In hindsight

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What makes Mumbai different ?

I was in Pune for some of my "official" purposes and then decided I would drop down(??) to Mumbai as I had never been there before . ( I now wear an invisible tag around my neck saying - I have visited all Indian Metros .. Cochin Included ;-) )

I decided I would travel on the much hyped Pune-Mumbai Express way ( on a Tata Sumo ) .. from where I started it was 144 kms to Mumbai . I timed my journey took only ( ONLY in bold and underlined ) an hour and 45 minutes. that was around 90-100 km/hr on an average .. So the top speed should have hit 150-180 more than once ! Luckily for me ... I was tired and was resting my head on the passenger next to me , dozing but for the occasional G-force due to the twist and turns . I witnessed an almost fatal accident , 2 non fatal ones , few accident hit spots and a bunch of people who cared little about what they just saw !

With over 1.3 crore people - converts to 13 million - if there is one raw commodity thats cheaply available - its life ! Mumbai is easily the most populous city in India with Bangalore coming third with less than half of Mumbai's population - now you get the picture ... If not .. taste this ...
The railway terminal at Churchgate ( one of the busiest terminals in Mumbai ) has 1,500 people coming In /out per MINUTE at its peak hours. If you still dont get the picture .. the canvas is out there .

Few things you should not miss doing in Mumbai

1) travel by the local train
2) get down at CST and walk to Gateway of India.
3) Dine/Lunch/ Beer (verb) at Cafe Mondigar
4) Have vada-pav and cutting chai at some local roadside tea shop
5) buy pirated dvd from some crowded ghali near the train stations
6) drive through the marine drive in a taxi
7) walk down Dalal Street ( for the one who dont have a Phd in economics .. thats where the Bombay Stock Exchange is )
8) watch the Dabba-wallahs having their lunch
and in the night ..
9) spend an hour in a 'dance bar' with a beer worth Rs.250/- and table surrounded by neatly dressed lipstick laden, ever-ready, barely-legal teens with tonnes of makeup.

With all its crime rate and fast life ... Mumbai still remains the mother of all cities .. it makes Bangalore look like .... just an artificial, temporary settlement ! .

Meri Pyari Mumbai .

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I confess ...

After more than a quarter century on this planet ... I realized with much pain ... and agony ..

1) ... that I cannot handle things under pressure. ( I used to think otherwise ... and I had taught myself to get used to such situations. If I havent learnt it after these long years .. the chances are ... I wont ever .)

2) .. that planning works. ( May it does not work wonders ..but it is far better to plan and act if you have the opportunity to do so. )

3) .... that money does matter. ( Its another thing that money is not everything ... but yeah think about satisfaction in life , work ethics, travel, ascetic life , meaning of life, idealism, et al .. when you have enough money for the rest of your life )

4) .... that you need to draw a line somewhere . ( Life is learning ... but then you just cant lead a life making mistakes, learning lessons from them and not implementing them for the rest of your life )

5) ... that practice does work miracles . There is nothing wrong with working hard ... It is NOT a sign of intellectual incompetence in case you cannot get it right the first or the second time ( Forget the outliers )

6) ..that it is okay to make a mistake AGAIN ! ( I thought that you need to always learn from your FRIST mistake .. and never ever 'commit' the mistake again ... commit is a word I should learn to disassociate with failure.. somehow it sounds so hard and unjust a word ) ( Read point #5 again ) Does a juggler always gets it the first time when he tries an additional ball ?

more lessons to be added later.....
( as and when I realize I havent written it down ... )

- added on June 12 2007 -
7) Its only imperfection that complains about the imperfect. The more perfect you are, the more tolerant you are towards the imperfections of others.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Four piece chicken - To go

Starting Notes
1) I donot like the chicken in KFC.

2) I prefer Pepsi to Coke.

3) KFC serves only Pepsi.

When was the last time you did something for the first time ?Like for example ... eating a four piece KFC Original recipe with half a litre Coke ? I never thought I would ever do that. But today was different. I had to do things that I have never done before .. Today was the beginning of everything new.
My resignation process has started moving in one direction and I will be stripped of all my entitlements. They would even take away the liberal joy of being called an employee of the company !
But just when everything was getting depressingly moody ... I had the news and the fantastic stroke of good fortune of having a better job. I call it fortune because its unlike any other forms of feeling of getting into a new job.My first ever shift to a new company ... and Iam already liking the feeling of joining the company. Now that the dark clouds have passed over I decided there was nothing to feel depressed about or ... for that matter there was nothing to think too much about.

