Category Archives: Lifestyle

Ebooks: Books to Binary

I had told Smita and Shilpa two of my great blog buddies that I would do a post on e-readers because I was seriously convinced that I would buy one. Now that I have got a tablet for myself with primary objective of switching my reading digitally; I feel that I am ready to do a post as I have experienced the digital reading first hand.

It was a very tough decision to let go the habit of buying the physical books and switch to digital formats. As a matter of fact I remember in one of the posts I had written that I would never like to switch to digital reading but then people change over time. As any change you bring about there are both positive and negative aspects of switching your reading digital. To provide an objective perspective I will enlist the advantages and disadvantages of reading the books digitally.

Advantages-

1-      Space: The space crunch especially for people living in the apartments is a perennial problem. Just to highlight the economic impact, ideally a physical book takes around 0.25 SQFT of space and the rentals in Bangalore around Rs. 15/SQFT/month, keeping a book for a month costs Rs. 3.75. For a person like me who has a collection close to 500 books presently, I am paying close to 2000 bucks for keeping the books. This was the major motivation for me to make the switch, after exhausting almost all the space I had in my home for books I didn’t have place to keep the new ones.

2-      Convenience: A tablet or a reader can hold multiple books at the same time so you can carry all of them with ease while travelling. You save yourself from the task of selecting what books to carry when you are on the move; also it reduces the baggage weight which is of paramount importance in flights. There have been times that I actually had to discard books on the airport because airlines were expecting me to pay Rs 300/Kg for the excess baggage.

3-       Privacy: A lot of times while reading you would not want the world to know what you are reading. Online reading ensures that anybody passing by doesn’t know what you are reading. I got a lot of weird stares from people in general when I was reading 50 Shades of Grey, so digital reading might save me some unwanted attention.

4-      Maintenance: Keeping the books and shelves clean when you have so many books is a herculean tasks which is not required for the tablets. Also disposing books is also not an issue you can simply archive and retrieve when you want to read again.

5-      Multiple Devices: I have multiple devices like a smart phone, tablet and a laptop whatever I am reading is available and synced on all the devices. So no matter where I am I would have my reading material. There have been times when I have gone for a meeting and had to wait for the other person. I wasn’t carrying my tablet but I continued my reading on the phone and once I reach home I can continue the book from where I left on my phone.

6-      Reference & Sharing: You can easily bookmark pages, refer to dictionaries and share lines/quotes directly with just few clicks which make the reading a more fulfilling experience. In physical books to do all this you have to ear mark books, sit with a dictionary and a computer which is cumbersome.

Disadvantages-

1-      Look & Feel: It takes a bit of time and effort to get adjusted to reading on the digital formats. For me the Sepia mode on the tablet worked very well. However, if you still feel that you don’t like the backlit displays try Kindle Paperwhite (in India it is available for Demo in Croma) which is closest to the real paper.

2-      Handling: The tablets and e-readers are electronic devices and their handling has to be more delicate compared to books.

3-      Lending: I am not sure if this is a advantage or a disadvantage  but being digital you cannot share or lend your books J

4-      Lack of Books: This is a problem when it comes to Indian Authors, not all titles are available online. Sometimes the Indian books are ridiculously priced too, for example Sidin’s latest book “Who Let The Dork Out” was initially priced at 10.58$ while the physical on flipkart is Rs. 121. Though later the prices were rationalized at 2$ but this kind of discrepancies exist.

5-      Charging: The digital format requires charging of the devices at regular interval. Though there are some Kindle devices which last for a month with a single charge but overall most devices need constant charging. The devices I have used are fine if you charge them once in couple of days and I haven’t been left stranded without charge till now, so I guess it is not a deal breaker.

So this is my take on the E-readers and tablets for reading. For people interested I am using Amazon Kindle App on Nexus 7 for my reading.

25 Things To Do In Bangalore

Saw this post at Ratzz on things to do in the city you live in. Found it quite interesting, and since that I have lived in a lot of cities I might do it for some which I know well. So here is a list of 25 things to do when you are in Bangalore.

