Monsoons

In India there is no other event that is anticipated with as much eagerness as the monsoons. The look out begins late in March or if we are lucky in mid April. By this time, in most parts of the country the remaining hint of cool wintry air is replaced by the warm summer wind which gets hotter by the day. The source of this heat are the great northern plains which absorb considerable sunlight during the day and raise the temperature of the surrounding air. The Thar desert on the western end becomes the hottest place in the country. The rest of the plains though comparatively cooler consistently record temperatures >40C.

The heat affects everyone. Now there are no more flowers in the parks, the grass needs to be watered at least three times a day and the sales of ice cream goes up. People are reluctant to step out in the noon and the evenings see an increased activity in the streets. The air conditioned malls become a popular hangout spot and the membership of the swimming pools are all sold out within a week. In these hard times the strained Indian populace needs a little help. We do not ask for much you see, just a little cloud here, a cool breeze there, to soothe the simmering land. And who better to listen to our pleas than the mighty seas.

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Psmith in the city

Before you ask, yes that is psmith with a p. The p is silent. Psmith almost never is. He is a smooth talking, monocle wearing, English gentleman who has his own way of looking at things.

The story Psmith in the city starts with Mike on a cricket field. Mike is batting superbly at 98 when Mr Bickersdyke walks behind the bowlers arm causing Mike to loose sight of the ball and getting him clean bowled. And with this Mr Bickersdyke "makes a dramatic entry" into Mikes life just like the author intended.

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Mulshi dam, kashid beach and the Ajanta caves

the hill

Once you leave the main city (nigri,Pune) the road to mulshi runs in one uninterrupted stretch through the western ghats. The mulshi lake towards which we were headed is an artificial lake created by the run off water from the Mulshi dam. We had little trouble reaching our destination when we decided to take directions from the locals instead of relying on google maps, much to the annoyance of my friend (Anirudh). He is a true believer of goolge maps and wanted to follow along the suggested path but he conceded after 45 mins of driving in circles which brought us, in a roundabout way, to the same road that the locals had advised us to take in the first place.

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Notes on legal rights and duties (nature and sources of law, Prof Gray)

The author(Prof Gray) starts by discussing the nature of human intercourse throughout the civilization. People have always maintained the concept of "right and wrong".What a person ought to do. And what a person should refrain from doing. That much is clear.

Since we have always held the notion of right, it becomes difficult to explain what a right actually is from the perspective of the legal science. The ambiguity of a language presents an obstacle to our understanding the term right as a concept of law.

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All things considered

All things considered is a collection of essays by GK Chesterton on a variety of topics. Before this I had only read him in the prefaces he wrote for some of Charles Dickens' books. And I remembered a few quotes from "The man who was Thursday" that I read in Deus Ex. But more or less I was (and still am) unfamiliar with his work . So I was not sure what to expect or where to start with All Things Considered. The essays are unrelated so I picked one which looked a bit inviting "The fallacy of success" :

The fallacy of success is a critique on the self help books that were around during his time. The author makes his stand clear from the first line itself calling them "sincerely and solemnly... the silliest among men". His argument being that these so called success books teach nothing about how to succeed but only manage to convey to the reader such useless facts like "Games are won by winners" . First he questions what success actually means. For him "A millionaire has succeeded in being a millionaire and a donkey has succeeded in being a donkey". I must admit that I nodded in approval because I found his reasoning quite solid. Then he assumes that even if by success these writers meant "money and fame" they have failed to convey anything useful because to succeed in any occupation there are only two ways "By doing very good work. Or by cheating" both of them requiring no further explanation. He comes to the conclusion that all these books teach are viler passions of "avarice and pride" and only succeed in making people "snobbish". He ends by saying that temperance is a virtue and that while it may not help a man to become rich but it will help him gain self respect. All in all this essay made a good first impression on me and I decided to read other ones.

