Book or E-Book?

Hey guys, it’s me & today’s post is about an issue that’s very close to my heart, The rise of the E-Book. Now obviously this is a debate which has raging on since the dawn of time aka the day Amazon was created. Now some people have a stereotype that this is a battle between the Generation WW2 vs Generation Y. But its actually more of a mixed bag . There are some veterans who have sided with the Kindle faction while some new kids on the block are on the side of paper. Each side have their on signature weapons. The Kindlers say this is eco friendly while the paperbacks say that the charm of a book can never be replicated by a cold hard piece of metal & glass.

Now every person who knows me , knows that I am a reading fanatic! If you give me an interesting book , I will forget the whole world & basically turn into a statue! Not even the news that Trump got punched in the face wouldn’t break my trance & that’s something impressive. Now I am the proud owner of 250+ books & 75+ e-books on my Kindle.

2 years ago, I was hardliner of the Paperback faction, spending half my day holed up in the corner of a library, flipping through hundreds of books in under an hour. I was simply disgusted by the invention of the e-book & even spent 3 months trying to convince my friends that e-books were as sacrilegious as converting from a Man Utd fan into a Man City fan!!

Now you may be wondering ” Then why in god’s name did you buy 75 e-books , are you a traitor to the Old Trafford warriors!!!!?” . First no, I’m not a traitor, in fact, I’m as crazy about Man Utd as I am about MSD. But to answer your question, the tectonic shift in my stance occurred due to my dad, the one person who you least expect a teenager to listen to.

It all started with my dad buying the very first kindle & uploading the entire collection of Uncle Scrooge comics into it. I was & still am a Donald Duck family fan. So my dad pulled quite the a smart move. Despite the fact that I was extremely peeved about this, the lure of duck without pants was too much to resist. I tried extremely hard to not like the Kindle but Jeff Bezos was way ahead of me. Not only did the Kindle have access to the entire collection of mankind’s books but it’s compactness also allowed me to smuggle several books into my school , just by slipping it into my pocket!(Yes, I have BIG pockets).

This was a masterstroke by the Kindle faction & boy did it work. Soon I was buying so many E-Book’s that Amazon’s servers crashed through out the entire Asia-Pacific area & they had to send a sea gull that had eaten Tostitos to get me to stop! But what shaped my now middle ground stance? The credit for that goes to an unnamed string instrument teacher who lived sometime in the 9th century.

This may prompt you to ask me” Do you secretly own a time machine?” The answer is no! I do not. But what I do own is 5 page pamphlet on the life of Buddha. I found this pamphlet crumpled outside my school gate. Intrigued, I dusted it off & began reading it. And the part which talks about how Buddha attained enlightenment really had a profound effect on me. I then realised that both factions had equal pros & cons & the fact that I was swinging like a pendulum between both sides was basically driving me insane! I also stumbled upon the fact many people where in a similar situation as me! So like Siddhartha, we realised that the middle path was the best one !

And from this was born the Kindle-Paperback federation or the Kindback federation as it is now referred to by the other factions. And do you know what’s the greatest thing about this? Each member can interpret the middle path to suit their needs. My personal stance is that buy E-Books for most series & paperbacks for sentimental series like Harry Potter.  Now this may not work for most people but it does for me.

So why am I writing this post? To make you, dear readers realise that there is an alternative to these two factions which are tearing at each other’s throats. There is a group which acts as a meditator between these 2 goliaths. We basically do whatever the UN does but for books, instead of countries.

I hope this post gave you an insight into the intricate world of modern day literature & it’s multiple factions. But sadly it’s time for me to bid you adieu, so until we meet again, in this website or the next GM of the Kindback, Farewell!



The Last Dragon Chronicles- The Book Review

Hey guys, it’s me, your favorite blogger!!! And I’m back with my third book review! Today’s post centers around the brilliant Last Dragon Chronicles by the virtuoso of virtuosos, Chris d’Lacey.

This book is a definite for any lover of dragons & those who miss the good old days of the Inheritance cycle. The book is a fresh breath of air for the of- late repetitive dragon novels, which often portray dragons as creatures of eras long forgotten.

