Possibly a review of Kindle Paperwhite

April 2, 2013 § 7 Comments

The following post has not been spell checked or grammar checked, much like this sentence. The author suggests you do not read on but if you do, do not, DO NOT bug him about it. He sincerely wishes to convey a few section numbers which he is currently trying to remember for his exams as a form of apologizing.

One of the bane of modern living is…well not Monday mornings, it is quite clearly the damn battery.

The joke is on every one of us. Extra battery packs(much like people with low sugar and their chocolates) or just the charger- they are as ubiquitous as the phones themselves. No more is it, can I have some water please and no, we don’t go around asking for wifi passwords(Jerkdontaskforfreepayupororderacoffee) at coffee shops(we demand it, you know), but all of us have that awkward moment when we have asked for plug points. Just watch the competition on Indian trains for one of those and you would know- forget selling properties on Mars, you could become a Kajingillionaire by selling power to charge batteries.

Enter Kindle Paperwhite stage right.

And then I got this. Yes, it isn’t a phone or a laptop, but it has this awesome battery life. Damn it, nothing has made me more happy than this in a while. The thing actually lasts for days! The only charge it has got till now is when I plugged it into my comp. to load books. I smile a lot when I see the battery on top…it feels like having removed my braces. Ha! The bliss.

The next best thing about the kindle is that it doesn’t have those praise-the-boson twitter apps. Or any apps for that matter. It is such a relief to actually not have those updates all around you. It takes humongous effort  to keep the data switched off on my suicidal phone( Because the phone is basically meant to be spoken into and mine says that’s exactly all that it would do. In fact any conversation over 5 minutes, dear 4-inch i9003 becomes a stupid black hole) and it is refreshing when someone acknowledges that you are a guy who hasn’t had military training and doesn’t leave (self)control to you. Btw,I have checked twitter about 42*10^100 times since I began writing this post.

There is this experimental browser thing, which anyone who has ever tried to get golden rings or ribbons or whatever fancy thing  in a chemistry lab knows are better left to their own devices safely in the beakers. For the record, it isn’t too bad. Actually, I haven’t tried it much(both the chemistry thing evidently and the browser, now evident.)

So with no twitter and a battery life that should make the game of thrones series seem like an abridged version of twinkle twinkle little star, this device is the right one to buy if you want to read.

But then since the internet allows you to ask silly questions(limited offer in India, sale ends pretty soon), here goes how it to read on a six inch screen that doesn’t smell like old paper.

At the outset old paper smells awesome and I live in it. My room currently looks  like that exotic looking paper filled, book filled room you saw in your dreams or 9gag. So the smell is with me. Amazon should just come up a perfume to help you there, if your room isn’t as messed up as mine. The screen isn’t as fancy as nexus 7 or worth half a kidney like in an ipad(because that thing costs two kidneys to buy) but it is awesome to read. It is old people friendly because it can show DON’T PANIC in large friendly letters, not small little print which the omnibus which I have does. The dodos went away too fast- they should have taken this with them.

How do you read? With your eyes? Duh, kids. Most of us roll on the bed, diwan or something. People who watch television are couch potatoes, people who read can be any vegetable with two eyes draw on it. And the most uncomfortable thing to when when one is reading horizontal is checking the time, if you don’t have a clock hanging around somewhere. The kindle displays the time right at the top next to the battery. How clever of them to do that!

The second most annoying thing to do when reading in your bed moments from comatose, is getting enough light on to the page. How awesome it would be if you could have your own Dobby with a flashlight, Bellatrix? Well, surely we muggles have come a long way! The Paperwhite which is very light(that rhymes, right? Again!?) is that it has this backlight. It also has very useful comments next to the light settings which tells you at what levels to set it, making it the most idiot friendly touchable device. For the record, I almost tried to peel out the screen when I opened the packing, mistook the words on the screen for some sticker, especially since it told me to switch it on(the genie now speaks from within!)

