Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mixed Reviews

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Okay, I have been reading. I read three Gillian Flynn novels back to back and already put up the review of one. I also managed to sneak in The Silent Wife by A. S. A. Harrison.

The connect between all these novels was that they are/were all by female authors and they all have female protagonists (or antagonists.) I decided to review them together… it is easier because of their being from a similar genre… psychological thrillers.

The two remaining books of Gillian Flynn are Sharp Objects and Dark Places (other than which I already reviewed here.)

Sharp Objects revolves around a young woman who has to come to terms with her mother who has alienated her after the death of her younger sister. The psychological stresses that tear the family apart are reflected in the step sister who is years younger than the protagonist. The story is disturbing to say the least. It highlights how unpredictable the human mind is and how much the circumstances we are brought up in may influence us, and our mental outlook. Gillian Flynn writes well, you are kept turning the pages till you are done. I wouldn't rate this one as good as Gone Girl… but it is nevertheless a good read.

Dark Places on the other hand focuses on situations that sometimes get out of hand, the helplessness we have to face sometimes and the different ways people deal with life (or fail to deal with it). Again, the character that binds the story line is a young woman who has found herself in a situation where she has to deal with the harsh realities of life at a young age. It has made her bitter and even at a later stage when she should be able to shrug off the past and take responsibility for her actions, she refuses to let go… clinging to a sense of being wronged, a sense of being entitled because she was wronged. She comes across as a shallow, selfish person… which she is… but in her is a deeper need of closure, a detachment from the horrors of her past.
This book too is a very enjoyable read. It does not follow a linear timeline… jumping from now to the events in the past… in spite of which it does not lose the flow of the plot.

All three books require a level of understanding of the workings of the human psyche which I believe the author has… and a certain amount of craziness which would let you come up with the ideas for these plots… which may or may not be an alarming thing. :D

All said… I look forward to more of Flynn’s works.

The Silent Wife is a book which starts of similar to Gone Girl… an unhappy couple in a relationship that’s a sham… but is not as interesting as the latter. I dislike the character Jodi for her being spineless and clingy and indecisive till things get out of hand. Here is a review I agree with... not much else to say on it because it would just be a repeat opinion.

Unfortunately, the men in all 3 books are assholes… except in Dark Places, where he is less of an asshole and more of an escapist.

Now, I am gonna catch up with a Gothic classic... The Monk by Matthew Lewis.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Are You That Someone?

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Dear Someone,

I need someone to talk to.
Someone logical and rational but warm at the same time… Someone who wouldn't chide and scold me when am being human. Someone who understands that my views are different, at times crazy, a lot of times stupid... but they are my views and are important to me so wouldn't be dismissive about them or about me. Someone who wouldn't treat me like an errant child... I don't want an extra parent, I have mine who are quite capable of getting on my nerves without needing any additional help.
I need someone who would let me be a girlfriend once in a while and let me do the things girlfriends do... buy gifts, cook you a dinner, ask you to take me out on a date etc... simple things which make me feel human. I want someone who would treasure me like I treasure him.
Get me someone who does not want to fix me all the time… Someone who knows that I rant and vent when I am upset and that's how I am… but I am NOT waiting to be rescued every time I open my mouth. I want someone who would share his troubles with me... I'd listen but not interfere unless asked to.
Would you be someone who cares and is not afraid to show you care?
I need someone I don't have to be careful around... Who won't get upset at every second sentence I say or with the things I do... Someone who understands that I can be direct and straightforward but at times I do hope you'd read between the lines... figure me out like I love to figure you out.
When I put up with your quirks and fallacies, I don't do it just because I love you but because they make you who you are and I would want none of that changed... love me like that.
Love me in spite of me.
Bring down my walls and get to know me instead of pushing me away when I reach out to you.I am tolerant but I want someone who wouldn't stretch me to the point that I break.
If you are that someone out there… ping me. ;)
I await you. I need you.

Yours if you care,

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Travel Blues


I hate air travel. I know it is the most convenient form of transport, the fastest means to get anywhere. But, I feel it is a nightmare to be cooped up for hours on an armchair and it gets worse if your co-passenger is unsavory.

It is so much nicer to travel in a train where you can get up from the seat once in a while, stretch your legs, walk around… and if nothing else, there is always something outside the window to look at. Clouds or the dark night sky gets quite boring after a while on an aircraft.

