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Enjoy the pictures. Will post separate post about my experience there.

Zangto Pelri Lhakhang Temple, Thimpu

Zangto Pelri Lhakhang Temple, Thimpu

Dochula Pass, Thimpu

Dochula Pass, Thimpu

Thimpu City Gate

Thimpu City Gate

Sacret Cat at a monastery

Sacret Cat at a monastery

Chilies !! Staple diet of Bhutanese people

Chilies !! Staple diet of Bhutanese people

Authentic Bhutanese dish

Authentic Bhutanese dish

The people here love their King.

The people here love their King.

Tiger Nest

Tiger Nest

Happiness Index is high here

Happiness Index is high here

Paro Chu river

Paro Chu river

Some local game

Some local game

IMG_1095

Art & Craft

Largest Book in world available for $15,000.

Largest Book in world available for $15,000.

Thukpa

Thukpa

Cute Kiddo

Cute Kiddo

Thimpu City view

Thimpu City view

Random Shayaris

A amateurish attempt at writing shayaris for different moods

Romance

Jab tumse mili nazar to chingari si bhadki
Hawa aisi bahi ki shama jal uthi
Der na karo sanam pyar ke ekrar me
Dhua dhua na ho jaye ye waqt kahi intezar me

Dreamy Love

Na dekha roop uska…na pata naam
Ho wo ek khubsurat pari..ye hai arman
Intezar kar raha mai uska din rat
Jane woh kab sunegi mere dil ki baat

Nam na batayenge uska hum
Jisko dil de ke banaya hai sanam
Maloom nahi humko ki kaha hai woh
Hogi jaha, waha  rah dekh rahi hogi meri wo

Heart Break

Lafj tumhare ye dil ko chubh gaye
Satve aasman se hum jamin pe gir gaye
Ummeed to humko tumse pyar ki thi
Tum to bewafai karke dil tod gaye

Comments and feedback appreciated.

BlogAdda Book Review : Bankster

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Book: The Bankster

Author: Ravi Subramanian

At a time when the entire Banking industry is being criticized for being selfish and money minded, bankers being accused of being untrustworthy, this book by Ravi Subramanian seems to come like a blockbuster movie addressing right what the audience wants.

Bankster is derived from Banker + Gangster; a notion I would dislike considering that I am a banker myself. Ravi Subramanian is a banker himself and thus he understand the banking industry. Being called the John Grisham of Banking, I am not sure as I am yet to read the other 4 books of the author, however this book certainly presents an interesting real like plot with fast paced thriller embedded.

The story revolved around three distinct yet connected sub stories

1. CIA agent buying blood diamonds in Angola

2. A resort owner trying to fulfill a wish in honor of his dead son

3. A trusted Bank and the dark side of the banking activities

The primary story revolves around Great Boston Global Bank (GB2), a trusted MNC Bank where suddenly employees start loosing lives and when questions is started being asked by the Compliance Department Head “Raymond” and her friend “Harshita”, they too end of being dead. While the story initially leads with “Vikram” being the lead character who has the image of flamboyant banker, it gradually winds up to revolved around “Karan”, an ex Banker, currently journalist who becomes the protagonist and solves the murder mystery within 48 hours. The book exposes the dark side of miss-selling to customer and inefficiencies of Banking system through Zinaida, the new kid in the retail banking block, apparently recommended by Vikram, who grabs a huge account which later on is identified as the source of all problem. The is fast paced thriller revolving around potential murder suspects and finally giving a jolt climax and revealing the real villain.

The book has its own set of flaws:

1. Excessive use of Hindi, which seems meaningless

2. No in depth character building especially of Karan and Zinaida

3. The mystery resolution felt little unrealistic

Despite this the book will surely attract readers who are looking for a fast paced thriller intertwined with corporate drama especially Banking “masala”. The three subplots play out will and do not appear disconnected which makes the book a smooth read.

Enjoy Reading !

I would rate the book 3/5

This book review is part of the “Book Review” program by Blogadda. More such reviews can be found here. Sign up for the Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. and get free books! Participate now!

I would like to thank Blogadda and its team for providing this opportunity to read and review this book.

Indian Rail Pantry Catering – one of the biggest contract in Indian Railways is possibly turning out to be the biggest pain for passengers travelling on long distance journeys. While the passenger has to trust (and in many cases has no other option) the pantry car for supplying hygienic food, the contractors are doing their best to squeeze out money and serve just bearable food. All this under the nose of the government which awards these contracts and is responsible for overlooking these contractors.

How and Why does this happens ? I tried finding during my return journey from Bilaspur to Delhi.

