Nilesh Gonsalves

Dec 192009
 

Do you know who am I? Do I know you? Then why is it that we pour out our hearts to each other?

Its been a long time now since we started using technology for communication in some form or the other. Post was the oldest communication method in one form or the other. But upon the advent of the new millennium, electronic medium of communication has become more profound in use. Blasting out emails in lieu of telephonic conversation( may because of its cost implications) has become a habit of a sort. So where is it taking us?

You write an email to your friends and loved ones, but the emotions are lost. Even if you try to be more poetic in your composition, you will need the abilities of someone like Garrison Keillor to express the feelings on the receivers side. A firing email from your boss is of no use unless he presents himself to mouth the words. Basically, this mode of communication has just turned in to a few clicks for editing the readily available drafts on the internet. Click, Click, Click….Send. That’s all it is to emails.

Now take a case of expressing via blog. It can be dramatic, it can be funny. It can be sarcastic, it can be punny. But it can also be a computerised software application with an ability to compose something, based on the information available on the internet itself. So, who am I typing for right now? Is it really Magali who is going to read the post. Is it really surwil who is going to comment on it. Are these real people who spring up in the form of number of page hits per day? Or am I living in the world of the Matrix?

The is uncertain. I do not feel anything when I try to communicate electronically. I remember the times when I had long conversations with my friends on the phone. There was a satisfaction of being alive with a person from a distance. But this mode of communicating seems to be made for people who are uncertain about their decisions and need to keep on using the delete button for editing. Blog, yes we can discount it, as some sort of composing is required to bring out our thoughts. But email, no its not personalised. It doesn’t reflect you fully.

We need to go back t the past. We need more personal communication to have a lively relations with others. This culture is not bad, but we need to restrict ourselves somewhere.

Dec 172009
 

“Do you take this video game character to be your wife?”  No not a wedding scene in some latest sci-fi movie. It has happened in the real world. A man named sal9000 married the love of his life in Japan. But its with a difference. The love of his life goes by the name Nene Anegasaki, and she lives inside Nintendo DS video game called as love plus.

Basically, love plus, is a dating sim, inline with the virtual pet created in Japan few years back. It has a behavioural pattern of a girlfriend, and the user can interact with the character in different ways. And interact in this way!! Marry!!! And with a promise not to leave her, even if the upgraded version comes in the market.

I have heard of wedding fires being lit on a plane and under the water. I have seen photos of the bride, the groom and the minister, hanging in mid air hundreds of feet above ground, and conducting the rituals. And I have read about lot more innovative ways of going about this marriage business. But this virtually is world apart. 

This man refuses to give out his real name, since he is afraid of jokes and insults, but then, his images have appeared on world television, and his marriage was broadcast live on the internet. So I guess, his family has already gifted him a honeymoon package. I am just concerned if he intends to bring about some form of life out of this union. If he manages, which side will it land, the real side or the virtual side.

You know people, I thought that the topics were drying up for my blog. But now I feel that there is enough foolery in this world to write about. So hoping to be back soon.

Hehehehe…… In Japan, of all the places!!

Dec 152009
 

I completed a trip couple of days back, to the Philippines. And was expecting a less developed nation as compared to India. Now, I do not know the condition of all the interior places of the mainland or all the islands, but I was surprised to see Manila to be as developed as some of our best cities. And I would rate it above our very own Mumbai. There seems to be an air of proper planning in the development that has been carried out in manila.

Before I left for Manila, I had a perception that I would be entering a very congested city with as much filth as Mumbai. It was the opposite. The roads seem to be properly planned, taking into consideration all the directions. The drivers there follow the rules strictly. A very interesting culture followed by taxi drivers is to paint their contact details in bold letters on the back, to rate their driving skills via SMS. And due to all this planning and implementation in place, it took me to reach from point A to point B in less than half the time as compared to Mumbai. Even while walking on the streets, I was amused to find that drivers give preference to the pedestrians on the road. Many times it happened so that I was waiting for the car to cross me so that I could cross the road. But the car driver slows down, stops bit further from me and we are in a deadlock of a non verbal “you first please”. And this deadlock would break with me moving first. And this is not for me alone, a foreigner in their land, but for all their countrymen too. Why can’t our city drivers be like this?

I saw lots of construction activity being going on, with an equal number of demolitions. But, never did the debris, particles or powder, go out of the boundary of the the demolished building. And the development activity doesn’t seem to hamper the normal daily activities of the people in the area. And I remembered the Metro rail project undertaken in Mumbai, or all the sky walks throughout our city. And I wonder, Where is our planning?

Last year, during sailing, I had Philippine crew working with me. So I was aware of the rate of their currency. It was around 55 Peso per US dollar, where as ours was rs. 48 per US dollar. At this moment theirs is 46 peso per dollar, where as India is still languishing at their previous years rate. So the peso has increased in strength by leaps. So I ask, what is holding us back?

