Thursday, March 24

Moving to Wordpress

Hi All,

From the comforts of blogspot which i have now being enjoying for close to two years, i am moving to wordpress. This blog would now be operating from

Keep visiting and marking your presence there too...:)


Friday, March 18

Mafia Queens of Mumbai- A book review

I just finished reading "Mafia Queens of Mumbai" - a book by S Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges.
S Hussain Zaidi is a crime reporter who has been associated with newspapers like Indian Express, Mid-day and Mumbai Mirror and has also authored the book Black Friday- already made into a movie by Anurag Kashyap. Jane Borges is a senior sub editor with Asian Age-Mumbai.

The book as the name suggests talks about the little known, but highly influential females, who have directly or indirectly ruled the Mumbai underworld over a long a period of time. The men in underworld have been written about and immortalized in movies many a times; however, hardly any light has ever been thrown on the female brigade who have sometimes had an overpowering influence on the activities of the darker world.

The author has chosen 13 such females, from Jenabai -the godmother of the likes of Haji Mastan and Vardarajan Mudaliar; the reigning kings of Mumbai underworld in the 70s and 80s to women like Asha Gawli (w/0 Arun Gawli) and Sujata Nikhalje (w/0 Chota Rajan)..who handled not only the money earned by their husbands but also acted as their proxies at times to extend their empires....
The author has picked up the stories of these females and gone through the highlights and lowlights of their "careers" during their life span. The book has been written in a very methodical manner with a fact based approach. All the stories come across as very well researched, though some of them do not have the adequate amount of masaala one might expect while reading something on women in underworld; the good thing is that nowhere in the book one feels that the authors have added any events/ incidents deliberately to affect the glamor quotient of the book. The authors have done a great job in ensuring that the book does not come across as sensational piece of work on underworld. All the narrations are very simple, straight at the same time ensuring that one does not feel the urge to keep down the book to pick up something else.
The book talks about females like Jenabai Daaruwaala and Mahalakshmi Papamani who resorted to the world of crime as there was no other alternative to fight poverty and feed a family of 6-8. And at the same time it also tells stories of well educated women like Neeta Naik and Mrs Paul who opted for the easier way to power, fame and money.
Among all the stories the one which i found most interesting was the one of Sapna Didi alias Ashraf. Widow of an underworld ally, who is not aware of what her husband works as till the time she sees him being shot by Dawood's men at Mumbai Airport where she has gone to receive him. How she gets in touch with another Dawood enemy in whom she sees a trainer to train her on self defense and shooting, who falls for her madly and hence is unable to explain to her the dire consequences of her revengeful dream of killing Dawood by forming a small army of men from the Mumbai underworld. The story has a sad end when Sapna didi is brutally murdered by Dawood's men outside her home as he comes to know of her plan to kill him in a cricket stadium in Sharjah, where he is VVIP spectator every year during the Sharjah cup.

The book has a foreword by Vishal Bharadwaj, where he says that after reading the book its difficult for him to decide which plot should be picked up for making a movie. I would surely recommend Sapna Didi's story.

The book also has a chapter on Monica Bedi, which reveals some lesser known facts about the saga the bollywood starlet went through during the last decade.

Overall, a nice book, one can read on a Saturday afternoon...

Author: S Hussain Zaidi and Janes Borges
Price: INR 250 (INR 175 on flipkart)
Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, March 16

A film and book review!

I watched 7 khoon maaf few days back. I went all the way to the theater to watch this movie. and i didn't like it. I don't know what prompted Vishal Bharadwaj to make this one.
Priyanka Chopra as Sussanne is on a killing spree. She is looking for true love; and she has the knack of attracting the most weird, horrible men in this world. Dissatisfied in a relationship; instead of leaving and moving on, her loyal servants led by her make it a point to keep on killing these husbands as soon as their saheb finds it impossible to continue the relationship.
Sussanne has been shown with a disturbed psychology from childhood; one who lives in extremes.

Anyways, i did not like anything about this movie except the "Darrrlingg...." song!!
Its dark, the story is too predictable, could not understand what is the purpose of the movie...its definitely not entertainment...
Naseeruddin Shah also plays one of the husbands; my face lit up when i saw him on the screen (such is the actor's aura); however, he has been totally wasted...anyone could have done that role. But i guess, saying no to VB is not that easy....
Another wasted actor in the movie is Konkana. A very passe role, anyone could have done.

