The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Movie Review

World War II, the struggle of Jews under the claws of German Army. Everywhere there was bloodshed and the small City of Guernsey was not exception. Here is a movie review of a movie ” The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”

Last week was not as great. I fell down and twisted my ankle, had severe neck and head pain. Already in the pain, I was helpless and rested. One such evening and I came across this wonderful movie of Lily James ( Cinderella fame). The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. The name is quite mouthful but the movie was certainly awesome.

Based on the backdrop of World War II, the novel is written by Mary Ann Shaffer‎; ‎Annie Barrows, believe me I am not yet an avid reader so, I did not know this book too.

Surfing on Netflix is not bad as they say, it just gets you movies of different genres at your fingertip and nothing is more addictive than that.

Four neighbours Mrs. Maugery, Isola, Dawsy, Elizabeth and Eben meet over a dinner. But this dinner is special. It is a feast for all these people who have been suffering from acute starvation. In the fear of getting caught ( during world war any type of gathering was prohibited), Elizabeth says that they met for book reading and the name of their book reading club is spontaneously tossed by Elizabeth as The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Potato peel pie is in the memory of the pie made of potatoes by Eben. As interesting as it sounds, these people really meet over book reading sojourns, they read and read a lot.

“We read books, talked books, argued over books and became dearer and dearer to one another.”

― Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

In the meanwhile, you have Juliet Ashton, a writer from London, who has a typical life of a writer but she has a quest of something new and better. She receives a letter from Dawsy Adams of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society asking her to send one of the books and stating their condition as well as the story of the society.

This intrigues Juliet to the point that she goes to Guernsey. The movie depicts the inward journey of Juliet as she reaches Guernsey, meets and knows these people.

“Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.”

Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

 

The movie was simple yet sent a very powerful message. The depiction of world war II and the struggle of people is portrayed very realistically.  We can only imagine the problems that Jews faced during WWII. I have read “Diary of Anne Frank” and that along with some history lessons are my windows to WWII. I was glad that I could finally see something related to WWII.

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is heartwarming and fresh, at the same time it makes you think about the hardships that people faced during WWII. Juliet and her journey inwards could be felt in due course of the movie and it ended on a positive note. In short, the movie has everything which makes it a good watch.

“All my life I thought that the story was over when the hero and heroine were safely engaged — after all, what’s good enough for Jane Austen ought to be good enough for anyone. But it’s a lie. The story is about to begin, and every day will be a new piece of the plot. ”

Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

These people with the reading society started breathing books. In any of their dialogues you will find Charlotte Bronte’s quote or you find Jane Austen. While reading these books which were the only entertainment that they had and the only way to be positive in their lives, these people would be transcending themselves in the world of no chaos no world war which made it so special.

Three days on and I have not been able to forget the movie and some of the dialogues.

Some things stay with your heart forever. I am sure this movie is one of them….

I should also read the book perhaps.

“That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive – all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.”

Mary Ann Shaffer, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

 

A Place With A Promise

A Place With A Promise

A place where you get to know what is the real PEACE. A place where you get to see “happy faces”. A place where you see kindness, compassion, discipline and the power of prayers. A place where you see all smiles and no frowns.

A Warm Welcome

The moment I entered the Sriperumbudur Premise of  Society for Educational and Economic development (SEED), I was overwhelmed by the warm welcome of nearly fifty children (Age 5-10 years). And when they saw my 1.25 months old, well, everyone wanted to lift the baby in their own hands.

No wonder many did, with the expertise of a pro! After all the lives they have lived , they have  mastered the art of loving others, taking care of others and living life with no complains.

The teachers cum guardians received us and I felt the warmth of the place at that very moment. The feeling of being one with them started sinking my heart.

 

Knowing Them

A quick introduction of the children and teacher followed. Bharani, Niveda, Pavithra, Mohnesh, and Lakshmi and forty five more children along with the single parent mother and the teacher took us to see their classrooms. Well decorated classrooms loaded with information would make our urban schools go for a run. The children were enthused to show us the classroom,though it was a Sunday.

They quickly made us move to the new attraction in the projector room. “Wa wa Padam Pakulam”! One of them was heard inviting his other buddy.

I loved the way they quickly took their seats around the small round table without being directed and ordered by the teacher.All of them unanimously sang the poems together,and were happy to sing the songs learnt by them.

We were then taken to the prayer room, to their rooms and their locker rooms. One of the boys showed me his bag. A bag where he has kept his belongings. I thought to myself,”

Life is indeed great when you don’t carry the excess baggage of unnecessary things and memories”! Small things made these children happy.

As the food was getting ready, children assembled on the ground for the prayers. A prayer can definitely do wonders when the power fails. The prayer went on and these small children made a beeline with their plates to the dining room. One after the other, they took their places and waited till the madam gave them instructions to eat. Not a single eye was open when they again recited their prayers.

