Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The newsmakers of 2011

The article was first published on

Year 2011 was eventful with lots of scams, controversies and news courtesy a lot of newsmakers – some we liked but most we hated. Here's the list of the most talked about people of this year.

Kapil Sibal:
He saw, he spoke, he got hash-tagged. #IdiotKapilSibal became the talk of Twitter when he demanded the pre-screening of content on Facebook, Twitter and Google. The brouhaha was over an objectionable image of Congress president Sonia Gandhi on a Facebook page. We won’t say much on it but here are some tweets from angry social media enthusiasts:

SatanBhagat Satan Bhagat
If the UPA is a tube of Pond's white facewash, Kapil Sibal is the self-appointed activated carbon.

PritishNandy Pritish Nandy
If we had a Hyde Park, Kapil Sibal will want to censor the speakers there.

kafila Kafila
Say #IdiotKapilSibal before he prevents Twitter from letting you say it

hankypanty Sorabh Pant
"I love Sonia Gandhi. She is awesome. She is God. And never wrong about anything, ever." (This msg is approved by Kapil Sibal's cyber cell.)

bangdu soumik sen
What was Kapil Sibal doing surfing for offensive pictures of Sonia Gandhi? #LonelyMan

stupidusmaximus Ashish Shakya
Maybe Kapil Sibal will back off if we agree to rename the internet as 'Shrimati Sonia Gandhi Antarrashtriya Computer Mayajaal'.

NigelBritto Nigel Britto
I think on December 5 every year from now on, Google will have a middle-finger doodle in tribute to #IdiotKapilSibal's stupidity.

maps4aid maps4aid
Kapil Sibal has become the standard on which all other future idiots will be measured ~ #idiotkapilsibal #FreedomOfSpeech

Anna Hazare:
The 74-year old social activist went on a fast to get the Jan Lokpal Bill in action. The nation joined him instantly. Protests were made, debates happened and thousands of FB pages were created to support the cause. As the fast continued, the janta kept getting furious. But even after a cat-mouse chase between the government and Hazare, umpteen fasts, talk shows on news channel, rallies and Baba Ramdev fiascos, the future of the Anti Corruption Bill is still dark.

Sharad Pawar/Harvinder Singh:
‘Thappad se darr nahi lagta saab, sardar se lagta hai.’ The famous dialogue from Dabangg made rounds of Twitter when Union Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar got one on his ‘kaan ke neeche’. Harvinder Singh became a national hero for doing a deed that every Indian had been dreaming of doing. With a record of slapping two ministers in a row (Sukhram and Sharad Pawar) we wonder who’s next on this serial slapper’s hit list. Kapil Sibal, maybe?

Julian Assange:
The Australian publisher, journalist and “internet activist” founded the website Wikileaks in 2006. The site did not do much harm to India till he leaked the information on Indian accounts in the Swiss banks. Our politicians (read Congress) shivered in their air-conditioned chambers and almost had their foot in mouth by making statements that backfired. With Assange kicking their butts, Hazare sitting on their heads and Harvinder Singh slapping their faces, all we can say is, ‘ye to hona hi tha!’

Indian Cricket Team:
They broke the 28-year long curse by winning the World Cup and dedicated it to master-blaster Sachin Tendulkar. Since then the team always stayed in the news whether it was for Rahul Dravid’s retirement or Sachin’s 100th hundred which he still couldn’t make.

Baby B:
Can a baby become a celebrity even before its birth? Sure, if the surname is Bachchan. There were chants of Baby B in the air as soon as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan became pregnant. We heard congratulatory messages in almost every episode of KBC and somehow dada Bachchan looked more excited than papa Bachchan.
Media went berserk zeroing on the gender of the child and the date of birth. The so called auspicious 11.11.11 came and went and while the whole nation was undergoing labour pains Aishwarya experienced none. Finally a girl was born on 16 Nov and soon the name changed to Beti B. Twitter handle @BaybeeBachchan a.k.a Ghar Ki Lakshmi cracked PJs till the whole news died a natural death. Social media was relieved of Beti B hash-tags and so were we.

Chetan Bhagat:
For those who missed Rakhi Sawant this year, don’t be upset. We have Chetan Bhagat who made it in the news for reasons other than his books. Be it a literary event or a television show, CBag was everywhere. @PollyesterParo trashed him on TV for his ghastly English and typos and his alter ego @SatanBhagat took his case on Twitter almost every day. Whether it is for his books or his ‘I am so funny’ act, we definitely Luv2HateHim!

