Monday, 17 December 2012

The Hobbit:An Unexpected Journey

I have been waiting for over an year to watch this movie. And boy was it worth it. I only have 2 friends who love the LotR movies as much as I do. And both of them were out of the city so I had to go to the theater alone. It actually turned out to be great. I had the whole row to myself so I could giggle, cry and say the dialogues out loud along with the actors.

I am glad that this book is being made into a trilogy. I know there are people who say that the book doesn't have enough content to be made into 3 movies. But i think it's mostly people who have not read both the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings who say this. As both the books are connected a lot of the back story for LotR that is not in the Hobbit but in the appendices of the LotR books can be included in the movie as they occur in the same timeline. Plus the characters are more fleshed out in the movie. I mean there are 14 in the dwarves company and we are given time to get to know them.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy was a bit more dark while The Hobbit has a lot more lighter moments. This is not just in the way the movie was made out to be but the way the book was written too as The Hobbit was more of a Children's book. To that effect Martin Freeman in the role of Bilbo is great. One of my favorite parts in the book is when the dwarves come to Bilbo's door and he has no idea why. He is just too polite to ask them to leave too. This scene was directed and acted out well in the movie.

With everything said and done I am an LotR Geek. I loved the movie and for me it is way up there with some of the greatest movies adapted from a book. For me this movie would be rated a 4.8/5.

Friday, 7 December 2012


This post here is dedicated to all those people who stay in hostels or away from home. Especially to a very dear friend of mine. I had always taken the food my mom cooked for granted. I used to complain even if there was a pinch of salt too less in the food, I used to whine when she used to make things I didn't like( this used to happen a lot as I used to be in a joint family), and i absolutely hated( still hate) brinjal.

Then the day came when I had to go live in a hostel. I realized the value of my mom's home-cooked meals the very first day. I missed her cooking more than I missed her in the beginning. Most of the vegetables were undercooked, the food was either too salty or spicy,mostly it was bland. But after about a month of that food my palate actually got used to it. The only thing I could not get used to was the burnt rice.

The only way I could survive this ordeal was because of my friends. They used to get food for me from home every time. And they introduced me to a lot of restaurants. I was from a small town and we didn't really go out to eat much. But once I got to Hyderabad it was tradition to go out at least once a month. We started going out for birthdays at first. Those were one of the best times in my life. I made great friends over food. I introduced my friends to food from my hometown and they introduced me to lasagna, pasta,etc.

This past summer my mother tried(emphasis on the tried) to teach me to cook. I learnt how to make rice, dal and bhindi and aloo fry. It brought me much closer to her. This was the same summer we finally got a microwave oven. This brought out all the  cookery books dealing with microwave cooking my mom had bought over the years. We experimented with a lot of things. We baked a cake, I made pasta( which came out really well even if I say so myself) and my mom baked biscuits. The funny thing was the first batch of biscuits were perfect but the second batch were burnt. My father and i could not contain our laughter. But my mom had the last laugh as we had to eat the burnt biscuits.

This is the second hostel I have been in in my life. And I have to say the food is great, especially in comparison with my former hostel. Maybe this is because the menu is decided by a committee of students. And having a friend on the Mess committee doesn't hurt does it. At SDM we have Wednesdays' as a mess off ( dinner). So we go out to have dinner in the beginning of the month and stay back and have Maggi at the end of the month when we're strapped for cash( or atleast we plan on it. We've only stayed in twice maybe). In just a span of three months i have gone to more places to eat than I did in the three years I was in Hyderabad and I've had loads of fun. We've revealed to each other the kooky side of our personalities over dinner. Then we come back and probably play a game of charades.

What I am trying to say with this diatribe is that food is a necessity, not just for nutrition or to survive, but it brings people closer together, makes you open to new ideas and it's just plain fun. I have come to appreciate food a lot more now thanks to my stay in hostels and a lot more recently thanks to my friend Chaitra. It has helped me make friends and also helped me to enjoy life.

