Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Inspiration for Ghajini

Wednesday, December 10, 2008 4
Aamir Khan was always thought of as a perfectionist. A thinking actor. During his earlier days, he took up roles in movies such as Hum hain rahi pyar ke, where he plays a responsible single parent and Sarfarosh where his Indian nationalist supercedes everything else (yes the one hit wonder of John Matthew Mattan who recently came out with his second movie Shikhar). Sure there was a Baazi too somewhere in between where he got to experience what it felt like to dress like a woman, but well it was all in good spirit.

All in all, with him it was more about articulation rather than flaunting his naked body.

And then came Lagaan. Well one could argue that since he was playing a poor farmer and living in a land which received direct sunshine for over 300 days a year, the role demanded it from him.

Probably even for Mangal Pandey or as I like to call it: Retro Alpha Male, one could again use some sort of reasoning to justify this:



This is in accordance with the fit yet not overly masculine AK that we have known throughout the ages. Either ways, the real Mangal Pandey wasn't known to have a smashing bod either. So alls still well.

But then he does this:
Now, is it just me or does this look similar to another fine fellow with a well chiseled body:



This puts in league with the Grawp whose graphical impression was inspirated by Alfred Neuman.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Real deal behind 49-O

Sunday, December 07, 2008 1

When I typed in 49-O in my search browser I simply couldn’t locate the Indian government website, because it was overshadowed by a thousands of blog posts, forum debates, discussing the impact of 49-O on our electoral and democratic system. And they all seemed to say that it was something to do an Act passed on in 1969.

An email has being doing the rounds, even more so after the Mumbai blasts claiming that the citizens can invoke article 49-O through which they can tick "no vote" on the ballot. 

But here's the strange part: there’s nothing about elections in the 1969 Amendment Act. What the masses are referring to is in fact “Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961” document. And here’s what it says: (from the Indian Government’s Website)

49-O. Elector deciding not to vote.-If an elector, after his electoral roll number has been duly entered in the register of voters in Form-17A and has put his signature or thumb impression thereon as required under sub-rule (1) of rule 49L, decided not to record his vote, a remark to this effect shall be made against the said entry in Form 17A by the presiding officer and the signature or thumb impression of the elector shall be obtained against such remark.

DNA also carried a news item a couple of days ago where they gave us the low down on the whole affair. According to the article

Retired high court judge, Hosbet Suresh, says, “We have discussed negative voting a number of times during our meets, and even put forth a proposal for the same, but it’s yet to be put into action.”

This means two things:

1) You have to reveal your identity. Because once you decide not to vote you will have to sign next to your name claiming so. Now this is ok, a lot of us are agitated and wouldn’t mind revealing our identity even if it goes against the spirit of the secret ballot (but in this case it’s a special situation since you aren’t really “casting” a vote, you’re refraining to do so).  

However the second thing it also means is that:

2) There will be no re-polls.

The result will remain the same, the guy who gets the highest number of votes wins. Which also means that even if the majority of the nation feels that amongst the candidates standing none of them fits the bill and none would do justice to the nation as the next PM, theres no rule (as of now) which will ensure re-polling.  

Apparently this mail has been doing the rounds for the last 2 years urging people to “take the initiative” to “change” the nation.

The guy who drafted the email; and I’m sure his heart is in the right pace, just became the initiator of a hoax and putting this mail in the same league as that of Jessica, the cute little girl who has been suffering from leukemia AND has been 10 ten years old for the last 9 years.

People tend to follow the masses and go with the flow. So as of now, refusing to cast a vote for any of the candidates (meaning voting for none of the above) and not getting out of your bed on the day of voting means the exact same thing.

Or maybe not, maybe if a substantial percentage of the registered voters opt for "none" we can show the nation what the nation really seeks and send a message across. (thanks @Pranav for the last paragraph

Friday, December 05, 2008

Grassroutes: My plans for this winter

Friday, December 05, 2008 0

My original plan for this winter was to look for a brief internship and invest all my time in it and gain some valuable experience, preferably in the field of social media. I was almost certain about my plans this winter but that’s when I got to know about Grassroutes. 

So what is Grassroutes?

Grassroutes Fellowship Program sponsors teams of adventurous, passionate young people on their road-trips to discover change-makers at the grassroots and understand first-hand the problems that plague our nation. From their journeys, these social journalists will bring back stories of ideas, inspiration and change, that we believe, will get the rest of us thinking of ways in which we can do our bit.
At first glance the fellowship seemed fun and had a certain RDB-esque feel to it, to break free from the shackles of the routine that we’re so used to and just DO something. Grassroutes seemed like just the thing. But as the deadline approached and the more I thought about it, the more I realised that apart from whatever personal gains my team and I might derive out of the fellowship, we have a responsibility to document everything we see and experience, to support the cause that the NGO concerned is fighting for.
 
We have been mapped to environmentalists in the Nilgiris who are out there to preserve the landscape and wildlife of the Mudhumalai forests. Check this link to learn more about the issue concerned.

As part of the fellowship we will be making a documentary (a social activist's roadies? Nah), compiling reports and writing tons of articles about the same after spending 10 days on the road and absorbing all that we gather along the way.
 
