I think

I think grief, real grief, not dropping and denting your new iphone, I think that sort of grief sometimes makes people stronger. Not in the sense that it is a recommended cure for weakness, but in the sense that the best qualities of strength tend to come out of a person’s resilience, which only really gets tested during such times.

I don’t wish that on anyone, but it was a thought that troubled me so I penned it down. My blog and all that.

Battlefield Heroes beta impressions

Meet Aldo Raine

Meet Aldo Raine. In a fan boy-ish turn of events, this is what I have ended up calling my Battlefield Heroes character. I’ve been playing a lot of DICE’s Battlefield Heroes beta lately – and it’s great.

The game is fun, the shooting and the movements are top notch – as is to be expected from the guys who did the original Battlefield.

What is also great is that the pairing is not Axis versus Allies, but a fictional setting – pitting the Royal Army against the National Army, which lets you choose the ‘evil’ side without being genocidal racists. This has its own advantages – you end up on servers with people of varying skill and propensities beating the crap out of each other.

Screenshot

The cartoony look also lends itself to a lot of character customisation – which genuinely makes the game more enjoyable as you gun it out against a horde of ragged mercenaries and pirates and sailors in a colourful world. Not to spoil it further, but there is a huge array of weapons and abilities that can be activated by mapping each to numbers 0 through 9 on your keyboard. Each class – the rugged soldier, the heavy-like gunner and the stealth based commando – gets its own set of abilities that are a huge throwback to Saturday morning cartoons.

People have asked if this is similar to Team Fortress 2 – and I happy to report that it isn’t. TF2 remains a hardcore, gory shooter with a distinct art style. The art style here is superficially similar, but has a more wholesome G rated George Sidney feel to it. If that means anything to ya.

I expect to spend a lot more time in this game.

Come home to Wake Island

Battlefield 1943

So Electronic Arts and DICE announced a bunch of new Battlefield games. It’s all cool, but remember kiddies, what is most important in life is what is usually obfuscated by needless faff:

Using the same engine [as Bad Company 2], Battlefield 1943 takes players back to WWII. The game offers endless hours of 24 player multiplayer action over three classic and tropic locations; Wake Island, Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima. Delivering the award-winning through-the-gun and vehicle warfare online experience DICE is best recognized for, Battlefield 1943 will have players battling in ruthless aerial dog fights and intense trench combat

Basically it’s not a full game but a small downloadable with graphics and gameplay upgrades on the old maps. You see that name there though, Wake Island?

The Wake Island demo on BF1942, was a milestone in gaming. I knew it like the back of my hand. The map was a triumph of level design and was the perfect selling point for BF1942 – the open sandbox it created for soldiers of varying classes and people with different affinities to vehicles was mind blowing to say the least. No one had seen that before, and it instantly made Battlefield a name to be reckoned with. It also made sure that shooters and how we played them got changed forever. This was the next Counter Strike.

So here it is – an updated version of Wake Island with new physics and upgraded vehicle handling. This is it – how much for it? Right now, tell me what you want? 15 dollars? 30? 60? Whatever, just take it and go. takeitandgo.

25 random things about me

1. I was born a little early than planned on the First of April. My father didn’t come visit from his posting in the North East of India because he thought the telegram was a joke. And then he did.
I miss telegrams, they are dying a slow death. Which is okay because emails are just as urgent and quick and so are phones.

2. I have 2 nostrils and no sense of smell. It’s a condition called anosmia. It makes it sound big, but it’s just that – no sense of smell. Some people are petitioning it to be a qualified disability. I think they are idiots. A lot of people ask me if I can taste. I can. What you perceive when you eat things is a combination of taste and smell. They call this flavour. My sense of flavour is the same as my sense of taste, is all. Also, Durians are never a problem.

3. I don’t understand the stock market. I don’t. I cannot for the life of me distinguish between these three: stocks and shares and debentures. I secretly hate all people who created these things a little.

4. I had published 4 books before I left college. Now I rarely update my blog.

5. I was homeschooled till I was 5. This wasn’t because my parents were rabid Left wingers, but because the Army encampment where we lived had no schools.

6. My near obsession with comic books has led me to be a huge huge fan of serialized fiction. Comics and TV shows is what I devour on a daily basis.

7. I can play Bass. I hate that about myself. I have no musical talent.

8. Whenever I think of an apocalyptic future in my head, my first thought is – “desolate wastelands, no electricity. How will I play video games?”

9. I have an opinion about almost everything. That makes me very argumentative. However, I know when to say “I don’t know”.

10. I think the fact that Slumdog Millionaire has not utterly destroyed Bollywood is a shame unto us.

11. I have never finished a Bethesda game ever.

12. I will read anything anyone recommends. It’s a huge fault of mine – I have read trashy elves and orcs type fantasy in the past few weeks(including one with a shaman James Bond) just because someone said it was good. Not that I see that as a reason to stop. In fact I love reading so much, I love to watch movies with subtitles.

13. I used to play Tennis for some time, and was good at it. Now I own a Wii.

14. I think moist Japanese girls standing in front of you hardly qualifies as horror.

15. No one has played my favorite games. Almost no one.

16. I always entertain fantasies of being a travel writer for about 2 weeks every year.

17. I used to scared of Bombay. (and I don’t call it Mumbai because if the politicians had any sense of nationalism they’d have renamed it right after the British left) Not so much now, but I do think it has the smallest “Main Roads” in the world. That’s because it does. One day I hope for the city and me to come to an understanding.

18. I have no idea how, but I always thought working for an F1 team would be rad. I still think so.

19. As a kid I always wanted to be a Railway Engine driver. None of your diesel or electric fancy things for me either, thank you. A proper Steam Engine Locomotive like the Robert Stephenson 4-2-0 John Bull Stevens.

