Category: General

26 Feb 2005


Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 11:25am

Happiness is short-lived, they say. Never realized it could be so true.

So here I was, having successfully negotiated a 'broadband' package out of my ISP for a lesser monthly subscription. I busily researched on what all I could do with my additional capability.

First and the easiest was to tune into obscure radio stations on the Net, which streamed their sonic chunks at 128kbps or more. Sat and patiently bookmarked them - 'Delicious agony', 'Aural moon', 'Chronix Aggression', 'Death FM' (expands to Death Fucking Metal), 'Radio Teen Taal' - a sample listing to give an idea. Happily spent a week listening to them almost 24/7. I downloaded plugins which will put my comp to sleep once i've slept (and streaming 128kbps until then), and wake me up with the radio stn of my choice at the destined time. If you are reminded of the word 'abuse', I wouldn't blame you.

I wasnt satisfied with this. I wanted to setup my own radio station and stream my mp3 playlist to others over the Net. After hours and days of further research, I figure out a way to do that. More plugins / DSPs (Oddcast/Shoutcast), streaming server software (IceCast/Shoutcast) thrown in to make it merrier. My legacy system complained and I was in no mood to pay attention. Thankfully, my connection would not play ball, and my ISP had ensured that I dont entertain such fantasies by blocking all TCP connections. (Let's just say that a 'TCP connection' is as important for hosting a service, as a bridegroom is for a wedding)

So I was sulking and posting my rants on web forums (there are other fanatics too, pls believe me). These forums were real eye-openers. Folks talked about the 1 GB download limit (even i'm aware of it, so what?) and how they exceeded it in one night of being online. Exceeded it in one night? But pray, how?

This got me to introspect on my own usage and made me realize how my stupid streams @128kbps were consuming almost an MB /minute. I was entitled for only 1000 such minutes / month, while I was playing them almost all my waking hours. Downloads in excess would cost me Rs.1.50 / MB (or per minute, as I was using it). Once this realization set in, I respectfully turned off the streams and switched on my CD player instead.  <brag>As someone having one of the best musical collections in Hyderabad,</brag> I do not need streams from obscure sources over the Net, to satiate me. Needless to mention, I shelved all ambitions of becoming an online DJ.

As they say, with great speeds come great responsibility. (Excuse me, Spiderman).

Current Mood: Feeling Better
Current Music: Not Death FM

22 Jan 2005

Trigger your passion

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 10:23pm

I would've named this 'The Art of Living' if not for the more popular discipline going by that name about which I have no idea. Still, 'passion' captures the essence of what I want to say. 'Art' and 'passion' go together - you can't have the former if you don't have the latter.

Thanks to a book i've been reading of late, i'm inclined to look at everything through the prism of 'art' (and the view I get is colorful, I should say). How would it be if everything we do becomes a work of art? A 'piece de resistance' or a 'magnum opus'? It wouldnt be very bad, I guess. The most mundane activity of our life could become a very interesting preoccupation, if approached with an artistic mindset. And there's no telling what the outcome would be. I would expect it to be of a path-breaking nature, if not  more.

Life is filled with boring tasks. One set of boring tasks after another. In due course, even once pleasureable moments such as eating a tasty meal or having a romantic date become nothing more than 'tasks'. Can we become more dispassionate than this? The more conditioned we become, the more we resemble the Pavlovian dogs - giving out standard responses to given stimuli.

But the good news is that it doesnt have to be this way. The best thing about humans is that they are inconsistent, by nature. Though considered undesirable by some, it's this inconsistency that differentiates us from the output-as-a-function-of-input machines. Our outputs are a function of our thoughts, which could be as varied as the patterns in a kaleidoscope. While the discipline of science attempts to bring out predictable results and emphasizes on the repeatability of outcomes, 'art' has no such hang ups. The more variety the better. From the above, it is evident that we humans are artists by nature, whereas we're conditioned to lead our lives like scientists - standardization of processes, procedures, rule-books, 'dos n donts' and so on.

