Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tag of Books

Winne the poohi tagged me, and man, I love this tag.

The Rules are as follows:

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you intend to read.
3) Underline the books you really love (and strikethrough the ones you hate!).
4) Reprint this list in your own blog.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (have read some, but not complete works - nt much of a shakespeare fan here.)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

My score is: 43/100 or shall i say, 43.5/100 since I have read many of Shakespeare? though exactly my kind of list, I had fun doing it. Now, who all are going to take it up?
Prasanth, Gazal, Pratz, Suma,Joy, Tia - game for it?

(I could not find a shortcut to underline in blogger, and too lazy to go to the code and do it... I like almost all the books I have read in this list)

Now playing: Harold Faltermeyer - Top Gun Anthem via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The role of Lady Luck...

"When you starts driving, you start with a pot full of luck and an empty pot of
experience. The art of driving safe is to fill your pot of experience without letting
the pot of luck go dry". I have read this line in a couple of biking/touring forums
and always wondered about it. It is so true. Though you may be an extremely careful
driver, sometimes, the sheer stupidity of others may put you into a position where
your experience cannot bail you out, but your lady luck may.

S is an extremely competent and safe driver. He have lot of expertise, and have done
quiet a lot of driving in various conditions. I can any day vouch for his driving, and
if I have to trust my life at ones driving, S is one guy I can blindly trust to take me
safe from anywhere to anywhere.
We have done many long trips (driving and riding) together, and
I have never seen him exceeding 100 kmph - he is a guy who always like to play it
safe. The only time I saw him pushing his ambassador to the maximum speed, well past
100 kmph; was when he was trying to take an accident victim to the hospital.

We where on the return leg of a long drive, on NH 47, and it was raining slightly. We
saw a white ambassador, with lights on and blaring horn, coming down very
fast, trying to overtake us. S promptly gave way for him and we both exchanged couple
of remarks about the foolishness of driving so fast on a wet road. We kept driving steadily, and soon we saw a big crowd in front of us, blocking the road. We stopped the car and saw that a tree
fell from the side, and it nearly crushed the car which over took us. But luckily, the
tree fell on the rear of the car, sparing the driver and passenger. The passenger
escaped unhurt, but the driver was bleeding, and so S took both of them to hospital -
and it is the only time I have seen him pushing the car to its limit.

The inroads - the roads which connects the villages - they are usually narrow and
winding in Kerala. Yesterday, S and G (wifi of S) where going for a long drive, and on
the way there is a series of curves which are kind of accident prone. It is very near
to the home of S, so he was very cautious and he took them as usual - slow and safe,
honking at each turn. A Mahindra Bolero was coming in the opposite direction, and it
was coming so fast that, when the driver heard the horn of S's car, he almost stood
on his break, and in the force, the jeep did a ninety degree turn and skidded and the
back of the jeep came and hit S's car between the right side tyre well and front door
The guy was out of his mind to driving so fast in a narrow road like that, and
only by gods grace that the hit was on a spot where the shock was absorbed by the car
with minimal structural damage, isolating the passengers. If the hit had been on the
door, S could have been seriously injured, and if the hit have been on the tyre well
or on the side of the bonnet, S could easily could have lost control. By Gods grace,
what could have been a serious disaster turned out to be a not so serious accident.

It just sent me thinking - no matter how careful we are, some times, lady luck have
to smile on us. Experience alone cannot bail you out all the time.

PS: Yesterday I read in the newspaper about an accident. A bus was coming down a ghat
section and a tree fell on the bus. The driver saw the tree falling down, and he had
two options - stop the bus and get crushed, or take the bus so that he will be saved,
but passengers will get crushed. He chose to stop the bus, and the brave guy lost his
life, but saved the life of all the other people in the bus. I salute his spirit. If
only the people who are blasting the bombs and paying the horse trade in politics had
at least 10% of his conscience.

Suma, at last, I did break that jinx of drying out :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I sat there

I sat there, on the boulder
Watching the life whiz past by
I saw the rising sky line of the city
And the standstill Ulsoor lake
I saw children playing gully cricket
I watched the yellow balloon up in the sky
And the madding rush of vehicles from MG road
The street Romeo on his loud two stroker
The business tycoon wafting in his Mercedes
The fearsome army trucks
The autos trudging away with heavy burden of weights
The gray overcast sky
The giggles of kids returning from school
I saw the dog and the lady rummaging through the garbage bin,
One for food and one scavenging used plastic
I saw the happy middle aged couple
Happy in each others company, oblivious to world around them
I sat there with no hurry,
Enjoying the breeze and watching the life whiz past by

Oh these women drivers...

