Saturday, September 13, 2008

Random Rant #149

Every man that wears a beard is Saddam. It’s true. I’ve heard it so many times; it has to be true. In fact, with my brown skin and beard, all that is missing is a chain of 7-Eleven’s to make me the stereotypical Islamic fundamentalist (or my yellow taxi cab)! But then I make up for that with all the bazookas that I play along with all day. I guess I’ll keep it for now, the beard that is (I have to leave my bazookas at the door).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Is That Damn Pencil?

I realized something today. There is never a pencil around when you need one, or a pen! For that matter, there is never anything sharp around when you want it.

Have you ever been forced to be within a closed room (or public transport) with a bunch of WHITE, early teen, high school, Legally Blonde wannabes? Let me tell you, it is "like" worse than getting hit by a bus… and living through it. It is worse than having your head shoved into your butt, worse than getting your head shaved… with a pair of tweezers. It is worse than pulling out your finger nails straight out. It is worse than having a raving, religious lunatic preach about god and the bible, about good and evil, about vice and virtue, about damnation and salvation. Wait, that last one isn’t true. I would know. And there you have it, another moment I wished I had a pencil.

                             Image by Fernando Graphicos

Sunday, September 7, 2008

An Idiot for the idiot box!

Television for a few years now (perhaps even a decade) has shown us why it has earned the name, Idiot Box. It probably has something to do with the fact that it makes idiots out of us. So well is this fact documented that a movie Idiocracy was made to predict our future, as witty satire. But it did achieve another feat, aside from the one already mentioned. It proved how much they can dumb down television (which includes movies for me) for mass consumption, if there ever was a doubt with Spartans, the Scary Movie series, Disaster Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie…

But then television loves to prove to us how fucked up our society really is, be it a “wardrobe malfunction” (read nipple slip) at the super bowl, or a “celebrity malfunction”. I am sure I could spend another 15 minutes and find a few more, but this isn’t the point of today’s post.

This post is dedicated to the cinematic abyss that is Indian television. And no, I won’t be taking potshots at our “saas-bahu1 soap operas, even though I am tempted. It would be far too easy. I will however let the funniest words ever to be uttered on television speak for itself.

Talking about this incident, a friend commented, "Indian television was just lame before this incident, now it is American".

I won’t ruin the fun for those of you that haven’t already seen or heard of this abomination and will let you watch the video and make up your own mind. I don’t think a rational human being will need much prodding. All I want to know is what able minded individual thinks the guy deserves it? And to those that have to ask what I think, I say, he didn’t hit her hard enough.

Side note: It is imperative to indicate that the genre of satire is not defined by these sorry box office excuses for cinema. There happen to be classics like Yes Minister, The Family Guy, just to drop a few names.

Olympic Dreams

With the end of the Beijing Olympics (yes I know it ended some time back), there are those that are reveling in the pseudo-national pride that comes with your nation performing, however lack luster, at the big event; ecstatic at our performances in shooting, wrestling and boxing, Indian sports fans and the above mentioned pseudo-patriots are going crazy with accolades. At the other end of the spectrum there are the critics that either can’t/won’t take anything positive from it or are just inclined to finding the cloud that carries the silver lining.

The medal trio is enjoying the adulation being poured in on them, while the other athletes either disappear into obscurity or get back to training for the next event of their season. But that sounds just like the India I left two years back, where effort goes unnoticed, hard work and dedication sidelined by the Indian publics need for instant gratification.

But let us leave them for the moment and concentrate on our critics. Just 3 medals from a billion strong? Or how about the fact that countries the size of Estonia, or ones with political strife like Zimbabwe manage to win more medals than us?

"We are the world’s biggest democracy, the second most populous country in the world. Then why is that in a span of 4 years, we are only able to produce 57 top athletes?"

But these comparisons are simplistic. Canada, the second largest country finished just 19th, and Indonesia, with the 4th largest population did worse than the aforementioned politically handicapped nation. This just goes to prove, your size, population or wealth has no bearing on how well you will do at the Olympics or any large sporting event for that matter.

"This is a matter of national shame, an aspect that the Indian Govt. needs to look at closely."

This sentiment is highly reflective of Indian behavior, our need to shirk off responsibility and redirect blame. It isn’t the government that is to blame. It is the Indian public. A nation, taking a crap on Rathore, without even knowing what the reason for his poor performance might have been. And even if there is no reason, I believe our medal winners (and prospects) deserve a little more respect than they are currently being shown

But what irks me more than everything else Indians do is the fact that some of these critics aren’t too appreciative of the fact that our medal winners are getting the attention that they are currently receiving.

