By-Two Kaapi in an oilfield

The weblog of Abhilash Ravishankar, India.

Here I blog about my personal experiences [posting rarely]

At my tumblelog Intoxicated by possibility I blog about my opinions/likes/dislikes [posting heavily]

When the music died ...

A recent decision by the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) that increases the royalties owed by Internet webcasters pay to play music by between 300 and 1200% has jeopardized the future of Internet Radio.
Maybe in America, but am sure it will have far reaching consequences if the bill goes through. Imagine paying to listen to Pandora! Yikes!

All ye' American Congressmen brothers of mine - are ye' all listening?

Pulitzer winning photography

Get through this without crying, or feeling the urge to cry, and you are a cold beast.

Cyndie rocks her dying son as the song, "Because We Believe," plays on a cd. She sings along with Andrea Bocelli in a whispery voice. “Once in every life/There comes a time/We walk out all alone/And into the light…”

From left, family friends Ashley Berger, Amy Morgan and Kelly Whysong offer comfort as Cyndie tells Derek, "It's OK, baby. I love you, little man. I love you, brave boy. I love you. I love you.“

Derek died soon after in his mother’s arms on May 10, 2006.

Of prayers online

Half a decade back, when I came across websites where you could

  • Click a button to perform aarthi to Lord Ganesh
  • Light (online) incense sticks to appease the Gods
  • Click a button and hear crackers bursting on Diwali
it had caught me laughing my lungs out. I never could comprehend why people would (even in the most doped minds) do that.

Yesterday, yet again, I saw prayers being offered online. Though this time, it wasn't for the Gods. It was for the soul of this young lady who was the victim of that brutal massacre at VirginiaTech. Half a decade, probably, has made me much more mature, and I didn't laugh my lungs out this time.

However, I am unable to answer some of my own questions:
What does someone get by saying 'Rest in Peace' in her scrapbook?
What do people get by forming communities called Minal: God bless her?
Is this the final nail on the wall stating that the internet is now fully personal?

I do feel utmost grief at the tragedy, but I never would drive myself to scrap in a dead person's scrapbook. Hundreds of people have blogged about their grief, which is perfectly fine, but scraps in a scrapbook? Excuse me if I sound cold, but the point that I am trying to make is - Is it not just an example of a herd-which-knows-not-where-it's-headed?

And yes,
Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat (Enlighten our minds!), so that such barbaric incidents do not repeat. May her soul and the souls of all the faithfully departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Remember that stunning woman on that mag's cover?

It's commonplace to talk about how women appear in popular media, and rant about society's skewed view, about feminism, about sex. True. There's too much sex in TV, movies, internet and PC games.

I stumbled upon a brilliant web essay which talks about the male gaze, fashion ads and the pose. An excerpt from the introduction

... these claims seem to imply that there is an obvious "thing" called beauty or sexual attractiveness, and that the question is simply whether or not the media should display so much of this "thing."

The following web essay casts doubt on the belief that there is such a simple, self-evident "thing" as beauty. It looks at beauty as a cultural construct, at how beauty is defined, at how fashion magazines cultivate a very particular notion of what it means to be attractive or beautiful. And it suggests that this particular notion may be less about sex, less about actual human sexual behaviors, than it is about power.
An amazing essay which makes you realize stuff that you never would have on your own.

What made me think was a quote by John Berger which went so,
Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.
Really wonder whether the second is true. (No comments about the first one!) Feminists will bring the house down on this one. However, the point of discussion is whether women get a kick out of being watched and admired?

Intoxicated by possibility

Was Skyping with Chinmay from Pilani, and as we were in a conversation regarding a few organizational blues, I said -

You know what? They are not intoxicated by possibility!
This phrase (inspired from one of Hugh's cartoons) has been hovering around in my mind for quite a long time now.

Dreamers see possibilities where you and me can't. And that has always been a quality that I admire in people I meet. The ability to envision the potential of an idea - ah! the hallmark of genius. And what happens when that genius gets intoxicated by that very possibility? There are born great products. Disruptive services.

At the end of the day, wouldn't you be rather be intoxicated by possibility?


I talked about it here and here. And right now, I am preparing to do something new and satisfying over the next few months. More about this reserved for a later post. Ah! How Change/Chaos gives me a 'high'.

I am currently reading Arun Shourie's book: Falling Over Backwards: An essay against reservations and judicial populism. It's shocking, painfully amusing and is currently churning my guts with disgust at Indian lawmakers and part of the judiciary. Will post a detailed review later.

There's that gaping void!

Hugh McLeod, undoubtedly is great. Now that he is on the Redmond Giant's payroll, things will surely be a lot more interesting.

Here are a few of his cartoons that I simply adore!

That's me:

And this is me too!

Of Prime Ministers and Presidents

First, our extremely learned Prime Minister yaks in public against the judiciary:

I feel that judicial activism must be used in a restrained manner to fill up any institutional vacuum or failure and to clarify legal positions, retaining its character as a powerful but sparingly used instrument for correction
The next day, the Indian media goes gaga over our President's comment that Narayana Murthy (of Infosys fame) will be a fantastic President, and runs full day programs on TV channels going around asking people all across the nation whether Murthy is a right candidate for President.

I see two things in this mess:
  • Indians (or most of them in the media atleast) are obsessed with extremely educated and learned people in top posts (PM/President), when there is absolutely no empirical evidence to show that they perform better. (What has Kalam/Singh done any better than any other President/PM?)
  • These apolitical figures are mere puppets in the hands of the political godfathers and mothers. See Dr. Singh above making that retrograde statement.
For the record, I don't think Murthy (whom I admire beyond description from the bottom of my heart) would do any more good as President. God Bless India.

The smell of connectivity

Never thought I would miss the net and phone so much.

This is how life has been over the weekend:
2 days in Kerala's highest resort.
Networks available: only BSNL Mobile. (Dad grins)
Munnar with a million Hutch banners. (No Hutch at the resort)
My forced exile from the net.
Kerala seems far from a virgin. (More like a prostitute)
Sickness. Fever. Cough. Blah Blah.

Today I am back in Bangalore. The smell of connectivity hits me right in the head. The computer screen with my mail client welcomes me. The letters 'Hutch' on my cell and that voice over the phone bring me back to life.

Maybe Mom was right, I am just too addicted to this insanely materialistic (read connected) world.


One word that gets me pumped up!
Yes, I'm taking one to God's Own Country this weekend.
Much needed!
[3 days without internet - Wow!]

It's been a sick week if not for BarCampBangalore3. Nothing's been able to pump up my spirits. Let's see whether this Yahoo! talk will be any good.

I feel like calling myself an 'intellectual whore' (though not in the exact sense used here).
Coming to think of it, aren't we all whores? Aren't we used by scores of people for doing whatever they want us to do. (At the same time, conning us to believe that it is a task we are doing for ourselves). And we get paid by a beautiful 'Thank You!' coupled with a smile that we would die a thousand times over to see.

I need a sabbatical. I know it.
I'm thinking of doing something radically different after I come back from the sabbatical. Maybe learn a new language. Maybe join art classes. Maybe start podcasting. Maybe code.

I need a break. Adieus amigo!


This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of the people, institutions or organizations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.


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