Your bestie at 30

“When life gives you lemons…” hmm… chances are you will complete this clichéd saying with the most innovative, rhyming and whistle-worthy (read whistle-podu) predicates. This is perhaps the MOST overused proverb for women who blissfully saunter into their 30s ignoring the world’s glares.

30, single, independent, speaks her mind, juggles with home and work, pursues her hobbies seriously, keeps adding “things-to-do before I hit 40” to her bucket-list, and is looking (perhaps contemplating to or not) for the right man, all the symptoms of an urban Indian woman. By far, this category of women is the most commented on, and bracketed section that’s labeled, WOMEN WHO BEHAVE LIKE MEN.

Before you start trolling on the classifieds written above, please note, there is no point proving to the world that we Indians are not gender rationalists. Even if our respected PM believes his ‘Beti…’ campaign would be efficacious, it is a distant, a very distant dream, for a woman to lead life on her own terms. But just when you are at the peak of eruption, another woman walks in with lemonade (made from the same lemons life gives to you), to fizzle out the pent-up annoyance. Most likely, she will be one of those old-hands in dealing with such cases. She is definitely not mommy-dearest.  Most mums come with a baggage of sentiments that is difficult to dislodge and one which causes much stress during a sensible conversation on your current status.

This lady is your covert partner in crime. She is perhaps a masi, bua, mami, chachi… she could be anyone! But she is the one you run to, every time you need a shoulder to pound your angry fist on (not literally, though). We all have such aunts, who patiently listen to us, consider our plan A, B, C up to plan infinity, who share ‘Agony Aunt’ solutions through emails and newspaper clippings, and make your favourite comfort food when you seem to have hit rock bottom time-and-again. If not for these angel aunts, we ladies would perhaps frizzle under the microscopic, watchful eye of the world, even if we mean no harm.

Thank God, for these bestie aunties, who even if acidic at times, use their subtle sense of humor to lighten grave matters and make you laugh your heart out!

Family travel matters

Why travelling with your extended family is the best learning experience

Constant unasked-for-advices, heart-to-heart talks on relationships, reasoning why one should get married on time and why one must not choose to be a media professional, the list doesn’t seem to end. Indian families unknowingly nurture an eternal desire to preach. Whether they practice or not, they just cannot let go off the spoonful of advices doled out to people in general, and their family’s younger generation in particular.

Why is your kurta so short to why is your jeans so long, and sweeping? Their questions always come with a concealed piece of advice. This unapologetic invasion in one’s life is not always welcomed by most of us; mind you, I am saying us (I believe I am still on the other side of the fence – younger and always subjected to elderly kind words). But, over a period of time, I have realized that just like ‘age is in the mind’, this repudiation of advice from our families is just our prejudiced minds overworking.

Most times, we conveniently disregard giving them any benefit of doubt. Just like how we like to treat them as friends, they perhaps are reciprocating by talking to us like one among us. If, ‘why are you wearing a neon colour shirt?’ question came from a friend, we would spend a good quarter of an hour explaining the new trends. But if it comes from your father’s elder sister, it is offensive! Why and who is she to ask me this question? It’s not a frivolous question that can be ignored and Father’s Sister needs a fitting reply. Really? Do we need to ponder over it as if it’s a life-altering opinion?  The only immediate consequence is ruining our limited time with our family. Give it a second thought, they could be thinking of us as their younger friends… why not?

My questions come from personal experience. I was enlightened on family matters when I chose to travel with family, not just my progenitors and siblings, but my extended clan (Khalas, mamus, mamis, cousins – maulere bhai-behen, khalere bhai-behen and all the other jingbang).

It’s quite an eye-opener and hell of a learning experience. Think of it like a big gang of your friends hanging out. There might not be the same level of adventurous activities, whatever your type of adventure is (mine would be going off to the jungles) but yet, you learn to travel together as a community. Even if one prefers a quick fix of coffee with bread-omelet for breakfast, while the family prefers an elaborate South Indian idli-dosa-vada morning meal, there is an opportunity to try a different foods. And travelling is all about doing something different from the usual; else we wouldn’t be seeking mountains, beaches or a new culture.

