Saturday, 31 October 2009

Da Vincible Code

Klueless again. And lovin’ it. The 5th edition of the most awesomely cool, mind-numbingly addictive, and kick-assingly challenging quiz is back. Think clues hidden in page sources, in urls, in gif file names. Infinitely geek-worthy, and then some.

It’s built by the folks at IIM-I, as part of their annual fest. Used to be called IRIS for 4 seasons, now they’ve changed it to ‘āhvān’. For me, Klueless is the one thing that reinforces the perception that these business schools have the coolest and smartest minds in the country.

I have been hooked on to this online game since its 1st season, long before internet addiction automatically meant FB status, Tweets, or Reddit browsing. Each level transcends awesomeness exponentially, about 30 of ’em. There are no time constraints. Or any other restrictions. You are free to use google, wiki, or anything you dare to touch or click. And you will still tear you hair apart for days together trying to figure each level out. You need to decipher cryptic source codes, crack a level which has a clue that refers back to a past solved level. Hit back buttons, refresh buttons, hit yourself… you gotta do it all. Like I said, awesomely geeky. And tons of fun, especially the elated feeling you get once you go past a level. You almost raise your hands triumphantly as to say “Eat this Mr. Langdon.” Yeah, it’s that sort of game.

(Side note: Managed to get on their Hall of Fame in the 1st season, back in ’05 (#481). Though cracking each edition hence, haven’t been able to be in the early bird list).

Can’t hardly wait to dig holes again (no you needn’t be an html geek to crack it, just a cipher-junkie). The 5th issue is coming this November 5th; am already rubbing sweaty palms in anticipation. Bring it on.


Earlier editions:

The K5 facebook page

Update: You can decipher how big a fan I'm of this by the number of times I used the words "cool" and "awesome" in this post. I feel like a kid elephant in a chinese candy shop.


Thursday, 24 September 2009

Credits


The car park

Whoa. There’s that Beamer. Used to dream of it. Not anymore. Life’s been good without it.
I can hear the chimes. It’s six already?
Hey! Nice asphalt!


The second floor
This is it.


The third floor
Is that it? Always thought there’d be more to it. Just go with the flow, I guess.


The sixth floor
Friends are great. Friends kick you in the butt when you’re wrong. Or, even, sometimes when you’re not. But that don’t matter. They’re friends, at the end of the day. I still love him.


The ninth floor
I think I know why he did it. I probably deserved it.


The tenth floor
Must’ve been about that night when…But, he got it all wrong. It was just... too… petty. Petty! Ironic.


The twelfth floor
Where are the flashes?


The thirteenth floor
Can’t believe he did it. What was he thinking? I’ll find a way to get back to him. Question is, how?


The sixteenth floor
Gaah, I’m so mad. There’s so much left to do, and now this!


The eighteenth floor
There he is. I can see him standing at the ledge on the top, looking down at me. Is that a look of guilt on his face? It better be. Hah.


The terrace

The rendezvous begins as planned. He charges at me.

“How dare you,” he asks.

“Why not,” I reply.

“You never understood, did you? All you did was run behind riches…

…It’s called running behind your dreams, dude.” I interrupt.

He isn’t budging. “Do you have any idea how pointless this all is?

I don’t like fiddling with safety catches. But that’s what I’m doing now. I shout back first.

“That’s the reason you told on me? Because you couldn’t get the point of it all?”

“Yes. Yes. But you won’t know it. Not till you are nearing the end, anyway.”

“End?” The catch's unlocked now.

"Yeah. You start off disgruntled. But then, you go with the flow, and as it happens, you grow… happier.” Is that an almost-smile I see?

“When WHAT happens?” I have my finger across the business end now.

“The beginning. Of the…

I haven’t noticed he’s moved closed to me. And I, close to the ledge.

“…end.” He finishes with a push.

I can only grab at the thin air. And his watch. It says one minute to six.

----------

My first attempt at fiction. I resisted the temptation for long, but yield happened. So here goes:

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Oscar. Sierra Hotel India Tango.

