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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Yaadon ke Jharokoon se ...

We were 5 friends in Kanpur, 'paanch' and core of 'triad' co exist inside it. Sanjay Bose, Vivek Vikram Singh, Gaurav Diwedi, Himanshu Chaudhary and me. All of us stood together in 10+2 and coaching years. We form the quintuple at front benches in 1st year and last benches in 2nd year. We roam manly in Coaching mandi but the favourite market was Rahmani market in Kanpur till today.

Internet: I went to Internet surfing for web councilling of AIEEE with Sanjay first time. The most surprising thing was the mails and pop-up of million dollar lottery prize. I was knowing that it is a hoax. But, surprise does not end here. The faces of white Caucasian female on the screen amazed me. The underline heading was 'Make friends with beautiful girls in Kanpur'. I was cleanly taken surprise that "where the hell these girls are, even if they exist in my city ? " . Till today, I have no clue of them.

Crush Story: There was a girl in our physics coaching of Anish Sir. She was beautiful and fair like nothing ever seen by me till now except Namrata Singh of class 10+2. No metaphor can describe her beauty to me. After the end of each class of Anish sir, only 20% junta remain in the class to talk or discuss problems with friends. She used to sit there for 10 minutes just chatting with the friends. In this short span of time, I use to gaze her continuously. Such was her beauty mesmerizes my mind. It was daily routine for 1 year. Then comes IIT JEE prelims examination in march 2004. There were 56 centers in the Kanpur accommodating atleast 500-2000 in each center. And she was sitting in same classroom of examination center. It was like one of the rare probability coming true. Alas she was not selected for the 'mains' round. I noted down her roll number and checked her result before mine. That was the end of the crush story. It was like beautiful dream which refreshes soul and makes memories sweeter. Also, I don't know her name and never attempted to..

More stories about Kanpur: In the praise of Rahmani Market & Review of Baabarr: A violent tale of a don of Kanpur

Thought of the day
: Stop being angry with life because it does not give what it cannot give.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Graduation Years -2

You can get me out of ITBHU but not ITBHU out of me. (asliyat mein bahut muskil se pass hua hoon). Hence, few days of rehabilitation programme end today with this article.

Graduation Years:
Again, a look on events in near history. Probably history was after all, meant to be a study of human consciousness in guilt. Of course, there is always a need to realize something valuable out of the past, that a study about the past is after all a human being’s reverse-troubleshooting guide. Hence, I retrospect about my graduation days again and again. I may be cutting the branch which has helped me to reach this height. Still a flaw in the system can't be supported in the name of promoting few incompetent like me. When I was passing time casually in graduation years, rest of the world was moving with fast pace. I was provided with good teachers, infrastructure, 24 hours uninterrupted supply of Internet, water and electricity in college to support my study. I had misused them un-proportionally in playing LAN games and watching movies. I have taken cinema as a medium of study and academics as a funny event quite neglected one. It was not a mistake but college life doesn't ask for seriousness, it just asks for your little sincerity a week before exam.

There was a great movement of locals in Mehendigunj near Varanasi by people against Coca-Cola. I was not even aware of it at that point of time. There was life out there in university with people coming to study different subjects from all class. I was happy with my limited ecosystem of ITBHU. I had also missed many guest lectures of eminent speakers [ even like Professor Kevin Warwick ] due to lethargy, not mentioning here academic lectures. And I was even worst in academics. My only concern was why my college has not got deserved IIT tag. So, my world was revolving around me only. I was a product of environment or a selfish elite unaware of his responsibilities. I was having cocoon type of life style. I was eyeing on secured IT job depending blindly on the placement records of IT-BHU. If the recession has come 2 years back, I would be literally passing out without any job in hand. Such was my state of affairs. Few positives were there inside me but that are in traces in everyone. Today, I learnt a bitter lesson that immaturity and short sightedness is not dishonesty but not performing to your potential due to laziness is wrong act. In short, a worthless life on priceless freedom.

General Life at ITBHU:
The quality of a university is measured more by the kind of student it turns out than the kind it takes in. An average ITian becomes too casual and consider ITBHU as break of his life. There is lack of seriousness in the atmosphere. Lots of us would have better careers than what we are left standing with today. I think this under utilization of the potential within and resources given is felt somewhere by each of us.

How ITBHU Administration works? :
Our administrative work in IT-BHU or any government college is mostly run by the bureaucratic way, hence its tough to have progress in them. Decisions are taken from the top and imposed on the students. Their is no official platform to raise voice of students except itbhuglobal.org for big issues. Also, dissent is neglected and often taken as indiscipline and disloyalty. Bureaucracy liked things to be frozen. That can show their power & pomp, that can show their status quo. Best example to support this is of Ambassador car. Indians inherited the Ambassador model, decided not to change an iota of the design. Till late 80's, Ambassador was the least innovative company and was much prized possession used by our government.

Hence, you will find government offices to be always either ruled by the books or moulded in favour of corrupt and powerful. The fact is government institutions work on directives from the top. It does not matter, whether they like your idea or not, see merit or not. There is no incentive for them to take risks and improve efficiency. The trick is to lobby at the highest level for reforms. Because if one person at the very top accepts your suggestions it will be accepted and implemented at the way down. No doubt this requires a lot of patience and persuasion, but the effort is well worth it.

