The Calcutta Chromosome

So, my reading habit has taken a back seat for the last few months. But that did not stop me from buying books and storing them for later. With a little help from Abinaya and other fellow bookworms, I was able to read about a book every month in college. Considering they were mostly James Patterson books on the David Cross series, it was quite a handful. I will review that series a little later once I get the chronology right considering I’m reading the books in some random order.

Then again, after my first tryst with Amitav Ghosh in Sea of Poppies, I couldn’t resist buying some other book of his I saw in Odyssey the other day – The Calcutta Chromosome. The book belongs to the sci-fi genre and it won the Arthur C. Clarke award – something I didn’t quite understand why it deserved until the very end.

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The Calcutta Chromosome is, in all ways, different from the books I’ve read in the genre. Considering I’m an avid fan of Arthur Clarke and Isaac Asimov, I should say I’m not kidding about that.

The story starts with an Egyptian dude at some point in the future and consists of flashbacks either in the form of letters or documents recovered by his all-knowing machine – Ava. In this sense, it reminded me of The Fourth Estate by Jeffrey Archer where every chapter would start like a news article. This wasn’t exactly the same but it gets the job done.

In gist, the story follows the Egyptian dude – Antar, as he traces the steps of L. Murugan, his former, presently missing colleague who in turn in tracing the steps of Ronald Ross, the man who discovered the means by which malaria is transmitted.

If you ask me, the novel can also be partially categorised in the Fantasy genre. But that’s beside the point.

I found the novel pretty interesting actually. I could never have guessed most of the twists the story takes and I’m a guy who can predict Agatha Christie novels through sheer statistics – the least likely is the most obvious. But this novel had some very interesting twists. Since I hate giving spoilers, I will not delve any further into the story.

The novel is really small .. as in only 276 pages in the version I bought. It is a definite page turner, unlike Sea of Poppies which took me ages to finish for all it was worth.

Any more description and I would be giving away plotlines and spoilers.

Consensus: VERY different sci-fi thriller. Read it if you love the genre. Romantics will love this. Logically inclined people will find this a big bore and worth bitching about a lot. Personally, I loved it 🙂

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Agent Naapathi Yezhu – Mind it!

Naapathi Yezhu = 47 .. “Mind it” is a phrase most northies use to make fun of Rajni when they have no clue where it came from.

Assassination games and movies are my absolute favourite. I don’t know why, frankly. I am a big fan of the Bourne series, the Hitman franchise, the Assassin’s Creed franchise and anything related to silent killing. I’ve read Day of the Jackal twice .. which is a feat for any Forsyth book.

It comes as no surprise that I find the Hitman franchise irresistible. I love everything about the Hitman game. In fact, it is the only third person action/adventure I play at full difficulty.

As with any game, my connection with it starts at one particular point in time. My memory archiving methods give me easy access to such things.

Hitman

My tryst with the franchise starts somewhere in 9th std – sometime around 2005. I was over at a friends place because I was bored. He was playing Hitman: Contracts on his PS2 while I was simply reading some Marvel comic deluxe edition I found lying around. I finished the comic and was watching him play while my mind was elsewhere. But sometimes your subconscious actually registers what you’re seeing. In this case, I registered how my friend executed a full contract. Starting from the briefing till the debriefing. It stunned me out of my reverie. I found it exceptional.

I mean – starting from the garrotte wire kills, the dress changing, the walking with a careful speed so as to not draw attention, looking out and recording the patrolling patterns of the guards, the lethal poison you administer to the soup the target is going to consume and finally, exiting without so much as leaving a blip on the enemy radar. The whole precision and clockwise MO of the protagonist was exhilarating (nope, I’m not using the wrong word here).

My friend offered me the controller and I finished one mission since I was given the chance. The game mechanics took quite some time to master and I was glued to the controller for almost 2 and a half hours since I refused help from my more experienced friend.

After that, 2 board exams and various college entrances happened. The game simply slipped out of my mind. Then came 2nd year of college when laptops were allowed into hostels. My roommate brought the Hitman: Blood Money game from somewhere. I was a bit experienced so he let me play along with him.

I convinced him to play the game at full difficulty from the start. We finished level after level with our exams looming about a day away. I managed to scrape through as usual. My roommate got so pissed that I convinced him to play and lose his grades that he never came near me again during exams 😀

Hitman: Blood Money .. SUCKED. I dunno how else I can put it. I never expected it to be this stupid. I mean, I played Contracts, which was very very advanced for its time. Blood Money had some superb moments but the story hardly held together, the gameplay mechanics were kind of nutty. Eidos seems to have been in a hurry with the whole game because the story didn’t make much sense.

Hitman 5: Absolution has been slated for release some time soon. I can’t wait for the game and I’m hoping Eidos got its priorities right. From what I can see, this is an absolute hit franchise they’ve got on their hands.

