Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Should you support Free Basics ?

We are so addicted to the word “free” and even without understanding, we just sign-up for everything!. How can a person who wanted “Net neutrality” can now support the “Free Basics” ?, If you do so, you have not understood both the words !!

About 1 year ago, Facebook launched "Internet.org" in India and it failed miserably as it was against the #netneutrality. Now, they have just smartly renamed the same as ``Free Basics``, thought Indians will not ever say 'no' to whatever is given for free!.

What is Free Basics ? : #FreeBasics is a platform launched by Facebook in partnership with Reliance in India, where some basic internet websites will be available free of cost (Check out here for all the websites available for free as per Reliance's website). That means, you don't have to pay internet charges for the data usage on any of the mentioned websites. However, if you enter into other websites, then you will have to pay the internet charges. And it’s Facebook (and possibly their parent telecom operator) decide on what websites to be enabled and what content to be displayed.

My simple question:  Why do we need anything for free? Whoever supporting/signing the petition are already capable to afford a paid internet!. In India, a monthly internet charge even now also is less than a single movie ticket !

Nothing is available for “free” in this world; and no company (especially, Reliance and Facebook) are running for charity. #Facebook is going to easily get a very big community for their advertisements and #Reliance is aiming to get a big customer base and business thru’ this bandwagon.

All we need is an unrestricted, un-curated internet, you decide whether it’s free or paid. And you call it as “Basics” or “Advanced”!. It’s up to you to support or oppose – but do it after your own reasoning!!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Pasanga 2

Everyone call the movie as “preachy”; but what is wrong in it? Let it be…it’s the “need of the hour” for India. #Pasanga 2 points out the issues of Indian education system. It’s is a movie about children, parenthood and parents misunderstanding on the idea and purpose of education.

The story revolves around two hyperactive kids Kavin and Nayana, who are a nightmare to their parents, teacher, and even to their neighbours. Their over naughtiness drives everyone wild and makes them move from school after school and in-turn, different houses and different areas of relocation!.

At one point of time, they move-in to an apartment where they meet an ideal family of Suriya – a child psychiatrist and Amala Paul – a  teacher with their two kids. Surya finds that Kavin and Nayana are suffering from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder),  and they help them to come out of it.  They eventually soothe the harassed and embarrassed parents; and make them to understand their parenting mistakes too!.

 While many directors in Tamil industry are using cinema as just a money making business, We should welcome Director #Pandiraj who has a sincere concern for families and kids. He makes us think about the commercialization of today’s education system, rank-oriented race, and scarcity of 'family time' in our busy lifestyle...

 I agree that #Pasanga2 is preachy, to the extent that in a scene, Surya is literally teaching a some parents about childcare and family values with a white board and a marker J! but as I said already “it’s the need of the hour”. For some of the sharp-valued dialogues, I myself nodded in agreement, for the mistakes that I have done or doing as a parent!.

If we overlook the drama and listen to what Pandiraj says, we – as a parent definitely have a lot from the film to take home!.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

அரசியல் பேசும் அயல் சினிமா

I love watching a lot of movies from my childhood, but have never been a follower of documentary films until I read the book "Arasiyal Pesum Ayal Cinema."

As far as I know, this book is one of it’s kind!!!. The author - E.P. Chinthan introduces us 16 different World Political documentary films in this book. But what makes it so special is that he explains and analyzes the historical reasons and political aspects around each film, rather than discussing about those films itself. This naturally builds-up an eager to every reader to know more about the issue; as well a fervent to watch the movies.

We all love mobile phones, and the smarter they become we love and buy them more too. But, are we ever aware of the dark side of these cell phones? Did we know that our demand for phones has been fueling finance to a civil war, which has killed more than 5.4 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo? !!!. An episode of this book presents a hard-hitting documentary “Blood in the Mobile (2010)” that exposes the illegal mining in Congo and how the leading mobile phone manufacturers are craving for them.

Chocolate has always been a favorite to almost everyone of us. But behind it’s wonderful taste, there is also a darker side that can make anyone to feel bad about!. An episode on a documentary "The Dark side of Chocolate (2010)" investigates the stories about child labor during the production and harvesting of cocoa beans, mainly in Ivory Coast.

Many children are slaves in these Coco farms throughout their life, without any education, money not even proper food. I was shocked to realize that this issue has been going on for many years and not any worthy actions taken till now. Thanks to the money power of Big Chocolate companies and our addiction towards them :(

Another episode extradicts an inspiring story, “The Coconut Revolution (2001)”. It’s a story of Bougainville Island people’s incredible victory over the Western Colonial power. This episode explores the hardships of Bougainville against the Papua New Guinea army and its mining plans to exploit their natural resources. The story also shows the Bougainvillean’s courage and creativity to fight it back successfully. It was amazing to know, how they managed to use coconuts to power their own villages, make medicines for all sorts of ailments, and even to fuel for vehicles. I never realized the many uses the coconut could offer!!!

The above ones are just off the top of my head, but each episode tells us a deep, impactful history of a country. Issues discussed in each episode is so dense and heavy, But the author explains it in simple terms, yet giving deep insider on how global economics is manipulated to keep the money flowing into the pockets of the wealthy elite of the world.

Personally, I find this book very valuable for not just giving me some world exposure; but it also has prompted me to think, to reframe my default view on social issues, to realize and stop whether I'm also indirectly propagating the same injustices.... ?

I am extremely happy that I get a chance to read this brilliant book; I can’t imagine how much efforts/ground work Chinthan would have put to analyze and script into essays!

A must read if you're interested in world politics and history.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Chennai Floods - Nature’s fury !

Feeling extremely sorry for the people of #chennaifloods and #Cuddalore. Many people, even those who lived in proper/luxury buildings have also lost all their belongings with the #flood waters.

When a city develop, it’s infrastructure should also get developed at the same or faster pace!!!. But unfortunately this did not happen in Chennai; Well not only Chennai; I would say most of the Indian Cities). I myself have lived in Bangalore, I know that a 2-3 days of rain is more enough to chock the city to halt. I guess same is the story for Mumbai and Kolkata as well ?

It would say, it’s a warning signal for all the Indian cities. Chances are we won't listen to the warnings. We will continue to build by covering up water bodies :( ; but still at least some of us should take a lesson from this disaster and correct ourselves.

And it’s the high time that the government should really think to build large monsoon drains and canals and channel rainwater to man-made reservoirs. It will elevate our summer water problem as well. The present map of the cities must be compared with the maps of 1950-1960, to see the differences in the green belts, lakes, water bodies, rivers, streams etc. If any water reservoir, drainage area or other environmentally sensitive areas are found to be encroached upon, then the government must restore them and also prevent further encroachments.

Above all, we as a responsible citizens, should never throw our rubbish and waste into monsoon drains and canals to chock them. 

It's really awful to see the picture of people leaving Chennai in groups :(