Thursday, 24 March 2016

Interesting Clouds

        You are going for a long drive with your family. The sky is clear and blue. No clouds blocking the sun. A nice sunny weather. Most people like it. But I don’t. I like cloudy weather. Especially when I have a camera. So, ever heard of cloud watching? I recently took interest in it. For it, you need some patience. Looking at the sky for a different kind of cloud is all you have to do. Almost all the time, there are clouds in the sky. But we never take any notice of them. But when you do, you could get to see some really amazing clouds.

        Here are some pictures I’ve taken of some interesting clouds:
The lightning that isn't

The flying lion-cub

Lion face

Now that's an angry hippo

What are you pointing at?

A frightening smile

Cloud wall

Nice hairstyle, though!

A white smile

The tornado that isn't

Dude, motorboats are not for flying

Elephant's trunk, or devil's tail?

A duck about to enter a pond



Power-packed punch!

Grim Reaper!
So for once he's actually captured on camera.

Turkey (the bird)

Orange lightning

Question mark

An eagle, or a cockatoo?

Copyright © 2016 Manas Trivedi
All rights reserved.
All images are copyright protected and are the property of Manas Trivedi. For permissions, please contact me at:
-         Manas Trivedi

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Role of Wildlife Sanctuaries in Preserving Wildlife

          You must’ve heard about wildlife sanctuaries. Wildlife sanctuaries are places where animals can live freely. India has 550 wildlife sanctuaries. And quite a bit of them are private sanctuaries engaged in buying, selling and trading wild animals. But are they wildlife sanctuaries in real sense?

          First, let us understand the difference between a wildlife sanctuary and zoo.

          Zoos are places where animals are kept in cages, while the people roam around freely. The zoo keeps animals for their conservation. They’re given food and a safe place to live, but not a free space to roam around, where they can feel free.

          But wildlife sanctuaries are places generally spread over huge areas. The animals are free to roam, but the visitors have to move in a restricted area only.

          Nowadays, many wildlife sanctuaries are becoming places for breeding of animals, and where the paying public is allowed to play with the young ones, like tiger cubs.

          If people are coming and playing with the cubs, will the animals feel safe? Do people feel safe when a leopard enters their village? How do people react? They try to get rid of the leopard as fast as they can. In the same way, the animals don’t feel safe when people are around them.

          A wildlife sanctuary should be a place where animals should feel as if they’re living in their natural habitat. They must have sanitary conditions, roomy enclosures, proper vet care, appropriate feed and the like.

          Visitors shouldn’t be allowed to get close to the animals, let alone playing with them. The sanctuaries mustn’t be breeding places and places for sale of animals. They never should be used as a place of entertainment for people.

          Wildlife sanctuaries must be places for animals, not for humans. That must be their sole purpose. Their environment must be one of complete serenity and tranquillity, so that the animals could spend their lives peacefully and safely.

-         Manas Trivedi

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Female Illiteracy

           Female illiteracy is one of the main problems faced by the developing countries in today’s world. Women and girls have often been denied equal opportunities in the field of education. The male dominated societies fail to understand the importance of female education, and hence, arises the problem of female illiteracy.

          The main causes of this problem are gender stereotypes. The girl child is seen as a burden on the family. She is treated unequally, as compared to the boys of the same family. Parents do not consider her education important, as one day she will get married and serve her husband and family. They also believe that their sons are more capable than their daughters. All this results in either denial for her education, or education till the elementary level only.

          This can have wide ranging effects in the society. An illiterate woman does not know the value of education. She does not pay attention to the education of her children. Thus, the vicious cycle of illiteracy gets repeated. She does not understand her own rights, and this makes her a victim of gender discrimination and inequality, once again.

          It is said that “If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a family.” An educated woman ensures the education of her children. She is also able to get employment, improving the economic condition of the family, and contributes to the national income. Thus, female education is a must for development.

          The best way to increase female education is by spreading awareness. The media, especially the radio and television, can be used for this purpose. We can also try to encourage parents to educate their daughters, and mention its advantages. Governments all across the world have implemented schemes ensuring female education.

