‘Tis more about the popcorn


The school holidays have begun. Time expands itself to fit our mood of purposelessness and lassitude. We laugh in glee at the clock, for we are the masters now!

We decide to go watch a movie at the neighbourhood multiplex. And when we enter the complex, the aroma of popcorn is tantalizing. For me, it is more about the popcorn now, and less about the movie.

We stand in line and buy huge tubs of salted popcorn and drinks. We scan our ticket and walk into the dark hall, our hands carefully balancing the popcorn and drinks, eyes scanning the alphabets for our row.

Soon, we settle into our seats. With a gentle tug, the popcorn tub opens. Movie trailers play….and finally the movie begins.

My eyes are glued to the screen. My hands and mouth are in perfect sync. Delicious handfuls of salted popcorn are seamlessly transferred from the tub to my mouth. The popcorn is perfect, and crunchy.

Now and then, there is a surprise caramel popcorn masquerading as a salted one! I take sips of my drink. The plot thickens and the popcorn tastes even better as the movie winds through the good and the bad, the laughter and the tears.

Just when we are about halfway through the movie, I realize that my stock of popcorn is almost over. I now slow down and relish whatever is left. An acute sense of disappointment remains.

Sigh! It is done.

Now, I settle down to the task of movie watching!

When kids say the most unexpected things !


Recently, I was involved in a project, whose focus was on the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

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      Courtesy – http://www.pinterest.com

The stall that I manned was for the recycling and repurposing of old CDs. 

Being a movie buff, I had a whole collection of old CDs that I had taken  with me for this recycling project. My teammates and I planned to demonstrate how one could use these old CDs to make candle holders, coasters, wall hangings, and the like.

Due to the limited time available, we could only demonstrate our projects, and could not get people to try them out.

People came in batches to the stall.  While we were busy, a little boy asked me, “Could I have this CD?”

I was happy to see his keen interest and said, “Sorry, this is only a demo piece and I cannot give this to you, but now that you have seen how it is done, you can try it out at home yourself, hmm?”

He replied, “No, not that CD. I would like that CD.”

He pointed to one of my old movie CDs and said, “Can I have that CD (pointing to a children’s animated film).  I haven’t watched that movie yet.”

I smiled. The things kids say….most unexpected too!

My favourite uncle


Growing up, we’ve all had our favourite uncles, aunts and cousins. There were some ‘go to’ aunts and uncles, who indulged us, some whom we went to for advice and then again, others whom we didn’t bother with.

My all-time favourite uncle was my Dad’s younger brother. When he was with us, fun times were not far away.

From birthday cakes to surprise treats, he made our childhood days so special.

One absolutely special memory with him was  ‘Kids’ Movie Night’.  Whenever a new children’s film played in one of the oldest cinema houses in town, our uncle took us to watch them – ‘Annie’, ‘Lassie come home’, ‘Herbie goes Bananas’, ‘Jungle Book’ and countless other wonderful films.  We usually went to the 6 pm show on Saturdays.

When we stepped out of the theatre after the movie, the roads were usually deserted. Due to the biting cold, we wore our sweaters and caps, and walked back with our uncle.

On the way back, we usually made two stops. The first stop was just outside the theatre at a peanut seller’s stall. He was an integral part of the movie-going experience. He stood behind his stall, roasting peanuts in a huge wok, which had sand at the bottom. The spatula with which he roasted made a metallic grating sound, the only sound that could be heard on that road.  The warm fire of his stove set his face aglow, as he smiled at my uncle in recognition.

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Picture courtesy – http://www.wikihow.com

He deftly rolled paper into cones and filled them to the brim with warm peanuts. We slowly munched our way through those yummy peanuts, as we headed towards our second stop.

This was a small, quaint tea shop, which served great coffee and tea (as I discovered when I grew up). But, when we were with our uncle, we got to have warm, creamy glasses of fresh milk and cookies to go with them.

My uncle chatted with the owner, as my sister and I drank our milk and compared our white ‘milk mustaches’, giggling at each other.

We discussed our favourite parts in the movie, as we held our uncle’s hands and walked back to our cozy home.

Popcorn flavoured friendship


My husband and I love movies. We don’t watch too much television, but ask us about movies and we can engage you in delightful conversation.