When we are prepared to wander and explore unfamiliar lands and mingle with new people, then why not try looking at our own Indian families with a different perspective? It is fun. You just need to trust yourself to be accommodating and forthcoming. This is not a travel advisory, but just an insight after three long and momentous trips with my own family. Plus, when you travel as a big group, your travel cost comes down significantly; and a life-skill you learn is how to manage yourself and enjoy, despite all the differences.  But the most important thing guaranteed is, you earn your family as friends for life!


With my uncles (Mamus : my mum’s brothers)

Breakfast with my dear cousin

  Breakfast with my cousin


My aunties (Khala and Mamis : my mum’s sister and my mum’s brothers’ wives)

Mallu breakfast (8)

The Mmm… of Malberry-Mallu Kitchen

It’s a first-of-its-kind home café in Bangalore that serves authentic Malayalee breakfast on Sundays

Mallu breakfast (6)

The lavish spread of Mallu breakfast delicacies

The only thing replaying in the head is the crumbling of fluffy, yet crusty wheat puttu that was moistened with a rush of saliva before it slid down into our empty guts. It was food that had to be degusted and not just devoured. A feast for the eyes, nose and of course for the complete digestive system from the mouth to the hungry belly.

For someone who is discreet and nitpicky about food, trying a Sunday morning Mallu fare turned out to be quite a discovery for yours truly. Seven Kerala delicacies dished orut by a true-blue Malayalee couple in eco-friendly earthenware from Cochin made it all the more authentic. The hosts of the unhurried brunch are Soul Sante regulars, the couple behind Malberry Kitchen.

Pramod Shankar, an advertising professional, writer, a self-confessed poet (you can read his verses here ) and an upcoming stand-up comedian, shares a passion with wife Lakshmi, an earnest and gracious homemaker, to feed ‘famished’ heavyweights like the writer. They have been experimenting with catering and setting up stalls at the Sante and other fairs. Now they’ve graduated to host a Sunday special Mallu breakfast at their home-sweet-home (cliché! but you’ll agree if you happen to visit their cosy apartment).Guests of honour at their inaugural Sunday offering were just two of us; newbie-foodies, who were excited to taste Mallu tiffin for the first time.

Mallu breakfast (5)

You are welcomed with a cutting of Sulaimani Chai

In fact, we were among the guest-list of seasoned gourmands, but were the only enthu-cutlets who turned up.  Perhaps, others on the list didn’t anticipate that they would be missing a finger-licking meal that started with the Sulaimani Chai welcome drink. Neither too sweet, nor bitter, it was brewed well with a hint of lemon and topped with a mint leaf that added to the fresh flavour. Preparing the perfect Sulaimani is quite a challenge, if you’ve happened to taste it at Chandini Chowk in Shivajinagar, it’s like drinking sweetened decoction. The one served on Mosque Road during Ramadan is brewed all day making it too bitter. But Lakshmi’s golden brew is the real Sulaimani, a pipping-hot, rich and gleaming tea that will wake you up even from the deepest of thoughts. While we were savouring the drink, Malayalam film songs from the 60s played in the background and Shankar kept company while Lakshmi was laying out the table.

Mallu breakfast (11)

These are the three kinds of Puttu – wheat, ragi and rice Puttu

Mallu breakfast (1)

Vegetable Stew and Parippu Vada

Finally, bon appetit! The lavish spread of Puttu, Kadala Curry, Appams, Vegetable Stew, Steamed Kerala Bananas, Parippu Vada and Ela Ada was paired with a herbs drink. We started with Puttu, three kinds – rice, wheat and ragi. Steamed in coconut shells, Puttu is a mix of flour (ragi, rice or wheat) with grated coconut that is served with Kadala Curry (Bengal Gram Curry). Puttu-Kadala Curry with Pappadam (paapad) set the flavour for the meal.  Next was the combination of Appams with Vegetable Stew. Our earlier experience at various places having tasted thick and bland pseudo-appams was negated with Malberry’s signature appams. Describing these as velvety soft would be an understatement. This combo was further paired with Steamed Kerala Bananas. Unlike regular bananas, these are a mouthful. Steaming ripens the fruit more making it a gooey sweet side-dish.

