Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 225: Next Holiday

I had decided that I must release the movie, no matter what, next January. Otherwise it will just go on and on and on without a end in view and that's something I don't want obviously. I even have a tentative date - Jan 20th.

Also, after I complete the movie, I have decided not to take up any project the whole of next year. I will just do a bit of travelling and relax for an entire year. I figured that after the film is released, I would definitely deserve a long, good holiday. Plus it is my fourth anniversary next February, so it seemed like a good month to plan a holiday for.

Thus it was decided. I will visit Australia and New Zealand next year.

Travel plans always get me super excited and like everything else I want everything locked in right then and there. I decided to check out the fares and the flight timings and availability etc. etc. After much deliberation, the dates have been fixed. Feb 3 - Feb 16. This would be the longest holiday I would have taken since I started working more than five years ago. Even my marriage leave was shorter!

I called up Singapore Airlines customer service (their service R.O.C.K.S) to book the tickets by redeeming the frequent flyer miles. I spent about 20 minutes with them calculating and recalculating miles required for various itineraries.

I must say all that travel on work finally paid off! A ticket that would have costed me 2000 bucks, was mine for just 400 after the miles were used - that too for a complicated itinerary like Singapore --> Sydney --> Auckland --> Christchurch --> Singapore! Great deal! Am feeling rather clever for figuring out this deal!

So as of today my holiday planning begins and that makes feel all so AWESOME! TOTALLY looking forward to it!

775 more to go.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 224: List-making Conversation

Today was interesting. I had a TON of work like every other day but was planning to hit yoga no matter what. Then hubby called a couple of times and said that he has a "bit of free time." And usually when he has a bit of free time, it means we skip yoga and have a good dinner instead. But I was still determined to go for yoga. However, my workload won over my determination and I could not get out of office on time for the last class. So hubby and I went to Brotzeit to get a drink first. As we ran out of topics to discuss over my Bailey's Irish Cream and his glass of beer, I struck up a new thread of conversation.

That was a mistake. The conversation went from borderline sane to absolutely incomprehensible madness within minutes.

Me: Do you remember what Myer-Briggs combination you are? I only remember that I am an introvert and you are an extrovert.
He: I think I have a bit of everything in me.
Me: Erm... OK... yeah ... but still what's dominating?
He: I am everything. Really. I am The... I am One... I am The One...!
Me: But...
He: I am like the universal template God created!! (Heavy pause as he screws up his nose to remember something and I search for words) AHAM BRAHMAASMIi!! (his eyes light up as he remembers the sanskrit words for "I am the eternal consciousness").

I realized that the Myer-Briggs conversation was getting totally lost over him and changed the subject.

Me: Hey, let's do the things-to-do-before-I-turn-30 list!
He: Ugh... no... not again (I could understand his hesitation but I love making lists)
Me: Come on, you haven't made one in 2 years! It might have all changed by now! We can first write the old list and see how many can been crossed out and then add on any new things-to-do if we have. OK, I will write down mine first. (I volunteered, after successfully finding a scrap of paper from the bottom of my over-filled handbag.)

I proceeded to write down my previous list first, gathering them from my memory and was pleased to tick off a few. Then I wrote a few more, making a total of eight things-to-do before 30. They ranged from sky-diving to sending parents and in-laws on a trip to Europe to currently in-progress things like making the movie. After feeling rather good about the list, I turned to the hubby.

Me: Your turn. Let's start with your old list. What did you have in that?
He: I don't remember.
Me: Hmm... OK, that's easy then. Let's just make a brand new list. Start.
He: OK... if you think of the money... I wanna make...
Me: Wait, why don't we put money towards the end? Let's write other things first.
He: OK... hmmm........well.............erm......
Me: Dude.
He: Oh I know. I wanna lose 5 more kilos.
Me: OK, excellent. What else?
He: 5 kilos less. And 3 girl friends more.
Me: *dirty look*
He: Not 3 girl friends more. Just 3 girl friends.
Me: *dirty look*
He: No?
Me: *dirty look*
He: OK.... hmm....well.... erm....
Me: Dude.
He: OHHHHH (extremely excited) ... POETRY!!!! (he wags a finger at my scrap of paper) POETRY!!!
Me: Am sorry, what?
He: I should write POEMS!! That's what I should do!!! I should write POEMS! I write excellent poems!!
Me: You do?! (I did know that he had written a couple of poems... one was more of a ballad he wrote for a crush in high school and another was a song for my musical in university. But I never knew it was a sedated fire in him, waiting to be rekindled)
He: Of course! Like Rudyard Kipling wrote "If", I will write "What If"! You know... What if he did.... What if the world would.....That sorta stuff!!!
Me: Excellent! (I added "Poetry" to the list.) What else?
He: i would like to travel....
Me: Great!!
He: .... extensively....
Me: Awesome!!
He:... on business class!
Me: Sigh. (pause) FYI, this conversation is going on the blog. It is becoming quite a specimen.
He: Sure. As long as you pay me $5 per visitor to your site.
Me. Right. Back to the list please. What else?
He: Is the 3 girlfriends thing still on?
Me: It was never "on".
He: 2?
Me: Nope.
He: Sigh (looks adequately disappointed). Fine. I think that's about it. Anyway the list doesn't matter because am gonna get nibhbaaklap....
Me: What?
He: nirrabbbkalp...
Me: Huh?
He: Nirvikalp!!!! (Finally managing the word, yet another Sanskrit reference)
Me: What's that?
He: It's like the highest state of this.... (the muscles on his face relax and twitch at the same time. I think the intention was to show me that he was at peace).
Me: That looks like you are enjoying the smell of your own fart (I voiced out my humble opinion).
He: Oh come on. It's really rather cool stuff.
Me: Really?
He: Yeah... it 's about seeing this world as well as the other world... (lowers his voice in a conspirational manner)..but at the same time.
Me: Oh.
He: Yeah that's why those dudes sit with their eyes half-closed. So they can see both worlds. (He demonstrates. His eyes are half-closed for sure, but he looks squint-eyed beneath them).
Me: That's not how they do it. (Assuming that by "dudes" he meant the yogis and saints of the world).
He: That's the way Buddha does it.
Me: Erm... no? Buddha doesn't go squint eyed. The concentration point is above... not at the tip of your nose.
He: Now? (making a sincere attempt at shifting his eyes up while maintaining them half-closed).
Me: Yes. Perfect! (By now the Chinese chap at the next table is eyeing the hubby rather curiously).
He: WOW, that was hard. I hope I can still see!!! (he extends his hand out, thumb up and does a 180 degree arc with it, his eyes following. The Chinese chap looks curiouser).
Me: OK, I think we should go now.
He: OK, remember.... $5 per visitor. (Gets up to leave. The Chinese chap looks crestfallen. I guess he was rather enjoying all the Shukla eye-works).
Me: Deal.

