Saturday, September 29, 2018

The unending game- Book review


The Unending Game is a great attempt to explain to an average reader how espionage world would be. Vikram Sood was at his best explaining in the simplest way possible. 


In reality, the world is not how a common man perceives.  It's beyond one's logical reasoning. Looking back into the history, we've evolved from autocratic to democratic governments. Rulers and ideologies have changed yet the power seem to be the same, the 
lucrative trait which is the root cause of all this unending game. 

Post world war, the big countries realized they're too dangerous to wage a war against each other in the battlefield, thus began a cold war attacking anywhere and everywhere but not through mere weapons. Welcome to the unending game.

Vikram started the book with the purpose of Intelligence in the world and defined all different kinds of intelligence. 


Effective espionage has begun during the world wars and it's astonishing to read how spies outlived all the difficult circumstances and worked for their countries.


Taking us into the world of espionage, Vikram Sood described the various bits of intelligence that are used during operations. And also, there are various operations in espionage where we bring out ethics to demean the whole existence of these specialized agencies and countries.  The author mentioned so many types of intelligence that I had a hard time recalling the full forms of all the acronyms of intelligence.

Adding artificial intelligence to all these bits of intelligence, the world is all chaos and the game picked up the speed that made it still more difficult and nerve cracking to analyze it.  Back in those days, sending an agent across the borders was a cumbersome and long task. Men with cameras attached to their body were sent first to check the geography of the location. That itself would take days but now thanks to Google Maps, the work became so easy for all the players. Technology always seemed to be the game changer.

Reading this book shattered the image of fancy spies i.e James Bond. The author shared how spies are depicted in close in stories and writing. John e Carre's espionage novels seemed to be close enough to the real spy world. It's not Daniel Craig who lives the spy life but George Smiley.  In the author's words, "James Bond is a fantasy. George Smiley is the reality."



He also shared how spies work and what kind of spies are there in this world helping their heads in gaining supremacy.  Talking about spies, Vikram mentioned,


"The spies that you have read about, by the mere fact that you have read about them. are exceptions. The spies who interest are the ones who do not get caught and who therefore are not to be read about."

"There are spies, and there are spies. He who performs invaluable work assigned to him, at great risk to himself in a hostile country and then retires gracefully to live a quiet normal life is the perfect spy"

Few to mention, George Koval, Kim Philby, and a lot more stories are jaw-dropping. I had a great time reading a few of the intelligence works by CIA on India.

Be it about Philip Knightley's surprise at the White House, ChandraSwami at California Apartment. These are the stories that drained away my wits for time.

Inside Intelligence
Talking about the surveillance, I believe this blog would be read by people to check if I'm inclined to any kind of stuff. Trust me, privacy is a myth. The latest Cambridge Analytica is enough to substantiate my statement. There's a lot of explanation of Edward Snowden course of action and all other surveillance activities done by big countries. 


The most horrifying thing I read in this book about the internet is this passage.
"There were 1 billion Internet users in 2005, and by the end of 2016, the number had grown to 3.2 billion; 500 million tweets were sent on Twitter, Facebook had 1.7 billion accounts, and seven hours of footage in up to seventy-six languages was uploaded on YouTube each second. Sixty million messages a day were processed on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. An individual could spend several hours a day listening to the news, accessing YouTube, watching sport, listening to music, reading books, banking, transaction financial business, shopping at online retail sites, playing games, being in touch or just surfing the Internet. Ten years after it was launched in 2004, Facebook's 'Like' button was pressed 6 billion times each day and 350 million photographs were uploaded every day. Terrorists play in this field."

Privacy definition is altogether changed beyond explanation. Vikram shared how Google CEO Eric Schmidt remarked on privacy. and Facebook CEO commented on Privacy.

