Monday, November 28

And Some More Reviews

Hey dears.

Been doing a few things, going a few places, reading a few books and watching some movies. Thought I'd share my evaluation with you, since my FB mates have mentioned time and again that they'd like to know my perspective on all that I've recently experienced...

Let's start with books! Always my first :-)

Just finished The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad (LoLP) by Mrs. Funnybones Twinkle Khanna. The woman is marvelous. I did not know she had so much spunk in her. All I knew was that she is (was) a pathetic actress, and fortunately she quit coz she was well aware and vocal about it! I've read some of her columns where she is a guest writer, and I read her first book as well, which was nothing more than her columns put together in a paperback format. Her humor and observations are witty, and her language impressive and hard hitting. Loved the fact that I get to read about her equation with her family, especially her husband (whom she addresses as man of the house). 


She is what I aspire to be - Writing, enjoying life and the myriad tales it brings forth, being a celebrity and an intelligent one at that. Also totally enchanted by her appearance on TV in Koffee with Karan Season 5 along with hubs Akshay Kumar. Such a delightful chemistry and friendship, such openness and tolerance. Man, that guy is a jewel. Lucky she could find him! 

LoLP is a set of short stories, 4 to be precise, primarily on women issues like their treatment and condition in the country, man and his empathetic innovativeness, finding love and belonging, and forced expectations and rituals. The last story stretched too long for my liking, and brought down my better rating to 3.5/5 for the entire book. It's a quick read otherwise, and brings you many emotions in surprisingly simple packages. Not a bad read at all.     

I'm still midway through Vish Dhamija's Nothing Stays Forever, which was laid to rest a few days when I was neck deep in LoLP and bungling around the house with the bub and domestic chores. It's reached a twist at the moment, and I'm quite enjoying reading VD yet again, though this one isn't as alluring as Deja Karma. Hope to see it through by the end of this week.

Since the bub was at his grandmom's for a night, I decided to make the most of it by going pub hopping. There were a list of places I was dying to visit, and Bar Bar and Texas Bar & Grill finally were graced by my Highness. Since my company was amazing, the night was memorable too, and I enjoyed chugging Kingfisher Ultra Max for the first time ever. Bar Bar served some tasty Shrimp starters and I enjoyed the American fare at Texas. The view at the latter is beyond par and the music was fine as well. The service at Bar Bar is better though, and I realised how much I miss my old nights of drinking, fun and conversation with sensible people.   

Must mention this: Was actually hanging out at Phoenix Crossword to meet Jef Arch, my fav author in the world. But when they said I had to buy a book and wait in queue for several hours to meet the already exhausted writer, I decided to take a rain check and headed downstairs for some beers. Have ordered his book though "This was a Man", the ultimate one in the Clifton Chronicles.  

While I've been incredibly busy delivering Fierce for my workforce, I've learnt a tremendous lot about facilitating virtual sessions and Adobe. So thankful for the opportunity and experience. Our Annual day is also round the corner, so there are many sport and cultural events and sports events going on right now. I'm organising the Friday events (treasure hunt, online quiz, showcase your house/team, dress theme) and the level of engagement and competition is at an altogether different level! Fully in sync with the jungle theme of the year! 

Unfortunately (or fortunately), this does not leave me much time to catch up on Bigg Boss 10 though I keep catching snippets on the news and Twitter. Some wild cards coming in this week I think, while a few Indiawale are out. I'm fond of Manveer and Gaurav, and I do hope one of them wins. Baba Om and Bani are a pain on all senses, so I hope they get kicked out. I've, however, been very meticulous about watching Koffee with Karan, the latest one with Ranveer and Ranbir was a smashing hit just like the last with Arjun Kapoor and Varun Dhawan. 

