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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Feluda Marathon

10 days ago I wrote about the trouble with reading feluda. Well, the post ignited something in me and I picked up Feluda.
Travel time on daily basis increased thereafter and there was some waiting time at airport as well as bad in-flight entertainment system in the Kingfisher flight I took ... All this helped me Read Read Read Feluda in the past 10 days.
I have read more than 7-8 stories spanning more than 350 pages of the book ... thats about half book !! 
I am feeling much better now ... Feluda's reading score had been stagnating for quite some time. I almost felt guilty for not reading it.
Now that it has seen a reading spike, I feel much better

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Attachments

Monday, November 21, 2011

Big Fat Feluda in Small Print

Its been some time since I have read any Feluda story; the primary reason being the small size print in the big fat volume I have. I don't really mind the size of the volume (it is pretty thick at about 1000+ pages); it is the print size that is the problem.

I read during my travel times … car, bus, train, flight, airport waiting etc … and the small print size is too much of a strain on the eyes. Larger print sizes are bearable (although not great for eyes).

This singular factor has negatively impacted my reading score on Feluda … And I don't know how to improve it either. Reading while being stationary does not seem to be a possibility since there are so many other things to do and there isn't really any leisure time at hand. Only traval time to spare.

Wish the pages of the book gave the same feature as the tablets (iPad/galaxy tab etc) … pinch and increase the font size J

Monday, November 14, 2011

What's UP?

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'up'

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list,
but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?

At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?

Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call UP our friends.

And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.

We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.

At other times the little word has real special meaning.

People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.

To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.

A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.

We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!

To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP,  look the word UP in the dictionary.

In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.

It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.

When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.

When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.

When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.

When it doesn't rain for a while, things dry UP

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so it is time to shut UP!

Now it's UP to you what you do with this email.

And of course, how can we forget the ever so popular "What's UP?"
or its newer version "wassUP?"

 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Understand rather than Misunderstand

(came as an email forward, found it interesting, so sharing ... )

 A drunk man who smelled like beer sat down on a subway next to a priest. The man's tie was stained, his face was plastered with red lipstick, and a half-empty bottle of gin was sticking out of his torn coat pocket. He opened his newspaper and began reading.

After a few minutes the man turned to the priest and asked, 'Say Father, what causes arthritis?'

The priest replies, 'My Son, it's caused by loose living, being with cheap, wicked women, too much alcohol, contempt for your fellow man, sleeping around with prostitutes and lack of a bath.'

The drunk muttered in response, 'Well, I'll be damned. He then returned to his paper.

The priest, thinking about what he had said, nudged the man and apologized. 'I'm very sorry. I didn't mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis?'

The drunk answered, 'I don't have it, Father. I was just reading here that the Pope does.'

 

Moral of the story : Make sure you understand the question before offering the answer

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

2 Extra Hours !!

Well … the guys at HUL claim that the new Surf Excel Matic is smart enough to get rid of stains while your clothes are inside your washing machine, so you don't have to spend your precious time doing it seperately.
So … the million-dollar (or lets say the lakh-rupee) question is "If you had two extra hours in a day, how would you spend it?"

2 extra hours would give u a 26 hour day and a 13 hour clock face ! Wouldn’t that be weird ?? or more than that …wouldn’t that be ‘unlucky’ ?? Having to stare at a 13 hour clock face every day … ???




2 hours … 120 minutes … 7200 seconds … looks significant enough!!

Right ?? So how would I spend it?

Now that's a very interesting question which sets me thinking and even makes me nostalgic … (something that hasn't happened for a couple of days … eh … I am referring to 'nostalgic' not 'thinking')

Reminds me of my MBA days when We (Nikhil and I) conceptualized the first fully online business games event of India and found that even the 24 hours we had were not enough. We spent sleepless nights (and dozing lecture times) for almost 4 months before we launched the event (MastishK) which ultimately turned out to be hugely successful (thanks to the efforts of a 30 member strong team of MBA students). We also created the world's first B-School / MBA comic character Arbit Choudhury and release about 20 comic strips around the event. I remember those times and wonder, if I had 2 additional hours every day in those days, we could have accomplished so much more (or at least once in a while got some good night's sleep).

Nostalgia also reminds me of my Engineering days … specifically the exam days when we had to study a semester worth of studies in a matter of 2 weeks and any additional hour would have been god-sent … what to talk of 2 additional hours a day J I am sure I would have managed at least 2% more J

Well … enough of nostalgia ... lets look at the present !!!

