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Vikas Kamat
 Vikas Kamat is a programmer- entrepreneur living in Birmingham AL. This blog is a complex mix of Indian culture, life in southern USA, computer sciences, and sports. Opinions are his own.
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Computing, Libraries, Tennis, India & other interests of Vikas Kamat

Sunday Potpourri Durable Link to this BLOG
Sunday Potpourri

Still don't have a 2002 calendar? Buy one (link to Sulekha order form) featuring India's innocent children, and help fund their education.

The beautiful calendar features many of Kamat's photographs.

If you know or heard about how beautiful IIT-Madras campus is, please sign a petition to maintain its bio-diversity.

I am working on a new section on Kashmir. I think it has been long overdue.

Added about one hundred new pictures to Kamat House of Pictures. The total number of pictures now exceeds 6600!

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, February 03, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Another Footwear Story Durable Link to this BLOG
After reading my stories of 1976-77, many people have written to me about their own experiences of Emergency in India. Some had their brothers and fathers in prison for no fault, and some feel the same danger exists in India of today.

The most amusing feedback is about my bare feet in the picture. It was common at the time to go around the town in barefoot. I did have some footwear, but everybody in my school came barefooted, so I also did. After some time, the bottom of my foot became so callous and hard that once I tried to bang a nail into it, and it wouldn't hurt!

Another Footwear Story

Like I said, my family bought us footwear, but we never wore them, except on special occasions. On one such occasion, my cousin Pradeep wore his chappals (Indian footwear) to a relative's house for the annual death anniversary of an ancestor. While returning (you leave the footwear outside the home while visiting), he forgot that he had worn shoes to the function!

One year passed, and the occasion came again.
We were instructed to put on good clothes and footwear. But Pradeep couldn't find his chappals! -- He had lost them one year ago!

Essence of the story -- For a whole year, Pradeep didn't need his footwear.

FYI: Even today, a lot of people India walk barefoot (pictures)

See more stories like this in Personal Stories from India

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, February 04, 2002
Last Modified: 1/24/2003
Tags: desitale

Microsoft Updates Durable Link to this BLOG
Updates on Microsoft Technologies

If you are a MSN- messenger user, you must see this.

I saw an implementation of a dot-net application. DotNet is high on sex-appeal, and low on writing durable software systems. Microsoft has made the same mistakes they made with bound-data-controls (VB) and design-time controls (VStudio). I'd recommend it to customers who can only swim in the Wintel pool.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, February 05, 2002
Last Modified: 1/24/2003
Tags: microsoft

Black History Month Durable Link to this BLOG
February is Black History Month

Black history is the history of mankind. This month be sure to read up on some parts of history of Africa or her people.

The African Connection

Did you know that India and Africa have a strong bondage dating back to centuries?

A Smiling Siddi Girl

• Siddis -- Indians of African Origin
• Lots of Pictures of the Siddi Community

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, February 06, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

January 2002 Blogs Durable Link to this BLOG
Calendar of January Blogs

 January 2002

See Also: Blogs by Topic

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, February 07, 2002
Last Modified: 9/10/2011 12:24:57 AM

Civil Fights Durable Link to this BLOG
A Fierce Bollywood Fight Ahead

This weekend I am hosting a long time friend, who is hoping for an Oscar for the Hindi movie Lagaan.
I dislike Indian movies in general, and hate Bollywood in particular.
Both of us are going to stick to our guns, and argue our wits out.

My newest complaint about Bollywood -- What's up with the use two successive 'A's (as in Salaam, Pyaar etc)?
Do I have to change my name to Vikaas Kaamat now? and rename India to Indiaa?

Indian-American Protest to CNN

An online petition signed by 60,000 people has been submitted to CNN. It makes interesting reading.

Wow! That's the way to seek justice in a civilized society.

See Also: Rajiv Malhotra's Story on Sulekha that started it all.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, February 08, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

2002 Festivals Durable Link to this BLOG
2002 Festival List

I have finally found time to compile a list of Indian festivals and the dates for the year 2002. Due to poor usability, I have gotten rid of the calendar format I'd used for previous years, and now it is simply a list.