We marched right on to Nalan, not without a bit of hesitation from hubby's part. But this time I did not eat Gobi Manchurian and Chappati. This time I ate "Set meal 1: Dosa, Idly, Vada."

Enlightening conversation and satisfying dinner. Was worth the long day at work!

776 more to go.

Day 223: Nalan, My Hero!

28 June, 2010

If you read my post yesterday, you would have realized that I was craving for Chappati and Gobi Manchurian, a combination which my dear hubby finds downright atrocious and believes that only Mallus, like myself, can bring Indian cuisine to such pathetic levels. And he claimed that no self respecting restaurant will serve the two of them together.

Well, am glad to let you know that there is one not-so-self-respecting restaurant in Singapore which serves just that - Steaming hot Gobi Manchurian with nice, round Chappatis. Ha! I made the discovery today and the restaurant is none other than Nalan in City Hall. So I proudly thrusted the menu at my husband pointing to "Chappati" and "Gobi Manchurian". This was an unexpected discovery as I went there expecting myself to have Dosai. Anyway, needless to say I filled myself with two of those huge Chappatis and a bowl full of Gobi Manchurian. Yummmmm!

Hubby never thought highly of Nalan and now am sure his opinion of it has gone from "bad" to "rotten", but for me it has just gone from "good" to "AWESOME!" :D

In news other than my dinner, I also had a great day today at Bintan (an island in Indonesia) on an offsite. We were taken to Club Med and it was rather nice there. The resort was great, the view of the ocean was awesome, the activities at the offsiter were fun, I met some nice people and all in all, had a pretty happy day!

787 more to go.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 222: The Shukla-Krishnan Quotient

Today had to be a great day. After a very long time (about 2.5 months or so), hubby and I were to spend an entire day together, with no shoot, no other family members, no friends (except a short visit to one friend's place for a quick catch up) and no other commitments. So it was just the two of us with a whole day all to ourselves! And am glad to state that nothing, and I mean absolutely NOTHING has changed over the last 2.5 months. If anyone thought we would get more romantic or would go into a I-missed-this-so-much mode, you could not have been more off-track.

Am glad to say that the Shukla-Krishnan equation is intact. This point shall be well illustrated over the following excerpts from our conversations over the day.

1 pm, Home
Me: Come on, wake up!!! It is already 1 pm and I have been waiting for you to wake up! Do you realize how much of the precious time that we were to have together, has been wasted with you sleeping?!
He: (waking up) Hmm... 2 hours?!
Me: That's a LOT!
He: Technically I wanted to go to bed earlier, but you kept cribbing about some stuff at your work.
Me: Excuse me, you are the one who always cribs about work! Other than occassionaly saying that I have a ton of work, I haven't been cribbing about work for a very long time, so I had to share all my pent up frustrations with you!
He: Yes, and the time you chose to do that was in the middle of the night, when I just got back from a long journey from Sydney.
Me: Fair enough.

2 pm, In a cab to Race Course Road, our location for lunch
Me: I want to eat Chappathis and Gobi Manchurian
He: Who has Chappatis with Gobi Manchurian?! One is north-Indian, the other is Indian-Chinese.
Me: Erm... I do? It's a brilliant combination!
He (bewildered): But.... one is north-Indian, the other is Indian-Chinese!!!
Me: I know. But technically both are made for Indians at the end of the day. So we can surely have them together?
He: Hmph...there will be no restaurant that serves Chappati AND Gobi Manchurian for sure.
Me: Well, Bharat restaurant in Thrissur (my hometown) has both...and very tasty also.
He: That's hardly a restaurant. Great Chinese restaurants Chumfa and Chinmee in (the equally great) Kanpur (his hometown) would never have it! You Mallus really destroy cuisines!

3 pm, Over lunch at Juggis (there was no Gobi manchurian OR Chappati there)
He: Don't worry about the manchurian and chappati. We will make sure you have a dinner that you like.
Me: Awww... so sweet!
He: Don't you think you are being pampered rather unnecessarily?
Me: Erm No? Don't you think you are being pampered rather unnecessarily?!
He: But I deserve it.
Me: Huh? Like, how?
He: Remember how I supported you when you had that technical glitch during last weekend's shoot? You never appreciate these things that I do!
Me: But I already told you that you are my knight in shining armour! What more do you want? You never appreciate the nice things I tell you!

4 pm, Friend's place
Friend's wife complains about something that the friend said.
Friend: She always says things out of context. That's really not what I meant when you put it in the right context!
Me: So what is the right context?
Friend: Oh, I don't remember.
He: This is the problem. These girls always remember unnecessary things that we don't remember and use them against us.
Me: Erm.... you always have the option to remember them yourselves.
He: But I save my mind for positive thoughts only.
Me: Sure.

5 pm, On the cab from friend's place
Me: How much money will make you happy? I mean, when will you feel that you have achieved what you wanted.
He: When I earn $12Million a year.
Me: WHAT?! That's a LOT of money! What the hell will you do with that?
He: I will buy my parents a good house.
Me: They already have a pretty good house, don't you think?
He: I will get them more servants to help them out.
Me: They already have like 8 servants who help them out on a daily basis.
He: Well, then I will appoint more servants to help the current servants.
Me: Ok... all that's fine, even then don't you think $12,000,000 has way too many zeroes than what's really required?
He: Not really. It's not that much money if you really think about it.
Me: Oh well, to me it is. It's way beyond what I can comprehend.
He: If you have more, you can give more... have you thought about that?
Me: Hmph... as if that's your primary intent...Anyway I already give... am pretty good that way.
He: You are not that good.
Me: But better than you for sure.
He: Of course, if that's what you really wanna believe. But if you look deep in your heart, you will know the truth.

