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Monday, January 31, 2011

Straight Out of the Painting …

Well ... hardly anything more to say other than the title about this picture of my wife Nisha !

Sunday, January 30, 2011

DSF shopping continues ...

I have posted about small stuff shopping in DSF ... well ... time for some BIG Bucks spending ...  
I bought a TV ... an LCD .... a 32 inch LCD TV ... :)
 My brother informed me that the TV at home in India conked off a week ago ...
result ... buying of a Samsung LCD TV - LA32C450 - 32"

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Onion Rings :)


A few days ago, I came across this nice one …
Current affairs in IndiaJJ
For the first time in the history of mankind 'Need', 'Comfort' and 'Luxury' are all being sold at the same price in India!
Onions Rs.65
 Petrol Rs.65
Beer Rs.65 J
And then … a few days later … I came across an email forward titled 'The New Engagement Ring' … You gotta see it … 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dubai Shopping Festival … for Me !!


The DSF started last week on 20th Jan and I decided to step out with my wife the same evening to check out what was up … We decide to go to the Diera City Centre (DCC) and just roam around …
I ended up entering Magrudy's and picking up about 6 books :)… 
Reasons for picking these books ...
  1. Books seemed interesting
  2. I m currently reading Feluda, 3I and Sherlock .. All mystery and detective stuff
  3. I needed some other genre ... something different
  4. It was the first day of Dubai Shopping Festival :)
  5. And … last but not the least … They were all priced at 5 AED (clearance sale) besides some 5-10 other books
The books put together were worth 300 AED and since they were part of the clearance sale … I got them for a paltry 30 AED … yep … at 10% of their price. Of course, only after I read them will I come to know if these 30 AED (approx. Rs. 400) were well spent or money wasted …
I picked up the following books …
  1. Labyrinth  by Kate Mosse
  2. Wild Swans : Three Daughters of China  by Jung Chang
  3. The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
  4. Looking Good Dead (2006) by Peter James
  5. Not Dead Enough (2007) by Peter James
  6. Dead Man's Footsteps (2008) by Peter James


Of course, my wife Nisha was not someone to be left behind. She also took advantage of the DSF and picked up 2 handbags and nice silver colored footwear. Of course, she had already purchased a beautiful ring the other day from the Sahara Mall … where the Sharjah Spring Promotions (SSP) had already begun.
So the DSF and the SSP began … not just for Dubai and the world; but also for Me.
Of course, I will be making more purchases …. Bigger and more significant ones …
Will post more about it as and when as my purse becomes lighter …

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Million Pounds !!

 

I am sure at some point in time you would have received an email promising millions of dollars either in some raffle draw or lottery or some inheritance …

Most would end up in the junk/spam folder of my Gmail so I had not seen any in quite some time.

That's why I was surprised and shocked to see not 1 or 2 but FOUR such emails together in my inbox today, each offering me a generous Million Pounds :)

What a day !!

I am wondering ... should I start preparing my resignation letter and book myself for an extended World Tour … a la 'Around the World in 80 days' !!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Reading History 2010 ...


2010 was indeed a fantastic year for me as far as reading is concerned. I read and read and read and continue to do so in 2011. I have probably read more in past year than what I might have read in past decade …  So here is a summary of my 2010 reading …
January ... 3
1. One More Day - Mitch Albom
2. Seven Ancient Wonders - Matthew Reilley
3. Mystery Stories - collection of stories by various authors selected by Helen Cresswell
February ....... 4
1. See Jane Die by Erica
2. Love, Rosie / Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern
3. Murder in the Mews by Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot Series)
4. Ice Station by Mathew Reilly
MARCH ... 3
1. Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup
2. Area 7 by Matthew Reilly
3. Eight (8) Short Stories by Matthew Reilly
1. Complex 13
2. A Bad Day at Fort Bragg
3. The Mine
4. Time Tours
5. The Rock Princess and the Thriller Writer
6. The Dead Prince
7. Altitude Rush
8. Rewind (a screenplay for a short film)
APRIL ... 3
1. RHYTHM by Shraddha Majalkar
2. Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella
3. Temple by Matthew Reilly
May … None
Started some books but not completed …
June … 6
1. P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
2. Atlantis by David Gibbins
3. Divine by Mistake by P C Cast
4. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
5. Six Sacred Stones by Matthew Reilly
6. Five Great Warriors by Matthew Reilly
July … 6
1. The Immortals of Meluha by Amish – First Part of the Shiva Trilogy
2. Divine by Choice / Partholon 2 by P. C. Cast
3. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
4. Daemon by Daniel Suarez
5. Remember Me? By Sophie Kinsella
6. Freedom by Daniel Suarez
August … 4
1. Divine by Blood (Partholon 3) by P C Cast
2. DORK - The Increadible Adventures of Robin Einstein Varghese by Sidin Vadukut
3. Alexander Cipher by Will Adams
4. The Genesis Code by Tom Knox
September … 4
1. A Place called Here by Cecelia Ahern
2. A Handful of Nuts by Ruskin Bond
3. The Good Guy by Dean Koontz  
4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
October … 5
1. Scarecrow by Matthew Reilly
2. Hell Island by Matthew Reilly
3. If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern
4. Terror on the Titanic: A Morning Agency Adventure by Samit Basu
5. Roads to Mussoorie by Ruskin Bond
November … 3
1. Hover Car Racer by Matthew Reilly 
2. Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern
3. The Three Investigators and the Mystery of the Fiery Eye by Robert Arthur
December … 5
1. Buried Fire by Stroud
2. The Three Investigators and the Secret of the Terror Castle by Robert Arthur
3. The Three Investigators & the Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot by Robert Arthur
4. The Three Investigators & the Mystery of the Whispering Mummy by Robert Arthur
5. Simply Irresistible by Rachel Gibson

