Sunday, 20 August 2017

Candy's First Birthday Photo by Rodrick Lal — National Geographic Your Shot

Candy's First Birthday Photo by Rodrick Lal — National Geographic Your Shot: This is a snap of Candy, the family pet, a pug that turned one year. She was composed and patient for the photo session.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Is Digital Equity Real?

Digital Equity is an elusive Civil Right even today, thus it is a major issue that can be put to the debate. People believe that technology should provide everyone opportunities for growth. However, the reality is that although we might thrust Digital Technology onto the entire population of a country, the fact remains that a large number are still Digital Technology Illiterate! Some don't even have access to Technology. It is clear that Digital Equity is a major issue that divides the society into the haves and the have nots! Those who have access to Digital Technology might get the best jobs or even get admission to some of the best colleges without being really intelligent or even accomplished professionals, while those who really deserve to get that seat because of their abilities are left out just because they don't have that internet connection or even a smart phone!
It is an unfortunate reality that lack of Digital Equity and thereof the lack of opportunities for all have resulted in a society that is in a state of a divide. Take for example the tedious process of registering yourself for a seat in a college. Unless you are tech-savvy, it is going to be difficult for you to get yourself registered. A large number of students aspiring for a seat in a prestigious college in the capital cit might be left out for the specific reason that they don't have a good internet supply in the countryside, or perhaps their internet device is not capable of handling the pages on the college website. A few students might outsource the filling in of their college forms to the Guy running the Neighbourhood Cybercafe, in many cases for an exorbitant amount! Where then, is Digital Equity?  
A large number of people living in the country are the elderly, those who have somehow managed to handle cell phones that have a keypad, they might have tried a smartphone but are nervous about using the touchscreen. With the Government insisting on Digital Payments, the elderly are simply at a loss about going ahead with the same. The fact of the matter is that Technology has become for some, a monster that refuses to let go!
Most of the jobs today require some kind of basic skills in handling computers. Some people can't imagine that there are a lot of people in this world who are simply not computer literate. Would you expect a Janitor to be able to fill in an excel sheet or even share his schedule on a Google sheet? 
So then, can we in any way claim that Digital Equity exists in our world today? Can we claim that everyone on this planet has access to electricity, technology and an internet connection that is reliable? In a world that reels under shortages of power, water, basic resources, can we turn a blind eye towards those who don't have access to digital technology and expect them to compete with those who have access to the same? How much does being Tech Savvy make you a better person than one who is not? Has technology helped you improve your scores in a test? Has it made your handwriting better? Does being Tech Savvy give you the right to the coveted seat in a world that is unfair in the opportunities it gives to all its citizens?
It all boils down to the dichotomy between Intellect and Tech. Savviness. Being being Tech. Savvy does not necessarily make you an intellectual, in the same way, that being an intellectual simply does not make you Tech. Savvy!
What is badly wrong our understanding about Digital Technolgy is that we have a seriously flawed idea that access to Digital Technology and being Tech.Savvy give the right to be better than others! The fact is that Digital Equity is still a distant reality, and at the most a misnomer, all illusion that we are deluding ourselves with!

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Game and other very short Horror Stories


They were driving up the mountain road when they heard the loud noise like an airplane's engines, the next they realized was that they had become part of the deluge and were being carried relentlessly towards the edge and the chasm a thousand feet below them.


They had been driving for quite some time, the two girls at the back and him at the wheel; his head nodding, he had stopped for a while, when he woke up there was only one girl, the other they had taken away in the dark.

The Long Road

They were driving at a steady pace, admiring the landscape, below them flowed the Beas river, a deep-swift flowing river, the road began to descend, a left forked into the river and the right into the tunnel; suddenly we saw a beautiful temple across the river, attention diverted, he drove towards the left fork into the river, suddenly his father called out a warning, "I don't think you want to go there, we will end up grinning with shock!"

Short Circuit

He was riding his motorcycle on the overpass when suddenly the engine quit, he glanced with horror at the truck and car behind him, turning anxiously towards the left curb, he managed to coast to a stop even as the traffic brushed past, a hairs breadth between life and death, the battery had shorted, wires under the tank had caught fire!


The two friends had read many detective stories so they agreed to become agents, but when they entered the establishment that was suspected to be responsible for the disappearance of children, they found it difficult to get out, the establishment's security was very strong, the police would have to rescue them before they themselves were 'processed' or 'eliminated'.

The Fly

He turned towards his companion, "What the heck! Why do you have such bright red eyes? What's that nasty thing coming out of your mouth?" His friend turned his head towards him, "Don't you remember? The nuclear blast has turned us into flies!"

 The Crowd

The crowd chanted, it roared, and then engulfed the occupants drowning their screams and cries.


 At dusk, they stepped out of hiding places, swarmed down the streets looking for victims to feed on, but when reached the streets, there was no one around, there were no street lights no cars, nothing, the silence frightened them!


She was woken by a sound of scratching and the need to relieve herself, she did not have the courage to step out of the bed, suddenly she saw the bedroom door open the light from the living room caused the hand holding the sword to cast a shadow that loomed towards her, she choked a scream only to see the axe swinging towards her from side.


