Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Eisner awards for this year are out and they were good. Nice to see Grant Morrison winning for Seven Soldiers and All-Star Superman! I just wish Superman Returns had been based on All-Star Superman instead of the older movies.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Nice post Vicky.

But do you really think that a life in suburbia with a nice white picket fence and 2.3 kids and a black labrador is what you want? I'm not so sure because if that's what you wanted then why were you in love with Bombay to begin with? Unless you're really rich you ain't never gonna get a picket fence in Bombay. But you know that already.

A life in Bombay does unfortunately involve flooded streets, bus strikes and the kids begging on the trains. Those aren't the things that endear anyone to Bombay. And the things that do aren't really that easy to pick out. Maybe it's the thick black smoke that causes pretty girls' faces to break out into acne, maybe it's the humidity that makes summers unbearable and that standing bus ride from Churchgate to Borivali all the more hateful. Or maybe it's the first shower in June that catches you unaware, ruining your favorite expensive silk tie but still leaving you happier because it's cooler now and your nightclothes won't stick. Perhaps it's the claustrophobically closely spaced buildings, that make open spaces seem special and sacred. Maybe it's khau galli or perhaps it's the little transistor radio's that everyone carries on the day that India is playing Pakistan. Maybe it's diwali chakli and besan laddus and shankarpali and chiwda or all those crazy kids running after those damn kites during sankranti. I don't know.

But I do know that if you choose the picket fence your life will never have that. It will be one day after another with the man of your dreams, in the same house, in the same neighborhood, attending the same cultural events, raising your kids and tolerating their bratty friends. It will sure be safer. But somehow I get the feeling you'll spend those years when your kids go off to college sitting and remembering Bombay. Smelling the smoke, tasting the garlic chutney in the morning vada-pav.

I don't know. Maybe I'm saying this because I'm safe here in Madison and I'm that much younger than you. Maybe it's because I miss Bombay, miss all those things that you take for granted. But on that Tuesday morning when I got an email from my brother telling me "everyone is safe" I never felt more helpless in my life. And when my mom got home at 10 pm and told me that she had been in the next compartment from one of the bombs, I swear I couldn't think straight for the rest of the day. I just wanted to hug her. But I couldn't and won't be able to for months. Because I'm safe here in Madison.

I guess I've rambled on. And probably not very coherently too. But really, don't make a decision that big based on a random act of terror pulled off by morons who don't value anything that decent people live by. If you are going to move, make it for something else.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Indian gov blocks Blogspot, Typepad, Geocities blogs!

Fantastic! That's all we need, the worlds largest democracy censoring the Internet, joining the likes of China, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Ethiopia.

In any case, there are ways to get around the block which include the following:
Of course, all this is contingent on being able to read this post in the first place :(

Update: Apparently the blocking is not related to the Bombay blasts but rather to curb the spread of religious propaganda! This means the ban probably will not be lifted anytime soon. On the other hand, assuming that the ISPs have been asked to block specific blogs on blogspot, it would be up to the ISPs to ensure that they don't block the domain blogspot.com. (If the ISPs have been asked to block the entire blogspot.com domain, then India does really fall into the same league as Pakistan.)

Visit Chennai MetBlogs and NDTV for more details.

Update 2: Blog blockade will be lifted in 48 hours says Rediff. Quoting from Rediff:
"He [Amitabh Singhal] acknowledged that some ISPs -- he insisted it wasn't all -- mistook the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) notice and blocked entire blog domains, adding that it was technically feasible to block a sub-domain and leave others still accessible."
Last Update: So the domain level block on blogspot.com is gone but the block on a few specific sites remain. This makes us better than China and Pakistan but put us firmly with the likes of Germany, the UK and France. I guess we're not quite up there with the US yet when it comes to freedom of speech. But I have hope.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Andrew Sullivan posted this email from someone in Mumbai on his blog:
Not-so-Dear Terrorist,

Even if you are not reading this we don't care. Time and again you tried to disturb us and disrupt our life - killing innocent civilians by planting bombs in trains, buses and cars. You have tried hard to bring death and destruction, cause panic and fear and create communal disharmony but every time you were disgustingly unsuccessful. Do you know how we pass our life in Mumbai? How much it takes for us to earn that single rupee? If you wanted to give us a shock then we are sorry to say that you failed miserably in your ulterior motives. Better look elsewhere, not here.