20. Corn flakes are my favorite breakfast, followed by bagels. Come to think of it, there are very few foods I like better than corn flakes.

21. I sometimes can’t understand how I can survive not knowing any ONE language properly.

22. I have my paranoid moments. I sometimes believe with all my conviction that my thoughts are somehow being broadcast live to some laughing people in a room, who proceed to manipulate my life.

23. I panic easy, but I am also resilient. I am afraid of falling down, but getting up after I do is usually not a problem. Everyone has a secret weapon that makes them carry on in life. Mine is plain stupidity, or naivete I suppose. But it works.

24. I miss friends and family in a city where I don’t have too many of either, but I love the city for it’s character and beauty, and I want to gather my own group here again.

25. As fools do, I have loved often and without sapience, which has led to many moments of embarrassment. The biggest love ended in the biggest embarrassment of all – me sitting on a mare wearing a crown of silver, gold and flowers.

Friday Links!

The good things in the world, brought to you by a time waster called serioussam.

The greatest death and after death story ever in this world.

A Chinese man originally thought to have been struck by lightning was in fact killed by a small weather rocket whose existence was only discovered when his body exploded during his cremation.

The thinnest house in the world!

From Sanzen, the three awesome photos of Delhi in winter.

Tiny, laser cut dinosaurs.

Gaming bento boxes!

Have fun.

Shut It OR What we REALLY need in the aftermath of 26/11 Mumbai attacks

How about a nice big cup of Shut the fuck up?

Edit:This is not a gamer/geek post, and anyone who still reads this should probably be turned off by just that.
This is about the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks, so please do not expect to be entertained.

-*-*-*-*-
If you’re remotely clued in to what we have experienced as a nation, you know that people are baying for politico blood – everybody blames the politicians and poor governance and the government’s supine handling of the situation. The mantra of the day seems to be we need better politicians.

And to that, I say: Shut It.

We as a nation have not given any consideration to what it means to have good governance while demanding it blindly. The politicians are as much part of the system they have helped create as you are. We ask for the politicians to be forcibly removed, while we ourselves do not own up to what we have contributed to the state of the nation’s pitiful governance.

Oh, this is not a rant about your need to vote. I am sure many of you vote. A lot of you even take active part in discussions and debates. What you do not do is be a good citizen. We complain and whine and bitch, and yet we will not walk the line we preach.

You expect better roads but you will still break red lights on your way to office, over-speed, bump pedestrians, pick fights with other drivers, run over someone while drunk and not stop.

You expect better security at home, but you will still live in illegal builder floors, use tampered meters at business, and never once contribute to neighborhood watch.

You expect strong leadership, where you bribe policemen and government officials to get out of a situation or get work done. You would rather pay 500 bucks than stand in line to get your passport renewed, and you want the system to reform itself.

You expect terrorism to not affect you, but you would rather blow 10000 INR in a watch or 2000 on lunch with friends than contribute a sizable chunk to charity.

You would rather send you children to the US to study than the Army, and still expect the understaffed NSG to miraculously become the US Marines.

You will raise a huge cry about the lax security, while you will badmouth, swear and intimidate the security guards at cinema halls into letting you carry your expensive gadgets in.

You will buy a swanky sedan that give 4 kilometers to a liter while you already have 2 other cars, but you’ll hate the idea of an affordable small car because it will crowd up the roads.

You want terrorism to go away, but you won’t stop badmouthing a religion just because you happen to not belong to it.

A good society is not made up of good government alone. It is made of good citizens. If we as a society have failed at creating a sense of well-being despite all our Mrsaidee and Gucci fixation, it has everything to do with the citizens of this country, of which the politicians are a part.

Yes, what happened in Mumbai on 26/11 is heinous, and nothing we do as a society will ever prepare us for something that so unequivocally shatters our bubble of security. Yes, we need better governance, and we deserve it. Everybody does.

What I am saying is that good governance begins with you. The citizens of India, and especially the privileges citizens – the children of unlimited potential and opportunity, the ones with money, family, and education. You were the future of India, and so far you have done a great job, no doubt, but the country needs more. Not just your hard work at the multinational and your taxes. The country needs you to take an active part is building a better society.

You want better leaders? Be them. Stand for elections – the new pay commission won’t keep you affluent in your sedans and Barista fixation, but it’s comfortable nonetheless. If you can’t, and I am sure not everyone thinks he can run the country, do small things.
Follow the basic rules of conduct. Respect people. Create a gracious and courteous generation. Respect all religions. Ask questions of your government, take part in the governance. Give to charity, especially the ones that contribute to children education. Teach your next generation to respect religion. Stop rumor mongering. Stop looking at news as a piece of perverse entertainment, but take action that will help you ameliorate those ghastly things at home.
Don’t encourage grief mongering, but do help people. Don’t bribe policemen, but do respect the law.

Do what makes a good society. It takes time to create a society that has it’s problems, but can boldly solve them. Create a good society and I promise you a good leader will spring from there.

I know, it’s a naive way to think, but we thought the cynical way, and that didn’t help us much, did it? Of course it’s not as easy as saying it. Of course I am wrong that this is the solution to terrorist attacks.

What happened on 26/11 was a dastardly act of terror, and deserves nothing less that absolute punishment. We need a strong and decisive acting leader now, and we need to feel more secure before we can create this [irony on]wonderful[irony off] society of ours. We need a whole lot of things that the government and the various organizations failed to provide us. But when you bay for the politician’s blood, remember that we as a nation that is 60 years old created them too.

I pray to God we don’t see another attack like this, and if we do, we are better prepared to thwart it. I hope this does not affect our economy as much, and that we don’t have to go to war to get the job done. And I pray that all the lost lives are somehow not wasted, but remembered as a sign of missing maturity that we as a people need to show.