Thursday, January 31, 2008

Could you love Facebook?

This is something I just read, about Facebook. For those of you who have been away from Planet internet, Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you. With a population of users which is deemed to exceed that of has become a popular way of connecting to people.

This post is a reaction to what the Guardian UK had to say about Facebook..

Interesting..rant if I may call it that. It does have a lot of background information. It is always good to know the background of things you use/ know of/ believe in..however it seems to be nothing I use is devoid of any evil thinking behind it. I use Google (who doesn't) for mail, blogging, photographs and many other things, I walk on streets which are loaded with CCTVs, recording my every move, every time I use my Oyster the Mayor of London, amongst 1000s of other people at TFL, knows where I have been, my credit cards show what I have bought for how much and my store cards tell you what I like, my blackberry tells anyone who wants to know where I am at what time, speaking to who and for how long. I sign data protection statements and then they go and misplace CDs with personal data which is not even encrypted. Wow! And then there is the ability to talk about privacy settings on Facebook! Hello?

It is good to be kept in the know, but I think something good has to be said about facebook too. Apart from the fact that I can now communicate almost daily with people without needing to ring them, I have also managed to locate school friends and college friends as well as Univ friends who are scattered across the planet. I would never have thought of meeting them or seeing them again..but we were great friends when we were in the same geographic location..its good to be able to see them, see photos of their children, who look exactly like them, see videos from the kids I used to babysit, see my neice and nephew who keep traveling the world, I did not have email addresses of all my friends and family to start with, so finding them thus has been good.

Thanks to facebook I can join Anti David Cameron groups, be part of and create pressure groups which have managed to push MNC banks back about some new charges they created for students. Imagine being able to change HSBC's mind without raising placards and walking through wet cold streets in protest. You would say there is something inspiring about marching in protest..I would say not, I was there for the anti-war marches all over UK, the first time around in Afghanistan and the second time round in Iraq, it is not fun, democracy is just about alive anyways...but I digress.

I will not say Facebook is evil scum and should not be used, I will not say it is BAD and should be banned, I would ask what isn't? After all using our options and things available to be used / misused around us for our own advantage is what it is all about. No one is squeaky clean, its is about what you want to see and know about things and then see what you want to DO about them. As they say in Hindu philosophy in the Bhagwad Geeta, everything happens for your own good.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

You Tend To Wonder

Random thoughts happening. I have a load of things to do and get out of my way (dont we all) and of course the more pressing the need and the closer the deadline..the further away I want to walk from work. My mother calls it 'shirking' some call it 'escapist' others call it 'lazy', I call it, 'work-best-under-pressure'...I do. It makes sense. When my back is against the wall and I KNOW that something needs doing, doing well ofcourse, but urgently needs doing, I think about it, I put it to the back of my head and then have Random thoughts:

~ Whether my dog is feeling better after being rather sick
~ I should upload a new version of my lecture on the e-learning website
~ This haircut is not very nice
~ Facebook is addictive and I should not use it
~ I missed that film which was based on the book
~ I never see chick flicks anymore
~ Why do men like action films with blood and gore
~ Would I sleep all day if I could?
~ Will India be cold in March?
~ Do I feel any differently about India than I did 10 years ago?
~ Why does winter behave like a petulant child and not go away quietly
~ Do I want to teach for the rest of my life?
~ Where would I like to travel to if money and time were limitless
~ Why do I like all mountainous places?
~ The Shampoo is running out
~ I need to think about calling some friends to dinner sometime soon
~ Why does going to gym make my mind empty?

....the list goes on..I can sit, thought hopping all day. I dont need a book, internet, TV, human company, phone..I can just sit there..thinking random useless thoughts and wondering..its amazing..and this need to wonder is directly proportional to urgency of things that need doing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

World Weary

Call me a disillusioned cynic, call me anti-development and a person with double standards. Call me what you wish..but see the news from BBC South Asia...and tell me what you think..

The latest news of India Reserve Bank Policies being snubbed by the British Trade Minister:

India attacked over UK bank snub

Lord Jones wants a greater freedom in Indian finance. India's central bank has been accused of "protectionism" amid claims that it refused a UK bank permission to open a rural branch network in the country. British trade minister, Lord Jones made the allegation during a trip to India ahead of Gordon Brown's visit.

