HICKORY DICKORY SHOCK by SUNDIP GORAI(book review)

March 19, 2011 § 5 Comments

HICKORY DICKORY SHOCK

Threatens to takeoff but keeps taxing along.

“The Tale Of Techies” pronounces the book cover,the techies are there alright, but there isn’t enough about  them. A rather interesting starting and you are curious, but sadly, the book doesn’t turn into what might have been a really fun, gripping, entertaining and interesting story. The problem is while the story is good and the author is clever(what with Kamasutra cipher, Klondike etc) the book isn’t ‘tight’ enough, just when you except to be in awe and be captivated, it just fizzes out.

The story revolves around LoRD, a software which once finished will save SHIVAN computers from the hole it has gotten into(looks like Mr.Gorai has done research on the Satyam scandal) but a corporate espionage, with stops them from doing so or does it? A techie sees a conversation between a Hickory and a Dickory discussing this(er..I never got the shock part though) and then suddenly your beer sipping techie, turns into a Holmes.

The characters seem undecided. There are times when the lead character seems frail, especially with a name like 210, you just can’t think of him as a Techie and someone who would know all about Indian history and solve a case like Holmes. If you are moving away from stereotypes, it is necessary to build the characters and make them identifiable. While a mom who almost made it to the Kabbadi team for the ’82 Asian games is different, I was still stuck with a fat lady in my head, who towards the end out runs a couple of goons.

As said above, the book does threaten to excite you, but it lets you down, exactly at the moment you expect it to take off. As someone who has read a lot of mystery novels, it was just too easy to guess. On the positive side, there are many interesting elements and concepts which the author calls upon. If it had been better ‘packed’, it might have fulfilled its true potential.

There are a few glaring errors(Alphabets, really? ), which seems to suggest the editors haven’t really gone though the motions properly – probably another reason why the story leaves you wanting.

A pretty decent read, not boring or terrible, just not exciting and fun enough. I have to admit, I was looking forward to reading this book on “The Tale Of Techies”. Overall, it just lacks that bit more to get you excited. Writing paperbacks isn’t easy, specially when there are millions of them out there. Mr.Gorai has lots of potential as a writer, I am sure he will get it right in his next book.

Rating:-5/10.

P.S:- These are just my views. The book has also got a lot of positive feedbacks and reviews, you can find them at the author’s website.

FATE, FRAUD AND A FRIDAY WEDDING by BHAVNA RAI(book review)

February 23, 2011 § 6 Comments

FATE,FRAUD AND A FRIDAY WEDDING by BHAVNA RAI

Fast, exciting and thrilling!

The book begins with a flurry of activities, skipping across various places both home and abroad confusing, but nevertheless exciting. We dwell into the lives of various people and we reach the climax at the wedding. The book gives us what it promises Fate, Fraud And A Friday Wedding.

One thing I liked about the book was the simplicity. The  demography chosen is what we are familiar with Higher middle class/Rich Indians. The author has avoided long descriptions and tells the story- and pretty well at that. The beginning was slightly nebulous and confusing, but this adds to the excitement and has you wondering. The chain of events take shape pretty well, albeit the chapter where everything merges, seems badly edited(not badly written the editors could have given better spacing and had demarcations when shifting from one person/scene to another).

The style is simple and the voice suits the characters. There are times when you can feel the tension and sympathies with the characters. The book flows without any inhibition and does not meander.

A thriller which is thrilling. A book which I would recommend, if you want something light and entertaining to read, probably when on the move.

Rating:- 6/10. There are places where I feel the editing could have been better. I read The White Tiger before this book and  this book was surely more engaging(as is this book).

P.S:- The author’s website.

Thinking aloud

February 14, 2011 § 4 Comments

Congratulations to Egypt and her people. To stand up without ammunitions, with only peace, hope and belief as their weapons, they have achieved something which many of us had written off as impossible.

Like rest of the world, I am just another sympathizer. Fair enough, because it did not happen close to my home or in my country. But when people tweet and retweet, when they post updates on facebook and write about in their blogs, I wonder, why don’t we have the guts to stand up.

