May 21, 2009

Exclusive! Delhi Bloggers Bloc Presents DBM#30: Meetup with Shashi Tharoor

Filed under: DBM's,DesiPundit,personal,social,twitter — Twilight Fairy @ 10:46 am

Ahoy Bloggerati and Twitterati! Here’s an opportunity you can’t afford to miss.

Meet Shashi Tharoor, one of the most charismatic leaders we have in the new parliament in an exclusive informal Meetup with Delhi Bloggers Bloc.

As you know, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, has been recently elected as the Congress Member of Parliament, from Thiruvanathapuram, and much like us bloggers & social media enthusiasts, is himself an activist and excellent writer (award-winning author of eleven books).  He has put in a lifetime of work in the United Nations and was India’s candidate to succeed United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006, and finished a close second out of seven contenders. Dr. Tharoor was also  named a “Global Leader of Tomorrow” by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. You can read more about him at his official website

One of his recent tweets (@shashitharoor on Twitter) will give you an idea of how he has also adapted well to the 140 character space of Twitter:

“First day in Parliament. From the sublime (the historic Central Hall for the Cong legislators meeting) to the bureacratic (8 forms to fill)!”
Introduction to the meet
A few words by Dr. Tharoor on his impressions of Twitter and Social Media.
Q&A with Dr. Shashi Tharoor, Congress Member of Parliament, Thiruvanathapuram.
And if time permits, informal discussion on use of social media and twitter by policy makers.
Date: Thursday, 21st April, 2008
Time: 6:00 pm to 7 pm.
Venue: The Attic, 36, Regal Building (first floor), Connaught Place, New Delhi – 110001.
Tel : 2374 6050, 5150 3436
Please note that this meet is contributory with 100/- as the contribution per person, which goes to contribute to venue charges and snacks. We have limited seats (60) at the venue, so participation will be on a first come first served basis ONLY. Please be on time. No gatecrashing. Timings are subject to slight variation on short notice subject to availability of Dr. Shashi Tharoor.

For any information contact:
Twilight Fairy at +919811511719
Sanjay Shrivastava at +919873707071
Follow @delhitweetup on Twitter for updates.
While you are at it, join our Facebook group or mailing list

The entrance to The Attic is on Parliament Street (Sansad Marg), on the left side, after Park Hotel. It is just above the erstwhile pub DV8 (now Sports Bar).

By Metro – get off at Rajiv Chowk ( Connaught Place ) station on Line 2 Central Secretariat to Vishwa Vidyalaya ( Delhi University )

Parking - In Palika Parking, Near Jantar Mantar or Hanuman mandir.

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February 15, 2009

Beware of Airtel’s lifetime free IPTV scheme for existing subscribers – all hogwash

Filed under: Customer grievances,delhi,DesiPundit,gurgaon,personal — Twilight Fairy @ 3:01 pm
Airtel has been tomtoming their supposedly lifetime free IPTV scheme to existing subscribers of broadband, showing no extra cost except for installation charges of 3999/-. Even after asking several times from their executives selling this scheme to people, they insisted that there’s no monthly rental, this is indeed lifetime free at no extra cost, except that of installation. I also doubly confirmed that my existing connection of 999/- would not have any disruption or hampering in service & no extra cost and was confirmed the same. However since nothing of this sort is on airtel’s site as of now, I was still sceptical.
Finally after much interrogation, I agreed to fill up the application provided they show me this scheme on paper and not expect me to fall for it over what they claimed on phone. I speak from experience. right from the time I wasnt even an Airtel customer but they damaged my property to install someone elses connection TO my own broadband connection. As expected, considering how botched up Airtel’s services are, their representative who was given some other address instead of mine to go to & some other timing as well, arrived 5hrs late at my place without any scheme in written. This after having given them my address at least 4 times. When the rep finally procured their brochure & showed it to me, I realised that my existing speed of 384 Kbps will be downgraded to 256Kpbs if I were to avail of this scheme. I talked to their customer care again. I was told there is not much difference between 384Kbps and 256 Kbps speeds anyway. When I asked them why they are charging me more in that case, for the higher speed, he had no answer. He also told me that to retain my existing speed of 384 Kbps, I would have to buy a top up plan of 400/- every month. So here it is – their hidden monthly rental! All this after having confirmed on phone that my existing broadband services will not suffer or be hampered!
The customer care guy started by saying that I must be paying this to my cable guy. That’s not even logical. I pay much lesser to the cable guy and might as well retain my existing broadband speed, without shelling out 4K for some installation! Nice way of taking services back from the customer and then charging them again calling it lifetime free!
Beware of schemes that insult the intelligence of the customer. Jaago Grahak Jaago. Do not fall for Airtel’s hogwash