I was travelling in Sleeper coach as I could not get confirmed 3AC reservation. What this does is that I loose the preferential treatment from pantry guys in 3AC, I get dirty and crowded coach to sit it which is raided by vendors whenever they wish and I have to use a bathroom which I would never use under normal circumstances. Anyways, perils of travelling in sleeper coach later.

I ordered food (dinner) to the pantry boy who was collecting orders. The irregularity that I noticed was that the pantry boy didn’t show/had any menu card nor did he disclosed the price of food. The price list is not displayed anywhere except possibly the pantry car coach where its produced on demand. My food came promptly with the following items 1) Dal 2) Aloo Sabzi 3) Rice 4) 2 Roti. Not tempting for sure but what to do when a man is hungry !

Now came the bomb surprise when I was asked for Rs. 82 for the plate of dinner I had. Not only me but other co-passengers who were having the same food were surprised. Sensing our surprise and anger, he did the best thing. He went and got the bill and sat down to talk – all this to prove his innocence in all this.

Railway Pantry Car Bill

So while there was no “Mix Veg” (it was plain aloo matar sabzi) and “Papad” in the food served, the same is shown in bill, still authenticating that Rs. 82 is the caterer decided price to be charged. Ironically, Sleeper ticket costs Rs. 350 for a 1000 km odd journey where you will order day and night meals and if you add to that breakfast of Rs. 50 (Yes ! They charge Rs. 50 for breakfast of 2 cutlets + 2 breads or 2 breads + omlette) it works out to Rs. 214 which is 70% of the ticket cost itself. And all this with the approval of the government who approves these tenders and these prices/menus. Does the government really thinks Rs. 82 is the right price to be charged on train for such a measly meal, moreso when there are such class of people travelling who travel in Sleeper Class to save some money. The result of all this is that they end of eating unhygienic cheap food served at station stops or vendors.

Our talk with the pantry boy revealed more interesting facts. Apart from the fact which he asserted that these are government approved rates, he acknowledged that the food quality is not good and the contractor is loosing out customers with high price low quality food. On an average per coach, the pantry car prepares 20 plates of food. For our particular train, 250 dinner plates had been prepared. Our discussion happened around 10 PM and he told us that only 100 plates were sold. What happens to the remaining 150 ? The excess food is thrown away !! Simply thrown away !! Wasted !!. Made me feel angry for such wastage of food to happen. Supposedly the contractor prefers throwing the food over selling it for lesser price. Is this really the policy under which contracts are given to contractors ?

So how does the contractor make money if so much wastage and loss of food happens. The pantry boy revealed that the cost of this food wastage is inbuilt in the food served to us which is why its being served at high price of Rs. 82. So not only are we make to pay high price for barely eatable quality food, we also are made to pay for food wastage which the contractor does just to keep the prices jacked up.

While we all ended up paying Rs. 82 for the meal, we felt cheated and more-so angry for never complaining about this to authorities. I for once decided to put out this blog-post as a complaint against this wastage of food and loot of money. I did search out on google other people who had complained on public forums. If only the government can look into it and take some action to bring such scrupulous practices to an end so that the journey on Indian Railways can become pleasurable, safe and healthy.

BlogAdda Book Review : Krishna Key

Title: Krishna Key

Author: Ashwin Sanghi

Ashwin Sanghi has come out with his next book “Krishna Key” after “Chanakya Chant”. He has followed the similar 2 story pattern in the book with an interesting plot woven together through intense research which is evident in the novel. Before I go into the review, would like to share this teaser video I found on Youtube for this book. Interesting to have a video marketing campaign for a book.

Now onto my views on the book. Those of you who have read Dan Brown books and in particular “Da Vinci Code” would tend to find start similarity in this book in terms of plot. Nerdy professor solving a mystery of cryptic murders with ancient signs and symbols all over the place, through a fast paced thriller woven with data and facts which at times get too complex and redundant. Sounds familiar to Da Vinci Code right ? Also the two story model doesn’t seems fit for this book and feels like a break between the fast paced novel. Possibly a 10 pager annexure at end of novel would have been sufficient for those having no knowledge of Krishna (maybe international audience ?)

Good thing about the book that you feel is that it keeps you glued, partly by the web of information provided about mythology and Krishna in particular, and partly by the fast turn of events that makes you keep reading and moving on to the next page. Mixing mythology and thriller creates a good concoction like in “Immortals of Meluha”, Ashwin Sanghi has tried his best to do similar thing here. I will give him credit for his effort and research on Krishna (to the extent of quoting his sources down to URL; impressive !!). If nothing else it improves your knowledge of Krishna and makes you want to know more about the beloved “Kishan Kanhaiya”.

