My Love for Biographies

Chennai-Puthaga-Sangamam-Biographies-Bought

These are the books (Biographies of famous personalities – in Tamil) I bought from Chennai Puthaga Sangamam exhibition at Periyar Thidal yesterday.

Every time I visit a book fair, I am always attracted to history/biography books. That’s strange because I didn’t have much of an affinity towards History during my school days. I started reading autobiographies only from the last year of my college. And I remember liking them instantly 🙂

The first book I read was Emperor Napoleon’s biography. Then I read books about Hitler & Stalin and the Second world war. Then I read a few business biographies and biographies of Indian/World leaders.

Some of my favorite books include: I too had a Dream by Verghese Kurien (on Amul Cooperative), Biography of Steve Jobs,  Iacocca: An Autobiography (Ford & Chrysler), Dongri to Dubai: Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia.

Some books like Straight from the Gut by Ex-GE CEO Jack Welch, although highly acclaimed, are just a collection of successful events in the author’s life meant for (their) personal satisfaction through self-praise. Some books like the one on Enron fiasco were too long to finish, and other books are written with a poor style and narrative without conveying much info.

If you want to read a non-fiction book that is as engaging as a fiction thriller novel read, ‘The Rise and Fall of Third Reich’ by William L. Shirer. This one is about the Second World War (from the German perspective) and it’s un-put-downable!

When I went to this exhibition yesterday and saw biographies, I decided to buy them instantly even though they are written in Tamil. Maybe because I’ve not been reading biographies of late and desperately want to read some.  I will try to summarize these books within 600 words in this blog so that you’ll also get an idea about the lives led by these interesting and famous personalities 🙂

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PS-1: I have three books written by APJ Abdul Kalam in my shelf waiting to be read!! Note to self: Read them ASAP.

PS-2: What’s your favorite auto/biography? Whose life do you want to read about?

Being More Indian: Arranged Marriage

I consider arranged marriages to be an Indian phenomenon. Of course, it exists in other countries also, but Indian arranged marriages are unique – don’t you think?

As you all know I got married the arranged marriage way.

It’s not that I was against love marriage or anything. In fact, I fell in love as early as 5th Std. And that was the second time.

But the issue is, for a lazy guy like me, I expect a girl to walk into my house with a bouquet full of roses, knock the door, come inside my room and propose to me as I am working on my computer. Of course, I could turn my head towards her for a short while 😛

Now you have an idea how unrealistic my expectations on this topic can be.

Obviously, with such unimaginable hopes (for others), ‘love’ never happened in my life 🙂

So the only option available to me (practically) was arranged marriage. In this institution, the best thing I like is, the bridegroom doesn’t have to do much. Parents bring the profiles, I shortlist them. Parents talk to potential bride’s families, I just need to talk once to the bride. Parents fix engagement, marriage, etc., I just need to be there.

In many ways, arranged marriage was made for people like me 🙂

Although there is this enormous risk of marrying and living with a person about whom you don’t know much, somehow the majority of the arranged marriages click. At least in our circle, it does.

I was also fortunate to get a wife whom I (later) realized was a very good match for me, without being sure about it before the marriage.

Marriage has made me a more balanced and a more confident person. In fact, my life transformed from black & white to colour, bubbles & bells – literally. Don’t believe me? See the short video below for proof  😀


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This post was written for a contest sponsored by Lufthansa, the German airline company that owns the world’s second largest fleet of airplanes. As a part of their #MoreIndiaThanYouThink strategy, they greet their (Indian) passengers with a traditional namaste, they serve Indian meals & chai, they also provide Indian content – films, news & music to flight passengers. Have a look at their #MoreIndianThanYouThink initiatives from here. Also, don’t miss the below embedded Lufthansa TVC –

 

How to Keep Mosquitoes Away (Outdoor Mosquito Repellent)


Good Knight Fabric Roll On is a product brought to you by Godrej that’ll help keep mosquitoes away from kids (and adults), even in outdoors and large spaces. All you need to do is apply four coin sized dots of this liquid on any kind of fabric you wear – that’s it, mosquitoes will be repelled away from you or your kids for up to 8 hours.

Good Knight Fabric Roll On is a natural outdoor mosquito repellent made of citronella & eucalyptus oil that are known for keeping mosquitoes away. The company says since this product uses citronella & eucalyptus oil for mosquitoes, it is made using plant-based oils – hence is 100% natural.

You’ll find some natural pungent when applied – if you find the smell a bit too strong, just apply it in areas away from the nose. The company says it is safe to use it on the skin as well, but it’s best to apply on a fabric. It seems the Good Knight Fabric Roll On doesn’t leave any stains on clothes and can be applied on any kind of fabric including silk, khadi, windcheater, and even bedsheets!

Family members might find it useful while going on outdoor trips like trekking, camping, beaches, mountains, etc. Or even in regular hotel rooms where mosquito repellents may not be available. It seems this product works even if you happen to walk in rains! It works on pets also – you can apply it on the collar fabric for dogs, for example.