Last week, I was told to go straight to a client’s office in the morning instead of coming to my own office. Was only too happy to avoid another late-register signing. As it happens, the client’s office is a bit off-track from my office. Which basically means the road is common till a point, and then diverges.

So the next morning, I get up. Scavenge through the wardrobe for my least-casual attire. Kick start my bike. Ride for about 15 minutes. And reach the office. My office. All the while, knowing that I’m supposed to go the CLIENT’S office.

Damn.

What happened, I asked myself. You were on friggin’ autopilot, that’s what. If it is a weekday, and if it is 10’o clock in the morning, the god-darned system is programmed to take me there. That’s why, whenever I am riding to the office (mine), I never have to think about where to turn, which pothole to look for, and which ‘awful-driver’ bend to be alert at. Everything happens on autopilot. Which is very different from being sub-lost in your thoughts, and hence being a dangerous driver. No, you are fully aware of the traffic situation on the outside. It’s just the route that’s being, urm, piloted for you.

And the road is not the only place you are thus.

When you come to think of it, it starts right from the beginning. Every morning, you get up from bed with the same bones making the same crackling sounds. The toothbrush goes across precisely in the same order: Maxillary premolar first, mandibular lateral incisor next, then on to the next row. Bathing follows similar pattern, body parts are soaped in the same order, and of course, wiped too in the same precise sequence. (*insert preteen carnal giggle here*). Heck, even the way you eat, shearing the roti piece in the same size, from the same corner, sitting with your lunch box opened in the same layout, everyday. The way you shave. The way you plonk your bag at the desk before turning the comp on. The way you (if you) smoke.

Yeah, you catch the drift. We have the same grind every day, so it’s only natural to be this way. It is the non-unconsciously subconscious way we go about doing it, is what stupefies. And manifests into a joke when there’s a deviation. Like going to the client’s office in the morning.

So, when we say we need a break from the routine, what we really mean is we need to go manual for a while. Which means more work, but more control too. That is what makes a geared vehicle a pleasure to drive. And a manual camera that much more appealing. A get away from the mundane. A departure from the habitual. But that’s only during a break. I wish life was manual.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

The Seinfeld Post

I shalt not make light about the Flu.

I shalt resist panning a superstar’s airport adventures.

I shalt not ridicule a certain Swayamwar.

I shalt hold back from being opinionated on 377.

I shalt avert plug-ins.

I shalt avoid template changes.

I shalt fiercely defy the temptation to rant, ramble, or muse.

I shalt keep away from short-storied fiction (as of now) or quasi-poetry.


When I hast nothing to blog about, I won’t.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Drop 22

A-ha! I knew it. Here.

I’m selling off my gym membership at a discount. And finally getting the cloth-drying line replaced with my skipping rope.

The linked article is quite verbose. The gist is that exercising won’t make you lose weight. Keep you in shape, do good to your heart, etc. is all fine. But if it is kilos you are looking to lose, look elsewhere – like, in your plate, dude. It is something we always knew, of course. But the myth-buster is also a prime example of, what I fondly refer to as, the Spectacle Paradox. (more of why that, later).

Think about it. You exercise apparently to lose weight. Exercise makes you hungry. So you eat more. And all that jazz about turning useless fat into valuable muscle, falls tummy-flat, because the calorie count that you burn during a workout is always going to be a fraction of what you’ll ultimately consume. By eating. Back-to-square-meal-one.

I wear glasses. The power is, umm, significant. So much so, that without them the world for me is like a cheap brochure – pixelated due to free low-res images downloaded from google. So, every morning, when I wake up, the first thing I look for are my glasses. (So that the toothbrush reaches the right cavity.) But then, in a routine-case of not having any fixed resting place for them, I have to scamper around for the search. And the only thing that comes to my mind during the trivial pursuit is: “I am looking for something. For which I should be wearing glasses. But I am looking for my glasses. Gaaah!”

And, following my unmatched aesthetic taste, I have chosen a thin-chassis, almost transparent frame. Which does a nice chameleon act against any background. Now add the pixelated-universe salt to this situation. Not pretty. Nutshell, looking for glasses without glasses, is what came to be called the SP.