6 pm, At the movie place
He: Maybe I shouldn't have the ice-cream. I will put on weight.
Me: True.
He: You think I have put on weight?
Me: Yes. Around the waist.
He: WHAT?!
Me: Ya...! Oh, you haven't noticed!

9 pm, After watching the unanimously loved film, Karate Kid
Me: (In a rather philosophical manner and to get his attention since he was still gloating over that kid in the movie) I think am gonna die.
He: Ya, me too. We all are.
Me: No... I meant pretty soon.
He: Oh, no way. For all the bad things that you do, you have a long time to live and suffer before you move on.
Me: Well, they say that good people are called first.
He: Oh, for how good you think you are, you should have been called 10 years ago.
Me: *simply glares*

10 pm, On the taxi home
Me: (Singing along with Savage Garden from the radio) I wanna stand with you on a mountainnnn... I wanna bathe with you in the seaaaa....
He: You really shouldn't be singing... how many times do I tell you.... bas karo yaarrrrr
Me: (continues ignoring him, and increases my volume) I WANNA LIVE LIKE THIS FOREVERRRR.....
He: (resigning to his fate, joins in) Until the sky falls down on meeee.....

Like I said, the Shukla-Krishnan quotient is intact. Just the way I love it.

778 more to go.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 221: All By Myself & Bow Pose - Check!

Am not talking about the Celine Dion song here, but I was actually all by myself the whole of today. After the weeks and weeks of shoots with cast and crew around me, all the travelling, the office work, and the mom and mom-in-law visits etc., today I had nobody in the house and nothing to do! The moms went back to India, hubby is on his way back from Sydney, I anyway don't do office work during weekends and I had no shoot today. So it was just I, me and myself.

I decided to make the most of the day. I woke up super late (at noon or so), ran some errands, had lunch (left over biriyani from Swadishth, my dinner from yesterday), went for yoga, bought a new book (Kazuro Ishiguro's short story collection called "Nocturnes"), had dinner at Thai Express and been chilling out since then watching Mausams footage, listening to songs and occasionally watching TV, if there is something worthwhile on it.

Also, today I got a "Beautiful, Shilpa!" for my Bow Pose during my Yoga class. I had previously cracked the Standing Bow Pose and now Bow Pose is also checked! Yay. A good day this is!

779 more to go.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 220: The World's Greatest Entertainer

I had written here about how I used to be a die-hard fan of Michael Jackson. In fact, there has only been one person whose die-hard fan I can claim to be and that would be MJ. And today is his first death anniversary.

I would have thought that I was over and above my craze for him, but it hit me once again out of the blue today. As soon as I got into the cab from the airport, the radio was playing only MJ songs as a tribute to him. The same thing happened when I went to Little India and back for dinner. There are his pictures and videos coming up again on every site, and messages about him were dominating Twitter. The songs from the cab stayed in my head and I have spent the whole evening looping the relooping his songs and watching his videos on the computer. Once again the childhood memories associated with his songs and videos flowed in and filled up my mind. But also with it, it reminded me of what is possible to achieve in this world with a lot of hard work. And am not talking about wealth and fame etc. but about the precision and wonder you can bring to art.

Michael Jackson's songs, dance, choreography, videos, stage shows, attires even...reached dizzying heights of success and provided such universal entertainment. To be made synonymous with any form of art in itself just a mind-blowing achievement and he had managed to achieve that in a few fronts, not just one. And all this by a single person. That is just incredible. Whether you like it or not, he had people from about a 100+ countries swooning over his work. This unprecedented appeal would be hard to beat for a while and is a testament of the sheer quality of work he produced. And this quality in so many areas, could not have been achieved without a humungous amount of work supporting the innate talent.

To me, that's inspiring. And today was spent on enjoying and being inspired by the entertainment that continues to live on post his demise. Not attending his live concert when he came to Mumbai more than a decade ago, would remain one of the biggest regrets I have. Now, that would have been one heck of a beautiful day for me! It also reminds me that if you really, really want to do something in life, whether seeing a new place or going for that concert of your idol, you absolutely must not delay it because things don't wait.

So here is to Michael Jackson, the World's Greatest Entertainer. Rest in peace.

780 more to go.

Day 219: Be Kind Rewind

24 June, 2010

I spent pretty much the whole of today on the flight from Geneva and singapore. Interestingly I didn't sleep even for a minute throughtout the flight... for that matter, I didn't even bother to get any sleep. Instead I read my book "A Fine Balance" for a considerable amount of time and watched four movies - Valentine's Day, The Ghost Writer, Edge of Darkness and Be Kind Rewind. I enjoyed watching all the movies, but absolutely loved Be Kind Rewind for two reasons - a) It has Jack Black in it whom I adore and b) It was a movie about a bunch of amateurs making their own movies, so that was highly relatable. Yeah, it was utterly nonsensical and ridiculously hilarious at times but I loved it! The struggles of the filmmakers within this movie was pretty much like all the stuff I come across also in my film making process and they were so freaking relatable! Sure, the guys in Be Kind Rewind had a pretty happy ending and I hope to have on too but for the time being, watching the film made me feel rather good!

781 more to go.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 218: Who Am I?

23 June, 2010

WARNING: The following post might not make any sense. Be prepared.

Alright, here is the truth. I am majorly confused as to what to write about today. I have been staring at this space for the last hour. Since I need to go to bed soon, I have decided to just let the words flow.

It's not that it was a boring day and nothing interesting happened. In fact, there were quite a few happy events today like:

a) Seeing the snow-capped mountains in the distance for the first time in Geneva, when the sky was super clear during breakfast.
b) Welcoming summer in Switzerland. I think technically the start of summer was supposed to be two days ago, but today was the first day I really felt the heat. There was no wind and the sun was slamming down, making it only a little better than Singapore with the absence of humidity. But it was interesting that I felt a change in the season which is something you don't get to do in Singapore.
c) Going for yet another walk along the lake, albeit a much quicker one vs. yesterday, due to the heat.
d) Feeling like a regular lake-side walker since I came across a few other fellow-walkers from yesterday and actually recognized them - an old middle-eastern uncle with his highly adorable cocker spaniel, a dude with long, tangled tresses pushing along his baby boy on a pram and a mini-skirt wearing plump blonde and her boyfriend making out at the same exact spot as yesterday.
e) Having an amazing Mediterranean Pita sandwich and Chai Tea Latte from Starbucks.