One of my dear friends, and her husband, also share our love for movies, and the four of us watch most movies together.

We eagerly await the release of some movies and plan ahead, then again, there are those impromptu plans when we are at a loose end.

We truly enjoy our time together driving to the cinema complex, talking about all kinds of things from world politics to music to movies to each others’ lives and of course our children!

We buy tubs of popcorn, coffee, iced lemon tea and watch the movie –  laughing sometimes, crying sometimes and sometimes sighing with boredom.
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Picture courtesy – http://www.healthline.com

On our drive back we dissect the movie, a pleasurable task, and relive all the wonderful parts in the movie.

The associated memories are also fun – like the time we went for a late night show and I fell down at the entrance and had to be carried to the car, the time when we waited with a lot of anticipation for a movie’s release and only got tickets to the 11.50 p.m. show and then slept through the movie because it was so boring, like the time we all went down a slide in the cinema complex that had been put up to promote another film……so many great memories.

The camaraderie we share is priceless. We have been going to the movies together for over 8 years now and the kind of bonding we have is so special.

Truly there are different flavours to friendship and this one is truly special – it is Popcorn flavoured. My favourite!

What’s really important?


This afternoon, after a crazily busy month, I finally got some free time. I lazily flipped through the hundreds of TV channels that never seem to stop churning out programs.

I finally decided to watch a movie. The channel I watched was playing a blockbuster Bollywood film from the eighties. And this movie triggered memories about an incident that happened during my childhood.

In the small town, where I grew up, we had a club house that screened movies, every weekend, for its members.

Our slot was on Saturday evenings at 5.30 p.m. The movies screened were usually blockbusters or those that had won critical acclaim. So, Saturday evenings were quite exciting.

On one such Saturday, my sisters and I were on pins to watch the movie being screened, as it had been released just a few weeks ago, and was a huge hit at the box office.

We were ready from 3.30 p.m.,waiting for my parents to finish their chores, and get ready. At around 4.15 p.m., the door bell chimed.

We had visitors. Two of my grandma’s friends had decided to pay grandma, and all of us, a surprise visit.

Those were the days, when social networking was actually done in person! So people just dropped in unannounced, and were welcomed with joy and fanfare.

My grandma was visibly excited. So were my parents.

I also have to tell you that my grandma & mom were life members of the ‘Whoever visits our home will not leave without a heavy meal’ Club.

So, as my grandma caught up with her buddies, the aroma of filter coffee, masala dosa, and rava kesari, wafted in the air.

My sisters and I were really down. The movie….? The clock was merrily ticking away, fast approaching 5 p.m. The club house was a 7 minute walk or a 4 minute run, so there was still some hope.

We were in our room, feeling sorry and worried. At 5.10, we quietly slipped into the kitchen to ask mom if we could leave, as grandma could keep her friends engaged till we came back.

I will never forget what my mom told us. Our ears rang as we slunk back to our room.

She said, “There are some things in life that are very important. Whenever guests come home, they take precedence over everything else. Our priority is to be good hosts and feed them well. This movie that you want to see, will be there forever. When you grow old, or retire, you can sit and watch it anytime. Now, go to your room and play a board game, I will bring something for you to eat.”

That was an important lesson. The simple joys of being with loving friends, and all the camaraderie that goes with it.

At that point in time, my sisters and I moped and sulked; Mom’s lesson totally lost in our sorrow.

But what an important lesson!

We never got to watch that movie after that, but funnily, this is the very same movie that I watched this afternoon, just as my mom predicted – when I had all the time.

Has this happened to you?


1. You are on holiday, and busy taking pictures with your digital camera. You keep getting a flashing message – ‘Not enough memory’. And then the dilemma to decide which of the old photos to delete, especially when you are not sure if you have a back up at home!

2. You call the hotline of a service provider to resolve some problem. You press 0, 1, 3, 2, 5, 6 and then wait while ‘all the customer service assistants are busy’ and after nearly 25 minutes,  just when you hear the annoying music pause and the ‘oh-it’s- happened-at-last’ click of someone connecting, your mobile runs out of charge!

3. You go to the supermarket and come back with your trolley super-loaded with things that you need, and a lot of other things that you don’t and then realize that you’ve forgotten an important thing like dishwashing liquid or toothpaste!