How do we put 'art' back into our lives? I dunno. Probably by taking a fresh look, not biased by our past experiences. Being sensitive to the situation and assessing it with the 'current' state of mind (coz in the past, your mind probably might've told you that the whole situation sucks) and being passionate. When you're passionate about something, you love and respect it. You want the best things to happen to it. You become a slave or a subordinate before the cause (it doesnt necessarily have to be a noble one. I once had a cause of fixing a faulty cistern). You pay attention to every little aspect, and fine-tune your responses to those minor details. You work at it patiently coz you've got all the time for it, and your creative side takes over. What you would've thought was a chore becomes a passion, and once you're done, you'll (hopefully) have a work of art before you.

With the above line of thought, I find it amusing that we like to call ourselves a Master of Engineering / Science / Medicine / Business Administration and so on, coz it seems to me that the real indication of competency is when someone considers him/herself to be a slave or subordinate of his/her mission, and gives his/her everything to it.

Current Mood: Thoughtful
Current Music: -

9 Jan 2005

We, the media

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 1:46pm

The bloggers, or the 'Citizen Journalists' - as the world likes to call them, have been of much help in the aftermath of the huge tidal waves that hit the shores. The SEA-EAT blog (scary acronym) must have helped thousands if not millions with information updates and most importantly, on how to help. That Google - the most popular search engine on the net, has linked it from its home page, should indicate how useful a resource the SEA-EAT has been and continues to be, in bringing together the kind hearts of the world.

There are so many lesser known blogs that are offering first-person / eye-witness accounts of the event and its aftermath, and there are others by persons who have gone out to the affected areas and are reporting first-hand, what they see and experience. Some blogs that I found useful:

India Uncut: A blog by Amit Verma, a Mumbai based journalist, who is touring the affected areas in TN along with Rediff's Dilip D'Souza - who also blogs about the tour in his Death Ends Fun. It is interesting to read both the blogs and compare, to observe how the same story gets narrated in two different ways. I found Amit's account to be more sincere, as DD's secular/liberal ideology that keeps showing up dilutes his credibility a bit. Nevertheless, both the reports, laced with their opinions/views, offer an interesting read that is more insightful than what one can hope to get from a newspaper or a news channel (that has to 'break' every 5 minutes).

Phuket Tsunami: An awesome account of the minutes leading to the disaster and its aftermath, by Rick - an executive with HP-Asia Pacific who moved into the disaster locale minutes before the tragedy struck and was witness to all the gruesome scenes unfolding before him for days together. As he writes, he confesses feeling guilty about it, as he did not suffer any loss, but was only there to see the heart-rending scenes. A comment in response: "Keep writing, Rick. Writing is dealing". So true!

Chiens Sans Frontiers: Translates to 'Dogs without boundaries', the CSF blog is maintained by a team of journos touring the affected regions. The accounts from Nicobar highlighting the administration apathy that prevails there are quite disturbing. We do have a lot of communities / regions in the country that did not have cultural links with the mainstream Indian populace, but are now a part of us due to various historic events. If these regions continue to be treated like 'colonies' by an imperial centre, we may see many more separatist movements. It is amazing how we do not have a clear picture on the real situation in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands (the Indian territory most impacted by the tsunami) - despite being a democracy and having a 'free press' for the last over 60 years.

Even in the past, we had that lone Baghdad blogger reporting from the scene during Iraq war. Obviously, he was no match for the media muscle and the 'embedded journalists' of the 'Civilized West', but was nevertheless widely read by people of the world, who wanted more than the media spin that was being churned out. And dating back to the World war II days, we had 16 years old Anne Frank, who documented in her diaries the scale of injustice perpetrated by the Nazis and their holocaust. She probably did (though using manual methods) what the tsunami bloggers do today and what the lone Baghdad blogger did - state the citizen's position, be the voice of the commoner. For that, she should probably be honoured as the World's First Citizen Journalist.

