Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Once bitten never shy (and what is this about facebook?)

I have a problem. I stop doing what I do once I do what I want.

Blame the beetroots I have been eating but this has nothing to do with what I want to do here.

All I want to do is fill a void…left by what I stopped doing. So I am doing what I stopped doing again. What did I stop doing?

Who the fuck wants to know!

This blog has been having some traffic without even pretending to be going anywhere. Fair enough. If people have time for nothing during recession, this blog is better than Facebook and its pointless quizzes and pompous self approving sad-ass people telling the world what is on their mind, what they like and why they are doing what they are not doing actually. There is this author too amongst them.

I must have really cheesed off 85% of my friends in Facebook with that one (the other 15% were never there anyway). Its OK…I have lost friends before. I will write more…for all those schmucks who seem to float in and out wondering what kind of a moron maintains this site.

Well… this kind of a moron does. And he is back.

Facebook… fuck you  (until I come back to you)! All those who ‘voiced their pain’ over the change in Facebook layout ought to get a life! Also those who did not!

Consipracy theories

For all those channels that are throwing around the Pakistani angle with a claim of exclusivity, I have my own conspiracy theory.  It does not work out. Either I have been reading too many spy novels or the media (and probably the Government) are too naive but there are too many tell tale signs of faking.

Why did Ajmal Mohammad Amin Kasab allow himself to be captured? Fidayeens do not allow themselves to be captured.  Even if they are, they do not sing like a canary, eagerly dropping the name of Pakistan, the  Punjabi accent s easily giving them up as Pakistanis and references to training at the Mangla dam reservoir so eagerly. At least not so quickly!

What kind of a stupid briefing would these guys have received which did not tell them to dump all evidence about their origin before commencing the attack? This is S.O.P for any armed unit going into enemy territory. These guys come happily ashore carrying an entire clutter of electronics including a GPS that shows them leaving Karachi, Satellite phone in the boat,  SIM cards and mobile phones showing calls and contacts back to the LeT in Pakistan and Bangladesh, not to forget credit cards. To think that this Ajmal guy received instructions about changes in plan from his mission commander on a mobile phone is too unusual.  That too while carrying out his plan at CSTM? Why would they risk losing the mobile phone to the Indians unless they intended to do so?

The whole thing looks like a stupid, cheap red herring…all these evidences are deliberate plants to look like accidental discoveries. The guys were told to fight to death…but if captured, sing the song they were trained to sing.  All things are so easily leading to Pakistan and Bangladesh…as if some one out there deliberately wanted it.  

Ajmal reportedly had an answer to the query on their intention to retain the GPS and other communication stuff. Apparently they had planned to exit by the same route, i.e. by the sea after completing their mission. Now what kind of moron would expect to sail off uninterrupted after bumping off 5,000 civillians of a nation (the number of people Ajmal said they were to kill)? They should have known that it is a one way ticket and impossible to return.

I might be wrong eventually…but this easy peasy evidencing to Pakistan looks like someone planned it that way and we are falling for it. Someone wants  India and Pakistan to go into war? Who?

Each to its Exclusive

The Mumbai thing is over for the goons and the commandos. The rest of the circus takes over. Patil’s head rolls, Chidambaram is in (for whatever reasons best known to the lady and her faithful PM), Laloo makes statements that Patil should have gone long ago (as if he had been suggesting it like a faithful coalition partner all this time), Sonia is livid with her cronies, Vilasrao Deshmukh does his rounds of the Taj and God only knows why Ram Gopal Verma was with him then.

