Of Opinions & Apathy

It’s been around 13 months since I have written anything. I was actually wondering when a blogger becomes an ex-blogger. Is it when your blog reminds of the deserted Wild West town alley with tumbleweeds rolling across? I could almost visualize that scene. Not too proud of it but something changed. A Not Caring attitude to a different form of Not Caring one.

The former not caring attitude was about me having a say about something and not caring about other’s opinion. I used to have an opinion in my mind, extreme negativity towards something very positive or die-hard positivity towards something deemed positive. If something happened, oh I had something to say about it. I used to be so opinionated! (Not necessarily a good thing but to me it’s still better than the general apathy).

So back then, someone would raise an issue and I would effortlessly get worked up and shoot out stuff like “The Fall of Man”, “Death to the Tyrant”, or simply “Inquilaab Zindabaad”. But nowadays it’s like defibrillator constantly charging my mind to say something and all I can manage is something like, “Well I feel that…I don’t know sometimes…”.

I have an idea what brought forth this change. Remember how enthralled you were when you visited the circus for the first time (those who haven’t, imagine something!). The awe all that chaos out there filled you with! But it’s difficult to deliver that same excitement when your life becomes one big circus. Back then, I was in the controlled environment of my college. The rarity of chaotic events made it possible to absorb it and register an opinion. But when such events become as routine as the sun in the sky, it just stops impacting you. And the increasing number of clowns around me doesn’t help either.

So when life experiences are out of the picture what else is there to write about…Politics! Back then (even though it isn’t that back), the scene was still better. There were not-so-frequent incidents you could write about. They still happened but they were rare enough to evoke a reaction. I don’t know how to portray the current Indian Political scene in a way that I am not branded a follower of a Party X by the followers of Mr. Incorruptible-Secularist-whom-even-USA-fears, Mr. Empowered-user-of-random-scientific-stuff-in-speeches or Mr. Man-bringing-change-but-ended-up-changing-himself. Let’s just say that a Twilight remake or Beiber egging the neighbours makes as much sense as what’s happening out there. A while back, I read some analogy between A Game of Thrones and Indian Politics. Never before have I ever felt a greater compulsion to wave my index and say “Never Ever, Ever Ever!”. I mean how do you even compare something which has Dragons, Wolves, Swords, Battleships, Ice-Zombies, Brainy Imp, Crotch Monsters, etc. with something which only has morphed and photoshopped images of one another. It’s not even apple and oranges. It’s more like bottle gourd and roasted chicken! (No offence to bottle gourd lovers but you get the idea, right?)

So how do you write about something as “A Clockwork Orange” as that whilst keeping your own sanity intact. It makes no sense to make fun of something that embodies the spirit and captures the true essence of the word “Ridiculous”. I could see my motto (“In the Brightest Day, In the Darkest Night, No absurdity shall escape my sight”) failing. Absurdity is the new Normal and how can you defeat Normal! I will have to scout for other genres to write about. Maybe about that transdimensional state you reach with a little help. Maybe I will change the name of the blog. Maybe Mellow Satty or something…I don’t know.

There have been outbursts though. Like looking over your shoulder becomes a second nature after a life of crime, so does being opinionated after a life full of opinions. So I end up constantly giving Gyaan to random people or post 573 worded opinions on arbitrary FB posts. Let’s see how long this stint lasts.

Clothes Make A Team!

I know that I am actually painting a target on my back by writing this article. This article will probably hit a raw nerve with many fans of Sports Leagues but i find it really amusing and so, to hell with them!

I believe I am a very calm person and I respect the fundamental rights of people. So, naturally I want people to reciprocate the gesture and it really pisses me off when they don’t do that, especially my right to silence. The other day, a commotion in the TV room snatched my right to silence and disturbed my sweet slumber. So I followed my instincts to choke the life out of the murderers of my slumber.  But all instincts vanished and I was actually quite amused when I found out what the entire ruckus was about. The English Premier League was on and apparently the supporters of one club didn’t actually get along with the supporters of the other club. It was a bit of a bit of a disappointment that I lost my sleep to this childish “My Club is better than your” routine nevertheless, I was amused.

Before telling you the reason why I was amused, I will sum up the concept of supporting a team. Though I am not much of a sports freak, I respect it when someone supports a team that represents a country (may not be same as that of the supporter). It’s deep stuff with all the national sentiments, respect for the country and the players. So, a battle for superiority concerning the teams that represent a country is understandable.

