Tag Archives: travel
The rise of E-books
With the growing network of internet and booming sales of smart phones and tablets (even phablets have been introduced now), I was expecting the book-selling industry to be hampered. And to a certain extent my logical approach I was right. One could easily find books on websites on a much reduced price. On one hand, sites like Amazon, Flipkart and Ebay have grabbed this opportunity really well by selling heaps of books at sub market prices. On the other hand, low prices of books have made them within the purchasing power of many. With time the market seemed to have reached equilibrium.
Avid book readers are happier because having a personal book collection is no more an expensive hobby. With almost 50% of the books well within the reach of middle class, the scenario has clearly changed in past one decade.
Where previously only noted well off historians or economists or lecturers could afford to have a vast collection of books, now every teenager has that luxury. A clear advantage is that knowledge available at a cheap price to anyone who wants it.
In addition, this has majorly boosted the confidence of young authors. Where the size of every fast selling novel ranges from 75-400 pages, it has become an achievable target for most aspiring authors. In fact, past few Indian best-sellers have no tough vocabulary that one has to sit with a dictionary. This is totally in contrast to the taste of people from a century ago, where only the literary works of Shakespeare or Emily Bronte were much appreciated.
Any English language major would be able to justify how the markets of books have changed since 1930s. Fewer people read complicated and original versions of accomplished writers such as Emily Bronte or Tennyson. Thanks to the adaptation and re-writing, even children books like Gulliver’s Travel have become easier to comprehend.
So, are the readers of today generation pleased and charmed by just a normal book in English? Of course not! Poems of Robert Frost are still a benchmark for judging talent. And maybe that’s all they have become, a benchmark. But yes to a certain extent, an easy to comprehend language is more appealing to the masses, where the classes still prefer quality work only.
Over the years people have tried to ape the style of writing of successful writers, but that happens no more. We have our own Agatha Christies, Sherlock Holmes and Rabindranath Tagores in the making.
But do these generation-X writers reach the fame of honorary writers? Yes indeed. The successes of J.K.Rowling, Stephanie Meyer and author of 50 shades (who was it???) are clear indications that one has to be good at what they write, be it any genre, and have to either adapt with the generation or think ahead of it.
So not only has reduced price of books benefited the readers, it has given a moral boost to writers, since the risk involved is much lesser. Many write their books or novels as a part-time and as a hobby rather than indulging in it full-time, at least not until they have received an initial kick of success.
People are more willing to launch books in various languages because they know that they can reach out to various locations. Interest in regional and other internationally used languages is boosted when there are a good variety of latest books. Even the production houses are more willing to take bets. I have read some horrible and amateur love stories with a vague story line hidden behind the hoo-ha of fiction. At such times I really appreciate the books by Steve Jobs or Mark Twain, at least they are worth the money I spent on them.
In my opinion, it is not just the low risk or charm of instant success which drives so many people to become authors or poets; it is the need to be heard. With our society being much open and receptive to all sorts of bizarre ideas (school of magic or vampires living within our community), it has become easier for the authors to reflect what they think in their writings.
Obviously there is no comparison to the classics. They are a class apart. But how many authors made it to that league of successful authors in those times? And how many successful authors are there today? So much difference, isn’t it? Indeed classic authors are still a class apart today. Nobody can compare with the libraries of classes and masses Salman Rushdie has breached. But such authors are few. There are more of mass writers than class writers today. Don’t you feel?
This is not true in the case of the superheroes though. Since they arrived in comic books and finally made their way into movies, they have been a hit, pleasing the masses and the classes. So it is obvious, creativity is required to sell your product; originality not so much.
So, has the technology helped the business of book selling indeed? For people who don’t want to carry books around when travelling or ones who feel books create a crowd in the reading room, it is the best thing that could ever happen. Of course, the people who like the touch and smell and vision of books continue to buy books.
But there is another class of world citizens rising to become readers. Ones who were interested in culture of other countries but could not afford to travel or pay for international shipping of books – they now have e books at their service. The ones who secretly read fiction and love stories while pretend that such books are a waste (peer pressure) can now easily hide, thanks to e books. The ones who were interested in reading books written in previous century but are allergic to old yellow pages can now read away to glory on their tablets/smart phones.
Such is the era we are living in, anything and everything we want to read is a click away. Be it buying a hard copy from a site online, or bidding on an original version of a novel by an author, or just a pdf or doc version of a book, it is all possible.
