Being in London!

Posted: October 30, 2014 in Everyday happenings!

london

LONDON! The centre of all the important happenings in last 1000 years!

LONDON! Every mystery book, history book, converges to this tiny little spot on the world map!

LONDON! The epicentre of world domination!

I am finally in London! All the books I have read, of roads and lanes, of murders and wars, of queen and the crown, are finally right out of imagination, and onto reality!

SHERLOCK HOLMES MUSEUM

The first place I visited was the Sherlock Holmes musuem! I know I know, its not even real, but still. The stories you read a 1000 times from the time you were just 9 yrs old, the ‘Consulting Detective’ you revered all your life must be given a tribute by atleast visiting the famous ‘220B Baket street’ right?

Somehow, more than anything else for me, Sherlock Holmes has been a constant in my life. I have such great emotional feelings for this fictional character that if I dwell on it for few minutes, Im¬† sure to get some tiny tear drops! The other books I read when I was 9 or 10 have lost relevance now, but Holmes never ceases to amaze me. I am a crazy fan and I am not ashamed to say that. And I am sure I have a million more comrades ūüôā

To be quite honest, I dont like the movie¬†makes of the Sherlock Holmes stories. I suppose I like them so much better in my imagination. But I do love the modern rendition of it in the TV series ‘Sherlock’ starring Benedict Cumberbatch. He just nails it! And no, I dont like the Rober Downey Jr versions at all. I am pretty sure Holmes was never so much without dignity as portrayed by Downey Jr!

Adding a few photographs of the Sherlock Holmes Museum

The entrance – Bellboy!
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Shoscombe old place, Holmes and Watson!

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The speckled band!

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The hound of Baskervilles!

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The man with the twisted lip!

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A tiny key ring for memories sake!

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accident

It upsets me every time I read a news report of an accident, or hear about someone I know. There is something heart-rending in an untimely death. But when it is an accident caused by drunken-driving, it just gets me infuriated.

A few days back, I got to hear¬†about a colleague of¬†a close¬†friend.¬†This guy¬†gets drunk in an office party. What kind of drunk would you call someone who finishes off a whole bottle of whiskey, I don’t¬†know. Anyhow! He¬†gets super-drunk, and in spite¬†of his seniors telling him not to¬†go back home,¬†persists on going back. He has some 5 people with him along with a driver. Halfway through, he insists on driving – saying he is in total control, and at the speed of 120km/hr¬†rams into a tree. He is dead, the other guy on the front seat –¬†a complete teetotaler is dead, and 3 guys are in coma.

I don’t have any sympathies for him. None at all.¬†Rather, I am enraged at him for spoiling the lives of his family members, spoiling the future of the other dead guy and those in coma. At the risk of sounding insensitive, almost inhuman, I would like to ask him: Ever heard of the phrase ‘you had it coming’?¬† The other guy had to lose his life just by the virtue of being¬†in the company of a¬†drunkard. I hope the injured guys get completely healed, but there are¬†very slim chances of that.¬†What can you say to console those who unnecessarily lost their lives and limbs to this guy’s machismo?

You drink, you drive, you die. Expected. No surprises there. No sympathies even. But it really burns my heart to see people getting drunk and killing others while on that macho I-can-drink-as-much-as-I-want-and-yet-be-in-control psych.¬†I have some guy friends who pride themselves on being a ‘Tank’. WTF!¬†I really don’t get it. What is it with you guys? If you are drunk, just enjoy the feeling sitting at the back of the car, or do something else. But please, please DO NOT drive.

I just wish someone would explain this to all those ‘Macho’ guys out there. There is¬†NO heroism in the ability of drinking and driving. It’s not an ability worth the pain it causes. It’s plain stupidity. Nothing is to be gained out of it. Rather,¬†you are just¬†an accident waiting to happen. Soon,¬†you will either be a murderer or be dead!

shadow_woman_blacksm

There have been millions of articles doled out on the mystery of the desires of the fairer sex. There are even books written on how to understand a woman’s thoughts and interpret her actions. But has anyone come any closer to the truth? I don’t think so. And do you want to know why? Well, I am about to reveal the secret today….

Because……..Wait for it……!

