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Friday, September 16, 2016

Bridget Jone's Baby

Finally! A wonderful, funny, thought provoking beautifully made movie. Well.. why underplay it? A phenomenal, hilarious, poignant smashing hit it is!!

As far as sequels go, one of the best!! I cannot believe they could come up with something better the second time round, that too so many years later. Recently saw 2 mediocre sequels after really enjoying the first parts. Dumb and dumber 2 and my big fat greek wedding 2. Both seemed to have tried really hard to be as gripping and funny as their prequels. But Bridget Jone's Baby really got it right.  The characters have somehow become more endearing.  And oh Darcy! What a brilliant brilliant way to keep this character alive. I got it, the way the character stays true not just to the erudite Mark Darcy in Bridget Jone's Dairy, but to the elegant proud Mr Darcy who Colin Firth first played in Pride and Prejudice. 

Each and every character in this movie is endearingly funny without being over the top. Just the right pinch of British humour, without making it a Jerry Springer-ish horror. Everyone is entitled to their emotions and turmoils beacuse of the borderline slapstick situation they find themselves in, but they come out of it with grace and elegance. I especially enjoyed how Bridget's mom gracefully accepts her daughter's blunder and turns her political campaign around to accommodate her daughter's situation.  Really well written and well directed.

Oh and the new cutipie in Bridget's life... well done, Bridget.  Wonderful character once again and what a dish that actor is!

The movie was an evening well spent. Makes me want to get my hands on the books. Something tells me I won't be disappointed.  What are you waiting for? Go see the movie! Its ideal for a ladies nite out, as well as a laugh riot with the man.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Liane Moriarty

I  like to read relevant, contextual books. So when I'm in Paris, a romantic novel about Paris, when I'm on a trekking trip, something like Jeffery Archer's 'Paths of Glory'.

And so, in Australia, living the Aussie life,  I am really enjoying some Aussie authors with their incredibly Aussie references. I loved 'The Rosie Project' by Graeme Simsion. Its based in Melbourne,  so can't get any closer to home than that. I also liked short stories by Monica McInerney, and a random book I picked up called best Aussie short stories 2014.

But the author I'm really starting to respect is Liane Moriarty. 

Her stories are brilliant,  entertaining and always end up teaching me something.  The references to Melbourne are not as precise as Sydney.. her characters always go on a work trip to Melbourne but live in Sydney. I can tell that Liane must have lived in Sydney herself.... Melbourne references are vague enough to confirm that.  But her characters are delightful,  you can't help loving them. I often decide to write about her books after I've finished them, but this time I finally got to it while in the middle of one.

So far, I have read The husband's secret, Big little lies and 'What Alice Forgot'. All very well written... ah I'm smitten. Just started 'The hypnotist's love story' ... and what can I say...  its a hypnotic love story for sure. With a combination of romance, real life drama and an element of suspense too.

Ellen, the hypnotist herself, has a vivid imagination,  which reminds me of Nina from the TV show Offspring (also based in Melbourne), which in turn reminds me of Ally McBeal.

Happy happy...will write more once I finish, I'm sure I won't be disappointed by the ending. All her books have that in common.  All stories brilliantly tie up in the end... making you go. ... Yes! More pease, Moriarty. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Yoga and SAP

Yoga and SAP? Apples and Oranges? Maybe. But let's look closer. Maybe, there's more parallels than what first meets the eye....

So why examine Yoga and SAP together? It's never been done before, that's for sure (trust me, I've looked :)) Well, mainly because, tomorrow, I have been asked to explain Yoga to a group of SAP Consultants. And Yoga and SAP are, after all, both integral parts of my life. I am a Yoga teacher and an SAP consultant. So, here is my attempt at using SAP analogies to explain Yoga.

"SAP is an ocean", Ram Sir (from Wockhardt IT) used to say. Well, so is Yoga. It is vast, all-encompassing and easy to get lost in without a proper guide. SAP has several modules, and it depends on each client how many of the available choices they decide to implement. It also depends on the client which project team they choose for implementing SAP. A poor implementation results in blaming SAP as a product. Yoga is similar in that has multiple limbs too. The ultimate goal of Yoga is Kaivalya - we can call it enlightenment for simplicity, but each limb serves its own purpose too. An organization may decide to do without certain modules of SAP like SAP QM - Quality Management, for example, and can still have a full functional solution that helps it achieve its goals. Likewise, a practitioner of Yoga can decide to do without a tough part of Yoga like Yama-Niyamas - the rules of personal and social conduct which include moral guidelines, and can still get a lot out of Yoga to enrich their lives. Ultimately it depends on what you want. Aside from the limbs of Yoga, there are several specialized, customized modifications of Yoga, like Yoga for Pregnant women and Yoga Therapy. SAP -- IS-U, need I say more?

And to explain how some Yogis can still have sugar-cravings, how about an IT contradiction to match that? People with a six sigma black belt and and ITIL Certificate can still have a sloppy desk, can't they?

