LIFO: The Recusant Rule

Till recently, India did not have a no-fly list. A while ago, an Indian MP (Member of Parliament) misbehaved with the staff of an airline. What actually ensued, during that misbehaviour is a matter of discussion (and speculation), which, folks on Twitter have happily voiced, without their seat-belts on. The misbehaviour occurred when the doors of the flight were open. I am further assuming that when the aircraft is “open” there is ground/airport security available (and in charge). As far as I know, Captain of the flight gets authority only when the doors are closed and his or her word is final. Airline staff could have just handed him over to airport security; charged him for assault etc. We live in times when a 140-character tweet gives you all the information you need to be, not just the judge, jury, and executioner; you can even be sarcastic, nasty, abusive, and further. Without a need to investigate or reflect.

Private and public sector airlines came together and listed this MP on a “no-fly” list. Simple — he would not be allowed to fly on any airline. This, when India did not have a government-mandated “no-fly-list.” We have a body, in India, called the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) – a regulatory body for, well, you guessed it, civil aviation. The DGCA (or any other government body) was not a part of adding this MP on a no-fly-list (as far as I know, and I may be wrong). The “no-fly” list was issued by the association of airlines. A private body. This one name was declared persona-non-airline-grata. No thought, no plan, just no-fly-list. How will the airlines know if some other passenger with the same name is travelling? What if this MP has a medical emergency? (He has only misbehaved, he is not a terrorist, right?) Many such questions came to my mind.

It all got resolved in a few weeks, and this MP was back flying. A few days ago, I heard that India, now has an official no-fly list. Three degrees and all. It’s scary. I’ll leave it at that.

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But this post is not about that at all. But the irony is stark. I’d assume, bad behaviour is bad behaviour, right? Not so, apparently.

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Airlines in India tend to promote recusant behaviour. As a person who generally respects authority, I find the baggage handling of all airlines to be very peculiar. Now, here are all airlines, asking us to check-in anywhere from two-three hours before, right? So a person like me, does that. I check-in early. That’s good behaviour, right? The new commercial airports in India are happy too, because of passengers like me I end up paying three times for some eatable just to hold something in my hand and chew on. Win, win. For the airline and the airport. But it is actually win-win-lose. And I am the loser. When I land, my bag is the last to come. The recusants are the first to get their bags. LIFO. Last In First Out.

They are the ones who are brought to the front of the security line by the airline staff. Almost every time I have seen this, and I have wondered, why do I follow the rules? I am denied my five minutes in the smoking lounge and the time to buy the overpriced sandwich. Needless to say, these irreverent people are the ones who will carry mobile phones in their pockets, and will be sent back by the security to send their devices through the X-ray machines. Delaying me further, six minutes. I am amused by how they are blinded by the 12 signs asking them to send their devices and wallets through the machine. Why don’t private airports get this? That’s one overpriced sandwich I do not have time to buy! That idiot who you just allowed to cross the line, is not going to buy anything at your illegally overpriced shop. He is going to run to the bus. (If you are certain blue airline. If you are the other blue airline, you get an aerobridge.)

Airlines and airports promote bad behaviour. Commerce eats rules for breakfast. That’s about it. Given my upbringing, my ethics, and my respect for authority, I will continue to behave the way I do. But, if you have no qualms, be a bad boy or a bad girl. You will be rewarded. I actually recommend it.

Little did I know when learning data structures in college, LIFO/FIFO it would have meaning in just more than code.

How, will you use what you learnt in school and college?

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There’s Hope #Movies

Potential spoiler. Not giving out the plot, but it may influence your thinking, if you haven’t and are going to watch the movie.

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I watched Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017), yesterday. (IMDB has got it wrong; its spelled with two a’s, unless of course, you use the ā, in place of the single a). It was everything that I didn’t expect it to be. Primarily, it was dragged to death and beyond. I am a big fan of the fantasy genre, and I enjoyed Baahubali: The Beginning (2015), a lot. In spite of some really over-the-top stuff in the movie. And given the suspense created in the first movie, I was really looking forward to the second. I’ll stop just short of saying that it fell flat. I’ll concede, however, that watching it dubbed (very badly) in Hindi was a mistake. I should have gone for the original Telugu version. I understand a few words and phrases in Telugu; but that’s not reason: there’s something very disturbing when sound and lip-movements are out of sync. It’s the effect, methinks, that’s diluted in dubbing. Subtitles are a better alternative. And when you are creating an artwork on such a large canvas, that one small thing can ruin the painting. Most of the CGI was impeccable, except for fire. They haven’t mastered that. That was very childish. This isn’t review, just thoughts. Five of my co-cinema-goers were equally (or more) disappointed, so we decided to wash down our dismay with a few beers.