Standing there, I just wished and prayed for the welfare of these gems who were burdened with the sorrows of life.

The Discipline

Indeed life teaches in several ways. After eating their meals, the children showed their plates to the teacher one by one. The teachers have cultivated this habit to ensure that there is no wastage of food.Some older children were seen feeding the younger ones.What maturity I thought to myself. Nursing ability and  affection comes naturally when one faces challenges in life and that too at such a tender age. The children ate the food well and after some time they waved off a bye.That was their sleeping time.

We happily took their leave and while returning home numerous thoughts came to my mind.

Somewhere I also knew that these children were extremely self confident and needed no pity.

The organisation is doing enough for them so that they can live a life with dignity by inculcating right values and morals. SEED is successful in lending them education, vocational training, technical training and the life skills. What they need is your support, your interest and your time.

Our Turn

What you can do for them?

  1. Create an awareness about the organisation.
  2. Motivate and support the children
  3. Sponsor meals/ Sponsor a child or more
  4. Help them in kind( stationery, clothes,bedding, books)
  5. Volunteer with SEED
  6. Or Fund their infrastructure

SEED is a home away from home to the needy children.This Non-Governmental Organisation has been functioning, from the year 1981, when it was established for the welfare of the miniscule percentage of underprivileged children.

1)Children with parents who are serving life term.

2) Children with parents who are suffering from ailments like Cancer, AIDS and leprosy.

3) Children with single mothers.

4) Children who have lost their parents to crime or murder and many more.

The smiling faces were flashing over my mind. I wish to go to this extended family of mine on and off. Visit them at http://seeduniversal.org/ or personally at

SEED

Society for the Educational and Economic Development (Regd.)

(opp.) P.W.D. Inspection Bungalow, Chennai – Bangalore High Road,

Venkatrangam Pillai Chatiram, Sriperumbudur – 602 105

Tamil Nadu State, India.

Phone: 044-27107341

Mobile: 9444902322

The Most Streamed Crime Thriller On Netflix – Sacred Games

The Most Streamed Crime Thriller On Netflix – Sacred Games

Introduction

Sacred Games a Crime Thriller Netflix series is out. Violence, Sex, Crime, and Drama have been the specialties of Netflix and the shows such as House of Cards, Suits, Lust Stories ( An Indian Series) are some examples. I have not read the book by Vikram Chandra but have seen movies from the two directors Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane so what was in the store could be predicted.

Conquering the Maximum City

The story is of a wannabe Mumbai Don Ganesh Gaitonde played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Looking simple and grounded from his attire, Gaitonde’s rise in the criminal world of Bombay during 80s and 90s is no less dramatic.

From the cold-blooded murder at a very small age to more than 100 that he commits as a revenge, Gaitonde uses politics of religion, violence,  sexual abuse, and crime to become the DON of erstwhile Bombay.

When there is Politics of religion there are people involved from all walks of life like politicians, RAW agents, police officers, transgenders and even ISI.

The Battleground

Sartaj Singh a dutiful police officer who is far less than ruthless is played by Saif Ali Khan. An underperforming officer who does not have any credit to his name suddenly gets a huge rush of hormones after getting a call from Gaitonde.

The thrill of following a huge crime plot in his otherwise boring life with a failed marriage lands him in many jarring situations.

A detailed account of an underdog facing situations proving himself to be much superior to his ruthless colleagues can be seen as the plot uncovers rather SLOWLY.

While watching the series one is constantly torn between Gaitonde and Sartaj. Gaitonde remains with you throughout the series and you keep a company with Sartaj in his deadly expeditions.

Utterly promiscuous behavior by Gaitonde was one of the most expected things from the plot, the whole series is full of repugnant sexual encounters by the Don and his gang. Millions of choicest cuss words which are used by one and all in the series need a mention for making the whole plot more real and murkier which is not so in the book.

Gaitonde’s ladies are strong and beautiful in their own right. Most importantly all the ladies in the series speak their mind unabashedly like the real women.

Sinner’s Delight

A Don is not born every day, he is made over the years by Religious, Political and Communal unrest in the country of 100 crores. The unrest in the outer environment is portrayed neatly on screen. But more than that

the emotional unrest which the religion torn India had in the early 80s and 90s is more profound. Gaitonde is a product of it and also the prey. Others are merely people aiding him to reach his end.

Netflix’s infamous cliffhanger ending was not very surprising and why not? Not every story should end on the basis of morals, some are left to the imagination of the viewer.

Once Upon A Story…

Once Upon A Story…

Stories are a daily part of our life. We tell our families after returning from work nothing but stories. Stories of how it was a breathtaking event to catch/miss the bus, how we have convinced a client of the services we render or how we have solved a problem at workplace. Love stories, patriotic stories, mythological stories or the historical stories each genre holds a special place in our heart.I am all ears when I hear three golden words “once upon a time’.

