Monday, December 11, 2017

My love for Shoes

I love my shoes, because they are yellow and blue,
They take me to the outside world, to roam and rove.
Such lovely yellow laces, and so comfortable too.

I take them on and off, on and off, 
a thousand times too.

I sit in my stroller and hold the shoes in my hands too
and then ask my parents to help them put off and on, many times too.

It makes me happy, when I get bored,
helps in car journeys, when I am on road.

I love all my shoes, I help all my elders in wearing shoes,
Such is my passion for shoes, for I am only 2.

I am called Bebu who is only 2.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Book Review - Divergent Series



I recently came across a list of "21 books to read which are expected to be released as movies" in 2015. The first name which caught my interest was Insurgent of Divergent Series. As it talked about a dystopian world, so I downloaded the books on kindle and thus I started reading the series.The complete book series is quite addictive and you can't stop reading the book series till you have completed all of the books. 

As I have been a huge fan of Hunger Games, so I couldn't stop comparing the series in my mind till I was about half way through the first book. Later on, I realized that the Divergent Series by Veronica Roth are quite amazing in their own right and I started appreciating the book and its concept.

The basic concept of the book is around how human beings end up dividing ourselves in some factions or divisions on the basis of certain characteristics and then end up fighting with each other on the basis of belonging to different factions.

It looks like the author has understood the human nature so well, and how it relates to Human History. We can observe how, different people divide themselves in different sects in our own real world and how revolutions keep on overthrowing different regimes and governments.

So, the book is from a teenage girl's perspective written in first person, just like in Hunger Games. The heroine here is named Beatrice or Tris as she calls herself. She belongs to one of the factions called abnegation, which is about being selfless and helping others.

Beatrice thinks that she is more of a wild spirit and thus decided to choose another faction called "Dauntless" which is about courage and freedom. In Dauntless she undergoes extreme physical and mental training and falls in love with her mentor named "Tobias" or "Four". She is also very good at fighting fear simulations, and the underlying reason is that she is a divergent person or the one who doesn't belong to one faction.

In the third book abnegation, it's found that the whole society is based in chicago and is being maintained by modern human society as a societal experiment of genetically damaged people who have been kept in factions and are expected to heal over the time.

Thus, the divergent are actually genetically healed people and the whole dystopian society is constantly being monitored by the modern society.

Tris and Tobias find that this modern society is also divided into genetically pure and genetically damaged society and the genetically damaged are being treated badly by genetically pure, although there is no logical reason for doing so.

Tris ends up laying down her life to put in an action a memory serum which will make government officials forget all about the divisions between genetically pure and genetically damaged people.

The ending was something which I really didn't like as I was hoping the brave heroine to keep on living. Tobias is devastated on finding Tris dead and is in mourning till the end of the book. The world is on a re-buliding spree after the selfless sacrifice of Tris.

The author has also written the first book "Divergent" from the perspective of Tobias called "Four", which is just the way Stephanie Meyer had written "Twilight" from the perspective of Edward in "Rising Sun". I really liked reading the same events from another perspective and I think it's a great way to write one story from two angles.

The world building in terms of a new "alternate reality" has been done really well.

I hope you will also really the book series "Divergent". Do read it for the interesting out of this world setting and the brave heroine "Tris".




Monday, June 30, 2014

Transformers - Age of Extinction

We do watch all sci-fi english films like X-men and I have liked all earlier transformers. But I definitely didn't like the dumbing down of female characters in the series. Megan Fox was much better in first two movies and looked ready to stand equal in fighting the alien warfare. Then since Megan Fox's departure from the series, the lead lady role needs to be protected and isn't much of a fighter.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Solo Bike Journey to Ladakh

My husband is an avid biker and he has been to Ladakh on a solo trip last year. He had a great trip and being inspired by Jim Rogers (of the Investment Biker fame); he has written a detailed travelogue of his own sojourn.

And just like Jim Rogers, he dreams of going on a world tour on his bike some day.



The Ladakh travelogue is in form of a blog series whose links are mentioned below:

Part 1: Mumbai - Manali

Part 2: Manali - Leh

Part 3: Khardung-La & Nubra Valley

Part 4: Chang-La & Pangong Tso

Part 5: Leh - Manali - Delhi

Although I have been on a bike ride to Konkan with him.

