Sunday, December 29, 2013

Days 362 - 363: Friends, Dance, Fun and the Indo-Japanese Wedding!

28 - 29 December, 2014

What a fantastic two days, it was! I had an incredible amount of fun at what was probably one of the most happening weddings I have ever attended!

Firstly, it was the largest coming together of our "gang" for any wedding so far. It so happened that there was a grand total of about 12 of us at the wedding, which was a first. It was lovely to catch up with everyone over the two days and of course, to see our lovely Indian friend getting married to his Japanese sweetheart.

After much contemplation, I have concluded that the best way to write this post would be like a timeline (accuracy of time less and content more important!), just so that I don't miss any of the details that I want to preserve for years to come.

Day 1: 28 December

8:00 am - Woke up and got ready. The plan was to have breakfast, attend the morning functions which were to be held at the groom's house, get back and rehearse for a dance which we, the gang, is supposed to be putting up later in the evening at the Sangeet, and then attend the Sangeet. Anyway, to kickstart all of the above, we had to wake up and get ready and we did that.

9:00 am - Enjoyed the awesome spread and the sumptuous breakfast at the Marriot. If I remember right, I had everything from poha to bacon and masala chai to sweet yogurt. Yup.

10:00 am - Just as the hubby and I were done with our breakfast the rest of the gang trickled in and soon all of us were sitting around chatting away and extending the breakfast time. Over this conversation, we decided that we will start our dance rehearsal right after breakfast and then leave for the groom's house by lunch time.

11:00 am - Based on the above plan, all of us walked around the Marriot premises looking for a suitable location for rehearsal - one where we would have sufficient space for all of us to dance in.

11:30 am - After walking around the swimming pool and the lawns, as well as checking in on the ballrooms, we decided that we might as well practice in one of our rooms, thereby successfully wasting 30 minutes of precious rehearsal time. We proceeded to a room and squeezed in in whatever space available between the bed and the wall and started the "rehearsal". The "rehearsal" is in quotes because much of the time was spent on getting the music ready as well as convincing some of the shy folks that they too can and should dance. (I should mention at this point in time that the dance we were planning to perform to, is one from our university days. Four of us in the current gang, including the groom, had performed the same dance about 10 years ago in college! So a few of us were familiar with it but as for the rest, I had sent out the video of the performance from 10 years ago for their advance preparation, but can safely say that not a single person took a look at it.)

12:30 pm - We got through about 30% of the dance before it was time to leave for the groom's place for the functions and lunch there. There was a bus arranged to shuttle between the hotel and his house, and we dutifully ran through the dance steps even in the bus. By now, the whole gang was pretty enthusiastic about the dance. There were no more of "I can't" and "I won't"s anymore!

1:15 pm - We reached the groom's place and sat around watching the festivities, enjoying panipuri and other delicacies, taking pictures, taking a tour of his very lovely house (I especially LOVED all the paintings!), receiving gifts (sweets for all and jewellery for the girls!) and enjoying the Bangalore winter morning.

4:00 pm - We got back to the hotel and immediately started on our dance rehearsal again but not before ordering some masala chai to refresh ourselves. The rehearsals progressed beautifully this time. Everyone was pretty committed to the cause and within an hour, we wrapped the rehearsal and we were all set to burn the dance floor.

5:00 pm - We got back to our respective rooms, took some rest and then started to get ready for the Sangeet. I got into a lovely black churidar, courtesy my in-laws. Always trust them to get the best clothes for me!

7:00 pm - We went down to the poolside the lawns of the Marriott, the location for the Sangeet. Much of the evening was spent on clicking pictures, enjoying some of the yummy finger foods that were being served and carrying on with our never ending "catch ups". One bummer was that the hubby went down with a terrible fever and flu in the midst of it all. So he joined in late, but good news is that he tried his best to be part of the festivities and even managed to dance. The Sangeet was pretty fun. I was amazed at the quantity and quality of performances put together by the groom's family - it seemed like everyone, young and old, men and women, had all put in so much effort to put up the show and it was very entertaining. There was also a really cute skit on how the Indian groom met the Japanese bride, which was hilarious and extremely well made!

