Cartoon Therapy

You are in that magical place where everything is perfect. A pink little face is poking out of the upstairs window. Well, look who it is! It’s Heidi. Oh and there is Grandpa fixing breakfast down below – toasted cheese and fresh milk. Before you think further, the cool mountain breeze gently whisks you away down the hill for there are many more people to meet. On the far side of the hill, there is a yellow blur bobbing up and down. On a closer look, it appears to be a daisy flower hopping merrily on a pogo stick. Immediately you look around for a blue octopus. Sure enough, he is lying down on a bright yellow mat spread out near the pool. Oswald’s looking funny in his dark sunglasses. Is it Summer already in the Big City? There are buildings shaped like ice creams cones and giant guitars. You breath in the vivid colours of the city, filling your heart with warmth. Wait, did you hear that? Someone’s shouting out for help. You are running fast towards the sound. A chubby little boy in sailor’s hat is running hysterically in every direction. Behind him Lulu is cackling wildly with a jar full of paint. Strangely, no one seems to notice you. But you know them. You grew up with them.

Go to youtube. Pick a cartoon. Sit back and relax. That’s the mantra. Oswald’s usually my favourite pick. Oswald’s city does not have humans. So, less drama. He checks both sides when crossing the street. Left. Right. Left. Every time! Though a little off-key sometimes, he sings with confidence. There is so much boundless kindness that it is the perfect antidote for all things negativity.  One time I made the mistake of choosing courage the cowardly dog. This episode was so disturbingly bizarre that I was left with only one thought – How did the hell did I watch this show as a kid? As much as cartoon therapy works, sometimes I can’t help my 23 year old self creeping into the thought process. Yesterday, I was watching this episode. Towards the end, when Oswald drips ice cream all over the floor, I got seriously impatient. Dude, who will clean up the mess?


Posted in Humor, Memories/Nostalgia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments



I waited for a message in a bottle. Not even a soda bottle came my way. Buried treasure in my back garden. Nothing. Kind little notes from strangers. Nada. A brilliant idea in my dream. I didn’t even get a blog post idea in my dream ! One may call it side effects of watching ‘Amelie’ but I have waited patiently for such crazy things to happen ever since ‘UFO research’ became my first childhood ambition (More on that some other day). So today I was in for a surprise when I came across this magazine in the old book shop near Pycroft’s Road. It almost made up for the above things. Well, almost.

I was buying old Reader’s digests when I found this 2003 November edition of NatGeo on the top of the pile. My eyes wandered to the name on the top right corner. It had my sister’s name, V.Vasudha. Complete with initials!  The handwriting looked familiar. The d and h looked like hers. I turned the page to find her name again. This time more like her handwriting. This was good enough reason for me to buy this book. I pored over each and every aspect of the book with my sister. The chances of it being one of her books were very likely. For one thing, my sister was at her nerdiest self in the early 2000s. She used to buy these bulky ‘Tell me why’ books and NatGeos while I doodled on many of them. We are ninety percent sure it is our book but we still have some doubts on the handwriting. She felt the first page looked like my handwriting and the second one hers. I was just eight or nine when this edition came out. Both of our handwritings have evolved rapidly since then.

All said and done, I want this to be my little serendipity. What are the odds of coming across your own book after 15 years? This  always been one of my dearest fantasies. I will settle with it. But if you are a “Vasudha” belonging to the other half, well thank you 🙂 😉

So, have you ever had such serendipitous moments ? Do share in the comments ! We can never get enough of those.

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The Martian By Andy Weir


The story of ‘The Martian’ was probably everyone’s fantasy at some point of time. What would you do if you get stranded in a desert with no sign of life for a million kilometers. Only the desert here is Mars. I would strongly recommend this novel to all space nerds out there.  Andy Weir’s debut novel instantly pulls you into the story right from page one

Mark Watney is a NASA astronaut who gets almost killed in a dust storm. Believing that he is dead, his crewmates evacuate Mars. If you think that is the worst possible thing that could happen to him, you are dead wrong. Mars throws every possible shit at him but Watney’s incredible will and survival instinct comes in handy.  Watney is not your usual whiny narrator. For a man who is doubtlessly doomed, he is surprisingly witty about it. His sardonic narrative combined with rich technical details makes Martian an engrossing read.

