Saturday, May 24, 2008

Book Review: Such a Long Journey, Rohinton Mistry

It always amazes me how despite my dislike for tragic novels, I end up reading Rohinton Mistry's works again and again. Thus you can imagine how interesting his work must be. This time I came across the book called 'Such a Long Journey' when I was browsing the books at Crossword, Ahmedabad. I would describe the book as slow but fluid, sad but with traces of happiness round the corner and above all, displaying Mistry's typical style of weaving a story with historical background.

Like 'Fine Balance', this book is also set in the backdrop of early 1970s when India was gripped in the war with Pakistan and the emergency times. The story revolves around a family, their friends, and neighbors living in a Parsi colony in Mumbai. As always, Mistry gives us glimpses of Parsi family customs, their language, their interactions with each other and their place in the Indian history.

I call this novel 'A collection of mini-biographies of various characters'. He depicts individuals in such color and variety! He never fails to draw a picture of a personality with the most complete details. And therefore, parts of the book concerning individual characters look like their own biographies. The characters in this book are by far the most interesting of his novels. A middle class Parsi family fighting various household problems surrounding their children, A retired major working for RAW (Intelligence wing of Indian Armed Forces) and tangled in a national level conspiracy, a superstitious woman who performs black magic, a mentally challenged begger, a street worker who earns his bread by drawing all deities on footpath and wall and so on.

Like his other novels, this novel also has a steady background which plays historical events, dimly interacting with the characters in the frames. In Fine Balance, the background was the Emergency time in India under Indira Gandhi's rule. In this book, the background is the war years with Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh. Through indirect references, Mistry conveys a lot about powerful and shrewd personality of Ms. Gandhi. And such historical references make this book very interesting to read.

If you can't tolerate tragedy, don't read this book. If you want a novel which ties all the loose ends at the end and finishes with a climax, look somewhere else. This book is for those who enjoy immersing into the characters' lives. It is for those who live the lives of characters while reading. If you are such a reader, don't miss this book.

[Image Source:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

8 Types Of Annoying People You’ll Find Inside Starbucks

Hilarious. Check it out... You will surely remember encountering at least one of them while your visit to Starbucks!

read more | digg story

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A new beginning

Today was the 138th Commencement Ceremony of University of Arizona, class of 2008. The ceremony started at around 8:30 today morning with a walk from Main Library building to the McKale center.

The entry into the stadium was magnificent. I felt like I was in a state of trance. The whole crowd was cheering us - the graduates, from the stadium and as we entered, we could hear the loud roaring sound from all around. That sound of applause will surely remain etched into my memories for a long time. We felt like celebrities! Or even better, like soldiers coming home, victorious.

And above all, I felt even more proud as I knew that among thousands of spectators were my parents. Cheering for me. With a smile of satisfaction and pride.
All the caffeine stimulated nights, hours of study, anxiety over grades, daily walks under bright hot sun to the department, effort put into reading unintelligible hand-writings of undergraduate students while grading as TA, sleeping hungry due to lack of energy to cook, disappointments over low grades and all difficult times seemed like a dull memory of past, faded in the glory of the moment at present. It was the climactic culmination of all this. A composition ending on a high note. Like a sunset that is optimistic with the coming day's new hopes.

[Image source:]

Computer Science: Class of 2008, University of Arizona

Parag, Me and Karthik
(From Left) Me, Karthik, Parag, Poorna, Sheshu, Manish

(From Left) Rachita, Pallavi, Lopa, Natasha, Me, Parag, Sheshu, Karthik

I am somewhere in the crowd. Don't bother to spot me. Even I am not able to locate myself

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Proud Moment

Time to say goodbye

Goodbye red brick buildings,
I will hold you in my memories.
Goodbye green yellow cactus,
I will miss you on my way.

My time has come and I must go,
With a heavy heart I will depart.
A tear rolls down my eye,
Questioning me, 'Should I?'

The new horizon calls on me,
Enticing me with new promises.
I am happy but I am sad,
Is there a way I can stay?

Fruits of hard work

I achieved a clean 4.0 in second consecutive semester! But alas, I ended up with a not so clean CGPA of 3.8 in my MS degree. But I am happy I am done with this finally! Err... well, not so happy maybe. I am going to miss this place, people and this routine.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A shining star departs

Today is a terribly sad day for Hindustani Classical Music community. The legend, venerable Pt. Kishan Maharaj passed away after a paralytic attack from which he could not recover. He was 84.

Padma Vibhushan, the maestro from Banaras Gharana was country's finest Tabla player. I have been extremely lucky to have heard him live on quite a few occasions. Many considerd him a far better Tabla player than even some one as famous as Zakeer Hussain. Always dedicated to his art, he considered Hindustani Classical music as his religion and his Tabla, a prayer.

Panditjee, you will be awfully missed. But your fame will live forever. May God bless your soul. Rest In Peace.

[Image Source:]

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Starbucks profits down

Starbucks reported that their profits sank by 28% for the last quarter.

Starbucks, you discontinued my favorite drink 'Orange Mocha' and now you suffer. *evil grin*

Pigs on the wing. Literally!

For those of you who care, Pink Floyd's giant two storey tall Piggie has returned home, though not safe and sound.

Roger Waters of Pink Floyd has been using this giant inflatable pig in his concerts as a prop since their success of the album Animals in 1977. Last Sunday in a concert in southern California, the pig broke free from the tethers. Organizers had announced a reward of $10,000 to anyone who brings the pig back. And today the news is out that a couple from a desert town in California has found the pig and returned. Though it is in tatters, finally it is home!

This Pig really had wings it seems :D

[P.S. - Pigs on the wing is a song from the album Animals.]

Michael Bloomberg on The Time 100

And here is another personality I admire, Michael Bloomberg featuring on Time 100 most influential personalities list under the category 'Scientists and Thinkers'. And apparently he fits into both of these categories! Many of you might know he founded the firm Bloomberg LLP by creating the revolutionary software for financial analysis which reveals his Scientist side. He has been widely applauded as one of the most effective Mayors of New York who puts constant efforts for improving the city of NY.

Link to Michael Bloomberg on Time 100 here

As a future employee of Bloomberg LLP, it feels great to see him here !

Ratan Tata on The Time 100

Time magazine released their list of 100 most influential personalities of last year (2007). And as I was expecting, Ratan Tata is featuring under the category 'Builders and Titans'. This category features 22 people from all over the world and includes the likes of Steve Jobs, Steve Ballmer, Jeff Bezos and so on. And I felt extremely proud to see the 'Ever so smiling' face of our own good old Ratan Tata.

Tetley, Daewoo, Corus, Jaguar and Land Rover....... He is the victorious emperor on a mission!

Link to Time's Link featuring Ratan Tata here

As an ex-Tata employee, it feels great to see him here!