Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Unaccustomed Earth

I had avoided this book since it is a collection of stories. But last week its review in 'Femina' got me intrigued. I was hooked. This is the best collection of short stories I have read in a long.. long.. time. I could identify a little with every story. Each story sucks you in till you are part of it.
A thumbs up!!!

The Kapoors

This book is a brief biography of the Kapoor family. I prefer biographies to autobiographies. I doubt if anyone will put the unvarnished truth about their life in a book for everyone to read.
The book is good and does justice to the Kapoor family... it is unbiased mixing the good with the bad.
I got to know a lot of new things:
  • Raj Kapoor had an affair with Nargis even though he was married. She left him and married Sunil Dutt secretly 'coz she felt side tracked in his films and his life.
  • All Kapoors have a drinking problem
  • Neetu Singh worked in films since the age of three. She was probably given drugs by her mother to make her mature faster (just like it was done to Hansika Motwani)
  • When Rishi Kapoor's career started its descent he would get drunk and beat up Neetu Singh. She turned to her mother-in-law for help who turned a blind eye. She had even approached the cops.
  • Babita and Randhir Kapoor are separated but not divorced.
  • All Kapoor men except Shashi Kapoor are famous for having extra-marital affairs
These people are beautiful, rich, famous. It is un-nerving to read that they are no different from common people... they go through the same... maybe even worse.
Worth a read!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009


I had read somewhere that this book is the next 'Harry Potter' not 'coz of identical stories but due to its popularity. Curious, I picked up the book. The cover says:
"About three things I was absolutely positive.
First, Edward was a vampire.
Second, there was a part of him- and I didn't know how dormant that part might be- that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him"
Thats the gist of the story.
It is a kiddy book... not too bad... not too great but original.
Hopefully, the movie (based on this book) is better. I will try to get my hands on the CD.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Driving is fun

Hey... I was feeling too lazy to blog since I was playing Scrabble with KC but now he has gone for din-din.
I remembered what I wanted to talk about.
Last week in my driving classes (I had the last class today) the instructor was being over-protective. He was operating the controls which pissed me off. I scolded him; "If you keep doing that, how will I get the confidence to drive my car?" He didn't bother me too much after that. At night Rohan called and asked me to pick him up from his house so we could go for a drive. I was quite nervous... this was the first time I was driving alone. I managed fine.
I drove the car to the driving classes alone again today. Yoohoo!!!
Driving involves a lot of concentration specially in Rajkot... people drive anywhere... I mean anywhere... there are no signals... no traffic sense... nothing. It is total chaos. I guess, if I can drive here... I can drive anywhere.
Instead of cursing people left right and centre (like most drivers) I just imagine thought bubbles floating around my head.
For example,
If a man is crossing the road at an extremely slow place... the thought bubble displays whats on his mind; "Hey lady... look at my sexy butt... want a piece of that?"
A cyclist is driving in the middle of the road; it reads; "I am the King... and I will not move no matter how much you honk. Take that!!!"
A man pushing a hand cart and not letting me pass through, it reads; "I am faster than you... you drive at 20km/hr... I push at 30... hehehehehe"

Driving is fun but I don't get to enjoy the sites around me since my eyes have to be on the road. What a bummer!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Best cities to live in

I am bugged... I am so bugged... don't ask why. I am a little tensed... not just about month end closing but some other things as well. I badly need a vacation but there is no hope of that for the next 2-3 months.

There is a lot I want to blog about... let me remember what it is.

In Business Today there is an interesting article where cities in India have been ranked.

Best cities to work:
  1. Gurgaon
  2. Noida
  3. Chandigarh
  4. Surat
  5. Bangalore
  6. Chennai
  7. Hyderabad
  8. Mumbai
  9. Pune
  10. Delhi
The tier 2 cities are higher than the metros. In Gurgaon, the work places are damn good... the best in the country but everything else pretty much sucks. Noida is very very unsafe. I have seen a rich spoilt brat get out of his car and beat up a rickshaw-wala in the middle of the road while people watched in the middle of the day. Surat??? Really??? I expected Pune to rank higher.

Best cities to play in (Life after work):
  1. Chandigarh
  2. Chennai
  3. Ahmedabad
  4. Kochi
  5. Kolkata
  6. Vadodara
  7. Mumbai
  8. Nagpur
  9. Pune
  10. Hyderabad
Chennai??? Ahmedabad??? Kochi??? I am shocked.