So what is it that makes the bloggers tick? Maybe the fact that there are so many of them (us?) offering a range of persepectives on a given event, giving a reader a wholistic view of a given situation? Maybe because a blogger is not supervised / censored / edited by a diligent administration / media bosses, resulting in a more spontaneous response? Maybe because a blogger has no compulsions to comply with, that his/her output personifies 'freedom of expression'? Whatever it be, the tsunami showed the usefulness of such a large community of contributors - when all other channels of information failed the public. The government sources relayed what they wanted the people to hear, the TV channels were busy grinding their political / ideological axes, while catering to their corporate ad-spenders...........  and it was left to the blogging community to report to the world, the happenings from a lay-person's persepective.

Current Mood: Thoughtful
Current Music: -

26 Aug 2004

Unpalatable verbizations

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 9:38am

"Do you tennis?" asked the painted wall advertisement, and I shifted uncomfortably. Not because I 'did not tennis', but because such an onslaught on the language was too much to handle at the end of a tiring work-day. It did not appear to come from an ignorant / illiterate source, in which case, it would have deserved all my sympathy. It appeared more like a half-baked attempt at creative sloganeering - and hence sucked big time.

By the way, let's give full marks to the Indian intelligence for doing a copy-cat job of the more widespread "Do you Yahoo?" line. In the original case, I can hazard a guess on the motivation for coming up with such a blasphemy. Google was becoming more popular and people even verbized it with all that talk about 'googling' their searches, similar to how 'xeroxing' became the norm. Alarmed by this development, Yahoo must have urgently wanted to insert its name into the English vocabulary and must have hoped that people will start 'Yahoo'-ing their mails and 'Yahoo' with their online buddies, after getting badgered with the "Do you Yahoo" line. Though that was not to be, at least the motive is understandable. Coming to our local version, I'm clueless as to what the advertizer hoped to achieve by verbizing 'tennis' (reduce his advertising expenses? 'Play' sounds such a tyrannically long word, taking up unwanted space and time - to paint, to read, to comprehend......... Best option - knock it off).

I shudder to think of the outcome of such attacks on the language. The advertiser, knowingly or otherwise, has spawned a generation of youngsters who will 'banner' their creative lines, 'computer' them, 'web' them, 'book' them and what not. And even before we realize, our lives may look like this: get up in the morning, 'Hindu' / 'DC' / 'NDTV' for a while, 'Kellogg' and 'Nescafe' to see us through till lunch time (while simultaneously 'Pink Floyd'ing / 'Slayer'ing), 'Yamaha' / 'Honda' our way to the office, 'Johnson' upto the right floor, IBM / HP thru' the working hours, 'Pizza Hut' / 'Subway' in between, 'Barista' for some time in the evening with friends, 'Lifestyle' a bit, 'Visa' our purchases............damn. Can we put a full stop to this kind of creativity before the world becomes an Alzheimer's paradise?

Current Mood: Worried
Current Music: -

13 Aug 2004

Music for the mind

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 12:44pm

OK, when I say music, i'm only referring to Rock and its derivatives...... and probably forerunners......... and probably siblings....... and probably counterparts..... (guitar-based genres is what i mean) All the Hip-hop, Hindustani, Carnatic, Indipop, film music fans please excuse :) You've got wonderful stuff going there, but I've not taken them up for my current dissection.

Ok, coming back to my narrow definiton of music - well, it's not that narrow, if you know what I mean - you've got Classical rock, Modern rock (this avoids the 70s, 90s kinda terminology), Jazz, Blues, Country, Reggae, Metal (you're asking which one?), Alternative / grunge (are they same or different?) - quite a spectrum, I should say. Btw, I deliberately left out one genre in the above sentence which is the topic of this post *a gong goes out* - Progressive Rock.

Kids world over had fun making music - they made really wonderful stuff. But then they were becoming too sweet and innocent and romantic for the real world to take in anymore and their time was running out. Enter the bad guys and their loud music. They convinced everyone that the only sensible thing to do was to destroy. And destroy they did - the ear drums of their listeners, their own vocal cords, sometimes their musical instruments, and even their on-stage reputation. While this was going on, another breed of musicians were obsessed with intellectual improvisations and were producing music that was too perfect, too boring, and too uneventful.

