Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Preity Zinta!

I subscribe to Wikipedia article of the day. I received the most diverse set of articles and they are really fascinating. Here are some...
  • LaRouche criminal trials.
  • United Nations Parliamentary assembly.
  • The Equipartition theorem.
  • Elaine Paige.
  • yttrium.
  • Amateur radio in India.
  • Pulmonary Contusion.
  • Komodo Dragons.
  • Delhi.
  • Metallica.
  • Phan Xich Long.
  • Anti-tobacco movement in Nazi Germany etc...
Yesterday's article though was a knowledge packed one on..........................Preity Zinta!

Here's the article.

I can barely imagine a reader in Greenland and another in Peru reading this informative piece!

Wikipedia needs our help!

Wikipedia, am ambitious project to catalog all human knowledge is one of the six top sites in the world. It needs help. The Wikipedia foundation is a non profit foundation that has consistently resisted putting advertisements on its sites. It relies on voluntary donations by its users.

It has an impressive 11 million articles in 265 languages. More than 275 million people visit the site every month to access information, free of charge and free of advertising.Its a treasure trove and i love the featured article mailing list which sends me the "article of the day".Very fascinating stuff.

Its time to give back a little. Click here to donate.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Face it!

Sweet new feature in Picasa( Google's pic manager). It now allows you to tag people and it attempts to recognize faces in pictures using face recognition technology!The feature was available for American users only until now. It 's a bit inaccurate. Or that's how technology and I've been watching too many unrealistic spy thrillers!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Arun Shourie's speech

Arun Shourie's speech in the Rajya Sabha on the Mumbai attack, via offstumped.

The point is that not only, Sir, is the finger of suspicion there, but your intelligence reports, I can say from my personal knowledge, because I have reproduced many of them, say, they record, that actually the ISI is now knitting together Indian insurgence extremist groups even in the North East.

Therefore, things are going to get much worse. So, Sir, what should be done, I will now just come to that and these are in a constructive spirit and I do hope that the Government especially the Prime Minister with his knowledge of what had happened in Punjab, he has the firsthand knowledge of what is happening in the
North East, which is a matter of great concern to him because he represents the North East in the House, and, I hope they will be taken in that spirit.

My first point, Sir, is, please stop running to ‘mummy’. This business of putting faith that somebody else will do our work for us, Nobody will do it for the reasons that I have already outlined to you in the case, for example, of America. The same is the case with China. China is the prop of Pakistan. They have a strategy, they say ‘murder with a borrowed knife’, find a natural enemy of your adversary, arm it, encourage it and it will do your job for it. This is what they have been doing on nuclear proliferation or any other matter.

Second point, Sir, is please stop this miscalled peace process because one of the very unfortunate statements that was agreed to by the Indian Government, in this case by the Prime Minister, was terrorists will not be allowed to come in way to derail the peace process. What did this mean — Pakistan then had both options, go on doing terrorist attacks and the onus of keeping the peace process going would remain on India. That is it. Shed this. You know there is always an argument that is made to us when Musharraf was strong, ‘no, no, he is there, he is strong, you have to make some concessions on Kashmir.” When he was weak, ‘no, no, he is your best bet, you must make some concessions to him, and you strengthen him.’ Now there is so-called democracy, you say, ‘Democracy, therefore, you must strengthen democracy, you must make concessions and you must keep the peace process going even as we are badgered everyday.

Sir, third, shed denial. I will tell you, every time in this House from November 2004 there was a debate on internal security, in December 2005, there was a debate and four days before this terrorist attack in Mumbai, the Home Minister was in total denial, “Fortunately, the number of incidents and casualties that have occurred…” Sir, this business is not UPA versus NDA. “Fortunately, the number of incidents and causalities that have occurred in the last fourand- a-half-years are much less than those that occurred in the four-anda- half-years before the present period.” It is BC versus AC, Before Christ versus After Christ.

What consolation is it?

Yet, the impression created is that terrorism has increased and has not reduced. Please contrast that with what has been said just now. “Even if one incident occurs and one person becomes a casualty it should cause us concern and should make us alert. However, it should not demoralise us and give a wrong impression to the uninformed sections of society.” Sir, what about the informed sections? So, shed denial.

