The Bankster- Book Review!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012
The Bankster - another great book by Ravi Subramanian! I remember I had read his first book - If God was a banker - way back in 2007 and I really loved it, thus when I saw this book I was too excited to read it. Another reason for picking up this book was that the cover page shows The Wall Street Journal called him "the John Grisham of Banking"! :O Now I have to admit that I have not read the rest of his books, and I came to know very recently that he has written three more books, so the John Grisham title quite frankly shocked me! 

Anyway coming back to this book, the story is intertwined with three short stories. The main story deals with a bank - GB2, a bank in Mumbai; and the rest of the happenings take  place at Angola, Kerala, and Vienna forming a mystery. The author shows the story of people at the bank, the politics and dirty business taking place in these organisations, how they unravel the biggest scam just by looking into some faulty bank accounts. Now having zero knowledge in the field of finance and banking operations, I still understood this book completely; this shows how well written the story was and how simply he has explained the concepts of banking. But at some points, I felt that he was dragging the concept way too far or he consider the audience to be pretty dumb. For instance, he has explained the functioning of iCloud and that's perfectly fine as it was required for the climax but he explained it in one-and-half pages! :O And after that, a dumb girl asked him, "Can you please summarize it for me again?" FTW! 

Another problem I had and I don't know if you will agree with me or not, but I really don't like "yaar" written at the end of every sentence in a conversation! Yeah I know some authors do use Italian or Spanish words in between their stories but I think that unless you are showing some character as totally Hindi-speaking, you don't really require to use Hindi phrases in between lines!

Overall its a good mystery novel and the author has done justice to it. And yeah, the "John Grisham" title is suitable only to some extent. I would give this novel a 3.5 out of 5!

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Mere Brother ki Dulhan!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Yay! Finally, the most anticipated marriage of our family took place this Friday. After so many months of shopping, preparations, deciding venues, tasting food, and a lot of chaos and fun, my brother got married to the love of his life. :D 

You all already know about the wedding scenario in a our Punjabi family, thanks to my blog post (link), yet this marriage was strikingly different. It was the completion of the love story of a Punjabi boy and a Telugu girl - like Chetan Bhagat's Two States! Although the differences in customs and traditions continue to prevail, but the union of North and South turned out to be quite fun actually. The girl's side was full of calm and composed people whereas the boy's side had terrorizing energy and would have broken the dance floor if they were not supervised (and the stage as well! :P). I guess the South Indians are a bit reserved and shy people but once they get comfortable with you, they are no less!

Like every true Punjabi wedding, we had - 1. a drunk uncle dancing on ae meri zoharajafi with a glass on their head 2. a sharaab wali gaddi (other than the booze served at the venue :D)  3. naagin dance in the baraat 4. lots of sisters teasing the groom  5. a special performance for the dulha on tennu ghodi kinne chaday bhutni ke. The DJ refused to play such offensive songs and the groom's mom dad's special permission was required to play our family song! I wonder how do they consider these songs as offensive, phew! Anyway, the main highlight of the shaadi, other than me (:P), were the ferre. They were so hilarious because we have known that Panditji since we were born. So we were allowed to chant mantras instead of  him in a fun way, hit the bride and the groom with flowers, interrupt every once in a while to make fun of someone and even sing filmy songs in between. We were doing it so religiously that the calm group thought that all these were the customs and were mandatory to do, so they started taking proper aims to hit the bride and groom with flowers ;)

My body and feet are still aching after three days, so yes, the marriage was great. And yes, I looked so pretty! :) My bhaiya-bhabhi also gifted me a new phone, which is the like the icing on the cake! :D Love you both. Have a great married life! :)

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My First Poster Presentation!

Saturday, October 13, 2012
I don't even remember the last time I was thiiiisssss excited about anything in my life! I attended the first conference so seriously because I got to present my own work in it. Now, you non-research folks might not be able to understand what it feels like spending one-fourth of your life in field work conducting experiments, another one-fourth to get results and the about half your life in trying to get it published! 

