Growing up without Harry Potter and Cartoon Network

As a kid growing up in the late 70s and early 80s in India, I never read or heard of “The Lord of the Rings” and definitely not Harry Potter. To add to the misery, if it would seem so for some of the kids of today, I did not have access to Cartoon Network, electronic toys or computer games! In fact, I have never seen Cable Television at my home. My parents first bought a TV in 1986 and those days, the free-to-air channels (which was the only stuff available) were about 3-5 hours every evening.

So, what did I do?

  1. Playing outdoors was the numero uno activity – cricket, aatya-paatya, soccer, hockey with cricket ball and stumps, french cricket, cycling, gilli-danda, marbles, badminton, running races, walking races, flying kites, hide-and-seek, wrestling (obviously, I never won), tennis with cricket ball, etc.
  2. Listening to radio – At our home, the radio would remain on from 6:00 am in the morning to 11:00 am at night. I still remember some of the special programs that no one listened to:
    • 6:00 am Sanskrit news that started with “Iyam Akashwaani. Samprati waartaaha shruyantam”, i.e., “This is Akashwaani. You are now listening to the news.”
    • KL Saigal at 7:00 am and Binaca sangeetmala (I don’t know what time) both on Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (also called, Ceylon station).
  3. Reading books – Some samples: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Shyamchi Aai (Marathi), Hindu Mythology, Abridged versions of Shakespeare, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and so on…
  4. Reading comics – Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon, Tintin, and sometimes, Asterix.

I used to, literally, use a torch under my blankets to read these comics and the Hardy Boys books, because my parents disliked the “addiction” ;)Fortunately, someone is taking the painful efforts of maintaing a nice website – The comic project. It has scanned versions of several Indrajaal Comics (Phantom, Mandrake, etc.). I really appreciate this effort.

So, I did have a good time – just in a different way ;)

Blogspot/Typepad ban in India!

Recently, almost all ISPs in India have banned access to blogspot.com and geocities.com and Typepad.com

It seems this is because some terrorist groups have started using these
domains for communication. Some ISPs have said geocities is banned for
phishing. More details at:

  1. Blogger blocked? at Kanak’s Little-notes
  2. Soon, you may not be able to see Blogspot blogs at Amit Varma’s India Uncut
  3. Blogspot Blogs Banned in India: Read Tricks To Access Blocked Websites at Amit Agarwal’s Digital Inspiration
  4. Rediff’s Are Internet Service Providers blocking blogs?

Is this the right way to do any kind of censorship in the largest democracy? It seems only a few sites were supposed to be blocked, but the ISPs have just blocked the entire domains! Clearly, every involved party will now play the blame game and point fingers, while the sufferers have no idea of what is going on!!

As is expected, there are several tricks to overcome this problem.
It is well-known that the Pakistani government banned blogspot and so
people came up with pkblogs

Hopefully, there will be some updates very soon. In the meanwhile, we can follow developments through the googlegroup, BloggersCollective

Interesting, google owns blogspot… but, we don’t seem to have any news from them — yet!

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