Spoilers ahead!  If you are wary of too much technical details, don’t fear. The book has a right mixture of suspense and humour to get you going. Watney’s conversation with NASA is bound to leave you in splits. Another thing which I really loved about the book is the characterization of Watney’s crewmates. Even with the limited screentime(?) that they have, they come out as distinct personalities and not mere caricatures. Yay to Commander Lewis! Now moving on to the things which I felt could have been handled better. I know there is no time for melodrama in such fast paced book but we never get to see Watney’s vulnerable side. He is almost always high on energy. This I felt is a tad unrealistic. Also, some of the characters down in NASA were a bit ‘Hollywood’ to me.

So in a nutshell, The Martain is a compelling read which you can very well finish in one sitting. I will definitely read it again to brush up the technical details. The movie adaptation is coming this October and I can’t wait to see it!

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Abstract shapes splashed with vivid hues and spread over sleek wooden frames. Do they exhibit some sort of geometric brilliance or have abstruse meanings visible only to artistic eyes? I can’t make head or tail of it but I’ve been seeing them everywhere lately. I have never understood Modern Art. All you artistic folks out there, what is Modern Art really? No sarcasm there. I am genuinely curious about it. Now while you roll your eyes or think of ways to explain modern art to me, I thought it might be fun to provide a noob’s perspective on Art.

There are three kinds of Art – Good, Bad and the Enigma.

yoko ono art

What’s that ? Anybody? That is one bad art ! No surprises there. That’s not one but three big piles of crap. Literally. Considering that it was done by Yoko Ono, it sort of puts things into perspective. Don’t even get me started on Ono’s green apple art. But if you think about it, may be it has a deeper meaning. I think this symbolizes destruction because it reminds me of the time some mobile operator guys dug up our roads for cable work and then the street pretty much looked like this.

Moving on to the second category – the good art. It’s very straightforward. The artwork should have something that actually resembles real world stuff – trees, people, birds and the usual. Like this :


I saw this painting in the Bank almost an year ago. I was so struck by the beautiful simplicity of this picture and the mysterious way those two deers(?) are looking at something in unison. Without going into much detail or at the risk of sounding like Ananth Vaidyananathan, I am just going to put it simply – that is one lovely piece of art.

*Drum roll* And now let me introduce you to … the enigma. It’s bright; colorful; incredibly simple; and sort of looks like something I usually end doing in MS Paint.

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Welcome to the Hotel California


Living in a new city can sometimes be overwhelming. Especially, if you don’t know the local language. Things as simple as getting a ticket in the bus could be complicated. Ultimately, it takes a LOT of gestures and broken words to make yourself understood. You may go through a dozen crappy experiences before you end up with the right thing. But at the end of the day you have an awesome story to tell and a treasure trove of experience to share. That being said, don’t expect an awesome story from this post. 😛

As a vegetarian, my options in the locality are pretty limited. Within a month of my arrival, I knew that my chances of getting ‘Vatha Kozhambu’ was pretty bleak. Until one day, I saw the dark green signboard with the words ‘Chennai’ on them. Let me call the restaurant ‘Narnia’ for it claimed to be a ‘shortcut to Chennai’. Vatha Kozhambu was back in the game. Ha! The day came and we friends decided to get a takeaway and have a movie marathon for the night.

The words printed in Tamizh near the entrance was so inviting compared to the series of bizarre things that happened next. We took the elevator (which by the way looked ancient with rusting grill doors and barely had enough space for three people) and landed on the second floor. Pitch darkness. Were we actually travelling to Chennai ? Was this some sort of teleportation machine stuck in between space? I wish. We were on the wrong floor. Once we moved up to third level,things looked reassuring again. I went inside the restaurant. The ambiance was fantastic – the dim golden lighting,the circular tables with glimmering glassware and pristine white napkins. Everything was perfect except that the place was completely empty. Not a soul in sight. Now, Narnia was really starting to scare me. First the pitch darkness in the second floor and now a deserted dining hall. Oh boy! In a few seconds, a man came out of the kitchen door. He gave the menu and alas, no ‘Vatha Kozhambu’ in the evenings. So I ordered something else and sat waiting. There was absolute silence except for grinding of machinery from the kitchen. The place had an eerie quality to it. Gaping emptiness and grandeur. If only there was an old English Butler by my side, it would have been the perfect setting for a Hitchcock movie.

