Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Misleading headlines.

We do anything for numbers. By we I mean media. These days all kinds of headlines are made up to catch the attention. When you go to the details there is no connection between headlines and the report. Look at this particular piece, it appeared in the website http://www.indiadaily.com/editorial/9302.asp I paste it here so no one has to go clicking to look for it.

"As IT outsourcing demand in India falls apart Indian IT training institutes leave India in search of life abroad"

This is the headline. When I first read it I thought Oh god it is already happening? Questions - how and to whom are we losing to came up so I read on.

IT education and training major NIIT Ltd will set up 85 training centres across the world over the next 12 months with an investment of Rs 20 crore. "Out of the 85, 60 would be opened in India and rest in China and in other locations," NIIT Chief Executive Officer Vijay Thadani said. The time-frame for this expansion has begun six months ago and some investments of the slated Rs 20 crore has already been made in upgrading some of the existing centres, he said. NIIT currently has over 3,500 learning centres in 31 countries with over 700 centres being in India. NIIT Ltd today entered into a strategic partnership with Sun Microsystems to introduce specialised education and training programmes for students on Sun's technologies.

The piece no where says anything about outsourcing demand falling apart. In fact the NIIT chief says that "out of 85 centres planned 60 would be in India" Wow he must be losing his mind. They are opening so many centres when the demand for outsourcing is "falling apart" Isn't that called hara-kiri? Even in terms of plain commonsense? Don't think the reporter who got the press release or the subbie who put it up thought about it. He or she just thought "Hey its about outsourcing (is it ?the report actually talks about training centres, some one help me understand the connection if there is one) so let me make up some whacky line. " Sure they got me reading but then they are not gonna have me reading the rest of their site...ever. Unless I want to get my daily dose of media sensation.

Talking about headlines, Last week sometime Sachin (apna sachu) ruled himself out for the test squad to WI. So NDTV decided to ask our Mr. Dependable what he thought of it. The headlines read something like "It does not matter if Sachin is not there." Now I am not a big fan of Sachin but I was shocked that Dravid would actually say something so blatantly. Whether they play good cricket or not, our boys in blue (or is it men in blue) sure know the art of diplomacy. So this was shocking. Bitten, I sat through many many reports about reservations to see the report. And then Dravid filled my screen and said in a very typical way something to the effect "it would have been great to have Sachin. Unfortunately he can't be part of the team, now we have to play without him. This will give the younger players a chance......" Now where did he say "It does not matter if Sachin is not there"?

Unfortunately I can't stop watching NDTV cos my cable fellow refuses to give me any other English news channel! Life's bloody unfair I tell you.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

For the love of PINK

I've seen Hera Pheri and the original in Mal. Loved them both. Now not only are they making a sequel they are even going pink apparently. WHY WHY WHY?
I wish they had a picture of what they are describing. Someone please please start a purple orange or even flourascent green revolution. Bring back Govinda.

Bipasha Basu's wearing pink go-go boots.
She's in a matching frilly skirt and top, looking like an enthusiastic extra from a Barbie video. "Thank God," the actress laughs, "I'm not the only one." This is true. Akshay Kumar and Suneil Shetty are in blue suits with frilly pink shirts and bow ties, standing in front of microphones on a suprisingly plain white set. They are flanked by Bips and Rimii Sen, dressed in similar attire.

http://www.rediff.com/movies/2006/may/16herapheri.htm

A sequel with pink actors on a white stage dancing to Reshammiya's tune. Lord be with the audience.

PS: what's a go-go boot?

Monday, May 29, 2006

No wandering thoughts...

It is incredible that for the last couple of days I've not had anything that I wanna tell the world, scream down from the roof top. Which I could then put it up on this blog.

Ok that statement is not entirely true, me and no wild thoughts - I must be dead! What's kept me from blogging, is the typing! Seriously, all the technological advances is of no use if it does not help a person be what he or she wants to be. In my case - Lazy. I know there's a software that converts speech to text (I witnessed the test in P's house sometime back). But that too takes effort I mean I have to hold a mike and speak to it, wait for the computer to understand and convert it into text. That's hardwork at times. I'd like it if some software senses the it when there is a thought and I formulate it in my head into something readable and in that instant it is converted into text. I am willing to do this thought process in the vicinity of a computer cos I assume technology is not so advanced that it can sense the thought swelling in my head while I am crossing the streets or other unmentionable situations/ locations I get ideas in.

