Movies I Liked upon Reflecting

Reviews and Recommendations

This post acts as a perpetual dumping ground for all the movies that get dequeued by the newer ones as I watch, like and review them on The Recent Movie I Liked upon Reflecting widget on my blog

Here you can also leave your comments upon my reviews and recommendations.





We Are Marshall

Watched on : Nov 6, 2009

Review: This is a movie about the aftermath of the 1970 plane crash that killed nearly all of the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team; the rebuilding of the team and the impact these events had on the lives of the individuals and the community.

The name, We are Marshals is based on the cheer performed by the team and its fans.

Watch this movie for the brilliant performance from Matthew McConaughey (of Sahara fame) who takes up the job of Head Coach after the crash. Matthew is full of witty remarks and anecdotes with the help of which he can convince anyone to do anything and these are the best moments of this movie.

It has a fine balance of varied emotions that make it a fun to watch.

In short, it is not just another American college sports movie as dozens of others which deserve a pass. This one will inspire you, tickle you and make you say – Wow!




Resurrecting the Champ

Watched on : Sep 16, 2009

Review: It is the story of two men loosely based on a true event. The first one is an old homeless man, played by Samuel L. Jackson, who calls himself the Champ, once third ranked heavyweight boxer who missed a close shot at the top slot and with time was lost in oblivion, even disowned by his son for abandoning him and his mother at a young age.

The other is an ‘honest’ sports reporter, played by Josh Harnett (of Lucky Number Slevin fame), struggling in his personal as well as professional life, trying to move out of the shadow of a famous father(a radio announcer) who actually left him when he was a kid.
A report on the Champ can bring him fortunes professionally and make him a hero in front of his 6 years old kid too, to whom he keeps lying about his acquaintance with different sports personalities.

So we get to see, how the Champ became a looser and how the looser becomes a champ. However, the story doesn’t end there. Indeed it starts from there.

It is a beautiful story touching concrete aspects like irresponsible journalism and the abstract ones like father-son relationships and relative measures of faith and honesty. And it definitely showcases one of the best performances by Samuel L. Jackson to add to it. Do watch it to know, does the Champ really gets resurrected in the end?



Freedom Writers

Watched on : Sep 4, 2009

Review: Now this is a movie that I am reviewing and daring to recommend you after having seen just its second half after returning from a class. It is a true story based on the efforts of a female White American teacher (played by Hilary Swank) to change the lives of her troubled teenaged students.

She is handed over the class of 'all-at-risk' students with different backgrounds and races. Having missed the first half, I could somehow comprehend the situation thanks to Obama's autobiography which talks of troubled lives of Black teenagers of around that period (1980's-90's).

Swank, while dealing with the prejudices of her colleagues and individual problems of her students, totally dedicates herself in transforming these students by introducing them to the real power of reading and writing, in the process even being divorced.

It was a great watch on the eve of Teachers' Day; a movie which reminds us how noble this profession is, something communicated recently through Taare Zameen Par back home though in different context.



Frost/Nixon

Watched on : Aug 4, 2009

Review: Do you know why the recent shoe throwing incidents became Shoe-gate and Harbhajan calling Symonds ma ki became Monkey-gate. It all started with one of the biggest Presidential scandal in U.S.A. which goes by the name of the Watergate after the name of the building where the unfolding of this scandal got initiated.

Frost/Nixon is the story of two characters, Richard Nixon who was the first U.S. President to resign from the office following Watergate and David Frost, the talk show host who compelled him to admit his misdemeanour after three years. The story is that simple.
However, the way this unusual part factual - part fiction drama has been executed, keeps you on the edge of your seats (had to use this cliché expression though I watched it lying comfortably on my bed) throughout the movie.

Being the one with deep interest in American politics, it was a treat for me. For others too, it will be a nice experience, I believe. Do watch it out just to see, how an interesting successful full length movie can be built out of a series of interviews.



Khuda Kay Liye

Watched on : Jul 30, 2009

Review: Now this is yet another movie, I should have ideally seen much earlier when there was all this buzz around it. Anyway, its better late than never. KKL is a good movie, no doubt about that and it gives a very potent message, again no doubt about that. However, being a non-Muslim and a non-Pakistani, I could not appreciate it to the full.
The scene which really amused me was the one where the male protagonist, a Pakistani national, brags about ruling India for 1000 years, when an American classmate fails to recognise Pakistan but lights up on hearing that it neighbours India, the land of Taj Mahal. But soon the American girl, hands him a Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan C.D. making it evident that she is well aware of Pakistan. The clear message that comes out is that Pakistanis should stop competing with India and realise their own positives, to make their presence felt.
Just like this review, the movie is too long and could have easily done without some stuff. However, it allows us to see the different shades of Pakistani society through the eyes of Pakistanis themselves and not some fantasising Indian director. In short, it is a must watch for any Indian cinema lover to realise that Pakistani cinema is no less.



The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Watched on : Jul 24, 2009

Review: While watching the movie the only thing I could think of was, 'How the hell, I didn't see this movie earlier'. Its a beautiful movie based on a very unusual concept of a man living his life backwards in time. However, you somehow accept this unpalatable theme as the movie progresses, though with some exceptions. The best part of the movie is the make-up of all the characters and the way they justify that make-up with equally brilliant performance spanning different ages in life.



The Hangover

Watched on : Jul 22, 2009

Review: Have you seen Ajay Devgan-Ayesha Takia starrer Sunday? The Hangover has basically the same premises but the execution is much more hilarious. There is not a single scene where you can keep yourself from laughing. Four friends out to Las Vegas to celebrate the bachelor party of one of them. They wake up in the morning clueless about the happenings of the night, to find a tiger in the bathroom, a baby in the cupboard and to top it all, the bridegroom to be is missing. Their search for the answer to "Where is Doug?" brings with it fits of laughters for the audiences. A must watch!



