Sep 16, 2016

Watched Kaagaz Ke Phool again in an auditorium mirroring scenes from the film in its want of people. The frames are as brilliantly enchanting in their shades of black and white and shafts of light as ever, despite the potato-quality print. 

I discover this disturbing ability of coming across people looking like these beautiful black-and-white heroines (who seem to have no problem switching to Asha Bhosle's voice so convincingly). I usually just walk up and hold out desaturation-filters before admiring how well backlit the faces are. Not at all alarming.

Putting these songs back in a loop.

Sep 14, 2016

xxx-Thinkpad-DSC7630.jpg

The other excuse for a laptop died (apparently in an aluminum induced coma) and I bring home this for 13.5K bought over a handshake and assembled noise of people descending into the chaos around the evening over Sewri train station. Ordered an SSD, thinking of running Ubuntu/Mint on it. The screen is the only thing to not write home about, but it works if I do some gymnastics with the neck muscles once in a while.

Plus, David Hill has a very open online presence (much like the hardware his team designs) and is (apparently) truly open to customer feedback.

Aug 31, 2016

xxx-WritersAtWork4-DSC7617.jpg

The Warhol book, one that reads—appropriately—like a bag of chips, is from JB. 

Writers at Work gathered mite-tears sandwiched between slightly more cultured-looking hardbound volumes in the Institute library before I bailed it out into the rain and, for exactly thirty seven seconds felt the exact same kind of elation my mother usually feels after putting a frayed thread through a needle. A PhD. fellow who passed by, tried hiding behind a pillar unsuccessfully and leapt out after I did not slow down to attack. I was pretty sure he had sandwiches in his eyes and then I wasn’t sure anymore. He was probably just too late for the evening tea or liked the general idea of hiding behind pillars when running late for cheese (1-slice) sandwiches.

The thing is set in RCA VideoComp Avanta and smells of old tree stumps and dead pixels. A little bit of Google-fu brings up this PDF and then some, lining a rabbit hole slightly wider than something that can accommodate an atrophied miniature rabbit.

Aug 29, 2016

Wrote a thing titled THE CRISIS AT ITEM NUMBERED TWENTY FOUR for a literary thing. The day is saved and we can all go home. Too much Bukowski and too little Pynchon.

Aug 28, 2016

BBC Radio 4 (Desert Island Discs) interviews Douglas Adams. Hearts and Bones (Paul Simon), All of Me (Ella Fitzgerald).

Aug 14, 2016

Working on a data-visualisation project on the Dandi Salt March, reading through the Thomas Weber tome on the subject, one takes note of the uneasy voyeurism of all these data-trumped narratives. This is where I confront the difficult relationship I have with the personal and the digital and what it means to excise work from the other thing.

Aug 11, 2016

When computers entered rural schools, for instance, guess who held the mouse? Upper-caste boys. Technology wasn’t an intrinsic leveler or a bulldozer to archaic structures: It just gave people new, improved tools to be lovely or horrible to each other in all the old ways.

Taking a Tire Iron to Techie Triumphalism, NYT  Book Review of Kentaro Toyama’s Geek Heresy. References—I think—this paper (PDF) in 2006.

Jul 27, 2016

xxx-DSourcePosters-Series.jpg

Jul 15, 2016

xxxmumb-skylineDSC7540.jpg

Jul 6, 2016

MumbaiMap-PGFreshersBooklet.jpg

Apr 23, 2016

We were sat in the second floor of your typical Mumbai office building—not one of the IKEA-perfect new ones, but an old one that leaked and the elevators refused to run up and the dogs slept on landings along the staircases. We were discussing openness in the comfort of an air-conditioner drowned in cups of masala tea. I was quoting Doctorov and Siddhartha Lal and the mechanic at the RE dealership in Kozhikode in an attempt to flip their buttered-side-down views on confidentiality and trust. The stories I told were probably too balmy and rounded-edged, but it managed to refill my own faith in businesses and people. I left happy they may probably not be hiring KL11 for this project. These are very good people to have known; building this product from a private, commendable vision up.

In the evening, I cycle downhill to the theatre, hoping to be on time for Leela. One realises it isn’t a theatre anymore, but something lesser, sinister, lodged in the slowly moving parts of the city not unlike cheap 2T oil. One realises it is wrong to expect theatre-ey feelings from something that clearly isn’t. The multiplex is housed on the third floor, a Maslow’s tomb of fastfood, clothing, beauty parlours and coaching centres. The gate is closed and the security, bored and sunburnt. He shooes me away, with a “cycles aren’t allowed” and I protest, “this is a vehicle too,” holding the bike in between us and putting the weight of my words onto it. I secretly wish for a moment it grows a heart of internal combustion and a couple of whiskers. That it envelops me in petrol fumes and makes the afternoon sun shine through, silhouetting me against a firework of colours. He wouldn’t have any of it, flips the table, and walks away. While I had planned ahead for some sufffering at the ATM, this humiliation was not prepaid for, after a sweaty ride allover campus and down JVLR. The logical thing would be to dump the bike along the road, hoping it doesn’t get resource-shared while I look away from the popcorn stand. Instead, I mount the less-than-vehicle and ride all the way back in silence.

The city smartens up, giving the Chinese a run for their oxygen masks. The online ticket-machine wants you to ride a bicycle down to the movies. It is cute. The metropolis is saying it is my fault being single and riding a non-vehicle in summer. Maybe it will open up if one burns some petrol at its altars. I catch myself wondering what it will take for us to pause and revel at the screwed up visions of tomorrow in our waking dreams. What it will take for the Decathlon crowd to realise the lines over at their Strava account are only smaller, less significant versions of the lines they could draw over a city of traffic jams and cowdung and potholes and beautiful strangers in brightly coloured polyester.

I feel like the city has rejected me for something I believed was an act of deliberation, made to feel much less than welcome for something I thought was an act not less than a stolen kiss. Don’t get me wrong. I think spark-plugs are wondrous things, like fireflies or stars over a Gurgaon sky. I just want us to remember two-wheels and pedalling can be beautiful too. Till then, you can take the user experience of that bicycle icon and shelve it up places unkissed by the summer sun.

Apr 21, 2016

WWYDSC7191.jpg

Apr 17, 2016

One could say the bus driver had a weird taste in music. One could say that about almost everybody else also. He loved old numbers with hard-to-follow lyrics and peppy beats. The kind one always recalls hearing the day before and spends the rest of the day humming to its imaginary beat, putting ill-fitting words onto its sick jigsaw puzzling joke of a words’ nest until it is too late to even give up.

His favourite in the mornings was Raat Baaki. As the bus exited Gita Mandir bus-adda and entered Sardar Bridge, he would start thumping the horn to the song’s beat, and as he passed the flower market abuzz with predawn sales, he would reach the second stanza. On low-traffic days, he would just skip to it anyway. Tea-and-biscuit-wallahs join him on the bridge, their cycle bells and chains on freewheels texturing the not-yet-morning into the tempest off the insides of a young one in love—not disillusioned enough, not cynical enough, not yet.

Then the wind carries the song over to Ellisbridge, onto Jamalpur and beyond, waking everything up into its embrace. The city wakes up in love, longing for the night to fall again.

Mar 13, 2016

This little piece of the internet is now tracker-free. If you are a uBlock or Ghostery user, the browser buttons will throw friendly zeroes back at you. 

Mar 4, 2016

Discovered (gave in to) Anita Desai thanks to this wonderful Professor we have. Lungi over manbun in love with Bimla now.

Next → Page 1 of 5