Saturday, December 13, 2008

In which I berate techonological progress

Dont get me wrong I am a slave to technology - laptops, mice, Youtube, Joost, Hulu, GPS, iPods, Guitar Hero. Chances are if i can afford them I will have them. It was in this spirit of being technology's slave-girl that I got an Orkut and Facebook account and signed up for Gmail chat. The honeymoon was great, I loved the way I could keep in touch with my friends on Gmail chat or with scraps (micromail for the attention span challenged) just to remind friends that I am around. I loved the potential for getting back in touch with childhood friends.

This followed a period where I aggressively searched for long lost neighbours from my childhood home and in the process met random people from school who were 8 when I was 14. Once I even made this very heart rending post, where I asked to know of my school friends whom I had lost touch with. The upside to that was thanks to a combination of that post, Facebook and Orkut, I am now very definitely in touch with them.

In fact, I now know whats on the mind of as much as 6 people before breakfast (via status messages on Gmail chat, facebook and orkut) impossible as it may seem.Some of them even have blogs to further subject me to their thoughts and actions during the course of the day, week, year. (Oh wait...!) Not that I am close to any of them. Most of them I have met once maybe twice, few have something stimulating to say and almost all of them have sent friendship requests when I was in a benevolent mood.

Subject to this much barrage of information of who is getting married, who had kids, who moved to Australia, who is going to a certain hemisphere, who got a job and where, who crashed a car while learning to drive, who is making pasta for dinner, who hated sky diving and who is bored, I am losing my sangfroid. Schadenfreude anyone?

Earlier it was all hail-fellow-well-met and then a vacuum which you really only bothered to fill if you had a crush on that person in question but now even the Facebook updates from my highschool crush are a chore to read as he hops from one debauched Dubai party to another. Sometimes I just wants to disappear into a technological rabbit hole of obscurity and emerge in a few decades and then seek out Nisha, Vikas, Ann, V., A., B., W., and the other endearing letters of the alphabet.

Several times I have come this close to deleting my accounts but the addiction persists! I am cursed to live out my life in this Kalyug where friendships after the actual physical proximity criteria is eliminated go from email exchanges, to Facebook wall messages to Orkut scraps to Gchat status messages and finally hang on with the claws of Facebook updates. Welcome to eternal damnation where friendships don't gracefully melt into obscurity but are well and truly forever.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

When dreams die they make a noise?
Like the splash when a frog jumps into a pond or
Like the continuous patter of rain on a rooftop or
Like the roaring incessancy of a waterfall?

Most people would say
They don’t make any noise at all
Like a glacier melting.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Evolution put in perspective by a Youtube video. Have fun!

Thanks to The Other 95% for the link!

Look out for the monkeys on a typewriter(get it?? :) ) bit somewhere in the middle.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On Muses

"O Muses, O high genius, aid me now!
O memory that engraved the things I saw,
Here shall your worth be manifest to all!"

- Dante Alighieri, in Canto II of The Inferno

Friday, September 12, 2008


I first read James Clavell's Shogun when I was 16 in the summer of '96 before the Std. XII exams, sneaking time between the chemical reactions we were supposed to memorize and the integrations I was supposed to practice.

I was hooked from the first page with his descriptions of Japanese life and customs (boiling of tea leaves during peacetime and boiling of prisoners otherwise). The complex plots and the in depth characterization of even minor players left me reeling. Its descriptions of Japanese concepts of wa and absolute obedience were the closest I could get to escaping the dreary desert sands of the Middle East. All this mind you in the Dark Ages before the days of the Great WWW.

Times changed and here I am in the US of A with a Netflix account.

I find that "Shogun" had been made into a TV series in the mid-eighties! I had it ordered promptly and now the disc is sitting there next the DVD player. I am wondering whether I should watch it at all. Would the watching of this DVD completely ruin my imaginings of Blackthorne, Lord Toranaga and Lady Mariko? Would these be lost to be forever to be replaced by the budget restricted panderings of three executive producers who may not have read the novel at all?


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Sexee Witch my new LG Chocolate3 - a 3G 1GB CDMA with iPod like sound quality and a 2 megapixel camera with two screens all for 40 bucks. Me is in love!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Recycle bin therapy

I cleaned out my office desk today in preparation for the Voyage to the Great Beyond.**

Aside from that, I threw away a lot of stuff. I mean lots.

- Old Cd covers (why did i ever keep them in the first place?),
- Old paper reprints (God when did i ever read this?)
- Xeroxes of my certificates (i was OCD case once and to apply to any place i would carry three xerozes or more of all my certificates all the way back to my tenth),
- Non-working mosquito repellants (mosquitoes in the lab?)
- Hand santisers (wtf?)
- Binoculars (wtff?)
- A photograph of a person reading a girlie magazine (this was used to blackmail him by his friends and then left in my possesion. yes i have/had weird friends)
- a blank greeting card that was never sent.
- a new york momento got by Certain someone which i had forgotten. it shows the World trade Centre towers still standing.

