Author: loonsandmoons

Star Struck at Naneghat

It has been my dream forever to be one with the stars! The celestial bodied ones, not the shiny clothed (or barely clothed) ones. I was a step closer to this dream on 18th November 2017.

The Fates had finally conspired to ensure I get a first hand expereince of knowing what lies out there. Through this group called Amateur Astronomy Club (AAC) . You can visit their website here: http://amateurastroclub.in/

This is a group made of like-minded people who love the skies. More importantly, they want to spread this love and awareness (about astronomy) to society at large. The members are dedicated and enthusiastic, knowledgeable and cheerful and interacting with them made my experience truly memorable.

I have never attended such a workshop before. I had asked Uncle Rao as well if he’d like to join me. To which, he said yes. He is quite open to gaining new experiences and understanding more about various topics. One of his current passions is painting. And he is getting rather good at it!

The designated spot for star gazing was Naneghat. It is a pass in the Western Ghats range near Junnar in Pune district of Maharashtra, India. During the reign of the Satavahana, the pass was extensively used as a trade route between Kalyan and Junnar. Nane means Coin and Ghat means pass. (source-Wikipedia)

Coins were collected to allow the traders to pass. Just like our current scenario of Toll Collections! Which is a system that is being followed from a time older than Time itself – well, around first century BCE is really a very, very, very long time ago.

We started off from our homes to head to the pick up spot – which was roughly 40 kms. The destination was about 180 kms away. The journey was estimated to be about 5 to 6 hours long. I will let you know why I am emphasizing on these points. Because we travelled in a bus with NO air-conditioning!! It is a BIG DEAL because you tell me the last time you travelled by road to the interiors of Maharashtra without A/C.  I was just thankful it wasn’t the middle of summer. You would have identified me by a puddle covered in purple scarf!

AAC had planned out the travel and other details meticulously. No unnecessary pit stops. Measured breaks. Enough warnings about the lack of public toilets along the way. Potato chips to keep us distracted from the terrible, bumpy, post-monsoon roads.

We went up and down TWO ghats (of the Western Ghats). And they were as curvy and as life-threatening as expected. Curvy, because that’s how roads are paved. Life-threatening, because of the our experienced yet enthusiastic bus driver. He did pull the brakes in perfect timing, so what if it was a little jerky and sudden? As long as we made it to our destinations safely, that was what was important. I usually did what I do when I board a moving vehicle. Sleep through the journey. At least, if I had a tombstone, it would be written “She passed away peacefully in her sleep.”

The view along the view (for the parts that I was awake) was beautiful. When you travel to great heights, you start appreciating the little things you leave behind. I know, this is deep on so many levels.

Ooooo. Big and pretty

Ooooo. Big and pretty

We reached our camping spot as predicted by 1500 hours. If you had to ask me to find this place on my own, I’d probably just walk around in circles. With a snake or two on my trail. It is literally in the middle of no-where. Which is the idea. Because you want zero light pollution to star gaze. This is possible only when the human inhabitants are very few. The other inhabitants don’t require electricity or cell phones to move about. They do just fine by being stealthy in the dark.

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The Site.

The small and quaint dwelling was let out by the  locals for this purpose mostly – star gazing and other wilderness related activities. Our package included food and stay.Thankfully, it was time for the FOOD part of our package. Traveling so far gets my appetite working. The thought of the home cooked meal of rice bhakris, potato bhaji, dal, moong curry, salad, rice, fried goodies, pickle and chutney still gets my mouth salivating. Mmmmmmmmmmm!

I had to loosen my waistband setting of my jeans to accommodate my expanding stomach. I wanted to just pass out on the ground after I finished wiping my plate clean. I can totally relate to the boas of the area who eat their unsuspecting meals and just lie there.

Soon after, we were instructed to catch a few zzzzzzzzz’s as we were expected to stay the night up. Because you can star gaze only at night. Duh! Our group was an interesting mix of individuals – some who were veterans of this event, some who were newbies, children, young adults, older adults, retired, working, studying, male, female…. What was also interesting how amicably everyone got along with each other. All adjusted to each other and existed in relative peace. This is important to mention because co-existing is something we should all strive for. So I’ve taken upon myself to reiterate the message of World Peace.

