The frog in the well and religion …

Swami Vivekananda

December 1oth was World Human Rights day and I would not have realized that if not for this article by Sri Sri Ravi shankar on rediff. A few months back, Karthik had mentioned about The Art of Living foundation and that was the first time I had heard of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The service projects that they were involved in seemed pretty impressive. But, then I forgot all about that till I read this article. One segment that really struck me in the article was this,

When they do this, somewhere they lose a sense of belongingness with the human race. For example, when people say, ‘I am a Hindu,’ or ‘I am a Buddhist,’ or ‘I am a Muslim,’ or ‘I am a Christian.’

In the process, they are also saying, ‘Those who are not Hindus/Muslims/Christians do not belong to me.’ They take a position: ‘I am somebody.’

In order to maintain this limited identity, some are ready to lose their life. The same with culture, tribe and nationality. If the emphasis was on being a human, then there would be more peace in society. We need to help people see that before being a Jew, or a Muslim, he is a human being. And as a human being, the whole of humanity is part of you and belongs to you.

These lines immediately reminded me of a story that Swami Vivekananda had used during his Chicago address in 1893,

A frog lived in a well. It had lived there for a long time. It was born there and brought up there, and yet was a little, small frog. Of course, the evolutionists were not there then to tell us whether the frog lost its eyes or not, but, for our story’s sake, we must take it for granted that it had its eyes, and that it every day cleansed the water of all the worms and bacilli that lived in it with an energy that would do credit to our modern bacteriologists. In this way it went on and became a little sleek and fat. Well, one day another frog that lived in the sea came and fell into the well.
“Where are you from?”
“I am from the sea.”
“The sea! How big is that? Is it as big as my well?”
He took a leap from one side of the well to the other.
“My friend,” said the frog of the sea, “how do you compare the sea with your little well?”
Then the frog took another leap and asked, “Is your sea this big?”
“What nonsense you speak, to compare the sea with your well!”
“Well, then,” said the frog of the well, “nothing can be bigger than my well; there can be nothing bigger than this. “This fellow is a liar, so turn him out.”

An exceptional story that brings to light the real problem afflicting us human beings. More than the obsession with our religion, it is antagonism towards other religions that is the cause of all social trauma. As Rajaji had pointed out in one of his articles, religion is necessary to ensure that the moral fibre of society is kept intact. It does not matter which religion people follow, but the fact that they follow the religious governance that is imperative.

Personally, I am a strong believer in the presence of the supreme being. And I have friends from other faiths and also friends who supremely believe that there is no supreme being. And tolerance and the liberal thought process of Live and let live is what is needed in today’s world. As Mahatma Gandhiji explained, God is one and the same, only the ways we try to reach him are different. I remember reading sometime back in the wonderful book, The Monk and the Philosopher that religious wars began as soon as human beings allowed themselves to say, “There’s only one true God, and that’s mine, so I have the right to annihilate anyone who doesn’t believe in him”!

Swami Vivekananda had insisted on the need for practical vedanta. In support of this Practical Vedanta, Swami Vivekananda referred to the mahakavya, tat tvam asi meaning Thou art that from the Upanishads. He explained that, “If we are identical with the other and with Brahman, then we will want to do good to the other. This mahavakya is therefore the foundation for morality. It is not that we do good to our neighbour out of altruism, but because the neighbour is identical to our self.”. That is one pragmatic thought!

Let me finish with another great anecodote from Swami Vivekanda that provides lucid clarity on this,

Suppose you start from here and travel towards the sun in a straight line. From here the sun looks only small in size. Suppose you go forward a million miles, the sun will be much bigger. At every stage the sun will become bigger and bigger. Suppose twenty thousand photographs had been taken of the same sun, from different standpoints; these twenty thousand photographs will all certainly differ from one another. But can you deny that each is a photograph of the same sun? So all forms of religion, high or low, are just different stages toward that eternal state of Light, which is God Himself. Some embody a lower view, some a higher, and that is all the difference.

