Search me!

Sayesha over at the bar often posts weird search terms people used to land up at her site. I paid little attention to my own site stats in this regard, but the other day when I finally got a chance to look through them, here’s what I found: 

Search Views
cricket insect 578
cricket insect pictures 78
gargi 47
suresh taneja ‘we can pull it off’ 9
“bala takes the plunge” 8
gargi award 8
cicada 7
grill insecte 5
delaina mulcahy 4
crickets insects 4
tim gullikson 4
manjiri prabhu 2
half dragon half grasshopper light green insect 2
“high society” “ben elton” 1
lisbeth salander 1
name gargi mins 1
“this makes me look good” man in black 1


Are you noticing the trend here, kids? The readers have spoken. The world demands more posts and pictures on that indefatigable of all insects – the cricket. Sure I may not have written about so exotic a creature as the “half dragon half grasshopper light green insect”, but I have penned odes to the good old cicada. 

And if you’re wondering about the last one, then you will pleased to know that it is true – yours truly is the supreme source for this reformed version of the original kickass dialogue from Men in Black. 

If you will excuse me now, I am going back to scribbling sonnets about a one-legged grasshopper and a cicada who meet and fall in love before biting each other’s heads off.

Book Reviews

We can pull it off…

In 2030, India has become a superpower. Indian manufacturers are in huge demand and the US relies on us for handing out huge sums in aid. The exchange rate at this time stands at a – wait for it – a shocking 

1 INR = $ 500 

How did this idyllic scenario come about? Therein lies the story of ‘We can pull it off’ by Suresh Taneja. 

To borrow words from Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a country like India that is saddled with corruption needs some big idea or person to desperately whip things into shape. 

A group of four teenagers in 2009 become fed up with the corruption and the related problems facing the country. They take it upon themselves to brainstorm ideas and execute them. 

Though the premise is very good, I found it tough at times to keep up with the vast cast of characters. We see the group of four as teenagers with their parents in 2009 and then with their families in 2030. Also the timelines flit between the past and the present at a dizzying pace. 

At less than 170 pages, the book is a light and fast read. It left me hoping for as bright a future for our country as vividly depicted in the book but let’s see how we actually go about achieving that status. 

Disclaimer: I received my copy of the book from the author. The book can be purchased here and here.

Book Reviews

Bala takes the Plunge

For more than five years now I have been a huge fan of Melvin Durai and his internationally syndicated columns. When I heard about his first book Bala takes the Plunge, I just knew I had to read it. 

This delightful hilarious novel chronicles Bala’s search for the perfect bride at a time when he has made a success of his career and settled comfortably into his life in the US. He has become a ‘Director’ as his company, though not the kind of director he envisioned himself to be. 

B. Balasubramaniam, B.E., had always wanted to be a director, but not quite the director he had become.  He had wanted to direct Tamil movies and work with superstars like Rajnikanth and Kamal Hassan.  

His dreams of directing Rajni blow up in smoke when he takes up engineering. 

Bala’s parents didn’t agree on many things, so he took it seriously when they both raised objections to his ambition. 

Several chapters read like a continuation of his humorous essays. I had to take frequent breaks in between to wipe the tears streaming down my cheeks. 

Chapter 2 opens thus: 

It was a bone-chilling January day in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, so cold that while shovelling snow that morning, Bala’s fingers turned numb, his moustache felt stiff and a single question kept popping into his head: was there any way to speed up global warming? 

Finally after trying all possible ways to gain companionship including keeping a dog and meeting eligible women in America itself, Bala returns to India where his parents shunt him from one meeting to another with girls of all hues. 

Most jokes required me to recover from my laughter and then resume reading. At times I abandoned the book altogether, spent a whole day reliving the joke and laughing at it in my mind telling it to everyone I knew so that by evening I could read the book with a straight face.

I heartily recommend it for all who like a light read to brighten up their lives.

 Disclaimer: I received my copy of the book from the author himself, though unfortunately it was not signed by him which is what I wanted. Indian residents can get the book from Flipkart at a fairly reasonable rate.


Limericks, Lasagnes and Leanness – My 2010 in Review

Many years ago I abandoned the practice of making New Year resolutions for the simple reason that I never followed them. I was either too lazy or overshot my goals or simply felt content to put stuff on the backburner for no rhyme or reason. 

But I do like taking stock at the end of the year to evaluate how well or how poorly I did. Without further ado, here’s the 2010 report card. 

Writing-related stuff that I did:

  1. An essay accepted for Chicken Soup for the Indian College Soul – my first such acceptance.
  2. An article published in Complete Wellbeing – my first in this magazine
  3. A limerick published in Errant Parent – my first parenting-related publication
  4. Garnered rejections L, R and C* for my second novel – sadly not a first as it has happened before with my first novel too.
  5. Read upwards of 25 books. This is an achievement because of the toddler who takes great pleasure in tearing pages from the novels I read, specifically from the end.
  6. Started blogging somewhat more regularly (excluding the last couple of months, of course) 

Other things I did in life:

  1. Lost enough weight to look reasonably slim at my brother-in-law’s wedding
  2. Prepared lasagne for the first time in my life to a reasonable degree of success
  3. Delved headlong into Italian cooking – blog post forthcoming on this and the above
  4. Changed my job (again). I work closer to my home now and rejoice in not having to drive 45 freaking minutes one-way every day. 

I am not making resolutions but there are a few things I would like to achieve this year. Let’s see how that goes! 

What I intend to do in 2011:

  1. Attempt all the recipes in my Italian Cooking cookbook
  2. Complete at least one of the novels swirling in my head
  3. Call up a piano teacher and resume the lessons that I dropped 15 years ago
  4. Break into five new markets – I say this every year and last year I managed three
  5. Write/complete at least one short story per month.
  6. Work out in gym minimum 3 days a week.


How did the year go for you? Any goals you would like to share?

*Left, right and centre – yes I felt too lazy to type it out just then