Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 648: Blog, Beauty, Mehendi & Dance!

29 August, 2011

Yet another fantastic day - very eventful and fun!

a) I woke up in the morning to this lovely blog written by a friend of mine from school. He is a couple of years junior to me and we had lost touch with each other over the years until of course, Facebook came into play. He has always been an ardent supporter of my film making activities and had also come down for the Mausams screening yesterday. What was incredibly sweet was that post the screening, he took time out to write a very touching blog! This left me overwhelmed, grateful, humbled and touched and the day started with a very big smile! God bless him!

b) Then it was time for pre-wedding beautification process (it's my cousin's wedding on 31st, just in case that point has been missed out so far). This basically means me and my mom going to the salon and getting a facial each! I hadn't done a facial since my own wedding 4.5 years ago, so more than how much beauty that's supposed to bring, what's cool is the mom-daughter bonding time as we were being beautified. It was a pretty amusing to sit side by side and get our faces steamed and massaged and sorted out, while talking about everything under the sun (whenever we were allowed to talk i.e.)!

c) In the evening we went for the wedding festivities. It started with Mehendi or the Henna ceremony. In this part of India, the henna ceremony is almost non-existent but just for the fun of it, my cousin decided to get henna done on her hands. Only point to note is that the henna artiste was to be me! Even though I had done henna for others before, it is the first time I got to be the artist for the bride herself! It was backbreaking work, but I had a lot of fun doing it!

d) This was followed by music and dance! My uncles, cousins, hubby, and me of course... all of us let our hair down and danced and sang and laughed and had an awesomely merry time! It was SOOO much fun!!

352 more to go.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 647: Kerala - Mausams, People & Sea!

28 August, 2011

Yet another incredibly AWESOME day!!

My dad had organized a private screening of Mausams for just a few friends and family and it turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences ever! Here are a few highlights:

a) It had quite a few of my very dear friends turning up - friends from school, friends I know via common interest of films (including the filmie fanatic I had written about here) and even the editor of Mausams (who, of course is also a very dear friend) flying all the way from Mumbai for the event! How sweet is that?!

b) I also had a few teachers dropping by including one all the way from my kindergarten days! It was lovely to meet them after such a long gap!

c) The response to the film was very positive which made me feel elated - some of the highlights here were how a friend of my dad's said that he would be leaving early to attend to a family member who isn't keeping well, instead decided to stay on until the very end of the film because he was that entertained by it; yet another friend watched the film twice (there were two shows) because he liked it that much; one teacher of mine who said that she was definitely not expecting to be so well entertained and this was beyond her initial expectation of an amateur film, etc. etc.

d) More than all the positive reviews and everything else, what was most special was to catch up with all these wonderful people who had come down for the screening just to show their support! I had not seen many of them for years, and it was lovely to spend some time together with all of them! It was a very heartwarming experience and I was truly touched by their gestures.

e) Post the screening my dad organized a big van to take a bunch of us for an outing. Enroute, we had some really good Kerala traditional cuisine of Puttu, Egg curry, Quill eggs with masala as well as Scrambled egg in typical Kerala style. Given that all of us were in a van and that we didn't have any cutlery with us, we resorted to a very effective form of communal eating! The food was passed around and everyone simply dug in. It was a very fascinating experience! Oh, and I must mention that the beverage consumed was good old freshly cut super sweet Kerala toddy (coconut alcohol)! Awesomeness!

f) The van took us to the spectacular Thalikulam beach (the strip called Snehatheeram). We reached there at 10pm - so initially I was really wondering what on earth we could do on a beach at that time of the night. But I was greeted by a wonderful park sorta set up - it was well lit, had benches lining the beach front, with also a few covered structures done in the way of traditional Kerala kalmandapams. It was b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l! The best part was that it was completely deserted, which was really awesome because this means we get the whole area to ourselves to do whatever we wanted! I loved it!!

g) My dad and his friend walked up to one of those kalmandapams and settled down with the instruments they had brought along. With my dad on the percussion instrument called dhol and his friend on the accordion, they played some wonderful melodies. Enjoying the very, very strong breeze from the sea, watching the waves crashing against the rocks and two white birds that kept flying in circles above them, with the music that floated in the otherwise quiet night, the experience was simply out of this world! Ah! Bliss!

h) I must also mention that my dad's friends also got me a cake to cut as a celebratory gesture on my "achievement" of having made Mausams! My dad's friend even played some celebratory music on the accordion to wish me his congratulations! How super nice! I was truly flattered and felt on top of the world!

