Saturday, June 25, 2011

Of College Interests And Careers

Nothing new to say here. In fact, there must be a gazillion English movies around this theme. Hero / Heroine was really good at something in college. Life forced them to move on to something staid, normal and uninteresting. The event that forced the move was something spectacular or tragic or tragically spectacular. After 5, 10, 20 years another event forces them to look back, reconsider and then pursue their interest. Happy Ending and the credits roll.

This fact of life really struck me last night when I was over at a friends place for dinner. In college, he had started something with a group of friends. The venture had a decent run and had garnered good publicity. The friends could not continue with it and moved on to other things. My friend went on to do his MBA. Recently, he had quit his job of 7 years and joined another company in the same space as his earlier venture.

So yesterday he took out some old newspaper clippings where his venture was featured (like in the movies, his mom had compiled it :). Lots of stories came pouring out - some told with pride, some a little ruefully but nevertheless I could see the enthusiasm with which the friends had pursued it and the challenges they must have faced as young trailblazers. The good thing was that he had kept in touch with how that particular industry was progressing and now he was in a place where he could do more work with experience and maturity.

Briefly, I reflected on the stuff that had interested me (other than the lovely lasses :). Well, I was a member of the 'Western Dance' team and had represented college. About 8 months back, I had joined dance classes. It did feel great to shake a leg and I was on a high after each class. The whole teaching format sucked though and the instructors were really young. After four classes, we went for a holiday and I came back with a badly injured big toe. Using this as an excuse, I never went back. I also liked playing sports, was a decent enough Table Tennis player. I still try to be physically active and drag my a** to the gym thrice a week. I read books then also and continue to read actively. I am a member of a library here and trust me, no work of fiction in the murder / action thriller genre escapes me.

What I want to say here is that unlike the movies, the majority of us didn't have an event that pushed us out of our interests. We followed the mainstream, got an education, joined work where we got a break or where our parents wanted to see us. What I want is for you to take that pause and reflect on what interested you earlier. It need not be something that will take you down a new career path but could at least rekindle a passion that keeps you occupied in the otherwise free time after which you moan that you didn't do anything satisfying at all. Or maybe you would end up doing something that becomes a theme for a movie and then you will say on Oprah that - 'Y'know I read a blog that inspired me to start this thing off.....'. You'll never know till you don't tread that path.

The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart - Buddha

Sadi Gali - Tanu Weds Manu

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sevilla At Claridges

We had gone over to Sevilla at Claridges for dinner with friends, Claridges Hotel is very conveniently located at the posh Aurangzeb Road, especially convenient if you are working at CP. It doesn't look very big from the outside.

As per the description on the hotels website - Named after Seville, the artistic and cultural capital of southern Spain, and inspired by the blue seas, azure skies and lucid landscape of the Mediterranean, Sevilla offers a dining experience that delights the senses. Sevilla's picturesque indoor-outdoor ambience, with the indoor and outdoor areas merging to provide a free flowing, casual dining experience has a style of its own, reflecting the enchanting Spanish Riviera.

The restaurant is set outside the hotel, towards the back and you have to walk around the main building to get there. The ambiance is superb and it hits you just after you walk in and start making sense of the arrangement. Most of the tables are set outdoors, with tent like tops and curtains on the side (always reminds of stories of Arabian camps :) There are two enclosures, which are air-conditioned and we had booked one of these. Since it had rained in the noon, it was very pleasant outside and we actually asked for another table but they didn't have a free one. At one point, we took our drinks and sat outside for a brief while. It was then that I realised that there were such tall trees planted all across and around that it no longer felt we were in the heart of Delhi. The other thing I realised was that the tables were set fairly apart, quite private. Almost forgot, there was a duet going on - man and lady, sang some of the old numbers, really good.

