Photobucket had recently made a very dick move by disabling all third-party embedded pics unless I pay $399. I've been blogging for 13 years and have 2000+ embedded pics across 650+ blog posts, which are now all unviewable. I'm working on moving my images to a new host, so until then, please do bear with me if you cannot view any images on my older blog posts.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Chp 379. Comic Strip: Autroll-rickshaw!

Had an EXTREMELY hectic week. I have been camping in office since Wednesday morning till now (60 straight hours and still counting…) due to work. Hence, hope you’ll understand if I update my blog this week with just yet another comic strip…


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chp 378. Trolling misual.com :)

Another week, another comic strip update, this time using popular memes and rage faces. This is a true incident that took place on Friday. Funny as hell, well at least to me. Lolz. I hope you enjoy this strip as much as I enjoyed making it. :)


And of course you can see a video version of this entire comic strip here. Just wait for the player to finish buffering…


Cheers :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chp 377. Lonavala: Revisited.

Nothing like a relaxing weekend at quiet and peaceful Lonavala, though it was no longer quiet once we got there, if you know what I mean. Hehehe… anyway, I’m in the mood to do just a rage comic strip update for now, so here you go. :)




:) True story :) I’ll add our photos later.



Friday, November 11, 2011

Chp 376. GPS: How it changed our world

Remember those days not so long ago before the age of mobile phones when you’re supposed to meet your friends but they’re not there yet, and you didn’t know where they were? You would either wait for some more time or simply go somewhere else.

Remember a few years ago when mobile phones started becoming affordable and everybody started having one? When your friends were not there at the rendezvous point, you would simply call them up, and they would tell you that they’re almost there… and of course you had no idea whether they were lying or not.

Today, with most of my friends, it’s just a matter of switching on Google Maps on my Android device and checking on Google Latitude to see where all my friends currently are (or recently were).

And that had made life a lot simpler. There had been many times when this service had truly helped me out and made a lot of things easier for me.

I once had to meet an old school friend. He was staying in Ghatkopar, in an extremely crowded and congested residential area that had a lot of bylanes and narrow, winding, diverging, converging, convoluting alleys. (If you are from Delhi, imagine it to be like the heart of Munirka). With the help of Google Latitude, he didn’t even have to come all the way out on the main road to pick me up. I could easily find my way right up to his building by simply following the directions on my phone between his current location and mine.

And this doesn’t even have to be only between two people who have GPS on their mobile. My friend Alejandro too stays in one such locality called Kalina here in Mumbai, which has a hell lot of bylanes and alleys. The first time I went over to his place, he picked me up from the main road. Once I reached his apartment, I simply “starred” my location, memorizing it on my Google Maps. After that, I could easily go to his place simply by following the direction to that starred area.

Or take for instance the time we went to Goa from Mumbai in a couple of vehicles. When you’re on a road trip in 3-4 vehicles, it is never possible to drive close to each other all the time, especially when the journey is around 700 km long! Amit simply forwarded us the Google Maps directions (KML files) to our phones and we were all in-sync with each other, making sure all of us were on the same (and correct) National Highway.

After that it was just a matter of checking our phones now and then to find out who was where and who was falling behind and who had stopped to puke. It’s even more useful when you have to stop after dark for dinner on a Highway/Expressway that you’re not familiar with at one of those many roadside dhabas, and you want to eat together with all your friends from the other vehicles.

Yes, (almost) gone now are the days of incessantly calling up your friends, “Where are youuuu now? And now? And now?” every 5 minutes or so.

I find this whole GPS based social networking service especially useful when it comes to work. Since I’ve known most of my colleagues for more than three years now, we’re pretty close to each other. So I have most of my colleagues on Google Latitude. And that’s a really good thing. If there is a project deadline coming up or need a team member to be present for a conference call with client and they haven’t reached office yet, all I have to do is look at my phone and I’ll know if they’ve almost reached office or not.

Sometimes, just one look at my map and I’ll know what’s going on in office – “Oh that guy had gone for a meeting at that client’s office. I hope the meeting is going on well”, “WTF, that girl said she’s sick today so she couldn’t come in. Then why the hell is she currently at a competitor’s office building? There are no hospitals there!”, “OMG, that girl and that guy are together at that bar at this time of the night! I didn’t even know they were seeing each other!” and so on…

But the best part is, it can save your ass too. You wake up late one day. You look at your phone frantically. Google Latitude. Boss is still at his place. Phew. You close your eyes for a few more minutes. Boss is on his way to office and almost there – you jump out of bed immediately and rush to work without even brushing your teeth.

Lolz.