1-      Take a walk on the Brigade Road on a Saturday evening

2-      Eat Masala Dosa at Vidhyarthi Bhavan

3-      Take a stroll across the Lal Bagh

4-      Watch the sunrise over Nandi Hills

5-      Have a ride in the Red Volvo busses

6-      Do some window shopping at UB City Mall

7-      Have a cup of coffee in silver tumblers at Maiyas or MTR

8-      Have a Kingfisher beer  at Dewars’ the oldest bar in the beer capital

9-      Take a drive through electronic city or Whitefield to see the pulse of technology hotspots

10-   Visit the Vidhan Sabha of Karnataka on Sunday evenings or on Public holiday evenings when the lighting is on

11-   Have an authentic Uttar Kannada meal at Kamat Lokaruchi (pref on Mysore Road)

12-   Have a Gobhi(Cauliflower) Manchurian from the street peddler

13-   On a rainy evening get out for drive in cars around 6 in the evening to have a real taste of Bangalore traffic

14-   Take a stroll across the Cubbon Park

15-   Shop for Kaveri Handicrafts or Sandalwood in Majestic

16-   Have a drink at ‘The Thirteenth Floor’ followed by dinner at ‘Ebony’ Retaurant overlooking the skyline of Banglore

17-   Visit Visvesvariya Industrial & Technical Museum

18-   Visit the 16th century Bull Temple

19-   Visit the Blossoms Book Store if you are a book lover

20-   Visit the Rangashankara for a splendid theatrical performances

21-   Have piping hot Idlis at Brahmins

22-   Have a trip to Wonder La amusement park

23-   Have some gourmet cakes and pastries at Sugar & Spice, the patisserie at the Taj Vivanta at Trinity Circle.

24-   Spot some wildlife and animals at Bannerghatta National park

25-   Just take a walk in the evenings reminiscing the weather and if you are lucky there would be mild a drizzle soothing your face anywhere and anytime in Bangalore

Well this from someone who has been here in this city for close to two years, so if you folks have got to add something on Bangalore the comments is an open house.

Delhi Belly & How It Got Released

I am wondering if I am not blogging enough, I know you folks would agree. But in my defense I have been terribly busy at work. However, what makes me wonder about my blogging frequency of the folks at WordPress. This blog is hosted on the WP platform and these days I get more WordPress Updates than the posts I write, so either I am writing very less, or the guys at wordpress are working their asses out. More I think of it, and I feel sorry for those guys. Imagine the project manager/product manager at wordpress would be after the life of the poor chaps writing the code upgrade, to deliver it in time for the customers to use. And here I am one of their customers who do not even write a post as frequently those folks churn out and upgrade.

So coming back to “I have been terribly busy bit”, amidst all this busyness of my business I found time to catch up with most of the movies. I am sure even you guys would agree that the recent times were like gold rush for movie fans. I mean you had movies like “X-Men, Cars 2, Transformers 3, KungFu Panda, Pirates of The Carrabian, and Harry Potter, Delhi Belly, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara” and I might have forgotten mentioning few. So I have watched them all, and I must say most of them were pretty good. As a matter of fact I loved all of them except Transformers-3, which was painstakingly boorish and dumb.

But what was icing on the cake was Delhi Belly, I must say I absolutely loved the movie. I was surprised and shocked to see that movie where the abuses and F words weren’t beeped out by the censor board. I actually watched the movie twice because I just couldn’t believe that the censor board hasn’t actually beeped out the movie. The reason that this movie actually passed censor board is a very interesting story, from what I hear on my non-existent grapevine.

Place: Central Board Bored of Film Certification

Time: Fake Approval Screening of Delhi Belly

Aamir Khan (AK)- So this a movie about youth, about India, the reality of this generation.
Leela Samson (LS) – Wow.
Shubhra Gupta (SG)- What wow? Asha ji tells me he used the same line for DCH.
Arundhati Nag (AN)- These commercial actors I tell you, can’t come up with something original. They will steal stories from Hollywood, and now they have become so shameless that they remake the old Bollywood classics. Look at that Ramesh Sippy guy he made Sholay again such horribly.
Pankaj Sharma (PS) – Errr AN Ramesh Sippy was the guy who made the original Sholay. RGV was who made the remake.
AN- RGV? Who? Whatever.
Rajeev Masand (RM)- It is Packed with rude humor and made with the intention to shock. This is a filthy comic thriller which would work because it’s a smartly paced wild-ride, it doesn’t have a madly inventive story. Yet with sharp performances.
LS- RM you are not reviewing the movie, please stick to the censoring right now. Pankaj Vohra (PV) what do you think?
PV- Since this has nothing to do with Thackreys and Pawars so this is ok.
Annes Jung (AJ) – I think this might be objectionable and we need to beep the abuses. AK can you come back with a beeped version of this.
AK- Oh I already have it let me play it for you.
*plays the movie*
*Bhaag Beep Beep Beep Beep bhag beep beep Beeep*
goes on for 5 minutes.
RM- What the hell is that?
LS- After beeping this is not in English or Hindi, the movie seems to be in Morse code.
AN- Yeah but does movies in Morse Code lie in our jurisdiction.
LS- Actually no.
AK- so you mean to say that I can release this movie in MORSE CODE?
LS- Yeah, if you want you can dub it in English or Hindi. GO ahead.