Other example.

There’s metro work going on in the city. To build the darned thing, they obviously have to cut trees. Which makes every greenpeacemaker quiver in his organic pants. They drive their SUVs to the site, and do a Gandhi in the garden. “No cut tree. They good for air. Else we die.” Fair enough. But without the metro, “No good public transport. More people drive more car. That not good for air. Either.” There’s no balance possible here. No matter what route they plan, there will be collateral damage.

Seriously, Joseph Heller should have called it Drop 22. No catches here to win any matches.

The world around us is spawning with these Drops.

The company you work for isn’t getting good people. Why? Because it doesn’t have good clients. So get good clients. They won’t come. Why? Because you don’t have good people. Perfect.

You can only afford to buy that superbike, seemingly necessary to impress chicks, after you have passed the age of having either the inclination or the looks to impress anyone. Yeah, the wind in your grey hair doesn’t have the same sound.

When I write copy, to get out anything near decent out of my knuckles, I need calm solitude. Combined impossibly with a certain kind of panic that involves venom-spewing account management breathing down my neck; and a cross-leg crushing urge to go to the loo. Only then does it work. Or does it? I will be able to judge my quality, only after the stage of my judgement being of any importance, passes. Catch that if you can.

Monday, 27 July 2009

A piece of euphemistic cake


Imagine. You are given a cake right at the beginning. It’s made of many parts. You are told you can have as much as you want. The portions will never diminish, no matter how much you eat. But you will also never know when any of the portion will run out. It will happen, that’s for sure, but you won’t know when or where. So, basically, you either will have a whole piece all the time, or have none of it, all of a sudden.

The cake is free. And you never asked for it in the first place. It was just presented on a palate to you. And you gratefully accepted the offer. And started digging in.

But right on cue, all of a sudden, a part disappears. And you can’t no longer eat that one.

Then you grieve.

Why? You were given a seemingly fair deal. But now you cry over unfinished desserts. Just because you got attached to it, you forgot the arrangement. Not fair.

So, again, why does death affect us humans so much? Not so much our own, but others' around you. Loved ones. Friends. Family. They are the pieces of our lives that we were savouring unabashedly. And what? Hoping they will everlast? That was never the deal. And you knew about it right from the word go.

It isn’t grief unless it’s unexpected.

The moment we begin sleeping with this thought, we will be a happier species. In the knowledge that before the cake was ever served, or even the plate was moulded, we were but little wisps of undifferentiated nothingness.

Unfortunately, we are not wired that way. We make our cakes mobius-strips of human emotions and relationships. So that every crumb becomes a mandatory piece of contentment. Hence making its depravation irreconcilable.

Being such complex moist robots that we are, that sleep is never going to happen. So we will continue anguishing over snatched portions, right up until our own plate is taken away from us. Without comprehending the fact that we can eat our cake, but can never have it.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Guilty Pleasures

1. Eating the creamy half of the biscuit (and putting the other half back)
2. Old George Michael songs
3. Govinda-Kadar Khan slapstick
4. Prodigious burping
5. Not tipping at expensive restaurants
6. Eloping from the parking lot before the attendant comes to collect money
7. Very, very late braking while riding
8. Peeling off dried adhesive
9. Trying out expensive perfumes in a mall, and not buying any
10. Dirt cheap T-shirts pulled out from under a pile
11. Ear buds (in the ear)
12. Sneaking a smoke after a heavy family-gathering meal
13. The 'malai' formed on top of tea if left out for too long
14. Hidden scenes that appear after the end credits of a movie
15. B-horror movies with hot chicks who can't act to save their tops
16. Loving a song just for its bass-line
17. Creating fake heated arguments, where the opposition is taking me way too seriously than he/she should
18. Bad advertisements (And not just the "so-bad-that-they-are-good" kind)
19. Looking for familiar faces on Page 3
20. The short-lived bliss following a big sneeze during a bout of blocked nose

Am I the only one?