10:00 pm - It was our turn to dance! The 'gang' including me were pretty excited by now and were raring to dance! I gave a quick introduction first - that we had performed this piece 10 years ago and we are doing it again, dedicated to the groom, who was the star performer all those years ago. We went on stage and some of the more enthusiastic ones among us cheered ourselves on! And then we danced and had a blast!  We didn't care what the audience thought of it because we clearly were convinced that we rocked it! It was so much fun! The highlight was when the groom joined us and did his signature "helicopter" move, something which he had done in the original performance 10 years ago as well! Too cool! After our dance, the groom and bride (Japanese, let me remind you) burned the dance floor with their performance on "Dhinka Chikka". It was awesome and I went hoarse with cheering! I also felt good that they had learnt the dance by watching a video of a performance by the hubby and I, to the same song, at the hubby's cousin's wedding in 2011. I can honestly say that I never expected them, especially the bride, to be able to pick up the completely Indian tapori steps so well! So proud of them!

11:30 pm - Post the Sangeet, we grabbed a quick dinner and retired early for the night, mainly due to the hubby's ill health. By the time we went to bed, we had sent several self congratulatory messages on Facebook and Whatsapp about our own performance for the night. An extremely fun day it was!

Day 2: 29 December

9:00 am - After getting ready and having breakfast, we were all set for the Indo-Japanese wedding ceremony! I must add here that I, for the first time ever, wore a sari with pleated pallu, which was amazing because I managed to wear it so well! Sure, it took a really long time to get it right, but I am so proud for finally having draped one in that style! Really, So proud.

10:00 am - We accompanied the groom to the beginning of the baaraat (wedding procession), where he climbed on his vehicle for the day - a beautiful white horse. With much music and dancing, we accompanied him back to the wedding venue. The highlight was when the two "dhoti" wearing guys from the gang, started dancing to the very happening "Lungi dance" song. It was so much fun that I couldn't help but join doing the same moves with my sari (and my sari held through it all, which again, makes me so proud of myself!). Soon all the uncles and aunties from the groom's families were doing the lungi dance, which to me, was super duper cute!

10:30 am - I had spent a long time taking a ton of pictures throughout the baaraat as well as later and a friend and I started to upload these to a dedicated Facebook page live, which I thought was a super cool idea on his part!

11:30 am - My in-laws also joined the wedding and we had a nice time together watching the rest of the ceremony. We later proceeded for lunch together (lunch, especially the goan fish curry, mutton biriyani and rasmalai, were awesome!), I had a nice time catching up with a friend's parents who had also flown in for the wedding (and also to meet their son's girlfriend's parents ... you know, "officially"... so I had my fingers crossed for that lovely couple too!), we took the inevitable "group photo" with the groom and the bride on the "stage" and then it was time to say goodbye as most of the folks except me were flying out within today itself.

3:30 pm - As many of the "gang" took their leave and the hubby took some much needed rest in our room to get over his fever, one of my best friends from school (and also my partner in founding the unofficial die-hard fan club for Michael Jackson in Thrissur about 17-18 years ago), came over to meet me at the hotel. Over some pretty average coffee, we had a very much overdue and much needed catch up on our lives. It was heartening to see that we think exactly the same as each other even now, and it was absolutely terrific to have an opportunity to meet her.

6:00 pm - After the friend left, I decided that I will shop a bit in the mall next door. The shopping trip was, to put it mildly, disappointing. There was absolutely nothing there that caught my fancy but given that I spent about 45 minutes there, I got myself to buy a simple summer dress.

7:00 pm - The hubby and I had dinner together at a restaurant in the mall. Ever since he has been ill, there has not been much of "romantic Bangalore" anymore other than me ordering hot soups for him, so this dinner was a good final romantic activity before he returns to Singapore today and I return to Kerala with the in-laws tomorrow.