Mallu breakfast (3)

Sweet bomb in your mouth: the Ela Ada

Once through with treating our palate with different textures of soft delicacies, we moved to the Parippu Vada – the simple daal vaada sans chillis, cilantro and onions. Neither too spicy, nor deep fried this was the oily culprit with Pappadams in the steamed-only fare. The last serving was Ela Ada. Made with jaggery, sugar and rice flour, thin layers of the mixture is steamed in wrapped banana leaves. You need to unwrap the Ela (leaf) mindfully, else the layer crumbles. The mixed aroma of jaggery and ghee makes Ada a treat for sweet-lovers. During the meal, instead of water, the odourless and tasteless, pink herbs drink is recommended by the hosts. “It helps in digestion,” says Lakshmi, and without a second thought we take her word. While we enjoyed our leisurely brunch with Shankar, he enlightened us with his tales about Kerala and the Malayalee cuisine. “You’ll find Arabian and European influences in most of our preparations. The classic example is the stew that is an import from Europe.” After this first Sunday brunch, the Malberry team is looking forward to more such Sundays with guests.

Mallu breakfast (9)

The warm hosts: Lakshmi and Pramod

Seating is limited, as they serve on their dining table of six. But apart from the expert cooking and the exceptionally delicious meal, it is the couple’s warm company which makes the brunch enjoyable and memorable.  We wouldn’t mind a second helping!

Nutrition Value:

Ideal for runners after a long Sunday workout. The Kadala Curry is full of proteins and the Puttu fills in for carbs. Ela Ada and Steamed Kerala Bananas complete a runner’s meal.

The pink herbs drink helps in digestion and is recommended instead of water. It helps heal a rumbling tummy.

Price: Rs 550 per head

Time: Served 930am onwards till lunch-time

For reservations call: 9845057324

Colby Cottage, our abode for the three-day stay

Call of the Wild

Acres Wild in Coonoor gives the real outdoor experience, away from civilization, amidst hills, tea estates, in the bed of nature

“Coonoor in November? Naah! Not really the holiday destination for the winter month,” was the dismissive response from a seasoned traveler-advisor. It’s too cold, unpredictable showers and a roller-coaster of a journey by bus. Car seems better, was the suggestion. Near and dear ones were a tad bit surprised: It will be too cold, no? That too you are taking your mother along? You better be padded well.

With an earful of advice, yours truly decided to embark on the much-awaited annual trip.

Agreed, November is usually the month to explore warmer places and cities in India. But what’s the point of following the usual holiday calendar.

This holiday was truly earned – booking at Acres Wild Farm Stay was done nearly two months prior (after warnings from traveller friends: book at this place early, it’s not easy to get a cottage) and leave at work had been applied for pretty much three months before the date. With such planning (perhaps even more meticulous than PM’s quarterly itinerary), we absolutely had to get on with our trip.

This was the first time that just two of us – mum and I were travelling on our own. Else, like typical Indian families, we travel in packs of 15 – with the entire khandaan (family) – totally Bollywood style, hum saath saath hain (united, we are). This would be a memorable trip, like mum said, ‘na chudi ki choon choon, na bachchon ki khalbali’ (neither chirping sparrows, nor the hullabaloo of children). True to her latter statement, this was a quiet holiday – away from the city lights, honking motors, yelling vegetable vendors, buzzing phones and non-stop television blaring.

