The strange case of the Ayodhya report…

The recent Ayodhya report…

…slammed all the BJP leaders and cleared former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, apparently helping the Congress.

…got leaked inconveniently, apparently helping the BJP rally together and their leader LK Advani looks to be back in business.

…put former Chief Minister Kalyan Singh in the dock, apparently helping detractors of the Samajwadi Party.

…made some strange references to Mughal and Muslim rule, apparently offending the minorities and amusing the RSS.

Isn’t that so typically Indian? Every report and committee in India apparently seems to be doing a lot of things and effectively does nothing at all.

Like today is the anniversary of 26/11. Apparently a lot of things were done. Former Home Minister Shivraj Patil had to go. Vilasrao Deshmukh is no longer the Chief Minister. Kasab was caught and gave tons of vital information. We made a lot of noises against Pakistan. A lot of CCTV cameras were set up.
But effectively, we all know that we are just as vulnerable a year down the line.

Apparently we are on our way to becoming a great nation, but effectively, I don’t know…

© Sunil Rajguru

Just some things…

While I’m pretty happy with my social networking sites and emails, just some little things…

Facebook: Have you ever tried searching for your old posts on Facebook? You go down and click “Older Posts”. Then your page suddenly doubles in size. Go down and click the same thing again. Another page is added. You can keep clicking till your Web page is 100 pages long or your computer crashes, depending on how good your system is and your patience level. Why can’t they just separate it page by page like most websites do?

You can also try the search the button on the right hand top, but that’s erratic. If you know the keyword to your post, you can still find it, though it is not always reliable. Reminds me of how lousy the Wikipedia search used to be a few years back. Even if you got one letter wrong, then alternative search suggestions would not show up. Thank god they rectified that!

Desperately needed is a Search option not only for Friends/Groups, but specifically for Status Messages, Links, Notes and Application too, for both you and your Friends’ home pages.

Secondly, on the right hand side of every update you can choose to stop getting updates of a particular friend or application (like Quizzes, Farmville, Mafia Wars etc) if you are not interested. This can be undone at any time using the Edit Options button at the right hand bottom. You can also use that to limit the number of feeds to 25, 50, 250 friends, whatever…

But that’s a one-way traffic. I can moderate the updates that I “Receive” and not the ones that I “Send”. If you don’t understand what I’m saying, then let me explain. Say I have 100 Friends, 50 from the office and 50 from my family. Now if I say, “I’m tired of work.” I only want my family to see it and not my colleagues. On the other hand, I may be talking about a family get-together that my office will not at all be interested in. Facebook already allows you to make Lists. When posting a Status Update, Link, Note or updates related to other applications, you should have the choice of it appearing universally or only to certain lists of Friends. Right now they have just put the option of tagging friends on Status Updates.

I also think “Friends” is misleading. “Connections” is more applicable.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn will keep goading you to add new connections with the “People You May Know” box that comes on the right hand top. You see a familiar face and send the invite and the person doesn’t remember you well, clicking “Don’t Know” in the option. That’s fine, but if 5 people say that, then your direct invitation option will be disabled and you’ll have to furnish an email. In the long run you may also have your account disabled. Isn’t that rather harsh?

In today’s environment, you may regularly attend events, group meetings and the like. You may chat with some stranger for 15-20 days and after a few days if he sends an invite and you may not recall him. Clicking the “Don’t Know” option would be penalizing him. You may also know a person well and still not want him in your network. Again, the “Don’t Know” seems superfluous.

When an invitation is received, one should get the following choices:
1. Accept. 2. Know the person, but decline. 3. Don’t recall the person. 4. Don’t know the person.
Only the fourth option should invite a penalty.
This will also give a better picture of how people want to and don’t want to connect.

Gmail: I got hooked to Mozilla Firefox because of tabbed browsing. I’m used to opening multiple tabs (sometimes till Firefox crashes). If a good story has 5 links, then I go Control Click Click Click… and all 5 open. 10 new mails and open them all at once in different tabs and then keep shutting them down with a keyboard commands. (I try to minimize usage of the mouse. Kinder on the poor ole fingers!) However, Gmail is the only major service that doesn’t allow it. You’ve got to keep clicking next, next, next…

OK, maybe I’m going a bit too far with the last Gmail bit…
But one can’t complain too much… these are all free services after all!

