Geisha on the Wall

August 31, 2015 7 Comments

Peonies, William Merritt Chase, 1897

There was a painting on his wall
Of a woman in Red robe
sitting ahead a flower vase
a round brass vase with fresh peonies.

The bright white peonies
that bloomed outside the vase
ensconced in glory
and I guess they smelt well.

The painting was of a little geisha
a lovely, dainty little geisha
with an enchanting fan in her hand
that welcome all the visitors in the hallway

One day he came home before his usual time,
a little early than he always does
and was surprised to see the painting on the wall
he saw something that was unheard

the usual smiling geisha portrait
that looked at all visitors with her eyes enchanted

was sitting towards the beautiful peonies
bouncing, booming in its floral glories.
She stepped back to smell the flowers

Ah! such a sweet joy of life
when you take a moment in time
and step back to cherish the beautiful flowers
that are around you.

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How I Survived my Food Fix with Ketchup, Bhujia and Maya Akka

August 30, 2015 4 Comments

When West met South
her heart came to her mouth
Food you never thought can cause you such ache
Wanna know my Food fix Experience at Southern Landscape?

Well, you would have heard many stories about the rift between north and south. Trust me if food sets you apart, it also brings you closer. I am a living example that multi-cuisine dreams are made of. 

A little about me before you laugh over my food fix
I am a Rajasthani born in Bihar, brought up in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal and Chattisgarh. Did my graduation in Nagpur, post graduation in Chennai and have lived in cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Gurgaon, Mumbai to name a few. My upbringing was done in midst of fierce Punjabis , bengalis and Marwadis. Care you ask me about my food habit and I would say- ummm, ummm and even bigger..ummmmm. 

South India is not just Tamil Nadu and South Indian Food is not Just Masala Dosa or Idly
I was very fond of south Indian food. Every Sunday, my mom would either make hot piping idlis or Masala Dosa. The Foodie me was a meager eater until I started living in hostel. My first stay away from home was at Nagpur and I kinda survived the food served in my hostel with a bottle of pickles that will get over as soon I open them in hostel mess. Vada pav, Maggi and Samosa at College Canteen helped me survive my Nagpur sojourn. The real trouble began when I decided to stay in Chennai for my MBA

It was then I realized that South Indian food is not just about Masala Dosai and Idlis. There is- Tahir Sadam, Sambhar Sadam, Rasam Appalam, Appam, Pongal, Patachaddy, Dosai, Avial, Kesari bath and more. And if your college and Hostel is a home for students from Kerela, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Pondicherry, expect to either transform or survive like I did.

Another feather in my cap- I was vegetarian who didn't like eating coconut oil. And I was in Chennai for 2 years of my MBA, on-campus, full-time, with people who called Parantha as either Parotha or barotha.

Food and Murphy's law
In our college, there was a fixed time for breakfast, lunch, evening tiffin and dinner.  If you are late, forget the food and sit through lectures where one of the guys who sits behind you and burps loudly. I was sharing my room with 4 other girls who, were though doing their MS but were fascinated with their beauty, make-up and a secret course in bath-room singing, delaying me every day for class.

My college building was the farthest in the campus and I wonder how the mom's of day scholars could send them so hungry that they will finish off all the breakfast available on campus minutes before the classes begin. 

To sum up my food woes-
1) Always late for hostel breakfast
2) Elaborate lunch thalis wherein I have to walk Kms to reach Lunch hall crossing the man made river and valley [yes you need to be at Jeppiar to see that] to eat a thali that would be full of food variety that you neither have heard of nor could comprehend the name ever.
3) Being forced to eat a food that neither suit my palate, nor had any taste and would have seem to come from Planet Pluto.
4) If by mistake some decent food dared to enter hostel canteen, it would be immediately pounced upon and devoured by over enthusiast foodies who couldn't envisage the existence of other students who too would have liked to have a bite
5) Vegetarians ate vegetarian food, but non-vegetarian ate both and larger in numbers.

