Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 407: What a Day, What a Year, What a Decade!

I can't help but reminisce. Personally, a beautiful year and an even more beautiful decade has just gone by! So many wonderful things happened that I can't seem to stop counting my blessings today!

Starting from university, which was the bestest of times, all the way until today which was a terrific day, things have been on such a high! Let me first quickly list what made today so special:
a) Did my longest swim ever of 20 laps, which beats the previous one of 18 laps.
b) Am at my healthiest best with the my lowest fat percentage and weight (yeah, even lower than the 19.9% that I celebrated a while ago). Needless to say am super smug.
c) I had the most homely and wonderful new year's eve ever! We had a nice little party of our own - with just myself, the hubby, mom and in-laws. We made a cosy seating arrangement on the floor, had a lot to drink and eat, played games, chatted, laughed, reminisced, watched the fireworks from our window (we could see both the ones in the city as well as the ones in the suburbs), counted down, screamed when the clock hit midnight and in short had the merriest of times!

That was for today.

The rest of this post is going to be a list of all those events from this decade that will remain close to my heart forever. This is solely meant for me to relive all those memories once more and also to ensure that one day in the future, if my memory fails to keep up with the age, this could help to rekindle a spark.

So here we go. Why 2001 - 2010 was the best decade. Ever.

a) University - This doesn't even need an explanation. The most carefree and fun filled times of all!
b) Hubby - meeting him, falling in love, eventually getting married and still finding him tolerable after 9 years of time spent together.
c) Dance - Especially in the first half of the decade, I had not stopped dancing. So many shows, all that time spent in the dance studios of the centre for the arts (CFA) in NUS, winning that Tarang (intercollege festival), representing Singapore in Philippines and Japan, wearing all those different costumes and accessories, choreographing and attempting all forms from Bharatnatyam and Kathak to Hip Hop & Contemporary styles, and finally dancing at my own wedding and my brother-in-law's wedding, I loved every bit of it! Now that I am considerably away from dance, this is something I am beginning to miss very much!
d) Plays - All the way from being the Assistant Director for the hall musical in NUS, to acting in several Malayalam plays, writing and directing the musical Bollywood Beats, to writing, directing and producing Kathaah, the threatrical stage has been such a HUGE part of my life this decade. Once again, I loved every bit of it, and the best part is I don't think my association with the stage has ended yet. I know that this is something I can get back to as and when it fancies me.
e) Art - Art verve. Starting it, taking it forward, exhibition at NUS Museums and finally realizing that it still lives on even after 8 years.
f) P&G - First job and still going on. First SK-II, now Head & Shoulders, both with a bunch of excellent team members and lots of challenging projects! So far so good!
g) Films - How they came into my life and became such a big part of it without me even realizing it! Crying in the dark, Destination, Post Its, Festa, Doors, It's Magic, Mausams - all the films till date, every single one an experience in itself.
h) People - A few wonderful people left forever but not without leaving a ton of beautiful memories behind and I came across a whole bunch of amazing individuals who have made life so much more beautiful than before. A big virtual hug to every single one of them!
i) Writing - I dunno when I started to write. I don't claim to be a good writer by any standards (sometimes I appall myself with my grammatical atrocities) but somehow I had taken to writing. Play scripts, film scripts, short stories, poems, and finally this blog. Very interesting journey there.
j) Travels - All those beautiful places! 20 countries over 10 years - seas, mountains, cities, villages, forests, etc. etc. I have pretty much seen all that I've ever wanted to see. Thank God for that!
k) Home - buying our own little home in Singapore.
l) Being very much on track to my "list of things to do before I turn 30". I think this makes me the happiest this decade. I had written the list some time in 2007 for preparation for 2012. But as of 2011, I should be done with all of them. That makes me feel super contented!

So yes, it was a wonderful day, wonderful year and a wonderful decade. Now for the next.

593 more to go.

Day 406: Next Project

30 December, 2010

Now that Mausams is drawing to a close, it was time for me to start thinking about what next. I wanted something simple to do. Creatively challenging but logistically simple. Which basically means that I would like to spend my time more on writing the script or making my actors act vs. drawing up production schedules or chasing actors to be on time.

Yesterday night an idea sprouted in my head. I sent a few emails out and I already have a team to work on it. Today after some discussions with a few fellow arty maniacs, the idea has taken a very interesting form and I am super duper excited about it! At this point in time I can't elaborate further on it because it's still in very infant stages but I know that 2011 will be as happening as 2010.

