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Archive for June, 2013

Raanjhanaa

Raanjhanaa

Going by the rave reviews for the movie and this poster in particular, I took out some time to watch the film. For a weekday matinee show, the multiplex was rather crowded. A LOT of youngsters had come to watch the movie. In fact, for some unknown reason, I felt like the oldest member in the crowd, at least, till the lights went out. After that, it didn’t matter :).

I didn’t intend to write a movie review and frankly, this isn’t one in the real sense. Its just that, when I walked out of the theatre, I kept lamenting about how the female lead called Zoya had deceived the male lead, called Kundan, in the end. I haven’t been a fan of Sonam Kapoor, ever, and after this particular role, I vowed never to see her films again. But as I dropped cousin L back to her place (she had accompanied me for the movie) and drove on towards home, it struck me.

*BAM* !!

Wait an effing minute!!

Was I really sympathizing with the guy’s character? He, the uneducated, good-for-nothing cad who thinks nothing more of Zoya, other than being his rightful wife, irrespective of the fact that never once in the movie did she display anything more than a hint of affection for him.

Now, this is going to be a spoiler post, so if anyone of you hasn’t seen the movie yet and intend to, then kindly shut this browser window. I don’t wanna ruin your fun or prejudice your thinking 🙂

I’ll wait.

*tap tap tap*

Still here?

Al right. Let me start afresh.

A young boy has a crush on a neighborhood girl, of a different religion. He grows into a teen, the crush still exists. He stalks the girl, gets innumerable slaps and finally, the girl agrees to meet him alone. BUT, she clearly states that it isn’t because she has any feelings for him, its just that he was so consistent in his request that she felt bad about depriving him. For her, the meeting was nothing less than an act of pity.

In the said meeting, boy gets close to the girl. The girl, on finding that the boy had lied about his religion (he claimed to be a muslim, just like the girl), immediately shuns him and walks off. The boy wasn’t going to take it sitting down, so he stalks her some more, harasses her and one fine day, slits his wrist in her presence. When the girl cries out in shock and horror and hugs the boy, I could make out that it was because of compassion, and NOT love. Alas, the boy thinks otherwise. He thinks that he has made a pathway to her heart by his ‘heroic’ act.

The girl is punished for her PDA and sent away to an aunt’s place. Years later, she returns to her hometown, a much mature and educated young woman. We can see that she has grown up. But has the boy? Alas, apart from pining for his ladylove, Kundan has done nothing constructive of his life. He is still a street ruffian who runs odd jobs at Zoya’s place. Needless to say, she doesn’t recognize him when he makes googly eyes at her. For her, its just an errand boy hitting on her. Kundan tries his best to revive her memory, succeeds and when she gets friendly, starts stalking her again. All her laments , that she was never interested in him, fall on deaf ears. He wants her back and will go to any lengths to get her.

Some people say that Zoya used Kundan. As I see it, she asks for his help twice. Once, to get rid of a prospective bridegroom and the second time, to convince her father. Kundan could have refused both times, but he didn’t. He does help her, but takes it as his due that she is indebted to him for life. Even when Zoya tries to thank him, he rebukes her for rejecting him. So driven is he by his selfish sentiments that he wrecks one havoc after the other, all in the name of love.

Zoya loses a loved one because of Kundan and instead of moping in one corner or running into his arms, tries to channel her grief into supporting the political party of her departed fiance. One would have expected that at least now, Kundan will leave her alone. But nah!! He bulldozes his way into her college campus and then into her political party, reminding her every second of the humiliation and loss that she suffered at his hands? Was this, his way of redemption? It was a very poor implementation if that is what he intended!

Left with very little option, Zoya tries to get rid of Kundan, who had been clinging onto her like a festering wound, refusing to heal and let her be at peace. She knew the consequences of her actions and also publicly accepted her guilt.

Alas, we were left with sympathizing with the guy.

Why didn’t we sympathize with Zoya earlier?

Was it because the guy, in order to teach the girl a lesson for refusing his advances, hadn’t thrown a bottle of acid on her face yet? Well, he wasn’t a picture of peaceful devotion either. Beating up a female childhood friend? Check. Using her unashamedly for his selfish purposes? Check. Driving into the river on a bike, with Zoya, in a fit of rage? Check. Proposing marriage to childhood friend and then dumping her at the last minute? Check.

There is something really wrong about portraying a woman as evil because she chose to live her life on HER terms and not some street ruffian’s. Why didn’t we root for Zoya  right from the beginning? Can it be called a ‘sweet love story’, when clearly, it was more about harassment and ego? One man’s at that!!

In a country so full of misguided youth who believe that any woman who refuses their advances doesn’t have a right to live in dignity, do we need such cinematic ‘heroes’ who show the wrong way? Is slitting of wrists the only way of achieving love? Of protesting? Isn’t it an act of self-pity ? When Zoya does it, we can understand, her loss is much more grievous. But why does Kundan do it so frequently? With his frame, he cannot afford to lose blood at the drop of a hat.