Academics:
We have a typical system of studying the subjects which are given by the university and not selected by the students which they like. For an instance the recent Nobel Price winner De. Venkat is a PhD in Physics and got Nobel in Chemistry, can it be possible with our education system in engineering college. The course structure is killing human potential to learn something new and of their choice. IT-BHU has very rigid academic course structure. It needs to rearrange something like IITD undergraduate mechanical engineering programme. Check the number of compulsory core and elective subjects for learning. And now look at academic course structure of ITBHU undergraduate mechanical engineering programme.

We still follow the traditional methodology of teaching. Very few in India have implemented the Case Study, Role Play, Skits, Management games way of teaching. We are here running fully on [lecture] model, not on as proposed [lecture+ tutorial] model. Atanu Dey's article on IIT shocked me and helped me to change my stance on IIT system of education. Our fancy education is funded by denying a very large number of the really poor the opportunity to even get a basic education. Our fees have been a small fraction of the true cost of education. This self-absorbed and delusional state is harmful for the us and the country.

Blast from Past:
On higher education, Banaras Hindu University enquiry committee report 1957 ; Page 325- 348
Committees and commissions in India 1947-1973, Volume II , 1955-1957 By Virendra Kumar.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On Rehabilitationn

I am abandoning my blog for few days. Internet surfing has become like drug addiction. And I confess that I put URL of this blog on gtalk for its promotion. I sit as a watchdog and count the number of hits on my blog. Its so contradictory to what I write here. Enthusiasm kills discipline, and I had already lost my will power during my engineering days. I had ruined my career and lost my power to concentrate on any work. My advice to all of you, Don't work in the company with the bond duration. If you don't like the work, it will become bondage, both financial and time. I have so much to say with few persons who read this unfortunate blog... Just going on rehabilitation through exile and trying to focus on anything. Don't ping me, call me or scrap on orkut asking about my mental state.

Tanhaa Hoon

I am feeling alone. Its not solitude but alienation from the friends. I am just writing this fucking thing and addicted or obsessed with the blog maddeningly. I don't know where is the life ?

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Six Mantras for Internet

This article is edited version of article produced at PFC. I am producing it without any permission. For original and detail version, click this:

This desire to keep things “exclusive” on the Internet beats me especially when it comes to a movie promo. The whole idea of promoting is to ensure as many people see it. There’s a false sense that their promos are so exclusive, the stars so saleable that people will start streaming into any site that is created. Here are the mantras of Internet and making your website popular:

1. The Internet is NOT a Private Property:

e-Commerce website was built was quite slick and much ahead of it’s time, featuring a downloadable software. Like every fantastic tool we had built ahead of time for the company, but no one had a clue hardly any usage of this website tool. After launch of the website, there was a certain spike in the number of customers using downloadable software. The initial adopters of the tool were so amazed they started talking about it on the various website, chats, message boards and forums. Then download links of the software started appearing on these forums, much to the disdain of company. They did not want this. They wanted the software to be downloaded ONLY from their site. They started demanding all such links be removed from the sites. They were forceful. They got what they wanted. And within a few weeks the number of hits on their site fell sharply. In short they had crushed themselves the chain reaction building towards promoting their very own product.

Why was the software not allowed to be downloaded from anywhere else on the internet? Nobody could have done anything with it except build the component they wanted to and press the order button which would inturn order the component at the client via the internet. Nothing else could be done with it actually and the tool was trademarked, so no competitor could even copy, modify and use it.

The problem lay in thought. Not in the product. The internet is a place to spread it out rather than have a place with tall fences around it. This is a major problem, Shifting the thought and understanding of the internet and how it can be used for gains. As soon as one understands that the Internet is a public arena and cannot be treated as a private property, the quicker, major companies have noticed the gains that follow. The shift in their understanding brings in a drastic change in action plans & strategies.

Everyone wants a “chain reaction”, “a buzz” for their product. That will never happen until your basic understanding of the internet shifts from “I own it” to “It is free for everyone to use”. Companies hesitate to allow their products for everyone to use with thinking "It is MINE", Ofcourse it is. But to get people to use your product, you can’t lock down the various promotions, news, items, materials etc. and treat EVEN THOSE as your private property online. You have to let these out and loosen them free on the Internet.

2. It is NOT “All for One” BUT “One for All” :

Each of these companies in Bollywood wants all Internet surfers to come to them (All for one). Unless and until you are a Google or MSN or Yahoo, you can’t expect (and it is almost criminal to think thus), that the world will come to your website to watch what you have to offer (All for One). The Internet is much more sophisticated and effortless for people to follow this line of thought.

Rather the flow of the product, information has to flow from inside out – to everyone out there on the Internet. The Internet is other words should be visualized as the “infinite”. Every web-surfer has developed and sunk into their own ways and methods of surfing the Internet and visiting the sites they want to. If in this environment you introduce the process of “forcing them” to come your site for the information you want to provide, rather than making it freely available at the sites of their convenience, you will lose them before you can say KaBoom. Every blog, site or community group has it’s hardcore fan base. Your “All for One” policy is a direct negative action to make them come to your site. in direct touch or even be able to identify their core audience.

It doesn’t work. Not in terms of hits. Which you “may” get, but in terms of actually being able to identify and forecast how your film’s sales via the Internet audience will be. Tragically statistics will never be discussed by your web developers and Flow and spread your information out. Restricting it only will result in barring your very probable targeted consumers.

3- Your website will never work like Instant Coffee:

Be ready with your website much before Product or event expected to release. Every company wanted the website to attract maximum visitors online, so everyone would come to know about his product/movie or event. Your website will get dismal hits and have no impact on the finacial profit however beautiful, flashy and truckloads of money you pour into it – if you are going live within less than a substantial time before release date of your product/ event.