This is the best stage of any project - the very beginning when there is only a vague notion but with tons of adrenalin rush! Everything starts from here! My heart has already started to race and my brain is whirring with excitement! This is gonna rock!

I am not sure where Mausams will go from here, but there is something to look forward to beyond that already!

594 more to go.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 405: 1.5 Years Later

There is a colleague-turned-friend of mine who is seriously so similar to me that it is a bit freaky. We have pretty much the same temperament, the same principles, the same attitudes, the same world views and in a nut shell, pretty much the same everything. One would think that this similarity would make us thickest of thick friends who hang out with each other all the time. But unfortunately, both of us get so caught up our respective lives that we very rarely meet up. But in the rare occasion when do bump into each other, we could talk about everything and anything under the sun and have no qualms about sharing any problems or thoughts that we may have.

And that's what happened today. The two of us decided to meet up for lunch. This is a super significant event because this happened after a good 1.5 years! We had met each other briefly time and again at work or when she helped me with some of the shooting for Mausams, but we wouldn't have spoken more than a few sentences to each other during those occasions. So a 1.5 hour long lunch after 1.5 years was terrific!

We updated each other with all that happened in the past 1.5 years and it felt really good to catch up with her! Sometimes all it takes is some quality time spent with a special friend to make the day beautiful. Hopefully it doesn't take another 1.5 years for our next coffee or lunch together!

595 more to go.

Day 404: Hukkah

28 December, 2010

This evening all of us (i.e. the hubby, parents, myself) went to Arab street. For some reason, this is a part of the town we don't visit too often. But it is one interesting little place with its line up of Mediterranean, Arabic restaurants, trinket shops, Malay clothing materials shops etc.

After a bit of shopping and drinking the lovely Teh Halia (ginger tea) at a local shop, we finally ended up at a restaurant serving Mediterranean food. More than the food, the most exciting part of it, especially for the parents, was that the seating was on a carpeted floor. They just sprawled on the cushions and made themselves super comfortable and looked super excited!

Then we got a grape mint flavoured Hukkah. The parents, all first timers, were thrilled with it and was competing to see who could blow out the most smoke. Even though hukkah had been smoked by my friends, I was never a fan. But watching my dad-in-law, mom-in-law as well as mom smoking it like nobody's business and having a ball of a time, I too decided to take one inhale. And of course in spite of the fact that I was a first timer myself, I was the winner of the smoke-blowing contest by far (thank you very much)!

So over some great Mediterranean food, the yummy date milk shake, hukka inhales and deep conversations, it was a very happy evening.

596 more to go.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Day 403: Dubbing Done!

27 December, 2010

After clocking in more than 500 hours in the last couple of months, I have managed to successfully complete the dubbing for Mausams today. There might still be a bit of patch up after sound design but for this round, it is DONE.


Now I am gonna enjoy the holiday season thoroughly.

597 more to go.

Day 402: Screenings

26 December, 2010

Yet another total dubbing-work day. At the end of it, I was so exhausted but then I received an email on the confirmation of Mausams screening. It was almost like a token of encouragement.

So yes, Mausams will be screened at an independent cinema house in Singapore. 20 screenings over 17 days. Since my initial best guess was I would get a max of 8 - 10 screenings only, this confirmation from the venue sponsor was quite encouraging. 20 is way more than I could have hoped for!

Of course, it is a totally different matter whether there would be that many people wanting to watch the film but for today, this has served the purpose of encouraging me as I break my back over the dub.

598 more to go.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Day 401: Christmas?

25 December, 2010

I mentioned this last year on Christmas day, but let me repeat this. I LOVE Christmas! And that too in spite of the fact that I have no Christmas tree or Christmas dinner or Christmas presents or any of those usual things that accompany the festival! There is something really charming about the whole deal even without any of the above and usually am already very happy just walking around Singapore, watching other people celebrate their Christmas, listening to the carols, etc.

Only thing is, it pretty much completely skipped my mind this year that it was indeed Christmas! Sure, I had done that "soaking in the festive spirit" exercise yesterday, but today somehow Christmas didn't strike me.

And of course, it has got everything to do with the film. I was neck deep in dubs and synchronization work the whole day that I didn't step out of the house once or even watch a Christmas special movie on TV (which is usually a favourite alternative to going out).

