The Joy of Giving!

Gift

While I love to shop for myself and buy nice things, the biggest satisfaction I get is from giving to people. It brings me happiness, peace and contentment. I don’t dedicate any special day for giving. I try to make it an everyday habit. Sometimes, I’ll pay a rickshaw driver Rs. 10 extra just to bring a smile on his face, sometimes I’ll feed street kids the food that they ask for. Sometimes I’ll help an old person or a young child cross the road – that is also a form of giving for me. I love to send gifts to my friends and see the smile of happiness on their face.

Giving to people should be something that we follow everyday. It shouldn’t be done on any one special day only dedicated to someone. Make it an everyday habit. Give a smile to a sad looking stranger, compliment a woman on her outfit and watch her confidence soar, thank a man who makes way for you and even better ( this goes especially for us women) – don’t expect a man to make way for you always, hold the door open for you or show you courtesy. Instead, do it sometimes for a man, it can even be a stranger. They will feel happy because rarely do they get to experience such gestures.

Make giving and caring for people an everyday habit. You don’t need any other mood booster or stress relieving activities!

This post is written to participate in the #DaanUtsav Initiative on Indiblogger.

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Secret Superstar – A Story of Dreams and Courage!

I had seen the trailers of Secret Superstar when I went to see the theatre to see another movie, since then I was eagerly waiting for the movie to release. The storyline just captured my heart and attention. I am a die-hard Aamir Khan fan. The other Khans refuse to grow and will still be running around trees even when they are 70. But this Khan never ceases to delight with every movie he does.

Coming back to the movie…. Insia is a 14 year old girl from Vadodara with a great talent for music but unable to realise her ambitions due to an oppressive and dominant father who considers daughters as a liability and sons as the treasures of the family. Insia’s father berates and insults his wife, even hitting her violently quite frequently. Insia has two dreams – to become a famous singer and to free her mother from the violent marriage. Whether she is able to fulfill these two dreams is what the movie is about.

There are so many things I loved about the movie. Meher Vij as the battered wife who wants to give her kids the best of everything steals the limelight in the movie. Zaira Wasim as Insia is a delight to watch. Her acting and emotions are expressed so well. However, for me the surprise package in the movie is Chintan Parekh played by Tirth Sharma. Chintan is Insia’s school friend who secretly as a crush on her. He is very very cute and a very natural and gifted actor. Their friendship slowly develops into a sweet love story as he always stands by her, supports her and encourages her dreams. The sweetest scene between them is the password scene in the movie.


Aamir Khan as Shakti Kumaar, a talented music director who gives into the popular crass music demands of producers is exceptional as always. But all through the movie, he doesn’t try to steal the limelight from Zaira Wasim and it is very clear that she is the main protagonist in the movie.

This movie is a must must watch for everyone.

Yeh Un Dinon Ki Baat Hai – A Trip Down Memory Lane!


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I am one person who absolutely hates all Hindi TV serials and quite a few English ones too. But the promos of one TV serial caught my attention and made me want to see it. It brought back an era that is long gone and was full of sweetness and simplicity. I feel like Scarlett ‘O’ Hara many times and say – I will not look back on the old days and remember what has gone. But this serial has brought back all the memories and makes me happily nostalgic. Here is the first promo that had this effect on me.

I started watching the serial from the first epiosde and I simply love it. It shows the technology free era before Internet, Whatsapp, Facebook and the wide choice of entertainment available today. It brings back the memories of Wednesday Chitrahaar, Sunday Mahabharat and all those programmes on Doordarshan for which we waited the entire week. It is the days of VCR and video cassettes, music cassettes and walkmans, the favourite drink of our childhood and teens – Gold Spot which we used to drink with a pleasure that the Pepsi and Coke of today can never give us.

