The funniest book I have read in a while

3 July 2010 2 comments

My reading of good books had become dormant for a while. Now that I am in NY and public libraries are one of the many good things here, I am devouring them happily again.

When I picked The Geography of Bliss in the Travel Non-fiction section, I was just hoping for some travel-writing with happiness thrown in. But this book made me laugh loud so many times that I have to post about it.  It catalogs how 10 different countries consider happiness (from filthy rich Qatar to serenely content Swiss to …). Eric manages to create a new genre and calls it the book a philosophical self-help humorous travel memoir.  It combines three of my most favourite genres and though I am yet to read about what he says about India and the US, I have been thoroughly enriched having read this.

A sample of his writing “When Ambition is your God, the office is your temple, the employee handbook your holy book. The sacred drink coffee is imbibed five times a day. When you worship Ambition, there is no Sabbath, no day of rest. Every day, you rise early and kneel before the God Ambition, facing in the direction of your PC. You pray alone, always alone, even though others may be present. Ambition is a vengeful God. He will smite those who fail to worship faithfully, but that is nothing compared to what He has in store for the faithful. They suffer the worst fate of all. For it is only when they are old and tired,entombed in the corner office, that the realization hits like a Biblical thunderclap. The God Ambition is a false God and always has been.”

Categories: Books

Back after the break

3 July 2010 3 comments

I don’t want to label it anything else but a break 🙂 The blog has been on my To-Do for a long time. See you around!

Categories: Misc.

Using RTI Act

13 December 2007 3 comments

In 3 simple steps, churumuri shows how to use the RTI act effectively. The post also talks about how it was used in 4 scenarios. Very useful info!

Categories: Society

More tools for domestic travel

20 November 2007 3 comments

Following up on my year-old post, I shall recommend three tools that are very promising.

Ixigo (http://www.ixigo.com)  has been introducing several cool features, the latest being a comparison with OTAs like cleartrip. It is an innovation in the Indian travel space and one which I very much like, though I have seen it on kayak.com Another great feature is its anywhere to anywhere connectivity, connecting smaller towns also. The interface is also slick. It is definitely the best aggregator for Indian flights.

90DI Travel (http://www.90di.com/travel/index.html)  includes trains and flights in its routes. I recently searched for a Bangalore to Kannur route and found good suggestions. On an aside, I’ve been planning to see Maniratnam-famous Kannur and Fort Bekal for a long time now and I’d be getting to see it next year. Trains are my favourite mode of travel. Hats off to the team for providing train route search on selected days in a simple and easy manner! They say the fare and seat availability is real-time.

IndiaGroove (http://indiagroove.com/trains/train_finder/search) is a good trainfinder site. If only the Indian Railways site is as intuitive and easy to use! In its beta, IndiaGroove only has trains, but is very effective, though outdated. It allows you to search for all the days in the week and also with layovers upto 24 hours. My Bangalore to Kannur/Cannanore train search gives me good results (not the latest schedules though), which I was not able to get easily from the Indian Rail site.

PS: Later I chanced upon a thread in Indiamike, which lists a few more train search sites.

Categories: Travel

I got a book

26 October 2007 2 comments

Well. Long long ago, I asked for a book from other friends and booklovers who also read this blog. Archu immediately shot off a mail, promising me one. When I got the book yesterday from Amazon, I was pleasantly thrilled.  The book is the Kite Runner and I’m already hooked up. I cannot thank her enough for this wonderful surprise, which also made my month 🙂

Categories: Books, Friends

Backpacker friendly, huh?

8 October 2007 2 comments

I have been lucky to see two of the most friendly countries for solo travellers on a budget. When you are checking that out, there is another such list which gives you more options. Some day, I will see Argentina and I will learn Spanish. The USA in its small cities is definitely not backpacker-friendly. There are some countries where you are better off earning your money, not spending it. That explains my almost-zero travel here. But I am excited at visiting friends in the Golden state (is it also called the Sunshine state?) next month.

Categories: Travel

Every weekend long

29 September 2007 2 comments

First things first. I can’t drive though I have an Indian car driving licence. In a car-crazy America, that is sin of the first order. My second big mistake is to have left that Indian licence back home so as not to carry many identities. So, I cannot even try to use it here and test some cars 😉 These make my weekends miserably boring and long. I am stuck to my suite and there is no public transport in my suburb on weekends. Damn, it all adds up. I carry a big bias against cabs. I haven’t been to downtown yet. That explains. So, what do I do on weekends? Talk to wife, eat, sleep, watch some stupid Tamil movie I downloaded on a torrent, …

It is strange to realize that I am practically immobile without a car here. I must learn to drive properly and believe that the car is not only for the others.

My colleagues have been nice to drive around me a few weekends. I don’t feel too nice to be at another’s mercy. I am hoping to have some friends visit me here. Another option I have is to rent some bikes (not the motorbikes) and cycle along some good trails around here. Sadly, the rentals equal my daily allowance. I have less than two months to go now and I don’t know if I will be able to see around yet. Why is America so fond of cars? 

Categories: Me