Saturday, 14 February 2015

Just a Random Update #4

Happy Valentine's Day, Geeks!

The last update post I wrote was over two months ago, so I figured it's time I get a little personal on the blog again.
For the first time in forever, I had plans on the 14th of February: I met my best friend from school! She's in Mumbai, so we went to the beach and had long talks and took long walks together.
I'm still going to uphold my tradition of watching the chick flick Valentine's Day on Valentine's Day, so I'll probably do that after I finish writing this post.

My last midterm exam was today, and I'm pleased to say that all five went really well. I have a feeling this semester is going to be much better than the first, academic-wise. 

In other news, I'm still not sure what I want to do with my life after I graduate in two years. Currently, I'm leaning towards either Psychology or Journalism. While I like business management, I don't know if I could spend the rest of my life working in the corporate world. I'd love to be a writer or a blogger full-time, but I think I'd need something more concrete than that to be satisfied with my work-life. But then again, writing IS my passion. Shouldn't that be enough for me as a career?

Now that my exams are over, it's back to business as usual. It's time to get fitter, get smarter, and get happier. I've been neglecting my workouts and my online course because of illnesses and exams, but that changes now.

Oh, I also want to say that my New Year's resolution of staying positive is going really well. I've started maintaining a Gratitude List. Every day, I write ten random things I'm grateful for, and I make it a point to be optimistic about everything and everyone. And you know, the more I'm grateful, the better my life becomes. So it's a win-win! ^_^

I think that's it for now. I might go watch Love, Rosie (starring our very own Finnick Odair) tomorrow or sometime next week, so if I do, I'll be sure to review it.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend.
Auf wiedersehen!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

The Three Things That Matter Most.

I wrote a post about real success more than a year ago. I believed then that real success can only be achieved when you're happy and healthy.
While my belief hasn't changed, I've come to realise that there are three key things that can help you succeed in life.

Of course, I don't believe that I've succeeded. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. But that doesn't stop me from working towards my future with the help of these things.

Let's see what they are.

1) Kindness:

To succeed in life, you have to be kind. You need to be kind towards yourself (by being happy) and you need to be kind towards others (by making others happy). You need to find the perfect balance between these two components, and trust me, that's when you'll really feel like you're making a difference in the world.
If you're earning lots and lots of money but you're unhappy at the end of the day, you've failed. If you're really rich and really happy, but there's no one else you care about, then you've failed.
Don't give up hope if you're in either of these categories. Start being kind. Start smiling. Start making others smile. Be grateful to yourself, your friends, and your family for everything you are and everything you have.
And then see how you succeed.
“Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.”
― Henry James

2) Curiosity:

The only way you can grow as an individual is by learning new things. And to learn things, you need to want to learn them.
It's very important to ask questions. Even if the answer isn't obvious, even if the question is preposterous - you have to speak what's on your mind and you need to be willing to listen to what's on other people's minds.
The more you wonder, the more you speculate about possibilities. And the more you speculate, the more you realise how much you can do - and what you have to do to get there.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
― Albert Einstein

3) Bravery:

I've written about bravery before, but here I'm talking about the courage and the will to keep trying. You may have ideas, and this idea may help you end poverty - but if you doubt yourself or your capabilities and think, "Well, I just can't do that," or (even worse) "What if people laugh at me?", then you're never going to do what you set out to do.
Even if you fail a million times, you have to be brave enough to keep going. It doesn't matter how far-fetched your dream is or how difficult it is. If you believe in yourself, and if you aren't afraid to do whatever it takes to get there, you will. I can guarantee that.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Winston S. Churchill

Success, of course, doesn't come easily. And everyone defines success differently. You may say there are other factors to consider when it comes to succeeding in life, and I agree. But the idea of 'success' that doesn't include these three things is very unappealing to me.

As I mentioned earlier, I'm not entirely sure what I want to do with my life, but I'm curious every day. I'm kind to others and myself every day. I fail at many things every day, but I'm willing to keep trying.

I'm on the road to success, dear Geeks. And I hope you are, too.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

'The Imitation Game' Movie Review

During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.