While all the above were cool, I didn't exactly feel anything special about them, if you know what I mean. It's because I have been in a highly contemplative mood the whole day.

It all started with waking up and going completely blank. There was a flash of absolute nothingness. I don't know whether it was the excessive swiss chocolate eating or the cold wind from yesterday, but I took more than the usual amout of time to figure out who I was, where I was and what I was doing there. It was a bit creepy.

Anyway, somehow post that, I went into a thoughtful mood. It's like one of those days when you ask yourself highly philosophical and unanswerable questions like "Who am I?!", "What am I doing here?!", "What's the real purpose of my existence?!" etc. I kept asking myself these questions throughout the day - during breakfast while I was gazing at the snow capped mountains, in the cab to work and back, during my lake-side walk, while enjoying my Starbucks meal etc. It was like I was on a plane of my own, with only my thoughts and the world passing by on the side as if it was completely unrelated to me.

Of course I didn't reach any conclusive answers on those questions but good news is, I actually enjoed going into this thoughtful mode. It helped to give me some perspective on what I want to do with myself next. It felt different, in a good way, to close the world out and let my brain whir in a cocoon, generating my own interpretations of what life is and how to make it more meaningful.

This would explain why I was confused on what to write today. I was confused whether to just list down the interesting things that happened or actually write about this random thinking I did which might not be interesting in the usual sense, but is what really occupied my mind. And looks like I decided to go with the truth, risking a complete lack of comprehension by the reader.

But here is to life and its multitude of intriguing questions.

782 more to go.

P.S If you think I've finally lost my mind and this blog is no longer a sane investment of your time, here is my humble request to check back on Friday. I will be on my way to Singapore tomorrow and the hope is that I would have found my senses by the time I touch down on Friday. If I am still talking about random thoughts then, yes I've indeed lost my marbles and you need to move on.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 217: From Average to Awesome!

22 June, 2010

The day didn't start that well. Firstly I had a bad night's sleep so was groggy for most part of the day. Especially at work, in spite of the fact that it was my first time in the Geneva office, I couldn't wait until the meetings got over to go back to the hotel and just sleep. The meetings were way too many and the work was a ton so much so that I could grab lunch only at 3:30 pm. So in short, it wasn't looking all that great until afternoon, when things started to look up.

a) As I was about to finish all that I had to at office, I started on a chat with a friend in Singapore. She is actually my partner in crime in a lot of things. We are 100% similar when it comes to cribbing about things, both of our own doing as well as those out of our control. Today it was my turn to crib and hers to listen. I cribbed about how boring Geneva is if you were to work or stay here for good, because it's almost like a small ghost town. Except for that pretty lake, I told her that I don't really see anything else that amuses me here. She, being quite the writer, somehow came up with a horror story inspired by my Geneva-based cribbings. The story was spooky to say the least and it led to the talk of spirits and lovers and TOEFL, not necessarily in that order. To cut a long story short, I started to feel better and less sleepy and I knew the evening's gonna look up.

b) As soon as I got to the hotel and deposited my super heavy laptop in my room, I set out again to walk around Geneva. Rather, to walk to a Starbucks I had seen about a couple of kilometres down the road, on my way back from office. I thought this way, I can get a good drink as well as see some sights. And I had an absolutely amazingly wonderful walk! Aaaaaaah. I walked along the beautiful lake. Like yesterday, today too the wind was strong. I happened to come across a tiny strip of land that went half way into the lake. I walked down it and stood at the tip for a long time, listening to my favourite music on my iPod, enjoying the strong breeze and gorgeous lake with the majestic backdrop of the Swiss hills.

c) I didn't feel Geneva was a ghost town any longer. There was actually a lot of activity around the lake. People swimming (?!) in that awfully cold water, rollerblading, cycling, couples crooning away, several ice cream joints (again in that cold weather!), groups of friends, families etc. hanging around, etc. I believe I didn't see as much activity yesterday because of the World Cup - Switzerland played (and lost) yesterday, so people were glued to the TV and not the lake. Anyway the point being, I quite liked whatever I saw!

d) After a lot of detours, I finally managed to reach Starbucks. And to my delight, I realized they have Chai Tea Latte here too! Things couldn't get better! I got my usual tall Chai Tea Latte and sat at a lone table outside, surrounded by sparrows and pigeons who had utter lack of fear for humans and loved flapping their wings inches away from my face, reading my book - 'Six Suspects' by Vikas Swarup. Great book, great drink, great birds, great view.

e) Later I walked around again to find just the right restaurant for dinner. After much contemplation, I zeroed in on a brasserie and ordered pizza. I was bit taken aback by the pizza that was served. It had more cheese and bacon on it than I've eaten in my entire life. But I settled down again with my book and inched my way through the humungous task in front of me.

f) I finished about 40% of the pizza and felt appreciative of my work, because I had no hope of eating beyond 25% of that. However, the super old granny (she must be at least 95) who served me the pizza wasn't that appreciative. She pointed to the 40%-eaten pizza and raised her eyebrow at me. I shrugged and gestured "am done". And to my amusement and surprise, she did a "am gonna slap you now" gesture at me - the kind that moms do to their kids when they are naughty!! I gave her my sweetest smile as a reply.

g) I walked back to the hotel, once again taking in the lovely sight of the lake and its surroundings. It was 10pm but there was still enough daylight, which is something I struggle to get used to. When I got back to the hotel, I realized they have put yet another chocolate for me to snack on and have turned on the TV playing lounge music on it. How nice!

