Open letter to anyone.

Dear all,

Thank you for your outrage on rape. It was very important. Your marches and petitions have been well received. Really. I wish you all the success in your future endeavors and sincerely hope that the change you are trying to bring, is brought, swiftly and properly.

But since educating the youth, sex-education, judicial reforms, women empowerment and measures such as banning chowmein will take a few more decades to arrive, there are more things you can do.

Like applying for a gun license for your wife/girlfriend/female friends. Ask them to shoot any molester/eve-teaser/potential rapist at sight. Remember that this is a country where they’ll get convicted for murder, serve the sentence and will be out sooner than justice is delivered if a rape incident happens. Ask them to shoot at the penis so even if the person isn’t killed, he and his masculinity suffers enough. Ask them not to spare teenagers or old men because rapists are not human, not in the moment they are not. Ask them to be prepared for revenge, media attention and shit that comes as a packaged deal. If you can’t afford a gun, buy her a knife. A taser. Buy her anything that hurts her offenders more than they hurt her.

Be wary of all men. Including family. Remember that a rapist was driving your kids to school. Treat everyone with suspicion. Even your milkman. Your husband’s best friend. Your husband. Any thing that has a penis. Safety is just an illusion.

When your girl is old enough, send her to a country that treats its women with respect. Hard to find a place but there must be an island or two on the world map that will meet this requirement. Don’t trust Indian cities. All Indian cities are fucked up irrespective of which end of the map  you are looking at. So are the villages. Safe country is another illusion. Remember ‘Legitimate rape’?

Befriend policemen and politicians. Get to know your MLA. Choose a political party. Buy them booze and cigarettes. Bribe them. Remember that you live in a country where you don’t get a fucking driving license without bribing someone, justice is a far, far call. Remember those kids who died saving their friend?

Teach your girl how to fight. Learn how to fight.

Teach your son to respect women. Teach him till he understands. If he doesn’t, shoot him too.

Make lots of friends. Only a mob can fight another.

If nothing else, buy them a poison pill so they can kill themselves while there’s still time. You’ll be arrested for abetment of suicide but it will probably be worth it.

Remember that there are more rapists out there than policemen and sometimes there’s no difference between the two.

Most of all.


Remember that every douchebag you tolerate now adds to a populace that’ll blame your girl for her suffering. They don’t care if she is 6-year-old or 66. It is always her fault. Or culture’s fault. Or chowmein’s fault. The most they’ll do is cancel the registration of a bus. That, for them, solves everything. That or the ‘maoist’ label.


That there is no Batman. Your fights are your own. To the the Government and the police you are just a statistic. Just another figure in their yearly compensation estimate. Nothing more.

Go to those candle marches. Burn a few candles. Burn a few men too. Just like they burnt that woman after her gang rape.

Sign petitions. It is easier than signing those medical inspection forms.

Vote. Topple governments. Two men threw a bomb in the assembly once. These are your bombs. Move governments, move ministers. Vote for scum that works for you rather than scum that works for no one. Play dirty, those goons who tease your daughter everyday already are.

Thank you once again for your outrage.

Keep it up.

Keep it burning.



Barfi!(with an exclamation mark) is a terrifically uncomplicated movie about a protagonist with a physical disability who was born in Darjeeling and was originally named after a radio Murphy but since he can’t say his name, he makes a shrill noise that sounds like Barfi! and that’s where the movie gets its title and Barfi gets his name from.

The story also moves back and forth – between 1972, 1978 and 2012.


(there are lessons for me in this poster)

– Credits. UTV(probably)

Barfi is deaf and mute and like any other deaf and mute character in Bollywood, falls in love with a girl. This Darjeeling-based girl, who is a bengali(which explains her Bambi-sized eyes) cares for Barfi and shares bicycle seats and horse-saddles with him. She also dons a white wig sometime during the movie and is previously engaged. She is the rich girl for whom Barfi, the poor guy falls and ultimately she chooses money over Barfi. There is also a scene in the rain where Barfi realizes that he is not good enough to marry the girl he likes and this scene must move you to tears.

There is also heartbreak, a kiss and an outburst(albeit a silent one).

Priyanka Chopra plays Jhilmil who plays Barfi’s autistic-childhood-friend in a role that is as good as her role in Saat Khoon Maaf and better than her roles in What’s Your Rashee. Jhilmil belongs to an affluent family who don’t care for her sensitive needs. Meanwhile Barfi’s father has kidney failure. Since he has no monies, he plans to kidnap Jhilmil and blackmail her parents for money. Here Jhimil and Barfi realize that they are made for each other although they are not made for each other. Meanwhile, nearly after 6 years of marriage(don’t know if she had a kid/kids), Shruti realizes that she still has feelings for Barfi.

There are also some clever moments in the movie where the hands painting a painting turn out to belong to someone totally unexpected(like WHOA) and there is a #samething that happens when a hand tugs a shirt(again like WHOA).

Apart from Barfi!, other curiously named things in the movie are a police station named Sleep and a shelter called Smile.

