September 27, 2005

Honk!

Asleep at the wheel seems to be Cnet's current state of affairs. After mucking up their RSS feeds with content spamming, they have now gone a step further and sent all the feeds to la-la land. Actually they are rolling out a new version of the site (er.. beta types) and apparently nobody in their team has realised that all the feeds are broken now. I was going to rant about how they should have done a proper redirect, but I will hold that one back for now. Still, more than 24 hours is too long in the beginning of the week for things to still remain broken. Update: It has been fixed now. Thank you!

September 26, 2005

Media Minutes

It is the end of the year and the Delhi mediascape is an amusing mix of established players looking over their shoulders to try and see what the new kids on the block are trying to do and the new ones trying hard to give off the aura that they are up to something big. This results in interesting situations like shameless plugs on sister channels where the chief editor is plunged (unintentionally) into the cover of darkness while trying to show off the new and very dysfunctional digs and reporters running around town doing stories without a channel to air them on.

While teething trouble seems to be order of the day for the new ones, the very established NDTV has decided to put a token effort to put a new sheen on an already dull show. As a result we have new dull dreary anchors (read fresh blood) appearing on the screen, bulletin after bulletin (and appearing sometimes in some of the reports too!) and attempts by the anchors (that award goes to Vikram Chandra & Shivnath Thukral) to appear more 'animated,' which ends up with some penguin-esque flapping and other reactions that border on choking by the co-anchor in the other studio whose cue must read something like "Vikram: j/k, j/k. Shivnath: Guffaw."

But I do like the way at least one part of DNA is shaping up. Their After Hours section is a good read on most days with content that is hard to find anywhere on the other Indian rags. Since they are still in something of a 'beta' stage, the site is not full of horrendous ads and the layout is pretty clean and neat, something of a stripped version of down Times of India, which is not surprising at all since the people behind the site are pretty much the same ones. The industry really seems to consist of the same 50 people hopping around some ten places all the time. Pretty incestuous, huh?

September 21, 2005

The Family

Over time things are meant to become easier; people are meant to become more understanding; needs should have become more realistic and in tune with the rest of the general populace and explanations should have become a not-required feature in families. Somehow all those never seem to apply to me.

Even after some six years of actually being on my own and some six years before that of being practically on my own, every time I meet someone from the family things just go right back to some pre-set point. It should not be that difficult, should it not? But it always is.

It is astounding to have people throw at you different variations of the same old parental pangs, asking you to try and understand "how they feel" while nobody had, and still don't have, the fucking sense to ask me how I have felt, not now, now ten years back or even fifteen. It is always a goddamn 'phase' and you will always 'come around.'

I mean, all you get after making a bloody name and career for yourself without sucking up to some minister or taking some other 'influential' creep's name, in a place where you did not want to move to and a career that you did not want since the only thing you wanted - a real fucking family - did not give a shit for you, are mildly disguised taunts and advice to move back to a god awful tiny scrap of a town where nobody likes you, you don't know anybody and everyone has a say in everyone else's business.

"Well, you might fucking die there, but hey, you are dying in the lap of all the insane blood relations; now does that rock or what?"

Why in the world is it so difficult for people to let others be? I don't ask much of anyone. I don't ask anyone to change their ways to suit mine. Hell, I try as much as possible not to get in anyone's way, if I can help it. I am not looking for apologies or letters of acceptance. I don't want a badge for taking care of myself. I don't even want you to like me. Just let me be, or is that really too much to ask for?

I would really love to say I don't get affected by all of this. Apparently, I still do and by quite a bit too, it seems. Every time it ends up being even more of an ordeal than the previous time and I am really sick and tired of them to the point where I just feel like picking up a stick and chasing all of them out of my life.

September 17, 2005

Bullets

Even when you are completely at peace and beautifully balanced, dodging the bullet called the past is a feat that even Neos would have a hard time pulling off in the world of emotions. It just pops right at you, bang in your face when you least expect it. Days, months and weeks of self-restraint, discipline and chiding vanish in an instant.

Before soon you end up asking yourself "Why am I making the same old mistakes all over again?" Lying in its wake, sprawled on a bed of prickly and painful memories, there is nothing new to ask, know or understand. You just feel so disgusted for being part of a cycle you work so hard to avoid, but can't help getting back into with unfailing regularity.

Maybe it is the karmic cycle, maybe it is the essential tragedy of the human condition that there is nothing new to be done or experienced. Everything has been done and written about already. All you can do is to fall headlong into a tumble dryer of limited experiences and be spewed out at the end of a lifetime, cleaned to the point where all you have left is your real self - an also ran.

September 13, 2005

Outlive

I should stop wearing my new pair of shoes, which is olive green and pretty nice to look at, since it rains every time I wear it and yesterday it rained really damned hard. It was nothing compared to what Mumbai recently had gone through (and still going through), but it was bad enough for my old war horse of a motorcycle to break down thrice and the third time was three times too many for its own good. What followed was pushing it through knee-deep water and pouring rain, over three kilometres, all the way back home. Earlier, when starting from work, I was looking forward to an adventure of sorts, but this one was a little bit over the top.