Billu

Watched on : Jul 19, 2009

Review: A 'Malgudi Days' meets 'Bollywood' plot - a typical Priyadarshan movie set in a beautiful village. Irfan Khan churns another great act as all the other characters play their part to perfection. The movie could have done with lesser item numbers but I am not complaining. Watching Deepika, Priyanka and Kareena sizzle on the screen was a treat indeed.




P.S.
These are not my All-time favourite movies. These are just spontaneous reactions about the movies I liked since Jul 19, 2009. Some I might like watching again and again and some never again.

My all-time favourite Hindi movie is Swades while other favourites from recent past are Taare Zameen Par and Jab We Met.

The movie that I've watched the maximum number of times is Maine Pyar Kiya.

From Hollywood, I am reminded of Blood Diamond and The Holiday, instantly. And yeah, I love watching Jackie Chan movies from his oldest Chinese ones to the Hi-Fi Hollywood ones (but The Myth was unbearable).

Otherwise, I have no perpetual favourites. That is the reason, I created this post to keep a track.


Image Courtesy:
Sorry for not keeping a track

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

An Innocent Ode to a Great Sacrifice

10 years of Kargil Victory Day

This day, a decade ago; India finally declared victory in the war which was imposed upon it by unscrupulous elements across the western border. Those fighting under the garb of Kashmiri grievances were shown the way back to their country or sent directly to heavens. As we celebrate the tenth anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas, I dedicate an innocent ode to the life and sacrifices of those brave men who never returned from the battle front.




This poem is again from my childhood collection from which I have posted earlier too, written much before the Kargil War. Seeing a NDTV documentary couple of hours ago, where Barkha Dutt relived those moments with her fellow crew men and officers she had met during Kargil War coverage was pretty emotional. Late Capt. Vikram Batra's identical twin Vishal Batra while talking about his brother could not retain his tears. Before leaving, here is one of my favourite song from the movie LOC-Kargil;

बस इतना याद रहे, एक साथी और भी था।

One of the best works of Javed Akhtar - Anu Malik - Sonu Nigam trio








Images Courtesy:
Self designed with images from http://www.au.af.mil and http://www.globalsecurity.org
(edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

The Bohemian Rap-sody

Fools create and Wise ones follow

At the first look, this statement might look inverted. But do not interpret it from your individual perspective but from the perspective of a group of individuals, better known as society. Whenever, a person tries to do something out of the box, something that is unconventional, not in tune with the acceptable tenets of the society, he is often called a fool. But once this fool succeeds in his endeavour, the wise owls conveniently follow the path set by him, hence saving themselves the hard work and experimentation.

So when, Bohemia, claimed to be the first Punjabi rapper in the world; made this statement, most of the youngsters sitting around him, sipping their coffees at Barista, got confused at first. We had reached the cafe after spending time at Missionaries of Charity's Chandigarh Center where Bohemia had also joined us for a community service activity organised by We Volunteers, an organisation founded by my old friend, Preetarjun.

Bohemia eloquently shared with us his life journey from a mother-less boy at a young age in Pakistan to California based popular rapper. My non-Punjabi readers (and even me for that matter) must be knowing him from his recent Bollywood connection, the song 'Aadmi khilona duniya ke khel me' from 8x10 Tasveer and the Chandni Chowk to China title song.

Talking to us, he soon turned into a counsellor, talking about careers and our likings. He admitted that sometimes, he feels he should have studied more. He had dropped out of High School, not because of his lack of interest in education, as he claims but because of poor American education system which he had to adopt around adolescence on moving to U.S.A. To us, he advised that we might not always get what we want but we have to find ways to move on.

Taking a leaf out of his own life, he explained that his favourite genre is Ghazals and Shayari and he counts not a single rapper among his favourite singers, the list topped by Mukesh, Jagjit Singh and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. So how did he become a rapper?

Pointing towards his glass of Mango Smoothie, he continues; the lyrics are like a juice while the music and vocals are the glass, straw and other peripherals, just a means to convey the message contained in the lyrics. So when, he realised, he won't be able to sell his lyrics through ghazals, he decided to try something new, hence becoming the first Punjabi rapper in the process. This title was given to him by the BBC Radio 1 after his first music album became one of the top ten most requested songs on the station in 2002.

Usually, I would have skipped writing about this hang-out with Bohemia and concentrated more on the fun-filled time spent with young orphan and differently abled children at Missionaries of Charity. However, he impressed me with his clarity of mind and humility during those couple of hours at Barista, so I thought of sharing it with my largely non-Punjabi Blogger Buddies.

Here, is my snap with Shivani, a mentally differently abled girl at the centre, whom I am helping with a painting as part of the Draw your Dreams event, earlier in the day. However, as Preet writes on Facebook, it seems as if
Vipul started drawing himself:p
Well, his statement is pretty true, as soon the other kids like Arjun and Salim (both physically differently abled) clustered around me, demanding me to draw a rose, tree or river on their sheets too. It was fun revisiting my childhood hobby after a long time and at the same time becoming a reason behind their smiles.
And yeah, before this event got started, I spent some time with the young orphan children (by young, I mean toddlers). Two of them got into a competition of attracting my attention; with their ta ta ta ta's and innocent smiles, the only modes of communication, they have learned till now; to make me lift them. I spent about half an hour swapping between both of them due to which my left arm is still shivering. However, it was worth it. May God bless them with loving and caring families.

