Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 134: A good ending to a good month

March has come to an end wonderfully well! I think the month overall was pretty good and now today, the last day, it got better.

I made some great progress at work. When you do marketing at P&G one of the biggest jobs you have is to "qualify" ideas which basically means you need to put them into research and make sure that it is a winning proposition for the consumers. Today I got the results of 5 concepts that had gone into such a research and ALL FIVE qualified! Am super duper happy because it is a huge load off my chest! To celebrate, my manager and my team member who works in market research and I are going for breakfast together (sounds lame I know but one of them has lunch plans and I will be on a flight to Delhi during dinner time. So.)

Then to make things happier, I realized that I have excercised a total of 19 days this month. That's a record! My highest so far was 16 only and that was in Mar'09 and Dec'09. So Mar'10 is really quite a breakthrough! Yay! Now I can happily go for the brother-in-law's wedding in Kanpur and celebrate my achievement by hogging on some yummilicious food for 10 days!

And to top all the sense of achievement, my friend who went back to our old school (where I studied for 12 glorious years) to invite the teachers for her wedding, tells me that all the teachers asked about me and had some sweet things to say. It made me go Awwwww.... :) Miss them all!

On a side note, I am not sure whether I will be able to write any blog entries for the next 11 days thanks to Kanpur's unreliable electricity conditions, computer quality as well as the wedding storm I might be swirling in. But I shall be taking note of what made me happy every single day and will be posting when am back.

So there. Great month. Great day.

866 more to go.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 133: Office. Night. Darts.

Today I worked until late at office. By late, I mean until about 9:15 pm. The reason was that I have a lot to get through before going on my exactly-6-days-away-from-work holiday. OK, to be fair, my manager did assure me that no matter how much I work now, when I come back from the holiday I would still find my projects at exactly the same situation I left them, with no progress. Her confidence on this, however, did not deter me in my quest for finishing up whatever I can.

Now, I had no intention of staying until 9:15pm in the office. The agreement with the hubby was that we would leave our respective offices at 8:50pm. However at 8:50 pm, in true hubby-fashion, he promptly changed the time of departure to 9:15pm. But I had already kind of started packing up and didn't feel like getting back to work.

That's when I figured that I am the only person left on the floor. There was no one but me and the desks and the chairs and the random bottles of shampoos and conditioners lying around. I was fascinated. I did just what I normally do when I find myself alone. I started singing at the top of my voice. One cannot waste such opportunities to excercise one's vocal talents without the risk of scaring a fellow human being out of his/her wits.

In any case, the singing didn't last for long. Because just after about 3minutes into it, I discovered that there is a pretty funky electronically enabled dart board in the office pantry. So I decided to play darts. My first attempt at throwing was pretty successful. I was almost close to the bull's eye! Encouraged by my beginner's luck, I grabbed more darts and started throwing them. That's when I realized that there was only one working dart among all of them. Rest had their pointed noses broken, leaving them to be pretty useless in clinging on the board. So I went back to the first dart and threw that again. This time it locked itself in a position far away from bull's eye. Pathetic throw it was.

I decided to give it another shot but when I tried to pull out that single working dart from the dart board, it didn't budge. It just clung onto the board with all its strength as if it was scared that I would break its precious pointy nose with my directionless throws. I pulled and pulled and pulled with no success. So I finally gave up and decided that it was a pretty great game nevertheless.

An empty office. Night time. Dart board. Two throws. Lots of fun.

I am pretty sure that tomorrow morning that sole working dart will be clinging to its far-away-from-bull's-eye position as a testament to my late night darting adventure.

867 more to go.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 132: Progress in health, beauty and social lives

Today was quite a significant day for three reasons:

a) I finally found one thing that I enjoy having and is yet healthy - Green Tea! Seriously, this day is like a milestone in my life because I don't think I like any kind of healthy food. I am not a fan of fruits. I am not a fan of vegetables, unless they are deliciously cooked in Indian style which usually makes them pretty unhealthy anyway. I am not a fan of fish and not of any kind of grilled meat etc. etc. etc. But today I gave up my half a cup of morning-mocha and decided to try green tea, the much recommended healthy beverage. The verdict: I love it! And I forsee myself having it all the time. So am quite happy to have taken a step towards eating (or drinking) healthy and making the diet-gods pleased.

b) I bought a tube of hair conditioner (oh-my-freaking-God)! This is yet another momentous occassion because I haven't bought a conditioner since 2004 when I was interning at P&G. That time someone sold the merits of the P&G brand Pantene to me and I used it for a while. I found it good but soon discovered that I am not cut out to be a hair-conditioner-user. It's just way too much hassle. However today, I happened to shop for conditioners for my mother in law. She had requested me to get her one when I go back to India later this week. But I was utterly confused about what to buy. The rows and rows of conditioners in all shapes and sizes stared at me from Watsons' shelves. Sure, being the die-hard P&G lover that I am, I didn't even glance at Elseve or Dove or Sunsilk but still I had a lot to choose from. Then my eyes fell on the Herbal Essences range and I caught myself smiling at all their pinks and purples and oranges and blues. Such happy colours! Soon I got a Herbal Essence conditioner AND also a Pantene conditioner (so I make at least 2 P&G brands happy) for my mom-in-law. (On a side note, I work for Head & Shoulders but there was no H&S conditioner available). Anyway, coming back to the point... after I bought mom-in-law a nice purple bottle of conditioner, I felt that a conditioner is THE product that is crucial to my beauty needs and I picked up a blue bottle for myself. So there, tomorrow onwards, am gonna have awesome hair.

c) After making huge progress in both my health and beauty lives, I tackled my social life. I caught up with a friend from Malaysia whom I had not met for the last 9 months! She used to work with me on SK-II and was in town today. It was absolutely lovely to catch up with her!

So all in all, a very productive day.

868 more to go.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Day 131: We are set!

