Saturday, December 30, 2006

Last Post for 2006

Would like to end the year 2006 and welcome 2007 with these immortal and oft-repeated lines by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow;
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife,
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweet manners, purer laws.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Happy New Year to all!

Friday, December 29, 2006


This site lists the 100 things we didn’t know before 2006. So here's some trivia about 2006. The site has a related story to each of them.

Here’s my pick:

2. There are 200 million blogs which are no longer being updated, say technology analysts.

3. Urban birds have developed a short, fast "rap style" of singing, different from their rural counterparts.

7. The lion costume in the film Wizard of Oz was made from real lions.

9. Fathers tend to determine the height of their child, mothers their weight.

13. The fastest supercomputer in the UK can make 15.4 trillion calculations per second.

15. Donald Rumsfeld was both the youngest and the oldest defence secretary in US history.

21. English is now the only "traditional" academic subject in the top 10 most popular university courses.

23. More than one in eight people in the United States show signs of addiction to the internet, says a study.

26. Each person sends an average of 55 greetings cards per year.

28. More than 90% of plane crashes have survivors.

31. The Mona Lisa used to hang on the wall of Napoleon’s bedroom.

47. Watching television can act as a natural painkiller for children, say researchers from the University of Siena.

64. Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobiacs is the term for people who fear the number 666.

67. Music can help reduce chronic pain by more than 20% and can alleviate depression by up to 25%.

68. The egg came first.

72. Modern teenagers are better behaved than their counterparts of 20 years ago, showing "less problematic behaviour" involving sex, drugs and drink.

73. George Bush's personal highlight of his presidency is catching a 7.5lb (3.4kg) perch.

84. Thinking about your muscles can make you stronger.

86. Six million people use TV subtitles, despite having no hearing impairment.

90. The Himalayas cover one-tenth of the Earth's surface.

98. A "lost world" exists in the Indonesian jungle that is home to dozens of hitherto unknown animal and plant species.

100. In the 1960s, the CIA used to watch Mission Impossible to get ideas about spying.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Of Toys, Boys..... and Joys

My mother believed that imagination and not toys were a pre-requisite to play. And so, while we had a 10 year subscription to Readers Digest and an Annual subscription to Champak (it used to be an English magazine for kids) and mom’s office library subscribed to Chandamama (again English kids magazine – with short stories) – beyond that were fairly left to our resources. And since my brother and I had to share toys – we often ended up with fairly uni-sex kinda toys – badminton rackets, carom boards, playing cards and the like.

So its no wonder that I am fairly un-impressed by toys.

When my son A was born – we didn’t buy many toys for him. He also seemed more content at just lying in his grand-parents laps and seeing the world from there. But as he grew, hubby and I grew more allured by the world of toys. We soon found out, that toy buying was not an easy task – esp for a toddler. There were categories in toys:

  • Activity Toys: For infants this could be a play-mat with hanging toys. For toddlers it could be play gyms, activity centres, castles – anything that allows your child to spend that extra energy.
  • Development Toys: Typically these toys will sing rhymes, numbers, colors, parts of the body, alphabets. The permutation combinations of what it can do can be fairly mind-boggling.
  • Soft Toys: Typically your plush toys – don’t do much but act as comforters to the child.
  • Movement Toys: Your push and pull varieties. Some sing, others don’t. The boys start with these and then move onto cars of all sorts.
  • Stackers and Sorters: Stacking rings, blocks, etc
  • Adult Play: Doctor Sets, teacher sets, kitchen sets, even office sets – for the child to indulge in adult play.
  • Dolls & Accessories: Barbie and her ilk feature here.