I haven't read the book; though have heard that the book is much more captivating than the film.
Anyways....this much for the movie.

I read Preeti Shenoy's book "Life is what you make it" few days back.

I finished reading the book in one go, it does not happen to me often.
In one word..the book is Engrossing. It has a great pace, a very very detailed and good description of the events. A good story and has been told very well by Preeti.
This is the snapshot of the book from Flipkart...

"Ankita Sharma has the world at her feet. She is young, good-looking, smart and has tonnes of friends and boys swooning over her. College life is what every youngster dreams of and she also manages to get into a premier management school for her MBA. Six months later, she is a patient in a mental health hospital. How did Ankita get here? What were the events that led to this? Will she ever get back her life again?

Life has cruelly and coldly snatched that which meant the most to her and she must now fight to get it all back."

The author has done complete justice while describing the mental illness the main lead goes through. The transition of the protagonist from a cheerful college going girl with her high ambitions and her interesting love a patient of bi-polar disorder is fantastic.
The description of a small town in Kerala is good enough to transport one back in time.
You feel like gobbling down the whole story in one go.

However, one part where i feel things could have been better, is the last 25% of the book where Ankita Sharma is recovering from her illness. I felt, that the fight of the main lead to get back her normal life could have been depicted in more detail and effectively...the initial 3/4th of the book is so strong in its content that this part where the girl is in hospital trying to recover....feels like falling a bit short of justifying the title of the book. The fight the girl puts to recover does not seem to be as strong as her alight into the illness....

Overall, a good, short book...worth the money..:)

Author: Preeti Shenoy
Price: INR 100 (INR 83 on flipkart)
Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, March 9

Ad Mad!

Two ads have caught my eye lately.....
One is this USHA fans ka ad....:)

I had been to USHA corporate office once for placement purposes etc. The office look gave me a feeling that it may shut down any moment!!..Anyway that has nothing to do with this wonderfully written ad...:)

The first part of the ad, till that "One nation no discrimination" line, which brings down the awsumness value of the ad by few notches, is just super!!
Between the abundance of lays ke illogical ads, dar ke aage vishwajeet hai..etc etc..this ones a real well written, effective ad..nice way to welcome summers...:)

The other ad, which i think should be put off the air ASAP is the one for Pidilite steel grip. I am not being able to find its link on youtube. However, the ad shows a woman torturing a guy who has apparently used a non Pidilite steel grip. She is giving him electric shocks and is wearing tortourous expressions on her face when she says..."using a non pidilite..blah blah....Pagalpan Nahi to Aur Kya Hai??.."
The advertisement is simply GROSE. I very strongly feel that using a theme of declaring/ calling people pagal or display of such disturbing human conditions casually for advertising any product is bad work by the creative team. I remember another such objectionable ad..

I somehow do not appreciate this form of creativity where something which can be very serious if happens in reality is mocked at in order to make people buy it.

Hope we have saner ads in future!!

Monday, March 7

The Baai Tales!

After marriage among many other things the one which i have realized big time during the last one year is...the importance of a house maid!
I have stayed away from home close to 10 years before getting married last year. Most of the time was spent in hostels, where we were hardly bothered who the kaam vaali baai is who comes to clean our room. Anyways, room cleaning at that time was of close to zero importance. Though i still remember that the baaaiis in Jhansi were too good. We had Biniya Ji, Raamkali Ji..and few other Ji's....very loving and caring, and thoroughly genuine people who made life a bit easier in the hostels there, where sometimes we were devoid of the bare minimum requirements of a decent life like electricity...for days altogether in the month of May-June...
Anyway, coming back to the topic...yes, i stayed in a PG for close to 2 years and then also stayed in a rented flat for a year and a half before i finally bid goodbye to the bachelorette pad and got married. We moved to this satellite town of Delhi, and as a welcoming gesture, our 2nd floor neighbor came forward and recommended her own housemaid to us.
More than happily we accepted the offer, and thus started our tryst with Shyaamoli or Saanwari...(not sure what her real name is as she responds to both)!!