© Sunil Rajguru

Bollywood formulae…

Akshay Kumar + Vulgar Script + Over the Top Comedy + Katrina Kaif = 1 Superhit

Akshay Kumar + Vulgar Script + Over the Top Comedy – Katrina Kaif = 1 Superflop

Hero = Producer = Director = Creative Head = The Future of All Aamir Khan Movies

1 Father + 1 Son + The Letter K + Any Script/Story = A Hrithik Roshan Superhit

Film star + IPL Team = No Hope of Lifting the IPL Trophy

1 Yesteryears Actor + 1 Yesteryears Actress + 1 Item Girl + 1 Bollywood Side Star = Bigg Boss House

1 Profession + 1 Strong Heroine + Loads of Realism = A Madhur Bhandarkar film

Any Hero + Any Heroine + Any Comedy Movie + Ritesh Deshmukh = A Commission Earner

Akshay Kumar + Sunil Shetty + Paresh Rawal + Priyadarshan = Hera Pheri 1,2,3,4,5…

1 Quickly Made Film + 1 New Heroine + 1 New Director + 1 Don/Ghost = Has to be RGV

Rani Mukherji + Rumours of Marriage with Aditya Chopra = Career Gone Bust

Some pretty old ones…

A Bhatt Film + 1 New Heroine + Multiple Kisses + Great Music = An Emraan Hashmi Hit

Love Story + Designer Clothes + Chiffon Sarees + Switzerland Song Sequence + Lata Theme Song = A Yash Raj Film

Many Designer Sets + 1 SRK + Loads of Melodrama + Rani/Kajol Starring/Guests = A Karan Johar film

This Version By Sunil Rajguru

Random Thoughts 2

· Mankind is evolving continuously. First we had to work all 7 days a week, otherwise we would starve. Then they came out with a six-day week and that worked well for centuries. Today we have a five-day week.
Now mankind is ready to evolve to the next stage: A four-day week.

· If there’s computing in the clouds, what will happen when it rains?

· The Internet is not an INTERconnected NETwork of Computers, but an INTERconnected NETwork of People.

· In India, is it Customer Care or Cusstomer care?

· Why can’t India have a tabloid that is actually a newspaper? When the newsprint becomes narrow, why does the thinking and outlook become narrow too?

· You can say green till you’re green in the face… that won’t stop the world’s pollution.

· When it comes to brainpower, your grey matter always feels greyer on this side of an argument.

· Taali ek haath se nahin bajti, par thappad ek haath se hi maarte hain na?

© Sunil Rajguru

Get a (night) life!

It was another get-together dinner (“night party” as the kids fondly call it) with our neighbours. To end a perfect evening, everyone demanded a round of paan. The three of us headed straight for our favourite paanwallah. The guy took our order and then surprisingly requested us to park the car a few dozen feet away, as the police was on patrol. It was an unearthly 10.55 pm and he had to shut shop at sharp 11.

Strange, we thought, but followed his instructions all the same. While we were waiting, there was a suddenly a flurry of activity. All the crates and stuff were pulled in and the shutters slammed down. It was as if some attack had just begun somewhere. We waited and waited and waited.

Meanwhile a police patrol van came and stared at us as if we were all known rowdies. The paanwallah got a few glares too. He came running towards us and requested us to take a round and come in five minutes. We all stared at each other and shrugged our shoulders. I generally wondered in silence why nightlife in Bangalore sucked.

When we came back, just avoiding the patrol van, the paanwallah signaled us to be on the other side of the road at a distance. The shutters surreptitiously came up and a hand gave a plastic packet. The paanwallah came running across the road, turned his back to us looking left and right and handed the packet. We tendered exact change and he ran off without even looking at it. Anyone watching at a distance would have been sure that the packet had drugs or atleast illicit liquor. But we were just having paan, for crying out loud!

The same old story…

Reminded me of the time when, as students, we reached the liquor shop in Viveknagar in Bangalore at exactly 10 pm to find the shop closing. My friend dived and we saw his shoe soles disappearing just as the shutters came down. That was a very dangerous thing to do. A fraction of a second late or a fraction of a centimeter wide and he might have had a few broken bones. (Later, however, we always remembered it as a glorious Mission Impossible type moment.) Minutes later, my friend triumphantly emerged from another door with a bottle. It was as if he had broken some great odds and was really proud of it.