These are the tangy spices that the vultures have served us post the tragedy – all in an hour of my TV news channel surfing.  Each channel had an exclusive, a word that I am hearing more prominently across the channels than anything else. One did its rounds of conspiracy theories and the Paki connection as an exclusive as if it had personally interrogated the captured terrorist. Then again there were these bunch of news channels that took the tried and tested line of the “resilience and undying spirit of Mumbaikars”. This is a line that Barkha Dutt had already trashed a couple of days earlier on behalf of NDTV’s differentiation strategy (NDTV were the main subscribers to the ‘spirit of Mumbai’ line during coverage of earlier incidents involving Mumbai). And yes, the all favorite, best selling, never out of flavor, easy to use politician bashing. With likes of Shobha De (where is Mahesh Bhat?) being interviewed, this thing sits up there with all the masala next to the soap operas in never ending sagacity. There was this channel that did not spare even a poor bereaving father.  It took the cameras and pokey news guys right into the compound of Late Major Unnikrishnan’s home where his father was seen snubbing the visiting Kerala CM and Home Minister rather harshly.

One thing my brother kept pointing out to me is the difference between the likes of CNN and BBC and the Indian news channels. Not only were there telling differences in the styles of commentary, visuals and approach but also in music. For some reason, Indian news channels subscribe to the notion that Indians will die of asphyxiation without music. Like tomato sauce, music goes into everything an Indian consumes. Even news. They may be alien to the Indian mindset but these foreign channels are more solemn and dignified in their reporting. The Indian channels simply resemble prime time American crime reporting TV. They even panned the Bollywood fraternity viewpoint on the incident. Like we were dying to know what our tinsel duds thought of this whole thing. Some things earn the sobriquet ‘ubiquitous’. Like Bollywood people dressed in all white whenever anything happens in Mumbai and all those people lighting candles for every tragedy. The worst part is not they doing it but the TV channels converting it into an icon.

I might come across as insensitive to the whole tragedy. Well that is how I feel. Even the most seasoned mind would not feel the pain of a tragedy unless it experiences one itself. I have had my own concerns for the past week, as I had to abandon my home and seek refuge at someone else’s place to escape the wrath of the floods following the cyclone Nisha. I am still a refuge as I type this. During my ordeal have seen things that the rest of the country has not seen and that formed a sharp contrast to the whole drama on TV that I was subjected to on the weekend. I will come back to this point later but firstly, I find the whole candle lighting to remember and mourn the dead thing somewhat clichéd and contrived. Especially when it is done as a group thing in full view of national news channels.  To me mourning is not meant to be distributed. It is a prayer in one’s mind, a feeling in one’s heart and a subdued message in person to the bereaved.  For this very reason, I wish they leave Major Unnikrishnan’s father alone. Send him a card or a letter of condolence if you really feel his loss but please do not show it full screen on TV multiple times or live telecast the postman who delivers it and catch the bereaved man’s reaction. Believe me…one day these channels would do this too!

This whole ‘jai jawan’ thing I have been seeing on TV is another thing I find hard to accept. To me, a soldier’s business is to fight…and live. Yes a dead soldier is a martyr, so offer a silent prayer to him and solemnly salute the living one. A soldier kills: something any soldier following orders would choose not to do given his own will. This overt and highly emotional celebration of a soldier’s victory is a sign of weakness. It is a tame acknowledgement of our own inability and reluctance to step into a soldier’s shoes and probably a feeling of relief that we need not do it. We shield these exact feelings beneath our boisterous cheers and emotional display of gratitude. For TV news channels, this is a TRP spinning masala that boring news does not provide. Show it repeatedly and the news channels are indoctrinating the people in the same way those fidayeens had been by their commanders.

Amidst this entire melee, one genuine politician and former Prime Minister passed away. The TRP hungry vultures chose to continue digging for exclusives in the Mumbai mess than spare a minute and remember the man who stood by his convictions. VP Singh stuck to his ideals than the seat on more than one occasion (Bofors, Income tax raids, the Mandal Commission implementation or the arrest of LK Advani)  It was Doordarshan that remembered the man, a channel that is now in control of a government formed chiefly by the very party that VP Singh was forced to quit. 