After a while, some one entered the restaurant. At last another customer ! Before I could even heave a sigh of relief, the man went straight for the speakers and fiddled around with the music player. So he was one of them. Perhaps the owner. Grr. An eerie old tamizh song blared out of the speaker. The slow melancholic tune was enough to creep the hell out of anyone. My friend and I became so uneasy. When we were making dumb jokes to ease the tension, suddenly we noticed out of the corner of our eyes someone moving. We when looked towards the direction, there was no one. I asked my friend if she noticed the movement. She did too. It was definitely scary. In a minute or so, it happened again. This time we could not dismiss it as a trick of the light. We were starting to get a little panicky but kept looking for the source of disturbance and there it was ! A big fat mouse running through the tables. Phew! Our 20 minutes encounter fizzled out like baloon.

I couldn’t wait to pay the bill and run straight for the door. While all this happened, I couldn’t help but remember the lyrics of ‘Hotel California’ and chuckle a bit. I am never going back to Narnia again…. and my quest for “Vatha Kozhambu” is permanently shelved!

P.S : This is my first post after nearly a gap of nine months. College to Job transition. Big story. But I can say with delight that I discovered so many new things in these nine months. Moved to a new place. Met wonderful people. Missed home. Rediscovered me. 🙂 Now back to blogging. Home sweet home 🙂

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Honey, someone shrunk our house !

We were going back after 15 years and of course we were bubbling with excitement. My sister and I grew up in that house. I took my first steps there, spoke my first words and rode my first bicycle (with balance wheel of course 😛 ). We had little picnics in our backyard inspired by the Enid Blyton books that my sister read. The large turkey towel was neatly spread out under the tree. We had everything from lemonades prepared by our mom to giant bottles of Fanta and little chips packets to Peppy cheese balls. Sometimes we picked guavas from the tree for the picnic. We sat there talking about all the things only a 7 year old and 12 year old could talk about. Perhaps discussing the Little Lulu show or school gossip. I don’t remember very well. Anyway ,the place had flowers of so many different colours– pink, yellow, white and the red honey flowers. I remember waking up early every December just to pick the purple “december poo” which bloomed only in the winter. Our flat even had its own spooky ghost story. The watchman committed suicide in the house opposite to ours, so they said it was haunted. Life in that apartment was every bit fun for me. Three months back, my sister came on a vacation to India and the first thing on our ‘to-do’ list was to visit our old house. We successfully ticked it off our list. I am going to write all about that but there’s also a twist in this story. Wait, I will get to that part. Anyway, our memory of that place was always grand. Though the apartments were small, the huge outdoor space and a beautiful garden made up for that. Going back there to relive those memories was very overwhelming.

The auto turned towards our street. The mechanic shop was still there and the butcher’s. There were many shops that I didn’t recognize. We were almost there. The big house next to ours came into view and the next moment the auto stopped. My mom got down and quickly went inside the house. I stood where I was. My sister didn’t even get down from the Auto. Something was not quite right. The building in front of us wasn’t our house. No way ! It was small. The steps to the ground floor was tiny and don’t even get me started on the corridors . This place looked nothing like our old house and yet I knew it was our house. There was no mistaking the door number! I forced my sister to get out of the auto but she kept insisting that it was the wrong house. Once we got over the initial shock, we headed straight for the backyard. Another wave of shock ! No flowers and no Ashoka trees. There was only a car parked in that place. Did we really have picnic in this tiny space ? I thought. My sister was wondering if they sold a part of the flat. Oh, how I wish that was the actual reason. ! We both went inside the house feeling like a pair of deflated balloons.

At last, my sister voiced out both our thoughts. The place was never really big. It was just that we were small back then. And every thing looked through a child’s eyes. Oh boy, how our memories deceived us. Returning after 15 years just to realize how so wrong we were. But we came to terms with that pretty fast and moved into the house. How do I describe the exact feeling I got when I stepped into the living room (or hall as we call it) ? It was like a fast forward film of memories. The time when I broke a glass fanta bottle right in the middle of the hall and how my sister frightened the hell out of me saying that the shop keeper would put me in jail for that (she used pull a lot of cock and bull stories back then); watching the Mahabharata serials as a family; coming home from school to watch Little Lulu; the first time we got a landline phone in our house and my sister sixteen prank calls from dad’s office; my teaching English to our maid Mani; our Grandma’s ‘curd rice’; jumping on the bed, dancing to Muthu movie songs with our cousins; playing kitchen set pretending to be ‘Mallika Badrinath’; getting my first soft toy rabbit ‘Kalpana’ (which my mum mistook for a teddy bear). Oh I could go on and on for another ten blog posts about it.