The series centers around a seemingly ordinary family in the suburbs of England & their tenant David(oh & a multitude of clay dragons). However, the story doesn’t stop with just these characters & locations, it instead sprawls over the entire globe, from the Arctic Circle to the savannahs of Kenya. The author even takes a page out of the comic book universe, introducing a plethora alternate timelines & dimensions. This is a story filled with magic & ancient pacts, all set in the modern world(now why does that sound familiar?) & yet never separated from the past.

Here’s how this book stood up to my 3 pillars of a good read!!!

1.Duration– Some people say that more pages mean a better reading experience. I disagree. Sure many of the greatest works in literature are massive, but that doesn’t mean that big is better. A long book, after a certain point in, gets tiresome. It becomes so long that the book seems to drag on forever! Small isn’t the best either, an extremely short book would leave the reader yearning for more detail, for more continuity, would leave them with 101 questions to be answered. There needs to be a balance.

The series hovers around the 450-500 pages mark, which for some people, seem way too much. But trust me, those few extra pages are totally worth it!!! Not a single moment do you feel bored or annoyed, instead of like Happy from Despicable Me 2, it reels you in & gets stuck in your head!

2.Plot– What good is a book, without a great plot?
This series has by far, one of, if not the best plot I have ever encountered!! Every single little event has to be closely analyzed & remembered, but even then, the twists & turns will defy all of your predictions & sometimes you’ll be left stunned by your sheer gullibility! The main plot does not reveal itself until the very end of the series, but I’m sure that this melting pot of subplots & pseudo plots will be more than sufficient for even the most avid bookworm.

3.Artwork– The front & back cover & the images within a book are often what prompt people to buy them.
This series’s signature cover will help you identify it from miles away & the variety of colors used will put a rainbow to shame!

Overall, I feel that the author has delivered a spectacular series that has ushered in silver age for the floundering genre of dragons. This series can definitely go toe to toe with the Harry Potter series, its only real rival at this point & in some cases, even surpass it. The creativity & ingenuity of Chris d’ Lacey is absolutely sublime & I wish him all the very best for his new series, The Erth Dragons (A spinoff) I really, really hope that someday I may be able to meet this successor to C.S Lewis.

Hope you liked this review & are excited for more, Well, That’s it for today, Until Next Time, hrrr!

Grandpa on mute

Thatha, Virat’s grandfather, a sprightly octogenarian, was rapidly going deaf. However, he refused to admit it. Mundane breakfast table conversation took on the overtones of Judgement Day!

“Looks like its going to rain today” Virat’s father, might say.

“What?” Thatha would shout.

“It’s going to rain today”. Virat’s father would’ve to holler.

To make matters worse, Thatha loved watching the TV. As his deafness advanced, unfortunately so did the volume.

Virat fed up with this audio onslaught, marched into the kitchen. His mom was seasoning the avial they would have for dinner.

“Is it possible to hear anything in this house?!” Virat demanded.  “I’m not able to even think properly, let alone study! He is an environmental hazard!”

“Don’t be rude” his mom said, searching for a ladle in the rack.

“Do Something” Virat begged.

His mom kept the ladle down, turned off the gas & went into the hall with the light of battle in her eyes. “Appa” she screamed. Without much ado, she switched of the TV.

“Face, it, you are hard of hearing” she shouted, “Am not!!I heard you!” Thatha complained.

Virat returned an hour later, with revision complete to see the grim, determined faces of his parents & the glowering one of his grandfather.

“Ask him” Thatha burst out. “My grandson will tell you that I’m not deaf! Just because I am eighty, you think you can force me to wear a hearing aid. Next, you’ll make me wear dentures. Then you’ll pack me off to an Old Age home. It’s a conspiracy to get rid of me. There is nothing wrong with my ears.”

Amma spoke up “You can’t hear unless with shout our lungs out, you have to get a hearing aid, dot.”

The next morning, Amma took leave from office & took Thatha to the E.N.T. specialist at the local Polyclinic. Virat looked forward to the return of a noiseless, peaceful atmosphere. He had underestimated his grandfather. Thatha’s hearing aid was a compact simple device. When Virat queried why he had turned it off, he winked “Your mother insists that I wear a hearing aid. Well, Now I’m wearing one. dot.”