Images Courtesy:
Preetarjun's Facebook profile; Photography by Charan

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

The Eternal Labyrinth of a Materialistic Life

As I sit down with a pen and a pad
To wipe off the melancholy with a swab
I try to break the deafening chime
Searching for some rhythm and some rhyme

Concoction of words from here and there
Put together to help me somehow share
Share the intricacies of my heart
Waiting for the monotony to depart

There are some who always bear a smile
Pretending as if every thing is sublime
But the truth is that life somehow irks
For some due to work, for some no work

Life is becoming alienating day by day
Clouding our thoughts from the warming rays
Everyone is moving at one's own pace
Trying to outdo others in impersonal race

The money has taken the centre stage
Everyone incarcerated in this binding cage
It is the means and the end to all
Lifting some, while the others fall

Since the childhood, we hear this rant
Preparing us for a life like a worker ant
There are none who escape this labyrinth
Just stuck here, be the pauper or the King

I want to be the heretic, not one of them
Bask in eternal sunshine, not eclipsed protem
But I realise, even this sunshine has a cost
Find myself ensnared here, just out of sorts

Like others, I am dependent on all these
The gadgets, the commodities, the material things
Can you sacrifice these to live peacefully
No, replies my adulterated heart sheepishly.


Image Courtesy:
http://www.flickr.com by Lucy_nka (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

BlogAdda’s Tangy Tuesday Picks


After Saturday Spicy Picks, a couple of weeks back; this time one of my blog-post got selected as BlogAdda's Tangy Tuesday Picks.

Arjun, a page from the book of my life is special to me for it allowed me to make a confession while conveying an important message to my readers. As the BlogAdda team puts it rightly in their recommendation:

Vipul tipped us to a lovely post and deserves to be in the list. All we want to say about this post and the message which it conveys is that 'Never delay in showing your love or doing something, You never know whats in store for you tommorow.' A post which you shouldn’t miss!

I'll like to thank BlogAdda for once again showing faith in me and to all my Blogging Buddies who keep returning to my blog, encouraging me all the time.

So, if you haven't read it yet, then click here to do so; as in the words of BlogAdda, 'you shouln't miss' it!

In case you have read it, I'll borrow these beautiful words from Nicky's comment on that post:

I am sure Arjun went to a better place. Maybe he is between us right now - laughing and playing - a normal child. Maybe it was a way God tested him before endowing him with a better life.

Amen.

Note:
You might also like my BlogAdda's Spicy Saturday Pick, A Curious Case of Corruption.

Image Courtesy:
http://blog.blogadda.com/

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

Come join the Blog-a-Ton!

After playing hide and seek for about 3 weeks, it seems the monsoons have finally relented. It has been raining abundantly since the night and it definitely looks promising for the North-Western Region of India. I hope it continues like that.

Anyway coming back to my topic, I'll like to introduce you to my new initiative, Blog-a-Ton. As some of you might have noticed, I have created this new blog. So what is Blog-a-Ton?

Blog-a-Ton is a misnomer for the word Blogathon. The idea of holding a Blogathon, simply put a marathon of bloggers, came to my mind when I didn't even know that such a word exists. So, I invited bloggers through IndiBlogger Forum to participate in the first edition of a Blogathon, few weeks back.

The idea was simple as I posted on the forum:

We'll choose a day and a topic to blog on. On that day we all will write a post on our blog on the given topic.
After the write-up, we will include the links to the write-ups of fellow blogathon participants.
This will not only help us in making new friends in blogging world but also give us a lot of backlinks.

It was Arjuna, an interested participant who came up with the idea of renaming the event for the want of uniqueness and starting a blog for the same. I believe these were great suggestions and so was born Blog-a-Ton. This new Blog is going to be an efficient way of reaching out to the prospective bloggers and develop an online community at the same time.

And as the new name suggests, our Mission is to conduct a Blog-a-Ton where 100 bloggers will take part together. This ambitious mission can become a reality only with the help of my Blogging Buddies. So if you think, this effort is worth it, come join the Blog-a-Ton (http://blog-a-ton.blogspot.com/).

Date for Blog-a-Ton 1 : August 1, 2009
Date for finalising the topic : July 25, 2009

As already mentioned, discussion for holding Blog-a-Ton 1 was initiated on Indiblogger forums and later on shifted to the new Blog. Of the various topics suggested by the interested participants, the following three got the maximum votes (ironically, just two each).
  • WE BLOG, THEREFORE WE ARE
  • The Best and Worst(if any) about blogging
  • Blogging Experiences
Of these the first one, was suggested by me and seconded by my fellow team member Arjun, based on the tagline of Indiblogger. You may help in pruning down the list to just one final topic by voting for any one out of these three in the comments section of the related Blog-a-Ton post.

I have also created this Blog widget to popularise and spread the Blog-a-Ton community.

You may add it to your blog by following the instructions given in the following Scribd Window. For choosing the desired text, choose the Text Selection mode (denoted by an I) from the drop down menu (downward pointing arrowhead), second from the right on the toolbar of the Window.


In case, the Scribd Window takes time to load, here is the HTML code for the Blog-a-Ton widget. Just replace the square brackets [ ] with the tag brackets < > within the code.
[div align="center"][a target="_blank" href="http://blog-a-ton.blogspot.com/" title="Visit Blog-a-Ton"][img border="0" width="100%" alt="I Blog-a-Tonic" src="http://lh4.ggpht.com/_jKvsNJTH4Sk/SmHNn6cb4GI/AAAAAAAAA2s/814o8hlkjSA/cooltext428949633.jpg"/][/a][/div]

If the button is too large for your blog, then just reduce the number highlighted in red.

