Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Fantastico Author

A Fantastico Author

I guess I may have written several posts on my huge passion towards books and more importantly fiction. The creative stories, imaginative places and the description of the actual setting makes me absorbed into the story as I identify myself with one of the characters.
Very few authors can write good fiction which cant resist people resist turning the page over as soon as possible. In these rare breed of storytellers, my favourite would include the world famous Jeffrey Archer.

Known for his wit , skillful story writing and of course a major twist in his plots , Jeffrey archer is read by everyone from people of age nearly 10 to 70 years . He enjoys a particularly large fan following especially in India and the US than his home country, UK.

Some of his fantastico novels include : Kane & Abel , The Fourth Estate, The Prodigal Daughter, Shall we tell the President , Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less etc. None of his novels follow the same plot or twist or even the same category of stories. However the only thing that you can find common among his novels is his unpredictable endings

His most famous and Fantastico novel till date however would be his Kane & Abel. Spanning across three generations, this amazing piece of novel made him to be called as the "Master Storyteller". A book that cant be put down, this epic novel was a grand book that left one stunned after reading. The book was obviously his best selling book of all times and had a mixture of all emotions including humor, anger, sorrow and also a lot of action . Two characters, parallel stories, stories set in past present and future, it was completely one of its kind

His latest 7 part series, The Clifton Chronicles attempts to do something like that where the story will be told across 4-5 generations from 1900’s to the late 2010’s. A series of this magnitude has never been attempted by any author before. 5 books out of the 7 has been published till now and I must admit that all 5 have been engrossing, riveting and definitely fantastico. The story about Harry Clifton , his talents and his epic life history is the basic premise of this novel. Be it company takeovers, murders, politics , backstabbings, war or even good old humour, these books have them all.

Incidentally he also specializes in short story collections that really can make the readers get shocked when they come to the ending as they never saw it coming. He skilfully shows how a good story can be written in just 12-13 pages and at the same leave the readers stunned every single time
I had the opportunity to meet this Fantastico author twice in Chennai and it was truly a memorable experience.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can  apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.
Impact of Spin Bowling on Cricket

Impact of Spin Bowling on Cricket

The gentleman's game, invented by the Royal British, Cricket was a far mature and finer version of baseball. Shots were not random, bowling was not pitching and everything had a style,class and method to it. Cricket was initially mostly restricted to good seam pace bowling or at least a medium pace. Pitches were mostly flat, less grass on it, and the faster you bowled, you had higher chances of taking a wicket.

Fast bowlers were revered and were given special status in cricket, even more than the batsmen. There was a sense of fear, respect for them and of course lot of batsmen dreaded them
 Some of the all time greats in fast bowling included Curtly Ambrose, Allan Donald, Shane Bond, Shoaib Akhtar, Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh. It wasnt surprising to see the biggest names of fast bowling was largely from West Indies

Even as a youngster playing cricket as a career you either became a batsman or a pace bowler. Not anything else

While cricket had its evolution, spin bowling came into existence quite late and its impact much later. This was a major game changer as people found this new format of bowling to be humourous at first and later understood its importance as a match winner. Spin bowling required a lot of finesse and more technique than pace bowling which mostly relied on line and length. Spin Bowling involved knowing where to pitch, degrees of variation of spin and the pace. Sometimes it could even be a googly. A ball that you expected to turn left suddenly turned sharp right and cleaned the stumps away
Spin Bowling needed far less stamina than pace bowling who had to run at least 20 yards before every delivery.  Requiring just a few steps to bowl, a spin bowler could decide up to the last minute on what kind of delivery he wanted to bowl

This spin bowling popularized by E.Prasanna,Shane Warne and Saqlain Mushtaq had an huge impact especially in one day internationals. During the slog overs, when fast bowlers were quite tired ,spin bowling quickly gave a turnaround in terms of wickets and also didn’t give many runs away. This made batsmen more alert and had to read each delivery before hitting it.
Shane Warne in particular bowled the ball of the century to Mike Gatting where a ball pitched outside leg stump turned and rooted the off stump . This one delivery defined the era of spin bowling and several budding youngsters suddenly took to spin bowling

Anil Kumble had a much variation when it comes to spin bowling and was the lone leg spinner for the Indian cricket team for quite a long time until R.Ashwin took his place. Though IPL had a terrible impact on spin , mainly because it conceded runs, however the other versions still largely depend on quality spin

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can  apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Impact of Corporate Social Networks

Impact of Corporate Social Networks

Social Networks was predominantly started to connect with classmates and college mates or even your email buddies. It started with Orkut, Hi5, and alas came Facebook
These social media networks allowed to share your vacation photos, self portraits and also status messages where you wanted to communicate with someone. It also had the option to join or form like minded groups on a certain category which helped you to network with people having similar interests. This could be a movie buffs community or a book reading club or even those who would love to cook. It never really ventured into work or career related forums nor was it really interesting

Identifying the gap in this space, LinkedIn launched itself as a solo corporate social media website instantly grabbing a lot of eyeballs. The focus was purely on work related topics, job openings, ideas on growth in current job, reconnecting with colleagues etc

LinkedIn allowed a colleague to publicly appreciate and even endorse another colleague for his skills, talents. This endorsement from a current colleague carried a lot of weightage instead of person recommending another without any relationship between the two. Companies came to know about an employee’s skills through the talent and skill listed he had mentioned. They were even able to find people who had experience in a particular subject matter and recruited them, all through LinkedIn. The field of Human Resources and traditional recruiting practices had a huge impact because of LinkedIn. People no longer had to push themselves harder for them to be heard nor attend countless walk-in interviews. They had to create a profile in LinkedIn and fill it with the right keywords which defined them.