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Grid Locked



It should have been a cake walk. Sticking those "magic stars" up on the ceiling, that go all radiant in the dark. The michelangeloisation of our room's ceiling was for my year-and-half old daughter, I must add. So I had to basically stick 500 small ones, 300 semi-small ones, and a few more hundred of the big, semi-big ones. All scattered randomly across the sky/ceiling.

Ah. Now we get to the tough part. I was academically trained to be an engineer - a mechanical one at that. So seven years of isometric diagrams, vernier tortures, and more such perpendicular/parallel lines preset with T-squares and Drafters - all kicked in together. And thus fell apart the whole random part of the exercise.

Every next star I stuck was at an inglorious equidistance from the last two ones - involuntarily at congruent angles and in concurrent planes. Irrespective of how hard I tried to be chaotic with the layout - which would have nicely made it naturally "sky" like and all, the bloody thing ended up looking like a fluroscent graph paper with pentagrammed vertices. The one large moon plus one satellite plus one rocket - all provided relief from the infinite symmetry - with a nice little pattern of their own.

Things didn't help that apart from the academic brainwashing, I also have had the privilege of seating next to a few grid-obsessed art directors in my work life. Is it that I've been surrounded by so much methodical symmetry that there's no scope for madness? Scary thought.

But of course, the Golden ratio now made sense. Like Fibonacci, I'm sure God too is an engineer (with a keen eye for art direction). He just made an exception for the sky, that's all. Or did he? I need a telescope. And a vernier calliper.


Post Script: I spent 3 hours on precariously balanced tables to finish my symmetrical masterpiece. And now my daughter is scared of the shiny things in her room. She refuses to let us switch off the lights. I think He's a sardonic engineer.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Coffee is for closers only


I know a few people who could do with this pep talk.




The rest of the movie's equally amazing, Glengarry Glen Ross. It plays out like a play (of course it would, it is based on one). There's hardly any 'action'. Just a few great actors slapping well written dialoges and monologes over each other. (F words and "leads" rule the word count). Al Pacino, Ed Harris, Kevin Spacey, Jack Lemmon, Alan Arkin, Alec Baldwin - the cast's a director's wet dream really. Must watch.

Friday, 12 June 2009

The life of your ride.


Bikes. Ubiquitous symbols of testosterone-spiked Y-chromosomes. Mean male machines. Dripping coolth and screaming attention.

Exactly a decade ago, those were the precise machinations of my mind as I stepped into a showroom and picked one up for myself. Like any correctly-wired male, I too am a bike fanatic. I dig them. Immensely. They are clearly more than ‘Point A to Point B’ transporters.

But I never came around to loving it more than my life. (Notice the ‘it’ and not a ‘she’ which is to further infuriate bike “lovers”). Mine was a case of natural selection. It just felt right to grow old with.

It had the right amount of firepower, enough acceleration, and optimum stealth to be invisible in spirit, but certainly not in sound. Its valve-less double-stroke heart never allowed it to be that way. So, along we went on our parallel roads that intersected every day.

I was relatively young then. So was it.
Life was stereotypically fearless. So was its throttle.
I freewheeled into a rock band. So did it, on campus roads.
As middle age approached, my body slowed down. So did its top speed.
Thirties rattled my bones a bit. Its chassis started wobbling.
Today, reflexes aren’t what they used to be. Its electrical system has also given way.
I still can’t have more than three large ones in a single sitting. It is still averaging what it did ten years ago.
Bad cholesterol has clogged up the pipes. Its exhaust is making strange noises.

Like I said, it has grown old with me. And I’m happy it did that.

Otherwise, what’s the point in spending your life in keeping your partner in good shape, when you yourself are victimized by time? I chose not to take the path of being a non-performing Hugh Hefner stuck with a supermodel everyone else letches at.

I didn’t give it any special privileges. No stickers. No rear-view mirrors. No dust-cloths tugged in between the handle bar. I remember watching, with unhidden amusement, newly-wed bikers turn into vacuum cleaners at the first sight of a speck. The only time I put cloth to my bike is to wipe off pigeon or rain droppings. And usually that cloth is my handkerchief. (Because the handle-bar is undersupplied, remember?)

