Thursday, 27 January 2011

Supercilious Playlists and Raucous Cacophonies

Now its been a long time since I have written a catalogue blog of any sort..yes, I realise those two words rhyme, it isn't my fault. But it's propbably the easiest sort to write. Make up a list of 10 different things, and you're good to go. Its such a common trick that 9 out of every 10 blogs is usually a catalogue of some sort. It gives the blogger a supreme sense of satisfaction, and the blog reader a supreme sense of self loathing.

However, as this, is in effect a catalogue(for lack of a better word) blog, I will proceed to elaborate on one little thorn in my side. The sort of song selection that people proceed to play on their shiny new 5.1 surround sound speakers. Now many would think its COOL, to play songs as loud as possible, and hence, in my hostel, where the rooms are about big enough to accomodate 5 orangutans, we have 5 speakers(and not of the debating sort either)and 1 woofer. Which, as some may tell you, is the surest way to reach premature deafness.

And well, for someone who has invested in such a brilliant piece of hardware, (after all speakers are the most important part of a computer), it is also important to invest in a good playlist. And this, some would say, is the coup de grace of sheer auditory bliss. Now the playlist of choice varies, but(and we are FINALLY getting to the point), there are some all time favourite songs that people with 5.1(really expensive) speakers LOVE to play. At max volume.

These songs may be considered by some as really irritating, and also, at the opposite end of the spectrum, headbanging(ly) gooood. Yes, there are people who headbang to Boulevard of Broken Dreams. How?! with great agility...

Here's the playlist:

1. Summer of 69, Bryan Adams
2. Love the way you lie, Eminem & Rihanna
3. Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Green Day
4. Munni/Sheila/Manjan... and whatever is the lateshht whatnot...
5. Titanic Theme, Celine Dion
6. Numb, Linkin Park \m/
7. In the End, Linkin Park

Well, thats about it folks. Its brilliant, and torturous at the same time, to see so many classics left out (21 Guns, Green Day etc.) But that's okay. Anytime you feel the need...just get yourself to the nearest iBall, Logitech, Altec Lansing and whatnot store.

Play it loud. Or don't play at all...

Monday, 10 January 2011

Southern Star

Once Rajnikanth and Kalanidhi Maran had a gentleman's wager about the salaries they took home every year. The loser would have to wear a wig, and dance with a ridiculously overhyped actress in a ridiculously expensive movie which turned out to be absolutely rubbish. Guess who won?

And although this may not be as ostensibly relevant, you might try guessing who the highest paid CEO of India is. And while most of the names thrown around may be big, and weighty, like Mukesh Ambani, or that CEO of Hero Honda who doubled his pay just before Hero became Hero and Honda became squat, these names are just names. Or another question, slightly less tautological, maybe, who the most powerful media tycoon down south is(Rupert Murdoch analogies are patent here)? These questions are largely unanswered, or answered with specious information.

As anybody who has ever landed at Chennai Central may tell you, the south of India is a whole different poppadum. They have some of the richest people, living in some of the most exclusive homes, in some of the best localities in some of the most habitable cities of India. Some of them make news...others are news...some are gods, others are bigger.

Some countries have a healthy attitude of cutting superstars down to size, with criticism, paparazzi, tabloids and slander. This attitude is remarkably absent in India, where all media engines are geared towards portraying superstars as better than you think, and simply, Better Than You. And that's why people love superstars, because they are so much better, so much more good looking, so much richer, maybe even so much fairer than us,the commoners. In a country where inanimate statues of gods are given more respect than the human beings who make them, it is little wonder that all we want is someone to worship. Or that Kalanidhi Maran, the 37 crore rupee wonder CEO of Sun TV and now, SpiceJet, can tell the people down south who exactly god is.

For a bit of contrast, Mukesh Ambani, richest man in India, takes home a salary of around 15 crore rupees. And Mr. Maran also has a Mrs. Maran, who cashes a cheque of the same amount, by virtue of her post at Sun TV. Which is all fine and dandy. And he also has a brother, Dayanidhi Maran, who is now a textile minister of some sort in the UPA. WHat the fuck does a textile minister DO anyway?!

And while Kalanidhi may control all opinion and news, or at least the major part of it down south, it does not mean he is as spineless as most media barons are (Barkha Dutt..anyone). He has routinely fallen foul of the political god down south, M. KArunanidhi, with disastrous results for his vox populi newspaper.

While down south may have a parlance of its own in terms of lascivious innuendo, it is no doubt a world of its own where India is concerned. And while divinity may be the same, and we may worship the same idols in temples, it is not incorrect to assume that the moguls of the south are just as poles apart from the north as the proverbial magnet.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Schlumdog billionaire

Energy efficiency is a buzzword not restricted to the United States or the European Union, as it might be commonly misunderstood. While Indian initiatives for environment, in the past, have been restricted to banning poor Korean steel making companies on the basis of their environmental track record, it has now decided to make itself energy efficient.

And not surprisingly, this unprecedented declaration has been implemented, albeit somewhat counter intuitively by raising the number of energy projects in India to tipping capacity. For, indeed the cautionary tales of energy shortage have been taken somewhat didactically by most of India's energy producers. The erstwhile Dabhol power plant, which has cost more to reconstruct and maintain than maybe building a new plant, heralds a new age in energy efficiency after being restarted under new ownership.Unfortunately it has to now import gas at $7 per thermal unit more than it sells power at, thanks to the high maintenance costs that vitiate with idling machinery.

And everyone is keen to jump on the bandwagon. Reliance Industries, with their umpteen energy resources, Suzlon, Essar, Jindal, some of the biggest powerhouse conglomerates of the country are putting their weight behind power production glut.

But perhaps, the least known story behind the energy boom is that of a rather touching cross border friendship. That of India and Pakistan. After 26/11, and Headley inter alia, relations between the nuclear neighbours have been a bit strained. And where Richard Holbrooke may fail, oil and natural gas is bound to succeed. The massive oil pipeline, running from Turkmenistan to India, via Pakistan, is now expected to bring in enough energy resources to India to fire up its gas plants, and whet its appetite for energy, while maybe mellowing tensions between the two countries.

However, this moral turpitude is not merely restricted to diplomacy. Energy producing corporations, which have publicly denounced Chinese machinery in the past, are now looking eastwards for their turbine solutions. And the Tatas, which had the largest private sector share of the power production pie, are being continually challenged for their crown, as their rate of growth, far from being a boom, barely even reaches the level of backfire now. And while the RBI might have rescinded the method of payment used by India to import oil from Iran, it is still not enough to quell the demand for oil from OPEC nations.

Against the backdrop of international intrigue, one company Schlumberger continues to placidly recruit Indian engineers for its work. The work being primarily to set up mines and wells in order to extract natural resources. And most college students would only know it for the obscenely large pay package it pays to its new recruits. Which is not surprising since it has in its accounts profits ranging to a few billion dollars.

While all this pans out on the grand global stage , we have one more thing to look forward to in the new year and new decade, energy efficiency.