          Today, we see women working as architects, pilots, teachers, doctors, engineers, accountants, and in every other field. This is the result of female literacy. Nowadays, societies are becoming more and more aware about the importance of woman education, equality and freedom. We still need to spread this awareness, to eradicate female illiteracy and to promote gender equality.

-         Manas Trivedi

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Book Review - Carry On, Jeeves - by P.G. Wodehouse

‘Carry On, Jeeves’ by PG Wodehouse is the first book in the Jeeves and Wooster collection. The two main protagonists of the story – Bertie Wooster, the master and Reginald Jeeves, Bertie’s valet. The book has ten chapters, with Bertie being the narrator for nine, and Jeeves being the narrator for the last chapter.

          Introduction – The First Page:

The book starts with – ‘Now, touching this business of old Jeeves, my man, you know, how do we stand?’ Hmmm, yeah, so, who is the narrator? Who is speaking these lines? There is no such introduction like – ‘Hey, I’m Bertie Wooster’, or ‘Bertie here!’ throughout the book. You won’t get who the narrator is, until you read the 18th page, where Bertie’s fiancĂ©e takes his name. So, what I think is that there is be a book written before this one by Wodehouse in which features Bertie but not Jeeves. And I completely failed to find that book on the internet, or should I say, the internet completely failed me. Thus, one has to read that book (if there is one) which precedes this one in order to know who the narrator is. It isn’t the author’s fault, as one must read the introduction book before moving on to the second, but still, if you read Rick Riordan’s trilogy ‘Kane Chronicles’, each book introduces the person who is narrating.

          The first page kind of deters you from reading on. It isn’t that nothing is understandable, but mixing a few difficult words along with the fact that you don’t know the narrator, does not help. One needs the willpower and determination to go to the next page. I suggest you just need to, you know, read the first page, whether you understand it or not, and move on. Once you complete the chapter, you’ll know what the first page meant, after all.

Vocabulary – Difficult Words:

As for the difficult words, there are just so many, that after a while I stopped consulting the dictionary. If you are really interested in knowing each and every word’s meaning, you must use an online dictionary, or maybe a dictionary app. Using the dictionary (the real book), doesn’t make sense, since there are at least five hard words on each page, and about 15 minutes are required to find all their meanings, while searching them in the dictionary (the book). I once again suggest you don’t really need to completely know their meanings, and you need to leave the word and move on. You just need to know the meanings of a few frequently used words, and you’ll understand everything, the plot and all, without taking much time.

Style of Writing:

The style of writing used by Wodehouse must’ve been pretty futuristic for his time period, since I believe informal English, slang and humour weren’t there during the War period, only Shakespeare. For example,

‘What ho!’ I said.

‘What ho!’ said Motty.

‘What ho! What ho!’

‘What ho’! What ho! What ho!’

After that it seemed rather difficult to go on with the conversation.

Wodehouse gave this style of writing to Bertie, while giving the Shakespearean style, as I call it, to Jeeves. Bertie's informal style prevails for the nine chapters which Bertie narrates, with a hint of the Shakespearean style, when Jeeves speaks with Bertie. The last chapter gives you a full-fledged insight into the Shakespearean style, as the complete chapter is narrated by Jeeves. An example of Jeeves’ style:

‘The crux of the matter would appear to be, sir, that Mr Todd is obliged by the conditions under which the money is delivered into his possession to write Miss Rockmetteler long and detailed letters relating to his movements, and the only method by which this can be accomplished, if Mr Todd adheres to his expressed intention of remaining in the country, is for Mr Todd to induce some second party to gather the actual experiences which Miss Rockmetteler wishes reported to her and convey these to him in the shape of a careful report, on which it would be possible for him, with the aid of his imagination, to base the suggested correspondence.’

Mind you, the paragraph above is only one sentence, spoken by Jeeves to Bertie. Really, only one full stop at the end. Spoken by a GRE student, isn’t it? Only when Bertie explains the same to Mr Todd are we able to understand the meaning of the same.