Knowledge increases with sharing. Thankfully sharing is cheap or free now a days.
Overhearing Birds ;)
Well after the first time I attempted dialogue writing for monkeys, I thought I can do it for birds too!! 😀
Lemme know what you think 😉
Pipa : Hey Chika have you seen Mina?
Yooohooooo…..Mina…?? Are you down there? C’mon buddy don’t hide, Show up!
Chika : Maybe he is playing hide-and-seek with us.. Lets search and bust him! What say??
Pipa : But its our lunch time. I am hungry man!
Chika : Alright, we’ll eat after we search Mina around this big island. He might be lost on the other side you know.
Pipa : Damn it..! What if he is lost and can’t find his way back to home island?
Pipa : Oh then can I eat his share of lunch, Eh? Eh? Temme… 😉
*after a few hours they still can’t find Mina*
Mina : Chika and Pipa are bloody emotional fools 😀 I sneaked out just to eat three portions of lunch 😉
The land of riches. Or as I call it, the land of fake-wonders-in-the-world. 😉 … In case you don’t know what I am talking about. See this. or this.
A view from the top 😀
Worst part – I could not locate the famous Burj from far up here.. Maybe next time, I’ll make arrangements for a visa 😀
Pretty crowded, ain’t it? Somehow it reminds me of Indiaaaa…
Not as green as one may think it is. After all it is in the Arabian Gulf.
As the land and waters and my panoramic view trailed off, I started to think what was the best thing I saw in my lay over of 3 hours. And here it was :
the FABULOUS cow 😀
The wonderful childhood
Kids are cute.
Swings are fun.
You combine both-you get a perfect carefree scenario with laughter all around.
One such incident I was lucky to capture in my camera.
You really should zoom in and check out the expressions of the kids. So excited and keen they got seeing someone click their pics 😀
Well I had an attachment to a particular swing in my childhood. I have written about it too. See here.
Other clicks of the same kids : they were called Nanu and Kaachu 😉
# such cuties 😀 😀 😀
# Venue – Alwar‘s (Siliserh Lake) Rajasthan, India
# December 2012 – the one we survived (LOL)
Recent roadside incident
With marriage season starting on 24th November (this is 2012), the roads and streets were flooded with band bajaas and baraats. And sometimes dolis too. At such times travelling by road is very (read extremely) tough. Traffic jams take about 2-3 hours extra of your life.
In these circumstances, the auto walas are more keen on taking rides to small distances and going without meter (a crime) and charging high prices if you are dressed well (obviously they know you’re in a hurry to go somewhere).
So to convince an auto driver to take me 15 km away was a task not easy. It took 4 people to try their luck at 9 auto drivers to finally find the one who charged as much as he wanted. (he clearly saw the desperation in our eyes). A young girl dressed well, an old aunt wrapped in woolen shawl, a 7-year-old playing with a suitcase and a house servant trying to tackle a heavy suitcase and a naughty kid. And yet I am sure we caught attention of not many people that day : this is the good thing about Delhi, you can’t be easily recognized in a crowd.
So finally, the greedy but cooperative auto uncle (now I started paying him respect — he is responsible for my life’s safety for next 40 mins or so) took off from my starting point.
But soon, he announced to me, the front tire of the auto was punctured. I kinda choked on my pasta that time. I asked him how long will it take, to which he replied, that depends if we get someone to repair the puncture. After that I stopped eating. We (mostly he) searched for puncture repair guys on two petrol pumps en route to my destination. With no success, and the tire breathing its last few minutes, he finally decided that it would be best if he (read-we) repaired it himself.
So after parking on the roadside, I saw him struggling to convince someone to give him a hand (yea, talk about how tough people are to convince these days). Eventually I told him, no help is coming and that we should proceed.
20 minutes and one flat tire later, I was seated back in the auto only to think, why we dint get any help. Oh wait, one middle-aged man smiled at me while I was holding the auto up(it weighs 610 kg) so that the driver could screw those nuts in the new tire. By the time that man’s conscience hit him, he went past us but then returned to ask if we needed any help. Luckily we were done by then. He then walked back to his rickshaw.
When our rickshaw over took his, I waved and smiled at him. At least he bothered to notice me that day. At least he took 5 minutes out of his life to ask about a fellow traveler At least he had the courtesy to stop and offer his service to a damsel in distress.
