Rains in summer – Tehri Dam?

The monsoon is expected a week earlier this year. The newspapers and the tv channels did cover that. What they have not covered is why delhi has started getting rains during summer. I came to delhi in 2007, summers. The summer then was the real deal, hot, with ‘loo‘ blowing in the daytime. Riding a bike, I could feel my beard twirling in the hot wind. Then 2008 came, and the summers were different. It would get hot, for 4-5 days, then we would get a shower. That cooled the area down for 2-3 days. And so it went in circles. It is the same this year. And when I searched, I found out that the Tehri dam was finished and got operational in 2007. Co-incidence? I think not.

Of course the only data I have is the time the dam became operational and the time the summers stopped in Delhi. Another thing is nobody likes summers. So whenever it rains, I see a lot of headlines in papers which go as, ‘..relief from the heat..’ and pictures of people looking happy getting wet. If the situation was the opposite, of summer getting hotter, people would have definitely asked, why is it happening. But that’s just human psychology, nobody thinks of reasons when the going is good, only when things turn bad, do they ask, ‘why? why is it happening to me?’

And this is not an idea which originated in my mind. I have travelled a lot in this area, from Dehradun, Mussoorie, to Rishikesh and Haridwar. And the local people, the farmers etc, point these rains to the Tehri dam. Of all the people, the farmer sure knows when the weather chages. Because though he needs rains, if the timing of the rains is wrong his crop may well get spoilt. And from a very top level view, it does make sense. If a very big water source just appears in an area, and gets heated up, it sure will evaporate and create a lot of local humidity. And that may cause rain. And it is a documented fact elsewhere in the world, like here in china’s three gorges dam. Now I am just using common sense here. If any one who reads this has any specific information about anything related, I would like to know. We may all know about global warming, and its consequences, but we should first know about the local climate changes. And whether these local climate changes, are due to our own actions.

Pika

I have been working the language semantics of the pika language. Pika is spoken by the pikachu creatures in the world of pokemon. It is amazing how the pikachu can get by with only two words, ‘pika’ and ‘pikachu’. A path with amazingly difficult hurdles lie ahead. Wish me luck folks.

The hot saasu Maa?

She’s not saasu maa (mother in law) yet. But it is close enough, or what else would you call a guy’s girlfriend’s mom? I have been observing how media’s portrayal of Indian sexuality is changing with time. I had written about the indian maid before. Now it is the turn of the saas (mother in law) and the saali (sister in law), in the Vjazz mobile and the Wildstone deodorant ad .

The point to be noticed here is that the ‘jija-sali‘ thing has been popular in Indian culture for quite some time. Sali aadhi gharwali or sister in law is half wife, has been used a zillion times, even in films. But this is one of the few times where the highlight is on the sexual nature of the relation. And I wouldn’t be surprised if this the first case of portraying sexual interest between mother in law and the guy, in Indian media. The key points to notice here are:

  • aunty’s husband is away on a tour, and she’s so lonely
  • with the guy’s antics aunty is surely enamored
  • when aunty’s daughter finds them in such a situation, she gets nervous…Is it because of guilt?

Maybe a post on eroding traditional values is in order.

Blood Simple – A review

I could only catch glimpses of ‘No country for old men‘, fighting for the remote in between the IPL cricket matches. From what I saw, I was deeply intrigued by the Coen brothers. So the next logical step was to download their first movie, ‘Blood Simple’.

blood simple by coen brothers
blood simple by coen brothers

The movie begins with scenes of desolation, and a guy commenting on the scheme of things. He finishes of by saying,

‘..But what I know about is Texas. And down here, you’re on your own.’

And this line neatly sums up one layer of the film. With all the bloodletting that we see, we never see the hand of law anywhere. And as I said this movie has several layers. The top layer points to the idea that breakups are not easy and when they occur, they usually make people do idiotic things. Things which if they had reconsidered they would not have done. And the second layer is that every character stands up for their own self when it comes to survival. There is no, ‘somebody save me’ in this movie.

The plot is interesting enough that you would get tired of trying to predict and failing. Another remarkable facet is the editing. The cuts are phenomenal, and more so the cuts which are integral to the narrative. Like the scene when the detective goes for the kill and stands by the window. Also the background music which in its absence doesn’t let you miss it, and with its presence makes the scenes richer. If you are thrill seeking, drama loving, you have to watch it. And I will get on with other Coen brother films.

Om Dar Badar

Thanks to Mudit Chandra for this arcane info. See this video and see the similarities with a recent song with lines going like ‘Emo Scenal Ati Achaar’.

I agree with Mudit when he says that if you are taking inspiration and that too for a whole song, at least you should remark about it in one of the dozen interviews. Now I really want to see this movie, if any of you know how to get hold of a copy kindly tell.

update: It seems he did blog about this here. I am sorry Anurag jee.