Hello, Geeks!

Last Sunday, I watched The Imitation Game simply because I had a bad craving for cheese popcorn. The trailer looked interesting, but I wasn't sure if this serious, maths-and-war-based movie was my kind of movie.
But after two hours, when I walked out of the theatre, I realised that the popcorn hadn't been the best thing about this experience, after all.

This movie, contrary to my prior beliefs, does not focus on maths or war. Being a biopic, The Imitation Game is all about Alan Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), a mathematician who greatly reminded me of Sheldon Cooper - intelligent, logical, arrogant, unlikeable... but still a protagonist you'd root for.

As the movie begins, Alan Turing's voice gives you a warning: if you cannot pay attention, leave. This story is only for those who can focus.

Turns out, the warning is very relevant. There are a lot of jumps in the movie's timeline, and a lot happens in just a few minutes. You can't miss a single scene without losing track of the story or becoming confused.

But you wouldn't want to miss a single scene. The movie draws you in. From witty humour to what-happens-next moments to emotional breakdowns, this one's got it all. Alan Turing is not just the lead character but also the lead comedian, with his Sheldon-esque retorts and comments.

Benedict Cumberbatch steals the show. There was no doubt about it, of course, because we all know of his talents. But from the moment he (or rather, his voice) appears on-screen, you can't help but be dazed by his performance.

Keira Knightley shines as Joan Clarke; and Matthew Goode and Allen Leech, who play Turing's fellow mathematicians, are simply brilliant. A special mention to Alex Lauther for his performance as the teenage Turing. 

Obviously, since this is a movie, things have been dramatised for cinematic impact. But at the end of the day, that doesn't take away from the message the movie is trying to put forth.

I'm going to go with 4.5 stars out of 5 for The Imitation Game. 
Thought-provoking, funny, and emotionally powerful, this movie is one that I'll surely rewatch in the years to come. I'd recommend it to everyone who's reading this review. Here's the trailer, but be warned: it does give away a major plot point.

If you've seen this one, and I'm sure most of you have, tell me what you thought of it. Entertaining? Emotional? Boring?
Are there any movies, old or new, that you'd like me to review? Feel free to make your requests. ^_^

See you later, Geeks!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

'Magic in the Moonlight' Movie Review

Set in the 1920s on the opulent Riviera in the south of France, Woody Allen's 'Magic In The Moonlight' is a romantic comedy about a master magician (Colin Firth) trying to expose a psychic medium (Emma Stone) as a fake.
What follows is a series of events that are magical in every sense of the word and send the characters reeling.

At first glance, I found this movie both appealing and jarring at the same time. I've always counted Emma Stone as one of my favourite actors, and as for Colin Firth... well, he had quite the effect on me as Mr. Darcy.
But the thought of my favourite Jane Austen hero being romantic with Peter Parker's girlfriend, after aging quite a bit, mind you...

Anyway, I was still rather excited for this one, and the starting did not disappoint me one bit.
The movie opens in the middle of a magic act by none other than Stanley Crawford (Colin Firth), better known as Wei Ling Soo, the famous Chinese magician. His friend requests him to come to the south of France to unmask a phony but pretty spiritualist, Sophie Baker (Emma Stone), who might be hoodwinking a very rich family.
But soon Stanley finds himself rethinking his disregard for the irrational and the illogical... or is he just spellbound by Sophie's eyes and smile?

This movie, set in the 1920s, has quite a few things going for it: that smooth 20s music, the witty dialogues, the oh-so-beautiful cinematography, the costumes... and, of course, the two leading actors, who are wonderful in their roles.

Sophie and Stanley's scenes together are very entertaining, yes, because of the clash of their thoughts, but I just couldn't see them as lovers. Maybe it was the age difference, but I didn't see any real chemistry between them. Their conversations were engaging, but not in a romantic way. As the story went on, I started to hope that they wouldn't end up together - and one isn't supposed to feel that way while watching a romantic comedy.

The second half ended up being a tad too dramatic, and while the ending would have seemed sweet with any other pair, it just felt wrong with this one.