Priced at around Rs. 75, one bottle is expected to last for 60 days if used on one person (four dots), every day. You can buy this mosquito repellent online from websites like Amazon or you can buy it from a nearby departmental store.

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Of Making Animated Photo Slideshows: My latest Passion


The title says Making animated photo slideshows is my latest passion, not my latest venture. Actually, it’s both. But I guessed you may be tired of reading about my various (unrelated) ventures over the years. What to do, that’s how I am 🙂

Anyways, the concept of this latest venture passion of mine is simple:

Send me six photos taken during any special occasion (like a trip, birthday, function, etc). I’ll send you back a nice animated slideshow (video) made using the photos – like the one shown/embedded above. Since I am just learning the art & business sides of this venture, it is free of cost – for now.

So if you want to be one of my experiments bakras clients, send me six photos to this email address: animatedphotos.org@gmail.com

What are you waiting for? 🙂

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PS-1: If you decide to send me the photos, remember that I may take some time few days to complete and send the video back by email. I am mostly working on this over the weekends because that’s when I feel creative I have time. Besides, I am simultaneously learning to use the required tools.

PS-2: The IT project that I was doing for my school is now finished. So am back to full-time blogging and freelancing.

PS-3: If you have decided not to do anything, at least like my Facebook page 🙂

If you have any tips/suggestions/ideas about this venture, please feel free to drop a comment below, as usual 🙂

Why are ppl upset with Kaatru Veliyidai movie?

My guess as to why (some) people may be upset with Mani Rathnam’s latest Tamil movie Kaatru Veliyidai –

Men are upset because the lead character is shown to be chauvinistic. Since people tend to idealize the hero, they are unable to accept imperfection. Besides, since men are chauvinistic in general (degree might differ) they get angry when their own (undesirable) trait is highlighted.

Women are upset because they are unable to associate one among them (heroine) falling head over heels for a chauvinistic man in spite of knowing about his chauvinism. They feel that no woman should do such an illogical thing.

Movie review: The story is weak and slow-moving. Karthi’s characterization is inappropriate and sometimes not believable. There is not much of a role for capable supporting actors.

Aditi’s acting is very good and so is the scene setting, camera, and other technical aspects. ARR’s BG music is good, but songs (save one) are not that impressive.  Emotions work in some scenes. The prison escape sequences are good.

Kaatru Veliyidai is watchable once – in theater. But don’t expect to see a Mani Rathnam movie – you’ll be disappointed. Think that some new director has made such an unconventional movie – you’ll feel much better while coming out.

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Why do ‘Modern’ Hospitals have ‘Centralized’ AC?

I understand that with modernity creeping its head everywhere, people expect more comfort nowadays at every available opportunity. But don’t you think having centralized Air Conditioning in hospitals is actually taking it too far?

I mean, I am OK with having centralized AC at hotels, theaters, malls, and even schools. But in ‘modern’ hospitals, where people come because they are sick (often with fever, flu, cold and other such ailments that are averse to anything cold), do we really need an AC?

These hospitals, irrespective of whether the doctors are free or not, make patients wait for 1-3 hours on average – even with prior appointment. If you’ve ever been to one of these hospitals, you’ll realize that after one or two hours, that AC can get really COLD. They don’t even regulate the temperature of the AC!

Frankly, we don’t go to certain movie theaters because they don’t regulate ACs and it gets too cold. That is during normal times. But having centralized ACs at hospitals and not regulating the temperature – don’t you think this is too much? Why can’t the ACs be restricted to ‘deluxe’ rooms where patients want it?

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Our Mahabalipuram Trip – 2017


Of course, I’ve been to Mahabalipuram many times before. I have even done individual posts about the major attractions there. But this is the first time I went there with my wife.

For this two-day trip, we went on our bike. This was not such a smart decision as although we had fun while going, we found it difficult while coming back!

We stayed in Bay Treasure Resort. They had a nice pool, which we liked – but being in water can make you tired (after you come back). I wish they had some sports facilities too, but this time we didn’t have much time anyway.

The attractions in Mahabalipuram are not that interesting. Caves and sculptures can even get boring if you are going without a guide. However, it was an excellent place to take a lot of selfies – which is exactly what we did. I made a video slide show using a few photos taken there – don’t forget to see the above embedded Youtube video.

Among the attractions, I like the lighthouse the most. I like the view from the top of any lighthouse, for that matter. One interesting incident happened here – we were eating mango and watermelon when a monkey approached us. I gave a piece of the mango. It nibbled on it, threw it away and sat next to me.

Without batting as much as an eyelid, it suddenly snatched my watermelon cup. I sat there for a few seconds watching it eat, but then walked away fearing any more (Mis) adventures 🙂

On the whole, we had a good trip except for the second-half of the last day as we became quite tired while driving back.

