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March 22, 2010

Rahul ka Swayamvar / Rahul Dulhaniya Le Jaayega

Before I start the blog, a very strict warning… If you are lactose intolerant, skip this blog. It is… how do I say it… say… cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesey!
Okay. So let’s start. RkS (Rahul ka Swayamwar), if you didn’t know was the reality aired on NDTV Imagine this past month. It was about five weeks of fun-packed show, which I truly adored. I spent more than 16 hours of my life watching it. Granted that, I was multi-tasking for a while, but still. I did keep my ears firmly glued to the best show on earth. Since it is the best show in the universe, I assumed that the whole universe was watching it. So, I picked a couple of unfortunate souls at my workplace and home, and starting discussing the show with them. To my horror, I realized that they weren’t watching the show. I could not tolerate that. Being their well-wisher, I could not see them miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I convinced a few of them to watch it, and I must say (and I am not making this up), they were extremely enthusiastic to share their experience of watching it. That made me extremely happy. However, being the mankind-loving-person-that-I-am, I wanted to ensure that no one else missed the show. So, almost every single Indian friend of mine (that’s about 99.9 %, if you include my boss) knew that my opinion of the show and some of them (I hope) watched it. All my friends loved me for my recommendation. I realized it was time to take this global (in a way), and put it on the third most frequently visited site in the world(Google and Facebook being the first and second)… errr… this one.
This blog is dedicated to the show. The show which had me gripped for more than a week. The outline is pretty simple. Rahul Mahajan wants to get married for a second time, after his first wife (apparently) left him after drug and physical abuse. NDTV, showing outstanding judgment makes a show out of this. Oh wait… that is wrong. There was already a show, and this is the second season. The first one had Rakhi Sawant… and that was equally “Imagine”ative. I didn’t have much respect for the one-shot wonder MBAs but after these two shows, I have grown to admire them. I’ll reserve that for a later blog though. For now, lets “focus”! As the host, they chose the one and only Ram Kapoor. His charm was no match for Rahul’s… ahem. Anyways, show started with 16 (yes, you read that right… sixteen) out-of-this-world- -should-been-miss-universe-ten-times-over girls. Rahul was initially very confused. He had so many girls to choose from, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Neither could I, so I shut them instead.

Coming to the girls…. Some of them were trying to be cuter-than-cupid, a few others were trying their hands at cooking, while the rest of the lot was just trying to get as-much-Rahul-as-they-could… because, of course, they loved-him-more-than-anyone-else-could-Imagine. One of them even confessed to loving him decades before they met. My guess is she may have started loving him even before he/she were born. A couple of others fell in love when they first saw him. It was as if, cupid was in Fatehgarh palace (that’s where the show was filmed) on the first day with unlimited supply opium-tipped arrows. And why wouldn’t cupid want to be there… there was so much beauty, brains, brawn, booze and balderdash on display. And boy, oh boy, was the opium strong. The girls looked like they were hooked to him for millennia. Some people have said that the girls had a hint of desperation in their actions, and they were looking for silver screendom. But you know me. I wouldn’t buy such cynicism ever.
The show also had its set of extremely accomplished guests. Movie and television stars who have made a mark for themselves, purely based on their acting talent, and ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE. One such guest was… errr… Neha Dhupia… umm… uh-oh… Anyways, moving on…
The show was down to the final three, after many girls had to leave the show, and the love of their lives. It was truly heartbreaking for me to watch their true love not materialize. As they say, sometimes you crack an egg just to see what is inside.
The final, as you might imagine, were the most eligible of the lot for him. RkS had reached its finale, and I finally caught up with all the episodes on I was waiting for the final decision. I was rooting for Dimpy I must confess. She was competing with two others who were equally beautiful, talented, accomplished in their… ahem… fields. Although the average age of the three girls was less than two-thirds of Rahul’s age, they were up-to-task in every way.
Then came the fateful day, March 6th 2010, and the whole universe (except me… I was sleeping. I missed the live broadcast, but I did catch up the recorded one) held its breath. Everyone was anxious… and surprise, surprise, I hit the jackpot. Dimpy was the one!!! Times of India has a very flattering article about her. I encourage you to search to Google/Bing for it (Dimpy Ganguly interview). Her pics on Google Images are equally good, or even better. A picture does speak a thousand words in this case.
For all those people who haven’t watched it yet, and I hope there aren’t many, I strongly encourage you to watch it. Consider it a personal request from me.
Being the idealistically-romantic, completely-unsarcastic, gullible person that I am, you can see why I say this is the best show in the universe.
There may one other reason why I liked it. You see, before this show, I thought there were two types of humour.
1. Humour by amatuers. The comedian in all of us.
2. Humour by the professionals. Professional comedians, cartoon-writers.
Only after this show, did I realize the third way…
Unintentional comedians. People who do not intend to be funny, but who end up making you laugh until your stomach breaks up. They bring you laughter by saying things you never expected. They really mean them… maybe. But they are so hilarious!
If you didn’t heed my previous request, I hope you do take it seriously now. Watch it. I never knew Indian Television was this good!

