Showing posts from 2007

Spare me dear

.. and dude too ! While somebody calling me a "dude" is merely annoying, somebody calling me "dear" (like in "How are you dear?" and not "Dear Abhaya, how are you?") feels downright cheesy to me. Of course the previous statement needs to be qualified with the assertion that both the addresses might be ok in some contexts or when used as part of the rhetoric. What I am complaining about is the stock version. It is hard to pinpoint the root of these annoyances. Dude perhaps has to do with the mental images of dudes from college days and the slight negative connotation it carried in college lingo. With dear , things are not so simple. One visual image associated with dear is of nuns or teachers from convent schools or governances calling the children dear . Another one is of Jitender calling his better half as dear as in "tum abhi tak tayaar nahi huin dear? hum party ke liye late ho jaayenge !". It is hard to blame either of them for my b

Chat Agents: Humans and Bots

I am sure some of these things already exist with a different name or are probably present in those mega expensive enterprise solutions that companies sell and companies buy but here are some ideas I have recently been thinking about. Consider the live chat based support that is present on a lot of websites these days (Examples: , ). The idea is that if you want to talk to someone, you can start a chat right then and there rather than call customer support and spend 15-20 minutes on hold. It is a plus for the company also since they no longer need to maintain a call center (or outsource it). This is specially attractive for startups who cannot afford to spend a lot on customer support. So how I imagine it must be working is that there is somebody sitting on the other side of the comp and probably talking with one or more customers at the same time. They would have many chat windows open or many tabs open, one for each customer. I would guess that even a trained

Sorry !

While walking to the school today, I came across a old lady. She was walking slowly on the sidewalk in the same direction. The sidewalk was narrow and there was not enough space for me to walk past her. So I walked slightly off the sidewalk on to the grass and crossed her. As soon as I passed her by, I heard her say sorry. It was not a sorry that we just hand down to others every now and then. It sounded as if she was sorry that she is old now and cannot walk fast enough. It sounded as if she was sorry that she was walking in the middle of the sidewalk and thus blocking my way. It made me feel very bad. I wanted to stop and tell her that it was alright to be old and to walk slowly, that she need not worry too much about us young people walking slightly here and there because society is not meant for only young and active, it is meant for everybody and she has a right to be old and walk slowly without feeling bad. Instead I said "it's alright" and moved on. Today was a b


Randall Munroe of xkcd fame was on campus today. Unfortunately I dozed off at my desk and missed his lecture (but read about it on Wikipedia just now which, surprize-o-surprize, is already updated with a short blurb about it). I discovered xkcd few months ago, through the legendry angular momentum strip and it was an instant favourite. By next morning, I had finished all 300 odd strips and was hooked. As the tag lines says, it is ' A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language' , and physics and computer systems and pop culture. It is full of geek jokes , allusions that only a computer science graduate would understand and a celebration of nerdiness . However the best of the bread for me are those in which romance interplays with geekiness . They are just awesome. Here are some of my favorites. Find many more on the xkcd website. Enjoy and Happy Diwali ! Powered by ScribeFire .

OpenSocial : Developers vs Users

OpenSocial form Google is the new big thing that everybody has been talking about, especially since it is being seen as a major blow back by the Google to the Facebook. It will allow developers to write one application and have it run on multiple social network sites. In other words, a Java for web apps (looks like Java has become too unfashinable since I saw this analogy hardly anywhere else). This is great news for developers. But what about users? Users will now have a choice of thousands of applications since developer can actually spend time in creating new applications rather than try and make one application run across multiple sites. So consider, a flixter application that I found to be very cool and added to my profile page on Orkut, spent 2-3 hours adding all the movies to it and comparing notes with friends. Then I logged in to Facebook and found the same application and now I want to match my interests with my friends here. No problem, spend 2-3 hours, add all the movies a

धन तेरस and Wikipedia

I donated some money to the Wikimedia foundation today and then realized that it was also धन तेरस (Dhan Teras, one of the days in this festival season, dedicated to Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth) today. It is a tradition to buy something new on this day, preferably made of metal. You can think this is as our own Indian thanksgiving in that sense but without discounts ! We being Indians, Gold is obviously the first choice but people buy all sorts of new things, cloths, utensils, jewelery, furniture, home furnishing etc. Thinking in that respect, donating to Wikipedia seems like a good idea. I will have to see if this can be my own little way of celebrating Dhan Teras every year. Although it is often said that सरस्वती (Saraswati, Goddess of knowledge) and लक्ष्मी (Lakshmi, Goddess of money) don't go well together, where one lives, the other leaves, times seem to be all changing now :-) !