So yeah, the day started as a strictly average one but then ended up as strictly Awesome! Loved it! :)

783 more to go.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 216: Geneva

21 June, 2010

It's rather hard to be in Switzerland and not find the day beautiful, because the place itself is so goddamn gorgeous! On my flight from Zurich to Geneva, I saw towering snow-capped mountains that went higher up than the clouds. From the flight, the sight was as if they were floating amidst the clouds... it was breathtaking! I am staying at the President Wilson Hotel which is right at the Geneva lake, which in turn is surrounded by beautiful hills.

After I checked in and worked for a while, I realized I was hungry. The food prices on the menu made my eyes pop, so I decided to venture out to find something more reasonably priced to eat. It was also an opportunity to admire the lake and the surroundings.

I set out covered from head to toe to protect myself from the chill outside, only to realize that there was nothing to protect me from the extremely strong wind! I was almost blown away and had to really struggle to take each step forward. The wind was so strong that the lake was looking more or less like an ocean in high tide. The water was splashing in huge waves against the banks and I think people were wind surfing at a distance.

The cabbie from the airport told me that my hotel was "downtown" but I hardly saw any humans around during my walk. It was beginning to creep me out a bit, so I decided to get into the first restaurant that I come across. And lo behold! That happened to be "Cafe Bollywood".

After a meal of Pulao, Aloo Gobi and Masala Chai, I struggled back against the wind to the hotel and worked for some more time.

In the evening, I met my cousin who stays in Geneva and who also happens to work in P&G. We were meeting after 20 years and it was wonderful! She took me to her home for dinner. It was my first meeting with her family and I really hit it off with them. I realized that her son and I share the same interest in film-making while her daughter and I share the same interest in dance! So we caught on like a house on fire. She also has a beauty of a doggy called Aspen who was super cute. I helped out with peeling and grating cucumber for her to make salad, and took about an hour to do so, thereby successfully proving to her that I am a lousy cook.
In short, a beautiful end to a beautiful day.

So here is to Switzerland, it's beauty, my lovely cousin and her beautiful family and the awesome complimentary Swiss chocolates my generous hotel staff has put all over my room.

876 more to go.

Day 215: In the World of Books

20 June, 2010

Today something unpleasant happened at the shoot. I don't want to go into the details but it left me worried for the rest of the day. But then I had to catch a flight to Geneva - my first business trip there, and after worrying over the incident until I got to the airport, I decided to leave it behind me.

I promptly went to the book store and spent a good 40 minutes there. I browsed throught the books, reading the summaries and the author biographies and figuring out which ones to buy. I had decided to buy two - a pleasant one for light reading and some heavy stuff, the kind that wins the Booker.

I sat down on the floor of the book store with about 10 books spread around me - trying to zero in on the two I would buy. Just thinking about the books took me to a whole different world far from my work and my film or the incidents related to it and honestly, even the purpose of the business trip.

It felt awesome, really. After deciding on Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup and A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, I was satisfied.

Books - You can always count on them.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 214: Mom & Switches

20 June, 2010

Today we shot a few scenes at my place, which is the set of the protagonist's home. The shots were mostly at night, and the scenes were some conversations in the bedroom between the protagonist and her husband (who happens to be my hubby in real life).

Since it was just me, the hubby and the heroine involved in this scene, I decided to ask my mom for some help. Basically the scene required the light in the bedroom to be switched on and off a couple of times, by the heroine. However, the heroine's spot on the bed is too far from the light switch... so the trick we used was that she will reach out of the camera frame as if she is switching off the light but it is actually my mom, who is at a different spot and out of frame, who would actually switch it off.

After this clever plan was made, we proceeded to shoot.

After about 5 takes, my mom got bored. She said, "Can these people get their shot right? How many times am I switching this light on and off?!"

Sensing my mom's impatience, the hubby and heroine decided that they will give their best shot and that would hopefully be the last shot.

Heroine: "Come on yaar... let's do it... aunty is getting mad."

Hubby: "Yeah... am more worried as to why she is OK about seeing me in a bed with some other woman other than her daughter, my wife".

Mom (not listening to a word in the conversation and tapping her fingers from the long wait): "OKKKK..... "

Both of them immediately get back to focus and deliver another take. I didn't approve it.

Me: "One more take."

Mom: "Uff OHH.... at this rate, the switch will get spoiled by the time these people figure out their act right!"

Heroine: "Come on yaar... let's do it... PROPER this time!"

Hubby: "Am sleepy already"

This went on for another 10-15 minutes and then I was happy with the shot and we wound up.

Not only did we make some progress but it was awesome fun having mom as the spot boy or switch-girl this time! After a break, when we had to shoot the next scene, I realized that we needed her services one more time to switch off the light.

Me: "Amma.... can you please help out one more time?"

Mom: "Only if those two can get it right in one take!"

We got it right in about 7 takes.

786 more to go.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 213: Build-up to Raavana

18 June, 2010

I wanted to take an evening of no work, be office or film, before the long filming weekend and the upcoming Geneva trip after that. And I also didn't wanna spend any time at home nursing my annoying flu. And most importantly, I wanted to watch Raavan, one of the most buzzed films in recent history. The hype around it was humungous because of its celebrated cast and crew.

And hence most of the day was spent on reading the reviews flowing in, discussing them with friends, planning when to get out of office, what to have for dinner that would not leave me too full to enjoy the movie etc. and thereby building up the tempo to the final Raavan watching experience. This was of course, over and above the office work I had to do... but the Raavan frenzy helped to get through the day rather quickly.

Sure, the movie was not the best I've ever watched. So I dont think I can say Raavan, the film itself was what made the day beautiful since it fell short of expectations. But I can definitely say that I thoroughly enjoyed the build up to watching it. It will be ages before a movie that boasts of such a team would come by with parity hype around it, so this was fun!

787 more to go.

Day 212: Freedom!

17 June, 2010

There is always a stifling feeling when you live in the conservative society of a small town, like the one where I grew up in India. Especially if you are a girl, many things are taboo. What you wear, how you walk, how you talk - everything is scrutinized, literally. For example, am not talking about wearing bikinis and walking around. Even if girls wear something that reveals their calves alone, the so-called society would be appalled. If they speak loudly, that's bad. If they have an opinion, that's bad. If they play a game running around with their friends, that's bad as well. In short, one is always thinking how best to "behave" in every situation and you are practicallyy living for someone else and not for yourself. Am not saying it is the same in every part of India, but that's how it was in my place and I used to hate it.

