The Grubby Tales

Surf&turf paella

Catch of the day

The gourmand goes gourmet

Pesto and avocado galore!

They even make eels look good. Almost.

Mercado San Miguel is all about fresh seafood displayed to perfection.

A night cap (or caps) of sweet vermouth really hits the spot!

The peppers are always prominently displayed and are huge!

Wine, meats and cheese- can’t go wrong with that combo.

A regular supermarket or mercato is a riot of glass jars filled with olives, fruits and tangy things that tickle the tastebuds.

Viva La Flamenco!!

The cries of Ole resound in the small room. The lights are dim but bright enough to shine on sheen of sweat on the faces and bodies of the dancers.

Suddenly a deep baritone growls out notes to a song you don’t understand but can feel all the way down to your toes.

The thudding off the heels, the snapping of the fingers and the flinging of the fringed shawl in a frenzy is enough to create a tempo that you are moving along to; even without knowing.

The sangria is forgotten, the fatigue of the day is parked for a while…and you just watch the fury that is the flamenco!

Discovering Barcelona-III

This was our last day in Barcelona. We decided to skip the beach in the less than balmy weather and spend the day in the Gothic Quarter instead. A good decision as it turned out.

Browsing through a flea market, listening to street musicians and having a perfect lunch in a quaint, hole-in-the-wall place in one of many warrens of the Gothic quartets was a leisurely way to see not just see the tourists but also see how the locals look at the likes of us.

Street artists who busk all day at the main square

The wall of an art museum there.

Huge wooden doors with wrought iron knockers dot the area

A Brit watercolor artist who’s called Barcelona his home since the 70s.

Lladro statues being sold so casually at a flea market.

The saints outside Barcelona cathedral

Discovering Barcelona-II

Gaudi and Barcelona are synonymous and even without anyone going too deep into the psyche or temperament of the artist, you can’t help but concede, the man had style! A glimpse of his masterpiece Sagrada Familia…

Discovering Barcelona- I

When I visit a new place, I don’t just focus on the well-known or even the off-the-beaten track kind of locales and sights; I like to capture the every day lives of the people there.

Here are some glimpses of Barcelona, the way the locales live.

Apparently Annabelle resides in Barcelona

A bit of Argentina on a Barcelona sidewalk

St.Joan’s church..FYI it’s a he and not a she.

In the midst of elegant balconies and facades is graffiti.

Butcher shop store front

Grocery stores are a riot of colors

Why Kids Should Come With Disclaimers

It’s a longish title I admit but sometimes you have such a doozy of a week that you just need to get it out of your system and can’t be bothered by the aesthetics of formatting or “optimum” title lengths. Apparently blogging tip#1 is that one needs to keep the title ‘short and punchy‘ to attract more readers.

My kid is 10 years old. He acts half his age at times and then there are other times when I have no idea what he’s acting like except that it A-N-N-O-Y-S me.

Blogging tip#2- occasional allcaps in the midst of a post lends some gravitas and also attracts attention.

Anyhoo…for those who have arrived late onto this particular blog, I chiefly write about my kid. Why? Because he fills up my world rather like the John Denver’s Annie Song but in a less melodious way at times. Blogging tip#3- it’s easiest to write about what you know and see around you so I kinda didn’t have a choice when it came to my topic of blogs since being a M-O-M is pretty much all I do. Note: a effective use of tip#2 in the preceding line.

Another anyhoo- this past week TO and I have been butting heads quite a bit. It’s almost as if his agenda for the week was let’s see how much my mother’s head can swell before it explodes or how high she can screech before she hits a frequency only dogs and bats can hear. I think he hit his targets pretty often and that’s why there were loud popping noises coming from the direction of our house a few times this week and often dogs in the community were seen running around in a frenzied state looking for the source of the noise that left their hoomans mystified.

There is usually a good amount of push and pull when one wants to get a kid out of bed in the mornings. But being told off by a buck-toothed midget that I should come back later because I’m disturbing his dreams, isnt a way I like to start off my week.

This continued for a few days with TO shooing me off like I was a pesky bug on occasion as well. All of which my ego withstood admirably. Since my ego was coming a poor second to my eyes which were firmly fixed on the clock that was counting down the minutes till the school bus came.

Imagine this- you get a super reluctant kid out of bed only to have him lollygag on the livingroom couch as if it’s a weekend siesta. You then kick his butt into the bathroom only to see him stare off into space with gormless look on his face for another precious five minutes more.

You get him on the Express brushing schedule and drag his body to the dining table where his milk has been impatiently waiting for him. There he contemplates the glass of milk as one would the mysteries of the universe and then, after another irreplaceable 10 minutes have gone by, asks the one question you did *not* expect, “Ayu…how do you say the name for Thor’s hammer?”