Women themselves don’t know what they want. Period.

Someone said that its easy to predict how a mass would react to a certain situation but extremely difficult to predict what a single person would do. (Please do drop a comment if you remember who it was and what were his exact words.) But that seems impossible even in a mass for women. We know that generally men love to talk about women, they love to watch sports, they love to laze around, etc. These are¬†established¬†facts in¬†most¬†men.¬†However, there aren’t any such established patterns¬†for women.

I will now¬†try to put up some general behaviour/thoughts for women. These, however, might not be portrayed outside but yet be their innermost feelings. Oh! you question my authority over the subject? Well, will the¬†qualification of being a woman work ? Okay! So I proceed….

1) Women love to look good and dress good. No! scratch that! They want to be the most beautiful one, who turns heads everywhere and for whom there is no competition. No matter how fat or ugly they are, they still strive hard to look good and desirable.

2) Women want all men to fall in love with them and desire them. Note the word ‘love’, not raw lust and all. Pure devotion. Okay, I concede a bit! Maybe a little passion but nothing crude or rude.

3) Women want their men to express love all the time. Note ‘their men’. They don’t want guys they have already rejected to beg for love again and again. If you are a guy, and you have been rejected, remember, she doesn’t want you to pester her. But, she doesn’t want you to move on too! Selfish creatures, are women! She wants her admirers around. If any woman disagrees to this point, she is just trying to be a saint. I hope I did not stir up a hornet’s nest now!

4) Women want to be showered with gifts. Now before you go and put a greedy tag on women, read on a bit. Of course there are greedy people everywhere. It has got nothing to do with gender. However, when I say gifts, I mean sweet, token gifts, like a rose stalk, or a teddy on a key chain, or a heart-shaped balloon. They don’t cost much and also show affection and care on the guy’s part.

5) PDA is a debatable subject. Some like it, some don’t. But most women would like their men to be protective and¬†grab their hand¬†while crossing a¬†road,¬†or act tough when someone tries to eve-tease¬†them, and things like that. No matter how independent a woman is, she loves to be treated like a princess by her man.

6) Almost everyone knows that women don’t like their men to ogle at other women. But what men didn’t know is women do the same, but for different reasons.¬†They stare at other women mostly¬†with envious eyes or sometimes with appreciative eyes. A women wants to know she is better than whoever her guy is ogling at. What a man needs to do is take his girl into confidence, discuss with her about the visual target’s assets and subtly criticise. That way the man gets to ogle too and not be beaten up¬†about it.

7) Women¬†like to¬†discuss about men too. And mostly they do. But women don’t bond over talking about men like men do over women. A woman has to¬†portray her lady like character first. Women bond over talking about other women, food,¬†movies etc. Only once the bond is forged, and there is no fear of criticism, do women talk freely about all the men in their lives or around.

8) Women want to behave as crass as men. But the centuries of grilling of customs and traditions and how a woman is expected to behave, stops her from behaving the way she wants to.

I could have written more but I am feeling kinda sleepy now. So maybe I will put up some more points later. Let me conclude this post as of now by asking¬†the question. What do women really want? I already answered¬†that before, didn’t I? But if I had to hazard a guess (including my own wish), it would be that women wish¬†to have¬†the most of both the worlds – the freedom and utter recklessness and carelessness of a man and the love and attention¬†recieved by a¬†woman! I know it’s too much to ask, but hey, we didn’t stop guys from wishing to be treated¬†like¬†girls, did we?

django_poster

Watched the movie Django Unchained in the Golden Village Cinemas in Singapore on Sunday. Absolutely loved it. Here’s my review of the movie.