Coonoor Bus Stand

Coonoor Bus Stand

After a delayed 13-hour journey, (by KSRTC’s Rajahamsa Sleeper Bus), when our bodies seemed like live cocktail shakers, literally tossed and turned, as the bus drove up the Nilgiris range, crossing Ooty, we finally reached Coonoor by 10:30am on a sunny Saturday.

From the Coonoor Bus Stand, Acres Wild Farm Stay is at a distance of about 3Km. Local rickshaw drivers charge up to Rs 150 for a ride up to the farm. Younger people will enjoy the steep curves and twists leading up to the farm, but like mum, those in their late 50s, and others with arthritis will perhaps remember the Almighty with each breath. But as you near your destination, every steep bend and bump is forgotten and forgiven.

Acres Wild Farm Stay, Coonoor

Acres Wild Farm Stay, Coonoor

Acres Wild lives up to its name – acres and acres, (22, to be precise) of wild amidst the lush green tea estates and forests of Coonoor. No highway in sight, no sound of urban civilization, just vast expanses of green, the only sore view – actually, not sore, is a huge patch of colourful houses – a tiny village, Gandhipuram, in the thick of greens.


Acres Wild, the day we arrived. 22-acres of farmland

Set up by Mansoor Khan (ex-Bollywood biggie and author) and his wife Tina, this cheese-making farm is for the bona fide outdoor traveller. Unlike the usual gated farms with handful of geese and man-made ponds, Acres Wild’s distinct location and unkempt terrain give it a real character. The farm is divided into three tiers – with three cottages – Cheddar, Haulomi, Colby (our abode for the 3-day-stay), a dining area and a cheese-making room. There isn’t much to do apart from basking in nature’s beauty, gazing at the grazing cows, watching the actual cheese-making process, enjoying leisurely meals, and sitting with a cup of chai outside your cottage – aren’t holidays meant for this?


Munna, the farm manager

That’s what we did on Saturday and Munna, the farm manager: more of a walking-talking encyclopedia was our host (Mansoor and Tina had informed us of their annual break to visit their families in Mumbai, so Munna had to play host in their absence). He took us on a short walk after breakfast, helping us get familiar with the routes and farm workers.

View from atop the farm hill

View from atop the farm hill

Cows grazing around the farm

Cows grazing around the farm

By the time we unpacked and managed to catch a few winks, it was lunch-time, and lo, the farm was enveloped with mist, at the peak of day, 1 pm. Cotton-clouds were floating around the hills, it was cold and grey… but beautiful. Lunch was served late, as we delayed walking down to the dining hall. How could one miss the opportunity to click such a picture-perfect silvery-afternoon!  The entire day was spent aah-ing and ooh-ing looking at such postcard-worthy landscape.  Meals at Acres Wild are the perfect combination of carbs-proteins-fats, with equal proportions of rice, rotis, lentils, dals and Indian desserts. So you don’t feel guilty of indulging. Non-vegetarian meals are available on request, but we preferred vegetarian fare.


On Sunday – 8am at Acres Wild

Next day, Sunday, we decided on a whim to visit the neighbouring hill station, Ooty. Munna, the all-resourceful hand arranged for a rickshaw pickup from the farm to board the 10:30am Nilgiris Queen train from Coonoor Station. Before the actual day started, the fun had already begun. An early start atop the hill was as late as 8am for us city folks, unlike the farm workers who were up before sunrise braving the mist, which grew deeper by 9am. This was the November joy that we discovered… walking through the fog unaware of what lay ahead. Alas! It was just mist and mist. We reached the dining area, sans any wild encounters and left for Coonoor station after a hearty breakfast of eggs, toast, vermicelli, tea and of course, coffee – for me, the coffee-addict!

Nilgiri Queen train

Nilgiri Queen Train


Coonoor Station

The Nilgiri Queen, takes a little more than an hour to reach Ooty. For  Rs.10 ticket, the ride in the quaint little train is worth many times more than the fare. Passing through eucalyptus forests, tiny villages and of course tea estates, the journey will leave the shutterbug exhausted. Just too many sights to miss, so better click and that too quick!

