Saturday, April 29, 2006

Suicide farm

The boom in the economy continues to benefit the very few (compared to the population). Indians are still dying or eking out a sorry existence.

The blinding glitter of new money is clouding the marginalization and neglect of the rest. And farmers are still dying

Friday, April 28, 2006

Himesh Reshammiya - Humko Deewana

My tribute to Himmeshmiya's incredible singing talent

The cover version

tum saanson mein

tum dhadkan mein

tum liver mein

tum Jathar mein

utar gaye

humko dyspepsia - 3 dyspepsia de gaye

tum pancreas mein

tum appendix mein

tum spleen mein

tum tonsil mein

latak gaye

humko nauseate- 3 nauseate kar gaye

humko nauseate - 3 nauseate kar gaye

dil overworked trans fats se

tere boozing se teri diet se

shaam-o-sehar mehke mere har pal tere halitosis se

aaisi totally lag gayi hain yaar - 2

totally lag gayi hain yaar - 2

tum left tibia mein

tum right clavicle mein

tum Jathar mein

tum liver mein

utar gaye

humko dyspepsia dyspepsia de gaye

humko dyspepsia - 3 dyspepsia de gaye

Go 92.5 FM

I have always silently lamented the utter submission of the radio channels to the market forces.

I remember hamare jamane mein, I mean....during B.E., I was such a huge radio buff - those eary times of Radio Mid-day, Times FM and AIR FM. I was a regular listener of Sundown Show, the Morning Show (where Cyrus Broacha and Mohan Kapoor would run riot), the Western Classical segment (Parag Trivedi even had visited our college then). There are other shows which again were very good. Unfortunately, the memories are hazy.

When there was clampdown on private FM channels, I turned to AIR in a big way. AIR has the most amazing library of English songs. They can afford the royalty, whereas the private operaters flog their limited songs (budget constraints) all the time. For me, AIR has been a great window into an electic mix of English music. They would have 1 hour programs dedicated to a just one type of music - Country, Rock, Blues, Pop. The hosts would be mediocre, but they won't do lot of chapar chapar as they had plenty of stock (as against the private operators who can't afford to air more than 10 songs an hour).

This post by Rashmi brings back all the memories. Most of what she says is true. The same songs are played all the time and it gets on your nerves. The programming is severely short on ideas. Going by averages, English hosts are more interesting than their Hindi counterparts. I am also of the breed, who hates RJs who speak in a horrible Hinglish argot - most primetime Hindi RJs are terribly uncomfortable with shudh Hindi.

So, I am sadder that Go92.5 FM has also gone totally desi. Hope the Mid-day guys do a rethink.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Pune map

None of the existing maps of Pune on the web are updated or sufficiently detailed. Here is a decent Pune map, that I received from a friend. Better than most.

Click on the map to zoom.

Update - 07-Jan-2007 - Google maps has gone even more detailed. Check this out

Friday, April 21, 2006

..tujhko...mujhko Bloggery aa gayeeeeeeeee

A good article about how blogging is a good differentiator.

Blogging allows me to express myself hibitidly (without inhibition :-). Probably, it reflects (I hope) that I can write in a coherent and a logical manner.
Without doubt, it has made me good at job, where I need to prepare humongous documentation and immerse myself in in endless query tracker spreadsheets (the bane of any software project).

I know I have been not been giving attention to work because of a slightly important personal project and also this, this and this.

So, my netsurfing (esp of blogs) has shot up beyond control and work suffers. But just look at the project, will you? It's a pain, you know. And all my grim predictions about the project are coming true, to my utter dismay (and some delight as well that I am right).

Anyway, with the kind of coming clean I have done on my blog, I would not use it to embellish my resume. :-))

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Little Bird

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mithi river

Read a fine article (in Maharashtra Times or Loksatta) this weekend about how the Mithi river has undergone drastic changes in just 30 years. The writer talks about watchposts erected in the river (yes, you had to use a boat to get there), for avid ornithologists.

Also the writer points out though there is a whole activity on to clear the path of the river from encroachments, the damage cannot be totally reversed. The Bandra Kurla Complex and the MMRDA office (from where directives are issued for Mithi cleanup), themselves are built right in the river bed.

Talk of greater irony!