Finally, I find this whole “resilient spirit of Mumbaikars” ridiculous and too obvious. The single biggest TRP jump any channel would get is from the combined might of Mumbai or Delhi viewership. So with one carefully crafted phrase of flattery these channels easily grab the repeat viewership of the people of these cities. The laggard channels simply adopt this line too as “me too”. I care a dick for Mumbaikar, Delhiwala or Hyderabadi resilience or spirit. I care a dick for Chennaiite’s resilience too. There is no such thing at all. I bet most of them would only be too eager to get out of their sorry homes and continue enjoying their lives than have any real feelings the tragedy. Life is short…getting the best of it – that is what the average man really cares for. Like many things in this country, 24-hour  news channels too are for the haves, of the haves and by the haves. They cater to the haves and seek approval of the haves. So they speak of the resilient spirit of the haves and show it by panning someone like those candle burners! Frankly we have no frigging idea what human spirit or resilience means. These news channels have not begun to dig it even. 

Something wrong with the world today…

 Something wrong with the world today
I don’t know what it is
Something’s wrong with our eyes
We’re seeing things in a different way
And God knows it ain’t His
It sure ain’t no surprise
Yeah!
We’re livin’ on the edge…

 I used to get a kick watching the video of this Aerosmith song (Livin on the Edge).  Especially the scene where lead guitarist Joe Perry is playing a lead guitar solo in front of an oncoming train. The lyrics play out today as the week culminates with all its events. Mumbai, Chennai and the world…something is wrong.

It is an end to a busy week at work fighting a mutually unacknowledged war. A silent battle against possible events of a bad world economy rendered vulnerable by the bad policies of some influential governments that had no time or foresight for economic stability. We were fighting against time and our own sagacity and resourcefulness to keep our heads afloat and protect our workforce from the ignominy of the pink slip. Despite the reassurances by our prime minister and finance minister, we cannot escape the flutter of the butterfly’s wings. The flutter caused by one nation’s failure to control events has generated a ripple that hit other nations like big waves. The thread of bread as I put it goes long. In my industry one man’s desktop data advantage is another’s bread for the day. It stretches from US to Chennai. From Chennai to God knows where. The chain goes on. I am a client to one and a vendor to the other. I do not go down the chute alone. I drag people along with me.  And I get dragged by others.

THE WATERS AIN’T SAFE ANYMORE

For those outside Chennai, this would automatically refer to the audacity with which a bunch of fidayeens came ashore at Mumbai and ran amok with ammunition. For those in Chennai, you should add cyclone ‘Nisha’ and its deeds that went unnoticed to the world in general thanks to some gun-toting idiots. The cyclone brought with it a rainfall that was unusual in both volume and timing. The ripple of butterfly’s wings elsewhere is causing changes in the weather pattern in the Bay of Bengal that is causing cyclones at odd times and devastating effects. Entire standing crops of rice have been rendered waste and the ripple continues to roll ahead with possible food scarcity, loss of livelihood, price-rise and all the socio economic ills. The cyclone that was brewing up for quite long came and stayed for long, discharging a ridiculous amount of water all over the city and the state. The result was a huge waterlog all over that caused life to stand still in Chennai. Roads became rivers that drowned cars and buses. The authorities switched off power supply to prevent electrocution. Shops closed, water supply ceased and people were imprisoned in their own homes without help and support. Imagine the plight of the poor in shacks and huts or shanties by the road. I wonder what happened to them and where did they all go. What will the farmers do whose crops are all gone? This was not the first time for Chennai. It was the third one in the last 4 years of my life in Chennai.

As for Mumbai, I have no idea what to say. Thanks to the house arrest by Nisha, I have had no TV at home. I am sure the Barkhas, Prannoys and Arnabs have said a lot with their exclusives and in-your-face commentary. I have nothing to offer in this regard.

The capitalist world never reveals its excesses but the unchecked freedom that the capitalist governments gave banks and financial institutions caused them to act recklessly and fall big, taking down whoever was associated with them.

