5 Books I Enjoyed Reading In 2011

books_read_2011Reading is a passion for me which started with Asterix, Archies and Tinkle. Graduated to Jeffery Archer, Leon Uris and Sidney Sheldon. Then being interested in History, I got addicted to non-fiction books. I wish I could have read more books this year but did manage to read a few.

Here are 5 of my favourite ones in 2011…

Steve Jobs Biography by Walter Isaacson

I was never too concerned by Steve Jobs as I am not really an Apple Inc fan. But I appreciated his genius for design and simplicity. The book brought about the complex, brilliant and at times not such a nice person behind the the legend to life. Even if you are not a Apple or Steve Jobs fan, it is a great chronicle of how technology companies evolved over the past 30 years.

Augustus: The Life of Rome’s First Emperor by Everitt Anthony

Never had read much about Ancient Rome before, but this biography of Augustus (the first Emperor of Rome) was fascinating. It was not too dramatic and did not take artistic licenses (as far as I know). It was not exactly boring either. Augustus is a great personality to study when it comes to governance and how it evolves.

I, Claudius by Robert Graves

This books is a fictional auto-biography of the Roman Emperor Claudius (grand nephew of Augustus). It brings alive the way of life of upper class Romans in a way that no one could imagine. The book is pretty old and was written in 1934. It is one of the rare books set in ancient history which is extremely witty.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Another non-fiction. It chronicles super successful people and the reasons they were successful. The idea behind the book is simply, no one is self-made completely. It takes a certain environment and luck along with it.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

First few days of 2011, were dedicated to reading the original Dracula. This one is eerie at times but fascinating. The book was written in 1897 and they are still telling vampire stories (albeit all lame compared to this one). One can say this book is where all modern horror films began.

I managed a few more books but most of them were not my favourites. All of them were interesting though. Did you read any books this year? Drop in your favourites in your comments.

Also you can look up my book lists at my GoodReads profile (


R.I.P Dev Anand [Khoya Khoya Chand…]

DevAnandFeeling sad that the legendary Dev Anand has passed away. He was someone who stood out for acting in movies that were not just entertaining but also off the beaten track. He was also someone who was working until the end of his life, at the ripe old age of 88.

Being unique was his trademark and he summed it up in a quote during an interview on Times Now.

I did not like borrowing ideas because it makes you feel second rate and I wanted to feel first rate. ~ Dev Anand (1923 -2011)

Khoya Khoya Chand– Kala Bazar


Can the World Afford 10 Billion People?

Recently, the world has been celebrating or marking the birth of the 7th billion person. The world’s population is 7 billion, there are 7 billion mouths to feed. The distribution of population have remained constant for over thousands of years. India and China is where most people lived say 3000 years ago and the trend remains the same even in present day.

Strangely we have gone from 1 billion in 1800 to 7 in 2011. India now has a lot more people than the whole world’s did back in year 1800.

The population is supposed to top up and stabilize at 10 billion people.

I guess the world (not earth) needs to stop reproducing itself into oblivion.

Check this video that shows how the population has been growing and why:

What kind of pressure will 10 billion people put on agriculture, water resources, forests lands and endangered species? Do drop in your comments.


League of Extraordinary Geniuses!

As the Nobel season is around, I thought of sharing this amazing photograph with you. I came across this photo on a blog post and really wished, I could get a time machine, go back in time and listen into to what they were discussing. All of them are geniuses but quite a few of them are immortally famous.


Click on the image to see full enlarged version

The photo was taking at the Fifth Solvay International Conference on Electrons and Protons in October 1927.

Image Credit: Centered Librarian

PS: Einstein remarked “God does not play dice.” Bohr replied, “Einstein, stop telling God what to do.”


The Anurag Kashyap Effect!

Anurag_kashyapIf I had to list my favourite Hindi films from recent times, they would be Black Friday, Satya, Rang De Basanti, Dev D and a few more. But the name of Anurag Kashyap keeps floating about in most films I have liked. Either as a script writer or director or even as producer.

I am not a fan of Anurag Kashyap the person, as much as I am a fan of films he has been involved with. I do not know about his philosophy or his struggles. I have never really tried to search for such information nor have I easily come across it.

Another actor I am a big fan of is Robert De Niro; again people hardly know much about his private life. But he still manages to have millions of fans. They are not exactly his fans but fans of his work.

These are not people who are celebrated but these are people who choose to have only their work celebrated.

The point here is, this sort of popularity has nothing to do with talent or ability, but to do with choice. In other words, being a private person is choice and not necessarily an achievement or a personality quirk.


Kishore Kumar the Genius!

Kishore_KumarWay back in 93, I was still a kid and did not know much about old Hindi songs. I bought a cassette titled ‘Kishore Kumar’s greatest hits’.

That was it. I was hooked on to the Kishore Kumar’s voice and his music. An actor, director, song writer, music director all rolled into one.

If he were alive today, he would have turned 82. Well no use writing a bio of the legend, so decided to make a YouTube playlist of some of my favourite songs. Let me know which one was your favourite Kishore Kumar song?


Flowchart to Happiness!

It is said that to be truly happy you need to do what you enjoy. Not all work is exciting but it could still make you happy. I came across this flowchart on Typecut, which gives the most ridiculously simple yet powerful advice. I need to follow this.. 🙂



Bombay Pirate is now on WordPress

When I started Bombaypirate, it was without any thought or goal. The idea was to just write things I would like to write about. I ended up writing about people, society, my views and even movies. Yes, it was a post about a movie, that got me a job at rtCamp, and I was suddenly a professional blogger, who was managing Devils’ Workshop and other blogs in the network.

