Sunday, June 26, 2016

Another Week Gone By #MondayMusings


Weeks and weekends seem to pass by in a jiffy these days. Another Monday has arrived.

I read a book this week- Six Degrees by blogadda.com. It is a compilation of three different stories with the same set of characters, but a different plot, narrative, and voice. I liked reading it. It was a new, one of a kind of experience. I felt like watching three different movies with the same characters- at the end, it kind of felt surreal.


I watched Kapoor & Sons in my laptop. Finally, yes! I loved it. I watched it in three days, part by part. Occasionally, I replayed scenes, paused a lot to savor the moment, took many breaks to dab the tears, and hummed the tunes to myself in the bathroom. I fell in love with the flawed, not so perfect family. I adored the mischievous GrandPa played by Rishi Kapoor- he indeed was the backbone of the family, the one singular person that connected every emotionally estranged member. I empathized with the brothers who loved each other but were never at peace. I was charmed by the beautiful backdrop of Coonur, and the acting of the cast. One of the most memorable family movies I have watched.


Apart from these, mornings had me practice a bit of Yoga- usually those breathing Pranayams to reduce my extra belly fat. But on the contrary, I would watch FoodFood channel for hours trying to decide which recipe to prepare in the weekend. Then I would sit calmly for minutes sipping my homemade cup of Kaddha, for cough and cold. I love sipping- be it tea, coffee, Horlicks, or even Kaddha. Monsoon is here, and with the change of season, I am trying to cope up with coughs and sneezes.


I listened to a lot of music yesterday. Sunday night, feeling low, music was the best therapy.

Next month is special. So, as June draws to a close I plan for the next month. Smiles! Happy week ahead!


#MondayMusings
#SlowDownYourDay

Six Degrees- Game of Blogs






The title itself is eye-catching, but here there are no ‘Thrones’. It’s all about collaborative blogging, team spirit and a successful milestone in spinning bestseller stories. But why six degrees- I still cannot figure that out. Is it because there were six judges to rate the stories and find out the best three to be published here? Is it because there are six ways, six viewpoints amalgamated in this book? I’m not sure. I would really like to know the reason behind such an attention grabbing name.

Book Blurb:

As part of their #CelebrateBlogging initiative, BlogAdda.com ran the first edition of Game of Blogs in September 2014. Five characters and their descriptions were provided. The objective was to write a fictional story revolving around these characters. Bloggers came together as teams and after three rounds filled with its own set of twists and turns, three stories made it to the end.

The three stories in this book are a fascinating example of how one set of characters can have interesting lives with completely different dimensions. Six degrees is a result of how collaboration can truly breed creativity in the modern day world of connected living.


The Awakening – By Team By Lines

It is a mystery-cum-thriller where the lives of all the characters are suddenly in a great havoc. It is a science fiction- fantasy made believable with lots of researched facts which also add credibility to the imagined theories. The narrative is good; the flow of the plot is really great. What hooked me to the story is the way the mystery and suspense is maintained throughout, and each chapter has something essential to add to the story. I liked the concept, the portrayal of the characters and the theories supporting the fantasy a lot.

My favorite character- Cyrus

My favorite chapter- The one in which theories are explained using facts from Sumerian, Mesopotamian, and Egyptian civilizations; and also the unsolved mysteries around the world.

Entangled Lives- By Team Potliwale Baba

This story or novella is my personal favorite. I just loved the way characters are brought to life through dialogues, tidbits, and add-ons making them realistic and vivid. The chapters felt like watching a movie- the individual scenes were so well written and plot construction is just perfect. The murder mystery and suspense is kept up throughout by poetic prose monologue by the murderer, as the reader tries hard to figure out who that shadow is.

My favorite character- Well, more than one. Tara- the mother and power hungry media head, Jennifer –the photographer and of course Java- the manner less Police who heads the investigation and questions the suspects.  

My favorite chapter- I loved the interaction and verbal strife between Tara and Jennifer when they first meet at the café. It had the best dialogues, I would say. And every interrogation scene with Java in it was a favorite. I really got entertained by his ‘devil’ monologue, tactful questioning and wretched behavior.