Will be come out of this trip as more responsible citizens and bloggers with lesser typos, probably not. But will we give this documentary our best shot (and obviously excel at it) and help spread the word to thousands of people out there, you can count on thatfor sure.
With Grassroutes I am so confident (overconfident?!) that I will have so many stories to tell. 

Only recently did we find out that we’re off to down south for our road trip. More about that later in subsequent posts.

Follow our pursuits on
Twitter: @Hungryfools

As a parting note for this blog post, a person whom I really admire told me, “In fact, you’re living many people’s dream”.
Here's a team snapshot, I'm the fat guy.

Cupcake conversations

The other day I was having a conversation with a gentleman. I told him that I felt the safest in Pilani since every other place in India; urban or suburban is a potential target. He asked me if the monumental increase in terrorist activity over the years made me want to reconsider India as my home and move base to America upon graduation. I retorted saying that Pilani was probably safer than any place in the US right now. The drug lords that once ruled the sands have had their age catch up with them but despite that I think Pilani is peaceful and serene.

Since migration is nothing new for a Kashmiri who have plenty of experience in this domain, he was expecting me to give him a nod and so my obscure reasoning might have raised his eyebrows. However, I quickly changed the topic to why I felt it also made good economic sense to stay in India, giving him the low down on how our economy will stabilize sooner than other nations. So if it was imperative for me to move camp, I’d rather shift to China (since their economy is also doing well). He told me how on his recent visit to China he observed that the people there were extremely hard-working. Agreeing with him on that point I also chipped in another interesting yet peculiar observation; the lack of hair on their body.

At this juncture I urge you to take a moment and try to remember when was the last time you saw an oriental man sporting a beard, or for that matter a chinkey girl having hair on her legs, and no they don’t wax their legs (thus saving them thousands of yuans throughout their lifespan and increasing their propensity to save); their follicles just don’t produce enough hair.

This prompted him to change the topic of our conversation to his next international visit; to Pakistan, which he recently cancelled. Having been to Pakistan several times, he disclosed that even though the people have been extremely kind to him the times just weren’t suited for such a visit. Probably his numerous visits to the land would invoke suspicion from the Indian Government and spur off an investigation. Alternatively he also believed that its only matter of time before India launches an attack on Pakistan, in which case he would be detained and made a POW.

Upon me telling him that, if such a situation were to ever arise, international groups such as Amnesty International would come to his rescue, he scoffed saying that his head would’ve been smashed to pulp by the butt of a Kalashnikov by the time any action was taken.   

  

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Showing the love

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 2
Please light a candle to show your support for the innocent and brave souls who gave their life away. Or if you happen to possess a weblog or two, please change its template to something white. Or perhaps, wear a white shirt for an hour to show that you care. And in the meantime, sign the petition to stop terrorism as well as an open letter. If we collect a billion signatures, we will show to the terrorists that they have not harmed us. Divided we fall; true, but we are anything but divided. We want to show to the terrorists through our peace marches and our open letters that they have wasted their effort in attacking us.

So what if they continue to attack one part after another.

Let us tweet about it, showing how frustrated we are, let us have the marches and maybe even an anti terrorism beerfest (after all isn't it about staying united and the media attention here? Promoting the fact that we're united even during terror strikes repeadtedly).

Aditya puts it rather succintly here on Patrix's blog
All that these people want is to get a sense of satisfaction about having done something post-attacks however useless the activity might be.

                                                                                
                                                                                  ***
But then looking back, I ask myself. Don't we all want to feel responsible about it and do something? So what if its a tweet up? The final act of communiating out our thoughts isn't lost is it? So what if we're buying a million candles (and this way also increasing the revenue of the wax industry)?

Look, at the end of the day we all need a reason. Many of us do not know how to contribute to this situation. One reason might be because most of us have never experienced it. Being a Kashmiri, I still don't know about the perils and fear my people have faced. Sure I have heard of it, but have never felt it. 

Last summer I was involved in a startup called YoFa. At that time it's motto was Think, Speak, Do. It was about Youth Activism. However, it never specified how much of each should be done. That was left to the person concerned. Similarly, maybe some people want to show their activism through speaking a lot, hence the tweeting, facebooking, endless blogging, some want to think, and some want to do.  

But then there is a fourth activity which was never mentioned in YoFa but which has a role to play. And that's "follow". There are many amongst us, who will move on (or already have) and who have absolutely no idea about how to contribute. So we Retweet, we share links and quote others and so on. And I don't think this wrong. I remember someone once telling me, "if you don't know what to do, follow the crowd". And barring few situations, it hold true. It certainly holds true in this case.

I guess this is what most of the people who go on these candle marches and wear those white shirts also believe in. But as long as it isn't harming anyone, let each one do his own.

Sure if you WANT to go ahead and urge the politicians and ask them to step down, do that as well. 

P.S: YoFa has now transformed into something cooler. They now send people on 10 day road trips to NGOs and become agents of social change. Check their latest initiative Grassroutes

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mumbai Blasts: Lateral thinking

Saturday, November 29, 2008 1
“Its time we stop being a secular nation!” my friend opined as we were sipping on some lemon sherbet. “There are far too many Islamist nations out there, so it’s not like they won’t find a home. Just drive these bastards out”

I was a bit shocked at his statement. Not knowing whether this was his attempt at black humour or if he actually believed in the segregation, I told him that a substantial portion of the civilians killed were in fact Muslims (You can check the entire list here), Indians.

