Navigation Photography

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More on online security: Penpal

Got an email today from an email ID purporting to be from Paypal. It urgently sought my attention and informed me that my Paypal account has been hacked into and I should immediately (of course, in my best interests) log into the website and update my accounts. With the nice, sweet warning that if I didn't do that, my account would be suspended.

The email was so well written, that for a minute I really started believing that I actually have a Paypal account. The good folks had generously also provided the link to click on,in the e-mail itself. This was how the link looked like: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_login-run. I am *very* suspicious when it comes to online security so I knew this was a lemon. Try the link, see where it goes! The link look perfectly valid. In fact, Paypal users use this link as a shortcut to log in. In reality the link actually goes to another URL: http://217.5.157.244/update/paypal/login.htm, which is a fraudulent website. The amazing thing is that the website looks exactly similar to the real Paypal website. Hope nobody's been fooled by this one. See the images below:

False Paypal:



Real Paypal:


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Jet Airways does not care about user security!

In this day and age, when credit card information thefts are rampant, here is Jet Airways doing their bit to ensure that your information is more easily misused.

Just found this big problem on the Jet Airways site while applying for an award ticket. Towards the end of the process, the website throws up a site where the user can enter his credit card details, name, number, expiry, card type, et al on an UNENCRYPTED page.

Now how stupid is this?? I am careful enough to check such things, but I wonder whether others have entered their card info on this page. Notice the http:// page rather than an https:// page.

Can I sue Jet Airways over this and make a million bucks? Nah, perhaps not. But I hope Jet fires the guy who set up this page. What an ass.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Orbit white teeth

My teeth were stained with gook from many many years of eating, drinking, smoking. After much pestering by my gf, I finally got myself an appointment at the R.V. Dental College and Hospital, in J.P Nagar for dental scaling. In foreign countries, a visit to the dentist is like a visit to the cleaners. Ha ha. Thankfully India has not caught up with the west in such nonsensical practices of daylight robbery. A scaling procedure might cost upwards of Rs 750 in any upmarket dental clinic in India. Amazingly, its a pittance at the hospital I visited. Rs 50. Thats a dollar. Ha! say I. Match that, Mr smarty pants american dentist.

Is R.V. Dental College and Hospital a dump? Far from it. It's an old, well respected dental hospital in Bangalore. Its clean, well maintained, with fancy equipment, good doctors, very professionally run, punctual. The dentist who operated on me was a professional and performed her work fast and well, with almost no bleeding. This was my first visit to the dentist in my life, and I was well taken care of. Unfortunately, its not very well known, which is a real pity.

I have got my potty cleaned, as my gf puts it ;) and now I have Orbit white teeth.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Indian politicians as leaders?

Every noticed that the Indian media refers to the Indian politicians as "leaders"? This leader said this, this leader went there, this leader farted, that leader crawled up another's ass. It sooooooooo pisses me off. Ha! Ha! Leaders. Most wouldn't know their ass from a hole in the ground. Why are they called leaders? Who do they lead? Certainly not me. A bunch of bumbling idiots, save an enlightened few, like our esteemed Mr PM.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Movie marathon

I watched 3 movies over the weekend. Only one gets a thumbs up, and the other two get plenty of thumbs down. The decent one was Batman Begins. I thought it was fairly well made, in an understated, non melodramatic way. Neat movie. Enjoyed it. The lesser said about the other two the better. Mr and Mrs Smith. Agggggg. For a while it was doing OK, and then it began plumbing the depths of bad screenplay and acting. And as for the story... huh, what story? Take a couple of "sexy" people, mash them together, throw in a bit of romance and sex, some SFX, some hanky-panky, some underwear shots, some CIA shit, and voila! houston, we have touchdown. What a frigging waste of time and money.

Finally: War of the Worlds. What the hell was that? That movie made NO sense at all. Tom Cruise as usual can't act to save his life. He should grow a beard and take it easy with Sherlock Homes or whoever. There was stupid girl who kept screaming her head off everytime something when plot. Ghastly movie. I can't believe this movie has got nearly 7 out of 10 on IMDB and was nominated for 3 Oscars. What? Can't believe I watched the same movie. So aliens have landed on earth, or have been buried million of years ago, whatever. Random shit just happens in the
movie, without any attempt made to connect them. At least I watched on DVD. Poor fellows be they who watched it in the theater.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Speedy Gonzales