For one, a little weapon variety would be nice. I mean, the silverballer is trademark and all that but seriously, sometimes, an air pistol would be good and it’d also make sense that it stays hidden while a 17 inch gun like the Silverballer is not as easy to move around with.

Next, a better story please. I understand cloning technology is the absolute base of the Hitman series, but honestly man, I’m bored of it. Give me a little more conspiracy and all that crap.

A little vengeful killing on the part of 47. Blood Money did not have this while I distinctly remember this happening at the end of Silent Assassin. A deadly assassin using resources most government agencies can’t get their hands on takes a little personal time to clean up the skeletons in his closet – can it ever get more badass? 😀

Some new gameplay mechanics would be good. Torture scenes for extorting information about a target maybe? Splinter Cell Conviction had this integrated in an awesome way (smashing a guys head into a sink – that is so m/ 😀 ). The Hitman franchise has a lot more scope for implementing this.

Here’s hoping for some awesomeness in the new game 🙂

PS: Yes, I find the concept of a bald guy with a bar code not getting noticed by security personnel as a tad stupid as well. But then, Fisher’s night vision goggles are supposed to be invisible to naked eye. I suppose some sacrifices have to be made for creating a logo for the franchise.

Agent Naapathi Yezhu – Mind it!

Naapathi Yezhu = 47 .. “Mind it” is a phrase most northies use to make fun of Rajni when they have no clue where it came from.

Assassination games and movies are my absolute favourite. I don’t know why, frankly. I am a big fan of the Bourne series, the Hitman franchise, the Assassin’s Creed franchise and anything related to silent killing. I’ve read Day of the Jackal twice .. which is a feat for any Forsyth book.

It comes as no surprise that I find the Hitman franchise irresistible. I love everything about the Hitman game. In fact, it is the only third person action/adventure I play at full difficulty.

As with any game, my connection with it starts at one particular point in time. My memory archiving methods give me easy access to such things.

Hitman

My tryst with the franchise starts somewhere in 9th std – sometime around 2005. I was over at a friends place because I was bored. He was playing Hitman: Contracts on his PS2 while I was simply reading some Marvel comic deluxe edition I found lying around. I finished the comic and was watching him play while my mind was elsewhere. But sometimes your subconscious actually registers what you’re seeing. In this case, I registered how my friend executed a full contract. Starting from the briefing till the debriefing. It stunned me out of my reverie. I found it exceptional.

I mean – starting from the garrotte wire kills, the dress changing, the walking with a careful speed so as to not draw attention, looking out and recording the patrolling patterns of the guards, the lethal poison you administer to the soup the target is going to consume and finally, exiting without so much as leaving a blip on the enemy radar. The whole precision and clockwise MO of the protagonist was exhilarating (nope, I’m not using the wrong word here).

My friend offered me the controller and I finished one mission since I was given the chance. The game mechanics took quite some time to master and I was glued to the controller for almost 2 and a half hours since I refused help from my more experienced friend.

After that, 2 board exams and various college entrances happened. The game simply slipped out of my mind. Then came 2nd year of college when laptops were allowed into hostels. My roommate brought the Hitman: Blood Money game from somewhere. I was a bit experienced so he let me play along with him.

I convinced him to play the game at full difficulty from the start. We finished level after level with our exams looming about a day away. I managed to scrape through as usual. My roommate got so pissed that I convinced him to play and lose his grades that he never came near me again during exams 😀

Hitman: Blood Money .. SUCKED. I dunno how else I can put it. I never expected it to be this stupid. I mean, I played Contracts, which was very very advanced for its time. Blood Money had some superb moments but the story hardly held together, the gameplay mechanics were kind of nutty. Eidos seems to have been in a hurry with the whole game because the story didn’t make much sense.

Hitman 5: Absolution has been slated for release some time soon. I can’t wait for the game and I’m hoping Eidos got its priorities right. From what I can see, this is an absolute hit franchise they’ve got on their hands.

For one, a little weapon variety would be nice. I mean, the silverballer is trademark and all that but seriously, sometimes, an air pistol would be good and it’d also make sense that it stays hidden while a 17 inch gun like the Silverballer is not as easy to move around with.

Next, a better story please. I understand cloning technology is the absolute base of the Hitman series, but honestly man, I’m bored of it. Give me a little more conspiracy and all that crap.

A little vengeful killing on the part of 47. Blood Money did not have this while I distinctly remember this happening at the end of Silent Assassin. A deadly assassin using resources most government agencies can’t get their hands on takes a little personal time to clean up the skeletons in his closet – can it ever get more badass? 😀

Some new gameplay mechanics would be good. Torture scenes for extorting information about a target maybe? Splinter Cell Conviction had this integrated in an awesome way (smashing a guys head into a sink – that is so \m/ 😀 ). The Hitman franchise has a lot more scope for implementing this.

