Tata Docomo: 2+ Years, Benefits going, Network still missing

I bought a Tata Docomo connection the day it was launched in Bangalore. And probably in India as well, which makes me one of the first few thousand customers of Docomo. On that day, there was no reason not to buy it and since I had an extra phone, I went ahead and put the SIM on my secondary phone. And so lovely were the plans of Docomo that within a week, my Airtel SIM was on the secondary phone, and in almost two months, every provider was counting the benefits of one second pulse. And probably that’s the reason I love DoCoMo, besides because it’s a Tata thing.

At that time, Docomo was good mainly because of its plans. The network was not too great, but it was as good as one could expect from a company just launched. It was not there in basements, lifts, remote areas and in some buildings, for example Manipal Hospital was one place where it wasn’t there in almost half the places inside the building.

But things were manageable and with the speed Docomo was putting their towers, I had expected that maximum within a year they’d have network as good as Airtel or Vodafone.

Guess I was wrong.
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Jangalnama by Satnam: Book Review (English, 2010)

I had just read Hello Bastar and once I had finished the book in a day, I wanted to know more. I got the reference to Satnam’s Jangalnama in Hello Bastar only and I decided to read this as well since I had hardly read a thing about the Maoists and what was happening in their area before this.

And so, one month back, I ordered the book from Flipkart and started reading it some two days after it arrived.

The book in the beginning was something very interesting. While Rahul’s book had been very well designed, this was not going to be that way. This was a travelogue, and as I read what went like a diary, I could almost see things as they were happening as Satnam gives quite descriptive a picture right from how he entered the Jungle.

As the book progressed, I found a lot of interesting things, about Guerillas, and more than that, about tribals in the area. This included facts like the tribals there did not drink milk and didn’t even eat eggs, or what they understood, chickens waiting to be hatched, and also details about development done by the guerillas with the tribals’ help inside the forests.

Of course, the book talks about the problems tribals and guerillas face there, especially the harrassment of the tribals by the outside world. I knew that things were bad there, but only after reading the book I was able to understand the scarcity of the very basic necessities of life. You might have heard that common sense is not common, but the book told me that in those places, even common salt was not common.

To tell the truth, even after reading such a well researched and designed book as Hello Bastar, I found Jangalnama interesting, except for a few negatives. One, the book starts getting a bit repetitive towards the end as the things author finds there are more or less the same with a few changes, throughout his journey and hence throughout the book. Two, the original book, the one in Punjabi, was written in 2003 and has things seen in 2002, not in the recent times.

But still, the book gives you a good insight into an unknown land and its unknown people, who we hardly acknowledge as our own. So if you’re interested in the topic, go for the book.

Aarakshan: Biased? Anti-Dalit? Anti-Anti-Dalit?

Prakash Jha is a master filmmaker. I mean, fine, he was into some advertising in here and had Star News, Tata Photon and what not in the time when he talks of Mandal Commission and introduction of 27% reservation, but he comes up with a good movie on a sensitive issue and manages to keep it almost as unbiased as it is possible, and gives views of both the sides.

But then, the movie has some anti-dalit dialogs that come from the alleged upper caste people. And again, I would say that Jha has handled things very carefully here because while it’s not possible to make a good movie on the subject without including at least some such dialogs, he has put the counter-views in the same place to keep the balance.

The interesting thing here is that while the villain here are clearly politicians and businessmen who try to get their own profits out of every policy, Jha has shown the plight of everyone who becomes a victim. While on one hand he explains the problems of ‘dissimilar start line in race’ very clearly, he also shows the pain of an upper caste peon’s son who could not make it to the college of his choice because of reservation.

And then, there is his hero who does not want to believe in caste, does not believe in untouchability in the least bit, but asks his ‘Pandit’ peon not to touch his feet saying he’d be a sinner if the peon does that, even though not seriously. But most important of it all, his hero believes that he as a teacher should be above caste etc. but gives free education to those who are less affluent and do not have ‘equal’ means, irrespective of caste, and on the same ground he personally supports reservations so that everyone can rise.

So, in a way, the movie can be called pro-dalit, or anti-anti-dalit as it goes against those who are anti-dalit, but it can not be termed as anti-upper caste. Calling it anti-dalit is not even a possibility, even with the presence of a few anti-dalit dialogs in the beginning of the movie, because while Jha has tried to show the problems and emotions of everyone, including a mother who thinks a rule that goes against her child’s life/career is wrong. Yes, she sounds biased, or rather is biased, but she is true too. And towards the end, he has tried to give a solution as well, though it is not too practically applicable at a large scale and which needs highly selfless politicians which looks next to impossible today.