I wish the whole of the civilized world was connected by an immense railway network… underground, over ground, under sea, long bridges, scenic routes, over deserts and plains and hill ranges. It would be quite a feat of engineering and a delight to travel the lines.
Last night on my flight back to Kuwait, I had a particularly nasty co-passenger. He was sloshed and kept drinking throughout the journey and he wouldn't shut up or let me sleep. He started of decently enough but soon his behaviour deteriorated into an annoying mess. I am normally not sociable while I am travelling, I do like to keep to myself and be in my own world of imagination… and not being left alone to do that was extremely irksome. I didn't want to create a scene on the late night flight and disturb the other sleeping passengers and even then I had to raise my voice and be outright rude to him (which is not exactly my style). When he didn't relent, I tried to change my seat or even get downgraded to economy class just to get away from the horrible fellow. Unfortunately, the flight was packed. Finally, I spent around 50 minutes of my 3 hour flight standing in the aisle space near the door with the steward and hostess to avoid the creep.

Well, glad to have gotten rid of him. When I narrated the incident to someone, he chided me for playing the victim, for talking about the incident in detail and so reliving the miserable moments and making him feel miserable in the process about something that is over and about which nothing could be done… about which HE could do nothing about.
Narrating the incident was not reliving it… it was therapeutic, a way to get it out of my system… a way of assurance that stuff happens and you do not let it simmer and boil within you but let it out and be cleansed. Obviously, that didn't go well for me. As usual, I decided to rant on my blog about it and purge it… and not be judged in the process. Thank you!

Friday, October 25, 2013


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When Apple or even Google (Android) comes up with a new product or the tiniest update/upgrade for an existing product, everyone goes hyper irrespective of the relevance.

BlackBerry puts forth a tried and tested and much loved product for the rest of the world and any hype is frowned upon, their marketing mistakes are blown up to look like management blunders that could cause another 'Depression'.

The point is that BBM is a great product. It is one of the best if not the best messenger service out there. It beats the others in speed and efficiency and more importantly it is reliable and it is secure and private. Just knowing your email ID or phone number does not put you at risk of being a spam target... The BBM PIN ensures that.

So be glad that BBM made it to the other platforms and stop whining about the hype.
Enough with the stupid jokes already!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Conjuring


A few days back I finally caught up with the movie The Conjuring, which I have been meaning to watch since its release. Now, I wish I had watched it in the theater.

As I speak of the movie there might be inadvertent spoilers ahead, though I would try not to disclose much about the movie. It isn't exactly a suspenseful thriller which would lose its charm if anything is revealed but I’ll let the reader watch it and decide for themselves.

The movie is advertised as a true story based on the life of the Warrens (Ed & Lorraine) who were a couple of paranormal investigators. The story centers around the Perrons who have moved into a farmhouse which appears to be haunted and for which they seek the aid of the Warrens.

What I found interesting about the movie is that the scares used are subtle and woven well into the plot that nothing feels superfluous, they don’t seem like tactics… the scenes seem integral to the movie and I was engrossed. The movie was also paced well, no jittery or parallel timelines which sometimes hinder the flow of a plot if not executed with caution. Horror movies at times have an issue where either too much is happening or too little is happening in them… takes away from the viewing pleasure. This one has just enough going on.

Something weird happened while I was watching the movie. I was watching the movie at night (I can’t remember a time when I haven’t watched a horror film at night). There is this scene in the movie where the clocks all stop at 3:07 AM. It is a moment of importance to the storyline and to the events that influence it. As the scene played on screen and the camera focused on the grandfather clock onscreen with the time stuck at that precise moment and slowly panned out to take in the room, my brother who was until then silently watching the movie suddenly said this...

Bro: Look at that… oh my god… just look at that.
Me: (Not looking away from the screen and presuming he has seen something on it which I have missed) What do you see… where? I can’t see anything.
Bro: Look up you doofus!
Me: (looking at the top of the screen) Errr… huh?
Bro: Not the screen, the clock… our clock.

