Posted in Movie Review, The Happiness Project

Arrival: The Movie Review

Everyone is super excited about the movie ‘Arrival’. Everyone wants to see it because it has got super rating on IMDB (8.4/10 till now). So, we had to see this to know what the fuss about. I was super excited to watch the movie too and went to see it yesterday. In a word the movie is ‘Over-rated’. I was very surprised because most of the time the popular rating and my rating matches, but this time I was very disappointed. My expectations were definitely high as I read some reviews before I watched it. But even if I had seen the movie without reading the review, I wouldn’t have given it any more than 6. So, my rating is 5.5/10 for ‘Arrival’.

Spoiler alert:

The plot:

Louise Banks (Amy Adams) was a linguist and one of the best college professor in the United States. So, when 12 spacecrafts arrived in the world and landed in 12 random locations, Forest Whitaker, a high official of US forces hired Ms. Banks to help interpret the language of the aliens. He also hired Mr. Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) who was a mathematician/physicist. Both worked to find a way to communicate with the aliens. Other large forces of the world were also trying to communicate but clearly they were not as patient and calm as United States team. As soon as the spaceships arrived, the arrival created a lot of  chaos and anarchy in the whole world. Louise tried to talk to the aliens at first then found out that communication by writing was a better approach. When the scientists interpreted the first message from aliens that it was about some weapon (use weapon or offer weapon), all the other countries freaked out and started to plan to destroy the spaceships. 

Louise and Ian tried their best to teach English to the aliens, but ended up deciphering alien’s circular type writings, which they write with both hands at the same time. After several communication approaches, most of the countries reached to the conclusion that the aliens came to the world to use some short of weapon. So all the other countries decided to destroy the spacecrafts located in their locations. From that pressure, the US also decided to evacuate the place where the craft was located. By the very end, Louise was finally able to communicate properly with the alien, who told Louise that they have come to the world to offer a gift as they want to save humanity and in return they need human’s help in 3000 years. Finally by Sapir-Whorf hypothesis theory, Louise was able to see the future and by using that quality reached out to the Chinese General and persuade him to stop the war against the aliens. Finally, when the Chinese government backed up, all the other forces followed their lead. The spacecrafts then vanished into the sky. 

In the movie the actors were awesome, their acting were really praise worthy, but the movie was super slow. It is understandable why the movie got a high rating. This is a story that you haven’t seen before. It was not a common sci-fi concept of war against the aliens or aliens came to the world to invade or destroy humanity, but how to be benefitted from each other. Really a nice and positive concept. The movie making was also good, but I don’t know where it all tangled up. First 90 minutes of the movie was slow and last 20 minutes was so fast, it will leave you your head scratching. I would say a movie is good if I get all the answers to the questions I came up with during watching a movie. If I don’t get the answers it makes me feel like something is missing or the movie is not complete. In this movie there were a lot of things that did no/little sense to me, or may be I didn’t understand it. I would love to get the explanations in the following points:

1. The character of Ian (Jeremy Renner) barely contributed anything to the plot as a physicist. It seemed like they had to put a scientist in the plot, so they did, but had no idea what the scientist could do. They could use the whole plot without bringing the character of Ian. I’m sure there were many ways by which a physicist could have helped the team to understand the nature of the aliens, but the whole focus was with the linguist. So, in the last scene, when Ian told Louise that he knows that the real reason he came here was to meet Louise, that totally makes sense. A male character in a movie, who will end up with Louise after.

2. The aliens came to the world to give a gift in order to save humanity. It was not clear what was the gift, other than the alien language. It was also not clear why the language would be any help to the humanity, but surely it will help the aliens when they would need humans in 3000 years.

3. The whole movie was confusing with flash backs of Louise’s daughter who died in Cancer, but by the end you will realize these were flash forwards, not flash backs. By all means, Louise was able to avoid the disaster not by her linguistic expertise, but by her ability to see the future. In the plot they tried to use the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis theory, which holds that the language shapes the way we think and learning a new language can rewrite our brain. By using the theory Louise was able to think like aliens and was able to control time and see the future. Contrary, in the same time they have shown that the visions that Louise used to see was actually flash forwards and she had this quality from the very first, even before she met the aliens and learnt their language. So, it was not very clear. Someone who can see the future use that quality to be friends with aliens. Doesn’t sound like a science fiction, huh?

