Feelin’ A Bit Bloggy

I have been actively blogging since 2005 (courtesy Red). I haven’t been consistent in my blogging though. Starting with LiveJournal and blogging without much finesse and about everything under the sun, I moved to Blogger because having everything under one umbrella aka Google was convenient. But something was missing…and I stopped.

In 2013 October sometime I thought I’d check out WordPress (again courtesy Red) and have been camped out here ever since. Maybe I finally hit the stride I needed to while blogging or WP just appealed to me in a way that the others haven’t till now, but I always come back to blogging here and frequently have a multitude to drafts to build on.

That being said, the evolution of a personal blogger is quite necessary to blogging well. If you want a private journal that you maintain online, you can write pretty much whatever you want and not dress it up, let the grammar and syntax be totally haywire and no one is any wiser.

The moment you start writing for someone else’s consumption you become aware of the play of the words, the format, the tone being used and how aesthetic the overall experience is being made. It doesn’t mean you’re selling out and giving the people what they need rather than catering to what you want to convey; no. It just means whatever you want to convey is being polished from the rough and raw and being made ready for more people’s’ consumption and enjoyment.

And why is that important? Well…for me personally, more than the number of views that get generated, it’s the different countries that they come in from is what matters. I remember seeing an Eastern European country once that I thought was under a lot of government-imposed censorship and it gave me quite the kick to see it feature in the list of places people had logged in from. Seeing far-flung geographical locations come together to read or maybe even skim through something you thought of and put out there, is a great feeling.

So I try and write stuff that is important to me while trying not to keep it too heavy. Not because am terribly amusing as an individual all the time. I can be pedantic and prosaic in everyday life. But when I sit down and the digits take over, what comes out is usually in the lighter vein…because we’ve all had our share of heaviness. A little levity never hurt anyone I always say.

So, thank you for dropping by and thanks awfully for reading.

Cheers!

Parenting: The Stuff They Never Tell You

I am a semi-helicopter mother and not proud of it. Here are some things I’ve gleaned in the past few years of parenting. I’m not sure how helpful this is but for those contemplating marriage and eventually kids, do read this once. It may give you a different perspective (read abstinence or hardcore contraception) or it may reinforce what you see and hear in front of you everyday anyhow.

So..here we go!

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#1 Having a conversation with anyone else barring your child is like being in a boxing match. It goes like this- you speak 1,2,3 and someone jabs you. You try to regain your balance and speak again 1,2,3 and this time it’s an uppercut.

There are rare conversations that you can have without being interrupted; till you decide to give it up and just focus on the kid. And guess what precious nugget comes your way when you do? It’s quite possibly something along the lines of – (imagine it being spoken in all caps) “You know what? My poop is all orange from all the nachos I ate yesterday!!” And you nod helplessly because you hung up on an overseas call with your BFF to hear about your kid’s bodily function.

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#2 Farts are important. If they stink, how loud they are. If you’ve noticed the abovementioned smell and noise. If you haven’t they’ll probably poop their pants trying to squeeze one out that the whole neighborhood can be proud of.

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#3 You have to watch everything you say. Literally. Imagine becoming a psychotic with visual hallucinations where the words you think materialize in front of your face. You reject a few and allow the rest of them to be uttered. If you don’t, the next time you may be subjected to a bout of , ” Gimme a break or a ” Oh for crying out loud!” from a 1st grader because you cut off digital media or pool access at pre-agreed upon times.

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#4 Pool times are deadly. The child *never* remembers that staying for too long in the water causes their skin to prune up. When you tell them their time’s up, they mimic dolphins and scoot away from you.

Wading into the pool and dragging them out leads to yells and screams tantamount to child abduction with people looking at you and your offspring in distaste for causing ripples in their recreation or serenity.

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#5 Some part of the body always hurts during homework or DEEEEP sleep to rival Rip Van Winkle’s comes on in droves and it goes away only when the threat of homework does. And then, the recovery is more miraculous than the walking on water phenomenon! Faster too!

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#6 Waking the child up in the mornings is a drama par excellence. The hands flung over the eyes a la Scarlett O’Hara, the burrowing into the covers like a mole and coiling up smaller and smaller like a worm or a snake makes you gobsmacked! One child going through all these changes in a matter of seconds is nothing short of amazing.

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#7 Say goodbye to your stereo and tv and tablets. The kid rules all and owns all. You don’t come in second. You don’t come in. Period.