My friend’s statement is one of the million opinions that the people of the nation have expressed after the Mumbai blasts which have, and it’s rather mildly put, devastated the nation.

“We must fight back” is the natural response to these attacks, but how? Will catching hold of these terrorists and then executing them on camera work? Probably this way tell the whole world that we will not take to terrorism lightly and can be brutal when the need arises. Or maybe this way give the terrorism the much needed media attention that they have been wanting and establish them as martyrs on the other side of our border.

Collaborating with Pakistan on combating terrorism is another line of thought. As this article points out:

If Pakistan truly wishes to turn back the tide of fundamentalism in its country, and stop exporting violence overseas, then it must have proper support and assistance from India.

Somehow it seems a little late for this. It’s been a while & they don’t really seem to be doing anything about it, as more and more cities are being attacked by the terrorist groups. These groups I am sure must have also appointed a creative lead for providing them with innovative names for their outfit (Deccan, seriously?).

I am also deeply worried by the level of infiltration that might exist in our organisations. It’s probably something that has not received enough media attention but I do believe that a lot of people on the inside are involved. Fake IDS, plans of buildings, secret information, access codes. I doubt if the terrorist intelligence are that good to do it all on their own. Mumbai Underground might have had a role to play too.

Other news items include the whole nation calling Raj Thackeray a eunuch who excretes from his mouth and that pretty much sums up his existence. The MNS has done nothing to help the situation in Mumbai and watched with their heads bowed as their city got molested in front of their eyes for three days. 

As a parting note: We should have been smarter. We should have picked up the hints right away. And where were the hints? In this article which no one bothered to take seriously.
Pakistan is as safe a country as India and we had even promised state level security for the Australians and other teams. This incident only shows the double standards of Australian cricket, 
-Shafqat Naghmi, chief operating officer of the PCB told fumed. 

Clearly unmistakable. :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

GTA Mumbai

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Sometime around midnight as I log on to twitter, I am bombarded with repeated tweets quoting stats and posting links.

Mumbai was under attack.

Media people are saying that this time the target were the elite and the foreigners. In reality, no one was spared. The terrorist which claim to belong to the Deccan Mujahideen outfit (as @Manuscrypts puts it :WTF is this? The IPL?) just stole a police van and started shooting everyone in their vicinity, and beyond.

We were flipping channels trying to see one graphic image after another. It's not really a matter of opinion here, it was pretty darn scary.

As my friend and I were discussing while sipping a hot cup of coffee at the all night canteen at my college; this is GTA Mumbai.

Additional fact: The maker of the Taj Mahal hotel committed suicide by jumping off the hotel when he found out that the hotel wasn't built in the direction he had intended it to be.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why I feel Yuvi is more attractive a cricketer then Sachin/Sehwag

Saturday, November 22, 2008 2

As far as the game is concerned,one of the main reasons why I’d rate Yuvraj as a more attractive batsman than say Sachin and Sehwag is because in essence Yuvraj is a finisher. Often, Yuvraj is the last man standing steering India to a decisive victory, saving it from the gallows by capitalizing during the slog overs. Quite the same reason why Klusener or Rhodes were considered more attractive than say Jacques Kallis or Gary Kirsten for South Africa. In the end it comes down to match winning abilities. Yuvraj drives some deliveries over cover, scoops one over long off and flicks one of point to win the match for India. I am not taking away any credit from Sachin, however he was considered rather selfish at times (at least in test cricket) by some. Maybe it were just the times, who knows. Yuvraj’s elegant stroke play, his knack of finding gaps combined with his herculean looks make him ideally suited to be admired not only in sporting circles, as well as the fan base, a substantial portion of which were women.

Another reason why Yuvraj is particularly more attractive than Sachin is because Yuvraj’s entry into the team was at a time when our team was going through a renaissance phase. A time when we proved to many that we could rise from the ashes of mediocrity. It was during this time that Yuvi rose to prominence, as a killer fielder, fielding with a sort of arrogance that made batsmen think twice before stealing a run.

Its tough to isolate our thoughts and compare how we felt about Sachin when we first saw him perform. Hence, a situation now comes to surface where Sachin is ageing and hence has lost most of his aggression and is more cautious and leading more of a hermit’s life where as Yuvraj is at his peak; scoring consecutive centuries and still spitting attitude where ever he trots.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hayden's boo boo

Sunday, November 16, 2008 1
Ah how good I felt after going through news portals last week.

What started with an angst against the passionate yet unruly Indian cricket spectators as well as the presumably lethargic Indian batsmen has now become a platform for us to showcase our achievements.

Reactions follow a typical pattern:

An introduction leading up to Hayden's comment.

The next paragraph features why Hayden's comment is factually wrong, with links to the relevant statistical data.

The third para demands that Hayden issue an apology; followed by some kinds words directed towards his mother.