P.S. I am a big fan of stories and anecdotes. Maybe, my cognitive skills are too impaired to understand things without the aid of these allegories. But, it definitely helps understand and comprehend complexity when things are simplified to something which we can relate to. No wonder I tend to use lateral analogies and stories whenever I am trying to explain something. To state the truth, those stories are as much to ensure that I get comfortable with my thought process as it is to benefit the listener.

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I die for Indie!

As any reader of my blog would have realized by now, movies have always fascinated me. As a kid, my esposure towards movies was mostly restricted towards those relayed on doordarshan. Rajini and Kamal movies were an exception though as they always enjoyed the special privilege of a theatre visit. This continued on till my formative years, when the advent of satellite channels unravelled to me a wider spectrum of movies. And then, college life and Karthik happened and the frequency of visits to theatres had a dramatic upheaval!

America beckoned and 24*7 access to the internet changed the way I thought about movies. Commercial big-production movies with their omnipresent ad’s were the immediate attraction. So much so, that I used to be surprised to see so many movies listed in theatres here. But, in spite of this new found fascination. tamil movies continued to rule the roost in my viewdom. There was one slight change though – DVDs, meant that older classics and favorites were watched and rewatched till I could almost repeat the dialogues by rote. It’s possibly worth mentioning that this had a definitive impact on my mimicking skills.

My film watching passion though refused to stagnate. It was always looking for new avenues to explore. And once I discovered IMDB and rotten tomatoes, the sky was the limit! All of a sudden, IMDB metamorphosed into my advisor while Block Buster turned into the service provider. A special word of mention for the delivery guy on quite a few occassions – Eshwar. (Sorry dude, just could not resist that jab!).

I started developing a passion towards experimental movies. And as per the unwritten laws that seem to govern Hollywood, these inevitably turned out to be Independent or Indie movies. These were the movies that showed a freshness that thankfully destroys the monotonocity that seems to govern the “commercial” stuff! There is an amazing similarity to commercial software products and “commercial” movies. It just is not worth the risk for big production houses to invest in experimental stuff which could go either way. (Of course, it is another fact that most indie production studios are subsidaries of the bigger production houses. But, we can ignore that fact for right now as these houses act independently anyways.). No wonder, then my love for open source and indie movies.

But, what really makes these movies alluring is possibly the sharpness and amazing viridity that they bring with them. Be it, slick editing(Pulp fiction), amazing screenplay(Memento), innovative(The Usual Suspects) or controversial(Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) storylines. Most of the indie movies, including the afore mentioned ones, are spell binding exemplar’s of what movies (by my definition) are meant to be. It must be noted though, that every person is unique and this is just my definition of good movies. Of course, I tend to be more opinionated than most people tend to be!

Recently, I ran across Empire Record’s 50 greatest independent films list. And most of the movies in the list are among my favorites. And in today’s world of social networking and peer rating, this has an amazing similarity to the IMDB indie film ratings. Have become such a fan of these movies that I even own DVD’s of some of them so that I can pick up the finer points as I rewatch them.

Of course, it gives great pleasure to note that my favorite director Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir dogs is number one in one listing and Pulp fiction is number two on the other!

Guest Blog – New Year Resolutions – Are they meant to be broken?

New Year Resolution

I was a chain smoker and made a resolution not to smoke in 1995 and I was able to keep it until 2000, then I broke it. Again I made a resolution not to smoke in 2002 and I am keeping it still. I am very sure that I am not going to break it again (crossing my fingers).

New Years comes and goes, Resolutions too. I am making resolutions every New Year for the past few years. Some of ‘em are achieved, some of ‘em are still followed, some of ‘em are broken and some of ’em are forgotten.

