Warning: This article is created with the purpose of improving my writing skills, particularly stretching 10 words to write 100, while putting forth contradicting views on cheese. I am taking my former MD’s advice to improve my writing skills by blogging frequently very seriously, even when I have hardly anything to blog about.

By the way, if reading this makes you extremely hungry, I am not responsible for it. Thank you.

Dear Cheese, I love u, I love u not, I love u… (I am imagining that I am plucking petals off a daisy)

I love u not…

Masala Garlic Bread at New Yorker.

Yuckoisky… Actually it was ok when I ate the bread topped with minuscule cubes of cheese. One would’ve been enough but I was under compulsion to have three. It didn’t fill me up and I didn’t feel the effect there. But a couple of hours later, a slight uneasiness lingered in my throat/oesophagus. My oesophagus would have got a layer of cheese, I am sure. I had gone to New Yorker with a friend, and as I was g-chatting with him that day, he told me he would probably not eat dinner that day. I easily guessed why.

I love u…

Lasagna soaked in cheese is so comforting on a dull day (Please refer to my other article on food). Galloping Gooseberry’s lasagna is awesome, and Eatalica’s version is not bad. But my friend had a problem with the Eatalica version. He said he couldn’t sleep the night after he ate the lasagna.

I love u not…

Cheese pizza is a visit to gastronomical hell. A veggie cheese sizzler served at Tangerine nearly achieves the status of the cheese pizza – you wonder where the vegetables are.

The Abrupt Conclusion

I guess melted cheese agrees with me more.

Cheesy Comfort and Dark Desire

In the middle of a dull day there’s nothing more feel-good than a lunch of lasagna layered with gooey cheese and peppered with vegetables (with my eyes glued to a blockbuster movie on an LCD TV), as I discovered today. The low point is that the lunch would’ve amounted to 2000 plus calories (Maybe that’s an exaggeration… I don’t know :-D). Which leads to the second benefit - it motivated me to work out for longer at the gym today.

I had the lasagna at Eatalica. The lasagna at Galloping Gooseberry was yummier, but try as I might, I couldn’t find the pasta. Here I could find the pasta sheets and watch them tear into ribbons as I prodded them with my fork. (It was a satisfying experience, dude.) Hey lasagna, I will come running to you in a few months. Till then you are forgotten (almost). Ok, enough about the pasta.

Now on to the love of many girls’ lives. The poster boy for desire. The dark, drool worthy, tempting... chocolate. Sometimes the very thought of it drives me crazy. Rum chocolate (Cadbury’s Temptations), Dark Chocolate, Ferrero Rocher, Toblerone… what a choice! Mmmmmm. Not long ago, I was in head over heels in love with 5-star Crunchy. Lately however, I have brought down the frequency of my chocolaty indulgences with strong resolve. Thanks to me going to a gym and noting a significant change in my physique.

While on the subject of fattening food… when you’re craving for ice cream, go to Citi Centre and buy gelato instead. It is somewhat similar to ice cream but the fat content is much less. It is made of milk, but is not too creamy. And it is simply delicious and not gooey like ice cream. Seriously, how many among you can stand more than a couple of scoops of ice cream. Don’t you feel that it is getting gooey at the least, if the texture of ice cream is not getting to you? I have had both ice cream and gelato. I like both, but nowadays ice cream reminds me of the huge calorie intake, and gelato is yummier in every sense.

By the way, Gelato is not served in humongous quantities, and is quite expensive. But indulging in ‘heavenly’ ice cream is best done once in a month or two. No harm in having a cup of gelato instead of that every month.

Ok. If I write anything more on food, this talk about extra calories will lose its effect on me, and the reverse will happen when I read this article. Until my next blog, cya, and all the best, weight watchers.

The Beauty of Unostentatious and Hardly Existent Hangouts

I don’t go to discos, pubs and high end coffee shops. Maybe I should go to Mocha. But the way to Khader Nawaz Khan Road threatens to be so traffic clogged that I can’t imagine riding to the place after a long day. I fight the evening traffic for half-an-hour and go relax at Mocha or Casa Piccola? No way. That’s only enough to relieve driving-induced tiredness.

The main reason why I avoid discos and pubs is that I feel I don’t need the kind of relaxation where you boogey away the evening, or down vodka. With respect to me, that is excessive indulgence.

