Monday, June 27, 2005


Since so many folks out here were bibiliophiles, just wanted to pass on a couple of titles that I have found to be of extremely high caliber with some outrageous wit and subtle sarcasm.

Monday, June 20, 2005


Last weekend over the usual call home, pop used the word "monsoon". A shot of vodka later, the word began revolving in my head. (Still cant get it out and hence this vent).

There is something very distinctive about Monsoons back home. Something haunting. Something very tied down to the place. I did visit Southwest US (Arizona, New Mexico) to catch the same phenomenon, its just not the same. Home is Home.

Meanwhile my pop rambled on saying that if we dont get the monsoons on time, the city will have water problems which in turn would result in power cuts and so on. I believe C.V. Raman once said that "Indian Economy is a gamble in the monsoon rain". How true!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Tag, You're It

I have been introduced to the concept of of memes through programming lessons and later in viral spamming campaigns like if you done send this devotional email to another bunch of 5 people, God is personally gonna strike you down or something like that.But this one's appealing because it's about books. I was tagged by a GeeBaby on writing about books as per a set template. I didnt know about this till this morning but anyways let me take a stab at it.

Total Number of Books I Own: Never counted. Approximately 1,000 or so geogrphically distributed over the places I have been living or travelling. In my last move to CA the only 4 cartons I relocated were 5 boxes of books.Currently have only 100 odd books with me.

Last Book I Bought: Wandered into a book store before Dinner yesterday. I bought Sum Of Our Discontent by David Boyle. The book deals with the fact that sometimes in the process of counting and measuring we miss out on some important facts about the thing itself. (Just like the previous section about volume of books says nothing about the quality of the importance). Just done with the first chapter but sounds like a very promising read.

Last Book I Read: Been more than 3 months since I finished my last book "The Mammaries Of the Welfare State" . Wait a minute. Thats wrong. Actually the last one I read was Andy Kessler's "How We Got Here"

One Book I Couldn't Finish:- Ulysses by Joyce. Just wasnt mentally prepared nor had enough perspective to understand it. I also couldnt finish "You Shall Know Our Velocity" because I forgot it in the plane seat in Canada.

Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me: Only five? Beware, the smaller the sample size, the greater the need to be selective and thats so tough.Anyway let me take a dive (nowhere representative of the entire spectrum but popping off my head at this moment)

Phew! I am hungry now, so let me grab some grub. Oops! I got to spread the disease by naming five innocent souls whom I wish to harass. So here is the ist of Honors : Hirak and Sumedha ( You knew that was a no brainer, right?) , Priyanka,Venu and Bonnie. All the best to you guys

ps: If you seriously wanna know how cool tagging is, try

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Meaning Of Actual Experience

I have been deliberately away from these posts and the Internet for more than a week, thanks to my move to the new house as well as heavy dining and wining experiences. I never ate so much outside or tried so many differenty cuisines. On the whole it was a nice experience.

Talking about experiences, I have been thinking of a decent gift for my parents on their upcoming anniversary and someone suggested a cruise or vacation. Trying to make possible an experience rather than giving a trinket/utility sort of thing always scored high on my list. I was talking to another pal of mine yesterday night and he observed that I usually call him after an email or a chat.( implying an "Out of Sight, Out of Mind" thingie). We both know that we have fun we spend some time together in an Irani Cafe rather than talk over the phone. It seems weird to me to call up even the best friends at times because somehow the telephone as a medium doesnt serve the definition of "quality time" with my folks. The same could be said of Internet. I hate chatting/IMing because it undercuts a real conversation and fosters bad grammar(I am saying it didnt strike me as such though I have seen people swear by it for its features etc.,) . Besides, If people really had something to say they would probably compose it in an email (I still miss those real letter writing days yearning for the post man to call out my name at mid-noon.Its been ages since I have known that and I fear I cannot recognise my own handwriting!Note to Self: Take a Calligraphy Class).You may call me a luddite for saying this but I dont want to go on a philippic here about virtual experiences. What concerns me here is the meaning of an actual experience as opposed to the abstraction of it. I cannot say better than Robin Williams from GoodWill Hunting :

Robin Williams as Sean : Thought about what you said to me the other day, about my painting. Stayed up half the night thinking about it. Something occurred to me... fell into a deep peaceful sleep, and haven't thought about you since. Do you know what occurred to me?
Matt Damon as Will: No.
Sean: You're just a kid, you don't have the faintest idea what you're talkin' about.
Will: Why thank you.
Sean: It's all right. You've never been out of Boston.
Will: Nope.
Sean: So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you'd probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can't tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You're a tough kid. And I'd ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, "once more unto the breach dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I'd ask you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn't know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you... I don't see an intelligent, confident man...

It strikes me that actual experience somehow distorts our hypothetical Image, be it for good or bad. There is probably a good reason for me perusing photographs besides my friends rather than send them a digitally scanned picture, catch my newspaper in print rather than read it online, page through a real book instead of leafing it online. At the same time I like paying bills, booking tickets and do my banking online.( Of course reading other people's thoughts sprayed out on blogs is something else that could be on the list too.)

My frontal cortex throws me into a dizzy when I think of what might be the meaning of actual experience as opposed to an online/virtual experience .