How will you get web surfers to visit your site?
Perhaps by advertising, perhaps by putting banners on other websites, perhaps sending a media kit to the media to talk about it – Notice what has happened here – your focus has instantly shifted from your movie to promoting your website. Bad idea again!

Do you know that the maximum of movie website DO NOT have more than a 1000 total visitors! And even an average blogger worth his salt writing a few times a week gets a 1000 visitors within a few hours each day! And above all the blogger didn’t spend a dime to create his site!!!

It takes 3 – 5 weeks for a search engine crawlers to search and get your site on their radar. The crawls become less and less the less frequently your website is updated. The crawls become negligible once your movie has released and now you are not doing ANYTHING on the website.

Go to Google or Yahoo or any search engine of your preference. Type in the name of the movie. Click Enter.

Now watch the results. On what darn page of the search results does your website show up? And which are the sites which come up before you, specially those which get listed on pages one and two.

What does this mean? Even the search engines do not consider your website important rather they prefer those sites which have more material, more content, much more updates about YOUR movie.

So what does this mean? Where did we go wrong? Well, it means you are not aware or were not told by those building your website that you build your hits- you attract new people to your site primarily through search engines – for free! And that will never happen in a few weeks.

The internet should not be treated like Instant coffee – snap – you make it. snap. you have it. It’s a ridiculous misconception. The one question though nobody asks at such web site discussion meetings is HOW? How will people on the internet become AWARE of the website? Is it realistically possible to get a million or half a million people to come visit and interact instantly? A safe answer is no. Unless you are Digged a thousand times or someone has Stumbled Upon your site a few hundred times. (refer Digg, Stumble Upon on the Internet)…

4- The Fanboys are your best friends. If not, let your product/event R.I.P. :

A few years ago, a blogger in the USA mentioned something about a movie which was about to start production. It was a funny blog. A couple of other bloggers and websites picked it up. Then a few more bloggers picked that story up from those sites. It started a chain reaction. A few websites started a contest ‘What is the story of this movie?’. A few bloggers started a comic strip. A few sites even started contests like the Funniest comment on the movie for the week.

Over a million sites and blogs were talking about the movie. And the producers had not yet spent a single dime on the marketing!!! A year later the movie released. One million fanboys converged to watch the movie in its opening weekend. Some found it real good B grade stuff. Some found it bad. Almost all agreed it wasn’t a classic, yet it was a real fun to go and watch it.

The movie was Snakes on a Plane. And it was successful purely because of the fanboys.
Which means the producers actually snipped the pipeline which was supplying them with customers and more potential ticket buyers. But at the end of it all, it was found that the hits on the producers’ created website was less than 3% of the fan’s site. few blogs being built by those who follow his work and who diligently are collecting every piece of information available online to plug it into their website. There is a lack of punch. But just a little bit of grease can set the wheels rolling. These are your messengers who will spread the word about your movie. These are the people who have websites or discussion boards or blogs, which are in turn visited by a few hundred to a million visitors each day. This is your dream. Connect with your fans. Identify your markets. Connect with them and inturn you will connect with each of the fans who visit those sites and over and over…

5. Your Website Developer is NOT your Web Strategy Advisor:

Your website developing company IS NOT the expert on planning your internet promotion strategy and neither is your marketing team who handles the traditional forms of marketing for your movie. There are many people I know (many on a personal level) working as CEOs, VPs, Brand Strategists, Marketing managers… that are so easily confused over this, having a quite common misconception that – the company building the website, for their brand or product, is the go-to-guy for receiving expertise on Internet promotions and marketing. web developer’s expertise lies in building the best website for you that suits your needs and demands. The developer should not, under any circumstance be handling the critical and foundational responsibility of building the internet marketing strategy. Website Development and Website Strategy are two entirely different things.

A developer builds a hundred odd websites a year. He is and should not be concerned over the success or failure of the website built (unless there is a technical coding angle to it). Whereas an Internet Marketing Specialist follows and track thousands of websites every single week, keeping tabs on new products and brands launched, the strategies behind them, their impact, trends, hits, demographics, identifying the core audience for each site amongst a million other data points.they can convince you to build a site with a million features even if at times there is be no need for all those features!
Your Internet strategy needs to be laid down BEFORE the shooting of the movie has even begun. NOT three weeks before the movie’s release. What Bollywood has not yet got a grip on is that the Internet can be a much cheaper form of creating a buzz for their movies in contrast to the costs for promotion on television and radio. The difference is, it requires time and a few people. And the time begins when the movie is being made, not after it is ready for release.

And that strategical plan is built for you by Internet Marketing Experts or Consultants, not the company that builds your website. Approach a Web Marketing guru much before you decide who will build your website. Not Vice versa.

6. It is not HOW MANY hits, but WHO hit YOU:

And that is the question you should ask yourself and your web team when they produce statistics of the number of hits of your new product’s website or images or stills or blogs. Does this number (of hits) means many people will come to your event or more product will be sold for sure? Does this mean you now have a sure base of X number of customers from online who will go for product/ event.

If your panel says yes, fire them immediately. Just mention “Thank You” behind the check you send me for giving you this valuable advise. What does it all mean?

It is not about the number of hits. But who! Your target – the concentrated base that will read about your movie, event or product and put money in it. The focus is to find your target audience wherever they may be for the movie you would like to promote to. Rather than play a lottery game on portals or sites which offer a high but diluted target, find where your concentrated base is. Those are the sites to go for.

