I Rant, I Think

Bloggability

the resolve to write often has progressively deteriorated and i stand now with neither the words nor the inspiration. the mental restriction i had set up to posting was – write if the thought/idea/experience is original.. who am i kidding.. plagiarized in a original fashion or if the topic deserves commentary and if it adds value(the minimum being the pleasure of just reading the blog), in boolean logic terms – (originality || deserves mention) && value. now, it seems, topics that deserve to be written about have already been written about, the ones that havent, havent reached my ears yet. as for original thought, the only original ones in my possession are personal experiences, which as the saying goes, are unique, just like everyone else’s. the web is already clogged up with a myriad accounts of such experiences and another one will just add muck to the ‘internet tubes’. even when i have narrowed on the topic, its value quotient has been the reason many a draft has gone down the drain. i will call this problem as the ‘breaking from the common’ problem. in effect, all i want this blog is to be unique(just like every other blogger would want) but find it failing.
so… here is a question to you. what makes your blog different? how do you decide on the bloggability of a post? do you ask what value you are adding to the reader? or is it just mindless drivel?

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I Rant

Pub Culture

With valentine’s day just a couple of weeks away, it looks like we are in for a lot more “Cultural Cleansing” by the custodians of hindu culture, the Ram Sena, the Shiv Sena, the ” fill in a god’s name here” sena. Is it just coincidence that all these senas are named after a male god , or am I reading too much into the naming of the senas? In case you are wondering what i am talking about, it is the ugly incident involving hindu extremists beating up the hot chicks they could never get to date at a Mangalore pub. The funny thing about the incident was the statement by the chief of the taliban-in-the-making-ram sena saying the girls were like his sisters.

Now I have said before in this blog that I am just as big a hypocrite as you are, I am not proud of it, but that to me has a connection to this problem. If I were to ask you “Do you think women should dress in whatever way they feel comfortable?”, you would probably say yes(if you dont, you should see a psychiatrist). But if I asked you “Does it not bother you that all these women are roaming around in skimpy clothing?”, I can almost hear you say “Ha! no, it doesnt bother me”, then I say, “hey who’s that? isnt that you little sister in that ….(fill in the name of that revealing dress, i am no good in fashion)? Awesome cleavage dude.. If only she would bend a little… ” If you dont get pissed off at this, get off my blog you filthy scumbag. If you say you dont have a sister, let me rephrase that question with your mom. Funny that I remember this cartoon strip where a kid beats up his class mate and says “You take that back, my mother is so virgin…”. We are ok with women ‘expressing’ themselves as long as they are not in the family.

What the hell does this have to do with thugs beating up pub goers? Well, there seem to be an awful lot of people in this country who dont know if what the sena boys have done is right or wrong. “Clearly, what they did is not right(aah! it isĀ  ‘not right’ and not ‘wrong’), but the girls got what they deserved, what business did the girls have in a pub, its the middle of the day for god’s sake”. You may not subscribe to this view, but that is what is in the minds of so many people, I know it is pathetic, wish I could help. If you dont believe me, ask karnataka cm, he reckons the thugs crossed the line, but also added that this “pub culture” will not be tolerated.

Of course, this ambivalence is just one of the problems, the others are a) greater educational divide and b) prohibiting boys and girls from getting together.

When I say educational divide, I am not implying that the pub goers are in any way more educated than the hooligans who attacked them, what i intend is that the members of the sena lack the ability to question the hearsay data about hindu culture, and the ability to analyze the pros and cons of launching such an attack, and the ability to reason whether it is a good thing to spend your time and energy on when compared to normal people.

The other is a problem as big as any other problem our society is facing. If you havent experienced it, you are lucky. When will people learn that prohibiting something will only make us want it more. Curiosity is in our genes. The more you stop boys and girls from being together, you will see more jealous guys beating the hell out of the ones who got lucky. Grow up people, not every guy and girl who hang around are going to engage in fornication.

Finally, no rant of mine is complete without bashing the media. The media seems to have been invited for a front row premiere of the show. I understand it is their job to be present at the scene, but is it not their duty to inform the law enforcement agencies if they have prior information about such incidents. Nobody can question them because ironically, the only people who can raise such questions is the media. That’s some catch, catch 22 i say. Here are some anti-media blog links I enjoyed reading today, special thanks to @vivekn for the links.

http://shripriya.com/blog/2009/01/28/shame-on-ndtv-and-barkha-dutt/

http://2x3x7.blogspot.com/2009/01/further-adventures-of-hark-dabutt.html

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I Rant

Hyderabad

Had been to Hyderabad a couple of weeks back. I always tend to underestimate the power of human stupidity and time and again learn my lesson. When it comes to road sense, I thought Chennai held the record for having the least of it, as it happens with records, it was completely shattered by Hyderabad. If I were to plot a bar graph with city on the x-axis and quantified lawlessness along the y, the bar for Hyderabad would break into the 3rd dimension of the 2D graph, zoom past the 5th, would look completely bored surfing through the 8th before finally settling in the 14th dimension, infinity will be awestruck by it like a 14 yr old looking at a 48D for the first time, big bang will look like a vengaya vedi before it… you get the point.
It is not just the motorists, the pedestrians of Hyderabad must be the result of bad genetic experiments aimed at cross breeding humans with zombies. They zombie walk their way onto the road and any human semblance shows up only to yell and scream when some motorist knocks them over.

