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Showing posts from June, 2009

Endless hours of bliss

These artists have kept me entertained over the years via my cassette player, radio, CD player, walkman, laptop and iPod.The representation doesn’t seem to be very accurate but it’s close enough."Music - The one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend."
Beethoven

Some folks I’ve listened to in the past 1 year

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IRFCA

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I thought I was crazy about Indian Railways…until I came across IRFCA. This site is maintained by hardcore fanatics who upload tons of stunning photos each day to keep me as happy as a baby!

PSIPHON: A Revolution in Freedom of Choice

It’s fun to see authoritarian regimes cringe under the growing power of technology to circumvent online censorship. The latest darling of Iranians wanting to access news and freely express themselves in the face of disputed presidential elections is Psiphon. The software has already been downloaded by 18,000 Iranians in the last 10 days.Iranian authorities are so petrified of dissidents stoking protests over the rigged elections using Psiphon that they have accused Canada of supporting the software maker’s “efforts to spread insurrection in Iran."Freedom can only be delayed, not defeated. Religious fanatics and authoritarians will learn it the hard way. So be it.

Much ado about something

I had my eyes set on a USB mains charger on Ebay for the past 2 weeks. I was all set to up the killer bid in the dying moments of the auction this afternoon. But as ill-luck would have it, there was yet another short-circuit in our vicinity just 15 minutes prior to the end of the auction and I was left in the dark at 0 hour, literally.By the time power was restored, the damage was already done. Anyway, I was glad to learn that I didn’t really lose anything. Bids went so high that I would have pulled off anyway.

Phantom Wife Never Realized

She wasn’t really his wife, though the prospect loomed large over him for some time. Since Santosh is away and we didn’t have the heart to grill the poor guy over phone and incur roaming charges, we let him off with a quick quiz. The details are rather murky but here’s what we learnt.The girl’s parents had shown the photo to Santosh, which, it seems, was edited via Photoshop! We don’t know how Santosh came to know of the retouching. Anyway, they were not willing to let our guy actually see the girl in person. However, they were willing to it directly at the engagement, when he couldn’t possibly back out! How ridiculous!Santosh, rightly enough, refused the alliance. I’ll get more details on his return to Bangalore.

Dangerous & BAD

Yahoo! stunned me this morning with the breaking news of Michael Jackson’s death at the age of 50. This was certainly a devastating development for his many fans all over the world.Flashback. I was a kid and lived in Jamshedpur. Mom had run into serious trouble for losing a key. Months later, when I accidentally rediscovered it, she was ecstatic and promised to reward me with a music cassette. Since my taste was already inching towards the esoteric, a realm mom had no inkling of, she innocently bought an album by Michael Jackson called Thriller. I was less than thrilled and made no bones of my disappointment. I realized a lot later how rude I was to her.That’s how Michael Jackson joined my tiny assortment of cassettes. It was an embarrassment, a complete misfit. I never added another of his albums. His hoots, shouts and screams never really impressed me. It was largely to his credit that music had become more of a video experience than audio, oddly enough. To me, the flamboyant MJ was…

The Uneducated Union Minister of HRD

Expect the clowns running this country to constantly tickle our funny bones. This time, it’s the turn of our Harvard-educated Union Minister of HRD to come up with an absolute gem of a suggestion – scrap Class 10 board exams altogether.Maybe our aged and honorable minister needs to be reminded that calibration of students through exams is an essential exercise in every educational system and can’t be done away with. How on earth is he expecting to grade the quality of our students? Maybe weight, height, color of skin, community, age and caste could be used as alternatives! Maybe we can have a lucky draw and certificates can be distributed amongst students based on how lady luck shines upon them.And why stop at abolishing just the Class 10 board exams? We can go further and abolish Cass 12 board exams, competitive entrance exams, annual health exams, blood tests, medical exams of rape victims…in fact all forms of exams. We can leave everything to destiny and let our over-populous Gods …

Ustad Ali Akbar Khan passes away

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I was stunned at the news from NYTimes. I wondered how could I have missed such an important development even though I’m constantly watching TV news and occasionally flipping through the newspaper.The Times of India reported the sad demise on page-9. TV channels are busy reporting on a rape case and training their guns on the Indian T20 team for the World Cup debacle. Who has space or time to spare for irrelevant events like the death of a maestro?Dad had a few tales to recite about Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and his father, the equally renowned Ustad Allauddiu Khan. The latter, in fact, was one of our subjects in what is now Bangladesh.

