The Seven Samurai: Indian Tech Review Warriors, 2017

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The Indian summer is exclusive as it is relentless. Obfuscating as the endless media channels with their ‘you-saw-it-here-first’ slaps on the hapless faces of consumers, the generous heat emanating as a result of a lovemaking between human farts and the rays of the sun ends up shaping our lives in more ways than one.

But we’re not talking about copulation, and its irritable effects. The issue at hand is much more grave than coming back home with STD after the wildest night of your life.

I, therefore, invoke the power bestowed upon a lucky few by the Gods of tech. This is not my writing, but a mere translation of the divine words. I feel grateful that the onus fell upon my shoulders. Maybe it was the fruit of my past ten years’ worth of asceticism. Maybe I won the lottery. Maybe I went rogue.

  • The written review sites- are there any even left worth reading?
  • Video review sites – most are shit. Some stink more than others. Worse even, the YouTube endorsed Indian reviewers are on top of this stinking mountain. Best to utilize that time watching or reading stuff that will actually help you. If you know what the different voltages are and how they affect overclocking and stability, it is going to help you decide how far you want to push your processor. Watching a video where a barely 20 year old doles out maa-behen ki gaaliyan won’t.
  • Tech Evangelists, know-it-alls, Well-wishers of the community (there are a million names these people go by) – These are the most poisonous snakes. You will find them rambling about things in product pages, forums, and most of them ultimately end up hate-speeching on their own Facebook pages. These kind of idiots thrive only because we give them attention.
  • Old, back from the dead zombies – Some are really risen for the good. Others are lurking in the shadows. Their stink’s way too real.
  • Young advisers – Keyword Nazis, fighting and calling everyone fanboys. Has a very strong opinion about everything, and often uses obscure sites to prove points. Especially adept at producing benchmark numbers out of their rear ends.
  • The Buying and Selling Connoisseur – One who jumps into every sale thread with plentiful advises, fights vehemently with everyone, and then tells that he was educating the seller/buyer. The stench that these pariahs leave can floor even a Super Saiyan!
  • The Lone Mercenary- He is a Skinwalker, a Wendigo, a Ronin; He walks a thousand paths, yet he never settles. Can be seen online most of the time, but barely replies back. The hard disk crasher, the data-ninja, the male Valkyrie of the downed warriors in the long tech battle. You will see him everywhere, yet he’s not there. He fights alone, because his insatiable hunger for hardware is all-consuming. If you see him, do not move. Stay still.

I do wish from the bottom of my heart that these seven perils won’t faze a new reviewer. Amidst the rubble, there are a few rays of light, new warriors adorning familiar weapons with a new blaze. If this Kurukshetra is any lesson, here’s hoping that the bastion will be carried by the worthy, and not the attention-seeking vermin.

Let’s talk about Love

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I am a hapless romantic. No matter how hard the outer cynical, nonchalant shell becomes, there are always some things that I cannot overlook. Even in the days when my mood is as inclement as a pre-norwester weather, simple things often coo their presence and put a smile on my face. Remembering a particular morning when I was en route to Ganesh Chandra Avenue, the mecca to all things eletronic in Kolkata, and was in a particularly foul mood. The hour-long journey from my place to the city in the local train was as exhaustive as travelling through a cattle van, not only because there were way too many people on board, but most of them moved and behaved like biped bovine.

On my way, I was walking through the bustling footpaths that were often home to all sorts of people – hawkers, homeless, the mischievous and the charlatan,  and the common beggars and loonies. On other days, this common fixture didn’t bother me, but on that day, I saw something amidst them that made me pause for a while.

A little baby was lying on his back a sheet of torn cloth, barely enough for his little toddling body. His eyes were beautifully rounded by gracious lines of kajal; and his toothless smile was a stark contrast to the paltry conditions where he was in. A few paces away, his mother, probably a sweeper, worked on making lunch from the spoils of a vegetable shop. He, unperturbed, smiled away at whomever looked at him.

No matter how much annoyed I was then, drenched in sweat and my despair, at that moment, I couldn’t keep myself away from smiling. The more I smiled, the more the kid smiled back. In the end, I walked away from that scene happy, content that the world still made sense. That pure love was still a thing.

Being the fat, shy guy I was (and still am), getting my courage up to actually propose a girl was completely out of the picture for me. That and my reluctance to discuss my personal life, coupled with the complete lack of any social media (Orkut was in rage those days, but I wasn’t that involved until later on) gave my friends plenty to speculate about my potential girlfriend. I remember walking into such a conversation during my second year in the college, only to be slightly amused.

Interestingly, in my entire life of about thirty summers, girls that I have proposed to always turned me down, whereas I always accepted any proposals that came my way. How much that speaks about the certain desperateness of mine, you’re only to judge. I am also very fortunate that both the women who proposed to me turned out to be amazing, and shaped my life in a major way. One, the latest (if you call nine years latest, that is), is going to be ma femme very soon.

But my love isn’t bound to flesh and blood entities. I am drawn to nature, I am drawn to books ; I am drawn to anime, cartoons, comicbooks, manga ; I am drawn to technology; I am drawn to video games. I am more at ease in a calm, natural habitat rather than in the hullabaloos of a city life, yet the duality in me craves presence of other souls. Souls that would listen and hear what I need to say. At times, my rants and ideas might last a few hours; at times they’re confined to one conversation. Over the years, I had plenty conversations about the not-so-normal things, and absolutely enjoyed the deviation. As intrigued I am as to the Basilica and the modern history and paleontology, I am equally drawn to long hours in Diablo 3 or League of Legends or reading through the lore in Age of Mythology or Dungeon Siege 2. Besides reading news, one of my daily routines is to check AnandTech or Tom’s Hardware to read the latest and greatest in technology. But that doesn’t mean I don’t read The New Yorker or The Paris Review for their excellent articles and literature published. Moreover, I am equally fond of both Bengali and World literature.

In essence, love doesn’t need to be in cards or paintings and pretty words. It needs to be more than that. With all of our feelings withering for each other and our blue planet, it is high time that we don’t get stuck to the confines of a single day to profess our love for something or someone. Get out, hold a hand, or hands, or paws, or hooves, or branches, or pages – and make it worthwhile.

Happy Valentine’s Day, folks!