So, yes, the bike has as many scratches as I have greys, and as many dents as I have wrinkles. It hasn’t honked in the last 4 years, neither flashed its indicators. Both because of the faulty electrical system. And I wear glasses.

It still remains, like me, very young in spirit (or that's what I'd like to think). And, unarguably, the most reliable piece of engineering I have ever laid my hands or legs on. It still ignites at the first kick. Like it did seven years ago, right after a 720 degree rotation that followed a head on collision with an auto. (Yes, those were our freewheeling days). But it still started after we both got up. That accident left a permanent dent on its tank and a bruise mark on my left thumb.

Nowadays, I sometimes let my eyes linger over it more than needed. Trying to catch a fleeting signal it might give me. Like how will it end its journey. Or, at least, how will it go from here on. See if I can pick some cues there.

And also to see if the exhaust really, really needs a cleanup.





Friday, 5 June 2009

Friday, 22 May 2009

Time wounds all heels.

You give a habit some time, and it becomes OCD.
You give civilization a few centuries, and it defiles.
You give freedom to people, and over time, fanatics emerge.
You give clients some weeks to ponder, and they start disliking what they had approved earlier.
You give love some years, and you take it for granted.
You give life a few decades, and it betrays you.

I wanted to be a painter, a cricketer, a scientist, and a rockstar at different stages of my life. Today, I'm in advertising, and there's nowhere else I'd rather be. And throughout life's course, at any given point, I was always at a place I hadn't ever imagined I would be at, five years before that point.

Makes you wonder. Isn't 'long-term' overrated?

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Hello, Urban Comfort.

Last week, us office folks went for an off-roader to Muthodi. (Near Chikmangalur, adjacent to the Bhadra forest reserve.) Cool place, this. Chilly streams, coffee plantations, fireflies, noisy trees and birds, the works.

We did the usual nature-boy things. Bathing in the stream, bonfires, tents, mosquito bites, and lots of spirited liquids. Away from uncivilized world. No electricity, no networks; basically left to our own (and the caretakers') resources. I don't recall when was the last time I survived a whole 48 hours without my phone ringing.

Three days. Lotsa gung-ho. Doing nothing proved to be a fun thing to do.

During the customary song & joke sessions 'round the fires, I often pondered though. Can we last here if it wasn't a recreational trip? I mean, we observed the people who lived and worked there. Quite a bunch. They climbed up & down the slopes without puffing for lung power. They could find their way around the dense foliage in the dark. I have trouble finding the light switch in my home in the dark; or locating the candle during a power cut.

These guys were probably made for this life. It's an evolution thing I'm sure. The giraffes grew necks, the polar bears sprouted fur, and these people got night vision and intravenous odomos.

We, on the other hand, have been fed on urban comforts all our lives. It's one thing to take a break, and talk about how nice the rusty life is, while swimming amidst rocks, pebbles, and imaginary water snakes. Doing it for life is quite another. Honestly, I don't think we can handle it long term. Not just us, even those "earthy" nature-lovers who go round the country on their Bullets, in their cargos and with their rugsacks, Canons flung across their necks. No, the jungles aren't for them too. It for those small kids in shabby clothes, wandering without shoes, living off the land, and reassuring poor souls like us that there are no snakes in the stream.

Albeit, the three days were memorable. The views were breathtaking. So were the scents and sounds of the wild. There was a jungle safari too where the most junglee thing we spotted was a squirrel and a cow with blue horns.

On our way back in the bus, as we reentered familiar stratosphere, we started getting our bearings and our networks back. At the sight of the first bar on the screen, everybody started calling friends and family telling how great the trip was. At the lunch halt, we saw ourselves in the mirror after a long time, secretly hoping we'd resemble Tom Hanks in Castaway. No luck. Same face, more stubble.

