Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"The Croods" Premiere experience and review

It was not just the free pop corn , coke or the mouth watering chocolates distributed just before the show started or the red carpet adorned by many bubbling enthusiasts, pretty damsels that made the day special. "The croods" premiere show was special as the experience of watching the movie along with those who actually were a part of the team responsible for the excellent output was new and pretty exciting. My husband works with "Dreamworks" and among the benefits of working at a creative place with creative folks one is getting free passes for the premiere show of "The Croods" in India.

I was more excited as my mom ,dad and bro visited us at the right time and were able to make it to the show! We all geared up to reach  the "Urvashi" theater at Lal Bagh on time. We were invited with many warm smiles , a bunch of chocolates , hot pop corn and coke! The theater was jam packed with all the employees , their kids , friends, relatives and many creative people . We munched buckets of pop corn and discussed the movie's who's who. I was excited when I knew that Nicolas Cage voiced for Grug. For those who don't know ,The Croods is a 2013 American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It features the voices of  Nicolas CageRyan ReynoldsEmma StoneCatherine KeenerClark Duke, and Cloris Leachman ! 

Story line and Review 

As I don't know much about the movie I was hoping it to not be a bore but expect the unexpected I enjoyed it so much that I clapped unintentionally at certain point in the movie. The opening scene itself will captivate you when the survival of the fittest is shown in a simple yet meaningful style and  
the  "end of the world " is mentioned little later by "the Guy"! The croods are always the proud survivors who are cavemen who practically live in forest among other animals and behave more like them and less like humans ! The father Grug (Nicolas Cage) thinks that it is his strength and over protective nature that helped his family to live a normal life every day much to the depression of Eep (Emma Stone his elder daughter . The father daily narrates bed time stories which end in death and despair if guidelines and the parents' foot steps are ignored. The family includes Grug's wife Ugga (Catherine Keener), his daughter Sandy (Randy Thom), son Thunk (Clark Duke) and his mother-in-law (Cloris Leachman) . They are tuned to the robotic mode of life and behave like machines which are given commands. When others monotonously obey Grug's rules Eep the most adventurous and curious of all pays deaf ear to her dad's continuous warnings that curiosity kills the cat and escapes from the cave exploring the direction lit by a flame torch . She meets the Guy (Ryan Reynolds) and his 'pet' sloth, Belt (Chris Sanders), She falls for his intelligence almost instantly.

The rest of the story is about how Guy guides them to a safe zone and how well he explains to the Croods family that safety doesn't mean to sit in a dark cave . It means to explore the world and see a "tomorrow'. Grug remains rigid and continues his stories with sad-end. In the end when every one is impressed by the guy , his positivity and the hope to live a better life Grug gets extremely jealous and tries hard to imitate the guy but fails big time! Slowly they bond and together they all venture out to a new tomorrow! Grug saves every one using his brilliant ideas and saves him self just in time which leads to a happy ending unlike his stories !

I have always been a fan of animation movies made by dream works be it Kungfu Panda , Shrek, Puss in boots or Madagascar . Any animated movie is not just for kids. They have a subtle moral which is unfolded in such a simple and sweet manner that you cant help but love the movie. My mom dad who never actually enjoy the animations enjoyed "The croods" experience due to many human emotions embedded in it , the sensitivities , the father-daughter bonding which actually is touchy when Eep blows horn so that her father will hear and come back to them! 

The hope which never dies is shown very beautifully in the movie. My mom is all set to watch "The Shrek" series now :)
From left - Thunk , Gran , Sandy , Ugga, Eep, Grug . Ain't they a lovely family ?!

Some memorable scenes:

  • The Gran/ Mother in law was adorable in her own unique way. It was hilarious when she says "STILL ALIVE!" which saddens Grug :)
  • When Grug tries imitating "The Guy" he wears a wig so as to resemble him. When Ugga asks what is he wearing on his head, Gran replies "Desperation!" I clapped at this scene. Its outright hilarious and the expressions are so damn natural.
  • The scene where the guy draws on the stone with a chalk to represent "The brain" from where ideas come much to bemusement of Thunk who is shocked as he feels he has no brain is funny.