Nett, a super happening and an awesomely satisfying day - once again thanks to a lot of lovely folks around and some good Kerala natural beauty!

353 more to go.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 646: Family, Friends, Food & Fireflies!

27 August, 2011

What a fantastic day! Thoroughly enjoyed this one because it kinda combined pretty much everything that gives me the feeling that this world is one rocking place! Since there are a lot of things to go through, am gonna go back to the good old efficient list format.

a) Going home means being with family. So of course, the day was filled with that. Not only did I spend time with my parents as well as my grandmom who stays with us, but I also visited my uncles and aunties who are in the same city. We spent some pretty good quality time together filled with discussions on the upcoming wedding of my cousin's (wedding talk is always fun), random jokes, gossips etc.!

b) A friend who is studying at IIM Calicut (about 3 hours away from my hometown), came down to visit the hubby and I. He had been in Singapore all these years and only recently shifted to Calicut, and it was lovely to catch up with him.

c) We also got to spend some time with a few people who are unfortunately not as blessed as most of us. We visited the Sree Parvathi Seva Nilayam, an organization for mentally challenged women where we spent some time chatting with the inmates, talking to the helpers and organizers and making a customary donation for what its worth. These visits are always such eye openers and necessary to ensure that the feet stay firmly on ground. These inmates, in most cases, are abandoned by their families and they don't even bring them home for a few days in a year. Some of them have actually recovered from their illness to a large extent but still have been left behind. It's all very sad but what's really heartening to see is how happy these girls seem to be with what they have. The more mature ones seem to have assumed a kind of maternal authority, fussing over the younger ones while the younger ones are such bundles of joy. All of them looked absolutely delighted to have a few visitors and were very eagerly making conversation with us! All in all, a very touching and humbling experience.

d) Then we went to Poomala, a beautiful ... and I really mean BEAUTIFUL, undiscovered gem of a place very close to my house! It is my explorer dad's most recent find and it was simply breathtaking! It is basically the water catchment area of a very tiny dam with beautiful greenery around. There is also a lovely bridge with benches lining it as well as an obscurely located small waterfall. We got there late in the evening and stayed there until the sun set and darkness fell. Then came the fireflies... first one, then a few more, then a few more... until the whole place was illuminated with fireflies. They were flying all around us... it was so surreal! It was the first time I have seen fireflies for real (I have seen glow worms inside a cave before but that's way too different from watching flying glowing beings all around you in the open!) and honestly, the feeling is indescribable!! Absolutely, Completely AWESOME it was!


e) Last but not the least... the food!! Ah! Always something to look forward to, that one! From mom's delicious home cooked food to the to-die-for local cuisine of noolappam, duck roast and prawns curry that we had for dinner, the food was just mindblowing!

Yes, an incredibly good day!

354 more to go.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 645: Surprises - Good, Bad & Awesome!

26 August, 2011

Going home is always fun. Even though it almost always means rushing up last minute work at office, last minute packing at home and general panic of forgetting to take something etc. After all that unavoidable excitement, the hubby and I made our way to the airport.

Then an awesome surprise took place! I had written here about how one of my very close friends is leaving for UK and we threw her a farewell party etc. Given her schedule as well as mine, the farewell party was to be a real farewell, in the sense we were not expecting to see each other before she leaves for UK and I leave for Kerala. However, that was not meant to be!

She actually dropped by the airport just before we were about to board and we had a very nice 15 minute farewell-catch-up over good old Starbucks Chai Latte! It was super sweet of her to travel all the way to the airport just for such a short catch up! It was really incredible... because I would not have thought it possible to see her for a while now, so this felt really, really nice!

After another round of goodbyes with her, we ran to the gates. We were pretty much the last ones to arrive at the gate and board the flight but after that, things passed on pretty eventlessly through the journey.

When we reached the Cochin Airport, I was pleased that the immigration process took hardly anyway time at all. So I remarked how efficient everything is in Kerala, after all it's my land, just to annoy the hubby who obviously doesn't share that opinion. I might as well have just kept my remark to myself because from there on, things went tumbling downhill.

Firstly our luggage, which was on priority list, were the last ones to reach. Like literally the last ones to reach. This gave very good fodder for the hubby to make several comebacks on the "efficiency" of God's own country. But the bigger woe was that out of the luggage that did come in at the end, mine was missing. A whole bag had simply disappeared!

As the luggage belt ground to a halt, we were already throwing the required amount of fuss about our missing bag. We had airport officials run around, making us fill up one form after the other, talking on their walkie talkies, other non related officials asking us why are we hanging around, giving not very helpful opinions about bags etc.

