Monday, March 17, 2008

Internet Kannadigas' Meet

The honourable Arun issued an invite to me, this morning, to be present at a meet of Kannada bloggers. Now, since I don't write in Kannada(online. Offline, I kick ass.), I wondered what I'd do there, but went there anyway. Along with me came the honourable Harish N Kumar, who had complained of cold, cough, headache, fever, amoebic dysentery, meningitis, menstrual cramps, small pox, polio, mumps, a rare case of filaria and a remnant of the erstwhile bubonic plague just this morning, but seemed to have recovered miraculously in a very short time. The board displayed at the venue, the Indian Institute of World Culture, said "Antarjaala Kannadigara Samavesha," which translates literally to "Internet Kannadigas' Conference"(though actually, 'samavesha' might more correctly translate to 'equal angst'). Harish said this division of people into Internet Kannadigas and offline Kannadigas deeply distressed him, so he would stage a protest outside the venue. I, with my visionary foresight, foresaw a disturbingly unclothed Harish sitting outside the Institute of World Culture and holding placards. I, therefore, swiftly killed all such possibilities by steering him into the building where the meet was to occur.

It was well attended. The publicity department of PraNati(, the organisation which had envisioned and setup the whole event, had done its job well. They were frank enough to admit, at the end, that they had expected only 35 people to attend. Well over a hundred people attended, I think. And thus, the meet began in earnest. It was unlike other (un)conferences I had seen/heard of/read about in that, it wasn't one. It was a rather formal event with an agenda, a list of already-fixed speakers and a limited time period. But then, the number of people who blog in Kannada is not as huge as that of those who do so in English; so this is ok. The venerable Dr. Pavanaja, one of the first people(possibly even the first person) to render Kannada fonts on the Internet(which made Kannadigas everywhere go "Ooh ooh, we is on teh Internets!"), spoke first. He spoke of his journey through the past twelve years with his efforts to provide Unicode support for Kannada, and how his attempts created a spinoff software called 'Baraha.' He also declaimed the open source community's top-down approach to Kannada content on the Net. They, he said, went for direct translations for everything, rather than work on font rendering, Unicode support etc. Next up was Hari Prasad Nadig, who was handed a list of topics to speak about and he did so rather rapidly. I'm not sure what he does, but he seemed to know a lot about font rendering on various fora(Windows, Linux, Symbian etc). He rebutted Dr. Pavanaja's remarks about the open source community and said 'top-down' approach and stuff was bull and the open source community was a free community and people would work on what they felt like.

Then, the person who was the best speaker of the evening, for me. Abdul Rasheed, formerly with All India Radio, now working with an upcoming Kannada website called Kendasampige, stepped up and spoke quite hilariously about blogs and how they were all bullshitting about feelings and cows and calves(calfs?) and the lowing of the calf and how the sound still reverberated in the writer's ears whenever he saw a cow and how it would transport him to his very childhood and all that crap. He was very critical of this sort of blogging and asked people to give up on the notion that only people who wrote stories or poems were writers. Scientific, political and technological writing was also writing and should be counted as such. Sadly, he too did not include humour among things considered serious writing, thereby furthering the bastard child treatment meted out to humour everywhere.

A break later, everyone started talking about font rendering and the issues associated with this on various platforms and how to resolve these and the fixes available and the patches released by Microsoft and the support available on Ubuntu(via Synaptec). This went on for quite a while and somehow became the main focus. I prodded Harish into somehow going up there and speaking out about this. "Everyone," he said, "is talking about font rendering and the presentation issues. But what about content? No one seems to have spoken about content." His passionate imploration caused one man to retort, "That's because I haven't spoken anything yet." This, I think, was his clever idea of a quip.

Who was this gentleman? Some aged person from He began speaking about the gallery of images of half-naked women on his site. Now this was a fine idea, I thought. He said this was a way to get people to visit the other, main sections of his site. Youngsters, and some middle-aged people too, apparently searched for images more, and then landed up on his site. From the gallery, he said, his company hoped they would check out the main pages. Earlier, Harish was one of the people chosen randomly to speak and he, quite sensibly, said he did not take himself or blogging too seriously and he wrote in English because he had issues with the Kannada font support available online. He said he wrote whatever he felt like and did not stick to serious topics or have an agenda.

Aged Dude now took Harish to task for this, albeit indirectly. "Saying you'll write whatever you want and will not write seriously, that's not the right attitude," he said, dismissively. When you write something, he continued, it had to be important, it had to be useful to somebody.You must write something with a sense of responsibility. Tears filled Harish's eyes at this point, though this may have been because I had trod heavily on his feet at the same time. For instance, Aged Dude plodded on relentlessly, information useful for senior citizens. This must be on your blog. Information must come searching for us, we should not be searching for it.

Unless I'm terribly mistaken, information coming searching for you unsolicited is called spam. On cellphones, strict TRAI regulations cover ambush marketing and unsolicited calls. You can't just send out information to people when they don't even ask for it. If you have it, put it up so they can find it. If you don't, good enough. There's always Google.

And since when did pictures of half-naked women become responsible blogging, or information useful for senior citizens? Just saying stuff to sound clever and intelligent and like an 'upstanding citizen' of society is silly. I wasted my time and valuable Internet bandwidth to check out some of their writing and found this:-
Body language to arouse sex instinct

This particular piece of investigative journalism, and information certain to help society, especially senior citizens, more than, say, humour and other non-agenda, nonsensical writing, has gems like this:-

"Women have more flirting body languages that they use or adopt in order to evoke sexual desires in men. Entwining her legs (men can't do this one because their hips are too narrow) draws a mans attention. However, it indicates she is very protective and closed to sexual advances from men. Her tight leg muscles are appealing to a man but are his challenge to untangle."

