Monday, February 27, 2006

Manjunath Shanmugan Trust

I thought it would not be of much signifance if I link to this, as it's not as if I am the Instapundit of India, having scores and scores of followers. But, soon I realised, its really a no-brainer. A single citizen like Manjunath can stand up for what's right and die for it. So, can't I... i, make any difference?

What we need to ensure is that the lone honest voice of righteous individual resonates as long as there are just scattered lone voices like Manjunath or Satyendra Dubey

Justice is not served, and it's because, we let it not being served. We think, oh well, how does it concern us? But we probably do not realise that Manjunath's work or Satyendra's expose of corruption (in Highway contracting) directly impacted and benefited us as consumers and also as citizens.

It's time to stand up and be counted, however insignificant you may feel your contribution is. To that effect, i have also donated to the trust.

If the cause concerns you, please contribute in whatever way possible.

More bytes here

Cycle ride - no seating

A prize of 51 crore and 3 rupees to anyone who retrieves my bike-seat.

The seat of my beautiful cycle (and hence my power-ride) has been stolen. Two kids aged 12-14 years were standing (one of them smoking) furtively near the swimming pool yesterday, from where the heist occured. The kid-smoker has red bruise marks on his right cheeks.

I know the probability of someone finding the seat is extremely low, still criminals must be brought to book. Justice must be served. Law must take its own course, riding on a cycle with a seat.

Find him and I will take care of the guy's left cheek.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Zaphod Triplebrox

This is just hilarious. A womonster with 3 heads stalking in Navi Mumbai. May be she a was just carrying her tiny baby fiends on her shoulders, in the night.

I hope the woman takes a train to Mumbai and terrorizes all the citizens.

"Knock, knock?

"m*^&£"%, Who's there???"


"Chandalini who?"

"Chandalini with three heads.Hehehahahahaaa!!"

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Pandey, you know what's a rhino?

I am annoucing 51 crore and 1 rupee, for anyone who captures Ashok Pandey and puts him in cage with a horny rhinocerous - a rhino who knows that he doesn't have a mate in sight for the rest of life.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Broadbandits have rights too!

Had a really bad weekend. Part of the reason was that the broadband we were using was disconnected abruptly without notice. So, what if we were piggbacking on someone else's connection, they should have informed us, about cutting us off from www. Now, does the government get rid of the encroachments on its land, without giving the hut-dwellers prior notice? No, they dont!! That is against the law. Ditto here.

It would have been better if broadband-owner was more sensitive and had come to us and said "Guys, thank you for deigning to use my broadband connection. The bit packets that you have sent and received, passed through my home, thus consecrating it like never before.

"However, my broadband has slowed, what with some really humongous downloads - in I sure all for educational purposes - that you have made. Even, the google search webpage is not loading and that is driving my poodle crazy. She is plastering dribble all over the monitor, the house and its occupants. The monitor has developed rashes - an allergic reaction to dog-saliva.

"Yesterday, Camilla (the poodle) ripped a tyre off my car and wrapped herself around the rim. Clearly, it was a suicide attempt.

"I need decent connection so my noodle.. I mean poddle, can google for whatever she wants to google for. She isn't too adept at using the keyboard and hits the paws button a little too often. We are trying to get her enrolled in a program 'Master the keyboard in 7 dog-days'. We are googling for guidance on that as well.

"Sorry, I can't be of service to you, but I hope you can sympthatise with the vexations of a dog-owner".

But he didnt!!

Fortunately, there has been divine intervention and the broadband connection has drifted back to our holy abode. Joy be to the World!!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tu bolta kyun nahi, re?

Another in my infamous character sketches about He Who Does Not Talk

I cannot over-emphasize how important communication is, in the IT industry, what with Indian companies working almost exclusively for foreign clients. The issue has been taken up and there are periodic soft-skills training courses. However, some guys are able to escape the training sessions altogether, through some ridiculous excuses and continue to operate in the IT world brazenly, inspite of their mediocre to abs. pathetic comm skills.

Today, however, I am going to talk about a guy, who is above any censure. Not because he is master of the spoken word, but because talk he doesn't. Not even little. No, not teeny weeny bit. Not even mono-syllablic. He just nods. And nods (to show agreement). Never yods (to show disagreement).

