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Nothing haute couture in this one

Jeez, my last post was more than ten days ago. The last few days have been really hectic for me. Last week, there was this international conference hosted by my college on development communication. Then there was ‘Fresher’s day’ were we seniors ‘welcomed’ the first years to college. A boring affair actually. And to top it all I have been having this really bad cold. What irritates me the most is when I feel like sneezing and am all set to go through with it, the feeling disappears at the last moment. Hate it!

There was nothing international about the conference except maybe one Thai guy I can remember. Rest were all Indians. I guess it did not even qualify as an ‘Asian’ conference. It went on for three days and numerous sessions, of which I attended none. So what was it then that made my week ‘hectic’? Well, there was this fashion show that ‘showcased the different ethnic cultures of India’, to entertain the delegates. What is a fashion show doing at a conference meant for intellectuals? I don’t know, to be honest. There was also a western music show and a few dances as well to go along. Unfortunately or fortunately I was among the many who were ‘picked’ for the fashion show. So there I was, ‘walking the ramp’ for the first time since 9th grade back in school.  Me and my partner, a chick from first year, were designated the state of Haryana. But when the costumes arrived and I put it own, I realized that I was no Haryanvi but Jawaharlal Nehru. Did they lift the kurta-pajama from Nehru’s memorablia? All that was missing was a red rose on the chest. During the practice we never got the pose right. We were supposed to pose in opposite directions but somehow we almost always managed to screw it up. Finally we did manage to get it right, and we told ourselves, ‘first left, then right, then again left’. Apparently someone forgot to remind the same to us before the final show. So just as expected we screwed up the pose. To add insult to injury someone clicked a picture of the pose and put it on facebook, and in it there I was ‘ogling’ at her. Brilliant. To add to the woes, we almost forgot to make the exit from the stage on time. I promise to never again to appear in a fashion show, NEVER!

Fresher’s day is supposed to be a time when the seniors ‘get to know’ the juniors. But this time around, I already knew few of them thanks to the above mentioned tragedy. There was nothing much to talk about the day really. The emcees, with their lame jokes and same lame dance performances from the juniors, there was nothing really in it.Just like every year, the professors made it to a point to spoil the fun by telling not to ‘harass’ the freshers. Apparently one fo the first year GIRLS rides an Apache RTR-160 to college. I was scared. In case you don’t know, I still haven’t got a drivers license. I was expecting at least the food to be something more tolerant.I remember for last year’s freshers day we had got a packet of maa and samosas as refreshments. No such luxuries this time though, for all we got was what a bhajji the size of matchbox and some tea. Or was it coffee. I don’t remember.





GPRS rates of 1 paise/kb; call rates of 1 paise/second – Just some of the cool features India’s latest mobile operator Tata Docomo is bringing. The GSM service is a joint venture between India’s very own Tata Tele Services and Japan’s predominant network NTT Docomo. Tata’s CDMA service Indicom hasn’t been all that good, but the attractive tariffs enough should be able to woo people to the new service. Considering number portability is just around the corner, prices shoud be dropping even more as the operators would be ready to do anything to prevent customers from jumping ship.

At the moment I’m using Vodafone. The service is pretty decent and most of my friends are using it too. But the feature that I’ve been attracted to the most has obviously been its super-good Internet services. 10 p/10 kb at zero rental is music to the ears of any net-savvy person. It has hepled me to keep in touch with Facebook and Twitter. But now that Docomo has gone one step further in charging users  for every 1 kb rather than 10 kb,  it will only make net on the go even more cheaper. Btw Airtel’s internet sucks simply because it has no zero rental GPRS plans. I don’t really talk on the phone but that may just change with Docomo’s 1 sec pulse. But even this may change with Docomo’s arrival. This is even better than the 10 paise per call offers on Vodafone and other networks. On the flipside it lacks enough SMS offers.  This could affect its popularuty among the text-crazy teens and the youth.

The government had said Mobile Number Portability would be ready by mid-2009. This is especially helpful when you are unhappy about your service provider, and not being able to switch to another provider because you don’t want to lose your current cell phone number. But now, you may as well say good-bye to such fears as you can switch to a different operator while retaining your old number. This means increased competetion and ultimately it is the consumer who gets to smile. Docomo’s launch is thus very well timed.