These days I've been tripping over this totally awesome cartoon character called Speedy Gonzales (nee Gonzalez). I just can't get enough of him. Speedy is a funny mouse (mickey mouse doesnt even come close), wears a large mexican sombrero, has a totally fantastic mexican accent and cries Arriba! Arriba! Andale! Andale! Yeehah! and goes speeding around everywhere.

speedy-gonzales-7

speedy-gonzales-5

Its one of the best cartoons I've ever seen, and I have seen lots. So I did a research on the net about Speedy and it turns out that it Speedy was a huge hit many decades ago, and was one of Warner Brother's most successful characters. Speedy was stopped in 1999 because Turner and WB felt that it would hurt the sentiments of Mexicans. But after fans successfully successfully lobbied with the company, Speedy was put back on the air from 2002!

I watched a couple of Speedy cartoons today night and I'm a happy man :) Its a rare treat to watch Speedy. They air it once in a while on the Loony Tunes Show at 10pm every night on POGO.

Wikipedia has a ton of stuff on the Speedy Gonzales page, and Matthew Hunter's Unofficial Speedy Gonzales page is a veritable mine of information.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Photoblog: Dudhsagar waterfalls


Dudhsagar waterfalls, originally uploaded by Gunslinger.

A spectacular waterfall on the Cholarghats, inside the swapnagandha forest, on the border of Goa and Karnataka. This waterfall falls for 600 meters and is named "Sea of milk".

Photoblog: Sakla-Vajra waterfalls


Sakla-Vajra waterfalls, originally uploaded by Gunslinger.

Twin waterfalls on the Cholarghats, inside the swapnagandha forest, on the border of Goa and Karnataka. This photo has been taken from the Wildernest resort, a peaceful rejuvenating place.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The 2 x 2 matrix

The 2 x 2 matrix is the most favorite tool of every MBA type. In my MBA studies, I must have come across a score or more of 2 x 2 matrices, designed to solve every problem in strategy, market entry, segmentation, game theory, decision making, and what have you. I think I'm sick of the 2 x 2 matrix. Here's what I got from one website:

"The 2x2 matrix is a ubiquitous representational tool that has been used
by countless individuals and groups in countless disciplines and
endeavors. However, Lowy and Hood draw on models from the works of
leading consultants, business-school professors, social scientists, and
organizational theorists (including, Michael Porter, Stephen Covey,
Igor Ansoff, Gary Hamel, C.K. Prahalad, Geoffrey Moore, and other
illustrious thinkers) to raise its status from mere representational
tool and to showcase 2x2 modeling as one of the most flexible and
powerful weapons “in the knowledge worker’s intellectual arsenal.” The
authors demonstrate that the 2x2 matrix is much more than a grid for
displaying a finished and closed set of ideas, but the beginning of a
“dialogue” that “brings richness, depth, and a uniquely dynamic
transformational power to the form.” They demonstrate that there is a
right way and a wrong way to construct a 2x2 model, that the key to
this right way lies in how the primary variables are selected and
applied, and that selection and application depend on “a particular
cognitive and emotional bias in approach”—2x2 Thinking."
BTW, I got the above shit from a book review of a book about... yeah, you guessed it, 2 x 2 matrices, called The Power of the 2 x 2 Matrix. 2 by 2 thinking, my ass. Ugh. I think I'm gonna be ill.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Melbourne!

And now I'm in Melbourne. Its a beautiful city. It'll put B'lore to shame. Come to think of it, any city would put B'lore to shame. I'm staying in downtown, right on the river front. Its chilly, spic and span, *very* well dressed people, nice cafes, sexy skyline and hemlines, awesome public transportation. Everything a city could/should have. Melbourne can pretty much rival any major US or european city.

Bangalore Traffic, Part 3

See previous post Bangalore Traffic, Part 2

OK, so I got the license number... what do I do next? I had the phone number of a Deputy Comm of Traffic Police, a Mr Saleem, from some mail forward. So I gave him a call. Did he answer? Ha Ha. Does a pig fly? In fact I made quite a few calls. No answer. Next I went to the Bangalore police website and got the e-mail IDs of some senior police officers and mailed them. No response from any of them, even after repeated mails.

Next I googled all over the place and came up with the e-mail ID of DC-East ([email protected]). I mailed him with the same complaint. As usual, no reply.