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#8 Holiday destinations are decided by where the wild things are. Literally. The continent with the most venomous snakes, biggest crocs makes the cut. Relaxing at a beach? Sure…but can you also see the Inland Taipan or the Tasmanian Devil? No? Then it’s a no-go.

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#9&#10– these two are probably the most annoying IMHO. Your bedroom and your bathroom time are no longer your own. And that’s mystifying because why on earth would someone want to spend so much time talking to you through the bathroom door, wanting to know what you’re doing, when you’re coming out and even going to the extent of shoving their ever-growing drawings of dragons under the door for you to peruse while you’re focused on something entirely different and faar more important.

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They creep you out by looming over you in the weekends; the one time you don’t have to run and bundle them into clothes and catch the school bus. They whisper slowly into your ears, distorting dreams with reality; often shoving tiny fingers up your nose to wake you thoroughly and even body flop on your sleeping, unsuspecting self just to tell you they LOVE YOU. And you feel compelled to reply in kind while you blindly kick out, hoping to connect with that tiny butt and get them the hell out of your sacred sleeping space.

Ah parenting…what a ride!

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Gummy Flashback

8 years ago, someone stepped on the stage for the 1st time. They wore a gummy bear costume for the 1st time too, along with shoes that had laces….something that sadly hasn’t been mastered till date. They had whiskers painted on their tiny, chubby, kissable face and didn’t complain a bit for the long wait before everyone was seated and they got to do their thaang for the parents present in the auditorium.
This gummy bear has come a long way now. No longer chubby, but still cute (when he sleeps though), saying extremely interesting things and mangling up song lyrics with hilarious results.
The home is a louder, funner and definitely more laughter-filled place because someone learnt to shake their booty 6 years ago. Here’s a look through my trip down memory lane…
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Tech-Pottery

I love technology. It has no boundaries. The scope of it ranges from the little to the humongous. And that’s really saying something.

I have a sick kid at home who’s been using his “I’m sick” status as a Get Out Of Jail card. I’ve been annoyed, short tempered and most desperately in need of a diversion. Enter Play Store.

I was thinking to myself how I’d like to throw clay around to get rid of my ire and also try out some pottery in the process. Lo and Behold! there was a pottery app (Free&Paid) that I tried out. And it was just what I needed. Well…I actually needed a wheel, kiln and tons of clay but the virtual one wasn’t too bad either.

With any kind of artistic endeavor, the creativity needs to just flow and take shape. Whether it’s drawing, painting, sculpting or pottery…it’s an expression of what you think and feel and what vibes with you.

After vibing with these babies for a while, I am determined to find a teacher and just get down and dirty making pots.

Boredom often leads to an A-Ha experience.

Pet Peeves Maketh The Person

I almost wrote “maketh the man” and then reminded myself of gender neutrality (another pet peeve of mine) and changed it to “person”.

Anyone following my blog of late would have wondered if they’d landed on the same person’s site or not because I’ve gone slightly berserk with my template changes. And that’s the super-duper pet peeve I’m addressing today.  I NEED THINGS PERSONALIZED. And how! If it doesn’t vibe with me, I don’t get no satisfaction!

I think I can blame Livejournal for that. With icons for depicting different moods, being able to mention the place one is blogging from and the kind of music that one’s listening to at that time…they spoiled me. Of course they got in tons of spam as well and as a result it was ‘adios amigos’ but I miss a few of their blogging features.

I bring in lots of little (and often inconsequential) details to my blogs. To me- it adds to the ambiance. To another (read Red) it was often a WTF moment to know that I’d been listening to Waqt Ne Kiya Kya Hansi Sitam while ranting on a blog post. He always asked, “what’s the damn value add for me to know what you’re listening to if it’s not reflected in the words you’re writing?”

But we all have our quirks. Some of us more than others and some of us need to see something and make it our own. Whether it’s putting the world on hold while a new phone’s wallpaper and font is chosen or the blog’s template is changed for the nth time; it adds to a sense of satisfaction to see something and think, “there it is…that’s how we roll baby!”

Call it a quirk or a mini-disease, those of us who need to make things a part of our personality, need to have those things reflect who we are or what we’re thinking about, and get fidgety if we have to settle for something which is close but no cigar. Because damn it, we want the cigar!

Note: the author is *not* promoting smoking or any kind of tobacco usage. She however does have a thing (here we go again) for proverbs and liberally peppers her speech with them.

