Location: Darjeeling, India

Available for the time being


Happy New Year

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Just a quick post.
Happy New Year to all who read my posts. Have a great 2006.

Goodbye and Good Riddance 2005

Friday, December 30, 2005

2005 has been touted as a difficult year by all and sundry which includes the Queen. We all know why - and it doesn't do anybody any good by harping on the ills of the year once again. So, as 2005 plays its Swan Song, many will be bidding it 'good riddance'.
For me, 2005 had in its cache mixed tidings and any way I look at it, it is too insignificant to write home about. Am I hoping for a good 2006? Sure.
Dad always says, "The next day will be worse than today, so make the most of the present." On other days I probably would have passed this off as another overused cliche. Die-hard optimists may pooh-pooh this away but if you think long enough and let it marinate your conscience, one cannot but stop and marvel at the simplicity and candor of these words. Surreal.
Que sera, sera. What ever will, will be. The future's not mine to see. Kiss my ass, my ass!

Fake University

Thursday, December 29, 2005

This information is for the benefit of all. I was just going through the UGC site and I came across this. It is a must read for all who are hard up for a degree. Read it before you squander away loads of cash in futility.

I am quoting the UGC site verbatim:

Through the United States Educational Foundation in India (USEFI), a Communication dated 11 February 2005 has been received from the State of Hawaii in USA conveying that a so-called Hawaii based unaccredited university is operating in India. American University of Hawaii (AUH) operating in India is not accredited by any recognized accrediting agency and not licensed or approved by the State of Hawaii. It claims to have affiliates, study centres and regional offices in some eighteen countries. It has almost no students or graduates in the United States and primarily issues degrees and diplomas to non-US citizens, including those in India. Office of consumer protection of the State of Hawaii has obtained an injunction from an appropriate court in Hawaii barring it from doing business as a university. Please see Full text of the Court's Judgment.

This is to alert the students and parents in India about this so-called university's operation in India. However, a clarification regarding University of Hawaii and American University of Hawaii is given in the
communication dated September 7, 2005 received from USEFI.
I will also be glad if anyone can come up names of such dubious universities.

Operation Romeo

Friday, December 23, 2005

It was a nightmare for lovers in a Meerut park recently (source The Telegraph). The police were out in full force to apprehend and humiliate couples. The drive didn't stop there, they proceeded on to physically assaulting the 'culprits'. They had the audacity to do it live on TV. Particularly disturbing was to see a policewoman (or policeman?) venting her frustrations on a petrified girl. Did you see her biceps? No wonder she was so frustrated.
 “The police had decided to act after receiving complaints from some traders that young couples kissed each other at the park,” the official said. “The complainants said it was embarrassing for older citizens too see the boys and girls in that state of ‘moral turpitude’.”
Police action against loversMoral turpitude? My foot! They were acting on complaints received from traders. Yeah! We know what kind of complaints, the green kind. You say it was a drive against sexual harassment and eave-teasing. It sure didn't look like one. It was just a case of misdirection of pure frustrations of a manly police-woman, who probably doesn't have a love life at all. It also could be an official way of 'copping a feel'.
They say it was a drive to curb sleaze and mobile phone camera smut. I agree that such sexcapades are on the rise in India. But for God's sakes have you noticed that most of those filth is done indoors. It is worthless to mention any scandals here as they are known by one too many. You can search yourself on Google.
What bugs me is the gross violation of human rights. No person in uniform is allowed to physically assault anyone under any pretext and that's clearly mentioned in their code of conduct. I wonder how those officers graduated from Police Academy. They sure seemed to have learnt nothing.Police slapping a woman
But alls well that ends well.  On the basis of a preliminary inquiry, the state government today suspended four police personnel, including the Meerut additional superintendent (city) and two policewomen, and ordered a probe by a retired judge. Serves them right. Do I sound harsh? Let me explain. They are all professional and they should act accordingly. If I make major blunders at my job, I get fired. That was a major blunder. And that policewoman? She needs a makeover.
Who needs Robocop?