Luckily some mature adults were still left to restore sanity. They were producing good entertaining music and they enjoyed a loyal fan following too. The music they produced can be broadly termed 'Progressive rock' which combined elements of symphony, rock, folk and jazz, thereby making it entertaining as well as intellectual, with elements of tradition and nostalgia thrown in. I came across some Internet sources on Prog Rock and realized that some of my favorite bands are Progressive rock bands. More important, I came to know of some bands which are exemplars in this genre and i'm totally into them these days.

Before I go into specific bands, I wish to ramble on about the charecteristics of this music - high pitched vocals (ok, not always), unpredictable sonic movements of the instruments - be it the strings or the percussions - which could have a halucinatory effect on the listener ('psychedelic rock' is an alternate name given to this genre), complex arrangements and rhythmic structures that throw a challenge to your power of understanding music, "unheard of" sounds to add to the unpredictability - made using highly customized instruments / techniques, melody or pleasantness of music - you generally don't hear screams or growls or jarring noises - but most important of all, virtuostic playing by all the musicians - they need to be highly talented to be playing progressive music. No wonder we have some of the best guitarists, best bassists, best keyboardists and best drummers in the world playing for progressive rock bands (please read this sentance again in case you weren't paying attention). And the length - this is not a genre for people with short attention spans - So no 3-minute numbers. You get to experience a song for at least 7 minutes or more - the time needed for all the musicians to realize their potential and get a sense of accomplishment. Well, there could be exceptions when the bands had to please their labels.

Some progressive rock bands that need no introduction - Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull and Queen. These are household names and I wouldn't go further describing them. Some other interesting prog bands are: Rush (divine drumming), Wishbone Ash (twin attack of two-parts guitaring), Queensryche (one of the best vocals i've heard), Kansas, Yes, King Crimson, Genesis (which had Phil Collins as their drummer / vocalist).... But the 'Metallica' of the genre would have to be Dream Theater. Their guitarist (forgot the name) is an inspiration to many a budding guitarist. Listening to their songs is an experience that transports you across many worlds. Then the bands which had their roots in Jazz, but produced what's called 'fusion', which is in any case Progressive Rock from the sound of it: Mahavishnu Orchestra (fronted by guitar god John McLaughlin), Weather Report (which had Bass ace Jaco Pastorius among others - if you havent tripped on his solos, you havent lived life to the fullest), Return to Forever (Chick Corea, Al Di Meola - the divine powers of the world)....... Indian band Mother Jane is walking its baby steps in this genre and a few numbers I heard of theirs are good. Apparently, their album was a sell out in places like Bangalore.

Not sure if we have many proggers here. I wish we have many more in Hyderabad - i'm not getting the records I want coz there aren't many takers here. May the proggers multiply - not biologically, but through baptizations :)

Current Mood: Grand
Current Music: Progressive rock

11 Aug 2004

Equal opportunity

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 12:58am

Current Mood: Cheerful
Current Music: -

9 Aug 2004


Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 10:35pm

While you're breaking your head wondering which commonly used sentence does this abbreviation stand for (in the league of LOLs, ROTFLMAOs, AFAICRs and ASAPs), let me just gather my thoughts on what exactly I wanted to say under this heading.

Ok, it's about 'vision' - the ability to 'see'. Not just the present, but also the future (and more of the latter). No, not predicting it, but seeing it. Knowing exactly how you want it to be, including the finer details. Like looking at a picture, carefully observing all its elements. Once you've seen it well enough, you know what to aspire for. You get an idea on the quantum of effort required to reach that destination that you've defined for yourself so clearly. Seeing is believing. The more you see it, the more you believe in your image of the future. See it when you are awake, see it when you are asleep (Dream on!).

