Category Archives: Digital Media

An Open Letter To Mr. Milind Deora

milind deora

Dear Mr. Deora,

Thanks for a great article in TOI of August 14, 2013. It was enlightening to hear the views of one of our elected representatives on a topic that’s close to the hearts of many a youngster in this country. However, some points you raised are worthy of a debate, the benefits of which you’ve extolled in your article, and hence a response was warranted. I will try to summarize your main points so as to keep the response closely tied to the article.

Point #1: Social media platforms do not allow for healthy debate, while our Parliament does.

This point of view is expected and unsurprising within the small minority amongst us who’re on the other side of the “Great Divide of Government of India”, but isn’t substantiated by facts. I call it the Divide because our governance system, from the Parliament at the top right down to the beat constable and peon in a sarkari office, is extremely hard to approach and get service from for a common citizen, which is the very reason for its existence. For the vast majority of the population of this country, it’s almost like a government for itself, by itself, and of itself.

Therefore, we do not hold the Parliament’s ability to hold healthy debates in any high esteem when we read reports that the number of hours that our Lok Sabha sits during its five-year term has been falling steadily, and reached the worst ever record in the 15th Lok Sabha (http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-04-29/india/38902758_1_lok-sabha-budget-session-sittings). Not only that, this Lok Sabha is also on its way to achieving the dubious distinction of having passed the fewest bills in independent India’s history.

So where does the common citizen go to express their anguish about a non-functioning government? Social media. For the first time, there is a platform that allows every individual the opportunity to be heard by millions of other people, and we’re going out there in hordes to talk about the pain we all on this side of the Divide experience every single day. For the average person, Twitter and Facebook are less about popularity and approval ratings like you mentioned, and more about spreading the word about their experiences and finding common cause with others.

Point #2: Changes that result due to outbursts enabled by social media are not well thought-through

You reference the Arab Spring and Iranian Awakening and the Brazilian protest, but miss the protests on the streets of New Delhi during Anna Hazare’s campaign and after the 2012 brutal gangrape incident. But you make a valid point. Protests by people are usually looked upon as a threat by established governments, and the point being made is missed for the noise, and slowly the protest transforms into an us-vs-them battle. However, did our government react any differently during the protests staged in India? Did we ever get closer to getting a Lokpal bill enacted or a corruption-free government? Did we ever get closer to having the streets of this country safe for our sisters and daughters? Unfortunately no. And this lack of solution-building is not attributable to the use of social media, but to the absence of a sensitive, humble, and engaged leadership within our government.

Point #3: Social media encourages pretence, showmanship, and shallow posturing

Assume social media doesn’t exist in our country. Walk out on the streets like a common man and watch how politicians, top bureaucrats, and the rich and powerful of this country move. You will see beacons, blaring sirens, police and personal security pushing everyone else aside, or stopping them altogether. From the posh NDMC areas, try walking towards other parts of Delhi where the top government officials of our country do not live. You will notice that broad, tree-lined, spotlessly clean boulevards give way to congested, filthy, broken roads that have people, vehicles, animals all crammed into every inch of space possible. If this isn’t pretence, showmanship, and posturing, what is? It’s not about the tools we use, but who we are and how we think that creates the vices that you ascribe to social media.

You are a young and well-educated leader of this country, and we are looking to you to bring a change in our country. What we need is very simple – equal access to basic amenities like clean water, air, food, and adequate housing, and equal opportunity to fulfill one’s dreams, for every single citizen of this country. We hope you care enough for your country and its people to work towards this goal, and will not get lost in the distractions that power in our country carries with it in heavy doses.

Regards,

Sarvesh

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Real Beauty: Perceptions Differ

beauty and perceptions

By Malathy Madathilezham

One of the definitions of the word Beauty (as given by Merriam- Webster) is the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit. Thus it is related to our senses, our mind and our spirit. This means that real beauty would be different for different people. This is quite obvious when we observe physical concepts of beauty differ in different cultures, races, countries etc. These concepts change with time. Another aspect of this definition of beauty is that these are qualities, which are not necessarily the visual qualities. So anything can be beautiful; music, fragrance, the inherent or developed qualities of a human being.

Let me restrict myself to human beings. In the present scenario, everyone wants to ‘look’ beautiful! A lot of importance is being given to superficial and external beauty. Scientists are coming out with the measurements/ratios of ‘perfect’ or ‘real’ beauty. Plastic surgeons are using these measurements to make people look beautiful. In addition we have the various creams, serums that are supposed to make us look beautiful and then the gyms and fitness clubs. The cosmetics and fashion industry is thriving on the aspirations of millions to match the concepts of beauty that is being ‘sold’ to them through various media. Thus a lot of economic activity is being driven by the ‘want’ to look beautiful. Mine and your want..

