Monday 29 December 2014

What did you read in 2014?

This is just for fun, and completely random, but I think we can get some interesting insights together. No, I can't track you and steal all your personal information (this is a Google Drive form, so maybe Google can), but if you prefer, you can take this poll in its own page, here.

Saturday 27 December 2014

Jo mera hai, woh mera hai

Hello. This is Cartel, one of those lovely companies who came into the electricity-providing business when the government opened it up to the private sector.

When we started out, all of you were using incandescent bulbs and tube lights and stuff like that. Achche Din, right?

Now many of you are using power-saving CFL bulbs and even LED bulbs. This has cut into our revenue.

Yeah, yeah, sure, you're also using our electricity a whole lot more because now there are so many more electricity-powered devices available, but basically we resent you terribly for being subversive and using our bijli less for lighting. So, henceforth we will be charging you more money to provide power to your other devices, like ACs, TVs, computers, cellphones, electric vehicles and suchlike, to make up for what we're losing to the advance of technology, which we hadn't really accounted for in our business plan. Who knew, right?

How do we know what you're using the power for? Well, let's just say we have ways of looking into your home and seeing what's, heh, charging.

Why? Heck, because we can.

Written for Nikhil Pahwa, who is out there leading the good fight.

Thursday 25 December 2014

The #GoodGovernanceDay Hymnal & Songbook

Carols for the fat man with the white beard

मेरी Good Governance Day!

Christianity, mitron, has often appropriated festivals and celebrations from other religions. The Christmas tree, the Yule log, mistletoe (and that debauched custom of kissing under it) all have origins in pre-Christian times and pagan customs. Even this so-called Christmas day was conveniently shifted to coincide with the Winter Solstice to make it easier to lure in followers of other religions.

Now that we are doing a bit of Ghar Wapasi for the 25th December, as a former Christian and devout believer in and proselytiser of Good Governance, I present for your singing pleasure a few songs I, ahem, 'converted' from their previous use. Perfect for chanting around a pile of burning books.


Jingalala! Bail! Jingalala! Bail!
I got out of jail!
O what fun it is to be
Pals with India's leading male!


Silence! We're the Right
Stay calm, sit tight
Curfew time for mother and child
No going out, the night is wild

Sleep in, we'll keep the peace,
Sleep in, we'll keep the peace

Silent night, no not quite
Safe for you to go out tonight
Chow mien has been stuffed down faces
So, no, the night for you has no place

Stay home, cook, & give birth
Stay home, cook, & give birth


Hark the herald Sanghis tweet
"Glory to the Virgin King!
Peace on earth? Only my child
If Ghar Wapasi pleas are filed"

Joyful, all ye nations rise
In from India Modi flies
While the NRI hosts proclaim:
His undying glorious fame

Hark! The hired Tweeters sing
"Glory to the Virgin King!"
By the VHP adored
And by all who can afford
To have him use their private planes
Achche dins will fall like rain!

56 inches round is he
Custom-made is his finery
Pleased to watch that tummy swell!
No sorry, that's his chest that fell.

Hark the hired Sanghis tweet!
Then off to Burger King to eat!


Deck the halls with balls of haldi,
Fa la la la la, la la. Aila!

Clear out all western baggage jaldi
Fa la la la la, la la. Aila!

Don we now saffron apparel,
Fa la la la la, la la. Aila!

Trolls are here with you to quarrel,
Fa la la la la, la la. Aila!

Choose: against us or are you for us?
Fa la la la la, la la. Aila!

What western culture is this chorus?
Fa la la la la, la la. Aila!

Follow me! Your RTs are treasure,
Fa la la la la, la la. Aila!

They give me all kinds of pleasure,
Fa la la la la, la la. Aila!

Ancient culture for our masses
Fa la la la la, la la. Aila!

Never mind if it's anti the lasses
Fa la la la la, la la. Aila!

Sing, you yoyos, all together,
Fa la la la la, la la. Aila!

While I tuck in to my headband a feather,
Fa la la la la, la la. Aila!


Godse rest ye, mere gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Good Governance
Was born on 26 May
To save us all from Western powers
Such as this Christmas Day

O tweetings of comfort and joy,
(It does not cloy!)
O tweetings of comfort and joy

For three score years and seven
This country had not known
The joys of being governed
And not by a Kangressi pawn
But now, mitron, I am here
Give thanks that I was born!

