Friday, 30 May 2014

Mujhe mil jo jaaye thodha paisa!

The word 'rich' has its own nuances and subtleties, people say. I guess it's all an orchestrated connotation that richness might be taken out of parables and other allegories to be portrayed as an indelible virtue of character. We might denote those things by something like 'value'.'Rich' in all its essence denotes richness in the literal sense. It's not about the richness of character or morals but richness that bodes pecuniary well being and opulence. Having said that, how rich does one need to be in order to feel rich? It's subjective but I have my pointers.

Some people feel rich after fetching their first salaries and getting drunk, post which they retch. While it's richness in the sense of their attaining what they couldn't get till now, real richness is palatial and grandiose, with an eerie sense of dauntlessness becoming concomitant with every thing you do. Real richness alludes a life so spectacular and lavish that you employ a dozen of guys just to manage the money for you. You get so affluent with a bank balance so gigantic, that bank managers owe complete subservience towards you instead of treating you at their behest like they do otherwise.



So, who could be the examples of this luscious phenomenon? I had quite many people in mind but I had to resort to a few toons who portrayed that luxuriance to perfection. They've depicted that irrespective of you having scoured the money yourself by ferreting for every possible penny, or it coming as a bequest, you can end up with a coffer so big that you can have the world's first supercomputer and robots, or have a safe big enough to swim. Richie Rich, the sane rich guy and Uncle Scrooge literally defined richness for me and gave me dreams that I still espouse with.While my idea of richness may seem heretic and not puritanical as conservatives may like it, it's better when you don't know what's next. Maybe just by dreaming of the boundless richness, I may get that speck of wizard that's needed to have a share from their illimitable treasure troves. Mujhe mil jo jaaye thodha paisa! 



This post was written for the 15th edition of indiSpire. Tell the world if the word 'rich' rings any bells. 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Prove that you're a human!

It leaves me stupefied at times that the guy who designated this stupid caption beneath the capthas din't have the perspicacity of coming up with anything better. While feebly acquainting the patrons with why such a procedure is required and how bots could wreak trouble, it's one of the most ludicrous of instructions in my opinion. You're human afterall and it's as if you need a technological approval, with your own predecessors being responsible for the technological renaissance, for you to assert your own categorization as a normal human being. It's a surreal oxymoron in one way.




While one may argue that creation of delirium or preventing absolute articulation to keep matters lucid could have been a motive, I just see this as an irony. The technological prowess has transcended such bounds that forged identities which could easily masquerade human form could be used to compromise systems we built to protect ourselves. And who build these fake gateways? Humans themselves! Finally, it's the humans once again who face the tough end of the bargain by being asked to prove their humanness at every single captcha encounter. Captchas may be outright necessary for the systems to remain from denial of service and other forms of internet warfare, but there should surely be a better way to say it than to ask you to "Prove that you're a human". On the other hand if I were a robot, I would have found the other version of designers' schism i.e "Prove that you're not a robot" equally offensive".



Wednesday, 28 May 2014

End of Days.

Homo Sapiens, a recently formed layer of living tissue on the face of an ebullient planet, and one that bloomed and blossomed like anything. What was just another species amongst the 9 million types to inherit what collectively belonged to all of us, soon became our sole heirloom. However, we were meant to do that, or rather fated to do that. Don't be surprised when I tell you but complete destruction is inhered in evolution, and nature of all the players knows best how to bring it upon its beings. You know who was entrusted with bringing the latest wrath of destruction amongst all the earthly beings? Us!

We began by duly admiring the natural prowess and even bowing down by manifesting it as either gods or as principles. We learned so much from it that its laws became a basis for our own fundamentals. We kept praising it until we believed we are good enough to supersede it. Man, suddenly assumed an insurmountable stature and believed himself to be indomitable. Era after era as we grew in number and might, nature was lost in our nimble though process. Revolutions were envisaged at the expense of everything else and man's resuscitation paved the way for universal destruction. Yes, we were right on track baby!

Pretty much on track. Greeks foreboded this I guess.


Everything we do, every stand we take, ignores all that once guided us -  the nature. With a surreal temerity we seem to have taken over everything else, or at least believe that in our presumption. Suddenly a layer of newly formed diminutive tissue on the face of a gigantic planet, which in itself was nothing in front of other bullies its own solar system, which in itself was nothing in front of other big boys in the entire galaxy, which in all its entirety was nothing in front of other countless galaxies, thought it has conquered the entire universe. Maybe that's a precept for destruction - moral wickedness and a rudderless set of beliefs.

So indulged and so inebriated in the whims and fancies of our lives and our future that sustenance too is thought of only in terms of human civilization. The 9 million odd species are ignored altogether. Bucks are run over and only considered as a bailable offense, tigers' carcass is worn as raiment, rivers are interlinked while overlooking the fact that they house much more than our faecal matter, forests are turned into concrete displays of engineering prowess which we believe is better than that of nature, entire composition of air is getting changed and last but not the least, we beat even nature in creating species through genetic foreplay. It seems that the 9 odd million don't matter anymore because we beat them to an adjudication that was listened to in our own courts. Opiates about our civilizations, we believe the courts can solve any matters, be it the right of a man to a property or be it the right of mankind over the entire planet. And a 'Duh!' is all we have for those who lost, a good 9 million species, not entities mind you, in number. 