"Now lets move our focus towards the sportsmen themselves. Vijender Kumar has already started talking in terms of modeling. Sushil Kumar seems to be completely over the moon. Its obvious that these people have started losing their focus even before their actual journey has commenced. At a time when they should start concentrating on the Commonwealth Games, India's so called medal winners are everywhere except for where they should be."

Note: They are not “so-called” winners.

Well, it is alright when those douche bags get coke and Pepsi deals, isn’t it? I find nothing wrong with the Indian sportsmen and women cashing in on their newfound and (possibly) short lived fame due to their “so-called” Olympic triumphs. After all we are a fickle nation with no regard for our sports heroes. Maybe you will remember some of our athletes that had to sell their medals1 from other events in order to survive. Or maybe you do not. But that is our nature. And it is this nature that has dawned on these three men and they deserve to make the best of what they have now. May they never have to worry about selling their hard earned medals.

But all this begs the question, who is to blame; when our system rewards performances after results and provides no impetus (different from incentives) for our athletes (cricketers aren't athletes in my opinion). I don’t have the answer, and I don’t think Indians really care either. The question will be put on the back burner until a few months before the 2012 Olympics.

But all this doesn’t hold a candle to the final and most absurd accusation, one that pisses me off so much that I believe that anyone that dare make such an accusation deserves castration; and that is for the lack of time to construct an appropriate torture that matches the blasphemy. It is said that the reason we had so many ‘flakers’ these Olympics was due to the fact that they lack passion. To those cricket loving douche bags that know not true passion when they see it, I hope you rot in the world’s dirtiest cesspool

I don’t see how they can levy this accusation, with reasonable seriousness, when our sportsmen who toil in their respective sports even though the chances of any glory are minimal, even if they do bring in the results (Karnam Malleswari won a few lakhs for her bronze and some Arjuna Award or some titular facade). Most of them toil in their sports into obscurity. Few have heard of the gallant sportsmen who fight so that we may one day have an Abhinav Bindra or an Akhil Kumar.

India doesn’t deserve the medals these young men and women bring in. And while I will be hurt if we continue to perform as we have in the past, I believe the Indian nation deserves nothing more.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pradhan Mantri Mayawati

Yes, India is a technical superpower. We are The IT nation. Our IT services are so brilliant that American companies outsource these jobs in spite of the negative publicity it generates. So wonderful are they that they are a 6 billion dollar industry, contributing to over 7 percent of our GDP and 35% of our exports.

Apparently there aren’t any BSP supporters who can code. No, they can’t hire our wonderful IT professionals and programmers to build themselves a functioning website. Wait a minute, dalits can’t read, can they? That must be it; they are so impoverished and illiterate that a website would serve no purpose!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Rest in Peace, My Love!

My 500 gig external hard disk died on me a few days back, just as I was about to load a movie I had backed up on it. I spent a little over 2 hours trying to figure out if I could revive it somehow, even if briefly to transfer all my saved files, or just the important ones. Along with my movie collection, I lost all my music and all my saved files from when I had formatted my laptop last.

Now, I’m usually quite unorganized, so I have no clue about what files I had on them. I felt a little saddened at this loss, because I had spent a lot of time tagging my music collection. I’d spend an hour or two every week as and when I could spare it to tag my collection, rate them and make play lists. Not to mention the more important files.

But what I didn’t expect was the reaction of people. The first people that found out about this “sudden loss” were my roommates and a few friends. Their tones were grave and almost condolent, with one sounding like I had lost a family member or close friend. I joked about the reaction wondering why it had evoked such a reaction.

However, a few minutes ago, another friend, responded in the same manner, in a chat conversation when I broke the news.

TDD: oh... my external hdd conked out
lost all my data
and the hdd
Anon1: yikes
TDD: yeah
Anon1: how many movies was it?
TDD: I think that’s why I didn’t reply the last time
over 350
Anon1: uh-oh
am sorry

Now this seemed far from a coincidence. Too many people had reacted that way. Sure I was sad that it had conked out. Sure I would have to re-sort and re-tag all my audio files. Sure I will have to rebuild my collection without a clue as to what it included. But, people, let’s be realistic, it is only a bit of electronic equipment. All the files that I lost, I can re-acquire! We are truly in an age where malfunction of electronic equipment is a heartfelt loss. The expression of sorrow was probably more genuine than if it were the actual loss of life. We are truly desensitized, truly fucked.