Thursday, 6 December 2012


Since I was very young I have always loved books. I started reading very early in life. I started with the Amar Chithra Katha's, Tinkle and the like. I remember my mother reading the Mahabharata to me ( The comics version of course). I then graduated to reading Enid Blyton books like the Famous Five, Amelia Jane and the like. Enid Blyton's books will always have a soft corner in my heart for her descriptions of picnics and food.

By the time I was 10 I had started reading thrillers, Agatha Christie, Perry Mason and the like. I still love Agatha Christie. I had also started to read hardy boys and Nancy drew. I started to sneak and read Archies comics too ( as my mom thought I was too young to read them). Then when I turned 11 I received a book that I thought was Hardy Boys and got really excited. I thought it was Hardy Boys as I could only see a part of the book under another book and I could only make out the 1st three letters "Har...". It turned out to be Harry Potter. I didn't even know such a book existed. I finished it in 2 days. I loved it.This was the book that propelled me in to the world of books on Fantasy. Around the time I also started reading Robin Cook, Jefferey Archer, Grisham, Sidney Sheldon.

One of my favorite Archer books is As the Crow Flies. I just love how Archer develops his characters over long periods of time. I have gotten emotionally invested in a lot of his books. When I get done reading his books I feel like I have lived through the story depicted and that what happened in the book is all true. This happens to me with all the books I love.

Around the time I was 13 or so I discovered Spy novels. The one that made a great impression on me was "Bourne Identity" by Robert Ludlum. This book was a roller coaster ride to say the least. I devoured the 2 other books in this trilogy - "Bourne Supremacy" and "Bourne Ultimatum". ( I do not consider the new additions to this series.) I like almost any spy novel based during and before the Cold war. I have never really cottoned on to the spy novels that are published nowadays, after the 9/11 attacks. They are almost always on terrorism.

Coming to the genre Fantasy, if Harry potter introduced me to this world, then Lord of the Rings made me fall in love with it and to this day makes me come back for more. I admit I picked this book up when I heard all the hype before the movie was released. When I started reading it I had my Exams coming up in a couple of week's time. I finished close to a 100 pages in an hour's time. Then I had to stop reading till my exams were finished. I couldn't wait to start reading again once they did get over. I even used to read the book with the help of a penlight under my blanket in the night time so that I did not disturb my sister who slept in the same room. Once I finished this book I laid hands on the prequel "The Hobbit" and after that "The Silmarillion". So I basically read the story backwards. I cannot really describe my feelings about this book or how much I admire J.R.R. Tolkien. I do realize that this book has a slight religious overtone but what book steeped in Fantasy doesn't?

My dad has always been a book lover. So has my mom. But my dad could afford to buy books when he was younger so by the time i was born we had a mini library at home. We have various genres at home. So my love for books is eclectic. i don't just like one genre per se. I like a lot of them. One genre I haven't really liked reading as of yet is the Non Fiction books. I just can't bring myself to read them ( except of course any books on science).

Though I do not like one genre the most, I do have my favorites, like the spy genre, fantasy genre and another is the Sci-Fi genre. I guess I've read other Sci-Fi books before it but the first one I can remember reading is "2001:A Space Odyssey". This was the book that set the bar for me. It was not really about aliens for the most part even though the actual expedition was in search of an object just like the one left on earth by aliens. It was weird for me that I was reading this book after 2001 and most of the things Arthur .C. Clarke had envisioned for us by then had not occurred. But they are not impossible. Some of he things mentioned are in the prototype phase by now. It amazes me, the capacity for human thinking and innovation. Another favorite Sci-Fi is the Foundation trilogy and I Robot. I never knew that Math and human psychology combined could predict the future so well.

I am currently reading Cloud Atlas. I have to admit I watched the movie before I started the book. But I can usually keep my opinions of the movie and the book it is based on separate. It's OK... Not something that will leave me with a great feeling at the end of it that will last a long time. I'll write more later on any book that I'll read later on and like enough to actually describe online.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

My Drama obsession

My K Drama obsession has recently gone into overdrive with the premiere of so many new shows at the same time. I have high hopes for the dramas that have released... like Faith, Nice Guy, Arang (Shin Min Ah and Lee Jun ki are so cute together)

The sad thing is these are ongoing dramas and I have to wait every week for the episodes to be out and then I have to wait for the english subs to be out. So I will wait for the dramas to get almost all the way through before I download and watch them.

