Sunday, May 31, 2009


This column in argues that this is the 'beginning of the end' of the Newspaper industry.

While the columnist may be accused of going ahead of himself and ground reality here, I am not sure if what he's saying is all that bad. In other words, like every institution in the world, there shall also be an expiry date for Newspapers. Newspapers as vehicles of information have already lost their pristine position in most countries(specially the West) and it is only more likely that they would eventually phase out into oblivion in next few decades.

This change is obviously symptomatic of the Digital divide we see. The older folks are more comfortable with newspaper pages while the younger ones are drifting towards digitized version of news reading. What more, the kids (if at all they want the news) have more and more options and variety than paper news.

I have mixed feelings on this. I like the idea of sitting and/or stretching my legs and reading newspaper while having a cup of tea next to me. Specially on lazy Sundays. But with the new WWW era, most news that shows up in the paper form is already stale. I have read most of it in train either on my iphone or on the Internet.

It's only natural for newspapers to fall off the radar in an era of instant consumption. It's like some New Yorker was quoted as saying.. "In New York we get tomorrow's news yesterday". It's that fast now.

While newspapers and books (who may get some competition from Kindle kinds) may never completely go into the coma, they will now be 'complementary' or 'side heroes'. Their era of Main role may well have gone. Which is a little sad, although not completely surprising. We've seen that happen with Radio. During my parent's generation Radio was the be-all-means-all source of everything in the media.
(It has to be noted though that radio is making a slow comeback, although I doubt it will ever be the same)

Another way to look at it is, when new inventions come to fore they do not completely push out the old systems. There's room for co-existence. I remember when India was slowly opening up it's economy (and this analogy may be slightly off the mark) there was an attack on KFC in Bangalore by the Shiv Sena / Swadeshi jagran kinds. It was argued that with KFC/McDonald's etc coming to India, the local Udipis/Sukh Sagars/Wada Pav industry will go out of job. Of course nothing like that really happened and we have only seen both forms of fast food / junk industry peacefully co-exist and even grow and multiply in most cases.

Newspapers and Radio will always be there and will co-exist with the other fast paced/visually attractive mediums. And I seriously hope they do. The charm of old world order is always pleasant.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Weekend listee

# This research does not explain why Taller men earn higher salaries than short ones. Neither does it explain why Fat men earn more than slim ones. But "research" it is. Link

# Leno ended his 17 year stint with NBC's Tonight Show yesterday. I missed it but it's recorded on the DVR (damn! i love the DVR). Hope he din't get misty and all. That won't be the Leno I know. But Salut to him. He kept the institute going. And how!

# Finally got Tickets for the Blue Man Group. The show is packing up in June. We want to make this summer, the summer of Chicago shows. Hope it sticks..

# I am still unable to figure out why Twitter is such a big thing! Just because it got the Hollywood backing? If that's the case, twitting is sad. (Although I have an a/c that I use sparsely)

# I am getting 'philosophical' with my old friend Sunder on emails. First we went back-and-forth on 'what success really means' and now we are talking about human's nature of setting unrealistic goals and being out of synch with reality in general. I think I am two emails short of becoming another Deepak Chopra. (Sunder if you read this, you are forewarned: I am coming back with a big one on the last reply )

# Barcelona beat Man United last week in Champion's League. Boy! I love it when United looses. Not a big fan of Ronaldo. neh!

# Not following French Open really. I don't find it as appealing (if that is a valid usage here) as Wimbledon. Hope Federer wins though. This is the only major that has eluded him.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

'Best places to loose your job'

Check this article. It gives a list of nations where it's 'good' to loose your job.Totally worth it.

As if to take a cue, this laid off worker has written to her ex-boss how being laid off did her a world of good.

Moi got thinkin.. Will I be any good, out of work? As in, will I be constructive and positive enough if I have no job to go to. No train to catch early morning, no deadlines to meet, no team meetings?

It's easy to get romantic about a few things including retirement. But if I think a li'l harder, I dare not. It's going to kill me. I have my reasons and here are a few of them..

I am a regular person. To put it bluntly I am not in a mood to join any volunteer organization any time soon. I have that in mind, but may be in 50s at best. I won't be good at it now since I won't be completely honest to the cause. My age and my attitude is not cut out for any selfless service to a cause; full time. I need regular bread and butter, some mundane weekend beer and trash talk to survive. With all this, I can "afford" whatever little volunteer work I do once in a while. (I am not associated with any particular cause or organization as yet; but I have my moments)

Being regular is ok as far as I am concerned. No great shake. But not too bad. I have not planned anything great for me. If I am put a question, "Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?", my head reels. I have no clue how I see myself tomorrow; leave aside 5 years. I think that question should be perpetually banned anyway.

