24 Jun 2004

Pro-reform govts: Good for us!!!

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 7:10pm

.....but bad for the poor and hence bad (would be the complete title)

Don't raise your eyebrows or shake your head in disbelief when the next pro-reform government is guillotined by the ruthless Indian voter. No, he is not dumb, he's quite sane..... and yes, the Arun Shouries, the Chandrababu Naidus, SM Krishnas, Digvijay Singhs, all had to go......

Coz they all practised 'sound economics' - giving subsidies for the wealthy hoping they will in turn lift consumption and create employment, thereby indirectly benefiting the poor. This advocacy of trickle-down economics, accompanied by a frontal assault on government institutions and mindless celebration of the 'free market'. Everything privatised for efficiency, and reorienting the country/state to become an export-driven economy like many of the Asian tigers. Almost sounds like a Bollywood formula for success.....

Trickle-down economics - a noble-sounding name for the fraudulent economic strategy, which puts a higher priority on increasing the wealth of the already privileged than on meeting the needs of the millions, under the premise that the engine of our growth is upper-class prosperity, which is meant to pull along the remaining under-privileged carriages. The towers of smoke billowing from the engine (IT-BPO-Pharma-Automotive successes) are showcased to assure us that the power to move the whole train is mounting. However the reality is that the engine is cleverly disengaged from the bogies it is meant to pull, as a result of which it alone would run faster, leaving behind the bogies to remain where they were or to even slide down the slope in a reverse direction.

"Subsidize the powerful and wealthy" is the unuttered mantra. While the govt doesn't have money for investments to benefit the poor directly (schools, hospitals, etc.), it spends a whopping 44% of its budget for defence, in questionable deals that would offer little or no comfort to the security of the country. Unjustifiable expenditure can be found outside the realm of defence too. Water is piped into our homes at 10 percent of the cost of gathering and delivering it. Those same homes can avail of tax waivers on interest payments in their mortgage bills to the tune of Rs 150,000 each year. Yes, each year. Contrary to the conventional view about the poor, it is the upper classes who receive the largest subsidies from the government. It is a safe bet that families like yours and mine receive at least a hundred times higher subsidies from government than those living below the poverty line do. But largesse towards the literate beautiful people is considered investment in growing the economy, whereas even meagre generosity to the poor is attacked as undeserved dole. Then the case of businesses that receive govt doles (land, licenses, tax holidays etc.) on the promise of benefitting the poor / rural regions, then not honoring their part of the deal and govts being lax on them - subsidy by turning a blind eye. And then the subsidies that the businesses and politicians reap, by resorting to corruption and unfair trade practises.

Now let's see how the poor are subsidized. Along Gujarat's industrial corridor or Kerala's farmlands, for instance, improper management of chemicals used in various economic activities is poisoning the people. The continuing emphasis on large infrastructure projects has already displaced millions into the urban slums, and more such displacement is planned, nearly always without adequate scrutiny. How can the victims of such policies hope for eventual succour or prosperity? This question remains off the table.

Concluding words - "The founding myth of the dominant nations is that they achieved their industrial and technological superiority through free trade. Nations which are poor today are told that if they want to follow our path to riches, they must open their economies to foreign competition. They are being conned. Almost every rich nation has industrialised with the help of one of two mechanisms now prohibited by the global trade rules. The first is 'infant industry protection': defending new industries from foreign competition until they are big enough to compete on equal terms. The second is the theft of intellectual property. History suggests that technological development may be impossible without one or both"

Note: The above is an abstract of the column by Ashwin Mahesh on rediff.com. His highly readable (but a bit lengthy) column can be found here.

Current Mood: Destructive
Current Music: -

23 Jun 2004

On spamming, slamming etc.

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 8:08am

Communicate your thoughts..... if one can do that effectively, it doesn't matter if I spam, get spammed, screw, get screwed ('effectiveness' being the keyword) etc. I guess some have more frequent bouts of creativity than some others, and it really doesnt get me, if I see a given blog getting updated more frequently than, say, mine. I view it as getting 'free lunches' more often than what I have to pay for, with my (limited supply of) creativity.

But what gets me is when the impotent of this world (i.e. someone who can't come up with readable posts as often as some others) accuse the potent ones of 'popularity-seeking', 'limelight-hogging' etc. This is my sincere advise to a newbie who decides to blog on Full Hyd: Be prepared to be accused of: 1. Hitting your own website a hundred times to keep your hit counters at healthy levels 2. Spamming (i.e. coming up with posts more often than what an accuser is capable of - now, don't crack up at this one). I mean..... can't a person be credited with more intelligence? I would personally value someone who decides that he/she's got that creative vein to carry through a site all by himself/herself. It took so many months for me to take the plunge, and I'm still not comfortable at it.