I have to admit that Vodafone is definitely in danger of losing at least one happy and loyal customer, Moi. But whether that happens or not is in their hands. The customer’s motto is simple –Gimme More.


To hell with Orkut

The past one year has seen my mouse cursor go over “Delete Account” on Orkut more than the number of times I’ve ‘scraped’ someone. Yet every time some invisible force within me prevents my finger from pressing that left button on the mouse while at it. The point is simple – ORKUT IS SHIT. Yeah, I might have not said the same thing back in 2004 when I joined Google’s latest ‘wonder’. Even though I’ve changed a lot since then, Orkut never seemed to have got the ‘Change’ bug. Not even during Obama’s Presidential campaign.

The mantra of Orkut’s compatriot Facebook’s (I wouldn’t dare  say rival because Orkut never has been any competition for FB) success have been Change, Evolution, Revamps. True, FB does have a new group popping up protesting every time they come up with a new interface, but I’ve always liked FB ‘reinventing itself’. Orkut came up with something called ‘themes’, though only in name. Anyone who’d used the themes would know they attract nobody but Indians and Brazilians with the mindsets of 2 year old kids. Seriously, what else should you say when you got ‘themes’ depicting a tiger or a snowman or a friendly ghost. The album section which is ripped of from that of FB is like one of those cheap Bollywood remakes of foreign movies. Unlike in FB there are no notifications and so you end up seeing  a comment on some photo of yours a month after it was posted. There is not one decent application worth even checking out, let alone using it regularly.FB has more than just sending messages across. You have a lot of applications that you can actually get addicted to like I am to Mafia Wars. Commenting on pictures can be more fun than anything you could think of. I’ve seen comments running upto more than 100 for some people’s photos. Yet the only thing you do on Orkut is sit, scrap and wait for the return scrap. And they say THIS is addicting. Jeez. Really?

But what pisses me the most is when you’re searching for someone using their own name and you find nothing. Rather they tell you to type some god knows what characters and some weird quotation or song from some stupid movie in the search box to locate the profile. The problem only doubles up when someone you may know sends you a friend request but as a name they have those weird characters and if that was not enough they have an image of David Beckham or a Hillary Duff as Display Pics. How the hell are you supposed to know who the person is? Why would you wanna put up the picture of someone who doesn’t even look remotely like you. I may be able to understand if girls say their pictures might be misused, but guys? Do they actually think they’re so gorgeous that people ‘misuse’ their pictures on gay-porn sites? It is your own fuckin face and if you don’t think its good enough, then no else is gonna think it is.

I’m not saying Facebook is THE best social networking site out there. You don’t have to join FB because of its brilliance but rather because of Orkut’s stupidity. I’ve a lot of good friends who are not able to relieve themselves of their ‘addiction’ for Orkut and refuse to switch to FB.  This is the invisible force I was talking about preventing me from deleting my account. If I delete my account, then it would mean that I lose my only resort to keep in touch with them online. To define Orkut in one word would be ‘monotonous’.


Wimbledon final – The greatest game of tennis ever played

Roger ‘Fedex’ Federer (SUI) beat Andy ‘A-Rod’ Roddick (USA)  5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14

4 hours and 15 minutes of insanity. This is tennis at its best. If you thought Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon 2008 was astonishing, then what would you say about the battle that just got over? Who would have ever thought in their wildest dreams that an American who last won a Grand Slam way back in 2003 would be the one to challenge the might of Fedex? Anybody who saw the match would say Andy Roddick was chosen by God himself. But then Federer had the last laugh, probably at God himself. Such was the greatness of the match. This is what a friend on FB had to say about it, “Federer, you are a legend. But Andy, you won thousands of hearts today. What a performer!”. Absolutely true.