The cutest character "belt" , The guy and Eep !! This is such an "Aww" capture to me!

Yep !! I am a proud owner of the adorable pet "belt" now and also the book which describes THE ART of The CROODS in detail. You actually understand how much effort is spent on each and every aspect for the brilliant out come by reading this . I am enjoying it! This pic is clicked by me

Quotes from the book and the movie: 
  • It's the belief that something great is out there just beyond your reach and the willingness to make the extra effort in getting there.If it were already a known entity, we wouldn't be doing it. It wouldn't be interesting.
  •  Gran: Where do you get these ideas from. Guy: Ha, I am calling it – A BRAIN. I am pretty sure its where ideas come from
  • Your whole world can evolve to an unrecognizable point, but the thing that is constant is the bond between family. That will never change.
There are many more quotes worth mentioning but it would be great if you watch the movie and enjoy the adventurous roller coaster ride and revive your faith in happy endings! I have no knowledge of technical skills or glitches but all I want to say is the 3d effects are stupendous and the expressions flawless and every scene captured in the forest and all the animals are lively. All beautiful landscapes at which Eep gapes and exclaims "You really need to see this" are absolutely gorgeous ! If you are a positive person you will love the movie in and out and if you are a negative person I prescribe this movie to you this instant.

Go live with the croods family for some 98 min and get rejuvenated. The belt and Sandy say "Ta Ta Taaaa" in the end which will make you all giggle !! 

My rating - 4/5

Good luck to Dreamworks folks for their next movie Turbo and  I wish all the success to "The croods" team. The below news actually is the happy beginning-
 "Croods at box office"

 Croods truly is like an animated "Avatar" . Do check this site. Its fun -

Some thing which I felt like an icing on the cake is "The croods" association with "The makers of Angry birds" (Rovio). The below special click by me is dedicated to this association as I immensely love AngryBirds too.  The Croods game is available on App store "here"!
The happy belt trying to make "Angry" birds smile ;) A hug can change the world !! Clicked by me.
A glimpse of "Croods"

PS: I have copied the movie images from google and few links from Wikipedia and IMDB

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The "royal" Hyderabadi Haleem recipe

This is my signature dish as it is majorly made during the festival month of Ramadan at home and I love it and learnt  how to make it for the first time from my husband and the below is a detailed procedure of how he makes it. Hyderabadi Haleem is a world famous delicacy which is mostly made in the Ramzan month when Muslims observe fasting. The taste is heavenly and this is the best food to break the fast. After the nawaabi Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani, this is the delicacy which is craved by all. One can see the haleem out lets like Pista House or Sarvi in Hyderabad crowded during Ramzan month. Lot of hard work goes in its making . The below is a recipe of haleem where you can try it at home and the effort will not go waste  as the outcome would be brilliant if cooked precisely. The below Haleem recipe is by my husband who is a great cook  . We used Fortune Rice bran oil to make this !
Please read on.

Ingredients :

·        1 kg boneless mutton / with bones

·        200 gms  broken wheat/ wheat porridge

·        4 teaspoons of Ginger-Garlic paste

·        1 cup urad daal

·        1 cup chana daal

·        1 teaspoon Red Chilli powder

·        1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder

·        1 to1 ½ cup curd

·        2 cups of onions which would be fried till they turn crisp and golden yellow in color. As many sliced onions as possible if you want to garnish a lot.

·        2-3  cardamom pieces

·        2 small cinnamon sticks

·        4 cloves

·        1 teaspoon dhaniya / coriander powder

·        1/4th  teaspoon Garam Masala powder

·        1/4th teaspoon jeera powder (cumin seeds powder)

·        1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper corns

·        1 table spoon Ghee

·        1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves

·        1/2 cup fresh mint  or 5-6 mint leaves

·        4 green chillies

·        1 finely chopped tomato

·        1/2 cup Cashew nuts

·        Salt to taste

·      Oil as per the quantity

The procedure to make Hyderabadi Haleem

Step 1: Mix broken wheat, urad and chana daal and soak in water for 4 hrs. Water should be  double the quantity of dal and wheat mixture.

