29 May 2004

Hoarding a hoax

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 4:20pm

"Dare to straddle the world" - challenges an 'extra large' Katrina Kaif, and at her size (which is an easy 100 times the size of an average Hyderabadi), she may actually manage to do it. A few miles down, she's there again, this time challenging us with "Dare to stay alive" - I hope too many lives weren't lost while staring at her enormity (along with other unmentionable aspects) and driving carelessly. While you are getting used to this phenomenon, she comes up with "Dare to bare the truth" and with an accompanying pose which would have you believe that she might bare her cosmetic falsehood, instead of the truth. On your way, there are more things she dares you (face the competition, etc. etc.) and after a few more sightings it becomes so unbearable, you cant but feel small and helpless. For the uninitiated (i.e. people who haven't been living in Hyderabad of late), I'm referring to the mega hoardings that dot the city's landscape.

While you are still recovering from the Katrina syndrome, you are confronted by another behemoth - this time it is Yana Gupta demonstrating with her largeness, how-not-to stand while wearing a salwar kameez. Salwar kameez - an attire that would have almost become our national dress for women, but for the unsportive southies who came brandishing their saris (just like they came up with their languages, ruining the chance for Hindi to claim its glory) - well.... <sentance aborted>. Salwar kameez - a symbol of love, respect, modesty, determination, motherhood...... and see what's happening to you on the billboards of Hyderabad? (I hope and pray that the Neeru's ad doesn't hang around on the sidelines of your screen, while you're reading this)

Having taken on the 'establishment' and demolished it to smithereens, let me focus my attention on another domain. Tollywood, here I come!These days I seem to see this banner everywhere (unless something is wrong with me). An image of a young hero blissfully sleeping - what's wrong with that, you may ask. Well, the hero's head is rested on his heroine's rich rear-end. The heroine, incidentally, is also lying down and providing her generous assets to facilitate his sleep, lovingly turning her head towards us and smiling in satisfaction at the whole situation. For the guy it must feel very cushiony and comfy, I suppose (i.e. as long as everything was fine with the heroine's diet in the last few hours). If you don't live in Hyd and are rushing to close this page in disgust, hold on! We Hyderabadis are made to bear watching such sights every time we decide to step out of our houses. At another time, there was this big banner featuring four youngsters (girls n guys) all dressed in shorts (no big crime, that). Only one of them prolly didnt notice that his shorts didn't have a button / elastic / strap / string(no 'g' in the beginning) or whatever that was required to retain it in its intended place, and so it was lying at his feet, for all of Hyderabad to see.

The average Hyderabadi male has to deal with two different views of womanhood. One - a few tens of feet above the ground dominated by the daring and baring woman, who'll stop at nothing to get what she wants (including him). She doesn't care for respect, approval, modesty, values or even your safety on the road. And the other view - of the woman firmly rooted to the ground - responsible, caring, hard-working and respectable, who is probably not as attractive as the former, but pretty nevertheless, coz she's real and not a fake.

Current Mood: Worried
Current Music: -

27 May 2004

Lingua franca?

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 7:12pm


Current Mood: Thoughtful
Current Music: -

26 May 2004

I disagree

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 6:32am

Rare situations in life - let's talk about them. Say, like having a power cut while you are watching TV or typing something on your computer; having an unfinished list of 'to do' items at the end of a day; going late to work; typing out a post for your blog when you have more pressing things to attend to; getting stuck in a traffic jam; not paying your cellphone bill before due date; having a disagreement with someone...........(cut short your laundry list, sucker!!!) Now i'm sure you are going back to the beginning of this post, to make sure if you read the phrase 'rare situations'.

Like all other situations mentioned above, disagreements are indeed a common occurance and i'd be surprised if you didn't have one in the last few days (or hours, if you are in the same league as me). I thrive on disagreements - I disagree with the weather, with food, with TV programming, with newspaper content, with medications prescribed by docs, with fake ambiences in certain restaurants, with 'feel good factors' / India shining (shoes?), with Hollywood / Bollywood / Tollywood / other 'woods' if any, with rules & regulations, with law & order :D, with IT-BPO-centric vision of future for this country....... (enough!!!!!!!) and last but not the least, with fellow human beings. Not a day passes without my disagreeing.