Better known as Rajnikant’s son-in-law, Dhanush took a leap of success with his song ‘Kolaveri Di’ written and sung by him and composed by Anirudh Ravichander. The catchy tune and Tanglish (English with a Tamil accent) lyrics made the video an instant hit. Youtube gave the video a Gold Award for getting the maximum number of views. The song reached its highest point and got played on BBC Radio. From Hitler getting furious with its success in a meme video to Sonu Nigam’s son singing its milk version, the song grew on everyone and trended on Twitter for almost a week. ‘Lovvu’ it or ‘hate-u’ it, you can’t ignore it.

Shahrukh Khan:
He made Ra.One and then he was everywhere. Attending reality shows, launching Youtube channels, creating games and promoting almost all the products you can use in a day. ‘Chammak challo’ was played on TV/radio till it started looping in our heads. After watching the movie we think that all the marketing gimmicks combined would have made for a better watch.

The capital made sure that it stayed in the news for reasons not so pleasant. The Delhi boy got thrashed by a Mallu girl in an open letter. Metallica’s opening concert in India went for a toss due to management issues and the Delhi crowd went berserk. Delhiites were mocked by the Bangaloreans who attended the concert in their city, repeatedly. Mumbaikars did the same when Delhi’s attempt for a flash mob failed miserably. What do we tell the residents of a 100-year old city? Grow up!

After more than 30 years of dictatorship, Libya finally broke into a civil war. While Gaddafi’s assets were seized he remained at large. On the October 20, he was captured in Sirte and killed putting an end to the chaos. But not before we found photographs of his “darling” Condoleezza Rice.

Hina Rabbani Khar:
Pakistan’s pretty foreign minister who visited India recently became the talk of town. She made a style statement with her Birkin bags and Roberto Cavalli shades and put many Indian ministers to shame with her grace and vibrancy. It’s time that our old and slow politicians take cue and step down.

Vidya Balan:
From a coy girl next door in Parineeta to a scheming and sexy woman in Ishqiya, Vidya Balan came a long way. She went a step further by deciding to play the sultry south siren Silk Smitha who was well known for her flabby body and wild sex appeal. Vidya gained weight for her role in ‘The Dirty Picture’ and proved that size (zero or 10) doesn’t really matter as long as you have the acting abilities to go with it.

Steve Jobs:
On August 26, 2011 the mastermind behind the best looking computers in the world retired as the CEO of Apple Computers. The news became a trending topic with jokes like ‘iPod, iPhone, iPad…iQuit’ doing the rounds. The ailing Steve Jobs handed over the reins of the company to Tim Cook. As the world and Apple fanboys were recovering from it, there came another blow with Jobs passing away on October 5.

M Karunanidhi’s (Tamil Nadus chief minister) daughter made her way to the Tihar jail for her said involvement in the 2G scam with *ahem* special friend A. Raja. She appealed for bail citing the reasons that she was a woman. Well madam Kanimozhi, after seeing the outcomes of your womanly powers we don’t find the reason good enough.

We watched a graceful and white Simi in ‘Rendezvous with Simi Garewal’ few years ago. She came back this year with ‘Simi Selects India’s Most Wanted’ botoxed, graceless and less white. Her alter ego Kiki embarrassed Ranbir Kapoor and made Abhay Deol uncomfortable. With the first season already over, we hope she thinks better of it and doesn’t come back with her most haunted…err…wanted list.

 And while the rest of them made news, Arnab Goswami made sure that he highlighted them: loud and clear!

Friday, 9 December 2011

New Year’s Eve – Movie review

What did Garry Marshall do after directing the beautiful Pretty Woman? He made Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve in quick successions and ruined it all. There can actually be a contest; spot 10 differences and win prizes. The two are almost replica of each other with even the posters looking same.

Apart from the excess amount of sugar, love and hope the movie has a story which is set in the bedazzling New York city on the new year’s eve. The stories of different individuals begin or end at the strike of midnight hour. As the big ball at The Times Square drops, speeches are made, wishes are fulfilled and kisses are exchanged. Read more...

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Manto…Ismat Haazir Hain!

Why did two of Urdu literature’s best writers face a court case for their stories? I watched the play Manto…Ismat Haazir Hain! by Motley Theater Group at Celebrate Bandra to find out.

