April 23, 2012

Five Little Pigs - Agatha Christie

Hi Guys,

Wishing the readers of my blog and all book lovers a Happy World Books Day.

A few days back, I read the book ‘Five Little Pigs’ written by Agatha Christie in 1943. This is the fourth book of Agatha Christie I’m reading and it is the second time I’m reading a book with Hercule M. Poirot as the protagonist. The other one was ‘Elephants can Remember’ and I am of the opinion that both these stories have some common strings.

A young beautiful girl named Carla Lemarchant meets M. Poirot. She says that her real name is Caroline Crale, the same as that of her mother’s and she wants to unravel a mystery. Her mother was framed for poisoning her husband Amyas Crale, who was a painter and before dying Caroline had written a letter stating that she was innocent. This happened 16 years back when the little girl was 5.

Knowing her mother, Carla says that her mother must be innocent and someone else must have done the murder. There are 5 people who were closely associated with Amyas and suddenly Poirot remembers the rhyme ‘Five Little Pigs’. There are Philip Blake, Amyas’ close friend and his brother Meredith Blake, whose hobby is researching on chemicals and incidentally the poison was stolen from his lab.

Then, there is Elsa Greer, a young girl who had seduced Amyas when he was painting her. Generally it was believed that Amyas was going to marry Elsa and this led to heated arguments between the couple and Caroline lost her temper. Then there is little Angela Warren, who was Caroline’s half sister and Caroline had thrown a paperweight on her when she was a baby permanently damaging her face and this also stood testimony that Caroline could lose temper. Then there is the old Cecilla Williams, who was Angela’s governess.

Poirot first visits the judges, the advocates and the police superintend and hear their opinions. Everyone believes that Caroline was the murderess. Then he visits the five little pigs one by one. They also strongly believe that Caroline was the murderess despite some having good opinions on her. Then he asks for their written accounts.

In the second book (part), we are treated with the written records of the five persons one by one. Thinking about, it is amazing how Agatha Christie has written them. A same incident interpreted in five different ways by different persons.

Then Poirot interprets the five accounts and reasons out the contradictions by asking one question to the five persons. Then finally he uncovers the murderer.

It is hard to predict the antagonist in a detective story and I try to find it out each time and fail. This time also I did the same. For a while I thought that I had found out the actual murderer. But then it was again a trap laid by Agatha Christie to fool the readers. The story ended in a completely unpredictable fashion.

A great book to read if you like detective stories. I finished the book in a single – started in the morning and ended it by night.

If you are interested to buy this book, you can use the link below to get it from Flipkart.

Happy Reading!!!

April 21, 2012

Frustration at its peak - 10 hours of power cut per day!

Hi Guys,

Of late I have not been able to do anything properly due to the heavy power cut that we face here at Tamil Nadu. 9 am – 12 pm, 3 pm – 6 pm, 7-8 pm, 10-11 pm, 1-2 am and 4-5 am – this is the power cut schedule for a day – totally 10 hours. Even the inverter’s battery does not get enough time to recharge itself.

Earlier, I have written three posts namely Horrible Power cuts (April 24, 2010), Dreadful Powercuts (May 26, 2010) and Power Shedding – An Integral Part of Life in Tamil Nadu (April 21, 2011). Wow, the last post was exactly a year ago – an unexpected coincidence.

At least then the power cuts were for 3-4 hours, but now it is totally worse. Thinking about the power cut situation, this scheduled and unscheduled power cuts started just before I started BE. Now I am going to complete BE and now the situation is rather worse. The power generation should have been increased but it has remained same all the way and the planning has also been poor. The parties blame each other for the situation and the fact is that neither has taken real step towards improving the situation.
A banner held during a protest
 Now, the situation looks quite promising. Kudankulam Nuclear power plant is all set to open in 45 days which will lead to production of 1000 MW (the deficiency is around 4000 MW). Some more thermal power plants are also under construction. Hoping that they get completed soon, the deficiency would decrease. But then, apart from that there is no future plan which is again very dangerous. The usage would be increasing all along.

Some of the businesses have been profited due to the power cuts. Inverter and battery sales have been on a high and the demand is so much there. Some of the entertainment sectors such as theatres, food centers, and restaurants have been benefited too. People come here in order to avoid the power cuts.
Students studying in lamp light during power cut
What exactly do people expect now? Steps should be taken towards Renewable power sources, particularly power generation from solar energy (like the 600 MW Park that has been opened at Gujarat). Most importantly, people expect that Chennai should have more power cuts, currently they face 2 hours only. By increasing it to 3 or 4 hours, at least the other cities would get enough power, so that at least the people would be getting enough power during sleeping hours (10 pm – 6 am).

Personally what do I expect? Each time I have written similar posts I have hoped that the situation would be better in the next season. But it has only worsened. I think it can’t worsen beyond 10 hours and I hope I don’t write a 12 or 14 hour power cut next time.

Happy Reading!!!

April 17, 2012

An Average Indian Biker!

Hi Guys,

In the western countries, cars are part of everyday living and motor bikes are highly powerful and they are part of luxurious living. But in India and some of the Asian countries, cars are luxury (which is changing over the past few years) and bikes form a part of everyday living.

This has led to the fact that most of the leading bike manufacturers in the world are Indians. Whether it maybe Hero Motocorp or TVS motors or Bajaj Auto, the understanding of Indian market and delivering affordable products for the mass middle income group has led India to the leading users of motor bikes in the world.

So, what defines an average Indian Biker? Some of the youngsters may prefer zipping past in the highways and accelerating heavily in the narrow lanes of their city. But an average Indian biker has lot of preferences and it is ultimately reflected in the bike market.

