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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Reading Light


Saw a clamp-on reading light on sale at Carrefour and picked it up. It will solve my problem of inability to read in the evening while travelling back from office in the company vehicle.
Hope I read at least 2-3 books using that light or the money spent will be a waste.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Timing ...

Now thats what I call perfect timing !!!


 Yep !! Thats Me.

Nope !! Thats not a Pani Puri that I am eating.

Its my favorite snack in Dubai - a Falafel Sandwich !!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sensitivity

The other day, I was travelling in the Dubai Metro and witnessed a curious case of sensitivity.

There was an old gentleman man (seemed European) seated in the Metro train. He noticed a young man in his 30's with a small kid and offered his seat to them. The old gentleman then stood for the next 2-3 stations till his stop arrived.

The young man sat in that seat with the kid in his lap. The lady seated next to him got up and left when her station arrived. The man put the kid in the now vacant seat.

And now comes the interesting part. A young man in the 20's who had seen the earlier exchange asked the father of the kid for the seat which the kid was now occupying. The father took the kid back in his lap and this young guy took the seat.

It was a surprising yet amusing scenario. It was a stark contrast between the sensitivity of the old man and that of the young one. The father of the son was grateful to the old man and probably had no hard feelings for the young man who asked him to take the kid back into his lap. But the contrast in sensitivity is something that will be permanently engraved in my mind.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

GM Diet once again …

I tried the GM diet about 2 years ago with very good results and have thought of reopeating it again but then it never happened.
Finally … I am on GM Diet again ...
My wife's travel to India has helped in a way since I was too lazy to cook. I was living on wholesome vegetable enhanced Maggi and nice filling Falafels for a few days before it hit me over the weekend that it was a perfect opportunity to go on GM Diet
There isn't much cooking involved except for the GM Wonder Soup which is just about chopping veggies and boiling them together.
So here I am… on GM Diet.
Hoping to make a significant difference to my weight in the coming few days.
Deviation: I am making some deviation from the diet though. I have some sweet that has arrived from India and will be spoilt if kept for many days. I can't let that happen. So every day, I am consuming a little bit of that sweet. Also, a colleague returned from India and he brought sweets for all the team members. You know … it will not be nice to say no to such a sweet gesture. So I helped myself to a piece here too :)
Also, I am constantly battling the temptation to have ice cream. We have an ice cream machine at office from which we can help ourselves with an ice cream anytime we want. Have resisted them for first 3 days … hope I can continue right up to day without an ice cream deviation

Monday, February 21, 2011

Captain HK at Logos Hope


Yeah .... thats me ... inside Logos Hope ... 

That white plastic bag I carry in my hand in the photo on the left has SIX books :)


   

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Logos Hope and more Book Shopping



This is not just a cruise liner … This is Logos Hope !!

Logos Hope is a floating library that is more than just the sum of the millions of books that it has sold or the cultural exchanges it fosters during its global voyage. Built in 1973, Logos Hope offers a stock of half-a-million books to choose from for all age groups, spread over an area 610 square meters. The ship Logos Hope is all set to open to the public the world's largest floating book fair. With more than 7,000 titles on display, the fair is a one-of-a-kind event and a must-visit for literary enthusiasts. It has a crew of around 400 volunteers (no salary) from more than 45 countries.
 
It came to Dubai lat month and docked at Port Rashid. I made sure to visit it which also meant that I bought 6 more books taking my DSF book shopping tally to a full dozen :)
 
There was an extremely long truly serpentine queue of visitors for Logos Hope. It was an interesting experience in itself.
 


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Children’s Classics I would like to read ...