** Spoiler alert – This review will tell you the whole story, so if you are the type to wait for surprises in a movie, don’t read it. But also, it is not a suspense thriller or anything, just a simple movie, so why bother? Just go ahead and read!**

Director and writer: Quentin Tarantino

Cast :

Synopsis:

The movie is set in West America, two years before the civil war. Django is among several other male slaves being transported to another town to be sold.¬†Dr. King Schultz, a german bounty hunter, seeks him out due to his past associations, to identify¬†three murderous Brittle¬†brothers. He buys Django from the captors¬†(with some spilling of blood)¬†and informs him that he¬†will be freed after the capture/killing of the Brittle brothers. Django tells Schultz that he has a wife, Broomhilda,¬†who was sold in the slave trade and he wants to get her back. Schultz proposes partnership in bounty hunting until they located Broomhilda.¬†Their¬†search for her lands them into Candieland cotton farm, owned by Calvin J. Candie. They pretend to have come to buy slave fighters. But Candie’s conniving house slave, Stephen, sees through their act and deduces their plan to buy Hilda and informs Candie about it. Thereafter all hell breaks loose. Schultz and Candie are killed and Django is enslaved again and sent to be sold. He fools his captors on the way, comes back to Candieland, kills all and leaves with his wife, a free woman.

Review:

Django Unchained is a complete movie. It has everything – romance, comedy, drama, emotions, action, blood and gore, and a man’s fight for his love (that’s what we love after all). And Tarantino also manages to combine all this under theme of the social malaise of racial discrimination of those times. It is a superbly executed movie, but of course nothing less is expected of Tarantino. He definitely deserves the Oscar for best original screenplay for this movie. Jamie Foxx is wonderful as a black slave who ultimately becomes the hero for many other slaves. It is his movie (I heard Will Smith let go of this movie because the role wasn’t big enough. Well, we can only say, ‘Your loss is Foxx’s gain’. And of course, he should learn something from DiCaprio). Christoph Waltz, as the old bounty hunter, is strong yet emotional and funny. I shed a few tears when the good-hearted, old bounty hunter dies. Of course he got an Oscar for this role. Leonardo DiCaprio has a limited role, but he shone through as expected. Samuel Jackson’s¬†portrayal¬†of the old, vindictive, racist, house slave Stephen is so good that I felt a shiver of joy each time Django put a bullet in him.¬†Kerry Washington is good as the pretty slave wife but she didn’t have much to act except stand there looking pretty. All in all, a very satisfying movie and very much worth the money.

View outside my window

View outside my window

I wasn’t getting any sleep yesterday night. It had nothing to do with stress or tension. Just that sometimes your body doesn’t need rest. And why would it? I hardly do anything other than tapping at a keyboard! So, I had to do something.¬† Write? Read? Watch movies? Paint? Too much hard work. I decided to just¬†think. But then, the thought of thinking about big things put a lot of stress on me. So, finally I¬†nestled into¬†reflecting back on my past. 27 years is too much data to process and so I decided to concentrate only on the highlights from my high school times to now.

The memories are hazy in some parts and crystal clear in others. Some have mixed up so I can’t remember which happened when. So many events, so many people. So many good and bad times. The times¬†I thought¬†were the best in¬†my life, have been superseded by so many more best times, that the word best loses its meaning.¬†The worse times also don’t seem that bad anymore.¬†Slowly, one by one, memories come to me. Little games like ‘truth¬†or¬†dare’; me, always selecting ‘Dare’ over ‘Truth’. Not that I had anything to hide, but the truth questions were stupid and boring. And the gossips and teenage girly bitching sessions. Falling in love, and doing the most crazy, stupid things that only teenage love can make you do. Laughing over spilt tea and the tail of a cow with my best friend.¬†In the summers,¬† lying down on the back and holding a¬†popsicle¬†over our mouths and waiting¬†for it to melt and drip on our lips. Every little thing would warrant a fit of giggling. Well, it doesn’t make any sense now, but it did then with her. Still gets me giggling.

By now you must be thinking why am I rambling. Well, my thoughts were random and incoherent and hence the content of this post.  And with a request for patience, I will babble a bit more.

I remember the playing of cards in the hostel; only four could play at a time and the seats were coveted. So, all the cell phones would be piled up in the no-network area, so that boyfriends or relatives do not disturb between the important games. The running around the hostel corridors to save oneself from the mock molestation by the others in our gang. Trying to cook noodles with the tiny electric immersion rods, which always turned out half-cooked and watery. The blowing up of the fuse, while experimenting with these cooking stunts and the resultant batch punishments. Playing box cricket in office when guys used to wait for the girls to bowl or bat. The memories come haphazardly. Some here, some there.

