Monday, December 17, 2007

Writers block

Writers block was one thing I was never afraid of - nothing remotely close to it had ever happened to me. If there was a keyboard beneath my fingers, they used to punch in shit without stopping to think. What came out was a wide variety of mostly outrageous and unrelated ideas, all of it chronicled in this blog... till one day everything hit a dead end. Nothing was important enough to note down, nothing was important enough to express, and everything turned out to be outrageous and unrelated.
It was at this point of time that I realised what exactly the deal with writers block was. It puts a full stop to your sentences, a conclusion beyond words, a state of mind where writing is not necessary simply because there is nothing that one can be sure, one can claim to know, or take responsibility of expression. Simply put, it is like this, if every piece of text assumes an identity of its own, and the author dies in the process of the presentation of the text, then it is nothing short of scuicide to write anything down at all.
There was one ray of hope, that the whole theory of authors dying was not true, and save for a little interference, most of the ideas get channelised through the text anyway. What thoughts it generates subsequently might kill the author, but then the author must not assume control of such subsequent thoughts, or it would be like killing the reader.
Nice little dillema and sufficient reason for an acute writers block. Again, just when there looked like there was no way out, there emerged from some corner of the mind that ideas were not at all the reason why people read text... they read it to get the perspective of another individual, and then use it in any way they see fit. What really matters in a piece of text is not after all, the matter of the piece of text, but the process behind the matter, the other side of the story that everybody knows.
What it means is that writing outrageous and unrelated bullshit serves a higher purpose than conveying thoughts or chronicling ideas, it is an exploration of angles, looking inwards from where we haven't looked inwards before. This is when writers block actually becomes final and absolute, because of a whole new mess. It is the fundamental problem of all kinds of things branded as art. The effort put into it is appreciated more than the worth of the contents. A Picasso owes its price tag only because no one else can pull off something like it. It is a permanent claim that an author has over the text, that gives it some mediocum of value, and nothing else.
And that is when the focus shifts dramatically to the audience again. A Picasso owes its price tag also to the rich ass buyer with deep pockets.
In conclusion, it is impossible to justify writing, and hence the writers block, but it is also impossible to justify the reading, and hence, the thankful escape from the writers block.
Thank you.

Sketch 2


The titles appearing in hindi is blogger का fualt

स्केत्च 1

Thursday, October 04, 2007

tea

"Want some tea?" The rickshawwallah asked Anuj as he climbed into the rickshaw. He had just been a little unlucky, and a little new to the area. There are a few chai-tapris as they are called, where the rickshawwallahs gather when they need a break. If a customer is stupid/unlucky/new to the area enough, then the rickshawwallah has to save his and your time. Most would gulp down whatever is left of their cup of tea, and jump in if it is a big fare, and ask the customer to move on if it is not. Anuj was a customer with a big fare, he wanted to go right across to the other end of the city. The rickshawwallah on the other hand, was a man who enjoyed drinking every small sip of his tea. Indian tea can do that to anyone. So the man, sipped carefully on his cup, ...slirping it in slowly, cooling it slowly with his lips as he drank. The tea stayed for a second on his throat, then ran down into his stomach. When it ran past his neck, the rickshawallah found his voice... As soon as he heard that he had to go to the other side of the city, the rickshawallah used the time he had his sip to totally check Anuj out. He wore blue jeans and a white shirt, with an unrecognizable logo (to the rickshawwallah). He carried his wallet in his back pocket, and it jutted well out from his prominant butt, which looked large and inviting (to the rickshawwallah). He looked a little nervous, and terribly gullible. The rickshawwallah finished his sip. As it went past his neck, the rickshawwallah found his voice. "Want some tea?" He asked.
Anuj was nervous and new to the area. He was new to the area and lacked on vital piece of information. Irrespective of where in Mumbai one is, and how well the destination is known, the most important piece of information before you get into a rickshaw is; which is the immideate direction towards your destination. Anuj had made the mistake of walking up the wrong side of the road. Anuj ended up at at the rickshaw stand, a little tired and comforted at the thought of getting into a ride, so when the rickshawwallah asked him "Want some tea?" he nodded his head, his lack of breath silencing any words that he could have thought of speaking. Anuj looked at the rickshawwallah. He asked the guy in the tapri to make another cup of tea. The guy smiled and handed one over immideately. Anuj had time to wonder if he had change to pay for the tea, when the cup was presented to him by the rickshawdriver, in a small plastic cup. Anuj scaled himself in his first sip, and blowed on the tea, cooling his tongue simultaneously.
The rickshawwallah took another, slow sip. He was totally drinking it in. The kid had just been stupid enough to drink hot tea. His tea was comparatively cold. He new how to make a big fare bigger. Anuj was lucky because the rickshawwallah had an account at the tapri. He gulped in his tea, jumped into the rickshaw and started the thing up. Anuj was only thinking about not dropping all the tea. He was perfectly aware of the situation, but he didn't care enough about the profit the rickshawwallah was just about to care.
So when the rickshawwallah turned on the music, and loud remixed bollywood played on, two perfectly happy souls went on a ride from one side of the city to the other. They spoke nothing for most of the ride. The rickshawwallah was drawing up to a turn, which he could or could not have taken. The rickshawwallah was thinking of how exactly to ask for directions, when Anuj directed him without being asked. "Left" he said, and the rickshawwallah took a left, then he went on with an extra thrust of speed just because all responsibilities for further directions were left with Anuj. Anuj lived up to such simple responsibilities. "Right" he said. The rickshawwallah turned, and ended up at a similiar tapri he had left behind forty minutes ago. Anuj got down, replenished, and having sipped chai from a plastic cup as the city went past him. And he was generous enough to let the rickshawwallah have his seven rupee profit apart from the four he had made with the fixed meter, without making a fuss of it.
He was a totally different person to the people he was just about to meet at the tapri. Anuj was meeting another twenty eight year old, just like him, but he did not know it. Pankaj definitely looked thirty four - that was probably because of all the pot. Anuj waved out to Pankaj when he saw him, as he came around the same right turn. Pankaj just smiled back, and walked up to Anuj. Anuj looked at Pankaj, he was sweating because of the sun, which glistened on his reddened skin. Anuj had already decided what to do. "Want some tea?" he asked. Pankaj was a drifter, no one, including probably him, knew what he had done two years ago, all that mattered that he was there then and interested in what Anuj had to offer apart from the tea.
"What is the business?"
"I have what you want. The complete customer base of the call centre I work in. It will be mailed to you. I have a setting."
"How much do you want for it"
"Five thousand"
In such deals, there is no scope for bargaining. Pankaj had been sent by his company with a budget of seven, so he decided to go ahead with the deal.
"How should I pay you"
"Cheque payments only. Write one out to me now, and it will be mailed to you."
Pankaj took out his chequebook. Anuj made a call while he finished it. Pankaj shook hands with Anuj, said "thank you" and meant it. After that, Pankaj left Anuj at the tapri. Anuj stayed on for another twenty minutes, having tea. He saw one waiting on the other side of the road. Pankaj worked in an office complex right next to the tapri. He took the elevator to a floor near the top of the building, and walked into his cubicle. The e-mail was there on his address. He mailed the file to his boss, and headed towards the cabin of the boss.
The cell phone of the boss beeped with an e-mail alert. He checked out the file on his console, it was an excel sheet with names, numbers, and even addresses. They all had huge credit card bills. They were all going to be offered a scheme with a lot of benefits and fine print. The boss was happy. The boss called the canteen on the ground floor and ordered up two cups of tea. Pankaj reached the boss' cabin, just as the boss hung up.
"Want some tea?" The boss asked. Pankaj was happy, he said he managed to seal a deal for seven thousand.
The boss signed the cheque, and left for home immediately. He wanted to take some rest and plan for the next day. On his way out, he was surprised to find his nephew sipping tea.

coffee

"One iced tea, one pina colada, and one cold coffee" What mattered with coffee was what else you could get with it. The best things about the coffee shop was that it was always open. Really, when it comes to coffee, you never know what time of the day you might need one. Infact, coffee is consumed somewhere entirely out of time, it dilates it and expands it to suit the drinker's needs. The ordered had been placed, and the three people were lost in the crowd. It was four in the morning and the coffee shop was jam packed. The three people ordered, and spoke loudly; their voices were drowned in the chit-chat.
The menu was a laminated sheet of paper.
"Pulse Nurturing that’s what its all about"
"No man, it is all about sun worship"
"Shut up, it’s all about aliens"
Two boys and a girl. A little too loud. The Advertiser, the Lunatic and the Extraterrestrial on the next table overheard what they were saying. The Advertiser was a little surprised, the Lunatic unabashedly turned to the table next to him, and the Extraterrestrial got scared, someone knew about its existence. The two boys and the girl, unaware of anything but their own table, continued their conversation.
"The media does not survive by sucking money out of you, it is terribly cheap, What do you give the media in return? Nothing. Who gives the media its money? The advertiser. They advertise, however, would like to have a lot out of you."
"No man, there is no control system in place but nature and God. Everyone trying to overpower the natural control will rot in hell"
"The Aliens don't have a hell. We humans are a very young race. Its a lot of other things, but mainly our transportation. Our communication is ahead of our transportation, theirs is not"
"No man, really, there is a control system and its the media, its the source of all your ideas"
"Bullshit, I am a free man and I get my own ideas"
"The aliens control the media. They also spread the ideas you get through more channels than the media"
"See, that is what I would call bullshit, the media wouldn't be around if it were not getting their advertisers and profits."
"I don't care man, we are all humans out here, we give some, we take some, what's the difference, life is beautiful and I want to relax a bit you know"
"The aliens want you to sit back and relax, slow down for a while, which is something we humans have never done as a race. They are waiting for us to burn ourselves out"
"What are you guys talking about? Life is not beautiful, I mean, look around you, there is no God, and there are no aliens. Its just the human race out here, you are right about that, but some of us are better off than the rest"
"That's a very narrow outlook man, none of us are really better off than the rest"
"The Aliens are a truly equal population. They do not reveal themselves to us only because we are all not equal"
"Equality and freedom are just states of the mind, a media controlled state, they control all the beliefs you have as well"
"Just shut the fuck up man"
"The aliens can afford to wait, but I think we will burn out faster than they expect"
The advertiser looked at the alien and said "How do they get such ideas?"
The alien looked at the advertiser and said "You might never consciously fight for freedom, or equality. You might refuse to stand up to such beliefs, but your genes, are always fighting for such ideals. The great dawn is near"
The advertiser was serious. He looked at the alien, then at the lunatic.
The lunatic laughed and whispered out to nobody really, "I wonder who ordered the cold coffee?"