Bike trip to Chail

The ‘to’ journey was pretty uneventfull. But the return was awesome.  Sunday morning we decided to bike around near Chail and then return to Delhi. We had already been to the Kali ka Tibba (kali temple).  Still we landed at the base of the climb to the temple. One way was going up towards the temple and another one was going downwards. We decided to go on the one going down.

The road went on without we coming across any other travllers, or people. After around half an hour we saw a guy and asked if this was the way to shimla. He tells us that it was indeed but we were headed in the opposite direction. Not wanting to go back we asked him if there was a another way. ‘Ashvini ghaat’, he says, and we keep on going. The road soon turned into a dirt track with rocks falling off the sides. The next guy we saw was after one hour. There were moments we stopped to look at the amazing scenery. Also saw a big bird, probably the biggest I have seen with my eyes, which was probably the himalayan griffon vulture.

The real filmi moment was when the road ended into a stream. On walking along the stream we could see tyre tracks up ahead. So the stream was used as the road it seems, until a bridge was made. This was one of the highpoints of the trip. And this place was called ‘Ashvini khadd’ which we had heard as ‘Ashvini Ghat’. Anyway this track can be used as a practice or demo for people who want to bike to ladakh.

Arty pics here :P.

What marketers can learn from Lord Ganesha!

Lord Ganesha is the son of Lord Shiva and Parvati devi. He goes by other names like Vinayaka and Vighneshwara.


If we look in the etymology of the name “Ganesha”, it is formed by Gana + Eesh, where Eesh is short for Eeshwar, which means Lord. So Ganesha means lord of Gana. Gana means body of attendants, here referring to the huge retinue of Lord Shiva. And remarkably the Ganas are also known as Bhutagana, because Shiva is the only god anybody can go to. So all the rejects of the society get attracted to the matted hair and smoking dope god. Quoted from wikipedia,

the gana or bhutagana are attendants of Shiva that reside in chthonic and liminal locations such as cemeteries and charnel grounds.

In fact it is not long when Lord Ganesha was seen as Vighneshwara. Which means lord of obstacles. And he was seen as the god who creates obstacles if not pleased. So if you don’t appease him before any endeavor he might as well create obstacles. Which in time changed to the feeling that he protects you from obstacles. Quoted from new world encyclopedia,

As the “Lord of Obstacles,” Ganesha is responsible for creating obstructions of both a material and spiritual order. It is he who places obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked. Thus, Ganesha is thought to be the gatekeeper of shrines, and he is said to corrupt all those who are unworthy of entering such holy places by further deluding their minds with desires. [96] Ganesha can also remove obstacles for his devotees just as easily. Ganesha’s diametrically opposed functions as both obstacle-creator and obstacle-destroyer are vital to his character, giving it significant depth as he is venerable for both negative and a positive reasons.

This change in emphasis from creator of obstacles to protector from obstacles is accompanied by change in iconography. This is a painting from the 15th century, notice the number of weapons, and the fierce expression :

What can the marketer learn from this? That a brand identity can be changed, and in fact to exactly something diametrically opposite. How many marketers in today’s economy can claim to have achieved such a feat?

I can go on to other lessons you can get from Lord Ganesh, like the fact that the Ganesh Chathurthi celebrations in India was engineered so that, quoted from wiki

Lokamanya Tilak visualized the cultural importance of this deity and popularised Ganesha Chaturthi as a National Festival “to bridge the gap between the Brahmins and the non-Brahmins and find an appropriate context in which to build a new grassroots unity between them” in his nationalistic strivings against the British in Maharashtra.

Do you see any parallel between this and the many Days the greeting card companies have started promoting, from Mother’s day, Daughter’s day, Father’s day, and so on?

Thinking aloud

Should I delete all my accounts on social networks? For one I have never used them proactively, so it is not that I will loose something on that front. The only benefits I have had is that I could get in touch with long lost friends. But the world has become a small place now. I can find the contact of anyone I want to; I am not talking about personal phone numbers of bollywood actresses, but my circle of friends, including long lost ones. And most of them can find me. At least 99% of them know someone who can contact me.

What else would I lose?
The anxiety to check on facebook if someone has uploaded any pictures or what did someone take a quiz of. But is that bad? Isn’t that anxiety a minor sort of addiction?
or if someone has made any comments on other people’s statuses? Why do I need to know what other people think of my friends statuses? Maybe it helps me to know the social relationships of people around me. And how does that help me? Does it even? It sure gives food for thought. But is that food the most nutritious for the mind?

What about professional social networks? From what I know of myself I would never use one of those. I would always keep them on the outside chance that I would need them someday. If I am so sure I won’t use them, what is the use of keeping them.

Update on May 04 – I have deleted both my orkut and facebook account. It seems a design critique of different deleting and deactivating schemes is needed. Facebook doesn’t doesnt allow deleting the account, only deactivating. Which means you can relogin anytime. Also that other facebook members can still see your pages, photos etc. So I manually deleted everything.