Tuesday, December 03, 2019

The Bliss of Cubana


How many moments do you have in your life when you actually have that feeling of "bliss"? When you know you are happy and nothing exists outside of that moment?

I have had a few in my life and if you just muttered "Lucky duck!" you are absolutely right. One recent moment that I want to share with you happened a couple of months ago in "Cubana".

In case you don't know it, Cubana is a Tapas Bar in Sheffield. This is where I used to go for my dance classes. I learnt to dance salsa there, and also learnt to dance Kizomba. At one point it became such an integral part of my life that I could not imagine a Tuesday night without Kizomba at Cubana. If I started driving from my home without thinking about it, my car would drive to Cubana on autopilot!

Of course, I must give part of the credit to my dance teacher Richard Chongtham who taught the classes and DJ'ed the after-class socials. The Cubana provided a nice backdrop but Richard made it come alive with his classes and his music. The lovely people populating the dance floor helped a lot as well!

So, the moment. This was one of these Tuesday nights when I was there after the class enjoying the social. At this precise moment, I was plopped down on one of the sofas like it was own my living room and watching the dancers dance. I had had some dances already and I knew I would have some more soon. There were my lovely friends around me and my favourite DJ was playing Kizomba music (Shhh..don't tell Richard, he gets airs!)



At that moment if you had asked me to rank my life on the happiness scale, I would have put it at precisely 100%.

Now, Cubana and RCDance (Richard's company) are changing it up. Cubana will do something different on Tuesday nights and Richard will hold his classes someplace else. Nothing lasts forever in this ever changing world.

But I have the memories of the wonderful moments, that one and a lot more moments in Cubana. So, thanks to the Cubana management (they are genuinely nice people) and thanks to Richard. And, of course, to my dance family!



Here's to the moments of bliss and the people who contribute to them!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

6 Lessons I Learnt From 9/11


Whether I like it or not on this day I am reminded of that day. I was in US, in Philadelphia, working in an American company. The news came as it happened and we watched as the horrific events unfolded. It was not a good day for humanity and I know it shook everybody's faith for a moment.

From the events of the 9/11 and the aftermath, I have a learnt a few lessons that I'd like to share with you.

1. Life is short, don't get stuck in trivial stuff.
2. We got through it as humans, we can get through anything with each other's help.
3. The best thing we can do is to be kind to others at every opportunity we get.
4. Things can always get worse, but that would be no life to live in the fear of that. Be thankful for what we have and be strong to face what we must.
5. Love and kindness should not be reserved for those related to you or close to you. There are so many stories from ground zero that show the value of kindness and compassion wherever it is needed.
6. Even horrors at this level cannot kill our humanity. We went on, and we will carry on.

Peace!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Earworm Episode - The Big Bang Theory


Wow! What an episode! The Big Bang Theory season 9 episode 10.

Sheldon gets a song stuck in his head that he can't stop humming it but can't remember which song it is. The combination of these 2 things starts driving him crazy. It takes him more than half an episode to figure out which song it is.

Then he wonders why he had this song stuck in his head. The chain of reasoning takes him back to Amy and how she softened his life. This leads to Sheldon saying one of my most favourite romantic lines "She's like the dryer sheets of my heart."

I feel that that's an amazing way of thinking about a romantic partner, somebody who softens your life, someone who makes life more fun and who gives you the strength to face life's challenges. Love is the thing that makes you weak and strong at the same time!

The way they have written this episode, and how they have edited it - it is fantastic!

Also, the other man in the picture, the actor called "Stephen Merchant" (tall, British, Dave on screen) his role is so hilarious I was laughing out loud even when watching the episode a second time.

This is one of my very favourite episodes, my recommendation is - go and watch it again.

Generally speaking, the writers of TBBT are really good in writing fights and resolution scenes. There are so many that I can't name them all but see how they created then resolved the issue at the time of Leonard's marriage.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Bharat - Made For Stupid Audience - Movie Review


"If you cast popular stars and put some masala scenes, helped by some clever editing, then even if the film has no story it will be a great film." That's the thought behind this film.

I really like Salman Khan, he has a great screen presence. But if he stars in a formula crap I can't say that it's a good film. This is a pathetic execution of a lame idea and you can see that in everything. There are a couple of formula scenes which are ok, but on the whole it's a stupid film made while thinking that the public is stupid.

Salman's acting is very good, but weak in the old avatar. The director, and the actors, have no idea how an old person talks, walks and behaves. It's like they have never observed an old person of the human species.