and that my friends is the fake story of how Delhi Belly got approved from the censor board bored 🙂

On a more serious note, given the success of the movie, I feel our Industry is coming of age. Though I hear some petitions going against it in one of the courts in MP but I am sure the law would take its course and accept the new generation of people and the cinema.

10 Day You Challenge- Day 9: 2 Songs

Choosing two songs from a list of thousands which I love is very difficult. But here are the two which often come at the top of my mind.

1- Bazeecha-E-Atfal– The song simply touches every chord in my heart and every time I hear this I just feel tempted to hear it in infinite loop.

2- Main Zindagi ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya– Again a song which is my ideal philosophy of my life.

10 Day You Challenge- Day 8: 3 Movies

3 Movies, now this is an easy one-

1- Guru– I am a fan of this movie and I have seen it so many times that I can’t even count.

2- Choti Si Baat- This again a brilliant movie which deals with a complicated subject of human psyche of perceptions in a very light and comical way. I have learnt a lot from this movie.

3- Thank You for Smoking– This is another movie which has motivated me a lot in life.

10 Day You Challenge- Day 5: 6 Places

Now I am not the one who has traveled across the globe and seen a lot of places but in what ever places I have been here are my picks from those-

1- Kanpur– This is my home town and I have grown up there. A major contribution of who I am and what I am is courtesy this city. A lot of people who I consider my life support system share the essence of Kanpur with me. Though the city is on a decline because of all the crappy politicians who have taken charge of it but still the place adds a zing to my heart whenever I visit there and it will always remain home for me.

2- Pune – again is city which is very close to my heart. I have spent some very beautiful moments in Pune and some of my high points in life have happened in Pune.

3- Bangalore – This is the city where currently my life is. 🙂

4- Goa – Though I have not stayed there for a long time, but in a short trips which I have made to Goa the culture, life and beaches simply take over me.

5- Singapore– I know I am one of the people who find the concrete jungles lovely. And Singapore is an epitome of the concrete jungle. The kind of organized and orderly lifestyle the city has makes my heart yearn for being in Singapore.

6- Cliffs of Moher, Ireland– I visited the cliffs couple of months back and the view is simply difficult to get out of heads.

So before I close this post, I will leave you folks with the view of The Cliffs of Moher.

10 Day You Challenge- Day 4: 7 Wants


This time it’s all about 7 wants, the thing which makes this tag interesting is there is so much to choose from, selecting a few of them makes it very difficult. Like every other human being I too have an unending wish list. You know it is indeed very simple to want everything. So here I list the top 7 wants as of now-

1- Writing an international Best Seller– Come on for a writer there is nothing better than this. I don’t know why I don’t wish for a Man Booker or Nobel in English Literature but all I wish for right now is writing an international bestseller.

2- A BMW Z4 is the model which has all my fancy right now. You can see why don’t you?

3- A Tag Heuer or an Omega Watch– I have a fancy for watches and these two models right now simple make me go “I want it.”

4- A home like this one-

5- A Vacation on a cruise at least once a year

6- Barney Stinson’s Television– If you haven’t seen How I Met Your Mother, and not seen Barney’s TV. You must, its like a dream come true, imagine playing PS3/Xbox or watching movies on it.

7- A La Z Boy Recliner


Phew! This was difficult seems like your wants change a lot with time. A few years before when I used to be a bachelor my wants could have been the images search result for “Hot European Models” 🙂
*Image Source: Google Images, All the images and Trademarks belong to their respective copyright owners.

10 Day You Challenge- Day 2: 9 Loves


So day 2 of the 10 day you challenge is to post about 9 loves. Actually when I decided to do this challenge I thought it would be quite simple but as it seems now it wasn’t. I mean there are so many things one loves, and choosing 9 of them is indeed difficult.

1- My Parents, needless to say I am what I am because of them. And how much I love them cannot be described in words.