In order to keep yourself updated of all the activities happening in the Blog-a-Ton community, visit and start following the Blog.

Before I leave, here are a couple of snaps from my Birthday celebrations, this friday night with my mom and my friend, Shashaank. (My dad was out of station with some work and all my other friends are spread all over India with their respective works.)

In the Birthday Images:
1. In the absence of a cake, making things work with a tiny but yummy Dimsum at the Noodle Bar.
2. Finally cutting something related to cake family, my favourite Brownie Sizzler.

Images Courtesy:
1. http://www.poznan-life.com (edited)
2. Self-Created on http://cooltext.com/ (original)
3. My Personal Collection (edited)
4. My Personal Collection (edited)


Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

The Four Seasons

I reluctantly offered her my umbrella as the rain fell on the scorching earth. She bluntly declined. We had met few months back as the flowers bloomed everywhere. However, things started falling apart as we shed all pretences like the leaves of trees outside. Today, I sit huddled all alone and unexpectedly, it feels great.

On reaching my 55th post, I decided to publish my first 55 Fiction; as soon as I got free from the phone calls that I have been receiving thanks to my Birthday. Yeah, its right, I turn 24 today, theoretically just a year away from exiting the Brahmacharya Asharam according to the Vedas. Well here's a special scoop for my readers and you must keep it to yourself - this work of fiction is loosely based on my own life *wink* - so if I keep rejoicing loosing a girl, like in this story, then on practical terms, it seems difficult for me to move out of Brahmacharya into Grahasta Ashram, right?

55 Fiction is a short story of just 55 words; a big hit on the Blogging circuit these days. Read this article on Wikipedia to know more about it. I had visited some Blogging community (I fail to recall which one) which was holding a contest of 55-ers and I liked the concept. However, it was Dhiman who recently attempted a 55-er on his blog and hence, I decided to attempt one for myself. I wrote it some days back but was waiting for this 55th post. Co-incidentally, my Blogger buddy, Shilpa too posted one, about an hour ago.

The Four Seasons had been actually conceptualised by me as a full blown story, some time back. However, writing it in just 55 words made my job a lot easier as well as pretty difficult at the same time. All in all, it was fun and took about half an hour to complete, with minor modifications later on.

Try one for yourself and do not forget to leave a link in my comments' section. However, before that; do tell me, how was my first attempt and also in case you have the time, write your interpretation of this story briefly. This will help me in gauging, if I could convey it properly despite the shortage of words.

And before I sign off, here's the cake and the bouquet that got delivered to my place at midnight, thanks to my dearest friend and rakhi sister, Rachna. (Thanks a lot dear!)

Images Courtesy:
1. http://www.edupics.com; http://www.supercoloring.com; http://www.craftelf.com and http://mtblog.newyorker.com (edited)
2. Self Photographed (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

Arjun

This post got selected for BlogAdda's Tangy Tuesday Picks. Click here to see the BlogAdda page and here to read my post about it.


I wish I had made that one final visit

I met him for the first time on a visit to his school on Aug 19, 2006. He must have been around 8 to 10 years old. He was naughty just like any other kid his age but was very enthusiastic and much more active than them. One could distinguish him easily among the group of different-aged children who attended that school; not just because he was tiniest of them all but because he had a unique physical feature. He was born with an enlarged brain due to which his head was unusually shaped, somewhat triangular with a flattish top.

The school, I was visiting was Sadhna, a school for the mentally challenged children. I had been planning a trip to this school since the installation of the Rotaract Club in our college in mid-2005. As the Vice-President of the club having community service at it's core, I had conceived a Big Buddy project, wherein I planned to take the club members to Sadhna on weekends to spend time with the children. However, it never materialised until I got installed as the President, the following year.

Finally, I arrived at the school with a horde of members, clueless; as it was a new experience for most of us, unlike many projects, we had undertaken earlier. The name and the theme of this project was inspired by a similar project at my school where the 10th standard students used to visit the new, special class for the mentally challenged. I being the co-incharge of my section had taken special interest in it. It felt great to be executing a similar project independently on a bigger platform.

It was difficult to break the ice initially, as the club members seemed somewhat hesitant. We collected the students in a hall and with them sat down on the mats. With the help of caretakers and the teachers, I made both the students and the members to introduce each other and those who volunteered sang songs or danced along. Soon, the ice started thawing between us.

It was here, that I noticed that he had some other maladies too. Arjun; that's what his name was, as far as I remember; unlike other kids, was also hearing impaired and hence, speech impaired too.

Once, the ice-breaking session got over, we decided to disperse and hold various activities for the students. A bowling alley was created for some of them with empty bottles, while others played musical chairs, some simply kicked a football around and others sat in the corner listening to the music or dancing on it.

I don't remember if all such activities were conducted on that single day or over the following three weekends when I again visited, each time with some new club members; but one thing I clearly remember, Arjun loved to take part in all of them. So while a group of kids played with the new football we had just gifted to the school, he sprang in and kicked it as others sulked and shouted. As the kids waited for their turn in bowling, this little devil came from nowhere snatching the ball and resisting and shouting if stopped. During musical chairs, he insisted to play with others and being hearing-impaired, ran and sat at his own will while others cried foul.

It was fun watching him and I grew really fond of him, telling about his antics to my parents on returning from Sadhna. As the visits progressed, the number of members visiting started dwindling. Being over-ambitious in those initial days of my Presidentship, I had lined up many projects for them, Big Buddy being just one of them. So after those four visits, I decided to take a break for the time being as our sessional tests were also approaching.

