Monday, 30 April 2007


Yesterday marked the 100th edition of our TOI column, Mousetrap. Next week will make two years since the first one. A sense of satisfaction pervades. That's a longer stay than with any of our SOs, and more time spent than in all but one job (and that one was eight years).


Indulge yourself with some Hot Library Smut. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Rukavat ke liye khed hai

Regular visitors to this blog will note that posts and comments since end-January have disappeared. Nope, this is not us having a hissy fit or going off the deep end or abandoning blogging altogether (so put back those balloons and party hats and nisemakers).

We have been having Problems With Blogger.

We just put it all down in a post on our test blog, for anyone who cares, but mainly to vent a bit.

For reasons outlined at the end of that post, we will continue to post there for a bit, and leave this one undisturbed for Blogger's geeks to—hopefully—figure out.

Inconvenience, if any, is regretted.

Friday, 20 April 2007

You could try explaining Web 2.0..

..or you could save much breath by just showing your Grandparent / Significant Other / Boss / Friendly Neighbourhood Luddite the final version of Michael Wesch's The Machine is Us/ing Us

P.S. Higher quality versions available for download:
Windows Media File (55 MB)
Quicktime File (96 MB)
Mojiti Version (for comments, translations, etc.)

Tried to post this ages ago, but was stymied by my Old Blogger / New Blogger woes. Pre-dating it to the time I tried to post, originally.


A lovely example of a story told without words, through some very simple animation. It has everything. Won't spoil it for you by telling you more.

Aside: Spent ages hunting, fruitlessly—or bootlessly, if you prefer—for this on YouTube after a pal old us about it. You see, we searched for 'emu.' Gah.

This post got lost in the upgrade. Pre-dating it to the day we originally posted.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Shakti Bhatt

Shocked and deeply saddened to hear about Shakti Bhatt's passing away. I can't claim to have known her well; but I know many people who knew her, and had heard of her often, all nice things.

I met her just once, at the Kitab Festival in February, where I got to thank her for releasing our book at the Jaipur Literature Festival in January, and for a workshop she, Jeet Thayil, her husband, and Nilanjana, conducted for Caferati Delhi. At Kitab, we shared a light at the Prithvi Cafe, and talked of this and that, and the impression I filed away was of a hugely intelligent, vibrant, cheeerful person. Later, at the dinner, I joined her, Jeet, and a couple of other friends and chatted a bit. I have been an admirer of Jeet's writing from the days that he was a columnist for a Bombay paper, so it was a pleasure to meet him; Shakti said charming, encouraging things about the stuff we—Caferati—were doing. Meeting them was pretty much the best thing about Kitab for me, and I was looking forward to strengthening the acquaintance when I next visited Delhi..

My thoughts are with Jeet, and the family.

Jai Arjun Singh. Nisha Susan. Lesley Esteves. Amitava Kumar. Arun Venugopal on SAJA. Nilanjana. Ossian at the Willesden Herald.

Update: You can leave your memories of Shakti here, and read remembrances by others here.

And another financial year starts. Happy, happy, etcetera.

Two April 1st offerings from Google. Gmail Paper, and Google TiSP. Enjoy.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Jones, keeping up with

Terry Jones, actor and Python over at the Guardian's Comment Is Free blog.
I share the outrage expressed in the British press over the treatment of our naval personnel accused by Iran of illegally entering their waters. It is a disgrace. We would never dream of treating captives like this - allowing them to smoke cigarettes, for example, even though it has been proven that smoking kills. And as for compelling poor servicewoman Faye Turney to wear a black headscarf, and then allowing the picture to be posted around the world - have the Iranians no concept of civilised behaviour? For God's sake, what's wrong with putting a bag over her head? That's what we do with the Muslims we capture: we put bags over their heads, so it's hard to breathe. Then it's perfectly acceptable to take photographs of them and circulate them to the press because the captives can't be recognised and humiliated in the way these unfortunate British service people are.
read the rest of Call that humiliation?

See also Ronan Bennett's piece in the Guardian, A Peculiar Outrage
It's right that the government and media should be concerned about the treatment the 15 captured marines and sailors are receiving in Iran. Faye Turney's letters bear the marks of coercion, while parading the prisoners in front of TV cameras was demeaning. But the outrage expressed by ministers and leader writers is curious given the recent record of the "coalition of the willing" on the way it deals with prisoners.

Turney may have been "forced to wear the hijab", as the Daily Mail noted with fury, but so far as we know she has not been forced into an orange jumpsuit. Her comrades have not been shackled, blindfolded, forced into excruciating physical contortions for long periods, or denied liquids and food. As far as we know they have not had the Bible spat on, torn up or urinated on in front of their faces. They have not had electrodes attached to their genitals or been set on by attack dogs.