September 23, 2011

Social media & upgrades

Like most people, I have parked myself in cyberspace and signed up for Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, LinkedIn & Google+ accounts. I am fairly active on Fb and blogger but haven't used the others much. Not that I prefer these over the rest, just happens to be so, right now... Yes, there are days when I find facebook boring and listless with inane status updates or filled with PJs. But I have got back in touch with close friends from school and college through Fb, so it does have its place. And if you want to catch news, logging into Fb and twitter will keep you abreast of the newsmakers, be it in politics, sports or science. Blogging, for me, is more a relaxing hobby and not to be with the herd, so to speak. I discovered my love for writing and to be able to share my thoughts.

Recently, I have just got myself an Android based phone and learning about the Android market... the buzz all around me is App and was feeling so left out! While its all fun, I just realised how we are all programmed, these days! Today, these gadgets and media are so part of our life, much like a television was in 1970s in India, I guess.

Being updated and getting periodic upgrades are now a way of life... a few months without these and you will find yourself alone! Just got me thinking on how fragile and vulnerable we are letting ourselves be, emotionally. Strong family bonds, and catching up with real friends will actually be more satisfying and relaxing but these have been short-changed and substituted with a make believe, fast paced, largely virtual world, that actually makes our lives more complicated, restless, and emotionally weak.

The mature, balanced and strong-willed see through these illusory lifestyle, but the weak and unstable people are the ones who become victims. 

September 21, 2011

Protests in India

As I write this post, there is uncertainty on whether the Kudankulam nuclear plant will be commissioned! Media and many politicians from the opposition hail people's power and some of the debates on news channels border on absolute rubbish. As many people are pointing fingers at scientists and modern technology /science, for various past accidents and disasters and therefore justifying the closure of the nuclear plant, what agonises me is that the government is let off so easily!

The main cause of such protests are very clear.... people are not against nuclear plants in Kudankulam or Jaitapur or use of modern science but are against government officials. Indians have lost their faith in their government.

This in my opinion is what needs to be addressed, the government needs to instil the confidence in people and demonstrate that their decisions have peoples' interests in mind; engaging with people and having meetings with activists is not the solution. Activists are always against "something"... they never have solutions; they never bother to introspect on solutionsJ. However, the man on the street wants to have improvements in his quality of life, jobs, etc.

I really do hope such protests get the government to start working in the right direction. I am so reminded of this same government that took such a regressive decision on GM brinjal, based on activism on the roads by people who didn't know the spelling of Biology! Now, this same government says the people on the street don't understand nuclear energy!! That's just the point; these protests are actually a blessing in disguise for all scientists working in modern sciences.

Confidence building measures (CBMs) are confined to action in Kashmir, but the need of the hour is CBMs across the country, to improve public acceptance and government credibility. Its time for the government to stop passing the buck to the poor scientists (pun intended)!

September 18, 2011

Smartphones are for smart people!

Recently, yours truly made the transition to a smartphone, yeah, the bug got me too... Since its a transition from a humble Nokia 6233 (a great phone) to a smartphone, I was told to get a mid range phone, to get the hang of things (read my husband didn't want to buy me iphoneJ). Well, being a good girl I bought the argument and got myself a Samsung Galaxy Ace...

Believe me, its funny initially... I felt a total rustic...and there is no manual to get going. To beat it, the salesman couldn't even demonstrate making a call as my sim card was too old and couldn't be read by the 'smartphone'J.

Thus began my saga of learning to use the phone... it’s now a month and I must say I have become a lot smarter

J. I certainly haven't learnt all about it yet, but I must say graduating to a smartphone can be a challenge for some. Right from receiving a call, to forwarding a text, is completely different. But once you know how to do them, it’s a breeze... Oh yes, there were moments in the first couple of days when I wondered why I invited this needless complication in my lifeJ. And to top it, the phone would switch off and seemed to have a mind of its own... I realized there was something to do with the settings but I was so tempted to go to shop and complain. Another problem is with managing contacts. As it syncs all your Fb and Gmail contacts, there is quite a bit of confusion if you have more than one person with similar nameJ.

A quick googling solved my problem of the phone switching off and I realized there were many people across the world who had similar experiences and there were the wise geeks who shared the solutions... Yes, it’s fun learning and exploring the phone... As someone said, learning to use a touchscreen is an intuitive process unlike the regular basic phones.  And without a doubt, I will like to state that smartphones can turn even dummies, smart!

September 16, 2011

Arnab G - role reversal?

Breaking and trending news today is that Arnab and his team are being questioned and grilled by CBI. Apparently, this team is in possession of too many secret, leaked documents from the government offices!! I knew it would come to this... he has been waving far too many documents circled and highlighted for his own good. The CBI has been with the team right through the day and sources reveal that Arnab is not amused at being questioned... He has always been the one asking the questions.. Infact, in the first hour of interrogation, the CBI officers had a tough time explaining to Arnab that he couldn't ask questions, instead he had to learn to answer themJ, as Arnab seemed to be hallucinating that he was anchoring the Newshour programme, while he was actually being interrogated!