In Transition

My heart was not in student activism: I was and am a reader, therefore a daydreamer also. There is so much to read and learn before closing my eye. I had realised that there is no joy which can equal with the joy of giving to someone in need. I always feel like as an ocean drop trying too hard to search identity with holding his ego as singularity and uniqueness. Still, I know that I am similar like all of rest drops and they are all me set against this time and space of fleeting transcendence. It is the best way devised by me to understand myself. I ventured outside my fixed realm making it a point to learn a thing. I am here continually evolving or contracting, who knows, but there is a prominent change or even mutation each moment. There arises so many amounts of crest and trough ideas inside me. Most of the times, they are absurd and quite bizarre. I also now days think of perpetual transition of my age and thoughts.

I search for the meanings of these abstractness in material world as to what’s the logic behind the everything. What is the use and explanation of such thinking phase in the past one hour. I look back and find most of it as futile. Its not even good to extract a good story. Still I find that writing and thinking about myself only will put me in more poignant way in the front of all. They may be sympathetic towards a image of loser rather than someone like me. But I am sure that my image as the loser is much more interesting than a stranger as a hero.

I have read something and a old feeling comes to the surface. That something was --

Death is inevitable that makes us question things, events and everything. Death makes us ask 'why are we here?' . Death scares us. Death inspires us to think, to create, to acquire knowledge, to question, and all this possibly so that we may leave a legacy. Ultimately death humbles us. So death or rather our mortality is probably the ultimate source of inspiration for humankind.

I am thinking these days more and more about death. Someone suggested that imagine death as something that’s coming towards you rather than you going towards it. I am unable to see death as pessimistic way but rather something mandatory which will end my identity. Still a fear of death is inside me. I have recently put Yaksha Prashna on my blog. One answer of Yudhister line to Yaksh is knocking me again and again in my conscious.

In the famous Yaksha Yudhishtir Samvad in Mahabharata, Lord Yama in the form of Yaksha asks Yudhistir many questions which Yudhistir answers with wisdom. Each of these answers can be explored in depth individually. Of the many questions, I found one very poignant and full of philosophy of ours perpetual transition ---

Yaksha asks Yudhistir: 'What is the most strange thing in life?
Yudhistir answers: 'Each moment death strikes, and we behave to live like immortals'.

Chalte Chalte:
Don't take my writings as original and me as very accomplished writer in English language. Words only represents my mood and metal state. A statement may be original and may be not. I have also copied bluntly others works without giving them credit if there words are expressing my experience in more clarified way. I believe that its not originality but message should be given more stress. The message should not be lost in metaphors and complex sentences. Originality isn’t everything. In the world of writing, art and design, originality is highly prized, but sometimes the emphasis is a bit too strong. The point of design isn’t to be original, but to speak a message effectively. If a highly original design does it, so much the better. But sometimes you have to reach the audience by expressing yourself fully.

Thoughts of the Night:

“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.” - Bertrand Russell

“Education is the passport to freedom and liberty, the future belongs to those who take advantage of it TODAY.” - Malcolm X

There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth- not going all the way and not starting. – Lord Buddha

“To change the world, give the world what you have. And serve the world with what you are.”

"Many people would rather die than think, infact most do.” - Bertrand Russell

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Yaksha Prashna - 2

Yaksha: Who is really a helpful companion?
Yudhisthira: Steady intelligence is a very good friend and can save one from all dangers.
Yaksha: How can one acquire something very great?
Yudhisthira: Everything desirable can be attained by the performance of austerity.
Yaksha: What is amrita (nectar)?
Yudhisthira: Milk is just like nectar.
Yaksha: What is the friend bestowed upon man by the demigods?
Yudhisthira: Wife is such a friend.
Yaksha: What is the best of happiness?
Yudhisthira: True happiness comes as a result of contentment.
Yaksha: Why does one give in charity to brahmanas, artists, servants and kings?
Yudhisthira: For religious merit, prestige, maintenance and protection, respectively.
Yaksha: Why does one forsake friends?
Yudhisthira: Lust and greed drives one to forsake friends.
Yaksha: What is the only food?
Yudhisthira: The cow is the only food, for the milk that she produces is used to make ghee, which is used to perform sacrifices, pleased by which the demigods give rain, which causes the grains to grow. Therefore it should be understood that the cow is the root cause of all kinds of food.
Yaksha: What is the king of knowledge?
Yudhisthira: Knowledge pertaining to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the king of all kinds of knowledge.
Yaksha: What is ignorance?
Yudhisthira: Not knowing one's constitutional duty.
Yaksha: What is the best bath?
Yudhisthira: That which cleanses the mind of all impurities.
Yaksha: What is real charity?
Yudhisthira: Real charity is protecting one from the onslaughts of material nature.
Yaksha: Since dharma (virtue), artha (profit) and kama (desire) are opposed to each other, how can they co-exist harmoniously?
Yudhisthira: These three become congenial to one another when one has a virtuous wife.
Yaksha: Who is condemned to everlasting hell?
Yudhisthira: When one promise a brahmana charity but upon his arrival refuses to give him charity.
Yaksha: What make one a brahmana, birth, learning or behavior?
Yudhisthira: It is behavior alone that make a person a brahmana. Even if one who is expert in the four Vedas, born of brahmana parents, but whose behavior is not proper should be considered a sudra.
Yaksha: Who is pleasing?
Yudhisthira: A person who speaks in a pleasing manner.

