Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Random Musings on 2009

Those who know me personally or through my blog will probably agree with me if I say that it would be an understatement to say that this has been an eventful year for me. Getting married, moving to a different country, quitting my job, learning to cook, learning to do a lot of things for myself. This has also been an almost equally eventful year for a number of close friends who got married or engaged, quit work to get another degree and/or moved to a different city or country.

Five things I did this year that I didn't think I would do quite so soon:

  1. Got married
  2. Moved to the States
  3. Learnt to cook for myself
  4. Quit my job
  5. Spent time pursuing my real interests - reading and writing

Eight movies I watched this year (I watched them this year, some of them are older ones) that I liked a lot more than I expected to:

  1. Barah Aana
  2. Mumbai Meri Jaan
  3. Welcome To Sajjanpur
  4. Aagey Se Right (I'm gradually becoming a big fan of Shreyas Talpade.)
  5. He's Just Not That Into You
  6. Dr Seuss' Horton Hears A Who!
  7. Oh, My God
  8. Avatar

Twenty favourite Bollywood songs from 2009 (roughly in chronological order):

  1. Rehna Tu - Delhi 6
  2. Dil Gira Dafatan - Delhi 6
  3. Genda Phool - Delhi 6
  4. Paayaliya - Dev D
  5. Emosanal Attyachaar - Dev D
  6. Ranaji - Gulaal
  7. Tune Jo Na Kaha - New York
  8. Khudaya Ve - Luck
  9. Ajj Din Chadeya - Love Aaj Kal
  10. Chor Bazaari - Love Aaj Kal
  11. Ore Sawariya - Aladin
  12. Sapne Bhaye Hain - Dekh Bhai Dekh
  13. Pehli Baar Mohobbat - Kaminey
  14. Rabba - Main Aur Mrs Khanna
  15. Meherbaan - Ada (I'm not sure if this counts as a song from 2009, but anyway)
  16. Iktara - Wake Up Sid
  17. Tu Jaane Na - Ajab Prem Ki Gazab Kahani
  18. Mere Paa - Paa
  19. All Izz Well - 3 Idiots (and all the other tracks from the movie too)
  20. Gadbadi Hadbadi - Rocket Singh

Okay, this was a fairly random post. But life is just so - fairly random. Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 28, 2009


Avatar is probably not the kind of movie I would have chosen to watch myself, but my uncle took everyone out to watch this one the day after Christmas. I must say I liked it more than I expected to like it.

It's a science fiction/fantasy film about a place inhabited by blue skinned humanoids. People are trying to get them to move in order to lay their hands on a rare and expensive metal, vast reserves of which lie underneath their land. These people create creatures by mixing human DNA with the DNA of the natives and use the minds of the humans to control these creatures. Makes me wonder, yet again, how Hollywood comes up with all these weird and interesting stories. And oh yes, how they manage to pull off all those special effects.

Interesting film. Definitely recommended.

White Christmas

When we were in primary school, we would always decorate the classrooms for Christmas and deck up small bushes to look like Christmas trees, using cotton to give them a snowy look. This was the first time I saw the real thing. Real conifers with real snow. Baubles, tinsel, and an array of ornaments. My aunt actually likes collecting bird ornaments. She has a separate, smaller tree where she puts up ornaments in the shapes of parrots, pheasants and peacocks. I helped her find a little bird's nest to add to the collection this year.

The weather was rather kind to us on our trip to my uncle's place. It was only cloudy on Friday when we were going there, and bright and sunny on Sunday when we were coming back. Saturday, on the other hand, was a dreary day of non stop rain which melted out all the snow.

It was a great Christmas with some nice family time and great food. And making use of the after Christmas sales. Good times.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Song of The Week

I just happened to hear Akela Dil from Dulha Mil Gaya. The name of the movie suggested to me that this would be the kind of movie I would neither want to watch nor listen to the songs of. For the most part, the soundtrack lives up to my expectations. But this Adnan Sami number is just great. Makes me want to get up from my chair and dance. And the lyrics are quite cool and kind of amusing. What is the first line, anyway? I thought (still think) it was "Akela dil all nice happy" but all my online searches for the lyrics come up with "Akela dil online savvy." It does kind of sound like that too, but my version, seems to make slightly more, albeit not perfect, sense.

Anyway, I liked the line that says, "kisi ke dil mein kyon rahein ghar apna chod ke." Rather cute. A nice, peppy number in an otherwise mostly boring and forgettable album.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tourist Season

Birds fly south for the winter. Bhatti flies north for the winter.

I mean, this is really not the time that someone would normally want to be touring Boston. Yesterday's high was 27 F (that's -3 C) and that's a fairly accurate representation of the weather patterns over the last few weeks. And we were out touring Boston and Cambridge in the lovely weather. We happened to go down to the banks of the Charles river and saw that even the river was frozen over. I mean, I know lakes and ponds do that, and I've been looking at them the last few days. They have a layer of ice all over them and snow accumulation on top of the ice. So you can't exactly tell that there's water underneath instead of land unless you've seen it in the summer. But I thought the river would be different because it flows. Not really, as it turns out.