March 11, 2010

Snow, a reckless driver and two months

This blog started sometime in January and I have completed now in March. Hopefully you won’t notice the break in the middle… Happy 2010. Enjoy!

I am starting this blog at 3 in the morning. It has been snowing for a while today. Went out for a walk in the snow. It was a very very nice experience. A hot coffee sent me to heaven. And here, I am back at home.

I have a few topics in my mind which I wanted to talk about. And today, I got the proper introduction I was looking for, on my way back home. This place is pretty much covered in snow. Some people are excited to see snow, others aren’t. That’s because it snows here once a year, if you are lucky. It is cold, but it doesn’t snow often. So, most people who drive here are not used to driving in snow. So you see people driving cars without having removed the snow from the top, which is quite dangerous. That was a surprising thing I noticed, however today night was a little more serious. A guy driving an SUV, talking on his cell phone, skids while trying to stop for a red signal, and stops in the middle of the intersection. He knew the red signal was coming on. Nope, this guy wouldn’t just care. If he tried to stop sincerely and missed, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Even then, he is stopping an SUV which is bigger than everything here, and frankly, has nothing sporty about it. And this great soul doesn’t think it is necessary for him to actually stop talking on the phone even then. Nope. And why am I concerned? Because I was trying to cross the road and luckily didn’t assume that he had brains. Talking about brainy people…

There’s been a nice little drama going on here regarding NBC, a television channel. I won’t go into the details of the whole drama, but this is basically what happened. The network had two people who wanted to host the same legendary comedy show, The Tonight Show. One of them, Jay Leno, was hosting it for the last two decades, and has been hugely successful. The other is a younger upstart, Conan O’Brien who might be the future. So the channel decided to go with the younger one, and pushed the older one elsewhere. Now both the shows were doing badly, so they decided to bring the old one back. The younger one didn’t like it, and he got 40 million dollars (i.e. the rest of his contract) and he is going to leave the channel, for another one which will give him the same time slot there. The older one is getting back his show. The way it has been portrayed here is that the younger one is being kicked out. And people stood in rain outside the channel’s headquarters to protest his expulsion. And he thinks he is a victim, and is milking it to the max. I mean, come on!!!!! How dumb can people be ... This is a country with an un-employment rate of 15%. Walmart, the cheapest store in town, is shedding jobs by the thousands because people don’t have the money to buy stuff even at their bargain basement prices! And of all the things to worry about, the biggest thing to do apparently is to show sympathy to a comedian who has made 32.5 million dollars, for the rest of his contract! Pardon me if I am wrong, but how dumb can people get. I mean, he didn’t like the spot he was given by the channel, so he quit. Isn’t this like any other job? And for god sakes, he is making more money than 99% of the American population will ever make. Leno on the other hand is being blamed for “kicking out” Conan. I am sorry. How is that wrong? Leno wanted his show back. NBC wanted Leno more than Conan. Simple. Why can’t people accept that?

The next topic I want to talk about is something which has even more people hooked on. Telangana. One fine day, one guy goes on a fast-unto-death, and students are “agitated”, and start burning down buses they haven’t paid for? They start damaging property they don’t own? I have a question here. If you are upset about anything in your house, do you go and torch your neighbour’s house? No. Because then you would be jailed. However, in this case, the students were apparently “emotionally upset”. Frankly, I don’t know how they can get emotionally upset about someone who hid from public view after elections because he couldn’t face his own party men, but then, even if they did get emotionally upset, why should they be allowed to torch the buses? Is this straight out vandalism? These are students who are studying to get a Bachelors or a Masters degree. Granted, it is in arts, and not a technical field. But still, if this is the emotional state of these people, that they would erupt so violently when something “aggravates” their minds, then shouldn’t they be in rehab? I keep “quoting” the words because I don’t believe in any of these explanations. I agree that there may have been some discrimination in the way the funds were allocated. But I guess the more important question here why this is happening now. If this was close to an election, it would be legitimate but it is not. At the end of the day, all these students who are actually damaging public property end up being corrupt politicians, or corrupt government workers. I don’t think Microsoft would like to hire a student who has “I torched Bus No 3K during Telangana agitations in 2010” as one of his extra-curricular achievements. I am so grouchy about this whole thing is because it’s basically a set of people with money funding others, for their own benefit. And the rest 99% of the population pays a price for it. The more I see democracies in action, I realize that it is not the perfect solution. It needs to be tweaked so that when combined with capitalism, it doesn’t end up servicing the top-end of the population. Talking about Telangana, and Hyderabad…