Given this spread – I (as the designated toy buyer) spent hours browsing the net and toy shops to figure out what toy was ‘right’ for his needs. Each toy came with its own skills development promise. Did I want to develop his gross motor skills? Or his social skills? Fine motor skills, perhaps? His alphabet knowledge? Get his music ability enhanced? He’s an 18 month old – for crying out loud – have some mercy. Where are all those toys we used to see when we were kids? The monkey that banged cymbals – for no reason. That barking dog that did cartwheels for laughs. I mean – why does toy buying need to be such an hi-fi exercise? More importantly, cant a child just play with a toy – without having to listen to the Alphabet song or numbers?

Luckily for me – most of the toys that we chose – were approved by A. Or maybe because we bought such few toys for him – he played with each and every one of them. Most of his toys, I have noticed sing rhymes, alphabets, colors, numbers, parts of the body. How much sonny has picked from his toys is open to debate – since we don’t speak English with him – and the toys talk exclusively in English. One thing is for sure, sonny is all set to a DJ or RJ. For he lines up all his singing toys – and in some sequence (which only he figures) he plays a song from this one then a rhyme from the next – then something from the third. Then back to the first. I cant figure what he’s thinking – but he seems engrossed.

Last week sonny left all his toys behind and moved into the kitchen. Picked up my pots and pans, my cooking spoons and spatulas and for the next 2 hours played non-stop with them. After he finished playing – he lined them up on the floor – and went off in search of some new adventures. For the last 2 days – I cant seem to find my pots or spoons in their designated places. A treasure hunt ensues – with different spoons and pot covers emerging from under the sofa or in some corner of the house – courtesy sonny. Each morning he strides into the kitchen opens the shelves and drawers and helps himself to the favored pot or spoon of the day.

And now I'm wondering if this is what interests him - why should we buy any more toys for him?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Last Christmas

It looked like this....Pic Courtesy: Me
Location: Our backyard, Montreal, Canada
Mood: I wailed to every willing ear about how dull and mono-chrome it looked. Not to mention cold.

This Christmas, however, it looked like this

Pic Courtesy: Me
Location: View from our patio, Boston, US
Mood: I lamented about how some things just aren't as sacred as they ought to be. Imagine a Christmas without snow.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Is it me?

I would call myself a rational person. I am not easily given in to tears, in public. I can remember sobbing out only in a couple of movies. I have spent 6 years in advertising and have known how not to crack under pressure. I have seen my share of bad clients (and good ones too – thank God). Public display of emotion was a rare occurrence.

However, I have noticed over the past few months, any child or mother-child incident makes me dissolve very easily into tears.

Let me quote a few examples. Hubby, sonny and I were shopping at JC Penny. In the section ahead, we heard a mother calling out to her son. Turned out the child had wandered off while the mother was busy shopping. And now he was not to be found. Suddenly another lady appeared, described a child and asked the mother if it matched her child’s description. The mother, almost close to tears, nodded. The lady now directed her towards a cash counter where she had last seen the child. The mother raced towards the said spot and found her son howling away. Maa-beta milaap (mother-son union) happened – and all on-lookers were pleased to see such a happy end.

Not me. While the mother and son hugged and sobbed – I just couldn’t control my tears. Right there in front of so many shoppers – I sat down and sobbed. Hubby tried his level best – to tell me – “your son is safe and sound, right here with you” made no difference. Even “fine, go buy what you please, money is of no object” couldn’t stop the tears. For the next 5 mins – I sobbed like my own had gone missing. After 5 mins the storm had passed, I turned to hubby and said “is my eye-liner smudged?”

I know, it sounds funny now. But then, I don’t know – what happened – I just couldn’t stop crying.

And that’s not the only instance. I was watching “Saa Re Ga Ma Pa” on Zee TV – the “Lil Champs” version. The first few episodes were devoted to showing the initial eliminations. Kids who hadn’t made it through – were coming out and crying. And there I was – tears streaming down my face, sobbing away. I must’ve been quite a sight – for my son came running and decided to hug me. These were unknown, random kids, crying coz they couldn’t make it to some competition. Why the hell was I crying???