Just 24 hours ago I was in my all time low ... Iam definitely having an emotional roller coster ride ... and let me confess Iam enjoying the ride right now . There is nothing like having a feeling of joy when you really really really crave for it . ( UNDERLINED AND BOLD )
I called up everyone whom I knew ... near dear and anyone close to being near or dear. I just let everyone know that I was happy ... And all the while I thought it was juvenile to be thinking like this ... I was suddenly reduced to an 8 year old girl who got a new bright colored skirt on a day which was definitely not her birthday ! ( the birthday would have spoiled her emotions ..considering the anticipation factor. )
I was reduced to a intellectually less fortunate kid who had just won a medal in the special olympics. I was reduced to an amateur pilot who just landed safely after his first ever flight. I was reduced to a devotee who could get a glipse of her Guruji for the first time. I was reduced to everyone and everything .... and my emotional floodgates just opened to everyone i talked to ... ( NO .. I didnt cry though :) )I compared myself to Cuba Gooding Jr in Jerry MgGuire ... I had that moment of I-love-everybody feeling. I have never ever been depressed and overjoyed in such a short span. Somehow I felt life coming back ... I was turning blue ... now I have regained my color .. and finally when I walked down ITPL ... for one last time with that emotion of having been cast out of an evil spirit .... I saw the writing on a bright red background. - KFC - hot and crispy. Of all the scores of times i passed in front of it ... I have never been lured ... but today I did get in ... totally oblivious to the surroundings ...I knew .. I should be doing something I have never done before and said ... "I would like to have a four piece chicken.. original recipe ... and could you please put some salsa along with it ... To Go"

Friday, October 27, 2006


Please allow me to shamelessly talk on something not worth its time ...
But somehow in a period of loosing streaks .... this came in as a welcome change. And talking about it does really boost my morale.

Flashback ..
I decided to experiment with the iBT, though I was pretty comfortable with the CBT and the iBT speaking section was a new thing to worry about.
So except for the speaking section, I thought I was comfortable ! ... And yeah it turned out to be exactly what I thought would be.

112/120 sounds like a good score to me ;) ( Didnt I tell you I was in the mood for some blatant self promotion ... )
One down ... more to go ...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Failure !

We have a tendency to think that failure of our actions is a faliure of ourselves.

- A friend whom I met on orkut

Friday, October 06, 2006

Shame and Mask

A man whose sense of shame has some profundity encounters his destinies and delicate decisions, too, on paths which few ever reach and of whose mere existence his closest intimates must not know: his mortal danger is concealed from their eyes, and so is his regained sureness of life. Such a concealed man who instinctively needs speech for silence and for burial in silence and who is inexhaustible in his evasion of communication, wants and sees to it that a mask of him roams in his place through the hearts and heads of his friends. And supposing he did not want it, he would still realize some day that in spite of that a mask of him is there - and that this is well. Every profound spirit needs a mask: even more, around every profound spirit a mask is growing continually, owing to the constantly false, namely shallow , interpretation of every word, every step, every sign of life he gives.

- Nietzsche, "Beyond Good And Evil", section 40

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Munna Bye !

No doubt, Lage Raho Munna Bhai was a real break from the mundane mush-mush pyar-ishq-mohabbat Hindi movie genre. But I certainly had reservations on the way it has portrayed the Mahatma . No better time to think about it, than now.

Today is October the 2nd ..This day, 137 years ago, someone was born in Gujarat, who would, for ever, change the way we look at resistance movements. ( this also being the 100th year of the revolutionary Satyagraha movement ) Albert Einstein would later say about this man ...
"Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth."
The Hindu Sunday Review yesterday rightly had an article on the way the latest Munna Bhai flick 'uses' the Mahatma as a novel story line - a break away from the usual formula.
It should have stopped there ! The media, religiously followed its instincts, portraying in a heroic way, the great effort done by the director (Raj Kumar Hirani) to spread the Gandhi ideals .

A very bad message - the Mahatma would not be claimed as unreasonable - he was politically savvy - You need to know whom you are fighting . You cannot use the principles of non-violence and civil disobedience against an irrational enemy - ( these links would be a perfect read . and )

"If Gandhi were to take up the Dandi yatra against the Nazis, he would have barely made it one mile " - Since Gandhi knew that the British were very respectful of the political system and their own judiciary - non-violence seemed to be a very radical idea through with you can attain what you wanted from the British.

The way this is portrayed in the movie is pathetic - it would be senselessly stupid to compare Gandhis non-violence with that of Sanjay Dutt showing the left cheek to the watchman in front of Boman Irani's mansion ( towards the end of the movie ) .
Here is interesting the dilemma - Gandhi could be reliably trusted to never resort to violence even if his methodology of non-violence failed. He could be taken as very honorable and reliable. MunnaBhai is unreliable, unpredictable and unreasonable. As expected and wanted by the audience , MunnaBhai whacks down the watchman after he has shown the second cheek.

With great power comes the need for great composure to restrain it ! - the movie fails to portray that . Gandhi was powerful - very very powerful. He could have easily channelised his mass ppeal to expedite the process of attaining freedom - if he had taken the masses to violent actions - but that would mean the essential breakaway from his own principles.

The movie's stand on consmption of liquor is also not devoid of questioning - how could a iam-drunk-all-the-time goon take up portions of Gandhian philosophy to achieve his needs ? It would be unreasonable to assume that even though knowing about Gandhi was not his primary objective, ultimately the ghost of Gandhi transformed MunnaBhai to a perfect Gandhian. ( compared to the beautiful manner RDB shows DJ ( Aamir Khan) and his friends being transformed into modern day Bhagat Singhs ) But MunnaBhai does not go away without any social implications - a public screening of the movie on October 2nd !!

Needless to say, we essentially live in a period of induced jingoism and irrational nationalism - fueled by the tension across the border and the subtle religious equilibrium. We need to rethink - if movies like L.O.C , Border and their likes ( inablility to recall more names ) should ever be screened.

To leave you with a thought, ...
"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."
- the Mahatma

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Bumble Bee

"You are more afraid of something you cannot see ..than the things you can see."