Ooty Station

Ooty Station

Ooty Botanical Garden

Ooty Botanical Garden

The Tea Factory, Ooty

The Tea Factory, Ooty

At the Udhagamandalam (Ooty) Station, there are many autorickshaws lined at the exit gate. Hire a rickshaw for an entire day – to visit all the tourist spots for a decent fare of maximum Rs 800 for eight hours, that includes drop back to the station.  Since we had little time (starting at noon, to catch the last train back to Coonoor at 6 pm), we hired Vijay’s rickshaw for 5 hours at Rs 600. We started our trip with a visit to the Tea Factory first, then the Botanical Garden, Rose Garden, Ooty Lake and the market area. Vijay was an absolute delight – well-behaved, knowledgeable about the spots and more than happy to stop the rickshaw several times for us to click pictures. It’s not every day that you get to see the beautiful Ooty, the camera battery didn’t die and yet, we were able to make it in time for the last train. Once, again, chalo, Nilgiri Queen!

Ooty Rose Garden

Ooty Rose Garden

Ooty Lake

Ooty Lake


An evening in Ooty

Back in Coonoor, our morning rickshaw driver, Sadiq was waiting for us at the station. He had obliged to pick us up on return for the same fare. After a long day trip, we were as hungry and impatient as a lion. Like most newbie foodies, not having done our homework about local eateries, we asked our chaperone to guide us. With his limited experience in assessing non-touristy folks like us, Sadiq took us to Quality Restaurant in upper Coonoor. If looks are deceptive, then this place is the epitome of such deception. What appears to be a hole in the wall from the exterior, turned out to be a fine-dining restaurant that serves chicken stew on a customised live flame on your table! Voila! This was quite a discovery in the hill station.

With our tummies full, it was time to find our way back, up to Acres Wild… and what a rickshaw ride it was. Pitch dark, only the headlight illuminated the 3km ride up to our cottage. We called Munna, concerned; he assured us that nothing drastic would happen apart from a bison encounter. That was scary enough! Half-way up, near the dining area, Murugesh, the other manager in-charge was waiting to escort us back. Despite all the disturbing thoughts and horror stories playing in our heads, we reached our cottage, safe and drained!

Monday, the last day of our stay at Acres Wild turned out to be really pleasant just like the bright sunny weather. The thick, dark grey clouds had made way for bright sun rays, and like Samuel Beckett said in Murphy, “the sun shone, having no alternative.” The cows were back on the greens, grazing lazily, the chickens were out of the cow shed along with week-old calves, sun-bathing, while we were joyously walking around the farm after breakfast with Munna, discovering different plants and trees.


Mary, busy making cheese


Gandhipuram village seen through my sunglasses

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A herd of bisons spotted at the nearest tea estate

From eucalyptus, guava, wild-flowering trees, cheese herbs and many, many varieties of plants, the farm is a blanket-bed of flora and fauna. We also managed to catch Mary at the cheese-making room, while she was on the job. Mansoor’s wife Tina has trained Mary to make cheese. So while they are away, Mary continues with her job. She too is a resourceful hand on the farm. On prior request from guests, Tina conducts cheese-making workshops as short as one-day. “Many solo-woman travellers come here for the workshop,” says Mary. Like all good things, even our stay at Acres Wild had to come to an end. But these were three-fulfilling days – with a quick one-day trip to Ooty. Thoughtfully laid out in the arms of Coonoor, this property is worth a visit. Though it was off-season and only two of us as guests, we didn’t feel lonely. The non-intrusive staff was always on call, and like the perfect vacation, we were away from the city buzz, lolling in nature’s beauty.