Route No. 11

And something amazing happened today - ok, at least, something unique enough to worth mentioning. Was walking to the bus stop from the train station when a bus pulled over at a totally different stop. It was eleven forty seven, and there was still a huge line for that bus. The line compressed in anticipation of the bus, and shouts amounting to everyone "staying in line" rang out in two different languages - Marathi and Hindi. What was funny was two guys were encouraging the entire line to get in properly, and they were not even part of the line... now I happened to laugh at them, and at the spur of the moment, decided to give out a shout myself. My voice was lost amongst the many other public endearments, and a few insults, but two random guys I am never going to meet again laughed their asses off - or something like that, I really didn't care - the second it happened, I had a bus to catch of my own.
This bus happens to be on the Koknipada line. A little background history might help. One day ago - that is yesterday, things like that apparently make it easier to put things down - yeah so yesterday there were three people in line, a balding Maharashtrian uncle with a beer belly who got down pretty close to an Industrial estate and who was blaming the government for not taking good care of the transport system, and who was unsure of the bus timings. I know the bus timings simply because I am a regular on the route, and when there is a bus where the buses are so rare that they are always on time, there is really no helping it. We had both just missed the eleven twenty bus, the next one was at eleven fifty, and he was asking me if the eleven fifty bus was the last bus. I knew there was another at twelve twenty, which was usually cancelled for lack of people. Now its around eleven forty yesterday night, and we had no one but each other for ten minutes of our lives. Five minutes of that was spent in an interrogation of my background - what my parents do and what I have studied, but five minutes into this conversation, a Loan executive from ICICI bank walks in to the stop and begins the procedure all over again. The moment I tell him that I am in my final year of graduation, he got shit impressed. The guy has studied only till the tenth, and I guess his experience was sufficient to think I had studied "too much". I can now understand the respect society gives to doctors. I sat next to this newfound acquaintance in the bus, and the discussion varied between "not getting addicted to anything" (he was talking about alcohol, and suggested I drink beer for my health. I almost agreed, but not really) to how society has stopped believing in God. That is a part I did not understand, and brought the subject around to alcohol again.
Day before yesterday, it was the eleven fifty bus that I caught, and I went through it without talking to anybody, including the conductor - I just handed him the exact change, and he gave me the ticket. This is a convenient system really. The point is that it is a very small route, with very few people, and most of the times, we look out for each other. We all know where everyone else gets down, and the regular conductors exchange pleasantries with the older people. I am young and not Maharashtrian enough to be plugged into the system, but I get along when the need comes.
So, make as much sense of all of this as possible, cannot really say much more, and remember a lot less than when I started, because of the various deviations, but the point of the matter is that at eleven forty nine today, railway time, I ended up at the Koknipada bus stop, and asked the bunch of conductors there if the parked bus was the eleven fifty bus in perfect Marathi.
"Akra pannas chi ahe ka?"
(Is this the eleven fifty one?)
"Konti?"
(Which one?)
"Koknipada"
(Koknipada)
"Ho"
(Yes)
"Kute jyachya hey?"
(Where do you want to go?)
"Koknipada"
(Now this was a lie. I wanted to go to Vasant Vihar, and the more popular line for this bus stop is the Pawar Nagar line. However, the Koknipada bus stops across the road from my gate, so I prefer the route.)
He nodded at this - and I took my place in the bus stop, the entire line consisted of only me. The conductor spoke to another college, in a whole string of Marathi sentences that were difficult to understand, but the discussion was cantered around the fact that they would have to run the bus for only one person, and that the routes had to be planned better. Also, some other conductor brought out an interesting point of share rickshaw people stealing away too many bus route people, but people like us (me) were left out in the process. Whoa. I didn’t understand too much of that, but guiltily remained to be the only guy in the bus stop. If you have been keeping track of the time, I had only a minute to wait.
That is how, I ended up being the only guy on a forty minute route. It was extravagant and luxurious. I was using up a lot of public money, a hell lot of diesel, all for only seven rupees and fifty paise. No one got on in the way, so it was me all the way from the station to my home. It felt like a chauffeured car, and somehow, inexplicably, I was gaining more from the transportation system more than anybody else, and the best part about the whole thing was, that I gave the conductor exact change.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

"The Magic Furnace" by Marcus Chown

Marcus Chown is a Cosmologist who writes books that reveal the magic in cutting edge scientific beliefs. "The Magic Furnace" is the story of our existence in three parts.
The first part is a historical account of the concept of atoms. From Democretis to Prout to Bacqueral, he reveals snippets of their everyday existence, and how they went about their investigations.
The second part starts with a study of the sun... and mankind's early attempts at exploring the stars. The book traces scientific thought, through Einstein's relativity, how light was discovered to be be more constant than space or time, how nuclear weapons were developed, through what channels scientific thought travelled during the war, how matter was discovered to behave like both waves and particals, and how pigeon shit lead to the finding of the absolute proof of the big bang.
The third part, plunges into the heart of the matter, and explains the creation of our universe as current science believes it. The book concludes with an extra-ordinary point: that the very atoms that make up humans and everything around them, were forged in the middle of stars. It is a long story that needs to be told, the book meanders through the false beliefs as neutrally as it treats the real ones. Its one of those books thats makes one feel clever, and therefore, is a must read.

All humans are brothers. We came from the same supernova.
-Allan Sandage.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Stupid Joke

I needed to hear a stupid joke, so I called up a friend.

"Hello, where are you?"
"I am at work"
"Oh ok, I wanted to hear a stupid joke"
"I am a little busy right now"
"Just one, give me a stupid joke"
"Why do you want a stupid joke for? I have better things to do"
"Do them, after you tell me a stupid joke"
"Here I am writing a report about murders and stuff, and you are asking me to crack jokes?"
"Oh...ok..."

That's when he decided to come up with one

"You know what? Someone got killed last night"

I don't know about you, but both of us started laughing. Shame on us. Maybe.

