Book Review: Billionaire’s Apprentice

“Buy Goldman Sachs. Buy Goldman Sachs.” A well researched look into the world of insider trading, interspersed with the rise of the South Asian American community. This is a tale of ambition and greed, where men who are multi-millionaires aspire to be billionaires.

While the author has spent a lot of time and effort into her research, I could not help but feel that she is quite sympathetic toward the cause of Rajat Gupta, who comes across as someone who did not quite know what he was getting into. I guess in a real life story with no real hero, there was a need for a perfect anti-hero and that’s what he is, in this version. It appears that there isn’t enough solid evidence to incriminate him completely, so it would be worth going deeper into the details of the case for those who are so inclined. Overall, I quite enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about the world of white collar crime

Book Review: Modern Romance

This post also appears on my Goodreads blog

I was expecting to like this book a lot more, but I was left with a strong sense of deja vu while I read it. I must however highlight the effort put into doing some solid research around the subject (the book acknowledges the work of many top researchers including danah boyd, Sherry Turkle). I especially loved Aziz’s take on Jonathan Haidt’s graphs from ‘The Happiness Project’. His distinctive style of humor also added to the way the topic was presented. Overall, maybe the PR (and binge watching ‘Master of None’) did too good a job, since I was left feeling like I’d already read half the book.

Book Review: Dance of Govinda

This post also appears on my Goodreads blog

Ashok Banker is one of the best when it comes to mythology, and he does not disappoint. While these stories are oft-repeated and well known, Banker always adds in little known details. For me, the revelation in this one was Puttana’s connection with Kamsa (one of those things that ACK and your grandfather wouldn’t tell you as a child). I liked how the book focused on Kamsa’s struggles. It was an interesting take to show how he became what he was, and shows a different side to his personality as well.

The updated foreword was also interesting, as I had no idea that the Krishna series was originally a part of the MBA series (I’m still waiting with bated breath for Book 3!).

I’m glad that this series is complete so I won’t have to wait to get my hands on the next book as I go along. Maybe that’s the best way to read his work, wait till the series is complete. From Ramayana to MBA, the wait for the next book has always been agonizing.

Of moving, and falling in like with a place…

For the first time ever, I’ve grown to like a place. I like it so much, it’s almost ‘home’, a term that I’ve never wanted to use for any place before, ever. Ironically, I’ve only spent one year here – the least amount of time in any place I’ve lived.

Maybe it’s because it’s such a perfect mix of the best things of every other place. The weather is like Coimbatore, but better (almost Ooty-like). I like in a super quirky part of town that feels just like Berkeley. There are so many lakes, they are a great beach-substitute, so I don’t miss Madras. There’s always something or the other happening, especially in the summer, and that reminds me of Bombay. There is also nothing that reminds me of Gurgaon, which is more a positive than anything else.

Maybe it’s all of the above, or maybe it’s some of it. I don’t know why, but I really like Seattle. I didn’t even realize it, and I fell for it. It’s super ironic that I realize this today, when I’ve just finished selling most of my stuff and I’m getting ready to relocate in 9 days.

I’ve lived in many places before, but nothing ever got under my skin like this. Seattle, I will miss you.

So, I’m a Starbucks person now?

I was talking to someone at work (in India) and he was giving me an example which involved Cafe Coffee Day. Before I could say anything, he says, “Oh, so just so you know, CCD, Cafe Coffee Day is like Starbucks in India. They have cafes across the country and people can go there for coffee, snacks etc.” I would’ve interrupted if I could but by that point I was just shocked.

I’ve been in the US for all of 3 years. I spent my entire teens and early 20s in India. I was once the person who drove my friends so we could go to the grand opening of CCD in Coimbatore (and caused a giant traffic jam in the middle of RS Puram, but that’s a whole other story). And yet, I have now been abroad long enough that people naturally assume I won’t even know what that is.

I feel like a true NRI now.

The ‘Frozen’ expert predicts the sequel

I saw this comic (by Lauren Weisenstein) at the Nib, and sent it to S, my niece’s mom. She thought it would be fun to ask A what she thinks the Frozen sequel would be like. A did not see the other ideas because S didn’t want to influence her thinking. A also does not yet know that a sequel is in the works. Once I saw what she came up with, I couldn’t resist illustrating it.

Frozen Sequel

What do you think will happen in the sequel to Frozen?

I drew this on Paper, my favorite app However, they don’t let people upload drawings and mess with color, so in the absence of a stylus, I was stuck with fingerpainting this in entirety. I blame any smudges and inconsistencies on my fat fingers. I did the layout and captions on Photoshop. I would’ve loved to hand write them, but there’s no way my fat fingers would’ve stood up to THAT challenge (I tried!)

So, what do YOU think will happen in the sequel to Frozen?

Frozen Sleepover Ideas

Are there any Frozen-crazy kids in your life? If you can put up with the endless looping of ‘Let it Go’, you can try out these fun Frozen-inspired sleepover ideas. I picked these because they were fun and easy, and my 5 year old niece, A (who I was babysitting) loved all of them.

Activities

Nailpolish – A wanted to try ‘patterns’ so I gave her half-n-half combos. Any other kind of design would’ve been impossible on her tiny nails.

DIY Elsa Crown – I found some glittery construction paper, and drew the outline of the Elsa crown. A cut out the shape, and I showed her how to thread ribbons through the ends. I also had stick-on jewels that she used to decorate the crown. It took us about 30 minutes to make the crown. She loved it, and I was glad that there was very little cleanup involved!

Sparkly headband – She used the leftover stick on jewels to decorate a headband. Technically, this isn’t a ‘Frozen’ activity but she likes to pretend that sparkly headbands are tiaras, so it qualifies. Unlike the crown, this headband can be worn to school, so she’s all excited about that too.

Note: all activities were accompanied by the endless looping of ‘Let it Go’ (we are huge fans of the singalong version).

Food

Popcorn Snowballs: I found this recipe on Pinterest, and it was a huge hit. I couldn’t find snowflake sprinkles, so I just used the regular blue glitter kinds. A loved it because the sprinkles stained her mouth blue and she could stick her blue tongue out.

Book

What’s a bed time routine that doesn’t involve a book? A reads every night, and I wanted to get her a book just to make our sleepover special. I veered away from the Frozen theme to get her a sleepover themed book instead. So I went with her ‘second favorite’ princess, Sofia the first. She’d already seen the episode with ‘Sofia – The Royal Slumber Party‘, but was still thrilled to be able to read the book.

Since I went over to A’s place to babysit her, I packed the sleepover things in a bag that I decorated with DIY snowflakes. They’re giant sized because I didn’t realize how big they’d be when I started cutting them out. This was a great way to pass time as I watched ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. A’s mom plans to reuse the snowflakes on a gift bag for A’s friend who is having a Frozen themed birthday party later this month.

Here are some pictures from the sleepover, to inspire you to try out your own version of this!

Frozen Sleepover Ideas