The comments are the latest about the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) tight control of the financial sector.RBI said Standard Chartered had last year been granted some licences to operate in the country.

'Development catalyst'

Lord Jones said that the Standard Chartered's plans would be good for the bank and for India's rural areas. "Here you have a fabulous British bank that will do two things," Lord Jones, the former CBI head, told India's Business Standard newspaper. "It will get access to the market but at the same time, it will act as a catalyst towards rural development and inclusive growth in India. Just out of sheer protectionism, the RBI says no."Lord Jones said that the bank was waiting for an acknowledgment to their request to open rural branches, which had been lodged last year.

Foreign banks have been eyeing India as a key emerging market, with outside investors having to apply to the RBI for licences to operate. It expected that during the Prime Minister's visit to India, which begins on Sunday, an accompanying business delegation will sign deals worth about $6bn (£3bn).

His picture on the website has a subtitle that says, 'Lord Jones wants a greater freedom in Indian finance'..does he now. I wonder why? Well I guess no one can stop him from wanting something..and now I shall prevent myself from being rude!!


Oh yes I am against it. Why does the Standard Chartered Bank not help rural areas of England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland? Why not? Some areas are very remote and get little developmental finance..and could do with banks helping them. Why not look inwards, rather than try neo-imperialist approaches to entering India yet again.

and let me not even start about USAID..

I may not know much about banking, finance, investment and the global markets. But I do know that I am allowed to sit up, take notice of whats around me, try to understand it and protest if I was a free world the last time I checked!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thank you George!

A 2nd year design class has just been lectured about ethics and then in the seminar I expected some of them to start talking about it. Well..they did not.
So we came down to a baser point..are there things/ people/ organizations you are theoretically / principally against?
No reaction.

So we try talking around the standard..Gap, Nike, Coca Cola pattern.
A few murmurs. But not the reaction which I was hoping for. (Bearing in mind most were wearing the first two and one was drinking the second one when I entered the room)

And there I am thinking..this is going to be one long boring seminar.

So I say, ' I hate George Bush!'

Oh Boy..did the conversation started, picked up, snowballed, and caused an avalanche of reactions!

If nothing else I hereby thank Mr.Bush for bringing out strong opinions and reactions in the quietest of classes and thereby being the most useful teaching resource!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Fitness Fetish Strikes

Yes, I am moving towards the wrong side of the wrong age. And the years of messing about with my body with just about anything going means that I am not in the best on health. Not saying that I am ill...but to put it mildly..I could do with some weight loss..Couldnt we all? Who said you can never be thin or rich enough...well whoever it was, was Right!!

So off we go to the local gym. Sign up for -power pack!, 5 point health check! Yes! we have a steam room! Yes! we have a sauna! Yes! we have over so many machines, Yes free weights, Yes! we have a women's only gym, Yes! we can do a GREAT offer right now, if you sign up for 12 months!! even better if you can drag a friend in and make them sign. And we only cost about 40£ a month...tch tch...dont want to spend that 'little' on your own health I hear you say? Oh
So after being harassed by this Duracell Bunny sales guy at the health club, the deed was done. Now I am committed to going to the gym for my health, and also out of that I have paid..I shall go! Therein lies the motivation.

So last night was the first time I went back to a gym after a year or so. Needless to say..perfectly tones abs, bums and tums were visible in every corner, and the center as well. Extremely fit people prance around the place..looking...extremely fit not to mention..VERRY BUSY..City-of-London-eat-your-heart-out busy.....its important work..this. The gym is not for the out of shape, ex smoker, love my drink type of person. Oh no. Its all about Lycra, shiny white towels, the energy drink, and Of course..the Ipod strapped to your upper arm!!

