Sunday, November 23, 2014

Beer with Jesus and the Entertainment industry...

So this is the November issue of the magazine with a few articles by me. Thomas Rhett's 'Beer with Jesus' has been included here and I wrote something about the entertainment industry which might be a little bit preachy... 

Entertainment is not what it used to be
When you switch on the TV or listen to songs by the biggest names in the music industry, you cannot help but cringe and wonder at the abasement of it all. How did this degradation seep in? When did it become cool to objectify women and let derogatory comments pass off as comedy? Most of the famous shows today have this cool character whose life revolves around drinking and sleeping with different women, perfect examples would be Charlie Harper and the legendary Barney Stinson. These characters are the epitome of being cool and having it all, and they have the best lines on the show. This is the idea that is being propagated to young people who watch these shows, that your life is enjoyable only when you drink all the time and hook up with random women. The TV show, ,Two and a half Men, is disgusting, crass and completely juvenile. Barney Stinson on the other hand, is kinda likeable because of all his crazy ideas and notions that form the lifeline of HIMYM, but his attitude towards women is despicable. These shows can be entertaining to people in their 30’s and 40’s, since their moral values are already in place. They understand that what they observe in these shows is just a parody of the times we live in; they aren’t influenced by the characters. To them it’s just a way to unwind and have some fun. Impressionable young ones on the other hand, tend to think it is cool to be a womaniser and they try to emulate these unscrupulous characters.

And the music industry is a whole different dimension of insanity and debasement. Granted, a few songs do sound nice and they are worth listening to, but a majority of the chart topping songs are sleazy and profanity laced. And the music videos are even worse; they seek to shock rather than entertainment. And the biggest grossing movies are not far behind; they too celebrate crassness and vulgarity, in fact they revel in it. To a Catholic these movies, songs and shows don’t offer much growth or inspiration. They serve to desensitise us and make us think that what these characters do is acceptable in today’s world. I mean we no longer feel that it is a sin to sleep around with random people we just met, because everybody on TV does it. Everything is overtly sexual these days, even the advertisements on TV have only one agenda for their products, to make you more desirable to the opposite gender. I really don’t know what goes on in the minds of children when they see these advertisements, or hear songs with questionable lyrics. The Steubenville rape case is probably a result of such blatant sexualisation of women as propagated in the media. A google search will reveal the arrogance with which a couple of jocks took advantage of an intoxicated 16 year old and captured themselves violating her on their camera phones, and later bragging about it to their friends and sending them the pictures to prove it. Cases like this depict the eroding values of society; friends and classmates watched as the boys committed their crimes, no one thought of helping the girl or calling an adult.

Genuine entertainment should be sought out, movies and music that can enlighten and inspire should be propagated instead of violence and debauchery. Of course, it is good to stay abreast of times but it is not necessary to wallow in the filth that plagues society. Do not let this filth seep into your lives; learn to discern between decent meaningful entertainment and the senseless entertainment that serves no purpose. Inspirational movies, books and music will enhance your inner peace and joy, and serve to strengthen your faith. Search for books with true literary value that will enable you to evolve as a person. Learn to set ground rules for children and teenagers, their exposure to electronic media should be supervised. Starting today, try to seek out decent movies and shows, try to listen to good music with meaningful lyrics. Propagate love and peace through your actions and words and don’t be easily influenced by media and society.

Monday, November 10, 2014

DIY : Autumn in a frame...

So Autumn was just starting when I was in Geneva last year and all the colours of fall were pretty fascinating. I would pick up lovely autumn coloured leaves and preserve them in a book while I explored so many beautiful places with my sister. She would scan the ground too, to find leaves that declared the poetry of the season. And if my brother was with us, he'd stand at a distance away, pretending that he was in no way related to us sisters who were running around collecting leaves. 
This is what I made for my brother, framed autumn leaves. It's pretty easy too, collect pretty autumn leaves and preserve them in a book. Make sure you preserve them properly with no folded edges, just place the leaf gently between the pages of a book and let it remain there for a few days. Gently stick the leaves to a chart paper; I used a black chart paper here. Then use a transparent nailpolish to gently brush all over the leaf to give it a glossy look. Write a few lines (or not), and get it framed. 
Made this one for mom... 
And this I made for my sister... the glass cracked while transporting it. 
And here lies a remnant of my trips, beautifully preserved between the pages of one of the greatest books ever written, by one of my favourite authors.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Plainpalais Flea Market...

The Plainpalais flea market in Geneva takes place every Saturday and Wednesday, at the Plainpalais grounds. I visited it last year during the last week of October...
Saw so many records on display... 
Pretty vases and bowls...
Small pouches made with Indian fabric... 
Art to hang on walls... 
I especially liked this one of the boat...
How cute is this dish... three little kids as the stand. 
Another pretty dish... with three Victorian women on either side.
A really large mirror... and me, I look like a walking advertisement for Anokhi (both the kurta and the scarf are from Anokhi). It was starting to get cold towards the end of October... 
Pretty blue vase... 
African masks... 
Textile from the exotic land of India...

It was fun, just walking around and seeing everything... there's a farmers market that takes place at Plainpalais every Sunday too. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

The food we ate in Geneva...