Coming back to No Job scene. It scares me. Not because of the monetary part of it. I think we can survive for a while. Even enjoy and have some trips. No its not money. It's something else. It's the idea of doing nothing. The women who wrote that long letter to her boss, got into the groove, super fast. I don't know I could be that person. Being out of job scares me because, I will make people around me miserable. For one, in bad mood I crack bad jokes. And they go south each day.

I can watch TV for some time. But then, now NFL,IPL and Elections are over. I don't have nothing to watch. What am I going to watch on day time television? Oprah? The thought scares me shit.

Oh wait, I can watch some old Hindi movies on netflix. They have some garbage in there. I always wanted to watch back all the old 80s trash. The matka dances and that cheap slapstick comedy. Yeah, may be that can carry me through for a week or two.

But that's about it. I do think of business options sometimes. I do go a length and then give up. Don't know. Somehow nothing seems to click, even in imagination. My "enterprising" genes haven't really made it quite yet.

Looks like, this ship is going to stick around trying to get an anchor all the time. This ain't going no where, free flowing in the career ocean. My middle-class-non-punjabi-khoon needs a salaried job all the time. psssssssss...


Monday, May 25, 2009

Summer's here

Glencoe,IL - 05/24/2009

Previous post on Summer

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I feel terrible. And my weekend is ruined by this Indian election results.

For me the dynastic politics of the Congress is the deal-breaker apart from a laundry list of issues I can go on and on. Nevertheless, the Indian voter has spoken and now there's no point cribbing about it.

Anyways, I think its not all bad. It's good that UPA got a major verdict in the sense that it now does not have to depend on the Left anymore. In fact the decimation of Communists is the best result of these elections IMO.

Rajasthan, Maharashtra to some extent Gujarat was disappointing for BJP. But I think Delhi,Uttarakhand, Punjab and Harayana cost them around 20 seats. Congress on the other hand gained quite a lot in the south. Andra Pradesh is now firmly in Congress umbrella. Kerela is the other state that voted overwhelmingly for the Congress this time. Both these states added 40 odd seats to Congress. That really made all the difference.

I strongly feel that for a nation to have an all round growth, a strong opposition is the key. A balance of left-of-the-center and a right-of-the-center policies are key to any nation's progress. And that's where BJP needs to position itself.

In final analysis I think few things worked for Congress.
1] Very strong media support all 5 years that conveniently over looked some key national issues.

2] Well crafted image of Gandhi family,MMS etc (again Media has a massive role here)

3]Complete and very successful demonization of BJP.

4] Reservations and loan pay offs of farmers

5] Mass transfer of muslim votes from Lalu,Paswan.Left etc to the Congress.

6] Apathy of the middle classes towards politics continues to help the Congress. The "All politicians are crooks" notion helps them win a lot of seats by default. But this is not specific to these elections.

For a non-Congress guy like me, it is easy to be cynical and pessimistic today. I think I am going to have some drinks and catch on the IPL to divert myself. That should be my Advil for a few days from this pain.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What a joke!

One should seriously question the wisdom of having elections in India anymore. I think we are better off just "handing over" the power of governance to the "first family". Actually we should not even have democracy. Let's just officially become a Monarchy instead of shying away from that term. At least the Monarchs are good at stacking up all the cash in Swiss banks, allowing the Talibanization of India, that allows more and more 26/11s (helps population control i guess) and making mockery of democracy at easy whims.

It is apparent that no one will get a enough seats to form the central government. But here's the best part, the same people who fought with Congress during the elections will come together to form the government with it to "keep the Devil BJP" away from power.

So the most likely government would be a combination of the following 1] Sonia Gandhi Inc (a.k.a Congress Party) 2] Communists 3] Mulayam and/or Mayawati 4]AIADMK 5]BJD 6]Chiranjeevi's party etc

And all these people were actually fighting Congress (and not BJP) during the elections. lol!

Boy!, were it not for the Mullah-Marxist-Media trio, Congress and the "secular ilk" would have been decimated. But then the media demonization of the "Hindu" party is so complete now, that half the nation does not even care and other half has been hoodwinked by the Barkhas and Somini Senguptas of the world that they can't even see through their agenda. (I wish we had more MJ Akbar's and Swapan Das Guptas. But alas!)

