Friday, June 30, 2006


You know you surf Internet for 8-9 hrs per day on your laptop at home when:

  1. You are talking to people with your hand on the table and fingers virtual-typing the words you are speaking and you feel bad that you can’t catch up with your speed

  2. When sitting in office you graze your thumb slightly over the space on the platform near the keyboard hoping that the pointer on screen would move.

  3. You move the pointer on the right side of the screen hoping that in some time dock-bar of Google Desktop will move out giving you the latest news and newest articles on your most favourite RSS enabled websites.

  4. While typing e-mail, you suddenly think of a phrase that could accurately describe the point. However, you curse silently when you realise you don’t have Internet there in the company to verify the same (and do further follow-ups such as etymology and other similar words) on Google or Wikipedia.

  5. On a fateful day when there is no internet and friends come inquiring if you are ok since net is not available, you ask

  6. “Hey you got your cell phone right now?”
    “Yeah, why?”
    “Which service provider do you have?”
    “&^%&^%* one, it is cheap and…”
    “And does this offer include a GPRS connection as well!”

  7. You iron your clothes for going to office the next day; you keep checking your laptop for Internet connection but of no avail. So to your mind back to “normality” you keep ironing the clothes with a pint of neat Vodka beside you.

  8. When a volunteer turns up at your door asking for donation to aid young women of UK and claims that their organisation has done a lot of pioneering work in this area, you are tempted to ask, “ Do you have a website where I can see your claims and verify it and get back to you??”

  9. When you overhear a colleague talking on phone ".....its like the kiss of apocalypse ". You wonder what does he mean by that and open Outlook go to Draft, open a saved mail and add this topic to your list reminding yourself to mail the list at EOD and search all the terms in the list @ Google and/or wikipedia. If you couldn't get the phrase anywhere you ask this fellow the meaning of that. OR alternatively you have been given new mouse-mats and on the back of it are claims of ultra-precise-tracking. You wonder if that's related to the UK/European patent no. mentioned below, you add these nos. to your list as well.

  10. The meanings of FORWARDS stops holding any meaning/significance for you since all FORWARDS related to current affairs or otherwise have already been read by you. So when someone sends you a forward about "being careful of DELL laptops since one exploded and he is about to tell you the context, you say, "Yeah!, I know ..during a Japanese conference"

  11. When you type e-mail in a typical blog fashion quoting people's comments/views in italics and giving hyperlinks to whichever folder you mention.

  12. When you realize that you are really a crazy maniac and a freak for internet and you think of quitting this habit. You tell your friends at a party that you want to quit and they say, “Well yes you should. However, you should first go and write a blog about that. Ha ha.. hee hee.. hoo hoo.(group laughter sounds)”

  13. As you are typing this article at Office for posting a blog at home, you are wondering if there is anything more to write about and wondering what will you do as you’ve finished typing “……wondering what will you do as you’ve finished typing.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Google Masti..

Well if you thought this blog is about typing a certain search string in Google and then have a gag over the results, you may or may not be correct. Well continuing my binge of internet surfing and reading abstract and any article let me to this link. This is what it has to say, something that will excite you to read the whole 55 Funs and my blog as well.

Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped has released the full PDF of his wonderful book, 55 Ways to Have Fun With Google at
You probably use Google everyday, but do you know… the Google Snake Game? Googledromes? Memecodes? Googlesport? The Google Calculator? Googlepark and Google Weddings? Google hacking, fighting and rhyming? In this book, you’ll find Google-related games, cartoons, oddities, tips, stories and everything else that’s fun. Reading it, you won’t be the same searcher as before!

  • Well to put it some of them may be the ones you must have surely tried for sure like EgoGooglism (searching for your name with qualifiers or supporting verbs added to it and then laughing and smirking over the results).

  • There are others at which you may not be successful at all even during your entire lifetime- what could such a thing be, well try Googlewhacking.