Lady

I vividly remember the first time I saw her. It was love at first sight for me. I embraced her tight, she didn’t resist. I breathed fast, she breathed faster. She smelt fresh. I asked her if she knew me. She remained speechless and continued staring at me point-blank with her beautiful eyes. In fact, speech was a faculty she had yet to develop. She was, after all, not even one. She was the most adorable thing in the world for me,  my niece- Diyasha.Over the next few months, we drew closer and became the best of friends. When mobility on the floor was what she yearned, she never really crawled. Instead, she pushed with her feet and slid on her stomach. Our favorite haunt was the drawing room table and we played countless games of hide-and-seek around it. A wild glee was on her face each time she spotted mine, never mind the innumerable times her head bumped against the edges of the table in trying to ‘seek’ me. She never gave up until I called off the chase.The vertical dimension must …

9 seconds to wisdom

A few days ago, I bid on a laptop table via ebay UK. I was sure I would win…and promptly went out to buy Gobi Manchurian, a personal favorite. So confident was I that I didn’t even bother monitoring the end of the auction, and instead settled for the idiot box. Logging into my laptop a few hours later, I had a minor shock. I had been outbid 9 seconds before the auction ended. I was amazed at how meticulously people chose to bid…and eventually win.The same vendor relisted the same product a few days ago. This time I was ready. Someone placed the initial bid, I waited until the final 30 seconds before I made my move and placed the winning bid 6 seconds before the auction wound up!I guess the outsmarted original bidder has learnt a lesson just like I had 2 weeks ago. Let wisdom propagate down the bidders!

Santosh, Sam & Mantu

Santosh left for Patna today to attend a wedding and also expedite his own! The man is on a mission…and I wish its quick and happy fruition.Sam is back fom Pune and his presence resonates across all the rooms in our dwelling. There’s a minor space crunch since his bed, washing machine and chair are taking up precious space. It’s not much of a problem though. In fact, the drawing room now has a more filled-look.Sam’s entry was timed just right for Santosh who has recently lost his phone. As luck would have it, Sam had just bough a new phone before moving in and Santosh can make do with the old one for now.I’m exploiting Sam’s washing machine to the fullest. Some of my clothes are so dirty, they’ll need multiple washes.Mantu has once again settled into his role as our home manager ever since he returned from Ranchi on Tuesday. His is a presence welcomed by one and all. We’re indeed lucky for having him around.I have a carton of clothes and books to be sent to Kolkata. I’ll probably get …

My radio!

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My radio was finally delivered today. I can afford to croon now!

Shakesanjan

Farewell, my sister
fare thee well.Wish I could write more
But my pen won’t tell.Pretty apt, I must say!The first 2 lines were by Shakespeare. The remaining ones were too abstruse and I replaced them with my own. These lines go into a farewell message by Sam for his sister who leaves town soon.

Sam’s Fuzzy Logic

Sam has shifted to our place, complete with his belongings. He’ll be in Pune next week for a training after which he’ll return.I hope to exploit his washing machine. My clothes are in bad need of a wash.

Seeking solace in Amazon

After the rebuff from ebay, I couldn’t put off buying the one thing from Amazon that has stolen my heart away. It has won so many rave reviews (I have done an extensive research) that I couldn’t risk Amazon UK escalating the price from ₤20 to the original ₤56. The price on Amazon US and everywhere else is $120.

My first ebay bidding…lost

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I bid for a laptop table but lost to the original bidder. He upped the ante on seeing that he was outbid in the dying moments of the auction.Lesson learnt – place a bid only in the dying seconds (not minutes) of the auction.I’ll be wiser next time.

Economizing

It came as a stunning revelation to me when I calculated that I’m spending as much as Rs.400 per month on dispensable Web luxury. Here’s how:Times Reader - $40 per annumFlickr - $24 per annumDomain - $35 per annumAll this roughly amounts to Rs.5000 yearly. Times Reader, I realized, wasn’t worth the $40, even though this was the heavily discounted rate over the actual $175. All the content is directly accessible from the web free of cost, albeit I’ll have to make do with constant scrolling and other distractions. I cancelled my subscription yesterday.Flickr is another white elephant. Since I’m not really a photography buff, I don’t need the extras the paid account brings in. Though the free account shows only the 200 latest photos, it actually archives all. An image URL that points to ‘hidden’ photos will work perfectly. The workaround to this little annoyance is to store all image URLs in my blog. I’ll do it before my account subscription expires later this year. There’ll be no renewa…

Kamala Das Passes Away

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Kamala Das was always laden with controversies. Her sexually replete works earned the ire of many, she complained of Hindu gods being evil and violent and converted to Islam, and allegedly expressed years later her regret to Taslima Nasreen on the conversion.

bing

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It’s been years since I tried a new search engine. The much hyped Bing was thrown open to the public today and initial impressions aren’t bad.