E ink is epic! Not the passed on orally till no one knows the story kind, but the kind when something doesn’t start with an i. The screen or pixels or the ink rearranges when you flip a page and my-grandmom-would-shout-bingo-if-she-ever-gambled you are on to the next page with a tap. This is actually bad for everything else except reading, as your tech. savvy SOS is pointing out. And so what? the device is actually a big slab on which the little Houdini within writes and sits mum, there by making nokia 1100 seem like a…actually it is still sorely missed- a minute’s silence please.

Thank you. Now where was I? Yes, so, if all that wasn’t enough to make you get the kindle paperwhite, nothing else will. I suggest you either buy a nexus 7 or start looking for people who want to buy kidneys, but be warned the second you get hold of one of those ipad thingys the next one would be released and you would look like a fashionable obsolescent idiot instead of just a fashionable idiot(okay I hate apple, please feel free to swear in the comment section(actually that is exactly what I want, since this blog is almost dead))

Now if you are still reading, I might as well tell you that it has…just buy it will you? Psst, there are so many free ebooks out there 😉

P.S:- It works out quite cheap if you have tons of ebooks and I suggest you go about acquiring them while thinking about poor authors like…well are there any poor authors still left? The publishing houses don’t look at you unless you are wearing a Tissot!

Chaos all around

December 5, 2012 § 1 Comment

You see India is supposed to be very good at cricket and writing long boring laws based on Brits or Americans (but mostly the former.) The country got its freedom with so much effort that it is a stuff of legends- a few years from now, the leaders who went to jail, rebelled, broke salt laws, bombed magistrates, got shot, kicked, burnt could be akin to mythological characters- colorfully exaggerated by history textbooks, over which students fall asleep because the teacher is an underpaid, bullied person, who really doesn’t know or care about the students and making future leaders. As for the cricket, it has a team with spinners who seem to be better at selling spin-a-yarn-esque ads than spinning the stupid little red thing.

Our bonds could soon be rated as junk, our forex reserves are like the bank account of literature students and our hockey team might as well be from an uninhabited island and oh! the Indian Olympic Committee just got suspended. Add to this our “religious” sentiments being hurt by teenagers on facebook (a clear sign of identity crisis- the country has a whole needs to see a shrink soon) and no wonder our politicians are always shouting about something. What would happen if they were to hear themselves? What would happen if for one moment a doubt creeps in and they discover that the country is not made of communities but of individuals, much like them, except that unlike them they could be swat like mosquitoes with an electric bat? (the fact that we don’t enough electricity to keep charging these bats is another issue altogether)

If only our future could be traded in some market- like commodity futures, imagine the thrill, the spills…and the Foreign Investments. Imagine Indian kids being bought by Norway, surely they would take care of them better than us?  All this is pure chaos like the parliament and we live it and it becomes practical- just like torrents seem much more practical than buying books and then being told you hold it conditionally( like the uncle next door who wants to sell his house but only if the buyer would keep it as it is.)

All this seems so complicated doesn’t it? What’s wrong if one was just to drink whiskey in some fancy private island in some weird ocean? Or if you are one of those unfortunate people like me, you could make do with going to sleep or reading about other people’s lives elsewhere. Doesn’t matter if it is Betelgeuse or Mocondo or IIT, as long as you have a reprieve, that lovely pillow, you are fine.

Newspapers

October 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

Once upon a time newspapers were used to swat flies, but now the art of swatting flies with newspapers is dying, restricted to a few, especially since many seem to read papers online. The irony of course is that, papers of old actually had news in them, whereas papers today are either advertisement catalogues or are made of toilet paper or both.

Somewhere along the way these newspaper companies figured that as people who are stupid enough to pay to find out stuff from a piece of paper hours after something has actually happened must be really stupid, it is not worth providing them with stuff which they anyway do not use but instead they should be bombarded with advertisements where everyone claims to be selling the cheapest mobile phone or the sexiest underwear.

Newspapers also want to be old people friendly because surely with all that honking and noise, they have enough to put up with, so no more headlines which would make you pop- they replaced it with more advertisements. There is an ad everywhere, so much so that find the news might turn into a game at old age homes(hmm…more specifically the parliament).