Since the second paragraph would also unfailingly mention our wonderfully executed lunar mission, Hayden can give himself a pat on the back for contributing to this unique SEO method for promoting Chandrayaan-1.

Those trying to bank on satire have been dealt with severely, for example Their reaction to his post forcing him to apologize for his actions (seen in the update section of the post).

Akram is pissed and so is the BCCI. Australian Cricketer's Association has even suggested a shrink accompany the team on every tour to tackle the stress their players encounter on such tours. Though the ACA have not mentioned explicitly mentioned Hayden's name here, the implied reference should not be missed.

But then there's the other side of spectrum too. People from all walks of life are coming forward and joining Hayden's Sympathisers Anonymous (HSA). This tweet by a BBC Mastermind winner who has been identified solely by his initial J, says it all

Friday, November 14, 2008

Play Ball

Friday, November 14, 2008 0
Minutes before a friend's birthday, where he would be subjected to the vilest of rituals, my wingie Yogesh had an interesting experience to narrate.

His teacher had a very innovative method punishing them while at school. She would make three children stand in a circle and slap each other in a clockwise (or anti clockwise) manner. As Yogesh explained it to me (and as you would have figured by now), this method went on fine till each student understood the dynamics of the situation and did not fall for the bait. Gentle nudges could never harm anyone.

It's when one of them fucked up.

To express anger at the gentlemen who slapped him earlier, the second guy would whack the third guy. And it'd be proper. This would set the wheels in motion at top notch speed.

Such innovation should be appreciated. From the teacher's point of view this is much better than throwing dusters and rulers at children and thus jeopardizing their career, instead why not let the students punish each other? After all, now the ball would be in the student's court. Now all that'd be left would be how
they'd play ball.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Big O

Wednesday, November 05, 2008 0
Ah yes, its going to happen now.

Just like when Usain Bolt won, the news papers had a gala time coming up with headlines to suit their fancy. Bosey has articulated that in a brilliant post. Similar stuff is going to happen now.

Obamania, Breaking the Barracks!, Remember, remember the 5th of November and what not. Twitter is flooded with it and so is every other blog apart from the mass media obviously.

Come on people. Don't pretend you weren't expecting him to win. Quit acting so surprised, just like you did when Hilary was chucked off.

Source Pilani: Empowering Rural India


Inside Goenka Public School, which is situated in the bustling center of Pilani village, is housed one of India’s fastest growing rural BPO’s.

Welcome to the world of Source Pilani who are redefining the concept of CSR in rural India with their socio-economic approach to BPO’s.

A brainchild of L K Maheswari (the current Vice Chancellor of BITS Pilani), who convinced the Goenka family to invest in such a venture; he’s played a crucial role in scaling Source Pilani to where it is today. Giving a shout out to the alumni and getting them on board to man the ship, today the gritty team of Manoj Vasudevan. Sandeep Thalluri, Ashish Khandelwal and Bharat Bongu are putting in tons of man hours in order to put Source Pilani on the map.

The establishment of a rural BPO was mainly to tackle and capitalize on the problems faced by the urban BPO’s such as high attrition rates, increasing salary costs and sky-rocketing real estate prices. This lead to the belief that such a move would provide a host to some of the biggest opportunities such as access to a large pool of talented work force in and around Pilani, world class infrastructure facilities. Apart from this it would also help in building a brand name of the Goenka’s in the social entrepreneurship sector.

Today Source Pilani has several clients including some international ones. One success story which the founders narrated to me was regarding their work in the medical transcription domain:

“We partnered with Truworth to deliver Medical Transcription services. We have been consistently achieving 98.9% quality. Trueworth started realizing cost benefits of around 30%”

Source Pilani has also been providing data entry and form processing services to JhunJhunu (district in which Pilani is located) collectorate for e-Gram and NREGS. They have been delivering exceptional service despite the complex work flow. They deal accurately with a large volume of data of 890 villages and were recognized and felicitated by the district collectorate for the outsourcing services they provided

With revenues already in lakhs, an ever increasing list of clients, a stable workforce of 60 skilled personnel who are regularly rewarded based on their performance and a board consisting of BITS Pilani faculty and Alumni, things look bright for Source Pilani.

They are currently also participating in Tata NEN’s hottest Startup award, you can vote for them here

Alternatively, you can also SMS HOT117 to 56767

Monday, November 03, 2008

Thank you for all the memories

Monday, November 03, 2008 5

After nearly 15 years of watching him run back to his run up; skip, hop and fire some googlies, it’s finally time to bid adieu to Jumbo.

Easily one of the most humble as well as gritty players on the field, he never made his presence felt since he wasn’t the flamboyant kind. You would never see him lead any of the endorsements on TV, yet when it came to the field, he’d take charge and always deliver (pun intended). I guess that’s why it came as a sort of surprise when he quietly decided to say good bye to the game.

He was the learner, the studious kind with the determination to conquer any batsman who challenged him. He seemed like the checked shirt clad problem cracker in your IIT-JEE coaching class who would never get perturbed by any thing thrown his way.

Never a huge turner of the ball, his biggest strength was his line and length, deadly accurate. The number of times the batsmen missed and were bowled or caught leg before the wicket is simply difficult to count. And then there was the faster one. Kumble could easily pass off as a medium pace bowler. No wonder Nayan Mongia( India’s then wicketkeeper) started wearing a helmet while keeping up to his deliveries during the late nineties.