Then there are these individual sports like Tennis, where people are inspired by players irrespective of their nationality. Now this stuff is even deeper because it is borne out of nothing but pure respect for the player’s skill and talent. A fight over the superiority of individual players is more than understandable.

Lastly, there is this twisted concept of supporting sports league teams. And it’s not just the football leagues. I am talking about the cricket leagues, basketball leagues, even a kabaddi league (if it ever comes into existence).  So I will come to the amusing part now. The players don’t give a shit about the teams as they follow the trail of money. And I did a little digging around. People stick with the team even if a good player changes the team. There is no sentiment involved because the team is generally owned by an Arab Sheikh who cruises around in his gold car or a Billionaire who probably shits $100 bills.

Let’s build the equation of supporting a club or a league team. Players, their skill and talent, sentiments, etc. are thrown right out of the equation. So let me tell you what’s left to root for in a league team…..The clothes, shin guards, or probably the socks. As such, when I see people fighting over clubs, it doesn’t look much different from two annoying teens high on hormones fighting over dresses. The crux of it is that even a fight over Pokémons is more respectable than a fight over clubs!!

Please Mind The Gap!!!

If you guessed what i am talking about the instant you read the title, you have probably guessed it right. It is the Lifeline of Delhi i am gonna talk about….The Delhi Metro. I have spent quite some time in Delhi over the past few years but all this time I had been relying on other means of transportation (well dad’s car mostly). I have used the services of the Delhi Metro in the past but the use has been quite sporadic and that too in mostly non-rush hours. Therefore it wasn’t until I started my intern at Panasonic,Gurgaon that I had a taste of what I call “The Metro Experience”….

Over the past few days, I have spent close to 14% of my entire day inside the metro and believe me that’s a lot of time to have life experiences about anything. Now, I do appreciate the air conditioning inside the trains. But what I appreciate even more, is actually the rising temperature inside the trains as more and more stations pass by…if u know what I mean. It’s kinda depressing when you see the heat sources interacting with lowly scumbags. Still there is a positive aspect to it. The heat sources with the highest source temperatures are actually positioned in the non-reserved compartments…..and I will say that again, If you know what I mean ;)…

I believe that I am a calm person but the next person who lectures me about feminism and male dominance is surely gonna get an earful from me. You want to be treated equally but even one entire reserved compartment wasn’t enough. You want the reserved seats inside non reserved compartments too. I learned it the hard way when not even 10 minutes into my first 95 minutes metro journey (I was so happy that I had found a seat), a girl, 3-4 years older than me, promptly comes to me and says, “Seat reserved for ladies”…and that’s how I lost my seat.  What pissed me more was that even the temperature wasn’t even high enough (yes dear feminists, I just objectified women…..Bite me!!). I wanted to tell that gal, “Yes, I know it’s a seat reserved for ladies and I will vacate it when I see one”. But I avoided it as I didn’t want any tussle on the first day of my intern!! Still that seat (be it only for 10 minutes) felt so great that I modified a saying for the metro…..”It is better to have sat and lost than to have never sat at all”

And now a word about the Rajiv Chowk station experience. I guess Delhites and NCRites must be knowing this. But for those who don’t, fill a balloon with water till you think that it couldn’t hold anymore and then fill some more. Now take a pin and pop it. The way people come out of a train at Rajiv Chowk is actually similar to the way the water escapes the bursting balloon. And it’s not official but Ripley’s Believe It Or Not are actually gonna feature this in their next segment……”A person, not female, not old or physically challenged, as ordinary as you are, boarded a train at the Rajiv Chowk Metro Station, New Delhi during the great office rush and got A SEAT!”

I am going to quote a line here from one of my all time favorite stories, The Luncheon…”I do not believe that I am a vindictive man, but when the immortal gods take a hand in the matter it is pardonable to observe the result with complacency.” I quoted it because of the following incident. An old guy (I’m guessing 80) asked me, “Beta, can you help me board this train?”. I immediately saw my golden chance and said, “Sure”. I helped him get on the train and said, “Let’s find you a seat now.” You know how you can spot a feminist in a crowd. You see one and you have seen all of them (yes i am stereotyping right now….again, Bite Me!!). So I promptly went up to her and said, “Hi, I don’t think uncle can stand any longer, would you offer your seat?”……And judging from the look she gave me, I knew I had my Revenge!!

So people, if you have missed any of the above experiences, you haven’t had…”The Metro Experience”…..

Anti-Incumbency, The Indian Norm…

For those of you who don’t know what anti-incumbency is, the elected representative or the schmuck in power is called incumbent. So naturally, anti-incumbency is any such urge to throw the schmuck in power out of the office.