All the bins in my lab and adjacent labs are overflowing with my discarded stuff.

I feel as if I am suddenly free of cares and don't have attachments anymore. Its a wonderful feeling. Perhaps this is how ascetics feel when they renouce the world.

** - the Pacific Ocean not the River Styx.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Shloka

अश्वं नैव गजं नैव व्याघ्रं नैव च नैव च अजापुत्रं बलिं दद्यात् देवो दुर्बलघातकः

Not a horse, not an elephant, and never a tiger. It is the son of a goat that is sacrificed. Even the Gods are against the weak.

A Shloka I came across on my wanderings. Of course the interpretation of these things is always a subjective issue but I like to look at it as a subtle agnostic snub.

Right now I have no idea which text it is from. Help would be appreciated and acknowledged.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Unwaba Revelations - A Review

I rarely review books or movies because I am sure that there are other people who do. But in my wanderings on the great www I did not come across a decent review of the "The Unwaba Revelations" therefore this post is born.

Before I start this I must confess that I have not read the first two novels. But I did not think that it mattered because novels even if they are part of trilogy must be enjoyable on their own without resorting to what happened before. I wonder if this was a factor is my actually enjoying the book only half way through it when I had managed to get ravains, vamans, asurs, humans and other myriad life forms that inhabit the book sorted out in my head.

I started reading it with a lot of expectations, considering reviews on the net and all that though I must confess that Samit Basu’s state-mate’s brushes with science fiction one of which produced the Calcutta Chromosome should have made me wary but nevertheless in the quest for fiction that is based in my reality and not Central Park, contemporary London or post WWII Jewish Boston, hope springs eternal from the human breast.

I was hooked from the first page when not only was Aishwarya(Rai?) was compared to a duck but she was also given a species name. (Viduci olwwasysac – Why does she always ask?) My favorite is the Kaos butterflies used by Kol(get it?) to defend itself against enemies, which can create thunderstorms by flapping their wings. (Get it? Get it?) Some other allusions that I came across. - Regal Eagles(?), Streakers in Central Kol Park. (Quite obvious), Free States (USA!) ,Xi’en (China?) [Oook tells me that the Kaos butterflies bit is borrowed from Terry Pratchett.]

Yes "The Umwaba Revelations" is chock full of these weird references. Some of which I am sure I did not get. Though two friends tried to convince me that forest Ekyavan whose leader pretends to sleep but is actually meditating is a reference to Vaijpayee. But in retrospect it might be referring to Area 51 as later in the novel some fancy alien ships are found there.

An interesting new literary device the single paragraphed conversation between two people was original. Sly references to Mumbai in the form of Bolvudis(Get it?), which I applauded. The hero(Kirin) who prefers sex to saving the world and outwits the gods by mere argument I liked.

At some places his language seems strained and sometimes too much of a college cliché especially the conversations between Maya and Kirin. A little cutting and snipping would have made it perfect. Towards the end the complex battle scenes had my head reeling and wondering when it would all end. There are a lot of names common between the people he acknowledges and some characters in the book. I wonder if they are in-jokes. That would be poor taste.

I went in looking for a book that would represent our cultures our inflences in a sartorial way like Terry Pratchett. (the Gods here so speak like Death from Terry Pratchett - ALL IN CAPS.) I was slightly dissapointed but still it is a great effort overall - perhaps I enjoyed it a little bit more because reading of said book was punctuated by the reviewer meeting with the author at a book lauch where he most graciously returned her pen after signing her book (the high moral standards thus displayed had impartial reviewer swooning.) Now if only he wrote a novel about a great city named Mum with meandering roads by the sea where great rains come once a year and a cold wave paralyses the city’s denizens, then I shall deify him.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A cold wind this way blows

Now a days I dread the setting of the sun when the darkness takes over.

It is unusually cold in Mumbai right now. I am told the temperature was 10C yesterday. It is fine if you are well equipped to deal with the cold but Mumbaikars are not. I mean cold weather in Mumbai lasts for two days in a year. And my hostel room has been carefully chosen to be shielded from the sun so that it is the coolest in summer. Problem is it is also the coldest room in winter!!

I have resorted to ad hoc techniques which involve not opening my windows of my room at all and sleeping with three sheets, one sweater and a pair of socks. This has been happening for the past two weeks with hopes that it will get better soon. I hope this goes away, or pretty soon I will have to actually *buy* a blanket.

To add to this some bright peeps (read people from the North who were in their element) came up with the idea of going to Marine Drive yesterday. I acquiesced. There we were hanging out on windy windy Marine Drive in the coldest day in the year for an hour almost. It was when ice-cream at Natural’s was suggested that I drew the line. A cold Mumbaikar is a disgruntled Mumbaikar and that is one thing you would not want to mess with.

On the plus side, after a long time, I have come across Hindi music which I have listed to in a loop (you know when you play the song/song track again and again and again and again and again.......) Ladies and gentlemen, I present Jodha Akbar. Listen to the magic of Rahman!