Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The Truth About Wind Energy

You must have been following the news on the recently concluded Paris Climate Change Conference earlier this month. The pressure on India to reduce its carbon emissions has been mounting. Instead of focusing all our energies on getting more leeway, we can look at this as a challenge to find cleaner ways of running the country. There are many alternative sources of energy, but my focus today is on wind energy.

This source, however is rather underutilized in India. We are blessed with a lot of land (being the 7th largest country in the world in terms of area) and good wind speeds in many empty fields. Despite this, we haven't harnessed the true potential of winds. We must take a leaf out of the book of the Dutch and learn to install windmills where we can. Unfortunately, there are some myths associated with windmills, which has contributed to the lack of focus in this direction. Let me tell you some truths:-

  • Wind Energy is not as expensive as it is assumed to be. Technology has improved by leaps and bounds and windmill design has also undergone a lot of transformation. It is as cost effective as generating electricity from coal, and is set to get cheaper.
  • Wind turbines don't make as much mechanical noise anymore, thanks to improved designs and better wind farming technology.
  • Wind turbines last about 25 years, and are one of the cleanest renewable sources of energy.
  • Wind turbines have been historically infamous for causing deaths among birds. But the climate situation today has proven to be far more harmful for birds!
The benefits of using wind energy is manifold. You can watch this video to know some more:-

It is evident from the clip that India stands to save a lot on foreign exchange expenses if it can become self reliant by producing its own energy through wind farming. We won't have to incur such huge debts importing crude oil from oil-rich countries. This will help us shore up our FX reserves and make the Rupee stronger. In addition to that, if we manage to produce excess energy, we'll be able to improve our export-import ratio. Job creation will also increase and our power bills will come down! :-)

To know more about wind energy, visit Windergy India - a digital platform to increase awareness on the Wind Energy sector in India.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Book Review - The Bestseller She Wrote

Today, I shall be reviewing Ravi Subramanian's latest book - The Bestseller She Wrote. Earlier this month, I received an autographed copy of the romance novel. You can also read my review of God is a Gamer by the same author.

Fast Facts:-

Title: The Bestseller She Wrote
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Genre: Romance (Fiction)
Publisher: Westland Ltd
Pages: 391
Price: Rs.295 (Paperback)

Key Characters:-
  1. Aditya Kapoor: A successful author and banker
  2. Shreya Kaushik: An MBA student and an aspiring writer
  3. Maya: Aditya's wife and a teacher at an international school
  4. Sanjay: Aditya's best friend from IIM-B 

The Review:-

'The Bestseller She Wrote' is not what you would ordinarily expect from Ravi Subramanian - the writer whose claim to fame is a series of successful financial thrillers. He writes his first romance novel, but the premise is still well within his comfort zone - writing and banking.

The story is explores a phase in the life of Aditya Kapoor, a bestselling author who also holds a senior position at a bank. He is handsome, charismatic and very lucky to have an understanding and loving wife in Maya - his B-school sweetheart. Theirs is a happy family with a toddler in the frame.

Aditya meets Shreya, a topper at IIM-Bangalore when he is invited to his alma mater to address the students and promote his latest thriller. Shreya is an attractive and intelligent girl who is fiercely ambitious at the same time. She pines to become a bestselling author of Aditya's stature. What in the beginning seems like an innocuous acquaintance, later turns into an adulterous affair. The plot is a result of coincidence and also deliberate scheming.

The book explores the delicate and dangerous world of adultery - how it starts, what goes on in the mind of an adulterer, if conscience and guilt make their presence felt, what happens when the cat is out of the bag, and if cheating can ever be forgiven. At the same time, the setting takes the readers through the nuances of getting one's book published and promoted. There are also the usual office scenes at the bank and the sundry issues you would expect.

The twist in the story is the sudden importance attributed to Maya and what happens to her. This is what keeps the book from going down the done-to-death route of a regular romance novel.

My Verdict:-

Perhaps I was expecting better stuff from the author, given my past experience with his writing. This is why the book disappoints me. Many cliches have been fortified in the book. Also, Subramanian seems to have made as little use of imagination as possible. Large parts of his story seem to mimic the life of Chetan Bhagat or perhaps his own. He casually indulges in name dropping - Ashwin Sanghi, Blogadda, HT Brunch and even Anurag Kashyap! The references seem jarring and distract you from the story as you wonder why he is irritating you with unnecessary third-party promotion.

The novel is not too bad though. It is fast paced and interesting enough to be carried along on a train journey. The interlacing of a certain global crisis is what kept me hooked to the book when my attention was wavering.

This book gets an overall rating of 6 on 10 from me. Here's a video-glimpse into the story:-

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Thursday, 10 December 2015

My Favourite Indian City

I have stayed in quite a few Indian cities so far, but for certain reasons, I like one more than the rest. This city is where everyone is driven by something, whether it is sports or politics or music or academics. This city is designed to accommodate every kind of traveller - the solo backpacker on a budget, the temple-hopper looking for peace, the water-baby who meditates by the river or the city-slicker who loves to party. The city is also well connected - it has metro, buses, trams, taxis, autos and rickshaws. You almost will never have to walk if you so wish! You must have guessed which place I am talking about - Kolkata.

Cycle rickshaws go where buses don't
Perhaps I am partial to Kolkata because it is my birthplace. But even when I think of it logically, I know I love it. The "drive" that fires people up is palpable. There is not a single soul I know who does not have a purpose in life. Most people have an opinion... on everything! Over chai, they will debate for hours on the political direction of the country or critique the latest movie based on a book. I love how well read the average Bengali is. They take great pride in their culture and traditions. The energy with which Durga Puja is celebrated here is enough to light up the country. There is drive also in people's career aspirations. The state has given the world one of its most famous poets - Tagore, a valuable economist - Amartya Sen, one of the country's favourite cricket-captains - Sourav Ganguly, and hundreds of great writers, directors, composers, dancers and singers.