What is a New Year resolution anyway? A New Year resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a project or a habit, often a lifestyle change. As the name denotes the commitment goes into effective on New Year’s Day and remain until the set goal has been achieved, or forgotten :-). (Thanks to Google)

Why would anyone want to make a resolution? One makes a resolution for betterment, self-improvement, or to act on regrets. I hear lot of saying about change. ‘Nothing is permanent than Change’, ‘Change is inevitable’, ‘Change is great’. Someone recommended me to read the Who moved my cheese? by Spencer Johnson & Kenneth H. Blanchard – A tiny little book about change, fun to read. There are books and websites out there says that to change, “I need a game plan” and they tutor the steps to arrive at game plan. I liked it, tried it; but still have not figured out how to change or to adapt to any new change and achieve my resolutions.

In my experience, I have seen that when I left with new choice, I found a way to move forward and reach my destination (destiny?) most of the time somehow. So it is evident that change is inevitable and change is great. Planning & Preparation also play their part in here. In the recent days, I started believing that I had enough planning; it is time for me to get to the field and see some action. Let me see.

Check out The History of New Year’s Resolutions and top New Year Resolutions.

What is my resolution for New Year 2006 any way? Not to make any more resolutions. See I already started making resolution 🙂 .


Murali is a Director @ Veydant Corporation , a BPO Next Gen Organization. He can be reached at murali@veydant.com.

Guest Blog – Professionalism is the need of the hour

Since the days of Indira Gandhi, educated Indians are cynical about politics and politicians. This mental framework often makes them conclude that politicians are no good, and are always wrong. Nothing illustrates it better than the recent blog by Siva, where he takes side with Narayana Murthy in his tussle with India’s former Prime Minister Deva Gowda.

We all agree that we need professionalism in whatever we do. This is something that the IT industry champions. Professionalism means we should have the right people for the right job. But appointing Narayana Murthy as the Head of Aviation Project is not professionalism. Having a non-expert lead an aviation project in a way is responsible for the lack of progress/success in the Bangalore Airport Project. Narayana Murthy is a leader of one of India’s best IT Company, but it does not qualify him to Head an Aviation Project. If an Aviation Expert was made the Chairman, maybe this project would have seen the light. As a leader of a very professional organization, even Narayana Murthy would not have hired himself for that job, if Infosys was responsible for building the airport.

When people become very successful, a sense of myth and folktale gets built around them. It is when the movie star thinks they can become a politician, and a sportsperson thinks they can become a movie star. When Rajnikanth became a superstar, people expected him to deliver in areas outside his domain as well. But unlike many other people, Rajnikanth understood that he is not fit for politics and stayed away from it.

Narayana Murthy after building such a big organization like Infosys, became a prisoner of his image and success. Politicians and people wanted him to lead initiatives where he has no expertise. Unlike Rajni, he was not able to say NO. So when he was not able to replicate the success he achieved in the IT field, he was exposed to criticism from politicians. IT organizations have been blaming the politicians for the bad infrastructure in Bangalore. Now it is the politicians turn to have their vengeance.

As a man from the corporate world, Narayana Murthy understands that all that matters is bottom-line. The bottom-line is that Bangalore still does not have an International Airport. Though Narayana Murthy might have been sincere in his effort and approach, he still was not able to deliver on getting an International Airport for Bangalore. We cannot blame Deva Gowda for raising this issue. Maybe they could have handled this issue in private rather than through the media.

Now that Narayana Murthy has resigned, Dharam Singh should take this opportunity to involve leaders in the aviation sector to lead this initiative.

Guest Blog – More on avoiding deaths during pregnancy

I wanted to follow-up on the blog/discussion we had on the “Save Pregnant Women”. We had lot of interesting comments being posted in the website. But the bottom line is how we can help these women. When I drilled deeper into the South Asian statistics, I found that Nepal and Bangladesh were having even worser statistics. Another worrying aspect is the infant mortality rate in these cases. In Nepal, the infant mortality is at staggering 15% i.e. and in Bangladesh it is 1.5% and in India it is consistent with the women pregnancy mortality of 0.5%. What this means is that if 20 children are born in Nepal, 3 kids die…

The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it,but that it is too low and we reach it. – Michelangelo

As Michelangelo had said hundreds of years back, we are setting smaller targets and are happy meeting them. At this rate, we might reach the 6 Sigma results of saving women US and other western countries have achieved only after a few centuries from now.

