Sunday, March 26, 2006

Bake for good

Am back to my matrubhoomi. I always land here and instantly feel at home. The pollution and the heat doesn't 'hit' you, because it's as if you never left.

It's not as if I dislike the noise, dug-up roads and the haphazard 'development'.

But who says homes have to be beautiful places?

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Funny ad

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Not missing, probably dead

Link here. More Rang De Basanti.

MiG trainer aircraft crashes in Rajasthan: 2 pilots missing

BARMER (Rajasthan): A trainer version of MiG-21 fighter aircraft crashed soon after getting airborne from Uttarlai airbase on Tuesday with both pilots reported missing so far.

"The aircraft crashed near Uttarlai village in Barmer district at 1535 hours," an IAF spokesman said in New Delhi adding the plane, which was on a routine flying-training mission, crashed soon after getting airborne.

"Both the pilots of the aircraft are missing and their fate still unknown", the spokesman said adding air rescue missions had been launched to trace them. A team of flight safety officials from Air Headquarters had rushed to the spot.

The IAF has ordered a court of inquiry to find out the cause of the accident. The ill-fated aircraft was one of the older versions which are progressively being phased out.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Captain Chapter

I have an instant distrust of people who are called (want to be called) by some phony titles, no longer valid in current occupation. May be, there is genuine respect for them, but I find it all too dubious. Esp, the hypocorism (Wordweb rules) of Captain.

There was a Captain in my earlier job, responsible for everything and nothing. He was supposedly some navy ex and hence the epithet. He would walk around with a swagger, talk in a loud authoritative pitch and generally bully everyone in his team. I think he was head of IT support and also organiser of quiz club, nature club, sports club, but I am not sure. Because, every time I contacted him for any related activities ("why no activity on the quiz club?" "Are there any tennis players in the club?"), I never got a decent response. All the clubs were effectively dead and he peddled proper official activities as being organized by these clubs. There was an family event once, where all of the family were invited, except siblings older than 12 years. It was a totally ridiculous rule and I questioned him about it. No reply.

Another Captain that I know (same job) may not be as wretched, but still I am very suspicious. Captain Vinod Nair is the founder of Arts and conducts soft skills training courses for many big corporate companies. His career, the way he described it, spelt like collection of huge accomplishments. Ex-army commando, was shot twice, quit because of leg injury, was in some top position at Pritish Nandy communication, bragged that Bill Gates, Narayan Murthy wrote on ARTS website. There were some other 'golis' that he kept pelting us with.

I attended his training session and taken in totality (considering his age and his achievements), it didn't tie up. Also the training wasn't that great. Other folks like it, but he never stuck to the agenda. The session was on Team building and he cramped in some unrelated case studies related to an commando operation. Probably, just as justification to his army career. Throughout the training, I thought, he was giving golis, than teaching us anything of import.

Anyway, now I read this and I am convinced that he is a fraud. Who but bogus Godmen and quick-fixers go around telling people that "I can cure anyone spiritually, emotionally, physically and mentally.” Without having a degree in medicine or psychology! Yes, the guy is a fitness freak, but who amongst the Beautiful People isn't. And that shoudn't be a criteria for instant trust anyway.

And then, he succeeds in finding more mileage - by weaving his web of lies around neo-celebrity, Tulip Joshi. Lucky to find an accomplice, so early in life. Bunty aur Babli in the making!!

Go duping, Captain!

Crickettt goes berserk. Calls me names. Boo hoo hoo. I am even unhappier than before.

His verbatim rebuttal here (and only because he is less offensive in this comment).

crikettt said...
Just spoke to captain about your blog.

He chose to ignore it, he didnt even want to know the url (he is obviously above mud slinging).

His site is very much on, it is

NM, ambanis and shah rukh are very close to him - start reading the papers, he is all over with them-read wahat they have to say about him. Watch TV and see waht shekhar suman says about him. His recent presentation to bill clinton at vikram chatwal's wedding is also well known. .

Have u adopted children? have u been on the front line in service of your nation?.

I was once a frustrated lonely guy till I had a chat with him. He has never been too busy or to hoity toity, always has time and always ready to help..

As for your coments on accenture, your entire blog is a collection of cribs from a very unhappy and unaccopmlished person..

I am a very proud Indian but I feel sad that when one amongst us rises above through sheer grit and intelligence. 10 others are there just waiting to shred him. .

Is it that difficult to be happy for others and be happy yourself?.

Please dont malign a war hero and a gentleman who you dont even know - thats a genuine request, it just leaves a very bad taste.

I think, really, it would be best for you to ignore the blog like Captain Nair. If he continues to do sensible things like ignoring rabble rousers like me, then in time, he will never have any rabble rousers like me. Because all of us would be converts. Like you.

