Of European Elections and Holiday Halloween-ing


As you’ve all no doubt heard by now, France is done with its first round of voting in its national election. They’re getting a new President soon, and they want to make sure that they give the top 2 candidates a fair shot at the title, so they have a 2 stage process – phase 1, which just ended, featured all of the candidates wooing the voters (including this one who took technology to transcend the physical limitations of the human body); phase 2, which is later in May, features just the top 2 candidates from phase 1. It’s a fairly simple process compared to the complex electoral process followed most recently in a nation that elected a fairly complex president, but only slightly less complex than in my own country, where there is a somewhat layered approach to electing a Prime Minister.  Anyway, for the first time in a very long time, none of the mainstream politicians are eligible for the 2nd round voting in France – both Macron and Le Pen have unseated the long-favoured socialists and republicans and have set up a unique race in France; not a surprise, considering the exit polls, but certainly an indication of changing winds. And for the second time in a very short span of time, we may have yet another not-so-orange-faced-but-certainly-orange-minded President to contend with. With Brexit on course to derail the EU and one candidate’s clear indicates towards a Frexit or a Fra-tata, the world is following this election. Me – I’m not. I’m binge watching Fargo (Martin Freeman is such a classy actor that you’ll want to watch the series again, just for him.)

Meanwhile, my neighbourhood decided to honour Halloween in mid-April. We had Halloween decorations, candy, people in costumes… everything to believe I had indeed crossed the Atlantic. Why they decided to harbour the belief that we need Halloween, I don’t know. Why they felt we needed it in the middle of April, I get though… its super duper hot and I can only believe that ghosts and witches and the paranormal are responsible  for it(climate change – pfft!).

Conjuring witches and pumpkins in Mumbai y’all!
The laziness of pulling down decorations transcends borders

And on a side note – Adnan Sami still performs. He performed at this Halloween extravaganza the other day and he was pretty good. His band almost broke the window panes of my house with their bass settings and amplification, but he was pretty good. I had a headache from the extremely loud music which didn’t reduce despite me blocking every single crack through which sound waves could creep into my house, but he was pretty good. Apparently, local residents complained that it was a bit too loud for their liking, but the cops may have told them,

He was pretty good…!

Until I find more relevant news and/or annoying local tidbits. Ciao!

Advertisements

Finding inspiration


It’s difficult to understand how people find inspiration. I used to find what I thought was inspiration in small things some days – watching people in the local train, listening to street hawkers at the stalls below the office, or even chatting with my Uber driver – but I’ve found very little of this of late. (The inspiration I mean… I have way too many Uber driver stories to be labelled inspiring any more…)

At first I thought it was because of the routine (read: monotony) in my life, so I tried switching it up. I quit the gym (cuz duh, 6am starts are no good right), changed my diet (cuz, proteins!), started drinking more water (cuz the internet says its good, and if the internet says so, it must be true) and increased my activity levels (cuz, Fitbit; take that S). I thought a generally “healthier” lifestyle would make me feel fresher and give me more inspiration. (It didn’t). All it did was give me a huge shopping bill (losing weight is a pain in the (insert every muscle name here) and a drag on the wallet) and make more people more jealous of me (please to relate to the folks who’ve been on green tea FOREVER and had nothing in their life go their way). I’m now the person who eats salad wherever I go and look at a croissant with X-ray vision that reports high carbs, high calories and zero proteins – basically, I’m the embodiment of everything them skinny b***es are. In short, I’m now the most uninspired person I know.

But I see the inspired people I know so… relaxed. They’re Zen about everything – work, life, travel, even their wives (I KNOW, RIGHT!). They just know… to be.

So I’m taking a more radical approach to finding inspiration and making more time for myself. None of this take-stress-in-life thing no more. My theory is this – if the inspired folks are chill, maybe chilling leads to the inspiration (there’s a statistician I know who’s jumping off a cliff going “CAUSE AND EFFECT DON’T WORK THAT WAY” but I’m like “meh”). I’m just going to chill out, breathe in, breathe out and type (or write). I will type whatever my brain instructs my not-so-chubby-anymore fingers to type (and whatever my phone or computer doesn’t autocorrect). Maybe I’ll click a snap or two for my pleasure and share it with you. Maybe I’ll link out to some swag track on youtube. Maybe I’ll comment on some mundane piece of news you didn’t need to know about (but that I told you about anyway – you’re welcome).

Or maybe I’ll just type out a line that says “Mic Drop”. or “Mission Accomplished”. or “Mischief Managed”. or “Katappa”.

Welcome to the wild west of blogging my dear friends.