8:00 pm - The hubby took his leave for the airport, while I caught up with the groom and his mom (one of the most fun aunties I know!) in the hotel lobby. Oh, I must mention here that the groom was mighty pleased with all the pictures taken by yours truly this morning and he even mentioned that I should "copyright" them. Woah! Given that I have absolutely zero technical skills when it comes to photography, this was some really good compliment. Ego was duly boosted and a wide smile was born.

10:30 pm - A junior of mine from my school days came down to visit me. Given that it was late in the night and that she had to travel a lot to make it to Whitefield and that she had given up dinner with her fiance's family after some wedding shopping (she is getting married in a month's time), I think it was incredibly sweet of her to make so much trouble just to come see me! I had hardly known her in school other than as my friend's younger sister but thanks to Facebook, we had gotten to know each other a lot better in the recent past. It was lovely to meet her and have a long chat in person!

12:00 am - After seeing off the lovely young lady, I hit the bed, happy about all the fun I've had and even happier about all the wonderful people I have in my life. To top it all, just as I was about to doze off, the friend whose parents were to meet his prospective in-laws, messaged that all went extremely well between the two sets of parents and his wedding is very much on! That was the best news to end two very beautiful days with!

So happy!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Day 361: "Romantic" Bangalore!

Thus, after a day in Kerala, we were off to Bangalore, leaving behind the little one with her grandparents. The "leaving behind" turned out to be a pretty smooth process. We were expecting some high quality "please don't leave me mummy & papa!!!" crying, which....well..... didn't happen.

Nope, not even remotely. 

Instead, she decided that focusing on my mom's box of accessories was a much better activity. Just as well. 

So we - the hubby and I, were off to Bangalore! 

Now, naming this post "Romantic Bangalore" has nothing do with Bangalore being romantic. It is just that this is our first trip together after 1.5 years - the hubby and I alone, without the little one or friends or parents... and to me that alone was "romantic". We chatted all the way from the house till the airport, shopped together for books from the airport bookshop (they always have the best collection!), got ourselves chai and patties from the airport cafe, had a long conversation while savouring it, almost missing our flight in the process (see? romantic!), had another long catch up on the flight to Bangalore, got an airport cab and chatted away again while observing the sights and sounds of Bangalore, until we reached the hubby's aunt's place where his parents were also staying on a short visit. 

At the aunt's place, we had a really nice time catching up with everyone and also stuffed ourselves silly with a lot of awesome home cooked dishes (both aunty and uncle are great cooks and cooked a variety of southern Indian dishes and even Biriyani! They also made their own mojitos, which was just fantabulous!). 

Then the hubby and I took off on the last drive for the day - to the Marriot in Whitefield, the venue of the wedding. We checked in and was soon joined by the other friends who had also travelled in from various parts of India, leading to another round of catch ups and fun. 

Oh, we were also informed by my parents in Kerala that the little one had not one bit of separation anxiety through the day. Good news. 

Thus, day 1 in Bangalore came to an end. Tomorrow, the wedding festivities begin! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Day 360: Kerala Phase 1 - Food's Own Country!

Like I mentioned here, our plan was to spend a couple of days in Kerala before the hubby and I would leave for Bangalore to attend a friend's wedding, leaving the little one with her grandparents. After the wedding, the hubby would return to Singapore while I would come back to Kerala, with my in-laws for phase 2 of the trip there.

But yes, for now, it is phase 1. This one day was pretty much spent on eating as well as visiting a few friends and family. Within a day, I managed to stuff in Kerala Porotta, Varutharacha Chicken Curry, Chilli Prawns, Egg Masala, Appam, Koorkka Upperi, Idiyanchakka (young jackfruit)Thoran, Ulli (shallot) Sambhar,  Vegatable Cutlet, Idli and Chutney. All this on top of a visit to our neighbour's house as well as trip down to Cochin to visit my uncles, aunts, cousins and super fun little nephew there.

So proud of myself!

I must also mention that I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful, breezy weather here which was a very welcome change from the super hot, sultry weather from March when I last visited. It was also fascinating to see the cute/cranky/intelligent/silly performances that the little one was putting up for the benefit of everyone around, especially her grandparents and great grandmother.

