Thursday, September 15, 2011

Short Term Focus FTW

(Thoughts from a chat conversation last night)

The biggest thing on my mind, at most times, is "Where shall I have lunch?". If today's been done with, then the question oft changes to "Where shall I have lunch tomorrow?" with  a sprinkling of "What's for tea?"

Around me, I see friends getting married and having kids and what not. That always scares me because the only thing I'm still worried about is my next snack.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm all for lunch and lunch breaks and the like. It's a good thing this very clear, razor sharp short term focus. I only bring it up because people  at my workplace (the minion rank and file ones (which includes me), termed "flunks" by the powers-that-be) are wondering who will tempt them with delicious coffee trips and exotic lunches once I'm gone.

I like to believe that once I'm left, they will hang up a little sign on my desk which reads "Missing, presumably fed". You will, right guys?

(Credits to Douglas Adams for the last bit)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

At Right Angles to Reality

This is about stuff from over 4 years ago. In net-terms that's an era ago: almost infinity. To give you an idea: At that time, hardly anyone I knew read XKCD. I had to explain to most what I liked about a comic which is drawn using stick figures. Abstruse Goose had just started and Dresden Codak was still a flitting thought in Aaron Diaz's mind. I had not come across Reddit yet!

Back then, Sandhya and I created a few panels of a webcomic - a take on the people, stereotypes and popular jokes of IIT. I would write these and Sandhya would use the breaks from her EE-DD to draw them. Then I'd colour them and post online. I wrote a total of about 35 panels, but eventually we drew 7 before the project abruptly halted and was relegated to a "hiatus" stage.

Shashi made some valiant efforts to keep this alive by ripping off our work and putting in his own story-lines: 1 2 3 4 - thanks for the effort and please feel free to rip off any others too :)

Anyhows: Here are the original 7 panels. Here's wishing Goodbye to Nerby.

May 11, 2007: Once Upon a Time, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

May 12, 2007: Strip #2

May 30, 2007: Strip #3

May 30, 2007: Strip #4

May 30, 2007: Strip #5

June 1, 2007: Dead Man's Chest

June 8, 2007: Muthu Returns! Encore!

Goodbye Nerby.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Goodbye Marker-World

Around this time about 3 years ago, Mohit "Giddu" Gidwani and I were prisoners in that Red-walled sought-after prison complex that we eventually grew to know and love, IIM-A. Desperately seeking some distraction from the pressures of academics, we conceptualized "Marker World".

Marker World was meant to be a geeky, hastily drawn together, 4-colour comic. We planned to etch our imagination on whiteboards using nothing but coloured markers and without Photoshop. We outlined various grandiose plot-lines and flatter-than-paper characters.

On October 21, 2008 we drew our first panel, titled "Hello Marker-World". To be accurate, Giddu drew it while I observed from the sidelines (from the comfortable distance of one bean bag, one could term this "backseat drawing").

Alas, we never did get down to drawing any others, and thus this lonely panel stood like a billboard on the highways of the internet, bravely weathering visitors and changing climes. Over time, the hosting service that kept the images went down and none of us noticed - not unlike those wind-demolished Tata Indicom ads on the Expressway.

Today I am shutting down the Marker World website. It was a grand idea that we never really got started upon. In memory of our times at IIM, here is that one panel which we made with much gutso and enthu.

I miss IIM, with all it's buzz and vigour. The depression and the hukkah. The frisbee and floodlights. And Economics.

Goodbye Marker-World.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Spewing Hate

This is about Facebook.

Mainly: I hate it.

There - I said so out loud. May the catharsis begin.

My first reaction to every new Facebook feature is... "How do I opt out?". The ever-raging debate: "To add or not to add family". The most inane and boring things I have ever read proudly displayed as status messages. Photos of everyone from your dog to your grandmother. Gah.

Facebook could have made a really good Addressbook. But then they added some features and blew that chance.

So, my recommendation: Sell all your facebook stock, delete your profile and join the offline bandwagon. But then I'm a cynic. And everyone knows - never take life advice from a cynic.