And its not just that. Any movie, any serial, any news report – where they show a child in pain – or a mother-child making brave efforts to survive is difficult for me to watch. I squirm in my seat – or move away – not wanting to watch.

The final straw came today. In one of serials that I follow – the protagonist Vedika dies of a heart attack. She has a toddler and wants to see her son one last time before she breathes her last. And I just couldn’t stop the lump in my throat or the tears pricking my eyes. What the hell, I thought, is wrong with me? It’s a silly serial.

Seriously, what is wrong with me? Am I so heavily charged with “mommy hormones” that I have to let loose “ganga-jamuna” at every random child incident. Am I becoming my mom (o she cries at movies – and in real life – pretty easily)? Is it a that-time-of-the month-incident-pattern? Or is it just years of holding back emotions – now they’re coming toppling out? I mean I can understand crying when your child is hurt or is crying. But some completely unknown child? Or worse – a make-believe serial?

I know for a fact that since I’ve had my son – I have given a serious thought to – what will happen if I die? Who will take care of my son? And the only regret I can think of – is not being able to see my son grow up – go to school – have his first crush…… the works. It has made me more aware of my mortality. More serious about the decisions I make. More careful about the things I do – even lame ones like crossing the street.

But become more teary…this one I didn’t anticipate.

Has this happened with the other moms too? Has motherhood made us more vulnerable? Or just, more given to emotions? Is it a phase – just the ways kids have ‘stranger anxiety’? Or is it like my hubby puts it “such a good hubby – takes so much care of you – you have no reason to cry otherwise – so your mind is hunting for reasons to cry”. Is it a mark of motherhood?

Does it happen to others? Or is it just me?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Through the Eyes of an FOB

When I first landed as a new immigrant to Canada, there were many things that were – well – different. This is what I am hoping will be the first in the series – my experience as a student.

I joined up learn French as a second language at one of Canada’s French Universities. As I learn't my way through the system, here’s what I found:

  • You call your professor by his/her first name. A sacrilege in India.
  • Late-coming to class, is so severely frowned upon, that 3 strikes and you could be marked absent for the day.
  • Dressing at college is very very casual. Yet very fashionable!
  • Attendance is a must. You dare not be caught bunking class. A far cry from the days – we went to college and lounged exclusively in the canteen.
  • The professor will teach the subject at hand. But examination questions will take a practical spin on the theory taught to you. Gone were the days when, you basically mugged up the class notes, vomited it out at the exams and were done with.
  • While exam scores were important, class papers, reports, projects and the ubiquitous home-work carried equal weight. I don’t remember doing home-work since I left school.
  • I would die for any Indian college to get a library of this size. Huge!!! 6 full floors! And row upon row of computers – you can reference the books or the internet – all within the confines of the library.
  • There is no peon to photo-copy stuff for you. You have a charged Student card – you photo-copy your stuff yourself – using the card. Ah the luxuries of a human-intensive economy!
  • There are arm-chairs in the library – where you can – believe it or not – snooze!! And no body gives a damn. O I used those armchairs - a lot!!!
  • The professors invited you (the class) home for a party or took you out for coffee. Can you imagine doing that with Professor Srivastav (or Pandey or Mukherjee or whatever)?
  • The professors would walk through the aisles un-greeted, un-acknowledged. Can you even imagine that happening in India?
  • You don’t stand when the professor addresses you in class. If you didn’t stand when the prof spoke with you in India – he’d probably throw you out for being ‘mannerless’
  • You could have a difference of opinion with your professor - and still stay in class.
  • And best of all – at the end of the year, you graded your professor on various parameters. I would love to go back in time and grade all those bores who lullaby-ed me to sleep through college.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Mein hoon Don

The phrase that best sums up the new Don is from one of my fav Amitabh Bachchan, movies, Chupke Chupke "Joh hai - woh nahin hai - aur joh nahin hai, woh toh ho hi nahin sakta" (what seems - isin't. and what isin't - cant happen)

To begin with - I am one of those few who hasn't seen the old Amitabh Bachchan 'Don'. Therefore this one comes on a fresh slate to me. And I quite like it. No, I'm not an SRK fan (heart beats for Sallu and of late Abhishek Bachchan) nor a big fan of re-makes.