Out of nowhere like an epiphany, we began to suffer. Chronic ailments, increasing cases of asthma, arthritis, obesity, renal failures, autism and what not. Much of it is ascribed to our own filthy lives which we believe are at the supreme of any lifestyle, but maybe we got in lieu of what we did to our abode during all these millenia. If you're asking if we did anything wrong. Well, we were absolutely right. Nature sent us as agents for bringing a nemesis, complete obliteration of all life forms because it's time we started again. Mired in our happy homes, we kept doing what nature wanted us to, as faithful confreres, and now we are very well on the path to complete destruction. In terms of profitability and return on investment, yes, our returns are paying off. Floods, acid rains, skin diseases, it is all going so well you know. Premature hairfall, twice your usual weight, it's fun if you ask me. Finally, things are panning out perfectly. In terms of margins, "100 taka faayda". I'm using these terms because that's how we've come to view all our decisions. This one too, to set the tone for universal devastation, seems to be going in our favor. We never get things wrong do we, we always get them right. The inimitable human being gets stuff right again. Congratulations, our hard work has materialized finally. The end of days is just about here. :)

Please visit this post by a fellow blogger Rahul to read more before we screw it further and bring the end even before nature could have imagined. 

Please visit this post by venerated Capt Ajit Vadakayil to read more on the demonic ramifications of river interlinking. 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Wonders of the 90's: Gel Pens

Back in late 90's when I was about to complete a decade of my existence, technology moved at snail's pace, people still priced landline connections, Maruti 800's just got toppled by Santros and cellphones were the sole attainment of the extremely "Ameer"! What then could a nine year old really look forward to having a craving for. The entire hot wheels and tazo collection was a dream all right, but what about something revolutionary, something never seen before. And then came the era of gel pens. 

The epoch of gel pens began with the introduction of a Add Roll Gold which marked the first instance when some other pen apart from a Stic Eazy or a Luxor Pilot pen was advertised on television. Priced at a whopping Rs 40, guys of my age perceived it to be made of or embossed with real gold! It was a touch too luxurious, given that pens were still available at Rs 1 a piece. Moreover, people were not dauntless back then. Losing a 40k iPhone is no big deal today, losing a 40 rupee gel pen called for a court martial back then. But the pen set the tone for what was to follow.


Some months later, an Add PG 300 was introduced in the markets and shopkeepers were filliped to sell it and push its case. For the Indian parents,any extra penny that goes into education was a penny well spent. The sellers heralded the pen as the salvation for those with a pathetic handwriting, which I ostensibly was surrealy pathetic at. Suddenly, that one pen which people found strange from a distance with the glue at the end of the refill portraying a sordid picture, was in people's hands for them to try. It was priced just marginally above the Stic pilot pens which gave goosebumps while writing because of
the traction between a rough nib and even rougher papers. Registers made from rough papers were a hit back then!

Suddenly, a PG 300 was to be seen everywhere. Girls with their eternal calligraphy prowess found it a viable replacement for the sullen fountain pens. Their handwriting and presentations witnessed a renaissance. For not so shrewd guys like me, it was a bane. The writing exacerbated and now even the erasers that worked on fountain pens didn't work anymore. Gel pens became cataclysmic and notebooks became a disaster. The only savory element of a gel pen was the sweet taste of the ink and the pleasure in seeing the ink go squiggly once you tossed it up. In fact the unique construction piqued the curiosity of quite many. Right from inserting compass pins to touch the gel to pulling the gel out through an application of suction, my Add PG 300 was a physics lab.

Later, there was a crisis situation. The refills got over before you could catch a glimpse. People, used to using fountain pens whose inkpots had an infinite life and Stic eazy that was as good as free, were shriveled at the thought of buying refills every week. And boy you had to splurge money on them. They made up upto 80 percent of the pen's original cost. Soon, people countermanded the gel pen jamboree and some still stuck to the gel pen bandwagon. Ultimately, more models came in including some local ones that looked more like contraptions than like pens. Gradually, gel pens gained acceptability and became a part of our lives.

Ask anyone from that era and they'll tell you how they literally  pictured that moment when they held their first gel pen in their hands. Writing with it felt like fostering a baby, though I haven't done that yet. That was the technology that took everyone with surprise. The enigma, the luxuriance, it was all to exuberant and enthralling and people felt blessed. How much has the world changed in the last 15 years and now gel pens are another trivial thing. But believe me, they were a milestone for an entire generation, the folks from the 90's.  

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Sherlock and Spiritualism

It's a long known fact that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was an ardent proponent of spiritualism and was vehemently vocal of its effectiveness even during its decant state in the 1920s. In fact despite this bringing much deplore and ignominy over him, he continued to give lectures and write articles and books on its efficacy. The buck doesn't stop here. Sir Doyle was involved in the realms of the paranormal for more than 3-4 decades and the elements of paranormal paraphernalia and rituals had a profound impact on him. In fact some historicity suggests that Sir Doyle has even acted in the capacity of being a paranormal investigator and has even attended a seance. Sir Doyle was impressed with the domain of mesmerism and hypnotism as well. A surfeit of resources is available online, primarily at pertinent websites like siracd.com.

This article is intended to draw some kind of connection between Sherlock and Watson's mannerism, gravitas and methods and trace them to any paranormal connections like a supposed premonition. While any of Sir's creations don't even hint towards that possibility, heresy and heterodoxy were pivotal of Holmes' strategies and approach. The very concept of being annoyingly assiduous, as much in Holmes as in Christie's Poirot, was the apogee of a typical detective's visage. So, was it possible for Sherlock's method to be derived from reminiscing elements of occult?

