Posts

Swami Malai Mandir: First time darshan! What I love about Lord Subramanya worship

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Festivities are over, feelings are not!😊 As I write this blog post, Diwali blues are settling in, just as easily as the evening chill in Delhi's barely breathable air. You won't believe how I used to dread the festive season in Delhi when I came here two decades ago. The sound of fire crackers used to frighten me. Even children would carelessly toss the firecrackers from one corner to the other and I would be literally trembling with fear! Has anything changed now? I have begun loving the festivities! Having lived in Delhi NCR for more than two decades now, I see things differently. I love the festive season, especially Diwali, when I can just deck up my home, unleash my creativity in arranging the decor and the diyas and getting ready to send out gifts of love to a very small circle of loved ones. When I look out of the window just now, I see a grey sky and the sun resembles a fading yolk. Peace all around.  Or is it the energy that I have carried along with me after Malai Ma

Kuruthi Movie Review: A Bold and Brilliant Film on Love, Religion and Messed up Humans

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Kuruthi movie review:  Wondering whether to watch Prithviraj's film 'Kuruthi'? This must-watch thriller has one hero  - Mammukoya!  Malayali's favourite 'Gafoor Ka Dost' who remains immortalised through Mohanlal-Sreenivasan starrer 'Nadodikattu'. Just a year ago, I had read his memoirs in Malayalam and loved it so much, I couriered it to my father, who enjoyed reading the lesser known life of an amazing character actor we are blessed to have in Malayalam cinema - yes, the one and the only Mammukoya! Okay, so let's dive into the film and why I really found it gripping. Kuruthi Malayalam Movie review: A Gripping Thriller Now coming back to Manu Warrier's directorial debut 'Kuruthi', this is a brilliant socio-political thriller that probes the depths of 'intolerance' without taking sides.  Kuruthi Movie Review: Story When a Hindu boy is taken into custody over the death of a devout old Muslim man, he becomes a target for the old man&

Independence Day Book Recco: Pramod Grover's 'The Saga of Parvati: From Lahore to New Delhi'

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Independence Day Book Reccos: Pramod Grover's 'The Saga of Parvati: From Lahore to New Delhi' is a fascinating account of a real-life story of Gulzari and Parvati's marriage in Lahore and how they are forced to abandon their home and fly to begin a new life in Delhi. Interesting tidbits of information about the pre-Independence period in Lahore are in the story. For instance, well-to-do women used to buy fine shahtoosh and jamawaar shawls, that are currently worth at least five lakh rupees each!                                        [Subscribe to my NEW newsletter] And one tola of gold back then was worth Rs 50/- and now just compare and calculate the price today! Racing through a swanky and luxurious lifestyle, the Indian family falls apart as they swerve ahead to crash into a dire situation of bankruptcy. Had they exercised some prudence over such reckless spending, they may have still survived the odds. The narrative shows the cultural nuances of the pre-Partition p

Jagame Thanthiram on Netflix: Dhanush fails to deliver gangster drama, Joju George impressive

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Karthik Subbaraj’s Dhanush-Aishwarya Lakshmi starrer Jagame Thanthiram is a film that takes you straight into the lives of Tamil immigrants in the UK and touches upon issues that impact their life such as racism, joblessness, acceptance from society. [NEW! Subcribe to my weekly newsletter ] Modelled around a Tamil interpretation of 'Godfather', the film is a gangster drama revolving around a local goon from Madurai who is brought on an assignment to the UK. The intolerance towards Asian immigrants is shown well but the weak story plot failed to make an impact. In my view, Dhanush is a powerhouse of talent but remains largely untapped in the film due to a weak script. Jagame Thanthiram: Weak story narrative From start to finish, the film struggles in its pacing and narrative, thereby disappointing its audience who find themselves being thrown into a serious topic such as immigration and its grave implications but catapulting in different directions as the narrative goes haywire

Sajan Bakery Malayalam Movie Review: Aju Varghese-Lena starrer is a slow paced sibling drama

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Sajan Bakery Since 1962 Movie Review:   Is Sajan Bakery a real story? While I started watching the siblings quarrel over little things, this is one of the questions that struck me. A slice of real life is definitely apparent in the film though it remains unconfirmed whether this Aju Varghese-Lena starrer has been inspired by real life. [Subscribe to my weekly newsletter] In the 80s and early 90s, several Malayalam films that revolved around sibling relationships had a realistic yet idealistic overtone to it.  Blockbuster hit films in Malayalam such as 'Koodum Thedi' and 'Kariyilakaatupole' show how sibling relationships are interwoven deftly into Malayalam films. Super hit Malayalam movies starring Mohanlal, in 'Kireedam', 'Bharatham' paved the way for more family sagas.  Mammootty's blockbuster hits 'Vatsalyam' and 'Hitler' shows him as striving to be the ideal brother. Notably, Mohanlal's heartwrenching performance as 'Chett

The Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni: The true story of Rani Jindan Kaur

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The Last Queen Book Review: An incredibly immersive book, 'The Last Queen' by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a detailed story exploring the life of Rani Jindan Kaur, the courageous and last Queen of Punjab. Set in 1839, the iconic era pays the finest attention to historical details as it also marked the glorious rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, known as the 'Lion of Punjab'.  [SUBSCRIBE TO MY WEEKLY NEWSLETTER ON SUBSTACK]   Chitra Divakaruni's The Last Queen: Story of Rani Jindan Kaur A rich detailed account follows to articulate the rise of the beautiful and courageous young girl from a remote village in Punjab who goes on to become the Last Queen. Not only does Jindan use her intelligence to ward off the jealous and menacing moves of the other wives of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, she also wins the loyalty of the Khalsa army and the respect of the powerful nobles.   She makes it her life's mission to fight the deceitful schemes of the British and safeguard the throne

How to build good habits step by step

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I love summers but it's getting too hot to do anything and that can be quite frustrating when everyone is cooped up at home. So yes, you know the feeling of being restless and the weather is testing your energy level as the temperatures soar.   [READ: Summer vacations: Remembering the 80s]                                             [Image: Pixabay] Tough, right? But this also brings an opportunity to build new habits that stick and make your daily life more fun.  [Read: Beat the Heat!  and Best Skincare Tips for Summer ] What is the Paper Click strategy? I just read about this and I loved it! Dyrsmid, a stock broker in the US used this paper clip strategy, to become very successful and productive. According to James Clear, the smart stock broker was earning $5 million to his firm in 18 months! Now you want to know how Dyrsmid used these paper clips? Truth be told, it sounds too easy but try it and it's not so easy! Step 1: Fill two jars - one filled with 120 paper clips and t

Coronavirus Second Wave: Keep Calm, Don't Panic!

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With a surge in cases due to the coronavirus second wave, the world seems to be on the verge of another nightmarish crisis again. It began in a trickle and then it became a flood we hadn't prepared to tackle. The p leas for hospital beds, oxygen, medicines and vaccination for all age groups flooded social media timelines. In the midst of such tragic circumstances, one has no other option but to stay indoors, avoid crowds and be highly alert about maintaining social distancing and not going out unless it is absolutely essential. We live in dangerous times. In this instance, we are our own enemies when we lower our guard against the coronavirus.                                              [Image: Pixabay] What is most tragic is that we were so ill-prepared for this second wave.  When you let down your guard, that is when the enemy strikes. With disturbing and negative news all around us, it is difficult to stay focused. Few things that I found helpful are: 1. Listen to music. Or wat

Book Review: The Patiala Quartet by Neel Kamal Puri

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The Patiala Quartet by Neel Kamal Puri is a book I bought recently. With an eminent writer like Khushwant Singh recommending the book as a 'debut novel that will rank among the best works of English language fiction from Punjab', I didn't have to think twice before I opted to order it on Amazon. However, being extremely choosy about the books that I read, I still checked out various book bloggers to read their reviews on the debut novel. [Best Books I read in 2020]                                                       All book reviews of The Patiala Quartet praised the debut novel as a sensitive chronicle of life during Punjab's turbulent political upheavals that also wtinessed the beginning of the Khalistani movement. So, I was like, how did I miss this book in the first place? I must read it! With keen interest, I bought the book. The first few chapters brought forth some strong characters, particularly the female protagonists Minnie and Karuna whereas the male protag

Pagglait movie review: Sanya Malhotra rocks the film with heartwarming performance

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What happens when a newly wed couple's life is thrown out of gear after a spouse dies within five months of marriage? You would expect a tearjerker tragedy, right? But this film switches to another track - a realistic, slightly humourous one. Sanya Malhotra, starring in Pagglait, breaks the 'widow' stereotype in Indian cinema.                                                  [Sanya Malhotra on Twitter] Before I dive into why Pagglait made so much sense to me, let me share with you a few things about the big 'W' - yes, the word 'widowhood' which makes it seem as though a woman has stopped being who she is and has been turned into 'She-who-must-not-be-named' - a pathetic and grim reality of how Indians from all communities and religions tend to treat widows. Widowers - ah- that's a different story. They can date freely and go on courtships and no one is going to bat an eyelid. Widows as Women of Substance In my life, there are some strong and resi