A small account of Konkan ride written by me is:  

http://svahvritant.blogspot.in/2013/08/konkan-coast-western-ghats-trip.html

I wish one day I will also get the courage to attempt such a journey on a motor bike ! :)

The photograph of the Ladakh trip, which I find to be most memorable is this one:



Love the innocent smiles of the kids against a bright background ! 








Saturday, May 24, 2014

Movie Reviews - Queen, Highway and X-men - Days of the future past

I have been motivated to write something after a very long time. I recently watched the three movies, Queen, Highway and latest X-men movie. 

I found Queen and Highway to be very similar, both highlighting the restricted life of young indian women, with everything being dictated by the society and the people around them. How the young Indian women of today are yearning for some freedom and trying to get the courage to break all these shackles around them.

The high expectations added by us and others on us can sometimes feel like a huge burden. In both of these movies, once the young girls are able to get away from their day to day life, they are able to realize and enjoy the freedom and explore the world around them.

X-men was great fun as usual. I really liked James Mcavoy. Anyway, I am a huge fan, with atonement being the first movie I watched, starring him. 




Monday, December 9, 2013

Catching Fire - Hunger Games

The movie is an apt visualization of the book, didn't miss any important plot turns and twists. Jennifer Lawrence is looking very good in the movie and I especially liked Haymitch.
The grand dome of the arena has been displayed very nicely. 
Really enojyed the movie. I read all three books again, as soon  as this movie has been out.
In this scarcity ridden world for good heroines, Katniss Everdeen is a welcome change.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Movie Review - Frequency (Genre - Science Fiction Thriller)

I have always been a huge fan of science fiction movies. I have especially liked a movie in time travel movie genre: Frequency. I have watched this movie which was released in year 2000, multiple times on TV.






In Frequency, a kid who grows up to be a cop played by Jim Caviezel is able to talk with his fire-fighter dad played by Dennis Quaid in past through a ham radio network due to a supernatural effect of Northern lights aurora.

On the basis of the future events knowledge, Jim Caviezel is able to guide his dad on how to save his dad's life in past in a fire-fighting incident. But saving his dad has some other consequences. His mother ends up being dead in his future life, after getting killed by a serial killer.

Jim being a cop and having the knowledge of serial killer's case in his alternate future life is now able to interact with his dad again and together they help in nabbing the serial killer and in ensuring a happy future with the complete family being happy together.

It's an immensely watchable movie due to the thriller tone of the movie and the intriguing time travel related science fiction aspects.

This movie also shows the effect of Butterfly Effect as the small changes made in past have a huge impact on the future, and thus the lead character ends up having multiple alternate realities, through making small changes in his past life by guiding his dad.

The movie is also about family and social connections as the movie's final happy moment consists of whole family playing together a baseball game along with their neighbors.

You can check more information about the movie at this this link of imdb:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0186151/

In another post, I will discuss another similar movie "Butterfly Effect".

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Great Game of Business


I was assigned the book "The Great Game of Business" by Jack Stack in a leadership training about organizational behavior. I have added my inferences and my learning from this inspiring book in this presentation which has been uploaded on slide share.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

We need to disrupt Bollywood Commercial Movies Formula !

Sometimes I find it difficult to understand how Bollywood reached a stage where only 2 or 3 big movie launches per year are worth watching and can be considered intelligent movies. Hollywood is no better these days, they are also focused on sequels and lots of beefed up superheroes like "Superman", "Ironman" and "Batman" etc.

Hence, I am ending up watching one movie per year, with last year's choice being "Barfi" and this year's choice being "Madras Cafe".  Madras Cafe can be considered as India's "Zero Dark Thirty" kind of movie.

The definition of commercial Hindi Cinema has become loud movies with item songs and no worthwhile story.  In fact these movies claim to not tax your mind at all and are focused on providing entertainment only. Now that entertainment might be just dependent on slapstick comedy and lots of melodrama.

It's said that society and cinema reflect each other, so we need to hold a better mirror to improve our thinking. The inputs which we get from media especially from an impressive medium like movies have a lot of impact on our way of thinking.

Why can't we have intelligent, ingenuous movies which inspire you to think and ponder about relevant concepts of life. Why can't we promote the attempts at good cinema to go commercial and watch something which makes some sense and logic.

