Water. I highly recommend it, but recommend it with a warning about possible culture shock. As Westerners, we are not usually exposed to hijras, or cremation ghats, never mind the practice of child brides. Nor are we exposed to a religion that offers three choices for widows: to be cremated with the husband, to marry the husband's younger brother, or to remain in dire poverty and apart from the rest of society ('chaste') for the remainder of their lives. There were Indian people who were most unhappy about exposing this topic to the Western world, and I applaud Deepa Mehta for tackling such a contraversial subject in a sensitive yet honest manner!
The little girl who played the role of Chuyia, "little mouse" is incredible. Even though this movie is in Hindi with English subtitles, you cannot help fall in love with this delightfully little waif, and you cannot help laughing at some of her impish actions. (Of course, what can you expect when a healthy seven-year old is sent to live in an ashram filled with old widows!) Nor can you help crying at her plight. I recommend you see this movie with Kleenex at hand.
I haven't seen the book yet, and I usually read the book before I see the movie, but in this case, I'm looking forward to finding the book by Bapsi Sidhwa. If you should see this movie or read this book, I'd sure love to hear what you think of it!
A little more familiar culturally-speaking, I've managed to get caught up with my favourite soap, Coronation Street, again and I have to say its really hard watching one of the show's regular characters and likable bad guys slipping into the mists of dementia in preparation for his departure from the series. What can I say? Hang in there, Mike, old buddy? Do not go gracefully into the night? Every time he forgets someone or muddles something, I find myself wanting to yell at the TV screen -- but yell what, I don't know!
PS: my apologies for lack of medieval photos, as previously promised. I've been really busy with grad school and grad research funding applications -- it's aboslutely crazy starting these complex processes so far ahead of September 2007! -- and just plain haven't got around to having photos developed. Soon, I promise!