I am excited to start watching all three of these dramas. I love Shin Min Ah in My GF is a Gumiho. I think she is well suited to play the loud mouthed, strong willed girl who always speaks her mind. I hope the drama lives up to the expectations it has created. It would also be interesting to see Song Joong Ki in a role that is just the opposite of his image of an innocent pretty boy. And when it comes to Faith I just have one thing to say - LEE MIN HO. Need I say more.

What am I currently watching to validate the name of this post you ask? considering I am keeping the aforementioned drama watching on hold? I have recently discovered Korean variety shows. I am currently watching Running Man which is HILARIOUS. There aren't many shows that make me laugh let alone roll with uncontrollable laughter on the floor with tears coming out of my eyes in EVERY episode.I just love this show. I have just started watching this show and am on the 5th Episode.

I have recently discovered "History of a Salaryman". I thought maybe this drama would be about the drama and revenge plot alone. To my pleasant surprise this drama is really funny. I am only on the 3rd episode but i hope this keeps up to the last episode. The equation between Yoo Bang and Yeo Chi ( the main characters is hilarious) I love these characters so far and hope their characters are given room to grow. I haven't really made an opinion about the supporting cast as they are just getting introduced at this point. looking at the below poster I thought this was a period drama and maybe set during the independence struggle but the setting seems a little futuristic on account of the spy gadgets and the Immortality drug. I like that the show is not what it seems, and in a good way.

Along with the History I am simultaneously watching "Bad Couple". I know I know... you must be thinking how many series does this person watch at a time? Actually quite a lot. I watch these dramas/ series as it would be on TV. I alternate between series. I watch one episode of History, then Bad couple, then maybe The Wire to just give my brain a rest from watching the actors and reading the subs simultaneously. And before you ask, yes I don't just watch Asian dramas. I watch English ones too. But that is for another post. Coming back to bad Couple, I have just started watching the drama so I don't want to jump the gun and make up my mind about the drama ( though I have heard really good things about it).

So, these are the dramas I am watching and the one's I am waiting to watch. Here's to hoping that they don't disappoint. :)

Friday, 13 July 2012

Hostel life : Part 2

In my previous post Hostel life : Part 1 i recounted my experience in a hostel for the 4 out of 6years i've stayed in a hostel. Those years were during my graduation and the year i took off from college to study for my MBA entrance exam. After which i joined a residential MBA college. And for the first time in my life i had a room of my own. Granted it was small, but it was mine and it was adequate. I went about making this place my own by promptly keeping it in a state of marginal untidiness and put up a few pictures and posters. The hostel had clusters of rooms, with ten in each and a communal bathroom. All of us in the cluster, unfortunately woke up around the same time and stood in line to make use of the facilities. this happened mostly in the first month or so. We later fell into a routine.

Each cluster was a separate world on its own. We had little get togethers, parties and we stuck by each other. In the first year we had our seniors as our neighbors. which was great for us as we could ask them advice on what subjects were great, which professor to look out for an which ones were a pushover. Most importantly which professors would mark us absent if we entered the class 5 min late or the classes in which we could easily obtain proxies.

This experience was better for me because everyone in the hostel was going to the same college and the same classes (atleast for the first year) and we all lived together. We were going through all this together. So it gave me a sense of camaraderie. The campus was great too. It was at the foothills of Chamundi hills(mysore) and the weather was always pleasant. The boys and girls hostels were in the same compound as the classrooms. So this time around i also made great guy friends ( i was in an all girls college for my undergraduation).

