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!).
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!
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.
I’ve started a new initiative to blog about the books I’ve been wasting my time on and the Bookworm Chronicles are now officially online. I will write my reviews that you can access directly via the menu on the top of the page (until I can figure out how to automatically create some sort of reading list within the Bookworm page).
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).
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!
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…
I browsed through the images at Unsplash.com – a super awesome site for natural unprocessed images of life… Of people, rolling hills, pretty clouds, winding rivers, yada yada.
And then I hit the jackpot with this image.
See the calmly building clouds? The perfect lighting provided by the sun so perfectly obscured by those clouds? The water body at the head of the image depicting the power play between the clouds and the sun? Probably not – because your focus was inexplicably shifted to the phone.
Can you believe this person (whoever it was) actually preferred to enjoy nature through the screen of his phone and not… Naturally?! What’s worse… I completely lost track of the serene sight in the image and was left fuming at the person’s stupidity in the face of such beauty.
Took me back to a few weeks ago when someone shared this image with me.
So true how we’ve become addicted to our phones for everything… From phone numbers to birthdays and fitness routines to emails. I remember a time when (not very long ago) I was given a phone for a few hours each day and that too because it seemed to be the most efficient way to get a hold of me as I made my way through college life. Today I hear of people leaving home without their wallet… But never without their phones.
The smart phones we invented to free up our time have made us lose more time than we can account for. Beyonce asked (and then declared) that girls run the world… sorry babe, I think its these palm-sized bots.
I own a little silver ring that I picked up at a thrift store when I was a teenager (which is so far back that I’m surprised the ring is that old!!). It’s silver and I bought it in India, which is to say there’s (almost) a fixed rate for it. My mom and I did some killer bargaining and brought the guy down a few bucks (I’m not even sure we made up for the cab fare to get to the store, but, as all Indians will agree, a bargain is a bargain no matter how much you save). I also bought a small silver necklace from him (but we didn’t get as good a bargain on it). Mind you, these events occurred many many years ago – but I’m still upset that we didn’t get a good deal on the necklace (not that I minded… I was 14 or 15; at that age my parents paid for every darn thing I wanted to own and I had no balance sheet of my own to bother with!!).
The teenage-me debated getting some elvish inscription on the inside of the ring (after all, it was the year Lord of the Rings had come out and inscriptions on rings sounded oh-so-cool). But then I realised that, as proficient as the fellow may have been, there was no way he was Elven-educated. So I let the engraving me, picked up the ring & necklace and traipsed out the store.
I remember wearing that ring to school (and college and university thereafter) like my life depended on it. Like somehow my life force was tied to the existence of that ring and that it’s sole purpose was to hang around my neck and protect me. Many of my more fashionable friends picked up necklaces with more stylish motifs (yin/yang, dog tags and even one leaf that I remember), but I stayed loyal to my ring. I added an odd assortment of pendants through my teenage years (a key, an anchor, even a crucifix!), but that silver blob of twisted metal remained on me through many of my years. I thought it gave my rebellious soul some character… and I steadfastly refused to part with it.
Today I work in an organisation where even the ‘bling’ is conservative. Muted gold ornaments and polished matte platinum accessories share office space with pastel shades and soft bobs. I let go of (most of) my wild uncouth wavy hair and now sport a (sort of) conservative pixie cut (my hair are still wavy, but that’s a topic for another post in itself). My stylish black t-shirts and faded jeans have made way for cuffed shirts and smartly-pressed trousers. My custom converse sneakers have been phased out and sleek black office shoes adorn my feet.
It was super cool of Colette to nominate me (yes me!!) for the ‘Encouraging Thunder’ award. You can read her post here.
The rules are very simple:
The nominee posts the Award on their blog and adds the logo. (check)
Pass it on by nominating others.
Thank the person that nominated you; also add their URL to your post for ping back. (check and check. And thank you again Colette!!)
Mention your purpose for blogging.
I write because I can. I can’t doodle or dance or jiggy (or twerk). But I can write. So I do.
Simply put, it’s one of the many things in my life I’m proud of and I’m a mighty show off. So I write. If you don’t think I write too well, you’re probably right; but you know what, I’ll shake it off (cuz haters gonna hate hate hate right…?). I will still write about stuff I’m passionate about or crazy stuff I encounter everyday. (Some) Fairly sane(ish) people follow my blog, so I’m quite convinced I’m not all bonkers (maybe a little, but not all). So I will write. Till I learn to doodle or dance or jiggy (I ain’t never learning to twerk y’all!!).
As for my nominations, I didn’t see any rules about the “profile” of the blogs we are allowed to nominate (i.e. we can nominate blogs with any number of followers) – so I’ve nominated a few folks that I think will have fun with this particular post.
Anand will likely narrate a story involving his mom and/or mom-in-law and/or wife to make his point. I look forward to it more than I’m letting on 😉
Fellow nutella lover will probably draw up a thought-provoking list to let us know why she writes. You will definitely connect with at least one of them.
The unsuspecting word inventor will probably define another word that isn’t so we understand their purpose for writing
Charlotte will secretly (or not) curse me for dragging her into this mess and post it under “E”. Or “T”. Or not. I hope she gets a good doodle in though…
That’s it on my end. I can’t wait to see how these unsuspecting folks tackle (?) the award and I hope you’ll all spare a minute to check out their blogs.
Coming soon… A post on a few things to avoid whilst traipsing around Mumbai (or most cities in India)