Any direct correlation is a really distant possibility and Sherlock couldn't have drawn its semblance from a real man's chronicles. However, the way Sherlock was able to witness what didn't meet the eye, could be a trait attributed to the supposed use of a foresight, much beyond that prevalent in human capacity. While a simple churning of all the available facts in mind's own bounds was like a chore for Holmes and could have been for any meticulous man, Sherlock seemed to relive any crime scene like it took place right in front of him. It was as if the dead spoke to him!

While this may insinuate a denigration of Holmes' cognitive abilities, what this alludes is very different. It is believed that Sir Doyle was so indulged in writing the timeless masterpieces that he actually enacted as Holmes and actually separated himself from the depraved criminals who committed the crime. He repudiated their existence and used to usher his words while enacting as Holmes alongwith an irking Watson at the back of the head. So what if Sir Doyle, making a perfect crime scene, fastidiously separated himself from itself and then used Sherlock as a vehicle to transmit himself to the same as a stranger? Then, it was more a matter of connecting to each and every intricacy. 

Sherlock's trance in his memory castle was Doyle's connection to a world that transcends the usual mental borders. It seemed as if the deceased and their reminiscent screamed their story aloud but only to Doyle and then to Holmes. With due fairness to Holmes' abilities, Doyle was actually plunged in that external world, searching for answers from those who are dead, and portrayed the same as coming to Holmes from the coffers of his own mind. The same later transformed as the grey cells of Poirot. It was that belief and notion of Doyle of communicating with the spirits through his seances that transformed to Holmes's communication through a tacit allegory. This does nothing to Holmes' everlasting repute and Sir's long lost legend, but it surely provides one plausible explanation for one the world's most inexplicable crime solving modus operandi. 

Saturday, 24 May 2014

10 things every Indian should know about irctc.



Irctc, courtesy of all their slovenliness and all their technological Ludditeness has seen a lot of denigration and even vilification. It has been the subject of much public ignominy where it assumed position at the centerstage of all sorts of analogies where it was used as a unit of patience or equated to one's return from warfare. Whatever it stands for, irctc has an identity of its own and its supremacy in its own realm is unmatched. Hence, we thought why not come up with a post to praise them instead of chiding them.






The Nazi connection 

Very few people know that one of the primeval uses of irctc's core algorithm was to break Nazi inmates to the extent of mental degeneracy. Irctc's initial version used to run on mechanical integrators and difference engines which were then provided to Nazi prisoners surreptitiously so as to give them the impression that some secret force is discreetly helping them plan their extradition. The poor paupers didn't know the Irctc setup was provided by Hitler's myrmidons themselves so that the prisoners could suffer mentally as well. 

 A module in art of living courses

Not many people know but a 3 month module on "How to book a Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani ticket on Irctc without banging your head" is now inhered in every art of living course in the world. It is believed that one who can master this course and then take on the advanced course "How to book a tatkal Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani ticket on Irctc without killing the neighbor" move towards surreal salvation and peace of mind and are ready to take any challenge head on. 

Changing lives forever 

"I never really knew whether I like non veg stuff or not until I booked some tickets on Irctc. I opted for non veg and yet the guy in the train asked what I'd like to have. I changed my mind, considering his question as an inuendo and ordered veg. I thanked god after I saw 10 of the guys ordering non veg complaining about the chicken they were served as being from outer space. I turned a vegan that day". Need we say more.

 Irctc as a antivirus/firewall 

Back in the days of Irctc's prime when it was startingly slow, Irctc's code was put up as a default site on various computers and servers. Hence the first address one accessed at the http port was that of Irctc, be it you or some hacker. While hackers saw the opening Irctc page a signal for them to leave hacking and move towards atonement, copies of malware became self aware and not only deleted the local version but even destroyed themselves globally across all instances. 

Getting convicts to talk 

Irctc has long been used as a really effective mechanism in third degree torture and other draconian measures to make convicts talk. When convicts are forced to book tickets on Irctc with the cumshaw of having to book lesser tickets on the more they tell, some of them even ended up confessing their crimes apart from helping the police track down their companions. Some of them even demanded for death penalties with immediate effect. Ironically, in a haste to hang those who demanded for the same, it was realized a few days later that they were not the real culprits and they preferred dying than the horrendous procedure which is more heinous than hell. 

Irctc: India's own swiss bank

This one's rather astonishing but we saw it coming. At every point of time the number of payments that are scuttled in irctc's system either as a failed transaction or in the "dead zone" which refers to that long wait during which your payment on tatkal tickets is kept on hold till all tatkal tickets are sold out through agents and you get a W/L one, exceeds the total capital of quite a many bank. In fact some people consider Irctc as a safe tax haven because tax officials consider it an atrocity to check Irctc's current account for sources of black money.

 Irctc: benchmark for BSNL/MTNL and IE

BSNL and IE are archetypal for slowness and it's their prerogative to make sure they match up to user's expectations on being the slowest in the world. Hence both of them resort to Irctc's unique services to check whether they could step up to its languor. Hence while there is no denying that nothing's slower than Irctc, slowness index is measured in terms of Irctc. For example a .2 irctc factor index is equivalent to spending 7 hours to see a simple homepage load up completely. 

Irctc and humor

In a striking contrast to its usual puritanical approach, Irctc tried to spice up things a bit by allowing some delirium to entertain the masses when they're waiting for the planner page to show up after logging in. To do this, they introduced irctc's shopping portal on the webpage and also offer flight booking services. "Just imagine their reaction and grins when they see external booking and shopping links on a website that has never allowed them to book anything from ourselves" said an irctc member when the services were introduced. Nice way of getting away from the platitude!


