Thursday, December 17, 2009

Twitter HACKED!!

Oops! This was big. Suddenly Twitter shows that the website was hacked by some Iranian Cyber Army and showed Iranian flag with an email ID iranian.cyber.army@gmail. Though the page showing the flag was loaded only once at around 11.30 Indian Standard Time and seconds after that Twitter was shown as unable to load, link broken, and taking too long to respond in different browser. Unavailable in short.

Even the Desktop client tweetdeck was not working and said 'Problem with all Tweets' which changed to 'There's a problem - don't panic'.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

HappySing

Hi.

I have started my new blog HappySing at my own domain name: happysing [dot] com

So please see, http://happysing.com for further posts.

Love you all.

Thanks,
Harshit.

Friday, October 23, 2009

10 Uses of Google

Google is not just a search engine. It's much more. Here I have listed some more uses of Google. See if there's some match.

1. To search stuff u have no idea about and don't know where to find.
2. To search stuff that u know no other site (like Wikipedia, Howstuffworks, etc) will have.
3. To pass time.
4. To check if your internet connection is working or not.
5. To pass time in situations where u have Limited internet access.
6. To search your own name.
7. To show off how slow your internet is working.
8. To open Adsense.
9. To open ANY site. I've seen people typing not just Orkut but www.orkut.com and similarly all other URLs in Google Search Bar. And the number of people is not One.
10. As Homepage.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How to use Twitter with Airtel

Finally Bharti Airtel is the first Cellular network that is giving you a chance to send your tweets from anywhere to Twitter. The cost of one tweet is 1 rupee. And I've tested it, it works. So here is how to send tweets to Twitter via sms with your Bharti Airtel mobile phone.

1. If you have a Twitter account, log in to your account and go to the Settings tab in the top-right.

2. Select Devices tab and Register your phone number there.

3. Now you can see a code there, message the code to 53000 from your Airtel phone via sms.

4. Twitter will send you a message saying your account has been enabled. Now you can send your tweets to 53000. They'll be published and 'from txt' will be written below your tweets instead of 'from web' (or whatever device you use).

5. Now u can follow anybody on u r already following by clicking the circular phone sign next to 'Following' on their page or in ur Following list too. This is free after registration.

6. You can go to the same Devices tab again to change further settings.

So happy sms-tweeting. :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Made in India

Finally, my dear Venky won Nobel Prize in Chemistry. You know how wonderful he was when he used to study in IISc. My sister was telling me he was such a studious fellow when he was there. My sister, who lives just next to IISc for some 15 years now. She met Mrs Ranga in the Malleswaram market yesterday who told her that her husband, a professor in IISc had once saw a guy in library who looked juuust like Venky. So studious, indeed.

I even read Venky was born in Chidambaram... apna Tamilnadu, the place I used to think of as Madras when I was little, but that was when I was really very little, in school. Though Sharma uncle still thinks the same. Because his daughter did her engineering in Noida only, and now she's working in Gurgaon. But I studied in Vellore, same, Tamilnadu. And I am proud of my college and Tamilnadu. And so, of Venky.

Well, that's my direct connection with Venky. But then, there is a bigger, broader connection. Of India. I know Venky is proud of India, his country, our country. I read in the newspaper today only. My mother told me he will come back to India one day, just like Shahrukh Khan did in Swades. But I said I didn't think he would, because that happened in movies. People rarely came back to India in real life. And then mom thought and said I was probably right. But she was happy to read that Venky was proud of being an Indian, even while staying in America. He told the newspaper people he was making his country proud there.

Indeed he was. He is. The best part is that his name is Indian. And wherever he goes, whatever he does, he will remain Indian. He cannot be an American. Because he loves India. Because he is proud of India, of being Indian. Because we won't let him become American. Not after he has won that Nobel. For us. For India. Our land. His land.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Anything you tweet, Sir!

Tweet: "Have a ridiculously full schedule tomorrow with 17 meetings/engagements. You always pay a price when u come back from a trip."

Headline: After 'cattle class' remark, Tharoor complains about workload.

Well, this was one example of headlines newspapers are designing from Shashi Tharoor's tweets after the 'cattle class' incident was not so over. Incidentally, the DNA headline reached me through Twitter only.

I also came to know that Tharoor had tweeted "Long day catching up with a week's absence from Delhi. Mountains of pending files. Two journalists actually interviewed me on Africa!" through the newspaper. (I do follow Shashi Tharoor for a long time now but do not so regularly watch his tweets as the newspapers do)

Basically it seems that newspapers have found an easy way of creating headlines as Shashi Tharoor and Twitter, especially when combined, are 'hot' in India right now. I admit that such type of 'quick' journalism has been quite popular on TV for quite some time, but Tharoor episode seems to have given the print and web based media a way to 'QJ' too.