The make up artists of this film should be expelled out of the industry! The main characters who are supposed to be old are actually made to look like cosplay characters.

I had said after "Tiger Zinda Hai" that I have finally seen Katrina act. Unfortunately, that streak stopped there. Nobody can blame her of "acting" in this film. She's a beautiful girl and directors usually use her for her glamorous presence. In this film even that's not there. Her dialog delivery is her weakest part and they have given her way too many lines in this film.

"The promise of a man to his father." that's the catch line of the synposis. What stupid rot! If he had not promised he would not take care of his family? WTH, man!

It was not so boring that I could not finish it but there were 7 places where it pissed me off and I wanted to turn it off because it offended my sensibilities. Still, I somehow finished it.

I am so glad I didn't go to the cinema for it. Thank god for Amazon Prime Video.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Circle of Obvious Advice



I used to make fun of my dad for giving the same advice every time I travelled. I mean, come on, I was 'mature', I was not a kid anymore. For God's sake, I was going to another country for a professional job! How much more responsible and adult could I get?

But no, he would give the same advice every single time "Go carefully. Keep everything secure. Passports, visa, do you have your ticket?" etc. etc.

And today when two of my young friends are travelling from India across the globe I am so anxious to give the same advice "Do you have your passport? Visa? It will be crowded on the airport, don't drop anything. Be careful while taking photos. Have you packed your warm clothes?"

Very annoying, right? They are young only compared to me but they are mature and smart people in their own right. They are quite capable of taking care of themselves and bright enough to make their way for their success.

But this urge, this need to give the most obvious advice doesn't come from a logical place it's more of an emotional need. We say those things because we care about the person even if we they don't need that advice. When someone says "drive safe" it's not like you'd have driven into a telephone pole without their advice, it's that they care about you and would like to see you safe and happy.

All that preamble to say "Bon voyage" to my friends Harsha and Sagar! Take care, guys!

Safe paths and happy trails! 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Compassion Above All Else


I have done a post before about how sometimes I am conflicted when I like somebody whose work I admire but they are not a great person outside of their creative work. This post is the reverse of that.

While re-re-re-watching The Big Bang Theory, I came to season 8, episode 15. This is the episode in which Howard's mother, Mrs. Wolowitz, dies while she's visiting relatives in Florida.

You may or may not know but this event was inspired, or forced, by the real events. Actress Carol Ann Susi who used to play the part of Mrs. Wolowitz passed away and the show writers had to decide what to do about it in the show. Since Mrs. Wolowitz was never seen and only heard, it was considered that either Howard or Bernadette could do her voice.

What they finally decided to do endeared them to me a lot. They wrote her death in the show, and for the next couple of episodes gave tribute to her by having the characters talk about Mrs. Wolowitz.

Don't we all have that choice in life? The event might not be as big as a death but we get these choices multiple times a day when we can treat others with disdain or with compassion.

My point is that if a TV show can teach us that, and if the heartless, selfish people of Hollywood can teach us that, then that's a wonderful sign that humanity is alive and it's strong.

Whenever you have a choice - Be Kind!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Poem: Living in the moment

Poem: Living in the moment
by: Sunny Goswami


My life is made up of moments
I must live in each moment
and let it go as it passes.
I must die at the end of each moment
to be reborn in the next.

My sorrow and happiness
are all in the moment.

My joys are all here
with me, in the moment
I don't wait for them
I don't plan them
I don't anticipate them.

My happiness is not a star
on the calendar
It's a beat in my chest
it's the butterflies in my gut.
It's quickening of my pulse.

So, is my sorrow, of the moment.
I must absorb the pain
as wholeheartedly as the joy,
I must allow it to soak through my soul
and colour me in its colour
the dark red of agony
the blue of despair
the grey of loneliness.

I must drown in the deep pool of sadness
for that moment
And let it go as the moment passes.
To be open to the next moment
with whatever it brings.




Saturday, May 25, 2019

Bollywood Moon Magic

Yes, I know nit-picking but I notice such things, can't help it.

This is a Karwa Chauth scene from the movie "Thank You". Have you ever wondered what Bollywood do without this great festival?

Here's the shot of the "Moon" on "Karwa Chauth".

The "Chauth" in the name means it's the 4th night. Karwa Chauth is celebrated on the 4th night of the Dark Lunar "Krishna Paksha". But see the Moon in the shot? Full moon. Poornmasi.

May that's what they had lying around in the studio?


For those who care (not many), see below for how the 4th night waning moon would actually look. 



