Saturday, September 5, 2009

I really depend on Facebook !

The facebook games must have introduced many netizens like me to networked games where you have to depend on the help of your dearest friends to progress further and play well. These games have discovered such a simple way of increasing their memberships. Any player will play better if she has more team members and thus will encourage all possible friends to join the games.

I am such a player and thus first I start urging my known netizens to show some interest in joining facebook which will offer them a chance of playing quizzes, games etc. After that the next suggestion is, please join mafia wars or yoville or if possible farmville. Dont play if you dont like, but do join.

Now I have started getting bored and all the games are seeming like chores. I am tired of harvesting crops, killing people online, and buying stuff for my virtual home. I am now desperately waiting for the day when I will be free from the shackles of this facebook gaming addiction of mine and will be able to move onto something new ! Perhaps brand new facebook games :).

I think that atleast for me the primary reason for playing any online game is to simply win ! To reassure myself that I am a perfect human specimen, intelligent & knowledgable who can go jump levels in all the games real fast, gather trophies & gifts, decorate an online home showing off my asthetic sensibilites, or create a beautiful virtual farm by deciding on better earning crops and buying tractors.

Online quizzes on facebook have a similar "will win" fascination too for so many of us fb people. Yes, I want to know that I know all the movie trivia and can recognize all movie characters, songs, even actors from their childhood or without makeup pics. And these quizzes often generally tell me that I have beaten 100% of my friends who have taken this quiz. The beaten friends might be 1 or 2 in number, but I have beaten both, so I have played better than 100% of quiz takers who belong to my friend set.

Then there are personality quizzes which will show us our real self, which we are not able to see from our literal eyes or as said in hindi "mann ki aankhein" i.e. the inner eye. We answer approximately ten random questions like our favorite color to whether I hate losing family members more than death? Then the quiz application throws up any random quiz result from the answer set, like the one which told me that I am like Luke Skywalker and I have happily published it along with so many other almost accurate quiz results to the world.

But still all facebook activities offer more oppurtunities to comment on other people's activites. We post, publish, comment and discuss. We pick up and do some activity which has just been done by any of our friends posted to our wall or try to generate some new activity through our favorite applications.

If you are unable to think of anything else, goto youtube, find any intersting video and post it on facebook. The link to add it on facebook is conveniently available through share option. This should be counted as a facebook "how to be active" or "what to do" tip rendered by me on my blog which might help any blog reader who is a fbian too :).

We may not interact with so many of our friends directly but we can see how they are going on with their lives by observing them online. One day I tried to track all old college seniors on facebook and see who's doing what. I am indebted to those facebook friends who have given me online gifts required for playing well on my favorite games and will always try to replay the favor in that facebook game. See how all this online gifting of virtual game objects has strengthened our bonds of friendship.

Another prominent feature is twittering, i.e. latest status updates chatter shared by friends. These are really interesting ones and do generate normal, friendly, leg pulling or even controversial discussions. I have shared a quote or too at times, but am unable to twit or chatter much. I think it's helping us Indian prudes to lose our inhibitions to declare to around 200 persons about what we ate in breakfast, what I am currently watching on tv etc. I wonder I might not start declaring too much to people in real life too about everything I do.

Ohh, I think it's enough blogging about facebook. I have to compulsively check my facebook wall for any new posts.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My addictions & quirks !

I think I live by my addictions ! My addictions are the oxygen which make me live and make life worth living. Now rating these various interests would be really difficult as all of them have some equivalent hold on me. Perhaps these can be discussed in chronological order.

When I was 2, I tried to give up drinking milk and starting on tea despite severe objections by my parents. The war still goes on ! I love almost all coffees especially cafe mocha too. What can be better than having double shots of caffiene and choclate and if possible icecream straight from one glass. The resulting feeling of bliss stays for a long time and the intoxicating head rush makes life look beautiful. Sometimes when I am sleep deprived, I cant even open my eyes and start working unless and until I have savoured a good cup of tea.

Like any child I was provided with many toys and some balloons specifically on sunday mornings. I took great interest in ensuring immortality of all my toys and tried to extend the same immortality concept to saving balloons forever too. This as expected led to my weeping sessions as soon as a balloon dropped dead. Till now I don't like candles because they die so soon, cant pluck a flower and dont like to get flowers as gifts as they die too.

On the other hand, I like killing mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches and any other minor insects. I turn into courageous killer of lizards and rats too as and when the need arises.