Best cities to live in:
  1. Gurgaon
  2. Chandigarh
  3. Chennai
  4. Hyderabad
  5. Mumbai
  6. Noida
  7. Bangalore
  8. Pune
  9. Surat
  10. Ahmedabad
People have weird priorities if they think Gurgaon is the best city to live in... it is a concrete jungle with water problems, garbage problems, unsafe, lack of public transport etc.

Anyway... I watched 'Angels and Demons'.... didn't like it one bit. It was quite boring and predictable. I had read the book ages back but didn't remember the story. Tom Hanks needs to get back in shape or retire.

I had a glimpse of 'Kal kissne dekha'... pathetic. Avoid.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Yes Minister

I read this book for the 2nd time and loved every word of it... was ROTFL (Rolling on the floor with laughter). The best part is it is real and accurate.
The book is about Jim Hacker who was a Cabinet Mininster in Britain. He kept a diary of his daily activities. This book is a collection of his diary events but presented such that every event is complete. Jim is a clueless minister and realizes how the Civil Service tries to control the ministers and prevent them from doing anything. Jim, Humphrey and Bernard are the funniest characters ever.
This book was converted into a series which was televised on BBC. Catch the series if you can. The CDs are available in Crossword.

There was a Hindi version called 'Jee Mantriji' starring 'Farooque Sheikh' as Jim Hacker. It was a very good adaptation but went off air too soon.

Do read it...

Monday, June 15, 2009

I drove my car

I drove my car... Yoohoo!!!

Just got back from a late night drive with Rohan and his wife Neha.
Driving is tiring with the instructor. He does not let me go beyond a speed of 20 kmph... advises me at every move... and observes every action. It seems like a chore.
I wasn't confident about taking my own car on the road. I requested Rohan to accompany me and he readily agreed. After dinner, we set out. I did not hit anyone or anything. Everyone is alive and safe. Kudos to me!!!

It felt nice to feel the cool wind in my hair... we stopped for ice cream while Neha and Rohan bickered like the newly married couple that they are... it was kinda cute and I was not jealous.

Finally... there is a purpose and aim in my life.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Not looking forward to weekend

It has been a frustrating day. Apart from work woes I missed my driving classes (more on this later)... and to relieve my stress I went for some retail therapy. I went to Big Bazaar to buy a body scrub but could not find it and ended blowing money on crap I am never going to eat. Atleast they accept Sodexho meal vouchers (my company has started giving us Sodexho meal vouchers as part of our salary... I have to search for places to use them). Sigh!!!

I am not even thinking about this weekend in Rajkot. I will be so bored I might end up working.

Some good things I want to talk about:
  • On my B'day Tangy posted the below poem on the FB Wall:

It's a perfect multiplation,
Feel the vibe, enjoy the fascination,

It's a perfect situation,
This poem might seem to have have an ugly word combination,

Once again this is your Day,
Enjoy it in entirety in your unique way,

Wishing happy birthday to you,
And may all your dreams come true,

Get high tonight, even if it is on Red Bull
Happy happy birthday again to you Bulbul

It reminded me of my B'day 2 years back in B'glore. I had worked all day in the heat, fell ill and went to bed early. I didn't even have the energy to answer the phone. The day I was supposed to leave for Chennai Tangy met up with me in CCD on Brigade road. He gifted me a pair of wooden bangles (I still have them) and I was touched. It was the only B'day gift I received that year.
Thanks Tangy... again.
  • Appu called sometime back to tell me that Sakshi and Siddarth won Splitsville and it is good I didn't ask Joanna at the airport about the winners. She would have murdered me.
  • KC has decided to stay home and play Scrabble with me all night instead of meeting his friends. Sweet!!!
Now for the driving classes... I bought a car last month. I have been planning to buy one for a year now... come to think of it, if I would have purchased it last year the car loan would have been paid off by now. I learned to drive 2 years back (I remember writing about it on my blog and Gunj's comments... and Nick letting me drive his car in A'bad). Since then I have not touched a car. But last week I wanted to take KC, his bro and bro's friend for a drive. The other two were unaware about the lack of my driving skills and KC was holding on to his life. I could not drive it well and the car stopped in the middle of a busy road. That was the end of the drive. KC nagged me into learning to drive all over again. I spent half hour making "8" on the ground in the car. Today I practised using the clutch and accelerator such that the car doesn't stop on a stimulator... and my car will come to Rajkot on Monday.

