Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2015)

The All-New Kindle Paperwhite
The All-New Kindle Paperwhite

It reads just like a book and is lighter to carry than most books. Here’s why you might want to consider the latest Kindle Paperwhite e-reader.

So I just got my hands on the updated Amazon Kindle Paperwhite that was launched in India earlier this year. Before I get to the review, I’d like to point out two things. Although I own a Kindle 4 and have read a few books on my friend’s Kindle Voyage, I’ve always preferred reading out of a real, solid book. The smell of ink on paper, the unintentionally dog-eared pages, the act of turning actual pages and the beauty of the book cover are just some of the tangible pleasures that I value. The second thing is that I have not read a single book in the last three months. A lot has been happening, and reading books has sadly not found a place in this unexpectedly busy period in my life. So, here I am devouring a book after a good while. I’ve chosen to re-read an old favourite and all-time classic, Pride and Prejudice. And, I’ve got to say that the reading experience was remarkably enjoyable and completely uninterrupted. The Amazon Kindle was designed for reading books, unlike tablets or smartphones, which can so easily distract you from the immersive world of the novel.

Kindle Paper getting started

Amazon’s Kindle has continually led the e-reader market, and this year the Kindle Voyage and the 3rd generation Paperwhite have inarguably stolen the show. Launched in 2014, the Kindle Voyage comes with a higher price tag that’s justified by additional features. The Kindle Paperwhite 2015, however, is affordably priced and provides good enough value for your money if you want a comfortable experience that’s closest to reading an actual book. That said, here’s all you need to know about the Kindle Paperwhite and what makes it one of the top e-book readers to own at the moment. You might also find this blog post helpful if you are confused about whether you should opt for the Voyage or the Paperwhite 2015. Continue reading “Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2015)”

Real men cry: One man’s mission to redefine the term masculinity

An award-winning spoken word poet, poetry slam champion, speak and writer, Carlos Andrés Gómez also starred in Spike Lee's Inside Man
An award-winning spoken word poet, poetry slam champion, speak and writer, Carlos Andrés Gómez also starred in Spike Lee’s Inside Man
I had the pleasure of interviewing spoken word artist Carlos Andrés Gómez at the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in October this year. Like most young boys, he was taught that a man needs to put up a fight and must never shed a tear. I wondered if all this talk of softening up a man’s hardened shell was bound to draw a heckler or two.

Gómez concurred, saying, “Sometimes, things get uncomfortable during my performances. It’s alright if people disagree with me, but it’s important that they hear me out and understand what I’m saying in the right context. We’re definitely going to need more such moments when two opinions collide because we can never have change if one opinion dominates. It’s going to take many an exchange, both of the courageous and uncomfortable kind.”

His is a story worth reading, so if you’d like to give the interview a proper read, head over to The Label by Louis Philippe. You’ll also find an excellent video link there that has Carlos talking about his very own ‘Man Up Moment’.

Here’s a link to the interview: http://thelabel.in/lifestyle/people/real-men-cry

Scorching sessions at the UWRF14

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The second day of the Ubud Writers & Readers festival has ended and its been such a treat to listen in on the thoughts of some brilliant minds – writers, mythologists, thinkers, graphic artists, expats and locals. I left each of the sessions so much more inspired.

And it wasn’t just about writing methods or book launches. These were well-curated panels of people who threw light on their respective art. But more importantly, these individuals dug deeper to reveal a bigger picture – in relation to the world, culture, perspectives, ideas and the human mind.

I’ll be writing about some of my favourite sessions in future posts. It’s not very difficult to be connected to you all from Ubud via my blog and Instagram, but I’m also keeping my digital connections to the minimum. That’s what such places as Ubud do to you!

Long Weekend Alert: 8 Fun Activities in Mumbai And Pune

By Brooklyn Morgan for Unsplash
By Brooklyn Morgan for Unsplash

Your weekend has just gotten longer thanks to the two public holidays – Independence Day and Janmashtami. You can expect the city to be a tad less crowded since everyone will be taking off on a mini vacation. If you haven’t had the time to plan, worry not. There’s a destination for all kinds of travellers – from the luxury wine-sipper and spa junkie, to adventure enthusiasts and trekkers. There are even ideas for those of us who plan to stay back in Mumbai and enjoy the peace and quiet we don’t usually experience in the city.

Click here to read about these fun activities in a piece that I had written for a lovely little website called Polka Cafe. Have a fantastic weekend ahead!

Dreaming in Black and White

An illustrated novel explores Hinduism’s colourful mythology in monochrome

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John Jackson, the author of the recently released Brahma Dreaming, prefers to call his stories legends or folk tales than to classify them as mythology.“Mythology cannot be dismissed as something trivial.  Myths have their roots in what Jung called ‘the collective unconscious’. They are part of the human heritage and can teach us much about human behaviour.”

On a trek in the Himalayas, in 1978, Jackson encountered Hindus near the Indian border, at the foot of the Annapurna range, and Buddhists in the middle areas. “High up, in the final layer, there are animists, who see spirit in everything,” says Jackson, now 84, and a keen student of world religion.

The Milk Ocean“Mountain people are excellent storytellers. I was fascinated by their legends and myths, passed on by itinerant storytellers who told them for a bowl of soup and a crust of bread in the villages they travelled to.” After the trek, the London-based polymath writer, lawyer, campaigner and founder of JJ Books, Jackson, spent 35 years researching Indian and Nepalese mythology, including the Mahabharata.

His encounters with wandering storytellers, and extensive research on ancient Mesopotamia, the breeding ground of many of the world’s religions, culminated in the creation of Brahma Dreaming. The 248-page illustrated book re-imagines some of Hinduism’s foundational myths using rich yet simple storytelling paired with black and white artwork by Italian illustrator Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini.

Tales Of CreationThe story opens with Brahma, who, in the Tales of Creation, dreams the world into being. The focus later shifts to Vishnu and Shiva in the Tales of Preservation and Tales of Destruction. Jackson’s take is not a significant departure from Hindu mythology as we know it. Yet, it does not glorify characters to godly proportions. “The idea was to create a book that would use words and imagery to draw the reader into these timeless stories. It can well be seen as a successor of the mountain storytellers’ of erstwhile times.”

Terrazzini has taken some creative liberties with the imagery, depicting mythological figures in ways one may not be used to. There’s a lanky Shiva with a roaring tiger on his back and a lovelorn goddess Sati in a sweeping gown and floral head wreath. Another chapter depicts Ganesha effortlessly balancing a ridiculously large head on a human body while he rides atop a gigantic rat.

bd2“Using pure black and white, and, in a sense, being limited by such a choice, helped me to be expressive and free in my imagery,” says Terrazzini, who usually works with watercolours. “These stories, with their dark and surreal nature, served to benefit from this.” Not always adhering to traditional iconography, her versions of Hindu deities personify the characters, if not make them more approachable.

The hardcover, cloth-bound Brahma Dreaming is, as much as anything, an exploration of the imagination. “I hope the book will appeal to the imaginative and intuitive child that lives in all of us, whether we are 10 or 110,” says Jackson.

Published in Man’s World (MW) in October 2013