Month: July 2012

I’m watching the Olympics–What about you?

Olympics – the grandest competition of all isn’t it? A platform where India has hardly seen any success. We grew up reading stories of Dhyanchand and the hockey team in our history text – books – the team that went unbeaten for 30 matches – 8 golds and then nothing. Paes got a medal in Atlanta 1996, then Karnam Malleswari in Sydney 2000, then Rajyavardhan Rathore in Athens 2004 and then we won 3 in the last Beijing Olympics. Vijendra Singh and Sushil Kumar won us the bronze medals while the first individual Olympic Gold Medal that Abhinav Bindra won.

But this time around the buzz is different  – there are expectations like every year but this year it seems that the results may match our expectations.

Wiki contributors have done a great job putting together the details about the Indian contingent in the London 2012 Olympics.

There are amazing stories behind some of these names – the struggle, the inspiration, the determination.

The young Deepika Kumari – World #1 at 18 years of age – aspirant for an Olympic gold – her story is a real inspiration for youngsters today.

Saina Nehwal , Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponappa who carry the medal expectations in Singles and Doubles in Women’s Badminton

The resurgent Indian Hockey Team after a fine show at the the Qualifiers – hoping they put up a good show at the games. Captain Bharat Chetri and his teammates Sardar Singh, Sandeep Singh, SV Sunil and Sreejesh Ravindran share their stories here.

The fine wrestler  Sushil Kumar  and our flag bearer at the opening ceremony

The shooting hopes Abhinav Bindra, Ranjan Sodhi, Gagan Narang & Heena Sidhu

Vijendra Singh, Manoj Kumar leading the boxing medal hopes.

K Ravi Kumar and Sonia Chanu capable of springing a surprise in the weightlifting event

And finally the indomitable , 5 time world Champion Mary Kom as women’s boxing makes its debut at the Olympics this year. Read about this inspirational woman here and feel very proud, very very proud to have her represent your nation and fight for the highest honour.

I hardly follow any of these sports regularly – so I’m going to take time out and read about the athletes representing my nation a little more. Make an effort to track their achievements in between Olympics as well.

As for now the promise has been made to follow India’s journey this Olympics – there will be heartbreaks and there will be some smiles but there will be no stopping me from cheering this team out loud. You should join in too.


A fine gem from Shanatanu Moitra and Swanand Kirkire to cheer the Olympic Hopefuls

Why I shouldn’t have watched Cocktail!

This is my space to rant. So if you liked the Cocktail (Hindi) Movie don’t bother reading this post.

I’m to blame, I never learn. I let my friends do this to me – take me out for a movie I know is not going to be my money’s worth in the pretext that maybe I’ll find it timepass/enjoyable with them around. Twice now it has not worked – first Bodyguard  & now Cocktail.

Why should I even be excited about a Saif-Deepika film with an addition of Diana Penty? I did not like Love Aaj Kal – Deepika cannot act, talks in the same tone – be it a happy scene or an emotional scene and I fail to understand folks who call her an “actress” – she is drop dead gorgeous and it ends at that. Diana Penty – don’t tell me you don’t see the similarities she shares with Deepika, they’ll pass off in a twin sisters role any day. Saif – there are days that I like his movies, there are also days when his same old KHNH act gets repeated oh- so-often that it does not seem “cool” anymore.

You all know the story by now, you all have raved about how fabulous Deepika and Penty looked – yeah yeah I get it. What I don’t get is if I have to go and watch two ladies look good ( I’d rather watch a Fashion Show – which by the way has to be one of the most boring events ever conceptualized on this earth); why on earth would I watch them in a movie where they don’t know the basic thing that makes up a movie – good acting.

