Posted in ramdom rambling on March 2, 2018 by prajwalpai


The eternal wisdom says reading is the best habit one can inculcate. Is it time to question this?

The spark that triggered this blog is a fb post by one of my dearest friend. He got irked by many ppl for apparently treating him to be unwise due to his lack of reading habit.

While I would like to be a wise and well-read bookworm, unfortunately I am not. I read my first book after my engineering and in recent times hardly read a couple of books per year. I recently finished listening to my first audio book. My first experience on Audible was a pleasant surprise and I couldn’t have picked up a better book than ‘The power of Habit’.

The origin of books

Since ages books has been the sole tool of information transfer and information consumption. We had a tradition of oral knowledge transfer but we switched to book/leaflets since the dawn of history. The term history kinda exists to an extent due to the book/record keeping habit of our ancestors in forms of books or paintings. Since time immemorial, other than a lecture and personal experience, the only way to consume knowledge was books. It makes complete sense that to be knowledgable, we had to consume books.

The current trend of data consumption

A lot had changed in last century and something drastic has happened in just the last decade. We have different alternatives to books to consume data.  I daresay, we have better ways to consume data now than books.We now have the high-speed Internet! Imagine a person needed to learn cooking, while buying a cook book was the only option few decades back, YouTube would be the best option now. There is no better way to learn cooking than seeing it and reproducing it. The play/pause/rewind option gives us liberty to pace our cooking , making it more advantageous than learning it even from TV.  When it comes to fiction stories, the movie/tv and web series adaptation of story books is preferred option for many than reading the novel. The yellow pages has gone obsolete, the phone book is obsolete. The lifestyle TV channels are a better option than a Lifestyle magazine. We now have YouTube channels which gives out the gist of books and discusses in detail. The current technology of books on Kindle and Audible is slowly changing even the most ardent fans of paperback and voracious readers. The liberty of carrying your whole library around in just one device is a readers fantasy. I finished a book of close to 500 pages and 106 chapters in less than 10 hours! I could do this because of Audible. The bonus was I didn’t have to spend dedicated time for this. I listened while doing my house chores, while I was commuting and while I went to bed (in timer mode). I consumed a book without dedicating a slot for reading.

The Challenges

A book takes around 9 months to write and on average 9-10 months to publish it seems. The process of 15 months means a lot in real world. We had an author talking in my workplace today and she mentioned the book had become obsolete by the time it went from conception stage to publishing as it took 10 months to do that. We had Chetan Bhagat in Cisco where he mentioned that books today doesn’t just compete with other books but it competes with other audio/visual mediums and social media. Why read a book when you can see the movie adaptation in a year? Why read a book when you can see what your friend is doing on Facebook? Why read a book when you can see cat videos on YouTube! Why read a book when you can browse fun memes on 9gag. A book competes for a reader’s attention against every distraction.

The Habit

Reading is still a habit I would prefer to instil in my son. The habit on its own might no more be the sole form of information consumption but it has way too many benefits to ignore. The biggest reality with the current generation is their short attention span. The ads in each medium are investing a lot to catch our attention. The content creator is being paid for getting attention of the user. The free apps are free cause they reap the benefits of getting our attention.

Reading inculcates a  discipline. Some books can be a portal to a different world. The creativity needed to visualise and create an own world in our mind while creating an empathetic connection with the characters of a book for hours/days is unparalleled.

What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.Carl Sagan


A lap riding the 3rd rock from Sun

Posted in Blogroll on September 18, 2017 by prajwalpai

IMG_2904“My water broke!” shouted Deepti again at 15 mins to mid night . This had become a drill, her testing our response time and readiness. The hospital bag and diaper bag was ready. We would all rush to her only to realise its a mock drill. Only this time, it was real.

The water breaking scene played in my head borrowing heavily from the movies I had seen. I imagined, Deepti would be shouting and we would all be in a state of panic. The doctor had assured us that it would take hours from water breaking to actual labour. If Bollywood was to be believed, I would carry hot water and a saree too. The scene unravelling in real life couldn’t be more different. Deepti calmly told me what all to carry and she went on to stand in front of the mirror for some eye liner. Deepti’s Dad was still not sure if this was a drill or the real deal. Deepti even found some time to sort out her hair and when everyone was ready, she sounded the battle cry “Lets go have this baby!!