I'm not sure I want to meet the senior citizen who's reading this stuff. I can see where Aged Dude was going with the useful-information bit, but otherwise, this is just sexist. I can entwine my legs without drawing any man's attention. Can any woman do that? And, if a woman entangles her legs so tightly that it's an Infosys entrance test sort of challenge for a man to disentangle them, I'm not sure there's going to be much going on after that, considering he'll think she's a spider.

Oh, and our hips are too narrow? What does she want, a valley back there? Just because God didn't give us uteruses and the ability to carry stuff around in them and push them out after a while, you can't hold that against us. We have broad shoulders. Doesn't that count for anything? Hairy legs, an innate ability to burp abruptly, unwavering concentration when there's skin displayed nearby? All these aren't positives?

A little ahead is this:-
Another great preening move men enjoy watching is for a woman to do things calling attention to her mouth. Licking her lips, putting on lipstick, or eating something slowly with obvious great pleasure is stimulating to men. Just watching her mouth make men hungry for all of her. If she is clever, she exposes some bare skin in the process. This is where the guy accidentally misses his mouth and pours his drink in his lap while trying "not to look".

If she eats so slowly that I start decomposing in front of her, it isn't stimulating, it's murder. And why am I just looking at her mouth? Is it singularly unappealing? Is it the centre of the universe? Does she have fake teeth? Is her tongue forked? And what bare skin is she exposing in her mouth? Yuck, does she eat people and not even rinse?

Considerable research seems to have gone into this article, with a large number of bad Sidney Sheldon books being purchased by the author before the writing. And, of course, this is also useful for senior citizens.

There's free space available on the Internet and a person is free to write what he/she wants. I agree there must be responsibility when you're writing something serious, but asking everybody to write only serious stuff and considering anyone who writes anything else frivolous is stupid. Especially when you don't do it yourself.

All in all, Aged Dude came off looking like just that:- an aged man ranting ineffectually, but self-importantly and self-righteously. He got a basket of fruits for it, though. I'm thinking of becoming all preachy and idiotic from now on, talking down to people and needlessly judging and advising them. Maybe soon, I can start my own fruits and vegetables shop.

Harish came up with a very good idea for a serious, responsible blog after this:-

This is agreed to deliver instant paralytic strokes to any senior citizen typing out this URL. By the way, one of the good ideas that emerged from the meet was a site analogous to Orkut, in Kannada. I didn't say it was particularly feasible, or would bring in revenue. It's just a good idea. Frankly, unless we start getting keyboards in Kannada, I don't see Kannada online writing matching the popularity of English websites. But that's a different issue. Also emerging from this were ideas for humour sites in Kannada(obviously, from Harish and me):- sites which satirised everything, like The Onion or Cracked. Additionally, if we could have a Kannada YouTube-like site, it would be nice. But that requires huge investment, as speakers at the meet remarked, and dedicated teams. The thought is there, the effort is pending.

And finally, one of the meanest, but funniest, articles I've read in recent times:-


snippetsnscribbles said...

WOW! Aged Dude definitely is a 'rasika' ;-)) Loved this post completely :)soooper hilarious piece-u !
- M
(here is my new space with a new address

karthikd said...

Olle generation gaps-u.

Gurugalige thumba bejaar aagirbeku. It is sure to dent his productivity at SAP. Not that they really care.

Vijaya said...

i dont know if rest of my team will agree with me or not ... but .. this is one of the most interesting blogs i read regarding the event. Your writing style is amazing ... dont get mad at me ... but maybe you should try writing in kannada too ... kannada blogging needs more of humour ... as everyone would agree!!

Thanks for participating and being a part for making the event a success!

Parisarapremi said...

ನೋಡಪ್ಪಾ... ಹೊಸ ಆಯಾಮ ಕಟ್ಟಿಕೋ ಅಂತ ಸಲಹುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆ.. ಯಾಕ್ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ ಪಡ್ಬಾರ್ದು ಅಂತ?? ;-)

Harish said...

naavu aadashtu bega aa senior citizens blog shuru maaDbeku. Idu samaajada hita drushTiyalli agatya.

Arjun Sharma said...

[M] Thank you! Houdu, Aged Dude rasika-ne sari.

I hereby acknowledge your movement to a rival blog engine, with a little regret at losing one more compatriot to the Wordpress brigade.

[Karthik D] On the contrary, his productivity has been involuntarily increased, with him working weekends too.

[Vijaya] It was great of you to take the trouble to organise and carry through such an event. Takes some doing and not many would have been up to it. Kudos to you and the Pranati team for that.

Kannada-dalli kaibaraha maadidini, maadtidini. Online bariyakke yaako ond thara. Aadru try maadtini, neevu helidmele.

[Arun] Prayatna padtini, Arun mahanubhavare. Ella nimmashirvada.

[Harish] He he, houdu. Bahushaha ee kelasa prathama Swatantrya mahayuddhakke samanada mahatva padiyutteno.

rakesh said...

I enjoyed reading this man..

tangled said...

"Sometimes your smoking can attract a woman, though she would never like her husband to smoke. However, some women might enjoy watching her boy friend smoking."
"Certain body languages can thus be very destructive in killing the mind of a man. A woman looks seductive in a very trivial state, maybe with water on her body, just by eating slowly, exposing a little bit, and showing a bit of skin."


Arjun Sharma said...

[Rakesh] He he, glad I could be of some use.

[Tangled] Yes, very.

Ravinder said...

somebody to give me the meaning of samanada in english please? ಧನ್ಯವಾದಗಳು

Ravinder said...

somebody to give me the meaning in english of the kannaDa word samanada, please?