Friday, July 21, 2006

A connection

It was a hectic day by all standards at work, I had to complete a few things so I worked till about 8 PM in the night. As I was walking out of office I thought about how unhinged my life had become, I really just wasn't connecting with people anymore. Everything about my life had something to do with my job. Work had taken prominance in life and everything else was an interruption. I couldn't remember the last time when life was fun.

It was then that I decided to walk around in Spencers a large shopping mall here in Chennai. Maybe being around a large group of people would help, I thought.

As I walked through Spencer's many corridors among the many people the feeling of being unconnected was forever growing worse. I just didn't think I was human anymore, I just didn't feel I was a part of these people who were shopping, laughing eating, walking etc. I sat in Spencer's huge food court surrounded by people and feeling so much out of touch with everything that was around me.

I was an alien or so I felt, I didn't belong with these people. I started feeling claustrophobic, so ditching the dinner I made my way out of the mall and into the warm summer night.

I decided to walk for awhile and work through my thoughts. As I made my way through the abandoned pavements watching cars whiz past, my mind kept thinking, why do I not connect? Why do I not feel? Why am I so skeptical of everything? I just knew all the questions but the answers weren't really forthcoming.

As I made my troubled walk through the dark main road, I began hearing a low moaning from within the darkness of the pavement.

I was apprehensive. It was a desolate part of the road and I wasn't too sure what was around. Against my better judgement I walked closer to the noise. To my shock it was a lady lying down in the pavement. She could have been anywhere from 60 to 75 years old and she looked very weak. A quick appraisal told me her story, her begging bowl was empty, she must have been sitting there all day in the scorching summer sun begging for alms without a lot of success and eventually had become too weak to walk out of there. It had been one of those crazily hot days with the temperature reaching 45C, not exactly a pleasant day by any standards.

I asked her if I could help her, she nodded and told me that she hadnt eaten all day. She wanted to know if I could spare some money for food. I said yes and gave her what I could. She took the money with her hands shaking and thanked me profusely. As I turned to leave I realised that she couldn't possibly go anywhere in that state, so I asked her if I could get her some food. She nodded again. I rushed across the road and on to a nearby lane in search of food and finally found a small bunk shop. They just had pepsi and bananas and they didn't sell any water. I got both and rushed back to the old lady.

She took the pepsi from my hands and drank it thirstily, I think this must have been her first drink of the day. I sat next to her on the pavement, wondering if she needed to be taken someplace for care. She refused to go anywhere. I then asked her if she had a place to stay, she said she has a shack which was a few kilometers down the road and she would catch a bus presently. She had visibly brightened after the drink, the sugar water giving her some instant energy. When she regained some strength in her voice she wished me and told me that I would live well and my children would be prosperous.

She started pulling her self up from the pavement, still worried, I asked her if she had someone to take care of her. She looked at me with her kind eyes and said softly "I have you, my grandson". I had a strange lump on my throat, as I watched her hobble away to the bus stop.

I slowly made my way to an auto stand across the road, thinking about the events in the past few minutes.

I guess that in those few moments she had helped me a lot more than I had helped her, she had made me feel human & connected, if only for a few moments, a few precious minutes.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Mama! I think I can see!

Fourscores and a few days ago, my blog along with tons of other bogs were blocked from public view. And it wasn't for the shockingly average writing either. Blogspot & Typepad blogs were blocked in our fair country due to doubts by authorities that blogs were being used as a propoganda too for anti-nationals and also that blogs were used for communication by terrorists.

While this blog and others would love to help the authorities in the interest of national safety, it appears that this block was, in technical terms, a 'balls up'. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) authorities it appears, had given a list blogs to be banned and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) instead of blocking just those blogs have decided to block the whole she-bang. While asked asked to comment an ISP Manager articulated "We blocked the whole she-bang" with a firm nod. "The Whooooole She-Bang baby" reiterated the Deputy Manager, giving his boss an amorous look. They resisted further queries on how this could have happened and instead wanted to know more about 'group blogs'.