We had no reason to worry as every test and scan had been normal from the first day and Deepti was set for a normal delivery. While driving to the hospital, We talked how this night would be remembered for years to come and how calm we all were unlike what we all had imagined.  Little did we know , things were about to go haywire. The doc had already reached the hospital before us. After some initial tests, Doc came out with a long face and a serious look. Apparently the water breaking and Deepti not feeling any pain was a bad thing. Getting the contractions first and then breaking of water should have been the sequence of events, but no painful contractions was bad news. We had only 24 hours to wait for contractions to happen, or to induce labour . For the first time in duration of pregnancy, our doc contemplated a cesarean delivery. The doc mentioned he would take a call the next day morning at 8. It was not over yet.

 I checked into a room in the hospital where Deepti and baby would eventually shift and tried to catch some sleep. The next morning , the Doc had a more concerned look which set a bit of panic. There were almost no progress and while he had started to induce , the contractions were yet to happen. It was 10 in the morning and Deepti was blabbering something under the influence of induced drugs. The doc with a grim face said that if everything went well, we might have a normal delivery by 18:00 , else we would have to go for a cesarean. The clock was ticking from the moment the water broke and we only had 24 hours since then. The next test was scheduled at 15:00 and we had nothing to do but wait till then. Tick..tock!!

I got a bath and shave and couldn’t contain myself to wait till 15:00 at home. We rushed to hospital at 13:30 with more waiting in mind. to our surprise, there was extreme progress during this time and Deepti was already scheduled to be taken into the delivery room when we arrived. I immediately called FIL and Granny to come to hospital and it was any moment now. If life were a movie, everything would go silent now and a baby’s cry would resonate in the hospital. It happened the exact way but it was somebody else’s baby. I was given an apron and asked to stand next to Deepti. Funnily enough I was given a chair if I choose to faint on the sight of blood.

It was 14:30 when Deepti was taken inside the labour room. I stood next to her holding her hand firmly. I was again imagining all the screaming and pain which she has to endure , courtesy the Bollywood movies. I couldn’t have been more wrong, it was just  2 pushes and we could see the head! After next push, The doc announced that its a BOY! At 14:45 on Sept 18th 2016 , our baby arrived on this planet. He was a 3.3KG bundle of joy looking chubby and perfect with head full of hair. He was nick named ‘Fluffy’ by the nursing staff. Its been a year now, Priyansh has completed an entire revolution around the Sun riding on this 3rd rock from the sun called planet Earth!

Happy First Birthday Priyansh! Priyansh-10


High Five!!

Posted in Blogroll on April 6, 2017 by prajwalpai



The date was 11-11-11 and I was bubbling with optimism. I had decided to be happy in life! I don’t remember how the numbers were exchanged but I had just started chatting with a potential life partner. She was an HR and had done due diligence by going through my blog before this conversation. Little did I know then this conversation would change my life forever. The Ice breaker was the common workplace campus location for us in VTV. We soon came to know that we both were living close to JPNagar 15th cross for many years and yet never crossed each other’s path.

I am writing this blog on my 5th wedding anniversary but I am sure I will be reading this multiple times in my lifetime. It’s an occupational hazard for me to have a backup of every communication I ever had and when I read this below chat few months ago, I decided then to capture into a blog. The below chat between Deepti and me has a major part to play in how our relation rapidly developed and the comfort level that we shared in our initial days together. We were almost strangers before this chat and within a span of an hour, we were strangers no more. It was not just the information exchange but the ease of conversation too I guess.

This is a restore and recreation of one of our first chat reproduced verbatim right down to any typo.

The Grey chat bubbles is Deepti and Green chat bubble is me. Here goes…





A lot changed after this conversation. The comfort level was exponentially high , so much so that the next day we made plans to meet. We met the day after to watch a movie together. Yes! We saw each other for the first time outside a theatre. We had our first actual conversation only AFTER we saw a movie together. The rest is history (and material for another blog). Its our 5th Anniversary today and the first after Priyansh came into our lives. To Priyansh, I say, “And that, kid.., is how I met your mother.”