I had written a couple of times about the dances I was preparing for my brother in laws wedding which is in just two weeks time. There were supposed to be two performances - a solo of mine and then another one together with my husband. Even though we were rehearsing on and off the last few weeks, we were far from being really prepared as there were too many mistakes, half-finished steps, etc etc. But TODAY, we finally managed to have an awesome rehearsal! The energy, the finishing and the performances were finally good! I was so thrilled! We are set, baby!

To celebrate this event, hubby and I went to our favourite Kerala restaurant Swadishth and had one Thalassery Biriyani each. Now I cannot breathe coz am full to the brim but I am feeling so satisfied!

869 more to go.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 130: Amazing Earth Day!

I must say I had a fun Earth Day today! We were at Orchard Road Wisma Atria to get myself new set of contact lens and we realized that they are celebrating Earth Day with great pomp and show. They invited all customers to their rooftop terrace for star gazing. They had huge telescopes set up and I saw the moon, saturn and M42 cluster through them! It was so much fun! It was my first experience with an actual telescope and it was so amazing to see all those heavenly bodies up and close! For a minute, I did consider astronomy as a hobby that I must pursue.

Then we realized that the whole of Orchard Road was lined up with performances to entertain the crowd during the Earth Hour. We watched some percussion and dance performances, which I absolutely loved!

All in all, a great evening!

870 more to go.

Day 129: Well Done, Abba

26 March, 2010

That's the name of the movie that I watched yesterday and what a movie! So simple, so entertaining and so intelligent! I have been converted to a die-hard Shyam Benegal fan! Watching Well Done, Abba made me full of smiles! A good end to a hectic week.

871 more to go.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Day 128: A New Project

I had written here about a dream project I have for which I got a music track sent by newly-found-composer friend. And I had also written here about how a filmmaker friend whom I have not even met took the trouble to send me the DVD of his latest film all the way from UAE.

I watched it over the weekend and was absolutely WOW-ed. It's brilliantly made! After watching that film, I realized that he and his team are more capable of making this 'dream project' of mine come true than I am. Their skill set was so very apt for it!

So a couple of days ago, I shared the concept with him. And I was absolutely thrilled that he was as excited about it as I was. Even though the conversation about it has been progressing over a few days, today things started falling into place a lot clearer. He had already given a lot of thought to the project and it also looks like I will be acting in this dream project (which makes me hop and skip)! Since it is very much in its infant stages, I will not be sharing any further details and I will be working on it only post 'Mausams'.

But still it feel absolutely great to know that this dream project might just turn into a reality pretty soon! The music and the technical skills were the two main barriers I had for not starting on it earlier, but now it looks like it is actually going to happen! Man, I am so excited!

872 more to go.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 127: I am Pitta and I shall not cheat

Today I made a revolutionary discovery. I realized that I am Pitta! If you have no clue what I am talking about, no worries. Until this morning I had no clue either. But thanks to a friend, now I am enlightened and feeling absolutely terrific about it. Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the three body-mind constitutions according to Ayurveda. It basically talks about how different people have characteristics about different elements in them - Vata: Air/Space, Pitta: Fire/Water but more on fire, Kapha: Water/Earth. And these actually regulate a lot of things about your body and mind. If you need more details about it check the link out. There you can figure out which of the three you are supposed to be as well.

The idea is that figuring this out will then help you figure out what kind of food you must eat and what excercise you must do etc. etc. But that's not what made me all excited. What made me excited is that I finally know why I am the way I am. I finally know why I am always hungry, I finally know why I am prone to acne, I finally know why my hair seems to turn brown naturally, I finally know why I am so hotheaded etc. etc. It was such a revelation to know that it is all part of Nature's special design and not really my fault! Yay!

And for some reason, I felt super cool to be Pitta - i.e. predominantly fire. My vivid imagination painted a rather extensive picture of me behaving like fire - blazing, spitting, snarling. I think I was so overcome with my imagination that I gave an impressive scowl all the way from office to yoga.

OK so coming to the cheating part. Am sure many of you are reading this post only because of the word "cheat" in the title, so let me get to it now.

I go for hot yoga (a.k.a Bikram Yoga). The secret at City Hall Bikram Yoga studios is that it is not consistently hot everywhere. So there are some corners where it is cooler and some where it is hotter. And I make sure I get a spot at the cooler corners every class which, in a way, is cheating. But today, since I was feeling all fiery and fiesty in the spirit of being Pitta, I told myself "NO more cheating at Yoga. I shall stand at the hottest spot."

And so I did. Within 10 minutes into the class I regretted it also. But good news is that I am alive and kicking still. So today I stood at the hottest spot in my yoga class out of choice. And today I know I am Pitta (somehow, saying that still gives me a kick)!

873 more to go.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Day 126: A Simple Decision

Today I was feeling pretty miserable. I felt bad that I was gonna miss yet another day of yoga because of the humungous amount of work I have at office. I could have made it only if I went for the 8pm class. But going for 8pm class would mean that I will reach home only at 10:30, leaving very little time to spend with my mom today. So either way I would feel guilty. Guilty for not spending time with mom and going for yoga or guilty for not going for yoga and spending time with mom. A lose-lose situation.

I narrated my predicament to a friend who readily said, "Skip yoga. You can get back to it when you are more free. Have fun with mom! That won't be possible always." Such a simple thing she said, but suddenly my mind was so clear. I could make my decision immediately and that too without feeling guilty about anything. It was no longer a lose-lose situation but just a clear winning situation.

I readily came back home to my mother and hogged on FIVE whole chappathis (which is 2-3 more than my usual serving) and vegetable curry.

I am amused at how I failed to see that the decision was so simple. Am just glad that I saw it even though it was after a few confusing hours.

874 more to go.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Day 125: MJ, Cabbie and I

Today I returned home early from work. The purpose was to make sure I get some excercise before I sit down for 7 hours of meetings that would last until 10:30 pm. Accordingly I took a cab back home at noon.