But overall, I’d say that the movie is almost as good as it could be. And while watching the movie, at some point I was feeling that Amitabh was right in asking Rajdeep Sardesai to watch the movie and then comment, especially in view of the former’s own character in the movie.

(Views expressed here are my personal views about the movie and do not endorse any political or other agenda)

Hello Bastar (Rahul Pandita): Book Review

Till yesterday, I hardly knew a thing about the Maoist movement in India. Except for the number of Police men and people killed by them, and a few articles here and there which could only tell, at best, that the other side of story wasn’t being shown, something quite obvious.

But then, while reading Rahul Pandita‘s blog ‘Sanity Sucks‘ a few days ago (I don’t remember how I came across the blog, but it was recently only, when I read Rahul’s post about Hemchandra), I came to know about his book called Hello Bastar.

And something inside me, probably the curiosity to know the ‘other side’ of the story (add to that my recent obsession with Flipkart), made me order the book instantly. Two days ago I got the book, and Tuesday morning I started reading the book while on the road to office. On the journey back home I read again, and then kept reading through the evening, to 1:45 AM, when I turned the last page of the book.

I think even the story says something about the book. I do not say that it’s a book you can’t put back once started, but if you are interested in the topic and want to know, the book can be easily finished in a reading, that interesting it is.

As for the Author, I would first like to praise him for the research he seems to have done for the project and then for coming out with the book. I cannot decide which of the two needs more guts.

About the book, the first thing I would like to say is that it’s the outcome of some real hard work, and the research done for the book is extensive. The author has not only gone to the areas and interviewed people, but has also got their pictures, and more than that their experiences, which cannot come without a sincere understanding and rapport.

At the same time, Rahul has clearly written about the agendas of the the Maoists, including the ‘Urban Agenda’ that, according to the book, they plan to follow. I am still trying to understand how the Maoists have opened so much of their plans, even though just in shapes of basic ideas, to the Author.

As for the other side of the story, Rahul hasn’t really written a lot. Except for a few small incidents and the ‘big’ incident, the attack in which 75 CRPF personnel were killed, not much is talked about. This may be taken as a negative of the book, but then where state is giving us all the details about the other side of the story anyway, there is not really such a need to write about the state’s side of the story in detail.

Now, I don’t think this is part of the book review anyway, but in case you are interested, a line from the book even expresses my thoughts about the Maoists plans. The last line of the chapter Urban Agenda says, “It may sound like a far cry, but it’s not as far as the government thinks it is.”

To end the review, I have just one thing to say. If you’re interested in the topic, read the book. And if you don’t have any interest in this, develop some. After all, it’s about our own country.

You can buy the book from Flipkart on some good discount HERE.

iBangalorean: In-City, Out-Law

Petrol prices are up. So are fares of buses, and cabs, and autos. Well, bus fares have gone Rs 1 up on every ticket, be it Rs 3 or Rs 11. Not a very good ratio but still OK. Cabs have raised their fares too. And now the autowallahs also are trying to get the price raised, and frankly, I do not mind if they do get that, if only they were charging meter fares.
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Making the Rupee Symbol

The new Rupee Symbol is launched, but then there is no rupee Symbol in the computers or anywhere else. Making this symbol is quite easy. But then how to make it on computer is a problem unsolved. Still, we have a way to make a picture of the symbol quite close to the original one and that one’s pretty simple.

To make the Rupee symbol, simply go to Google transliterate and Switch it to Hindi. Now type R and press Enter/Space key. Now you can see a Hindi ‘ra.’ Copy this, open MS Paint or any similar software, go to add text box and paste it there. Now you can change the size and color of your Rupee symbol to be. The rest you have to do is, draw a line parallel to the top line just below it. Make sure the thickness of the lines is same and the distance between the two lines is almost the same as the thickness of the lines.

Here you get what looks almost like the Rupee Symbol. What is actually different here is that the actual symbol is a bit more curvy and goes less up in the middle. If you have patience, you can try some other fonts like Agra Thin (available here) and follow the same technique to get an even better result.

Rajneeti: Review

When i was in school and we were asked to write essays on our favourite books i always wrote Mahabharata. There is a saying in Bengali :”Ja nei bharate, ta nei bharate” which means anything that did not find a place in the great epic, does not exist in India. Politics forms the crux of the epic. Dynastic politics, feud over property, power tussle between blood relations make each page of the greatest story ever told so gripping. But an adaptation of the same with Indian electoral politics as the backdrop fails to impress much. Specially so because this film comes from the kitty of Prakash Jha (who had raised the bar of film making with Gangajal). Had Karan Johar made this film i would have been all praises (like i was in MNIK; that film was pathetic too). Rajneeti works because Mahabharata works.