Well well, more than a page full of analogies! Not bad! Maybe I should try explaining SAP to my Yoga group next :) 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Birthday wish for my friend Seema

There are many kinds of people we meet
Some we remember and some we delete

And then there are some that just make that impact
We both met just briefly and hit it off just like that

You became my friend and so far away from home
You made me feel just at home

I felt that you really would care
Whenever I had something to share

You leant an ear when I wanted to pour my heart out
And gave me a  new perspective to think about

Sweet Seema wish you a very Happy Birthday
May all your dreams come true today

Sunday, February 21, 2016

High up high

At the park near Cheenu dada's place
Ishan, Mumma, Sulu mavshi and Cheenu dada went
Each and every corner Cheenu dada would climb
And Ishan would follow not far behind

Finally Cheenu dada picked one high spot
And off he went - soon he was atop
Ishan at the bottom gazed up high
And decided he too would give it a try

Two year olds shouldn't set their goals so high
Trying things 4 year olds are better suited to try
Mumma wisely tried to explain
But soon realized her efforts were in vain

There was her little prince now perched up high
'How will you come down now? ' She said with a sigh
Panic and drama seized her now
Proud calm parenting exited with a bow

Up she went to rescue her baby
A fine sight for passers-by surely!
High above now Mumma sat with Ishan
Still unsure of how to get him down

Finally Sulu mavshi gave a hand
And Ishan was able to safely land
Fine adventure it was for everyone
A day at the park and so much fun

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A tribute to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam - Written by Dr Sujata Joshi Patodekar, Nanded

एक उत्स्फूर्त आणि मनोज्ञ श्रध्दांजली ....
समर्पण
नावाड्याच्या पोराचे
खडतर बालपण,
स्वप्न ध्यानीमनी
संशोधन,उच्च शिक्षण।
स्वदेशी अग्निबाण
अंतराळी उड्डाण,
यश संपदेला
विज्ञानाचे अधिष्ठान ।
कुराण आणि गीता
अभ्यास समसमान,
नाही कदापि वृथा
धर्माचा अभिमान ।
बालगोपाल मेळ्यात
विरघळले मोठेपण,
राष्ट्रपती भवनी
उजळले साधेपण ।
अध्यात्मिक आचरण
जपले शुद्ध माणूसपण
"स्वप्ने बघा मोठी"-सांगत
देह झाला समर्पण ।
-डाॅ सुजाता जोशी पाटोदेकर.नांदेड.
9421987915.

Monday, April 27, 2015

New Zealand!

Every Aussie family has at least once done a trip to New Zealand. There are 2 broad categories of trip-planners - the easy going relaxed site seeing variety and the adventure seeking kind. Our group, however, fell into a mixed blend of the two categories - the easy going type out on the unique adventure of travelling with 3 infants. It was an adventure of its own kind, that started right from the phase of packing - a mom who has already traveled with her child once can keep adding stuff to her travel list even after the trip ends!!!!

There were 9 of us on this adventure. The Jetstar flight was eventful to say the least. Aussie PR holders don't need a visa to NZ, but one couple in our group somehow didn't show up on NZ's database.  An hour and half land a call to the NZ embassy later, we were on board!! Three babies on a night flight - between us we kept pretty much every person on the flight awake. On arrival, it was early morning in Auckland. The sun was just rising when we boarded our mode of transport for the next 4 days - a huge Thrify vehicle with 3 baby seats.

Day 1- Auckland- Hamilton Gardens- Lake Taupoe- Rotorua - Tuck Inn
At first glimpse, Auckland was spectacular...starting with the beautiful pine trees near the airport. We had breakfast at a burger place where the lady was kind enough to tweak the menu for 7 vegetarians in the group, Our friend from Auckland Dr Pravin came to meet us. We managed to get his help and buy one important item we had forgotten to pack - sunshades for the car. And then, we were off! The rhythmic movement of the car soon lulled the babies to sleep, and us ladies soon followed suit. The drive is picturesque - here are a few captures by the guys.



A road-sign that's unique to NZ

We reached Hamilton Gardens at around lunchtime. Had a walk around the lake, and a delicious lunch at the bistro overlooking the lake. Blissful! There are various themed gardens there, but kids were getting a little restless, so we took off soon after lunch. Lunch was idyllic in a cafe overlooking the lake.


Next stop was Taupo lake - the huge lake whose other end you cannot see. On the way we saw a smoky exhaust emitting from a pipe and were surprised that there could be any kind of pollution in this pristine landscape. We presently found out that they were in fact hot springs - all natural!!





Taupo Lake




Finally we reached Tuck Inn- The picture-perfect farmhouse that was to be our home for the next two days. Owners Kathryn and Marcus made us feel welcome with a sweet message on the board, and fresh warm bread on the kitchen counter.



Tuck Inn

There were a lot of fascinating fixtures in the house- They add to the charm of this place. There are so many cute things with messages on them - I couldn't resist clicking away!

The unique weather forecaster hanging in the kitchen of Tuck-Inn

And it was so happy to be turned over :)




A rock that met us at the door of Tuck-Inn





                                                                                
Milk bottle - The message inside says they will fill it up with fresh milk from the cows at the farm if we leave it outside in the morning!