Yippie!!! I just need to find a driver by then.

I am watching Lipstick Jungle on Starworld... I have read the book... hope the series is good.

Friday, June 12, 2009

This one is going to be short

I am exhausted today... have skipped dinner and plan to hit bed in half hour.
B'day was good. I took the day off. Friends called at all times of the day and night.
I believe in replying every scrap personally on Orkut wishing me 'Happy B'day'. People deserve the reply.
The most surprising part was when I received B'day mails from companies... Westside, Birthday Calender, Pagalguy, Bigflix.com... and when I called Vodafone Care today morning they wished me 'Happy Belated B'day".
It is quite funny.

Good night... will be back on the weekend. I don't have anything to do anyway.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Love of my life


Here is a list of books that I own (the ones in Gurgaon are not included):

  1. The complete Yes Minister (Amazing)
  2. Twilight (Will read it next week)
  3. Yoga for flat abs (Don't laugh... it is as good as new)
  4. Gone with the wind (My fav)
  5. Everyone worth knowing (Pathetic... could not complete it)
  6. P.S I love you (Horrible)
  7. Sudoku for Dummies (Love Sudoku)
  8. The inheritance of loss (Didn't like the end)
  9. Joker in the pack (Time pass... avoidable)
  10. Three men in a boat (One of the most hilarious ones)
  11. Window seat (Time pass)
  12. Dilbert: The joy of work (Funny)
  13. 26/11 Mumbai attacked (Good)
  14. The choice (Have to finish it)
  15. Love in the time of cholera (Boring... could not survive even mid way)
  16. Shantaram (Lovely)
  17. Harry Potter and the order of phoenix (Stunning)
  18. Q & A (Good)
  19. You are here (Time pass)
  20. Moving on (Moving)
  21. A fine balance (OK)
  22. The immigrant (Time pass)
  23. Mediocre but arrogant (Time pass)
  24. Cappucino dusk (Excellent)
  25. Japanese Sudoku
  26. Butter chicken in Ludhiana (Bad)
  27. Madonna (Ok)
  28. Black swan (Boring)
  29. Amu (Ok)
  30. Girls of Riyadh (Very good)
  31. Don't lose your mind, lose weight (Very helpful & practical)
  32. Almost single (Time pass)
  33. The kite runner (Excellent... avoid the movie)
  34. If god was a banker (Horrible)
  35. The zoya factor (Time pass)
  36. Diary of a social butterfly (Hilarious)
  37. Delhi (Excellent)
  38. Lady boys (Very revealing)
  39. Choker bali (Interesting)
  40. BPO Sutra (Time pass)
  41. The lost flamingoes of Bombay (Pathetic)
  42. Dilert: The way of the weasel (Hilariou)
  43. Between the Assassinations (Disappointing)
  44. The story of my Assassins (Have yet to read it)
My books are the only assets I have.

Good night.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A book re-read

Last Saturday I picked up my books from KC's house. I had given them to him 1.5 years back while leaving Mumbai. I was not sure for how long I was going to Gurgaon and didn't have space to carry the books. I was sad to part from them but trusted him enough to leave them in his care.
After nagging him for months I finally got them back. He was too lazy to bring them along and I forgot to pick them up from his house every time. Of course, 2 books (my favourites were missing but he will buy me new ones).
I was overjoyed to be reunited with gems like 'Yes Minister', 'Gone with the wind', 'Shantaram', 'Q & A' etc.
Q & A was lent to me by Sil who insisted I read the book when we met 2 years back in Jaipur. I think it was her way to repaying for flicking my fav book 'Anne of Green Gables' from me.

When I watched 'Slumdog Millionaire' I didn't remember the story of this book. Just as well. Since Q & A was not widely read nobody protested against the butchery of the tale. I do not like the original story being tampered with. When I read a good book I can imagine the characters... their mannerims... their dress... the way they talk. Harry Potter movie characters fit my imagination and that of all fans (obvious from its popularity). Shopholics was a disappointment.
What I prefer in Q & A over the movie is that in the book Ram Mohammad Thomas (the central character who is Jamaal in the movie) has shades if grey... he steals, kills and yet is a nice boy.

If you have seen the movie... do read the book.

My purse needs cleaning

Don't mind the weird title.. I just cleaned my purse. I have to clean it every week 'coz it gets infested with numerous bills.

