Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Bombs Away

Its been like no other week.. News of bombs exploding and being defused have taken over the headlines, drowning everything else to the background. Starting with blasts in Bangalore on Friday, news is pouring in from Ahmadabad and Surat now. Unlike any of the previous blasts, this time around things have not been the same. There is something amiss and is really worth pondering over.

Carnage has NOT been the intent here.
Lets start with the Bangalore blasts. The bombs were clearly not packed to kill and were set off during the early afternoon. In their wake, the 7 blasts left just 2 dead but sent the city into a state of panic. Nerves are yet to settle. This is evident from the fact that even 5 days later today, schools, business units and malls are ready to shut down at the drop of a hat; just to be safe. The 'terrorists' chose to not kill. Had they wanted, the toll could have been in the hundreds much like the recent May 13 Jaipur blast or the Hyderabad and Delhi blasts preceding that. Despicable as they are, these jehadists could have placed the explosives at crowded areas and set them off in close succession (as was the case of 7/11 Mumbai blasts) during peak hours. But they just did not. Why?(As soon as I heard the news on Friday when in office, it occurred to me that the blasts could be just decoys to get people panicky and out onto streets, when a real set of blasts would blow the unsuspecting commuters to smithereens at major traffic junctions! How glad I was that it didn't happen).

Explanation for this exception was given as - SIMI wanted to prove that they are crippled and are still fully potent and can 'hit on will', even after the arrest of their heads (Nagori et al) this May. But that does not answer the question as to why they chose to not kill. Brash as it may sound, they could have made a bolder statement by claiming numerous lives and drawing world attention.

The toll was definitely higher in case of Ahmadabad, but Surat? 18 live bombs recovered and not a single one went off!? Its hard to digest. These mischievous outfits are known for their meticulous planning and they could definitely not have bungled up this badly. A pointer to this is the fact that no attempt was made to conceal the bombs. Instead they were left hanging from a tree (like the one behind Matavadi police outpost in the Varacha area), hoisted atop a billboard or left at other conspicuous places. The reason for the massive failure has been attributed to faulty wiring of ICs (this is the first time ICs have been used). Again, it seems highly unlikely to me. An explosive recovered from Ahmadabad had a legend 'No. 23' suggesting that it was manufactured in batches from an organised establishment as against a basement or garage.

One plausible explanation to all these anomalies is that I
slamist jihadis are making themselves a part of the election discourse in India.[See this]. Its more sinister and deep rooted than it appears. And the fact that these gruesome activities are targeted at BJP run states is definitely not a co-incidence. I'd not want to thrash our crime branch and intelligence left and right on their failure. When major mishaps are averted, they don't garner much media attention or retentivity in the volatile public memory. But when it comes to incidents like these that could not be stopped, we refuse to forgive them. I'm not saying that you give them a clean chit. All I'm trying to say is that mistakes do happen and they too have their share of problems[See this].

So what is it that they these malcontent radicals trying to prove? That 'they are capable of hitting anytime, anywhere'? All Muslim organizations have 'condemned the dastardly serial blasts'... [Thanks guys.. We could not have asked for more] Pardon my sarcasm, but if they really were concerned, with the sort of network and organizational complexity they have within their community, I feel a sincere cooperation with the authorities would have let us nip these malevolent units years earlier and not let them grow into the juggernaut they are today. I'd just like to say, "Its still not late you guys, wake up and do the needful!!"

Friday, 18 July 2008

Blogs from Bollywood

First it was SRK. Then BigB and the all too entertaining Lalu joined in. Now its Aamir and supposedly even Abhishek. I couldn't have cared less. First they make news by announcing that they are blogging, sending the whole blogosphere into a searching frenzy, with the media not far behind. And then not much later you hear reports of blog abuse and a string of allegations and apologies/denials flying back and forth. Lalu's blog takes the shape of a handy complaint box and Amitabh's finding it hard to moderate and maintain his.