Instead I had a gala time dubbing with the leading lady of the film together with my hubby, who had finally decided to help me out a bit with the process. So as he worked on the sync and she dubbed, I sat back and directed both of them without having to literally break my back doing everything on my own. A couple of hours into it, the hubby did pass the work on back to me, but it was still a lot of fun while it lasted!

The three of us got very nostalgic because the dubs of the leading lady was also getting close to being wrapped up and this meant that the film is really, like really, in the final stretch now. Very soon, there will be no more Mausams work left. So we were in great spirits throughout, as if to make the most out of it while it lasted.

So yeah, I so thoroughly enjoyed today's dub session that I didn't notice Christmas slip past. But it didn't matter. This Christmas was still beautiful albeit for a very non-Christmasy reason.

599 more to go.

Day 400: Christmas Eve!

24 December, 2010

Like I mentioned yesterday, I was determined to make the most of the Christmas season today and was fully prepared to soak in the festivities of Singapore. So in the evening, we first caught a movie and then walked through Orchard road - which is usually the most abuzz place during the season.

And how crowded it was! There were thousands wearing christmas hats (including me and my family), cheering now and again for no particular reason, spraying foam and party poppers all around, shouting, screaming, humming, singing, staring, walking, laughing, holding hands and generally having a super merry time. Usually crowds give me a headache and I tend to avoid them, but not on Christmas Eve!

We spent a couple of hours, making our way through Orchard Road taking in the sights and marveling at the crowds. In spite of the heat, the humidity and the crowd, everyone had a smile on. So did I.

So it was a great day! (Also so because the blog completes 400 days)!

600 more to go.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 399: Whiff of the Festive Season

23 December, 2010

Last year this time, I was talking about nothing other than the festive spirit of Singapore during December and how easy it is to feel upbeat about life in the last couple of weeks of the month, due to the wonderful Christmas and New Year cheer around. This year however, due to the continued work on the film as well as unexpectedly heavy load of work in office, I have not really had a chance to take a step back and smile at all the fun happening around me.

But today I took a couple of hours between work and dubs and spent the time with mom and in-laws. Together we walked around a few malls, looked at the decorations, watched a figure skating performance, took pictures, watched the shoppers frantically doing their last minute Christmas shopping and enjoyed the wonderful Starbucks Chai Latte at the end of it! It was a short break from the work but good fun!

Tomorrow evening I am planning proper immersion in the festivities (which usually means walking along Orchard road wearing a Christmas hat and enjoying all the buzz!) but for today, it felt good to get just a quick whiff of it! Ah, I love December!

601 more to go.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day 398: Quits

22 December, 2010

I had yet another dubbing session scheduled today. After I got back home from work, I did some pre-work for the session which usually involves double checking the syncs so far, double checking that no places for dub have been missed out, see whether there are any patch ups required etc. Then the actor came over and we did about 3 hours of dubbing. And then it happened.

I suddenly felt completely unable to go on any more. My left shoulder and arms were under a sharp pain and I felt that I won't be able to sit through the dub for another minute. And for the first time ever since the film work had begun, I said quits because I simply didn't have the physical and mental strength to go on. I realized that all these continuous days of work has finally taken its toll and we had to wrap up the dub half way.

My initial reaction was to panic. How the hell am I supposed to release this film in April if I cant get the dubs done on time? There is still sound design, background score to be done and also the rating (censorship) process which would taken about 2.5 months! I have to submit the final cut of the film for censorship in end Jan latest and the more my dubs get delayed the more difficult that's going to be!

After a fair amount of inner turmoil, I realized that if I start getting depressed over this, it's not gonna make things better anyway. After that very wise realization I proceeded to make the most of it - which means I basically just sprawled on the couch for a few hours, stared at the ceiling, chatted with hubby, mom and in-laws, ate a lot, went to bed early, listened to 'If I rise' when I couldn't sleep and basically, decided to feel good in spite of a pressing deadline. Of course, it was a lot easier with the four people in my house fussing royally over me!

So the day's obviously a pretty one, since I managed to keep my nerves calm even under the rare occasion of saying quits.

602 more to go.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Day 397: Fights & In-Laws!

21 December, 2010

Let me set the record straight first. The incident involving the fight and the incident involving the in-laws are absolutely and completely mutually unrelated (ha! and you thought there was some gossip brewing here! tch tch!) but both happened to occur today so I put them together.

