The Bad Girls.

So I’ve been thinking. Why doesn’t Veronica (Deepika Padukone) from Cocktail get the guy in the end? Did that have something to do with Veronica being bold, brash, modern and very independent and Meera being more timid, mild and traditional? Well, to those who don’t want to read into it so much, and just go with the obvious – maybe it was just that Gautam (Saif Ali Khan) was genuinely in love with Meera, not Veronica. Well, that’s what I thought too – until I got around to thinking about other two-women-one-man movies.

Salwaar clad Pooja, skirt wearing Nisha

Dil Toh Pagal Hai: Salwaar clad Pooja, skirt wearing Nisha

Let’s take DIl Toh Pagal Hai. We have Nisha (Karishma Kapoor), who is very forward, energetic, modern, and drinks, and we have Pooja (Madhuri Dixit), who is a little more withdrawn but friendly nevertheless and very traditional. Nisha wears jeans and tight tops, and skirts (I don’t think she ever wears any salwaars or such) while Pooja wears mostly salwaars, sarees and ghagras than jeans and tops. Who does Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) fall for in the end? Pooja of course.

Meera

Jab Tak Hai Jaan: Meera with Samar

Akira with Samar

Jab Tak Hai Jaan: Akira with Samar

It’s almost like a hidden pattern I hadn’t noticed before. Take Jab Tak Hai Jaan. God-fearing, rather sheltered, mature Meera (Katrina Kaif) and the extremely loud, dominating, devil-may-care Akira (Anushka Sharma). Who does the guy fall for? Meera.

Renuka on the left, Saro on the right

Ko: Renuka on the left, Saro on the right

And let’s not just make this Bollywood centeric. In the Tamil suspense thriller Ko, we have two different female characters – Saro (Piaa Bajpal) is again, very loud, wears mostly jeans and tees, is open with her feelings and frank while Renuka (Karthika Nair) is more traditional in her clothing most of the time and is more mature. No surprises as to whom the guy falls for. Renuka.

Tina, Rahul and pre-tranformation Anjali

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: Tina, Rahul and pre-tranformation Anjali

Kuch Kuch Hota Hain  is pretty much the biggest example of this. Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) falls for Tina, the more held-together, mature, “womanly” one, and not Anjali, his tom-boyish, loud, effervescent best friend. You may argue, saying that the main focus of the movie was Rahul and Anjali’s love story – but you see, that’s the very thing that amuses me. Rahul only realizes his love for Anjali years later, when she has transformed into well, a long-haired, saree-wearing, bhajan-singing, woman of his dreams.

It’s funny how stereotypes creep into our everyday lives (especially in a country like ours), and in ways we don’t even realize. I wonder what such a pattern indicates. The man always falls for the traditional woman, the “womanly” woman, the woman who is definitely not loud and forward about her feelings. These are the chosen women. The “good girls”. Not Veronica or Nisha or Saro or the earlier version of Anjali. The bad girls?

Even the body language is different, and it's funny that there is an idea that one is "preferred" over the other

Even the body language is different, and it’s funny that there is an idea that one is “preferred” over the other

I’m sorry, but I don’t think having short hair, or being loud or frank or modern or any of those qualities make a woman less womanly or less attractive. I don’t think women should change who they are, and suppress a more vibrant and colourful side of themselves just to make themselves more attractive to a man (or to another woman, whichever way you swing). Be loud, be enthusiastic, rock that short hair – it doesn’t make you less of a woman. Having said that, if you’re genuinely soft-spoken, have long hair, and traditional – that’s great too! I think women and men everywhere should embrace whoever they are, and not try and squeeze themselves into stereotypical shapes.

Of coffees and cliches : A Starbucks Opinion

Starbucks came to India only in the year 2013, which is just about a couple of years back. Bangalore was the fourth city in the country (after Mumbai, Delhi and Pune) to get a Starbucks outlet, and that was in November. So it’s safe to say, It’s been around in Bangalore for only a little more than a year.

My friend, being a major caffeine addict, made sure we all visited it as soon as possible – which we did. And besides, having seen and heard about it in movies and on TV shows, I was curious to see what the hype was all about. My cousin dismissed it by saying “it’s just another coffee shop, why the big fuss?” – and I honestly wanted to know the exact same thing.

The first time (we went to the outlet on M G Road), I had an iced mocha or some thing along those lines, but frankly, I didn’t like it – I found it too watery. It wasn’t a ‘blended’ drink, it was just ‘iced’ – which meant ice cubes floating around, diluting your drink even more (which is great if you like that sort of thing, but not for me).But. I did have a sip of my friend’s Signature Hot Chocolate – and that was honestly the best hot chocolate I’d ever had! The first thing that popped into my mind as it melted on my tongue was that it tasted like liquefied  Lindt chocolate bars! I am an absolute chocoholic, and it catered to my taste buds perfectly -and the Signature Hot Chocolate is now one of my favourite drinks there.

