Tintin : Revisted after a long time

tintinAfter a long time, due to recent turn of events I suddenly found myself with a lot of time to spare, and what better way to splurge time that reading. It was late at night (around 3.30 AM) and I had this sudden urge to read something entertaining, in the detective genre hat would not take too much time nor effort to ingest. And that is when I remembered that I was missing Tintin and his adventures.

For the uninitiated, here is what Wikipedia has to say about Tintin:

Tintin (French pronunciation: [tɛ̃tɛ̃]) is the fictional hero of The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. He is a reporter and adventurer who travels around the world with his dog Snowy. The character was created in 1929 and introduced in Le Petit Vingtième, a weekly youth supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle. He appears as a young man, around 14 to 19 years old with a round face and quiff hairstyle. Tintin has a sharp intellect, can defend himself, and is honest, decent, compassionate, and kind. Through his investigative reporting, quick-thinking, and all-around good nature, Tintin is always able to solve the mystery and complete the adventure.

Thanks to Blackkat.Net that has indexed the adventure of this Belgian reporter’s adventures on the internet for everyone’s access my ungodly urge was sated finally.

This particular adventure The Adventures of Tintin – In the Lands of the Soviets wasthe boy’s first adventure and was published in 1929 in a children’s supplement to a Belgian newspaper

Are you a fan of Tintin’s adventures? Or is this the first time you’re hearing about this boy reporter? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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Book Review : The Bad Boys of Bokaro Jail

img5Title : The Bad Boys of Bokaro Jail
Author : Chetan Mahajan
Publisher : Penguin India
Goodreads Rating – 3.2/5 Flipkart rating – 3.9/5
Price : Rs. 165.30 (Amazon India)

What happens when a high flying Indian corporate guy with MBA degree from US gets sent to an Indian Jail for no fault of his own?

A book like this one gets authored that exposes the readers to the underbelly of Indian Jails that tells us about everything that is wrong with the prison system and judicial system in India

The author encounters several inmates who are stuck in jail because they do not have as meager amount as 2500/- to get bail. Then there are other inmates who have the luxury of using cellphones, ipods and inverter. He tells us how the jail doctor uses “hands free” treatment on prisoners, checking up 30 prisoners in 30 minutes while not one’s touching the prisoner. Also we come to know that there is no concept of “Prevention before Cure” as the loos are filthy and stinking, flees and mosquitoes abound.


Chetan Mahajan – Finding value in bad boys

Money is supposed to be banned in prisons, however the jail has it’s own economy, supported by the powerand corruption that comes from the cops. The food is bad for prisoners, as the good things are consumed by the officials while most prisoners get “goat piss” tea.

Thanks to his social stature, Mahajan was allowed to meet his visitors personally in a room without a wire mesh separating them, and that he was out of it in 30 days.

If you are looking forward to reasons, this book will be able to more than convince you why you should not be on the wrong side of the prison wall.

Value for money rating : 4/5

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The Third Daughter by Susan Kaye Quinn (Review)

downloadDisclosure: I received an electronic copy of this book through Library Thing’s Member Giveaway Programs in exchange for a promise of honest review in 2014. I decided to publish it here as well, albeit late.

The Third Daughter is a nice YA fantasy novel with elements of steam punk, political espionage and romance. It’s also coming of age story of princess Anira, the arrogant third daughter of the Queen of Dharia who is waiting for her eighteenth birthday, so that she would marry man she loves, and her metamorphosis from a careless princess to a lady who would sacrifice her love and life for her duty towards her nation.

But with the rumors of invention of a new airship by the barbarian Jungalis, as the war seems inevitable, the peace between the two nations depend on a political marriage between Anira and barbarian prince Ashoka Malik of United Province of Jungali. After the death of his younger brother and mother, Prince Malik is now heir to the throne of this mountainous country afflicted with poverty, population and infighting.
What follows is a tale of how people of two different cultures try to work together, and while doing so, learn a lot about each other. While the ending of the novel is quite predictable, the plot remains interesting nonetheless.

There is a Bollywood twist to the plot in the sense that the girl in the story is from a rich and powerful family while the boy who proposes her for marriage has a humble background. Throw in a few people who don’t want the couple to marry for their personal gains, and you have a story ready-made for Bollywood of 90s.

The author has modeled the fictional world on Indian subcontinent and has used names like Priya, Ashoka and Janak to give it an Indian feeling. Even some of the locations like Kartavya (capital of Dharia) is a directly a word from Sanskrit. However I was unable to find the meanings of the words in Devanagri Script that was at the beginning of each chapter. It seemed like random letters put together with no meaning whatsoever. May be it was just to add the “Indian feel” to the plot and could have been avoided.

