Monday, March 31, 2008


Shashi Tharoor commented on engineers this Sunday, in response to a study that made me go ``Holy wtf maderchod". The easy link is here. The study itself is here. It's findings - for reasons unknown, a fantastically large number of Islamist terrorists are or were engineers. This includes OBL himself, the two pilots during 9/11 and some 40-60% of currently documented fundamentalist terrorists.

Why is this so ? The sociologists give some vague fundaes about the Engineering mindset and what not. My take - Frust Extremis or pure absolute frustapa. When you're frustrated enough, who knows what you can do ?

PS: Perhaps Jehadi wasn't the best nickname for Amit after all.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

On Writing

It's been a while since I posted. This semester has been so draining that I have actually had to give up Swing dancing and semi-skip martial arts. If my fear of lasting obesity were not as great as it is, I might have lost touch with Taekwondo and Aikijutsu as well.

The drain's been mainly due to this semester being a sem of writing. I've been writing a lot - either chapters for my thesis on ethanol inhibition of xylose fermentation, which a lot of you would not care to read, or short stories for a fiction writing class, which I'm pretty sure you've read by now - mail me if you haven't and would like to.

Writing classes are a hell of an experience, not least due to the strain of writing. Equally important though is the experience of having people critique your work. Being brought up in this whole chamattu-paapa/gettikaara paiyyan/school smartie atmosphere, I automatically assume anything I write is great - I mean, all my English essays oh so long ago were soooo well recieved. It's a learning and deflating experience to have people suggest corrections and (heaven forbid) improvements. "Why is your story like this? Why isn't it like that?" "This character is unnecessary. Why is this in dialogue?" "Why not leave that out?" Such questions get the blood boiling, the rage of my pitris from Kauntinya down threatening to break forth. It's only upon re-reading my material in light of the point made that I realize its validity - this by the way, does not apply to all comments, there was this b*#@h who said I put too many names when I was describing a wedding.

This stuff is most important when you realize the pressures of commercial writing. You may be a genius. But it's of no use if nobody is going to read your work. And make no mistake, no writer from Salman Rushdie to J. K. Rowling can ever afford to say "F#@k fans, this is my artistic vision". Not if they want to make some money off their books at any rate. To be able to understand what an audience wants, and to put your vision on that- that makes a good publishable writer.

The other thing I wanted to point out for those not in the know; check out The Angrez. It's a classic example of what Roger Ebert calls a good movie trapped in a very bad one. The bad one is about two idiots who run afoul of an Old City gang in Hyderabad. The good, in fact great movie is a documentary of how proper Hyderabadis talk, which is reduced to clips like this, this and this.

I can't recommend this film, but I'm glad they made it. Hopefully, Hindi films from now won't to be about Mumbai taporis or Delhi upper class types alone.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Did you know....

.... that it's been over two months since I last posted?

.... that there are people who actually read this blog, even ask me when I'm posting next?

.... that a thesis is a headache to write?

.... that short stories are even harder?

.... that I wrote one in this period?

.... and that my next post is probably going to be on an unrelatable topic?

You did? Good heavens!!!