I've noticed that guys are more resourceful when it comes to food in the hostel.Us girls used to usually depend on the guys to provide us with something to eat whenever we were really hungry, which was usually around midnight. We usually used to go get something to eat from outside but there were guys who would actually cook in their rooms. Some of them had induction cookers in their rooms. I had a friend who used to make us sandwiches and burgers and another who used to make Maggi for us whenever we were hungry. They were life savers.

The mess used to have a night off on Wednesdays, so we had to fend for ourselves on that day for dinner. I had a great group of fiends with whom i went to a lot of eateries. One of my favorite places to go to was Jalpaan. Me and my best friend loved the Spaghetti there. With extra olives... Yum. Ok i am digressing. What i am trying to say is we were one big family. I had a huge group of friends for the first time who were as crazy as i was (if not more). We had a celebration almost every month. The best part for me was our MBA fest called Naissance. This was a 3 day fest and i was in the team taking care of one of the major events called Best Manager where we would basically put the participants thorugh the grinder and see who survives to be named the Best Manager. I had alot of fun devising the rounds for this event which was as long as the fest. As we were staying in the hostel we could devote almost all of our time to it. i barely slept for a few hours in those 3 days.

We had a pretty big campus so we would go out for walks at odd hours of the night when we couldn't sleep. We would hang out infront of our campus store and talk about, discuss or debate on almost everything under the sun. Sometimes the topic would be something really trivial and sometimes very serious. but we almost always talked about it as if the fate of the universe hung in the balance on whatever we concluded. I miss these discussions. its not the same over the phone.

In the 2nd year we were given the choice of choosing our own rooms. I chose to stay in my room but my close friends were now my neighbors. That is one of the reasons my 2nd year was such a blast. I used to spend a lot of time with the girl whom i consider my best friend and talk the night away. Whenever we had a party coming up all the girls would start getting ready about 3 hours prior and hog the mirror. we would each critique the other persons clothes and if we were the same body type lend each other our clothes. I have a lot of fond memories in that place. or maybe i should say i have a lot of fond memories because of the people i met there.

I am a better person now because of the time i spent in that hostel. I learnt to share, love, negotiate, compromise, stand up for myself. I learnt that i had friends who would stay by my side no matter what. I found a friend who is my 'Soul sister", a brother (who is a little nuts), someone i can fight with (i fondly call him the Jerk), and someone i can turn to with my problems (though he will make fun of me in the process). For that i thank Chaitra, Ankur, Aashith, Ashish, Carl, Rashmi, Shafeeq, Kanchan, Dee, Payal and all my friends from College. I love you all and i miss our days of goofing around.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Hostel Life : Part 1

I started staying in a hostel a little later in life than people usually do. I joined a hostel during my graduation when I turned 17 and not while I was in school. For those not in India, Hostel means dorms and it doesn't necessarily have to be on campus or even owned by the college or university. I have stayed in two hostels in my life. one during my graduation and the other time when I was doing my MBA. In total I've lived in hostels for 6 yrs of my life, the last 2 of which were all in all the best years of my life. So far.

My first hostel was an OK place, though my sister would say it was the worst place EVER to live in. It was a small room with two bunk beds, so we were 4 to a room. I didn't have a problem sharing my room with my roommates as I never really had a room of my room to begin with. The food was terrible I admit but there were good eateries nearby. I also had great friends who were Day-scholars ( students who go to college from home) whose mothers were great cooks. They used to get a little something extra for me almost everyday. So I enjoyed that.

My parents were a little worried that i might not fare very well in a hostel environment but to their surprise (and mine) I managed pretty well. they were worried for me as they thought I might get pushed around a lot seeing as I wasn't very assertive at home, and i depended on them to get a lot of things done. But once I got to the hostel I fares fairly well. My reasoning was that when i was at home i knew that my parents would take care of things, but once I was out from under their wing I learnt to handle things on my own.

Me being in the hostel was also one of the reasons that made me come out of my shell. I made friend on my own and actually made best friends for the first time. Not just one though but THREE. We had a lot of fun. I was such a good child that i used to play hooky from classes with the consent of my parents. This was a testament to the trust they had in me to not do anything stupid. I am lucky to have the parents that I have as they were alright with me going out with my friends. Within limits of course. My grades were not to be effected. And they weren't. I guess having smart friends was advantageous.