The fourth point is, implement it. You have again read out a set of measures. One, on page 3, you have said Coastal command I will say this with complete sense of responsibility and this is what I quoted four years
ago. Now there is a plan to stage things from unoccupied islands. Now, Sir, in Lakshadweep, there are 36 islands. The Godbole Task Force set up in the wake of Kargil in 2000 reported that for all these 36 islands
Intelligence Operation is only on one island, Kavaratti. There, the entire Intelligence gathering is carried out by one inspector, one sub-inspector, one head constable, three constables. For all the other 35 islands,
Intelligence operations are carried out by one constable/head constable. So, after the Mumbai attacks, I contacted the senior most people in Intelligence. They said, Sir, all these people reported to a person called officer-in-charge in Kavaratti. They said it is still one inspector, one sub-inspector, one head constable, three constables, and one constable/head constable reporting now, not to an officer-in-charge but — because of the grace of Pay Commission — he is the same man now re-designated as Deputy Superintendent of Police and it was recorded then, that unidentified helicopters and turbo planes have been
landing in these islands. Are we serious? Now, you are saying that coast guard etc. will be put under this. The Coast Guard-Navy coordination is not good enough. The Coast Guard should be put under the control of the Navy and accountability fixed is a recommendation seven years back. Sir, my suggestion there is, please implement what you have now resolved to do. This business of setting up a Marine Police Force, as you have in the Andamans, for Lakshadweep this recommendation dates back from December, 1996. I am not mentioning UPA or NDA. You can say should we wait for assaults of this kind to be awakened to the things we have not implemented? So, I greatly compliment you, Sir, for the things you have now resolved to do on page 3 regarding the Coast Guard etc. but for heaven’s sake do them.

Fifthly, prepare for the next form of assault. We are always preparing for the last. In all of Chinese literature, which your National Security Adviser keeps referring, they said they have outmoded this kind
of operation. We must get to the acupuncture points of the other society through integrated networks. What are these? Air traffic control, Railway traffic control, power grids, banking transactions, broadcasting
facilities, all are to be done in two minutes through cyber warfare.

My good friend, Mr. Raja, is sitting here. I am very distressed to report to the hon. Prime Minister that the
initiatives that were started, in collaboration with our Defence Forces for setting up of fire walls on our infrastructure and by the Armed Forces for them, have not helped at all. We remain as vulnerable. I would be very happy to be wrong in this when Mr. Raja will assure us. But the fact of the matter is, those who are supplying such software and the work that was being done in the Ministry and the Defence Forces, I feel that country is as vulnerable to that kind of operation by terrorists and, please remember, how sophisticated they are. In this case, they use not just mobile phones, not just satellite phones and they use voice over Internet protocol. Why did they do it? Sir, because it is then difficult to locate the person I am calling. So, they are far ahead in technology. It is now being said that they use GPS. And, it is now established by the best intelligence sources in the world that within the coming five years terrorists will use non-conventional weapons. They use biological weapons, chemical weapons, sub-nuclear weapons in their miniature form, etc. So, please, instead of waiting for the next statement after one of those attacks, review our preparedness. It is my entreat to you,to the hon. Defence Minister, hon. Prime Minister and everybody, please review our preparedness today for those new forms of attacks which will definitely come.

Sir, the sixth one is: Please stop seeing these incidents, whether in Assam or anywhere else, as single discreet isolated incidents. They are part of a sequence for a war of attrition.

That is my seventh point. It is a war. The one strategic thinker in the Sub-Continent who has succeeded — only one –is Zia-Ul-Haq. He was the man, 35 years ago, who identified proxy war to bleed India and break India. He believed in death by thousand cuts. The fact of the matter is, for 35 years, he has kept India busy and bleeding and That is the success of their strategy. So, it is a war. It is a war to break India. These are not discreet isolated incidents.

