Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Video chat with Facebook, Twitter friends

My piece on how to video chat with your Facebook and Twitter friends appeared in The Hindu Business Line. You can find the Link below:

In chat mode

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Early birds

The bookings for Rajnikant starrer Enthiran (Robot) opened today. There were queues outside all theatres as early as 7.30 am. (The counters opened at 9 am). There were people waiting outside all the gates of Express Avenue, which has Satyam's Escape screens. The picture you see is outside one of the many gates.

Friday, August 20, 2010

MPs not happy with 300 percent hike, want more

Poor MPs. I feel sorry for them. How can they survive with such small salaries? They must have at least 1000 per cent hike every year. :(

Monday, August 02, 2010

No cash

The sheet pasted on the door says 'No cash'. This is a common sight in the first week of every month.
This is not restricted to PSU banks. Even private banks fail miserably in replenishing cash in ATMs.

Posted by ShoZu


The Chennai Mayor has sent a 'strong' warning against putting up advertisement banners. He says the banners also promote English. Of course, there seem to be exemptions:
1. If they are by political parties, especially allies;
2. If they don't 'promote' English.

Posted by ShoZu

Familiar sight, but in a posh area

This is a familiar sight in Chennai. This picture shows that even posh areas are not immune to Neel Metal Fanalca's inefficiency.
Place: Desika Road, Mylapore.

Posted by ShoZu

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tirupati : Darshan and other controversies

It is the richest temple in the country. Millions of devotees come every day to Tirupati in the State of Andhra Pradesh in India to have a glimpse of the presiding deity – Venkateshwara or Balaji. You can’t call it a darshan or or prayer by any stretch of imagination, because the devotees are not allowed to stay beyond a few seconds at the sanctum sanctorum. Even the few seconds they stay are not peaceful. The devotees – some who even trek up the hill, are rudely pushed or pulled away by the security. It beats me how such an extremely rough behaviour can be allowed at all – more so in a religious place. It is one thing to ask the devotees to move on, but brusquely shoving  devotees away with force seems to be a fit case for human rights action. Come to think of it, according to our dharma, a bhakta is supposed to be greater than God.

Even the place where the devotees get the treatment is not exactly the sanctum sanctorum. They are not allowed anywhere near the idol. The idol is a good 50 meters away from where the devotees are allowed to ‘worship’ (if you can call the exercise that).

The ‘ease’ at which the devotees can get ‘access’ to the sanctum sanctorum also depends on the financial ‘strength’ of the devotees. If they can shell out Rs 300, the devotees are allowed a freer access. If the devotees are poor and can afford to spend only Rs 50, they have to stand in a bigger queue. If the devotee is too poor to pay anything, he has to stand in a separate queue for a period that sometimes exceeds even eight hours!

The ‘Lord of the Seven Hills’ as the deity is also called, also accepts recommendations. If the devotee can catch hold of a Member of Parliament of India or a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Andhra Pradesh, a letter of recommendation from the worthies will enable him to skip all the three queues and get direct access to the sanctum sanctorum -- well beyond the area where other ‘commoners’ are allowed.

I even saw a bhattar giving Sadari with his right hand and keeping his left hand open, clutching a bunch of currency notes – indirectly asking you to add to his collection. He doesn’t even realise that he is accepting something in his left hand – something not done according to Hinduism. I don’t know the yardstick by which he is called a ‘priest’.

It is not uncommon to see the devotees who have paid Rs 300 or Rs 50 to fret and fume every time a VIP or VVIP disrupts their ‘darshan’. But what they don’t realise is that those who cannot afford the tickets and are standing in the free darshan queue for hours together, have the same feelings towards those who beat them to the Lord by purchasing ‘quick access’ tickets. It is sad that access to God depends on your affordability in temples where everyone is supposed to be equal before the Lord. 

If you have any belief about ‘punya’ and ‘paapa’ , a lecture by a pious man 25 years ago in Srirangam (please believe me… I am an Iyengar from Srirangam) comes to my mind. What he said was this:

“You can afford the tickets, so you get one and get 'special access’. But those who have been standing in the free queue for hours together are not going to be amused by your act. They may abuse you or even curse you for interrupting and delaying their access. And the very fact that you are delaying them by cutting into their path itself is wrong and is a sin. So whatever punya you may get by visiting the temple will get negated by the paapam and heart-felt abuses you get from the poor.”

Then, how do you manage the crowds? My feeling is that many of us who go ‘comfortably’  to Tirupati, stay in an air-conditioned room and barge in with a Rs 300 ticket will stop coming to the temple if forced to stand in the common queue.  Which means the crowd will comprise just the genuine devotees, and the drop in the number of devotees is likely to be in the region of almost 60 per cent. The crowd will come down even if those who go there like a picnic stop doing it. 

If you have a Rs 300 ticket, you are entitled to get two ladoos, which is the prasad. If you want more, you have buy it in the black market. Black market in a temple? Yes. The amount can go even up to Rs 500 per laddu, depending on the availability, your desperation and what you can afford. If you want the ladoos in a plastic bag, you have to shell out Rs 2 for bag that will hardly cost 50 paise. What is sad is that we don’t think twice before buying the extra ladoos in the black market.

