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Recalling First Few Days of Returning to Work [April 2022]

Returning to work been a somewhat unexpected journey for the last 3 months, and it continues to be a bit disruptive, and a bit of relief at the same time. The first week in the more-than-familiar office cabin was slightly suffocating. The COVID wave hadn't subsided when we were called back, and there was every reason to feel apprehensive. With just the senior managers and the upper hierarchy called in, the team, people who contribute to the dense headcount at our office was nowhere to be seen.

Just to share some insight about my personal struggles to keep wearing the mask, I have been claustrophobic since I was around 17, and I have been on & off anxiety medications for more than a decade. Being grounded at home due to the pandemic, having just become father to a baby girl, also took a toll in some way though at many levels, I am also thankful for giving me the opportunity to be there when the little monkey was gifted to us.

Back to wearing a face mask for hours, a decision about which I had no second thoughts, I continue to struggle with it, and no matter how hard I try, it does not get easier for me. In the empty cabin, the mask became a lot more palpable. After the first two hours of the morning spent in clearing out the mailbox and sending updates to impatient clients, every time I sat back, the mask felt a lot heavier, like a shield that had been screw-driven into my face, seemingly welded around the ears and upper cheek. Needless to say, working without your usual team interrupting you, giving you a reason to shout a bit, and laughing/giggling during the day's hustle, did not come easy.

Reviewing I am All Girls on Netflix India

I am All Girls is perhaps one of the most underrated movies on Netflix India. There is every reason the channel and more so, its marketing team should have promoted this title a bit more. Even the online ratings seem a bit poorly done, underestimating the subject tackled in the movie and the manner in which the story has been told. I am All Girls may or may not be for family viewing depending upon how your ecosystem handles movies that are a bit graphic about subjects as sensitive as child abuse, child pornography, child trafficking, and the system that feeds off young girls taken off the streets, taking a toll on their families, and ruining lives without any logic to it. The only reason you could find a syndicate that needs a constant supply of young girls to be mercilessly abuse is that the human race is driven naturally and instinctively to behave in such a horrible way. I am All Girls is also a movie of revenge and redemption set in South Africa. The starcast is a bit new for audiences like me but overall, the performances delivered. I am All Girls does not try to preach anything. It merely tells the story of how child abuse is there in our society, in our homes, and how, the people affected by it, continue to be affected by it for their entire lives. There is nothing pink or typecast about this movie. The plot has very little mystery to it, actually almost none if you have been watching it carefully from the first shot, and tries to explore every step in the managed procedure that helps politicians and the rich feed off children. I am All Girls is a bit gritty for sure but more importantly, it does try to play the morality of seeking revenge - it makes you feel that yes, some people deserve to have their balls sliced off and shoved down their throats! It was also nice to see characters in the movie speak with a near-native South African accent - that seemed very real. Watch it once, try it once, you won't be let down...but again, not for people who are looking for happy-feel movies. Here, the subject is a bit serious and violent.

The Starling Movie Review [Netflix India OTT]

The Starling is a decent effort if you are not looking for Oscar-winning performances. Not that Kevin Kline and Melissa McCarthy don't do a great job, they have performed rather well but yes, there are places where the movie fails to live up to its expectations. The story of a couple who is dealing with the loss of their child is told rather well. While Melissa has taken the quiet, let us not talk about it sort of an approach, her husband turns suicidal and has to be admitted to a facility for mental wellness. The movie shows the massive difference between the approach the couple undertakes to deal with their sense of loss. Kevin Kline plays the aging vet and psychiatrist who does not preach much but believes that proper conversations can help such people find some closure. And closure is what they cannot find despite taking meds or chasing away the feisty bird that has invaded their backyard. The Starling is decent for the first 45 minutes or so but then fades away a bit. You feel that Kevin Kline could have been given a bit more room. You definitely feel that the angle where the recuperating bird represents second chances and forgiveness could have been explained a bit more. Again, the performances are good. You don't find one actor who does not fit the role here. The storytelling approach isn't bad either. You will find many movie critics giving a thumbs down to this movie but watch The Starling for the genuine effort it makes with real, human emotions. You will have not wasted your time. Can be a good watch for couples too! Watch it if you like a sensitive topic touched upon with a bit of grey humor. Not something you will want to revisit, this is not to be put on the permanent bookmark list but Melissa McCarthy and Kevin Kline create some moments of interesting conversations that you don't want to miss! Some people are calling it a typical Hallmark card type of movie but I think that is a bit too harsh. Yes, the CGI-generated birds were a bit of a letdown. But thankfully, the movie does not try to get cute or too elaborate with grief-struck emotions. A bit more effort could have meant lots of scenes that would have made some audiences cry but as a couple, the grieving husband and wife don't evoke such feelings. Strangely, the husband seems to have a very different accent too that I just could not catch. In patches, the movie does go a bit flat, you feel that the scenes were building up to something, and then, they just did not mature into something visually engaging. Recommended as a one-time watch. Try it for the performances, don't expect too much from the movie satisfying the inner, movie critic in you...