Firstly, the fight. I had written here about how some of the fringe cast for the film had done an excellent job of delivering lines made up on their own, during the shoot. The dialogue that they were supposed to make up were that of a fight. So I had two girls fighting it out with each other and a poor dude watching and trying to make peace. Now the whole thing had to be re-created for the dub. So I got the girls to come over and fight it out once again in my house. And what a fight they put up! My house was shaking from the noise they made! It was awesome fun, really! The dub was OK-ed in one take and the actresses were very pleased with themselves. Apparently it also helped to let go of their work frustrations thoroughly!

Soon after the satisfactory fight dub, my in-laws arrived. The next few hours were spent on gawking at the numerous gifts they got, gorging on the great food they got and chatting away non-stop. We were up well into the night catching up as well as making plans for the next few days! It's like finally there is a festive spirit in the house and the holiday season has begun!

603 more to go.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 396: Spic & Span!

20 December, 2010

You shouldn't underestimate the quality of this beauty when I say that today was made beautiful by how my house got thoroughly cleaned up. It is seriously a big deal and a highly satisfactory one at that. But more importantly it was a highly fun experience because it involved two very amusing characters - the hubby and my mom.

Here's a bit of background. I do get a maid to help clean the house on a weekly basis. While she does a good job of washing and mopping etc., due to her fear of throwing away something of importance, she leaves everything in its original places of being, even though in a more tidy manner. What that means is that letters, bills, coins, books, mint, pens, random scraps of paper etc. will all be cumulating in different corners of the house, in a very neat manner. May I also take the opportunity to point out that much of this hoarding is contributed by the hubby who is yet to master the skill of "putting things in their rightful places".

The house also had some other technical issues like a broken lamp or fused bulb, which needed to be repaired and which had been left ignored for months by the hubby, in spite of my continuous pleadings (I couldn't reach them, otherwise would have fixed them myself of course).

But today, all of a sudden the hubby was cleaning up in a frenzy. He was throwing away hoarded and absolutely useless stuff, fixing lamps, changing sheets and finally putting things in their right places, as if his life depended on it. The reason? His parents are arriving tomorrow. It brings a whole new different guy out of him. A resourceful, responsible, hardworking one who is of course, very welcomed by his wife and interestingly, also his mom-in-law.

Every 5 minutes, she would go in the most sing-song manner, "Uh oh... Shivanoooooo.... I wish your parents would visit every monthhhhhhh. Then the house would be so cleannnnnn!" And then every now and then, I would catch her glance admiringly at her son-in-law who has just turned into the superman of cleaning.

Do note that the process wasn't as smooth as one would have expected. For e.g. there was this utter confusion on where to put a pack of namecards the hubby had collected.

He: Where will I put these?!
Me: Throw them away?
He: Of course not!!! They are very important.
Me: Erm... did you even know where they were till today? They were tucked away beneath that pile of bills and you haven't looked at them for 6 months at least!
He: They are very important!
Me: OK fine. You can put them in that plastic box over there.
He: There is water in it.
Me: Huh. There is no water in it.
He: Yeah. There is no water in it.
Me: OK then.

2 minutes later:

He: Where do I keep these namecards?!!!
Me: Erm. Didn't we just agree that you would use that plastic box?
He: Yeah. But that doesn't look like their rightful place.
Me: *Dirty look*
He: OK. Fine. I will put them in the plastic box. (and then proceeded to do so in the most melancholy manner as if a great injustice has been committed).

Yet another instance:

Me: Why is a used pair of socks on the bed?
He: I might need them.

5 minutes later.
Me: Why are they still here?
He: I might need them.

15 minutes later:
Me: Dude, they are STILL here!
He: OK. Fine. (and then regally proceeds to tuck them under a used t-shirt which was also lying on the bed). Happy?
Me: *Silence*

With several more such instances, we were done finally. The house is now spic & span and am so happy!

604 more to go.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 395: Cast Catch-Ups!

19 December, 2010

I had an absolutely marvelous day today! Five of the cast members were at my place to do their dubs and we had an amazing time catching up! Now that the film is in its final stages, we spent quite a bit of time going through all the key edited scenes, listening to the rough soundtracks that are coming in from my genius music composer and reminiscing over how our first day of shoot seems so far off now and how surreal the whole journey has been! I don't think any of us could believe the film has reached so far! One cast member was seriously close to tears!

The whole reminiscing experience was made even better by the constant flow of delicious Kerala snacks that my mom whipped up. Uniappams, avil nanchathu, banana fritters, onion bhajjis, tapioca chips etc. etc. kept coming by one after the other much to everyone's delight!

I would be glad when the whole film is done and I finally get some time of doing nothing, but I am pretty sure am gonna miss this experience like hell!