In short- I was screwed by Food fix at Chennai hinterland.

How I overcome my foodfix
Necessity is the mother of all innovation. 
Movements outside college were restricted and even though I took special study permission to my cousin's house in IIT Madras for weekends, I still have to suffer my food fix for rest 6 days a week. 

Since I was the cousin of one of the well-known innovators in Indian telecom, innovation was my only armor to overcome my food fix and how. Away from prying eyes of my health conscious cousin, I picked up packets of haldiram bhujiya, Tomato ketchup, Monaco Biscuits and stocked them near my hostel bed.

I have begun to like Sambhar Rice but only with Appalam. It took me few minutes to convince few girl gangs to help me hoard "ever out of stock" appalams and I was sorted. With great help from my comrades AKA Ketchup, Appalam and Bhujiya, I started having my dinner and holiday lunch at hostel. Evenings would be taken cared with bhujiya and sauce spread on bread. The morning Dosais at hostel remained a challenge.

And that is when my Local rajnikanth Maya Akka Came in!

Maya Akka was one of the female staff of the college. Tall, dark, well built, she was apparently the much respected employee. There was another beautiful trait to her- she was quite kind.

Soon my stories of food adventure with ketchup, bhujiya went viral across the campus. No thanks to my room mates who wondered how can I eat everything with bhujiya and sauce, Also, my class fellow boys who would help me buy my stock from city. It was all discrete by the way, as our chairman firmly believed in-

Girl girl jingle- is okay
Boy boy mingle- is okay
But if a girl and boy jingle and mingle- not okay

No rule ever said that Maya Akka could not save food for me though. Knowing my food woes, she would always keep some food for me from breakfast stall and hand me over as soon I would step to my college building. She ensured that I do not go miss my breakfast on college days and would always be around the lunch hour to serve me more appalams with rice and Sambhar.

It was only because of a little help from Tomato sauce, bhujiya, appalam and gracious kindness from Maya Akka, did I survived my campus food fixed. My love for bhujiya went so viral that my room mate Darshana fondly named me - Hhaldiram Bhujiya, given my Bhujiya surviving skills, I appeared like a packet of Bhujiya to her who like others could not understand that how can I eat everything with ketchup and Bhujia. Hahaha

My food fix continued a little further when I started working for IIT Madras at their Adyar office wherein the lunch menu would be keerai rice, lemon rice, curd rice, tamarind rice and Masala Dosa. No point for guessing what a\few colleagues of mine named me at workplace basis my usual order of food ;)

By the way, today South Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines and I have finally fixed it :)

So if you come across a situation
Loaded with gourmet tribulation
do not cry foul,
instead get started with Tiny OWL


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Quick 5 things that I liked about Manjhi, the film on Shandaar, Zabardast, Zindabad Mountain Man

August 25, 2015 , 1 Comments

When my friends insisted that I watch Manjhi over All is well, I was not sure. And when they said it is Abhishek Bachchan v/s Nawajuddin Siddiqui, I was sure that I am going to jhelo even Ketan Mehta over Junior Bachchan.

I did tolerate Ketan over loud mouthed Jr Bachchan and it was all because of a superlative performance by much talented Nawajuddin S who essayed the role of Dashrath Majhi with great Elan and comfort. Dashrath Majhi is a name synonymous with grit, determination and never say die. He is known as the Mountain man, a man with humble backgrounds who have moved the entire mountain to make a road that could connect his village to the rest of the world.

Manjhi the film

Manjhi goes to prove that how Ketan Mehta once again takes a super subject but spoils it with his cliche direction and "Maya memsahib" techniques. The Brilliant subject, awesome acting, heart-wrenching reality. Hope Manjhi brings sufficient focus on subject matter and does good to lives of Indian citizen living in such neglect of govt.