Calendar of Indian Festivals

Book on History of Education

I am proof-reading mother's forthcoming book on the History of Education in India. It is a very interesting book, with numerous illustrations and anecdotes. Look out for the date of release!

An Excerpt from the Preface:

Unfortunately, the Europeans who occupied India never saw the beauty in the value of the Indian educational system. They tried to reform Indians by providing their education system, which involved schools, libraries, and teachers on payroll. Lord William Bentinck paved way for a large-scale education of Indians in British ways. Some Indian leaders such as Raja Ram Mohan Roy supported the English education system and it became fashionable for good students to learn English. Most of the leaders who fought for India’s freedom were educated in this way.

After independence, it was most essential for India to formulate educational policy that was relevant to India and solved our unique social economic problems. Unfortunately we continued the borrowed European system that was prevalent. Although Gandhi declared that the education system should involve skilled training and reformed the successive governments promoted universal educational system for India. Education became cheap and available to everybody, even those who did not love or long for education. The system did not distinguish between children of an artist, a farmer, or a merchant. So the skills that were transferred from generation to generation no longer found demand. The fact that we have to have police guard the examination rooms today shows the degeneration of our current education system.

How can the Adivasis (native tribals) who roam the forest with bows and arrows be restricted in the four walls and taught daylong lessons? Our schools and colleges became factories that produce unemployed graduates. Everyday we hear of highly qualified engineers and lawyers taking up paltry jobs in governmental organizations. The time has come to rethink our spending of public money for namesake education that we provide that is only resulting large-scale unemployment.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, February 09, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Google Search Appliance Durable Link to this BLOG
Full-text Searching Gets a New Life

Google today announced a Search Engine Appliance that can be configured via a browser and setup in a few minutes. I have no doubt that it will be a runaway success.

I am curious to know how the Microsoft Only shops will react to this product. (It runs Unix)

Read my review of Inktomi UltraSeek (a competing product).
Google has taken the same approach to sell their technology.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, February 11, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Axis of Evil Durable Link to this BLOG
Axis of Evil ?

The other day, President Bush described Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as the axis of evil.

One of my friends pointed to me that none of the people who attacked America, were from these countries. Most of them were Saudis, and some Pakistanis. How come Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan don't appear on the list?
"Oh! They're our allies" -- I sarcastically replied to him.

Dashle Dissents (link to Yahoo News) -- In a first sign that fight-against-terrorism is not everything-you-can-do-in-it's-name, the democrats are voicing their opinion.

I don't know what can open the eyes of our leaders, to the true problems facing the world today, that of intolerance, hate, and inability to see the truth.

Boisterous speeches by the administration have been met with even more boisterous protests by Iran and North Korea.

The President just made it easier for them to hate America.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, February 12, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

One Weird Nation Durable Link to this BLOG
One Weird Nation

Do you wonder why India, a nation of one billion people cannot win a single Olympic medal?
That's because Indian people aspire for higher records!

See Also: Extreme Nation -- The Contradictions of India

The Nine Lives of MSN Messenger

Did you know that you cannot subscribe to MSDN now without a Microsoft Passport account? You also have to install the MSN messenger!

So I did. Oh, now I cannot close it! It keeps saying *other* applications are using it. Like who?

Somebody please stop them.

Read about a previous attempt by me to stop Microsoft and the lessons learnt.

On MetaFilter: Discussion on why Hindus who worship sex and genitalia find Valentine day cards obscene.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Links of the Day Durable Link to this BLOG
Links for the Day

CNet: More IE problems reported.

How to build a new Pakistan -- Husain Haqqani's excellent essay in New York Times. (Free registration required)

Love e-Greetings for Valentine's day: Love Bugs , Made for each other

BBC: Eunuch Power -- As predicted by Kamat in this letter, the Hijras are becoming a powerful political force in India.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Thursday, February 14, 2002
Last Modified: 2/14/2002

Sins of Bloggers Durable Link to this BLOG
Sins of Bloggers

  • Bloggers bitch too much about Linkrot (expired URLs).
  • Bloggers are primary source of bandwidth theft
  • Bloggers think that their irrelevant blogs live forever. They call their paragraphs as permalinks, and provide entry points into pages without context.
  • Bloggers are tightwads who don't want to pay for software, searching, or even hosting.