So again, why were the elections held at all? For one month so much of money was spent, so many resources were occupied, so many gallons of gas was used in campaigning.. all for what? So that all people who fight against each other finally come together to hold the power?

It's like Obama and McCain fighting for one long year and than finally when results are out, Obama makes Sarah Palin the Vice President and Mitt Romney the Treasury Secretary. It's almost like that in India now; only worse.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Congratulations are in order

So President Obama has got his first Desi protesters! You know you are firmly in the saddle when people in distant corner of the world are protesting your policies, decisions, bills or in this case a statement. So congrats to you sir, you have finally arrived! And now be prepared to see folks carrying placards, shouting and dumbing you down on all your visits abroad. Whether India or Morocco. I must say O reached the milestone pretty soon.

These placard holding desis were protesting against his 'Buffalo vs Bangalore' comment by the way.

As someone who's at the receiving end of the new rigid/stubborn INS policies of this new administration in D.C, I can feel empathetic to those handful losers out there in Benguluru. But then, I am just being selfish and narrow mindedly individualistic about this. (Whatever!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thanks But No Thanks

Brent Stephens of Wall Street Journal has this to say about Pakistan..
What is Pakistan? Even now, nearly 62 years after its founding, the best answer is "not India":
Well, Mr Stephens and WSJ, thanks for your "kind acknowledgment", but we really don't want to know it from you that Pakistan is *not* India. It never was and can never be.
The very basis of that country's foundation was one word - Hate! All these years, they have used all their energy in hating and hating us more.

It's just bad karma, neh?

P.S update : 42% Pakis feel, India did 26/11. Another good example of no proof being ever enough for people who have already convinced themselves of an alternative view.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Shabbir Kumar

There actually existed a Bollywood singer with the name Shabbir Kumar. Shabbir Kumar symbolized everything that was antithetical to the art of singing, melody, voice or just music. His survival as a singer (and successful one at that) is testimonial to the torture induced music of Indian movie industry of late 80s. He probably came closest to what we normally call the 3rd degree.

The reason I bring this up today is, I was chatting with my old friend from the college on IM. He alluded to the good 'ol times during our college life, when we sang those songs of the legendary singer in an inebriated state and run into uncontrollable LOLs. We had great time of course and were it not for Shabbir Kumar histrionics, we would have missed some spike in there.

There of course were Shabbir wannabes or duplicates in the singing group who would make Shabbir's voice more Shabbiresque, if you will. There was this one guy, who was the King of Shabbir songs and he shall remain nameless. Oh well, what the heck, lets just call him AK. (He was no less lethal than AK-47 when he sang...'parbato say aaj mein takra gaya..')

We all do crazy things during college/hostel days. But to sing Shabbir songs in a group and right in the middle of the road, completely intoxicated by combination of Haywards 2000, Gold Flake and 'accident ho gaya rabba rabba' was pushing the envelope a bit.. although it did take us on a different plane.

I haven't been on that flight for a while. Seems like a century ago. Sigh!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

'25 Must see Bollywood' list

Times of India has had this 25 Must See Bollywood movies list. I think its pretty decent and would come, some what, close to my own list. If I make one, that is.

But the one movie I can never have in my list would be - Black. I could not sit 20 minutes into it. It was Terrible with a capital T. (In fact I would definitely have it in my 25 "MUST NEVER" see list) Also I am not sure if I would want to have Lagaan in it. Doesn't feel like a "must see" 25 movie to me. (I watched it only on cable, in 2007 and watched it in parts at that)

I find it interesting that 1970s dominate the list (Gives a clue about the age-group of people who came up with this list). Clearly late 80s and early 90s sucked for Bollywood; so good they don't have a "Maine Pyar Kiya" in it. That would have totally discredited the list.
They have QSQT in it; the one movie, I would have had too.

I haven't seen the movies from numbers 18 to 25 so can't really comment. (Not that anyone's paying me to "judge"). Overall looks like a good effort to me.

I would add Shatranj Kay Khiladi, Masoom, Kalyug, Amar Akbar Anthony (yeah, no kiddin)... if I ever come up with one.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Saturday Stunt (Courtesy my spouse)

Fake IPL Player

This fake ipl dude is funny; although I wish I knew all the people he refers too. It's hard to figure sometimes, specially if you don't know the whole KKR squad.

Man, what a pain in SRK's butt this dude is!