Welcome 2012

So another year has ended, 2011 was good for me personally and professionally. I became a published author, had some great personal high moments, got a promotion, was recognized and appreciated for the hard work that I had put in throughout the year. All in all a year which was well spent some joys, some regrets but still full of life. However, this blog got grossly neglected during this year which is one of the regrets of 2011.
As I have already written I despise the general idea of the new year for my own reasons. However, after moving to Bangalore and living with the family I have started having our own kind of celebrations. Every New Year we identify a resort or a hotel on outskirts or weekend getaways in Bangalore and stay there for couple of days celebrating the New Year. We had a blast, spending the evening by the riverside enjoying the scenic beauty, a bit of dance, a bit of teen patti, antakshari and loads of fun. Here are some pictures I clicked of the place we visited.

So coming back to the New Years, the most prominent tradition in New Years for me are the resolutions. I love doing New Year resolutions and then trying to follow it all throughout the year. Last year I made multiple visits to Coimbatore with my boss, in one of these trips my boss inquired if I would mind listening to a discourse by his spiritual guru. I mean no matter how disinclined you are spiritually but you cannot say no to your boss; so I agreed (in my defense all my colleagues travelling with us agreed too). He then played a discourse called Dinacharya which was old I guess given on last eve of 2007, where his guru TT Rangarajan discussed the concept of Dinacharya and emphasized on promising to oneself on doing something for 365 days a year and then keeping that promise. The discourse was inspiring and visionary which challenged one to push the limits, and it would be an understatement to say that I was really impressed. Though I haven’t joined the institution but I have the Discourse with me and I keep hearing it once in a while to find self inspiration. If you are looking a spiritual, practical and yet inspiring way to keep yourself motivated you should try listening to that discourse. I have decided that the following activities would be my new year resolution which I would be try and accomplish this year.

1- I will do some form of physical exercise everyday of the year, minimum 15 minutes every day. This can be walking, gym, running, playing or anything else but at least 15 minutes every day.
2- I will update this blog at least four times every month.
3- I will update my professional blog at least once a month.
4- I will learn to play Tennis this year. By the end of this year I should be able to play tennis in the full court without a handicap.
5- I will be more responsive on my personal email. I will reply to any email I get on a working day within the same day.

So these are my New Year resolutions which I would try and follow religiously, what are yours?

God Save The Dork

Author: Sidin Vadukut 
Publisher: Penguin Books
Price: 199/-
Pages: 240

I had reviewed Sidin’s first book Dork some time back, if you haven’t read about it you can read it here. I have been following Sidin on his blog (which he hardly updated these days) and twitter (which is a frequently updated medium) since a long time. In his writing, Sidin has a very distinct sarcastic style humor which clearly, is his forte and he has succeeded to bring out some of the best of his humor in “God Save The Dork”.

This book is a sequel to Dork, which was the story of Robin Einstein Varghese, a dumb consultant who makes it huge on sheer luck and coincidence in a consulting firm. The sequel is based out of London where Robert is on secondment for a consulting assignment for a global bank. The story keeps taking interesting turns with every disaster Robin faces starting from exploring the British culture to presentations over wireless microphones, fraud executives and SEC investigation.

The book again takes a hard jibe on the management consulting industry and the practices it follows, the story is interesting filled with unpredictable events and disasters which keep our protagonist on his toes. The book is a light read with humor generously spread across the evenly paced story, there is no intense track which would force you to think but then the jokes and tragedies on Robin Einstein Varghese would ensure you never have a dull moment while reading the book.

Summary: A great light hearted humor book which one could enjoy laughing over those highly paid management consultant and their ways. A must read if you have been related to the management consulting industry.

Rating: 4/5

Zero Percentile 2.0 Missed IIT Kissed Gurgaon

Author: Neeraj Chhibba
Publisher: Rupa
Price: 140/-
Pages: 257

I had reviewed Neeraj’s first book Zero Percentile around two years back. I liked that book and thought it was a really good attempt at the story telling. When I saw his second book I knew that I had to read it and hence I got my hands on Zero Percentile 2.0 Missed IIT Kissed Gurgaon.  This is the sequel to his first book and takes off from where the first book got over. Pankaj is back from Russia and Motu, Priya, and Nitin are out of college, moving to the next phase of life.

The story is woven around entrepreneurship where all the friends come together to start a software consulting company. The story is woven across the professional conflicts and personal relationships where marriages and friendships are compromised on the altar of ambition and values. The story focuses on a multiple socially relevant issues like, ethics & values in corporate India, AIDS, treatment of special children in our society, and failing marriages due to over ambition; despite all the issues in picture the author maintains the track which is a delight for the reader.

