books a gazillion times, I look for the Tell or can recognize the Tell of the author. I do not want to think that the master story teller is losing his touch. I like his novels though. He still weaves a pretty good story.

The New Collected Short Stories is a collection of three books: To Cut a Long Story Short, And Thereby Hangs a Tale, and Cat O' Nine Tales. I liked the stories from the "The Cat O Nine Tales" book from this collection but there are some good stories in the other books as well.

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Catch it when you have the time.. its a light read. Because it is a collection of short stories, you can put it down for a bit and then get back. That was the life saver for me. I tend to get engrossed in a book which irritates the Arien and Kuku but that did not happen this time.

Oh and No.. this is not really a review though the title pretty much says that :) 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pulse Polio @ Masinagudi

So, I was supposed to send a reminder out about the Pulse Polio vaccinations on Sunday (22nd Feb) but forgot all 'bout it in the rush to pack. I was actually worried if we could get the vaccination done because we were not in Bangalore. But, I needn't have worried. We got Kuku's polio drops @ a health center in Masinagudi.

We had, by the the time we got the vaccination, received a gazillion calls from family members reminding us to get the vaccination. So, we spent the rest of the time, informing folks that "Yes, we got it done", "No, we are not in Bangalore", "Yes, it was possible here as well" and other variations of the same!

Hope you got it done as well!


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Elaneer Mousse

I spent a lot of time nibbling on my nails wondering if I would do anything new this month. And then over the weekend, as we drove towards Mysore, we stopped at a Food Court. I was quite surprised to hear myself order Elaneer Mousse at the UpSouth outlet. I am not someone who experiments with food and so I was very sure I would be hitting myself on the head 'bout that choice for the rest of the journey. Surprise! Surprise! I loved it. Its very rare that I experiment with my food and rarer still that the experiment does not blow up on my face. I had the widest smile in a loong time and was ready to do the bing dance :)

Well, Elaneer Mousse (Elaneer means coconut water in Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada) ,as the name suggests, tasted of coconut. I love coconuts. I like them in Biscuits (coconut crunchees), chocolates (Bounty), Chutneys, Subjis, and raw as well. And so, obviously I liked it a lot. I allowed the Arien to take a bite and he was like - "It tastes like coconut burfi" which made me go Grrrr.. Well, ya, it kinda tastes like coconut burfi. The Arien somehow managed to hit the nail on the head.

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Well, anyway, I tried a new dish - Yipeee!! I loved it - Double Yipee!! I have a post - Triple Yipee!!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Is Chetan Bhagat the New Shah Rukh Khan? -- Rant

Hahahaha :D Are you wondering if:
  • Chetan Bhagat (CB) has been signed on by Yash Raj films
  • CB has become buddies-nahin-family with Karan Johar
  • CB has started a on-off relationship with Farah Khan by slapping Shirish Kunder
  • CB has a six-pack
  • CB had botox so he cannot ever frown and even when he does - it looks comical
  • CB's illegal ramp has been mowed down now
  • CB has a surrogate kid called Abram

Well, there was a time, when I watched a lot of TV (before Kuku, of course) and at that time irrespective of the channel, when it was time for advertisements, I found myself staring at Shah Rukh Khan. If it was not Fair and Handsome, it was Lux, Lux Cozy, Navarathan cool Tail (Yupp, that is the spelling), etc etc etc. After Amitabh Bacchan, an actor I used to admire a lot before he joined the  overexposed list, it is Shah Rukh. Amitabh appears for Maggi, Cadbury's, Navaratan Cool Tail, ICICI, etc etc etc. I found myself admiring the Heroes of an earlier era who would not be caught dead appearing for these advertisements. Of course, some of them died penniless as well :(

Chetan Bhagat now has the dubious distinction of joining the overexposed group with, Blender's Pride, etc. Seeing him on TV advertisement after advertisement, had everyone at home going "Whaaat??" The senior Arien even asked "Who is that?" Well, so, if Shah Rukh was the next Amitabh, Chetan is the next Shah Rukh!