Incidentally, the abbreviation in the title stands for 'What You See Is What You Get'. It's more of an IT / technical jargon pertaining to Graphical User Interface (GUI) design tools. Trust me to give it a philosophical spin. (Btw, the FH blogs Editor is unfortunately not WYSIWYG and I had to do HTML formatting to make this post.)

I see what I want, i'll keep seeing it day in and day out........... and yes, i'll get it someday. (couldn't help adding that self-motivational bit)

Current Mood: Grand
Current Music: Dreams / Dream on by Aerosmith / Nazareth / Fleetwood Mac / Corrs (Fleetwood Mac cover) whichever suits you ;)

24 Jul 2004

The capture of Secunderabad

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 11:41pm

No, this is not a history lesson :)

Last November, I went around Secunderabad clicking pictures with a borrowed Nokia 3650. Now, I'm going public with the outcome of that exercise :) The pics are hosted here and my personal favorite among them would be the one below, coz of the contrast in colors:


Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: -

21 Jul 2004

The big O

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 8:44am

I've got nothing more to loose(n)!! Not my purse strings coz there ain't much in it, anyway. Not my morals too, I suppose............. not that i'm a very upright person, but I prefer safety, more than anything else. Not my belt definitely..... it has to be in its tightest position, considering my purse and its scarce contents. Maybe I need to loose my sanity, so that the things around me don't affect me much.

I've always been a looser. Loose contacts make me loose contacts - exactly when someone on the Net who I think is interesting reciprocates interest, the loose connection takes over and I end up loosing all my patience. At other times, a slew of viruses are let loose on my PC (they say you need to watch out for these things before deciding to visit those sites) and I loose all my valuable files, including those downloaded (instructional) video clips.

I hate all the loose things. Loose change....... not good for anything unless you have amassed a real pile - even then, people look up and down if you do decide to use your stockpile to pay for anything. What a way to loose respect! Loose remarks......... i've made a lot of them only to end up loosing the love of my near and dear ones. Loose motion....... well! no further explanations!! Loose nuts........ especially those on the two wheels of your two wheeler. You could be loosing your life coz of some nuts, like it almost happened to me once. Luckily, there was a temple in the vicinity and divine mercy showered on me, preventing the inevitable (a God-fearing mechanic's explanation, not mine) Loose clothes......... never trusted their wearers - the popes, the priests, the nuns, the swamis, the mullas, the sants, the babas, the monks. Ain't it funny that they all dress similarly? They successfully made me loose faith in God and religion.

I better stop and don't loose any further time and sleep writing this blog........

Disclaimer: No pun intended at the expense of some of my favorite bloggers :D

Current Mood: Cheerful
Current Music: Loosing my religion - REM

14 Jul 2004

Live and let die

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 3:06am

A few days ago, a Panchayat (village court) in Madhya Pradesh ordered a weird form of punishment which was also carried out to perfection - that three women of a given family be raped. Their offence? Being the kith and kin of a rape accused. Tit for tat! If this sounds like law of the jungle, then what do we make of the High Courts and the Supreme Court that pass death sentances to accused criminals?

There's a raging debate going on, on whether Dananjoy Chaterjee should be hanged or not. For the latecomers, he happens to be awaiting his execution for raping and murdering a school girl, some 13 years ago. His mercy petition is now before the president. "Beasts like him should be put to death, and shown no mercy" and other such typical middle class sentiments have been echoing across the media. Joining the bandwagon are the women's lib types (just coz the crime-list included 'rape') stepping up the general decibel levels, thereby obfuscating the fundamental question of whether death sentance is a dark justice or not.

Do the courts have the power to take one's life? Unfortunately, they do, in this country. But should they have that power? Who gave them that? Who legalized their murders? If the courts are justified in passing death sentances, then isn't the above-mentioned panchayat too justified in passing the verdict it thought fit? Dont both examples involve a tit for tat? A revenge? If a society is justified in taking a collective revenge against its offenders (the rapists, murderers, assassins, terrorists and the likes), then in what way is the collective psyche of that society any better than that of the offenders themselves (who are labeled 'beasts' and so forth, by the glitterati that appear on television debates)? Is an 'eye for an eye' the only solution that we could think of, after thousands of years of progress?

