Posted in General

Jallikattu and A Weapon called Choice

Choice is always ours to make. The latent weapon in us and all of us, is what we choose consciously, not what we fall prey for.

A frog that jumps in hot water, immediately jumps out, but put him in a glass of cold water and heat slow and steady, he will be fine until he gets really burnt. This is the same with Jallikattu ban. Jallikattu ban is only 1 nail in a large coffin for the oppressed by the wealthy and powerful.

I am being generic here as “Oppressed” because it is not just isolated to one community. It happens across the world, to all, to those who are “small”, those who are not in power, or not related to the powerful (and may be the wealthy as well). It is driven by the corporate strategy of Growth in profit margin and business expansion. Sadly, at the cost of sacrificing our own people and the culture.

The corporate owns everything. It wants to derive money out of everything we use and everything we do. Unfortunately, most of us remain ignorant (or consider themselves all known, while being ignorant, which is more dangerous), to the extent that, we consider Facebook and Google as free.

I don’t mind paying for a service or good, if it appeals to me and if it is of use. But if you deprive me of my own, and then sell me what I already had in the first place, that is a problem. If you are a good ethical trader, sell me things that benefits me, not for the ever expanding profit that you would like to achieve, at any cost, going to any extent and destroying my own resources and people.

Here is the Weapon that we all have. The weapon of choice. We can choose whether we want to buy and use. Look all around you and you will find we are already sold to many. Our life belongs fully to the corporate. Our Rice and Sugar is whiter than ever and our body and mind has only turned darker. It is our choice to choose our Food and things right, for ourselves and set example for our children to follow. This is for all the oppressed, small, average normal people all over the world like us, not just for one community.

The Weapon of Choice is yours. It is time to wake up.

(If you get a chance, watch Michael Moore’s “Super Size me” and you will understand what I am saying)

Posted in General

The Elevator Traffic

The success of an Average Indian is determined by how much he can beat the traffic, or so feel that illusion. It is just one of those feelings of I did it, so we can keep our head high and walk from the parking lot to the lift with pride.

“You know what, there was such a rush today on the road, being Monday and all, but I think I maneuvered it, I made it. I beat the traffic today and I am the king”

Only to find an eager crowd of half the office, waiting to board one of the 6 lifts, summoned by that little up arrow button. Now, how do I beat this traffic !

It is really easy, you just stand near the lift where you can see the up arrow indicator glow, showing that this will come up next. Except, after 60 seconds it doesn’t and the crowd keeps thronging on that one lift with light on the up arrow. It’s like the whole crowd cheering in a stadium for this one lift to open up. You only keep hearing the dings but it just doesn’t open.

At this point, you give up and move around to bet on another of the remaining 5 lifts. But which one, the odds are almost equal on a sunny weather monday morning, and I can’t risk the one hope that most of the office has pinned on to the Lift no. 6.

It doesn’t disappoint, it opens up. But, it indicates that it is going down. Very well, most of us stick to logic and respect the direction of journey of the lift and allow it to pass down. But of course, we have that clever person in the crowd, who decides to take the trip down in order to go up. Wait, did this just sound philosophical, go down to go up ! Of course, he had followers, This is India.

The rest of us are now opinionated as we hitch our ride on another lift, genuinely going up, respecting the direction of the lift. But one can never tell, who reached before. Was it the one that went down first or was it the one that came later to go up. We all go up in the end anyway, whether you break or don’t break the rules ! Again, I am sounding weirdly philosophical !

In the end, the fact that one thinks that we beat the traffic in India, is merely an illusion. You get caught in any of the light, be it the Traffic lights or the Elevator Lights !

Posted in General

To Netflix or Hooq or Prime

Let’s cut the chase and get to the point. Consider the below as only my personal opinion coming out of my purpose and usage and nothing too elaborate, of course obviously this is for India.

For 650 per month, Netflix is steeply priced for the Indian market. The Movie content is not very enticing and obviously there are some neat good TV Shows that you can watch. I loved Netflix though for their quality streaming and 5.1 sound via Chromecast. Their HD Quality is awesome and Dolby Digital Plus sound is very intriguing. Netflix is definitely the service for someone who wants quality in their content and who are glued to some of the specific TV Shows (Originals they say). Not for those like me, who end up watching a 90 minute movie over a 2 week period with 5 breaks in between. Not that I am as busy as the Prime minister or a CEO, but just that the 3 year old simply wants to rule the house and begs 50% of my time and I spend the other 50% trying to protect the 10 year old from being tormented by the 3 year old. In the end, I watch a movie like a TV Show with 10 minute episodes. So Netflix is a no go for me, at least as of now and I stopped. If I need a specific movie from this decade then I simply rent it from Google Movies.