That was when I noticed another bag which has been left behind at the belt. Nobody had picked it up so far. Even though this particular bag looked nothing like our missing bag, I suggested that maybe it's worthwhile tracing its owner and checking whether he has picked up ours by mistake. Then the airport officials ran around doing just this investigation, and within 5 minutes informed me that indeed, the dude has picked up my bag by mistake and now will be making his way back to the airport to make an exchange of bags.

Ah! What relief!

As we waited for the bag to return, my parents joined us and we had a cup of excellent steaming coffee each. Soon the dude returned - a young, educated looking guy whom you would expect to know the difference between these bags because one was clearly green and the other was clearly brown and his bag is like half the size of mine, so he can't even blame the mistake on colour blindness. My family and I gave him a dirty look first, then smiled and accepted the apology because after all, we are in God's own country!

So yes, that was the second surprise of the evening - a missing bag, which definitely was not a good surprise but given that I did get it back pretty much immediately, am pretty OK with the whole deal!

This was followed by a surprise which was actually pretty good! My parents revealed the brand new air-conditioner fitted in the bedroom!! Now this is indeed quite a surprise because we have not had air conditioning in my house ever and now my parents have gone and got one, more for the comfort of their son-in-law who is about to make his first week-long stay in the house! There was quite a show of "inaugurating" the air-con which was installed just this morning! A super cute surprise that was!

So an evening full of surprises... most of which was rather enjoyable!

355 more to go.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 644: Successful Yogini

25 August, 2011

In my very profound post "Yogini", I had written about all the things I had to complete over the next few days and how am gonna approach them with the attitude of a Yogini.

Good news - I have successfully completed each and every item on my to-do list. Which means a LOT!

So for today, I am not just a Yogini, but a successful one at that. Yay!

Now I can focus on my upcoming annual visit to good old Kerala! Home beckons!

356 more to go.

Day 643: Another Idea!

24 August, 2011

As I was on the flight back from Manila to Singapore today, I worked out the complete storyline for a feature film. Complete meaning right up to the last scene of it with pretty much all the dialogues in there. Not sure when, where, how it will be made, but there is always the excitement from yet another new idea!

357 more to go.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 642: Filipino Sights!

23 August, 2011

It was a FANTASTIC day! Super long, super tiring but super fantastic!

There were two key highlights. The first one was the consumer work we did in Manila which was a combination of accompanying our sales team as they go around with their house-to-house selling, visiting a consumer in her house as well as visiting a public market.

First was the house-to-house selling - We joined our sales team to walk the streets of Manila and try and sell shampoos! Now that was not easy at all! But it was an up, close and personal experience with the locals.

After a very warm welcome by the sales team, we started to walk along really narrow roads lined with cramped and densely populated housing structures. Some very amusing things were:

a) How the dogs, cats, chicken, etc. were roaming about pretty much on every bit of free space available - it was amazing how much animal and bird life there was even that central in the city!
b) Shy housewives peeping from behind the doors and the not-so-shy housewives trying to make conversations with our group.
c) The jeepneys that seemed to be able to make their way through even such narrow roads - they reminded me of the autorickshaws back at home where the drivers twist, turn and ease their way out any kinda traffic jam!
d) The darling boy who clamped the mouth of his dog shut to stop it from barking when we went to his house. Both were looking so super cute that I had to take a picture!

After the walk with the sales girls, we visited a consumer's home for an interview. That was a very interesting experience as well. She had a shack as her home, in which her parents and siblings stayed with her. It was a really tiny place and we all squeezed into a room that tripled up as the living room, bedroom as well as the kitchen. She didn't have chairs for the 4-5 of us to sit on, so she quickly got a few plastic chairs from a neighbour only to realize that there wasn't enough space to put those 5 chairs in. When she started to despair, we assured her that we are just as comfortable on the ground and then settled in for an hour long talk. It was a classic eye-opening session because you realize that in spite of how small one's house is or how little money one might have, you can still be perfectly happy. Because that's what she was - perfectly happy.

After meeting her, we went and visited what the Philippinos call the "public market". It is basically where the real poor folks (i.e. bulk of the population) shop but it also serves as a wholesale outlet. This was another fascinating experience and I actually have a few picture to illustrate this.

Firstly, it was yet another place which was abundant with animal life. We spotted a cat breastfeeding its kitten in midst of all that commotion in the market!

One shop had a couple of super adorable dogs happily roaming about inside it.