Right now, he is too good to be true (for everyone's benefits, the stutisumans are here and this blog will remain a checkpoint (esp. for me )to ascertain if I read the guy correctly or indeed, if it is another one of my accomplised failures.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Cell phone jam

I have been irritated so many times, in the cinema, by mobile owners. Either it is the loud ring-tones or plain lack of etiquette. It hasn't happened so much here as in India. Partly because the message 'Switch off your cell phone' is repeated so many times before the movie. In fact Orange ads featuring such messages are laugh out loud funny, and looks like they work.
In India on the other hand, we still continue to be inconsiderate. Blame it on whatever -the ignorance of social mores, need to talk incessantly, or just showing off the latest gadgets.
So, the theater owners should just go ahead and buy a cell-phone jammer. I don't think there is any law NOT to jam cell-phones in a cinema-hall. So it won't be illegal at all. Anyway, where there is law, there is loophole. So, why not use a loophole for good.

Bring on more Deepens

A memorable birthday. No party, no cake cutting, no new clothes. But I was able to swim the full length of pool - 50 meters. Swam full distance back and forth about 4 times.
The fear is gone.

Now, just need to concentrate on honing the technique. Will get there.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Rang De Basanti - notes

Saw Rang De Basanti twice on Sunday. Once at a ungodly hour in the morning. Second time with friends. Whatever I say will sound trite. So, just some notes

1. Awesome locales - the best of India on display

2. Great song picturisation - Three choreographers and still no sync dancing. It's laid-back freestyle moves all the way - oozing cool. Also this aids in keeping the songs in background and using it as a recurring motif rather than a show-stopper.

3. OK camerawork- the camerawork oscillates from brilliant to tacky. The slow-mo during the chase sequences as well as the demonstration at India Gate was just too jarring. How about ultra slow-motion embraced in Planet Earth?

4. Horrible sfx - the shots of flying MIGs fall flat like the MIGs themselves

5. Refined story-telling - The documentary, the flash back through Mckingley's diary and present day events are intelligently intertwined. And it all makes such perfect sense in the end.

6. Killer dialogues - Not one character mouths English without reason. Characters are pleasantly rustic and stick to their dialects. Even Sue speaks flawless Hindi most of the time. It's a lesson for Hindi film-makers about how to use Hindi to further the film's message and allow it to reach a wider audience. After all, 99% of the cine-goers will be familiar with Hindi, so why make concessions for the elite audience?

7. Outstanding Ensemble cast - Siddharth didn't impress me much in spite of getting loads of screen-time. His voice lets him down badly. More style than substance. Rest of the friends cast is top notch. Even Alice Patten plays her part with gusto.

8. Just right emotional tug - Emotions are strength of Hindi films, but almost always, we tend to overdo it. For me atleast, RDB tends to get it right (or was I crying because it was too early in the morning to watch the film?).

The transformation of the guys was believable and I was sympathetic of their actions. The way it was portrayed, it didn't sound far fetched. Probably, that owes to a credible and nimble script.

Amazing that three most important contributors to the film (dir, lyr, and music dir) come from advertising. Is there a lesson there?

I would watch out for Rakeysh Mehra, just for his note-worthy propensity to push his art technically as well as content-wise

Monday, March 13, 2006

Spectacular Prizm

News from HT

A 100 medical graduates were commissioned into the armed forces medical services at a passing out parade held at the Armed Forces Medical College in Pune on Monday Surg Lt. Commander Wahida Prizm (in the picture) became the first woman ever to command a passing out parade in the history of the Indian armed forces medical services Wahida hails from Rajouri district in Jammu & Kashmir and is a graduate MBBS from Jammu Medical College. Her father, who was a government teacher, was gunned down by militants in 2001

Friday, March 10, 2006

Mein paani mein shira, phir poha, phir dubya

A few years ago, I had learnt to swim a bit, but as soon as I resumed swimming here, I realised, how bad I was at it. I couldn't float for more than 10 feet, I didn't know how to breathe, my limb movements were extremely awkward. I was trying free style and it's difficult to get your breathing in sync (inhaling for just a split second) when your head is sideways for a split second. All in all, I was struggling.

However, over a period of time, it has improved considerably. I am stretching my arms well, kicking just at right intervals. The breathing is still not adequate and rhythmic and I struggle after about 25 meters (middle of the pool) because of the lack of breath. So much of swimming is counter-intuitive and you constantly have to unlearn/ignore your natural instincts. Fortunately, there are good folk, who having mercy on my violently splashing soul and give me some good advice. Earlier I was so uncomfortable with my head under water, that I would constantly stop and press my eyes to allow all the water to drip off. Seeing this, a guy said (almost barked),"Well, there's no chlorine. You can keep your eyes open in water, you know". That was a revelation. Because, I always swam with my eyes closed. And since my right arm was stronger, I would inadvertently set off across lanes. You can certainly keep your eyes open in water - though its all a blur for me coz of myopic vision.

Another lesson was how and when to get your head out for breathing (sideways and at every third stroke). I haven't managed this well as yet, but the funda is there. I also now know how to drop the head back in, without getting a stinging sensation up your nose and without giving your ears a waterful.

