Archive | September, 2010

Kitty Parties

21 Sep

Kitty parties are all the rage among women of all ages in India.

Essentially, it is when a group of women, usually housewives, will get together and put money into a ‘kitty’ fund. The women then take turns to be host and use the fund money to throw a party at her home. It is a chance for women to unwind and let loose away from the pressures of their family and work. Usually it involves a lot of food, music, games and gossip.

I love this idea and what it represents. It is┬ásuch an innovative way for women to collectively come together and ensure a ‘time for themselves’. It instills a sense of belonging to a tight knit group of girlfriends as well as having an outlet from their everyday lives. Like a sorority, it is also very much about social status and women will deliberate together before deciding to let in a new kitty member.

Pizza Hut India has recognized this as an opportunity by inviting women to host their kitty parties:

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The eBook Experience

20 Sep

I want to write about something that fires me up a little inside.

The Apple iPad, the Amazon Kindle, the Sony Reader, the Barnes & Noble Nook, and more.

People are saying these devices are pioneering a new wave in technology. That they will revolutionize the way we read and write.

I don’t disagree these technologies will change things in a big way. And I get that going digital is going green, (although I could argue with that too). I just don’t know that I like it, call me old fashioned, call me a geek, call me whatever. But so much of reading is an experience, one that can’t be replicated electronically.

I grew up with books. Lots of them. My father was a self-proclaimed bookaholic. He owned thousands of books in his lifetime and our house was filled with them. We weren’t allowed to watch TV. We had a game where my father would close his eyes and I would stand in front of his wall of bookcases and pick a title at random and 9 out of 10 times he could guess the author. Every month he would lovingly clean each book with gloves and a dry cloth.

There is something beautiful about owning a set of Encyclopedia Brittanicas. Or a collectors edition of The Prophet. Stopping mid-sentence to pick a dictionary off your shelf and flipping through to find the meaning of a word. The silent mutual respect of browsers in a bookstore.

And there is something kind of dull and anti-social about just typing that same word into Google Dictionary and clicking on results.

It seems standardized and hospital to turn stories into digitized white text. Somehow it feels less personal, less unique, less special. Books you can tap to own, pages you can swipe with your finger, sentences that are highlighted before you read them, buttons to recommend to your friends, suggested reading based on what people who are similar to you enjoy.

Where is the joy in that? Where is the sense of discovery?

I understand the entertainment value. I understand the convenience. But for me, it’s a completely different experience, something between playing mindless games, reading the newspaper or checking my email. I want to feel the heavy weight of a book in my hands. I want to feel the texture of the paper. I want to smell a book’s smell. I want to think about who held this and read these words before me. I want to proudly stand in front of my own library.

Is it possible that in our quest for more information, we lose the ability to learn for ourselves?

Can the digital world really duplicate reality?