We had a restful sleep at night. There were plenty of toys for the kids, they had a nice play before they retired for the day.


Day 2- Waitaki hot springs and Waiotapo Mud Pools 

We had an early morning visit from Kathryn - she told us about the things we could do around the area, She has beautiful informative brochures in the kitchen too, and we all unanimously agreed on the Waikite valley thermal pools and the Waiotapo volcano. They were quite close to Tuck Inn- just a 30 minute drive. 


Waitaki Hot Springs



The place is beautiful! For the minimal entry fee of 12$ a head, you get access to 6 all-natural hot pools at a delightfully maintained temperature. Idyllic and peaceful. The visitors were sparse and non-intrusive. Our group spent most of the time in one particular pool with the mountains in the background. The kids had a great time too - they were allowed more time in since the weather was so perfect. 
We ate at the cafe - vegetarians had Tomato Soup and potato wedges. We were famished by the time we had our lunch, so everything tasted just divine!
A cute sign at the cafe
After the late afternoon lunch, we were to head to the volcano, it had looked quite attractive in the pictures, But just on the way back to our cars, we saw a sign that said scenic walk, and everyone spontaneously decided to go for it. It was gorgeous - walking along the boiling river.  

The Boiling River - Waitaki
The colourful volcanic site of Waiotapo was our next destination. But we found upon reaching there that the site was to close at 5 in the evening, and even the shortest walk was more than an hour long, and probably not something fun with 3 prams and tired infants in tow. We had to reluctantly drop the volcanic area from our plan- and this after a tourist told us that she had seen many volcanoes in the world and this had been the most beautiful one ever. Here's a reason to come back! We definitely want to do this the next time. She told us that we could, however drive further down and look at the mud pools - they don't close. So, that's what we did, and what a sight! I had never seen something like this before. Bubble bubble toil and trouble!! It was meditative and serene and just amazing. The word mud pool definitely does no justice to this volcanic natural phenomenon before us. Good thing Abhishek decided to chat with this tourist lady! 


Volcanic Mud Pools- Waiotapo

 We missed our friend Rashmi who always has great photo-pose ideas while clicking away later at the mud pools. 








Upon reaching home, we had a cheese making workshop with Kathryn. She had had a busy day, but was kind enough to make time to teach us how to make the best Mozzarella I've ever tasted. 






















What a luxurious breakfast we had the next morning! 
 Home-made bread, farm-fresh milk, and  cheese on the side made by us!!


Day 3 - Good-bye Tuck Inn - Mata-mata- The Shire (Hobbiton)- Auckland


Good-Bye Tuck Inn! These are a few things we will always remember.....
The 'Who Cares' Clock

The breath-taking view from our bedroom and living room


The visitor book at Tuck Inn

My entry in the visitor book- Thank you Kathryn & Marcus!
 Here's a fun fact.. Woolworths is called 'Countdown' in NZ. And we get some unique home-brand products in NZ, which I am yet to see in Australia. Like these rice crisps.....Perfect kiwi snacks for the car!

Yum!


Mata-Mata

We soon reached Mata-Mata - from where we boarded a bus for the tour to Hobbiton. That's Anderson Farms, converted into a movie set for all parts of The Lord of the Rings. Its a costly tour, but definitely worth it, especially if you are LOTR fans. 
The Visitor center at Mata Mata- styled to look like a hobbit hole. Don't miss this atleast, if you can't make it to Hobbiton

Near the visitor center at Mata Mata






Anderson Farms or Hobbiton on The Shire

Hobbit Holes in Hobbiton

Samwell Gamjee's Home in the Shire

The Party Tree

Party Tent - Near the party tree


The Hobbit Family- You can dress up in hobbit clothes at the Tavern

After a lovely time at the Hobbiton, we made for Auckland, which was to be our destination for the next two days. We were to stay with Pravin and Smriti, who were kind enough to let 3 couples and 3 kids invade their home. We reached at dinner time and had a delicious fusion dinner of Tandoor Paneer Pizzas from Pakurango's. Oh why don't we have such delights at Melbourne?!! A perfect end to a perfect day.


Day 4 - Omaha Beach, night playing Mafia

Pravin suggested we go to a beach they like, and that's what we did. We stopped in the city for an Indian brunch. Another great find.. I tell you, NZ is the place for vegetarian Indian food.

All natural strawberry ice cream at a place called..well... Ice Cream :D
Fun With Photography at the beach















The beach was fun, with more nutty poses and pictures - good company, good times - Great memories. At night, with all the kids tucked in, Prashant hosted and taught the newbies the mind-game of Mafia. Its so addictive that we were at it until 3 am. 

Day 5 - The Sky Tower, Auckland, Evening flight back home

On day 5, we shopped for some souvenirs, paid a visit to the sky tower, and had another dinner from Pakurango's before heading back home.

The Sky Tower - Auckland


Another memorable trip with a great group of friends. We are waiting for your visit to Melboure now, Pravin & Smriti.