<———————————————————–SPOILER ALERT—————————————————->

To give a synopsis of the story-line, it revolves around the lead character Ravi Mohan Saini, a history professor with deep interest in mythology and ancient history, getting dragged as a suspect for murder of his close friend who has supposedly made some mind boggling discovery related to Krishna and has created a cryptic message for anyone who wants to solve it. While our professor runs away with his student Priya  to prove himself innocent, there are 3 more murders throughout the story line by a character “Tarak Vakil” who thinks of himself as Kalki Avtar (10th avtar of lord Vishnu). With all this bollywoodish romance of running around with a girl and mild moments of intimacy and romance thrown in, the reader is subjected to sudden revelation of Priya being the villain. The story takes a twist from here on with another romantic angle thrown in of Ravi falling in love with Radhika, the cop who was chasing Ravi Saini around (Hilarious !). Amidst all this confusion and chase of finding what Tarak Vakil wanted for murdering 4 people, the story comes to an abrupt climax where the lead character realizes that the prize or the “Krishna Key” is not something material but spiritual. (WTH ! moment). You will also get to read a lot of science logic thrown in here and there to justify the existence of Shiv Lingams. Please read through it with a hearty laugh, nothing serious about it. Maybe some sense in writing about religious idols should have been through by the author.

All in all, my rating is 2.5 out of 5. An average read and certainly not upto the hype that this book created and the good reputation of Ashwin Sanghi in particular. Read it if you want to enjoy a fast paced thriller and if you are into mythology. If I get more time I would certainly explore the sources that Ashwin Sanghi has mentioned at end of his book. They would certainly form an interesting read for I am sure interested in knowing about Krishna more.

This book review is part of the “Book Review” program by Blogadda. More such reviews can be found here. Sign up for the Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. and get free books! Participate now!

I would like to thank Blogadda and its team for providing this opportunity to read and review this book.

Title: The Devotion of Suspect X

Author: Keigo Higashino (Translated by Alexander Smith with Elye Alexander)

ISBN: 0312375069

‘The Devotion of Suspect X’ is one of the most acclaimed works of Keigo Higashino with more than 2 million copies sold. The novel has also been made in a movie Suspect X.

The book is a murder thriller and is built around a fast paced plot. Japanese style of writing can be fully enjoyed with interesting to the point plots, fast paced story-line, surprises built in the story making to eager to turn the next page. Some characters have been shown to decipher too much from too little facts but I guess all murder thrillers needs at-least one mastermind to plot the murder and one to break the code.

The story revolves around four main characters -

1. Yasuko: Portrayed as the lead character who, along with her daughter Misato, murders her ex-husband Togashi

2. Ishigami: The genius mathematician who plays the role of mastermind plotting the entire story

3. Kusanagi: Detective who is involved in solving the case

4. Yukawa: Physicist, another genius, friend of both Kusanagi and Ishigami. He plays a vital role in determining how the story unfolds

The story starts on a fast-track mode with author clearly establishing Yasuko’s history as a divorcee mother and Ishigami’s secret love for her. Yasuko’s ex-husband shows up to again torture her and extract money. The mother-daughter duo snaps and this is where the murder happens. Fast but messy. Here is where the genius mathematician steps in to help the love of her life. The plot looks very dramatic as Ishigami, though a neighbor of Yasuko, has never really held a conversation with her. Yasuko, it seems out of fear and no way out, accepts Ishigami’s help.

While the story on a virtual plane revolves around Yasuko, the center or lead character appears to be Ishigami around which all characters revolve; or to simply put the beauty of author, Ishigami makes them revolve by his perfect game plan. While Ishigami is the one who plots the way the police can never suspect Yasuko, it is Kusanagi and Yukawa who unravel the whole story and keep the reader hooked on to the book. Ishigami plots a masterful, devious and methodical scheme to fool not only the police but also the reader’s in thinking in a tangentially different direction if they try to determine what’s happening next. Without giving spoilers for the book, reader has to extreme attention to details to understand the real motive. The chase of Kusanagi to find the killer seems futile at every moment and pretty much enjoyed by Ishigami who seems to have pre-meditated everything except one factor – his old friend Yukawa who matches his genius. It is he who ends of breaking the code only to learn that the web to protect Yasuko built by Ishigami was much more complex than he could ever imagine. The real suspect – Suspect X was Ishigami, who devoted his life to save Yasuko.

The story-line in this book is superbly crafted and is a wonderful,  recommended read if you like murder mystery books which keep you hooked on till the last. If while reading the book, you feel that the case is like a mathematical problem with clues thrown around for the reader to figure out, then you are not very far away from the truth ! :)

This book review is part of the “Book Review” program by Blogadda. More such reviews can be found here. Sign up for the Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. and get free books! Participate now!

I would like to thank Blogadda and its team for providing this opportunity to read and review this book.