This was my first experience with a purely Indian-themed Steam punk novel, and I enjoyed it. The plot is well paced and entertaining. The characters are well developed and the heroine of the story is everything other than a damsel in distress. I enjoy reading stories with strong female characters, and I am extremely thankful to the Susan for this fun read.

And yes looking forward to the second installment of the Dharian Affairs – The Second Daughter as the first book of the series ends with a nice cliffhanger.

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Julie & Julia (2009) – A Deliciously Funny and Warm Plot

julieA few days back, I had watched The Hundred Foot Journey . For the first time in life I realized that being a foodie that I am, and with my constant experiments with food recipes, I also love movies about food and cooking. After watching The Hundred Foot Journey, I was looking for more movies on similar plots when I stumbled across a question in Quora where I learnt the name of this movie – Julie & Julia for the first time. The fact that Meryl Streep was in it, was an added bonus.

I really don’t understand why movies like never get promoted in our country. I am sure I am not the only person in this country of 1.2 billion people who like movies like this. And speaking about me I liked loved this movie so much.

Julie (Amy Adam) is a medium level Government officer, who finds cooking to be her way out from her regular, boring and stressful job. Her husband Eric (Chris Messina) supports her all the way, and in fact suggests her that she should blog about cooking. So in her tiny kitchen in Queens, Julie challenges herself to work her way through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking within a a deadline of 1 year, and starts blogging about it.

Two stories run side by side in this movie :

(1) The life of Julie and Eric in Queens, with their daily life, challenges, issues and how they overcome it together.

(2) Julia Child (Meryl Streep ) and her husband Paul (Stanley  Tucci) who’s a diplomat who met during wartime emergencies, fell in love, married, and enjoyed the subtlety of french cuisine together. It also tells us, how Julia, a women who barely knew how to cook, finally started attending French cooking classes, as there were no French Cookbooks in English, and how she started loving it.

Meryl Streep is amazing in the movie, so funny, so touching, so brilliant — from her uncanny mimicry of Child’s fluting, whooping voice to the subtle but heart-piercing way she suggests Julia’s pain at being childless.

This a perfect movie for you to watch on a lazy afternoon, if you are a foodie and love to cook.

My Ranking : 4.8/5

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Why are there not many contemporary books for men?


Man jumping with book

Have you ever asked this question to yourself? I did… and a couple of times. As in modern times, most of the answers are found in Google and not in the holy books.

So i googled it up, and realised that Jason Pinter had already answered the question several years ago here.

Nobody can deny the fact that most editorial meetings tend to be dominated by women. Saying the ratio is 75/25 is not overstating things. So needless to say when a male editor pitches a book aimed at men, there are perilously few men to read it and give their opinions. Not to mention that, because there are so few men, the competition to buy books aimed at men is astronomical. I was once shot down in an effort to buy a sports humor book because I couldn’t get the support of a senior editor. The reason? This editor had written a similar book proposal on submission and didn’t want to hurt his chances of selling it.

Men read. Tons of them do. But they are not marketed to, not targeted, and often totally dismissed.

And I agree with Jason on this. I have been a reader all my life. In fact I used to gorge on any literary piece – newspapers/magazines/books/newspaper wrappers et al. So I am not going to take it, when some one says “Men Don’t Read” the next time.

To prove his point, that books are now marketed towards women only, and the existence of men is simply ignored Jason had linked a few advertisements that promte ebook readers like Nook and Kindle.

However, we are lucky. Amazon has not been so biased in the Indian market. Check out the ad for Kindle and Amazon India :

Even though I do not like the #WeAreTheReaders advert by Amazon, it healthily markets itself to both men and women – for the love of reading, and this make me feel that we Indian men haven’t yet lost the ground, Let’s read more books this year and make sure that we stop this vicious circle.

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‘Ship Your Enemies Glitter’ Website Gets Too Popular, Founder Begs Everyone to Stop Using It


Earlier this week, we learned that a new service would let you ship glitter to your enemies, because glitter is totally impossible to get rid of — especially after you’ve unwittingly opened a large box of it.

The site became so popular so quickly that its founder, Mathew Carpenter, has suspended the service and basically asked everyone to chill out.

“Hi guys, I’m the founder of this website,” Carpenter wrote on Product Hunt. “Please stop buying this horrible glitter product — I’m sick of dealing with it. Sincerely, Mat.”

In fact, after amassing a million page views in just 24 hours, Carpenter decided he was so overwhelmed that he’s planning to sell the site:

So for now, it’s unclear…

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The Last Day of 2014…


It was a great year that ended on a great note. It brought me closer to friends and family.

Discovered a few good friends, learned and experienced some new things, parted ways away from some emotional baggages..


And here I am strong, steady and embracing the new year with open arms and high hopes.

I wish you all a very happy new year 2015.


Brown Potato

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