The radio in the cab was on and they started to play "We are the World" by Michael Jackson and other artists. When the first chorus came on, both the cabbie and I started to sing along! "We are the wooooorrrllldd....." we crooned at the same time much to both of our surprise and amusement! Then we sang along the rest of the song together. It was really, really, really, really, really, really nice!

If you are wondering why there are so many "really"s there, here's why. Michael Jackson, a.k.a MJ was my childhood idol. I used to be such a die hard fan that my mom still says she happens to find one picture or other of him in some nook or corner of the house. I used to collect all possible pictures and songs, used to watch his videos on MTV over and over and over again and used to talk with my fellow die-hard MJ fans about his works ALL the time. In fact, when the news of his death came after all these years, people started to contact me telling me that hearing about him reminded them of me. Such was my adoration.

Today when I sang 'We are the World' together with that stranger of a cabbie, it vividly brought back some childhood memories. It reminded me of how a few friends and I used to absolutely blast MJ songs in our school van every single trip. This self proclaimed MJ Fan Club consisted of myself and a couple of other very good girl friends of mine. Even though we were few in number, we used make such a fuss that the van driver used to play only what we wanted, much to the annoyance of the non MJ loving boys in the van (who, in our opinion those days, were artistically challenged).

After I came to Singapore, I was no longer in touch with his works for various reasons but when I heard the news of his death, I quickly went back to listen to his music and watch his videos for days at end. Then I went and watched 'This is it', the film they made out of the rehearsal videos of his final series of shows-to-be and man, there is no denying that he is the biggest creative visionary to have landed on this planet! The way he sings, the way he dances, the way he composes, the way he writes, the way he directs....The Man was a Genius. No matter what else happened with him, there's no denying that! Watching him work his magic on stage, past 50 years of age was such an inspiration.

So this one is for the King Of Pop. Thank you for the music and for all those memories.
Rest In Peace.

875 more to go.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 124: A Song for Me

Yesterday the beautiful thing in my life was that I decided to be the peacemaker and I waved the White Flag. After waving it, I went to bed. The recepient of the flag-waving, i.e. the hubby, spent a significant part of the night with his friends and got back home by 4:20 am apparently. So we obviously didn't get a chance to discuss the flag in the night.

This morning, I was in for a pleasant surprise. Firstly, we both were in good moods and were ready to forgive and forget. Almost, at least. I was ready to forgive and forget completely but hubby could not seem to get over the idea that I have painted a bad picture of his "communication skills" in the blog post. According to him, it sounded nothing like the actual conversation that took place between us. OK fine, I might have missed out some rather insignificant details but that was the overall gist. Anyway that's not the point.

The P.O.I.N.T is that, as I was writing yesterday's White Flag blog entry, the hubby was sitting in some cafe in Singapore penning down a Song for me! OK, not for me but for my film. Still, the film is mine and I like to think that the song was for me too. He was actually writing the lyrics for a potential song for 'Mausams'. That was like seriously "Awwwww" stuff for me and made my day today after I read it!

Here are a few lines from it:
Chahe koi bhi ho mausam
Sapnon ko karein chase hum
Yeh safar na ho kabhi khatam
Bas, aise hi beetein yeh Mausams.

876 more to go.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 123: The White Flag

You know what's weird? I'll tell you. It's weird how everything in life seems to go wrong when things turn sour with a person you care about. Even if all else seem to go perfectly, just one tiny wrong equation with that person ruins everything. It's damn annoying, I tell you. Especially if the person in question is the by-now-famous-on-this-blog hubby of mine.

OK, here's the background - these days I generally feel that my life is all rosy. Busy, but rosy. Work is OK. Film is making slow but steady progress. Am making some really good friends via this blog as well as via similar interests in film-making. I have finally found THE cause I wanna work for - Prajwala. And just when I should be flying high in the sky, what do I do? I fight with the hubby. About what? A stupid insurance policy. Like, really!

Here's an excerpt from the conversation (a.k.a. The Fight):
He: I have told my insurance agent that we will be taking insurance for our house. If either of us die, it will pay off the remaining mortgage.
Me: I don't want it.
He: But I told her we will take.
Me: You take. I don't want. I already have so many policies I can't keep track.
He: But you have to take it. I told her.
Me: Who asked you to tell her?
He: But I told her!
Me: OK FINE! I will take it.
He: You need to take a medical test.
Me: What?
He: You need to take a medical test before we can get the insurance.
Me: Oh, too much trouble. Forget it.
He: Am going for it tomorrow.
Me: OK you go. Am not going.
He: But you MUST go. I will go only if you go.
Me: Huh? OK then don't go.
He: But we MUST go.
Me: Seriously, what's with you and this insurance agent? Why can't you say no?!
He: What can't you come?!

People tell me that I roll my eyes when I am frustrated. By this time in the conversation, I bet my eyes were rolling all around the place and were risking popping out once and for all.

Anyway, in a nutshell, within 15 minutes we both came to the ultimate conclusion that getting married was the stupidest thing in the world to do. After feeling satisfied by the fact that we agree on something at least, we parted ways. I went for a script discussion and he went for yoga.

The script discussion went pretty well. I should be popping bottles of champagne for all the work I have managed to do over the week and how it has ended with a productive script discussion but I am not being able to. Because today, I realize that apparently everything else makes me happy only if this fellow is happy as well. Blah.

In any case, since am supposed to be on a quest for 1000 beautiful days, I shall be the first to break the ice. And this post serves as a white flag from me to him (it will also serve as a test to check whether he is indeed reading my blogs like he claims to. Ha!).

877 more to go.

P.S. This does not mean that I am gonna take that insurance. Just FYI.

Day 122: Ending an Exhausting Week

19 March, 2010

Yesterday was the culmination of an exhausting week. As you could easily figure out from the posts, too many things were happening at work, on the film, my social life etc over the week. Yesterday too was no exception. I still had tons of work, I had several calls for the film - calling up prospective location managers, writing to media authority of Singapore, calls with prospective editor, chatting with a friend on some editing and lighting issues, meeting a friend who has offered help on the website design etc. etc. etc. With all that and everything else over the week, kind of left me absolutely exhausted! I just could not wait to get back home and plonk myself on the bed.

