Saturday, 14 September 2019

Amazing Family Shows to watch on Amazon Prime India

For unfathomable reasons, I have the tendency to either go overboard over matters I take an interest in or be totally indifferent to most things. When the former happens to productive ventures, the outcome is generally very promising. 
And when I happen to take in interest in something like this...

Someone had gifted us with an Amazon Firestick. Out of curiosity I ventured to set it up and to my utter delight, I single-handedly managed to do so! I even managed to enable a blue-tooth speaker connection! (You'll have to read this post to know why I consider this to be a feat worth bragging.)
So, it started with a few random shows on Amazon Prime. You know...just once in a while when we decided to patronize the new gizmo - Firestick working on our lame MTNL wi-fi connection, alternating it with our staid cable connection with a gazillion channels.
Enter TRAI regulations, the cable guy gets all finicky charging us 5 times what we paid him earlier. 
Result: We resolve to get a better wi-fi connection and instead of the over-priced cable channels, pursue entertainment via the Firestick. 

The rest as they say is history. I can honestly say, I have no clue where 6 months, no wait, it's over a year actually, of my life disappeared!😲😰 
Well, maybe my thoroughly squashed comfy TV viewing armchair knows!
The ad and break-free viewing on Amazon Prime is a major draw that tempts you to binge watch series upon series!

Suffice it to say, I am a rather conversant guide on Amazon Prime Movies and Shows.
Sharing reviews of a few feel-good shows I watched with the rest of my family...yes, the sofa in our TV room is due for overhauling.🙄

The Middle season 5
I cannot think of a better show to watch with the family! Trust me, I know best, after all I watched the whole 9 Seasons (24 episodes each), twice! The show ran from 2009-2018, so you'll literally be watching the cast growing up/older through the seasons!
The show is about the struggles, highs and lows of a lower middle-class American family of five living in Orson, Indiana. The characters of the Heck family: Father - Mike (Neil Flynn) a steady, solid yet dry personality, mother -Frankie (Patricia Heaton) mostly hysterical, emotional and totally adorable, eldest son - Axl (Charlie McDermott) a dandy young man, high on sports and low on academics, middle daughter - Sue (Eden Sher) the dorky, clumsy, eternal optimist and the youngest son - Brick (Atticus Shaffer) with his insatiable book reading and eccentric quirks, are simply brilliantly etched! The comic timing, the sublime acting, the script, the dialogues, everything clicks consistently. My whole family was glued to the series and we've practically memorized quite a few iconic dialogues!
Basically I loved everything about the show, all through the 9 seasons. 
A show to watch with the family. Characters that you can totally relate to, rib-tickling dialogues and heart-tugging moments that keep you happily entertained!
You could check the Parent Guide HERE.

The Office RelaxNRave
This series ran from 2005-2013, 9 seasons. The series just kept getting better and better as one connected with all the characters. 
The show is about the everyday work lives of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania. You'll fall in love with each and every one of the characters. You have the crazy boss, Regional Manager with a weird sense of humour Michael Scott (Steve Carell), the smart aleck, prankster salesman Jim Halpert (John Kraszinski), the shy, adorable and equally pranky receptionist Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer), the hyper ambitious salesman cum beet farm owner, the inimitable Dwight Shrute (Rainn Wilson) along with a host of unforgettable cast comprising the staff at this office. While I didn't really love season 1, I was intrigued enough to go on and was soon hooked! Again, done all the seasons, twice over! 😜
I loved the romance between Jim and Pam and each and every one of  the quirky office staff but most of all enjoyed the Dwight Shrute's outrageously hilarious character. This is one office where the fun never stops!
You could check the Parent Guide HERE.

A British period drama set between 1912-1916, this gorgeous series ran for six seasons between 2010-2015. 
You'll be swept into the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants in Downton Abbey of Yorkshire, even if you haven't the foggiest idea about the British way of life or the social hierarchy of an era gone by.
The cast is simply spectacular and not for a moment do you feel that they are acting their parts, they simply play themselves! My favourite character from the series would undeniably be the Dowager Countess, Lady Violet Crawley played by Maggie Smith with her unmissable pithy dialogues and classic acting! The head butler Mr Carson, played by Jim Carter would come a close second with his flawlessly conscientious work attitude as head of a large staff of a royal household and a heart of gold.
If you have a penchant for the stiff upper lip and classic British humour, a love for opulent royal sets and resplendent costumes, countryside scenes amidst household drama of royal proportions, this is a show you shouldn't miss! Especially since the Downton Abbey film releases on 20th September 2019!
You could check the Parents Guide HERE.

