Category Archives: Chennai

White Horses of Aiyannar 1 (SOP)

What am I ?

This ethnography project on Aiyannars was a diversion from the usual me who always sits in front of my laptop and did either of the two things (a) watching TED talks and interviews of various game designers (b) fiddling with the construct game engine to make games which I believe are going to change the world for better (trust me I am a designer).Probably one of the reasons why I took up this outdoor project was my subconscious mind which seemed to have deeply inspired by Shigeru Miyamoto who is said to have gone for an evening walk when the idea for the most loved video game by mankind,”Mario”, came to his mind.But that was a subconscious reason and note the word “p-r-o-b-a-b-ly” there.

“A goal is not always meant to be reached.It often serves simply as something to aim at”

ravanaimage courtesy: http://www.deccanchronicle.com/

The reason (a conscious one) why I wanted to do this project was because I wanted to remove the monkey off my back which poked me to make a documentary of a journey in the “Lonely planet” style(which was my favorite travel documentary on discovery Channel) also I wanted to try something which I am not good at, “candid talk with people”, specially to the people from the rural.Me coming from  a metropolitan upbringing always felt this disconnect when it came to talk to people from my village.I have definitely changed a lot after a year of sabbatical I spent in Delhi  before joining IDC but I still wanted to get more of this.May be I wanted to bring the “Hippie” inside me to wake up.Another reason for this project was that I was always poked by my north-Indian friends by saying that south-Indians worship Ravana (the character representing evil in the Hindu epic , Ramayana).I always doubted “was it the Aiyannars whom they(my north-Indian friends) have mistaken as Ravana?” because both are depicted as huge scary idols.I wanted to see if there is any truth in this speculation of mine.That’s all, these were the only two reason why I wanted to do this project.

previous experiences

I had already done a user-study trip to mount abu in the year 2010 which was for finding ways to ease the use of camera mobile technology for the rural population.I never found myself there because I never believed in technology as a liberator in people’s lives.You might smell a conflict in my statements because I am from a technology background (atleast career wise). The fact is I was always seen as an eccentric guy with a slant towards art during my days as a software engineer.Similarly, I am being seen as an eccentric guy with technical slant in the design community after I came to IDC.

conditions before the start of the project

But ignoring the fingers that are pointed towards me (as I always have), I decided to work on video games which I believe is the sum total of all the creative mediums of expression ever known to man.I was really tired after a presentation spill in P2 project which was given an extension and I wanted a break desperately and hence was looking for serendipity that can save my equanimity.I felt looking within myself (into my own culture which is still an alien for me due to many reasons) would give me few moments of bliss.

For reading further in the project click here

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Santhanu’s Chitra Vidyalaya

Today I went to a very different school ,of which ,I was part of during my childhood.I went to Santhanu’s Chitra Vidyalaya from where I used to get my postal course on Art.I have done two courses , one Children Art Course and another Commercial Art Course.My REAL GURU is Vijayasarathy the head of the school who used to single handedly correct all his student’s sketches coming from all over the country.The Sad thing is he is no more and I could just see his photograph.It’s a very sad thing that I have never met my REAL Art Guru who have guided me in drawing from the age of 9.

When I showed my sketches and my Guru’s correction on those sketches his son who runs the school now , felt very good and felt very nostalgic.He must have definitely felt very happy to see all his dad’s course material kept intact by me,which have always guided me through my Art career,including my recent success at CEED and NID entrance exams.

Nostalgic memories While I was doing my “Children Art course” with Santhanu Chitra Vidyala , I was studying in 5th standard,during which,my dad got transferred to Calcutta Army Hospital.I sent a letter to Santhanu Chitra Vidyalaya that please send the future lessons to the address in Calcutta.But since Santhanus had already sent me the Fifth Module to the Chennai address, they sent me another copy of the same with a personal note to me saying that since they are not sure if I got the Fifth module due to change of address,they are sending another copy of the same.This showed their dedication towards a student of hardly 9-10 years old.This created a huge respect for Santhanus Chitra Vidyalaya and Vijayasarathy sir.

I collected all the course material religiously

collection of all lessons-forever guide

Material is for all ages The course material sent by Santhanus is for all ages.I still use the material for some facial expressions , perspectives doubt etc.

Below is sketches by me (from age 9 to 15) and corrected by Vijayasarathy sir 🙂

Caricature

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My First Oil Painting

Figure Drawing

Wash Drawing

Composition

Independence Day , what it means to kids

When I was a kid,I used to watch the only television channel then Doordarshan which on 15th August had the following line-up of programs.

  • Patriotic Manoj Kumar Songs
  • Prime-Minister’s unfathomable speeches by Prime-Minister of India from Red-Fort
  • A Regular movie ‘Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi’ which Doordarshan used to telecast on following days Aug15,Oct 2,Jan 26 and Jan 30

Me being the kid who grew up in the 90’s the above set of programs were enough to instill patriotic feelings atleast for the day.The last episode of patriotism that came in my life was in 1997 the 50th year of Independence when I saw the “Independence 50” sticker in cars,handpulled ricksaws,trams ,metro trains (I was in Calcutta that time),autos and many places wherever stickers can be pasted.The song that captivated the nation during that time was ‘Vande Matram’ by A.R.Rahman.I don’t know how much impact it made on other people but as a teenager I was deeply impacted by that song.

Unfortunately that was the last episode of deep patriotism in me as I was introduced to the concepts of ‘Internationlism’ and about various cultures across the world by my History teacher.Before that the only cultured nation I knew was INDIA.The definition of CULTURED was very clear and simple in mind then, it’s rather more vague and in a state of chaos right now !!