To start of, the plot is full of twists and turns almost in the Jewel Thief genre. The movie begins on an established template - that the real Don is injured badly and the DCP sends in a look-alike in his place to get more information on the workings of the gang. So far so good. And then almost character changes colors - down to the Don.

However, most of the twists happen in the second half of the movie. By the end your head is kinda spinning - wondering - exactly who is who. And just when you think every thing's all wrapped up - there comes this huge surprise in the end.

For a Hindi movie, its a good effort at mystery. And yet, at some places, motive is a little difficult to establish. At some places, story seems to be a little far-fetched. There is a lost child - who is old enough to be able to count up to 3000 - but not old enough to remember his address (and is hence lost).

They do have 3 songs flicked from the old Don - and if you've had a liking for the older version - these will sound like a bad techno re-mix. If you listen to them afresh - they don't sound all that bad. Of the 2 new songs - I cant even remember the lyrics of the song picturised at the Ganpati procession - so unremarkable. The other song "Aaj ki raat" is fairly ok and peppy.

For the cast, Priyanka Chopra I thought was ok in her role as the revenge seeking Roma. SRK, I felt was a let-down. The mean-ness, ruthlessness, sarcasm just wasn't there. Style - yes, sharpness - no! SRK also really looks like he needs to loose weight - especially in the aforementioned ganpati song and Khai Ke Paan song. Not so much on the face - but around the waist he sure looks chubby. Speaking of chubby, Kareena Kapoor's arms, legs, thighs sure had a life of their own - they jiggled and wriggled to the beats of 'Yeh mera dil' completely to their own beat. I felt she just couldnt touch Helen in the original song.
And poor Isha Koppikar - such bad costumes and such bad hair-dos - especially in the 'Aaj ki Raat' song. Its like they intentionally wanted her to look bad - so she would'nt overshadow Priyanka Chopra. Its not her fault she has more screen presence than the ex-Miss World does.

And talking of clothes - whats with the paisley printed shirts and lil flowery motifs on SRKs clothes. Don't tell me - these things are making a come-back again. Whats worse - they may have (notice may have - not necessarily they did) looked good on Salman Khan in the 1990s - but they don't look good on SRK.

Boman Irani - is good - as usual. Arjun Rampal - deadpans again - as usual.

Rest of the movie - is fairly good. I was hoping to see more Matrix-like action sequences - so was disappointed there.

All in all - worth a watch!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My Exam

Its that time again. Its one of those much awaited yet dreaded moments that happen once every few months, I cant wait for it to be over.

A few days before the D-day, I’m filled with anticipation, paranoia, worry and hope. I begin preparations a few days in advance. I start reading up on the internet, make copious notes and start prepping myself. I start getting my list of questions ready. And my list of answers. I even start to prep my son and hubby. And yet, I often wonder what good this last minute preparations can do to me.

A day in advance I ready my bag, put my papers in – a few spares, my records. I check and re-check if I have the time and date right.
In my head, I have planned out the route, the time to leave home, the meal I would have to prepare in advance. Everything is planned and thought of.

I ready myself to meet the examiner.

The examiner is a gentle, soft speaking grand-dad type person. He’s been an examiner for the past 40 years and has seen countless anxious, over-wrought people like me. He talks to me about the subject of my thesis. He examines the fruit of my toil gently with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes. My thesis is unwieldy – and somehow resists all attempts at being put to order. He questions me – and gently encourages me in my efforts. He offers tips to handle tricky problems, even laughing at hubby's attempts to be helpful.

