Archive for August, 2010

Road Sense 101: Road Signs and What They Really Mean


Have a problem perceiving things the right way? Does your mind tell you to do the complete opposite of what you’re told to do? Well worry not then, ‘coz you’re one among the millions of Indians who suffer from the precise same problem and don’t even know about it. A brilliant place to find these geniuses at work is on our very own Indian roads. Highways, main streets, crossroads, level crossings, flyovers, gullies and where not, you’ll always find one of your kind. And that’s uniquely Indian.

Road signs. Meant to guide the driver and to effectively manage traffic without the actual need of a human. More often than not though, Indian drivers mysteriously perceive these road signs as completely different instructions. Let’s have a look at some examples:

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Really Means: Straight prohibited or No Entry

Perceived Meaning: Drive right through, we’ve been expecting you.

Also Perceived as: What? A challenge? I’m going in.

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Really Means: One way sign

Perceived Meaning: See if you can dodge oncoming traffic and wedge your way through. Don’t worry, as long as you’ve got change in your wallet we’ll handle the police.

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Really Means: Pedestrians prohibited

Perceived Meaning: The world is your oyster and nothing’s out of bounds for you! Please feel free to use the street for all purposes that you may require it for. Littering will be appreciated.


Really Means: Left turn prohibited (Another variant is the Right turn prohibited sign)

Perceived Meaning: Free left turn at all times. Do watch out for competing traffic though and do NOT let those bastards past you.

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Really Means: U-Turn prohibited

Perceived Meaning: Don’t take this seriously. It’s an inverted U after all.

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Really Means: Overtaking Prohibited

Perceived Meaning: In case the vehicle ahead is slowing your highness down, mow down the prick and/or make a rude gesture while overtaking him from any direction of your choice.

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Really Means: Horns prohibited

Perceived Meaning: Pump up the volume, pump up the volume!


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Really Means: No Parking

Perceived Meaning: Look around. Do you see anyone else parking here? Yes? Alright go ahead. No? Alright go ahead.

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Really Means: Speed Limit 50 km/h

Perceived Meaning: Don’t drive like a freaking 50 year old. Hit the pedal!

Also Perceived as: Driving below 50 km/h will prove beyond a doubt that you’re a pussy.

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Really Means: Stop
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Perceived Meaning: Random red octagon trying to spoil my driving experience.
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Really Means: Give Way
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Perceived Meaning: Drive defensively taking the inside line. Evade any attempts of tailgating by swearing loudly.
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Really Means: Pedestrian crossing
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Perceived Meaning: Pedestrian challenge ahead. Dodge as many possible for extra points.
Also Perceived as: Zebra crossing is for sissies!
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Really Means: School ahead
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Perceived Meaning: School challenge ahead. Hang around for hot teachers. Make toddlers cry for bonus points.
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Really Means: Cross road
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Perceived Meaning: Cross over to the other side before people from the other three directions get the same idea. Ignore all red lights at all costs.
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Really Means: Gap in median
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Perceived Meaning: Gap too far ahead! Must make my own gap in the median here. Proceed to cut across the median and over to the other side. Act macho afterwards.
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Really Means: Roundabout
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Perceived Meaning: Driving in circles was never productive. Navigate through the traffic in a perfectly straight line.
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Really Means: Barrier ahead
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Perceived Meaning: Barrier to your successful attempt at flouting the rules ahead. Unmount the vehicle and proceed by ducking under the obstruction for a full standing ovation.
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Another name for this post could be Sarcasm 101, as I’ve been told. But you’ve got to admit the fact that some of these made you chuckle (at least some?). If they didn’t then you’re one of the people I’m taking a piss at here (if you’re not, feel free to check out possibly funnier posts on the blog)

10 Perceptions of the Indian Kind


Just a few days away from India’s independence, we witness changes that have sporadically evolved throughout these years. Changes that have been truly dynamic and changes that have definitely shaped the society that we live in today.

We might have evolved socially, economically and are definitely much more tougher inside than we were 63 years ago. But some things still remain as they were.  We apparently forgot to go beyond the full-stop a couple of times. I have compiled a list of 10 such instances. Hope that you agree and inform us of several more.