Step 2: Add one cup of chopped and thin sliced onions and put in cooker and fry it in 4 tea spoons of fortune rice bran oil . It should turn golden brown. Put cardamom cinnamon and clove pieces along with onions and fry them for two minutes.

Step 3: After thoroughly washing put mutton pieces in to the cooker.  Add 1/4th tea spoon turmeric powder, 1 tea spoon red chilli powder and add one cup of water and stir till all ingredients mix well and close the lid of the cooker. Put the whistle atop and leave it on a full flame for 15min or 5 whistles!

Step 4: Once the pressure goes off open the lid and neatly separate the meat from bones using a table knife and fork.  Put the separated meat pieces in cooker and add one tea spoon salt  and one tea spoon coriander powder , 1/4th tea spoon Garam masala and jeera powder . Add four green chillies and half cup coriander  leaves and 5-6 mint leaves and the fine chopped tomato pieces. Add curd and a cup of water and mix the contents well. Close the lid of the cooker and pressure-cook for 20 minutes on high flame.

Step 5: Meanwhile when the meat is being cooked take another aluminum container and put the well soaked broken wheat,  urad and chana dal mixture in it. Add 2 glasses of water or water which sums up to double the quantity of the contents!

Step 6: Add the separated bones in the container  with dal and wheat mixture along with 1/4th tea spoon haldi (turmeric powder). Add ½ tea spoon salt and cook for 20 min and keep stirring every minute. The contents should not get stuck to the bottom of the container. If you want a good texture of haleem you must and should stir all the ingredients in the container thoroughly every minute! Remember the cooker which has meat should be turned off in twenty minutes and kept aside.

Step 7: Once the dal and bone mixture is cooked for 20min mash the mixture with the wooden churner normally used to churn dal which is called as dal ghotni in hindi . Mash the  mixture for five minutes.

Step 8: Add the cooked meat contents to the dal mixture container. Turn on the stove and cook the mixture in the container on low flame for one hour. You should keep stirring for every 3min.  The stirring should be precisely done for 2min with the time interval of 3min in between the stirs for the whole one hour.

Step 9: After one hour you should check if the mixture became a thick paste and is turned to a golden color. Make sure that you do not overcook. If overcooked the look and feel will be spoiled and the color becomes brown. Hence you should turn off the stove at the threshold point where the haleem turns golden yellow color!

Step 10: Add a table spoon of ghee in a small container and fry the black pepper corns and mix it with the haleem which turned to golden color.

Step 11: Fry the thinly sliced onions and cashew nuts in a separate pan. Use the fried onions and cashew nuts as topping and also garnish the haleem with coriander leaves and ta-da, your haleem is ready and has that irresistible look which makes you forget calories and go for third and fourth servings. You can serve along with sliced lemon to sprinkle on haleem. Some people use shorba which is a mughlai soup with bones as a topping too while serving haleem.

Yummylicious Haleem is ready:)

Serve with Nimbu to sprinkle

Trust me you will not regret the hard work and there are various methods to make haleem. Some people use blenders to mix wheat but this method is traditional and tough but the outcome will wash away the hard work. Enjoy the hot haleem and vegetarians can make it using veg salad, corn and apply the same method to cook. Diet conscious folks can make oats haleem too. In this recipe we haven't used huge quantity of spices or oil . Hence it is tasty, healthy and delicious!

Thanks for reading  . Do acknowledge if you like the post!

This post is a part of Healthy & Tasty Recipe Contest with Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil &

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

F?@K KNOWS - Review

Title: F?@K Knows.
Author: Shailendra Singh.
Publisher: Rupa Publication India.
Price: Rs 195/-

If you are from south you might be knowing about a festival by name  "Ugadi" which is also called "Gudipadwa" in Maharashtra or may be "Bisakhi" in Punjab. I have tasted the special Ugadi pickle and it’s a different feeling when you taste it. It has 6 different tastes like sour, bitter, salty , sweet so on. Symbolically it marks the beginning of the new-year and a new age with all flavors of life blended in one pickle!