So retrospectively speaking, all of us desire we had visualized the Facebook growth story and own some shares of the company. An investment couple of years back would have made anyone a millionare. Wishful thinking ! :)

Well nothing to worry about. You can be part of the possible next big thing in socia media space – Zurker, and actually own it. That too for free !! Yes you head it right :).

Zurker is currently in beta phase and is giving access to public through invitation only. What makes the invite special is the fact that you get to own equity shares in Zurker by just accepting the invitation and creating a valid account. Cool isn’t it ?

So go ahead and join Zurker ! I am extending the invitation for the benefit of all readers. After all a free meal isn’t something which you get every other day.

Click here for invitation to join Zurker

 And that’s not all. If you are really impressed with Zurker or want to just play a wild investment, Zurker gives you opportunity to buy upto 500 Vshares. So you need not regret later of not knowing the big thing around.

I just couldn’t find a reason not to join. :) Enjoy !

Click here for invitation to join Zurker

Rishikesh -River Rafting trip !

Gateway to Himalayas – that’s what Rishkesh is called and it totally befits the description. The majestic Ganges flowing down the valley shows the spirit and energy that the city commands.

Three of us planned a 2 day trip to Rishikesh for the river rafting experience. Needless to say the trip was amazing. What made the trip more memorable was that it rained while we were rafting and rafting against the winds really tested the strength of the group. What further added to the adventure was cliff jumping, rock climbing and rappelling – adventure sports which can certainly scare you for the first initial moments.

Relaxing camp location next to the  Ganges tributary was just the perfect location for settle down. Volleyball, cricket, bonfire and dinner in the cool alley rejuvenated the body – something which was much needed after the hectic office schedule.

Posting some pics to share the memories of the wonderful trip.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) reduced the repo rate by 50 basis points to 8.0 per cent in its annual monetary policy review on April 17, 2012. While the markets were expecting a moderate 25 basis point cut to be in place, a sharp 50 basis point cut surprised many. Reserve Bank does seem to have its own logic for this rate cut but it seems like a step which is too fast and too furious. Is it a gamble for growth that RBI is willing to play or are they succumbing to demand and pressure from industry for some easing in policy rates?

Rate cut from RBI comes on the back of declining growth rate to sub 7% which apparently is below the desired/expected growth rate which RBI has targeted. While the growth rate has been impacted due to continuous rate hikes by RBI in the past 2 years, there has been moderate impact on inflation. Headline inflation still hovers at around 7%, however there has been moderation from last year’s rate which has prompted RBI to take this cautious step of rate cut.

Although inflation levels are yet far off from RBI’s comfortable target of 4-4.5%, but declining growth rate has prompted RBI to shift its focus on growth over inflation for the time being. This is a risky approach.

Firstly, risks to inflation spiraling high again are looming at large. The reasons remain the same which have till now not let the monetary measures by RBI control inflation. Large fiscal deficit which has been further fuelled by focus of government on spending and giving benefits and subsidies has led to increase in demand which further triggers inflation. Further, inflation is driven by supply side factors primarily in the food category. Sturdy supply chain measures are yet to be taken by the government to counter these challenges. Further the decline in investment activities has more to do with weak fiscal policies than high interest rates. Policy-related bottlenecks, higher cost of inputs, weak rupee and slowing external demand has all led to decline in investment activities. Foreign investments also have seen to take a dwindling in wake of weak confidence in Indian Economy in the backdrop of slow growth, non-industry friendly policies, political uncertainties and row of scams. Amidst all these, there is also pressure of fuel prices to rise in the global markets. Even if the prices remain steady, government has but little choice to increase retail fuel prices given the already burdened subsidy budget.

While the RBI has said it has taken a cautionary approach and intends to closely monitor inflation and growth rates and if needed might even go for rate hike, but it is moving into dangerous grounds. Growth does certainly seems to be a significant factor on RBI’s mind when playing the repo rate cut card but for it to be significantly effective, Banks need to pass on the rate cut to corporate so that investments can be boosted. Apparently the banks are reluctant to do so. Given the slow deposit growth, banks are hesitant to drop the deposit rates as it may further slow down deposits and so if the lending rates are cut it will hit the profitability of Banks. The banks will ultimately pass on the rate cut but it will be crucial to see who wins in the race – inflation or growth. We all hope that the measure turns out beneficial and gets Indian Economy back on track of solid growth.

Haze

I need comfort, I need love
I need something to rise above

Its all pain down on earth
Everybody is looking for a rebirth

Live it all over, do it again
Will that make life a better bargain

Snatch it, kill it, suck it all
When will all this madness stall

Thorns on top, thorns below, thorns all around
Is this what i dreamt life was to be;
when the world was my playground

Now i find myself torn
To survive or wish to be reborn
Answers are what i look for here
Its just an endless haze everywhere

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