Current Mood: Thoughtful
Current Music: -

6 Jul 2004

Intellectual "proper"ty?

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 11:26am

Monetizing expertise........ Currency of the information age.... Knowledge capital...... buzzwords galore! For a species that's taken to packaging and marketing water, or even air....... this is not a very deviant behavior. Attach a price tag for everything. Mother's womb for rent! What else?

Evolution - the ongoing process which resulted in micro-organisms eventually transforming themselves into humans (who are now digging into the very same micro-organisms and inventing new forms of life in the name of genetic engineering). 'Evolve' was what all these life forms did, whenever the going got tough. They evolved and overcame whatever limited them. Those that couldn't, perished. The bacteriae got bigger, the fish jumped on to the land, the crawlers / the reptiles developed strong legs to stand up and run faster, the giraffes stretched their neck out to reach those high-hanging leaves, and the four legged baboons stood erect and walked on two feet - stories of how life evolved to get the better of adversities.

The humans evolved too - discovered fire, wheel, medicine, agriculture, weaponry, housing, power - their potential knew no bounds. They kept evolving - transferring whatever they learnt between each other, spreading knowledge like fire. Their collective wisdom propelled them to greater heights - the heights that we are in today. Tempting science fiction writers to dream the undreamable...... and normal folks like us to wish for the impossible........

Now i'll apply some brakes. Humanity faces some of the worst diseases and the cure that is available is beyond an average human's reach. In fact, the segment which is most prone to acquire the disease is the least likely to afford the cure. While knowledge freely flowed like water in the earlier times resulting in a 'collective upliftment' of the species, we now have a situation whereby knowledge is pocketized - available only in isolated pockets.It has become an exclusive preserve and is contributing to a 'selective upliftment' of the species, in contrast to the earlier times.

Knowledge is on its way to becoming a rarity. It's junk that's floating around in the garb of 'information overload'. Whosoever originates real knowledge holds on to it dearly in the name of 'intellectual property', making it unavailable for the rest of the humanity. It's a different matter that their creations borrowed heavily on inherited wisdom, for which no royalties / compensations are considered necessary. The fundamental laws of science and arts, intelligence acquired over thousands of years, all those go uncompensated for and get leveraged without a second thought. But the '

Current Mood: Worried
Current Music: -

1 Jul 2004

Just begun

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 8:33am

A beautiful tale, of monkeys all male
Sat all in a row, looking shades of pale
Spoke no evil, or heard no evil
No visions too, that came from Devil

No sights, no sounds, no speeches
Made 'em worse than li'l leeches
Break they did, their shackle
This world they swore they'll tackle

They gathered up in a city of sin
From places far and wide
The story's now gonna take a spin
So brace up for a fun ride

Evilanche descended
And caught the dudes by surprise
Brought tonnes of evil upon their head
Indeed, a mighty price

Came crashing downhill, all in hurry
The apes they had no time to even worry
Trail of death, disease, destruction
Was all they saw without obstruction

Possessed, they did seek to rebel
And all they need is a pretty neat label
With strings n beats they aren't too averse
To preach you 'evil', spelt in reverse

The story ends 
no, it's just begun
The miseries around
They'll all be gone :)

Current Mood: Happy Indeed!
Current Music: Not composed yet ;)

29 Jun 2004

Radio gaga

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 12:04am

NDTV has started airing the audio signals of its Hindi and English television channels over Worldspace. After listening to it over the last few days, I knew what we have been missing - an independent media news broadcast on radio, which is free from the clutches of the government. While it is expected to provide information and facts, the radio has been used to feed propaganda instead, by successive governments.