So unlike the genuine maids i had seen in college, maid here is a different story altogether.
6:30 in the morning when she rings the bell, it feels that this is the last time our door bell is breathing ting wont be usable hereafter! After giving her directions on what to make for breakfast...i retire back to bed (to the utter disappointment of husband who thinks that i should stand there and supervise her work...:O) ..Anyway, then starts her favorite game...vessel banging!!....Initially i thought that she is upset with something...or may be with us..and thats the reason she is in all tod doongi phod doongi mode...Alas, we were very sadly and badly mistaken. This is her normal style of working. In her normal course of work she ensures that enough noise is made while washing utensils so that no poor soul around is spared of her/ his sleep....
Now, in the beginning i tokofied my morning need is too dear to me and i would certainly not let any housemaid to ruin it...but then slowly i realized, that telling her to change/ modify her ways of working is of NO use...yes of ABSOLUTELY NO use.....and there are multiple reasons behind it....
The most apparent and one which we thought was most easy to tackle was that she has a hearing problem. Yes, our maid "ooncha sunti hai". So if you say something at 60 dB, decibel level of the normal human speech; its just some distant sound which her ears cannot even detect....
To add to that, since she is hard of hearing, so to compensate that, she speaks at a volume which is a couple of notches higher than the rest of us normal beings.....overall effect, highly impaired communication.
As if this was not enough, maid happens to be one of the most obstinate female i have ever come across in my life. She will just not listen to you. So if i offer my ideas on any particular dish ...ok, when i say ideas...things like..."XYZ sabzi mein tamatar mat daalna"...."tamatam nahi daalna hai????..:O..:O"..."NAHI, nahi daalna hai" (stressing each and every word like i am in some akshar gyaan classes for firang kids) sit down to eat and "tamatam" is all over...!!

The beauty of her behaviour is, that while she refuses to take any instructions when it comes to cooking, in every other areas you better give her instructions otherwise you are in a soup!!
Any and every edible thing kept within 1 metre radius of the sink is MEANT to be thrown away in the dustbin. Yes, so if you have kept a bowl full of fresh sabzi by mistake somewhere even close to the sink area, goes inside the kitchen bin. If you have kept some freshly soaked mehndi (with all your efforts of mixing, grinding and beating an egg into it)...and it happens to lie in the above said high alert area....within a blink, the mehndi vessel will be all clean and shining....."Achcha, vo fenkna nahi tha, aapne bola hi nahi" mishtake truly!!

Her halo is such, that when MIL calls, after normal pleasantries exchange the first thing she inquires of is..."aur tumhari kaamvaali theek kaam kar rahi"...yes, my dear friends, we sometimes spend more time discussing Her Highness than anything else.
Infact, few days ago at a cousin's place i noticed their very well behaved servants. who were responding to normal human voice and there was no noise outside kitchen signaling their presence. I was lost for a few moments...started day dreaming if such a scenario would ever exist in our household!!

Now, after all this many of you must be thinking, why do we not then replace her with a better bai.
We cannot do that, zimple reason being.....this one never maaros any chutti. Yes, Touch Wood. No matter how much we long for sophisticated, smart baiis....we cannot afford to loose one, who is regular...:)
So for now, we choose to live with Shyamoli hoping that some day she will cease to be her abnormal self...and change for better..:)

Sunday, March 6


Yesterday i was watching repeat telecast of Filmfare awards 2010. Apart from other regular thing, the act which caught my fancy was a dance sequence by SRK and Madhuri Dixit almost towards the end of the show. During an ad break husband started browsing through news channels and we ended up finding Blockbusters on CNN-IBN. The star this week was Sridevi. Thankfully, Madhuri's act had ended on Filmfare and i could watch the half an hour documentary on Sridevi guilt free..:D

Watching the two divas in succession took me back in time to my growing up years when these two beauty queens were ruling Bollywood. Those were the times of no cable TV/ no DJ and no theater also (yes, i am talking about the pre 1994 era, when HAHK had not released and parents would never agree to take us to movies like "Lootere", "Dalaal" and "Khalanayak"..:D)
So all we could get of the dazzling dance performance by these actresses was through Chitrahaar and once in a while on VCRs. So each one of us had our favorite. Needless to say that while i loved Madhuri, i had friends who had their loyalties too inclined towards the southern actor. And the interesting part was that the bollywood rivalry (if or if not there was any) had been apparently taken too seriously by us girls and one who adored Mrs Nene, would dare not even praise or show a slightest sign of liking towards Sridevi. While today i find Sridevi a total delight to watch in movies like Lamhe and Chandni, those days i could never stand her accent. (actually i still don't like it) Also, i found her nose job a bit too unnatural. So enough reasons to not like her.,.:)
I simply adored MD for the Goddess she is...for her swift and smooth dance moves, her almost perfect portrayal of all her characters and her beautiful smile.