For 499 per year (or 999 per year from next) Amazon Prime is practically free. I mean you can watch Kabali in 1080p HD and that alone is worth the 499 that you pay. Sadly, No chromecast support means I cannot easily get it on my TV or my Home theater. Right now, Amazon prime is just a comfort watch on my phone or iPad or on the Computer. I seem to like Lethal weapon, Gortimer Gibbons (along with the Kids) and of course the biggest and the baddest of the shows – The Grand Tour, The only “Auto Journalism Humour” Genre TV Show in the whole known world. Amazon Prime sticks with me, but I wish for a cleaner device support to get it on Home Theater with 5.1 sound. Or just sell us that Fire TV or Fire Stick TV in India and we can give it a shot.

Hooq, surprisingly seems to be not a bad option for 200 per month. It has good quality content (and by good quality I mean Big Bang Theory and Friends). But I see it lacks in stream quality and no support for 5.1 sound. Hope they upgrade, soon and if they do then Netflix will be only worth its originals. Hooq is on trial and hope to keep it, if I begin to see improvements in future.

Hotstar is not considered as it has Mono sound and we are in 2017, not 1950’s.

Posted in General

To The Crazy ones who change the World

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, one of the first few things he did was to make this ad campaign – Think different. An ad featuring the crazy ones who can think crazy enough to change the world we live in.

We have come across them in our lives. They have made us. They have moulded us. They have transformed us. We are probably what we are because of what they did. They are not the popular ones, They are the ones who made the Popular ones…

Our Teachers.

If it was not for her, we wouldn’t have learnt computer science early in our school days. We wouldn’t have read newspapers in our morning assembly and relayed some tough words for us like Gloucestershire. Our English wouldn’t have been decent enough for us to make a living with a multinational company. She transformed the whole school in the late 80’s and 90’s and made us come out of just the mother tongue and the state language.

Our first line in programming “10 REM ADDITION” was the first step towards what we call “the IT Industry” now, made possible by him. With just a Genie key board, TV and a Cassette reader. GW BASIC.

He would walk in and we would expect to be read from a book. But he brought us a Cassette player and taught us French the harder way. Listen, grasp the words, say it, pronounce it. We couldn’t forget the Indicator joke each time he told – “Ca va, Ca ne va pas …”

Because it wasn’t just about reading the experiments and writing them in the exam. He kindled us by making us think what happens when you turn on a torch light, run at more than the speed of light and see. You see yourself turning on the light. We wouldn’t have understood zilch of Interstellar, if not for all the physics.

And so on and so forth…

This world is filled with a whole lot of crazy geniuses who look simple and regular for all of us. They are hell bent in doing only one thing in our lives. To change us, to transform us, to make us not what we want to become, but what the world needs out of us.

To all of them … The Teachers.

Happy Teacher’s Day !

You make the World better.

Posted in Food, Review

The fanciness in the simplicity of Idly Dosa – iD

In the 80’s and early 90’s the meaning of restaurant for us as kids was to go to a simple “hotel” and have Dosa and Idli, may be end it with Badam milk or Rose milk. Puri, Chappathi were fancy. Biriyani meant only for non-veg days. Compare that to now, our generation is exposed with too much variety that Idly and Dosa have become too simple.

iD is a brand that used to sell readymade flour for Dosa and Idli, and may be chappathi and paratha ready to cook as well. I had less hope and fanciness for the brand, before I discovered their new outlet at Neelangarai, ECR. I was simply not expecting it to be this.

A fresh new clean looking space with rather good

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iD Restaurant, Neelangarai, ECR

interiors and a kitchen that stands in the middle of the dining hall.

For any restaurant before you get into the bells and whistles what really matters for all of us, is the food. iD ensures you have taste and variety of Idlis, Dosas, Appam, Uthappam, Paratha, desserts and beverages. We had Mushroom masala dosa, Pesarattu, Appam, Mini Idli and of course the Classic Idli. To put it simply, iD would join the list of frequently visited very soon for the great tasting food served in clean sterilised steel plates and cups.

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Kitchen in the middle of it all

The service was good as well as efficient. One person, in our case it was Karuppasamy who took and managed our order, but the service of ordered items were done by whoever was available to serve. This ensures efficiency by distributing the “servers” across tables and decentralizing them from serving only 1 table. Sorry to sound like an IT guy, hey that’s who I am !