Manto…Ismat Haazir Hain! features two short stories by Saadat Hasan Manto and one short story and essay by Ismat Chugtai. Naseeruddin Shah has picked up two of the most controversial stories of the writers which almost put them in the prison. The slice-of-life stories revolve around a memory or an incident. What makes them beautiful is the word play. Read more...

Monday, 21 November 2011

In the lap of luxury @ Le Meridien, Coimbatore

On 11.11.11, Starwood Group of Hotels launched their 100th Le Meridien brand of hotels in Coimbatore. I attended the grand opening and explored this luxurious hotel in the middle of a small town in south India.

If you are surprised what this French brand is doing in Coimbatore, don’t be. The city is on its way to become an IT hub in South India and truly deserves five-star luxury. It’s also in close proximity to Chennai (about 8 hours), Bangalore (about 6 hours), Kodaikkanal (about 4 hours) and Ooty (about 2 hours) and with Le Meridien opening here it’ll soon become a favourite weekend destination. The hotel has hosted numerous corporate events within a year since it started operating in phases. Read more...

Monday, 7 November 2011

Deool - Movie review

Incase you are wondering whether or not to watch the latest Marathi release Deool, here's my review for the film. I watched it during the Mumbai Film Festival. I am not a native Maharashtrian nor do I understand the language still I absolutely loved the movie. For me a good movie is something that goes beyond the barriers of language. However, the length of Deool is something that bothered me because when you are making a film for the International audience you have to keep it tight (which it is) and short. 

Marathi cinema is several notches ahead of mainstream Bollywood. This has been proved time and again with films like Shwaas, Dombivali Fast, Harishchandrachi Factory and Natrang. Deool, which premiered on the second day of Mumbai Film Festival, can easily be listed in the same category.

The story is of a simple village youth called Kesha (Girish Kulkarni) who has a vision of Datta (God) under a tree. What follows is how the local netas publicise this for their own political benefits. A temple is built instead of a hospital. The village becomes a pilgrimage centre and gets crowded and dirty. The temple’s committee starts raking in money from the devotees and splurges on alcohol and celebrity dance shows read more

Thursday, 27 October 2011

All Off...

Short hair rocks...this is the message I got from a fellow blogger in a recent bloggers' meet and I quiet agree to it.

The short hair look wasn't always a part of me. As a kid my sister and I had long hair. Our annual visits to the salon happened when we visited our maternal grandparents in summers. Nani used to take us to the parlour and get our hair chopped because she could not deal with all the inhabitants in there. Yes...Yes...I mean lice. Speaking of which I should remind you the old jingle that said, 'jahan mile do sar, juon ko mila naya ghar' and as kids we really din't know how to stay away from those heads.

All the chopping and snipping stopped when I went to the senior section i.e 6th grade. It was an all girls' convent school and we were supposed to tie our hair in neat plates as part of our uniform. For 6 good years my hair weren't touched. Sometimes they grew so much so that I could just fold my plates into double. Those with thick rimmed glasses made me look like a crazy nerd. A time came when people (read parents' friends) started assuming that I was the eldest of the three sisters.

One day I just folded my hair to make them look shorter. The very next day my elder sister drove 5 kms on a freezing winter afternoon and took me to a parlor to get my hair shortened. The rest of the incident was pretty much like a scene from Roman Holiday. Remember when Audrey Hepburn asks an astonished barber to chop her long tresses? 'All Off', she says and the hair dresser furiously cuts them. Well, my dresser didn't get that angry but yes, she was pretty amazed. Finally, I chopped my hair from waist length to small blunt and regained my position as the younger sister.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Bloggers calling Bloggers

Almost two years back, after an amazing trip to Kerela the writer in me came out and this blog was born. Few months back when I joined IndiBloggers I thought that it'll be a good platform to connect with the fellow bloggers. But I never knew that I'll ever meet them personally. So two weeks back when I saw an invitation for an all Women Bloggers Meet in my inbox (a free hair spa and foot massage by Dove followed by lunch at Four Seasons in Worli), I instantly hit the register tab. What more can a woman ask for on a Sunday. I also asked my sister who recently started blogging, to sign up on IndiBlogger and register for the meet.

On the day of the meet we arrived a bit late and missed the introduction session. But the ladies were friendly enough to come and introduce themselves. I met some really wonderful women/bloggers there.

Some of them are listed here:

Nisha: The lonely backpaker who roams around the world and shares her experiences on her blog.
Poornima: The gamer/game developer.
Somya: who like me chopped her hair to look younger. :)
Laxmi, Vasudha and her lovely daughter Harini, Julie, Priyanka and many more.

