Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jai Iyer's INGA: The Secret

INGA. Meaning Indian Manga...
Created by the wonderful Jai Iyer, whom, as Fortune would have it, I have met less times in the flesh than is preferable. Chance meeting at Chance Chandra's house etc. And Koshy's....
So, presenting THE SECRET.
Brilliant fun, inside jokes and all, set in Koshy's, Bangalore, with famous personalities dotting the landscape and playing important roles.

Enjoy on Jai Iyer's blog.

Jai Ho!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Recent movie-watchings

Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Delightful! Woody Allen does it again. I love his films, I do. Familiar European setting, voice-over narrative and much onscreen madness. Totally enjoyable.
Scarlett Johansson and Javier Bardem were very good, but Penelope Cruz was magnificent. *kisses fingers* Not to mention unbelievably gorgeous.
I mean, look at her.
Esp. loved the scenes where Bardem and Cruz erupt into heated Spanish, arguing like siblings, and Bardem telling Cruz ever so often, “Speak in English, okay?” Hyaahahhaa. Cow.

Another Cruz movie I liked: Volver
Another Bardem movie I found interesting: Love in the Time of Cholera

The Reader: Erm. Had had such high high high expectations from this one that of course it was a letdown. Kate Winslet is farking brilliant. As is the young lad. But apart from an interesting story, it was pretty lukewarm, I thought. The sexplicit scenes were there, yes. But to what effect? Ho hum, as it were.
I don't know. Vaguely disappointed after watching this one. Must read book. I hear it's much better.

Another movie Winslet is brilliant in: Jude

Rachel Getting Married
: Liked. In spite of it being about yet another screwed-up, self-centred young American thang, a dysfunctional family and what have you. Very Indie feel on the whole.
Anne Hathway does decently as the annoying main character. (She must be used to it - The Princess Diaries, The Devil Wears Prada.) The star of the movie for me was 'Rachel' played by Rosemarie DeWitt. What a pleasant surprise she turned out to be. Very dialogue-driven movie. And interesting music by someone probably from the Middle-East, I'm not sure who. Mad characters and scenes which we in the real world can't possibly relate to. Still, I liked.

The Changeling
: Yuk. What a bad film. Angelina Jolie scared me with her portrayal of the Ice Queen in this. Oh wait. She was playing a heart-broken, distraught, desperate yet determined mother. *shakes head*
Complete waste of time, and a deepening worry about Ms Jolie's kids in this, the Real World (yes, the whole UCB lot of them). If Art imitates Life, those kids deserve our sympathy.

In spite of the fact that they get to snuggle up to Brad Pitt any time they want.

NOTE TO SELF: Amusing as it is to follow your train of thoughts, you are going down the same mind-numbing and unfair path as that horrific Showbiz Tonight on WB Movies where loser reporters pick on a celebrity, opine and pass scathing judgement on them and everything that goes on in their private lives. Shame. Shame.

Friday, May 08, 2009

That trip to Breswana

1. Peter: Lolling in the grass.

2. More Fearless Nadia action. God, I love that hat.
3. My ride. (The white horse, not the little boy. Little boy is chaperon.) 4. First few homes as we approach Breswana. This is what we'd call 'downtown'.
5. Back fields. Wheat crop, due for a June harvest.
6. Dad's Old Reliable. Very old stud from Zaskar. Lots of attitude and temper and tantrums. I am a strict believer in the Betaab tenet: "Jaanwar jitna sarkash ho, utni aasaani se train kiya jaa sakta hai....". That would make Dad Sunny Deol.

7. Canine v. Bovine: Ultimate Face Off. (Shortly after this pic, Peter tucked tail and ran...)


As promised, the Haji Public School, Breswana, came to life on Monday, May 4, 2009.
Can't tell you how nice it was to see the little kids walk in in their new uniforms and shiny faces. Some kids haven't bought their uniforms yet so they were in their old light-blue-on-navy-blue Govt School uniforms or in colour-colour-which-colour home clothes.
Here's one of the teachers, Mohd Din, leading the lovely kids in a Urdu prayer. Very famous number this throughout Jammu and Kashmir. 'Lab pe aati hai dua' and so on and so forth.

Did you see that cool kid at the end? Too much only. There are many more....
More pics soon.
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Friday, May 01, 2009

Introducing... The HAJI PUBLIC SCHOOL

HAJI PUBLIC SCHOOL???!!! Shut up!!!
*Cheers!*Fanfare!*The crowd goes wild!!!*
Then, suddenly feeling silly, the crowd asks, "Err. What is it?"
I am proud as all dammit to announce the launch of the very first school under the Amina Trust Foundation. This would be the HAJI PUBLIC SCHOOL, Breswana (tadaaa!!!), and if you don't know already, Breswana is our tiny little village way up in the mountains, on the 'other' side of the River Chenab.

Said Trust is a family-run charity organisation ('cosa nostra' and all that) set up to help widows, orphans and poor people, to improve education and civic facilities in Doda District, then move further out and insha'Allah cover the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

(Next obvious step: WORLD DOMINATION....)

The new joint in Breswana starts out as an elementary school this year with lower and upper kindergartens, and we will slowly increment grades as we get more staff and resources.
Ma and I have been busy the last couple of months, training teachers, building the syllabus, procuring books, stationery and other paraphernalia that go into starting and running a school, buying assorted toys for the shrimps in Breswana.... and it has all come down to this: Academic year 2009-2010 declared open. Classes will kickstart in the coming week on Monday, May 4, 2009.

We're heading to the village this weekend for the grand inauguration party, having such celebrated guests as No One Really, WhatsHerFace and The Other Guy. Media presence is uncertain for reasons unknown. Also in attendance will be the peeps of Breswana and one hears they are quite glad their kids will finally have a real school to go to. Well, good for them. *thumps table*
Will put up pics of affair on return.

Quick-guide route to Breswana:
Nearest airports: Jammu, Srinagar
Thereafter: By road, on foot, or on four feet (horse's/mule's)
Things to Know and Ponder About: Breswana accessible only on foot / horseback after a point. Difficult, steep mountain slopes, but great scenery along the way. :-)
1. From Jammu or Srinagar, take the National Highway 1B to Kishtwar.
2. Stop at tiny roadside town called Premnagar (about 6 hours by road from Jammu). Yes, that is its real name.
3. Cross footbridge over the Chenab, take a deep breath and start upwards.
4. On horseback, it takes us a good 3-4 hours. Walking (for the unfit) will take longer. MUCH longer. For the local bumpkins, who do this uphill-downhill routine daily, they reach in 2 hours flat. Won't say they hardly break a sweat, but what I'm trying to suggest here is that they're really quite something.
I want to BE them...

Pit Stop 1, about an hour up from Premnagar.

And, 4 hours later we're there. Welcome to Breswana.

So. Until next week.

PS: Cartoons filched from cartoonstock and Family Guy.