What does your usual Sunday look like?

Well, mine is full of home chores and a little bit of prep for the week ahead. How mundane! You must be thinking.. but that is pretty much a life of every woman around the world. So, this Sunday was not so special. I wanted to finish my read “Mansfield Park by Jane Austen”. Well, if my SIL reads this blog post she would definitely say “ What?, You have not finished it yet?”. Well, I should tell her that I have been doing some “ Busy Nothings” since last 3-4 weeks. 🙂

“Busy Nothing” is a word which is coined by Jane Austen centuries before.

It still fits my schedule many times. I do not want to put the novel down. Who would not like to visit Northamptonshire every now and then to have English tea along with a little tete-a-tete with the British Folks of the 18th century. 🙂 🙂

Transcending to the places mentioned in the book is the general protocol of reading any book. Slowly the author starts speaking to you and you realize that you are in his/her world.

Before the kind of entertainment that we have now, it was through the folklore and tales by grandma that we used to do this time travel. Some are meant to learn a lesson while many are left to the audience whether what to take away.

Our paternal grandma whose name was “ Padmavati” used to weave so many stories and tell us after we came back from school. In her stories, she never referred to Ramayana or Mahabharata, she was always interested in telling folklore much to her audience’s ( Shrilekha and me) delight.

While telling us the stories she used to create simple rhymes which were easy to remember.

The stories have been etched in the memories of me and my sister. My grandma lives on forever in our memories through her stories.

One such “ Busy Nothing” Sunday noon, and I get a call from Shrilekha, asking whether will I be interested in a storytelling session by Vikram Sridhar. I said what??. Sensing that it might not interest me she said, “Okay, don’t come, but I will go.”

My home was bustling with guests by that time and I knew that they were all engaged in chatting.I did not want to indulge myself in those ‘Busy Nothings” yet again so, I just thought, let me take a look at this Adult Storytelling session.

We reached the venue which is a beautiful place on 6th Main Road RA Puram. The name of the studio is Wandering Artists ( So apt). As we reached there were around 20 people seated in a circle comfortably listening to Vikram who was dressed in kurta-pajama with a nerdy look.

The session started with a simple folk tale explaining why Sambhar is named as Sambhar?

Starting a new session with something related to food was expected but this simple story was awesome and involved the tales and stories from three to four different states.

The storyteller was smart enough to engage people’s attention who were from varied places and states. Once that was complete, he continued his narrative with a King and Queen Cobra story. The story was simple and many people must have heard it. But what made it special was the narrative.

The sound of a baby crying and the description of the function hosted by the King created a vivid impression.

By now, Shrilekha and I had become the small kids aged 7 and 10 years and were just watching Vikram as he was progressing with the story.

The story ended and the moral was left for our imagination. Vikram smartly moved to the next story of a goddess and that was another treat.

Again, there wasn’t a mythological account of any of this. It was a pure folklore, pretty much as my grandma used to tell me.

Post Yellamma, Vikram took us to a quick and simple story of a cow named Punyakoti. It was a heart-wrenching story of a new mother Punyakoti who promises the Tiger to return as his meal after feeding her baby.

Our next stop was Agra and the darbar of Mughal Emperor Akbar with Birbal. Soon after that, we went to Krishnadevaraya’s kingdom to watch the smartness of Tenali Raman.

By now, we were all immersed in the folklore and living every character.

Vikram smartly moved us onto a kind of Shaikh Chilli story. It involved inputs from everybody. Before we knew the session was over and we came out with a heart filled with joy and brain filled with different colorful canvases.

Rich Indian folk lore has a long way to go.Today’s session was a revival of memories with my dearest Aaji who was an expert to share beautiful folk stories.I wish I get more opportunities to listen to more stories and handover them to the future generation.

For Vikram’s next session check out his FB page

https://www.facebook.com/vikram.sridhar.1?fref=ufi&rc=p 

 

 

How much screen time is too much? Ask you phone

How much screen time is too much? Ask you phone

Little Ms.K is fond of devices, gadgets and all kind of technology. Every gadget that we got home, was first used by her to the fullest. But slowly, she was getting into a habit of using gadgets like all of us do. As a mom, I was terribly worried about the screen time that she used to spend. I have always emphasized on child lead weaning for anything, and this time I was determined that she should get the control of switching off the gadget off by herself. As a 7-year-old, little Ms. K has now weaned herself from all the gadgets which is a relief.

We as parents should also try and use self-lead weaning from these devices. They are very helpful for people in every walk of life but when it becomes an addiction it is harmful for sure.

Recently Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has spoken about how Apple is working on introducing some features in iOS12 which may help all adults and teens keep an eye on how much mobile phones they are using in a day which I would say is a great tool.

