Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vaaranam Aayiram

Had heard mixed opinions on this film before I saw it. I definitely liked the film. A typical Gautam Menon film. He is as impressive as ever.

VA is a film to be enjoyed for the smaller aspects like the way the relationships in the movie have been handled. Very realistic. Almost no melodrama. Heroines have down-to-earth normal voices rather than the usual shrill tones! And not surprisingly the romance is cute, especially that of Sr. Surya. Though not as good as ‘Kaaka Kaaka’. Another thing about Gautam Menon’s films that stands out is the considerable usage of good English language.

Songs are great. Music is really good, though not very fresh. Thamarai has yet again proved that she is one of the most romantic lyricists around!

I think more than Sameera Reddy and Divya, Simran rocked in the film…starting from the sari she wore in the first scene to the grooming she has displayed throughout the film. Only thing is she doesn’t look like a 60 (or even 50 plus for that matter) year old mother of a 25-30 year old son! :)

Surya rocks in the film…both in terms of performance and looks. For a change, a Tamil film director has decided to please the eyes of the women in the audience more than the men. I happened to hear quite a few complaints about that! :)

The heroics and stunt show in the latter half of the movie was almost unnecessary. Seemed like they had roped it in just so that they could connect it to the ‘Army man Surya’. Now, no one can complain there is no action in the film! Guess it wouldn’t have made any difference to the story even Surya had become a software guy in the end!

And the bit about ‘Varanam ayiram soozha valam seidhu’ in the end is slightly unintelligible.

The movie may not be extra-ordinary but definitely a good watch.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Travelogue: Kuala Lumpur

Back after a long interval. Began a couple of write ups in the meantime, but never managed to finish them! Now it’s time for another travelogue.

Had been to Malaysia last month. A 10 day trip, of which a week was official and the rest dug a deep hole in my pocket. Surprisingly, I managed to reach the airport 3.5 hours before the flight! That should have been a warning to this unsuspecting soul that the thrill and tension would come later but the soul in question was too excited about the first overseas trip, to worry about all that. The 3.5 hour flight was actually terrible. Pathetic food and on top of it the seat was too inconvenient to sleep. Boarded the bus from KL International Airport to the domestic airport at 6.10 am. We reached at 6.25 am. The next 2 days were to be spent in Langkawi. Our flight was at 8.10 am. Got down at the domestic airport and after chatting away to glory for about a minute, I realized that I had left my bag, containing my laptop, some clothes and a whole lot of cash, in the bus itself! :( The next one hour included a mad chase behind the bus, a wasted amount on the taxi for the same and a hell lot of worry if we(P & I) would retrieve the bag be back in time for our flight. Thanks to J & A’s help, the authorities at the bus station had retained the bag safely for me. Which left me wondering what would have happened in a similar situation here!!

Looks like this is a year of some lovely holidays for me. We began our sight seeing in Langkawi with the Underwater world. This, I think was the longest day in my life. It seemed like we had more than 24 hours and managed to do sooo much in one day! I was completely in awe of the place. Never before had I seen such an extensive variety of fishes. I could write a separate post about this place! Of course, I doubt if I could remember even 10 species’ names. The jelly fish moving was an awesome sight. And we were lucky enough to watch the keeper feed the fishes. The way they all pounced on their prey and fought with one another was an incredible sight.

The next thing on the list was the cable car ride. Located in Oriental village, this was another highlight of the trip. The ride is from sea level to 700 m height with 2 stops in between and it offers a magnificent view of the Andaman sea. The view from the car is breathtakingly beautiful. :) Thanks to the friend who suggested this place.

View from the cable car

One can also see the Seven Wells waterfalls during the ride. Not too interesting a place when you actually get to the falls. Okay to miss if one does not have time. The day ended with us haggling with the Snorkeling agent for an hour to fix the snorkeling trip for the next day.

Snorkeling was a first and a much awaited experience. Wanted to do scuba diving and water sports too but didn’t have sufficient time. The snorkeling spot was Pulau Payar Marine Park, about 45 min by ferry from Langkawi. White sand! Water is a very clear, light green near the shore and the color slowly transforms to darker shades of blue as you go deeper. Unfortunately, the snorkeling equipment was a little bit of a pain and kept coming off half the time. We spent about 3-3.5 hours in water of which about an hour was gone in enjoying the swim (I was swimming after a veeeery looooong time) and the rest in chasing after fishes.

Pulau Payar Marine Park

The next one week in Kuala Lumpur passed in meeting many new colleagues, lot of window shopping and a night-club visit. The induction program was organized extremely well. Every bit as enjoyable as it was lengthy. In that one week, the word ‘networking’ took a whole new meaning considering the amount of emphasis the training team placed on it!! Finding good vegetarian food in KL was challenge in itself! The evenings were memorable...spent mostly with 4 other girls, giggling at the silliest of jokes, trying to decide which place to visit next and who to go with for atleast an hour before we actually made a plan for the evening. :P The week seemed to end pretty fast.

