I have been using the trial version of the software ‘Wordweb’, which is a handy little dictionary / thesaurus available at the click of a button. Very useful that utility is, I never knew that I was using the limited period trial version. Today when I tried to look for a word, there was a message saying that I should answer the following question in order to use the software further. The question was about how many times I flew in the last year. Thinking that it must be a survey, I honestly gave the answer to get another message saying, ‘You are not eligible to continue with the Free trial, which is available only for people who take at most two commercial flights in any 12 month period’.

Haven’t seen this kind of weird condition to use a software. However much their good intentions are, I don’t get how one by purchasing the software can repent for the sin of flying (and there by causing carbon emissions)’. Seems that jumping into the ‘green’ bandwagon is the most fashionable thing to do now. Anyway, praise their thought.

Padma Bhushan Controversy

Right from the morning twit world was abuzz with the controversy over awarding the prestigious (ahem… I was kidding!) Padmabhushan award to one Sant Singh Chatwal. The issue was that this gentleman was recently involved in a massive fraud involving Indian and US banks and was briefly arrested as well. So, the question of ‘Why him?’. Familiar big names like Vir Sanghvi, Pritish Nandy etc were very vocal with their opinions and some were even contemplating on finding out ‘how and why he was nominated for the award’ using Right to Information act. As I type this, Vir Sanghvi tweets that he is overwhelmed by the support for RTI on Padma Bhushans. Rajdeep Sardesai (of IBN-CNN Live fame) couldn’t digest the fact that Indian state placed people like Chatwal and A R Rahman in the same pedestal (by awarding them the same honour).

For some reason, I feel it all funny. Why do people over react for this? This Chatwal guy might be a person who maintains a good distance between himself and honesty (I do not know the real details behind the scam he was allegedly involved with), but haven’t we seen this before? Don’t we know that in our good, old India all that matters is the right connections with the right people? When a terribly tainted person like Pratibha Patil could be installed as the President and the country could march on as if nothing happened, what is wrong in Chatwal getting an award or two – incidentally from the hands of the same scam tainted President. After all, we are not hitting a new low here. I reminded Rajdeep over Twitter that this same Indian state placed people like Pratibha Patil and APJ Abdul Kalam in the same pedestal. What did we do about it?

Chill out guys. Enjoy your holiday.
Oh yeah… Happy Republic Day!

IT Guys

While watching a forgettable movie titled ‘Maththiya Chennai’ (Why do I get to see such films?), there was a dialogue that roughly goes like ‘Due to the IT guys, the house rent has shot up in the city and we can’t afford the rent for a house. So, we have to live in the slum’. Of course, the dialogue was in Tamil and that is not the point here. In most of the ‘ordinary’ Tamil movies of yesteryears that were based on ‘us vs them’ thingy, the baddies or the people who need to change used to be filthy, rich, arrogant guys. Now that tribe has easily been replaced with ‘IT Guys’. If I am right, the trend started with the movie ‘Kattradhu Thamizh’ few years back. The movie took on the high-earning IT guys and held them responsible for the degeneration of other sectors.

Although I don’t agree with the sweeping generalisation, it has to be an accepted fact that IT sector is one of the factors for so many changes in places like Chennai – right from sky high rental value of properties to ‘keep the change’ culture. When I was in Chennai few months ago, on more than one occasion I heard people comment that ‘only you IT guys can afford that…’ etc. In a typical Chennai slang, an auto driver said to me ‘You look like an IT guy but you are bargaining for 20 bucks’. It is not a simple case of jealousy or anything like that. The social divide is loud and clear. Sooner it is addressed, the better it will be.

Snow and Panic

Weatherman has issued a ‘very heavy snowfall’ warning for our region in UK. Snow fall is expected to commence at 1700 hrs on Tuesday and is expected to last for few days and temperature is likely to dip around -10 deg C.

Last afternoon, well ahead of the snow muhurtham, we went for our regular shopping at Tesco in Amersham. When we entered the bread section, there wasn’t a loaf of bread available. Sometimes, they let go of all the stocks and take the opportunity to clean up the shelves before filling them up. I thought that it is one such exercise and moved on to the vegetables section. To my surprise, almost all of the shelves in that section were empty and it was then I enquired about it to one of their staff, who told me that they have been very busy since that morning as people are indulging in panic buying.

It was then I noticed that almost half the shelves – mostly milk, yoghurts, vegetables, meat, readymade food, bakery stuff were all empty. Whoever present in the store were trying to grab whatever they can into their trolley. It was very tempting to panic, however much we tried not to. It so happened that I bumped into the store manager, who told me that it is very unlikely that they would get any fresh supplies as most of the Tesco stores in the area have been witnessing such panic buying behaviour from the consumers. Further, if the snow fall is as heavy as they have predicted roads will be difficult to negotiate, so their huge supply trucks can not be expected to hit the roads. Rumour or otherwise – the cold weather might affect the gas and electricity supplies as well, he added.

Until I heard the ‘gas / electricity’ word, I thought it was very crazy. Then, it started to make sense. After some high level discussions (with who else but my other half), we decided to stock ourselves with enough food just in case if the unimaginable happened. We have also equipped ourselves with long life milk that would last up to six months.

Now that we are somewhat ready, we want the snow fall to be heavy and harder. 🙂 But I am sure that nature has its own way. It will only strike when we least expect it.

NY, CB, FPS, 3i et al

First things first. Happy New Year folks. Wishing you the best 2010 possible.

Although we were very much awake when the clock jumped over to 2010, we didn’t get to watch the usual fire works stuff on the telly. Instead, Ramya and I spent some quality time with our friends downstairs over pizza, burger, hot dogs and Malibu gossiping all night about someone who wasn’t known to half the people present there. Wasn’t that sweet?

In the recent times Chetan Bhagat (CB) – Five Point Someone (FPS) – 3 Idiots (3I) controversy has really spiced up the twitter bitten folks like me. I have read all the four books authored by CB and FPS was the first one I started with. I have been following CB on Twitter for the last few months now and the way he was sharing the news about ‘3 Idiots’ movie, I could feel his excitement on seeing his work being turned into a film. Irrespective of anyone’s opinion about 3I containing 2% or 20% or 200% of FPS, it is a fact that the credit for the main story belongs to CB. That the makers of 3I didn’t feel it that way is a shame, despite the fact that his name appears in the end (whizzing past, not letting the viewers see it properly). For anyone – whether he is big or small, nothing is more painful when you take away the credit for your work. On that count, CB has my sympathies.

Chetan explained his stand on the controversy with few detailed posts in his blog. Some people, Pritish Nandy being vocal among them – felt that this entire controversy might be a stage-managed one to derive more publicity to FPS and 3I. Well, anything is possible. But from my perspective, benefit of doubt goes to Chetan.