The serial is narrated in a flashback by Naina, the main protagonist of the serial who has become a famous writer now. She is recounting the story of her love story with Sameer who joins her school when she was 16. They start by becoming friends as he asks her to help him with his studies till circumstances prevent her from doing so and she is forced to stop talking to him and he is also humiliated in school because of her. He starts to woo her in order to take revenge from her. Will he actually fall in love with her? That’s a mystery that’s not yet revealed.

The story is set in the time that Maine Pyar Kiya was released and perfectly shows the increase in heartbeat that the movie caused in every teenager of that time. Salman Khan and Bhagyashree became the heartthrobs of every teenager and the songs became the love anthems of the entire country.

It is awesome how the era of 90’s has been perfectly recreated in the serial – the drinks we loved, the TV shows that were popular, the clothes we wore that we thought were so hep and the kind we or the teenagers of today wouldn’t be caught dead wearing now. The kind of research and efforts put in to recreate that era in the serial is simply amazing. The serial is a must must watch.

Now grown up me returns to the 90’s and sits with her fingers crossed with stars in her eyes hoping that Sameer actually falls in love with Naina and they end up together ❤ ❤

 

Tubelight – An honest Review

Tubelight

I went to see Tubelight very reluctantly. I was not keen on seeing it and mom was. Despite the frame of mind I was in, the movie was just about okay.

There are two themes of the movie, both good ones – one is believing in something with all your heart and it will happen and the second is that you don’t need to be a born an Indian to be an Indian from heart.

The performances by Sohail Khan, the small boy Matin Rey Tangu and Zhu Zhu are the highlights of the film. They do full justice to the role. Another person who is silently a strong character in the movie is Maya(Isha Talwar). Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub is an excellent actor who is a complete natural and gives power packed yet subtle performances. His expressions convey everything. I see him as the next Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

Though the theme of the movie is good, it is supported by a very weak storyline and too much importance being given to Salman Khan and everyone else being sidelined. In Bajrangi Bhaijaan, every character including Salman Khan had their important spot in the movie. I can’t say the same for Tubelight. It would still be alright if he had acted well in the movie. But he is completely not suited for the role he has performed in the movie, hence looks very unconvincing which makes the movie dull and uninteresting.

Zhu Zhu, who plays the role of the Chinese Woman, is simply awesome in the movie and is very talented. She is the saving grace of the movie. Even Sohail Khan has given a very good and restrained performance. The movie would have been a good one if the role played by Salman Khan had been done by someone else.

Overall, I would give the movie one and a half stars.

A Place to Revisit!

This post is written as a part of Indispire Edition # 175 – Share about any place that you would love to revisit. What makes the place special? #TimeToRevisit

From a very young age, I have been passionate about travelling with a list of many dream destinations. The love for travelling comes from my army background and frequent transfers. The place that topped the list of my dream destinations is Paris. So it was a dream come true when in 2008, my dad said that we will go on a holiday to Paris. I was ecstatic and on Cloud Nine. I made all the preparations, we applied for a visa and got it quite easily. My brother was a frequent traveller all over the world for work purposes. We were travelling in April and we checked with him if we need to carry warm clothes. He advised us to carry light woollens. So we were all set and left in April 2008.

On the day that we landed in Paris, it snowed heavily and the temperature dropped drastically to 3 degrees centigrade. I was carrying a very light jacket as were my parents. We all got exposed to the cold but I was the only one who got a terrible viral fever attack. I was sightseeing in Paris with a fever of 103 degrees, sometimes touching 104 degrees. I was at a loss at how to buy medicines as the employees at the pharmacies there only spoke and understood French. We were strolling in Paris one day and we came across an Indian restaurant. I had been dying for some Masala chai(we all know how good that tastes in cold and fever). I walked into the restaurant with mom and we started chatting with the owner. We ordered food and very hestitantly I asked if I could get some adrak chai(Ginger Tea) as I have a cold. He personally made it for me and henceforth, whenever I visited his restaurant, my ginger tea would be ready. I will never forget his kindness and warm hospitality. The restaurant was quite close to our hotel.