Virat’s mother had almost made up her mind to cancel Thatha’s much awaited birthday party on Sunday (which Thatha loved more than anything else, even more than his TV) Then Virat had a brainwave.

Sunday dawned. No one wished Thatha. No cards or presents. Every time the phone rang, he looked expectantly, but was never for him. Just before noon, Virat & his parents dropped Thatha at his club where he sulked all the way to the game room. He entered the game room, expecting it to be empty, but instead he got the shock of his life.

It was beautifully decorated with balloons & stringers, with a huge cake in the middle, surrounding which stood his friends & family, grinning from ear to ear. As if in a dream, Thatha blew out the candles. Everyone clapped. That was when Thatha got an even bigger shock.

He saw them clapping & singing but not a single decibel reached him. Judging by Thatha’s expression, it looked like he was watching a horror film. He turned on his hearing aid & increased the volume. Still no sound, just that nightmarish silence. How could sixty voices be singing & yet not a word be heard? He turned up the volume to its highest setting.

The gathering took a deep breath & shouted “Happy Birthday to you”.

The sound hit Thatha like a tsunami. He reeled back. It took him only a few moments to grasp that he had been deceived.

“Got a taste of your own medicine, eh?” Thatha’s friends shouted loud enough to raise the roof.

Thatha immediately reduced the volume of his hearing aid,” Don’t shout” he said, calmly reaching for a slice of cake.” I’m not deaf”

“Howl” to “Woof”

Hi guys, its me your favourite blogger on the block who’s back with yet another cool post. There are about 7.4 billion people on Earth today & over 200 million dogs! So exactly when where & why did warm-blooded wolves join our fold? And who trained who? So are you a cat person or a dog person? Me, I’m completely impartial! Yeah right! I love dogs more than anything in this whole wide universe(Well maybe except my family), seriously what’s not to love? No matter on which side of the furry border you are on, it’s plain to see that the histories of mankind & dogs are intertwined, maybe like no other two species.

If we take domestication out of the human equation, it’s estimated that just 1 or 2 million of us would be around today & of all those animal alliances, our relationship with dogs is by far the oldest. But figuring out why, when & where domestic dogs originated is still a bone of contention.

Why is by far the easiest to answer. Every continent is home to wild canids like the dingos of Australia or the dhole of India(Yes I know that India isn’t a continent but come on, you can excuse me for being a bit patriotic, right?) but thanks to genetic research, we know that modern-day pups haven’t descended from these local species. Today’s dogs all trace their origin back to ancient wolves.

You may have heard that wolves & ancient humans were hunting Bros, using teamwork to bring down bigger prey. That’s a nice story but wolf packs can hunt on their own just fine & usually aren’t to keen on sharing! Plus, early humans tended to kill off most carnivorous competition. It’s most likely that humans didn’t adopt dogs, Dogs adopted us!!

Any wolves “gone mild” that were tolerant of humans could have scrounged our scraps. They didn’t need us, but our leftovers would’ve made their lives much easier. This habit is still very much present in modern-day dogs, as every Trash Can will testify & every dog owner will confirm this fact 😉 ! But a tame wolf, isn’t a dog & scientists are still trying to figure when & where that change occurred.

Studying living wolves tells us that the line that led to our puppies is extinct today, but we can see still find their footprints in modern dog genomes. Looking at DNA in mitochondria tells us that dogs split from their wolf ancestors somewhere in Europe between 19,000 to 32,000 years ago but genome from dozens of living dogs puts the split somewhere in South Asia at around 33,000 years ago( seriously, that’s a lot of yrs ago!!)

It’s tough to pin down because dog genes have mixed so much. Fossils don’t tell the whole story either because bones alone can’t tell us when the thing that looked like a wolf started acting like a dog. But by combining both fossils & DNA, we’re able to get some hints. DNA extracted from ancient dog fossils has suggested a new story, the spilt happened in 2 places, at least 12,000 yrs ago. And then eastern dogs followed people west & became the dominant ancestor of our canine compadres.

Dogs became useful herders, sled pullers & guards against predators & neighbouring human tribes and in a pinch ,they could have served as an emergency food supply( I know right, disgusting!! And this still continues, China hosts an annual dog eating festival, it’s simply horrendous!!! Join Avaaz , an organization which is striving to stop such atrocities throughout the world!!)