The movie did not have a storyline, crappy dialogues and characters that made no sense. The only believable character to me was that of Deepika, whom they completely ruined by transforming her into a sati-savitri, the girl-type that any Indian boy will love to take home to his parents. I would’ve given it to the director, if he had let Saif & Deepika be themselves and continue the “no strings attached” live-in relationship by not succumbing to parental pressure or the “true love” nonsense. That transformation from the hip-cool-modern to the eventual HAHK type was totally out of character. We don’t keep it real because we want to cater it to an audience across age-groups. I therefore give it to Shakun Batra of Ekk Main or Ekk Tu fame – he did not have Kareena fall in love with Imran, there was no conclusion to the story – because that’s how it is in real life. Love is not always reciprocated but yet people mature and remain friends.

I did not get Meera’s character at all – apparently a simple, middle class Punjabi girl, duped by the husband, lives with a stranger in an unknown land, does not like the idea of the best friend and guy having a fling and sleeping with each other, and then falls for the same characterless guy, and if that’s not enough seeks help from the husband who duped her to get away from the guy she is madly in love with! Which sane woman with a reasonable stable mind will do this? There wasn’t a single scene that showed the transformation of Meera’s hate towards Gautam to falling in love with him. A few crappy dialogues such as, ‘Every guy must be wondering what lies beneath all the clothes you wear, your pretty waist and smile were enough to woo her over?’ Or wait, was it the motherly affection showered by Gautam’s mom in giving the traditional bangle to her to-be- daughter-in-law that changed her mind. Marry the mom not the guy then!

As for Gautam let me not even get there – he hits on the client with that stupid line about love at first sight, and she succumbs to his lousy charm? No sensible woman (and she must be one since she was the boss in a firm) will do that – hand over a project cause the guy charmed her. Get real!

I enjoyed the movie only when Boman Irani and Dimple Kapadia were on screen. Those 10 minutes were a huge relief but not enough to save the disaster I was watching. The songs were good especially loved Daru Desi and Tumhi ho Bandhu – on a loop for quite some time on the iPod, but good songs don’t make a good film – take Delhi 6  for instance.

It took me sometime to believe that the guy who gave us “Being Cyrus” dealt such a low blow in the form of Cocktail. The movie was neither here nor there, driving home the same age old Bollywood crap about how sticking to tradition is the good thing, and how the party-crazy, alcohol drinking, one-night stand gal must reform if she needs a guy and marriage and all that is termed as the “good life”.

Blah – heard that before, seen it way too many times – give me a different Cocktail please – this combination has been done to death with!

Netherlands Chronicles–Gulliver’s City Madurodam

Tell me honestly, when you saw this song back in the 90s – didn’t you wish like visiting the miniature city in the background ( ofcourse without any plans to dance like monkeys amidst those tiny wonderful creations). I finally got to visit the place called Madurodam during my Europe visit in Apr-May12.

Madurodam – the miniature Holland built on scale of 1:25 hosts some of the most famous landmarks of Netherlands such as Rotterdam Port, Euromast, the Schipol Airport, Rijk Musuem, and the famous Amsterdam canals, the Palaces of the royal families, the narrow city buildings, parks, Dam square, railway stations, cargo trains, high speed trains. All these places are not empty and are filled with little men, women and children; in addition the little residents of Madurodam tell us the tales of the Dutch, their peculiarities, their achievements, their history – making the whole tour an enjoyable experience.

It is no doubt a real delight for kids but MDH & and I found ourselves queuing behind them to try and extinguish the fire on the ship, try and get the plane to float in air for a good one minute, place the cargo on the ships, and try and trace that fast speed Thalys train which kept zipping past me time and again.

If you ever visit the Netherlands and want to feel like Gulliver for a day – Madurodam is the place to visit. Here are a few pictures we managed to click and some videos I shot.

The trademark Amsterdam city houses & the football stadium


The Spido at Rotterdam Port & The cargo trains at work


The train arriving at the platform & the busy motorway


The Royal Palace & The Corpus


Watch the planes park themselves at the airport

Ships docking at Rotterdam Port

Bus-ride anyone?

Fancy a canal cruise in the city?

Think Schumi will want to race here?

So when are you planning your trip to Gulliver’s city?

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