The Martian – A novel

Posted in Pai-Book-Review on September 21, 2015 by prajwalpai


If anything can go wrong, it will. This book is one big Murphy’s law in action. Most chapters starts with ‘I am dying’ and ends with ‘yay! I am still alive’.

This book starts with a NASA MARS mission crew member left alone on Mars. This guy is an expert Botanist and specialist Mechanical Engineer. The core of the book is about him facing near-death situations every minute, his survival and resourcefulness. The best part of the book for me is its narration, no character is melodramatic or poetic. The journals are more are less like casual blog entries. The hero is of the book is characterisation of the protagonist and his sense of humour. I think the Space mission crews are mentally conditioned for all possibilities but it can also be argued that one strong-willed people are chosen in the first place. No matter how well the conditioning, preparedness and briefing is, the actual events bringing out the desperation and the will to survive makes this book/story work.

On the other side, this story is set in today’s world and media sensationalism is at work. The whole world is watching the satellite images and chat conversations are aired live. The news channels have a weekly segments and at one point of time the whole world is watching a rescue rendezvous. The whole of NASA is on its toes to come up with a rescue plan. Millions of dollars aside, 2 future NASA missions are put into jeopardy and one Chinese space mission needs to be cancelled to accommodate saving one man. This whole scenario is actually made believable. I was wondering throughout the book , to what extent the world can go to save ‘just’ one life. There are soldiers left to die for without any second thoughts, there are downtrodden dying each day, but with the right motivation a lot can be done just for saving one soul. When the last page of this book echoed this exact question, I felt it was the right conclusion.

The book goes too much into the technical aspects(which is a good thing for sake of credibility) and I think sometimes it’s an imagination overload, I can’t wait for the movie to release.

Ending this blog with my favourite excerpt of the book,

People have been using human waste as fertiliser for centuries. It’s even got a pleasant name: “night soil.” Normally, it’s not an ideal way to grow crops, because it spreads disease: Human waste has pathogens in it that, you guessed it, infect humans. But it’s not a problem for me. The only pathogens in this waste are the ones I already have.

Within a week, the Martian soil will be ready for plants to germinate in. But I won’t plant yet. I’ll bring in more lifeless soil from outside and spread some of the live soil over it. It’ll “infect” the new soil and I’ll have double what I started with. After another week, I’ll double it again. And so on. Of course, all the while, I’ll be adding all new manure to the effort.

My asshole is doing as much to keep me alive as my brain.

Shantaram – The novel

Posted in Pai-Book-Review on April 27, 2015 by prajwalpai


It took me 4 years! I picked up this book 4 years ago and I was only able to finish it last night. It’s definitely a huge read with close to 1000 pages but that wasn’t the reason. I think this book demands a proper state of mind to read and I put it down first time after reading about 200 pages, I picked it up again few times but could never even get through halfway. This time the job was done! Mission accomplished.

The intrigue : 

On the back cover of the book, it says :

In the early 80’s, Gregory David Roberts, an armed robber and heroin addict, escaped from an Australian prison to India, where he lived in a Bombay slum. There, he established a free health clinic and also joined the mafia, working as a money launderer, forger and street soldier. He found time to learn Hindi and Marathi, fall in love, and spend time being worked over in an Indian jail. Then, in case anyone thought he was slacking, he acted in Bollywood and fought with the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan… Amazingly, Roberts wrote Shantaram three times after prison guards trashed the first two versions. It’s a profound tribute to his willpower… At once a high-kicking , eye-gouging adventure, a love saga and a savage yet tenderly lyrical fugitive vision.