Did some more searching on the net and came up with the website for the Karnataka RTO. This time I hit paydirt. There is a section on Helpdesk/Grievances and Complaints and there I found phone numbers, etc of senior RTO officers. I mailed the same complaint to the Transport Commissioner ([email protected]) and within a couple of days, he replied with a reference number saying that the complaint has been sent to the B'lore traffic police for action. It was the same e-mail ID of DC-East I had mailed to a while ago, but this time I got an immediate reply from the DC. He promised to look into the complaint and said that action would be taken against the driver.

Now, your guess is as good as mine. Will the police act on it? I dont know. But at least the DC replied, though of course he did so only when he was mailed by the Transport Commissioner.

Moral of the story: Mail the Transport Commissioner or call up the numbers on the RTO page if you hope to have some action taken against erring vehicles.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Bangalore Traffic, Part 2

See previous post Bangalore Traffic...

Normally I just bitch and whine. But one day, when something crazy happened to me on the road, I thought I should try and do something about it. BTW, something crazy always happens to me on the road. I've been rammed thrice on the road so far, always from the back. The first time it was a serious accident. One speeding call center driver hit me hard enough to cost me close to 13k in damages. The second time I got tapped on the back by a bloody truck and now I've a smart dent to show for it. The third time was today by another taxi. Thankfully nothing serious happened, but thats another day's story. Anyway, back to the first story.

On 26th June, I was nearly hit from behind by a crazy SOB driving a white Sumo. Its probably one of the worse cases of rash driving I have seen. On a narrow lane inside Electronic City Campus, this sumo driver came at very high speed from my left and tried to overtake me. Unfortunately for him, there were some pedestrians in front of him and on my left and he very barely managed to avoid driving over them and subsequently barely managed to avoid hitting the rear of my car. Even after that he swung wildly to the right and tried to overtake me from the oncoming lane. I stopped him and took his license number. It had a Government of India Ashoka seal on the license plate. As usual the driver was extremely rude and abusive. In fact he asked me to call up any traffic inspector right there and “he would see what I would do”. He brought his vehicle in front of mine, got down and came to my car, all the time abusing and acting in a very threatening manner. I did not argue with him, just took his license number and left.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bangalore Traffic...

...is chaotic at best, and dangerous at worst. It is horrible driving one's own vehicle in Bangalore. Most public transportation drivers think they own the road. By far the worse drivers on the road today are the taxis and IT company vehicles.

I drive daily on Hosur road to Electronic City and I am appalled at the way taxis and IT company vehicles drive around. These are three types of vehicles: Qualis, Sumo and Indica, all white, with yellow number plates. They all drive similarly, with little regard to traffic rules, cutting lanes, over-speeding and generally creating a nuisance on the roads. Their behaviour is a threat to the rest of us, non commercial drivers. These people increase road rage, cause accidents and makes driving a very unpleasant chore. What is most amazing is that the police turn a complete blind eye to their antics. Sometimes I stop such drivers on the road and threaten to complain about them. However, they show no fear at all about the police. They are all extremely rude, uncouth and brazen, abusive and threaten us instead, and generally ask us to do anything we want, secure in the knowledge that nothing can be done to them. How come this attitude is allowed to foster? And why doesn’t the traffic police do something about this?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Can I be an entrepreneur?

I was born intelligent, education ruined me. Might be more truth than falsehood. Ever wondered why a lot of very successful entrepreneurs are actually school/college dropouts? I'm doing my MBA at IIMB and I've been talking courses that deal with entrepreneurship in some form. I've been wanting to be an entrepreneur for a long time... in fact that was one of the primary motivations to do the MBA. I was optimistic, excited to hear about all the success stories, ignored all the unsuccessful stories and knew that someday I would have an "idea" and then turn it into an entrepreneurial venture. Ha ha. How naive.

Today I've studied about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship, about creating new ventures, innovations, VCs, business plans, revenue models, growth, funding, equity, yada yada, until I have the stuff growing out my ears. And now suddenly I've grown cold feet. I'm scared to be an entrepreneur.

I'm about to sell out on my dream unless I have more gumption and guts.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Indian Government trying to amend RTI

This is a copy of a mail from Prof Trilochan Sastry to IIMB students:

The Right to Information Act is being diluted by the Government. Here is the PM's letter to Anna Hazare on the subject and two Press Notes in response by Civil Society Organizations.



It is clear that the letter of the PM and what the Civil Society people are saying cannot both be true.

The RTI is a very important legislation and excluding file notings from public view is the first step in rolling it back. We will give greater chance for scams and corruption in Government to continue.