Ranbir Kapoor does a charlie-chaplin-or-Mr-Bean-orRaj-kapoor-or-Adam-Sandler. He:
– Walks into walls
– Juggles bananas
– Does the chicken dance
– Drives a trolley on a railway track
– Has trouble with cops
– Has a romance with Jhilmil as well which is not very convincing

Barfi like Bawarchi and Taare Zameen Par is about the following:
– Life is about finding happiness in small things
– Films about people with disabilities need not be dull

Barfi is a:
– old-fashioned
– brilliant
– slow
– entertaining
– very funny at times
– heartbreaking

As the promos indicate, the movie has very few dialogues. The music by Pritam so far hasn’t been linked to any Korean movie but people are busy probing the deep recesses of the interwebz to find out a source.


I’ll probably write about Barfi again when I actually see the movie. I had 5 tickets for Barfi! this weekend but realized at 12:15 that the show is at 12:30 and not 13:30. I have 2 more tickets for Wednesday. This post is derived from other reviews – Mihir’s Not-Review, Mr.Sen’s and Someone’s. This post’s purpose is to serve as a painful memory of this occasion when I read a movie’s review before watching the movie,  something I’ve promised myself never to do again.



Twelve years ago, in 2000, my hometown witnessed one of the most horrifying attacks it had ever seen. You can read about the Arti Shrivastav acid attack here, a case that shook an entire city. Because incidents like these always shake cities and sensibilities. For a while. A few years later, one of my cousins told me about the pepper spray she carries with her and how she’s had guys follow her in car and how she’s had some very narrow escapes. Then there was that night I spent on the Blank Noise website trying to understand how rating women(something that me and most of my friends – male or otherwise – had/have occasionally indulged in)  classifies as eve-teasing(about the same time I learned not to use the C-word while talking about people from the North-east).

And then, there was the Guwahati incident.

This is one of those posts which can be regarded as an aftermath of that incident. I’ve read a lot of them lately. There’s Localteaparty on teaching your son some lessons. There’s daddy_san with a flowchart. There’s Lavanyan’s two cents(which has a link to a DIY tutorial on making a pepper spray). Calamur draws a parallel with Draupadi in her column. There’s subfusced on violence against women. There’s Sandygrains on her experience (with a video on self-defense). And then there’s UnnamedEntity’s post(of a series) and Krtgrphr’s on male sexuality(in the Indian context) and Natasha Badhwar’s moving post on the same issue.

I’ve never witnessed any such incident in real life but I did see a few of them on Youtube(there was one in Mumbai where this guy was beaten up and his girl molested). The Guwahati incident was the first, in-your-face account of mob brutality that I had seen. But more than that video, I found Natasha’s account(link above) disturbing. Disturbing because of the sheer helplessness one experiences in that moment. Probably the same one a ragging victim experiences. Just that there’s a lot more to lose in case of the former.[1]

All this in a country that has a twisted sense of morality and an even more twisted interpretation of its own culture and history. A country whose police force is as sensitive as a rusted knob  on an 80s radio. Where the moral police is swifter than the real one and at times you can’t really tell the difference between the two. And then there’s the extremely efficient judicial system that forgets to measure up the injustice freely being delivered, while it takes its sweet little time to decide and deliver a  verdict(if at all it feels like delivering one). Then there’s the censor board that has been showing rape scenes in graphic detail in a pre-Mahesh-bhatt era, while innocent lovers had to hide behind flowers and trees. That’s been telling the audience that you need a Screaming Sunny Deol to get justice in this country. Then there’s an overzealous media and politics and people like me who have never really cared to vote or to change things.

So there are a lot of vicious circles and they overlap like a fucked up venn diagram. And there’s no point in endlessly ranting about it. And no way to fix this machine without bringing it all down and putting it together again(something I’m hoping 2012 would do, unless the Mayans were mistaken and we’ll still have this shit forever).

However, Natasha’s experience and the other blog posts had me thinking. Thinking of how technology can help where other things refuse to work.

A few days ago I read about the 1is2Many initiative. As a part of the 1is2Many initiative, the department of health and human services organized an app challenge that “encourages the development of applications that provide college students and young adults with the tools to help prevent dating violence and sexual assault.” 32 apps were submitted in this challenge(you can read about them here) and two apps won the challenge. You can read about OnWatch and Circle of 6. There are more apps listed later in this post.

I was also thinking of other ways in which we can approach this problem:

#1 Mimicking Animal Defense Mechanisms?

Lavanya, in her post(link above), mentions how women can start fighting molestation attempts by not being silent. But that’s not easy, at least not always. Between fight and flight, the flight is often the easier option and safer too perhaps. We’ve been conditioned to be silent and not ‘make a scene’ and breaking that mold isn’t easy. And things could always get worse. But what if this act of defense wasn’t reactive and proactive?

