Nov 26, 2016

A new project, on the Dandi Salt March, is up at keyaar.in/salt

This is an interactive data visualisation of the Salt March. While it resizes somewhat awkwardly on a narrow screen, I wouldn't recommend it. (My biggest gripe still, is the absence of a sensible way to input proper apostrophes and dashes in Windows. Bear with me on this, I am as horrified as you are.)

Thanks to Prof. Venkatesh, Arihant (code-ninja), Prof. Greg Polk and Shri Sethu Das Ji, and their help and support, I only worked on this for five months and not a decade and a half.

Nov 17, 2016

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Nov 16, 2016

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Nov 13, 2016

In an Umebayashi induced comagasm, the ATM queue snakes along the half unpainted chain-link fence, off absentminded Cuticura tracks and lucid dreams of a two-thousand-Rupee paperback, freshly minted. The girl in faded jeans and white dress-shirt and unintended RayBans finds a glass of black tea (or was it coffee) in the third canteen she terrorises. Everybody is happy, sings the last two stanzas of whatever they remember off Virinjuninna Parilum and goes their parallel ways. Sometimes they meet for clandestine shopping complex combings and sing Partisookthangal to each other over Parippuvadas and black tea they find in the third canteen the girl terrorises.

Nov 11, 2016

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Nov 9, 2016

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Do not let the poets lie to you when the ATMs go blank and my thousand Rupee notes aren't anymore.

Pens, Pencils, etc.
Pilot Sign Pens (Black, Red and Blue. They get better with age and wear. Impossible to misplace.)
Derwent Calligraphy Brush Pen (Reservoir, No. 3, always on the verge of being used int the next project after this.)
Stic Boldmarker (Black, impossible to get the right thickness; always a bit thicker, or thinner, than what you want.)
Camlin Brush Pens (Set of 12, refillable. Too much valueformoney it hurts.)
Snowman 700 Drawing Pen 3.0 (Chisel-tipped, okay strokes. Makes you hate calligraphy if used on shitty paper.)
Sheafer Calligraphy Pen (With the Bold tip on; the Pilot Parallels are on a perpetual wishlist. These will do for now.)
Sakura Koi Brush Pen (The reservoir kind, S, M, L, no XL.)
Hero Fountain Pens (Some hard to find, some not so. Conversation starter.)
Reynolds Fountain Pen (Meh. Smooth. On a rainy day, will replace the Lamy Safari, if you were truly tasteless.)
Staedtler Mars 780 Mechanical Pencil (Waited years to buy this one, then found the cheapest replacement leads.)
Muji Brush Pens (Older one is better. [This is a theme now, isn't it?])
Muji Mechanical Pencil (Always on loan to someone.)
Pentel Fude Brush Pen (Basim gifted this; works great, somewhat intimidated by the way stuff comes out of it.)
Reynolds 045 Ballpoint Pens (Impossible to find refills for. They are always 'just out of stock.')
Tizo TMO 392 Mechanical Pencil (Best mechanical pencil ever, south of the Lamy and the Worther. The non mecha pencils are in want of some wear, thanks to this guy.)
Calligraphy Toolset (Haven't really used them for anything; one of those things that is good to have around, I guess. The other thing is a banana milkshake, obviously.)
Staedtler Pigment Liner .05 (I refill everything; see wirestripper and syringe below.)

Things that either get used up or stay the same
2ml Syringe for refilling the Pilot Sign Pens, the Muji Brush Pens, etc. (I just repurpoise the ones that feed Kalyani medicines and whatnot.)
Khyati Roll-n-Draw Ruler, 16cm (Wish I had engineer/architect friends around earlier. Or I was someone's engineer/architect friend. Or just friend. I know.)
Staedtler 2mm Mars Carbon Leads (Look at me, much sophistaccato.)
Cheap-ass Camlin Leads (To replace the St. ones as they pass out. Actually pulled the Staedtler ones right off. Too fancy for my taste.)
Hi-Par .5mm Leads, Tizo 4B Leads
Loupe from the days of print (Extra Chutney at security once for this; ended up explaining offset printing to a policeman.)
Generic Protractor, FeviStik, Wire-stripper, Compass, 15cm Scale, Plastic Letter Stencil (For the occcasional ransom note or two.)
Letternote Notebooks (Been using them for years now. Maybe there is a sponsorship angle they haven't looked at yet?)

Most of these go into the pouch that came inside a LowePro backpack that can't stand on its own. Now bask in the shade of titling a stationery post not.

Nov 6, 2016

4 in the morning. This plus ginger tea off campus. All the right kinds of weird.

Oct 30, 2016

I like longwinded reserved-in-advance-because-not-hardcore-enough train journeys for the environmental bragging rights as much as the flooded toilets and miniaturised trashcans. I was told IRCTC has started mentioning these in the second page (or third, I don't want to remember) of the totally multipage PrintEticket.pdf, right under the multicolour ad for a hotel cheaper than a half-decent print-out of the PrintEticket.pdf. I have this thing of printing out colour PDFs in colour and the black and white ones at half the size. Don't ask. Then I started looking for the "agree to terms and policy while we remove your left kidney and replace it with a life-size nendran banana ripened with Sulfur and whatnot" and failed after the third try. I wish they did the same thing to SMS confirmations and sent a minor Murakami novel sized text along after each booking, and employed unemployed graphic/interaction designers to slyly infiltrate them with links to paid porn sites and whatnot. 

The four old ladies, Gujarati and clad in overflowing headdresses and unapologetic laughter and keeping the lights on till midnight lent an unmistakable AnjaliMenon vibe to the whole journey. I climbed up to my sideupper and waited for the coach to go up in purple Dakshin-Railway smoke and a bubbly vatful of stuff of questionable pedigree to appear any minute while the last of the MealsOnWheels guys peddled leftover dinners and overpriced tapwater in classy plastic bottles. I couldn't tell when my disappointment segued into much undeserved sleep and it was morning already and the toilets were appropriately flooded and the miniaturised trashcannots. 

The old ladies retained their highvolume laughter and what appeared to be inside jokes from the outside and mercilessly ignored yourstruly all the way till Panvel where two of them get down and the third go wait at the door for an illicit stop at Diva. Then the last of them tell me they are old schoolmates and Kalupur has a shrine where they go once in a while and I should get married and they do these trips often and have been to places I have not been to and why am I not settled yet and they had gone to Munnar and the weather was nice and sorry for laughing so loud all the way and especially inside tunnels and I should probably go wait at the door for the stop at Thane because the crowd is insane and one should not jump off moving trains on account of old ladies apologising for laughter and having a good time. 

I tell her it is hard to imagine myself doing the things they are doing at their age and she smiles that comment away and laughs and looks out the window into the sunset behind tall buildings and flyovers and hoardings for jet black phones and unlimited storage space for all your memories at very low EMIs.

Oct 17, 2016

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Johnny Cash, perfect side-dish to pushing pixels around.

Oct 15, 2016

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Google Maps. Frugal Maps.

Oct 11, 2016

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Oct 9, 2016

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Listening to this at Shaniwar Wada.

Oct 5, 2016

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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

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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.

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