The rats had become rather troublesome lately, the scratching and squeaking sounds were coming from the closet that had been his, she had never opened it before but then she couldn't bear the sound so she turned the key for the first time in five years - she did hesitate for a moment, but then it was too late - inside the closet was her worst nightmare, a huge spider that had not fed for five years, it advanced towards her, its eyes hypnotised her and the fangs slid into her, her screams lasted a couple of minutes but there was none to hear her, she lived alone!

The Djinn

He was  on the way to the railway station on his bicycle, when an old man in white clothes asked him for a lift, pitying the old man he complied and let his passenger sit on the carrier; after a few minutes he noticed that the pedal turned with great difficulty - no it was not a puncture, fearing the worst, he turned towards the carrier and saw a djinn twice his size!


He had to leave his wife behind at the hotel, his company website had been hacked, it could be fixed then he could return to his wife, unfortunately, disaster struck, he was midway when the earthquake struck, the hillside town was cut off from the rest of the world, at first he called her up and she called him up, she cautioned him that the only charging point was at the bus stand, and then she stopped calling, and he couldn't get a ringtone on her mobile, the operator stated that the number had been switched off.

The Bailiffs

He owed them a lot of money, so he fled to another city and led an anonymous life for a couple of years, but then one day while returning from the market with some provisions, he saw them on the road leading to his house, he panicked and gunned his motorcycle away from them and blindly headed into the path of a truck, when he woke up in hospital he could neither talk nor move his limbs, he could only hear them talk about him and to him but not respond, he was trapped in a prison from which there was no escape!


He was all alone in the huge house, he had just read Dracula when the power went off, in the silence of the night he could hear claws scratching the door that led to the  backyard, he had to go out, but feared the Unknown, after some time he could not bear the wait and so stepped out to check on things, when he stepped out with his heart in his throat, in the dark, he noticed that the papaya tree leaves had been brushing against the tin roof of the shed because of the light breeze!

Monsters in the Night

The sounds coming from the back lane into which their window opened were loud and frightening, the two brothers decided to investigate, the younger brother loaded the air rifle with a pellet while the elder brother picked up a stout cane, together they unlocked the back door and stepped into the lane, the sounds were terrible, sounds of tortured and angry souls, mixed with sounds of gnashing teeth, curses, and threats, they noticed that the sounds were coming from the window of the room on top of their's - it was the sound of their tenant snoring off his way into the night!


She visited him in his dreams, a beautiful woman who had the most beautiful face with eyes full of compassion and love, everything was alright as long as it was a dream, until of course that night when she called out to him with an insistence that was difficult to ignore, he got up from his bed and followed her into the dark deserted street, and then he caught up with her and she turned towards him, fangs bared in a face from which worms wriggled skeleton  arms reached out to him, helpless with shock he succumbed to her embrace and she sighed as she fed on him, the foolish enamoured youth, one who would be so romantic!


There are eyes everywhere, eyes in the dark, eyes behind the window, eyes in the darkest corner of the closet, and guess what they are waiting for him to weaken up, even as the virus ravages him from inside, and however much he tries, he can't escape their probing eyes, not even when he covers his face with the damp sheet, for then, he fears, they's feed on him even as he lives!

The Game
The messages keep coming, uncanny about how accurate they are, he'd broken up with Samantha, she'd left with Garry, the first few tasks were easy, but not now, he could not refuse them for fear of offending the messenger, and then standing on the edge of the cliff, he thought he heard laughter, but then a gust of wind hit him hard, his foot slipped, he screamed, his cell phone landed safely on the ledge, the message, "Mission Successful" flashed on the screen!

Sunday, 30 July 2017

At the D.D.W.F.C.S. Deborah Award Function (2017)

The Delhi Diocese Women Fellowship for Christian Service hosted its Deborah awards for children of single parents, widows, and students who achieved merit in the tenth and twelfth board exams yesterday, on the 29th of July. The award ceremony took place in the Heinz Auditorium, Delhi YMCA, Jai Singh Road. I was there as my daughter, Ekta was one of the awardees for grade twelve.

It was a pleasant surprise to see Madam Sheila Dixit as the chief guest. Also present on the occasion were Mr Alwan Masih, Secretary of the Synod, North India, Rt. Revd. Bishop Warris Masih, Bishop of the Diocese of Delhi (CNI) and Former Bishop of the Delhi Diocese (CNI), Rt. Revd. Bishop Karam Masih.

One of the most important objectives of the function was to pay tribute to the quintessential Mother, the woman who bears all difficulties and trials while bringing up her children. The awards ceremony celebrated motherhood through a couple of skits performed by children attached to the Delhi YMCA, and also speeches by dignitaries who spoke about their own mothers. One of the guests spoke about how his mother who had never gone to school would welcome him home from school, ask him about the day, then she would feed him lunch. After lunch, she would tell him to do his homework. She would look at everything he had done, look at what he had written, and it looked as if she knew what he had written. Finally, one day when he was in grade seven, he asked his mother to help him with some doubt he had. She dipped the pen in the ink pot and then just froze! That was it! She did not know what to do. And yet she had taken interest in what he had done in school, she had even looked at his work. It was then that he came to know what a mother can do!