The magic of Bollywood. The suspension of disbelief. Along with a fake suspended Moon over a fake city skyline? 


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

My Daily Vlog


Sorry, I forgot to tell you guys, I am doing a daily vlog these days. It's already 28 days old at the time of this writing. Here is a link to the latest episode:




Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Osho by Sunny Episode 4 - And some context for it


So, the scene is that a young, handsome, filmstar, playing a young, handsome contemporary boy in a film is standing outside in a tense situation, he's a little bit nervous and smoking a cigarette.

The text on the screen says "Cigarette smoking is injurious to health."

Now what is the message that goes to the viewers, the impressionable young viewers who are in the same age group as the young man on the screen?

This is one of those things where the government is ticking a box and delivering itself of any responsibility by making the filmmakers put that one line of text on the screen, the cigarette companies are laughing up their sleeves, and the filmmakers are turning a blind eye to what they are doing to the young public.

It is another example of the kind of conditioning that we go through without even realising it. This is what I was talking about in my video - Osho by Sunny episode 4.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqN8XCXLxhA

Have you ever wondered (or even noticed) why there's not even a single scene of anyone smoking, in any of my movies, ever?

Friday, February 08, 2019

Zero - What an aptly titled movie

They have named it perfectly - Zero!




It gets zero stars from me on a scale of 10.  I tried to watch it properly, couldn't, so skimmed through it slowly hoping to some good scenes that might give me the traction to carry on watching. No such luck. It still seemed way too long and dragging.

The main star cast is also perfectly matched - Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif, Anushka Sharma. None of the three have ever tried to act and they match perfectly in this steaming pile of ....cringe-worthy scenes.

My one serious issue with it is that they have made Kat look ugly and repulsive in most of the scenes - on purpose. They have tried to show her as an alcoholic. Why would you take a beautiful girl and treat her like that? If you wanted acting you should have taken someone else. Katrina's beauty is her one plus point and they have subverted that. I take issue with that.

The scene shown on the poster (with Katrina in the slinky red gown) is not in the movie. Awful! In one or two scenes where she is not shown as a  lush she does look pretty.

It's no secret that I am not a big fan of SRK. But when the movie is good I would watch it and appreciate it despite him being in the lead role. Like KHNH or Dilwale, both entertaining movies.

"Short in stature but big on love, a bachelor meets two very different women who broaden his horizons and help him find purpose in life."

Whoever wrote this description of the movie should get all the creative prizes. He/she has made it sound a 1000% more amazing than it is.

If the Indian audience like this film, I'd say they deserve it and more crap like this that would follow!

Monday, December 24, 2018

York Christmas Market - Vlog Episode 4

I know, another one on Christmas but this one is a journey vlog, I think you'd like it for a few different reasons. ;)




What Means Christmas - Vlog Episode 3

I don't want you to miss out the cute stories so I am posting the link below:





Tuesday, December 18, 2018

My Vlog - Episode 2 - 3 Beliefs a Vlogger Needs




Thanks for the positive and supportive feedback of my friends, I decided to start my vlog. This is the episode where I talk about my plan for overcoming those limitations that I had discussed in the first issue.

I hope you enjoy it and subscribe to the channel.


Friday, December 14, 2018

My Vlog - Episode 1

I have started a Vlog recently. Here is the link for the first episode. I am not giving up on blogging, but planning to use the vlogging as a combination of blog, FB posts, and filmmaking. Enjoying it so far.

Hoping to have my blog audience enjoy the vlog as well.




Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Dil mein ek lehar si..



With apologies to other languages I will have to say that when the heart is heavy, when the head is muddled up with a million conflicting thoughts or when you don't know what really ails you..there's nothing like Urdu poetry to comfort the heart and soothe the soul.

Here is a ghazal for that kind of mood.

दिल में एक लहर से उठी है अभी
कोई ताज़ा हवा चली है अभी

भरी दुनिया में जी नहीं लगता
जाने किस चीज़ की कमी है अभी (Favourite)

कुछ तो नाज़ुक मिजाज़ हैं हम भी
और ये चोट भी नयी है अभी

शोर बरपा है खाना-ए-दिल में
कोई दीवार सी गिरी है अभी

तू शरीके-सुखन नहीं है तो क्या
हम सुखं तेरी ख़ामोशी है अभी

याद के बेनिशाँ जज़ीरों से
तेरी आवाज़ आ रही है अभी

वक़्त अच्छा भी आएगा 'नासिर'
ग़म न कर ज़िन्दगी पड़ी है अभी


Here is a Youtube link for this ghazal in ustad Ghulam Ali's voice.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoAlBP16mG8

Monday, July 30, 2018

You can't keep a good man down



I  am watching Gotham on Netflix these days. In small increments as it is a stressful show. Last week I got to the point where they assign the protagonist, Detective Jim Gordon, to the Arkham asylum. This is quite a step down for him - hard job, physical danger, and a disgraceful assignment.

