Saturday, July 26, 2014

Planning A Travel Now Is Faster Cheaper and Easier With Sky Scanner

I am sure all of you have encountered one problem while planning an air travel, the moment you look for multiple options or you google the destination many times, the price rises. Its most irritating when that happens just when you finalise your travel, are about to make a payment and whoosh on your screen you have a message reading all those hours spent thinking and comparing prices to get the best deal were nothing but a wait, you just got robbed. Well now you just won't have to face it again as SkyScanner is here. True to its name it gives you the best options for travel. Best deals across multiple e-commerce portals, across airlines. Check it out here: http://www.skyscanner.co.in/

                                               The Sky Scanner main page....all you need is here!
As you can see the home page, you can book flights, hotels, buses and cars all in one place that is SkyScanner. Also right below the booking options you can see they have solutions from multiple e-commerce sites like MakeMyTrip, Yatra.com etc. On the left hand side you see the current offers running on the portal.

My destination is the beautiful an exotic country of Kangaroo...Australia. As you can see in the image above all I did was enter my travel destinations and the departure date, the search engine returned with hundreds of available options listed from lowest price onwards. It also showed me the costs of a non stop flight for comparison.


now I decided to go to perth first and meet my grandmom who lives there, so I chose Thai Airways, the most economical option with one stop worth INR 28,388.

Automatically I was conveniently directed to the next page where the flights were sorted according to the departure airport from India.

      Do you see the problem too? The only flight from delhi to perth is malaysia Airlines and I am scared.

so I have decided to go via Bengaluru instead, now once I choose that option then you see the read fun of SkyScanner:

Now as you can see highlighted in red are the options you get along with the cheapest pricing that comes out in green boldly. You can choose to go safe via an e-commerce portal of your choice or if you are a student like me choose the cheapest and best option. So no multiple window opening and searching per site the air fares and manually comparing it, SkyScanner does that for you. I am really having a sigh of relief , finally! somebody thought of this.

On the left you have pricing and airline options, its great to travel by the airlines you trust. So in essence you don't have to search for anything more, all that you need is well sorted right before your eyes which sames time and money both.

If at any point you wish to go to the site you have been using you scroll down this page and go to the direct links:

This being my first trip to australia, I shall rather go for a pre- booked cab. No i donot have to log on any where else, its all here, take a look:

After meeting Grandma and staying with her for a week, I plan to travel Australia. I can do all my bookings right here ia their cab service. As you can see you can also choose Return car at a different location option below your destination so I can easily do all my travel bookings right here, Isn't that cool and convenient?

Also for Sydney and Melbourne which is on my travel list I can find the hotels, right a click on the neighbouring button, isnt that called the Jet age travel?



As you can see here, the hotels are classified in multiple ways by price or distance from centre etc. You have reviews of about 100 people minimum for each option and the price you see on screen isn't much for an average hotel. since we still have 70, 000 INR more to spend will budget it between good hotels and best modes of travels. That's my trip planned and booked for destination Australia.

I am thankful to BlogAdda to introduce me to SkyScanner, Air travel bookings will no longer be a headache. I can plan my international trips right from here hassle free and once I am there I can relish the time enjoying the company of my Grandmother and the beautiful Australia rather than breaking my head over next days bookings.

This post is a part of Skyscanner travel wizard activity at BlogAdda.com

Black Is Beautiful.....more so in India

Black is beautiful, because its black that makes us appreciate the white. Black is one dark colour that makes a perfect background for brighter things, like the night sky against which the stars twinkle. Black is the colour that absorbs all light, a symbolic of absorbing all evil. Black is used to absorb all unwanted radiation (well the scientist in me is of course not going to miss that). we all originated from an African woman, therefore black symbolizes our very origin.


        Top on my Wishlist (sadly only a wish): The Black Taj: what would have been the most beautiful sight, the greatest wonder of the world. (this picture is an artists imagination of the same).

Black is the favourite colour of all girls as black dress makes us look slim, a thin line of "black kajal" will make your eyes shine, a pair of black shoes that is our saviour as it matches every dress, that black safety pin which holds my hair and goes with everything I wear.

Disclaimer!!! Here are the top 5 of all black things I love (though these are things and had they allowed us to include men...it will always be "An Indian Man"- Tall, Dark and that is what we call handsome ;). Well to that point Barack Obama, one of the people I inspire from and one of the most powerful men in the world is also black.