Alia and SRK's episode, I enjoyed more than I did their movie - Dear Zindagi. I somehow expected more insights and laughs in the half baked film that stopped short of hitting the spot. The good part is that the movie encourages people to come out of the closet with their problems, emotional or otherwise, and not hesitate in reaching out for therapy. The bad part was that there were multiple deja vu's in the film, like Alia's Highway outburst during the climax and SRK's typical paternal style in the last few films. Kapoor and Sons was infinitely better, and the movie moves at a slow pace, and the song lyrics make sitting even more difficult. Go with low expectations and you won't regret it. For me, I'm considering giving up on Bollywood for a bit; film makers are more motivated to churn out multiple films than make one meaningful and satisfying production. Dangal is coming soon, but with so many women-oriented movies in the last few years, I don't expect to be blown off my feet.

Heard Dr. Strange is better, though. Go take a look, if you keen. 

And back I go to my rush life...

Take care!

Cheers

Anuja

Monday, October 24

Book Review : Agniputr by Vadhan

Even before I start reviewing, take a look at this book trailer. 



Wow! When did they launch this? Makes me want to read the book all over again... AND wait with fingers crossed for a movie being made basis this alluring introduction!

Bloomsbury books sent me a copy of this engaging novel a few weeks ago, and it is only in the past week that I could finally get started with reading it. Once I started, it was a challenge to put the book down, and I kept waiting to get back to the pages any free moment I got. My rating for this one: 4.5 on 5. 

So what's the book about? Well, quantum physics for one, that I can make neither head nor tail of, and maybe that snatched the half star away from the rating. But it also describes and connects some engrossing characters that lend their heart to the story and manage to steal the reader's in turn. 

The start is marvellous and midway, the book picks up amazing pace. In the 1940s, something evil called the Sutram is created and it is desired by a tantrik with an even more evil heart to become the master of the universe. There is a conspiracy and betrayal in the Surya family which leads to the death of one loved Surya who before he breathes his last, manages to limit the power of the Sutram. Over the years, the Sutram is contained in a hall, deep under the ground, but it destroys all that comes on its surface. Not surprisingly then, the perilous hall is proclaimed out of bounds for all villagers and others.

Time passes, and the Sutram is gathering more energy. Soon it will reveal itself and destroy the universe. It is ripe to be harnessed. By who? The same tantrik who was biding his time. He uses some political pawns and devotees as his means to the end, but he is not prepared to be thwarted by Raghuram Surya, lawyer and heir of the Surya family and his companion Sheila, a quantum physicist. How Poti, SRK, Pichi Rathaya, Kant, P. Eshwar, SRK and Valaneni play their parts is an interesting read. What is even more thrilling, are the horror scenes, where bodies are strung and suspended in mid air, a precursor of the fate of Gudem.

I, in particular, loved Raghu for his intelligence, humor and confidence. His philandering ways also lend charm to his ultimate affection for Sheila, who has a past and personality of her own. Poti's fierce loyalty and Tirupati Balaji's presence won't fail to impress you and the steady build up of excitement will ooze out of the pages. Once the discussion on atoms and quarks starts, I found myself a little lost and impatient to move on, but it will be entertaining for a sci-fi geek, I presume. Full points to the author for trying something different, but not my cup of tea. This, thankfully, did not mar my experience of the climax which was a tad predictable, yet memorable. I would have preferred the end either to be slightly different and not as benevolent as it is, or maybe more utopian than possible. 

The words come to life and the characters stay etched on your mind, and that's the true victory of this book. The style, vocabulary and plots are above par, and in my opinion, this book is way more enticing for the audiences than Ashwin Sanghi's creations, on the same lines as Amish and Vish Dhamija. Such a heartening feeling, to see Indian writers making their way up the literary ladder. 

Kudos, Vadhan and Bloomsbury. Thank you for this gift and experience. 





Grab your copy :-) 

Cheerio!
Princess       



Thursday, October 13

Two Month Update... and Apologies

Absolutely abominable. From once a month, I've dipped to a new low of not having written to you fellas in over 2 months. Apologies. Sincere ones. 

It's been a crazy time. I guess God wanted me to feel not-so-listless anymore (!) akin what I said in my last post.  

So, what have I been up to?!! Loads. 