The characterization in the book is good and since Neeraj has maintained the uniformity from the last books the characters are more realistic and create a direct connect with the reader. The pace of the story is something which works very well for the book, the continuous chain of events happening one after the other keeps the reader glued throughout the story. Corporate espionage, cyber attacks and a hostile takeover, if one likes corporate thrillers this would definitely be of interest. Compared to his earlier book this one has a lot of depth and improvisation not only in the plot but also in the method of storytelling. The skewed time frame he has used between the chapters keep the reader informed and aware despite being a bit confusing.

Though the book is an individual and there is no compulsion to read it as a sequel, but there are a few references of the story from the first book which the new readers might miss; given that the sequel is coming after two years it is a bit difficult to recollect the details.

Summary: Overall a great book set up in the emerging entrepreneurs’ corporate; a fast paced and entertaining read.

Rating:  3.5/5

Teletiquette

The cellular phone has been a part of my life since year 2003, and life with the cell phone has never been so irritating as it is now. Firstly I don’t know how and why but my cell phone number is available with everybody in the world starting from my bank to the random people calling me to sell cars, insurance, potency enhancement creams and even children. As a matter of fact I got a call from UNICEF offering me to “Buy a child scheme” where I was supposed to pay some money which would go towards a child; my telling them “No one in my family eats children” supposedly didn’t go too well with them and I haven’t heard from them since. All this when I am already registered for DND which I think in this country means “Dial & Disturb”.

So lately my share of irritation has not only been the telemarketers but also a set of people who have been testing me to my wits end; and here I categorize these tele-irritants:

1-      Lockers– Actually they are the folks who miss the “C” part of the Clock and don’t mind locking your number in their cellphone Big B style at any time of the day night. Apparently they don’t have anything significant to talk, and they might have just called to ask if you would wake up next morning.  Answer to which is ‘No’ as they would ruin your sleep, so the question of waking up is irrelevant as its answer.

2-      G-Pee-Yes-ers– These are the folks who would give you a call to find out where are you. There is no response which can satisfy their urge of tracking your location. Even if you tell them that you would reach a certain place in next fifteen minutes, they would call you back after five to ask “Till where have you reached?”

3-      Abhor-Ringers– They are the ones who do not understand the meaning when your phone goes on call waiting or is disconnected, they would keep on dialing back again and again until you reach your wits end and pick their call. Once you pick up they won’t even let you complete “I’m busy” but would say whatever they have to say like someone dumping the crap out after three weeks of constipation.

4-      Boomers– These are the ones who have their phones setup at the loudest level of ringtones to match the big boom boxes, irrespective of the fact that they are in office, meeting, hospital, or library. Also they would be the ones who would have funny, loud and irritating ringtones, so if you have a ringtone like this probably you belong to this category.

On second thoughts if you have this as your ringtone then perhaps you don’t deserve to keep a cell phone.

5-      Chew-Talkers– These are the ones who would be eating something and would suddenly have an uncontrollable urge to talk to you. They would simply call you in the middle of the meals and will talk while making chewing sounds on the phone, indifferent of how irritated you are with that sound or you can actually decipher what they are trying to say.

6-      Mid-leavers– These are the people who are having a serious discussion or a casual talk with you, and suddenly they would abscond when they get a call. Without even indicating or telling you if it would take time, or if you should wait. They leave all that on you to figure out.

So these are a few species of cell phone users which irritate me to my wits ends;  I am sure there would be some more which I might have missed. So how do people with cell phone irritate you?

When the Legends Passed Away

It is strange that how some people can impact your lives, minds and philosophy without even meeting you. It has been a sad month for me, two legends, Jagjit Singh and Steve Jobs, who had a great impact on me during my growing years, passed away this month.

I have always looked up to Steve Jobs for inspiration based on whatever I read about him. To be honest I became a fan of Steve Jobs only after listening reading the transcript of his famous commencement address in Stanford, and who wouldn’t after hearing the awe inspiring stories of connecting the dots and staying hungry and staying foolish. I think I have tweeted this before but if you haven’t heard or read this address you are missing something in life. You can read the address here or watch it here.

Some of my favourtie quotes from Steve Jobs which would I have inspired me time and again –

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” – Inc. Magazine

“Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?”

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

“And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.”

“Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

“I’m the only person I know that’s lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year…. It’s very character-building.”

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.” – Fortune, Nov. 9, 1998

“If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth — and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.”

The influence of Jagjit Singhji started very early in my life, I guess I was 13 years old. That was the first time I was introduced to the Ghazal Maestro and the music genre called Ghazal. Since that day Ghazals and Jagjit SInghji’s voice owned a part of my soul. A lot of Ghazals sung by him defined my idea of life, love and sacrifices at a very early stage. They also made me experience extreme emotional situations through his ghazals without actually facing them in life. I truly believe that Jagjit Singh and his songs made me a matured and sensible person which I am.