Reminder: I am a blogger.;-- )

What bloggers write, and what they really mean by David Weinberger.

Living in America Purifies Your Blood

Unlike the last time, American Red Cross accepted my blood today.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Friday, February 15, 2002
Last Modified: 4/24/2002
Tags: blogs, metablog

Net Banners are Getting Bigger Durable Link to this BLOG
Big Freaking Flash (BFF) Ads on

Madhu Madman: Why BFF ads won't work (Nov.15,'04 Linkrot detected)

I am not sure whether or not they work, but the advertisers are seemingly demanding them. My ad-agency contacted me today to find out if I was willing carry some BFF ads on Kamat's Potpourri.

I have two concerns. First of course, is the redesign of the templates to fit them (and what to do with the space, when there is no inventory available). The second is the compromises I have to make in the user's experience.

I have not made up my mind yet, although we all knew this was coming.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Sunday, February 17, 2002
Last Modified: 11/15/2004 5:07:26 PM

Monday Blues Durable Link to this BLOG
Monday Blues

I have been just told that some errors have crept in the manuscript we just submitted to a publisher. Back to drawing board...

Badly Needed: A version control system that works over http.

I mourn the death of my cousin Sunila Shanbhag of brain cancer in Ankola. She was barely 40.

I also mourn the demise of Mrs. Laxmi Shanbhag of Manekkar, mother of a close friend, and a fantastic cook. She was 59.

I am working on resurrecting a grand exhibition, Alamkara, 5000 Years of Indian Art (preview), that was put together by the Government of Singapore in 1994.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, February 18, 2002
Last Modified: 2/19/2002

White Man's Olympics Durable Link to this BLOG
White Man's Olympics So Boring

The 2002 Winter Olympics are going on, but thanks to a very insipid coverage by NBC, I am not excited. Too much of recorded (not live) coverage, too much melodramatization, and too little intelligent commentary. The Third World countries have better sports coverage.

Why do I call it the White Man's Olympics? Ain't that obvious?!

And did you see the Official Olympic Website?
I coundn't.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Tuesday, February 19, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Of Zeroes and Twos Durable Link to this BLOG
Of Zeroes and Twos

Today is 20/02/2002 or 02/20/2002 (depending on your nationality), one of those numerically interesting dates. Another day like this, consisting only of two numerics will come on day after tommorrow (2/22/2002). And then the next won't come in another thousand years!

BBC: Party Like It's 20022002! -- at the bottomof the page you fill find numerous interesting palindromes contributed by patrons.

New : Tiger that loves flowers and other Handicrafts of India

New Idea: I want a DVD game that I can play on my Home Theater using the remote control to navigate and shoot. Handy Tip

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Wednesday, February 20, 2002
Last Modified: 1/24/2003

Kamat is No More Durable Link to this BLOG
(Posted by Hiryoung Kim)

We are all saddened to break the news of the demise of Dr. K. L. Kamat.

He was the most important contributor to Kamat's Potpourri. Without him, there was no Kamat's Potpourri.

He had touched so many people's hearts through his books and photographs.

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Saturday, February 23, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

Kamat Lives Durable Link to this BLOG
Kamat Lives

The Kamats thank everyone who have shown us support during our loss. (K. L. Kamat passed away on Feb. 20th at his residence due to a cardiac arrest).

Upon his death, Kamat donated his eyes and just now we have received word that they were successfully implanted on two different people (due to shortage of eyes, recipients are allowed only one eye in India), enabling them to see for the first time in their lives.

So, not only Kamat lives via his books, memorable photographs, and other media, he continues to live through his eyes.

Update: The Eye Foundation of India received a lot of publicity after this blog entry was carried by major Indian media. (sample)

(Comments Disabled for Now. Sorry!)First Written: Monday, February 25, 2002
Last Modified: 1/29/2003

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