Resolutions and Blogathon 2014

Happy-New-Year-2014

Happy-New-Year-2014

Hello people, A Very Happy New Year. Hope the year 2014 brings in loads of joy and happiness for you and your family! 🙂

Resolutions

Resolutions

A friend of mine sent this pic in whatsapp. I couldn’t help laughing. This is exactly how we make resolutions. We humans are indeed slaves of our habits. You know calendar has changed, we  haven’t 😛

In fact TOI had this article where celebrities were asked, which is one resolution that they make every year and break it soon and the timeframe till which the resolution lasts.

I am no different so keeping up with the tradition, let me go ahead and make some new renewed resolutions too.

  1. Exercise!
  2. Eat healthy not pseudo-healthy
  3. Lose (at least some) weight.
  4. Get out more.
  5. Do more things that scare me. Darr ke aage jeet hai 😛
  6. Post more often on blog. Successfully complete a blog marathon. Started already. 😀
  7. Successfully complete a running marathon.
  8. Stay in touch with family and friends and reconnect with some of those friends.
  9. Learn and complete a project with a new programming language.
  10. Be positive. Live more. Love more.

Okay now it sounds more like life philosophy so I am gonna stop. This is my first post in the series for Blogathon 2014 for Jan. Check out some more awesome blogs which are part of the marathon here

Blogathon2014

Blogathon 2014

Four years old

My blog completes four years this month. Of late I haven’t been a great blogger (both in terms of writing and commenting on other’s blog). But fortunately for me I have had readers who appreciated the content and given the feedback for the rare content I posted and replied to my late comments on their blogs.  I take this opportunity to once again say “Thank you!” and every one of your visits, comments and likes matter. Thanks for helping me see this blog through 4 years 🙂

Since we are talking about4 year olds, that reminds me of my childhood. The simpler times, when we were innocent and the times were simpler as well. When the heroes, villains, situations came labelled and stories had nice endings and also a “moral of the story”. Imagine a world, where the bad guys wear black (Actually, I like black so I wish they don’t), laugh in their signature bad guy style and are aptly named by their parent’s as “Krur Singh” or ‘Dushtbuddhi’. And similarly the good guys are given good names and look great and so on. Me being the trusting kid, believed when I read such stories. In fact, I idolized so many characters from those stories. Wish I knew this Japanese proverb then

If you believe everything you read, better not read.

I remember reading the Famous fives, Nancy Drews and Hardy boys and wanting to be like them. Only all attempts to do so failed. I wanted to drink ale as the characters in most English stories but when I asked around half the people did not understand what I said and the other half thought I had gone mad(Now I realise they were probably right). I also wanted to have blue eyes (Only looks good if you are white. Thank God for not listening to my prayers. God knows best!).

Then I read about these kids going to their aunt or granny’s place for vacation and we did that too 🙂 These well-behaved kids helped their aunt with setting up the breakfast table and some household work. And since I was a very good kid too, 😉 wanted to  help my gran. So one morning I went into the kitchen and started helping with some random stuff when I heard someone shouting from behind “You haven’t taken bath yet. Why are  you touching those Prasad plates?”(For the uninitiated  Prasad is an offering to God during Puja/religious ritual).  And here I thought I am helping. This is not going to deter me, is it? I took a bath came back to help when I learnt that I am too slow, don’t know how to set up the Prasad plates, …  and a million other ritualistic nuances I didn’t even know existed. That was the end of my “help elders during vacation” story.

At least I thought I will do something adventurous and  save some kidnapped kids from the nearby caves. But as it turned out, there were no caves nearby neither did any neighbourhood kids get kidnapped.  That ended my hope of being like those characters. I was disappointed but also learnt the hard way that real life is different.

I always thought I’ll own a convertible just like Nancy Drew someday. There still I do have hope 🙂 (I am optimistic you see).

I still get influenced by the books I read only now I am more selective of what I read and the influences are more subtle. And I am quite sure it is true for a lot of people. Which is why we need good stories especially the ones we read during our formative years. Which are the stories/characters who have influences you most? Have you tried being like any of them? Something like “Main Madhuri Dixit banana chahati hoon”?

Since we are on the topic f books one post you must check out Steve McCurry’s Blog Post. And here’s a thought on probably why we get so influenced by books

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul. – Joyce Carol Oates”

Go Goa Gone – Movie Review

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I haven’t updated my blog from a long time and I thought Blogoversary( which is just a fortnight away) would be a good time for that. But then Life has its own way of spoiling your plans or should I say “Karma” has a way of getting back at you.

I don’t know what possessed me that I thought of watching this movie “Go Goa Gone” after reading a few online reviews. It is a good movie no doubt just not my kind. It is not a horror movie but a zomcom i.e. a zombie comedy or whatever that means. Dark humour at its best you can say. Who can imagine running around trees with a zombie while a romantic song plays in the background?

