Sunday, January 7, 2018

Man in the high castle

There are shows and then there are shows. Amazon prime in its efforts to compete with Netflix has put out a stellar show with the Man in the high castle. It is an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Philip K. Dick. With an intriguing premise of how the United States would have been had the axis powers Germany and Japan won in world war ii and compelling characters and subtle science fiction, the show spans ng two engrossing seasons with the next season to arrive in 2018. All parties such as the Nazis, the Japanese police and the resistance fighting against the occupying powers have complex amoral agendas and the compelling interplay between people trying to manipulate the situation and other characters in ruthless pursuit of their goal. Rufu Sewel's character John Smith epitomizes this while Alexa Davos's character stands for the ultimate humanity that lies within everyone and who is the conscience of the show. This is a show that needs patient watch for a few episodes for a viewer to get engaged. There is plenty for both the thoughtful viewer as well as the viewer who just wants to be entertained.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Rama would never force himself on Sita!

 The position of the Modi government to cite religious beliefs and mindset of society to treat marriage as a sacrament as a reason to not introduce punishment is simplistic and travesty of that very sacrament.

In our legends, it is strongly implied Sita would honor a Rama who makes love to her at moments of mutual passion, rather than a Ravana who would force himself. And for all sects and castes out of the so-called twice born castes, there is absolutely no expectation of sexual subjugation of the wife.

Coming to current legal protections, while the domestic violence Act of 2005 does extend protection to women from all forms of abuse including sexual at the hands of husband, it is primarily punitive and does not foster good behavior on behalf of husbands in building a healthy sexual relationship or to build a strong family. The government's position seemingly does not distinguish between civilized husbands who love and cherish their wives and brutes who  harm theirs and does not promote or glorify the behavior of the former as an ideal for the society.

If the government rejects comparison with other countries on the basis that societal institutions such as marriages and families there are not quite given the same importance there as in India, then surely it should be working to strengthen those institutions! Interpreting religious beliefs erroneously and not supporting 'decent' husbands is not a step in that direction.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Teacher and Janitor

Me: बड़ा होके क्या बनोगे?
Student of rural Bengal (smilingly): बांग्ला (बंगाली) टीचर
Me(with pleasure): बहुत अछा.

Brian(American teammate): Ask if anyone would like to become a garbage disposal man.
Me: Ok...
Brian: It is a very socially useful profession.
Me: Very true. Just don't know how to translate the question into Hindi or Bangla.
(true but also think about how this conflation of teacher and janitor may offend rural Indian students raised to respect teachers)
Later realize that neither American culture in which teachers aren't really respected by students nor traditional Indian culture where teachers are venerated but not paid enough and janitors often ostracized are ideal. Perhaps a need for a new society that can learn from both and respect both professions equally but differently.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Yo boys I am sing song
Soup song Flop song
Why this Kolavari Kolavari Kolavari di?
Why this Kolavari ………. Adi?
Maintain please..
Rhythm correct
Why this Kolavari Kolavari Kolavari di?
Mama notes edthuko ade kayile snacks edthuko
Pa Pa Paan..Pa Pa Pa..pappa pan.
Handlo glass Glasslo Carlsberg.
Ice fulla tear
Empty life
Distance la love love cow cow
Holy cow I want to hear now.
Give me my passport backu
Why this Kolavari Kolavari di?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Anna Hazare and the idea of India

 Corruption is around us and we see, hear about it frequently. Most urban educated Indians seem to value time over money and choose to ignore it as a reality of life that cannot be changed. And yet the movement touched a nerve and brought the topic into daily discussion. Several young professionals have pledged to do their part in forging alternative paths. Many more people are informed about their rights, options to avoid getting into the trap and the government was forced to acknowledge this. Discussion against corruption has entered public discourse and this has led to a far better informed populace.

Also, let us consider the example this movement has set for peasants in Jharkhand or students and workers in northeast. One may not agree with the specific methods adopted by the Anna team but by any definition, it has been non-violent. And that presents a very strong alternative to the gun culture that pervades change movements there.
In 47 years, this forced the first attempt to actually pass a Lokpal bill through the parliament.

Anna Hazare's movement is an affirmation of Indian democracy and power of people at work. It maybe an imperfect system but it is one that people care about improving and being part of. And thus it bolsters the idea of modern India.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cell phones - cancer risk

Finally mainstream media across the world has highlighted the WHO report about cell phones and cancer risk. There are several technical solutions out there some of which I have been using for a long time:
1. Speakerphone - If your phone has a speakerphone, that is probably most convenient and easy to use.
2. Handsfree microphone cable - Always comes with the phone, inexpensive and easy to use.
3. Bluetooth headset - Common and popular especially among technophiles. But I wonder if using them also involves any long term risk since it is closer to the ear and is used pretty much all the time. The one I used broke sometime back. Maybe that actually was a good thing :).

And in terms of usage, it is best to avoid using cellphone in areas where signal bars are few (less signal means the cell phone has to transmit harder to get to the tower) - elevators, rural areas or between tall buildings etc.And for parents concerned about children, definitely a good idea to stop your children from using the phone close to the ear as their developing brains are likely to be more sensitive to radiation.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

ISRO S band sale scam, REALLY??

ISRO is in the news of late, unfortunately for the wrong reasons,  around the sale of satellite S band spectrum to a company Davos.
In a season where the word spectrum itself is shrouded with negative aura of corruption and deliberate selling short of state assets, ISRO seems to be in the situation of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Some supporting facts of this case are that ISRO signed a commercial contract with Davos only after the other suitors for the S-band including Reliance backed off. Despite the fact that Davos would have been the primary beneficiary of the deal, it was a commercially and legally tenable deal.
 Perhaps ISRO and government can claim overriding clauses of "national security" or "public interest". But essentially since the government has backed out due to negative external sentiment, Davos would be justified in adopting legal recourse in enforcing penalty for unilateral abrogation of the contract. From a longer term perspective, it is very important for ISRO and government to establish clear and transparent guidelines and policies regarding such sales so that entities dealing with them do not feel left in the lurch by what they may regard as out of scope arbitrariness.