If asked about the three greatest performances of Anil Kumble, I’ll list them as:

Firstly, his awesome spell in the finals of the Hero Cup. At the end of it, he came out with figures of 6/12 against the West Indies. Here he just tore through the West Indies middle order.

Then the 10 wicket haul against the Pakistani Team at the Ferozshah Kotla. There was a little controversy surrounding this performance, the reason being the first wicket of Shahid Afridi was not out. However, such is the game of cricket. It’s about capitalizing on the opportunities that come your way. And capitalize he did. Only the second bowler ever to achieve such a feat.

And of course thirdly, one of the most memorable photos to have ever been shown on Indian Television. A bandaged clad Kumble jubilant after capturing the wicket of Lara

This particular performance in the West Indies wasn’t really anything spectacular as far as the result of the game was concerned nor did it bother the statisticians much, but the amount of patriotism that it spread throughout the country was extraordinary. Kumble was suddenly a war hero.

Over the years, he just kept on picking up wickets here and there. Little did one realize that he has accumulated 619 of those.

It was a very tough decision, especially when you have performed for 18 years and been so competitive," he said at the presentation ceremony after the match had ended in a draw. But the body helped me make the decision. This injury also helped."His departure from international cricket couldn’t have been more fitting.
-Anil Kumble, Jumbo.

Thank you for the memories!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A myth busting ad campaign

Saturday, November 01, 2008 4

This seriously cracked me up. After I regained control over myself I was thinking that perhaps India too should come out strong with a similar campaign against the stereotypical views that some people in the west might be having about our nation.

But then there was also a little voice in my head which urged me to think otherwise. This was probably because deep down I knew that some of the stereotypical (just some) views about India were true. If a person were to confront me asking "Hey uh, is it true that there are like uh cows and buffaloes roaming near the entrance of the Taj Mahal?", I would smile and say yes, sometimes.

But keeping such instances aside, I would love to see some campaigns which through their viral nature can bust some of the stereotypical views that people have about India , so that, the next time a foreigner comes to India, he isn't startled looking at a Hard Rock Cafe here or people speaking fluent English.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Untitled for now

Thursday, October 30, 2008 2
The last month got me travelling a lot. Sometimes with a specific aim and sometimes without any. Frantically trying to catch up with friends as well as my breath, whilst on a mission to cycle 60 kilometers even though my pelvic bone was almost fractured. Or leaving campus almost instantly in pursuit of a quiz 600 kilometers away whichas it turned out  resulted in an ultimate test of endurance. 

All I can say now is that it's been an impulsive month. 

What follows now is a brief session of post-Oasis blues (I'm sure I'm not the only one) which should hopefully get squashed by the sirens of the tests ahead. 

Oh and btw:

If anyone is looking to buy a brand new XBOX 360 Core set, do leave a comment and we shall get in touch.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Weekend plans

Friday, October 10, 2008 1
A Nobel Prize Quiz organised by the Swedish Embassy at IITD beckons and hence I must try to make myself available for it. 

Anything in the vicinity of Nobel, the person, the prize and the laureates threatens to mould itself into a highly unworkutable trivia oriented ghotu question which might be fired our way. True, that is just me being cynical, but somehow these sort of quizzes do give me the creeps.

That being said, I would love to be proven wrong, as I was during the quiz conducted by IMS where the questions were actually pretty decently framed and had, what we in the quizzing fraternity like to lovingly call, a funda.

Apart from the quiz, there's also the added attraction of Barcamp Delhi, which is now in its fifth edition. It's rather ironic that you might find me mentioning barcamp to people here and there and yet haven't attended one myself. I could make up a list of perfectly justifiable reasons as to why I couldn't  make it to the hazaar barcamps that are held all over the country, but then you would just call me a cameltoe.

Moreover, I shall be representing the Mutiny at BCD5 and covering the event live sporadically. It's going to be a tedious process juggling back and forth between a quiz and an unconference, however I think I'm up for it.

And for those who have heard about Mutiny going Print, I shall be there with the copies so that you can have a look. For those who haven't, perhaps you would wan't to have a look at this.

And now for the closing note.

It is not the same thing if I sign Jean-Paul Sartre or if I sign Jean-Paul Sartre, Nobel Prize winner. A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution, even if it takes place in the most honorable form.
-Jean Paul Satre on why he rejected the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1964

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

OASIS 2008

Tuesday, October 07, 2008 4
Here are some of the posters of the ELAS (English Language Activities Society) events this OASIS.

To know more contact me at
rishabh@bits-oasis.org



Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Jealousy

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 0
One of the virtues that we were taught at school is honesty. Why? Because it was the best policy ofcourse. Or so we were forced to believe. Hence it's perfectly justified that the only emotion that surfaced when I saw this tweet is jealousy. And the only word that escaped my mouth: "Dai-um".

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eve of an examination

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College time is really interesting. Being exposed to the diverse crowd, their ideas and lifestyle does fascinate and at times intimidate you.