1. Black Macbook Air:
When I start thinking about what are the five black things that I like the most it strikes me is the black Macbook air, nothing looks as beautiful as that gadget. The day I saw it in the hands of my thesis advisor I have fallen in love with it and just look at it, whenever it passes by me, much like Shahrukh Khan does when he drools over Rani Mukherjee (aka Tina) in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai...

The first thing I shall buy when I become a scientist shall be this!

                                           I am drooling again.....

2. Night:
 I am not Bat Woman  but I am certainly a creature of the night. perhaps a human race that loves the night. I love working in the nights as my creative juices flow then the best, I love the silence, the darkness and no disturbance with my laptop being the only source of light around. More fun is when you get to watch scary movies, it gives the thrill. Undoubtedly the most creative people be it writers , musicians, poets and scientists (a little of all which I am) love to work at night. And my watch says 12:54 AM right now, what does that tell you?


I always wish it is night.....
                                The nights that keep me company and bring out the best in me. 

3. Black High Heel Shoes:
    Being a woman life always has too much multi tasking, more so off when you have jumped into the well called "PhD". Mostly we do not know where we are, so when invited to a party or a blogging event, we just rush and reach mostly late. With hardly there being a time when one can shop for matching shoes with every dress, we buy one pair of black shoes (hush that's a secret I just told you). These lovely darlings from Forever 21 which perfectly stand for grace and confidence on my list.

                                 My saviour shoes....

4. Black Tea: 
Black Tea, the purest form, without additives give you a strong kick, good enough to keep you awake in the most boring lectures or in those examination days when if you fall asleep, you are doomed, atleast i was. I owe all my entrances till PhD being cleared to this one cup of black tea that the tea-holic in me had each night and then read until dawn, scaring my parents with a thought that I studied a lot :P. Always on my wishlist.

                            My best friend

The last and the depest desire is to see a black Taj Mahal...

5. Black Tajmahal: 
 Though this hasn't been built, when I saw a documentary which showed the concept and plans of Shah Jahan to built a black Taj Mahal, i was mesmerized, not only by the idea of the contrast the black and the white would provide , but the beauty of the monument that I couldn't let go off unless I was thrown out (literally) as it was closing time. The tomb symbolic of love, standing for eternal beauty is one of the most beautiful creation by a man, known to the human race. Imagine the same in black, let me help you, just watch this video below to understand the concept and the visualization:

Wouldnt this be the most spectacular sight you ever saw? Well BBC does say it would have been the greatest wonder of the world!!!



This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at BlogAdda.com

This post is a part of #what The Black Contest hosted by BlogAdda.


                                              




Friday, July 25, 2014

My Super Phone - No Misunderstandings Anymore- For a World Without Borders

I believe the most important reason behind peace and harmony, something which forms the very base of every human relstion ship is "understanding". When the opposite of this called "mis-understanding" occurs every and any relationship fails. Understanding can therefore be the glue, the cement that holds every relationship and the people involved together.

Therefore If my phone would have one superpower it would be to detect "mis-understandings". Isn't that evident in everything around us, the decreasing emotional touch in relationships, the need to celebrate days to be able to spend time even with parents; the increasing disturbance in world peace. Misunderstandings can cause greatest destruction in smallest to greatest circumstances. I am confident about this from the greatest example of the history of our own country. Imagine if there were no misunderstandings between the founders of India and Pakistan Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Mohd. Ali Jinnah, what a nation we would have been still being "Hindustaan". Imagine what a cricket team we would have had, unbeatable! On the other side, all those people who lost their lives in Kargil would have been with their families. 


Many of you might think how can I imagine this, well my hopes are not imaginary. In 2013, I visited The Wagah Border post the ceremony when the gates closed again, the people of Pakistan waved to us from the other side, they were extending their hands from the spaces in the gates to be able to greet us and be friends, even if it was just a handshake. They were as curious and happy to see the other side of the border as were we. I was sure that day they wanted to be friends. A common man doesn't want fight, they want peace and togetherness, they want friendship and camaradearie. War is the game of the diplomats, the powerful and the power crazy. 

The portrait of the land divided into peaces is very well portrayed by one of the best writers in history Rudyard Kipling in his book the Light That Failed “We're all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.”  a bunch of misunderstandings drew lines across the land God gave us and this misunderstanding now like fire engulfs humanity. If we can detect and destroy this very misunderstanding at the right time we may one day  live in what Swami Vivekananda believed was god's dream, humans celebrating the planet gifted to them, living and loving the bounty of mother nature, in harmony with others.