We woke up from our snooze and Umesh suggested we check out the famous Naneghat caves and pass before it gets dark. Our group quickly marched to the caves nearby and began the rocky descent. To view the pass and to imagine how the traders and travellers made it across from one place to another, puts history into perspective. It is mildy steep and the rocks are broken over the passage of time. We made our way to the edge – where you can view the ghats. And viewed the caves as well. It was too dark to make out anything. But we saw some writings on the wall belonging to the era gone by with the help of our phone torches. There were also some writings of this era which memorialized undying love through symbolography – A.J + R.P 4eVa   ,  K.W <3 S.M

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It is THAT way down!

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Balancing act.

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At the ledge. Can you see the caves?

Sunset

Sunset

We made our way back to the camp site for some hot tea and idlis (courtesy mom. Becauses moms are the best). The session was to begin shortly. Just as soon as it becomes too dark to see beyond our noses. Warnings were handed out – no bumbling away from the camp site on your own. Because you will become Leopard/ Hyena/ Fox/ Snake fodder. In case you do have the urge to go wandering, please contact the Program Manager – who can then get a release form signed before you obliviate.

I am kidding about the last bit. But the instructions were clear that this is a dangerous place. We are in the heart of the mountains with forest and wildlife around. Respect nature.

There was a bit of a damper in the air. The unpredictable cloud cover. Though Google and other weather predicting devices had promised clear skies, you can never be sure unless the last minute. ACC started off with the introductory session of the skies and beyond.Of reflector telescopes and refractory ones. Of stories and myths. Of constellations and clusters. They were quite apt with sharing the information, getting everyone involved and making everyone look forward for more. Although, I have a sneaky feeling that they are big fans of Bollywood movies. Which is totally cool. So am I.

We took a dinner break. We had a choice between pigging out on vegetarian fare or the non-vegetarian one. I chose meat. Because, yum. In the duration between the group finished eating, I found myself lying on the plastic sheets and watching the stars. The group had grown considerably. Not because of eating. Because few other people had driven up to the camp site and joined the group.

We then had another session of identifying the constellation with the naked eye and then viewing more through the telescope. There was a presentation about something – I was dozing off by then. I entrusted my subconscious mind to soak up all the information, process it and hand it to me when I need it. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one feeling sleepy. Few others from the group had curled up into balls – maybe to keep warm.

What got my adrenaline pumping is when Umesh said he’d help me check and set up my telescope. This isn’t a pun for anything. I actually own a telescope. For a very long time, I thought it was unwell. Malfunctioning. I wanted to take it to a Telescope Doctor to take a look at it and give it a health certificate. And I am happy to announce that my telescope is perfectly healthy! In fact, another ACC member – Amol, has the same type like mine and he was very pleased with the health of my telescope. Amol helped me with instructions on how to use the telescope and other titbits for a complete sky gazing experience.

I was totally awake by then. And excited. The sky had miraculously cleared up and the clouds were long gone. We saw few open clusters, twin galaxies, stars that were far away (alphabet M something – cannot recall right now :( ), few constellations – Orion the Hunter, his belt, his dogs, Sirius (the brightest star), Canopus (the second brightest star) Bellatrix, Andromeda, Perseus, Pegasus – more or less, everything about Greek Mythology. Some were seen through the naked eye, many through the telescopes.

My subconscious mind is slowly unbelieving information that I gathered on that lovely starry night – about how brightness is measured, what is the unit called (magnitude), terms for distance (light years, astronomical unit), Pole Star and the future Pole Star, zodiacs, nakashatras and even an astronomical event of an exploding star!

We even glimpsed part of the meteor shower Leonid. Yeah baby, shooting stars! After a while, everything fell quiet. People started retiring to their make-shift beds. I stayed out under the stars, giving Aarthi some company. Since it was only the two of us under the night sky at 0430 hours, I was imagining how we’d fend off leopard attacks with kicks and kung fu. Also, how badly would a bite hurt. Although I shared my vivid imagination with Aarthi, we had no problem falling off to sleep. I was supposed to stand guard – but, whatever. We woke up with a start when the pet dogs of the resort started barking. I quickly looked around for yellow with spots. But in that light, everything appeared grey. We decided not to unnecessarily endanger the wildlife out there and we sleep-walked to the dormitory, curled up in a corner and woke up when it was almost time to leave. At 0700 hours.

We left soon after – after a yummy breakfast and a few photographs. The ride back was a complete blur. Because we all slept through it. I was smart this time around – sat towards the window instead of the aisle – so I am not thrown out of seat on a fast bend.

