monkeyshine nutworks

Now, they want to change Internet to Equinet

The tendency to rename existing things, seems to be a human frailty in general, and Indian in particular.  The Hindu reports India will question the US hegemony of the WWW at a global meet on Internet governance in Sao Paulo (Brazil) next week, termed NETmundial. India proposes to rename the Internet as ‘Equinet’.

As if India in particular, and the world in general, do not have anything more important to do.  But even mad guy like me would think that ‘In’ternet sounds more India, than ‘Equi’net, which sounds Greek, and Indians - mad or otherwise - would push for status quo at NETmundial.

Changing something just for the heck of it, and justifying it as based on some reason, logic, explanation or pure sentiment seems to be an age old affliction of the humans.  Lately it seems to be getting out of hand.
  • The Greeks and the Romans could not agree on common names for their Gods, and when the Grecian Zeus crossed the Mediterranean, he became Jupiter (or Jove), as so did Hera who became Juno.  By Jove!
  • India has multitude of names in different languages; from Hind in Arabic, to Hindistan in Turkish, I’Inde in French, Yin du in Chinese and Tenjiku in Japanese.  Tenjiku translates to ‘the heavenly centre of the world’.  Good Heavens!
  • Soon after independence, in practically every Indian city, an arterial road was renamed as Mahatma Gandhi Road.  Hell of a trip!
  • Not content with it and spurred on by public opinion/sentiment, they started to rename entire buildings.  Thus the Victoria Terminus of Bombay became Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus of Mumbai.  God save the Queen!
  • They even changed the name of movies - the Bond film From Russia with Love could only be released in India as ‘From 007 with Love’.  Good Show!
  • Then they started to rename entire cities - Bombay became Mumbai, Madras became Chennai, Calcutta became Kolkata, Trivandrum became Thiruvananthapuram, etc. Capital!
  • Not content with that, they went after the Planets too!  Pluto’s status was changed from that of a Planet into a ‘dwarf planet’, on the discovery of a similar sized dwarf Planet, which was initially named ‘Xena’.  Then in keeping with the spirit, they changed its name to ‘Eris’.  Holy Smokes!
  • In 2012, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) proposed to abolish  the leap seconds and change the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).  Wait a minute!
  • Now, they want to rename the Internet as Equinet.  What a catch!
I thought only Calvin and Hobbes had such brainwaves, and Hobbes says exactly what I think of it.


IceRocket Tags: Equinet,NETmundial

Tamil New Year 2014 greetings with a Moodle instead of Doodle

Tomorrow, 14th April 2014, is the Tamil New Year Day.  The next day is the Malayalam New Year Day or Vishu.  These two days are considered to be auspicious and denote the beginning of the New Year for many people in India and around.
  • Malayali New Year or Vishu in the state of Kerala
  • Punjabi New Year or Vaishaki in the state of Punjab
  • Bengali New Year or Pohela Boishak in the state of West Bengal
  • Assamese New Year or Rongali Bihu in the state of Assam
  • Oriya New Year or Maha Vishuva Sankranti in the state of Odisha
  • Tuluva New Year or Bisu by the Tulu people in the state of Karnataka
  • Nepalese New Year or Bikram Samwat in Nepal
  • Sinhalese New Year or Aluth Avurudhu in Sri Lanka
  • Thai New Year or Songkran in Thailand
  • Burmese New Year or Thingyan in Myanmar
  • Lao New Year or Songkan / Pi Mai Lao in Laos
  • Khmer New Year or Chol Chnam Thmey in Kampuchea, and of course,
  • Tamil New Year by the Tamil people
By now we know that Google most likely will not be putting up a Doodle for Vishu, Vaishaki or Tamil New Year.  So, here is a Moodle to celebrate the Tamil New Year instead of the Google Doodle.  The Moodle displays the 6 tastes as described in the classical Tamil writings (அறுசுவை - Arusuvai - 6 tastes).


The ‘M’ is made up by Jaggery (Sweet) and green chillies (Hot).  The Mango would taste good (with Salt), while the Neem flowers are yuck (Bitter)! For grimace there is Tamarind (Sour), while the Betel leaves would make us pucker (Astringency).  The coconut?  That’s me, hard as a nut outside, sweetness and joy inside!

So for the Tamil New Year Day 2014, wish you all a very happy, prosperous and enjoyable year ahead.

Later in the day Amavasya Tharpana Sankalpam Generator 0.3b for Tamil Year 'Jaya' (2014-15) will be uploaded.

IceRocket Tags: tamil-new-year,vishu,vaishaki

To vote or not to vote with the Ungli Song

For all the hype about the largest democratic experiment in the world, the number of people who actually vote in Indian elections has been traditionally low.  While I was sailing, in the days of paper ballots, a joke was ‘even when they capture booths and stuff ballots, we don’t record 99% turnout.’

Thankfully, we are seeing higher and higher percentage of people willing to stand in line to exercise their democratic right.  Even more wonderful are the initiatives by independent and concerned people and organisations to create voter awareness.  One such voter awareness program came to my attention yesterday - The Ungli Campaign - focussed, though not exclusively, towards the youth.

