All posts by Deboshree

~D.B. The one who loves to cook up abstract stories about all and sundry.

The Five People You Meet at the National Book Fair

National Book Fair

Five types of people, in case you were wondering. While I may lament the denigration of society in Delhi, the city still has loads of readers. A good number of them showed up in Pragati Maidan on Sunday. The National Book Fair, an annual event where the bigwigs of the book publishing world set up stalls, is on till August 31.

The Persuasive Dealer: “Pick any for Rs 100! Harry Potter, Dan Brown, 50 Shades of Grey, Mills & Boons…Errm, that’s just one yellow page Madam…” Wait longer and the fungus-eaten page may crumble even as you look. But, to be fair, this is quite the loot if you are looking for a cheap truckful of bestsellers, classics and children’s books. It’s just that I associate book fairs with rare, special books we can’t buy on Flipkart or off the street.

The New Writer: “I have written that book, in case you are interested.” It isn’t always I meet an author and listen to a first-hand synopsis of her book. Quite interesting it can be to browse through fresh writing on subjects as diverse as religion, motivation and suspense to good old romance. You will need to be a good selector, of course.

The Ambitious Parent: “The next door kid can play the piano!” “Hush, I heard she is secretly preparing for the civil services.” Last time I heard, the kid was in Grade 3. While over ambition is another story, I was impressed by the hordes of parents stocking up on children’s books – stories, hobbies, learning software. If you are looking for those, you won’t be disappointed. I was especially thrilled to see lots of young kids, some accompanied by grandparents. Little eyes that lit up at the sight of big, colourful titles.

The Book Lover: First the bad news – the stalls are fewer than I have known them to be in previous years. You may also dislike the picnicking crowd that has made a cafeteria out of the carpet, despite the fact that the Pragati Maidan Food Court is well stocked, reasonably priced and right across from the exhibition. This aside, the fair is a good place to get books to your heart’s content – the genres are plenty; there are good discount deals. The air-conditioned halls and books everywhere you look is a welcome respite from the grime and heat of Delhi in its current state. While you’re at it, you can also check out the stationery collection up at one of the halls. The “Literature in Cinema” theme is a bit of a setback – other than a poster display area and a few stalls selling books on Bollywood, I didn’t find too much of this.

The Strollers: Notwithstanding the size of the city, couples in Delhi often run short of dating ideas. Some of these decide to give the fair a try. Slowly they walk hand in hand, whispering sweet nothings in the face of the crowd accumulating behind them. The fair could be a series of vacant rooms for all they care. Of course, the foodies landed up as well, gorging on the burgers and sandwiches, smelling up the place faster than the AC could neutralize things.

I am hoping you will tell me about the people you meet when you go book-shopping at the fair. Remember to be wary of Wrackspurts.

BoilingKettle

A Kettle Full of Fury

Delhi is getting angrier by the minute. Even as you look on, a fellow mate may sprout horns on his head and have smoke come out of his nose. What’s worrying is that the anger bug is highly contagious, depressing and full of venom.

A magnificent car parked itself right in front of our gate the other day. So much so that we couldn’t open the gate to get inside, let alone drive our car in. What’s more, there was no driver, cleaner or decorator to be seen. Here’s the dialogue that followed, forty five minutes later:

You should have sneaked in through the window! We left our phone number there.
Don’t you think you shouldn’t have parked right in front of our gate?
We parked on the road. If it’s your gate, it’s not our headache.

The above, to the seventy-five year old man who is my granddad.

The anger bug is not the privilege of the rich and comfortable. I was in the Metro one day, barely managing to stand amid the sea of people in the coach. At Saket, a flurry of people waited to come in. When the doors opened, they pushed and shoved for all they were worth. Several retreated, deciding to take the next train. But several were in a hurry. Just like every day.

There is really no space – Meek passenger
There is plenty of space. If you would only move your limbs. And you (pointing at middle-aged lady sitting in a corner seat)! You are sitting comfortably. At least keep your feet to yourself. – Angry New Boarder

Might I add, the difference that the keeping-feet-to-herself eventually made produced space enough to fit a toenail.

The anger bug has far-reaching consequences, defiling our ability to apologize. A car hit another in Hauz Khas last Friday, in peak traffic hours. While there wasn’t damage, the owner of the victimized car protested meekly. Shouldn’t the other driver be more careful?

I said I was sorry! How many times need I say that?

Wow. Saying you’re sorry sounds like an act worthy of living in gratification for.

Perhaps, all this anger hints at the crumbling social fabric of our society. We are burdened by work, traumatized by the loss of emotions, unnerved by office politics and social hollowness. Anger, at least for a short while, lets us vent, blame everyone but ourselves and imagine being loud-voiced and abusive will translate into being right, or at least, being heard. Sadly, all that it translates into is speech and action we eventually regret.

Precisely why I advocate comfort food, stress balls, a solitary walk and a blog post when I feel like giving it to someone. Worth trying out, I tell you.

*Picture from http://blog.buzzintown.com/

Hardly Independent

*All opinions below are strictly personal.

We are a hypocritical society.

We laud our great culture of forbearance, tolerance and love, and punish our children when they marry outside the community.

We celebrate Gandhi Jayanti with Lage Raho Munnabhai on television and slap the driver who dared overtake us on the highway.

We ask our women to dress up in decent, Indian clothes and verbally and physically thrash our wives, oh-so-like Fifty Shades of Grey.

