Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving..........

Its that time of the year when the US festivals and holidays start coming and filling our houses and lives with the spirit of the season. The Thanksgiving Day and long weekend is one such occasion when its time for family and friends to get together in someone's place, cook a fancy meal, need not necessarily be a turkey meal and enjoy good food and great company. In 2004, K and I made a trip to Boston to spend the holiday with my aunt's family where they celebrate thanksgiving in a traditional way cooking a vegetarian version- we had mashed potatoes, veggie stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy, a dish made out of butternut squash and pineapples and of course pumpkin pie. A picture of the dinner has been attached.

In 2005, I tried my hand at making all those dishes that I had learnt from my aunt on K and invited another recently wed couple friends of ours and hopefully they enjoyed the meal.

This year, dear aunt, uncle and cousin are arriving tonight to spend the holiday with us, can't wait to try out some new dishes this year.

Other things that I am looking forward to this year- Black Friday Deals and shopping on Friday the day after thanksgiving, a trip to SFO to watch the Ghirardelli or Union Sqaure Xmas Tree lighting on the same day and maybe some other visits to nearby places in and around Bay Area during the weekend.

To all those travelling and spending time with family and friends and for those who plan to stay home and relax during the holidays, wish you A Happy Thanksgiving Holiday!!!

More blogging to continue from Monday.....

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Glimpse into Mani's "Guru"

Mani Rathnam is one of those few Indian directors who has carved a niche for himself and his style of movies. Madras Talkies is his home production and everyone knows about all the trademark movies that have come under his direction and remain as hallmarks of good cinema. With his sophisticated style of film taking and his eye for the best and most suited star cast coomplimented by the best in music AR. Rahman (this time, it is indeed worth spending every penny and minute watching Mani's films.

I am both excited and am eagerly awaiting the release of his next venture "Guru" from Bollywood. During my browsing time, I manage to catch up on all the tit bits from the websites on the movie. Almost everything about Guru is grandiose and builds high expectations.

Beginning with a heavy star cast that includes Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Mithun Chakravarthy, Madhavan and Vidya Balan, well, if this isn't the only reason to watch the movie. With Mani's expert direction, I am positive that each actor would have performed to the best of their abilities. The second best thing about Guru is its music-AR Rahman has been roped in to do some stunning background score. Gulzar's lyrics have been sung by ARR, Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan, Hariharan, Shreya Ghoshal, Madhushree and Bappi Lahiri.

Finally, the story of Guru- It is rumored to be based on the life of the Ambani family. The Ambani family is known to be one of the richest conglomerates in the world. The movie is based on the transition of a simple villager to a rising businessman and entrepreneur who grows to become the largest private company in India. Abhishek Bachchan is said to have played the part of Dhirubai and Aishwarya as Kokilaben. Of course, Madhavan, Vidya Balan and Mithun also have strong supporting characters to play. Inspite of being known to do some controversial movies like Nayagan, Bombay where Mani Rathnam has had to face obstacles, in this movie too, he had to walk a tight rope in not copying the verbatim lifestyle of the Ambani's, since the family doesn't want any controversial scenes that would slander their family reputation. So, a private screening of the movie to the Ambani family would probably be expected before its December release.

Abhishek Bachchan's performance both as the youngster and the older Ambani must indeed be a visual treat for his fans and of course the chemistry between him and Aishwarya (his soon to be wife) must only add more of the magical element to the movie. A few articles comparing Ambani to Velu Naicker in Mani's Nayagan about 20 years ago have also been coming out claiming that this would be Nayagan Part II. Since, the movie has been shot in Mani's favorite city Mumbai, but a lot of shotting was also done in and around Chennai, the song sequences have been shot again in Mani's favorite location- Thirumalai Naicker Mahal in Madurai (the place where Kannalane song from Bombay was shot.

The Music of Guru was released in a star studded event in Mumbai last week (pictures are at India Glitz events gallery under Hindi section), but the CDs become available only on Nov 18th.