Kolkata's design is an explorer's delight! There are streets so wide, you can find book-exhibitions on their paved edges; there are secluded, narrow alleyways too, for when you want to enjoy your Bengali sweets without having to share those with anyone; the Hoogly River (a distributary of the Ganga) flows under the eponymous bridge and Vidyasagar Setu - two industrial marvels; and there are temples at every street corner. Kolkata's nightlife is also something that makes it appealing. Design is not just in the city, but also in its food. The variety of delicacies available here is mind blowing!

Finally, what makes my city tick is the connect between its people. Everyone is always inviting every other person for some meal or the other! Bengalis just love to eat! And food connects people like nothing else does. Notwithstanding, Kolkata's infrastructure is laudable. Its metro is the oldest one in India. The city is the only one in India to have a tram network. The state buses are kind of rickety, but the ubiquitous cycle rickshaws more than make up for that. They do the last mile connectivity. Every seen an Indian city so well connected by so many means of transport?

Kolkata reminds me of the indigenous car brand - Tata Motors, They have succeeded thus far through their drive, design and connect.

Friends for Life

Disclaimer: This blog is for readers above the age of 25 years.

When we enter the wrong side of 25, we find ourselves in a strange position. We have a relatively cushy job that earns us enough to spend on foreign trips and expensive brands, yet we crave for the dream job which lets us do what we really want and be our own boss. Some of us get married or engaged at this time. Some even start having babies. Then again, there are those of us who are yet to find their life partners. With every passing day, we learn newer ways to dress, cooler apps to use, swankier gadgets to show off and funkier ways to party. But we cherish our old friends.

When we look at the old photo albums from school or college, we are overcome with emotion. We recall our days of fun and frolic, of yaari and dosti. We remember fondly about our first crush, the first date and the first kiss. And then we look at the faces of all our friends - the people who helped us through bad days, who sneaked our love letters past the strict class teacher, who stood outside the class with us and shared our punishment. All for the sake of friendship. Let us not forget our friends in our busy daily schedules. Let us make a promise to ourselves today to make that phone call and get back in touch with all of those wonderful friends, and in turn, bring back all those priceless memories into our lives again. Our best friends should get an even better deal! We must go over to their place and give them a sweet surprise. We must hold them tight in an embrace and share a hug with them.

While we enjoy with them, we must let our hair down and shed all our inhibitions. We must be young and free again. Secrets should be shared with friends, not kept from them! When old friends meet again, the day should be celebrated with a grand party. But we must celebrate responsibly, for we are adults now. We have our freedoms, but also our sense of duty. At no instance must our sense of enjoyment overpower our sense of responsibility. We must remember that we are blessed with great friends so we can enjoy our lives to the fullest. So, let us preserve our bonds of friendship and keep our friends for life.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Christmassy Cornflakes - Recipe

With Christmas around the corner, I suppose you will be worrying about that perfect dessert to delight your guests with? To help you with your quandary, I present to you, my original sweet dish of Christmassy cornflakes! I first made this for my friends and fellow interns in Lleida, Catalonia about 4 years back. The best thing about this dish is how simple it is to make and how easy and readily available the ingredients are. Take a look at the recipe:-

Christmassy Cornflakes


1. A bowl full of cornflakes (or wheat flakes or muesli... whichever breakfast cereal you prefer)
2. Chocolate sauce - half cup
3. Honey - 2 tbsp (for glazing)
4. Sugarfree Natura (a low calorie sugar substitute)
5. Jam or jelly (for garnishing)
6. Almonds (8-10) soaked overnight in water (for garnishing)
7. Walnuts (8-10) soaked overnight in water (for garnishing)
8. A soft milk chocolate slab (for garnishing)

Apparatus (Utensils Required)

1. A large bowl (for preparation)
2. A white deep dish (for plating up)
3. A spoon (for mixing)

Time to prepare

15 minutes

As I mentioned, this dessert will not take up too much of your time. You will be able to enjoy the Christmas party with all your guests! :-)


1. Add the chocolate sauce to the bowl of corn flakes and mix well. The dish tastes better when each flake is properly coated with chocolate.
2. Slice some almonds and walnuts and add them to the mixture. Make sure you soak the nuts overnight so they are soft, both on the teeth and for the knife.
3. Plate up the chocolaty cornflake mixture in the white serving dish. Let it set evenly all over the plate. It is advisable to use a deep dish.
4. Pour some honey into a spoon and lightly coat the top layer of the chocolaty cornflake mixture. This will give a nice glaze to your dessert.
5. Take Sugarfree Natura and lightly dust it over the dish. This will add some more sweetness to the mixture and also give a nice Christmassy feel to it. The fine sugar dust is symbolic of the December snow. You may use powdered sugar if you don't have Sugarfree Natura, but you will save on calories if you opt for the sweetener.
6. Take a slab of soft milk chocolate and cut it into thin stick-like sizes.
7. Arrange the chocolate slices around the cornflake dish.
8. Take the remaining almonds and walnuts and place them in between the chocolate sticks. Break the walnuts if you don't have enough whole ones.
9. Take a wisp of jam or jelly and softly place it at the centre of the dish. I used strawberry jam. You may use any flavour you like.

Clean the white portions of the plate so that it looks professional. Christmassy Cornflakes is now ready to be served! :-)

Christmassy Cornflakes

If you liked my recipe, do prepare it at your Christmas house party and tell me how your guests enjoyed it. I'm eagerly waiting for your feedback! :-)