Seeing the condition, even I'm thinking of opening a new blog on Shashi Tharoor's tweets. After all, however big a fan of Tharoor I happen to be, I can always get some more clicks criticizing the big T. Isn't it?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Review: Aliva (Fritolay)

Well, I just wrote a music review for Himesh Reshammiya's new movie Radio, and now after reading some pages of Cecelia Ahern's Thanks For the Memories, I was having some new biscuits that I got for the first time. And while eating, I suddenly felt like telling people about the biscuit, and so here I am, writing a review for the biscuit.

Well, This thing called Aliva from Fritolay (read Pepsi people) was seen today in an ad when I was setting up TV on my laptop. The ad was an utterly old concept but it did catch my eye. And today when I was on biscuit hunting in a supermarket, I happened to see the biscuits. I remembered the ad and when I saw it was from Fritolay, I decided to give it a try.

It might sound like an ad but it's not. I'm getting no money to say that Aliva biscuits are good and you should eat them. But genuinely, I loved the Pindi Masala flavor that I had selected for my first trial. Guess I'm gonna have some Mint flavor next. The biscuit is OK and the masala is good which is going to make it demanded. My guess is like Kurkure, this biscuit may also become a travel accessory.

Right now the biscuit is priced at rupees 12/packet of 60g which is not very expensive. Fritolay probably has an idea about the future of the biscuit and has already written rupees 12 as a special price while original price is supposed to be Rs 14/packet.

Another interesting claim about the biscuit is that it has no artificial flavors or colors. Even the box below the ingredients says CONTAINS ADDED FLAVOUR (NATURAL AND NATURE IDENTICAL FLAVOURING SUBSTANCES).

Overall, the biscuit is tasty and if you're one with taste buds for spices, go for it.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Class X board exams: To be or Not to be?

Union Minister for HRD Kapil Sibal says that Class X board exams are a trauma and should be scrapped. Newton's first law soon follows up and almost everybody rises against the change. A minister trying to Change the system, and public against him. All so natural. But in between, the question is, WHY should the exams stay or go?

Newton's First Law:

No doubt, it's the simplest and the best (latter under scrutiny) it go the way it is going, whatever, wherever, however it is. Class X board exam take place like an annual event where millions participate, some win, some lose, and some get lost somewhere. Something that is happening for the years I have seen, and my parents too.

Trauma:

I do not know whether Class X boards are a trauma or not, but I remember that Class X board exams was the time in my life when I had problem sleeping properly. Throughout the exams. And no doubt, people make a 'Hauva' out of the boards. Neighbors and relatives get an extra thing to gossip about, and parents, to brag about. So do students. But the biggest blow comes from school, mostly public schools where conducting two to three PRE-BOARDS has become a trend. Schools create unnecessary pressure on students to Perform well in boards and maintain the "School's results".

Useless:

It hardly is of any use. We need a class XII marksheet everywhere and class X is required for just age certification. Is that all the importance of such hype? Actually class X board exams were made to serve a purpose that no more exists. When most of the schools were till class tenth and mostly students had to go out after tenth to continue their studies, board exams worked as a scale on which every student could be scaled. Never mind different boards as every board thought it was the only existing entity, or at least worked on this assumption.

But now that every school provides education till class XII, there is little use of class X boards. We can simply conduct boards after class XII which ARE (not can be) used for the admissions already.

Still there are arguments in favor of class X boards. Like a student gets to learn, or a student find his/her first public exposure which is important for further life. Or, boards make students more serious. But about all these arguments, my belief is that a student who is serious will be serious and one who doesn't have to, cannot be made serious by board exams. While a turn around can come at any point, I do not think board exams can be used as substitute for the schooling system as it's the entire schooling which is expected to make a child responsible, not the board exams.

So, for now, I think we do not need class X board exams. But then, if they have to be replaced, the replacement should be proper and not in a haphazard manner. We are in no hurry to remove a system that is there for ages just because our HRD minister got the idea now. I think he should take his time and do the needful firmly and after proper planning.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Editorials, What?

The level of responsibility of the electronic media in India has been a subject of debate for a long time, but fortunately, irresponsibility in the print media is something that is comparatively less visible.

Still, at times, there are incidents when one is bound to think whether our media has some sense of responsibility or they are just interested in earning their bread by any means. One such incident is the Counter View printed in The Times of India, one of the most prestigious English language newspapers of India, on the Twitter feeds of Minister of State for External Affairs, Shashi Tharoor.

The article written by Narayani Ganesh, which appears in the Editorial section of The Times of India, not only claims that a Minister taking his responsibility seriously cannot have time for social networking sites, but also goes further telling that he is 'answering questions from other members, [which] is a reflection of how lightly he takes his official responsibilities.'

After all this, the author gives the case of Aishwarya Rai where she was not there on Twitter and impostors had been writing tweets in her name. With the 'risk' of such a thing happening with Tharoor, and ordering/advising people to think about the consequences of such a thing, Ms Ganesh ends her article with the words 'stop twittering, Tharoor. Just do the work you've been entrusted with.'

Now my first question to the editor/author Ms Ganesh is that HOW a minister who replies to the queries of PUBLIC, in a DEMOCRACY, be a reflector of IRRESPONSIBILITY? I do not think that the practice we follow, of seeing our politicians only twice in a decade, is a part of our constitution.

