Sunday, 18 June 2017

Memories of Milan

As a part of an official trip to Italy, I got an opportunity to explore Milan. The shared walls and the architecture in Europe always awes me. So I didn’t care that I had very limited time. I put on my comfortable shoes, packed some quick bites, ensured that the camera is fully charged and walked across the streets of Milan. On day one (I had just couple of hours), I first went to Piazza Duomo and the walked around the market square. And on a Friday evening, went around Sforza castle and the walked across the Simplon Park and saw the Porta Sempione also. Here are some glimpses of the Fashion Capital. Though I have to tell you that I didn’t buy any clothes. There was so much of sightseeing to do!!!!

Piazza Duomo is located in the heart of Milan. It is a cathedral surrounded by a market square.

 

We can climb up the cathedral through steps or elevator (the exhausted me chose the elevator)!

 

I say, that's an angel clicked by a demon

 

It was a hot and sunny day. And although it was well around 7PM, the Sun was refusing to set. Some shade was all we all needed!

 

Sforza Castle is the treasure house of the famous Last Supper of Leomardo Da Vinci. Unfortunately, I could not see that because by the time we reached the castle was closed. I missed it; but I am glad that I was somewhere near its vicinity. 


It was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan


 

 Porta Sempione - The Central gate of Milan, behind the Sforza castle

 

Simplon Park, a brilliant patch of green on the way from the Sforza Castle to the Porta Sempione

 

Though it looks like a majestic mansion, it is the Milan Centrale Station -  We can catch trains and metros. And of course do some extensive shopping. It is no less than a mall!


The railings that took me across Italy!

I should say Italy is a delight for art lovers. Give an artist a few Euros and your time, they will sketch you also. I tried and it looks a lot like me!


Some flavors of India in a foreign land is always a delight!


The shared walls... Streets of Milan!



x

Saturday, 10 June 2017

An Unsigned Painting

He painted beautifully;
In the canvas called my life.
And, left it unsigned.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

Details of the Book
No. of Pages   : 208 pages
ISBN               : 0061122092 (ISBN13: 9780061122095)
Language        : English
                                                  

From the book blurb
From Paulo Coelho, author of the international bestseller The Alchemist, comes a poignant, richly poetic story that reflects the depth of love and life.

Rarely does adolescent love reach its full potential, but what happens when two young lovers reunite after eleven years? Time has transformed Pilar into a strong and independent woman, while her devoted childhood friend has grown into a handsome and charismatic spiritual leader. She has learned well how to bury her feelings… and he has turned to religion as a refuge from his raging inner conflicts.

Now they are together once again, embarking on a journey fraught with difficulties, as long-buried demons of blame and resentment resurface after more than a decade. But in a small village in the French Pyrenees, by the waters of the River Piedra, a most special relationship will be reexamined in the dazzling light of some of life's biggest questions.


Author
Paulo Coelho, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, is one of the bestselling and most influential authors in the world. The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, The Valkyries, Brida, Veronika Decides to Die, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello and The Winner Stands Alone, among others, have sold 115 million copies in more than 160 countries.



What I think
By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept is the first book in Paulo Coelho's famous trilogy called and On the Seventh Day. The other two parts are Veronika Decides to Die and The Devil and Miss Prym. The trilogy is based on the story of an ordinary person who experiences various extraordinary things in the duration of a week. The title of this novel is taken from an incipit available in the bible. It is a story that is basically about love but has various rituals from paganism. It is a book that informs readers about female divinity.

The book tells the story of Pilar, an independent young woman who becomes frustrated with the daily grind of university life and sets out on a journey to look for the meaning of life. And soon Pilar meets a friend, who happens to be her childhood sweetheart but is now a spiritual leader, healer and miracle worker. And soon they go on a journey together, through the French Pyrenees in their search for the true meaning of life. The story continues in a small village near the River Piedra, where the adolescent love between Pilar and her childhood friend blooms once again.

It is a book that tells readers about importance of love and how it is not a hindrance to one's dreams. It tells the story about a journey, filled with emotions and conflicts, as Pilar searches for the true meaning in life.

