Monday, February 20, 2006

The bird flu thing

"More than eight lakh chickens would be culled and another two lakh vaccinated..."
"Birds sent to London lab..."

I am not sure what exactly culled means. At least, I was totally oblivious of its context till this morning. My wordweb defines it as : 'Remove something that has been rejected/ look for and gather.'

When I read these multiple news items yesterday, I thought the chickens were being sent away to a happy place - like a disneyland for hens at London. How bad could this culling activity be ? The dirty hens were of course being vaccinated. But that is just a prick of an injection, right ? As more news flew into my computer today, the euphemistic expressions were steadily displaced by more direct phrases - birds to be burnt! killed! I wish I was shocked by it. Instead, I was flooded with apathy, quite aptly captured by my favourite american expression - whatever!

At this point, I must state that despite being a consumer of chicken-products, I am still quite a veggy-guy. I eat chicken. But then, I really don't EAT chicken. Get it ? And while this foible has not given me any advantage till date, it has become my source of strength during this odd period. If I was a pure vegetarian, backed by feelings of animal-love or religion, this would definitely have been a unholy phase for me. The poor birds ! The poor birds ! And a non-vegetarian disposition would have left me utterly dismayed. Hence, when I'll walk into our hostel mess for the next few weeks, my face will hold a confident smile, whose source will be known only to the readers of this post.

This bird flu thing will definitely aid mess table conversations. For obvious (yet asinine) reasons, they've stopped serving chicky-stuff in the mess now. Being denied chicken even for one meal today (the first day of precautionary action) left all the non-vegs appalled. My favourite bong-land boasts of many chicken-lovers, who would rather have their chicken whacked and served on a plate, than cherish them as pets.
For me, it's a golden opportunity to smirk at their anguish - "Saala. Chicken band kar diya. It's silly. nahi ??" When offered such a lovely bait, it is inevitable that they'll lash out at (a) The system (b) Vegetarians (c) Manmohan Singh (poor guy) (d) Veg food. With my veggy cousins, I can always take the non-veg stance and have a nice discussion.

It's a period of great dilemma for the animal lovers. Here we have nine-lakh birds, to be culled (killed) within the next couple of days. To the average moron swayed by these activists, it doesn't seem rational at all to save the chicken lives. After all the health of a few hundred million Indians, the economy, FDI, FII, FBI etc are dependent on their death. Is it rational to holler scam backed by a nexus of multi-national corporations ? Well, reason and (animal) love never had a connection. So we can expect a lot of tamaasha in the coming days. Where are you Maneka Gandhi ? I am eager to hear your views about this massacre. Poor chickens...

A brief paragraph to convey important information - "According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), humans get infected when they come into direct contact with the saliva, mucus and droppings of infected birds." In case you thought of smooching that chick that lives down the street, think again. And no matter how attractive it looks, do not scoop out the mucus from a hen's nose (do they have one ?) or collect droppings.

Sadly, no one has considered the situation from the chicken's point of view. I would love it if Aaj Tak does a special report on the "Life of an Indian Chicken." Since most of the other clone channels would be busy giving updates on the number of chickens culled and vaccinated, Aaj Tak can really capture more market this way. Starting from the moment the gooey egg pops out from wherever, till the time it is ready to be consumed, the viewer can be delighted with wonderful details, peppered with boombastic hindi phrases :

"aur iss dehshat ki aag mein jalte hue murgion ki aatmaa cheekh rahi hai." (the hen's soul, burning in the fire of terror is screaming )
"Hum manushya ye murgi jeevan aur maut ka bhayaank khel kyon khel rahe hain" (why are we humans playing this terrible game of a hen's life and death)

Too bad they can't interview the chicken...That would have been something...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

How to make life simpler

I finally have enough fundaa w.r.t to RSS Readers to help all you blog readers out there. For those who want concrete knowledge, click here and here for tutorials on RSS.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a format for syndicating news. Which means that instead of searching for news from various sources, you can receive news from all of them, in the way you want them. Any website which supports RSS will have a link for a feed which you feed to your reader. The reader aggregates whatever information is relevant and displays it to you. This screenshot should give you some idea.

The RSS Reader I am using is freeware and quite crude. If you search for better readers, you can find some that even support filters for the feeds - which means more customized information.

Some of the Indian News Sites I am subscribing to are Rediff, Indian Express and Times of India. Rediff gives relevant compiled information. Times of India has customized RSS feeds. But it is updated only once a day (like a newspaper). You can also try others like BBC World, which are more generalized in content.

Of course, what attracts me to RSS Readers more than news sites, is the ease with which I can access blogs now. Yes..blogs ! I receive new posts on my computer as soon as they are updated. I can keep track, comment, reject as and when I want to. Of course, each blog needs to have a feed to be able to send information to an RSS Reader. I have created these (for free from FeedBurner) for my favourite blogs. You all can use these too. And create new ones by registering at feedburner. I request the blog authors to link these on their blogs. Instructions are easily available on the net.

Feed for Youth Curry
Feed for Sandeep Rath
Feed for Sudarshan
Feed for Poornima Vijayan
Feed for Himadri
Feed for Dipanjan

Happy Reading everyone !

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Situation - A man running in slow motion towards you.
Three things that will enhance his appeal :

1. A bouquet.
2. A rifle.
3. A jacket or similar fluttering clothing
4. Indian flag ; Rain (courtesy Susheela)
5. ______

Three things that will mar his appeal :

1. A bucket
2. A book
3. A man running alongside equipped with the previous list of items.
4. Broom-stick ; Lungi ; A running lady overtaking him (courtesy Susheela)
5. _____

Situation - You are munching food.
Three things that'll ruin your your appeal :

1. Kela
2. Idli
3. Mango (courtesy Nimesh)
4. _____

Three things that'll rocket our appeal (especially if you are a female) :

1. Grapes
2. Cold Drinks
3. Choco-bar (courtesy Sandeep)
4. _____

Situation - You are introducing yourself.
Three things you should never say :

1. Myself name
2. Mujhse Dosti Karoge
3. I love blogging.
4. _____

Three things you might want to say :

1. Hi
2. I am a student of the dept of...
I have come from...
My hobbies are .. (courtesy Himadri)
3. ______

(please add entries if any occur to you. I am blank about the blanks.)