But what about ‘feeling’ beautiful? That feeling which does not necessarily come out of how we look. This sense of feeling beautiful depends on our emotional well being, our happiness and human qualities of kindness, empathy and the like. The kind of lifestyle we lead nowadays with all its tensions, pressures is not exactly helping us feel good about ourselves. We lament about the lack of everything but do nothing about improving our situation. We want to look good and beautiful to others, hide our real self beneath this veneer of ‘Beauty’. But how long would this last… thus we have rising problems of depression, burnouts etc. The pressure on us to match up to the ideals of beauty, success, happiness is too much to handle and makes us forget true happiness, our true beauty and ourselves. The external image that we present to others is but a distortion of what we truly are… In the glam and glitter of the world around us, we lose sense of real beauty… and join the rat race of looking beautiful rather than being beautiful.

For me real beauty is within each of us. To discover that beauty within us and within others is truly a gift. Of course, a good dress, or haircut, or a bright nail polish does make me happy but it can only do so much to add to my self-confidence and self-image. What I am, how beautiful I truly am depends on my actions, my thoughts that are again relative and need not be the same for you. Basically there is nothing real… it’s all an illusion… and my illusion differs from yours!! I believe everybody is beautiful in his or her own unique way. So why don’t you sit down and think about what does being beautiful mean to you?

London Underground Explained By A Londoner

By Disha Shah

Each city has its own lifeline and for London it is its connectivity through underground trains. Every morning, a Londoner gets up and checks the tube update to plan a smooth journey to his/ her destination.

Untitled

London Underground Logo

London Underground was formed in 1985 and today it’s a major business with three million passenger journeys made every day, serving 275 stations and over 408kms. It has 13 major tube lines covering the whole of London.

Metro 1

London Underground train

The transport for London website (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/) provides a journey planner where one just needs to provide the intended start and finish destination and the planner provides you with all information, such as time to reach station from home, which tube line to take, around what time, where to change trains, if required, time to reach the destination from the end station, total journey time, any planned closures, etc.

Journey Planner

                                    Journey Planner

The tube connects every part of the city to each other and it’s very convenient even for tourists. There are multiple ticketing options as well as day passes available to choose from. I would recommend just buy an oyster and top it up with single fare or day pass or weekly or monthly pass. Oyster is accepted on bus journeys so it has added advantage. The balance along-with the deposit os refunded back whenever one desires.

oyster card

Oyster card

There is a lot to learn from 150 years old transport system which breaks at times however never stops!

 

Indian Street Cricket From The Eyes Of Jack Hoyle

Jack Hoyle is writing a book on the madness that cricket incites in Indian minds. He is a fascinating photographer and here he produces street cricket in India while he travelled the country during the IPL. Here’s presenting the first part of the three-part series. Enjoy 🙂

India Cricket 1

In the backstreets of New Delhi a group of youths squeeze a quick game in.

India Cricket 2

In Varanasi a group of boys find space between the winding alleys. If the wicket keeper misses it’s a long chase to retrieve the ball out of the Ganges.

India cricket 3

The emblem of a street cricket club in Varanasi.

India cricket 4

A man sits oblivious as a young cricketer strikes the ball, while playing on the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi.

India cricket 5

A typical Sunday in Khajuraho; the streets are closed and the adults look on as the young boys take each other on.

India cricket 6

A dubious action, but you can’t fault the effort as a young bowler comes steaming in.

Android Phone Now On Narendra Modi’s Name, Here’s More

smart-namo

So if you thought Narendra Modi’s fan are restricted to only buying his memorabilia in Gujarat, you were wrong. A set of android phone manufacturers in China are bringing out a phone in his name, and the gadget as far as specs looks comparable and compatible with the best.

If you thought the list of phones coming your way is getting lesser think again. This election season politicians will also bombard you with gadgets in their name. Who takes the headstart, our digital and gadget-guru, the man with the most twitter and other social media followers, Narendra Modi, popularly known by his followers as NaMo.

If this website and the founders of this company are to be believed the gadget with seriously ultra-specs (only available on high-end phones) will be out around the end of August. The phone rightly named Smart NaMo has been given the name because “Namo stands for Narendra Modi and Next Generation Android Mobile Odyssey” according to the website.

According to the brief product specs available on the website, the 5-inch smartphone will be powered by a MediaTek MT6589 SoC that includes a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and include Gorilla Glass 2 protection and a 13 megapixel camera.

The phone, according to the website, will be available in four variants with 1GB or 2GB RAM and 16GB or 32GB of internal memory. The company is also planning to launch the phone with a Narendra Modi ‘signature edition’.

The idea, according to one of the founders, Ammeet Desai (in an interview to Wall Street Journal), a Gujarati businessman who has a mobile business in China, came from China where several products like MP3 players and smartphones are sold with branding of the leaders.

A Wall Street Journal report claims that Smart NaMo phone will cost Rs 16,000 at launch and have videos as well as apps related to Modi.

The ‘Fish’ Girl

For Fish Girl

By Ankit Chandra

No I am not talking about mermaids. Although that is a great topic of another blog, but maybe some other time. For now I am talking about a special breed of girls who have been given prior education, most probably in convents to use a special word ‘fish’.

