Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lazy post

Joy tagged me a while ago. I can't think of anything to write about currently and my blog feels rather neglected. What perfect timing, no? So onto the game of tag it is. I call this the book tag (so creative, right? *applause*).

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?
I had about a vampire's chance in garlic-field of not developing it :-)! My earliest childhood memories are of mom and dad sitting on chairs and reading while sis and I played on the floor. There was no way that I could not love doing something which my parents so obviously enjoyed doing.

What are some books you read as a child?
I started off with comics - Tinkle, Amar Chitra Katha, Phantom, Mandrake etc. And then graduated to Enid Blyton (Famous Five, Five Find outers, Secret Seven, the wonderful, wonderful Magic Faraway Tree etc. etc.). From there it was on to Three Investigators, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew. Also throw in some abridged versions of classics. Basically, I traversed the arc which pretty much every reading Indian child used to travel (what do kids these days read?).

What is your favourite genre?
I like books which have lots of technical titbits and current/world affairs woven into a story. Frederick Forsyth and Michael Crichton are good examples. I like reading the classics. Of course, P.G. Wodehouse and Jane Austen are Gods.

Do you have a favourite novel?
There are plenty of books I thoroughly enjoyed reading - don't think I can pick a particular favorite novel. But some books that linger in my memory ...

- Five get into a Fix - the first full length novel I read.
- Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit - my very first PGW, it has a special place in my heart
- Pride and Prejudice - I *have* to read it at least once every year
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - this was the first book I read from cover to cover without even a single break (other than one trip to the kitchen to get the huge snack dabba for company)

Where do you usually read?
Anywhere and everywhere. Really. It is not the place which matters - more like, do I have a book to read?

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?
Pretty much always. Mostly because considering the n number of places I read my books in, I sometimes forget where I left a book. Then, when I need to have a book to read ASAP, I will just pick another one instead of launching a book hunt right away (unless of course book 1 is at some critical point). It is kinda easy to start off multiple books this way!

Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?
Huh - why would that be different? Or are we talking about techie books/school books? In the latter case, yup, in addition to reading, I also used to pile a tremendous amount of imprecations upon my head for not having started reading sooner (beginning cramming the night before an exam sometimes brings a nasty shock in terms of the amount of stuff to be crammed).

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?
The library is my blessed primary source. I have a collection of 15 or so good books in my house which I have never read. I have them unread because, in case there is an earthquake or a flood and I am not able to go to the library, I still will have new books to read. In case you were wondering, nopes, I do not have sufficient food stock to sustain me for more than a couple of days.

Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them?
Yes - I usually only buy books which I think I will read a second time.

If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them? Were they some of the same ones you read as a child?
Check back in a decade or so!

What are you reading now?
Wonder boys - Michael Chabon
A case of exploding mangoes - Mohammed Hanif

Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?
Yes - it is spread across my gmail inbox. However, when I am in the library scratching my head for the next pick, my memory as well as gmail does an exceptional job of hiding every book on the TBR. Not very useful if you ask me.

What books would you like to reread?
Comics. Classics. Humor. I almost never reread thrillers or adventures or suspense novels - you know what is going to happen, right? And in that genre, the getting there bit is usually not a scenic ride to be savored repeatedly.

Who are your favourite authors?
PGW, Jane Austen, J.K.Rowling, Fannie Flagg, Bill Bryson, Agatha Christie, Dave Barry (his columns and non-fiction , not his works of fiction - yuck), Terry Pratchett - ah well, just go and look at the list on my profile page. But that list is not comprehensive either.

Nah, not tagging anyone. Would love it though if at least a few of you readers pick it up. Go on folks, indulge me!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A song, a movie and a tribute

Jason Mraz's I'm yours is so cheerful. I simply couldn't help breaking into a grin and moving my head to the beat even the first time I heard it on my car's radio:

What do you think? Or are you already twirling around your computer :-)?

Children of heaven
After a long while, this was a movie-watching experience I simply savored. Unfortunately, though I generally do not favor a split movie-watching experience, I had to spread watching this movie over a span of several days. But each time, within minutes of resuming the movie, I was totally drawn into its world. The child artists are awesome. The relationship between the brother and sister is so true to life. I especially loved the scenes where the brother offers the sister a long pencil as a peace offering (and as a bribe to not tattle), the fun they have while washing the shoes, how the sister confesses after all her bravado that she would not have complained about the brother to their parents anyway - okay, I don't want to blow it for the folks who haven't seen the movie yet. But suffice to say that the movie brought back fond memories of my own childhood relationship with my sister. No matter what the place, the language or the culture, some fundamental bonds are the same the world over, no?

If you have not watched this movie yet, do yourself a favor and watch it. If you still have your doubts, it just may convince you that no matter how bitter sweet life might be, the sweetness is perhaps always a wee bit stronger than the bitterness.

Author Michael Crichton passed away :-(! MC kept me engrossed through long flight journeys, extended transit times and many long lazy holidays. Who is going to make reading about science such a thrilling ride now? Who is going to make me gobble up so much technical info with such great alacrity now? I hope you have got one of the plummest spots in writer heaven, MC! You sure deserve it! I will miss your writing so much. RIP.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Good deed for the day

Once upon a time, long long ago, me and my colleague V, both of us the youngest and the most recent additions to the company, were invited to a meeting filled with head honchos. Both of us spent the meeting wondering why the hell we were there and also trying to remain as invisible as five and half feet plus individuals possibly can. Midway through the meeting, the projector powered off. Everyone was wondering why when V, blushing beet red stammered that he had accidentally pulled out the projector's plug with his feet. For the next 10 minutes, various people tried to bring the projector back up while V kept up a constant stream of embarrassed apologies. Finally, peace was restored. Half an hour later, the meeting was done. As we walked out, I told V, "O boy, I wonder why I got invited to the meeting. I must have been the most useless contributor there". V stared hard at me and then said ruefully, "Well, at least you did not contribute negatively by wasting everyone's time due to turning off the projector with your feet!"

Now, why this sudden raking up of past pain? I got reminded of negative contributions. Today I was helping a colleague debug some issue and gave her a brilliant suggestion to try out so that I could confirm the problem she was facing. Fast forward two hours. Colleague sends a terse email saying "I have lost all my email thanks to following your idea." Brilliant me had forgotten to foresee what would happen if the problem she had been facing had not been a problem at all. Apparently crashing email clients is the result. Sigggghhhh.

p.s. Though in both instances I felt genuine regret, there is one part me, that part with the horns sticking through the head, which simply can't help being amused. I know, evil me.