Secondly, even if I agree with her argument that a RESPONSIBLE minister cannot find time to come on a social networking site (which actually Tharoor himself agrees with when he says he doesn't have a Facebook page, and I guess that IS the reason most of the politicians/actors are coming to Twitter as it takes just 140 characters and can be easily run on their phones, something our Editorial page author doesn't seem to understand), I do not know on what basis she found that these tweets can be risky. This very statement of the author shows that neither she has any idea what Tharoor writes in his tweets nor she knows about the past and the diplomatic knowledge of the minister in question.

Very interestingly for me, this article happens to have appeared on a day when I had just completed the chapter of Nehru's biography written by Tharoor where the latter has thoroughly discussed about the Foreign Policy of the former. Tharoor, in the biography, very critically explains each aspect of Nehru's personality which affected the foreign policy of India after reading which I was sure of the quality of judgment of Tharoor in the diplomatic matters.

I request all the media-persons to be more thoughtful at least about what they write, if not about what they speak. And in case they think something is wrong, they should present their matter clearly enough so that their concerns are thought upon by the readers and not dismissed instantly. At last, I would say that before writing something, an author should make sure that he/she has conducted a minimum amount of research before writing. That would probably make our press a little more useful.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Bing versus Google: Queries and results

There are many differences in Microsoft Bing and Google when it comes to results and as far as I can see right now, it's Google having a upper hand on Bing. Here are some of the examples I found.

First came the ego search, that is, when I searched my own name, I found first result as someone else's page on Bing while it has been my blog on top on Google. Well, that cannot be actually counted as a failure though it disappoints me, and many other bloggers have had the experiences.

So I decided to do some filtering. I added the name of my hometown with my name which is a proper way to filter as my hometown is quite small and there is fortunately no other known figure of my name in my hometown yet.

This time Bing treated me better and gave me top three results related to me. But then, from the fourth result onwards, it was stuff that had some Harshit somewhere and Najibabad (my hometown) somewhere else, with no connections between the two. Google's algorithms win on this one. They show entire first page for me only. And even after that, I'm there in many results.

Enough of me, I decided to go on something more popular. This time I typed 'colors' in the query boxes of Google.com and Bing (which I had had set on US). Colors is a new, and very popular TV channel in India. Both Google and Bing gave no results. I knew the reason and so I came to Google.co.in and changed Bing's country to India. This time round Google gave its third result as Colors, the TV Channel, while Bing was not aware of its existence until I reached fifth page.

Next on my search was Whitefield, the area of Bangalore I live in, which is, with electronic city, actually the centre of the activities for which Bangalore is known in the world. While searching on Bing US and Google.com, the results were almost similar with Bing giving Whitefield a fifth place and Google adding a suggestion for 'Whitefield Bangalore' after 3 results and giving 3 results on the same. In fact here, Bing looked better than the Google page as it adjusted the results for Whitefield India normally.

But again when I came to Bing India and Google India, I was surprised to see that Whitefield, India was still in the fourth poisition on Bing while Google India not only had its first 3 results on Whitefield, but also showed 'Whitefield Bangalore' again after first 3 results. (personally, I think suggesting Whitefield Bangalore is a good idea as Whitefield is a suburb and generally people query whitefield Bangalore rather than Whitefield alone) So this time Google again emerged victorious.

So right now, Bing might be equally good as Google with individual entries, that is single word/phrase queries, but when it comes to filtering results, be it by country or otherwise, Google is proving better.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another Example of Text Books Politics

Of course, like most Indians, I love to hate Arjun Singh for what he has done to the higher education in India. But thinking that he is the worst would probably be a huge mistake. Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi had of course had his time with the text books during the NDA regime, but it doesn't end there. I was surprised, and somewhat shocked (still) when I happened to read a Rajya Sabha question and answer session while searching the net for my favorite one act play Reedh Ki Haddi by Jagdish Chandra Mathur. The play actually is one of the finest pieces of Hindi literature I read during my school and explains the condition of women in India in the most practical manner.

Here is the complete answer given by Arjun Singh to the 'Honorable' members who had questioned not only the play but the language of Munshi Premchand himself.

CLARIFICATION BY MINISTER

Alleged objectionable materials in certain books approved by NCERT - Contd.

THE MINISTER OF HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT (SHRI ARJUN SINGH), replying to points raised by hon'ble Members on 18th August 2006, said: NCERT has taken utmost care in drafting the books. Noted Academicians, Scientists and Educationalists have been included to examine the textbooks from the earlier times . Every book is examined by a National monitoring committee constituted by Human Resources Development . This committee comprises representative from various states and expert from field of education. There is set of guide line for examining the text books

I have tried my best to understand the objections raised by some hon. Members . I found that sentence or part of the books have been read without considering the context . I would like to clear that no change has been made in Hindi textbooks for class 2nd ,4th ,5th ,7th ,8th and 10th. Books which was studied during the NDA regime are still in the syllabus.