The Internet is all about equal-opportunity, and not every one here is vying to be published by Penguin. If someone can communicate his/her feelings even in a broken English, and if it manages to carry some weight, make sense, provoke a thought, touch a raw nerve, give a new persepective....... that's enough for me. So please newbie..... go ahead and spam. You aren't polluting anyone's mailboxes, but are only adding to your own server space on the Internet with thoughts that are precious to you (and to me, the free luncher). It is understandable that the first few attempts might look pathetic, but things are definitely gonna improve.

And to those who get offended because they can't come up with posts as often as some others - you definitely need to see that shrink :)

Final words - blog and let blog!

Current Mood: Dismissive
Current Music: -

14 Jun 2004


Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 11:52am

The faceless farmer hogs the headlines often. He starves to death....... not to uphold any cause, but out of sheer helplessness and drought brought about by lack of sufficient monsoon, failure of crop and other reasons. Poverty in scarcity!

At other times he reaps a bounty, and then finds it difficult to find buyers for his produce. Since there is surplus all around, the prices drop steeply and the income he gets turns out to be far less than what he had invested to produce it in the first place. He gets entrenched deeply in the debt trap and resorts to suicide as the only way of recovering from this predicament. Poverty in abundance!!

While this goes on, he is promised free power, free dhotis / sarees and what not, by the powers that be. He incidentally constitutes the largest electorate. So, every party competes for his vote by bribing him with all the above, and also by playing up to his sentiments. Agricultural produce will never be taxed, even if some rich farmers become filthy rich thanks to their cash crops and estates. While a subsistence farmer obviously needs all the support he can get, isn't it ridiculous that people leading 5 star lives don't get taxed even a penny? The land of tamasha (a.k.a. the great nation of India or Bharat) never ceases to amaze me.

One of the tactics to bribe him and win over his heart is to play up to the galleries and rake up river-sharing controversies. Controversies that could potentially divide the nation, that could alienate people forever by sowing the seeds of hatred. Taking a leaf from the current affairs that's going on in the neighboring region to illustrate my point, Thiru.Karunanidhi Avargal (translates to 'Karunanidhi Himself') has decided to rake up the Cauvery issue again (yawn) - his motivation? the need to portray himself as the saviour of the Tamil species, now that the Tamil makkal (i.e. public) have made him their sole custodian by awarding all the parlimentary seats to his party and his allies. The reason they did so was because Jayalalitha was too lousy and autocratic - a fact not lost on the observers, but somebody needed to occupy the moral high ground and Thiru Karunanidhi Avargal it shall be, to jump at the opportunity.

It needs two to tango, and the esteemed politicians of Karnataka will not be left far behind in this game of hatred. They will pass a resolution denying water to TN, and there will be a flood of emotions (in place of water) in both states against the other side. I was in Bangalore over the weekend and was amused to read the sentiments expressed by the respected readers of the local newspaper. "Despite the rains and tears of the Kannadigas, our reservoirs are still not sufficiently filled up and hence we cannot release water to TN" read one comment. Don't shed so much tears, dearies... not very healthy. I'm sure the Chennai papers would carry equally ridiculous comments, if not worse. I'm visiting Chennai the coming weekend and shall post an update :)

Now for some good old 'sense'. I'm not an irrigation expert, nor am I aware of what is a 'fair share' of a resource like water. But I am aware of the fact that over the years, vast expanses of land have been brought under cultivation in both the states. In fact, the increase is much more drastic in Karnataka than in TN. As a result, the thirst for water has been on the upside in both the states and especially in Karnataka. Given this, the traditional mode of irrigating lands (pumping infinite quantities of water into the farm) becomes literally a drain on the precious resource. There is only so much water as before, but several more thousands of hectares of land to irrigate, than before. Doesn't the word 'scarcity' ring out loudly from the above? Are we deaf not to hear it clearly enough? Or we would rather get carried away by emotions / sentiments and ignore cold logic? There is an urgent need to modernize our irrigation methods. Drip irrigation, rain water harvesting, ground water utilization..... the works. The experts know better. But they won't be heard. The drama enacting politician attracts better attention than some one who speaks logic.

Another question that comes up - the widespread farming activity causing (in addition to water scarcity) a food surplus, consequent bringing down of prices, filling up of FCI godowns, rats eating the rots, farmers committing suicide coz they can't command the required price to meet their debts..... who puts a stop to this vicious circle and where? I think there are way too many people who are out there farming, and who need to move up the value chain and shift to developing software or design automobiles instead (higher education, native language commerce..... suddenly all my 'unintelligent' posts seem to make sense, don't they? ;) ). Until then, we will have to make do with the politicians providing us the evening entertainment on TV screens and painfully witness more suicide/starvation stories.

Current Mood: Sad
Current Music: -

11 Jun 2004

Whats in a name?

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 8:23am

What's up with people? I mean, some 20 -30 years ago, people gave much simpler names to their kids like Ramesh, Suresh, Kumar, Geetha, Sita, Rani...... and these days they somehow tend to come up with Akanksha, Ananya, Ajathashatru and other such tongue-twisters.