The Sadashivnagar outlet

I really liked my first visit to the place, despite my drink being so watery, because I loved the ambiance and the laid back aura about it. From my second visit, I learnt what to order according to my taste, and I discovered that they had a whole range of fabulous and tempting options to chose from. I had a Java chip Frappuccino, one of their best selling drinks, and I simply loved it. It was thick and cold, and slightly grainy with just  the right amount of choco chips blended into it. This led to several more visits with a friend of mine who has a caffeine addiction and shares my love for this place. We go to Starbucks when we want to study, or to satisfy cravings, or to just talk (and also: free wifi. Need I say more?) – and this has become all the more convenient now because of the new outlet that opened up super close to our college (in Sadashivnagar)! This one is spacious, comfortable, and filled with sunlight through out the day, the staff are friendly and the food is great as always -plus there’s always soothing jazz playing all day.

Raspberry Truffle Mocha ❤

I have tried quite a lot of drinks – some seasonal ones too, like the Christmas special, which was something with praline, and today, a Raspberry Truffle Mocha (which was delicious and smooth, even though the raspberry flavour was a little overpowering). Another drink I enjoy a lot is the Green Tea Frappuccino, which I tasted first because of my friend, who also happens to be quite health conscious (not that this is even remotely healthy – what with all that whipped cream, but well, it creates the illusion). It has that ever so slight bitter green tea flavour that goes so well with the whipped cream, and I love that!

The food at Starbucks is great too – the muffins are huge, the brownies are sweet, the sandwiches are loaded with chicken and veggies, the bread is soft – the only flaw is the exorbitantly priced desserts. The cakes are expensive, but I have tasted their cherry chocolate cake (during one of their free sample testings) and it was quite delicious.

The GreenTea Frappuccino! 😀

I’ve heard a whole lot of opinions on Starbucks – it seems to have garnered quite a lot of attention for a coffee shop – but that’s probably because it’s been a part of so many movies and TV shows and memes and all of that. Some love it (like me). Some pretend they love it – just to fit in I guess? Some think it’s alright. And then there are people who think it’s the cliche-est of all cliches, so over-hyped and not worth it at all.

Here’s my opinion: It’s true, Starbucks is pretty over-hyped. How ever, I find myself attracted to the place because I genuinely love the drinks and food they serve, and most of all, the general atmosphere of the place. And also, I LOVE their whipped cream(which I eat with a spoon because I’m a little weird), and that’s saying something because I don’t really like cream.The few of my friends who are Americans, and also those who have been to Starbucks abroad have told me that the outlets there are more like drive-bys – people get their drinks, and head out. There’s not much place to sit and work, like there is here, in India.

There are only two things I wish could be improved – the pricing of the food items and also the spelling skills of the staff (yes, the number of times my friends’ names have been contorted into something else is hilarious!). So, at the risk of sounding cliche, I’m going to go ahead and say, yes, I love Starbucks! It is a great place to catch up with friends, or to get work done or to simply enjoy some time by yourself. 🙂

It’s a Small World after all!

My friends and I love food and discovering new places to eat. In the last (almost) two years of college, we’ve been to quite a few places around Bangalore, and I thought, why not blog about it?

So here’s my first restaurant review/food/eating-out blog, in what I hope will be a series of many more to come. 🙂

Today, we went to a little place near Ulsoor Lake called Smalley’s. My friend had discovered it (you can visit her blog here: https://aldaloreenblog.wordpress.com/) and was dying to take us there, so we finally decided to see what it was all about.

As soon as I opened the door, I realized why it was called ‘Smally’s’. It’s a really really small place, but with three floors connected by a steep, narrow metal staircase. The interiors were done up in wooden tones- wooden tables and small stools, walls hung with quirky photographs, sayings and caricatures (yes, even one of Miley Cyrus with her infamous tongue out poses side by side with one of Narendra Modi wearing spectacles reflecting lotuses), and one of the walls was made of glass, giving a nice overview of the busy road below. Glass bottles and jars with lights in them hung suspended from the low ceiling (a really low ceiling, so you’ve got to watch your head!) made me think that the place would look really pretty in the evenings. There was nice music playing through out (some might complain about it being a tad bit too loud, but we were fine with that).

The interiors at the first floor at Smalley's

The interiors at the first floor at Smalley’s

Since we went at a rather odd time – around three o clock in the afternoon – the place was a bit empty, and the third floor was not open yet. We chose a comfortable corner spot away from the huge glass wall, near some stray square cushions, and brushed through the menu. The place had pretty much everything – from steaks to salads, pizza, lasagna, pasta, burgers and even dishes like ‘Mangalorean chicken curry and rice’, for those who were in the mood for that.

We started off with something called ‘Lord of the Wings’ – basically, spicy chicken wings with a cooling dip. It came quite quickly, and was finished even more quickly, on account of us being very hungry, and it being super delicious. We only remembered to take a photo of the chicken wings after the plate was empty, hence no photo. The chicken was soft and juicy with a nice spicy and crispy marination. The mayo and garlic dip complimented it perfectly. The only qualms we had was that the quantity was a little less – five wings.