And that was one of the reasons why I felt a relieving sense of freedom when I first came to Singapore. I used to and still love the fact that none really cares what I wear or what I do here. I can be myself without having to put up a front or being continuously judged. No one here tells me "You can't do that because you are girl." Even if someone does, I can easily ask that person to go bury himself/herself and none would be bothered too.

This is also why people like my mom and mom-in-law become so happening when they are here (or even when they are in Phuket for that matter). Because they get to do whatever they want! Wear swim suits and go the beach, wear huge sunglasses and stroll in the streets, wear trousers and capris and skirts and short-sleeved blouses and all those things that they had always wanted to wear, go out at night on their own without any fear, have that rare drink, etc. And I love to see them doing all these things because I know just how good that feels! To spend a few days without any inhibitions really feels like getting out of a cage.

And today, I was very happy to see a sight from the bus I was taking to work. An Indian aunty in sari was in a play area of a HDB compound. And she was... well.... on the see-saw! What was so beautiful about the sight was that she looked as if she was on top of the world as she was bouncing up and down on the see-saw in her full Indian housewife paraphernalia. Am pretty sure this is one of her first few visits to Singapore and she has not let go of her full-time sari-wearing habit yet. And am also pretty sure that she, in her wildest dreams, wouldn't have imagined that she would be on a see-saw at this stage of her life. I didn't notice who the good soul was on the other side of the see-saw because she captured my attention fully.

And as I saw her perched on the edge of the see-saw, holding on to the bar with all her strength, sari carefully tucked beneath her legs without even an inch straying off, and her face a picture of pure abandoned glee, I couldn't help but smile. She was tasting the joy of not caring a hoot for what the world thinks. That would be a rare, special moment for her!

And it made me so delighted in an inexplicable way. Welcome to the club aunty, whoever you are!

788 more to go.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 211: Mixed Bag again

Today was a really cool day! Like one of those days that's good not because of just one reason, but several. Yet another mixed bag.

a) I shared a bit of the edited portion of the film with the cast members and they were thrilled to watch it. They were as excited about it as I was and I felt that everyone is eager to work on the film with renewed energy! Such enthusiasm is infectious and always welcome!
b) Something unexpected happened at work that made me very pleasantly surprised! I could then go through the TON that I had to work on with far less boredom and actually managed to complete them all.
c) My first even intern reported to work today. He is my first direct report and it was an altogether interesting and fun experience!
d) A friend had put up pictures from our college days, on Facebook. Ah, just going through them, seeing my malnourished self from all those years ago, seeing my friends in different sizes and shapes from what they are now, all the ridiculous poses, smiles and laughter on camera etc. made me feel super nostalgic and got me to smile through the evening.
e) I had a great dinner with my mom and hubby at Shahi Maharani. It is probably the last proper dinner we would have together before I leave for Geneva and mom goes back to india next week. So we made the most out of it. While hubby and I enjoyed a glass of Sula each, my super happening modern-age Indian mom opted for vodka with lime cordial. After that we stuffed ourselves with Naans, Romali Rotis, Veg Korma, Chicken Shashlik, Hyderabdi Gosht and Masala Tea.

So yes, it was a kick ass day.

789 more to go.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 210: 33 minutes

I was on leave today as well. i have plenty of leftover leave from last year which will expire this year, and I am taking a few days off every couple of months to use them up. So both Monday and Tuesday have been chill-out days! Yay!

But I wanted to make sure that I use up my leave productively enough and hence I was on the editing chair for the film both days. And as of today I have 33 minutes of edited footage with me. That's about one-third of the movie! I am so freaking excited!

Now suddenly the film is not just a figment of my imagination! There is solid progress that I can actually see. There are tangible results and that feels awesome! Sure, this does not mean that the film is anywhere close to being completed since we still have two months of shooting, followed by editing, dubbing, sound design etc. but still it feels like I am no longer groping in the dark. It feels like I am walking and walking in the right direction.

And that makes me go yippie-dippie-doo-doo (in other words, eagerly waiting for the next shoot!)

790 more to go.

Day 209: Mom-in-Law's Last Day in Town

14 June, 2010

Today was my mom-in-law's last day in town. To max it out, both hubby and I spent the day at home. It's is always lovely to be at home on a Monday and not having to go to office. Although we both ended up working throughout (me on the film editing, he on some presentation), it was still pretty quality time spent together.

We (hubby, my mom, his mom, I) chatted away in the morning as well as late into night. It is one of those times when you recap all that happened over the trip and go through all the wonderful memories associated with it.

And that's always beautiful. Until the next trip then!

791 more to go.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 208: Shoot at NUS

There is a place in NUS, my alma mater and one of my most favourite places on earth, which had almost been a second home during my days there. We had spent hours and hours rehearsing dance and plays in this spacious area and today we went back there to shoot a couple of scenes for the film. And it felt so awesome! Even though much of NUS has now changed, this space is still exactly the same as before. The rest of the team were complaining about the lack of air-conditioning, but I felt so much at ease there. I spent about 9.5 hours on the shoot there today (without even a loo break, I realized later), and absolutely loved it!

In fact, today we are officially behind schedule on shoot because a cast member had to leave half way for a business trip and we can't make up for that scene until much later. Still that didn't bother me. I had been through a lot of such road-blocking situations in that very same space in NUS for several years, so it left me more nostalgic than anything else. I guess the reality will settle in once I find myself with incomplete footage later on, but till then this rocks.

792 more to go.

Day 207: First Group Shoot

12 June, 2010

I have had a few weeks of shoots so far, and they have been all quite fun albeit being tiring. I also had a big group scene one day with many fringe actors, which was an unforgettable experience as well. However, today was the first day of shoot with all the main characters (eight of them). It was a pretty complicated scene since all the characters had equal footage and I was expecting it to be a nightmare. Good news is that it was completed well in time, which is quite an achievement considering that we had a couple of adrenalin-pumped cast members who were on a comic spree and getting the entire team to spend most of the time rolling on the floor with laughter.

I haven't watched the footage yet and hence am not sure of its quality, but even if nothing else, I can definitely say that it was a real fun day with the whole team!

