Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"Aisle Be Damned" By Rishi Piparaiya – Joys and Woes of Air Travel

Welcome to humor in Rishi Piparaiya’s first literary venture called “Aisle Be Damned”. It is refreshingly laughable based on a totally different theme on travails of Air travel with convincing amusement from Rishi , who is reportedly an overworked and over travelled (he has taken over 1000 flights) Corporate executive based in the skies , 38000 feet over India
In the words of the author Rishi, “this book is the accumulated knowledge of the tens of thousands of hours that I have logged in flights, airports, immigration counters, baggage carrousels and the like”. He further states that the nuggets of wisdom would maximize the readers’ flying experience and help them (us) sour through safer, friendlier and more enjoyable skies. 
The book begins with an Essential Packing List of a Dozen items to be kept in the hand baggage to have a safe and pleasant journey like a hood, a sack of birdseed,  a masala dabba(spice box) , a stink bomb or some smelly blue cheese, a smart phone or a tablet and so on. The use of all these items are detailed in the 10 chapters from “ It all begins in the Airport” to “ Perfect Airport Pickups” . The author has made value addition to every aspect of flying experience starting from the trolley at Departures and all the way up to the Taxis at Arrivals and all of this , according to him , for lesser than the price of an Airport Sandwich. 
The author deserves loads of applause and accolades for the extensive research in the Air Travelogue manifesting in the minute details on baggage trolleys, Check-in Upgrades, Security check, Boarding Strategies, Opting for Window or Aisle seats and other aspects of seating, pre-take off procedures and hurdles, safe landings, mid- flight vigilance, technical snags , loos, in-flight meals and booze , announcements and aspects of Captaincy, awesome co-passenger conversations, landing , transit passengers, immigration, baggage claim, Customs, Tourist Tax Refunds and Airport Taxis. 
As regards  the use of the items in the Essential Packing List, mentioned ibid , the hood is intended to hide one’s face from stares of the Business Class while going to the economy seat, the sack of birdseed is to keep the birds grounded to avoid any bird attack, the masala dabba (spice Box) is to make the in-flight meals tangy and tasty , the stink bomb or the smelly blue cheese is for the Rip Off the Rip Off strategy on the fleecing Taxis, and  the smart phone or the tablet is for tweeting praises on the Book at the end  of the journey and so on. Kudos to Piparaiya. 
The humourous expressions like the Rectangular credentials foe Debit/Credit/SIM cards, Business Class Postures(BCP), Shoddy upgraders, Classy upgraders, Walkway standers Walkway Terrors, the Walk of Shame to Economy Class for the erstwhile business class travelers,   Triskaidekaphobia( fear of number 13) and “they flew happily ever after” are impressive and mind blowing. Piparaiya has cast an indelible impression on the various
Nuances of Air travel. In the concluding paragraphs of the Acknowledgements the author acknowledges the resolve that is needed to maintain poise and presence of mind at 38000 feet and expresses his heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the Aviation Industry and the gracious men and women who keep the skies safe and friendly for all of us. Rishi, you’ll be lauded for “Aisle Be Damned”. 
Thank you, Rishi, for the wonderful literary experience. Hoping to share many more humor filled creations from you. A must read for the Air travelers and those who are yet to travel.
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Which is the Hottest College Cultural Festival in India?