On the trail of girls

It is interesting... there is some kind of male that is the casual stalker. They pick upon a random girl or bunch of girls, and follow them for a while just to see where they are going. It might be difficult to understand why such an indulgence is necessary, but if you happen to be the kind of guy girls try to stay away from, this kind of a pursuit is oddly gratifying in some way. Maybe it was four years ago that two guys came behind us - a group of four girls and two boys, coming home after watching a movie. These two followed us all the way from the movie theatre, across the road, through a subway, and almost till the bus stop from which we were about to catch the bus when the girls decided something must be done about it. So my friend and I went over to the two of them, both hefty midgets with clothes that looked like they had come from Fashion Street, and we were good enough to politely ask them what they were up to. Apparently, they just wanted to have a word. One of them cheekily waved to the girls over my shoulder. They were apparently from the merchant navy, back for just a day, and all they wanted to do was talk. Now if they really were from the merchant navy, and deprived of girls, they might go and become homos for all I cared, but neither of us bought their story, and asked them not to follow us. They went away, but not before apologizing heavily to the girls, while keeping a distance. This was the part we felt weird, and didn't think too much about it, and went on our way.
Around a week ago, an interesting development occurred... two boys followed two girls just to see where they were going, but I was caught on the wrong side. There is this local shopping center which is apparently a hot spot for chicks, and I had no clue that guys from a large radius flocked to the place just to get a glimpse of girls coming out of a Junior College or hanging out at the shopping center. Now this might be disgusting to a lot of people, but it is a common occurrence, and that is no justification for what is about to follow.
A casual acquaintance of mine decided to take me to the Shopping Center to "check out" what he called "his girl". I was under the assumption that I would get to meet his girlfriend, and I thought what the hell, I had nothing better to do with my time, and decided to tag along. I have no clue how he managed to have his timing so accurate, for we had hardly entered the shopping arcade, when three girls and a boy walked in the opposite direction. He immediately turned around, and said "That's her" and started to follow the group, out of the Arcade. The group hung around at the parking lot, exchanging goodbyes, when one girl headed back in, the guy went another way, and the two remaining girls headed over to a shop on the opposite side of the road to get some cold drinks. My friend happened to be a smart-ass, and in this business for a long time, he called the guy as he went past us, and questioned him about the girl's name, and where she studied etc...
I was shocked out of my fucking wits, but remained neutral, just to see where all this was headed. Now the surprising thing is, this friend of the girl, totally co-operated. He told us her name, and other details - the only one that grabbed both our attentions was that she was single. I looked at her. She was a kid. I looked back at her friend, and we exchanged one of those looks where each scrutinizes the other, and masks the conclusions. He went his own way, smiling at my friend.
I just realised what had happened. There was no particular girl that my friend set out to meet in the first place, he just picked out one he "liked" at random, or by some own logic of his, if not random, and decided to follow her.
The two girls finished their drinks, and began walking down the road. I asked him if we were going to follow them, and I knew right then, that there was no question about it. I refused, right then, which put him in despair. He wanted me to come along, and this was his logic - If she saw me with him, she would know that he was a good guy because he had decent friends. Now this was a little flattering, so I decided to follow him, but ensure that he would not do anything weird. There was no disgust, there was curiosity about what my friend was really up to, so I decided that it would be an experience, and went along.
We followed her down the road, around a corner, up towards a bus stop, where I hoped she would catch a bus and leave. She didn't, and we walked on after that. My friend was contemplating out aloud whether or not she was headed home, and I barely listened to him - chasing a girl like this, gave him some kind of a kick. I was pretty sure he didn't have the balls to talk to her at any point of his life, and after today, he would forget all about her, but for that stretch of the road that he followed her, I was sure that she was being violated in some way. I pointed this out to him, and he said something like "What wrong are we doing? If she asks anything, I will speak to her rudely, deny that I am following her, and ask her to mind her own business"
Wow. That was exactly what I thought. That was just some logic too hard for me to comprehend, so I did not try to understand. I went along with him, enjoying him as much as he was enjoying her, and I think in much the same way. I was curious about his next move. She got into a housing colony. We went in behind her, he started wondering if she lived there, or would go through it to the other end. She walked right through, and I realised that we would have to walk a long way back, but I continued anyway. She did go through the other end, and entered another housing colony, where she turned in to her building. Now things were going too far. I took my friend away by offering him the bribe of a cigarette, which he gladly accepted. I felt a little used, but I didn't care too much about that. He had enough for a day - and this encounter, had actually satisfied him in some way. All of this was a week ago, and I had forgotten all about it till today.
Like wtf?

N-Deal

India sold itself out to America in the Nuclear deal. Who will the nuclear deal really benefit? The nuclear energy may be great for air conditioned malls or large industrial complexes, but the poverty struck farmers stand to gain nothing, and they will continue to live off government grants - a government that continues to be heavily indebted to the world bank. India has no grounds to feel all great about being given the status of a nuclear power - because what we are given some kind of half-backed pseudo recognition. The nuclear deal shows clearly that India has lost sight of its roots, it shows clearly that the government is driven by capitalist policies.
India no doubt has a lot to gain from nuclear energy. In fact, there is no option for India but to embrace nuclear technology, we just do not need American interference to achieve this. The ground beneath our feet is rich in Uranium, and the tests that imposed the sanctions in the first place proves our nuclear prowess much beyond grabbing America's long "helping" hand. If the working of government bodies and national institutions are not disturbed by capitalist multinationals grabbing our workforce, we will continue to develop independantly as a nuclear power and still be responsible for our culture and our ideologies.
The economy is no doubt booming, but poverty, and even hunger continue to be as problematic as they were when India achieved independance sixty years ago. Somewhere down the line, we have lost sight of all those ideals we faught so much for. Cotton farmers and cottage industries are still suffering as much as they were when India burnt foreign goods eighty years ago. The East India Company may have been wiped out off Indian soil long ago, but we still embrace western culture, and therefore western goods and commodities as much as we did all those years ago without realising what a mistake we are making. India has become globalised, and the Individuals are all looking to take care of themselves, with no care in the world for which government is in power and what it is doing. The corruption in the beurocracy and the sad fact that money is might and might is right, has managed to float the biggest pieces of shit to the top of the septic tank, and they are making the calls.
We are a third world population. We have a responsibility to the third world population. We cannot ideologically sell out China, Pakistan, Korea and Iran, which is what we are effectively doing if we go through with the Nuclear deal. America will have pwwwnnd India in a major geoplotical struggle, and gained a hold in the region. India will be effectively helping the American agenda of unipolarisation. Venezuela, for example, is a third world country that repaid all the loans it took from the world bank, didn't want any world bank interference in South America, and increased the price of the oil it sent to America. That is when America decided to head to Iraq in search of WMDs. Venezuela is a good model for India to follow, they didnt loose sight of their ideologies and preserved their integrity, so what if they have no role to play in global politics.
The booming economy of India should not be mistaken for actual, real, developement of the Indian population. We will remain a third world country, only reduced to the condition of the Arab world, where the few on top are very rich, and the rest dont have money to afford Burkhas. In India, the large middle class population centered in metropolitans that will continue to have a slightly better standard of living throughout their life cycles, commodity fetishism will facinate this demographic, and they will be removed away from the cultural security of what what was once India had to offer.
India is shifting sideways ideologically, and it is a dangerous trend in human interest.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Frogspawn

Spoilsort 2

The first rule of swimming is not to enter unknown waters. It was an old abandoned mill, and Amar knew that few people frequented the place. He had three other friends with him, and he felt a sudden thirst for water. The mill had a basement, a ground floor, that had been flooded with water of at least forty monsoons. There was no outlet, no drain, nowhere for all the accumulated water to go. Life was amazing, because it was not just amphibians that had made this water their habitat, but fish had come here as well, somehow.
The underground walls of the pool were mossy, but the water itself was crystal clear. So Amar decided to go skinny dipping. Even though it was his first time, he felt no shame, he was with friends he knew from a long time ago, and thought it would be fine to go in. He stripped, covered his privates, and entered the water. There were steps leading down to the pool. He felt his legs slipping on the moss a little bit, but he let it go. Tadpoles brushed past his body without caring too much about his presence. There was a bar of cheap soap kept on the last step, he didn't know who had come here to wash up. The others were taking a look around and had no clue that Amar had gone into the water.
Amar was still careful, he was an expert swimmer, and his primary concern was another level below the basement. He didn't know if there was one or not. The worst way to find out was to walk along the floor hoping to hold on to something if a gap opened up below him. He knew that this was the way most people drowned in lakes... because everyone always makes beginners mistakes, and when the floor gave way below your feet, it was easy to panic. Amar had panicked once, in a swimming pool. The idea was to look for coins at the bottom of the pool, and he had let out all the air in his lungs, had gone really deep down, and then panicked when he could not straighten himself to come back up. A lot of people were around him, and he had grabbed the swimwear of some uncle in his panic. Hairy butts are not a pretty sight even underwater. He called out that he was in the water and he got a unintelligible shout in reply.
He felt calm. Dipping was about this he thought. He felt naked at an entirely different level, his body was not the only thing exposed to and at the mercy of the elements, for a few fleeting moments, he actually had fun.
His friends began to call out for him. He ventured further away from the steps. The water flowed all under the mill, and the ground floor had squarish holes in the ground through which the water below could be looked at - manholes, more or less. His friends were looking in through a Manhole, and calling out to him to look at something. He found out that the ground beneath his feet were littered with planks of wood, huge blocks of cement, and other garbage he could not recognize. He walked upto the manhole that his friends were looking in through. He waved to them, they laughed that he had entered such water, and asked if it was safe for them to come in as well.
The splashing was fun. The tadpole catching with a plastic container, also fun. Finding coins was given up after the first one got lost somewhere. Shankar outlasted everyone in trying to hold his breath underwater. Nitin was the fastest in the race. Amar and Shivakumar both had a huge argument over who was second. Tired of all the swimming, they gathered under the manhole and were wondering what to do next.
Amar yelled as a clump of human faeces floated by. He tried to push it away in another direction, sending it towards Nitin. They all hurried out with a lot of splashing, which felt dirty, and no longer fun.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

To Be continued

01:40, Mumbai, 1994

"How often does it happen?"
"I think it happens all the time"
"Are you sure?"
"Look, there is an experiment to prove it, but you'll have to wait it out a long time"
"How long? What experiment?"
"Write down anything recently that you think happened to you, and seal it in an envelope... for a long time"
"And that will prove...?"
"That what you read when you open it will be different from what you think you wrote"

"Trip a photon through a slit"
"Dude like whats your obsession with the slits?"
"Yeah man, its like he's been jamming"
"What?"
"We are late for the lectures, let us head in"
"Amar keeps worrying about such little things"
"Dude like whats your obsession with Amar man?"
"Sssshhh... we are late for the lectures, let us head in"

"What happened?"
"A man came and spoke to me."
"And..."
"He wanted me to volunteer"
"Volunteer for what?"
"This... experiment"
"What experiment?"
"Well, mostly it was paperwork. Tests. Loads and loads of them, we were paid like crazy for every test we took, and they asked us everything."
"Err...."
"Yeah man... they called it counselling"
"Counselling?"
"Yeah, I was signed up for it, so I went through it... shit man, it was crazy"
"And..."

"Yeah!"
"Phew...."
"Does it work?"
"Switch"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

थे randomizer

A long time ago, my friend and I got a little out of hand and did something terrible... I took sadistic pleasure in clicking photos of him fooling around with his head... after he had detached it from his body. I had forgotten all about it till the Randomizer threw up his pic.