He checks my records – marks his observations.
Then he pats me on my shoulder “that’s a job well done. Growth is plotting out fine. Your milestones are being met.” and that’s his sign to tell us – our exam is over. His smile tells us – like every time – looks like we’ve made it with flying colors.

On his way out he looks at my son and says “for being such a good boy – we’re gonna give you some shots – I’m sorry child – but the nurse will be here soon”. And with that my son’s pediatrician walks out of the room.

And that’s how ends my son’s quarterly physical exam. Much anticipated – yet much dreaded. And I have one today. Pray for me.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Change...or something like it

I heard this piece of conversation at a social gathering a while ago.

Lady 1 to Lady 2 “So are you in touch with ABC. How’s she doing? Are they planning to start a family yet?

Lady 2 “No, they aren’t planning to start a family yet. ABC says she’s not yet ready.

Lady 1 “Not ready yet? haven't they been married for 2 years now? How much longer does she intend to wait?

At this point 2 other women join the conversation.

Lady 2 “She says a baby will bring about too many changes in their life. Right now they want to just enjoy life. Basically she says she’s not ready for the changes the baby will bring to their lifestyle

At this statement there was a huge uproar amongst the women.

baby will bring changes? What rubbish is that?
how can she talk like that – being a woman?
aree we’ve had a child too – what big sacrifices does a baby ask for?
and what lifestyle changes will a baby ask for? Live your life as you did previously – just one more person to share your life with
a baby brings only joy – such a selfish woman

At this point, I had had enough – I stopped eavesdropping and moved off. But the conversation kept ringing in my ears.

As a new mother, I totally agreed with ABC’s point of view. A baby does bring changes – huge ones to your life. Especially in the first year – just about everything gets turned upside down. Your eating habits, your sleeping patterns (what sleep?), your social life, your stepping out of the house – be it for grocery shopping or an overnighter, suddenly there is a new perspective – one more lens to see all these things with.

So then what were these magpies chattering about? About there being no changes entailed? If I look at my life – there were 2 things I held very dear – my morning cuppa – which I make myself – just the way I want it – to be had at just the right temperature, and my sleep. And my son A’s arrival just totally banished these two dearly held things in my life. Invariably, sonny would have to poop or demand to be fed as I sat down with my cup of tea. And the first few months – he had to be fed every couple of hours – night and day. So sleep was pretty deprived. In addition – we’ve stopped going to the movies – coz we’re pretty sure A is going to create a racket there, dining out has reduced a lot. Yes, we’ve started spending more time together as a family – doing things that will keep us all happy – but that is a change.

And now that I think, just about everything has changed too, down to way I tie my hair – I used to keep it open – now I have to tie it – else sonny will pull out the few remaining strands.

So then, how is ABC wrong in maintaining that a baby will change her lifestyle? To begin with the argument has no premise – whether or not ABC wants to have a baby is entirely her jurisdiction – no fat aunty has any say in it. But her point is valid – if she is not ready for the upheaval – she’s not ready. And upheaval is the right word.

Yes a baby brings joy – and you more than willingly accommodate a new arrival in your midst. But hand on your heart – you have made adjustments – minor, major – to ensure that the new one fits in. Yes, every new relationship brings it’s share of adjustments. And this one is no different. And yes, you made most of the changes of your own accord – there was no one demanding it. But nevertheless – there were changes.

Or am I the only selfish woman out there (with ABC, of course) who thinks like this? Or does motherhood (and also fatherhood) mean that you keep putting your life through the wringer and don’t even feel the need to acknowledge it – even to yourself. And to expect people to recognize that you have changed your life means being branded selfish?

And remember, these are not men, who seem indifferent. These are other women – women who have had children of their own. Who ought to be in the best position to appreciate all that another woman goes through in raising the next generation of humanity. And yet, these are women who seem to think, that you ought to be a mother first and a woman afterwards. That you ought to sacrifice your indulgences as a woman at the alter of motherhood. Or is that how it should be?