There was a objection regarding "Mochiram" a poem by Shri Dhoomil. It was included the syllabus in the year 1977 and it is regarding expressing the concerns of deprived people. Another objection was regarding a part of autobiography of Shri Bechan Sharma Ugra. Ugra jee considered himself among one from the lower section of society despite belonging to the Upper castes of society .

An objection was regarding Shri Om prakash Balmiki , who himself is dalit and is a importing representative of contemporary Hindi. He tried to depicted that caste reference words used in his story called KHANABADOSH was bear by the labours to maintain their existence . It has mentioned in the Footnote that these caste reference words are unconstitutional and these words should not used in day-today life.

Some other member has raised his objection regarding a story, Doodh ka Daam, of Munshi Prem Chand . I would like to say that these type of words were used in the society in that time. Further I would like to say that hon. Member has reached to conclusion on the basis of one line without considering the whole context of the story. And I don't consider myself to be fit to criticise the literature of great Munshi Prem Chand.

Hon. Member has raised some objection on poem of Shri Avtar Singh Pash. His poem reflects the social inequality. And it belongs to naxalite movement of Bihar in 1967. I want to say that Pash want to support ambitions of youth and it belong to model country so it should be seen in this context.

Hon. Member has objection against an one act play, Reedh Ki Haddi. It is about the status of women in the in the Indian society. So , it is clear that this play is all about the inequality among men-women of the society.

Some objection has been raised on some portion of autobiography of Maqbool Fida Hussain, the famous Painter. This text book has no mention of his controversial paintings. Hon. Member has asked about the reasons for not including the autobiographies of Amrita Shergil and Nandlal Bose. And I would like to clear that these people have not written their autobiographies

New text books of history for the classes of 6th, 9th and 11th have already introduced for the academic session of 2007. Hon. Member has mentioned that in the text book of Prof. Vipin Chandra, the leaders like Shri Aurbindo Ghosh & Lokmanya Tilak and Shri Vipin Chandra Pal have been termed as terrorists. Prof. Vipin Chandra has termed these leaders not as terrorists but as extreme nationalists. In the later chapter he had termed the extremism as a means to gain national freedom. With regard to the case filed in High Court related to this portion a committee of three Historians was constituted. The committee has held, "The words extremism and extremist have not been used in derogatory manner.

The committee about the description of Jats has held that the description of the Jat farmers revolt is also not derogatory.

With regard to the third objection raised about Guru Gobind Singh, the committee said that the sentence used in the text book requires to be amended.

Now, I would like to reply to the objections raised by Hon. Member Shrimati Sushma Swaraj. This is painful and unfortunate that she has termed the poem under the caption "MochiRam" as stigma whereas for the literary critics, this poem is milestone in the contemporary Hindi poetry. She has raised objections to the language used in the stories written by Munshi Premchand and Omprakash Valmiki. Probably the Hon. Member wants to negate this fact that Munshi Premchand represents higher values i.e. social justice, equality and fraternity enshrined in our Constitution. I wish to inform Shrimati Sushma Swaraj that Shri Valmiki has reflected the nature of emerging Dalit literature and he was himself a Dalit.

The Hon. Member has raised her objection about the one Act play "Reedh ki Haddi" written by late Jagdish Chandra Mathur. As I have mentioned earlier that this one Act is one of the most important objectives of our Constitution and our education policy i.e. this play touches the equality and dignity of women.

Hon. Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi has alleged that we are creating hatred in the minds of our children. I would like to assure that the goal of National curriculum 2005 is to make glorious and positive illustration of all communities and regions of India and thereby to strengthen national unity.

I respect the views expressed by the honourable members. They have expressed their viewpoint very impressively. I talked about the context because the words change their meaning as per the context. When we were studying, at that time also, in our history, it was said that Tilak ji, Arvind ji, Vipin Pal ji, they represent the extremist ideology. Freedom struggle is the definition of nationalism itself. That is why I talked about the context.

I only want to request that still a lot of text books are being prepared. Therefore, all the views expressed by you will definitely be kept in mind. I am thankful to the honourable members for their views.


Original text from:

http://rajyasabha.gov.in/rsdebate/synopsis/208/s24082006.htm

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tweet Tweet

Tweet Tweet. Tweet Tweet.

Sounds like the Nokia standard message tone, but today this is the speed of twitterers. Or maybe more. In four words, it seems like 'the world is twittering'.

I had joined twitter not so long ago, maybe a month or so ago. But I came to know about the power of Twitter on the day when Election results came out. Once I had got a fair idea of seats led by each party, I was on Twitter, and to my surprise, it was running faster than any news channel.

As the time passed, I kept on finding new twitterers, which included Politicians like Shashi Tharoor and Rahul Gandhi, (and a now dormant SM Krishna too, MEA is really hi-tech) and entertainers like Gul Panag, Purab Kohli and Mallika Sherawat, besides number of journals and journalists.

Just now I have finished with reading an article on How Twitter will change American Business and right now reading another article on Time discussing ten famous twitterers who can be followed.