Dogs probably saved us more times than we can count & we’re paying them ,pups now have access to insurance , healthcare, some even have more Instagram followers than you or me! From a wolf mould, we’ve crafted over 340 or so dog breeds, even a few weird ones. It’s hard to believe that every domestic dog is still part of the same species, one whose story is so tightly wound to our own ,that we still can’t quite tell where it begins.

That’s it for today, I hope you liked today’s post. Till next time folks, Adios or as Scooby doo would say “Scooby Dobby dobby Doooooo” !!!

State of emergency-A Book Review

Hi guys, I’m back & welcome for a change, to a book review! So I was casually wandering around one of Chennai’s innumerable Book fairs(yes that’s a real thing!)when a book with a soldier on it caught my eye. I glanced at the first few lines of the summary & was instantly hooked! I just had to have this book!! So I took a look at the price tag & was delighted that it was a steal of just 150 Rupees! 12 hours later under the cover of my blanket, I continued to be enthralled by this masterpiece created by Sam Fisher.

The book focuses on a top-secret team called E-Force whose main agenda is to help save people in disaster zones. Now you may be wondering ” Don’t we have the police & the Fire fighters to take care of such things?” Well to find out the answer, buy & read this book. This book is a must buy for anyone interested in fast paced, thrilling adventure novels which at the same time are highly relatable. The characters(note the word characters) are often confronted with several real world problems from their conscience to the slothfulness & mind games of modern-day bureaucracy.

Here’s how this book stood up to my 3 pillars of a good read!!!
1.Duration– Some people say that more pages mean a better reading experience. I disagree. Sure many of the greatest works in literature are massive, but that doesn’t mean that big is better. A long book, after a certain point in, gets tiresome. It becomes so long that the book seems to drag on forever! Small isn’t the best either, an extremely short book would leave the reader yearning for more detail, for more continuity, would leave them with 101 questions to be answered. There needs to be a balance.
Coming in at 376 pages, “State of Emergency” has slotted itself into, in my opinion, the ideal number of pages any book should have. Why? Not only do such a number of pages keep the reader interested, they also don’t take up much space, thus greatly adding to its ability to be stuffed inside my math textbook, allowing me to smuggle it into school 😉
2.Plot– What good is a book, without a great plot?
“State of Emergency” comes equipped with a plot that is simply sublime!! It appears to be highly straightforward but in reality, coupled with its sub-plots(of which there are several) this book will bamboozle, surprise, delight, enrage & sometimes make you pause & ponder over its subtle but weighty messages.
3.Artwork– The front & back cover & the images within a book are often what prompt people to buy them.

State of Emergency’s front & back covers compliment the words within to the fullest!! Blacksheep-UK, the team who designed these fantabulous covers deserve an Oscar or at the very least, an Emmy!!

Overall, I feel that the author has delivered a power-packed novel that keeps the reader guessing until the very end. The plot twists at first appear to be the same tired & tested ones but they reveal their depth & significance only much later in the story. The explanation of high-tech instruments is lucid & isn’t hampered by lack of detailing nor is it straitjacketed by the use of too much technical jargon( Case In Point, Apple products, they use high fangled terms to trick us into thinking that the new iPhone is better but in reality, it’s worse!! I’m on to you Apple!!, you can’t-fool me!!!)
The book is a beautiful symphony created by a maestro whose name we will all hear more about in the coming years! I’m definitely not qualified to critique this book but I do have one suggestion. A touch more mystery could have launched this already mind-blowing plot into the stratosphere but it isn’t something that has to be considered, it’s just my opinion. I seriously recommend this book as a worthy successor to the vacuum left by the books of Wilbur Smith. Plus, this book isn’t a stand-alone, its part of an ongoing, yes ongoing series!!!!! And you know that means for me, more books to smuggle into to school!!!!
Hope you liked this review & are excited for more, Well, That’s it for today, Until Next Time, farewell!

The World Cup is here !!