Missing- A Journey Within By Team Tete-a-Ten

I liked this one on the emotional perspective and depth. It delves into the personal lives and troubles of the characters. The readers feel their longing for love, anxiety, ego, hope, prejudice and hatred. It is the story of Cyrus, who lives a wretched life hiding his reality from his family and the society. He meets Roohi by chance when she had gone missing. (Well, I didn’t understand the importance of Roohi, Tara and Shekhar. It was like two separate stories met at one or two common points.)

My favorite character- Cyrus, of course

My favorite chapter- The penultimate and the last chapter, as the ending was very apt.


It’s hard to believe that eight bloggers could coordinate so well that the difference in writing style, dialogue, plot twists and turns are so seemingly negligible. It is such a rare and highly commendable feat. Published by LeadStart Publishing, the book of three novellas is priced at Rs.349/-. The panel of judges or the jury who decided the winners are- Ashwin Sanghi, Kiran Manral, Megha Pant, Natasha Badhwar, Raksha Bharadia, and Ravi Subramanian. At 422 pages, this is a great read, recommended for every casual or avid reader.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for IndianBloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Paradise Kiss



Japanese

Main Actors  :                        Keiko Kitagawa, Osamu Mukai
Name of Director  :                Takehiko Shinjo
Name of Producer  :               Toshiya Nomura
Music by  :                             Yoshihiro Ike

Paradise Kiss is a Japanese movie, released in the year 2011. It was distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. The movie is based on a manga series written by Ai Yazawa and Kenji Bando. Though it hasn’t received any awards or accolades, it is not one of those romantic comedies that comes and goes and no one even remembers.

Plot Summary:

Paradise Kiss is a movie based on an anime of the same name. Yukari, a simple and hardworking high school girl struggles through academics only to be appreciated by her mother who had raised her by herself. But her life changes completely when she is asked to model for a group of students of the Fashion school called the Paradise Kiss. Being fed of living a life for the sake of her mother and the society, she runs away from home and agrees to model for the group. Though guilty for having left behind her family, she finds excitement and exhilaration in dressing up, posing for the camera and walking the ramp. Though the fashion show is Paradise Kiss’ last project ever as a group, Yukari finds her passion and goes on to become a famous star. This movie is not only about the struggling fashion designers but also about friendship, love, passion and hard work and about discovering our abilities.

The Characters: 

Yukari is a hardworking girl ever since she was a child in order to impress her mother and get into the best college. Yet, her mother never acknowledges her; rather bestows all her attention on her smarter younger brother. At first, Yukari looks down on the fashion students and calls their work a joke. But while making friends with them, she discovers her passion for modeling.

paradise kiss

George is a genius fashion designer full of beautiful ideas. He constantly encourages Yukari by saying, “You don’t know who you are.” Along with these two main characters, the other persons are quite realistic, some lovable and some despicable, but each equally understandable.

Personal Thoughts:

The story was simple yet deep. The use of upbeat and happy music was quite effective in relaying the emotions of cheerfulness, excitement, and motivation. The movie’s running time was roughly two hours. Though it ended on a happy note, the finale wasn’t very satisfactory. Twenty minutes prior to the finish, I was sure that there wouldn’t be a happy ending as there was no reason, throughout the film, to expect it.

No matter how good the story is, the appeal of the movie also depends on the acting. The male protagonist of this movie was somewhat restrained and the only thing he did in the movie was stare at the heroine with only occasional dialogues. Also, while portraying the character of a genius fashion designer, not much of his designing skills were shown in the movie. The heroine, on the other hand, was quite controlled in her acting except for the parts in which she walked the ramp, where she looked abrupt and overconfident for someone who has neither practice nor experience.

japanese


The allure of a foreign language and Japanese culture was the sole reason behind my watching the movie, and it didn’t disappoint. It has a fascinating style of storytelling that’s totally different from Bollywood and Hollywood. The modern day youth culture in Japan is showcased very well in the movie. I was touched by the subtle messages conveyed like “I’ve chosen to walk my own path in a life that’s nobody else’s.”. The movie did leave a lasting impression as it didn’t preach, nor did it portray any larger than life characters. 