Red Bag On The Snow

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It is nice and bright as I write, but an ominous looking cloud is on the prowl, ready to engulf the sun any moment now. The days so far have been pleasant. The nights below freezing. The Kanchanjunga looks majestic in its radiance. Just below it - I can see that the higher altitudes have already experienced their first snowfall. We, at about 7500 feet above sea level, couldn't be far behind. For now, might as well enjoy the warmth.

Yuletide is upon us! I can hear the rooster crowing and flapping it's wings, completely oblivious that it's on its last leg. A few days from now, it will be on a plate with potatoes as company.

I heard on the news last night that an unusual cold wave has hit North India. It has been a few degrees below normal and has already claimed a few lives. Poor people! What else can I say? I am privileged indeed. It is very easy to omit the obvious sometimes.

I remember this incident from a few years ago. It had been snowing the whole day and there was excitement all around on the season's first snowfall. Children were scurrying around and a few had their tongues out to catch the falling flakes. Some tourists from the plains were experiencing this spectacle for the first time and they were particularly chirpy with delight. Shutters clicking away as if this was the last day of their lives.

"Just wait till tomorrow!," I thought to myself with a tinge of arrogance.

Amidst all this melodrama was a small man with a red bag slung over his shoulder trying to get a lift. Traffic was quicker than usual - all drivers were eager to reach Darjeeling before navigation became impossible. So, here was this man darting after each passing vehicle. It was obvious that he was a bit tipsy. Probably had been frequenting the taverns to buy some warmth. I went home before darkness set in.

The next day was bright and sunny. I had snowed all night. The thick white carpet coupled with the azure skies made everything look like a Christmas cake. I, armed with a camera, ventured out to capture this pristine beauty for posterity. I took to the road just above my house in search of interesting subjects. This road leads to Darjeeling too and though motorable, it is seldom used and is for most of the time forlorn and peaceful. Very good for walks.

I trundled through the snow creating its first set of footsteps, enjoying the pleasurable feeling of snow giving way underfoot going 'Crunch, crunch, crunch'. I noticed something in the distance. Who wouldn't notice a red blob against a stark white background? I quickened my pace to quench my curiosity.

It was a red bag. Strange! Who would have left a bag right in the middle of the road? Could it be a prank? I surveyed around for clues. I suddenly notice something in the drain lining the road a few metres away. It was the man from the previous evening, embedded in snow and ice. Stiff. Tired of flagging down unconcerned drivers, he had decided to hike back home, a good 8 km from here - this being the shorter route. I got the shock of my life, particularly since no one was around. Just the red bag, the frozen man and I.

I did what any good citizen would do - report the matter to the police. Being the first witness, I had to do some paperwork. Red tapism is rapant in India but I didn't mind it this time. I was asked to file a witness report which included the description of the man, where he was found, in what state he was in, other information of interest and finally the contents of the back pack - a few hundred rupees, a pair of new slippers, a little skirt (both fit for a little girl), a flash-light and a pair of jeans.
A man came rushing into the police station.

"He is my uncle. I asked him to stay back last evening but he denied. He said that his little girl was waiting for her gifts."

This story can go on but it will serve no purpose. So I end with these words. To those who are alive, you are privileged. To those who are reading this, you are honoured. Don't forget it - ever.

Men Are From MS, Women Are From Linux

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Before you go on to read my post, I suggest you read this.

For those who don’t want to bother here is the gist of the story:

Rohit, supposedly a techie, proposes a months ‘compatibility’ contract to his bride-to-be, Rohini. If the marriage didn’t work out during the ‘trial run’, then the husband had the right to annul the alliance.

The fact that Rohit works in the software industry has gone too much to his head. Let me elaborate. One usually gets a user-trial version of any software before purchase. If it integrates well into your system and works reasonably well without throwing up cryptic errors, then one can upgrade to the full version for a fee. Now our protagonist here aspires to apply this principle on everything in life. He has so far failed in probably his first attempt.

Rohit! You bungling idiot, women may have soft wares but they are not software. The sooner you realize this, the better.