Sir, the eighth point is: Please do not go by the Joint Statements that their leaders sign with you and with great satisfaction the Home Secretaries exchange with each other. By Mr. Zardari’s new statement, please look at the nature of Pakistani’ State and society. In the Pakistani State the pervasiveness of the ISI, the power of the Army depends only on hostility with India and with successes against India in
these operations. How will they give it up? As far as the society is concerned, Taliban is not the cause of what is happening. Taliban is the result of the Talibanisation of Pakistani society. I have had an occasion
to quote a comprehensive thick study by Pakistani academics of the Institute for Sustainable Development Policy in Islamabad on the instructions given and the textbooks used not only in Madrasas but in
Government schools of Pakistan. From Kindergarten when the child is just 5 or 6 years old the instructions from the Central School of Secondary Education and Primary School Education says that he shall be judged by the fervour with which he gives speeches on Jihad and Shahadat. This is a 200-page report. Please download it and read it. That is the society which you think that you can deflect it with your sweet words.

My point number 9 is that no war can be won with a strategy of permanent defence. You must make
those who control and orchestrate such a war to pay. If you cannot, make them pay individually. Then, you must make the country realise the cost of doing all this to India.

Ten, please realise — this is a point for the liberals also — whenever we are pushed into such a situation we say that but minimal force. But no war is won with minimal force. It is won by overwhelming the enemy. As it has happened in Mumbai now, and 200 commandos only from the NSG were sent, plus
reinforcement, plus naval commandos. That is the scale at which you have to overwhelm. You can’t do it with minimal force. That is why, Sir, when you look at this figure, Not an eye-for-an-eye, not a tooth-for-a-tooth. That is completely wrong. For an eye, both eyes! For a tooth, the whole jaw! Unless India has that
determination and that clarity, we will continue to bleed like this all the time.
Eleven, the time when large armies could be sent across the borders that time has gone. The time when large bodies of armies could be sent across the borders has gone. There are no training camps to bomb. But Pakistan gives us the clue what we should be doing to make them register a cause, that is, look at the violence in Kashmir in the last year-and-a-half that has gone down because Pakistan has been preoccupied in its own problems. So, keep it preoccupied in its own problems in Baluchistan, in Gilgit Baltistan, in PoK.

Then, Sir, my next point, point No. twelve, is shed all inhibitions for collaborating with armies and intelligence agencies of other countries that have expertise in these matters.
Thirteenth point is a very good point that has been made by the Home Minister just now that you are thinking of a National Investigative Agency and of amending and tightening the laws. The Prime Minister
also said this after the Mumbai blasts. I appeal to all sides that please do not make this a prestige issue because, on the one side, investigative agency it will be misused against us, in this way things that are desperately needed by the country will not get timed. I will tell you the way out. It is very good that the Government is thinking on these lines. But the way out is shown by a Congressman-headed commission’s report, that is, the Moily’s Report of Administrative Reforms Commission of June 2008. He has devoted an entire chapter, that is, chapter 4, on dealing with terrorism. It says that clearly there is a felt need to strengthen the hands of security forces in the fight against terror even as human rights and constitutional values are protected. It lists several provisions that are weak provisions, several judgements that are coming in the way. Friends, you will be shocked to learn, many friends there would have forgotten that in the case involving the assassination of no other person than Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the Supreme Court held that it could not be regarded as a terrorist act. And throughout that whole portion none of those provisions of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act could be applied. There are pages and pages that are quoted.
“Terrorism and low intensity warfare have imposed new challenges on law enforcement that we are yet to accommodate even at the conceptual level.” The Report says this. Then, they give many details. “From these it is evident that most countries have been adopting tough anti-terrorism measures, whereas the provisions of similar laws have been diluted in India over a period of time.” “The existing penal laws in India were not enacted to deal with the situation, and, there is ample evidence to indicate that terrorists have been able to escape the law either by exploiting the loopholes in the ordinary law or by intimidating witnesses to subvert justice. There is, definitely, a need to have stringent provisions to deal with terrorists.” It goes on. Sir, it is really worth reading. And, again they have said this. but the changes that were made by the then Home Minister, Shri Shivraj Patil, in the Unlawful Activities Act, 2005 — have
proved to be toothless. And, this is said by the Administrative Reforms Commission also. So, they reviewed all the provisions and they suggested changes. then, it will make sense. And, we will appeal to all States also not to get frightened. So, a thing which is necessary for the country should not be delayed. Please do
these things together. My friend, Shri Arun Jaitley, was just telling me this. But do you know that under the existing laws his confessional statement is not admissible as evidence in the court of law? You can’t then link it with Pakistan. And, that provision was there, but that is why, that was effective.