In case anyone wants to voice their opinion to the Government, you can write to:

Dr.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam
The President of India
Rashtrapati Bhavan
New Delhi - 110 004
Fax: +91-11-23017290, +91-11-23017824
Phones: +91-11-23014930 Ext 4211,4400, 4260 (Secretary of President)
+91-11-23013488 Ext 4218 (Personal Secretary of President)
Emails: [email protected] (Press Secretary of the President)
Write to the president at [email protected]

Dr Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India
7, Race Course Road,
New Delhi - 110 001
Fax: +91-11-23016857, +91-11-23019545 (PM Office)
+91-11-23015603 (PM residence)
+91-11-23018668, +91-11-23015470 (Residence)
+91-11-23012312, 23018939 (Office) +91-11-3016996 (Joint Secretary of PM)
+91-11-3018939 (Personal Secretary of PM)
[email protected]

OR

Email to PM at http://pmindia.nic.in/write.htm

Sonia Gandhi
+91-11-23014481/23012656
91-11-23018651 (FAX)

Thanks.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Trilochan Sastry Phone: 91-80-2699-3285(O)
Professor 91-80-2699-3225(R)
Indian Institute of Management Fax: 91-80-2658-4050
Bannerghatta Road
Bangalore 560076, India
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Friday, July 28, 2006

Photoblog: San Diego zoo, California


Baby chimp plays hide and seek, originally uploaded by ZeHawk.

A baby chimp playing hide and seek with a jute bag. it would peek out for a few minutes, then cover itself with the sack. Very cute.

Photoblog: San Diego zoo, California


San Diego zoo, California, originally uploaded by Gunslinger.

Scimitar-horned oryx "Oryx dammah". A male and a female make quite a striking pair as they pose for a photograph.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Blogspot blocked from India

The Indian government and Indian ISPs in all their glory have blocked access to Blogspot and Geocities from India. Ostensibly, because terrorists are using it for exchanging information. Ha ha ha say I. Yeah right. The incredible brains of the babus who run India... they have a collective intelligence of a herd of naked baboons running in the wild, jibbering, jabbering and crawling into each other asses. If these people had as much sense as, say, an earthworm, they would realize that they dont know their ass from a hole in the ground. Terrorists indeed. There are a few fucking million e-mail and chat messengers out there, and they will post it on blogspot for all the world to see.

Anyway, while they pull their you-know-whats out of their sticky bums, go ahead and use one of the zillion anonymous proxies or URL redirecters. More power to all of us. Read this article on Digital Inspiration or this one on Within / Without for more information.

Its a crying shame. Censorship in any form is abhorrent, and I guess the huge online community should come down very hard on the govement.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Visit to Srirangapatna

I visited Srirangapatna, Mysore a few weeks ago. Some friends and I drove there over the weekend. The first night we stayed at the Fort View Resort, which was kinda awful. Its not a resort, its like a ramshakle farmhouse by the river. The next night we shifted to the Amblee Resort, which was a lot better and we had a nice time there.

We visited a few places around Srirangapatna. The highlight of the trip was a visit to the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary, where we rented a boat to ourselves and spent a wonderful hour on the water watching the birds and photographing them (see the photoblogs below).

Srirangapatna was Tipu Sultan's capital.. its full of history. So the next day we roamed around many of Tipu's forts and gardens. It was wonderful to see that most of the places were under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India, and were well maintained.

The roads to Srirangapatna from Bangalore are awesome. Its a four lane highway all the way, and fantastic to drive on. Takes just around an hour and a half to get to Srirangapatna from Bangalore. Its a perfect weekend trip...

Photoblog: Snowy Egret or Heron


Snowy Egret or Heron, originally uploaded by Gunslinger.

Dont quite know whether this is a snowy egret or a heron. At the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Srirangapatna, Mysore.

Photoblog: Open Bill Stork


Open Bill Stork, originally uploaded by Gunslinger.

At the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in Srirangapatnam, Mysore.

Photoblog: Painted Stork


Painted Stork, originally uploaded by Gunslinger.

A painted stork foraging at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Photoblog: My love for dragonflies continues

At the Fortview resort in Srirangapatna, near Mysore. I had to chase this dragonfly around for quite some time before I managed to get a close up. Believe me it is not easy chasing after a flitting insect.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Photoblog: Garrision Cemetery, Srirangapatna

Came across this very interesting, crumbling gate. Used to be a British Cemetery, now old and decrepit. Who knows how many British soldiers lie dead, buried and forgotten here? Who knows what stories they might have been able to tell us... of the many fights of the British against Tipu Sultan, The Tiger of Mysore!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Indian government wants to "simplify" tax laws. Hah!