Even the temple precincts cry for attention. Devotees sleep, eat and even wash themselves inside the temple mandaps. One is not sure whether he is stepping on water, spit or even urine. I saw at least a couple of kids pissing near a mandap. So much for the ‘sanctity’. It is sad that the country’s richest temple is least bothered about keeping the premises clean. May be, the accent is on earning revenues and not on spending on ‘trivial’ things like cleanliness.

We say God is everywhere. Even if you are comfortable to ‘see’ him only in a temple, why do we ignore thousands of smaller temples spread over our country? There are ancient temples that get hardly any visitor, and therefore have zero revenue. Some archakas and bhattars in these temples can’t even make both ends meet. Why do we concentrate more on Tirupati?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Osho on true religion

Osho says:

Religion is not what people understand it to be. It is not Chrisitianity, it is not Hinduism, it is not Mohammedanism. The so called religion is a dead rock.
I teach you not religion, but religiousness -- a flowing river, continuously changing its course, but ultimately reaching the ocean.
A rock may be very ancient, far more experienced, far older than any Rigveda , but rock is a rock, and it is dead. It does not move with the seasons, it does not move with existence; it is simply lying there. And have you seen any rock with any song, with any dance?
To me religion is a quality, not an organisation.
All the religions which exist in the world -- and they are not a small number, there are three hundred religions in the world -- are dead rocks. They don't flow, they don't change, they don't move with the times. And anything that is dead is not going to help you -- unless you want to make a grave, and then perhaps the rock may be helpful.
All the so-called religions have been making graves for you, destroying your life, your love, your joy, and filling your heads with fantasies, illusions, hallucinations about God, about heaven and hell, about reincarnation, and all kinds of crap.


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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Milk Booth?

This is supposed to be a Aavin milk booth in Chennai (booth no. 115, Pycrofts I street).
The poor guys manning the booth have no protection against the vagaries of the weather. There was a run-down structure resembling booth earlier, but one fine day, it disappeared.
Even Government bodies seem to be motivated only by profits. Employees or consumers come low in the priority order.

Posted by ShoZu

Monday, May 17, 2010

E72 firmware upgrade to 31.023

I upgraded the software in my E72 from 21.024 to 31.023 today. Though there were warnings in Nokia forums about problems with the upgrade, I decided to go ahead with it. My ‘courage’ won. I have none of the problems faced by those in the forum.

The upgrade installs a few apps like the long-awaited Internet Radio (inside the radio app), a connectivity app, a Bloomberg app and a separate Ovi sync app.

The nice thing about upgrading the firmware in E72 compared E71 is that all the apps you have installed in your phone remain. In the E71, I had to install all the apps all over again after each firmware upgrade.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sharp fall in Tata Indicom customer service

There has been a sharp drop in Tata Indicom’s customer service levels. The Customer Care doesn’t respond properly. The next level – the Nodal Authority – never even bothers to reply. Don’t be surprised if you get a legal notice, as I have.

If you ever face a with Tata Indicom, lodge a complaint. It it is not resolved, stop the service and surrender the instrument. Don’t expect the higher levels – Nodal Authority or Appellate Authority – to come to your rescue.

Sorry for a company that used to top in customer satisfaction.


Sharp fall in Tata Indicom customer service

There has been a sharp drop in Tata Indicom’s customer service levels. The Customer Care doesn’t respond properly. The next level – the Nodal Authority – never even bothers to reply. Don’t be surprised if you get a legal notice, as I have.

If you ever face a with Tata Indicom, lodge a complaint. It it is not resolved, stop the service and surrender the instrument. Don’t expect the higher levels – Nodal Authority or Appellate Authority – to come to your rescue.

Sorry for a company that used to top in customer satisfaction.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Encroachments around GP Road

General Patters Road, or GP Road, as it is popularly knows is just 1/2 km away from the new Tamil Nadu Assembly complex. It is a wholesale market for automobile spare parts.

As you enter the bylanes and roads from GP Road, you can find heavy machinery and all sorts of auto parts including tyres, radiators and even engines strewn along the roads. As the machinery and auto components are huge, they occupy almost 50 per cent of the road space. There seems to be hardly any monitoring or enforcement.

The guys strolling around these shops are mostly hoodlums from the slums around the area. Though it is just 1/2 km away from the spanking new Assembly complex that is coming up, it is surprising the law enforcing agencies have so far turned a blind eye to the area. If anybody enters the area by mistake after viewing the Assembly complex, he is sure to suffer a stroke and collapse. So stark is the contrast.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

G.ho.st shuts down

One more online service has gone phut. G.ho.st, an online OS service that also provided email and storage services, is closing. G.ho.st has sent this email to its subscribers:

Dear Ghost User,

We hope you have been enjoying our free Ghost service. Regrettably changes in the marketplace mean that it is no longer economical for us to host the Ghost service and we will be closing down the service on or around March 15. We will instead be focusing on licensing or selling our technology to larger companies.

We advise you to migrate ALL important folders, files and emails to another secure place before March 15. You might like to consider Google Docs or Microsoft SkyDrive for files and services such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail for email. Some instructions for migrating data are included below.

We are really sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you and are very grateful for the fantastic support we had from our community.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Waiting for an epidemic?

This is the scene at Pycrofts I Street at Royapettah in Chennai. The road is bang opposite the upcoming Express Avenue shopping mall-cum-multiplex complex.
There is no garbage bin. The Neel Metal Fanalca guys just burn the garbage once in few days.
And there is the grand talk of singara (beautiful) Chennai.

Posted by ShoZu