4. Also, they spend only few seconds to explain Sapir-Whorf hypothesis to the audience, in which the whole plot lies. As if they expected that all people already know about the theory and so they didn’t spend too much time to explain it.

5. Most confusing thing was that they showed the aliens were super intelligent creature, who knew everything (apparently able to see the future, could time travel and so on), but even after extreme effort by Louise and Ian , they could not fathom the human language, not a bit, not a written word. So, by some super-fast-way Louise had to understand their language, which was extremely complex. It was not clearly shown how the team were finally able to decipher the alien words, which the team were trying to figure out from the very beginning.

6. Most surprising act was coming from some US soldiers. Some of them were very confused and somehow get motivated by watching TV (!!??) to destroy the spaceship with some explosives and guns. They somehow placed the explosives in the spacecraft, which was located in a super secured area (seriously?) No one had any idea about this, not even Louise and Ian, who were standing right next to the device/dynamite. Also, US soldiers get motivated by watching some guys on the TV from the other corner of the world, who were ranting about aliens? Come ‘on! They were US soldiers! They are the most organized, well-trained, and order-following officials in the world!!! They don’t do anything in the field without an order from the superior!!! Planning to blow up the spaceship with some toy like devices? No! They can’t be that stupid! Also, in the plot the whole research team had little idea about what to do and actually what they were doing.

7. This is a science fiction, I would expect to understand the science and most importantly the reason behind the ‘arrival’. I couldn’t understand why they came. To teach us the language? Even though the aliens showed full cooperation, but from their side they helped little to teach us their language (all they did was throw some words and expect humans to decipher) and they didn’t even try to learn ENGLISH! (Ian even walked for them!)

8. The funniest part? The attack, ordered  by the Chinese General was stopped by just a phone call. Apparently  the General got an anonymous phone call and some lady (Louise) said to him his wife’s words in Mandarin, and he changed his mind and stopped the war. And what did the lady say? Nobody bothered to translate it to the audience! They left it to the audience to speculate. Many may liked this approach, but I didn’t find my answers and left the theater with confusion.

So, if you want to watch the movie, please go ahead and watch. Many people liked it, so you may too. I just didn’t like it as much as I was expecting.

Day 23 of 100 Happy Days

Posted in The Happiness Project

A Little Conversation and Strawberry Short-Cake Donut

Day 22 of 100 Happy Days:

After a long time me and my husband sat and talked for about 20 minutes, without any kind of distraction. Surprisingly, we watch TV together, eat together, sleep together, laugh together and talk a lot throughout the day, but rarely talk about our feelings and most importantly discuss about future plans. But today was different. While drinking coffee at Tim Horton’s, we didn’t take out our phones to check  and we didn’t talk and laugh about random staffs, rather we talked about our life plans, what should we do, what should be our next steps. He told some challenges about his career and what he wants to do next, what he has done so far, what he should have done and what he couldn’t do. It was an important talk because my husband doesn’t like to talk about these stuffs to anyone, not even with me. I was aware of everything he said, but it was very important for me and him to talk to me directly about these.

When we were leaving the coffee shop, I told him we should do it more. The conversation is the key of communication, crucial for every relation, in every step.

We also tried Tim Horton’s new strawberry short-cake donut. It was good, a way too much whip cream. If you like whip cream this is heaven for you. My husband is doing the Movember and the whip cream was all over his heavy mustache. It was so funny! I should have taken a photo!  