Is motherhood so great that it will overshadow womanhood? Cant both co-exist? Where sometimes being a mother gives you so much joy – and yet when you want to be pampered as a woman – motherhood is not going to stand in your way.
Or are they already co-existing, being mutually helpful, and I am not able to see it clearly.

Maybe some years down the line I would have found my answers, maybe some of you already have. But at least I questioned it and have started searching for the answer. Maybe that’s the first step in the reconciliation.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Boys will be boys!

I often wonder if we ought to raise boys and girls in the same way. In the old times, girls were raised with gentleness, delicacy and softness. And boys? They were let loose to play with frogs and spiders and all types of creepy crawlies. Girls who displayed a love for ‘disgusting creatures’ were tamed – to behave in a more feminine fashion.

I wonder if there was any merit in that?

And before, feminists out there can shove their pitchforks into me – let me explain.

I was raised in a rather conservative family – where girls were expected to behave in a certain way. All through school and college – I lived under the belief that – children were like wet clay – you basically had to mold them – to get them to behave in the manner you saw fit. So girls were ‘molded’ to become soft and gentle and feminine. While boys were ‘molded’ to be masculine and aggressive.

That is until I had a son.

From his birth until now – I have been his primary care-giver. So he eats, sleeps, plays with me. And so far – no complaints. He enjoyed being with me. We read books together, we tried to colour together. I even got him Play-doh, to get him I touch with his creative side. And to get him in touch with his feminine side – we played ‘Ring around the roses’ – much to hubby’s consternation and wild protests. I would call for hugs – and there he was beaming and running towards me – to give me ‘big huggie’. Of late – we’ve even progressed to wet licks – which pass off as kisses.

But I have been noticing for the past few weeks – my son has changed. He isn’t the ‘mamma’s boy’ that he used to be. He now waits to play with his father. And what do they play? Racing cars, wrestling – where hubby basically pins him to the ground and tickles him mad, jumping from the couch, climbing on the table and all such ‘manly things’. And while they are playing – he ignores calls for ‘big huggie’ :(

The other day I raced from the kitchen upon hearing sonny’s screams. Turned out hubby was twirling him around, throwing him in the air, like a lil doll my sonny was being buffeted around. “Stop it”, I screamed, “you’ll break my baby”. “Just look at his face” hubby said, and sure enough, sonny was screaming, but asking for more. Completely chastened, I slunk away.

So I have been wondering – are boys just wired differently? I mean do they have a basic, intrinsic need to be aggressive and wild? That no matter – how much you try to give them a balanced upbringing they will end up ‘being boys’. That they will prefer the boll over the stuffed toy?

So then I wonder – were our forefathers right in raising boys and girls differently?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Out of the Box

Ok, I'm really not into stealing other people's ideas, but this one is hilarious. One of my dear ex-bosses sent me this forward. I liked it so much, I thought, I must share it with you guys.

So here goes:

Imagine this ...

You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night, it's raining heavily, when suddenly you pass by a bus-stop, and you see three people waiting for a bus:
1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
2. An old friend who once saved your life.
3. The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.

Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing very well that there could only be one passenger in your car?
* Think * for the answer before you continue reading...

This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job selection procedure.

* You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first;
* or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life,and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back.
* However, you may never be able to find your perfect mate again.

The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer. Guess what was his answer?

He simply answered: "I would give the car keys to my Old friend and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the partner of my dreams."

Sometimes, we gain more if we are able to give up our stubborn thought limitations. Never forget to "Think Outside of the Box."

Now I wonder, why she sent it to me? ;)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lage Raho (Keep at it!)

The year 2006 will be remembered for its re-makes and sequels. What with Umrao Jaan and Don being re-made and Munna bhai, Hera Pheri and Dhoom having sequels.
I am not a big fan of sequels. Most of the time – I find they lack the soul of the original. Especially in Bollywood – a movie is made – if it’s a hit – then they think of a sequel.