In a bid to milk the salaried class even further, the greedy Congress government wants to remove various tax exemptions under the guise of simplification of tax laws. Go to the Income Tax website and read the 5th paragraph. The government wants to remove tax ememptions on various schemes like NSC, LIC, HRA, Mutual funds, housing loans, etc.

Salaried people in India pay the most tax as compared to businessmen and self employed people. With TDS, there is no room for discrepancies and salaried people are already being milked to the hilt. Instead of having good procedures, rules and laws to get more people into the tax net, the government wants to take the easy way out and get more tax out of the people who sincerely pay tax every year to the government. What do we have to show for it? Scams and more scams by politicians and bureaucrats. Large scale corruption and tax money going down the drain in ineffectual policies and wastage of tax payer’s money year after year.

It is shameful that the government is so scared to tighten up tax laws and rules and get tax evaders to pay tax correctly and instead is going after small fry like the salaried class. And there is double taxation in everything, we pay taxes on salary and then pay sales tax and service tax again.

However there is a way out. The government has invited feedback on these future decisions from people like you and me, and will take decisions on the policies based on the feedback received.

Please visit the Income Tax website and download the document on various exemptions from there. Else follow this link directly. It has all details. Send a mail to one of the people mentioned in the document stating whether you want the government to continue or discard these policies. I have already sent a mail with much of what is in this post, and also asking for the following policies to be continued: 10(5), 10(10)(i), 10(10)(ii), 10(10)(iii), 10(10A), 10(10AA), 10(12), 10(13A), 10(14), 10(15)(i), 10(15)(iv)(h), 10(16), 10(23AAB), 10(38), 54, 54EC, 54F, 80C, 80CCC, 80CCD, 80-D, 80-DD, 80-DDB, 80-E, 80-GG, 80-QQB, 80-RRB, 80U.

I strongly urge all readers to send feedback on the policies before it is too late. Please also inform others about it. This is an extremely important matter that concerns all of us.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Blue Security is down!

After a long hard fight, Blue Security has folded up. Unfortunately, for the rest of us. Blue Security was no ordinary firm. Blue Security was an Israeli firm which was fighting against spam, and was turning out to be quite successful. It was taking the fight to the spammers doorstep. You can read about what they were doing on Spam Wars: Blue Security Strikes Back.

I was one of their half million and growing users, helping them to fight spam by forwarding them every single spam mail I got. They actually managed to get 6 of the top 10 bulk emailers to stop spamming any Blue Security user. Which was an awesome achievement! However one spammer hit back with vengeance and caused huge collateral damage on the internet. Read the full story Blue Security folds under spammer's wrath. It reads like a fast paced thriller.

From the last few weeks my mail forwards to them have been bouncing, but I never suspected that they might be fighting such a huge internet battle. Today I googled for Blue Security and came across a bunch of news on them.

Its a real loss for the Internet worlds, people like you and me. 2/3rds of the e-mail traffic today is spam, and here was one brave group fighting for the future of the internet. I applaud Blue Security for what they were trying to do, and finally for voluntarily giving up. Awesome guys! Hope to see you guys around on the internet again.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Photoblog: John Alsop bridge


John Alsop bridge, originally uploaded by Gunslinger.

The John Alsop bridge in Jacksonville, Florida on a late evening in May.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Photoblog: Munchen Townhall


The townhall in Munchen stands up against a darkning sky on a late evening in April.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Indian Airlines shows spine

I travelled from Bangalore to Mumbai by Indian Airlines a couple of days ago. The flight was delayed by 15 minutes, and the passengers were getting restless. The flight was full, but still it wasnt taking off. People were badgering the air hostesses. Finally we realized what was holding up the flight when a foreigner hurried in and took his seat.

I got such a surprise when the head air hostess came up to this gentleman and gave him a smart dressing down for delaying the flight. She told him that everybody was already seated and he was the only one missing. They were looking for him all over, and he was simply not to be found. The gentleman in question had nothing to say in rebuttal.

I applaud IA for taking the trouble to wait for ONE passenger and only then leaving.
And I applaud the lady for having the guts to berate a passenger for being late, and a firang at that.