I took a lot of pictures to cherish those memories. Even though a lot of things changed about that place, a few things remained the same. For instance, my father’s helmet was in the same place even after so many years like an antique peaking out of the past.



The big house next to ours looked like an old ruin. Back in those days, a snooty old lady lived there with at least 10 doberman dogs ! We were (at least I was) terrified to go anywhere near that place. And that is our version of Boo Radley house !

Boo radley house our version

That is our favourite guava tree. Speaking of which, I remember two twin girls in our building whom we called the ‘guava thieves’. It was their tree as much as it was ours but I don’t know why we called them that. May it was the way they moved stealthily. Now I think about it, they strangely resembled ‘Wednesday’ from the Adams Family.


I was quite surprised to see my Grandma’s ‘ammi kallu’ intact under the cabinet.

This is the famous picnic spot that I was talking about. Now now, don’t laugh at it 😛 It looks so much better with tree (which I couldn’t get into the frame).


We were hoping to meet our watchman Madurai who’s also Mani’s husband. I think he was on leave that day. Sometimes, Madurai picked me up from school if my classes got over by 12 ‘o’ clock. He was a kind old man and too bad we couldn’t meet him. When we almost finished our tour of the building, we met Kuppu. She was another maid who worked in one of the houses there. Kuppu has known me ever since I was a baby and we were mutually surprised at seeing each other after a long time.

Aaand that was our visit to the old house. So is our memory of that place tainted because it wasn’t like how we imagined it to be ? No. That big old place is still unchanged and fresh in our memory. Besides, I remember something my sister said, “Back then it was our home buzzing with activity, now it’s just a house”.

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Black ruminations

Sirius Black

Do you ever get the feeling that you want to see more of your favourite characters in a book ? Well, I do. The world of Harry Potter and the characters that walked through the books made some of the best parts of my life. Snape is my favourite character and not far behind him (in fact missed the first place by only 0.0001 %) is Sirius Black. Anyway, the thing about reading the HP books or in that matter any book, is that it gives you a different perspective every time. With each time, you actually read the book freshly. During this re-read, it was Sirius who caught my interest. He was the closest thing to a Father that Harry had. He cared about Harry almost as much as his parents would have. Yet his life was tragically cut off (for which I will never ever forgive JK Rowling among a lot of other things). Sirius is not, as in Jo’s own words, “wholly wonderful”; he did have flaws like every other human being. But his loyalty, immense bravery and a good heart is what made him stand apart. I really loved the Father-cum-brother relationship that Sirius and Harry had. I wish we saw more of them but the books wouldn’t be the same without his death. Would it ? So, I thought I’d write a fan fiction to get over it. This is my first attempt at fan fiction. It doesn’t have a solid story. I wrote what ever came into my head. I hate to deviate from the original plot and detail. So, I tried to keep it closer to the canon as much as possible. It is not great  but it gave me immense satisfaction and happiness. I hope you like it as much as I did.
Here’s to one of my favourite characters – To Sirius Black.  Greatest friend there ever was.


“Well, I’d better get going, Sirius”, said Lupin.

“Yeah, okay”

“If Mad-Eye stops by, can you tell him I can’t make it tomorrow ? ”

Sirius nodded without looking up. Lupin looked at Sirius with an apologetic look on his face, about to say something but only managed to say, “See you, then”.

Sirius followed him to the door. A loud crack and Lupin was gone. He stood alone in the gloomy hallway looking at the various locks sealing themselves magically. “ can do nothing useful”. “..hiding inside his mother’s house for six months..”. “I don’t see you risking your neck”. The words kept ringing in his ears over and over again. He was seized with a strong impulse to turn the door knob and run outside. A ten thousand galleon price on his head and the fact that most of the wizarding community still considered him a dangerous murderer did not bother him in the slightest. What could possibly happen to me?, he thought. Death. It had never frightened Sirius. He just wanted to fight. However, a second thought pulled him back to his senses. Harry. He needs me. Sirius stumped into the house looking disgruntled.