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I have practiced suspension of disbelief much before I learnt what it meant. It has always helped me with imagination. Considering possibilities is exciting. And when you start considering, you can go various places. Including some not-so-nice places. Yet, it is worth the trade-off.

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After mocking the movie over a couple of beers, we asked ourselves if this is the fare that we are doomed for? I didn’t completely agree, but I didn’t say so.

Holding on

A week ago, I watched Poorna (2017). [PS: It’s available on Amazon Prime]

I am a very involved movie-watcher, and I experience the emotions that a director of a movie would like me to. If she is a good director. I laugh and cry wholeheartedly; get angry and afraid as the story asks of me. I do not watch horror movies because I do not like to be terrified. It’s not an emotion I prefer, if I can avoid it. The real-world is terrifying enough.

Poorna is the (real) story of the youngest girl to have scaled Mt. Everest. I’ll just say that. There are other adjectives to the tag line, in my opinion — they aren’t important.

The movie was a multi-layered emotional roller-coaster. The first layer is obvious: it’s her story, and in that sense, a dramatised documentary. But there’s something deeper. And without warning the layers reveal themselves. And it’s less about her and her motivations; it starts becoming about you. It touches your heart. Straight, direct, instant.

There’s hope. There’s proof. Of good movies.

Not Everybody’s Sport: #Kabaddi; Unlike #Tennis

Needless to say, India won the Kabaddi World Cup.

Needless, only because those who follow the sport know it. For the rest of – that’s news (Assuming it matters)

I have been somewhat vocal on Twitter about the various events of the Kabaddi World Cup while I was watching it. I ensured one thing: I always included the #2016KabaddiWorldCup tag in all my tweets. I know, many of the folks who follow me on Twitter may not be interested in Kabaddi. Using that # tag in my tweets allows my followers to mute the hash tag, and allow them to follow me for the other tweets that they like and could be interested in.

Why don’t tennis or (most) cricket followers do it? Most of the folks who I follow on twitter are cricket or tennis fans. They tweet about updates, thoughts, and ideas all the time — without any # tag. Apparently #Tennis and #Cricket is something that we all follow?

I got this DM recently on Twitter:

“Ah, I’d muted you when you were tweeting much about Kabaddi.”

Again, needless to say, my friend could have muted the hashtag. #ProKabaddi. But he muted me. He must have thought I am a tennis fan. For no tennis fan ever qualifies his or her tweet. It’s tennis terrorism, almost.

Follow me or unfollow me, it doesn’t matter. I will always give you a choice to mute tweets which you do not want to see.

Decency.

 

 

No More Waist-ful Expenses

I wanted to title this post as the name of a well-known Indian actor of English and Scottish ancestry. Good sense prevailed and I have given it a boring name. Humankind has survived the various ages: Ice Ages, Dark Ages, Iron Ages, etc (Don’t get technical on me and be pedantic of when humans existed and such; go with the flow). The one age, that I think we will not survive is Outr-age. Everybody gets upset about everything, nowadays. Fifty shades of grey, and every shade is outraged at the other 49. So, yeah, good sense has prevailed, and I am not going to mention the celebrity’s name.

I’ve lived at one place for 14 years. That’s about 32% of my life. Well, technically, 25%, because of those 14 years, I was living in London for 3 years. But, I had this place, even when I was living in London. So, your call @ 32% or 25%. London, plays an important part in this post. We’ll get to that soon enough. Of the rest of my 68% (or 75%, depending on how you have looked at it) I have changed homes at an average of 1 home per 3.33 years. Even when I was in London, for 3 years, I changed home twice. Perhaps the correct word would be house, but every place has been a home. So, again, #YouPrefer.

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There’s a shop that sells clothes, just below the building I have lived for 14 years. Outside that shop works a young man with a sewing machine. He is a tailor, but not really. He alters. (Perhaps, now you know of the celebrity that I didn’t mention). And he knows me. Way back, when I came and started living in this neighbourhood, he was just a kid, who couldn’t stitch in a straight line. I know, because once, my Mom, told him how he wasn’t managing the tension, or the pull of the cloth, on the sewing machine. Unfortunately, that’s also the reason he remembers me.

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Depending on whether I have taken care of myself, I have grown fat, and then, I have grown slim. (Well, not exactly slim but it sounds better than saying less-fat) Here’s the London context: I walked a lot in London, took the public transport, never owned a car. Which means that after I came back from London, all my trousers were loose. So a heap of trousers were laden on him: reduce by 1.5 inches, per trouser. Rs. 15 per trouser. I was back in India, slim and sexy. Even my once-upon-a-time double chin had merged and was a single chin. Good days. Then I bought a (lovely) car, didn’t walk, started eating junk food. Two years later, many trousers were heaped on his sewing machine again. Increase waist by 1.5 inches. Rs. 40 per trouser, this time. It’s been a while since that day. I am taking care of myself, eating well, doing some exercise (keyword being “some”) and am close to a waist like when I had returned from London. The trousers need some work again. Reduced waist, i.e. I am sure, he’ll say Rs. 100 per trouser. Inflation and all. I found a better way. It costs Rs. 5, to punch extra holes on your belt. There are more pleats on the trouser than I’d like, but hey, I saved Rs. 95 per trouser. I hardly tuck my shirt.

