It—the Review


Movies based on Stephen King’s horror novels usually suck. As you can see I have used the modifier “horror” to sidestep Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption.  Based on one very publicly chronicled bad experience King had with a certain director, it seems that he always strives to maintain a tight control of cinematic adaptations, ensuring that any film made on his writings remains true to the source. Unfortunately King’s prose is verbose, his stories start after five hundred pages (okay I am exaggerating a bit), and sometimes he totally goes off the rails, which is why more or less literal translations to screen have consistently lead to poor cinema, as a number of less than stellar adaptations of King’s works have demonstrated over the years.

Which brings me to that one bad experience that King had.

Kubrick’s “The Shining.”

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RaGa and Leaked Transcript of AI Speech


[Work of fiction. Any resemblance to real speech is merely coincidental. Context]

Good morning bhaiyon and behenon and my mother.

I am RaGa and I am here to talk about AI.

As you all know, Congress gave the world AI. Also IA. Air India. Indian Airlines. Great achievements as those of have ever had the fortune of flying these two carriers would know.

But today I am here to talk about artificial intelligence, the ability to mimic human like intelligence without possessing a brain and as someone who has been doing this for the last 45 years or so, I guess I am uniquely qualified to talk about AI.

AI is in my shirt, it is in my pants.

The Gandhi family understands the concept of decision trees. We always take the path that is weighted by the highest incentives for us, and our edges are weighted by Bofors, Augusta Westland as experts will no doubt note. More details are available in our paper on Minimal Reduced Edge Graph Algorithm or MREGA

This follows from the work the Gandhi-Nehrus did in developing object oriented languages where we practically defined the concepts of inheritance and inner classes which we initially called Lutyens. Also do take a look at our agent based system which we call Quattrocchi.

I personally use supervised learning, supervised by my mother and Digvijay Singhji and I operate from a neural network, and yes the bandwidth on that network is available, please contact Mr Raja for further conversation. We impose invariants like “A Gandhi shall always lead the Congress” during operations and we have developed proprietary data mining routines that produce vast quantities of copper and iron and coal and natural gas.

It is worth noting that we at Congress virtually invented adaptive systems, the Congress party being secular or communal or self righteous or corrupt, adapting fast and adjusting behavior depending on sensor stimulus.

Unfortunately some people like Elon Modi are creating fear uncertainty doubt regarding AI. AI is benign, and follows Asimov’s principle of never harming its masters. If you have any doubt, look at us, we never ever harm our masters, even when they harm us and you may ask Union Carbide. When faced with obstacles, we just change our goals and shift our goalposts.

Ultimately you have to realize that human intelligence is fallible. Just look at our 2014 election results.

But when you put your trust in artificial intelligence, you embrace perfection.

So come and hug me.

The Legacy of the Lovecharger Baba


The first time I encountered the phenomenon of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Insaan was when a suggested video on my Youtube video feed pointed me to the song “You are my Love Charger“. It was an experience like something never before, and this coming from someone who watched pretty much every trashy Hindi film in the late 90s. A middle-aged, flabby man, with curly hair covering his forearms like the Amazon rainforests in the 1800s, wearing a psychedelic tight-fitting costume with the picture of a lion on his back, moving like Mick Jagger (or thinking he is), in front of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands perhaps even more, screaming in ecstasy like fourteen-year-old girls at a Bieber concert, as multi-colored balloons rise in the air. Soon the Lovercharger Baba, as Arnab Goswami called him on TV, became huge on social media, aided by an army of “Insaan” accounts, that only tweeted praise about the Baba, and RT-ed his tweets, to the extent that you could not help wondering what the budget was for the “organic” social media campaign.

Then came the movies. I watched the first, MSG: Messenger of God, a work of celluloid narcissism of the kind that would make Kim Jong Un scream “Bas kar beti” and reviewed it here. He would go on to make more, but there was only so much of tacky bargain basement graphics, and Baba fighting Pakistan and Godzilla together while driving purple bikes wearing a floral body-suit, that even I could take. It was obvious the movies were targeted to the followers of his Dera, and they lapped it up like the second and third and fourth coming of God, and it was all kind of subversively fun to shake your head and laugh at the antics of this gentleman who said he invented T20 cricket and taught Virat Kohli to bat and done wondrous things that would make Leonardo Da Vinci and Newton’s parents complain of having underachieving sons.

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An Old Picture


One of my friends passed away yesterday. In deference to his family’s absolute right to control how they wish to share their grief, I do not name him here. So the pronoun it will be.

I haven’t been in touch with him for years. He was not on social media. Every time I went to Calcutta, I met a few of my college friends, but for some reason, he was never in the group. I also never made an effort to reach out to him, and yesterday when I heard the news, I deeply regretted not having made the effort.

So I dug up an old picture. This was the late 90s, no smart-phones, pictures were rare, and even the ones that were taken, were almost never scanned. This one though was. Taken around the last few days of our graduating class, near the red chairs of the Computer Science building, pretty much everyone in our batch is there.

As I look upon the smiling faces, full of life, collectively with kilos less in fat, and grams more in hair, I cannot help but wonder the thought furthest away from their minds.


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Mob Violence–India at 70


[Want to do a series of posts on India@70. This is the first]

The problem in our country is mob violence.

It has been a problem since we became a country.

While the individual is powerless in front of the law, unless you have privilege like Mallya or Meira Kumar, the group isn’t. That’s why Indians intrinsically know that they can do pretty much anything as long as they attach themselves to the right group.

Growing up a student in Jadavpur University, I knew this too. Bunk class alone, and you lose attendance. Bunk class en masse, and the professor walks back. Not prepared for an exam, and you are in deep shit. No one prepared for an exam, why you can call a strike.

The victim in this country is always the individual who cannot form a group fast enough.  If you are a pickpocket working alone and you get caught, be prepared to have the daylights thrashed out of you by the crowd. However if you are a pickpocket working in a group, and a man catches you just when you are reaching into a pocket, your fellow pickpockets will accuse the victim of being a pickpocket and thrash him up.

Driving a car through a crowded road. A man on a bike, without a helmet, comes crazily from the side and hits you. He assembles a mob and you are forced to pay him money. Or your car gets vandalized.

Get into a scuffle over seats, and before you know it, you have been knifed.

Protest against public molestation, and the group throws you from the running train.

Unfortunately rather than calling out this problem universally, our liberal media and their consumers like to close their eyes to mob justice when it happens counter to their narrative. So if a Muslim man is lynched by a crowd which is Hindu, it is a national emergency. If a Muslim man is lynched by a crowd which is Muslim, next please.

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Sachin Tendulkar A Billion Dreams—the Review


Sachin Tendulkar, it is conjectured frequently, is God. Like God, he is seldom heard, on issues of importance, or seen, at least in Rajya Sabha, and like God, when we really really  need him, he is busy answering someone else’s prayers, or at least so say those who claim that he could never perform in the really critical games of his career. It is thus to no one’s surprise that the documentary based on his life, Sachin a Billion Dreams, goes beyond being an uncritical eulogy, beyond being a hagiography, to become a religious film, a “Jai Santoshi Ma” of the times, with acted out sections featuring a cherubic boy doing naughty things, lot of Anjali, and even a Putna, played by The Chappell who feeds the Indian team poisoned milk from his sinister teats by demoting Sachin from his opening spot.  At the same time, what’s missing is the Ferrari, the ball tampering, the Monkey Gate, and the many valid arguments for his retiring a few years before he did.  Match-fixing is touched upon, but it comes and goes before you can say Aillaaa.

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