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Birthday things!

Birthdays are a big deal for us. We try to do mad/crazy/fun things every year. Of course, there’s no repetition. What’s the fun in that?! And we tend to scratch our brains through fluff and dust for ideas a month ahead. Besides, it’s something for us to do!

Anyway, if you follow our blog  (*coughcough*), you might have realized that there is fourth person we mention from time to time, Sanjana a.k.a., foreigner. With her not being in Chennai and us loving Chennai, we decided to be our super-awkward selves and take pictures around here. Places she ought to remember.

And hence; I give you this:

http://happybirthdaysanjana.wordpress.com/

*drumroll and out, folks*

See you around!

P.S. BWC and Fuzzy are about to embark on grad school journeys while Lucid and Sanjana are working! Ohwowwhathappenedinthemiddle?!

waking dreamHello again, everyone! I’m just going to direct you to Lucid’s last post (or any of the ones we’ve posted sporadically over the last two years or so) in lieu of making my excuses (which have not changed). Instead, I’m going to get right to the point and fill you in on the good stuff.

Last you heard from me, I was bemoaning my lack of Life Skills. I am less-than-happy to assure you that there has been no significant change in that department. In spite of this, however, I have managed to trick my professors into believing that I am degree-worthy, as have Lucid and Fuzzy. Meaning we are now (somehow!) bona fide graduates.

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And what’s more, we are venturing perilously close to Adult Territory. Lucid is now Employed (!!). Fuzzy is heading off to graduate school. And I… I am possibly going to graduate school, also. OR I am going to be an unemployed, overgrown child for the rest of my life. One of the two.**

Now that I’ve brought you up to speed, I am totally going to do the annoying BWC thing and turn the rest of this post into a review. To be fair, it was the reviewing that I missed enough to want to get back to blogging, so here it comes. A while ago, Lucid and I watched Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I lovelovelove the novel version and I cannot imagine a film equivalent to Fitzgerald’s words. That aside, I still didn’t find a whole lot to recommend in this adaptation.

I think the central trouble I had was with the Gatsby character. I never, for one moment, bought into the legend. You could argue that he isn’t, in fact, meant to be a legend, but rather a man playing at being one. He is, however, meant to play the part well enough that those unacquainted with the truth fall for the facade. The oft-repeated “old sport” line, I felt, was grating throughout. It seemed like not even Tobey Maguire’s Nick Carraway (unquestioning Gatsby fanboy) bought into the tale. I wouldn’t fault DiCaprio (another solid performance) for this odd choice so much as Luhrmann. Secondly, while I cannot quite call it lazy film-making ( the detail on those sets!), more effort seems to have been expended on fancy (and pretty amazing, really ) visual styling than on story-telling. Ironic, since Fitzgerald’s story explicitly cautions against glittery exteriors. Nor can the argument be made, that this sense of superficiality is what the movie seeks to capture, considering that the eye-candy after all, seems to have been the movie’s most worked-upon aspect. It ultimately detracts from the story, with the end result being that the movie lacks that sense of unease, dissatisfaction and judgement that permeates the novel. It also reduces every valuable insight to be earned and discerned by the viewer to simplistic voice-over exposition. Dr. T J Eckleburg’s eyes, watching wordlessly from a hoarding, a stand-in for an all-seeing god, for instance, is delivered matter-of-fact not early in the movie (and then repeated to death just in case you overlooked its cleverness). Finally, the soundtrack. Although quite fantastic taken on its own, the contemporary music was jarring against the 1920′s setting, demanding greater suspension of disbelief than I could manage. I’m not certain if this was Luhrmann’s way of decrying the current state of affairs and reaffirming the story’s pertinence today. Unfortunately, for me, it sort of mixed both eras in the most unsatisfactory way possible.

Where the movie scores, in my opinion, is in that it does not romanticize the Gatsby character. By setting up Nick as being unclear in his mind, he is established as an unreliable narrator, early in the movie. This, along with several other cinematic choices, allow us to see the self-deluding Mr.Gatsby for the flawed character he is. Even as we watch Nick fall for Gatsby’s perceived modesty, it becomes increasingly apparent to the viewer that in the orchestration of his reunion with Daisy and all that follows, he is merely terribly controlling of his image and quite used to getting his way by less-than-noble means. Alongside Nick’s proclamations of Gatsby’s incorruptible Greatness and steadfastness, we are witness to a much different truth: that Daisy is but a selfish obsession– yet another fixture to be acquired in order to enhance Gatsbyland. Daisy herself is portrayed complexly by the always-wonderful ( I will profess myself a fan) Carey Mulligan. We are able to see how the impressionable Daisy is also complicit in the lie that becomes her own undoing. I think her character here best encapsulates Fitzgerald’s fears for what would come to pass through such irresponsible, decadent living. Overall, the cast is pretty fantastic, with good performances all around.