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I Rant

Money Matters

I was never designed to understand inflation. Seriously. Yes, the theoretical part is all fine and makes sense. But something has been hardcoded in my DNA, that doesnt accept inflation. When my granddad was alive, the whole family would attend some kalyaanam or kaadhukuthu, fully kattify and give 51 bucks as the moi. 51 bucks, that’s it. No fancy gifts. No gift cheques. And people seemed happy with it. Even if they weren’t nobody complained. But today, 51 bucks is downright cheap. Even travelling to such an event costs more than that. Still, somewhere in my brain an utterly stupid question keeps popping up ‘what the hell is wrong with 51 bucks? your presence is more important than what you give…’ and so on.

Just as inflation is alien to me, so is the amount of money people make these days. I had never dreamed realistically(yes, there are realistic dreams like bathing in a bath tub and just plain dreams like ‘I wanna be an astronaut.. yippee’) of making what i make today, but here’s the surprise, what I make today is just about the money many people spend in KFC or McDonalds or Barista. I think these are the people who will frown when you give 51 bucks at some function they are hosting. No this is not just some rich guy poor guy divide talk. It is partially that, but its more to do with how reckless we are with money.

Yesterday, there was a discussion about the pros and cons of the iPhone in internal blogs at my workplace. There was an anonymous comment speaking for the iPhone which went like ‘Paying 36100 bucks for the iPhone was worth every penny..’ or something like that. That was where I stopped reading. I know this amounts to not just the phone, but also the plan and so on.. blah blah blah et cetara et cetara. But still that was about one and a half times the money my family made not so long ago(4 years ago to be exact) ‘annually’, that money fed a family of 4 for 18 freaking months. And today, it is the money well spent on a freaking phone. I am not immune to such nauseous spending, back in college I made an unreasonable demand for a PC to my dad, who finally gave in to my cajoling/threats and wasted 26k. Today, i realise it was a major chunk of his life time savings. What a nasty little wart I was.. I still am. After starting to work, I spent 10k on my sony ericson phone. But sometimes, obnoxious statements like the ‘36100 bucks’ reminds you of the past, hits you with the sense of how much indiscreet we have become with money. Tomorrow, if I were to hit some jackpot, remind me of this post and ask me what I am doing with all the money. And if I were to make such obnoxious statements, I hereby give you the right to smack right across my face.

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I Rant, Silly

The mumbai terror attack

I dont want to talk sensibly about this, because that will be a colossal waste of my ’emotional energy'(I nicked that phrase from Nandan Nilekani, maybe some other day I will discuss that). There you go, with that said, let me go on with my rant, a lot of it may not make sense.

The whole thing reflects the abysmal failure of our ‘intelligence’. ‘Intelligence’ is pretty much an oxymoron in this case, and people associated with it are just morons.

I watched the events mostly on NDTV. NDTV keeps talking about this anger among Indians… a lot of blah stuff. Strangely, I dont feel that connected with this ‘terror attack’. Not as much as I felt after the train blast or even the delhi blasts. That was an attack that I could relate to. Sure, the whole taj episode was fun to watch on live television. Frankly, an attack on taj or oberoi means as much to me as the attack on world trade center. Its more like some snobbish rich arse with enough money to buy an island off puerto rico got their snooty arses busted. Sure these structures are important icons, and blowing up a building to symbolise your anger is great for a movie like V for Vendetta, but frankly, the common man brushes aside this attack and moves on. I mean who gives a damn about wasabi or wasavi or suzuki (the japanese restaurant in taj) getting demolished, there are people who are hardly able to put indian food on their plates. And the common man that I mention is the generalisation of my surroundings. I wouldnt be surprised if a villager thought that the train attacks wasnt a big deal, because he faces far difficult problems in his everyday life. But the feeling I get is that 90% of the country wouldnt be disturbed by this attack(just as you and I arent bothered about what happens in the north-east). The only people who really make a big deal out of this are the media and the politicians and some of the snooty arses like Shoba De who thinks she represents the entire country and people like amitabh bachchan (who has written on his blog that he is sleeping with a gun under his pillow).