चलें कूचा-ए-जाना से, शहर को देख कर आयें, तबीयत भर गयी फ़ूलों से, कांटे देख कर आयें। नये मौसम मे सुनते हैं, नये अंदाज़ हैं उनके, बदल जायेगा दो दिन मे, नज़ारा देख कर आयें। जो आयें तेरी महफ़िल मे, ना जायें फ़िर कहीं उठ कर, कुछ आयें नये और कुछ सब ज़माना देख कर आयें। वो पिछले मोड पर जो राह छूटी हमसफ़र छूटा, कसक उठती है रह रह कर कि जायें देख कर आयें। हवा मे घुल रहा है दर्द, फ़िज़ां हो चली गमगीं, सुनाता है गज़ल फ़िर से अभागा, देख कर आयें।

Thinking Big but not like that !

Before reading my post, read this post about the problem of Indian Entrepreneurs not thinking big enough . There was a followup post on the same blog that countered some of those point. It was during undergrad days that I heard this argument for the first time. The biggest problem with people pitching their business plans in competitions, according to one of the judges, was that they were not asking for enough money ! It sounded quite counterintuitive to my middle class trained mind. My instincts told me to borrow as little as possible and to bootstrap as much as possible, the old Indian way of doing business as somebody later put it. But I was naive back then, didn't understand the importance of capital, didn't understand the central premise of running a successful company in a capitalist setting i.e. growth ! Year after year, every year, growth in terms of bottom line, revenue, profits ! Because although we start out with customers, with efforts to solve a problem they are

Where I get to blame Google for my laziness !

A big reason for my decreased frequency of blogging had to do with Google launching the Hindi Transliterator in blogger. While, like every red blood Hindi lover, I was also very much pleased by the turn of events, the joy was short lived. Very soon, I discovered that on Linux Firefox version 1.5, the on line blogger editor became very very slow. So slow that I can type 1-2 sentences and than sit back and watch as it works very hard to bring the characters in view one by one, at the speed of around 1 character per second. And this is not in transliteration mode but in normal English typing mode. Now being a busy grad student that I am, I spend a large part of my day and night in my office and away from my laptop. So it was a sad situation. Finally I started looking around for an alternative blog editor and after some false starts, landed at ScribeFire from performancing which is an extension for Firefox. From the first looks, it seems to be quite fast and have all the basic facilities

Days ahead !

These are some heady days in my life. Lots of things happening and at times I get the feeling that everything might just slip away. And often times I remind myself that what you have is not what you hold in your fist but that which rests on your open palm. So the big news is that I am going back to India next year. Things moved fast and there are chances of a startup looming on the horizon, already threatening to block the sun of rationality and rob the clarity out of life. Let us see where it goes. Back from the future, in the present, there are some more things to be excited about. For next few months I am going to work on a Urdu to English Machine Translation System. Now given the state of the art, you can be sure that this MT system will be pretty useless for almost any use. What is exciting however is that it may produce as a side effect some nice tools for Urdu, conversion of Urdu script into Devanagari being one of them, an issue close to my heart . For the starters though, Bh

What the future holds !

Next week promises to be very special. Kalaam is coming to CMU on 16-17th and then on 18th, I am flying to Boston to attend a one day workshop in MIT and guess what ! Noam Chomsky is going to be there. Exciting Times !

From India, in Hindi

..couple of books, self published and printed on demand. Jaya at Miles to go is offering her poems in a book form . Also available is a book of poems from Flying Bird's blog . Head over if like me you also enjoy it the good old way, on paper, in ink :-).