Enter the story of Bumble Bee ! Somehow I need to make up my mind.
To be or to bumble bee !

Friday, September 22, 2006

Things I hate about my office

Last few days and all my animosity towards my company is culminating into one point - trying to find justifications on my decision to quit ! The following one might be trivial but very important in terms of keeping employees happy !

a) They have blocked almost all the sites - even Scott Adam's. - humour not allowed
b) Anything to have the keyword -'mail' has been blocked . - mailing not allowed

c) Any thing that has 'hot' or any variants of fornication in its URL - obvious - no porn in office !
d) The other categories being - sports , chat , matrimony, job sites ... the list has just begun.

I couldnt help twist my eyebrows in disbelief when some one told me that his favorite site on the java browser - hot java was blocked ... so was ( The firewall should have intelligently filtered it as some sites that show semi nude lady with the name Java ! .. maybe even worse ! who knows ... as long as the firewall blocks it ... we are safe .. office morality is keep intact ! Thanks to all the cheap firewalls ! )

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

That 80s cartoon show

"Dance your cares away,
worries for another day,
let the music play,
down at Fraggle Rock."

As a child DoorDarshan ( DD ) was my only window to the outside world ... Urban indian middle class, especially in Cochin,Kerala, couldnt ask for more .. well .. they didnt need more. The TV costantly fed me with very interesting and captivating mega serials ... ( compared to today's mega .. MEGA looks like a larger than life one ... to be attributed to those 13 episode serials ) ...
Star Trek, Spiderman, Ek-Do-Theen-Char, UGC, Yeh-Jo-Hei-Zindagi,Mr.Yogi, MungeriLal Ke Haseen Sapney - These were all my favorites ... and yeah I used to watch 'HeMan and the masters of the universe' too.

But of all .... the one that really captured my imagination and attention was Fraggle Rock... the world of imaginary human like beings and their life in a worry free world - or rather a world in which worry was not the determinant of the way life should be lived !
I wondered where did all these beings disapper .. the only place I find them these days is on the net !

Sunday, September 03, 2006

A perfect Sunday ....

What more could you ask for ... what more could you want on a sunday ... feel lazy .. relax ... stretch on a bean bag ... read The Hindu Literary Review.. sip on hot creamy coffee with low sugar... bit by bit by bit .. You are unconsciously aware of the presence of the coffee mug next to you ... You know there is still a little more coffee left in it .. but you dont let it bother you much .. you are engrossed in the literature ... you can feel the fluid running through your veins .. slowly entering your foggy sleepy brain ... you can feel the caffeine working on you .... but you are too lazy ... you cant even feel the bean bag behind you .. you are taken away into a world of lethargy and comfort ... that forbidden pleasure of loathing ... not letting anything worry you .. not even the time ... not even the sound of the waking day ... the outside seems so disconnected ... you dont even know if it is morning or evening ... the pleasant sunshine has been fading feel you are absorbed into a comfortable surrounding where you wanted to be for a long time ... as if slowly sinking into a giant pillow made of white feathers ... as if entrapped into a heap of fresh morning snow ... but letting yourself seep into it ... and then slowly you grope your hands around you ... searching for something as if in the dark ... and pick the mug and bring it to your lips .... its no longer warm .. its cold and watery ... you know you have been there for a long time .. you try to get back to your reading can still feel the masculine stench of coffee lingering in your mouth .. the taste of expensive coffee... and little did you know that you had slowly slipped into a perfect mid morning nap, on your bean bag .. with the sunday review newspaper outstretched on your chest, a coffee mug beside like a blanket barely covering you ... little did you know .... that this was the perfect sunday morning you always wanted..

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Invisible Children

"Ask yourself how the Islamic world can be so enraged about 24 deaths in Haditha and the indignities of Abu Ghraib, while there is no outcry about the death of 400,000 Muslims and the atrocities in Darfur."

A very young crowd ...
A very noble cause ...
A very cold night ....
A very peaceful setting ...

29th April 2006 was not very notable in history, neither was it a turning point, but for a group of aronud 500 teenagers assembled in downtown Pittsburgh ( Market Square ) and for me and my friend, it was rather a change of daily routine. It was a just cause ... fighting for the rights of children in Africa .. Moved by a documentary made by 3 Americans ( titled Invisible Children released 2003) , and with a rising call for humanity and compassion towards children of Africa, and more importantly to bring to thw awareness of the American Government what has been happening for almost 20 years of civil war, a nationwide call was made to 'Not just watch ..but Do'. The news spread and on April 29 , it became a national call . Teenagers across the nation took to the main street and slept over together in groups of 100s, woke up in the morning around 6 , assembled together, posed for a group snap and left for their homes. I drove back to from Pittsburgh to Perrysburg ..

What was the whole thing about ? That day probably not many would have realized the importance of the cause for which they were doing it. Probably not many realised it. ( not me too that day, until I went home and read about it ). I met the organiser of the GNC Pittsburg, Lisa Dougan, a student from Grove City College and talked about it and later exchanged a few mails and the pictures we had captured on that day. You can listen to her on whole incident and what it is all about here ( ogg file 344 KB, playable with windows media player ) ... and to know how it all started here is a compact version according to BBC .