Though I personally loved a few comic scenes, I am not able to get a few macabre scenes out of my head. They are just too gory for my taste. Why am I writing this? Coz although it is a good movie if you can’t take that extra bit of violent scenes or take pleasure in dark humour, Think twice before you enter the cinema hall. Ditto if you are expecting a horror movie or a Hollywood type zombie movie or only a comedy movie. Everyone else will love the movie or so I hope. Nice story, characterization & acting. At least different if nothing else.

And yes no matter what is the reason, please don’t take your kids along. I saw a few kids in the hall & wondered why would any parent/ parents do that? Any thoughts?

Chanakya’s New Manifesto – Book Review

The author, Pavan K. Varma, is an alumnus of St Stephen’s College, Delhi, where he studied history and took a degree in law from Delhi University. He is at present India’s Ambassador in Bhutan. Prior to this he has worn many hats and held many important positions. He has been press secretary to the President of India, official spokesman of the Foreign Office, and director general of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

He has authored many bestselling books including  Ghalib: The Man, The Times; Krishna: The Playful Divine; The Great Indian Middle Class; Being Indian: The truth about why the 21st century will be India’s; Becoming Indian: The Unfinished Revolution of Culture and Identity and When Loss is Gain. He has also translated works of Gulzar, Kaifi Azmi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee into English.

Pavan Varma is hailed as one of the greatest social commentators of contemporary India. I had missed reading his previous works, so when I came across a chance to read his book “Chankya’s New Manifesto” through Blogadda I grabbed the opportunity.

The book aims to apply the Chanakya’s strategy (Chanakya neeti ) to the woes of contemporary India. What would Chanakya do if confronted with the various crises that beset contemporary India? forms the basis of this book. “Chanakya (c. 270-380 BCE) was classical India’s greatest thinker and teacher. Through his unparalleled ability to devise result-oriented military, political and administrative strategy, he overthrew one king, crowned another and paved the way for the establishment of India’s first great empire. His seminal work, the Arthashashtra, arguably the world’s first comprehensive treatise on statecraft and governance, was written approximately two thousand years before Machiavelli’s The Prince.”[From the book]

History is testimony to the results of Chanakya’s strategy and not utilizing such a great resource as his work can only be termed a crime. His work is relevant and also most required today when The Time called the most important man of our country an under-achiever, when we start everyday with news of a new scam, most of our leaders tainted and trust in the system is at its lowest. An urgent action is needed on our leaders’ part and an equal need for others to question the system, to ask for answers, to ask the right questions and debate on the right ways of bringing about a change and infuse a fresh lease of life into our system and country to really make it a Shining India.

Pavan Varma’s book has taken the first step towards that change. In his book, divided in five parts, he has analysed the current situation in detail and provided the solutions that he thinks can be used to overcome these problems. The five parts he has focused on are

  1. Governance
  2. Democracy
  3. Corruption
  4. Security (of the country from external threats )
  5. Inclusive society

The best part about the book is that there is great focus how can the situation be remedied instead of just detailed problem analysis.  Plus, the points are not dry theory or wishful thinking but practical implementable, and workable solutions. His rich experience shows in the analysis and the solutions devised. However, neither the content nor the language overwhelms the reader and in fact the book is quite a light read in spite of the topic at hand.  The book made me run to Google plenty of times to get the facts, to verify something, to counter a theory or to defend my counter-views. And, for me, any book which can make you think in such a manner is a winner. He provides his perspective on the important issues and even when you don’t agree you’ll find the views and theories quite intriguing. The book makes you think deeply on all the issues.

Anybody who thinks about being a part of social change, changing the status-quo, interested in current politics, interested in statesmanship or knowing the art of statecraft and governance should read this book.  Also, anybody who wants to read a great piece of non-fiction with practical outlook should pick a copy of the book. Not for casual readers though. Be ready to rack your brains if you want to read the book and some amount of patience is required to understand what is written if you aren’t very familiar with the ways of governance.

Final Verdict: 8/10

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Book details:

 Name: Chanakya’s New Manifesto: To Resolve the Crisis within India

Author: Pavan K Varma

Publisher: Aleph Book Company(2013)

No. of pages: 248

 

Indian Quills Reading Challenge 2013

New Start for a New Year. Happy New Year 2013 to everyone! Hope you had a blast sending off 2012 and welcoming 2013 🙂

Indian Quills Reading Challenge is an attempt to create a database of reviews for books by Indian authors. With the Indian literary scene buzzing with activity, 2013 looks like a promising year for both desi readers and writers.

I am committing to read & review at least 20 Books under this challenge in 2013. Wish me luck!!

Thanks Reshmy for letting me know of the challenge 🙂

Indian Quills Reading Challenge 2013

Indian Quills Reading Challenge 2013

2012 in review

Hasn’t been a great year in terms of blogging but a good report nonetheless. 2012 in review for my blog by WordPress.com

Thank you all lovely readers for reading, liking, commenting and sharing! Hope you enjoy reading my posts as much(or more) in 2013. 🙂

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 17,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.