Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Gap Between Bollywood and the Real India

I was reading Set Apart, and it was talking about the impact of the media on culture and 'norms'. India is an interesting example of the same.

Ex 1) Dress style
There are many dress styles in India, but you'll see a few trends: kurtas for the boys who dress traditionally, trousers and shirts for male office workers. For the ladies, either Western-style office dress, or kameez... sometimes a saree, but that's rare to see a saree at work.

On Fridays, you'll see jeans and t-shirts in the office, no shorts, no skirts above the knee.

In the media, there is a lot of West love going, even as far as having Hindi rap. Of all things! There will be some traditional clothes for sure, but you feel the general direction to be away from there.

Ex 2) Modestry
When I was at the corporate picnic, I found something interesting: nearly noone was wearing a swimsuit at the beach, and only guys were showing any flesh. Girls were dressed as if they were in a park, frankly.

Not so in the Hindi movie arena. The girls are sexy, very sexy, wear short skirts, show a lot of cleavage, show off in bikinis, you name it, its all fair game! The guys have mandatory 'six pack' moments, it sometimes feels.

Ex 3) Music
At that party, I noticed one thing... domination of the Hindi movie songs. The games we played, the songs sang in the bus, it was all bollywood. The movie music directors have more or less hijacked today's Indian culture.

Now, what's happening to the young generation? Go to a college in Mumbai, and you'll see folks that will make you feel as if you're in Montreal. The teens at church could be NRIs attending the Montreal church in many cases.
Many colleagues (a large chunk barely out of college) are a bit 'in between', where they'll be glad to switch to jeans and t-shirt on Friday, but really don't mind dressing more traditionally.
It seems like that, for ever 5 years of age difference, you see less Indian and more Western in a person...

There are a few lessons from this: don't rely on the media's corporate, profit-making arm to show you what real life is all about. Also, what you watch with your kids is likely to be what your kids will become like. The example is powerful in North America, but its crazy and saddening here.

And so, the gap between Bollywood and the Real India is very wide in a way, but very narrow in another, for better and for worse.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What's Been Up

Ok, let me try to summarize this... I didn't get much time to blog lately

1) Work-wise, we finished the dev phase of another sprint, and we are in the testing phase trying to wrap up documentation, fix bug, etc.
2) I did a few things outside of work: I went to a friends' wedding in Hyderabad, and I went to a friend's office picnic, which really took a full day and then some. That added up to 3 nights with little sleep...
3) I'm re-establishing the practice of positive reinforcing every day, on top of my normal prayer habits. I can't give up an inch in my fight with Satan. Its a mind-game, and the moment I start believing that things are horribly sucky, I loose focus and stop relying on God. Its a tough battle and I'm not always successful, but its a work in progress.

Global Famine and Bio-Fuels

Living in India removes a good bit of the North American bubble.

The fact remains that I am "rich", meaning that I'm not struggling for survival, in a country were people are giving up on that. A good reason is the food prices jumping lately, and India has been hit hard.

Here is a good article in French, and how bio-fuels are messing up the global food situation. I'm glad that I switched to mostly-veg a year back (if not more). I did it for health reasons, but what food we eat pretty much becomes a moral decision now.

If you want something along the same lines in English, but with a focus on bio-fuels, the Seattle Times is there for you.

And it is creating a political mess too!

Edited to add: Le Soleil has a great cartoon about this

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fighting Global Warming, One Computer at a Time

I found this little application and you must use it!

Its called LocalCooling and it enables a somewhat decent power saving scheme. You can do the same with the Configuration Panel or Dell Quickset, etc.

But where it does differently is that it tells you how much electricity you are sucking up by using your computer and keeps statistics on how much power you're saving using it. It is an eye opener, and it has a feel-good side to it.

Oh, and it doesn't annoy me like QuickSet does...

So, please install this on your machine and save saving electricty, money, and emissions!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff is a documentary about what's not working with the industrial system and its impact on human lives and the environment.

This one is well-worth the watch. Its a good view on the problems with the current consumerism system, and how its just not fitting with the way the world works.

Of course, the spiritual components of it are not included, but nevertheless, it is thought-provoking and I hope it helps all of us lower our impact on the planet.

Mr. Deity

Interesting little thing, Mr. Deity.

I just saw episode 1, and I think I'll watch the rest. It is a fascinating display of misunderstanding of God by the World. For instance, episode 1 is the problem of evil, but sicknesses and natural disaster are in the list, although those are morally neutral. Germs causing you to have a cold are not evil, they just happen. Cancer cells are destructive, but they are not evil, they just happen. Tsunamis happen too, but water is not a sentient and moral being, so it cannot be evil.

Holocausts did happen, and you could argue that they are happening still these days. Those were done by humans, and the humans who did it, you can be sure, have sinned. Maybe some will have repented afterwards, but you can be safe to think that a lot of them will enjoy a prolongated "vacation" at a resort that will make North Indian summer look cold.

Praised be God, the Everlasting One, Righteous Judge and Benevolent Creator.

One thing that I like about Mr. Deity is that it might get some people to be thinking again about God.
My concern is that some people's very weak faith will be shaken by that. But I don't mind too too much... maybe that will result in less churchians. And that would be a good thing.

I have to say, Celine Dion on the list of evils is not something I disagree with ;)

P.P.S. Maybe I'll do a series of messages on those themes