Showing posts from 2017

In Praise of the Uncomplicated

I never though i would say this, but light one-time read novels and slapstick movies are some of the best things life has to offer.

There was a time I used to value only high-quality literature like The White Tiger or Tinderbox but now, I am of the opinion that  cheap one-time reads which one can buy on railway stations or second-hand bookstores are absolutely essential. The same goes for movies. While films like Peepli Live do hold a unique place and act to change the society, a Dabangg is vital to keep us sane.

When I was a student and had ample time to process information and think about things, I loved to read and watch thought-provoking stuff. But now, I am white-collar worker and  find that anything that is pure entertainment and does not involve too much thinking is welcome. Reading a relatively uncomplicated novel and then coming up with ridiculous alternative plots is a fun thing to do. Most importantly when everything in your life isn't working according to plan, readi…

The Power of Storytelling

I had a pretty hectic week this time as the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) began here. Honestly, I had a lot to write about butt being an essentialist/minimalist, I decided to write about only one panel discussion in the festival that I think is the most valuable.

Why are films important? What impact  do they have on society? Moreover what is the power of storytelling? These were the questions the drove the discussion on the theme “The Power of Storytelling” that took place at the Maquinez Palace last Tuesday. The panel consisted of actor and writer Nishikant Kamat, art market editor Ms Anna Louie Sussman (@annalouiesuss), filmmaker and director of “Airlift”  Raja Krishna Menon (@RajaMenon), and CEO of Mythos Labs Priyank Mathur (@PriyankSMathur).  The discussion was moderated by Vice President of Observer Research Foundation Mr Samir Saran (@samirsaran).

The panel deliberated on how storytelling can be used to combat terrorism, break gender stereotypes and bring about s…

Rules for the New Bookshelf!

I am getting a new bookshelf!

No. The development is not that small. I’ve never had a bookshelf before, and the event needs some preparation. I am pretty excited about the thing and I am very particular about which books deserve a place on the bookshelf.

The plan flows along essentialist lines.

I carefully evaluate all my books and give away most of them. Then, I keep on the bookshelf, only those books that  offer absolutely brilliant experience as hard copies, for example, ‘S’ by JJ Abrams. Of course, all books are better read in hard-copy, but then, those books which are cheaper in digital form, and those that I believe are an inseparable part of me, will go to kindle.

I also have another weird idea: A book shall remain on the shelf for maximum five to seven years. After that, it has to be donated to the local library, regardless of whether I have read it or not. If I think it is worth keeping, I will buy a kindle version of the book.  If it is not available on kindle, then tough l…

Travel Diaries Night 4 & Day 6: A Hurried Farewell

Arriving in Jodhpur was like walking into a cute little thriller novel.

The lashing of rain continued, punctuated by thunder and lightning. We arrived at around 8 pm, and to the chagrin of taxi drivers outside the station, discovered that our hotel was located at walking distance from the station. That was the last pleasant surprise that night. Of course, surprises never stopped after that, but they weren’t pleasant. (or were they?)

The hotel looked nothing like its picture on the booking website. It was a derelict building located at the end of a narrow by-lane where not a single street lamp was functioning. As opposed to the smart, polite receptionists we had encountered at other hotels, the desk here was occupied by a lanky, dark man who had little slits of brown eyes.

“Your room is on third floor. We have no lift, no bellboy.” he barked in a gruff voice. Upon asking about food, he curtly informed that the hotel did not even have its own restaurant, and walked out into the night …

Travel Diaries Day 4: Tinkering Around the Edges

Train journeys are enjoyable once you resolve the dilemma of whether to concentrate on the book in your hand or on the view outside the window. However, that was not the dilemma I battled onboard the Marudhar Express from Jaipur to Jodhpur on day 4 of the Rajasthan tour.

“We need a broader concept” I said to Il Sognatore, the dreamer who also had the ability to execute his dreams.  While toying with the vague concept of giving people positive news, we stumbled upon many websites (The Better India deserves a mention) that do exactly that, and immediately let go of that idea.

At this point, the talk shifted to content in general –web serieses or videos, spoofs  that offered a unique take on the Indian society, and the like. Here, there was an interesting place for product positioning.

As opposed to the mainstream media, there are no censors on the Internet. As a result, a lot of bold, and sometimes a little offensive content is broadcast. There is content which is provocative, designed…

Travel Diaries day 3 & 5: Story Within a Story

What? Were you expecting a proper structure? You won’t find that here, because the current order makes the journey more sensible.

The third day of the grand tour begins at Bangaluru’s International Airport where I’m sitting at 7:00 in the morning, cursing the airline company that rescheduled our 4:30 pm flight to 8:30 am. While waiting for the flight, I spot two gentlemen who look like they are from Southeast Asian countries and head over there to eavesdrop on their conversation.  They are having a conversation about major companies.

The first guy, let’s call him Lee, was making a comment about Google. The company, he said is facing high attrition among its employees as they leave to start their own ventures. Employees are sort of using major firms to get good money, knowledge and exposure before they start their own businesses. The second man looked Indian but his accent gave the impression that he was an NRI.
Replying to Lee’s comment, he said that the way people see companies has …

Travel Diaries Day 1 & 2: Striving To Do Nothing

Bangaluru. The most dynamic city in the world.  If you speak to a traveller who has visited the city, he will tell you of futuristic buildings, beautiful gardens, and vibrant culture of the city. Bangaluru has all that, and more, I agree, but the story of my first day in the city begins with a garrulous, pesky auto driver.

We met this autowallah outside Blossom bookstore (more about that in this Twitter thread) and rather than drop us to the location we wanted, he insisted we go check out a jewelry store so he may earn his commission. Ultimately, since he quoted a fare far less than the metered rate, we agreed to visit the shop. When the time came to do this however, we went in through the front door, walked out of the back door, and waited for some time before making our way back to the auto driver. To our chagrin, he now insisted that he would show us significant sights around the city for a fixed amount of money. Although we surrendered before his pestering then, I am now exacting…

Travel Diaries Day 0: An Idea is Born

The first day of a multi-city trip has ended in Bangaluru.  Despite doing a lot of things and having some weird writing ideas, I am stuck at the beginning of the blog post. I don’t want a typical travelogue describing places, or a plain chronicle of activities. Instead, I will tell you the story of my intrepid travel-buddy whose emotional quotient is close to zero (a fact that he is proud of) and who often gives yours truly a run for his money in coming up with radical and ridiculous ideas.

“I have been thinking a lot about the concept of time and space lately” said the travel buddy as our plane took off. (He made very little sense to me and I am struggling to put his thoughts in words, so please bear with me.) “Time and space are related. Time is a measure of how fast ‘space’ moves a certain distance- space-as in a particular point of reference to which the mass moves. So, if you travel faster, and approach closer to the speed of light, time will slow down for you.” (If this felt a …