I wish I could link to the article and the fabulous photos accompanying it

Kshan, marathi movie

New movie got released. Just a heads up. DON'T WATCH IT.

Sophomoric acting, terrible script, non existent editing and Mis direction.

Utter Plain Roobish. Avoid

Contrary to beliefs

The contrarian in me needed a defining catchphrase

Then I read this

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time
to reform.

-- Mark Twain

Found one.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Don't be a chicken

Go on, eat chicken. Poultry farmers are dying of bird-flu.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Maa reva, tharo paani vish!

It's being too long, since the aam junta has voiced protests about the glaring anomalies in the Sardar Sarovar R&R (Resettlement and rehabilitation). Dilip wrote a great article about how there was a public outcry after the Jessica murder trial, but none coming forward to support the displaced tribals of the Narmada Valley.

Another very poignant column is here

Probably as rightly pointed out, we don't feel concerned for the poor villagers living a life-time away from our existence. Jessica Lal is closer to our milieu and the people who belong that class have access to media and other mainstream forums, to fight against a major injustice. The people of Narmada Valley don't.

It makes me infinitely glad that Aamir Khan and Tehelka, both I greatly revere for their integrity and fearlessness, have espoused the cause of the victims of Sardar Sarovar project.

I hope more people raise their voices.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Skirting the issue

From the Mumbai Mirror (unreliable link)

Why no PYT wears shorts in Kandivli East

Shameem Akthar says the attitude towards what women wear shows more than is apparent to the eye

For long I lived in Bandra, then shifted Borivli’s idyllic IC colony. In both places I finally felt equal to men with their beer bellies and long underpants because they allowed me to live in a pair of shorts. I shopped in cut-offs, I walked in shorts. Best of all, I didn’t feel I was wearing shorts. But that’s changed since shifting to Kandivli East.

You think this is a frivolous issue? A middle-aged woman with half a toe in the grave, cribbing about not being allowed to pirouette in cut-offs? Believe me, this issue is far deeper than the length of a woman’s dress. Only that locality is safe where an innocent woman, wearing comfortable clothes, is allowed to feel comfortable. I present my argument: Kandivli East doesn’t make me feel that way. If a middle-aged woman sporting grey hair, wearing a spiritual icon around her neck feels that way, I dread to think what my young girl, turning into a pretty teen now, must go through.

The issue gets even pricklier when you read rapist-cop Sunil More’s defence lawyer suggesting the child victim’s character was suspect! If he can actually say that in the heart of seething South Mumbai and not be lynched, I worry what silly irrelevancies can crop off in a `far-away’ suburb with its own set of irrelevant morality. Again, as if that were not enough, soon after several politicians start obsessing about a silly mishap on a fashion ramp. If denizens of liberal South Mumbai can become so regressive, what to expect in `far-off’ Kandivli? I would feel safer, in shorts or otherwise, if these same people start giving equal prominence to corruption, civic safety, pollution, power crisis.

Anyway, after failing to be equal to men in Kandivli by wearing comfortable clothes, I decided to move around in tent-like ones, shunning lipstick, tying up my dread-locks monk-like. Once, outside a school (while in full-length sleeves and un-provocative baggies), I got grabbed by a running youth. Only one man, in a crowd that gathered while I accosted him, actually helped me deal with the situation. As I pondered why shunning shorts has not eased the situation, I had an aha-moment at a local supermart. The security guard, who has this I-am-missing-my-wife-who-is-back-home-in-the-village look, hit upon me. I realised this rude behaviour has nothing to do with a woman’s clothes at all, but with a flaccid male mentality. I complained to the manager who proactively threatened the culprit. But his balm-like action became less effective when he said, “You are the first lady to complain.”

Having a regressive attitude first creates an unsafe space for women. Then, a chalta hai attitude worsens it. If some of you still think this is about an old woman wanting to wear shorts, then god save your wives. And your sisters. And daughters.

Unfortunately, I stay in Kandivli (E). There was also a rape of a 8 year old last Friday.


Friday, April 07, 2006

Abudana, Dhoondate hain...

Pune guys at work, even freshers, are all seriously looking at buying property. The dreams are bigger and the spaces to house those dreams have expanded. I am in a state of disbelief, when developers (of code) call the developers and ask for rates for 3BHKs.