One level down and counting

This landed in my in-box today. Offered with no comments. dear friends one of my friends needs advice on how his brother needs to prepare for getting admitted to bansal classes. if you know anyone who could help, please reply to this mail. thanks, xxxx

Language Digest - 6 [Language and Development]

After a long time, some language related articles. It is no secret how powers that be have often tried to control the nature of public discourse by introducing new words for old ways and substituting neutral sounding words for words having negative connotations. As it turns out, they are often successful, thus giving little credibility to the famous Shakespearian adage of what's in a name. In this piece on India Together , Shripad Dharmadhikary points out the changing language of development debate in India. Irrespective of which side of the fence you are on, it makes sense to know the tricks of the trade. And if you ever doubted the power of sentence restructuring, perhaps this will convince you otherwise. How should we think about our farmer's? PS: This post is 201st post on Basket Case. It took almost 3.5 years which would mean on average 1 post per week, though as usual that statistics hides more than it reveals :-)

The why of Brain Drain

Let me pick up this thread from my last post. I lamented there about the lack of higher education (PhD level) opportunities India. That is one of the reasons I am here. But make no mistake, majority of the Indian students who come to states every year, do not come here to get educated. That degree they get is just a stepping stone to this land of opportunities. In most cases, it is not even the oft repeated story of becoming used to things here and finding it difficult to return back. They made up their minds long before the passports were stamped and bags were packed. Considering that the job market in India is booming like nothing before, markets are open and shops are full, why do people still leave? And for most of them, money is not in short supply, these are not the people who didn't get the opportunity or faced oppression. In fact most of them belong to the most privileged class of people. And I don't know what you thought when Haneef after everything that happened, aske

On Independence Day

In the ever growing list of days to celebrate, Independence Day has started looking more and more like any other of them. In the world that I inhibit or am forced to inhibit, these days are marked by a surge in Orkut messages, group mails, gestures so meaningless that I am amazed over and over again (like changing your Orkut profile pick to Indian Flag on 15th Aug). Nonetheless, Independence still brings back the memories from the past, from the days of innocence when it was so easy to believe in things. Back than the morning actually felt a little special on such days and heart felt a little extra spring. But I am in in a different place and in different times now. In US, 4th of July is celebrated in form of sales and deals. Yes, there are fireworks all over the place and probably other ceremonies which I am not aware of yet but there are also cheap things to be bought. Not as many as on Labor Day or on Thanks Giving or on New Year but still some. Thankfully, Indian community probably

Past two months and some

Note: The post was written 2 days ago, so please adjust the timeline accordingly. A lot of time has passed. Almost four years since I graduated, almost 1 years since I came to US, almost 1 month since I returned from San Diego/ Bay Area trip, almost 1 week since I moved into this new house, almost 1 day since I returned from the whitewater rafting trip from Ohiopyle. Somewhere along that time-line lies the one and a half months mark since I have not posted. Not that I was totally gone, I wrote somethings on wasted margins . So now you know that I have changed houses, have been on a couple of trips and read couple of books. During those trips, I visited Coronado beach and La Jolla coves in San Diego, met a lot of old friends, some of them already finishing up their PhD and staring a new phase in life, visited the famous Golden gate bridge, ate a one pound crab and learned a lot about its anatomy along the way, lost and found my phone, sat in a train after almost one year, rafted (guided

Amazon : Search Inside

Recently I have been buying some books from Amazon and I think the Search Inside feature totally rocks ! Especially in a place like Amazon that shows related and similar books (which is again quite accurate), it is easy to get confused while choosing. Moreover often the titles of the books and reader reviews help little in the process of choosing since every decent enough book will have somebody giving it raving review and somebody else calling it names. With search inside feature however, you can actually see the contents and read few pages. This makes the whole process much more personalize and much closer to the experience of buying books from an actual store. I believe that those not providing this facility for their books, stand to loose in the long run.


Finally after years of contemplation and after some false starts, I made another start towards running yesterday. This time I hope I will go some distance (pun intended). Just like flying which I know is close to impossible, I have long dreamed about running. Running not to narrow my waistline, not the endless rounds in a closed stadium or even sprinting. I have always wanted to run outdoors and run long distances. To go places while running. If it sounds like inspired by Forrest Gump, it probably is. In fact just like almost everything in that movie, that running was also a allusion to something in contemporary USA. Running is a obsession in USA. People run here everywhere, every time and every weather. I have seen people running at mid night in the middle of the road because the sidewalk was chocked with snow ! And I have seen males, females, teenagers, old people, very old people all of them run. And I love seeing it. Those sweating bodies, those long and steady strides, those agoni

Bill Gates gets it right !