Among bad things, Twitter has affected my already drowning blog severely as I write all my heartfelts in those 140 characters. That's probably a reason I've written this blog, to make up for the loss.

If you want to see my tweets, here it is: twitter.com/hg6789

To see this, you do not need a twitter account. But I guess very soon you'll be there too. That is, if you are not yet there.

Happy Twittering.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

कुछ कुछ ज़िन्दगी..

ज़िन्दगी,
कुछ पन्ने,
कुछ बिखरे,
कुछ सिमटे,
कुछ संजोये..

कुछ रंग,
चमकीले,
कुछ गहरे,
कुछ बेरंग..

कुछ सपने,
कुछ झूठे,
कुछ सच्चे,
कुछ टूटे.

कुछ लोग,
कुछ अपने,
कुछ पराये,
कुछ, सब कुछ..

कुछ यादें,
कुछ मीठी,
कुछ खट्टी,
कुछ, चुभती..

कुछ आँखें,
कुछ मुस्काती,
कुछ भीगी,
कुछ, सूखी..

और
कुछ लम्हे,
कुछ पल,
और कुछ पलों की ज़िन्दगी...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

On Election Results

Oops! I have started writing but I do not know what I wanted to wrote in the first place. It's just that I was happy, am happy with the way Congress has won. Yup. It's not that Congress has won. It's the WAY Congress has won. Winning almost a majority, and with people like Mulayam and Lalu licking their feet to get into the government. Yes. I think I can write on what I liked and disliked in these results. But before, I'll go on my day. The day that was D-Day for many.

What a day it was. I got up at seven, and went straight to the TV, while all others were sleeping at my home. (I had gone to my sister from my rented flat so that I can watch PROPER TV there, and not my TV tuner card on the Dell laptop.) After waiting till 8.15, finally the first leads started dropping in. The leads had hardly crossed total seats when the power went off.

!!!

Okay. I was cool. Reading The Bridge Across Forever, and hoping that the power will be back soon and I won't miss much fun. It was. After fifteen minutes or maybe some more time, the tally had crossed around hundred and in a way that was enough to change the colors of those around me. Apparently, most of my family is slightly to not-so-slightly pro-Hindu - the English speaking, or English understanding middle class Yogendra Yadav yesterday talked about. Though, I guess the class is getting converted at its own speed, which may increase with Rahul Baba coming in. I'm probably the first member in my family.

Back to the results. Congress had started gaining a difference in the number of seats which almost never reduced. I was expecting it to be something around 30-35 but the difference went on and on and reached almost Hundred. Anyways, what happened after that is known to everybody. Finally Congress had a small margin to cover to get the majority and Manmohan Singh was given a mandate to retain the Prime Minister's post.

So let me come back to what I liked, or disliked in the poll results.

There were a lot of things to be liked. First of them, of course was that Left was left out. After all those years of wondering why public keeps on voting to the left, I was witness to a big fall in left's votes and seats. I believe that people always knew that left did not work, but probably they voted the Left for its ideology. And this ideology suffered a major setback when Somnath Chatterjee was thrown out by his party. Probably people took that very seriously, besides other reasons.

Equally important was the fact that in Bihar, probably for the first time, it became difficult for Lalu to get a seat (though he managed to defeat Rudy by 5k votes) and Paswan couldn't save his seat either. At the same time Mayawati and Jayalalitha, whom I call two big fat stubborn ladies (both have a competition when it comes to being either), were not given much bhaav by the public. I think public has very clearly said that either the politicians have to work, or they can sit at home. The same can be confirmed by the votes Nitish got for himself in Bihar or Sheila Dikshit got in Delhi.

But the most unexpected thing for me was the rise of Congress in Uttar Pradesh. I was not expecting a number of more than 12-13 for the party in the largest state. But Rahul Gandhi magic really worked and helped Congress reach places nobody expected.

And yes, one good thing was Shashi Tharoor coming to the parliament. Such people are needed there. In fact such people should be given a place in the cabinet and Shashi Tharoor can be a brilliant person for a start.

For dislikes, there are a few things that I didn't understand. First was the number of seats Mulayam Singh Yadav got. Probably that is the result of his voters coming back to him after trying Mayawati who seems to have failed in giving the great administration she had promised.

Another thing that I could not understand was the BJP's sweep in Karnataka after the widely criticized incidents of Mangalore when the CM completely supported Ram Sene. I am unable to understand whether its public's support or their short term memory.

But worse of all is the results of Maharashtra. Raj Thackeray's MNS getting more than one lakh votes in all constituencies in Mumbai and affecting the votes of BJP Shiv Sena is not a very good news. Unfortunately, this is not at all surprising as we know it HAD to happen.

Overall, the public has done a lot of good, and BIG things this time. But I think there is still scope for them to learn some things, which includes getting above people like Raj Thackeray and Varun Gandhi. I hope we'll see even better results in the next elections. In 2014.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pol-Fi: Maya's Maya

As everyone has seen, the power of Mayawati in UP has continuously risen for the past few years. And now that she is trying hard to make herself visible throughout India, there is a possibility that she actually gets a significant number in the coming elections.

