Friday, April 27, 2012


Zindgi to apne dam pe jee jati hai ...
Doosron ke kandhe par to janaze nikalaa karte hain 

Chicken Soup For The Indian Couple's Soul - Book Review

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

What happens when someone gives a you a free book to read? You grab the opportunity and read that book for free! :D After all, recession hai bhai, paise jahan bache bacha lene chahiye! :P

I always wanted to read a book from the Chicken Soup series, but never really got a chance to do that. In case you have a brain as large as a crow, let me explain the concept of Chicken soup series to you. Chicken soup books, unlike typical books, are not novels. It is rather a collection of several shot stories, written by different authors (or budding authors), inspired from their real life stories.

And that my dear friends, is the best part about this book. Pick this book up, read one story and then go back to work! This book comprises 8 sections and 101 stories, written by scores of authors from different genres of life! Though the same thing also becomes the achilles heels of the book! Due to multiple writing styles, and limited space available to each author, the book is written in a fairly simple language, and at some places it sounds fairly amateurish. So this is not the book for those hoarding up novels and books for their CAT/ GMAT Prep.

Coming to the real topic of the book - Chicken soup for the Indian Couples soul - it is fairly evident from the title, that this book is all about pyaar, ishq aur mohabbat! :D You know, shaadi and all season going on *wink wink*, so such books are good to read :D

In its 8 sections and 101 stories, the book tries to cover all aspects of relationships - right from beginnings, middles, endings and new beginnings! Most of the stories in the book will touch your heart, even if you are a borderline romantic! Though some of the stories look like they were written by people of our parents generation! :D No, you cant relate even a bit with them, and then there were some where there is an actual Karan Johar movie in the making!

But then, there are a lot of stories where you will find you head nodding, and relating the story to your or someone you know's real life.

Though, there were some shortcomings in the book, which I hope the author works at in the next bowl of Chicken soup! Firstly, the stories seem a bit too sentimental, as if written for the purpose of making the female reader consume 10 boxes of tissues in one go! :D Secondly, some of the stories are a bit too idealistic, as I said perfect K Jo movie material. And lastly, it gets repetitive after a point, you kind of start expecting what's next in each story!

But nevertheless, if you are a hopeless romantic, or want to read some inspiring stories relating love, relationships and life, then do go of it! I give this book a rating of 342 out of 459!

“Nobody is perfect, but in love people can be perfect for each other.”

Life in a Metro

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Before I forget, those who liked the review of the book - The Five People You Meet in Heaven - can buy it from Flipkart from this link .

I guess from the frequency of my blog updates during the past one week, you all must have understood my workload (or the lack of it) in the new job! (Touchwood :P ). So, when my friends made an impromptu plan to meet up this Friday, I was first to say yes! And upar se, new job being in Gurgon, helps me cut down my journey time by 1.5 hours to meet my college friends! Woopie!

Anyways, logistics always gets the best of me. I had no means (almost) to come back home next morning! So, whats better than taking Delhi Metro after a long time!

Metro rides always interest me, and I can never get enough of it! Delhi metro is basically different corners of Delhi packed into tiny little metal boxes. And trust me, after travelling in cabs for 5 days a week, and driving in a traffucked city like Delhi for the remaining two, metro comes as a good respite! More so, if you are travelling from Gurgaon to Delhi, on a weekday morning - which basically looked like moving to Antarctica to spend winters! Ekdum fulltoo khali dibbe! :D (atleast when I boarded the train!)

Though, it still looked like metro could do good with flavor infused vaporizers in the bogies, to remove the ever settled stench of sweat! By God, within 7 stations, Delhi metro started looking like Mumbai local! There were few thousand people entering and exiting the train at every station! Itni junta kaha se aa rahi hai Delhi me bhai !! Koi langar laga hai kya yahaan! :D

Anyways, I then realized that it is such a stupid system, that I have to travel to Rajiv Chowk if I have to go anywhere and everywhere from West Delhi by metro! Gurgaon to Uttam Nagar is such a circular route, covering almost all parts of Delhi, including the dreaded Rajiv Chowk! And then we say - saala Rajiv Chowk pe kitne sare log hote hain. Are saalon, jab Dilli ki har metro Rajiv chowk se hoke jayegi, to rush to hoga hi na! Sigh!

We desperately need a line connecting Dwarka/Uttam Nagar with Gurgaon as well! Though I was able to find a better workaround to this. I got down at AIIMS while coming back from Gurgaon, and then took a Red Bus straight to my home! Was much simpler than travelling all across Delhi to reach my home.

Anyways, why did I start writing this post? Oh yea, because I have too much free time to blurt out any random bakar I want to... :D 

The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Book Review

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Firstly, as it happens in the movies, lets get the credits (or as Indians say - numbering) out of the way! :D I would like to thank Deepali for gifting me this book! God knows what you were thinking when you selected this book for me! :P

Frankly speaking I got a little confused by reading the short summary of this book, as it looked some sort of philosophical self-help book (which I totally abhor by the way!) from its back cover! But ab kya karen, gift mila hai to padna hi padega! :P

Anyways, once I started reading the book, I totally fell in love with the way of writing of the author Mitch Albom. The author has written the book in such a simple language that it becomes a nice cab time read.

The story is about the life of one Eddie, the maintenance man. Actually no, the story starts when Eddie dies and his body goes in a funeral casket! Yeah, the story is about his after-life! After dying, Eddie reaches heaven. Surprisingly, the heaven described in the book is not at all like the one shown in Hindi mythological movies :P !