605 more to go.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day 394: Mom, Food & Gifts

18 December, 2010

My mom arrived this morning from India for her ritual 1-month Christmas break in Singapore. And she once again followed the ritual of bringing a 101 things from home to eat.

There could not have been a better day to bring all that food because I was on my dubbing chair for 14 hours. I just focused on the dubs while the meals and snacks and drinks kept flowing in. Ah! That definitely made the process a lot less painful!

She also immediately got into entertaining conversations with me, the hubby and the cast who had come for dubbing. She is always so enthusiastic about everything, it is so much fun to chat with her!

And then I got an unexpected gift from a cast member. She had taken a holiday in India and got me a silk shawl. What's really cute about the gift was her reasoning why she got that. According to her, she has seen me only in a "limited range of clothes"and mainly in army shorts which she had very little opinion of. (Please do note that there is an explanation for this - It is that she has seen me only during shoots or dubbing work and usually during such occasions comfort comes first and I would be in very casual attire.)

So she couldn't figure out what to get for me for a while and then she was inspired by what those "great directors get during award functions"! In India, there is a custom of putting a silk shawl around dignitaries as a showcase of respect. So yeah, she got me a silk shawl and wrapped it around me. My studyroom turned into a stage and I turned into a "great director" for that minute. All smiles!

606 more to go.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 393: Inspirations

17 December, 2010

There are quite a few people who inspire me, for very different reasons. I find some people's talents and their commitment to excel in them, very inspiring. I find some others' big, generous hearts inspiring. Some others inspire me with their determination and absolute refusal to give up and say a "no". And then there are others who inspire with their sheer simplicity and lack of pretense of being anything else but what they really are. And all of them go a long way in getting me to look beyond what I could have thought of on my own.

Today the situation seemed to have changed a bit and I found myself with 5 emails from different people saying that I've actually managed to inspire them! Needless to say, it was a pleasant surprise!

It all started with the post I put up on a filmie site with all the gyan I could muster up on shooting an independent no-budget film (the link can be found here). A few people read it and some of them, mainly aspiring film makers, wrote to me saying that they are inspired to go make their own feature films post reading the article. That was really sweet and needless to say very somehow gives more reason to be doing all this than just about following a passion. Needless to say, it left me with a glowing heart and a smiling face (ok fine, my head also might have bloated a teeny, tiny inch).

Of course, I continue to look for inspirations. But once in a while, when you know you are on the other end for somebody else, that feels good too!

607 more to go.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 392: Daily Mallu Movie

I have mentioned, in several occasions, that I love watching movies. They make me feel good and I am especially happy when I get to watch Malayalam movies which is a rarity in Singapore partly because not many of them appear on local channels or get released here and partly because even if they do, the hubby with his utter lack of knowledge of the language, pulls a long face if I decide to watch one.

But it has so happened that I am suddenly in possession of a few Malayalam movies thanks to the editor who was in town and have also found myself with some spare time to watch a bit of it without the hubby around (he has been travelling or been busy with work). The end result is that for three days in a row now, I have spent at least 1 hour at night watching a movie. Ah the joy from these simple things! It is such a de-stresser!

After I hear some conversation in Malayalam and hear a couple of jokes or even slang, am left smiling!

608 more to go.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 391: If I Rise

Today, I would have easily ended up writing about another day of work and dub and run and even a Malayalam movie that I happened to watch and thoroughly enjoyed. But then a friend shared the link to A.R.Rahman's song from the movie '127 hours' called 'If I Rise'.

OMG. What a song. What a freaking song! Totally, completely, absolutely made my day!

Writing anything further about it with my limited vocabulary will not do justice. So it's enough to say that I have been listening to it the whole day in a loop and I don't feel like going to bed now because then I won't be able to listen to it anymore.

Here's the link to the masterpiece.

God bless ARR (and also Dido)!

609 more to go.

Day 390: Group Hug!

14 December, 2010

I love my film's team. But let me be honest - It is not always so and there are reasons for that. Many a time they do get very creative in finding new and innovative methods to annoy the crap out of me, but overall they are all incredibly awesome people and I love them. Today in particular, I feel like I wanna give all of them a group hug (and that's saying a lot because am not a very hug-sy person).