However, I hang out sometimes in the places near my office in Abiramapuram. I go to these places for a snack in the evening or coffee after work. Most often, I head to Carnival. It’s a small place but offers a range of junk food favourites and cakes. Their pav bhaji, chocolate cake and choco mousse are to die for. Thankfully, I have eaten them only twice or thrice, in consideration of my weight.

Coffee World is also a great place, where you can just sink back into a soft couch and fight the temptation to put your legs up. There’s also a friendly waiter, which helps a lot. But I have been there only thrice or so. Again, to avoid the fattening beverages. Besides, it’s hard to talk with the ice numbing your tongue (funny, but true, isn’t it?).

Eliot’s beach is a great place (of course) especially at night. A potential hangout spot for me, because I haven’t hung out often there with my friends. (Yes.) I also love to hang out near my colleagues’ cabins, chatting with colleague-friends while I am free. (Well, it qualifies as a hangout, at least in my office.)

But the best hangout is in a tiny restaurant called Eatalica, in RA Puram.

The food isn’t great. From what I had, I liked only Dolly Parton and Monica Bellucci (the chocolate milkshake and salad respectively – the way their menu is written probably surpasses the food). But they have an incredibly soft leather sofa set, for one table in a corner, sometimes booked, but usually reserved for anyone who walks in. The cosy corner lets you chill out, sit like a queen and watch those who walk in (condescendingly, if you wish to). And of course, the temptation to put up your legs on the table is there.

Now, why do I need a disco with low lighting when I can have a ball with my friends in these places, chat away without noise in the background, and not think of a wearisome journey home?

I have a Nokia 7500 Prism – a uniquely designed phone that caught my attention the moment I saw the ad for it. I was advised to buy an N Series phone, but decided to settle for the 7500 Prism because it’s features were more or less similar to the N Series models, and it doesn’t look like a ‘man’s phone’.

I don’t know how good my phone is considered by tech-freaks, but I like it, and make good use of the camera and MP3 player. The camera delivers good picture quality, except when the zoom is used. The photos look good when uploaded on the computer. That’s fine with me.

But my favourite part of the phone is the MP3 player. I don’t know whether it’s good enough or not, but I listen to music on the phone a lot, and I’ve stored around 90 songs – full capacity. I also change the songs whenever I want.

And here’s the best thing about the phone:

The MP3 player classifies the songs into ‘Pop’, ‘Rock’, ‘Blues’ etc. My Creative MP3 player also does that. Maybe your MP3 player does that too. And maybe every MP3 player – I don’t know, because as you would have gathered, I am not a gadget nut.

Though I am crazy about music, I just listen to whatever appeals to me, usually after I hear it somewhere. I don’t go searching for albums. I can identify songs belonging only to genres like pop, rock, rap and classical, which anyone can do. I don’t enjoy Pink Floyd, except for that Another Brick in the Wall’ song, because I like racy, catchy yet well composed Western songs. I also like some slow songs. I hardly bother about the lyrics in Western songs. Genres like Blues and Country are alien to me, and if I hear them once in a while the tunes usually don’t go down well with me. People I know rave about them, and I wonder if I have to explore more.

However, I love Tamil Music, even slow songs sometimes. And I am floored by ‘Kanmani Anbodu Kadhalan’ every time I listen to it. I had stored the song in my mobile phone, and guess what category the song was classified under – Blues! Now that’s an exciting discovery for me – the smallest things that delight you create special moments too. So, that song was really nice. Blues with a touch of Indian classical music, I guess.

By the way, ‘Ponmagal Vanthal’ (Azhagiya Tamizh Magan) belongs to a genre called ‘Blue’. I was hooked to that song for quite some time. Robert Miles’s ‘Children’ (instrumental) is classified under New Age. Interesting!

It’ll surely take me a long time to discover Country, Jazz etc. But how does taking the long road matter when I listen to songs that complement my mood, or make me euphoric? After all, the purpose of listening to music is deriving happiness and peace.

Clichés get a fresh lease of life in this delightful flick

Lest you dismiss Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Naa as an ordinary movie…

If you are curious about the movie, read the papers of the past month for info about JTYJN and decide if you’ll enjoy such a movie. Because people’s tastes differ, but good movies don’t deserve to be unfairly criticised (though I doubt you’d do that if you watch JTYJN).

