Coming back.

After almost 2 years of no blogging, I plan to resume. While blogging had taken a backseat in general, I’ve noticed that of late, more folks are taking to blogging again.

This time, though, the focus would be narrow and not as broad as before.

When charity comes calling

All of us, at one point or another, have been accosted by those selling charity. I am not being uncharitable in the alleged efforts of these people. I may not be the first to pay up, but when I see actual work happening and am convinced that my money is indeed being used for a cause, I will pay. What irks me, though, is when door-to-door salesmen of charity come calling and try to tug at your heartstrings hoping you will loosen your purse-strings!

A note to them all: It doesn’t work.

Why? Continue reading “When charity comes calling”

Main bhi writer

Like every blogger worth his/her salt, I too aspire to be a published author. Not the self-published, e-book kinds, but a real, hard-cover or paperback kinds. That people pay to buy and read. And at the thought of which trees (among others) weep. Inspiration has come from many fronts. Such greats that were formerly bloggers are now published authors. They reside in London and globe-trot playing poker and such. Yes, their books have brought joy to many and money to some, and I too aspire to tread in their footsteps.

By the way, what did you, dear reader, make of the above paragraph? Sophisticated enough? Polished? Not too many grammatical errors? No spelling mistakes, Firefox assures me…

So I have dreamed up many topics with plots, characters, sub-plots and more. I have at least 5 book ideas in my head. I’m on the verge of turning schizophrenic with the number of characters swirling about in my head. Not to mention locations, locales and other such details that at times put a question in my mind as to my present whereabouts. So where is this killer book, you ask? In my head (pay attention!).

Continue reading “Main bhi writer”

What’s ‘real’ photography?

If one were to compare, it can be argued that this question parallels the “Chicken first or egg” argument. What is real photography? Opinion is pretty evenly divided. One camp, who call themselves ‘purists’ say it is what the camera captures. The other camp argues it is what the photographer visualizes and creates. This includes post-processing (aka ‘photoshopping’) and any other techniques. Darkroom processes and techniques have existed since photography became mainstream and photographers have used these to improve their photos or even alter them.

I lean towards the second group. Photography by itself is a tool-based art. So why should addition of more tools make it any worse? Moreover, I agree with the thought that a photograph is finally a photographer’s vision and not what the camera captures. That is the difference between point-and-shoot photographers and those who use more equipment, techniques and tools to capture their image. Already, we’re going in circles!

A bigger thought that I still don’t have an answer to yet is what constitutes a good photo? Forget the theoretical definitions of perfect composition, etc. The question is for any photograph. What in the photo can deem it to be good?

Admittedly, it is easy these days to just aim and shoot. The better the camera, the better the result. In case of people photography, make-up, hair, clothes and other embellishments that are part of the photo always take precedence. So what is a good photo? Is it being able to communicate the original thought irrespective of the embellishments? The way photojournalism aims to? Or is just taking a pretty picture and letting the viewer make his choice?

Lots of questions there. Here’s what I think:

– Like a good song, a good photo is whatever pleases the viewer. Highly subjective, even trying to define this is stupidity.

– A photographer should make maximum use of all tools available to him/her to get the image they originally wanted. So long as the photographer is honest in telling the viewer that the photo has been altered, it should be acceptable.

– A photograph is the photographer’s to create and the viewer’s to accept or reject based on the final offering. Tools and means should not matter to them.

But to the viewer, what is a good photo?

Tablets, et al.

I’m in the market for a tablet. To be totally honest, I’ve been in the market since the iPad launched a few years ago. There’s no dearth of choice. The iPad is as good a tab as money can buy. But it’s too much money to buy one. The Samsung Tab is great, but it’s still too much money. The Samsung Note is another super option. Again, too much money. So I took myself out of the market. Until recently, I came across the low-end options from Micromax and Karbonn.

I’ll be honest (again) and accept that I’ve often looked down upon brands like Mircomax and Karbonn. To me, they seemed to be in the market to make a quick buck with cheap products. Their mobile phone offerings are basic and appeal to the basic user. Much like Nokia’s portfolio over the past few years. Which was why I gave up Nokia. But the Micromax Funbook changed all that. Just an hour with it recently and I couldn’t believe I was actually considering one. At Rs 6.500 or so, it’s a steal. Then I discovered the Karbonn SmartTab 1. An even better option (on paper so far since I haven’t actually tried one) for the same money.

Soon enough, I started considering brands like Wespro and a bunch of others I’d written off previously. The beauty of all these tabs is that the hardware is mostly Chinese or Taiwanese with Android (Ice-cream Sandwich in most) and access to Google Play (Marketplace). Most cannot run a 3G SIM card but can handle a dongle solving that problem. They have 1GB to 8GB of internal memory, but can manage a 32GB memory card. Their screens are not great, but above average for sure and get the job done.

So who are these for? Someone who wants a light, unfancy, practical device that lets them browse, read, listen to music and carry some entertainment when on-the-go. The logic I apply is at Rs 6,500, these are great devices if they do their job for even a year. Heck, we’ll spend more than that on a few dinners through the year!

Karbonn or Micromax or Kindle Fire? That’s the only question left.

Why I won’t be buying an XUV500

Since its launch in India, I’ve been obsessing over the Mahindra XUV500. I missed the boat on the first lot of bookings and was then stunned to know that bookings had been suspended. Earlier this month, Mahindra re-opened them for 7,200 cars to be delivered across 19 cities. But I’m no longer interested.

Dr Pawan Goenka, President, Automotive and Farm Equipment Sectors wrote a rather moving letter to potential customers last week. This actually worked and I was still interested… but over the preceding weekend, I realised that my chances of actually getting one are slim. Moreover, the money we pay Mahindra for the booking will only be refunded after a month (or within, I think) according to the ‘draw’ T&C.

(This whole draw aspect reminds me of the 1980s when people waited months for phone connections or vehicles.)

The trouble is, that according to the numbers, each city would be allocated about 378 vehicles. I am positive that from most cities, there will be at least 1,000 applications each. That itself puts my chances at 38%… 1 in 3. There is no mention of how many vehicles are being allotted per city if in case this is the approach.

Continue reading “Why I won’t be buying an XUV500”

Bottom up or top down?

Which is the best way to ensure prosperity? Work from the ground up or push money down from the top?

This mindblowing video shares some insights into two thought processes by economists and their ideologies.

A must-watch.

Via India Uncut.

How to save the economy?

Which is the best way to ensure prosperity? Work from the ground up or push money down from the top?

This mindblowing video shares some insights into two thought processes by economists and their ideologies.

A must-watch.

Via India Uncut.