Why can't we have movies like "Taare Zameen Pe" or "3 Idiots" every year which pass along a good message and even make people questions the way they are currently behaving in Indian Society.

Where is the thought provoking cinema which is so desperately required by Indian Society ?


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Future of Shopping !

The future of shopping might happen through wearable smart computing devices like Google Glass. As it will already be aware of our preferences, it will be able to recommend us, the things which we might like. 

We might also be able to quickly snap a picture of anyone wearing whatever we like through Google Goggles, which will find similar item and its location where it can be bought. The price comparison with other listed vendors offering the same item will also be automatic and the best option will be automatically suggested to us.

We might also be able to use 3-D printing to print some of the items like plastic cups etc. which we like and won't have to go out to get something. If we want to eat pasta, the ingredients of pasta will be delivered to us automatically along with the recommended recipes.

The all knowledgeable gadget might suggest its own upgrades and keep on improving itself. As expected, it will talk to us like Siri, and learn from our preferences and the day will come when it will act like a personal shopper and do all the required shopping automatically.

The clothes will be of transparent plastic which will download the latest colors, designs and modify themselves automatically. This post utilizes lot of science fiction reference and imagination !

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Konkan Coast - Western Ghats Trip !

My partner is a very good biker and he likes adventurous trips. So, this time I decided to accompany him on a biking trip in Independence Day Holidays. As a preparation for the trip, I bought a helmet. And forgot buying another important thing: sunscreen. Probably should have listened to sunscreen song by Baz Luhrmann.


On the first day, we started from Mumbai in the morning and reached Harihareshwar by evening, the trip's distance was about 200 Kms, which we covered on bike in one day. And we found lush-green western ghats on the way. 

We didn't manage to get a place to stay in MTDC Harihareshwar, so we stayed in Harihareshwar Beach resort instead. The beach is quite pristine and has rocks on the side, which makes it quite beautiful.


Next day, we travelled another 200 kms from Harihareshwar to Ganpatipule, which turned out to be a very hectic journey. The trick to having a good bike journey is to take frequent brakes, which I learned on this day. MTDC Ganpatipule is very good and you should always opt for AC rooms in MTDC resorts with sea view.

The beach at ganpatipule is very nice, wide and amazing. We had a great time at beaches, taking morning and evening walks at the beaches. We found lot of crabs, crows and dogs at the beaches. These beaches aren't so frequented by the crowd, being quite remote, thus you get to enjoy peaceful, clean and calm beaches.

We took Maharastra Coastal Highway, thus had a great route with green plateaus of western ghats, multiple sea coast views.

After staying for two days at Ganpatipule, we moved on to our next stop Tarkarli. The route from Ganpatipule to Tarkarli is great for bikers. We stopped and stayed at MTDC Tarkarli resort in the evening, after another 200 kms ride.

Getting any other cuisine other than Malvan sea food is a challenge here, so we spent two of our three days looking for Punajbi food in the region. 

Overall it was a good trip, but quite hectic. So, on the final day we took a bus from Malvan, placed bike in it, and reached Mumbai in the morning.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Wolverine 2 - Sequel Review

Watching the Wolverine !
 
 
 
The movie starts on a good note with Wolverine waking up from a multi-layered dream, and living an isolated life in an Alaska-sqeue land. But suddenly Wolverine is recruited by a red-haired japanese girl to play a part in a japanese story. The japanese girl is also a mutant with an ability to sense the death of other people.
 
Now, the second nice note appears, as it turns out that Wolverine had saved the life of the girl's employer at the time of Nagasaki Bombing, which has been shown nicely. The girl reminded me of samurai girl warriors in Kill Bill.
 
Now, as soon as Wolverine meets the old acquintance who is on his death bed, the old guy who is heading a big technical company indicates that he could help Wolverine escape his life and he can pass on his 'power to heal' to someone else. The old guy wants to give the responsibility of saving his grand daughter to Wolverine.
 
Even after this creepy admission by the old guy, about ending wolverine's life, wolverine is unable to escape because he has to play the lone hero in this story and singlehandedly save the old guy's grand daughter Mariko from multiple endless goons.
 
The "suspension of disbelief" required by this movie is huge as the characters are not fleshed out, the story points are not logically connected. There is not sufficient back-story for multiple scenes and multiple characters.
 
There is a similar scene to the Matrix scene, where Wolverine ends up taking a metallic insect out of his body. The intentions of the Viper lady and what all she keeps on doing on her victims are not clear.