The house had been quite empty ever since Christmas. Molly and Arthur returned to the Burrow. Occasionally a member or two from the Order dropped by. Only Remus stayed in the house. He too was away working for the order most of the time. Sirius was alone in the large kitchen, rocking back and forth on the chair’s rear legs; looking at the photograph of the original Order of the Phoenix. His eyes rested on the people standing to his right. James and Lily. He couldn’t believe how so much Harry looked like his father. He missed James.

It was half past 10 already. He reckoned Harry was still awake. So, he dug out the mirror from his robe’s pocket. Hoping that Harry also carried his mirror, he croaked “Harry?”. The mirror, however, reflected his own gaunt face. “Harry ?”, he said more loudly. Nothing. Somewhere in the depths of the cupboards, he heard the elf snigger. “Stupid wretched monkey…”, he muttered under his breath. He got up from the chair with such force that it toppled backwards. Without even a second glance, Sirius strode out of the room and sprinted up the staircase. He proceeded to Buckbeak’s room in the second floor landing. The Hippogriff was sleeping comfortably with his head tucked under a pile of straw. When he heard the door creak open, the bird lifted his head up gently. Like Sirius, Buckbeak craved company and a little bit of fresh air but like his master, he couldn’t get much of both. However, whenever Sirius came to check on him, he affectionately put his head forward for Sirius to stroke him. Sometimes the bird acted very human. It was as if he knew what mood Sirius was in. There was a sombre look on his face today, as if almost sympathizing. Sirius sat down stroking him for a while. When he thought about it, both he and Buckbeak were similar. They both were convicted for something they didn’t do; they both escaped death by inches and now they both lived a solitary life. He felt slightly guilty for he believed he was responsible for Buckbeak’s confinement. It was guilt all over again.


“Are you sure about this, Padfoot?”

“Positive. It is an excellent plan . I mean, look at it this way. Who is the first person they will think of ?”, said Sirius with baby Harry sitting on his lap.

“You but – ”

“Who is Harry’s Godfather ? “

“Alright, you. But still …”

“You see it right? They are bound to come after me and with my neurotic cousin on their side, it is pretty easy to track me. We shouldn’t make it easier for them, Prongs.”

“I know but will Wormtail – “

“Keep it a secret? You do trust him, don’t you?”

“Of course, I do! “ said James indignantly. “I meant whether he will agree to this arrangement.”

“He will do anything for you James and besides, we are not really putting him in much danger, are we? He will be the last person they will think of. Trust me, James. This is going to work out really good.”

“Hmm. I hope”, said James with a worried look on his face.


There were rumours flying everywhere that Voldemort was gone and that Harry had survived. There were other rumours too. He did not now what to believe. Wormtail was missing from his hideout. The place was empty with no signs of struggle. Fear started to rise up his throat. So he took off in his bike to find it out himself. He could see the thousands and thousands of light below the city as he flew. Once in a while, he saw a glimpse of wizard fireworks up in the sky. Celebrations. It must be true, he thought. Voldemort was most likely gone. But a sinking feel slowly enveloped him and his hands gripping the handlebar grew cold. It was not because of the chilly weather. There was a rumour that James and Lily were dead. He did not want to believe it but deep within, a part of him already knew the truth. Surely, James would have communicated the message to him about Voldemort’s fall. Or was he really ..? No. James is probably wounded, he consoled himself.

Godric’s hollow came into view and Sirius’ heart sank at what he saw. The house that he knew so well was in ruins. One side of it was blasted off revealing portions of the bedroom where the fireplace was still crackling merrily. He skidded his bike to a halt and ran into the house right away. Large chunks of wood and rubble littered the threshold and the heavy wooden door with the brass knocker had been blasted apart, a feet away. Fearing the worst, Sirius entered the house. On the floor lay his best friend. His eyes were wide open with shock and his arms bent in strange angles as though someone shoved him to the side roughly. James lay there unmoving. Sirius’ world shattered there. Every bit of energy he had came crumbling down like a landslide and he fell on his knees. He did not cry but just sat there staring at his friend. . It seemed as though his body had lost the will to even shed a single tear. His grief was beyond comprehension. Seconds passed like a lifetime and and then he heard a low moaning noise from upstairs which jerked him back to the real world.