Meanwhile, have also learnt the breast stroke, which is supposed to be easiet. One just has to look at the old ladies, just gliding in pool, chatting away. All the time their heads are out of the water. Whereas I do, the technically correct, but more tiring and right now more exhausting version of the stroke - dunk your head in, kick your legs out in a V, spread your hands and get your head out to breathe. It's easier than free-style, because you can breathe all the time, but still, its been an extremely arduous exercise for me.

Yesterday, decided to go to the deep end of the pool (about 8 feet deep). As always, stopped mid-way of the pool. Took a gulp of air, made a resolve and took off with the breast stroke. It's scary when you know you may not reach the other end. So, was struggling to find the edge. After what seemed to be long time, reached the end of the pool. The deep end. You just have a hollow along the wall to hold on to, nothing to else to steady your legs on, though. All life had drained off my limbs, just thinking of the fact that I won't be able to make it back to the middle of the pool (where the feet touch the bottom of the pool). Still, I steeled my mind and pushed off the wall. Soon, I was sinking. This triggers a response to flail about more wildly. I was just doing that. And sinking further. I was not going to be able to make it and reached towards the lane rope. Fortunately, it was close (as I swim next to it) and I grabbed onto it. I had just swum for 10 meters. I gulped in as much air I could, and hanging onto the rope, moved towards the other 15 meters or so. It was an ordeal.

As I can't see well, I don't know if the rest of the swimmers were smirking and shaking their heads in ridicule.

Tomorrow I will try again.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Nahi Chalta Hai - Part II

Eve teasing and sexual abuse are as much part of the Indian culture as caste system, family ties and arranged marriages. Read this

When found in a similar situation as not a victim, but a witness, most of us are going to say "Well, its the woman's fault". Thoda sa haath lagayaa to kyaa hua?". But, when it comes to outraging a woman's modesty, there is no act small, grey, or excusable. We should tolerate none of it.

Depravity is at the heart of this menace, which perpetually threatens freedom of women and their ability to live as equal citizens. Holding hands is an offence, so forget showing physical affection towards your partner in public. That is against our sanskriti and aachar. What does it lead to? All these pent up feelings, which manifest in a most disgusting form.

There are thousands of perverts out there, who can't abuse their wives and daughters, because they stay in cities away from the family. They are prowling the streets, trains, buses, hunting for a hapless victim. A victim of the society, where it is ok for men to rub you the wrong way, but outrageous to fight against the abuse.

Link through IndiaUncut

More of interest

Monday, March 06, 2006

Googler woogler

I would count myself lucky to be ever offered a job by Google. I have been in awe of their recruitment strategy and found terribly wanting while trying to crack their puzzles.

Google is known to recruit only PhDs or stalwarts and this list sort of tells you why it can stake claim to further greatness.

Add to the fact that they allow 1 day per week for personal work/research to all their employees , not to forget great food.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Finding Meebo

Have just come across meebo. A website which allows access to all well-known messengers - aim, yahoo, msn. The screen is simple and quite easy to use.

My friends have concerns around security, as the service is not well-known. However, the creators whose bios are in the about us section look to be decent and smart blokes, so would want to trust the site.

Go on, give it a try.

P.S. Amish gets so mad at my recommendation of Meebo, that he starts calling it weebo and he writes a strong rejoinder in the comments section.

Here is the full text

Why do you need weebo? I say you dont!

1) You might want weebo if your company is blocking chat. But soon your administrator will come to know about it and its not at all tough to block weebo. Plus you are not following company policies. You might say that its your right but companies have security concerns.(its off topic to discuss why)

2) You might want weebo to bring all 4 leading IM services together under one window. BUT why do you need it when you have faster and better clients like trillian,gaim doing that job.

Disadvantages of weebo:

a) All traffic goes via weebo. So no matter what-so-ever their privacy agreement says:

i) weebo can steal your ID/password if it wants (I believe in DO NOT trust principle on internet. Only Yahoo should know my Yahoo password, only MSN should know my MSN password and so on)

ii)) Weebo can even record and see your coversations no matter what!

b) traffic is all over HTTP taking more bandwidth

c) no support for file transfer, webcam, voice. Webcam and voice support is next to impossible on HTTP unless they use applet or activex. But why do u want to complicate the things?

You can use trillian or gaim safely because gaim is open source and plus IM traffic goes directly to the related servers NOT via third party.


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Title Chor

Mumbai Mirror has plagiarized (link my cease to work) the title for my blog entry yesterday. Though for a less appropriate news article, methinks.

Should I sue them for 51 crores and 4 rupees?

Anyway, it's the season to shower the TOI camp with law suits

Next Net

An excellent article about the future Tsars on the Net. Haven't read through it all, but some of the sites will surely enter my favorites list, presto.

Link via Gigaom

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Phone Bhoot

(Click pic to enlarge)

Probably, you might have received this scary forward through mails, but it's worth putting it on my blog, a compendium of all things scary - including YT.