How did the japanese end up getting lot of admantium to prepare an exo-skeleton based armour to fight wolverine is not clear at all. There is no connection to the X-Men series at all, except for the dream appearance of Jean in Wolverine's dreams.
 
I think the only scene saving the grace is the final scene after credits which gives you a hope that "Professor X" will be back in next X-Men movie.
 
So, you can enjoy this movie if you can stay away from applying your mind and don't go with the expectation of a complex multi-layered story.
 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Birds are not meant to be caged !

My youngest cousin "Nikhil" has also started writing poems, the below mentioned poem was shared with me today, which I found to be really impressive. Here's it:

http://www.poetry.com/poems/893353-Some-Birds-Are-Never-Meant-To-Be-Caged

You can like the poem on poetry.com where he posts his poems. I have also posted the poem text below for easy reference:

Some birds are never meant to be caged 
their feathers are just too bright 
just like the desperate hand 
unable to cease the grainy sand 
trying to catch them and get a hold of them 
well you just not might 
Some birds are never meant to be caged 
their feathers are just too bright 
Some birds SHOULD not be caged 
their beset leaves those standing way above enraged 
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” 
but I say,” Hell itself bows to the almighty alone!” 
Mock him and your life will be hanging on a precarious hook 
the whole ground bellow your feet will flip like pages of a book 
you might stay happy and joyous for one night 
but on another your whole life might turn into a plight 
Some birds are never meant to be caged 
their feathers are just too bright 
  
Some birds WE were never meant to cage 
their curses make even the fresh air seem stale 
You’d say to yourself,” Oh! Why oh! Why did I ever engage 
these Godly creatures, these wise divine sage 
‘cause now I can’t feel my soul nor see anything in this bloodstained haze! 
No matter how wide I open my eyes 
I just can’t perceive my gaze!” 
You’d beg them and say,” oh! Lord of Lords, oh! Mighty God! 
Forgive me! Forgive this wretched form of life 
Bring me back my sight. Bring me back my sight! 
For now I have learned; For now I have understood what’s right!” 
“Some birds WERE never meant to be caged, 
Their feathers WERE just too BRIGHT !!!” 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

No Easy Day and Zero Dark Thirty: Review

Zero Dark Thirty is an inspiring and influential movie by Katheryn Bigelow. It goes through the interesting story of how Osama Bin Laden was captured by US. It shows a focused and diligent attempt by US in capturing Osama, abbreviated as UBL by American forces. 

The lady CIA officer has been recruited straight out of high school and her only assignment is to find UBL. She has gone through all the videos, materials, files related to UBL, is an expert on it and even stays in Pakistan and Afghanistan for long durations of time to work on this mission.

She observes the torture sessions of terrorists, and works intelligently towards her goal. She identifies that the Obama's courier guy is important, because Al Qaeda team is avoiding talking about that person.

Once she identifies the courier guy, she tracks the courier person in Pakistan and thus is able to find the hide out of Osama. She successfully tackles the bureaucracies, gets the work required to be done by other team members, pushes people around her and shows extreme confidence in her work.

Due to her focused effort, America is able to identify the hiding place of Osama and then assasinate Osama in a very perfect swoop. The movie has been filmed in a very accurate and realistic manner. The winner for this movie is the plot which is highly interesting and keeps the movie watchers engrossed.

It's another fantastic movie by Katheryn Bigelow after The Hurt Locker. Kudos to her to bring forward a movie like this. I especially like this movie, because it highlights the efforts of a woman in a high stress job and highlights her success.

As a wonderful co-incidence I had also read "No Easy Day" few days back, which is an account by a Navy Seal who was involved in the assasination operation on Osama. The book reminded me to watch the movie. The book and the movie are very much related, although book is from the angle of a military person focused on carrying out the operation and the movie focuses on the story of finding Osama.

In hindsight, I think the book actually reminded me to see this movie, which sort of completes, the knowledge about this topic, which I wanted to gain from well known sources ! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Clifton Chronicles - Book Review

It's one of the latest series by Jeffrey Archer and is a series of fast moving thriller story as usual. The story goes through three books which have been published till now: Only Time will Tell, Sins of the Father and The Best Kept Secret. The book series is unputdownable and at the end of the third book, you are left waiting for the fourth book in the series.