Women drivers – oh, don’t tell me about them. They drive like they are walking in the park. Believe me man, they don’t know how to drive, the take up the whole road, they don’t move and they don’t even have good reflex. You know what – they should not drive, or we should keep a line separate for them. This is the kind of reaction you get from the average Joe if you talk about women drivers. People do accept women as their equals in corporate world, at homes, but strangely, when it comes to road, it is like a male owned territory and many guys treat women like trespassers. And try overtaking them and man, you have just let the gate of hell wide open. The hurt male ego will brook nothing till they overtake you.
Now, guys don’t jump on m e- I am not saying every one of us is like that, there are guys like that. But though there are guys like that, we are not ready to accept it. I agree not every female driver is good and there are ladies who drive irresponsibly but there are guys like that too. So why brand lady drives as a whole for the act done by few?

I came across a feature in Auto India about this subject last month, and the author recounts an incident happened to her. She was driving home after a party with her friends, and they spotted a car crawling along, giving confused signals and not budging from the road, and the guys spotted long flowing hair and started making fun of lady drivers. At last, when the author overtook the car, they saw a bearded face – it was a guy who was driving the car, not a lady.

I, personally believe there are only two kind of drivers – those who know how to drive and those who don’t know how to drive. And gender doesn’t have anything to do with it. I have seen excellent male drivers and crappie male drivers who should put behind bar if ever you find them behind the driving wheel, and I have seen the same with ladies too.
So, when next time the discussion is about male-female drives, please don’t pain the whole side with one color – remember, it is the individual who drives and it is the ability of the individual which matters, not gender.

Drive / ride long and drive / ride safe.

(this blog is inspired by the article published in July 2008 Auto India – She Drives… under the section In Focus and is written by Vineetha Mokkil)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hall of fame - Lit.Charat.

Whew, i finished this post at last. When I saw it @ Prats page, i wanted to flick it, and man, btw the crazy schedule, i had to keep track of this post (a very rare thing forme to do - really sit down and write a blog)
So here is my personal hall of fame...

Howard Roark
I came across him when i was going through a time of doubt and confusion, and he made a lot of sense to me. Though I won’t say that he changed my life, i can never deny the impressions he had in shaping me. The sure foot youth with blazing orange hair, who decided to design his own destiny, he showed me there is nothing a man cannot achieve if he believes in it.

Favorite Dialogue:
"I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one."

John Galt
The striker, the inventor, the one who is not ready to adjust or compromise for others... the ultimate hero is many counts; he showed mass of people may not always be right. He showed there is no point in being intimidated by the majority, and what is more important is to stand up if you think what you do is right, even if the whole world thinks it is not so.

Favorite Dialogue:
I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of
another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

Francisco d'Anconia
Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastian d'Anconia - the multitalented young genius... who made one of the best cover to mask his true intention... he is the genius of a character - if ever I get a chance to live as a character, I will choose him.

Favorite Dialogue:
The paragraph where he speaks about money and refuting the argument that money is the root of all evil.

Ah, Reginald Jeeves - what do I tell about you, the best 'gentleman's personal gentleman' ever took birth? I like him so much that I named one of my bikes after him... He have saved me from many a moody days, and with his fine and subtle wit and brainy ideas.

The old man who taught me that man cannot be defeated, but destroyed. The one who showed me what persistence is all about. The one who said men never give up. He is certainly among top 10 in my hall of fame.

Ari Ben Canaan
The six feet and three inches tall hard rock of a man. The one who braved the difficulties and did what many thought cannot be done. he became the mould for the rough, unpolished and courageous hero in my mind when I read the book first time.

Don Vito Corleone
The Godfather - no one have made me feel the power of the word Power like Don Corleone. The dialogue “I'll make him an offer he can't refuse." is enough to send the waves of power he wields through the skulls and the way he controlled his empire is nothing but a grand game of chess which is worth the prize for best game ever played. .

Sherlock Holms
The imperfectly perfect sleuth... the cocaine snuffing genius. I read his stories when i was a kid and fell in love with his observation and deduction power.

The Jackal
One of the best assassins - it is a treat to read his ways - the subdued violence, the cat and mouse game, and the climax where a perfect plan gets thwarted by a most unpredictable moment... He is one hero who is an anti hero and an anti hero, who is heroic in proportions.

The ultimate brat, the adorable pocket bomb. He and his partner in crime – Hobbs, is one package which can send your blues and mood swings to moon. Perhaps my ever favorite cartoon character, he never fails to lit up my face when I read or reread his strips.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Last few days, i went AWOL - to my hometown.
I love travel by train. no, let me rephrase it - i love travel- it entices me, enchants me and make me dream... when i travel, my first preference is to go by road. Swing my legs across the saddle of a bike and devour the road or strap myself to the cockpit of a car and let the pedal do the talking - the cocoon like a/c Volvo buses doesn’t figure in my scheme of road travel. If not by road, I love travel by train - here too, not by first class or a/c, but by sleeper class.
When ever I travel to Kerala by train, there are two things which I don’t miss - Valayar Checkpost - the first sight of Kerala, and a steaming hot cup of
Coffee from Palgat railway station. I love getting down to the platform, taking few steps to teh nearest tea stall, and having a piping hot coffee
along with a fresh Malayalam newspaper. The coffee is a refreshing break from the watered down coffee-water the chai/coffee wallas server inside the train.