Following the wading episode, I got cleaned up and dry at home and took off with friend in tow to watch the late-night show of Salaam Namaste -- featuring a very brawny Saif Ali Khan and a considerably toned up Preity Zinta. To my surprise, the movie was actually pretty good. Good, that is, strictly in the commercial sense. Most people should like it if you don't go into it expecting some statement on the inner workings of live-in relationships, abortions and so on. Only negatives in it were Javed Jaffery, who was an absolutely avoidable overkill, the songs and the melodrama which just about managed to get away without pulling the rest of film down.

In any case, the movie was interesting for me specifically because of the reason that I've just come out of a live-in relationship that lasted for roughly a year. The movie could have done justice to the subject matter with a deeper look at the factors involved in such a set up. But hey, they don't make any pretensions about what it is all about and I had a hearty laugh, which does not happen too often when I run into Bollywood. Still, I was quite impressed with the quality of the on-screen smooching, the way the movie was paced with no drag at all and the production, which was, well, of exquisite Yash Raj quality.

Coming back to the pet theme of live-ins, it is interesting to see another perspective on it. Even though it is no longer a rarity, in the metros at least, live-ins are a hard one to pull off, even without the couple having problems between themselves. Without the mangalsutra, it is hard to find landlords who are willing to let out their places and when the problems do set in between the couple, all hell breaks loose. Regardless, the concept in itself is quite funny, not in the least because of the fact that the only binding rule is that there are no expectations in the long run. With the consistent intervention of human nature, expectations do creep in and that is where the fun starts.

The thing about setting boundaries in what is a boundary-less arrangement is that there are no reference points. You are essentially setting one of those based on where you think the point is, which might or might not be a fair distance away from where the other person sees it. Chaos follows and every sentence spoken is laced with numerous "I thought" bits. And when it goes off well, you soon reach a point -- one where you desperately grasp at something that resembles an outer boundary -- of no return from where you either go different ways or define the relationship in a traditional manner. And we picked the former.

To conclude on an off-topic note, I would like to present you, my tiny and loyal audience, with another of those shameless plugs for interesting friends who have just taken to blogging. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Sacred Insanity who is quite new and grounded by the rains in Mumbai. Tread softly, please.

September 12, 2005

clueless.cnet.com

According to Cnet.com, Xbox 360, the new Apple Nano are of great interest to the e-business, enterprise hardware and networking crowd. Even more curiously, Ballmer's rhetoric on Salesforce and photographs of Sun's new Star servers are said to be of interest to people who want to read about personal technology and the net. In fact, the 'sweet' thing about Cnet's RSS feeds is that you get an 'all roads lead to Rome' deal, which means that irrespective of whichever feed you subscribe to, you get all the stories they want to push from all sections.

I am sure it must be some smart ass marketing genuis who put forth the idea of mixing up stories in the sections and it really sucks. I subscribe to five different feeds from Cnet and it is a tremendous waste of time to see mostly the same stories across the sections. Of course, not everyone will have the same set of subscriptions as me, but at least conceptwise I would want to be reading news related to networking when I subscribe to the Networking section's feed. In a lot of ways, Cnet is actually spamming the users.

And continuing on its journey at the head of the nation of the cluless, Times Of India publishes a story on 'cyber detectives' in which so-called experts inform us that every e-mail id has an IP address attached to it, which is "installed" in the header of the e-mail. Moreover, the report mentions that you can watch porn "if you install a software called Spyware." I can already see a stream of Google searches with "spyware for porn" giving a steady workout to the Google servers. Oh, the joys brought about by today's tech journalists!

September 10, 2005

Barren

All this while I was wondering what was it that I could not hear, what was it that I could not make out from the muffled voices that surrounded me. In an unexpected instance, the haze lifted, the long-dead brown leaves blew away and the light that came to be was bright, stark and pervasive. In extinguishing the maddening hold of darkness, the light that shone also showed a land barren and entirely devoid of life. In its clarity one could see the the vastness constantly devoured by howling winds that proclaimed the beginning of a new day, every day. In the winds' passing, the muffled voices disentangled themselves and spilt themselves all over. The words were the same, only the howling and the tenor of the voices were different. Ultimately, it is just the same sand, the same wind, the same arid land and the same untruth spoken by the voices. In its own existence, the untruths only serve enrich itself to a further degree of purity and effectiveness. The rest is just a vast drama enacted in the ever-so capable direction of imagination.

September 07, 2005

The End

And then there are lists. Lists of things you need to attain, lists of things you need to avoid and lists of things you love and value. And even when you exhaust the list the peace is still nowhere to be seen and the mind is a restless creature, it takes off on its own neurotic, distracting flights. Thus follows endless nights of drinking, renewed trysts with old vices and the omnipresent flirtation with exploration of taboos and dark crevasses. With no end game in sight and no real destination to travel to, I do wonder at times why not put an end to all of it? After all, I am your ideal candidate for that - I am depressed out of my mind most times, cynical, insecure and lost in every imaginable way. So, why not?