Well, I could rave on quite a bit about the umpteen series I watched by myself through the last one year, but that would have to be on a whole lot of other posts!
Till later, Happy Couch Potato-ing!
Do share your favorite, must-watch shows! 

Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

A view like no other

We were on a family holiday at Coorg, Karnataka. On our sightseeing agenda was the Talakaveri temple in the Brahmagiri hills of Kodagu District. 
Being a non-peak tourist season, a serene temple darshan and visit to the origin of the mighty Kaveri river went off rather quickly.
With time on our hands we wondered what to do next. We spotted steps next to the temple and a lot of people going up and down it. The steps went up the Brahmagiri hill. I looked at the steep incline and the vast number of steps and felt my knees creaking in protest. 
We were debating whether we should do the climb or visit some other spot. Just then we spotted a middle-aged couple coming down the steps. My family looked at me meaningfully with a; 'see if they can do it, you can too' kinda look. 
I stopped them and enquired about the climb. They said it was 407 steps to the top. I asked them what was there to see at the top of the climb. (I'd done 272 steps to the Batu caves in Malaysia years ago and the end of the climb had rewarded us with a marvelous experience of the caves and the shrine within.)
The couple looked at each other briefly, the man smiled and said,"You'll have to find that out yourself, won't you? But it will be totally worth it, let me assure you. Just go for it!" The two of them exchanged secret smiles (Aww, how romantic, I thought) and they went their way.
So now that we had this bit of info, we decided to go for it. The sleeping arithmetician in me kicked in; 407 steps, that's roughly, 20 floors.
The tremendous fitness un-enthusiast in me was breathing strenuously after probably 50 steps. Just 350 more steps, cajoled my family.
Well, huffing and puffing I finally made it to the top after the steep 407 step climb and caught up with the others. I couldn't wait to catch my breath in anticipation of what awaited me there.
There can't be more of an anti-climax than the view from the top of Brahmagiri hills! There is a mediocre view of a surrounding valley, nothing extraordinary. The kind you'd probably not even give a second look if you saw a photograph of. The summit itself has a small platform with railings around. Absolutely nothing else! Probably the climb and the view might have been more rewarding with swirling mists, but we weren't that fortunate.

The smug smiles of the couple we'd met at the bottom came to mind, the couple that'd egged us on to take up the climb.
Yes, they'd undertaken the futile climb themselves, knowingly or unknowingly and wouldn't want to deprive others of the same disappointment that awaited the end of the arduous climb! 
Seriously makes me suspect the intent behind all kinds of reviews...of books, movies, destinations, restaurants and so on. The more the number of stars, the more dubious I get!
That reminds me, I need to do a tripadvisor review of this place. Any guesses how many stars this destination gets from me?? 😈

Anyway, we had a good laugh as we came down the hill, if nothing it was definitely an unforgettable experience! While we were coming down a bunch of college kids was beginning their ascent. My husband called out to them, "Keep your DSLR's ready for the view at the top."😈😈

A nursery rhyme I sang as a kid came back to me. One I've always found pretty silly and futile. I sang it aloud as I trundled down the steps. 
It runs like this,

A bear went over the mountain, 
A bear went over the mountain, 
A bear went over the mountain, 
To see what he could see.

And all that he could see,
And all that he could see,
Was the other side of the mountain.
The other side of the mountain,
The other side of the mountain,
Was all he could see.

You could hear it as well, at least kids today can have some visuals with this aimless rhyme!

Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI

Sunday, 8 September 2019

When it rains, or it doesn't

During monsoons in Mumbai, all you have to do for a conversation to take off is begin with, "When it rains...," and you'll be bombarded with stereotype responses like,"it pours," or "it's time for chai pakodas," or "you won't believe the water-logging at Hindmata" or "the dams still haven't reached the overflow mark" and a somewhat wistful,"its's time for a non-rainy holiday!"
There is a subtle and ongoing joke, maybe even a trend that happens at least once during the temperamental Mumbai monsoons. It is like this: Every once in a while when the Weather Bureau predicts a terrible downpour and declares a public holiday for safety reasons, we invariably have sunny blue skies and made to order fluffy white clouds on that day!
While school-going kids are thrilled with the prospect of a rain-free holiday, office-goers (of offices that have decided to stay open despite the warnings), mope all day long at work, lamenting the injustice and blaming adulthood that has deprived them of these childish pleasures.
I always wonder what goes on behind the scenes at the Weather Bureau on such occasions. How can their prediction be so off the chart? I wonder in particular about the guy who actually issues the damning statement that is bound to land him in a seriously embarrassing situation!

Maybe this happens...