Friday, April 21, 2006

"Angry/negative people can be bad for your brain"

Came across this totally awesome post about the effects of negativism on one's brain. Its a well written post, and completely readable. The blog is called Creating Passionate Users by Kathy Sierra.

Its a long post, but well worth the time, and at the end you will be a wee bit wiser about Mirron Neurons, Emotional Contagion and Happy People. I loved the part about the happy people. Happy reading!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

"I am Plural" and "Plural Monoculturalism"

I read a wonderful interview of Amartya Sen in the April 16th, 2006 edition of "The Week". His thoughts and ideas are amazingly lucid, and hard hitting. This interview is a must read, and, I believe, his new book "Identity and Violence:The illusion of Destiny" must be too.

He defines a new term, plural monoculturalism, as having two or more styles or traditions coexisting side by side, without the twain meeting at all. He goes on to give the example of Britain today as a loose federation of different cultures or different religions.

Listen to this:

You can have strong religious faith, without it being brought into politics, or you can have very weak religious faith, but make great sectarian politics out if it. They are two sides of the same coin. Jinnah may have drunk whisky and eaten pork, but he certainly was a great spokesman for the anti-secular politics of India at that time. Mahatma Gandhi was certain very religious, but at the same time, a staunch defender of a secular, non-separatist India. These are both examples which show that strong religiosity and strong use of religion in politics are not the same thing at all.

In fact, much used terms like "moderate Muslim" reflects complete confusion, because you are confusing their moderation in religious practice with moderation in political practice. A person can be a very devoted Muslim, but at the same time very liberal in politics. Abdul Kalam Azad is one of many such examples.


Be sure to pick up The Week and read the full interview. Unfortunately, I could not find this interview online.

500 crores as divident!

I plan to retire with 1 crore Rupees in the bank. Dont gasp. Its true. I believe it will be enough for me and my family to have a life of leasure with 1 crore. It will take me my entire life of slogging and saving and investing to have that much when I'm 45. And yes, I dreamily plan to retire at 45.

Yesterday I heard that Mr Premji got more than Rs 500 crores as divident from the shares he holds, and he earned it in a minute. The board decided to give out Rs 5 as divident payout per share and in a minute Premji was richer by Rs 500 crores.

Holy shit. And to think I wanted to retire with the princely sum of 1 crore in the bank. I cant believe my set my sights so low ;)

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bangalore: the arsehole of the world.

Rajkumar, a star of Kannada film industry died yesterday of natural causes. Ok. Nothing extraordinary. People die everyday. He was not murdered, he did not commit suicide, he died of a heart attack. I'm sure he had a right to die. Poor bugger was old enough. But, ho! Listening to his "fans" on the telly I would imagine that he did Karnataka an injustice by dying. Wailing fans asking why did he have to die? Whatdfuck?

Yesterday afternoon I got a call from a friend who had heard the news and he was calling up everybody he knew to stay at home because he had heard about violence from some parts of the city.

And today, Bangalore has come to a standstill. Everything is closed. All shops, even in small neighbourhoods. Nobody except asshole "fans" of Rajkumar are roaming the street, burning tyres and damaging cars and buses and police jeeps. What kind of pathetic stupidity is this? I am sure none of us educated people can understand or condone such base herd mentality. It is beyond reason, or understanding. Way back in 2000 when Rajkumar was kidnapped, the same thing had happened.

What a complete waste of a day. Offices closed, shops closed. The Government has declared a 2 day holiday. Wah wah! What fun for the bastards who run this city. 2 days holiday and another 2 day weekend. Imagine the amount of public loss and damage, as well as loss of the Bangalore brand worldwide. All foreign news channels must be gleefully covering the state of affairs in Bangalore today, and cautioning people from visiting Bangalore. Like as if we are a small African dictatorship. Bah.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Blogging in India for socio-political causes? Ok. Good joke.

I doubt blogging in India for socio-political causes has any effect whatsoever. Are blog newpapers? Does anybody read a blog for "breaking news"? Hell, its not even a "media" (like the print, or visual media) that people recognize. Do blogs have any credibility or authenticity? Does it have mass reach?

Exactly how many people in India are Internet savvy? A measly 4.5%, and thats a liberal estimate. Out of this exactly how many people even know the word BLOG, and actively read them? Maybe 5% of that. Take a simple opinion poll around you, say in your workplace. There might be 1 blogger for every 20-odd people, if that. So we are at 0.255% of India's population. And finally out of these many bloggers, exactly how many believe that they can solve an Indian socio-political problem using blogs? Ha ha.. what a farce.