In closing, I think Luhrmann’s take certainly does add something to the Gatsbyverse and also sets the stage for future retellings . I just wish the story had taken precedence over the distracting fluff.

***

* We haven’t done that whole robes-and-tasseled-hats thing yet. But that is because college is ridiculous as ever and the official ceremony is scheduled for next year. I am leaving this can of worms unopened, on the topmost shelf, well out of my reach because, really, who wants to hear any more on that?

** Update: I may be an overgrown child, but gosh-darn it, I’m an overgrown child with an admission to grad school. Yeah!

ChinxHi everyone anyone..

Its been almost an entire year! You know the excuses, I’m sure. Initially, it was mostly on account of the fact that I’d been really frustrated with college and didn’t really have anything to say but then, well, lets just say it escalated. I started actively avoiding the blog, it was almost as if the WordPress logo was judging me, telling me how disappointed it was that I wasn’t doing this anymore. I felt terrible for the most part about avoiding this thing that I loved doing for so long, but as the delay got longer, the idea of actually writing something got more and more intimidating until it was this huge, insurmountable mountain.

Judging You

So, what’s changed now? College’s done, that’s what, which means that I have run out of excuses to avoid this. Lets get on with it then.

I have all these post ideas in my head about all sorts of things like how Facebook makes me feel socially inadequate, about this amazing book I read called Embassytown by China Mieville which was so good that I wanted to read it again as soon as I was done with it, about the fact that I’ve started cooking and it makes me really happy and lots of things like that. But, most of these are just fragmented thoughts, they don’t have enough meat in them to constitute an entire post, except for the book related one I guess. So, I figured I’d just talk about all those things?

I created a Facebook account. I did it. I swore I never would but I did it. It was mostly because I was feeling really nostalgic one evening and had the entirely ridiculous notion that it was a good idea to have an account so I could keep in touch with people. Except, I am abysmal, that’s right, abysmal at talking to people on the internet. I never know what to say, when to use exclamation points or periods and the acceptable amount of smiley usage, which I swear varies person to person. But mostly, I suck at small talk.

So, I joined. It was a decent sized deal. I reconnected with a bunch of people and there was the cursory, ‘Hi! How are you?’s and the ‘What are you upto?’s and the most common ‘How come you’re on here?!’. There were friend requests from people from school and college and some people who assumed that the fact that we had at some point said hellos to one another meant that they could be my ‘friends’. There was even one guy who said that he had seen me ‘on’ his friend’s wedding! Seriously guy? Creepy much? This whole thing lasted about a week. After the first week, I had no idea what I was supposed to do on there. If was to follow the leads of everyone else, I was supposed to post pictures (which I’m not comfortable with), share images and quote type things(for which Tumblr/Pinterest is much better) or say inane/passive aggressive things on my status (which, just no.). This is the reason that the only activity on my timeline is a conversation with Fuzzy about books, which I can do just as well or rather, better, in person or on the phone.

So, basically the end result of the Facebook experiment was this feeling of social inadequateness that made me feel uncomfortable and generally miserable. I think it may be due to the fact that talking to these people make me feel like the shy and unsure teenager I used to be. I’m not saying I’m super sorted superwoman now, but I’m more self-confident and sure of who I am. Its also probably due to the fact that we essentially have only school in common and nothing else, so the lengths of the conversations I’ve had have been severely limited. I think I found one, maybe two people that I will continue to speak to after this and these were people I was actually friends with way back when, as in, we talked about more than school stuff.

So now, the Facebook account just exists and does nothing, kinda lika a Metapod.

 

Well, that got away from me. I suppose I’ll write about the other things another time. Hopefully, soon.

I missed you Bloggy.

*Please forgive the terrible image. MS Word can only do so much. ヽ(´ー`)┌

So, you know that quote from Hugo that goes, “I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know? They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason.” ? Yeah, I think my “reason” might just be to make other people feel better about themselves.