Friday, September 07, 2007

First Born

Life from somewhere else has been an interesting human facination for a long time now. We have fantasized about life from other planets, other planes and even other universes. We have fantasized of life without material bodies, and life within inanimate objects. We have searched for a logical continuation of life after death, and a logical beggening of life from before birth. We have enlivened creatures that never existed... zombies, unicorns, centaurs, mermaids... the lot. We have aliens and we have robots. Humans have basically looked for intelligent life everywhere, but overwhelmingly, every human knows, that our race is one of a kind.

We are alone in a universe that we will never really completely explore. We can hope, maybe to reach out to the closest stars after mind bogglingly large voyages spanning generations of human inhabitants in colonising spaceships. This at least, for now, is an absolute eventuality. It may begin to happen in the next century or the next millenium, that does not matter. What matters is that some day our descendants are going to go out there.

The universe is young. So is our race. We have barely touched the moon, and as a race, we cannot be stuck here on Earth for ever. The Earth is not permanent, it is a clump of dense matter orbitting a larger clump of denser matter. Life, however, has the potential to outlast the Earth, and even the sun. Attaching our race to the planet is out and out suicidal. We have to leave, and we will, someday.

Life will then take its own course. Speciation occors on different banks of the same river... imagine the gulfs between two bases. Maybe we do not need to head out to another planet. Maybe we don't need a destination at all... just a vessel in an enormous trajectory will do, and something like this is the most basic of all possible plans of action for the preservation of our genes.

What if we are living in the dawn. The early ages. What if our life is indeed unique. What if every strand of DNA in the whole wide universe is entrusted to the gravity of the Earth? As the first sentient life forms in the universe, we might be the very creatures we fantasize about. What if, it is the responsibility of men, to seed the stars. By all accounts, we are the first born.

Monday, September 03, 2007

#

# Clipboard getting contaminated by cut/copied text-strings
# Animated events a waste of time
# Irritation at diversity of formats for audiovisual media
# Graphic User Interfaces too graphic
# Software and hardware too fragile
# Interconnectivity economically taxing
# Short life spans of operating systems
# Cross-platform compatibility terribly low
# Technological blocks parallel to barriers of class, gender, nationality, culture and race.
# Not enough progress

फक थिस ब्लॉगर हिंदी थिंग

This one came over the grapevine... doing the "I'm feeling lucky" thing on a "love" google. Seems to be inspired from notebook scribbles... two names and you get a compatibility index... links follow on to online personality contests... and a campaign for a drug free America.

Friday, August 31, 2007

for later use

`1234567890-=\qwertyuiop[]asdfghjkl;'zxcvbnm,.~!@#$%^&*()_+QWERTYUIOP{}ASDFGHJKL:"ZXCVBNM<>?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Quickie

Dragged the paper out of his bag. Unrolled it, and showed the headline to his friend. Friend had a glance at it and said "this keeps going on."
"What?"
"Stuff".
"What do you think. What's wrong with the whole picture here really?"
"Picture quality"
"I refuse to make sense of things like that"
The newspaper was folded carefully. It was put within the bag. A Cd case right next to it was taken out. When the CD came out, it caught a mid afternoon photon shower, which promptly became a brief spectrum, lost in four blinking eyelids.
"How much time do we have?"
"Never enough"
"Its irritating."
This remark altered the flow of the conversation. It was personal. It reflected on the type of responses given. The emotions kicked in. A need was felt to defend the necessity of such kind of speech.
"What am I to say if I know my replies are unsatisfactory?"
"Don't say anything"
The attack, was however not really intended anymore at the replies, but their nature. It called for a truce between two bodies. A change of the subject was imminent...
"Mind or body?"
On the other side, suspicions were being formulated, the mind had floated, for a second, into consideration, into preperation, for a plan of action, when the question had cut across to a choice. The lips of the speaker had been drawn into the mouth, when a number of responses were generated in anticipation of any question that might be asked. Retorting, questioning the basis, cross examining the premises were the possible courses of action, the one chosen was to take a side and not be a fence sitter. This was false bravery, as it meant a lie.
"Neither"
"what do you mean"
"My identity is independant of the existence of my mind or body"
"The question is not addressed to your identity"
"What is it addressed to then?"
"Oh"
Thoughts spiralled through pathways in the brain. They darted between a thousand different things. A defense was necessary.
"You must be clever enough to know what I want to ask."
Defense mechanisms can be powerful. A long span of eyelock was broken. The reaction had to be equal and opposite to the action.
"Identity, has always been at a crisis, but it can be as easily encapsulated into the mind or into the body"
"You are going in circles. I was asking you in particular."
"I knew that, I was being defensive"
"Defensive of what?"
A long silence ensued.

Another passing spectrum was caught. As always, it was a distraction. The calm was broken by a passing thought that was caught again. "Why did you give me the CD?"
"What?"
"This"
The body had relaxed enough in the short span of silence. It had become slightly mischievious. The sunlight was purposefully deflected towards eyes that escaped after a millisecond of glare.
"Don't do that!"
"Ok, why did you give it to me?"
"The shit you asked for man"
"Music?"
"Yeah."
"Go on."
"What?"
"Why do you like to listen to this kind of stuff?"
"Ah... I appreciate the parts of the industry that takes the seriousness of the medium to its heart."
"Sweet man, thanks a lot, I think I will like it to."
"Never over the din"
"What din?"
"listen..."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Landstreak

The traveller had no time to reflect, he knew he walked. The fish, they swam. The reptiles slithered. The birds flew. The Animals walked. The traveller was one of them. He asked to himself why he was different. He understood that man stood apart because he walked... erect.
Below his feet, the road was a little more made.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Indian Regional Journalism

Index
Introduction
Vernacular Press 1800-1901
Vernacular Press 1901-2007
The Bengali Press
The Hindi Press
The Marathi Press
The Malyalam Press
The Telegu Press
The Urdu Press
The turning point
Conclusion

Introduction

It is impossible to ascertain many things about the regional language newspapers in India. For example, is the newspaper Industry young or old? There is no way to say... the history of Indian Newspapers reaches far back into the past, to the time of Moghuls before the Company came to Indian shores, who introduced news carriers to India. However, even today, new ideas and editorial policies continue to show up, ensuring that the industry is very much blooming even after many newspapers have been around for over a hundred and fifty years. Is the industry thriving or on the way out? People are undoubtedly reading smaller and smaller fractions of newspapers, and yet, newspapers are printing and distributing increasing amounts of matter. It is vital to get a sense of why the Indian press is different from those in other countries.

Unique features of the Indian press

# Newspapers compete only with newspapers of the same language, there are many newspapers in many Indian languages, that all started in the pre-independance era. An industry with such a diversity in its beggenings will have a rapid growth. Newspapers in India are overproduced.

# The most important feature of the Indian newspaper industry is, simply put - unity in diversity. Indian regional language newspapers work together, focus on the same issues, and still maintain a sense of unity sixty years after they helped us gain our freedom.

# The Indian press has grown rapidly, but has not grown enough. Many areas remain backward, and in terms of say technology, or professionalism, the Indian Press still has a lot of scope for growth.

# Despite having the most circulated newspapers in the world, according to UNESCO figures, the circulation per head of population in India is among the lowest for any country in the world. Which means there is scope for tremendous growth.

# From the historical point of view, a lot of newspapers have seen the country to changes in the poilitical and economic systems, survived from the beggening to the end of the Independance struggle... this indicates the stability of the press, it is not possible for the Indian press not to grow.

# Most importantly, it is still relatively easy to start a newspaper. New newspapers continue to hit the stands at a steady rate. Most Indian newspapers are owned and run by Individuals. The next largest number by societies and associations.

1800-1901

"In the early portion of its career, the Indian press had been left to follow its own courses and no other check than that which the law of libel imposed. The character of the papers of early days sufficiently shows that the indulgence was abused, and that, while they were useless as vehicles of information of any value, they were filled with indecorous attacks upon private life and ignorant censures of public measures"
-James Mill

# Imagine, in the early nineteenth centure, the Indian Press was not even two decades old, the newspapers were shoddy and just plain bad, and yet, the exchange of news between Calcutta and Bombay was something that scared the company. The Governor General himself had to step in during the second Mahratha war asking newspapers like the India Gazette and the Bengal Harakuru asking them not to publish naval info or ongoings in the government. Soon, however, the government would have to depend upon the newspapers because they brought together the news better than any government agency.

# Adam's Press ordinance, held the press responsible for much the same things as the letter from the Governer general. It basically allowed for "intelligence solely of a commercial nature." The commercialisation of news is considered to be a big problem now a days, but back then, it was very important to unify the country economically. The poverty, the illetracy and the standard of living was outright inhuman. Trade was promoted through advertising in these early newspapers, and this, as a whole, lead to economic unification of India, something vital for the Independance struggle.

# This was India before freedom, before even home rule was an idea. Raja Ram Mohun Roy's Mirat-ul-Akhbar tried to "communicate to the rulers a knowledge of the real situation of their subjects ad make the subjects acquainted with the established laws and customs of their rulers; that the rulers may more readily find an opportunity of granting relief to the people, and the people may be put in posession of the means of obtaining protection and redress of their rulers". This clearly shows that back then, the British rule paled as a problem in front of all the other social atrocities.

