Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 5 Madisars

I recently saw ''Seetha kalyanam'' and there were only 2 reasons for it - a traditional 7 day brahmin wedding and Jo in Madisar...although the movie moved at a snail's place and the ending was too predictable, it did do justice to the 2 things I looked for.

The ''bough'' vecha kai is adorable while the maroon with double side jari makes it very authentic !

That also got me thinking about other heroines in madisar and here is my countdown.

Note for buzz readers: If you want to take a look at the embedded videos visit my blog to read this post.

5. Bhanupriya in Aahaa

It looks like someone drew a madisar on her (video from minute 8.35). To quote my paati ''Onbadhu kajam evalo paandhama irukku avaluku'' !

4.Urvasi in Micheal Madana kamarajan

"Sundari neeyum'' is an amazing song and the venpattu Thittusundari, I mean, Thriupurasundari wears will remain etched in my memory forever !

3.Padmini in Vietnam Veedu

The only reason Padmini is pushed to place 3 is because she is slightly plump when compared to the gorgeous ones in 1 and 2 and that makes a difference.

2.Sridevi in Meendum Kokila
I couldn't find a proper madisar pic from the movie but found another one and that one's pretty too ! There is no better combination than madisar with temple jewelery and she is wearing my favorite color combo, the mambhazha yellow with maroon !

and the undisputed number one position goes to

1.Sowkar Janaki in Edhir neechal

As long as I live, I will love ''Adhuthathu Ambujatha parthale''. The ettukal mookuthi, the jimiki, the long plaited hair with flowers, her beautiful eyes that look even more pretty with kaajal, all together make her the best velli thirai mami.

Special mention should go to Hemamalini in Hey Ram, the only reason she is not on the list is because her screen presence is very limited to actually include her in the contest !

An extra special mention goes to the invincible Shanmugi mami but she is out of the contest because of the mama/mami questions that might eventually be raised !

The scene with Gemini Ganesan that follows this song is the one that takes Shanmugi...err..kamal to a thani level....the body language, the blushing, the whimpering.....chancea illa !

On behalf of all mamis - Indha pudhu varusham ellarkum amogama irukattum bhagavane !

nammathu mami

PS: Please do not suggest Asin in Madisar as one of the contestants, she wears it like a ready-made pant suit and it only ends up looking weird !

PPS: Did I miss someone else ??

Disclaimer: All pics (except the last one ofcourse) and videos belong to the respective production houses. I am not responsible for any copyright violation in the embedded videos.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

An English Christmas...

Right from Agatha Christie to Charles Dickens, everyone raves about an English Christmas. Just to what find out what all the hype was about, I decided to spend Christmas in London this year.

Here are some of the things I really enjoyed and hence have decided to include in the ''must-do'' list.

Watch a Pantomime
A Pantomime is a musical-comedy mostly performed during the christmas and New year season. I saw the ''Sleeping beauty''. I was initially skeptical when I learnt that the show was nearly for 3 hours and hardly anyone had come there without a kid. But it turned out to be 3 hours of pure and unadulterated fun.

The actors were brilliant and whats more they all had radiant smiles and really seemed to enjoy what they were doing. The show was very interactive and the audience was allowed to boo the villian (-ess), sigh with the princess when she falls in love and wish for a ''happily ever after'' ending. The crew threw chocolates into the crowd, came running through spraying everyone with water guns, had gorillas that scared the living daylights out of some kids, made the audience sing and dance with them...ohh I felt I was 13 and was taking part in a school annual day !

The best part was when a couple of the really small kids were called on stage and were asked questions by the court jester (CJ). Here are some of the ''brilliant'' answers
CJ: Where do you live ?
Kid1 (after a lot of thinking): Home
Kid2 (after a lot of looking around): hmm...
CJ: never heard better answers !

CJ: what did you get for christmas ?
Kid1: hmm...nothing
Kid2 (with a sheepish smile): hmm...forgot
CJ: well, between the two of you, you are keeping the christmas spirit alive !