For crying out loud... a problem does not get solved by sitting on your bum and adding your piddly voice to a few bloggers. Has anybody heard of vox populi? 0.255% of India's population does NOT make vox populi. 0.255% is made of India's elite, sitting in AC offices and homes, travelling about in cars, India's new jet-setting crowd, the Super A category. You are so far removed from reality, you might as well be in a different India. Come down from your clouds, pals and smell the fucking charred earth and the smoke. Smoke from a million injustices that take place everyday. If you really want to make a difference, then work with the NGOs, make field visits, donate your time and money to social causes. Give your support to the social entrepreneurs who are working to change the laws of the country, getting such landmark laws like the RTI passed, worked to stop water privatization in the country, and a hundred big issues. Above all keep your mouths shut, and dont send around silly messages exhorting the elite "to make a difference" by blogging about an issue.

The real India does not visit your blogs to see how many have blogged about it, and pat you on the back about your wonderful "suppport". The lawmakers in this country do not get influenced by a few blogs writing same old I-am-outraged-how-can-this-happen stories.

Blogging is for the elite and might achieve to bring awareness about some elite problems, like the recent fuss over IIPM. Not for real socio-political problems that plague India.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Class=Office?

Am sitting in my IIMB classroom. Classroom? Think again. Its like a hi tech office. Its like no classroom ever seen. Its 8am in the morning. Most of us have our lappy open and pounding away. There WiFi access in every classroom. The classrooms have ACs. And the chairs are ergonomically designed office chairs.

No wonder IIMB graduates are a spoilt lot ;)

PS: If anybody from IIMB is reading this, dont fret. I require the above mentioned goodies as much as the next man.

Monday, March 13, 2006

How much is a BILLION dollars?

Too much, me thinks. Anthony's post: 99 billion $ and counting, set me thinking. Really, how much is a billion dollars?

$1,000,000,000

Can you feel the zeros? Feel the raw power in them? A billion dollars. That's 1 followed by 9 orgasmic zeros. NINE.

Rs. 45,00,00,00,000. That's 45 arabs!

How many mouths can it feed? How many homeless can it shelter? How many illiterate can it educate? How many, how many, say I?

And India has an unusually high concentration of billionaires. It just means that we have more than our share of mean, stingy people, like the landed gentry of India past, who simply refuse to share their wealth with their employees.

I salute the Narayan Murthys of the world.

An old mail forward

that is particularly relevant in today's day and age:

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Brothers in Arms

The Crimson king was in India, all bow backwards and say Howdy partner. Shall I shoot you in the face? I am sorry, I though you were a quail. I am the last gunslinger, I have forgotten the face of my father and the nameless rose in the old parking lot. Nukes? We want nukes… only for civilian uses, mai baap. We greatly advanced, highly corrupted, who love frying humans in ovens, back of beyond, third world country want to make love not war, and electricity too. So give us those nukes I say. Hey brother, we’re sorry to be taking away all the jobs, increase the H1B cap while you are in a generous mood. We solemnly promise to keep the nukie technology for ourselves, we wont share with Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Pakistan. Pakistan? Hell, are you sure you don’t want us to share any with them? Not even a teeny weenie bit? God, please rain down some Heavy Water this monsoon, Australia is sending us radioactive material. We don’t want it to activate the left, do we now? A bird in the bush, is worth two in the hand. Boom boom, we all fall down.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Vous parlez fran├žais ?

Oui.

M learning French this quarter at IIMB. Why did I take it? It’s a sexy language, but its soooo bloody tough. Ce n'est pas terrible. La, Le, L’ and Les have driven me crazy. The French do nothing like the English. So they’ve taken all the normal English words and screwed them up. Imagine taking your everyday English words and pronouncing them different. And adding a bunch of new words. Bonjour ! Merci beaucoup ! S'il vous plait ! Avec plaisir ! Another month of this and I’ll start speaking eenglish ze frenjch waiy, with a “zee” een aervry vord je parlez. Comprenez-vous ? Je ne comprends pas. Aggggggggggggg.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Anti-tipping

Ever read this article on Waiter Rant: What the waiter saw? It talks about the custom of tipping in the great, stupid US of A. It seems that waiters (or servers, whatever the fuck that be) are paid less than the minimum wage and are expected to earn from tips. Is that stupid or what? The land of milk and honey and opportunity is (surprise, surprise!) also the land of exploitation. The restaurant owner probably laughs all the way to the bank, while the waiters rave and rant about not getting enough tips.