Movie Review for The Old Ways on Netflix India OTT

Keep your expectations real - The Old Ways does not have a premium starcast or the directorial credentials that make it an obvious pick during your work-from-life. However, like many horror flicks and gore movie plots that performed rather well with their directors and lead performers later blossoming into bigger names in the industry, The Old Ways does many things right to impress. The best part is that it wastes no time in revealing the storyline without unnecessarily stretching it. The first shot happens to be in the room where the supposedly possessed lady has been chained. Yes, this movie too is about possessions and being taken over by ghosts when you venture into the badlands and lesser-visited areas. The story is not too dramatic but it is told at a good pace. There is no time to take a popcorn break as Cristina realizes that her body has been taken over, and then gets on a quest to get rid of the unwanted spirit, and later, become a witch doctor lady of sorts herself. The entire movie presents just about four or five faces. There is no melodrama or too many special effects. This is a good movie if you like a lightweight horror flick where the fear is in the victim's eyes rather than computer-generated graphics. Combine the basic plot with a bit of sorcery and tales that only some village folks would know about, and The Old Ways comes up with a decent concoction. Highly recommended if you don't like to watch something too scary before going to bed but still want to see something that spooks you a little. A good effort overall, and it also makes me wonder why Netflix India has not been promoting or recommending this movie in any way. Perhaps, their content spotting team needs to do a better job of looking at their own inventory of decent movies and recommending it when a browser chooses the genre-based filter.

Online Shopping Review for Mr. Bowerbird Apparels on Myntra

This review comes after three purchases and some really close inspection - there is a brand on Myntra, called Mr. Bowerbird, and I am pretty sure that the softness and overall quality of the fabric it offers, is right up there with some of the luxury brands, and close competitors like H&M. I had been tracking their inventory options for some time. The prices were usually a bit inflated - at least, that is what I felt about the sticker tags. But in the last 10 days or so, the prices have been really cut down. It must be one of those discount schemes that I seldom understand but yes, it gave me the opportunity to order a bit from this niche brand.


Ovenstory Cheese Stuffed Garlic Bread Reviewed

Just a bit crispier and this would have been the clear winner! That is how close Ovenstory Cheese Stuffed Garlic Bread comes to taking the honors when it is compared to contemporary favorites in this niche, like Dominos. The latter impresses with a more buttery taste and an outer crust that is done a lot better. Ovenstory Cheese Stuffed Garlic Bread has less of garlic and instead, uses cheese to deliver more goeey goodness in each bite. However, it lags behind in the texture, inside and out. The outer surface is a bit undercooked. The lesser baked approach just might not work with folks like me who like to bite into the bread rather than gently chewing the bread. Ovenstory Garlic Bread also does away with the tendency to overpower the bread with the garlic flavor, making it a better choice for folks who cannot handle the garlic-heavy flavor.

7 Influences Clearly Visible in Bhoot Police | Still Does Not Impress

scary tree in sleepy hollow copied in bhoot police
Winchester Brothers: Supernatural was a bit of a breakthrough after Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, in terms of being a TV series that was dedicated to monster hunting and extermination. Add some ghouls, fallen angels, zombies, and other out-of-this-world predators, and Supernatural addressed all of them with the duo of the Winchester brothers kicking some serious ass. Bhoot Police surely borrowed this idea but the chemistry between Arjun Kapoor and Saif was just not the same. I cannot call this a lame attempt since it was done decently but it just did not make an impact. 

The Grudge: Hollywood remake of the Japanese horror icon laid new standards for presenting the creepy type of horror, moving away from the horror genre that was typically high on special effects. One thing that every first-time Grudge watcher would remember is the body twisting and bone crackling sounds. Bhoot Police borrowed the same, on two occasions if I remember correctly. The impact again was missing. It was done a bit too quickly and without any creepiness being created.

Mental Health Battles, Confessions

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