I looked at the wall clock in our living room, above the doorway to the side of the TV. The time on its yellow face was exactly 3:07 AM. I blinked and looked again, yep… 3:07 AM it was. There was no mistaking it, the clock has Arabic numerals! I checked my cell-phones, two of them… so did my bro… they all showed 2:56 AM. A weird moment for us, we never realized that the wall clock was so out of sync with the rest of the time-pieces in the house… and it was faster than the actual time. For what seemed like a long time, I kept staring at the clock face willing its hands to move… the seconds needle seemed to drag itself around and finally it completed its rotation and the minute hand moved to the 8th minute… 3:08 AM. I realised I could breathe again. Quite the longest spooky minute I have had.

I had to rewind and play the scene back as I had concentrated my senses on our wall clock.
Ah well… the spooky coincidence added to the likeability of the movie. I guess I would have missed that if I had watched it in the theater.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Feeling Blessed!

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Years ago I met this girl in school... I was drifting in a world of my own, not really reaching out to others, more acquaintances than friends until she changed all that. She became that one solid anchor that kept me grounded. A friend, a confidante, a soul sister perhaps. The one girl I could talk to endlessly, about any damn thing... from The X Files to relationships. The one person I could share my insecurities and my triumphs with equal ease. The one person with whom even after ages of no contact the break in conversations feels like we'd just hung up to answer the door. In spite of the miles between us and the years since we last met, there is no one else I am as close to... we have transcended the cliches of reading each other like open books... or even telepathy.

And today is her birthday... I celebrated with a cupcake and a glass of wine.  ;)

Happy birthday, Urmila!
Love you lots! Miss you lots!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Recent Read – Gone Girl


Just finished the book ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn. I hadn't actually set out to read this book… the Nawaab was reading ‘The Silent Wife’ and when he suggested I might want to read it too I searched Flipkart for the book and found I couldn't get a paperback edition of The Silent Wife. Gone Girl showed up in the similar items category and I was immediately drawn to the somewhat mysterious title… also it was available in paperback. I ordered it when I was in Kuwait and received it the day after I landed in Bombay.

Unfortunately, my arm hurt too bad for me to actually read from the book and I had to resort to reading the eBook version on my phone. Before starting off I had sent the eBook to the Nawaab and he got a head-start on the book… and I realized that the book was affecting him somewhat. I needed to know how and why and between long lazy periods of bored sleep and long hours of me being upset about being in Bombay I finished the book. This was a few hours back.

It is a very well written book. The characters invoke strong reactions and stronger feelings in you… of hatred, disgust, fear… appreciation and even admiration. I get excited about books when the characters have some traits in common with me and this one has more than a few that are similar… disturbingly so.

I wont give away anything about the story… the twists and turns are worth discovering on your own. I began the book expecting a thriller with the stereotypical douche-bag hubby and suffering wife or vice versa but was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't that typical at all. It is a book that holds you captive between its covers and when you are done with it you want to seek out others who have read it just so you can discuss it with them.

It made me sit up and examine some of the thoughts that run in my head and also made me look into my relationships in a new light, especially since there are things I have in common with the Gone Girl!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

How Do I Move On?

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Life has a way of throwing you a curved one when you think everything is all set for an easy home-run. Deep inside I know I am grasping at straws to stay afloat. This is me letting off steam… not wanting to explode all over the place… and so today on this blog I vent in a controlled manner.

How do I move on… when I am in a relationship with the right guy at the wrong time? When my future with him is a blank with nothing to fill it with… When my present is a struggle I seem to be losing… a fight to be happy with moments of joy stolen from the time meant for priorities that do not and never will involve me. How do I move on when lost as I am in this sea, he is my pole star? He fills my sky. I see nothing between and beyond his brilliance. I swim towards him… and he retreats away from the horizon… forever unattainable. How do I move on when my heart is still warm from an endearment he uttered ages ago? When he first held my hand, it wasn’t a tingling feeling that coursed through me… no first blush of love… but a surge of power, of confidence to take on this world… and a sense of security that he’d stand by me forever. His kisses as rare as midsummer snow, they sent through me an electric pulse that melted my chains, disintegrated my inhibitions and made me look at the world through the eyes of a woman. How do I move on when I am still his girl, but not his woman? He brings out the best and the worst in me… but he brings me out. How do I move on now that I am unmasked?

I convince others that my life is perfect… and I ache within… I ache for him to whisper in my ear again the confirmation of the love with which he claimed my soul. How do I move on with so much hurt inside me? 