So here are the top 10 uncanny Perceptions of the Indian Kind.

1) That all Sardars hail from Punjab.
2) That only white-skinned people are foreigners.
3) That Onion and Garlic fall under the category of Non-vegetarian food.
4) That the character of the groom is judged by his educational qualification prior marriage.
5) That heavy discounts put on some products cannot make the product inferior.
6) That the beauty of a place  is judged by the number of tourist spots located there.
7) That the number of children borne is seen as more of a hobby.
8) That one must possess certain electronic equipment despite having any requirement.
9) That the national anthem might just be Vande Mataram.
10) That the end of all education leads to an engineering or a medical college.
I sincerely hope that we can definitely get over these in the next couple of years. Claim as you  strongly might, these social stigma or utter carelessness are much prevalent in our society today.
Jai Hind!  Jai Bharat!

The Convergence of Convenience


We are, undeniably, living in an age of convergence. A convergence of ideas, cultures and technology which transcends even the most well defined boundaries. Practicality is the name of the game in the present environment where time is of the essence and every minute wasted is translated into money lost. In other words, time has evolved into a sort of a financial aspect which corporates keep tabs on owing to the cut throat competition. If your device takes more time than your rival’s to process a task, it is considered redundant and is substituted. There is no room for complacency because the minute you develop a piece of software or hardware, your rival will have developed a more efficient one. Hence the process of evolution is continuous and the consumer is left with a plethora of choices for his every need. Whether that’s a boon or a bane is a subject of debate. That technology today caters to almost every human need is a fact that needn’t be argued upon; yet there is always that longing for that elusive piece of the tech puzzle that would represent the ultimate convergence of human conveniences.

The humble Mobile Phone has gone a long way since it’s first, almost prehistoric, form. It no longer is just a device to make calls and send messages. Current mobile phones do so much more. No longer do you need a separate mp3 player or a camera or even a laptop, because the mobile phone of today is a convergence of all these technologies into just one, highly mobile and efficient device. Applications and software for smartphones have various utilities which further reduce the need for separate hardware. An array of operating systems are now being implemented on mobile phones and the dominance of Symbian Java is under threat by OS’s such as Windows Mobile, Palm OS, Linux, MeeGo, Maemo etc. The Android OS developed by Google features multitasking and is capable of running virtual operating systems, which is surely a great feature for developers and geeks alike. The 4G standards aim at providing the user with a data rate of 100 Mbit/s while the client physically moves at high speeds relative to the station, and 1 Gbit/s while client and station are in relatively fixed positions. This means that streaming of HDTV programming, video chat, MMS etc. will all be seamlessly available to the user on the move, with ease.

Laptops, which were once seen as the ultimate replacement for its bulky counterpart – the Desktop, is now under threat by Netbooks. Optimized for low cost and low weight, they are an ideal companion for the businessman on the move providing him with everything from business applications, Internet on the move, to entertainment; all with great battery life. Another competitor in this area is the Tablet PC. It is a laptop PC equipped with a stylus and a touchscreen which aims at providing a more-mobile and highly functional alternative to the laptop. It provides the user the choice of operating system that he prefers which further gives it an edge over similar devices. Yet the power of the Laptop is its saving grace. A high end laptop can easily compete with a Desktop PC and deliver the same if not better user experience in gaming, software development, animation etc.

Derivatives of the Tablet PC are PDA’s and eBook readers that are so in vogue these days. Even though they do not provide a choice of OS for the user, and are quite rigid in their application, these devices are battling for a chunk of the market share among computing devices. eBook readers are optimized for reading books in the digital format. A huge library of eBooks available online complements these devices. The recently introduced Apple iPad is the perfect example. It’s an eBook reader equipped with bluetooth, WiFi and 3G, truly representing a convergence of technologies. It’s competitors, the Adam tablet, HP Slate, Amazon Kindle etc. are great alternatives with better features at a similar and sometimes even less cost.