I'm going to go with 3 stars out of 5 for Magic in the Moonlight.

Sure, the romance wasn't the highlight of the film, but it was a great one-time watch. I couldn't take my eyes off the beautiful actors and the greenery, and the writing did make me laugh here and there. And Colin Firth and Emma Stone sharing screen space? I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

Would I recommend this movie to you? Well, unless you're a fan of the actors or a sucker for the 1920s, give this one a miss. You won't be missing out on too much. Still, watch the trailer below and see if it appeals to you:

I'd love to know your thoughts on this movie, and if you have any suggestions for my next movie review, head over to the comment box below.

See you soon, Geeks!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Quick Fitness Tips!

Howdy, people!
I think I had promised to do a fitness post a while ago, so here I am.

While I agree that it's important to love your body just the way it is, no matter what your shape or size, I find that fitness should be an essential part of everyone's life. Exercise keeps your stamina in check, boosts your self-confidence and causes the secretion of happiness hormones. There really is no excuse to skip the workout.

However, we are all busy people leading busy lives, and we don't often get time for exercise. I didn't, today. I came back home tired from college, continued my HIMYM marathon (I'm on season six now!), took a nap, woke up and watched the newest episode of Pretty Little Liars, and then it was time for dinner. 
But as I mentioned in my previous post, fitness is a system, not a goal. You can't and shouldn't quantify it. Just incorporating it into your existing schedule is enough.
So with my quick fitness tips, get started on the journey of health!

1) Brush Your Teeth and Get Fit:
Sounds weird when you read it, but this is what I do. I'm a right-handed person, and my left arm has always been much weaker than my right. I think this would probably be true for anyone who isn't ambidextrous.
So one thing I do to work on my left hand coordination and strength is to brush with it instead of the right.
It can be a little tricky in the beginning to do things with your non-dominant hand, but with some practice, it'll become a habit.
Also, studies show that doing simple tasks this way can also benefit your brain. Yay for two birds with one stone!

2) Standing in Line:

You know when you're standing in line at the grocery store or the airport, and it's been more than ten minutes, and you start to wish you could have spent these ten minutes doing something more productive?
Well, have no fear! All you need to do is stand on tiptoe and then slowly come back down. Repeat this a few times and you'll start to feel the burn in your legs. This is a simple calf raise that sounds easy but actually gives great results. I can't do this for more than a minute without taking a break.
And since this involves very less movement, you won't have to worry about catching any unwanted attention from onlookers.

3) Brushing Your Teeth (Again):

I promise, no dentist has sponsored this post.
You can club the non-dominant hand exercise along with the calf raise while brushing your teeth. Or you could do a squat, or any lower body move that doesn't involve moving too much. Don't try doing quick hops or lunges. I don't know about you, but I get toothpaste stains on my shirts even when I stay completely still.

4) Make a French Braid:

Sorry, boys or girls with short hair, but you may not find this tip useful.
Playing with your hair while braiding can really help tone your arms. Before I cut my hair, I would take about five minutes to do a French braid, and by the end of it, my arms would start to burn. Boom. Instant toning of the arms!
Just a simple, productive action like this can fix a bad hair day and make you stronger. So let's vow to spend more time on our hair so we can lead a healthier and happier life!

5) Walk It:
Okay, I know everyone hates this tip. But it's true! Walking to your destination or taking the stairs instead of the lift works wonders. I know that sometimes it's just too hot outside to walk, and sometimes you're in too much of a hurry to take the stairs, but if you have time, and if it's a pleasant evening, take the road not taken. Don't press the button to the lift. Don't take that escalator. You'll thank me for it later.

Well, these are five quick tips to get fit, off the top of my head. I follow almost all of these whenever I can (Hey, sometimes taking escalators is allowed. I need to be able to respect the wonders of technology), and I can definitely say that I'm much fitter than I was six months ago.

If you'd like to see more such posts on the blog, or if you have your own fitness tips for me, leave your thoughts in the comment box below. Fitness is very close to my heart now, and I could probably talk about it all day long.

I'll see you next time. Bye!