I never hoped he will ! In fact when I saw the forwarded mail in my inbox, I felt slightly irritated. What with all the commencement speeches being forwarded. I am sure at this rate and given the consumerist society we live in, we will be able to buy a collector's edition of these speeches very soon ! So I reluctantly opened it up and expected the now old formula speech of most-dramatic-events-of-my-life, the recent speech by Narayan Murthy at NYU being one very bad example (but people seem to be getting inspired by that also !!). As I have mentioned before on this blog, my disillusionment with such speeches started after I saw the video of Steve Jobs delivering his wonderfully written piece at Stanford. His presentation had no life, no soul and for me, no inspiration either. But to my pleasant surprise, Bill got this one right ! Looking back, Steve Jobs and Narayan Murthy sound like 2 narcissists now. And this when I had much less sympathies for Bill Gates than for Narayan Murth


इस नयी ज़मीं पर मैने था जब धरा कदम, "मन लगता तो है?" पूछा जाता था हरदम। शुभचिंतक सब चिंता करते थे घड़ी घड़ी, यारों के मुंह से थी गुड लक की लगी झड़ी। अन्जान डोर एक थाम चल पड़े थे हम भी, मन मे थी थोड़ी खुशी और थोड़े गम भी। जिस ओर उठायी नज़र, मिला कुछ नया नया, उठ पायें कदम उससे पहले मन गया गया। नित नये नये आकर्षण मन को बहलाते, हम उत्साहित हो हो प्रियजन को बतलाते। उत्साह भरे स्वर ने उनको आभास दिया, हो गया अभागा वैल सैटल, अहसास दिया। तब से अब तक कुछ एक बरस है बीत चुका, और पात्र नयेपन की मदिरा का रीत चुका। अब मन यथार्थ की भूमि पर नंगे पांव, ढूंढा करता स्मृतियों की ठंडी छांव। जिन प्रश्नों पर हम गये बरस थे झल्लाते, अब उनके उत्तर ख़ुद को ही हैं दोहराते। "मन लगता तो है?" पूछा जाता था हरदम, मन लौट गया है देश, यहां तन्हा हैं हम।

The vows of scripts

I have often read/heard people rant about the bad status of Urdu in Hindi heartland, place where it originated and from where some of its best poets and writers came. Cities like Aligarh, Lucknow used to be centers of Urdu adab but no longer. As usual blame goes to the government, a claim of systematic bias against Urdu due to which it was removed as a medium of instruction by the early governments of UP. It was only in the last decade that Urdu was again given the status of official language in UP and that too because of political considerations and not any love for the language. I have no reason or evidence to doubt that indeed there might have been bias against Urdu in the years right after Independence. Partition and creation of Pakistan, the usual association of Muslims and Urdu, adoption of Urdu as the official language in Pakistan may all have played out in the minds of early policy makers, consciously or unconsciously. But even before partition, Hindi literature saw very strong

To a teacher !

It was around this time last year when the whole reservation saga started or must I say the recent wave of reservation saga started. At the helm of the ensuing crisis was AIIMS and its director P Venugopal. The fight have mutated into legal battles since then but he continues to face the music in increasingly ridiculous ways . Watch the following and see if this rings any bells.

सागर किनारे

आज जाने क्यों बैठे बैठे मन मे पांडिचेरी का ख़्याल आ गया । लगभग २ साल हुए जब मैं पहली बार वहां गया था। बहुत सुना था उसके बारे मे पर पहली नज़र मे तो थोड़ी निराशा ही हुई थी। ग़लती शायद जगह की कम और साथ वालों की ज्यादा थी पर जब वापस लौटे तो उतनी ख़ुशी नही थी मन मे। कुछ ठगा सा महसूस कर रहा था, क्या मालूम था कि अपना थोडा सा मन वहीं छोड़ा आया था । उसके बाद से एक बार वहां जाना और हुआ पर मात्र एक दिन के लिए और आज अचानक यहाँ अमरीका मे बैठे बैठे मुझे याद आ भी रहा है तो पांडिचेरी ना कि दूसरे अनेक ऐसे स्थान जहाँ के यात्रा अनुभव कहीं अधिक स्मरणीय हैं । मुझे पता है कि कारण क्या है। मेरा मन पांडिचेरी की गलियों मे नही, उसके समुद्र के किनारे कहीं छूट गया है । असल मे पांडिचेरी ही एक मात्र ऐसी जगह है जहां मैं कुछ घंटों से ज्यादा, असल मे कुछ दिन तक समुद्र के पास रह सका हूँ । और गरजते समुद्र के सानिध्य मे कुछ पल बिताने जैसे अनुभव इस संसार मे कम ही हैं । आप अपने ह्रदय की कोई भी झंकार उन लहरों के गर्जन मे सुन सकते हैं और वो उमड़ती लहरें, एक मंझे हुए अभिनेता की भांति , एक धीर श्रोता से लेकर एक चुनौती देते प्रति