# The freedom of the Press itself, had to be achieved before freedom for the country could be achieved. Whether or not the press should be given freedom was discussed at length in the British Parliament. They were afraid that anti-Raj sentiments would spread across the country if newspapers were allowed to run amock. However, the newspapers of those times were concenterating on other, more pressing issues. Issues like widow re-marriage, girl child education, the practice of sati, nad the supression of thuggee, a practice of ritual murder by dacoits.

# For a short span of time, the British government and the Indian press worked together to heavily reform the Indian society. The foundations for the reforms were laid by the publications of Raja Ram Mohun Roy, where social issues were discussed at length. Lord Bentinck, saw the scope for social reform through the agency of newspapers, and relaxed regulations on the press. Lord Bentinck took the step of abolishing Sati, and openly acknowledged Raja Ram Mohun Roy's contribution.

# Lord Bentinck's liberal regime spawned many new newspapers. In 1820, sixteen Indian language newspapers were published.

Dailies: Prabhakar, Chandroday, Mahajan Darpan
Tri-weekly: Bhaskar
Bi-Weekly: Chandrika, Rasaraj
Weekly: Gyanddarpan, Bangdut, Sadhurajan, Gyan Sancharini, Rasasaguev, Rangpur Bartabahu, Rashmudgar
Monthly: Tatwa Bodhini

# In 1832, Bombay darpan, an Anglo-Marathi weekly asked the government for subscriptions and support. This showed a certain amount of trust in the government, and Sir Charles Metcalfe, who had an illustrious career, introduced heavy social reforms. He was against the unnecessary censure of the press, despite the growing dissatisfaction with the regime. He can be said to have freed the press of India, however he made English the official language. He said "I take it as universally granted that the press ought to be free, subject, of course to the laws, provided it be not dangerous to the stability of out Indian Empire"

# Some papers, like the Chandrika, were damaging to India in the liberal phase of the early press, by supporting acts such as Sati. Between 1800 and 1850, the press experienced a state of steady growth, helped by the liberal administration, that saw more good than harm coming out of the press.

# This progress was halted by the rebellion of 1857. Although the contribution of the press to bringing about the rebellion itself was very little, the press was blamed heavily for it. Things changed after that, the Persian and Urdu press were outspoken in their support for the rebellion, the English newspapers spoke strongly against it, there were many Indians in high places all in for the Raj, and the newspapers in the north west provinces maintained a moderate tone.

# The British government reacted strongly. They thought the press had "sown sedition" in "the natives" and therefore promulgated what is known as the "gagging act" of Lord Canning. Many cases were filed against the press for incitement of the rebellion. In retrospect, it is impossible to imagine the feelings of those behind the newspapers who actually believed that they were cause for the revolution without knowing it!

# "A free press and the domination of strangers are things which are quite incompatible and which cannot long exist together" -Sir Thomas Monroe

# The Gagging Act was imposed mostly in Bengal. Many Urdu Newspapers died out. Bombay newspapers defended India from the attacks of the English press. All this, must be seen as normal everyday competition we see in the papers today... in terms of news angles and approaches. It is sudden and immideate only in retrospect, in the time period, the going was really slow.

# The Amrita Bazaar Patrika, at this time, focused on uplifting the masses from slave-like existance. "They are more dead than alive, and need to be roused from their slumber. Our language has, therefore, to be loud and penetrating."

# By 1870, the press was growing rapidly.
Indian language newspapers in Bombay: 62
North West privinces, Oudh and Central Provinces: 60
Benga: 28
Madras: 19

# The sudden growth of the Indian Press scared the British because there was so much in it that they could not understand. Condensing their feelings in a few words is difficult, but imagine ruling a country where your subjects speak in twenty different native languages and circulate newspapers in these languages, and exchange ideas and opinions in these languages, and all you know is English, and many of the said natives do not know your language. It is understandable that the Indian press had a reputation for passing about motifs and symbols right under the noses of the Raj. It is surprising that the Raj survived for such a long time under such circumstances, they wouldn't have, if it were not for the extensive restrictions they placed on the press.

# 1879 Sir Ashley Eden, passed the Vernacular Press act, at a conference attended by one Indian Maharaja, Jotindra Mohan Tagore, who supported it. The act treated English Newspapers differently from regional language papers, and allowed for excessive censorship and control over the papers. It was recieved with heavy criticism by the Press. Somehow, this act seems to be very important, because it changed forever the tone of the regional press, and was the turning point in the history of India.

# One year later, by 1880, Buckland, who was the Press Comissioner under the Vernacular Press act wrote "although some improvement had taken place in the style and language of Vernacular papers since the introduction of the Vernacular press act, their general tone was one of opposition to Government and government measures.

# During this period, newspapers spread to all regions, and newspapers were published in many languages, including Persian and Oriya. This information is vital, because newspapers all across the country would in the coming decades focus on the growing sense of nationalism brought out forst regionally, and then on a larger scale. Socially, politically, morally, and economically, India took a large growth spurt in the following fifty years, through the agency of the press.

# Vishnu Krishna chiplonkar started the Kesari and this was later taken over by Bal Ganghadhar Tilak. Newspapers at this time were compared to nightwatchmen, the government was in constant fear of the public opinion, and the newspapers were nurturing the public opinion.

# The focus, was not on the backwardness of the Indian society itself, but on various laws and procedures of the British administration. The ryotwari system of land tenure, the destriction of municipal and judicial institutions, the grinding taxation, the costly machinary of the government, the extripation of the local industry, and of native aristocracy, these were the issues tackled by the press.

# The newspapers, themselves, were not at all careful in how they accumalated and presented matter, and the Mahratta was involved in a defamation suit. Tilak and Agarker were imprisoned for four months, but this only brought about public sympathy.

# The Deccan Education Society was started by Tilak, Namjoshi, Apte and Agarkar. Tilak moved away from the society, and focused on political freedom instead of social reform. Inspired by the Amrita Bazaar Patrika, he started a campaign against the age of consent bill.

# Within the press, for the first time ever, there were parallel and alternate views, sometimes even contradictory, Tilak and Gokhle, for example, went off in two seperate directions. The relations between the Congress and the Social Conference was sour. Things changed in the new century, after Ranade's death.

1901-2007


# The Kesari reflected Tilak's aggressive Nationalism. The Dnyan Prakash became a daily newspaper and was known for its constructive criticism of news and views. Gokhle edited the Sudharak, an Anglo-Marathi newspaper from Poona.

# Gokhle supported the freedom of the press, and in 1903, he opposed the amendment of the Official Secrets Act of 1889. Civil matters would be placed at par with military operations by the act, and this would affect heavily the governance reporting of the news papers. In 1907, Gokhle again opposed the seditious meeting bull. all these were proposed to curb the growing agitation.

# Tilak died on August 1, 1920, after giving many electrifying speeches on Home Rule, and one day later, Gandhi launched his non-cooperation movement.

# One English paper, must be mentioned here, the Young India, published by Gandhi... Mahatma Gandhi was a journalist, few people know of this act. He edited the greatest weeklies the world has ever known. He published no advertisements, and at the same time, did not allow the newspapers to run at a loss. No paper has till then, or since, been published like this. He published the Indian Opinion in Enlgihs, Tamil and Gujrathi, sometimes, manually running the printing press himself. In Young India of July 2, 1925, he wrote "I have taken up journalism not for its sake but merely as an aid to what I have concieved as my mission in life."

# It was a state of turmoil and agitation from then on. The regional newspapers survived two world wars, and internal resistance against eh government and many phases of the freedom movemet. Malhanlal Chaturvedi must be mentioned here as a forceful journalist amongst editors of Hindi newspapers in the central provinces. The Sandesh from Nagpur and from Bombay flourished under AB Kolhatkar's editorship. The Maharashtrian was started in Nagpur by GA Ogale. The Milap popped up in Lahore and later moved to Delhi. How much the press contributed to the freedom struggle is anybodies guess, but it was vital, because its very nature had changed. It called for such radical action, and the standards of journalism were stretched so much to meet the need for the hour, that the press took a detour for a span of thrity years, and was no longer the press, but isntead an agency to spread the struggle.

# The long and persistant prosecution of the press came to an end with the achievement of Independace. What came next was really the golden age of the Indian Press. It already had a long history, strong foundations, and the Nation was young, and the future, bright.

# The press had been growing, in spite of limitations (all the machinary was imported and costly, distribution channels not well established, readership shifting and unsteady). The growth was uneven. The rate of growth of the newspapers, however, corresponded to the growth of literacy, economy and communications technology.

# Major efforts were taken post Independance to help the press grow, the Press Commission (1952-54) published a report which recomended the developement of the Indian Press on the basis of diffused ownership, as this would in a sense serve the needs of the Indian democracy.

# The government did nothing to interfere with the freedom of the press, and it is like that till date.

# Post Independace, Neheru playerd a large part in Shaping all thinking about the press, as Gandhi had done before the Independance. He was opposed by powerful sections of the press, but he had mass appeal as he was a product of adult suffrage. He stood for tolerence, asked for an agressive, critical press, and expected the press to have dignity, knowledge and high standards.

# The hang-over of the Raj, a spirit of defiance and of constant railing of the authorities continues till date because of the Press.

# Many times, the authorities of Indpendant India have tried to underrate the importance of the freedom of the press, and to impose restraints in the name of law and order, but this has never been done to a great extent.