Just like anything else in this world (beauty, intelligence, yada yada yada) disagreements also have their levels. Some are so insignificant you dont even realize them, whereas there are some which prompt you to question life and its purpose. As my luck would have it, the disagreements I get into from time to time are more of the latter kind. I've lost friends, lovers, spouses (the plural there is a bit of an exaggeration :)), employers (good riddens), landlords, tenants, neighbors.......... that must be quite a lot of people, if you keep a count. Do I enjoy disagreements? I dunno, maybe I do :) And do I regret the outcome? I definitely do. This is to all those people I lost: "Come back to me. I never wanted you to leave me in the first place. I just thought you were lousy and felt that you could do better ;)" Well, it so happens, they don't read my blogs :)

Back to urgent work..........

Current Mood: Cold
Current Music: -

22 May 2004


Posted by Just a little unwell in Philosophy | 8:37pm

Help! I'm vocabulary-challenged! I'm looking for a word to use in this post, and for a change, no dictionary in this whole wide world (or world wide web, to be precise) would come to my rescue. I'm looking for a word to denote everything that falls outside what can be called 'nature'....... artificial / man-made / technology......... no, they're almost there, but not right on the spot. So, "!@#$%^&*" would be my placeholder name for that - it's easy to type too :) Press the shift key and type 1 to 8 - and lo! you've got !@#$%^&* :)

My initial glitch out of the way, let me get to the point. You have nature on one side and you have !@#$%^&* on the other, waging a constant battle. Nature was all powerful to begin with, and !@#$%^&* was hardly there - it just had a pair of wheels to write home about. Without doing a recap of the history lessons, we can safely say that !@#$%^&* is now pushing nature into extinction. We see mountains flattened and lakes filled up with earth to be made into prime real estate, forest-cover getting swiftly replaced by the ever-expanding concrete jungles and farmlands, possible linking of river basins (you could mistake it for a minor plumbing work, from the ease with which the subject is being discussed), ecology destabilizing dams, atmosphere polluting factories, highways a 1000ft wide (wondering if elephants are allowed to cross them :) ), real estate reclaimed from the sea (by dumping earth into the sea - this way it doesn't sound as heroic as 'reclamation', does it?), genetic engineering (Biotech is Godzilla!!! :D), cloning (of human beings too, some day?)...... i'm back to doing what I do best - writing laundry lists :) (maybe I should use less of my PowerPoint skills and more of my brain. Now let me make an attempt)

They say life is a constant struggle between the good and the bad, between the God and the Devil etc etc. I have never got the hang of this good / bad thingy (keeps changing every few years, what can I do?) and I've seen neither the God or the Devil - so I can't vouch for either's existance. But I see nature and I see !@#$%^&*...... I see they're fighting...... and I see nature losing the battle for survival.

Current Mood: Sad
Current Music: -

16 May 2004

Stream come true!

Posted by Just a little unwell in Hobbies | 11:43am

It all started when an online pal insisted that I upgrade my Yahoo Messenger (YM) to the latest Beta version. She had her good reasons - apparently this thingie comes with 'Audibles' - basically sound objects with which she can, for example, make audio-visual fun of me when i'm on the verge of losing an online game to her. I wasn't very impressed for obvious reasons and was managing with "ok, let's see", "will do later" etc etc.

Then she came up with the next persuasion technique - LAUNCHcast radio on YM. She made some setting change and asked if I read her online status. And man, did I read.... like the changing colors of a chameleon, her status was changing from 'Nickelback' to 'Cranberries' to 'Faith Hill' to 'U2' to.......well, you got the picture. Then she boasted, "these are the songs that are playing on my YM. If you also want to listen to them, download beta". For a while I wondered if that was a taunt ('beta', as in kid), directed at my not being as YM-savvy as her. Then I remembered about the 'beta version', and an incident was thankfully averted. LAUNCHcast radio was indeed irresistable, and I had to give in to her persuation. And thus my weekend ordeal started.......

