Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Here’s a collage (a very big thanks to Kiran) of some of the cherished and happy moments at our old office on 80 feet road.
It’s been nearly 3 years since we, 4 crazy media analysts, came up with this blog “80 Feet Road”; blogging right next to the actual 80 feet road. Now this blog has tons of contributors’ blogging on a wide array of topics. This blog has remained and will be a symbol for freedom of speech. People say that we have a right to “freedom of speech”; after all, it is enshrined in our constitution as one of the fundamental rights. However, one will truly understand the difficulties that need to be overcome only when he/she decides to exercise that ‘right’. Some of us found out that the hard way, encountering corporate red tape and the necessity to remain completely neutral, when blogging on a company blog. Necessity is the mother of invention and “80 Feet Road” was born. It was like setting a caged bird free. We could blog with complete freedom. We were our own ‘Masters’. It was this freedom to blog that attracted our people to write on our blog.

 Over the years, we learnt a lot about blogging. Though it looks very simple, it is not. We decided to opt for custom templates for the blogger platform and therein started our learning process. Editing the CSS templates to our needs; learning about the various java script widgets that could be used in our templates and tweaking them according to our preferences; creating a header image in Photoshop; creating custom signatures; learning about and experimenting with various hosting options for our scripts and image files; and finally, the big daddy of them all - Search Engine Optimization.

A very big shout out here for Kiran K. who, with all the workload that a full time graphics designer has to deal with, has steadfastly endured our various requests for tweaking the templates, creating header images for us, edit some of the images that we have put up in our posts and so on… Thank You.

Guru Bhai, the heart and soul of this blog, is responsible for most of the editing with regard to the widgets and templates that we have used over the years. Without his expertise, we wouldn’t have come this far. Thank You.

Guna Bhai was always ready with inputs and without his unwavering support and motivation; this venture would not have started in the first place. He has championed various causes, right from social to green causes on our blog and we are the ever more richer, both in terms of knowledge and soul. Thank You.

Arunava Das, whom I fondly address as Dassappa, has been an engine that drove our little group of activists – GreenHorns. His posts on Bhutan have brought the exotic flavor to our blog. His posts are always a delightful read. Thank You and please post more frequently!

Shilpa, “The Quintessential Phoenix” has been blogging like a phoenix. One thing was certain, when she blogged – it rained blog posts. :) Her range of topics brings out the entire gamut of feelings in the person reading them. Blogging from the heart, we are honored to have her write on our blog. Thank You.

‘A’ Corner, a.k.a. “the management swamiji” has had us in splits with his tongue in cheek satire and has been a welcome relief in our gang of bloggers, bringing in the rare touch of humor to our blog. A very big THANK YOU and please post more frequently!

Rakesh S. a.k.a “the spiritual swamiji” has been kind enough to share his thoughts and views, which inevitably led to debates and discussions. Miss the debates Swamiji and a huge Thank You.

And lastly, a very BIG “Thank You” to all our 80 Feet Road bloggers, without them this blog would not have been – what it is now. And special mention to Verghese Sir and Pravda, for being the beacon light that will always guide us, Thank You.

Our office has shifted to Hosur road. We are now no longer beside the 80 feet road, from which the blog has acquired its name. But this blog will go on. As long as the World Wide Web exists, so will our 80 Feet Road blog. That is a promise.

Enjoy! and here’s whishing you all a Happy New Year.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Holiday Blues!!!

Finally, four days of bliss. Months of hectic media monitoring had left me craving for some personal time, time to introspect, time to indulge myself… you get the point.

First off, I would like to congratulate my friend Kiran K on getting married. Kiran has been with 80 Feet Road since its birth, helping us with the template coding and designing header images. On behalf of the 80 Feet Road bloggers, I wish you a happy and a prosperous married life.

Oprah giving away cars to the audience had grabbed a lot of eyeballs everywhere, making it one of the hot topics to discuss at the water-cooler gatherings. Pamela Anderson’s entry into Big Boss was the most popular.

Thanks to a very learned friend of mine, whose scholarly knowledge in almost all disciplines leaves us spellbound; I’ve been and continue to be treated to classic movies of different genres. As a result, I have now a huge collection of movies lined up to be seen this long weekend. Thank you KB!

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Moving on to my favorite topic – Corruption. Not any more! Looks like it has become the favorite topic of an entire nation, instead. At least, that’s how the newspapers and the news channels making it look like. Reams of print and airtime are being allotted to the spectrum scam while closer home, it’s the CM’s largesse in allotting land to his family members hogging the headlines.

Now, I am not against the newspapers and the news channels making a big hue and cry, after all the government should be held accountable for its wrongdoings, right? But the point here is what does it accomplish? Committees will be set up to investigate these allegations and after a decade or so they come up with their findings, by which time, the perpetrators would have moved away from the limelight (or better - dead), nobody would be interested. Someone else would have taken their place; someone who having learnt from their predecessors mistakes would be more careful to not to get caught.

What does all of this accomplish? Does it kill corruption? Will it go away?


Let us be smart and go after the small fish. I mean the small ones. Kill the small ones and the big ones will cease to exist. Makes sense right?