Reading Shailendra Singh's F?@KKnows gave me the same feeling :) The title intrigued me and the introductory note seemed attractive. Finally I clicked that button to review and have no regrets at all as I enjoyed reading it !! Subtle lesson for life & a humorous take on all the shit load we bear!
 An excerpt from the book- " You can only make fun of something which is popular - otherwise the joke ain't funny !" Similarly the author cuts jokes on all the common but popular issues people face in daily life. The book starts in a light and giggly tone but then turns serious at certain page but you don't realize when and where it is as you are enjoying the roller coaster ride! The book is all about telling and re-telling you all the facts which you already know so that you really understand them and try implementing them and just feel overwhelmed by looking at a new you in the mirror. I was never in to self -improvement books like Norman Vincent's or Dale Carnegie's. I actually read them but never really followed whatever is told by them. The primary reason is basically we never like being told. Even though few quotes from the books were my favorites and I embedded them in my signature I never really heard to my "gut" or "heart" after reading them but after reading the innovative and interactive book by Shailendra Singh I for the first time smiled even while reading a self-help book which is not heavy or preachy yet gives a deep insight in to your day to day issues!

The book clicks as it has author's experiences and the way he narrates them in a cool and casual tone makes you feel that you are actually talking to him face to face. It might not be for high intellectuals or for people who use heavy vocab or who know it all.  I am not exaggerating but I imagined him sitting beside me in one or two instances. In the chapter where he described about having cheese cake and compared it to having sex with the right partner I felt it was an amazing analogy. Whatever he told is absolutely true. Again we all know it but F Knows why we never hear to what we know :) The most touching chapter to me is the one where he wrote how he felt after his father’s death, the words written by his father mentioning him and his Thailand trip followed by Tsunami. The truth just hits you like that tsunami wave when you finish reading it. Go read and understand it because you already know it! You may also actually practice the Chi F?@K Po method - Block divert and embrace technique

The author easily connects with too many readers as he mentions their usual fears, likes  , dislikes , the demons they fight on a daily basis, the movies he loves and what he learnt from them and I am sure most of us love few of those movies, we all being mad about cinema. The way he described the gut feeling and listening to gut is the best part of the whole book to me. It keeps coming in every page - flushing off mind and listening to the gut part! All the chapter names are very innovative and will be imprinted in your mind for long and if you really want to they will be there forever but for this as told by Shailendra you really should want them to be there . You don't have to keep them there :)."PEACOCK IN THE FOREST" , "WHAT GOES IN MUST COME OUT" , "DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU WHEN YOU COME OUT" are few titles among the lot which were gripping. I would love to see few celebrities respond to few questions posed by the author in the book if at all they read the book!

The way author describes " How to read the book" in the prologue and the acknowledgements in the epilogue will definitely leave you in smiles. He fears he will be questioned by big authors like Deepak Chopra or Salman Rushdie for bringing down the levels of Indian writing but all his fears can go take a hoot as who the F?@K will bother about the intellect or language once he/she grabs this book! I am not faking when I say I feel better after reading the last page. I feel I should really jot down the F?@K it list and email it to the author. Have to really see if he replies back in 6months! Oh you don't know what F?@k it list is right? It’s just a bucket list with a cool name and much more emphasis is laid on the list!! You will also come across many naive as well as novel terms in the book which you will enjoy knowing and mind you the word F?@K shows up in every page or paragraph. If you are allergic to the terminology you may not enjoy the book!

Few chapter titles and snippets I really loved from the book.
  • MATH OF ME TIME - tells how much time you really got for your self!
  • SWEETLY CRACKED- You are happy. You know it. You want to show it . DONT. The world might hate you for it 
There are few more but I really feel you should read them all in the book!

All in all after reading the book if you have written down Who you are and what you really want ? and your F?@K it list is ready and you have already started implementing it then the first person who would be happy is - No mud heads it’s not Shailendra Singh - its "YOU" and only "YOU" :-) . The author if at all has time to know that someone got better after reading his book needless to say he would be elated. If at all I meet him in future I would surely love to "talk" and exchange smiles which very few people genuinely do these days!