I am exhausted today... I traveled upcountry after quite sometime. Thankfully, even in the heat there is a cool wind blowing which makes being outdoors bearable.
The pros of staying in small towns/villages is that life moves so slowly. People have lot of time on their hands... (Sorry... had gone to take my turn in 5 games of Scrabble... am back now)... they live in bungalows which is a mere dream for people living in cities... Nobody is in a hurry. In short, it is a different life.

These days I am addicted to Scrabble on Facebook... the obsession started with Pathwords... have not played it in a while... have to beat KC and Tangy's score but 1300 seems impossible right now. I then moved on to Scramble.. still trying to beat Tangy's score there... hope to succeed soon... and now it is Scrabble... there is nothing better than playing it online with KC and RT. Who says we need to meet up to play games. Internet is the best invention for this lonely, fast paced world.
Another good thing about Scrabble is that you can start a game with anybody in the world... you never who you will end up playing against... some guys are using this as a means to chat up girls but as long as they play the entire game I don't mind... women tend to come and go and the game drags on for days.
Anyway.. good night... need to go back to playing games.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Management truths

Hiya... I finished reading 'Dilbert and the way of the weasel'. At every page I could not help but exclaim; "That is so true... thats exactly how it happens"... let me reproduce a few of my favorites from the book here:
  • In meetings, the person who is least competent usually does most of the talking... Five minutes after you leave a meeting, you won't remember what anyone said but you will remember who did most of the talking.
  • An inexpensive way to motivate employees is through pep talk.There are two types. One method tells the employees they are worthless slackers and need to work harder in order to justify their presence on this earth. The other method tells employees they are the best in the industry despite what their paychecks say.
  • There's a special word for bosses who care about their employees: unemployed. The whole point of being a boss is to get employees to do more work than they want to do and accept less pay than they deserve.
  • "Our employees are slightly below average because all the good ones left for better jobs"
  • The best employees are the ones who will do anything to avoid going home.
  • Business enjoyment: A form of enjoyment experienced in the workplace that uses no company resources and includes no enjoyment
  • The idea behind empowerment is that employees were authorized to make their own decisions, but only if those decisions were the same ones the boss would have made. In practice, this is exactly like giving employees no authority whatsoever with the added advantage that you can punish them for not reading your mind.
  • You can make a job redundant in several ways. One method is to hire an additional weasel and give the new weasel the same duties as the targeted employee but under a different job title. Then wait a few months and fire the first weasel for being redundant.
  • Any positive trait can be weasel-worded to sound like a flaw. For example, if you are accurate, then you are too much of a perfectionist. If you are the sort of person who always sees the big picture, then you don't have good attention to details. If you work long hours, that's the same as not knowing how to manage your time. If you don't ask inane questions during meetings, you're not participating. If you do your important work instead of being diverted down rabbit trails by disorganized coworkers, then you're not a team player. If you're smart, you're too analytical.
  • Another cushy job is chairman of the board. As far as I can tell, the company president is the one who runs the company. The CEO's job is bossing around the president. That's easier than running the company, but still work. However, the chairman enjoys full weasel retirement. As you work your way up the chain of management, you tend to know less and less about the specifics of the wider and wider scope of activities in the company until eventually you know absolutely nothing about everything. Then you become chairman, which, as the name implies, involves sitting in a chair.
  • Another good utility phrase is "I use the eighty/twenty rule". Toss it into conversation at any time. This will generate strong agreement because it fits any situation where you have no data. It doesn't even matter what part is eighty and what is the twenty. It just always sounds right.
  • It's always a good idea to gather lots of opinions from your staff before making important decisions. That way, when you do whatever you were planning to do anyway, you'll look like a person who cares about the opinions of other people, not like the manipulative, autocratic weasel that you are.
  • Step one in marketing is to do research to learn what customers want. Step two is to ignore what people want and try to package whatever it is that your company knows how to make. That's called product development.
  • The whole point of "leading" is making you do things you didn't want to do on your own.
  • Freedom of speech: You can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater. You can't say "Mayday" on the radio just for fun. You can't joke about anthrax in the lunchroom. You can't describe your genitalia to your coworkers. You can't threaten to hurt someone. You can't say you are a cop if you're not. You can't lie under oath. You can't curse too much on television. You can't insult minorities. You can't complain about your employer without getting fired. You can't insult gang members and live. You can't mention bombs at the airport. And you can't solicit sex for money.