The World as I see it

My Life. My Views

Death… — May 16, 2017

Death…

As raw an emotion as it gets..

It knows no class, no colour

No strength, no valour

The humanity has to bow down when it strikes.. pick up the pieces and move on.

It is strange to see a breathing, talking human being go silent and lifeless… All dreams, aspirations gone away in a jiffy.

It is also equally strange to find people around the one whose soul has departed treat it as inconvenience. The kids may have to miss school due to the funeral.. Will have to drive to the other end of the town to attend the funeral.. That is what the departed soul comes down to. A mere inconvenience.

It is true.

#AIBKnockOut Detractors – Grow up! — February 5, 2015

#AIBKnockOut Detractors – Grow up!

Over the last one week, my FaceBook wall was full of #AIBKnockOut Roast with Ranveer and Arjun videos being shared. I am not a big fan of AIB so did not watch it for the longest time, until one day when I wanted to know what the fuss is all about!

I watched them. My take –

  • Some parts are hilarious! The Alia Bhatt and Sonakshi Sinha jokes had me in splits!
  • Fat jokes were too lame and too many. So were the black jokes..
  • Some were in bad taste – “To Rajeev Masand, everytime you call yourself a journalist, ISIS beheads a real one” – ISIS is such a huge threat to world peace at the moment, this reference could have been avoided
  • Some were just plain crass – You know which ones I am talking about

That said, I do believe comedy is all about insulting and offending. Stand-up comedians like #RussellPeters and #AzizAnsari have built their careers on racist comments and the like. If you can’t take it, don’t watch it. Before the start of the said video, there were clear age related statutory warnings. So all those of you who think the videos should have been taken down – GROW UP!!

“I may not agree with you, but I will defend to death my right to get offended. How dare you? Baahar mil.” – Desi Voltaire

Dear everyone,

Let’s just all take a deep breath. They’re just jokes. Unfunny, crass or whatever you want to call them, they’re still just jokes. The AIB Knockout video has been taken down. While we’d love to claim that it’s because so many people watched it that it broke YouTube, the truth’s a little sadder.

First things first; no one person or force forced us to take this video down. This is not something that’s happened because of a 3 am phonecall or a morcha at our front door or a gunman on a grassy knoll. Under the circumstances, this is us being pragmatic. Allow us to explain.

People who’ve been following our work will know that we’ve always tried to experiment with content be it on Youtube or a live comedy show, with the sole intent of making people laugh and/or think. AIB Knockout was another such attempt to try something new and bring the roast format to a country where celebrities aren’t often known to laugh at themselves. To our pleasant surprise, we managed to bring together consenting adults who were willing to be made fun of by other consenting adults in a crowd full of (wait for it) consenting adults. And if we’re honest, it was a phenomenally entertaining evening. Were the jokes repetitive? Crass? It didn’t matter because they happened in the spirit of irony and good humour. It was just liberating to be able to say those things, things that people have thought in one form or another privately for years. A lot of the laughter that night came from that spirit (there’s your answer, people who wondered why everyone was laughing at terrible jokes).

The video came with a clear disclaimer with several age and content warnings. No one was forced to watch it, we didn’t buy airtime on every single TV channel on Earth to broadcast it. YouTube videos do not magically auto-play in front of you. And yet the videos got over 8 million views. Far more importantly, on the video page, the people who liked them outnumbered the people who disliked them by ten times to one. Yes, ten times.

The format was the same as any international roast i.e. insult comedy, delivered in the form of one-liners designed to be as rude as possible. It is performed with the understanding that none of the material is to be taken seriously—none of the performers actually mean the “offensive” things they say to each other on the night. We clarify this simply to provide context.

With the Knockout, in our own juvenile, idiotic way, we wanted to push the envelope of comedy in this country. But then the envelope pushed back. Things got to a point where people who have supported us, people who work hard to make what we do come to life, were put in a position where things could get deeply unpleasant for them. And that’s a problem. We can live with abuse, hate, anger, fury, rage, ignorance, bigotry and perhaps even bullying. But we don’t want anybody to get hurt because of us. And we do mean anybody.