Children's Classics I would like to read (some of them … again)

A comment by my friend about re-reading Lord of the Rings set a similar desire in me too.
Especially since I have a poor memory, most of the stories I would have read in my school days are washed out from my memory and I would enjoy reading them as I had enjoyed them then.  
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
  • A Journey to the Center of the Earth Jules Verne
  • A Little Princess Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll
  • Anne of Green Gables Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Black Beauty Anna Sewell
  • The Call of the Wild and White Fang Jack London
  • Heidi Johanna Spyri
  • Little Women Louisa May Alcott
  • Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Kate Douglas Wiggin
  • The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Story of Doctor Dolittle Hugh Lofting
  • Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea Jules Verne
  • The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz L. Frank Baum
I would love to read some of these in this year ...

Sunday, February 06, 2011

BLISS !!

This is Bliss !!!


This is Nirvana !!!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Lost & Found and then lost in Dubai


Last weekend, we (Me and Nisha, my wife) decided to go to the Creek Side Park in Dubai and take the cable car ride across the park and enjoy the 8.30 PM fireworks that take place every day during the DSF (Dubai Shopping Festival).
It turned out to be an adventurous and tiring journey rather than a pleasant one.
We left home (hotel actually) at about 4 and planned to reach the Ghubaiba Bus Depot and then take a bus to Creek Park and reach there by 5'ish. That way we could get onto the cable car (which travels 30 metres above the park) while there is still some light and then go around the park and see the fireworks at 8.30.
We reached Ghubaiba depot and started looking for the other bus which would take us top the Creek Park. Just when were about to board the bus, I realized that I was missing my bag. IU had forgotten my bag in the previous bus. 
WOAH !!!
I went to the Customer Care counter at the depot and told them about the situation. They asked for my card (We pay for bus/metro etc using a Card … by swiping it across the machines in the bus). Using that card, the gentleman at the counter printed the card history which had records of all swipes made. It had the time, date, Bus number etc … everything.
The person called the destination depot of the bus and informed then about the bag. They were asked to retain the bag in the bus and drop it at the depot when the bus came back to it; which would be in about 35-45 minutes. Well, technology and prompt customer service helped me get my bag back … quickly.
Since we had to wait at the depot for the bag to turn up, we could not go to creek-park immediately. We got the bag by 6.30 and it was already dark so the cable car ride was already ruled out. So we planned to go to the Night Souq which I remembered was somewhere close to creek-park and catch the 8.30 fireworks. We asked around and took the designated bus.
THAT proved to be the next BIG mistake … the bus took a circuitous route to creek-park. While we could have easily reached the park in about 20 minutes by bus and 10 minutes by taxi; that treacherous bus on that fateful evening took more than hour to reach.  It was already 8.00 when we reached and I could not see any lights of the night souq. The only hope was to traverse the length of the park and reach the creek in time to catch the fireworks. Easier said than done. The parks here in Dubai are actually HIUGE and getting from one end to the other is no mean task. We walked and walked and finally reached the Bridge across the creek after about 25 minutes; just in time for the fireworks.
During that half an hour of walking there was a feeling of being lost with no empty taxi in sight.  
Of course there was more walking later on after the fireworks but we were sure of the destination. Later that night when I calculated the distance traversed by foot on maps; I realized that we clocked about 3 km in the path traced below … and another km perhaps at the bus depot etc.
Phew. A total of more than 4 km walk!!!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Books I read in January …


1. The Three Investigators & the Mystery of the Green Ghost by Robert Arthur
I began the year 2011 with a 'Three Investigators' (3I) novella. This one begins literally with a Ghost, in fact, a screaming Ghost which travels from one place to another managing to be seen by many and getting to front page news. Ghost leads to discovery of a rare pearl necklace (seemingly named Ghost Pearls) which are stolen and found.
A 107 year old Chinese noble appears in the scheme of things who seems to hold the theory (and practice) of dissolving those kind of pearls and drinking them up … to prolong his life. According to him, each pearl gives him 3 months of life. He is after the pearls and (understandably) will go at great lengths and to any extent to get them. Things begin to transform from mysterious to dangerous.
The story ends with the mystery solved and the ghost pearls destroyed (turned to dust) in an unfortunate accident. Yet another enjoyable read.