It was a great phase 1 for sure, next up is Bangalore!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Days 357 - 359: "Shilpa Vihar"!

23 - 25 December, 2013

In his last visit to Singapore, my dad had brought along an old sketchbook of mine, which dates back to my childhood (and I mean when I was about 10 or so). It was fascinating to see what used to catch my fancy those days. I had everything from cartoon characters to flora and fauna and landscapes and each sketch was accompanied by a very clear title e.g. "boy", "girl", "naughty boy", "duck", "good boy", etc.

Interestingly, one of the sketches was that of a pretty little house and this one too had a label. It said "Shilpa Vihar" which means "Shilpa Residences", "Shilpa's House" or something of that order. Clearly, that was the picture of my dream house and what I planned to name it whenever it were to happen in the future. 

Now, it is not that my family had no house of our own. We did have the good fortune to live in cozy, comfortable little home but I guess I was probably not fully happy with it at that point in time. And the reason was that I never had a room to myself. What I had was one that doubled up as my room, general study room, mom's wardrobe room, dad's books room, etc. etc. 

As I grew up, I think I started to care less about "my room" or the dream "Shilpa Vihar" and had completely forgotten about it by the time the sketchbook made its way to me after all these years. But what I did have in mind was to some day have a bigger house in my hometown - one which gave enough space to my parents, my grandmom who now stays with us and the hubby, the little one and I when we visit every year. 

And the work on this - a house that has enough space for all of us together - has been progressing for the past couple of years and is now almost completed. And I planned to visit my new home, or "Shilpa Vihar" as the hubby as been calling it ever since he saw the sketchbook. The idea was for all three of us to go check out the new place, then the hubby and I leave for a friend's wedding in Bangalore leaving the little one behind with her grandparents, then I come back to my hometown together with my in laws who will join me from Bangalore, spend a few days there and then return to Singapore with the little one.

In other words, there was a ton of planning and packing to be done. And that's exactly what I did during these few days. Making packing lists, packing, shopping, packing again, repacking because nothing seems to fit in the darn luggage, etc. etc.

And finally when all that was done, we made our way to Thrissur in Kerala, to see that house that my parents have been toiling to set up for so long (My involvement has been financial only while they have been designing and really pulling the weight that's required to be pulled for any construction of a new home).

My parents picked us up from the Kochi airport and soon we were there. The new house perched on a slightly elevated road, overlooking the Brahmaswam Madhom (a temple and a vedic institution, open to the public only once a year during Saraswati Puja) and its adjoining beautiful, serene pond. With a gorgeous view like that, this was already a perfect home in my mind but I was wowed when I walked through the indoors. The interiors (done by a professional interior decorator) had been done up beautifully and I was thrilled that they had even managed to frame family photos and line up on a photo wall. It was all so beautiful! And the best part - there was enough space... more than enough space in fact, for all of us together!

So there it was - after a gap of more than 20 years, "Shilpa Vihar"!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Day 356: Finally A Fantastic December Day!

I was really looking forward a day that felt like it was in December - relaxed, festive, happy! Thanks to work and all that, "relaxing" was not something that was happening and I haven't had an opportunity to take part in any festivities so far either.

But today, I felt like it was December. Finally! It was a perfect day. Like, P.E.R.F.E.C.T!

I had just completed the dub sync work until 2am this morning and then went to bed. I woke up late and after getting ready, the three of us - the hubby, the little one and I - set out for our Sunday outing - something that hasn't been happening in the last several weeks.

We went to our favourite restaurant Antoinette on Orchard road. We had a good lunch there while the little one made friends with all the service staff.

After lunch, we walked around in Orchard Road, soaking in the festivities, something that I have been wanting to do for the longest time! This is my annual ritual, something that I really love to do, and this year I wanted the little one to take a look at all the decorations and activities around the area as well.

And we could finally do it!

We walked a long stretch along the road, enjoying the Brazilian Samba Brucata music that was being played (which was AWESOME!), taking in the decor and all the different christmas trees, enjoying the beautiful cool, breezy weather and stopping for a drink at our favourite hangout place Brotziet - during which the hubby and I caught up over a nice long conversation as the little one dozed off. Also, in true tourist style, we even got a picture of us blown up on a huge LCD screen outside a building (it was some Samsung promotional thingy). How cool!

