Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Rule of Four

Last night I finished reading The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. After the phenomenal success of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, there have been a number of books of the same genre of which The Rule of Four was one of the first to catch the wave. It is an interesting book but pales in comparison to The Da Vinci Code. In fact if you don't compare the two books, only then can you say it was good.

The narrative was long and winding often leading nowhere in particular. The time moved from present to past to future to past and back and forth until you're left counting months and looking for references to the weather to decipher what (st)age the story has reached. The actual story about the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (pronounced Hip-ner-AH-toe-mak-ee-a Poh-LI-fi-ly) was very good but I think it got lost in the stories of the four characters at Princeton. All the characters names were quite commonplace and character-less, namely: Paul, Tom, Charlie, Richard, Vincent, Katie, Bill and Gil. They all sounded so mundane that it was hard to distinguish between their personalities.

Overall, I felt that this book was more about Princeton, the campus, the buildings, the history and traditions and only the background was about the Hypnerotomachia and the mystery surrounding its author and contents.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Words to live by

"We must be the change we wish to see in the world."
— Mahatma Gandhi


"All appears to change when we change."
— Henri Amiel, 19th-century Swiss writer

Friday, April 22, 2005

A place to call home

Of the many cites, towns and even, villages I have lived in, what was the best one? What makes a place most desirable?

Is it the weather......Bangalore, Dagshai and Juneo would be tops;
or the life that a city offers in its:
restaurants.....Bangalore and Bristol;
theatre.....Bangalore and Providence;
art galleries........Providence;
libraries and book stores.......Bristol and Bangalore;
parks and green spaces.......Providence, Bristol, Dagshai and Juneo;
public transportation.......Boston, Providence and Bombay
daily conveniences and ease of traffic.......Kansas City and Chandigarh win here;
scenic beauty.......Bristol, Boston, Juneo, Providence and Dagshai;
shopping.....Bombay and the Maine shopping outlets
history.........Delhi, Providence and Bristol
quaint life........Bristol, Manhattan, KS and Juneo

Details:
Bangalore, Karnataka, India: IT city, cosmopolitan, relaxed and very welcoming.
Bombay, Maharashtra, India: So far more hype than reality.......time will tell. I think the style quotient got muddied with the name change to Mumbai.
Juneo, Himachal Pradesh, India: A village in Sirmour district where the peach growing area starts.
Dagshai, Himachal Pradesh, India: A British Cantonment in the Simla Hills of Himachal.
Chandigarh, UT, India: India's first planned city designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jenneret in the 1950's. Surprisingly, no other city has been able to replicate its success.
Delhi, India: Slowly being transformed into a great city.
Providence, Rhode Island, USA: America's gangster town turned into America's food capital by the last Mayor Buddy Cianci.
Bristol, Rhode Island, USA: America's first independence day parade took place here. The original route is maintained and promoted with a great sense of pride.
Boston, Massachusetts, USA: History everywhere you look here. A wonderful city to explore by foot.
Merriam/Kansas City, Kansas USA: Known as a City of Fountains, it is a beautiful city with a sense of joy and positiveness everywhere.
Manhattan, Kansas, USA: A university town and my first taste of American life. No matter how hard college life actually was, I will always have a soft spot for this town.

So what is the right mix of the perfect place to live in? We seem to exploring new places with great speed and regularity, so it looks like a few more place to explore before deciding.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Fine Print

"In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but how many can get through to you."
Mortimer Adler; American philosopher and educator

The Amazing Race

I was very dissapointed with last week's episode of The Amazing Race. It has been my favourite show for a number of years and I have noticed that each time they feature India as part of their travels, they choose the very worst parts of the country and last week's episode was no exception. They went to Lucknow and the clues were in the oddest of places, a gas agency in the slums, a nondescript tea shop etc. Only one clue, at the Bara Immambara actually had some historical significance.
Why, why, why do they want to always show India worse than it actually is? They even show countries like Peru and Botswana in a better light than us. In the last season they visited a brick making factory outside of Calcutta.......Oh my, what a place it was! In the season before that, they visited the famous rat temple which had some religious and historical significance at least. I wish they would show some of the incrediblly beautiful parts of India too.
This season the contestants spent an unsually long time in South America giving the teams that spoke Spanish quite an advantage.
What makes the race really intersting this time around is that the one couple that everyone expected to be eliminated is still in the running. Meredith and Gretchen are what make the race so amazing. I hope they beat the odds and win.
Looking forward to tonight's episode.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Moving to Bombay

Its been absolutely ages since I logged on. My life seems to be going faster than I can keep up....always seem to be lagging behind just a little bit. Oh well!!
We moved to Bombay in February and had barely settled in when I got a job and started working. It really feels odd to be working again.......my last one was over 2 years ago and as time went I actually really, really loved being a housewife or homemaker to be politically correct. Having a job makes me have to ignore a lot of basic stuff at home and more than anything else I hate coming home to a messy, dusty place.
Working full time and looking after the home full time is the hardest thing I have ever done. Its amazing how men just disregard all the work we do. Its so easy to come home and just sit in front of the TV in such a daze that they can't figure out that we are doing work at home after working all day at the office.
The worst part is that they think its not something extra we are doing, of course we are meant to be doing all this.......what's the big deal about that?
Bombay is a tough city to live in. And even tougher to like. After all the warnings about the city we still cannot adapt to it. The traffic is absolutely chaotic, the weather just too pathetic for words, there is filth at every corner, the roads are non-existent, the stenches get you the moment you step out the car/house. We were not prepared for this city as its actually much much worse. I find that people pride themselves on having such a tough skin that they get used to all the problems of life and it disgusts me that they are willing to always live like this rather than improve the situation. They say that the best of jobs are available here but most people commute over 3 hours or so each day....is that how they qualify the best of jobs? Is the money really worth that much. Its not like Bombay is the only city that provides jobs?
So far the only somewhat good thing about this city has been the safety the public transportation provides women. In no other city in India can a woman travel by train/bus/auto/taxi with no worry about her safety.
We've been here over 2 months now. Lets see what the next 2 brings us.
Ciao.