As you may be aware, the airwaves are not thrown open yet to private broadcasters to air news and current affairs content. (why, why, why?) Maximum they can air is stupid Bollywood (and other 'wood') songs, with monologues by Radio Jockeys (RJs) thrown in for extra pleasure. Luckily Hyderabad hasn't started experiencing it yet. As people from other cities would vouch, listening to private radio stations is an experience of endless wait. Either you wait for the RJ to stop talking and let the song play, or when a song is playing, you wait impatiently for the damn thing to end, in anticipation of a better song. So, 'entertainment' radio stations are hardly that. Anyway, my point is not about lack of entertainment - we can find a thousand other ways to entertain ourselves (I wouldn't like to go into the details ;) )

My gripe is about not being able to receive news transmissions on radio from independent agencies. Well, I can switch to my TV, or read newspapers. Not a problem for me. So, what seems to be the issue? The issue is that a lot of Indians with voting rights are poor and illiterate, having no access to either TV or newspaper. The good ol' radio is the only source of information for them. And all they can listen to is govt-fed propaganda. They are kept in the dark about the corruption and misrule that take place, and who is to blame. The true picture remains hidden, coz the govt controlled All India Radio(AIR) is not going to give it to them. As a result, the citizen does not have the opportunity to make informed decisions. He elects Laloo Prasad Yadavs and Narendra Modis - the last persons who should be entrusted with power and responsibility.

Pasted below - the cleverly worded beauracratese that denies the Indian his/her 'Right to Information' (from a Consultation paper of TRAI):

Restriction on News and Current Affairs: The first phase of licensees were not permitted to provide News and Current Affairs. The reasons for such a restriction have been explained in the report as:
(a) FM mode is best utilized for music broadcast as contrasted with talk broadcasts;
(b) Security concerns in sensitive areas prone to communal/caste tensions as policing of radio stations is difficult.

Incidentally, the live up-linking of News & Current Affairs has already been permitted to Television and near live up-linking from even outside the Indian soil is a norm. However, it is also important to note that the medium of radio is different from Television in terms of reach. The ease of monitoring is much higher in case of satellite television as against radio, which is localized.

Reading the above, I'm reminded of the following lines from the Bob Marley song "Get up, stand up":

You can fool some people sometimes,
But you can't fool all the people all the time.

The 'consultation paper' has recommended that this restriction should go. I'm sure our netas are dying to follow the advise, and are going to implement the recommendations on a war-footing. Until then, AIR would be the only source of information and news for a vast majority of Indians.

Current Mood: Angry
Current Music: -

26 Jun 2004

Have some time?

Posted by Just a little unwell in General | 8:18pm

Time - a mystery that only became more mysterious with Albert Einstein and his 'Theory of relativity'. Apparently there are only two who understood the theory well enough. One is obviously Mr.Einstein, and the other would be God Himself!

Now, this time is defined as a precious resource, and time lost is lost to you forever and so on. That's a whole load of guilt piled up on every person - as in, you are constantly made to feel guilty of wasting time, no matter what you do. Time ticks by, but the fruits dont ripen, and sometimes there aren't even flowers, so where to go for fruits? No, not monda market! I'm talking metaphorically here.

I'm a huge fan of Steven Covey and his book '7 Habits'. I like all his other habits, except for "Habit 3 - Put first things first". Starts with a guilt-matrix which looks somewhat like this:



   Not Urgent  




Not Important



By now you would've realized that we are treading the discomfort zone. I'm getting the same awful feeling now, that I get whenever I think about it, but let me continue and conquer it. *takes a fresh breath*

So, each of our activities that take up our time can be placed in one of the four quadrants (i.e. I - IV) above. Obviously, quadrant IV is my favorite, the pleasure paradise. Nothing is important there, nor is it urgent. Wow! Why can't we all live there forever? But no, Mr.Covey would strongly condemn you, if you do. "A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do - so better be in quadrant II" he would say. I hate you, Mr.Covey!

Well, Mr.C is always right, and QII it shall be:  

Current Mood: Embarrassed
Current Music: -

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 His highly readable (but a bit lengthy) column can be found here.

Current Mood: Destructive
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