There is this newspaper which apparently is supposed to make you clever, smart and ready for your pre-marriage interview with your future Father-in-law, but I hear it is now riddled with grammatical mistakes much like Chennai roads were riddled with cows a few years back. It has these wonderful tabloids as well, made of tissue paper and nothing less trying to appeal to the next gen. with paid write ups and not paid but with love articles, sometimes definite but mostly indefinite.

Then there are these other papers, which one sees in waiting rooms and in some people’s houses(I will not name you, don’t worry). For-owing-the-damned-brains-sake, what the hell do they think? Their philosophy seems to be what can’t be made stupider cannot be made stupidest. Freaking-humanity’s-sake can you people actually writing something sensible already?

You see papers were supposed to be proactive. They took on governments, companies and government companies and politicians and people with gold teeth because they believed in themselves and something else which they thought was worth it. Now, they seem to have retired and taken a back seat to these weirdo channels which dear-oh-dear live telecast bomb attacks!

So where the hell does one get news from? The internet. The irony is that it still is the newspaper and TV people who mostly share this news. They tweet because they all own smartphones and they pretend to be clever. What wrong can you go in hundred and forty characters anyway?  In between apparently asking questions and apparently being all radical by having pony tails, they try to say a couple of smart things a day but end up saying stupider things. What follows is…

P.S:- Why would any paper carry an advertisement as cover? Or should we just pay a minute’s silence as the paper might be the last ever? *sips filter coffee*

Early mornings and dreams

October 10, 2012 § 2 Comments

The thing about mornings is that you either hate them or love them- unless you sleep through them, which considering how much of humanity is up and screaming and honking away, seems the best way to deal with early mornings.

I love early mornings to begin with peace and quiet and internet. Don’t get me wrong- I would love not to have mornings, but as things stand I love my mornings to be quiet. A good morning is one when where no one attempts to talk to me. Not because people always have annoying things to say or yell about, but because I love to savour dreams.

You see the dreams are more important than coffee. You can savour the latter at any point of the day, provided you like coffee, but dreams- well the morning ones are special. Day dreams are cool- but they aren’t as well planned, laid and thought out as a dream which has run all night long.

Of course, for this to happen, one needs to remember the dream first. A sizable task, considering that dreams don’t make enough sense and the natural tendency is to forget them. But what’s important is to have at least a small known bit to which one can  add  bits of conscious, thoughtful paragraph or a  stanza to, as you go.

It is like completing a story. It just got to be finished. You might not like it all that much, but it is still that wonderful feeling when the last word is typed out in your computer at One-AM in the morning. Because, a story is a story and has to be completed. The devil may not dip you in hot oil and fry you like potatoes, but somebody is not going to feel good about it- you.

So now I have this dream which has to be completed, and the moments after I see the light fall through the window making weird patterns on the floor is dedicated to this. I get out of a bed which surely is at least a 150 years old, rosewood no less with intricate carvings and all that and switch of the alarm. I stumble into the bathroom and pick up that little thing whose purpose has been misunderstood for long- the toothbrush.

The toothbrush is the most magical of devices. It is like a pen in some ways, it helps this dream which has got to be completed. As the standard tasks section of the brain carries out the mundane task of getting your mouth in a presentable state, hopefully, the toothbrush swirls and turns writing out the last bits of this dream.

As the brush goes between gaps, the nitty-gritty of the latest fantasy get fitted out. It is toning down those stark images to make a wonderful balanced sense- like turning the Veyron into a Ferrari or Hemingway’s landscape into that creepy house at the street corner into which everyone throws garbage- in essence it is adding that bit of alive day-to-day to get that right sort of flavor.

Dreams are apparently a mish-mash of what we want, really want. And that’s the coolest thing about them- they show how cool you actually are, how awesome the way you think is- they are a customized story which you have built with your own damned sense!