After I moved to college and got a job in an MNC , the concepts of patriotism faded into my childhood memories.Today I feel the concepts of NATIONALISM and PATRIOTISM are just phases in the human history .I believe the international borders will fade away to give give way for a new world order called HUMANITY, the seeds of which are already taking shoots in the form of Human Rights , Globalism , Internet etc etc

Today Morning I woke up and as usual I started checking my tweet stream , blog statistics , mail and some technology news.After a while I came out for getting some fresh air and I saw something infront of my appartments which reminded me of my childhood activities which I did every Aug 15 and sometimes on Aug 26 as well.

After watching the flag-hoisting at school by our school principal and having sweets and ladoos distributed by the school prefects,I used to make paper-flags and hoist it on my table.The quality of flags underwent the following enhancements each year.

  • Hand-made Tricolor in paper with one side blank,hoisted on a single-wick of broomstick
  • Hand-made Tricolor in paper with color on both the sides
  • Hand-made Tricolor in paper with color on both sides and the pole of the flag(broomstick) painted in white
  • Hand-made Tricolor in paper with color on both sides and the pole pasted with white paper and an intricate mechanism for hoisting it.(pull the rope at the bottom and the flag goes up)

I never made a flag with cloth because I grew up by then and patriotism had faded away.On one Independence day , I even made a British flag and burnt it infront of the Indian flag hoisted on my table.(this was probably the flag version of the silly GI-JOE toy games I used to play)

Today after so many years,I saw similar thing by the kids from our appartments was really nice to see.A paper flag hoisted on a giant pole by a group of small kids from age 3 to 7.I didn’t have the usual 8 megapixel DIGICAM nor my 2 megapixel camera mobile to capture the snap.I have to borrow my dad’s mobile and take the snap.

IndependenceDay at Jayapriya FlatsCute Independence

Really nice to see such Hand-Made Paper Flags even today.

Sathyam Cinema’s poor website design screwed my Weekend

Ask my friends how many movies I used to watch every week.There was a time ,last year when I used to watch as many as 5 movies per week,most of them Night shows.Kiki was my movie partner and had a lot of adventures like being caught by the corrupt night policemen near the Madhya Kailash signal.We even used to watch movies continously.

  • 7PM -9PM Journey to the Center of the Earth(English)
  • 9:30PM-1:30AM A Wednesday (Hindi)
  • 2 AM We were caught by a Corrupt Policeman while coming back at Madhya Kailash Signal
  • 2:03 AM KIKI dials 100 to complain about the policeman who caught us
  • 2:05 AM I give Rs.140/- to escape the cop before the other cop(whom kiki called for SOS)reach the spot

I give all the credit to the online booking system by sathyam cinemas at thecinema.in.We used to book the tickets at the end of day just an hour before the movie.The ‘Q’ was really DEAD.The website was intuitive and mostly flash based.We struggled a lot when we booked the movie tickets through mozilla , though the site worked like maska in IE browser.

It’s been around 8 months since I had visited Sathyam Cinemas though I have frequented Mayajaal , INOX and our own RAKKI [Ambattur’s biggest Multiplex 🙂 ].After a long time I wanted to watch a movie at Sathyam.I was planning to watch both ICE AGE on SATURDAY and TRANSFORMERS on SUNDAY.When I tried booking the ticket,I found the thecinema.in has undergone a complete transformation during the multiplex strike period.

The site is fully done in FLash.I suggest they could have had a LIGHTER version of the same site for people booking the tickets from low configuration systems.

Another major design fault in the site which screwed my weekend was WRONG colors chosen for the active tab in the ‘MAKE PAYMENT’ screen.Take a look at the thecinema.in’s MAKE PAYMENT screen below

PAYMENT THROUGH FUEL CARD OPTION

PAYMENT THROUGH FUEL CARD OPTION

MAKE PAYMENT SCREEN -PAY THROUGH CREDIT CARD OPTION

MAKE PAYMENT SCREEN -PAY THROUGH CREDIT CARD OPTION

I noticed that the line separating the inactive tab shouldn’t be there for Active Tab.

Minor flaw yet it spoiled my weekend

Minor flaw yet it spoiled my weekend

Second thing I noticed was the color of the inactive tab is more eye catchy than active tab, which lead to a confusion in my mind and When I wanted to switch to PAY BY CREDIT CARD MODE, I kept on clicking on the FUEL CARD tab without reading the tab title,thanks to the color of the inactive tab which looks like an Active Tab.

You call this poor Design of thecinema.in or my impatience,it took a lot of time for me to figure out the difference between the active and inactive tabs and I ended up booking the tickets for Transformers for Wednesday Matinee show.In order to compensate for the half day of work at office I burned my Sunday in my cubicle.(Remember there was no A/C on Sunday).

Hope Sathyamcinemas takes note of this simple yet weekend screwing design flaw and make lives easier.

Update: April 17,2010 I have done a storyboard that reflects my reaction to the website’s poor interface design:

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BSNL’s Broad “band” seva

A few days back I put BSNL broadband seva in my home PC.There is so much said about the BSNL offers and service but I was shocked to see the poor service in terms of clean finishing of the job.

The Telephone box was left open.Even with a slightest stronger wind blow or any rodent happens to step on it the whole set up might collapse.

I think the only way BSNL is able to rule the telecom market is because of political backup and early start-up, otherwise BSNL is one of the WORST telecom company in the world.

If Private market has not be suppressed by our beureaucracy backed BSNL, BSNL would have long back been extinct.

Broad Band sevatchu tchu tchu