If you go star gazing or attempt it on your own, remember:

  1. It is all out there – be patient and allow yourself to see. Sometimes, multiple attempts are required. I was expecting to see planets and rings. But unfortunately, this time – all the planets were orbiting along the sun – which made it impossible for planet sighting.
  2. The atmosphere and weather conditions plays a big role. There is nothing you can do if neither of them cooperate to form a perfect setting. You just have to try another time.
  3. Find a really dark place – away from city/ village lights on a moonless night. Even a light across the deep chasm, on the other side of the mountain makes a difference. So does the glow of light emitted that indicates a settlement nearby.
  4. Be ready to face the elements – the wind, maybe mosquitoes, the cold. Unless it is summer. Then the heat.
  5. Get comfortable for a long night. Different aspects of the skies are seen at different times. There is a rising and setting time for the celestial bodies.
  6. It may not be like the pictures you see in the textbooks/ google images/ someone’s instagram post. It maybe just black and white. But keep looking. You will be amazed.
  7. Keep gazing and keep practising

Do check out ACC’s page. They really are doing some great work and organize educational workshops!

Some other gems are down here!

Pit Viper

Pit Viper

 

Oh! Deer Horn. Shed. Not Slaughtered

Oh! Deer Horn.
Shed. Not Slaughtered

 

The brave dog who got attached by a leopard and lived to bark the tale. Although, he's suffering from PTSD and doesn't bark so much any more

The brave dog who got attacked by a leopard and lived to bark the tale. Although, he’s suffering from PTSD and doesn’t bark so much any more

 

Some shaky stars!

Some shaky stars!

I’m calling it a night now. Sweet dreams!

BAAHUBALI 2 (EEEEEEKKKKKS, It is finally here!

Movie Review Time!

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Actually, I will be watching the movie tomorrow. Hopefully, with a big tub of buttered and caramelized popcorn.

Yes. BAAHUBALI!

I have to write is in all capitals, because I think of it the same way.

Those of who know nothing about this movie, let me tell you this.

I find it hard to believe it.

It is just not possible you are living on our great country and you don’t know anything about it. Okay, given that I don’t know half the things that happen around me and that means my methods of living under a hole has largely been successful.

Now imagine, that even after living under a hole, if I know about Baahubali, you MUST also know about it. I am sure, there is a mathematical equation somewhere about it. Maybe I’ll create one later.

Moving along…when part 1 of this EPIC saga was released in 2015. I foo-fooed it, like maybe many others. Mainly because it was a movie in Telegu language. Then one of friend’s parents commented how wonderful this movie is. He couldn’t stop talking about it. Which convinced my friend to give it a try. Because he knew, from experience, that his dad doesn’t waste words. So he DRAGGED me along, promising me popcorn.

Now for me, it you bait me with popcorn, I will go along even for a documentary-type movie (shudder). Thankfully, this movie was now dubbed in Hindi and many other regional languages. It seems it was just THIS popular. I hadn’t figured it out why.

The first half of the movie had me in splits. I was all about the giggling and the commenting. Because, there were some scenes which were just toooooo filmy. Like the way the lead actor was oh so strong and could literally move mountains and fly into the sunset. And how he could basically undress a girl without her wishes, and SHE FALLS FOR HIM. In reality, I don’t have to tell you what that kind of action is called. I did warn my friend that this is only a movie. DO NOT TRY THIS IN REAL LIFE.

I don’t know what happened but suddenly I got so involved in the plot. The story that was being told on the screen. Yes, it is all fictional and a lot like Lord of the Rings. But it was just as intriguing. Everything was more than larger than life. The characters leaped out of the screen. The story unfolded and had more twists and turns than the cables attached to your computer. I fell silent. So did my friend. And we watched the movie spell-bound.

I had to admit, it was one hell of a movie. I liked it so much then I went for it again. And again. I have watched the movie a total of 4 times, one time in Telegu. I am sure I don’t mind watching it again. I have watched it by myself and with people of different age categories. We all loved it.

Needless to admit, I have a small (huge) crush on the lead actor. That part I mentioned above – he was only playing the part of a caveman to the T. Besides, I am sure he knows that this is only a movie. Plus, he has a drool-worthy body.       Image result for drool face image

Everything else is forgiven.

And just like any great story, it cannot be told only in one part in a matter of 3 measly hours. Therefore, there HAD to be a PART 2. Hopefully, for another 3 hours. Or more. I feel this is the most awaited movie of all times! For people across India. It is not just a movie from the South. Only for the Telegu speaking crowd. This is for ONE and ALL!

Which brings me to the point of this post.