Macaroni with chicken and fusilli with chicken

Macaroni with chicken and fusilli with chicken

For our main course, we ordered Chicken macaroni and chicken fusilli pastas (which arrived much, much earlier than the rest of the order) and two chicken lasagnas. The fusili pasta was cheesy and creamy, and really wonderful with big chunks of chicken. The macaroni was spicy and full of flavour, also with big chunks of chicken. The lasagnas looked quite small, but turned out to be satisfyingly filling, and very yummy indeed.

chicken lasagna

chicken lasagna

the already-dug-into New York baked cheesecake with blueberry topping

the already-dug-into New York baked cheesecake with blueberry topping

For dessert, we had Walnut brownies with marshmallows, chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream as well as New York baked cheesecake. Both were delicious – the marshmellows oozed out of the chocolatey brownies and the cheesecake was dense but melt-in-the-mouth, with a generous layer of blueberry topping (without which, it would not have tasted as good as it did) . While the brownies were enough to satisfy two people, the slice of cheesecake was quite small – also, for those who prefer more airy, light kinds, this is not for you (I like my cheesecakes slightly dense and thick).

brownies, marshmallows,  chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream and all sorts of goodness!

brownies, marshmallows, chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream and all sorts of goodness!

We thoroughly enjoyed the lunch – made even more enjoyable perhaps, because we were so darned hungry when we came. The place was comfortable, the service was good, the food looked really appetizing and tasted great – plus, it was light on our pockets too (it was all under thousand five hundred rupees)! We’ll definitely be visiting Smalley’s again. 😀

Smally’s Resto Bar:

Address: LG09, Sky Walk 5/1, Assaye Road, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560008

Phone:074067 62559
Open from 11 am to 11 pm

For all of India’s Daughters.

Yesterday, the BBC released a documentary film recording the events of the gang rape of a young girl that happened on the 16th of December, 2012, in India’s national capital, Delhi. It included never-before-seen interviews with the victim’s parents as well as the rapists’ family and friends. It also included the mass protests that shook the country after the incident. They called this documentary ‘India’s Daughter’.

Today, the government of India banned the documentary, declaring it “a very sensitive issue” – only increasing the public attention it had been receiving.

 

As I watched the documentary, I went through a series of emotions – mostly anger, disgust and then finally, heart break (which I did not expect). Predominantly, I felt a rage – an explicit, murderous and infuriating rage – at the people who did those inhuman things to her and more so, the people who had the audacity and the sick mentality to actually support and justify such atrocities. It was a gang rape, a brutal, heinous crime against a young girl, a college student. It was so barbaric that the organs in her body were destroyed, never to recover again. Her intestines trailed out of her, she was beaten and bitten, and had an iron rod thrust into her. After this treatment, she was thrown out, naked and bleeding, along with her friend (who was also battered and bruised), on the roadside. Even the most dangerous criminals have not been subject to such barbaric acts for their crimes of murder, trafficking, robbery – but it is an absolutely fitting and deserving punishment for a girl who is out late in the night, to watch a movie with a male friend. How, I repeat – HOW – and in which sick, twisted universe is this justified? Why would anyone try and justify something like this?

And no – do not bring in Indian “culture”. Like Chimamanda Adiche said, “Culture does not make people. People make culture.” It is people like these, who blame “culture” for obviously wrong things, that defile our country’s culture. Culture is constantly changing. Going out at a certain time of the day or night, being able to wear what one wants, and being with members of the opposite sex is not  a crime. Trying to curb that, or even something as atrocious as justifying rape for something like that – it just boggles my mind, the immense and utter stupidity of it all. Words cannot describe my infinite disgust and fury towards the narrow-minded mentality of the two lawyers who defended the rapists – who, in the first place, had admitted to their crimes. The two lawyers seem to be of a different, and what seems to be a more misogynous frame of mind – one of them even claiming that he would punish his sister or daughter if she ever had a pre-marital sexual relationship by burning them alive. The shocking truth is that such mentality does run through the minds of a scarily large number of people, and it is this that is the ultimate enemy. What’s more disturbing is that it runs through the minds of women as well!

View image on Twitter

I had decided, half-way through the documentary, that this would be an angry blog post, a rant, a vent for my anger. But I never thought I’d be left feeling so broken-hearted, so drained of all the fury, at the end. The last words Jyothi (the victim) said to her mother, before she succumbed to her brutal injuries in the hospital were – “Sorry Mummy. I gave you so much trouble. I am sorry.” More than anything else, this shattered me into a thousand pieces, because at that moment I realized that that would’ve been the exact same thing I would have wanted to tell my own mother, had I been in that position. And I knew this truth, deep in my heart, because I am an Indian girl, and it would take more than an education and the most amazing parents in the world to rid me of the guilt of feeling like a burden.

Jyothi felt guilty – even after watching an entire nation stand up for her, and fight for her and give her the title “Nirbhaya” (which mean “the brave one” or “without fear” or “courageous”) – she felt guilty for all the trouble she had caused. Only except, it wasn’t she who caused all this trouble, it was the group of men who decided to rape her.

And this exactly is the ultimate enemy.

Rape is not the fault of the victim. It is the fault of the rapist. Even after the number of times this has been said, it still has not sunk into the mindsets of people yet. Only when that happens, will there be any semblance of change in the country. And right now, change is what this country desperately needs.