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

KANK-ed by KJ

For some one who didn't know what the previous movies of Karan Johar ( referred to from here on as KJ) were, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna ( refered to from here on as KANK) was the perfect sampling of a high-budget bollywood movie portraying NOTHING - a perfect example of how a 'decent' story line could be turned into a stupid melodrama ; the quintessential bollywood stick-on-to-the-formula movie ..

Empty is not the word I would use to describe the theatre .. haunted would suite better. Barely 15 people and most of them i-dont-have-anything-else-in-the-world-to-do look alikes. The acoustics were rather flawed.. I dont blame it on the theatre ... I believe it is because of the empty house ; sound tracks in hindi movies are made such that they sound good when the sound is absorbed by clothes covering human flesh in a packed house .. In this case .. it was resonating against the latex coated cushion seats - hundreds of them .. waiting to sink down under the weight of a bored movie goer.

Like the gold rush of the 1850s, where the biggest money makers were the ones who sold the shovels, the old man at the counter selling coffee must have made a fortune selling hot anti-somniferous fluid to people who try to keep themselves awake watching KANK. Intermission is definitely a welcome break - unless you have left the theatre in total despair.

The movie was nowhere close to reality. It was a dramatization of cliched situations worked out very badly by a director who thinks like a gay fashion designer turned jobless. How can one comprehend such a movie and equate it even remotely close to reality ?

Consider this ..
It mostly rains when Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee meet on the streets and get drenched when the whole population of NewYork carry umbrellas or wear ponchos .. May be its Murphy's law always working against them - or maybe they are genuinely poor to afford an umbrella.

Amitabh dressed in flashy fur clothing can be understandably considered as what is demanded by the character ... but the silent background track singing "Sexy-Saaaaaam" when ever Amitabh flirts with a prospective bed-mate was a definite killer.

The humor was pathetic ( lack of apt word ) .. very very corny. The scenes where Shah Rukh is mistakenly tranquilized in the hospital - instead of 'Black Beast' - Rani .. and the resulting confusion ... is NOT FUNNY; it is irritating. Arjun?? (Shah Rukh's son) picking up the ball and returning it to the goalie when he should have scored NOT FUNNY. Its poor humor. The humor brings out the metally-retarded innocence in you. You have to have an heart overflowing with blissful joy to enjoy this humor.

Rani's role was a mistreatment of odds- It gave me a wrong impression that Rani wanted to make love only if you checked in to a hotel. At home she is a vegetable. Husbands, get the message - it pays to get laid. But considering the obvious disadvantage she was at, in portraying her character, Rani did a good job- so did Abhishek. The director always brings out the hidden talents of the actors - particularly when the roles are unfairly challenging.

High points of the movie -
a) the sado-masochist attire on Rani.
b) walking tour of NewYork Skyline.
c) Good camera rolling esp in the song Mithwaaaaa
d) preity zinta dancing in a shamefully golden mini skirt and doing an split second obtuse leg-split in to the air.
e) Catchy foot tapping melodies.

I realized that KJ movies promise interrupted flows of tears punctuated by songs that come out of nowhere . Definitely a watchable movie if you want to kill some time, loose some money and get a headache as a take away. KANK was a sign - a desperate call to end it - It was .... an Alvida to All Karan Johar movies.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Seeing things through a girls eye.

Col: When a girl runs out like that, she generally wants to be followed..
Fergus : She is not a girl
Col: What ever you say

( But Fergus rises and follows . )

-The Crying Game, 1992

(more later .. )

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Game

The outcome of the game depends on the players that you choose.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My dream(ing) job

Soon I should be writing a blog like this ...

"Iam jobless again ! Its those times when you start appreciating work.
When you work .. you crib about how much far you have to go before you can go home and sleep. But when you dont have a job, you start to feel the weightlessness of your already weightless wallet. You stop having your weekend bash and your occassional - no-reason-parties and dinner outs.. Its time for contemplation .... hey .. wait ... have I not been contemplating for the last 5 years ? Do I belong to the ever growing class of motivationally impaired species infront of blue screens trying to save the world by plucking out protruding bugs and in the process implanting with newer better ones !
After years of constant comtemplation I found my dreamjob - Indefinite Slacking."

Thats a would-be blog .. coming your way soon. - very soon.

After note : The post-it came in handy ... the figure on the note is growing everyday .. I heard- by the next financial year end .. it would almost cross 100,000 !! That almost makes me feel very important - one in a hundred thousand !!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

A perfect blog-job

Sometimes I have been too bothered about blogging and the thoughts that come into my mind are just bits and pieces of literary inspirations ( that peep into my thought-window when I ride, sleep or try to sleep .. ) and nothing more than that. The feeling of helplessness due to my inability to expand on the idea forces the early abortion of the blog-fetus. So I decided that even if its just 3 lines .. A blog is a blog ... afterall blogs are just meant for that ! Who needs a perfect composed blog afterall with an Introduction Content and Conclusion? Eeek .. It all sounds genuinely artificial. Write as if no one is reading.. ( a variant of 'Dance as if no one is watching' .. in my case, both inevitably are true.) Stop when you feel its no more fun. That's a perfect blog-job.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Blogs are just the beginning.. The future is scary

Why should blogs be ever popular ? Is it because of the ease of the execution of mandatory web-page-publishing-cycle ? Or is it because of the push it is given by the fad propogating media ? Or is it for real ? Far away from the ideas of convergence of devices , confluence of media and unification of almost-everything ... to a meaningful granularization of existing media, every one having a medium of communication of their own, I-have-a-channel-of-my-own culture.