Finally the Yaksha asked Yudhisthira four questions of great significance;

Yaksha: Who is truly happy?
Yudhisthira: One who cooks his own food (is not dependant on anyone), is not a debtor (does not spend more than he can afford), does not have to leave home to make in order to earn his livelihood (does not over endeavor for material things) is truly happy.
Yaksha: What is the most wonderful thing?
Yudhisthira: The most amazing thing is that even though every day one sees countless living entities dying, he still acts and thinks as if he will live forever.
Yaksha: What is the real path to follow in this life?
Yudhisthira: The best path is to follow in the footsteps of the pure devotees, for they are the actual Mahajanas (Great Persons) whose hearts are the sitting places of the real truths regarding religion.
Yaksha: What is news? (that is What is real situation in the material world?)
Yudhisthira: The material world is like a frying pan. The Sun is the fire, the day and nights are the fuel. The passing seasons are the stirring ladle and time is cook. All living entities are being thus fried in this pan. This is the real news of what is happening in the material world which is a miserable place full of ignorance.

Yaksha Prashna -1

What is weightier than earth? Mother
What is taller than the sky? Father
What is faster than the wind? Mind
What is more numerous than grass? Thoughts

By renouncing what does one become loved? Pride
By renouncing what is one free of sorrow? Anger
By renouncing what does one become wealthy? Desire
By renouncing what does one become happy? Greed

Who is the friend of a traveller? A companion
Who is the friend of a householder? A spouse
Who is the friend of the sick? A doctor
Who is the friend of the dying? His charity

What treasure is the best? Skill
What wealth is the best? Education
What is the greatest gain? Health
And the greatest happiness? Contentment

What is a man's self? His progeny
Who is his God-given friend? His wife
What supports his life? Rain
What is his principal duty? Charity

What makes the sun rise? Brahma
Who moves around him? Gods
What causes the sun to set? Dharma
How is he held firm? Truth

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Looking deep into Indian Cinema - 1

Cinema is like an art that inspires you to look at the deeper aspects of life and the world around you. Bollywood Films are merely treated as entertainment dose, served to people on Fridays. People enjoy the fast food and then forgot about it completely. And Response to an accusation of unoriginality or escapism and false depiction of society is a ridiculous justification by our leading filmmakers. They are making films for the enetertainment of masses irrespective of any responsibility towards anything. Anuj Malhotra answers our basic question about bollywood: Who are we making films for then? Aren’t these films hits? If they are not made for anyone, how are they so successful?

He narrates a story - In a city by the river, there was a factory – run entirely by people who were handicapped. They run machines incessantly throughout the day – never pausing for a break until the close of day, which was when they lined the gate of the factory – tired, exhausted to the extent that they could not see – and waiting for someone to lead them to their homes. At the precise moment, the owner of a liquor shop by the roadside would arrive at the scene, and with the false promising of helping them reach their homes, lead them to his liquor shop. Tired, they would fall prey to the temptations of the beverage, and having spent their entire daily earning on the liquor, would tumble outside the bar on the road, or be pushed outside by the owner; never making it till their homes. Ofcourse, some one could have led the tired, blind men to their homes as well.

One may ask here- The liquor joint was successful- A major hit. But didn’t it involve immoral exploitation of a group of people who did not have the luxury of the possession of better judgement?

When a person’s blind, and open to such exploitation, do you exploit them, or do you take them home? The Bollywood chooses the former. The commercial success of a few films should not mask the reality of the situation – 9 out of the 120 or so films released last year were hits. Bollywood’s ignorance of the world we live in, or its discussion, is not something beyond notice for the audience.
[Source]

Truly, the average person doesn't care about editing or cinematography. They want only entertainment as kid, uncritical or thoughtlessly accepting. In sports, people are proud of their technical knowledge of game and respect commentators who are aware of each aspect of game. Then why not in movies. In cinema, intelligence is vilified and film education so undervalued that those who teach about it considered arrogant. We should respect differing opinions up to certain point, and then it's time for the wise to blow the whistle.

Cinema and popularity
Roger Ebert put in effective way: [Source]

"What I believe is that all clear-minded people should remain two things throughout their lifetimes: Curious and teachable. If someone I respect tells me I must take a closer look at the films of Abbas Kiarostami, I will take that seriously. If someone says the kung-fu movies of the 1970s, which I used for our old Dog of the Week segments, deserve serious consideration, I will listen. I will try to do what Pauline Kael said she did: Take everything you are, and all the films you've seen, into the theater. See the film, and decide if anything has changed. The older you are and the more films you've seen, the more you take into the theater. When I had been a film critic for ten minutes, I treated Doris Day as a target for cheap shots. I have learned enough to say today that the woman was remarkably gifted."

He further quotes Yeats that the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. No wonder, It pays better.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Enter the devil : Bt- Brinjal

The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) on Wednesday approved the environmental release of Bt brinjal. Several studies on Bt crops in particular and GM crops in general show that there are many potential health hazards in foods bio-engineered in this manner. [Briefing Paper]

Dr Pushpa Bhargava, a renowned molecular biologist and founder director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB)was instructed by the Supreme Court of India to look into the method of approval of GM crops into India, is asking. Dr Bhargava examined the current procedures adopted by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) and was shocked to note that this Committee was approving applications based upon trials conducted by the seed companies. He has called for a moratorium on the entire approval process. [Source]

Kamalakar Duvvuru voices out following fact for wake up call.

Subsidies given by Developed Nations:

"Despite preaching the “benefits” of “free” trade in agriculture, US, EU, Japan and other industrialized countries continue to skew their farm subsidies so heavily in favor of their biggest agricultural producers. From 1995 to 2006 USDA provided $177 billion in subsidy to its farmers. Top 10% of the agricultural producers received 74% of the total amount. During this period US government provided nearly one billion dollar subsidy to just three American rice growers. Rice is staple food for nearly 3.7 billion Asians. Nobel Prize winner in economics Joseph Stiglitz described the United States Farm Bill as “the perfect illustration of the Bush administration’s hypocrisy on trade liberalization.”