Street-sexual harassment, or ‘eve-teasing’ is a serious crime. It has extremely serious repercussions on the victim. Kundan’s stalking of Zoya for 8+ years and her continuous denial of ‘love’ show us two aspects to this ‘love-story’. An unemployed youth, with nothing better to do, will indulge in fantasies, which for him, take the shape of truth, his truth. A woman who says ‘NO’, means ‘NO’. A ‘NO’ will never translate into a ‘Yes’, even after the passage of time.

I bet a similar ‘Kundan’ did this to Sonali –

sonali

Raanjhanaa gives out very wrong signals. The movie is making quite a lot of moolah….but I’m just worried about the impressionable youth who watch this film.

We don’t need such movies right now. Or ever.

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Twinspeak

The twins, I regret to say, are no longer the wee innocents I took them to be. I think they crossed over to the smart-ass category right after they started school. For sure, in the last two years I have seen dramatic changes in the way they talk and express themselves. No longer do they simper or coo. Nopes. Its all over. The current trend is to yell, holler, scream, taunt, question, or just plain ignore. I believe it is the latest communication style in pre-schooler world. Or maybe, its just my two 😐

Anyhow, since they have a mouth, they will speak. Opinions have to be expressed. Questions have to be thrown at us, repeatedly. Disagreements have to be made loud and clear. Some recent conversations went like this :-

Lui is after me to open a small pack of Kelloggs Chocos.

Lui : (Simpering up to me) Mumma, please open this. Khul nahin raha. Please open it sweetie-pie.

I take the packet from her and rip it open.

Me : See pumpkin, thats how you tear it open. Else use a scissor.

Lui : (Haughtily)Haan, haan. Mujhe sab pata hai. Don’t teach me!

Me : 😐

————————————————————————–

I’m at a wedding dinner with the MIL and kids. We are seated at a round table which has 8 other people around it. I try my best to make the kids interested in the dinner, but they refuse to eat anything other than the rumali roti. I give up and dig into my plate, most of which had already cooled down considerably. Since most of us at the table didn’t really know each other, conversations were muted. You can say we were the most silent table in the hall. Midway through my meal, breaking the silence, chirps a voice full of derision.

Shobby : Mumma, zyada mat khao. Nahin to aap pehle se bhi zyada fat ho jaoge. Mai aapke achche ke liye bol raha hoon.

I choked on my food, fervently praying that no one else heard it. But the faint titter that eventually broke into a full-fledged guffaw by all the others around the table, indicated otherwise 😦 .

Needless to say, I didn’t touch the biryani thereafter 😐

—————————————————————————–

We were coming back from the wedding in an auto. The MIL was mildly rebuking Shobby for his gaffe. The tyke, instead of being repentant, was petulant and kept claiming that he did nothing wrong. I couldn’t help giggling at his attempts to contradict the MIL. Finally, when he couldn’t take the rants anymore, he blurts out ,” Arre, ab bas karo!!! Nahin toh main aapki shikayat dada ke paas karoonga“.

Hearing this, Lui chips in with her pearls of wisdom.

Lui : Arre Shobby, koi fayada nahin. Jo log shaadi karte hai, woh log ek doosre ki complain nahin karte. Sirf tareef karte hain.

Shobby contemplated this wisdom seriously and did shut up after that 😐 !!

—————————————————————————–

One day, I got something in my eye and was looking for the culprit in front of the mirror. I was rather engrossed, not to mention I was standing rather close to the mirror. Shobby entered the room and seeing me in that pose arched an eyebrow, ” Mumma, kya hua? Face par dark-spots dhoondh rahe ho kya?”

Okay! Looks like TV time needs to be cut down further 😐 !!

——————————–

The BF had bought a few gorgeous frocks for Lui in his last visit. One day, Lui was trying them out and I mentioned that she looked like a fairy. Obviously, she was pleased at the compliment and preened in front of the mirror. Suddenly, something came over her and she came to me to return the compliment.

Lui : Mumma, dont feel bad. Aap yeh frock pehnoge toh aap bhi fairy jaise dikhoge. (Pause). Actually, bahut fat fairy nahin, sirf thode se fat. (Pause). (Spreading her arms wide) Aap itne fat nahin dikhoge, (bringing her hands a tad closer) sirf itne fat dikhoge. I’ll tell Abu to buy new, big frock for you.

Yeah right! Exactly what I need after that battering to my self-esteem 😦

——————————

One day, I bought some new clothes for the kids. They were pretty overjoyed, rather, I should use the word overwhelmed, because frankly, very rarely are the two left speechless. After a few seconds of mute admiration for the new clothes, Lui turned to me and said, “Mumma, aap duniya ki sabse achchi mumma ho. Maine aapke jaise mummykahin nahin dekhi”. At this, Shobby chips in with input, ” Lui, Mumma itne achche issliye hain, because hum dono zyada, zyaada, zyaaaada achche bachhe hain“.

Right 😛

———————————

Well, here are the two imps, full of sibling love 🙂

Sharing an umbrella

Sharing an umbrella

Hum dono

Hum dono

 

 

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I broke the jinx.