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2008 in one post

Filed under: personal — Twilight Fairy @ 2:43 pm

My blog has seen very less of action in the past one year (unlike my life). This could also be attributed to my prolific existence on flickr & twitter. However in the beginning of this year I did write down one post to make up for all that. It contained snippets of 2008 which happened, were blogworthy & never got mentioned on the blog. Sadly I am still mid way in that and that will just have to wait. Regular programming shall hopefully continue.

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September 1, 2008

TOI believes – Flickr is for flicking

Filed under: Customer grievances,personal,photography — Twilight Fairy @ 3:00 am
TOI thinks flickr is for flickingThis is shocking but unfortunately true. Our leading dailies make a business out of the photographs clicked by many of us. And they have the audacity to use them without permission , credit or compensation as well, even if they are against the copyright license. One of my pictures got “flicked” from my Flickr stream and got published in a weekly supplement of TOI’s called, “What’s Hot”, dated 18th July’08. I happened to take a look at this supplement quite by chance because it was lying around and I had nothing better to do.

 I immediately called up the editor of this supplement – a lady called Poonam singh – who said she will look into the issue. I wrote about 3 mails in all, asking for (a very meagre) compensation for the damages done as well as credit. For one, I never got a response in written – but of course that would mean acknowledging the theft. When I called up, I was told that it is common practice to “use” free images from the net! Flabbergasted at the audacity of this all, I clearly asked whether TOI staff was blind or illiterate to not be able to make out the clearly written statement on my flickr stream and my copyright license, both of which stated that my images can NOT be used without my explicit permission – ALL rights reserved. This is plagiarism in its full glory. Not only this, on asking for compensation, Ms. Poonam singh clearly told me that as a next step I could even go to lawyers and that this case will then be forwarded to the legal department of TOI. Huh? Was this a threat? Or a challenge? They actually go ahead, use an image with “all rights reserved” clearly mentioned on my page, have the audacity to state that this happens all the time – the “graphics designer may not know” and that I could go take the legal route?

Well, I clearly understand that it was not the editor herself stealing my image, but some downtrodden employee. But then undoubtedly, Ms. Poonam Singh, who represents the Times of India, is not performing her job of being an editor, if her employees are violating copyrights! Who is responsible for educating employees about copyright violation and the legal ramifications of it? How come the Indian publishing industry takes this so lightly, whereas the Indian IT industry (of which I am a part) takes IPR’s, patents and copyright violations so seriously that they throw out employees who download pirated mp3’s on their machines? I have undergone trainings on ethics a zillion times in my career. We have had several instances of audits, policies stuffed down our throats and what not. Why? Because the Indian IT industry takes this matter seriously. On the other hand, nauseatingly so, the Indian publishing industry takes this as its birthright!

The Indian Copyright Act, 1957; Section 63 – states that copyright infringement, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to three years and with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees but which may extend to two lakh rupees.
The law is on our side, the proof is in our hands and YET victims like us, do not do anything about this. After I shared my story on flickr, I shockingly realised that this practice is so rampant! I now know of many more cases like me, all of us bleeding because our creation has been stolen and used for a commercial purpose and we could do nothing but helplessly watch.