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When staticshin ran out of paper

Dearest Readers,

It was the year of 1717 or of 1818, I am not quite sure which since it was some time ago, that I first started staticshin. I didn't have a means of delivering my writing to you so I devised a peculiar delivery technique, which has since grown into a tradition. The service which is know known as the "kite mail" was first started by me in the year of 1717 or of 1818, I can't be sure because it was long long ago, to deliver my articles to you since I did not have any means of delivery. Any way I will not bore you with the details since almost everyone delivers the post by the "kite mail" method and you all must be quite familiar with it.

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Thank you for smoking

smoke smoke smoke

Before we begin talking about thank you for smoking lets take a minute to appreciate the courage shown by the writers,actors,directors and the rest of the crew to bring a movie like Thank you for Smoking on the big screen. Are you having trouble finding something to appreciate? Well I don't blame you to be honest. The film deals with a very sensitive issue about nicotine lobbyists fighting to protect(?) the rights of smokers. Now the subject itself is enough to cast the movie into all kinds of controversies which would lead one to assume that the makers of the movie would want to go for a very innocuous title. Some thing like ... I don't know maybe Nick? or Puff? you know something that makes it easy to talk about. They don't pull any punches though. And there is the title of the movie in bold "Thank you for smoking!".

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"Everybody dies"

House and Wilson on a road trip? Sounds too good to be true to me. Consider the facts. Wilson has cancer. Prognosis 5 months. House is facing the prospect of going back to jail to serve a sentence of 6 months. And he is emotionally unstable (as emotionally unstable as a man like house can be). He is trying to make one of his patients understand the importance of life by strangling him (falling well short of consummation),saving his other patient who is quite sick, trying to teach Foreman a lesson for being supportive, trapped in a fire, hallucinating and then finally coming to his senses and then desperately trying to escape and then.... an explosion.Cut to a well lit room, a big smiling picture of Gregory House and an assembly of his friends (?) remembering how a great man he was. Except Wilson, his one true friend. For him house was an ass.

But it seems like house is not dead after all. He managed to escape through the back door(?) and he cheerfully decides to spend whatever time is left with Wilson. Sounds kind of fantastic. I have two theories about the last episode of House MD.

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Two years of blogging

A very close friend of mine, we go way back, got married this year. We hadn't seen each other in months and one night he comes to my place and says "Akshat come outside I've got something to tell you". With him it's always like this, he likes to leave conversations on a dramatic pause. You know it's the same trick that agatha christie employs in her novels. When the dialogue tends to get exciting and the reader is about to discover some critical clue that may lead him to the murderer she will leave the sentence hanging with a "....". While I quite enjoy these breaks in conversation in her books I don't really like it when any one else does it. Take for example what my friend said to me when he came to my place on that night: --- "Akshat come outside I've got something to tell you". What am I supposed to make of this? He wants me outside, okay but it was quite chilly I was all warm inside so didn't quite feel like going out. But before I could ask him what the matter was all about he hangs up. So I put on my jacket and proceed to go out quite determined to tell him that this would not do.

I go outside we shake hands and I say to him "What's up?" you know small talk before I tell him that I don't quite appreciate him hanging upon me before telling me whole thing and I don't really like going outside when it's warm inside to know the whole thing. And he says to me " Bhai Akshat I'm getting married". So I laugh and he says "No really!". By the earnest expression on his face I believed him. But I didn't quite know what to say to him. Congratulations were in order so I congratulated him and he said "get in we've got to give a few invitations."

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The road to paloma

a lone traveller

For six months Wolf (the protagonist) has been drifting along in the native lands trying to outrun the law that wants to bring him to justice. Wolf however is a free spirit. He is at home in the wilderness and he won't be locked up in some prison cell for killing the man who raped his mother. It's a hard life out there but Wolf's still got a few friends who help him get by. But how long can he keep this up? He can't live his life like this forever. His father, a well respected police officer himself, is worried about him. But wolf, he only want's to fulfill his mother's last wish. To spread her ashes across that beautiful mountain lake. What happens to him after that he does not care.

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