Well, no problem with that, except people are thinking of buying properties as investment. Isn't it almost as bad as entering the stock market now?

In Pune, I don't think that buying property for investment ever was a good proposition. Pune knows no boundaries (natural ones) and hence new development continues all over, moving away from the main city. Kothrud extends now upto Bhusari and Bavdhan (where water don't climb) and then Aundh extends to Wakad and Sanghvi and touches Hinjewadi. Now, theoretically, if you work in Hinjewadi, you could as well stay in the opposite direction (from the rest of the city). Its still a barren land (may be currently in Agricultural zone) but soon should be open for development. Or you could stay at Pimpri or Chinchwad and still make it to work in 15 minutes.

Pune real estate has followed the general trend of soaring property prices (Mumbai now being in stratosphere), and projects completing in 2007 end are quoting at 1500 - 1800 per sq ft. Places in Wakad (it's still mostly a gaonthan) are quoting at Rs 2100 per sq ft. That for buildings that may be not have roads constructed around them, forget schools, markets or other basic amenities. There are no hutments around, so getting bais is going to be extremely tough, and whoever you get will cost a bomb :-)).

Playgrounds have ceased to be made mandatory while chalking up plots for development, and that makes me extremely angry. But that, another time.

Pune (residential as well as business wise) can grow in any direction, so new migrants are happier living in newer complexes and that means, your older property never appreciates significantly.

With lot of flux generally in my life and the ludicrous market rates, I have anyway decided to live as a nomad, No property purchase for me in the near future.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Apple mantra

With the uninteruppted adulation for the iPod (for every new version), I start thinking of buying the beauty. Personally it is of no real use. Whatever the number of songs you store in it, you grow out of it. And then you need more. A radio is a better option, for that matter. The only time iPod is irreplacable, is when you are walking and want to listen to music. But these days you are not doing that for long. So, you can use always use laptop, PC, radio, mobile, whatever.

Also, the fact that iPod doesn't have a radio bugs me.

But anyway, that is not to obscure the purpose of this blog. To talk briefly about Steve Jobs. Read this article here and here and my admiration for the man swells. To come from such troughs in your career (when he was kicked out of Apple) and to keep delivering stellar products (movies and gizmos), requires a uniquely prescient approach and an unparalleled focus on the quality (style and simplicity) of the product.

To do pathbreaking stuff simply is not easy and Apple products have considerably delivered both.

Everyone just adores an Apple product and the Apple fans are fanatical converts forever. I am just waiting for that indispensible and aesthetically perfect, yet inexpensive product, to come from the Apple tree.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Not cricket

Increasingly, I am getting irritated with cricket and wonder, why we devote so much of our lives following the silly sport. Intended to write a proper essay, but to keep the argument sound and rational, here are a few salient reasons for doing away with the national past-time.

1. Cricket wastes time - In this net-age, where technology changes everyday and every week, there is a new blockbuster, on and off celluloid, we cannot allow a sport to take so much of our precious time. To have an abridged version lasting a full day is a blasphemous waste of time.

2. Cricket kills competition - Since we play it in series (matches of 3-5), it means a month's worth of media-space (newspaper, magazines, tv, radio) spent in covering the series. That means that much less coverage of other sports. Since, media is saturated with cricket news all the time, sports followers are exposed to and discuss little else. The happenings in other sports - big and small are completely neglected and sports enthusiasts are never given a chance to build interest in newer pursuits. It is a vicious circle, where, since there is lack of following, other sports are ignored more. Look at the fate of great non-cricket sportspersons like I M Vijayan, Bhaichung Bhutia, Dhanraj Pillay.

It only pays to be pursuing individual sports like golf or tennis, which are highly remunarative even if you are amongst the top 200 (think Bhupati, Paes, Sania Mirza, Jyoti Randhawa, Jeev Milka Singh).

Other big sports like tennis, football, rugby allow breathing space for other sports to be broadcast and covered on the same day. Cricket, the monster obscures all else.