We hope it’s clear by now that we never write with the aim of hurting people. That’s not our goal and we daresay that no comedian ever does that. We don’t go to work and say, “Hmm, let’s offend XYZ people from XYZ community today.” If we really wanted to piss off people and hurt them, we’d be selling credit cards over the phone.

Our job is to raid the newspapers, pop culture and life for observations and analogies and it’s okay if you think we’re juvenile or unfunny. We respect arguments that are critical, and as for the arguments we don’t, we respect your right to make them without impediment. It is a courtesy we wish worked both ways.

Over the last few days, we’ve found ourselves subject to more scrutiny, judgment and opinion than we’re worth. This Knockout shouldn’t matter. In a secure culture it wouldn’t matter.

We’re lucky to have support pouring in from all quarters. First up, from our fans, just the greatest people in the world, who have nothing but good cheer and encouragement and positive thoughts. We were pleasantly surprised that people in power who we have made fun of in the past, including people from both the so-called right wing and left-wing, went out of their way to convey support to us. It was fantastic to know that they stand for free speech as much as us. Friends in the media have told us to stay our course, pledging their support for our right to say anything, no matter how ridiculous. Thank you to anyone who has stated in the last few days that we have the right to say what we want, not as comedians but more importantly as citizens of this country.

There’s a larger cultural conversation going on here, where we’re at the very edges of what it’s okay to say. And it’s a conversation we need to have now because the world we live in is entirely too complicated to be run by silences. We still stand by our belief in the right to absolute freedom of expression for us and for anyone who has anything to say about anything at all. We hope to be part of an environment that supports that sort of expression without fear of persecution, intimidation and most importantly, annoyance. As always, in our own AIB way we’ll continue to strive towards creating that very environment.

In the meantime, we’d like to say thank you to our fans and everyone else who is standing by us. You guys make the struggle worth it. To everyone railing against us and against the stars that were present, to everyone who’s decided we’re destroying the fabric of our culture, to everyone who’s called us seditious pornographers while plotting the downfall of Indian Values And Civilization As We Know It, we would like to reiterate that we are just a bunch of comedians who work, and have always worked, without any malicious intent whatsoever.

We encourage any and all conversation on the subject of freedom of expression, for our own silly selves, and for people better, smarter and more courageous than us. For hundreds and thousands of artists, commentators and any and all citizens that do not have the privilege of social platforms and reach that we do.

We are also cooperating with the authorities and hope to resume normal service soon. We’d like some sort of cheerful resolution to this so we can focus on more important national issues, like the upcoming Cricket World Cup.

P.S. Best of luck Virat Kohli. Sorry for the jokes. We heart emoticon you.

P.P.S. It’s a good thing nobody’s downloaded the file and put it on a torrent website or anything.

Hows everyone been? :) — November 7, 2013

Hows everyone been? :)

So, I became a mom 6 months back and life has been super duper busy since then 🙂 As things are beginning to get exciting, I feel like penning down some of my thoughts sometimes and some things I have learnt in the past 6 months…

Hopefully, I will be able to blog a little more frequently now 🙂

Happy New Year and Ekta Arts! — January 3, 2013

Happy New Year and Ekta Arts!

Hello all,

Wishing you a very happy 2013!! Now that the Apocalyptic year is behind us, we can relax and go on with our lives 🙂

With new years comes a hope of new beginnings!! 🙂 And it is the perfect time to introduce to you all an incredibly talented Ekta Agrawal who has recently started her own venture!! Check out the beautiful paintings and encourage the budding new talent 🙂

You can buy her paintings at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/EktaArts

Survey on Sports Merchandising — May 22, 2012
Amazon Kindle Fire vs Apple iPad? And the winner is… — January 27, 2012

Amazon Kindle Fire vs Apple iPad? And the winner is…

 Ever since the super duper success of iPads, all the big names are coming up with their own version of tablet computers. One of the better ones in the market these days is Kindle Fire.