A short Trailer of the movie at India Glitz and several short music bits are available for viewing at behindwoods.com as well.

Guru seems to be amazingly promising and comes with a lot of expectations from the 60 minute promo trailer ...Villager Visionary..Winner with ARR's background score and minimal dialogues. Just counting the days till its release this December.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Man's Rules

Just came across this on the internet and thought it would be interesting to share-

If you ask most men, they would say that the rules are made by their women in their lives etc. For fun, If a man were to make his rules-

Rule 1 Anything I said six or eight months ago is inadmissible in an arguement. All comments become null and vid after 7 days.

Rule 2 If I say something that can be interpreted in two ways, and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, I meant the other way.

Rule 3 It is in neither your best interest nor mine to make me take those stupid Cosmo quizzes together.

Rule 4 You can either ask me to do something or tell me how you want it done- not both.

Rule 5 Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials or time-outs.

Rule 6 Christopher Columbus didn't need directions and neither do I.

Rule 7 When I'm turning the wheel and the car is nosing onto the ramp, you saying, "This is our exit" is not necessary.

Source: Internet

Happy Friday!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thaali aka Mangalsutra- No strings attached?

Have been wanting to write about this topic for a while now, but haven't had the time to do so. In today's modern world, a married woman makes a conscious choice to wear or not wear her thaali or mangalsutra. What does this imply?

For those who aren't familiar with the Hindu tradition of marriage, a thaali (as known in South India) or a mangalsutra (as known in North India) is tied by the groom around the neck of the bride on the day of their wedding signifying their union. The thaali is considered auspicious and is believed to protect the marriage and life of the husbands and was never usually removed in the bride's lifetime, unless her spouse died.

But like all traditions and customs, today this trend is also changing. Although, it is tied at the wedding, the younger generation women of today are choosing whether to wear it all times, or not.

For many women living outside India, the thaali is worn on and off. Some reasons for this are that- First of all, the fear that something may happen to their spouses if the woman takes off her thaali is overcome by the voice of reason and logic.

Secondly, the new era of women are confident that a mere symbolism of the thaali is not an expression of their commitment in the marriage. Most of them feel that loving your spouse and staying married doesn't come with a piece of chain around your neck.

Thirdly, the practical difficulty in wearing the thaali is that it does not blend in with western clothes or go well with party jewellery, silver jewellery, black metal etc. Earlier, the thaali was a traditional thick rope, followed by the thick gold chain and each community has their version for the pendant. Slowly, the gold rope was replaced by the "karugamani" which is made of small gold and black beads and then nowadays women have a "micro thaali" done which is fashionable, much sammer in size and weighs lesser.

Also, during work outs at the gym and other activities such as swimming etc., the thaali is uncomfortable. Not to forget mentioning that some women are allergic to the gold and even have marks on their necks.

But, many women still like to wear it at special occasions and sometimes even on a regular basis and when asked by colleagues at work are proud to explain that it is the equivalent of a wedding ring and symbolizes that a woman is married.

Life is much easier for the women abroad when you don't have a mother-in-law hovering around in the background to express shock and disbelief or a mother to express her concern when you aren't wearing the thaali.

But, for the married women in India, well, I do know some of them who work in MNCs who don't wear a thaali daily to work. But, for the others, it is a constant battle and struggle when the traditional society that is steepled in orthodoxy, culture and values fails to listen to the modern day women's perspective. Also, when the women living in US visit India, they are inclined to wear the thaali more as a way to keep the family members from reacting. Of course, there are still stronger women who hold on to their decision and boldly say that it is a matter of individual choice.

Lastly,how does the husband react to all this? Some of them who are raised in an orthodox background don't approve of their wives not willing to uphold the tradition of being married to them, while others are a lot more open to their spouses making the decision. But, secretly, most men do seem to care about whether their wives want to wear a "thaali" or not, its just that the circumstances in today's lifestyle are such that he has to make his wife have the final word on that!

Happy Friday!