Saturday, November 06, 2010

Book Review: The Cobra by Frederick Forsyth

Frederick Forsyth has been long labelled the master storyteller. And not without good reason. His ability to spin yarns with the right amount of intrigue, coincidences in the favour of both protagonists & antagonists and a storyline spanning all continents is unparalleled. His latest offering is on the same lines and has to do with the cocaine "business" worldwide.

Forsyth's previous book was The Afghan, one which was not received well either by fans or critics. Mike Martin, the SAS hero from The Fist of God was reintroduced and much to the chagrin of all, martyred. The Cobra reintroduces us to Calvin Dexter of The Avenger fame. The story starts when a lady working in the White House breaks down during a state dinner. She is consoled by the First Lady whence her story of a grandson lost to cocaine is narrated. This story is passed onwards to the Commander in Chief of all forces (who we know is Obama, yet he is never named in as many words) who knows the depth of a grandmother grandson relationship.

He asks for a crackdown on the cocaine business & in comes Paul Devearaux, a veteran CIA operative & former director who's given the task of eradicating the drug evil. He ropes in Cal Dexter, ostensibly because Cal is the only person who's ever outwitted him. And thus begins a long drawn operation for the nipping of the cocaine hydrochloride business in the bud.

As always, God is in the details for Forsyth. We are told how the cocaine plant is grown in the forests of Columbia; of the process that converts the leaves into "pasta" & then into "puro"; the methods by which it travels across the Atlantic to Europe & how it is smuggled into the United States. And of the major gangs who have a holding stake in all these operations. Mixing facts with fiction is a Forsyth trademark and he never disappoints with intrigue. The book is a page turner.

The climax is a bit of an anti-climax, but we've come to expect that from Forsyth these days. It started with The Veteran, in which the God of short stories gave us some pretty mediocre stuff. That was followed by The Afghan, where an extensively built up story line was killed off in the end by the protagonists' death. The Cobra promises a lot & delivers on most of its promise. However, the reader is left slightly puzzled & wishing for more at the end.

Nevertheless, a 4 rating on 5 for this one!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

MsF Ripostes again!

Of late I have been doing a lot of thinking (something I should have been doing consistently and a lot more, but some start), on different ways to spend time. Its pretty ironical that we keep passing the blame on lack of time for starting/doing anything other than routine. However in case one is fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to have ample time on one's hands, the most difficult thing is trying to decide what to do with it. And so while I was doing the unsuspected thing (thinking of course) I suddenly realized that this could be an amazing opportunity for me to pen my thoughts (or the complete thought process).

There are several benefits of blogging. Boogers, (oops!) I mean bloggers do not have an identity, hence they cannot be singled out and thrashed in public for unendingly boring people with complete non-sensible writings. This gives the writer ample opportunities to wander around blabbering and jabbering about almost anything. There is no compulsion of subject and hence the content that follows may or may not be related to the subject and its context. As a friend of mine always says while speaking out of context (which he does all the time): “**** the context”. However as untouchable the world of web may seem to be and however how unidentifiable the blogger may be the Moral Police is always on the lookout. The MP quickly sensed the use of a foul word and warned me of the dire consequences. Although the MP behaves like a true pain in the a** (the siren blows again), I am truly impressed by the powerful resource that it has. I mean how can they exactly find out the word that was used in the sentence in that particular context? I’m sure they must be having a whole full-fledged thesaurus of all the tabooed words and a super-program that fits in just the right one! What a cool thing to do!!! I wish I was on the design team. Imagine using all the swear words at office and getting away with it saying “Gee boss, these are the new ones I just found…don’t they sound great you a**-****” :D :D.

I think my mind is not going to stop thinking about the immense possibilities this job has opened up. So till the time I take my mind off (that is after fantasizing about every situation) I shall be back with more booger…oops blogger stuff.

Till then,

Signing off


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Arshavin starts for Arsenal!

Can't wait to see how good he is for Arsenal. Hope he turns around the
season for us! Govindraj