Because of my sickness, I could not enjoy my time at Paris at all. It is all a hazy blur. My worst regret is when we went to see the cabaret at Moulin Rouge. I took a heavy dose of medicine so that I could enjoy the show. It had a different adverse effect on me and the medicines made me drowsy and I slept through the show.

So the place that I really want to revisit in good health and good weather is Paris. I really hope I get to see Paris again in my lifetime. Here is a picture of Eiffel Tower at night that i took with my mom standing in front of it. You can gauge the size of Eiffel Tower by comparing it with the size of people standing under and in front of it.

The Saga of the Under Attack Feminist

When I was a little girl, my grandmother would keep teaching me about everything a girl should be – a girl should be softspoken, she should be modest, she should not have strong opinions and views, she should be extremely tolerant whatever the circumstances and protesting against injustice, what’s that(she still is the most beautiful memory of my childhood days because of the lovely summer memories she created for us). And today when she is no more and I am the exact antithesis of whatever she taught me, she must be squirming or finally she is proud of me?

On one side, I had my grandmother moulding me into her idea of a perfect woman(or wife) and on the other side I had my dad bringing me up to be a strong, self respecting woman who is the epitome of kindness but God help you if you mess with her. I guess dad’s upbringing had a heavier influence than my grandmother’s.

So I grew up to be a strong minded woman who knew what she wants in most things life and could not compromise on the things that most girls are asked to compromise on. In today’s 21st Century, if you are a woman with clear views and thoughts and if you set very clear standards for yourself, you are labelled a Feminist with a screwed up mouth making it sound like a dirty word. If you stand up for your rights and don’t let people mess with you or cross the lines, what are you? Yes, you guessed it right! The dirty word again.

I have been quite used to people calling me a feminist with their nose turned up like they have some dirty smell right under their nose. And I can smell those kind of people from far away. But then some people surprise(shock) you too. They preach about being modern, free thinking, broad minded and believing in equality. They gain your respect and you are truly impressed that here is the WOMAN/MAN of today. And one day they show you your true colours!

A few days back, I shared an article condemning the men who gang raped a woman who was out of her house in the night with her baby. She was in the auto when they threw the baby out of the auto and took the woman to a secluded area and gang raped her. Needless to say, the baby passed away.

Deeply saddened by the crime, I shared a sketch of the culprits that was released with a statement hoping that they are arrested. Most of the people had sad or angry reactions to what I shared.

Then a friend of mine totally opened my eyes to her. Till then, she had always come across to as someone who believed in the emancipation of women. But the truth was revealed to me that day. Her comment – While I deeply sympathize with her, I think she is at fault because she shouldn’t have gone out in the night alone with her baby especially since one truck driver had already tried to molest her. I asked her – how can you even say that? Does she even have to explain why she stepped out of her house or feel guilty about it? She says I agree with you and women’s freedom shouldn’t be restricted. I said – good, then let’s stick to that and not make statements like she shouldn’t have stepped out.

Then she messaged me and started writing a long saga about her ex-husband used to beat her up, yet she never left the house etc etc. I ignored her messages because there was no way I could justify her sentence to myself. Then two days later, she was probably miffed that I ignored her. So she messages me and says that I am far removed from reality and she labelled me as a ‘bra burning feminist’. I mustered up all my dignity and responded – I don’t wish to discuss this with you. Thanks.

So here is a modern 21st Century woman who escaped an abusive marriage with a daughter of her own and is now married to a wonderful loving man for which I am truly happy for her. Instead of fighting stereotypes and working towards a safe world where her daughter can move about freely, she is feeding the dangerous stereotypes where a man can strut about at any time of the day or night thinking that all women are things to be used and abused while women should lock themselves inside four walls to keep themselves from tempting the uncontrollable man. The bra-burning feminist rests her case here!!

