Friday, November 06, 2015

"Judgement Of Heaven"

A lonely cry for help preaching out for help to anyone
A silent prayer to god to help you on your way
I've been depressed so long
It's hard to remember when I was happy
I've felt like suicide a dozen times or more
But that's the easy way, that's the selfish way
The hardest part is to get on with your life

You're searching in the dark clutching at straws to find a way
You take the tarot cards and throw them to the wind
You ? question your beliefs your inner thoughts,
Your whole existence
And if there is a good then answer if you will
And tell me of my fate, tell me of my place
Tell me if I'll ever rest in peace

If you could live your life again
Would you change a thing or leave it all the same
If you had the chance again
Would you change the thing at all
When you look back at your past
Can you say that you are proud of what you've done
Are there times when you believe
That the right you thought was wrong

All of my life I have believed
Judgement of heaven is waiting for me

All of my life now I have believed
Judgement of heaven awaits for me...

Was discussing on SMS (!) about some rock albums. Topic came up and I admitted that The X Factor is my favourite Iron Maiden album. With songs like the one above, how can I be wrong?

Friday, October 09, 2015

Naveen's Clicks

Yup, finally posted up 3 images on my site. After 5 years! My camera has been crying :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

A slightly ugly Indian

Sensational headlines rule the day. And maybe my post title is sensational too. But read on and let me know in the comments if the blog heading was warranted or not. Let me also make it clear here that all the views here are my own and only my own. Don't start frothing at the mouth and sending me hate mail. Correct something in this post and I will clarify it if I find it right.

This post is about the Ugly Indian. Yes, I know many of you have heard of them. Maybe some of you have even worked with them or even volunteered for a spot-fix. I'll admit that I was inspired by what the Ugly Indian stands for and does - basically to shut your mouth and get work done. This is usually done by getting together some volunteers and selecting a "spot" that requires cleaning and "fixing" up. The volunteers gather at the spot at the allocated time, start cleaning up and maybe even painting, fixing the area. As the work is completed, people just go back to their normal lives. There is no brouhaha about this work at all - no social activity like name taking, introductions etc. All this is very interesting from a sociology perspective. In this modern age where everyone wants to tag themselves to any activity on the internet and it is all about "scoring points", these guys are different.

Well, as I got an email for a spot-fix at a "major" spot somewhere near M.G Road and it being quite close to home, I opted in and confirmed my spot. Reached early morning and was happy to see someone from the Ugly Indian there already - a Mr. N. More people joined in and it was nice to see that we all were just given a few words of advise and the work started in right earnest. Appreciate Mr.N for overseeing stuff and putting in a real helping hand at times. Also, I would like to make clear at this time that they had provided many tools for us to use - gloves to protect the hands, hoes, shovels, trowels, paint, mugs, water, brushes etc. So we were never wanting for any particular tool. All in all, work went on well and all the people who volunteered had an equal hand in cleaning up and brightening up the spot. All in all, took around some 5 hours of solid back-breaking work.

Well, I was quite satisfied with the little bit of giving-back-to-Bangalore that I could and me and the last few volunteers left were casually chatting with Mr.N. It was then that I asked him if they would provide such tools and logistics support if we decided on a spot-fix ourselves. But Mr.N said that they don't. I was a little surprised by that but hey, there is nothing as a free lunch right? I really don't see any sense in the Ugly Indian providing such support either - but perhaps there is an enterprising soul out there reading this post and thinking up a plan of renting out such tools to anyone who decides to set up a spot-fix. Win, win for everyone!

But what quite honestly hit me quite hard was what Mr.N said next. I think - I am not sure - that what he said next isn't known to everyone. That they have a signed MOU with the BBMP. Now, this might not seem like a big deal to a lot of people. But it is to me. Why you ask? Well, it is simply because the Ugly Indian (in my sight at least) paled from being a warrior who took on the powerful government (whose work it was in the first place) and cleaned up sections of the city without expecting anything in return, to just another "NGO". That they request permission from the BBMP before they even started work at any particular area. In fact, this was also told to me by Mr.N that they have a list of "spots" - a list maintained along with the BBMP and that the Ugly Indian would send a request to fix a spot and once the BBMP approved the fix, they would go ahead and get it done.

