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.

e books

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.

e book

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.

reading e book

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.

click away

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.

tablets

D.U.B.A.I.

sign boardsDubai.

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 😀

dubai 1

Worst part – I could not locate the famous Burj from far up here.. Maybe next time, I’ll make arrangements for a visa 😀dubai 2

Pretty crowded, ain’t it? Somehow it reminds me of Indiaaaa…

dubai 3

Not as green as one may think it is. After all it is in the Arabian Gulf.dubai

dxb 1

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 :

dubai airport

the FABULOUS  cow 😀

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!

JEWELLERY!

      

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 😉

Roadways VS Railways

After knowing me so well, now I can confidently say that my first experience at things/events isn’t good – EVER!

As a kid, my parents never allowed me to travel alone till it became an absolute necessity!

And even till this age, I get the same repeated sessions of DO’s and DON’Ts to be followed while I am travelling alone. Not that my folks are scared that I’ll get talking to strangers and become friendly with them, but more about my health and doing things on time (“in time” according to them)!

After my first journey in the Indian Railways, I realized why my parents preferred roadways to railways. Here are a few of them enlisted –

1. You won’t need to book/buy your tickets months in advance for a road journey.

2. You can manage to get late for a road journey. You can hop on to the next bus and its super convenient if you own a car. The train may get delayed on its own, but in case it’s on time – it won’t wait for you!

3. Breakdowns. A bus may be replaced, trains are generally cancelled.

4. In case of fog, or bad weather, buses will still comply to deliver passengers to their destinations – generally taking a little longer the usual time; railways take no such guarantee.

5. Mishaps. Accident possibility in railway journey might not outnumber the one by roadways. But extent of disaster is worse.

6. Roadside dhabbas don’t serve you chai made in sewer water and food out of God-knows-What ingredients. Eating from railways’ food department is a sure shot invitation to Food Poisoning.

7. It’s tough to change your seat or exchange it with fellow train passengers.

8. The fear of losing your luggage in trains is higher! 😐

Although my train journeys in the past have been pretty eventful, but most of them ended at my destination SAFELY.

I have now made a clear-cut choice to pick roadways whenever possible, and railways are preferred only for the sole reason of SPEED-DISTANCE-TIME ratio.

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 😉

taj mahal  

  • 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!

mini taj mahal

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 😀

P.S : official site of Taj Mahal

~ 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:

  1. Airplane  (more than 2 dozen times)
  2. Bus  (more than 10 dozen times)
  3. Car  (almost every day)
  4. Canoe (looking forward to this)
  5. Donkey  (it was basically a breed of donkey you find in hilly areas of India)
  6. Expressway  (in capital city of India and many national highways)
  7. Ferry  (when I visited Mumbai)
  8. Freeway (while travelling in India and Oman)
  9. Glider (not yet)
  10. Hot air balloon (can’t wait for this one)
  11. Horse (Yeah!!)
  12. Inflatable raft (this will have to wait)
  13. Jetpack (I don’t think I’ll be using this in this lifetime 😛 But, not giving up)
  14. Kayak (this too, not yet)
  15. Lorry (yes, yes, yes 😀 this was a fun story I’ll probably be penning down later)
  16. Motorcycle (absolutely)
  17. Naval fleet (nope, not happening in this lifetime)
  18. Oxen (a cart driven by oxen, yes. But actual one, no)
  19. Palanquin (not yet)
  20. Rocket (not happening :D)
  21. Subway (absolutely)
  22. Taxi (the days of college)
  23. Unicycle (bicycle YES, tricycle YES, but unicycle NO)
  24. Van (yup, I drove around 10 people in my van)
  25. Waterway (Oh, loved it)
  26. Yacht (soon, I hope)
  27. Zeppelin (I din’t even know this existed)
  28. Zipline (it was way too fun to forget :D)
  29. Scooter (for many years with my Dad)
  30. Railways (Finally, last year)
  31. Tonga (School time) 
  32. Bullock Cart (Yeah! :D)
  33. Bicycle (yes, for four years EVERYDAY)
  34. Tricycle (as a kid, sure :P)
  35. Truck (not yet)
  36. Trailer (Looking for a chance :D)
  37. Parachute (would love to)
  38. Helicopter (Can’t wait!!)
  39. Camel (Yup, three times)
  40. Elephant (Only once, but it was fun)
  41. Mule (yes :D)
  42. Autogyro (would love to)
  43. Reindeer (this I don’t know when)
  44. Yak (No idea when and where)
  45. Sledge (not anytime soon)
  46. Chariot (nope)
  47. Cart/Rickshaw (Yes, hundreds of times)
  48. Carriage (not yet)
  49. Tram (looking forward to this, soon)
  50. Moving walkway/Moving sidewalk (at airports)
  51. Roller shoes (have to learn- to do list)
  52. Skateboard (have to learn- to do list) 
  53. Ski (have to learn- to do list)
  54. Moped (have to learn- to do list)
  55. Jeep (yes, drove one :D)
  56. Ship (Ah, had an amazing time)
  57. Luxury Bus/Car/Boat/Ship (Not soon :D)

Now these form my short term goals :

  1. Canoe
  2. Oxen
  3. Palanquin
  4. Yacht 
  5. Truck
  6. Trailer
  7. Parachute
  8. Helicopter
  9. Chariot
  10. Carriage
  11. Tram
  12. Roller shoes 
  13. Skateboard
  14. Moped

I hope by next year I have at least a few of these crossed out 😀

Cheers!

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!

Qatar Airways

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!!!

  

MARHABA!