SCORE – 46 in 12 months

I don't really want to read the same author twice in the same month, but it did happen. In fact it happened in 5 out of 12 months. And 2011 is gonna be a year where I will routinely do it, month after month … since I plan to concentrate on works of 3 particular authors …

My month wise reading graph for 2011 looks like this …
  



Prominent Author Scores

The following are the most prominent authors from my 2010 reading list … authors whose books I have read the most. (The names below are followed by numbers indicating the number of books I have read by that author in 2010)

Matthew Reilly (9) - Read all his novels published till date :)

Cecelia Ahern (5) Robert Arthur (4) P C Cast (3)

Ruskin Bond / Daniel Suarez / Sophie Kinsella (2 each)


And yes, I should mention here that almost 90% of the books mentioned above came from the personal library of my best friend, Shraddha

 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mistaken Author and Rare Find !!

 

I read a lot during my school days but I was never fixated on authors. The book title and cover page design were the 2 things which helped me decide which books I picked from my school library. After all I was but a child J

It was indeed the interesting titles and cover designs which led me to pick up one of the '3 Investigators' as well as 'Sherlock Holmes' books. Once I read them, the character names stuck in my memory rather than the author which I hardly noticed.

Now … it has so happened that I have lived my life under the misconception that the 3 Investigators stories were authored by Alfred Hitchcock. It was only recently that I discovered that the author was actually Robert Arthur.

This is how it happened.

'The Three Investigators' stories always began with an introduction or foreword which was penned not by the author but by Alfred Hitchcock. I never really cared for who the author was (in school days) so I never noticed the name 'Robert Arthur' which must have been tucked under some corner. Since the name of Alfred Hitchcock appeared at the beginning of every story, I kind of assumed that he was the author.

------------

This also reminds me that a few years ago, I came across an old magazine named after Alfred Hitchcock. It dated back to 1970's or 1980's and its cost was about 10 bucks. It was a collection of many short stories wrapped in mystery. I enjoyed the book thoroughly and wondered if I could find other editions.  The book carried the publishers name and address and I decided to write to them if they had any copies with them. I did not really expect a reply.

Some time passed and i almost forgot about the whole thing when suddenly I got a reply that they had 30 editions of the magazine and i could buy them for 300 bucks. I sent them the money. I got a reply later on that the cost of sending the books was more than the books :(

They eventually send across 18 books but I still wish I could lay my hands on the remaining 12 or even a complete set of 30 of those. Wish someone who knows them, reads this and tells them about it. Wish I get to travel to Delhi someday with at least a day spare to locate the address and physically collect the books.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Movie History 2010


I saw 28 movies in theatre last year … in different genres and different languages (Hindi, English and Marathi too). I liked most of them and some were an utter waste of time, effort and money. Some surprises and some disappointments. I have blogged my views on each one of them thro' the year. Here is a list of all I saw … bringing it all under one post.

The first half of the year was 'better' while second half got 'busier' so less movies ...

January - 4
Avatar
Raat Gayee Baat Gayee
Harishchandrachi Factory
Sherlock Holmes
February - 1
Kartik Calling Kartik
March - 5
It's Complicated
Atithi Tum Kab Jaaoge?
Road, Movie
Rokkk
Alice in Wonderland
April - 4
Tum Milo To Sahi
Paathshaala
Date Night
Bounty Hunter
 May - 3
Housefull
Hai Marjawa (It's a Wonderful Afterlife)
Iron Man 2
June - 2
Sex and the City
Raajneeti
 July - 1
The Last Airbender (3D)
 August - 2
Once Upon a Time in Mumbai
Inception
September - 1
Dabangg
October - 2
Robot
Khichdi
November – 2
Golmaal 3
Action Replay
December – 1
            Tees Maar Khan

Final Score – Total 28 Movies in 12 months ...

