Since I will be away

>> Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May you all have drunken revelries and make plenty of resolutions. Have your share of Christmas miracles and New Year hopes. This year may have been the most dreadful there ever was, but 2009 is full of hopes. And lobsters.

Have a good time.


Pride and Prejudice- The movie

>> Friday, December 12, 2008

This is for the people who have been searching around Google to know when Part-2 of Pride and Prejudice might be shown on Zee Studio and being guided here, furthering their anguish and disappointment. Dear people, fear not, Zee Studio has not been playing fast and loose with your hopes and dreams. Switch on the television at 10:30 tonight and stock yourself up with oranges. Is there also a Part- 3? I do not know. In case there is, you may safely assume next Friday is the happy day they will be airing it.

Apart from providing news Zee Studio should start paying me for, Colin Firth makes a wonderful Darcy. Not the Darcy my first copy of P&P was illustrated with, but a Darcy who does not make me cringe. When you see him gazing at Elizabeth- immobile, expressionless- he makes you realize what the British stoicalness is all about. Did I mention Darcy is battling Berry Conway for the fourth spot in my list of the kind of people I want to marry?

Elizabeth, undoubtedly, is one of the most delightful women whom I have come across. She is charming, insane, witty, kindred-everything you want your best friend to be. Unfortunately, she is not Elizabeth. But her utterly wonderful smile makes up for everything- sometimes.

No, the movie is not worth one line judgements on the lead characters. It deserves much, much more. Might flit by later.

p.s. Does not Brando look as if he is Ken come to life?


Domestic Issues

>> Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My parents and I were wandering around a random department store, the sole idea behind whose interior decoration seemed to have been devoted to directing customers to the frozen food section, when my mum, with the uncanny knack all women in love with cooking seem to possess, finally located the cutlery section. My father and I, innocent souls with nothing more in our minds than how to escape without shopping bags, were, hence, unceremoniously dragged down to it so that she could avail of our discerning tastes in La Opala dinner sets.

"What I never seem to understand is," I mentioned in passing to my mother while she tried to tell me how she felt peach plates looked better on white tablecloths than periwinkle blue," is why people think people want dinner sets and cutleries as wedding gifts. What sort of a person feels joyful on opening nice, huge looking gifts and finding plates buried under lots of straw? Why can not we give them something fun? Like a playstation or something. At least they will have something to distract themselves with when trying to murder each other. No Mum, I still think we should buy the purple plates. No, I am not a purple maniac. No, the fact that my room, my bedsheet and most of my clothes happen to be purple has nothing to do with this. Gee Mum, look at all those utensils there."

Having successfully distracted her from the topic of my monotonically increasing purple fetish (x being my age and f(x) being, well, the fetish), we strolled over to steel heaven, accompanied by my increasingly depressed looking father, who sighed at everything and then tried to dismantle anything which had more than two parts.

"Oh, it is beautiful," suddenly gasped my mother in the rapturous tone I usually reserve for puppies, mountains and shoe shops.

"What is it," I queried, looking down at a bowl with dents in it.

"I have no idea, but it will look so good on the third mantelpiece on the right," my mother replied, in the dismissive tone she uses whenever I ask her whether she could make an elaborate cheesecake for dinner. I, being as stoic as the next person, merely blinked and looked for its cover.

"It says it is a paniyakki something maker. What is a paniyakki?"

"Hmm, well, we will have to learn, won't we? No point buying a paniyakki maker if you do not know how to make paniyakkis," was her reckless remark and we soon had a dinner set designed with huge square blocks coloured various frightful shades of pink and blue my mum considered charming and my dad felt, as he remarked sotto voce, was revolting, a paniyakki maker, three types of spoon sets and a blender which had fascinated my father. I felt I was lucky enough to go back home to actually ask for anything more than a purple cup.

There we were, a picture of a happy family, with absolutely no major disasters in the offing, until, that is, my mother realized I was almost 21 and did not know how to cook. If I was to live alone from next year, I would have to learn how to cook at least a few basic things, or else, threatened the woman I had always looked upon as my safety net, you stay here and study under Calcutta University. She knew, like every mother knows, what would motivate me most, and I, inspired, decided to make brownies.

In my first attempt, I realized microwaves and ovens do not really work with the same time settings and overcooked the brownie for some extra 20 minutes, resulting in a hard rock we had to use a hammer to break. We pretended it was a biscuit and softened it with chocolate sauce. In my next attempt, I learned the importance of proportion of ingredients when I absentmindedly poured in the entire contents of the milk carton, unmindful of the fact that 100 ml of milk is hardly the same as 500ml. To compensate, I increased the amount of the rest of the ingredients, and the batter had to be sent in three batches, making more brownies than I had bargained for. In my third attempt, I learned the importance of mixing, when I poured eggs over the flour and then tried to blend it, which made a super strong glue and would not smoothen the batter at all. Why don't you, suggested my mother after my third failed failed attempt, try something simpler. Like toast.

Muttering loudly about lack of support and encouragement, I put three slices of bread on the pan used for toasting bread and promptly fell asleep. I woke up half an hour later to a rather irked mother and smoke. Before throwing them away, I managed to take a picture which is faithfully reproduced below.

My mother, rather discouraged, realizing the safety of her household was at present more of a necessity than the nutrients I required on a daily basis in a city devoid of devoted parents and well trained cooks, crushingly asked me to stick to maggi before rushing off to get rid of the smoke.

Maggi is supposed to be the simplest possible thing one can ever cook. Boil water, put the maggi in, pour in the flavouring and you are done. Hence, it was a considerable shock to my mother when she heard me screaming that I had burnt down the house.

"What, why, you have not burnt down the house," was her agitated response when she saw a flameless kitchen.

"But I will, I poured water on the gas ring and now, when you switch on something electrical, there will be a blast," I wailed, drawing on my memories from late night movies.

"But, why do not you just switch off the gas," my mum gasped and immediately proceeded to do so.

"Will you now explain," she asked after she had done that and calmed me down, "why you poured water on the gas ring?"

"You see, I boiled the water. Then I had to put the maggi in it. But I did not want put the maggi in the bowl over the gas ring, in case I did something wrong and the hot water splashed all over me. So, I took the bowl down, put the maggi carefully in, then picked up the bowl and kept it back on the gas ring. Except that I lost my balance and well...there you are."

However, I did not lose my heart. This story also has a happy ending. After days of practice, I have finally learned how to make hot chocolate sauce.


For Austen aficionados

>> Thursday, December 04, 2008

If you
a) have the time
b)live in the same timezone as I do
c) own a TV
which actually does have
i) Zee Studio

they will be airing BBC's Pride and Prejudice at 10:30 PM tomorrow night. Do try to catch it, if only for the only believable Darcy cinema has ever been able to produce.


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