Least you think, I am insensitive, inconsiderate victimizer of the disabled, hang on! (I may be, but what I write atleast shouldn't bear out that conclusion). No, the guy can talk. He does say things like 'Hi', 'What's the score?', 'Chalo'. But all these words have to make a gruelling effort coming out of the rather dark black holesque larynx.

Now, if the guy was a developer or in a support project, it would not have been a matter of concern. But he is a Tech Lead, holy Zarquon! In a project, that it fraught with major issues, swooshing deadlines, and more change requests than a bus conductor can handle, its a crime to be a passive spectator. But, in the midst of a bloody warzone, he sits unhassled, untroubled, unconcerned - with a benign smile (no teeth, least a word might escape) like an omniscient Buddist monk.

If there are issues, he doesn't get blamed. People aren't aware that they have a monk in their midst (poetic am I), if they are, they don't know what his role is (senior monk) and if they know his role, they know all about his dignified, sombre and quiet nature (A consummate senior monk), so never go near the Bodhi tree. In the Business As Usual scenario, well - no one wants to seek enlightenment, unless something's drastically wrong, do they?

Life in Indian software industry has thought me that, even if you are a net-zero or even negative contributer to the team, you can survive and indeed thrive. Am I getting cynical or what!

I must admit, it has been the first project, with more than 20 people in the team. But still the concentration of the samples just scares me.

Probably some meditating under the Bodhi tree will calm my disturbed mind.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cheez Kisne Hataya

I am all for more media output in regional languages. This warms the murgles of my heart. Just like when I heard that Bihari junta has disowned the ultra chic, yet fantastically alien products churned by Bollywood for something closer home.

So, more Shwaas', Dombivli Fasts, please. And certainly more written material in YOUR language.

I will one day write in my language. Cheez koni halavile.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Write stuff

Javed Akhtar has hit the nail right on its head, when he has asked Mumbai University to produce scriptwriters (link may cease to work after some time). We have an chronic shortage of good writers (script writers as well as lyricists). Schooling in Hindi is going out of fashion and so situation can only get worse. Atleast in music, the gap is being filled by Pakistani singers and poets. But the stories and dialogues in the films are suffering due to the lack of decent script writers.

The situation needs to be addressed right away. Or outsource writing jobs to Pakistanis.

My earlier notes on this are here

Monday, February 13, 2006

Tunes in my head

Rang De Basanti - Well, fine, some people may not that this album is a classic. I am just making up for the fact that I am not able to soak in the RDB-redolent atmosphere back home, by listening to the tunes.

Have been hooking on to a wireless broadband connection drifting into my pad, unknowing to its unwitting owner and downloading a whole lot of tunes. Just a list for posterity

1. Rubaroo - It will be classic. Hummable and singable in totality (unlike many Rahman hits)

2. Dido - Perennial favorites - Life for Rent and White Flag. I sing along and imagine myself a great husky singer. If someone asks me to give me live performance, you know what I will bray.

3. Breathe - By Telepopmusik - The car commercial gave me a fleeting intro about this tune. Have downloaded and quite like it.

4. Aadat - Good lyrics is what carries this song. The strength when any Paki is involved in a tune.

5. Jiya Dhadak dhadak - Another Kalyug entry. As I listen to another great melody with Pakistani stamp of soulfulness, I am more embarassed of the trash that Bollywood (lead by the foul remix camp) has been generating for a long time now

Have hated Jhalak Dhiklaga. Sorry Vinayak.:-)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Castrate all of them

What the fuck is this?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Rang De Basanti

I was finally able to get the songs of Rang De Basanti downloaded. Being away from the country, also keeps you insulated from the latest buzzing trends, happenings, media focus out there. One might think that, thanks to the internet, you are aware of the important news, the hottest tunes, the latest releases and the juiciest gossip. Well, the distance sort of leads to a disconnect wherein, some of the news just doesn't reach here. Even if you have cable here (I don't), they don't show the latest trailers and you have no clue what sort of movies or song are 'in' at the moment.
I knew Rang De Basanti was creating a bit of a scandal since before it release and have been closely following the news, reviews, interviews and box office report. I must admit, that I can't wait to see the movie.