Even though all the above things tired me out, I loved doing all of it so it's all good. On top of that a friend forwarded my Prajwala note to all his friends with even more passion for the cause that I could have expected! That brought a smile, a big one!

So I love the way the week ended. Exhausting but Productive!

878 more to go.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 121: Costume Manager, Mahurat Picture and '3 for $10'

My life seems to be jam packed recently. Like, SO MANY things seem to be happening every day that bullet-point format is slowly turning out to be my standard way of writing the blogposts!

I don't know whether there are actually more happy things in my life or whether I am just learning to be happy with a lot more things than usual. Either way, talking about just one thing doesn't seem to cut it these days!

So here are the highlights from today. Today was special because...

a) Two months ago I had sent out a call for the production crew of the film (for 5 production roles, to be exact) that successfully got two responses. Now, these respondents promptly disappeared after I told them what their expected responsibilities are. So I had very little hope of finding anyone for help and had been all set to work on everything myself. But today, a darling colleague of mine came up to me and asked me whether she could be the costume manager and makeup/hair stylist for the film. She is quite beauty savvy and I have no doubt of her capability on this. But more importantly, when I told her what I expected on the role, she didn't flinch. Based on my previous experience from the earlier respondents, I was expecting her to flee. However, she stood her ground rather firmly. So as of today, I have my costume manager cum makeup artist cum hair stylist. Yeah baby!

b) I had written here about the Mahurat for the film. Obviously it was a big deal for the team but none would have seen any photographs of the event. Well, it's not because I didn't want to display it to the world. It's because there were a grand total of THREE pictures from the event and they looked Horrible, thanks to my excellent photography skills. Not just horrible in terms of quality but also horrible because none of them have the full team members. Some members, including myself, don't feature in any of the three pics. Well, to be fair, we were more interested in the prayer and the rehearsals and less about taking pictures during the process. But after the Mahurat, I did feel like an idiot for not making sure that there is at least one decent photo.
Anyway, my friend from M.E.T films whom I had talked about here, was very keen to see the Mahurat pictures. Our conversation was something like this:

He: Where are the Mahurat pictures?
Me: Forget them. They are bad.
He: Where are the Mahurat pictures?
Me: Forget them. They are hopeless.
He: Where are the Mahurat pictures?
Me: Forget them. They are useless.
He: Where are the Mahurat pictures?
Me: Ugh. Sigh. I will send them to you.

I sent them to him and warned him that he is not to make any comment on the lack of any quality photos or my photography skills. Well, he didn't comment as he feared for dear life. But I could sense from his tone later on that he hadn't expect them to be that bad.

Instead of forgetting about them, guess what he did?! He very cleverly combined two of the three photos and made it to a decent one that actually is worth sharing! So here I am sharing, for the first time, the edited and the only shot from the 'Mausams' Mahurat!

Needless to say, that made me hop and skip for the rest of the day!

c) I played mother to my mother. There is a shop called "3 for $10" that has branches all over Singapore and it is a paradise for bargain lovers. You get all kinds of accessories, bags, watches etc. at 3 pieces for $10 as the name aptly suggests. My mom loves going there and she happened to see one today as well. She barged in and went nuts, just like you see kids behave in toy stores. She was confused out of her mind figuring out what all to buy. So finally, the good maternal daughter that I am, I chided her gently and got her get out of the shop after 30 mins and three purchses. For $10, but of course.

879 more to go.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 120: Thank You in Advance!

I had been racking my brain over what to blog about today. No, it's not because the day was so bad that I couldn't figure out what to write on. In fact, the day was not bad at all! It was actually a pretty good one and I feel on top of the world!

Work was tough but I managed to survive through it. I successfully completed shot breakdowns for a few more scenes from the film. I had a great bonding time with a colleague. I got one more unexpected positive feedback about this blog from a person who is a total stranger but obviously, a very kind and sweet one! Prajwala membership on Facebook has increased to 209 with 17 of my friends joining up since yesterday! A contact called me up to let me know about a cinematographer cum editor who is willing to help out with my film, for free, if I feel it necessary!

And last but not the least, a good friend told me something very sweet. She had always been wanting to help out with the film work but because of her busy schedule she couldn't. Apparently yesterday night, she saw a dream. The dream was that she watched a trailer of my film. And in her dream, she liked it so much that she felt like an idiot for not being part of the film's making process. And that's when (after she woke up) she realized how much she wanted to help out with the film and she came to talk to me about it.

I was so touched!

One can never say how a film or a play or any other work of art would end up. If you are lucky, only half the world would hate it. If you are really really lucky, more than half the world would love it. So, being part of any such project is a risk in a way and all you can do is enjoy the process as much as you can and leave the rest to God. Hence, when more and more people express their interest to be part of it, inspite of really knowing how it would turn out, I feel very good about it. In her case, she has been thinking about it enough to actually dream about it. So that was very touching.

Anyway, all the above things had happened today making me happy and also giving me enough material to write about... but still, I was bumming around for a while figuring exactly how to go about it. I was confused for some reason. I happened to mention this to a friend who came online. I told him that I am happy but can't figure out what to write. He said, "So be happy. Keep it short. Say 'I just love all you guys. It was a great day. Thank you for keeping me happy always.'"

Well, the chap had a point there. Today was good because of the people around me. So here we go.... Thank you for keeping me happy!

(Was hoping to write that on the 1000th day but looks like it came 880 days in advance, but what the heck!)

880 more to go.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 119: So many things, all wonderful!

Wow, what a day!