4. Your child dislikes a particular dish and absolutely refuses to eat it at home. When you are invited to dinner at a friend’s place, and the friend has prepared the same dish, and your child wolfs down two portions and you wonder what just happened!

5. You are already running behind schedule. You miss the bus by 1 minute. You cab it and get stuck at every red signal. When you reach your workplace, all lifts are in floors above 15 and moving upwards!

6. You badly need a cup of coffee and think longingly about it as you rush through a chaotic morning. Finally, finally when you sit down to enjoy it, you get a call…and the coffee grows cold.

7. Your kitchen sink has clogged, the TV remote has disappeared, the kettle has stopped working, all of these happen on a single day and you wonder if there’s a conspiracy.

8. You have booked tickets to a much-anticipated movie and you miss the first 15 minutes – as you couldn’t find the house keys, and all along it was in your bag.

9. You had five pairs of lovely scissors till yesterday. This morning, you are not able to find a single pair!

10. You’re on a call and have to write something down. You walk with the cordless to get a paper and pen. You can’t find a plain sheet and use the newspaper. The pen you found runs out of ink after you write two words….

Has any of this happened to you? Would love to hear about them.

Couch Potato for the day


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Today is Sunday. No deadlines to chase, no lists to tick-off (I mean, there are, but they don’t seem important).  The day has started quite well.  My husband & children have made plans to visit the zoo, yet again.  They ask me if I want to join them, but I decline.

“The howler monkey, at the entrance, will probably call out to me in recognition, ” I say. My preteen rolls her eyes at the poor joke, while my son giggles at this ‘funny joke’.

Actually a selfish thought  takes root in my brain. Imagine, six hours of solitude.

The family troops out at 10 am.  I shut the door and amble back to the couch.  I deliberate on what I should do to maximize these six hours – a visit to the spa? haircut? pedicure? No, screams my brain, no.  My inner voice announces the final decision, stay put on the couch the whole day and watch television, eat, and catch some shut eye.

With the decision made, I make arrangements to transform into a couch potato for the day.  I bring some junk food, a water bottle, and a freshly popped packet of popcorn to the coffee table.  I throw in some magazines to the ‘couch-potato package’. I make two steaming mugs of filter coffee and pour them into a thermos.  This too gets added to the coffee table.

I am ready now.  I plump up the cushions and settle in comfortably.  All the remotes, my phone and the tablet are with me.  I switch on my tablet and browse through some videos.  I see one of my favourite actors from an eighties movie.  My brain immediately hyperlinks to a soap that used to air when I was still in college.  I search for it, and the Internet doesn’t disappoint.  I start watching, one episode after another.

I cry at the sentimental bits without inhibition and without my husband’s voice telling me, “It is only a movie, all those people are going to finish their shoot and go home to a nice dinner. Don’t waste your tears.”

I laugh and giggle at the funny bits, stuffing popcorn and wafers into my mouth, without missing a beat.  I pour myself a hot cup of coffee and sip it as the story progresses.  I feel myself sinking deeper and deeper into the couch.  It is mid-day now.  The sun is streaming into the living room and I am loath to get up from the couch.

The series finally gets over, along with the huge tub of popcorn.  Today, there is no place for guilt in my life.  I switch off the TV and stretch out on the couch.  I love the silence in the house.  I hear some thud-thudding from my neighbour above and two mynas calling out from the tree nearby.  Otherwise, pure bliss.

I put my mobile on silent mode, as I feel sleep overtaking me.  I fall and fall into layers of sleep, deeper and deeper.  I am in dream land, and there is a kaleidoscopic panorama unfolding in these layers of sleep. I don’t know what I dream about, but the visuals keep changing.

I wake up and look at the clock.  I have been in oblivion for nearly three hours.  The room has become less bright now as the sun has moved across to my neighbours’ block.  I am still stuck to the couch, no plans to move anytime soon.  I stretch to pour the second cup of coffee and enjoy every sip.  I browse through the magazines and read the news on my tablet.

I am done with all that I’d planned.  What next?  I smile in happiness at the wonderful day it’s been.  I stretch like a cat and feel the tensions of the week dissipating.

I, me, myself…superlative!