Plots – The themes of most stories:

There are two types of plots used –

1.    Engagements – Bertie helps his friends to get engaged with whom they want to marry, and also helps them to break engagements with whom they unwillingly got engaged.

2.    Aunts and uncles – Bertie helps his friends to acquire money from their rich aunts and uncles, who had earlier stopped their allowances.

Basically, each chapter is a different story. There is a problem to be solved. A friend might approach Bertie for his help, for the above two situations. Bertie shows his faith in Jeeves and asks him for his help. And Jeeves faithfully helps Bertie by giving his helpful suggestions to solve the problems. The Wooster motto – When it comes to helping a pal, we Woosters have no thought of self. Thus, Bertie executes the solution, putting himself through all sorts of funny situations, and in the end, the problem is solved.

There is never a tragic end to a story. However difficult a problem may be, it always gets sorted with the help of Jeeves at the end. Each story seems to lift your spirits, irrespective of whether you’ve gone into a depression, or if you’re feeling topping. You get the hope that even the biggest of the problems has a solution.

Very well said by Marian Keyes:

‘The ultimate in comfort reading, because nothing bad ever happens in P.G. Wodehouse land. Or even if it does, it’s always sorted out by the end of the book. For as long as I’m immersed in a P.G. Wodehouse book, it’s possible to keep the real world at bay and live in a far, far nicer, funnier one where happy endings are the order of the day.’

Type of book:

The book is supposed to be a humorous, funny sort of book. There are quite a few instances which were pretty funny. But I wouldn’t call the book altogether funny. I’d say only those situations which Bertie encounters while helping a friend are hilarious. The rest of the book is like a normal storybook. Concerned with the fact that Wodehouse was an English humourist, you won’t find funny one-liners every now and then. Still, I’d call this as a ‘different’ storybook. This is the book which one really wants to read. It is like ‘What will happen next? Will Bertie be able to solve the problem?’ So, you have a bit of suspense in there as well. Humour, suspense, climax, problems, solutions and happy endings. Bored of normal novels? Go for this one.

-         Manas Trivedi

Sunday, 19 April 2015

An Unforgettable Birthday Party

          It was the 1st of April, 2015. What clicked in your mind? Yeah, April fool’s day! The most awaited day for many, but right on the day, I forget and get fooled by all. On this day, I was invited to one of my friend’s birthday party. I was pretty excited, and reached the party house on time. You know, you’ve got to be punctual with this stuff.

          The door was wide open, so no suspense on ringing the doorbell. I met and greeted my friend, and joined the other guys at the party. No one needed to tell me. I made myself completely at home. We all sat there for quite some time, cracking jokes and doing other silly stuff. This time I was alert. I was not going to be fooled today. A couple of April fools had been made, and I wasn’t going to be next.

After waiting for another 15 minutes, which seemed like an hour, I was going to wait no more. I mean, come on people! Let’s get this party started! Another friend of mine felt the same. We had all been given small bottles of water. He opened his bottle and looked slyly towards another guy. The next thing is pretty obvious, isn’t it? Squirt goes the water. He emptied his bottle on the poor unsuspecting party-goer. Angry retaliation followed, the water missing the target, and falling on another. This was going to be an all-out water battle. I found the farthest corner of the room, and watched the action unfold.

The bottles were small, so the water got over easily. I was the only one who didn’t get soaked up. I got to know the meaning of ‘having the last laugh’. The parents of the birthday boy weren’t looking pleased, and were trying to wrap things up. They brought in the cake, which was supposed to be the star attraction for the day. It was huge, but only area-wise, not like one of those three tier cakes. It was like those Enter-The-Dragon moments, with everyone saying ‘Oooh!’ and ‘Aaah!’ We started singing the Happy Birthday song.