Also got to see the pink coloured eggs - a few told me they were "salted" eggs while some others told me they were the half-fertilized eggs (so you get like half a chick in it I believe) that is a highly popular Philippino cuisine! Am not sure which one it is, but either way, the colours were fascinating.

I must also add that we walked amongst some very disturbing fish and butcher shops but I didn't stop long enough at these spots to take pictures!

Last but not the least, we also realized that sometimes, what we provide the shopkeepers as ways to promote our brand are happily used for other purposes - like price tags for eggs!

To sum up, that was really some awesome consumer work we did and that was the first highlight for the day.

The second highlight, which was equally important to me, was that I had another round of kickass presentation to one of the GMs.

It always feels good to give a well-accepted presentation but this was also special because I did the presentation past 9pm at night of such an eventful day. I was tired, sticky from all that heat and pollution and simply coulndn't wait to get to bed. But I had to present, and I did and I was so so so so relieved when it was well accepted!

So yes, a really incredible day!

658 more to go.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 641: Manila!

22 August, 2011

Even though this is not my first trip to Manila (I had been here several years ago as part of the ASEAN Youth Cultural Festival), it was my first trip here on work. And I had a fab time! The hotel was great, the people were great, the jeepneys were as cute and great as they were before, the meetings were great, the food was great (and too much of it), catching up with my global team who was in town was great, the Philippino rain that I got caught in was also great!

In short, it was a lovely first day in Manila!

359 more to go.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 640: Fireworks From Above!

21 August, 2011

The most fascinating thing happened today!

I was on the flight from Singapore to Manila and just as we were about to land in Manila, I noticed (thanks to my window seat) a fantastic display of fireworks far below!

I have seen several displays of fireworks before but usually, just like how they are meant to, they always started at the ground level and burst into colourful formations high above my head. But today, I got to see them rise from the ground and burst into what looked like tiny sparkling lights far, far, below where I was!

It was such a rare sight and an awesomely beautiful one at that! Ah! Definitely a great welcome to the Philippines!

360 more to go.

P.S. A bit of googling tells me that the fireworks were possibly for the Ninoy Aquino day celebrated every August 21st in Philippines!

Day 639: IOK Shoot Begins!

20 August, 2011

Yeah, as the title has so straight-forwardly pointed out, IOK shooting began today! The shoot went all the way from 8 am to 5:30 pm with a couple of hours of break in between. All for canning just a 3-minute scene, mind you!

Oh and what was even more interesting was that this time I was acting too! Even though we had rehearsed a few times, it was still a pretty different experience when the actual shoot takes place because I had to really switch between being the actor and the director which was far more difficult than it seems!

However it was still a lot of fun. For the first time, I actually felt like I had an extensive crew - I had not 1 or 2 but FOUR rock solid guys helping me out with the cinematorgraphy and the production work such as holding the boom pole and fixing the tripod and testing the audio etc. etc., which was awesome! Given that I was acting in this scene, it would have been impossible for me to work this on my own, so this was simply great!

I think the footage has come out OK... considering there was no one really monitoring the acting while the shots were being canned and it was really the first time we were working with love sound and SLR cameras.

Anyway, more of it can only be gauged once the editing begins but for today, this was really an awesome experience!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 638: Good, Packed Friday!

19 August, 2011

It was one of those days where there were a TON of things to do but I actually enjoyed most of it.

Firstly there was an "offsite" meeting. The "offsite" is in quotes because well, the venue for this event was actually the function room of a colleague's condominium, for cost cutting purposes. Given that this was a significant change from the otherwise fancy venues that we go to usually, I wasn't really sure how it would turn out. But am happy to say that it was actually quite a pleasant experience! The sessions, the food, the ambience, the fun etc. were far beyond expectations!

The only glitch was that I had to shuttle between my office and this venue (which was a good 20 minute walking distance which made it too short for a cab ride but too long to walk under the hot sun) a number of times. I had way too many things to get done at work and I didn't want to miss much of the offsite either, so well... shuttling was the only option. Anyway, let's just say that it was all managed well enough.

Post work and offsite, it was time for the final rehearsal of IOK before the shoot begins. Which means we had a lot of technical checks etc. through the late evening. It left me dead tired but again, I was happy. Post the reasonably successful rehearsal, the team went out to have dinner together all the way until midnight in spite of the fact that there is to be a 8am shoot the next day. But then again, that was also a lot of fun!

So yes, a fully packed day but a good one!

362 more to go.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 637: Yogini

18 August, 2011

I can't imagine how misaligned all my planets must be these days because I am having such a super hectic and tough time! Anyone who has bothered to read this blog over the past few weeks (or months?) would know that.