I am thinking of a phone that shrieks on behalf of the victim. There’s a T-Mobile phone that does that. What if there was an app that a girl could activate/use to create a scream that could disorient her attackers and attract attention at the same time? In case of drunken assaults, such an act could surely startle the attackers and give the victim a window of opportunity. I do have my doubts as to the efficiency of this method but I’d like to see someone try. Instead of a scream, an app may use crowd voices/alerts/police signals or a number of other sounds and see if any of them are effective. If a phone’s speaker isn’t powerful enough, speakers/devices that could be attached to bags, kept in pockets – basically something that someone’s able to carry around without attracting any eyeballs – could be designed. Who knows?

(Check out the YWCA app – – it also works by simply shaking the iPod)

I’m just thinking aloud here(which I’ll probably do a lot in this post) but there could also be a way of using light as a distraction. An app or a device that can create a blinding flash of light? The only con of this method is that it may probably disorient the victim as well.

and then there’s the skunk.

The skunk has a crazy defense mechanism where it uses a scent gland to spray a chemical with “a highly offensive smell that can be described as a combination of the odors of rotten eggs, garlic, and burnt rubber. The odor of the fluid is strong enough to ward off bears and other potential attackers and can be difficult to remove from clothing. Muscles located next to the scent glands allow them to spray with a high degree of accuracy, as far as 3 metres (10 ft). The smell aside, the spray can cause irritation and even temporary blindness and is sufficiently powerful to be detected by a human nose up to a mile downwind.” [2]

Though the human olfactory system isn’t as sensitive as other animals, if there were a way to use a similar mechanism to disperse such a spray in case of a molestation/rape attempt, it’d certainly disorient the attackers. I am not sure but I feel that an obnoxious smell emanating from the victim(and something that can infect the attacker’s clothing) would definitely put them off.

Another way of achieving this may include a tagging chemical that leaves an permanent(long enough not to be temporary) imprint on attackers. If your son or husband comes home with that print on his t-shirt, there is a 50% chance that he tried molesting someone earlier that day. (Again a completely ridiculous thought but who knows)

As ridiculous as this may have sounded, there are people asking the same questions and products that are being considered by the department of defense somewhere, based on similar ideas.

Say a range of clothing armed with such chemicals, which if ripped, lets loose these chemicals. A locket or a ring with a capsule which can be crushed to release it.

Whatever works.

#2 Stun-suits, anyone?

I checked out this article on Stun-gun on HowStuffWorks and somehow, I feel, that can be formed/fitted into a dress/accessory(say buttons on shirt) which can be activated in case the victim senses danger. Or something that makes the victim’s dress statically charged so that any molester touching her gets a funny sensation(or a not-so-funny one). I am not sure how feasible, safe or even legal this is but worth imagining, no?


#3 Applications that help? (most of this already exists)

Read about Circle of 6 and OnWatch –

There’s an app to share your story on the Hollaback blog –

In Egypt, use HarassMap to report via. SMS.

Believe it or not, there’s actually a article on the topic –

There’s an app for finding sex offenders in your area(US based only) –

There’s an Indian app as well –

The YWCA Safety Siren app –

There’s this article on that’s worth a read too(with an idea very similar to @daddy_san’s post) –

We can probably borrow from these apps or build one that suits/adapts to the Indian context and borrows data from national databases(I have no clue what I’m talking about).

What I’ve also noticed from the Guwahati incident is that nothing can fuck up molesters more than people identifying them and screwing their lives. Which sounds brutal but is probably just the right amount of punishment. In that case, ideas on devices that can capture their images or record their conversations could help. In case of molestation by a group of attackers, identification becomes a concern. But that’s a lot of grey territory with privacy variables and stuff like that(till we get surveillance cameras and traffic cameras in India).

or how about using real-time updates(something like harassmap above), gathered in an anonymous format(no point asking me how, I don’t know. yet.) to map ongoing incidents of harassment/molestation on a map and alerting local residents/police stations/patrols/others? This will also help in identifying high-risk areas(I think such maps already exist for India, not sure).


#4 Elements in town planning/design?

What if our streets were smart enough to fight molestation? (and I am not just talking about surveillance cameras). So here’s the deal. Suppose on every street light, we attach a device(let’s call it The Box) that detects a certain frequency and when a victim sends out a distress signal(from any device, let’s say an imaginary one), The Box sounds an alarm that lets the neighbourhood know something’s wrong. The Box also sends this info to the police department and alerts a passing patrol to revisit that area.


Let’s extend this a bit too far and imagine in case a victim’s abducted and she activates this device. Say she dials a number(say 999 – this approach eliminates the need of a smartphone) and the service provider geolocates the device, sends signals to the nearest Box and alerts it. That way, in case of a victim who’s location is changing, the service provide keeps sending out an alert to The Box every 3 seconds, so that every time the location changes, a new box is alerted and thus the route of this abduction can also be deduced.



Extend this further and let’s say we program this box in a manner that it can only be overridden manually(that too by someone from the neighbourhood/police/something). And that it is not shutdown in say, 10 seconds, it alerts the next nearest Box and so on. This way, even if the crime happens in a remote/lonely neighbourhood, the alert reaches people who can help. Breadcrumbs, anyone? Imagine placing such devices in high-risk areas. Near pubs or discotheques or brothels or railway stations?