So I've grown used to taking pictures of anything and everything... before it was mainly for my blog, but now I do it for Instagram. I've even started attending functions where I have to socialise with 'elders' (not something I'm fond of .. I prefer hanging out with my crowd of people), mainly because I get to instagram the event. Anyway, these are pictures of the food I cooked at home in Geneva and other dishes we ate in restaurants.
My mother used to make puff pastries often when we were kids, they are unbelievably easy to make and quite tasty too. I made quite a few of them at my brother's place. Here the puff pastry dough is rolled out onto a baking sheet... 
And lined with ham... 
Then some sauteed onions and capsicums... 
Added slices of cheese... 
Braided the dough then applied an egg wash.
And here it is, the ham and capsicum puff pastry... 
Made this pasta for us, the smaller one is for my brother cause he likes his pasta al dente, whereas me and Nam like it to be completely cooked. 
Salmon, apparently, is the preferred fish of choice there, and my sister cooked this... while I made the mashed potatoes with broccoli and those sauteed peas and corn. The mashed potatoes with broccoli were pretty good, but I got a lecture from Vinod about that... I don't think he likes broccoli. 
After visiting Gruyères, we had some Gruyère cheese lying around in the fridge, so I decided to make a French onion soup, which is pretty easy. You saute thinly sliced onions in olive oil and pour in some water and cook it on a low flame for half an hour or so. Then you pour in some red wine and let it cook some more, then add in pepper and salt. 
A french baguette, sliced up... 
Line them over the soup in a baking dish...
Scrape the Gruyère cheese over this and stick it in an oven till the cheese melts and starts bubbling... 
Here it is, all ready to be eaten... this is seriously good.
I used to make these puffs for my brother to take to work... this is a chicken puff. 
Braided and egg washed... 
Just out of the oven... a warm golden colour. 
These are some pork ribs, you get in the frozen section of the supermarket... you just stick it in an oven and drizzle some olive oil all over it. I chopped up some onions, capsicum and potatoes to bake along with this... this was amazingly good. 
This is the rotisserie chicken.... bought it and baked it again with some potatoes and salami.  
So after our trip to Lourdes, a couple of friends invited us over for raclette dinner, and we had a great time at their place. This is a raclette machine, where the raclette cheese is melted in those spoon like handles. And on top, vegetables like potatoes, capsicum, mushrooms, onions and other stuff are heated. The cheese has to melt and it is scraped onto the vegetables and eaten... it was really really really good. 
This is some fish my brother ate a restaurant... 
A plate of prawns... 
Some salad I had... 
Pizza's here have this really thin crust... and they taste awesome. This is a ham and egg, pizza...  
Desserts with Nam at Manor...
A salami pizza... 
This is a garlic spaghetti dish from La Trattoria restaurant that my sister loved... she tries to recreate it at home every now and then. 
Some pasta dish... 
This was some deadly dessert we had at La Trattoria restaurant in Geneva.
A seafood paella dish... 
These are the different flavoured Meringues we bought from Gruyères...
And these are the cans of double cream... you dip the meringues in the double cream and eat it. Whoa, these are ridiculously calorie laden... but you live only once so you try everything. 
And the slab of Gruyère cheese that was used in the French onion soup... 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Walking around in Geneva...

So after my sister left, it was just me and my brother at home and he'd go to work while I continued exploring Geneva on my own. I'd buy a day pass and if I see anything interesting outside, I'd hop off and walk around and everything is so efficiently organised there, that with a few apps and with all the bus stops containing neatly typed out details of every stop and the bus timings, there is no way you can get lost... even if you try. And the bus timings really blew me away, I should have taken a picture of it...the timings were always to the point like 9:43 or 14:18 or 16:01 and the bus would arrive exactly at this time, it was uncanny, it was brilliant, it was hassle free. I've traveled more in Geneva in those few months than I did in all the six years I stayed in Madras. 
This is a quaint library and antique store...
This is where the 18th century Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer, Jean Jacques Rousseau was born.
Old canons... 
Window boxes overflowing with flowers...
Angry lion door knocker... 
Pretty lace curtains...
Another interesting door knocker...
Pretty cool, right... with those winged creatures and the human form...
A quaint street corner...
Had lunch here... 
There are water outlets like this everywhere, and if there is a sign nearby that says potable then you can drink from it. 
A Marrons stand, we loved this... Marrons means chestnuts. This is the roasted chestnuts stand that springs up in different parts of the city during the last stages of autumn. 
More pretty curtains...
Some weird sculpture... when I was in this neighbourhood clicking away on my camera, two men walked out of their house, and came towards me. From the looks of it, a father and his son, so they were asking me why I was taking pictures of their houses, and I said to put on my blog. And they were like for what purpose, and I was like to show how pretty everything is here. And then they smiled and I told the son I could give him the link to my blog, he handed his phone over and I opened this page for him. So father and son, if you happen to read this... thanks for being nice people, take care. 
The enormous broken chair outside the UN building, symbolizing the campaign against landmines... 
The huge broken chair and the dancing fountains, near the UN buildings...
Gandhiji on the lawns of the UN...
Another statue inside the UN...
The UN library... 
A pretty fountain...
A statue near one of the bus stands...
These kids had come trick or treating during Halloween, and I asked if I could take a picture...
A quaint shop on the way...
A boy and a fish fountain...
A Man, an eagle and a horse fountain... 
A river...
And the colours of fall slowly changing the face of the earth...