Truly platform independent 

In circles of advanced computer programming, Irctc is heralded as the first truly compatible platform independent code. Irctc's code runs so slow that it runs equally slow when run on a 1970 ARPANET server or run on a modern petaflop machine. Irctc's code is so designed that there remains no disparity not only between the different users, of which none could access the site, but also between the different servers that house the server code. Masterstroke!

Please shower your love for the spectacular, the incredible irctc by bestowing some comments in the desolate comments section. 1 comment = 100 blessings!

Friday, 23 May 2014

100*

It seemed a tacky decision to finally settle onto one theme for writing down the 100th post on the blog. The blog's not corornated or celebrated that well for the 100th one to be looked upon with anticipation, but this has been a special place as I stumble upon every event of my life. It's like a set of annals defining my mood and defining that one odd feeling. So finally, on the question of what to write for the 100th post, I settled on to a recurrent theme. It's a little to hard to get away from that idea and those eidetic applications. So, Hope it is, but this time, not from a generic or oversimplified angle. This time, I got a rather startling firsthand view of it.

It's been a good few days since my 2 year odd nephew started visiting his prep. He is one of those idiosyncratic, heretic babies just like I would have been. Spreads clamor and tumult and has a penchant for burlesque on what goes around. As a result, he and I are a coven of sorts. For people like us, institutions are like a purgatory, ready to burn down all our uniqueness, ready to turn us into a part of the normal brigade. Our institutions are setup to extract all the distinguishing factors and inundate you with a sense of fear on treading different paths. Codes, serious ones, are used to coop you up, and now my innocent nephew's turn for induction in the ablution camp.

For someone who priced freedom, for someone who despised restrain, a prep like atmosphere with eyes peeping onto each and every activity of yours, regulated meals, not so familiar faces and the missing comfort of your family and an awesome uncle like me, and all of this on the very first day you step into this mad world, it would have been a little too much. The very first day you move out, you're bamboozled with a barrage of expectations. You've all sorts of classes and all sorts of reports. You're made a subject of instruction comprehension where every other teacher looks at you with anticipation and so do your parents upon the teachers themselves. A myriad of experiments are carried out to test your mettle.

How you eat, whether you eat on time, how well you fare up in socializing, how well you fare in grasping the alphabet, every observation is made with meticulous intent and progress recorded in your diary. You're made to go through class, play and even Taekwondo! Don't worry, just a stripped down caricature of it. But whatever you do, you've eyes agglutinated at you like the world's success depends on you alone. And all of this in one day. While it's true you need to be prepared to face a world full of filth, you're expected to strap up and accede to the overwhelming process on day one itself. From your natural abode to the world the world thinks is right for you, all in one day when you become a part of the fray. 

I curiously waited for the nephew to walk out of the school foyer where his teachers waited with all paraphernalia, waiting to hand off the ward and get their aplomb of spending one more day in the cacophony at the training camps. I didn't bother to leave him to school in the morning because I knew he'd cry and spread din. What would have been worth observing, was to see him walk out after the first day. An eerie sense of emotional outburst is ushered in that moment when a parent collects their child from schools. While some like to act as poseurs, pretending to care much more than they normally do, which is pretty much evident from the grimace on the kid's face, some are actually concerned and consider the school as an obligation of ours being born a little too ahead in time where human life is fostered on the assembly lines of the education system. I, with bated breath, waited for his name to be called out, to see how he fared on the harrowing day, and finally he was there. 

He walked out, holding the hand of who looked like a concierge, hovering his eyes around, witnessing the chaos. Parents and guardians making repeated inquiries on when their kinsfolk would be called, teachers inexorably exhausted but still holding on, shouting names to other teachers upstairs near the classes, revved up engines and all the intermingled conversations and futile discussions on why a boy couldn't speak out the 'C' properly and that the vermicelli had enough salt to cause hypertension! He walked out with his bag on his side, peeping through the sordid pallidness and people all around, scouring for something, maybe his own people, maybe more madness so that he could take the week's dose in a day, but he kept walking in as silent a manner as possible. He wasn't virulent and his steady, stout walk lasted a good 40 seconds before he reached me and mom, who were ready to grab him up.

The look on his face was rather ineffable, quelling all that I knew of human reaction. He was seemingly perturbed but yet he had a determination of sorts written all over the face. He was appalled by the sight of his future for 2 decades, but yet he seemed content with it, ready to take it on. He simply walked out, no squiggles in the path, no pestering, no supplicating at all. He came out, saw all that was happening, gulped it like normal and didn't at all seem addled. His face, free of usual emotions, was embossed with a new one. That of hope, that of surreal foresight. He didn't know what to expect when he went in but he knew that when he came out. It was all too esoteric to understand in a day but he got some ideas, it seemed. All of it showed up as that hope on his face. He didn't seem febrile, didn't seem queasy and was not at all angry. That was the exact opposite of what we thought. Bereft of the usual demeanor, he looked very different in those 40 seconds. His first interaction with the massive world, his first stroll into his own future. He could sense it all. He could have felt dejected, but he didn't. He could have relished it if he were the wraith out of a reincarnated human, but he isn't. He simply decided to take it head on, not showing how he felt, keeping his true emotions hidden beneath the veil of his placidity, not knowing when to let the true self come out, or whether to let it out or not. In one single day, he experienced the change. Something he needs to experience for the next 20 years in line to be one of us, another mercenary! Life is amazing and maybe hope's the only thing left worth living for, except of course for the gluttony and the somnolence. 