I hope some techie reads this, gets excited and solves this small problem of mine. Then I can blog wherever whenever (I think that's tagline of some product)

Just as I finish this I hear the NDTV weather report where the reporter is saying with great gusto "that the south west monsoon has had severe effects on Cozycode in Kerala" (I wish I could write it the way he said Kerala too but I can’t. If you've heard any North Indian say it then you know it). Malayalis do write to NDTV and protest over malligning the name of your place. Demand they put only Malayalis to talk about Kerala. If need be, go on hunger strike. I shall provide the most important part of it - moral support. Go on…it is the flavour of the season, don't be left behind.

Maja maadi.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Slacktivism! Why didn't I invent the word?

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/magazine/story/0,11913,1431246,00.html
Ethical living
Armchair warrior Too apathetic to take direct action? Then you should become a slacktivist. Lucy Siegle sits back and reaps the rewards of low-energy activism

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

GRRRRRRRR

This article is on rediff!

"There's something about a perfect female posterior wrapped in a tight red skirt that just makes time and space melt away. There are airlines and there are airlines, and then there's a breed of bearded business moguls who like to admirably concentrate their energies on making sure they have the finest stewardesses in the land." for more read http://in.rediff.com/getahead/2006/may/23don.htm

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A duplicator, a port-key and floo powder!

Someone wise once told me that if you do not know something exists, then you don't miss it. No doubt this is true. Until I discovered floo powder and port-key thanks to J K Rowling, I was miserable about travel but since I didn't know of alternatives I was getting along fine. But now I yearn for it so much! Just imagine no need to ride to railway station with an argumentative and sullen auto driver. No scrambling on the platform to find the right compartment and no praying that "lord tonight let there be no creep whose testosterone is acting up!"

Off late I've also been wanting a duplicator. I can use it when I am in a fix about meeting someone I am not a great fan of or even vice versa. In both situations I will not be the one facing the uncomfortable situation; it will be my duplicate evil self with a slightly altered ethicator (the copyright of this word probably belongs to Bill Watterson eh?) or just plain old good self :-) And this is just one of the many uses of the duplicator!

Oh for some magic in my life.......

Friday, May 19, 2006

Bowing to public demand :-)))

As far as eyes can reach, concrete jungle rules
amidst it all, a tree or two holds its breath and waits
beauty and serenity is all a thing of past
today it is just a smoking hole
then a lightning far ahead and the sky glows
dark clouds shroud the earth like a blanket
Birds fly home, so do we
rain comes down calming the earth
lifeless streets and alleys of the town
comes alive with the scent of rain
with dreams of spring still inside
the trees sway in the cool breeze
PS: If ever I write a book of poems in Kannada surely I am going to find someone else to translate!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sights, sounds and smells from Bangalore: Flood management is BMP’s mission

Sights, sounds and smells from Bangalore: Flood management is BMP’s mission

Necessary evil

Location S3 compartment of Tuticorin express: Vivek and me are on the upper berth. Train is just about to move. The people in the coupe below do not know each other. In about two minutes some one's mobile phone rings. One of the guys below answered. Vivek and me look at each other, smile and I say 5 minutes he says no 10 minutes. This is a game we have invented. There are no rules in this game just plain betting. The bet is on how long before two strangers stuck with each other in a train coupe start talking about mobile networks and cell phone models. That day I won. As soon the guy finished the call, the person opposite asked "what connection?" and thus the saga continued.

This is the latest national sport these days. Flaunting latest cell phone models and boasting about how good their network is over the others. "Hutch has no connectivity in Madurai" says one "now they have tied up with BPL so there is coverage” says the other. Ask them how many towers airtel has put up in their neighbourhood, pat comes the reply and quiet often right too. Ask them who lives in their neighbourhood they may not know (actually if they are tamilians chances are they will :-) The other favourite pastime is showing off the ringtones on their phones. It's not very uncommon to hear series of annoying cell phone tones on trains, at bus stands and in college campus or at weddings! And of course at concerts and meetings mobile phone owners are pain in the ***. Apparently the know it all gadget freaks slept through the talk on keeping the phones switched off or at least in silent mode when in such situations.