By the way, do not just randomly add friends or accept invitations on Latitude if you don’t know the sender properly. It is NOT Facebook or Twitter, where people merely stalks your status updates and photos. On Latitude, people will know exactly where you are all the time (a function which you can switch off of course), and such information can be harmful to you if it falls in the wrong hands.

In the US and elsewhere, there are already many cases of houses being robbed after burglars got information that the owners were away, through the very owner’s twitter updates! Imagine what such people could do if they have your Latitude info? *sends a shiver down one’s spine*

But like I said earlier, latitude is really fun if you use it properly. There are advantages and disadvantages too. Like, if you are planning to give a friend a surprise birthday party at his house, you can easily know when he is approaching home using latitude. However, he too can check his latitude and wonder why the hell all his friends are at his house with his wife.

Like I said. It’s fun :)

There was even one time when I was shopping at Oberoi Mall, and I casually checked latitude to see which friends were nearby. One of my friends was in the very same mall! So I decided to surprise her, but the problem was, there were around 4 floors in the huge mall complex, so I didn’t know which floor she was on.

I got it wrong the first time. Fortunately, I guessed it right the second time. Snuck up behind her, placed my palm around her eyes and said, “Guess who?” Fortunately, she guessed it right the eighth time.

:P

Here is another such “Mother of God!” moment. One day, I dropped my niece who was staying over at my place for the weekend at the train station. I then went to meet another friend, and my niece and I ended up crossing each other at the exact freaking location! I will describe that in true 9gag style.



Yup, true story bro. It kinda freaked me out! All in all, GPS has really made my life more interesting than ever, and I wonder what the future holds for this feature…

Cheers, and have a great weekend. I’ll be in LONAVALA again for this weekend, having *le good time*, so GPS me there :D


Monday, November 07, 2011

Chp 375. The Malady that is Mizo Idol

2000+ years ago, gladiators lined up in an arena and vowed, Ave Imperator, morituri te salutant (We who are about to die, salute you!) And then as they fight each other to the death, the crowd would go crazy, shouting for more blood and gore.

Today, the battle axe had been replaced by a guitar, the trident replaced by a drum set, and the combat skills of a warrior replaced by the vocal cord of a singer. Yup, I am talking about the ongoing Mizo Idol in Mizoram. Different battleground, same audience.

Today, the winner of Mizo Idol 2011 will be announced. Will it be Biakmuana or Lalthuthaa? The winner of this “grand honor” depends on who gets the most number of sms votes. Yes the format is exactly similar to American Idol and its many spinoffs across the world.

And so, people are going crazy, not just voting for their favorite Idol but convincing (and harassing) their friends and relatives to vote for that person. There are many instances of people actually taking their friend’s mobile phone to vote without their acknowledgement! Others are buying new sim cards just to cast extra votes. There are even stories of some rich dudes here and there buying 3000 new sim cards or so just to vote for a particular contestant. And of course the rumors started spreading like wildfire… that guy is a drunkard, that girl is carrying an illegitimate son, that guy is secretly gay, and so on…

Before I carry on any further, I would like to state that I have no personal grudge against Zonet, the network that had been conducting this show for the past many years, or LPS that had conducted similar shows before (Mizo Youth Icon). If at all there are to be any reason for this “attack” on them, let me state that I have interviewed the host of Zonet Mizo Idol Zonuni and she's a very friendly and sweet person, and my only dissent with LPS would be the fact that we both bought the first batch of Wagon R in Mizoram, and we both happened to buy the same make, model and color, so every time I went home and drove around the city, people thought I was from LPS. That’s a very trifle issue indeed, and like I said, I would like to come clean first, since we Mizos are so fond of finding an excuse about why one person is criticizing about something.

Now, even though I am not interested in the ongoing Mizo Idol, I’ve been following it quite closely. Not that I intended to. But when most of your friends on Facebook are Mizos and you also happen to be the admin of a very popular Mizo community site, it’s really difficult not to know what’s going on. Of course I have more important things to do in life than let who becomes the next Mizo Idol dictate my life, you know… But nevertheless, I get all the newsfeeds and gossips.

And that’s what hurts me a lot.

We all know what happened when Sinate was still in the competition. On Facebook, the whole issue became a case of Mizos versus Hmars, each side spitting heinous venom on each other that makes you wanna puke. Kinda reminds you of the Huti-Tutsi conflict in Rwanda. It was no longer about who had better talent on the microphone. Suddenly everything was about ethnicity and roots.