  • Still not sure what are Google Labs, Google X, Google Local, Google Scholar, Froogle?? Check the free PDF out, it has all the answers and not in a boring discursive style but rapid-fire kind of answers.

  • The masti @ Google may seem something utterly poor sense of humour but try more and it may seem so funny. Try celebrating non-weddings between two people. Try certain other games that are fun @ parties like Google Rebus or Google Image Storyteller. I just tried the phrase, “the best way to kill Alice is to keep someone alive” and broke into a hysterical laughter. Hope could capture it put it up on youtube for all you folks. (Update: the result is always the same i.e. same pictures so check the result for yourself)

  • Well design your own house using Sketch-Up and mail it to him and your creation might appear here.

  • Then there are a couple of tips that a random net freak individual may already know. There are advanced searches in Google to make the search smarter. If you haven’t discovered it find it here, here and here.

  • Finally if you are really freaky enough, read the document and do care to peep in Fun no. 29, (Alien attacks Google), Fun no. 30 (top ten signs you are addicted to Google), Fun no. 31(Dig Through Earth), Fun no. 42( an amazing incident that gives you a first hand a/c of the power of internet and finally the role of Google in such a wild area-Read Josh’s experiences)

  • Oops !! How can an amazing topic like this not end with kid games, well try some kiddish games with Google images, Google translation (the fun part here is something that you get in “Chinese whisper”game)

Finally I do really believe that after reading this I am a changed Googler, how about you???

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Law's Advocate vs Devil's Advocate

That’s how the interview began claiming FM Chidambaram as an advocate of reservation. The pun however is on FM’s former profession, law practice and Karan’s present profession- Devil’s advocacy. - Karan Thapar vs. P. Chidambaram. It was an interview I was looking out for since while Karan is a master at adding fuel to smoke and show that it’s a fire, enraging and even breaking down the interviewee, FM by the very outlook looks as cold as ice who wouldn’t provoked.

However in this tussle Karan gained the upper edge ‘coz several times Chidambaram did seem perturbed defending his stand. His answers sometimes sounded too generalist missing the main point entirely. He seemed closed on certain issues too.

As far as Karan Thapar was concerned, at times he did seem to quibble with words, but I think he is the Devil’s advocate. It’s his job to provoke, to provide interpretations in order to get a consistent meaning out of the whole affair.

At the end of the interview, I have certain reservations with the replies of Mr. Chidambaram.

  1. In the very beginning of the interview

Karan Thapar: So you think that reservation is the right thing.
P Chidambaram: Among all the instruments available to us for affirmative action, the one that is proved most effective is reservation.

Well what are those other instruments that he talks of and has govt. ever contemplated about implementing them since the first time reservation was implemented so that even though empirically at least there is a comparison.

In addition, disappointment emerges from his reply to relevance of review of reservation, the efficiency as well as functional aspects too.

Karan Thapar: Let me ask the question differently - after 50 odd years of reservations and the controversy that they have created, at least in some quarters, do you believe that a review of how they function would be a sensible thing to do?
P Chidambaram: If review means questioning the justification of reservation, I say 'no'.

  1. He says that there is ample material available to support the govt’s stand. Karan seems to suggest that ministry might fudge data or concoct reports to support their evidence and FM says that reports are stacked somewhere only they need to be pulled out and drafted properly in an affidavit. But this whole saga has been continuing for around a month and never did we ever hear of these reports. Now the govt. can’t cry wolf saying that media didn’t cover them too!!

  2. The most disappointing part was this:
P Chidambaram: In the Cabinet, I will give my opinion.
Karan Thapar: Share it with the country. We look up to you and the country is listening to you.
P Chidambaram: I don't agree with you. A very small section understands English and listens to your programme
So what if only a small section comes to know of his stand, at least one could have heard about the grounds on which an intellectual like him believes that reservation is the right way forward? We surely do not expect a volte-face from him that he will revert his opinion while voting in the cabinet.