Here’s hoping for some awesomeness in the new game 🙂

PS: Yes, I find the concept of a bald guy with a bar code not getting noticed by security personnel as a tad stupid as well. But then, Fisher’s night vision goggles are supposed to be invisible to naked eye. I suppose some sacrifices have to be made for creating a logo for the franchise.

Museeeek

So, I finally convinced my dad to buy me an iPod on his latest trip to the US. I’m not a big show off when it comes to technology. I buy everything to sate my own appetite rather than flaunt it to all my acquaintances (but it is a side effect, I concede).

So, even though I have around 40 GB of music, I thought I might as well go with the 32 GB model since my music collection will anyway exceed any storage device I obtain eventually. I was in a dilemma between buying a 120GB classic model or a 32GB iPod Touch 4G. I went with the latter since apps, rather than storage, are my bigger priority.

I still haven’t completely used it to my satisfaction. Right now, its mostly for listening to music and checking out the iOS world before a jailbreak. Yes, I’m now a person of experience in both Android and iOS.

I’m more definitive than most people in the case of these comparisons between Android and iOS. I have always believed in an open environment and since Android is open from the get-go (I don’t like the use of the word conception since it means something entirely different in slang), I vehemently supported it.

Fact is, I’ve never lived with an iOS device in my household before. Now, considering my newer experience, and the fact that jailbreaks will give the iOS the “open” definition in some senses, I’m willing to change opinions.

I’m waiting for my 4mbps connection to jailbreak (I dunno why, I guess I just want it done faster), to download those free PS3 games Sony is offering (Nope, I’m not kidding you 😀 ) and usual browsing.

I’m leaving for Delhi the day after tomorrow. Hopefully, the internet connection has been set up there. I need to go get my dad’s civic (YEP! 😀 ) and ride it around. I’m taking my laptop so productivity would still be pretty low. Meh. I’ve stopped giving a damn.

PS: Listen to ‘3 different pigs’ by Pink Floyd. I can’t get that song off my head for some reason. Epic.

Hitman 5: Absolution

No, the game hasn’t released yet. But the teaser has come out.

Oh yes, it looks completely awesome albeit too short to give you any adrenaline rush.

But of particular interest is this: At 0:21, they show the famous hitman barcode that Agent 47 has on the back of his head. So? It looks something like this.

vlcsnap-2011-05-12-15h09m45s234

Now, I’m no conspiracy theorist or someone who speculates a lot but those first 6 numbers – they are NOT from the usual Agent 47 barcode. Those 6 numbers are originally 640509 – Birthdate of the clone that is Agent 47. Now, WHY would they change that? Is it the date of release of the actual game itself?

Unfortunately no. Its just that 07/06/2011 or 06/07/2011 (depending on which format you follow) is the start date of E3 2011. Hopefully, there is a better trailer coming up. Until then, I will lose quite some sleep.

PS: Square Enix – yes, THE Square Enix is the publisher this time. No, I don’t expect FF graphics to be showcased here considering its IO’s own proprietary Glacier 2 engine.

PPS: I’ll write a detailed post about why I love the franchise as such a little later.

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So, my last few days of this semester are upon me. A year from now, I will be a graduate who will be thrust into the cruel backstabbing cutthroat world out there. I shall be helplessly overcome by the sheer multitudes that mass around me and feel like I’m just one among the throng of humanity.

“You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else”

– Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Meh. I couldn’t care less. People keep saying these things so often, I wonder if it’s actually true. If everyone was going to be faced with such odds in the “outside world”, I think the asylums would be a lot more full with voluntary admissions.

I think I should have become more mature by now. Shifted my areas of interest to working, reading serious books, following the stock market (?) etc. But me? I can’t WAIT to go home and get my hands on my PS3 😀

This summer is going to be fun. Movie sequels to some of my favourite movies are releasing (Kung Fu Panda 2 babyyyyyy 🙂 ) and some new awesome movies coming up (Thor) along with the leftover games that I can play at home (Portal 2, here I come). Not to forget all those books I still haven’t read (I shall honour Salman Rushdie by a reading :D) and the new iPod Touch which I can’t wait to jailbreak and start modding *rubs hands in glee*

Of course, there is the project work which needs to be done over the holidays. But then, when you have all the time in the world, hardly go out of your house and love to sit on your computer, you have a tendency to finish what work you have.

4 more days and I shall be back where I belong (?) and living the life. Good food, AC, laptop + PS3 + faster internet connection + home theatre system. I think I will interface everything 😀

Till then, 2 more exams + 1 awesome night + train journey back home 🙂