I would have to say that this place would be worth a visit than the usual likes of Hot chips, Saravana Bhavan or Sangeetha. They have good Breakfast and Lunch options and timings as well. In fact, I may return later to try their dishes during breakfast and their advertised veg meals (Rs. 150/-) for lunch, may be some other day.

The price is on the higher side, but not by too much. You get what you pay for in terms of the cleanliness, friendly staff, quality service and tasty food. (You don’t get those fast cooked half white Dosas like the others). The interiors and ambience is pretty good, but it can get very noisy due to lack of sound absorbing elements. Wall paintings, sound absorbing boards/panels, playing music through good quality speakers will ensure quality ambient sound levels. The outlet also has ample parking space with Valet service.

If you live by the ECR areas or pass by that side, iD is a place to visit for your simple meal/tiffins.

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A First bill in my life that had this than the amount

Finally we were treated with a bill that first read the pleasantries and not just the food bill. They sure mean service as their strength and I with them luck, to stand by what they believe in. Because, restaurant business is a crowded space and differentiating in whatever aspects you can, makes you stand out and makes people come back over and over again.

There is fanciness in simplicity.

Reviewed in Zomato with a rating of 4.5

 

Posted in General, Technology

Music sans wires

It was the eve of Christmas 2015 and little did I know that I would walk into, of all the places in the mall, The Bose Store. Bose is not my favourite. I just feel they are too pricey and sickeningly lifestylish. You can get better sounding gear for less or same price.

But, Life always surprises you and so did the Bose Soundtouch series Wireless speakers. Beware that this is only an user opinion and not an expert review. After using it for nearly 8 months now, I can only say that the Bose Soundtouch 10 wireless music system is an integral part of my daily music experience.

cq5dam-web-320-320(Courtesy: Bose India)

It was quite a lucky encounter actually as I took the Soundtouch 10, 20 and 30 for a spin. 10 is the cheapest and 20 is pricier with Display unit while 30 is the humungous hulk. I had points from my credit card and it was redeemable at the store directly. I couldn’t hesitate purchasing the 10 as I took it for some spin with Hello by Adele, Mazhai vara poguthe from Yennai Arindhal and the Theri theme.

Strengths:

  1. Deep rich bass for the size of a dictionary and weight of just over a kilo. The booms in Theri theme went so deep and wide from the rear firing port. Quite unexpected.
  2. Voice and mids were quite stable at normal volumes – 50 to 60%, although going above that could be taxing to ears. But surprisingly it sounds very rich for such a small system. Perfect enough for Ilaiyaraaja Music.
  3. Highs could beg for more. But for casual listening from a small aesthetically shaped unit that can blend over your bed side table or your book shelf, this is plenty you can get. Beatles, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd etc do sound well enough.
  4. Apparently this is the “Best Value” Wifi/bluetooth enabled speaker in the market. Sonos or other similar brands would cost higher and not easily available here in India.
  5. Presets. I just love them. You can mark an album or playlist to each number on top and it will simply play it when you choose any of it. Very handy feature and I have an album set for each selection.
  6. It does Flac/Alac and High res – 24/96. Who would have thought ! If your wifi signal is weak it may stutter but otherwise it streams it rather beautifully and definitely sounds “hi-res”ish !

Weakness:

  1. I felt after a few months of usage, I could have got the 20 which has the display with clock and artists/song. The 20 also sounds richer and better.
  2. Bose probably doesn’t want to pay Apple, so they had stopped Airplay from this version on. This I miss badly as I have to bluetooth it instead of Airplay which is better streaming quality.
  3. No support for Apple music. Again I have to Bluetooth it. Give me a choice and I don’t want to use Bluetooth at all for my Music, but at least it is better that Bose has done a decent job to tune it better.

Overall, this is a good music system for your Bedroom/study room listening. Obviously you can buy more than one to make it Multi room listening, but I just haven’t started believing in the euphoria of Multi room listening yet !

Posted in Movies, Music

Halena …

And as I typed Halena, WordPress tried to correct it to Helena.

If you know the song All rise by Blue or if you get a chance to hear it, you will know the origin of the song June Pona by Harris Jayaraj from the movie Unnale Unnale.

I am not sure if Halena is an extract from a Spanish song, it could very well be, but the tune seems to set in your head. A slow hip hopish romantic duet served Harris style is very catchy and foot tapping. Do listen !

Other songs in the album will probably take a bit of time to catch up on me, but Halena seems to rhyme in fast.

Movie: Iru Mugan by Anand Shankar. I wouldn’t underestimate this movie as Anand Shankar’s Directorial debut Arima Nambi was quite a surprise package, which moved tightly frame to frame till the end.

and it’s Vikram … Who could have missed his one man show in “I”.