You see, they are kinda special. You can pretty much single out the ‘fish’ girls out of a group very easily. They usually have very pretty face, more often than not their legs are chiseled by Michelangelo, they are interested in the same sports which you are crazy about… In short they are every thing you want. The trouble is that some times their resume has a few ‘skills’ far too much for your palate.

So what is this fish thing? Any been-there-done-that guy will know what this stands for. In the male bastion, where there are pretty much no rules about using a particular ‘f’ word in a friend circle, I guess women folk kind of observe a self constraint. Add to this the general perception that girls are ‘usually’ the more ‘appropriate’ folks around and will definitely purge the group from its oral misadventures. So when a girl wants to use the ‘f’ word, she replaces it with a ‘fish’! And they think they have kinda swept it under the carpet. What they don’t kinda realize is that for most guys using an ‘f’ word among guys is way more exhilarating than actually trying to avoid saying it, coz now not only you are pretty, awesome and lovely, but you are bindaas, approachable and cool to be with! What a combination…

So here is the deal. Here is this awesome femme fatale, she has a very pretty face, she seems to have a good head, and boy, she loves the same activities like I do, and she uses the ‘fish’ word too! And that’s when all guys in the group begin their ‘moves’ to bag this prized possession. What adds fuel to the fire is that the actions are not exactly rebuked.

And there I am in the crowd, but kinda better off than other guys, and seem to have made the moves better than them. She and I have been talking for a while now, and we exactly share our likes and sense of humor. In fact, it is going sooo well that her ‘fish’ utterances are coming out now more so often and I am reveling in the fact that she is so much one among us, that I could really think about the next step with her. And maybe a little down the road, decide upon a longer road with her too!

She is wearing a beautiful dress. (Oh! what the hell I think anything will look good on her) Although I never ever notice this stuff on girls, but even her jewelry stands out on her. Her cute little ear rings, her thin and elegant necklace just make their presence felt and simply increase the beauty I have in sight. Down in her arms, her red bangles covering just a little area, enough for them to sparkle just like her eyes, make the road I was thinking about even more impelling.

And there is a ring in her fourth right finger on the right hand.

It is then that the final ‘skill’ on her resume shows up. She is taken. As have all other such fish girls been in the past. As they say, that no matter how quickly you approach a ‘fish’ girl, there is always a faster son of a gun, smirking somewhere at you.

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part – 3

pregnancy

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

Being pregnant means one thing – you are barraged with a plethora of advice from the older generation and older to older generation (sigh)!

Coming from a typical Tam-Brahm family who love their filter “kaapis”, cutting down on your caffeine intake is a Herculean task. From drowning 4 cups of coffee a day to a cup or two does lead to its own share of withdrawal symptoms. It’s advisable to add just about 10 ml of the coffee decoction to your milk. (And I sure do use a measuring jug every afternoon when I make my coffee!)

Here’s why! Heavy caffeine intake in the early stages of pregnancy slightly increases the risk of a miscarriage. Caffeine acts as a diuretic, which washes away some of the key nutrients required by the mother and baby.

A pregnant woman doesn’t feel too great a lot of the time and the fact that her bladder is indeed becoming squished as well as having to drink more water to make up for the additional blood supply she is making. When caffeine can act as a diuretic, oh my god! One can just imagine spending most of the time in the loo.

Forget your aerated drinks too (that contains caffeine as well). So all my Mountain Dews have become Mountain Don’ts!!

And not to forget your mood swings which are anyways volatile, thanks to your pregnancy hormones!

And here’s to all my rants on my morning sickness, I finally have an answer in the form of a lemon! Scratch the surface of a lemon and work up the good oils and one sniff and lo! Your sickness mellows down.

Practically everyone is connected through mobile technology. Life’s next to impossible without a mobile in your hand. I have been advised to reduce my exposure (and the baby’s too) by going low on Bluetooth. I get a glare every time I hold my mobile device close to my belly. The only solution – use the landline!!!

And I have bid adieu to all my lovely, shining heels (Sob! Sob!). Sadly, they are all collecting dust in my shoe closet. And soon, my wardrobe. It’s hello maternity wear time!!!

Do you know a pregnant woman drools! I surely do that a lot. Especially at the sight of the pictures of cakes, CUPCAKES, pies, tarts, ice creams…(now I definitely have drool all over my laptop just typing ‘em!) that adorn my Facebook home page. But all that’s a complete no no for me (Baaahh boo hoo hoo!). And they say buy whatever a pregnant woman desires (hrmph..)!

Psst…I still manage to get my hold on these once a month, thanks to a wonderful mom who allows me to indulge in my cravings.

So it’s good bye time folks as I have to hog an ice cream waiting for me in the freezer! Catch up with y’all soon J

Disclaimer: As much as the above experiences are my own, I have definitely referred from my pregnancy bible “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff and other pregnancy blogs on Google for certain details and reasoning.

Relevant Articles

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho!! Part – 2

Chronicles Of A Mom – To – Be!! Woo Ho – PART 1