Few books

Being in vacation and doing nothing much whole day I am left with lots of free time to read. It is great way to pass quality time with rain and heat where nothing interests me outdoor. I already finished few books in last 3 weeks.

Starting with, Dan Brown’s trash ‘Angel & Demon’ and ‘Digital Fortress’. Well these are same old horrible as writing and story line is similar to “Da Vinci Code”. Well if you have read and liked it then I am sorry to hurt your feelings ?. Reading those 3 books it seems Mr. Brown wanted to cash quickly the old “James Bond” style. In each of his book there is a very glamorous sexy female character in his book. The less I write about this female character I do justice to them.

A hollow story set in Europe which is a very far away country for his native readers. Yes! To most Americans, Europe is so different - people speak different languages as you cross few hundred miles and every things change from food to culture and above all human features also changes. It is not same as that of America where you cross 3 different time zones and still have the same treatments. This way, when he puts his characters and plots in twisted alleys of old cities of Europe every one takes them for real.

He really does not know nor do research for his subject matter and end up using “VLSI” and “PGP” in same breath in Digital Fortress. Can someone please explain him what is super computer or parallel computing is ;) or rather how computer works has he been to any Data-centers I have so many basic questions for him. I am sure the similar can be said about others related topic like when he drives car through Tuileries Garden from Louvre in a smart car in Da Vinci Code which is set in Paris,

Well enough of Dan Brown I am sure his book will loose their places in book stores as readers figure out about them. It is possible in today’s literary world to make some thing best seller in the same way Hollywood makes “Charlie’s Angels” a hit with 17 screen writers and it is called – “Marketing”.

Then I read two wonderful books one is ‘The Glass Palace’ by Amitav Ghosh about Indian subcontinent in early last century. This is a superb book and all the characters and the settings are excellent. The time spans three generations in the vast continent from Ratnagiri in western coast of India to Malay. I found it very touchy; may be as my ancestors were from a part of land which missed by mere 6 kilometers to be included by in India by map-drawers.

Now, since I know few occidental people who do not understand why an Indian Maharaja ordered ‘Cartier’ for a diamond necklace. The person asking the question was surely thinking these Indian feudal lords were just sucking breads and butters of poor. For them this book might be an eye opener as it portray Indian sub-continent as a land of opportunities and wealth. Though I am not a supporter of any Maharaja but I strongly believe the westerners did more worst things to whole world for their own profits. And even today they think and believe single mindedly Western World is best but they miss the fine point that there was nothing before industrial revolutions in Europe.

The next book is “Wings of Fire” by “Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam”. This book should not need any introductions but for those it sounds unknown- it is an Autobiography of India’s current President, father of Indian rockets and missiles. I loved this book and felt dry throats and wet eye as he along with others hundreds of Indian worked hard to give us the technologies and result which makes common Indians to be proud of their success. And best of all it is indigenous :D

There are so many parts of this book which I wish gets carried each day by common Indian like me and others to make INDIA proud. If religious and social harmony as we find in this book would have existed in today’s India we might have prospered more. As an engineer I do understand the book is written by another person of same trade as it lacks wit and sharpness of successful memoir. There is mention of lots of abbreviations like PERT charts but for common people it does not make any sense. Similarly, there are some abbreviations which does not even bring any bell to me.

If this memoir is rewritten by a professional with all those beautiful poems and wonderful events from APJA.Kalam’s own diary it can be Geeta for modern India.

Well other than these four books I read 2 more books by Chetan Bhagat; one about campus life in India’s most prestigious Engineering Institute IIT and other one on the life of young Indians as they work in nights for the booming BPO or most commonly known as Call-Centers. Well both the books are OK. I can not say them they are bad as they kept me glued till last but failed to mark their place in my mind in long run when I was finished with them. It is written in a modern way like Mira Nair unfolds the story of Monsoon Wedding with hope that people other than Indian origin will also find it interesting.

Le vol

I am not a person who hates flying to start with as my major air-travel in recent years was visiting India on holiday from Europe. Like all other events in life this can be looked at like a coin; on one side the travel time has reduced significantly while on other side only 20 to 30 kilos of baggage allowed compared to California (65 Kilo).