I know I will face a lot of flak for the above observation. People will say that the good the Ugly Indian does outweighs the fact that they have an MOU with the government. And I agree. Totally. But for me, it just removes the "goodness" of the work that they have been doing and places them on some level that I would place a normal NGO on. The romantic view of the nameless warrior is gone to be replaced by some guy, though filled with good intentions, doesn't take on the government but requests the government's permission, to act like he does.

The MOU, for me, has changed my perception of the Ugly Indian. I thought I was the only one who might feel this way but after I spoke to friends about the MOU, they felt the same too. Perhaps I should have also Kaam Chalu, Mooh Bandh instead of posting about it up on my blog but hey, some people might think like me and see it from my perspective.

EDIT - 20/04 - Also, some people haven't seen it from this viewpoint - that we "volunteers" at "spotfixes" are getting the government's work done for FREE! Instead of forcing the government to do it's job, we have ended up doing their work!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Glow: The First Smart Headphones with Laser Light

Aha, came across another interesting project on Kickstarter. This one is simply called Glow. It is actually a pair of headphones that pulses with laser light according to the music you are playing and you can even control the subtlety of the lighting and which notifications. Interesting idea.

You can even reply to messages etc using their app.

Go check it out on their page on Kickstarter - here.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Beam: The smart projector that fits in any light socket

Heck, it has been too long since I posted anything of interest in this blog. So here is what I am going to do - pick up interesting stuff that I find elsewhere and share them here. Hey, easy. Don't have to think or wrack my brains to write up stuff.

Kickstarter. An interesting site which helps in crowd-funding of projects started by ordinary people. When browsing the site, came across this very interesting project called Beam - it is a projector that can fit in a light bulb socket. No, not the type here in India but at least the type in the US - the screw type. Don't worry, we'll find some jugaad to fix that when it is produced.

You can either screw in this small projector into the bulb socket or use a wire and place it on it's side and project it on the wall. Very interesting idea and since it is always connected to the internet, you can even project a game that you are playing with a friend on your phone.

Read up more about this project here - Beam: The smart projector that fits in any light socket. And you can also contribute monetarily to the project.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Re: Apologies, from Flipkart

Dear Sachin and Binny,

Thanks for the mail. An empty apology. An apology nonetheless, you say. True that. Not many Indian companies have the balls to admit their mistakes. Their wrong-doings - none. But neither have you.

Like you admit, you have failed our trust. You did build up some credibility over the years and stood apart from other online retailers. But I somehow think that you took a gamble with losing that credibility and have actually gotten away with it. Because it is different how things work in this amazing country of ours. We're more easier to hoodwink. We've just got so damned used to it. From the clerk at any government office to the ministers who we elect, everyone has been pulling the wool over our eyes over the years. So what happened with your amazing sham of a sale is just that - a statistic. We've moved on after every election. I'm sure most of us have already moved on about this too. A small blip on the radar. PR can be bought. Hashtags die. Memories, in this internet age is already too damned short. Hell, even I wanted to type this out before I could forget.

Ok, let's get to what I'd called wrong-doings. Thankfully, you've neatly underlined those points in your little empty email. By the way, that was a really well played ploy. Play the little mind-trick of mentioning all the "issues" that social media picked up on and admit to them. Half the battle won. Most of us would be so overwhelmed by you admitting to those "issues" that the mind automatically starts to forgive and forget. Trump card?

Price changes - No one is talking about the non-discounted rates of products. They are talking about how prices were hiked up before the sale. To be later reduced - as a discount on the price of the product. What were you talking about in your email? That some evil gremlin came and removed the discounts?

