Tuesday, March 22, 2005


The joys of work, running to office first thing in the morning, dealing with Delhi's absolutely insane traffic. When that Lutyen's chap made Delhi he plonked lots of rounabouts all over the place. Now, roundabouts work on one simple principle - courtesy, and as all Delhi-ites know there is none of that in this city. So dealing with say the Windsor Place roundabout, or better still the Gol Dakhana one are like trying to play a very complicated racing game on a PS2. The only thing being that this is real. Banging into a motorcycle or pedestrian means trouble. And the Europeans think that the traffic in Rome and Naples is madcap, well people just visit Delhi. The city where the traffic is the centrepiece of the chaos, I mean its so bad you can see it from the air.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Nokia 7270

OK, have recieved yet another new phone to try out, the Nokia 7270, its pretty cool.

I like the clamshell. Never have liked clamshells but now I do. Review later.


This is a really cool site which lists all sorts of torture devices from the middle ages. Man, whatever the Yanks are doing at Guantanamo seems like childs play compared to these things.
Infernal Device
Other than that things are going along rather smoothly, and I should really get a bit of sleep because I need to wake up really early tomorrow. OK, only at 0830, but that is freaking early for me.

Social Robots

I am attending a very interesting symposium. Rather it is a pre-conference workshop before 'Doors of Perception' supposedly a famous design conclave, called 'Social Robots'. Have learnt, or rather been told of the interplay between humans and technology through the medium of movies. Haven't really got the time to explain things in depth, but you can see more that the blog of the guy who is taking the course Roger Ibars.
Social Robots

Recently I got an email from a friend who had disappeared from my radar a few years ago. As usual, mere dost log are big matlabi bastards. But, 'ket (lets call him that) wants to be a journalist. I must change his mind and fast.

Obelix is a big man, but the Axum Obelisk is even bigger. Seized in 1937 by mad-cap facist Italian dictator Benito 'I look so funny' Mussolini and placed in a Rome piazza, the Italians are finally coming to terms with their thankfully short-lived colonial heritage and returning the huge stone monument to Ethiopia.

Imagine if the Italians would have been longer term colonials. The world would have awash in Speghetti and Fusilli. In Tomato Sauce.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Bombay attack

The attack on the India Today office in Bombay by a bunch of lumpen elements(I just love that term, maybe its the bong in me) suppopsedly from the Shiv Sena was peculiar to say the least. Anyway, from what I have heard, a few monitors were banged up, a couple of the people in office are going through a mild form of post traumatic stress disorder and one photographer, Umesh Goswami got a bit hurt. Even though no-one really got banged up, I would have hated it if that hasppened to my office in Delhi, but then again, a bunch of lumpen elements wouldn't be able to make to our office given the traffic on Delhi's roads right now.
Now, I understand the one-time wannabe cartoonist and I guess spiritual leader (now that he is a bit too old to be the physical force) of the Shiv Sena did not have much to do with this attack. I guess he is too old to know anything. Anyway, I really don't get this Veer Savarkar crap, I mean even if I was to cyynically dismiss the Congress version of Indian history, I hadn't heard of Veer Svarker until Mani Aiyer opened his mouth. OK, so I didn't study history, but I doubt too many history students would have heard of this characters name. I mean Shyama Prasad Mukherjee was a great freedom fighter of sorts, but this Veer Savarkar chap was inconsequential to the freedom struggle. There I said it. F**k you, Shiv Sena, you're nothing more than a bunch of incestuous something-something. Shit, I said this too. I really gotta explore my right-wing credentials all over again.
Anyway, AP went up on stage at the Business Today event that was being protested against (because Mani Aiyer was the lead speaker) and declared that this event was the 'death of democracy' and for some strange reason, the Pramod Mahajan hating Asian Age decided to to an edit about this. 'Death of democracy?' I thought that was what happened in Jharkhand, not in Maker Chambers.
But, did that mean that the banged up Intel Celeron computers that the team used would get replaced with ones with 'fresh' democratic credentials. Nope, from what I've heard some nice used monitors have been brought in to replace those whose lives were lost in that fierce struggle. Why, oh why can't they get new computers? Hey, I need a new computer in office as well.
Now interestingly friendgirl seems to have won herself some big prize lately. I should really celebrate with her.
And by the way, in case you wondered why we all blog? Its about the money, honey!