In a college where the library isn't open all night long (and it wouldn't matter even if it were), the eve of an examination can be a testing time for any undergraduate. Every room shares its walls with three other rooms. And yes, the walls aren't sound proofed. Hence with crude accusations of you copulating with your family members flying left right and centre, in languages which originated in the south, the north and the west, you really get to experience what a melting pot college really is. And it's viral. One usage of "bhenchod" only invites the same from the other end and this is really the domino effect that we're talking about. It comes to a point where you have to seriously make an effort to listen closely to what is being said and really dig through the surface of the conversation which primarily consists of bhenchods and the occasional one with yo mother. But since your eyes are on a powerpoint presentation teaching you how to manage a database and rules of normalization, you pretty much just hear the cuss words.

Music and intoxicants only add to the brew. As the odour of fermentation sets in and the smoke settles, as the loud punjab meets norway mashed up playlist starts blaring right into your ear and as the bitching starts, you realise that the world isn't flat after all. 

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Youth Ideologies

Sunday, September 28, 2008 0
Times of India was doing a feature on the youth and a couple of articles I wrote and compiled for them got published in today's paper. Palvi buzzes me on gtalk saying "nice article dude" and I ask her "What article are you talking about?". It had been a little while since I had mailed the nice folks at TOI so it might have skipped my memory. However it was nice to see my name printed in the papers. 

Here are the links:

Apart from that today has been a good day. First off I met Harshil of Foxy Moron, a young entrepreneur who was previously associated with WATConsult. He had come down to the desert to give a talk on web2.0 and advertising. Having corresponded with him over the phone and email, it was nice meeting the man in person and getting his views on certain issues that are of relevance to me.

And in the night I found out that a friend of mine whom I had helped a little regarding the preliminary selection finally made it through to the MUN at Manipal University. No points for guessing which nation he is representing there. And another piece of advice, don't get too drunk bro. 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Skin

Thursday, September 25, 2008 0
I changed the blog's template today. Got a little tired of the previous one. I always wanted to have a three column template but couldn't find the right color combination. I simply love this one. Now am playing around with it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rants

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 0
Disappointment. The word is apt to describe my frame of mind.

Quizzing at Rendezvous 2k8 was a disaster. No, this isn’t a post about how good I felt about the quizzing culture here at BITS, Pilani (which I did), but rather how sorry I felt for the state of things at IITD.

The fest boasts of huge sponsors and mega events and a cracking rock show, then why oh why is the organization of the quizzes so bad? I’m sure the teams that came were pretty good. Teams from Stephen’s, NSIT with whom I had quizzed earlier were there and they simply sighed, saying that it’s nothing new.

Of the many inferences that I made after returning from the fest with regards to quizzing, one of them was that the eliminations and finals had to be made by different people.

A lot of questions in the finals were “lifted” from Wikipedia. How do I know this? I spotted a [2] after a sentence on numerous occasions. Also, someone should get these gentlemen acquainted to the concept of using a PowerPoint presentation to host their quizzes rather presenting us with a compilation of notepad files, each containing one question. It’s never too late to shift, you know. Another suggestion from my end would be to rename the audio clip that you are playing rather than put the clip in a folder named "question 12-do not open", it just tests the audience's patience. And please for Christ's sake dont put in some 85 x 123 size pics and then try to zoom in, instead use larger pics, and if you can't find larger pictures then don't put the question in an AVQ.

We made it past the elims for both the quizzes; one whose name I don’t quite remember and Kombat, the open quiz. In the finals, we were leading for a major portion of the time in the first quiz but ultimately messed ourselves up when we didn’t go for the theme and that resulted in us coming fourth. In the second quiz, we just didn’t hit the right opportunities but oh well, congrats to Vivek, Aravind and King for winning that one.

And then came the blow. Zoom in. The Audio Visual Quiz. Which was about 95% VQ, since there was one audio clip in the whole quiz. Now for the questions, they show us a picture of the Google Chrome comic and didn’t ask us to identify the comic, but instead to identify the creator. WTF?

On another topic: I like the new improved zemanta.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Phone conversations

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 1
Me: Hey, yo yo, wassap!

Friend: Heylooo. Acha, Rishabh, tell me something. How long have we known D?

Me: Around 7-8 years I suppose. Why?

Friend: Hmm and in that time did you ever bother to ask what her dad’s occupation was?

Me: Abey, don’t be silly; of course, he’s always in Kolkata right?

Friend: Right and doing what?

Me: Umm…he’s working with…hmm…I always thought he was running some sort of business there.

Friend: Rishabh! He is not a shopkeeper!

Me: No no no baba! I am not calling him a shopkeeper, as in a full fledged business. Something to do with raw material I suppose.

Friend: Oh you suppose is it?

Me: Well, it is the rational thing to assume right? The man is out of station most of the time; I assumed he was running some sort of business from outside.

Friend: Alright, I shall not even bother to ask you why you just said that. Moving on; so I was talking to D today and she was telling me how he’s always busy doing something or the other.

Me: Ahuh…

Friend: Oh, FYI, he is a scientist and works for BARC.

Me: Whoa. That’s interesting. Cool, didn’t know her dad fiddles around with atomic energy. I think she told me he goes to France a lot.

