Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Bhagvad Gita

I read these two shlokas in Gita and even though they may sound cliched, I think they are worth writing down. Here are the english translations (they sound beautiful in hindi and I don't think my translations come anywhere close but they do convey the same meaning).

1. One who shrinks from his duties but enjoys the rights, is a thief.
(Kartavye ka palan na karke, bhogon ka upbhog karne wala chor hai)
2. It is useless to worry over something and not do anything about it. (Karmon ko bahar se tyaag kar, man se vishyon pe chintan karna mithyachaar hai)

Both are very true, but the second one is my favorite. I've always believed it to be true. I think all hurdles can be overcome if instead of just brooding over them, we take some action. You are where you are because of you. There is a solution to every problem: the solution may be difficult. It is the diffficulty that we're afraid of and shy away from the solution, concluding that there's nothing that we can do about it. That it's our destiny; that it's God's will.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Extraordinary Desserts

Cuisine: Desserts

Yes it's a dessert place in San Diego and was ranked #1 on for 2006. Though my favorite is "Just Fabulous" - it used to be a dessert place but now for some reason they've reduced the focus on desserts. When we first went there, we'd ordered "chocolate platter" and it was just fabulous! Their decor was also nice.
The way they used to decorate their desserts was beyond imagination. However, now that they no longer do that, my second choice becomes the first choice. Not that ED is not good, but JF used to be better! I must say that these dessert places have an area as big as a mouse hole. Actually I like the decor of the ED in Hillcrest, the one in downtown gives you the feeling that you're sitting in some kind of warehouse. All said and done their pastries are yummy! We took photos last time of the food that we ordered.
If you've a sweet tooth, then this is your place! For more information refer to Extraordinary Desserts.


Frasier Triple Berry Torte

Monday, February 26, 2007

Review of Babul(2006)

Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Salman Khan, Hema Malini, John Abraham and others.

I like movies which raise some social issue and provide a good solution to it even if it gives only the last 10-15 minutes to it. Those last 10-15 minutes are worth it even if they change a single person's mind. This movie is one such movie. The first half is all happy-go-lucky. The second half starts to get a little melodramatic but before you can click that "fast forward" button it picks up and ends up making you feel good! The last few scenes are the essence of the movie and Amitabh delivers some really strong dialogues.

The movie is on widow remarriage and the stigmas associated with widows in India. Even after India has made so much progress I think the majority in India still believes in all that the movie says. When I say majority - you and I don't make the majority in India. It's what we call - the masses - in India. How many in-laws would think about remarrying their widowed daughter-in-law? Forget that, how many parents would like to take up the responsibility of their widowed daughter? Of course, there's always the glass-half-full view: the number of sati deaths have reduced drastically, not necessarily the widow has to shun all the colors in her life.

Amitabh portrays a very strong character as the father-in-law of Rani Mukherjee and as always he has done a superb job. It feels nice to see there can be people who've such noble thoughts; hopefully it'll inspire people in real life. Amitabh and Rani are the main characters in the movie and have lived up to the role. Others, for what they matter, have not disappointed.

Had the movie concentrated on it's main theme I would've called it a "must-watch", but it didn't. It's a good watch.
Rating: Can See

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The zero-tolerance approach to punctuation

That's the name of the book, on punctuation ailments of the world, by Lynne Truss. The book started with quite silly examples of improper punctuation but eventually it got interesting. It gives examples of how the meaning of text changes based on punctuation and my favourite is:

A woman, without her man, is nothing.
A woman: without her, man is nothing.

I agree that you can find such examples easily on the internet but that's not all to it. It talks about various rules of punctuation. Again everyone would've read them in their primary school but I'd conveniently forgotten them. Though the author says that this book is not learn punctuation but to see how punctuation evolved, I still feel that it'll be interesting to only those who are also inclined towards revising their punctuation. It's only after reading this book that I've become particular about the use of "its" and "it's", not to start a sentence with "and" or "but" and so on.

A chapter each is devoted to a punctuation mark which elaborates on its rules, common mistakes and it's evolution. Since I've read this book I've become quite punctuation-conscious; and I totally agree with her that with the spread of electronic communication english is losing its style.

Bottomline: A good read.

Friday, February 16, 2007


As the name suggests, "Shivratri" is a festival in the honour of Shivji. Its a popular festival in North India and people observe fast for the day. There are two stories behind this festival - one says that Shivji married Parvatiji on this day, while the other says that this was the day when the samundar manthan took place during which a pot of poison emerged from the ocean and it had to be consumed before the manthan could be resumed. It was then that Shivji stepped forward to rescue the Gods and the demons and consumed the poison - turning blue because of it.

As part of the puja we bathe the shivling with milk, water and sugar. Two particular offerings made to Shivji are the bel leaves and dhatura (a fruit). We prepared kuttu ki pakodi and makhane ki kheer (thanks to Ma!) for the special dinner - no Indian festival is complete without delicacies :). Sometimes we have aloo ki tikki. Some day I'll upload recipes for these.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Review of Omkara (2006)

I must say that it's an excellent movie! It revolves around a group of gansters, the setting being a village in Rajasthan. Don't worry its not at all gory. In fact it concentrates more on the internal tiffs of the gang than external fights. A word of warning though - the language is very abusive. However, if you're ready to forego that you'll find that it's worth watching! Everything feels so right-in-place be it the actors, the ambience, the music or anything else. Its a fast-paced movie - kudos to the director. Most of the songs are in the background so instead of dragging the movie, they enhance the experience. The actors have done a superb job, especially Saif Ali Khan. The backdrop, setting, makeup and costumes also deserve a mention.
Rating: Worth Watching.

Friday, February 9, 2007

The real and the reel Guru (2006)

The story revolves around Abhishek who is thought of as good-for-nothing by his father but he is confident that he can make his dreams come true. He goes on to build an empire - Shakti industries - by all means possible. People say it bears some resemblance to Dhirubhai Ambani's biography.
What I like about this movie - it tells you the reality. There are very few people who've earned a lot of money as well as morality, character and ethics. The general trend is to earn the former and lose the latter. And that brings to my mind a recent piece of news about Amitabh gifting Abhishek a Bentley which strengthened my belief. There is nothing wrong in the act of gifting but the next day he denies doing any such thing. The latest claim being that its not a gift but owned by Amar Singh who bought it for his own use. However, the residence address is that of Amitabh - the reason being he would use that when he comes to Mumbai. How lame is that! If such affluent people will stoop to such lowly things what can we expect from the common man! Inspite of all this when we worship such people, what does it speak about us? Is money all that we use as a measure of success and greatness?
Coming back to the movie, as always Aishwarya doesn't do anything except sing and dance, Abhishek suits the role and there are a couple of good songs. Overall, if you're looking for plain entertainment then one can watch this. There is more hype to it than substance.
Rating: Can see.