Now, why was this AWOL? well, it was not exactly an AWOL, but a planned leave - we just finished building our new home, and last Monday we shifted to the new home. so that is where I was for the last few days.

(any of you heard a new Malayalam song "Right ottu potte"? heard this when i went home this month, if any of you know the movie, please drop me a line)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fire Wok - review

Last Saturday me and my fried decided to checkout the restaurant 'FireWok' at Polynation - the food court of Oasis mall, one of the new entrants into teh already crowded mall list of Bangalore.

First things first - Oasis is bang on Koramangala 80Ft road, and it is impossible to miss it - once you reach the mall, parking is easy - they have parking spaces at each floor, so if you want to head to food court directly, you don’t have to park your bike at basement or ground floor and have to catch a lift. We parked out bike on 2nd floor and decide to give do a quick check out @ lifestyle before heading to Polynation.

Polynation have some well knows outlets such as Madras Curry House, Yellow Chillies, Tandoor, Fire Wok, Cream&Fudge Factory, Doughnut bakers and Pizza corner. Our main aim was to try the Noodle bowl @ FireWok, so we headed straight there. The ambiance is ok, and tables near the glass wall give good view.

The concept of noodle bowl is - they have three varieties of noodles - Flat, regular and rice - you can take a bowl and pick you choice of noodles - u can mix them also - and then you can pick the vegetables you like from the vegetable counter – once you fill your bowl with noodles and vegetables, pass it to the chef, pick the spices you want from the list, and pick the sauce of your choices. If you want chicken, paneer or prawns, they will add it - and they will cook it the way you asked them.

I picked up rice noodles, spring onions, carrot, bean sprouts, mushroom, fungi, and an assortment of some other vegetables i didn’t much cared to identify, and asked the chef to add chicken, ginger, garlic and crushed black pepper, black pepper sauce and oyster sauce.

The service is fast, before we had time to decide whether we want to order starters or not, we got our main dish. The dish tasted more or less like I expected, but a l'll less on salt. It was not much oily, but then it was not exactly superb also. Priced at 135 a plate, the bowl is a good option if you are really hungry, but don’t go there expecting the authentic Chinese taste - it is more like commercialized Chinese taste.

Ps: after the lunch, we had ice creams from Cream&Fudge factory - they really do make superb ice creams... I tried a combination of one scoop cookie dough, one scoop caramel, macadamia nuts, gummy bears, chocolate sauce and caramel sauce - yeah, perfect recipe to forget all the calorie count, but take it from me, you will never regret the decision... :-D

Thursday, July 3, 2008


It rained yesterday - not a light drizzle, but good old heavy rain. And I got drenched :-D Was riding to home from office, and when i passed the Domlur fly over, i felt the first kiss of a drop, and soon the drop became a downpour. I was more than happy - after a long day at work, what more can I ask?
Took the long way around, and on the way, stopped at Nilgiris for some shopping. Thankfully, the rain didnt get over and by the time I reached home, I was wet like I took a swim for a good length of time...

Saw a lady fell down from her scooter, and some idiots riding at full throttle - when will people learn that when it rains, you should ride smooth and slow?

Today we are having a Bharat Bundh - called by BJP, to protest against teh happenings linked to the Amarnath land allocation issue. But thankfully, life is as usual @ bangalore. I am sure today will be like a public holiday @ Kerala. Keralites have really taken the art of enjoying harthals. And teh leaders have modularized to concept well - there are area wise hartals for small issues, Town / Panjayath wise, District wise and then the whole state hartal.
Happy holidays to you, people @ Kerala.

I am reading Dune by Frank Herbert now - itz an amazing book. I am totally hooked to it. After finishing dune, I have QB VII by Leon Uris. Time to fill the book shelves again...
The day is moving slowly, and I am looking forward for teh weekend...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

the Flickr Mosaic

I nicked it from selah.

the rules are:

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.

2. Using only the first page of results, and pick one image.

3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into Big Huge Lab’s Mosaic Maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

The questions:

1. What is your first name?

2. What is your favorite food? right now?

3. What high school did you go to?

4. What is your favorite color?

5. Who is your celebrity crush?

6. What is your favorite drink?

7. What is your dream vacation?

8. What is your favorite dessert?

9. What do you want to be when you grow up?

10. What do you love most in life?

11. What is one word that describes you?

12. What is your user name?

and the resultant mosaic is:


Why don't u guys join the fun? take it up - it will be fun to see the mosaic...

Now playing: Bob Dylan - Knockin' On Heaven's Door
via FoxyTunes