The toothbrush completes these dreams, but to start out, you need to be inspired- I do not mean watching videos of your favorite actor before going to bed, but you know, build out these awesome thoughts, think awesome stuff- of the impossible, of nothing mundane- at least turning everyday things in the world sentient and preferable not as something out of someone else’s science fiction.

All those guys with big beards and spectacles(not Dumbledore) , they keep telling you to be inspired and do yoga and whatever, but what you do need to do is, stay inspired with new ideas. You know, you could have the most boring life, like working in the inspections department but never the less learn from the security guards- they could whine and sit in one place all day, but they joke about, learn about others lives and build out these awesome stories for themselves(or so I think).

Always remember to go to bed feeling all positive, read Calvin and Hobbes if nothing because you do not want to be writing your own death over and over again. It is fun for a couple of times but after a while, you just get bored, start killing your dreams and the horror- you might start snoring!

Happy dreaming!

A country of communities and not individuals

August 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

Our country lost the plot when it stopped being made of individuals but of communities.

As a country, as a people, we have lost the plot. Because we no longer are a people, we have become various peoples. It is no more a disturbing trend, but a reality- wherever one goes, your communal identity is more important than your individual identity- people are comfortable judging you based on your religion, your caste, your language etc than what you are as an individual.

Not that it doesn’t exist everywhere, but we are taking this too seriously. You do not have a choice of what you represent. One needs to fall into the stereotype, if for nothing else but simply to feel secure. You aren’t an individual any more but a community. A person who has a group to back him, a person who is entitled to certain rights and denied certain things because she’s from a particular group. You are a mascot whether you choose to be or not.

A key marker for a good society is that law should treat a person as an individual. The second this fails we are fast heading to anarchy, rules set by different groups of different interests trying to survive over one another. The governments over the years have yielded to sectarian needs and in it lies over looking many individuals who have caused much social harm. By not bringing to justice but worse still prodding them on the role of national leaders and making them parliamentarians, we have  created a line of reason prompting people to seek security by belonging to sectarian groups.

Might has become right because we no longer believe our governments,  legal systems or the people – every issue has a communal tone to it, everyone is a potential rapist or an exploiter at best. Is there a way back?

A Tableau

July 9, 2012 § 3 Comments

The dreary hot days of  summer afternoons, with nothing much to remember by, except the tales of a great grandfather whose photo hung unnoticed on top of the kitchen door. The days where you drew cars racing through colourful hills and sunsets, coniferous trees  and exotic lakes, wishing for those vistas of freedom, blocked by grill doors of civilized fear.

The memory is a lamp made of frail glass, like that sold on a pushcart during the days of habitual powercuts. Games of hide and seek with people who no longer are around; charades which linger around in the recesses of your mind like the candle lit shadows which seemed ever present.

Of a swing, which has hung where it has for generations. The wild days of dauntless fury it has seen, holding your ambition, propelled by hands of love, and words of encouragement which turned you into what you are today. The simmering patterns of sunlight, dutifully falling everyday, till an apartment grew out of an old house.

A landscape festooned; A swing, which tends to the present, yearning for that story; Replaying all those tears, laughter and diffidence like the song your mother sang to put you to sleep.

A precious grasp of knowledge, half hidden in ignorance and half in childish hubris, now stares at you, frail and old, like those hands which carried you to look at the trains. As if the roads, lined with cars are a noir, for they remind you of some days which were better, some which were worse but all equally hazy, all mixed with elation and rebellion.

The duress of an archaic system pressed itself all around you, yet innocent you built ships and castles and planes, crossing seas and bombing nations with your imagination,  bridges arranged with marble lights, hoping to find the meaning of distance in a map.

Your dreams, let loose; You see a chance in everything, yet opportunities were as biased as the coin in your magic kit. Those glasses, which you wore as you raced to school on a fifty cc two-wheeler, are now nowhere to be seen; much like the suppressed dreams lost in reality; much like the paper boat sinking in the rain; much like the paper planes flying across the class room and landing on a despotic girl’s head; much like your favorite green and maroon pencil sharpener gifted by an aunt abroad being taken away by a heartless teacher, hoping to reprimand you for a mistake of another, whom you cannot remember.

