It’s close to dawn, and my code’s still running. I’m not in bed because I’m babysitting it. Not to worry (I know some of my kinsmen and kinswomen who read this blog do worry… much thanks ), I’ll wake up late in the morning… I’ve – or rather, my body has – become fanatic about getting seven hours downtime every 24 hours.
I plan to go on a Disney movie watching spree once I’m done with all that I’m currently doing. Yeah you can accuse the movies of promoting unhealthy body images in girls, Princess complexes, being racist, and a ton of other things, but they do bring the Magic alive. I was down low last week, and what made me fly again was Lightning McQueen and Mater from Cars. I totally loved Schumacher’s cameo in Cars… though I don’t much know about F1 racing, I couldn’t help but be impressed when Schumacher visits Luigi and Guido and asks them for tyres.
Cars2 was a fun watch, too. I don’t understand why it has been panned so badly by critics. Why should an animated movie always have some sort of a message, about how we are polluting the environment or how we should switch to cleaner energy sources, or how we should eat healthier? Or about inner peace and discovering yourself. Or family values. Why can’t it just be plain fun, where we are awed by the awesomeness of the animators in anthropomorphising cars, planes, trains and boats, and getting and chuckling at all the references they make? It was fun watching a kiddie spy movie, with all the jingjang gadgets and parodies and tributes. The story might probably have required a lot more work, but the dialogues were spot on, the animation topnotch, and the overall execution great. In particular, I liked the scene where Mater gets knighted by the Queen, and she calls him Sir Tow Mater, when he says nope, it’s okay, you can just call me Mater, none of this Sir business, and oh, by the way, have you met my friend McQueen? McQueen, Queen, Queen, McQueen.
Kung Fu Panda 1 and 2 were quite impressive too. Yeah, it’s not really China there, and it’s way too Americanized, but heck, it’s a fun escapist watch.
And I’m still having a girl-crush (Womance? Sisfatuation?) on Tina Fey. No, I’m not asserting she’s perfect… I’m pretty sure to get to where she is, she should have been a jerk at one point or the other, presumably a ton of times, and listening to the way she insults people in public makes me wonder how she insults them when not on camera… she called Paris Hilton a tranny on Prime Time TV. But the thing is, she’s disciplined, works hard, lets her strong personality shine through… screw all the oh-she’s-a-lady-broke-the-glass-ceiling… she’s there because she worked hard for it, and that’s something I need to emulate.
I don’t know about other fields of science and technology, but Computer Science is pretty objective in terms of evaluation; I came across a study that says there’s less dissatisfaction and disparity in terms of pay and position among women in Engineering and Computer Science than the more women-dominated fields like the Humanities. No matter what everyone says, I don’t think there’s an active campaign to diss and keep downtrodden women in computer science. It feels like a boys’ club sometimes, especially when you are in a new area and everyone around you seems male and genius, quite the opposite of female and clueless which you are. But half the problem is the perception – the whole getting psyched about ‘OMG, I’m the only brown girl in the ring’, which brings down your morale and boldness. It takes only a couple of google searches to reach out to more people like you. And all you need to do is ask for help… people are nice. Sure there are the demoralizing jerks, but they are not everyone. None of this is easy or intuitive, but you need to just keep at it, keep these in mind. Yes, some bimbo will screw you over some time. Yes, some jerkofellow will take credit for your work at one point. Things will happen. But you’ve got to keep in mind hard work and smart work and dedication always pay off. They do, no matter how much life tries to convince you otherwise. You just need to take into account the fact that life is not fair.
Thanks to my wonderful friends, I saw Blackfield live in concert a few weeks back. They were wonderful. And Steven Wilson signed my ticket for me, but sadly was not posing for pics. Still… yippie-ki-yay.