Each and every day, I come across stories of horror fueled by corruption and spread by a supposed invincibility. We all know. Most of us dismiss as ‘normal’ and conclude ‘what can I do’. But when people can say things on twitter, when many Indians can waste time on facebook liking pages about TV shows and trying to become tycoons and millionaire farmers, why can’t we stand up? Why can’t we make the buffoons realize that we will not tolerate it.

I am not talking about the poor. I am not talking about those people, who we think do not exist. I am talking about you and me, who are ready enough to bribe a police man when caught, who are ready enough to curse the same police man and at the same time sympathize with him. I am talking about us hypocrites.

We live in a pseudo-democracy. We are in times when newspapers are willing to accept money for publishing articles, when news channels no more report but propagate, when you no more know what is reality.

All of us,know about a particular man who was behind the whole Commonwealth games and what he did. We tweeted, we created facebook pages, but why weren’t we able to do anything about it? Because we accepted it as right. Right of that class of this country to steal and do whatever they want. We are sadly, happy enough to sit in our A/C rooms and cabins and let things pass. We are couch/recliner rebels. We dare not do anything about it- for our rights begin and end with being able to talk about something.

We are expected to believe that one man can steal unbelievable amounts of money. We are willing to let ourselves be divided in every way possible, without doing anything about it. We are willing to accept that it is alright for traffic to be blocked for hours for one person to go.

A certain Sen, can be put behind bars, without 99% of the country having heard about the case. And the media shall show you an actor’s wedding even when there are floods or droughts in another part of the country.

We are in a free country. But every choice has a cost- the cost of choosing to stand up for our rights is increasing even as we brush aside everything as ‘normal’ and go on with it. We cannot support our neighbours when they are pressured by certain people, we cannot fight for those people whose lands are stolen, we cannot even be without paying for a college seat.

It is depressing to think about these things. The choices we have are- a) take the ‘wheel of the bus , b) get out of the bus , c) show support to someone who is willing to take the ‘wheel. Most of us can’t drive a two-wheeler properly, so let alone a bus. We cannot get out of the bus, simply because we are in the middle of a jungle and do not know where to go. But if someone is willing to take the ‘wheel, why don’t you show support?

We do need someone to take the ‘wheel. Unfortunately, to appeal to the masses, to garner support from the educated Indians who work in big offices, you need a lot more than them merely having faced the blunt of the various negative forces. They are like fishes, who refuse to believe that a bigger pond is just a jump away today. Tomorrow our pond is going to become so small, that we are going to die here.

To the usual readers of this blog, these things I say are nothing new. I ask myself what have I done? Nothing. I am just another 19-year-old who refuses to grow up – I still believe in those good things which people said when I was a kid. I wish I can do something. But I have come to realize that that something should be big enough to not fall. It will be hard work, to build this force, brick by brick, but I am willing to do it. What is in my head, stays in my head, till then.

The above might be just to convince myself that I am not turning a blind eye to the things that bother me, but I am hoping that isn’t the case. Youth Unite was an experience. I saw how people react when posed with even a simple thing like writing about what they think on various issues. I will continue to have hope and believe in what I believe.

End of rant. Thank you for reading.

This and that

February 8, 2011 § 14 Comments

Well the results are out and I have cleared Intermediate. Whines, champ-pains anyone? The sky did not turn a dark yellow, dirty medicine colour, neither did thunder roll over Parangi Malai(St.Thomas Mt.), but as I sat trying there refreshing the mobile page furiously, I did get my results with as much pomp and gusto as Humpty Dumpty had during the great fall.

Of course, no one knows why eggs sit on walls, or why companies have firewalls. And what is with firewalls anyway? The term is very misleading in the Indian context. Didn’t Sita do the agnipariksha to prove that Ravana didn’t touch her(if only 298 existed then-I googled that btw.). Doesn’t that mean, we have to break through and prove ourselves? Mythology my friend shouldn’t only be in spirits or Bunsen burners, it should come in LPG cylinders, with cycle brand agarbati.

Anyway, I hope I don’t need to write any exams for another 2 years. Hope because I may end up being forced to join some other stupid course 😐

My friend’s play ‘A Play About Death’ is happening in March. If you are in Chennai, keep track of their FB page to know more. Or well, I will write about it soon enough 🙂

A very short post, yes, but well see you soon.