PS: Reviewed By Cherry

Friday, May 27, 2016

Brightest Kind Of Darkness: Book Review



ABOUT THE STORY AND THE PLOT

          For the sixteen-year-old Inara Collins, alias Nara for friends and family, being surprised was exceptional. Living with the feeling of déjà vu every single day, she longed for a surprising day. But after wishing for just one surprising day, she decided she hated surprises.

          Nara could dream about the personal experiences of her entire next day. When one night, she dreams about someone planting a bomb in her school, Blue Ridge High, she couldn’t force herself to stand back and just be a knowing observer like she had in the past. The police find the bomb in a locker of a guy called Ethan who had been kicked out of his former school. Though an outcast, Nara is strangely drawn to him and since the day she had called in the bomb threat, he has shown special interest in her.

          But by altering an event, messing up Fate’s carefully woven plans and interfering with the course of future, she not only affected the unfolding of the rest of her day but also brought about trouble and danger for herself as well as the ones she loves. Mysteriously, some days subsequent to the day she changed the course of things by calling in the bomb threat, her dreams disappeared. With her days messed up and unpredictable, when she is no more the star goalie of the soccer team, she finds comfort with Ethan.

           However, the bizarre occurrences are not yet over. She soon realizes that all students, whose lockers were anywhere near Ethan’s who could have been hurt, had the bomb exploded, are getting hurt one after another. Also, someone is making attempts to take away Nara’s life. With her dreams gone and her life becoming chaotic, as she struggles to protect herself and the ones she holds dear, she stumbles upon the secrets that Ethan has carefully concealed.

Is it nature taking its own course? Or is it Fate spinning a new yarn and weaving a new story?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Patrice Michelle, the author of fifteen paranormal and contemporary romances and novellas, writes in such a way that it excites the readers. The beginning of the story was appealing and every twist the tale was intriguing and fresh which makes one keep reading it.  


Review By: Cherry

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Kill Me Heal Me: A Review

Kill Me Heal Me

‘Kill Me Heal Me’ has a great storyline, a plot that doesn’t adhere to any of your active imagination, presumption, preconceived notion or stereotypes.

About the series- a bit of the plot:

"A romantic comedy between a third-generation billionaire with Dissociative Identity Disorder and a first-year Psychiatrist resident who treats him secretly.
After a traumatic experience in his childhood, Cha Do Hyun suffers memory lapses and his personality then fractured into seven different identities. He tries to regain control over his life with the help of Oh Ri Jin, a first-year psychiatric resident who treats him secretly. But Ri Jin’s twin brother, Oh Ri Ohn, is a famous mystery novelist who investigates about Do Hyun and his family."

Acting Skills of the Lead Actor

You wouldn’t want to miss the great acting skill of the lead actor- the one having multiple personality disorder. Every personality has different fashion sense, gait, body language, accent- the very aura around each personality is so different. The actor must have worked so much in perfecting every bit of the character of each personality, and believe me, the effort shows in the series.

Love Shin Se Gi's explosive fashion statements.

He seems to transform effortlessly from a teenage girl (Yo Na)bitching and running after cine idols, blushing in front of entertainment stars, to an angry young man (Shin Se Gi)with very short temper and very high fashion sense obsessing over his lady love, and again to a middle aged person (Perry Park) with a great sense of humor who has a weak spot for all kinds of booze, and then again to a suicidal depressed teenager (Yo Sub)who has nothing to look up to in life.  

Yo Na offers the comic relief in the series.

You’d find yourself surprised at the enormous change in each of the personalities, and the way the actor is able to carry them out. You would find yourself looking closely at the screen just to ensure if it is the same actor. A pucker face here, an eyebrow raised there, a smile here, a smirk there- lo and behold, the personality changes. Amazing!

Yo Seob- the suicidal one.

The peep into the life of the personality’s characters

The secret is not known by his family. The loneliness that accompanies a mental disorder is shown here- the hard reality.

When the personalities take over, they tend to wreak havoc in his world. When Cha Do Hyun wakes up, gaining back his space and time, he makes amends to whatever went amiss in his absence, alone shouldering the burden, with no one in his family of influential individuals to share this. A view at the loneliness and sad life makes us root for this otherwise flawless character.