And the hectic time continues to go on.

For instance, I have a whole load of work added on at office because I am out for most of next week on a business trip and then followed by a week's break to go home to Kerala. On top of this, I have to also prepare a few presentations for the upcoming business trip, run several household errands, shoot at least one scene for IOK before I leave because otherwise it will get stalled endlessly, organize a farewell party for a dear friend who would be on her way to Warwick for her studies, pack for my business and home trips, shop for a bunch of stuff before that, still try and get some exercise done in between, etc... all of which are causing quite some panic.

So, after a day of working at breakneck speed today, I went for yoga. Initially I was pretty close to skipping it but then I realized I needed the class more than ever today, to get all this stress and panic out of my system. And that was probably the best decision I took the whole day.

I had an excellent class with pretty high energy throughout. But most importantly, something which the instructor (an awesome dude who unfortunately is in Singapore only temporarily for a month) said during the class, stuck with me.

We were about to start on one of the most challenging parts of the series, where balancing on one leg is pretty much the key requirement and which needs tremendous concentration. So just before we started on the posture, he said "It is human to fall out, but a Yogi (or Yogini) gets back right in".

It was a simple statement but somehow it seemed to me as if it was coming to me at exactly the right time. It was like telling me that, "Yeah, it is all gonna be bloody hard. But you have gotta give it your best, because that's what's gonna make the difference".

So I've decided - instead of cribbing and wallowing in self-pity at my miserable life, I am gonna give my best shot at getting each and every thing done. My very best shot.

Or in the instructor's words, I shall try and be a "Yogini".

Let's see how it goes.

363 more to go.

Day 636: The President Is Coming!

17 August, 2011

Today I got to watch the super random but extremely hilarious film, "The President Is Coming"! I think I won't elaborate further other than saying that it is a MUST watch!

364 more to go.

Day 635: Beautiful 29 Continues!

16 August, 2011

It is just lovely when you think your birthday celebrations are all over but they really aren't!

I was working from home yesterday and had not gone to office, so all it felt like a lot of celebration in the office today. Firstly, my lovely colleagues got me a cake and we had a very small but nice celebration. Then I had several folks running up to me and wishing me and sometimes, also profusely apologizing for wishing me a day late! How cute is that?! One person even came up and gave me a bear hug and looked more excited about my birthday than I could have been! It was all so incredibly sweet!

Turning a year old is not at all a bad thing if you are surrounded by such lovely people and if you get all this attention!

I loved my 29th!

365 more to go.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 634: Beautiful 29!

15 August, 2011

Yet another birthday - turning 29! Wah. It almost seems like yesterday that I wrote about the 28th. Phew!

But it was an awesome, awesome day with several highlights!

a) The day started by getting thoroughly drenched in the rain - like literally soaked to my bones! It all happened because I walked out of my house to the ATM to get some cash before making my way to the Philippines embassy. All of sudden, out of nowhere - like there was no warning drizzle or anything of the sort, the clouds just decided to come down in full force. I attempted a pretty decent sprint back to the house, but could not avoid getting drenched! Even though the whole experience seemed rather annoying for a Monday morning, in hindsight, I think it was pretty cool! It is after all not a regular start to a birthday, and rains are always nice! Oh, and I must also add that the cabbie of the on-call taxi, refused to pick me up (probably due to my drenched condition)! It was appalling but somehow I didn't blow my top. I guess I was calmed enough by the was simply just fascinated and move on to calling another cab!

b) The very efficient service at the Philippines embassy - I must say I was not expecting it to be so trouble-free and was very pleasantly surprised!

c) A good day at work as well... great progress in some of the crucial deliverables!

d) The HUNDREDs of birthday wishes that came in during the day on Facebook, emails, chats, SMS and calls!! This was very, very special! Last year I had written about the overwhelming number of wishes mainly thanks to Facebook, but this year it was a whole lot more, which indeed made me feel like the centre of the world! I also got some very special birthday messages - a friend custom made not one but two cards for me, several people wished me all the best with films, called me a director etc - all of which made me feel super good! Ah, so many wonderful wonderful people around! Even at 29, birthdays are so much fun, thanks to them!! I felt like I was back in school, feeling oh-so-good in my "colour dress" (basically meant anything other than the uniform), which is a privilege one got only during the birthday, and which really made one feel super special! So yeah, it was as good as my school birthdays!!!

e) Dinner and drinks with friends which was simply awesome fun! Great conversation, great food, great gifts, lovely messages and overall a really really great time!

Another birthday gone. A very beautiful one at that!