Yesterday, we watched Lage Raho Munnabhai – a sequel to the immensely popular Munnabhai MBBS. And I must say, while I wasn’t disappointed, it wasn’t a big wow.

To begin with – I like Sanjay Dutt. He’s not a great actor or anything – but there is a certain likeability he brings to the characters he portrays. And what should I say about Arshad Warsi. His comic timing and the panache with which he delivers his tapori lines is awesome. Nothing over the top – and yet so funny. I remember walking on the streets of Bangalore with Arshad Warsi(while he was hunting for a lock or something) and the response he received from the aam-junta to his Circuit-giri, I was really stunned (more so since I hadn’t watched the movie then). And he is still good as Circuit.

The basic story line is the same – Munna is a golden-hearted goon and Circuit is his Man Friday and one man army. Munna falls in love with an RJ and in a bid to impress her builds up this whole charade of being a history professor. As compared to the original, things have gotten a wee bit serious here – what with Munna spouting Gandhi teachings. I must confess – things got a bit stretchy here. I thought the movie could do with a bit of editing here.

Boman Irani is as usual his funny-villainous self. Competent in that department. Poor Diya Mirza has been reduced to being sister/daughter in most movies these days. She is one actress – who I find has such exquisite delicate features. It’s a shame – she didn’t hit big time heroine-dom. As in all Munna-movies, the heroine, Vidya Balan here, doesn’t really have much to do. However, Vidya is quite a bright spark.

The icing on the cake – for me – is a cameo by Abhishek Bachchan. It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance – but paisa vasool(money’s worth) for me.
Of course, alls well that ends well – Munna gets his girl. The girl gets her house.

I cant find specifics to complain about – but there’s that kick lacking in the sequel. Munnabhai MBBS had an intrinsic funniness and heart to it. Here Gandhiji sobers things up a fair bit. I was kinda waiting for the movie to end. Also, the original stood out for its use of tapori dialect. In wanting to professore-ise Munna in the sequel, the zing in the tapori-ness has been toned down. Sadly!
All in all a good movie – got a lot of laughs. Some of the songs are rather hummable.

I would recommend it to anyone – who’s missing hearing some tapori words. And anyone who needs some laughs.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Guilty as charged!

For as far back as I can remember – guilt has been an integral part of my up-bringing. Whether it was “If you’re a good girl – you will share toys with your brother” or “when has our happiness mattered to you”, I’ve been there and seen it all.

In the beginning, it was fairly mild. About small little things. The ubiquitous “after all we’re doing this for your benefit” invariably got attached to most sentences my mother uttered. But as time passed, I guess we got wise to my mother’s words. Or maybe I got tough skinned enough to resist it.

That’s when I think she took up by a notch. Now “all our life we’ve done things for you – now when we’re asking you to do something for us – you won’t oblige us” that’s what I got told when I refused to doll up for some “girl-seeing party”.

After I got married – I thought the guilt trips would end. But I didn’t count on motherhood. Didn’t expect it to hit me with such a huge whammy. As a stay-at-home mom, the guilt of not doing enough to secure your child’s future was an all-time companion.

What I also didn’t expect was for random strangers to fill in my mother’s shoes. We were dining at a restaurant – when the waitress came by and offered us some meatballs. Since I don’t want sonny to eat red meat – I declined. She insisted that kids were enjoying it. I demurred again. “O its really soft – he will be able to eat it”. This time I was firm – and said I didn’t want to give it to sonny. So she pats sonny’s head and says “O you poor child – your mommy doesn’t feed you well” What???!!

That and many more such guilt trips have ensured that I don’t miss my ma being near me.

O yes, this entire recollection was brought on because of sonny. Yesterday he wasn’t touching his veggies. So I told him “Sonny, if you love your ma, you’re gonna finish those veggies.”

O la la…the cycle begins again! And this time – I’m the driver!