Rohini! Run away from this man as fast as you can. You don’t gain anything from this pact. He is akin to Windows ME, who promises much but will deliver nothing. Allow me to educate you. Reliability of software is the probability of failure free operation for a specified period of time in a specified environment – which means that it may work sometimes but not always. Replace ‘software’ with ‘marriage’ in the above definition and it fits right in. There will be times when marriage will seem to hang in the balance. When the time comes, he will probably delete you and look for an upgrade or a new version. You won’t be able to keep up with him. It’s not like you have extra expansion slots. You perhaps require a full recovery right now. It is a slow and arduous process, but everything will be all right. Don’t you install him right back in again. Delete him! Delete him! Keep the faith, girl! Someone more reliable will come your way.

Rohit! You stupid nut, how dare you treat her like code. You have completely missed the plot. If I may draw parallels, women are like Linux. Sometimes a tad too cumbersome or incomprehensible but once you get it right, they provide you with loads of fun, security and unconditional free lifetime support. They will even load onto a rickety old machine without dire consequences. Installing it onto your system is complicated at first ofcourse. Sometimes requiring several mountings before you finally get it right. They are difficult to master too. But the advantages of having them far outweigh the demerits.

I hope I have cleared your doubts now, Rohit – unless ofcourse you prefer a Mac, which then is an entirely different story.

For a different perspective on this, you may read this.

Bollywood Masala

Friday, December 16, 2005

Bollywood movies are not doing well abroad according to Rediff. Are there any reasons? Needless to say, Bollywood producers have this habit of bringing out similar themed movies with minor adjustments here and there and that Bollywood has time and again stolen themes from Hollywood is legendary. What else can you expect from an industry that brings out the largest numbers of movies every year? Directors & producers alike are bound to be at a loss for ideas further compounded by their already limited stash of ingenuity. I for one seldom watch Bollywood movies and when I do, I always end up discovering some form of plagiarization from some Hollywood production. Maybe it’s my fault. Or maybe I’m too biased.

Oh yes, there are talented people too but in insignificant numbers – and probably a pariah in their own industry.

Take the case of the blockbuster Black for instance. I, on the insistence of a friend, went to watch it. I had heard a lot of good things about this movie. Everything was going well till the part where AB teaches the blind girl to say ‘Water’. I vividly remember Hollywood’s Helen Keller having a similar scene. The movie was based on the life of a person by the same name, who overcame her hearing and seeing disabilities to become a great author and political activist. Back to Black now. From that point on, the enjoyment level was pretty downhill. Don’t get me wrong. The actors did a great job, particularly the kid. The direction, photography, lighting, etc. was brilliant. But it leaves you with an unpleasant aftertaste when something like that happens to you. Like they say - kabaab mein haddi.

On the other hand, I have no qualms in enjoying the blatant copycat versions.

So which Hollywood production would you like to see cooked in Bollywood masala?

My obvious choice would be Titanic. This is how I perceive the Bollywood version:

The protagonists
Rose – Aishwarya Rai, whom we shall call Mary,
Her boyfriend – Aamir Khan whom we shall call Veeru

Her fiance’ – some unknown Hollywood actor whom we shall name James.

The basic plot stays the same with the usual Bollywood garnish hither and thither. The scene in based in 1912 Bombay (pre-independent India). Mary is an English high society girl betrothed out of compulsion to British officer James. Veeru is a multi-faceted low-life. We shall add a few anti-British jibes and somehow make the ship travel to the Antarctic en route to the US of A.

Let’s see how it turns out.

Scene 1 (modern day on a research vessel)
Some scientists salvage a chest from the wreck. They open it to find some jewels and a picture (fully clothed, ofcourse) apparently belonging to 82 year old Mary.

Scene 2
Mary is brought in, who promptly recognizes her possessions. She picks up her photo and reminisces about her escapades as a youth in India.

