Brutal By Uday Satpathy: Book Review

Brutal[Thriller | No. of pages: 325 | Price: 200 INR /-]

These are murderous times. Criminals run amok after killing hordes of people, often without the strong “vengeance” so advertised by 80’s Hindi cinema. Music is murdered every day; civil rights are murdered every minute. Little wonder then, that murder mysteries continue to fascinate readers across ages. What is a good murder mystery? One that comprises a strong plot, well etched-out characters, and a satisfying resolution. Uday Satpathy, in his debut novel with West Land Publishers and Bloody Good Book, makes a genuine attempt at a fast-paced, intriguing thriller. His frequent obsession with “brutality” and its manifestation, however, becomes his undoing.

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Coke and Margarita

MWAS

I was drunk with questions after my large glass of Coke at the multiplex yesterday. Drunk without having been served a margarita, that is. One of my perennial concerns is the curious price of the glass, which I fail to arrive at even after factoring in all costs. The second pertains to audience attitude in the theatre. This is scary because it leaves me feeling depressed, out of place and at odds with the world.

What, for instance, can explain the presence of several babbling, very young children during the screening of Shonali Bose’s “Margarita with a Straw” Continue reading

Lemon Girl by Jyoti Arora: Book Review

Lemon Girl

Notwithstanding the candlelit marches and party manifestos, life for a woman in India seems to be on an unceasing downward spiral. If the papers report occasional incidents of kindness and warmth, the ever so frequent reports of crime against women put much of it to dust. Taking a cue from the pitiful present, Jyoti Arora (author of “Dream’s Sake”) pens down a tale of acceptance and transformation. Primarily told through the eyes of a strong female protagonist, Lemon Girl succeeds in being immensely topical and insightful. However, it trips somewhere along the path and falls short of living up to the scope it had presented.

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Four Months on the Dose

Yes, I have been on tablets. In the singular, actually. The nifty device has come in handy for several maladies of my existence.

In the first month, when Dell very thoughtfully initiated the Blogger Review program, I found the tablet does a terrific job of Tuning out Noise. Loaded with music, movies and other A/V delights, I found the noise of the Delhi Metro fading into the background.

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Hi-Tech Children

“My little one has over 600 Facebook friends. Fifteen of them are even foreigners, isn’t that so darling?” chattered away an aunt I am only – and thankfully – distantly related to. We were having coffee in one of those plush Delhi cafés that have in-house Wi-Fi and live tweeting areas. The coffee excursion had been the aunt’s idea and I am too wise to give up on the opportunity to partake of some hot, creamy and hold your breath, branded coffee.

I was intrigued by how our foreigner-philia is still very much alive. I was also intrigued by the sheer size of her little one’s friend circle, considering the number was about 60 times his age.

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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.

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Bottle-Green Plans

Bottle Green Diary

*Picture from http://www.amazon.com

I had a bottle-green diary in school. The first few pages had the national anthem, the school anthem, and good thoughts to see us through the day. As the school term progressed, the subsequent pages would fill up with time-tables, exam date-sheets and assignments. Mom and I would highlight key portions in fluorescent colours, and make mnemonics and symbols in the margins. The bottle-green diary is now all full. Of writing…of memories. Though good old paper and pen can never cease being endearing, let me tell you how my Dell Venue is pretty neat when it comes to planning my day. Even though it’s black.

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5 Lessons by Calvin and Hobbes on Tablets et al

Let me start by giving you some context for this lesson. I would urge you to please bear with the madness that the monster of a Delhi summer is driving into me. It so happens that in this relentless heat, with rain nowhere in sight, Calvin and Hobbes playing with snowmen is my best bet at relief. Each morning, when I tune into music on my Dell Venue and slip into the artificial cool of the Delhi Metro, I visualize a snow world. The trees topped with white icing, the courtyard windy and chilled, and a cup of hot chocolate the closest thing to heaven. Gradually, my favourite music attempts to soothe my frayed nerves, and the air conditioning pats me comfortingly on the back. I am drawn deeper into this wonderful world – of snow, music and interestingly, a non-intrusive electronic device. It is then that I wake up to a spate of interesting things about my new tablet. Here goes.