I took a look at their music video ‘The Ungli Song’, and could not stop replaying it thrice, for the jangle is catchy.  The lyrics are a tongue-in-cheek poke (no pun intended) at the shenanigans of (some) dirty politicians and the Indian polity in general.

I burst out laughing when they jangled about the ‘oversight of the Supreme Court on our bedroom action’, though I have not understood the reference to D’Jango a little bit earlier.  You can watch ‘The Ungli Song’, graciously shared by Vebbler on YouTube.

The Ungli Song is part of an initiative by the Indian personal networking platform Vebbler, who have launched a portal to enthuse people into voting booths this elections. The Ungli campaign has a microsite at, which aims to be a one stop online portal for all news and information regarding the Indian elections.

The promo song or anthem or whatever they call it is 'The Ungli Song'. This song aims to highlight the power of the  common man's Ungli. Shibani Kashyap and The Band of Boys have sung the song, along with support from celebrities such as Arbaaz Khan, Prachi Desai, Sonu Sood, Esha Deol, to name a few, showing their support by being part of the video.

So, what watch the video, spread the word, and do not forget to get in there and vote on election day.

Disclaimer: I have absolutely no connection - personal or commercial - with Vebbler, The Band of Boys or any others.  This is just own 2 pokes for the democracy, on a request.

IceRocket Tags: india-elections,election2014

Ugadi and Gudi Padwa 2014 greetings to all

Today, 31 March 2014, is celebrated as the New Year’s day by the people of the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka as Ugadi, and by the people of the state of Maharashtra as Gudi Padwa.  The Sindhi people celebrate their new year, Cheti Chand, one day later on 1st April.

Ugadi is New Year according to Luni-Solar calendar. Luni-Solar calendars consider the position of the Moon and the position of the Sun to divide the year into months and days, and is followed in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and some parts of Gujarat.

The counter-part of Luni-Solar calendar is Solar calendar which considers only position of the Sun to divide the year into months and days, which is followed by the rest of the people of India.

On this auspicious occasion, wish you all and your families a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.  May the new year bless you and your families with joy, prosperity, peace and happiness.


Chirp for the Sparrow, Tweet for the Sparrow

Today, March 20th is the annual World Sparrow Day.  Strangely, in 2014, the World Sparrow Day seems to have been a very low key affair, with very few write-ups in newspapers or mags.  In contrast the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) organized a public awareness program in 2011 aptly titled ‘Chirp for the Sparrow, Tweet for the Sparrow’.

Mumbai, especially Andheri, where I lived for more than half a decade, had a lively presence of sparrows.  Looking at the sparrows arguing over a fistful of rice grains on a Sunday morning over newspapers and coffee, made me feel like the Earth was at peace.

Chennai, in my younger days had a chattering population of house sparrows.  Though we suffered an occasional sparrow nest in our own house, it was my uncle’s home, which was a veritable apartment complex for the sparrows.  At any given time, there used to be 3 or 4 sparrow families, chirping, tweeting, arguing and messing up the books, tables and almirahs.  House sparrows are part and parcel of ever green memories of those carefree years.

Some years later, as a teen, I spent a year or so in Delhi.  There, in front of the house I was living as a tenant, (probably still there) was a False Asoka (Polyalthia longifolia or நெட்டிலிங்கம் in Tamil) tree.  It hosted a vast population of sparrows - must have been hundreds of them in that tree alone.  As it happened, my roommate bought an air rifle for a few hundred rupees, and the rest is not hard to guess.  Both of us did what two teens let loose with an air gun would do - shot about a hundred sparrows, a few dozen common mynah and other birds, and some pigeons.

The few scolding and even threats by neighborhood elders did not faze us, and we would have eventually cleaned up all the sparrows on that tree, but for monkeying around, literally, by the roomie.  In a fit of enthusiasm, on one Sunday, he took a pot shot at the troop of rhesus monkeys who trundled over.  For the next hour, we sat in discomfort and wonder, as the monkeys repeatedly assaulted the windows and door of that roof top accommodation.  Strangely, the neighbors who must have had a grandstand view of the monkey trouble, did not happen to notice our predicament with the screaming monkeys!

To cut the long story short, a few bananas hurriedly showed through the ventilator mollified the mad monkeys for the day.  And more banana tributes on Tuesdays and Saturdays kept us safe from further attention.  In any case, that was the end of my month long adventure with air guns!

When I came back to Chennai, the cell phones and their towers had a stranglehold on the city.  To add to the misery were the bland apartment complexes without nook and corners for the sparrows to nest.  

Compounding the misery is the ever growing population of the rats of the sky - the pigeons.  Thus, it has been rare to sight a sparrow, though an occasional chirp still sends me searching for one.

On this World Sparrow Day, I resolve to do something about it.  Hang a few nest boxes on the guava tree in the backyard, to try and entice the few sparrows which are still chirping around my neighborhood, into making a home in there.

A sight like this would make me feel like a million dollars!


(Photo courtesy Bharat Rughani - Bird Conservation Society Porbandar FB page)

Let us see whether the chirpers and tweeters will be enticed, and make me feel once again, that the world is at peace!