The cake seemed irresistibly delicious, or deliciously irresistible. Halfway into the song, the junior members of the party lost their resistive forces. And within moments, a bunch of hands splashed, or crashed, into the cake, coming out only with huge pieces of cake. If the junior members can do so, why should the big guys be left behind? Another bunch of hands, digging deep down into the cake, came out with even bigger pieces. One of them figured out an even better use of the cake pieces than eating them. What else than smearing them on the birthday boy’s face? I spoke out in defence of my friend, “He’s the birthday boy. Do let him have his day of the year.” Instead of listening to me, the guy handed me a piece so that I could join in the fun.  After half a minute of smearing, the birthday boy looked like a completely outraged grizzly bear. His parents took him inside, trying to calm him down.

The three of them came back, looking as calm as ever.  Dinner was served, with a nice starter and a mouth-watering main course. The cake didn’t get completely ruined, so each one of us got only a piece of the cake as dessert, owing to its huge size. I was not going to eat it, as only God knows whether the hands which went into it were clean or not. The party was over, and I greeted my friend once again. All I was taking back home with me was an experience not to be forgotten, and the fact that I didn’t become an April fool.
Written by Manas Trivedi
Original story by Mihir Trivedi
This might give you an idea of what happened at the party

Mihir Trivedi, my brother who experienced the party

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Importance of Adult Education

“Let us do something really great
Educate the adults illiterate”

Take a newspaper of a language which you can read. Read out the headlines. Easy? Now take a newspaper of a language you don’t understand at all. Try to read the headlines. Tough? Now try to write in that language. Impossible? How do you feel? Helpless? Possibly exasperated? Imagine the condition of the 775 million adults who have no idea how to read and write, in any language.

Adult illiteracy is one of the major problems in the developing countries. The major cause of this problem is poverty. Parents are not able to give proper education to their children, due to unavailability of money. Also, these parents might not know the long term benefits of investment in their children’s education. Though there might be schools providing education at very low costs, parents, instead of sending their children to school, force them to earn money for the family. These children grow up to become uneducated adults. So, lack of awareness is another cause of adult illiteracy.

The effects of adult illiteracy are drastic. People generally look down upon such illiterate people, and discriminate against them. When discriminated against, these people hide their faces. They are afraid to step out in public. Their self-respect and self-esteem gets completely destroyed. As they have no qualifications at all, they do ill-paid jobs like working at construction sites and working as domestic servants. And even while doing these jobs, they aren’t able to count their money. They couldn’t sign any official paper. So, they can be easily manipulated by others. The ultimate result of all this is poverty. So, poverty is both the cause and effect of adult illiteracy. These illiterate adults might have the potential to do great things in life, but illiteracy holds them down. They have to depend upon others for knowing the headlines of the newspaper, for writing a letter, for knowing the story of a magazine, and what not? They could never be independent.

This problem of adult illiteracy has a very simple solution. Each one of us should teach at least one adult in our life. 17% of the adult population of the world is uneducated. So if each person in his/her life sets a target of teaching one adult how to read and write, in any language they like, adult illiteracy would become a thing of the past. Today many organisations are working for adult literacy. Evening and night classes are held for adults. Illiterate adults should not be afraid to ask anyone to teach them. We can also try to spread awareness about the value of education. After all, education is the basic right of each and every person living on this planet!

“Eradicate illiteracy, let us all say
We’ll educate all, come what may!”

-         Manas Trivedi

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Is Private Coaching necessary for competitive exams?

