Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Not That Kind of Horror Movie

Nothing resurrects lost blogging mojo like the need to rant about something. And I have had this rant building up since Sunday when I went to see a night show of Queen with a friend.

Digression: I absolutely loved the movie. Kangana Ranaut totally rocked the role and pretty much carried the movie on her shoulders. Having also caught Hasee Toh Phasee a couple of weeks ago, I am delighted that Bollywood is finally turning out some films that break the stereotypical mould of a conventional Bollywood heroine and I hope that this is a trend that is here to say. Go see both movies!

Now, back to aforementioned rant. Clearly, the movie seat gods are not in favour of yours truly because we found ourselves sitting right next to a couple with a toddler and right in front of another couple with an infant-going-on-toddler.

And these were by no means the only kids in the cinema hall. The place was teeming with little ones of every conceivable age. I am surprised none of the advertisements were targeted to kids – there were enough of them around to make it a viable proposition for an interested marketer. Also, did I mention that this was a night show? It started around the time my kids are usually tucked into bed for the night and extended to a time that was past even my usual bedtime. Yet here were ALL these kids, when they should have been in bed instead.

Sure, I get that not everyone has a meltdown (and I mean me, not my kids) if bedtime routines are meddled with. But what about the age appropriateness of the content? This movie was definitely not a kids movie – there was drunken behaviour, a visit to the famous red light district in Amsterdam and some talk about condoms amongst other things. How is it okay for young, impressionable minds to be watching this?

I remember my mother covering my eyes when anything even remotely steamy came on the screen and this was when I was in my early teens! The mother of the little girl next to us had no such qualms. During a song that revolved around pole dancing, this lady actually had her daughter’s hands up in the air while she made her jiggle and sway in time to the music. It was just so wrong on so many levels.

I have been pretty clear on this from the start. In the last 9 odd years of being a parent, there has not been a single movie that I was desperate to enough see in a cinema hall that I would consider taking the kid/s along. Even for the kiddie movies that we go to, I usually vet online reviews to ensure that there is nothing that I deem objectionable in them. (FYI: For Hollywood cinematic fare, Common Sense Media is a great source of age ratings and reviews for children’s movies).

But while I don’t get why anyone would want to bring their kids to a late night show of a movie with inappropriate content, that is me and my personal parenting philosophy. To each their own, I guess. But I do have a problem when their decision to do so gets in the way of my enjoyment of a film that I paid good money to see. Like they say, your freedom ends where my nose begins. And my nose, to put it quite mildly, was put out of joint last weekend.

First, there was the pole-dance enthusiast next to me who, in all her wisdom, decided to let her toddler have solo control of her sippy cup. And while mom was absorbed in the movie, the resourceful little girl managed to get the lid off and empty the contents of the bottle onto the floor. It was just water thankfully but my idea of an ideal movie-going experience does not include a soggy carpet beneath my feet. Two years old at the most, the little girl was also understandably unfamiliar with movie-watching etiquette and kept trying to engage her mother in conversation, quite loudly might I add.

The parents at the back let their kid stand in front of them for the first half of the movie. This was all very fine for them but the kid was holding on to the back of my seat for support and more than once, managed to grab and yank a fistful of my hair. Ouch! But that was nothing compared to what happened after the interval. The poor kid totally lost it and started shrieking at the top of his voice. At this point, common courtesy would have dictated that at least one of the parents step out and calm him down. But, no. They just sat on their butts while their kid brought the house down. This was despite many pointed glares from me (Note to self: my glare clearly needs some work; must practice it on the kids some more). They also added to the fun by occasionally berating the little fellow with useless remarks like ‘Ab bas bhi kar’ and ‘Chup ho ja’. Real effective, as you can probably imagine. Anyway, the kid finally gave up on his parents and self-soothed himself into a semi-sleepy state.

So, yeah. If you think it is ok to bring your kid with you, that is really your choice. But please at least make some attempt to ensure that this doesn’t ruin the movie for all of us. I left my kids at home with their dad and came to watch this movie. I didn’t do this to have my evening ruined by YOUR kids and YOUR inability to keep them quiet and comfortable. Wait for the DVD!

Phew! That felt good. Better out than in, as the saying goes. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Book Review: Tuki's Grand Salon Chase


As an inveterate people watcher, beauty salons have always held a special fascination for me. All my good intentions to get a big chunk of reading done while in the hair stylist’s chair usually go right out of the window. It is so much more fun to watch the patrons and stylists out of the corner of my mind and make up interesting back-stories for them. It doesn’t help that in the last decade or so, the stylists themselves have gotten so much more interesting.

Parul Sharma’s third book Tuki’s Grand Salon Chase was therefore right up my alley. The book starts off in a bustling hair salon in tony Bandra and we get a peek into the workings of the place with a cast of characters (both the staffers and the clients) that keep things interesting and offer loads of fun insights into what makes them tick.

The book follows the adventures of Tuki, a young girl with big dreams of opening her own salon. Her dreams run into many a speed bump along the way and her adventures take her to Goa and London before she finds love and success back in Mumbai.

I have to say that this is my favorite of Parul’s books yet and I really enjoyed it. All the characters are written really well – they are quirky enough to be fun and interesting but stop short of becoming caricatures or stereotypes, which keeps them real and believable. The story itself is written in a witty, fast-paced and engaging style that kept me turning pages well past my bedtime.

It is peppered with witticisms and insights about beauty, love, people and behaviour that make you go ‘Word!’ or ‘Amen!’ My favourite: ‘A girl with a new haircut. Nothing could touch her.’ Word!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tarana Says So


Tarana is getting quite a reputation in the family for her retorts and comebacks. It is not unusual for a phone conversation with my mom to begin with her enquiring about the latest mad things Tarana has said. Here are some of the ones that I can still remember from this year:

We have returned from a round grocery shopping and my arms are laden with bags.

MeTarana, can you please call the lift?
TaranaLift! Come!

*****

MeYour eyes are for seeing, your ears are for listening and your nose is for smelling.
TaranaNo, Mama. My nose is for digging.

*****

Tarana has abhorred head baths since she was born and has bawled through almost each one of them since then. At 4, she is still exercising her lungs when it comes to getting her hair washed.

MeTarana, it is time to have a head bath.
TaranaI am going to go and live at Arvind's (school buddy) house and never have a head bath ever again.
MeBut Arvind's Mama washes his hair every day.
Tarana: *is rendered uncharacteristically speechless*

Two days later, her dad is dropping her to school and has managed to get on her wrong side.

TaranaDadda, you are very naughty! I will send you to live in Arvind's house and you will have to have a head bath everyday.

*****

MeI am going to call you Whiny because you are always whining.
TaranaThen I will call you Shouty because you always shout at everyone.

*****

She is conversation with her dad, over the phone.

JaiTarana, what are you doing?
TaranaI am talking to you.

*****

MeTarana, have you washed your hands?
TaranaYes.
MeCan I smell them?
TaranaI think I will go and wash them again.

*****

TaranaWhere was I before I was born?
MeYou lived in Mama's stomach.
TaranaWhere were you before you were born?
MeI was in Patti's stomach.
TaranaBut you're so big. How did you fit in Patti's stomach?

*****

Jai: Tarana, can you get that book and give it to me?
Tarana: *in a strident tone* You have hands! You have legs!

*****