If it weren’t so stupid it would be laughable. I can't imagine people paying extra for any kind of goods that they buy in a shop, but people are falling over themselves trying to pay extra for basic service in the US. There are websites devoted to how tips should be calculated, what is the correct amount of tip for various services, there are small sheets you can print and carry in your wallet to look up the exact tip (on the pre-tax amout, mind you) if you cant do your basic arithmatic. There are programs that can be downloaded/bought for your PocketPC / Palm / what-have-you which will calculate the exact tip and even split it between the number of people in your group... al so that you never need to use your rusty brain. There are websites which give you the wonderful advice on how to calculate the tip: just double the first number people! $50 bill = $10 tip etc.

There are books writing on tipping etiquette and books written for waiters and such to do certain things to get more tips and finally books written for people to get more done without paying tips. Whew. What a stupid, vicious cycle.

PS: I comment on the Waiter Rant article using the pseudonym "Fucking Stupid". Apt name you say? Yah yah and all that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Photoblog: View of Monaco, France


Monaco View 01, originally uploaded by Gunslinger.

Panorama view of Monaco from the top of the hill, in front of the palace.

Uno momento

I had a strange moment yesterday. I believe that B'lore taxi drivers and call center vehicle drivers are evil. They have no road sense, they honk incessantly, they trample mercilessly over unwary drivers and they hit my car from behind. I have no love lost for them. They piss me off on the road, and I happily report them to the police. (The police reponse is the topic for another blog, but thats another day. What the police do about it, I dont know, but it gives me great satisfaction.)

Anyway, yesterday, on the way to the office, a Indica taxi was weaving in and out of traffic, honking continuously and generally causing great havoc on the road. He was behind me and (totally pissed) off I just didnt let him go ahead of me till the Electronic City turnoff. Its risky, but somebody's gotta teach these mothers some manners. Then I called the police control room to report his vehicle number. Unfortunately the police control room was busy, so after a couple of tries I gave up for the moment. Almost near my office inside Electronic City, suddenly my car skidded to the left. I managed to come to a stop at the side of the road... my left tyre was absolutely flat. Its 2pm, sunny and hot. I got the spare tyre outta the back (Do you know how heavy a bloody car tyre is?? Now I do.), and started the laborious process of jacking up the car and taking off the flat tyre. Some taxis were parked nearby, and one of my hated taxi drivers came over to me and offered to help!

I refused, thinking that this bugger was going to fleece me. But he seemed to be a nice guy, smiling and insisting that he can change the tyre and I should not dirty my clothes. Totally positively weird. Now I'm was positive that he was going to fleece me. But I gave in, and between the two of us we had the tyre changed in no time. My hands were filthy and he even got me a bottle of water to clean my hands. Then the moment of truth. I asked him if I should give him some money... and he refused. He refused to take any money!

I drove away in a daze. I din't call the police control room to report the other driver.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Nice was nice!

Jus returned from a hugely hectic trip from Nice, or Sophia-Antipolis actually (and added another place to the list of places I've visited). My company acquired a European company a month ago, and a bunch of us had gone to meet the team there. Had a wonderful time. I had expected the French to be standoffish. Turns out I was wrong. I've yet to meet people who are friendlier, warmer and more welcoming than the guys there. Hats off to all of you.

We had a ball there: drinks and dinner every night after a long day is the tops. And one Sunday we went sightseeing around Nice and Monaco. The chill wind was cold enough to freeze the balls of a brass monkey. I survived, thank you very much. And m richer by some lovely photographs, and memories of a wonderful visit to the French Riviera.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Photoblog: The Mediterranean at Nice


Nice View 01, originally uploaded by Gunslinger.

View of the Mediterranean sea in Nice.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

If I had a buck

... for every honk I've heard on B'lore streets,
... for every curse I've uttered,
... for every spam mail I've received,
... for every photo I've taken,
... for every chappati I've eaten,
... for every fag I've smoked,
... for every computer game I've played,
... for every hour I've slept,
... for every SMS I've sent,
... for every song that I've heard,
... for every mosquito that I've killed,

I would be a rich man indeed.

If I had a buck

... for every comment I've got so far on my blog,
... for every kind thought I've had,
... for every tantrum I've thrown,
... for every sunrise I've seen,
... for every subject I've topped,
... for every woman who smiled at me,
... for every race that I ran,

I would be a beggar.