I watched Guna last week. It’s one of the (many) movies where Kamal Haasan plays a deranged character. The first ten minutes of the movie creeped the hell out of me, and is still haunting me. I wonder very hard if people like Kamal Haasan and Ryu Murakami are sane in real life. Is their view of the world PG-13 for the most part? Do they view everyone in terms of neuroses and psychoses? Do they visualize dastardly acts of violence happening around them? Sometimes, when I people-watch, I start wondering about people’s backstories. They’d seem very Swami and Friends if I write them down… but what sort of backstories do Kamal and Murakami think of? When Kamal is pissed in real life, does he get poetic? When he cries in real life, does he do it Mahanadi-style or does he just sob quietly? I remember some talk of his where he says it’s like he leases out his mind to a character he’s playing, and makes the character vacate his mind once the lease period – his workday – is over. What was he like before he figured this simple thing out? Does he follow this to the T always?
I now see NITK has jumped on to the TEDx bandwagon and will host talks that’ll come under TEDx this Incident/Engineer. Since it’s a trend they are following (after NSIT and BITS and possibly others I’m not as such aware of), I wouldn’t say good job, great move or anything…. this was inevitable. And it’ll be a great experience for the students (and possibly faculty) organizing it. It’ll give NITK some very good press, and wider coverage. We should have been putting out Inci-Engi stuff on an official Youtube channel so far atleast, but this will catalyze all that, make all of it happen sooner than expected.
That said, what’s with the proliferation of these? Sure, it’s a good thing and all, but there seems to be no form of quality control. The few talks I’ve seen all seem to be put together on the way to the venue. One talk by RK Misra however seemed much godawesome, as did the one by the Faking News guy. What’s the point of the brand name if it doesn’t stand for quality? I was mildly irked by the frivolity of some of the topics, but more than that by the lack of dedication shown by some of the speakers. I can only hope the ones picked for TEDxNITSurathkal are folks showcasing good ideas and more importantly folks who speak well, and inspire NITKians and everyone else.
I’ll leave you with the third installment of Everything Is A Remix that came out in the past couple of weeks. I liked this one a heckuva lot. It’s about the nature of innovation and copying and standing on the shoulders of giants. In particular, I liked this quote by Henry Ford which summed it all up:
I invented nothing new. I simply assembled into a car the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work… Had I worked fifty or ten or even five years before, I would have failed. So it is with every new thing. Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready, and then it is inevitable. To teach that a comparatively few men are responsible for the greatest forward steps of mankind is the worst sort of nonsense.
i dun knw y i wnt 2 englis clss. i dnt knw y i trd to scr mrks.i shda nvr hv rd mny bks. it klld ma ri8g.
i cnt knw wht ma frnds wrt on ma fb wll. i cnt rd wht ma frnds wrt on ma phtos. i cnt rd wht ma frnds wrt n ma gml. i cnt cht wth ne1 srly. i cn nvr fin ma lines n twtr n 140 char ……..!!!! :X :X :X
ma phn bll r high! ma inbx hs no spc lyk ma cpbrd. sry ma, pa 4r spndng all ur mny ….. i fl lyk lsr.
i feel lyk ma brain hs gn dumb. i cn do intgrtn n 2 sec. i cnt rd ths ln n 10 min. i tk 20 min to wrt ths ln. ………..
ma frnds mk fn syng i m fl 2 wrk so hrd 2 wrt 1 sen. i m fl 2 tlk cz no1 knws wrds i use. :’(
i knw ill lrn hw 2 n nw lngge i wrk hrd lyk ma englis exms. i kw ma nxt pst wnt be grmtccly strctred.
bt i wnt gv up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111111111
I didn’t know about Baba Ramdev until I came back to NITK after second year break to find my roommate expertly doing Yoga routines every morning. She had learnt it from Aastha TV, apparently. I was transfixed, and quite skeptical.
I was (and am) deeply skeptical of anyone who promises instant moksha or teaches everything in ‘easy ways’…. and I react sharply to people learning life-changing stuff from someone on TV. One reason is because one size doesn’t fit all, especially with respect to things that are supposed to influence your health, or belief systems. So while I’d seen Baba Ramdev on Aastha while changing channels, I’d not paid much attention to him.
It took me that long to find out just how much influence he had on the Hindi-speaking parts of the country. And from what I saw and heard, he didn’t seem the selfish charlatan sorts or a fly-by-night operator, both of which I’ve come across quite often.
I’ve not come across such good use of the mass media which actually works. There are these science lessons on some obscure radio station I’ve come across in Bangalore, and radio doctor programmes, but I’ve not seen any equivalent for television. And for just that, the Baba has my *respect* .