I am feeling this special overflowing love suddenly because for the first time ever, every single person on the team (and am talking about 12 people here) said "yes" immediately to a schedule I sent out! Just imagine! No prior commitments and such excuses given and this is really a first! Usually it's like half the team agrees but the other half wouldn't which means I have to shift around dates and slots...then the second half would agree but not the first half which means another round of rescheduling etc. But this time, everyone said "Yes!", "Sure!", "Will be there!", "It's already in my calendar" and what not, that too in one go! Wah!

The schedule I sent out was for the final round of dubbing and it's like suddenly they all really want to make sure this gets done at the earliest! This was really unexpected because I had even put dubbing slots on Christmas day and they agreed to that too! Who would have thought!

This is some serious Awwwww stuff!

And second round of dubbing has already kicked off too! My first cast member came over today evening for her dub and we successfully completed a good chunk of it.

So yes, am feeling really awesome! What a rocking team!

610 more to go.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 389: Goodbye Time

13 December, 2010

Today was the editor's last day in Singapore. After having successfully completed the Mausams edit, tomorrow he would be on his way back to India. I still find it surreal that someone bothered to travel all the way here just to work on my ridiculously small film! I cant possibly express how grateful I am for that and it has been an incredible experience, cutting the final edit together!

We took a quick look at the rendered final cut (and successfully identified some issues) and then had a chat for a while about this whole Mausams journey so far. Now that it was time to say goodbye, all the memories and snippets from the last several months tumbled out. More than the end product itself, this is always the best part - the recounting of the memories!

This isn't the end of our work together on Mausams because we still have teaser, trailers, titles, credits, finetuning post background score etc. still remaining which we would be working on utilizing the internet as our primary source of communication over the next few months! Ah the never ending journey! But I hope he can attend the premiere in April and be there to see the journey to its completion.

Till then, it's a big thanks and bye from me!

611 more to go.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 388: Post Edit High & Band Baaja Baarat!

12 December, 2010

After days of sleeping past 4 am (earliest) due to the edit work, today I had wanted to wake up really late. Now that the edit's over, all I wanted was to sleep and sleep and sleep. I went to bed at 6 am after the final edit was wrapped with some last and final finishing touches made, and then was promptly woken up by the hubby by 11 am. He obviously had slept much earlier and decided that I should wake up when he did. This would have annoyed me on a normal day but nothing could annoy me today as I was on a high, post the edit.

So we happily went to Murugan's Idly for brunch and lapped up idlis and dosas and vadas together with filter coffee. Then we made the very good decision of watching Band Baaja Baarat, a recently released Hindi film. It was a very fun movie and I thoroughly enjoyed myself!

I was feeling on top of the world the whole day and I think the feeling's gonna last just for another couple of days before the second round of dubbing work kicks in. But for today, me is all smiles!

612 more to go.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Days 384, 385, 386 and 387: Mausams Edit - Now Completed.

8 - 11 December 2010

The reason why I didn't write anything for the last few days and decided to compile all the four days' entries into one post is because I had single-minded focus on completing the Mausams edit with my editor who is in town. As soon as I was done with office work, each day I sat down with him to work on the edit way into the night. Today, a saturday, we have been at it the whole day too. It's been a few backbreaking days for sure. But I enjoyed every bit of the work and it has made all four days wonderfully beautiful! I could not think of anything else but the film and even when I went to bed the footage was running in my head. It felt really good to see the film edging closer and closer to its completion!

And today I am very, very, very, very happy to declare that Mausams final cut edit has finally been completed.

Now am off to celebrate!

Editor & I in my "studio"
613 more to go.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 383: Year End Analysis

I had wanted to do this exercise much earlier, on the 365th day of the blog to be precise. But thanks to the trek, its aftermath, the workload at office, film editing etc. I couldn't get to this any sooner.

A year ago, I started on writing this blog with great pomp and show - saying that it will help me live 1000 beautiful days which in turn would make turning 30 a much more tolerable affair. But did it really make a difference? Did I really have 365 beautiful days so far? If yes, what made these days beautiful? Do I have a clue? Surely, I must know these answers to know how to go on from here!

So I decided to spend some time going through the blogs of the last one year and see what strikes me about them. And here is what I have found out about myself and what makes me happy:

a) F.O.O.D - Yeah! Food seems to be a key enabler of my happy life! The number of times I have mentioned all kinda food and beverages on this blog is just mindboggling. My favourite restaurants such as Swadhisht, The Tent, Nalan, Kailas Parbhat, Shahi Maharani etc. have come up time and again and Starbucks Chai Tea Latte is almost a permanent fixture. So yes, I love food and looks like am one of those people who live to eat and not eat to live. Oh well.