I'm now a certified Fierce facilitator, and there are less than 20 of them in India alone. Fierce Conversations is a book, philosophy and tool by Susan Scott which talks about how can make our lives, careers, relationships more fruitful and enriching by engaging in meaningful conversations with people about topics that need to be spoken about. What's more, I am going to be training all the leads in Hitachi Consulting India on this wonderful program so that they can make the organization more powerful and the culture more rewarding. Targets are huge, and the payoff is going to be phenomenal. 

But what is also exciting, is that I was sent to London for the training and I had a great week working and another lovely one roaming around the magical city. With no set agenda, I went around the streets and experienced the grandeur of the Land of Harry Potter. Be it the Buckingham Palace, or the Big Ben, right from the ArcelorMittal Orbit to Old Spitalfields and Covent Garden. My office is bang opposite the Tower of London, and I whizzed around on the tube from Moorgate to Greenwich to Knightsbridge. I ate duck and pigeon at the Canteen in Royal Festival Hall, and I loved the Victorian Sponge and Jude ice creams in salted caramel and chocolate flavors. I purchased at Primark and M&S when I roamed Trafalgar Square and I enjoyed the bustle at Camden Market where I dug hungrily into Poppies' Fish and Chips. The Thames was a delight rendered prettier by the opening of the Tower Bridge. My lifelong dream came true when I visited Platform 9 and 3/4 at Kings Cross, and I was thrilled to see I was not the only one (or the oldest one) nuts about Pottermania. It was truly a trip to treasure. 

And yet, I missed home. 

I have always been a little envious of my friends and colleagues who went abroad and chose to settle there, now having been there for all of 2 weeks, I think India is home and I am happy to be back. As much as I love traveling, my wanderlust does not permit me to move bag and baggage to another land. My husband is ecstatic about this discovery!

Life otherwise has been super packed, too. Be it reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on the plane, and now moving on to Vadhan's Agniputr. Both of which are stupendous. Or movies that I and the hubby watched full throttle: Dhoni, Pink and Tutak Tutak Tutiya. All of which were not bad. Dhoni was the most paisa vasool, great acting and inspirational story. Pink is overrated, same old plot in a new package with Big B to sell it to you, open letters and all fakeness included. TTT was something that we just bumped into, since we had a free night without the bub. Time pass film with lots of humor and not too much brain. The only disappointment was Chang's, my favorite Chinese restaurant in Viman Nagar, that seems to have hit rock bottom in terms of flavor, service as well as cost. 

Aarush is growing up into an amazing rockstar, what with his nonstop chatter and action. It is rare to see that boy sit or sleep, and his cheerful smile and soothing voice allure the young and old alike. The kid's got vocabulary, affection and intelligence that could shame some adults I know, and it's a pleasure to be his mom, even if I occasionally find myself getting really livid with the tiny monster.

Personally and professionally, life has become quite stable and fulfilling. The calm after so many endless storms. Thank Heavens it's time to sit and relax for a while. I wish I could dedicate some more time to writing, though. I am getting stuck in the mundane even as my heart yearns to publish at least one book in my lifetime.

Let's see when that will happen....

Until then, 

Cheerio!
Anuja

  

Friday, July 29

Listless and a Poem For Pop n Maa

I am getting old. 

Birthdays don't excite me anymore. 


Of course, I'm getting old. Crossed 30 last year. 


(Hell, that's still a lot younger than how I feel inside.)


(At least at the moment.)

When one imagines oneself, age ceases to matter and you only look at your past and future without serious consideration regarding the chronological details. 


However, my current (longstanding) circumstances and stress make me feel like a crappy, scraggy old hag who feels meh about everything and excited about (almost) nothing. 


Like the Annual Award I bagged in office for all my contributions throughout the year. Like my son's second birthday that we plan to celebrate with pomp and ceremony this November. Like watching movies, reading, travelling and book writing which have been my childhood passions and ambitions. 


I just don't have the fire.


Amazing how someone or some situation can completely suck the life out of you.


Strike that. 


It's not amazing.


It sucks.


Real bad. 


When I used to fantasize about my life, it was quite like the things people post on Facebook - all happy, hunky dory stuff which makes others (mostly) envious and (some) joyous. Ironically, my timeline of memories looks more lively than my recent updates. 