After that beautiful outing, we set off, with great excitement, to meet the baby boy a close friend had just given birth to a few hours earlier. We went to the National University Hospital and welcomed the little one to our world. Our little one also tagged along and had a momentary bout of jealousy when her mom, that is me, picked up the baby. It was pretty cute to watch!

Incidentally the hospital was in the campus of our alma mater National University of Singapore, and we were excited to be back on campus. We decided to have dinner there and walked to our regular hangouts from the yesteryears - the paratha shop at Abang.

As we entered - complete with baby, stroller and baby bag, the uncle and aunty who owns the place recognized us and made quite a deal about the fact that  we used to study there and now have returned with a baby! They told and retold the story to everyone who visited the place! It was so cute.. and really, a very interesting experience. All those years ago, I never would have imagined that I would be back there with a baby of my own! Phew!

Back home I had a long, much overdue, fun chat with the in-laws, after which the hubby and I once again set out for a short night walk to get a drink. The weather was simply gorgeous!

This was the December I wanted to enjoy! This was the holiday season I was so looking forward to!

I went to bed a really happy person. Wonderful day, indeed!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Days 351 - 355: From Good to Awesome!

17 - 21 December, 2013

In my last post, I had written about how the days have gone from being pretty bad to pretty good. Now in the last few days, I can safely say that the days have gone from pretty good to pretty awesome! Several awesome things have been happening:

1) The dub for Aravindum Aarumughamum is finally complete! It took staying up until 6:30 on friday night/saturday morning to get this done, but thanks to a cup of exceptionally good black coffee and a lot of humour and wit from the team even that late into the night, we managed to get through it. It took me another late night to complete the entire sync and edit of the dub but then... soon enough, we were done! And it felt awesome!

2) We, the culture team at work that organized the Christmas party, had a really nice celebratory lunch at the Ku De Ta restaurant in Marina Bay Sands. This was a gift given to us by the boss, for the good work ! The lovely atmosphere with the cool, breezy weather, the gorgeous views, the delicios Japanese bento set that ordered, as well as the fun conversation that flowed throughout, all made it a really nice experience.

3) I had  been pretty much stuck with the ideas for episodes of the Malayalam sitcom that I had started to write, but now I have a new thread in my mind. I haven't yet written it down, but this is already a great start!

4) I started to pack for the last and final trip of the year - back to India!

5) I finally started to feel that December is here! Work was easing off, mainly because nobody is around to not let it ease off; The work on the film at my end was finally pretty much done, I was beginning to think about the holiday finally (and panicking about the packing, if I may add) and I even managed to catch a Bollywood film, Dhoom 3, in the theatre. I was visiting the cinemas after three whole months... I don't think that kinda gap has happened ever before, but that's how busy it has been! It was great to be back... and I think I enjoyed the film more than anyone else. Sure, it has a mindblowing list of flaws, but just watching it for the performance of Aamir Khan and production design, was good enough for me.

6) I had two really good yoga classes!

7) Thanks to Youtube, I am still receiving messages from strangers on Mausams,even though the film is almost three years old now. Especially when I feel like I am in a rut with the dubbing or some other issue with the film, one such message quickly pulls me out and up and I feel like this is all worth it! Everytime this happens, I feel so thankful!

Nett, am an awesomely happy person! 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Days 341 - 348: The Bad & Then the Good!

What a rollercoaster ride it has been over the last few days!

On one hand, a lot of undesirable things happened -

a) A riot broke out in Singapore - something that hadn't happened in the last 40 years.

b) I had a messy presentation to the management.

c) The hubby and I had what's probably our longest lasting fight ever, probably because both of us are so overworked and stressed out.

d) The Singapore Air Force came and erased... and I repeat, ERASED all the footage we had shot over one morning (this was the reshoot of one of the scenes for Aravindum Aarumughamum). Their rationale - we were shooting too close to their base. And even though nothing was captured of their base in the footage, they chose to erase it. I did ask them to come and intervene a bit earlier the next time if they don't want shooting in that area, because really, letting us shoot for three whole hours and then coming and erasing everything is not really top notch consideration.

e) I worked past midnight 3 out of the 5 working days, and also had a work call until 8pm on Friday for good measure (yes, work is still crazy).

f) I was constantly suffering from dry, itchy eyes and a headache to go along.