       In today’s competitive world, everyone is trying their best to win the rat race to become successful. Students of the secondary school start preparing for their career right since class 7. For this, most of them join private coaching classes. These classes aim at making them able to crack tough exams and builds their confidence. They guarantee success. So, the advantages of these classes are many, but just as each coin has two sides, even coaching classes have their own disadvantages.
          Firstly, these classes horribly mess up the daily routine of a student. My brother goes to his classes right after coming back from school, and come back late in the evening. He does not have any time for physical exercise or any other activity, and even his own school homework.
          Secondly, these classes give their own homework. Now, this is serious. Along with the school homework, you have to do tuition homework. A lot of extreme hard work. If you don’t have time to do your school homework, what will you do about tuition homework? I’ve seen my friends doing their tuition homework in school, and leaving their school homework pending. This greatly increases the stress on the students.
          And lastly, these classes have exorbitant fees. Parents invest their hard earned money in these classes, believing there will be value for money. But in some cases, the teachers aren’t as experienced and educated as they should be. They aren’t able to give individual attention to each student, as big coaching classes usually teach in large groups. So, the classes become a waste of precious time and money.
          Good coaching classes might lead you onto the path of success. If the teachers are experienced, and they have a good name, it is a great educational investment. But I believe, it’s much better to be independent and study on your own with determination. All you need is some good books, and a lot of confidence, and before you know it, you will be treading on the path of success towards your destiny.
-  Manas Trivedi

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Review - RAWAT Restaurant, Jaipur

          Rawat is a vegetarian restaurant opposite Hotel Maharani Palace and Kanchi Mishthan Bhandar. It is, by far, the best restaurant in Jaipur, when quality of food is considered. It has a large cuisine, but there are only some main items which are their speciality.

The restaurant is divided into three parts – an A/C dining hall, an outdoor dhaba area and a sweet shop having tables. I’m going to explain about the ambience of the A/C hall, because that’s the part you’d like to go in. Then we’ll look at the food.

The ambience of the A/C hall was not all that good. It was, well, average. I was expecting the tables and chairs to be covered with cloth and all, but it was just simple. Too simple for an A/C hall. Rawat has to improve its ambience, so that the hall could really be called an A/C hall. The kitchen is adjacent to the hall, with a glass wall separating the two. So you could actually see what’s going on in there. I don’t know whether the A/Cs of the hall actually work or not, but they have two TVs, for entertainment while dining.

Before we move on to the food, let’s look at the prices. I assure you, the food is horribly expensive. Now, where do you get to eat a ₹175 plate of Poori Subji (fried flat bread with cooked vegetables)? You might want to run out of the place after looking at the menu card, but the food is worth the money.

I tried the ₹175 plate of Poori Subji, thinking whether ordering it was a mistake or not. I dug into the food. It. Was. Awesome. Nothing like it. One of a kind. This has to be the best traditional dish of this place. Delicious. Sumptuous. Tasty. Mouth-watering. Yes it is. The poori has an incredible taste. The aloo and gatte ki sabji have amazing flavours. The raita is fine, just as an extra touch. So, this is one dish you must have if you’re dining in Rawat.

The general favorite of the Indian public – Chole Bhature is also available here. The Bhatura part is good, but the chole part has a bit more cinnamon for my liking. You may try it, but it’s much better if you order the bhatura part separately, not the chole. You could order something else along with it, such as paneer or aloo ki sabji.

Speaking of paneer, it was, as usual, great. The Dal Bati Churma Thali contained a bit too much churma instead of the bati and dal. There were only three batis, each with a 2 inch diameter. So the main course was less, whereas the dessert churma was overflowing from the plate. The plate contained three types of churma – White and Yellow churma, both tasting almost the same, and Rose-flavoured churma. Still, the white and yellow churma were fab, not the rose one. My suggestion-order the mini dal bati churma, you’ll get the white one at least, and that’s all you need for a dessert

This is all I know about Rawat. There is value for money. This is the place for high quality high cost food. If you are a foodie, and have the money, visit Rawat, the best middle class restaurant in Jaipur. I’d give four out of five stars to Rawat and hope that it will continue serving its delicious food forever.
-         Manas Trivedi

Rawat Restaurant Pure Veg.
The part of the building above ground is the sweet shop and the part underground is the A/C dining hall

The inside view of the A/C Dining hall of Rawat restaurant

The ambience of Rawat restaurant
Too simple for an A/C dining hall

Rawat's Thali

A view of Rawat Mishthan Bhandar, the sweet shop famous for its Kachori

The outdoor dhaba area of Rawat

Hotel Rawat

Monday, 22 December 2014

Book Review - THE RED PYRAMID - by Rick Riordan

     The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan is the first book in the Kane chronicles series. The language used in the book is quite similar to Franklin W. Dixon’s ‘Hardy Boys’ series and Jeff Kinney’s ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ series. The two protagonists, Carter and Sadie Kane are shown to talk in an informal, friendly way with the reader. The book is basically a transcript of an audio recording made by the two. The books starts off with a bang. It starts with these words - “We only have a few hours, so listen carefully.” This urges the reader to read on.