Signing out with lyrics of my favorite Ghazal by Jagjit Singh-

“Baazeecha-ae-atfaal hai duniyaa mere aage, Hota hai shab-e-roz tamaashaa mere aage

Hotaa hai niha gard mein seharaa mere hote, Ghisataa hai jabi Khaak pe dariyaa mere aage

Mat poochh ki kyaa haal hai meraa tere pichhe, Tu dekh ke kyaa rang hai tera mere aage

Imaan mujhe roke hai jo khinche hai mujhe kufr, Kaabaa mere piichhe hai kalisa mere aage

Go haath ko jumbish nahin aankhon mein to dam hai, Rahane do abhi saagar-o-meena mere aage”

RIP Jagjit Singh ji & Steve Jobs, the world will miss both of you legends

Book Review: JS & The Times of My Life: A Worm's Eye View of Indian Journalism

Author: Jug Suraiya
Publisher: Tranquebar
Price: 495/-
Pages: 350

Anyone who has grown up in the 80s and 90s is not unfamiliar with the name of Jug Suraiya especially with his columns in The Times of India. His columns like Jugular Vein and Dubyaman have been a part and parcel of like of thousands of people like me who would consume and cherish his humorous writing with utmost delight. When he wrote an autobiography without a doubt it was supposed to raise a lot of curiosity. So I got my hands on the cleverly titled book “JS & The Times of My Life: A Worm’s Eye View of Indian Journalism.” Now where the title seems to be extremely heavy and serious in its tone and length the book is absolutely not. It is a delight for the minds which enjoy a light, riveting yet fun read.

The book starts with Jug as his fans call him narrating his dilemma on choosing a career after passing from the college and how life coincidentally turned him towards journalism. The book draws his times of hard work and struggle during The Junior Statesman (JS) days and how he developed as a writer, columnist. The book traverse through his personal and professional life while narrating the story of the change and evolution of Indian journalism in the backdrop. Jug Sauraiya maintains his usual brand of self deprecating humor and utilizes it fully well to take the readers to the times when the Junior Statesman was still alive; the times when The Times of India was transforming; the times when the journalism and the country itself were going through a metamorphoses. And he does it in brilliant literary style, avoiding exaggeration maintaining the matter of fact version of events but still weaving them as studded amulets in his own tale.

The best part is the narrative by Jug, which is appropriately detailed to give you the view of the Journalism world, his life at the same time brief enough to retain the interest. Over the length of the book the reader becomes a part of Jug’s life and celebrates small moments which were important and saddened by events which left him dry. The book not only brings out the humorous side of Jug Suraiya which the readers of TOI and the JS have known since ages but also the hidden story teller side of him which a lot of people including me were never aware of.

The pace of the books is pretty fast with evenly spluttered with small or large events capturing the imagination of the readers. Mentions and excerpts of his edits from the old days also help creating the nostalgic feeling of the bygone era with the book. The book might be a source of inspiration to a lot of aspiring journalists, editors and authors however it fails to highlight the details of becoming one as author maintains the Journalism happened to him by chance.

Summary: A nice autobiography quite realistic yet entertaining and funny to read. A must read for those who enjoy Jug’s columns in TOI or JS.

Rating:  4 / 5

 

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books!

Irony in India and Some Random Thoughts

Ironies of life are funny things, I mean not funny for those who are a part of it and at the time when it is happening but generally it is funny; you got the drift right. Given the state of affairs in our country the quotient of Irony has shot up by unparalleled proportions. If we had an index which would represent the irony (even stupidity for that matter) we would have been amongst the top nations in world following Pakistan, Libya and obviously US of A.

Very frankly we cannot match up to the Ironies in US, I mean how can you ever match up to a country where they are desperately fighting to create more jobs on side while at other side the Jobs have already resigned (cheap pun, I know but I couldn’t help cracking this one 😀 ). Coming back to Sonia Gandhi’s own country, no actually that would be Italy; So coming back to Manmohan Singh’s Own Country err that would be Sonia Gandhi; So coming back to Rahul Gandhi’s own country and that would only be found on television in the silent mode; So coming back to Kapil Sibal’s own country  but then he would be from the land of non-existant $35 Laptops. And this actually went on in my head for like one hour and I couldn’t come to a conclusion. Now you know how difficult it is to write a blogpost in times like these.

