Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Thursday, September 26, 2013

My Top Authors

I love reading. Coming to stories, I love the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and some other such fantastic stories but in the present century writings, I am an avid reader of novels, most of them fiction. I have read many good books and here are few comments about my best ten authors.

10. Charles Dickens

Author of my first novel, "Great Expectations." That is all. I still remember from this book that one should not put the knife but fork in mouth while eating. Apart from that I haven't been much into his novels. But I love his "Christmas Carol" too. 

9. Arthur Hailey

I read his book called "Flight into Danger" when I was bedridden due to Jaundice. A small but really beautiful book. Then I ended up reading two more books, "Detective" and "Strong Medicine" of the same author which were intriguing in their own way!

8. Allistair Maclean

I read his "Night without End" while travelling in a crowded train on a hot May morning. Believe me or not, I was shivering. The book is based on incidents that take place in Greenland. His style of writing is not something out of ordinary but he just makes us look through the hero's eyes and doesn't bring out of the scenes.

7. Alfred Hitchcock

I do not remember how many times I read his "Three Investigators- Secret of the Silver Spider" book at once. Such was the brilliance of the book. The "simple but dangerous" adventures of the juvenile detectives were just amazing.

6. Jeffrey Archer

Not a KANE more, not an ABEL less is necessary to describe about this author. But my favourite part of his writings is that he knows where to be humorous, sarcastic and serious. His books are almost always smooth flowing and cool to read.

5. Sidney Sheldon

The protagonist is always the scapegoat...we feel sorry for him..sorry it is mostly 'her' right!! But this man is too deep. Everything is too intense. From executing violence to expressing love, he does a lot of research I guess. Sometimes the suspense in his novels is so out of imagination.

4. Dan Brown

The scientist, professor, doctor, federal agent what not. He seriously does his research. More than the novel, the information about various things ranging from Monalisa painting to fluorescent bacteria to Dante Alighieri, I learned more history and science than I did in some of my classes!!

3. Amish Tripathi

He is the "Indian Rick Riordan." Like Dan Brown, he does his research. Excellent research. The way he mixed fiction with Indian Mythology, History and Geography is just mind blowing. He answered many questions about the system in India. I would suggest people to read his "Shiva Trilogy". Just brilliant it is!!

2. J.K Rowling

Yes. The waiting is over. She is on the list. She should be on top. No doubt about that. Forget her other books. The Harry Potter series is worth a thousand other novels. What's not in that new world? Humour?Adventures? Values? I have to give atleast seven pages to write about those seven brilliant books!! One of the best books I have read. This series is for everyone. All must read this series. That's it. No more discussions!!

1. Suryadevara Ramamohana Rao

I put at the first place the man who wrote about what I wanted to become. How to succeed with simple common sense. What it is to be an entrepreneur. Stories about people who have come to the best position from the worst possible position. I am so inspired by his book, "Trinetrudu" that I started eating less salt after reading his book. This is probably the best fiction book I have ever read!!

These are the top ten. There are many other good writers who I encountered. each with a style of their own. A super style that too!!  

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Frontiers in Physics

Okay..there was this physics conference that took place in my university three days back. This is the first proper conference in a single field that I attended. I actually went to the conference because I felt little pity for them since they suspended our classes so we can attend the seminars. For the professors, it was a routine conference with all those nonsense discussions, un-laughable jokes and all! But for me it was an experience. A good one overall!

Apart from the lunch, I liked few talks too!! Though I either drifted off to some thoughts or to sleep during few talks, those I could successfully listen to, without sleeping were ones involving Optical Waveguide arrays, Semiconductor nano structures, Halogenation in nano structure development, Spintronics and Phenomenon of Extra Dimensions. I used to wake up when I hear clapping. I tried hard not to feel sick when a student of my class asked doubts which made no sense to me( but the speaker says,"very good doubt"). If the seminars were bad, the poster session was a disaster. Out of the twenty or so posters put up, I was familiar with one or two and I could only understand the meaning of the titles of hardly 15 posters. The matter below the title, I think it was written either in Mandarin or Spanish with occasional English!!