I finally got a chance to present my work as a poster presentation in the Regional Conference of the International Network of Women in Science & Engineering. Yes, it was an all-women conference but few aged men were also allowed! :P The experience of attending such a conference was awesome because almost all people there had their work experience more than twice my age! :O But the most exciting thing in the whole conference was my badge! It read "Author" and the moment I saw it, I instantly fell in love with it and the people who printed it! I am finally an author! Aansu hi aa gaye meri aankhon me to. :D

That's me!

My poster showed a comparison between the green buildings and the conventional buildings. Well, everyone talks about the energy-saving benefits of the green buildings, so I tried doing something hatke. ;) I tried to see their impact in terms of the quality of air we breathe in. If you wanna know more about my research, let me know. I will send you my paper! ;)

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Another milestone in the field of Maths!

Friday, September 21, 2012
A Japanese mathematician, Shinichi Mochizuki of Kyoto University, has claimed to crack one of the most complex mathematical theory of mathematics. He has released a 500-page proof of the abc conjecture - important problem of the number theory. It took him four years to propose this proof of the abc conjecture and The Telegraph has predicted that same amount of time might be required to verify his work!

abc conjecture was proposed by Joseph Oesterle and David Masser way back in 1980s. It is the most important unsolved problem in Diophantine analysis. It deals with the equations of the form c. It involves the concept of a square-free number: one that cannot be divided by the square of any number. Fifteen and 17 are square free-numbers, but 16 and 18 — being divisible by 42 and 32, respectively — are not. The 'square-free' part of a number n, sqp(n), is the largest square-free number that can be formed by multiplying the factors of that are prime numbers. For instance, sqp(18)= 2×3= 6.

Now, the abc conjecture is stated in terms of the product of the three integers c, or abc — or more specifically, of the square-free part of this product, which involves their distinct prime factors. It states that for integers c, the ratio of sqp(abc)r/always has some minimum value greater than zero for any value of r greater than 1. For example, if = 3 and = 125, so that = 128, then sqp(abc)= 30 and sqp(abc)2/c = 900/128. In this case, in which = 2, sqp(abc)r/c is nearly always greater than 1, and always greater than zero. 

Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki of Kyoto University

Many mathematicians before Mochizuki have tried to prove the conjecture. In 2007, French mathematician Lucien Szpiro, whose work in 1978 led to the abc conjecture in the first place claimed to have a proof of it, but it was soon found to be flawed. Mochizuki's proof is yet to be verified by other mathematicians which will require a long time. Mochizuki has called the theory on which his proof is based as Inter-universal Teichm├╝ller theoryDorian Goldfeld, a mathematician at Columbia University in New York told the Nature magazine, "The abc conjecture, if proved true, at one stroke solves many famous Diophantine problems, including Fermat's Last Theorem. If Mochizuki’s proof is correct, it will be one of the most astounding achievements of mathematics of the twenty-first century."

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Effect of climate change on the air we breathe!

Friday, August 24, 2012
Everybody keeps talking about how our activities - industrialization, deforestation, our polluting industries, factories, vehicles are leading to climate change! However, recently a study was conducted by the American scientists which has revealed the effects of climate change on the air quality in the near future.

This study states that by the end of 21st century, due to climate change there will a large number of stagnation episodes over the northern mid-latitude continents. This means that there will be lesser wind circulation and thus, lesser ventilation which will create a bigger problem of poor air quality. In simpler terms, whatever pollutants we emit into the atmosphere are dispersed in the atmosphere due to favorable conditions of the atmosphere like bright solar radiation, constant wind circulations, etc. and thus, we don't have to breathe in these pollutants. However, in the absence of these conditions, stagnant atmospheric conditions will prevail over these continents. This will not allow the pollutants to be dispersed in the atmosphere and thus, people will be exposed to high level of pollutants in the air we breathe. 

