Delhi Noir

So this week the chasingframes thing has changed a little. Earlier we used to pick a creative commons picture from flickr and wrote a short story based on it. This time however we write a story and then either shoot or pick a picture which suits it. And the theme of the story was “Your city”. And if you have been following the delhi newspapers I am very much influenced by the recent ongoings.

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Delhi Noir

I was listening to the phone. For the past few months this was my pass time. The way I spend my lonely evening hours. The phone I was hearing was a MTNL phone, which I had taken so that I could get a good internet connection. And why do i keep saying “hearing the phone” as it was the radio. Coz it acted like a radio for me. A radio which had romance, soap operas, thrillers as well.

I discovered this when the phone rang. Around 2 months ago. I was surprised because I had not given this number to anybody, thought it must be a wrong number. I picked it up and heard,
“..jee aaj mohan ne bhindi banaai hai. mainey usey hazaar baar mana kiya hai bhindi kisi ko nahi bhati ghar pe. Idiot hamesha bhool jata hai.”

Before I could speak anything or show any semblance of understanding what this lady meant and why was she telling all this to me. I heard another lady’s voice,

“jee ye naukar toh sare gadhe hote hain. ek hamara kisan. kal hi hum uske kamre mein gandi magazine dekhe. humne toh inko bata diya. chhat pe le jake inhone apni belt se khoob maara. Ab batayiye ji ghar mein baby bhi toh hai. Bus ek mauka diye hain usey agar fir kuch harkat kari usne toh bhej denge vaapas chhapra.”
“baap re bade dil vale hain aap log toh. agar hamara mohan aisa kuch karta toh usi vaqt nikaal dete. chaliye jee fir baat karte hain”

Man my phone had a misconnection. It was fabulous. Every half an hour the phone rang at least once. And I found myself going towards it away from the numerous chatrooms I trolled. Here are a couple of more interesting calls,
“yo girl…wasssup? you been to college lately?”
“not for the past 4 days… hey listen ..that bitch karuna mam is doing sharma sir…”
“could you even expect…and that Sharma the old bastard :) ..he must really be a playboy getting that cold and frosty karuna”
“ya i know..and watsup with you and Shanky, no hanky panky hunh …giggles…
“he’s a really nice guy ya…not like we thought…he’s helping me with the computer project. I think one of these days when mom and dad go out for a party or something I’ll invite him…mohan ek cold coffee le aao jaldi
“hey naughty naughty….don’t have that cold coffee, keep up the heat LOL….”

So here I was listening to these conversations, just being a voyeur made all of them interesting. Of the old lady’s menopause problems and the young girls love problems. And often I could hear as a subscript these people ordering mohan or kisan around. It was more of a “noise” for me, which broke the flow of the conversations. So it came as a surprise when mohan took a more central stage in one of the calls.

“hey listen … something bad happened today. ..”
“kyon kya hua?…nothing with shanky right?”
“no ya..I thought I was alone in the house, and I came out of the bathroom after a shower. Thank god I had wrapped a towel.”
“what happened..? you were obviously in your room only right?”
“ya,.. but my room door was open and out there stood mohan gawking. I gave him a good thrashing. what the hell he was doing standing there in front of my room. Have told him I will complain to dad. He was crying and all..saying he would do anything if I kept quiet. Maybe I won’t tell only..i could use him on my side .. i could invite shanky more often”
“beeeetch..:D…”

Man this was getting hotter by the day. Hotter than I could handle.
So when I picked up the phone today I was surprised when I heard,
“police is that police…i need help fast…is somebody there…”
i waited for the police to respond, but no one seem to be there.
“god damn …koi hai …mujhe madad chahiye…vo mujhe maarna chahta hai…WTF koi kuch toh bolo”

I banged the phone down. If I kept quiet I wasn’t there. That’s how a voyeur works. I couldn’t watch the telephone. I put a newspaper over it. It began ringing again. I took it off the handle. And ran outside. Climbed up the iron stairs to the roof.

I have been standing here on the roof for the past half an hour. I know what happened must be somewhere near. Should I be ashamed of myself? Should I be afraid that the police will track me? but what wrong did I do? What are people upto under all these roofs?

Usable fruits

I was having a watermelon yesterday, when this thought came into mind. A seedless watermelon would be so nice. No fussing around with the seeds. No fumbling with the tongue to get the seeds out.

Then found out on the net that there is indeed such a watermelon. Surely all of you have eaten seedless grapes. I guess 99% commerical grapes are seedless. So I guess due to their user friendly nature these seedless fruits would qualify for “usable fruits”, wouldn’t they?

A little more research gave me this:

All of the above techniques for seedless propagation have one serious flaw: they lead to a decline in biodiversity. Because they involve essentially making carbon copies of one plant, if an agricultural disease which targets that plant evolves, it can spell big trouble. Many famous cultivars of seedless fruit, for example, are grown all over the world, and these stocks could be extremely vulnerable to disease or pests. The decrease in biodiversity is also bad for the species in general, as the more diverse a species is, the more likely it is to survive, as a general rule. read more here.