There is company called Notion Ink, which released a tablet called Adam. It is based in Hyderabad, started by a handful of IITians and MBA grads. They trained students from a local engineering college, BVRIT, to write the software for the applications running on the tablet. In a matter of a few months, they learnt themselves and educated the students how to write applications on Google’s Android. They did this because, as a startup, they couldn’t afford to pay the going price for professionals in the area (1 lakh a month for an Android developer). The tablet is priced lower than Apple’s tablet, the iPad and has more features. Granted that it may not “look” as polished, or have a picture of half-eaten fruit on the back, I think this is a bigger achievement than the rave here about the iPad. This might look very Hyderabadi of me to bring up this tablet, but I am taking this as an example to prove a point. Even in this era of online news, there is still a hierarchy in terms of which news gets covered. I admire the iPad for what it is. A bigger iPhone , without the phone functionality. Its running a basic operating system for its size, in a strictly environment, by a company which thinks apps with explicit content are not in the “right taste”. I know how the system works, with the advertising money and market muscle, but I just wish that there was a way in which companies like Notion Ink are given the publicity they desperately need to come up. I don’t believe that the products from a big brand company should be called awesome even before people have seen it. Did I tell you that Notion Ink was showed to the world well before the iPad? I believe that the best products will only come out when you have a lot of companies in the same field, fighting for market share. Not when you declare the verdict and bombard people with marketing 24 hours a day regarding one arguably sub-standard product, from first look. I am sure most people would agree that, for all the hype and speculation, the iPad was a dud of epic proportions.

To round up, I prefer Leno to Conan… I would like to see Andhra Pradesh as a unified state for purely sentimental reasons, or in the worst case, Hyderabad should become a UT by itself, with Naidu as its CEO. And I am hoping that the Paradise restaurant is not damaged in all this agitation stuff. Hyderabad wouldn’t be the same without its biryani. I have an iPod Touch and I love it. I am not likely to buy an iPad, because I am not impressed by it.

This is my longest blog so far. If you read it till here, thanks for your patience. Hope you liked it. Before I finish, a disclaimer. I have nothing against Conan’s supporters who were standing in the rain (as long as I don’t have to do anything like that), the Telangana agitators (but please don’t destroy the buses that we pay taxes for, and frankly, you don’t) and Apple fans (I know quite a few of you, and Apple did a great job with the iPhone and the iPods).

November 15, 2009

The third Q... SQ

We all have taken tests for IQ and EQ. We all have taken tests on F A C E B O O K on IQ and EQ. There are also a shit load of personality tests out there to make you feel better about yourself. The tests are more like drugs, for the faint hearted. All of the results suggest that you are really God's gift to humanity, and that you are one in a million. The point is, the quiz says the same thing to the other 999 thousand also! And we imagine all those good things actually exist within us, for a moment atleast, and feel happy about it. Wonder why we just don't like being called a human... a selfish, materialistic, greedy, ambitious, faulty, sadistic, hypocritical human. Probably its that one thing in us which is only happy when it is told that we are good. When someone tells us that we are good, it feels happy. When we are accepted into the society, we feel happy. A currency to measure this acceptance is friends. This is just one measure, not the only one. But, it is an (if not the most) important one.

We pretty much can't do anything about our IQ. Maybe we can but its rare that you fail tenth because you can't add numbers, and end up discovering something great in science later. Self-help books can make you believe, and in some corner cases, rightly so, that you can change your EQ. But how about your social quotient. How about that? Can you change that? Can you read a book, or take a course, and increase your social score? My view is that you can't do anything about it. Its one of those things that quintessentially you.

For a while, I believed that it was possible to change a person's social score. I thought there were a certain set of things that you need to do, and you can change it. It is probably true with girls, because... lets face it.. there are enough desperate guys around to keep them company at any point of time. So, if a girl really want to hang out, not too much of a problem to find "a" guy. Rerouting... but I realized quite fast that basically there isn't anything you can do about it. Its what you are. There are many things we love about ourselves, and many things we don't. And this is just one of those many things. Its a part and parcel of what we are. I thought this was worth a blog because of two reasons (i) blogs are free (ii) i think there are lot of people who agree and disagree with me on this. Something contentious makes a good blog.

This is how I view things. Everybody is pretty much the same. They possess all the wonderful (please get the sarcasm) qualities (and more of what) I described above. And I am pretty happy being a human in that sense. My Friday and Saturday nights are just like any other night... watching a movie, sitting in the lab and debugging code written by someone from Mars, cooking food, sitting in a coffee shop or sleeping. No clubs, no discos, no parties every other night for me. To a sub-20, or just 20-plus year old, that may sound lame. And for a while I thought it was. But then I realized that we all live in different worlds. We are a product of our childhood, our environment, and our decisions. So, when I see people who want to change what they are, I feel quite bad about it. I think they are just perfect being themselves. We may be from the same planet, but Eve isn't our mother. And I guess the faster you accept you, the easier everything is. I think its great to party, but its equally good or even better to be excited when you fix code written by another underpaid grad student on a Friday night at 12. I think the same applies to relationships. Relationships don't define people. Its the other way round. You can love life, irrespective of whether you are in one, or out of one. And I am out of words.

Just to keep track... this blog is around 3am. Thanks for reading it. Hope you liked it. See ya.

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