Posted in Recipe, The Happiness Project

Coconut Barfi (jelly type pudding)

One of the easy-peasy recipe of a dessert! Anyone who loves coconut will fall in love with this pudding or barfi! (You can call it whatever you want)

Ingredients:

Coconut water (without sugar): 1 can
Coconut milk: 1 can
Sugar: 4 ts
Agar-agar:2 ts

Direction:

  1. Boil coconut water with 2 ts of sugar and 1 ts of agar agar
  2. Pour it in a serving dish
  3. Let it cool ( you can refrigerate it after it comes down to the room temperature)
  4. Boil the coconut milk with some water, 2 ts of sugar, 1 ts of agar agar
  5. Pour it to the serving dish on top of the coconut water mixture. You have to make sure that the coconut water mixture has been solidified by then, or it can get mixed.
  6. Let it cool and refrigerate it.
  7. Cut in smaller pieces and serve!

Next time I’m going to try this with different types of colorful juice!

Tips:
1. If you want to buy coconut water with sugar, just adjust the sweet according to your taste.
2. There are different types of coconut milk, some are in a form of thick cream and some are liquid. We want liquid type of thickness for this dessert, so if you have bought cream type coconut milk, you have to thin it with some water!

Day 21 of 100 Happy Days

Posted in The Happiness Project

Baby ‘Z’s Birthday! 

Day 20 of 100 Happy Days

Today was our baby ‘Z’s first birthday celebration! He is such a cute baby! Even though baby ‘Z’s parents are not close friends of ours, but we know them pretty well for last few year. They planned a big birthday party in a rented hall and invited a lot of people. I am extremely happy that my husband agreed to go to the birthday party, as he often hesitate to go to a party if he is not friends with the host. And I hate to make an excuse for not accepting an invitation, no matter who invited us. In the past we fought few times on this issue and many times I had to make an excuse for not going. So, you can guess why I was happy today. Overall it was a fun party because my other friends were there. We spend most of the time taking selfies. In this smart phone era, you can’t get bored, right? 

Baby ‘Z’s Happ(y) Birthday!

So this weekend was extremely good and busy for me. I like it this way, far better than last week

Posted in The Happiness Project

Love to be the Host! 

Yes, I love to cook, and the intensity multiplies many times when I cook for friends, family and others. Off course I get tired, but never get exhausted when I invite people! I totally love when people come to our house for dinner or only to hang out. It feels great be the host and it is very relaxing to chill out with friends with lots of foods, right? So, it doesn’t matter how tired I get, I feel extremely happy and satisfied when I host a party. So, here goes my happiness project post!

Day 19 of 100 Happy Days:

I invited some friends today for dinner. As I always cook Indian rich foods when I invite someone, this time my husband said, let’s try something different, why not cook some Chinese and Thai food?  I was concerned at first because I cook oriental foods occasionally only for home eating, I never cooked oriental for parties. But, then I thought, let’s do this! Sometime different is good. It took me around 8-10 hours to cook all items, but everyone said foods were delicious. 😄 These are the items I cooked today.

  • Chicken fried rice 
  • Broccoli with chicken
  • Hot wings
  • Tilapia fillet in coconut milk
  • Thai red curry shrimp
  • Fried chicken
  • Sizzling sriracha chicken
  • Salad
  • Coconut jelly type pudding (dessert)
  • Caramel custard (dessert)

Dessert Mania

I will post the recipes in next few days! 💞

Posted in The Happiness Project

B L A C K Friday….

Day 18 of 100 Happy Days: 

Black Friday shopping! Yeaaa!!! 
3.5 hours at the mall and $350 GONE! Not an ideal thing to do when you are unemployed, right??!! Come on, this is black Friday!!! And the deals were good!

I bought a knee high boot, some leggings and t-shirts and bought my husband a dress shoe! Finally dinner at KFC!

The best thing about black Friday? I get to see people. So many people! Everyone is in a rush! Such long lines! As I live in a small city, I barely see too many people in the mall. So whenever I see a lot of people, it really feels like home. 

Posted in The Happiness Project

Tuna Fish Cake or Tuna Kebob

Day 16 of 100 Happy Days:

Today for the happiness project I am posting one of my favorite recipe ( as I don’t have anything significant to share). This is called Tuna Kabob or Tuna-Fish Cake. In my category, it is one of my easy long recipe. It is great as a side-dish at dinner or lunch, also great for snack in case your friends are coming over! All my friends love my tuna fish cake!