The Literature :

We have to understand that this author is not a novelist at all. This is the only book he has ever published. He is a convict, addict with no formal degree of sorts. With this perspective, I fell in love with the language of this book. I love the beauty in explaining even the mundane of things. For instance, When an author like Chetan Bhagat might say ‘It was amavas ki raat and it was just stars in the sky’ this book says ‘There was no moon, and the stars punctured the black doom of sky with a dazzling intensity’. For me, the language of narration has a huge impact, it elevates the book to a higher degree. The protagonist explains his first impressions on the disgusting slums of Bombay and we can feel the stink. He then goes on to explain the beauty of the people living in slums and the same slum is made to look colorful and vibrant, the transition takes some time but its beautifully described.

The Philosophy :

This book has an overdose of philosophical discussions. The classic good v/s evil and the meaning and purpose of human life. The philosophy of love/hate/arrogance/politics/power/crime/sin/justice is dissected to the core. We see the world through a prism of a criminal. The philosophy is the main reason, I put down this book many times. You need to completely immerse in the book, understand the context and align with the perspective of the author to feel a tug in the strings of your heart. If you just randomly read the excerpts below, it will NOT have the same effect. The conversations sometimes feels forced, How many times have you walked to a friend , and asked ‘Hi-What do you think drives humans?’  and start a serious conversation, despite that, I liked all the philosophical conversations among the characters.

The Desi touch:

I doubt if I would have picked up this book if its name was in English. If this book were named Robert’s journey, or Slum-doctor or something like that , I might not have given this book a thought. I think the author understand the Indian audience well. Shantaram is the name that’s given to him in a village but it finds a mention in just one chapter. He is called ‘Lin’ throughout the book. To name the book with a inconsequential Indian name is not a coincidence. The name itself gives a feel of India. Each of the smallest ‘Indian’ thing is kept real/credible. This novel is made to sound like an autobiography and it completely succeeds in that. The protagonist is quick to learn fluent Hindi and Marathi which is well appreciated by everybody. After reading this book, I feel I know Bombay more than what many ppl in Bombay might not be aware of (like standing baba/lepers colony). The author takes time to explain the history/origin of too many things. Many things which we have taken for granted but seen from a foreigners perspective gives it a different spin. The book is set in the eighties, so the detailed gold smuggling, Indira Gandhi’s death and many more things takes us back in time. The Bollywood that’s explained here might not have changed much. The way Indians reach in situations is fun but I am not sure if Bombay is the same now with all the people being so goody-goody.

The verdict : 

This book literally has everything, Its part autobiographical peppered with facts, its has a generous amount of fiction, It contains murder mystery, its deals with politics, it takes us on an adventure , its drowns us in philosophical conversations, it’s a part self-help book (if you have the eye), and more than anything, it’s a love story. If any of you guys are interested in this book but too lazy to read the book, do take a look into the quotes from this book. The book is not for amateur readers like me and I recommend it for serious readers only.

Some excerpts :

“The worst thing about corruption as a system of government is that it works so well.”

“Justice is a judgment that is both fair and forgiving… Justice is not only the way we punish those who do wrong. It is also the way we try to save them.”

“The burden of happiness can only be relieved by the balm of suffering.”

“When we’re young, we think that suffering is something that’s done to us. When we get older – when the steel door slams shut, in one way or another – we know that suffering is measured by what’s taken away from us.”

“At first, when we truly love someone, our greatest fear is that the loved one will stop loving us. What we should fear and dread, of course, is that we won’t stop loving them, even after they’re dead and gone.”

“Every life, every love, every action and feeling and thought has its reason and significance: its beginning, and the part it plays in the end. Sometimes, we do see..Nothing in any life, no matter how well or poorly lived, is wiser than failure or clearer than sorrow. And in the tiny, precious wisdom they give to us, even those dread and hated enemies, suffering and failure, have their reason and their right to be.”

“When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

“Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears.”

“The world is run by one million evil men, ten million stupid men, and one hundred million cowards.”

“Loves are like that. You heart starts to feel like an overcrowded lifeboat. You throw your pride out to keep it afloat, and your self-respect and independence. After a while, you started throwing people out – your friends and everyone you used to know. And it’s still not enough. The lifeboat is still sinking, and you know it’s going to take down with it. I’ve seen that happen to a lot of girls. That’s why I’m sick of Love.”