Then things changed.

a) The day after the messy presentation, I gave another presentation - a real kickass one at that.

b) I was extremely saddened by the riot that broke out - especially since the ones responsible for it were my fellow countrymen from India, but then it was heartening to see that there was a lot of good discussion on how to improve the conditions of the labour class in Singapore so that these things don't re-occur. I was particularly happy to note that nowhere in my Facebook timeline did I see a xenophobic or racist comment - at least I know a bunch of good humans.

c) The hubby and I made up after the fight and to celebrate, we even hit a Bikram hot yoga class together. That used to be one of our very popular couple activities but we had not done it for almost two whole years now and to get back to it was awesome! Just like old times!

d) The location we ended up shooting that ill-fated scene in (we were shooting it for the third time now)  was not as nice as the earlier one near the air force base. But we had to make do with it and after hours of slogging in the hot sun, the shoot for Aravindum Aarumughamum was finally done. I guess I am happy about that, in spite of all the pain.

e) When I got home after the long day of shoot and reshoot, I recounted the day's experience to the hubby, in a rather animated manner. The little one caught a whiff that all was no well - her mother was clearly upset about some erased footage. So she came over and tried her best to console me - she patted my cheeks, hugged me, and laid her head on my chest and mouthed some words that sounded almost like asking me not to worry. It was the first time she had reacted to anything like that and my heart turned into a gooey emotional mush. I felt that all was indeed well with the world!

f) Then something awesome happened - The background score for Aravindum Aarumugham started to come in in bits and pieces and I absolutely, completely LOVE it! Suddenly all the frustration evaporated and I was reminded why I go through so much effort to make a film - clearly, I enjoy the process - yes, even including the downs!

g) I realized that I have overdelivered on every single resolution for the year 2013. I had a long list with very clear milestones to be achieved. I had very meticulously prepared it given that it was the first year of motherhood and am happy to say that I am very pleased with the progress. It was tough, but it was good. I plan to do a detailed entry on what the list had and how I fared - but that will happen at year end!

Am still rather exhausted and can't wait for a nice break, but in spite of that, I am genuinely pretty darn  happy!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Days 338 - 340: Subtitles, Dubbing and Sitcom Posters!

5 - 7 December, 2013

Crazy days of work continue but I am compensating by working equally hard on my hobby too.

1) I completed typing out the subtitles for Aravindum Aarumughamum. Given that the movie had a great deal of dialogues, this was actually not easy work, so I was happy to get done with it after 2 days of effort. They are still not synced to the film - that can be done only after the complete edit is locked, but this is good progress given that subtitling is not an aspect of film making that I particularly enjoy. So am glad it is done for now!

2) We kicked off the painful dubbing process for Aravindum Aarumughamum. Once again the great number of dialogues make this process quite painful but we don't have a choice. The live audio is pretty awful at several places thanks to the unexpectedly busy traffic and rains during the shoot. So dub, we have to. Luckily for me, I have a super fun team to work with. Given every meeting is a hilarious experience, even the painful dubbing process becomes less painful. We managed to do only 50% of what I had intended for this weekend, but I guess any progress is progress. At least the process turned out to be fun!

3) I had written here before that I was working on the script for a Malayalam sitcom. I had shared the scripts with an editor friend who in turn, asked a friend of his to sketch out a poster for it. The the first draft was sent to me today and I absolutely LOVED it! There are a few changes to be made but I was so excited to see a part of the sitcom come to life. I still have several episodes to write the script for, before I can even think of shooting but this is already so exciting! 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Days 329 - 337: Work, Edits, Teams, Late Night Decorations, Parties, Farewells and 200,000!