What are the things which you will be able to do with iOS12’s manage screen time feature:

Activity report for total time spent in different apps, usage across all the categories of apps.

Apple Screen Time Displayed Categorically

Apple Bed Time The enhanced Do Not Disturb Feature

The Do Not Disturb feature has always been there in iOS devices but now there would be dimming of display and no display of notification till the prompted time.

You can now get your notifications delivered quietly 🙂 group them

Facebook

Get the notifications delivered quietly

 

iOS12

Get suggestions from Siri on which notifications to be kept and which can be managed.

  • You get to see how your screen time is divided across all apps.
  • Choose your downtime with the apps, with the downtime the apps will have a badge stating that they are not allowed to be used during that time.
  • Parents can set up time for children’s usage.  

In the recent interview, Apple CEO, Tim Cook says that they have always kept their users as their priority while designing the ultimate technological experience. Hope the new feature helps us keep the phones at bay 🙂

Disclaimer: All the images are downloaded from

https://www.apple.com/in/newsroom/2018/06/ios-12-introduces-new-features-to-reduce-interruptions-and-manage-screen-time/

The article is inspired from

https://www.apple.com/in/newsroom/2018/06/ios-12-introduces-new-features-to-reduce-interruptions-and-manage-screen-time/

https://www.npr.org/2018/06/05/616980803/transcript-apple-ceo-tim-cook-on-screen-time-controls-working-with-china

 

Mindful Eating – Unlearning and Relearning

Mindful Eating – Unlearning and Relearning

The first and foremost memory that I have of food is the “Dahi Poli” which I used to have in my grandma’s mud house. The dahiwali used to bring dahi in mud pots from her village in the morning and Aaji used to make hot phulkas during the same time. I used to eat 1 fulka happily at the age of 2-3 years. I never knew what was mindful eating then, but as I understand the Dahi ( Yogurt) was locally sourced and fulka was made by Aaji. Some years before when I was obsessed with counting the macronutrients in the food. I still could find that the meal of Dahi Poli around 11 AM was the best that I could have as a child and also as an adult. It was valid then and is valid now. Then what was missing in between?

After my graduation, I started working and the timings were really bad. I was always in the obese category but now with odd timings and odd eating pattern, I started putting on the considerable amount of weight coupled with a lot of acidity. Then started the part called unlearning.

Unlearning: –

Rice has simple carbs, chapathi has complex carbs. Groundnut oil is bad for health. Sunflower oil or Karadi oil is good for health. Never touch a Mango, Banana, Chickoo, it will put on weight. Have more green leafy vegetables etc were some more health secrets that I started living by. I worked out sincerely and did not eat well as per today’s standards. I reduced my weight several times in my life and bounced back to more, those many times. I never thought about mindfulness while eating post my graduation. I worked in different cities, ate whatever was available and I cook. Post marriage, I again started working out pretty regularly and reduced around 20 kgs by not eating well as per today’s standards. I never touched Mango, Milk, Chickoo, Banana and my favorite Guava during those days. Unlearning the mindfulness which Aaji ( grandma ) and Aai ( mom ) passed on to me was a major drawback. I ended up having IBS ( Irritable Bowel Syndrome) which is a group of symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain and vomiting. 3 years of acute IBS brought me back to rethink the overall food habits and there is where I started relearning.

Relearning:

Mindful eating needed to be incorporated back to my lifestyle. But before that I needed to fix some things. Groundnut oil made entry to the kitchen with sesame oil from Kachchi Ghani. Switched to cow’s milk and homemade curd. Incorporated grain shuffle like one grain each day . It included eating jowar, bajra, wheat, rice ( normal white rice), nachni on a specific day in a week. Started having pickles, papads and homemade jams. All desserts which are homemade were welcome. It included Puran Poli, Coconut Burfi, Laddoo, Semiya Kheer, Shakkarai Pongal, Modak . Bringing ghee back on varan bhat helped bloating and weight loss. I can not specify in words how happy I am to include all this back in my food. You can see me a couple of pounds here and there but that does not matter to me as I have food which makes me happy. Since last 3 years I am having Banana everyday in the morning which has immensely helped curing IBS. No cramps, no constipation and bye bye to diarrhea. Bringing grandma’s wisdom back in life brought me back to life. As I have a spoonful of shakkarai Pongal laden with ghee and sugar, I say that there is nothing better than believing in your natural palette and trusting your instincts while eating. This is as they say – Mindful Eating. I have found myself through mindful eating, have you?

This post is a part of the Godrej Food Trends Blogging Contest hosted by FashionableFoodz in association with Vikhroli Cucina and should not be repurposed, republished or used otherwise. The content herein is owned by the blogger. Godrej Food Trends Blogging Contest, FashionableFoodz or Godrej is not responsible for any infringement caused. #GodrejFoodTrends2018Contest  #GFTR2018