Monday, August 29, 2005


Safe and sound.
It's an awesome place.
O-Week is fun.
More coming real soon, once I grab my computer (tomorrow maybe).

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Leaving for IUB!

... in some 4.5 hours!

The journey should be exciting, with a 5-hour train ride stacked at the end (Frankfurt to Bremen). Will post more info as soon as I can (with pictures).

One thing that has been in my mind for a while now is the multitude of people who have made this possible for me. I wish to thank -

God - above all.
My parents, sister and family members, especially my mom for being supportive throughout, despite dad's anxiety attacks.
My school and my teachers - for helping me with the applications and kind encouragments, I regret leaving in such haste that I did not get a chance to visit my school before leaving! :-( I remember how happy everyone was when I visited a day after being admitted to IUB.
My friends, especially Puru Raj, Rajeev Ranjan and Elina Pradhan - For being extraordinarily supportive and helpful. I wouldn't have applied if it was not for Puru. I wouldn't have made it my best application if it was not for Elina. I wouldn't be boarding this plane if it was not for Rajeev.

Speaking of which, Rajeev is actually shouting at me to log off and get back, so I will. Next post from Bremen. This is MercurySquad signing out. [Ack...]

Saturday, August 13, 2005


I am pissed at two things -

MSN Messenger - "We were not able to sign you in because Internet Explorer is currently set to work offline. Please change it to online mode and try again." Huh??! Why the hell does IE have to be used for MSN Messenger?! And if it does, just ask the user if they want to go online and resume operation, rather than asking them to go do it themselves. Same with yahoo, though it's less looney. And try clicking a web link in an MSN Messenger, it will launch in IE regardless of your current default browser.

Baggage allowance - Why do flights to US/Canada allow 64 kg but all others allow only 20 kg? All my friends are taking cartloads of stuff to college and I have to cut down on even basic articles.

Friday, August 12, 2005



That was what an American teenager screamed while being dragged from his classroom, by the police. His offence - sharing MP3 music files.

A week ago, I went into a music shop with a friend of mine. It was the first time in three years that I was going to a music shop - but my friend wanted to buy an album, not me. We were chatting with the shop owner, when he told us why there were so few quality music shops in Patna:
"It's because of music piracy. Everyone buys bootleg MP3 CDs from Bakarganj [an area in Patna where electronic goods and CDs are sold] these days."
Of course. Why wouldn't they (we)?

I have not bought a single CD for three years now. It was in December, 2002 that I wanted to buy two CDs - a Linkin Park and a Lostprophets album. The usual price of audio CDs here is Rs 125, while international artists' albums cost Rs 425. You can divide that by 10 to get the equivalent price in US Dollars. So, normal CDs for $12.5 and international artists' for $42.5. That's right, more than 40 bucks for one CD. That was okay though. We used to buy them anyway.

I checked the price for the two albums I wanted. Both cost Rs 550. These were big artists, and the albums were a sellout; of course the price would be high. And of course I couldn't afford them.

However, I was more deeply upset by this than just for not being able to buy it. My question was simple - it costs Rs 10 to manufacture a CD, and these CDs are not imported, they are manufactured locally (via copyright arrangement with the original label). Why then does it cost 55 times more? Let's say it's the advertising, profit margins and all the usual poop. Fine, price it at Rs 125, or Rs 150, even Rs 200. I would buy them, no problem. I want to support my favorite artists too. But I can't - they are asking me not to buy their albums in original. I did not buy any new albums since then. I simply couldn't spend half a thousand Rupees on one CD.

And they say piracy must be curbed.

It is not stealing. It is sharing. I'm a musician myself. I am also a programmer. All my music is free, so is my software (except two of them for which I was paid). Of course, I'm not BIG. I don't LIVE on it. But the truth is, sharing MP3 files of bigname artists doesn't make them any poorer. It's not the album sales, but the performance and the paraphernalia that earns them revenues. And let's face it - Metallica or Madonna didn't have to go on the road with a begging bowl because some kids got their music for free instead of buying it. In fact, research and surveys shows that artists whose music was most widely shared on online file sharing services, saw the most jump in their album sales. It is a mode of advertising. This is why bands such as The Offspring, Anberlin and PPK regularly put their MP3s up on the net for free. It is sad to see bigger artists like Metallica and Madonna (these names will recur often) bitch about reduction in revenues when people like you and me can't even afford to buy ONE of their albums.

In fact, music lovers have novel ways to show their protest. One FTP site which required people to exchange music by uploading a song to download another, offered all Metallica files to everyone without any upload.

The RIAA is evil. They are slapping lawsuits on 15-year-olds in the hope that it will scare others. It will not. It encourages people to share. To protest. To scream.

It is artists like Madonna who need a new Gucci bag everyday, or Metallica who can't do without Armani [however that's spelt], who moan when people copy their music and distribute it for free. Dexter Holland from The Offspring might want more money to get a better guitar custom built for him - he will not, however, want string tuners made of gold (Mark Knopfler comes to mind). Music is a universal language. We need to share it. No self-respecting artist will ever deny this. In fact I am going on record by saying that NO REAL MUSICIAN will clutch their record to their bosom, asking for money before they let their listeners listen to it. As long as they can live a comfortable life, they will be happy to continue to share their music. Really guys, which band wants to sell out??

Why then must we stop sharing music? Is it stealing? Is it piracy? I'll let the record label execs think that for themselves. There is no place for that line of thinking in our artists' community. We know we need the freedom. The Freedom to create. The Freedom to share!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

NO it's not dead!

This blog is certainly not forgotten by me [though I think my visitors have!]... It's been a while since I wrote. I've just been exceptionally busy this past month. I'm out of town, and will return tomorrow or day after. My new site, as well as this blog will be launched then [perhaps Aug 7th ;)].

Till then,