# The press in India continues to flourish as the most vibrant amongst all nations, and is the chief source of shaping of public opinion.

Bengali Press

# Driven by its commitment to preserve the highest standards in Bengali language and culture, Anandabazar Patrika devised a way to use the complete set of Bengali characters in the word processing software, a decade before Unicode.
# The Anandabazar Patrika, is rightly called the "Voice of Bengal."
# In 1954, the Press Commission report declared Anandabazar Patrika to be the largest circulated newspaper in the country, published from one location.
# Over the years, Anandabazar Patrika has achieved many milestones along the way — it was the first in the east and one of the first in the country to use offset printing.

# Filling up of Niche audiences is seen in new regional language newspapers. Ganashakti is the mouthpiece for the communist Party's Bengal state unit, but has the claim to the best science and technology reporting around.

# Seven years after its launch, figures show an impressive circulation of 2,58,117 copies, making Sangbad Pratidin the third largest Bengali Daily, after ABP and Bartaman. One primary reason for its growth in popularity could be attributed to its strictly unbiased news coverage. It is the only Bengali daily that has a supplement everyday of the week, providing variety and diversity as well as entertainment to its readers.

# Sangbad Pratidin is targetted at the young, upcoming Bengali, who are looking beyond tradition and heritage, in their quest to keep page with the changing times.
Constant efforts are made to improve the quality and content of the news coverage and articles, to provide the ultimate reading satisfaction and maintain contemporarity. The supplements of this paper are very vibrant and popular.

# The Aajkaal is a Bengali newspaper started in 1981, and currently edited by Mr. Ashok Dasgupta. It is a leftist newspaper, but is better known for its excellent standards of sport reporting.

# The Bartaman Patrika has the second largest circulation after ABP in Bengal, and is an anti-establishment paper. The Uttar Banga Sambad is another Bengali paper of importance that has a considerable hold over northern Bengal.

Hindi Press

# The Bhaskar group is the largest read newspaper group of India with a total readership of Rs 2.67 crores, as per NRS 2006.
# The Dainkik Bhaskar is as technically advanced as the Sakal. It uses state of the art machinary, and is published all across northern India. Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior, Raipur, Bilaspur, Ajmer, Bikaner, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Kota, Sekhawati, Udaipur, Hisar, Panipat, Amritsar, Jalandhar, and Chandigarh.
# Dainik Bhaskar is a part of the 3D syndication, which is a virtual feed from three leading newspapers in India. The other two papers are Divya Bhaskar and DNA.
# Sanmarg, is a Hindi newspaper published from Kolkatta.
# The hindi press as a whole has the largest readership. More newsprint exists today in Hindi than any other language in the world.
# The "Dainik Jagran" has 31 editions and the only daily to print over 200 sub-editions, each one customized in content to the needs of the readers in different geographical areas.
# According to NRS-2005 DAINIK JAGRAN,is the highest read National Daily across all languages (including English) in India with a phenomenal readership of 21.24 Million Readers .
# The 1st Indian publication to cross the 20 million readership mark, is the Dainik Jagran. An ABC certified Net paid Sales of over 2.4 million copies (Source : ABC Jan-Jun 05).
# Rajasthan Patrika is the initiator in the development of 'Journalism in Rajasthan'. It is committed to provide reliable, authentic, and apolitical news, to educate the masses and give voice to issues that concern their lives.

Marathi Press

# Samna tried to campaign socially for some causes now, but it does not garner much support now. It started the sons-of-the-soil campaign.

# Shivram Maharaj Atre, and Paranjpe, were principal marathi satirical writers. There have been no significant marathi satirist since them. Bal Thackeray was a satirical cartoonist, but not for a regional newspaper.

# Most Marathi newspapers are socially committed.

! While most newspapers have websites, the Sakal has a blog, and a very interesting one at that. The address is sakalblog.blogspot. The Sakal is in fact, much more tech savvy than even English Language newspapers. It embraces technology like Smartflow and SAP, which both enable to streamline business processes and network a lot of people together.

# The Events Division of the Sakaal Group organizes special events with mass appeal like exhibitions, conferences and seminars. And, to top it all, the Sakaal Group of Publications works for social causes through its instruments like the Sakaal Relief Fund, which is aimed at providing immediate aid to victims of natural disasters, and Madhurangan, which is an exclusive forum for women, to name just two.

# The Sakal was founded by Nanasaheb B Parulekar in 1932. Parulekar was a student who went to the United States, got a doctrate in sociology, married a foreigner, came back to Pune and indulged in social reform activities. He modelled the "Sakal" after leading newspapers in the US.

# Sakal's attitude was so different that it was an innovation in Marathi Press. The paper was taken over by the Sharad Pawar family. Changes were brought about in the layout and design of the paper, and seperate editions were launched in Solapur, Nasik and Mumbai. It is still considered the best Marathi paper.

# Every tier-2 city in Maharashtra has a favorite home newspaper, The Gomantak in Panaji, The Pudhari and Sanchar in Kolhapur, The Sarwamat in Shrirampur, The Tarun Bharat in Belgaum, the Lokmat and daily Deshdhooth in Jalgaon.

Malyalam Press

# The Malyalam Manorama has a National Identity similiar to that of the Anand Bazaar Patrika.

# Although Malyalam Manorama has been plagued with controversy, and has spurious relations with illegit firms, it has a solid foundation because of its social outreach programmes. The Manorama has sponsored villages where it had no subscribers. It organises cultural programs twice every year to reach out to its readers in Mumbai.

# The Chandrika is a Muslim League newspaper run from Khazaikode.

# The Deshabhimani describes itself like this : "It continues to champion the cause of the common folks - the factory worker, the office goer, the farm labourer, the small businessman, the self-employed. These are, in fact the people who constitute the largest chunk of the consumer market in the state. That's why it wields so much influence with large masses of Kerala's population. To them, Deshabhimani has become a unbreakable habit, a daily ritual, as much as the Malayalee's well-known penchant for a daily morning bath or brushing the teeth."
# The Deshabhimani is a paper known for its Marxists views
# Malabar, Cochin and Travelcore till date have a unique identity, although they were merged together to form the state of Kerla. Each area has its local newspapers, which is a unique feature in Malayalam journalism.
# The Mangalam, the Matrabhumi and the Kerla Kaumudi are other important Kerla Dailies.

Telegu Press

# The origin of Telegu Journalism is different from all other language groups.

# Till 1946, Telegu people had no home land, unlike other languages. The core of the telegu clan was Hyderabad, and it was ruled by a Nizam, whose court language was Urdu.

# Some border areas between Maharashtra and Karnataka spoke in Telegu.

# This was the picture till 1956, when the demand for a Telegu speaking state came about with great vigour, Potti Sriramalla started a fast unto death demanding a Telgu speaking state... and died. It was the congress that started dividing responsibilities across the countries by linguistically dividing its chapters. People had a linguistic "national" identity because of this, and wanted a linguistic state. Till that point of time, the government had more pressing problems, like agriculture and poverty. There was a general outcry in the Telegu speaking areas, and riots broke out.

# In the 1920s, the Andhra Prabha and the Andhra Patrika came about.

# The Andhra Prabha belonged to the Indian Express group. The Andhra Patrika was run by a small industrial group (which produced and sold the amrutanjan balm). The offices of both papers, were located in Madras, Chennai.

# When the state of Andhra Pradesh came into existence, Ramoji Rao (a young journalist stationed in Delhi representing the Andhra Prabha and met people deeply studying the working of newspapers) launched Eenadu in Telegu. This is because it came into existance on the newly formed homeland of Andhra Pradesh after the linguistic re-organisation of states. In many ways, the press continued the freedom struggle after India won its Independance.

# The Eenadu had an initial print order of 4000 copies. There was a drive to increase its circulation in the eighteen districts of Andhra Pradesh. Each district headquaters had a correspondant who filed an extensive report.

# Within the first five years, the Eenadu had covered all the Talukas with local tabloid inserts.

# MR. Ramamoorthy Rao appointed 2500 ad solicitors, the job of these 2500 people was to go door to door and educate the rural people about advertising and newspapers. The concept of advertising was alien to the largely illiterate agricultural society of Andra Pradesh. Eenadu carried important Birthday parties, aniversaries, ceremonies and festivals. There was an increase in the social prominance of the people who advertised. All the local editions became self sufficient, and increased local circulation.

# The Eenadu today has 18 editions in AP, and 6 editions outside AP.

# The Eenadu's coverage of the women disgracing drunk men in a villiage by parading them on donkeys lead to the government abolishing country liquor in the state. In 1992, the Eenadu started a full woman's page, which became a popular series.

# The Eenadu wiped out its competition, the Andhra Prabha and the Andhra Patrika. The Eenadu dominated the Telegu journalism scene within twenty five years.

! The Eenadu, in Telegu, means "Today" or "Our Land" according to different translators.

# The Eenadu has a strong influence over its readership, and because of its open criticisms of the government, it is considered to be the de-facto opposition party.

# The Vaartha was a hyperactive hi-tech infotech attempt, initiated in 1996 where editors waited for news to pour in as late as four in the morning. Initially, it was very popular, then all the fuss died down within a year.


Urdu Press

# By the beginning of the twentieth century, there were about 70 Urdu journals, unlike the nineteenth century when the Urdu press had numerical superiority over the Hindi press.

# Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad started his weekly, the Al Hilal, on June 1, 1912. The Al Hilal made its influence felt within four weeks of its birth. Within six months, its circulation had reached the figure of 11000. It became so famous, that study circles were formed where the Al Hilal was read out loudly to a group of people.

# Maulana defended the right of cow slaughter for Muslims in the Al hilal, and the influence of the journal was as far reaching as to effect Eruopeans.

# The Madina of Bijnor, started in 1912, achieved considerable influence over Muslim opinion, so did the Urdu paper of Humdum started in Lucknow.

# In 1945, two years before the Independance, the Qaumi Awaz was started in Lucknow, as a sister publication of the National Herald by Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders.

# The Urdu papers suffered greatly from the Partition. Several of them lost their base at Lahore and had to rehabilitate themselves in fresh fields.

# The Munsif and the Siasat from Hyderabad, the Hind Samachar from Jalhandar and the Urdu Times from Mumbai are the principle Urdu newspapers currently in circulation.

The turning point

# Considering the size of the population and the readership in many languages, the press has a long was to go and has a bright future.

# There has been no planning for the press, either for its growth or for its developement, this will help the regional press grow.

# Indian regional newspapers have a great potential for growth.

# The country is still growing, and although newspapers in India have the highest readerships anywhere in the world, they still fall far below the UNESCO standards per head because of the large amount of illeterate population. However, for a country that is growing so aggressively, and coming out particularly in those regions untouched by urbanisation, there is no question that regional journalism is about to have large growth spurts.

# Almost every taluka and district all over India has at least one newspaper that is not registered with the audit bureau of circulation. There are many newspapers that circulate exteremely local news, and carry advertisements of local merchants. There is no count of how many such papers exist, but there are many.

! There are 41 countries without a single newspaper. Even today.

# Newspaper economics will undergo evolution in future growth. Investment, cost and availibility of machinary and newsprint, literacy and spread of telecommunication technology will all play a part.

# A co-operative press has a much better prospects of growth than a competetive one.

# Sucessive National readership surveys show the following trends:
- Increase in the reach of the press in terms of dailies, weeklies and periodicals
- The population, is however, growing at a much faster rate than the press, so the press is constantly catching up to its readership
- (From NRS 2006) Dailies have driven this growth in the press medium, their reach rising as a proportion of all individuals aged 12 years and above – which is the universe defined for NRS – from 24% to 25%. Magazines have declined in reach from 9% to 8% over the last one year. (This is the Trend opposite to developed Nations, where newspapers are losing out to Magazines)
- Collectively, there is a lot of Niche journalism going on that is yet to be studied. Many residential areas all over urban India have a small newspaper of their own.
- More scope for growth in Rural areas than in Urban areas

# The Indian press has scope for growth overseas

Conclusion
The power of the Indian press is not seen in it playing a part in the freedom struggle, not in the eradication of a multitude of social evils, and not even in true spiritual and psychological upliftment of its readership. The power of the Indian press is with the farmer who mourned the death of his bull in a full page obit.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

She Creates Curtainriser



http://www.mammovies.com

What goes Krrrrrr.... in the night?

Its funny really, the answer apparently, is Gryllidae.

Its funny really, there are so many noises heard in the dead of the night. You wonder what they are and where they come from. The one that is hardest to hear of all is the tick of the clock. The tick is buried in the subconscious as a very common sound, so it takes particular effort to hear. But its always there, and most households have more than one timepiece. That means there is more than one tick, clocks don't all tick together, no matter how close to time they are. So there is a loud set of ticks close by, and a whole bunch of fainter sets of ticks from all around - its a fraction of the ambient noise of the night.

Water dripping. Pretty picturesque, but leaky taps are only half the problem. That too, is a common sound, but the problem is there are a whole bunch of sounds not from faucets, but of water dripping nonetheless. The Air Conditioners of a standard housing society have a light metal din going on almost all the time. A drop of water from the twelfth floor may encounter a lot of aluminium sheeting before it ends up in the skies the next morning. Piping's are peppered with small bursts of drain water escaping into a slight splash of a pool below. And abandoned vehicles leaking fluids make a soft "splichfsss" of a sound. Ends up as muck and grease.
Many other things go on in the night now a days. Television programs, the radio, some guy with a good stack of pirated Cd's... you never know what faint echo will die just short of your ears. In certain conditions, some guy with a good audio setup in his car blasting psytrance can be heard faintly but distinctly from kilometers away because of the kind of music trance is.
Vehicles... alarms going off as somebody brushes past, in reverse and sounding recently out dated songs in jarring tones, and worst of all, honking. There will be late night bikers racing by, the odd party in a car that could support a village, and of course, the good police on their periodic patrols. When an ambulance goes by in the middle of the night... you might just wake up with a bad dream.
Doors. Opening, closing. Keys. Jingling. Footsteps, going up and going down and round about. What is imagined, what is real, what is mistaken, is anybodies prerogative. The elevators, have an alarm for when their doors are open. More or less, the sound is "Krrrr...." There are many elevators around, so it is very likely that there is a faint "krrr..." somewhere about always. The "Krrrrr...." is the one sound that can really freak the living hell out of someone.
Imagine, spending sleepless nights wondering why in hell there is a faint "krrrr" always about in the night? It is pretty easy to hear. Just stick your head into a night, and the sound will come right into your ears. It is distinct, unwavering and constant. Where the hell must it be coming from?
The far out explanations included lifts always being open somewhere... this was a little too improbable but sufficient reasoning till something better came along. The brain is tuned in to hearing the background radiation of creation. That is was just plain unscientific... we would have heard the big bang long ago then. Was it the hiss of electricity passing through the wiring around the house? Probably, but still, one should then hear all sorts of buzzing noises in the head...
Understandably then, a closer and more careful analysis of the "krrrrrrrr" was carried out, and the sound was concluded to be real. This must probably be the general ambient sound of the night. Maybe all the sounds that sounded in the night accumulated into a general planet-wide "krirrrrring" and it was just buried in the subconscious, just like many other sounds. The quest for the source of the "kirrrrrring" was prematurely abandoned.

So, one night, I am walking home, and am thinking of nothing in particular, when something beneath my shoes goes "crunch". I took a step back, look down and realise that I have stepped on a cricket.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Outrageous ways to make money from technology

Outrageous....

# Put all the porno you have collected over the years to good use. Videoblog it. Take screencaps of the videos and photoblog them. Scan local regional magazines to get loads of hits. PS. Put Ad sense in the sidebar.

# Sell clothes from Fashion Streets... at auction portals.

# Buy pirated CDs before their release and mail in reviews to mags and papers

# Try selling ringtones and songs over IR/Bluetooth/GPRS and local trains. Be frank about the fact that you expect money.

# Sell your old computer parts individually, or mem cards, or software etc...

Whats your e-mail id?

@hotmail.com
Stuck up people who are holding on to old communities and chat circles formed in the haydays of internet use. Technophobic because they are slightly behind the internet growth. Bunch of senti guys.


@gmail.com

Are constantly introduced to the forefront of internet technology. The form the youngest demographic. Students and most of the corporate workforce. Users are likely to have put photos online, maintained a blog, spent time on youtube or owned a community.

@yahoo.com
Some brand loyalty happening here. A bunch of people who have struck a balance with the internet. These guys don't spend too much time online. They are aware of their online options, and yet choose to use the net in a guarded and safe manner. Unfortunately, they have a fetish for forwards.

@rediffmail.com
This is the internet spread to the lower middle class. Has surprising penetration into a very smart and large demographic. Desi spasm, scams and photos of couples in cybercafes all originate from here.

@.com
Either people who have worked to the technological high points in their lives and regged a domain for themselves, or some corporate guy abusing his professional e-mail. Will probably get fired soon. Those guys keep a track of your forwards and internet activity man.

@indiatimes.com
Are somehow dependant on the Times for a living. This portal is like a desi wannabe google.

Technophobia

Ever wondered how households five years in the future will be? There is an imminent onset of new technology. New technology has been penetrating very rapidly in recent times, like the iPod spread as rapidly as the walkman in a shorter span of time. What is coming our way is:

Television: Really smart televisions. Notice the picture getting sharper in the past decade? The resolutions on the verge of coming in are four times of what they are now. There are already television sets available in the market that can emit light from the sides based on the lighting on screen (google Philips LCDs). The next generation of televisions will have inbuilt multimedia disc players, that's for DVDs, CDs, USB drives and maybe even Blu-Ray discs. The cablewallah will be just one of the ways to get access to television, consumers will probably use a personalized mix of signal sources, from set tops to pay-per views. A little ahead of that, the internet will probably be connected to all televisions. HDMI interconnectivity is like the USB for the next decade, its gonna let any source of multimedia connect with any point of output. You probably won't need to take all the trouble anyway, because television could just be available from a proxied hyperlink in a dodgy website, right on your computer.

Mobile Phones: Television Programs have still some time to wait before they are broadcasted to your mobile phones – the technology already exists, but a network supporting that kind of connectivity has to be put into place first. It is already possible to send video messages across GPRS. Leading networks will probably be able to kick in more support for the new users first, after which interconnectivity hell will break loose. The best thing about this is that you can probably take around a small personal file, that will let you take around all the personalized settings of your PC wherever you go, and operate it from any interface, like the mobile phone, or the comp, or the cyber café around the corner. Everything from savegames, to passwords, to expensive serial protected programs like photoshop can be taken around in that file. Infact, if you have a USB drive, you can already do this, just head over to http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/ and use the software to install a copy of windows (and other things you want) onto a suitable USB drive.