As we were moving out of Paris we had lot of important things to bring along with us that we will need till our shipment arrives in next 5 weeks time. On the top of it, we added so many little things after the movers left that I became jittery with two big bags,two big suitcases and one small cabin suitcase. Luckily as we are now member of Qatar Airways we got 15 kilos extra each so 90 kilos total.

It was very difficult to carry them from Apartment to Airport with 3 nights stays at Cite universitaire campus as we handed over the keys on 31st evening to our landlord. We had our flight on 2nd September and we were left with 3 options- one to stay at friends place, second to book a hotel room & third to be at Maison de l’Inde in Cite universitaire at cheap price. We opted for 3rd option so that we don’t hassle anyone in this procedure. Anyway, on our last evening at Paris we borrowed a bathroom scale from the reception to do a last minute check and we figured out we are almost on the edge of 90 kilos. It made me really tensed and I was almost in need of counselor to release my anger, frustration with bags, travel and move. From inside I inveighed against Pamela for screwing up who was in-turn very cool as usual.

In a way, its good to drag such big luggage for last time to India. As there we normally get porter if traveling by train and in flight they don’t permit more then 15 kilos each.

Anywayz, we dragged them from Cite University to RER station (600 meters apart) in the early Saturday morning. As we were huffing and puffing some nice French gentlemen commented “Bon courage” (literally means good- luck) – but it differs depending on the context like here good luck on dragging such jumbo size suitcases. To my utter surprise the RER ride was very packed as I never saw so many people traveling early morning to Parc des Exhibition that too Saturday morning. This park is the last but one stop before on RER as we reach CDG-1.

Now, as we had our flight from terminal-1 we need to take another 7-10 minutes bus ride to the terminal. Which means one more round of dragging luggage from underground RER station to Bus stop and then arrange them inside bus as other passengers joins us.

Well as we entered the check-in counter we found a long queue infront of us. There was big group who were coming from Paris to Tibet. With the thought of our baggage might cross the limit my pulse rate started increasing and I made it clear to Pamela that I am not going to pay any extra euros per kilos at any cost. If needed we throw certain items in airport. Yes, with a very rough tone. That point of time I had no sentiments for her rather every simple words coming out of my mouth was full of anger, anxiety and tension which I ultimately took out on her uncontrollably. Weighed down by bulging bags made me tetchy.

In one little corner of my heart I wanted that she learns a lesson if baggage’s exceed the limits though till far it never happened. Always she makes it to the edge by stuffing so many things….but this time I was really waiting to happen. Even seeing a long queue I started blaming her saying that because of those heavy luggage we got late.

While standing in the queue I tried once showing our membership card for check-in via business class counter but in vain… after some 15 minutes one gentleman came to us asking if we have membership card and we were lucky enough to check- in via business class counter.
After checking passports & tickets she asked us in French:

She- vous avez combien de bagage ?(how many luggage you have)
Me : Quatre (4)
She: Votre baggage s’il vous plait indicating it to place in their scale.
As I was placing luggage one by one with the thought now I will show Pamela as soon as it exceeds the limit …..but to my utter surprise nothing as such happened rather lady at counter said – Est qu’il reste quelque chose encore (Is there anything else) with a smiling face.

Isn’t it enough….Atlast, we were to weigh our cabin luggage which was bit overweigh by 2 kilos. But she accepted it without saying a word….bit surprising you know otherwise normally they are very strict on that part.

By the time Pamela asked her how much less it was from limit…and she replied to it which I could not hear properly and it seem to me something like one kilo or so. Finally everything went on smoothly and she gave us our boarding ticket with smiling face said Bon voyage.

As we were heading towards our gate…I was trying to show my caring gestures to Pamela which she shrugged off. Trying to make my point stronger I said- look, it was only one kilo less from the limit so what it would be if it was over-weigh. Now it was her turn to show me her rotten face for which I was bit taken a back first then asked her the reason for the same. Showing the baggage ticket she said it was not one but onze kilo i.e., 11 kilos less from the limit.

Well like always I apologized to her and this is a confession publicly :D