Charity begins at home. But unfortunately, it has lost out big time to Corruption. Yes, these days we are most likely to indulge in corruption rather than charity. The delivery man, who brings in the gas cylinder when the one at the home runs out, demands 20 to 40 rupees extra on the bill. It is extortion. Refuse at your own peril. The next time your cylinder runs out, you will have to run from pillar to post to get the replacement on time. The garbage man demands anything between 10-20 rupees at the end of every week. If you refuse, then don’t be surprised to see your garbage lying un-collected at your doorstep. So, you learn the hard way. When the electricity conks off in your area, better be prepared to pay the repairmen something when they are done or learn to do it the hard way. The same goes for the sewage repair, water leakage, and the list goes on.

Do you think anyone would be interested in charity after being forced to pay thorough the nose. I am not talking about taxes here!

Let us begin at our homes. Let the media highlight our problems. Let the authorities take action against these perps. Once these problems are taken care of, lets move on to something that’s a little bigger. Let us take baby steps in fighting corruption. However, we need to dig in because it will be a long, hard and a dirty fight. These greedy bastards are not going to change (give in) that easily.

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Enjoy the long weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Heights of Selfishness!

Two schools of thoughts are vying with each other - - for my attention, which is usually followed by rationalization and giving them a logical conclusion.

Recently, I had come across reports that violence has flared up in Congo. In this month’s GQ mag, I came across a letter to the editor where the reader had written about an article that was published in an earlier edition of the mag. The article “Congo: The Horror” written by Ed Caesar.

I did a quick Google search and got the article, but what impressed me was that situation in Congo was given print space in one of the elite magazines’. My enthusiasm was however, short-lived as I wondered how many people would really care (as most of the people subscribing to this magazine would be the upper crest of the society). Then reality struck me; even if the above mentioned article had appeared on the front page of all the leading Indian dailies’, nobody would have cared. Even if someone did, what could they do? There is enough crap in our own homes, why worry about somebody else’s crap?

What Congo needs is action. What is being done right now is not enough. Empathy, pity and care are nothing but feelings that soothe our guilt of inaction and their contribution towards solving / finding a solution to Congo’s problem, is ZERO. However, there are people who have set up camps decades ago, dedicating their lives to helping the people (by setting up aid and medical camps) of Congo. We need more of them, very badly.

I am tired of writing about the inhumane horrors the fighting in Congo has brought about. You can do a Google search and read for yourself. But what caught my eye was that men are now being raped in Congo.

I had read some where that “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Right now there are very few good people who are doing their bit, but they are powerless to bring about a change. Change is what the people of Congo need.

The colored people had played their part in the revolution that saw slavery being abolished and racial discrimination being made unlawful. But what I do not understand is why this racial discrimination is being perpetrated by the colored people on their own kind.

It reminds me of a line spoken by the protagonist in the movie “Hotel Rwanda” where he laments that the ‘whites’ have abandoned them to their fate cause they are nothing but dirt to them (whites). In the case of Congo, the world has abandoned it. Nobody cares about what is happening in one of the poorest countries of the world. Let them die. They are nothing but cockroaches. Apparently, it is good for us that these cockroaches are killing each other as the world becomes a better place to live in with fewer roaches.

Now about things more local in nature, I saw our Honorable Chief Minister, on TV, allotting crores’ of rupees at the drop of an hat, to build memorials, for two noted film and theater / music personalities who had recently passed away. I cannot comprehend how the CM can allot crores’ of Indian rupees for memorials. That is criminal waste of the taxpayers’ (our) money.

There are far more pressing issues at hand to deal with and that require such sums of money. Is there no one to question the rationale behind such idiosyncrasy? Why are we letting this happen, unless this is nothing but a gimmick and everybody is in on it, except me?

In another part of our country, another Chief Minister is on a mission to erect statues of her mentor, party symbol and of course, her statues all over the state; all at the cost of thousand crores plus to the exchequer. The law has somewhat woken up and put a halt to it, but there are strong indications that the government will get away with it. Substantial amounts of money have already gone down the drain.

I did not realize that India is such a RICH country. We spend billions to satisfy petty whimsical notions that do nothing but assuage the egos of such ministers. Lots of Indians are getting onto the Forbes’s Billionaire list. But, when you go deeper, it hits you like a Shatabdi running on nitrous. We are selfish. I might be wrong, but I read somewhere that India is a country that has the largest number of billionaire’s (includes both legal and illegal). Yet, we are a poor country, still stuck with the tag “developing nation”. I have been hearing that since I was a small kid. We have billions to erect statues and build memorials, but we do not have money to build proper roads, public sanitary facilities and put in place an efficient public transport system. I am not even going to bother to talk about the corruption that has saturated our lives.

In both cases, of Congo’s and ours, we have accepted it. The people of Congo are used to the violence as generations have born and died under the umbrella of war, accompanied by the violence that is unique to the region. We Indians, we have accepted it, cause we are so selfish. We go to work, earn money, take care of our family and enjoy life. We do not worry about our neighbors and friends, apart from the show of concern. How many people go out of their way to help out? Very few. What about complete strangers. We certainly do not give a shit about them, do we? Why the hell should I worry about them? I have got enough to worry about – my job, my family, etc. That is why we have Governments. Is it not? To take care of the welfare of the citizens as a whole. And what is the Government doing? It is taking care of itself. Nobody cares. Complains fall on deaf ears. Life goes on…..

Sometimes I wonder, whether India would become as lawless as a Congo or a Somalia. But if such a thing were to happen, I wish it would happen after my time. Long after I am dead and gone. See, I am selfish!

But wait. Can we change? Is there hope for humanity? Will the world awaken and bring about a change in Congo? Will India get rid of corruption and become a transparent, peaceful and an honest country to live in. I certainly hope so. Do you know why? I am SELFISH!!!