I think I will need to follow my bullet-point format to go through all that has excited me today!

a) I got three old friends from school back in my life via Facebook (and another one just yesterday). Four old friends in 2 days - that has not happened before I think. So catching up with them was very, very nice! It is such a great feeling to hear from long lost contacts. Somehow you feel a lot closer to them when they are back after such a long time because they bring a bunch of memories and pieces of yourself with them.

b) I got so many enquiries over the past couple of days about what my mom has been upto, since I don't mention her in my blog anymore. Well, I do think she is stealing my thunder here and becoming the heroine of my blogs (which incidentally, she is quite pleased to hear). Rest assured, my mom will be here with me in Singapore for another two weeks. And today I got to spend the whole day with her and her alone since I worked from home and my hubby was not around in the evening as well. These were some of the activities that happened over the day i) She narrated how yesterday, she and her north indian Hindi-speaking son-in-law discussed the green nail polish of the Mallu actress in the Mallu serial/soap when the actress was wearing Black (the lack of matching colours shocked both of them and before you ask, no I was not around because I was at my computer doing better things at that time), ii) She forced me to drink soy milk which is a new addition to her current diet plan, iii) She made me some really awesome dosas iv) She and I went shopping and had our favourite "Pepper Lunch" for dinner.

c) I had talked about being a "Friend of Prajwala" here. And I believed that the first step I must take is to make sure that more people are aware of Prajwala's existence and the work they do. When I visited Prajwala's Facebook page today, it had about 192 members. For an organization that has saved 5000 children and 3200 women, that was just sad. So I took some time to spread the word among my friends and requested them to take the small step of at least showing the support (if they believe in the cause) via Facebook which takes hardly any effort at all. The last I checked, Prajwala's membership on FB has grown to 200. A very small step, but still a step!

d) A few of these good-souled new members of Prajwala responded to me and declared their keen interest and commitment to the cause. If the 'Friend of Prajwala' movement starts in Singapore, these individuals have promised their help in any whichever way possible. I feel very thankful for that and very encouraged to see that there are more people who feel as strongly about this and who wants to do something other than feel sorry and send prayers. I felt that the step taken got a little bigger with that!

e) I sent another email with the activities I am planning for "Friends of Prajwala" to Dr. Sunitha Krishnan, the founder of Prajwala (watch her TED talk here, if you have not already done will not regret it). She has responded with a very encouraging email and has promised to get back with more details as soon as she gets to India (she is currently in New York). I feel very honoured to receive each email from her... I think she is right at the top of the list of people who inspire me.

So a wonderful day, all in all.

881 more to go.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 118: Advice to Me

This morning I was feeling pretty good about myself. I had imparted a large amount of wisdom to two people who had complained about how different things were not working out for them. Basically both these individuals are smart, strong, healthy, good-looking and successful and I believe they don't really have any BIG problem in their lives but were just caught up in some of the smaller things that were not really working according to their expectations.

So I told them exactly that. That a) They should be looking at the big picture, b) Life is about living in the moment and it is not worth worrying about these small things because after a short while, it will turn out to be completely insignificant, c) They should believe in themselves more than anyone else because that's what would help them go on with life, d) They should be the master of their feeligns and not vice versa, And e-z) more such super cool nuggets of higher order knowledge.

I dunno whether the receiving parties of my highly intellectual advice felt the same, but I sure felt that I did a magnificent job of bringing light and joy to the world and the morning was all hunky-dory for me.

Then evening came and together with it, some bad news. One of the locations I was hoping to get for the film shoot turned out to be more expensive than what I can afford. I readily felt bad. It was not just about not getting this location. It was also about once again realizing how much more difficult this film making is than what I had expected. It's pretty discouraging and I readily reacted to the bad news in a way I seem to react to everything these days - I tweeted. About how I wish I had a filthy-rich, film-mogul dad who has a production house so I can just happily make my films.

After making that wishful tweet and spending five minutes of pretending that the world has come to an end, I realized that I should not be cribbing. At least not today, of all days. I mean, all that effort in the morning to be the #1 counsellor in the world would totally go wasted if I didn't incorporate my superb insights into my own life. So I spent around 10 minutes recapping points a-z above and asked myself to get over it.

I went for a 5.5km run and came back with the decision that I will go with my back-up idea on my location anyway. It is a risky option and hence I was not keen on it before but then again, this whole idea of wanting to make a film itself is risky. So there. I know what to do now. Problem solved.

It does help to practise what one preaches, once in a while.

882 more to go.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Day 117: A Friend of Prajwala

Recently I came across this video of Dr. Sunitha Krishnan, the founder of Prajwala, an anti-trafficking organization in India. I had read about this phenomenal lady before but watching the video had left me horrified and feeling utterly confused. Horrified because I couldn't believe the atrocities that she had described in it - they are no less heinous as the ruthless activities we hear in the name of terrorism every day but the former in fact seem even more widespread. Confused because I just cant seem to imagine why anyone would commit such atrocities but more importantly, what can I do about it.

I tend to ignore the bad things that happen in the world and see only the good things. Sure, I feel bad about the distant stories I hear. For example, that of people losing everything one day - in the Tsunami, in Haiti, in Burma etc and I react by making a small donation and moving on with my life. Or I feel bad when I see the terrorist attacks - 9/11, 26/11 etc. and I react by making a small prayer and moving on with my life. When things are closer, for example when I personally visit an orhpanage or an old age home, I might do a bit more like what I have written here, and that's really the max I have gotten myself to do so far.

But having watched that video, I realize this is not enough. Not only because Dr. Krishnan is a huge-hearted, brave and awe-inspiring person who makes the rest of us look like pathetic, selfish, smaller beings but also because what she is fighting against - trafficking of women and children, is something that should not be happening at all! It is not a natural disaster that we are helpless about, it is not about a community that doesn't have an identity or means of survival and seems to be fighting for one (like what many terrorist organizations claim), it is not an issue such as poverty or illiteracy that comes with a gigantic population and several social and economic factors playing hand in hand. It is something that has sprung up simply because some people in the world have an (apparently) uncontrollable sexual craving and sadistic outlook that they inflict upon helpless women and children. That is just wrong!

I wanted to help out somehow but I was not sure how. I knew that being part of Prajwala would not only help me help these women and children but it would also give me the chance to work on something that has bothered me over years.