I’ve run out of ideas and words so I’ll stop here. Some(rather most) of this may sound ridiculous, creepy even. But I’d say they are ideas and questions worth pondering and make for worthier summer projects than that ‘library management system’. If you have similar ideas or have heard of other applications, leave me a comment. I’ll update this post with your recommendations.

If you think any of the above mumbo-jumbo makes sense and you can translate it into a device/application/prototype/something, please go ahead and do it. If you need my help/suggestion/anything else, leave a comment or get in touch using the Contact form(or drop a mail on shantanu dot adhicary/gmail).


For more horrors and such, you can try reading the Tehelka series of articles – Anatomy of Rape and The rapes will go on. There’s also this article which is in two minds about the use of technology as well(can be used to balance perspective, just in case) –


or you can choose to do nothing, which is perfectly fine by me. I’ve been doing that for the past 20+ years as well.


[1] – Personal opinion. I am aware of the horrors of ragging, thank you.

[2] – from

[3] – I’ll keep adding to this post as and when ideas/comments arrive. If you want to be updated, everytime I edit this post, drop me an email and I’ll keep you posted.


Open Letter to Google Reader

Dear Google Reader,

What happened?

What went wrong?

No, seriously.

Why did you have to go all Jocelyn Wildenstein on me?

Our relationship of a few years was going just fine, until yesterday, when I logged in to you and it felt like waking up next to Micheal Jackson. I can totally understand the pressures of having Google Wave, Buzz and Orkut as your siblings but this move was totally uncalled for.

I still remember those golden moments that we spent together. You were my window to the blogging world. More so because WordPress and Blogger blogs are blocked at my workplace thanks to evil Websense.  But you – my erstwhile dearest – you smuggled these posts into my Internet Explorer with Al-Qaida-ish dexterity. You also didn’t have any qualms in working with my pre-independence Internet Explorer. You were nice like that.

Thanks to you, I could see the updates from This Isn’t Happiness and Batmania in the coziness of my cubicle. Or read those Rage Tumblrs and laugh my corporate ass off. You tested my window minimizing skills when you’d suddenly throw something like this at me. You helped me crib about the growing number of unread items(thanks partly to Dear all, blank all) and kept reminding me that there is more awesomeness in the world than can be absorbed by my lousy neurons. You allowed me to hangout with awesome people like Manuscrypts, Roshnimo, Surekhapillai, A_traveller, ShockMonger and many, many more. Read what they shared, share what they read. You never judged me for following my own blog. You understood. You always did.

That was all until yesterday. Yesterday, when you botoxed yourself with a lot of whitespace and big buttons. Yesterday, when you refused to work with my Internet Explorer and started nagging me to upgrade. Yesterday, when you removed all my friends, removed all my ‘likes’ and took away any opportunity to share any post with my friends.

You know how it felt? Trapped in that cubicle with a dysfunctional  you, all of a sudden. That sense of loneliness. Like someone had kidnapped all my friends and taken them to a lonely island(read: Google Plus). Like someone is shoving good blog posts into my hands and not letting me share them properly. Not letting me scream in the favor of a wonderfully written blog post or diss a sad news report in the comments. You’ve destroyed the nice little universe that you helped me build, without any warning whatsoever.

It is a pain not being able to read the latest post of Daddy_san, Neo or Chuck. Not being able to share Greatbong’s posts or Shenoyn and Jammy’s shenanigans. To miss those little gems that Maininmalaysia writes. To read Gunmaster_g9’s latest updates and feel that you connect with someone’s way of writing. There are hundreds of blogs that I’ll miss. KrishAshok, Krtgrapher, TheComicProject, Masala Chica, Punvati –  each one of which leaves a unique, pleasant taste. I will of course catch their updates on Twitter. But I will no longer be able to read them at work – the place where I need them the most. No longer can I go back in time and read one of ShockMonger’s poems or Veni, Vidi, Vetti’s posts or Dr. Gonzo’s musings, and feel instantly better during painful nightshifts. You have robbed me of something very precious. Something for which I had developed a strange fondness in recent months. Something that made work bearable(like that 12 Rs. Masala chai, which also closed down yesterday).

Dear Google Reader, our relationship is over.

Thanks for letting me download all my links and shared items. That was nice of you. My emotions are undownloadable and I am not compatible with Google Plus.

It was great while it lasted.

Lots of love,


(P.S.: This letter will be shared on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere(maybe even Google Plus) but not on Google Reader. And that, my dear, is why the cookie crumbles.)


– No disrespect intended to Micheal Jackson. May his soul rest in peace.

- Suggestions that I should stop cribbing and upgrade my browser at work will receive the ‘Like-I-didn’t-know-that-already’ template.

- Some tips for current Google Reader users:

1) You can download your:

List of people that you follow
List of people that follow you
Items you have starred
Items you have liked
Items you have shared
Items shared by people you follow
Notes you have created
Items with comments

Go to Google Reader Settings>Import/Export to download all these to JSON/OPML files.

