Sunday, June 29, 2008

On jokes

Sunday, June 29, 2008 1
Have you ever heard a joke so many times you've forgotten why it's funny? And then you
hear it again and suddenly it's new. You remember why you loved it in the first place.

Its amazing how this happens to me so many times.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Manto Ismat haazir hai!

Saturday, June 21, 2008 2
Last week, as a finale to the TIMES Hyderabad Festival, they had organized a Mumbai theatre group to perform plays based on the works of revolutionary and bold playwrights Saadat Hasan Manto and Ismat Chughtai and was appropriately named Manto, Ismat haazir hai( Presenting Manto & Ismat).

The plays were in Urdu (as they should be) and were well appreciated by the crowd. On my part, someone who is not well versed with Urdu( read the youth and the Gults), it would have been something of a disaster. Disaster because, the USP of the play was the language used, but as such I didn't find the play to be that great theatrically. The dialogue delivery was a little too quick for an amateur like me to understand, but I guess that's how it goes.

The story was quite gripping( if only I could understand it then) and dealt with social issues such as lesbianism, sexuality and war. And for A Woman of a conservative Muslim family or actually anyone to come up with something like that right after partition is something commendable.

But here's the interesting part, despite the just-above average performance, the hall was jam packed. At first glance it might seem like it was because entry to the show was free.

But there was something else.

The play was directed by Naseerudin Shah. And that really had the effect. It really did. What a crowd. Needless to say the management screwed it up by allowing people to enter through one door(when there were 4) because of the shortage of metal detectors I believe.

But I am pretty sure most of the people came hoping to get a glimpse of Naseerduddin Shah, but ended up merely expecting him and never really seeing him.

Advertising works wonders, especially if you attach a big name to it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On Mercy Killings and Euthanasia

Tuesday, June 10, 2008 3
Right above the huge tender was a tiny article about a teenage girl in Siliguri, who was demanding mercy killing. The issue of mercy killing has been discussed several times and yet there is no provision in the constitution about it. The legal hassles involved are just too much.

In the case of the girl, Ms Fulbari Das, is requesting mercy killing, where a person asks for death to end her suffering. It is voluntary. She is requesting her life be ended because she has been suffering from tremendous abdominal pain. After her surgery (to remove the kidney stones), her condition only worsened and for the past year, she has been living under a lot of pain.

I have lost all faith in doctors as I don’t know if my disease or wrong treatment is responsible for my condition

-Ms Fulbari Das

She is currently admitted in the North Bengal Medical College &Hospital.

Now there are a lot of factors that one needs to take into consideration. Now this is a rather complicated case (as most euthanasia cases are). The first and foremost is regarding terminal illness.

I have found no other mention of Ms Fulbari on the net. So based on the information in the newspaper, she is suffering from tremendous pain. I am assuming that’s the only reason why she wants to end her life.

What I mean to say is that I don’t think Fulbari’s case can be proved as terminal illness merely because the cause of her condition isn’t fully known. Another issue which might stop the stop the doctors from taking the step (apart from their inhibitions that they’re breaking the law) might be her young age. It’s quite convenient to think that a young girl like Fulbari might be making a hasty decision and this might just be a solution to end the short term discomfort. One way of looking at it is that it’s her life and now that she is legally an adult she should be responsible for it. Another way at looking at it might be that she is still quite young and has her whole life ahead of her and what if there’s a slightest chance of the pain going away. The question here is, as long as the doctors take their time to find a solution, this woman is experiencing pain beyond everything. Should that or shouldn’t that entitle her to end her life.

Indian constitution hasn’t really helped matters either. Verdicts in the past have shifted either ways, merely because of the complexity of the circumstances. The Indian Constitution says that the ''Right to Die'' is not a fundamental right under Article 21. However for the first time in 1987, during the The State of Maharashtra v. Maruti Shripathi Dubal case the judges at the Bombay High Court felt that the desire to die is merely abnormal/uncommon but not unnatural. They listed several circumstances in which people may wish to end their lives, including disease, cruel or unbearable condition of life, and a sense of shame or disenchantment with life. And finally held that everyone should have the freedom to dispose of his life as and when he desires. That being said there have been many more instances where panels of judges have simply overruled the plea.

I think the authorities should really work on the finer aspects and various circumstances. The reason I say this is because we’re really progressing as far as science is concerned. In the future years the technology might achieve so much progress so much so that we might have support systems which can keep a person alive, just saving him from claws of death but not really giving him a life. What if the person doesn’t want treatment? I think along side the research that’s going on in medicine (or any other branch), we must also keep updating our constitution regarding matters which might be affected dude to this advancement in technology.

Crossposted on Mutiny and Desicritics

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Removing Blogrolls!

