Thursday, September 22, 2011

Is fair always lovely?

"I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character".
 
                                                Martin Luther King, Jr.

Fair and lovely? Really?

Let me take you on a trip down memory lane to a time when I was still a teenager. 
It is a nice sunny day in a small city in India. I sit down to watch some television. I think of watching a bollywood movie or some peppy music videos for some entertainment. After a while I realize the only thing I have been able to catch on the multitude of channels are a string of daft advertisements. I get mildly annoyed but carry on channel surfing as always. Then I see it....the advertisement for a 'Fair and Lovely' fairness cream. A dusky, forlorn young girl appears on screen. There is an air of melancholy about her (am I imagining it or are there subtle tints of sepia adding to the dullness?). We see her hopes of procuring her dream job go down the drain when her application to a prestigious flight attendant training institute is curtly rejected. It seems as if she has nothing going for her. Her parents watch over her anxiously, their faces etched with worry. It is quite apparent that they are thinking on the lines of "Alas! What is to become of our dark (and potentially ugly) daughter?". And then, out of the shadows emerges a friend (the incarnation of an angel, minus the halo) and passes her a tube of fairness cream. The dusky girl looks unsure at first but then her expression changes as she is struck with the realization that her destiny is tied to this small tube of white muck. So she religiously applies it everyday....morning, noon and night. We are helpfully shown a color transformation chart with a shade guide as a reference. And then, lo and behold, in a period of few weeks, the ugly duckling has transformed into a beautiful swan! (by the way, at this stage, the sepia tints have been replaced by a glowing luminescence). Her skin is ghostly white and we see a obvious albeit unnatural radiance emanating from her. No prizes for guessing that she also nails the interview to become a flight attendant. The interviewer looks like he has been struck by the "thunder bolt" (I'm quoting The Godfather here), so mesmerized by her "loveliness" that it seems that all she has to do is sit in front of him and flash her pearly whites (which by the way matches her skin tone) to qualify for the job. Her parents are predictably elated and shed copious tears of of joy. Although, the advertisement ends on a happy note, I feel anything but that. On the contrary, I realize that I am quite incensed. Coming back to the present, I don't really know if such ads are still being telecast, but I sure hope to God that they aren't! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My top 100 movies of all time

A film is - or should be - more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what's behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.”

                                            
                                              ~ Stanley Kubrick

The all-time classics!


I am the quintessential movie buff. I can watch movies in any language provided they have a good story line (along with sub-titles of course!) I have a tendency to write movie reviews on the movies that leave an impact on me. Off late, I have been trying to expand my movie repertoire by watching movies of different genres from the IMDb top 250 list (http://www.imdb.com/chart/top). Although I enjoyed most of the movies, there were a few that stunned me for making it to the top 250 list (Case in point: Monty Python and the Holy Grail/ Sin City/ The Bog Lebowski. I mean, seriously, is it just me??!). Also, there are quite a few movies that in my opinion are fabulous but failed to make the cut. So, I decided to make my own list! I must admit that I haven't watched all the movies on the top 250 list so I compiled my list with the movies from the list I've seen till now, the ones I think deserve to be on it and the ones I just simply like (for no particular reason). Just for your information, the highlighted movies are the ones which are not on the IMDb top 250 list as of today. 

Let me know what you think of my picks...


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Recipe of the month - Assorted Doughnuts

I have been obsessed with doughnuts for as long as I can remember! I can shun ice-cream, cakes, pastries and cookies without a second thought but when it comes to doughnuts, my brain signals start going haywire. I think it has to do with a variety of reasons: 1. Being a coffee addict, I have a natural affinity for doughnuts 2. I can indulge my sweet tooth without the feeling of uncomfortable heaviness and 3. I get to choose from a variety of decadent toppings. Last weekend, I embarked on the search for the perfect doughnut recipe. I got this recipe from Swapna's Cuisine (http://www.swapnascuisine.com/2009/04/doughnuts.html). For a first attempt, I must say, they turned out pretty darn good! I used a medley of some of my favorite doughnut toppings which include cinnamon, chocolate, sprinkles, vanilla and nuts. I thought I'd share the recipe with you this week.