In all the fair elections (and by fair, I mean elections devoid of booth capturing, bogus voting, etc) that India has witnessed, anti-incumbency has always played a major role. It’s like there are always two major players in a state, one of them screws his/her chances during their term and the other one automatically gets the benefit of doubt. The expectation is that the years out of power will have taught the loser a lesson and that it will behave better the second time around. With all the increased flexibility of the polling process, a huge turnout generally means reappearance of the faces (or maybe the sons and daughters of those faces) that lost 5 years ago. Long gone are the days when “Good Vs Evil” battles used to take place (they still do but only in second-rate bollywood movies). There have been a few exceptions, notably Nitish Kumar in Bihar and Naveen Patnaik in Orissa, whose performances in office have enabled them to beat the anti-incumbency factor. Or Tarun Gogoi in Assam, who has been chief minister thrice because he doesn’t face a credible opposition. But other than that, the Indian electorates have and will always be forced to choose the lesser of the two evils (if one is a Satan, the other can be best described as a Leviathan).

Speaking of two evils, the current state UP polls is a glaring example of what I said above. Let us rewind to the happenings of UP 2007 polls. Mayawati in 2007 had capitalised on the fact that people were frustrated with the Samajwadi Party’s inability to maintain law and order. I guess “Goondagardi” was the apt word to describe the administration. As a result, people voted for change and made the Dalit Tsarina….All in all!

But five years, a 685 crore park and a 10000 crore scam later, nothing changed after all. Add to that, Mayawati’s inaccessibility and out-of-sight out-of-mind attitude. Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party claims to have cleaned up its act. Party leader Akhilesh Yadav (Son of the face) touts the fact that most of their candidates are free of criminal records and that they will have no place for candidates with tainted records. So the result was but obvious:

Behenji Ka Time Up…Bhai Logon ka Samay Fir Se Aaya!!!   

It’s Like Judging A Sociopath By His Ability To Make Friends!!!

I was taking a stroll the other day when something bright caught my attention. It was a poster of a college fest. It looked quite attractive if you ask me…..elegant design, vibrant colours….everything seemed perfect. It seemed like the designer had put in a lot of effort. But as I was reading the contents, I started laughing like a madman. It was because of the tagline. It read…TO MAKE PEOPLE GO BANANAS.  However, something started to bug me. How could sensible people who spend hours designing a poster, allow such a stupid tagline? Mere five words that spoiled hours of labour. Pondering over the matter, I walked away.

Some days later, it happened again. This time, the poster was more attractive than the previous one and the tagline…..more absurd. It read “Our Fest is Number 1, Everything Else is Number 2”.  Sure enough, the laugh was even harder. But the choice of such a ridiculous tagline gave rise to a concern in my mind. A concern….that people are losing their mind. Then again, it seemed kinda obvious. People are enthralled by the most absurd shit these days (I will spare the details but in your heart, you know what I am talking about). So Dumb Taglines….Not a big surprise.

But eventually, I found the reason. I came across a competition on facebook. There is this college which was organising a fest and needed a tagline (Well I won’t name it because you actually popularise things even when you defame them and I learnt this the hard way). They offered a reward for the best tagline. Everybody can use a little extra money now and then, so I thought….What the hell, let’s give it a shot.

Two days later, I get a message that my tagline has been shortlisted. I quickly browsed through the other shortlisted ones. There were some really stupid and absurd taglines (the weirdest entries were from the college itself because we all know how “shortlisting” is done when it comes to our own college). The message said that now, I just have to promote it and get as many “facebook likes” as I can and the one with the most ‘likes’ wins. And just like that, it all became crystal clear.

So no need to worry if you don’t have the best entry because to win such a competition, you just need to be a girl or have a lot of FB friends. It’s an added bonus if you fulfil both the parameters. The problem is that even with the best entry, normal people with limited friends stand no chance in such competitions. It makes no sense to judge promotional skills of people in a competition that needs creative skills. As I said, It’s Like Judging A Sociopath By His Ability To Make Friends!!!

Such competitions have set a trend and there is nothing you can do to stop them. So moving on, this absurd competition is about to end and I am pretty sure that this fest’s tagline is going to be “Our Fest is BBBBBBBBBBEST” or “ Pehle Fest attend karein fir vishwas karein”.

Come to think of it, the way people vote in our elections isn’t much different because people have no regard for how good a representative is because the one with the most friends in high places, always wins. Maybe we can have the elections on facebook….Hit like to vote for Mr Abc. You get the same results at zero cost!!!