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Tech-Savvy Woes

I’ve written earlier about the advent of Alexa in our lives. Red was in the market for good quality speakers and was considering buying Sonos and then suddenly got his head turned by the cute lil dot that now talks to us in a STRONG American accent and frequently gets our song choices wrong because she doesn’t get us much. And that’s funny because the offspring has his own twangy accent that sounds kind of like Alexa and yet they don’t always communicate correctly.

Properly enunciated crisp diction rings her bells though. Take for example, MLM wanting to hear Ra.One’s Chhammak Chhallo. He yelled out into the general direction of Alexa, “AlexaplaymeChamakChalo” and pat came the reply, “I’m sorry. I am unable to understand you.” El Brato grumbled, “Stupid Alexa” and then yelled out to me, “Ayu…come and tell Alexa the song I want to hear. It’s not listening to me.”

And there I was, speaking to the dot, yet again, telling her to play Chhammak Challo, said with tight lips and no hint of any accent anywhere. And she popped up saying, “Here’s ChamakChalo from VishalShaker”. I swear there was no difference between her and MLM but someone must have a hearing problem somewhere so I’m still running interference for them both and waiting till he asks me to tell her to play ‘Rashke Qamar’. Last time he asked her to play the song she played Paula Abdul’s Rush Rush

For my troubles, I get to hear the dratted song on loop till my brains start to leak out of my ears. *rolls eyes*

Signing off!

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Movie Review: Pari

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This movie is Prosit Roy’s love affair with the older parts of Calcutta, the bits that make it stand apart from every other city in India. It is strangely enough, also an ode to the nail cutter and umbrellas. Never has the humble implement of hand and foot hygiene received so much spotlight neither, for that matter, has so much water fallen on the city of Calcutta.

I fully expect the sales of nail cutters and umbrellas to go through the roof post people watching the movie.

The devil is invoked. He of the run-of -the-mill horned-head fame and blood thirst, comes (excuse the pun) and impregnates women (poor, low-income…take your pick) whose gestation period lasts for all of one month (the only bright spot in the movie) and then a belly button-less and umbilical cord-less child comes forth into the world. Their goal? To increase the progeny of their father. But all banality aside, the Devil needs his flesh and blood to aid in eventual world domination. The world domination bit isn’t referred to but why be the Devil if you can’t rule over the world, am I right?

That in a nutshell is Pari. The tagline claims that it’s not a fairy tale but fairy tales are replete with angst-ridden, unhappy characters who utter curses as easily as they breathe.

So why is this movie not a write-off? Because the cinematography sets the tone and mood of the entire movie without having to resort to cheap gimmicks of blood and gore to live up the “horror” genre.

The by-lanes of Calcutta, the moss-laden walls, the sooty shutters and a slightly sleepy, lethargic ambience lull you into the story only to be jarred from the calm and into the world of the preternatural. Compared to RGV’s Bhoot and movies of it’s ilk, Pari doesn’t rely on a sudden loud noise which has you clutching your heart in fear.

Anushka Sharma’s vulnerability makes you wish the bad juju doesn’t catch up with her and gulp her down. This movie is Anushka’s vehicle but she has to work at being creepy and you feel sorry for her plight. She can be de-glam but she still has to nail being ferocious.

The rest of the cast is passable with Mansi Multani (Kalapori) and Rajat Kapoor standing out for their respective roles. They are by turns creepy, scary and the chief ingredients needed to bring in a bit of shiveriness to an otherwise droll “horror” movie. Kapoor with his fake eye, stoic and almost amused-countenance is a true reflection on how normal people can become evangelical and take on a mantle of evil themselves under the guise of the greater good.

The role of the crone playing Kaali Pori (Mansi Multani) has been enacted well with her entry coming in sporadically to scare the life out of Anushka. That and her sing song voice while she plays the conduit for the demon is well portrayed.

The male lead-Parambrata and Ritabhari (Piyali) do justice to their roles with the former playing a person with values and morals but still dragging his feet throughout life and becoming proactive when you least expect him to. He seems confused through most of the movie and even his repentance at the end seems to fall flat.

But all this dissection aside- kudos to Anushka for not going the expected path of KJo-type movies alone. She can emote and emote well.

Pari is all about her. But I give it half a thumbs-up because a horror movie shouldn’t just be about pathos…it should be a bit jarring. Pari fails to do that.