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.