Monday, December 19, 2005

Craving Perfection - In an Imperfect World

Time and again I have heard people complain about how imperfect the world is. And, how nice it would be to get rid of all the imperfection, yada, yada. Here is one for you. The Fourth Estate, seems to take you guys seriously.

Here is an interesting link (yes, it is work safe). Of Illusions and how they are created in the mass media.
This was pretty enlightening - atleast to me. I always thought airbrushing and retouching was for over-the-hill actresses and other celebrities who are more than slightly challenged in the looks department. This model looks fine to me even without any of the "additions and subtractions".

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The (Ice Cream) Shop Around The Corner

"But where do you want to go? "

"Corner House"

" Which one?"

"On Residency road, right next to Galaxy Theatre "

"Wait, that is under demolition..."

"Ok, go to Victoria Hotel and drive towards Brigade road..."

"Ahem, you mean Bangalore Central Mall, no may-dum?"

Being away from a city for ages, can make you embarrassingly incompetent at giving directions and completely incapable of getting to a place, you thought, you knew damn well. The saving grace is that once you get there, the ice cream is still the same. You can walk up to the counter and get Death by Chocolate. You still have to wait around for all those young couples to get done with their sweet nothings, before you can get a table, to sit down and enjoy, the cold ice cream on the hot chocolate cake ... [This is(was?) one of the cool places where high school couples hang out. Atleast, they used to when I was young(er?). ]

My first day in Bangalore. Mom and I were running around the town trying to find clothes and jewellery I can take to Kolkata for the bride's wedding. Also some essentials like - a cell phone (a long embarrassing story - why are all embarrassing stories long?!). And in the midst of all that, we decide we need a break.

Enter Corner House. We get in hoping to get a quick Ice Cream snack and move on. But once we enter, we sit there and talk about old times. Laugh and talk and relax. Before we know it we have spent 2 hours chilling there. Not bothered by the fact that we are surrounded by atleast 10 teen couples, flirting and sharing their cup of ... ice cream.

Good times. How long has it been since you got the chance to sit down and chill with your mom, at an ice cream joint or a coffee shop (or a cafe, or a barista as they call it these days)? Loving it!

Monday, December 12, 2005

W(B)edding in 'The City of Joy'

Celebrations continued in Kolkata. Managed to sneak in at the right time. Just before the Bride and Bill entered their home - as Man and Wife.

The celebrations mostly involved Bill's family handling all the appropriate bong looking rituals perfectly. A ton of very energetic relatives who managed to run the show just so. :) The bride, was not herself at all. She was busy being the epitome of virtue and patience (ok, that I am making up... alright, that was true, atleast with the makeup bit ;)). Estimated time for the face painting varied from 2 to 4 hours. End result - priceless. Some distant relatives were actually convinced that the bride was bong ;)

The groom was trying his best to keep up, with an interesting silk kurta, dhothi and topor.

For all the non-bongs (aka the bride's family), it involved hogging (awesome food) - most excellent fish and mithai, and lets not forget, gaping when any bangla was spoken - hoping we would understand some bit of what was going on.

Also had some other fun gastronomical adventures there, including K.C. Das, Flury's, roadside Chaat etc.

Did some mandatory sightseeing. Only could not make it to the Belur Math and Kali Mandir... Well, we need to save some for the next time, don't we. :)

If anyone is still interested in what I wore - here is what ;)

Now for the 'inside story'

The ceremonies themselves were filled with the hustle-bustle that makes a good wedding. There were people showing up from all over the world - well, some even hopped 4 countries to get there. :) There was a sweet cousin of the bride, who everyone is convinced, was there only because she has a bong boyfriend. (Well, time will tell. I am thankful she was around.) I was the offical photographer for the bride's family, and was promptly adopted by the rest of the real cameramen.

Given the amount of makeup and photo/video-graphy the bride and bill have been through in the past couple of days, I do expect them to have severe withdrawal symptoms. Friends, please don't be shocked if you knock on their doors sometime next month and see them dressed in heavy makeup, jewellery and rich silk, with bright lights, clicking pictures of themselves.

Bill's family was warm and very friendly. They did a great job of entertaining and feeding us. They are also a fun bunch to hang out with - in any city :)

This was my first trip to Kolkata - the city is very interesting. Not all I had heard about the city was true. It was much cleaner and organized than I had expected it to be. The weather was perfect - sunny, cool, not sultry - as it was december. I was not smitten by Flury's. On the other hand, all the other meals I had there were among the best. Most people I interacted with spoke and understood hindi, so transportation, food, bargaining etc was easy.

Victoria Memorial was very impressive. Got to see some interesting paintings of temples and nature from south india too - like the picture of the Meenakshi temple in Madurai etc. The park surrounding the building was very well maintained and being put to good use by the people. Though it does hurt to think all the money that went into building it, while majority of the people in the state were buried in poverty. Somethings don't seem to change.

The Indian Museum was huge. Totally beat my expectations. The sculptures from various regions and eras were excellent. Many were in very good condition too. Don't miss the ones from Java and Bodhgaya, the replica of the National emblem etc. The botanical and zoological collections were impressive in both size and variety. But I did not get to spend much time there.

The Rabindra Sethu and Vidyasagar Sethu were fun to drive by and on. The new bridge is definitely what any tween would call - neat.

Kalighat was an experience. Big crowd, people waiting outside and inside the temple ready to harrass you with all kinds of 'special' treatment you can get for the right amount. Beggars, handpulled rickshaws. A goat being sacrificed, right next to the queue for darshan. But also saw the faces of believers, who hoped this would get them a better life (in this world and the next).

More later!