Eric Schmidt remarked, "If you have something that you don't want anybody to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. 
 Facebook, for instance, had as many as fifty odd privacy settings with 170 options some years ago. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had a similar comment when he said that, "Privacy is no longer the social norm." Yet, Zuckerberg himself is very possessive about his own privacy, having bought four surrounding houses to his property for $30 million in 2013.


Explaining how this technology is used by both the terrorists and counter-terrorists,  the author mentioned the statement of the report by Dana Priest and William M.Arkin for the Washington Post.

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no-one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programmes exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.'

The author also mentioned the future course of the espionage and how terrorist and counter-terrorist together are spoiling the world. Talking about the weapons,

"If weapons are the muscles, foot soldiers the limbs and ideology the mind, the money is the heart of any terrorist organization. "In author words, "Today, like economic globalization, terrorism is also globalized with money as the engine and in most cases, Islamic radicalism is the fuel. "

Watching movies, Mission Impossible, Raazi, The Imitation Game, I was never sure of the intelligence work in the real world. Reading this book made my jaws drop. It pushed me to do some research work on this. It was a page-turner as well as curious to know how things work. 

The future seems frightening reading the way terrorism is globalized. Technology is being used even before counter terrorists use. 

Vikram described how terrorists work and how professional they're parallel to their counterparts.

The Future: What lies ahead
Vikram Sood mentions how future wars would be. He emphasized that water would be the cause of all the wars. Looking around, I firmly see the signs of such incidents. And talking about Indian Intelligence, he worries how heads with no knowledge are making it ineffective. 
The Unending Game by Vikram Sood
It's clear that people who have no clue of the Intelligence agency administration ends up acquiring power and ruin the whole game with their ineffective actions. The Author writes,

"It is a travesty of our system that an individual who spends his entire career being a generalist and floating from one short-term experience to another suddenly acquires the power to decide the fate of specialized agencies about which he has little idea."

It's truly an unending game which plays with their own rules and as the author said, "Never is enough going to be enough"  Indeed it's a real unending game.

Thanks a lot, Vikram Sood for writing this. Informative, gripping and a must read for all who want to know espionage. 

Nawab- Movie

Nawab is trippy. It's newly old. Can't get over how everyone responded to their circumstances. It seems simple yet complex.

Tumhari Sulu- Movie





Depicted subtler aspects of working women. It's an everyday story in a working woman's life. No other than Vidya Balan could do this well. It's heartening to watch these kinda stories. When Vidya Balan says, she has an idea, she reminds me of Shreya, idealist and idea generator. Beautiful movie. Thanks, Anjali for the suggestion. 


Saturday, September 22, 2018

The written works on A.R.Rahman

Nov.19.2011

This is the first book I ever received as a gift from Swathi. I cherish this gift. 

Soon after our college had finished, she walked in. The last person I met after all the parties I had that day. Soon after all the wishes, she got out this blue pack wishing me, 'happy birthday' again. I was instructed to open this after going home. The first time, wanted to leave her and rush to home. 

As I left her and rushed home. I opened this gift with a lot of excitement and couldn't be happier than that on that day. The way she made me feel on that day is the reason I developed a thing for the gifts. I want to witness the same happiness in others through my gifting. I want to make people happy in that way. I could never forget that day. I didn't take out a picture then and there but shouted with joy and called her laughing instead of saying, any words.
She made my day. Unexpectedly expected this book as a gift but didn't expect this thing from the one who gifted me. The first book I received as a gift. 
The Spirit of Music

 

Aug.2017

Years passed. And I was searching for "The Spirit of Music" to gift to one of my friends. I kept visiting so many bookstores to get this. I tried online and no luck it was always out of stock. Out of blue, as I mentioned about this book to Pooja, she got me the link saying, "See, Here it is. You can buy."

For months I was searching and couldn't find it. The moment I asked her, she got it from me, I don't know from where. I gifted one to my friend and I realized it's an updated one. So got one for me as well.