I GOT MY TICKETS FOR PART 2

Baahubali

Yes, I was smart enough to NOT share the QR code. Lest you go instead of me! I also entertained the idea of calling in sick and going for the first show of the day. I cannot wait for tomorrow – 27.04.2017!

And get this – if you book your tickets through Book My Show, you get Rs. 125 or 50% off on the tickets. Whichever is of lesser value, of course. 

The code is BMS125 and this offer is valid upto 30.04.2017 !

I can benefit from this offer a number of times!

You can expect a review about the experience. I will definitely update you on how many times I watched the movie. I may have other things to do with my time.You know – explore, experience, exist.

But, BAAHUBALI!!

Happiness is no myth

The Illicit Happiness of Other People. By Manu Joseph.

The title makes you ponder. It is also a mouthful. Almost like a “swear” word. Don’t you feel that a swear word coming out of your mouth is somehow different from the other words that you normally speak? Unless, swearing is how you speak. Well, I don’t swear much. Hardly ever. It just doesn’t roll off my tongue. It is stuck in the space between my Oesophagus and the base of my tongue. That isn’t the case if I am angry. If I am angry, swear words slips out like feet on moss covered stones…no thought is involved.

The book isn’t about swearing. At all. It is a story about a dysfunctional family. Like every other family. But of course, there is a twist in the tale. An untimely, unfortunate death. There lies the mystery. I won’t spill the beans about the Whodunit?! You have to take the trouble to read the book. It is worth your time and effort.

What I loved about the book is the way the author takes you through the family’s journey. There are 4 main characters in the book – the members of the family. Ouseph Chacko, Unni Chacko, Thoma Chacko and Marriamma Chacko.  And each, to me, felt like the protagonist. When the spotlight was on that character, they shown through the pages. I could see and feel what their journey was. It was real. Like something we go through in our lives. Not just the actions, but the thoughts and feelings that lead to that action.

The book is unexpectedly funny with its dry humour. There were parts in the book which made me laugh out loud (LOL – yes, it is actually an action) and had me smile at odd intervals. Topics like life, death, humanity, existence, the Truth are dealt with beautifully, sharing interesting perspectives that will make you go “hmmmmm” . We need more of such books (and authors)!!

I found the writing style, for lack of a better word, honest. This is how we are! WE. All of us! And sometimes we find it difficult to even admit it to ourselves. Forget voicing out that thought/ feeling to someone else. I also figured, the best way of writing, is to write what actually happens/ what we think/ what we feel/ what we do. No editing for a better, sophisticated word/ phrase.

I am tempted to buy my own copy…I had borrowed my sister’s to read. This is the kind of book that I want in my collection. To remind me of the finality of my existence when my feet get too large for my shoes. That the choice I have is to buy bigger sized shoes, not chop off my feet. It’s only final when we run out of options. And one of the options is to talk.

You will understand what I am saying when you read the book. And it is true. Even where there is sadness, there is happiness. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor, young or old, abled or disabled, male or female, alive or dead, you are. It does feel a little, illicit. For, we are also part of the Other People.

And I give this book…..

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Singing along with Sing Street!

If you are wondering “How does she find these movies?!”, my answer to that is “By taking a chance and watching a whole lot of trailers!”

That is my favourite thing to do while surfing the web. Log on to YouTube and go click click click.

Sometimes, IMDB also serves as a good vehicle for my click click click venture. It also shows me links to related movies that I may, someday, like viewing.

If a movie features Adam Levine, then there are no two ways about it. I HAVE to watch it. Even if it is him only playback singing. Because, HELLO! ADAM LEVINE.

Yup, I am a big fan right here. Although I don’t remember the lyrics to any of his songs even if I have heard them all a million times! Neither do I know about all of his tattoos. I haven’t tried searching for my name in it. I swear on your head! My love is true and that is all I know.

SO what led me to this awesome movie that you MUST watch?

Adam, who else?

I was doing my usual listening to his songs on YouTube business, when I came across this new song. And paid attention to the description which read OST Sing Street. Hmmmmm….is he acting in this movie? Curious, curious!

So I checked out the trailer and VOILA! It was a movie that I just HAD to watch!!

It is a story based in the 80s’ in Dublin. Interestingly, I have watched the other movies by this director and they are pretty good too!

Before you watch this movie, brush up on your Irish. Or you may have to resort to sub-titles. I got a good ear on me. Actually a pair of them! So I had no issue.