 You can find a more detailed analysis of different features below but first things first… As an end user on this side of the world, I look for VFM (Value For Money) in every product I buy. If 90% of the features can be found in a product which is 70% cheaper, I will take it! Thats how the Indian mindset works, we are a breed that is very price conscious.

Keeping that in mind, Kindle Fire is a no-brainer! Simply because it is not only half the price of an iPad, you can practically access amazon’s store from anywhere in the world, without having to pay for the internet. To add to the charm, Fire is so much smaller than the iPad, this making it convenient to carry when traveling. Did I mention Fire runs on Android? That kind of seals the deal, doesnt it? 🙂

  Amazon Kindle Fire Apple iPad 2
Price $199 $499-829
Content Source Amazon iTunes
App Store Amazon App Store & Android Apps iOS App Store
Apps Available 15,000+ 90,000+ for iPad
Screen Size (inches) 7 9.7
Screen Resolution 1,024×600 1,024×768
Screen Pixels Per Inch 169 132
Size (inches) 7.5 x 4.7 x .45 9.5 x 7.31 x .34
Weight 14.6 ounces 21.28 ounces
OS Custom Android iOS
Capacity 8GB 16-64GB
Expandable Storage No No
3G No Optional
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 802.11 b/g/n
Processor Dual-core TI OMAP 4 Dual-core A5
Camera No Front and Rear
GPS No On 3G Models
Browser Amazon Silk Mobile Safari
Battery Life 8 hours 7.5 hours

We have a clear winner here: Amazon Kindle Fire

More reviews on Fire coming up as and when I get the hang of using it.

Its Murugan Idli again! :) — March 26, 2009

Its Murugan Idli again! :)

When leaving Chennai for good, I knew there would be some things that I would perenially miss – Some chosen and rare gems of people, whom I will remain indebted for life, for the kind of love and affection they showered on me… Besant Nagar beach and last but not the least Murugan Idli’s idlis!!

Even now Murugan Idli makes me drool… for they make the softest and the best idlis in the whole wide world!! 😀

When I left Chennai, I knew it was leaving for good… and I knew I would remain in touch with all of my friends. The only thing I thought I would never find was Murugan Idli’s idlis… And I did!! 😀 Yes, I did!! 😀

I found Murugan Idlis here in Singapore and I fell in love with it all over again! 🙂

India rules the world today – We rocked at the Oscars!! :)))) — February 23, 2009

India rules the world today – We rocked at the Oscars!! :))))

The most coveted golden lady knight (Thanks to Reema for pointing it out) is being given out now!! Yes, I am watching 81st Annual Academy Awards live right now!!

And boy! Indians are on a roll!! 🙂

Kids

It started with the live coverage of the Red Carpet on E!. It was a splendid delight watching the kids from the movie Slumdog Millionaire adorn the red carpet in their little tuxedos! 🙂 Oh! they all looked like little angels!! 🙂 Anil Kapoor, Irfan Khan, Dev Patel and Freida Pinto looked at ease! I liked Irfan Khan’s calm and composed conduct, while Anil totally went over the top! 😉 😛

Now, here is a list of the wins so far 🙂

Best Documentary Short Film: Smile Pinki

This movie is about Pinki, a girl in rural India whose cleft lip has made her a social outcast, has a chance for a new life when she meets a dedicated social worker.

Our very own Slumdog Millionaire was nominated ten times and has already won 4 5 6 7 oscars so far

Music (Score)

Sound (Mixing)

Cinematography

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Update 1: Best Song (Jai Ho won the award)

Update 3: Best Director (Danny Boyle)

Update 4: Best film 🙂 🙂 🙂

It includes two Indians (AR Rahman, The one for sound mixing) 🙂

AR Rahman has won 2 oscars already 😀 And Gulzar for lyrics!! 😀

Update 2: The Indian troupe led by AR Rahman performed on the songs “Jai Ho” and “O Saya”. It was grandeur at its best! 🙂

I will be updating this blog as we go forward! 🙂

[Courtesy: http://www.oscar.com]

Birthdays are too overrated!! — February 2, 2009

Birthdays are too overrated!!