Criticism and bad direction notwithstanding, there were few things that we liked about Manjhi. Those are-

1) The Subject- Glad that filmmakers have chosen a subject with a low commercial value like this and showcased this to world, in not just behind the curtains of film festivals but Big Screen too.

2) Superlative performance by Nawajuddin Siddiqui-If Dashrath Manjhi was the man who paved way through the tough rocks, it is his namesake in the film who had carried the entire film over his abled soldiers, making you think that Dashrath Manjhi was Nawajuddin or vice versa.

3) Shandaar, Zabardast, Zindabad- This sums up a great attitude for life that people should have.

4) The real struggle of common man- The fact about so-called allocation of Govt sanctions, the hard-hitting reality of poverty in India and cruelty of landlord, the age old untouchable misdemeanour that surrounds our so-called caste system, the poor medical/ infrastructural facility in country among others truly demonstrated the demons that the new India still harbors at its hinterland

5) Bhagwan ke Bharose mat baitho, kya pata bhagwan tumhare bharose baith ho- The concluding dialogue in the film that essentially meant- do not wait for God, as you never know that maybe it is God who is waiting for you to act, took the climax to another level, relaying a message that was simple but deep for every viewer to comprehend.

And Yes, I did loved the song- has such a romantic and rustic charm attached to it!

If you have not seen Manjhi, do book yourself and family tickets for a show nearby you.

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Preserve that smile and fight #Tooth Sensitivity

August 13, 2015 1 Comments

My friend Sheena and I are food-o-holics. Yes, if there is word that is above being a mere foodie, then that is what we are. We love eating random stuff from street food to fine gourmet meals to special cuisines and what not. Our love for food takes us to different places, mostly trying out new restaurants via their home delivery facilities.

If you are from Mumbai, you would know about the beautiful rains here. So yesterday, post the shower (rain that is), I called upon Sheena to check if she would be interested enough to revive good old college days when we used to stroll in the rain, drink street side tapri tea [roadside stall], gorge on hot samosas and roasted corns with lemon wedges.

She was kicked about the prospect but had to decline owing a recent problem in her tooth. It is then I
learnt about the sudden sensation that Sheena was having while eating anything irrespective whether it
is hot or cold. She feared it was a cavity and had lined up an appointment with her dentist the next morning, very much against her wish. We all hate visiting the dentist and she is no exception.

Sheena and cavity? I asked her to meet her dentist at the earliest and get his opinion. During noon, I got a call from Sheena, who was quite cheerful post her visit. She said she had good news and bad news to share. Good news was that, she did not have cavities and of course, the bad news was that she had tooth sensitivity instead.

What is #Toothsensitivity

In layman’ terms, if you feel a sharp shooting sensation in your teeth while eating anything hot or cold, it is a sign of tooth sensitivity. It is also like a sudden shock felt in your teeth while drinking or eating any hot/cold food/beverage item.

Having tooth sensitivity does not mean the end of a foodie’ life. If dealt with properly, tooth sensitivity can be managed, allowing you to go ahead and gorge on your favorite food as always.


Here are a few tips on how to deal with tooth sensitivity:

Prevent plaque build-up:  Brush your teeth regularly, ideally twice a day. Plaque can harden and 
crystalize and create hard deposits that give out acidic substances that lead to nerve irritation and sensitivity.

Use a desensitizing toothpaste: Using tooth paste that is meant for handling tooth sensitivity helps a great extent over a period of time. Sensodyne, as seen on TV, is known to be a common brand for handling tooth sensitivity. Do remember to continue using the toothpaste post relief.

Use a soft bristle tooth brush: Be gentle while brushing your teeth especially around the gum line to 
prevent any gum tissue tear or damage.

Avoid highly acidic foods and drink lots of water, and make sure that you visit your dentist for a regular check-up.

These are a few tips that, if followed religiously, go a long way in safe guarding your precious assets – your teeth against any teeth related issues including tooth sensitivity. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and start following, making them part of your daily regime. If hair is you crowning glory, teeth is your smiling armor. Healthy teeth make you look beautiful without make up. 