Certainly, I make it possible for people to say, “Well, that was a stupid thing to do, but at least I didn’t pull a BWC.”. To further provide a source of self-consolation, I present the events of this morning:

I woke up early today, expecting to have to follow regular college timing, only to find that the first two hours of class had been cancelled. Which meant I had two choices: 1. Go back t bed and 2. Watch an episode of The West Wing. I chose the latter, and I will allow that fact to speak for the show’s brilliance. And so it was, that I let an episode of TWW load, while I took a shower. So far, so good. Except, as I discovered on emerging post- shower, I had essentially locked myself in my bedroom. You see, the door handle on the inside (where I was) has been wobbly for a while now, with my dad’s tinkering being the only thing temporarily holding it there. And it came clean off, when I tried to open the door today (just as it has, ALL WEEK.)! This meant that the only appendage I could grip and use to pull the door open was a latch, but the door was pretty firmly shut and no amount of latch-pulling would make a difference. 

Fortunately, I had my cellphone on me (which is a real rarity, if you know me). But I didn’t have the any of the neighbours’ numbers on it, because, well, I’m BWC. So then, of course, I found a pencil and jimmied the door and escaped into freedom, like the brilliant engineer that I am.

No, I didn’t. I called my mom. I called my mom and told her that her 20-year-old daughter had locked herself in and needed to go to college and, basically, “No, I DON’T know why I shut the door when I know better! CALL SOMEONE! GET ME OUT! I’M LAAAATE!”. And since moms are superhuman beings with all kinds of powers of which we know not, she called our maid. And my highly-amused (and also quite concerned) maid came to the rescue, not long after. If she is convinced that schooling doesn’t improve the mind, I won’t blame her.

Fast-forward an hour and I sat there in college with other 20-year-olds, being taught about the nature of light, by someone who clearly imagines that I am totally capable of handling that, because he doesn’t know that I still can’t remember to not shut my malfunctioning door!

And let’s keep it that way. ;)

Stories

That’s okay; we’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.
                                                                                                  -The Doctor, “The Big Bang”

I love that quote from Doctor Who. Its perfect. We are all a sum of our stories. I figure, as long as you’ve got good stories to tell, you’ve lived well. So, I thought that we could tell you some of our stories here, kind of a record ( I love those!). I’ve got one for you today that I don’t think even Fuzzy and BWC know about.

In the holidays between class 12 and college, I had this phase where I really, really wanted to write something. So, I have all these files with half-written journals and stories and prompts and things like that. When I was little, I always dreamed of being this, intellectual, brilliant woman who sat by her window and wrote all her profound thoughts in a little notebook that people would read for years. Oh, and her handwriting was amazing, all scripty and flowing. That probably stemmed from the fact that my writing was abysmal during this period. It was AWFUL. None of the letters were the same size and if, god forbid,  I ever managed to write in a straight line, I was the happiest little girl in the world! Anyway, here’s an example of one of those abandoned stories. Its not brilliant or profound (It was in a file titled ‘Socks’) but, its something I did once and I want to remember it.

She sat the edge of her bed wearing her “cleaning clothes” that consisted of her baggiest, oldest t-shirt with some obscure band’s name on the front and her most comfortable, worn-in shorts. She had a scarf tied around her face, covering her nose and mouth. A necessary precaution seeing as how her allergies absolutely loved acting up at the slightest hint of dust. It was more probable that this would happen now when she had a big presentation to give at work tomorrow and couldn’t afford to sneeze her way through it.
You see, the Universe had a great track record when it came to messing with her. Cases in point; Pimples appearing in strategic locations as close as single nights before important events; her school Farewell, her first day at College; getting chicken pox the week of her annual exams and so on.She couldn’t take any risks.
 The “cleaning clothes” were reluctantly donned that gorgeous Sunday morning on account of the fact that she had absolutely run out of space to store all her junk in her extremely ‘compact’ (read small) 1BHK apartment.
She was a hoarder, no doubt about it. She kept everything, from sentimental gifts to tourist maps of places she’d vacationed in. Cleaning was an ordeal because figuring out what to keep and what to throw away was extremely difficult for her.

As she sat sorting through yet another cardboard box filled with extremely random things, she found a pair of blue socks. They were a light blue with two dark blue stripes. They had lost their color and looked like they had been worn a lot. One of them even had a hole where the pinky was supposed to be.

She didn’t throw the socks immediately into her two piles of ‘Keep’ and ‘Throw away’, which were slowly merging together anyway, but stared at them for a bit, trying to understand what a pair of socks, not one sock, that would have been normal, but an entire pair, carefully rolled up (she never rolled up her socks!) was doing in a box, which among other things also contained a comb with missing teeth, a half finished scrap book of a vacation and a door knob.

She turned it around in her hand, still trying to remember these socks and why she had felt the need to keep them. As she did this, she felt something in the sock that was not quite sock-like. She unrolled them and poured the contents of the socks on the bed. She now had, a crumpled piece of notebook paper and, of course, the other sock spread out on her bed.