Imagine the death of the video-on-demand culture, instead you surf into another's personal media channel- a public broadcast of someones personal ideas and living style - cybercams fitted into living rooms, personal speech pod-casted into the cyberspace and everything that you want made available - made public. There is an enormous amount of cultural diversity waiting to be broadcasted- there is an infinite amout of information waiting to be consumed. There will be an overload of junk which today is wrongly interpreted as information. The internet is no longer be the internet as we knew a few years ago. It is bound to be a living, growing and thriving society where you will have to fight for your personal space, wars waged over virtual boundaries and everything that you see or do leaves behind traces of your cyber fingerprints.An artist's impression of human implants and the future !

Grids of Information
Everything would be done over the internet - the grid. Your life would revolve around ( or stand still ) on what the grid has to offer today. The grid would be so very ubiquitous that everything that is pluggable would be plugged into the grid. We are not talking about the laptops or the PDAs .. we are talking about your toaster, hair dryer, battery charger, telephones, water heater,ceiling fan, tubelight, 100-watt GE bulb, dishwasher - anything electric - to begin with ... and slowly micro-chip-embedded devices like fountain pens, wine bottles, pepsi cans, post-it notes, razor blades, shirts, shoes and even the liquid nail polish would have grid enabled technology in it. Everything would have a story to tell and all this would be available over the internet - data flowing into the internet like streams of radiation from the sun.

Plug - but dont Play
A little distant future is even more scarier - The world as we know today is over. I dont even want to think about the possibility of detachable, grid-enabled body parts out for sale in the walmarts-of-tomorrow. You would be moving around in an invisible but recognizable ether of 'grid-fluid' .. thick, dense and full of data - your presence easily monitored and broadcasted by a universal GPS - Grid Positioning System. If you want to find out where your teenage daugher or for that matter your tootAmal Graafstr's RFID implanted handshbrush is ... all you have to do is just log in to the GPS ( G for Grid ) tracking site and search by the GID ( Grid ID) (todays prototypes are the RFIDs) - but the question remains - how will you remember the GID for something as trivial and 'useless' as a cork-opener ? There comes the solution in the form of AIG ( Artificial Intelligence for teh Grid ). You think about it - and you get it ! Sounds crazy ? - sorry to dissapoint you - the future is already here. But that would be another blog ... The grid is here to stay ! Plug yourself in .. Unplugging yourself would be the equivalent of suicide. Someday, scores of eons from now when the Bible would be re-written, it would read like ..
" In the beginning, there was the blog ...."

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A whole new world

All the world is a stage and the people mere players ... What do you want to be ? the curtain raiser ?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cheers ... for ummm ... nothing !

Of late I raise a toast so very often that I have ran out of reasons. Are we in a crisis where we are desperately in search of good news ? Has the age of the hero ended ?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The chemistry and economics of falling in love.

Matrimonial sites
One Sunday afternoon I got a mail from a locally popular matrimonial site congratualting me on registering with them. Surprised I was .. , I clicked on their homepage. I had the shock of my life when I saw my photo on their home page ! I was being advertised . I was on the main page of a matrimonial page asking for prospective girls !!! I called up home and there lay the answer .. my parents were getting worried that my youth was getting wasted in office politics, travel and bad philosophy. They wanted me to get married - even without my consent !( I personally resent from advertising on these sites .. I accept this as the first symptom of you not able to pick up potential mates and globally having acknowledged the fact that you are way below in the mating food chain. ) It cost them well over a thousand Indian Rupees and my profile is "valid" for the next 6 months . It so happened that my parents knew the people well and they even managed to get a discount ! So I made the calculation ... on an average, a girl-seeking-guy waits for 6 months without much success through their site. They know it .. and they want us to know it. Some even wait for a year ! Further I searched their database .. about 100 "potential candidates" on a loose search criteria. Thats about Rs.15/- for viewing a profile. Why dont they put a pay-per-use policy on their site ? Ahh now thats a fantastic business model !

Body Politics
I always had trouble convincing my ex-girl friend that being thin was in.
Maybe I was just being hyper conscious about my physical stature or I wanted to justify her ego and comfort her that she had not made any wild , out of the natural choices. She was wrong in almost all her choices - including me.

Chocolates and love
I read this alternate theory that chocolates induce the production of amphetamines that are similar to the ones that are produced when you are in love. Or was it the artificial stimulation of your senses because chocolates seems to be the obvious( cheapest) choice of gifts. So its just Pavlov's reflex. After almost three years when I was out of love, I didn't have the craving for chocolates ... Either it was not love or something was wrong with my endocrine glands. ( I like to believe the former )

Economics of love
I love to listen to the NPR when I drive to office and back, and on one such boring thursday evening, they had something interesting .. about how lovers ought to get state benefits , how they positively drive the economy , how the hospitality and beverages ( esp red wine ) industry is atleast slightly influenced by lovers . .think about the amount of diamonds, red roses, champagne bottles, mushy cards, telephone calls, lunches/dinners, movies,
Lovers should get some kind of exemption on these , maybe a tax cut , or some extra free cell phone minutes, a reduction on luxury taxes, service taxes, and ofcourse some free movie tickets ..all sponsored by the state. Afterall love makes the world go round.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Whose war is it anyway ?

