Friday, May 29, 2015

May 2015 Update on my Classics Re-Reading Spree -- Not too bad

So, its time for yet another update on the status of my Classics re-reading spree. No waning of interest as yet. So, what have I completed so far? Here you go:
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald 
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  •  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Currently reading The Enchanted Castle by Edith Nesbit. I am as usual picking books at random. I believe that is the reason I am still reading the books :)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Kuku's First Haircut -- Another First this month

So, our trip to Chennai resulted in Kuku falling sick - thanks to the weather change. After the fever and resultant sickness went away, the Arien insisted that we cut his hair. So, the next weekend, Kuku had his first haircut.

Just before the Haircut
Kuku was extremely happy with all the attention as he sat on a high chair etc. but cried incessantly as the guy tried to cut his hair. I was holding his right hand, the Arien was holding his left hand, and the Senior Arien was providing support by standing behind Kuku but nothing really worked... he wanted out and he cried till he could get out :(

So, the haircut while mostly done was not perfect as he refused to let the guy cut some of the slightly longer ends. I did not want to force him. He was crying so much his nose was running :(

We decided to feed ourselves as a reward for the tough job that was completed. All of us were quite stressed :) We spotted a nearby Chaat place and all of us enjoyed Chaat. Kuku was provided puffed rice in a Katori and that kept him occupied while we ate the Chaat.

And just like that, I had another first with Kuku. Nice!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Uttama Villain -- Movie Review

I am a Kamal Hassan fan. His movies and roles are usually well-chosen (not always though), his acting is always top-knotch, and you either enjoy the movie and want everyone to watch it or you totally hate it and want to tell everyone to not watch it. He has had his flops, his commercial hits some of which were total masala potboilers as well, but you wanted to know what he had to offer and so you would always go to watch his latest movie.

As per the latest news, Uttama Villain is a hit and has had a good opening. The reviews have been uniformly very sweet - positive response and critical appreciation n all that. So, this is one scary review to write. ** Spoilers Ahead**

Kamal is Manoranjan, an aging super star who is still loved by the masses. He is married to Varalakshmi (Urvashi) and has a son. His father-in-law is Poorna Chandra Rao (a famous producer). He is in the middle of an affair with his doctor, Arpana (Andrea Jeremiah) and his latest film is a sooper hit. He occasionally takes a  swig from his bottle and sometimes faints in the restroom.

Image Courtesy:

His manager, Chokku (M S Bhasker) is in-charge of keeping a lot of this hidden from the press and from his family. His co-star is Pooja Kumar. To celebrate the success of his movie, a party is organized at his home.

At this party, he learns two life-altering truths. How does he handle both the situations forms the rest of the story.

K Balachander, the director, plays director Margadarshi in the movie and makes a movie for Manoranjan.  

Image Courtesy:

Some scenes that stayed in my mind:
  • Dr. Arpana is going to share the first of the life-altering news with Manoranjan and she is unable to handle the same. That was what it was supposed to be - but what it looked like - a) Dr. Arpana was doing a wild, wriggly, snake dance to catch Manoranjan's attention b) Dr. Arpana had just been groped by the other actor in the scene, was trying to squirm away from another grope, and calling attention to the same c) Dr. Arpana wanted to use the loo and the director insisted on completing the scene before he allowed a loo break d) Dr. Arapana's beautician or make-up lady has gone on long leave and she has no idea how she can continue to look as fabulous without her e) The Director said that no free lunch was going to be served that day
  • When Manoranjan refers to his driver as his sotthu (Riches or Treasure) and the driver sheds tears of joy. You want to yell 'Yenna Mirugam Aaakathe' just as S Ve Shekar does in most of his dramas.
  • When Manoranjan hears the second life-altering news from Zachaeriah (Jayaraman). There is no histronics or melodrama or over the top acting but there is also not much anything - like emoshun or acting. It fell flat - I did not feel that Kamal was much upset - his dialogues were sharing his grief and shock but no emoshun except a very exaggerated sigh and some rolling of eyes. He has done that way better in gazillion scenes in so many movies - I could not comprehend it.
  • When Chokku is asked to read the parting letter from Kamal's old flame out loud. Dr. Arpana tries to leave, Mano roars SIT DOWN. Chokku squints or blinks and then comes forward to read it near the reflected light from the screen. There must have been some major meaning to this scene but I did not get it. The letter was so blaah.. it was so not worth the SIT DOWN or the theatrical touch.
Blast From the Past - A still from MMKR
Its not that the movie does not have some genuinely funny scenes or sequences - the ayyo appa and ayyappa scene in the movie within the movie, the scene where Urvashi is admitted in the hospital and says that she was quite beautiful years ago and she has spoilt her looks by eating - you cannot help smiling as you remember Urvashi and Kamal from the movie 'Michael Madana Kama Rajan'.

Image Courtesy:

Also, the scene where Kamal meets with Margadarshi and he shouts at Manoranjan for doing masala potboilers and various meaningless movies. Some of those dialogues were quite close to the truth.