Ha! I read it now and I realize that there’s a lot of ‘me’ in it. Its like that thing I read about once, that if you take a picture of someone, you take a bit of their soul as well. I guess I should write more, if I want to remember this version of me. So, yeah, I’m going to end with another promise to write more and hopefully I can keep it this time.

PS: I’m feeling sentimental today, so sue me.

The magical world of Harry Potter is indeed quite very magical. And walking around the Harry Potter: The Exhibition at Singapore was a magical journey!

The initial couple of minutes, I was thrilled, ready to squee at every little thing. And after I got over the whole ‘OMG’ phase, I started to take in things, and goodness me, the creativity and detail that goes into everything was astounding. It’s simply breathtaking to see these props and then the realization of how much thought has gone into making these hit me. Simply put : gorgeous!

And the exhibition was organized into different-theme rooms : Gryffindor Common Room, Forbidden Forest, Dark Forces, Great Hall etc.

So, I guess I’ll just talk about some of the lovely things that I saw.

One of the very first things I noticed was the Time Turner Hermione uses in the 3rd in the series. It’s a shiny gold and a miniscule hourglass with sand inside! And it looked quite pretty!  Actually, the first thing that greets you is the Fat Lady trying to break her glass with the operatic voce

There was the Dumbledore’s Army sheet which Hermione makes everyone sign. One of the best about this was that handwriting was different for each sign! Quite interesting! I also got to see Harmione’s Bag from the last book which has the hidden enlargement charm and the book she stored inside.

There was the Quibbler with the Spectrespecs and crazy whoozy colours on that page. There was the Mimbulus Mimbletonia which looked quite ick. And, the cursed necklace which Katie Bell touches looked nice. And! I got to see the coins! The Galleons, Sickles and Knuts! They have these embossed on them in a Gaelic-style-font. The coins are just what I imagined them to be.

There was Harry and Ron’s four-poster beds, a Chudley Cannons (non-moving) poster, Ron’s glasses, the Marauderer’s Map (which is definitely squee-worthy and made up of a number of folds), Harry’s Acceptance Letter to Hogwarts signed by McGonagall, Ron’s sweater with the ‘R’ on it. Oh and there was also the Howler which Ron receives after they flew the Ford Anglia. Complete with a satin tongue!

One of the interesting exhibits was the professor’s room/objects. I got to see Umbridge’s Kitten Plates, the pink everything and the teacup and her quill that craves into the skin. There was Lockhart’s complete bookset, his robes and his duelling robes and Snape’s potions and chemical glassware with stuff boiling. There were also little bottles like those formaldehyde-bio-specimens of various things like Doxycide. Slughorn’s had  a Bezoar. I saw the Half-Blood Prince’s Potions, complete with all the scribblings on the PolyJuice Potion Page. At Herbology, I got to pull out squealing Mandrakes. Ugly little creatures they are. And at Lupin’s there was the Boggart wardrobe, the giant clown that the Boggart turns to. And I saw Beaky/Witherwings! It looks creepymagnificent.

The Quidditch exhibit was fun, and I got to throw the Quaffle into the three hoops. Of course, I scored them all! And the snitc and restrained bludgers in the box that Wood first shows Harry in the 1st movie. There were also the different Quidditch robes present, along with oddments from the world cup like the Omnioculars. I saw a set of “House Captain” boards for each of the four houses which I don’t remember from the movies. I also got to see the Nimbus2000 and Nimbus2001. Alas, no Firebolt.

In Hagrid’s Hut, which is as close to the original that you can get, I got to see Hagrid giant clothes set, his dragon egg which shakes, the pink umberella/wand and the Monster Book of Monsters! Who wouldn’t miss that?!

And in the Forbidden Forest, the Acromantula Aragog was not as creepy as the movie. There was Bane and Magorian who looked a lot like the Avatar folk. Avatar sucked, anyway.  I wish there had been a unicorn.

And there was an artistically beautiful ‘Angel of Death’ statue which was seen in Little Hangleton and Dementor. Which was loose cloth and a bone-network which ended only in a spine. Very, very creepy.  Add to this, the effect of dark windows and lightning. Enough to give you the chills. There were also Voldy’s robes. Again, very creepy. From the first movie, I saw the Philopher’s Stone, the Key used in the obstacle, and the Chess pieces! I wish I could’ve played Wizard’s Chess! And there were creepy looking Death Eater robes and masks. And some old Death Eater ‘wanted’ poster of the Carrows etc. There were also the Horcruxes : The Diadem, Hufflepuff’s Cup, The Ring(which looked unimpressive), The Slytherin Locket, The Diary with Basilisk Fang.