I doubt whether any girl who has grown up as part of the Indian middle class or lower, has been spared sexual harassment of some kind - the Indian roads, buses and trains are nightmares for women and I too have had several horrible experiences. And like 99% of the women, I too have suffered in silence and later escaped to the safe haven of Singapore, never wanting to go back. What you see on the video link above is the extreme form of such harassments and I feel that collectively this undignified filth must be eradicated.

I took some time to read up more on Prajwala's activities and the kind of help they would need. I finally wrote to Dr. Krishnan saying that I would like to commit any help that I can offer from here in Singapore, including design of publicity materials.

And she has replied back. She has suggested that I start a 'Friends of Prajwala' group in Singapore and has responded that she will get back with content that I can work for the publicity materials. I will be honoured to start off a 'Friend of Prajwala' group in Singapore. I am not yet sure what would the activities be and what the group can do exactly but I believe that even if it is to get 10 people to be aware of what’s happening around them and get them to react and not ignore, it would be worth it.

So as of today, I make my commitment as a ‘Friend of Prajwala’.

883 more to go.

Day 116: Vinaithandi Varuvaya

Vinaithandi Varuvaya (which will be henceforth referred to as 'VV') is a recently released Tamil movie directed by Gautham Menon. Today after a productive 7-hour rehearsal for my film, I decided to go watch 'VV', something which I had been planning for so long now. And man, I loved it!

I go crazy about movies (which should be pretty obvious for those who know me). I am super passionate about films and I can talk hours about them. So watching a movie that moves me makes the day for me completely. I keep rewinding the scenes and watch them in my head over and over again long after the show is over. And 'VV' would easily fall into that category!

Sure, it has got its de-merits - drags a lot in the second half, dialogues get repetitive, choreography leaves a lot to be desired, background score jars at times etc. But I so didn't care!!

You see, I think the hardest kind of film to make is the one that says the simplest of stories but is yet an engaging and entertaining watch. Now, it is even harder to make a movie like that if the subject chosen is love because it has been done to death. At the end of the day there can only be two love stories - the one where the lovers get together and the one where they don't. But 'VV' has managed to do just that - tell a simple love story in an engaging, entertaining, realistic and relatable manner! That alone makes me so wonderstruck!

I don't intend to turn this into a review but I have to say that a lot of the impact had to do with the wonderful songs in the movie about which I had already written about here. Listening to them is such a pleasure and watching them was too.

Plus I learnt a small lesson from watching the film as well.

I am awed and wowed by how the genius Mr. Menon can get his actors to put up such terrific performances! The leads in the film are nowhere on top of the acting proficiency list otherwise, but they have completely taken me by surprise in this film. As a wannabe director myself, I have a HUGE amount of respect to Mr. Menon for this because it shows his perseverance in getting the best out of his cast!

After the 7-hour rehearsal with my actors today, I was already feeling tired. I have a tendency to give up and compromise if something doesn't go right after a few takes. But after watching this film, am so inspired to get the exact right expression from my cast for every single shot without making a compromise, during my shoot. The movie taught me that it would be the best investment to make and I should not give up on that!

I have been entertained and I have been a taught a lesson. What more can I ask?

884 more to go.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Day 115: The Surprise Portfolio!

Looks like the surprises from yesterday are continuing today as well!

Today I got a completely different kind of email than I had ever received before. It was an actual, very formal, official portfolio of an actor from India who wrote to me expressing his interest to be part of 'Mausams', the film am attempting to make. It had a proper bio-data that explained his background, physical attributes and acting experience and also a selection of photos of him in different styles and angles. Sure, I cracked up when I saw his shirt-less six-pack exposing shots but I am sure it is part of the standard acting portfolio in India where actors need to claim a great physique if they are vying for leading commercial roles.

In any case, I must say that it felt really good receiving that email!

You see, I am one of the smallest of the smallest fries of the world that claim to be in film-making. A self-proclaimed writer, producer and director with absolutely nothing substantial to back up these claims. And am just following a passion when am trying to make this film. So I had never, even in my wildest imagination, expected to receive a proper portfolio from a serious actor! Am not sure how he got my email id and why he thought he could be part of this film, considering he is in India and am making this here in Singapore, but for a few minutes there I felt like a real director.

885 more to go.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Day 114: Three Surprises

Life is full of surprises!

This morning was supposed to be like any other weekday morning. Waking up, dragging myself to office, getting the regular Breadtalk chicken curry bun and cup of Mocha, opening up my laptop, writing down my things-to-do for the day, reading my emails and start on the day's work.

Well, all the above happened just as I was expecting them to but with a small difference. As I was reading my emails, one email popped up and completley took me by surprise and made the rest of the day for me! The email came from a lady in Melbourne, a complete stranger to me.

She wrote that she had come across this blog somehow and have been following it regularly and showed a great deal of enthusiasm in all the work I do, including the film-making. A perfect stranger, mind you! She ended her note saying "hope this mail makes you happy". I was flabbergasted. "Happy?!" I replied to her "It is more like overjoyed and elated"!

It is not just about having a complete stranger tell you that she enjoys reading what you write... it is also about how she took the effort to communicate this to me. She absolutely had no need to do that.

That made me realize that I have been a selfish pig for so many years, reading up great articles online and completely enjoying them, without even once bothering to compliment the writer behind it. So this gesture by her was an eye-opening experience for me! An acknowledgement goes a long way in making a person's day and mine was definitely made by her today!

Having said that, I really want to use this post to also acknowledge two other surprises I had over the last few weeks which, for one reason or the other, I had not written about on this blog. But I think I will do that now, because it makes my heart glow everytime I think about them and the least I can do is acknowledge them here.