September.19.2018

The authorized biography of A.R.Rahman by Krishna Trilok. This time, I couldn't wait till my birthday to receive this as a gift. 

A.R.Rahman has this aura that's never faded. God bless him.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Deccan Project Diaries

Call them messengers of Love
Call them magnum of bliss
They're called Deccan Project touching a lot of lives with their music.



I'm so grateful to listen to them. Every time, I listen, I'm moved. I'm touched. This band has great positive vibes. Everyone loves what they do and they play in a harmony that really touches me. It's been 4 months. And week doesn't pass without witnessing their performance. I'm delighted to see them go to places. More power to these people. God bless them. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

GeethaGovindam



Too commercial to watch. Too simplistic to avoid.


The MI Band Experience

I do not have a habit of wearing watches.  I tried my best to handle those watches but failed at it. Either I lose them or spoil them. To my rescue, small bar phone was there to check the time. From the times, I had smartphone, besides checking the time, I spent a lot of time on phone mindlessly.

I start opening the phone with the excuse, "Let me check the time," and end up checking notifications, apps and a lot of trivial stuff. I wanted to stop this. Mi Band seemed to be a good solution. It helps me as a watch and also assist in tracking all my activities.

I went for a basic Mi Band HRX edition.

All I want is the time in it. Steps seemed inaccurate, do not have a fair idea of how sleep monitor works. So far so good.
My MI Band

C/O Kancherapalem



Life.
Love.
Stories.

Characters are well written and Love at all stages with inconsequential narration is gripping and surprising. Nothing seems superficial. Every act, every word seems to be real.

Every technician did a commendable work. The Sound Department takes away all my attention. Cheers to the music director as well as the sync sound artist. 

The way Sunitha says, "Ala kaadhu abbai" reminds me of the my 7th class days. It's good to celebrate life, love and stories. Must watch.

The Prestige- Movie



Intelligent story writing. Beautiful backdrop for the story. Magic, magicians, and less mysterious stuff.

Happy birthday Sameera

Sameera. She's anything but boring.

Sameera a.k.a Sam is an absolutely cheerful person to be with. She’s the first person I ragged in the college during my fresher days. It was her first day and I faked as a senior. All those memories still flash right now. Few minutes into all the fake acting and ragging, we got along well the whole day.
I was glad that she was into automobile engineering. But as a norm and making things pretty usual, the beautiful girl ended up where she had to. The IT branch.

The Birthday Girl. Sameera

Soon after Sameera moved and she, being day scholar, never spent a good time talking to each other regularly during engineering. Never the less, she was in our shadow engineering trip and this time got introduced to the whole gang. Amrutha, of course, became the sweetest of all I know. Simran, the chilled out person of all the gang who sincerely misses out every first damn class being a regular latecomer. Vaishnavi is one more person who's more into Star TV Serials. God bless her. Of all, Sameera has a talent for singing and she does it well. I adore her performance in college and always binge her to sing Iktara, every chance I get.


Both of us having music as a common area of interest, both of us suggest songs to each other once in a blue moon. Mona Gasolina from Lingaa is one song, we both were addicted to and she alone could get me on this. She's one of the few who got it while others hated the song. 


The inspiration behind the story, “The Well Known Stranger,” I’ve written is because of this girl’s chain of comments teasing another person. She’s of great wit and……..wisdom? I’m not sure of it. 
Sameera is of great talent. Her presence makes a difference.  And she’s witty as well as artistic, only in the singing sense besides in the drawing sense, especially in the designing side, AUTO CAD designing  ;)
To get reminded of her birthday, I recollect all the happy memories. I  celebrate her birthday since she's the person who made a little difference with her presence. Most of the times, she puts people on the edge of their seats with her oneliners. You make a difference with your presence. Keep being yourself and keep smiling as always. Happy Birthday, Sameera. Stay blessed.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Obama's book suggestions



https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/20/the-5-newest-books-on-barack-obamas-summer-reading-list.html


Obama's book suggestions for this summer.  V.S.Naipaul's book is on my list. Hope I finish it by end of this year.