Sure these things irritate me that's why I am wasting my precious morning writing about it. What I find most disconcerting is when people expect you to have cell phones. Let alone my professional peers even the call taxi chaps as for it. The guy wouldn't book a taxi unless I give him a mobile number. A little irritated I gave him Vivek’s mobile number. Obviously I don't want some random taxi driver who actually knows my address, also to have my mobile number. Next morning when the taxi came I realised that there was no sinister reason to it. It was just a money saving technique the taxi guy had evolved. How you ask me? See he has a mobile phone and just as he reaches or if he can't find your house he gives a missed call to your mobile number. So when you see a missed call you call back and so he doesn't have to pay to find your stupid house or to tell you he has reached. Ingenious indeed! I wonder he is so sure that we cannot resist calling back a total strange number. Most of the time it turns out to be a wrong number!


A journalist friend of mine once told me that people look at him as if he was an idiot when he says he has no cell phone. He continued being an idiot for a while but buckled in and got himself the necessary evil.

I feel very uncomfortable about calling someone on their mobile unless they gave me the number or I know them well enough. I feel mobiles are too personal. Given a chance I will avoid it as much as possible. When a friend of mine discovered this trait of mine she called me old lady!

Monday, May 15, 2006

PINK PINK PONK!

I've always liked Saif Ali Khan, even in his ridiculously long and floppy hair days. He's a very regular guy. I mean he is not overtly macho, easily admits to being scared and even manages to be a good loser - all on screen of course. I'll never know what he is like in real life. One thing that looks like its going on and off screen though is his ability to swoon women. Mention his name and there's a happy sparkle in the eyes of girls, women and older women alike. Now why am I going on and on about him? Well, last week there was a piece on why men should look to pink in The Hindu - the pic they carried was of Saif in a pink sleeveless t-shirt. Mind you he was the guy who appeared in the climax of “hit film” Salaam Namaste in a tiny t-shirt that said "Girl Power" in glitter! I can't remember if the colour was pink or not. Two days later I saw his leading lady in the same movie, Preity Zinta featuring in an ad that said something like go pink - a TVS Scooty in pink! On one hand I am very glad that pink is no more just for "girls" and on the other hand I am a little overwhelmed by all the pink around me. Have you seen the new VIP ad that says "bye bye men"? It has this woman walking around with a PINK travel bag! All the fashionistas must have pink, male or female! I don't mean the regular baby pink shirts we used to have but the bright happy pinks. Once I think I was talking to S about something very serious on phone and she suddenly let out a scream. She had just seen a family of three - man, woman and child dressed in PINK! Even my female friends have only joked about wearing pink. I do have a pink capri, bought strictly to shock! P bought a pair of pink slippers again only to shock. I suggested KB to buy a pink saree and she thought I was nuts! But out on the streets you see a lot of pink. ah yes fuchisia pink is the name for those bright pinks. Yeah even brands like Allen Solly have PINK shirts and jackets. Mind you pink trousers aren't completely absent. You see them in every store, branded or not.

And we thought Salman Khan and Govinda had ridiculous dressing sense. If you ask me they were just way ahead of their times!
PS: Do women really want to see their men in pink?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Defending Home

It was not until 2001 August, that I realised how much I loved Bangalore. I traveled 400 kms to Madras and decided to make that my home for next one year, that is when it hit me - I was a hardcore bangalorean. I loved the fact that the city woke up late. The traffic wouldn't start buzzing until 7.30 in the morning. No maddenning honking around the neighbourhood, even in "peak" traffic hour. The peak hour lasted about 2-3 hours totally on an average day. The sunrises and sunsets looked beautiful back then. Orange mornings and evenings were a given. I remember driving on MG Road towards the Vidhana Soudha at 6 in the evening. It was almost magical. The sun setting behind the trees of Cubbon Park and the golden domes of vidhana soudha would wipe out any resentment I had on that day. The May flowers that bloomed all across the city during summer is another unforgettable sight. I remember walking on a carpet of yellow flowers on cool evenings to have an ice cream at the corner shop. Then the maximum temperature on the hottest day of summer would've been about 32. I could go from Yeshwanthpur to Bannerghatta road in flat 1 hour at ten in the morning. On worst days it would take 1.5 hours. No angry drivers who honked and yelled at you, except for angry BMTC buses or Lorries. And even if they did you could tell them to pipe down. I remember once a maruthi car driver was honking madly behind me for about 3 kms on bannerghatta road. When at a signal, I asked him why he was honking; he actually apologised to me and didn't do it again. People were actually nice. We didn’t bond madly and help each other out but we certainly weren’t rude to each other. I yearned to come back home.