Yin to my yang, he and I, we make a perfect circle. How do I move on when no on else measures up to him? I have shed tears with him and been delighted when his face lit up with a smile. I have fumbled and hurt him and fought with him and then cried and made up. How do I move on now when my cheeks are still wet with tears?

Tell me… how do I move on when every fibre of my being refuses to let go? How do I move on when he would not move on?

These winds of winter... they are robbing me of my spring.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

First Impressions of BlackBerry OS10

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I finally gave in and bought myself a Q10. In two minds I was for a long while wondering if I should upgrade my trusty Curve 9360 (which was a gift from someone special) to a Bold 9900 or a Q10. Finally, at Alghanim’s Xcite showroom, I made the impulsive decision to go for the handset with OS 10 on it, in spite of the added dinars. Er… just saw a Star Wars clip!

I had my apprehensions, compounded by the earlier online reviews and the general impression of it having a steep learning curve, even for existing BlackBerry users. Now, I cannot be slotted as an exclusive BB user as I lug around a Note 2 and an iPad most of the time, along with the workhorse BB. All my devices have a specific use in my style of operations so I do not mind the extra number of devices.
Coming back to the Q10… this baby looks good. It feels just about right in the hands, though I would have still loved a smaller handset more. The material and finish is really great… the back cover is almost velvety to touch. Frankly, my first impression of the glass weave back cover when I saw the images and videos was quite bleh… but in actual, it is pretty. Anyway,my friend bought me a functional BB flipcover for it so the phone’s all covered up in work clothes… expensive work clothes, I might add.

Here’s the Q10 posing for my Note2… all dressed up and in the nude! ;)

The screen is gorgeous, even though it is tiny compared to the behemoth of a phone the Note 2 is. It is an AMOLED and that shows up in the saturated colours and deep, inky blacks that makes the display pop. I instantly fell in love. The keyboard… aah… if there is one thing that BlackBerry perfected, it is the physical QWERTY keyboard… it is a delight to use. Satisfaction guaranteed when you feel the chiselled keys under your thumbs and delicate click feedback they provide. Love that the keys are a bit larger than they were on the Curve and so me with my long, self-manicured nails can go clickety-click on them without mistyping too much. About that… mistyping is quite a tough task on the BB, the dictionary and autocorrect on it is amazingly accurate and unlike the iOS, it does not try to autocorrect every damn word you try to enter… so slang and Hinglish stay the way you want them.

Operating the interface on the Q10 is like… er… for want of a better word… like foreplay. Gestures is what they call it, but they are more like caresses… sensual strokes on the screen. Ahem… Hmmm… moving on…

The BlackBerry Hub is just about the best thing I like about the phone. I so miss it in on my Note2 and the iPad… I remember Samsung (TouchWiz) having some sort of a social hub earlier on which they did away with because it was quite clumsy. The iOS is just beginning to realize that social networking is here to stay so there isn’t much you can expect from them until future OS releases. The Hub on the BB integrates all your email accounts and IMs and social networking sites… everything in a neat array, messages and notifications can be individual or clubbed as conversations… and the best part… they can be accessed from any screen of the phone, doesn’t matter if you are in the middle of some silly game (No, Nawaab saheb, I haven’t installed games on the phone… so you can stop sharpening that machete now). The gesture that let’s you peek in to the hub is called… what else but Peek. It is a perfect way to get a glance of what’s new in the hub and if it is important enough for you to let Red Bird spare Moustache Pig.

And BBM is as good as ever… and now there is voice call and video call available on it. But, I have had a few glitches with BBM and the Wi-Fi network at work… seems to be some sort of router issue. I need to switch off Wi-Fi and use only data (which is a bummer for me) when I have to use BBM at work. But it works like a charm at home over both Wi-Fi and data.

BlackBerry has always provided native support for almost everything I need on a work phone and so I haven’t really needed to wade deep in to the App World or what is now BlackBerry World. The lack of apps doesn’t bother me so much.

I am yet to try out BlackBerry Balance which would separate my work profile from my personal profile… I need to look that up because the Q10 is an extremely personal phone for me and also the only phone with which I might actually do office work too.

So far so good… both the upgrade to OS 10 and the purchase of the Q10 seem to be good decisions in spite of them being spur of the moment. Also, I’d like to thank the Nawaab for the reverse psychology he seems to have inadvertently used on me. :P

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