1984 by GEORGE ORWELL(book review)

February 2, 2011 § 11 Comments

 

1984

 

 

Terrifying, Horrific, Brutal and almost real!

Winston Smith is a rebel- but then to even think about doing anything against the party is a crime- thoughtcrime. Yet, he dares to step out of line and even starts a diary! He meets a girl- Julia and they fall in love- again something which would get them killed or worse. In the end they do get caught and are put through horrifying torture. The purpose as O’Brien says is not to merely kill the rebels, but to make them accept and love the party and Big Brother before they are finally shot.

The idea of Big Brother(the iconic leader) is based on Joseph Stalin. But unlike the latter, we do not know if he is a living person. Yet, Big Brother is everywhere, he listens to everything to you say, he watches everything you do(somewhat like God?). The world is constantly at war and though the statistics say otherwise, people’s ration are decreased almost every week. There are four ministries which rule Oceania(the world has three super powers- Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia), i.e. Ministry of Love, Ministry of Peace, Ministry of Truth and Ministry of Plenty, which deal with controlling people though constant monitoring and torture, war,  falsification and propaganda and controlling rations respectively.

You can feel a sense of despair through out the book, not only is it palpable, it starts affecting you. the arguments and ideas are driven through with pain and anguish- what if the world turns out to be like this? Or are we really heading to a world like this? Maybe not, hopefully.

The book flows much like a saw does through wood, slicing and making you question the motives of the world you live in. While it may seem the author is nihilistic- there is enough of salt in there to see what he sees. If in the last 60 or so years(since the book was written), the world hasn’t moved one bit of the knife-edge in terms of falling into a world of hatred and war, then surely there is something we need to think about.

Even in an age of democracy- you can’t but help draw parallels to the present day situation. The picture is no way pretty. In the end you are left with a damning silence, wondering what is reality. The characters are almost alive, in fact you believe they are real. You live every second of the book and know through out what awaits you. It doesn’t matter, what you know, all that matters is what ‘they’ think you have to know. 2+2=5.

A must read book, but be prepared to answer questions which you never thought you would ask yourself. There is no happy ending- there is nothing that makes you smile anywhere in the book. Big Brother is watching you.

rating:-10/10

Sometimes Witty, Sometimes Vetti

January 13, 2011 § 7 Comments

Life is moving so fast that I can walk faster than a car. A car stuck in a traffic jam in T Nagar. But every speeding human, has a ticket to somewhere and mine it seems is to Kerala. Finally a place where my name will be home! The chutzpah of it all. This will be the first time in my life, I will be away from home for 10 days. I am terribly excited and fired up to count the assets before I see them.

Fortunately this time, it is a job which is less tiring. I shall admire the sea,the  nari(wolf? or naari=women?) and the scenery and of course curse the coconut trees that block my view every now and then. That is gross stereotyping of course, but well, I am typing this right now.

I have in a way run out ideas for blog posts. Once upon a time, that would have been a whole post by itself, but that was once upon a time. This week has been pretty busy. Went to one of those big corporates with lots and lots of cubicles and people who kept saying “I don’t have access”. Well at least they all can excel. Word. Power to point out a bad font.

I want to write more stories. So planning to post a story a week. The first two were inspired by Chennai. Do read them, if you haven’t already. And if you have, hope you liked them.

Now that my vetti-time is over and I have run of anything witty. Tata!

The Artist

January 9, 2011 § 3 Comments

She sat on a wooden stool next to a stub. Her hand moved over the cavernous canvas, freely sketching a parapraxical tree.

A thick, short trunk which called upon an infinite foliage. The olive melt into the bright green- an iridescent plaque of herself to be hung on a sour cream wall of a monstrous mansion. Her passions tempered into a 30 inch hypotenuse, the diagonal to the quenching quadrilateral.

Behind her a seemingly infinite jungle made of imported trees, with eyes prying and mice hiding from venomous snake in rat holes – a montage to the erogeneity of the city. In front of her a perfect boulevard, leading to a monumental arch, commemorating the thesauri of a linguist state.