Arbit Choudhury - If I had 2 hours more every day, I would be able to devote more time to creating the Arbit Choudhury comics and would have increased the frequency of new comic release from once a fortnight to once a week. Just the 2 hours from 'one day' every week would mean more comics and more smiles spread across the globe J

Reading - I have been a voracious reader since early childhood and my reading levels / score has gone up and down over the years as other things took priority and I got busy with studies and work. I read extensively during my school days devouring 2-3 books every week; while in college / engineering / MBA; other books took priority and my fiction reading score went down. It picked up again but I started on self development books and the likes. Then came the corporate life and reading again took a dip.

A few years ago, I realized that this was practically the only hobby I had and my only escape from 'reality' … so I decided to get back to reading and have been reading pretty regularly and voraciously ever since maintaining my reading record on monthly basis on my blog too. BUT, work hampers my reading (currently engaged with 3 different clients and other responsibilities which make me travel, it is difficult to read).

2 extra hours would a BIG BOON for my reading. There is soooo much to read and so little time. 2 hours would be enough to complete a small 100-120 page novel; a week would be enough to complete a 500-700 page novel (NO, I won't use all of extra 2-hours in reading alone, there are other things too). These 2 additional hours every day would enable me to read at least 4 more novels / books every month beside the short stories and novels which I am already reading. I would love to see my reading graph rise to a higher level J

Family - Besides my reading, the extra time would also mean I can spend some more time with my parents and brother. It seems like ages I have spent some 'so called quality time' with my bro chatting about general things in life. Its been a long time since I spent time with mom-n-dad talking about family affairs and about planning a getaway. The additional 2 hours would at least give me a few minutes every day to make that happen (although the fact of the matter is that one doesn't need extra minutes and hours to do this, all it takes is the inner will to go ahead and do it. No matter, how busy one is; one can still find 5 minutes to spend with family and indulge in small talk).

Friends - While I write this, I also realize that I haven't been 'really in touch' with my numerous friends from over the years and the common excuse is actually that I don't get time. If I did have 2 extra hours, I would begin by spending 5 minutes every day writing / calling up a friend whom I haven't contacted for some time. Touching base with friends without the excuse of an occasion like a birthday, diwali, new year can be pretty awkward but pleasant thing. Awkward because we no longer call on friends and acquaintances 'just like that' unless we have some work with them. Pleasant because … (can this really be explained?) … touching base with friends is always pleasant. Hearing their voice and feeling their smiles in their voice. But again, we don't really need the extra 2 hours daily to do this. All it takes is a will to do it. But definately, if I had 2 more hours a day, it would give me some extra time in hand to spend some time with my best friend.

(So ... to spend more time with Friends and Family .. one does not really need extra 2 hours per day … it can be done even without them but if we indeed had the 2 hours … it would help :)

Writing/Blogging - Extra 2 hours would definitely allow and enable me to write more on my blog. So many thoughts and ideas and observations remain in my notes and never make it to my blog bcos of paucity of time. Had I the extra time, I wouldn't be surprised to find a minimum of one meaningful blog post every day rather than the not-so-great score of single digit every month that I now have (but of course, there are some months with double digit scores too).

The 2 additional hours would help me write at least 2 more blog posts a week and hopefully … just hopefully … in the long run … inspire me and enable me to write the book/novel that I soooo wish to write someday ! (that's part of the 'things I wish to do before I die' list)

Biz Talk - And yes, before I forget. I am an entrepreneur at heart and with time and increase in office work pressure, I have not been able to give my 'that side of brain' any time to think and explore and discuss with another entrep friend of mine. With 2 more hours every day, I could probably have a once-in-a-week meeting with him over coffee discussing business ideas (provided he also had the luxury of the 2-extra-hours-a-day)
Last but definitely NOT the least (in fact, very important); If I had 2 extra hours every day, my wife would be extremely happy whose most common complaint is that I don't give her 'enough' time (mind you … 'enough' is a highly vague ambiguous undefined term whose definition changes with time). She would indeed be happy with the extra time I would have and lay her claim on it (as it is she has anyway laid her claim on the iPad/BB which I might win in this contest :)

Just while I was about to post this ... a thought struck me ... If I do manage to get the eextra 2 hours a day AND If I do win the tablet ... wont the tablet occupy the extra time and I wont be able to do any of the above ..... hmmm .... but then I read the previous paragraph again and realised that my wife wont alllow that to happen. The tablet would not be able to interfere with my extra time .. :)



Addendum: This post also hit another spot of nostalgia. In my school days, I had read several sci-fi novels which had some element of time-warp / space travel where time stretched and compressed. Wish I could lay my hands on some of them now. I would love to read them again. Or even something similar. I really miss my sci-fi reading of school days. (This actually adds one more thing that I could do with the extra hours. Once a week, I could use those extra 2 hours to ‘google’ for some interesting off-beat sci-fi novels and then read them :)



Note: This blog post was inspired by Surf Excel Matic #GetSmart Contest where bloggers are to pen down (or should I say 'key in') their thoughts on ... "If you had two extra hours in a day, how would you spend it?"

