Sunday, April 30, 2006

Everything is now illuminated

I like bullshitting. If there was something I could do for a living well, it'd probably be a job who could bullshit. The problem comes when along with BS you need to also get stuff done. Blowing smoke up people's ass is a lot of fun. Why can't it remain that way all the time? Why do we have to also do stuff? If only everyone could just BS and make Powerpoint presentations, quality of life would be so much better. No one would have to do anything but crap out of your mouth. Everything would be a six sigma process, since you actually don't do anything. When you do something there is always the possibility that it might go wrong. When you don't, what can go wrong? BS also helps in life, it makes you rich. Since you can please everyone, your bosses are happy and you get promoted. You don't have to believe in anything. If you believe in something, you get attached to it emotionally. The moment that happens, you are doomed. If you BS, that risk never comes. So you progress. Notice how all leading politicians are rich and how the most dedicated activists are poor?

Believing in something sounds good but doesn't feed the family or pay the rent.

Friday, April 28, 2006

My school

St. Vincent's High School, Pune

This is where I went to school. This is where I have most of my early memories. It's been all downhill ever since!!

Freedom of the Press?

Read this story

Now read this.

Word to word they are almost alike. But the title for each gives a very separate tone.

Cinema Paradiso

Imagine someone with a DVD collection that reads like this?

The least I can say is that of the top 20, I have seen 18!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Behind every actor stands a makeup artist

A wonderful, poignant tribute by one of the world's premier actors to the man without whose help he probably never would have reached the pinnacle of his art.

Tom Hanks should consider journalism as a side job if his films start tanking all of a sudden.

Is this progress??

I came to this country on Korean Air.
I leave on British Air..
Have I progressed???

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Quote of the Day

"If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed and color, we would find some other cause for prejudice by noon."
                                                                                    - George Aiken

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Re: Google on MS Word

This could be an Office 2000 version issue. I checked at work on Office 2003. No spell error. Home comp has 2000. Guess the issue is solved.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tell me if this happens on your computer

Open Microsoft Word. Type Google. Press Enter.
Does it give you a spell error too? I thought googling was an accepted phrase in the English language.
Or is it big bad Microsoft not acknowledging its main competitor?

The Great Firewall

In India every once in a while, you go to these parties, where after the second drink, the discussion starts as to how India needs a dictatorship to run it smooth. While Singapre is the role model, since SNG is no bigger than the Bombay-Pune belt, the discussion comes around to how a Chinese style dictatorship (of course, minus the communism) would probably work best. You hear as to how Shanghai airport would put Sahar to shame. Of course, all this with no one having either been to China, or in many cases not even meeting someone from China.

Read this article in the NYT . A wonderful insight into how China works. (On a side note, also shows how little Americans understand about other cultures.) Initially I was very disappointed that the "do-no-evil" Googlers decided to give in to the Chinese censors. But from their perspective, they have a point when they say

Even if you were still too cautious to talk about politics, the mere idea that you could publicly state your opinion about anything — the weather, the local sports scene — felt like a bit of a revolution... Google could still improve Chinese citizens' ability to learn about AIDS, environmental problems, avian flu, world markets..... (Revenue) wasn't a big part of the equation... it would be years before Google would make much if any profit in China... (Going into China) wasn't as much a business decision as a decision about getting people information. And we decided in the end that we should make this compromise."

But behind all this there is a salient feature. And it is that in China, no political opinions are allowed. There is no dissent allowed. Something is brewing among the rural class, and if suppressed, it'll be years till we find out, even with the power of the internet. When I go back to the parties starting June, I know I can say that the Chinese system is better in public and not get solitary confinement in the Andamans. I know that I can look up the Google to find out what happened during the Emergency years. I can Wikipedia the Maoist folk songs of Bihar.

I'd rather be free than rich.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake
- Rabindranath Tagore

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Things I think I think - Addendum

Oh yeah.. How could I go without saying that I will definitely, positively, absolutely miss Scrubs ? I was not thinking all that I think I guess.

Things I think I think

After the resounding success of the things I think I think post (3 comments), I think I shall make this a series. Every time I make a list of things I think I think, I shall post it.

5. More and more I find myself not being able to find connection to any cause. There is no passion for anything that is done for the greater common good. Anything from the government reservation thing, to the Aamir Khan Narmada controversy to the Indian cricket team, leaves me failing to understand what the hoopla is about. There's almost a sense that no matter what anyone does, he/she is totally helpless with the way things happen in the world. That's about it. It's bloody strange. I used to be so passionate about crap earlier. Is that called growing up?

