Friday, January 16, 2009

Garfield: when men respond back...

Or should say "when some men respond back..."?


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An Ideal Uttarayan... definitely not the one where I sit at the desk and blog about it. :P *sigh*

It would have to be an uttarayan in Ahmedabad!

Darshit's colorful uttarayan post has some awesome photos, which took me back to Ahmedabad.

I remember as a kid, we would start all the preparations long before uttarayan day came. Buying all kinds of good kites, good strings on firki, pilla (string wrapped around in a little round ball shape); to make "patang no maanjo" at home with glass and colors was something we did ever year - Papu, GKaka, RFuva, all of us kids and the uncles living next door along with the neighborhood kids. Every couple of years, SKaka would visit India and the ardent kite-flying fan that he is, he'd make sure he was there on Jan 14th so that made the festival even more happy and exciting with more family members and more cousins.

Sheth Mangaldas Girdhardas Memorial Hall

During these days, the ladies of the family would be busy making all kinds of sweet snacks like tal-ni-chikki, mamra-na-laadu, sing-ni-chikki, daaLiya-na-laadu, etc. Ba would also put little coins inside the laadu for gupt-daan to little kids roaming on the streets. Us kids loved that the most, to get a 10 paisa or 5 paisa coins in laadu was like a real special treat and we'd jump up and down to find such a laadu from a huge pile of laadus. To have sherdi (sugarcane) and aambla (gooseberries) for breakfast was the usual thing that I adored the most and looked forward to so much. I enjoyed peeling off the outer sides of sherdi with teeth and enjoying them till the whole 4-5 feet sherdi was gone. Sometimes we'd get spoiled by mom and aunts as they'd cut the sherdi with suDi (a sort of cutter) for us and we just get to chew on to it until the sweet juice drained in our mouths. To sit on the floor bundled up in a sweater and warm woolen hat, making little holes on kite with agarbatti, tying the kinna or the strings to kites in the right place and making sure the little knot was made at the right spot was an important skill to have and the men of the house taught them to us kids so we had literally mastered that art. It was so much fun and so very exciting because we'd compete to see which of us kids made maximum kites ready. Ba would make some rice with a lot of water so it's almost like glue so that we can use it to plaster up the kites to make them more sturdy and stronger. The rice glue was applied on torn patang's thin papers that were precut in square or rectangle shapes and applied on the sides of kites to ensure the kites would be able to handle heavy winds while they were up in the sky. The soft rice glue was better than the brown tape (gundar patti), because the tape actually made kites much heavier and made them tear apart faster. All of this was done days before uttarayan so that the kites are ready to be flown during the uttarayan days; wasting a moment of daytime for things like these was considered bad as every moment of the day was to be spent enjoying flying the kites on the terrace.

The hope was that on the day before uttarayan and day of uttarayan along with vaasi-uttarayan (the day after) the Wind Gods would have mercy and blow like crazy so that we won't have to give too many "thumka" to the kites in order for them to get up in the sky. So often, Papu and Kaka would have a pair of strings connected to the patang instead of one just so that it can handle the heavy winds and it can last longer than usual. To run after a loose patang was a strict no-no as it could endanger you or injure you in various ways so there was always more than enough supply of kites and firki for everyone. Still once in a while we enjoyed running after a kite that was just passing by our terrace. The trees would sometimes catch them and then to get them off a tree was real pain and disappointing. Sometimes trying to get them out of a tree caused injuries too so we were not to do that.

Building next door & kites in the sky

I got to learn the techniques of flying the kite right way with least amount of damage to our kites and hands from Papu. He'd teach the tricks to all of us kids and show us how it was done. Not everyone was keen except for a few of us who actually ended up flying our own kites later on when we were teenagers. The elders would give us the kites to hold once they were high above in the sky and steady for us to hold on. And often, it was so hard to see our own kite as it usually was much higher above than where the string actually was. The art of holding the string of a flying kite without hurting ourselves or getting cuts on the fingers was also important. Some of us had the brown tape wrapped around our fingers and the others with leather strap things that they custom made for kite flying, which would prevent the cuts.

We would get super happy when one of the grown ups would let us attach an extra-long puchhada (tail) to one of the kites. The tails were usually made from old newspapers cut into long stripes and the stripes were attached with rice glue. Those tailed kites looked so beautiful, sometimes like a face with two eyes and a nose and a tail on the bottom. The tailed kites didn't really last longer as the tail would make it more heavy and there was the risk of the tail getting entangled with the string.

The terrace being one for the whole apartment building made the whole experience even more fun. We all had sort of a custom that we don't cut each others' kites and if by mistake the pech had happened the two people holding the strings would switch places to untangle the pech. Best part was that at any given time there were at least five to six kites flying from our terrace and when one of ours got cut by some other kite, the other kite-flyers on our terrace went to take a revenge. It was sort of a silly rivalry, but it brought a sense on unity in all of us. As the day passed, the ladies would show up on the terrace wrapped up in shawls and scarves with more food for everyone, and thaaLi-velaN (used for beating and making noise when we cut someone's kite).

Eventually, as we grew up the custom of playing loud filmi songs became the tradition, which I didn't enjoy much as it defeated the purpose of screaming our heads off when a kite was cut. The whole day would pass like this and then the ladies would be shouting for us to come down as it was much after sunset; Eventually we'd give in to go grab some food before we come back again at night to put up some tukkal (a lit candle in a paper jar sort of thing) on a kite and fly it again. One would get to see so many of them around, sometimes seven or more on one string, which were probably flying on one big kite (dhaal) or two kites at the same time. Tukkal were a lot of fun to watch and eventually the candle burns out and the kites are brought down, until the next morning, when we are up again flying more kites.

Those were the uttarayans in Ahmedabad! Oh so fun, so exciting and full of colors and life!