Speaking your heart out

As you get ready to walk up and take stage, your hands get moist, your feet give out that strange sensation of standing on top of a 100 story building, suddenly you need to go to loo, your throat is dry, your heart is going to stop. The place is not even well lighted but you feel all the spotlight on your face, as words come out you cannot even remember to breath and then you take one deep breath and ... ... you either loose it or you flow. In my 14-15 odd years of public speaking, I have gone through this numerous times and I have been on both sides of the line. I have screwed it all up and I have taken the day. But what has not changed is the thrill, that rush of Adrenalin. Yes, like a drug addict, small doses don't satisfy the craving that much now and with the college life gone, even those small doses don't come my way any longer. I realized this a few days ago that I have hardly stood up to speak in the last 2 and a half years since leaving college and that realization ha


दो दिन का तेरा मिलना जाने क्या क्या रंग दिखलायेगा, मिलने की होगी खुशी या ग़म जाने का तेरे सतायेगा। जो गले लगाऊंगा तो आंखें बोलेंगी दीदार करूं, जो दूर हटा तो मन बांहों मे भरने को ललचायेगा। यूं तो मुझको पर्याप्त नही जीवन भर भी तेरा मिलना, और यूं दो पल का मिलना भी दिल गांठ बांध इतरायेगा। बरसों फ़ैले बंजर मे ये दो कदमों का फ़िरदौस सनम, आंखों मे भर दिल बंजारा, हंसकर आगे बड जायेगा। हम साथ तेरे फ़िर से जो दिल की बंद पोटअलिया खोलेंगे, कुछ लाद सकेंगे साथ और कुछ वहीं धरा रह जायेगा। दिल का ना पूछो हाल, अभागा पगला है, दीवाना है, दो दिन को धडकेगा फ़िर वापस ढर्रे पर आ जायेगा।

गूगल समाचार अब हिन्दी मे !

तुलसी की लिखी हुई चौपाई याद आ गयी आज, "अति आनन्द उमगि अनुरागा..." जब गूगल के हिन्दी समाचार प्रष्ठ पर नज़र पडी तो। ना जाने कितनी बार google news India पर नीचे की सूची मे जा कर देखा था और सोचा था कि अगर यहां हिन्दी भी होती तो कितना अच्छा रहता। अब वह मनोकामना पूर्ण हो गयी है। गूगल समाचार का आना सिर्फ़ एक भाषा प्रेमी का व्यर्थ का उत्साह नही है। इसके अनेक ऐसे फ़ायदे हैं जो कि शायद पहली नज़र ने दिखते नही हैं। अव्वल तो ये कि अब अलग अलग जाल प्रष्ठों को देख्ने के लिये अलग अलग फ़ोंट लगाते रहने की आवश्यक्ता नही है, जोकि हमारे आपके जैसे लोगों के लिये तो सिर्फ़ एक छोटी सी समस्या भर हो सकती है पर अनेकानेक लोगों के लिये बस वही अन्त हो जाता है। साथ ही साथ यूनीकोड मे होने से समाचारों को ढूंढना भी सरल हो जाता है। पर इस सबसे बड कर बात है कि भाषा बदलने से समाचार पत्रों का पूर नज़रिया भी बदल जाता है। Google News India से अभी तक समाचारों की जो झलक मिलती थी वो अंगरेज़ी मीडिया के द्रष्टिकोण से दिखती थी, उन्हे क्या महत्वपूर्ण लगता है क्या नही वगैरह। हिन्दी समाचार पत्रों का द्रष्टिकोण इससे काफ़ी अलग हो सकता ह

