Monday, April 28, 2008

LIVEMORCHA zindabad!!

Okay, there is this popular and supposedly influential petitiononline thing. But then, come on, how much would lending a keyboard-typed-signature to a webpage full of names qualify as a proper protest?? We Indians are used to bandhs, rasta-rokos, rasta-rok'ing' processions, strikes, dharnas and the kind. A protest should be marked by slogan-fest, placards (including both the sense and nonsensical ones), hands raising asynchronously, voices screaming, tv cameras flocking leading to breaking newsy headlines.

And yeah, those in India and interested (meaning having no other work or job or being a fledgling politician) do that too ... But what can the hated (not the antonym of love but as in hat-ed i.e wearing hat), shortsed (same rule as hat'ed), goggles and nike/adidas (reebok is ignored since its owned by adidas :P) wearing, $£€ earning non-resident Indians do to convey their opinion ? How can those 10 hours away frm IST supposed to protest to the Indian govt about their policies or the global food price rise? They need a medium too right? You can't expect them to fly in from California to Kolkatta .. participate in the one-day strange turn-taking-hunger-strike (which I think is not just a medium of protest but a temporary solution for the food price rise :P) and then go back to CA the next day!

Thus, taking these pressing issues into account, Mythalez proudly announces his proposed venture ''. As the name suggests, it will be a website where you can live in a morcha, live (the former 'live' is pronounced as leav and the latter as liev). It is the place on the web where you can espouse your support to various political/social causes by choosing to participate in various protests/processions online through your avatar.

Sounds a-maze-ing? How does it work? Every registered user can create his/her avatar (the online presence which is composed of an image that can be modified as per the controller's wishes using silly javascript based options). And any major minor or nonexistent protest that is planned anywhere in the country will entered into the site. And any user who wants, can prod his avatar to join that protest. The user also has the option of choosing or entering his/her own slogans that he/she wants the avatar to scream out while protesting. Ofcourse, the users also have the option of designing their own placards (some traditional templates will be provided to get them started). At this point, you might want to applaud this awesome idea, but are unable to do so because a seemingly niggle seems to be haunting your understanding - how can a virtual image actually protest?

Elementary dear What-son. There will be a webpage (hosted on livemorcha itself) that is created for every protest and remains viewable for the duration of the protest. This webpage is basically a audio-visual stream of the hoards of avatars protesting for that particular cause. The slogans will be shouted .. the avatars will be pushing each other ... falling down .. raising the placards and doing everything else that is expected of them.

The mechanism that will force the recipient and concerned officials to actually be forced to watch this webpage continuously is, as yet, in its final stages and will be announced shortly (is currently undergoing vigorous laboratory trials ... volunteers for acting as the beleaguered officials are invited). Moreover, until this mechanism is released (graduates from the beta stage), livemorcha corporation (CEO/chairman - Mythalez) does undertake that it will place appropriate screens and speakers at the requisite place of protest to relay, live (as in liev), the support of the interested users, via their avatars, to the actual physically present protesters and do its bit to add to the numbers and the decibels of the 'morcha'.

Financial investors for the venture, volunteers for website development and maintenance and users are welcome! Website launch date will be announced shortly!! People are encouraged to actively and vigorously protest against the expected delay .. just to be fit and well practiced.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The awesome points of the trip

Yep, so I decided to list out some of the things that felt awesome on my trip back home :) .. in no particular order:

↑ eating pani-puri .. twice in Bangalore (apparently its now Bengaluru .. which I didn't know!), once at Gokul chat in Hyderabad and once at home :D.
↑ spending all night playing cards with friends.
↑ driving (riding rather) around Hyderabad on the bike and nourishing my deprived lungs with the polluted air :).
↑ obviously, eating Hyderabadi biryani ... did that 4 times over the 3 weeks.
↑ walking along the not-so-great-smelling Necklace Road with a friend and then getting drenched in an sudden strong shower and then spotting the rainbow.
↑ sleeping for atleast 11 hours everyday.
↑ talking and/or meeting with a few school friends after a couple of years.
↑ having lunch and dessert with two of the closest friends ever.
↑ browsing through the book shop in the new Hyderabad airport and then coming across 'The Calcutta Chromosome', a book that I had wanted to read since a long long time.
↑ finally, coming back to the house in Southampton and it feels like returning home too!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The journey and the new Hyd airport