Friend: Fuck you, he goes to Switzerland. Geneva to be precise.

Me: Ah good fun.

Friend: Rishabh…

Me: What?

Friend: I said he goes to Geneva from time to time.

Me: Alright, so?

Friend: And do you know what’s happening in Geneva as we speak?

(Silence for a few seconds)

Me: (whispers) Oh fuck…

Friend: He fucking works with CERN. He’s like OUT THERE! You know those coat wearing scientist folks with those glasses who keep jotting down stuff and nodding every instant? He's probably like one of them.

A couple of hours later

D: Hello

M: WTF! Your dad works with the CERN guys. You never told us. Hell, I didn't event know that he was working for BARC!

D: Bah, I thought I did. I dunno re, he calls up the other day and starts rambling about all this science stuff.

M: You mean THE science stuff, you know the Large muthafuckin Hadron Collider stuff.

D: Yeah, that only.

M: And…

D: And what?

M: Are we going to die or live?

D: Some shit only. We will live re. He was saying how its all being blown outta proportion, all this fuss about that big machine they have. He was explaining to me some science thing. I couldn’t understand anything and got bored easily.

M: That’s understandable.

D: Yeah, so don't worry, there will be no black hole on this planet and I can finish my designs in peace (she studies at NIFT)…so..wassup?

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Blogging resumes

Tuesday, September 16, 2008 0
Been caught up this week.

Blogging shall resume here and also here
And since you are here, might as well check this out.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Election time@ BITS: Directory

Thursday, September 04, 2008 1
With more and more posts about the BITSian elections being posted, I thought about making a directory of all such blogs. This list in no way exhaustive, do leave additional links in the comments section.
(Majority of the credit goes to the Vineets [Pandey and Keshari] for compiling the initial list on google reader, from where the following list was mercilessly flicked) :)

Abhilash, Electrical, 03-07,

Keerthi Kiran, Instrumentation, 04-08,
Sriram.V , Electrical,04-08

Abhishek Nayak, Biological Science,05-09
Chinmay Kulkarni, Computer Science,05-09


Ashutosh, 06-10
Abhiram, Computer Science, 06-10,
Anurag Dutta, Computer Science, 06-10
Atin Bhattacharya, Physics & Computer Science, 06-11
Rishabh Kaul, Economics & Civil, 06-11
Rachit Chandra, Computer Science(Presidential Candidate),06-10
Shoaib, Computer Science, 06-10
Shruti Shah, Chemistry & Civil,06-11
Shushant, Mechanical, 06-10
Vineet Keshari, Computer Science, 06-10


Pranav, Instrumentation, 07-11

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Suddenly Sarah

Tuesday, September 02, 2008 0
For most of us on this side of the globe, Sarah Palin is just another person. She's the governor of a state cut off from mainland America,and now is one step away from becoming the next Vice President of USA.

She was picked by McCain 3 days ago and I somehow feel that he did it to capitalise on the junta that felt that Obama "fucked" Hilary up. She's pro life, pro guns, anti-queer and has 5 kids. It's so easy for someone to judge you for objectifying her. Because she looks like this


Recently she announced that her 17 year old unmarried daughter Bristol, was pregnant. And also that Bristol intended on marrying the father of the child. I wonder if the father actually had a choice. True, that free will exists; however few teenagers would have the balls (ok, bad pun) to express it in front of a politically charged mommy who is big time pro guns. And then starts the rumours. As Reuters points here

McCain officials said the news of the daughter's pregnancy was being released to rebut what one aide called "mud-slinging and lies" that have circulated on liberal blog sites.

According to these rumors, Sarah Palin had faked a pregnancy and pretended to have given birth in April to her fifth child, a son named Trig who has Down syndrome. The rumor was that Trig was actually Bristol Palin's child and that Sarah Palin was the grandmother.

And through Gaurav's blog I found out that there exists this.

On another note, don't be surprised if you see a sudden overwhelming increase in posts relating to BITS Pilani politics. Coup d'etat is something one would never associate with the campus, however in a classic case of events, a coup pretty much sums up what one of the (un)presidential candidate pulled off yesterday. Respect to him for showing how easily the system can be mocked.

Closing thought: You know how how sometimes they say that be very sure about what to ask for, coz you might just get it?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Changing guard

Monday, September 01, 2008 0
Deriving inspiration from one of the most popular bloggers in India, Amit Varma

Todays WTF Quote is attributed to Atin. The guy has been quite an evangelist for the organisations he's been affiliated to in the last few months with his hard hitting citizen journalism and "straight from the heart" posts. Avoiding bureaucracy and not bothering with disclaimers, I suggest its about time all you people out there add him to your blogroll, trust me, you shall not regret it.

But after months of awesomeness comprising of this, this and most recently this he goes ahead and performs a low blow, a cheapshot or whatever you might call it.

It's time I became a bit more mature and started expressing myself more objectively and sensibly. It's time to grow up.

I wonder what would cause such a move. But that being said, he is a revolutionary. Little does he realize how much impact he's beginning to have on people. As I write this post, there are discussions about what is he going to write about in his next post. And amongst smaller groups he's being hailed as the next big thing (a title previously adorned by Brock Lesner ).