793 more to go.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 206: Picture Time!

11 June, 2010

The Phuket trip came and went before I could blink. Like, seriously. We got back today noon and I just couldn't believe that the much awaited trip was over and gone. And the moms were no better. They were giving out these very depressing deep sighs as if the world is about to end. In other words, we had a kickass trip and we were all very sad that it had to end.

But the good news is that we are living in the age of cameras and hence we had hundreds of pictures to mine through after we got back! So after a short nap in the afternoon and some grocery shopping and dinner in the evening, we settled down to upload pictures, comment on them, share it with friends, enjoy their comments and most importantly, live through the holiday once again.

Now it's time to get back to the film and work etc., but the trip is going to remain in my memory and make me smile for a long time to come.

794 more to go.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 205: Phi-Phi!

10 June 2010

Today moms and I took a trip to the Phi-Phi islands. They are about 48 kms away from Phuket island and the trip was a full-day activity including snorkelling, lunch etc. Our boat took 1.5 hours each way and the ride was simply breathtaking. The weather was perfect - cloudy but without rain, the limestone formations in the sea were picturesque and I finally got to do the much awaited snorkelling.

The moms too made an attempt at snorkelling. My mom managed to stay in water for a long time but refused to move away from the boat while mom-in-law took a quick dip and went back on board. But they saw the underwater world and that was cool! I actually swam from the boat to the beach (the boat was a big one and was parked away from the bay) which was inhabited with several monkeys and was rightfully called the Monkey Bay. I have to admit that snorkelling at Tioman still is the best I have done ever, but Phuket does win on the boat ride and the lovely bays with the turquoise water and white sands.

After a whole day of hanging out in the water, we got back to the hotel at about 5:30 pm, quickly got dressed and went again to Patong area for shopping and dinner. Patong has a vibrant night life and we did see some interesting sights. After yet another super heavy, absolutely yummilicious meal and last round of quick shopping we got back to our hotel, dead tired.

The trip was so quickly coming to an end but we had a ball, I must say!

795 more to go.

Day 204: It's Phuket Babe!

9 June, 2010

It's my third visit to Phuket and I just LOVE that place! The beach, the food, the shopping, the people, the resorts, I just LOVE them all!

Now, taking along the moms made it all the more fun. It was rather amusing to see the utter confusion that carried through to Phuket on "what to wear?!!?!". I thought the wardrobe was completely planned in Singapore but nope, there were still doubts. Anyway, am happy to say that finally conclusions were made and they did proceed to wear sets of clothes and accessories to their liking and posed for pictures at every given opportunity.

The moms and I chilled out at the beach (they actually got into their swim suits and played in the water!), had tons to eat (moms absolutely LOVED Thai food and now thinks food in Singapore is simply not up to the mark), shopped a lot (even though the moms think they have hardly shopped), and generally had a good time.

796 more to go.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 203: Holiday Countdown!

The day right before a planned holiday, whether it's short or long, it's always interesting. For starters, there will be a TON of work to go through. Even if you are away only for a few days, the people at work (including yourself) tend to act as if it is indeed the end of the world and hence, every single thing needs to be done before you leave. So you somehow rush through the day with a great sense of urgency, with thoughts swirling in your head and your bladder about to burst, because you haven't even had time to hit the loo.

But as the day comes to a close, a surge of relief sweeps you away. You go..."Wow... I don't have to look at a darn email for the next so many days... or I don't have to think about dandruff for the next so many days (I think of dandruff because I work on Head & Shoulders, I am assuming people who don't have that privilege think of other stuff)....or I don't have to sit in a random meeting for the next so many days..." etc.

That's also pretty much the time you start to think...."If only I was intelligent enough to plan the holiday for 5 days instead of 2." But then you console yourself saying that something is better than nothing and then decided to start the holiday celebration. The last-minute packing gets done, which almost always ensures that you have packed at least 20 more items than you actually would need and you can't wait to go to bed because when you wake up, it's time for you to board a flight.

And that feels so good!

So now I can't wait to sleep because as soon as I wake up, it's time to board Singapore's very own budget airline, Tiger airways, and fly to Phuket! Yeah, baby!

797 more to go.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 202: Packing for Phuket...with the Moms!

The much awaited ladies-only trip to Phuket is just around the corner. 1.5 days to go, to be precise. And that can only mean one thing - it's packing time!

I completed my packing in about 15 minutes. However the moms, who had started the process a couple of days ago, were still continuing the process.

"What shall I wear?"! They sang, almost in a synchronized fashion.

"Erm.... this?....", I pointed out helpfully.

"Ewwww....", my mom was completely horrified by the perfectly decent printed top I had pointed out to her.

"What will I wear with my new brown pair of capri?!", my mom-in-law was baffled.

"Erm.... that?....", I tried again. And again. And again.

"But we have already worn all these in photos.......", they sang again, their faces a picture of absolute despair.

"Surely, you are not walking the Cannes red carpet? You can afford to repeat wardrobe in pictures? No?", I tried to console them.


Sigh. Right.

So after some mixing and matching of their pants and capris (!) and blouses and overshirts for swim suits etc. etc. etc., we got the bags almost packed. Then came the hats, the sunglasses (matching ones, mind you), bags and accessories.

And now we are set. One more day, and it's Sawatdee Khrab Phuket! :)

798 more to go.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 201: Mallu Movie Marathon with Mom.

My mom has a new found love for movies ever since she found that they are available to watch on youtube (for free that too!). So she has been watching one malayalam movie after the other. Today I joined her as well. Actually I happened to join her since I was working on my film on another computer right next to her. We watched two movies in a row - Chattambinaadu and Vadakkumnathan. We had grand plans of having "Pepper Lunch" (a stall in the foodcourt that serves Japanese hotplate rice and chicken) for dinner. But instead had curd rice at home cos mom (and me too, to be honest) found it quite a task to leave our respective computers.

So that was a pleasant evening and a productive one as well!

799 more to go.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 200: 200 Days!!!

