This was a wonderful space to hang out in and share our thoughts! But now we've all moved on and simply left our memories behind :-) ...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On-and-off hookup with the popular iPhone (Amrita)

[I didn't suggest this topic for the month just because I will get to flaunt my iPhone ;) lol]
I got an iPhone around January 2008. It's been about 7 months and I'm in a love-hate relationship with it. I never seriously coveted the gadget may be because I never realised its impact on the people, just happened to buy it this because someone needed my old phone and I ended up having a new one. When I started using it, though, I felt power-packed. Even in New York City where every other person has it, still makes you feel good when you carry it around. Agreed the size is too big to fit in a girl's palm, but then again don't we make fashion statement with huge handbags (which are too big even for the maximum stuff we girls might want to carry)? When a friend had flaunted his gadget by showing me a YouTube video in Central Park, I had thought, "I dont need it, I need to infact stay away from so much internet and technology so I can give some time to actually looking at trees/nature or people-watching than staring at a techie hand-held." The surge of happiness I felt when I actually heard "ye jeena hain" from Khatta Meetha on my phone on the bus to my college: all thanks to the makers - Apple!

There is an easy access 'weather' feature which is really important a deal when it comes to dressing up for the day, so I just check it on the phone. There's 8 GB for my songs, so I don't have to carry an ipod along. There is internet, calender, thousands of photos (from my last india trip saved on my phone!) and the very cool Maps feature. Last time I took my mom to the Flushing temple, I had forgotten to take directions online, so I took them from the phone. Now, which other thing has ever impressed moms so much after spending $400 on them?

Though, about the 'hate' part, there are too many things like you cannot forward an SMS (which is so important for the desi mentality because we need to share cool jokes thru sms, even if it charges you!) How else are you going to cheat on an open-book exam in-class if not with fwding each other the answers? The camera quality is good, but it will not zoom in! And I miss the girlyness of my red colored Blackberry Pearl. It was so systematic, and it has a to-do list feature which kept me happy. The reminders were easier to set and it never gave any trouble. I've had to take this phone to Apple when the screen had jammed and wouldn't move. Apple refused to give me any service from my warranty because there was a slight scratch on the back of the phone. Its the kind of back it is, no matter what, it will definitely have scratches - you need to buy a cover, which makes it even bigger to handle!!

Phones of my past: I only had a basic Motorola in my 11th and 12th class in India (which was handed down to me from an uncle). It wasn't very expensive, but it was so elegant that I didn't feel too awkward to keep it on the table while out with friends, unlike the temporary very basic Nokia made me feel. It may not matter to us, but the onlookers, these college kids they have so much competition for rich gadgets and stuff.

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Cellphone Saga: AmitL

Hey, Vishesh, I waited for a week for you to come up with the first post. So, now you need to post on both topics together to make up.*smiles*

The cellphone I carry and how/why you love it:

Two years back, when I returned to Dubai on my second job, I decided to change the traditional Nokia phone I had and got the Samsung I320, after a lot of deliberation on whether to move away from Nokia’s familiar keypad and functions.
Initially, it was really confusing- when I picked up the phone, I’d switch off an incoming call, since the button was in a different location, I’d dial a number and press disconnect. But, the phone’s been worth all the teething troubles.

- It’s ultraslim, exactly like I always wanted my phone to be.
- It’s lightweight-just 95 grams, so I don’t even know I’m carrying it(That's a drawback, in a way, since I tend to forget things if I've not got them in my pockets/on the waist in a case. Touchwood, it hasn't happened yet).

- And, it’s got a QWERTY keypad, which is perfect for sending smses quickly. Can’t imagine how I used to sit and go through the ‘press same key thrice to type C’, for example, in the routine phones.

- Amongst other features, it can play mp3 songs on it's built in features, it's got Windows mobile 5...but, I can't wax eloquent about them since I hardly use them. In fact, even today, I keep it on silent most of the time. (Why, you ask? Well, that's a topic for another post. Those who read my blog,would remember my talk sagas from previous posts. Rest assured, I still consider it something like what they call men's ties in slang- a 'kanth langot'(tight diaper for the neck). Or, the proverbial bell around the neck. heh heh)

Yes, the phone’s been about to die on me two-three times. Once when it got too affected by humidity, another time when the battery decided to die out, and I thought there was something wrong with the charger.( Purchased three of them in the bargain, since even the repair shop people would say that the charger was not working. Hehe).
Now,a bit on my cellphone saga of the last few years:

Cellphones-that extreme luxury item of the nineties. People would flaunt it like it was the most wanted gadget in the world. Even though the phone would weight half a kilo or more, they would still be carrying it in their pockets or in their hands. Kids would not be allowed to touch it, a slight scratch would lead to the person’s mood being off for the rest of the day. Even I remember looking at my cell-phone owning relatives with awe, wondering how they decided to fritter away 25000 rupees or more on a frivolous object.