It initially seemed like a no brainer. All I needed to do was download the damn thing, start installing, keep answering the semi-intelligent questions it would ask out of sheer boredom and nothing else, and then finally press 'ok' when it says, "I've done all that you wanted me to, master". But no, it seemed to have other plans in its artificial mind.

It demonstrated impeccable behavior till download and installation were completed. Once I logged in with the beta, I was quite happy with the nifty interface. I was also playing around and discovered that it had cool features - like stealth settings - whereby, I can selectively appear as 'Available' (btw, isn't the term quite misleading? ;) ) to a few of my contacts and 'offline' to the rest of the world. Another is this - if a buddy on the list is listening to a LAUNCHcast radio station, you can join him/her in listening to it by clicking on his/her LAUNCHcast link that appears alongside. I can't tell you how important it is for me to share a listening experience.

I explored around and was happy with my decision to download it. Now comes the icing - I pressed to play the LAUNCHcast radio, and after a few painful moments of watching the alternating messages of 'opening', 'connecting', 'tuning' (times like these make you wonder if there are too many verbs in the languages) a recorded message of an American accented sexy male voice played, the gist of which was "not so fast, dude!" - though the actual message was a polite advise to upgrade the Windows Media Player.

Now, I need to let you in on a little secret. I belong to an exclusive club of Hyderabadis who are users of vintage PCs. It's cool, if you know what I mean. If you have seen / heard of vintage car rallies, you are more likely to appreciate my point. What I have is in fact a 1997 classic. Maybe I should paint it shiny red, so that the glitter will fetch its share of admirers. Now my VC (Vintage Classic - what did you think?) has to take the burden of a bloatedware (any software that's over 10MB) and deliver its goods. Not a big deal considering its long history and track record.

So I visited Microsoft's site and downloaded the latest of the latest Media Players. Went smoothly, the installation and related formalties. Now, I played again the much sought after radio stream and after the 'opening', 'connecting', 'tuning', 'testing your patience', 'feigning death'...... sequence, it said 'playing' 00:00/5:05 (the first being the time elapsed and the next being the total time duration of a clip). The 00:00 didnt move any further, and I panicked thinking if time had come to a standstill. I quickly recovered, and realized that the player was playing with my good nature, instead of playing the stream. I consulted online help, googled, uninstalled and reinstalled Media Player, uninstalled and reinstalled YM, played around with the settings for network, bandwidth, buffering, protocols, proxy, ports......(too much computerese, I admit) - but to no avail.

While I struggled, my online pal became anxious about my long silence and sent messages expressing concern. When she learnt of what happened, she profusely apologized for getting me into it in the first place. (It feels soooooooo nice when a girl says 'sorry' to you for a change ;)) I had to pacify her, as well as win this battle of wits that I was waging with artificial intelligence. I remembered that my ISP had a 24 hrs help line. I hadn't slept and it was 5 in the morning. I called them and accused them of firewalling me from all good things in life, heard them plead innocence and was again back to myself and my deamons / demons.

I wisely grabbed a few hours of sleep after which the battle entered its second day. Innumerable calls to the ISP later, I downloaded more bloatedware (browser upgrade), and made the system more clueless. I asked the ISP chaps to play it and they succeeded. At this, I picked their brains over the phone about their system settings, access privileges, bandwidth, IQ :)...... and after mentally wearing them out on their weekend shift, I finally managed to learn that theirs was a much older version of Windows Media Player. Hurray! Out went the bloatedwares from my VC. I searched and installed the same version as theirs (which was just a cute 3MB download), and.................. yeah, it worked at last :) "LAUNCHcasted!!!" went out an sms from my mobile to that kind soul who put me through all this. No reply so far - I guess she must be peacefully sleeping.

I celebrated the victory of my natural stupidity over artificial intelligence, by listening to the much-wanted LAUNCHcast radio. And here I am, finishing up this blog at 2.00am. Now let me make the best of whatever is left of the weekend.

Current Mood: Triumphant
Current Music: the streaming music ofcourse :)

11 May 2004

Wiki whacky world

Posted by Just a little unwell in Technology | 12:29am

Hi, would you like to edit this page?