When the blog reached 100 days, I wrote that the next milestone would be at 250 days. But today is (only the) 200th day and I can't wait to celebrate a bit! I mean, come on, 200 days is a big deal! Like, a HUGE deal! :D

I know I know... on the 100th day I said that the blogging has become a part of life and that this whole business of finding some happiness every single day is also becoming a part of life etc. etc. etc. But after that obviously some days, it wasn't all that easy but I did persist and today, on the 200th day, am feeling pretty good about the effort!

And today was productive as well. I had a shoot and canned 8 scenes (short ones, but still!). So that makes it 20 scenes in total so far! Which means I have canned pretty much 25% of the film. That really feels wooohoooo!

So with 20% of the blog timeline met and 25% of the film's scenes canned, today has been beautiful.

800 more to go.

Day 199: Good work, Awesome Yoga, Decent Film

4 June 2010

I guess I have been complaining of how overworked I am at office here. OK, not complaining right out but you can feel the stress am under when you read the recent blogs. But these things pay off I guess.

Today I felt good because I got three appreciative emails from my manager about the good work I have done on three different projects. Obviously, I was pleased! It made things a lot better in an otherwise not very desirable situation.

I also felt good because I had a kickass yoga class! It was not one of those classes where the teacher complimented on a posture, and helping me to tick it off my postures-to-be-mastered list. But it was great because I felt that I gave my best. I really did put my heart and soul into it and did not slack off during any posture. By the end of it, I could really feel every limb, muscle and joint compressed and stretched and rejuvenated. It felt really awesome! Seriously, a good yoga class does lift you up a couple of inches off the ground!

Last but not the least, I watched the much awaited political saga film, "Raajneeti". It was a decent movie which missed out on a chance of being a perfect movie due some seriously flawed parts in it. Having said that, I still liked it thanks to the performances of some of the actors and some powerful sequences. And because it kept me entertained.

Overall, a good day. And tomorrow the blog touches 200. Phew.

801 more to go.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 198: Productive List

3 June, 2010

Unlike yesterday, today was a rather easily beautiful day. I feel quite accomplished. Been through quite a bit of work, so let me just list them down here.

a) Actually wore something that looked like office-wear to office, other than my usual jeans and top.
b) Did lunch time yoga with decent success - it would have been very successful had I not done it on an empty stomach and then remained empty stomach until 5:30pm by when I was ready to throw up and had a splitting headache.
c) I got a lot of work cleared at office.
d) I completed a chunk of the logistics work for the upcoming shoots
e) I gorged on Appam, Ishtu (both being mallu dishes), puliyodara rice (I guess that's more tamil than mallu) and rava dosa post 5:30pm to make up for the empty stomach throughout the day.
f) At the end of this would have completed two blogs, including the pending one for yesterday
g) Got some sleep in the evening and then went back to taking work calls at night which gave me a good sense of having "work-life" balance.
h) Planned what-to-wear for the upcoming Phuket trip, with the moms.

In short, did quite a bit. I feel more in control of myself and my activities and that always makes me feel really good! :) Of course, it is only a matter of time before things start to fall apart again am sure... but let me enjoy it while it lasts! :)

802 more to go.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 197: Beauty Unforced

2 June, 2010

Around three weeks ago, I had written here about how a friend who is very kindly following this blog mentioned that my recent blog posts were sounding like rushed scribblings and lacked the soul it used to have. As a response I wrote that it is because I am neck deep thinking about other things like the film and when I write during those times, the soul doesn't really co-operate with me.

Now 2nd June was one of those man-i-would-be-glad-when-the-damn-day-is-over days. There was just too much work in the office and a ton of production work for the film. My head was buzzing with thoughts and I was feeling rather suffocated. By the evening, I was convinced that I needed a break with no work, film or office, no exercise, nothing but pure chilling out. And I decided to do what women usually resort to under similar circumstances - shopping therapy. I thought that once I go shopping and buy loads of good clothes, I will feel really good about myself, the day will become more beautiful and I will have my blog for the day.

Only thing is, it didn't work. I realized shopping irritated as much as everything else at the time. Looking for things that you don't find, finding things that you like but find ridiculously overpriced, standing in queues for fittings, carrying all those bags later on, having to be on your feet for so long etc. etc. were simply not my cup of tea. To cut a long story short, the shopping trip was anything but a therapy.

Back at home at night, I stared at the computer to enter my blog for the day. I didn't wanna give the shopping trip any undue credit by putting it on my "made-the-day-beautiful" list. So that was out of the window. Then I thought maybe I shall write about that rare, simple cup of Spinelli Mocha that I had during the day that gave me a bit of respite in midst of the whirlwind I was in.

And then I decided, let's not force it. Let me not force the "beauty" for the sake of the blog, when I am not exactly feeling it. That would definitely make it soul-less.

So am writing this entry a day later. Today I feel a LOT better and in hindsight I think what was beautiful about yesterday was that I let go. I didn't force something that was not meant to be and sometimes that's OK. Sometimes it is OK to go with the flow because it takes you to another place quickly enough and then when you look back you would have already lost sight of any unpleasantness that you left behind.

As you can see, am overflowing with wisdom right now. So let me wrap up and just say 'Cheers to Beauty Unforced'.

803 more to go.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day 196: Water Ladies

I had written here about planning a trip to Phuket with the ladies in the house - my mom, my mom-in-law and myself. I had also written about how one of the planned activities on the holiday was snorkelling, the mention of which had successfully freaked both of them out.

After my mom-in-law complained this morning of not being able to sleep due to snorkelling nightmares, I decided that it is high time they get some water orientation. I did tell her that she can jump into the ocean only if she feels upto it but thought even if that was the case, a dip in the pool might not be a bad idea to help them get over their fears.

So all of us got into our swimsuits (yeah, my mom and mom-in-law actually have swimsuits...they are way more hep than the average Indian mom) and strutted off to the swimming pool. After some initial hesitation both of them hit the water.

Well to cut a long story short, let me just say that after a while, it was difficult to get them out of the water. The ladies who were clinging to edge of the very shallow pool for support before taking every step, soon were wading (walking, rather) up and down the pool as if they owned the place. It was fascinating to see them show me how brave they had become. "See am not even holding to the edge anymore!"

Ah, what a moment that was. My heart literally swelled with all the pride I felt for my two water ladies.

And now we are all set for Phuket.

804 more to go.