  1. His unease at defending Mandal’s report even though Rajiv Gandhi had disputed the data was quite clear at the interview and his answers were more or less had an assumption that since one thing has been implemented in the past it is not erroneous or can’t be questioned.

Karan Thapar: His conclusion is important. In the end, it may be emphasized that the survey has no pretensions to being a piece of academic research. On what basis then today, as successors to Rajiv Gandhi, do you want to keep pursuing the report?
P Chidambaram: Please remember, after that speech, in 1991, a Congress Government implemented reservation in Government jobs and that has come to stay.
Karan Thapar: So, in other words, Mr Gandhi's position has been forgotten?
P Chidambaram: No, I respect his view.
Karan Thapar: So much so that you want to go ahead with the report that was effectively rubbishing.
P Chidambaram: Please remember, it has been implemented in 1991. This is not the first time it is being implemented.
Karan Thapar: He was deeply critical of the 52 per cent figure.
P Chidambaram: He was.
Karan Thapar: He actually said that this figure includes many castes that are forward castes and many castes that are Scheduled Castes, he disputed that figure.
P Chidambaram: I am aware of that speech, but the fact remains that in 1991, a Congress Government implemented reservation in Government jobs. And now, 15 years later, the demand is to implement reservations in educational institutions.
Karan Thapar: Today, your Government that functions effectively under the tutelage of his widow will be in fact implementing something that he in his greatest speech had deeply criticised.
P Chidambaram: That is a wrong way to look at it. The Government has to reflect the realities and the aspirations of today. Today, there is a Parliament, there are political parties, there are political parties representing the very backward castes as a coalition Government, MPs reflect, I believe, the aspirations of their constituents. If Parliament decides that a Bill must be passed to provide for reservation for Backward Castes in educational institutions, that is not showing disrespect to Rajiv Gandhi, the way you put it, that means we are reflecting the current realities.
Well the last response showed the severe disconnect. Does he mean to say that the report that was termed as unscientific by Rajiv Gandhi at that time suddenly has become relevant and reflects current realities! Did Nostradamus himself investigate this issue? Btw one might read through why Rajiv Gandhi had objections with the report as narrated by Karan and be convinced that the report is indeed very unscientific.
In the end even I wait for the reply to the closing words of Rajiv’s speech
“Let us not have one man’s obstinacy holding India hostage ... Let that man’s obstinacy not lead to caste war ... I appeal to the patriotism and patriotic feelings of every member in this House not to remain idle, not to remain quiet and save this nation from the obstinacy of one person.”
May someone please stand up and reply.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Neeti Nahin Chanakyaneeti!!

Now that both the participants to the reservation debate are resting easy post Supreme Court order I think I can talk about some thing different but still connected to mainstream idea.

I watched and wondered at the amazing dumbness with which Arjun Singh wiped out the war of words waged by Karan Thapar @ The devil’s Advocate, Meira Kumar’s final nail in the coffin to implement reservation in private sector within 2 years.  I watched Meira Kumar’s interview as well where she denied the survey done by her own wing (NSSO) and was willing to implement reservation further even though industry came out figures showing that they already had what she wanted without reservation but she wants more and more topping on an already a wonderful pizza.

Well all this time as this RDB Effect was sweeping everyone I was happy about something; the way students and professors @IIT came out in opposition to reservation. As a part of the alumni, I have known that IITs have been very media shy and the students have never before participated on a social topic at such a large level. Now quite a no. of my friends has joined protest march and some even volunteered for hunger strike.

But this is not a hue and cry about the same. I chanced to come across this article by Chetan Bhagat on Rediff which is of a lot of substance given the experience of convincing the politicians to at least come out with a white paper proving that reservation has done some good. Well all along journalists, academicians (here & here), some of my professors (here), dedicated blogs (here, here & here ) survey done by govt. bodies (NSSO, NFHS) have always been pointing out DATA, hard core facts as to why reservation has not helped all along and why it might more damage than help. But looking at the response given by politicians, they have very easily denounced their own data and have always said things which appeal to senses in terms of moral and social upliftment hence not letting their stand go in un-noticed.