That is where I came into contact with WordPress as a blogging platform. Not being a developer, I had a tough time figuring out some of the minor details of WordPress. I could not really mess around and experiment on one of India’s most popular tech blogs.

Why WordPress?

Many reasons from being comfortable with it and to finding it a better platform than Blogger. But, the main reason was “It was time”.

Special Thanks

Let me first start by thanking Nitun Lanjewar who helped me with the migration from Blogger to WordPress and to Rahul Bansal for introducing me to the world of blogging.

Final note: If you are looking to move you blog from Blogger to WordPress, I recommend using


Ode to the Kingdom

I was bored and a old friend from school and his gtalk status quotes made me chuckle for they were senseless to the extent of being brilliant. I decided to comment on our country in a similar style. Then I totally stretched it way out of control I think. Here is the Ode to the Kingdom.

The Commies had a feast and Karat danced the night away with his comrades eating delicious Chinese food. The Indians had a feast and they killed each other in one night deciding if they would make north or south indian food. And then the Italian chef smiled at the fools.
Babaji became heir apparent, he represented the youth as he grew older. He was a champion of the new born baby even if he were to turn a hundred he claimed. Until then he would eat delicious pastas made by his mother the famous Italian chef.
The Iron man started to work out when he was past eighty. He wanted to be King he said, his balding head shone like his metallic body. He claimed to wage war against the fools and make the kingdom rich. I am the King! I am the King he shouted but sadly for the bald iron man Singh is King.
They laughed at the King, they laughed at the Italian chef and her Babaji when they shook hands with Uncle Sam. They cried for the poor man from their Mercedes and BMWs. They decided to eat Chinese food instead of the heavy stomached Italian food to stay close to the Indian people. The monsoons have come now and the friends of Mao are screwing them.
The wrestler grunted like a bull and promised to do away with English and Computers. We all will prosper as we ride on our buffaloes on the superfast highways. The wrestler threatned the Italian chef and called her infant Babaji an infant. The wrestler and his immortal friend bit the dust as they were left behind with their bulls on their dusty roads.
The summer was hot and dry. The wells dried up and the lakes fell short. But the Kingdom had a feast to decide on who would be king. Now that Singh is King again, the Rains come down, rivers gather strength and the tap runs dry…
The Bridges fall and the Cranes then fall like dry twigs, Where are you? O Shaktiman !!

Black and Iqbal

The other day when I was flicking channels I caught a scene from the movie ‘Black’ starring Rani Mukherjee as a deaf, mute and blind charachter (a take on Helen Keller) and Amitabh Bachchan playing her eccentric teacher.

I saw this scene in which Rani Mukherjee walked like Charlie Chaplin and apparently there was nothing wrong with her feet but I guess it was a nice way to get the audience to feel sad about a poor girl. It got me thinking about the movie and names like Hellen Keller.. hmm
I remember reading about her in some school text book. She was quite the inspirational figure. Rani Mukherjee’s character looked just about tragic at best. The acting was good I guess. It won the Naitonal Award of the best film but when I first saw it and even now its always felt like going into a French Restaurant where excellent Italian cuisine was served. The movie has everything going for it.

Great cast, renowned director, great photography and a inspirational story. Hmm that word inspiration again. If you really thought about Helen Kellers life she was a person who acheived a lot more than just centering her life around a teacher and sitting on a bench feeling snowflakes. She campaigned for the Socialist Party, stood up for women’s voting rights, assisted in the founding of the iconic ACLU and travelled the world. She wrote 12 books and several articles. She did more than most people do in a life time and all this inspite of being deaf and blind.
‘Black’ was that cesspool of pity which is lauded over this girl’s charachter in the movie where all the movies ends up showing is life is tough for a deaf, mute and blind girl. I mean what the fuck? Doesnt common sense say that anywaysl? The movie shows her as a outcast who doesnt fight back or live her life on her own terms. It shows her as a outcast who clings to her teacher and thats it. The movie is melodramatic, visually brilliant piece of an excuse to be a tear jerker. It seems all the director wanted were great award winning shots, the story be damned. All the director wanted was us to feel sorry for a disabled girl. Worse the creators say Helen Kellers life was a inspiration for this movie.

Now really wiki Helen Keller again and youd go wow !! I mean heres a person who did stuff.Right through the movie there is no friend, no family member who cares about the charachter. If the family cares its only through dinner dialogues to prove that they probably care a little bit. The years of disgusting behaviour is balanced with a couple of scenes of repentence by the family and lifes peachy again.

All this makes me think about another Hindi movie called Iqbal. Its about a deaf and mute boy in a village who resists family pressure to play cricket. It ends with the kid in India colours as a fast bowler. The boys disability is never shown as a problem. You are never made to feel sorry for the kid, atleast not too much and he’s moving along towards his goals without melodrama. Yeah I rather think ‘Iqbal’ is more representative of Helen Kellers life than ‘Black’

Frankly people with disablities have it tough and we all know that. Why make them feel worse by pitying them and feeling sorry for them. Help them out if you think you can or watch how they help themselves out. Most times we have a lot to learn from them anyways. So dare I say learn from them.