Take this test to help you determine if you have tooth sensitivity or not:

This article has been brought to you with the support of GSK Consumer Healthcare. However, the views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of GSK Consumer Healthcare

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10 Reasons Why Bahubali is an Entertainment Blockbuster and India's Entry to Oscars

August 12, 2015 , 8 Comments

July 2015, cine goers in India witnessed- what could be easily coined as “a spectacular cinematic feast” and also, “a milestone in India Cinema”. The film that was based on an Indian Legend and a mythological king, not just received critical acclaim but was a huge commercial success too.

I loved the film from the shot one and, loved it throughout. For me it is the stuff that blockbusters are made of and the stuff that India should be showcasing to world. To me, this movie indeed deserve to sweep all the awards [across the languages] including the Oscars.

Here’s my top 10 reason as why Bahubali the film deserves an Oscar

1) Blend of History, Mythology and Fantasy- The movie sets in the mythological land of Mahismati that is looking for a suitable heir for the throne. The story draws inspiration from Mahabharat and looks like straight out of glorious Amar Chitra Katha’s colorful pages. The kingdom is not just majestic or gigantic but has set up like fantasy. A lot of reviewers compared it to LOTR and 300 though. However, I beg to differ and feel that it has more similarities to Amar Chitra Katha and Chandamama series.

2) Special effects and Larger than life landscape: From the first scene, the film is a visual feast with larger than life landscape, kingdom and expanses. The brilliant and picturesque cinematography makes it a visual delight and aids in story-telling. If I am not mistaken, the film shared the same special effects team as Juraasic World. The film looked straight out from the colorful story books with breathtaking locales [The waterfall], well placed VFX, mesmerizing landscapes, thrilling in-camera shots, magnificent sets including those of romantic backdrop between lead pair. The movie marks the comeuppance of Indian film making and technology used. 

3) Powerful Star cast with superlative performance- The actors looked like their characters and did full justice to their respective roles. Whether it was the valorous king Bahubali [check out the muscles] or Shivudu charaismatically played by Telgu actor Prabhas or the stone cold gazed ballaldev aka Rana Dugubatti or Sathyraj who played Katappa, each one suited to their role and exhibited great screen presence even in the dubbed versions. My favorite was Ramya Krishnan who stole the show in her role as Shivagami, a woman with softness, strength and absolute stealth. 


4) Powerful Narrative- The film though was longer than usual Indian movies but given the skillful story telling that remained consistent and powerful throughout including post interval ensured not a single dull moment in the film. The screenplay was crisp, linear and self-redeeming. I , in particular loved the first scene when you see a Royal lady who emerges out of a cave, carrying an infant in hand, with an arrow pinned at her back, walks towards the towering waterfall, passing through the waves with baby up in arms [and not basket], praying to God for child’s well-being and ultimately disappearing in river before handing the baby to safe hands. That one scene gave away so much of story without saying much and that is what I call powerful narrative. 

5) Attention to Important Details: From the beautiful carvings of Mahismati kingdom and the palace, to the beautiful costumes [esp the one donned by Tamannah], to the specialized weapons, the chariots, the accessories, the styling, the movie had all substance that any period drama deserves.

6) Eternal Romance between Lead characters- Criticism notwithstanding, the beautifully pictured scenes between Shivudu and Avantika where indeed a romance that “fantasies” are made of. The song sequence wherein an image of Avantika lures Shivudu to successfully climb the Waterfall or the scene where he skillfully paints a lovely tattoo on Avantika’ hand or the scene where he helps Avantika discover the beautiful women in her [much against her protest but towards her in stem desire], every moment is picture perfect, scenic and ethereal. 