2- The Wifee since the time we got married ours have been a “give and take” relationship. She generally gives her piece of mind and I seem to be taking it most of the time. Now that I am taking all the pieces of mind (wondering what would happen when she wouldn’t be left with any) and storing them safely in my mind despite all the storage constraints in mine is only because I love her so much.

3- My Friends, now I couldn’t have survived without them. I am lucky to have a very close bunch of friends who I can depend on with my life. I am so thankful to lord, that my paths crossed the way they did and I could collect these pearls of friendship during the journey of my life.

4- My Car – There as in entire post dedicated to my first car. You can read about it here

5- My house– Again there is a post about it if you want to read it in detail here

6- My gadgets, I am a gadget lover I have an Ipod Touch, WII, PSP (recently gifted by Radio Indigo), Home Theatre, Canon Rebel T1i, and the list continues. All of the gadgets are something which I totally love and I can spend hours fiddling with them.

7- Coffee, now my love for coffee has been previous talked about on this blog and some other forums. I actually have a make shift coffee bar at home with an espresso machine, single origin coffees, flavors to enhance coffee and a collection of mugs.

8- My books, the readers of this blog would already know the amount of reading I do and I can assure you that I do not subscribe to a library or a rental service. So for the most part the books I read are purchased and I have a mini library at home. And as with all book lovers I am very possessive about my books.

9- My writing and this blog. All the stuff which I have written in this blog or in my books or outside it, I wrote them because I actually loved writing it. The writing is my way to express and unwind myself. I wouldn’t have been the person I am had it not been for my writing.

So these were the 9 people/things I love. Now on a different note, the narcissist I am it is very difficult not to love myself. So I love myself, for one simple reason I am effin’ awesome. Now those of you planning to debate that please look at the image below, by a “trusted website” who does a facial recognition and matches you to celebrities. I am 53% like George Clooney. So you know I AM AWESOME (readers are requested to conveniently ignore the fact that there is a 55% match with Omar Sharif). So I just need to lose these extra 20 kilos around my waist to become the female magnet what George Clooney is, right people?

Parenting & Alcohol

This is a topic, I am not an expert on but then whatever comments I make is based on my general sense of good & bad; which essentially is developed based on my religious belief and upbringing which I defended in a previous post of mine.

I have in recent times witnessed a lot of lapses in Parenting but then Shilpa’s Post finally triggered me to right this one. Here are some instances I have witnessed-

“A small gathering in the house, and breezer was served. A couple with children, aged around 10 years, allowed them to have sips/gulps from the drink.”

“A party and a large gathering the entire family is invited, everyone is drinking starting from beer, scotch, to tequila including the non adults in the party.”

“A mother during a party gives some spoonful of vodka to her toddler less than a year old.”

“Two kids discussing when they meet in a social gathering, where one of them asks other to have a beer. The other one refuses saying the parental restrictions and the other one counters telling that he always has a drink with the parents.”

All these instances have happened in front of me, the background of the kids is generally middle and upper middle class. The parents are supposedly super educated i.e. have completed their B. Tech, Mtech, MBA etc. and maintain an English speaking culture amongst them and the kids, send them to classes starting from singing, dancing, karate to salsa, tango and personality development.

Now very honestly, I don’t condone drinking for anyone and when it comes to women I believe they harm them more and for kids my only reaction is being aghast, even at the thought of it.

I know in countries like UK & US, there is a agency or a watch dog which keeps an eye on how the children are treated and an act like any of the above would be deemed illegal for the parents. And for repeated offenders the agency reserves the right to place the children in a more responsible home. In short the way the children of the country are grown up is the collective responsibility of the country and is implemented quite responsibly and rigorously.

On the contrary, India is a different land all together where we as a country are struggling to implement education for all, abolition of child labor. I am very sure that there is a law which makes the parents condoning of Alcohol below the minimum drinking age illegal but then it is never implemented. In India you can never be sure of that if you tip off the names of the people your identity would be concealed (which obviously belong to your social circle) and also the cops would come and take a bribe from the parents and leave things at that.

Now my views are totally based on the premise, that alcohol is not the best of the edible things around, not for anyone and not for kids for sure. Given the situation in India some 20 years ago the people in your social circle it was against our culture and our religion too. There would be elders who would point out that’s wrong; and even the so called forward minded drinking people would not introduce their children to alcohol. There used to be a social taboo, a religious tenet against drinking and even the people who used to drink regularly were ashamed and avoided doing it in front of their parents, children and immediate family.