As mentioned by Siva, factors like Sanitation and Healthy diet are critical for the survival of the mother and child. We already have Mid Day Meals program for children. We could extend that to women who are carrying so that they don’t go hungry.

Most of the death happens during the delivery phase of the pregnancy. Often times, lack of specialist and hygiene environment contributes to these deaths.

Unlike US, India does not have Continuous Medical Education Program. In US, if the doctor does not take required CME credits in a year, their license will be suspended. Due to the lack of CME requirement, many of the doctors in India use outmoded techniques to solve the problem. This also contributes to deaths in difficult scenarios.

For every 100k people, India has 51 doctors whereas US has around 260 doctors per 100k people. Though doctors/100k people in India are 1/5 of that of USA, the efficiency of our system is not just 5 times worse. It is close to 60 times worse. A doctor in US is able to save 12 times more people than a regular Indian doctor does (US pregnancy death is 8/100k and India’s pregnancy death is around 500/100k).

As a person in the productivity business, I had seen that you need more people when your process is outmoded and technology is limited. By the US/India statistical comparison, we learn that a regularly trained, technology aware doctor would be equivalent to 12 doctors who are poorly trained. With the poor transportation infrastructure, lack of 911 facilities, lack of proper education, sanitation, etc means we would need more resource to solve the problem than a efficient system.

So this means we would need around 60 times more doctors than what we have currently available in India, to meet the Six Sigma Standard of USA!

Monopolizing moral policing?

Now, I’ve all come across a multitude of oxymorons through my brief lifetime, but this title has got to be atop the moronic scales! Morality, in my humble personal opinion is as relative as something can get. My definition of what is moral and what is immoral could be totally different from what you perceive it to be. This, despite the best efforts of “society” to hammer into our brains from a very young age as to what morality is. But, shockingly, in today’s world focussing towards gender equality and liberalization, the prevelant “social system” in chennai continues to be increasingly patriarchal! A male drinking beer continues to be just a socializer having his daily pint of barley water whereas a woman drinking beer makes front page news on a leading tamil daily!

The recent ruckus down there in my home town of chennai over the seemingly amorous behavior of a bunch of youth during a party in a chennai hotel. I was shocked and hurt to read that! Maybe, it is just the liberal in me coming to the fore. It all started with a bunch of pictures of this party published in a leading tamil daily – Dinamalar. Now, lets not get into debating whether this was a case of Saataan Vedam odudhal(Satan preaching the veda). Most of us know that this daily does publish some pictures occassionally that border on the soft porn category. But, which sane businessman would want to let go of this opportunity to boost their sales!

According to this express article,

A day after, the city police swooped down on the hotel, arresting two managers who were on duty on Sunday evening, under Sections 37 of the Tamil Nadu City Police Act (violation of licence condition), 294 of IPC (obscene acts and songs to the annoyance of others in any public place) and Section 24 of the Tamil Nadu prohibition Licence Act.

Now, arresting these two managers on section 294 does seem to be a bit wierd. I do not have any information about the other two sections right now, so would refrain on commenting on them. But, section 294 does seem wierd! I am not sure if anyone in that party paid attention to the kissing except for the photographer(s) involved. So, what did they do to the photographer? Possibly, he would have been amply rewarded for his “investigative” journalism. In this case, I would say, shoot the messenger! He, in collusion with these leading dailies possibly performed the derogatory act of bringing these so-called obscene acts to public light! So, by law, shouldn’t section 294, if executed right, result in arresting of the photographer and the related sections of the daily?

By publicising this act, the media and certain political parties have brought to the fore certain things which according to their own moral policies are better off kept under wraps away from public attention. Kushboo’s off the cuff remark that no educated man should expect his wife to be a virgin was blown off proportions. The media brought to the fore something that would have hardly reached a few thousands. Now certain parties, whose only goal seems to be gaining publicity by going after film stars has once again jumped into the ring potraying themselves as upkeepers of everything that is moral. But, whose definition of morality are they fighting to uphold? Well, as I said earlier, it’s all relative! Some may tend to use the term hypocritic, but I think such a powerful word is wasted on these guys.