I read this joke on the Laugh it Out Blog

Having already downed a few power drinks, she turns around, faces him, looks him straight in the eye and says, ” Listen here good looking, I screw anybody, anytime, anywhere, your place, my place, in the car, front door, back door, on the ground, standing up, sitting down, naked or with clothes on; it doesn’t matter to me. I just love it !”
Eyes now wide with interest, he responds, ” No kidding…………………….. I’m in Congress too. What state are you from?”
And I sadly realize that this is true for our majority party in the government which coincidentally is also called the congress.

I sincerely hope these many days of fast by Anna Hazareji for our country brings a downplay in the role of corruption and one day in my life time I would wake up in a country as envisaged by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, whose poetry I have been reading since I started my school.

WHERE the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

On a very different note I am participating in the Indiblogger, Samsung Mobiler Contest and I need your help to become an official Samsung Mobiler. If you have an indiblogger account or a blog (which is required for an Indiblogger account) please promote my post on Indivine here.

It's Time To Tab

I have always wondered that how fast the world has changed around us, a few years ago the words and conversations had an entirely different meaning.  The tablets were something we dreaded when the doctors prescribed them, Galaxy was a collection of Stars, Tab was just a key above caps lock on the keyboard, honeycomb always came from the bees and if anyone told you about Samsung, one might have asked ‘Sam Who ?’

Things have changed now tablets are a form of computers, Samsung is one of the most respected and tech savvy corporations in the world, Galaxy is a series of smart devices, honeycomb is a mobile operating systems now made by the geeks instead of the bees, and Tab has an absolutely new definitions which looks like this-

So as you would be aware that the Galaxy Tab 750 India launch happened yesterday and there is a contest going where one gets to be the Samsung Mobiler. So I am supposed to write a blogpost about the feature that excites me the most, and this is what is the most difficult part. The Tab does has a lot of features all well explained on the Samsung Website here (http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxytab/10.1/feature.html) and to make the matters worse each of them is as exciting as the other. After seeing the launch and viewing the website I was still unable to decide what feature excites me the most. This is when I felt that the feature that excited me about the Tab wasn’t listed anywhere but was in my mind and it was nothing but how well a Tab would seamlessly fit in my normal lifestyle.

I think that is what takes the piece of cake when it comes to Tab, where it effortlessly slips as a part of our lifestyle while adding efficiency and zing to it. So this is how a Galaxy Tab fits in the life of management consultant by the day and a writer by the night.

Day Start-

6:00 AM- Wake up on the Alarm set up in Galaxy Tab, have a look at the time, weather updates right at the home page.
6:30 AM – Mild Cardio with the favorite music playing in the background  on the Galaxy Tab.

7:45 AM- Have breakfast, check the latest news, and updates on twitter, facebook on the Tab. Also keep a track of daily diet and calories taken on the fitness app of Androind on the Galaxy Tab.

8:15 AM- Take the office shuttle/bus while checking emails and reading newspapers on the Galaxy Tab

9:00 AM- Start working while attaching my Galaxy Tab to the keyboard dock.

10:00 AM- Conference call with the client again happening on the Galaxy Tab with the front camera and  a portable high quality 10.1” 149 ppi screen .
 

11:00 AM- Check Emails and update statuses and on various social media platforms on the Galaxy Tab
1:00 PM – Lunch

2:00 PM – Rush for a meeting with the client, carry the final document and presentation in the Tab. Review and give final touches to the presentation using the powerful office features of the Galaxy Tab

5:00 PM- Travel back home, while streaming the highlights of the match or surfing the web on the Galaxy Tab
6:00 PM- Reach home and watch a movie or couple of episodes of FRIENDS on Galaxy Tab in full HD while having a cup of coffee

 

8:00 PM – Dinner

9:00 PM- Retire to bed with your Galaxy Tab with your book in the Readers Hub getting engrossed while you actually turn the pages on the Tab.

10:00 PM- Go to sleep waiting for a brand new day

So for someone like me a gadget like Galaxy Tab fits into my life almost every hour when I am awake and to do that all I need to do is keep this 8.6 mm thick tablet which weighs at 565 grams all the time with me. No wonder for me whatever time of day we talk about “It’ Time To TAB

All Images Sourced from Samsung Galaxy Tab Website

Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 Launch

So the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 is getting launched on August 10, and Indiblogger is hosting an awesome contest where they have some awesome give aways and a chance to become Samsung Mobiler which means you get to have a first hand experience of all the new Samsung Mobile products.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 Launch

Now that the greedy devil and gadget freak I am, and an awesome technology Samsung produces it is pretty obvious that I am entering this contest. So you would get a live view and feed of the Samsung Galaxy Tab launch right here on Ginger & Cardamom. Also there is a post coming on the “Tab” very soon. Till then pray that I get this free Tab 🙂


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.