Most times the answer is the creature called hope. The creature that comes alive during those fleeting and increasingly rare instances, when in a single insignificant moment or gesture it can light up your puny, dark existence in a single swoop, lifting it to heights neither drug nor man can ever take you to. Other times it is just the curiosity to seek out things that I have not yet seen, to look under the many stones that I have not yet turned over, to meet and get to know a million other people I have not yet met or known. The curiosity to see what lies around the corner and be wiser for the knowledge - be it good or bad - in the company of someone special or even if it is again just me alone, again.

September 06, 2005

Join Me

My team has an immediate requirement for a talented (junior to middle level) PHP/MYSQL developer. The position is based in Noida and is a full time post. What we are looking for is someone with a pretty good grasp of the language and the concepts. Linux/Apache/MYSQL/Postgresql administration, coding to standards and familiarity with XML, XTHML and CSS would be huge pluses. Our salaries are competitive by industry standards.

The company is a new entity in the television news sector and the working environment is that of a start up, with its benefits of being able to do everything from scratch and the pitfalls of high levels of stress and tight deadlines. The positive aspect is that you will get to be part of something that is unique and very new and by being a part of it, you can make a name for yourselves. If you are interested, do send me your CV at codelust dot blog at gmail.com.

September 04, 2005

Sunday

The curtains are drawn, it is generally darkish in here and the room struggles to glow in the whiteness the old monitor is giving out. The television shrieks loudly in the other room. I can hear the howl of a jet engine, a woman screaming and numerous other sounds. I am still half asleep, a bit hungry and delaying the inevitable trip outside to replenish the empty larder. It feels a bit like one of those old days in winter, except that it is creeping close to 40 degrees Celsius outside and I am not feeling particularly enlightened or romantic. It is just one of those very rare days when I am just happy to have a few extra hours to do nothing or catch up on my sleep.

September 03, 2005

Max, Mostly

The con artist who continues to be known as Max Mosley was thrown off his feet yesterday after a bolt of realization hit him right where it hurts the most. Elaborating on his sudden departure from the world of the vertically oriented, the FIA president said, "We didn't realise how important (passing) was to the fans until recently." In a quick rejoinder, after receiving a stealthy jab in the ribs from new partner-in-bed Hector Ruiz, Mosley added: "AMD is making available to us an immensely powerful computer". Yes, baby, we got new steenking fast computers, Kimi, Fernando, Schumie, now overtake!

Visibly disgruntled Formula One fans were heard complaining in Monza on Friday that Mad Max was treading a dangerous path that could inevitably make the sport interesting, leading to a mass desertion by fans who have nothing better in life to do than watch 22 cars drive around in the same formation for 50 plus laps. In an apparent damage limitation exercise, an FIA spokesperson clarified later that no plans were afoot to make Formula One interesting and added that Max was only showing off his new gaming computer gifted to him by dear Hector, which the media had (obviously) misrepresented.

September 02, 2005

Unknotted

Everybody is getting married and they do it for a variety of reasons. Some are feeling lonely. Some want to put an end to their mutually inclusive commitment to sex and marriage and have their first time and more. Some virtually hump all their way to the altar. Some hear the persistent ringing of their biological clock. Some get married because it is expected of them by their families. Some get married because they have nothing better to do in life, thus procreation becomes part recreation too. Some get married because they lost out in love. Some get married because they can't find love.

Turn the page and you see almost everyone is getting divorced. Some are feeling lonely even in their marriages. Some find that sex alone is not a good enough reason to get married. In the process they run into the other bunch who humped their way to the altar; rest of life happens and the sex disappears. Some find that the family they expected to find in marriage is not quite there and the one you left behind does not back you up anymore. Some find that after marrying on the rebound, they are still attached to the one that got away; it is compare and contrast time. Some find that even in marriage there is often very little of love.

Apparently, even on the gay landscape things are not any less complicated. As our dear friend CloseTalk reliably informs us, the scenery there too is dotted with infidelity and every other indiscretion you can possibly think of. In the industry that I am part of, the decay is so rampant that every other week you need a refresher course on whose husband or wife is sleeping with someone else. My parents had an arranged marriage and their personalities are hard to separate even after they've been together for almost 30 years. What happened all those people? Or is it that the institution has truly become stale and ineffective? Is it time we took it down?

September 01, 2005

Marooned?

If you were to look at the US-based news websites and the Indian ones, it would appear that we live on totally different planets. There is hardly any mention of Katrina in the Indian ones, while there is hardly anything else in the US-based ones. From the looks of it, any theory -- ranging from India's emergence as a superpower on the 'full-of-ourselves' map to a probable lack of sympathy for America due the way they are running the world these days -- is par for the course these days. Just to give you an example, take a look at this lead headline from Hindustan Times: Katrina brews in Congress over Indo-US nuke deal. We are certainly living in interesting times.