 There were some really funny lines in the book, but halfway through it, the author used the same pattern, which wasn’t all that humorous. At the end of the book, I felt as if I were a close friend of Carter and Sadie. They did, in a way, talk to the reader. But once the book ended, I didn’t feel happy and satisfied, as I would have felt on completing any other novel. Instead I felt sad. Literally. At the end of the book, Carter and Sadie suddenly stopped talking after saying “This is Carter and Sadie Kane signing off. Come to Brooklyn. We’ll be waiting.” Even though they were imaginary, I was filled with sorrow.

One thing that makes this book stand out are adjectives. The descriptions of some things are really great. This makes it easier for us to imagine those things. But some descriptions were so abstract, vivid and unimaginable, it made imagining those things all the more difficult. The way of speech of Carter and Sadie is different and well executed. Carter is an African American boy who is a well behaved and obedient person, and his way of speech is the same, while Sadie has a kind of, well, what do you say, ‘cool’ attitude.

The book also shows family bondage and brother-sister relationship. Most of the book is on Egyptian mythology and magic, and I’m sure the author must have done a lot of research. This book has influenced me so much that even I have started doubting whether magic really doesn’t exist. The type of writing in this book can be used by young writers who have just started to write. They can start writing personal experiences the way the author has written (just the way I’ve written-scroll down). I would give 8 out 10 points to this book and congratulations to Rick Riordan on writing such a wonderful book.

-         Manas Trivedi

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Review - SHIV SAGAR Restaurant, Aundh, Pune

           Shiv Sagar is a vegetarian restaurant located in Aundh, Pune in Maharashtra, India. It is one of the best restaurants for the middle class in Pune, where you can find dishes ranging from the traditional Dal Tadka to Paneer Butter Masala to Manchurian to Mexican Pasta Sizzlers. No other place having such a large cuisine.

          First, we will have a look at the details of the place. Then I will introduce you to some of the best and famous dishes of the restaurant.

          The restaurant has two storeys, the ground floor which is non A/C, and the first floor which is an A/C hall. The first floor has cloth covers on the tables and chairs, preferred by those dining in premium hotels, while the ground floor has normal chairs, tables and fans. The difference between the two is that the ground floor has a normal temperature, while the first floor has a cold temperature. It just means that food becomes cold within a few minutes in the A/C hall, while on the ground floor, it doesn’t. So, first recommendation, dining on the ground floor is better.
          Tables can be reserved on phone. Tables are available for two, four and six people, but for more people, the staff can join two or more tables, so that they can have a great party. The time taken to serve the food after placing the order varies from ten to fifteen minutes during normal hours and half an hour during peak hours. It also depends upon the type of dish you order.
          The cleanliness is fine. There is a wash basin, and after eating food, a finger bowl is provided. The tableware is neat. Till date only once in my 250+ visits have I encountered the problem of some material being present in my plate and glass.
          Now let’s have a look at the cuisine.
          The Pav Bhaji is breathtakingly incredible. It is probably the best Pav Bhaji you could ever have in this world. You have to try it before it’s too late. Though it is a bit expensive, it is a must-eat. I hereby declare it as the best dish of this place.
          Chole Bhature – the bhature part is fantastic (and oily), but the chole part, not so much. The chole are, well, I never was able to understand their flavour. I’d recommend Shiv Sagar to possibly make them a bit softer, so that it would be more enjoyable. The bhatura part is shockingly amazing. It is almost bewildering. Biting into one feels like walking through heaven, or more accurately, eating heaven. Believe me. You can order exclusively the bhatura part, without the chole.
          Manchurian and all the types of Paneer served here are satisfying. If you have the money, you can buy a nice sizzler. It will result in people coughing around you, due to the hot vapours coming out of it. But it has a taste of its own.
          Now for the South Indian part. The masala dosa is remarkable. There have to be better restaurants that make better dosas, but till date, of all dosas I've eaten, the Shiv Sagar dosa is the best. The original masala dosa with the red chatni is crisp and less oily, while the rava masala dosa is oily and crispier, and the one suggested by me.
           The Utthapam and Idli are okay. The Medu Vada is nice and crisp. Along with all these South Indian dishes, Sambhar and coconut chatni is served. Both are nice and add to the flavour.
          As for the dessert, if you visit Shiv Sagar in winter or spring, order Strawberry with Cream. Big pieces of real strawberry are topped with cream. Dig into one, and you’d never want it to end. I’d call it a khatta-meetha combination. But along with the brilliant taste comes a higher than normal price tag. You can also try the strawberry milkshake. It comes in a big glass, again with real strawberry pieces.
          This was all about the Shiv Sagar restaurant. On the whole, the place is excellent for moderate price high quality food. I would give the restaurant four and a half out of five stars and I wish all the best to Shiv Sagar to continue its future endeavours.
-         Manas Trivedi