   
Trivia: 5 4 3 2 1 – Number of Movies I saw in 'March April May June July' ... What a trend !

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Reading Plans for 2011 ... Sherlock Holmes, Feluda, 3 Investigators ...

I had been an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes during my school days and read any and every book / stories of him. The only other character(s) I so obsessively and completely read were the 'Three Investigators" by Alfred Hitchcock. I read ALL of the 3I books in my school library. As far as Sherlock Homes and Three Investigators were concerned, there was nothing in my school library that I had not read.

A few months ago, my best friend Shraddha expressed that she might read 'The Lord of the Rings' again; which gave me a similar idea. I have read LOTR way back in time (well … 2002 is indeed way back in time J) ...
I am now going to read the entire 'Three Investigators" series all over again :)

While I was doing some random reading on Wikipedia about subjects of my interest, I came across the list of Sherlock Holmes literature; 56 Short Stories and 4 Novels. I realized that it has been an awfully long time since I read those (almost 15 years) and I decided that I will read them all over again; the full collection.   

I was introduced to 'Feluda' by Satyajit Ray the year before last (2008) and I became an immediate fan of him. After Sherlock Holmes, there had been a loooong gap of reading 'detective stuff'. Feluda filled the gap. I have 2 volumes (just like Sherlock Homes they are also similarly named 'The complete Adventures of Feluda') which contain all the 35 Feluda stories (translated into English from Bengali). I hadn't read them all then ... so I am going to read them all now.
I chanced upon Robert Ludlum action thrillers in 2005-2006 and I became an immediate fan. I read quite a few of his novels then and another couple in the past few years. My visit to the wiki page of Robert Ludlum gave me the complete list of his books (written by him and not by other authors using his name); and I realized that I had but read just over half of his books. I do have two Robert Ludlum books at home but that still leaves about 8 other books to track, find and read. So that is yet another goal to achieve
So that's what a majority of my reading is going to be about in the coming year; completing the works of Feluda (Satyajit Ray), Sherlock Holmes (Canon Doyle) & 3 Investigators ... I will also try and catch up on Robert Ludlum too.
LOTR .... maybe next year J

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Original Conan | Rediscovering Sherlock Holmes

 
  
I used to read Sherlock Holmes stories in my school days. I even bought a 'complete collection' set of two fat books while in college. After all these years, I felt like reading them all over again.
So, I decided that in this year and the next, I would try and read the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes stories.
I began with 'A study in Scarlet', which is one of the 4 novels that were written. I will be reading the novels in the chronological sequence of their publishing timeline. The first 2 novels were followed by a lot of short stories and next novel came almost after 10 years followed by more short stories and another novel after 13 years.
'A Study in Scarlet' introduces Watson and Sherlock Holmes; how they meet and how Watson discovers the eccentricities of Sherlock. I realized the Sherlock Holmes literature by Sir Arthur Canon Doyle was not very easy to read. The sentence construction was complex and choice of words was not really suitable for children or maybe even young teenagers.
I am sure I must not have read the original works of Conan Doyle in my school days. If I had, I wouldn't have even read a single complete one. I must have read a simplified version fit for a school child where the language was simplified with lesser twists in sentence construction and easier words making it easy to understand.
I feel good that I took the decision to re-read the entire Sherlock Holmes collection. Now, I will get a chance to read the real Conan literature and enjoy the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Watson in their true form and Conan style.
 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Memories from this year … Awesome !

 

New Memories have been formed this 7th of Jan … The Burj Khalifa experience …

In contrast to my feelings from exactly 2 years ago … this year on Jan 7 … I felt at the top of the world … Literally!! I visited the 124th Floor Observation Deck of Burj Khalifa … the tallest tower of the world !!

It was an awesome experience.

I had particularly selected the timeslot of 4.30 PM so that I could go in and enjoy the Dubai city view in day time, then enjoy the sun set and before leaving, enjoy the Dubai city lights in the dark. It turned out to be an exhilarating experience to see the transition from day to night, watching the transformation of the city into a blanket of small tiny lights.

It was an awesome experience.

The journey to the top was in itself a treat. Riding the world's fastest elevator to reach the world's highest observation deck in about 60 seconds (travelling at about 10 m/s or 600 m/min) gave a tingling feeling in the ears as well as the stomach.

The view from the top is simply breathtaking. We spent a good 2 hours up there staring into the horizon and the view all around, far and near.  The Telescopes located all around the observatory were a real treat. The computerized touch screen LCD display of the telescope view with options to view the scene live, day, night and historical was a real surprise.