Greatness PersonifiedRussell ‘Gladiator’ Crowe was among the numerous celebrities present at the event. But even he would agree Gladiator is a term that no longer applies to him, rather to a man from the Alps who fought his heart out. Sir Alex Ferguson also present there, might have sold off  Ronaldo and signed Owen. But even the combined greatness of the two could never match that of Roger Federer. I’m sure he would have wished more than once during the match, that either Federer or Roddick was not a tennis player but a footballer. But the person in the stands who mattered more than anyone else was the Legend himself, Pete Sampras. It was his record that Federer was chasing. Something that he did achieve after a marathon 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14 match. Yes, you read it right, 16-14 in the final set. When was the last time you were witness to something like this.A fitting end

Before this match, I was also among many who questioned the ability of Federer. Of course, it is easy to say it was Nadal’s absence and not Federer’s brilliance that has made him a 15 time Grand Slam champion. It may be true. And it does look at the moment that Nadal might the only person capable of bettering Federer. But till then at least, it would be safe to say,Roger Federer – The greatest man to have ever held a tennis raquet. I’m sure that is something even the likes of  Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver and John McEnroe would agree. Hell, even Sampras.

What happened today at Centre court was not just a great match, it was history being made. I don’t think you will ever get to see anything this thrilling in any sport, let alone tennis. Federer won the Championship; Roddick won the hearts.

Greatness was not Federer. Greatness was not Roddick. Greatness was the match itself.


Michael Owen arrives at Old Trafford

Michael Owen playing alongside Neville, Rooney and Scholes not just for England but also for Manchester United. Is it possible? 24 hours ago the answer may have been no. But it is now onfirmed that the injury friendly striker has penned a deal with the Reds that will keep him at Old Trafford till 2011. He will become only the 4th player in history to have played for both United and their sworn enemies Liverpool. Honestly, being a Red Devils fan I really don’t know whether to take this new move positively or not. Sir Alex has sure made a huge gamble by signing him.

The latest Red Devil in town Owen sure has had a roller-coaster career. A boyhood Everton fan, he went against his father’s wishes to join Everton’s mersyside rivals Liverpool. During his time at Anfield, he was regarded as one of the world’s most feared strikers, having netted a staggering 118 goals in 216 appearances for the club. But in 2005 he made the biggest blunder of his career by moving to an already star- studded Real Madrid. Mostly benched and under-performing, he was sold off to Newcastle United later. His time there was injury ridden and he rarely showd glimpses of his much talked about prowess. The Magpies however were relegated this past season and Owen has found himself without a club to play for. Hull City were first to publicly acknowledge their interest in the player. There had also been offers from Tottenham, Portsmouth and Stoke City.

Michael Owen will be keen to fill be keen to fill in the void left by the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez.  Sir Alex Ferguson will be hoping that Owen would  don a similar role like that of Henrik Larsson two years back. The former Swedish captain had joined United on a 6 month long loan deal after stunning spells at clubs like Feyenord, Celtic, Barcelona etc. Despite being in the swansong of his career, Larsson was able to help United to a League Championship while providing useful guidance to youngsters like Rooney and Ronaldo. One should also not forget when a 35 year old Edwin van der Sar was signed by Fergie there were quiet a few eyebrows raised. Since then, van der Sar has proved to among the best goalkeepers in Europe. Fergie had even called him the best keeper at Old Trafford since Peter Schmeichel. United legends such as Eric Cantona and Laurent Blanc were similar signings too.

As you can see, Owen can definitely be at comfort with the club’s history with ‘finished’ players. However he will have to see that his fitness doesn’t turn out to be a roadblock. The best thing to expect  from the striker though, will be a goal against his former club and United’s arch-rivals Liverpool. Now, that would be mouthwatering.


Skitter and me

Skitter will always be remembered. The 5 odd hours I spent with him/her (I choose to call ‘him’) are probably never to be regained.  For 2 odd hours, Skitter was more than just a pet to me, before being gifted away to a friend. She was the one who christened him Skitter. If you’re wondering what kind of species  Skitter was, well he was what you might call a Praying Mantis, all but 3cm long and green in color. And a bug.

I found Skitter majestically seated on the vast hairyness of my friend’s head. I placed my finger next to him and he immediately jumped on to it. He was there, making his way between fingers and both my hands. Mantis religiosa as the scientific world prefers to call his kinsmen, became officially my ‘favorite living organism’ almost instantly. I loved the way he held his two forelegs and ‘prayed’. Enough proof that even animals believe in God; Atheists can go fuck themselves.