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Saturday, October 05, 2013

Roger Federer: Enjoy the experience while it lasts

(This blog post is written by Siddharth Kapoor, who is a junior doing his B.Tech in Civil Engineering from VIT University).
It is hideous to watch Roger Federer wane. Federer, after his most wretched summer in a decade, is now caught stranded at a strange crossroad, between being one of the most eminent players in tennis annals and a perilous future which promises to only go downhill.
Roger Federer looked sluggish this year and his results have been way underneath his standards. The 32-year-old began this year as World No. 1 and reaching the semifinals in the Melbourne, but the remaining three Grand Slams have been disappointing; with a quarterfinal departure at Roland Garros followed by a shocking second-round defeat at Wimbledon and then his miserable last 16 exit at the Flushing Meadows.
After his historical record-setting mark of 33 straight quarterfinal or better appearances at Grand Slams came to a sudden and shocking end at this year’s Wimbledon by the hands of Sergiy Stakhovsky, a player then ranked outside the top 100, the naysayers smelled weakness and went on overdrive to thrust it under the spotlight.
However, the Swiss maestro decided to stay resolute and push ahead, sending away all questions about him hanging his boots. By doing so, the 17-time Grand Slam champion dangers impairing his historic legacy, a prospect further enhanced by his fourth around rout in the hands of Tommy Robredo, whom he had never lost in 10 previous meetings.
For the first time since 2002, Roger Federer will end a year without a Major title, and a career low ranking of No. 7. It’s visible that Federer has struggled in 2013 with a record of 32 to 11 in singles play and only one title to his name. Roger Federer, a shadow of his former self, is clearly on the decline.
So what’s next for Roger? Will he bounce back? Or will the ‘retirement’ arrive sooner than later?
Many great players had been in the similar situations in the past and regardless of the odds, they had won Grand Slams or came close to winning it. Pete Sampras (and was undergoing similar treatment in press rooms and daily sports pages) was 31 when he captured the 2002 U.S. Open, and Agassi was 32 when he won the 2003 Australian Open. Eight-time Grand Slam winner Jimmy Connors kept playing for nearly ten years after falling from the No. 1 ranking but left an indelible mark in the minds of tennis fans with his improbable 1001 US Open semi-final run.
While Sampras had to overcome up-and-coming players in the form of Tommy Haas and Andy Roddick, and eventually beat Agassi in the final, the current crop of players have elevated tennis to a whole new level, which is partly due to Federer’s stratospheric levels. Federer’s stratospheric tennis forced his competitors to push themselves beyond themselves to catch up with ”Fedex’. In an amusing irony, it can be safely said that the Swiss’ dominance has eventually caught up with him, for now his younger rivals
have not merely become better all-round players but have also toiled to up the physical demands of the game.
Federer has nearly a half-dozen rivals with Nadal, Murray, Djokovic, Del Potro, and Tsonga and even Berdych all looking very sturdy and consistent in Grand Slams and to win another, he must beat at least two big guns of the game. So, can Federer to do it given that he faces a tougher competition than they did?
Back in 2008, Rafael Nadal toppled Federer to being the numero uno in the tennis world and begin dominating on all surfaces, leaving many to ponder whether Federer has it in him to regain his top-dog status. And, the rest they say is history as he climbed back the perch again by winning the US Open at a time when even his ardent supporters had began doubting his ability.
Again, in 2011, Novak Djokovic looked supreme, driving Federer into unacquainted territory as the World No. 4, but come June, Federer acquired his 17th Grand Slam at Wimbledon and reclaimed the No. 1 ranking, eventually surpassing Sampras’ record for most weeks at the top.
So, if the past tells us anything, it’s that a cornered Federer is even more dangerous. He’s still motivated and he loves playing the game and it would premature to write off somebody of his stature.
Let’s keep opinions aside. Let’s forget the statistics. Forget the records. Forget that it’s a competitive sport. Forget success. Just watch Federer play in isolation. Even in what is regarded as a bad season, Federer produced moments of brilliance that few players can replicate. That elegant one-handed backhand and the effective flowing forehand still has the power, grace and the ease to awe-inspire tennis fans around the world.
He still provides fans with innumerable moments of pure brilliance, at times reminding us of his crispy serves and smacking volley.
Age may not be on his side, competition may be getting harder, and weaknesses are clearer than ever but Federer’s elegance and brilliance still retain the charisma to draw any person towards the game of tennis. He may or may not win another Grand Slam but he will definitely compensate for it by drawing millions of people towards the game.
Remember, watching Federer wield his racquet like a wand is a religious experience. Genius is not replicable.
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