And now, just one leap year more to go for the blog!

366 more to go.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day 633: Midnight Surprise!

14 August, 2011

It was the birthday-eve. Finally yours truly was pretty close to turning 29. Given that the birthday eve falls on a Sunday and the birthday itself on a Monday, I felt an urge to do something nice on the eve and feel like the day was somewhat special. After all, how much can one expect from a Monday birthday?

However this thought of wanting to do something nice came rather late in the day, so all we (the hubby and I) did was to go to Clarke Quay and have a good dinner. For those who aren't aware, we both share the same birthday!

The dinner was nice and we both got back home pretty happily - satisfied with the simple celebration and with a reasonable understanding that this is probably the maximum celebration possible this year.

However, that was not to be the case!

At midnight, there was a knock on our door and we found the hubby's brother and sis-in-law all set to celebrate, complete with a birthday cake! It was a very nice gesture and we had a small but awesome celebration - blowing out candles, cutting cake etc.!

It was indeed a great a surprise and very good one at that!

An excellent birthday eve!

367 more to go.

Day 632: Drama, Film, People, Fun!

13 August, 2011

It was one super hectic but super fun Saturday. Here are the highlights!

a) Early in the morning I went to one of the Indian International schools here in Singapore to meet up with a couple of teachers who had invited me over. They wanted to talk the possibility of me giving a drama workshop to the students, before they kickstart the preparations for their annual theatre performance. Needless to say I felt pretty good at being given the opportunity for something like this! I had a very interesting conversation with them, we bounced off several exciting ideas and at the end, decided to further pursue this after checking whether the schedules work for both parties. I must also mention that I got to eat some awesome idlis and vada over a cup of masala tea at their canteen! Wouldn't mind doing a workshop just for that!

b) Then there was a mad rush to run a few errands but in a nutshell, everything I wanted to do for the day was successfully done, including getting a videomic for our new short film (which we will be shooting in live sound!)

c) There was another round of rehearsal for IOK - louder, crazier, and more fun than before. The team, whether it is progressing with the film or not, is definitely having a ball hanging out together under the pretext!

d) After all that excitement, I settled down to watch yet another Malayalam movie - Arjunan Sakshi. It was an extremely well made film with a very different plotline and pretty good performances. I was pleased!

So yes, a day of drama, film, people and a lot of fun!

368 more to go.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Day 631: Films & Names!

12 August, 2011

I had written here about how a fellow filmie fanatic had read about Mausams and came down to meet me when he was in Singapore for a holiday. Later I also wrote here on how he was finally about to start on his first short film, a dream which he had parked on the sides for a really long time but was now ready to pick up after having seen the Mausams team do it.

Today he told me that he has completed the shoot after overcoming a million hurdles including facing the rain Gods but finally, it is done! This was of course terrific news and I was super happy for him! And then he said "By the way, my protagonist's name is 'Shilpa' too, after you". That was seriously "Awww" stuff and really very sweet! I also got to see the picture of his protagonist from the behind-the-scenes stills - she is a 10 year old naughty (according to him) but sweet little girl! It was delightful to see all of them together and also to hear this wonderful story of a mission accomplished!

369 more to go.

Day 630: Finally, A Good Class!

11 August, 2011

For a very long time, a good yoga class had been evading me. I have been going about 2-3 times a week consistently but for some reason, I was struggling in pretty much every class! Needless to say it was beginning to get very disappointing!

But today, finally, I got that much needed Awesome class!

I could do the whole series without having to take a break, I wasn't dizzy or nauseous or anything of the sort, and most happily, I was also pretty focused and flexible and was able to hold my poses for far longer than in recent times.

The result? After several weeks, I finally got a "Beautiful control" for my Camel pose and a "Excellent Rabbit" for well, the Rabbit pose!


There's nothing like an awesome yoga class to perk up a day! And this one was all the more special because it had been evading me for so long! So happy!

370 more to go.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 629: Picture Time!

10 August, 2011

I had written here about the IOK photoshoot. Today I took the time to flip through all of those pictures (there were easily 1000s of them!) and finally zeroed in on a few nice ones that I though would be good material for my poster work.

The whole process of going through the pictures was a lot of fun because
a) Everyone looked like they were pretty nice, sweet, good boys and girls in their white dress code.
b) Everyone also looked pretty ridiculous in a lot of the pictures as they posed in a variety of postures and expressions.
c) The "behind-the-scenes" pictures were quite something and much more entertaining given their candidness. But also, they made me live through the photoshoot experience once more which I obviously enjoyed!
d) I was, for the first time, involved in this photoshoot as a cast member... so there were a lot of ridiculous (as well as sweet & nice) pictures of me also, which was definitely interesting to go through. One key point I must mention is I was quite surprised how good my hair can look when I brush it! Surely, a good make up tip for the future.