From machines with love

There are some moments which make you realize the power of perspective in how we see the world and these moment catch you at most unexpected of times. A new computer science campus in under construction on campus. It is right next to the Newell Simon hall where my dept is situated currently. At the ground floor, there is a huge window which looks down upon the ditch where the new building is coming up. Few days ago, I decided to eat my lunch sitting right next to the huge window looking at the beautiful scene outside what with all the snow covering almost everything. There were some big machines working in at the site. From where I was sitting, I could only see their front part and not the main cabin where the driver sits. They were moving soil and filling up some part of the ditch. I looked at them for some time and after few minutes it was so easy to believe that they are some huge odd looking autonomous things working on their own. I have read a lot of science fiction in which machi

The B'day cake

I am not sure if there exists any soul on this earth who actually enjoys having a cake all over his/her face on his/her b'day. Still year after year the trend goes on as is evident by the mandatory presence of a "caked face" snap in all the photo albums on Orkut and elsewhere. If nobody likes it (as was indicated by a quick survey I conducted on some of my friends and found only one supporter), then the question is why does it go on? Well I have some theories as always :-) 1. It is encouraged by those who don't like cake. So this way they can bring out all their hidden contempt for cake and do the worst that they can do to it i.e. waste it. 2. A slightly less skeptic view says that people are trying to take revenge for what happens to them on their b'days. So it is a vicious cycle in which we are loosing both fun and cake. 3. A more rational explanation by my sister. She says that people do not like to have it on their own face but they really enjoy putting it

Social Networks and patterns

No more poetry, I promise. For sometime at least :-). I have spend at least a dozen hours in last one week going around orkut randomly. Well, not randomly, there are so many interesting games you can make out of randomness. Like you visit the top most friend of the person you are visiting now and see if you come back to familiar circle or not. If you do, you find out a new way of connections that you didn't know existed before. Or you can surf going only through girls/boys profiles which at time can hit a road block. While doing all this, I see patterns, very vague ones and in almost all the cases, false ones owing to the nature of human brain which does a selecting strengthening of evidence. But they are interesting anyway. One of those observations is that a good looking person also seems to have on average, good looking (or photogenic if you want to be technically correct) friends. Another one is that often people who have not put up their own picture in profile , will have more


नये जौहरी नयी अदा वाले, तौल कर भाव बताने वाले। सब मिले हैं हमे ज़माने मे, यार अहसान जताने वाले। दिल खुदा का है यार का मेरे, और अंदाज़ ज़माने वाले। दिल की कालिख है आंख का काजल, वो हैं आंखों से पिलाने वाले। नाम कहने को है अभागा पर, हैं सब अंदाज़ दिवानों वाले।

Language Digest - 5 (Articles/Editorials)

This is the long promised article only edition. This one comes from Pakistan, lamenting the bad condition of Madarsa education . Pakistan again, this time a view in favor of the recent step of making English compulsory . Sounds very much like the recent argument of Prasad about English for Dalits. Continuing on the common thread of Urdu, condition of Urdu press in India is not something to brag about. There is hardly a Urdu news paper that commands a voice at national level or even in a sufficiently big region. Moreover, it works both ways. While Urdu papers carry mostly Muslim centric perspective of problems, Hindi press lacks it to a large extent. Here is an attempt to start a Hindi paper with a Muslim perspective . Not sure why this article is called " Hegemony of Hindi " and it is not even well written but it notes an interesting point about mother tongue reporting in census data. Read with a grain of salt. Marathi or Kokani ? As the article says ; India is home to extra

डरते हैं

डरते हैं ना साकी को हम दिलदार बना लें, मय को ना ग़म-ए-दिल का चारागार बना लें। बस्ती से जो गुज़रा तो मुसाफ़िर ने की हसरत, हम भी ठहर के अपना एक घरबार बना लें। है चुक गया इंसान के दिल से खुदा का नूर, कहने को रहे बुत चलो दो चार बना ले । दे दो सभी के हाथों मे कलमें-ओ-किताबें, जुल्म-ओ-सितम से लडने का हथियार बना लें। ता उम्र बावफ़ा रहीं हैं हमसे अभागा, मायूसियों को ही न क्यों हम यार बना लें ।

Republic Day !