Take for example Amitabh Bachchan's blog. The design is hideous to say the least. From what I gathered, not many of the visitors even bother to read what has been posted. Not that the litter he sends at ungodly hours is worth reading. But frankly, the hundreds of comments are what captured my attention more than what he had to say. Its like people have been given a self addressed letter from their idol himself. So the comments contain everything from praises, blessing and love messages to suggestions of movie scripts and biodatas! Have a look..
Dear sir
i want meat you coz you know..? you are vry mch possitive and kindly personality [Hey boss! KFC's prtty dessent... Try it]

Respected sir,
My self pardeep bhardwaj iam frm manali. I met u in manali at span resort when u was there at shooting of shoe bite. I met u in ur room through ur friend nana markovich. She was very nice to me and help me a lot in meeting with u. Sir, i am the same guy who had given u lord ganesha for good luck. As u kown that i am true devotee of lord ganesha and lord vishnu. Sir, u had promised me that we will meet once again but unfortunately some pupil had hit ur house and u have to rush to ur house frm shimla. I want to request u something that i could’nt do on that day. Please sir i had given this i-d specially frm nana. She said that know u can mail him directly and tell him ur request. I want to request u that i want to be the part of ur movie world. I got a belive that one day i can also be the good actor of silver screen. please help me out. waiting for ur reply.
Jai ganesha [I got another belive dude.. Try giving Laksmi in next time]

media is using as for mivies like black/sarakar raj, now using as blogger, which media is doing i know this, how much u r making money, who is paying u for blogger i want to know that media with worm regards [No cimments!]

i had information that you had taken around 125 crores for register in bigadda [So you think bigadda is worth 125 crore? Wonderful!]

Mr. B, you didn’t answer my question about The Last Lear and why it has only been screened at festivals and not released for the general public, but it’s all good considering you probably have a ton of posts to reply to. My next question is regarding the... [Keep asking, keep asking.. The more the merrier]


HI, AMIT JEEEEEEEE . I M A HUGE FAN OF YOUR’S .[Hey try the bold and italics too dude!]

aapka reply
kaha dekhuuuuuuuuuu [ghar aake dekh lo beta]

The media is happy. The icons are getting all the adulation that they cannot live without. The fans are in blissful revelry. As long as the comments keep pouring in, I'm guaranteed my share of entertainment. Why complain. Turn up the volume... Let the party continue!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008


Remember the days when you switched on the telly to find Pt Bhimsen Joshi singing Mile Sur Mera Tumhara. Or when you religiously tuned in at 9:00pm on Sunday nights to let Siddharth Kak and Renuka Shahane take you along to places far and wide in Amul Surabhi. And how can we forget Swami's furtive efforts to make good his escape from home and school alike, to play cricket with his MCC! Here are some nostalgic tunes which are bound to remind you of those good old days and Doordarshan. You can find the tracks here for download.

Baje Sargam
Mile Sur
Malgudi Days
The Sword of Tipu Sultan
Mahabharath - Karmanye

Thursday, 10 July 2008

The 3 mistakes on my keyboard

Ever wondered what the SysRq, Scroll Lk and Break keys near the top right corner are for and if they do serve any purpose at all? The simple answer is they are indeed obsolete. They however continue to remain on the keyboard because keyboard manufactures never saw the need to vacate these veteran keyboard tenants. Some of the keyboards today however have done away with them. But why are they there in the first case are you wondering? Here's why.

Sys Rq: Initially designed as a software interrupt which could bypass the OS and directly interact with the BIOS (the origins can be traced to the antique IBM 3270 machines) to facilitate multi-tasking, the interrupt was left largely unutilized by subsequent operating systems . Keyboards today don't even write anything to the keyboard buffer when this key is pressed. So it should not be long before Print Screen has the whole key all to itself!

Scroll Lk: The scroll lock was introduced in the early days of computing when the screen was limited to 25 rows of 80 character each. As you can imagine, it would have served as a modifier key (akin to Shift and Ctrl) for the arrow keys letting you either move along a line of text or scroll through screen-full of insipid text. Surprisingly however, MS Excel still supports its functionality by locking the cursor to the current cell when you use the arrow keys with the scroll lock turned on. [That should somehow make up for the lack lustre performance, huh!]. According to sources on the net the scroll lock purportedly prevents text from scrolling in command line sessions in Linux. [At least it didn't work when I tried it on the command line in Solaris]

Break: As against its other two neighbours, the break key still retains it uses, but the utility of its fellow occupant, Pause is dubious. Its origin can be traced back to the days of telegraphic communication when a constantly ON line meant the line was up and working and any break (or pause) in line acted as an interrupt notifying the operator at the receiving end of an impending transmission (or in rare cases, a break/fault in the line). While Ctrl+Break halts the execution of many a compilers like TC, Pause is just as wasted as its other two neighbours with its use limited to DOS. But hey! One cool thing is Windows+Break brings up the system properties in Windoze!