Yet, neither the painted jungle nor the built arches inspired her. The tree which once belonged there and had cast its shadow to the dusty traveller and the hopeless migrant, was now a marginal stub- cut and left to grow mushrooms, moved her enough to empathies and create.

She sat there, dreamily, unaware of the snide sarees and disgruntled dothis- the gossip mongers and jinn eyed obnoxious self-professed moralists, who knew none better than to judge. Her world moved faster than the time it took the sweat to trickle down from her forehead to her brows. She was in a canopy of dreams and azure blues, beyond the jaded varnish of a painted plants and polythene leaves.

On the stub, stood her paints, strew around and left a mark or two of colours on the once magnificent Banyan. The clock milled along second by second, exasperated, waiting for the artist to reach the poignant final stroke, so that it could stop itself and look at the world for a moment. The Janusian winds urged the dead leaves to rustle a bit more on the cobbled paths and moved the fountains to spray drops on to her enchanting face.

Her hands moved faster than the dissonant traffic, that screamed away past the red lights into junctions of copping helmets. Her face gleamed brighter than the setting sun, the awakening neon lights and the impending moonlight. As the day set into the inevitable night, a sudden chill thrust itself on the painted tree and the paint flowed no more.

In desperation, he searched for her and her work, but none was around. Neither a stub, nor a stool. All that remained were bright lights of the newly laid pathway and flowers with name boards. The trees swayed silently, absorbing the din, the jinn and malign.

As he came to his senses, he realized that it was a dream. A young girl with her mother walked by- there was a book in her hand whose cover he recognized.

Sometimes all it takes is a leap to create faith

January 2, 2011 § 4 Comments

He stood at the balcony- he was a score stories high.

He watched as the evening sun dealt its oblique rays on to the transgressed shore. The waves crashed in hope to win back the mile they had lost to the thick boulders of the city. Under the heavy cloud of the city’s spirit and pollution, the panorama was breath taking, literally.

He was long used to the choke and wicked whispers of this city built by Britannia and concrete. The bridges that seemed to connect, also cut through the arteries and brought to an end the tracks left by the last generation. Anachronistic cenotaphs to iconoclasts and sensationalists, served to remind anyone who would look- the origins of the parimutuel progress of the city’s neighbourhoods.

Today, he stood on the balcony with a railing painted black and potted plants hanging in proportional chains looking at the sunset, waiting for the right moment, to do what he wanted to do.

The sparrows, parrots and crows, flew in tight groups keeping shape, towards their distant homes, cemented into the souls of every growing area. The decadent heart, was slowly being to be troubled by the clandestine wheels, which clogged the cycles and caused the tired black cells to curse and honk their way to a place of hopeful quite and peace.

The city with its sundering cacophony was a furlong away from where he was- caught in the mesmerising magic of the sunset. The ravenous sun, which scorched hard on works and toils, was now bidding its adieu for a few hours. It first dipped behind the miranda glasses of an assurance company- he moved a couple steps and could see it again. It then hid behind the veils of a corporate- he again moved.

The sun now hung, on a few yards of open horizon, between the corporate and a newspaper company. It pressed on now, a few yards from the translucent waters of the sea. By now he was at the end of the balcony. To get a better view he climbed over the spiky railing and stood confident on the edge.

A crowd gathered below- reporters hoped to scavenge a scandal,  police to ponder a rescue and others out of abject curiosity. He saw the finally minuscule crimson dive- he jumped.

As the crowd rushed fast towards him, he heard them scream and could feel the din. He was a star- he was a son of the sun. When they noticed who he was, the crowd was stupefied and a wail hung over.

The implications- the heir to the horizon of bridges had leapt over a rail! The parks laden with waste newspapers, airport with incomplete hangers! The shock. Who would bear the riots and rage of the malevolent men?

But their worst fears failed to come alive. He hung on from a shock cord. The sun after all never dies- it sets, only to returns to arise and awake.

The crowd noticed he wasn’t who they supposed. Neither was he a bud with two leaves – he was a someone, who they never knew was there.

Sometimes all it takes is a leap to create faith.

All that bakes in not cake

December 25, 2010 § 4 Comments

Quite obvious, but that sounded like a good title.