Prayers told with half opened eyes, confused veneration- in fear, untamed by rote, by repetition into belief. The smell of coffee and the rain, folded together like the supplement into the newspaper. Chagrined balls of despair, turning to bowl you over and you remind yourself that you have a long way to turn fifteen.

Like a piece of paper with a word slipping out of a dictionary. The wonderful days, rush back to you, like your neighbour’s pet dog. And like the dog which was greeted with chains, you pick it up and shove it back into the page.

Shutting it tight

October 5, 2011 § 3 Comments

There is the point of indifference. I seem to keep reaching it only to feel the pinch again. There are times when tomorrow is already here. That feeling that it is inevitable that I have to go through my day. I crib a lot on twitter, but I am not sure if it is heart-felt any more. Probably a knee jerk reaction to everything that is happening, a vent.

I still haven’t got the hang of this friendship thing. At one moment a person is nice and smiling at you. The next moment they act like a stranger. It is confusing. And these aren’t random people you get to know on the web, these are ‘real people’. Going through random quotes on friendship isn’t going to help. There is no point really, it seems tiring to talk to people. I used to talk a lot. Now days, I have stopped talking to people all that much. A random conversation with a stranger on a train is fine but talking to ‘acquaintance’ isn’t worth it anymore.

I am afraid to talk about ‘me’. Talking about what I do is fine but I am not too sure if I can talk about myself to anyone. You think someone has become a friend and has risen beyond seeing you as weak when you talk about problems but it isn’t so. Even with people who you have known for most of your life. This probably is growing up- one needs to shut oneself in a tight shell.

It is remarkable how one has to learn not to be offended, as well. My standards for the world have almost reached 0 but not quite. Still, day by day my expectations keep falling(much like the stock markets now). Twitter helps me retain my sanity, still there are times I wonder what is the purpose of the whole site.

People may come, people may go but I go on forever.

I am not a book review bot

September 18, 2011 § 4 Comments

Howdy world! I have not turned into a book review writing bot. Blame it all on twitter! I never have the motivation to write a post any more. The blog was once upon a time where after much deliberation, I would write a clearly worded rant. But now of course, the little blue bird and 140 characters rule my life(addiction, you see).

There are a number of factors, which have led to this post. The cherry on top of the black-forest of course is that I met Brainstuck and The Alchemist. Over come with nostalgia and admiration(it was a Harry meets Dumbledore again moment), the little (kid) dinosaur decided that it was time to make an appearance again(much like a renegade school boy, I used to be).

Of course, what exactly I am supposed to write fails me. If only there was a Mississippi(yay! I got the spelling correct for the first time ever!) I would be a Huck Finn,  rescuing a Tom from the clutches of authority and helping him to escape North. As it stands, I am lost in a world of monkeys on typewriter, forever writing the script of you-know-who knows what.

Life, has turned, back flipped, somersaulted and even spun around in a Romanov influenced roulette before being dipped in the spirits of confused responsibility. One thing that hasn’t changed though is that I am still made of the same skin and blood and brains, unscathed by numbers, laws, boredom, accidents and gravity. The world as a maitre patisserie would say is like the sponge layer.

One of the reasons of abandoning ‘blog posts’ probably was that it was the vogue. But the nouveau riche of twitter have with some panache revived the Prime with All Spark-esque memes. And when a silly girl’s post became an overnight sensation much like a boy who think he can sing, it was time to contemplate a return to the not so dark art of writing blog posts.

Blogposts have gained social acceptance faster than Galileo did but twitter has gained social prominence faster than your great granddad who got a OBE did. And prominence is much more tempting than acceptance especially since it is the only way to sate your ego after seeing a 100 million likes on that stupid status update. Nevertheless, a blog is a blog is a blog. A space where your everyday trash can become priceless junk in the future.

Thus I return to being a blogger from a reviewing bot. If I fail to write a post a week feel free to fast and start a campaign on twitter. I shall without fail consider mentioning your efforts.

Until then, so long and lots of Plationic love, yours truly, V.