When we spot a pile of garbage outside a house on the street, we abuse the creator and decide to dump our bottle of Cola. 

We ban mobile phones for girls in order to make them secure, and then rape them mercilessly on the street, in vehicles and at home.

There is no stone left unturned to educate our boy and make him self- reliant. We then demand dowry to fund his self-reliance.

We rollout scheme after scheme and wholeheartedly put down the earlier government, and yet fail to provide basic food and health to large sections of our population.

On Independence Day, each year, we dedicate songs to our brave soldiers fighting at our borders, braving the cruel cold. We feast on laddoos and put up balloons in saffron, white and green.

And yet, in this independent land of our great freedom fighters, rich heritage and grand culture, we don’t think twice about abusing the weak, the downtrodden, or the dissenter. Indeed, the greatest spoilsport to the holiday is the fact that August 15 is a dry day.

To this day, we serve tirelessly under greed, intolerance and envy. Hardly independent, I daresay. Until we find a way out of this hypocrisy, this annual commemoration of our freedom struggle leaves me cold.

Technology

5 Symptoms to Diagnose If You Need a Tablet

  1. You get called to meetings you never knew had been organised -Before you substantiate your I-am-being-framed theory further, you might like to get some help with planning your day (read here for how). In the crazy life we lead, it is entirely possible to muddle up your dinner date with your appraisal meeting.
  1. Your laptop has started crumbling at the edges from being pushed around in public transport -They didn’t make laptops to be carried around in arms or kept on the floor of Delhi Metro coaches. For that matter, editing, restructuring and commenting on intricate work documents on a phone is creepy, if you’re like me on this. And sigh, this elementary situation is what the boss chooses to be ignorant of.
  1. You haven’t been able to go to the cinema in an era and disbelieve the jazz about “visual magnificence” – You rarely have hours to spend at the cinema and long to utilize commute and in-between minutes to catch up on popular culture. Sadly, those movies they claim are visual treats look drab to you on your phone. As for the television, you need to catch up on news at the end of the day.
  1. Your desk is cluttered with electronic devices and you think integration is just a term – Your desk has a large phone forever plugged into a power supply, a laptop, a camera, a pager – yeah, you still have one of those, a calculator, a music player, a video player, a Kindle and a coffee mug. Who said it’s a small world when your desk is a world in itself?
  1. Your smart kid grumbles about the learning app his competitor in class has mastered -You are wary of letting your kid handle electronic devices but the other smart children are mastering science, mathematics, trivia, educational videos, the piano and tying a tie online. You are considering a cusp between a laptop which the junior will have when he is older, and a phone, which scares you with its infinite possibilities of invasion of privacy. Simple and subtle – that’s how you like things.

Checked three or more? A tablet, such as the Dell Venue series, might just be what the doctor ordered. In a variety of models from basic to pro, the tablet fits in perfectly with a simple yet effective ask.

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The Dell Venue series has a splendid array of inbuilt features such as organizers, location trackers, A/V support and all-access from anywhere thanks to PocketCloud 2.0. Further, a sturdy base built for portability, decent performance and effective battery backup make it quite a catch.

Invest in one, use its services to your advantage and make sure you keep it away from water for best results.

Stay tuned for more on this, shortly.

*Written as a part of Dell Blogger Review Program

7 Mad Things People Do in Modern Society

*Disclaimer: The post is based on my definition of “mad”. That does not implicate/exonerate either of us of the ever dynamic madness of being.

Eat melons all day

Melons

The variety of diets doing the rounds exceeds the variety of insects in the world, by a few thousand. GM, Detox, Vegan, Puritanic, Liquid, and Omnivorous. (That last one is mine.) Some people attain nirvana by consuming melons all day, whenever they feel hungry. And you thought Candy Crush was getting passé.

Wear clothes torn at random places

Shush, jeans torn at the legs is old news. The new wardrobes have clothes with slits/holes/large tears around the chest, the belly button, the upper back – errmm, this is getting a bit anatomical. But as long as people feel smart and chic, the retailers are smiling to the bank.

Carry five phones, two tablets and a laptop

There are separate phones for work, home, parents, boyfriend, best friend, boyfriend, pet. How some people must be wishing they had hands as large and skilled at gripping as their primate ancestors!

Get into part-time and transit-camp relationships

Love
*Picture from hdimge.com

No time is worth wasting away in sorrow, longing and how-I-wish-you-were-here laments. While still young and capable, some people make the most of the places they live in. Makes it easier to remember places by. That is the city I had the three-month-affair with the tall guy! There is the shack we had a one-night-stand in. Smooth.

Think being deaf equals being important

You will find these people at your workplace. You may call, wave, shout at them – and it’s evident they have heard you – but you will be ignored. They will be too tied up with an e-mail (read: Solitaire), their phone (read: WhatsApp) or their desk (read: snacking). The power of being deaf makes them feel well, powerful.

Believe honking will mysteriously clear up the road

When lane shifting, name calling, window rolling and unrolling fail to clear up a traffic jam, some think honking will do the trick. They never learn from past experience, they never do.

Give up on life because society says so

Society is this indomitable creature, ever inventing new criticism for everything you do. Though Society of this kind hardly ever lands up to help you in sorrow, some people believe giving in to its unreasonable demands will quieten its barking. They pick a job they hate, break up with the one they love, settle in a city they detest, wear clothes that bite, and are reborn grumpy about missing the time of death that society had set out. Not exactly modern, I daresay.