Monday, 19 May 2014

The Hero In You!

And here's my first genuine attempt at video blogging. Our folks at Gillette and Blogadda gave us this spectacular opportunity for expressing ourselves and we simply couldn't resist. We all elicit some inspiration or the other from an inimitable man, the doyen of our milieu, one whom we consider the complete package. As I looked at my own, I saw there's no one single man these traits could be ascribed to, but it's that occasional guy who strives to help me out, who still has the humility to pass on a smile despite their encumbrances and who still has an abundance of kindness. Here's to that man,and his spirit, which makes beings thrive amidst the clamor. Here's to my role model. 




Saturday, 17 May 2014

Smartphones and Stereotypes!

Smartphones have gradually become inhered in our identity. You've got people who resort to these devices for doing something as trivial as checking the time to something as beatific as playing a high end imitation of a real life adventure. The biggest players in the market have assumed the dominion long enough to have connotations associated with each brand and its usual offering. This just propelled me to look for trends common to users of respective devices and to map them down to individual categories of people and their respective inveterate traits. The categorization is strictly personal and hence we shouldn't be held liable for any impetuous consequences. 

Rich men with Nokia olden ones: Outright chauvinists or lumpen who may even be technological Luddites. These are people who believe technology is a little too intrusive nowadays and phones should be used for the prime purpose of calling. 

Average men with Nokia olden ones: They're putting up at a place where carrying a smartphone is like leaving a safe open in wide public. 

Women with Nokia olden ones: File not found exception!

Men with Nokia smartphones: Compatriots of Nokia and/or Microsoft who still believe in their prowess and who've had a really bad experience with a Korean(South) cell maker. They believe that a Korean cell maker can do no more than making cells that look alike just like the very ruler of Korea(North) deems right for all the men in his reign through a similar hairdo. 

Women with Nokia smartphones: Searching!

Men with Samsung smartphones: These are normally upgraded Samsung patrons who still have no idea what extra they got from a new purchase or those who are rich enough to get screen replacements after they dropped the phone for the first time. They're also hard core android proponents at times. Some of them become a little too titillated with the idea of using an android root kit and then use it to hack over the entire world. 

Women with Samsung smartphones: These are those who maybe a little too much into gaming and who had a little too many people in the milieu with the same or a similar device. Their choice of model normally depends on the availability and ecstasy of the different covers that come for it. 

Men with Apple: They may either belong to the rich cadre or these are people whose usage demands a powerful enough battery. They might also belong to the consociation of people from top echelons in a corporate hierarchy where the "Blackberry boys" are now replaced by the much more advanced and transformed "Apple guys". These may also be ascribed as those who are an exact opposite of the Samsung cohort. Their usage is cooped up to merely using apps unlike Samsung guys who'd like to dissect their smartphones if they were given a chance to. 

Women with Apple: These are usually women who are not looking for any retribution and hence they'd like to treat themselves with a smartphone that requires low involvement and which doesn't have a lot of contraptions to worry them with. The phone has the usual embellishments so that it can be veiled like a chameleon in parties to inspire awe, and so that it looks good in the mirror when it is used to capture selfies. 

Men with HTC: These are the suave and gallant ones, looking for a spiritual restitution. These are people who desire to have a smartphone which can act as an ice breaker because no one really knows HTC makes cells and not supercomputers. These guys usually have an extremely persuasive aura and are adventurous just as it was vested in the very action of buying an HTC.

Women with HTC: Species endangered with grade 1 urgency!

Men with Mircomax: These are the usual strivers whose regime demands heavy usage and who've already suffered the wrath of any or all of the above. They're an evolved class that knows their phone will not shine anyone off but which can appear Korean from a distance and hence still make them hold their respective position. 

Women with Micromax: They're still trying to figure out if they'll look good while taking selfies with one. 

Men with Karbonn: Hail the person who wrote this post for spending around a year with the same and with the phone still being intact. 


Elections 2014: Jo dikhta hai wo bikta hai.

I was a little amused to hear it from my marketing professor in an introductory marketing lecture but now it seems as if that's one maxim which can succinctly describe what marketing is all about. Although it may be fatuous that a person like me, who cannot even market his own blog, wishes to write about an arcane marketing strategy, but now I've realized how aptly that one line, that one adage could be used to explain everything in clear terms. Ostensibly, this one line may draw far-fetched conclusions on the basis of one's individual notions about the elements, but largely all of them point towards the same message which serves as the crux of this interesting science and discipline. 

I have scrounged for applications of this phenomenon, willing to find out a real life scenario where I could see the forces in action. I found a few commonalities between different marketing paradigms and the use thereof ,but I couldn't countenance or ascribe all of them to this. However, my tryst finally gave me the much needed cumshaw. These elections with all their intensity and jamboree, finally gave me a natural experiment to test the theory on. As it turns out, every element of every player's marketing strategy had this as a founding principle. 

