Of Pets and Papayas!

You might think it's hard being 'festively plump' in a tropical climate, but try being so in the dead of winter in the sub-zero-freezer-I-call-home. When every time one steps out of the house one adds layers to one's ever-increasing girth, once referred to admiringly as a silhouette, now known unkindly as a pillar. When a chance peek at the mirror evokes a gasped 'chunky-monkey' and one hastily pretends one was day-dreaming of Messrs. Baskin and Robbins before fingers start pointing out the truth behind the chunkiness (the monkeyness is up for grabs). When a spontaneous photograph showcases one's swollen features shoving 5 other people out of the frame. When one is forced to watch anorexic stick-figures sashaying down the street in mini-skirts and knee-high boots as a direct challenge to the Elements and CouchPapayas ....

No doubt, the 3 dedicated readers of this blog have guessed that I fell off the diet-wagon on my vacation.

It happened as soon as I stepped onto the tarmac at aamchi Mumbai, breathed in a delighted lungful of invigorating desi air when in the midst of all the tepid carbon came the unmistakeable siren beckonings of fat, juicy corn on their cobs spluttering lustily on a roadside grill. And my inner Bhakasura which had been ruthlessly kept controlled for ever so long, frankly, shed off the shackles and ROARED.

So, we i.e. my pet bhaka and me, decided to make up for 3 months of a spartan existence in 3 weeks. We ate puchka's at the dirtiest road-side stalls, vada paav, misal paav, jhaal muri & sundry chaats anywhere we could find them, malpua's, mahim halwas and every manner of roadside sweet discriminating against none, dosas and idlie-sambhars but of course, and even some kwai (supari) carved with a knife sporting the most intrinsically vivid ferrous-decoration I have yet had the pleasure to behold. Or hold. Mention must be made of the green chilly icecream, apparently popular in Maharashtra, a dubious experience which this Papaya (and her bhaka) vows never to try again.

Generally - being quite the humble person - any compliments coming my way re. weight used to be taken for the conversational gambits they were ie. with the entire salt-shaker. But, this time, actually believing in my own hype, all caution was flung to the wind with the end-result that I am back home, many kgs heavier all of which has seemed to accumulate in my face making it remarkably porcine in appearance the direct result of which was shown in the aforementioned and immediately deleted photographs!!! Stupid omnipresent camera phones.

So, before the celebrated pachydermal Hatari tune becomes a permanent background score when the Papaya is out and about, one realises that one has to embark on that slow, tortuous cycle of deprivation and exercising every muscle other than the over-used ones of the mandibles. Again. Tonight's menu boiled kohlrabi and a single chapatti. Sob.

Possibly the sole bright spot is the discovery of my Guts of Steel. Scoffing at dire warnings and implied delicateness of said Guts, I decided the test my endurance the very day I landed. With the result that I have an immense respect for the li'l tame bacteria crowding around my pet no doubt acquired as a result of eating all that roadside gobhi-manchurian cooked in rancid oil in one's salad days.

Hail Unknownus bacillus, may your tribe increase!!

Movie Review: Doubt (2008)

Rating: 5 / 5

Doubt (2008) is a movie adapted from a prize winning play of the same name written and directed by John Patrick Shanley.

As the movie begins with a sermon by Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) along the lines of doubt being a unifier 'Doubt can be a bond as powerful as certainty', the characters are all in place. Sister Aloysius (Meryl Streep) is the rigid disciplinarian principal of the Catholic school, Father Flynn is the parish priest and Sister James (Amy Adams) is the naive, eager to please and enthusiastic history teacher.

When Sr. James goes to Sr. Aloysius with concerns regarding Father Flynn and the new (and only) black student in the school, she watches with horror as the crusading spirit of Sr. Aloysius, determined to prove Father Flynn's guilt in abusing the boy, quickly converts matters into a violent two-way power struggle. The movie is talky, dealing with matters of religion, racism, sexuality, authority, and most of the action consists of ambiguous confrontations between the principals - is Sr. Aloysius a true crusader in a male-dominated heirarchy or on a witch-hunt against a liberal priest? Is Father Flynn protecting a disadvantaged student or truly guilty?

Both Hoffman and Streep are needless to say highly effective and entertaining in their roles, the final scene between the two truly a pleasure to watch in terms of the duality of emotions shown - excepting a moment where Streep does a maniacal hand-flapping, cross-waving imitation of that evil character in the Grimm fairy tales. Oh, well. Mention must be made of Adams' rendition of the meek school teacher finally pushed to the boundaries of her control.

But, while the director does his best to give us effective framing and beautiful set pieces, I thought his cinematic real world complete with wind-swept autumn leaves, flying feathers and defective light bulbs impinged too much on what is a character based story of the cloistered environment that the priests and nuns live in. Note to self, watch it in the theatre sometime to see if the experience will be more rewarding than the movie.

Highly recommended.

Late wishes ....

... but then I gotta live upto my name.

Happy New Year to all you folks from B and CP!!

We spent the new year with friends and as the party was winding down (read drinks and food polished off) someone brought out a fav childhood game - Boggle. Had loads of fun beating the blocks off every player. And, I won because I am amazingly and awesomely skilled and not because everyone was ever-so-slightly on the go. The Year-That-Is should be so easy ....

What did y'all do for new years? And any favorite board games where you KNOW you can kick player butt??


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