You instinctively start to answer before you realize that in the next seven and a half minutes your kid has to finish his milk, poop, bathe and meet the bus-a short walk away.

That’s when your inner Hulk breaks loose and you think some rather painful thoughts about where Thor could stick his hammer and get into the shrieking banshee mode.

You think the weekend is going to be better however it’s anything but bereft of drama.

So for all the parents out there who aren’t always looking at your flesh and blood with undiluted love oozing from your pores; fret not. You aren’t the only ones who fantasize about having a catapult that would fling the brat to a galaxy far, far away.

S-I-G-H.

P.S: I haven’t even tackled the mad rush we get into when there’s just 2 minutes left on the clock and someone realizes that he hasn’t packed everything he needs for school day that. There’s not enough Xanax in the world to counter that.

Movie Review-Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

There’s a different kind of fun to be able to see a movie as a ‘phust day phust sow‘…but when the movie ends up spanning the realm of moderately entertaining to ‘how high were they when they wrote the damn script‘, you know you’d have been fine watching it after a few weeks or not at all.

For a movie that’s supposed to be slick and exciting, this particular slice of the F&F franchise lives up to neither. It’s cliched to say the least and oh-so predictable. But let’s dissect it properly shall we?

The 8th installment of Fast and Furious reunites Hobbs and Shaw with macho posturing that’s meant to turn into ‘I got yuh back brah! in the end while they save the world and manage to inject an adequate number of quips to qualify the movie as being funny as well. That they managed to insert a tourism promotion for Samoa is a nod to Johnson’s roots and his being a producer am sure.

Here’s the story- After an ex-MI6 agent gets cybergenetically enhanced and wants to bring whoop ass down on those who get in the way of his organization and his vision of a better world, Hobbs and Shaw get pulled into the action to bring their own version of whoopass to counter the whoopassery being dished out by Mr.Quasi-Android. Played by Idris Elba (hubba hubba), Brixton Lore has all the gadgets, all the cool bikes, costumes and enough internal hardware to have metal detectors going off perpetually.

Hobbs and Shaw unwillingly get drawn into the action for different reasons. Hobbs because his agency loans him out to MI6 and Shaw because his little sister is being framed for all the havoc Brixton’s been wreaking in order to get to a biologic weapon that can…wait for it…DESTROY THE WORLD!! Who saw that coming?!

Now little sister, played oh so dully by Vanessa Kirby, has injected said biologic weapon into her own bloodstream to prevent also said baddies from getting their mean, nasty paws on it. Thankfully for her, the weapon is in small capsules which are on a timer- they will get released into her body after an ‘x’ amount of time passes. Thankfully the movie makers are nice enough to keep that happening during the length of the movie and not have it spillover into another installment.

Between hobnobbing (ooh…punny me!) with Russian arms dealers to get the lowdown into where an extraction device for the virus can be accessed to tearing up the streets of London, Hobbs and Shaw build up a camaraderie that’s fooling no one. Jason Statham should have as little of a speaking role as possible. After his less than stellar turn as Jonas Taylor in The Meg, Statham should keep his roles to those of the Handsome Rob ilk where he’s not required to win people over with his diction and ability to emote beyond a point.

The Rock’s USP is his quips and mountain man muscles and he doesn’t disappoint but neither does he set the screen on fire. Both the leads seem to be straggling with a script that has them just going through the motions and doing unbelievable things while not getting a scratch on themselves or acting like it was a walk in the park. Ryan Reynolds comes in with his inimitable brand of humor and his interaction with Johnson are some of the actual fun parts of the movie.

As for the action sequences, imagine this…a car hooking a helicopter during a chase to save the damsel. The helicopter rises higher and higher and the car achieves liftoff as well but in the nick of time is saved from going over a cliff by a line of cars ahead of it playing choo-choo trains. Instead of going whoa or even oooh…the audience was laughing or saying “gimme a break”. But over the cliff they go and miraculously no one is hurt. Would a broken bone or two be so out of place when plummeting off a sharp cliff face onto a sea/beach full of jagged rocks.

Image result for helicopter scene in hobbs and shaw

But the objective of this review isn’t to trash the movie. It’s to say that maybe this franchise is on its last legs. Gone are the days when F&F stood for cars and actual speed. Now it’s brawn, some cars, a whole lotta destruction, uber bad guys and a rather lame attempt to keep going till the next installment. Quit while you’re ahead people.

Go see it if you’ve got a lot of free time on your hands or you really like either Johnson or Statham or are a diehard fan of the series. Barring that, there’s not much to recommend this one. It’s testosterone-laden to the hilt!

