Monday, September 20, 2010

Rohan Misra invited you to Dropbox

Rohan Misra wants you to use Dropbox to sync and share files online and across computers.

Get started here.

- The Dropbox Team

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Taramati: The Legend of an Artist

Recently I had the opportunity to witness a performance of that oft-mentioned Hyderabadi play; Taramati: the legend of an Artist. After reading about it far too many times in the papers, I thought what the hell, may as well check it out.

The play relates a rather romanticized (ie, questionable) version of the tale of Taramati and her affairs with the penultimate Qutub Shahi king, Abdullah. The play itself was OK... I didn't really care for the performances, good though they were. The language was high falutin Urdu, even for me. Which bothered me: Why use north Indian style Urdu in a play about the birth of Hyderabadi tehzeeb? Hyderabadi Urdu, or Dakkani, is as ancient as the northern variant, and a literary language for longer. So it would seem logical to employ Dakkani here, would it not? Intelligibility for a wider audience certainly wasn't a consideration, that's for sure.

P.S: My posts will probably be bite sized for a while now... I blame my short attention span on Web 2.0.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Return

Finally after far too long, I have decided to return to the blogsphere. Hopefully it shall be far more regular than the past many months.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Armchair cultural studies: Mortality and the search for 'something real'

Yesterday night, as I was settling in to an hour's commute back, I spotted a crowd on the opposite side of the road. Curious, I peered out the window.

Through the throng of people, I noticed a pair of legs on the road, uncomfortably angled. Sneakers and jeans, just like me. He must be face down on the road, and wasn't moving. I couldn't make out any blood on the road, in that sodium street light. It took a moment to realise what had happened, just as I heard someone say, "Oh my God!". I searched the faces of the crowd, looking for an identifiable expression. There was fear, but something else... what it was, I don't know.

The rest of the night I thought about death, and what it meant. This post is not about that.

There I was, a well meaning idiot, recycling some artificial ideas about anxiety that I had taken on for no good reason.

My anxiety was about my own speculative mortality, not about anything
resembling actual experience with mortality, which is something that the majority of young people in my social segment don't experience. Just
those pangs of "OMG, I'm, like, 25, maybe I'm not going to live
forever? Whatever, off to the gym!"

Odd, in a sense, that my generation has to force itself to feel anything akin to real emotions. We watch soppy movies over and over again, give ourselves an imaginary pat on the back for being so sensitive and kind, yet would shirk the idea of hugging a friend who's hurting inside. The kid on the street with tears running down his grimy face and torn t shirt gets a "Chalte bano!" and a retort of "It's all a scam!".

I would say more, but hey, whatever, I'm off to the gym!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deus ex Machina

It's done. The end of the Harry Potter saga. Whatever you may make of the Potter mania that swept the globe, Harry Potter is Harry Potter. There is no doubting the permanent effect it has had on the popular imagination.

I have personally been a Potterhead for the past 6 years. Coming as I did from from a LotR background, I found Potter relatively childish... still, there is something to be said for the breathless pacing and whodunnit format.

Now that the entire Potter saga lays bare before us, there are things that strike me as odd. JKR had always seemingly maintained a coherent narrative, and her constant utilization of the Chekhov's gun and foreshadowing, provided ample ground for conspiracy theories. I am not ashamed to admit I have read a good number of those theories :) (for a while after HBP came out, was on my bookmarks). Now that we finally know, where do the conspiracy theories stand, and what of the book that everyone had waited for?

For those that haven't read the book, beware..... for here there be spoilers!!

You've been warned. Proceed at your own risk.

Now that I have had sufficient time to absorb and soak in Potter 7, I must say I am disappointed by certain aspects of the core narrative. One thing that I appreciated about JKR's writing was adherence to the internal logic of the Potter-verse. Previously held beliefs may be modified by new information, but they were not outright violated, as I feel has happened in this book.

Take, for instance, the matter of the Elder wand. The facts, as they stand:

1. Wandlore has it that a wand chooses it's master.
2. A wizard can bend a vanquished opponent's wand to their will.
3. Ollivander points out that murder is not the only way to defeat an opponent.

Given these facts, Harry's statement that he is the Master of the Elder Wand seems plausible. However, it seems contrary to the internal logic of the Potter-verse. As Potter claims, since Draco disarmed Dumbledore, mastery of the Elder Wand passed to him. Draco was subsequently defeated by Potter, and his original wand taken. However, does this imply that the Elder Wand, which Draco had never touched, also passed to Potter in that moment? It's seems counterintuitive.

If an expelliarmus/stunning/body binding spell was enough to vanquish someone, then the entire DA should have lost mastery over their wands (since they practiced against each other), Harry included. However, this seems not to be the case. Then how does it hold good in the case of Harry and Draco? It might be said that since the DA members didn't try to claim the wands, they were not truly vanquished. In that case, then Draco shouldn't be Master of the Elder wand either, since he is never consciously aware of it.

Which brings me to another matter. Why should Voldermort's final AK spell fail? Many people believe this is because Harry actively blocks the spell, and since he is master of the Elder Wand, it refuses to kill him. Well, as we know, nothing can block an AK... nothing. Certainly not an expelliarmus. As for the Elder Wand refusing to kill it's true master, it certainly had no problem casting a full blown AK at him just an hour prior, in the forest. The fact that it kills Voldy's horcrux is a different matter... but the AK itself was fully formed.

I do not imply these are loopholes. An author of JKR's calibre and formidable backing (ie, dozens of editors), will not make such obviously glaring plot holes. If anything, I consider these to be serious deviations from the magical lore established in the previous books... deviations that will be explained away, I'm sure. If anything, I applaud JKR for inflaming the passion of her fans yet again, one way or another.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

Potter update