Only P and I extended our trip by 2 more days. Not many spots to see in KL. We just visited the Petronas towers n KL tower over the weekend. A short trip to Genting Highlands and Batu caves concluded sight seeing in KL. The 130 ft Subramaniya Swami statue in Batu caves was astounding! This limestone hill attracts millions of Hindus during Thaipusam. The festival is celebrated in a very grand manner here. The actual temple is situated inside the cave and we had to climb around 300 steps to reach there.

Batumalai Sri Subramaniar Swamy Devasthanam

We put up with some friends in Seremban (capital of the Malaysian state of Negeri Sembilan) for the night before doing some actual shopping the next day. Good thing was that these friends drove us around the city & showed us all the right places so the whole experience was less strenuous and their company made the experience much more enjoyable!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Threesome Tag

3 Joys:

  1. Staying in NITIE… all those late night coffee breaks, walks around the campus and the immense freedom that I got in NITIE is unmatched
  2. 3 old friends. 3 separate cities.3 coffee mugs.1 internet messenger
  3. Music

3 Fears:

  1. (Recent fear) I am scared I might become professionally lethargic. That’s prob coz I have been on a vacation for a month now :P

Let us leave it at that!

3 Goals:

  1. Run a successful business venture, hopefully!
  2. Learn a foreign language (other than English ofcourse)
  3. Euro trip, Khardung la, … It is a looooong list!!! 3 is too much of a restriction for ‘goals’ category

3 Random Surprising Facts:

  1. Survived without my laptop for 13 days!
  2. I finally began to blog and even wrote a senti post!
  3. I trekked in the Himalayas!

3 Current Obsessions:

  1. Blogging
  2. Travelling/trekking
  3. Watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S

Tag 3 People:

  1. mickey
  2. mucastic

Will add more to the list as and when I tell my blogger friends that I have begun writing.

3 People who Make Me Laugh (Just by seeing or by the jokes they crack?? )

  1. Vaishu
  2. My brother
  3. Gans

3 Things I Hate

  1. Male chauvinists
  2. Crying in front of others
  3. Hypocrisy

3 Things I Don’t Understand

  1. Why all gender biased jokes always target women?
  2. Why thin people are looked upon as unhealthy and unfit?
  3. Weepy films

3 Things I’m doing Right Now

  1. Blogging.
  2. watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S
  3. Trying to figure out my career path!

3 Things I Can Do

  1. Sing
  2. Chat endlessly on internet and on phone
  3. Read

3 Ways to Describe My Personality

  1. Practical
  2. I think too much
  3. Adventurous

3 Things I Can’t do

  1. Do my own brand management (in other words, cannot blow my own trumpet)
  2. Dance
  3. Avoid expecting too much from people

3 Things I Think You Should Listen To

  1. M.S.Subbulakshmi (Her voice is divine and her pronunciation is simply unparalleled)
  2. Songs from Roja (never heard music that is more fresh…and its been 16 years since Roja was released)
  3. Crazy Mohan’s comedies

3 Things I Think You Should Never Listen To

  1. An X from my college cribbing to me (I won’t wish that on my worst enemy!)
  2. Me arguing
  3. Some of my earliest attempts at humour. Not that I am any good at it now!

3 Absolute Favorite Foods

  1. Puliyodarai with avial/vadam
  2. morkali
  3. McVeggie with extra cheese :)

3 Things I’d Like to Learn

  1. Dance
  2. Drums
  3. Cooking

3 Beverages I Drink Regularly

  1. Butter milk
  2. Coffee
  3. Minute maid

3 Shows I Watched as a Kid

  1. Balachander serials
  2. ROBOT
  3. Ramayana/mahabaratha

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Had sent my blog link to some of my very close friends and was surprised to find that one of them actually blogged about it. An exaggerated post though! But I am flattered all the same. Thanks Mickey! :)

Was overwhelmed by gratitude that I have been blessed with a lovely bunch of friends & very supportive parents. People who have been there for me whenever I needed them. Thanks Guys!

Senti post I guess! Can’t help it. That needed to be said.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sar Pass Diary - A Walk in the Clouds

The actual trek began on the 4th day. 4.5 days of ascent and 1.5 days of descent. First camp was Guna Pani, at 8000 ft, which we managed to reach in 5.5 hours. This one was the easiest of the 6 days. More of getting used to the terrain and the weight of our backpacks, than anything else. We managed to click some pics nearby before it started raining. Guna Pani was the last camp where there was electricity so there was a fight for charging phones and cameras.

Route to Fual Pani was the steepest & very slippery. Fual Pani was the worst of the camps I think. A camp where there was no flat ground to even stand, leave alone sleeping. The tents were inclined!

The trek to the 3rd camp at Zirmi was a similar one, just a little more slippery due to persistent rains. We occasionally looked at the valley beside our 1 foot wide path and had arguments about whether we would end up with broken limbs or not be there to even think about limbs if we slipped & fell. :P At 11,500 ft, sipping hot tea and seeing the camp surrounded by clouds was a lovely experience!

In the first 3 days we had hardly seen any ice, except for one small stretch on day 2.The route to Tila Lotni had also been a disappointment until lunch. Post lunch, we encountered snow all along the sides. Since, for most of us it was out first rendezvous with snow, we sauntered, played with snow balls, notwithstanding our group leader insistently screaming that we'll have to move quickly to avoid the rain.