People, this beats all other research I think that the following study is the weirdest I have seen in a long time.
A century of candy bars


I'm bored and all my fave blogs are letting me down today. Someone please leave some comments here about some sites I should go to.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Back from Bangalore

I went to Bangalore today after a whole two years, and I must say that the IT explosion has also led to tremendous explosion in traffic. Traffic in the so-called 'Garden City' is insane. It took me over twenty minutes to go three kilometers, and that too riding pillion on a colleagues scooter.
But, I guess that is the price of progress. After speaking to some people in the city, I got quite a few divergent opinions. A senior journalist told me that the the new government has done nothing for the city, a fact that was bourne out in a headline I read in the local ToI which said the local Finance Minister had ignored the city. Well, the sidewalks are in a worse condition than those in Kolkata, or so I felt.
Now some people believe that ignoring the city would leave Banaglore losing out to Hyderabad. Oh well, there are some signs that is already happening. Microsoft's IDC in Hyderabad is easily able to recruit people from Bangalore who want to leave the crowded roads and increasing living costs. Any investments coming into the city still are legacy investments, but no major new foreign FDI will come into Bangalore, people believe. For example, the new international airport which even though recently cleared will still take three years to open. By that time, the current airport would be spilling over. It is hardly able to handle a few 737's and A320's, god knows howit handle a 747 or a 340. And the traffic on the road out from the airport is well, I guess it suffices to say that it is dreadful.
The contrarian view claims, "What has IT done for Bangalore?" Well, one answer is that IT has put Bangalore on the map. But, yes, IT companies led by Wipro have managed to avoid taxes for years on end. Now, manufacturing companies don't think this is fair. I think Azim Premji should stop zealously gurading every penny and give the city back some money, ditto for Infosys, Mphasis, iGate and god know2s how many hundreds more. If the taxes from IT companies can total a even a 1000 crore each year, I think Bangalore can become a model city for India. The caveat for that I guess would be that the army would really have to give up some land in the city.
Oh yeah, I had gone to Bangalore to get a glimpse and a drive of the new Toyota Innova as well as get a chance to interact with Toyota India's top brass. Surprisingly, I had already met Toyoshima-san, the boss of Toyota Kirloskar Motors (TKM, Vikram Kirloskar owns around a percent of the company, I think having his name there helps in getting permissions and all that) the night before at a dinner where they gave out the JD Power awards for India.

Anyway coming to the car, we drove it up and down Jakkur airbase a few times. I first took off with the 2.0 petrol version. I'll tell you this much, the petrol car is woefully underpowered, and the gear lever has tremendous 'snatch' which means it shakes virtually everywhere if you end up over-revving the car. As I desperately tried to plod the Innova into getting a semblance of speed, the lever seemed to have a mind of its own, something like a 'stick shaker' on an airplane. I didn't like that one bit. The diesel engine is a lot better. The engine is very torquey and free revving, but just as the the petrol is surprisingly quiet, I didn't expect the 2.5 common rail diesel engine to be so noisy. Well, it is quieter than a Hyundai Accent CRDi but I thought Toyota could have fitted more soundproofing in the engine bay. Again, the diesel is not the peppiest thing I have driven, far from it. But the drive of this diesel is a lot nicer than that of the old 2.4 litre Qualis engine. And given a long enough run, I'm sure taxi drivers would love the car. Comfortable and it did have a little there to make driving fun, not much, but there was a little bit.
However, if people drove the way I did, hydrocarbons would disappear rather quickly from the planet. Anyway, that said, the car has a wonderful ride, it does not wallow from side to side like the Scorpio and the seats, at least in top of the line (Rs 9 lakh plus) 'V' specification Innova are great. But, I guess there should be an option to have a three seat second row on this spec, which has ABS, airbags, electric mirrors and other pluses. The Innova is a nice, comfortable car with a lot, and I mean A LOT of space, and lots of glass. It is spacious and airy and before an ed. asks about this, I think it should easily pass the 'big dog' test. God knows how it behave in the city, but I liked my short stints with the car.
However, I am surprised that Toyota completely withdrew the Qualis. It might have a decision beyond the control of Toyoshima-san, but I guess that the new Innova might be seen as a MPV rather than a cattle car as many Gurgaon and Noida-based call centers made the Qualis. And this has only seating for a maximum of eight people. Call centre guys will have to suffer the Sumo and thus arthiritis later in life or the slightly problematic Tavera. But, I believe it should do well. The only thing is that Innova seems like a slightly silly name, and yes, the literature will say how 'innovative' the car is with hundreds of innovations, most of which will never change your life, but well, i'm sure a new type of sprocket made someone in marketing mastrubate when he thought of the potential for seeling the car.
If you haven't picked up the latest issue of The Economist please do so, it has a wonderful survey of India and China called 'The tiger in front'. Very good read. Talkking about tigers, they seem to be dying out thanks to poachers. I will get some gyaan on this from Banerjee and i'll write a bit more about it when I 'know' more instead of farting through my fingers.
After all these drives and all, I went out to a new hot and happening club called 'Taika' which is on Church Street, pretty nice place, but despite what I was told, not too many women were around. Anyway, ended up having dinner with Mix-on and Nix-on. Oh well, I got drunk, didn't sleep and I am most propably going to die from a lack of sleep soon.
Talking of which, I should sleep soon and I've written enough for the time being.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Medidead and more assorted tales