On the following weekend, being busy with some other project at another city school, I sent half a dozen members to Sadhna with some stationery material for conducting a classroom activity, and the message that we won't be visiting for some weekends.

After that I got busy with my college and other Rotaract stuff. It was after some days, that one of the member who had visited Sadhna the other day met me in the college corridors. While talking, he gave me the news that during their visit, he had learned that one of the kids had died of a head injury caused due to a fatal fall in the school premises. On divulging further, I realised to my utmost shock, that he was Arjun.

Instantly, his naughty image flashed in front of me. It felt as a big loss. A kid whom I had not known all these years; just met a month ago and was so surprised to see his enthusiasm, despite the cruel joke, his fate had played with him; was no more. Maybe it was in my destiny to meet him and to know him.

I decided, that I'll be visiting Sadhna to pay my condolences to the school staff. However, that day never came. Moreover, I just called off the project.

I kept giving myself excuses for not making that one visit, one of them being that it was hard for me to go to that place as Arjun's images will keep haunting me. However, with the benefit of hindsight, I may confess that the truth is, I got so mechanical in my endeavours that for me holding one project after the other became the sole motive. I forgot, my humane mission as a Rotaractor and as many others in this organisation and its parent body, Rotary; got stuck in this sham of community services just for the sake of it.

Today, when I sat down to write about my Rotaract experiences (after mentioning it in my previous post towards the end), I was confused, from where to start. As I opened the folder in my laptop which contained all the photographs and documents pertaining to those two years, Arjun's image was the first that flashed through my mind.

I wish I had made that one final visit.

Here is a collage of some of his images. Please click on it to enlarge.

In the Collage:
Clockwise from Top Left Corner-
Arjun looks on during a hand painting session; the little devil esctatic after a good game of bowling; Ronaldo Junior in action; playing musical chair on his own tune; taking part in the ice-breaking session.

Note:
If you liked this, you might also like my BlogAdda's Spicy Saturday Pick, A Curious Case of Corruption.

Image Courtesy:
From Personal Collection (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

The Epic 'Untagging' Post - II

Jul 13, 2009; 04:00 a.m.

I straight away continue from where I left in my previous post.

TAG-IV

I have been tagged by this Questions Tag by both Shankar and Roshmi Sinha on Jul 2, 2009 and Jul 10, 2009 respectively.
I have reordered the sequence of the questions a bit to offer some continuity.

Q: What is your current desktop picture?
A:
Well, as you can see, I replaced Johnny Depp in the forthcoming Pirates of Curry-bean IV. Its even more action-packed and has some great twists thanks to the new directing duo of Abbas-Mustan. I'll be killing Orlando Bloom in the movie and have some intimate scenes with Keira Knightley. So just fasten your seat belts.

Q: The last song you listened to?
A: Just play this song. It goes best with this wallpaper and incidentally this is the song I last heard.


Q: Where did you live in 1987?
A: In Chandigarh, though in a different house and in a different sector.

Q: What’s your favourite town/city?
A: My City Beautiful, Chandigarh of course. Do read my post Chandigarh Unabridged to know about some interesting facets of my city.


Q: Are you jealous of anyone?
A: Can't think of anyone particular among my acquaintances.

Q: Is anyone jealous of you?
A: Not sure. Moreover, why should anyone be!

Q: When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
A: I am not sure if I ever did it in my life. Maybe long time back, for fun sake, I might have written few lines on a letter, my mother was posting to someone.

Q: Can you change the oil on a car?
A: No. But I recently replaced a punctured tyre. My mother was with me at that time. How proud she felt of her son, soon to turn 24, finally doing something manly enough. But the bigger revelation is that;
for a week, my body ached big time.

Q: Name three things that you have on you at all times?
A: The following three; which I hope just end somehow.
  1. My balding hair (Ending it means, getting it under control)
  2. Craze to blog
  3. Craze to find an excuse for not studying

Q: Does anything hurt on your body right now?
A: My own weight and the heat being generated by my laptop.

Q: Have you been burnt by love?
A: As I just said, I am being burnt by my laptop right now.
Anyway, coming back to this question, these lines written long back can give you a clue:

छुपा सकता अगर जज़्बात तो फिर बात क्या थी,
इस रोशन ज़माने में अँधेरी रात क्या थी!
ज़ुबाँ चुप रह भी जाए पर यह दिल बोलता है,
तनहाई में पुराने ज़ख्म फिर खोलता है!
यूँ मायूस होना कहाँ तक लाज़मी है,
अंधेरे में उजाला खोजना भी दिल्लगी है!
समझ पाती वो हमें तो फिर बात क्या थी,
इस रोशन ज़माने में अँधेरी रात क्या थी!

Don't worry, as I said, this was written long back, about 4 years ago. Read my post The Sophomore Days to know more about all this.

Q: Your first love/big crush: what is the last thing you heard about him/her?
A: Pursuing her higher studies.


Q:When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
A: Now that the new day has already dawned (see the time stamp in the beginning), I just saw myself in mirror while applying mouth ulcer gel and pitied myself for having this painful malady attached to me since childhood.
Once I had to be rushed to the Doctor's place and then to Emergency (just the chemist shop of Emergency) at the middle of the night to get some medicines as I had kept my bruised tongue hanging out of my mouth for too long and it had dried up like a piece of wood.

Q: How much cash do you have in your wallet right now?
A: Wallet is downstairs and I am in no mood to check it. As it is, whenever the cash goes down in my wallet, I get it instantly recharged from my dad's or mom's kitty. There's nothing to be ashamed of that, right?

Q: What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR?
A: POUR. And well, light rain is just pouring outside. Monsoon is having a great time playing hide and seek with us.