So, the question here is, if Mayawati gets a significant number of seats, and there is a hung parliament again, which is highly likely, what will happen?

First I'd like to see the chances of happening this what if. In the last general elections, that is 2004, BSP got 19 seats, most of them from the eastern region of Uttar Pradesh. But now that the power of BSP has increased in the largest state, something that is visible from the majority she holds in the state assembly, BSP can get seats in other regions of the state as well, especially western regions like the district of Bijnor where Mayawati started her political career and BSP won all the seats in the last assembly elections.

At the same time, BSP can also surprise with a seat or two in Madhya Pradesh as the party won 7 seats in the 2008 assembly elections whereas it had only 2 people in the last assembly.

All this makes clear that there exists a not very remote possibility that BSP gets some 30-35 seats in the parliament this time, which, if happened, will put Mayawati in a position better than Lalu Prasad Yadav, who currently has 24 seats in the parliament, but will be contesting lesser number of seats this time as a UPA ally.

So, the question is, WHAT IF BSP wins a significant number of seats and is in position to negotiate for positions in government? Let's see the options and possibilities.

1. Mayawati wants to be the Prime Minister. Says that if Deve Gowda with 46 seats could be the PM, why can't a 'Dalit ki Beti' be the PM? But nobody is willing to give her the seat. Plan fails.

2. Mayawati wants the Foreign Ministry, but argument comes that even with her LLM degree, she won't understand the language of Foreigners. Moreover, they probably won't understand a word spoken by her. At least until the day she becomes the PM.

3. Mayawati wants the Finance Ministry for herself. But with two successful Finance Ministers already there in the UPA, a novice Mayawati fails again. This is in case UPA is the alliance making government.

4. Home Ministry, this could probably be her best bet. With Shivraj Patil almost out of question and Chidambaram probably willing to join Finance once again after the shoe-ing, Most probably Mayawati will have all new candidates as contenders. Though Lalu and some more may want this seat, if Mayawati comes strong, she MAY get it.

5. Railways. If Mayawati doesn't get all those big things, she may have to remain satisfied with Mamta's old department. It'll probably not be very difficult for the UPA to arrange this one, but Maya may not want to leave the Chief Ministry of UP for a Railways in the center.

6. Opposition. Last but not the least. Because in her words, as many times there are elections, her position gets stronger. And till now it has happened.

Well, that all happens IF BSP wins a significant number of seats and the alliance going to make the government needs them. Now let's see what happens.

Waiting for the Big Day

It's been a long exercise. The polls. Started almost a month ago, finally the drama is about to end, within a week. The 13th of this month will present us with the end of the polls and 16th will bring us the results of the polls and end of the drama. Only to start a new one.

Today was an interesting day. Somehow, after a long time, NDA looked like it was really some alliance. For the first time, felt like other than UPA, there were more options. Probably a bit too late, but at least before the end of elections, people got to see that there was something called NDA which was more than just Advani who showed up on every ad the party has released.

But more interestingly, the drama, which was named NDA's shakti-pradarshan by the TV channels, seemed more Modi centric than Advani centric today. Not for once did I feel that the Prime Ministerial candidate of the NDA was L K Advani. Nor did I feel the power that is NDA supposedly going to have according to its campaign. In short, the NDA's slogan of Mazboot Neta, Nirnayak Sarkar (Powerful leader, Decisive government) looked fake. It seemed that if the NDA comes in power, Advani will be as powerless as Vajpayee was with his 13 parties (that's the number I remember, no guarantee on that)

And while Narendra Modi shook hands with Nitish Kumar, without technically breaking the latter's promise of not calling him in Bihar, Modi also indirectly expressed his wish to join everyone and hence come on to the national stage in future. Something that is feared by many.

For now, the only thing is the results that will come out on 16th May. I remember how eagerly I used to wait for my annual results when I was in school as they were also announced on 16th May. But this is something that is making me even more curious. And I don't think this curiosity will end soon, because the question is not just whether Manmohan or Advani will be the PM, but the question is who will control the future of India. Will it be people like Modi? Or Rahul Gandhi?? Or Varun Gandhi???

Monday, April 20, 2009

IPL Season II - Ye "Naya" Hai

Finally the DLF IPL Seacond season is here. And slowly it is gaining momentum that was nowhere in the start, unlike the first season. There are lots of expectations from the old winners. And somehow, many people are expecting the old tallies to continue. For such people, I have only three words. This is New. Ye Naya Hai.

IPL Season one gave us winners like Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings. While teams which stood high grounds on paper, like Deccan chargers, played some schoolboy cricket, especially in terms of team spirit. Royal Challengers of Bangalore looked challenged on many grounds and Mumbai Indians could not make it even with the biggest biggies around.

But if you concluded that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the ultimate King (or Super King) whose team cannot be beaten by that of an aging Sachin or that Gilchrist, Gibbs and RP Singh cannot make a good team, it's time you think again as everything seems to be new in this season.