Once again, by focussing on minutiae like this, the media and politik have smartly shifted our focus from things that really matter. Do they mean to say that the worrying increase in AIDS cases in India is because of one-off booze parties like these? Kushboo had asked people to use protection when indulging in sex. But, that barely found a mention in the discussion! This is akin to all the hoopla surrounding the ban on smoking in movies. The health ministry that put utmost focus on this unfortunately seems to have paid no attention in attempting to focussing on brain fever (Japanese encephalitis) spreading in UP and leptospirosis in mumbai after the floods despite ample warning time! And of course, there is the point raised by Karthik about death during pregnancies. These unfortunate plain jane’s do not have the masala factor needed to make front page news!

I recollect reading somewhere about how in ancient and medieval Indian society, as reflected in its art, literature, religion and culture, were immersed in the experience and celebration of the amorous. So, why did we suddenly have to get so rigid? Was there a lesson learnt somewhere about societal values and “moral” behavior during the centuries where the historical focus seems to be centered around the colonial rule and our struggle for independence? Personally, I feel that certain sections of media and politics are ending up monopolizing moral policing instilling their definition of morality as the definition. I don’t agree with them and of course they never believe in the concept of kissing and making up! No wonder many people continue to feel that kissing may result in AIDS while unprotected sex with multiple partners is okay as long as the chief protoganist is the only male.

Well, Well, Well, an engineering college goes one-up with moral disciplining! Way to go! I shudder as I think – What next? Maybe, I should suggest to my parents not to lean on each other for support during their old age in public places lest a photographer takes a picture of them doing that and the media and politik start putting connotations on that! BTW, I thought the papparazzi only went after celebrities. Maybe, in today’s world, everyone is a celebrity.

About the ashes and why the Ganguly-Chappell spat is actually good for Indian cricket!

And Saurav Ganguly

Well, a few hours from now, September 2005 would be history and october would arrive, so it becomes imperative that I come up with another blog before I earn the wrath of friends again! Well, I am back after another extended hiatus and cricket as always has provided me it’s shoulder to lean on. And while I wallowed in the mirth of indolence, the hypertext world was hyperventilating about the Ganguly-Chappell spat. The sports pages and in most cases, the front pages of all leading indian dailies and portals were going cock-a-hoop over the biggest drama to unfold in indian cricketing circle since the match fixing scandal that put paid to the hopes of my favorite cricketer playing his 100th test.

But before this Indian cricketing soprano unveiled itself to cataclysmic results, my nost”raman”us prediction or rather, predilection of an English revival during the ashes came true! As I recount that blog now, most of my analysis turned out to be on the dot. England’s bowling proved capable of taking 20 wickets in a match, their batsmen rattled up nearly 400 runs a day and Pietersen and Flintoff proved they are worthy of their big frame and name! Most importantly, that self-confidence that I felt made this England team special was to the fore again after the debacle during the first test at Lords. England of yore would have given up and asked to be shot, but this new England recoiled and stung the Aussies where it really hurt.

While this bout of super heavyweights was being played out holding fans at the edge of their seats through many a thrilling encounter, the sub-continental giants India and Srilanka were indulging in some farcical minnow bashing providing an opportunity for their players’ to bloat their averages to further gloat on! Luckily, the depleted WestIndians don’t have their tour of Australia till the end of the year. I do not think the cricketing world, for all it’s infinite patience, has the temerity to watch another collossal carnage! Hope that the windies sort out their sponsorship issues soon. Please, I beg of thee, give the great man a chance to hold the title of greatest run scorer in the history of test cricket before this other great comes back and hopefully usurps it back for India.

Among the greatest things to come out of India’s tour of Zimbabwe were their first victory outside of the Indian sub-continent in nearly twenty years. But, even this has been overshadowed and pushed off the activity radar by the now infamous Ganguly-Chappell spat.