The food is supposed to European / Mediterranean. The wine selection seemed to be extensive.  I didn't like the food too much especially the starters. The main course was decent and we enjoyed the dessert especially the mango sunny side up. Of course the waiter kept recommending the specialities which none of us ordered so maybe you can try them - paella, wood fired pizza and the house special sangrias. I would love to go over in the winter after an early dinner, catch a couple of drinks. Hope the singers will still be there....

Check out the pics at The Sevilla, Claridges

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin - Dare I Call It A Bollywood Classic?

Last evening (Friday), I finished work at around 9.30 pm, took a shower, poured myself a drink and switched on the TV to unwind a bit. I prefer watching English movies and was hoping there would be a good action movie, recent release but the channels were predictably boring and were showing the same movies for the 10th to 100th time. While surfing channels, I realised that Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (henceforth referred to as DHKMN) was just starting off (the opening credits were rolling). I decided to stick with it, thinking that I have always missed the beginning and I could at least watch the comedy part.

After the first 5 minutes or so, the song Galyan Sankali Sonyachi started and I started humming along as the thought passed through my mind that 'Thank God, Hindi movies seem to be less prone to breaking into songs these days'. Then Aamir Khan enters the scene, does a comedy sequence where he argues with the bus conductor, Pooja Bhatt takes his seat and the movies takes off.... 

My memory of the movies of that period is the endlessly crass stuff that used to be overbearing on any one angle - action meant extreme violence and rape scenes, family dramas killed it with complications and comedy was just too stretched out. The reason why I would like to call DHKMN a classic is that it has all the elements that make it a good Bollywood picture
- Great chemistry between Aamir and Pooja Bhatt (she looks very brash and cute despite the horrible hairstyle)
- Super soundtrack composed by Nadeem Shravan - dil hai ke manta nahin, adain bhi hai, sapnon ke saudagar, dil tujhpe aagaya. I must confess that towards the end I got a little tired of them bursting into song once too many times but the songs made up. Click on this link for the soundtrack
- Good comedy by all the characters. Personally I am very happy that Anupam Kher was fairly restrained in terms of length of his scenes
- The storyline is not very different and quite predictable but at least it is fairly fast paced and does not prolong any scene

I'm kinda thinking of stuff to add here but nothing is coming to my mind so thats it folks. Don't break a sweat but watch it again if you get a chance. Cheers.

For the DVD, click on Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin

Saturday, June 4, 2011

In The Still Of The Night - Boyz II Men

Mamagoto - Khan Market South Delhi

When Indrani told me that lets go to Mamagoto in Khan Market, I was not sure what the name of the place was. I was thinking in my mind - is it like Mama Grotto? Anyway we had just finished casing GK-I and didn't find anything interesting. So we decided we will head out to Khan Market and check out the joints there.

It was the beginning of the month and I had gotten off work early. Suddenly, Indrani suggested that we head out for dinner and I was like - Perfect. Got home, took a shower, intercepted her downstairs only so we didn't waste much time :) Anyway we reached Mamagoto at around 9ish. They have proudly displayed a board of Times Food Guide outside which was quite comforting. We walked up to the first floor and found the place decent. A bit of a haphazard arrangement but you cant get better in South Delhi. Attentive waiters, decent ambiance, I began to get comfortable.

Anyways, I ordered a pint of Fosters and Indrani ordered a mint based refreshment. As starters we ordered some corn fritters. It was very good and served with some yummy red chilli sauce. At this point in time, I was bit worried that they may serve the food really fast but they were very very decently timed. So in the main course, I ordered Sticky rice with Teriyaki sauce, served with lamb and Indrani ordered stir fried vegetables. I really enjoyed the food and would encourage y'all to head there for a quite dinner. The whole thing - two pints of beer, one refresher, starter and two main courses cost us Rs 1700. Pretttty decent I think.

By the way, Mamagoto means "to play with food" in Japanese. Nice name. No wild parties though where you can throw stuff at each other ;) Heard their cocktails are good and I really liked the food so go, PLAY.