This news story has many politicians grinning from ear to ear; across party lines... impromptu parties are planned tonight, in many homes in Delhi. Many Tihar inmates are also pleased with the recent developments. So are the other news channels. They can't believe this unexpected festival bonanza.. apparently, Diwali celebrations have been pre-poned and festive spirit is in the air, in Delhi. Team Anna, however, is not too pleased as they have lost their main TV anchor.

This is how yours truly woke up this morning!! Bad dream, huh??

September 13, 2011

Trendz in Bollywood

Gone are the times when we got to know about the movie on the Friday of its release... that was two decades ago... Then came the time when the main actors began giving titbits while doing interviews for Cine magazines, to just prove a point on how busy they wereJ. Soon that changed and we had the directors and actors promoting and marketing their movies a month in advance through road shows and interviews in News channels at prime timeJ - a media blitzkrieg was their mantra. Soon, many got very intelligent and relied on generating a controversy 2 weeks prior to a movie release to ensure a 'hit'. Some two bit guys still adopt this practice, todayJ

Today, the scene is all too blurred and confusing.... we get to hear and see posters of movies that is yet to start shoot, for which shooting is in progress, movies which have their official music /audio launch, movies that are scheduled for release a month from now, and of course, movies that are showing in cinemas... This is all so confusing, and by the time a movie is released, we have heard /seen /read so much from the hero, heroine, producer and whoever is connected with the movie, that we wonder if we have already seen it!! For example, the papers are full of Bodyguard (released), Mere brother ki dulhan (released), Mausam (scheduled for a release), RaOne (scheduled for a release), Heroine (yet to be shot), Agent Vinod (shooting in progress), etc etc. See my point?

And the best part is, most of them don't stand apart (much like the actresses – you can’t tell one from the otherJ), nor do they make any original stuff. All play safe in doing remakes from other regional movies or from good old Hollywood. So much for marketing and hype and noise! ‘Wonder if an MBA is behind all this!! 

September 9, 2011

Miracles - Indiashtyle

As we come to the end of the Ganpathi festival, I hear people praying for miracles, everywhere:

·         The Indian cricket team has been praying since July
·         The Congress Party is asking for a miracle to disentangle from Lokpal, anti corruption movement, CAG reports, Supreme Court, Amar Singh, etc.. (the list gets added every hour)
·         The BJP is not sure what they want, so they want a miracle for clarity of mind
·         Mayavati has asked her Dalit God to punish the anti dalit Assange this moment
·         DMK (an atheist party) is secretly asking for a miracle to keep their leaders in thier homes and not in prisons
·         Corporates want a miracle to get the government to start reforms in earnestness
·         Media channels want a big scam or a bomb blast / hoax every day, to justify their existence

The Gods’ reply, so far...

·         Gods sent Messi to India to divert people from cricket
·        Since the Congress party list is too long, for now, he has sent them their Prez back. Sent Agnivesh and Kejriwal for Silence courses... working on the other demands on the list.
·         Advani has been asked to do what he can do best... go on a Rath Yatra
·         Mayavati has been mollified by hiring Assange as her cook cum house keeper
·         DMK patriach has been asked to become ‘God loving’ if he wanted miracles from HIM!
·        Corporates have been asked to first observe reforms within their company and refrain from staying in Antilla style mansions
·         Media houses have been asked to report news as it is, and not 'create news'

Ganpathi Bappa Morya, Mangala Murthi Morya!!

Arnab G sure needs a break!

Its my earnest appeal to Times Now to have another set of anchors for their Newshour capsule. Arnab needs a vacation. And viewers will welcome the breakJ. While I enjoy his interrogations in Newshour, (not for his prowess but for sheer entertainment and his ‘holier than thou attitude’), yesterday, for the first time in years, I sat through his programme without flipping channels. He has surely lost it and looked jaded.

He was quizzing (yeah, just like a quiz master would) Shri Praful Patel on the CAG report and clearly had come ill-prepared. While I have no knowledge on the topic, it was apparent that Praful Patel came out more impressive than ever, a seasoned politician that he is. There were more than 3/4 occasions when Arnab had egg on his face although he pretended to be on top of the game. And his discomfiture was so apparent that he was often repeating sentences like, "my first question to you is, my first question to you is.."

I am always wary of people (more so, media guys) who think they have a halo around them, but our man clearly needs a long vacation. He has had better days on his show, believe me. He was clearly out of sorts and was nodding his head like he couldn't believe his terrible show, tooJ. And those of us who were watching couldn't help but sympathise with him while Praful Patel looked pleasantly surprised to be let off so easily.

And to top off the total comedy show, he announced very grandly that he had a set of 3 rapid fire questions to end the interview... by now I was sure Arnab has made some alternate career plans... And needless to say he managed to ask only one and had to gracefully bid adieu to the comedy showJ. I think Siddharth Basu has a new apprentice joining him!