Bless you! Whoever you are, wherever you are!
Punjabi wedding traditions : with explanations on Doli, Baraat etc
Murakami Ego’s Exhibition
Visited the Murakami-Ego in March 2012, which is an exhibition by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami.
It was the first solo exhibition for the artist in the Middle East, showcasing over 60 works created since 1997, alongside new ones designed especially for the exhibition.
The 6-metre high self-portrait shows the artist as a giant meditating Buddha greeting his visitors at the entrance of the exhibition space.
With a PhD degree in Nihonga painting from the Tokyo University of the Arts, Takashi Murakami has developed a signature style where the most modern techniques combine with the skill and precision of traditional Japanese art.
memoirs from the past
Museums are the places where one can LEARN.
Recently I learnt about idiosyncrasies of the fairer sex, since as early as 8th century!
If this habit started that long ago, nobody is to blame the jewel fanatic women of 21st century 😉
Plus, now with so many artificial alternatives, accessories can be designed to mimic that of any possible era, and its AFFORDABLE! 😀
Although these jewellery now form an extensive part of our history and an indispensable part of our museums, they precisely depict the fancy lifestyle of the Princesses! It would be ridiculous if we didn’t follow the footsteps of our past 😉
Thanks to Museum Of Islamic Art, Ad Dawhah, Qatar for teaching me this lesson 😉
My affair @ The Taj Mahal *wink wink*
I have visited the Taj Mahal twice, once with family, once with friends. Its breath taking beauty left me awe struck both the times.
Since I know the local language, and how things work around in India, I thought of listing a few factoids about visiting the Taj Mahal, added with my special tips (and a a bit of gossip in the end)!
- Plan your day of visit beforehand. It remains CLOSED on FRIDAYS!!
- Taking a motorized vehicle or a cart to travel from the main gate to the main grave: Easy on your feet, there is a lot to cover inside the boundaries of the Taj, why tire yourself right from the beginning..? Do not overpay! The cab are cheap.
- There are three entry gates- Eastern, Western and Southern. Don’t panic/wait up if you a see a long queue of people waiting for tickets at the entry. There is an other way round 😉
- Hiring a tour guide: They have memorized word by word each fascinating point about the monument. Hire a government approved guide as they have specific charges. Although no scope of bargaining, but at least you won’t be running into the risk of interacting with unauthorized or suspicious people.
- Getting a token of remembrance after visiting. The gift shops around are OVERPRICED. Do not buy from there in the name of authenticity. You get same stuff outside, in Agra city for 1/10th price!
So I am done sharing some general knowledge, most of which applies to other parts of India too. So reading them, is a win-win 😀 Here are some other snaps 🙂
Basically this recent one was a memorable trip with friends, one of them I was head over heels in love with from previous two years, but never had the courage to speak up to. And that courage finally surfaced in the most romantic place I could think of.
(Well, I have modified the truth a bit, but what the hell, I want my kids to read this in future :P)
You can distinctly see seven people in the above pic, posing in front of the glorious Taj. Me, my newly confessed love, and the others who pulled our leg for umpteen days for get all lovey-dovey (thanks to the Taj effect :P).
Visit the Taj, you will fall in love with its beauty if not something/someone else!
# I should have named this – Blog of a romantic fool 😀
~ my first bucket-list ~
I love travelling. I don’t like travelling alone, but I have come up in terms with myself to enjoy solo-rides too 🙂
I thought of making a list of means of transports I have used and which can I put into my own small (first) bucket list.
Courtesy wiki.answers, here is a list of modes of transport; ones uncrossed are yet-to-be taken:
- Airplane (more than 2 dozen times)
- Bus (more than 10 dozen times)
- Car (almost every day)
- Canoe (looking forward to this)
- Donkey (it was basically a breed of donkey you find in hilly areas of India)
- Expressway (in capital city of India and many national highways)
- Ferry (when I visited Mumbai)
- Freeway (while travelling in India and Oman)
- Glider (not yet)
- Hot air balloon (can’t wait for this one)
- Horse (Yeah!!)