Enjoy the Christmas lights
Walking through Oxford street and Regent Street on Christmas Day was amazing inspite of the biting cold weather (click on the photo for a larger version).

Christmas lights, LondonFor someone coming from Munich, where christmas decorations are confined mostly to the city centre, seeing rows and rows of lights in all possible shapes and colors was just too festive to miss. Going on Christmas day would ensure that you will not get clobbered by crazy shoppers (its God's day, noone shops much to the relief of most men)

Christmas PuddingEat Christmas pudding
If there is something worth eating in the English cuisine, its surely the Christmas pudding. Made with nuts, raisins and alcohol (mostly cognac), it is definitely a dessert worth gaining a few pounds for (atleast thats my excuse for now) !

Do some ''Boxing day'' Shopping
All stores have a massive sale on Boxing day. I saw items that had 70% discount. Well, yes, you should have had some experience in Ranganathan street to combat the crazy women (and sometimes men) in the crowded stores and if you are prudent, you will shop online or visit some stores away from Central London where the chances of you being mobbed are less likely !

Visit a Castle
I went to the Windsor castle and was pleasantly surprised by very few visitors.

Windsor CastleSince most people use the christmas vacation to catch up with families, sightseeing places like Castles are hardly crowded and this is a once-in-a-year opportunity for a highly touristy place like London.

Besides this I also had fun with a school friend, a college friend, a distant cousin, nearly emptied Saravana Bhavan in Eastham, saw Manmadhan Ambu in Cineworld (and felt jealous about how desi movies were screened and advertised just like English movies - for someone in a city where only 2 theatres screen English movies and desi movies are confined to one show, this is a big deal!) and ate a looooooot of really good desi food (to an extent that I should live only on water for the rest of the year!)

An English Christmas in London is a lot of fun, an English Christmas in London with near and dear ones is super duper fun !

Copyright for Pantomime photo: Odos Entertainment

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Does the girl know ?

Yesterday I was talking with someone who is a huge fan of Vijay and for some reason the conversation came around to the last scene in “Poove unakkaga” when Vijay tells the girl he loves (and whose wedding he helped arrange) a number of dialogues comparing Love to roses, thorns, bushes, exams and what not (imagine typical lalalala Vikraman music in the background)! And the girl innocently asks him “who is it that you love?”…at this point I always wonder if the guy is so naïve or if both of them are being diplomatic….because here is something you all should know: when a guy likes a girl, the girl always knows (this should be in bold, capital and a huge font size) and I mean always ! Except maybe one exception: when the girl does not know that the guy exists and he is doing long-distance sight adichufying via a telescope !

In all other cases, the girl knows. She may not accept she knows for whatever reasons (guilt, denial, prefers not to deal with it, does not want to spoil the friendship etc.) but the basic fact is she knows. I mean, how dumb can she be? If a guy goes out of his way to convince her parents to get her married to the person she loves, it shows he cares and cares really deeply. How can such care translate into anything but love?? In this case, the girl cannot ask him to stop helping her because she then would have to explain herself and deal with the fact that he is in love with her and there is nothing she can do about it. All that would accomplish is make things awkward for all of them. That’s why she vainly hopes that she is mistaken and he is indeed in love with someone else and in one last attempt of redeeming herself, she tries to hook him up with another girl.

This brings me to the concept of platonic relationships. In one phrase: Easier said than done. I don’t believe that there can be a platonic relationship between a girl and a guy if one or both of them are not already committed to someone else. Here I do not refer to friends that you meet or talk to once a month or when you bump into him/her, am only talking about people who take up a lot of your time and thoughts. When you admire someone platonically and love spending time with him/her, it is really easy to drop the “platonically” if you realize (sometimes surprisingly suddenly) you find him/her attractive as well. I am not saying its right or wrong but I am saying that it is inevitable. Take ‘Friends’ for instance – the 6 of them change relationships with each other so often that many times I have had to explain it to my frustrated and utterly shocked amma with her “ivan avaloda dhane irundhan?” questions !