Each personality is a broken piece that fell out of the main person, Cha Do Hyun. His mind divided age and time of his life, to save him from multiple traumas. Cha Do Hyun doesn’t remember certain years of his childhood, which some other personalities living inside him do remember- another game the brain plays with him. Fragmented memories, fragile emotions, tough life, and no one to share the pain with- life seems tragic, until the entry of the female lead.

“The reactions of the people who know my secret vary. They get terrified, or they feel good because I disclosed it to them, or feel relief because they are normal, or use me, or sympathize with me, or treat me as a monster. How would you act? Will you still want me even after you know my secret?” – Cha Do Hyun

“Remember. January 7th, 2015 at 10 o’clock on the dot. The time I fell for you. ”-Shin Se Gi’s smoldering eyes and the background score make the simple scene a bang on.

Oh Ri Jin

The actress- a breath of fresh air

Not the usual ‘damsel in distress’, in fact, she is the savior, the real hero. She is an unconventional amalgamation of funny, feel good, emotional and adorable. A psychiatrist by profession, she becomes the secret physician of the super rich conglomerate Cha Do Hyun, trying to befriend every personality of his, working out ways in which they don’t bring shame to Cha Do Hyun’s reputation in his company, family, and society.  

She is so cute at times, a cry baby when sharing her troubles with her brother, and a tough ass kicking hair pulling wrench when it need be. I adored her throughout- her unladylike screams, unfathomable shouts, drunken speeches, and emotional delirium- all of it. Loved her!

Oh Ri On- society thinks he's an idiot, but... 

The super-awesome almost-brother and anonymous writer Omega

One of the best characters in the series, Oh Ri On is Oh Ri Jin’s brother. Well, they grew up as twins for the society, when his family adopted her at the age of seven. She had lost her memories then, and remembered nothing of her childhood before that, nothing of her real parents. I loved the family as a whole so much- the perfect happily crazy family, where each one looks out for the other.

While growing he struggled with his feelings for her, protecting her from all hurt and being her savior throughout. It’s a very complicated character, yet very naturally portrayed. Even his lingering feelings for her and his disappointment at fate for not allowing him a chance was very endearing. I loved him to bits. Well, we always love the one who is brave enough to let go of love that was not meant for him.

Adorable!!!

And he’s a genius novelist- an anonymous writer- well anonymity is sexy. Basking in the fame but not being bullied or interfered by the fame; enjoying being behind the scene, unseen when the world goes ‘ga-ga’ over you. Wow! I loved his character. The way he researched for his stories the family background of the super rich Korean conglomerates. I really liked that. He’s the secret keeper- the one who knows it all and hides it all too to protect Oh Ri Jin.


The script writers of this drama series- the dialogues, never imagined plot

They write deep, touching your heart with such memorable dialogues, that you keep re-watching those scenes just to imprint it into your mind. I loved the dialogues.

“What does first love mean to a man?”-Oh Ri Jin (the actress)

“It’s a ‘thank you’ if it folds up at once. If it opens up again, then it’s a lingering attachment. If it opens up twice, it’s sadness. Thrice, it’s pain. And after opening up over and over again until it becomes ragged, that’s how his heart is ripped apart and they endure that ripping until it doesn’t hurt anymore.” –Oh Ri On (the super-awesome almost-brother)

The background score

Last, but not the least, the background tune played a great role in emphasizing the scene in play, the scenes where Perry Park makes bombs, or looks lovingly at a bottle of beer calling it ‘god’s water balloon’, or where Shin Se Gi aims to destroy everything that hurts Oh Ri Jin. The tunes when mysteries are revealed, layer after layer- family secrets, or lost childhood memories, or flashbacks of times gone by.

What was the most amazing aspect of the drama series of 20 episodes- breadth and depth of range of acting chops that male lead brought to the table to actually deliver the never seen before wow factor.


PS: I had been long since I reviewed a Korean Series! Finally, I did. Feeling great!! (Smiles… Do watch it..)