- Inflatable raft (this will have to wait)
- Jetpack (I don’t think I’ll be using this in this lifetime 😛 But, not giving up)
- Kayak (this too, not yet)
- Lorry (yes, yes, yes 😀 this was a fun story I’ll probably be penning down later)
- Motorcycle (absolutely)
- Naval fleet (nope, not happening in this lifetime)
- Oxen (a cart driven by oxen, yes. But actual one, no)
- Palanquin (not yet)
- Rocket (not happening :D)
- Subway (absolutely)
- Taxi (the days of college)
- Unicycle (bicycle YES, tricycle YES, but unicycle NO)
- Van (yup, I drove around 10 people in my van)
- Waterway (Oh, loved it)
- Yacht (soon, I hope)
- Zeppelin (I din’t even know this existed)
- Zipline (it was way too fun to forget :D)
- Scooter (for many years with my Dad)
- Railways (Finally, last year)
- Tonga (School time)
- Bullock Cart (Yeah! :D)
- Bicycle (yes, for four years EVERYDAY)
- Tricycle (as a kid, sure :P)
- Truck (not yet)
- Trailer (Looking for a chance :D)
- Parachute (would love to)
- Helicopter (Can’t wait!!)
- Camel (Yup, three times)
- Elephant (Only once, but it was fun)
- Mule (yes :D)
- Autogyro (would love to)
- Reindeer (this I don’t know when)
- Yak (No idea when and where)
- Sledge (not anytime soon)
- Chariot (nope)
- Cart/Rickshaw (Yes, hundreds of times)
- Carriage (not yet)
- Tram (looking forward to this, soon)
- Moving walkway/Moving sidewalk (at airports)
- Roller shoes (have to learn- to do list)
- Skateboard (have to learn- to do list)
- Ski (have to learn- to do list)
- Moped (have to learn- to do list)
- Jeep (yes, drove one :D)
- Ship (Ah, had an amazing time)
- Luxury Bus/Car/Boat/Ship (Not soon :D)
Now these form my short term goals :
- Roller shoes
I hope by next year I have at least a few of these crossed out 😀
Why I Love Window Seats in Flights…
Conversation with my mom, before every flight I take :
My caring-super-caring Mom, “Please ensure you have done your web check-in. Else tell me, I’ll do it for you.”
The super-lazy-daughter-of my-mother, “Thanks Ma, please do my web check-in. Just make sure its a WINDOW SEAT”
The reason why I prefer window seats is simple, I don’t like aisle and I totally hate sitting in between two people!
One another reason of insisting on window-seat is my inquisitive nature. Even though I have seen many (read LOADS) aircraft functioning and working programs airing on the National Geographic and the Discovery channel, but my eyes would still not stop awing upon how such heavy engineering works!
Also, if I get an aisle seat, either I’ll have to indulge in making small conversations with my fellow passengers, or read a book I bought at Duty-Free. But then, I wont be able to enjoy God’s best creation sitting in man’s best creation!
Finally, home is where the heart is….
Here is a picture depicting national flag of Qatar, although a puppet is clad in it, so might not be clear. But, nevertheless I love this pic 🙂
Special thanks to Qatar Airways and Emirates Airlines, whose frequent-flier cards have always benefited me to procure my favorite (Window) seat since past 10 years!!!
Morning.Noon.Night of my Indian Graduation
Years after “School” and before “Graduation” brings about a lots of changes in a person’s life.
Regardless of how tough that time seemed – that time – it leaves back a number of good memories to cherish.
This is a glimpse of my morning-noon-and-night while I was getting prepared to become an Engineer.
The view of the lower terrace from the upper terrace.
The typical Indian way of hanging clothes out in the open to dry 😉
Early morning studies was one of my cherished time during my college. Especially if it was after a night-out 😀
Generally tensed before exams, I used to find strength by gathering the energy from the rising sun.
the beautiful red sun, indicating the end of yet another day!!
As the sun sets, it ends another day of memories I don’t clearly remember now.
Four years of my college, the only things which were constant and timeless were the morning noon & night!
To have a heart to admire the beauty of this God’s created nature, is the biggest achievement of a human soul…!
# National Institute of Technology, Tamil Nadu – India
See on Google Map
While I was in Qatar :
An Arabic woman, clad in black, appears to reach out to the sky.
In an Arab nation like Qatar, women up-heaved to grow in plethora of dimensions, and yet are strongly rooted to their culture, which they cherish tremendously.
This picture is an epitome of growth of a woman in Qatar while a unison of sand, sea and sky watches her.
See Google Map for location