Among the posters, there was one for the ‘Undesirable No.1’, and the Ministry of Magic issue for safety which includes a secret question and the Educational Decrees! I’m positive the artists must have had fun making the decree posters with different fonts, a giant “M” stamp, signed by Dolores. And on close inspection the last line reads something like this : “Bla Hblahbl Ahblah Blahbl Ahbla Hblahb Lah!”

The mugs says “Dobby is a Free Elf”

And there was a marvellous Great Hall door leading to a display of the Great Hall food which looked so delectable! There were displayes of Skiving Snackboxes, Chocolate Frogs made of “100% Croakoa” Fizzing Whizzbees, Bertie Bott’s etc.

And from the 4th movie, I got to see the magnificent TriWizard Cup and the giant thingamajig/casket which held it, the scraps of paper that the cup spews, the uniforms of Durnstrang and Beauxbatons, the Yule Ball Dress Robes of the students and the profs, the green Rita Skeeter Quill, and some of the ice scultpures which were on display during the Yule Ball. Speaking of dresses, there were robes and gowns (from Bill and Fleur’s wedding), the casual clothes, Quidditch robes, Professor’s robes etc on display. And what amazed me even further was that there were so many patterns/layers to each dress which made it look gorgeous in the end. There were so many wands, each customized with their own nadle portion. I particularly like James Potter’s wand.

And oh yes, I saw the Daily Prophet, one talking about Weasley’s trip to Egypt (with Scabbers and his missing paw) and the one about Muggles seeing a flying Anglia!

Standing regally, in its own display case was the Gryffindor Sword. Given how celebrated it is in the novel, it was a marvellous sight to behold, with the ruby encrusted hilt and shining silver. It was truly one of the more beautiful pieces on display.

And there was also Fawkes on display with beady eyes that stare at you and the feathers on it were dyed in hues of yellow-gold and red. With so many feathers, its plumage really looked quite magnificent.

And I probably have gushed enough about this. But honestly,  it’s well worth the visit especially if you’re a huge fan and you grew up with this.

And so, the final words : Nitwit! Oddment!Blubber!Tweak!

Wandering Alone

No excuses at all. Nope. None. Let’s dive right in to the post.

I’m currently interning in Singapore, which is a gorgeous city, and truly multi-cultural. I mean, where else would you see people from so many different races, places and culture all stuffed in one little garden city?

As the first trip ‘alone’ anywhere for a considerable period of time, it has been truly an amazing experience. And when it comes to traveling to any place, one week is just not enough. There’s so much to absorb in and that can leave you quite baffled really. The first week, you’re trying to get to know the places around you, trying to look at the beautiful things while still trying not to get lost. You’re walking around looking at fascinating things, painting a mental picture for you to revisit some other time. And then, you start to notice the quirkiness in the culture. The little things that you are not used to back home. The little things that make you feel like you don’t belong. And this is when you start wondering: ‘Can I understand more about this place and their culture?’

And as the Singaporeans say, ‘Can, la!’

Wandering alone on the streets, I was silently trying to put in a mental picture of the people, the places and the culture. Of how almost everyone is hooked onto a gadget. How you notice some people use a Kindle, and some an iPad. But almost anyone has a large screen mobile device. And contemplating on such interesting differences, I got lost. Completely, absolutely lost 4 times. It’s a strange feeling. Like a sugar-rush of excitement as you take in the place around you, and then creeps in a bit of confusion which dissipates to let the thrill of discovering something new take hold of you. It’s also quite tiring here. People walk around so much. It’s quite a task when you’re here trying to get used to all the walking. And the roads/paths are not really on a flat terrain which does nothing to help you already tired legs.

Amidst all this, there’s also the adventurous palate gravitating toward the food stalls. Being a vegetarian is tough, I found it tough to locate interesting dishes that revolve around the local cuisine which have no meat, because, let’s face it. Meat is a big deal here. But I did manage to find some interesting delectable goodies like a chocolate rice-flour dumpling, a chinese veggie-version dumpling and interesting Japanese Jelly and Sushi. Buying these Japanese goods was interesting because I got to flaunt my (extremely limited) Japanese knowledge! And in return they were quite happy to hear me speak broken Japanese.

And all this touring and experimentation is in the sidelines of actual lab work here. The labs are just gorgeous. The kind that are huge, where things work and where you feel nice doing whatever lab work is required.

And, here’s to more experimentation.

As for pictures, I’ll show you the sights of Singapore some other time.

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