Ingredients:
Tuna: 2 cans, water drained completely
Potato: 1 large, boiled till soft enough to mash easily
Onions: 1 large, chopped and fried till golden brown
Egg: 1
Garam masala: 0.5 ts (Kabob masala or normal garam masala or cumin and coriander powder will also work)
Salt: taste wise
Red chili powder: 0.5 ts or less
Coriander: Chopped
Green Chili: 1 chopped, you can skip this as it makes the kabobs really hot
Bread crumbs
Oil: 250 ml

Direction:
1. Mix everything, other than the bread crumbs and oil
2. Mash with hand or masher
3. Wet hands with small amount of oil and make medium-sized balls. Gently squeeze the balls and it will give you nice circular shaped cakes.
4. Roll the cakes on the bread crumbs
5. Heat the oil on medium heat and fry the fish cakes/tuna kabobs
6. Serve with ketch up or some other sauce

Tips:
1. Make sure that the mash is sticky but not too runny. If not too sticky or too dry to make a ball, give another egg yolk (another full egg can make it too runny) and if it is too runny add some more potato.
2. If you want to make the dish healthy, just bake the fish cakes instead of frying it (350F, 30-40 minutes, turning once). In my photo, the cakes are baked.
3. If your tuna already contains some salt, you just need to add small amount of salt. I would suggest to taste it before making the balls to make sure the amount of salt is right.
4. Tuna is very light, only small amount of masala will give right amount of taste, while too much masala can make it bitter in taste.

Posted in The Happiness Project

Home

“Home”! Such a confusing word for girls! Whenever we start to say something about home, someone stops us and ask, which one?

Really, which one is my real home? The one I grew up with my parents? My husband’s home, which came with my wedding as in-law home? Or the rented 2 bedroom apt currently we are living in? Or may be I still don’t have my home yet, I have to buy a house to call it my home.

I know this is my home, the one where I live with my husband, in Canada. But when I say back home, I mean my home, the one where I was born and brought up, where my parents live. They clean my room regularly, everything is kept as it was when I left home 6 years ago for Canada, and they still call it my room. Just few days ago my dad painted the whole house. They painted all rooms with some white-ish colored paint, but mine. I was very surprised to know that they re-painted my room with the same color I chose 16 years ago. One wall dark pink and other three light pink. I mean, seriously? Why? I choose that color because I was a teenager back then! My obsession with pink is over long time ago. When I asked my dad, he didn’t answer my question. May be he wanted to keep the essence of the room, may be sometimes he wants to go to my room and feel that I’m still nearby, went somewhere, will be back by the evening. My mom still cleans my desk and my dressing table with great care, even though there is nothing there. She cleans my book shelf, my novels, my bangle shelf, my window where I used to stick photos since I was a kid and every other detail. That room is still my room. That house is still my home.

Few months back, one of my uncle was suggesting my dad as no one other than my parents live there, and me, my brother and sister are settled in North America, they should consider giving the the house to a building developer and build an apartment there. By doing that my parents will have few apartments, one to live in and others to sell/rent whatever they want. It will be much secure and updated than an old three storied house. The idea was really good. But I and my sister opposed immediately, almost cried and said we are not supporting this. My brother, the eldest and most mature one, didn’t say anything at first either, later said that it would be good for our parents but was clearly emotional. My mom got so angry with the idea that my dad didn’t said another word. I remembered that I used to tell my dad to sell his childhood home and lands located in the countryside, 250 miles away from our house, because nobody lives there and my dad can use the money to something useful. Every time my suggestion made my dad angry. I decided that day that I won’t suggest to sell his house again. That’s his home.

You know the irony? Whenever I start to say something about home to my husband, something like, got a phone call from home, or something happened at home, he immediately thinks I am talking about his home, my home in-law.

Right now, I miss my home. I want to go home. My home.

#Day 14 of 100 days of happiness project