When I asked TOI for compensation, I was told that they will pay what they pay to their own photographers, which is a grand sum of 250 INR. I am tired of using this word repeatedly, but yet again, I was shocked and told the editor to keep this princely sum with herself. I was then offered 1500 INR as a “last offer” since this picture had been taken and used without my permission (such euphemism for THEFT). Just who the hell is TOI to decide compensation for MY piece of work? I do not exactly shout this from the top of trees, but like hell they need to realise a couple of things. That photography is not just a passion with me, it’s also a road to an alternate career for me. That I take it seriously, I spend money in equipment, in attaining knowledge, I spend time, effort and my resources to make a “creation”, which later I SELL. That I am at this juncture of being somewhat known in the Delhi Photography circuit (not just amateur but professional as well). That I co-administer a rather active group of Delhi based photographers, which consists of the likes of Dinesh Khanna and Pablo Bartholomew. That I also sell my prints to well known connoisseurs in the same field. Just how the hell can the Time of India value my piece of work? That’s like stealing my Mercedes and paying me for a Maruti, mind you, only because they happened to get caught red handed? Yes, I am expensive, but did TOI care? They just stole my picture without asking me how costly I am.

I have no idea, how many such images are being used on a daily basis – they could be anyones, but I do know that this nefarious practice is increasing day by day. I also plan to start a “morcha” against this kind of theft. I know of a lot of cases already and if you know of any, please get in touch. All readers of this post, I would request you to please share it widely, so that we can attack this disease as a people and not as an individual. The next stolen picture could be yours. I will certainly take legal action against Time of India. Even if it proves futile, I would not like to be in a state where I am doomed to wonder for the rest of my life – what if.

UPDATE - this issue has been resolved, thanks to all of you for your support. I have received the desired compensation, corrigendum as well as a written apology. I’ll be updating about the details in a separate post.

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January 10, 2008

Bring in the fresh new year!

Filed under: personal,photography — Twilight Fairy @ 4:56 am

Bring in the new year with brightness like the luscious red and freshness like the fragrance of roses. A very happy new year to all my friends here!

This was clicked through the car, while this person hurried to deliver flowers early one morning.

Made it to flickr explore 5th Jan’08, #167. And with that new year wish, I am certainly going to be more active on my blog. That was the new year resolution, ahem.

Bring in the fresh new year

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November 9, 2007


Filed under: blogs,personal — Twilight Fairy @ 4:01 pm

Welcome to my new abode online. All my material from the old blog is here as well. Some minor tweaking etc. would continue happening here for sometime. If you find anything amiss please let me know. In the meanwhile, taking a brief look at what all I plan to write about :

1. Hair today, gone tomorrow – hair raising tails.. long pending since eternity.
2. Photography of course. How can I not.
3. Pending tags and pending guest posts. Sorry Sakshi, the tag would be up soon. Amit, the guest post would follow soon.
4. Couple of movie reviews and photo essays.
5. My friends through the blog world.
6. Long defunct Finn times – I would surely try to revive it with travelogues and at least pictures.
7. A guest post on my new blog by my dear friend Aashish where.. err.. he talks about some rather controversial stuff about me, but for once I would let him.
8. And last but not the least – an interview I gave to NDTV’s Delhi channel.

For the real rose water spray and the real tinkling glasses of wine, one shall have to visit me in the real world in apna Gurgaon.

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June 30, 2007


Filed under: cars,nostalgia,personal — Twilight Fairy @ 6:30 am

It’s the first anniversary of the lovely association with my “gentleman”. Those who may feel disinclined to clicking the embedded link, here’s how I feel about the gentleman (taken from my first post about the same).

“My hands taper gently and effortlessly. My feet come into motion ever so lightly as if things work on feather touch. I glide as we dance to the symphony of the magical music that we make together. I get intoxicated with the handsome facade and the smoothness of noiseless movement. The gibbous moon stares at us from above as we waltz together, the waltz turning allegro at times. But stopping gracefully was never a problem. Not a sweat on my brow, not a hair out of place. The litheness is remarkable. My head is still giddy with the vitality. There’s a jig in my step and a song in my heart.

If I can nestle comfortably in the lap after a long day, get wisps of my hair blown out of my eyes, get mesmerized by the dazzle of lights when we are together – why would I even agree with a darling friend of mine who insists that a brand new car should be treated like a newly wedded bride? My brand new car oozes gentlemanliness.”

With my gentleman I have indulged in many a “bondgiri” sessions and whisked across many a highway. I have also been aided a lot in my latest obsession – photography. A lot of sessions would never have been possible without the gentleman in tow. Needless to say it has been a smooooooth ride so far and I look forward to many other such times to come.

