Monthly Archives: January 2005

Identity theft

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say. Imitation is also the sincerest form of irritation, I say. While hopping around the blogosphere I stumbled upon this blog – R@gZ. I say stumbled cos it was much like that. Caught me completely off-guard and left me saying — Huh! What the heck was that?!

Yes, this chappie has stolen my tagline, sidebar sections & titles, style definitions, icons, complete posts and even my profile! Okay, so he ‘loves Archana’ and plays table tennis, big whoop! Everything else about his personality is me! BAH! Oh wait. Not *everything* is from me. To Mr Copycat’s credit, he did mix it up a little. He’s also stolen content from highly visible bloggers like Lazygeek. Tsk tsk.

Now, I did say in my copyright notice that I would heckle and mock people who did this, but sheer laziness (and 5 tons of snow) came in the way of my writing about it.

But Rajesh J Advani has been so nice (and patient) to have not only written a detailed exposé on him, he’s also done screenshots of both my blog as well as the copycat’s. This is particularly cool considering that I will be changing my design in a few days, so this thievery has been recorded for posterity! Hee haw! So yes, please go read his Tehelka-style scoop :) Incidentally, Rajesh has suffered plagiarism plenty in the past, so he’s a much better person to write about this than I.

Also, Amit Varma (of India Uncut fame) has been so kind as to mention my woes. What happened in the Rohan Pinto story though, (follow above link to get the scoop on that) makes our friend R@gZ, a much smaller menace.

Web designers often imitate each other’s work in terms of content and design. We run into a site that does a tweak we like and try to use it in our own work. Copy some code, change some colors, some fonts, some backgrounds etc. Copying source code from a site, pasting it into a local document, proceeding to break it down and understand it, and then reapplying those fundamentals to our own design — a lot of us do that. This process of deconstruction and reconstruction is not usually considered plagiarism or thievery. But to steal a site completely — code, layout, colors, graphics, content — simply replacing minor words here and there (and in some cases not even that!) is not only blatant plagiarism, its plain stupidity! Anyone with half a brain can see the obvious, so what exactly do the copycats hope to achieve?

Here’s a thought — Wouldn’t it have been hilarious if the guy stole my copyright notice too? :)

No mo’ snow!

Snowdrift has been my word of the day. For those of you who live in warmer climates and have never heard of or dealt with one and are probably sniggering at me right now with a smug look on your sun-tanned face — a snowdrift is a mass of snow that’s heaped up by the wind. So what? Well, when you get about 25-28 inches of snow in a weekend coupled with 50 mph winds, the piles of snow against your main door, your car, your front yard, everywhere .. are about 4 feet tall. Enter our friend, Mr Snowplow Operator who takes these 4-foot piles and pushes another truckload of snow on top of it. What one ends up with is quite a Himalayan experience. (No not Bhagyashree’s husband. And if you didn’t get that joke, you need to brush up on your pointless Hindi-movie trivia from the early 90s.)

So the weather inspired the poet in me. Yes, let us assume, for the sake of this post that there IS a poet in me. After all, my last creative outpouring was also about the weather. So here I am, back with another. Can we keep the collective groans in the audience to a minimum please? Thanks to fellow blogger Hob Gadling for added inspiration.

Snow

Snow, snowdrifts, sleet and ice
Driving around is not very nice
Yay! I have all-wheel drive!
Without it I couldn’t survive.

Woke up in the morn’ and — whoa!
Falling all around, soft and slow
On the tree branch, on the black crow
Feels like Christmas again, ho ho ho!

*sigh* I am no poet, I know..

On an unrelated note — the South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami Blog has been nominated in four categories in the 2005 Bloggies — Best Non-Weblog Content of a Weblog Site, Best Topical Weblog, Best New Weblog and Weblog of the Year! Started by Peter Griffin, Rohit Gupta and Dina Mehta shortly after the tsunami struck Asia, this blog grew to be a clearinghouse of information amidst the frantic chaos in the aftermath of the tragedy. So please support this wonderful effort and go vote for the SEA-EAT blog at the 2005 Bloggies!

A time for introspection

After what is probably the longest break I’ve taken from blogging, I am back. The past month has been filled with moments that have at times been painful to experience, difficult to understand, hard to see reason in and impossible to articulate in words .. and yet, here I am, trying to do just that. Well at least some of it.

I’ve always been a believer of the phrase — ‘whatever happens, happens for the best‘. Actually, the version I use goes — ‘If you don’t bear malice or ill will towards another person and do good to the world around you, whatever happens to you, happens for the best, even if it doesn’t seem that way at first’. Okay so mine’s a little wordy, but you get the drift. But every now and then there are moments that makes you question the very core of your belief system. The Tsunami disaster was one.

I am unable to explain away with my set of beliefs how there’s a ‘best’ in all of it. I’ve grappled with it everyday, while reading the news reports, seeing the footage and hearing first-person accounts of it all. And yet, I don’t have an answer, and I doubt if I ever will.

As time has passed I’ve started to be less disturbed about it. Perhaps I’ve become more hard-hearted and immune, or perhaps the rising death tolls are just figures in my head now, my mind numbed by numbers, refusing to identify them as people, as humans, as mothers, as children, as lives short-lived. Or maybe its because I stopped following the news, consciously turning away from all related coverage and thus deluding myself that the world is indeed a happier place.

Methinks this is God’s way of telling man that he’s the boss. His way of saying — Oh yeah? You think you’ll fly planes into buildings, bomb schools, and try to play God? That’s *my* domain and if you try to encroach upon it, I’ll show you how *I* do it, and trust me, you won’t like it.

While I still seek the elusive ‘greater good’ behind this tragedy, the past three weeks of working with the Tsunami Blog team has taught me more than I can express in words. Watching a completely disconnected group of strangers band together in a moment of crisis has truly reaffirmed what basic human goodness can achieve, despite all odds. Peter, Rohit, Dina, Bala, Neha, Constantin and each and every one of the volunteers — thank you.

The Tsunami has, no doubt humbled us all. It has taught us how irrelevant and ephemeral we are in the bigger scheme of things. But it has also shown us the strength of the human spirit. It has shown us how ‘one person can make a difference‘. In every person, every volunteer, every man, woman and child who have set aside their differences in class, language and race and come together to work as a team to prove that the ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts‘.

And thus, while some beliefs have been shattered and some questioned, one belief has been strengthened — What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Yes, the human spirit shall thrive and emerge as a winner out of this. This too shall pass. I believe that. I have to believe that ..