• Chennai,  Kids

    VGP Marine Kingdom, Chennai’s aquarium

    Two days before the new year, on the 29th of December 2022, I visited the VGP marine kingdom in the famous East Coast Road (ECR) stretch of Chennai. It is the largest and only ‘real’ aquarium in the city. The entry fee was INR 695 (USD 8.5) per person. Surprisingly, it was crowded – more primates than aquatic animals. I was happy to see kids still interested in these places. I know it is not easy to maintain a place like this, and the pandemic was tough on the owners, but I do wish they expand and improve the park to world-class levels soon.

  • Kids,  Movie Review

    Oh My Dog (2022)

    Oh My Dog (2022) is a kids’ film featuring a young boy and his love for an orphaned puppy. Veteran actor Vijayakumar, his son the talented Arun Vijay and grandson Arnav Vijay star as the three generations of a family in the movie. The film is meant for children and they will love the film. Targeting them, the director Sarov Shanmugam has gone easy on the plot and sloppy on the screenplay, so the adults will find little interest in the film. Released on Amazon Prime Video, it gets a Raw rating on the Mangoidiots scale. Arnav Vijay, son of Arun Vijay is the star of the film who finds…

  • Kids,  Movie Review

    Turning Red (2022)

    With Turning Red (2022) Disney has done it again, bringing out an animation for the kids that is fun yet with a social message. The story happens in Toronto, Canada where a Chinese girl lives with her parents running a family temple and giving tours. Once the girl gets into her teenage, due to a family curse, she transforms into a giant red panda, did she get cured of her curse has been told in a humorous manner?. It gets a mangoidiots rating of Raw. The film uses the red panda as an allegory for puberty and menstruation, taboo topics for many parents to discuss with their kids. I enjoyed…

  • Book Review,  Kids

    Asterix and the Griffin: Album 39

    When the real world outside us becomes unpredictable and scary like it is now with a pandemic still playing hide-and-seek with humanity, the best place for some solace are books. And what a better book to read than the one that you loved from your childhood, which has brought joy & happiness to kids and adults around the world for generations and can instantly transport you to a safe and fun place. I am talking about the French comic: Asterix and Obelix, created by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, and later by Jean-Yves Ferri. Nothing bad happens for the friendly residents of the village in Gaul in the year 50…

  • Kids

    Volunteer to tell a story

    A phone call is all that is needed for each of us to start giving back to society. All you need to do is tell a story! It is as if having your cake and eating it too! It can’t be simpler than this.   On my encouragement (brownie, brownie for me) my wife signed for this program. She got trained over a video call on how to do this – to tell a story and how to interact with the kid(s) she will be mapped to. They provide an online notebook with the stories to be told, the timeline, the steps (script) to be followed including the prompts and…

  • Chandamama Magazines
    Book Review,  Kids

    Chandamama magazine archives are available for free

    Chandamama was a classic Indian monthly magazine for children, famous for its illustrations, publishing mythological/magical stories. It was started in 1947 by Sri B.Nagi Reddy and Sri Chakrapani, noted South Indian Filmmakers. A couple of generations of kids grew up reading, dreaming and enjoying “Chandamama” children’s magazine, and, its various local language editions like அம்புலிமாமா – of which I was an avid reader and enjoyed reading during my school days. The magazine house shut shop many years ago, but its past editions from 1948 till 2009 are now available in Internet Archives and from Chandamama dot in (a fan site) as PDFs. I randomly picked the September 1955 issue and…

  • Klaus is a 2019 Spanish animated Christmas comedy-drama film
    Kids,  Movie Review

    Klaus (2019)

    The greatness of folktale or mythology is in the variety of its retelling, varying across the culture, language or region. Klaus (2019), an animation film from Spain is a reimagination of the famous legend of Santa Claus, about how it all started? The tradition of kids writing letters to the big fat grandpa in the red suit, who then delivers gifts to children around the world. Klaus (who becomes Santa Claus later) is a retired carpenter living alone, outside an unruly village in Smeerensburg on a remote island. To that chaotic village, comes a postman Jesper, who hails from a wealthy family. Jesper’s father has expelled him there, with a condition…

  • The Adventures of Morty: The Famous Turtle Detective is Here!
    Book Review,  Kids

    The Adventures of Morty by Shraddha Anu Shekar

    With all the unpleasant news going around us, I felt like reading a book that was fun and light. What’s better for doing this than a kids genre book? I went to my son’s bookshelf to find this small book (64 pages) which was written a few years ago. The vibrant blue hues and the picture of a cute little girl drew me to it. The book titled “The Adventures of Morty”: The Famous Turtle Detective is Here! was written by Shraddha Anu Shekar, her parents Pravin Shekar and Anu Krishnamoorthy are good friends of mine. The book is a short story compilation of the adventures of a little girl…