  1. Factfulness by Hans Rosling. 
  2. American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  3. A House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul. 
  4. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje. 
  5. Educated by Tara Westover

Thought of the hour- What you seek is seeking you.


"What you seek is seeking you"
-Rumi


I was in a conversation with a friend of mine at a workplace and shared about Gaali, happy man, Hampi man from Hampi.  I shared how kind and generous he is despite his hardships and own problems. 

My friend couldn't believe what he's been perceiving of this world all the time. Effect of watching news 24/7. Instead of looking at all the good things at your North East West South, people are gorging on all the possible negative things throughout their day. It's not bad to stay updated but it's more important on what takes our most of the day. Postive stuff or negative stuff?




 

I share a lot of stories. Of all stories, I share stories of goodness, gratitude, hardships anything but demotivating stuff. 


Looking at the world, there's a lot of turmoil, unhappiness, jealousy, anger and at the same time, on the other side of the world, there's goodness, kindness, and positivity.


All we need to do is seek what's needed and dwell in it because what you seek is seeking you.

The Happy conversations.

I love to have conversations either through on paper or in person. Since most of my friends are out of reach to have a conversation in-person. I write letters, if not, we merely communicate to stay updated on each other's life. 

Of all, I perceive these online communication/conversations with few people triggering me to go back and relive all the good memories. Out of blue, Sruthi texts me she's listening to Tamil music and asks about my whereabouts. I'm glad she got reminded of me when she's listening to Tamil stuff. 




We talk a bit in Tamil and share what's happening with us. It's been so long since I wrote to her and I share a few of my sketches and talk about how things have been. One conversation with her put me in good space and I'm here blogging and finishing all the drafts that have been stacking up in my blog.

Besides that, I put on Tamil music and started working. 


As I keep writing, I read my journal, I read my poetry and I rejoice in all these pretty little things. Thanks, Sruthi for the motivation with a small hearty conversation. You're the motivation why I'm updating my blog which has been a thing on my to-do list for a long time.  

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Song from C/o Kancharepalem


Notes of a Dream by Krishna Trilok

Notes of a dream.

Out of the blue, the kindle version is out.  Yesterday, A.R.Rahman posted about this book on twitter and I couldn't stop myself from reading a sample on Amazon and got hooked to the work.

Started with the foreword by Danny Boyle,  Krishna described the 99 days production and A.R.Rahman's entry into the sets. 

I can't be happier to start this book tonight that filled with a lot of A.R.Rahman music, thanks to "The Deccan Project's gig at Vapour. 

Notes of a Dream, the biography of A.R.Rahman by Krishna Trilok
Sharing about this event and discussing the book in person with Ajay, & the whole 'The Deccan Project team brought immense happiness.

We often share to seek the reflections and who can be better to seek reflections than Ajay & Vivek Bhai.

I'm enjoying this. Finished the first part of the book and I'm grinning ear to ear reading anecdotes of AR of his childhood.


Will update more as I progress in reading this book. 

Quote of the hour

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."



This reminds me of another quote that says, "Law is like a spider web, the weak can't escape it and the strong can wreck it and move in its own way. "

Lunch at 5rs Meal Box

Living away from the family, I've been depending on food apps, Zomato, Swiggy for my lunches and dinners. Gone are the days when I went to a hotel and had lunch. Given chance any day, I order from different places to try out different food. Depending on all these outside food, I became complacent about getting good food at my doorstep in a matter of few clicks. Lots of money is spent on food without thinking twice. I became so comfortable regarding food that I took them for granted. I wanted to change this. I wanted to get out of this comfort zone

After getting to know about 5rs meals provided by Hare Krishna movement, I thought I'd like to try out the meal once. It never happened. That box is a stone's throw away from my living place yet, I never tried it. I preferred to order it online than to walk a few steps and have this lunch. 