The same capitalists’ refusal to pare down their own excesses with respect to environment is causing the ripples in the environment. The ripples (that a few of us care to think about and term it as climate change and global warming) are slowly turning waves of change that are materializing into things like untimely cyclones in Bay of Bengal. It is a grim situation for a nation like Maldives whose newly elected leader’s primary task is to find his people a new nation because the existing one is going down into the sea thanks to the rising sea levels at the equator caused by melting ice at the polar caps which are being subjected to heat from the oceans that are warming thanks to the persistently growing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that is causing the trapping heat from solar radiation within the atmosphere.

Well I might be wrong in describing this scientific chain of events but in a bigger sense, I am worried about the inter-links and technical advancements we have so eagerly built all these years. They are of no use when it comes to sustaining life. We celebrate global inter-connectivity and technology convergences but it was not my cell phone with, GPS and internet that connected me to the rest of the world in the time of crisis (when I was trapped at home thanks to the flood). It was the lowly landline phone that people hardly use these days that helped me reach out to my family and friends. The cell phone’s battery did not last long enough in the blackout.

We have come out of the old economic ways to inter connect using technology without homogenizing our disparate economies. We have entangled demand and supply forces far too much to cause a global meltdown with just one event.

The Mumbai terrorist attack is the result of poor interlinks. Our ideologies, political motives and insecurities often fuelled by economic needs have led us to the political posturing that rubs off wrongly on some. We’re seeing things in a different way and God knows it ain’t His. Yes it is not God’s but our own excesses as human beings that led us to the incidents of “26/11”. Our inability to live together in a connected world. Our inability to read and understand each other’s minds, our reluctance to let go things that do not have any value, our lack of faith on others with respect to our own faith. Those who caused the carnage are but a bunch of brainwashed idiots. The ones who sent them to this ‘glorious death’ are manipulated by the machinations of their superiors who in turn are manipulated by someone else. The chain goes on and covers everyone. Even Osama Bin Laden is influenced. In the olden days, you either knew the truth  or were ignorant. In the modern world, you have television and live media. Between them, truth changed. It is now the lie that is believed until it is altered.

We are living on the edge.  We are playing our guitars while the speeding train is approaching behind our back. Our ways of life and times have changed. We have rubbed off a lot of insularity from ourselves and have altered things so much that it is hitting us back. A time for introspection. A time for a new global spiritual consciousness.

Diwali Lights!


A face you cannot forget

Emilio Morenatti’s haunting photo of a child!

read more | digg story

A Desire to Burn

Mediocrity.

Not too fat, Not too sedentary, Not too big muscled, Not run too fast too long . Not to rich, not too flashy, no statements. Just a flexible, all around healthy and balanced person.

Finally succumbed to the desire to burn. Burn it forever…anhillate the flab. Go down the scale.

Cut away all ‘dependencies’ and went decaff. Low on sugar. Low on salt. Less rice, more veggies. Microwave the oil away from the food!

No more petrol-guilt. The bike is confined to a corner. The rear tyre flattened to beat all urges. No more sedantary lifestyle. We have been pampered enough. We have demanded a lot but paying with our rapidly dying muscles.

Walk!

Walk every day…for everything…walk to work, walk for pleasure and walk the talk. Kill Mr. Sedantary.

Put life into muscle.

Burn the flab.

Day 1: 122

The countdown to 90kg has started. It will take long. I will have to go long. I have the time. I will walk it.

Digging Off Beats

We are indeed a lucky generation. We can dig our past by pecking a few keys of a computer all the while sitting in our living room. I found a gem of this song right in eSnips! I watched this movie (Hip Hip Hurray) in 1984! It was probably the first ever sports movie in Hindi (was directed by Prakash Jha) based on a high school soccer team and its coach. This song was picturised on Raj Kiran (Mr Coach) while the titles were shown. Cool lyrics by Gulzar and voiced by Yesudas (music by Vanraj Bhatia).