Scene 3 (1912, India)
Veeru is engaged in a furious game of cards for a chance to sail to the USA. He wins and declares in a Mumbai dialect – ‘Tu harela, mein tickat jeetela’, picks up the tickets and heads for the docks only to find the ship has left and is a mile away. Not easily discouraged, Veeru jumps into the sea and swims towards the ship shouting, ‘Abbe ruk. Hamare paas tickat hai, hamare paas tickat hai!’ He reaches it and is hauled up.

Scene 4 (bow of the ship)
Already nostalgic, Veeru looks at India Gate in the distance and shouts, ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ with arms outstretched and a song ensues... ‘Pardesi, pardesi jana nahi.’

Scene 5
Veeru sees Mary on the First Class balcony and is bowled over by her beauty. Mary notices Veeru’s glance and quickly turns away.

Scene 6
Mary and Veeru cross paths. Veeru cooks up a conversation and has her enthralled. James notices and looks displeased.

Scene 7
James confronts Mary about her audacity to associate with Indian scum and bars her from leaving her quarters without his permission. Mary violates the rules and slips out in the darkness of the night and finds Veeru on the starboard side.

Scene 8

Veeru is teaching Mary how to spit paan into the water.

Scene 9 (Bow of the ship)
Veeru declares his love for her and shouts with arms outstretched, ‘mein Shah Jahan hun.’ Mary invites him to dinner at the First Class dining room.

Scene 10 (First Class Dining Room)
Veeru is dining with Mary and others of her ilk. Veeru has everyone spellbound by his tales. He also persuades everyone to eat from their fingers – all but James who is seething inside at his bride-to-be’s dalliance with Veeru. Later Veeru passes a note to Mary.

Scene 11 (Outside)
By now both are madly in love. Both are coochie-cooing with a song and dance… “aaj mein uppar, asman nichey” when they are abruptly stopped by James and the guards. Mary is escorted to First Class. Veeru is dragged to the cellar while hurling anti-British abuses at James. He later escapes.

Scene 12 (On the back-seat of a steamy Ambassador Mark I)
The two are locked in passionate embrace (the clothes still on). Not satisfied by the few rounds of dry humping, Veeru suggests that they go the whole way. Mary proclaims that though British, she is a sweet Indian girl at heart and departs leaving Veeru to entertain himself - “Yeh dosti, hum nahin chhodenge” playing in the background.

Scene 13
The ship is hit.

Scene 14 (Sinking ship)
Mary is on the lifeboat. Confusion abounds. In the confusion, James has Veeru locked in the cellar. Mary sensing foul play disembarks and goes on a Veeru-hunt. He is found.
Both are locked in embrace as the ship goes down.

Scene 15 (among the debris)
The two are still together. Veeru overcome by the extreme cold dies. Mary is inconsolable. She is later rescued

Scene 16 (England)
Mary overwhelmed with grief leads a life of celibacy.

Scene 17 (Today back on the research vessel)
Mary learns that Veeru is alive. He had only passed out in the water and not died. He is married and leading a quite life in India.


Now that wasn’t bad was it? Muhahaha!

Congratulations Mr. G

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Hearty congratulations for bringing us home the Sixth Schedule (at least in theory). You truly are a remarkable man. Now that we are all tribals, guaranteed by the Constitution (almost), all our troubles are over. We need not worry over trivial issues like ‘how to earn our daily bread’ but should rather be concerned about where to get our tongbas from. Isn’t that right? You gave a great speech by the way.

You have called for celebrations on this momentous occasion. We should make merry indeed. You want us to celebrate like a true tribal in drunken revelry. You are damn right. What better way than to become bhanghes. You are a genius I tell you - and you really know how to throw a party. Woohoo! Since we are to shed all inhibitions, I think we should start shedding our clothes too in the spirit of tribal brotherhood. Isn’t that a good idea? Imagine a whole town of bare-naked bhange men and skimpily clad bhange women all engaging in intense orgy. Our petite belles have already learnt how to expose their navel and butt-cleavage so implementing the above should be a breeze. When are you going to discard your suit and boot? We would love to see you in a loin cloth and cap. No compulsions here. You can take your time.