"It fills me with rage to hear about it and read about it. The pity I once had for foreign troops in Iraq is gone. It's been eradicated by the atrocities in Abu Ghraib, the deaths in Haditha and the latest news of rapes and killings. I look at them in their armored vehicles and to be honest- I can't bring myself to care whether they are 19 or 39. I can't bring myself to care if they make it back home alive. I can't bring myself to care anymore about the wife or parents or children they left behind. I can't bring myself to care because it's difficult to see beyond the horrors. I look at them and wonder just how many innocents they killed and how many more they'll kill before they go home. How many more young Iraqi girls will they rape?"

- From the blog of an Iraqi girl

War on terror , Operation Iraqi Freedom , Operation enduring Freedom .. the list goes on .. the jargons and the phrases .. the deaths , the injuries ... the strife .. goes on ..

Operation Iraqi Freedom reminds me of the Vietnam war .. loosing grip day by day... For the administration its a question of honour, for the financial machinery its a question of raising money to support the troops, for the american public its an unnecessary war .. for the military combatant on the field this is a lost war .. its plain ridiculous when they really donot know whom they are fighting for !

For a statistician, the conclusion would be easy .. they are just numbers .. but as it turns out numbers speak ! Have a look and thou shall know. Click here to see a clearer picture

This shows the as of today ... To get a more weiry number .. here it goes .. as on June 27,2006

Total Deaths : 2527 ( * +2 deaths pending confirmation, details not released )

Total Injured : 18490 ( unofficial 20,000 - 48,000 )

These are the official figures as posted in the DoD ( Department of Defence ) website . Looking at it would give you an idea how dreadful the numbers are ... Since the date of its inception, the war machinery has been churning out news of death like a weather data .

The business of war reporting and newspapers

How does this sound ? "Reuters: Roadside bomb kills 1 Iraqi soldier, wounds 7" .. pretty much everyday news ! ( this is a June 29 news .. not quite a headline though)

1198 days(as on June 27) from the start .. on an average 2.3 deaths per day !! 2 deaths a day ... and the news sounds so normal .. it doesnt make it to the headlines of the local newspapers anymore .. its not reading material .. casuality death doesnt make sellable news anymore .. people are tired of the same news.. News agencies are in the look out for the next sellable story .. wait for the next bad news !

Links :

The DoD daily casuality list :

Casuality count statistics by period :

For "keeping track" of the count .. I thought I would put a counter on my blog .. sounds inhuman .. but what worth does humanity hold in front of oil ? ... if you are interested in adding an automated script as a reminder on the daily casualities .. you can get the script from here

More will be added as Operation Iraqi freedom continues ... watch this space for more updates ... and views ... ( lots of sarcasm intended )

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Once Bit-ten Twice Shy - The rise and rise of Bit Torrent

I just completed a 3.1 GB download of the complete lectures of Richard P Feynman. It was rather tiring to wait for a little more than a day. But the wait was worth it . I would have paid a fortune to get that from Amazon or BnN or somewhere online .. maybe I would never have got that at all in a voice media format.

Its the ultimate nightmare of a recording company , the headache of the movie distributers and the haven for online file swappers . Enter Bit Torrent.

Introducing Bram Cohen, the inventor of Bit Torrent ... whose passion is solving puzzles .. the harder ..the better.
Did you know that one-third of the internet traffic is accounted for by torrents ?
What started as a harmless way of sharing files is now a movement . ( remember Yahoo started as a small listing project by a Stanford student ? , so did Google ... )

Is p2p Softwares good for the Software Industry and how would it change the dynamics of eCommerce and online trading .. is yet to be seen ..

Meanwhile Cohen claims ... He has never violated any copyright laws by using his own software to download any pirated files ! Sounds like Kalashnikov claiming he has never used AK47 to kill anyone ;-)

Friday, June 09, 2006

What the heck is wrong with the Americans ?

Its yet another Friday afternoon and I can feel the silence and the lifelessness in my office space. The parking lot is as empty as it should-never-be on a working day. No one at the vending machine gossiping about the death of the Al Qaida #1 .. no one at the cafetteria .. no ringing phones .. no high tones of laughter ... no exchanges of 'how are you doing today' .. I wonder whats wrong today ..

Then suddenly something sounding like my inner voice shouted at me in a rather rude tone .. "Dont you know bozo ... Americans donot work after lunch on Fridays ! "
( I should have known !! )
Americans , themselves very well unaware of it , live in a Orwellian world made to their own comfort, where you dont have to bother too much as long as you bother your own business. The business of the Big Brother ofcourse is to bother your business . ( How very ironic !)

