Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An affair to remember

Prats tagged me couple of weeks back asking me to describe my journey with books.

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?
I was born into a family of book lovers. For me reading is as essential as eating food.
What are some books you read as a child?
As a child, I read all the classics that my family presented to me on my birthday – Tom Sawyer, Rebecca, Jane Austin novels, TinTin, Asterix, Enid Blyton novels.
What is your favourite genre?
It has changed from mystery, romance to humorous non fiction.
Do you have a favourite novel?
Books do touch us in many ways and expand the mind horizon. At each stage of life, different books have fascinated me. But recently “Match Made in Heaven”, “Alchemist” and Scotland series of Alexander McCall Smith seem to guide me.
Where do you usually read?
In my couch. I tried listening to audio books but somehow I don’t have a resource which has good collection. But any day I would prefer reading a book than listening to it.
Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?
Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?
How can you do that? I thought the only books that are read differently are the course text books.
Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?
Either buy or check them out of library.
Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them?
If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them? Were they some of the same ones you read as a child?
I am waiting to reach that stage. Hopefully timeless classics will still enchant the next generation.
What are you reading now?
Kabul beauty Salon by Deborah Rodrigues.
Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?
Yes. Its a different question whether I get to finish them.
What books would you like to reread?
It’s very hard for me to re read either a book or watch a movie again. The only ones I have re read are Tintin, asterix and Calvin Hobbes.
Who are your favourite authors?
Currently Alexander McCall Smith. But I admire lot more for their way of writing and take on life.

I pass on the tag to Archana, ugich konitari, Suma, Ziah, Tys. Anyone else is welcome to pick it up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Smack - There you go...

Though the world is propagating non-violence, which has my vote, I still believe a spank here and there can serve good. It is applicable not only to humans but also to the electronic goods used by us. Good candidate is any person talking nonsense. A good jolt would bring him back to his senses. As a kid I was brought up in a strict environment but was never spanked. We had a chemistry teacher who was known for her piercing pinches but thankfully, I was spared of it.

As any other kid, I grew up in India knowing cricket before learning my alphabets. In an era before the cable TV, radio was the only way to listen to cricket being played abroad. Many times, the frequency would be catching up some other station as well, making the commentary sound gibberish. A smack on its head and radio would promptly catch back the cricket station.

I'll never forget the innumerable times we spent waking up our Ambassador car by either pushing it from the back or just kicking the engine out of frustration. Somehow one nice sturdy bolt always works irrespective of the case in question.

The way the world is evolving, except for humans, everything else is coming up with a user manual. Many times, in fact all times, we do not patience, energy or time to go through all those 358 pages. So when disaster strikes, do what comes instantaneously in your mind. By that time, I am sure you would be so tormented that you always raise hands. I have heard people hitting the audio player to make it work, rinsing DVD with water and drying with a clean cloth to remove the scratches, spanking the washer/dryer if it gets stuck. Ninety percent of the time, things would start working normally.

Recently we had trouble recording in our video camera. It worked most of the times but would get stuck with some strange error. Replacing the battery or the tape did not do much good. When we googled for the error, the solution was to smack the camera softly but firmly. If it does not work, do it twice. Since everyone who reported the error had their camera working, we tried the solution too. Our camera is an obedient one and understood with just one spank.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Post Perfect

Numbers are one of the greatest puzzles to human mind. They can cause excitement, anxiety and fulfillment. There is something complete about whole numbers. You feel little satisfied and at peace on achieving something, however small it is. That's why I always used to get an itch when Bata used to price most of its shoes at Rs 99.99.

Anyone striving for perfection knows that the journey from 99 to 100 is more difficult than 0 to 99. You can feel the anxiety and excitement built when a cricketer gets closer to century than any other score. I remember when Nadia Comaneci attained a perfect 10. Though the digital displays were not ready to show the score to the world, her splendid display made it crystal clear. In many fields, it is a landmark. Once you have achieved it, no matter how long you go, you know you have earned a marble in the jar.