Surprise One
Obviously the whole world knows that I am making a film. I have talked about it over and over again and several people are involved in this project - as cast, crew etc. However, one person, made an unexpected contribution to it, taking me by surprise completely. This person is a film-maker from UAE and a friend of mine. A few weeks ago, I had shared my ideas for a teaser poster with him over a casual chat. I told him that I really want to make one for the film, which was to be called 'Mausams' and will be set in Singapore. Within a couple of hours post that chat, he sent me the below - his vision for a teaser poster for Mausams. Note that he was not responding to a request I made or making his contribution as an official member of the film crew. He did it as a way to encourage me and the film, making a simple yet impactful contribution, expecting absolutely nothing in return. I had no words!

Surprise Two
I had written here about how I was introduced to a music composer by a friend whom I had not met for a long time. Now this composer and I exchanged a few emails post our introduction. I told him that music for 'Mausams' had already progressed a bit but there is this another dream project that I have in mind, which would need music. I told him that I plan to work on it only post Mausams towards the end of 2010, but explained to him just in 3-4 sentences on the story plot and the kind of music it might require. And it surprised the heck out of me when this boy sent me a track over the following weekend that was exactly in line with what I had in mind! I was dumbfounded. Not just by his talent but by his effort, sincerity and proactivity!

Really, I consider it as nothing but a privilege to know individuals like these who go out of their way for someone else. And the surprises that they give make me grin ear to ear.

Respect to them!

886 more to go.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Day 113: Standing Bow Pose - Check!

I have given the background on my journey with yoga here. So I shall not repeat myself on why this is important or special but today, I have cracked one more yoga posture - The Standing Bow Pose!

887 more to go.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day 112: A Mother, A Son and A Graduation

Sometimes you can't help but feel how blessed you are to have the kind of life you do.

A maid comes to my house once every week to help with the cleaning and ironing. She is terrific at what she does, really! My house literally sparkles every time she comes and many visitors have even commented on that! She is also highly trustworthy. My husband and I leave the house under her care for hours without a second thought.

So today, she made her weekly visit and did her magic. When she was done, she asked me for an advance payment of a few hundred dollars to visit her home country for her son's graduation.

I felt really small and couldn't help but think of how lucky I am to be where I am.

Here's a lady, much older to me, who lives thousands of kilometers away from her family, and has the job of cleaning up other people's houses. She has worked and saved hard for so many years, has managed to support her son through college and now he is about to graduate. It must be a huge dream come true and such a proud moment for her! But she found herself in a situation that she has to ask for a loan to join her son and be part of this wonderful moment.

I think she felt horrible asking me for the money, because she was beginning to give me a long explanation on why she wants to go. Things like she hasn't been home for more than two years and how her son really wants her there etc. I stopped her before she could go on further. There was no need. I would not want my mother to be in her place and it would be a privilege if I can be part of something so special in her life, even if in a miniscule way.

Here is to a mother's dream come true.

888 more to go.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Day 111: Yoga through Migraine

Today I skipped work. I had a bad night's sleep yesterday and woke up with all kinds of aches such as headache, back ache, neck ache and shoulder ache. I believe it has got a lot to do with the all the 15-hour work days last week followed by the hectic mahurat and mock shoots and the dance rehearsals over the weekend. In any case, I was in no condition to go to work, so I took a medical leave today. I slept through most of the day and by evening, everything except the darn headache had subsided.

In the spirit of making every day special (which in turn means to do something useful and not just sleep away), I decided to go for yoga no matter what. So with a splitting headache throughout, I struggled through the 1.5 hours in the hot room. I still have the persistant headache but I feel like a warrior!

889 more to go.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Day 110: Mixed Bag

Today I happened to do a LOT of things.

a) Danced for 2 hours - It was the rehearsal for the brother-in-law's wedding that's only a month away now. More than dancing, I got my husband to dance more than he has ever danced before. So that was an achievement.
b) Earring Adventure - I had written here that my mom and I had gotten our ears pierced with a second hole each. We had a stud on them when the hole was pierced but today we tried to change from the stud to a ring. It was one painful experience I must say because the wound had not healed fully and our impatience resulted in not-so-pleasant an experience. However the mother-daughter team kept at it until we successfully gotten the rings on. Now we are happy and can't stop looking at the mirror!
c) 3 Films - I am not sure exactly how I managed it, but looks like I watched three whole movies today. My favourite out of the lot - "Thiruvilayaadu Aaaramabam", a Tamil masala flick that I found pretty enjoyable except for the climax.
d) Gift Shopping - A few weddings are coming up and we went hunting for gifts with considerable success. I hate shopping so the fact that we made some progress is pretty commendable.
e) TGIF - I realized that a new TGIF has opened on Orchard Road and I had my first ever meal at TGIF. We had Boneless Wings, Fajita, Fried Shrimps an Fries all of which were really yummilicious! And being the foodie that I am, a good meal is always welcome!

All in all, a packed and fun day!

890 more to go.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 109: Mahurat!

When they make a film in India, there is a custom of organizing a prayer and having an official start to the entire shoot process and this event of prayer and first day of shoot is called a Mahurat in Hindi. Since I am making a film, I too decided to start off with a Mahurat, inspite of the fact that my film is nowhere close to a proper Indian film production! But who cares about that? It is always good to start off with a prayer.

So the entire cast came along today together with my technical crew. We had a small prayer, took a couple of mock shots on the camera to test the general look and feel and had a few rounds of rehearsals. The whole thing lasted about 4 hours and it was so much fun!

But it also makes me very jittery because the film work has officially begun and now there is no looking back! Since many people are involved in this, my only prayer was that I know what I am doing and am not wasting everyone's time and effort.

Whichever way it goes, today was definitely a fun day that I would remember for a long time to come.

891 more to go.

Day 108: Ear Piercing Partners

March 5, 2010

Over the past few days, I had written about how my mom is making me a partner of her newly developed excercise regime. She has gotten me to run 4kms thrice in the last 5 days as she goes on her walks on the treadmill. She has also been trying to make me a partner of her dieting plan as well, but with considerably less success. Today our partnership was taken to a whole new level.