Australia – The Land Down Under

Posted in My-Travel on December 23, 2014 by prajwalpai


I had never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be choosing to visit Australia for a vacation. The seeds of this getaway was planted in Deepti’s mind when she joined ANZ. The constant ‘visit Australia’ ad during Masterchef Australia just watered and nurtured them. Her official reason was for me to cover yet another Continent. I need to give Deepti complete credit for flawlessly planning our itinerary patiently for several weeks. She decided which states to cover, in which order and how much days we spend in each city. I hardly got involved with any of the planning till the tickets were booked. She had done such thorough research that I would believe that she has actually lived in Australia for some time.

This will be bit of a Travel Blog but more of a memory log. I have come to realise that a blog accompanying some snaps are a wonderful way to refresh memories. I stumble into some of my old travel blogs and it’s a nice feeling to relive those wonderful trips after many years.

I didn’t wanna write one big blog covering everything and hence this generic blog on Australia. The later instalments with specifics on each city of visit will follow.  I have to make it clear that my idea of Australia comprises of just Melbourne, Sydney and Gold Coast. It may be like just visiting Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai might not give us authority to make generic statements about India, but take all of this with a pinch of salt.

Australia – Flora and Fauna:

The land down under was isolated from rest of world for a very very very long time. This is very much evident in the Flora and Fauna of this region. The nature’s self-healing is at its best display. All trees are evergreen and shed leaves across the year. The thick layer of leaves just piles on and on and the seeds from trees never make it to soil. The natures answer to decomposition is ‘Bush fire’. The bush fires create the mineral rich ash and allow the sun rays and seeds reach the soil. Most trees now do not have fruit but dry seeds and they have a trigger mechanism to drop the seeds ONLY after a bush fire. Isn’t that amazing!! They actually have controlled bush fires now. The animal kingdom isn’t far behind either – Australia has most of Marsupials and most of the species found in Australia doesn’t exist in other parts of the world. The Marsupials ( animals with pouch) have adapted to the most extreme survival conditions. The most shocking fact is their adaptability for reproduction. The gestation period for a  kangaroo is just a month but they have a ‘special power’ to pause their pregnancy! A kangaroo can pause its pregnancy midway during the gestation period if the conditions around gets too hard to survive. It can pause the pregnancy for as long as 5 years!! How adaptive is that!

Australia – The People!

Our visit just covered 3 places and we were pleasantly surprised to see how friendly the people were. Most people we met were all very welcoming. I wasn’t expecting to see a huge Chinese population and the presence of China-town in both Melbourne and Sydney. The local’s were extremely friendly and I mistook this over-friendliness for sarcasm, initially. The country has immense Brit influence and sometimes I felt I was back in London whilst talking to people. The driver greeting us, strangers saying ‘Hi’ on eye contact did add to the good experience.

Australia – The Transport :

The one thing without which I cannot imagine this vacation is Google Maps! We didn’t opt for a package tour and so had to plan each of the smallest detail ourself. The free-wifi helped us at most places but my new Optus sim with an unlimited internet (well, almost), was at our rescue at every step. The google map giving directions in ‘Bus’ mode was the best. The maps even predict accurately, at which time the bus will arrive at our stop! Melbourne has a free tram to get around CBD and we got a one day pass in Hop-on-hop-off tourist bus. Our hotel location in Sydney couldn’t have been better. All the attractions in Sydney were within walking distance from our hotel! Gold Coast was the place where we used the bus/tram transport to the fullest. In about less than 2 days, we were comfortable in even giving directions(and bus numbers) to the others tourists!

Australia – Our Timing!

The delays in passport and Visa would have forced us to push this vacation next year but somehow we managed to squeeze it. Australia, apparently gets very hot in December , Schoolies everywhere and not to forget- expensive! A couple of weddings too, made us postpone the travel dates. In retrospect, our timing couldn’t have been better. Melbourne is supposed to have a fickle weather but it was ‘well-behaved’ during our 2 day stay. However, the day after we left, earthquakes were reported in Melbourne. Sydney too, had severe storms the weekend after we left. The Lindt Cafe was hardly a minute walk from our stay. We did get drenched in GoldCoast once, but we could hardly complain. We stayed in Goldcoast for 5 days and it was a nice experience to get drenched. Our snorkelling wasn’t interrupted by the weather conditions. The Sky Dive for my next batch might have cancelled due to rain and dense clouds but the weather Gods made sure I had clear blue sky during my dive.