1. The world has really learnt to entertain. For all our cribbing about contemporary television, there continue to be a host of good movies, documentaries, games and songs. What’s more, there’s no need to hunt around in a ram-shackled video-tape store in a sultry afternoon to access them. For instance, you could go here. Delve into the HD graphics and have a fun time being a critic.

Calvin and Hobbes

2. No one need be cursed for being dis-organized anymore. The world has moved beyond sticky-notes and chits of paper that are prone to being blown away in the capital’s heat wave. Aside from basic organizer facilities, the tablet is compatible with several other apps that let you manage your time better. That aside, the battery backup rarely catches you unaware, storage space is ample (and extendable), and notifications ring out loudly enough. Yeah, it works great even if you micro-manage.

Calvin and Hobbes

3. Sometimes, it is essential to actually walk to the other side to see how green the grass is. The neighbour’s lawn-mower could be fancier or you could be in a rain-shadow area. It helps to slip into the other side’s skin, viewpoint and language to understand the scenario. Dell Venue, for instance, lets you pick the language you prefer most. It also offers neat customization settings and an intelligent playlist.

Calvin and Hobbes

4. There’s an optimal time to philosophize. When all your work worries are attended to, say you have no fear of missing an important e-mail, or can steal an early evening out since you can work on the go, you turn philosophical. This is the juncture when you can observe a fellow passenger, click pictures of the faraway skies, debate a new route to take using the GPS location tracker, pull together the courage to browse through a new recipe on the internet, and wonder where your life is headed in general. Finally, you can address issues more pressing than extending a deadline at work.

Calvin and Hobbes

5. Role-play and make-believe can be your best fall-backs in life. It’s good to believe you have a great deal of strength and walk into the world with a song on your lips. It’s okay to conjure up some happiness – some comfort food, a childhood book – and pretend you’ve been just told God is in his heaven. For instance, I feel all charged up to wrap my Dell Venue in its waterproof case, venture out into the front porch and play raindrops-are-falling-on-my-head in full steam. Bring it on!

Calvin and Hobbes

While I am out looking for rain, you might like to check out Dell’s Facebook Page. Or, you could also tweet tagging @DELL_In and use #DellVenue. Last thing I heard, people love getting surprise gifts at their door.

Stay tuned for more on this, shortly.

*Written as a part of Dell Blogger Review Program

 © Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Dwelling on Dell

Closet

While sifting through some stuff in my closet the other day, I came across the thinnest phone mankind has ever known. Okay, that may not be entirely correct, but the mere sight of the malnourished phone took me back to an era when slim was completely in. Companies vied with each other to produce a phone thinner, yet packed with more features, than the adversary. We eventually moved to larger screens till they became so large they ceased fitting into pockets, purses, handbags and suitcases. We are still confused; the markets abound in all shapes and sizes of cellular devices. And then we have tablets, phablets and goblets.

Do we really need a tablet? What can it achieve that a phone today can’t? Is it wise to introduce kids to electronically manufactured delight early in life? In the light of recent queries I have received on my new Dell Venue 7, I intend to dwell on some answers.

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Welcoming a new Blogging Assistant

I remember having a little do-it-yourself kit for furniture. The set, if used properly, would produce a neat pair of tiny chairs and a round-table. It’s another matter that the toy furniture would be too small to use (I remember having tried). As I grew older, watching the furniture kept neatly on the windowsill, I would visualize a large armchair I could keep in my balcony. I could then make myself comfortable, listen to the birds singing in the evening, serenade a keyboard and lo and behold, the words would flow! Except that the proposition had one major problem.

While I possess a fairly loyal laptop (it hasn’t fallen off my hands/been stolen once in all these years), it doesn’t fit in with the scheme of things in this hallowed balcony I am referring to. Continue reading