However, this favoritism never came into play when we were asked to show our dancing skills in any birthday party, sangeet ceremony etc etc. We were totally unbiased towards the wonderful songs these females have danced on. Till date i clearly remember how i replayed the audio cassette of Saajan again and again, just to perfect my steps on "Tu Shayar Hai.....Main teri Shaayari..." . Being able to copy her finger movement was like trophy winning for us...:)
Or, try creating our own steps on "Morni baaga maa bole"....

Yesterday, watching Madhuri Dixit paired with SRK in that medley brought back those wonderful memories, and just could not stop thinking how graceful and poised the two beautiful actors looked.
Have picked up some of the timeless songs of 80s and 90s which look as fresh today as they looked 20 years ago...

This song is one of the most beautiful classical based dance number of the recent times....i simply love the silver white dress adorned by Sridevi, the backdrop and her priceless expressions. Needless to say she looks divine! Every dance move is just perfect....

Another gem from the same movie, Sridevi at her best!!

Madhuri Dixit in the orange outfit looks picture perfect. She can carry any song with the same grace and poise.

Another song which i find equally tantalizing after so many years is this one from the movie HAHK. The sometimes coy, sometimes naughty expressions of MD make this one of the most
delightful songs to watch on screen...

And i do not think, anybody else in the film industry would have been able to carry off this song so gracefully. A scandalous song of its time, which created a thunder back in 93.....The baap of all item numbers...:)

Aah, and this song..sarees had never looked better on the silver screen than this!!....Hats off to the director too for selecting such a timeless collection and more than full marks to Sri for carrying them off sooooo..well.

One more dance sequance which i find mesmerizing is from DTPH.....its truly a wonderful sight watching Madhuri dance....:)

And then, those dhinchak dance numbers from Chalbaaz and Tezaab.....which could make every foot in this world tap

And this list would actually never end.....because every song looks better than the others when such talented actors become part of it....

I guess before i wind up...this one also needs to be put of the finest and most elegantly performed songs on screen....

and as i wind up..i discover this one from Aaaja nach le...

The more one says, the less it would be .....Hope we have more such actors around in the times to come ...!

Saturday, February 26

Zoya Moya!!

Ok, so this week had been a good one in terms of reading...:)
I had been thinking about ordering from flipkart for a long time now after hearing raving reviews from friends and family about how quick the delivery is and you can get some real good discounts. So one fine day this week, ordered not one, not two but three books in a row online. The books being:

1. Life is what you make it by Preeti Shenoy
2. Chanakya's Chant by Ashwin Sanghi and last but not the least
3. Urban Shots - a collection of urban tales which also includes a story by a dear friend Prateek..:)

Have already finished reading the first one and Prateek's story in Urban Shots.
Before this book ordering and gobbling them down in a single sitting ....i was reading A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth. It is a THICK book and i had been wanting to read it for quite some time now. Finally when i started reading it, i realized that this is not the kind of book i would want to lay my hands on just before saying goodbye to yet another crazy hectic the other day, i asked husband to take out some light read by any Indian author from our book box, taking advantage of the fact that he sleeps on the side of the bed which has books in its bed box; and hence has to dutifully abide by the rule of "ye tumhari side hai tum karoge..(switching off light, router, latching the room etc before sleeping fall in this category of chores....:D )"..:D

He came up with Advaita Kala's Almost Single, which i had already read and found really funny and interesting...
The next one which his hands collided with turned out to be "The Zoya Factor" by Anuja Chauhan. I quickly grabbed this one as i had read good reviews about it and had lately bought it from the Book Fair at Pragati Maidan.

The Zoya Factor is a WONDERFUL!! book...:)

It is a must read for anyone who enjoys fun, youthful reads by young Indian writers. A rom-com set in the backdrop of cricket world cup; the book is about this 27 years old girl Zoya who is born on 25th June 1983, the very moment India won its first and only world cup...:). The Indian cricket team realizes this as the "boys" win all the matches when this lucky charm breakfasts with them..and hence starts this roller coaster ride of Zoya who is taken along with the Indian cricket team to Australia so that India can bring home their next world cup in the captaincy of the oh so hot!!..Nikhil Khoda.

Yes, so it has cricket, a girl next door romancing the Indian skipper, the over the top and loud cricket crazy Karol Bagh family and not to mention a good peep into the world of advertising to which belongs the lucky lady.