2) You can add more sites in the Sharing options. Go to Settings>Send To. You can add options to send the post to Twitter/Facebook among other sites.

3) You can sign a petition to bring Old Google Reader back(I haven’t signed yet) or can participate in #OccupyGoogleReader. Your wish.

4) There may be some useful tips on these Reddit Threads: 1, 2.

5) I have not found a substitute for Google Reader yet(and I doubt I’ll found a good one too). But here is a website worth looking at –

6) Google Reader users who used it under aliases, no donut for you. Also, Iranian Reader users, apparently no donuts for you too. Hard luck.


There and Back Again – A Google Plus User’s Tale

Google Plus is here.


The ‘Invite Milega?’ game has begun. So have the  ‘Another Social Network?’ tweets. Somehow Google decided to bestow me with access to a field trial of Google Plus(after I downloaded Google Chrome, Hmm). Unlike Google Wave, I didn’t have to offer my virginity for it. Or sell my kidney. You know.

I got an invite. Tried it for a bit. And it failed to impress me. In more ways than one. In fact it managed to piss me off in ten ways. Let me tediously describe how:


10 Reasons why I think Google Plus sucks:


1. Because Google thinks it knows who your REAL friends are.


Sorry Google. Forget my real friends, even my imaginary friends aren’t there on Google Plus. And I don’t need them there. You don’t get it. I need a social network to flaunt my valuables to innocent strangers and random acquaintances. My real friends don’t need a wall or a stream to know what’s happening in my life. They just know.


2. Google hasn’t learned anything.


Remember that annoying feature in Orkut when your Gmail chat windows started popping up in Orkut? It is still there. I hated it the first time around. I loathe it now.


3. Because Google is evil.

No, I am not even talking about their monopolistic designs, unfair practices or absolute control over our data. I am talking about this:


This is like hanging out of your window and screaming about the awesome party going on at your house to your neighbor who isn’t even invited. I wouldn’t do that to my worst enemy, let alone my friend.


4. Because no one wants to hangout with me.

What will happen to orkutias, mahipals, desperate amits, hotstud87s of the world? What will happened to FRAANDSHEEP! Who’ll hangout with them? Or will they be like lonely people who are hanging out alone? (demonstrated here by our very own P.P.)


Well P.P. doesn’t belong to any of the categories mentioned above. Far from it, he is a good guy. You know, real friends type. But still no one, NO ONE hanged out with him. I would have. Except I was topless and the last time I exposed parts of my body(a few days ago in my Twitter dp FYI), the feedback wasn’t very encouraging. Anyway, we digress.

The point is, how EPIC would the FAIL be, if you announce that you are hanging out but no body wants to hang out with  you? As PP puts it, SCARY. It is as if the universe collectively pulled a FFFFFFFUUUUUU on you.


5. Because Google Plus = Anu Malik

Google Plus is awesome. I agree. But isn’t it a clever rip-off of stuff people have done before? From what I can see(and I am no power user, far from it):

- It looks a lot like Facebook, especially the sharing box(so much so that there is a theme now that lets you convert your Google Plus into a Facebook lookalike)

– The More button they borrowed from Twitter(only difference being that it doesn’t work too well in Google Plus’s case)

– Implement Chatroulette(sans the strangers) and call it ‘Hangout’.

– Rename Group Messaging with Huddle. Ooh.

– Rename Trending topics/Interests as Sparks. Dobule Ooh.

– Coming up are Google Games and Q&A(Quora?). Multiple Oohs.

How. Fucking. Original.

+1, Google. +1 indeed.



If you give in to Google Plus, Google will have ALL your data. ALL because you already use Gmail, right? So now it has everything that you create. You have put all your eggs in one basket. One big, fat basket.



7. Because Google discriminates

Yes, Google is discriminatory. Against shapes.

It has this weird fetish for Circles.

image  image  image  image  image

What about the other shapes, eh? The Triangle? The Square? The Parallelogram?

And then Google Plus wants you to form Circles.

More circles! MOAR!

(Just to be fair to the other shapes, I created a few circles.)




And when you try to delete a circle, before it rolls into oblivion, you are greeted with this riddle:




All these circles have made me very clusterophobic. How many people will you add to your circles? What will you do when the circle nears an infinite radius and thus effectively becomes a line of people? What will you do?

8. Because it is full of people talking about Google Plus:

Seriously. I logged into Google Plus to see people using Google Plus talking about Google Plus. It is almost like Inception.

9. Because it will never be as awesome as Twitter

I love Twitter. Because it lets me cut the crap and limits my tirades to 140 characters. It lets me troll without feeling bad about it. It is my escape route. And it lets random people find random people. Twitter was innovation. A new way of conversation, of sharing. Google Plus is just a rehash. Admit it, a Google Plus meetup(let’s call it Addition for the lack of a better term) will never be as awesome as a Tweetup:


Crass jokes aside, Google Plus may make it easier for you to connect and classify people but I doubt it will make meeting(and befriending) strangers as easy as Twitter. As someone observed on Google Plus, there is no cgawker on Google Plus.