Over The Last Hill We Fly

Over the last hill we fly.

The shining desert city glitters below
Me, like a jewel a thousand
Pinpricks of Pale Yellow light form
Patterns discernible in the black night.

The sea beyond smells of drunken
Mirth which pays no heed to the
Oppressive norms of society.

How glorious, but this isn't my stop.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

SG 306

"Good evening sir. Welcome to fl-" I switch my brain off. Avoid hearing their artificial welcomes, two facetious smiles and a ripple of Chinese whispers.

I seat myself, buckle in. "Sir may I tell you about..." Yeah yeah bring it on bring it on. Tell me all about the lovely emergency exit. You don't really want to tell me and I definitely do not wish to listen. But unfortunately you have to tell me and I surely must pretend to listen.

Thank you very much.

I'm a row 18 traveller. I know which rows are the back emergency exits with additional legspace (row 18). Which airhostesses are going thru nervous breakdowns (look for the extra puffy eyes) and which damn pilots do not for their lives know how to make a decent announcement (the drunk ones).

I hate being a row 18 traveller.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Is that a Facebook "Like" button? :-O

Hello All.

Yes the all-pervasive "Like" button has invaded this blog too. I know, I had vowed to stay away from the Facebook AppPlatform and all the evil that it stands for. Unfortunately, Network Effects have willed me to swallow my pride and add the damn button already.

This brings me to a question of netiquette, or rather facebooketiquete: Is it acceptable for one to "Like" one's own blog postings? Anyone?

Cheerio! :-)

PS: For those looking to add the "Like" button to their own blogs, this is the easiest source I could find:

Friday, April 01, 2011

Banksy: Wall and Piece

He's a fly by night operator - draws his hood over his dyed hair, he walks into the dead of the night to arrive the scene of the crime. On foot, always on foot. He takes mere minutes to unbundle his cans of paints and specially prepared stencils.

That bizarre photo of a carefully shaded girl child holding a balloon which forms a crayoned "NO FUTURE" over by the bridge street corner was him. That defaced thousand dollar billboard with a wolf-like mouse molesting a famous celebrity was him. His trademark signature drips down, akin to a the Joker leaving a calling card behind a robbed bank.

Banksy is a British graffiti artist and political activist. Known for his contempt of government, Banksy displays his art on public surfaces and is known to even build prop pieces. Lately his every occurrence is labelled as high art and cordoned off, preserved and auctioned off for tons of money, none of which actually goes to him.

His work is vandalism. For ever anti-War depiction of children suffering, he could be put behind bars for 2 years. For every anti-authoritarian slogan written out in 7-foot high capital letters, he could be fined more than he has earned in his lifetime.

There's no light around him. He works in the dark. Banksy steps back and looks at his half complete shade of a starving little boy toting a machine gun, wondering what it'll actually look like in the daylight. He hears sirens in the distance and quietly trots off leaving his precious hour's effort still unrefined. Such is life.

Some of my favourite Baknsky works are shown in the above pictures. Check out for more stunning displays of his art.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Queen Bass

Made while watching the India vs. Pakistan match, which joyfully it seems that we shall win. Quite an entertaining evening in the end.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Pokey Rainbow

Don't Panic (Reprise)

And then, the evil aliens tried to blow their spaceship to bits by firing two missiles at them. But thanks to the "improbability drive" that powered the ship, and an accident that involved trying to compute the finest cup of tea, the missiles were transformed into a bowl of flowers and a whale!

The bowl of flowers, it turns out, was a being that had time and again been killed off on various worlds and in various forms by one of the main characters. Thus it exclaimed, "Oh no! Not again!". The whale tried to be friendly to the ground that was rushing up to meet it.

... Just realized how absurd it sounds when I explain HG2G.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Instant Karma

Story 1:
Douchebag wearing shades and leather jacket at train station decides that lines aren't for him. Cuts line right to the front, shouts at people in queue who tell him to get in line. Tries to buy ticket. Ticket guy says "First class or GTFO!". Douchebag slinks away to end of line which is now much longer. Instant Karma.

