Shameless Self-Promotion

This is a picture of the top of a carton of Godrej Sofit soy milk. Wonder how effective this strategy has been. Maybe they should've added '...or else!' for more impact!


My mom often says, "Do whatever you want to; just be the best at it". I feel like I'm failing miserably. There's nothing that I've ever done that could possibly pass off for being the best, or even just simply, good. I'm just another one of millions; no claim to fame, nothing to show for my years in the world, nothing to be proud of, nothing to leave behind.

Mona and Charles and some others seem to think I'm pretty smart. While that certainly bolsters the 'spirit' ( as Mona prefers to call it ), it still is far from the truth. Maybe I'm a little smarter than a fair number of the population, but my rare 'flashes of brilliance' fade fast and are indistinguishable in the ambient illumination from the masses. Nothing makes me stand out if you take a step back and gaze at the hoi polloi.

A jack of all trades and master of none is a pretty apt description of what I am. I've dabbled in so many things, but I can't claim to know anything through and through. It may be because I burn myself out in the beginning by trying to learn all that I can; I read up on everything I can get my hands on, trying to get an overview first and get into the details later. Of course, when the time comes to actually read up on the nitty-gritty’s, I've either moved past the whole thing or I don't have the time/ inclination, having overdone it at the start.

Just for once, I wish I could do something, to prove correct those who believe in me and to shove in the faces of those who don't.

Status Messages On Mobiles?

How about being able to set a status message for your mobile number? Wouldn't that be cool? Not to mention useful! Instead of stupid 'Caller Tunes' you could actually play a useful, informative message for your callers.

If you're at a meeting, you could activate the service and record a message for people who try to call you while you're busy, informing them of what you're doing and how long you'd be unavailable!

And you could potentially customize your 'Out Of Coverage Area' and 'Phone Switched Off' messages too. If you know you're going to a place where there is no network, you could let your callers know where you're going and how long you expect to stay there. Ditto for when you know you're going to turn off your phone.

I'd love to be able to make an app to do this but unfortunately, as far I can see, this something that will have to be implemented by the providers.

Background Music

Maybe it's because I've been watching too many movies, but I keep expecting and wising for some sort of background score to accompany my doings throughout the day.

Wouldn't it be great though? Imagine striding into a boardroom meeting to the Imperial March! That would certainly make people more accepting of your ideas!

Or consider the possibility of being aware of your boss lurking around because you can hear the 'dum-dum dum-dum' from Jaws!

The music would also be a great way for people to know how you're feeling at the moment; happy, sad, filled with great expectations. This does have actual possibilities though. Maybe with time, we'd have progressed far enough with AI algorithms for music to have personal devices that can be set to randomly generate music based on a particular mood, soundtrack-style.

Of course, the problem with brilliant ideas, like this one, is that they're short-sighted and never factor in all the other people. With everyone playing out their own theme, it'd just lead to cacophony.


It poured like crazy on Sunday. The day started off sunny ( ugh! ) and sultry but clouds started collecting by mid-morning and after lunch, there was that wonderful, surreal light that precedes a really satisfying thunderstorm.

Wonderful and satisfying if you're safe and protected from the elements that is. I find it very comforting to be safely indoors, watching the rains lashing outside; warm and cosy and out of reach of the storm. It makes me feel invulnerable and all-powerful.

It's the same when I'm outside but protected by a water-proof windcheater and I can feel the raindrops whipping at me with the wind but to no effect. With a full-length jacket, I feel absolutely untouchable. In fact, contradictory to appearances, it's rather liberating, being able to walk where you want and stay out for as long as you want without, defying the weather.

Of course, after a while, the cold starts to get to you and the parts of you that are exposed, beg to return to the warmth of home. After a tempest, hot coffee is wonderful and satisfying in an entirely different way.


Recently, I discovered Twitter; it's yet another social networking site. But this one is pretty different. For one, it doesn't expect any commitment from you! You don't have to be a part of a community or group. All you do, is post what you're doing at the moment, in 140 characters or less, from your cellphone, IM or on the Web and that becomes your current status. Your friends will see your status along with how long ago you posted it along with others in their friends list.

Why do I like it? Well, it has the potential for saving you the trouble of having to explain what you've been doing for the past week/ month/ year when you meet someone who you haven't been in constant touch with. It's easier to follow what your friends are doing in their lives that have inexorably diverged from yours as time passes. You get this wireframe of an idea of how they're spending their time. It would make it so much easier to catch up when you do meet up.

Of course, you and your friends would need to be on the site and doing this regularly. Unfortunately for me, none of my friends seem to find this appealing enough to sign up. They claim to have enough accounts as it is and don't want to try it out. Sad.

Well, I spent the last two weeks making Tweeter!, a Java client for Twitter because I hated having to leave my browser open to be able to post. Initially, I tried out Twitteroo, a pretty popular app, but it didn't work for me. At work, I connect through a proxy and Twitteroo does not support using proxies as of this writing. At home, I don't have enough space to install the latest Microsoft .Net framework and I can't be bothered to clean out my hard disk right now. Once I discovered the excellent jTwitter API from ThinkTank, I decided to build my own; both for use later as well as a hobby app to teach myself Swing.

It's been done for a couple of days and it seems to have turned out fine. You can download it here. If you do use it, consider letting me know what you think at; I'd love to hear from you. If you don't like it, you can always try out other Twitter apps like Twitteroo ( Windows only ) or Twitterrific ( Mac only ). You can follow me on Twitter at

Why I Didn't Vote For The Taj Mahal

For the past few weeks I've been getting a lot of mail exhorting me to vote for the Taj Mahal as a contender for the New Seven Wonders Of The World as 'a matter of national pride'. While that in itself is more than enough to discourage me from voting and following the crowd but actually, there are more compelling reasons.

The N7W are being voted for from a list drawn up by a Swiss corporation, the New Open World Corporation which initially had 177 monuments and was later whittled down to 20. Now, what gets me about this is
  • The corporation is a for-profit organization

  • It is not associated in anyway with any public organization like the UNESCO

  • The organization reserves the right to exclude any vote cast

  • There are votes for sale!
Why would any thinking individual consider the featuring of one of their nation's monuments on this list a victory and a matter of pride? The list is arbitrary. It is known only to the Internet-savvy; the general population of the world has no idea about it and probably, no access to the means to be able to vote.

If you can buy votes, I think that completely defeats the purpose of voting. Would you consider an election of a politician to be a people's choice is someone could pay to win? ( The fact that this usually does happen is besides the point )

Then there is the fact that any one person could vote multiple times. In fact, two friends I asked claimed to have voted 5 and 6 times respectively. With Indians leading the world population with a massive one billion, if even a fraction of a population this large votes, it would be enough to tilt the balance in favour of the Taj. The final list seems to be getting further and further from being a people's choice.

Apart from the unfairness of the process, there are other reasons for me to not vote. Why should I feel proud about having the Taj feature on a list drawn up by someone? Is it not enough that the monument exists? Can I not be proud of the fact that it is Indian? Why should recognition by anyone, much less a for-profit organization be reason for pride? Though I don't think there is much to be, proud of considering the state it is in. It's presence on the list will not make people refrain from littering the grounds. It will not make the government and industrialists relocate the factories to decrease the pollution that the Taj is exposed to.

And the clincher is that in the end, none of this is going to help any of the monuments; the proceeds do not go toward their preservation. The New Open World Corp. happily pockets the money from selling votes and merchandise; the people bask in the glory and increased national pride of having placed their monuments in a virtual list that has no bearing on anything at all; and the Taj Mahal continues to disintegrate and decay.