Quoting Chetan “After all, the point of making a noise is to be heard. And to be heard, one doesn't have to burn himself -- that is foolish and a one-time flash in the pan.” He elaborates some ways for the campaign to be more alive and he makes practical sense when he recommends having a more visually appealing campaign, use emotions more than reason and intentions more than actions. Whatever data one gives is easily denied by politicians with cliché excuses but no one has any logic against emotions.

So post the forthcoming drama of merit Vs reservation the further campaign, if need be,   should be more emotionally charged, involve more use of multimedia and handling media in a better way. Clearly all the attention received this time was due to attention from media (terming this as Mandal-II). Medicos and Engg students should really project themselves as savior and the govt. as vultures to gain more support, may be garner more support on internet communities, have open forums instead of some anger showing protests like hunger strike.

While the drama might continue the medicos and engg students should ensure that the fire is not doused by the cold blows of time by organizing at regular intervals conferences, discussion at inter-collegiate level and in ways which on and off catches media attention and gives the public some assurance that whatever they did earlier was not temporary but is going to stay, that they believe in what they said this time. While senior doctors have started wearing black tapes as a symbol of protest but there should be catchier and in fact more provocative means which even media would be too happy to cover.
Medicos while giving prescription should distribute pamphlets to the patients so that they cover more people with their ideas. Put up a big model of India in the campus and choreo the whole event to put your point across. Even the same ideas could be emulated by engg students. This will keep the govt. on heels and not forget that there is one force which is waiting in hiding and wields a power to reckon with. To sum up, neeti nahin Chanakya Neeti se hi jung mein fateh milegi.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Learning sentences without learning alphabets!!

Breaking my temporary break from blogging, I thought of writing a blog. Well there were lots of topics in my mind; some of them could be reservation, medico’s strike. But then I was caught unaware and in fact shocked by an article of TOI that India has now surpassed South Africa in terms of HIV infected population. It was shocking to learn that India now houses 5.7 million infected people and only 7% of these are receiving ARTs.

Well shocked I was definitely to learn that although with effort of WHO and UNAIDS to open 25 free ART distribution centers across India. (Which till date I deemed as considerable) this disease could not be held in check. Then when I gave thought to probable reasons I came up with some usual ones like expensive medicines (which still cost 1200-2500 per dose), social stigma attached, difficulty in educating the people about it et al. Coming to control on price of ARTs, its difficult to control the price given the expensive medicine and patent protection regime gearing up in India making it difficult to “copy” the same medicine here in India, the govt. should ensure that they do a better job with controlling the other aspects since many people do not come up because of the social stigma attached. The govt. was doing a fine job with educating with posters in mumbai reading Will Balbir Pasha get AIDS, running ads on TV depicting mother dropping hints to their children by knowingly holding object with AIDS awareness message on it, opening hotlines, messages in magazines, billboards, through awareness campaigns signing up celebrities and whats and what nots. And it was working for Mumbai

The govt. was doing a fine job until this happened. Reportedly in WB, govt. has sought to redesign the communication campaign by alleging that use of words like condom, sangam (intercourse), jingles from movies like hum tum ek kamre mein band hon claiming that these are “offending”. Well I leave it to you to ascertain the meaning and impact of these offending words and would wonder in such times when the communication should be more open considering the stage that India has entered owing to poor communication (enough was done but as we now find it…sad but true. ..that it was not enough). It’s like when one’s boat is getting drowned the govt. is saying that life guards shouldn’t use get the child wet because she will feel cold!!

I have always been a staunch supporter of sex education in India right at an appropriate school level because given the ignorance in such matters the atmosphere at home too doesn’t help much to make up for the same. With such kind of knowledge about basics of gender differences its not surprising if the volunteers have had tough time explaining things to younger and if I am not wrong the most vulnerable group leave apart the difficulty in opening them up.

Still wondering what the new campaign would read like without the use of basic words like sex and condom…any ideas?????