The system takes care of your needs .. Thats what the communists once told .. America is the worlds biggest pseudo-capitalist state .. Who says enterpreneurship is welcome in America ?
Consider this .. you want to start a new business in India , how ever 'small' your initial capital needs/gains are .. you can ! ( the only hurdle is the social stigma )

In the US, you just cant imagine starting a grocery shop next to a Walmart .. ( are you carzy ? dont you know Walmart sells everything from baby food to 16-gauge Remington Pump shotguns ? )

Right to work
One of the best things in a free country is the right to work and earn your bread. If you are in India, no matter where you belong to .. what your status is .. you can earn your bread ( and butter ofcourse ) by hook or by crook.
In america, the two deadliest socio-economic problems (as preached and propogated by the state) are terrorism and illegal immigration. The right to work is limited to someone who is in the system .. If you are not in the system .. you are against it . For legal aliens like me, work is permitted, but limited to closed bounds ( iam lucky, but you may not be as lucky as your neighbour)

America Inc
America is not a democrazy. It is a company. It is a conglomeration of corporations run by the corporate board members who send their representation to the Congress whom the people call 'Senators' . Who elects these senetors ? You thought it was the people ? Nah ... If the NRA had a problem with the gun control policy, why cant they spend a little and make some person to represent them in the congress to frame a pro-armament, every-man-has-the-right-to-keep-and-bear-arms bill for the American people ? ( making a safer America for their children ? )
For more biased opinions watch Noam Comskey-Micheal Moore 3 part documentary titled 'The Corporation'

Ever watched wachowski brother's Keanu Reeves starrer 'The Matrix' ?? Living in the American mainland makes you feel like you are in the movie !
How true ... truth is more complicated than idealized fiction ...

... To be continued later some day

Monday, May 08, 2006

Down the rabbit hole

The black hole has always intrigued theoretical physicists all around .. and for many non-physicists its been a very interesting and time consuming 'hobby'. Mathematicians all around find it irresistablly compelling to tinker on this . I met one such person - mathematician by profession-physicist by hobby !( professor by day, hobbyist by night ) Lee Powell ! ( Thanks to my friend at CMU ( in the picture on the left with Lee) who introduced me to him )

And what more better place to meet and talk about relativity, a pub !
One truly great thing I learnt is .. every thing should be expressed in simple ways . The more complex it is .. more the chances that it is wrong . Two underlining quotes on these .. One from the great designer ( gun-designer, mind you ) Mikahail Kalashnikov .. "The most useful things in life are simple .. The more complex are usually useless !"

and Einstein says ... "Things must be made simple ... but not simpler"

I bet the most argued topic among theoretical physicists would be .. was Einstein wrong ? Is indeed the speed of light absolute ? Cant there be anything more faster than a photon ? Can something that shows the wave and particle nature truely have no mass atall ?

Quantum physics is much like the philosopher's rock - we stumble over it , sometimes hit it .. and sometimes it hurts. Somehow .. is that real ? What we have seen is just the tip of an immense quantum mechanical reality iceberg. Sometimes I feel that quantum mechanics is much like faith that ... the subatomic world is a fantasy created by the mad physicists. To the layman, it means nothing.

Its indeed a rabbit hole out there .. but the question is ..... how far down the rabbit hole do you want to go ?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

875 Things i want to do before I die

( not in any particular order )

1. Watch change of guards in London infront of the palace.
2. Gaze at the pyramids on a very hot afternoon.
3. Build a library at home before the moths eat my books. [[ ALMOST DONE]]
4. Fall head over heals in the so-called-emotion - love and Marry.( not necessarily the same girl )
5. Have kids and spoil them with endless supply of love and turn them into spoilt brats.
6. Own and drive a geared four-wheeler to work.
7. Go to Machu-Pichu and smell the air.
8. Rest on a lonely beach all day long and eat fried fish.
9. Have honeymoon in a university.
10. Drive all day long without knowing where am heading. [[ DONE - September 2004]]
11. Play decent tennis.
12. Try grass .. just once. [[ DONE - ]]
13. Get drunk and dance alone in my room to the beats of a popular dance number. [[ DONE]]
14. Do cartoons and sketches of people in railway stations.
15. Go to Las Vegas, gamble and win lots of money. [[ ALMOST DONE]]
16. Play hotel California on acoustic Guitar.
17. Write a play.
18. Read Fountain Head and Catcher in the Rye.
19.Find if I have a purpose in this world ( not to be confused with the word function )
20. Score 99th percentile in a competitive exam.
21. Write a letter to my son ( as if it were the last and only letter )
22. Enjoy solitude for 30 days ( atleast 10 ? ) , shut down from everyone , silence and away from the world.
23. Bungy jump.
24. Cycle for a whole week.
25. Climb the everest.
26. Run a marathon and be the top 2% of the finishers.
27. Make the most perfect tea.
28. Live till you are 70, find your old friend who is 66 and spend a good vacation with her.
29. Road trip in USA - Rote 66.
30. Visit James Uncle in Kenya and be with the tribes for a few days.
31. Learn perfect photography with the SLR.
32. Make a well researched documentary.
33. Learn to meditate.
34. Oktoberfest in Germany !

840 to follow ....

Monday, March 06, 2006

Loose your virginity all over again..

Few couple of years ago .. it was boob job ... now ... surgeons have come up with yet another cosmetic miracle ! .... ( for a whooping $5,000 they can stich up your himen ... and let you loose your virginity all over again ! ... even at the age of 45 ! )
Wow !
Married Women are now thinking about this as a perfect way to surprise their hubbies !
Some call it the re-virginaization surgery , some cosmetic virginity ... the end result is the same ... whats in a name anyway !
More here,,17909-2057781_1,00.html

Flash News : Cosmetic virginity has become so common a thing in cities like New York that its prices have dropped down to $1,800 . !