“Lily?”, he croaked. But it was not Lily. The voice he heard was very rough. He crept up the stairs. From the top landing, he saw through the door. Lily’s body lay there. Her flaming red her covering most of her face but the bright green eyes pierced his heart and he could look at her no more. In the far corner of the room was the source of the noise that he heard. Something large and furry bent over crying. It was Hagrid. Hagrid saw Sirius too and howled like a dog caught in pain. Behind him, Harry was standing in the crib watching Hagrid weep curiously. Sirius got a wave of relief inside what was left of him. He quickly strode over towards Harry and picked him up. Harry gave him a cry of recognition and a toothy smile but his cheeks were still wet with all the crying. There was something different about him today though. His forehead bore a scar shaped oddly like a lightning bolt.

Hagrid finally seemed to pull himself together and looked up at Sirius. “Poor Harry..”, said Hagrid. “his Mum an’ Dad dead. A miracle that he’s alive.”

Sirius looked as white as a sheet and at the mention of Lily and James, his lips trembled a little. “I’m sorry Sirius. Yer best friends.. knew ’em more than all of us. Who woulda thought James and Lily of all people…”. He wiped his tears on a spotted handkerchief. “Well, abou’ time then. I must get goin’. Give ‘im to me Sirius.” and Hagrid gently took Harry from Sirius’ arms.

“What? Where, Hagrid?”, said Sirius looking startled.

“His Aunt’s an’ Uncle’s house. Dumbledore’s orders.”

“Lily’s sister?, said Sirius incredulously. “They are muggles! And they hated Lily. Give Harry to me, Hagrid. I’m his Godfather. I’ll look after him”

“But Sirius, Dumbledore – “

“I know, Hagrid. But who better to look after him than his Godfather? His parents made me his guardian in case..” He couldn’t finish the sentence. A ball of fury was mounting inside him but it had nothing to do with Hagrid or Dumbledore. Hagrid looked at him sympathetically.

“I know how yeh feel, Sirius. But it is not in me position to make the decision. I’ll take Harry to his Aunt’s place. Yeh talk ter Dumbledore an’ then Harry can come with yeh. Is that okay?”

Sirius nodded reluctantly. He agreed because he had an unfinished business to do tonight. As soon as he saw the Potter house in ruins, he knew it. He knew that they were betrayed. A big price for trusting their little friend. His guilt and grief for his friends’ death fuelled a murderous rage. Hagrid started towards the door with baby Harry in a bundle of blankets.

“Hagrid”, Sirius called out. “Take my bike to go there.”

“What abou’ yeh ? Are yeh sure, Sirius?”

“Yeah. I don’t think I will be needing it anymore.”

He strode over towards Hagrid and took Harry in his arms for one last time before Harry left. “Good bye, Harry”, he said and planted a kiss on little Harry’s head.


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The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)


I thought I would find it very strange writing review for a JK Rowling novel. When the Harry Potter books came out, we die-hard fans never really read it with a critic’s eye. We were part of the huge phenomena that was Potter and simply anything from the author’s pen created waves of excitement among the fans. Now exactly six years after the completion of the HP series, holding a brand new JKR novel was pleasantly reminiscent of the good old days. But in spite of the good reviews, I didn’t want to raise my expectations too much. Nor did I want to be the starry-eyed reader who’d give the book a thumbs-up solely based on the ‘J.K.Rowling’ name tag. So I kept an open mind. I was excited nevertheless. The book did not disappoint me. Jo’s impeccable narrative style is very clear right from the first page. Although initially I couldn’t help but grin at the usage of muggle words like ‘google’ and ‘mobile’ in the book. 😀

Cuckoo’s calling is essentially a murder mystery. Lula Landry, a supermodel, falls to death from her penthouse window. Given Lula’s history of supposed drug problems, a fragile mental state and lack of solid proof her case is closed as ‘Suicide’. However, Lula’s distraught brother John Bristow doesn’t think so. He is obsessed with his belief that Lula was murdered and seeks the help of a private detective Cormoran Strike to find the killer. The rest of the story follows Strike’s investigations until finally the killer is unmasked. The plot is as simple as that but Jo’s brilliant narrative propels the story forward. Being no stranger to paparazzi herself, Jo gives us a peek into the lives of celebrities effortlessly.