The study has stated that effects will be highest for eastern North America, Europe, and East Asia. These strong impacts can be subdued by controlling the amount of pollutants released in the environment by us. Because if we do not curtail these emissions into the environment, then with the increasing temperature (due to global warming), there will be a great increase in the ozone present at the surface level. This ozone is a great absorber of the ultraviolet rays reaching the earth. Thus, increase in its concentrations will further lead to increase in temperature and the cycle will continue!
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Marriage - Love ya Arranged?

Friday, August 10, 2012
OMG! I can't believe this post of mine won prize from Sony television for their contest about Love marriage or Arranged marriage!

Born in an extravagant (oops! punjabi) family, you grow up listening about, talking about, shopping for, gossiping about, eat-sleep-walk about only one thing - marriages. Yes, marriage is our most favourite topic for discussion on every occasion. And this year, its my turn to go crazy as my brother is getting married. So all I do every single day is get up and go shoppiiinnngggggg! :D

But as it turns out, there is a collateral damage! Every relative who meets me these days has the same weirdly big smile glued to their face when they say, "Agla number tera!" Yes, these are the exact same strange aunties who torment you in marriages by playing their "Pehchaan kaun" games and their "Itni-badi-ho gayi..last-time-dekha-to-itni-choti-si-thi" stories. So, after meeting a lot of such relatives, my mom has finally started taking this very seriously and has forced me to decide whether I will find a guy for myself or she should start searching! So nowadays, my life is revolving around the toughest question- Love marriage or Arranged marriage?!

Well my dream has been like in Bollywood films, I accidently (or purposely :P) meet my Mr. Perfect, fall in love, have a fairy-tale love story, have a small "love-marriage" in a temple and a happily ever-after. However, the problem with this "happily ever-after" is that it doesn't seem to be so happy eventually. Now, I am not saying that in arranged marriages couples don't fight but the difference is they didn't know each other before marriage so there are no expectations. Luckily for the husband, the wife cannot say, "Aap bade badal gye ho ji..pehle to mere liye diamond necklaces laate the aur ab dekho bas chota sa solitaire laae ho!" LOL :P But seriously, there are no expectations in an arranged marriage, thus it is easier to adjust with the new circumstances and person. Also, initially during the courtship period, both are trying to impress the other person, thus everything is very pretentious! Thus, when they face the real life problems, the sweet masks come off!

Also, when people fall in love, they cannot really help whether this person belongs to same religion or not, whereas in an arranged marriage, your parents choose a family in the exact same religion which makes it easier for the girl to adjust. Please don't take me wrong, I am as secular as our beloved nation but in my opinion, when the traditions and customs of both families are similar, its easier for both the families to get along. Also, it is quite obvious that you get a lot of family support when you get married according to your parent's choice. So, if you fight in a love marriage, your parents are probably gonna say, "I told you she/he is not the right one for you!" whereas in an arranged marriage, they take it upon themselves to resolve things between you!

Now, I personally have no idea about the divorce rates that people compare in both marriages, but I read in TOI, the Bombay High Court stated that the divorce rates are higher for the love marriages. This reminds of a story. Sometime ago, a couple celebrated their 100th marriage anniversary. When people asked them their secret of a successful marriage, they said, "In our times, when something was broke we used to mend it and not throw away".

So, I think I am gonna choose an arranged marriage over a love marriage so that I can have the fun of asking the guy- "Khaana bnana aata hai? chalo chal k dikhao, gaa k sunao" :P and I can also tell me wuld-be-sasumaa, "Mummyji, ye samose maine apne haatho se bnae hai!" Haha, I will probably also get the added advantage of blaming my mom k dekho kesa ladka chuna hai aapne..chii! :P

"To me, my favourite love story is not Romeo & Juliet who died together but Grandpa and Grandma who grew old together"
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The Devotion of Suspect X

Wednesday, August 1, 2012
As I have completed my Masters and am absolutely jobless these days, I got back to my reading club. I read The Devotion of Suspect x this week. It has been beautifully written by a Japanese author, Keigo Higashino. It is a mystery fiction story and I love such novels from the tiniest bit of my heart! However, unlike our regular mystery novels, the story isn't about finding the killer as the killer, the purpose of killing, and the victim have all been revealed in the first chapter of the book. And this did not require any *spoiler alert* because even I knew this before starting to read the book. I read it in my brother's blog and was pretty confused as to what will be left for the rest of the book!