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Eat Pray Love: Review Part III



Bali:

“Way of finding that balance of pleasure of this very world and the connection with the divine is to have your feet firmly on the ground and looking at the world through your heart. “

Balinese culture is peaceful, calm, its foundation being community, friends and family. Being a loner without marriage or family is considered out of the way, and tends to disappoint the Balinese. I love the religious practices, rituals they do to maintain balance; the questions they ask strangers- ‘Where did you come from? Where are you going? Are you married?’ . There are three unpredictable volcanoes in the islands, which is perhaps the reason behind so many prayer practices.

Elizabeth learns from the medicine man- a toothless man with vast ancient knowledge who has no idea of his exact age, the art of balance in life between materialism and spiritualism. Everyone out of balance, everyone wanting to have that equilibrium restored comes to him- children with rashes, women seeking advise on marriage matches, businessmen spooked by evil river spirits. One of the teachings of the medicine man- Microcosm can become Macrocosm. You can become the universe.

Enjoying the sounds of nature- the crickets, the frogs croaking, roosters in the morning, the cat meowing, the dogs howling in the middle of the night, she says nothing displeases her anymore, she no more remembers discontent. What an achievement, I think. Wow. Becoming so powerful in controlling your thoughts that nothing ever displeases you. Isn’t it awesome?

I want to visit Bali- witness the culture, the utopia, the paradise, the world garden, the peace harmony and balance, the Eden of peace where even the policemen wear flowers in the head. Elizabeth describes it as an island of god, where humanity lives in an unspoiled state of bliss; everyone is smiling, beauty and serenity prevail everywhere, the civilization is artistic and religious.

:) 


Eat Pray Love: Review Part II




India:

I loved the 36 chapters about Elizabeth's experience in India.

I want to go on a spiritual pilgrimage- visit the ‘char dhams’, Buddhist monasteries, Jain temples, various faiths, and explore and feel and experience all the calmness in the air in those places.

About her stay in India in an ashram, Elizabeth has so much to say. She talks about strenuous hours of silent meditation- hours of going deep into your mind and facing all the discomfort it has hidden in it: all the guilt, shame, resentment, sadness, anger, rage, and even contempt, lust and maddening jealousy. She tells us about the courage that all the people in the ashram had, the bravery they had to just come to that place from several countries, and perform austerities, to experience eternal calmness, spiritual transcendence, and connect with the divine within themselves.

Strange enough, the idea of spending four months in an ashram- getting up at three in the morning before the sun rose, chanting a common hymn in a group, meditating in silence, eating together, providing community service and doing your assigned duties- it all appeals so much to me. Like her, I truly want to experience this, just to gauge my strength and find that which I have been longing to find- a sense of my own self. I want to be able to feel all the emotions truly; feel all the guilt, shame, anger, resentment, jealousy, pain, suffering, embarrassment without shielding myself from them, without reacting. Just letting it go through me, feeling all the discomfort that comes with it, and then letting it all go - getting detached from it eventually.

“Control freak- we are so used to controlling everything in our lives, that if anything doesn’t go as we had planned we are so disappointed- we are so sad, devastated that our efforts didn’t bear the expected fruit. “

I loved the character Richard from Texas. He called Elizabeth, Groceries, out of sheer fun. He tells years of ‘gyan’ in so simple funny joking one lines- it’s amazing. He is just like some person I know who doesn’t give a damn about any cares in the world. I loved the Plumber Poet from New Zealand too. The poem of instruction he gifted Liz to let go of all that she had been holding on to, was the best. He made her realize that God loves you as you- as you truly are- you don’t have to make that dreaded major continental shift in your character- you don’t have to change your persona. You just have to be your own whole true self. A universal teaching you need to inculcate in your everyday life.

I have long thought about my role on earth. I have long searched what I am supposed to become. A book reviewer? An Indian? A movie lover? A lover of words? A researcher? A writer? A blogger? An IT web developer? A post-graduate? A jack of all trades and master of none? And here in this book, for the first time ever, I came across words that made me cry tears of joy. Sheer joy. It goes something like this- “You are the universe. Why define yourself in so few a terms and so few a titles and try to confine yourself in a tiny box, when you can be the universe. You are infinite, you just can’t realize it. “

To be continued...