I was checking on the name of a kid with his parent (my ex-colleague), and pat came the reply, "Prajval". "Oh! sounds good!!!" (true lies - truth is, i haven't heard that name before). I dont have a circle of friends who have kids (I can tolerate kids, but not their parents who fuss over them no end - another pet peeve, that deserves another post), or else, I could have come up with much more examples of names that have little practical advantage. I wonder why people resort to this convention of naming their kids with an unheard of, unpronouncable name. All those who are guilty of this crime, come up with your excuse :)

The best naming story however would be this: I had a collegue by name 'Dukman'. It was not intended to be that, though. The originally intended name was 'Lukman' - a not so common Muslim name (I think). But while submitting his school application, his dad wrote his name with such an artistic handwriting that the 'L' appeared like 'D' to the school assistant accepting the application. So, he was entered as 'Dukman' in the school records and was condemned to life-long 'dukh'. He had a tough time answering the question, "May I know who's speaking?" at the other end of the phone, coz, well..... his dad had a beautiful handwriting :)

Current Mood: Cheerful
Current Music: -

5 Jun 2004

The week that was.....

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 5:15pm

OMG, this is going to look like a diary. Never mind..... it's been a pretty hot week. I dunno if it was really hot or if my hair was to blame. I decided to go for the unkempt look, and I assure you, it's more bother than the clean, spick n span look. Started my experiment by wetting my hair completely and combing the hair backwards, and since mine normally falls forward, it wouldn't fulfill my desire. Once dry, a lot of the hair stood up, falling neither forward nor backward.

I knew it was a mess, but decided to step out of home nevertheless. Btw, I was due for a hair cut, which I decided to give a skip.This bit of information would have clarified what I meant by 'mess'. Now on to the streets..... curious onlookers, wanting to know which planet I landed from, wannabes who lapped up whatever they saw with a "wow, what a cool dude, man" reverence, golden oldies who couldn't come up with anything better than suspicious looks...... Hyderabad has a cosmopolitan crowd, I should say.

Within minutes I knew that my hair didnt assume the shape I wanted it to. So, on an impulse I went and purchased a hair dryer. It had a lot of fancy attachments and I didnt know what was what. Internet came handy too, and I googled for hairstyling tips. Then I realized that all those attachments really didnt matter, and I could have in fact gone for the cheapest model which came without all those frills. So, some blow drying later, it assumed the shape I wanted, but wouldn't stay that way.

I could have really reverted back to my old style, but decided to brave it and went to office in this get up. An entire gamut of sentiments ranging from "You look fresh" to "Bad hair day?" to "Are you planning to grow it further?" to "Not feeling well?" to "You seem liberated" were expressed by those with some courage. The silent majority just took it in their stride, like they always do and bear whatever is dished at. Diplomacy assumes new meanings in new situations, I should say.

Having successfully warded off the initial reactions, I ventured to go with a stubble (which matured into a beard) for the next few days. This time I seriously looked like a rebel, and folks must have wanted to know what exactly am I rebelling against. Now that I have started a phenomenon, i'm not sure if I'll meekly go back to my earlier state - but there is strong possibility I might. The heat is killing me.

Another eventful thing was how a piece of wood was stringed, slapped till my thumb ached, connections soldered, an 80W amp organized, and at the H-Hour (i.e. after powering on the amp and turning the volume to full) could only produce a feeble sound of bass. The case of a humbucker pick-up turning out to be a humbug. (I carefully avoided the g-word, to save the world from further excitement)

Teleconference meetings with bosses provide new insights each time. This time it revealed that I'm doing a thankless job, and it's my own choice. After all the adrenalin rush to post my resume on job sites, came a painful realization that I have too many things going on in this city of darkness, to just pack my bags and leave. (The humbucker and the 80W have a MAJOR role to play - OMG, I hate music)

To add insult to injury, a planned weekend visit to my lonely planet, sorry parent, had to be aborted, as the world had been enjoying summer vacations and is returning to join back schools / colleges / offices etc. in view of which, no tickets were available for the journey back and forth.

I've strived to be sober for the last few months and suddenly my helplessness took over, prompting me to go for the drink. For an evening, I was an old monk on the seventh heaven, all the while ruminating and pondering as to what to do....... tried listening to my inner voice / heart / sub-conscious / whatever..... and while drunken driving back home on a two-wheeler...... I said to myself with finality that I'll continue in my chosen path (of doing a thankless job)...... and in response, was kissed on the cheek. I raised my eyes in surprise, and was kissed again. Not once, not twice, but 5 - 6 times. It took sometime for me to realize that they were actually water droplets falling from heaven, that were rewarding my cheeks for my decision. It was the time when the clouds were in two minds on whether to rain or not, and were making trial attempts. Long after I reached home, they did make a decision of their own too and a hot week was cooled down by heavy rains, while I was fast asleep.

I hope I can strike a balance between the three P's of life - People, Profession and Passion, without taking much help from the monks at seventh heaven. They are bad for the vocal cords, bad for the wallet........ and the last and the least - bad for the health.

Current Mood: Feeling Better
Current Music: -

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
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