So I guess there’s nothing called a free lunch. On one hand these are useful to the customers. On the other hand very vulnerable to disease. Which explains the need for industrial pesticides. And how these pesticides find their way into our bodies.

Are their any other examples where usability has a really bad side effect?

AIDS and the razor blade industry

Just back from the barber. While he was working on my hair, with massages in between, between bouts of sleep this thought came into mind. And this I have been seeing for around 2 years. Whenever they have to use the razor they’ll make you see that they are removing the old blade and throwing it in a container, which would have a pile of these used blades. The idea behind this is that they want the customer to know that he is using a brand new blade for him. So AIDS awareness has been good I think.
But what becomes a side effect is that each blade gets used only once.
Which means:

  • a blade doesn’t have to have a long life
  • and that it has to be the cheapest possible
  • So the market dynamics for the razor blade companies whose main customers where the barbers would have changed in the last 2-3 years.

    The world’s most simple language

    This is part of chasing frames.
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    Hi, I am Michael Souza, a linguist researching on languages which do not use recursion. It has long been held by Chomsky and his followers that the human child has an inherent instinct for languages. Teach him a few rules and he will use recursion to make more sentences and phrases. But since Everett discovered the Piraha, I have been fascinated by the other paradigm. That language is cultural. Piraha language has the lowest number of phonemes in the world. Just 3 vowels and 9 consonants. I think I have discovered the Misaka tribe has even lesser, 2 vowels and 6 cosnonants.

    I was there in the middle of the amazon, for two months. Was dropped here by canoes, this area being so far out not even float planes come this way. And the worst part is we don’t have a common language we both understand. So the going is really tough. I used to grab hold of a object, say a root of tapioca and then try to find out what it is called. Just before I came back to UK I had a vocabulary of 12 words.

    Now when I came back the Misaka had become famous. Printed throughout the world, and shown in news channels. I remember the episode. I plane had passed at quite a low altitude over the settlement.
    I really laughed my head off when I saw the accompanying article. The entire article was based on guesswork but written like a science paper. It was absurd. For me even though I was there, I could hardly make sense of what went. I’ll try to describe the event in detail.

    It was morning and I had just had my breakfast of pig liver roasted over fire. Chingwa was cleaning the lama wool he had just shorn off. He had just rubbed in the red blood of the lama they had hunted. Whenever they killed the animal they would rub their blood all over their body to get their spirit’s power. A while later the village witch would come to bless them so that the animals spirit really gets one with him.

    When the plane came in the witch was blessing them. I’ll try to note down whatever I heard with what I understood inside brackets.
    “ooe te pee koou. pee tuu GRRRRRR ooooo maaaa keeee” Then she went silent.
    From their expression they seemed to know what to do. It was really rehearsed. I later realized that the 2 propeller plane lying across the marsh was their “hunt”.

    Other than big flying objects they were quiet friendly towards others. I will go back to the Misakas in a week.

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    More stories – by dipankar, amit, forced ambitions

    updated on jun 27 2008 – read this report on NGC on which an anthropologist Robert L. Carneiro says:

    “The point is that, because we’ve never contacted them, we just don’t know anything about them,” he said. “So anything anyone says about them has to be treated as speculation.”

    read the full report here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/06/080619-uncontacted-tribe_2.html

    Yellow journalism

    Do you read newspapers or watch news channels? Do you get entertained or informed?
    Since last few years I have lost all faith in media ..about all. The way they unleash their creativity they should change careers and become fiction writers. And the news channel guys should make soap operas. You could read vir sanghvi’s take on this phenomenon.

    I still had faith in some agencies. BBC for instance. But after I read the article about the lost tribes of Brazil, even that has faded. Below is the image and a part of the article.

    The white blob in the photograph could well be cotton, and the beige area next to it is probably a basket. The cotton would either be cultivated by the tribe, or gathered in the wild. It would be woven by the women, into the kind of short skirt worn by the black figure. Cotton would also be used to make hammocks….read more here

    Now what on hell does this statement ‘The cotton would either be cultivated by the tribe, or gathered in the wild.’ convey. Is there any other way the cotton could be there. Maybe the cotton in that forest self detaches from the tree and comes floating to the basket. I am not sure what IQ level this article is aimed at.

    So I and Forced Ambition have decided to use this image for the weekly photo story. We also invite anyone interested to write a story based on this picture. If you write about it kindly put a link in the comment. We plan to publish the story on 6th jun (friday). I would suggest you do the same so that nobody gets influenced by the other stories. So happy writing or shall I say happy journalism.

    updated on jun 27 2008 – read this report on NGC on which an anthropologist Robert L. Carneiro says:

    “The point is that, because we’ve never contacted them, we just don’t know anything about them,” he said. “So anything anyone says about them has to be treated as speculation.”

    read the full report here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/06/080619-uncontacted-tribe_2.html