Saturday, May 31, 2008

Book - White Oleander

Simply Superb!...One of the few books who could make me think so much...it is a must read for all those who believe that (sadness and not happiness) adds dimensions to personality of a human being...

Astrid (narrator of story) amidst the rigmarole of life is left alone...Ingrid, her mother, is too busy in her life - fighting the demons of her life....never giving Astrid the due affection but leaving her to get mature when she should be playing with Barbie! Ingrid goes to jail coz of killing one such lover and goes to jail leaving Astrid to go to foster homes.

It is then that Astrid learns to live - from the age of 12 to 20 in the book - from all the crests and troughs of life...seeing that she has to be alone...learning that loneliness is not just an emotion but way of life...

Since Astrid was always awed by her mother...loved her too much and that is why she hated her as well too much ...(because the fact is hatred is mirror image of love and you hate those people more whom you have loved at one point of time)
'Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. And intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you'll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.' ...more quotes from the book here

Astrid seemed to be an intrepid adventurer throughout the novel ...scared like hell and yet going on...losing the ones whom she loves...learning that no one will be there when she would need...

I loved the end where Astrid outgrows her mother (but not the emotion toward her) by staying with Paul...and deciding to continue living a tough life with him...she won me over completely...coz that is life...not to wish comfort but to embrace the defeats and sadness ...

Read my interpretation on the cover page here

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Trip to Chennai and Pondicherry

I got a chance to visit Chennai (for the first time) from 16-18th May for taking a session on Branding@HCL for management trainees...

I lapped the chance with full interest....I was extremely busy till the day of flight but still managed to make some quick plans ...

You can watch the video of my trip below...



Here is my itinerary in short -

16th May
4 am - Started from home in Noida
9 am - Reached Chennai
12:30:1:15 noon - Session on "Branding@HCL"
3:30 pm - Caught local bus to go to Pondicherry

(I chose to go buy bus for pure economic reason - a cab would have cost me Rs. 3000 for the trip while the bus fare came to around Rs. 150 :)

8 pm - Reached Pondicherry
9 pm - I stayed at Park guest house - Aurobindo Ashram

It was a million dollar idea to have stayed at the guest house...it gives a serene view of the bay of bengal , is very quiet 9just the way you want when you stay in Delhi...and that too at just Rs. 600 for night

from 12 midnight to 1am - I was just sitting in the garden looking at the waves and the moon...and dreaming...

17th May
5:30 am - I woke up and was mesmerized to what I saw in the morning light...beautiful view of the beach...coolness of the breeze...

5:30 - 7:00 am - I went around on the beach and tried to capture some of the most ravishing nature-scape in front of me...




7 am - 8:30 am - I hired a kinteic and went around exploring the place...( I was a little disappointed as there was hardly anything - the place is bloody commercialized...I had a fantastic time doing the same thing in Diu)

12:00 Noon - I got into the bus and started back to Chennai

4:00 Reached Chennai

5:00 - 7:00 - went around Chennai - made a quick visit to Marina beach, StThomas cathedral

7:30 pm - reached Airport

8:30 - Boarded the flight for Delhi

Now here I had the most nightmarish flight back to Delhi - Sitting in Indian Air lines flight IC 802 I witnessed 1.5 hours flying over Delhi because of congestion and bad weather - I had not prayed so hard in last few years...

I landed at 12:15 and thus ending the beautiful trip to Chennai and Pondicherry....

For pictures of the trip, click here

Friday, May 09, 2008

Future of Internet...

With YouTube launching its Indian avatar and following suit of other biggies like AOL, Orkut, MySpace, etc...what triggers my mind is...what lies beyond?

In last 10 years Internet has gone leaps and beyond...Google - a totally web based company is one of the most profitable and the biggest brands today...revenue from advertising in Internet have already started giving tough fight to TV and Press...what will happen in next 10 years?

1990s - 2004 was era Web 1.0 when humans learnt to communicate to machines....

2004- till date has been of humans talking to humans ...via the rise of social networking ...today we have atleast 100 of well known social networking sites...

It started with blogging sites - blogger, typepad, live Journal
and then Online Social Networks blew all steam - Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, Linkedin...
and now there is rise of blogging+Online social networking sites - like twitter, brightkite, etc

Already talks are on for Intelligent and Semantic web - phrased as Web 3.0 ...to start from 2010 when machines talk to machines (and thus making humans redundant!!! )

but what lies beyond?

After 25 years?....after 15 years? or even after 10 years? what would the friendly world wide web transform itself into?

No one knows...it is challenging and also scary...We don't know!
here is what all I think could have happened by then...

1. Fast speed will no more a delicacy but available to all via wimax or wifi ...(even in Agartala in India or La Paz in Bolivia) like water and food - this will be basic necessity of life

2. Net Neutrality - Net will no more be a democratic medium...Google would have bout AOL and and also AT&T....Microsoft would have been making hardware only and would have sold Hotmail to Yahoo....like Motorola is siphoning off its hardware division ...so if you would want to access any Google site - you will have to take take the broadband infrastructure from Google...like we pay for Pay Channels today...subscriptions based...

3. Google would have created such a strong vertical based search engine (which would work on images, speech, video, etc and not just texts) and it would be standard norm for any site to put a code into its site to be recognized by Google

4. The next big craze would be Video chatting or Vitting - no more chatting using plain and simple texts but with full emotions of faces...

5. People would have become so much into themselves 9as they would have bored of meeting new people on Social networking sites) that emphasis will be more on keeping them engaged as one human entity and not group of friends

Part 2 to follow...

PS: All the views and opinions expressed are just thematic and thoughts and I don't claim to be Nostradamus at all!