For a long while now, I’ve been trying my hand at trying out new dishes at home. I’m not a great cook, just a decent one who can feed people. But there are times, specially around the time Masterchef is aired, that I have this tingling inside me. Though nowhere close to the contestants in terms of skill or knowledge (There was a round where two contestants had to identify certain edible items. I got just 2 right 😦 . I had no clue that stuff like “peepli” or “Thai Dragon fruit” existed 😦 ). Anyhow, back to the topic.

So there I was, trying out pastas and  chicken noodles and rasam, with limited success. Either I ended up eating the whole stuff myself or giving it away to the maid. I suspect she took pity on me and dumped it in the trash bin of her house, knowing well that I was reluctant to throw it in mine 😦 . As for the twins, they usually turned up their noses as soon as the first whiff hit them. Eating my experiments was out of question. They aren’t very aware of the mother-child bond right now, I guess. Probably in another couple or more decades they might understand my plight!!

One fine day, I planned to make brown-bread at home. Checked out a recipe from the internet, God Bless, and set out to do the needful. After 45 minutes of preparation, just as I was ready to dunk myself into the batter of misery (The batter turned out far thinner than expected), I had a “Whoa” moment!! Why the hell hadn’t I tried this out yet?? I was obviously talking about fermented wheat dough, which, instead of being unsuccessfully baked, was ready for another makeover. The Tandoori-Roti!!

So what if I didn’t have a tandoor or coals. I had the tools of 21st century to bail me out, namely, a gas stove and an iron tawa 🙂 (Please ignore the insinuation that the ‘tawa’ belongs to the 21st century!!) . Things looked cheery and bright, except for the batter which was very limp. A big dollop of dry flour quickly sorted that out. Whew 🙄 !!

Anyhow, here’s my recipe for the perfect home-made tandoori roti. Try it at your own risk.

Soak half a teaspoon of dry yeast in warm milk . Add a spoon of sugar . Yeast luuurrrvvve sugar. You miss the sugar, then Mr.Y refuses to rise to the occasion.

Take some wheat flour. Add salt as per taste. Add the warm-milk-infused-with-yeast-and-sugar solution. Add water. Mix. Add more water. Mix. Add dry flour to balance the extra water. Add water to soften the now-toughened dough. Add more flour to get the stickiness out of the way. There, you are either ready with  the dough for the rotis or you are ready to fling the soddy mass at this post. If its the former, read on.

Keep the dough covered for an hour or longer depending on the weather. The end result is that the dough should look twice its original size. Pick up that sticky mass and bash it back into the dish. Repeat a few times to get the dough back to its original size (pretty barmy, if you ask me….whats the point of getting the yeast to blow bubbles inside the dough when you eventually plan to bang them out!  But hey, I didn’t make them rules 😐 ) . Make small balls of the dough.

Heat the tawa on a high flame till its HOT!!. Roll out a small ball of dough using dry flour, in the regular way one does for chapatis. Dip your fingers in a bowl of water and lightly smear the water across the top of the rolled out dough. It will look like this :-

06062013430

Pick up the flattened dough carefully and invert it in such a way that the damp side hits the tawa. The dampness will make the roti cling on to the tawa for its dear life. The yeast will make the dough bubble up like this :-

06062013432

Your roti will look creepy at this stage. More like it caught a pox or something. Ignore. Turn a blind eye to its faults. You will see its true beauty soon enough. Once the bubbling up and subsided, you flex your wrist, check for the carpal-tunnel and when not found, use the tongs to firmly grasp the tawa and flip it upside down over the burner flame. It should look something like this :-

Flipped out

Flipped out

Now this looks easy, but if you do find that carpal-tunnel, its best you leave this activity as a bad joke right now! Don’t tell me that I didn’t warn you 😐

Anyhow, move the tawa around a bit so that the heat cooks the roti in the right places. Ideally, with some good quality iron tawa, the roti would fall off the tawa and into the flame when its done. But since my roti is still stuck up there, it is evident that I compromised on quality when I bought that thing 😦 . I set the tawa right again and used a knife to pry the roti away. The finished good looked like this :-

Ready to eat

Ready to eat

Put a dollop of butter or ghee on the roti and serve hot. Since me and the kids were half dead with hunger by the time I completed the rotis, no snaps are available of the said butter-and-ghee-doused-rotis. We devoured them. The twins LOVED it. We made tandoori rotis for lunch, dinner, the next day’s lunch AND the next day’s dinner. We are kind of sick of it right now…..but at least my children willingly ate something and even asked for seconds. That was reason enough for celebration 🙂 .

So the next day I made honey and spicy baked chicken marinated in curd and ginger-garlic paste.

The maid agreed to take it all away. I wonder why she went about clucking her tongue each time she saw me 😐

*Sigh*

Frankly speaking, it was easier than I thought and tastier than I’d assumed. Do try it out. Everyone who’s had it has liked it. So far 😀
Do let me know how your’s turned out 🙂

Ciao for now !

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