The times have changed significantly and so have the uttarayans in Ahmedabad but it still remains a fun place to be in during this festival and more. I leave you all with some Uttarayan time photos of Ahmedabad from my collection. They're not as great as Darshit's but they do show different side of Ahmedabad during these days.

Happy Uttarayan everyone!

Friday, January 09, 2009

"Hum hai raahi pyaar ke... phir milenge... chalte chalte..."

What? You still haven't heard that dialog? Go watch Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, right now!

I really enjoyed watching this film despite of it being so bad like almost everyone says. It's one of those movies that falls under it-is-so-pathetic-i-love-it category. There's quite a lot of nice things in this one and one just has to sit there and ponder upon them before moving on to the next scene. What did I like about it? Here goes:

  1. First and foremost, SRK's acting. This man's work just gets better with time, I think. I used to not like him as much but eventually have grown to like him for who he is on-screen and off-screen. SRK truly rocks!
  2. How Surinder and Bobby love each other and would do anything for each other... their friendship is so close, they even say "I love you" to each other!! If you are a man, it takes guts to say "I love you" to another man.
  3. The music, because it includes songs such as "haule haule" and "phir milenge... chalte chalte". I like the others too but these two are more fun songs than the others. And I totally adore the background music by Salim-Sulaiman. "Tujh mein rab dikhta hai" is one of those that you start liking after listening to it like a gazillion times and Sunidhi is awesome is "dance pe chance" though I admit I don't understand all of the lyrics but Labh Januja's voice haunts me day and night, in a good way of course.
  4. How in the first half you just keep laughing at almost everything about Surinder - the way he combs his hair, the way he walks, the way he dresses, the way he receives phone calls at work, the way he talks to himself, just about everything he does.
  5. The mucchad, chashmish, shy, quiet, innocent, adorable, pure-at-heart Suri.
  6. How this movie reminds me of good ol' Golmaal. There are so many similarities, it's unbelievable. (1) our hero has the mooch-munda and mucchad versions!! (2) one super cool alter ego and the other "mucchad buddhu" like how Urmila would call him (3) the heroine falls in love with the "luccha lafanga" hero and hates the seedha-sada hero (4) the dad loves the "mucchad buddhu" but the daughter doesn't (5) the sidekick of the hero - Deven vs. Bobby (6) the cool hero gives lessons (study vs. dance) to the heroine (7) the frustration that our hero goes through... I am sure there's more to add to this list.
  7. How Suri says on phone: "Punjab Power... lighting up your life ji".
  8. How the movie shows that it's the nice little things, little acts of showing our consideration towards the others that wins people's hearts.
  9. How simplicity is portrayed along with the theme that God is great and that no matter what the end result is in His hands for everything.
  10. Did I already say SRK's acting? Yeah, during scenes like Taani walks in and he's working on laptop and gets up all of a sudden only to realize he has the string of his pen-drive around his neck, his fight with the sumo wrestler, how he tries to hide his brand new wedding, how he requests Taani to come out and greet his coworkers, how he accepts the lack of love from Taani and continues to love her and be nice to her.

Btw, this becomes the first movie ever that I watched in theater TWICE! :D

So now you know what to do, right? If you haven't seen this one already, it's totally worth a watch. Mostly because you won't need to use your brains. ;) Enjoy!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Life's Little Instruction Book

Happy New Year 2009, my fellow bloggers! Hope you all have a fantastic year ahead.

As usual, no resolutions for this year. :) But I did want to share something fun. While I was reading some old emails I came across this one - sent to me by a sweet person I know. Though I don't agree with each and every one of these instructions, I do like most of them and I think it is a good idea to follow some rules like these in life.

Life's Little Instruction Book

  • Have a firm handshake.
  • Look people in the eye.
  • Sing in the shower.
  • Own a great stereo system.
  • If in a fight, hit first and hit hard.
  • Keep secrets.
  • Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.
  • Always accept an outstretched hand.
  • Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
  • Whistle.
  • Avoid sarcastic remarks.
  • Choose your life's mate carefully. From this one decision will come 90 percent of all your happiness or misery.
  • Make it a habit to do nice things for people who will never find out.
  • Lend only those books you never care to see again.
  • Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have.
  • When playing games with ! children, let them win.
  • Give people a second chance, but not a third.
  • Be romantic.
  • Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
  • Loosen up. Relax. Except for rare life-and-death matters, nothing is as important as it first seems.
  • Don't allow the phone to interrupt important moments.It's there for your convenience, not the caller's.
  • Be a good loser.
  • Be a good winner.
  • Think twice before burdening a friend with a secret.
  • When someone hugs you, let them be the first to let go.
  • Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Beware of the person who has nothing to lose.
  • Don't burn bridges. You'll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
  • Live your life so that your epitaph could read, No Regrets
  • Be bold and courageous. When you look back on life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the one's you did.
  • Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
  • Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
  • Take charge of your attitude. Don't let someone else choose it for you.
  • Visit friends and relatives when they are in hospital; you need only stay a few minutes.
  • Begin each day with some of your favorite music.
  • Once in a while, take the scenic route.
  • Send a lot of Valentine cards. Sign them, 'Someone who thinks you're terrific.
  • Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.
  • Keep a note pad and pencil on your bed-side table.Million-dollar ideas sometimes strike at 3 a.m.
  • Show respect for everyone who works for a living regardless of how trivial their job.
  • Send your loved ones flowers. Think of a reason later.
  • Make someone's day by paying the toll for the person in the car behind you.
  • Become someone's hero.
  • Marry only for love.
  • Count your blessings.
  • Compliment the meal when you're a guest in someone's home.
  • Wave at the children on a school bus.
  • Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
  • Don't expect life to be fair.

    ps. Please do share if you know the source for these.