It hurt no more

June 14, 2011 § 6 Comments

He stood still, his gaze transfixed at what would cause his end. It possessed not the vulgar slur of a rustic goon, nor did it curl its tongue in chaste decree. It stared back at him, just the way he did.

But there was fear in his eyes, whereas it had courage. You could tell it could kill. It could destroy anything, even a rainbow, if it wanted to. To him, it was a relief to meet something with the zeal and vigour it possessed. There would be nothing wrong in meeting his end at the hands of one so potent.

He couldn’t go down without a fight though. It was his instinct- to fight, to bite, to scream, to mock, to reject venomously anything and everything. Some people are socially conditioned to belong, others to not belong- that is their way of belonging.

Not every creature can appreciate the beauty, the melancholy innate in each step, each vista. The allegro, played by the horns and swearing of mimicking mouths and mass produced tyres, leads into a slow grave, slowly mounting sand , ever certainly covering the eyes with tears of uncertain depressing joy and leaves the mind dense and lost in the vile vogue of ever present perspiration.

He was that mind, caught in this jungle of penury between deserts of plenty. The belief had petered away, like dripping ice cream with more water than milk. The faith had petered away, like camphor sold in packets in front of temples. There was only hope- he hung onto it dear with enough gratitude, hopelessly.

Now the mind stood, face to face, bare and just born, unstable, asphyxiating and waited for the first move. It will end tonight, it was as sure as the sun would rise. There is no reason to reason, just to fight and let it end. There might be a final kiss, he was hopeful.

The room was cold and  flooded by a street light. There were shadows, ever so eager to throw a stolen punch or to back a falling creature. But they stood there, still, somber, both waiting for the inevitable.

There were no more appointments, no ice to be stopped from melting or money to be dealt evenly among parvenu founders. There was nothing to do, except stare at each other and wait expectantly.

Slowly he felt mesmerized. He felt enchanted. He heard words and dreamt of broken toys, sea sand and see-saw. He swayed in misplaced hope to the curly locks of some girl. He feel down and stretched, he lay with hands open and a content smile, waiting for some knife or hands to end it.

But there was nothing.

The sound of a passing car woke him up. The light ricocheted of the mirror and fell on his face. He felt sad- all over again. But it hurt no more.

OVERLAND by MARK STEPHEN LEVY(book review)

May 27, 2011 § 2 Comments

Engaging, entertaining and thrilling.

Sometimes all you expect out of a book is to have fun reading it. You want it to pulsate, hold your attention, make sense and have an element of surprise- this book has it all.

On the last day of med school exam, Danny Benson receives a letter from his fiancée Heather. The girl he wants to marry informs him that the engagement is off. Danny isn’t satisfied and your home bird sets off on an adventure to find Heather. He takes the Magic Bus and though he finds his fiancée, he suddenly is caught in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and loses her again. Helping treat the injured in a make shift hospital, he discovers true love in the form of Emily- the girl he met during a childhood trip to Ireland.

The writing is simple and easy to read. Initially I expected the book to deal in detail with each and every destination the Magic Bus stopped at, i.e. more like a travel book(the blurb does say the author was inspired by his travels), but the book doesn’t. It is fast paced thriller.

The book is tightly packed and at no time do you feel that the author has taken liberty to make it easy(or difficult) for the protagonist- the story progresses naturally. Initially you get the impression of passing through too many places rather too quickly, which we do. The book first takes us to London and from there we transverse across Europe, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan and the book concludes rather romantically and fate-slapped in Kathmandu.

The characters are easy to understand and relate to. The book does not seem boring or a drag at any point. You might have guessed the ending, but it is still exciting. You can see where the inspiration from traveling comes in. Unlike other authors, Levy does not try to paint the Orient in bright romantic hues, he stays grounded.

There is also a parallel story running along, which seems to peter out, but on the whole it is a very good read. A paperback which you can read while traveling(took me about a couple of hours to finish it), it is worth it. There are enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and immersed. I just wish the book had a better cover.

Rating:- 7/10

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