Each year has seen¬†a very good¬†friend, a gang of close friends and that one guy who likes me. I’m bragging! The ‘guy who likes me’ didn’t happen each year, maybe just a couple of years in college. There have been so many good times, most of them over tea, bitching about someone or bragging about ourselves. Discussions and gossips about other girls, guys and teachers when in school and college. Complaints and gossips about girls, guys and managers when in office.¬†Arguments ranging from politics, astrology and¬†paranormal stuff to romance, movies and¬†books, the list is endless.

Looks¬†like I spent most of my life gossiping. Well, what can I say, I love to talk. Not for nothing, that¬†I used to get a ‘talkative’ comment each year on my report card in school. I digress…..again! I should conclude¬†my jabbering speech now.

I sat there in the dark at 1 AM in the night, looking out the window and staring at the trees and the tiny river, not actually seeing them.¬†I¬†marveled¬†at the rich content of¬†my life,¬†the journey until now¬†and the¬†scores of people who have made up the bits of my life.¬† So many people I learnt from. So many people I took advice from and many more I gave advice to.¬† So many people affected¬†my decisions¬†thereby affecting the course of my life. So many people inspired me and so many repelled me.¬†The places, the towns and the¬†cities don’t matter, they are all the same. Only people matter. They all made me what I am today. But the¬†most surprising revelation was that these people who, at those times, felt like the closest people in the world and couldn’t be done without, are mostly conveniently forgotten now.

Big sister little brother

I was heart-broken¬†when my first-born¬†died. She was only 3 years old, and she fell off the first floor balcony.¬†I still miss Katherine; Kate as we used to lovingly call her. My husband took it hardest, his dearest¬†little Angel. He still blames me for letting her go¬†and play in the¬†balcony¬†and the climb up¬†the balustrade. I never thought she could climb it. I was pregnant with Mike then. When Mike was born, he looked so much like our Kate, that my husband believed she¬†had come¬†back to us as Mike. Our pain has subsided with time, but it¬†didn’t go away.¬†It can never go away. As people say, your first-born is the most loved.

Mike¬†is 2 years old now. He can talk basic english, but cannot yet form proper sentences. He¬†plays on his own with¬†his toys. He plays with¬†some imaginary friends like all kids do at his age. We bought new toys for him. We removed Kate’s toys after she died¬†and kept them in the attic. It was too¬†heartbreaking to see them around the house.

A¬†week before, Mike sang a¬†nursery rhyme in¬†his broken, stammering english. I was¬†heartsore and my husband, ecstatic.¬†It was¬†Kate’s favorite rhyme. She used to sing it whole day. We didn’t teach Mike that rhyme. Neither did his grandparents. My husband told me in his most assured, victorious tone that Kate had indeed come back as Mike. He was on cloud nine. He encouraged Mike to sing it and taught him a bit more. I didn’t like it. I just felt immense¬†sadness and a¬†deep, dark void¬†inside me.

Yesterday, Mike came up to me while I was cooking in the afternoon, and asked me to get the other toys. I brought the other carton full of his toys. He said he didn’t want them, but the others. I told him he didn’t have more toys. He¬†frowned and asked me to get the toys in the attic. I didn’t tell my husband about this.

Today, I went to take a peek¬†in his room to see what he¬†was doing. He was sitting there, playing with his toy cars. He was probably playing with¬†one of his¬†imaginary friends as usual. I stood there watching him, feeling the love well up inside me, when he suddenly¬†cried out “Kate, dun play wif¬†my caa”.

Kate? Did he just say ‘Kate’ ?¬†Is it¬†our Kate playing with Mike? Is my child still stuck in here? Wasn’t she freed of this world and taken to heaven?¬†What should I do?¬†I would do anything, God but please free her soul and let her rest. Please!

I can’t¬†talk about¬†this to my husband. He wouldn’t believe it. And if he does, it will break his heart further.¬†It is, after all, my fault. I was not¬†watchful towards her on that fateful day. I¬†am the reason for the tragedy, and I know I¬†will have¬†to¬†carry the¬†burden of this truth¬†to my grave.

