Sunday, 15 July 2007

Mousetrap - 110

I’ve got your back
Fight Corruption Now
That there is corruption in India is beyond doubt. That there are people who fight it, from outside the system as well as from within, is, thankfully, a certainty too. Sadly, these warriors have it all against them. The tragic cases of Satyendra Dubey and Shanmughan Manjunath come to mind. This site is run by a lady called Jayashree J N. She is married to M N Vijaykumar, an IAS officer in Karnataka, who happens to be one of those upright officers who is not only clean, but has begun to fight back, making official complaints about corruption. Naturally, corruption has been fighting back too. Ms Jayashree says that “his fight against corruption has resulted in harassment and threats, I thought it is high time I also independently, actively take up the issues he has raised by mobilizing like-minded persons throughout the country. I do not want to make the mistakes others have made under similar circumstances by keeping quiet and raising voice only after something bad happens.” Good luck, ma’am. (Link from Annie Zaidi.]

Queen—er—Camel takes pawn—um—rabbit
The problem with chess, say some folks, is that its rules and logic are such that a computer can be programmed to play it better than even the best human players. This enthusiast started out by making up a game to play with his little son, Aamir. (The lad asked his father what the name of the game was; loving daddy said “Rimaa,” or Aamir said backwards. The tot said “Arimaa?” and that stuck.) The game is played on a normal chessboard, with chess pieces. But the pieces are not called by their chess names; instead they’re named after animals, in descending order of power. The rules of the game, says its founder, are difficult for a computer, but fun and interesting for humans. It’s not kid stuff, however. Strategy is king (heh), and the game has grown a wide following around the world. It even has its own world championships. The site demos the rules, and if you get hooked, you can play online, with other players, or against a computer, or download the game. Or shmooze in their forum. Right. Where were we? Elephant to F5. Your move.

And there’s the one about..
A nice little diversion for the weekend, with enough ammunition here to take you through many a party, speech or motivation seminar. You have little stories, trivia, quotations, hilarious incidents, and lots more. The site search lets you find things by keywords or, if you prefer, within sections. Or you could just browse around randomly, which is much more fun. And yes, there’s a forum, and a gift shop, and, well, lots more. Now shaddup, junior. I was going to tell you a really funny story. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but have you heard the one about M K Gandhi..?

Reader suggestions welcome, and will be acknowledged. Go to for past columns, and to comment, or mail The writer blogs at

Published in the Times of India, 15th July, 2007.

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