O tweetings of comfort and joy,
(It's a boy!)
O tweetings of comfort and joy

Watch us wield our jaadus now
In the TV camera's frame
So that tonight at nine pee em
Arnab can say our names
Never mind that we're sweeping up
Pre-arranged garbage for fame

O tweetings of comfort and joy,
(It's a PR ploy!)
O tweetings of comfort and joy

"Fear not" said the party head,
"I got you in my sights,
I got info on your foes
Enough to give them frights
They'll soon sing the party line
If they know what for them's right"

O tweetings of comfort and joy,
(Don't be coy!)
O tweetings of comfort and joy

The NRI fans at those tidings
Rejoiced as do their kind,
By abusing all the sickulars
And libtards they could find
Though strangely very few returned
To the land they left behind

O tweetings of comfort and joy,
(Green card joy!)
O tweetings of comfort and joy

And when they came to New Delhi
Where our dear Saviour stays,
They found him not in the Lok Sabha
Though you may remember the day
When he knelt down and kissed its steps
The 20th day of May?

O tweetings of comfort and joy,
(MPs annnoy!)
O tweetings of comfort and joy

To our chief we sing praises,
Bless his bearded face,
We the insecure brotherhood
Are right here in your face;
He may call it governance
We call it running the place

O tweetings of comfort and joy,
(We love our toys!)
O tweetings of comfort and joy


Jai to the World, #SwacchBharat has come!
Let no one be shirking!
Let every hearth prepare their brooms,
Cameras are looking,
Cameras are looking,
News TV cameras are looking!

Jai to the World, soc'l media reigns!
Let pee aar firms employ
Benched geeks and jocks to shill and 'splain
Retweet the sounding joy,
Retweet the sounding joy,
Retweet, retweet the sounding joy.

You love the words, and I have more!
Lots more, so hang around!
Good Gov'nance Day is my next play
I really like the sound,
I really like the sound,
I like, I like, I like the sound.

He trolls the world, with a straight face,
Though he is yet to prove
That he can do the things he says,
We drink the Kool Aid, Love,
We drink the Kool Aid, Love,
We drink, we drink the Kool Aid, Love

Friday 19 December 2014


9 years and 51 weeks ago, I was a part of something that changed my life in many ways. The TsunamiHelp blog.

It broke me, in some ways, re-made me in others. And it taught me so much. Not least about collaboration and collective goodwill. It lead to a certain amount of visibility (and I struggled with my feelings about that) and to, in some circles, being seen as an authority, almost, about things I had muddled through. It taught me a whole lot about the limits of my knowledge.

But most of all, it made me some friends who are close even today, despite me never having met some of them. It's a bond that will always be linked in my mind to that overwhelming tragedy, the South-East Asia earthquake and tsunami. So it feels, in a way, wrong to be grateful for those friendships. But I am, I am. I will never regret Megha, Bala Pitchandi, Dina Mehta, Neha Viswanathan coming into my life.

There were so many others, of course, who were part of that effort. Some drifted away, for one reason or another. Like Rohit Gupta, who, nevertheless, I remember only with fondness and admiration. Another special place is reserved always for Sanjaya Senanayake who died earlier this year. He and his friends in Sri Lanka brought home to us so much of the grimness of that disaster. Though I never got to know them as well, seeing Angelo Embuldeniya, Constantin Basturea, Nancy Bohrer, Taran Rampersad, Pim Techamuanvivit, Maitri Irwin, Rudi Cilibrasi, Anna Lissa Cruz, Balaji Bondili and others pop up in my social media feeds always makes me smile.

Then there were Ryze and blog friends who were part of it (some I knew from before and got to know better): Nandini Chopra,Amit Varma, Dilip D'Souza,Priyanka Joseph, Samit Basu, Jai Arjun Singh, Annie Zaidi, and so, so many others. There were more than 200 people collaborating on that project. Andy Carvin said, a little while ago, that in it were the roots of other projects, other disaster relief efforts that used online power. Google's People Finder, for instance. The methods we used are outdated now. They were outdated by even 2005, when other disasters struck and people evolved fresh approaches that worked more smoothly, used tech better, were more effective. And it continues to evolve, continues to improve. Case in point: the wonderful efforts, first in Kashmir, then the North-East and Andhra, of what has now become VOICE - incrisisrelief.