Large media conglomorate seems to have won this round, small weblog site Mediaah! has been made to shut down. But, cliche time now, while the battle might have been lost, the war can yet be won.
I think.
I spoke to a senior editor yesterday about this and he commented that the laws in India are not well framed enough on this front. Another journo commented, what if the media conglomorate files from say Sikkim, will the owners of the said blog travel back and forth on their own money and time. And of course, that is before we even consider the great morass that is the Indian judicial system.
Oh well!
Moving on, had a breakfast assignment today. was made to eat. Here is unedited copy that flowed from empty head and full stomach.

I was told to be a decent food writer I must commune with the food. Bellyflop with arms wide open into a sea of maple syrup. Hmm, that would be quite a sticky situation. I would rather done a bellyflop into the Laphroaig distillery. But, I’ll try nonetheless.
Breakfast is not a meal that I usually take very seriously, I like communing with my pillow. A lot. Food is something that I do like, maybe even more than sleeping. If gluttony is a sin, I’ll use the Nuremberg defence, “I was ordered to be a glutton.” Well, at least in this case.
One of the first things I learnt when I went into the kitchen was how to make eggs. My best efforts at frying an egg sunny-side up led to abject failure, which in this case meant scrambled eggs. I have no hesitation in saying that I love eggs. It is a relationship that has blossomed over the years, cholestrol be damned. And well made scrambled eggs are pure heaven.
And that in itself is a good reason to wake up early and head to the All American Diner. The Betty Boop and Popeye posters on the wall might be a bad throwback to pre World War II animation, but a plate full of eggs, sausages, bacon, pancakes and potato hash is a good salve to make your mind forget.
You forget the downsides of the place that you are eating in, like the fantastically clear tables, a lack of fat jovial man working the skillet and sitting next to a bunch of old retired men discussing politics. They might call it the All American Diner, but no matter how much I tried, the memory of a truck stop on the I-95 from New York to Boston played back in my head. Somehow, sitting next to big tattooed truck drivers eating greasy eggs and sausages in a dirty diner, seems more American to me.
That said, the food was great. Good food should not be ruined by conversation with others. Switch off your mobile phone and dig in, don’t be gentle, the best thing about etiquette is the ability to forget it at times. Watching the maple syrup drip off the pancake as you pick it up in your fork is a sight to marvel at. Just don’t do it for too long, else you might get a large dry-cleaning bill. And it was a damn good pancake too. Unfortunately, the sausages were a bad let down, instead of getting big wholesome lumps of flesh, the little things I got can not qualify even as bite-sized.
Oh well, no wonder they have the ‘Glutton Special’, it’s an all you can eat option on the menu and it runs from 7-11 in the morning. And god knows how much I ate. Forgive me lord, for I have sinned. I should really go to confession, this love affair with eggs seems a bit peculiar.

I was told by an ed. that it was better than Big Cheez. But, then said ed. is foodie and he hates Big Cheez. That said, a compliment, actually any compliment from said ed. feels bloody good. Any comments on article are most appreciated.

Life has been a bit shitty today, despite the great grub, because I'm off to Bangaho tomorrow. Early in the frigging morning. F**k. I hate early morning flights. And Bangaho means I'll have to party with Monkeyman tomorrow, which means that I won't get no sleep till saturday night. But, I guess the party will more than make up for the lack of sleep.
And if you thought the American media were all liberal, here is someone with a wildly opposing point of view. Chuck Asay, the cartoonist for the Denver Post is scarily right wing. I mean everytime I see some of his cartoons I have read a lot of Ted Rall to understand where the middle exactly is.

three posts.. one day... damn i'm vella

OK, this does not mean that i'm still in office. I'm actually had home. There was this dinner I had to attend, but it was so freaking boring that I left for home, which was only ten minutes walk away. Anyway, I'm just one of those crazy vella people who have nothing much to do online but check out weird sites and download pRon, but I chanced something interesting right now and since I have now decided to start making this blog a bit more regular, I'll start putting up some pictures as well.