So all I am saying is don’t kid yourself, have fun but tread carefully !

Disclaimer: If someone reading this post thinks “already kozhambi irukara kuttaila iva kuchiya vittu attara” then you should know that I am just a vetti blogger (who I may add is happily married :D) in her vacation mood. So I can’t be held responsible for your actions/inactions.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Candid..err..Creepy Camera

A Spanish friend of mine is currently in India. She was there for a wedding and spent 2 weeks in North India touring Delhi and Rajasthan. I called her to find out how she was doing. She is totally frustrated with people there. She says every second person tries to cheat her or take a photo of her with his mobile anytime she bends to pick up something or just tie her shoelace! She continues almost in tears that this is true of even men with families who actually do this right next to their wife and kid. My question to such men: why are you such creeps!?! My question to their wives: why do you let these creeps get away with what they are doing??

In my best defense, I asked her if she had remembered to dress a little conservatively as I had suggested and she bursts out saying "I have worn nothing but jeans/cotton pants and t-shirts, I did not even pack any skirts or shorts". Then I was all out of words. What else can I tell her? I have spoken to her about how closely knit our families are, how we respect tradition and can I talk to her again as a proud Indian?? I had already warned her about being a tourist, it happened to me in Egypt - men whistling, making eyes, and they even said something in Egyptian that thankfully I didn't understand and I didn't mind it too much because I was used to these things and I never minded this harmless flirting. She said she found it weird but it wouldn't bother her either.

But being photographed by a bunch of cheap strangers is just pushing the limits too much. With the abundance of skimpily clad heroines and easily accessible pornography, one would assume that the deprivation limits would have been lowered and men would learn to control their animal instincts...but no…. it seems to be getting worse, thanks to the technology revolution that provides every pervert with a mobile equipped with a camera !

People always make fun of Netherlands because drugs are legal there and are sold at what are known as "Coffee shops". Ashok lived in Enschede, a small university town and I have been there many times. The day we left, out of curiosity I asked him “where are the coffee shops?” and when he said “no idea”, the friend who dropped us off said “you are 200m within 2 of them” and there they were right in the centre of the town and not once have either of us even noticed it because there were no junkies lying on the road, no cops and basically no fuss, it was just like any other shop – apparently only soft drugs are sold and there is a limit on the quantity ! The Dutch probably have the right attitude, if its out there, its not a forbidden secret anymore and you lose interest in it. But does this with work with male-female interactions??

In Europe, where they are nude beaches and parks, I have seen almost no ogling but every now and then you catch someone “looking” at you or someone asking you for drinks. In N.America, where things are a little mellow, there is a bit of subtle ogling and one gets asked out for coffee. In countries like India, Indonesia, Egypt etc. there is blatant ogling and in the Middle East, no woman is supposed to give you a chance to ogle and if she did, it’s not worth her life and yours. Which one of these scenarios would women prefer (I am not going to consider mens’ preference here, am far too annoyed now to give them a chance) ? Truthfully, I prefer the Europe scenario. Yes, there is the occasional embarrassment in seeing something you don’t want to see but that aside, I always feel safe and comfortable at all times of the day. It pains me to say this but I don’t think I could have lived alone for so many years in any other place, even in India!

Maybe this is just a reaction to the conversation I had with my friend, maybe I will start feeling better about it all soon, maybe men will grow up, maybe there will be world peace, maybe angels will come down to earth, maybe money will start growing on trees…

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Freaky Friday

It was friday night. After finishing some chores I was tired and I fell asleep while watching ''everybody loves raymond''.

Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up with a start when I heard a loud noise which after a while, I realised was some movie song but nothing was making any sense because it sounded cacophonous. I dragged myself out of bed and reached the laptop with my heart still pounding. A quick look at the time said it was 3am. I was groping around for the volume controls as one part of my brain that was waking up said my neighbours would call the cops if I didn't do something about it.