As I do things unplanned I was hitchhiking and got dropped near one of the 5rs meal boxes. I looked at it. I looked at the time. I jumped into action and went to the counter to have a meal.

It's funny how people perceive depending on places, and attire. I went in good attire and handed him a 50rs note. The cashier seemed authoritative and put a look which I read as, "Change Kaun Deta tumko? Paanch rupiyee nahi he??" I honestly didn't think much about the change. Though he had loads of change, he denied giving me. He asked me to take two meals of rice (10rs).  I was okay with it. All I wanted to have was a meal.


He served me rice, Sambar, cucumber curry. Pickle was finished before I could go.  


It's a decent meal. Everything seemed hygienic.  Being there, having this meal taught me to appreciate the food I got for such amount. Thanks to the government for providing food for such price. Thanks to the Hare Krishna for a decent meal.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The retreats at random places.

When I went to CCD, I spot a guy sketching a mesmerizing drawing. It was a beautiful sketch. I could only get a glimpse of it.  After that,  I took a corner and spend time sketching and writing what's on my mind. It's a delight to stop by at a random cafe and do what you love to reconnect with yourself getting away from this forever connected online social connections. I wanted to ask that person about sketches, but somehow I couldn't.

At another day, another time, I treat myself enjoying live music performance at another cafe. I spot another person sketching, god knows what. I was curious to know what he's sketching. And this time, I went ahead and asked.
At NOC NOC

The Artist's retreat :)



He was sketching the Bar counter that was at his sight. It was a spontaneous one and an indeed a beautiful one. My friend joined me and it was more of an artist's retreat. We were discussing how one should keep sketching and shared tips on drawing style.

I love these learnings at random places which are helping to reconnect with myself.

The Deccan Project Diaries- Thursday treats

During the month of August 2017, a year back, I got into an adventure and ended up at Lakdikapool clueless of where to head. Got reminded of the heritage walk lead by Jafferi, I headed to Nampally. 

That Thursday, we visited a lot of dargahs and ended up at Yousafein Dargah at late night attending Qawwali. That's the day when I met Barathy for the first time, a good friend who shared a lot of common interests. 

Every Thursday, this qawwali happens at Yousafein Dargah. There were times we had finished office and rushed to Nampally only to dine at Alhamdulilah Hotel and attend Jhumme Ki Raat at Dargah.  From 10pm to 4 am, the energy and the vibes are positive and also very soothing.

At Yousufain Dargah
As months passed by, staying awake till 4 every Thursday was a bit difficult and lost the habit of visiting Dargah during Thursdays. 

The Deccan Project
I realized that I'm treated with music on Thursdays at a different place of a different genre. It's been 3 months since I started going to Vapour every Thursday, only to attend 'The Deccan Project's performance'.


Every Thursday night is a musical night filled with a lot of energy & positive vibes.  

From now, they'll be performing on Fridays. I'm grateful to have my Thursdays filled with music performances. Be it Qawwali or the band performance. They relieve and liberate me from the daily humdrum and give hope to keep doing things I love. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Chekka Chivantha Vaanam Audio Live


The Deccan Project Diaries

The Moon and the music.

Witnessing the musical performance I love amidst the sight of the moon in the darkened sky is the best sight I wish for. Not once, not twice, everytime, I enjoy a musical performance, moon is always at my sight.

During A.R.Rahman concert, thanks to Vivek Bhai, got VVIP seats and had the moment to capture the moon and the 'stars' in one picture.

Again, it is The Deccan Project gig where the moon was at my sight and these amazing people were performing melodies.

The moon and the music seem to be a lethal combination. It can kill all the negativity and energizes me.

Italo Calvino- The Black Sheep

https://blog.aladin.co.kr/common/popup/printPopup/print_Paper.aspx?PaperId=742005 Interesting story. Once lived a country full of thieves. E...