May 17, 2023

India pt.2: Bangalore

India pt.2: Bangalore

With no plans laid out post Green Pill Festival; myself and Rishi drove overnight to Bangalore in order to get his new lady friend Aaba to hospital and back home.

The most likely scenario was that she had a stomach bug from nibbling on a kiwi fruit that was in turn nibbled on by a rat; while speculative, this situation seems pretty plausible given there were apparently two other run-ins with rodents that evening while we were on the road down...

Jimi ended up needing rabies shots due to a bite on his finger; while Marco awoke up to something fuzzy on his leg which he promptly kicked into the roof making an audibly large thud - as there was no body was identified it seems likely a rodent who somehow survived the impact. Ouch.

Besides these events, all parties made it to Bangalore good spirits and met up for coffee after a good nights rest. Sino, Marco, Rishi, Jimi and myself met with Jacob and his lovely co-founder to learn about local design, indigenous crafts and supply chains before geeking out on blockchain economics. By and large this discussion was a demonstrative means to confer the value of diagrammatic reasoning and conversation graphs.

After a Thursdays internetting with Rishi and Sino we decide to try and visit a temple together. Departing the coffee shop I receive a message from Jacob saying he's interested in the excursion and walking towards us from his part of town. Detouring to pick him up at a restaurant we discover that the clock has already struck midnight and the temple is closing imminently. Cest la vie.

"New plan; let's head to Atlantis HQ and grab Marco". Pinging him and others about our vector we receive no response and head over anyway only to discover that no one's in. "Oh yeah they're probably out for dinner with Sudebi and Probal"... "How do you guys feel about an escape room?" proposes Jacob, who's suggestion passes almost instantly.

Ohhohoho, another portal summoning the forces of charoder! Myself, Rishi, Jacob and Sino make a pretty awesome team as we naturally fall into appropriate roles. The high stimulus environment of blaring white noise and strobe lights has Sino pretty agitated though... and I'm handcuffed to his side!

Within minutes, Rishi and Jacob are completely free of their chains and we get to work on a perspex puzzle that turns off the white noise generator; sweet relief! Its rather odd to still have the strobe light going but we get that off too; immediately Sino spots a key hanginging rather inconspicously by the speaker and were through the shutters into the next room.

What were all those number-plates about then? no bloody idea, I drop it and start to stare at a poster full of guns with code names and try to find a pattern as others work on a cryptic flow chart that opens up the next door... A shelf, items, some math on the back of a door and a computer.... "okay, what are we supposed to do with these?" I wonder.

Oh ok, the computer requires a password and that seems to be a code associated with one of the guns I was looking at. The lads are about to crack the shelving puzzle which determines the reference code for the gun.

Got it, its AK3080 (or something). A song with gun shots... ok, count them? right - yeah that's the next door code. Home straight indeed now lads; what's this map of India all about? Yeah the string goes round all these posts for some reason... but which ones and why? Ohhh, back to the number plates at the beginning for the layouts...

YES Sino! Spot on, your right, it looks exactly like the symbol on all the props; what an interesting hermeneutic reference! X marks the spot so the Bangalore number plate is the final code? Clank, yup, we're outta here! Drinks?

Friday we're invited to Utkarsh's place in the evening so we call in a little early to do some co-working in with him and his friend Scooby. This takes us into a discussion on $Earthcoin, its tokenomics and general mechanism design. Jimi, working on a proposal in the other room periodically buzzes in and out to test his thinking and from there the conversation turns to bonding curves and liquidity pools.

As we put the white board away a number of the Green Pill Festie folk start to show up at the house along with their various partners and girlfriends. The party's a little fragmented but also relatively civil given there were freeskates and slacklines available to cause accidents! Ever the dry shite, I head home at about 1am to get some rest.

Saturday is April 1st and as usual I'm playing the fool; having toured the design school and beautiful market with Marko and Sino during the first half of the day I attempt to make it over to a Polkadot event which is supposedly happening in the Sheraton hotel; I just happen to go to the wrong one... With the correct address an hour across town it seems the event will close by the time I arrive; I subsequently admit defeet (gettit?) and decide to look for shoes around the nearby shopping mall.

Bump! - "Oh hello Sino,, fancy seeing you again haha! Marcos in Starbucks? Ok, cool - I'll drop in for a moment to say hi. Hola mate, me again; get anything done? yeah I'll try a sweet, what are they? mmm they're are a little bitter sweet just like my day haha! Right, you guys are gonna do some shopping? I'll stay here for some coffee and writing. See you back here in an hour or so."

