Saturday, March 21, 2009

Food Porn

I'm so hungry right now, and there is nothing edible in sight. I could of course, get up from the couch and walk to the fridge and get something to eat. But that would mean having to actually get up from this couch, which much harder than it sounds because I am the laziest person in the whole world. This is why for the last 10 minutes, I've been doing the next best thing apart from eating food, which is looking at pictures of food!

Last summer I spent some time in Singapore, and I have to say that the best part of the whole trip was the food. I have no idea how this was possible but every single thing that I put in my mouth was delicious, and everything was such a novelty to me that I couldn't stop taking touristy pictures everything I ate.

Lastly, how can anyone visit Singapore and leave the city without having an authentic Singapore Sling?

And now I should really go get that apple from the fridge, shouldn't I?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

and yet another post where Pan whines...

I've been so busy that I don't even have time to think how busy I am, and this is when I don't even have exams (those are still two weeks away). I know how silly that sounds, but its absolutely true. I'd like to make one of those amazing lists that I'm so fond of lining up the things I have to do, but I think looking at them might just freak me out, so I'm not going to do that.

No one ever told me university life is this difficult. Everyone always keeps mentioning how much fun it was for them, what an amazing time they hard, best days of their life and all that rubbish. Why do people forget to mention the important parts? Like standardized testing, lack of employment opportunities, impossible expectations grad schools combined with impossible fees and trying to handle your courses and exams through all this pressure. Its like the universe is trying its hardest to make your life as difficult as possible, and mind you, I'm one of the lucky ones because my life isn't even all that hard! I know I complain and whine all the time, but at the back of my head, I know that I don't have to struggle half as much as other people.

Its March already! MARCH! How did we end up in March? In fact, we are more than half way through March and I just noticed today that we were already in March and its almost spring, which is the most fabulous season of all time. I think the best time to enjoy Italy is spring. Its one of those periods where you are walking on the road and it suddenly strikes you that you are actually living in Italy. Who the hell even lives in Italy apart from the rich people and people photographed in postcards? At least that is how I imagined Europe to be when I was young. Its way past 6 in the evening and there is still daylight outside, and absolutely nothing that can make me unhappy right now. How can one possibly be unhappy in this weather? Its even making someone as grumpy me cheerful lately, even though I have absolutely no reason to be cheery.

Actually, I do have a reason to be cheery. I have exams until the 6th, but after that I'm going to go visit my dad half way across the world for two whole weeks. I'm really excited because I can't seem to remember the last time I had a vacation. I still have to work on my thesis during that period, but I shall conveniently ignore thinking about this for the time being. Two weeks in Hong Kong, what more could anyone want? Plus, I haven't seen my dad since January and I miss him! I also suspect that he misses me too, which means that he is going to pander to all of my irrational whims, and I'm really not going to be complaining about this.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Jai Ho!

When half my city was taken over by terrorists, there was not a single person who asked about what was happening or if I was doing okay, but now that Slumdog Millionaire has won a whole load of Oscars, I have random people asking me about Bombay at least once a day for the past week.

I don't want you to get me wrong, regardless of what I feel about the film, I totally wanted it to win in every category it was nominated for at Oscars. Its a weird Indian solidarity thing that we are just born with. And yes, I do know that its not actually an Indian film, but who really cares about these small details? Plus, I cannot think of anyone in the Indian film industry apart from A.R.Rahman (I love it how every person who reads the nominations out in award shows is unable to pronounce his name right. If you are called out to read the nominations of a certain award category, the least you can do is take some effort to get the names right!) who deserves this kind of recognition. The funny thing is that his soundtrack for this film isn't even one of his best works and yet, incredibly it seems to be getting crazy recognition.

All this said, I actually liked the film. I do think that it is overrated and the second half of the film was quite weak due to the inability of the two lead characters to act. This is really sad because I love Dev Patel and Freida Pinto. They're adorable in interviews, and Dev's next role is going to be as my favourite character in my favourite television series of all time, and I can't help but be ridiculously excited about this. In any case, my pleasure while viewing the film was muchly diminished because I kept getting distracted by Dev's fake Indian accent and Freida's pretty smiley face.

The first half of the film is fabulous. Its very Danny Boyle, and kind of reminded me of Trainspotting, which is an awesome film (I'm not not just saying this because Ewan McGregor has a naked scene in it!). As a side note, I'd like to say that I really do love all the Danny Boyle films that I've watched. Sunshine was amazing, and I don't care if I'm the only human being who liked it. I thought that it was really well made. Also, I know The Beach was awful, but I was going through a post-Titanic, Leonardo Di Caprio phase at that time and have fond memories of that movie. But I digress as usual, coming back to what I was saying, the first part of Slumdog Millionaire is really good. The child actors are brilliant, the colours, the imagery, the music, and the story have a great flow, and I can see why exactly the film was considered Oscar worthy. Then suddenly something happens, and I don't quite know what.

Actually I do know what happens, the kids grow up, the lead kid grows up into an awkward Dev Patel, who has this blank expression all through the film as if he doesn't quite know what he's doing there. His Indian accent kept making me cringe and distracting me from the actual film itself (Its a big budget Hollywood film, the least they could do is make sure they hire someone to help the lead actor get the accent right). Then, there is Freida Pinto, who smiles prettily all through the film. She barely has around 15 to 20 minutes of screen time in the film, so I suppose its hard to judge someone in that short a period, but she doesn't seem like a girl who has been sexually molested, almost sold off into prostitution and grown up in the most deplorable of circumstances, i.e the slums. You don't feel anything when you watch her on screen, apart from the thought at the back of your head about how way out of Dev's league this girl is in real life. The best adult actor in the whole film is the boy who plays the lead character's older brother on screen, the actor who has gotten the least publicity and recognition out of the entire film.

I know I sound really critical of a film that I claim to have actually liked, but I did like it. I'm just being knit picky about things that bothered me. There is also this whole part where the first half of the film is in Hindi with English subtitles and the actors randomly start talking in English from somewhere in the middle of the movie which I found a bit weird. But I kind of understand why they needed to have most of the film in English for international audiences.

The film tries hard to reach to the hearts of audiences and show them a kind of poverty, lifestyle and imagery that is completely different from what they have imagined or experienced. Everyone hears about poor people living with bad sanitation, children being sold off into prostitution and these kind of things, but here you get to see it first hand and are actually able to relate with the main characters even though they are so different from yourself. They are just two people who come from nothing and still end up being happy despite their lowly circumstances. What could possibly be a more heart-warming chick-flicky plot?

I suspect that I'd have enjoyed the film much more if I was a stranger to the country, rather than someone who has experienced and seen things like poverty, religious clashes and slums in Bombay. The people in India understandably haven't warmed up to the film. I think this is because the film hits on a nerve by portraying an aspect of the country that we are clearly embarrassed about. Do you know how slum viewing has become the next big tourist attraction in Bombay? Guided trips through the slums for foreigners to get a first hand experience of how poor people live. I hate this, and yet this is what is getting the slums the attention they clearly need from international organizations, charities and from the Indian government.