Thursday, May 25, 2006

Cheney on trial ?


As i was browsing today, i came across this news about Cheney to be called as witness for the 'Scooter' Libby trial. I havent been following the US news too much since i left there in April end. More importantly i had become fed up that there was action to be taken or done till the November election this year. Because inspite of so much goof-up and issues, you have a man continuing to run the country.

But i think this could be good development. Because if you remember clearly, Clinton was not 'impeached' for having sex (ya right!!), but for lying in front of a grand jury. So i am looking forward to this trial, to see what Mr. Cheney has to say. This could be a 'damned if you do, damned if dont' kind of a trial for Cheney.

Although, knowing that the other half of the congress and senate that can actually take some action is really not interested in this process, i am not sure if something will really get done. The democrats have lost their backbone. There is enough evidence today to kick up a havoc in the congress. But then they are set of polite people, who always take the higher road. Oh man, what a bunch of oafs !!

Like i said, i know the power of a vote. It is important that we use it accordingly. Looking forward to the november election.

Court filing: Cheney may be witness in Libby trial

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Computing for free ?

There is a big gap in the need for software to run and manage computer systems and the ability of the user to be able to afford it all. There was a time, when even the computer was unaffordable. But those days are long gone. Today the hardware is within the reach of vast majority of people. The software is not. Typically each piece of software you want to add to your computer comes in the range of $39.99 to $69.99. Rarely is it priced below or above this range. So if you need to add, about 5 to 10 pieces of work that you would like done using the computer you are looking at adding another 150-400$ to the investment.

There is a big space for free, shareware kind of software. I am big supporter of the shareware software. I have purchased about 4 softwares as shareware, which cost me about 10$ a piece, to add the toolset on my computer. Most other software i try to acquire are freeware or opensource. I would have loved to have been able to add to the collection of software in this space, but my brains are getting rusted each passing day.

I think there is a big market for 'Rent-a-software'. The kind i can use, on an as-needed basis. Of course, then again, the developers will quickly price it beyond the reach of many. Yahoo and Google can be serious players in this space, not to forget or ignore Microsoft.

Also then there is Sun Microsystems, who was trying another concept of server farms. Sun would build large sets of huge servers that can be rented by corporates for use during critical phases of their project. I am not sure where they are with this whole thing.

Taking this a step forward, what if the server farm is available for me to use. You know, like the good old days of Unix server, where we login and do our work and get out. I use my cheap and powerful laptop and connect to a big mother-of-all-server, to do my work. Wonder if someone is listening ?

BBC NEWS | Technology | India lays down 'open' challenge

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Heat wave... ?


People here are complaining of a heat wave in India. What heat wave ? What heat ? I dont find it hot. Its actually real cool. Man, if it got any cooler, i may need to wear sweaters.

I sometimes look outside the window, and see the freezing landscape. It actually seems bloody cold out there.

Think cool, Act cool, Behave cool... please bear with me here....maybe the sun will give up... soon

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Thinker vs Doer

The difference between a Thinker and a Doer is the action. And today i have the story of my good friend Supraja Dharini to share.

We studied together only for two years, in the 11th and 12th. And were literally sitting next to each other in the class. Although a new comer to our school, she quickly made friends, not all supportive, me included. I had my reservations. But for some reason, may be our desire to change things as they are, we became quite thick friends by the time school was over. And the friendship actually only became better while we were doing BCom in separate colleges in the city.

All along we exchanged quite a few ideas on how to change politics, help people, poor, rich, change society.... blah blah.... lot of talk. Some times for hours, sometimes a few minutes here and there.

My first social action, was also motivated by her. Her cousin or relative was getting married in a city marriage hall. The girl, her relative was a minor, about 16 or 17 at that time. Supraja, wouldnt listen to her parents to shut-up, but called me and we went to the Police Commissioner's office to lodge a complaint. Well, long story, short, nothing much happened. The girl was married off, quite early in the morning, and by the time we arrived with the cops to the marriage hall, no one was there.

Thinks began to change for me, soon after that, i started my classes in NIIT, at that time, the only computer training institute in Chennai. I got busier and busier, and soon found my answer and calling to earn and make a living.

Supraja, SD, as i used to call her in the school days, took a different direction. She moved out of the city, close to the beach, at that time considered quite away from the heart of the city. And she started getting involved in many different things. And like she says in her interview, she found her calling in 2001. And today about four or more fishing villages near her home, and probably thousands of turtles are the direct beneficiaries of her action.

I recently was involved in some work with her again, in 2005, when we went to help the villagers affected by the Tsunami. We visited the villages, which she was looking after, and was part of her TREE foundation.

When i read the article in The Hindu, and few weeks back in a local paper, i couldnt help travelling back in time a bit.... lot of talk, can never really match, one good deed.