His views on homosexuality are unfortunate and questionable to say the least, and deserve much ridicule, but are not uncommon; I’m willing to bet over half of the urban educated folk who ridicule those views of his are homophobic to some (great) degree.
Going over his asking for death penalties for corruption and stuff, I fully agree he doesn’t know what he’s going on about. There are tons of articles lampooning his seemingly unreasonable demands, and it’s pretty easy to come up with a http://www.ramdevwants.com on the lines of chucknorrisfacts or schneierfacts, ['item #23416: Baba Ramdev wants a One Macbook Per Child project subsidized by the government'], but I strangely don’t want to do that [But if you do, please do credit me on the website]. There’s a saying by Tina Fey that if you aim for the moon, you’ll atleast get to Houston. [No, she didn't say that, I did, yesterday when I was discussing politics in a state of half-sleep]. If you want a bicycle, you need to ask for an Activa.
You need to put forth unreasonable demands so that the majority of the nation feels ‘OMG, that’s crazy, he should be asking for [list of more reasonable demands]‘. If you put forth just [list of reasonable demands], no one, least of all, the media, is going to notice it. And in this era of information explosion, I can personally testify that you don’t hear about stuff unless it is very good or very bad. If you want to capture the imagination of the nation, you have to be outrageous. You have to out-crazy the craziness the media generally follows.
Additionally, even in spite of demands that completely make no sense, he has such a lot of support. That is because it provides a lot of people a way to channel the outrage they feel, especially since those areas are where the government and bureaucracy matters and corruption affects whom much more than it matters to those of us in big cities. Such a grassroots-level mass uprising hasn’t happened in a long while, and it’s long overdue especially given what the center is doing to us in its UPA-II avatar. Such a public show of support for an idea is essential to nudge the middle class out of its complacence.
Now I certainly don’t support death penalty for corrupt people. But I also don’t support all the outrage that was spilled when Ram Jethmalani agreed to be Manu Sharma’s lawyer. The defining bit of a democracy is that people have liberty to go wrong, and be assumed innocent till they are proven guilty. To err is human and everyone could do with a chance to better themselves, and every punishment should fit the crime. In that way, the trial-by-media that ensued after Jessica Lall’s murder was no different from a lynch mob or a khap.
There’s got to be these incidents that let a democracy blow off steam and let them know what they feel deep inside. It’ll be crazy, it’ll be asking too much, it’ll be completely unreal. But it needs to happen. You need the crazy ideas and exaggerations to drive home the points, to soften people up to listening to the saner ideas. Like in Stranger in a Strange land, to get the nurse to put a single bug on the alien’s door, the reporter gives a chapter-long list of possible doomsday-ish scenarios.
Now I’ll sincerely hope the Baba doesn’t take to standing in elections or anything like that; the last thing we want is the anti-Congress votes being split. But we certainly require incidents like this to serve as our wake up calls, especially at a time when people think their duty is over when they ‘Like’ a Facebook community against corruption. Maybe one day it’ll strike us all that when we say “Yeah, the Lokpal proposals are outrageous, but they can certainly be improved’, that we can also similarly ‘improve’ existing laws and provisions against corruption and other things, such that a Lokpal Bill won’t even be necessary. Maybe it’ll dawn upon us that we can have a Uniform Civil Code. Or a stronger anti-terrorism law. Or make it easier for entrepreneurs to set up new businesses. Or build newer and better roads. Or strengthen primary education.
PS: What happened to that Lead India guy, RK Misra? He seemed to be one of those street-smart fellas who knew to play to the gallery while making his points heard… I totally enjoyed him on a panel discussion at NITK. He joined BJP I know, but we haven’t heard a peep out of him since then…. what’s he doing now?
PPS: I wonder what Dr. Rajeev Gowda’s opinions on Jairam Ramesh’s ‘IIMs Suck’ comments are. I ask for Dr. Rajeev Gowda because he’s a Congress guy, while also being a prof at IIMB (and an excellent quizzer too).. his perspective would be an interesting and enlightening one. Did no mediapersons think of posing this question to him?