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Farewell Chennai

Eleven years (and then some) after I landed in Madras, a wide-eyed provincial keeping a wary yet naive eye out for people out to cheat me, I am leaving behind Chennai. I am no less wide-eyed or provincial than that day eleven years ago as I prepare to board a train, this time to the City of the Nizams. What wonderful happenstance that I am writing this from exactly the same place where I landed all those years ago – Chennai Central railway station!

Everything has undergone a world of change in this time – Madras Central is now Chennai Central – more swanky and more user-friendly, but still as irritatingly crowded as ever. The city itself has slid more and more into the chaos of a metropolis where the local population is so outnumbered by immigrants that to find a real Madras resident and talk to them is a rare but enjoyable treat. read more

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July 2003, Talacauvery

A cold and misty noon. Tiny needles of rain wetting the moss-covered rock. A slippery walk up a paved road. And then, rather suddenly, we came upon it – the source of the Kaveri, in a tiny spring beneath a small sanctum which held the River Goddess. That cold July noon found us shivering at the large pool into which the spring flowed, before making its way out to becoming one of the most important rivers in history. A thin, bespectacled priest clad in only a loincloth cheerfully told us to take a dip – we gave it a pass, sprinkling a few drops of water on our heads instead. As we sat by the pool, shivering in the cold, enveloped in wisps of cloud and mist, the almost total silence broken only by the sound of the spring and the chanting of the priest, Eternity softly stole in and joined us. read more

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Came across BlogCamp, and was wondering whether I should go. Then I discovered Syed, and then there was no choice, I simply had to be there! bills itself as India’s Biggest and the most comprehensive blog event and is intended to be an unconference on all things blogging. What is really exciting is that this is going to be in Chennai – so I can be in it without going to too much trouble 🙂 It will be on at the Tidel Park on the 9th and 10th of September – go and register if you want to be there. read more

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After a long time, managed to squeeze in some reading time – albeit online.

So much has been written about blogs, bloggers and blogging that I no longer read such articles fully. However, it takes an Economist writer to do the impossible – write readably about blogging! Read it here.

Bob Metcalfe writes about the challenge to his law, and argues why it is not really productive to split hairs.

CNN Money has a detailed and interesting write-up on the money in blogging, and traces the development of blogging as a new media. read more

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The Price of Ignorance

… is fifty rupees, if you go by Magesh’s experience.

He was in his ancestral place – Mayiladuthurai – a couple of days ago, and was at a Sify I-way checking his email. Along comes a boy, and asks the person in charge of the center for a "Yahoo Messenger CD."

"Fifty rupees, and I have only the older version," says the cafe operator. The boy is not put off, and cheerfully pays the cash and takes the CD.

If the boy was going to install and use Yahoo Messenger, he probably has an internet connection. And if he has an internet connection, he probably can download Yahoo Messenger himself… read more

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Windows Live Writer

Finally, a blogging tool from Microsoft that promises a lot, and according to recent reviews, delivers too. Spellchecking seems to be working, though not as you type. What’s funny is that it doesn’t seem to recognize the word “blogging,” and I had to add it to the dictionary!

A really cool feature is that this is really WYSIWIG – it shows you what you type with the formatting from the theme currently enabled on your blog. Of course, I still haven’t published this post, so I don’t really know how it will turn out online. read more

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The Unknown Drummer

Last weekend, Ramesh, Durai, Joshua and a few others were at the Marina beach. There they came across a funeral drummer – one of those chaps who plays the parai at a blistering tempo in funeral processions. After giving him some money, they got him to play for a while, and recorded bits of it.

Here are two clips – the supporting whistling is by Joshua!

Clip 1

Clip 2

There is only one drum, even if it sounds like a lot more!

Unfortunately, none of them remembered the drummer’s name. Ramesh says that he will go again this Sunday to the Marina and see if he can track down the drummer – but then, Ramesh is always saying things like this and never doing them. read more

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