The advantages of being away from home was not taken used by me but my friends. You see in our quartet I was the only one who was single. And 2 out of the 3 friends who were in a relationship took full advantage of me. How you ask? they would tell their parents they were going out to meet me seeing as I was the lonely kid away from home, and go out and meet their boyfriends. Another plus was that my hostel was in the middle of the city. It was fairly near to all the places one would go to date. What was in it for me you ask? I got their undying gratitude and entertainment.

I also made a lot of friends in the hostel itself. we were a mix of students and working women. Whenever college was out for holidays and I couldn't go home all of us at the hostel used to go out to shop, eat and just hang out. Our daily ritual was to go out for ice cream every night at half past nine. We used to rush to the convenience stores nearby. This was a ritual which was upheld come rain or shine. there were three shopping complexes in walking distance from our hostel. So whenever we were bored we would go to these complexes and window shop. We would try on clothes and take pictures in them but not buy a single thing.

For me it was like an extended sleepover. We stayed up late in to the night talking and giving each other beauty treatments ( I mostly refrained from this), watched movies on the lone laptop, gossiped and there was a lot of drama.I did have my share of problems. the food was terrible. I often starved myself for a day before I had anything. I actually had a severe case of anemia by the time I left the hostel. But all in all this is an experience I would never trade in for anything.

Thursday, 5 July 2012


I have one sibling, a sister. Also 4 other cousin sisters. I am close to two of my sisters (my sibling and a cousin sister). I am the older sister and that has always been my role since my sister was born. I think only older sisters will get what i am saying. The younger siblings always say how lucky we are that we are seen as adults and they are always the kids. I guess there is some kind of merit to this argument, as they are always seen as the kids. But they fail to see that this 'being treated as an adult' is not really a choice on our part. It is thrust upon us ( as you can't really choose when and if your parents have another baby)

I am not saying i was not happy that i was going to have a baby sister/ brother when my parents told me. I was happy that i was going to have a companion and a friend. It has always been difficult for me to make friends, though it has become easier with the passing of time, so having a little sister was like a gift out of the blue. I was brought up in a joint family with the rest of my cousins so i was used to not having my parents all to my own. I was not bothered at all when they were more attentive to my sister.

It was great growing up with so many sisters. there were only 2 guys in my generation so it was a girls world in the family. Everywhere else it was a man's world but us sisters ruled the roost in this family. We were all treated equally. I learnt about being confident from my eldest sister and compassion from my 2nd eldest sister. My cousin and myself were born around the same time and she taught me the value of companionship. I learnt the meaning of fun from my youngest cousin and last but not the least i learnt ambition from my youngest sister.

We were as close as any other sisters when we were young. I took it upon myself that i would be her protector, as it was instilled in me that she was the youngest, the weak one. Anytime someone bullied her or teased her, her friends would rush to me and my vengeance would be quick. I didn't hover. I only intervened when i thought she could not handle it. We were both afraid of a doll that used to be by our bedside. I would wake up in the middle of the night and look straight at the doll. I would then turn away to find my sister doing the same. We used to soothe each other to sleep. Even our squabbles ( i call them squabbles now but they seemed more like battles when we were younger)  were between just the two of us. We never allowed our mother to interfere saying it was just between the two of us.

We are different in every way. Physically, emotionally and psychologically. She is very thin and gets sick often, whereas i am on the heftier side and don't get sick often enough ( I did not get to skip school or college due to illness. That is lucky i know but who wouldn't want an off from school or work?). She hates losing out to anyone,i.e., she is competitive whereas i am, according to my dad complacent, and hate to get out of my comfort zone.

We drifted apart for a while when i left home for college for about 6 years.Which was fortunate now that i look back. We were apart for most of our really rebellious teenage years. Now that we are together, living under the same roof, we have come to appreciate each others strengths and cover for each others weaknesses.