*************************************The End*************************************

Water colour painting - Pond and trees

Water colour painting – Pond and trees

Inspired by the earlier sketch I posted, I got myself a box of water colour tubes. And produced this. I am averagely satisfied with the outcome, as I did not have very high hopes from myself. Of course, the disclaimer goes as before – painting after a really long time, 10+ years, so please bear with me. I am probably gonna dole out some more immature stuff like this in future too.

Sketch – Leaves

Posted: March 19, 2013 in Paintings & Sketches
Tags: , , ,

Leaves

Tried pencil sketching after almost 12 years. I have completely forgotten how to sketch and shade and therefore, the finished product is not as smooth as I would have wanted. But this is a try after a really long time and I didn’t expect much. Maybe if I keep practicing, I will get better.

Love

Read part 1 here : https://essdeeauthor.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/first-blush-of-love-part-1/

Darian¬†didn’t understand why the new girl Maria was so¬†interested in¬†him. From what he had heard from the other guys in the school, she had¬†recently moved¬†to the county from New York. She looked¬†pretty but he knew not to trust beauty. His own mother was very beautiful, he being almost an image of her, and she¬†had been¬†unfaithful towards the very people who loved and needed her.

Darian had been a loner for a long time, but he was a happy child before that.¬†His mother had left her family and eloped with a French guy when he was just 7 years old. He was¬†old enough to remember her and hate her for leaving him. His father¬†had not been able to¬†bear with¬†the infidelity and¬†had turned to drinking. Darian grew up being abused and beaten-up by his angry father, developing a deep mistrust¬†towards¬†women and relationships¬†in the process. But he didn’t hate his father for the abuse but¬†rather accepted the punishment as a way of emotional release with the physical pain. He had sworn¬†to himself¬†never to get involved with any girl and go through the same¬†heartache as his father.

Darian had been noticing for some time that Maria would¬†ogle at him many times during the classes, and smile if their eyes met. He thought she was trying to bewitch him. She could too, being as dainty as she was, but he knew better to fall into the designs of¬†a pretty woman. He¬†tried to¬†avoid her in every way possible, and even behaved rudely when she tried to talk to him. He thought the insult would do the trick and she would start to dislike him, but that didn’t happen.

After a couple of days of their first encounter,¬†Darian got to know from other guys that¬†Maria was asking questions about him. This angered him. Didn’t the girl know better¬†to¬†mind her own business? What did she want from him? He decided he had to talk to her and make it clear that he wanted this nonsense stopped. He¬†walked up to her¬†one day after school when she was walking back home, and asked her to stop snooping around and let him be.¬†¬†Her smiling face fell, and she turned red. She looked very¬†embarrassed¬†and¬†mumbled an incoherent ‘sorry for the trouble, won’t happen again’ and ran away.

After that incident, Darian kept checking for a few weeks if Maria looked at him during the lectures, but she didn’t. Not a single time did she lift her lashes to even peep at him. Maria¬†had turned¬†quiet and blue after that day, not her usual smiling self. Darian had felt happy in the beginning at his accomplishment, but that feeling was fading away fast and regret was taking over. He didn’t quite¬†understand this new emotion and attributed it to the fact that he had made an unfortunate girl even more sad, getting to know¬†of late¬†that her parents had died a few¬†moths before.¬†He started¬†empathizing¬†with her for having lost her parents and¬†repented his outburst at her. He decided to make amends and¬†walked up to her again one day after school and called after her. She¬†turned back and looked¬†shyly at him.¬†She¬†looked frightened¬†and at the same time,¬†so beautiful that he forgot what he had come to say. She waited¬†but words completely¬†eluded him. Finally when he got his grip, he¬†babbled¬†his apologies for his earlier¬†behavior¬†and¬†that he didn’t mean to hurt her but only to protect his privacy and so on. Maria offered a quiet ‘okay’ in reply when he finished and walked away. Things had changed.

When¬†Darian saw¬†Maria at the school next day, he¬†smiled at her, but she hardly noticed, never actually even looking at him. He¬†realized¬†it was due to his stupidity that the tables had¬†turned. Days were moving by and Darian couldn’t stop thinking about her. He¬†yearned to talk to her. He knew this feeling¬†was only going to bring heartache and disaster for him, but he couldn’t¬†stop himself. He tried to concentrate in studies and worked harder at the farm but that didn’t help much.¬† He didn’t know what to tell her to make her talk to him¬†again. ¬†Should he say he just wanted to be friends? Or should he tell her he liked her?¬†He himself wasn’t clear on what he wanted out of the whole thing, but he knew¬†he had to do something before she drove him crazy.

*******************************To be continued**************************************

love4

Maria Albert was just 16 years old. She couldn’t be expected to take care of her family! Not like this, suddenly, without any training or experience!¬† And how much help were grandparents going to be? They were old, and she would have to end up taking care of them too. This wasn’t fair at all. But she didn’t have a choice, did she? She took stock of her situation, understanding that life wasn’t fair and cribbing about her bad fortune would not change anything.

Maria’s parents had passed away a¬†month ago¬†in a car crash leaving her and her two kid brothers orphaned. Her younger brothers, Ted and Frank, were aged¬†10 and¬†4 respectively.¬†Ted had been sulking since the accident, not talking to anyone, as if the death of his parents had¬†squeezed the¬†spirit out of him. Frank was very young to¬†understand what had happened. He thought his parents had gone for a vacation, leaving them in their grandparents’ house. He was busy chasing squirrels, and running after butterflies in their grandparents’ garden.¬†Maria was devastated too. Every now and then she would burst into tears remembering them. But youth allows you to bounce back like never again. After the incident, her grandfather asked them to leave school in New York and come and stay with them in the small town of West Orange, Texas.

Maria enrolled herself in¬†the West Orange-Stark High School in the sophomore year. This was the first time she was changing school and didn’t know what to expect on her first day, having grown up with the same friends in the same school in New York. Will the other kids look down upon her? Well, they can’t, can they? She was from New York after all, a big city compared to a small place like this. Or maybe, being jealous, they would make fun of her for the exact same reason!

She arrived at the school, with a satchel containing just a notebook. She stood in front of the gate with a look of uncertainty on her face. She looked beautiful in a quiet sort of way, with big blue terrified eyes, rosy, tender lips, a shock of red hair, and almost pink complexion. She would not be considered a very forthright person, but rather as timid and shy. She would rather voice her concerns in private than before a group of people. She knew she did not stand a chance if the kids at the school behaved nastily towards her. With misgivings, she entered the school.

She went to the principal’s office. He welcomed her, expressing regret over the demise of her parents, and hoping that¬†she would like this school. He handed her a school curriculum¬†which¬†she checked for her first class. It was history. She headed towards the class, but unable to find it, hovered in the area. A girl, tall and smart-looking with thick glasses, enquired as to what Maria was looking for. Hearing Maria’s reply, she introduced herself as Rita Thomas, adding that she had history as her first class too. Maria introduced herself, giving a little background as to the reason of joining this school and they both went into the class together.

Inside the class, Rita introduced Maria to the other students. The teacher had not arrived yet, so some of the students flocked around her. They introduced themselves and asked her about New York and how she liked it here. When the teacher walked into the class, everyone raced back to their seats. The teacher also asked for her introduction, which she gave, again. She could not remember the last time when she had to speak so much. Maria had already begun to like this school. It was not bad at all. It was, in fact, very good. The kids seemed nice and sensible and down-to-earth, not at all like the snotty kids in New York. And they were very nice to her. Maybe, coming to live in West Orange county was going to be very good for her.

There was one guy in the class,¬†Darian Hudson, who did not speak to her. At all. He was a very good-looking¬†guy, tall and athletic, with nice cropped hair and a handsome face. Maria wasn’t the type to talk to anyone first, but she made a daring exception for him. She said a soft ‘hi’, to which he nodded curtly and left. This surprised her, as she knew she looked okay, and she did have a few admirers in New York. Why would he ignore her then? She was intrigued, and because he was a combination of both good looks and mystery, she felt attracted towards him. She hadn’t seen him talking to any of the girls. Was he shy of girls? Or did he have a secret past? She couldn’t rein in her imagination, thinking¬†Darian might be a vampire like Edward Cullen of Twilight series. How cool would that be? She decided she would find out more about him before curiosity drove her mad.

************************************To be continued********************************