Yet, I am ashamed to discover the soundtrack so late. I can't say it is mind blowing, but the goodies are just awesome. Again, I don't know what's the buzz there in India, but I can confidently say that Rubaru is a classic. For its simplicity, catchiness and youthfulness, it will remain entrenched within mainstream youth culture of this generation. The simple lyrics just blow you away - why hasn't anyone used the kind of imagery that Prasoon Joshi has? Pathshala again embodies the defiance of today's youth in a frothy, fresh lingo. Loved the Oh, Oy!! Oh, Oy!! bit in the remix. Blaaze and Mohammad Aslam have been doing the rap act for Rahman for sometime now (Love Birds, being the first?) and they are justifiably good at the English, rap bit.
Tum Bin Bataye is a haunting melody that stays with you in spite of the awkward lyrics. Madhushree sounds like Alka Yagnik at her peak. Good, silken vocals take command over the tune beautifully.

Aamir Khan in Lalkaar sounds so different from Siddhu of Kya Bolti Tu. Well, true that he is chanting rather than sn't singing, but still, the voice of Lalkaar demands attention and threatens rebellion. Very good chorus arrangement on this one - the chorus starts one stanza after Aamir and towards the end of the song, both are marching along menacingly in harmony.

Rang De Basanti, the title song, is again a great bhangra number. Daler Mehndi is top notch. The chorus is what has me hooked to the song. This is second Rahman song, with Rang De Basanti in it - first being in Legend of Bhagat Singh.

Haven't been able to download Lukachuppi, but only thing I dread is Lata Mangeshkar's shrill old vocals. But, the man who can make a frog sing in tune, can sure iron out any blemishes in the songstress's performance.

Again, some pathological ignoramuses have gone ahead and said "I don't find anything special with the music". That too, to a Rahmaniac.

Thank God, they didn't unfairly accuse him of repetitiveness. Again.

PS - Lukachuppi is now on my laptop. I won't know how it was picturized(I am guessing, it plays at the time of Madhavan's death). However, yes, as Gaurav pointed out in the comments, it is a touching song. I like the way a mother-son dialogue is woven into the song.

The song starts with the mother beseeching the son to come home. Its getting too late and she misses him terribly. The son recounts how happy he is under the open skies, flying around and discovering new things. But by the end of the second antara, the son is telling her, inspite of all the pleasures in the whole wide world, he is still saddened by her absence. Jaltarang and guitar at the start and tabla, harmonioum towards the end, support and embellish the song, just so. Nice.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Airport chaos

One of my friends is heading back to India today. I told him "You need to stay maximum 5 minutes in the Mumbai aiport". Why? Because, he and his wife may die of the stench if they stay any longer.

Its incredible that the Left has allowed its unions to run riot and disrupt the normal functioning of the aiport so terribly . One can understand peaceful protests and demonstrations, but by actively blocking off electricity and water supply and hiding away the trolleys, the protests have gone too far. The Central Government should get such people arrested and ensure that there are enough security personnel (are they IAA employees as well?; in that case, home guards will do) and police manning the airports. This should be treated like a localized emergency and the immediate issues should be addressed.

The few airports that I have visited around the world, Mumbai airport is by far the worst. Even Luton, which is an international airport (for planes flying to tourist destinations in Europe) in a tiny village in English countryside, is far superior to Mumbai. This is not official airport rating site, but still, quite reliable and look what it says.

But I also totaly agree with Dilip. When you have a rehaul or a change being implemented, we need to be careful about educating the involved and affected parties about the change. It could be viewed as a threat of livelihood by them, as in this case, and the employees won't take it lying down. Even here, many employees view the Indian IT companies as a threat and unfortunately, things like orientation about offshoring, role change, team dynamics etc. are not explained to the existing employees. That increases their insecurity about the whole outsourcing phenomenon.

Anyway, so, government and the new management should ensure that they talk to the employees and try to address their concerns. This is good news. If the unions are still unwilling to listen, then go ahead and take action against the trouble-mongers.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Dressed to Thrill

Today, one of the employees (client side) was dressed in extremely attractive outfit. It was cream colored one-piece skirt with angled thick black stripes. The stripes tapered away from her hips, where the skirt itself made a dramatic X, accentuating her fabulous curves. The skirt stopped just short of the knees. The moment you looked at her, your heart stopped, the moment froze and everything around her just went mute and out-of-focus. Just her and her divine beauty.

Actually, the female works in another project, so don't interact with her much. She is an ice-maiden type, doesn't smile a lot, is too aware of her beauty and generally ignores your presence around her. That sort of has put me off her(as if).

Inspite of that, considerable time was spent drooling over her today. Her whole persona was phenomenally attention grabbing, and I happened to make keen mental notes of it. Honestly, I wasn't being a lecherous wolf. Just a man.