I had to make some purchases for the official start of my film tomorrow and for that purpose, my mom and I were taking a stroll in Little India. As we passed the "Mukuthi Corner" shop, I told my mom that was where I had gotten my nose pierced a couple of years ago. She said that she have been toying around with the idea of getting a second hole pierced on her ears and entered the shop to "simply check the price". Upon confirming that it was as cheap as $15 for both ears together, she felt that it was quite a bargain but stood hesitating there because of her fear of pain. Then the shopkeeper (who I find really sweet for some reason) convinced her that it would be a completely painless process. Anyway before you know it, she got her ears pierced! After that she chose a pair of pretty earrings that she can change to after the wound heals in a couple of days.

Her post-piercing excitement was quite infectious. She kept repeating how this was a life long desire and that she couldn't believe she waited for so long to get it done because the whole process was such a piece of cake. She went on and on and out of the blue, I was convinced that getting a second piercing on the ears is the best thing that could possibly happen to any girl. So I too got my ears pierced (and I must say that it wasn't as painless as it was portrayed to be) and chose a pair of earrings that I can change to later as well.

So there we were. The Mom-Daughter Ear-Piercing Partners.

As we were admiring the beauty of our newly pierced ears in the shop's mirror, Mom commented how Goddess Mariamman blessed us today. Well, I don't quite see the point of that one with respect to the ear-piercing, since we had to pay and go through the pain. But yes, the experience was pretty special alright! We kept looking at each others' ears with a major sense of accomplishment and giggled through the rest of the evening!

892 more to go.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 107: Rosy Little World

Suddenly I feel that the people of the world are all so damn nice! OK, maybe not all but today I feel like at least I am surrounded by a whole lot of them! People are helping me out of the blue, standing up for me out of the blue, just generally caring for me out of blue. Here are a few examples,

a) A friend, whom I have not talked to in ages (at least 12 years)sees my film's teaser poster, talks about it with his music-composer friend who in turn, offers to help out with the music for the film! And he did that completely on his own without me asking for anything!
b) A friend, also a cast member, decides that she wants to help me out with something and puts me through to a full-time-ad-maker friend of hers who can advice me on anything I need help with. Again, completely on her own!
c) At work, a colleague stands up for me in a most unexpected way.
d) A friend, whom I have not even met, remembers me and invites me a second time for an event that I completely (and irresponsibly) had forgotten about.
e) A friend, an aspiring film maker from UAE whom I have not met also, is taking the trouble to send me a DVD of his latest film all the way from there, simply because I expressed an interest to watch it.
f) And last but not the least, a friend asked me whether I was OK. I guess he got to know about my work load from the constant cribbing I have been dishing out on social media and he decided to ask me whether I was OK.

I am so darn OK! See how super good everyone around me is? All that makes me so wanna smile! All small things to the people involved maybe, but goes a long way in making me feel so super nice! Ah!

893 more to go.

Day 106: Taking a break

March 3, 2010

Yesterday, after work, I was exhausted. Like really really so. The past few days have been crazy with work and also all the film preparation. So yesterday after work, I decided that am not gonna do anything more for the day. No film work. No excercise. No reading. No surfing. No blogging. Ok I must admit that the last two happened also because I did not have any internet connection in the evening at home, but still they count!

So yesterday was special because I had an absolutely quiet evening with nothing on my mind other than enjoying the dinner my mom made, some mindless TV watching and then going to bed early. And I believe that has helped a lot in refreshing my mind and recharging me today to take on work both at office and on the film later on.

Sometimes taking a break IS indeed required.

894 more to go.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 105: Mom-Daughter Partnership

My mom, all of a sudden, is heavily into dieting and excercising and generally caring for her own well being. She has managed to lose around 5 kilos from dieting over the past 1 month and now is all excited about excercising and losing even more. So she actually pushed me to go to the gym today. So there she was on one treadmill and me on the other. She walked, I ran. For around half an hour. More than the calories burnt, the bonding time was amazing! This is the first time she and I have done something like this together ever! We have travelled together, watched movies together, gone hiking through the jungles of Kerala together (but my dad was always around for that) etc. but never excercised for the sake of excercising together ever. So that was quite nice!

The only issue is that after the workout, she makes me drink milk and eat bananas. Am not sure why exactly should I be part of her diet plan on top of her excercise plan but I guess it's a package deal.

895 more to go.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 104: Punctured Tyre

Today I took my mom on her pilgrimage to Mustafa Shopping Centre, something which she can absolutely not do without everytime she comes to Singapore. Note that this is just the first of several expected visits to this shrine over the next one month.

After a lot of window shopping and some actual shopping, we had a good meal and took a cab back. Half way down the journey, while we were on the expressway, the car seemed to have some difficulty in moving and made all kinda noises. It was also tilting a bit to one side. All the cars passing by had people frantically honking and waving at our car towards the tyre. Our cabbie casually said "Puncture lah!". OK... wouldn't that mean he would stop somewhere since the car is tilting now? But no, he kept on for a few kilometeres while my mom called all possible Gods for help. His concern was more on how not to cause a jam on the expressway which had no space for a car to park. I was with him on that. Many a time I had sworn at the guys who had caused a jam on the expressway and I didn't want to be on the receiving end of it.

Finally he stopped at a petrol bunk. I hopped out to see the tyre and I must say that a chappathi would have looked less flat than it. It looked stretched out and wrinkled like a 100 year old granny who hasn't ever used skincare in her life. Cabbie made a few noises which I interpreted to be disappointment at the tyre's pathetic situation. I also joined him with random exclamations because I was very excited to see such a flat tyre. He then tried filling it with air which readily left the tyre through some unseen hole. "I don't think that would work", I ventured helpfully. "You take another cab lah", he ventured helpfully. OK, fair enough.

So with all our Mustafa bags, my mom and I walked around that petrol bunk looking for another cab, talking very excitedly about our adventure which has already been elevated to a near-to-death-experience status. Am not sure how dangerous a punctured tyre is, but my mom and I had decided that it is a big deal and the dramatic blood that runs in our veins makes us very "happy to be alive".

896 more to go.