This is a very sweet funny story of a teenager and how he plays the hand he is dealt with – in terms of his family which makes him go about getting what he wants, in spite of the odds being against him. And what he wanted was what any teenage boy wanted – to impress a girl. So he forms a Band! And this is the story about that journey. The songs are fun – from that era when everything was upbeat and loud – especially the hair and makeup. And you will be transported back in time.

As the story progresses, you see that the relationships are deeper than just a superficial crush. The understanding of children about their parents’ stuck in an unhappy marriage, the dusting of sibling rivalry which paled under the loyalty that they felt towards each other, school with atrocities like justified righteousness and bullying, friendships full of trust, breaking out of the mold, love, belief that anything is possible…all these things make the movie absolutely wonderful to watch.

I did not recognize any of the actors, except Little Finger (from Game of Thrones). It is a new crew and they have all done a great job! Each of them are so believable in the parts they play. There are some memorable quotes in the movie as well. I would love to share it over here. Although that would be a spoiler. Tell you what? We can swap a list of our favourite quotes later. Good plan? Thanks!

I would rate this movie with FOUR

dean-playmate-acoustic-guitardean-playmate-acoustic-guitardean-playmate-acoustic-guitardean-playmate-acoustic-guitar

and one more, for Adam!

dean-playmate-acoustic-guitar

Here’s the trailer:

And here is the song that got me to the movie.

It is a beautiful song <3

Letter to Life!

My latest recommendation to you is to watch Dear Zindagi.

I got the chance to watch it before it disappeared from the big screen. My simplest description for the movie is – It is an extended therapy session. Being in the same profession, and being on both sides of the chair, I can firmly say that that’s what the movie was.

Show the problems through the symptoms, the therapy sessions and how it works, how it affects the person and everyone related to that person, resolution through understanding, acceptance and finally moving ahead!

I kept telling my movie partner, this is exactly how a therapy session should be! You can do away with the dramatics or make it a part of it, doesn’t really matter. Gaining trust, does. What really clicks with me is the message that everyone can benefit from Psychotherapy.

You don’t have to have a belittling illness or be suicidal or homicidal or multiple disorders to visit a therapist. If you simply want to understand yourself and accept yourself completely, that is a reason good enough to visit a therapist.

The cast of the movie is really good. All the actors, the big names as well as the supporting cast, has played their roles really well. The supporting enthusiastic friend, the realistic one, the bumbling all accepting one, the maid, the mother, even the patronizing uncle and aunts! You can see the patterns, the outcome of the patterns, the reasons for the patterns in the first place, and how the pattern gets broken.

I liked everything about the movie except the ending. Because your therapist doesn’t necessarily fall in love with you! Since it is a movie, and since it is SRK and Alia Bhat, I think creative liberty has been inserted. But people! That doesn’t happen in real life.

I am just a couple of weeks late in posting this blog. And I hope by now you have got your dose of Zindagi!

Note: And also watch English Vinglish. It’s by the same director. THAT is absolutely heart warming and fantastic!

Mister Doctor Strange!

If there is one movie you must watch this weekend, make it Doctor Strange.

I am not saying it because I am a huge fan of Benedict (love the actor, not the eggs). I am saying it because it is and excellent movie!

I may be a tad partial to magic and impossibilities, but this is not just about magic.

Being the newest in line of the Marvel franchise movies, this movie will make more sense and ensure all the story lines start emerging now, including the much awaited (by me, definitely) Avengers and Thor:Ragnarok movies.

We had a bunch of hooligans sitting behind us talking and such. But only until the theatre turned dark. Then everything disappeared, except the screen and the popcorn.

In the beginning, I was a little skeptical. Because Benedict Cumberbatch has been Sherlock for me for sooooo long. And then he was Khan. But mostly Sherlock. Also, I did not have any idea about this Marvel Superhero. Come on, it was a little strange with a name like Doctor Strange, don’t you think?

Also, what was his superpower? I didn’t quite get it when I saw the trailer. And then I saw the movie. And then I was like: this is meant to be!

There is the part about the effects where the world on the screen turns topsy-turvy and seems like Inception at one point and reminds you of Alice in Wonderland at another point. But it is much more than that! Psychedelic and trippy, for sure. But still much more. It is an idea. An idea that has been around for so long that we have taken it for granted. An idea that simply states “Anything is Possible”. And that is wonderful!

