Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Group Hug Finito

In which we blog from the Hyderabad Express, somewhere between Sullurpeta and Nellore

The revels are now ended. 3 days of hobnobbing and meeting lots of old faces, though not all the ones we would've loved to. Highlights
  • 2 runs, one on campus and one off, in the company of Kenny, her friend (now nationalized), and the Nitwit. Much fun, and very high speed. The flesh is capable of more than we had suspected.
  • Visited hostel room, used several unprintable words on cowering occupant, and hung out in general
  • Quote of the weekend comes (not surprisingly) from someone who is not an alum or even an engineer. Prof. Sen, (Abi has more), when asked, "Oh sir, what can we do to make India the next superpower, please tell us." says, "I don't know about you, but I don't have the least bit of interest in India becoming a superpower." Surprised quite a few people, I daresay. The loud and lonely clapping you heard from the extreme back row of SAC was yours truly.
  • One of the Women in Science and Technology sessions which we quietly slunk into to meet her who first forwarded us the WTF link was quite absorbing. Indeed, the WTF was mentioned, we're very proud of our baby
  • Dinner at Benjarong and breakfast with Siva, Gaseous Beyondus, and other respected elders
  • Sign on shop in Mylapore: "We do all kinds of grill work, welding and gollasible gates!" Gollasible gates! Mommee, we wants!!
Apparently such worthies as Abi and Choxbox were around, and were not met so that's a bit of a bummer. And no kili josier, which was devastating. More will be shared later. Typing with T9 is quite painful beyond a point...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Quick Bangalore Thoughts

Got in this morning. Getting out tomorrow evening. Salient points:

1. Freezing.

2. It's unbelievable, but Malleswaram does not seem to have a single darshini style eatery. Was ravishing when stepping off the train, full of anticipation of pongal and suchlike poisons but, to quote J. Krishnamurthi once said, "Malleswaram is an idliless land." Positively reeks of business opportunity.

3. Bought milk. Which is not unusual. Sibling who normally takes care of these womanly chores with alacrity, is not in town. So bought milk, some Nandini thing. Immensely gratifying tag line, "Quality excellence, from cow to consumer." Immediate ideas of extending said line up and down the dairy supply chain spring to mind. "Quality excellence, from grass to gastrointestinal tract." "Quality excellence, from topsoil to toilet." "Quality excellence..." Really, one could go on. The remaining possibilities are left as an exercise for the reader.

The packet also has said slogan in Kannada. It says, "Qualitydalli excellencu, aavimda giraakivarege." Or something.

4. Running suggestions in/around Malleswaram will be appreciated. 12 km. needed.

5. You can smell sampangi poovus on Sampige Road!

6. Soon, our minds will be read.

7. Australopithecus is hereby nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009. For unearthing this. Not safe for work.

8. Finally a few concerned citizens are starting to something practical about terrorism. See 1, 2.

9. So is this pig.

10. Apparently, the porker is critical. This is what you get if you do too many laps without hydration, carbs and a warm-up routine. Or if you're a pig circumambulating a pillar endlessly with uniform angular velocity and no nutrition. And while we're on the subject, this video of Christopher Walken reading "Three Little Pigs" is highly watchable.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sampoorna Webpage Rewrite

Everyone knows WTF this is about, no?

A revisit to the group hug homepage reveals that the page in question has disappeared! Voila! Instead, we now have For the Family.
The theme for the Family track for this year's Global Conference is "Sampoorna – For the Whole Family".
In a reasonably clever move that prevents the raising of further blogical fingers, it says:
(All delegates to the conference, and any of their family members, are free to attend not only the sessions at Sampoorna, but any of the sessions making up the 6 thematic tracks, and the plenary sessions.)
Everyone can go everywhere, snail is on thorn and lark is deeply engrossed in an energetic rendition of Kumbaya.

There's still an undercurrent of mumbo jumbo, mind you.
The event explores through music and dance the impact of the five elements of the world, how it is being abused, and remedial measures that can be taken to stop the ecological disaster staring us in the face.
But we are going to strictly implement the advice Paul's mother Mary proffered.

The Mystic Trail has disappeared completely, instead you can play chess with Vishwanathan Anand (or Vandy, as he will be called on campus). All said and done a reasonably satisfactory conclusion, even if Shilpa Shetty is giving it a miss.

On campus investigations revealed the following.

1. The Mystic Trail was supposed to be more of a "gag" like thing all along, apparently. Of course, that wasn't entirely clear from the website. Anyway, good riddance. Hopefully the heartbroken josier is not lurking on Sardar Patel Road threatening to release his kili on unsuspecting visitors.

2. So, it turns out that the powers that be initially received lots of email and feedback about the WTF. This was given the same treatment that Dravid gives balls outside the off stump in Test matches. However (and here's the rub), the delicate stink from this whole affair had percolated through the blog world (thanks to A-list academic blogger types) and in mainstream media in a small way.

This caused a certain very very very important sponsor to apparently gently hint that changes in the programme would be "appreciated", and hey presto. Paisa bolta hai.

At the Choultry we're all extremely thrilled that the whole thing started off here. In the past, we've hinted at the duties of conscientious bloggers and so on, and apparently we were right. Anyway, that's that. Next, we are composing a rant on global poverty and we are sure there will be a similar speedy resolution to the same.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

On Living

Which we post mainly so that we don't lose this poem

On Living
         - Nazim Hikmet

Living is no laughing matter:
You must live with great seriousness
Like a squirrel, for example -
I mean without looking for something beyond and above living,
I mean living must be your whole occupation.
Living is no laughing matter…
I mean, you must take living so seriously
that even at seventy for example, you’ll plant olive trees -
and not just for your children either,
but because although you fear death you don’t believe it,
because living, I mean, weighs heavier... .

Let’s say we’re at the front -
for something worth fighting for, say.
There, in the first offensive, on that very day,
We might fall on our face, dead.
We’ll know this with a curious anger,
But we’ll still worry ourselves to death
About the outcome of the war, which could last years.

Let’s say we’re in prison
And close to fifty,
And we have eighteen more years, say,
Before the iron doors will open.
We’ll still live with the outside,
With its people and animals, struggle and wind - I mean with the outside beyond the walls.
I mean, however and wherever we are,
We must live as if we will never die.

This earth will grow cold,
a star among stars, and one of the smallest,
a gilded mote on blue velvet -
I mean this, our great earth.
This great earth will grow cold one day...
Like an empty walnut it will roll along
in pitch-black space...
You must grieve for this right now
- you have to feel this sorrow now -
for the world must be loved this much
if you’re going to say, "I lived"...

Translated by Randy Basing and Mutlu Konuk
Found over at Kafila at the end of a very readable piece by Nivedita Menon.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

One Possible Reason For The Economic Downturn

Seen today in the Q&A section of a prominent Indian portal:
Iam loss more than one lakhs in intraday trading, in 5 months there is possible for refund that money?
So these are the sorts of people who invest in the stock market.

Ans: "Dear Sir, of course it's possible to get a refund and I can help with the same. There will be a small downpayment of Rs. 50, 000 for which you can pay me in cash. Also, if you're interested, I am the owner of a large plot of land in western UP that I can offer you for a nominal rate. It is riverfront property with landscaped gardens and a semi-residential marble building constructed in the 17th century in the centre. Rs. 3 lakhs only."