The stay away from home originally planned for a year lasted almost 5 years. I came back home craving for familiar sights and places, most of all the drives towards the sunset. I knew Bangalore wasn't the same. I did visit Bangalore, often on weekends and festivals. Huge apartments had come up all over the city, leaving very small pockets of old city. Flyovers and ring roads had taken in most of the trees, leaving only institutions like IISc and armed forces to guard the trees in their campuses. I couldn't afford to live in the city, so I had to move to outskirts. Absolutely bereft of any character or warmth, just buildings and flyovers surrounds me. I dare not even think of driving anywhere at 6 in the evening, let alone on MG Road. It would take almost an hour to cover even 2 kms. Not a state of mind that will let you enjoy sunset! Sunset is another story all together. There are no orange evenings or mornings anymore. Just grey skies, absolutely depressing. And when it comes to rainy evenings its even worse, all I hear is how horrible the traffic will get because of it and how many homes might get drowned if rains any harder.

Home that has changed so drastically is hard enough to take. What makes it worse is what people say about Bangalore. I constantly hear "Oh Bangalore is horrible; the real estate is so expensive!" "Bangalore is not at all safe they just don't like software engineers there" "Bangaloreans are so sleepy they won't wake up even if there is a bomb blast" "Were Bangaloreans always this rude?" "Don't even talk about the traffic there; it is the worse in the country.” All this from people who have made Bangalore their home in the last few years.
I take every one of this very personally. I know it is uncalled for sentimentality but it is very hard not to do that. I find myself defending it "it was not like this before" I say. "Even five years ago it was alright, you know." I come back home wondering what I can do to change people's perception? My Bangalore was not like this. It has been forced to change. A city is as good as its people isn’t it?

Often these days people ask me - "Why did you come back to Bangalore?" I just say it is my home. You don't run away from home do you?

Friday, May 05, 2006

Helpline - Part II

I had written about my woes with Standard Chartered Bank a couple of days ago. Yesterday I called them again, because there is no sign of my statement soft or hard copy. I had this absolutely mindless conversation with one Mr. Raj.

R: You have updated the address on 26th Apr and our statement delivery date is 22nd so you will not recieve the copy this month.
Me: Ha ha ha well then I will not pay any money to you let alone the fine and interest you are bloody charging me.
R: If you subscribe for email updates, we can send the soft copy right away and then you shouldn't have any problems paying us.
Me: Yes I shouldn't but guess what? The last time I called I already did that and I cannot open the bloody attachment you have sent me.
R: Oh that's simple you have to type your 16 digit card number to open the attachment.
Me: But nothing was happening.
R: You have to type your 16 digit card number to open the attachment.
Me: But you see there was no box that will let me type in the numbers.
R: Oh so you cannot type your 16 digit card number to open the attachment?
Me: NOOOOOOOO
R: I will send it again then

By then I am too glad to hang up and actually thank him for letting me go.

Later it occurred to me that I was going through all this agonising experience to pay the Bank back. I was actually struggling to find a way to pay them. Good lord is this ridiculous or what?

Technically challenged, apologies

In previous blog I said no one reads my blog and even if they do they don't leave comments. One of the readers (absolute desire for CT is making me use this word) have pointed out to me that they have left comments but have not been approved by me.

Very sorry about that. Completely ignorant of this phenomenon, I did not realise that I need to look for comments and approve them to be published. I vow to be more aware of technology!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My new obsession and Ice creams

I have been blogging only for a week now. I have posted only 5 or 6 times and nobody really reads them (even if they do, very politely leave no comments). So it is just an attempt to let my creative juices (!?!) flow. All this has not stopped me from thinking about the blog though. Every time I see or hear something new, interesting or not I say to myself 'hey that should go on the blog.' So in the last four days I have thought up of a million things ok well about 6 subjects to discuss on the blog. I even formulate the entire posting in my head, but since it is easier to think than to type it all out, I don't suppose there will be as many postings. But this one subject I can't get it off my head.