The next greatest love would be for noodles starting with hamara apna maggi noodles. I loved its smell and ate it with great fascination since I was in second standard. Then I explored Top Ramen, curry smoodles etc, and survived on it whenever I didnt like the home or hostel food. The food for which I fantasize these days is only italian to be eaten at Flavors or Big Chill. Perhaps as I go rarely, so the novelty hasn't worn off.

Home food does have its own charm and certain dishes have that taste which cant be found anywhere else on earth. My mom, me and my brother specialize in that. Infact we can cook certain dishes in such an exactly same manner that the cook cant be distinguished e.g. rajma chawal. Perhaps learning recipes from same guru leads to this.

I have a propensity to be addicted to online games as well, but thankfully I get bored after a certain time, say 15 days or a month. Still I have spent a good deal of time on all need for speed games, my eternal favorite. The current ones are mafia wars and yoville on facebook. If a friend is currently reading this, kindly join facebook and these games for me, I terribly need some more crew.

I love good movies, watch them and read about them on net as much as possible. Wikipedia articles about matrix movies are great. I can be considered a cult fan of any series for which I become passionate.

The interest where I seek most of the novelty is songs. I get bored soon and can listen only as long as there's certain tone of voice or music which my conscious or subconscious mind hasnt learnt by rote yet. Once the novelty is over, song no longer holds any charm for me. I might still like the song if I hear it after some time or for that matter any other time, but the initial high is over.

I am saving my greatest addiction for the last - books. I owe my poor eysight to them. I started early, learned to read real fast, started reading champak, nandan, parag etc. i.e. many magazines for kids. I still remember so many of the stories and read comic books too like nagraj, super commando dhruv categroy. Then moved onto Enid Blyton and sort of the stuff. Finally today, I am an ardent fan of Harry Potter, twilight, all malcolm gladwell books, Dan Brown, Sidney Sheldon, John Grisham,Ayn Rand, Jeffrey Archer, Erich Segal. Once I start an interesting book, I cant keep it down even if my eyes hurt or it maybe 2 or 3 in the morning. I have completed many books by the light of my cellphone when electricity went missing. The escape from real world to an alternate reality is too much of a wonderful experience. The only serious hobby which I could boast of is reading.

I liked painting and sketching but left it long back. Still colors have a strong asethetic appeal for me.

This was an easy post to write because as expected I know myself quite well. An individual is so complex that she cant be described in a few hundred words. Nothing of the above items make me unique as all are somehow typical human traits. But as its my blog, and this sudden brain wave about the word addiction caught me, here's it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Trip Ideas !

Taking trips and going on vacations is one of the greatest enjoyments of life. I distinctly remember my early trips to Himalayas with my parents and how much I enjoyed each one of them. Later on, more trips happened, which can be attributed to office group initiatives. I was always spellbound by the majestic mountains, floating clouds and beautiful weather and novelty of the new places visited.

The opportunities to learn more about flora, fauna, art galleries, religion, history, architecture and culture are as amazing as are the treks taken to reach these wonderful places.

I was wondering what I could write about for a very long time and thought to publish something about the places I have visited and plan to visit. It will also offer me the unique chance of pasting scenic pictures in this blog :) Hence, here is the humble history of my journeys ! Though I intended to cover many places, but I think right now writing about one or two interesting places will suffice.

I visited Naggar nearby Manali with my parents a long time back. We went to some nearby place by roadways bus from Manali and trekked up till Naggar. It turned out to be a quaint wonderful place with a beautiful temple, a wooden castle and boasting of a Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery. I especially loved the art gallery with a collection of beautiful paintings. All the photographs clicked by us are hard copy and someday I will scan and add them over here. Till then, I think I will paste some pics browsed from net overhere :)

A painting made by master himself !
Source for the pic:

Naggar Castle
Source for the pic:

Next I think I should write about our interesting office trip to Ranthambore. Our office group of around 20 colleagues went to Ranthambore. We went by train and reached Ranthambore station in the early morning. We were being provided by the transport by the Hamir Resort and hence we greeted our open safari vehicles transport with apprehension in the cold weather of November. Everyone tightly wrapped shawls, jackets and caps and braved through the cold winter morning to reach the resort.

Safari vehicle added to lot of fun!
Pic Source: My boss's camera !

Once we reached the beautiful resort everyone was excited and happy to see the beautiful resort and a quick game of cricket was set in motion.There was a lot of confusion and conflict while playing which added to the fun and I was recruited as the fair umpire to give final decisions. There were many wides and many fours and sixes on loose bowling.

Hamir Resort !
Pic Source: Same as above.