Anti-Romeo Squad – A Protective Act or a Restriction of Freedom

From the time the Modi government came into power, I have been a sceptic, completely sure that this government will not make a difference in people’s lives. It will be the same circle of false promises, hopes shattered and disappointment. I still am a sceptic, waiting and watching to see if the government lives up to the people’s trust.

One of the latest moves by the government that has people(especially the young people) scared and worried is the Anti-Romeo Squad started in U.P. We are automatically worried and concerned that it is a garb for harassing couples. I completely empathize with people’s concerns and worries. After all, we have had experiences of policemen harassing couples under the pretext of protecting women.

However, in this case, I feel things may be slightly different. From whatever I have read – the Anti Romeo Squad isn’t created to prevent interactions between girls and boys. I know that when we look at Yogi Adityanath, we perceive the kind of person who wants to take India back to the dark ages. But somehow, I beg to differ in this case. I may turn out to be wrong, but from what I have seen of his actions, his decisions after becoming CM have been based on the right thought process.

The Anti-Romeo Squad has been created with the thought process of making the cities safer for women. The thought behind it is a good and positive one. Yes, when I read up about the Anti-Romeo Squad, I did come across incidents where innocent young boys were harassed or young couples were troubled. However, there was one big difference that I noticed. Immediate action was taken against the police officers who harassed consenting couples or group of friends of mixed gender who were together. The officers were suspended. So, eventually this might turn out to be the step that will make U.P a safer place for women. We should give it a chance. Also, the squad has one male and one female officer, another difference from the past.

Now the important question asked in this topic. Should we stop the intermingling between boys and girls? Definitely not. We should encourage boys and girls to have healthy relationships based on respect and understanding. We should teach them to treat each other as people and not look at each other as members of the opposite gender.

A lot of the times, no make that all the time, children learn by following our actions, not by what we preach to them. How many men make sexist remarks about girls or women in the presence of their sons – making comments on their physical aspects, the clothes they wear or even their driving skills. If you preach to your son that he should respect women as individuals but behave in the opposite way, what do you expect him to learn? Similarly, if you teach your daughter to dress modestly, to behave in a certain way when going out with guys, you are drilling it into her that she is responsible for ensuring no guy treats her in the wrong way. We need to teach our boys that women have the right to dress the way they want to and if a woman is drinking at a party or if she has many guy friends, she is not a woman that they can play with.

Once again, children follow by example, not by preaching. So, if we want to have a healthy intermingling of young people from opposite genders, we need to practice what we preach and treat men and women(boys and girls) to see each other as people and individuals, not as someone from the opposite gender.

This post is written for the Indiblogger Indispire topic # 166

 

A Late Review of Befikre

befikre-cover-vaani-ranveer

I had missed watching Befikre in the movie hall and I had been very keen to watch it. I missed it when it came on T.V. Recently, I subscribed to Amazon Prime Video. It is amazing with a good movie collection, excellent quality and very convenient.

I found Befikre in the movie collection and settled down to watch it on Gudi Padwa since it was a holiday. The movie is set completely in Paris, it is my most loved city amongst all I have visited. I have a forever romance with Paris. The movie explores love and relationships as they are today. The confusion, desire to experience love with more than one person before settling down with that one person who one feels is perfect for them.

Vaani Kapoor and Ranveer Singh are both refreshing and very talented. They are fun, carefree and the movie is quite nice and I enjoyed it until we came to the end. Let me start with the synopsis first.

Shyra is an Indian but she has grown up as a French girl in Paris. The movie starts with a big fight and a breakup with Dharam(Ranveer Singh). After the breakup, Shyra grows up from someone who jumps from one relationship to other to a sensible and grounded woman who acquires a more mature outlook towards life while Dharam still stays the same. After their breakup, they don’t really stay in touch until one day Dharam calls her when he is in trouble with police. She bails him out and on the way home, they start talking to each other. Dharam apologizes to her for the things he says. They start becoming friends again and the story continues.