Lunch was brilliant. Did not miss it. The curd they served need extra mentioning. All three days it was good. I am bored of three continuous days of Gulab Jamun. Strangely, I did not sleep in the any of the talks which were after lunch( maybe I did not listen to the talks!)
My ID Card- I was tempted to put a photo of the lunch coupon 

However, few talks like those about tracking devices in the Large Hadron Collider(LHC), results of LHC, The dark Universe, and most importantly the talk about patterns in Ultra Thin Sheets were outstanding only because I understood them. The talk about Thin sheets is the best because I participated in discussions too! 

Clearly, I could understand almost nothing in the conference. But I now know what areas is research happening. What the demands of the world are. I also now know how best to enjoy a conference- by bunking!!

Apart from all this I felt happy because I was able to interact. Not only with professors but also with my seniors, research scholars and my friends. A longer session for such interactions was the only missing pepper in the soup. My friends and I used this conference as a platform where we can meet people who enjoy research and to learn from them. For now, I am in a stage in which I can enjoy good jokes, tea and food! That's all. Lastly, the social awareness speech given by the chairperson showed what role teachers can play in creating a good student! Thanks to all those Frontiers in Physics!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

What Sachin and Federer can learn from Leander Paes

Two giants in the sporting world! One of them praised as "God of Cricket." The other is considered the best among "Gentlemen" by the world! This reflects the amount they gave to the world. But somehow, the respect and the credit they deserve is not being given to them! Definitely, there is no questioning their service to the respective sports. I can strongly say that Sachin Tendulkar and Roger Federer have played a major part in publicising Cricket and Tennis. Is it because they are out of form right now that they are being criticised? Or are they out of form because of the lessened respect?

It is true in Sachin's words that it is the fans that is the reason for a player's success. But one very important thing is that these "fans" are very fickle minded. You win, you are a deity in a temple. You don't win, you are a burnt effigy. Age is just a factor. People wouldn't have forced Sachin to retire from ODI cricket had he scored three more centuries after his hundredth. People wouldn't be crticising Federer about his reflexes diminishing had he been continuing in first place after his 7th Wimbledon! Ironically, it is the same fans who led to their success that are now an albatross around their necks!!

This brings in into the discussion one more great Tennis player who was never in the limelight and from who these two can learn to play devoid of any thought about publicity. Leander Paes has always been an excellent player for India, winning consistently including the bronze medal in Tennis at the Atlanta Olympics 1996. He was like many other good players, never given enough respect he deserved. But he did not stop winning. Pairing with various people, ranging from Martina Navratilova to Rohann Bopanna, he kept moving on not flinching a bit about the publicity he wanted. Just recently, he has added another Grand Slam to his name and I am sure he cares two hoots about how many people acknowledged his victory. Let us not discuss why he was not as much popular but we shall stay focused on the sport and the love for it.

The love is always there anywhere. Even a child going to a coaching academy has that love for the sport. But these three and many more are the ones who never lost the love for the game. The thirst of winning. The killer-instinct!! It is on our part not to destroy that feeling! We are not going to tell H.E Sri Abdul Kalam to stop involving in science and research just because he has become old! These people have given us a lot. Entertained us a lot. We got a lot to brag about because of them. Not to forget the sweet memorabilia. Let the sportsman spirit continue!!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Together, we shall split!!

A nice evening on 30 July this year, as I was enjoying a street play, I heard clapping, slogan shouting etc.., and later when I knew that the reason was the government announcing its decision for Telangana, I was very happy. It was mainly because I wanted the long political drama to end. Also, I have seen the agitation for separation of Telangana and felt that it had a good reason. But I was wrong!

