Sunday, August 30, 2009

Home hunt in NCR

House hunting can sure take u places. Our house hunt began with excitement, sputtered through at the realization that the damn recession has affected nothing but our salaries, figured that one must add at least Rs 8 lakh to any apartment's advertised price and finally concluded that even with our Double Income No Kids (DINK) status, all we could afford was an apartment in the NCR region, esconsced some 25 kms off the centre of Delhi. These 25 kms make a world of a difference, most importanly coz it means there will be 7-8 hours of power cuts- for which ur builder will give u power back that will come at a hefty price. Anyways after researching Indirapuram (Rs 3,000/sq/ft), Noida (Rs3500/sq ft) and Faridabad (Rs 2,000 sq ft)-the last I ventured into hoping for a huge lawn for my floor. However, one look at the Neharpar area- the cattle grazing there and the sheer distance from Delhi through a convoluted busy road made me give up all lawn plans. Finally, it was a tussle between Olive County in Vasundhara, Ghaziabad which I like much and Crossings Republic for which hubby dear was rooting. The balance tilted in favour of Crossing Republic- to get to which one has to just drive straight through Nizamuddin bridge down 20 kms on NH 24- purely owing to economics.
Even a 2 bedroom was costing me some 7 lakh over the price I was getting a huge-ish 3 bedroom at Crossings. There is a huge price to pay for this big house though. One has to cross some 3 kms long Dhanduhera village on NH24 before getting to Crossings and believe me it's hardly the right rustic feel. It just makes me feel so like I am in UP badlands and so so so far from saddi Dilli, that it again and again gives me second and third thoughts.Anyways, the deal is sealed now and we are feverishly and gingerly managing the damn funds and home loans that u need to even buy a house 20 kms from Delhi!!! A House for Mr.Biswas--- over and over again. All for a roof of my own over my head!!!!

P.S.- a word on Crossings Republic- nicely coming up township with malls, markets, cineplexes, Max/Fortis hospitals, DPS/Amity school etc as claimed. Nice apartments at Supertech, Wellington Panchsheel, Arihant. Ajnara and Mahagun could give you a good deal too, just ensure u don't have an apartment with balconies opening into Dhanduhera village for a view.

Yum salad dressing

Here is a mantra for a low fat and absloutely yum salad dressing. Whip up a tablespoon of low fat yoghurt, sprinkle pudina masala (avlbl at FabIndia/Khadi), amchoor 1/2 teaspoon, black pepper 1/4 teaspoon,salt to taste and optionallly cinnamon powder(dalchini) and mix. Add diced cucumber, kakri (the long wiry cucumber), steamed sprouts (microwave for 1 min or so), onion if you like, for a green salad. Or skip the onion and instead add fruits of your choice for a filling salad especially if you want to skip a meal and still relieve hunger pangs. Shake it up and there is your quick fix salad. Also a very easy, healthy carry to office instead of a fried evening snack. Basically the dressing is a tested and tried one and have always had the plates polished off with this one. Try it with practically any salad ingredients.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Dev D is super!

Dev D is super! Irreverent, dark, quirky, sexual, tinged with a strange senselessness, pity, longing and empathy, the movie is quite a watch. I am an Abhay Deol fan and he doesn't disappoint. But the ones who really take you by surprise are the debutants Mahie Gill as Paro and Kalki Koechlin as Chanda. Paro is THE Punjaban, true to her element, and the woman so many of us have met so often. Kalki is the one to whom your heart really goes out to, some great acting skills by her, she is the vulnerable looking 'CSW' who comes up with some lines that stay with you. Awesome music, great lyrics, the oh so Delhi Paharganj feel, the careful rendition of the MMS scandal, a great job on dialogues and the interesting denouement I felt particulary thankful for- Dev D is a must watch- a contemporary classic with some must have music. Bhansali's Devdas in contrast is opulent, dramatic, reminiscent of a bygone era.- my mom loved it. I would pick up this gritty, real version instead especially for the Paro character fleshed out in Dev D and the same goes for Chanda. Music, as I said, is a must have on your playlist-I particularly like Payalia, Pardesi, Nayan and emosional atayachaar ofcourse. Don't miss this one.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Maruti A Star booted out

Maruti A Star comes with the biggest oomph factor from amongst her other siblings in the Maruti stables. With a sexy front, dazzling headlights, all four power windows, power steering, tubeless tyres, toggle mirrors, a neatly mounted music system, clubby spaces for bottles etc a good mileage (19.1 in test conditions), the mid version of the car is a piece of work that so makes you want to buy it at Rs 3.8 lakh . But, wait until you have a look at the rear. While the rear seats are about as scramped or worse than an Alto, the boot is the hugest of disappointments. It can at best accomodate your laptop and may be a small carry bag. That was THE factor for me to decide against the new Maruti car. While I know I am not going holidaying or picking up relatives from railway stations every day, what happens the day I do have to- C'mon I will need to do that every two months or so. So thumbs down for the lovely A star solely due to the boot. i10 Era minus the music system may be a better bet. Or just hold on and wait for Maruti Ritz/Splash to launch in either March or June this year if you are hung up on a Maruti, else there is the super Honda Jazz and i20 you can pick from. What I have seen of the i20 looks cool, but I bet Jazz which launches in June will be a league apart.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

$10 laptop

India's $10 non-laptop has generated curiosity, followed by global jeers. Check out what arstechnica has to say at Boy, how the HRD ministry's brave attempt has been trashed by the world media. Best they did more homeowrk on it before unveiling the minimal 'prototype' in Tirupati. Hope they are working on a better version, for their sake.

Chance encounter

Luck By Chance is a queer one. While every actor is reasonably good, I quite like Rishi Kapoor and Dimple in it- as good as ever, Konkona seems to be doing what she has been doing for a while now. No freshness in her character, I thought. Farhan is ok, Isha Sharvani is just so funny and made up- meant to be I guess. My problem is with the way it ends, it's not a closure, I don't quite get what Zoya Akhtar is trying to say. But I suppose that is it- the open endedness, the lack of closure, the fuzzyish ending is the best way to leave it- a quality very few movies have. So its a a strange feeling it leaves, a closure and non-closure and individuals and their constraints and failings and fallings and rises and luck by chance.
P.S- I think that's enough bumbling about for this flick.


Chandni Chowk to China is the worst ever movie. While I have to plead guilty for even having gone to watch this complete disaster, this is a serious no-no. I wonder what made Warner Bros invest in this crazy flick! Akshay Kumar seems to have lost it.

Slumdog Millionaire

For anyone who hasn't watched the Danny Boyle movie, the amount of debate it is generating should be reason enough to go get a look. The movie is positively worth a watch and for all the hue and cry on its focus on the ugly side of India by a firangi, all of us know that the underbelly exists, very much so. The music is good too, Jai Ho is nice on the ears and so is Saaya and Dreams on Fire or something besides the Latika theme. Rahman has given us still better music but it's great if this gets him an Oscar. All in all, I like the movie, Dev Patel, the little Jamal and the defining moment of the movie that pops up in my head when I think of the movie- poop-covered little Jamal victoriously holding up a dog-eared photograph of Amitabh Bachchan autographed by the man himself. For that alone I could watch the movie again.