Thursday, December 31, 2015

Is this the internet we want to save? Think again.



Over the last few weeks Facebook has been bombarding me with notifications that my friends support the Free Basics platform. Then started the circus about how bad this is for all of us, with most people showing their concern on various platforms, by sharing videos and articles mushrooming by the minute, all trashing the Free Basics platform.

In their opinion, internet is a democracy that shouldn’t be tampered with.

They say Facebook is acting as a gatekeeper, a dictator, building an internet that is a silo of the larger internet, furthering its business interests in the garb of doing social good for an unsuspecting audience. According to them, Facebook is nothing short of an evil imperial emperor.

I find most of their arguments very cute…they remind me of this line from the movie Seven Samurai:

“What's the use of worrying about your beard when your head's about to be taken?”

Forget the ‘about to be taken’ bit; in our case not many realize that the head is already gone while we are busy fighting over the beard.

Must be obvious by now - the beard is the ‘save the internet’ campaign, and the head is nothing but the internet itself.

To make sense of why I say that, we need to objectively look at where the internet of today stands. Once we do that, it will be clear as to why I make that ‘cute’ comment. You can reserve your outrage till you finish reading this post. Once you are done, I would love to hear what you think about the head and the beard too.

Let’s begin.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Maggi and the Tyranny of Truth!


I love Maggi noodles.
Government says it’s harmful. Nestle's been saying it’s safe.
Who do I believe?

I was home alone, and hungry one night. A pack of Maggi stared at me from the kitchen shelf. Not knowing what to do, like a new age selfie kid (am I really one? maybe) I asked folks on Facebook to help me decide – to eat, or not to eat. 

You can view that post here - click to read

The answers were many. Some serious, many in a lighter vein, but all of them set to certain patterns. Patterns dictated by how seriously they took the threat of Maggi having an impact on my, or for that matter anyone else’s health.

If I were to classify the answers into 4 broad categories, this is how they would seem.

Pattern 1: Risky for your health. Don’t eat it.

Pattern 2: You’ve been eating this for ages, nothing happened till now. Eat it.

Pattern 3: You’ve been having worse. For instance Delhi air pollution. You are doomed anyways.

Pattern 4: It is all media hype. Government might be corrupt too. Eat it. 

The results seemed inconclusive. There was no singular truth.

What I instead gained from that post was a very valuable insight into the nature of truth, and what goes around it. I would like to share the same with you, especially since our perception of truth seems to have a profound influence on our behavior.

Did I eat that pack of Maggi eventually, will let you know shortly. But first; the story about truth, here it goes…

Sunday, January 4, 2015

PK meets Interstellar: No space for ignorance!

PK meets Interstellar - Kartik Dayanand Boddapati - Mind u Read


What is this Dancing Car?

That was one question my son was repeatedly asking while we were watching the movie ‘PK’. Though old enough to grasp basics of the world around him, the concept of a dancing car in ‘PK’ was alien to him. No wonder, the child’s curiosity kicked in and the above question followed. There was no convincing answer to give him.

Similar is the state of PK, our alien from outer space. His childlike curiosity constantly questioning the world around him; learning answers the hard way – much to his bewilderment and our amusement.

PK questions many aspects of our world, but there is one thing I am particularly keen to explore further - the conclusions he arrives at during his quest to reach god.

God exists, but a medium (religion & rituals) and messenger (god men) to reach god are unnecessary.

Is PK right in saying so?

Maybe…but his childlike innocence can’t be a good enough reason to completely believe him. How can we be certain that he is right? Maybe he didn't meet the right people who could answer him; or maybe it wasn't time for him to know the answers yet, just like the mysteries of the dancing car for my son.

Don’t know what you think, but I believe there should be no space for doubt or ignorance in our minds when it concerns such matters.

There is another movie from the recent past which set me thinking on similar lines - about god, the supernatural and our very own existence. I now realize that most of the answers to PK might lie within that film. As the title of this post suggests, that film is none other than Christopher Nolan’s space epic Interstellar.

No, this isn't a spoof post where PK gets into funny situations when he encounters characters from Interstellar. We are getting into some serious adult territory instead. Don’t say I didn't warn you in advance.