I blog, therefore I am

Monday, December 15, 2014

As many of you might be already aware, the title of this post is actually the title of a bestseller book by John Green, which is also adapted as a feature film. I got a chance to read this book during the last week (sincere thanks to Shweta for lending it to me). I totally loved it. Special thanks to Gaurav and Shweta (yeah, the same girl who lent me the book) for recommending it to me. And yes, it did make me cry, as you guys were claiming.

Although the IMDb list of the top 10 movies of 2014 (the movie came in 2014, but the book was published in 2012) ranks the 'movie' version of this book on the 10th spot, I believe that the book is a lot more than the movie. There are times which make you smile, and then there are times which definitely make you cry. "You laugh, you cry, and then you come back for more", said Markus Zusak (author of The Book Thief) about this book. In this book, the author brilliantly explores the funny, thrilling and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Quoting Wikipedia,
"The story is narrated by a 16 year old cancer patient named Hazel Grace Lancaster, who is forced by her parents to attend a support group where she subsequently meets and falls in love with the 17 year old Augustus Waters."

Also, as a piece of information, the title of the book is inspired by Julius Caesar (a play by Shakespeare). In Act 1, Scene 2 of the play, Cassius says to Brutus, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars. But in ourselves, that we are underlings." Same is also used in the book.

Well, I want you to spend time reading the book. Hence, strictly NO spoiler alerts this time. It will be worth it, I assure you.

In the rest of the post, I am going to list down my favorite quotes (in no specific order or ranking) from the book. Sit back and enjoy the quotes and their neck-deep metaphorical meanings. ;)

Also, all the quotes below are the copyright property of the author, I am republishing them because I liked them. So, even if I don't mention his name after every quote, they still belong to John, no matter what.

"That's the thing about pain. It demands to be felt."

"The world is not a wish-granting factory."

"You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers."

"What a slut time is. She screws everybody."

"As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once."

"It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you."

"That's what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway."

"All your attempts to save yourself from me will fail."

"Some infinities are bigger than other infinities."

"The marks humans leave are too often scars."

"Without pain, how could we know joy?"

"I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things."

"I'm like a grenade, Mom, and at some point I'm going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?"

"You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful."

"I'm on a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend."

"It is the nature of stars to cross."

"The world wasn't made for us, we were made for the world."

"I really thought she was going to die before I could tell her that I was going to die, too."

"Omnia Cellula e Cellula."

"No matter how hard you kick, no matter how high you get, you can't go all the way round." 

Did you read this book? If not, do it now. Buy it from Amazon US, Amazon India or Flipkart.

Did I miss any other interesting quote? Remind me via the comments. And yes, happy reading. :)

Sunday, November 30, 2014

They say that the success mantra for any business to excel over its competitors is to treat its customers like a king. It is a metaphor, no doubt. But the management gurus at Emirates do not seem to believe in it. Not even a bit of it.

Oh my God!

I traveled to Europe for a couple of months. Emirates was selected for the cause. I was quite excited to travel with them because I had heard quite a few positive reviews about them.

I will mention three incidents below which made me dislike their services. Individually they are more than three, but I have grouped them into three to save them some embarrassment.

Incident 1:

This was on my way to Frankfurt. The origin was Dubai. The date was September 22, 2014. According to the booked tickets, I was expecting to be served with an Asian Vegetarian meal. But the flight attendant apologized for not having such an option on that flight. He offered me to accept either chicken or fish. I was disappointed, but didn't think much about it since only the main course was non-vegetarian. I happily ate the rest of the meal, and didn't give it much thought.

Incident 2:

This was on my way back to Bengaluru. The origin was Dubai. The date was November 22, 2014. Their in-flight interactive screen featuring ICE (Information, Communication, Entertainment) was not working for my seat. I reported the issue to the attendant. She assured me of resolving it at the earliest. When nothing happened, I re-inquired about the issue. I suggested her to reset the console from the main control. They did follow my instructions, only that they were not done for my seat. The lady passenger next to me found her screen being reset. I burst into laughter. I called the attendant for the third time, explaining her how she did the right thing, but for the wrong passenger. She somehow agreed to what I meant to say, and then re-assured me and left. After a lot of waiting, I got really pissed. When I called them again, one of them came up to me and blamed me for interrupting the reboot process by pressing the buttons on the remote control. I was furious. They actually never rebooted my screen, but she wasn't ready to budge. I decided not to bother them anymore.

Incident 3:

This was in the same flight as before. It was time for dinner. As before, I was expecting to be served with an Asian Vegetarian meal. But the attendant felt sorry, stating that such meals were over. Already furious about the screen not working, I was getting angrier. In fact, this time I was not the only one. The lady on my right, the gentleman one ahead on my left, and the gentleman two ahead on my right had the same issues. They were also conveyed that the meal was over. They only had chicken meals left. This made me remember how the same happened on my flight to Frankfurt. (Maybe at that time also there were more unhappy customers; maybe I just didn't notice.) When you commit a mistake once, it's a mistake; when you do it again; it's a choice! At least, that's how it appeared to be. We were all wondering whether they really counted the different kinds of meals required on the flight before they took-off. After all, they knew it at the time of ticket booking.

Given the female nature, the lady passenger started shouting at the top of her voice. There was chaos all around. To calm her down, they served her with a vegetarian meal. Everyone wondered where it came from; it was supposed to be over. The gentleman one ahead on my left was promised to be served with vegetarian pasta, which was on the stove at the time of promising. Needless to mention, he never got that pasta! It was clear enough that they were trying to somehow keep the situation under control.