7) Entertainment beyond controversies- One thing I liked a lot about the film is that it did not try to evoke sensitive issues for the gain of commercialism. There have been certain films where you would not see much of “content” but rather a “sensationalizing” approach to cash in on a sensitive topic. But a lot of those films fail to evoke constructive creativity nor do they entertain. Bahubali has not dwelled in any controversial subject in name of art but is a beautiful artistic expression that is high on entertainment. While you infer few scenes but the movie did manage to provide you on the edge entertainment through the war, the fight against crown, the uprising and more. 

8) Skill full direction: The Film is directed by Rajamouli who has directed another breakthrough movie called “eega”. When I first heard “Eega” [the fly] story, I found it amusing. However, the quirky and silly the movie sounded, it was worth its salt and was indeed a good production. So when Rajamouli directed Bahubali, it was the movie that audiences saw. The story was stronger and screenplay was just rather than giving any additional footage to a star. The Story was the star here and stars emerged as strong characters. 

9) Ability to hold attention and create suspense- Speculations rife about the second part and the mystery that it created at the end of first part. Now almost every cine-goers would have found the reason as to “why Katappa Killed King Bahubali”, still you would not find many viewers who would have seen part 1 and would not for second part. In spite of being a usual “palace politics” film, the screenplay was powerful enough to hold attention and create enough suspense for 2 part. 

10) Hugely Entertaining beyond being Dumb- Bahubali proves that a sensible and riveted story telling can successfully gauge audience across genres rather than the dumb and mindless films that promises to entertain but leaves you with sore feeling of being over the top dumb. While Bahubali was chivalrous and quite incredible at many scenes. But that is how the genre “fantasy” is. And Bahubali was entertaining and interesting.

And if those reasons are not enough, Bahubali was dubbed in 7 languages and had a Pan India appeal to it. If you have not seen the movie yet, I recommend that you must see it once. I would love to hear your opinion here.

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She Smokes, Sea of Smoke at the See shore

August 11, 2015 14 Comments

Addicted to the filth,
she turned a blind eye
and took a deep puff.

Defiant and non regretful
she pulled out, a red pout
and released the cloud.
"not seeing where the smoke went".

Smoking kills,
but it thrills
those brains that beautiful yet dumb
who pull a bud
and succumb
coughing away lives in smoke cuff.

It wasn't a great start
But admiring her male counterpart,
She attached it to her vanity,
and used smoking as her tool to parity
in name of gender equality.
Wish she had equated with some thing better.

She made her body,
once a smoking hot property,
now a s'more of smokes
in kingdom of realms

Sooner or later,
she may beckon,
that she spew cloudy venom
in name of tobacco pleasure.

Till such time,
She smokes,
Sea of Smokes
which she did not see,
when the smoke reached
from the sea, to the shore
and more!

PS: Smoking is injurious to health, wealth and wisdom.

This is written as response to creative prompt given by-
Picture prompt- Magpie Tales
Word Prompt [Addicted, filth, defiant]- 3 words Wednesday

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The Sleeping Beauty, Alfresco

August 07, 2015 2 Comments

I watched her face
that was laden with peace and grace,
No smile, no tear,
no prejudice, debates and no fear.

She laid there with absolute no vanity,
holding her mother terra-firma, close to heart.
cocooned in her bosom,
she rests.

Ah! the sleeping child of humanity.
unaware of the world outside hers

Who is she, we all wonder?
A tiresome wanderer or a lost traveler?
catnapping in absolute trance,
in hibernation or deep slumber?
Who is she? I too wonder.

She reposed as if she was never awake before.
snuggled, as if it were her natural abode.
holding the twigs, wearing the floral decor.
calm, enchant, enamor.
forest have raised her
Greens have nurtured,
trees have fed and
winds have pampered

Hush! walk slow
lest you may not wake her
Hush! Talk no more,
let her cherish, her sweet slumber.

The Sleeping Beauty,
Enchanting, pristine, Amore!