10. Because Google doesn’t even care.

It doesn’t. Google doesn’t really care about you, your privacy or the Google products that you use. Unless there is a chance for generating revenue from any of them. It is struggling to build a social network because Facebook is well poised for reaping all the monies. And Orkut fell flat on its face. Like Mimoh. Then Wave fell. Like Mimoh.

The only Google product that has lived up to its expectation(and maybe even exceeded it) is Gmail. And this isn’t surprising considering that Google has plugged ads in there too. They read your mails(even the dirty ones) and display ads accordingly(it is because of this that I never discuss my reproductive organs in emails).

You may disagree with me but remember Gtalk? Remember how we rallied for an invisible option on Gtalk client? Signed online petitions. Cried ourselves hoarse. NOTHING happened. Nothing. Zilch. It was last updated in 2007 I think. Usability can go fuck itself. How much does it take to implement that fix and release a new version of Gtalk? Won’t it be better than displaying ‘Oops! You are not invisible because you are signed in as Available on another client’? Remember Blogger’s shitty interface? Remember ‘Blogger in Drafts’? It took a blow like WordPress to force Google to upgrade Blogger to ‘Blogger in Drafts’. The list goes on.

And on.

But since I am not a Social Media Evangelothropist, I won’t go on. The point is, I am too old to move to Google Plus and add my 900 odd Twitter Friends and 1000+ Facebook contacts again on Google Plus. Not to forget my Gmail contacts which is mostly everyone outside my family(and the neighbourhood kirana store wallah). I deleted my Google Plus profile minutes ago(I am sorry for your circles, I truly am). Google Plus maybe awesome but I don’t need it. In any case, Facebook will implement most of these features in some days(because where there is an Anu Malik, there is a Pritam). And I secretly hope that they don’t fix that monstrosity that they call Facebook Chat. So that I can blame it on Facebook when I don’t feel like talking.

Farewell, Google Plus.


Notes – 1st July

This blogpost doesn’t have a purpose. It is just a random assortment of facts and announcements. Here it goes:

– Half of 2011 is gone. If you are a Mayan, you have only six months to live. Wrap things the bollywood way: Find a non-mayan husband for your wife/girlfriend, organize their wedding, sing and dance and then die right before their honeymoon.

– I am on a break from Twitter. This is similar to Uday Chopra’s retirement announcement(As in no one gives a fuck and he may be back before you know it). Every once in a while I suffer from Twitter disillusionment. After all we are just a bunch of chattering idiots. Imagine you walk into a bar and all of a sudden everyone starts talking to you. Sometimes Twitter gives me THAT feeling. And sometimes I feel like I’ve walked into a bar and started screaming to get attention. I’ve been battling Twitter for a long long time and I am hoping that I’ll develop a plug-unplug method wherein I’ll be able to give up on social networking whenever I want to. Without feeling awkward or left out. Of course it is simpler than it sounds. But for the moment, no more maggi or omelette making tweets on your timeline.

– Google Plus has been launched. And I’ve been graced with a trial. I am neither excited about this nor depressed. I am just running around in circles.

– What I am excited about is the fact that I am going to spend the next two months experimenting. And shooting. Yessir. I am going to trace all my footprints on the internet and I am going to purge the stuff that I don’t want. I’ve already deleted my Linkedin profile. I don’t want a job that way, nor a recommendation. I don’t think I need LinkedIn. But I need to make this more clear to LinkedIn just to stop them from sending me invites. Reporting them as spam on Gmail isn’t working. Also deleted my BlogAdda profile(for which you have to mail the BlogAdda team because they don’t have a delete button). I am going to do this to a lot of other profiles/blogs/stuff on the internet. Frankly I am more excited about using Google Dashboard to find out how many Google services I use and eliminate most of them.

– I am so bored at work that I finished reading a 1000+ pages PDF(LOTR+The Hobbits) entirely in June. If July turns out to be anything like June, I need to come up with really good ways to pass my time at work and do something productive. And no, Marking off Google Reader Unread items doesn’t count.

– Which brings me to the point that I am in love with Google Reader. I am going to follow a lot more blogs and unfollow a few. I am also considering my favorite twitter wallahs on Google Reader(Just added @surekhapillai there).

– is also slated for some changes. Planning to make a blog roll(finally). A few tweaks here and there too. I may be building a page to record mundane stuff like books read/movies watched/fuck given etc.

– Of late, has suffered from a lot of sautela vyavahar because of a sudden Faking News surge in my neurons. Every now and then a headline would pop up and I’d add a few hundred boring words to expand that. The folks at Faking News are considerate people and keep publishing whatever shit I send them(mostly). They also offered me a page of my own. Now people can sue me directly instead of suing me via Faking News. I am also considering getting a Journalist/Reporter Id card for Faking News and adding ‘PRESS’ to my briefcase. In bold, red letters.