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Blog Adda !!

Visit blogadda.com to discover Indian blogs

Have been visiting blog adda and have known about it for a long time but only recently got the registration process straightened out for myself. was stuck at the 'activation' level and i had misplaced that email :)

Will register for their Book Reviews program now ... I had recomended it to my friend who already started doing it and I was unable to register myself :)

Now I will ...

Thursday, November 03, 2011

October Reading …

 

Travel time has increased with weekly travel to Pune and also a trip to Dubai for about 10 days in this month; so this was supposed to give me plenty of travel time to read J but juggling multiple projects and shuttling between 3 cities took its toll on my time and health too, so couldn't really read during my travels. So ultimately the score is lower than expected. But on the brighter side, I read 2 complete novels from different genres; outside my regular stories.  

This month I finished off the last of the Genius trilogy and continued reading the regulars (Sherlock Holmes and Three Investigators). I also read a novel which I would classify as 'emotional' stuff. No, it wasn't another emotional novel … on the contrary it was more of a reminder about what life is all about and how we live false lives chasing false dreams (often nothing more than a mirage) and reaching the so-called destination of life completely unsatisfied; wondering what really happened? 

Could not read Feluda this month; The trouble is that the font size in the big fat volume is small and is not really very conducive for reading during travel.

 

1. Genius Wars by Catherine Jinks

Having read Evil Genius and Genius Squad in last 2 months, it was pretty logical to pick up the third part of the trilogy in this month J

The story line was decent and there was once again a nasty surprise coming towards the end of the story. The basic assumption that carries the story for almost 60% of the story timeline is suddenly proved wrong and you are left feeling dizzy, relooking at all the assumptions that you had made along with the story's lead characters and re-evaluate for a fresh perspective. And then again near the end of the story, you feel that the assumptions have to be reset.

At the end of it all, on e is left confused about what exactly happened. I don't like this. A reader should not be left in a lurch. Things have to be explained and closed. Maybe the author wanted to keep her options open about writing another novel in the Genius series. But that does not mean, leaving loose ends in the current story.

 

2. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of Black Peter by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The story has Sherlock Holmes stabbing furiously at a dead pig (several times, over and over again) to conclude that it was literally impossible for him (and any 'ordinary' able bodied person) to pierce the dead pig (and by that analogy, a human being) through and through with a weapon in a single blow.

This actually helps him narrow down his suspect 'population' to a small group while investigating a murder where a person has been killed in his home with a 'harpoon' put through him and pining him to the wall behind. Gruesome! Sherlock shows his usual flair at detective consulting and solves the mystery concluding with the murderer walking into his home all by himself.

 

3. The Three Investigators & the Mystery of the Monster Mountain by William Arden

This one begins with the 3I going for camping with the Bavarian brothers (who also want to meet their cousin) and ending up with a multi pronged mystery.

What begins with a search of a lost key becomes a mystery that involves a so called Monster Mountain and its associated animals (and monsters of course).  And of course, it goes without saying that these seemingly dangerous things and animals eventually turn out to be innocent and harmless, while the humans turn out to be the real danger.

 

4. Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Charles Augustus Milverton by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

This story is not about the solving a crime. It is more about witnessing it.

Sherlock is involved to mediate in a blackmailing situation and the negotiation fails to fruition. At this stage, Sherlock takes the unlawful (but moral) path of breaking into a house and stealing something; only to witness the murder of the person who was at the other end of the negotiation.

Sherlock and Watson quietly walk out of the situation (but not before accomplishing what they had come for). If you are looking for mystery, skip this story. It has none.

 

5. Tuesdays with Morrie by

As I said earlier, this month saw my departure from regulars and this one was a rather different genre. This one was more of a reminder about what life is all about and how we live false lives chasing false dreams (often nothing more than a mirage) and reaching the so-called destination of life completely unsatisfied; wondering what really happened? 

Tuesdays with Morrie was a narrative and story of a sports journalist who begins to rediscover life through his dying professor Morrie, who has himself begun to see life in a new perspective after being diagnosed with a deadly disease which has begun his race to death.

The story moves through several realizations which Morrie has after his new life (under the shadow of death) has begun and how he shares these discoveries with our protagonist; also making him realize that u don't need a reminder from death about these things. These are things that should be taken into account while living … not while dying.

 

Series Completion Score (as of 31st Oct 2011):  

Three Investigators     20 out of 35

Feluda                         19 out of 35

Sherlock Holmes         33 out of 56

Total                           72 out of 126

Genius Trilogy             completed J