What i am trying to say is, though this role was thrust upon me, I have come to love my status as the older sister. All that I ask of all the younger sisters in the world is to not think of us as an authoritative figure who acts like an adult, but as normal kids who are just a few years older than you, who have gone through most of what you are currently going through.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

My Secret Vice 2

Dramas aren't my only secret vice. So is reading manga and watching anime. The first anime that i ever saw was Cardcaptor Sakura. when i was about 12. This was the only anime i had ever watched till i was about 18 years old. The next one I watched was Kimi ni Todoke. I fell in love with anime since then. 

That was when i finally moved on to reading Manga. I prefer reading completed Manga though I am not above reading a Manga if it interests me even if it has not been completed. The first one I picked up was Cardcaptor Sakura itself. It was nice to revisit the childhood memories of the anime watching and i also got to read about the parts that weren't necessarily in the anime. I next went on to watch Skip beat. I loved this anime for mixing gut busting humour with the ambition and hatred of a person. I am eagerly awaiting the 2nd season. 

I then moved onto reading a lot of Manga. My all time favorites are Akira, 20th century Boys, Fullmetal Alchemist, Mars, Uzumaki and many others. There are many more Manga like these. I love the different artwork in the different manga. And though it isn't as good as reading a book to me it's almost as good. I mean i love reading books but comics or manga present you with the characters as the author saw them. The way that the author meant for the characters to be perceived. Books leave it up to us to a certain degree, which is great, but comics are an embodiment of all the author wants us to perceive visually. OK I am rambling now. 

I recently finished watching both versions of the Fullmetal alchemist. And I loved them both. I liked the different takes on the same story. Another recent watch was Ghost in the shell 1. I wasn't invested in the show till maybe the 3rd episode but i just fell in love with it after that. I am yet to watch the 2nd season. I tried watching 'Another' but i couldn't finish it. I might revisit it some time soon.

The following is on my to - watch list:
  1. Denno coil
  2. Bakuman
  3. Cowboy Bebop
  4. Kaicho wa maid sama
  5. Monster (Just finished the manga. It was good but the number of volumes could have been reduced. It got really confusing for a while. But all in all an interesting manga)
  6. Detective Academy Q
I will try and update my posts as and when i read a manga or watch a new anime.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

My Secret Vice

This here is my first post. And my secret vice is watching Asian Dramas. I love Korean, Japanese and Taiwanese dramas. I love the Japanese dramas for their complexities and the Korean and Taiwanese dramas for the escape they provide from real life. As an Indian i feel more attuned to the Korean way of life portrayed in the dramas. Some of my favourite dramas are as follows:

Hana Yori Dango
Secret garden
Beautiful Life
The Moon that Embraces the Sun
Personal Preference
Coffee prince

And a lot more. I will attempt to write not about the dramas but about how i felt when  watched them and what i thought while and after watching them. and this will not just be restricted to the dramas mentioned above but also the one's that i am watching.

I just finished watching MARS ( Taiwanese drama).

I had also read the manga a while back. I enjoyed the manga and also the drama adaptation. They stayed true to most of the manga. I LOVED Vic Zhou as Chen Ling/Rei Kashino. It was like he was projecting Rei from the manga. Though Barbie Hsu did not really look like Aso from the manga she grew on me through the series.

What i really liked about the series (both drama and manga) is that life isn't always fair and hunky dory. The hero also has his dark side.(This could also be one of the reasons that one of my favorite comic book heroes is Batman :P ) I can see myself in this world... where attaining your dream means making sacrifices, and the hero isn't exactly a knight in shining armour. And it isn't showcased as a split personality plot but Chen Ling/Rei is very aware of his emotional/psychological shortcomings. The heroine Qi Luo/Aso is not above the same.

The side characters are not as well developed as the main characters but they were a great supporting cast. This drama comes in the top dramas that i love. I would give this drama 4 stars.

This is my first attempt at writing a post let alone a review so this one might seem short. But i might revisit this topic and flesh it out a little more down the line.