What a wonderful way of celebrating Republic Day ! I just loved the concept and the wonderful entries. Surely my try out list is a little longer now. :-) A happy and thoughtful Republic day to everybody. May you become a more responsible citizen in the year to come.

Why we need to look beyond English !

Call centers and BPOs are the poster material for many people these days who firmly believe that English is the way to go forward. I have been trying to see how far their stand goes. To me the whole hoopla about the necessity of learning English seems more like a rather short sighted view. the BPO and the call center industry primarily serves US and UK now a days. Together they constitute a very small part of the world population. Two of the major developing countries of the world, China and India still have only a rather small portion of their population using English for their daily transactions. The huge number of English speaking population that are reported are a little misleading in this respect. Consider that India is estimated to have 35 crore English users. For example my father would qualify as a English user since he is able to use it on purpose but he is not comfortable using it in his daily life. Now consider that the developing economies of these countries are creating a

The Culture Shock III - Measure for Measure

I hold you as a thing enskyed and sainted; By your renouncement an immortal spirit, And to be talked with in sincerity, As with a saint. Measure for Measure, 1. 4 USA remains one of the only 3 countries which do not use Metric System of measurement. For somebody coming in from a country that uses metric system, it can be a real pain in the ass. So temperatures are in Fahrenheit, distances are in miles, weights are in pounds and liquids in gallons and I am in trouble. So how do you decide how difficult would it be to walk home from a grocery store which is 1 mile away, carrying 4 pounds of potatoes and 1 gallon milk when the temperature is 60 degree Fahrenheit. I would rather walk and find out. Even now it is so easy to get lulled into the sense of closeness when suddenly a factor 1.6 pops up. Now I don't have any pro or anti metric stand since I haven't found any huge benefits of one

Faces of Democracy - Czech Dreams with Stolen Eyes

Many overdue posts lurk in the darkness while I sleep and dream the Czech Dream . Journey of a nation from a communist past to Capitalistic future seen from the eyes of two cynics, I mean in a good way, the kind of cynics every society needs. How the people depraved for years become such a easy target for consumerism - that endless world of cheap deals, huge super stores and feel good experience and how the media plays a associate while claiming innocence. An exchange between the directors and ad agency guys who are a part of the whole game is very telling: "Maybe you filmmakers lie to people, but we advertisers don't!" However the film is a very clever one. Not because of the prank but how it pretends to hold up a mirror to a consumerist society but along the way slyly puts the partners in the game, the advertising agency, the media production companies, the market survey companies under scanner. It is them who are the real subject of the movie and the whole prank is j

Language Digest - 4 [News]

This dose of LangDig is going to be a pretty big one, owing in part to my extended vacation and in part to the accumulating bits from every edition. I have tried to organize the clips in categories so that they are easy to follow. Some of these stories are now around 1 month old but better late then never ! Also it is broken in two parts, this one being news and the second one being of general articles. Political : Let us start by looking at the reactions to the Marathi being compulsory in all the schools. CBSE is not amused . IBN tries to carry out a debate over the recent spat of make-compulsory steps taken in Karnataka and Maharashtra and when Congress has done it, can Bala Saheb be far behind ? Taking a clue from the neighbors, Andhra Govt is considering making sign boards in Telugu compulsory . In a function organized to award Gidugu Smaraka Puraksaram-2006 to C Dharma Rao , who has done lot of work to bring up Telugu, Andhra Pradesh CM said that they will push harder to get cla

The cynic within me

also wants to have a say, not because it rejoices at the new year but because it sees everybody else rejoicing ! I'll tip my hat to the new constitution Take a bow for the new revolution Smile and grin at the change all around Pick up my guitar and play Just like yesterday Then I'll get on my knees and pray We don't get fooled again ! -- The Who, "Won't get fooled again !"

Best wishes !

- Today, tomorrow, next week, next year - Somewhere a full stop. - The fear of death - Of a life again - Of never waking up - Of an endless wake - Of things words don't know of - Because we go to them in silence - On the floor of reason - The what ifs hang - Protected from love - walk we safe - And we count the years - One two and three - longing for insecurity - longing for no name - craving for loosing the me - Let this be the year - Let this be the day - Let this be the hour - To you I wish - Not conquest - But surrender ! Have a magical and most wonderful year !