Of bandhs, elephants and melam - Part 2

So I had braved the bandh and reached my hometown.

The festival in Ernakulam Siva temple was on in full swing.  The day we reached was the 5th day of the 8 day festival.  Most Kerala temples have a festival protocol - from hoisting the festival flag to pooram, para, sheeveli, vilakku and finally the unhoisting of the flag followed by aaraattu.

Sheeveli (the circumambulation of the festival idol around the temple compound on caprisoned elephants to the accompaniment of chenda melam) is one of the highlights of the festival and is performed both on morning on all the festival days and evening on days except the first, last day, pooram day and utsava bali day.  Reputed melam artistes participate in the melam.  This is the time melam aficionados are waiting for.  Though I was brought up in Ernakulam and had witnessed the festival for a number of years, I had not had a chance to appreciate the many festival traditions like melam (familiarity breeds contempt).  I was determined to make up …

Of bandh, elephants and melam - Part 1

It has been a while since I enjoyed a temple festival in my home town.  The annual festival in Ernakulam Shiva temple in 2018 was between 22nd and 29th January.  Thanks to the 3 day weekend for Republic Day, I decided to travel home to enjoy the festivities.  Tickets were booked well in advance - long weekends bring surge pricing, premium tatkal and other shocks for travellers.

What we did not factor in was the Mahadayi river water dispute between Karnataka and Goa and the call for a Karnataka bandh on 25th January.   I have not been able to understand how an elected Government can support a blatantly anti-people activity like bandh.  If at all someone is affected adversely, it is the daily labourer.

Schools declared 25th as holiday and decided to compensate on Sat, 27th Jan.  Luckily there was no IAS exam scheduled for my kid on the alternate working day.  Also, the cancellation charges of train ticket is worth a month and a half of milk supply at home - so it made sense to travel!

Fire and Fury - the book

What a book to kick off 2018!  Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff!

I prefer fiction, but seeing the controversy that the book has generated as well as the fact that it got to New York Times Best Sellers list, I decided to read it.

The book chronicles the life and times of Donald Trump (the current US President) and his associates (if I may so use the word) from late 2016 (a few weeks before the US Presidential Elections) to late 2017.   It starts with the last few weeks of the Election campaign, where no one in the Trump camp expected to win, including Trump himself.  Once they realised they were winners, the disbelief transforms into conviction that they were indeed deserving winners. Then there is the scramble to figure out how to run the country with the limited political experience the entourage has.

The soap opera worthy one-upmanship between the two major camps - Jarvanka (the daughter and son-in-law of Trump) and Steve Bannon, the campaign strategist…

Automated iOS build broken in xcode 9

Having upgraded to High Sierra, the next logical (?) step was to upgrade to Xcode 9 and get a couple of customer apps to build on that.

We use continuous integration to automate the building of our hybrid apps.  This means, we generate the platforms on the fly and build the same.

There was a new release to cordova-ios plugin to support xcode 9 and we updated config.xml/package.json to use this plugin.  So far so good.  But the build broke with the following error.

A search in Google reveals that this is due to the change Apple has made in xcode 9, whereby it expects the Provisioning Profile name in exportOptions.plist file.   This file itself is generated as part of the build, but does not include the provisioning profile.

If you hit this link in your search, it is misleading since this is handled in the 4.5.1 version of cordova-ios plugin.

A fix for this apparently has been made in cordova-ios but not released.  As per comments in this thread, this fix possibly doesn't work.

Of …

Upgrading to macOS High Sierra

Apple released the latest version of its Flagship Operating System macOS on 25th Sep 2017.  This year it is codenamed High Sierra.  (It was Sierra last year).  I guess, logically the names for the next two year's OS should be Higher Sierra and Highest Sierra!

As we had a few iOS apps being built in Sierra, I was hesitant to upgrade.  But I could hold back my urge no longer and upgraded my Macbook Pro to High Sierra yesterday night.  At 5.2 GB, the download size is quite large, but courtesy High-Speed Hathway, it took only 20 minutes.  The installation however took longer (about 45 minutes in all), especially the post-installation, which I guess involved migrating contents to the new Apple File System, introduced in High Sierra.

But the upgrade itself was quite smooth and everything that I had earlier worked!

Interestingly, Apple had already pushed Safari 11 in Sierra, so one of the release surprises was no longer a surprise.  I could be wrong, but I thought the contents looked b…

Bahubali - a violent saga

I was one of those who was not bitten by the Baahubali bug.  In fact I watched the Baahubali - the Beginning in TV (can't remember if it was Tamil or Malayalam version) - that too, in bits and pieces, fast-forwarding songs and other (to me) uninteresting pieces.

Following the hype of Baahubali 2 - allegedly the first Indian movie to do 1000 crores of business and Karnataka Chief Minister paid 1000-odd rupees to watch it (did he watch the Telugu or Hindi version? surely it can't be Tamil!)),  I wondered that there must be something I am missing.

It was a while since I had met up with two of my College-mates.  So when we discussed and decided to meet, we thought we might as well do it "over a movie" (and lunch).  Based on the languages all of us knew, Tamil was the choice (did Baahubali release in English?  that would have been fun - a fitting response to English movies being dubbed in regional languages).  It being the 3rd week,  Tamil shows of Baahubali in Bangalore…

Randamoozham - second turn

I would not have known about Randamoozham,
 the Malayalam novel by M T Vasudevan Nair, but for the news item about plans to make a Rs.1000 crore movie based on it.   A book based on Mahabharatha - so what's new, I wondered.  As for movie, I still remember the wonderful serial of B R Chopra, that used to air in Doordarshan, which kept roads free on Sunday mornings.

Though I can read Malayalam, I picked up Bhima: Lone Warrior,  English translation of the book by Gita Krishnankutty.

The book is a first person narrative by Bhima, the second of the Pandavas.  You could call it his autobiography or Mahabharatha that we know, from his view point.  The story starts with Bhima and his family coming back from the forest to Hastinapura, after their father, Pandu's death.  Hastinapura is ruled by the blind King Dhritharashtra, elder brother of Pandu.  He warmly welcomes his nephews.  Pandavas also get to meet their cousins, the Kauravas,  Duryodhana being the eldest of them.

The initi…