Once in my student life I had experienced the ecstasy of scoring a perfect figure and years later the disappointment of missing it by few points. Today, I became little dizzy when I realized this is my 100th post. It took me 15 months to write this, a little longer than I expected. But as it is said, joy is found not in destination, but in the journey. It has been a wonderful odyssey indeed and am honored to be bestowed with such good blog friends and the awards – one from Suma and other from Monika. Thank you and I herewith pass on the “Brillante Weblog” to (that is if I could find any who has not received it yet):

Archana – She has a knack of creating an interesting post from almost anything.
Archana – Her tidbits about life and the way she looks at it is very refreshing and encouraging.
Sumana – Her tiny and little not only brightens her life but our day too.
Ceedy – His short stories need to be compiled into a book. Very well thought over and beautifully written.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Meltdown

The fire is burning in Wall Street and engulfing one investment firm after another. It seems so much like a raging forest fire which can not be controlled till it burns deep into the financial firm's assets and individual's pockets. As all man made crisis, this was created by man himself through his greed. The fall of the Titan - Lehman can also be accounted as greed. While no one took an extra step to pull it through, they are ready to bid on cheap assets to see if they benefit by it at a later time.

All this news has left me in disbelief. Too many things happened over the weekend, shaking the Wall Street to its core. I feel sad for a firm which was able to pull through 3 or 4 crisis in its 158 years regime but had to succumb to the sub prime mortgage crisis. Actually it could have been any firm, it is unfortunate that it had to be Lehman. I wonder if there could have been any other alternative. Government did not back them up as taxpayers have already incurred enough debt from Bear Sterns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac . All agree that this is one in a millennium crisis and rules of crisis are different from the norm. Could a pool of money from all the giant firms and individual investors like Warren Buffet helped in keeping the company afloat? Of course, with so many players potential of falling along the way, the possibility of rescuing each one of them is bleak. What ever it is, Wall Street doesn't seem to have the same ring in its name - the buzz is gone.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bitten by Wilderness

I have never liked bugs, so it very difficult for me to admire them. Except of screaming and trying to get far from them, there is nothing much I do when I see them. I wonder if I would have behaved differently if I was introduced to them in a different way. I learnt there are museums for insects. Of course, with zoos and national parks being there for animals and birds, this seems to be pretty natural. However I wondered who would bother to visit them till my own flesh and blood of 5 years old made a field trip and was pretty ecstatic about it. I see all the kids are pretty excited with bugs. Perhaps they are able to relate to a world where everything else looks big and to the fact that they can be mischievous and still come out of a situation.

Of all the bugs, the only I have admired are ants and butterflies. In my younger days, I have spent hours seeing ants transport food grain. It is amazing how hardworking and disciplined they are. As all kids, I have tried to catch butterfly. Once I did catch but let it free the next moment. I did not like it flutter in my hands. I have seen some of my classmates having butterflies between books. They must be the only creatures who are taken care of well when they are dead.

Once on my way back from school, I got stung by a bee. I had a swollen head for few days but otherwise I don’t think anything else went into my head. Of course lizards are no way bugs but they have bugged my life enough. I would never be in the same room as them. In my school days, once I could hardly concentrate in my school prayer as I was distracted by two lizards chasing each other in the wall.

No talk of bugs would be complete without mentioning cockroaches. These are the only creatures that can compete with humans. As man is making this world more difficult for others to live, cockroaches are the only ones who can survive. So it was no surprise when a cockroach happened to be friend of WALL-E. One of the things I used to dislike was to catch cockroaches for Biology practical. I was surprised when I read recently that there is dearth of these creatures and now they need to be bought for Biology classes.

I never kept track of bug evolution and my knowledge regarding them is less than that of a 5th grader. I didn’t know there are bugs that have invisible wings to help them fly. The only mysterious one in that category that I am aware of is fireflies. But there are lots of its cousins who do not glow and cannot be seen. I got bit by one of these. Now my arms are red and itchy. This did not happen while I was hiking but happened in my own room. I have no clue how these came inside. All I can think is they are smarter and much evolved, why they even know how to become invisible.

To evolve or not...