Lesson: If nothing else works in a day, I can just go down and get a good meal and feel a lot better. It's an easy fix!

b) Mausams - Needless to say, a HUGE chunk of the blog space is dedicated to the film. Being my first feature film, surely it is important me and looks like I have documented pretty much every step of the way - scripting, casting, make up trial, costume prep, scheduling, location hunting, props hunting, photoshoots, mahurat, film shoot, editing, poster making, website making etc. etc. There seem to have been several instances when I was close to quitting, but thanks to the blog and the requirement to find something good about each day, I seem to have bounced back from the quitting mode soon enough.

Lesson: A big project is required to keep me upbeat about life. Surely it would be a very, very long road full of potholes (Mausams is still not completed and will take another couple of grueling months) but with some effort, looks like my brain can be trained to look only at the bright side.

c) Travels - I am a travel freak and the past year seems to have been filled with them. Ever since I started to write the blog I have been twice to Japan, twice to China, twice to Thailand, once to Switzerland, four times to India and finally once to Nepal as part of the trek. Most of them were on business and the rest were on holiday, and I enjoyed every bit of them!

Lesson - Well, I guess the lesson here is just that the world is one amazing place offering plenty of things to see. So as long as I have the health and some cash (or if the company is paying, but of course), I will continue to go around as much as possible.

d) Physical fitness - A new milestone in any kind of physical activity seems to give me a real high, which is significantly different from before when I used to hate all kinds of physical activity except for dance or an occasional swim. I have talked about yoga extensively, especially when I get one or the other pose right and it gets appreciated by the tutor, I have also time and again mentioned walks, jogs, swims and even kickboxing and step! Completing a 10km run or walk or a 18 lap swim has been well celebrated! So has reaching a 19.9% body fat level for the first time!

Lesson: Yet another quick fix for a crappy day - exercise!

e) People - Ah! This one was very interesting! There seems to be so many wonderful people in my life! There is obviously the family and close friends who appear time and again in my posts (I seem to have spent several posts on the hilarious hubby and mother who both give invaluable entertainment)! But what is more fascinating are nuggets related to long lost friends or relatives and even perfect strangers. The year was full of meeting up with friends from 10 years ago, having opportunities for good conversations and stronger bonding with distant relatives, finding unexpected help from all over for the film and amazing experiences with perfect strangers - those whom I got to know because of this blog, people I met on the travel trips, cabbies of Singapore etc. etc. etc.!

Lesson: I never thought I am a people person. In fact, I still don't think I definitely more of an introvert than an extrovert. But I do appreciate the presence of all these folks in my life. For everyone who has been around, if you are reading this, thank you very much!

f) Being Good - As I read the 365 posts, I have also noticed a bit of personal transformation. Many at times I seem to have made a conscious decision to really look for something to make the day better. That alone has significantly improved the quality of life for sure. It has made me notice and appreciate the smaller things in life. Otherwise if things go wrong, I used to just crib and nag and throw tantrums at the poor hubby. But now I have blogs on just sitting and staring into space and genuinely enjoying it! So I feel like I have actually become a much calmer, more peace loving person.

Lesson: It's all in the head.

So there. That's what the last year has been about. It was tough but productive and seriously, a lot of fun. Now for the next one.

617 more to go.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 382: Awkward Pose Part 1 - Check!

Am trying to get back to yoga more regularly (and by that I mean, at least twice a week) and today I got some incentive for that! After seemingly cracking the bow pose, standing bow pose, cobra pose and rabbit pose, today I cracked the Awkward Pose Part 1 (the posture comes in three phases - one is sitting half way, one is standing on toes and the last one is sitting all the way down on the toes and I cracked the first part of it). The instructor said "Good one, Shilpa!"

If I crack the remaining two parts of it, I could have claimed to be able to do the Awkward Pose properly but this is still some achievement. So there...Yay!!!!

618 more to go.