Shailendra Singh is a sports marketing guru, an advertising whiz and a Bollywood producer. He is associated with Precept Advertising, the Sunburn festival and he made movies such as Pyaar Main Kabhi Kabhi and Phir Milenge after some incidents in his own life

Few things in the book were repetitive but can be ignored as we ought to read them again and again but it slowed down my reading pace a bit .One more thing which was not clear is about the legal issue in Middle east in 2008. May be the author chose not to disclose it but I was very eager to know it. May be I will mail him and ask :)

Other than the above two things I absolutely loved the book and recommend it to anyone who wants to feel better. You already feel better and enlightened?? Whom are you kidding? Go grab the book! It was such a good feeling when I finished reading it as I realized the author has fulfilled his passion as he "wanted" to write! Three cheers to him for his accomplishment! 

Shailendra Singh and Yuvraj Singh at the book launch - All smiles :)

My rating : 3.5/ 5

 This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

"A Poem to Sophie"

Sophie and Meena are friends from school . Meena came back to India after school as her father's work-tenure in Newyork was over. Till date Sophie and Meena stay in touch through facebook , emails and phone calls but they never actually get time to talk for long .

One fine day after watching Sophie's pics Meena randomly writes a poem for her which goes like below.

Dear Meena,

After ages I returned home from office very early today and with a hot cup of tea by my side thought to write a poem for you as I was thinking about you. Hope you like it :)

"To Sophie!"

The first day at the school in the U.S.A. I entered the class and was placed beside you.
I was tensed and became mute and froze as I had no clue.
You broke the ice and introduced yourself with a sweet smile and a hand shake.
There was no looking back after that as we spoke everything and did not fake!

You were my role model and my best friend in school.
It’s not just your looks or hair but it is due to your attitude so cool!
I always looked up to you and wanted to adapt your ways one or two.
You seemed like a person whose words are pure and heart true!

My dear Sophie, you had silky smooth loosely tied long plaits.
Your tresses were so dense that they can hide your actual traits.
But when you are too stressed they seemed to take it too.
They sagged and roughened which is so unlike you!

We reached graduation and kept in touch through pings or an occasional mail.
In this fast paced life we forgot to talk to each other like before without fail.
Hence I thought today I will take time and type out what I want to say
If not this hour it will always be in drafts long forgotten if I delay!

When I saw your latest pic from your trip in which you were leaning on window pane. 
I remembered the good old days when I used to love your braids and your shiny mane.
Not that you lost your charm but I know time took its toll and you decided to cut your hair.
When I remembered your beautiful braids I totally felt it’s not at all fair!

The decision is yours whether you want to tie a braid again or not.
Being your best friend I feel you will be extra pretty if you tie your hair in a knot!
I am enclosing below your childhood pic where you look like a cute princess.
Would love to see the free flowing hair again with zero stress!

We shall meet soon some time and revive all the forgotten memories.
It would be cool if we both can look like before flushing all the drudgeries.
Looking forward to our meet after six months when you will visit India.
Am sure it will be a grand meet and you and I will be rejuvenated Sophia!

Loads of love.
Yours Meena .

Once Sophie finished reading the poem with a smile she decided she will take her best friend's advice and start growing her hair and look like her old-self :)

This post is for the contest "Beautiful ends to your beautiful braids" by Dove in association with ""

While you are here please visit the link "Dove split ends Rescue" !!

 PS: I don't own the above images. They are googled

Friday, March 8, 2013

Is this a real "Happy" Women's Day?

Happy women's day to all the women.
Happy women's day to all the men who are with women to get rid of the bad o"men".
A happy women's day is to not  to just brag about the day.
A happy women's day is not just some thing to show off and say!

The real happy women's day is the day when she is actually happy and not in fray.
The real happy women's day is when there is no looming cloud which is grey.
Let's take a small oath today that tomorrow should be better in every possible way.
Let's just join our hands with the hope of a better society and let's get together and pray !

Hope the day comes when she eventually gains respect from all.
Hope to make her point she always doesn't need a brawl.
Hope both the genders stand on the same plank and there would neither be rise nor fall.
Hope a woman will not be objectified and treated only like a pal!

The woman is your mother who thinks you are her best creation.
Even God shuns thinking he is none to frame the rules for this relation.
For every problem you face a woman can be your sibling and give a solution.
She can be your best friend and advise when there is a commotion!