But even then I was not much worried about it because I knew he would come back to his normal beat soon. And he did. He never stopped doing his best work even at that terrible job and he gave it his all even at the risk of his own health and life. Soon, he made his way back to his normal position in Homicide.

Thinking about it later, I realised that this is a common trend. Even when our beloved hero is in dire straits we never despair. When he's captured by his enemies, when he's under fire from his boss or being beaten up by goons we always know he will bounce back, maybe not in the next frame or next scene but ultimately he will.

If we know this about him, why don't we know this about us? We also go through difficult phases in life when it seems so bleak that we despair for ourselves. And we let it get us down. Why don't we have that same faith in ourselves - that in the TV serial of our life, we may be down now but in one episode or two, we will come back again. We will rise back to our previous glory and work our way up from there.

Because, be it cinema or life, you can't keep a good man (or woman) down.

Peace.


Sunday, July 08, 2018

Noor: So be_noor - The Lacklustre Blockbuster




Some movies are made for entertaining audiences, some are made to make them think, and then some are made to torture the viewers.

Noor tries to be in the second category but falls in the third.

Having already wasted 2 hours of my life on it I don't want to waste more by writing a long review so here's a quick and dirty review.

The movie sucks. It sucks from beginning to end. It sucks with a passion. It sucks like it was its full time job to suck.

It's based on a book called Karachi: You Are Killing Me but I doubt that the book sucked even half that much. (I do plan to check out the book just to verify this.)

The writing is the weakest part of the film. It just...well, sucks. Lame scene followed by lame scene full of embarrassingly lame dialogue. But the lameness is not just in the dialogue, it's lame all over, the camera angles, the set-up, everything sucks consistently.

In one shot you can even see the cameraman in the mirror. Here is the shot for you.




Actually, even though it tries to be fast-moving film the movie doesn't even get going until well after the interval. Then 2 scenes later it finishes. The scene during the credits is the final torture and is accentuated by the weak casting and poor performances.

Sonakashi is not a terrible actress only a weak one, but this would be her weakest film. Given the ridiculously lame dialogue given her she does a great job of delivering them equally lamely throughout the film. And she looks fat and ugly in the whole film but I think that's what they were going for as it's commented on several times in the whole movie.

If you escaped watching it when it was in the cinemas count your blessings and don't watch it now on the streaming services either.


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Why I love my smartphone!


Smartphones get a lot of flack. A lot.

"Phones are getting smart but people are getting dumber."
"Our phones are making us stupid."
"Remember the good old days when.."

These are just a few examples of crap people say about smartphones.

Keep in mind that anything taken to extremes can be bad including something so good as food, or a bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Or smartphones.

But if you don't take it to extremes, here are a few reasons why I love my smartphone.

"I love the internet, my friends live there."

That's true of the smartphone today. There was a time when I lived in US, I used to have to go through complicated procedures based on phone cards and landline to call my parents. From the smartphone not only did it become easier but also cheaper and I could have long conversations with my mum on absolutely nothing whenever I wanted.

With the fast internet connections and apps like Whatsapp my family can call me any time they want to talk to me.

No matter how much I hate Facebook it gives me a way to be involved in my kids' life and know what my friends are doing and thinking even when that thing is not crucial enough to warrant a call.

With the high-resolution camera, my phone lets me record wonderful things like a landscape on the way to work or a dance routine I want to review and remember later.

If I need to eat alone, and sometimes I do, my phone gives me multiple options for accompanying entertainment.

For my walks to the station my phones lets me listen to the music or an audiobook.

At work I have the option to watch a Youtube video and learn or amuse myself while I do some boring work.

It gives my friends an option to talk to me any time they want. And vice versa.

My smartphone removes the fear of driving to a new place with Google Maps being there all the time to guide me.

So, in short, my smartphone connects me with friends and family, helps me explore the world, amuses me, entertains me and informs me. I bet that's more than you can say about your wife.....and you love your wife, don't you? Well, let's not open that can of worms. Just suffice it to say I do love my smartphone and phoooey to anyone who dares to turn up her nose at it.

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