– Slideshare finally sent the prize for the Presentation Horror Story Contest. I now have a 3M Portable Projector(MP180) that I have absolutely no use for. I am planning to sell it for 350$(or 15000 bucks, whichever is higher). If you know someone who’d be interested in buying, let me know. I’ll throw in a poster of Lara Dutta for free.

– I am going to write some ‘Tantanoo goes to’ posts now.

– I am planning to *wanders off to read a few blogs*


*clicks on the publish button*



A few days ago, @chuck_gopal of #project72 fame wrote a post about ‘Gadgetophilia’. Being the avid gadgeteer that he is, Chuck had listed all the gadgets that he has owned or owns. ‘I haven’t regretted ANY of my gadget purchases’, says Chuck. That touched a nerve somewhere. It did more than touch. It burnt my insides. It made my blood boil. Let me tell you why.

I have regretted ALL my gadget purchases.

Well, almost.

If you’ve been through the about me page, you’ll be familiar with some of the stuff that I have bought in the past. If you are not, by the end of this post you’ll definitely be(unless you have the attention span of Ranbeer Kapoor). To keep this blog post as #pritam as possible, we’ll structure this exactly as Chuck’s blog post is. So here goes, a tragedy of errors.

Audio Products:

My dad has a fetish for some audio products – Radios and audio cassette players to be precise. At any point in time, our home has close to 12 radios and 5 cassette players(no exaggerations here), including stuff like Takai and Soni. I had my first walkman(an actual Sony Walkman) when I was 13. My first cassette was called ‘Hot Stuff’ and had a bikini babe on the cover. It had songs like ‘Here comes the hotstepper’ and ‘Iko Iko’. I once paid 90 bucks for getting a cassette recorded that had songs like ‘Mera dil le gayi oye kammo kidhar’. You get the drift.

I lost my faith in ‘Audio products’ when one of my ‘walkmans’ ate my Westlife cassette. It had cost me 150 bucks. I was infuriated, devastated. Later one of our Weston antiques developed an appetite for our audio cassettes. I had lost all hope(and songs).

My next audio product was a computer. Audio product because at that point in time, it did nothing more than playing songs of ‘Major Saab’. Aveseq01.dat used to be on a loop with Sonali Bendre dominating the scene. Then I became a bit adventurous and decided to buy decent speakers for my computer. ‘Chip’ magazine(now known as Digit) was bought, speakers compared and it was settled between Altec Lansing and Artis. I went ahead and bought something called ‘Decibel YAK’.

I have never had the courage to buy a speaker system after that.

When I was in college, I wanted an MP3 player. Again after painstaking research, I went ahead and bought a Transcend T. Sonic 610. It was pretty #decent and HAD FM RADIO.

Three years after that, I won an Apple Ipod Nano on a Twitter contest(I didn’t have much of a life back then too). I plugged the iPod Nano earphones into the Transcend(I am cheap like that) and all of a sudden it started sounding like a #decent music player. Now my ears aren’t calibrated well enough to distinguish between good ‘sound’ and ‘bad’ sound but that day I realized the importance of good earphones.

I used to consider Apple earphones to be state-of-the-art till wiser souls on Twitter told me about ‘Sennheiser’ and other brands.

After much consideration, I’ve now bought a ‘Sennheiser PX 80’ – the one meant for us around-poverty-lines types. I bought it in Bangalore and took it to a temple in Chennai. A month later I forgot the case(which is the coolest thing on earth) in a Jet Airways flight. That put an end to the flaunting and I now use it only for listening to music.

(I also have a set of in-ear headphones by Philips that sound awful but come in a beautiful case)

Audio-creation tools:


I am musically challenged. Which is a curse considering my dad is very gifted when it comes to music(and we are bengalis).

At any point in time, you’ll find at least 3 guitars, a mouthorgan and a keyboard at our place(again, no exaggeration. This is based on 25+ years of data). Once upon a time we had a mandolin too. Dad got a Casio keyboard for me when I was in my pre-teens. After several sessions of playing(rather trying to play) Jingle Bells, Vande Mataram and ‘Saare ke saare, gamma ko lekar gaate chale’, we gave up on each other. After that I’ve never really give audio-creation much thought. Though I am planning to buy a guitar, to take it around with me wherever I go. Like 78% of my college mates.

Image Capturing devices:

Ah. *deep breath*

My first camera was a Yashica. And I loved clicking pics. I remember carrying it to a three-day trip in Agra where the last day was spent in developing four full camera reels. That #cheapthrill that I used to get when the extra photos(after the usual 36) came out perfectly, is still unmatched.

In 2002, I bought a UMAX Astrapix A380. It cost a whopping 4500(#middleclass you see) and we had a Gollum-Ring kind of a relationship for a while. It doubled up as a webcam and had a software called Photo Fantasy(aptly named) bundled with it which allowed me to morph images. Teenage happened again.





I took 2500+ pics with that camera. It was/is a very unique camera. Despite being digital, it had a very non-digital feel to it. It had a capacity of only 40 pictures and there was no LCD to preview the pic. You had to press a button 10 times to delete a picture. 5 times to enable Flash. This made life really exciting and adventurous. For a while. By the time I entered college, it had become an embarrassment. It was very pre-Y2Kish and didn’t age well. After a while, I lost it somewhere on my desk.