Read the review of the movie for good measure.

Now, about JTYJN

The clichéd youth romance format will be back with a bang, provided people follow JTYJN’s example and make such love stories tweaked to suit today’s audiences who enjoy movies that have more interesting elements than saccharine sweet love and little else, or little significance attached to anything else. Again, such romances shouldn’t be dime-a-dozen in Bollywood in the coming years. Because are there many able filmmakers willing to create a film like JTYJN in the format in the next few years?

Though JTYJN has an old fashioned story, the characterisation is good. Many characters have a lovely individuality, and are integrated in the story in such a way that the actors impress and make you notice so many things. A ‘typical’ girl-boy film that makes you pay attention. Now, that’s different!

Imran and Genelia are indeed the stars of the show. Perfect casting!

Imran puts up a good performance and probably has millions of teenage girls hooked with that boyish cuteness and vulnerability. He is natural in the romantic scenes. Here I should make a mention of Manjari Phadnis (Meghna). Pretty lass with eyes that men will drown in. She puts in a good performance in a character that the scriptwriter and director have done justice to.

And Genelia! She’s in the skin of the character! If she could act like a lovable kid in Santhosh Subramaniam, she shows that she can play Aditi Mahant very well too. It’s only her third film in Hindi, and it looks like both her bubbly cuteness and acting are going to make waves. Keep it up, girl!

Ratna Pathak Shah as Imran’s mom rocks. Naseeruddin Shah has a ball entertaining us. Sushant is alternately the chivalrous but smooth dude, and drunken asshole to the hilt. The rest of the cast has done their bit quite ok. As we know, bad acting will stick out like a sore thumb, and that didn’t happen.

The climax is enjoyable, if you pardon the cliché elements (which I did), and like the generous dollops of quintessential Bollywoodishness added to it.

‘Pappu can’t dance’ still played in my head to a vision of me boogying, hours after I walked out.

The review’s not over yet. Here’s a part-review:

Some things that make JTYJN even more special:

Aditi’s fiancé giving her a parting ‘shot’… err… power slap. How many of us would expect that in a Bollywood movie? Or expect him to him to slap so hard?

Manjari and Imran having a peaceful break-up (albeit a really sad one for Manjari).

Ratna Pathak Shah - Showing the way for cool movie moms this decade.

Imran’s dreams of a cloaked warrior chasing the ‘villains’, and in the third dream, finding that he is the warrior.

Aditi’s brother Amit telling her he wants her to be with Imran, because Imran is an ‘achcha’ ladka, unlike himself.

Amit himself, who had me drooling, even as I was wondering if the character was gay…

Ente Keralam Cheats

Do you think my headline is too harsh? The truth may sometimes seem exaggerated. But how else can I describe sky-high prices for ordinary food?

I went to Ente Keralam, feeling very hungry. I opened the menu to find that everything except the parathas was priced from Rs. 90 upwards. Even the payasam! (That’s my biggest grouse.) We had parathas, which were yummy, and biryani, with avial and kadala (channa) curry. The side dishes were quite forgettable. A mental comparison of it to the avial my granny used to make was enough to create ‘vayirerichal’. My spirits sagged further when I got a spoonful of drumsticks with my first avial helping.

The payasam was a huge disappointment. Not worth even one-fourth the amount spent for it.

Ente Keralam is supposed to have quite a variety of non-vegetarian dishes, and I suppose all they focus well on is that (**######*** grr!!!!). So, we vegetarians should be taken for granted and served substandard stuff? We have an unlimited choice of restaurants anyway.

Dasavathram Review (Strictly Not for die-hard Kamal fans)

First, I’d like to thank:

Archana – for taking me along to the movie.

Anand Iyer – for inspiring me to write another blog post, because each blog post I write lifts my spirits a bit and keeps them at that level for quite some time.

My colleague – for talking about how Dasavatharam reflects the chaos theory, butterfly etc. and heightening my respect for Kamal.