I wish to eliminate the very cause of bombings that destroys innocent civilians, even children; that creates borders, that distances man from his own brother, lover or nation. The very borders that without a confirmation lead to the killing of 100's of workers and scientists like me, that fight the most deadliest disease of our times AIDS. I mourn for those who are no more and I pray we can one day with technology eliminate where it all began....a misunderstanding.

   21 children were killed in Israel’s genocidal attack on Palestinians in Gaza..where is the world going? Its time to heal the word and make it a better place as Michael Jackson once said.




This contest has been written for #IncredibleZen , The Search Of Incredible contest for Asus Zenphone by Indiblogger. All the details about the super Zenphone can be found at: http://www.asus.com/campaign/zenfone/IN/






                                                                                                                        

Spotlight: The Thorough Check by VadasseryThaiparambil Rakesh

Title:  The Thorough Check
Authors: VadasseryThaiparambil Rakesh
Category: Fiction
 Publisher: Leadstart Publishing
Date: 2013
Price: Rs. 145
Pages: 171



About The Book:
So much has been talked about to quell the great religious divide in India but it pervades like a dust storm all across the society, politics, business and intelligentsia. Here is an honest attempt to see the nation first, a nation that cannot afford to talk divisive after sweltering for hundreds of years under foreign rule and their loot. This is the story of a police officer, who puts his life at stake in protecting the country. Narrated at the backdrop of some scintillating scenes of love, passion, and adventure, it keeps the readers glued to the content. The earthly appeal, scenic locales and the contemporary relevance, make it a darling for all age groups. The book creates yet another Tryst of Destiny, this time in the twenty first century. The protagonist achieves what the creators of this nation could not, a change of heart of the hardliners. A must read for the world citizens of tomorrow: Vasudaivakudumbakam.

About the Author:
VadasseryThaiparambil Rakesh was born to Mr. K. A. Menon and Mrs. RemaMenon, in a sleepy village of Kerala, amidst the greenery of paddy fields, overflowing ponds and canals, croaking of frogs and the mysticism of snake worship. He remembers the gruelling travel that he and his elder brother had to go through, to reach the only english medium school in the area, sometimes having to swim across the canals brimming with the monsoon waters. Like most of his generation, KapilDev’s bouncers and Gavaskar’s straight drives made an impression in his mind. However, the financial necessity to earn a professional college degree got the better of his cricketing ambitions. He did his B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from the Government Engineering College, Trissur. All the graduating batches are like the exploding seedpods of Balsam. Amongst the various seeds that were dispersed to the different corners of the world, he landed in the holy land of Gujarat. Having completed his MBA in Marketing from the acclaimed Maharaja Sayajirao University, he works in Baroda for a private company. Bitten by the world of magical realism of a Garcia Marquez, Thriller tales of a Maclean or an Archer, nationalistic fervour of a Tharoor or a Nilekani, he finally took his dive to the deep ocean of writing.

Grab A Copy Here!!! 
Flipkart: http://www.flipkart.com/thorough-check-travails-indian-muslim/p/itmdx5qwkf5yszez?pid=9789383562053&otracker=from-search&srno=t_1&query=the+thorough+check&ref=ae01de85-da6a-429f-aad9-16483f2d2a9e


Uread: 

Stay Updated: via the Facebook Page: https://m.facebook.com/vtrakesh

Follow the Author on Twitter: @rakeshvt

Read the book? Want to check out what other people are saying about it? 
Read Reviews or write on Goodreads:

Check The Trailer Video




Monday, July 21, 2014

The Taliban Cricket Club by Timeri N. Murari

Title:  The Taliban Cricket Club
Authors:  Timeri N. Murari
Category: Fiction 
Publisher: Aleph Book Comapny
Date: 2013
Price: Rs. 295
Pages: 336

Snapshot:   This story is a work of fiction around the fact that the Taliban did apply to ICC for Afghanistan to have a cricket team and to be included in international cricket. A family which includes a female reporter and her cousins form a team, as it becomes their only passport to get out of the Afghanistan under the Taliban rule.

The Review:  With a cover page as eye catching as one the best pictures by National Geographic, in the region we have loved to read about "Afghanistan", the combination of Taliban and Cricket on top of that is just too much to resist. When I was gifted a hard copy of this book by my senior Swati who is a greater bookworm that I am, I was sure it was special. I couldn't resist but begin reading this book and gave it my complete holiday, just unable to put it down.