We are not Hindus and Muslims or Gujaratis and Marathis or Punjabis and Bengaliies. Nor do we distinguish ourselves as owners or workers, govt. employees or private employees. WE ARE MUMBAIKERS (Bombay-ites, if you like). We will not allow you to disrupt our life like this. On the last few occasions when you struck (including the 7 deadly blasts in a single day killing over 250 people and injuring over 500 in 1993), we went to work next day in full strength. This time we cleared everything within a few hours and were back to normal - the vendors placing their next order, businessmen finalizing the next deals and the office workers rushing to catch the next train. (Yes the same train you targeted)

Fathom this: Within 3 hours of the blasts, long queues of blood donating volunteers were seen outside various hospital, where most of the injured were admitted. By 12 midnight, the hospital had to issue a notification that blood banks were full and they didn't require any more blood. The next day, attendance at schools and office was close to 100%, trains & buses were packed to the brim, the crowds were back. The city has simply dusted itself off and moved one - perhaps with greater vigor.

We are Mumbaikers and we live like brothers in times like this. So, do not dare to threaten us with your crackers. The spirit of Mumbai is very strong and can not be harmed.
Yeah, that about nails it. I hope all the readers from Mumbai and their loved ones are safe.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Following Vikster's lead here's some YouTube crazy for you:

Spiderman: I had just about started going to school when this was on DD. I remember singing the theme song with gobbledygook made-up English during kindergarten in front of the whole class! This was when I had just about barely started to understand the alphabet, a full year before I could read a single word!

He-Man: Everyone remembers He-Man. Probably the most memorable intro ever. And I'm sure everyone's parents remember the toys which they had to buy. This version on YouTube is botched in the end though.

Giant Robot: Although the official English translation of the name is Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot everyone from India who got DD2 in the '80s remembers this as Giant Robot. The high point of this show used to be all the crazy monsters (and the crazy homemade names we would come up with for them.) Memorable ones were the Eye Monster, the Ball Monster (which was a rolling ball with spikes it could stand on), "Sandwich" (which was a monster which could split into two pieces and sandwich Giant Robot), and of course the Other Giant Robot which was more powerful than our hero but couldn't stand up for some reason. I'm sure everyone remembers doing the steps - swing arms left ("kachink"), swing arms right ("kachink"), swing arms in front ("kachink"), load finger missiles ("chink, chink, chink" etc.), fire!

Switching gears from the '80s to the '90s (or rather from Before Cable to After Cable which I'm sure is the best way to categorize Indian television), here's some Prabhu Deva dancing to some kickass Rahman.

Chikku Bukku: I remember the first time I saw this video I was simply dumbstruck. It just seemed impossible to dance that way and yet the dude was doing it! I don't think I've seen better dancing anywhere else actually. And of course the most frustrating aspect of this video was how little airtime it actually got.

Urvasi Urvasi: After Chikku Bukku, Prabhu Deva was famous (the lone picked-on Tamilian in school made sure of that actually!), and when Kadhalan was released (as Humse Hai Mukabala in Hindi) everyone knew who he was. I prefer the dancing in this video to any other in Kadhalan.

And to finish you off on a happy note, some psychedelic trip-hop from the 2000s

Nice Weather for Ducks
: I discovered Lemon Jelly completely by accident. I was watching Eurodance videos at viva.tv (I miss Eurodance!) when I stumbled upon this gem of a video. Watching it once is all it takes to get hooked. (And don't blame me if you find yourself singing the chorus in public.) (All you engineer geeks will also notice that it stretches the video codec to its limits and then breaks it completely!) This is some of the happiest music ever!