P2P: Of course, the pathways of music piracy will be well ahead of those who are trying to curb it. Here is the good news: the next generation of peer sharing clients will not be illegal. After Napster, and Freenet and Supernova, came DC++, which is already more or less legal, just being abused. There will be no need to abuse the P2P clients of tomorrow, because of the rapid spread of peer-production. The same concepts that are already running wiki projects, will invade into other creations as well. Softwares, maybe even Operating Systems, Multimedia formats, music files, films, and a hell load of other things will be produced after online collaboration, and distributed with such rapidity, that the major labels and production houses will shift a considerable load of their output into the internet. Their shit will probably have advertisements, but those that come from the people will be free.

Gaming: Your console worried will be over because of the personal file thing. You can take your save games across consoles, no sweat. They will probably be different game play and different rewards across consoles, and probably the option of continuing different games in different controls, but the next games will take Massive Online Multiplayers to the next level. Multiplayer gaming will be where the difference will be felt the most. Avatars will get increasingly individualized and customized, and say Need for Speed will be able to let you race a virtual replica of your real car in a virtual location near your own against other players in your location. Or GTA will have a massive storyline evolving because of players thrashing about their own cities in different ways.

What next: Then skynet takes over and sends homicidal robots back in time.

Videosurfing beyond youtube

If you are into bloglike inane videosurfing, check out blip.tv. Many of these films are downloadable. The very generally named "moving images" section of archive.org has a bunch of public domain films. Classics from cinema history like Le Voyage Dans La Lune or old weirdo films like the 50 year old tutorial videos on what to do if you are attacked by zombies. Check out Hindeburg exploding or the archived Kennedy-Nixon presidential debates. These communities have a stronger reward system than youtube.

Video.google also helps get exactly what you want, and you do not need firefox plugins to download the videos. Right click on the download file link, open the gvp file in notepad, and copy paste everything between the words "url" and "docid" in the address bar.

You have a caveman bash up another over a worm, and a stork delivers them all food and everybody is happy. It is available on http://www.maacindia.com/24fps/showcase2007.htm along with a bunch of other student animations. They range from the hilarious to the what-were-they-thinking types, but all the 30 or so short animations are worth watching just because they show what is on the minds of the youth. If nothing, check out Naam chod kaam dekh by untitled1, Aamchi Mumbai by Tatva and Kiss Naturam ka by Animact.

If someone were to find out Mumbai's most popular videoblog, debonairblog.com would probably win outright. If you have not seen a video from this blog, then you haven't seen any videos that have later been debated over in the news. NDTV videos stream well even over bad connections. Check out the video zone on their website for interesting shorts. If you want to save these videos, use screenrecordergold or hycam2.

To be perfectly fair to them, ifilm.com and atomfilms.com were there before youtube came along. These portals have everything from trailers to selected shorts. The quality of the films here are far better than other portals, because they are screened for an audience that gets advertised too. Don't worry, both the sites have found that balance between advertisement and entertainment, and lead to some quality video surfing. Ifilm has David Hasselhoff drunk and Atomfilms has an amazing short called delivery.

At the end of the day, if you still like YouTube more, cannot blame you. You can be the next Ninja. Seriously, all you need is a webcam. Vlog yourself away, join in the fray. You can, and are expected to, post ANYTHING on youtube.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Space

The fate of men was not rehearsed
Just be sure the head goes first

# Humans had primate ancestors

# Said primate ancestors descended from small shrew-like, tree climbing mammals

# The ancestors of the small, shrew-like, tree climbing mammals came out from the ocean following plant life, which was their food.

# Prokaryotes had been evolving in the oceans of the earth for a long time, they came from complex protein structures and amino acids

# These were synthesized in the oceans of the earth under the correct circumstances

BUT

# The elements in the oceans of the earth and the earth itself, have not been created spontaneously, or have not been existing forever. Carbon, nitrogen, oxygen... were all generated by stars and the big bang.

# We came from stars (supernovae to be precise), and not just the sun, but all the thousand tiny pin pricks of light are responsible for the existance of matter, and consequently, us

# If you represent the whole thing with a picture, it will be all explosion of light and man coming out somewhere... the ancients had got it bang on, absolutely right, they might not be able to explain the flash of light being a supernova explosion and how tiny streans of matter flows through space, or how organisms adapt to the enviornment and evolve complex systems, they did, even back then, guess what science took over two millenia to prove. Men, like everything else, came from stars. Although they were just imagining the whole process in their head, they were surprisingly close to the answer.

SO WHAT I AM SAYING IS

# Maybe, just maybe, physics and mathematics are much more instinctive and automatic than we have ever believed them to be.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

windows vista

-new features
*better use of left click
*smoother graphics
*better fucking security than XP
*solid fortification against malware, spyware, adware etc
*Excellent for internet and multimedia use
*New arrangement of system folders

-Irritating shit
*Those greedy bastards at IBM have betrayed the revolution in computers they kickstarted.

-Downside
*The most idiot friendly OS in human history
*There are too many "no way out" popups.
*Extensive measures to curb piracy

-Bottomline
>The interface is clearly heavily influenced by competing operating systems. Vista is a definate compromise, it offers absolutely stunning usability, and is all in all, a very satisfying experience. However, the whole system is terribly dependant on regular updates and the system will continue to perform well only if it keeps feeding on microsoft updates.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Space out.

The professor was, simply put, fat. There was no way around it. He walked like a large slow duck towards the classroom, and a ring of fat just above his belt wobbled about like gently heated jelly. He was about to enter the classroom. The class, reached a state of stability from one of chaos as soon as he cleared his throat. He gave a broad smile to all the boys on the last bench who had been shouting in some childish mischief some time ago. Inwardly he thought, this was going to be another pleasurable day.
The professor walked slowly to his desk and sat down. He looked at the monitor, rewinded it and saw a video feed of the class just before he entered. He snorted at the picture, turned it off, inserted his portanet drive and a presentation flickered to life on the whiteboard. It had a single question. "Where is space?"
He looked around at the students, and asked anyone who thought they could to answer the question. One of the boys in the last row raised his hand. They were bold and clever, but their oversmartness made them hopelessly stupid. "Outside the Earth, Sir" he answered. "Class, Arun here is of the opinion that space is outside the Earth. This classroom is not inside the Earth, so according to him, we are all in space. Is he correct?"
The classroom echoed with murmers nobody could comprehend. One girl from the left hand side corner raised her hand. She did not wait to be asked to speak, she was the only one raising her hand, so she said "Space is everywhere". The professor was incredulous. "What about the Earth, is the Earth space or not?"
He was only pretending, hoping someone in the class would be smart enough to come up with the correct answer. "The Earth is occupying space sir". "Very good, Shantanu, that is close to the correct answer, but if earth is occupying space, where did the space go?" Shantanu could not reply. He sat down thinking hard about space. He did not know where this was headed. The class was silent and watchful. They were all, for once, paying attention - somewhat. The professor clicked his clicker and the slide changed. Another question came on the screen now "where is space not?"

The class laughed. They had understood.

Still Witchdoctors

The first element in a patient-doctor relationship is of course, the trust. The doctor knows more about the patient's body than the patient, and the patient acknowledges it. This puts the doctor in a position of power, where he can exploit the patient in many ways without the patient knowing this. This is in fact, the commonest of the malpractices, but at the moment the concern is in establishing medicine as a noble profession. It must be recognized as a profession, and that the doctor is interested in medicine for some amount of personal gain in any form, otherwise he would not bear any responsibility towards his patient. Therein lies the problem, Indians are not prepared for lab-coat-white-gloves-face-mask doctors. In fact, almost no one is.

It must be acknowledges that the profession has grown in recent years, and a lot of progress is being made, and this is visibile most in the extension of the average life span of an Indian from forty to sixty years in a matter of a decade. However, doctors have always held a position of respect, and in most of rural India still do, allowing them to benefit too much because of their profession. Exploitation of patients is rampant, and even well educated people in urban areas may be reduced to frequent check ups and visits despite having a perfectly normal and healthy constitution.

Consider such a person sitting on an operating table and deciding how much anesthetic any person should get. Sounds real scary, but these people arent dumb enough to kill you, but they are smart enough to do something to make sure you come back for more. Morphine based medication is still legal in India, and can be prescribed by your physician. It is a common practice for doctors to make patients dependant on painkillers, antidepressants, analgesics, and in many cases, even placebos like asperin. In plain language, thats dummy medicine, medication you do not really need, prescribed for the modest doctor's fee.

Imagine this scenario: you go to a doctor with a cramp in the stomach. The doctor checks you up, mumbles something about tests, gives you some painkillers and asks you to come back if the pain persists. You go back, he orders a bunch of tests, prescribes more medication, your stomach ache disappears on its own accord, the tests all come out normal, and you relieve a sigh of relief.
Not knowing that the tests were unnecessary.

Safeguarding oneself against such medical malpractices is easy. The medical profession respects those patients that take the trouble to take second opinions. Ask for specefic details on the medicical analysis, and exactly what each drug will do to the body, and its side effects, before leaving the clinic. Have a medical insurance cover, and talk openly to your doctor, if he talks back, and answers your questions, he's probably a nice guy.