Book Review – No Way to Die


Book Number 2 in the Danny Logan series, this was the first book in the Danny Logan series that I read. (Because I was an idiot to have not scrolled through the rest of the books on my Kindle to see that I also had Danny Logan #1 on it).

The book (and the whole series) falls in the murder mystery category and, true to form, it begins with the corpse of Tom. We are shortly introduced to Danny Logan, army CID-turned-full time investigator and part-time long distance runner and his team at Logan PI – Toni Blair (kick-ass chick), Doc Kiahtel (kick-ass Apache), Kenny Hale (kick-ass geek) and Richard (I’m out of kick-ass references now…). Logan PI has been hired by Tom’s wife – Tom, we learn, is a pretty big deal of a guy so everyone’s really keen to make sure he died the right way. Tom is actually Thomas, a kick-ass tech guy who’s developed a super cool device called the Starfire Protocol. The folks at Thomas’ company work in cryptology, so there was a whole chapter about encryption used in current payment technologies and how Thomas was looking to overhaul it. We are introduced to the (obvious) British baddie Madoc and discover that (surprise) his company wants to own Starfire. Badly. Danny does what he can to make sure that the world as we know it does not change – including tying with the Feds to make a deal with Madoc. But, as usual, the good guys are two steps behind and Toni ends up being held captive by Madoc and his team of goons. In a final showdown in a (you guessed it) barn in a remote location, Danny and Doc do everything they can to save Toni and Starfire and the readers are left staring wordlessly at how everything played out. Oh and the barn gets blown up. And a helicopter too. Super.Darn.Cool.

As any book involving opposite sex characters would be, there’s sub plots about both Danny’s and Toni’s love lives in there and I for one thought that there was a bit too much of that in there for me to ignore – it wasn’t enough to make me pull my hair, but it was enough that I skim read some paras. Do I think they make a great team? Yes. Did I need to know that they were working out their own personal romantic issues. A big fat No.

I’m gonna wrap this up with some quick thoughts on the book and the author. The book meets every requirement of the murder mystery genre to the t – decent storyline, engaging characters and well-scripted (albeit somewhat typical) situations. The bad guys are “properly” bad and the good guys are just too good for their own good. The author refrains from using very complication language or terms (save for the cryptography bit – you can never dumb down cryptography y’all!) and the book comes across as an overall easy read. Danny plays the guitar and listens to music so interesting that I wonder where the real Danny actually lives and how we have never bumped into each other. Toni’s tattoos sound so awesome that I want one too (a small one maybe – not a Celtic sleeve). Doc sounds scary enough that I would stay the hell away from him. And Kenny sounds harmless enough that I would hang with him. The gang sounds fun enough that I went back and read Book 1 of the series and then Books 4 and 5 too (more on those later).

Final Verdict – A cup of tea, a hot samosa and a good book can make even the gloomiest of weekends seem worthwhile and this book will keep your mind engaged just enough to get over a weekend. Strong start to the series for me and enough to get me onto the Danny Logan bandwagon.

You can check the book out on Amazon, Google and on goodreads (they have a free preview that you can check out as well and loads of people who’ve rated/reviewed the book).

Busy Busy Busy


The last couple of months have been super busy for me. As you know, I have a job. Ergo, I must work in the office. The office has only suddenly realised that I work there full-time (or so it seems), so they seem to be going all out to make me work full time. So I haven’t found any secret time at the office to write – or let me put it this way; the kind of stuff I write at the office would not can not go on my blog.

Socially, I’ve been super active.
I was instrumental in ensuring that an evil corporation (whose name does not rhyme with The Notebook) was unable to sink its deep claws into our proud nation with its Basically Free version of the internet. The internet-savvy Indians (that’s like 0.001% of our nation) went nuts about the violation of our right to access all websites freely, irrespective of who provided the internet connection to us and did all we could to block this monster. We succeeded, and now the 99.999% of the country that could have accessed the internet (or some parts of it) will no longer be able to. Take that!
It was also saddening that 2 heroes of my childhood will no longer be around. David Bowie and Alan Rickman, both of whom contributed to making my childhood so much cooler, took a permanent leave of absence from this plane of existence. I was barely getting over the fact that Ziggy Stardust (whose latest album dropped 2 days before his untimely exit) would no longer be around to gawk at that Professor Snape decided to join him in the big showland. Twitter and Facebook and all the other social media were filled with #RIPZiggy and #Always references that mere mortals or Muggles could never appreciate. After a week in mourning (and changing my phone’s ringtone to Space Oddity and editing my message tone to Silence!), I realised that I must now shop to get over my grief (because, hello, that’s how its done). I bought Bowie’s new album and went shopping all over for a gown just like Snape’s (which I still haven’t found – the number of burqas I had to turn down from over-eager shop owners is not even funny).
I was also busy cruising the websites to find all references to Leo not winning an Oscar and making new memes about it. I made it my life’s effort to make memes highlighting the unfairness of the Oscar in never awarding our most favourite deserving actor this highest office in the Hollywood world. Never mind that the super deserving cast of Straight Outta Compton and Idris Elba got a snub as well – this year was all about Leo (and the bear. A little). So when he finally did win the Oscar, I spent a good 2 days clearing my phone’s memory of those half a dozen memes that I created just in case he didn’t win. And also leaving a one-word comment on my newsfeed – Finally.