Sent from my mobile device

Govindraj Umarji

Monday, September 01, 2008

How to Shampoo - a Random musings guide for Men

At the outset, let me make this article useful by providing links to sites that actually tell you how to use shampoo.
Now that that's out of the way, I can safely get on with my own booger article! [Health tip: Following advice of booger journalists can lead to several tax-deductible hospitalizations. One needs to weigh the pros & cons of reduced income tax liabilities versus the dull and drab ceilings of hospitals. There is no competition, actually - tax deduction wins hands down!]
Okay. Welcome to the first ever how to guide for men from The Authority on men's hygiene and other issues. Today's topic for brother neanderthals is: How to Shampoo. A typical male will use any soap available (if he uses soap i.e.) on his hair whereas a typical female will consume at least a gazillion litres of shampoo, conditioner, stabilizer, shining pearl drops and what not (and that is just till her pubescent period) I know typical males reading this article are probably sniggering at the words pubescence and period. I just have the following piece of useless advice for them: grow up!!! I say useless because I know guys never grow up. I am a living example of a typical guy! :)
Anyway, since the male species is absolutely uninformed about the use of the shampoo (though they may be intensely involved in the manufacture of it), let me advise menfolk of the world on the benefits of shampooing as it were:
1.        It makes your hair shiny
2.        It helps remove split ends
3.        Your hair feels smoother and men will want to touch it (not much utility for guys from this particular function)
4.        Your hair will smell great
5.        blah blah blah
Essentially, everything that you have right now, except that you get the pleasure of spending a few thousand rupees on all of it, with the security of the knowledge that all the chemicals and surfactants in the shampoo are probably ringing the death knell for your hairs and their roots. That apart, there is also the advantage from using shampoo that in social circles, you can disdainfully cluck at other nescient males and guffaw when they speak about which soap the jocks use to rid themselves of grease and muck.
So here, I present to you, the guide to using shampoos:
1.        Taking a bath: To be covered later in this series of articles (maybe. if I ever get around to getting a bath myself!)
2.        Look for shampoo in the bathroom - bachelors living in their own pads (pads! hah!) can skip this step. This step is applicable for males having female relatives
3.        Realize that there is no shampoo for "Cro-Magnon Man hair". There is only shampoo for hair with split ends, soft hair, root strengthening shampoo, conditioner, daily use pearl drops, etc. i.e. no form of hair vaguely resembling the teeming mass growing on your head
4.        Make mental note to buy Shampoo for Men from chemist shop
5.        Forget about shampooing for two weeks
6.        Finally buy shampoo for men
7.        When taking a bath, grope around in the bathroom looking for shampoo because you have soap in your eyes
8.        Find shampoo and use it lavishly on head. With the extra foam, clean other parts of the body
9.        Wash off
10.        Panic! You see a large black swirling mass on the bathroom floor that you think is a large insect from some horror movie you saw a week ago
11.        Relax, as you realize that its all your own hair!
12.        Your own hair!!! Look at shampoo bottle! Its not shampoo, its Fem Body Hair removal lotion
13.        Console yourself by saying that since you have used it on your face also, there is no need to shave now [never mind that you are missing eyebrows also]
14.        Vow never to fall into the trap of using items meant for female consumption
That's all there is to it! I hope you have found this first edition of Random musings How to Guide for Men useful. Do come back and check out later for more informative articles for men in the battle against social ignominy!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Economics of Ergonomics

I work at a large conglomerate, a so-called MNC and my desktop offers me least physical comfort. “Ergonomics? What’s that?”, was the response of the person in charge of PCs and accessories at the office. Unfortunately, the way things work over here is that the IT guy does
not get to hand out the furniture that accompanies the PCs. As a result, for most of the people in the office the PCs have become a pain issue in more than one sense. The other sense is of course Websense. Go to to find out why I am bitching about it! :)

Anyway, have not been up to much other than getting bank guarantees for clients. You should read some of the clauses that are present in the tomes that these bank guys hand out. One of these days, you chaps are going to make the mistake of actually reading one of the bank loan forms and then you will realize that other than your genitals, you have mortgaged about almost everything else to the bank in lieu for the pittance that they have given you. Actually, if you are taking a loan from xxxxx bank, you will have mortgaged your genitals also. See page 23 of their instructions to loan applicants document. I know what your response is going to be: what the heck is a instructions to loan applicants document? Followed by: how the heck can websense classify Radgovin’s blog as tasteless?

Anyway, coming back to ergonomics at the work place. One of my colleagues recently had a painful introduction to the reality of ergonomics [or lack thereof] at the workplace. He had been complaining of back pain for a long time and one day out of pure frustration he hit out at his chair. The reason for his frustration of course was not his back pain but an anatomical activity that the client was carrying out with him, which in polite circles may be described as “screwing”

Anyway, imagine his surprise when out of the portion of the chair that was supposed to be supporting the small of his back, came out a mouse! Not the one connected to the PCs, you dummies! A real, live mouse. I began to wonder: is this a corporate strategy to keep control over employee activity? Has the mouse been programmed only to give back pain to employees being “screwtinized” by the client? Or has it been programmed to bite off essential body parts of rambunctious workers? Of course, people with bank loans have nothing to worry about because their genitals are already in the safe deposit box. But what about us average God-fearing, mortgage hating, low-salary earning mortals? Something to ponder over, ain’t it?

In case you are working for such an MNC, I suggest you get your wooden chair replaced immediately. Better still, buy a plastic one yourself and haul it to office everyday - that way, you can be sure its not going to be “moused”. And considering the spiralling cost of plastic these days, take a loan for the chair and leave your essential body parts with the bank for safekeeping! :)


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Resume of a Hero

This flash fiction story is an entry for the Caferati Flash Fiction contest 2008. Let me have your comments on the same.

Name: Sajnee Rant

Age: Twenty seven years only. Period.

Status: Married to Seventy two thousand females and keeping each one of them glad.

Special abilities: Can dodge bullets, scale sky scrapers with bare hands, sing in twelve hundred languages, light a cigarette without the aid of match sticks / lighters, hair style that sets the trend, clothes that can give an emperor a complex, sport skills including but not limited to football (ability to score from goalkeeper's position), cricket (able to hit any ball out of the stadium, especially if it is the last ball and there are 5 runs required to win the match), table tennis (reflexes quicker than a gazelle's), tennis (currently playing under the pen-name of Federrer), javelin throw (world record for longest throw of javelin, across the pacific ocean), shot put (another world record), kho-kho (captain of the Indian team), rifle shooting (under the pen-name Rathore), boxing (world heavy-weight champion in the featherweight category), et al. Other abilities include: ability to run faster than Rajdhani, stop an Airbus A380 from colliding with runway fences, up turn cars and trucks at will with a single flick of the wrist, ability to raise and raze mountains with the twirl of the little finger, control over the rain gods and an immaculate sense of timing, when it comes to saving damsels in distress.

B. Tech. CSE, IIT Bombay,
PGP Marketing, IIM Ahmedabad,
Ph. D. Social Sciences, Stanford, California,
MBBS, K. E. M. College,
M. D. Neurosurgery, Oxford.

Applying for the post of: Sweeper for Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM), 'S' Ward