The first thing I did after reaching home was turned my ceiling fan to top speed, plugged in my mobile for recharging, switched on Good Knight, turned on my comp, downloaded all the pics from the trip, opened the fridge for a can of beer, and slouched on the sofa to watch the IPL, before reminiscing about how great and natural the rustic life is. Just then the power went off, and I stumbled in the dark looking for the candles. No place like home.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Barely Illegal

.

Hypothetical situation.

Imagine I want to watch a movie. I log into a chat room. Have a few pings and pokes with several people. From the random sample, I manage to strike a conversation with a couple of blokes. The conversation meanders towards movies. One of them happen to have that movie with him/her. I talk him/her into sending the movie over to my place, on returnable basis. He/she agrees. I get the movie. I watch it.

Now imagine this process , with just the first and the last line. Nothing in between. I want to watch a movie, I go online, I get movie. (It's akin to walking up to that hot chick in a bar, and getting straight to "your place or mine" without the unnecessary fluff in between).

Hardly fair. Hardly moral. But barely illegal. No?


As long as no one is selling/buying, there shouldn't be a conflict of copyright interest. (Cory Doctorove for President of Sweden, anyone?)

So, why this?

Those Swedish blokes have 'cuffed the poor pirates. Sad.

But the authorities have got it all wrong. This isn't going to change anything. ANYTHING. Music sharing didn't die with Napster; it only spawned better ways to do it. (Like piratebay, hello irony!)

The whole thing loops like a mobius strip - you won't know where it begins, where it ends, or where it leads to. They might have to sue Google next to throw up any of these sites. Because, in the end, all the torrent sites do is connect two (or more) people who want to share files. It DOES NOT store any material on servers. Technology is beautiful.

Any which way, this trial is like spitting on a forest fire. This runs too deep and too wide to be controlled by a Swedish court.

Coming to the intellectual property/moral issue, there isn't much. The big studios are called so because they earn that much - big. And a community of benign buccaneers is not that big a hole in their pockets. So they should just stop whining, and focus more on making better movies. If the movie's really good, a majority of these pirates will go out to watch it in the theaters anyway, or buy the DVD. The independents / lesser known movies actually gain from all this. Because their movies are seen by more people than a small film festival audience. You don't expect otherwise for some of these people who share files, to actually get an opportunity to see nice little independent films from, say, Siberia.

Meanwhile, during such time the Swedish pirates cool their heels in the cell, everyone will just google other torrent sites, some even better than bay. Like this. Or this. ?

Long live Google. And Mr. Doctorove.


Sunday, 19 April 2009

And then he said the words

.

Place: The Commercial Street Signal, Bangalore.

It is late evening. I am driving down dispensary road, approaching the Comm Street signal. This guy in a white WagonR has been playing the normal Bangalore driver since Infantry Road: Cutting across lanes, zig zagging, no signals etc. right in front of my car.

At the signal, it's gotten red and I am about to stop at the front line. Suddenly, this guy cuts across from the left and stops at a diagonal tangent to two cars - one of which is mine.

Road-rage syndrome happens; and I turn Hulk-like green in my mind. But given the physique I've been endowed with, I am just content with a random finger gesture in his general direction.

Uhhhh... that really pisses him off. He gets out of the car, and approaches me with a look that is seeming to say "I've had enough of this shite dude, that's the last straw...." Yeah. Right.

Pretty well-built this chap, with a swagger of a RGV underworld movie sidekick.

In the surety of not surviving 30 seconds in a physical duel with him, I gather courage to roll down my window, so as to make our philosophical talk more convenient and comfortable.

He raises his finger, his voice, and spews out something about how he is being polite and i shouldn't have done what i did, and how he can bash me up, to which I nod in agreement. Actually I'm just waiting my turn to speak.

He manages to finish, and waits for my reply.

I blurt out something "Hey, you were driving rashly, you were cutting across, you were not following lane discipline," etc. to absolutely no effect.

This guy ponders over it for a moment. Then points at the road behind us, and asks "What lanes? Do you SEE any lanes on this road, dude?"

A quick WTF moment occurs in my head. I actually turn back to see the road, before realizing he was being unknowingly rhetorical.

I gather my temporarily-lost sense of perception back, and repeat the same set of questions, a bit more quasi-aggressively this time.