Dr. WB is at work poring over several maps and printouts on his work-table, comparing various satellite images and reports on his computer screen. 
Hmm, the cloud formation definitely seems threatening. But the wind movements are equally strong, they could buffet the clouds in another direction. After one more intense scrutiny of the entire scene in front of him, Dr. WB is reasonably sure he needn't hit the panic button just yet.
His mobile rings shrilly, the caller tune, a catchy item number song set by his son. He pounces on it to silence the offending sound. 
"Hello, papa? Have you finished the science project I gave you last week? I have to submit it tomorrow you know?"
"Err, what was it about?" mumbles Dr. WB, desperately trying to recollect.
"We had to make an eco-friendly energy haven't done it, have you," accuses the young tyrant and goes on a wail,"Mummmmyyy...."
Enter mummy,"What kind of a scientist are you? You can't even do a 7th standard science project?"
"Papa, you promised you'll do it! Now it will be all your fault if I get a zero tomorrow....mummyyyyy..."
"You better come home with the project or else God save you from me!", is mummy's ultimatum as the phone is slammed down.

Dr. WB stares wanly at the phone and then at all the charts and screens around him.
Yes, the weather Gods would have to save him from the imminent wrath awaiting him at home. Time to hit the panic button.
An official press release and intimation to civic bodies about a serious cyclone warning with heavy rains within the next 24 hours from the Weather Bureau ensues.

The Civic chief's office in turn welcomes the news with silent cheers!
They declare : All schools, educational institutes and offices to remain closed tomorrow due to cyclone warning.
In any case, they've been too harassed with relentless complaints of pot-holed roads and water-logged areas. 
Ek barishonwala break toh banta he!

I am participating in the #WordsMatter Bloghop. The prompt this time was "When it rains..."
I received this tag from Roshan at Godyears. It’s my pleasure to pass on this tag to Zainab at Slim Expectations. There are 42 of us on this Blog Hop and it will be spread over 3 days – 6, 7, 8 September 2019. Do follow the #WordsMatter Blog Hop and prepare to be surprised!

I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter's #MyFriendAlexa

Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Sweet Betrayals

A hard core sweet-toothist's biggest nightmare is to be let down by a promised helping of heaven. It could be a slice of the most decadent looking cake or a crispy yet succulent looking jalebi, that tastes totally contrary to its looks - a bite and miss kind of experience where the cake tastes like bread with stale icing and the jalebi tastes like thermocol dunked in syrup. Being annoyed would probably be stating the feeling it generates, rather optimistically. You wouldn't understand the feeling of utter betrayal when such injustice happens, if you aren't one yourself, I mean a sweet-toothist. 
I've often faced such let downs at lavish hotel buffets that boast an endless variety of desserts. 
A true-blooded sweet lover will begin his meal with desserts, ensuring he tries all of them. He doesn't believe in regional or international biases when it comes to desserts. Tiramisu, baklava, turkish delights, macaroons and souffles are at complete peace with gajar ka halwa, gulab jamuns, pethas, malai pedas, and phirnis
Post this sugar coma inducing appetizer, based on his stomach's capacity for expansion, he will manage to chuck in a few staples with daals, paneers and salads, to ensure a balanced diet. 
(Note: The use of masculine gender in this case may be slightly biased, the author being considerate and completely biased towards the fairer sex.)

Dainty pastries that taste like fluff, light melt-in-the-mouth souffles that are too eggy, halwas that are sugar, ghee and dry fruit deprived, luscious plump gulab jamuns with hard tasteless centers....well, I can keep tirade going, when I am thus stimulated by the atrocities of tasteless wonders and heartbreaking, two-timing sweet finales! In fact the sweet loving community would go to the extent of calling such offences, strikes below the belt, even the unkindest cut of all. And we are not even going down the path of sugar-free desserts, the term itself is an oxymoron.

Leaving behind starry hotels, back home, when the post dinner, "meethe me kya hai" question elicits a tray of cut fruits or raisins or...(shudder) a lump of jaggery, you know it is ghor kalyug.
C'est la vie, where bad desserts allure, tempt and then stab - from the front.
You see, the pastry-chef, the halwai, the lady of the house all do it purposely out of the goodness of their hearts, to save humanity from obesity, diabetes and heart disease! 
(The author, a lady of the house herself may not necessarily subscribe to this line of thought but must issue it out of social health obligations, blah and bleh legal by-laws, and commendable consideration towards bad pastry chefs and their clan.)

You could read some more of my food-ravings here:

1) Common-place Curd-Rice
2) Ghar ki murgi daal barabar?
3) Sweet Temptations
4) Athithi Devo Bhavah, anybody?
5) Kaapi-Ready
6) Idli Seria Vanduda
7) Sweet Betrayals

All through the month of September, I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter's #MyFriendAlexa

Copyright © 2019 KALA RAVI