Another striking aspect of the novel is the brilliant characterization. As Strike interviews each and every friend and acquaintance of the slain supermodel, we have a thorough understanding of every character. The novel is not racy but it rather moves at a steady gait. So in a way, it gives us time to know the characters thoroughly. The protagonist Cormoran Strike is a very likable person with a knack of blending into any situation. Strike’s relationship with his enthusiastic secretary Robin Ellacot (though very professional and the fact that Robin is engaged to her long-term boyfriend ) hints of a romantic side-plot in the upcoming sequel. Apart from Strike, another important character in the book is the dead Lula Landry herself. Through out the book we explore her wild life and underneath all the chaos the real person that she was. For a supermodel who was a household name and who had all the wealth to afford anything she wanted, Lula’s personal life was a stark contrast to it. It was bleak and sometimes even claustrophobic.

There was a point in the book where I felt there was no progress in Strike’s investigation. Funny enough, right after that the book simply became un-put-down-able. The Cuckoo’s calling has become one of the most amazing reads I’ve had recently. Rowling is a master story teller and she proves it this time with her impressive foray into crime fiction. So much looking forward to the sequel. I will gladly give this book a BIG THUMBS UP.

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Weekly Photo Challenge – Fresh


When I saw the words ‘Fresh’ and ‘Taste’ in this week’s photo challenge, the first thing that came to my mind was ‘Filter Coffee’. Chennai is rather famous for its filter coffee. It is typically served in an ever-silver tumbler and a saucer-like thing called ‘dabarah’. Be it Narasus ‘kaapi’ or Kumbakonom Degree coffee, almost every Chennaiite’s day starts with a steaming cup of coffee and ‘The Hindu’ paper. Although I am not a coffee person, I never miss a chance to taste the ‘Kaapi’s in Chennai Hotels.

This picture was taken in Hotel Saravana Bhavan, a famous south Indian restaurant in India.

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A midnight rant – Lays, Philosophy and Bill Cosby


You may find this post a pointless rant. I started off this post as a book review of Bill Cosby’s ‘Time Flies’ but ended up writing about Lays. It is 1:30 AM in the morning and I am super sleepy. Don’t blame me.

I finished Bill Cosby’s ‘Time Flies’ a couple of days back. I bought the book for two reasons. 1) There weren’t many choices. Bill Cosby’s familiar face loomed out of a dozen chick lit and magazines. 2) It was just 20 rupees. While reading the book, I had some mixed feelings. The whole book was like one big stand-up comedy that I couldn’t relate to. May be if read at an older age, the book would make sense to me. Cosby talks about aging and his perspective on adjusting to middle age life. I had a few chuckles here and there, and some laugh-out-loud moments. But that was it. I wondered if I really should have bought it in the first place. That reminded me of my Lays Packet philosophy.

You see, I have a simple philosophy. When you buy Lays with 20% chips and 80% air for 20 rupees, you don’t have to think twice when you buy even the most tattered old book in the platform-side book shop for the same price. I proposed a similar theory way back in stone age when the price of silver/gram was just eleven rupees. I told my sister, why can’t people buy a gram of silver instead of buying a Lays packet every time? (I know, I know I churn out a lot of mad theories and philosophies. You’re welcome.). She said it just doesn’t work that way. A lot changed after that. I got wiser and churned out more crazy theories. Silver and Gold rates shot up and so did the BP rates of many parents who were saving up for the weddings of their 10 year old daughters. My sister came up with more ways to refute my theories. More than just “it doesn’t work that way”. One thing hasn’t changed in all these years. Lays. Sure, they have come up with a dozen more coloured flavours (Yellow and red, my favourite) nothing short of a rainbow. But they still pack more air than actual chips.

You tear open the plastic cover and a gush of air enough to power a windmill comes out of it. You look inside and all you see is this dark abyss. Some where under the depths of the cover, you dig your fingers and stumble upon some chips. You finish eating the chips faster than you can actually say ‘Lays’. OK where was I ? Yea, the book. I have wasted hundreds of tens and twenty rupees on Lays through out my college life. So, a mere twenty rupees on this book is not that big a deal. At least I got a few laughs out of it. When I become old and wise(r), I may probably appreciate the book. So, that’s my point. Now, thank you so much for wasting your precious time on this post. I did warn you at the beginning of the post. 😉

P.S : Dear Lays manufacturers, don’t take it too hard. I actually like Lays. And some day you can pull this off..


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