After a lovely lunch we proceeded for a discussion round. Ideas were exchanged on how to make our blogs more visible and SEO friendly. After that we were given a blank paper to hang on our backs and get it autographed by the other bloggers. It was fun. After a tiring round of games we were given a relaxing 10 mins foot massage which was totally awesome. It was a Sunday well spent.

Thanks to Dove and IndiBlogger for an amazing day and such lovely gift hampers (psst...I got one delivered at home too).

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Kahaan tum chale gaye...

A void crept in when I heard the news of Jagjit Singh's demise. I didn't know him but he was more than just a ghazal singer to me. He was a part of my growing up days. My father was a big fan...he still is. Thanks to him that I was introduced to Singh Saab's world of music (yes, we used to call him Singh Saab). The only regret is that we could never hear him live. This post is my tribute to him and here are my five favorite ghazals (by Jagjit Singh) which were a part of my childhood.

Baat niklegi to: The first time I heard this nazm my father was singing it. i didn't get the head or tail of it but fell in love instantly. It still is my top favorite.

Apne hothon par sajana chahta hoon: Akhri hichki tere zanon pe aye...maut bhi main shayrana chahta hoon...Love this sher...

Apko dekhkar dekhta reh gaya:

Koi ye kaise batae ki wo tanha kyun hai: This one is from the movie Arth. Very beautiful, very soulful and very melancholic.

Pyar mujhse jo kiya tumne: From the movie Saath Saath. Even the negativity in this ghazal sounds so lovely.

Friday, 9 September 2011

10 day YOU challenge | 1 Picture

I don't believe that I am at the last link of this chain. So, this is my favorite picture of myself. This was clicked by my colleague Chandrakant Shenoy in EFX. Thanks Chandu for making me look so cheerful. :)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

10 day YOU challenge | 2 Songs

1. Aanewala pal  
I am a Kishore Kumar fan and this one is my favorite Kishore number. The deep voice just suits Amol Palekar so perfectly.

2. Tum pukar lo
One of my favorite from the 60s era. Hemant Kumar's velvety voice is so mesmerizing. I have some romantic memories attached to this song too... :)

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

10 day YOU challenge | 3 Films

1. Jane bhi do yaron
Its a cult movie and the best dark comedy ever made in India. I love the satire and simplicity of the plot. And of-course it has my favorite actors Naseer, Om Puri, Pankaj Kapoor and Ravi Vaswani. The Mahabharat seen in the climax is one of the funniest scenes.

2. Golmaal
I love how Hrishikesh Mukherjee made simple stories into such beautiful films. This is his masterpiece.

3. Angoor
Besides being my favorite Angoor is kind of family film for me. My dad and sisters (including me) can't meet without mouthing a dialogue or two from this movie

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

10 day YOU challenge | 4 Books

1. Midnight's Children
I was an avid reader as a kid but the habit took a backseat as I grew up. It came back to life once I read Midnight's Children. I love Rushdie's style of writing and his imagination.

2. The Fountainhead
For the philosophy it delves into. I usually take time to finish a book but this one I finished within a week.

3. The Godfather
 Godfather is a masterpiece. I had already seen the movie when i read the book still it was equally gripping. 

4. Harry Potter Series
Yes, I am an adult and in love with HP series. I like the wild imagination and the whole magic thing. Feel like a kid again.

10 day YOU challenge | 5 Foods

    Monday, 5 September 2011

    10 day YOU challenge | 5 Foods

    1. Rajma-chawal 
    This is something i totally lurrrrve from my mom's kitchen. Will give up anything to eat some steamy rice with soupy rajma, bhindi and cucumber ka raita. Slurrp!

    2. Shami kebabs
    Nobody cooks it better than my dad, not even the much hyped Tunda in Lucknow. They taste splendid with green chutney and onions.

    3. Pasta
    This is something I love from my own kitchen :D. I love making pasta and eating it too.

    4. Salads
    Give me any kind of salad with any dressing and I'll eat it. Just throw in some boiled or grilled chicken.

    5. Jalebi
    I am not an early riser but for some fresh, hot and crispy jalebis i can wake up even at dawn.

    10 day YOU challenge | 6 Places                                                            10 day YOU challenge | 4 Books

      Sunday, 4 September 2011

      10 day YOU challenge | 6 Places

      Since I haven't traveled the whole world, I'll list the six places I would like to visit.







      10 day YOU challenge | 7 Wants                                                           10 day YOU challenge | 5 Foods


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