It covers the story of two families Cliftons and Barringtons living in England at the time of World War. The  story chronicles the life of Harry Clifton, an industrious and resourceful guy who grows up to be a writer. He has a close association with Barrington family starting in his childhood, with Giles Barrington being his best friend in school. 

Ironically, Giles Barrington's father Hugo Barrington is responsible for the untimely demise of Harry Clifton's father in a shipping accident

The story revolves around how Clifton grows up to be an intelligent and successful person, even while having a humble background, with his widowed mother bringing him up. The paternity of Harry Clifton is also in question and leads to lot of trouble in the book series.

When Harry Clifton grows up, he also lands up in american prison because of mistaken identity. His enterprising wife Emma Barrington comes to America to save him. Harry Clifton ends up writing his prison experiences as Prison Diaries, which end up being bestseller, thus establishing Harry Clinton as a formidable author.


Jeffrey Archer is a master story teller and this series also shows his eloquent craftmanship. The story is written in the times, when women were not given seats in colleges or company boards easily.

I am wondering, why Ekta Kapoor doesn't take inspiration from this book series and launch a soap opera. The series has all the requisite elements of a long television series: Long Story, Sacrificial Mother, Prodigal Illegitimate Son, Two Family Trees, Lot of Wealth and Accidental Scenarios binding all of them together.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dan Brown's Inferno

Inferno's a book written in characteristic Dan Brown style. Still it's slightly different and will be one of my personal Dan Brown favorites. It features Robert Langdon again, trying to solve a world wide biological warfare crisis out of the city of Florence.

The clues this time are derived from Dante's painting Inferno. The story starts where Robert Langdon wakes out of sleep with amnesia and unaware of what happened in last two days and how he landed in Florence.

The story progresses at a thrilling pace and goes through various Florence monuments while trying to solve the puzzle clue by clue. The story also deals with the concept of how to define evil. It discusses, how perception of "What's evil" can change on the basis of a person's perspective and even if something seems a valid solution, is it still ethical ?

The story breaks new ground where it explores, whether in future, it will be ethical to carry out genetic modification of human beings to enhance them. The climax deals with two interesting themes, one of Robert Langdon discovering that he has been subjected to a created scenario by others which seemed perfectly real to him. It's like he had been through a virtual reality scenario and how he finds it difficult to come to terms with it.

The other unexpected ending is how the biological change might have already happened, and how humans should deal it. Overall, it's a quite interesting read and certainly recommended.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pointers on how to give a presentation !

As a part of my job, we are involved in presenting to multiple stakeholders, so kindly find below what all I think I have learned as a part of my job, about how to give presentations.

 

1) Know your content.
2) Be comfortable with your slides.
3) Be accurate.
4) Be confident.
5) Rehearse your content.
6) Be well dressed.
7) Have fun !
8) Try to be interactive.
9) Involve your audience.
10) Always customize your content as per your audience.
11) Be comfortable with the environment in which you are going to present.
12) Always believe that you know something share-able, that's why you are presenting.
13) Be enthusiastic and passionate.
14) Describe and tell stories and examples.
15) Use pictures and animations and videos.
16) Don't move around much.
17) Don't use too many gestures and hand movements.
18) Use voice modulation to generate interest.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mumbai DownTown !

Mumbai downtown is really beautiful and has lot to offer to the visitors. Old buildings belonging to British Rule, Art Galleries, Museums, Cafes and fountains provide a well rounded experience.

Visit : Baroda City Palace

Palace and musuem in Baroda are amazing and have lot of european art and sculpture. I recently visited again, this time with my husband and my parents.
Audio tour guide provided during the visit is also quite descriptive. There are lot of paintings by Raja Ravi Verma.

Author Review: Lauren Weisberger

I have been an old fan of Lauren Weisberger and have read all her books.
My favorite is Chasing Harry Winston and second favorite is Everyone Worth Knowing. She gained fame with Devil Wears Prada.
All her books fit into chic lit genre.
Her books provide an overview of aspirational lifestyle with fashionable clothes, parties and food.
The books show lovely female bonding and cover the journey of women aspiring to have a great career and amazing relationships.

Reading these books generally feels like eating frothy ice creams. The books also emphasize and sort of promote women to be more of their natural selves and help them be less fashion conscious and still feel comfortable.