But, the funny scenes were too few in number and do not save the movie from falling flat. The movie within the movie was funny for a bit and then it got too bizarre and the thaiyyam n koothu while artistically well executed - did not help the movie at all.

Image Courtesy:

Sorry, Kamal, this movie was way too indulgent even for you Or maybe it was too intellectual for me.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

First movie experience with Kuku

While on our shortest visit to Chennai, ever, we managed to catch the latest Kamal Hassan movie, Uttama Villain. You can read the review in my next post. It was Kuku's first movie experience.

To start at the beginning, we thought the drive and the popcorn that we were eating outside was a good prelude to the movie for Kuku. But, Kuku believed otherwise. He ran all around the place, accepting popcorn from my niece - who gave him tiny bite-sized bits for easy chewing. He attempted hide n seek but seeing the crowd decided against it. And then he went from one person's arm to the other. We were about 10 ppl watching the movie and so it was a while before he came back to me :) All this happened outside the screen.

Once inside, Kuku was quite surprised that we all had to stay put in one place and shrieked. The Arien dutifully walked him down to the lowest or first row. Then the lights dimmed and Kuku wanted to climb up and down in parallel to the rows of seats - so, the Arien took him up and then down and then out. I was so guilty that I timed myself to step out exactly after 30 mts to bail the Arien out. I got up from my seat only to find the Arien standing near the stairs to the exit with a fast asleep Kuku in his arms. He slept for about 30 mts and then same issue - lets go up and down, up and down, up and down. Thankfully, it was Intermission by then.

Post Intermission and a few scenes later, I decided to relieve the Arien and found them near the stairs leading to the exit. Arien was watching the screen, Kuku was watching his rhymes on the Arien's phone! I watched the rest of the movie from the stairs while Kuku continued to watch his rhymes so the Arien could sit in his seat for a little more than 15 mts.

So, that was our amazing (???) experience at the movie hall. On our drive back, the Arien whispered, "Lets not watch a movie in a theatre until he is old enough to sit and enjoy the same." I had to agree. So, while we will continue to watch movies, it maybe in our home rather than on the big screen, for a while at least.  


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Breakfast at MTR, Metro Ride, and Meeting a friend at the Hospital -- Eventful Day

It has been a while since we had breakfast together as a family though we live in the same Apartment complex. So, when the Arien suggested we all meet up for breakfast outside, all of us agreed. The Taurean wanted to eat at MTR, Indiranagar, and thats where we went.

We started on time, around 8 am. We were surprised to find that we had to wait to be seated. Anyway, we went in and the Arien asked the waiter for the menu. They do not maintain any. The waiter instead, rattled - "Idli, Dosa, Masala Dosa, Neer Dosa,...". The Arien interrupted him with "Do you have any Rice Bath?" The answer was No. Before he could repeat his menu, the Arien asked "Do you have Poori?" The answer was No again. Arien asked "Do you have pongal?" The answer was No again. I asked for Onion Oothappam and received yet another NO. I have been here before but not for breakfast. I did not know that they did not serve some of the breakfast options. So, instead of wasting time, we ordered masala dosas and Idlis. The masala dosas arrived quickly enough with a small Katori of Ghee. As we ate, we noticed giant Mangalore Bajjis which looked like pooris from a distance. We realized that we had interrupted the waiter so many times that he forgot to tell us about the bhajjis. Anyway, the Masala dosas were crispy and yummy, the green chutney was pretty good - white chutney not so much, ghee seemed excessive. No opinion on the Idlis. But, the Neer Dosa was  pretty good too. Tea or Chai was good. Usually, most places serve great coffee but Tea is supect but I liked the Tea here. It was served hot with no sugar. The Arien and self shared a cuppa. The Arien was a tad bugged with MTR because he wanted to eat 'Rice Palav' or 'Pongal' or 'Poori' none of which they served - I never eat Masala Dosas but I ordered it here. I liked it.

On our return, we took the Metro. You can read 'bout that here.

As soon as we reached home, I tried to put Kuku to sleep. With all the excitement, he fell asleep almost immediately which surprised me a lot but I was glad. I was planning to visit a colleague whose son is sick, at the hospital. Four of us were supposed to go together but we left separately and two of us came back together. The visit was upsetting and I hope and pray that God gives her the strength to continue to be strong.   

Friday, May 1, 2015

First Ride on the Metro with Kuku

We have been planning this ride since Kuku turned 1. Everytime the plan was close to materializing, something else always came up and this was pushed to the back. So, when it happened right out of the blue - it was a whole lotta fun :)

The ride was a short one - in fact, exactly two stops away. We were returning from a breakfast get-together in Indiranagar and the Arien dropped us off at the metro station there and said he would pick us up at Byappanahallai. The Taurean, self, and Kuku were taking the metro ride while the Ariens were driving to the drop off point.

Kuku was absolutely excited and enthralled. The escalator scared and excited him. The ride was smooth. Somewhere in between, he got a bit terrified and got all clingy - but had a nice time. He could not believe we were so high up and stared in awe at the coconut trees.

I think we should do this again - probably go upto MG Road and then back.  Thanks to the Taurean for taking this snap.