create your own visited country map or write about it on the open travel guide

Friday, July 29, 2005

I tried...

I tried really hard.

Nearly five months I tried to stay away from this here blog... and succeeded! But so much has happened in the meantime, so many things have changed, that I was forced to come running back here to relate it all.

But the words seem stuck. Unoiled, disused, they find it tough to work their way out of the rust that clogs their path and hampers their progress. So much wasted time. Futile efforts. Lethargy. Am hoping that these ramblings will slowly but surely clear the path. Lets see.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


Different climes, different locales, different preoccupations, different strings attached - yet,
essentially trying to pick up loose ends and move on... Wish I could say it was fun while it lasted!

Monday, January 10, 2005

The sum of the parts... a damn good bit of continuity!

Honda Accord

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Blogs 2004 — A retrospective...

Toby Elkin from Mediapost on blogs

Blogs surely entered the mainstream in 2004, a trend spurred in part by presidential politics, according to a new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. The Pew study notes that 27 percent of Internet users say they read blogs in November, versus 17 percent in a survey conducted in February. News events, high-profile court cases, and major catastrophes like the tsunami in South Asia also drive awareness of blogging and blog readership.

The study finds that while blog readership increased, the percentage of people online who create blogs grew only 7 percent in November, up just two points from 5 percent in February. The Pew study notes that bloggers are predominately young, male, and affluent, 70 percent have broadband connections at home, and 82 percent have been online for at least six years. No big surprises there.

Interestingly, the study found that while blogging has entered the popular culture, only 38 percent of Web users know what a blog is. Merriam-Webster, the dictionary people, named "blog" the word of the year for 2004. The dictionary defines a blog, short for Weblog, as a "Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer." The Pew study refers to blogs as online diaries.

Pew reports that 7 percent of the 120 million U.S. adults who use the Web say they have created a blog - that's 8 million people. Blog readership increased 58 percent in 2004, or 27 percent of Web surfers, according to the study.

The study also finds that 5 percent of Internet users accessed their favorite blogs via RSS readers (Really Simple Syndication) that gather news and information from blogs. Finally, 12 percent of Web users have posted comments and feedback on blogs.

The survey was based on random phone interviews with 1,861 Internet users conducted from November 4 to 30. The RSS finding was based on a sample of 537 Internet users. There's a lot more data on blogs in Intelliseek's BlogPulse provides a fascinating snapshot of just what's going on in the blogosphere.

For example, among the top 10 blogs cited in 2004: BoingBoing, DailyKos, Instapundit, Drudge Report, Slashdot,, and Talking Points Memo, according to BlogPulse.

Talk about a varied lot.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Got this in the mail...

Got this new years greeting of sorts from one ''SWISS lottery"

With a subject like "congratulations !!!!!!! (you have won €1,000,000.00 (one Million Euros) )" even you would have opened it. The mail said:

Dear Sir/Madam,

We are pleased to inform you of the announcement today, 29 TH December 2004 of winners of the swiss lottery Sweepstakes International Programs, held on 2nd october 2004 as part of our promotional draws.

To mark our end of year promotional programme proudly sponsored by microsoft.Participants were selected through a computer ballot system drawn from 25,000 names/email addresses of individuals and companies from Africa, America,Asia,Australia, Canada, Europe, Middle East, and New Zealand as part of our International Promotions Program.

You/Your Company, attached to ticket number 96-502-2315, with serial number 420-9 drew the lucky numbers 5, 6, 10, 19, 33, 51, 55, and consequently won in the Third Category.You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of euro/1,000,000.00 in cash, which is the winning payout for third category winners.

This is from the total prize money of euro/10,000,000 shared among the ten international winners in the Third category.CONGRATULATIONS!Your fund is now deposited with an affiliate bank insured in your name. Due to the mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award strictly from public notice until your claim has been processed and your money remitted to your account.

This is part of our security protocol to avoid double claiming or unscrupulous acts by participantsof this program.We hope with a part of your prize, you will participate in our end of year (2004) high stakes euro/1.3 billion International Lottery.To begin your claim, please contact your claim agent immediately;Barr Edith JohnsonExternal service manager,Alpha-Consult Ltd

For due processing and remittance of your prize money to a designated account of your choice. Remember, you must contact your claim agent not later than 20 february 2005. After this date, all funds will be returned as unclaimed.

NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference and batch numbers provided below in every one of your correspondences with your claims agent. REFERENCE NUMBER: ACL/FLW/12-F892697954BATCH NUMBER: 74-263-BBN

Congratulations once again from all our staff and thank you for being part of our promotions program.Yours Sincerely,MR C.A ElliOtThe Promotions Manager,swiss lottery SweepstakesP.O.Box 42PE3 8XHSwitzerland

N.B. Any breach of confidentiality on the part of the winners will result to disqualification.

Please do not reply to this mail. Contact your claims agent with your full names, address ,telephone and phone numbers for processing of your prize.


If only it were true! Sigh...

Wednesday, December 29, 2004


originally uploaded by prakup.
What are friends for?

A daughter of Cambodia remembers...

It has been ten whole days since we got back from Cambodia, and I still can't seem to get the place out of my head. One reason could be that I'm still religiously reading the scores of books I carted from there. The first of these was "Brother Number One: A Political Biography" by David Chandler. The book threw a lot of light on the relatively low-profile and almost unknown truth about one of the world's worst murderers.

But I found it a little too academic for my liking. I somehow prefer history when the cold, hard facts are woven with an emotional story to create a rich and memorable tapestry.

Right now, I'm halfway through "First they killed my father: A daughter of Cambodia remembers" by Loung Ung. The book is written in the past tense and documents one family's experience of the genocide, as seen through the eyes of the youngest child, Loung. The book is reasonably well written. The first few paragraphs are as follows:

1975. Phnom Penh city wakes early to take advantage of the cool morning breeze before the sun breaks through the haze and invades the country with sweltering heat. Already at 6 A.M. people in Phnom Penh are rushing and bumping into each other on dusty, narrow side streets.

Waiters and waitresses in black-and-white uniforms swing open shop doors as the aroma of noodle soup greets waiting customers. Street vendors push food carts piled with steamed dumplings, smoked beef teriyaki sticks and roasted peanuts along the sidewalks and begin to set up for another day of business.

Children in colorful T-shirts and shorts kick soccer balls on sidewalks with their bare feet, ignoring the grunts and screams of the food cart owners. The wide boulevards sing with the buzz of motorcycle engines, squeaky bicycles and, for those rich enough to afford them, small cars.”

Loung and family lead a life of relative affluence (her father was a government official!) till 1975, when the 'Angkar' government of the Khmer Rogue evicted all city dwellers and forced them into the countryside. Here, they suffered many indignities at the hands of the 'base people' till, the family was slowly decimated.

Loung and a couple of her siblings had to be declared orphans and separated in order to keep them alive. They struggle through life (if one can call their experiences that) till, they are slowly and painfully re-united after the Khmer Rogue has been routed.

Although I am not yet done with the book, a couple of things are painfully clear:

  • The rich always get richer and the poor always get poorer. Irrespective of what ideology, government, policy or practice is in place.
  • Small children and kids observe a lot more than we give them credit for or would like to believe. And retain the negative impact forever.
  • Discrimination and segregation along racial lines exists, even among the worst of the discriminated.
  • And Cambodia has been through a hell from which I so surprised that there's even a semblance of recovery.

Wonder what else the book will tell me by the time I'm done with it. The next is the killing fields...