I know people say that all those FB posts are hogwash and it's just attention seeking behaviour. Well, what can I say. They succeed!


I know folks say you ought to count your blessings. I am a stupid woman who does not understand that maxim. 


I know the Gita says you should do your karma without expecting any return. I am not that pious or generous.


I feel out of place and forced to behave normal on days when I am low. Is this what's called depression? 


I am doing very well at work, this is probably the best phase of my career, but I just want to take a sabbatical. I don't want to interact with anyone. I don't want to be alone. I don't want to think about the next meal or the next salary. I want to do all I can for my family. I want to make them happy. I don't care what anyone says about me. I want to fight for my rights. I want to not bother about anything or anyone.  


I used to be full of spunk and energy. I used to always have a plan and a big smile on my face. 

I am getting old. It's now a task to gather myself and do some things that excited me before.


Yes, I am reading - finished the 3 trilogy by Shobha Nihalani. Going on to The Girl with All the Gifts. Got a few more tucked into my to-read shelf. Trying to blog when I can. Came to know that Roadies X4 has begun so catching up with that. Been partying with the friends and colleagues at Bar Stock Exchange, Fly High, Cuba Libre. Watched Sultan and found it boring. Hate India and Indians for letting Salman go scott-free....

But end of the day. Duh. Listless. Lonely. Tired of it all.

But my parents... Damn! They're a different, unique breed. So energetic and enthusiastic about life though they are twice(+) my age!


Here's a little something for them. Coz they're awesome!

***

Dear Mom and Pop, Abba and Ammi,


Been a while since I wrote to you,
My anger more tangible and frequent than my affection;
My actions and thoughts receive your support,
Even when they deserve beration.

As I look back at all that you’ve done for me,
And I look forth at your unconditional love;
I realize that whatever I say or do for you,
Could hardly be enough.

The annoyance comes and goes,
As people we’re poles apart;
And yet I know that I will always,
Adore you from my heart.

So blessed to have a relation,
So profound and not sham;
Coz I thank you for being who you are,
And I applaud you for making me who I am.

 ***

“The most beautiful feeling in the world is to see your parents smiling, and knowing that you are the reason behind that smile.” I wish I could give them more reasons and less hurt.

No matter how badly I fell or failed, they have always been there to pick me up and boost my confidence. They have always treated me like a winner, and that is the reason for all my achievements in life. 

Papa, Mummy, Abba, Ammi - Thank you for always forgiving me, accepting me and encouraging me with your words and actions. Raising Aarush is teaching me how much you love me, and he is more fortunate than I am to have outstanding grandparents like you. Thank you for being the best parents and grandparents in the world. I love you.

Forever indebted,

Anuja 

***

Cheerio Guys!
Princess

Thursday, June 9

Namma Bengaluru

Hi Buds, 

Writing in from Bangalore. 

Feeling Aarush-sick. 

I last saw him on Sunday when I left him at his Naani's since I would be travelling on business. The first two days are always okay as I revel in my freedom, eat and do what I please and sleep like a log. Third days are tough and the following are pure torture. I watch all those baby videos on Facebook and feel dismal. When I hear him coo-cooing in the background as I speak to mom, I can hardly hold back tears. Can't wait to be back home, hug and cuddle and kiss him all over. My little baby. Being a working mother has it's share of sacrifices and compromises. 

Bangalore is pleasant with rains and a packed agenda. Good to meet my colleagues and hit the party joints once again after October last year. Last night at Watson's was pretty nice, and tonight shall be another adventure I suppose. Will probably take a dip in the rooftop swimming pool this evening after work before I head to the hangouts. 

While I still have to finish the last few pages of Nine's sequel, I have started reading The Girl with All the Gifts. A stunning start, and I'm super curious to know where the story is heading and what the clandestine context is. More on that as I delve deeper.

Meanwhile, you may congratulate yours truly for a salary hike and title change: I am now Location Lead for Pune and Bangalore at Hitachi Consulting. While I was doing the job anyway, this title is more suitable and reflective of my span of control. 

So hurray, and take care!

Ciao.

Love,
Anuja