Reminded me of the time when, in Noida with the very same friend, we decided to go and search for dinner at the “unearthly” hour of 10pm. Suddenly in pitch darkness we heard shrill whistling and before we knew it cops surrounded us. “Who are you?” “What are you doing?” “Are you new to this area?” It was a scene straight out of a Bollywood movie where the cops were on the verge of catching some known gangsters.

When we stated our intent, a cop laughed and told us to go home and sleep. There was a daily curfew. Nothing stayed open beyond 930-10pm for safety reasons. Not even dinner. Then I think he relaxed his hand on what looked like a gun. It was difficult to tell as they were wearing shawls to escape the Delhi winters. I guess it was truly a crime for a bachelor to be hungry beyond 10 in this zone. We were too stunned to even play our Hindustan Times press cards, which works so well in the NCR region. The absurdity of it all!

Reminded me of my night shifts at the Hindustan Times in Connaught Place, the heart of Delhi. Bustling with shops and people from all over throughout a day, after 7pm they all started closing one by one. Beyond 8, the centre used to be a circle of darkness and a haven for criminals. When I used to walk from the bus stop to the office, I used to wonder whether this blackness was actually the capital of modern India. At this time, most world cities would just start waking up with their nightlives.

While some cities do have it, why does nightlife in India generally have to be so non-existent?

Once upon a time…

…in socialist India, there were few cars and scooters, few nightclubs and few ways for one to get around even after 9 in the night. No matter how badly he wanted it, the common man couldn’t get a nightlife. Authorities, probably in order to avoid complications and crime, clamped down and enforced all sorts of curfews. It may have made sense at that time. Going by Bollywood movies, everything that operated late was associated with either smuggling or gambling or with criminals or seedy red-light areas. But that era seems more than a lifetime away, even for me who grew up in it.

Today…

…people work late, do night shifts, catch flights at odd hours and have enough means of transportation for the night. Satellite TV and the Internet both have given rise to a 24-hour lifestyle. There’s no point in restricting this outside the home. A lot of Indian conservatives still frown upon the “nightlife” concept of discos, pubs, nightclubs, bars and the like. But what logic is there in not allowing shops, restaurants, coffee shops and thelas for 24 hours? Why can’t all multiplexes and movie halls screen movies from midnight to early morning? In the cities, there will always be takers for it.

If anything, it might also prevent crime thanks to the presence of late night crowds. In our country, everything has moved forward except the governments and their sets of archaic rules. This is such an elementary thing and doesn’t even require legislation. Cities can start easing things on their own. But the authorities are still quite comfortable imposing curfews for 7pm, 9pm, 10pm… depending on which area you are in. For what joy? Do they all go home and sleep early?

We have such hectic lifestyles and want to do so much in the day. By imposing deadlines on the things we can do outside at night and hence squeezing the already limited amount of time… just doesn’t make sense.

I wish the authorities got a life and gave us one too.

© Sunil Rajguru

Every day is a Sonday…

• It was Children’s Day, so I decided to take care of my son’s every whim. Video Arcade Games. Pizza. Toy. The usual Pandering Stuff that any Suffering Parent will understand. But by evening, I was fed up as he and his friends were driving me up the wall.
On what felt like his thousandth request, I lost it and yelled, “I’ve had it with you rotten people.”
My son looked up, smiled and said with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, “Well father, today happens to be Rotten People’s Day so you’ll have to continue listening to us…” and promptly went on to his next demand.

***

• My son says that we have a Bigg Boss House. My Wife: Bigg Boss. My Son: Little Boss. Me: Contestant.

***

• On seeing a road sign that said No Free Left Turn:
“Do have to pay money if we turn left?”

***

• He first fought with us trying to convince us that there was such a thing as a tooth fairy. We relented and he kept his broken tooth under his pillow and as expected, we had to replace it with money.
In the evening when his friends came, he yelled at them:
“Hey dudes! I sold my broken tooth to my parents for two hundred Rupees!”

***

• When the train journey just seemed to be going on and on leaving him very tired and sleepy….
“Dad, we are not living right now, we are just surviving, right?”

***

© Sunil Rajguru