The  story begins with Rukhsana, a free spirited under cover (being a female)  journalist being summoned by Zorak Wahidi - Minister of Propogation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, Taliban Goverment in Afghanistan.

Her only surviving parent is a mother suffering from cancer which has relapsed. She was a journalist with Kabul Daily, but the day Taliban came to power, the very man Zorak Wahidi, used physical violence to get women in her office understand that Taliban law "Women should be seen only in homes of graves", which ofcourse the meant the end of her career and many more like her. However, she was a bit of a rebel and continues writing about the miserable life of people, especially women as an alias via contacts for Hindustan Times in Delhi. 

Upon reaching there, with her male companion (mahram) which was a must for women when they travel during the Taliban rule; she is happy to find her old editor in chief Yasir,and other journalists. They were summoned to publish an announcement that Afghanistan believes it should have a Cricket team, it being the only sport where sportsmen are covered.  Civillians were invited to form teams and the team that won would get to go to Pakistan for a formal training. This is the best news men in Rukhsana, her brother Jahan and their cousins have heard. Most family business have been blown in the war, or shut down by Taliban. they also stopped all education, hence youngsters just waited endlessly with this nightmare rule to end. Many people were trying to escape, through any means possible, this opportunity presented as a bright ray in the darkest tunnel of their lives, luckily for them Rukhsana is the one who knows the game, has played for the college team when she studied in Delhi, India.

The author intelligently introduces the reader to Rukhsanas beautiful past in Delhi, Veer, her love in bits and pieces as she discovers the batting equipment. It is the story of immense attaraction, companionship, love and loss; as her family is an orthodox and she returns to Afghanistan post her studies. she doesn't rebel against her who had fixed her alliance with a distant cousin Shaheen, as is the ritual there. She dares to love in full knowledge of the fact but doesn't dare to stand up to her own father for Veer. The aches of love continue in bits and pieces as we know more about their story, Veers communication post their separation and his inability to get over her and vice versa. Shaheen on the other hand flees Afghanistan suddenly one night, leaving a meager that he would send money to her to join him in the USA  and marry him, as promised. She waits endlessly for Shaheen, though in her heart loves Veer. 

At this point the story gets a 180 degree twist when Wahidi sends his elder brother Droon, to fix a marriage alliance with Rukhsana. Her mother though sick and waiting for her end, her brother though younger and weighed by greater responsibilities, her cousins though distant just want her to escape, but under no circumstances marry a Talib.  They get a momentart relief in the lie that Rukhsana had been attending a wedding in another town but his men continue to patrol the house to find her or the lie. But will the endeavour be fruitful? Will their team win against the state team of Afghanistan? Will she be able to save her only brother Jahan? To know all of this grab a copy.

The Review:
Positives:  Apart from a simple language and a steady flow the author plans Rukhsana's past to be revealed to the reader in bits, creating great curiosity in the beginning and satiating the same at the right moment. This also helps keep the note of the story lighter, giving the reader a hope that keeps him glued to the end. The best part however was the way he described the game of Cricket as the game that brings out the collective outcome of team work and individual excellence and traits at the same time. I was really skeptical the Cricket part, the detailing would bore me but no, it didn't not even for a minute. The fresh concept of Taliban and Cricket provides one the read, one was looking for, for a long time. 

Negatives: The last part could have been made more dramatic, the escape seemed simpler after the entire euphoria of going through the entire story.

The Verdict:  Highly recommended read. 3.5 stars on 5.

About the Author
Timeri N. Murari is an award-winning writer, filmmaker and playwright. Time magazine chose his film, The Square Circle, as one of its top ten films of 1997. His works include the bestselling novel Taj, which has been translated into 21 languages. He lives with his wife in his ancestral home in Chennai.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Cover Story

Book writing is a tedious task and picking up a good book confusing. With about 14+ titles released by a major publishing house each month, there is just the lot to read and the ever hanging question "What to read?". Authors and publishers therefore do their best in serving the dish with decor , which means a good focus is put on not just what is inside but even what is outside.

Certainly you cannot judge a book by its cover, but a good cover catches the vision and the reader does end up reading the blurb at the back, may be even the first two chapters before deciding to buy. A cover is the face of the book and if appropriately made can portray whats inside, and even hide just enough to get you thinking and want you explore. 