2. Feluda: Danger in Darjeeling by Satyajit Ray
I was introduced to Feluda in 2008 by my best friend and I became an instant fan. I read a couple of this series before I traveled to Dubai and the reading on Feluda stopped. This time around, I have brought along the entire collection of Feluda with me to Dubai for reading. These two large fat books that are going to be a significant part of my 2011 reading along with the Sherlock Holmes and Three Investigators series
The first of Feluda stories I read was 'Danger in Dargeeling'.
The story did not really prove Feluda's mettle since he found the culprit after he was gone and that too he had no clue to the motive. The culprit left the scene and the city and then sent a letter to justify his actions and also the motive.  I am looking forward to the next one.

3. Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The study in scarlet introduces Watson and Sherlock Holmes; how they meet and how Watson discovers the eccentricities of Sherlock. This first SH novel was written in a very weird manner.
The slightly complex language and style of writing made it a slow read.
A crime is committed and SH solves it. He even catches the murderer in the comfort of his home. The story suddenly takes a break and moves back in time and begins a parallel story in a different era, a different timeline. This parallel story intends to bring perspective to the motive behind the murder.
The novel ends with the murderer revealing how he did it and in the last chapter Watson describes how Holmes described his deductions and chain of logic to catch the murderer. This one was not one of my favorites. And surprisingly, I have no recollections of any part of the story. Its as if I have never read it earlier.  

4. The Three Investigators & the Mystery of the Vanishing Treasure by Robert Arthur
This one was better than the first one. An interesting story with 2 stories which are seemingly separate but have some common threads that tie them in conclusion. The trio gets involved in a seemingly mysterious case which leads to bigger things and also helps them solve a case where they were not allowed to assist.  

5. Sherlock Holmes: The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The second novel in the Sherlock Holmes collection was another novel titled 'The Sign of Four'. Even this had the main story and a historical one attached to explain the motive. It had an interesting side story though, with Watson getting emotional, romance overpowering his emotions and then finally he getting married.

6. Feluda: The Emperor's Ring  by Satyajit Ray
This one was better than the first one. It involved an invaluable ring which is at the centre of the crime story. The cast of the story includes various characters supported and several strange animals :) who belong to a personal zoo.
An interesting storyline
This one was definitely better than the first one which had a rather disappointing climax. 

7. Sherlock Holmes: A Scandal in Bohemia by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A very simple case where Sherlock does not really bring the whole affair to an expected conclusion but which is remarkable since he encounters a lady who matches his wits and outwits him so completely that Sherlock can only admire her and respect her

8. Sherlock Holmes: The Red Headed League by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Déjà vu
This story was something that I clearly remembered from my school days. I remembered the entire chain of events. It was interesting to read the Conan version.

Addendum - Forgot to add this last one read on the last day of the month
9. Sherlock Holmes: A Case of Identity by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle



This was a pretty story where I was able to predict the climax; of course, not because of deductions but by sheer intuition which may be a result of some faint memory from childhood or maybe from sheer luck.

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The more I read, the more I realize that I loved Sherlock so much because of his sheer 'almost magical' powers of deduction. Watson was used to further contrast this. Sherlock and Watson often saw and heard the same things; while Watson was able to deduce very little from the observations; Sherlock seemed to draw out the entire 'janam kundali' of the subject at hand. 
It was a curious coincidence that there was a Bank robbery in two of the stories that I read this month and both shared the modus operandi. There was a tunnel being dug from one place top another in both stories, 'Sherlock Holmes - The Red Headed League' and '3I – The Vanishing Treasure'. Both had the tunnel diggers drawing attention away from the digging by using strange methods / distractions.
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Completion Score:  
Three Investigators     6 out of 35
Feluda                         2 out of 35
Sherlock Holmes         5 out of 56
Total                           13 out of 126