Anyway, too much rambling about the weather. It was fun to see an old friend after a long while. It was fun to see bits and pieces of the city I haven't seen before. I'm hoping he will write a post on his own blog about his adventures and misadventures here in the Boston area some time in the near future.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Joy of Reading

After I finished reading Dear John, I was just browsing the publisher's page (Hachette Book Group) and read what they said about Nicholas Sparks. They say that he does all this athletic stuff and attends church and reads approximately 125 books a year. That's one book every two to three days. And he also has a wife and kids to spend time with. I read one book every three days or so last winter when I had ten days off from work and was curled up in my bed all day reading, pausing only for absolutely essential things like eating and taking a bath (in my world, that is absolutely essential), and for blogging about the books I was reading. This was a time when I had no responsibilities and could choose to spend all my time by myself in my room.

Now I pick out about that many books that I want to read, by visiting Barnes & Noble stores (The great thing about them is that they have comfy chairs where they let you sit and read and then decide whether or not to buy the book.) and previewing books on my Kindle for PC app, but I can't actually read them. For a short time, books can have you glued to them and keep you turning the pages as fast as you can, but after a while you still like reading them but you're no longer all together hooked to them with a touch of insanity. Or are you? Maybe, if you're Nicholas Sparks.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dear John

Dear John is the second Nicholas Sparks novel that I read. Though not quite as touching as The Notebook, this is also a beautiful, touching, very well written story.

The story is about a young man who enlists in the army for lack of anything better to do with his life. On one of his vacations from the army, he meets a young girl and falls in love. They promise to marry each other when he comes back from the army. Then the events of September 11 lead him to prolong his enlistment in the army and things change between the two of them.

A lot of the twists and turns in the story are rather predictable and the reader does know what is going to happen next. Even so, the author describes everything in a way that makes you relate to the way the characters are feeling and brings them vividly to life. His language is distinctively poetic in places, and the metaphors and similes that he uses add a certain charm to his writing.

This is essentially a love story, but it also has a strong focus on the protagonist's relationship with his father. It's a story of human relationships, and a story of love, both romantic and otherwise. Definitely recommended.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Great Things About Salads

Traditionally, at home back in India, salad was about sliced cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, cabbage and carrots drizzled with lemon juice. I never liked the lemon juice, actually. And I never liked eating the onions or tomatoes raw. I would eat the cabbage by itself. And sometimes the cucumbers and the carrots.

In recent times, I've discovered how versatile and fun salads can be. I always liked the cabbage, but it often had a rather sharp flavour. Lettuce, on the other hand, has a much better flavour and comparable, if not better, health benefits.

A lot of people here make a salad into a lunch, by throwing in some grilled chicken or tuna or bacon. I've discovered that it's a great lunch. It's easy to make (just throw everything together in a bowl), it's light so it doesn't make you feel drowsy right after you eat it, but it's still quite filling. So you're not hungry or drowsy in the afternoon or evening. Something like grilled chicken would need to be heated up, but tuna can be eaten straight out of the refrigerator. You can make your own variations by adding cooked chickpeas, sweet corn, olives, jalapenos, tortilla chips or what have you, and mixing and matching the dressing. I keep bottles of low fat salad dressing in my refrigerator at all times. I think it's one of the greatest things you can buy in a bottle, after bottled water.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Other Side of the Coin

I have a beautiful view outside my window that looks like a Christmas card. We had about five inches of fresh snow accumulation this morning. I also drove in the snow storm a little. That's the not so beautiful side of it.

As it happened, the apartment complex's and the state's snow ploughs and trucks were rather late this morning and my husband had to pull his car out of a parking spot surrounded by five inch deep snow. And drive through slippery roads whose metalled surface showed only where other cars had tread before. I actually accidentally drove on to the wrong side of a smaller road because I couldn't see where the road actually was!

But well, once you're home and dry, it's all still very beautiful.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Snowing Away

Saturday evening saw a lot of snow for Boston and the surrounding areas. It's Monday afternoon, and the view from my window still looks like a Christmas card with snow covered pine trees and a sheet of white where the grass used to be. Saturday evening was something of a storm and was rather unexpected, being a little early in the winter season for something like this.

I've been to places where it snows, and I've been in snowstorms before. But those were short vacations where the hotel was in a warmer place and we visited a snowy place and came back to a place where the grass was still green. This is the first time that I've woken up in the morning to a snowy scene outside the window. I wanted to take pictures as soon as I got up on Sunday. I didn't know we'd have about three days to do that. Everything is almost intact, except that the roads have been cleared and there are a few footprints of the children who wanted to play in the snow. It's still all so pretty and yesterday was surprisingly warmer than the day before. And not that difficult to drive either. Not like we're snowed in. The little bushes and pine trees look like the ones we would decorate with cotton wool for school plays and Christmas. Only this time, it's the real thing.