26 November - 4 December, 2013

I am having such a crazy time at work, it is not funny. Even as I write this am waiting for my next call to start - at 12:30 in the night! And it has been this way for a while... I hardly get time even to eat at work and only when am faint with hunger do I realize that I should be taking a break. But things are not bad, at least in hindsight. At least I feel like there is some progress there, which is always a good thing. But I can safely say that real happiness is coming from elsewhere. Here are some highlights from the last few days.

1) Except for half of 1 scene (there are 5 in total), the edit of Aravindum Aarumugham is completely locked (after my editor spending hours at it when I am at work and both of us reviewing it every night until late - and I mean like 5am even!). This is great progress and am very excited about how it has turned out. It even makes me happy in spite of the fact that I have to completely reshoot half a scene (ugh!). I felt pretty bummed out when I realized this, but what the heck. At least I have the other 4.5 scenes that am extremely thrilled about!

2) After completing the edit, I called over the team - mainly the two lead guys, and we watched it together. It was a real fun experience - to watch them watch themselves on screen, evaluating their performances and finally, thankfully, ending the day with fully beaming faces. I was over the moon that day, thanks to my little film that has come so well until now. There is still a ton of work to go - reshoot, re-edit, sound design, music, dub, subtitles, etc. But so far so good!

3) I managed to squeeze in a couple of parties into my suffocating schedule. One was a good friend's daughter's birthday party which was held in an indoor play area. It was my little one's first time to such a place and she was visibly excited. She couldn't get on most of the games since she was too young for them, but she did manage to sit down and drown herself in a ball pit. Initially she was a bit terrified to get into it but before we knew it, there she was... lying down surrounded by hundreds of balls with only her head peeping through! The party was also fun because I could meet a few mutual friends and have quick catch ups. Some of them commented that they are still reading this blog - God bless them for that - and it gave me enough encouragement to continue writing in spite of wanting to do nothing but sleep, really.

4) Another party was the Christmas party at work, which my good self had the opportunity to organize (yes, am turning into a chronic office party/event organizer!). This was quite a small but cozy affair held in a cafe in the basement of the Singapore Management University. We took over the whole cafe and had a lovely event involving tart making contest, mulled wine demonstration (I didn't even know there was something called mulled wine - it is something like masala chai - basically spiced wine with a few fruits in there and of course, I very imaginatively called it masala wine...also, it tastes awesome!), live music (thanks to a few talented colleagues), make-your-own-santa contest, playing with a hoola hoop that happened to come along as part of a secret santa gift exchange and some really good food! The whole event was put together with just five days notice, and I was quite happy with how it turned out. In appreciation of the work, the boss gave me and the team vouchers to go for a celebratory lunch at Kudeta. Not bad at all!

5) The Christmas party was preceded with a night of decking up the office with Christmas decor. We had streamers, bobbles, candy canes, little notes reminding everyone of the upcoming party, and even a fully decked up Christmas tree! It was a lot of work but I had an enthusiastic team and we definitely had immense fun!

6) After the edit was locked, my editor cum cinematographer finally took his leave and returned to his home in India. But we made the most of the last couple of days with "farewell dinners" at two of my favourite places - E-Sarn for Thai cuisine and Ichiban Boshi for Japanese cuisine. He is a great foodie as well and appreciated the food as much as I did. I wouldn't have been able to complete my film without the tremendous help from him and am so thankful for that. Until the next project!

7) I had taken quite a long break from exercising thanks to the shoot and editing. But am happy to report that as soon as the edit was locked, I got back to it. Feeling good!

8) I must also add that I am having work until ridiculous times at night. 1am on one day. 2am on another. And to be in office latest by 8:30am the next day. So what is good about that, you may ask. Well, the fact that I am actually going strong in spite of it. And am proud of that (OK, I might be turning into a bit of a workaholic, but that's the only way to get through this phase right now). This too shall pass.

9) And last but not the least, Inganeyum Oru Katha has crossed 200,000 views on Youtube! Who would have thought!

Tough days, but like I said, so far so good.