Or click the link below

Ek Subah Ek Modh Par – Hip Hip Hurray 1984

Ek subah ek mod par main ne kaha use rok kar
 Haath badha ae zindagi, aankh milaakar baat kar
 Roz tere jeene ke liye
 Ek subah mujhe mil jaati hai
 Murajhaati koyi shaam agar to
 Raat koyi khil jaati hai
 Main roz subah tak aata huun
 Aur roz shuru karata hoon safar
 haath badha ae zindagi, aankh milaakar baat kar
 tere hazaaron cheharon mein
 ek chehra hai mujhase milata hai
 aankhon ka rang bhi ek sa hai
 aavaaz ka ang bhi milata hai
 sach puucho to ham do judava hain
 tu shaam meri main teri sahar
 haath badha ae zindagi, aankh milaakar baat kar

My Own Teddy

My dad gave me this one when I was 14 years old. It is a Casio PB 110 Data Bank.

I belong to the Seconds Club. Whatever my elder brother got was passed on to me later. Like clothes, ear-rings (yeah we dude brothers wore them as babies), school text books,…whatever. Brother assumed this algorithm for everything else. He was the first to try anything new. He would ration it to me for brief moments before reclaiming it. It would come down to me almost useless when he gets over it. But somehow he let this one come to me directly. Maybe he could not crack this techno stuff.  I was the gadget guy. It took me a week or so to find out what it really was.

I knew that it was more than a calculator. The word ‘computer’ was written on it. Data Bank Computer. It was the 1980’s . We knew what computers were. Those rare big TV like things that did things really fast and big. So imagine me having a computer in my palm. This little thing had all of 544 bytes of RAM. It was the first thing I had seen with a dot matrix LCD. The screen is a single line 64 character affair of which only 12 characters are visible with the rest scrolled across. The Qwerty keypad was the best one I had ever used. . It had a few scientific functions. For the rest, you just had to program them. The thing was BASIC enabled. CASIO had developed its own version of BASIC programming for this. You could program anything that a RAM of 544 bytes allows. I learned the art of coding on this little one thanks to the excellent manuals that taught BASIC as well. I developed little number, character and word games on it. generated number series and progressions on it to devise numeric puzzles. I had learnt trigonometry, logarithms and exponents on this than from my maths teacher. It had a two tone sounds which I manipulated to make some crazy programmed music and also audio Morse code.

I have a desktop and an ancient laptop now. I also had a Casio Pocket Organizer that was of no use except for its Poker game. But I still miss this guy. I have no idea what happened to it. Just vanished like most childhood stuff.  This was the closest thing to a palmtop, scientific calculator, Personal computer, PDA, random number generator or loan and EMI calculator all put into one. Just 544 bytes of memory!

A simple program to generate a random number between 0 and a dynamic input number (hope I got it right after all these years):

10 K=KEY$

20 B=INT(RAN#(K))

30 PRINT B

I never had many toys as a kid. I must have broken them all before I was 4. If there was anything that came closest to being my teddy bear, the CASIO PB 110 was it. Yes, I even slept with it beside me.

Rather than end this here, this is a tag I am passing on to a few gadget gurus…

Nomad, Shuunya, Vrij, Bloggerbloke feel free to pick this tag. Show me your teddy. Need not be a gadget. And pass this on.

Some Sense

Reporting is something we in K-World swear are always worked up about. Everything that we do focuses down to one single thing – is the message clear. Of course we do all the scut work but that does not necessarily mean we crunch a lot of numbers collected painstakingly. No sir, we scan the Net and put pieces together and cut down to the chase. The last part is most crucial as we have to convert all that Nobel-Prize-winning-speak into English or simple arithmetic. So when I come across this piece of info that was published in a magazine no less than The Economist, I freak out:

“Among American states, for every cent per kilowatt-hour by which prices exceed the national average, energy consumption drops by about 7% of the average.”

Decipher it for me please!