One day, her friend sets up a date for Shyra with an Investment banker.  Shyra is grumbling to Dharam about he will be a boring person and she wants to cancel the date. Dharam is going towards her house, speaking to her on the phone not realising that the same Investment banker is walking along with him towards her house. He hears the conversation about himself and introduces himself at Shyra’s door as the boring Investment banker. Dharam ends up accompanying them on the date. They go to a Karaoke bar and have a wonderful time. This was a refreshing change for me as the banker isn’t shown as the serious boring type, rather someone who is mature and responsible yet someone who lives life to the fullest and enjoys it too.

Shyra and Aney(the Investment banker) continue their relationship and are really happy together. Eventually, Aney asks her to marry him. She goes to Dharam and asks him for advice(as they are really close friends now). She asks him if he thinks she is the right person to get married too since their relationship doesn’t work out. He tells her that she is perfect and there is no way that she is responsible for the relationship not working out. She says Yes to Aney.

Now this is where my problem starts with the movie. In our youth and immaturity, we always get into relationships with the wrong people and come out of them as sensible people who have grown up, realised their good and bad points and what they want in the person whom they spend their life with. According to me, Dharam was the mistake of Shyra’s life and Aney was the guy who was absolutely right for her. But Dharam and Shyra start realising they still love each other while the wedding preparations are going on. This would still have been ok if we realised that Dharam had grown up and become more mature and responsible like Shyra had. But he was still the same which she knows too. When he tells her that he wants to change things, she tells him to act like  grownup man and rectify things, not like a typical immature man.

Yet at the end of the movie, they show Dharam coming to the altar and telling Aney how Shyra is a woman with a bad character, a slut who has slept with many men so that Aney will leave her and Shyra will be his. Shyra walks up to him and tells him – I told you to handle things like a grownup and not indulge in cheap tactics. He tells her that he loves her and she decides to marry Dharam, which is quite stupid. To justify that the turn the movie had taken now was the right one, they show Aney completely losing his cool and acting like a wild mad man losing his temper and getting violent towards Dharam. So they show a calm, sensible and mature man in a bad light to justify the cad getting the girl. This is my problem with the movie.

It is time our movies stopped justifying MCPs just because they are in love with the girl and were the girl’s first love, because that is what Dharam is – MCP.

 

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty-Beast-Live-Action-Movie-Details

I am a big Emma Watson fan and from the time the movie was announced with the first trailer, I was finding it difficult to wait for the movie to release. The first trailer itself looked so dreamy and perfect! When the movie released, I went with a close friend to see it. I sincerely think that the right company for such movies is very important, someone who will understand the varied emotions you experience while watching a movie like this.

I won’t be elaborating on the story of the movie since most of us are aware of the story of Beauty and the Beast. The movie is so beautifully shot, the scenes are spectacular, the music touching and sweet. The movie must be seen only in 3D to fully enjoy the beautiful visuals.

Emma Watson is truly the perfect choice for the role of Belle. She is beautiful, witty, sharp and simply spectacular. Dan Stevens as Beast does full justice to the role. The other person who stole the show for me was Josh Gad who plays the role of LeFou. He is a terrific actor with amazing comic timing. The movie should definitely not be missed.

The other thing that really impressed me was that one of Belle’s gowns is designed and embroidered in India. Take a look.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/24/asia/beauty-and-the-beast-india/

Supermoon, 14th November 2016

From my childhood, I have simply been fascinated by the moon. It is a love affair that is forever. There is something about the looking at the moon in the night sky that soothes me, lets me forget all troubles and tensions for a while and takes me to another world. Hence, every time there is a Supermoon announcement, I am all excited. 14th November 2016 was one more such day. Somehow, every time I miss out on the perfect photograph. However, this time I was determined. It took many attempts with my simple digital camera but I got the perfect picture.

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