Shades Of Words


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Grand Boulevard, St. Louis

St. Louis is a town of considerable historical importance, especially as it was the frontier for the western exploration of America. Somehow it has never reached the size and buzz of the bigger metropolises of the United States. It does have its own unique charm and there are some neighbourhoods that provide opportunity for walking, shopping, eating and people-watching.

Grand Boulevard near SLU is a great place to spend your evening. You can start by taking a leisurely stroll in Tower Grove Park. If you want to sweat it out, you can join other joggers and bicyclists that you will dot the park.

After the stroll, head over for a coffee at the Indie coffee shop MoKaBe’s Coffeehouse.  A poster on the entry door proudly claims – “We support the other 99%” and you have to just look over your shoulder to the neighboring brownstone to realize that you are next to the local “Occupy Wall Street” movement!

From Arsenal Street to Humphry Street, Grand Boulevard has some of the most popular restaurants in town. Some of the ones that I have tried and I recommend are:

King and I for Thai Cuisine – Try any of the traditional Thai curries. The quantities are fairly large so be prepared for leftovers. On weekends, you can expect a waiting time of 10-15 minutes, if you do not have a reservation

The Vine Mediterranean Café and Restaurant – This totally unassuming eatery serves some of the best schawarma and hummus that I have eaten in St. Louis.

Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant – It’s not out of ordinary to say “Let’s order a Pizza” or “Lets have Chinese” or “Lets do Indian food” , is it? However, I am sure none of us ever think of “ Oh I feel like eating Ethiopian!” ..Well we should! This is by far the closest I have ever come to eating a cuisine that is so Indian. It’s basically rice pancakes with well cooked vegetables, meat and lentils, a concept very similar to the south Indian food.

If you don’t feel like eating, there are bunch of interesting stores to check out in Grand Boulevard. Now I make it a point to go to all book shops in a city (no, seriously!) and I cannot recommend the Dunaway bookstore enough. The store is massive and in a good non-chain store kind of way. The books are lined up cleanly and the collection has a lot of breadth. It’s quite possible that you may find some obscure titles here.  We had a little chat, with who I assume to be the owner, and he was so friendly and pleasant ant British! He joked about his visits to India and how his Jain friend makes him eat vegetarian food. This is a store that I know I want to go back to.

If you are in the mood for bleeding a little, head over to the tattoo parlor or if you are in the mood for a little fun then head out to “Cheaptrx” – a kinky novelty store. I have never been inside (honest!) but there is some element of poetry in seeing leather and lace clad mannequins amid aspiring-to-be-posh restaurants.

However you chose to spend your time at South Grand Boulevard you can round off your evening with some Gelato at “Gelateria St. Louis. That’s where I plan to start my evening next time !

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Aisha: Indian “Clueless”

Rating: 2/5

There is nothing wrong with the overall plot, and how it can that be, since it’s  inspired from Jane Austen’s Emma, but “Aisha” falters appallingly in the execution.

The story is really simple. Aisha, a super rich, good for nothing, rich Delhite passes her time setting up people together. The movie begins when she finds her new project, Shefali (Amrita Puri), a middle class girl in need of a groom. Aisha sets her plans in motion and most of them backfire. Her neighbor and childhood friend Arjun (Abhay Deol) provides the moral compass to her meddling and they both share an extremely annoying love-hate relationship. I think director, Rajshree Ojha, was aiming for  endearing relationship or suppressed sexual tension, but everytime Arjun and Aisha got bantering, I was like – “Will you please shut up?”.

I went back and read a lot of reviews on how it’s  Sonam Kapoor’s film and that she totally owned it and I have to agree but I don’t believe it has anything to do with the performance. The project is owned by her dad so it’s all in the family, and she is literally in every frame of the movie so you can’t escape her even if you want to.  I like Sonam Kapoor, she has potential to be a good actress. There are moments in the movie where a few seconds of her acting is enough to distract you from her clothes and make up. But this is definitely not one of her best performances. Infact, Amrita Puri, totally steals every scene from under her nose as the upfront, slightly bumbling Shefali. If there is anyone worth watching in this movie, it’s her.

What is Abhay Deol doing in this movie? He looks completely uncomfortable in every scene he is in, and has this dazed expression – “ How did I get myself into this?” You can totally tell he is not buying it.

I remember that when the movie was released it was touted as being India’s “first chick flick”. Hmm..I wonder why. Is it because there are so many women in it or because its directed by a female director because honestly I can’t see how it compares.

Chick-flick’s sell a concept that regular girls can have great lives and great relationships. Yes they are frothy and fun and full of fancy clothes, but even the fantasy has elements of realism in the end they leave with you a good feeling and crush on the male lead. “Aisha” achieves none of this. Wearing fashionable clothes is not the only qualifying factor, you know, and even that needs to be done in perspective. If your sister has delivered a baby, I don’t believe you are going to end up in the hospital with full make up on and a designer dress. If you do then you are clearly hoping to land your self a few doctors 🙂

So what do I think about “Aisha” – don’t watch it unless you are desparate. Wait, not even then.