Example if he/she was a software engineer and had extensive experience in the field of Mainframes he’d mention that his top skills included it and of course came a lot of endorsements from his superiors, colleagues etc. This added a value boost. So companies having mainframe requirements no longer had to sift through resumes in job boards, but rather searched for the keyword in LinkedIn. This resulted in a list of live profiles of people working specially on it with good experience. A couple of mails and negotiations later, it ended up in an offer letter. Company got a guy who may have not earlier posted in a job portal and would have settled for someone mediocre. The employee may have got a 30-40% increase from his current salary and may not even be aware that there was a similar job opening in another firm for the same role

End of the day it’s a win-win for both the corporates and the employees as it gives a visibility impact which no website or process could have done. The recent acquisition of Slideshare by Linkedin can only add on further to its impact

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can  apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Impact of LitFests on Books

Impact of LitFests on Books

Books are a treasure for those who really understand the importance and greatness of it. It is an asset that has to be preserved for ages to come and passed on to the future generations. The information and content provided in books has no equivalent to anything else. You may look up several things in the internet, play games and read the news in the internet, but there's no match to a sit down with a good old book

A man's outlook, character, body language and even words are usually characterized by his literary knowledge which comes through reading many books.

The advent of internet has caused a massive impact in book reading habits. People no longer spend quality time in purchasing nor reading books. Most of their time is either distracted through social networks like Facebook and Twitter and hardly have time to even flip through books.  Amazon's Kindle reader and E-book technology had a initial push for people to read books online but that too didnt really pick up the way they wanted it to be

One final resort was holding LitFest's to spread the idea of books . LitFests are held in selected cities across India where distinguished authors promote their recently released books and also discuss key topics that's been circulating. On a positive note, Litfests have managed to pull in a lot of crowd, the ones who are serious about reading and even for those who want to take writing as a career. They are exposed to the world of authors and their writing styles, experiences and the joy of writing a book

This not only encourages budding authors, but also urges other passive readers to pick up a book immediately and start reading. The large congregation helps you to meet new people who are also book fanatics and helps you share that common vibes. Last time I met a group of people who had a book challenge going on where each person had to complete at least 52 books that year. That’s 1 book per week which can be quite tough sometimes given the work and family responsibilities and even your travel commitments. But this challenge makes you overcome that and you end up having a book by your side all the time

You want to read up all the novels of your favourite author and even quiz him on a factual mistake he may have committed in one of the books during the litfest. LitFests are currently happening mainly in Chennai, Jaipur and Kolkatta which has received some positive attention from the community . There’s only been a call to have more of these in other cities as well to spread the notion of book reading .
Hopefully the internet and the digital revolution should interfere on book reading habits and it continues its existence for several generations

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can  apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Chennai's Navigation System

Chennai's Navigation System

Chennai, one among the largest cities in India, only next to Mumbai and Delhi, has plenty to offer for almost every kind of people. Being a metro, it boasts of highly developed infrastructure facilities, amusement parks, beaches, parks, ancient temples, forts and entertainment zones for the entire family
One of India’s primary concerns is the growing traffic that’s causing innumerable distress and suffering to the people living in the large cities. This problem however is not of a big concern when it comes to Chennai because of its well planned navigational facilities aided with infrastructure to back it up . It’s one of the very few cities in India that boasts of a maximum no of flyovers, bridges, MRTS system, Metro train, Electric Suburban trains, Buses and what not.

A city that connects every place to place with well-organized transport system has really been appreciated and welcomed by its residents.Several decades back, the city had even a boat system through the Buckingham canal that was flowing in the heart of the city, which has now been ceased to exist and replaced with high tower buildings, roads and train systems. A city, where you can easily go from one place to another even in the midst of a peak hour, within the hour
A similar statement cannot be made with respect to other cities like Mumbai or Bangalore or even Delhi where the traffic situation is horrendous. Even going to a nearby place will take you at least 45mins-1 hour. Catching a flight or a train in Bangalore is almost a feat as more often than not you end up missing the train, thanks to the perennial traffic situation

Chennai on the other hand thanks to great navigational facilities has implemented a proper routing system. Both Airport and Chennai Railway station is connected by a electric train system which runs on time and completely dependable. Additionally the metro train is also connecting the bus stands to the airport which aids even more in navigation

The roads are well spaced out , routes properly planned and one way navigation system is implemented in lot of places to smoothen out the traffic. In most places, you just have to keep going without much stopping for a signal or a traffic jam. Yes there are instances where there were huge traffic jams, thanks to a holdup by a political party or VIP’s travelling.  But otherwise the traffic is largely controlled and monitored compared to any other city. A person used to this kind of navigation system will however suffer a lot when he shifts to Bangalore or Mumbai where he’s never use to being seeing vehicles stuck for miles together

Of course every system needs continual improvement, and hope some new changes can make things only easier for Chennaiites for a smooth navigation system

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can  apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.