Shiv Sagar Vegetarian Restaurant

Masala Dosa with Red Chatni - Shiv Sagar

Utthapam - Shiv Sagar

Strawberry With Cream - Shiv Sagar

Sunday, 7 December 2014


          The Lenovo ideapad s210 is an 11.6" touchscreen notebook. It is economically priced at 32,500. It has a slim design, one key recovery and an accutype keyboard. Dolby advanced audio is present, and so speakers give a clear sound. It has the label of Energy Star and has an Intel core i3, using fourth generation processors.

          The accutype keyboard keys have an inward slope, for the best typing experience. Also, if the keyboard is removed, and if something is to be typed, there appears a touchscreen keyboard on the screen, as in tablets and smartphones.

          There is an HDMI output, for easy connections to television and other similar appliances. There are 2 USB connection ports and a card reader. The one key recovery button allows to recover from viruses. The notebook also has an HD webcam, for conferences and video chat.

          These are some of the positive things present. But while working on it, I faced some major difficulties.

          Even when the screen brightness is set to level 1, the 36Wh battery gets discharged within 2 to 3 hours. Notebooks are generally used throughout the day by professionals. So I would recommend Lenovo to increase the battery life to 6 to 8 hours in future models.

          Also, there is no CD driver in the notebook. Probably while Lenovo was developing the notebook, it excluded the driver from it, just to give a slim design. Work can be done by using USBs, but sometimes the only thing you need is a good CD driver. That must be present in all PCs.

          And last, but not the least, it doesn’t have any in-built microphone. I am a user of Skype. And I have the experience of working on laptops with microphone. In those kinds of laptops, you could simply turn on Skype and talk to the person on the other side, without any equipment like headphone.  But in the notebook, there is only a headphone portal. So, while on Skype, only one person, who is wearing the headphones with a mic, could be heard by the person whom he/she is talking to on Skype. Hence, family talks are impossible. Example, my family is talking to another. My brother is wearing the headphones. I yell “Hey! What’s up you guys?” Won’t be heard by the other family, you see? You can use a better, sensitive mic, but it is always better if there is an in-built microphone present in PCs.

         So, I have stated the positive and negative things about the notebook. I won’t recommend it to people using laptops while travelling, without the charger. If you are not travelling with the notebook, and keep it plugged in for most of the time, and don’t mind headphones, I’d say for you the notebook is great. I hope Lenovo increases the battery life and adds the in-built microphone and the CD driver, in future models of the notebook. I would give three out of five stars for it. And I hope better notebooks in the future.