In 2004 EU paid its biggest 2,460 farmers on average $667,000 each, or $1.7 billion in total. In Germany, 14% of the biggest farm producers got 65% of all payments; in France, 29% of the biggest farm producers got 72% of all payments; in UK, 31% of the biggest farm producers got 84% of all payments; and in Italy, 1.6% of the biggest farm producers got 34% of all payments.

These figures make a mockery of claims that the US Farm Bill and EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) are geared toward small farmers and rural development. This huge subsidy allows food cartel to sell rice, wheat and other staple foods at very low price to dominate global food market. This displaces local production of basic foodstuffs and farming livelihoods in developing countries. “These subsidies continue to promote over-production and dumping, hurting poor farmers in developing countries,” said Luis Morago, Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair spokesperson. He further said, “Europe’s common agricultural policy and the US Farm Bill continue to ignore small farmers at home and cripple poorer farmers abroad.”

Big MNC's playing dirty:

Monsanto owns the patent on Bt cotton. In 2005 approximately 1.26 million hectares, and in 2006 nearly 3.28 million hectares of land in India was under Bt cotton cultivation. Farmers who buy GM seeds enter into a licensing agreement with Monsanto for the use of that particular gene and the company prescribed fertilizer. They are forbidden from saving seeds for the next season. They must buy new seed from the company each season. This denies farmers’ right to save seed. The implications of this are huge for poor farmers. Saved seed is the one resource that the poor farmers depend upon to carry them through the year. Denial of this right will greatly impact them economically. For they have to pay more each season to buy new seed. Monsanto is now charging 1850 Indian rupees per 450 gram pack of Bt cotton seeds as compared to 38 Indian rupees charged in China for the same quantity. In India, the price for non-Bt cotton variety is at 450 to 500 Indian rupees. India has recently allowed field trials of GM varieties of rice, brinjal and groundnut.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs):

Introduction of the Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) has become an increasingly important source of competitive advantage and accumulation in the production and trade of agricultural goods. This has resulted in the increasing concentration of control over seeds and other resources in a few transnational companies. The IPR owners, usually transnational companies, can prevent others from producing or selling the seeds or plant varieties over which they own the rights. They can set prices or royalties on the seeds, and terms and conditions for use of the seeds and inputs. This not only denies the right of farmers to save seeds for the next season, but also forces them to depend on transnational companies for seeds and inputs. With raising prices of seeds and inputs, coupled with prevention of saving seeds, small scale farmers become vulnerable whether there is bumper crop, or failure or low yield. In times of bumper crop, they get lower price for their produce, and in times of failure or low yield they incur loss. But the farming costs keep rising.

Because of their sheer size and assurance of huge financial returns due to IPRs, transnational companies are increasingly engaged in agro-biotechnology research. As the goal of companies is profit, their research and production efforts tend to focus on only a few crops, thus weakening biodiversity and sustainability caused by expanding monoculture in food production. The consequences are terrible on “minor crops”, which are commercially not profitable for the companies.

With the trends towards strengthening IPR systems worldwide (and in India), there is an increasing ability of agribusiness companies privatizing genetic resources and agricultural knowledge. The tendency will be to focus on research on lucrative developing country markets, rather than developing country needs. Therefore, IPRs are not designed to respond to socio-economic concerns such as food security of developing countries, or to protect the livelihoods of landless and small scale farmers, but to promote the greed of agribusiness companies at the expense of landless and small scale famers in these countries. Thus, IPRs can impede progress towards sustainability, food security and distributive justice.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vichaar Shoonya + 2

On the profound truth which is a hybrid of reality and mythology, There's no one truth & On telling stories ;

What Have We Done to Democracy? - by Arundhati Roy

Does the Internet spread democracy? - by Evgeny Morozov

India’s Maoist dilemma: the case of Lalgarh by Aaradhana Jhunjhunwala

A Former Street Kid Sizes Up 'Slumdog Millionaire'

Rashmi Bansal's Talk at IIT-Kgp covered by a blogger.

Thought of the Day:
“You see with your eyes, you hear with the sense of your hearing, you feel with your sense of touch, and all these senses are nothing but functions of your mind which is nothing but a thought which in turn is just an idea… so if you close your eyes and go to sleep the world ceases to exist and when you wake up it comes back in different shapes and forms to every living being on the earth. – Arthur Schopenhauer (The World As Will and Idea)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The great Indian PORN show

Porn is entertaining for few of us. But, the question here arises that can entertainment be served as porn ?

Reality Shows:

"A participant performs the ultimate act of pornography as he disrobes himself in full public view of all that he considers most intimate, stripping himself of not only dignity and self-respect but dismantling in the process, the trust he evokes from those he loves most. We watch in voyeuristic disbelief, with a combination of fascination, horror, guilt and smug superiority at someone's else's misery. It is a spectacle only when participants disclose something scandalous." Santosh Desai (Source)

Society has been constructed in the manner in which relationships are not based on absolute honesty. In fact they are based on insulation of an individuals real feelings from all. A little privacy is given to each of us so that intimacy can be hidden for the greater good. If a person needs to confess to his beloved ones, he / she should tell them in private, not because money involved in it. And I have written about it long back ago.