The Report of Reviewer Ranjo (I gave myself a new nick for this… Hehehe)

Thank God, Dasavathaaram hasn’t turned out to be the ‘Avathaaram’ I was worried it might be*. If any die-hard Kamal buff knows that I had that doubt I suspect he might send some delinquent fan from the Narpani Mandram (what Kamal wanted his Rasigar Mandram to be, and I hope it is) who’d do the narpani of bashing me up.

I knew absolutely nothing about the theories Dasa was based on. I just went for entertainment – which many movie-goers would expect. I would have gone a couple weeks after the movie released. But my bhaifriend** was to go for a morning show that day and the child in me insisted that I had to grab an opportunity to watch the movie asap with my hands, feet and mouth, because he was going to watch it on that day!

I was thus maha-thrilled when my friend Archana called me that morning and said she had an extra ticket for an afternoon show of the Non-avathaaram at Mayajaal. I went, visibly excited outside, and jumping like I was on an unstoppable pogo stick inside.

I settled into a seat that reclined in an amazing way, and decided that if I didn’t like the movie, the kid in me could have fun sliding back and forth.

Tada… start of movie. Credits roll out – Kamal in 10 roles, Director: KSR, Producer: Blah. (You know the blah. Now I can hear you say: Bring on the rest! Don’t bore me! Ok, so you’re reading this. Thanks… wink.)

Finally, about the Non-avathaaram…

Kamal is there in so many frames that often I missed him. Would have helped if someone had poked me and said ‘Hey, that’s Kamal’ (beneath the god-awful layers of maida paste. (err… make-up for some avatars.)) Sorry Archana, I don’t blame you.

You know where the story begins. A passionate Rangaraja Nambi who wants to protect Vaishnavism in his town, but is tied up to his beloved lord’s statue and sent a thousand feet undersea, after a few disturbing scenes of hooks digging through his flesh, and an average song playing in the background. But on the whole, thumbs up for Avathaaram 1.

Nambi turns into a scientist in USA for the 21st century avathaaram. The monkey in the guy’s lab is truly the cutest thing about the movie. And his ‘Shit’ Ram dialogue is the most distasteful thing about the flick. Kamal, go on and say you don’t believe in God, but don’t insult people the public (excluding me) see as Gods. Whether they’ve God-like powers or not, many of them are good people.

Enter old but somewhat hot Christian Fletcher. Now, who is that actor? Hmmmm… (Awesome job, Kamal, especially the accent.) Evil Fletcher gets the leggy beauty. (blink blink, is that Mallika Sherawat? Oh, my!) Miss Exposure 38-23-36 (I assume) manages to look more cultured than in any film poster or trailer I’ve seen her in! (Except in that ‘heard-before’ type intro song.) Wow! And she actually does her part ok. This is clearly a landmark film in your career, Mallika. Way to go!

Scientist dude runs to India, with Fletcher’s hands latched to his heels. (I can exaggerate that much, can’t I?) My heart was almost in my mouth in the chase scenes. The action scenes were awesome.

The screechy Asin keeps Kamal company on the adventure. Wait I missed out the nice ‘Mukunda Mukunda’ song. And Asin’s lovable Granny! Very good, Kamal.

Mr. Ramudu Mamudu (I forgot your avathaaram’s name, Kamal... :-p :-)) was strictly ok, but didn’t provide acceptable comedy. It will elicit the: ‘Oh, I get it. You’re trying to be very funny. Ha ha… 30 min gap… Hee hee... 20 min gap… yawn’ reaction.
The funniest scene in the movie had M S Bhaskar in it.

George Bush appeared in a few scenes. But he was a bit artificial looking – someone had tossed some maida pies in his face, smoothed the surface and made markings with a sharp-edged tool.

Vincent Poovaraghan was reminiscent of Kamal in Anbe Sivam. Make-up played spoilsport again, though.

Did I forget something? Yeah! The rest of the avatars, which were unnecessarily inserted. The story was tailored just to fit two of them, and the third one was unwanted. Just because you want to play 10 people, you can’t mess with your story, Kamal.

And after the overdose action and religion (now I know why many heavy English films are just 2 hour flicks) I came out, and a couple of days later, read about the theories that were a major part of the film and went ‘Oh…’ and thought that maybe I should watch it again.


*A fear caused by masterpieces like Aalavandhan – even though I hadn’t seen that one, I’d heard enough.

**Another new term coined by me – I should start creating a dictionary… really.