I'm sure you would. You must be raring to take a shot at my posts - fragmenting my 'long and winding' sentances, correcting typos, adding / removing punctuations so that the endangered pandas are saved from further ridicule, deleting unwanted opinions / obsceneties (you wouldn't find many in this page, but wouldn't say the same for all blogs though), correcting factual errors (like my earlier tongue-in-cheek comment about obsceneties), or inserting paragraph breaks where appropriate to make the posts more readable. You may also want to add value by adding your knowledge / ignorance to the already enlightened / illiterate content of this page. Or you may think the attitude is just not right, and may want to correct it altogether (you must be 'mom material' in that case).

All these and more can be done if this page were to be a 'wiki page'(did someone here announce that he's the gyaan master? Dig this, dude :) ) Wiki pages allow any viewer to edit them. E.g. in a wiki world, Jasalcatraz would be able to happily edit Ms.Deepa Menon's 'Kill Bill' review. Isn't that cool, Jasz dude? It's a different matter that someone else can open that page and edit Jasz's reviews too. It's a free for all - anybody who opens a wiki page is authorized to add, modify or even completely delete the contents of the page.

If some weirdo takes fancy and completely deletes a page, it can still be retrieved by the next sane viewer accessing the page, from the 'last good backup' maintained in the servers. This way, online vandalism is prevented from sabotaging valuable knowledge sources that are meant to benefit humanity. The concept operates on the basis of common goodwill, collective responsibility and community feeling.

Now, "why wiki? why should users be allowed edit permissions?" you may ask. Detailed answers are available in these pages. In a nutshell, wiki enables knowledge sharing in a collaborative manner, whereby each beneficiary adds to the knowledge pool. Imagine a wiki page on Hyderabad. After a hundred of us have read, modified, deleted (no shortage of weirdos, i guess), and restored (no shortage of good samaritans too, including yours truly ;) ), i'm sure the page would be rich with information, and much more valuable as a knowledge source, as compared to what one underpaid journalist will research and compile. And all the hundred would have collectively gained. Now replace 'Hyderabad' in the above example with 'bio-technology', or 'DSP programming' or 'Corporate law' as the case may be and the potential for collective learning would become obvious (i.e. if you are still paying attention to what i've been saying).

Check this wiki encyclopaedia. - enriched by every viewer who's been passing by. Its entry for 'Chess' says: "Chess is a boring game for two players played on a square board divided into eight rows (or ranks) and eight columns (or files)....." People's power at its best / worst?

Current Mood: Amazed
Current Music: FH - A challenge to your technical competence (ROTFLMAO) Make this field optional :D

9 May 2004

How often is too often?

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 11:20pm

Having made up my mind to start blogging, I realize that it's like feeding a hungry elephant. You just have to keep posting, even though you have nothing to write home about. Aaaaaaarrrrrrggggggghhhhhh!!!!!!! I should have known better.

For instance, I should have known that my life is so boring, and that the posts would also naturally reflect that mood. I should have known that entertaining people is not exactly my fort

Current Mood: Embarrassed
Current Music: Sounds of a silent night

8 May 2004

The (un)civilized

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 12:14pm

Abu Ghraib - the Iraqi prison where the civilized world showed us what civilization is. CNN website's link to the photo gallery warns: "This report includes graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised." I did exercise my (in)discretion and the content was indeed 'porno'graphic.

Basic questions that run amok in my mind - who are these imperialists, and what are they doing in a country that's not theirs, violating all norms of decency, let alone human rights? Why should the world come to their support when their forces are shot and their bodies are dragged on the streets - they had no business to be there in the first place. What human rights record of the past have these 'saviours of humanity' set right? Where are the WMDs??????? Why is there still a coalition (Spain, Australia, UK) that supports these imperial forces? Are we (i.e. India) an implicit member of that coalition? Isnt every silent voice an implicit member? Would we have explicitly participated as a coalition member, had this not been an 'election year'? Wouldnt that have been a shame to the 200 or so years of our own freedom struggle?