So yes, going through the pictures was super fun but what was more interesting was that I had like 4-5 pretty decent poster ideas at the end of it. It made me confused because all you need is 1 poster for a short film of this scale but I would have like 5! Ah well! Next step would be to really narrow my options down and focus on a few.

While I was excited about all the poster ideas, I was also eager to share at least something visual from IOK with the world. While a poster would take some work (designing, fine tuning, adding title/credits etc.) and hence more time, I thought I will just share one of the nicer pictures from the lot as a simple "cast picture" vs. a poster.

So here you go... presenting to you, the cast of Inganeyum Oru Katha, my little Malayalam film.

371 more to go.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 628: Singer in Me!

8 August, 2011

Of all the things I can do well, singing isn't one of them for sure. Am like, almost tone deaf.

Having watched the Malayalam movie Urumi over the weekend, I was completely smitten by the very folk, traditional songs in it, particularly one called "Appa Nammade" in it. It's a beautiful short piece and I wanted nothing more than sing it again and again and again.

So I did. I sang it like a million times. The hubby was not at home to burst my singing bubble, so I sang as much as I wanted to, as loudly as I wanted to.

And then it struck me that I could actually easily record my singing and listen to it objectively from a third party point of view. So I did that too. And here is the thing... probably due to the type of song this is (full-throat, simple, and in my pitch), the recorded version didn't sound as bad as I thought I did in my head!

Wah! How awesome!

So here's to many more my own renditions of Appa Nammade, for my own ears!

372 more to go.

Day 627: A Very Nice Sunday!

7 August, 2011

This Sunday was an awesome one for several reasons! I think I will do a list (it's been a while!)...

a) One more super fun rehearsal with the IOK cast. This time I too got to rehearse for my own role, which was strenuous (because I play this super loud annoying woman, which is oh-so-different from the usual calm and peace loving me!) but a quite exciting!

b) Two mallu-movie watching (Urumi and Anwar) back to back - I can't say I fell in love with either of them but am a Prithviraj (the hero in both the films) fan, so there were no complaints as long as I could get to watch him and also listen to a lot of Malayalam for a few hours!

c) Yoga, that too with the hubby! Haven't been to yoga with him in ages, so this was great!

d) Dinner with hubby post yoga, over some good conversation at Brotzeit and the discovery of the super yummy "spaetzle" and radler!

e) Supper with the hubby past midnight when he had a sudden unreasonable craving for food. I couldn't believe that he managed to pull me along that late on a Sunday night for supper outside, and he says that he couldn't believe that I actually obliged! Well, obviously I was in a good mood.

All in all, a very nice sunday!

373 more to go.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Day 626: IOK Photoshoot!

6 August, 2011

What a fun, fun, fun day!!! It was the IOK Photoshoot! Completely enjoyed it!

Actually IOK didn't really need a photoshoot because after all it is just a tiny little short film. But I thought a photoshoot would be a good exercise to get the "looks" of the characters right and also to get my actors, some of them new, familiar with camera and crew etc.

So early in the morning all of us gathered at our red-walled shaw tower carpark and clicked away about a few thousand pictures! This time, since I am part of the cast, the rest of the gang had a lot of fun ordering me around vs. the usual me ordering them around!

What was also exciting was that this time we even had multiple camera men, about 5-6 cameras going around, few extra flashes and even a proper light reflector! Wah! All thanks to my wonderful bunch of friends who dragged along their other friends, making it one big fat photoshoot!

374 more to go.

Day 625: Pampered Working Day!

5 August, 2010

Just as I was about to settle in at work this morning, I got a call from the boss who suggested that the team go to her house for a working session. After all it was end of the week and she is quite a host anyway.

So four of us made our way to her house.

Now what you need to know is my manager and family shares the house with her sister and family and in turn has pretty much a HUGE palace of a house by Singapore standards to accommodate the two families. I had been to her place once before for a very short visit but today we got a proper tour. After gaping at everything we saw for close to half an hour, we settled down for lunch. We were served with a very elaborate meal which already perked up my day considerably.

Then we got down to work and as we progressed, hot masala tea and awesome snacks (like mini idlis, vadas and samosas) kept flowing in. All of us felt SO pampered. Wouldn't have realized that great food makes work so much easier to do! Ah! Bliss!