3. Cricket is Boring - Cricket lasts a day at best and 5 days at worst (purists claim that is the best). Much has been romanticized about the elegant cover drive and the graceful leg glances. Sachin's straight drive has been made to be the stuff of legends. Cricket has been traditionally blessed with great literary writers, who wanted to be set themselves apart from the yobs who followed the beautiful yet raucous football. These are the guys who have put eulogized the beauty of the game. Yes, there is grace and style and elegance in cricket, but so is there in football, curling and even marbles (you would know if Ramachandra Guha wrote about gotis). If you follow a sport doggedly, then I am sure you can dsicover and revel in beautiful minutiae. It's all there, but is noticed and applauded as a virtue only by the romantic followers - one who will watch a silly 5 day test with no result and claim that it was worth it for the elegant late cut by Tendulkar on the 2nd day just before tea. Such claims have been made time and again - that the one shot or the one delivery made it all worthwhile.

It cannot be worthwhile. Because you wasted five whole working days, for one shot, when you could have gone and done something more worthwhile (like playing cricket yourself). Better still, gone ahead and followed some less mind-numbing game. You can still catch with the cricket highlights of good shots and dismissals later

4. Cricket is elitist - It is said that cricket was accepted so widely in India, because it didnt involve body contact as in other team sports like football, rugby, hockey. The attitude even now continues. Cricket is expensive if you want to pursue it at a higher level. The batsman looks as if he is going to war. Esp, kids, just look extremely funny - with the huge pads, arms guards, the oversized helmets, and Hulk gloves. If you want to play "real" cricket, you always need expensive gear. How about keeping it simple and yet truly entertaining? Just one ball and a beautiful game.

5. Cricket is primarily skill, less fitness sport - Nothing wrong with that, except imagine a country of billion followers of the cult of cricket. Cricket tells you that its ok to have a paunch, be a mediocre fielder and even smoke. Remember its only NOW that the fielding standards have improved, but still, people are shocked to see you coming off the field with your clothes dirty. The ball comes to the fielder only in a while, so most of the time on the field is spent just following the game, without being actually involved. Running happens intermittently, so, you don't even need to have great stamina like in other field team sports.

Parents want their kids to be batsmen. Less effort, more mileage. Fielding and even bowling is less respected. Nana Patekar says it best "Tu fielding kyun kar rahaa hai. Tujhe Tendulkar banana hai, Kaif nahi".

6. Too much administration - The positioning of fielders, the change of bowlers, fielders during over change (how about just moving the batsmen around), the run-up, the hush-hush strategizing, the shining up of ball, the weather, the pitch - all makes the games too complicated. Compared to all the faffing about, the actual play-time is extremely less. So, to have played cricket means, you have actually not played much.

Let me add that I have played cricket and enjoyed playing. Friends will vouch for the fact that I was not bad.

My problem is with the importance that it gets and were it less popular with the masses, I would be even fond of the game.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Luller the better

A lull in work invariably means the scribbler is me goes into a deep sense of ennui.
It's good to be back in familiar surroundings, and though the campus here could easily be a lot superior, it is absolutely miles ahead compared to the dump that I worked in Norwich. More youth and less grey around sometimes makes me think I am in college. It is great for the bonhomie, the weekend activities and in general to keep the spirits alive in the otherwise drab office-space.

However, I am not sure, how much it contributes in terms of general sensitivity towards the deliverables, maintaining the quality of code. The understanding that someone high up in the business ladder is probably going to use your reports and they better be elegant and efficient, is hard to drill into someone who is just out of college. And certainly if we want to be big consulting players, we need to have more experienced guy doing design and even development. I wrote about it earlier here.

Anyway, have been busy otherwise, what with the holidays and all the shopping for the big day. Thankfully the saree buying didn't take too long (a day for 3 sarees is not bad at all).

So much here, we just take for granted, that it's great to be away and come back with a different perspective. I would always find Dadar such a crowded place. But yesterday, it struck me that if I can't find anything in that 2 sq km area, I won't find anywhere else in Bombay. The salesmanship in the saree shop is just awesome. They unravel saree after saree, so that our extremely picky Indian women can wrinkle their noses at all of them. The saree shop is one for their glorious tantrums and I understand why men just are terrified going saree shopping. Yet the salesmen were very accomodating and all willing to pander to the whims and fancies of the unfair sex. Their dexterity with languages and knowledge of the job has you awestruck.
Then onto shoes and some veggies and good Goan food at Gomantak.

With important events on the near horizon, I wish, the lull get luller.