IPL season II proved from the very first match that one should not go by the tallies of last season when Mumbai beat the Finalist of last season, Chennai Super Kings. If this was not enough of a surprise (for me it really was not) in the second match Royal Challengers Bangalore not only won the match but Rajasthan Royals, last year's champions, were reduced to a mere fifty eight, the lowest yet in the IPL. And it was purely because of the all charged up performance of the Challengers, and their changed attitude which was clear when they were fielding.

The third match was unfortunate as the rain made things not so impartial, but the fourth match once again brought in Deccan Chargers as victors against Kolkata Knight Riders, after an extremely poor show by the former during the last season. Also, the fielding and bowling of the team looked wonderful and the attitude of Chargers on field was hardly anything less than that of the Challengers.

In short, the first two days have made it clear that the new season of the IPL has to be written in new, blank sheets and one need not think that the impressions of the last season will be found on this season too. And now even if a few matches again give the results like the past, it will not be because of who won in the last season, but purely because who is in command this time.

On that note, there is something I would say about Dhoni's comment that I read in today's newspaper. Dhoni had written that they'd make a comeback (after their loss to Mumbai in first match), but my say is that there is nothing to make a comeback to in this season. To win this one, he'll have to start anew with his team, something that Pieterson and Gilchrist are doing.

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Bangalore: Tickets, anyone?

Right now it's election time, and so, everybody is busy talking about politics and politicians, and hence, about corruption. But traveling in Bangalore I came to know how deeply we are into corruption. Here are a few examples of what has happened with me in the past six months of BMTC travel.

The first, and a highly common practice is the minimum fair minus one rupee system. When u get into a bus for the smallest ticket journey, (3 rupee or 4 rupee, depending on bus) u give exact change to the conductor and he returns you one rupee, like a substitute for the ticket.

More fearless conductors happen to tend to similar practice on higher scale and leave two-three rupees on tickets for longer journeys.

Now the interesting part is what happens when you protest and demand for a ticket. Mostly conductors don't want problems and give you a ticket if you demand for one. Some do nagging and you may need to raise your voice a bit to get the ticket. But then, there are more interesting incidents taking place too.

Once on my way to Marathahalli bridge from whitefield, I met a conductor of high corruption index. It was a Pushpak bus but when I entered the bus I didn't realize and took exact change of rupees eight in my hand, the normal fare for the distance while the actual fare was rupees ten. Now when the conductor came, I asked him for a ticket to marathahalli and he said it was ten rupees. Now he happened to see the change in my hand and asked how much it was. Before I said it was only eight, he asked me to give that itself and moved ahead without giving the ticket. When I asked for the ticket he first tried to ignore me, and when I raised my voice to call him up, he finally said that it was rupees ten and gave me a ticket after I gave him two more.

And then there was the show time. When I was getting down, the conductor asked me if I had the ticket. And as I showed it to him, he almost snatched it from my hand. now that I was on the steps, I didn't want to argue, and so I came out. And the conductor earned a full ten rupees as I'm sure he'd have reused the ticket.

Another, more interesting case was when I was traveling with three friends by a new BIG 10 bus. This time it was from Marathahalli to whitefield. I asked the conductor for two tickets as two of us had passes and he gave me one ticket and one pass. He also told me in Kannada to give the pass back to him when I get down. Though I don't understand a lot of Kannada, I got what he meant. As I was getting down, the conductor asked me for the pass, and while I gave it back, I commented that he had earned a full eight rupees. At that time he was a bit apologetic in tone and reiterated that there was someone who had not given the money for pass while he had took it out of booklet, and so he was trying to get the money back.

Though in the last incident I felt that the conductor might be true, it is also a fact that conductors sometimes do use passes to make money. Once coming to whitefield again, I was given a used day pass by a conductor when I protested for not being given the ticket. This was after ten at night and so the conductor didn't ask for the pass when I got out of the bus.

Most of these incidents look very small but they are a matter of concern for two reasons. First, these incidents anyway give rise to corruption and bring corruption to our daily lives possibly more than anything else. Secondly, these incidents, when seen from a larger frame, must be costing lacs of rupees everyday to BMTC as BMTC buses make more than 70,000 trips everyday.

I think there should be some effort to stop this practice. My suggestion would be that BMTC customers be given badges carrying their names and a unique ID and one should be able to lodge a complaint against such incidents through Internet, phone, and at BMTC offices and if there is a certain number of complaints against a conductor, there should be action taken against him. I hope the overhead of maintaining such a system would be less than the money lost by BMTC due to the bad practices going on currently. And we shall be making a better society anyway.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mean-while

Moserbaer Joke:

What is the Moserbaer six CD collection of Shahrukh Khan hits called?

Six Pack SRK.

(Based on real incident)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Airtel Launches IMRS (Interactive Message Response System)

Years after changing the system for balance enquiry by shifting to *123# from calling 123, Airtel finally launched it's Interactive Message Response System, IMRS where you can know balance and validity (that too without an advertisement around, till date), check the offer of the day (finally no need to wait for a message), ask for Hello Tunes (how could they leave this one) and start or stop a DND registry (Important one there).