 12 days, 3 states, 7 flights , 1000+ photos and innumerable memories! Each penny we spent was worth it. All in all, I believe Australia tourism has the most appropriate tag line – “There’s nothing like Australia.”


Posted in My-Movie-Review on September 5, 2014 by prajwalpai

godzilla-2014-review-spoileriffic-b0d6f9d3-c003-4191-82c4-65e101be7ca5I have to confess that I do enjoy some bad movies. I just watch them ( in fast forward mode) to see how bad can it be! Godzilla has been one of the worst movies in recent times. The big budget and current technology can be put into good use for larger than life monster movies and we have ample evidence of that in recent times. I didn’t have high expectations from this movie but I didn’t expect it to be this bad.

I haven’t reviewed any movie in last few years. I was extremely angry while I was watching this movie and hence this review to vent out my frustration. This movie is roughly 2 hours(120mins).

 00-15 mins : We have a workaholic Bryan Cranston who is a Nuclear plant supervisor in Japan and we are shown he forgets his own birthday. He notices some strange seismic activity and sends his co-worker wife to investigate the tremors. The whole nuclear plant collapses killing his wife and the whole area is quarantined.

15-30 mins : No signs of Godzilla. We are taken 15 years after that incident. Bryan’s son is in US Army. Bryan is trying to find something to prove that seismic activity was not an earth quake. His kid flies from US to take him out of jail.

30-60 mins:Where is Godzilla?! Apparently, there is a gigantic bug under that nuclear plant which created those tremors. This bug comes out of hibernation and starts killing everybody. We are told the scientists did research on this bug for 15 years monitoring each of its activity but have no clue on what its capable of. This 1000 feet monster raises and starts destroying the city but people are not worried at all. Bryan dies and you realise his role has no relevance to this movie at all. His son tries to shoot this 1000 feet bug with his handgun and there goes your hopes of enjoying this movie.

60-90 mins : I start wondering  if I am accidentally watching some other movie! The giant bug is now shooting EMP and humans have no clue what to do. They don’t even have enough common sense not to try the same thing again and again. It looks like ‘All-Out’ mosquito repellent Ad , The fighter planes are just falling off around the giant bug. NOW they mention GODZILLA! Its as casual as somebody calling 911 in the movies. We don’t see Godzilla yet but are shown some close-ups of its spikes. The army guy saves a child which is separated from its parents and reunites the kid , I fail to understand the relevance of this unnecessary sub-plot. There is a scene where Godzilla is approaching land, there is traffic jam on bridge created by fighter planes and tankers blocking everything. A school bus driver maniacally runs over pedestrians trying to escape, while every car is standstill. The humans on bridge are enjoying the view of Godzilla being bombarded with missiles and nobody cares about their own life!

90-115 mins: Apparently there is another gigantic bug in US which has been on rampage, Which is 500 feet taller than our original bug. This bigger bug is in US and walking in Vegas and nobody noticed it! Anything more unbelievable than this?  The two bugs want to meet each other to mate. Now we see Godzilla swimming and the US naval ships swimming along with Godzilla like best chums.We’re also to believe that nobody is really sure whether Godzilla is friend or foe, so the U.S. Navy will arbitrarily alternate between sailing right next to him and shooting at him with rockets

115-End of Movie: The 2 bugs meet and literally exchange a missile and mate. Godzilla faces both of them and we have a 40 secs fight. The exact moment when Godzilla is about to punch the bug, the screen goes black. The camera point of view is from inside a bunker and the door just closes while Godzilla is about to punch. It’s suddenly night fall, 2 pitch black bugs are fighting a pitcher blacker Godzilla. We hear some 120 secs of noise where I assume some fight was going on. The Godzilla finally turns into a dragon and breathes out flame to kill the bugs. Job done and its walks into the sea, Credits roll.

Verdict : I would rather watch Humshakals again. No kidding.