MCOCA is not in use. That is the next point. But, the law also would not exist because you are not approving it. “What is the use of having a paper soap?”

The next point is, after you pass these laws, after you set up these agencies, please use them. All this is very necessary. Sir, I am heading towards the conclusion.

The next point is this. Actually speaking, terrorism cannot be fought by NSGs and so on. actually, terrorism is fought by the first responder. The Prime Minister said the other day — I remember his statement; it is an odd word to be used, but he said — we cannot fight it unless the constable is brought in the vortex of our counter-terrorism strategy. Constables deficiency above 20 per cent in the IPS officers. Constables Just see the technology these people used and the training that we are giving to the persons who are to fight them. Please remember that IB also consists of these very fellows. What is their training? Their qualification has now been reduced to eighth class. They are barely literate and they are going to meet high technology challenges! What facilities are they given? About 20 per cent of the police constables in Delhi have not been given family accommodation and are living in illegal slums. And we want them to be motivated to fight terrorism! We want to bring them in the vortex of our counter- terrorism strategy. So, you cannot have first-class antiterrorist operations without first-class policing; you cannot have firstclass policing in metropolitan areas without first-class policing in the hinterland; and you cannot have first-class policing in the coastal areas unless the Bangladesh borders open. So, it has to be a comprehensive solution and at all levels. You cannot have first-class counter-terrorism strategies by the NSG and a third-class court system, in which the 1993 accused for the Mumbai blasts have yet to be convicted and their appeals are still in process. Unless we get that kind of a society, it is all a matter of great distress.

Ultimately prosecute lawyers terrorists defend normal procedure How can you fight terrorism in this way?
Sir I am very distressed to report this. all necessary steps have to be taken to gather about these intelligence business. But your own paragraph shows the condition of the intelligence agencies. And worse than that is, as you know, that the civil war which has broken out in the intelligence agencies is in the
Press. Every single day, some agency is feeding information This shows the condition to which intelligence agencies have been brought. But the fact of the matter is that for a country of 1.2 billion people, facing all these threats and actual executions, do you know the operational strength of IB on the field gathering intelligence? It is 3,500 persons. How can you monitor this? And, Sir, the worst thing is but till today the Government has not been able to explain why they have not acted on the recommendations that were
made by the Girish Chandra Saxena Task Force on Intelligence. Sir, various agencies were set up. The multi-agency centre was set up; the National Intelligence Data base was set up; the joint Task Force on Intelligence was set up under the same IB and they remained on paper.

Sir, seven years after these agencies were set up nominally, as new agencies are going to be set up, they remain, to my personal knowledge, merely ‘paper’ organisations. That is why, Sir, I will conclude with my one appeal.
The entire country is with you when you take effective steps. But there has been gross neglect, there has been gross reversal which is evident in many of the things that have happened; and if you act — Buddha’s phrase was ‘with the urgency of a man whose hair are on fire’. If you act with that clarity about the war, if you act with unrelenting determination, then, Sir, the entire country is with you. If not, — Mr. Chidambaram will remember — if you fail to do that, this time it will not be only share prices which will go down, but the country would have been let down and would have been exposed to even greater danger than it is in now today because of things that have happened.
Thank you very, very much for your patience.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Loyalty in the modern world is hard to find.Or so say the cynics. After many years of using Bloglines to keep in touch with many articles on many blogs, today i start trying out Google. Bloglines introduced me to the world of blogs and rss. I've never been tempted to sway or consider a path away from her. Alas everybody praises the new girl on the block Google reader and i will consider!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Stupid amerikan kids and intelligent indians ones.

To be part of the South Indian middle class(sim) involves, among other things, a form of chest thumping i call Amerika down down.
It involves various forms of insults, the most common one among middle aged sims is how they love to point out the superiority of Indian kids, especially south Indian, over Amercikan kids.

This hypothesis is proposed every time a South Indian name flashes on the screen of an Amerikan spelling bee telecast or an Indian wins some Intel or NASA scholarship. This incident is followed by self praise, self kudos and self back patting.

"Indians kids are smart and hard working!", "Look at how we are beating them in their own language!". Krishnamurthy and Swamis make up a big portion of students in the finals of spelling bees.But are AmeriKan kids really dumb and their school system so pathetic as my various self-congratulating friends claim? This belief is so prevalent that a large number of Indian parents return to India during the kids formative years(3rd standard till 10th atleast)!