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Is Durability in Mobile Phones NOT Valued any longer?

Don’t confuse durability with quality. All products need to be quality products to succeed in the market.  Durability refers to the longevity of the product life. How long we are able to use the product, i.e.

A few years back, both quality and durability were considered important factors to buy a product. But with mobile phones and a few other electronic gadgets, I wonder if durability is valued any longer.

That is because, new phones with latest features and higher capacity is released so frequently nowadays that my mobile phone was already obsolete the moment I bought it!

Nowadays, at least once in a year, I look for reasons to upgrade to the latest mobile. I can just buy a new phone, but I — like many others — have this need to justify a new purchase.

Now, what if, the mobile phone stops working or develops some technical issue just after the first year of warranty? That would give me the perfect reason to buy a new phone – won’t it?

That’s why I have started thinking that durability, at least in mobile phones and a few other similar gadgets, may be a minus point.

Actually, I had one HTC phone that I used for almost 6-years. While I did not incur the financial losses of having to buy a new mobile, I did have to drop my face when everyone around me were showing off their latest mobiles with latest features. My phone was working perfectly, and hence I didn’t have a good enough reason to change it!

Same happened with my Toshiba laptop. While I wanted to upgrade to a better processor, RAM and storage capacity, the old one would just not stop functioning.

In both the above cases, losing my patience after sometime, I just went ahead and bought a new mobile and laptop although the old ones were working fine. That damn HTC phone is still working!!

If vendors can include an auto-kill switch or something in every gadget which will enable us to kill it at will, it will be great. That way, there’ll be no need to justify a new purchase to ourselves or others. What do you think? 😀

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Sri Lakshmi Saibaba Temple @ Mogappair West, Chennai

Lakshmi-Sai-Baba-Temple-Mogappair-West-Chennai

Today we went to Sri Lakshmi Sai Baba Temple @ Mogappair West/Nolambur, Chennai. The Temple being close to home, it’s surprising that I have not come here before. But only recently I came to know about this Temple which has a 72-feet tall statue of Sai Baba.

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There are two Shrines for Sai Baba inside and there are Shrines for other Gods like Maha Lakshmi, Lakshmi Ganapathy, Anchaneya, Maha Meru, Navagraha, etc. There is a hall for Anna Dhanam where they give Prasadam and there is a stall selling Sai Baba statues, pens, rings, thread, posters, etc.

 

Here is a Sai Baba Fridge Magnet we bought. I have kept it over my new car-themed Laptop skin. Howzz the new skin?? 🙂

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Directions: If you come from Tirumangalam, take the left just before Golden Flats bus stop to catch Tiruvalluvar Main Road. Go straight until you reach the dead end. From here, if you take a left and then immediate right, you go to Ponamallee High Road. Instead of taking left, take a right and at some distance forward, you’ll find this Temple.

If you come from P.H. Road, take the right at the signal just before MGR University and then take a left. Go straight and you’ll see the large statue on your left initially, but as the road curves the Temple will be on your right.

The closest bus stand is Mogappair West bus terminus, 1.5 K.M. away.

Temple Address: NO. 113, Gangai Amman Nagar, Muvur Sandhi, Mogappair/ Nerkundram/ Nolambur, Chennai – 600107. Ph: 044-26535665, 8939935665, 8754579916.

‘Birds of Prey’ book launch @ Odyssey, Chennai

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‘Birds of Prey’ is a psychological crime thriller written by Archana Sarat who is currently living in Mumbai but was born and brought up in Chennai. On Sat, Jan. 21, I went to the book launch function organized by the author and publisher (Readomania) at Odyssey bookstore, Adyar.

As you can see in the above photo, the book was launched by Actor Sharath Kumar, among other dignitaries. Notable among them is Mr. Raghavan, a 90-year old former administrator and book lover!

Although the book is a work of fiction, the incidents are based on real-life cases of child abuse picked up from court files and interviews of NGO Activists by the author. As this is a topic that is brushed under the carpet by many, some awareness through mainstream fiction is always welcome.

Archana-Sarat-Book-Launch-Birds-of-Prey-at-Chennai

Here is the author Archana Sarat talking about the journey of publishing her maiden book. I had met Archana before a couple of years when I joined NaNoWriMo Chennai. A bunch of us authors met and wrote through short sprint sessions combined with some fun literary discussions. We even had a full-day writing session one day with a potluck lunch!

So when the author requested me to attend the book launch event at Odyssey, I decided to go as artists need to be encouraged. The author was all praises for the way Chennai came to support the book launch and she mentioned that Chennai is the best city for the support network that exists for art and artists. That seems to be true – the hall was full of people, some were even standing!

One more reason for the crowd may have been due to the presence of Actor Sharath Kumar. I was sitting just four feet away from him when I clicked this photo –

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BTW, Actor Sharath Kumar will be releasing his autobiography ‘Puriyadha Thedal’ shortly. Keep a watch for this book on book stands!

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