Archive | August 2014

Bhaskar Chanda | 2014 Reading List | 3 of 14

Behind the beautiful forevers | Behind-Beautiful-forevers1In this brilliant, breathtaking book by Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human through the dramatic story of families striving toward a better life in Annawadi, a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport. As India starts to prosper, the residents of Annawadi are electric with hope. Abdul, an enterprising teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting” in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Meanwhile Asha, a woman of formidable ambition, has identified a shadier route to the middle class. With a little luck, her beautiful daughter, Annawadi’s “most-everything girl,” might become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest children, like the young thief Kalu, feel themselves inching closer to their dreams. But then Abdul is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy. With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects people to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of uncompromising reporting,carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds—and into the hearts of families impossible to forget.

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Bhaskar Chanda | 2014 Reading List | 2 of 14

FIASCOFiasco | It is the shocking story of one man’s education in the jungles of Wall Street. As a young derivatives salesman at Morgan Stanley, Frank Partnoy learned to buy and sell billions of dollars worth of securities that were so complex many traders themselves didn’t understand them. In his behind-the-scenes look at the trading floor and the offices of one of the world’s top investment firms, Partnoy recounts the macho attitudes and fiercely competitive ploys of his office mates. And he takes us to the annual drunken skeet-shooting competition, FIASCO, where he and his colleagues sharpen the killer instincts they are encouraged to use against their competitiors, their clients, and each other.

FIASCO is the first book to take on the derivatves trading industry’s most highly charged and risky sector of the stock market. More importantly, it is a blistering indictment of the largely unregulated market in derivatives and serves as a warning to unwary investors about real fiascos, which have cost billions of dollars.

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The Grand Budapest Hotel is Another Wes Anderson Success

Bhaskar Chanda The Grand Budapest HotelThe Grand Budapest Hotel is another smash hit from the quirky, peculiar director, Wes Anderson. In typical Wes Anderson fashion, each character has their own unique story that leads them through a series of chaotic adventures. This story takes us back in time, where “the richest man in the world,” Zero Moustafa, tells the story of how he made his fortune to the local hotel concierge.

The story follows an extraordinary concierge, M. Gustave, at one of the most famous European hotels, The Grand Budapest Hotel. M. Gustave is played by Ralph Fiennes. His most trusted ally is the young Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy, played by Tony Revolori. Zero quickly becomes M. Gustave’s assistant, which puts him in the middle of protecting an enormous family fortune when M. Gustave becomes the hair to the most expensive paining in the world. Amidst this time of war and crisis, Zero and M. Gustave are forced to team up and protect what is rightfully theirs from jealous and psychopathic family members.

Throughout the rest of the film, irreverent chase scenes and chaotic calmers of humor fill the time. A more extroverted style taken by Wes Anderson, as while there is still plenty of internal character development, there seems to be a lot more going on outside of each characters little world. There is a broader sense of history and outside forces, while many of his films delve into the interworking’s of a unique character.

Ralph Fiennes plays a spectacular conceded, pompous concierge while Tony Revolori fills the role of the quiet, nervous lobby assistant. Willem Dafoe plays one of the psychopathic relatives to the enormous family fortune. He is great in this role as he does not say much and uses his menacing face to do most of the talking.

Overall, this movie is another must watch, as another one of Wes Anderson’s zany stories is a homerun. 4.5/5 Stars

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Stem Cell Therapy

Stem cell therapy has developed tremendously over the last couple of decades. In the late 1970s stem cells were found in human chord blood. Over the next couple of decades, various embryonic stem cell lines were found in mice, hamsters, and then primates. In 1997 scientists were able to clone an entire lamb just from using embryonic stem cells. Also in 1997, the origin of Leukemia was found in stem cells which lead to the cure murmurs in the scientific community.

Stem cell research is still significantly new as doctors use stem cell therapy to treat heart disease and leukemia. Stem cells have incredible potential; however, the study is quite new. With the continued support and research, hopefully stem cells will be able to cure some of the worlds most horrible diseases.   

Top 10 Adventure Activities in India #10-6

bhaskar chanda in India

Below, I gave an extremely simply guide to follow when deciding to travel to India. They were the first steps anyone should take when traveling to India. One of the more difficult aspects about booking a vacation is deciding on the activities. While I was in India, I took an extensive backpacking adventure and visited much of what India had to offer. There are still numerous things that I was not able to fit into my schedule. Here is a list of “Go India’s” top activities to do in India for the adventurous type.

Number ten on the list is heli skiing. This involves taking a helicopter to a remote area of the Himalayas and getting dropped off in an untracked area to ski freely for a couple of hours. Heli skiing is offered in Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir.

Next is mountain biking through the tricky Himachal Mountain Trail. India has plenty of mountain biking trails throughout the region. Most of them are in the Himalayan region. Kerala in south India also offers great mountain biking expeditions.

At number eight, we have hot air ballooning over the vast landscapes of India. Hot air ballooning is a relatively new tourist activity offered in India and can be done at Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan. Delhi, Manali, Jaipur, and Pushkar also offer hot air balloon excursions.

Camel and Yak safaris are another popular tourist activity. This activity involves setting out into the Indian desert and camping under the stars. The most popular location for the Camel safari is in Jaisalmer and Bikaner. Yak safaris are offered in Spiti Valley.

At number six, we have auto rickshaw rampaging. This is known as a fun way to experience India while taking an automatic rickshaw through the wild streets. This activity is more widely known as the Rickshaw Challenge. This challenge is offered all over South India.

Number’s five through one coming soon. Stay tuned to see what the best adventure activities in India are according to “Go India.”

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