The main argument on side superiority is our superior brain.Proof? Indians invented the 0!But that's for later. Can a group of people really be mentally more gifted? This idea generally flows from the observation of Afrikan/Afrika-American/Jamaican/Ethiopian athletes winning race after race in the various events of the Olympics. So OBVIOUSLY some traits like physical capability in their case and raw brain power in our case are more present in special groups.

Other than a total lack of proof to support the argument, there are sad repercussions of it. Our tough school system is not analyzed deeply enough thanks to this myth. The inferior Amerikan school system supports sports,extra-curriculursand even sex education! yuck!

"Not for US!" say sims.we don't need all that, a child's physical fitness is not the measure of his well being! his ability to know the capitals and flags of over 60 countries is. Can the ability to know the various types of grasslands thorough out the world compensate the skills learnt from taking up a drama or cooking class??? "YES it can!" again the sims.

The pressure an average Indian kid comes under is not only destructive but the following social stigma that s/he faces is something Indian society should be ashamed of. Most of these kids are the exact versions of Chinese gymnasts who are separated from family when young and then trained to perform in an Olympics or maximum another. Nobody knows the mental effects of such gruelling training on the Chinese children.

As for Sim's children, the mental effects are well documented.They become a sim. They force their children to take violin/vedic-maths/karate/abacus-maths/sloka-chanting and other such nonsense. They bask in the glory of their sons and daughters cracking top exams but rue about how children in their good old days were innocent and nice once the children take to drugs and alcohol under these pressures.

Any "superior" performance that an Indian kid delivers should be attributed to nurture and not nature.The Chinese gymnasts are responding to the nurture of a forced regimen of physical training.American kids are responding to the regimen of a comfortable life with little pressure to deliver academically only. They deliver in sports, in theatre and so many fields.Sim children are responding to the regimen of the Sim family. A regimen where a kid is known by his report card only.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My first post-it

Just used my first post-it at office.

lets see what the fuss is all about.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Phone Memories

My phone ran out of memory and I had to delete some contacts to regain space. As I browsed my address list I came across various ppl I will never again contact but who were important to me for brief periods of time. They were fest organizers or rivals or friends or general friendly ppl who were friends for the time the fest lasted or ppl who wanted help or ppl who either became friends on a short bus journey and so on..

names like Aditya BMS, RUdra IIIT, Akash junior, Ananth KIMS, Anirudh Bio, Ankit DC, Ashok Mech, Ashwin IIMb, Bharath Quiz, Divya JNC, Harsha BMS, jayanth IIIT, Mahendra DC, Manish Co-od, Nandini BMS debate, Nazeef RV plays, Nipun RV mech, Preeth Doshi DC, Rahul IIIT, Rishab Debate, RV Chem Ramya, Savitha DC, Sitara Mount Carmel Debate, Vikas Pesit, Abhas Rv debate, Sri ram college Delhi.

Some ppl from Companies who helped out my international debate trips Beena HP, Monica HP, Stic Travels, Sudhaker travels, Anoop Singh, Satish Cognizant, Abraham Cherian HP.

some nameless numbers like Unknown girl!!!, BMS DC, HP, Kp, record??? Think this is someone who took my lab record.

Most of the above have been deleted.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

How creativity is being strangled by the law

Great video on Creativity , the internet and THE law.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Colors of the wind

Came across this beautiful song. Wildly touching.

Here is the lyrics.

You think I'm an ignorant savage
And you've been so many places
I guess it must be so
But still I cannot see
If the savage one is me
How can there be so much that you don't know?
You don't know ...

You think you own whatever land you land on
The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You'll learn things you never knew you never knew

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sunsweet berries of the Earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they're worth

The rainstorm and the river are my brothers
The heron and the otter are my friends
And we are all connected to each other
In a circle, in a hoop that never ends

How high will the sycamore grow?
If you cut it down, then you'll never know
And you'll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon

For whether we are white or copper skinned
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountains
We need to paint with all the colors of the wind

You can own the Earth and still
All you'll own is Earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Its time for a mobile camera phone

Have been missing lots of opportunities to take interesting pics everyday due to a lack of a camera in my phone...two such chances were
  • Crows attacking an eagle nest near Victory grounds. Eagle Parents fought back in vain.
  • COP messaging on a Blackberry!
Hope the nokia tube is priced well.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Insurance anyone?