Q: What is your favourite ring tone on your phone?
A: Well I just have a beep as I don't use the cell phone much. And on my landline phone, its the normal tring tring.

Q: Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
A: Its Shashaank. By now my regular readers must be knowing him pretty well.

Q: What are you wearing right now?
A: A two-piece. I mean a collared striped-T and a khaki shorts.

Q: Do you label yourself?
A: What does that mean? If it's anything to do with Brand-consciousness; then yes, when it comes to outdoors, I do go for good brands, not for the sake of their names but because of quality. However, at home local stuff is cool.

Q: Name the brand of the shoes you currently own?
A: Adidas and Reebok casuals, Lee Cooper formals and one more formals of some desi brand.

Q: Bright or Dark Room?
A: Somewhere in between tending more towards brighter. However, when it comes to sleep, I prefer pitch darkness, something thats not possible these days as I go to bed around the same time as my mother leaves for her morning walk.

Q: What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?
A: Shankar and Roshmi! Two more crazy bloggers like me. Will take some more time to know them better. Great to have both amongst my Blogger Friends.

Q: What does your watch look like?
A: Its a cool one, gifted by my sister and brother-in-law; the one with perpetual date technology. It has a large white dial and has a broad silver chain. Very elegant and 'manly'.
So by changing the punctured tyre the other day, I proved my right to possess it.

Q: What were you doing at midnight last night?
A: I am on my Blog usually at the midnight. Posted my previous tag post around that time.

Q: What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
A: Now that's a long one from Airtel about some recharge offer. These are the messages I usually receive.

Q: What’s a word that you say a lot?
A: No swearing words usually though in front of friends, especially college ones, I rant all my dirty vocabulary.

Q: Who told you he/she loved you last? (Please exclude spouse, family and children)
A: My 'ex' ofcourse, in that case. And yeah, I am a bachelor (just a bachelor, not बीमार like Akshaye Khanna in his debut movie) and have not adopted any children.

Q: Last furry thing you touched?
A: My beard.

Q: Favourite age you have been so far?
A: No particular. Life is fun all the way if we take it that way, each stage has something great to offer.

Q: What was the last thing you said to someone?
A:
'Life is fun all the way if we take it that way, each stage has something great to offer.'
Now that was an easy one!

Hey, my mother just left for her morning walk. So time to go to bed. I'll be taking the last tag later in the day, hopefully.


Jul 13, 2009; 08:15 p.m.


TAG-V

Finally, this 5 things I love about myself tag is once again from Subhayan Wrahool Mukerjee (his previous one has been taken up as TAG-I in the previous post) as he tagged me twice on Jul 5, 2009.

It would have been so simpler, if I had to enumerate 5 things about me that I hate. In that case, even a greater number like 10, 15 or 20 things would not have been a problem. Anyway, coming back to the task at hand, I'll enumerate some things randomly
  1. Empathy towards others. Theoretically, I've reached the saturation point but in practical terms there is a long way to go.
  2. Ability to impress others, especially the parents of my girl friends (including 'friends who are girls'). Most of them think that I am the most decent guy in the world and I let them live under this illusion.
  3. Creativity that reflects in most of the things I undertake.
  4. Confidence to undo some shortcomings. Despite my acute stammering problem at times, I did not hesitate to pick up the microphone at public gatherings.
  5. Thirst to lead from the front. I'll be posting my Rotaract (Club) experiences soon. To know how it all started in the college, read my post The Sophomore Days.


Jul 13, 2009; 08:30 p.m.

With that I come to an end of all the tags.
As you can see, The Cupid Me once again has decided to tag everyone who ends up reading this post.
However, I'll be tagging one person in particular and she is Nicky because while untagging herself of my TAG-I today, this is what she had written
Here is my first tagged post. I wasn't tagged personally but it seems people fear tagging me personally or something.
So Nicky, Cupid loves everyone and could not see your agony.

Images Courtesy:
From Personal Collection created on http://www.photofunia.com/ (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

The Epic 'Untagging' Post - I

Irrelevant to this post, this image talks about my rising popularity. Men will be men, you see!

Jul 7, 2009; 04:45 a.m.

Finally, I decided to untag myself of all the tags that have accumulated since last 10 days or so. There are four in all but I'll be posting them all together; once they are done, in a day, in a couple of days, in a week or in a month, I have no idea! So I'll be applying a time stamp to each of them.
[Update (Jul 11, 2009) : I ended up posting only three in this post]

I hope they help you to know me better, i.e. if you decide to waste your time reading them ;)


Jul 7, 2009; 05:00 a.m.

TAG-I

This first one, rather the latest one is from Subhayan "Wrahool" Mukerjee, who tagged me on Jul 5, 2009.

1. How tall are you barefoot?
Just above 5'11''

2. Have you ever smoked before?
Tried half a dozen times just for fun sake.. Coughed at the very first puff every time :)

3. Do you own a gun?
Not a gun, but a pen. As they say, "A pen is mightier than the gun."

4. If you had a mental disorder, what would it be?
Blogging is one, I believe!

5. How many letters are in your crush's name?
No crush these days. Or maybe, if you consider Deepika Padukone, then the answer is 7. But she's not a serious one, like Kareena was till she chose Saifu over my cousin Shahid. Let it be, no crush these days only.

6. What's your favourite silly song?
My self written song - I wrote it when I was a kid, imagining Govinda and Karishma(she was not Kari's'ma back then) dancing on it- It went like
छोडूं ना, छोडूं ना,
मैं तेरा पीछा छोडूं ना
मैं तेरा राजा, तू मेरी रानी,
आजा बनाएं इक प्रेम कहानी
It would have been fun, if I could tell you the tune too:)

7. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Juice, i.e. if I wake up in the morning, which is rare.

8. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?
Tarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah Time! (Now that was at half past eight after a nap in the evening and TMKOC on Sab TV is on my must watch list.)

9. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?
I wish I knew it for myself :(

10. Do you own a knife?
No, we employ our finger nails for cutting vegetables and stuff at home.

11. Name the last thing you have bought today.
Its been just 5 hours since the day started and I do not visit the market that late or should I say that early?

12. Name five drinks you regularly drink.
Water; Orange Juice, Guava Juice, Pomegranate Juice, Mixed Fruit Juice, Litchi Juice, in short any Real juice. Now, if you are waiting for Milk, Tea or Coffee, then I'll have to say that I don't drink them regularly. However when I drink milk, I prefer Cold Coffee. And yeah I drink soft-drinks only occasionally.

13. What time did you wake up today?
I haven't slept as yet! As for yesterday, it was half past one in the afternoon. Hopefully, I will beat it today;)

14. What song do you want played at your funeral?
I'll prefer none.

15. What song did you last hear?
Just went downstairs to watch T.V. Wasted some time watching a useless movie 'Iqrar by Chance' on Zee Premiere. Heard two forgetable songs in the process.

16. Favourite place to be?
Alone in my room.

17. Least favourite place to be?
Out under the summer sun.

18. Do you own slippers?
I neither walk barefoot at home, nor in shoes, nor in Gandhi chappals. In short, I do own slippers!

19. Where do you think you'll be in 10 yrs?
I have stopped thinking about that.

20. Do you burn or tan?
C'mon I am not a firangi.

21. Yellow and blue?
Sun and Sky

22. What songs do you sing in the shower?
Multitude of Songs!

23. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child?
A Ghost from the nearby cemetry. Chandigarh's oldest cemetry is situated less than a minute flying distance, i.e. if the spirits fly at a rate of about 60 kmph.

24. What's in your pockets right now?
Handkerchief on which I just unloaded. Want to see it?

25. Last thing that made you laugh?
I think some scene from Tarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chashmah.

26. Best bed sheets you had as a child?
I didn't care!

27. Worst injury you've ever had?
Stung by swarm of bees back in kindergarten.

28. Do you wish on stars?
No, I wish on superstars!

29. What were you doing 1 AM last night??
Wasting my time as I am doing right now.

30. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment.
1 thought, 2 thought, 3 thought!

Cousin Shahid? You are still stuck at that answer, right? Well let me explain.
Shahid Kapoor's ex-step father; with whom his mother got married when Shahid was a kid and hence Shahid lived with them since childhood till he moved out and later his mother again got divorced; happens to be the son of my mother's sister's husband's mother's sister. So you see, Shahid is my cousin;)


Jul 8, 2009; 08:15 p.m.

TAG-II

Now coming to the second one, The 15 Books Tag. It was indeed the first tag I ever received. It is from Shilpa Garg from Jammu, who tagged me on Jun 26, 2009.

[Update (Jul 11, 2009) Shilpa has graciously included me among her bunch of F.B.'s, an abbreviation for Fellow Bloggers or as she puts it, Friends from the Blogosphere. Thanks a lot, Shilpaji.]

As an extra bit of information, Jammu is like a home away from home for me, being my maternal home-town. One thing I love about being in Jammu is hopping from one home to another; having so many uncles, aunts and cousins staying there in close vicinity. However, the thing I hate about the city is the long power-cuts which used to make my childhood summer vacations a hellish experience at times. Now, its been around three years since I visited but will be making a trip soon, hopefully.

Now coming back to the tag, the rules are;
"Don't take too long to think about it. Fifteen books you've read that will always stick with you. First fifteen you can recall in no more than 15 minutes. Tag up to 15 friends, including me because I'm interested in seeing what books my friends choose."
Here I go:
  1. My Life - Bill Clinton (My favourite Non-Fiction)
  2. Long Walk to Freedom - Nelson Madela
  3. Unfinished Revolution - Ajit Bhattacharjea (Biography of J.P., a great socialist.)
  4. Angels and Demons - Dan Brown (My Favourite Fiction)
  5. Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
  6. Indira Gandhi - Pupul Jayakar
  7. The Insider - P.V. Narsimha Rao
  8. The Children of Cherry Tree Farm - Enid Blyton (My favourite Childhood Novel)
  9. The Children of Willow Farm - Enid Blyton (Second in the series)
  10. More Adventures on Willow Farm - Enid Blyton (Third in the Series)
  11. Kalam Effect - P.M. Nair (A.P.J. Abdul Kalam's days as the President.)
  12. My Bleeding Punjab - Khushwant Singh
  13. Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
  14. Five Point Someone - Chetan Bhagat
  15. Deception Point - Dan Brown
I jotted down the books randomly as they occurred to me. I might have failed to include some which I like more than some mentioned here. Moreover, I failed to mention the numerous Hardy Boys and abridged English Classics, I read in my childhood.
Read my post In the World of Words to know more about my love for books and a brief review of all the non-fiction books I possess (six of them have been mentioned in this list).


Jul 11, 2009; 11:30 p.m.