In short, it was a very enjoyable, terrific pampered working day! I like!

375 more to go.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 624: Styling!

4 July, 2011

I am having an AWESOME time, thanks to the "styling" work I am doing for IOK! Basically, we are to have a photoshoot this weekend and my aim was to get my cast to look like the characters they are about to play. Which means getting them to have the right hairstyles, wear the right accessories, costumes etc.

Over the last two days, I received quite a few of pictures from the cast, in different costumes and styling and I had been going through them, making my selections, sometimes asking for revisions, getting another bunch of pictures for that, and at the end, finalizing the complete styling of each cast member.

My cast now looks exactly the way I wanted and are completely ready for the shoot! Ah, such an awesomely satisfying job!

376 more to go.

Day 623: Rain!

3 August, 2011

I had written a couple of times here before about how walking in the rain had been the highlight of the day. Today too, it was the same! After a very long day at work, I got a chance to do this once again! But just with one small difference. This time the hubby too was accompanying!

It all happened because both of us were late to get back from work, after which the only option for dinner was at the nearby 24-hour food court. But it was pouring cats and dogs. So we huddled under one umbrella and made our way there.

It was very windy, cold and completely AWESOME!

People who are infinitely more talented than me have expressed the beauty of rain and how awesome it makes one feel, a million times. So am not gonna compete with them.

But once again, the rain (and the hubby who accompanied, of course) made the day beautiful!

377 more to go.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 622: Heartbroken Alcoholic to a Happy Optimist!

2 August, 2011

It was one of the worst days at work historically. I wouldn't go into the details why but needless to say it left me in the depths of the dumps.

I skipped yoga and played the heartbroken alcoholic by going to Brotzeit by myself, and ordering a Bailey's on the rocks (yeah yeah... before all the smarty pants out there say this is not really "alcohol", I would like to stress that it indeed is, at least to me). As if the alcohol in itself wasn't bad enough, I topped it with a huge bowl of potato wedges. Over that sinful snack, I sipped my drink and decided that the world was indeed one shitty place.

But it's interesting how quickly such a perspective changes.

After that very moody act, I met up with the hubby for dinner, over which I poured out my never ending complaints. Things didn't perk up yet but just as we were leaving from dinner I heard my name being called.

I turned around and saw my friend from Junior College! I hadn't met her in about a decade now, in fact we just found each other on Facebook a few months ago, so needless to say it was a big surprise! We exchanged a few pleasantries and into the third sentence of the conversation, she said, "Oh, I must tell you that your blog is my highlight! I love reading it! I find the whole idea so adorable and makes me feel like, OK... there is someone else also who is aging the way I am!" (OK then!)

That immediately, like very much IMMEDIATELY, cheered me up!

She proceeded to ask me about Mausams, the current Malayalam short film I am working on etc. She was obviously very up-to-date with all of it thanks to the blog (or in her own words, she has been "silently stalking" me) and I felt really good chatting with her.

I told her that I am very happy she told me this because this is surely the highlight of my day!

It was like, on one hand it was such a notoriously horrendous day but on the other hand, something pleasant like this happens and you are immediately cheered up! TIt was like someone knocked on my head and said, "Hello.. life ain't that bad after all!" and I believed that person, just like that!

Ah the workings of the Almighty!

So there. I swung right from a heartbroken alcoholic to a happy optimist!

378 more to go.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Day 621: Paper, Scissors & Cellotape!

1 August, 2011

When in school, I used to enjoy my handicrafts classes. I used to love cutting, pasting, sewing etc.! There is always a sense of satisfaction once the project is done and you see the end product! However I had not done any "handicraft" in the last several years but now and then I used to get the chance to make props for my plays or films, which I quite enjoy.

We have an upcoming photoshoot for IOK and I need a very simple placard, of a certain dimension and thickness, for it. Given that I did not really have time to go shopping for it before the photoshoot, I decided to make a mock one with whatever materials I had at home. So I dug out an old sketch book of reasonable size, tore off a few pages, put them together to achieve the dimension and the thickness of the placard that I needed. This required a good 30 minutes of my time spent on working with paper, scissors and cellotape.

At the end of my efforts, I felt so good! The end product was strictly average in looks but is functional, and more importantly, it felt so good to be working on even such a small thing! To spend some time sitting on the floor, measuring and snipping papers, pasting them this way and that, was therapeutic! This would most certainly not qualify as "handicraft", but I still got a ton of satisfaction from it!

It is fascinating how much joy even paper, scissors and cellotape can sometimes give!

379 more to go.