Now today, “I drink with my parents” is one of the most common answers I hear from youngster I talk to these days on the topic of alcohol. In my humble opinion the legal route to this problem would never work in a country like ours. Nor does this mean I support the route of “Ram Sena” and their act of vandalism in Mangalore. But the way we have diluted the fabric of our religious tenets for the comfort and forgotten that the advancement for the sake of advancement should not be accepted.

I certainly feel that there is a need to ask that what kind of world we are creating and who governs the individual decisions that have an impact on the overall society. Consider the family and child below (Excerpt lifted and mildly edited from Wikipedia)

“He was asthmatic and was given special attention in his childhood. He was educated at the elite Mayo College in Ajmer. He then completed two years of undergraduate courses in Commerce at a college in Chandigarh. He initially thought of completing an MBA, but he joined the family business instead. He also built up the Piccadilly hotel chain including a pub-cum-discothèque in Chandigarh, and a theatre.”

Everything sounds hunky and dory and great choices above but then I believe in the family nobody questioned that why a boy less than 22 years of age has started drinking or entered in pub & disco business. We as a society will only cry foul when that 22 year old boy shoots Jessica Lal for not serving him a drink. I question the fact that he got into Alcohol and nobody in the family was aware or did anything to stop him. I don’t sympathize or support Manu Sharma but then I also believe 22 is a young age and there are mistakes you might make. There should always be a social guidelines & a check on people to avoid them from being fatal for them and the others.

This brings me back to the initial issues that how do we, as a society, keep our checks & balances? How do we distinguish right from the wrong? Is our legal system strong enough?

I believe the answer is within a broad sense of right and wrong which essentially lies in religious tenets and way of life which continuously evolve with time.

A Princess Remembers: The Memoirs Of The Maharani Of Jaipur

Author: Gayatri Devi

Publisher: Rupa & Co.

Price: 495/-

A Princess Remembers is a very well written autobiography by Late Gayatri Devi, the maharani of Jaipur. I picked up the book primarily for the reason to know more about one of the most beautiful Indian women, I am not sure but she just might be the first Indian women to be listed in the 10 most beautiful women of the world by Vogue. The book however was the complete contrast to my expectations as it was everything but the story about a life of a beautiful woman and I must add that it exceeded my expectations by a mile.

The book is a brilliant tale of the lives of the royal families of the princely states. The book is a glimpse of the contribution the royal families in gradually eradicating the menaces from the society like ‘Purdah’. The book also in a small yet significant manner reflects that how the subjects of the princely states loved, respected and connected the bond with their rulers explaining why some parliamentary seats have never been taken away from the ruling family despite more than 60 years of democracy.

Another thing which book gave me an insight into was a different aspect of the freedom struggle of India. I always believed that the freedom struggle was joyous moment for every Indian apart from the communal violence which gripped the country. The book enlightened me with the plight or downfall of the royal families and how they had happily sacrificed the standard of their lives and status to ensure a single entity of India would be formed.

I am not sure how much the other readers would relate to it, but it shed the light on the ways of Congress and it’s corrupt and power hungry ways starting right from 1947. Personally speaking reading the headlines about the rampant corruption today, I could relate that this has been the tradition since the Indian independence. Also the book made me aware about the efforts & works of C. Rajgopalachari (the first governor general of India) to form a transparent, and ethical opposition against congress.

The book is an interesting and very evenly paced read starting from the childhood of Gayatri Devi’s mother to her own struggle to represent her people in the democratic setup. The book is very well written ensuring almost all the aspects of her life are covered in detail for the reader to have a holistic picture, at the same time the flow has enough pace to engage the reader throughout the length of the book.

I am not very sure what would have been the purpose when Lt. Gayatri Devi wrote this book, but it sure broadened my perspectives about her from the one of the most beautiful Indian women to the modern Indian women in the early & mid 20th century, a social reformer, a concerned & ground rooted politician, and an elegant sports person.

The book is one of the gems if you like the autobiography genre; it could have been better if her adult life would have been covered in as much depth as her childhood and romance. But still the books makes for a totally worthwhile read.

Summary: A riveting tale of a princess & a maharani living in the era from the royalty to a democracy surviving and succeeding the transformation. The book is light and enjoyable read written in a simplistic and elegant way. A must read for Autobiography fans.

Rating: 4.5 / 5