The elusive hyperlink

There is one thing I have noticed about official Indian websites – they do not do justice to the intellect of our nation. India is one of the nations that generates creative minds a dime a dozen – and more so in the IT industry – but it is unfortunate that Indian government websites are so poorly constructed almost everyone swears at least once while trying to locate information. They want it to be user friendly, but the user is barely friendly at the end of it all.

Websites with good navigation live by the rule that people should never be more than a click or two away from finding what they need, no matter what page they are in. Several US and EU based government websites literally serve information on a platter. They follow the norms of good web-navigation, they are advertisement free, they come with no fancy flash graphics or irritating GIF animations – something Indian websites need to learn from. To quote one instance a year back – a German friend told me that he had a tough time figuring out requirements to obtain an Indian tourist visa from the website. I was mighty embarrassed by the situation.
Let me make a disclaimer here – that most of the Indian official websites have indeed improved over time – one major example is the IRCTC – it used to be full of unused space – and all the wrong fonts were large in size with weird colors that would make you think the last cigarette you smoked had marijuana in it. It has become way better now. Our computerized railway reservation system maintains (and has been maintaining) one of the largest rail networks in the entire world, flawlessly! It’s a pity that this brilliant software was, for a long period, accompanied by a website plagued by flash ads and mind numbingly disturbing animated GIFs. Here is a screenshot taken once upon a time and circulated in an “It happens only in India” theme.
During a discussion with a friend, he pointed out that in most cases, the web-designing jobs are outsourced to bhanjas, bhatijas or distant relatives – who may not be qualified enough for the job – but this is difficult to beat in a country where nepotism is predominant within the government.

I would like to say that for a country that can make such a beautiful tourism ad (Incredible India), the websites should be of top notch quality too!

Of balloons and explosions

At Walmart, I am looking for something in the party aisle and there is an old-woman-Walmart-employee also rearranging stuff in the same aisle.

Me: Excuse me… Hi! I was wondering if you have any balloon pumps?
She: Bombs?

Ah, so here’s the deal. Inside the lady’s head, I am a brown Indian… sorry, brown UNSHAVEN Indian – possibly a terr0ri$t, shopping for bombs in Walmart. And on top of that I am asking a Walmart employee to help me find some.

Damn racist woman.

Oscar Movies

Watched two Oscar nominated movies today – Slumdog Millionaire and Frost/Nixon. They were both so brilliant that I do not know which one I liked better.

But I must add that Frank Langella did a stellar performance as President Nixon. His presence dwarfed everyone else in the movie.

Also, it’s heartwarming that Rahman got his long overdue recognition in the international audience. Though a couple of his songs are simply fabulous in the movie, it’s not his best work.

Photography contest

I had submitted this photo for a Penn State international Programs organized photography contest – Picture Your World.
Yay, it won the first place! 🙂 The category was “The human element”

“Of good times to come

It is of Boudi, taken during the wedding in Feb 2005.

Maa ki tongue

I don’t believe this has been there for so long!! 🙂 LOL. Maa ki tongue.

YouTube Video (1:21 min)


Want something bright and shiny for your bathroom?

A Swarovski crystal studded commode. Price tag of $75,000. It has gone one lucky owner. Coming soon – studded sinks and studded bath tubs, may be.

Here’s some perspective:
Number of homeless in India – 78,000,000
Price to have one decent meal in Mumbai ~ 50 cents.

Something I saw in Ads of the World

Click for enlarged view

Mr. President and the first… girlfriend?

President Sarkozy’s visit has put India in a fix. And why won’t it? Girlfriend Carla Bruni “is not considered wife or spouse”. The Indian government is at a loss for words when it’s coming to choosing the right protocol for Ms. Bruni.
Sarkozy and Bruni did not leave behind a stormless wake in Egypt. An opposition member of the Cairo parliament even accused the French president of being party to “official prostitution” in the Islamic country. Reactions in India are unlikely to be as harsh as the Egyptian politician’s comment, but there are doubtful looks all around.

The Indian foreign office is likely to leave it to the French governmnent, through its mission here, to suggest if Ms. Bruni should be granted First Lady status.

If Bruni is given First Lady status, the Indian government will have to assign the couple to a single room and fix a separate program of engagements for her – shopping in Janpath, meeting women/spouses of important people, ensuring she is seated next to Sarkozy at banquets etc.

But if she is not to have official engagements, she will have time to spare because Sarkozy will be involved with the intricacies of the Eurocopter and nuclear deals in bilateral relations.

However, it is most likely that Ms. Bruni will be given privileges of a delegate accompanying the president.

The Telegraph, 6 Jan 2008
IBN Live

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