Now that the awards season is done and the financial year is nearly done (in that order), I have some time to breath, and blog (in that order). I’m super stoked to have a lot more to write about and cannot wait to get it all out. Happy March everyone!

An open letter to Isaac Newton


Dear Mr. Newton

First off, take a minute to realise that every teenager in every country on every planet is cursing you at this very moment.
Some because of the 23-year old who conceptualised calculus and integrated hell on so many levels.
Some because of 40-something guy who wrote 3 laws and created enough material to torture young souls from when they are 13 to when they are 30.

Many adults are also cussing at you… Because they realised they spent their teenage years learning calculus and physics for nought. NO ONE GIVES A DAMN HOW THE FRICKING DIFFERENTIAL EQUATIONS PAN OUT!!

I’m sure you are already surrounded by loads of physicists wondering why you left the world with so many ideas that made their lives hell. Why you debunked so many myths. And why you just couldn’t stop your brain from running from one idea to another preventing so many other physicists from making their own discoveries. “You attention hogger” seems like a kind way to put it. All your inventions and ideas may not keep you from taking a beating at their hands (unless you take a book out of Hawking’s theory and displace yourself to another universe where you didn’t do all this stuff. Oh wait. You can’t.)

Now that you’re totally in a mood to trash this letter… Take a moment and pat yourself for the many beautiful things you have left us with. A telescope to look up to the stars. The reason why the pretty rainbow is so. The reason why lightning and thunder go hand in hand… But not ear in ear. You had your hands in so many pies and left us something wonderful to remember you by in so many fields.

I’ve had my fair share of dissing you. For so many years. And am now at the age that I respect what you must have invested to leave all this behind for us.

Thank you.

Now gth. Not really. But kinda.

Cheers
Devil

P. S. As I wrote this I oscillated between extremely enraged and totally thankful. So I started enraged and ended thankful. And then enraged. And then thankful. Kinda summed up it well yes?

Tell me who you write a letter to? And why? And if you want to add a few words to Newton… Comment!

If homemade clocks could make you famous…


I would have made like 10 a year!!

For the uninitiated, this is in reference to the arrest of a 14-year old in (of course) the US of A for taking along a homemade clock to school… Apparently the clock was mistaken for an explosive device.

I carried a tube of toothpaste with me on a flight once. It was the approved travel pack of less than 10 ml (or whatever unit it is that you folks want to convert it to… ml is the official SI unit. Across the pond readers may need to look it up on Google to understand that the rest of the World is on ONE standard.) So I was obviously surprised when I was stopped at security and my bag was manually frisked. To my surprise it wasn’t the tube if toothpaste that caught the security officer’s attention.
It was a battery. Apparently a spent one at that (which I discovered 2 hours later when I tried to get the alarm clock functional. But then… A homemade clock would have got me in more trouble yes…?).

A spent battery. How much damage did they think I could cause with it? It’s not as if the airplane’s system ran on AA cells and I would swap it out and the flight would get grounded…
Right?

My 1×1


Having talked about how I don’t particularly liked cellular slaves, I am not one bit ashamed to admit that I am partially one myself. It’s not only my means to remain socially connected with people I cannot meet often, it’s also my most important medium to write on.

I know. Legacy writers love the sound of pen on paper and the smell on ink on a fresh sheaf of papers (have you ever smelt just-photocopied documents??!). Many writers I know prefer to do a lot of their writing on paper (in their diary or on sheets) and turn to their computer only when it’s time to publish (or for the occasional spell-check). They enjoy the feeling of writing something, crossing it out, noting new thoughts and corrections in the margin of a document or simply balling up the piece of paper and trashing it. Some writers refer to their stationery almost as fondly as they refer to their writing environment. THAT pen. THAT notepad. THAT desk with the familiar dents. They feel it lends character to their writing.

Some, however, are not as fortunate.

Before you conjure up an image of me being homeless and writing on scraps on paper balanced preciously on the walls of a building, let me clarify that statement.