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May 15, 2007


Filed under: personal — Twilight Fairy @ 5:30 am

“What happened?”, I asked, having received an unexpected call.
“I called just like that”, she said, making me feel an instant twinge of guilt. But then I couldn’t be blamed for being startled.
“Where are you?”, I asked, hearing the unusual noises in the background.
“I am out in the park, taking a walk”.
“A walk? In the park? You?”, I asked incredulously.
“Yes”, she said almost sheepishly. “I even went for a walk in the morning.”
“That’s something!”, I added
“And I even had milk both times in the day”, she added in a school girlish voice. It was a rare first when I had heard her talk like this. My next impulse was to tell her that she could tell her mom – she would be so pleased to hear that!

Thankfully I curbed that impulse just in time before blurting it out impulsively. For I realised with a pinch yet again, that my nani, her mom, was not around anymore. She had passed away last year. In the absence of a maternal figure, the school girlish glee of my mom had got directed to her daughter. Me. It unsettled me a bit.

I had been maternal with her on other accounts when I had lightly chided her for not taking her health seriously, for not pampering herself, for not going to the parlour regularly like all others in her “age group”. But I had barely been faced with situations like this where school girlishly reported activities are meant to be applauded.

Some years back, one fine day, it had suddenly struck me that my mom had already been married and had had me at the age that I was then. Suddenly things fell into a very different perspective altogether. A life full of tribulations whizzed past, clear as if crystal. How it must have been to adjust into a family that was huge, joint and difficult, how it was to be married to an army man who would mostly be away on postings, and all this in days when the world wasn’t even a mesh of the densely connected dots that it is today. All this at the age I was then. Suddenly I felt as if under her skin. I could relate to her much more, understand her more clearly without having to communicate anything. But I guess that’s natural. For I am her reflection, my mother’s daughter.

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March 17, 2007

Photo Exposure

Filed under: personal,photography — Twilight Fairy @ 3:30 am

Not so very long ago I bought a Kodak camera (a very basic model) for around 1K. This was much after I started working and the sole reason was to photograph memories. I am pretty much a memories, nostalgia, keeping a record through visual/audio means kind of a person. That camera was used solely for the purpose of tackling the problem of time just fleeting by and my not having a record of it. Then came a desire to record memories in motion, audio and still pictures. An official Japan trip ensured that I didn’t feel the pinch that painfully, when buying a handycam from Tokyo – a Sony DCR TRV 740E (worth 30K INR then). It was the perfect gadget, clicked beautiful still shots and made beautiful movies in spite of being less than 1Mega pixel in resolution! Unfortunately it was way too bulky and I quickly lost the drive to use it for recording “day to day” memories. I ended up using it only when I was sure I would get good photo-ops or when I was sure that I would not want to miss recording certain time periods or events. Though I had gotten keen on photography by then, I couldnt have afforded to pursue this expensive hobby using Film SLR’s or even Digital SLR’s. I contemplated buying a simple point and shoot camera which would not be so bulky and would allow me my little indulgences of not only recording memories but also some composed shots or “serious photography”. Then came a Finland trip during which I managed to spill orange juice all over my Sony Handycam. It still clicks beautiful pictures but no movies and of course the pictures don’t go beyond 1 Mega Pixel resolution. Eventually I bought a Canon Powershot S2 IS.

Then started my affair with photography and Delhi heritage. I would often take off to some monument and soak in the experience of another era altogether while trying to capture some of it in pixels (as could be seen in some of my posts here as well). It’s time to brush aside this elaborate bhoomika and gear up for some shameless self promotion :p. There was a photography contest organised recently by Delhi times and Canon India. Since I already had some pictures clicked with me, I sent in a lot of entries to this contest. There was a shortlisting round in which 7 of my entries got shortlisted in the Delhi heritage category. Much glee followed with this “photo exposure”. After this 6 final pictures (none of them mine) were voted for, via sms’s. Later, a ceremony duly conducted in the Ashoka hotel, got me a 2nd runners up in the women photographer category as well. The prize … is yet another camera! A canon IXUS 750!

The pictures which got shortlisted are from Humayun’s tomb, Lodhi Garden and Qutub Minar.

More lightingHumayun's tombGoing up

The viewJharokha

Exquisite nakkashi in brick.Almost wooden looking

The grand prize winner’s winning shot (voted best in the sms round) is one of my personal favourites too. He gets a Canon EOS 350D.