Rating
4/5

Some words that stole my heart
©       “Waiting is painful. Forgetting is painful. But not knowing which to do is the worst kind of suffering.”
©       “If pain must come, may it come quickly. Because I have a life to live, and I need to live it in the best way possible. If he has to make a choice, may he make it now. Then I will either wait for him or forget him.”
©       “Love is a trap. When it appears, we see only its light, not its shadows.”
©       “That is why I write - to try to turn sadness into longing, solitude into remembrance.”

Friday, 2 June 2017

Unparallel Dreams

“You will find a handsome… ever caring and loving life partner soon”, she blessed the girl.

“I wish your son was not commitment phobic and was matured enough to take up the responsibilities. I wish he was my life partner”, the girl thought. A lump was formed in her throat and she found it difficult to swallow.

“I wish you were my daughter in law. I wish my son not only loved you but also married you”, thought the mother.

Somewhere far away from these two women who loved him unconditionally, he was busy living his life in his terms. Unmindful of the pain he was causing to others; stubborn enough to stick to his ideologies.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

No Rules!!! - Zentangles


The beauty about Zentangles and the doodling is that there is no rules.
You create your own rules… And that’s the fun, I believe!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Sankey Tank, Bangalore

An early morning stroll across the Sankey Tank, a manmade lake or tank located in Bangalore, India 
It was constructed in 1882, as a safeguard against water shortages

Its a nice place to walk around, the water body cooling down the atmosphere

Floating nest

Ducks seem to be having a good time too!

And there are lots of pigeons... Its such a joy to see them fly -  so free and happy - unlike most of us!

They say, fly high!



Saturday, 20 May 2017

Let me Free

I feel like a bird…
Caged in your heart…
Let me free

Let me fly!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Tu Tu Mein Mein - 30

Mind   : What is wrong with you?
Heart : Nothing. Why?
Mind   : You look distracted and sad
Heart : Come on, I am not. I am telling (smiles)
Mind   : You are smiling, but it doesn’t reach your eyes. Tell me what is wrong!
Heart : You mean I am faking? Why would I do that?
Mind   : When did I say that?
Heart : You don’t even realize what you say. You don’t care if your words hurt others
Mind   : Does this mean I am the reason for your sadness?
Heart : Yes! You are the ONLY reason (agitated)
Mind   : In that case, you could have told me that
Heart : I just told you
Mind   : Yes, you just told me. But not when I asked.
Heart : I am not answerable to you, remember? (Irritated)
Mind   : Okay, I get that. Leave it.
Heart : If everything is okay with you, why do you ask?
Mind   : I am sorry. I made a big mistake by asking if you are okay (sighs)
Heart : See, now you are irritated
Mind   : I am irritated? You seriously think so?
Heart : What do you mean? Of course you are. I am anything but irritated
Mind   : Fine (Walks off)
Heart : FINE (Yells back. Starts crying. Feels sad)

Thursday, 11 May 2017

I think about you...

I think about you...
And I wonder if you were a dream.
A fragment of my imagination?
A part of my illusion?

I think about you...
And I wish it was different.
Can I revisit and rewrite?
Can I erase and start afresh?

I think about you...
And your smiling face flashes in my mind.
Why does it spread emptiness in my heart?
Why does it pain so much?

I think about you, my love
Day and night…
In dreams and fantasies
In happiness and sadness.

I just think about you
Because you are my soulmate
Unmindful of the pricking reality;
And the shadowing helplessness.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Pa. Paandi

Cast
:
Rajkiran, Revathi
Prasanna, Chaya Singh
Dhanush, Madonna Sebastine
Director
:
Dhanush
Cinematographer
:
Velraj
Music
:
Sean Roldan
Editor
:
Prasanna GK
Producer
:
Wunderbar Films
Release Date
:
April 14, 2017
Length
:
2 Hours & 32 Minutes
Language
:
Tamizh