Day 381: Good Sunday

A few things made the day quite pleasant!

a) Waking up to a breakfast prepared by the boys - the hubby had woken up earlier than me to find the editor making Burji (scrambled eggs) for breakfast! The editor apparently had not slept the whole night. After working on the edit until 6 am, I went off to bed but the editor went for his Sunday morning prayers at the church. He then returned back and decided to cook! Oh well...nobody was complaining! So as the editor made his delicious burji, the hubby got quite inspired himself and put together toast and sandwich. So all I had to do was wake up and eat! Perfect Sunday morning I say!

b) Work on the edit continued slowly but steadily. We are close to completing 50% now!

c) Met up with a few of the Mausams team for dinner. It was a chance for them and the editor to meet each other. It was a very fun evening and I thoroughly enjoyed myself! We spoke about films, how we crossed each other's paths to be the Mausams team that we are today etc. etc. which was all fun stuff!

d) And I must mention this - I also got to eat one of the best chicken dishes ever - the corriander from Fifth Season! I have been to this restaurant several times and can't believe that I had missed out on this beauty for this long! It was SO freaking good!

So yes, it was a grand day and a grand weekend!

619 more to go.

Day 380: High Voltage Editing

4 December, 2010

I call this High Voltage Editing because that's all the editor and I had been doing the whole day! We took just one break for dinner and the rest of the day was spent on editing alone. Snipping a few microseconds here, extending a few microseconds there, for hours at end! The progress was slow in terms of the timeline completed because we were completely revamping a few scenes but both of us are very satisfied with whatever we have done so far! The film is really falling into place!

620 more to go.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 379: The Editor Arrives!

3 December, 2010

Like I have mentioned here, my editor had agreed to come to Singapore all the way from Mumbai just to just work on the film!

And he arrived today morning! Bringing with him a collection of about 8-10 books on films and film making for me as a gift! There was one on a photographic journey through Bollywood, a visual edition of the Namesake with pictures from the movie and one on getting character make up done (which the hubby remarked that I am in dire need of myself). There was also a cook book (which again, according to my hubby am in dire need of) and even a special Mumbai photographic diary for 2011, since am a planning freak! How sweet is that?!

After I was done with my office work, we sat down to edit Mausams. The last and final edit.

Am loving the journey on this last leg. It is a totally different feel to sit with the editor and work on the film than trying to use online chat or do the reference edits yourself! This way it is a lot easier to communicate on what I want and also to understand his thinking behind each of the cuts. With my study room set up with his laptop, my iMac and LCD screen and also the numerous hard disks that we are using, it actually looks like a real studio and I actually feel like a real director!

By the time it was 2 am, we had 25% of the final cut for Mausams.

621 more to go.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 378: Mausams Website!!!

3 December, 2010

Today saw the launch of the Mausams website!!

It has months of my planning, concept and design work and I am so so so happy to see it all come together finally!! My website developer and photographer have done a really great job and HUGE thanks to them! :)

So without much further ado, here is

622 more to go.

Day 377: NZ Planning Begins!

1 December, 2010

A few months ago, the hubby and I booked our flight tickets to New Zealand for next Feb. It was to be our proper holiday together after 1.5 years! We had not even taken a short getaway the whole of 2010 together, so this is obviously much looked forward to!

After the flight bookings were made, we got completely busy with our lives and had not gotten back to planning anything further. Obviously, NZ is a huge country and we should have a better idea of what to do there to maximize our time.

Over the last weekend we decided that the hubby, due to his limited planning skills, will do all the planning for the North Island where we would be spending 3 days while I, being the expert planner, will take up the job of planning for South island where would be spending 6-7 days.

So today, I did just that. After a few hours of research I have come up with a nice, detailed itinerary. I already know the routes we would take, the places where we can stay, the must-see sights etc. and felt really good about a job well done. (May I also add that the hubby's North Island itinerary is still untouched?)

After hours of looking at Kiwi landscapes, half of me is already in New Zealand! Ah!

623 more to go.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day 376: Provoking the Thought!

30 November, 2010

You know how you sometimes sit with a friend and talk for hours about life, where it takes us, what would really make us happy, how to achieve that happiness, what will happen if that doesn't come, how we are going to take the future in our hands etc. etc.? I absolutely love those conversations. Like, a lot!

After any such conversation, it is as if your whole brain gets reorganized and clicks in its proper placements. You feel like, "Yes... everything is so clear now. My world is gonna change from tomorrow." Sure, the next day the brain clicks again and reorganizes itself to it previous position but then that doesn't matter because for as long as it lasted, it would have felt awesome!

I am not in a particularly confused state of mind currently to seek clarity or anything like that, but it still felt good when the husband and I met up with a friend and had one of these really long, thought provoking conversations! I somehow ended up feeling super intellectual with all the wisdom I was flinging in every direction (could also have been the effect of the Mojito). I was very close to literally patting my back.

Long story short, I went home a happy, content person. Smiles!

624 more to go.