BlogPulse Chappell Ganguly

As evident from the blogpulse chart, the blogosphere has been very active discussing Ganguly and Chappell. Looks like the recent spurt indicates that I am not that late to contribute my mite towards the discussion. And unfortunately the majority of them seem to either vehemently support either Ganguly or Chappell. Though dada would feel aggreived that Chappell seems to have more supporters than he has. I have been a big backer of dada but he belittled himself in my book by bringing forth the dressing room saga in public. Agreed that the dressing room is no Las Vegas for things happening there to stay there, but as many already have, I beg to question if dada would have brought this up if he hadn’t scored that century!

Dada does have the tendency to get under your skin at times and there is a great deal of arrogance that seems perenially instilled within him. He always carries a distinct aura of braggadocio with him. But, even all the blue blood running through his veins doesn’t warrant washing such dirty linen in public. On the other hand, Greg Chappell hasn’t been saintly himself, what with copying all and sundry in his email! Unfortunately, I cannot bring myself to take sides, which is no surprise considering that I’ve supported both of them as evidenced here and here.

But, I can say this, despite all the derision that the BCCI committee has been copping up for their compromise decision, I personally feel that they made the right decision. Our obsession with seeing the axe fall on someone’s head continues. Some called this incident, the coach-captain divorce, but even our judicial system provides for a six-month or one-year period before divorce is fully given. The time period is basically to provide more time for them to try and work things among themselves. My favorite movie Mouna Raagam floats instantly to mind!

Chappell now would have understood that the Indian system works a lot different from the Australian system. You never call a spade a spade here, you call it as something that you shovel your garden with or one of the four shapes in cards! More importantly, he would have understood the fact that some members of the team are shit scared of his tactics and harbor feelings of insecurity.

Ganguly now has no place to go, but forward. He has to perform now or he will become history before the calendar starts showing 2006. Dada usually revels in these kinds of situations. During the last world cup, after India capitulated for 125 against the rampant aussies, Ganguly’s own brother Snehasish had written a scathing piece stating that Saurav did not seem to be in the right frame of mind and may have to step down. Dada responded brilliantly averaging above 58 for the world cup. And of course, he will work on his fitness just to prove Chappell wrong! Dada’s that kind of guy…

During the course of this episode, the most shocking section I encountered was this part from Andrew Miller’s article on cricinfo,

Reams upon reams upon reams of irate Ganguly fans, complaining in the bitterest terms imaginable about a perceived South Indian bias that has captured the tongues of our commentators and forced them to spew venom on a leader they once adored.

Wow! Now, do we hear anyone talking of a South Australian bias because Ponting comes from the tiny island state of tasmania? No, we are not! According to me, that’s how cricket should be followed! Don’t work yourself to a frenzy, it’s just cricket!

Karthik Josium – Guest Blogger at The Raman Empire

Folks, join me in welcoming Karthik Josium as a guest blogger on The Raman Empire. I know that my blogging rate has deteriorated so much that it now stands at an average of about one every month! Now, how much more pathetic can I become …

Well, as usual, my best friend Karthik has decided to step up to the plate and bail me out of this one as well.

He has already come up with his first blog and he has touched on a subject that me and him have spent hours and hours discussing. Even when we speak of things like social darwinism and lesser and lesser dependency on the state, we still do need the Government to step in when it really matters. Areas such as Health Care have unfortunately been greatly ignored and Karthik touches upon that in his first blog here.

Where are they when and where we need them the most?

Deaths during pregnancy – Why aren’t we doing anything about it?

Leaving the New Orleans incident aside, one thing I greatly appreciate about the US is the care they show for the lives of their people. In the US, according to statistical information, for every 100,000 pregnancies, 1 woman dies. On the other hand, in India, for every 100,000 pregnancies, close to 500 women die!

And to add to that, in India, everyday close to 50,000 pregnancies happen. That means, we have close to 250-pregnancy related deaths. And this number does not include the unborn child!