The journey to Hyderabad with transit at Colombo:

Early morning bus at 5am from university to Heathrow airport. I am all alone in the university bus station which is open air and the air was freezing. There was not a soul to be seen on my 15 min walk to the bus station from home and no one seen even during the wait for the bus. And then it snowed. As if it was snowing just for me. Given that it rarely snows here (like once a year), it was awesome to look at the university through the white speckles in the air.

I tend to sleep a lot during flight journeys .. but my next seat neighbour seemed intent on breaking all possible records. He was asleep throughout the 10 1/2 hour journey to Colombo. He refused to wake up for meals, shooing away the air-hostesses like flies. He was woken up once, by a determined air-hostess so that his chair can be set upright by her, but before she could do this 2 -second task .. he went back to sleep and had to be woken up again!

Colombo airport has a lot of security personnel .. we obviously know why! Srilanka is very very green when seen from air .. perhaps like Kerala? (can't say for sure since I have never been to Kerala :D). From air, saw Srilanka's northern coastline and then India's southern coastline including the arc ... was wondering whether I was looking at Kanyakumari?

Finally, land at Hyderbad's swanky new airport, one of the first few flights to do so. It is so far from the city that the city wasn't at all visible from air during descent. After landing, we all had to wait in the flight for quite some time since the aerobridge (the one we walk through to reach the building from the plane) could not be attached easily and took like 20 mins. Anyways, we then go into the building to be faced with locked glass doors. Apparently it was the opening on this particular gate. So there was a lot of paraphernalia with saree clad girls ready to give roses and put teekas .. photographers all set to click us walking in and so on. All these people were on the other side of these locked glass doors. And then the officials on that side started their frantic search for the keys. No one had them! So, they were all shouting into their walkie-talkies :D. Comments from the passengers on this side about inaugurating the doors by breaking them open did not please the officials either :D. Finally, one guy comes to the rescue ala the key-maker of Matrix :D. Later, there were almost no immigration officials, people could have just walked through quickly since the few officials were crowded by impatient passengers and had no clue what was going on :D.

The return journey:

The 30km journey to the airport took an hour and half. That too on a lazy sunday afternoon. However, this time I had a good look at our airport and it did look pretty good. It matched the standards of a good international airport. Infact, it was very much like a good midsized airport found in western Europe :). Now for the details --

£. The arrivals is on the lower level and the departures on the upper level just like the old airport. However, the arrivals area for the people waiting is an open air lounge with lots of places to sit and a few shops so that people can relax while waiting and not be up on their feet all the time like it used to be.

£. Only passengers are allowed into the airport as in any other Indian airport. I guess this policy will remain until the number of people coming to send off a person reduces from 10 to say 0, 1 or 2 :D. Anyway, the check-in hall is impressive, even had self check-in machines (not yet put to use).

£. The immigration counter official surely needs some training (atleast in reading). While searching for my UK visa, he chances upon the Swiss visa and enquires whether it was the UK one (when its clearly written Suisse on it and wasn't completely in english) and then when I point out the correct visa to him, he is unable to find the validity-date and turns to me for help again. No, the valid-until date is not hidden anywhere but very clearly visible on the visa at the position where all the visas I have seen until now have it (top right corner).

£. The airport seems to have 35 departure gates (thats a huge increase from the 4-5 earlier :P) of which some 12 must be for international. The whole area had a lot of seats around and good, well placed air-conditioners. There are many shops too. And surprise of surprises, it has a Hard Rock bar, which is already open! However, since we have very few international flights from Hyd, the whole international departure area was quite deserted.

£. The main 'Indianness' that you can find at the airport is the abundance of staff around :P

Waiting at Colombo airport for the connecting flight wasnt too boring as they were showing K3G on all the TVs there. In hindi with sinhalese subtitles and bemused western travellers.