The volume buttons didn't seem to be responding...then my eyes, which were until then seeing only red and green spots, finally focussed on a youtube screen and I noticed I had 2 tabs open each with a different song and for some reason they were automatically playing !! The google chrome browser didn't respond to any of my attempts to shut it up and by then I was getting ready to throw my laptop out the window; the blaring noise was driving me out of my mind!

I used to love the fact that my laptop had 4 USB ports and I always used them to the fullest - hard drives, laptop speakers, card readers etc. It was the first time I was cursing this feature because I couldn't figure out to which USB port the speakers were connected. Losing all patience, I pulled out every one of them (yeah its blasphemy, sorry all computer/laptop/hardware enthusiasts) until finally I ''heard'' the sweet sound of silence.

Windows vista causes problems with 90% of the applications and Google chrome with the rest of them. Together the combination was probably an explicit Murphy's law invitation. I don't know if it was some weird windows vista update (engineers who built the OS should be ashamed of themselves, seriously!) that caused the system to restart and restored the google chrome tabs but I learnt never to go bed without closing all youtube windows even if my laptop is set to go to stand-by on being idle for a while!

I silently thanked my good health that prevented me from having a heart attack and prayed that no one else in the building had one ! I don't want to get sued for this but if I did then I am taking Microsoft and Google with me !

PS: For those who noticed that 3am after going to bed on a friday night actually means saturday - good job, but I am not changing the title !

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Movie Marathon

Since I had a bad week, I also had a movie marathon. One way to feel better is to keep oneself occupied but when there are no possibilities of outdoor activities and the person hardly has any interest in household chores and has read most of the English books in the local library, inevitably the idiot box (in this case a laptop with a DVD player) comes to the rescue.

So a run through of the movies I saw:

About a boy – As any normal girl does, I love (or maybe like a lot) all the Grants, from Cary to Hugh. This is a story of how a boy changes the life of Hugh Grant, a Casanova who worries only about himself and lives his life spending his father’s money. It is not one of those cancer-related movies, where someone having cancer changes everyone’s life but it is one of those inexplicable things that happens in life and what I loved about the movie was that, nothing was dramatic. Every scene was like it could happen to you or someone you know and that made it wonderful.

Knocked up – A movie that made me decide that rotten tomatoes ratings don’t have to be always right. According to one critic, this was supposed to be the best date-movie ever and I just thought to myself that if some guy had taken me to watch this movie, it would have been the last time I would have seen him! It gave the word “disgusting” a whole new meaning. As the name no doubt implies, it’s about how a one-night stand results in pregnancy and brings two people, most unsuited for each other, together. I wasn’t offended by this concept; I am grown-up enough to deal with that. What I couldn’t deal with was the crass humor (no, not adult humor, just crass) that involved men not showering, flushing etc. Guys, a word of warning, if your girl is anything like me, please stay away from this movie for your own sake!

Up in the air – Clooney is on the same list as the Grants :D ! This is about a man who travels 320 days a year and loves it! What I enjoyed most about the movie was how I could identify with Clooney’s excitement of being treated differently since he is a frequent traveler, his efficiency in air travel (from packing to checking-in at the right time, not too soon, not too late), his fervor in collecting miles etc. There was a time when I was traveling nearly 100 days a year and while it was exhausting on certain levels, it certainly was enjoyable on many other levels. I used to get preferential treatment at the Marriott, in Lufthansa and it made me swell with ego even though I was well aware that I was traveling on my employer’s money most of the time. The cabin crew in Lufthansa actually brought me a cup cake with a candle on it and wished me “Happy B’day” when I flew on the day after my b’day !

Dabang – I was never a fan of Salman and this film was a whole new low for him! What killed me was people comparing this movie to Tamil films (which was one of the reasons for me seeing it) just because Salman has a moustache and his dialogues rhyme – Bollywood, please do your homework before you want to produce something and call it a Kollywood copy. Even I though I am not a fan of Vijay, he can definitely do a better job than Salman even on his worst day! And what’s with the heroine Sonakshi??? Neither is she pretty, nor can she act or even react to others’ dialogues! When will people realize that fair does not mean lovely???!! All in all, I stopped the movie after an hour; I didn’t want to kill myself!