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Mera TV Nahi Lagta - MTNL

August 01, 2015 2 Comments

Come Monsoon and the entire city of Mumbai sings a song. Too many to their credit actually. From the poor infrastructure to lack of proper transportation service to what not.

The rain clad streets make it technically difficult to drive out and the heavy traffic and stinking theaters make you cringe in your dainty sofa at your daintily painted house that sweats at the very prospect of rains. “Iss wall mein Jaan hai” probably that what you may feel.

Given the mess and marsh of monsoon, many of us prefer staying indoor, crouched to our sofas and hooked to our TV screens. A perfect season to become couch potatoes when you can enjoy your bhajiya and chai in the comfort of your home. Time to catch up on those many lost episodes on TV, Sound-proof news anchor’s bickering and a constant need wherein India wants to know why is justice raped, only from the mouth of rapists.

Yes, India wants to know. Probably, what India wants to know is – why “Mera Telephone, TV kyu nahi lagta” in the monsoon?

Yes, come monsoon and our television screen turns teleprompter with a singular dialogue broadcasting. Come Monsoon and you will see more people than the clothes hanging from balcony or windows in a bid to search the invisible signal Gods in the atmosphere, which are conspicuous by their absence.


Local Cable, where art thou, dost?
While you see the leading Khans in Bollywood to wear their selling hats and sell different DTH products, all of the best possible technology from best picture quality to the best recorder. Little did any of them tell you that their DTH connection works in Monsoon, in particularly Mumbai Monsoon? I recall, when earlier this month, me and husband were contemplating about which DTH to buy, having a DTH with a decent stability in monsoon was probably one of the ‘very limited consensus that we reached apart from taking the data connection from a service provider that won’t suck our blood in name of High-Speed Internet [HSIA] read heavy subscription fee, low network, even below low problem resolution management and everything except what a customer need. Net neutrality anyone?

In such scenario, we sordid miss the good old cable TV days when the local operator would not just provide us a stable range of almost all the channels but also, the luxury of new release movies and actually “just a call away” customer service as well. Cost? As compared to what these supposedly “high on technology, low on customer delivery” companies charge from their subscribers.

DTH AKA Definite TV Harrassment Earlier this month when a friend of mine happily boasted that how she had successfully incorporated “no TV day” at her home recently, I couldn’t help but smirk. I told her to visit me in Mumbai and we can show how the “couch potatoes” like us actually have “NO TV season” entire season. She was quip to respond that probably my DTH provider did not have XYZ quality like hers and how should I change my house to a society that allows “any DTH provide” except brand and price restriction.
One TV and so many pokey noses
She had a point but tell me, dude, when have you changed your house just cause your vivacious [read vicious] society does not allow you to continue with a certain DTH brand that you have invested your money for what is conveniently called CPE- Customer Price Equipment. It is not just TV but even your telecom connection, milkman, aayabai, driver and all that to be determined by your society irrespective of value they offer and cost you suffer.

To think of it, if this can happen in a city like Mumbai [ear after year], imagine the woes of small town and cities? Besides, the city’s shitty infrastructure ensures enough that you spend the last hour at your home, forget TV and more time, romancing it pot-holes.

Mera Telecom Nahi Lagta
Pointless to say, when you are in Mumbai, you should be either celebrity or politician to enjoy your daily dose o the idiot box. For anyone or everyone else, the companies won’t listen and the societies won’t understand. You might as well use that time to build a better hobby for self. After all, what if you missed watching TV for entire one oops 3 months? Indian TV show will stay where they were and Pakistani channel would have completed 3-4 shows that you can always watch on YouTube or wait for them to get re-cycled back at post noon slots. After all, in this country, the progression, is seen only in crime, corruption and centennial episodes of regressive TV shows. Technology is that Glam advertisement which has Farah Fawcett’s picture in poster of a Rakhi Sawant movie. The latter may entertain you occasionally, for rest others no comment as Mera Television Nahi Lagta!

So Holla Mumbai, Monsoon is back.

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