Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Why the Kindle v/s Physical Book is a non-existent debate

(Friendly warning: This blog is penned to encourage a healthy exchange of opinions. Comments of the 'You're-an-idiot-because-you-can't-afford-a-Kindle' kind will not be tolerated. Leave comments that convince me that you've a brain and we can take it from there. Feel free to oppose my point-of-view. I'll like you a lot more if you don't, though. Cheers.)

I'm a stubborn little twit when it comes to certain things. And when I'm completely convinced that my point of view is THE only possible point-of-view, I refuse to see sense. Very cow-like I know. But what to do?

Which is why, I absolutely don't get this whole Kindle v/s Physical Book debate that people are having these days. I mean, what's there to debate about? It's like debating whether walking is better than hailing a cab, or whether sex without a condom is better than sex with one on (don't ask me what's better. I don't know). But the debates ARE pointless. Get what I mean?

And if you don't already know which side of the debate I am on, you're a douche bag.

How can anything, anything remotely substitute the feel of a book? However new, shiny and filled-to-the-brim with orgasmic features your bloody Kindle is. Come to think of it, my bone of contention is just that. Having a book that does stuff it isn't supposed to do in the first place. I'm sorry I'm old-fashioned, but I don't think I want my book to automatically turn pages at the click of a button. And no, I don't want to be able to stick a headphone into it, so that it doubles up as an audio-book. If I want an audio-book, I'll get it myself, thanks.

I don't want to be able to download my book. I want to be able to buy it. Smell it. Lovingly run my finger along its binding. Cringe when the cover gets dog-eared. Get pissed if someone folds a page instead of get a bloody bookmark.

Call me pseudo, call me a weirdo, but I think visiting a bookshop is an integral part of my life. The feeling of wanting to buy the whole bookstore (except where the Twilight series is stocked, thank you very much. I'm still trying to con someone into taking my copies), the sheer delight at holding a book I've been wanting to buy for the longest time, sifting through rows and rows of books, sitting down on the pouffe at leisure and reading a big chunk off a random book, the feeling of curling up under the quilt on a rainy day with a great book, there's so much more to a physical book than it being a mere book. Geddit?

So then, how are you going to get all of this with a Kindle?

Sure. It holds like a few thousand books. It turns pages at a click. It runs on batteries. It cuts down on all the space you'd need for your books, the pros are endless. But are they really pros?

Firstly, do you need thousand odd books on you at all times? How many books can one human being read at one go? Five, if you stretch your imagination to snapping limits?

Secondly, who the eff needs pages that turn at a click? How much effort does it take to turn a freakin' page? So what if an actual book needs both your hands? What are you going to do with your other hand when you're reading anyway? (Hmm...A Kindle may be useful when you're reading erotica, but that's the only advantage I can see as far as the use of one hand is concerned.)

Next, the whole concept of battery-operated books is so unnatural. Like a baby born with a complete set of pearlies and painted toe-nails. It's against the law of nature, that's what's wrong!

And that brings me to the biggest pro-Kindle argument that fans have: It saves you space that books will take up.

This leaves me most flummoxed. But that may be because I don't see books as a waste of space. They're an integral part of my house. Like sofas. Or the dining table. So, my family takes up space in my house. That does NOT mean I will replace them with robots now, will I, just because robots can keep my house clean and do my dishes with utmost precision?

And how can something that's important to you be considered a waste? Our clothes and shoes probably take up more space than is considered normal, but we don't stop buying them, do we? Neither have we come up with electronic, space-saving alternatives to clothes, as far as I know.

So if you haven't got it already, the point I'm trying to make is, that in my opinion, you will somehow accommodate things that are important to you, without looking for easier alternatives.

Sure, you can download a book from an e-book website, but what can be more fun than waiting outside a bookstore hours before a much-anticipated book is going to be released? Or going and picking up a pre-ordered book from the shop?

If you're a true-blue book lover, you won't really mind the space crunch and the other 'inconveniences'.

It's like having a baby. It poops, it cries at midnight and can't even distinguish its teeth from its nose. But heck, it's still perfect!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What is it about loneliness?

What is it about loneliness, that the best of us fear so much?

Is it the fear of waking up alone?

Or the possibility of having no one to talk to in the middle of a tearful night?

Why does it hurt to have no one to call your own?

So you've convinced yourself that you love living with your pet. Freedom and all that. Then why does the sight of your neighbour hand-in-hand with his wife bother you?

What is it that frightens you most about loneliness?

A lonely birthday? A solitary Christmas eve?

No friends to haul you out of an accident?

A call that will never come, despite waiting for it all night?

No shoulder to vent into? No one to wipe the tears?

No one to take a long walk on the beach with? To appreciate the wind in your hair?

Are you amidst a crowd, yet lonely?

Looking for a face that you call familiar? Is it the absence of that face what's bothering you?

Ah, I see what's troubling you.

The need of a hug, the want of a kiss, the pain of love.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tis Christmas, gentle folks! *Hic*

...and so we’ve reached the end of another eventful year. Almost.

I know you’re going to hate me for saying this, but honestly, 2009 wasn’t a bitch to me at all. In fact, it was one of the nicest years of my life. Any year you didn’t lose someone you know to a terror attack, a flood, a morning walk stabbing session or a reality show has to be great, right? Oh and neither did I get a pink slip (does a white petticoat count?), a pay cut or the lack of an increment.

2009 was the year that’s helped me become the person I am. And I’m sorry if this is coming across as a egotistical post, but I’m not sure I care what you think. So let’s talk some more about me.

The year that’s almost over helped me learn a lot. It made me wiser as a person, brought new friends into my life, helped enrich bonds with the old ones, took me travelling to Delhi and Trivandrum, taught me how to write better, made me realise I’d die without Twitter, taught me to love and be loved and got me new high-heeled shoes.

