Monday, January 29, 2007

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth

A day before New Years Eve, a friend called up V and asked us to join him and his friends in Times Square for a movie. As we had nothing better to do, and as we normally just need an excuse to visit New York City, we agreed. He mentioned some name of the movie, which I had never heard of before or had the slightest clue what it was about. But knowing this friend, I knew that the movie's gonna be out of the ordinary and could be very interesting.

New year's traffic held us up and we all arrived late. Reaching the theater, I caught a glimpse of the movie poster. The name was "Pan's Labyrinth" and it depicted some fairy tale/fantasy kinda place. We postponed the tickets for the next show and went for dinner at the nearby desi restaurant Kashmir. I had eaten at this place earlier, way back in 2003 when I had visited NY as a tourist. Those days, having stayed in remote Indiana, Indian food was always a treat. But this time around, I realized that the restaurant was not as great as I had initially thought and the food was pathetic and a taste spoiler. Guys, my advice - if you are in Times Square area, unless you have to eat desi food, please don't eat at Kashmir!!

The service at the restaurant was slow and so we missed the show again and we had to re-postpone the tickets. Luckily even though the lady at the counter realized we had postponed the tickets before, she still gave us tickets for the next show.

The movie started and then it struck us all...the movie was not in English! It was in Spanish with English subtitles. It is a story about a young girl who believes in fairies while having to deal with harsh reality of her real life. But don't get fooled by the words "young girl" and "fairies". This story is a fancy Gothic fairy tale set against a chilling post war era with its share of violence, gruesomeness and horror

The story is about a young girl, Ofelia who moves with her pregnant mother to live with her step father. They live in a remote area where her sadist and fascist step father and his army are trying to supress the local insurgents. Ofelia is very fond of books on ancient fairy tales and one day finds herself entering an old labyrinth (maze) near her home. These she meets a faun who tells her that she is the long lost daughter of the King of the Underworld and that she needs to carry out three tasks successfully in order to re-enter the magical world. The remainder of the movie shows how she goes about carrying out the tasks and as a result meets terrifying creatures.

Story apart, the movie itself is a pure work of art. The brilliant imagination displayed by the director is en-captivating. The childlike innocence of the young girl's imagination is intricately woven with the horror of the real world as well as that of the fantasy world. The acting is superb and the sets and make-up is amazing. No wonder this movie got 6 Oscar nominations including the Best Foreign Film, a strong contender for Water.

If you are of a strong heart and you like out of ordinary movies, I suggest you don't miss Pan's Labyrinth.

Friday, January 26, 2007

What's my song?

How many times have you found yourself humming a tune or singing a song but to your frsutration dont remember the title of the song? How often I have tried to google the lyrics trying to search for the song but with not such a great result.

Well, we now have Midomi to rescue. This innovative search site allows you to sing/hum a tune and it will search for the song for you! How cool is that!!!

Can't wait to get home and try it out!!

Update: I tried this out and it works pretty good. It did return songs to the tunes (or mis-tunes :P) that I hummed. And yeah, when I sang a Hindi song (which I knew was 'based' on an English tune), it did return the English song. Now you can how which songs inspires our Bollywood songs!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A surprise

Yesterday evening I got a call from V. Ok, I know I always get calls from him. Nothing special to blog about that, you'll say. But this one was different! He told me I had received a parcel from Oklahoma. Since I just moved, I still haven't changed my postal address officially, so I'm still get my mails in his address. I was completely zapped by his announcement. Even though I have loads of relatives spread all over US, I couldn't recollect my folks mentioning Oklahoma at all. So I hurried V to open up the parcel. I have to admit one thing though, the parcel was packed damn well! It took him quite a while to get it open! Inside the parcel was two things that I had wanted for a long time. Five Point Someone and One Night @ the Call Center by Chetan Bhagat. Immediately I knew who had sent me the lovely gift. It had to be none other than my dear friend Juneli! Juneli, thank you so much for the thoughtful gift. I'll get my hands on it this weekend. And I'm looking forward to reading your letter too :). I have been waiting to lie my hands on some book and now I got two! That too the ones I had been waiting to read for a long time! Whee!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Saraswati Puja

Today we celebrate Saraswati Puja back home. I remember as a child this meant an easy way to appease the Goddess to get you good grades in school. Then, this time of the year, we would be enjoying our 2 months winter vacation with school far away from our minds. This day served as a nice reminder of carefree days soon getting over. As you all must be knowing, Goddess Saraswati is considered to be the Goddess of knowledge. We used to do puja of text books. Since we'd have a little less than a month before a new school year started, most of us didnt have school books (for the next year) with us. Lucky me always had my brother's hand me downs. Yellow is considered Godess Saraswati's colour, so we all try to wear yellow that day.

All these years away from home and after having stayed in Pune for 7 years, I had almost forgotton about this day. I had been suprised when during my 1st year in Pune, I realised they celebrate do the puja during Dushera. Even now my non-Sikkim friends find it strange that we celebrate the puja in Jan-Feb.

This year today is special for me and my family in a different way. We are all closely related to books, not only because all of us are very fond of reading, but we also own a bookshop which is lovingly taken care of by my brother. My Dad enjoys writing in his spare time. We have in the past organised book fairs/contests every year on this day. But more than that, today happens to be my late Grandfather's 90th birthday. Apart from the puja, we had a small gathering of relatives for murti staphna of my Grandad's newly sculpted marble bust. Late yesterday evening I came to know that today is also my parents marriage anniversary! Since we follow Nepali calendar, I never know when their anniversary is :(. On top of that, when I called up home I came to know that today is also my nani's eigth month death anniversary.

Lots of mixed emotions. All my relatives and family were together today back home. I always feel sad knowing I have missed so many such occasions. I know I should consider myself lucky than many people to have been home twice in a year and I do too. But these emotions are hard to check.

I wish you all Happy Saraswati Puja, whether you celebrate it today or some other day or not at all. I hope Ma Saraswati's blessings are always with you. May your knowledge grow by two folds and you use it wisely :)

Friday, January 05, 2007

Clothes with a secret

I was watching one episode of CSI:NY when I came to know about this website

The whole concept of edoclaundry is pretty cool. This guy designs a series of t-shirts which has code hidden in the graphic. (scramble the letters 'edoc' and you get 'code' - hence the name). Once you have figured out the hidden code, you need to go to the website and enter the code. There's a series of t-shirts and you need to figure out the codes in all and eventually in the end, u apparantly get to know the deep dark secret behind edoclaundry.

Pretty innovative way to sell t-shirts, dont you think? And quite a pricey way to entertain one self!