After an reasonably extensive writing session I wonder where they disappeared to, check a group chat and discover movement being planned across town... "Ok yeah, I'll head over to the restaurant club thing you lot are meeting at".

Jumping in a rickshaw I ask the price. The driver says 2000 rupee; so I say forget it and begin to get out as it cost me 400 to get over so I figure it should be about the same back. The driver begins to haggle with me and we settle on 500. A few minutes later a change of venue comes in over the telegram and coordinates are actually closer, so I update the driver and he's good with it - or so I believe. As we arrive at my destination he tries charge 2000 again...

We go back and forward on this as he's intent on getting whatever he can and I'm intent on a reasonable and fair outcome. He tries a number of approaches including shame and anger, calling me a cheater and so forth which is all rather unpleasant so I give him the 5oo and angrily point to a cop car to settle things. His tone changes to panicked and rather weak so I give him another 100 to close the matter in sympathy.

Guru and Utkarsh arrive after a short wait in the restaurant, who upon hearing about my kerfuffle laugh and suggest that "it shoulda been 200 dude - book through Uber, the drivers always try to rip us off too!".

A number of others begin to arrive in convoy now but as Marcos in shorts the venue refuses him entry so we decide to leave. Jimi has already hit the dance floor so we grab him and get into Utkarsh's car and set off for a more local social club they frequent.

As we pull out of the car park we pass the others and suddenly drivers start to changing, people are rotating in and out of the car as logistics are figured out and after a little bit of turbulence and we're on our way again. Dubstep on the radio, we somehow pass the others in a rickshaw... and then promptly leave them for dust.

As we arrive, I reflect on the novelty of dropping the car off to the valet; a privilege I've never experienced before - probably because I've never had my own wheels or the cash to rent a car while visiting foreign countries - so it feels a bit like entering a James Bond casino in an odd kinda way.

Entry fee covers drinks and being a dry shite I don't need them so Guru kindly pays my entry and redistributes the tokens; the place is pretty dope place. Way less flashy than the place we left in order to get here but more fun and quirky; it's layout actually reminds me of a night club I used to tech manage.

After about an hour the others travelling by rickshaw arrive just in time to get booted out for close. Myself and Rishi were gonna stay with Irthu but feeling pretty tired I wish them all a good night and set off to find myself a hotel as they move on to party. Finding a spot is less easy than expected but after checking a few non existent locations on google maps I stumble across the same hotel I checked out of in the morning in order to complete a perfect circle!

Sunday is pretty graceful; I grab a coffee at my regular spot 'talk over table' and then head over to visit Irthu. Something really starts to light up as we jam on cosmology and myths of creation and after a while he asks me what LunarPunk Labs is doing...

Avoiding transcendental narratives to explain the mystery I'm swimming through I suggest 'what' is the wrong question as it's generated from the 'how'. He beams at this answer and recommends a book called 'draw to win' - oh yeah that lands.

Scrawling all over the desk he begins to share the Atlantean vision and his backstory of working with Mercy Corp. Holy fuck - he's actually been there and totally legit; they were solving issues around the Indian water supply for years and actually got pretty far before pissing off some mafiosa, which forced them to close their company for safety reasons. Decentralisation was a means of moving forward while spreading the risk.

The vision and narrative vibed for me but ever the pragmatist their crew history impressed me most; they'd been practising various forms of solidarity while co-living and getting their hands dirty. Irthu shared a number of designs patterns informed from their experience and the ontology was pretty tight. Super general and useable across numerous projects.

As a disassociated technologist I've been going pretty meta to avoid opinionation while working at a functional level in my own designs as those closest to the problem are best suited to solve it. Ever hesitant to prescribe a particular ontology for this reason I'm glad to finally stumble into a set of opinions that actually count for something rather than some Refi marketing hype espoused by innocent fools who by and large have become brainwashed instruments of the 'network state'.

Discussion continues into all kinds of subject matter often considered taboo or woowoo and my flame begins to burn brighter. Irthu has rather interesting edge that's as explorative as my own and is just as sceptical. Seems we both love to run pattern analysis on novel perspectives when they come from a place of curiosity rather than ideology (too blackpilled to eat more of that!).

There's a healthy scepticism present in our convo but were also faaaar off piste into the free field of potentiality; ahh sweet refreshment. This is the type of interaction where the impossible suddenly seems to become possible; balanced flow in a far from equilibrium states... cause, choice, change!