My Thoughts
Dhanush’s first directorial venture Pa Paandi is a heartwarming story of past sixty year old man (Raj Kiran). Born as Paandian Pazhanisami in a small village, he moves to Chennai and becomes a celebrated stunt master in cinema. That’s when he rechristens himself as Power Pandi so as to make his name catchier. His son (Prasanna) is a workaholic. He also comes across as strict and rigid, mostly due to his overt concerns. He is married (Chaya Singh) and has two children; these kids are the lifeline of old Paandi. In a subtle way, the director has conveyed the indispensable role reversal that would happen in any family – children treating their aged parents like a small child and the related suffocation that any parent would feel. Hoots for Dhanush for taking up such an unconventional story and handling it in the most subtle manner possible. There are no out of the world dialogs or any hint of over dramatization. The dialogs are mostly minimal; often thought provoking or claps worthy. The relationship between the grandfather and the grandchildren is well established. Although the generation gap between the father and son could be a major reason for the drift, substantive plots to showcase their moments of togetherness is missing. The pre-intermission scenes comes across as a shocker – a deviation from clichés and perceptions. Second half brings younger version of Pandi (Dhanush) and narrates his experience of first love with Poonthendral (Madonna Sebastine). There are a few cute eye to eye moments. However, its sweetness is nothing compared to the scenes that follows in present between older Pandi and older Poonthendral (Revathi). The movie shouts – age is just a number and that we should never stop living for ourselves.

Pa Paandi has a rich ensemble of stars, all of them rightly fitting into their skin. The background music adds to the sweetness of the narration. Venpani Malarae hits us like a cold breeze. The cinematographer has beautifully captured two eras (present and past). The fight scenes involving Rajkiran could look too cinematic. Yet, it is a means to convey that “you decide your age” and don’t let your biological clock decide that.

Rajkiran as Pa.Paandi shines in every frame. He has brilliantly brought out the innocence and helplessness of the character. He is surely the show stealer. So is his younger counterpart – Dhanush. He infuses lots of energy and youngness into the narration. Revathi is charming and looks very beautiful. So does Madonna Sebastine. Prasanna as the strict son will definitely strike a chord with the middle aged folks. His transition from being aggressive to helpless is effortlessly portrayed. It was a pleasure to see Chaya Singh, TV anchor Divyadarshini (DD) and Vidyullekha Raman on screen.

Overall, Pa Paandi is a breath of fresh air in Tamizh film industry. Although many movies are made with middle aged or old people as the central characters in Hindi and Malayalam, such movies are almost non-existent in Tamizh. Hats off to Dhanush for being a game changer.

Pa Pandi is like a beautiful melody.
Take your family. Go to the cinemas and enjoy this.

Rating
3.5/5


Monday, 1 May 2017

Bahubali 2: The Conclusion

Cast
:
Prabhas, Rana Daggubati
Anushka Shetty, Tamannaah
Satyaraj, Ramya Krishna, Nassar, Rohini
Director
:
S S Rajamouli
Cinematographer
:
K K Senthil Kumar
Music
:
M M Keeravani
Editor
:
Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao
Producer
:
Arka Media Works
Release Date
:
April 28, 2017
Length
:
2 Hours & 48 Minutes
Language
:
Telugu/Tamizh/Hindi/Malayalam

My Thoughts
Since the release of Bahubali – The Beginning, entire nation has been waiting to know the answer to the burning question - why Kattappa killed Bahubali? Rajamouli’s Bahubali 2: The Conclusion solves the mystery in style. The second and final instalment is much wider in scale, the emotions are deeper and the lead – Prabhas (Bahubali) and Rana (Ballaladeva) are more beefed up. Of course, Anushka (Devesena) is more beautiful.

Bahubali 2: The Conclusion is the usual story of love, dirty politics and betrayal. But, the way it is presented on screen makes it nothing less than an epic. One man’s (Rajamouli) vision is made true by a brilliant assortment of technicians. Art director Sabu Cyril’s sets infuses life to the extravagant palace of Devasena and the fictional Mahishmathi/Magizhmadhi. Senthil Kumar’s cinematography makes the flying boats, army of men and arrows realistic. Special mention to the CGI and VFX team who have helped in presenting the world of Bahubali in the realistically. Keeravani’s background music gels with the scenes and helps in evoking the right emotions in audience. But, the songs are not as catchy as its prequel. The editor’s cut makes the climatic scenes engrossing.