September 7, 2011

Another blast and the all too familiar reactions from our leaders

I refer to the bomb blast outside the Delhi high court this morning. A quick scan of the news report and we have the usual standard responses. The words seem all empty and far from they ought to mean.

Mr. R. Chidambaram says the NIA will investigate the bomb blast and also added that there was no intelligence report to warn him of the blast!! He expects an email 24 hour in advance, I think. Mr. Advani has condemned the attack and asked for citizens to be united! Now, what could that mean? J & K CM is quoted to have condemned the bomb blast! Isn't that but obvious. I wonder why our leaders make it a point to condemn the attack. Can anyone compliment it or support it?? I wonder why our leaders engage in this display of profoundity.

Going by recent past events, Anna Hazare may ask for the perpetrators of the crime, to be hanged! (Wonder if Team Anna have other ideasJ) I dread to think what Arnab will say at Newshour tonight. He may have his 10 questions ready by now.

We all know what our PM will say, "I am not aware"; but to give him credit, he is touring Bangladesh and may therefore be excused for speaking the truth.

Since the blast has happened in New Delhi, we will be spared the usual dose of how resilient the Mumbaikars areJ

September 6, 2011

Withdrawal symptoms of a new kind

Apparently, both Anna Hazare and Team Anna (they are two different entities) have been diagnosed with a new disorder affecting their normal functioning. Times Trends has reported that both the groups are hale and hearty physically, but all of them reported a funny gut feel - all of them were not able to eat their two square meals fully and had nightmares of Diggy, Kapil, Salman, Ramdev etc.. plotting against them.

After subjecting them to a battery of tests, using sophisticated instrumentations, the doctors, on question of anonymity, have inferred and delivered their confidential prognosis. After some cajoling (read bribingJ), a news anchor proudly announced that they have a scoop, the only channel to obtain the confidential report on Team Anna's health... and we had to wait for a 2 minute commercial break! On resuming the story, we were told that all of them are suffering from a very rare withdrawal disorder, post their anti-corruption campaign. Having been under the arc lights 24/7, negotiating and doing street plays, etc for more than 2 weeks, they now faced the ignominy of fading from the front page on newspapers and news channels.

Apparently, doctors have advised each of them to stay away from each other's company and get back to their old ways of leading normal lives. This has reportedly not gone down very well with Team Anna and they can actually smell a rat. I heard that a press conference is in the offing within 2/3 days (they are waiting for a new picture of Gandhiji to be ready as a backdrop) where Team Anna will explain how the government has bribed and corrupted the doctors treating them.

Apparently, the main opposition party have got wind of the impending press meet and have offered a set of doctors, certified by Advani and Modi. Meanwhile, Team Anna sympathisers and facebookers have offered their own free advice - some of them have suggested that they start a new campaign on land acquisition bill, another has asked Team Anna to start a campaign on using ONLY renewable energy - solar, gobar gas, windmills etc. An ardent Team Anna and Facebook fan has requested that the Team start a campaign to thwart an Anonymous group's plan to kill Facebook on November 5, 2011.

I guess we Indians have no respite from campaigns for the next few years!!

September 2, 2011

News channels want another campaign to be led by Team Anna

Apparently, news channels have gotten together for the first time, and agreed to shelve their egos and differences (much like the political parties) to debate and plan for improving viewership on their channels. Since this topic is on survival strategies, the media guys have agreed to chalk out a common strategy to "create news" (aka common minimum programme).

All of them have realised the current trending topic to be Team Anna and have zeroed down to having them start another round of their media blitzkrieg... Apparently, the point of discussion now veers on the title of the campaign. While Arnab wants a campaign on "Action taken Reports" on CAG findings, Rajdeep has shot the idea down as it will give one channel too much limelight. Karan Thapar wants to grill every Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha MP with Team Anna on the sidelights, at the Ramlila. Shekar Gupta disagrees and considers it not newsworthy, suggests walking with a bunch of them. Barkha Dutt apparently suggested a roadshow with Team Anna in every state, to be covered within 15 days and requested they take up local state/town issues. Sagarika Ghose shot it down and thought it to be boring. Prannoy Roy was conspicuously absent from the deliberations.

After two days of intense brainstorming and cerebral discussions, they decided to approach Team Anna themselves for ideasJ. All of them came in for a rude shock when Team Anna told them that they were choc-a-bloc till end of 2012 as they have offers from across the world to start campaigns for serious issues like "Right to Leave" in some European countries; USA has signed them on to show the world on how only USA can save the world from global economic crises; UK is negotiating with the Team to bring back the lost glory of England after they started playing second fiddle to USA; etc etc. The Mayans are keen to rope them into a month long agitation on the Apocalypse in Dec 2012!!

Needless to say the media barons came back to their studios, hugely disappointed at the missed opportunities to increase TRPs. Unconfirmed reports said the apparent bonhomie and truce amongst them has been called off and a huge wrestling match ensued with quite a few of them requiring emergency hospitalization. The Indian citizen is hence saved!