Our bus arrived on time at the Coonoor bus stand at 4.45pm, and we were back on our way to the city grind. But from the coo… of Coonoor to the ooo… of Ooty, each moment is etched in our memory and remains fresh like the morning whiff of tea at the farm.


For reservations at Acres Wild visit:

Rickshaw fare from Coonoor Bus Stand to Acres Wild: Rs 120-150

For trust-worthy rickshaw/taxi in Ooty: Vijay: 07598425404

Nilgiri Queen timings from Coonoor: 7:30am, 10:30am & 2:30pm (check with locals)

Last train back from Ooty to Coonoor: 6pm

What to look forward to at Acres Wild (apart from the peaceful farm stay): fresh cheese to eat and take home

Word of caution: Don’t venture out very late at night, bisons and leopards don’t like Homo sapiens’ company

A leap of faith: Interstellar Review


It’s the nth time perhaps, when another Hollywood film toys with the subject of saving people of the earth that is degenerating in the near future. But this isn’t just (air quote) another (air quote) Hollywood film. It’s a Christopher Nolan film, period. An artistically crafted tale that concocts a generous mix of science, relationships, ambition, selfishness, cowardice, heroism, love, hatred and Nolan’s signature of adding a fifth dimension to what already exists.

The story begins in the not-so-far future when the earth is marred by dust storms and food crops are ravaged by blight. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a widower-father, an engineer and an ex-NASA test pilot and his family – two kids – son Tom, daughter Murph and his father-in-law Donald – live on their farm coping with the changing face of the planet. But the urge to explore beyond the visible skies still burns bright in Cooper’s head and the same spark is kindled in Murph. Even as they are leading regular lives of a farming family (Nolan’s anticipation that a shortage of food would perhaps compel even engineers to turn farmers), Murph encounters supernatural episodes in her room that hint towards incline towards metaphysical occurrences.

This is where it all begins, right from her bedroom – where the father-daughter duo discerns that there is more to the ghost’s signs. Their analysis of gravitational anomalies leads them to a secret (defunct) NASA installation that’s led by Professor Brand (Michael Caine). Here, Cooper gets to embark on his dream again, that of exploring the outer space. But it’s a mission – to find a new planet, to save people of the earth, particularly his daughter’s generation and after. Along with Professor Brand’s daughter, Amelia Brand (Anne Hathway), physicist Romilly (David Gyasi) and geographer Doyle (Wes Bentley), Cooper is prepped to take Endurance, the spaceship on an infinite exploration of the space to find the new planet.

Though Murph sobs and fights to stop her father, Cooper’s heart is set on finding the new planet that could save generations to come. Thus begins the journey through the boundless space exploring wormholes, zipping past blackholes and landing on frosted planets where time stands still and is equivalent to decades on the earth. While they count every second out there, in space, back on earth Tom and Murph grow up and Professor Brand grows old. The messages transmitted from the earth bring makes the Endurance crew emotional, particularly Cooper who sobs to see his all-grown up children.

As their journey continues, they land on the frosty ammonia-saturated planet, where they find Dr Mann (Matt Damon) in a stasis. He wakes up and weeps in disbelief that he is back in touch with the human species. While Cooper is keen on coming back to meet his family, Murph is told by a dying Professor Brand that the mission has no end result and perhaps everyone out there will never return.

But Nolan, the exceptional story-teller that he is wouldn’t ever let his characters at the mercy of the audience’s sympathetic imagination. It’s not an open-ended tale and that’s the allure of this story. His hero, Cooper has faith that he will return to his children, particularly his daughter, Murph. So he does return, the only rue is, he meets a dying Murph. But both are on Cooper Station, a NASA station named after Murph where Homo sapiens have found a new home for future generations. While Cooper is happy to see part of his mission a success, he is back on a spaceship to join Amelia who has found another planet for earthlings.

Nolan’s films have always explored the fifth dimension of beings – the mind, the boundless imagination and the power of intellect. Through Interstellar, a medley of theory of relativity, faith, emotions and belief, he has once again touched the insurmountable pinnacle of film-making.