The Hindu: Metro Plus Chennai: Of canvas and conservation

Monday, May 08, 2006

Trishoor Pooram

Yesterday, Sunday May 7th, was Trishoor Pooram. This may not quite english, but it is semantically correct. Trishoor or Trichur as it is used to be written in english, is the self titled cultural capital of Kerala. Pooram is a day in the malayalam calendar. But in the month of Medam, the pooram day is special for Trishoor. It is on this day, that it hosts one of the grandest spectacle on earth, the Trishoor Pooram festival.

I was born in Trishoor, bang in the middle of pooram time. And also spent most of my summer vacation growing up in Trishoor. The pooram festival started the Thiruvambady temple close to my house. As i grew up, and outgrew the awe of elephants, i was growing to get amazed by the logistics and management of the festival. The different facets, and 'ithigam' (the concept behind a ritual or practice), of the festival also started holding a special fascination for me.

All this till i was 17, and then i havent seen a festival till i was 26, but that was also for a brief 2hrs. I have been thirsting to return since then. I had the oppurtunity to visit Trishoor a couple of times recently and was so happy to show-off the town to my accompanying family (in-laws). The simplicity (which doesnt exist so much anymore) and the temples are the main attraction for me. The most magnificient being the main one, Vadakkunnathan, a temple of siva. Infact the name, Trishoor, is a shortened version of Thiru Siva Perooor (holy abode of Siva).


The pooram festival is a recent introduction to Trishoor, compared the temples themselves. The festival is only 200+ years old, and was started by Shaktan Thampuran, the king of Cochin. The festival is unique, in its access to the people, in line with the spirit in which the king created it. The temples from around Trishoor, were once denied access to another nearby festival, and this prompted the king to host this festival in Trishoor itself, to try and break the brahmin control of these festivals. He invited the temples in the neighbourhood to come and pay obeiance to Siva in the Vadakkunnathan temple. The entire temple was surrounded by a teak (thek), also called the thekkin-kadu-maidanam, which was cleared to create the city of Trishoor.

The main participants of the festival are the temples of Thiruvambady and Parammekavu located right in Trishoor. Apart from these, there are few other temples, who send their to Trishoor as part of the pooram festival. All of them, mostly Devi (goddess parvathi), come and pay respects to the lord at the Vadakkunnathan temple.

Even the temples of Thiruvambady and Parammekavu send their Devi to pay respects to the lord. And then compete to get his favour, by displaying their very best during the festival.

More info on the Thrisoor Pooram:
Trishoor Pooram at Wikipedia
Trishoor pooram
Trishoor Pooram

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Free.... free.... free

An amazing spectacle is being hosted here in TamilNadu. The elections, is what i am referring to. Most parties, specially the big two coalition that is fighting the election here, have offered, a bunch of freebies to the electorate.
The list is something like:
- free cycle
- rice at Rs. 2 per kg
- color tv (one party even promised a set top box, altho' only Chennai uses a set-top box)
- gold
- computers

There is more. The is list is like endless, with money to the poor, the old, the widow, the son, the daughter, the mother, the father, the elderly.... what the heck, some money for the neighbour too.

Few other parties have raised this is as an issue with the EC, asking them to ratify the poll promises and/or to hold the elected candidates responsible for the promises. Its still up in the air, as to, when this issue will be handled by the EC, or more importantly, if this is an issue that the EC will take up for clarification.

Today is the last day of the election campaign. On monday, early morning the polls begin. Lets see what the verdict of the people will be at the end of the 10-12 hr day.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Elections where ??

After arriving here in Chennai a week ago, i was pleasantly surprised, it was difficult to imagine that an election was in process. There were no graffiti, no posters, no huge cut-outs and no blaring loud speakers.
Of course, i had read about it in the news on the web, that the election commission is getting tough and has clamped down on all these 'nakras'. But i still figured that the political system will figure a way out. Fortunately the EC has prevailed. They have managed to tie down the political parties to the guidelines and figured a way to enforce it.

I have expressed my opinion about the EC. The Election Commission, to the best of my knowledge, has no comparable organization in any other democracy. Its birth and existence in India, is also a testimony of the corrupt political system we support. Slowly but steadily, starting if i am not mistaken, with T.N. Sheshan, they have asserted their presence, and with active support from the Supreme Court, have managed to curb the prowess of the political system. The system still has its ways, because EC only governs the process of election. But recently the suspension of few politicians who were tainted, the Jaya Bachan issue etc., are all indications that they are not going to stop with the electoral process, but with the governance of all elected officials.

Thanks to them, the city of Chennai is sporting a clean look. Albeit, the election and vote gathering process has lost a bit of sheen. But only slightly tho'. The candidates and political parties have managed to draw attention through ingenious ways and also are now forced more than ever before to walk the streets and attempt a door to door campaign. The people who will benefit from this process, are cadre based parties, like CPM, BJP, DMK etc., and will force others to strengthen their party structure, allowing more fresh blood to be infused into them.

And so.... i dream.....