How overnight The Zoya Factor becomes national news with all the Charu Sharmas and Harsh Bhogles dedicating a good part of their debates and commentaries around the lucky Indian factor, the ad agencies, her fraternity “well wishers” uksaoing her to do some Zoya Agarbatti ads..and last but not the least her proposed election tickets for a LS seat..:D

I loved the book for the sheer dosage of humor, crazily funny moments and yes the awsum off-on-off-on romance between Nikhil Khoda and Zoya Solanki..:) (it IS one of the best things in the book..;-))
The story maintains a perfect pace, I loved the character depiction of Zoya, a 27 years old with a heart of 17 years!! utterly confused, humble, funny young girl ….(the forgottogrowup types..;-)) The character makes you nod does seems the author has actually looked inside the head of some ordinary, not that achiever, love lost girl to come out with the perfectly defined character Zoya..:)

Though I felt that the Indian skipper’s character has been depicted a bit too god to be believed kinds..but then it does it bit to add spice to the reading..:)

It’s a total paisa vasool, fun book, which I would strongly recommend to all the readers looking for something light hearted yet mature…:)

Price: INR 299

Overall Rating: 4/5

(Yes, from now on I will also end my book reviews (if this counts as one) with my rating of the book..;-)..(like those veteran bloggers) YAY!! It feels good..:))

Wednesday, January 26

"Healthy" New Year!

hello to everyone...:)
Its been close to three months that i last posted, i have been thinking about making this place live for quite some time now; so what better time to get this blog back to life than the first month of the new year..:)
Like all other years i have made some resolutions this year too.....and needless to ask what is the progress on them..:P...Multiple thoughts and ideas in pieces and parts which are making rounds in my head...lemme start with this book which i read recently.."Dont loose your mind..loose your weight" by Rujuta Diwekar.

I had heard a lot about this book, but have always had my own reservations on books talking gyaan on health etc etc.
However, few days back a bhabhi mentioned about the book in one of our conversations and i laid my hands on the book while digging deep inside our book bed.

This is one of the best books i have read in the recent past. Not only because it tells us some great things about our stomach but more so because it tells you everything in the most direct, interesting and touching manner. Yes, this book touches your mind, in a way that if read with even the slightest of interest can actually make one think about one's eating habits and the most neglected organ of our body..our stomach.
Rujuta tells in her book, how NO..yes no food is bad food and any thing if eaten at the right time and in right quantity can align with your metabolism to do all good to your body.
I simply loved the way how the author has stated all gyaan about our food habits in the most simple terms at the same time ensuring that she touches the right chord with the readers and effectively communicates the crux.
She manages to add the novelty factor in her book, when she says things like: ".. "Heart Attack" is a very wrongly used term...our heart can never attack us, its we who attack our heart by doing all wrong things to it, by not letting go of our bad habits..."
At another place she sayas: "..The stomach is of the size of our two palms joined together to form a close. It can only take that much food at a time. That is why the Jain bhikshuks always asked for palm full of food for their meals. Respect the capacity of your stomach and feed it what it can consume.."
Few things which i simply found very useful and which I am trying to imbibe are:

1. Listen to and understand your stomach. Don't be harsh on it by starving for long hours and neglecting it when you are busy doing long hours in office.
2. EAT something as soon as you get up in the morning. (something can be a good paratha meal also).
3. Try to finish your two largest meals of the day before 11 AM. Our stomach's digesting ability keeps decreasing with the course of the day.
4. Eat small quantities every 2 hours. Don't skip your evening snacks because that would deter you from having a full dinner. Idea is to have a light dinner to keep the stomach fit.
5. Avoid eating cut fruits, and juices are a big NO. Fruits are meant to act as antioxidants in our body. By cutting them we are exposing their surface area, thus letting them oxidize before we can consume them. Hence, making them less healthy. Juices= fruits-fiber; again less healthy.

And yes, the book also emphasizes on working out. At least thrice a week....:)

So this was about the book.

I watched this movie Band Baaja Baaraat few days back. Sis told me its a nice watch, and i spent my new years day watching BBB.
wonderful is the word!
And now that the post has started, i realise that i have many more things to pen down. But as the clock strikes 12, and eyes start drooling, its time to wind up this first post of the year with a promise that post rate would be much more higher this year and the blog would not go into slumber even during the busiest times..:)