While comparisons, with Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 cult film 2001: A Space Odyssey, are already being drawn, Nolan’s Interstellar is set to be a path-breaking film in contemporary cinema and has secured a place in film archives.

Happy New Year – Review: Good old Bollywood wins laughs


Eid releases & Diwali releases are like long-awaited babies – all a labour of love. Pun intended! Happy New Year, the Khan-Khan film (director Farah Khan and superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s home production) is again one of those long-awaited masala top-up that had whetted the true-blue-Bollywood audience’s appetite.
The story is simple – revenge is on the mind of six-pack abs flaunting, Boston University topper – Charlie (Shahrukh Khan), who chooses to lose fixed fights to earn that extra buck. But what haunts him is his aat-saal-pehle-ki-kahani (8-years-ago) story – his father gets arrested on false robbery charges. It’s now Charlie’s duty to do what his dad couldn’t – take revenge and get the bad guy Charan Grover (Jackie Shroff) behind the bars.
Off goes the hero to get his band of boys together – an ex-army ‘hot-8-pack-abs’ man (Sonu Sood), the next one – his father’s old acquaintance, a Parsi 50-year-old eligible bachelor and an expert-safe maker (Boman Irani), the third – a young, but not-so-wanted, boring hacker (Vivaan Shah) and finally, a Mumbai-chalwalla, tapori, who wants to earn a quick money for his mother’s tumour operation (Abhishekh Bachchan).
The plan is simple, hack into the Grover’s safe – the Shalimar, loot diamonds and get the bad-man arrested for the robbery, just like how the hero’s father was trapped earlier by Grover. While the plan is made and the odds seem minimal, the only way to execute the plan is by winning an international dance competition. While the boys try hard to dance with two-left-feet, trying ballet, Prabhudeva’s leg-twining dance steps to Bollywood’s dhink-chak numbers they don’t get it right till the leading lady’s entry. A bar-dancer and a bazari aurat – the hero calls her that – Mohini (Deepika Padukone), who makes quite an entry with an item number.
From here on, it’s a roller coaster ride – they dance, they make a fool of themselves, yet they manage to win the hearts of millions – not just in India but in Dubai too where the international dance competition is held and the robbery is executed. Amidst the entire hullabaloo, director Khan doesn’t miss even a nano-second of a moment to remind us that we are Indiawalle, and we can get away with anything, even an OTT-Bollywood-film like this.
At the end of a full-length, three-hour comic caper, you just breathe a sigh of relief that it’s over. Yet, you wouldn’t mind the done-to-death dialogues, a tribute to earlier masala films. The only difference is this time it’s bigger, brighter and more dhamakedaar, totally Farah Khan style. If you liked her earlier films, this one will definitely not disappoint.

7 reasons to watch Happy New Year
1- SRK finally breaks the Rahul-jinx, gets a new and cool name – Charlie – and he is the Charlie with his angels.
2- Deepika Padukone is more than eye-candy, though a bar dancer, she gets even the King Khan to dance to her tunes. Then she delivers an original pep-up speech – which is could perhaps become a crash-course note for Indian teams at international events.
3- Boman Irani is at his best, playing the original Parsi bawa.
4- Abhishek Bachchan proves once again that it’s the comic roles that give him his due.
5- Sonu Sood’s eight-pack-abs are all over the screen – tough competition for SRK’s six-pack abs.
6- Farah Khan’s tried-tested-OTT Bollywood masala formula works well with songs at every drop of the hat.
7- Film is peppered with patriotic sentiments, including a PM-lookalike’s speech – so ab ki baar, Happy New Year, hai yaar!

A town full of ancient Churches

On my recent visit to Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu state of India, I discovered that this small town that is nature’s gift to mankind has another blessing that isn’t spoken about much. The old churches and villas that are still preserved by the people of Kodai. Here are some pictures that I managed to click.