You also have warned the police from hauling in drunkards. They are a nuisance, aren’t they? The police I mean. They undoubtedly are not required in a tribal society. An unquestionable judgement on your part. They should all be transferred to the plains to cater to the erudite madesis. I also appreciate your remedy to tackle drunkenness. What better way than to dip a bhanghe in the River Teesta. A truly ingenious solution I say. I however feel this is unnecessary because most of our bhanghes will voluntarily immerse themselves in the municipal culverts that have seldom been cleaned since 1988.

You are of the opinion that we should give up modern medicine and resort to shamanism. Why not? Afterall doctors are all insatiable thugs preying on innocent people. Besides we have no dearth of world-class shamans but we do lack proper hospitals.

It is also true that the ubiquitous Shaishala Bomboo is the answer to all our troubles. It is a beautiful song and it is as significant to us as Amazing Grace is to Americans. Everyone should learn it. I am not a singer but at your behest I have already begun practice in earnest. Don’t be surprised if I come up with a hardrock version of the song. There is a small glitch tough. I do not know the verses of the song, so please do not mind if I only lip-sync.

I remember two or three years ago that your goodness had organized a shaman gathering in Chowrasta. I was among the crowd watching the raving shivers of a female shaman. The woman was shaking violently in a trance. There were rumours that you had called a competition among the shamans and the shaman who vibrated the most would reap rich rewards. The throng viewed entranced at this woman’'s antics. You were there too watching down from the podium. Remember? In my view, this woman was certainly the winner judging by the way she twisted and contorted her body all the while blurting gibberish. It was also fascinating to see her rub her hands all over her body and squeeze her breasts. I don’t know what had possessed her but it sure must have been a poltergeist. Did she win? I really don’t know how much money she bagged but what she really required was a wholesome gangbang. Good show!

Even as I write this piece, I constantly have to shift my seating position. I suffer from chronic haemorrhoids, you see. I will consult a renowned shaman (a haemorrhoid specialist) of Bijanbari the first thing tomorrow morning. I am eager to have my debilitating condition danced away.

You have also promised tongbas for all and sundry. It is a good step. I for one was dying for a drink. So you want us to offer two bottles of tongba to the Lord Jagadamba? For you Mr. G, I will go a step further. I will offer two to Lord Jagadamba, three to Lord Mocambo, two to Lord Chamunda and if you insist, one to Tarzan the ape-man. Each according to merit. They should be pleased.

Lately, your loyal supporters are of the opinion that a certain Mr. T is a chor. Once again, I totally agree. Someone who furtively smuggles endangered plants out of the region has to be a chor. Have you seen his pictures in the papers? All the dailies seem to share the one and only picture. What a silly grin he has. He most definitely is a bhange, which further drives home the above point.

Your idea of stifling the free press is commendable. They are a bunch of no-gooders. The present lot are talentless swindlers and always are on the lookout for cheap news. They never have a word of praise for you which is deplorable.

My dear Mr. G, you are our saviour who delivered us from complacency and the exploitation of the Commies. Now that we are Sixth Scheduled tribals living by our Sixth Sense, perhaps they will finally leave us alone. All this wouldn’t have happened without you.

What A Day

Saturday, December 10, 2005

OK, things might not have gone the way I wanted it to but it turned out all right. First, my exam didn't go too well as I had planned. The paper was a bit too tough. Frustration level was high and to compound things, I somewhat forgot the answers to the questions I had practiced earlier. All the preparation gone down the drain.

I certainly would have loved to have it the other way.

Here I was, ambling down the road looking glum, complaining (to myself) about how I wasted six months of study, worried about my future, worried that I would not measure up to anything in life---why do such things happen to me only? The tension kept building up in me.
I have the right to be worried, haven't I? Afterall, I am a hardworking & responsible person. Also, I quit job for further studies just to get a better foothold in life.
A good degree is a necessity in India. A higher qualification means a better life. Every good-paying job interview attracts quite a number of candidates. All are graduates and many hold post-graduate degrees. So what does a mere Bachelor's degree do to your standing? The answer is anybody's guess.
So here I was---thinking. (Am I overdoing this bit?) Then I came across an old friend. He is married and has a son. I haven't seen him in class or the exams lately, though we take the same course.