Eddie's heaven had no clouds, or bikini wearing angels, or people playing musical instruments! According to Mitch, everyone has his own version of heaven, and Eddie's heaven was Ruby Pier, where he was born, brought up, worked, and finally died! And then, the story took a weird turn!

Eddie meets a blue colored man, who used to work here when Eddie was a chota baccha! He welcomes Eddie to heaven, and describes the concept of heaven to Eddie!

Every new person meets five people from his life in heaven. These five people describe key life turning events to the newbie, and help him make sense of the events that the person never understood in his lifetime! Blue man was the first life turning point in Eddie's life. Cutting the long story short, little Eddie once ran across the road, just in front of Blue Man's car. Blue man swerved the car in other direction. Eddie lived, whereas the Blue Man died! :( Neither of them was related to other one, but because of Blue Man, Eddie lived! And because of Eddie, the Blue Man died!

PS: Blue Man was actually a man with blue skin. He was a joker of sorts! :P

Anyways, one by one, four more people come to meet Eddie, in chronological order, from his chotta baccha age to his old age.

Author has done a very good job in selecting the five people, with the fifth one being the most surprising and providing the sense to the whole story! I really liked the ending where I was like - o teri, to ye hua tha! :D

Even the way this book is written is really nice. On one hand, Eddie is moving around the heaven meeting his five people, on the other hand, after every few pages, there are a couple of flashback pages associated with these people, bringing the sense of the story and the conversations between the past, and the present!

In short, the book provides a detailed description of what Shree Shree Steve Jobs said in one line in his Stanford commencement address " Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward ... but it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. ... you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life" Sigh! Satyavachan, I tell you!

And thats what this book has tried to implied in so many pages. Everything, everywhere is connected. Its just that we don't know it yet!

In short, I liked the book for its readability, way of writing and the fictional message its trying to give. Do read it if you get a chance ! I give it a rating of 435 our of 542!

The world is full of stories, but the stories are all one...

In case you use Facebook

Monday, April 02, 2012

... you should read this article

What looked like a April Fool's joke, I am afraid, isn't one. The application in question is known as "Girls Around Me" and is free on the iTunes app store. It is a typical stalkers app. Open the app, hit a button, and you get which all girls have logged in on Facebook or Foursquare near you! Complete with their photographs and public information!

To quote from computer journalist John Brownlee's article on how this app works,

Girls Around Me is a standard geolocation based maps app, similar to any other app that attempts to alert you to things of interest in your immediate vicinity: whether it be parties, clubs, deals, or what have you. When you load it up, the first thing Girls Around Me does is figure out where you are and load up a Google Map centered around your location. The rest of the interface is very simple: in the top left corner, there's a button that looks like a radar display, at the right corner, there's a fuel meter (used to fund the app's freemium model), and on the bottom left is a button that allows you to specify between whether you're interested in women, men or both. 
It's when you push the radar button that Girls Around Me does what it says on the tin. I pressed the button for my friends. Immediately, Girls Around Me went into radar mode, and after just a few seconds, the map around us was filled with pictures of girls who were in the neighborhood. Since I was showing off the app on a Saturday night, there were dozens of girls out on the town in our local area ...

In short, nobody is committing any crime, but some people are just intelligent enough to process and analyze our publicly shared information to derive 2+2=4 ! And the bigger problem is, while sharing our interests, personal information, location etc, we are not able to think that how can someone combine them to form a meaningful pattern!

As explained beautifully by Charlie Strossall social networks run on the principle that if you're not paying for the product, you are the product.

The problem is this: all social networks run on the principle that if you're not paying for the product, you are the product. They operate as profitable businesses because they encourage users to channel their social interactions via their network, perform data mining on the interests that users disclose, and present the users with advertisements tailored to their interests (which are consequently much more likely to result in a successful sale).
However, to make such micro-targeted advertising practical, the social networks need to motivate their users to disclose information relevant to advertisers. There's no point marketing bacon to Jews or Muslims, so religion is relevant. There's no point marketing turkey to vegans or wheat products to coeliacs, so dietary preferences and medical conditions are relevant. If a user is a member of a subculture associated with a distinctive clothing fashion, that information is relevant to garment vendors. And so on. So Facebook, Orkut, G+ and so on all attempt to induce their users to maximize their self-disclosure and to tie their accounts to as many useful third-party information sources as possible.
You may have noticed that Facebook provides privacy controls, for those who are sufficiently worried about stranger danger to want some illusion of control. Unfortunately the vast majority of people have no idea how widely visible "show to all" really is, or that it might enable the users of apps like "Stalking Targets Around Me" to identify and track them. And it is not in Facebook's commercial interest to promote the use of privacy controls. If someone is using the privacy controls with all the settings jacked up to 11, it becomes very unlikely that long-lost friends and relatives will be able to make contact with them through Facebook. Which is a lost advertising opportunity, and therefore detrimental to the revenue stream.
We are encouraged to over-share, for commercial reasons (just as we are encouraged to over-consume, but that's an issue for another time). We are discouraged from imposing reasonable limits on access to our shared information, again, for commercial reasons. (And the mechanism employed for discouragement is a combination of benign neglect and ignorance on the one hand, with behavioural marketing on the other—"if you tell us where and when you went to school we can put you in touch with your long-lost high school friends!")
Enough said... Facebook is Evil !