Spoiler Alert:

Though Dr. Strange is only trying to gain his life back by getting control over his hands (he is supposed to be a brilliant surgeon), he ends up getting control and losing control of more than the Universe. Because control is subjective. Subjective to how bound you are to your thoughts and beliefs and what you think is true. Because the Truth can be infinite. Really. Think about it. All that actually matters is if you are ready to let go and explore what lies beyond what you think can be true. Which will actually make you levitate.

Yeah, you don’t think about all this when you are watching the movie. I sat with my eyes wide open in wonder. Because of the thought of the possibilities that exist. And that made the movie just plain awesome! The Infinity stone, a new one, makes an appearance. Which builds the link to all the other movies so far.

There is the humour present which is seen in all the Marvel movies. Good to see that superheroes don’t take themselves too seriously. And Dr. Strange’s cape has a personality of its own. You need to see it to believe it.

The other roles and characters are interesting too. Like the Ancient One/ Guru. Or the Love Interest. Or the MMA trained artist/ actor (Scott Adkins) who mostly plays an assassin in most of the movies he stars in. Although, what I want to know is why does he get such little screen time and why does he have to get killed? He got killed in The Grimsby Brothers as well! Okay bad guy dying means good guys are winning. But hello, some more of the MMA stuff please before the give him the knife/ axe.

I needn’t say this if you are a true Marvel fan. But I’ll still say it: Wait after the credits roll. There is that something extra that will make you go OOOOOOOOOooooooooo. Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, I give DR. STRANGE

st06 st06 st06 st06

4 capes!

So stop making sense of everything and start being amazed!

SiMplY mArVeLlOuS!

I found this gem of a movie while I was trolling the internet for Feel Good Movies (FGM)

Marvellous.

That’s not just the name of the movie, it describes the movie perfectly.

Marvellous is actually a TV movie (movie made only for Television screening)  and is based on a real life story. Neil Baldwin, the person who has inspired the movie is hale and hearty and just celebrated his 70th birthday party in March. What is interesting about this party is that it was attended by friends and family, professional footballers and football administrators, members of the clergy, professional actors and screenwriters, impresarios of the circus, Keele University professors, students and graduates, local dignitaries, singers from the Neil Baldwin Choir, three Cambridge University Boat Club rowers, and members of the Neil Baldwin Football Club. The highlight was a birthday greeting by video-link from Sir Alex Ferguson. Vice-Chancellor Professor Trevor McMillan remarked that “Only Neil could bring together people from such diverse walks of life to celebrate his birthday” (Thank you Wikipedia for this piece of information!)

So this man knows a whole lot of people. And is a registered clown. And has Learning Disability.

What the movie brought to me was how unfortunate we normal people are. Normal as in, you know, with average IQ. That is one way to gauge normalcy. There are many other ways, but that we shall file away under Random Musings section. Simply because we are so easy to train! We get trained to set our expectations, trained to think, to act, to be. We are so easy to define because we get our boundaries set. Either by experiences or by teachings! We become SO LIMITED. While THEY are LIMITLESS.

We label them as People with Special Needs. But in fact, they are simply Special. You will understand when you watch the movie. There are many movies that have touched on the subject of learning disabilities and other psychologically profiled illnesses. What this movie brings forth is that in spite of what we would view as roadblocks or impossibilities, there is this man who simply does what he wants to with the belief that he will achieve his goal.

Nello manages to be gainfully employed without asking for special privileges, makes friends from all walks of life – young and old, and believes that everything is possible if you just ask. His special skill includes Vicar Spotting – pointing out which priest is in line to be chosen as Bishop. And he did manage a football team as well.

Toby Jones, who plays Neil Baldwin in the movie, does a wonderful job. You don’t feel sorry for the character. You will be amazed at the strength of the man. And you would wish to be blessed by half the perseverance and faith that this man has.

Mrs. Baldwin, like any mother, is worried about her son. Worried about how he would survive without her looking out for him. Gemma Jones, who plays this character, won a BAFTA for her role. Mrs. Baldwin is forever worried about Neil, but he manages to surprise her every single time.

There are certain scenes that remains with me – how Neil would wait at a corner for a lift. Because someone would come and offer him a lift. Or how he would play tricks on his team members when they would pick on him. Or the reason he is so positive and happy is because he just decided to be positive and happy. All the time!

If you want to watch a FGM, this definitely should be on your list. You will keep smiling throughout the movie and after the movie and generally have a great day. I can vouch for this since I am still smiling as I write this. Although, NOTE: this is not such a fast paced movie. Hang in there. It is totally worth it.