Later in the day, we were greeted by more fresh snow. Now we were at an altitude of about 12,500ft and completely in awe of seeing clouds all around us, at that height. The ultimate culmination to a good day's trek.10 of us suddenly became really adventurous and decided to cross the ice sheet instead of taking the longer route on grass. How I managed to do that, with completely muddy Nike running shoes, which is most definitely not suitable for stunts on ice, is another issue altogether. Thanks to my group members! What I did not know at that point was that the next day's trek was going to be completely on fresh, white snow.

Throughout the trek the weather became chilly by 2 in the afternoon and it rained in the evenings, though not continuously! The tents were comfy, with sleeping bags to keep us warm. On all days, we bought hot Maggie, omlette, tea or buttermilk on the way. We used to pack lunch from the camps in the morning, mostly consisting of aloo and rotis. The local guides and the porters sometimes set up temporary tea/snack stalls during breaks. There were streams (source of river parvati) along the way, where we could replenish our water bottles. Those small orange chocolates were our energizers.

Now, the D-day. The plan of starting at 6 and crossing Sar Pass before noon never materialized. By the time we started, it was 7 am. We walked for an hour on steep grasslands and then from 8 am to 4 pm, the trek was on snow. Crossed Sar Pass by 2.30 pm.

The next phase involved sliding down on the snow, which meant, all of us except J had loads of fun. Because, a totally spooked J, was screaming "Mummyyyy! Somebody catch meeeee!" all the way down :D The videos are hilarious. :) (Sorry J!)

Notable things that I did:
  • Slid for about 400 ft on snow :)
  • We etched our names on snow to announce to the next group of trekkers that we beat them to it ! :)
  • Fell some 10 times on snow.
  • R, G & I slipped at the most precarious spot (we would have slid down a few hundred feet without control, if not for the guide) just before the Sar Pass and chimed 'I am alive' together, after we made it :D
  • Travelled on top of the local bus.
  • Played round kho kho on grassland and slipped twice. Most people slipped there actually! That was in Bandhak Tatch, the one camp which we wanted to skip, but enjoyed most! Thanks to the Sun God! This camp was a beauty. Pristine beauty is what comes to mind. Grassland in the middle and snow capped peaks all around. The place is referred to as 'mini Switzerland'.

More pics ...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sar Pass Diary

This one is going to be long & in parts. Probably not a suitable read for people who are looking for short & sweet write-ups.

Destination: Sar Pass, Himalayas
Credits of initiating the trek: To me
Planning the travel: Mostly G. He must have cursed us all for being so lethargic about it.
Gang: Me, G, J, C & R. Huge thanks to this gang for accompanying me. If not for them, I wouldn’t have been able to go either, given that my over-protective parents would have flatly refused to let me go alone.

Duration of Trek: 31st May 2008 to 10th June 2008

After 2 months of numerous mails and phone calls, we landed at Delhi on 30th morning. We hogged at C's place (thanks to his parents), took the 5.30 pm bus to Manali and reached the base camp in Kasol at 9 am, the next day.

The base camp is right on the bank of river Parvati, at an altitude of 6500ft, which meant we almost froze to death that night (None of us are used to that kind of temperatures). It is a picturesque place, with the river on one side and an amazing view of snow capped mountains on the other. Beautiful, for the lack of a better word, is what struck me the first time I saw the place.

Kasol is a small town that you can actually walk across in about half an hour. I was amazed by the mix of cultures we found there. It is predominantly an Israeli settlement area. You would find as many Israelis as the local Himachal people. There are Israeli/Italian restaurants, coffee shops, cyber cafes but no banks or ATMs. Guess that’s a good indicator of the blend of modernity and under-development in this region!

First day was spent roaming around in Manikaran & Kasol, shopping and visiting the famous Gurudwara there. We had lunch at the Gurudwara and whiled away the rest of the evening at the base camp.

Manikaran is famous for hot springs. The photo below shows an extremely cold river Parvati gushing behind the Gurudwara while there are hot springs along the edge. I still don’t understand the phenomena behind it. As in, how can there be hot springs right next to water that is freezing cold? If anyone who is reading this, is aware of the reason, please elaborate.

The next 2 days, we did acclimatization treks, some sample rappelling and played around in the river. We also managed to get our clothes laundered (this was a tough task as it had begun to rain in the evenings) and found a decent hotel room to have a good hot water bath before starting the actual trek. The daily routine during the trek was bed tea at 5.30, exercise at 6 am, breakfast at 7.15 am and so on. By this time, we were tuned to waking up at 5.30 without alarms!! (Mom, please note this point! :D).

More pics below.

The actual trek was from the 4th day to the 10th day. More on it later.

The Genesis

Blogging has been on my mind for quite sometime, but for some reason, I never got the opportunity to do it.
Right now I am too excited that the trek of my dreams, that too a 9 year old dream, has materialized and I want to preserve the memories in as many forms as possible…writings, photos, videos…
So, here goes my first post!