Then after having breakfast in the Hamir mess decorated with tiger pictures we set out for the safari. Ranthabore fort is situated in the midst of a dense jungle. So we had a grand tour of safari looking for tiger, depending on monkey calls and bird calls. The happy chattering noises of our group didnt help us and thus we ended up seeing many types of deers, birds, a few crocodiles and tiger pug marks.

Crocodile enjoying a sunny day !

Cute Deer having fun !

Then we moved onto visiting huge Ranthambore fort which loomed on the horizon from a distance and looked majestic. We had a long trek in the huge fort exploring various temples and platial structures in the fort and looking down from high & strong fort walls. There were various tunnels and domes in the fort adding to the mystical lore and inspiring us to discover and explore the fort. Our huge group got split in various smaller groups and ended up exploring different areas of the fort. Hence we got to see a lot more of what we had missed from the photographs taken by other groups. We were only bound by the time as we had to reach back to the Hamir resort in time and it was getting late in evening.

After reaching back even though we were tired, we arranged for camp fire and music in the resort and ended up having a lot of fun playing antakshri and dancing a lot. Hence, we concluded one of our wonderful trips ! Our office group is currently planning to make a visit to Tungnath which should be a wonderfully scenic and amazing trip :)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Lord of the Flies - Fall of the Human

I read William Golding's Lord of the Flies recently and was throughly amazed, shocked and felt like I was introduced to a new genre of writing. We all know about how human beings are susceptible to falling prey to the inner evil and savagery which is perhaps inherent in human nature and is kept very well controlled and cordoned by the rules, law and order of the human civilization.

All the wars and prison crimes are the prima facie evidence of this human fallacy. I believe that women are less prone to being violent and being savage. This could be a feminist belief of mine. Still all the characters in the whole story are either boys or men.Golding brings forth the complete fall of human culture to savagery in complete detail with gradual stepping of time.

Kids stranded on an island start with all the civil manners and rules even speaking one at a time and having assemblies and even withholding a conch as the symbol of authority and order. They even select a sensible older kid Ralph as chief who understands and hopes to be rescued and charts out the grand plan of always having a smoke or fire burning to attract attention of passing ships. The kids have a great time surviving on fruits enjoying beaches and sunshine and create shelters.

Few kids like Jack are intent on hunting and form a group of hunters who initially wary of killing something end up becoming adept at hunting. The hunting becomes such a short term but passionate goal that kids end up ignoring long term goal of keeing a fire burning. The fear of an imagined beast gives more power to the hunters group and they end up falling into two groups with the chasm between them growing deeper and deeper.

The power struggle between Ralph and Jack leads them to form two isolated groups with Ralph's group having the power of burning fires and the other group having the power to hunt and have meat.A smart kid called Simon ends up moving alone through the forest and when tries to rejoin the kids is mistaken as the beast and killed by the hunters group in the feast thrown after hunting. The sensible kids like Ralph were also part of the group at the time Simon's murder happens and a deep sense of gulit engulfs the sensible group for being a part of the murdering mob.

The hunters group starts working on more primitive instincts and even cover their faces with paint to complete their drift from civilization and act like barbarians. They attack the Ralph's group for snatching the glasses used for lighting fires. When Ralph's group tries to get the glasses back, the sensible kid Piggy who owned the glasses is killed by hunters. Two other kids who are twins are captured by the hunters and Ralph is forced to run for his life.

The climax of the story is all about Ralph running for his life from the hunters group even without having done anything wrong to any of them. There's a chilling fear in the Ralph's run for his life while the hunters chase him mercilessly. Hunters' group sets fire to the forest to smoke Ralph out of the jungle wilderness and kill him. Ralph manages to save his life by ending up on the beach where he encounters a navy officer. The ship noticed the island after seeing the smoke emerging from the island and came to look for life.

Ship officer is amazed to see the kids encounter and intially understands it to be a game, but soon comes to know about the chilling real life killings being done by the kids. When the officer asks about who's the leader, then Ralph tells the officer that its him, Jack finally doesnt protest and accepts Ralph to be the leader. Then Ralph bursts out crying at the savage situation in which they ended up being instead of behaving as cultured human beings and all the kids follow suit and start crying.

The story was written by the Nobel Prize winning author around in 1950s and gained popularity long after the publishing. Now the book is recognized as a modern classic and is a part of school curriculum in various countries like US & UK. There are two movies based on it and I read the movies reviews as well and I believe the Ist movie does more justice to the book and is more realistic.

I intend to watch the movie as well and will perhaps add to this entry after watching the movie. Do read the book !