This is from the website of Katie Nice, a former artist at Spumco, and these are really quite whacky and interesting, which is a pleasant distraction from work, or surfing the depressing underground of the interweb.
You can find the rest of her portfolio here. By the way, I promise to always post a little linky in each of my posts.
Other than that, I might be going to Bangalore to test drive the new Innova and I'll post my impressions here before I have to write them for various publications.
Anyway, I have a breakfast meeting, rather breakfast story to do tomorrow, so I should really get a bit of shut-eye, and besides I've already had a few drinks go down the upper orifice.

ah... Media

A large media conglomorate has decided to take legal action against Mediaah!
From what the blogs main writers are saying, it is most likely that they will shut it down.
Large media censoring small little blog. Well, it can be argued that the blog actually had an impact of some sort that the media conglomorate in question decided to shut it down. In America, it is notoriously difficult to do anything like this because of the First Amendment, but in India it seems the free talk can be muzzled.
I guess this blog can also be sued by anyone who seems to have their reputation mortally harmed by it, can I sue myself? I can whatever the crap flows out of my brain, spouting hot air (or hot text) onto the interweb, my streams of thought have been getting a bit awry of late. And it ain't the drugs or alcohol. I'm taking it easy of late. I think thats because of a huge credit card bill.
Credit cards are evil.
Large media conglomorates are evil too.
But, I guess this is a rather dangerous thing for this media conglomorate to do. The media conglomerate believes, I guess, that this is a classic case of a dog biting the hand that fed it.
I remember that auring the zenith of the internet craze in India (circa 2000) there was a website called DelhiGossip. And they had a rather large staff. I was working in the internet division of said media conglomerate then, establishing my reputation as a master of pRon and I knew quite a few people who joined that website. Heck, a friend of mine was even the agony uncle there (leading me to speculate that he was quite gay). This website survived on schoolkids writing scurrilous stuff, who gave whom blowjobs and who did what. Oh well, there are cameraphones for that sort of stuff now. I mean, there was stuff written about people I knew doing things (extremely unlikely things, mind you!) with other people I knew. They should have also sued had they known that said site was posting rather dangerous stuff without even a disclaimer saying that talk by forum members was not their responsibility. They did put one up later.
By the way, if you want to visit such a site now go to Masalatalk.
Point being, that there will always be sites/blogs/emails that post gossip, substantiated or not. Controlling the interweb is impossible, you can only monitor it. So, media conglomerate will end up shutting the site down, but in the process will piss off a lot of journos against 'evil' management. Man, this feels like a bad remake of an Austin Powers movie with no female lead. Doc Evil always loses and said media congloerate will suffer too sometime.
My philosophy in life is rather simple, what goes around comes around.
I love the interweb, and long live the interweb.
Power to Mediaah!
PS : My condolences to Vinod Sharma, Pol Bureau Boss at HT who lost his son in an motorcycle accident late Monday night. Traffic in the country is dreadful and we lose almost 100,000 souls every year on the roads, and the goverment does jack shit about it. It does sink in though when someone you know suffers.


