Hello. Welcome to my humble online abode. I'm an Indian living in the glorious Antipodes, New Zealand to be more specific. I tend to either write long rambles about books, movies, shows or whatever else I feel compelled to talk about or I disappear without a trace for long periods. Either way feel free to poke around and say hello :)
Books I love books! I can never read during the semester because once I start reading I lose all sense of priority and end up ignoring all deadlines or exams till I can finish the book :P So I only get to read during the holidays.
I grew up on Enid Blyton and so adore The Famous Five, The Wishing Chair, Malory Towers, and so many other books by her. I used to love Detective and Mystery stories as a kid so I gobbled up Harriet The Spy, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and Sherlock Holmes with equal enthusiasm. Some of my other favourites from childhood are The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (that's an ironic last name), Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery, Uptime, Downtime by John Peel, The Secret Garden and A Little Princess by Francess Burnett, Princess Nevermore by Dian Regan, Megan's Island and The Girl With Silver Eyes by W. D. Roberts, The Things With Wings by Greg Holch and various Goosebumps. Ofcourse as a kid I also read classics like Heidi, The Wizard of Oz, Gulliver's Travels, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Frankenstein, Black Beauty and Treasure Island...though between you and me I can't remember all the plot points too clearly so I'm due some major rereads.
As a teenager I discovered some great YA and Fantasy books. Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries and The Mediator series provided me many hours of giggle-fests. Marianne Curley's Guardians of Time, Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small, Circle of Magic, Circle Opens and The Song of the Lioness, Caroline B. Cooney's Time Travellers, and Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted and The Two Princesses of Bamarre were fun YA fantasies to read. Meanwhile Tolkein's epic Lord of the Rings, NZ-born Juliet Marillier's Sevenwaters trilogy steeped in Celtic mythology, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman's amazing Drangonlance Chronicles and Dragonlance Legends, which has one of my favourite morally gray mages ever (Raistlin!), Aussie author Cecilia Dart-Thornton's gorgeously written Bitterbynde trilogy and Anne Bishop's Black Jewels trilogy, full of engaging character dynamics, awed me with the ability of books to create such elaborate and engaging worlds that can be so alien and yet so real. And ofcourse I have had my phase of Harry Potter addiction where I spent hours on forums reading about and arguing in favour of Snape (he always was my favourite) - thank you JKR for creating a series that captured the imagination of the world ...and held it for so many years! I also went through my phase of vampire novels - never tried Anne Rice but Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series was quite the favourite until the 12th book where it all started getting a bit too racy for my taste :P Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus trilogy and Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series have kept me regularly amused too. I also discovered more classics like Shakespeare, Ivanhoe, 1984, The Count of Monte Cristo, Catcher in the Rye, Ender's Game, Lord of the Flies, John Steinbeck and Jane Austen around this time.
As a teenager I also went through my manga phase where I was pretty much crazy about all the awesome series coming out from Japan and Korea. I should thank the amazing scanlators who used to put so much hard work into making scanlations and posting them on their websites - back when I didn't have easy access to manga it was a lifesaver. My love for manga started out with the anime Cardcaptors (yes the horrible American version :p) and bubbled up from there - I must have read a lot, lot, lot of manga during high school but I can only recall a few of the titles right now: Hanakimi, anything by CLAMP (top favourites are X, Tsubasa and xxxHolic followed by Guhou Drug), Othello, Kill Me Kiss Me, Paradise Kiss, Fruits Basket, Death Note, Prince of Tennis, INVU, Alichino, From Eroica With Love, Sakende Yaruze, Full Moon wo Sagashite, Akuma de Sourou, Yami no Matsuei, DNAngel, Nana, Marmalade Boy, Penguin Revolution, Goong, Masca, Demon Diary, and Kare Kano.
Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials and Sally Lockhart series are among my all-time beloved among books. I think the man is amazingly talented and HDM is forever going to remain at the top of my favourite fantasies list for creating such an amazingly rich world full of mythology and one that questions religion and humanity while creating compellingly complex characters like Marisa Coulter and Lord Asriel. Also on my list of favourite books is Shantaram and Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy. I am so happy there is going to be a sequel for the latter. It is a charming (and deliciously long!) book that brings the post-colonial India of 1950s to life brilliantly with its array of unique characters and examines a wealth of social issues affecting India during that time. For light reading my two favourite authors are Georgette Heyer and P. G. Wodehouse (who I discovered thanks to a reference in A Suitable Boy). Heyer is known for having defined the historical romance and regency romance genres and her writing is often incredibly witty and hilarious. I think she had an amazing talent for mixing adventure, romance, wit and action in the perfect dose to create wonderfully entertaining books. Wodehouse ofcourse should be applauded for his ability to bring off the absurd and ludicrous complications his characters fall in to great comical effect. My favourite New Zealand author is Elizabeth Knox - she has a wonderful way with words and I love how unpredictable everything is in her books - I never quite know what a character will say or do or what new revelation we will discover about the world her book is set in or the mythology her book is building on. Her Dreamhunter series is one of the best YA fantasies out there and I adore its poetic feel. My other favourite from her is The Vintner's Luck and The Angel's Cut about Xas an angel finding his way around our world - I don't even know how to begin explaining my love for these two books right now. In the 'romance and high adventure' genre The Princess Bride, The Scarlet Pimpernel and Anthony Hope's Prisoner of Zenda and Rupert of Hentzau currently reign my heart while Girl With a Pearl Earring and Gaskell's North and South are my historical novels of choice. I also have to mention Jasper Fforde - an author that astounds me for the amazing way he manages to weave so many references to our favourite books and authors in the world he has created for the Thursday Next series. Most recently I discovered Patrick Rothfuss' Name of the Wind and echoing the thoughts of thousands others I have to say the sequel can't come fast enough.
Bollywood & Everything Else Indian Being an Indian I have ofcourse grown up with Bollywood and I adore it. I think Bollywood is wonderful - no one can bring off high emotion, melodrama, romance, colour and festivities to life as enthusiastically and charmingly as Bollywood can. And though when people think of Bollywood they often think of OTT plots I think Bollywood has made its fair share of serious cinema that addresses issues also. As a kid my favourite actors were Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and Salman Khan. My favourite old movies include Teesri Manzil, Nau Do Gyarah, Tere Ghar Ke Saamne, Chupke Chupke, Waqt, 1942: A Love Story, Mr. India, Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja, Judwaa, Tu Khiladi Main Anari, King Uncle, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Andaz Apna Apna, and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Of the newer movies Salaam-e-Ishq and Jab We Met are my absolute favourites. They are vibrant, colourful, well edited, with great character development, and amazing songs and above all they are both wonderfully romantic. I doubt I'll ever find any movie that surpasses these two! I also love Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani to bits because it's crazy hilarious like Andaz Apna Apna was. Other movies I have enjoyed recently are Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya?, Saawariya, Main Hoon Na, Kal Ho Na Ho, Fanaa, Honeymoon Travels Ltd, Delhi 6, Rang De Basanti, Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, Garam Masaala, Jodhaa Akbar, Bachna Ae Haseeno, Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na, Socha Na Tha, Parineeta, Luck By Chance, Hum Tum, Rab Ne Bana De Jodi, and Aaja Nachle.
Since I live so far away from India and don't have much contact with other desis I find ways of compensating my cravings for all things desi in other ways like the Indian NZ radio station Tarana, music albums, and yes Indian Soaps!! This I have got addicted to only around 2008 or so though I do remember the days when we lived in India and I used to follow many enthusiastically. The two shows I've followed semi-religiously are Miley Jab Hum Tum and Dill Mill Gayye. Now that they've ended I've moved on to Dil Dosti Dance and Humse Hai Life for that youth quota :P Currently I'm also watching Kuch Toh Log Kanhenge, Sapno Se Bhare Naina and Ek Hazaaron Mein Meri Behna Hai. In the past I've followed Jaane Pehchanne Se Ye Ajnabbi, Hum Dono Hain Alag Alag, Love Ne Mila Di Jodi, Bhaskar Bharti, Pyar Ka Bandhan, Ye Pyar Na Hoga Kam, Laagi Tujhse Lagan, Geet, Baat Hamaari Pakki Hai, Rang Badalti Odhani, Ram Milaye Jodi and others at various points in time. And chances are even if I don't follow an indian serial I'll still probably know what it's plot is and other random bits of info because I am loopy like that.