Hey guys, what’s up! Today’s post centres around a historic event that’s taking place in my homeland, India. No, it’s not another Demonetization nor is it Baahubali 3, it’s the FIFA U-17  World Cup !! You’re probably wondering “What’s the big deal? It’s just U-17!There’s no CR7 Claw, The Flea isn’t racing around, Zlatan isn’t saying “Hail Zlatan” & Rooney isn’t showing the fist.” Well, need I remind you that every single one of them broke into their national teams through this iconic tournament at some point in time & today they are national, nay global sensations! Even the Saviour of England, Marcus Rashford & Kylian Mbappe, the dude who broke the transfer market both went through this tournament barely a few years ago!

But this post is not about how this tournament helped these icons find their spark, no it’s about how it’s lighting the football fever in India! True, tournaments like ISL & Pro Kabaddi league are revolutionizing the sporting landscape of India, But they still weren’t anywhere near the glamour & allure of the IPL. Indian football needed a silver bullet, an event so grand, that Football would take over the minds of everyone. And they got what they wished for & so much more.

Sure the Indian team did crash out of the tournament, but not before lighting hope in the hearts of every Indian football fan. You’re probably asking me”why are you celebrating the fact that your national team lost all three of its matches & scored only 1 goal?” Well on paper, India’s performance seems pathetic, but if you look closely, the Indian team played fantastically – considering the fact that this was India’s first FIFA related event! Not only did the performance of certain players impress Indians, they are now turning heads in the West as well, one Indian player’s signature is being sought out by both MLS & Seria A teams!

And you know why I’m even happier? ISL clubs & it’s players will be included the FIFA 18! No longer will Sunil Chetri be a free agent from an unknown country, he’ll be placed on the same pedestal as Robben! All this is a great achievement, not just for the Indian Football, but for the Indian sporting fraternity as well, as it shows the evolution of India from “Cricket Only” to “The Melting Pot of Sports”. And more good news is on the way, even as we speak, India is lobbying for the rights to host U-20 World Cup as well!

Sure, there is a long way to go, but finally, after decades of sweat & toil, the world of Indian Sports is coming into its own.

The Rajapalayam Records

Hey guys, Welcome to my favourite type of post, A travel Post!

Today’s post revolves around my awe-inspiring trip (and I was going all alone, no parents!) to a small town by the name of Rajapalayam, about 560 km from my hometown, Chennai.

Many of you may not have heard of this spectacular place nor have any clue as to where it is located. Well if you looked at the emblem of the Tamil Nadu government, you would see the Gopuram (Gateway Tower) of the Srivilliputtur Andal Temple, a renowned temple throughout southern India. Well, Rajapalayam is barely a stone’s throw from this famous (Not just for the goddess but also for a tasty milk sweet called Paal-Guava) temple town.

My visit was from 27th of September to 2nd October (celebrated as Gandhi Jayanthi in India). Though it may seem as a short time span, trust me it was totally worth it & we would have stayed longer if not for the fact that school (damn!) came calling the next day. I travelled here with a 14-member team of MNS (Madras Naturalist Society) an organization in which I am the youngest life member. Our hosts were Mr.T.S Raja of WAR (Wildlife Association of Rajapalayam), Cool name right! and his team comprising of Mr.Gandhi, Santhosh Anna, Mr.Vishnu Shankar & Mr.Pranav  – they were absolutely amazing people who genuinely loved what they did & it was their company that we treasured the most during our stay.

So let’s begin the trip shall we? It all started at the Koyambedu Private Bus Stop in Chennai. The Departure time was 7:45 pm, seems simple enough doesn’t it? Well for me that time was like a timer on a time bomb! Why? I had sort of, kind of bungled up my packing time which resulted in me getting stuck in the middle of one of Chennai’s legendary traffic snarls. And to rub salt in my wounds, it was pouring cats & dogs. My phone showed that it was 5 minutes to board. Terrified, I leapt out of the car & then began a series of panic-stricken running towards the Bus depot, while carrying 2 massive pieces of luggage in one hand, babbling on the phone with the bus driver, trying to hold the bus as much as possible, all this in the middle of the thunderstorm of the century!Finally, thanks to the fact that Chennai’s traffic was as slow paced as a sloth,  I was able to catch the bus. Needless to say that I was drenched from head to toe, causing some of my fellow passengers to crack jokes on my part.