4. Speaking of the Aamir Khan controversy. It's a completely media driven controversy. He is now an environmental activist for the Narmada Bachao Andolan, and he is being criticised for being a proponent of Coca Cola which is accused of toxic dumping somewhere in Rajasthan. Somewhere in Gujarat, there's talk of boycotting his future releases. With Narendra Modi around, there's also a possibility of him being a Khan coming up soon, trust me. There's a point to the criticism, but don't diss a guy for speaking his mind. It also brings out the problems in being a celebrity. Your life is so much in the open that you can get hit for doing something. It is creditable that Mr. Khan is speaking his mind (his barbs about the media misreporting on purpose, somehow never got the publicity it deserved. May have something to do with the fact that the media never publicised it. But read the interview on tehelka and it makes a lot of sense.) There's a reason Sachin Tendulkar keeps his mouth shut, but that's why I also criticise him. There was a time, when if he wanted, he could have brought down the Indian government. But he chose to be silent about the BCCI's way of running the game. If there's something wrong going on, and you have the power to make people listen to you, you should.

3. People have asked me very often in the last few months, what it is that I would miss in India from my stay in the US. I have thought about it long and hard. And here's what I have come up with. Comedy Central and Food Network. It all started with me trying to think what TV I would like to buy once we get back. Which brought me to the point of what it is that I would watch once we buy whatever TV we buy. Which led me to think what it is that I watch here. In short, I have come to the conclusion that I don't need a TV in India. If there's something in India that is underway to get these two things on the tube there, count me in for any help you need. That way, I can buy a TV.

2. I don't mean to say in any way that the Christian religion is the best in the world. But, would the Da Vinci Code have become a literary behemoth, published 40 million copies in 44 languages with a whole industry of debunking books, and a movie with Tom Hanks, had it been blasphemous to any other religion? Poor Salman Rushdie must be wondering if he should have named the dog Jesus instead.

1. I read Peter King's article that has inspired this series, and I find that he counts up (1 to 10) rather than down, which is what I do. I guess since he is in the business of selling his article, he needs to come up with the important points at the start itself. I need my "audience" to read till the bloody end!! I think to be a popular blogger you need to have radical views of some kind. As of typing this article, my blog had 497 visits to it. Most of them, I bet have been through me republishing the post after editing. (and I started my counter at 300!!)

Out of Touch? Who, us?

For a bunch of supposed old hags, they have quite a cool website

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Rajeev Goswami.

Two words bring out the terror time of Diwali 1989. During the furore against the Mandal Commission reservation clauses, Rajeev Goswami gained his 15 minutes of fame, giving the English language a new phrase: self-immolation. We also came to know that reservation doesn't apply only to movie and travel tickets. Wasn't the main cause, but the whole episode did play a part in V.P. Singh losing his premiership. The guys that led the outrage that led to V.P. Singh's resignation were the Congress. Now, the Indian government led by the same Congressmen has announced another round of reservations. There are some murmurs, some emails / blogs doing the rounds. Like all chain mails, I keep getting the emails every thid day. But there's a major difference.

There's no Rajeev Goswami this time around. The outrage is nowhere near the same. I bet kids don't even know who Rajeev Goswami is. I searched the internet, and there's no mention of what happened to RG after his immolation. I know he survived. I have a few words for those protesting.


Personally, I am against reservation of any sort. I was mighty pissed when I got into a slightly worse college, when someone with a lower percentage got through to COEP, all because he had a caste certificate. Had this been 1996, I would have been actively protesting this ruling. But, for some reason, I have no problems with this government decision. Purely selfish reasons, but it's true. For one, in the last 10 years, I have learnt a lot.

It hardly matters which school you attend. Your seats may be reserved, but you still have to clear the exams. No one gets a job opportunity for attending a college. You get it for the degree you get out of there. One that you have to spend night and day studying, becoming a nerd, losing out all social etiquette, getting a talking frog for a girlfriend (yeah, Meghna, it was a good one). Even if someone has a seat he/she has got through non-merit, they still have to study equally hard as the rest of us to clear. And if they DO clear, don't they deserve to be in the school? The rich kids do not need the opportunities as much as the middle class and the poor. If the reservation gets a few kids the chances that rich kids don't need anyway, what's wrong with it? Simply reservation doesn't guarantee success though. God (or Arjun Singh) may give you the opportunity. But it's your responsibility to make the most of it.

I think we all can agree to that.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Answer of the day

I guess this answers the question of the day.

You never stop learning.

We've just spent our long weekend with my cousin and her family. She has 7 month old twins. 7 month old twins that taught me a great lesson.