Television:

Showing interest in the personal lives or lifestyle of celebrities are favourite prime time of our television. TV shows end up ultimately with sex,vulgar,gossips and this idiotic things which are not done for only money to few well elite's greed of money. These have already lost any interest for family or social values. In the name of freedom and choice they want to put the voyeuristic interest to others.

We have in effect created a market for preying on someone else's personal misery. Pimps and prostitutes are jumping on the Television for their greed of quick money and we sit numb and turned into something worse than eunuchs. We behave as self-indulgent audience of consumers who wanted to be entertained no matter what the cost to characters.

Television by virtue of lacking depth and being located in real time allows for no introspection. It does not allow you to interact and alter the content. We represent just a vote or 'a sms' to them. We flick from channel to channel and rest our eyes on whatever stimulates us. We are swept away by its combined force while retaining the illusion that we are in control. We keep talking about how we should change the channel if we don't like what we see without acknowledging how the channel is changing us.

Media:

"What the media basically does is, it just strips everybody and makes money out it. The only difference between a strip-teaser and the media is that a strip-teaser bares herself so that others can enjoy her and give money, and the media strips others so that some others can enjoy and give them the money." - RGV (Source)

Porn business is in full flow and stripping each value what our society believes in. For the sake of adventure and quick fame, people are turning towards fake family shows, reality shows and entertaining news channels...

News channels have huge ability to make something out of nothing, make your emotion rush. It’s the height of manipulation. Few video clips from youtube, images from google search, music from here and there with a non sense story is the prime time coverage of news channel.The word 'Exclusive' and 'Breaking news' have lost their significance due to constant repeatable use at every hour. Even Images, ads and videos are created and seen more from the point of view of consumerism than as an expression of ideas. The media in India loves to speculate because they are constantly in need of stories. The manipulation of your emotions with back script music, melodrama and biasing makes you not a viewer but a potential consumer. The pre conceived notion of entertainment is gone. TV channels are not in our hands, we are in theirs..

Honesty is important, but not at the cost of entertainment. There's a fine line between portraying reality and stereotyping. The problems of our nation like poverty, hunger, illiteracy, naxalism, unemployment, corruption and natural disaster. We readily import the nuisance but always shrug off to import cleanliness, honesty, patriotism, sacrifice etc. because these need to come out the closet of A/C rooms of these people and need very hard work which these people are not used to.

It’s the manipulation and unreliability of methods media use to determine what people want and label as TRP ratings. What media should fix is error in the systems, not the society. Media is trying to reconfigure society by exposing the hypocrisy of others. But media itself has little understanding or control over its own actions. You will be labeled as dictator or censor on talking about self regulation. What a pity..

West:
The West is entranced by India's poverty and filth- that's the USP of India for them. Slumdog Millionaire represents the 'poverty porn' (word first coined by Times reviewer only). They don't want to show us just who we 'really' are or positive achievements but show how our lives are growing materialistic and controversial. And our our elites are clones of the modernized west.

Conclusion:
TV shows or media is not interested in the truth but specifically seeks that truth which will cause damage to the individual's self esteem and poison relationships. Children are treated as Mini adults if they are potential consumers or just neglected completely. Our society has taken voyeuristic path and children turning on to the habits of adults. People love to see other's in pain. People want to breathe a live of luxury and flamboyancy with the route of credit also. The luxury industries is doing what it takes to cater to the whims & fancies of rising class. The aspirational lifestyle doesn't limited to material objects but it has evolved into unique and personal experiences. Really rich exploit the proletariat in much the same way as the men exploit animals.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A scene of the flood

Krishna river flowing over red alert
People caught amid flood situation near Wadi
Railway Tracks

All Photoes are taken by my sister who reached to Hyderabad from Bangalore in 60 hours through Rajdhani express and returned to Bangalore in 60 minutes through airways.

Andhra and Karnataka are facing worst flood in 100 years. Reaching Bangalore or Hyderabad was never so difficult. Both the bus and train services are affected. In this season of problems, suddenly air fares rocketed thrice the normal rate. Not more than 0.1 % of people of India travel through air route, still this opportunism shown by airlines prove that air fare needs to be regulated for making air services to the reach of more people.

In economics, collective bargaining, psychology, and political science, "free riders" are those who consume more than their fair share of a public resource, or shoulder less than a fair share of the costs of its production. Free riding is usually considered to be an economic "problem" only when it leads to the non-production or under-production of a public good (and thus to Pareto inefficiency) , or when it leads to the excessive use of a common property resource. People breed less as they become richer, but they don’t consume less — they consume more. As the habits of the super-rich show, there are no limits to human extravagance. Consumption can be expected to rise with economic growth until the biosphere hits the buffers. To be 'living luxurious lifestyle' and 'free rider' on national income is the worst crime in my eyes. World needs more proportionate than equal distribution of wealth among its citizens.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Looking Back in Time

Once, I was roaming in the Kanpur Coaching Area with my friends after completion of engineering. Throughout the whole tourism, I was flooded with my memories of how I used to travel in jam-packed auto rickshaws on the same route and many times walk for saving petty amount of money.

Its interesting how people feel comfortable admitting the lows of their life once they reach the heights. It gives you an inspiration for your own life. Self made man are worth which our society looks up for in their struggle. Social Darwinism factor gives example of them only.

It may appear romantic in future to look back on time with the nostalgic look. All of us are creative artist but a great craftsmanship comes with tuning our skills in versatile fields. It could be so funny, strange, scary or without clue, now that we are so busy with the life. But when I think of mine college days where I used to sit idle or drift without purpose. There were endless days and nights spent with time passing by in staring at natural beauty, wandering on empty roads or just discussing philosophy with friends. And, we don’t know what is exactly happening with our life at that point of time. It just appears to be in the form of inexpressible experiences. These moments of looking back cannot be measured economically.