Today's youth

Judgement of something like photography is always subjective. Personally some of my good shots got chosen, some of my mediocre ones did too and some of my personal favourites ones got left behind like this one.
A pearl in the lotus

One would never know the criteria for the eventual selection. Some of the shots which won some ppl prizes, invited a lot of skepticism from the rest of the participants as well. However, this was a great exposure, not only because this is the first time ever I have actually participated in a contest and actually even got something out of it; but also because I got to meet a lot of other photography enthusiasts who like me are amateurs who saunter off with their cameras in tow and get trigger happy. Much joy came in the company of such likeminded people. The memories of this particular event in my life have surely been captured well :).

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March 8, 2007

Action Heroes

Filed under: blank noise,personal,photography — Twilight Fairy @ 3:08 am

Soar High

Freedom lies in being bold – Robert Frost

Last year on Women’s day I had written this and this about my experiences which formed a part of the blank noise project blogathon. This year the blogathon is back. The theme this time is “Action heroes” where bloggers are expected to blog about the times when they fought back sexual harassment. Though I had already written those instances last time, I am reproducing them here in this post as well.

There are ways and means to tackle that colleague who talks to your breasts or that elderly relative who pretends to be fawning over you but is actually lusting (you can always tell). One sure shot way to ward of a starer is to stare back. It’s not so easy. Staring back. One feels disgusted merely by glancing at the eyes which seem to be ripping your clothes apart. But DO stare back and very piercingly at that. One’ll instantly feel the urge to cast ones glance in some other direction quickly but DON’T. KEEP at it. However obstinate a starer may be, his testosterone still does not surpass his selfconsciousnness (in almost all cases). He’ll instantly look down, beyond, or back whereever he’s supposed to be looking. Of course, one needs to weigh ones options and actions a little bit keeping in mind all odds. One does not go ahead and take pangas with a gang when one is alone. But one can definitely be alert and quick (not just physically but mentally as well).

There has happened a particular incident of ballooning around holi where the guy made the mistake of being visible while throwing the balloon. He happened to work at a local barber shop, which I immediately stormed into and gave him a piece of my mind and some of the choicest abuses I knew. A guy there (a client) egged me on to give him a tight slap as well. I quietly ignored him since I didn’t want the situation to get so heated up and that guy seemed to be egging me on just for kicks. I cant say that what I did, would have made the ballooning guy stop it for his life. But it’s always best to bring the “situation” into notice. The fear of embarrassment is enough for some to at least think twice about it next time. There was another guy who tried brushing past me on a main road while I was waiting to cross it. The whole damn road was empty, but he thought that he would have a piece of my butt before I reached the other side. That guy was unaware that he was going to get the shock of his life. Though I felt like killing him, I merely held his collar with both hands and shook him so badly that he didn’t know what hit him. He tried running for his life, but he couldn’t. I was surprised with my own grip. Eventually he managed to pull off and ran for his life. It was only when everything was over and done with, that the “crowd” asked me what happened and if he was trying to snatch my purse.

There are umpteen such situations in everyday life and they would perhaps never end. Not only is it difficult to try and give such sick men their due, it is very much a difficult thing when you are left in a doubt about the intention of someone. At times things happen accidentally and unintentionally too. But at most times they are obvious enough to be brought to public notice. Even if the “crowd” does not react (and only watches) one should definitely make sure that one does not ignore it. A confrontational attitude is certainly better than an escapist one. In public transport one can always request ppl politely to stop pushing or plainly to stand a little away. The way one does it makes sure that even the ones who did it accidentally aren’t offended by your request and the ones doing it intentionally can not just go scot free. When it happens repeatedly in spite of polite requests, it’s time to stomp that high heel onto his foot or to shove ones elbow into his balls.

The best way to actually try and reduce something like this is to spread awareness amongst women that they can actually protest against it. I have grown up watching things happen to me and around me and even though I knew it was wrong I didn’t know what to do about it (till some point in my life). One needs to ignore minor happenings but one also needs to make sure that the ones which can be avoided, are. Things can get as ugly as molestation of ones own children or marital rape. There is no dearth of the levels till which harassment can go. Be aware, be prepared, be alert and be proud to be a woman in spite of the shit that happens.

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