I am not fortunate to have a fixed location from where I write. Partially because my day job involves a desk that spurns imaginative writing altogether (did I tell you I’m an investment banker…? We don’t involve ourself with lowly imaginative stuff… we devise solutions that will confuse the pants off of you and charge a bomb so you won’t have much to buy yourself new pants) and loads of travelling that doesn’t quite help in the way of “fixed” locations. My work life is a breeding ground for ridiculous ideas to write about – but it’s rare that I find myself in one place for too long for inspiration to conk me.

So I write in my very own 1×1. That I take along wherever I go. My very own “desk”, with a built-in cupboard for amazing ideas and a secret drawer for ones that I’ve locked away. Dented in its own special way, my 1×1 has character of its own (and is a character in itself). It is cluttered with stuff I’ve been meaning to clean out for a while now (that I’m quite sure I will never get around to).

My 1×1 is me. With my phone. In a noisy train or in a stuffy cab or in a crowded elevator. It is my mobile (pun-intended) inspiration centre and experience re-creator. It is my home away from home.

P. S. Ironically, I wrote this post almost entirely on a laptop. My phone had network issues (sigh). That’s one thing pen and paper writers don’t have to worry about eh?

Things social media throws up…


… That may make you throw up.

As I was horsing around on Twitter today I found this tweet courtesy of a media house.

Let me give you some background on this groundbreaking quote. Earlier this week, the municipal corporation of Mumbai (where I reside) passed an order banning the sale of beef and mutton for four days, allegedly to appease the followers of Jainism, who began their annual 10 day fast on 10 Sep. Let me say that again. Ban on beef and mutton. Chicken was explicitly allowed to be sold, as were fish and eggs.

The over imaginative people that we are, we spent the last 4 days wondering why other “non veg” foodstuffs were exempt from the ban. We thought beef and mutton both pertain to meat obtained from sacred animals. (albeit sacred to different religions… The Hindus worship cows. Jainism is a religion that believes that ALL creatures are equally sacred.)
Than we thought they were trying to save us few bucks by asking us to buy cheaper meat for a few days.

But this logic had me stumped.
Fish are dead as soon as they are out of the water so they aren’t slaughtered??! Did they willingly fly out of the water and into the waiting nets? Or did they just love your pretty mug and decide to surface to “take a selfie” with a cute duck face? Lack of oxygen apparently implies that a creature isn’t slaughtered… So that’s probably a safe method to take care of your boss eh…?

I’m trying to be as respectful as I can about religions and how politicians interpret them to suit their needs. Because if we are truly a ‘secular’ country… This sort of ban says very little about how tolerant we are about others’ beliefs.
This kind of reasoning sets us back many many years… And make me wish that we never evolved to make it out of the waters in the first place.

P. S. As I wrote this post (through the course of the day) the corporation chickened out (tee hee) and was forced to retract the ban to just 2 days. We could argue that there is simply no rationale as to why a 2 day ban would make people of a religion feel less “offended” than usual… But maybe there’s a logic that will follow in a tweet tomorrow. Like how 2 is the only even prime number less than 10 (duh of course) and how even numbers are more auspicious than odd ones.

Do you have any ideas on why chicken is exempt from the ban? Tell me… Or tweet about it 😉

P. P. S. In a juicy twist to this meaty controversy, the High Court has (apparently read my blog and) stayed the ban on meat on the same grounds that I rubbished it in the first place – why only certain non-vegetarian foodstuffs and why only certain days!! While it is still unclear on whether I will be inducted into the bench in order to assist them in their future efforts to keep this city safe (and sane), this fellow vegetarian blogger is happy to announce that the ban has been er… banned. Two negatives make a positive. Math lives on!

Random ramblings of a merry Mumbaikar

Gratis

Waking Imagination

Gallimaufry

A collection of various things: hodgepodge, mishmash, variety

amarllyis

"After all, tomorrow is another day."

listology101

random lists, bucket lists, funny lists, song lists, book lists, lists of lists

The Introvert's Dictionary

Because we speak a language all our own.

Megan Elizabeth

Creative Imaginations

Dragons Rule OK.

There are dragons and magic in the world if only you look for them... V.M. Sang

Scottish Bookworm in Quebec

Book and e-reader reviews

The Evening Ramble

Writing. Learning. Doing that whole grown-up thing.

nihilisticle

I guess I'll go ahead and count the ways.

darkofficehumour

Workplace behaviour – an ironic look at what some people sometimes do in office and why

The Blurred Line

It's the thin line between reality and fantasy. It's the thin line between sanity and madness. It's the crazy things that make us think, laugh and scream in the dark.

Pun Jabs

Putting the pun in pun-ch lines