Looking ahead, I wish the US is pushed into a corner (by the rest of the world or by the Americans themselves) and is forced to beat a retreat like they did in Vietnam, letting the Iraqis themselves to decide on their future. And...... thumbs down to the U S of A!!!!

Current Mood: Heroic
Current Music: War zone!!!! by Slayer

6 May 2004

Another day in Paradise

Posted by Just a little unwell in Personal | 12:19am

When you dunno what to write about, these song titles come very handy :) Well, the thought at the back of my mind when I sat down to write was about the utter meaninglessness of all these things around.

Every morning newspaper which gets stacked without being read, every meal that's become an ordeal, every 8-9hrs shi(f)t at work, every unexciting weekend, every monotonous neighborhood, every cup of tea that tastes exactly like the previous one, every knock at the door (must be some bill collector or salesperson), every spam mail that gets into my inbox, every vehicle on the road which overtakes me or which I overtake, every face on the street, every hoarding that competes for my attention, every leader's promises and manifestos (that invariably go unfulfilled), every opinion that's floated around,  every ray of sun / moon / stars / light, every cloud, every drop of rain, every fragrance of every flower in the vicinity, every dog's bark, every night's sleep (when it finally decides to engulf) leading to another day of drudgery........ I wonder what's the point in all these. I've seen these enough and would like to move on. Taking refuge in PF's words again:

I've got a strong urge to fly
But I got nowhere to fly to

I laugh at the thought of making life more interesting. Challenges? I'm already challenged, so pls excuse me :) Peace? It's already a graveyard shift here and it can't get more peaceful. Maybe what I need is a calamity.

PS - After an hour of racking my brain, I'm glad I could come up with a post and convey something. Yes, a sense of accomplishment - probably, that's what you, me and everyone needs......

Current Mood: Feeling Better
Current Music: My thought waves ;)

1 May 2004

Heavy meal vs. Heavy metal

Posted by Just a little unwell in Hyderabad! | 10:32am

First things first - I hate this template, but then the others aren't any better, so I'd rather learn to live with it. This prolly represents a typical Hydbadi's attitude (and being in this city for over a decade, i've more than morphed into one), faced with limited choices all the time.

No, I'm not complaining. Choice comes with a price - financial, social, ethical, environmental <-----space provided for other adjectives ending with 'al'---------> and maybe we didn't want to pay that price. We chose not to have too many choices :) What's the use having '13 channels of shit on the TV to choose from'? (and now the numbers have multiplied several times since the days when Roger Waters penned these lyrics) Those of us who wanted more choices moved to greener pastures, leaving the 'small city' environment undisturbed, for us resident Hyderabadis.

Though we made a wise decision by not opting to have too many choices, there is a flip side to this whole thing. I dunno if it can be said that Hyderabadis lead the most monotonous lives among dwellers of the top Indian cities. Around the net, Hyderabadis swarm the chat rooms and DBs for lack of anything else interesting enough, I presume. And on the road, the restaurants are all crowded and filled to capacity, with people waiting outside for their turn. All this fuss over food???? Then the get-aways - Necklace road, Tank bund, Lumbini park, KBR park and the likes - you need to worry about finding a place to park your vehicles, before you decide to park yourself at one of these parks. I dont understand the fun element - or am I missing something? Why this exodus to these getaways? What do the Hydies seek? Least involvement of their faculties? Whatever it maybe, they nevertheless end up in crowded places wherever they go - be it shopping malls, or multiplexes or the other places mentioned above. Limited choices and everyone vying for those limited options

Maybe we could do with some personalized choices - an evening at a Jazz bar, or a poetry reading session, or an art exhibition, or a classical dance / music recital, or just at a peaceful corner in a library (are there any good ones at all?)......... why aren't these happening or are so few and spaced far between? I got the answer recently when a musician was expressing that getting an audience of a few hundreds for a concert is an achievement. That could be less than the number of people waiting for their table, outside Southern Spice or any other eat-out, on a given evening.

Maybe a heavy meal wins hands down over heavy metal.

Current Music: nothing but silence