Monday, February 13, 2006

Rang de Basanti - I survived to tell the tale

Hindi movies are a strict no-no to me .. mostly because I need someone next to me to replay the subtle innuendoes and "jokes" . ( not that I dont understand or read Hindi .. I do both with flair.. except for the fine prints, slangs and ghaalis) ( I survived a week trying to speak back in Bundelkhandi ( a laid back hindi-dialect in central India) ..
back to movies ...
I rarely watch them unless it has Aamir Khan in it ... ( you can always hit upon a Khan in a Hindi movie .. Aamir, Shahrukh, Salman ... ) ... Rang de Basanti was the latest !

Now .. a little on the inspiration for the movie

Inspired by a real life hero, IAF MIG-21 fighter pilot Flight Lieutenant Abhijit Gadgil, who crashed into the deserts of Rajasthan, owning to some technical glitches, and was unrightly blamed for his inept flying ! ...
The mother protests ... and the plot thickens....
Note : RDB is much more graphic and far reaching than what actually happened .

Monday, January 30, 2006

Sunset at Khajuraho

Known for its erotic sculptures, I was advised by my helpful "Bharat Ghoomo" guide book to visit the western temples in the evening ... the sunset , they claim, ( not proven though ) is spectaculor ( minus the exaggeration ) .

But something thats truley spectacular is undoubtedly the intricate temple carvings. They are at the same time explicit, erotic and sensual ... ( see it for yourselves .. you will believe it ) often beckoning a few woows and ooughs from the foreign tourists who are bewildered by the carvings .

I missed the sunset at the western temples .. I had to rush back to Delhi ! When I returned back to Delhi, one of my friends wondered loudly .. "Would they have actually posed for the sculptors ? "

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Never have South Indian from North India

During one of the legs of my 'epic' north Indian journey (in Agra .. I believe ), I had South Indian food from a North Indian restaurant. Mistake !! ( twice over ) ...
Some hotels have made their billing system so good and computerized that it gets you a faster bill... loosing money faster ! The billing is done on old one line dot-matrix priters with 2-3 inch printer papers and minimal software . So essentially the items on the menu ( owing to its big indian names ) are abbreviated ... My bill said

"Ms Dos : Rs.20/-"
( think MS-DOS .. think Masala Dosa )
Sometimes the billing system is better left not computerised !

Friday, January 20, 2006

Borrowings from other language

I generally try to avoid slangs , Hinglish, Tamilsh, Manglish or for that matter any peak words that I generally bombard myself with when Iam in a group of cross-cultural, cross-tongued and cross-minded people !

Here are a few usages that I dont like .. and me try not to soak into my talking .

1. C'mon da , No da , bring it da etc etc !- owes its origin on south indian languages having da as a prime mode of calling anyone .. unless used as a short for Darling or Da Vinci ! ( btw da in french is 'of' )
eg: Its very easy da ! ( seen mostly in parts of Mangalore , Chennai ) ( dont know other places ..but i have heard these here )

2. Its easy no ? I told you no ? - I think no was initially meant for using as 'know' .. atleast it sounds like !

3. Actually / Basically / Generally ( and all the -ally brothers ) -
eg : Actually/ Basically Iam from Kerala.

. Or what -
eg : Is this finished or what ? , Is he missing or what ?

5. Nothing but -
You can use this to start defining something .. and dont know how to start it .. very useful when asked in interviews ( to answer direct what is - questions )
eg :
A semi-conductor is nothing but ....

Irritating usages :
Iam late man , See you man. Thanks man .
Legal usages :
free man, super man , post man, dead man..
Though its perfectly legal (read un-irritating ) to add Man in the begining ..
eg : Man .. Iam late .. but hey here is the catch .. if you are using Man in the begining , better not use any other man anywhere else in the sentence ..
(Imaging having to talk something like ..
"Man .. Peter Parker is Spiderman , Man "
.. Its like adding baby when talking to cute girls .. "You are a groovy-baby .. baby " ( from Austin Powers )

From that authoritative and unofficial grammer talk on how and how not to use language ... lets get on to my next "favorite irritation" (intended malapropism ) .. slangs

There are a gozillion other usages and slangs that I hear and try not to emulate them in my vocabulary ... a few are here :

Lets start with tamil .. ( I was in Chennai for almost 3 years and a lot of tamil speaking friends use these ) There is a whole lot of other usage thats called Madras bhashai .. thats different .. thats the evolution process .. we are the melting ( read mixing ) pot ... the vocal urns of linguistic evolution.

1. sema - ( stands for 'very' : pronounced 'se' as in semaphore , 'ma' as in ma.)
2. machi - ( friend ) ( guide to pronunciation : ma as in mama, chi as in tai-chi )

eg : ithu sema tough machi , sema hot machi ( from Radio Mirchi, Chennai ad-line )

... more to follow .. iam irritated enough today ( how silly ! one slang can blow off the cap of my patience ) ! This is sema irritating machi ...right no ?

"Florentino is so in love with Fermina that he eats gardenias and drinks cologne so that he can know her taste. He becomes drunk on the cologne, and his mother finds him the next morning, in a puddle of his vomit, in a cove of the bay where drowning victims are known to wash ashore" - Love in the time of Cholera