Hey ya me back again! And this time again m thinking out loud so please dont hit me if you find this post grossly inadequate in terms of content!!

I was another one of those people who thought birthdays were meant to be special until this one!!

I mean what is there to cheer about? If you are 10, ok maybe yes, u put on a nice little joker hat and entertain fellow kids at a birthday bash fondly thrown by your parents… Parents are happy coz their cute little brat is growing up… and you are happy… maybe coz u r nearer to turning into a teen!

When you are teen and facing all those teen problems, birthdays still make you happy… why? Coz there is always that sweet sixteen to look forward to 🙂

And at sixteen when you neither a teen nor an adult, you just cant wait to grow up… coz u want to be taken seriously by everyone!! So again, you are happy on your birthdays!!

But is there a reason to celebrate when you are on the wrong side of 20s??? Naaaahhh!! Dont think so! There is only thing that should be done on getting a day older and that is to sulk, precisely what I am doing right now!

So, PLEASE do not wish me a happy birthday!!!!

Missus Noobie is back! — December 20, 2008

Missus Noobie is back!

Heylloooooo junta,

Nova aka Missus Noobie is back… 🙂

I have been back for over 3 days now, but couldnt think of what to write… There is too much to be said maybe, or nothing at all…

For starters, I am now in the land of no birds (Yeah, this is what this place is… Can you guess what place this is?)… On leave, so not working at the moment…

Been to Bali post wedding… an amazing place!! Both Noobie and I are in love with that place… think will make it our annual vacation spot!! 🙂

So, how have u guys been? Will start reading your posts, which have gone into thousands!! 🙂

Ciao! 🙂

Airtel Service – BAD, BAD, BAD, Really BAD! — May 19, 2008

Airtel Service – BAD, BAD, BAD, Really BAD!

My Airtel Broadband bill need to be paid. As usual, the bill got lost in mail and I had to call up the customer care to ask them for the bill amount to be paid. After a series of verifications, he finally told me the amount XYZ. I went to the Koramangala Airtel center (which is quite huge and houses around 7 employees to take “care” of the customers)

I stood in the line for 45 mins after which he told me an amount double that of the actual amount told to me by the guy on the phone. I asked him to show me the bill. He said, “Mam, I can only tell u the amount. I can not show you the bill. For that you have to go to the enquiry counter (which againt had around 20 people already in the line). They will tell you bill details.”

This would mean I stand in another line for 45 mins to know the details and then back in the first line for another 45 mins to pay the bill!!!!!!

So much for the service!!!

Here is another one:

I lost my cell phone today morning 😦 😦 😦 I called up Airtel guys to block my sim. They refused. Yeah! ThEY REFUSED!!! There is no reason for this insanity. All they could tell me is that you need to go to the airtel outlet to fill a form and then it will be blocked. Yeah! Right! Like the guy who stole my phone is gonna wait all that long. For all I know, I would have lost all the money!! Does that make sense at all? Airtel’s service is anyways bad. Now their call center people have also started misbehaving! The girl i was talking to today said in a rude and impudent voice

Its your problem madam that you lost your phone. You should now pay for it.

I was shocked at this response! And I wonder if Airtel should stop paying Vidya Balan, Madhavan and Shahrukh Khan crores of rupees and maybe invest some of that amount into developing better processes and training better customer service people!

This is what is going to sell their product, not fancy stars!!!

ATM machines shelling out fake notes – BEWARE! — May 12, 2008

ATM machines shelling out fake notes – BEWARE!

I withdrew money from XYZ bank to pay my rent today. The landlord being a much smarter guy could make out that 2 500-rupee notes were FAKE! Yes, the same notes that the ATM machines dispensed…

How to identify a fake note

Watermarks
Hold the note to bright light. In the watermark window (the enclosure right above the Ashoka Pillar emblem), a Gandhi portrait will zoom into focus. Look closely at the finely-etched multi-directional lines, and at the expression on Gandhi’s face…  In a fake note, because there are no lines and no shading, it will look like a caricature.

