Friday, January 29, 2010


Awesome is an adjective that will fall short to describe awe-fully, awe-some and awe-strucking movie named ‘Avatar’. I was a spectator to this visual treat this week and it made me sit back and really wonder the amazing application of the technological marvel called the computer.
Aloud appraisals for the movie were continuously bombarded regarding this movie through various mediums of mass communication. I was overwhelmed by the kind of responses the movie was generating equally amongst the masses and classes together. Thus I had decided to be a critique myself and eye the movie in greater detail to really see whether the movie deserves such an applause. For me the movie delivers, in a big way though. Brilliant concept, astonishing direction, amazing graphics, superb detailing, scintillating camera work and eye dropping visuals. Hats off to the producer of the movie for having faith in such a creation before it was made. 
This was one movie which I thought should never end. It should just go on and on!!! It took me on to an unbelievable ride into a fantasy world, a world created by the use of hundreds of computers and programmers.
            I believe, ’Avatar’ is one movie which has made use of computers to the maximum. The blend of human and machine and creating the ‘avatar’ish characters as close as humans yet keeping a distinction is a skill of a crafted artisan/technician indeed. As one of my friend says, it is a pity for those who have missed the movie, I urge most of those to see it for the photographic, visual and illustrative brilliance called the ‘awe-tar’.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Technologically close,socially away

The greatest marvel of the 21st century is always referred to as the ‘technological advancement’ we have made. The penetration of technology in most spheres of life has created impeccable effects in the way we perceive life. Be it biotechnological advances, molecular engineering, robotics etc. No field is virgin as far as the technological involvement is concerned. It has not only made life simpler in most forms but also has reduced the physical efforts put in to perform certain tasks.
But every advantage is associated with every disadvantage. Technological advancement did have an adverse effect on the social pattern that existed before. The invention of television brought in a new wave of entertainment. One can see an interesting mix of social pattern that were associated with the popularity of television. Initially, when colour television was a highlight in some select few homes, there was a tradition of families getting together to watch serials like Ramayana and Mahabharata. It was great to see families sit together and watch television together but on the other hand, there is this inevitable fact that roads used to be comparatively empty during the screening of these ‘epic’ serials.  People used to avoid visiting each other as the new found interest kept them busy…..this went on to become a regular social pattern where television broadcasting dictated the visit timings.  
The act of wishing one on his or her birthday exemplifies the fact even more. There has been a drastic change in the way people wished each other during birthdays. Earlier / during one’s college days, friends crowd to each other’s place to wish on someone’s birthday. There used to be a personal diary where one noted everybody’s birthday. As many social networking sites surfaced, the charm of wishing got deteriorated. Physically going and wishing took a backseat as people started simply calling each other on birthdays. This later changed to a Short Messaging Service aka ‘sms’. Now a person receiving  sms from his friends on his birthday feels ‘content’ with the medium of wish. Some are content merely by receiving scraps or posts on their networking profiles. This is true even when people are in the same city, perhaps in the same neighborhood. This signifies the manner in which we now value or undervalue the importance of not socializing. Technology has indeed changed the way we socialize.
Many festivals are celebrated online. Forwarding a mere picture depicting til-gul ( a traditional Marathi sweet exchanged on the occasion of Makar Sankranti) is considered as a wish. Concept of e-greetings, e-rakhi, e-diwali is popular. Smses and scraps have taken over as the new ‘personalized’ versions of wishes. Though it may seem personal, but it doesn’t carry the charm of a hand written letter/ greeting card/ handshake/hug. Though these forms of communication is much more viable where distances are concerned, but the tendency to simply sms or scrap someone where he/she can meet him is getting imbibed in people.
The technological inventions like telephones, internet, mobiles gives us the luxury to be immobile, thus making us lethargic. I am not against the use of technology, it has taken us to unreachable dimensions, but also at a cost of reachable distances.
Internet can also be looked at as a major medium of socially discommunicating people. Concept of making friends online, finding love online are gaining momentum with each passing day. One website even boasts of buying friends online to make your profile look popular. More the number of friends on a person’s social friend list, more social is the person ‘virtually’. He/she may have not met those people, but they command their presence in their friend list. I often wonder how can anyone buy and sell friends? Companies are making a joke of befriending and shunning people.
A person is becoming virtually active, but socially passive. We are communicating well virtually but less socially. As punchline of Nokia says, ‘connecting people’. That holds true to a large extent but on the other hand, I feel we are ‘technologically close, but socially far away’.    

Monday, January 4, 2010

Tax it

‘Tax’ also referred to as ‘Kar’ in our national language is the word which makes the people of our country go weak in the knees.

We earn money for ourselves and the government wants a share of it in some or the other means. This share is then ‘supposedly’ utilized for the betterment of the nation? We have been paying this tax since years undefined but still we are a ‘growing’ economy. The question comes to the mind…What are we ‘growing’? Unemployment, population, poverty, unhygienic situations? When will these perennial problems of the country cease ? Will these be the same churned out issues for the politicians to contest the elections every five years? The issues are similar, only the people who address them are different after a gap of five years.

When is this tag of ‘growing’ change to stable or a developed economy. How and where is this ‘tax’ collected from us from all possible ways directed?

Other than the repercussion of this small but rather heavy word on the national front, there is a certain genetic quality this word carries. If one observes, this word can be suffixed to any activity / noun, just as means to curb certain activities. Such quality of it makes it highly vulnerable to be used in an unhealthy manner to extract money. I realized this when I was charged for entering into a religious place in the pretext of ‘Yatri-kar’. I was taken aback, as to what the hell is this thing called ‘yatri-kar’, a ‘tourist tax’? Though the amount collected was miniscule, but the mis-use of the word and its implications made me think. My mind then wandered in all possible directions to explore the possibilities this word and the actions which can reap in the near future. We might to pay money for ‘Air tax’ , ‘Friendship tax’ , ‘Love tax’ , ‘Sex tax’ and what not. It has become a part of life – an inconvenient truth, perhaps!!!

The two aspects of this word is that it can be used in a positive connotation as well as negative implication. Consider a situation where the government wants to implement certain policy – take for example, curbing the use of cigarettes, they can implement something like ‘smoking tax’, which will benefit the country at large. The same word can be misused for forcing certain wrong doings like collecting money from people under certain pretext creating a ‘tax effect’.

Whatever the use of the word, the country needs proper channelization of the money collected from such a ‘created resource’. A nice tool for the government to increase the ‘pot of gold’, just by saying ‘tax it’.