­­­-  Manas Trivedi

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Helicopter Havoc

         Helicopter! Incoming! Where? Where is it? I can’t see it! Oh yeah, there it is! Oh my god! This was a part of a short discussion which took place between my brother and I while going to a holy temple.
It was around 11 in the morning on 23 November 2014. My family and I set out for the Chatushrungi temple in Pune, in our car. I was riding shotgun, my father was driving, and my mother and brother were sitting behind us. It was a nice morning. The sun was shining lazily, the sky was utterly clear, and the cool breeze was blowing gently, or so it seemed, as in a car with closed windows, you can’t experience it. And most importantly, I was in a good mood, which wasn’t very often.
          While looking at the clear skies, I spotted a grey helicopter in the sky, not too far. Nothing too unusual. Still, I told my brother about it. Then the helicopter did start becoming unusual. It seemed that it was falling. I had to tape this! Unfortunately, because of my usual bad luck, it went behind the buildings. I gave this news of the helicopter crash to my family. My mother, being positive, said “I’m sure it didn’t crash. It must be landing on the helipad of a building. Perspective is the culprit.”
          I was pretty sure there wasn’t a single helipad in the area. I kept a lookout for any kind of fire or smoke, or the unfortunate copter. Within a few seconds, we came into an open area, free of buildings. The helicopter wasn’t visible at all. Even the fastest of helicopters couldn’t escape in such a short period of time. Where in the world did that copter go? I was going crazy. At least the copter would make some kind of sound while flying. I opened the window. I heard a really loud whop-whop-whop-whop-whop-whop-whop. The typical sound of a severely unbalanced washing machine. Yeah, what else but the identified-flying-helicopter.
I stuck my head out of the window. The copter was insanely close, just about ten metres above us. What was the pilot thinking, landing on us, or on the road? I blurted out a funny “Aaah!” You had to see the expression on my brother’s face. It was then that I said “Helicopter! Incoming!” The copter took a sharp turn to the left and became visible to all. And then my brother said “Where? Where is it? I can’t see it! Oh yeah, there it is! Oh my god!”
Immediately, everyone on the road stopped their cars to catch this sight. This thing isn’t seen every day. The copter was flying at a moderate speed along with our car. The thing was losing altitude quickly, and before it landed, or crashed, our car stopped due to the traffic jam.
People stepped down of their cars to see it. They literally parked their cars on the left lane of the road. I remember seeing two children sitting on the roof of their car, with their parents beside them, eating chips, as if they knew the event was going to happen. I’m not kidding, the place became a picnic spot.
The copter probably didn’t crash, as it didn’t make a crashing sound. It flew into an area fenced with brick walls and barbed wires, covered with trees. It was a military base. We made our way through the jam, and finally saw the helicopter resting on the ground. People were standing on their toes, and some were even sitting on the fence of the base, avoiding the barbed wires.
Actually, there were two of them. One of them absolutely motionless, and the other with rotating blades, perhaps the one which landed just then. We further proceeded down the road, until the helicopters were out of sight. There were almost no vehicles in the road. All were busy watching the copter behind.
Some distance ahead, I noticed a third copter in the sky. It too flew in the direction of the base. “Turn back! I want to see it!” my brother ordered, of which notice wasn’t taken. It was not flying as close as the first one, and was just as grey as it. I felt that something was on. Some great personality had just landed in the city. Then even I felt that we should have turned back. I would have got a glimpse of the Indian Prime Minister, or Lionel Messi, the great football player, or Baba Ramdev, the popular yoga teacher, who knows?
After a few days, I did learn who had come to town. There was a joint military exercise of India and China in the military station. The helicopters were a part of a joint tactical exercise which included insertion of troops from helicopters to destroy a dummy terrorist hideout.
Right. So it wasn’t a celebrity. Just some Chinese soldiers coming across the border for joint training with the Indians. Nothing much to see, and certainly not a great incident for people to create a traffic jam. Oh well, I learnt one thing from this incident: Helicopters create havoc.
-  Manas Trivedi
A newspaper clip, showing the army helicopter