Every time I watch the Kwality Walls commercial on TV or on a hoarding. I want to scream WHY? It says "Kwality Walls, Pleasure up!" It is not the tagline that bothers me it is the sexual innuendo (!) that irritates me. Ice cream is a simple, innocent and most amazingly yummy thing invented by human beings. And to do that to ice cream is sacrilege! The pleasure up campaign has been going on for a while now.

I am told this is associative marketing. These days almost every company does this. That's the reason you see a skimpily clad woman in every damn ad. Be it shirt, home, bank, cool drink or even dog food there is the woman. I remember reading somewhere that Pepsi became a huge success when they had Michael Jackson feature in their commercial. The psychology behind it the author said, was that people loved the fact that there so many women screaming for Jackson while he held the pepsi bottle. And the sales soared.

No doubt this has given millions of women job opportunities and sometimes more than that. Remember the very first ad with Aishwarya Rai in it? Apparently that played a huge part in her catapulting her career.

With all this background, to me it looks like the Kwality Walls ad makers and the product marketing chaps are trying to capture the teenage and adult market. And hence they are moving away from simple straight forward, fun, non-sexy adverts to out and out sexy commercial. But tell me why associate ice-cream with sex? I cannot somehow believe that teenagers and adults did not take to ice cream till they realised they could “pleasure up!” An interesting point was made by S the other day when we happened to see the hoarding on Brigade road. When I told her about my theory for the ad she said "oh that's even worse, what are they trying to say that we (adults) can only think about sex and nothing else?"

Hmmmm

That's me - after the make over.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Train Journeys

I had never seen a train up close till I was twenty. Yes, I know it is shocking coming from someone who is born and brought up in Bangalore city. But it is true. I never had to take a train to go anywhere. We didn't have train to go to our "native" so we took bus. The rickety, back breaking journeys in the KSRTC buses are an experience worth an entire blog. Coming back to trains. I did not see it till I was twenty. Even then I didn't travel, I just got to see it up close and explore the wonder. I went to Bangalore City railway station to see off this friend of mine, Pradeep, who was going back home after finishing his college. I was there to see the train more than sending him off, I told as much to Pradeep. He was only amused and not at all hurt. He then entrusted Ekram, this other friend to make sure that I took a good look at the train. So it was under the expert guidance of Ekram that my first tour of Indian railways began. I was taken aback by the sheer size of the train - it was a Delhi bound train with lots and lots of compartments. Ekram was most thrilled to show it all off, as if he owned it or actually as if it was his invention. The pantry car and vestibule were highlighted and very rightly so. You can go from one end of the train to the other end without getting off - Truly marvelous. Hot and tasty food served while on the move certainly a fantastic luxury. Ekram, who knew very well about my motion sickness also grandly announced that it will never happen on a train.

I was hooked, I started thinking about people whom I could visit by train. At that moment there were none. When I told him of this problem, ever enterprising Ekram said "lets all go to Goa on a train. A picnic is due anyway and for you we will take a train." So the deal was made. It is another matter that the picnic never materialised.

That was a long time ago. But that story comes back to my mind every single time I take the train, to this day. I have traveled so much by train that I ought be given a special ID by the Indian Railways that'll fetch me a discount on ticketing. And on the account of my traveling, Vivek also had to do quiet a bit of it. So he too claims he deserves this ID.

You don't believe me? Let me give you some figures. I was in Chennai for two and half years. I visited Bangalore often. Which also meant that Vivek too traveled a lot to Chennai. (We believe in equality in our relationship you see). At the end of those two and a half years we did a rough calculation of how much we might have spent on traveling. (just to torment ourselves nothing else.)

We figured on an average of two trips a month for 2.5 years it would amount to about Rs. 45000/- This does not include the Shatabdi and AC travel we indulged in once in a while.

Is Mr. Laloo listening?

PS: I just realised that if I had saved at that rate I could've owned a four-wheeler and the money for the fuel by now.