Once in the classroom my friend decided she should take care of Skitter and that’s exactly what she made sure. And so tiny Mr. Skitter jumped from my hands to hers. Even when he was not active he didn’t bother leaving behind his new home. He just sat there, occasionally moving, quite contrary to what he was on my hands. He was still seated on her forearms when we were munching away Dahi Bhel Pooris and Paneer Parathas at a chat shop 5 hours later. Skitter even managed to survive Sarah’s lectures, something even we barely manage to.

My friend walked away towards her home and along with her, Skitter. Few hours later her facebook update pops up, “Skitter is missing”. I felt my heart being shattered into a thousand pieces. Yes, a BUG broke my heart. After all, not everyone is lucky enough to have a Mantis as a pet, even it is for only 2 hours.

Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson and Billy Mays. You may add Skitter the Praying Mantis to the list too.


LGBT rights in India: A contentious issue

Forty years after the the world witnessed the start of the gay rights movement in the form of New York’s Stonewall riots, Chennai became the latest city to hold a gay-parade. It felt nice seeing so many people of  alternative sexualities coming out in the open in flamboyance. Love it or hate it, homosexuality is here to stay. It is high time that we realise that the LGBT community are also human beings just like any of us.

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is a highly debated subject in the media of late. The legislation has been misused by the police to harass gays and other sexual minorities for years now. Critics of the gay movement have been arguing that homosexuality is a western idea, which I find is totally absurd. Before the arrival of the British India used to be home to one of the most sexually liberated societies of the world. It was Vatsyayana, an Indian who taught the world the art of the Kamasutra. Stone carvings belonging to ancient India depict men having sex with men. Why, even bestiality has been depicted in these age old images.  The anti-gay laws were drafted in 1860 by the British at the height of the Victorian era, a time when Britain was in one of its most culturally conservative phases. So why this hypocritical idea that homosexuality is a western concept and we Indians should shun it?

Now if you are among those retards who think gays are sinners and Section 377 should be impossed stringently, then you should also realise the law does not just affect gays, but straight people like you and me too. This is what the law reads: “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.” In simple words the law says that anal or oral sex even between opposite sexes is a crime. Britain repealed its anti-gay laws in 1967, but 42 years down the line, India is still in the dark ages with respect to same sex relations. Critics allege that decriminalising gay-sex would increase child abuse cases and even spread HIV/AIDS. But fact of the matter is that it has proven to be the opposite. The government should rather change its rape laws so that both the genders are included as victims in it.

The current government has been so far taking a positive approach towards the issue. However law minister Mr.Veerappa Moily’s statement that ‘all groups would be consulted before taking a decision’, is not in the right direction. It is obvious that religious groups especially the Catholic Church will oppose any amendment in the law. India is a secular country and its laws should not be influenced by any religion. I’m a Catholic, but at the same time I’m also a human being. The Bible says gays are a disgrace, but the same Bible also says love one another and treat everyone equally. Not everything said in the Bible is right. You just have to take the positives out of  it, or any religious text for that matter.

India may still have a long way to go for gay-marriages, but at least decriminalising homosexuality would help it in being labelled a progressive country. But at the end of the day, it is not just the law books that matter, what goes on in our minds also play a major role. For years LGBT people have been subject to social stigma. ‘Normal’ people have been calling them ‘abnormal’ and a blot in the society. Unless and until we see a change in the homophobic attitude of the society, gays will still choose to remain in the closet. Homosexuality is nothing against nature, in fact even animals have been known to show homosexual behaviour. Why should we heterosexuals have problems with homosexuals, when they don’t have any problems with our sexuality. Right to Equality is a fundamental right in the democracy of ours, and it should apply to all kinds of people, sexual minorities included.

P.S: I had a tough time deciding whether or not to write this article as I was afraid that my friends would brand me a gay. This is the kind of stigma I’m talking about. But fact is I’m straight and also comfortable with my sexuality. But my straightness doesn’t mean I have the right to bash gays.

I’m Straight, but not Narrow