Prabhas as Amarendra Bahubali and Mahendra Bahubali/Shivudu is a treat to watch. He becomes the real-life version of all the kings who were a part of our bedtime stories during childhood. Amarendra Bahubali, especially is so loveable – a perfect son, warrior and lover! Hats off to the actor for his relentless dedication. Rana as Ballaladeva is cunning and silently plays his cards until the climax. If there is someone who can fight the bulky and strong Mahendra Bahubali (who could carry heavy Shiva Lingam, climb mountains with ease and what not), it is Ballaladeva. Watch out the duo in the climax fight sequence! Every inch of Anushka as the brave and beautiful Devasena looks like a Princess. She is opinionated and fearless; a feminist too. If there can be someone who can sideline the dominating and aggressive Rajamatha Sivagami (Remya Krishna), it is Devasena. And, I have no words to describe Remya Krishna. Her eyes speak; they emit power. She shines in the midst of towering presence of Prabhas and Rana. Nassar as the crippled Bijjaladeva/Pingaladeva is similar to Shakuni in Mahabharatha – capable of manipulation. Sathyaraj, as the pivotal Kattappa, emotes the dilemma with ease. Tamannaah and Rohini could be seen only in a couple of scenes.

In short, the cast and crew of Bahubali 2: The Conclusion have given their best and beyond. The end result is a spell bounding 168 minutes of visual treat which is both gripping and awe-inspiring. Hoots and shouts to the visionary director – watch out (again) for the climatic fight sequence. His imagination has no limits!

Well, the movie is not flawless. But, it doesn’t bore you and are minor. That’s all matters at the end of the day, isn’t it? And, worry not if you missed the prequel. This movie could be enjoyed as a standalone film.

Bahubali 2: The Conclusion is a pride. Don’t miss it!

Rating
4/5


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

What is a Relationship?

L
ast day I was thinking, what relationship is all about? Is it caring and unconditional love? Or is it togetherness and trust. If you notice, the last two sentences are contradicting.  Caring and unconditional love could be one sided. But togetherness and trust is built through interpersonal relationship. When the first sentence supports unrequited love, the second shouts companionship. With each passing day, I realize that I prefer and need companionship more than love.  What is the use when someone in a distant land is missing you, thinking about you and has promised to be there for you when you need them? “I will be there when you need me”, is a subjective term to be more specific. I might need you now. I might not need you for the next two months. I mean, such needs are driven by emotions and situations. And what is a greater joy than knowing that someone is waiting to hear you speak at the end of the day? Isn’t it delightful to let your hair down and be yourself? But this overrated concept of love has spoiled everything; killed every aspect of companionship. Needless to mention the glorification of unrequited love has only cold bloodedly killed relationship further.


“I won't ever leave you, even though you're always leaving me.”
- Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife


Well, let me come back to the same question - what relationship is all about? Is it more about togetherness than separation? Words than silence? Present than a past and anticipated future? A lifetime holding each other’s hands than hope of embracing each other in death? Physical presence than absence.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Jakarta Journal

Last month I got an opportunity to travel to Jakarta, Indonesia. We landed on a Saturday night and we went around the city on Sunday. 

We started our day by visiting the National Monument which is built to commemorate the struggle for Indonesian independence. 

National Monument is surrounded by several small shops, a perfect place to buy souvenirs!! 


These prints are cool, aren't they?



All set to go...!
From there, we headed to the Jakarta Historical Museum. It included items from the prehistory period of the city. However, everything was written in local language. So found it a little difficult to understand. 

Right next to the Jakarta Historical Museum, there are two other museums. Out of them Wayang Museum displays the Javan puppetry. However, due to lack of proper research from our side and language constraints, we missed it. We knew there is a puppet museum; but failed to know that Wayang means puppets!!!

These neon colored cycles were available on hourly rent. Riding it around with the hat was fun! Any guesses on which color cycle we hired? :P


Our last stop for the day was Ancol beach, after doing some shopping at ITC Mangga Dua. We reached during sunset and had a good time enjoying the hues of sky.  
We also took a boat ride. The cold breeze was a treat for the scorching heat we were subjected to. 




Peek-a-boo with the sunshine!

Love locks - But this was not in use anymore

Some loud music and dancing session was in progress.

A restaurant surrounded by water!

We were tiered as the darkness enveloped us. But, we kick started the trip with a bang, I guess!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Fake Reflection

H
er door was always closed... Curtains were always pulled...
So that she wouldn't look at what she was missing...
Her dreams which were crushed in the name of secured career...
Her passion which was killed in the name of extensive work hours to climb up the ladder...
Her family and friends who were estranged for spending more time at office...
And of course, herself for putting up an act everyday...


But her subordinates considered her as an achiever and looked up to her as inspiration.