Talking about the radicals, both Modi and Kejriwal had put things to proffer. These elections were largely fought upon the looming doldrums and the demagoguery and one who could have promised to be a viable alternative, was to triumph! The concept of soliciting for a unique value proposition was in play all right, but it was the communication and the grandeur which was more important. Amidst Gandhian chaos, making an attempt of veneering their Machiavellian internal affairs through billboards heralding their socialist programs, Modi took siege of national television and made sure you were subjected to enough advertisements before you were to cast a vote. Kejriwal too made sure they spread enough din and cacophony through their congregations and social media exposes that veneered tacit canvassing. The battle was heating up now

As it turned out, that one true alternative, one which was capable enough to form a government, and one which had some distinct quality or feature, was to be voted for. This is where that unique proposition was to be vested as well as enunciated. While Congress was not sure what to say courtesy of them being bereft of anything to say but boast about their minority comity and supposedly socialist agenda, Modi had a lot to say. Each rally, each advertisement, was all about saying something, about promising something. One might argue what's so different with promises. Well, this time his promises were wrapped in a glittery package, allowing people to actually live them through the word and determination of a man, who palpably has done something before to assert his credibility. Hence BJP's campaign was all about promoting and ballyhooing all that was there to the developmental regime Modi had put in place. They made quite a show of it. 

Talking about AAP, their agenda was not being an alternative to the power at apogee but to make inroads into the vote banks of conventional parties to make them quiver with trepidation. They knew they're small enough to have any formidable position but their turgid and pompous style and their claims suggested otherwise. They seemed to fight these elections just to prove their might. That's not what people sought in an alternative or a part of it. Inter alia, Kejriwal being presumptuous and insular about the larger picture, was to seek some rapprochement for his dereliction in Delhi. Despite justifying that, he didn't have an agenda and not even a propaganda to offer. Suddenly, this alternative didn't really offer the most promising of things. Yes, the epithet of corruption removal was still with them despite they themselves not really talking about it a lot, but maybe people couldn't really take that alone in what they considered their dream visage for the future. Ergo, despite being vocal about what you'll bring, that in itself was what not a lot of people were seeking at least in that epoch. 

Now talking about the third front collectively. It seemed as the only difference they'll bring after getting into power was the feat of getting into power itself. It was absolutely turbid what they'll do post forming a government, Second deficiency lied in all of them being reticent on their very existence. No one openly alluded the possibility of some third front assuming power. When your very existence is in doubt, you can't even expect people to look forward to you. There was a lot of brouhaha over the power of regional players and how they can influence the national picture. Some of them were even dreaming of big truces for their cooperation but they got all too mired in it. Neither did they have a unique proposition or distinction, nor they did anything to promote their collective existence. 

Suddenly, the election results seem as if they can be attributed completely to the presence of a distinguishing factor. Yes, Modi could be termed overtly aggressive, parochial, self-centric and what not. But maybe that precisely was enough for him to make the cut as that distinguished contender who can bring some praxis and can partake some action. Furthermore, all the communication concurred with his larger than life grandiose and his traits. All of them aptly and effectively highlighted one man's vision and his ability to transform all under his reign. Each and every element of it was carefully carved to make development and the man who is the doyen of it, appear obtrusive and with fidelity. Suddenly, Modi became the buzzword and a part of the parlance. Things were qualified as either Modi or NOT Modi, nothing except that. The prevalence created through the strategy of making 'Modi' omnipresent, be it in praise or be it in critique, be it in rallies or be it in burning effigies and be it on lavish advertisements or be it on withered walls, Modi was everywhere. While everyone turned belligerent or rash on him, even they furthered his agenda, the aim of being everywhere. Sooner or later, it did work in his favor. Elections were either fought for him or against him and he alone came to have the suzerainty. Jo Dikha, Wahi Bika. Glad these elections came in the middle of my marketing course, teaching me a lot that is there to this art. 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The lost meaning of the "Aam Aadmi"

The last few days have been full of tumult and clamor. Just like it's with every election that is more of a political rendition spiced up by vindictive vendettas, this one too had its run. Parties and their reps cursing each other, casting aspersions, belittling strategies in front of journalists, the self proclaimed psephologists. You had all that your normally expect. You had people openly reviling a truth, making it look like false. You also had people embracing the false, making it appear like the truth. You also had the usual jamboree with parties claiming to be crusaders and ombudsman, the catharsis amidst the cataclysm. You had everything you've had before except for a new sect. People who changed the meaning of the term "Aam Aadmi", making him appear stronger than he is, emancipating his predicament with false hopes, and riling him by simply making a joke of him!

An Aam Aadmi is still that common guy who gets mails for buying flats at Rs n per sq ft, but a sq. ft is all he can afford. An Aam Aadmi is one who relies on a master for his bread and sees himself get harangued and bantered for the same. An Aam Aadmi is one who forages for fortune in every speck of his imagination and coops up in his dreams, believing in the future, believing in the best. An Aam Aadmi is that common guy who feels trepidation without committing a sin and yet moves to pilgrimage at his end for an atonement. Last but not the least, an Aam Aadmi is one who raises a family, believing and hoping that none of his progeny ends up becoming the same. In short, an Aam Aadmi lives his entire life abjuring all the lavishness, yet hoping his kins could savor the same. An Aam Aadmi is not a person, he is a state of life, of those even whose dreams are so frugal that they can't seek many a penny. And look what you made him dream this time. 

The very idea of empowering the Aam Aadmi through a political renaissance was a farce. How much destitution can you remove from a nation where one section is considered fated to be that way? How many dreams can you bring to reality when there is space for only a percentage of the billion dreams to come true? Yet, Aam Aadmi asserts his pride and conceit in improving his frail and forlornly life and yet he was enthused with the idea. However, how much do you believe you can manumit a guy who has come to renounce those beliefs as he learnt the hard way? You still expect him to relish the evocative dreams he once had and later relinquished. He knows his bounds but yet he goes with you, risking himself. He still believes there is a modicum you can improve. You, instead, make him dream of Elysiums and Utopias. The Aam Aadmi has been reneged a thousand times. Here, you made him fall for your traps yet again. Never play with one's dreams, never give them more than they can take, never promise more than you can partake in praxis. 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

An open letter to myself in 2004.