(Disclaimer: You are going to read a lot of scientific gibberish so if you have a spinning head at the end of each para, don’t worry, it’s completely natural. Also these name of the species changes almost every year so don’t worry if a streaked fantail warbler become  a zitting cisticola)


Day 1: Ayyanar Kovil

The 14-member team of MNS gathered at 9 am at Hotel Anandas, Rajapalayam to head towards Ayyanar Kovil, which is one of the key locations on the Western Ghats that skirts Rajapalayam. The trek started at the temple & was about 8 kms in distance. Near the temple was the residences of the forest natives (now more or less assimilated with “modern civilization”). We were accompanied by Mr.Karuppaiya, whose very spirit was interlinked with the forest & its residents.

Now Rajapalayam’s virgin forests were simply bursting with wildlife and a specific spot near a water stream had once recorded 231 species of butterflies (if that doesn’t seem astounding, well consider the fact that Tamil Nadu itself has only 306 butterfly species!). Among the species spotted by us, the presence of the Great Orange Tip, Common Banded Peacock and Blue Mormon (India’s 2nd largest butterfly) made this tiny piece of land seem like the famed Gardens of Paradise. As we moved on, our team could see different dragonflies and damson flies which were happily sculling near the water streams. The team stopped to take a detailed look at the symmetrical leaves and discussion on the significance of Maha Vilvam tree (a sacred tree dedicated to Lord Shiva).


Now we naturalists are a peculiar bunch, something as tiny as a Pill Bug invokes a passionate discussion on its distinction with similar looking Wood Louse but the pug marks of a dhole/Palm civet doesn’t really make the crew jump up & down in excitement (to be fair, the group consisted of mostly bird & butterfly lovers). So anyway, after a series of slips & slides, we reached a pristine stream at the top of the mountain. At the sight of water, the group went berserk, each one trying to be the first to fill their bottles / swim / explore in the magical waters.

From there, we headed to a school named Chinmaya Vidyalaya run by Ramco Group
(now you know that I am not the most school friendly person on this planet but this school actually surprised me with its emphasis on nature & modern technology, two things which I feel are indispensable in today’s world), is spread over 36 acres. We were stunned by the presence of  800 yr. old African Baobab tree at the school. This behemoth of the forest stood at  80 ft. & had a diameter of 25 ft.

Later in the evening, Mr.Ramachandra Raja, MNS Life Member and a Senior Director of the Ramco Group hosted us with a fabulous dinner which was followed by naturalist Mr.Santhosh sharing his experience and photographs of birds and wildlife he has captured over a period of 3 years.

Day 2: Sastha Kovil

Sastha Kovil (yes another temple, this one in honour of Ayappa) was the starting point for our next trek, this was as long as 16km! The Forest Guard who accompanied us kept repeating the same thing throughout the trek “you should have come during Monsoon, you’ll see everything

Contrary to his statement, we did see quite a few bird & butterfly species, one of which, the Autumn Leaf Butterfly, caused quite a stir at it was the first time it had been spotted in Tamil Nadu!

In the night, some of us took the night walk, where we were fortunate to spot the Indian Night Jar and Mottled Wood Owl.

Day 3: Shenbaga Thoppu/Kattalazhar Kovil

This was an unusual trek as along with our team of 14, several locals were attempting the back-breaking trek to Kattalazhar temple to seek the blessings of Lord Vishnu, as Puratassi (the month in the Tamil Calendar) was sacred to him.

Brain Fever Birds welcomed us from all directions, which later was beaten by the Bonnet Macaque and Langurs. We also spotted some Grizzle Giant Squirrels which were endemic to the area. The Southern Birdwing, which is the largest butterfly in India was a sight for sore eyes as we completed the gruelling trek.

Energy & waistline lost during the trek was replenished thanks to a full banana leaf meal at the 100+ yrs old Hotel Kathiravan.

With due pomp & ceremony, we bid adieu to Rajapalayam at 5:30 pm via the Silambu Express, but the memories we made there can never be forgotten.

Well, that’s all for today folks, thanks for joining me on this massive blog post & I Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, until next time, Goodbye.