What’s With This Kolaveri Shit!!!

It’s on People’s Minds, Facebook Statuses, Blogs, News Channels….I wish I could say that it is an anti-corruption message people are spreading. It’s on people’s ringtones, speakers, lips…I wish I could say that it is a Lata Mangeshkar classic, a Guns N Roses Hit or an A.R. Rehman Melody. But Sadly, the above mentioned “it” is a Trashy song called “Why This Kolaveri Di”.

Now a week ago, this song was everywhere on Facebook. So I thought, Let’s give it a shot. After all, some Tamil songs have appealed to me in the past. So I tried it and that’s 4 minutes (or maybe 3.5 minutes because of the Stunning Shruti Hassan) of my life I am not getting back. Just saying horrible and awful would be an understatement. People say that they like this song because of it’s weirdness. I don’t know what the hell that’s supposed to mean. Let me describe the song in terms of music, lyrics, vocals and theme.

Music: Trashy Computer Generated Beats.

Lyrics: Meaningless Lines in Broken English and Tamil.

Vocals: Passable

Theme: Now I would have disregarded the above three if the theme was, say Patriotism. But No!! The theme was..heartbroken boy ditched by the girl of his dreams….Quelle Surprise!!!

You may call me a Social Pariah for hating this song. I have been called much worse things and I don’t give a damn about it. What I give a damn about is the attention this song is getting and the rage it is creating. I mean, yeah you may try this song once or accidentally see the video twice just to get a good look at Shruti Hassan (Who happens to be the only Highlight of the music video I could find). But 5.7 million hits in a week!! That’s no accident! It just paints a sad picture of people appreciating bullshit!

So my parting words:  Grow up India, you can do much, much better than this.

The Curious Case of Mozilla Firefox!!!

Most of the old timers would recall that when the internet revolution began in mid 90s, Netscape was the first and the only browser for quite some time (Mosaic was the first browser but it was experimental).

Netscape navigator had taken the internet world by storm and made a big fortune. Within months, they went public and every employee of Netscape could afford a Porsche!!

They began appearing on TIME magazine cover and the whole world was talking about them:

This apparently didnt go down well with Bill Gates. Bill was always optimistic about the potential of internet from early 90s but due to his intense focus on delivering windows 95, he missed the bus and Netscape had already taken the crown.

But Bill was not the kind of person to accept defeat. After monopolizing the OS segment, he wanted to monopolize the internet as well.

So he sent an internal mail to his employees to gear up for the “jihad” against Netscape. (yes, he seriously used the word jihad in his mail).

Bill selected some of his best engineers and formed the “Internet Explorer” team. They worked day and night, did a complete reverse engineering of Netscape Navigator (even reverse engineered JavaScript and called it JScript) and got the browser ready for launch.

After IE was ready, Bill bundled it with windows and made it the default browser, effectively pushing Netscape downhill.

Bill was so adamant on making IE as the default browser on every platform. The 1997 Microsoft deal forced Apple also to make IE as the default browser on the Macintosh platform.

So Microsoft had captured the casual home users (Most of them thought IE was the only way to browse the net and those who were aware of Netscape were now happy that they dont need to buy a browser now), and Mac users. But there were professionals in organizations who still preferred Netscape due to its robustness and features.. So the next thing Bill did was to use his muscle power to twist their arms.

He forced all the organizations into coming to an agreement which said that if they uninstalled IE and used Netscape as default browser, then Microsoft would revoke their windows licenses!!

The US govt had been keeping a watch on all monopolistic activities of Microsoft since 1991 and a spur of these activities triggered them to file an antitrust suit against Microsoft. Bill was totally defenseless because all the facts were out there showing him in bad light. But it was too late for Netscape to revive because the extensive damage was already done (but the netscape brand was acquired by AoL anyway. In 2003, MS had to pay $750 milllion for the damages). Netscape had lost everything. Their employees, marketshare, customers.. But they still had the codebase for their wonderful browser. So they opened up this code to open source community through the Mozilla Foundation. This code underwent lot of changes over the years, leading to Mozilla browser suite, which later was modified and launched as “Mozilla Firefox”.

So, the Firefox browser most of us have been using these days is actually a descendent of Netscape Navigator.

Isnt it similar to the bollywood movies where we see a villain kills a woman. The woman’s son later grows up to be the hero and finally defeats the villain.

Here, Microsoft IE killed Netscape. Netscape’s child grows up to become firefox, gradually capturing markeshare and finally defeats IE.. 🙂