TAG-III

Now this happens to be the latest one, My Wishlist Tag, not one of the original 4 with which I started off this post four days ago. Since then, I've been tagged twice; luckily, one of them being the same as a pending one, hence, an effort-saver. This one is from Shilpa again and she tagged me just about 6 hours ago. The rules are;
So what you need to do is….Show us something you want, but would never spend the money to buy.
An easy one indeed. Of course, I want an intelligent, educated, beautiful and loving wife and I'll never spend money to buy her. I am quite unmaterialistic you see; so don't have cars, bikes, mansions, freaky gadgets or world-tours on my wish-list.
Now coming back to my wish, the next line is specially meant to impress my feminist readers; 'Women are not a commodity that can be bought or sold in the market.'
And now to impress my anti-feminist readers, I'll add; 'In the Indian society, its the men who have been reduced to a commodity, sold to the highest bidder.'
Anyways social jokes apart, if anything I'll spend to 'buy' such a prospective wife, then that will be my love and not money. So mushy mushy, right? As I am getting quite filmy now; I should end this tag here.
But before that, let me clarify, that unmaterialistic stuff was just for fun sake. In case you want to send any gifts, do not hesitate; you are most welcome.


Jul 11 , 2009; 11:45 p.m.

As I try to untag myself further, I have decided to post the three completed ones first. The other two (three pending with two of them being common) will be posted soon. After all why should I miss such an opportunity to increase my post count. Moreover, with two separate posts, there is a possibility of someone reading atleast one ;)

As for tagging further, I tag all those in my blog's followers list who end up reading this post because I believe these tags have been revolving within our bunch of F.B.'s for long now. So, if you haven't been tagged by any other mutual F.B. then consider yourself tagged by me.
For those who are not following me, start following and then get tagged;)
You can take up any one of the tag and do leave the link to your post once you publish it, in my comments' section.

Image Courtesy:
From Personal Collection created on http://www.photofunia.com/ (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

Temptations of an Empathic Foodie

Ciao (a hello in Italian)

As you know, this is my 51st post. So, I thought of coming up with something new. For all those who come here to read some 'clear headed' analysis of social and political issues, or my 'witty' take on the life of people around me, or my highly philosophical stuff which sometimes surprise (read bore) even me, this may come as a shock!

In my bid to diversify, I am going to serve you something new; something that will tempt you, titillate your senses, and hopefully in the end, satisfy your appetite to the full as it did mine.

I present to you the Bo-Veg Cheese Pasta from the kitchen of none other than, the great Italian Chef Lupiv Revorg (just read the name backwards to decode the actual desi chef).

It is basically a combo-meal, a two-storey combination of healthy Boiled Vegetables and unhealthy Cheese Pasta, the former cancelling out the harm caused by the latter. An ideal empathic cuisine, indeed ;)

First of all lets prepare the first storey of the cuisine, i.e. Boiled Vegetables in Mayonnaise Sauce. As the name suggests, you need
  • Cauliflower (1 medium sized, cut into large chunks)
  • Carrot (2 medium sized, sliced horizontally)
  • French Beans (10-15, cut into two halves)
  • Green Peas (1/2 cup)
  • Mayonnaise (4 tablespoon)
  • Milk (1/2 cup)
  • Oregano (1 tablespoon)
  • Salt (as per your taste)
First boil or steam the chopped vegetables. Add some salt while boiling.
Meanwhile, in the dish in which you will be serving the cuisine, add mayonnaise and milk. Stir them with salt and oregano to make a thin sauce. Once, the vegetables get fork tender, drain the water and add them to the sauce and mix well. Now spread the vegetables evenly in the dish.
The first storey has been laid successfully.

Now, lets come to the next part, the unhealthy one. For Cheese Pasta, you need
  • Pasta (250 gms of anyone; I went for the 'screwed' ones)
  • Cheese (150 gms of any standard Pizza Cheese will do)
  • Milk (1 cup)
  • Cream (2 tablespoon)
  • Butter (2 tablespoon)
  • Tomato Ketchup (3 tablespoon)
  • American Corn (1/3 cup)
  • Oregano (1/2 tablespoon)
  • Black Pepper (1/2 tablespoon)
  • Salt (as per your taste)
On a heated non-sticking pan, add two tablespoon of butter. As it melts, add the boiled pasta (boiled as per the directions given on the pack). Stir them for some time over the heat. Then add American Corn and the three spices mentioned in the end. After stirring again for some time, finally add the grated cheese (heaven on the earth). Don't allow the cheese to stick to the pan or get too sticky with the pasta. So keep stirring and add milk and cream. Finally add tomato ketchup, stir well and let the contents to simmer.

Once done, empty the Cheese Pasta evenly over the Boiled Vegetables and serve hot, ideally to 2-3 persons. If you prepare both the dishes side by side, then you should not take more than 45 minutes in the whole process.

To save the effort made in the second part, I may suggest you to go for Maggi instead of Pasta. That was what I did, when I prepared this cuisine for the first time. However, do add tomato ketchup, one tablespoon of cheese spread (for each Maggi cake) and some salt and black pepper while preparing it.

Bo-Veg Cheese Pasta goes best with Garlic Bread (preferably the oregano flavoured) micro-waved with a hint of cheese for two minutes. And of course, to wet your tongue keep a pitcher of Coke or try out Catch's new sugar-free flavoured soda.

Bon Appetit! (now translate it to Italian by yourself; and yeah that's in French, means good appetite, i.e. have a good meal:)

Image Courtesy:
From Personal Collection (edited)

Dear reader, I have been diagnosed with ACDS or Acute Comments Deficiency Syndrome. My condition is critical and deteriorating day by day. The Doctor has recommended me a high dosage of comments to stay alive. So, if you took out time to read this post, be kind enough to take out some more time to leave a comment. Your few more moments may add few more moments to my life. May God bless you and your blog.

Creative Commons License
Reflections of an Empathic Libertarian by Vipul Grover is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at vipulgrover.blogspot.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at vipul.grover@gmail.com.