10 years ago, with the glitz of the India Shining campaign and with the clamor produced by a voracious opposition, I waited in silence for the only statesman I ever saw, AB, to retain power. With a blitzing media campaign with no signs of anti-incumbency and distress, with a recent trounce in the state polls and with all the so-called exit polls, the newly contrived contraptions, predicting a BJP clean sweep, I was confident of seeing yet another stable NDA government. How foolish of me to get robbed that way!

2004 was a period which saw a renaissance of sorts. We had transformations all over the place. Bollywood was becoming both bolder and more proficient in storytelling, computers and mobiles began to permeate deep into our milieus, cities begun to hold marathons, and for some reason or the other, an inexplicable change was witnessed. While this may seem discursive, people did change somehow. From controlled spending to being invidious, the nation surely witnessed some development of sorts. NDA did succeed in breaking the shambles. A return to power was impending, a return to power was inevitable!

Then came the counting day; shunning, addling and bemusing election analysts all over the place, sending shocks across the economy that found the results offensive and egregious. Each and every exit poll faltered and you had a jubilant Kapil Sibbal gruffly puffing his chest in pride and saying "We knew exit polls were a sham". Out of nowhere, I felt a world standing against me, sensing its presence for the first time, unable to believe the magnitude of what I just witnessed. That was the first taste of being in a democracy and it struck like an epiphany. A man who did all, an alliance that brought development, and for the opponent's liking an alliance that failed to deliver on its most touted propaganda of religious resurrection, the alliance was voted out of power. It hurt badly.

10 years later, that man is in a somber physical state but mentally he would still be a stalwart, I believe. The plenum of 2, AB, and Advani, the first two to win LS seats for their party and the first 2 to dream of a non Congress, non third front government, has finally receded. The present crusader seems to be an agnate. Akin to the archetypal aggression, Modi knows his oeuvre well enough to practice it. Once again, the prospects of BJP/NDA look strong. Once again, they demand votes on heralding development with a feeble religious rendition. Once again, it's one man's finesse they offer and once again, it's a pseudo secular consociation they're up against, like always!

Anti incumbency has riled people with issues badgering them for some time now. The nation has come out of a long period of nothingness, seemingly too late to realize the intensity of the mistake it made. We're once again at the crossroads of choosing development v/s furthered veneered pseudo socialist, pseudo secularist, non developmental non discretionary regime. Once again, one man in the support of the former, faces the wrath of odds stacked against him, and once again, we are left to choose that one man v/s others.

Surprisingly, polls favor this one man again. Even more astonishing is the fervor in the man, his party, and his promotions, all on lines of what happened 10 years back. I and you have been called upon to make a decision yet again. Last time, you couldn't cast a vote for your age and you sent the nation in a sedulously sought furlough, this time you did cast a vote and I just hope you were sagacious enough to choose the right man. Even with these exit polls predicting the expunging of the ruling alliance, I'll not take them at their face value like I did the last time. I'll not believe what you say after what people did the last time with all their temerity, and even if they come into power, I'll take some time to believe its true. After what you did in 04', you cannot question me for doing that, could you?

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Cricket ke liye sala kuch bhi karega!

It was March in 2007 and I was just about to find myself in the most tenacious phase of my life. The Std 12 board exams, and with all the entrance examinations looming with a grimace. Everybody had suggestions on how to keep myself up, everybody had an age old remedy for the disease called somnolence. However, amidst all the clamor, I was harrowed by something more important, something that couldn't have taken a backseat in my life. How the heck was I going to watch the 07' world cup in the mornings without waking anyone up!!

Initially, it was difficult. For a person like me who left everything for the 11th hour, I had a little too much for the final few days, and damn these crucial matches always clashed with my own crucial times. I am the kind of person who preferred watching Drvaid and Laxman pile up that blitzing partnership in March 2001 instead of bothering about tomes of history I had to study for the exam next day. I was able to manage it somehow, but this time it was a real challenge. Fortunately, I was up for it.

I simply knew what could come of anyone realizing that I was awake at 4 in the morning. I had to use stealth and slight. I had to maintain a semblance that I was up for studying while making sure I furtively watched the TV. I had to make sure I had mechanisms in place to ensure rapid action in case of an emergency. Yeah, I had to keep the sound feeble so I wasn't going to witness some impeccable commentary, but I could have watched the matches anyway. Finally, it was here, the WC 07.

The first day, we didn't have no matches but I was willing to see our arch rivals bowing down in front of the hosts. The match was a spectacle but I was worried what shall happen of me if I were to get caught. Consider the ignominy of your entire mohallah finding out that the blue eyed boy of everyone takes a plunge into cricket right before the most important phase of his life. I was concerned about myself but what concerned me more was getting caught red handed. I just had to make it infallible. 

The next day, I got headphones that were good enough to plug into the headphone jack of the TV, something we had't tried since we bought in 1996, ostensibly just when the 96' WC was happening. I just changed the placement of objects in my room a little. This was to make sure that the glimmer of the TV set didn't leave a mark when the lights had to go off, as beyond a point of time the idea of me staying awake would have raised suspicions. Board exam times are like curfews in an eerie sense. And finally, I put my study table right in front of the TV set, on the pretext of that being right beneath the fan, thereby saving me from the wrath of the heat. To maintain the surreptitiousness, I slid the cable connection, rounded it in spirals and hung it on the hook. Told everyone, no TV till it's over!