Specialization seems to be the norm there days but this is really a bit too much!

“In satellite launches, the claims are either zero or 100% since the launch is either a success or a failure,” said Kamesh Goyal, country head of German insurer Allianz in India. Allianz's group company Spaceco based in France which specialises in satellite insurance and has participated in many space programs in the past. Insurance of space launches has been gaining importance because of the growing use of satellite communication in most businesses — ranging from stock exchanges, banks, television channels and telecom companies.

This piece from here.

Wonder how the career graph looks like, for a fresher in Spaceco.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Dumb Charade For Dummies

I spent 4 happy years playing DC in college, did pretty well. As i left DC with a sad note, i decided just as many seniors had helped me out in Debate and DC, i too should help my juniors. So i came up with the idea of a site that combines my superficial http knowledge with my deep and comprehensive knowledge of DC.


It will be useful for players and organizers with various resources put up which i have collected over the years. Hope people find it useful.


Monday, October 06, 2008

how to find killer pics for blogs.

Going through some blogs online and even magazines that we read everyday, I’ve always wondered how they find those amazing photographs..like after every stock market crash it’s the pic of some guy near the stock exchange holding his head in his hands, or when Ganguly hits a century it’s a Bengal tiger among some trees…

Well I think I got how its done…this tool http://compfight.com/ is quite incredible. It lets you search flickr for photos. So if you’r writing a spiritually inclined article then you can easily do a search for “ganga” or “ganga sun” and get some really stunning professional looking photos…

Also for some reason most of see a lot of windmills in a lot of magazines and in indian love songs…windmills with flower fields and windmills with sunsets and so on…a simple search for windmill brings really stunning results…

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Here's to team work.

The citizens of Chelyabinsk , a humble Russian town decided to get their 15 minutes of fame when they formed a smiley on the road. This after calculating when the satellite taking pics for google would pass over them!!!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another one bites the dust

The doubt which pervades a large number of youth today is the nature of earning a living. Is the pursuit of a job an end or is it a means in itself. Most of us do not have the option of making a choice. A job is a living is a mean to an end that is work. Very few people acknowledge the need to work in a calling that is close to your heart.

This idea that a job is never meant to be loved or fun is most prevalent among the generation that traces itself to the post independence era(the entire lot of them down till 90’s perhaps). People of this generation are addicted to the idea that a job is a struggle against the system and something comes out of the struggle. Maybe a stronger you, maybe a deeper understanding of "life".

An excellent caricature of this belief is from Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin's dad insists on making Calvin struggle through camp trips and daily activities with the mission of building character.

A lack of opportunities during their times translates into a failure to reconcile themselves to this era, where jobs may not be an end in themselves.

So what we see today is a phenomenon where a large number of parents are pushing their children into a career in spite of protests from those who should determine the life path in the first place, the children. Paradoxically this resistance seems to vindicate the parent’s belief that all good things come at a cost. Any attempts to point out that all unhappiness is not equal to struggle for a greater good is met with generalized punch lines like "Only change is constant" and "Survival of the fittest".

These turns out to be a self proving beliefs as any change the child did not want, is going to be painful and whether it did you good, will again be defined in the parents point of view. The distinct difference in the vocabulary of children and parents is another significant issue. Most urban children seem to view a career as something you should enjoy and love to do or something that is going to enable you(financially) to enjoy some other activity. Thus the use of words to describe what this dream world of happy work looks like include fun, enjoy, interest and passion.

This creates a simple problem with the parent’s generation, the last time they heard these words was when they read the interview of an upcoming actress. This immediately causes a condescending attitude to set in. Quite rightly (they think), parents have seen then big bad outside world; they have paid for your education and will always act in your interest. This condescending attitude can be observed from parents pressuring their children to take up engineering to IT jobs to even arranged marriages.

An important exercise is to deconstruct this statement and observe its limitations. But that’s for another time. With this condescending attitude of "I know best" parents set out to systematically plan out their children’s life.