I will not go into the story of the film. I would just try to talk about certain aspects of the film which if absent could have made Rajneeti a classic. First is the screenplay. In the first half of the film it almost resembles a Yash raj drama! Specially the scenes between Ranbir and Katrina! The scenes went by too fast and editing was really bad which hampered the flow of the film. The songs were complete misfit and could have been given a miss! Prakash Jha should really learn how to use songs as background scores. Some concepts were cliche ridden. Dialogues were stale in most parts and evoked laughter in some serious scenes (like “tum mere jyesth putra ho”). The director’s attempt to adapt Mahabharata boomerangs. He lets many strings loose which becomes very difficult for him to sort out by the end of the film.

This is an extract of Aagan‘s review. Complete Review at Aaganzworld.

Update: I watched Raajneeti and absolutely loved it. My suggestion, Do watch it, if you like or have any interest in that bad game called Politics. I have. 🙂

T20 World Cup 2010: India Schedule

I just happened to see the schedule today, so felt like many more people might be looking for this. In Cricket WCT20, India is in Group C, with Afghanistan and South Africa, and both of India’s league matches are scheduled at 9:30 local time so that we can watch them at 7PM.


Sat, May 01, 7 PM
India v Afghanistan
Beausejour Cricket Ground, St. Lucia

Sun, May 02, 7 PM
India v South Africa
Beausejour Cricket Ground, St. Lucia

Interestingly, many of Group C winners’ matches after the league stages are at the same time, that is 7 PM, though some of them are late too. Semi finals and Finals of World Cup T20 are at 1130 local time, that is 9 PM in India. So in case India reaches there, you can watch those matches.

The Cheapest QWERTY Phone in India

What is the lowest price for a QWERTY phone in India? All I saw yet was in the range of 4-5k, the lowest being probably Rs 3220 by some FLY mobiles. But breaking all these records, Intex has come up with a QWERTY cellphone for Rs 2200.

The Model, IN 2020 QT, is a dual SIM GSM handset with 1.8″ screen and has a LED torch too. The phone has two languages, Hindi and English.

For details, read the Mobigyaan page here.

Made in India: Biddu: Book Review

Frankly, it’s not really a book review. It’s more of a love affair with a book which happens to be my hardly-known-to-me hero’s autobiography.

Biddu was a name that I had read a lot of times, on a lot of tracks that I loved during the Indipop revolution of mid to late ’90s. And so, somehow without even knowing him much, he was a hero for me. At that time, all I knew about Biddu was that he was a guy who didn’t know much Hindi (that was my reason that he didn’t sing himself and didn’t take out his own album) and most probably he lived outside India. That he was a south Indian was my common sense because he didn’t know Hindi.
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Hockey World Cup 2010: India Schedule

Now that India has won its first match against Pakistan, we want to see more. So here is the schedule of the matches India will be playing in the Pool Stage of the World Cup Hockey 2010.

March 2 2010, 8:35 PM: India vs Australia.
March 4 2010, 8:35 PM: India vs Spain.
March 6 2010, 8:35 PM: India vs England.
March 8 2010, 8:35 PM: India vs South Africa.

The semi finals will be played on 11th March, at 6:05 PM and 8:35 PM. Finals will be played on 13th March, 8:35 PM. Hope I see India there.

All matches Indian Standard Time (IST). All matches to be played at Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi.

3 Indian Movies in IMDb top 20 list of 2009

Now that was a surprise for me. And for everyone who heard or saw. In 2009’s list of highest rated movies, there were 3 movies in top twenty while I found 3 more in top 100.

The list had Anurag Kashyap’s Dev.D on 8th in the list with an average of 8.3/10 while 3 Idiots was on 13th with 8.1 and again Kashyap’s Gulaal was on 17th.

The other movies in to feature in top 100 were Kaminey (27), Luck By Chance (55) and Wake Up Sid (63).

The list featured Avatar on top with 8.6, followed by The Secret in Their Eyes, Up and Inglourious Basterds.

LINK to the list.

iBangalorean: Public Utility

Bangalore, or Bengaluru now, is one of the best cities I have seen. But still there are things that need to be worked upon, in large measure. This time, I have some pictures of Mota Royal Arcade that speak for themselves. A mall at one of the best locations possible in Bangalore, provides you paid toilets, and their condition.
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What to do with your Old Mobile Phone?

If you have some old, working but unused cellphones and you’re wondering what to do with it, do watch the new Aircel public service advertisement if you haven’t.

Something I never thought of is there, and I think it’s a good idea, even if it may not be something huge.

The idea is to donate your old cellphones to old age homes, because people at old age homes need things to pass their time and mobile phone games is a good way to do that.
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