Death threats were freely given to different members like parking tickets and people started glorifying their “terrorist groups”. The ethnic slurs and abuses overflowed from either side like an absentmindedly neglected pan of boiling milk. Actual addresses and locations were disclosed openly, challenging those who made the threats to see if they had the guts to stick to their death threats. Facebook accounts and groups were hacked and counter-hacked.

From a silent observer’s point of view, it was a tad funny, but one couldn’t help but admit how seriously we took a mere singing competition to be!

Comon… seriously? We come from a land of musicians where almost every next person you see can sing or play the guitar, and we are allowing this mere contest to disrupt our integrity and harmony? The fact that we’re still not mentally matured and prepared for a multi-ethnic multi-regional competition of this proportion was suddenly obvious.

Everybody should know by now that this popularity contest method of voting an Idol had never been fair. Remember Adam Lambert [American Idol finalist 2009]? Everybody knew he got the best freaking voice then, and yet he didn’t win because a large majority of “conservative” Americans didn’t vote for him as he was gay. To me, he was the true idol then.

And now we have the Mizo Idol Finals today. One guy representing Northern Mizoram and another representing Southern Mizoram. And of course some people started campaigning for their respective regions. “Screw talent, stick to your regional loyalty!” seemed to be the mantra of the day.

This reminded me of what my dad used to tell me many years ago. I am a Hrahsel [Saza], but dad didn’t allow me to officially use Hrahsel in my name because he said being a Mizo was more than enough and he felt all these habits of using one’s clan/tribe’s name to identify themselves only caused further disunity in Mizoram.

True dat.

If you really look at this whole Mizo Idol phenomena and how people are taking it so seriously and personally, you too will laugh at it. Is it really worth fighting with your own brothers and sisters about who becomes the next damn Idol? A man-made designation? That too designed by a television network for its own profitable gain?

It is always natural for humans to try and be in an inclusive group. If a group of Punjabis migrate to London, they will most probably move to the Punjabi section of the city, where people speak the same language and eat the same food. Similarly, people from the northeast are known to stick together in mainland India. If a Mizo moves to a new city and there are no other Mizos nearby, he/she will most probably try to stay in an area where there are Nagas, Meiteis, Khasis etc. As more Mizos move in, he/she will then move to the Mizo area. At the end of the day, we just feel more secure and comfortable being with our own kind. There’s a thin line between that and racism or xenophobia.

Speaking of exclusivity, take a look at what is going on in the online world. During the times of Orkut, Mizos created a group called Maharashtra Mizos, which comprised of Mizos working or studying in Maharashtra. Then as more Mizos started moving in, the group got divided into Mumbai Mizos and Pune Mizos. After that, Navi Mumbai Mizos group was created. Even in the Mumbai Mizos group, it further broke up into Andheri Mizos, Santa Cruz Mizos etc. Being in a group that is as inclusive as possible is always in our human DNA, regardless of who we are. You can even take a look at the sports groups in Facebook. First there was the Mizo Basketball lovers group. Then that went city-wise and we had Bangalore Mizo Basketball lovers, Delhi Mizo Basketball lovers, and that can even be divided up further more.

Similarly, being an admin of misual.com, we are no stranger to exclusivity. And that is something we never permit in our site. We have seen it happened all too often based from our experiences – Mizo mIRC chat rooms rivalry, zoram.com vs izawl.com, etc. we have seen them all. And we don’t want to see it happen again.

Even if you take a look a different Facebook Mizo groups, be it about Mizoram news, IT helplines or medical assistances, there will always be people who vowed loyalty to one particular group and immense enmity towards the other group.

Admit it. We love to be inclusive. It is in our nature.

So taking all that into consideration, is it really a good idea for ZoNet or LPS to conduct  these types of events? Whatever be the outcome, most people are always going to stick to being as inclusive as possible, rather than recognize actual talent.

What is the point of it all then?

I am not demeaning the past winners of Mizo Idol or the new winner who will be crowned today. Trust me, that’s not my intention. In fact I would like to congratulate today’s winner and all the other contestants in advance for their talent and performance so far.

My main objection is rather with the system and process of voting. Yes, working in the advertisement industry in Mumbai for many years now, I know all too well how an audience participation event increases the ratings and viewership of a TV show. But if you consider everything I have mentioned so far, do you really think it is worth going through such an ordeal when the price we have to pay for that is so much higher?

Eventually, if you think about it, it is just a form of entertainment, designed to keep us preoccupied from our otherwise mundane life. An entertainment in an arena filled with abusive ethnic slur and regional slur uttering audience that does nothing but create more divisions among us. The question is, are you not entertained? Are you NOT entertained?