Aren’t we supposed to the one of the faster developing nations of the world. So why is it that, all that was supposed to happen in our cities, seems to happen everywhere else except in India? Of course, infrastructure is not the only gauge of progress, and poverty eradication, education, food, clothing and shelter is of highest importance.

But all the steps taken by the concerned authorities, do not seem to reflect for the common people.

When I landed back at the Mumbai airport, I was greeted with not only long delays in landing and parking of the plane, but also and hour in line for the immigration clearance. And that was the most tiresome part of my travel.

Dec 132009
 

Though I am not a huge cricket fan, I manage to sit through the entire ordeal sometimes. Such was the day yesterday. I watched the match till India won, and rejoiced!!

No now I wake up in the morning, and on the front page of the times of India, it proclaims that the birthday boy was instrumental in the victory. And it amuses me. Whats so special about birthdays, that sportsmen manage to shine on these days? Of course, its a very happy day for that person, but is it the only day that theparticular sportsman can perform. I have always noticed the same thing with tendulker. A game coincides with his birthday, and he scores!!

Brilliant plan follows. As you all know, analysts and coaches for this game have struggled hard to find people who could make a winning combination. Left-right handed combinations, all rounders, hard hitters, fast bowlers(by fast I the word exclusively represents speed, not line, length or some brain behind the delivery), sloggers have all been tried out. You know what…they are blind to the fact. India has a huge population of cricket aspirents, and I am sure that the birthday calander would take up the entire 365 days of the years if noted for all these people. So, induct them all in the team, and combine the people with birthdays on the day of the game. And then we will have the most successful combination, and the no. 1 team for life.

Please note though, this can be successful in one day and the more shorter version of the game. For test cricket( for which I still keep high regards), It would be a faliure, since you cant have a birthday on all the five days, and the shine is limited to only one day for that person. Also no offense meant towards tendulker, sehwag, dravid etc, who have managed to shine few more times.

Dec 122009
 

So finally its here. The rise of machines. With too much of an advance in technology, and the help of few virus coders, we have managed bring to life, the fight in the virtual world. It seems like a scene straight out of the hollywood film, but its for real these time. According to reports bredo a malware trojan  disables zeus trojan preventing it from reinstalling at computer startup and gets complete control over the computer. Its like the territorial war fought by many of the forest animals, marking their territory.

And, we the computer users, are at the loosing side of these battle between the computer codes, written by human being. The day is not far, when these virus will start to think for themselves and become active in their virtual world, without any external need of intervention.

So guys,better start backing up your data. Doomsday is not far at this rate.

Dec 112009
 

A very recent incident. A person approached my aunt and informed her that a cheque has arrived in the name of her son which was of the value 25000 rs. He gave a well rehearsed explanation of what the cheque was for, and managed to convince my aunt. But the clause he put was, that rs. 3000 had to be paid in advance for processing the delivery of the cheque. Now, my aunt, who is uneducated, didn’t realise that this could be a con. And since no one was present at the house, she gave out the 3000 rs. without consulting anyone from neighbourhood.

As it can be guessed, she never saw the face of the cheque. The conman had disappeared, and also the 3000 rs.

This incident can happen with any one in India. Lots of cons are being devised and executed. It’s akin to the online lottery scams and the african bank agents who claim to have a huge fortune to be disposed off. These people visit the locality, and find out any kind of details of a poor victim, so that it may be helpful for them in their game. So it’s for us to educate the older people about such fooleries.

Please, my dear friends, it’s my request to make others aware of such incidents. Better still, if such a person approaches you any oor your relatives, it should be reported to the police immediately. And never, ever, give out any money or other documents to such people.

Dec 092009
 

It’s The Divided States of India. Yes, inline with the united states of america…..except in the opposite direction. We surely are heading for a change. First, we didn’t have any social, economical, political, international or any other issues to deal with, so various states thought of renaming their cities, heritage buildings etc.  Then since there weren’t any issues again, it came to the division of state. We got chattisgarh, uttranchal, jharkhand and now, it’s time for splitting the andhra cake. Lets ensure that both the parties get equal piece of the dish. If not, the judging monkeys can eat up the extra part to balance. And yes, there’s more to come. Vidharbha can be the next big cake.

Maybe, this is just for keeping the cartographers and wikipedia guys busy.

People!! Where are we heading? Can’t we see this as a clear sign of a few political controllers, holding the country for ramson? What are we gaining from these splits, except for a few more chairs for the ministers to carry out their scams(remember madhu koda? That was not long back, was it?)

We can link this events to the hijacking of the flight from India to Pakistan to Afghanisthan. They demanded the release of their compatriot, a terrorist languishing in Indian custody. But here, we have our our own people hijacking us.