When I landed in Dubai in 2002, I was astonished to see that even our building watchman would be busy most of the time, chatting away on his cellphone. Still, for the first three months, I kept avoiding buying what I termed the equivalent of the proverbial ‘tying a bell around the cow’s neck’ so that it’s owners could find it easily. One of the Brit bosses in the office was quite astonished that I had not purchased a cell even after three months. And, his frustration was all the more so, because he loved to contact project people only after 9 PM, to discuss, followup, check, et al. Finally, during one of the internal company meetings, he put it down as one of the Minutes Of Meeting points as ‘ AL to buy cell phone’. Arghhh!! And, the rest, as they say, is history.

I started with the very basic model, the 3310. I used to hate it, and would glare angrily whenever it rang after (Forget after, even during) office hours. But, the stone was cast, the deed was done. I was trapped in the ‘cell phone vicious circle’. The next phone was a 6610, I think. Compulsorily purchased, again, because the 3310 had very less memory, and I couldn’t store all the suppliers’ phone numbers in it.

So, I gave the 3310 for a nominal sum to a poor worker in our company who had just come to Dubai. And, the next one was the Nokia smartphone of the slider type. Don’t even remember the model- I think it was the 7650 . It became obsolete pretty soon, but, I loved the way I could stylishly slide the screen up and dial.(Still have the phone stashed away somewhere for emergency use or for one of those exchange schemes) A fatso of a gadget, which I now wonder how I ever handled. This worked for a year or so.

And, I got the 6680, which was being sold in India with the lively song ‘Saamne Yeh Kaun Aaya’ playing in the background. This one was quite a fascinating phone, and, I’d spend quite a bit of spare time adding wallpapers and themes to it. It also had two cameras, but, I soon realized their futility because that’s useful only if the opposite person also has a similar gadget.

And, now, the moot point- except the 3310, I never purchased a new cellphone. I still think there’s no point in spending a fortune on a phone. There’s this former Boss I had, who loves cellphones. So, each time a new one comes out and he buys it, he lets me know that his former one is ‘for sale’ at a great special price for me(usually about 30% less than the market price) LOL. But, I don’t think I want to change from the I320 to another in the near future. After all, bells around the neck are always the same, whatever shape or colour they come in, na!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

July Topics:Suggestions:AmitL

Hi,all!! Since we're nearly midway into July,there's just two topics...hope everyone has something to write about them:

a.The cellphone you carry and how/why you love it..(Thanks,Amrita,for the suggestion) OR: My cellphone saga!

b. What I'd like to be doing right now(Besides writing this post)

So,who's first?

Monday, July 14, 2008

10 things I'd like to do in this lifetime: AmitL

Hi,all. A very cheerful week to everyone!!
This is a 'June topic' which only Mich touched upon last month,and very nicely,too!I hope everyone read it. (Though, I see only a few comments)
It’s a topic I did want to write about. After all, wish lists are always nice, na? Of course, I’m not too much into the ‘Moh Maaya’(materialistic things) kind of stuff, so, let’s see how many I can think of. (They are not in 1 to 10 order)

(1)Attend a Filmfare awards nite. Only the front row seats, please, so that I get the best view. Take this time, with SRK and Saif as the comperes. Both these stars are always hilarious , especially this time, with their take in blue towels, on ‘piya piya oh piya piya’. Also lively are the dance performances, every year. Now, this one shouldn’t be too difficult to attend, as long as I’m earning in Dubai dirhams, should it? (I mean, the *into 12* phenomenon is always nice, when worked the other way round, na?like, 12000 Rs is just 1000 Dirhams.LOL)

(2)Have my own successfully running bookshop, a la Crossword. Sheer bliss. No more headaches of the Contracting line. I’d, of course, probably be the highest spender at the shop every month.

(3)Visit Holland again, in the Oct- Dec period, which, I feel is the best travel period. ( I didn’t mention Matheran and Kodaikanal, my other two favourite places, since I know I’ll visit them, sooner or later)

(4)Write a novel about a blogger(But,of course!!), with Amrita and Keshi being assistant ghost-writers. *Sudden brilliant idea*-We’ll compile a lot of it from Keshi’s blog and the zillion comments which appear there. If Keshi doesn't mind, of course.(Would you mind,Keshi??)

