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Monday, 25 December 2017

Of News and Other Stuff S02 E05


  • I can't seem to lie to younger people about the supposed lameness of the work they (we) do. Which must be a problem if I want to rise up the ladder. So much of our work depends on morale after all, and inspiring people to carry on with the necessary drudgery.
  • I am sick and tired of the development sector positing women's empowerment as necessary to advance overall development goals. Increase women's participation in the workforce for greater economic growth. Provide women with nutrition/ education because feeding/ educating the woman means feeding/ educating the entire family. Play on the family's overarching concern about the women's izzat to further sanitation goals. Gender equality is important because it's a 'smart development strategy' (World Bank Gender Strategy, 2016-23). It's annoying that the welfare of half of the world's population only matters to the extent that it benefits 'everyone'. And by everyone, I definitely mean men.
  • There is an actual World Bank guidance note that puts it out there that construction workers are young males and labour influx on account of new investment projects can lead to inappropriate and criminal behaviour from these men against local women and girls. See here. There does not seem to be any associated evidence given in favour of such a position.
  • There is an Indian task fulfillment app called Dunzo, and is currently being supported by Google to raise funding. I am proud that a presumably lazy person with a love for Parks and Rec is doing so well. 

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Musings @ 3 am


  • I am 95% sure I hate my job.
  • Cold Thai curry tastes just as good as hot Thai curry.
  • I remember all the lyrics of the songs from Rang De Basanti.
  • SRK in Swades is my all-time favourite SRK. SRK in Main Hoon Na is my all time favourite SRK film.
  • I can't believe the kind of crap SRK pulls now. Vis-a-vis what he is capable of.
  • To be fair, Aamir is apparently still doing good movies. But I seem to have lost interest in him too.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

News and other Stuff S02 E04

The universally disliked role model? Yup, total bitch.
Still want to be like her though.

The government has asked TV channels to not show condom ads because they are apparently indecent and can lead to...'unhealthy practices' among children. Like safe sex?

When do upper caste people realise their privilege? Does it happen when their national dailies announce that courts are still handing out death sentences to people still killing their son in laws for being dalit and falling in love with girls who are not Dalit?

I have no idea what is happening on Padmavati. But you can't be hopeful when a sitting CM says that a film is not worth the trouble if it hurts the sentiments of a caste.
The only thing that surprises me in this case is my continued flare up of anger at this attitude towards freedom of expression. It also kind of ensures I will watch the movie, bad trailer or not.

Our policy making is now being influenced by private/religious foundations with the NITI Aayog pursuing Sadhguru's agenda of river revival. Which in this case seems inoffensive, even as the precedent may be worrying.

I was reading through what I thought was the Hindu, but was almost taken aback by the editorialising (and the terrible writing style). Of course, that's when I bothered to look at the masthead. What else, but the Times of India?

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Catching Up

(Mainly because I need to get this out of the system before being able to concentrate on what I should be doing).


  • Creative people can be assholes. Even to people who are consistently reasonable with them. Sometimes snapping back can help.
  • Sri Lankans, even those working in innocuous think tanks, have terrible work lives - sometimes worse than corporate Indians.
  • My current role model is a universally disliked person.
  • Adulting can be fatal. Though it's difficult to say why. I mean sure, we seem to work on 24x7 schedules, but previous generations had it worse in some senses. Like when was the last time you stood in a queue for anything? 
  • It was this morning for me, at the post-office but the reason behind that was my own adulting fails. Point is, I am currently probably suffering the worst of both worlds and this may be my last post ever. 
  • Yes, I have a love for drama.
  • And death.
  • What I felt at the post office today was probably similar to what the elderly feel when looking at snazzy technology - utterly lost (which is also how I feel when looking at snazzy technology but that's not the point here). I gawked like a child at the placards on the counters, had to ask for directions thrice (twice for the speed post counter, and once for buying stationery), and asked dumb questions like 'Do I need extra stamps to send a speed-post?', 'The envelope has to be sealed?' and 'Is this glue?'
  • I also snarked at a middle aged lady for breaking the queue, and then asked her for help translating the post-office staff's Tamil.
  • Which is probably exactly what my current role model would do. So #win.
  • Talking of adulting failures, I took out the trash today out of my room, after 1.5 weeks, and only because I could beginning to smell it.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Sometimes I think I lose sight of what is important.

I am willing to worry myself sick about my 'technical expertise' (or lack thereof) in one sector, the outcome of one project, or even worse, one fucking A&M, but I rarely, if ever, take a step back to see where I currently am.

I have pretty much lucked into a profession that seems tailored to my interests - I get to travel, meet people and hear their problems, and try to solve them. Sometimes I get to write about their problems and my solutions. If I were in college (not younger, because then I just wanted to get an MBA and earn pots of money and read books), I would give my left arm trying to be here.

Hence, from today, I'm going to try and see the big picture. Read about development stories of the world (and not just skim through the headlines in India), and understand how they can be solved, if at all (I am still me, after all).

What am I not going to worry about? The rest - colours of the PPT, the hours I am working, the hours other people are working, R or Kobo...the small stuff.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Of News and Other Stuff S2 E03

  • There is a new diplomatic coalition in town, which as always, will achieve nothing but the chance for our diplomats to say nothing while using lots of words. However, I was intrigued by the name 'Quad', since they claim that's the shape that forms if imaginary lines were to be used to join the four countries a part of it: US, India, Japan and Australia. But really, this is quite unimaginative, because a quadrilateral is essentially any four sided figure. The shape that is actually formed is below -

Which reminded me of something that absolutely, resolutely, was the golden standard of all creativity. Namely this:

  • Reetika Khera makes some good points about why Aadhar Based Biometric Authentication (ABBA) must go. Coincidentally, I have been reading up on these issues lately, and it is surprising to see the unabashedly positive coverage it gets in development literature. I would probably be ashamed to be a development professional, if I had any professional pride in the first place.
  • I need a cobot too.


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Of News and Other Stuff Season 2 E02

  • Why does the domestic airport at Delhi offer Chai latte? Are we are now fetishising our own culture?
  • Today's Hindu talks about PM Modi visiting Karunanidhi and Chennai, signifying that the latter is not a 'political untouchable'. Weirdly, the only political aspect I find interesting in the piece is the use of the word untouchable. 
  • Apparently the Kerala govt. wants the use of words like Harijan (and Dalit) to stop in official communication, preferring the more prosaic 'Scheduled Caste'. Am I the only one who feels it's weird that Harijan was used in the first place, given that even the Supreme Court  ruled that the term was abusive, around seven months ago? 
  • I should do a new version of this post. Except now it will be called 'You know you are in advancing age when...'. The main symptom of my advancing age is how I abruptly stop engaging when people starting throwing out words like big data, digital, nano-technology, artificial intelligence and the like.
  • I wonder what kind of awkward silence will ensue if a content developer on KBC formulates a quiz question on 'Which of the following names is common to the Panama and Paradise Papers?'...