One important factor an average Indian biker will look forward is the mileage that the bike will provide. With the increasing fuel rate, the money that one needs to spend on the fuel keeps increasing. Advertise that your bike has got a good mileage and next day and surely people will start enquiring about your bike. This is one big factor why the 100 CC bikes like Splendor plus and Discover are the fastest moving ones.

Most of the 100 CC bikes are classified as starting segment bikes. Apart from mileage the other factors that lead to the increase in bike sales are the lower cost factor, less weight and value for money. As the bikes have lower power engine, obviously they will be the lower costing bikes too and the less power leads to lower weight and all the factors will lead to a observation that ‘This bike is worth the money I spend’

As I said earlier, people who buy bikes for fun and thrill are less compared to the people who buy bikes to travel to offices, shops and other daily routines. So, most of the travel occurs within the city. Any Indian would know what an average Indian Road would give its riders. Narrow lanes, cross roads, potholes and heavy traffic. So, virtually buying a higher power bike for the standard Indian roads will lead to excessive braking and reduce the mileage. It will also lead to a state where you will have very good features but you will not be able to use it. Places where heavy traffic occurs and movement occurs inch-by-inch, bikes offer you a luxury that cars won’t. You can zip past the cars in a narrow place available. You will be able to escape the signal more easily.

Of late, a change in trend has been setting in slowly. The average Indian road conditions have improved. At least the main roads have got better infrastructure and we need not brake as frequently as we did earlier. This has lead to the freedom of accelerating as per our wish to a certain extent. This has resulted in an increase in creation and sales of sportier bikes like Pulsars, Apaches and Fazers. The higher spending power and the thought of thrill among the younger people have also boosted the sales of these bikes despite the higher cost and lower mileage factors.

Choose a college and enquire the guys about the bikes they have got and you will be able to find that most of the guys will own the more than 150 CC bikes. They have the nerves for thrill and also most of the colleges are located on highways which have led to the freedom of zipping past the other vehicles.

The mindset of an average Indian biker is changing slowly. Cars are no longer a thing of luxury and thus people who think of the safety factor and have higher spending capacity have moved to cars. So, the number of people who have started to get sportier bikes are also on an increase. In my view it won’t be a big surprise if the power of engines keeps increasing and if 125 CC or 150 CC becomes a standard sometime in the future.

My biggest worry is the safety of the riders. Some of the youngsters consider the thrill, but forget the dangers. Many of the accidents occur due to the higher speed and absence of helmet. The ethics of the Indian riders must improve. Considering the thrill in riding bikes is not a problem, but the reluctance to obey road rules and wear helmet are serious problems. Hope the average Indian biker becomes more mature in the future ahead!

Happy Reading!!!

P.S: This post is written for ‘The Power 1 Biker Code of India’ contest sponsored by Castrol Biking. Indibloggers who like my post can vote by visiting my post at thecontest page.

Bike lovers and enthusiasts can visit the Castrol Biking page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CastrolBiking

April 1, 2012

Things that Crossed my Way!

Hi Guys,

It is so good to be blogging again after a long time. For some time, I was not involved in any of my usual hobbies and was fully immersed in lot of activities. Soon, I realized how bad it is turning out be and started to do my usual activities again. In the past 1 week, I have seen a really good movie (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), 1 really good thriller novel (The Hunger Games), took some interesting photographs and finally I am sitting down to blog.

The Hunger Games – a Fiction Thriller
As usual I was checking for the box office collections of recently released Hollywood movies and was amazed to find that The Hunger Games had collected $153 mn in the first week end. It is a very big number, that only a selected few movies grasp. The rating was good and learnt that it is based on a young adult novel by Suzanne Collins. I searched for the novel and found it to have good ratings. I checked the price online and found that Indiaplaza was offering 40% discount. 15 minutes back I had no idea on the novel and now I had ordered the novel. The novel came in two days and it took me one day to finish it off. I was not in a very good mood when I started reading, but then I was pulled into the story.

The story happens in the future North America. The country is called Panem and it has a Capitol and twelve districts. Each year a boy and girl from each district are chosen as tributes and the tributes are sent into a camp for fighting till death. This is called the Hunger games and the lone survivor wins. The story begins at District 12, where Katniss spends her time hunting and saving her family. On the day of reaping (the day when tributes are chosen), her sister’s name springs out. Katniss volunteers in order to save her sister. This leads her to a set of actions that she has never seen or imagined before. After facing lot of surprises and troubles, does she wins form the rest of the novel.

Cockroach – Red Light Theory
Recently I had seen a big cockroach in my home. It went away soon, but then this interesting theory came to my mind. My mother says that cockroaches are afraid of red light. That’s why my mom keeps a red light (15W) in our kitchen and she says that’s why cockroaches don’t visit often. I searched sources in the internet to find if its true. There was no proof. It is generally said that cockroaches are used to dark, but they are not afraid of light. They get used to light. I think there is no open source for cockroaches to come to the kitchen and that’s why they stay out.

Meanwhile, I found an interesting fact. If cockroaches are crushed and applied to wounds, they can help to ease the sting. If anyone is interested, try out!!!

Fools Day
Fools day used to be a fun during school days. Usually it will come amidst exams and usually friends used to fool us by saying something. Sometimes you will realize it as soon as it is said, but sometimes students used to believe and spread the issue to a whole bunch, before someone makes him realize that he was fooled. Those were good memorable days. For the past few years, it has not been as good as before. The reasons maybe either we are matured enough to know that we are being fooled or that the other person is matured enough not to play.

That’s it for now. I sign off after posting a few photographs I took in the previous days.

A Grasshopper sitting on my gate
Bunch of buds ready to bloom
A close up view of a bud

Patterns formed by the cloud

Happy Reading!!!