Rating 1.5 stars

The Summer Of Broken Glass

I have words buzzing around in my head most of the times. Some times they come out as blogs and at other times they come out as stories. They’re all stories at the end of the day. Here’s one written primarily as a short story. Cheers

THE SUMMER OF BROKEN GLASS- A VERY SHORT STORY

It started with a tinkling sound. Followed by a deep silence. So deep you could reach out and touch it. She hated silences like that. They were eerie and there was never anything good at the end of it; of that you could always be sure.

This entire summer had been tinged with what stray but nearly regular occurrences of glass breaking. Had she been superstitious, she would have pegged them as happening due to mal ojos. Her brand new Spanish classes kicked in at its convenience she thought wryly.

From her mom’s favorite vase to the beer mug, to the little Dresden shepherdess that she had labelled as super lame; each thing broke with a bang, a smash and there always seemed to be shards of glass shimmering on the floor…dangerously pretty.

She once had a couple of those shimmery pieces jammed into her big toe and while it didn’t hurt that bad; they sent shivers down her spine when she tried to probe the wound. It had taken forever to get the splinters out and then hobble around with her toe wrapped up in gauze. Lame, lame, lame!

She shook her head to clear the fuzziness and sighed in frustration about having to clean up glass YET AGAIN. Getting up to get the broom from the closet, she heard a muted kind of smash-crunch behind her. She turned only to hear the cocking of a hammer and the barrel of gun level with her face.

Her last thoughts as she saw the finger press down on the trigger were about the stupid glass…the memories that distracted her from running and hiding or even calling 911…stupid lame glass she thought, while looking into the mal ojos that were the last thing she ever saw.

Image result for mal de ojos

Finis

Saturday Morning Conversations

I crashed by myself last night…was listening to music, sorting out playlists…everything you need head space for and which can’t always be done effectively with someone staring at you with googly eyes and asking, “what are you doing?” for the millionth time.

I avoided weird bedtime conversations but couldn’t avoid them during the next morning when someone decided to wake up and smell the roses with unbounded enthusiasm before his mother got caffeinated.

Image result for no caffeine meme

Imagine having slept off to music spanning the decades along with conversations with friends on and off till the middle of the night and then waking up to the most #dafuq question one can imagine first thing in the morning viz, “How old do you think De Villiers is?” And on seeing my glazed, semi-blurry vision starting to go the angry, snorting bull way, TO preemptively turns his face skywards and says, “Why me?!!” Nothing quite like having your angsty moment stolen and impersonated by the person who brought it on in the first place.

Image result for why god why me gif

So on we went with the good morning kisses and inane questions till my brain cried out for coffee once more. Red being the coffee guy at home was hollered at and he promptly went and made some for HIMSELF and not me. There’s only a few things a woman can say to her husband at such times and I tell back on Barb#1 aka ‘ I gave you a kid, can’t you even get me a cup of coffee?’

Image result for where's my coffee

We are fond of our drama in this household. Be it me trying to bury myself under the covers so I don’t have to hear my kid drone on about some ODI post which Tendulkar decided to retire from cricket

Image result for i'm not here meme

or trying to bargain for more screen time or me giving the evil eye to the placidly coffee-sipping spouse who’s going to need me to find his stuff for him soon; this is just how we roll.

Slainte!

Waiter..There’s A Fly In My Soup

Well…there may have been a fly and there may have been a waiter and there definitely may be some soup somewhere in this universe. But this morning it was just me and TO, sitting at the dinning table while it was still a bit dark out.

He was all agog about going to his cricket class after having a break of 4 days. I made him a quick breakfast of toast and jam and was just lurching towards the coffee mugs when suddenly this happened: “Ayu…come here please!” Ayu duly went and was faced with the crisis that would lead to humanity being at utmost peril…a portion of a bread that wasn’t covered with enough jam!

TO-” my bread is empty here. Me- it’s not empty..it just has less jam. TO- but it’s almost empty…that spot has jam but this corner doesn’t have any jam at all!”

Me (going back to the kitchen and gripping the butter knife the way Carrie’s mother held the cleaver)- “Shall I put more jam for you then? Why don’t you eat the rest of the other bread while I put more jam on this bit?” TO-” I want to eat it all together Ayu. I’ll wait till you put more jam. That’s it..a little more to the right, no..that’s going out of the bread! Yup..a little more to the left…perfect! The whole bread is covered now. I can FINALLY eat in peace!”

Me, bleary-eyed, sleepy and caffeine-deprived, ” Am so glad I could take care of your jam emergency baby. Nothing makes a mother happier than stuffing more sugar into her kid and being micromanaged into the art of spreading jam on a piece of bread.” And pat comes the reply- You’re welcome. Kissy kissy”

AAAAAAAAAARGHHHHHHHH!