I've also recently discovered how awesome Pakistani serials are. Current favourites include: Dastaan, Kuch Pyar Ka Pagalpan Bhi Tha, Akbari Asghari, Humsafar. Guess who they all have in common :P
TV & Movies I only started following English tv shows when I came to NZ and the first shows I recall quite liking are Tru Calling, Charmed, Joan of Arcadia, The 4400, and Smallville which I used to follow occassionally. Then I started watching s1 LOST which *really* hooked me on to Western TV and discovered Prison Break, 24 along the way. Eventually I found Heroes and that was my first brush with fandom as I started posting about it on LJ and in the process discovered so many great friends! Nathan was always my favourite, followed by Noah Bennet and Eden and I found Hiro+Ando utterly adorable. I didn't think I would find anything that I would like more than season 1 Heroes but I found Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Battlestar Gallactica which are both shows I appreciate for their consistent characterisation, and the way they question humanity and our place in the world. My other favourite shows are Journeyman (I don't see WHY it was cancelled!), How I Met Your Mother (Barney!five everyone), Moonlighting (yes that Bruce Willis one), Psych (Lassiter - your day will come), Studio 60 (so fun!), House, Gossip Girl, Brothers & Sisters (I love family dynamics and this one is full of it), Rome (Pullo & Vorenus = BFFs), Ugly Betty, Greys Anatomy, Fringe, Greek, Firefly (I love love love the Tam siblings) and Chuck. I also LOVE British shows like their modern Shakespeare adaptations, Spooks, Being Human, Life on Mars, Merlin, Doctor Who and Torchwood as well as the awesome BBC and ITV costume drama adaptations like Little Dorrit, all those Jane Austen adaptations, North & South, Whitechapel, The 39 Steps, Sally Lockhart and so many more. At one point I was into Korean doramas as well such as Full House, Tell Me You Love Me and Kangjeok (Powerful Opponents) but I don't know much about what's coming out these days. The latest kdrama I saw was The City Hall which is so good that even if you don't watch korean dramas you should watch this one. What are you waiting for? Forget this profile and go watch it NOW. If you are still here (tsk tsk) then I'll mention that of NZ shows I occasionally follow Shortland Street (fav characters so far have to be Kieren Mitchell, Libby Jeffries and Brooke Freeman) and I thought Go Girls wasn't too shabby either.
Favourite Movies range from adventures like Romancing the Stone, Jewel of the Nile, The Mummy, The Mummy Returns and Stardust to superhero movies like Iron Man, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Superman Returns to romantic comedies like Love & Other Disasters, The Wedding Date, and The Family Stone. I think The Fall must be the most gorgeous movie ever made. Ofcourse I adore Disney from the old school animated movies like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin to stuff like Enchanted. Other favourites include The Shadow, The Prestige, The Breakfast Club, Some Kind of Wonderful, Casino Royale (first & to date only James Bond movie I ever saw), Atonement, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Children of Men (Clive Owen is great and the movie is amazingly atmospheric), Indiana Jones (yes I also liked the 4th one, Mutt is awesome :P) and everything by Baz Luhrmann.
Music I am more knowledgeable about Hindi music than I am English. I love listening to Hindi and Punjabi music! Aside from Bollywood soundtracks I also love it when I discover great albums. I am addicted to Amit Tandon's Tanha album and Himesh Reshamiya's Aap Ka Suroor album. As a kid I loved listening to Falguni Pathak and Sonu Nigam songs though I had other favourites like Gud Naal Ishq Mitha, Jaanam Samjha Karo, Dooba Dooba Rehta Hoon, Chuimui Si Tum, Parde Mein Rehne Do and so many others as well.
My favourite BGM Soundtrack's are Korean drama ones - Full House, Kangjeok and The City Hall, and the Doctor Who ones.
I do have some favourite artists who sing in English. Any song sung by Michael Buble is an instant favourite. The first song I heard by him was A Foggy Day (in London Town) and since then I have been hooked. I love his renditions of Dancing in the Moonlight, Sway, Come Fly With Me, Fever, The Best is Yet to Come, Call Me Irresponsible and the Spiderman Theme hee. I also LOVE One Republic's Dreaming Out Loud album. Maroon 5's Songs About Jane and It Won't Be Soon Before Long are oldtime favourites also. I enjoy listening to Linkin Park and Disturbed when in the right mood or when my brother is playing them (mostly just when my brother is playing them :P). I also enjoy a lot of INXS songs including their latest album with JD. My favourite NZ band is The Feelers - their songs like One World are pretty amazing I think. And my other favourite NZ artist is Bic Runga whose Drive, Good Morning Baby and Listening for the Weather are wonderful to listen to. Ask me for recs by kiwi music artists if you are curious because there are is some really great music out there by NZ folks that will probably never get the recognition it deserves and I'd love to share it with you.