The results of this are quite appalling. Some of the most creative people are dumped into scandalously drudge full lines like engineering(YES engineering is not creative).Often, if you read articles in various news papers about why a large number of engineering graduates make it to the IIMs and how these graduates do well in business. This is wrongly attributed to the "analytical skills" developed during engineering. The real reason being engineering has becoming a repository of skilled and talented people in India. More often than not these talents have nothing to do with those expected from engineering students. And the best brains are there because they have no other option.

Anyone who has been to an engineering college cultural fest will vouch for the fact that some students show tremendous abilities and capabilities in a variety of events testing literature, vocabulary, arts, drama etc. This is an expression more of misplaced talent than that of "diverse" skills of engineering student. It is no wonder that engineering students who are just really talented misplaced students do wonderfully well on management or any other education THEY choose once they are out. Thus engineering students do well in spite of and not due to the engineering education thrust on them.

But well engineering is a foundation isn't it, goes the general defensive argument. Well the fact is quite a few people are happy being dumped into engineering and a lot of people are happy having their parents make career choices for them. The flip side is this system burns a lot of people.

A large number of students feel betrayed when they enter engineering. Honest engineering students (who want to be where they are) are shocked by the rote methods of learning and the failure of teachers to impart anything of value. The sailors (people who don’t mind being there and are just in port waiting) are taken aback by how you learn nothing worth taking along with you to the outside world. And the meek (who are there, just there) are shocked into submission by the system. They have to deal with a course they did not want, with inherent weaknesses too. A lot of peers I know would have done wonderfully well in various commerce or art courses, a lot of them simply didn't GET maths and why we did it. And yet they were pushed into a 4 year course dependent on mathematical skills. The meek always comes out the worst.

They are unable to keep up with the curriculum, are stigmatized for being too dumb to complete a course. When placements season opens a large number of the meek just disappear not wanting to be seen and asked where they have been placed because either they haven’t been employed or they have simple got "bad" jobs. These students are paying for a choice they did not make.

The system which the middle class proudly boasts of, our school and higher education system, is hurting people, to put it very very mildly. How Indians even in the US are doing well cause Indian parents put pressure on them to study according to Indian levels is a common get together story in our households. Its almost a bonding ritual in the middle class to point out our “superiority”, how Indians are beating American kids in the spelling bee, how American kids can't point out their own country on the map and overall how we are stealing their jobs. Well someone needs to tell them the Indian education system does create some very intelligent people and spectacular success stories, but the road kill along the way and the social cost is not acceptable. The massive harm being caused to the minds of students will not be offset by a handful of achievements by a handful of students.

These stories will not be covered in the media for fear of rocking the “The rise of India success story”.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Google Humour

What is it that makes Google so cool...their humour is surely one factor...

Going incognito doesn't affect the behavior of other people, servers, or software. Be wary of:
  • Websites that collect or share information about you
  • Internet service providers or employers that track the pages you visit
  • Malicious software that tracks your keystrokes in exchange for free smileys
  • Surveillance by secret agents
  • People standing behind you

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Evernote's a disruptive new technology which is soon going to swallow up a lot of other software's.It is a note taking, bookmarking software. Any web page,typed text or photo can be added to it.Following which it can be accessed on your mobile,PC and net.Thus it keeps its promise of adding another brain. Now its most impressive feature is its indexing technology.

Basically this enables you to search your entire database for keywords.Lets say you loved an article on cricket incidents and you save it in evernote. After sometime you just remember it had an incident in The Oval grounds.You can search for the term "The Oval" and hence find the article with a few snippets of information. The Icing on the cake is that it indexes words in pictures. Here i searched for the word images and here is the result.

The free version allows an upload limit of 40Mb which is more than sufficient for most users.I use it for saving good articles I come across and bookmarking websites.After experimenting with google bookmarks, notebooks and del.icio.us,Evernote turned out to be much more friendly and intuitive.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Letters from Iwo Jima

Saw a movie on the computer after a looooooooooooong time...picked Letters from Iwo Jima and what a choice it was!

Most war movies take obvious sides and bring in some nationalistic leanings somewhere. Clint Eastwood,the director maintains a neutral stance throughout the movie and at the end of it, you're left with a story in your head and no preachings or "moral of the story".