All I can think now about the Telangana agitation is the political ruckus that was created and people falling for it (including me I guess!!). Ask a random person involved in this separation movement why exactly he wants a separate state, you will get a reply saying, "I will get a job easily if there is a separate state!!." How foolish! Yet somehow, I still supported the movement because I felt there was nothing wrong in being separate. After all, siblings stay separately but are close right! No, I am wrong again!

At the time of independence, India had 562 princely states. Seriously, I cannot imagine these kings considering brotherhood! What purpose is division going to serve? Pakistan was divided from India. This division involved big time violence and mass murders. What is the result, there is no peace between India and Pakistan even today! Will Telangana develop if it becomes a separate state? No. Even if it does it would have happened without division too! This "development" is an instrument used by politicians on us to again, fool us, to lure us.

Recently, I have been to the coastal side of Andhra Pradesh and I saw people agitating for a combined state. And not one politician was there. It was only the people who wanted the state to be united who took the initiative. Yes, let ask ourselves the question, why to separate? Is there a language/culture difference? No. Moreover, if separated, Telangana will lose something very important for growth. The sea coast! If development is the only reason for separation, then we shall concentrate on development. From Srikakulam in the far East to Adilabad in the far North to Anantapur in the far south. We can do that together too!!

Finally, I would say politicians are successful in diverting us to this issue!
C'mon we should all be worrying about Food Security, Economy and Defense instead of such silly things!!
And hey look at the map of Andhra Pradesh.... it is good this way only!!! 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

As the Sun sets...it rises!!

About 100 years back, after the first world war, the currency of one of the world's great empires tumbled. So much that it led to hyperinflation and the banks in that country had to manufacture currency notes worth 500 million!! Then one person came... he again changed the situation in that country. He is Adolf Hitler and the country is Germany. The German Mark at that time was so useless that they were used to tend fire in fireplaces and used as papers for notice boards etc.. I don't know if he really revived the economy of Germany or not..but after Hitler's entry, maybe poor economy was a very small problem for Germany!!

Of course, it is not the same situation now in India but definitely, it is a problem which cannot be ignored by the common Indian! Of course one can be in the hope that in dark times, there is light ahead! But that would be more of a "Gambler's Fallacy." C'mon we are a country, not a Casino! What we need at this time is self evolution. Recently, our Prime Minister also made a similar remark saying we should lessen our petrol consumption, save our gold (I would suggest we save Onions rather than Gold!!). Though I don't like his giving such statements this late after the opposition's criticism, I definitely agree with him.

We can't expect some one to come and resurrect our falling economy. It has to come from within us. The problem comes as our rupee goes out of the country and is not circulated within. There is nothing wrong in being Indian and buying Indian. If you want to buy clothes, get them from Pantaloons...you want branded, go for Van Heusen or Peter England (yes that's Indian!!). Go for Idea or Airtel instead of Vodafone. Go for McDowell's No.1 instead of Royal Stag!! And for God's sake stop eating those unhealthy chips and French Fries. Buy two wheelers from Hero Motocorp or from Bajaj,TVS. For four wheelers there is TATA motors and Maruti ( no problem here for Mileage!!)

The more the rupee is kept with ourselves, the better. Otherwise, we might have to adopt a foreign currency!! Heyy don't worry about FDI...no one is interested to invest in India which is in one way good for us. We should learn from this and be more independent. For example, we shouldn't be in a position to import fertilisers and aeroplanes from other countries! We should have our own factories and workshops manufacturing atleast the basic things. 
This is the self evolution I am talking about. Young people should take initiative to start such entrepreneurships without thinking much about the risks. Only then can India produce more Narayanamurthys, Deepak Parekhs, Chanda Kocchars and Kiran Shaws!!
But one thing. The Foreign investments are not as bad as they are being portrayed. On the contrary, if industries and manufacturing plants are set up in the country, it would be really good for the country. The rupee does not necessarily stay only in the country. We need not be conservative; nor communistic. We need to think first about filling millions of stomachs!!

Remember. The sun rises as it sets. But one should understand that it is not the sun which is going down or rising up. It is us, the Earth that is rotating!!