I give it 4 clown hats!

clown-hatclown-hatclown-hatclown-hat

P.S. Neil Baldwin – Totally Google Worthy!

Enjoy the trailer 😀

We Are Your Friends

zac

Zac's abs have abs!!

Zac’s abs have abs!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This review is not about Zac Efron, Well, almost

I am OD-ing on Zac Efron. And his movies. I am an easy person to please. You just need to play your cards right.

And this guy knows how to do it just by turning up on the screen!

Yes,I have watched the High School Musicals and got inspired to break into a song and dance.

Like all true stalkers, I usually google the actors that catch my attention. It can be their amazing acting skills, or the way their eyes crinkle when they smile, or their six-pack abs or other hundred million things that can catch my attention which leads me down this path towards utilising my limited time into looking up their lives, to know more about them, to find out what other movies they have acted in on their way to immortalization…

But the point of this post is the movie.

Because, hello! Movie review plus a push in the right direction for you when you are contemplating what to do on a Saturday night when the friends are gone and the plates are empty. The glasses are never empty.

This is a good movie for a Saturday night (or any time or any day) – We Are Your Friends.

This was a feel good movie for me. The main characters evolve to what their best can in a span of two odd hours.

The cast was interesting. I have watched Zac Efron and Wes Bently in other movies, but the remaining cast was new to me. This goes to show I need to up my ante for watching more movies.

What I loved about the movie was how the music followed me even after the credits had finished rolling. It was more of EDM. I am not a big fan of EDM. They all sound repetitive to me. But this movie opened up an integral aspect of how this kind of music can be special and mesmerising. Maybe that’s what sets apart one regular DJ from a great one. I have the music from this movie on repeat. So I am OD-ing on the music as well. But hey, it is worth it.

There is one particular scene that was interesting. I guess if you have been intoxicated enough or high on whatever the new high is, you must have experienced this. To see colours in everything. Okay, life is in technicolour but to Become Colours!

The storyline is simple and interesting. A laid-back one, nothing intense. Everyday struggles of everyday people, to have a better life. And how they choose to overcome the struggles. Work for the devil, sell your soul for a quick buck, the usual drama. There is love, life, loss and friendship. The movie is especially easier to understand since they spell out all the important bits. You’ll understand when you watch the trailer.

The leading lady, Emily Ratajkowski (Sophie) is beautiful, hot and definitely google worthy. I am sure other actors are too, but since I limit myself to the offerings of the Pandora’s Box, called the Internet, I choose only couple of actors to stalk. The remainder of the time, I spend watching trailers.

So in my humble opinion, this movie is definitely worth a spin!

I would give it 4 tubs of popcorn!

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And one tub while watching the trailer:

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And one hanky for the ladies to wipe that drool while watching Zac:

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Chase away the Monday Blues!

A sure shot way to be chirpier when you start your work week!

AUTHOR

Sowmiaow

IMAGES

brewed by imagination and of course, borrowed from Jim Davis!

Making sweet music since 4EVA!

Making sweet music since 4EVA!

Because life comes full circle. And generally, it starts with a Monday and ends on a Sunday. If you are a human who lives productively by either working or studying or raising other humans, you will generally dislike Mondays. Unless you are from another planet.

So we will try to find ways to not hate Mondays. Because hate is never good for the universe. Or for the constipated.

Let’s go, shall we?

  1. Take a heavy duty sleeping pill, with the intention of playing Rapunzel – not suicidal – on Sunday evening. You will wake up on Tuesday sometime, successfully having avoided Monday and hence the blues! One less day to deal with the worldly poop.
  2. Quit your job/ education – become a bum. Without responsibilities, you will not care which day it is. Let alone Monday morning.
  3. Gather enough signatures around the globe to start a new initiative called “Pay me extra to show up at work/school on Monday with a smile on my face and not intentions of stabbing people in their eyes!”
  4. Gather some more signatures to start Monday morning at 1300 hours, that is, after lunch. This will give you enough time to acclimatise from your ‘relaxing Sunday’ mode to ‘meet deadlines Monday’ mode.
  5. Since people are signing, include the movement Move Melancholic Mondays to Troublesome Tuesdays. Let Tuesday become the new Monday. Mondays require some love. Let it evolve to Memorable Mondays. That should help change the thought.

And if still nothing works, just do what Garfield does.

Pppppfffftttt!

Brush up that attitude!

 

You, Me and no Cuppa Joe

 

AUTHOR

Sowmiaow

 

Ek Chai toh banta hai…

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In fact, it is You, Me & Cuppa Tea!