The live view might not be always good due to various reasons like sunlight and dust interplay, fog conditions, time of the day or simply rains or other weather conditions.

We spent more than an hour going all around the observation deck, looking at the vast expanse of the city beneath us, all around us. We were waiting for the clock to strike 6 PM. We had already positioned ourselves at one of the open terrace glass windows which were on the Dubai Fountain side. We caught the 6 PM Dubai Fountain show from that phenomenal height and it was beautiful.

Then we went around the entire circumference of the viewing gallery taking in a 360 degree view of the Dubai city at night with all its city lights. It took us around 20 minutes and then we positioned ourselves again at e Fountain facing window to catch the 6.30 show of Dubai Fountain. We then got in a very long queue to go back to the ground level. The queue literally went round all the way around the entire observation deck.

We reached the ground level and went through the gallery with photographs of several people involved in the project including Crane Operators, Secretaries, Project Mangers etc. By the time we came out of the gallery; we realized that it was already 7.30 and we saw the Fountain show once again J

What an Evening !!!

It reminded me of my visit to KL Tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during 2007. I even went there again to celebrated my birthday:) 

The observation deck of KL Tower is at a height of 276 m while the Burj Khalifa 124th floor is at an approx height of 495 m above the ground (almost double).

Wish they had built the observation deck of Burj Khalifa at a higher floor.

With about 160+ floors; why did they have to build the observation deck at 124th???

Does anybody know ???

 

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Memories from a year ago …


While 2 years ago, tragedy struck; the time exactly a year ago was a much better and happier one. I was to fly out to South Africa on 31st Dec 2009 but it got cancelled and rescheduled for 7th but even that got cancelled. Teenagers and young couples of my extended family had planned a trip to Lonavla which I was going to miss but the cancelled trip enabled me to go.
It was 2 days of pure fun … we were about 20 of us. 3 Couples and all the rest were bachelors from our family. I was having fun after quite some time. I still remember those 2 days. They are pretty fresh in my otherwise non-dependable memory.
I am not sure when the next such 2 day trip will be planned and if I will even be able to go with them since I am in Dubai-Sharjah … away from home, away from family.
Hope … Fate can play some twisty turny game once again and enable to be close to home when the next fun event gets planned.
Hope is the Rope to success … J

Friday, January 07, 2011

Memories from two years ago …

Exactly 2 years ago … on Jan 7, 2009 … I was in Dubai …

In an office at Emaar Square … next to Burj Dubai (that's what it was called at that time … now it is called Burj Khalifa)

The day marked the beginning of the Satyam Fiasco and the ensuing crisis.

I was on call with IBM HR regarding a job opportunity and had just refused the same when my brother called and told me that Raju resigned. I told bro that it was not possible since it was his own company. I googled and found his Resignation letter at the first link. (I was feeling unlucky)

That day marked the beginning of an ordeal which went on for months … life filled with uncertainty and all sorts of media fuelled rumors. Acquisition by Mahindra and rebranding as Mahindra Satyam and slowly the organization getting up on its feet

An odyssey

I was suddenly reminded of that day today … and the times that followed.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

200 in 2 years …

Recently, I noticed recently yet another stat from my blog.
I made exactly 200 posts in past 2 years 2009 (128 posts) & 2010 (72 posts) besides crossing the 200th and 300th mark :)
This is what my blog posting frequency looks like for 2010.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

New Year Eve and New Year …

 

Contrary to what most people do, I was destined to be indoors on the New Year eve. So that's what I did and stayed glued to the TV whole day watching movies and other things.  

I saw a feature on Pixar's history followed by Pixar blockbusters like 'Toy Story 2', 'Finding Nemo' and 'The Incredibles' followed by old comedy classics like 'Hot Shots' &  'Hot Shots 2'. The 'Hot Shots' movies were featured in 2011 while the Pixar animated wonders were in 2010.

I am not even counting the several Hindi movies playing round the clock which we saw. Movies like 'Houseful', 'Heyy Baby' and an oldie called 'Jung' and a couple of others i dont even remember

Phew … It almost adds up top about 6-8 movies in one day / 18 hours.

I also saw the Fire, Light and Water show at 'The Dubai Mall' live on TV (channel Dubai One) at midnight followed by the Burj Khalifa New Year fireworks. I realized that the view from my bedroom on TV was much much better than the view I would have had if I had gone to the venue. I realized that by not going out, i avoided getting caught in the crowd and the terrific traffic.

So the year ended in the enclosed warmth of my hotel room. The first day though turned out to be of an international variety.
 
I visited the 'Global Village' here in Dubai which brings together exhibits from various countries in Middle East and South East Asia including China.