It really appalls me to look at these numbers. This could be avoided if these people were given access to healthcare like those in US are. I have couple of solutions for this problem:

  1. We need to have more seats in Medical Colleges. For a population of 295 million people, the US has close to 100,000 residents (meaning 100,000 graduates per year). Compare this number with that of the state of Tamil Nadu alone. TN, with 50 million people would need at least 20,000 residents every year. But, we have just 800-1000 intakes into medical colleges every year. As many of the engineering college seats are not taken, some of these colleges could be converted into medical colleges.
  2. Unlike other ailments like heart attack and cancer where we may not have much clue about when it is going to strike, we definitely will know when a pregnant lady is due. During the 9th month, we could move the pregnant women living in some interior villages to safe houses or hospitals so that they get the care when they need it. It is not just the pregnant woman who dies, but also a child loses a mother and a husband a wife. That is traumatic for the entire family.

As a side note, a couple of thousand people died during the Godra incident but the media still talks about it. Close to 200,000 women have died since Godra during pregnancy, but unfortunately, the sad part is that there is no one talking for and about them!

A comatose recovers and Nerd TV appears

Coma

Call me a sinecure, lazy bum or anything along these lines and I would take it in my stride and would promptly ignore the tirades as is my wont. But, when friends start to write critical blogs that traipse the thin line between persuasal and reproach, you realize that you need to indulge in some serious patchup work and mollify them before exasperation begins to kick in!

I am not going to make any excuses for my long long hiatus. Practically, I have run out of reasons having used many of them during the course of the last 14+ months. The way Shiva has potrayed me in his blog, I could very well be the blogging equivalent of the Indian cricketing team. Just when you think they are going to do extremely well, they fail miserably as if they gain some sadistic pleasure by infuriating you! Mind you folks, I ain’t no sadist.

So, where was I through the last month? Was I doing some soul searching as this wonderful guardian article wants google to do? Definitely not! There are always reasons aplenty to give, but do any of them really make sense. I suppose not. So, this time around, lets all agree that I’ve been a prodigal blogger who has returned to his senses thanks to some serious proddin. Welcome me back guys lest I be filled with remorse and return to the dark side of no-blogging!

Is it just pure coincidence or is it laced with irony that the recent hottest discussion in one of my favorite groups – Pragmatic Programmer is about whether a developer blogging is really useful or all it serves is as a self-centered ego booster. The question was raised after reading this blog by Chad Fowler where he has linked to a really neat free ebook – Who’s there?, an incomplete guide to blogs and the new web by marketing guru Seth Godin. Before you guys shrug it off, I would suggest you guys take a quick glance at it as it is a small concise one. Would also recommend joining the pragramatic programmers group as the discussions are really as the name suggests aptly – pragmatic!

In my personal opinion though, blogging definitely has a niche area just as mailing lists and wiki’s do. This is the google era and almost everything is driven off search. Rarely do I visit any technology site by default, it inevitably starts with a search on google and if the result turns to be a blog and I glean the information I need, who cares! On personal experience though, I’ve found technology blogs to be generally very informative. But, it’s just me and the sinecure in me speaking. Trust me, I have very short transient memory and it is very difficult to load up lots of website info in that! So, Do No Evil google is always my trusted aide.

Elsewhere, I’ve been drooling at the new iPod Nano from the time it’s arrived. The guys at Apple never cease to amaze! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, they give you this. And staying on Apple, Bob Cringley’s Nerd TV is finally on the air. And not just on television, but as is his wont, he has it available on the web as well. The first episode was with the first Macintosh programmer – Andy Hertzfeld. You can check it out here. I especially loved his digs at Bill Gates and his passion for open source. A must watch for any techno geek. For those of you who do not want to sit through the show, here’s the transcript of the chat.

And no surprises about the transparent Microsoft bashing. Now, the interviewer is Bob Cringley, the guy who called Microsoft as evil, the last time I had a privilege to hear him speak in person!

And Shiva, thanks for calling me a wonderful blogger. Am I supposed to be flattered or is it a needle in the banana types?

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