The kids love being held. You leave them on their play mat, they'll keep playing. Till that is, they see someone standing. Once that happens, they will start bawling. That goes on till someone picks them up. They know that they have to be patient till someone gives in. In the mall, we saw that we were not the only ones suffering from this game of cat and mouse. All the adults gave in eventually. Somewhere down the line, as we grow up, we've lost our ability to keep calm when there's chaos all around.

7 month olds can teach us something.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

You call this fair?

Life is not fair. I don't complain when someone talks of amnesty for illegal aliens when there's millions of H1's (who came here legally, work legally and pay their taxes) waiting for their Green Card.

But when I spend a heck of a lot of my dad's hard earned money and go to Stanford, but this "so and so" makes the cover of Time for dropping out of high school, you know there's something wrong somewhere.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Question of the Day

Did Scary Movie make enough money to warrant one sequel, let alone 3?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Brokeback Redemption?

Another from my GHOR KALYUG series. Notice the "QUICKVOTE". Hilarious.

So I guess prisoners are safe to "drop the soap"!!!

P.S. - Sorry for the lame title to this post. But my only reference to a prison setting is the Shawshank!!

When is a war a civil war?

How does one define a conflict? Is the sectarian violence going on in Iraq, a "high level of slaughter " or a " civil war"? Which of the two is more acceptable? Is it not a civil war if one of the parties is not Iraqi? Does it even matter to the 1313 Iraqi civilians who have been officially killed? Or has it become a mere statistic to the Americans and the Brits? 1313? That's ridiculous. There are more people killed in the US out of gun violece.

To get an Iraqi perspective this article is a good one. Surprisingly not many of the responses take the Americans as liberators.

Picture of the day

Saturday, April 08, 2006

10 things I think I think

10. I know I stole this title from Peter King at Sports Illustrated - Monday Morning Quarterback. I am not a huge football fan, but I read his articles whenever I can. He is funny and a lot of his writings make sense. And it's not just about the NFL. Most importantly, I can catch up on what happened on the HBO shows on Sundays. Basic Cable in Bettendorf. So you can call this more like a homage to Mr. King.

9. The Indian cricket team is funny. The same team that cannot bat for a day on a fruitcake of a pitch shows enough life to win from non-sensical situations in one dayers. Is it confidence or just luck, I dunno. I remember in the days when we had the best batting line up in the world (Sachin, Ganguly, Dravid, Azhar, Jadeja) we couldn't chase to save our lives. Now we have a world record of 15 successful consecutive chases. Though, personally I think we should also give credit to the fielding / bowling sides. In 12 of the last 25 games, they have restricted the opposition to below 250 runs. A couple of occasions the have given between 250 and 260. In a world where a 400+ is not safe, getting team to score at 5 an over or thereabouts is amazing.

Could it also have to do something with the fact that we have not played the Aussies for a while? The ICC knockout tourney is Sept. is gonna be fun.

8. There's no good movie coming out right now. Hindi or English. Call it the lull before the storm. I am waiting for the Da Vinci Code eagerly. Was planning on watching it the day it came out, but I shall be flying back from Detroit that day. So may be the next day. If it is not banned in Bettendorf by then. I know almost certainly that it will be banned in India. So, Bettendorf, IA is my only hope. There's another movie I might be interested in. American Dreamz. The premise sounds interesting. More people voting for the American Idol than for the president. But I think it will be boring. So I am wondering if I should even watch it. Of course, there's Nachos Libre which will be out by the time I am in India, so I might forget. Jack Black, makers of Napoleon Dynamite, July 4th weekend - Should be a wonderful time. I really don't know much of the scene in the Hindi movie world. I hear there's an Aamir Khan movie coming out. Should be good, I guess. Though I am in a Dharam-Sankat. It's a Yash Chopra movie!!! I see all of Aamir's movies, but never watch a Yash Chopra movie, as long as I don't have a gun to my head and have to choose between swimming and watching the movie (I can't swim). So I might have to be creative about this.

7. Comedy Central is slowly changing into the conscience of America. There, I said it. Though I think personally they should separate from Viacom. That's only going to stifle their creativity. But in an age where public image is so important to some, they are going head on to point out the deficiencies in the system. The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Mind of Mencia and South Park. Watch them without fail. They seem to reflect modern day US more than the Today show or the evening News. Much as I hate to say it, I also enjoy the Food Network. Maybe I am getting domesticated!! These are the only two channels I watch without interruption. That and Scrubs on NBC. If you do nothing else, watch Scrubs.

6. I don't miss Los Angeles as much as I though I would. Life in Bettendorf now has a routine attached to it. I have family near by. We speak/chat with the friends in L.A. over IM/phone. That's no different from what it was in L.A. It's just the weekend meetings that are not done any more.