You really can’t grudge a year like that.

And hence, dear 2009, you shall be missed. But absolutely not if 2010 gets me a 200% hike in my salary.

Now now, what’s with the hurry to shut the Firefox window? You really didn’t think I’d let you read all through without listing out my New Year resolutions now, would you? Come now, I will take you through all the false promises I am making to myself, simply because I can then prove to thee how terribly bad I am at commitment.

1) 1) I will travel more this year. In fact, I will save up some cash every three four months and travel to a city I haven’t been to. Alone, if the parents can’t make it. But travel I will.

2) 2) This year, I will click more photographs. I have begun to love the amazing feeling that a well-taken photograph brings. I believe I have come a long way this year on the photography front too, since I’ve stopped chopping off people heads and arms and am including their entire body in the frame.

3) 3) I will cut down on junk food. The expanding waistline is threatening to pop out of my jeans. While we’re on the subject, I have no pretences about being regular to the gym. Ever again.

4) 4) And I WILL write more this year. Seriously. The sorry amount of times I’ve updated my blog freaks me out. How can I person with an opinion on every damned thing not have anything to say on the blog? Also note that I will comment on my friends’ blogs more often. Only then can I resolutely bully them to comment on mine.

5) 5) I will read more. Although I can’t say I wasn’t satisfied with the number of books I bought the last year.

6) 6) I will go out there and meet newer people. 2010 is going to make me a social butterfly. Spare me the air-kissing, though. Try that and I’ll spit on you.

7) 7) I will learn more gaalis. This is absolutely necessary since auto and taxi drivers are striving hard to make me miserable every day.

8) 8) I will write more on paper than this electronic nonsense. Will also buy more lovely stationery. Please note: amazing stationery does to me, what sexy lingerie does to men. I is a geek.

9) 9) I will stick up for myself more often. 2010 will bring out the no-nonsense side of me, both at the professional front and in personal life. But I promise to be my nice self at most times.

10) 10) I will not work the terribly long working hours I do right now, unless I have to. I will stop faffing around through the day only to sit till 8.30 every evening.

11) 11) I’m going to cry less and make more people cry. I’m so serious about this. Bwahahahaha!

12) 12) I will stalk fewer people on Facebook. I need to realise that looking at completely retarded photographs of fucktards isn’t right, especially when it’s 7 p.m. in the evening and I should be leaving for home.

13) 13) This year, I will stick to my New Year resolutions.

I’m sure I’ve missed out a few. But then, if I didn’t think of them when I should have, they’re probably the important ones I SHOULD miss.

So go on then, what are you planning for 2010? You know where the comments section is. Use it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

When staying awake becomes a serious problem...

I wrote this entry while I was in Kerala on a junket, recently. Thought I'd reproduce it on my blog.

Conferences / seminars are always so interesting...NOT. I'm here on a perfectly lovely Wednesday morning in Trivandrum, trying to keep my eyes open in a workshop,that doesn't remotely concern me. Why am I here, then? Don't ask me, ask the PR person who invited me. In my defense, however, I'm doing a perfectly convincing act of taking down long-winded notes. So is everyone else. It's impossible to stay awake through this endless droning.

Why are Indian speakers (very broadly speaking) so terrible at addressing audiences? Why is it that they cannot keep up their audiences' attention for more than three minutes? Most people begin with reading out reams and reams of literature, hoping it will make up for the lack of enthusiasm on their part. And as if reading out volumes of text isn't bad enough, there is the variety that will support the endless droning with slides and slides data.

For instance, "In 1994, our organisation had achieved only 34% growth,which jumped to 61% in 2001. However, we weren't satisfied with this growth percentage, hence, our target for the next five years is to achieve at least 54.7% growth."

Excuse me, but all I heard was "Blah, blah, yak, yak". What's your point? Did anyone tell you, mister,that no one cares a rat's ass about your data? Can you stick to whole words and less numbers unless absolutely necessary?

There's a third type of speaker one often sees: the nervous type. This type is so obviously pissing its lacy panties, that they even have no idea what they end up blabbering about. Add to that, they even mess up their technology and end up displaying the wrong slides to the wrong headings.

When will people learn that seeming effortless and well-prepared with your material is the key?

As a favour to the world, I'm taking the responsibility on mine young shoulders to enlighten the public speakers of the future, with a few home-truths:

1) Make your session interactive. Ask your audience some trivia related to your topic, perhaps? It helps them keep awake and interested.

2) Talk to audience. Maintain eye contact. This helps them know that you're talking to them and not at them.

3) Do NOT read aloud, whatever you do. If reading out is all you're going to do, just hand over your literature to your audience and let them read it. It might be more interesting, anyway.

4) Cite as many examples as you can to support the point you're trying to make. Or ask the audience to come up with some. Examples help retain your proposition better, in the minds of the audiences.

5) Keep it simple, stupid! Avoid too much technical jargon unless absolutely vital. It is one of the reasons why your talk becomes a snoozefest.

6) Try reducing your talk to a maximum time limit of about 20 minutes to half an hour. Trust me, attention tends to wander beyond that. So unless you know that your presentation is going to receive nothing short of a standing ovation, don't drone on and on. And yeah, if you look like Bradley Cooper, you can talk for as long as you want!

7) Lastly, inviting your audience to be a part of your presentation is most important. No one likes listening to someone who loves the sound of his own voice. Believe that your presentation must get the attention it deserves. Once that is achieved, you have to take the effort to make people want to listen to you. It sure will take a lot of hard work from your side, but then, who said it was easy?

Whew. I'm done with all my gyaan, folks. Now, back to the very lovely speakers who are carefully disobeying my carefully put together advice!