“Life has thus come full circle: the state of Andhra Pradesh was carved out of the erstwhile Madras Principality in 1953 following a fast-unto-death of Potti Sreeramulu in 1952, another fast that has endangered the life of KCR is set to result in the state being split up. ”  This statement from the times of india is a real eye opener. I was unaware of the fact, but it surely informs us about the situation that the indian politics is.

Do you know the key for unlocking the solutions for this problems?

ELECTIONS!! Be smart when you vote.

Dec 052009
 

The discovery of coal, crude oil, natural gas and the research in their refinement processes was the most important factor contributing towards the progress of the industry and civilisation in the previous century. Without these discoveries, this high speed jet age wouldn’t have been possible. So, where are we heading? Is it going to be steep uphill for infinite amount of time? I don’t think so. Cause the non renewable sources of energy are fast depleting due to continuous abuse by mankind. Just analyse this. All these sources of energy are supposed to be existing since billions of years, but within a few centuries, these stocks have been reduced to very alarming levels. And the shift towards the renewable sources of energy is being researched and implemented by few nations.

But only few nations? What about the other countries which still depend largely on crude oil as an energy source? Take the case of India. With a very high demand of power, fueled its population, India is a very big consumer of non renewable energy resources. But there is no indication of any drastic measures being taken to shift to the non conventional energy sources. With a very long cost line, India can be one ahead in wind power and tidal power. Solar energy can be harnessed in a large scale as India has vast number of barren lands. With many rivers flowing through the interiors of the country, it can very well harness the hydro power by building dams.

But the only projects being launched in India are coal, oil or gas based ones. As the price of this commodities keep on going higher due to huge demand, the cost per unit of power is bound to go high. So how can the very large percentage of people who are classified as below poverty line, afford there power needs?

Of course its difficult to make a sudden shift due to cost and efficiency factors. But initiatives have to be taken to prepare ourselves for the known. And we, the consumers, can contribute towards the delay of the foreseen exhaustion, but being a responsible citizens and consume as less power as possible.

Dec 042009
 

It was really an unfortunate incident, in which a women died in a lathi charge during the recent protest against the water cut in Mumbai. I feel that it was bit harsh to take such action against the people demanding their rights. Mumbai has been reeling under water shortage for quite a few years now and the situation doesn’t seem to brighten up. There are no specific undertakings by the state governing body, for proper utilisation and storage of water. Neither are the bits and pieces initiatives taken up by various non government organisations enough for the ever expanding population of the ‘city of dreams’.

Mumbai has seen quite a lot of development at an alarming rate, without the provision for the basic necessities of mankind. The lakes serving the city have never been increased in capacity. But an increase in capacity would mean reduction in real estate, which fills up the pockets of our elected representatives. And no matter whatever directives come out from our administrators, implementation is always an issue. I could go on lengths on the subject of implementation in India, but it wouldn’t serve the purpose.

Its time for citizens to act responsibly. Housing societies could take up initiative to harvest rain water during our diminishing monsoon, water,  which normally flows in to our ever filthy sewer and back to sea, without serving its purpose. Few societies have already implemented such projects with very good results. And also with reduction of water bills. Also citizens should start being responsible while using water. I come across many incidents of taps being kept open and water running( may by mistake). This sums up to the more water bills, water wastage and consequently,water shortage. Its in our hand to save ourselves from the troubles. Remember, a human being can live on water alone for about 2 months, but cannot survive without water for more than 3 days.

Dec 022009
 

This incident occurred few years back. It was some days after the mumbai train serial blasts. I was travelling back home from a particular station on harbour line, and since there was enough time for the train to arrive I decided to sit down on a bench. I saw one man and a big bag next to him and when I approached him with a request to move his bag to make space for me, I was shocked by his response. He said that he didn’t know whose bag it was. This person has been sitting near an unidentified, unclaimed object without any fear for his life, and this just a couple of days after the serial blasts. It was not worth arguing with this person so I approached a constable posted at that platform. The constable came along with me to review the situation. And gave me another shock, second within the span of 2 minutes. Without following any proper precautionary measures, he just opened the bag to check the belongings. I immediately moved at a safe distance, since I was young and wanted to live a longer life.

It turned out to be a bag full of books, belonging to a school boy, who came running from the railway canteen after seeing a policeman fiddling with his his bag. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

But what about the responsibilities of the citizen? Aren’t they supposed to inform about unclaimed suspicious objects? What about the procedures? Wasn’t the policeman not supposed to touch it as he was not equipped to handle the situation?

It seems that we have a habit of getting back to square one. Don’t blame the terrorist for another attack/blast. Its their job, a profession that they have taken up. It for us citizens to be cautious.

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