5. I prefer Firefox to IE. My wife prefers IE to Firefox. Is there a way to decide this? I don't know.

4. Isn't it strange that no religion says you should kill your fellow human beings, but all violence is in the name of God? Isn't it also strange that of all the religions in the world, the newest one was started in 622 A.D.? Shouldn't we let our faiths and beliefs adjust to the realities of life in the 21st century? Is it a reflection of our crazy times that most popular of the new religions we can come up with is Scientology? Can't we have a new religion where things are NOT taboo?

3. It takes a long time to come up with 10 things that are on my mind. Is it an indication that I am at peace and don't have too many things bugging me? Or is that I cannot sustain my thoughts long enough to write an article on it?

2. For all the hullaballoo over English taking over from vernacular languages in India, I think the quality of English is getting worse. Try reading the rediff chat boards if you don't know what I mean. This is one of my most pet peeves. There seems to be a universal acceptance of SMS / IM terminology in email. How tough is it to type "you"? Why does one have to write it as "u"? Are we so impersonal now that we can't give you the respect you deserve? When did "come" become "cum"?? Call me old fashioned but "whn cn i cum in ur hse" meant a totally different thing about 5 years ago. How tough is it type a few extra letters and speak whatever language you speak correctly? At least if English is to be our language of choice, let's at least make correct English our language.

1. It is humbling to think that I am a grown up. There are times when I would prefer remaining a kid, but the more I think of it, even 5 years ago, it was unthinkable that I would be paying bills, making plans to buy property of my own. Heck, even what I earn now was totally in the realms of dreamland. The more I think of it, I'd rather live life as a grown up. It has it's downsides, but the journey's been fun. The responsibilities are challenging, but I'd rather not have it any other way.

Friendly folks everywhere; humble folks without temptation

So the stage is set.

America has its head in the sand. The writers at the Family Guy insist they will show the prophet Mohammed in their cartoon. Cartman hates the Family Guy because it is not as funny. POTUS is incapable of saving the country from violence that will erupt next week.

That strange intro is for next week's episode of South Park. I was not a huge follower of the kids in South Park, but the Scientology issue got me interested, and have been following them for the last 3 weeks. They go after every thing sacred in the world, and that's great to see. Funny thing is before this prophet - cartoon controversy, South Park had already shown the Prophet a couple of years ago, and no one said anything. I would think Viacom - the company that owns Comedy Central - would be very hesitant to show something like this. The suits at Viacom should have known what they were dealing with here. But this also shows the genius of Matt & Trey.

What do I mean? What do they have to lose? South Park is watched by only a select few who are addicted to Comedy Central. Bringing curiosity to the show, will only bring more audience. People who get offended easily, will get offended anyway. They were burning American flags in the Arab world for "crimes" in Denmark. If no one cares about the episode and everything goes smooth, they have gone on record that the Family Guy is a crappy show! I can't help but marvel at the ability of the guys to kill so many birds with one stone. Family Guy, Arab intolerance, American indifference, free speech and the First Amendment.

Now the question is this:


Friday, April 07, 2006

He's got a point

I remember there was a simple mention somewhere that this document existed. Maybe it was the Da Vinci Code. But the more I read this story, the more I find it intriguing.

Funnily enough, it almost sounds like Mr. Iscariot speaking on Larry King Live. But, if you think of it, I would think that since Christianity is based on Christ's suffering on our behalf, Judas should have been revered. Had he not ditched the Son of God, I would have gone to a Marathi-medium school!!! Especially, since Jesus was into forgiving and all that, I'd think his followers should do the same with Judas.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Culture? What culture?

What determines culture? Or more importantly, who gives anyone the right to decide what culture is?

Case in point. The Malaysian government . A couple of days ago, we had the case where the Maharashtra government has initiated a probe into the fallen halter-top of some fashion model on the ramp. Day in day out, you see some 3rd world country going ballistic about the corruption of their culture. We have seen the Valentine's Day bans in India (I didn't hear too much of noise this year. Wonder what happened? Did every one get scared). Personally I feel the hullaballoo on Feb 14th is over hyped, but heck, if someone wants to celebrate, what do I care?

Returns to the same point as always, are the leaders so insecure about their capability to lead that they need to scare the shit out of those that follow them?

Well, come to think of it, that's not just a third world domain!!!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Life, or something like it

"There's a tornado watch for Illinois and Iowa. You'd better take care. Why don't you leave tomorrow instead?". Those were the first words I heard Sunday morning.

We drove regardless. There was a heck of a lot of rain. But the tornadoes did not strike till we reached home safe. Was it foolish of us to risk it? Or was it the confidence in myself that I could safely wade through anything that Mother Nature would throw at me?

Did Sid have the same confidence the day he woke up for the last time?