Do you think every person (normal, successful, great, politician, whoever it is) has their own experiences like these where they don’t know what exactly their life going through and how the future is going to be? Experiences and reflections of hard times of great personalities help in redefining our look towards own goal. That's why inspirational stories or cinema always work to motivate us.

I know that I am neither an uncommonly talented person, nor a man of genius. But it has been said that every man has within himself the making of one book. Time passes by and we experience different emotions. And we observe the world and even realize on the verge of death: "There is no seer and there is nothing seen; there is only seeing."

Friday, October 2, 2009

I Write What I Like.

Usually, I write what I like but was taken back by a witty remark. Vijay Tendulkar has said a gem about writing - “It’s never about the writing. Anyone can write. It is about the observations.” So astute is his observation in this regard. Procrastination is the disease of lazy person like me and preparation of irma is lacking in honest efforts. Bahut ho gayee mere kahani, Ab duniya ke samachar padiye---

Caste:
The ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva looks set to recognize caste- based discrimination as a human rights violation. This is done, despite India's opposition and following Nepal's breaking stand in support on the culturally sensitive issue. Hence, ours dream of caste annihilation is finally getting solid paper work. ( TOI report & Official version in pdf). Thanks Anu for bringing it to my notice.

Rewriting History: Some new studies done on the basis of genome project and anthropology are focusing evolution and human migration at India in new light. Soon our history will be changed with the backing up of more scientific evidence.

1- Most modern Indians descended from South Asians, not invading Central Asian steppe dwellers, a new genetic study reports.

"The finding disputes a long-held theory that a large invasion of central Asians, traveling through a northwest Indian corridor, shaped the language, culture, and gene pool of many modern Indians within the past 10,000 years"

2- Modern humans migrated out of Africa and into India much earlier than once believed, driving older hominids in present-day India to extinction and creating some of the earliest art and architecture, a new study suggests :-

"University of Cambridge researchers Michael Petraglia and Hannah James argue that similar events took place in India when modern humans arrived there about 70,000 years ago."

Attendance Issue: The bureaucrat's way of ensuring accountability is: Make sure people are physically present in the office, whether they work or not. Babushahi pretend to work and show off as they are busy. In most of our colleges only, we apply the bureaucrat's way of ensuring accountability of student by attendance: Make sure students are physically present in the classroom, whether they study or not. I may be wrong in my argument, but the need of min. percentage (75%) of attendance by students is same as new rule of min. 40 hours of work per week by teacher. [Even, Animesh Sir supported my observation]. And the funny point is that most of the teachers ensuring students attendance with tour de force are opposing this rule. Life hits hard, you never know........

Quote of the Day: Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, Mark Twain said, it is time to pause and reflect.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thodasa Roomani Ho Jaayen

I have passed 8 months in Hyderabad and it has been pretty average time of my life. Time flies away at least the effortless one. As the title suggest no bullshit today. Just few quick, rough and minor updates supported by the light hearted comments (that too copied from here & there ).

Me and mine home town, Azamgarh has lot of bad fame attached to them. Azamgarh is now nicknamed ‘Aatankgarh’ by a nasty friend of mine. Whenever he pinches me too much on this issue, I sarcastically reply him- " Don't disturb me man as I belong to sleeper cell of terrorist." [ Actually Sleeping heavily in office during night shifts for practice :) ]

Career: Prof Sunil Handa from IIMA quotes: The question we need to ask yourself is “will you be happy with a boring, glorified, clerical job throughout your life?”. Keep questioning, keep improving. I have a hypothesis that MNC just exploit our talent and most important phase of the life (22-30 years) for ours need of quick money to stabilize in the life. The most hindering block in any less traveled path taken is 'acceptance'. Acceptance by society, family, friends and never ending list pile on. However, acceptance comes with time and success. And, parents are not very specific about the choice of career; they only want ours happiness.

Cricket Fever: The campaign of Dhoni's team is over at Champions Trophy. Apoorv Singhal comes up with his ditty on India: "O Captain my Captain! our fearful trip is done, The rain saves us the shame of losing two on the run, The port is near, the bells I hear, the Oz horns are blaring, While follow eyes the steady keel, the media grim and daring. I was in staunch support of SA but cheering SA in any tournament feels like staying with a repeatedly unfaithful girlfriend, but the heart overrides the mind. They are bunch of chokers... As for the low crowd attendance at ODI games, who in his right mind would want to be sitting & watching two of the world's top teams competing in a crunch game in the cricket stadium when you could be sitting in a boring office following the cricket on Cricinfo? Getting the point guys ..

Movie Fever: 'Wake Up Sid' would be releasing tomorrow with the them of coming of age movie. There is a dialog in trailer that "come to office for 30 days and the car is yours." One person commented (pun intended) "Lucky us who have to sweat? out for EMI’s and all that stupid stuff :-) " Watch few movies of John Hughes if you are really interested coming of the age drama. He had directed lot of youth oriented films like Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Have seen it 100 times), Breakfast Club and Sixteen candles. He had given voice to the teenage rebel spirit without making them a rebel without a cause.

Now, for upcoming 2nd October remember Mahatma Gandhi who quoted: Be the change you want to see in the world. I have to ask that any of you has been fed up with impossible deadlines and graveyard shifts.. Break away before burnout from the work. Join the protest with the slogan Kaam ka Bamboo, Mat le Shambhu from now on. Chao......

Watch this Offisial Atyachaar..

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