Finally, it started going the insouciant way. No one noticed, no one said a thing. My nights were about matches, keeping an eye on the lobby, and gormandizing Aloo Bhujia with the gold tinted Pepsi that was a special edition brought for the world cup. Parents of everyone from the millieu thanked god India got kicked out early so their kins and agnates wont have anything to do with the cup now. They didn't know there's this secret underground service that worked during the nights, watching matches for the sake of the game, not for the sake of winning. Ones who were connected through the WAN cables that ran in their houses, but ones who had the thread of game's madness running through them. We all stayed in our respective houses, avoiding the aghast possibility of getting caught watching TV instead of ferreting and gleaning in books. We finally made it, uncaught, unsullied and no one knew when it happened, like it never happened.

 When the show got over, we came back in normal, but during those nights, we lived in our covert lairs. Yes, we committed sins, sins beyond atonement, but Malinga's squashing deliveries, ripping the opposition, was worthy of it. Yes, we lied, we had to, but the exhilaration, the ebullience of seeing the Indian triumvirate playing a WC for the one last time, compensated for that. They say you gotta prioritize in life, I fixed mine in 96' itself. From falling in love with the Indo Pak encounters in Sharjah to enjoying every bit of the game till date, it's been one helluva passion, and Star Sports has apparently always been with me. The changing logos, the innovative infographics, the revelation in commentary and game coverage, Star Sports is to cricket was what Windows is to PC. And now, their infographics, or Infografix rather, have become more exorbitant. Star Sports, after having befuddled us with the Hawk Eye and the Wagon Wheel, have come up with more to savor for the stats savvy like us. Just give them a try. And for being with the game forever, #KannaKeepCalm and watch IPL.

This post is a part of Cricket just got better! Activity by starsports.com in association with BlogAdda.com.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Room no. 112

It's unusual how you go on building your own world around yourselves and suddenly, that world becomes so real that it's hard to ignore. Having researched and talked so much about the grisly and gory supernatural phenomenon in the past, I was least expecting to encounter something in what was just another usual affair. A visit in a hotel for an official purpose, a good enough room with jovial members of the hotel in the room service and with that one portrait right in front of me. This maybe the first time I write an account on my own encounter but this goes to the lady who kept me awake for 4 nights!

This may seem fatuous at once for I myself claiming to be a paranormal researcher and may even project me as a charlatan, but I just have to share this. The room was normal except for that woman, a statuesque lady from the 20's maybe, whose portrait was emblazoned right in the center of a rusty mechanical frame. As it seemed, her portrait, as slovenly as it became with time, just belonged to that wall. It simply owned he right to remain there, till eternity maybe. In an archaic backdrop, a belle, holding her head down, eyes closed, with surreal serenity and classic mellows as you could hear, she was waiting for something to happen.

I, having acquainted myself with such portraits and the ingenuity of the ouevre before, knew it represented either remorse or regret. I knew that the portrait stood for some abject misery hat fell upon her and forced her to opress the smile she would have donned otherwise. What I did not know though, was that the picture had a life of its own! In an eerily silent way, it condemned what happened to her, and it made you scorn the same. It was too difficult to believe it was just an artist's imagination or a pastiche of some real art. That lady, in herself, was real, and she wanted to say something for real.

Having the avarice I have for such contrivances, I had to use solace to see what she wanted to say. I knew she won't manifest, she won't come out, she won't relent and she won't open her eyes or come out. Those things were too arcane for her to do. She was too simple, too ingrained in the past to be in our present. She just wanted herself to be heard, her misery or maybe her reminiscent from her jubilant times. She just wanted to yield, not through form or expression, but through time, which probably took her away with it.

For those 4 days, diurnally, I was lost in places, talking to people, collecting elements for making reports but as I came back, her face was the first thing to catch my sight. What would once have been a visage full of conviviality was now portraying something poignant in a macabre fashion. She did not want the wrath to fall upon others. She simply wanted people to witness her times, her past and her last. That's all that she wanted and I had to accede.

I wondered how without her coming out, which would have knocked me down and made the hotel room my casket, would she tell me her story. I just closed my eyes with somnolence engrossing my senses and despite being dead tired, either an olfactory interruption or something else, would always wake me up. I checked for mice, for wavering polythenes, pages but nothing. The sound of swattering pigeons on the back of the AC would be distinct. The sounds, the feeling was emanating from somewhere else. Maybe, it was her.

I tried hard to slip into the indulgence but my sleep never lasted more than 30 minutes. Yes, this time it would have been that trepidation of knowing there is something else with you, but it was more of what she apparently wanted me to do, to listen. I switched on the lights, scurried for anything and then tried looking at her for a while. I expected to see a change but she was still the same, lachrymose and mawkish. I switched on the TV, and looked what was up for me. The sulky movie channels had horror movies all over them. The Ring, the house on the haunted hill, premiere view of the Haunting in Connecticut 2. For a moment, I refrained from looking at her, thinking she wants me to witness the fury, but then I tuned into Chupa Rustam, the pal from old times, with their gags.

I found it hard to believe but I never laughed as much as I laughed after watching their gags after a decade at least. They show was on air after so much time and without any jamboree. If it wasn't for that day, I would have never watched any of it. I nearly died laughing knowing that the hotel walls would isolate my laughter from exasperating anyone. I got so lost in the merriment of the moment that I forgot what I was upto and it was only after it got over that when I looked at her. The grimace, the dejection was gone!