*deep breath* I am planning to buy a DSLR now(it has been an year since I started planning). *deep breath*

I want to add Avid-Photographer-Enthusiast-Flickerer-Naturalist-Phile to my twitter bio. I visit Flipkart twice each day, check out the latest prices and close the window. I have 25 Rs. in my savings account as of now and I intend to buy a DSLR before #Rapture. Yes.

Mobile Phones:

I have never bought a mobile phone in my life. All of them were gifts.

I got my first mobile phone in college. It was a Nokia 1100. My mom uses it now and I will start using it again in 2013 if the world doesn’t end. It had the softest keypad EVER and a TORCHLIGHT!

My second phone was a Nokia 2600. It will always be remembered for having a Crazy ball game that kept me amused during powercuts.

My third phone was a Motorola C117. It was being away with Hero Honda bikes because people were not buying it other wise. Highs: A Foosball game and a blue screen. Lows: Everything else.

My fourth phone was a Nokia 6300. Super browser. Great Camera. I owe my Twitter dp and strong carpal bones to it.

My fifth and current phone is a – *wait for it* – Lava A9.



Power in your hand. YOUR HAND.

Enough said.


Perhaps the only domain where I score over Chuck, is watches. I have a major watch-fetish. My first watch was a Titan inherited from Dad. My second watch was inherited from my uncle. My third, fourth and fifth watch(es?) were Fastracks. Back in the time when a Fastrack was considered uber-cool(and Genelia Dsouza was no more than a bubbly kid – which anyway, she still is). I also had an HMT once upon a time which was totally cool – digital and all that. Today I have a Swatch Windfall Chronograph(I think). It was a gift from my cousin, an onsite-returned Infoscion(I have rich relatives, yes).

This Swatch is so awesome that its strap costs more than two Fastrack watches. It is partially responsible for the Rs. 25 account balance.

Computer things:

My first PC was an assembled thingy with a Celeron 800 MHz processor. An year later, I upgraded it to a Celeron 1 GHz processor which was my last desktop processor. In 2004-5, when the world was fiddling with P4, Hyperthreading and Multiple Cores, I was busy playing AOE on a Celeron processor. I then used my cousin’s HP laptop for a while, till I bought a Dell Inspiron in 2010. Which was the – as Chuck puts it – Life-changing-turning-point-OSO moment for me. For it was instrumental in maintaining my 14×7 twitter presence(which explains the 3000+ followers just in case you were wondering).

I love my laptop. It keeps me alive. and cribbing. *hugs laptop* *wipes tears* *resumes blog post writing at 6 in the morning*


My life’s first vehicle(that I can remember) was a Tobu cycle. I was(and am) proud of it. My second vehicle was a Hero cycle which I could neither understand nor operate. It had the vintage doodh-wala handle and was shorter than usual cycles. I loathed it. After selling it for some 200 bucks I bought a better cycle which used to take me to the IIT JEE classes(more on that in another post), 10+ kilometers a day.

My next vehicle was and will always be the biggest KLPD in my life.

Gentlemen(and gentleladies), I was the proud(ha!) owner of a limited edition HERO SMART.


(HERO SMART, Bruised in its first accident)

Limited edition, because very limited people actually bought it. It was more than a moped, it was an oxymoron. It was neither smart, nor hero-ish. It was neither a moped, nor a bike. It had four gears and stopped working in the rainy season. It sounded like an Enfield and looked like, well, a moped. You could have removed the petrol tank lid by twisting it a bit and there was nothing I could do about it.  It was single handedly responsible for my bachelor status for 3 long years. The only good thing about it was the 60+ average. After clocking some 6000 Kms on it, I finally sold it for 1100 Rs.


(As it turns out, only Aamir Khan can pull it off)

I bought a Hero Honda CD Deluxe after that(another milkman bike you may say) but haven’t had any reasons to complain about it so far, in a 28000+ kms relationship. At the moment it is stowed away at a friend’s place in Nagpur, like the princess in the tallest tower, waiting for its prince.

Other stuff:

Nothing, really. That is all I have or have had.

I may buy an XBOX in the near future, when I have enough money to buy pirated cds to run on it. I’ll never buy an iPad or a Kindle because I like my books where I can scribble and dog-ear pages. I may buy an iPhone when I have enough money to pay for apps and subscriptions. Someday I’ll also buy a Nikon D7000 and a castle in Scotland. Someday.


This post is a qawalli type response to Chuck’s post. I had informed him about this #pritam-ish effort in advance. If you have read so far, you are now aware of my condition. If you are rich, please include me in your will. If you are poor(like me), please work hard, earn money and then include me in your will.

(P.S.: The Lava A9 is actually an awesome dual-sim phone. Its only disadvantage being its .032 megapixel camera).

(P.S.2.: This post suffers from a lot of parentheses, kindly adjust.)