I am somebody who gets attracted to cover pages and that itself begins with me boarding onto the journey and if I like the first few chapters and the flow well we do reach destination sooner than we thought. Being a cover page enthusiast I shall now try to bring to you story behind the best cover pages (in my opinion), their creation right from ideation, the myths, the symbolism, the choice of depiction, everything that we can manage to get.

So are you ready to listen to the story the coverpage has to tell?

Friday, July 18, 2014

"Angarey- 9 Stories And A Play" - by Mahmuduzzafar, Sajjad Zahir, Ahmed Ali, Rashid Jahan; translated from Urdu by Vibha S.Chauhan and Khalid Alvi

Title:  Angarey- 9 Stories And A Play
Authors: Mahmuduzzafar, Sajjad Zahir, Ahmed Ali, Rashid Jahan; translated from Urdu by Vibha S.Chauhan and Khalid Alvi
Category: Fiction (Anthology)
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Date: 2014
Price: Rs. 195
Pages: 144

Summary of the Book

Angarey was first published in the year 1932, but it happened to be one of the first books to have been banned on free speech in the country then, by the British Government of India. It was then re-published in 1995 in Urdu. The book had stories that reflected the hard truths and had no mercy on pretense or sham, which could have evoked the protests back then. But it is now published in English for the first time, after being translated sensibly and sensitively. It will bring to you some of the most evocative stories like A Night of Mahavatt, The Clouds Don’t Come and The Winter Rainthat belonged to the beginning of Progressive Writers Movement in the twentieth century.


The Review:  Anyone interested in literature loves the writings of the era gone by more than the current times for many reasons. For me it is because these writings are the only means to connect with the ideology of the past and ponder upon the structural and ideological changes in the society since then. This book being all of that was also the fruit of the forbidden tree being banned right after its publication in 1932 and it spoke of liberal views prevalent even in that era. How could this voice not drive me? I stuck to the book like honey bee to a comb.
The stories in the book are all short to the point. The narrative technique used is "the stream of consciousness" that hits the heart right as intended by the authors. The book speaks about poverty, the double standard of the upper class society and the religious priests alike. It speaks about infidelity and dominance of men and the last play "Behind the Veil" delivers it simply yet sarcastically. The intertwined thoughts of women who since birth were taught and trained to wives and mothers, let their hearts out about their fanatics being born as the very Christian women (as it is written during the British rule) they would hate as daughter-in-laws. 
I believe the book was banned mostly because it didn't pretend to or hint at the issues it wanted to portray but was a full fledged direct attack at the double faced society, which I hope people would be able to accept now better than those times. Having said that its also important to mention that the issues that existed then are unfortunately not the issues of the past, they live very much even today amongst us or we chose to nurture them, this translation like an alert signal has come out at the right demanding freedom, more so now post independence singing "its a high time", more than there ever was. 
The translation was difficult with a modern narrative technique but has been accomplished beautifully, and I wish the motive of the same is successful. A must read for everyone 4.5 stars on 5 especially for erasing the myth that Indians are not direct and straightforward, well some of them have been and mercilessly so as deserved. Taste it to believe it. 
About the Authors
Sajjad Zaheer was a famous Urdu poet, Marxist thinker, writer and dramatist. He completed his studies in Law at the Oxford University. His translation works include Othello, Gora, The Prophet and Candide. Some of his famous works are London Ki Ek Raat, Roshnai, Zikre Hafiz and Pighla Nilam.
Ahmed Ali was a renowned poet, translator, diplomat, novelist and scholar. He and Mahmud-uz-Zaffar formed the League of Progressive Authors which later expanded and became the All-India Progressive Writers’ Association. Ahmed Ali is the author of Twilight in Delhi.
Rashid Jahan was a famous Urdu writer. She was known for her progressive and groundbreaking short stories. Rashid was also involved with the Communist Party of India. She dies in Moscow. She is the author of Dilli Ki Sair.
Mahmuduzzafar had graduated from Oxford and came back to India in the year 1931 as he had turned out to be an active nationalist. He wrote the play called Amir Ka Mahal in Urdu.
Dr Vibha S. Chauhan teaches English at the Zakir Husain Delhi College, University of Delhi.
Dr Khalid Alvi teaches Urdu at the Zakir Husain Delhi College, University of Delhi.

I thank Rupa Publications for a review copy.