Out-of-stock Issues - wow, for me, this a serious wrong-doing. You are telling me that you misjudged demand? After testing the market for so long - with so many flash sales? How I'd love to know how many Tab 3s you had for sale there. For me, there is something fishy about the stock numbers. And how did your infrastructure not manage to even update the values there? How did people even get to place orders then? And make payments for a product that was supposedly not in stock?

Cancellations - well, you had specific terms and conditions for this sale drafted up that said no refunds and no cancellations. But YOU cancelled so many orders? I mean, even for products that had low stock. Products that were out of stock but people were able to pay for. How does that even make sense? I know that you are returning all the money. But isn't that some major breach of trust? Did people pay you for nothing? Is that even legal? No, seriously, let me get this right. Product out of stock. Site hasn't updated this information. Person places order for non-existent product. Makes payment. Receives email that order is cancelled. This email doesn't mention the product being out of stock and that said customer was suckered into parting with his money but rather that - "due to high demand for this item and in order to provide all customers an equal opportunity to avail this great deal, we had to cancel the following items in your order". Even if at this point, you had mentioned issues with the infrastructure and that the said product was actually out of stock when the order was placed, it is fine. But you didn't. Or were you busy counting the money by then?

Website Issues - surely, infrastructure must have been scaled up significantly to handle this traffic. For me personally, the site never went down. But that was since I never tried to place an order for some of the "amazing" deals. Again, the nagging thing is that people were able to place orders for out of stock products. And pay for them. No wonder so many of them are ranting against the sale.

You seem to have ended the email on a slightly emotional note. Don't worry, by that time, you'd sold your apology to more than half the people who received it. Like I said, memories are short...

Even this will come to pass.

No thank you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Nilgiri Hills Christian Memorials

I'd read this interesting article titled "Where graves tell a story" in The Hindu a few months back. It told of a couple of researchers locating graves of English and other Europeans across the Nilgiri hills. I've done a very small bit of photography of graves in Bangalore and know how intriguing this was. Way back when I used to shoot gravestone with my friend Sunil, we thought of the idea of doing some more research on the graves in Bangalore but never managed to get it up and running.

So it was all the more interesting to see that someone had already done the same thing with graves in Nilgiris and so I looked for information on how to obtain the book. I contacted Chekkutty - one of the authors and he was kind enough to provide more information and even offer to send me the book straight away. I received the book in a few days.

The book is quite a thick volume and has around 600 pages. It is full of information! Information about the graves, names on the graves, birth, death dates, age etc. It was interesting to know the names of the some of the major diseases of those times. Did you know that you could have just died of a severe cold in those days?

This book will all the more be interesting for people who are looking for their ancestor's graves. I was just a little disappointed that the maps aren't really well reproduced - a larger scale map would have been great. And yes, somehow the photographer in me rues the lack of photographs in the book. I would have loved to see some of the amazing gravestones and headstones of those days. In fact, there are some amazing ones in Bangalore.

All in all, a very interesting book. I am hoping that I can contribute in some way to John Roberts and Chekkutty's work when they do start this here in Bangalore. You can read Chekkutty's post in his blog here -

The pic below was taken by me at a grave in Bangalore. Just love the art involved

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Killing Fields and Angkor Wat

Sanjeeb and I had written a trip plan on the site Trevolta. This is a new startup - crowd-funded travel site. Interesting concept eh? Though they had an invite only registration sometime late last year, I'd got invites and posted up this trip. I wasn't really expecting it to happen but kept looking out to see if they'd approve the trip and put it up.

Sometime in the middle of Jan, I got an email from them asking to me to edit some parts of the trip with more details and clarity. I did that and something said that my trip would get selected. And I made the changes and awesome - my trip got selected.

Now, I had to look for funding. A close friend of mine - Manu put in $500! Wow, that was enough to start off the funding. We've now made $620 and will need some more to at least make the trip on a minimum budget. It would be great if some of you could contribute

Link for our trip on the site -

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December 2013

Ok, its the last day of the year 2013 and I've missed my "one post a month" deadline for the past few months now.

Well, at least let me try posting one post a month from the new year.

Happy New Year 2014 to everyone!