Among this revolution of mobile gadgetry there is a dark horse that is still putting up a fight. The Television is not far behind in implementing the latest technologies and integrating itself with various other devices. Notwithstanding it’s bulky nature, the latest HDTV’s, 3DTV’s, Plasma, LED and LCD televisions are still competing in the home entertainment market. The quality of picture and sound delivered by these televisions is currently unmatched by any laptop. Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) is a great example of one technology adapting itself to another. IPTV is a system through which internet television services are delivered over the internet and broadband Internet access networks, instead of being delivered through traditional radio frequency broadcast, or cable television. Coupled with complementary Satellite TV technology, the IPTV provides a new level of interactive services to the user with a huge range of channels to choose from every part of the world and features of live television, time-shifted programming, and video on demand delivered right to the users living room.

VeriChip's implantable RFID device

The next level of live, boundless, wireless human interaction with technology is the Microchip. A human microchip implant is an integrated circuit device or RFID transponder encased in silicate glass and implanted in the body of a human being. An implant typically contains a unique ID number that can be linked to information contained in an external database, such as personal identification, medical history, medications, allergies, and contact information. No longer would you need to carry a wallet containing money or a number of credit cards for shopping. The microchip would contain all information of your bank accounts and this would be used for all transactions. A device that actually resides in you and becomes a part of you. A true representation of convergence indeed.

But with it comes the hazards of the compromise of privacy. We have already granted access to our personal details, likes, dislikes to major websites through social networking and other means knowingly or otherwise. Imagine the near future where governments have  made microchip implants compulsory on grounds of keeping a continuous eye on its citizens. Coupled with data gathered from your Internet activity, every little  private information of every person would be available and then stored in databases following which every move of yours would be watched. An uncomfortable proposition indeed.

We stand at the cusp of a technological revolution. A revolution which in itself is evolving through our search for that decisive technology which would quench our eternal thirst for convenience. Let us hope though that this revolution sets us free instead of making us slaves to our own creations.

Independent India?


As this pundit blogs this post, I merely reminisce the long years ago when we made a tryst with destiny- the destiny which Nehru pompously talked of as he declared India independent at the stroke of midnight hour. The days of yore when our forefathers were unshackled from the tyranny of opression. The days of yore when Economic and Social freedom was just within our grasp.

But at the theshhold of our 63rd year of independece, I merely remark – Have we really made a tryst with THAT Destiny? A country plagued by anomalies aboud. A country whose every single process is asymbiotic in nature. A country where the celebration of the flag hoisiting is limited to sardonic speeches, the tempestuous yawns behind the same speaker and the oppotunity for the commoner to rejoice at a very rare paid holiday!

It is remarkable to perceive that our country has more liquor stores that it has primary schools. That drunkards force children out of schools, to enact the role of  wage-earners, merely  to meet their devilish desires – is a shame. That the babus distribute liquor bottles to attract crowds to rallies rather than food and clothing, is an even greater shame.

The Fundamental Rights promised to us  by Part III of out constitution is still a very distant dream. Where is the Right to freedom from exploitation, when realtors, in tow with the petty administration, forcibly evict the downtrodden from their homes overnight? Where is the right to equality when you make reservations to government positions on the basis of caste alone?

All roads in this great nation of ours lead to the footsteps and bank accounts of the top brass alone. Once the common man is sucked into this immaculate vortex, it is seemingly inconceivable for him to return unscathed. A very limited number of honorary men own this nation, whose apparent honorary duty is to bestow these powers to their even more honorary offspring.

At that stroke of midnight hour, our country was gaining freedom from the shackles of a nuclearized nation, integrating itself for the tough roads ahead. Have we fallen back into those days of derision where states are manufactured merely at the behest of sectarian desires? The political leaders of our country are everything but Jan-Sevaks. The are more of Rashtriya Swayam Sevaks(National self-workers), interested in meeting their own devilish needs. Shakespeare once quote in one of his works – “Oh Judgement thou art fled to brutish beassts, and men have lost their reason.’ Judgement has truly gone to the dogs – leaving us , the commoners gaping cluelessly for answers.

Jai Hind!

Jai Bharat!