Saturday, June 07, 2008 1
Innovation seems to be the most used jargon word in today's world (entrepreneurship loses out by a whisker). Every day I see newer feed reading products in their beta stages get their twitter accounts and advertise endlessly and find newer ways to make people use their products. The other day Nayak was telling me about a feedreader called Fresh and about a Twitter client called Alert thingy. Simultaneously I have been checking out a lot of new products too.

All this has made me think. Do we still need traditional blogrolls? Blogger Buzz updates me with this:
Today we’re releasing a new page element for Layouts blogs: Blog List. The Blog List improves on our Link List page element by using blogs’ RSS and Atom feeds to show update times, post titles, and snippets.
And this works well with podcasts, twitter accounts etc too.

But now the question arrives, what if I have a huge list of feeds that I follow on my reader? And I have a list of friends on my blogroll who don't really update.

This is what I do.

One way or the other I do keep on checking blogs that are relevant to me(either students from my college or people I have met or people who link to me), but you don't really need a blogroll for that. (Google status messages, Technorati etc are helpful there). So in order to give my sidebar a more virgin look, I am cleaning up my blogroll and on leaving behind very very few links, mostly because, they're the only ones updating/or if they are really close pals.
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Friday, June 06, 2008

Bangalore Mirror

Friday, June 06, 2008 0
Harshil from WATBlog/Consultancy was kind enough to inform me that my guest article was published in the Bangalore Mirror Tabloid. Thanks a lot.

Also, I found out recently that the verrrry best newspaper of the plateau, oh why not...the entire south, has hit Bangalore. Good, its also their problem now. Here it comes.

Apart from this...a lot of stuff has been brewing up. Have got my self involved in a variety of projects. A long detailed post is due.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Why the Western Invasion?

Monday, June 02, 2008 2

I was going through, a website quite similar to its American counterpart which aims to help and connect (mostly) the youth seeking accommodation. One thing that really caught my attention was the picture of Indian youth on the homepage. As bizarre as it may sound, when was the last time you saw a non-NGO Indian website which had Indian faces? At the most it might have the token Indian or Black person to show diversity, but I think it’s quite rare to find only Indian people. In the beginning I felt maybe such a strategy is employed to show that that company is global (or at least aspiring to be global) but now it just seems like everyone is following the crowd. But then what about those companies which are purely based in India and don’t seem to be expanding outside India in the likely future. I say this because couple of the web based start ups that launched from my college and had noting to do with foreign clients had picture of Caucasian women playing with their Caucasian kids. It just doesn’t make sense. Why should a premier IIT-JEE (Not too tough to guess which one now) coaching institute which receives over a crore hits every year need to put a header picture of some American university students on its website? I don’t know where the problem lies. Is it that the companies ask the web designing team to put in those pictures (in case the work is being outsourced) or the company itself feels its needs such a picture. The whole point being that if your pictures don’t gel with your venture, you end up looking really stupid.

By the way it was really disappointing to see that the moment I clicked on a page at Indianroomates, it took me to another page. And this one had phirangs on it, smiling.

Here’s one solution. The issue of portraying yourself as something doesn’t need faces. It can be done through symbols as well. If you’re ashamed of putting in Indian people shaking hands (though I don’t know why that would be the case), then might as well show only the shaking of hands on your webpage rather than show a Chinese and a Kenyan doing so, especially if you’re a start up based in a small town whose main market is the nearby city.

Cross posted on WATBlog and Desicritics

Archer's blogging blunder

Jeffrey ArcherImage via Wikipedia

I guess not much needs to be said about celebrity blogging. Everyday as I read my feeds, I find another name from popular culture entering the blogosphere. Recently I had heard somewhere that Jeffrey Archer had his own simple blog which he was updating quite regularly. It was quite well maintained. With running commentary about his recent visit to India and tryst with Indian cricketers amongst others, the blog got me pretty hooked. And this was only the beginning. It was really this post that got me sitting up straight.

971 emails were awaiting me when I arrived back in the UK- the vast majority of them from India, and I must say that having been teased about calling Mumbai, Bombay, could someone please explain to me why they've changed the name of that city? And indeed Madras to Chennai? But it seems that Calcutta is still to be Calcutta - which I am much looking forward to visiting next year when I shall be opening Landmark's new bookstore.

Clearly not many people seem to be reading his blog for only four kind souls decided to retort saying that Mumbai and Chennai were the original names. It was only once HRM invaded our land that the names were changed. I will not even come to the Calcutta bit, but then this is where I start thinking. Is it Mr Archer’s lack of awareness of global changes showcased here or the global trend? As in, does the world really care whether Bombay became Mumbai again? Besides that, I’m pretty sure a lot of Indians still consider the IT hub of India to be called Bangalore.

Jeffrey, always a gentleman, readily accepted his blunder and apologised in the comments section.

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