On the topic of this grave assault on the Freedom of Speech of thousands of bloggers in the country, the ISPs have pointed out that technically blogging was not speaking and hence were exempt from any kind of protection through the Freedom of Speech Act. Bloggers have now been urged to 'say the words aloud as they type their blogs' to avail of the protection of Freedom of Speech, by their lawyers. ISPs have indicated earlier today that that may convene their Committee for Verification of Uniform Practice (shortly known as CoVer UP) to investigate this incident and submit a report. When queried about this and the timelines that would be given to the committee for submission of results, the two ISP officials interviewed conferred together in a huddle for 15 minutes. After several arguments, 4 phone calls and atleast one wet kiss, the manager emerged with a response of " shortly". "Before the cows came home" added the giggling Deputy Manager, he though refused to explain the bovine link to this whole sordid affair.

Industry insiders on the other hand point out that this blocking could be because of the basic human stupidity accounts for more than 76.52% of all bad things in India. Though the figures in the US are slightly higher at 78.44%, most stupidity there is said to be concentrated on one location, the White House. These figures are brought to us by Unnecessary Counts Inc., the American company that specialises in data assimilation where none was required.

Bloggers have organised themselves into a motley crowd and have attempted to tackle this issue head on armed with their uncanny ability to make tons of noise. This noise making seems to have had it's effect and ISPs are slowly beginning to release the block on the blogs. Regular service appears imminent and bloggers eagerly are rushing back to their blogs, with the exception of a few bloggers like myself have been heard muttering"Oh bugger, not the same ole crappy blog".


p.s. I could see my blog and others through my office network and I thought the issue was over. Later I couldn't see this post but could see up to my previous post. Now from my home connection, I can't access anything again. We are back to square one baby.

UPDATE: Regular service resumes as of Friday evening the block seems to have been released.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

It's been a while since I wrote, a lot has happened in that time, I've won a lottery, I quit my job, bought myself a yacht, travelled nearly halfway around the world, watched a bullfight in Spain, scuba dived off the Greek coast and even caught the the Formula one race in Monaco as it wound through the city streets. It was a fabulous experience to watch those cars from the balcony of my suite with my expensive Italian shoe clad feet up on the railing, while sipping a 1970 Dom Perignon (on ice) and some 2006 Heineken (in fridge) not to mention my delicious new Swedish girlfriend playing with my Rolex Submariner. That evening I had the good luck of winning $100,000 in the baccarat table in my first 30 minutes of gambling, I decided that this kind of a luck deserved a second chance so I tried the roulette tables, promptly loosing that $100,000, the yacht, the Rolex and rest of my lottery winnings too. The later that night I lost my the magnum of Dom Perignon to the room service and the Swedish girlfriend to a Chinese software entreprenuer. My Italian shoes helped me get ticket back home and Heineken made the trip a little better.

So, now that I'm back in Chennai and have taken up the same ole crummy job of mine, I've decided to update my blog again after this long haitus.

Sigh. Ok, that sounds much better than admitting that I've been travelling on the job 3-4 days a week and falling sick ever so often doesn't it? (I've just recovered from a 5 day bout of flu). To be honest my life is as interesting as watching paint dry, hence any kind of imagination helps.

I'm sure those who are clued on to the Indian blogging scenario would be aware that due to some government directive, most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have blocked most of the blogs ie, blogs that are hosted through either blogspot or typepad. This I am told was aimed at stopping certain inflamatory blogs created by elements wanting to create tension in the country. Now one is able to access blogger to post/edit blogs but not view the blogs themselves. This has been carried out after the ghastly attacks in Mumbai.

Bloggers here in India have been rallying together over the last few days to sort this blocking of blogspot & typepad issue out with the authorities and also to find solutions to avoid similar occurances in the future. I request you to take your time to read through this and provide your support to this cause.

Now about the Mumbai Terror Attacks, I was in the city a couple of days after the attacks and it was business as usual in the large and sometimes imposing city. I know a lot has been said about the spirit of Mumbai and Mumbaikars, one has always held them in highest of regards for their work ethics, it's a city where people would travel 4-5 hours a day to work but would not compromise on the quality or the quantity of work that they put in. Mumbai truly a city with an attitude, I shall always hold it very high in my esteem. My heart goes out to those who have lost their loved ones and those who were injured. As Indians and as World citizens, the one thing we should do is not to forget their losses. Terrorism will not be an accepted fact of life, not now, not ever.

Do look out for more posts. For the time being, instead of leaving a comment on the blog, kindly send it to me as an email ( so, I can read & respond, remember you can see my blog but I don't think I can till this issue gets resolved.