It is actually a story about how a "genius" helps the killer in hiding the facts and evidences from the police and detectives. You can call him a modern Sherlock who doesn't solve mystery, he creates it! The only problem with the book is that I got pretty confused with the names. They all sounded pretty similar to me, like Yasuko and Yukawa, so I actually had to keep going back to know who was who! 

Overall it was a good read which compels you to not keep it down. As described in the Guardian, "If you like riddles inside enigmas, it will please you no end". I would recommend reading this amazing page-turner with an awesome twist in the end. And I love it when everything changes right before the end. :D
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Get your load sanctioned!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012
The summer is at its peak and our air-conditioner manufacturers are having a great time as Dilliwaala's cannot survive without the air-conditioners and coolers in this scorching heat. However, when people switch on their A/Cs and plasma TVs to sit back at home and relax, they do not take into consideration a minor thing-they are exceeding their sanctioned load! Now, you must be wondering what the hell is this sanctioned load and from where has it emerged to ruin your perfect weekend with your modern technology at your aid. Well, according to Delhi Electricity Supply Code and Performance Standards Regulations, 2007,

“Sanctioned load” means the load in kW/HP (kilo Watt/Horse Power) which the Licensee has agreed to supply from time to time subject to the governing terms and conditions.

In simpler terms, it means that our electricity board has permitted you to use this much electricity which you might be exceeded once in a while but not always. Now, when you use more load than the sanctioned load, it doesn't really cause much problems except for the burning of your electricity wires and as I saw recently, a massive fire. Well what amazes me is that why would people risk their lives instead of getting their  sanctioned increased. Typically, each household has a sanctioned load of 1-2kW but mostly people exceed this due to use of electrical appliances. This causes overload and breakdown of grids and transformers, ultimately leading to burning of wires. You can get this sanctioned limit increased by paying some extra amount which is used to change your wiring so that it becomes efficient to carry a higher load. Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission of North Delhi mentioned in a report that, "Out of the existing consumer base of around ten lakhs, around seven lakh consumers are using actual load more than their sanctioned load. And around 32000 meters were burnt in the last three years itself, due to this practice of actual consumption being in excess of sanctioned load."

This problem of overloading has lead to burning of meters and small-scale fire five times in our colony in the last week. The most recent of this was today in my building! Our housing society has a common electricity meter room for six adjacent houses and our meter room is connected to my house. So, as one of my stingy neighbors was very reluctant to get his sanctioned load increased by the BSES, it led to fire in our meter room. Yes, FIRE! I felt like killing him on the spot for endangering my life and giving me a panic attack!
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Such is life!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

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The End!

Thursday, May 24, 2012
After an eight-year journey of pranks, mocking, saving lives, idealism, selfishness, cute doctors and their love stories, friendships, cool medical instruments and a lot of blood, House finally came to an end. For those of you unfamiliar with the TV-series (seriously, what were you doing for the past eight years?), the story revolves around apparently the world's best doctor, Dr Gregory House. He is a 40-something drug-addict arrogant doctor who never meets his patients, does not follow any rules, plays practical pranks with everyone around him, treats cases like puzzles and believes that "Everybody Lies". He is definitely not like the Hindi movies chocolate boy, nevertheless, you still lose your heart to him. 

The series ended beautifully and I could not have imagined a better end to it. Although I am gonna miss all of the cute doctors, but Wilson, Chase and House rule the list.

In the last scene of the finale, people talk about what Dr House taught them. So, I started wondering what I learned from him and it was to have courage. He proved time and again about how everybody lies - sometimes to save your ass, sometimes not to hurt people around you, and sometimes it's just fun! But what's worth thinking is everybody always know what's going on. They might not say it, might not believe but deep down they know what is happening. They just don't have the courage to accept it and stand for themselves. He taught me to have that courage! :)
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