Hope you all are jingling along, making merry and drinking wine. Chennai is way cooler than it is supposed to be. Pun intended. The city has over the years evolved, built bridges and even threaten have free wifi. Of course, the pot holes, remain firmly potted and the auto drivers still drive you mad in every possible way.

But not for a guy who has mastered the art of bargaining with the auto drivers and driving on Chennai roads. I have formulae for both. While I can’t give you the formula for haggling with the drivers(planning to a Ph.D on it, someday), the secret to driving is simple, if I hit you straight up/behind my mistake. If you hit me, your mistake. The exception of course are the two wheelers, who try to ride through the car. It is their mistake most of the time.

As I was saying, the city has become way cooler. From the times of Bhagyaraj dance it has come to women coming to sabhas in jeans. So cool ya! Amethyst is moving, KFI’s lease I heard has expired and they even built a very super-dooper park and called it semmozhi poonga.

They even replaced the street lights! That made feel really melancholic and I wrote this poem. You better say it is nice or I won’t talk to you 😛

But I have started to take things more lightly. After all why bother about anything? The world is as it is meant to be, let it be. Some people are born stupid while the rest become stupid.

That again sounds like a very deep and philosophical statement and let it remain like that. It probably could be true, but depends on your sample size.

There seem to be a lot of celebrities around me. Well, at least people who are either all busy-busy or act busy-busy. I too act busy-busy. I’m very busy dude!!!

One of friends has written a play. Coming out in Feb, do watch it. Everyone seems to be an author. And what’s more they are all either published or getting published. I too have started writing something. But as usual I’m lazy. Rather it is just that I don’t like what I’m writing after a while and chuck it. Monkey-Donkey only.

Had plans to go to Bangalore or Kodai. Nowhere. Everything seems pointless anyway. What is the big deal, anyway?

Watched The Tourist. Pointless movie. Easily predictable. But watch it anyway, you will like it.

Anyway once again, Merry Christmas and thanks for all the wine.

Onions please, thank you

December 21, 2010 § 7 Comments

So I broke up today- I gave up my domain.

I probably should feel dejected, but we did agree to just try. I was in love, but hey, we weren’t going anywhere. The same old, same old- nobody cared about us really. That was the saddest part. One part of  ‘going out‘  is others going “awww…” or whatever, I think. But considering I have never ‘gone out’, I am most probably wrong.

The whole leg and almost died story sells no more. That’s the problem of living in a society which is a slave to Gates. I passed that spot today- the hole is still open. Well time to invite Tiger Woods or wait, Booooo Weekly or Yearning Elfs or whoever to come and play on our roads.

I’m planning to gift a kilo of onion to everyone on new year, after all people like expensive gifts, right? I am extremely bored right now. Went to a slam poetry competition. Fad wonly. What’s with love poetry anyway? Take a hike. There is this Gandalf/ evil twin of Dumbledore/ future Ramdev white granddad who teaches gay studies in some university- he told people to grow up and not be illiterate. Apparently we are to try to emulate a certain Rushdie, is what I surmised. Stupid fellow.

The event on the whole was crappy. Love poem after love poem – depressing. Everyone seems to be in love. Pheromones overload. Am the only one who seems to be stuck with Platonic love?  Think I should move on to Limerence now.

One thing which I love is the way wp.calm makes me write nonsense. I thought, people would read my blog even when I move to self-hosted(and click on ads?) but hey, I was wrong. Guess this whole thing was a mistake. WTH! Who cares, eat an onion.

I am reading Douglas Adams. Genius! he gives me hope- there is a chance for crazy people like me to do something worthwhile and become rich. Rather rich enough. That enough is probably not 42, though(see am making references, bah!).

Kweezzzing, is another nice obsession. You can show off ya! Like big time ya! lol..heheheheahahahaha…whatever. Too many people with weird fake accents.

Everything is boring. Mutual indifference or well at least I’m trying to keep up my part of the bargain. Everything is depressing. Blah! I don’t trust anyone or anything. All liars and hypocrites. I shall add myself to the list- I want to blend in or whatever. This is hopeless really, trying to write.

Whatever…Alium Cepa! yo!

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