Before advising men fellow women should learn to treat each other with respect.
Rather than pulling each other down, one should think about their better prospect.
Before asking others not to ill-treat you, love yourself and build supremacy over you.
Stick to your words and do not lose confidence how ever hard people try to break you!
I don't own this image

You me and every one build this society we are living in from ages.
It has good, bad, ugly embedded and also malicious people in the disguise of sages!
Hoping that every one can be free spirited and not live in the self-built cages.
Hoping the way many think and want others to think eventually changes!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"Me Vs me" - "Real Vs Virtual"

Originally published at   "The Views Paper" 

Social Media3 Real vs. Virtual: Me vs. Me
A person goes to a two hour movie to get refreshed and no one can steal those two hours of virtual happiness and imagination from him, provided the movie is good enough. Similarly a person creates an online profile with variety of names ranging from “Neo-The one” to “Being Human” reflecting his thoughts, desires and favourites.
Like Neo from the movie Matrix learns that Trinity and Morpheus dwell on human bio-electricity and have the ability to plug and unplug humans, we all have learnt to find virtual reality in the online world. No one wants to show their real face to the masked people in the online world of blogs, messengers and social networks.
read somewhere that “Facebook is all about projecting your mediocre moments as awesome ones.” It is so true.
Now, that almost everybody is addicted to the internet and social networks, it suddenly becomes a necessity to flaunt your happy and happening life on the same, under some pseudonym of course, where even the silly troubles or frustrations are also hidden.
For example, a person with the name “I rock” puts up his cover photo where he is standing on the rock in Ladakh. People queue up to like his picture or throw one or two hasty comments like “U rock,” “U r gorgeous <3 almost="" and="" conquered="" font="" forth.="" has="" he="" it="" like="" on="" ow="" seems="" so="" the="" world="">
And the amount of happiness a “like” on Facebook  gives is equivalent to the bliss when there is a salary hike!
120 Real vs. Virtual: Me vs. Me
In reality how many rocks, stones and obstacles “I rock” had to cross to reach Ladakh or when and for how many days was he hospitalised or when was he robbed of all his money is not disclosed by him to the virtual world. If those details are also displayed, needless to say he will gain instant sympathy and advice from every Tom Dick and Harry!
Actually virtual world is open to anything and everything you give. The only thing that depends on you is what all you want to reveal, whereas in real world there are some limitations to revelations or at least objections as you have to face the person and talk to him in person.
For example, if you wear a mini skirt in your in-laws’ house it will be objected whereas a photo in the same mini skirt can be your profile picture with 1000 likes  which will be your hour of fame.
In real world you are just another person and every day is just another day which starts at 9 and ends at 6 starting with coffee, oats, the same boss, same meeting, same phone calls, same soaps, sitcoms but when it comes to discussing them, the doors of virtual world are always open.
Like in some movie you might be chatting with a person who is just sitting diagonally opposite to you but you are a celebrity in your virtual world!
You might put up a status on your Facebook that says “My office sucks.” No one will mind. If moral police has all its eyes on you that’s a different topic but certainly you won’t be able to put up the same status on the office IM. You might write a ranting post which discloses all your office secrets and boyfriend frustrations on a blog and you will get comments from nook and corner of the world but if you try discussing the same frustration with your boss your appraisal will be at toss!
215 Real vs. Virtual: Me vs. Me
You are identified as Mr. Kapoor (example) in your office but you change your avatar (form) every alternate day in virtual world. Now, which one is your actual personality and the real identity can be decided only by you. Some people are simple, sober and stick only to the real world. Some are flamboyant and try maintaining no boundary in both the worlds where as some differ in both the worlds. Which exactly is their real identity is a debatable question?
It is all messed up as to what is really virtual or which is virtually real. It will take a life time to identify the identities, illusions and virtual realities. As a final word I wrote a poem which shows two faced identities of a person.
“In solitude my mind it screams.
My virtual face is in bliss and it beams.
At this hour of night I sleep but she dreams.
One is sad and the other is in hearty smiles.
One is resting in peace and the other has traveled miles”!

"When God Spoke to Me!"

Is it for the love of God, you do what you do? Or is it your hunger to wake up something sleeping within you? What do you mean to do with th...