Posts

Showing posts from 2016

Of Trains and Food, and Childhood

Image
I recently came across this NPR piece by Charukesi Ramadurai, that talks of - among other things - the vanishing food culture on Indian Railways. It struck a chord instantly! I felt she was describing my own childhood, changing the names of the dishes we ate, and the places we traveled to.
For us, the most frequent trip was the 10 hour or so journey to our paternal & maternal villages (which were in close proximity), that started early morning and sometimes lasted through the day, just because. The unreliability of arrival time - that was built into the plan - meant my parents had to ensure enough supply for three meals for all of us. Us were 2 adults and 5 kids, and the invariable aunt/uncle who’d accompany us somehow on most of these trips.
Poori and Aloo-Bhajji was my mother’s go-to item. Packing food overnight was a no-no not only because she just wouldn’t have it, but also because we couldn’t really rely on the power supply and the steady operation of the fridge to keep it fro…

On 'The Basement Room'...

Image
Graham Greene is one of the authors that I’ve read surprisingly little of. I know of the man, but there is no recollection of his work in my memories.
I was looking forward to reading his work, and decided to start with a collection of short stories by him that I chanced upon. The book is called The Basement Room And Other Short Stories, and I started with the first story in the book, ‘The Basement Room’.

Regardless of what other works of Graham Greene I’d be getting my hands on, it’s pretty amazing to start with such a great work of his. I had no idea what to expect, from this story or from his works in general - and my experience was better for it!
The ‘plot’ is simple enough, and isn’t something I’m gonna dwell much over. A small kid, who’s between nurses, is left in the care of the butler and his wife (also an employee of the house) while his parents travel. To me this is a story about his being drawn into the adult world reluctantly - through gradual escalations and a crescendo ev…

Masters of Doom - mini review

Masters of Doom: How Two Guys Created an Empire and Transformed Pop Culture by David Kushner

Such a great experience listening to this one, Will Wheaton really brings it all to life. I did not expect him to do as many impressions as he did (and did well).
The book chronicles the journeys of 'The Two John's', as they pursue their interests, immerse themselves into video games, and build an empire in the process. Any one, who has spent any amount of time playing Doom in their childhood, would be hard-pressed to avoid the hair on their skin standing up when the narrator brings up Doom the first time.

This comes across as a very well researched book, and ends up being as much about the relationships as it is about the state of the industry through the 80's and the 90's. The author doesn't pull punches when bringing out the flaws in each of the characters, but I did feel a tad more reverence for John Carmack than for Romero. Still, it's pretty interesting, and a li…

The Girl On The Train - mini review

Image
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Authors write the books, yes. But Audible narrators can add so much value to it (think R C Bray and The Martian), more so when a few of them collaborate. That's what happens here.
The book itself is a nice breezy read/listen, taking you through the minds of three different women, putting them all on a (sort of) collision path. It isn't until the first major disruption that you notice what was different about at least one of the narrations (not spoiling it here though it might be much easier to spot early on when reading the book). It then becomes mostly about who you can trust, and that becomes a difficult question to answer even though you are privy to their innermost thoughts.
What worked for me, besides the story, was the way the author described scenes and settings. It might have something to do with my current fascination with London Tube, and how I could totally picture what was being described. But I think she did a good job setting i…