See-through register
There is a small floral design on the front (hollow) and back (filled-up) of the note. You will find it bang in the middle of the vertical band to the left of the watermark. When held up against light, it should appear as one design. In a fake note, the design distorts since the printing machine can only print one side at a time. So, you will see two designs instead of one.

Tactile Clues
In a Rs 500 note, a circle-shaped mark in intaglio on the left of the watermark window helps the visually impaired identify the denomination. The shape varies with the denomination: Rs 20, vertical rectangle; Rs 50, square; Rs 100, triangle; Rs 1000, diamond. This feature can be imitated, but in a poor fake, the shape of the mark could be wrong.

Intaglio Painting
Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait, the RBI seal, the guarantee and promise clause, the Ashoka Pillar Emblem on the left and the RBI Governor’s signature are all printed in intaglio, that is, raised print. If you gently run your fingers over a genuine note, you can feel the raised print. Since intaglio printing is prohibitively costly, counterfeiters have not been able to reproduce it.

Security thread
A readable security thread lies to the left of the Mahatma’s portrait. On the obverse, it’s discontinuous with the inscriptions ‘Bharat’ (in Hindi), and ‘RBI’. On the reverse, it’s fully embedded with the two inscriptions appearing alternately. A real note should have a security thread that is silver and woven. In a fake, the thread stands out unevenly on the obverse and on the reverse, the colour is blackish.

Optically variable ink
The numeral 500 on the obverse is in colour-shifting ink. Much like disco lights, the numeral appears green when the note is held flat but changes to blue when the note is tilted. Notes issued before November 2000 don’t have this feature. In fake notes, the numeral’s colour will be pale and uniform.

Fluorescence
Place the note under an ultra-violet lamp and you will see optical fibres and fluorescent number panels. The security thread too fluoresces (in blue) on the visible portion from obverse and as a continuous line from reverse. A fake note will glow blue uniformly; in an original, only the number panels and silver security line will glow. Reason: genuine notes are made of cotton pulp; fakes, made of wood pulp or paper, don’t lend themselves to differential fluorescence.

Microlettering
Best seen under a magnifying glass, this feature appears between the vertical band and Mahatma Gandhi portrait. It contains the words ‘RBI’ and ‘500’ in microletters. Rule of thumb: check for ‘500 RBI’ just behind Gandhiji’s ears. If it’s not there, the note is surely a fake.

Latent image
The vertical band on the right side of the Mahatma Gandhi portrait contains a latent image of the denomination in numeral. The image is visible when the note is held up at eye level and horizontally against light. In a real note, the numeral will show up clearly against the light. In a fake, it will appear as a shadow, diffused and vague. 

Hope this helps the next time you are trade in large amounts.

Beware of fake notes! 

[PS Btw any suggestions on what I can do with the fake notes I have?]

[source: http://www.outlookmoney.com/scripts/IIH021C1.asp?sectionid=10&categoryid=94&articleid=4872]
Does your camera hate you? — May 1, 2008

Does your camera hate you?

Camera

Its true that the camera doesnt capture everything. The best of the cameras in the world, do not show your true self some times, or maybe they do. There are only two ways for a person to find out how he looks – through the eyes of his own, or through the eyes of the camera! And what if there is a conflict between these two?

Conflict could be either ways – either the camera makes you look great (no one complains about that m sure 😉 ) or it just makes you look worse!

Now, the question arises!! Why the conflict? Does the camera lie or do your eyes? Does it depend on the light, the angle, the precision, the works that may make a photograph look good? Why are some photographers known for doing wonders with people’s photographs, while not-so-good ones just not tolerated?

It is a very frequent observation that people make “My photographs come really bad”. Most people are just not happy with the way they look in the photographs… What is to blame for it?

Is photography a talent? I am sure it is… Because I have seen some really bad photographs of flowers, which i thought was impossible!! I mean who can make flowers look bad!??? But, yeah… well… photography is tricky in that sense…

However, camera loves some people so much that they look great in every angle and pose?

Does this happen to you as well? Does your camera hate you or love you???

Eklavya… Movie Stills — January 20, 2007