Unsatisfied customers got even

If there were four unhappy customers (including me) in such a small area of the flight, I kept wondering how many people went unhappy that day. That is when I decided to write this post.

I am not sure about those three, but Emirates has definitely lost me as their customer. I will happily go for other not-so-popular airline services over Emirates, given my poor experience with them.

Bad service?

Did you also face such a situation ever? Was it with Emirates?

Monday, September 15, 2014

If you have read my previous post, you must be aware how big a movie buff I am! Being in Bangalore for more than 2 years now, I decided to try some Sandalwood movies. It's not that I haven't seen any south-Indian movies before, but watching the ones recommended by someone who is quite familiar with them is a different experience. This is when my friend Arun suggested me to watch Lucia.

I would hate to reveal the plot of the movie, because I don't want your movie experience to suffer. Yes, I want you to go watch this movie if you haven't, and then come back again to read the rest of the post. (Spoiler ALERT: I might have revealed the twist in the words to come!)

You might be wondering why I'm going all ga-ga about movies, while the post title itself is a bit more philosophical! The title actually is the message that Lucia gives. You might not completely understand the depth of this, but you'll be able to appreciate it more once you have actually seen the movie. (Just because I've asked you to watch this movie twice, don't confuse this post with a sponsored post, because it isn't! The movie is too good to resist.)

Since I am not fluent in Kannada, it is obvious that I had to rely upon English subtitles to understand the story. But, seriously, it was worth it. The story revolves around a person who is the super star of the movie industry, but has dreams of becoming a common man. He dreams of being a torch-bearer in a local movie theater, one who 'struggles' to earn his daily-bread, to propose to his love. He dreams, rather wants, to stand alone on the streets and enjoy the roadside pani-puri. He also wants to wait for a bus on the bus-stop. He wants to do simple things. Being a super star, he misses living a normal life. In the end, he tries to commit suicide so that he can continue living in his dream! Such was his obsession with his common yet 'not-so-common' dream.

The movie ends with this awesome message "Your 'small' life is somebody's 'big' dream".  This is literally depicted in the script! But, I think it makes more sense when taken figuratively.

Your 'small' life is somebody's 'big' dream

One must not complain about what he/she doesn't have. Instead, we must be happy and satisfied with whatever we own. Our life, no matter how normal, possesses a unique identity. Never underestimate yourself. There are many who strive hard to achieve what you already, easily own. For them, it will be like a dream come true.

Also, we can always be of great help to others from whatever little we have. The joy of giving is, and will always be, greater than the joy of having. We must always be ready to help the needy in whatever way we are capable of. This is how we can be the part of the bigger picture, and contribute in making this world a better place to live in. After all, my life is somebody's big dream. So is yours.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Well, I actually wrote this post for a blogging competition at work. Since the competition is now over, I am publishing it here as well. Fellow Bosch colleagues can find the actual one here. (Don't complain about the link to be broken, because it isn't! You can open it via the Bosch network only.)

Friday.. weekend... masti.… movies! Admit it or not, this is what we wait for Monday onwards, week after week. Being an ultimate source of unlimited fun and entertainment, movies play an important role in one’s life. But is that it? NO. Obviously NOT. They are a major source of inspiration as well. They play an equally important role in shaping who we really are as a human being, as do our parents and loved ones. They teach us some of the greatest lessons in the simplest ways ever.

Movie quotes that inspire me, and I'm sure will inspire you too

Following are a few movie quotes (in no specific order or ranking) which have inspired me throughout:

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.” – The Shawshank Redemption
There is a saying in Hindi, “Ummeed par to dunia kayam hai”, i.e. the world relies upon hope. Ever wondered what will happen if we stop hoping? There will always be a sense of negativity all around! Neither will we dream of something good, nor will we try to achieve it! Life will become stagnant. And I need not remind what grows in stagnant water. So yes, keep hoping! After all, the world relies upon it too!

“There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – Winnie the Pooh
To sum up, never underestimate yourself. Each one of us is unique in one way or the other. No two men are alike. So stand up and discover your inner potential. The world is not enough!

“Oh yes, the past can hurt. But from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.” – The Lion King
Everyone makes mistakes. But smart is he who learns from them. Technically, it is like a machine learning process. Once we know what we did wrong, we can learn to make sure not to repeat the same mistake again!

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.” – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Remember Gandhi’s 3 monkeys? Don’t see bad, don’t say bad, don’t hear bad. Even if the one doing bad is close to you! Positive criticism is fruitful. The person you are standing against will eventually realize his mistake, and his respect for you will increase manifold.

“It ain’t how hard you can hit. It’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” – Rocky Balboa
Failures are the stepping stones to success. One who has never seen failure can never enjoy the taste of success. Failing is not wrong, but not trying again surely is!

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” – Jobs
Believe in yourself, and think outside the box. The combination of these can do wonders! Do what you do best, and give your maximum. The results will be overwhelming I assure.

“We buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like.” – Fight Club
Stop living for others! It’s your life, live it the way you like! The clothes a person wears doesn’t define who he really is, it is his behavior that does. Character is the key! Do good, get good. As you sow, so shall you reap.

“Whoever saves one life saves the world entire.” – Schindler’s List
Even one man can make a difference. As long as one good man exists, the world is a place worth living in. If you are capable, make sure you help someone, even though that person is not in a state to repay you.

I would like to end this post with the following line (it is not from any movie though):

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin
This line has inspired me ever since I started blogging. Hope it will inspire you too!

Which are the most inspiring movie quote(s) you remember? Share them via your comment below and help me grow my list. After all, sharing is caring!

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