For Airtel IMRS, you need to dial *121#, which the company has chosen as the text alternative for 121, its national customer care number. On dialing *121#, the system sends you a main menu which shows the above four options. You need to press the 'answer' key on the phone (generally the OK button) and then key in the option number and send. All the process is of course toll free.

When I tried the service, I found that the balance enquiry, offer of the day, and DND work fine for me and I've got a DND registration number too (which I could not store in phone, there was no option to save the message). The Hello Tunes option, which I had tried at the end, and that too quite reluctantly (though I tried it twice), didn't seem to work for me. Returning to main menu was slightly confusing but finally pressing *1 (you can read that star one) in place of option number worked.

While the service has come here quite late, I think this is here to stay. Ineractive Voice Response System (IVRS) used at the customer care is rarely liked by customers and most of the people find it a tough task to call up the customer care because they have to go through long paths of sweet, irritating recorded audio messages. In such a scenario, the new message response system, or IMRS, should be welcomed by people just the way they welcomed *123#, the balance enquiry number which is common to many operators today. And since the service is expected to last long, I expect Airtel to add more options to the service and make it better in all the ways possible.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

From Zero to Non-Zero

After Mumbai, Mangalore is the new victim of a new 'sena'. It's not been long since Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirmana Sena (or whatever it is) went a bit silent after the 26/11 attack on Mumbai, and a new savior of society is born who is saving the public by beating girls.

Right now the newborn or at least newly identified Ram Sena (or whatever is, again, I don't really want to care) is busy giving out mediophile statements as a follow up to their act of bravery, or at least society-cleaning (I'm just guessing their words as I'm not really giving their words a read).

It's interesting how all of a sudden a person or an organization who was nowhere comes up and almost challenges the government as they say they won't take law into their hands now, but if the government fails to act, they'll decide what to do next.

And now, my experience tells me (hail Indian politics, I feel I've seen so much at 23) that the guys involved will be able to find some tickets for the next or post-next elections and maybe even get a seat or two.

So here comes the conclusion of this sweet little exercise of getting inside a pub and beating girls, 'not molesting them but maybe giving a slap or two', in their leaders' own words. The guys who did it of course get arrested and all, their pictures (and even interviews) are published, they become popular (rather anti-popular) and hence known faces, and finally they get a place in Indian politics.

Whatever happens, one thing is sure, that the guys become zero to something non-zero. And that pays. Always. Can we stop this?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Aw c'mon

Half an hour earlier I was sitting in mess-cum-restaurant for my dinner, watching trailers of new Hindi movies when some guy sitting behind me asked the teenage waiter to put on some news channel. The waiter followed and I was watching NDTV instead of my favorite 9XM (though today it was SET MAX before changing to NDTV).

Anyway, I thought I'd see it till the guy is there and didn't protest. Now as I was watching the news, the first interesting thing was Priya Dutt being disappointed with brother Sanjay for going to Samajwadi Party instead of Congress. Dear Priya, it suits the image. Munna Bhai fits well in a Bhai Log ki Party. Also, maybe he idolizes Amitabh Bachchan and so following him.

Now came the news that was selected as the news of the day by NDTV people. NDTV was hurt (or trying to show it was hurt) by some corporates showing their support for Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India, and they fired a burning question (that's what I'm taught, all questions burn, and I know they did during school): Is it correct for India Inc to project Narendra Modi as PM?

At the time I was watching the show, the public response was divided 60-40. In favor of the question. Or against the channel, as far as I could see. At that point of time I could only find comments that were against the sin the business community had committed. And my guess would be that comments have to be filtered by the channel, though I expect that the numbers aren't.

Now an hour or so later, when I casted the 786th vote (O, what a number!), I could see the numbers changing to 50.5/48.1, still more people being magnanimous enough to ignore the crime of the India Inc. which, my guess is, comes after opinions being affected by the channel.

Now this relates to the third news where Sonia Gandhi had said that the Freedom of Expression of the news channels will be maintained and they should not worry about the same.

My question is: Is the freedom of expression only for news channels? What is wrong if certain business people support and project a person for the Prime Minister's post? Because according to me, in a democracy like India, anybody can speak up and speak out (just like an old Airtel ad) so why shouldn't the business community who have done our country proud and continue to do so?

Anyway, as far as my personal opinion goes, there is nothing wrong with projecting Modi as the Prime Minister, not because I think he's a great person or something but simply because there is hardly a better choice with us. In fact Mr Advani, who is currently thinking of himself as the Prime Minister elect of India, is hardly better and can be as bad as Modi on a given day as is clear from history.

So I guess we can make Modi or even Lalu the Prime Minister. In fact, thinking of Lalu, I feel they all get better when they come to the centre (compare the situation of Bihar and Indian Railways).

Hmmm. It's fixed then. I support Lalu for the Prime Minister in the coming elections. Anybody hurt with that? ;)