Friday, November 04, 2011

Chp 374. Five “Can’t” & “Don’t” Lies men say

Yeah people do say that guys lie by exaggerating a bit, so as to boost our ego or massage our pride. Apparently, we tend to show off or brag about our skills and conquests, while adding a few “extra” details here and there.

But what most people, especially women, don’t know is that, sometimes we tend to lie by demeaning ourselves too, and we have perfectly good reasons for doing that. Yup, we are not ashamed about falsely claiming to have shortcomings and lack of common sense or skills. We play the “loser” role all too often, all for a very good reason.

Here are a few such can’t and don’t lies most guys say, sometimes to women, and sometimes to other men too. This post by the way, is written in light humor, and should not be taken seriously or literally :P

 
Lie #1. I can’t cook.

When it comes to the cooking department, women think there are just two types of guys – those who can’t cook shit, and those who pride themselves with their cooking skills. The second one is the real foodie type, and boy do they love cooking. But there are also many guys who CAN cook, but act like they can’t. And this holds true especially among many Mizo guys.

Yup, many of us can indeed cook but we lie about it for one very simple reason – so that you can do it, honey.

Well… it’s not actually about chauvinism or sexism. It’s about romance! (well, if women can fantasize about their Prince charming to be tall, fair, handsome and rich, this isn’t that bad either)

So there you are thinking your guy can’t even cook and how you’re the only reason why he’s still alive, and that makes you love him even more… but the harsh reality is that he’s just sitting his fat ass in front of the TV on his favorite beanbag watching the Barclays Premier League while downing a pint of Carlsberg, relived that he didn’t have to miss the match because you’re the one in the kitchen.

But of course, that doesn’t mean he loves you any less… :)

 
Lie #2. I can’t drive.

There are two “I can’t drive” lies guys say. One is when you use it in front of a woman because you don’t want to drive her to the shopping mall or beauty salon. The other more frequently used one is when you use it in front of your guy friends.

Yes, being the designated driver sucks.

When you’re with a bunch of your homies out for a wild time in the night, it is always the driver who has the least amount of fun. Especially when there’s a girl in the back seat with your friends. So there you are, driving your drunken yodeling friends in the back seat while you’re concentrating hard on the road… sucks right? Initially, I used to feel good about myself because I felt I was the one who could rise to the occasion for my friends… but time and experience will only teach you that it’s not worth it at all, and that even if you don’t volunteer to drive, there will always be someone from your group who’ll drive. It’s not going to be the end of the world, you know…


Lie #3. I don’t know her.

If your girlfriend ever talks about a girl and asks you if you know her, the SAFEST reply is to just say no. It doesn’t matter if you know only her name or seen her photograph once at a friend’s Facebook album. Just say no. It doesn’t even matter if there’s no chance in hell your girlfriend’s going to be jealous. Just say no. No no no.

Trust me, you don’t want to start answering uncomfortable questions if you say yes, especially when you can’t even remember where or how you know her! (ah, hazy memories, if you know what I mean). And if your girl then realizes you DO know her and reminds you who she is and how you know her, just act all “ahhhh… ok ok, THAT girl… now I remember!!” and she will laugh at your short term memory and even call you a fool. But hey, at least a confrontation has been avoided! :)

 
Lie #4. I didn’t see her.

When you’re walking with your girl and a hot (usually skimpy clad) girl walks nearby and if your girl ever asks, “You see that?” ALWAYS reply, “Who? What? That old uncle over there?”

Of course you bloody saw her. You didn’t even need to see her, you already “sensed” her presence using your unique guy radar. There are a lot of jackasses out there who stare directly at a girl, but there are also many of us who have mastered the art of looking without looking. It’s like the highest form of Zen. One quick glace from the corner of our eyes and a graphical mental note had already been recorded.

So always look the other way when staring at such girls, and when you tell your girl you didn’t notice her, it is more believable that way too. Doesn’t matter if she thinks you’re not observant enough, and frankly in this case, she won’t actually mind too.


Lie #5. I don’t understand.

This is by far the best free “Get out of jail” card you can play. If your girl ever says something you don’t agree with, but arguing with her is only going to make your relationship worse and there’s nothing for you to gain by proving her wrong other than hurting her feelings… just say you don’t understand what is going on.

Yeah, maybe she’ll think you’re a moron for not understanding what is being discussed. But you’ve avoided friction, and that’s what matters in the end.


xxxxxxxxx

So all in all, it is sometimes best to act dumb for the greater good. Of course sometimes if you play those cards too often, she’ll really think you’re THAT incapable of doing anything and may even lose interest in you. Like I said before, this post is not to be taken that literally. Cheers and a happy weekend :)