Now, you would think, that with women being liberal and all that, it would be eye-candy in the office here all the time. But actually, it is almost as drab as female dressing is in India. However, there are quite a lot of them who are willing to experiment. There are no wailing kids in diapers to attend to, school runs to make or lunch boxes to prepare for most of them. So, obviously, they have loads of time and money to spend on themselves. Expensive designer clothes are bought and quite a lot of time spent grooming herselves.The cleavage is exposed and a bit of moistured skin is revealed and it all livens up the proceedings. Takes one's attention away from the humdrum of workplace. Most men, being blase, don't start mentally undressing a woman like most repressed desis do. So, its not disconcerting for women to dress the way they do.

All said it's just a pleasure to have women around who are aware of their sexuality. Overtly sexy attire may cause problem and certainly I won't encourage that. (haha!). But women wield power over men and to exercise and hone the power through just enough grooming (I don't even demand a lipstick) and through aesthetic dressing, is not politically incorrect to ask for. Sometimes, women just don't pay attention to themselves and clothes they wear and its such a dampner to see opportunity blown away.

I understand men should be doing the same - grooming up a bit and wear decent clothes, but still men have limitations in terms of how much time they can possibly waste on their ugly selves. It's just exercise in futility doing up what is essentially a crappy piece of creation.

I would certainly like Indian women, being more bold in their dressing. Women have such a vareity to choose in terms of color and the style and they should exploit the choice they have and experiment a bit more. The saree for example is not a garment for only special occasions. As long as it is not an issue travelling (saree is a hazard, if you use the train), women should try it often. Also skirts. Not the gypsy kind please.

You can of course, always fall back on the punjabi dress in all its myriad forms, but then can we have less of tents and more of well-fitting stuff? And can we bury the sameness?

With better awareness and increased exposure to good clothes, the degree of comfortableness should also increase. Women wearing trendy stuff would be less ogled at. It also gives them a chance to assert their identity and feel good about themselves. I know it is difficult, but we need to strike a balance between total fashion subservience and annoying ignorance of the feminine self.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

How I got news for me!

Since I am in the UK, my access to newspapers and magazines is quite limited. Earlier, atleast I would have the Sun regularly, coz the cafe in Amex was huge and you were confident that someone would leave their Sun (or Daily Express) behind. For those who don't know, they are a must see rather than a must read.

Its not that that's only the kind of news is what appeals me. For the record, I would never buy the Sun. We do buy the weekend Guardian or Sunday Telegraph. Guardian has been a strong favorite, but since it has goe Berliner, it seems to have lost its charm. I am no longer set on buying only the Guardian.

Back to why I started this blog entry. Well, in spite of my limited touch with newspapers and the like, I have found that for real analysis and interpretation of any news, I am relying more and more on blogs. Of course, you can't trust them all, but with prolong experience trawling the blogsphere, one comes to accumulate the gleaming specks of diamonds out there - My favorites list is continuously growing.

Generally each blog has a theme and the kind of insight some bloggers bring into that topic is phenomenal. Watch Dilip D'souza expound ever so beautifully and subtly about issues that plague the urban (and sometimes not so) lives. Read the complete outsider, Vikrum's interpretation of various facets of Indian-ness. His open mindedness and inquisitiveness always has me in awe. Read George Thomas for opinionated (and totally his) reviews about latest movies that he has watched back to back to back. Jai for book reviews. Somehow, Slashdot and wired also classify as a blog and both are just full of new info about the digital world.

There are umpteen mad blogs out there as well, which will have you rolling in your cubicles.

There are mighty more out and so many that I revered have fallen by my wayside as I discover better ones.
Juxtopose these against the news portal out there. Mumbai Mirror, Indian Express, rediff, Hindustan Times, all of them supply news, but the edits, research articles or general analysis columns are somehow not easily available. That makes the available e-news material so dull and insipid. Web provides a great oppputinity to link a new item to another, thus taking the reader through all possible related news and educating him about the topic in a far superior manner to a folded sheet. CNet has a great tool exploiting this, but most news site, just do a subset of the printed work and post it online.

Outlook and Business World (has gone typically subscriptional) are only two Indian news sites, which augment the pulp material with great noteworthy and meaningful stuff online. Given the slight non-reliability of information pouring out of blogger qwertys, it would be great to have more propah news groups publishing informative stuff online.