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Showing posts from 2016

Surviving Climate Change

I live these days in a coastal city where property prices are only going up. I live in an island country where, the debt it owes is several times bigger than its revenues. And my mental reaction is to look at exit doors - be ready to flee, for the oceans are going to claim the land and capitalist vultures are going to claim natural resources - don't know which one will swoop in first, but to me, it seems inevitable.
And yet, I see optimism around me. Maybe others know something that I don't know. Or maybe, I know something that they do know but don't want to acknowledge?
I tried to understand their source of optimism. Maybe, I was wrong.
People are buying real estate at insanely inflated rates, expensive cars and so on. At first I thought that not everyone is an idiot like me who doesn't have too much into savings. Perhaps these are people who have some form of savings - either from inheritance or perhaps they can negotiate better salaries than I do. Something's g…

To fight hate, we need utopias

21st century Weather report The world is reeling under the hate wave of right wing xenophobia, binaries of 'us v/s them'. The hate wave is projected to continue and expand as people turn their back on ideals of liberty and fraternity which had yielded unequal fruits for the majority in the globalised world of 20th Century. While the globalisation of 20th century opened up the barriers for free flow of money across the world, the flow of people has been artificially impeded creating great pressures at the arbitrary borders. The potential energy arising from the stalled flow is bound to turn into kinetic energy, overpowering the borders - sooner or later. And that possibility of bursting of dam obviously scares people on either side. Uncertain times, Uncertain times.

In times of uncertainty, people obviously seek certainty - Certainty of 'walls' to save their way of life. These hate filled winds have given wings to proponents of wall builders everywhere - Trump in US, …

All the way, maybe

This is a Charles Bukowski poem called "All the way".

Essentially, his thesis is that you must go 'all the way' whatever the cost may be. And I felt, what a fucking loser is this wierdo. I mean, I have read his 'Post office' and it is a kickass piece of literature. But what I realise now is that an incomplete and naive philosophy of self-absorbed nihilism possibly informed his work.

Problem 1: All the way with what?
We see a lot of this kind of inspirational bullshit being shared by people these days - exhorting people to do what they want to do. But the problem is no one these days knows what he/she wants to do. These videos and poems only add to consumerist angst whose only beneficiary is the capitalist power centers and not the social organism called human.("Must do something, don't know what.. running with expensive shoes seems to be working for some as per commercials, let me try that.")
Purposeless souls are angstily drifting from one insecu…

Suicidal aliens

The vent
So.. I watched the new 'Independence Day' movie. First off - what an amazing combo of  terrible film making and thrilling sfx. I can't believe someone gets paid gazillions to write such shitty scripts. The disaster is really not in the movie but in the making of the movie - the end of intellect and start of idiotopia.
I think they should have edited out all the dialogs. It would then have been a better movie. A 'disaster movie' porn of sorts. With just the sfx to get thrilled with and no jarring and stupid dialogs and no non-sense attempts at building emotional arcs and no lame character building.

Anyways, here's some more venting about current lack of imagination - 

Tired trope 1: The kill switch - Aliens with a death wish
Independence day, Star wars, 10 Cloverfield Lane...
So to defeat a highly advanced aggressor civilisation that has apparently destroyed many civilisations before us, all you need to do is find and kill 'ONE' queen bee/ sho…

21st century man: Being clueless

How many among us are sure about our 'careers'? Doesn't it seem odd that in modern times, where we think we have answers to most problems, we are most clueless about our selves?
Never in the history of human civilisation have we been so privileged to be confused about our 'purpose'.
If you look at it from a certain high enough vantage, humanity looks like a drunk colony of ants. tittering around in uncertain directions - bumping into each other, getting lost even when around other people.

20th century would be seen as the time when these infant species won a lottery of hydrocarbons with which it fueled mindless orgy of consumption. 21st century would be the time when the species would be forced to 'grow up': To wake up with a hangover.

In that sense, 21st century humanity is really an 'early growth stage' civilisation. (borrowing from marketing jargon). We are far from maturity as a civilisation. We have no clue what humanity wants to do …

Walls are inevitable, unless….

Today, UK decided to leave EU. EU itself has now far more ‘far right’ xenophobic parties in the European parliament than ever before in its history. On the back of very virulent xenophobia, Trump, otherwise a sideshow freak in the branding/entertainment industry, is now a presidential contender in USA – His promise of the ‘wall’ between mexico and USA garnering him followers among republican US citizens. India recently elected a right wing government with an unprecedented majority – putting majoritarian fictions in the central consciousness of the nation, instead of actual issues that need public debate. From Netherlands to Australia to Nigeria to Philippines… people everywhere are electing xenophobic parties and leaders. Are we collectively getting dumber? Or is their something beneath our collective psyches that needs recognition?

The fear of loss of control If the last century was about opening the world with fast rails, concordes & the internet. This century would…

Everyone is an idiot

Everyone is an idiot.
If you can count on one personality trait that a person will default back to at some point or the other, it would be his/her unique but substantial idiocy.
And if the society were to be built on a single rule, it should be about people agreeing that  compassion towards others' idiocy is essential for a convivial and pleasant world.
What good ever comes from being a cynical, patronizing git, anyways?