Story 2:
Rash driver dude drives rashly on the highway whilst talking on cellphone. Takes a sharp dangerous turn, thus very rudely cutting me off. Continues driving like nothing's happened and blows next signal. Look of satisfaction on my face as he's stopped by cop just 100m downroad from the signal! Instant Karma.

Story 3:
Person laughs at people for falling off windsurfing board. Said people swim and dunk person into water. Forced Instant Karma! (Yes, this one was me :-/)

Share your stories of Instant Karma too! :)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011 Is Going To Be an Eventful Year

Tunisia frees itself. Then Egypt frees itself. We watch on in awe. Now Algeria and other countries are rioting for their rights against dictatorships and autocracies.

Anonymous starts where WikiLeaks left and takes the fight to corporations and Big Government. This is going to be interesting. Oh and still waiting for those BofA documents...!

Back home, scam after scam rocks the political establishment. Are we finally saying "enough is enough" to corruption?

In America, the Republican majority seems intent on destroying whatever economic recovery has happened, intent on pushing America further into debt via military spending and the middle class into poverty.

... and we're just 44 days into the year. Eventful 2011 shall be.

Watercolours in the Sand

The Wise Master of Paint looked up from her easel, admiring the wonderful sunrise as her very own work of art. "It is le finished!" she uttered as she washed the brushes and drained the paint.

She then tipped the many-coloured palette on its side and thick paint splattered onto the beach, mixing and drying, forming a blob. Grimy percolation. Watercolours in the Sand...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Changing Horoscopes!

By now you've surely heard of the news going around: Thanks to the eternal and steady drift of the starts, horoscopes once fixed 2000 years ago no longer hold. The start and end dates have shifted - so if you were Leo earlier, possibly you are Virgo now. Or something.

Logically, the question arises - do you look up your horoscope based on when you were born or which sign you fall under in the current setting? But setting that aside, let's turn to something else.

I recently got hold of a copy of "The Demon Haunted World" by Carl Sagan. A paragraph from it reads:

A scientist places an ad in a Paris newspaper offering a free horoscope. He receives about 150 replies, each as requested, detailing a place and time of birth. Every respondent is then sent the identical horoscope, along with a questionnaire asking how accurate the horoscope had been. 94% of the respondents (and 90% if their families and friends) reply that they were at least recognizable in the horoscope. However, the horoscope was drawn up for a French serial killer. If an astrologer can get this far without even meeting his subjects, think how well someone sensitive to human nuances and not overly scrupulous might do.

... just sayin' you know... That's all.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Continuation Planning

Mozambique is one of the few remaining serene places in the world today, unspoiled by visiting tourists and their ravaging brethren: tour bus operators. Why? Well... mainly because it's a country in Souther Africa with... let us politely say "social problems".

I met a client from Mozambique today. "It's not all that bad", said he, "only rarely do you get robbed. I think it's been only 4 times in the last 10 years for me."

Shock and horror were clearly displayed on my face. I think he caught on to it, for he tried to allay my fears: "Oh it's not a problem. If someone pulls a gun on you, we simply give him all our cash. Then we go back to office and claim it all back. No risk at all!".

And he continued on in his mellow calming voice. I wasn't paying attention though: business plans were churning through my mind. Costs ("Price of red paint?") and target segments ("my frailness would draw in clients") were running through my head.

Outsourcing ("perhaps I can hire people to get robbed for me?") and thoughts of insurance were hammered out as well. Seemed like a perfect business plan.

However, when the topic of "Continuation Planning" was raised... I sort of decided against the idea.

Still. Mozambique. Not all that bad huh?

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Can You See The Sun?

Can you see the Sun?
Misty dawns loom
White light, hard won
For flowers to bloom.

Can you see the Sun?
Midday casts white
Shadows and outlines
Of smoke and mirrors.

Can you see the Sun?
Evening rushes
In a hurry to
Herald a Night Sky.