And thats not where the cringing ends. Oh wait till you enter the changing rooms. Flashing aint illegal here...oh no sir! You are supposed to strut like the day you were born and not worry about it. Nakedness aside..I have male friends who fantasize about the female changing rooms..but I am not going there..Ahem! Nope!! I am going beyond the showered and changed bits..its the makeup. Oh yes, you need to flick your hair..blast it with the dryer, put on three types of cream, 2 kinds of deo, 1 perfume, six layers of makeup...including blusher to give you the freshly washed, exercise flushed, pink face.., high heels..and then off you 9pm on a weekday..back home. Only to return the next day!! I must say...all I did was shake my head, apply some moisturizer and get out! I hate changing rooms :)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Past Life...

Being a practicing Hindu...I do believe in past lives, future of good deeds, and the progress of the soul, as it moved between the two. I am not obsessive about it, yet I do recognize it and understand it, to some extent, thanks to long lectures and discussions over many years with my grandfather...They were interesting times..spent exploring, thinking, analyzing and discussing the why, wherefores and at the end of the day 'how do YOU know?' type of questions..I do not dwell much on those discussions today...


This is what facebook says I was in my previous life..
Result Quiz
Who Were You In a Past Life?
Your Quiz Result
I was Nikola Tesla in my past life!
The result says,

'Of all of your past lives, old Eccentric was your most prominent. If your dreams are ever filled with faint visions of quiet studying, electrical charges, tesla coils, earthquakes, gadgets, weird diagrams, chalkboards full of plans, and women who loved you like an artist, these are glimpses into a world once occupied by your 'vessel'. Cherish your past life and invigorate your current one knowing that you embody greatness in all that you do'.

Interesting..bearing in mind I do not feel great at this point of time, as I struggle to edit yet another draft of my PhD thesis!!

Monday, January 07, 2008


Sometimes, some people, some places, some incidents...make you angry..not just the i-am-irritated-leave-me-alone variety, and not even the i-shall-stay-calm-and-get-over-it variety..this is the whole She-bang..the mother of all tantrums, the thrumming anger which takes over your body & soul. The kind which means that had you something to lash out at physically you would.
That I call Angry-Mad. You are so wound up you dont make sense to yourself.

You would lash out, physically.
You, though normally a mild mannered person, would gleefully hit the next person who comes in your way and annoys you.
You would, if you could, shout ARRRRGHHHH!!!!till you could shout no more.
Yes, I am talking the angry enough to walk 5 miles full pace without knowing where you went and how long and far you have walked. yes..guess you are getting the picture now.

Well this kind of anger only visits those who do not have a short fuse, who dont get rattled easily, who get mildly irritated at the most.
So if you are the hot and cold, short fuse, shall shout at a door that does not lock, and curse the hot water tap when it gets stuck, and at the spilt tea...then you are safe from this 'angry-mad' situation.

The upside are a rational calm person generally, once in 4-5 months or even more you get mad. If at all. This means you are easy to live with and easy going.

The downside take 2-3 days, not hours, to calm dowm.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

350,000 people

Last night I joined the 350,000 other people in London to welcome 2008. The police were there in droves as were the crowds, with children tucked into pushchairs, some on the shoulders of their papas, some running around, people with blankets, chairs, nachos, olives, beer, horns, hats, sparkling headbands, high heeled shoes, thick winter coats, caps, mittens and umbrellas. London had stepped out to party on the streets.

The London Eye was the center of attraction, with fireworks fixed, ready to be let off. It was a fantastic fireworks show. The music was bad, the lighting was good, the people's spirit was high, the children were happy, the weather was warm, and then it usual. But onwards and upwards, the New Years Eve fireworks in London were as spectacular as it comes*.

The party was on the Embankment in London, with people filling up the good spots to view the fireworks from about 5.30pm. It was like a demographic pizza slice...people of all nations, race, religions being present. It was what London stands for..a mixed culture that welcomes and accepts. The tube stations got packed, and the party started...people danced, sang, petted the bomb detection squad spaniels, rubbed the noses of horses that the police came on, queued in a polite British fashion for eternity for the porta-loos. And when the sound came on, shouted and sang along, waiting for the Big Ben to strike midnight.

It was a happy looking and sounding start to 2008...

*Apart from a die hard Edinburgh festival fan who moaned that the Scottish fireworks are better at the end of the fringe.