He ponders again, the questions probably too much data for his head to analyze.

An answer coming, finally, I can see the enlightened look on his face.

"Dude, THIS is how we drive in Bangalore....

I wait, with bated breath.

And then he finishes his proclamation with these words.

... live with it."

Multiple WTF moments occur in turbulent fashion.

He, once done with this traumatizing exercise of answering an actual question, rants off again in the 'bashing up' zone.

Just then the signal turns green, and my saviour.

He goes back to car, and drives off.

"Live with it" the words are ringing in my head as I drive back to home, along with other words that ALWAYS come to your mind after everything is over; words that you think you should have said at that time. But you never.

But "live with it" stays in my mind longer.

Everybody, including me, know that this has been our problem since ages. Living with it. Which I always translate the vernac "chalta hai" into.

But this is the first time someone has actually retorted with these words in an actual situation. Someone has actually used these words as defense (or attack, as in this case) for their actions.

Did he really think before he said that?

Yeah, he probably meant it too.

Ok, I said to myself.

We should all probably try and live with it; and wait to die of it.

Whatever it means.

Friday, 27 March 2009

Perceived Power (and apparent free will)



It’s back, the farce.

Expect the usual this year. No, I’m not talking about the contestants (yet).

The smart kurta-clad, unshaven do-gooders who really care for our society. Them folks.

“If you don’t vote, you don't have the right to blame.” “Your vote counts.” “Only you can make a difference.” “You owe it to the country.” “If you don’t like it, why don’t you do something to change it? Like, VOTE.” “Wakeup, wakeup, wakeup, wakeup re.”

Ha. I say.

Why so pessimistic? Here’s why.

Every election, at its best, 60% of the populace turns out to vote (and that’s a celebration-worthy figure, I’m told).

The party/candidate that wins, gets, let’s say, 40% of the vote share.

So this candidate is representing 40% of 60% of India. So far, so fair.

Now, to make the curry interesting, spike it with coalition conundrum (the inevitable “future” of the country, I’m told too.) Which means, the party/candidate for who “40 of 60” voted for, might not go on to represent anything or anyone nationally.

THAT, my dear friend, is decided by who won how much in the other part of the country, and who amongst all here, is willing to shake hands with that party; but isn't that the same party who the “40 of 60” originally voted against, by not voting for them

Net result, I’m governed by a DD national integration commercial of people of varying colours, accents, and head gear. A few who I haven’t heard of. A few I never want to. A few I can’t understand. And a few I can’t stand.

So, I’m stuck with a government I didn’t want; the one who is making policies without asking me; and who is then telling me I chose them. So suffer. (Not to forget, this after I chose to vote).

Of course, all this while we are assuming that I had a valid choice in the first place (which I didn’t). It was the good 'ol democratic “least-worse” syndrome - choosing someone who’ll screw me least/gentlest, that’s all; and that too was based more on hope rather than any left-brained thingamajig.

So where’s the power I seemingly wield with my unfortunately-not-middle-finger? Where’s my choice? Ours is not a US-based presidential democracy, where basically the whole country chooses between two parties/candidates. (But that’s another story.)

No sir. This is the great Indian rope trick, and you won’t realize when one got wound around your neck.

What’s the choice, you ask. What other option do we have? Well, I don’t know. I don’t see anything changing any soon. Only a deus ex machina can probably save us. Probably. No one’s vote, no matter for whom, or for what reasons, is ever going to matter till then. We might as well sleep watching a movie.

Disclaimer: This is not to discourage anyone from voting; go ahead, stain your fingers. I’ll too; and then cuddle up in some corner hoping they’ll be gentle.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Procrastrination: 0 Proactivation: 1

Enough. I am never going to get a topic worthy enough for me to start blogging. It'll always be a fight between trite relevancy and mundane flamboyance. So, this conflict itself becomes the topic. With me having nothing to say, actually. Except the expression of the knowledge of having a word count in the posts section, finally. With the hope of being able to channel energies into making irrelevant flamboyance readable in the future, here begins.