NDTV, through all this episode has tried real hard to come out as some sort of moral authority, patronising the work done by the politicians on one hand and glorifying the people killed during the attacks. What karkare, salaskar did was brave but it did look stupid if you think about it. Trying to fight terrorists carrying grenades and automatic weapons with nothing more than a pistol is something only Vijayakanth should try, others who try this will look just plain stupid or dead or as in this case both. Oooh.. i spoke ill of the dead. As for the others who died in combat, i really shed tears for the sacrifice they have done.

Coming back to NDTV, some of the reporting was pathetic. Yes, it is a national disaster, but there are other things to be reported. For example, there have been devastating floods in chennai, not a word has been reported about it till now. No emergency helplines, no details about deaths and destruction here, come on this is also part of India. I have been disappointed with senior journalists like Barkha, she was running around the taj like a 18 year old first time reporter who got five minutes to fame on national television. Explaining for five minutes that the curtains were used as makeshift ladders to bring people down.. meh.. that’s like telling a room full of math graduates that in number theory 1 plus 1 equals 2. Look at this video…

What is she trying to explain, is she trying to get the viewers emotionally wound up? Pathetic.

There was also some rubbish about where is Raj Thackeray during all this. This was pretty lame in the context of things. People asking this do not understand this country. Again these are people(basically comparing apples and oranges) who do not connect with the issues that Raj has taken up on behalf of people who ‘think’ they face these issues.(For the record, I dont endorse Raj’s views, I think he is a pig.)

All this will be forgotten as only things get forgotten in India. A couple of months from now, there will be arrests of a couple of muslims who had sympathised with the terrorists and aided them. A year from now, there will be memorial services remembering the dead(there will be a ‘we the people’ episode on this and i will be watching it). A couple of years later the supreme court will declare death sentence for the guy who was caught and the others who helped him. Four years later, a mercy plea will be submitted to the president. Some party hoping to secure muslim vote will delay their hanging. Oh and people will continue their usual existence. Quite frankly, the changes that will make this country a safer place will be too much of a trouble, will not be acceptable to every part of the society, and nobody will care.

On a personal level, the only positive about this incident is that it casts light on the fragility of life. Death is the shadow constantly tagging us, and it only takes a second for it to conquer you. You cannot avoid it. If death was to happen to you this instant, would you accept it with a feeling of having lived a wonderful life till now or would you feel stupid for having wasted your time worrying about the economy and sensex plumetting 12000 points?

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I Rant

Being Normal

Disclaimer: This might be one of the most self-indulgent posts[sic]. Go away now, if you hate that kinda stuff.

Have you ever felt lonely? I bet it isnt anywhere close to how I feel. Being a loner is a significant part of my character, it may not be a rational choice, but it is a conscious choice. Or is it? Coming to think of it, I was essentially left with just one choice, and when there is only one choice, it is incorrect to call it choice. It all stems from the fact that I can hardly find a topic for conversation that is mutually interesting, and talking seems to be a very essential part of socializing. Sigh.

Being a loner is fun as long as you dont realise you are alone. There is this occasional moment where you feel you are missing stuff, but one gets used to it. The weekend is just about to begin, and all that I have to look forward to is work. Dont get me wrong, I enjoy my work, but as much as I enjoy it, i cant help the feeling I am missing on other usual stuff.

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I Rant, Silly

Frustrated.

Disclaimer: Rant Ahead.

One of my favourite pastime is playing table tennis. If there is one thing that I can claim to be at the top, it is table tennis, and by top I mean as in top of the normal bell curve. Anyway, this half hour pastime is precious to me, it is the only exercise that I do.

Most of the time, we have too many players waiting to play at the table, and invariably we end up playing doubles game. To me, the game is most interesting when played between players who are equally good/bad. The worst possible game is one which involves a noob. It can be a torture. Slow. Painful. Torture.

Today we had a noob at the table. It is a fair and free world, everyone has the right to play. Agreed. The noob played, the correct word would be ‘ballet danced’ around the table. It happens, I was a noob once. I dont have any problem with noobs playing.

But wanting to play a second game when all you did in your first was skate around the table, how fair is it? The biggest problem with people is them trying to be nice. The unwritten rules of conduct which binds people in a professional setup is the biggest form of bull shit. Nobody protested against the noob wanting to play the second game. I ended up playing a crappy game. One good thing I did was end it soon. I played to lose. I dint protract the game by lobbing the ball so that the noob can lob it back again and give ourselves the illusion of playing a rally. I think my partner wouldnt have been happy with losing to a noob, but come on, people were waiting to actually play the game, Naalu berukkku nalladhu nadakkuduna, edhuvume tappilla.

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