(5)Compile a joke book and see if I can find a publisher who’d stop laughing after reading the first few pages. (Perhaps that’s why I’ve been adding on to my jokes blog since ages)

(6)Go ‘Around the world in 8(0) days.

(7)Meet Kitu Gidwani(Those who don’t know the lil lady, kindly go to google images)

(8)Meet members of the BUF team, preferably at a BUF Meet where everyone’s present, or, individually,like, Ishi in Delhi,Keshi in Australia,Amrita in NY/Nasik,Sam in Pune(Am I right, Sam?), coz I doubt that we all could congregate together at one place at the same time.

(9)Travel on a private jet, just to see what personalized service is all about.

(10)Spend my last moments lying down with a serene smile on my face, contented that I’ve seen what I wanted to see, I’ve done what I wanted to do.*wink wink- please don’t ask ‘what’?*.

Whew-that was tougher than I thought!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Book Review (non-fiction): Benazir Bhutto's Autobiography (Amrita)

"Daughter of Destiny" is an autobiography of Benazir Bhutto. It's a very empowering book in a sense that its a real-life tale of a fight for democracy, and basic rights for the people of Pakistan. Benazir writes about her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, how much politics meant to him and how involved he was in bringing a secular government to the countty. She writes about her childhood in Pakistan, her family life, her siblings, her education at Harvard and Oxford, then coming back home to Pakistan after graduating. She describes General Zia-ul-Haq very calmly, but you get the sense of how he had tortured, and murdered her father on the basis of wrong charges. I dont know how can one suffer so much and still stand upright. How much she herself endured, losing her family members one by one. She never gives in, she has the courage and it shows through her experiences. Even in the maddening Solitary Confinement for months, she maintains her sanity. There's a lot to learn and feel in this book, and its all fact, its non-fiction, so you get a taste of what really went on in Pakistan, with its people and with Bhutto family from July 1977 to August 1988. A full decade of military rule, forced on Islamization which was a twisted version of Islamic rules just to rule the people and terrorize them if they wanted to go against the Martial Law.

You cannot put the book down without its having a tremendous effect on you. I hadn't known Benazir's life and her work the day I saw the news of her assassination, I had felt sad but I did not grieve on the news. Now when I've known a woman of that courage, of that nobel nature to give even her life to at least give the people some basic human rights by democracy, of fighting against the bad, I now feel deeply hurt. What bold hopes she must have had to return to Pakistan in December 2007 when she knew how close she would be to death. Her life is an example of kind of an ideal life, read it, see for yourself that the life worth living is only a life of courage and honour and truth. She was assassinated on December 28, 2007 in a country where she had come back from exile, back to get into polictics and elections, with denied security from the President.

This is an auto-biography to read! It's not hard-core politics, so even if you're not at all political, its a smooth read taking you into the lives of people, their powers and their effects.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Almost Single (Book review) - Sam

After another mundane day at work, I really wanted to chill out and while my time away. So, I hopped across to the nearest Crossword and after ambling across its aisles for like hours, I decided on a few books (Yes, I'm a compulsive book-shopper and books are my therapy). One of these was "Almost Single" by Advaita Kala. I went through the back cover and it seemed promising. I flipped open to sneak into the plot and it was more to form an opinion about the author's ability and making sure it just wasn't any other book. I must say I wasn't dissappointed.

This is what the back cover read:

“Wickedly irreverent and laugh aloud funny, Almost Single is a delightful romp through the five star world of champagne brunches, gay soirees, and the dilemmas of hip, young girls on the look out for love and matrimony”

That and a realistic, in your face kind of introduction of the female protagonist, Aisha Bhatia, hooks me to the book.

The book takes you through the trials and tribulations a single, unmarried woman in her late twenties might go through. In between there is a sneak peek into the lives that others lead around Aisha: from her gay friend to her divorced friend, a love crazy but vengeful friend to the irritating boss. And then there were a more characters. Read to find out more as Aisha embarks on her journey to find a groom with her friends and comes across all sorts of people.

The best part about the novel is the ease with which the characters unfold and present themselves, neither would it make you feel alienated from them. On the contrary you might just know exactly what they are talking about. The laughter riot in the book can leave you chuckling for days on. Full marks to Advaita for portraying such real life characters with a distinct style and elan which would leave many readers pining for more. The way the novel ends is unpredictable, a touch unconventional, rebellious to the more tradition oriented and yet funny. Tingles you mind for comedy as well as romanticism.

Go read it!!

Published in July, 2007, I wonder what made me buy this book so late in the day!!
You can also read Advaita at her blog: