A New Year’s Eve Well Spent But ..

I had been attending the Nilgiris’ Cake Exhibition religiously every year since the last four years. So I decided I will not to give this year’s exhibition a miss at any cost. I could not make it to the show during the long Christmas weekend so I chose to go during the long New Year weekend instead.

The Tabebuia Impetiginosa were in bloom around the city. There are plenty of them at Cubbon Park. Cubbon Park is just a stone’s throw from St Joseph’s Indian High School, the venue of the cake show. So I decided to follow the visit to the cake show with a walk through the Tabebuia blooms. At the end of the day I decided to do a round of window shopping at Commercial Street and if possible some photography there too.

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I arrived at the cake show a little past 3pm. A peek into the venue revealed a large holiday crowd most of whom were dressed to the nines. Like every year, the “Photography Strictly Prohibited” banners were put up at every nook and corner of the exhibition. But then I had always managed to click despite these warnings. However, things didn’t turn out to be so cool this time. Even as I focussed on the Gateway of India creation in sugar and cream, a bouncer came running towards me and asked me to stop shooting. But the moment he turned his back I clicked a picture of the oh-so-cute Giant Pandas, only to be warned again this time by a security guard. A lot of people didn’t pay heed to the bouncers and security guards so I continued clicking. But sadly, I had to race past the exhibits and click fast to avoid catching the attention of the bouncers. As a result, I missed taking pictures of a few.

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The Gateway of India turned out to be the cynosure of attention and a favourite with selfie enthusiasts with the Giant Pandas a close second.

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Another cake which grabbed eyeballs was the one of Virushka. The cake avatar of the Indian cricket captain and his actress wife did not quite match their real-life looks but nevertheless was a commendable work of art.

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I had to strain my feet to click a picture of a mermaid.

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There was a representation of the stock market bear and bull too!

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The minions in their cake form simply wowed.

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It was hard to miss this cake of a princess in front of a dressing table and another of a princess in a palanquin.

 

 

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There was Kannada matinee idol Dr Rajkumar too in his cake avatar and the oh-so-cute angry birds.

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Owing to the presence of too many security personnel and bouncers, I made a quick exit from the cake show and joined other visitors as they made a beeline to the Consumer Fair being held adjacent to the cake show. There was nothing interesting here for me and I left the fair with a couple of trinkets.

Cubbon Park was a five minute walk from the cake show venue. In no time, I was inside the gates of the park. Like at the cake show, there were many visitors at the park.

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A large nest caught my eye first. I wish I knew whose nest it is. Next was a canopy of a rain tree. The canopies of rain trees are always a delight to photograph.

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As I approached the Tabebuia Impetiginosa trees, I noticed huge crowds around them. There were selfie enthusiasts too who were sadly vandalising the blooms. A group of vendors selling colourful balls added to the colour riot. The ball sellers were doing brisk business. Alongside the balls, the vendors were selling bubble makers too. As I walked through all the colour and noise, I felt intoxicated with happiness. It was a heavenly feeling to be in the midst of this joyful atmosphere.

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A  lot of vendors were sitting on the pavements of the park and were happily selling their ware.

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As dusk fell, I started walking out of the park. Keeping in mind the untoward incidents that happened on New Year Eve the last year, this year there were a whole lot of platoons of cops and citizen security personnel around the place some of them with trained dogs.

I caught an auto to Commercial Street to experience the New Year celebrations at the busy shopping hub. I was joined by my friend Kannika and her daughter. We had such a good time shopping and eating that we didn’t feel like leaving the place. It was a little past 9pm when we bid goodbye and parted.

On my way home I reminisced about the good time that I had at the park and then shopping. It has been quite some time that I had been out with a friend and I was very happy. Even as I wished that I have more such days in the coming year, I got to know that the condition of a close one is pretty bad and that shocked me no end. All of a sudden, my world crashed!

 

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: “2017 Favorites”

Among my favorite pictures that I clicked in 2017 I would pick this one of a mother monkey grooming her child. This was clicked on a lovely February afternoon. I was strolling through Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens in quest of that one picture that would make my day when I came across a group of monkeys. I went on a clicking spree. Among the pictures that I took that afternoon, this one touched me most because it symbolises mother’s love.

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/2017-favorites/

Movie Review: Borg Vs McEnroe

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Picture courtesy: thesun.co.uk.com

I have never seen Bjorn Borg in action (on television). When television sets came to our homes way back in the early 1980s, the legendary Swedish tennis star had called it quits. The iconic Borg-McEnroe rivalry was too short-lived. And I didn’t get to see much of McEnroe either. I must have got to see just a couple of matches between him and Jimmy Connors. As a kid, I enjoyed McEnroe throw tantrums at the linesmen and umpires and hear the subsequent boos from the crowd especially at Wimbledon. The “Superbrat” was an entertainer both with his racquet and also his mouth.

Coming back to his rivalry with Borg, we all knew that Borg was the ice-cool Swede and McEnroe, the badly behaved guy.

In spite of the recently released Borg-McEnroe movie not having garnered good reviews, I wanted to watch the flick in the hope of catching some of the original match footage and of course McEnroe’s tantrums.

Although, I did get to see wee bits of the match footage and the famous McEnroe temper, what struck me most was the way Borg was portrayed. While on the court, the great Swede (portrayed by Sverrir Gudnason) was cool and composed, off the court and inside the four walls of his home he seemed to be anything but cool. The Swedish superstar was a bundle of nerves and in fact a mental wreck. His coach Lennart Bergelin had the most unenviable job of not only handling his ward’s game but also his extremely low morale. On the other hand, although McEnroe (portrayed by Shia LaBeouf)  was spitting tantrums on the court, off court he came across as one cool dude. Off course, unlike Borg, he didn’t have anything to lose. Borg had a huge reputation at stake and four straight Wimbledon titles under his belt. He so badly wanted a fifth one but McEnroe couldn’t wait to foil his bid. The thought of losing the Wimbledon final to McEnroe gave Borg sleepless nights and made him sweat in fear. Was Borg really that kind of a mental wreck or the movie exaggerated it all? Was the low morale the reason of his exit from tennis at the early age of 26? In the movie, Borg’s ice-cool image definitely takes a beating and it is McEnroe who comes out tops in spite of the famous five set loss to Borg in the 1980 Wimbledon final.

While I wouldn’t say the movie is a must watch it definitely makes you soak in the golden era of Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, two of the game’s greatest players. And there are quite a few entertaining moments. I loved the one when during a Wimbledon semifinal game with Jimmy Connors, McEnroe lets go a barrage of tirades at the linesmen and a visibly disturbed Connors walks to the net and asks McEnroe to shut up (Ha ha ha). Connors is believed to have once told him, “My son behaves better than you”!

 

Movie Review: Murder On The Orient Express

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Picture sourced from the movie site.

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Murder On The Orient Express” lives up to the reputation of her famous work. Like the book, elements of crime, drama and suspense will have you glued to your seat. The story is set in the Calais-bound Orient Express.  The train is unusually crowded for a winter day. It is snowing everywhere. Among the passengers is detective extraordinaire  Hercule Poirot who was lucky to make it into the train as all the seats were occupied. If he made it into the train it was because of his acquaintance with Bouc, the train’s director who also happens to be travelling in it. Things take a turn when Samuel Rathchett, a passenger in the train is found murdered. Bouc entrusts the case to Poirot. As the movie progresses each and every passenger turns out to be a suspect. The end of the story is as incredible as the plot. You will never be able to guess who the murderer is.  Only Poirot’s genius helps solve the mystery.

As I had read the book many years back and had forgotten the story, watching the movie turned out to be an all-the-more exhilarating experience.

Kenneth Branagh shines as Hercule Poirot. I wonder how he managed the combat scenes. Michelle Pfeiffer has perfectly portrayed Caroline Hubbard. Despite his brief experience as Samuel Ratchett, Johnny Depp makes a lasting impression as the character he has portrayed.

The interiors of the Orient Express accentuated by the muted lights complete the great movie experience. The settings are perfect for a murder mystery. Watch this flick on a lazy holiday afternoon or late evening and don’t forget to take in a tub of popcorn.