I don't know if you've seen Gangs of New York . There is this one scene in which our friend Daniel Day Lewis branded Leo DiCaprio with a hot blade after Leo failed in his attempt to kill him.
Point in me giving you senseless bit of trivia being - um, nothing actually.
The sad fact of life as a journalist sometimes is that we all get branded as this or that. Usually, the branding reads "Lazy, incompetent bastard." Just for your information, most PR agencies keep little databases on every journalist, so they usually know how smart or unsmart you are. They also know who is an easy target with the 'but this is EXCLUSIVE to you' bit. Given that several journalists suffer from the often career-fatal disease of byline incontinence this is a very important thing for PR agencies to know.
I've always wondered how I would have been branded on some of these files. "Loose cannon, talks through his ass, alcoholic, son of in/famous person." No, seriously, the last one does matter. Even though, in my four years as a journalist I would guess that I have done enough, broken enough stories to be called K, but I'll always be CS' son. I'm still introduced at some meetings like that, the last time I wanted to smash the PR guys face in with a hammer, but that would have left a slight mess at the Club Bar. That said, I am usually rather comfortable with PR guys, and some are even friends. I usually only want to kill other journalists.
Anyway, my branding rant is more or less over now.
However, someone who suffers from a serious branding issue is Shekhar Gupta.
Sometimes I wonder in our over the top attempt to be liberal, sometimes we just lose the plot. I guess most desis are rather conservative at heart, and the world is generally getting more and more conservative. Red America is a great/weird/ironic example. So, will India be left with 'Blue' bastions in certain parts of major metropolitan areas and have the rest swallowed up by a 'Red' thinking majority.
BTW, 'Red' and 'Blue' in the American sense - Red for Republican and Blue for Democrat.
I should really join politics.
In case, you are bored, just go here. I was told I am 75% South East Asian and 25% Chinese. That puts the 'Japanese Tourist' story to bed, which involved me in a floppy hat with narrow specs making me look like the jovial character from a bad hentai movie. It also involved friends hopped up on a lot a LSD.
In another guise, I supposedly review gadgets and gizmos, and write about them. So I just thought I would get the initial reviews off my chest over here. Right now I have the Nokia 9300.
Initial feeling : Nice, sturdy phone with big keys. I like the form factor, it fits well into my gorilla sized hands.
Initial usage experience : The 9300 is a slightly smaller, and lighter version of the Communicator 9500, sans camera. Now, my dad in one of his more recent 'lightbulb' moments told me that he would move a private members bill banning camera cellphones. Now, I hope that I managed to switch that light off, I think. The problem is that camera cellphones, as the DPS students having a good time proved, can be, well, misused by horny young teenagers. And understandably, many defence establishments, law offices and call-centres even in India have banned camera-phones. So, the 9300 is a good phone for people who want a cool new phone, but are limited by the fact that almost every nice new phone has a big megapixel camera. I liked the Communicator so much that I gave it a stellar review. I like the 9300 too. I like it more than the SonyEricsson P910i in my other pocket.
Would I buy one? I don't have Rs 37K to blow on a phone right now, and that is just the listed price, but still a tad too expensive for me. I would still prefer a Nokia 7610.
OK, todays version done, tata.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Me back, Naren in Goa

The plane that brought me back to the wonderful capital city of India had reportedly taken Mr Naren down to Goa.
Anyway, Goa was fun. As usual. Just a lot of Colin Fernandes look-alikes though, which was scary. Hope they all are not as dazed as Colin is all the time. That said, a Goa full of Colin's would have no political troubles anymore. Did some para-sailing, which was a lot of fun-ness, but nothing could match the pleasure of a long morning walk down Covolossim beach. Not as much fun as the North Goa beaches, but not having a chaiwali trying to sell you tea every 50 meters and seeing beautiful clean sand is also very nice.
Hmmm, actually so was the two-room megaroom at the Leela overlooking a lagoon. But somehow the romance of staying in a little shack just off the beach sharing the room with people who have forgotten the concept of a bath and where you fight with empty beer bottles to try and find a place to sleep. All while forgetting that someone has just spiked you with a motherload of LSD. The romance, the romance.

Anyway, the Congress party is a power hungry bunch of sexually deviant people (as is the BJP, just for me to show my politically deviant position) and is also evil, but Anna Nicole Smith is eviler. She exposed the bouncy silicone filled boobies to the Ozzie media during the MTV Oz movie awards. Those poor poor sods. Really!
Beyond that, a friend of mine in the US working with a security consultancy IOActive, where they do serious hacking work, quite unlike Ankit Fadia, sent me this article, which proves that the world is a rather fucked place. And the instrument of the devil is none other than Google itself. Funny, I always thought it was Billy G who was Beelzebub himself.
I have promised to be more regular here, so I will be.
It turns out according to the British media that a certain 'Indian media tycoon' has been dipping his wick into the same place that David Blunkett dipped his. Suppposedly it is a certain Mr MJA. Read more about it at the Telegraph website, where Aveek Babu has done a brilliant hatchet job. BTW, the site is down right now, not surprsing given that ABP group websites seem to be down more often than they're up.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Figuring out basketball

I have always liked basketball. Despite not being tall enough, fast enough, or accurate enough. For everybody who likes the game and/or follows the NBA, this is a must read.