Here's to you sir.

Psst: My sources reveal to me that he's been stealing a substantial amount (classified) of traffic thats coming in from outside.


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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Election Viewpoint

Sunday, August 31, 2008 3
Yesterday, a certain Mr Bhattacharya posted an entry on his blog, where he beautifully articulated that politics at our college is way more serious than it’s supposed to be.

Tasteless mortals and others might view upon that post as an attempt to bastardize the political activities that go on inside the closed gates. In its current avatar, the political scenario is almost always dominated by two secular parties for each post and you have to pick sides. At first glance this seems rather contradictory since the common man (and moreover an engineering college student) is opportunistic and has high hopes and aspirations, but a closer introspection might reveal that many able men/women are already post holders in some club or department. So that takes care of half the eligible people. But what about the rest? Surely they would want to go for the post? There can only be one reason that can explain this. It’s at times like this that you really respect the college. A consensus between nearly 1500 students for 4 posts really shows the maturity levels of the students.

This is probably a perfect example of the “Invisible Hand” that Adam Smith talks about in his Bible for Economics, The Wealth of Nations.

The theory of the Invisible Hand states that if each consumer is allowed to choose freely what to buy and each producer is allowed to choose freely what to sell and how to produce it, the market will settle on a product distribution and prices that are beneficial to all the individual members of a community, and hence to the community as a whole. The reason for this is that greed will drive actors to beneficial behavior.

During the election period, the college is divided into three groups. One of them is a massive group A, with little scope of individual thought process and they mostly follow the crowd (a classic case of recursion in case you haven’t figured that out).
Another is a comparatively smaller group B (split into further smaller groups B1, B2 so on) also with little scope of individual thought process however a little more persuasive. Mathematically (and ideally) speaking, it’s a many to many-many (or presumably two way) communication process where these smaller groups go around convincing the larger groups by giving them logical and seemingly obvious reasons to support them in all their endeavours. Experts in this domain also claim that this results in some sort of “My candidate, my family” feeling.

Apart from this there also exists a blimp C, which comprises of n people (n<10)Nazgul. They trot this dystopian earth with a strong sense of conviction. This attitude is evident from the following two points witnessed by those who aren’t of kin and are confronted or cornered by them:

• Expressionless faces
• A copy of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four in the vicinity

They sometimes receive sympathy during dire times in the form of “It’s a dutty job but someone’s gotta do it” and condolences in the form of gtalk status messages.

Now the seriousness that Bhattacharya talks of is basically oozing from the interactions that these three groups have with one another. By themselves, they are informal and a factory of rumours (often witty and scandalous and sometimes sick) and jibes, but in presence of foreign company, this wit and humour is replaced by:
• Jargon and Threat (if the interaction is between C and A)
• Constitutional talk and Jargon and Threat (if the interaction is between B and C)
• Reassurance and concern (if the interaction is between B and A)
(Reminder: Associative property might not be applicable here)

Mr Bhattacharya’s proposal to entertain a more informal election process in BITS can easily be implemented if action can be taken to ensure that the formal relation between these three groups be dissolved.

This can be easily achieved. All that remains is for the following points to be implemented:

• The use of animals for campaigning purposes should be made permissible.

• Merchandise promoting a candidate should be allowed, this can include caps, tees, sports bras et al

• Utilise the Department of Photography for generating campaigning budget. It is almost inhuman to expect the campaigning to proceed on such a shoestring budget. Clearly a campaign budget of 1200(or 1500) rupees isn’t sufficient to carry out the campaigning activities.

• Candidates should be allowed their own entrance themes while entering the auditorium. The candidates can also seek the help of the Department of Lights to ensure there is a sound-light coordination. Even in cricket matches such a move has been welcomed by the International Cricket Council(ICC).

• For the entertainment of students and publicity of clubs/departments, they should be allowed to make special ads for the audi debate (save Dpeartment of CCTV). Something similar on the lines of the Superbowl ads.

• Lobbyists should be allowed to defend their candidates in the audi debates.

• For the benefit of A, the group C should actually collaborate with B so as to ensure a steady kayfabe. The very occasional Screwjob has be tolerated.

And above all, during Audi ragging:

Right to free speech should be introduced where the candidates can show their true identity to the audience. It’s sort of tough to do with an elite panel interrogating you and then not letting you speak your mind.
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Saturday, August 30, 2008

KK Birla passes away

Saturday, August 30, 2008 1

As I switched on my monitor this morning, still bleary eyed, I got a scoop of this:

KK Birla, noted industrialist and former Rajya Sabha member, died on Saturday morning at his residence in Kolkata after a brief illness. He was 90.

The chairman of Hindustan Times and several Birla group of industries is survived by three daughters Nandini Nupani, Shobhana Bhartia, who is vice chairperson and editorial adviser of Hindustan Times and Saroj Potddar.

Birla was ailing for the last two weeks and the end came at 7.30 am, family members said.

His wife Manorama Devi Birla died about a month ago.


Reports Hindustan Times

Amongst a host of things, the gentleman also happened to be the Chancellor of our college. Rest in Peace sir. You shall always remain a BITSian.

Moreover, people on campus will realize why this slightly ironic.



 
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