Grownups turning into toddlers in Indian high rises

[This is a ridiculous diagnosis]
Beware! A ghastly disease is on rise these days. It turns a perfectly capable adult into a challenged toddler who needs assistance.
Who is at risk? It is sweeping across glass towers, big cars and countless cabins in city offices across India. Specifically, perfectly capable adults who start earning 7 figure salaries tend to be at high risk of turning into a differently-abled toddler. So the initial observations allude to it being a classist disease.
Recent studies have revealed that, being wealthy is not the only determinant - it affects people who tend to make irrational choices - such as purchase of INR 35,000 for a laptop bag when one can buy another that is just as good for around INR 1,000. The irrationality alludes to it being a mental disease rather than a physical disability.
Symptoms They seem perfectly capable, healthy even, but are unable to do the most basic human action ever - of carrying one's own bags/ dishes/ wipes.
People who tend to …

Walk about - II

I have been living in Gurgaon for the last 5 years. 5 years! in Gurgaon! I never thought I would end up staying this long here. In my head, it always was just a transit camp - to earn money to fund travel to Himalayas, come back and refill, go back and chill.. repeat until one figures out a way to break out of the cycle.
For the first 2 odd years that reflected in my lifestyle - My house was small and barely functional, a temporary base camp to return to 'home' in the hills. That 'home' was among strangers in the farthest corners and alleys of small villages in the hills. The home was not peopled really. It had no walls. It was the crisp cool air of the hills, the majesty of Himalaya, the clarity of sun's rays, the hot vapours rising from the ginger tea and the never ending walks in the forests, up the hills, down the valleys and through gullies and alleys of small villages and towns. When I was alone, that's what home was for me: A living breathing intimate …

Don't let peddlers of hate turn you into a tool

JNU students are not stealing money from public banks. The powerful but immoral business men and their cronies in the nation's bureaucracy are.
Beef eaters are not stealing your food; subsidizing for the politicians and driving farmers to kill themselves. The culprit are the flawed policies of the apathetic government shaped in no small measure by lobbying corporate and business-politician nexus.
The 'Muslims'/ 'Hindus'/ 'Flying Spaghetti Monster worshippers' are not attacking your dignity as a human being. It is the capitalist power centers who would not let you organise and rise as equals. It perpetuates inequality and dreams of 'making it big', a lottery rigged from the start.
The 'Anti-nationals' are only really anti-stupor. They are not endangering your survival. Your existence is being endangered by blind corporates and corrupt bureaucrats who subvert moral responsibilities, and who prioritise profit over human life.
Jats/ Dalits/ …

Life is a swamp

21st century humanity is the century of living in 'bad faith'. And if humanity survives through it, it will only do so by fighting its bad faith. So what exactly is this bad faith that I am talking about?

I. What is 'Bad Faith'?
Well, it quite simply is the web of lies we build around ourselves to avoid having to make hard choices. Bad faith is when you resist change or you refuse to accept the responsibility of responding to change or initiating change. It is a cocoon made of lies that keeps painful truth outside. It manifests every time we are forced to wade through an uncomfortable or even mildly critical question/ decision. It is a refusal to react/ act. It is a refusal to live consciously.

So the next time someone points out your mistake and instead of acknowledging them or trying to understand why those mistakes were being pointed out, you fill your heart and mind with resentment and anger towards the messenger, you  are reacting in bad faith. You are choosing n…

How to abuse two dimensions at once

In advertising, we often come across this four legged spider called 'the perceptual map'. It is quite an interesting tool really. If done right, it is a very efficient visual representation of chosen facts (not the whole truth, but the part that helps win an argument. :P) The uglier mutations of this spider are the intuitive/ judgemental/ consensus maps. The difference is, while the prior is based on numbers, the later are approximate 'gut feelings' of people who sit often removed from reality.  Even then, these are useful, if only in finding new perspectives to see with. We planners tend to use it quite often for its efficiency in meaning making and sharing of perspective. But lately even the clients have wizened up to it. But not entirely. Recently, we were briefed with a perceptual map that had four categories of the product at the four legs of the graph. That makes no sense. I can't share the actual figure of-course, but here's something similar (differen…

Powerpoint is a con

Men in air-conditioned glass boxes often feel the need to powerpoint. This might be because what they want to say (or what their counterparts want to hear) is not well formed enough. And saying it simply will unravel the artifice.

Powerpoint in that sense is a tool that holds together the artifice. The red ribbon on top of a decorated gift package which possibly holds junk inside. Or the shiny credit rating that hides the shitty credit quality of CDOs. 

You might now say that - "No no, it is only a tool. It depends on who uses it for what purpose."
Wrong. The medium is the message. And the message is 'suspension of disbelief'.
Here the medium necessitates one speaker who often is standing to deliver the message and as such gets into an authoritative position and the listeners have to hold their horses and give their attention to the presenter for a period of time. It gives enough space and time for the con to take effect. The medium of powerpoint intrinsically cre…

The one thing you should see in the Auto Expo this year

99% of auto expo will appeal to your vanity, 1% of it will appeal to your intelligence.
If you have patience only for ground breaking original stuff.. straight go to a certain corner in Hall no. 2 (besides the TVS extravaganza).
There you will find this unassuming duo with afro hairdo and a patented technology that they are eager to sell to automobile majors.

I am not much on an engineer, (because I am (with a degree) but not really (because I don't work as one)) so I am not in a position to validate what they were saying. But what they said sounds very very interesting.
They have made a working bike with no valves, no chains, no cam shaft... as a matter of fact, their engine has only 32 moving parts.

Yes. An engine with only 32 moving parts. 
Apart from that, the engine can make use of various kinds of fuels (hydrocarbons) apart from petrol.
I still have to get to know their offering better, but this sounds exciting. Imagine the service, economy and efficiency improvements this t…