I haven’t been to Parsik Hills, CBD Belapur for ages. Not that this spot was easily accessible for me when I was living and studying in a nearby college. I remember this place being a non-accessible, quiet, lonely and, some say, a place not to be found at after dark. Let your imagination run wild over the last one.

Things have changed after ten years, but not much. It is still inaccessible – if you don’t have a bike or a car. It is still dark and lonely as the streetlamps don’t work all the way up to the top and there are dark corners. This is strange given that the Mayor’s Bungalow is situated somewhere along the way to the top. Security measures, anyone? Unless there are stealth mode Ninjas in training. And I don’t mean the 250R or the 600R variety. Though these can be seen racing up and down the hill.

Many houses and buildings seems to have popped up on this road. But they don’t seem to be heavily inhabited.

What does add spark and light to this place is the tea parlour that has sprung up in the middle of the Hill.

You, Me & Cuppa Tea seems unassuming, yet cosily inviting at first glance. It does raise your curiosity meter by a few notches given that the rustic look of the place blends in with the dense foliage growing on the hills. On a closer look, you start seeing and noticing the details. And this is when you are blown out of your mind.

We – as in my group of friends – got the opportunity to visit this place for a book signing session. This was my first attendance for such a session. Our friend Venky’s mom is an author. We love Venky and wanted to meet his family – they don’t live here. So this was our opportunity. It was an informal session and a memorable one!

Lalitha Rao has been a columnist and a writer for over 30 years. Bougainvilla Magic is a beautiful compilation of her experiences over the years. It is well written, a pleasure to read, and one can relate to the stories of a time gone by.

Some stories were read out and more experiences were shared and laughter was one of the key ingredients to the evening. Venky did choose an idle place for the event.

Since there is outdoor seating, our group of 12 were comfortably sprawled out, listening to the stories and swapping some more. I was in seventh heaven when I read the menu card. I am a tea person. Completely. There were concoctions I hadn’t even dreamed of! Although I knew I couldn’t try out all of them at one go :(

My friends, they are not so adventurous. They settled for Masala Chai. Which I must admit, was a cup well brewed! I went for the Christmas Tree tea, for the flavours they mentioned. I was, well, a little disappointed. I don’t know too much about tea, but I don’t like my tea overly boiled. It tastes bitter. I couldn’t taste the orange or the roses or the essence of Christmas at all! But since I had ordered it, I slugged it down. Thankfully, there were sandwiches which were ordered and they covered the taste of the tea for me!

The owner is from Kashmir. Maybe they brew their teas for a longer time. Well, their brew was lost on me. The company saved me.

Also, the decor saved my drowning spirit. Once I got over my disappointment, I realised I had to visit the loo. Which meant I had to go inside the establishment. The decor is simply beautiful. Thought has been invested in doing up the place. There are wooden seating arrangements which are comfortable. The reception desk is a tea cup! Delightful!

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And there are “sitting rooms” A Japanese sitting room, a Chinese one and even one for the managerial meetings! It is complete with low ceilings and small tables. You would have to stoop and walk and be seated on the cushions on the floor. Very authentic. I am not sure on the comfort levels, but I hope they provide tea in the traditional cups of the Japanese. I had a visual that you’d have to dress up in kimonos and wear wooden shoes to enter this area.

There are lot of items for sale. Like copper tea pots from the Mughal era. It was a thermos in its own right! With contraptions for putting in hot coals and will keep the tea hot throughout the day! Prices ranged from Rs 10,000 to Rs 75,000 depending on the size. I quietly and carefully put those babies away. There were also tea sets and tea pots with funky designs! All for sale. And let’s not forget tea mixes. Specially kept ready for brewing your own cup at home. Walnuts, directly from Kashmir, were for sale.

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There was art everywhere! This was paradise for me. I am sorry the tea didn’t impress me much, but the decor surely did. There were paintings even on the bark of the trees around the place. Another item that is worth mentioning was their wash basin. I will just put up a picture so you see what I am blabbering about.

The owner is easy to talk to. Maybe he will brew me a mellower cup the next time I visit their Tea Lab. Which means I don’t mind giving this place another go. This place can be a hang out when you want to just unwind. Get a book and get cozy with a pot of tea. And wonder about the mysteries of the universe.

What it requires is more accessibility and streetlights. Will it lose its charm? I don’t think so. It will only make the Hills safer.

 

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Sowmiaow