"Why don't I see you in college?" I enquired.

To this he replied that he had a lot of things on his mind. Like me, he too had quit his job a few years earlier. Like me, he too wanted a better life. Unlike me, he was married and with a kid. He had certain demands (from Mrs) that needed immediate attention.
I quote him verbatim.
"I have financial issues."
He had taken up another job to make ends meet and had been returning home from work. He wasn't the same Mr. X of three years ago. He had confided in me then that he would be living off his savings till the course is over. Today, he was in a financial quagmire. The present job wasn't a high paying job albeit he saw a future in it. I could see that there really was a lot on his mind which he kept to himself. Men are not good at sharing troubles with others as women are.

"I will complete the course one day but for now it is on hold." Those were his last words as I boarded the taxi to take me home.

This brings me to my conclusion. I will complete the course one day. Come rain or come shine...and I have troubles just as much as I can take...but others may have more.
I have good parents who are willing to stand by me and I have a God who has never let me down. So why worry? As a favourite song of mine goes - There has to be sunshine after rain.

Santa Claus is in Town

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Might as well write something while I have just enough blogging time. I wonder what I should write about? in the Darn it. Its just one of those days. Any news? Oh, this should be interesting. Santa, two Santas infact, or was it Santa and Mrs --- Santa and secretary? A Dutch couple was recently spotted in town (Darjeeling) dressed as Santa distributing goodies to street urchins.
Isn't it too early?
It seems they were celebrating Saint Nicholas Day, apparently an important occassion in their native land. Apart from generating curious interest and obligatory smiles (perhaps due to untimely festivities & the fact that this isn't particularly Christian territory), they were well received by children of all sizes and financial background. All children know who Santa is irrespective of religious, national or social bindings. With support from a few local friends, they were able to distribute sweets to a lot of kids. Festivities ended at a Cafe run by two Frenchmen.
So even if it was for a day - a pair of Dutch students, two Frenchmen and lots of kids - had a field day.
Just in case anyone has forgotten their manners (which I hope not) - here's to you guys. Thanks guys! Cheers! Good show! Have a very Blessed Christmas.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I am having it pretty rough this month with my exams spread out over December. I really haven't had the time to sit down and reflect. The blog has thus been stagnant for quite sometime. So while others celebrate this festive season, I will be cooped up in my room trying to grasp the innards of the Theory of Computers among others.

Oh yeah! It's going to be some Christmas for me.

Reading newspapers for a few minutes is the only break from the drab routine I've been keeping. I just came across a few anecdotes in the fine prints of The Telegraph. Here are some.

Too much reading...not good

in front of the monitor for long periods could be the cause of a condition called 'dry eye'. This especially happens if there is too much of reading material (blogs?). Long periods of squinting if front of the monitor, experts say, reduces blinking. The average 15 blinks a minute could drop to 7.5 blinks a minute. Blinking is the natural way to keep eyes moist so such drastic reduction in blink rate could cause eyes to be unnaturally dry. Though treatable with drops and ointments, it presumably is painful.

So people, take a break between blogs.

Smart & Savvy Birds

John Marzluff & Tony Angell
have co-written a book called In the Company of Crows. The duo have been studying the Crows. To be precise Corvids, that includes Crows, Ravens and others of their ilk. They feel that on the one hand they have been feared, hunted and much maligned and on the other hand, their cleverness and ingenuity is folklore. They found the bird worthy of study and respect.
They have compiled some fascinating feats about this bird. For example, Japanese carrion crows use moving cars as nutcrackers.
Seattle crows, after being trapped by the authors, have learned to avoid them, even in the midst of thousands of students and if given the choice between french fries in a plain bag or a MacDonald's bag, crows chose the branded bag every time.
This book seems to be an interesting read. I'm sure a lot of avid avian
aficionados are drooling over this book.

That's all the time I could spare for this blog today. Back to Theory of Computers. Yawn!

Emporium Armani - Save up to 53% off!