The guy from the pharmacy who’s been around before I came to live here, notices and asks if I am on a diet. The chai tapri fellow tells me I am looking good. The security guard at the ATM is concerned, asks me if I am well. I blushingly take all the compliments. They all have seen me for 14 years. The alter-fellow says not one word.

I was walking along the shops, the other day. I sensed he was looking at my waist, as I walked past the store.

Almost drooling.

To Fail or Not to Fail

It’s only the 9th day of the month, and I can tell you now, it’s not at all easy writing everyday  It helps however, that a few fellow bloggers have encouraged me through their likes, shares, comments, and tweets. (Even when I know that some of the posts are not as good or complete as I’d like them to be)

When I think hard about it, it doesn’t really matter if I miss a day or two; this challenge has little significance in the scheme of things. It’s not related to money, work, or health. So, to fail in this challenge would mean little. But I intend to succeed. As I had written previously  we have to explore for ourselves the nature of our commitments. We have to define success on a standard that is acceptable to us – it may be the same as what is generally accepted, it may be higher or it may be lower. But it has to be ours. And failure – if it becomes ours, has to be measured by our standard.

There’s too much being made of failure. I recently tweeted:

While giving encouragement – the kind I receive on this blog – is important, when people close to you have embarked on an adventure, the encouragement has to be (for want of a better word) rational. There’s too much mollycoddling around failures. If you didn’t know better, you’d think it’s a good thing to fail.

We learn from our mistakes. Yes.

Failure is the first step to success. Yes

[Insert a similar over-positive-sounding idiom]. Yes

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That’s all true, but there has to be some limit on failing. You cannot be failing all the while, thinking, “There, I’m that much closer to success.” If you do not learn why you have failed in the first place, it will take you farther from success. If I find myself failing over and over – I have to review the standard I set for myself, or the manner in which I have set out to achieve that standard, or both. There’s also too much talk about passion; passion that will see us through the difficult times.

To an extent. Yes.

Passion is an attitude, not a tool that will see me through. I will need to invest time, gain knowledge, and apply skill to what I do. There’s nothing romantic about failure.

Failure is not an option.

The Moron Lane

“Which lane is he driving in,” I asked, extremely frustrated.

“The Moron lane,” she said, quickly looking up from her phone, and as quickly going back to whatever she was doing.

I’ve said it many times before, but since my blog isn’t as popular, people hardly ever get to know what I say. Those white dashed or solid lines in between two lanes of a road aren’t a guideline for you to drive, they are there to divide two lanes – and you have to choose one of those lanes. The idea is to have those painted stripes either on your left or your right. And since, we drive on the right here, you are better off in the leftmost lane, till you get this right. (By the way, for what it is worth, dashed lines mean that you are allowed to overtake (from the right, i.e.) and solid lines means that you should wait till you see a dashed line, before overtaking)

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When I thought hard about the Moron lane, I also imagined, we’d need Moron tunnels. Especially the Expressway. We have folks using hazard lights in well-lit tunnels and then changing lanes in the tunnel. I am sure, they actually switch the turn indicator. You see, the left/right indicators do not function as desired when you have hazard lights on. But then, there is no logic of using hazard lights in a tunnel – switching on the car lights, lights up the tail lamps. That’s enough information for me, driving behind you, to know that you are in the tunnel. If you have to use hazard lights – please do not change lanes in a tunnel at speeds greater than 80kmph.

Many rants have been suppressed; people driving diagonally across the three lanes as they speak on the mobile phone, stopping on the blind side of a curve to relieve themselves in a temporary waterfall, and on the city streets, puking red goo; cars in India should come factory-fitted with spittoons, rather than ashtrays.

But there is one sight I love on the expressway: the Bright Yellow Tata Nano doing 45kmph in the first lane.

Priceless.

Of Falling Skies

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If x happens (or doesn’t happen), the “sky won’t fall down.”

I’ve always thought that such expressions are useless. If the degree of the calamity that has befallen me is insignificant compared to the sky falling down, how am I to know, to what extent?

It’s an invalid reference because no one has seen the sky falling down. It is, after all, relative to the power of my imagination – which is also not a standard in any case. To make sense of this comparison, I have to imagine an impossible cataclysmic phenomenon to a significant magnitude and then allow my real calamity seem inconsequential – so that I feel better.

Not too helpful for people with shallow imagination skills.

And, too much work, if you ask me.