Tere Bin Laden – This was breath of fresh air especially after the Dabang fiasco. It is about how a gang of youngsters in Pakistan cause chaos unknowingly by using an Osama look-alike. It was a good story, the screenplay lagged at certain times but was still good enough to keep the viewer engaged. The Murgi humor, the dig at Americans and the handling of terrorism on a lighter note (which is extremely difficult but they pulled it off) all made the movie totally worth watching.

Va Quarter Cutting (the Va is not like Vaa for come, but for “Uwe” the sound of puking after getting drunk) – I don’t care what anyone says but I loved the movie ! The story is about a guy who is leaving to work in the Middle east and who is hence looking forward to getting drunk one last time. I had really high expectations for Pushkar-Gayathri after I saw their first venture “Oram po”, an utterly amazing and must-watch movie and this second one fell a little short of my expectations but still gave me a lot of laughs. Some of the scenes were absolutely brilliant and at least according to me they are taking tamil comedy to a whole new level! The heroine, although with a small role, was once again a disappointment – in short, Sonakshi Jr but maybe it was intended because the role calls for a really dumb girl.

Although the marathon had its ups and downs, the start and the finish made it worthwhile (you need some bad ones to make you appreciate the good ones, right ?)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow, snow, go away....

....come again, another day - actually the only day everyone (or atleast I) want snow is on Christmas day, just like we expect it to rain on Diwali !

In the last week of November, the weather in Europe (and of course Munich) took a turn for the worse when Mother Nature decided that the snow should start as early as possible, apparently the earliest in centuries, according to BBC. Since then I have been contending with dressing up like a barrel (If you mention winter fashion now, I swear I will punch you), walking like adi pradakshinam (for fear of slipping on icy roads and losing the few grey cells I have left) and above all doing the thing I hate most – living in a closed heated apartment (now is not the time to remind me of homeless people!). I am sure glad that I don’t have to drive!

For someone who grew up in Chennai in an apartment from which one can see the ocean, closed windows and doors are horrors. I still remember how the evening breeze would rock everything in the living room that amma would make sure that everything that is outside is nailed to the wall or inside a closed showcase! Summer evenings always meant going up to the terrace with cousins and of course with food, a music system, cards, blanket and pillows and we would come back home only when the hot sun woke us up the next morning ! Even during Agni natchathiram, sitting in the balcony was a welcome break from the AC rooms. Now I realize (or rather in the past few years I have realized) how much I had taken the sun for granted. Sorry Surya Bhagwan.

I hate using the heater, no I am not exaggerating, I plainly hate it! It makes me feel suffocated. I usually leave the windows open when I leave for work and when I come home I run the heater for a couple of hours to bring the house to a livable temperature and then I switch it off. Running the heater throughout the night is unthinkable for me. But these last few days have been so cold that the couple of hours are not really enough. Hence I have been playing switch-on-too hot-switch-off-too-cold with the heater and it frustrates me! The only consolation I have is I can still shower in cold water (yes, you can gasp, everyone else has). I have never (really never) showered in hot water and I simply cannot. Even as a baby, I apparently took kindly only to cold water and the habit happily still continues. The first few drops send a shiver down my spine but then the rest really wake me up, shake off the depression from the dull weather and leaves me refreshed. Only the shivering time is now getting longer with the weather getting worser.

I know I have grumbled too much but I had a bad week. Ashok is traveling, am home-sick, had some bad news, some issues at work, got hurt by a friend and all this gets worse when I step out the door and get hit on the face by a blast of cold air. I have new found respect for people in Scandinavia, Siberia, Alaska and all other places where 0 deg C is considered warm!

But I am sure it is going to get better this week – my parents’ 30th anniversary coming up closely followed by my Christmas vacation, even this lousy weather can’t take away the Christmas cheer from me….here is some to you too !

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