Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
|C.P.Surendran at the launch of his second novel "Lost and Found" in Bombay.|
Monday, November 22, 2010
Read more here. Apparently Apple wasn't amused and contacted the website host and cancelled their domain registration. Now I don't know who is right or who is wrong, copyright on the net being a vast grey area. But suffice it to say the pranksters might make a comeback from another site, this time around.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
This thing struck me a bit too late. Sorry, I couldn't include it in an earlier post regarding her secession speech. When Balgangadhar Tilak was tried for sedition and lost, he said:
"All that I wish to say is that, in spite of the verdict of the jury, I still maintain that I am innocent. There are higher powers that rule the destinies of men and nations; and I think, it may be the will of Providence that the cause I represent may be benefited more by my suffering than by my pen and tongue".
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Got this link via Annie Zaidi's blog and it shows how the people of Leh are fighting to restore their lives after a cloudburst, one of many it seems. They live in camps because their homes are no more and the worst affected are children, who will ultimately suffer the repercussions of what we conceive in our greed and lust. In here there's no repentance only a crude justice handed out by nature. We can't repent for our sins to nature and be absolved. Nature's anger will never be assuaged.
So contribute to the NGOs that are helping the homeless and dispossessed of one of the highest areas in the world.
"Charge, angry youth!"
Uh-oh! Chen Jianping innocently retweeted something her fiance said about anti-Japan protests getting violent, and added, "Charge, angry youth!" which is what had the authorities crying foul. Twitter is banned in China, but it is easy to get around the ban by using proxy site, there are a lot of them around (google proxy sites).
It's composed of the plastic you carelessly discard into the drain and which gets washed into the sea. Then it is sucked and churned into the GPGP where it will remain for thousands of years. Says Chris Parry, public education program manager with the California Coastal Commission in San Francisco:
"At this point, cleaning it up isn't an option," Parry said. "It's just going to get bigger as our reliance on plastics continues. ... The long-term solution is to stop producing as much plastic products at home and change our consumption habits."
Friday, November 19, 2010
- IPL Scam (big)
- Adarsh Scam (medium but top leaders are involved), and, now:
- 2G Scam (huge Rs 1,70,000 crore [$ 50 billion])
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The past two days have been oppressively warm. I was in a train on the way to work and people are definitely discomfited and are showing it. This gives rise to frequent fights. Heard of "train rage"? No? You may not have, because I just coined it. Though they say "boss," "friend" and "bhai" actually they have murder on their minds. Yes, I know the mentality of these fellow commuters. I know how much pain they endure. Many are bearing injuries, torn ligaments, dislocated shoulders, etc., as a result of their commuting. This is made worse by the heat.
The local train in Bombay is a curious creation of man. Really, it is. It holds around 2000 where the capacity it can hold is 200 or less. Just imagine 2000 people standing silently in a train hurtling along on the tracks at 150 kms per hour. That too with ones elbow on another's nose and body contorted in the shape of a Natraja. No wonder Indians have such bulging stomachs. Actually a bulging stomach is not a sign of prosperity - as some of my countrymen believe - it's only that the chest and shoulders are squeezed so much that all the flesh collects around the waist. Really, it is so.
Imagine what if a tin-pot dictator crazed by the heat, lets loose a war. Wars have been caused by trivial things you and I can't imagine as being worth fighting for. We regularly ignore those war cries uttered inside steaming train compartments as so much gas. But this tin pot dictator, the sort who wears his military uniform to bed and keeps an AK 47 below his pillow, is different. Imagine if the war escalates into a world war. What then? This is from a site that features information on global warming called global warming:
"The gases append to the planet's normal greenhouse effect, permitting sunlight in, but stopping some of the ensuing heat from radiating back to space. Based on the study on past climate shifts, notes of current situations, and computer simulations, many climate scientists say that lacking of big curbs in greenhouse gas discharges, the 21st century might see temperatures rise of about 3 to 8 degrees, climate patterns piercingly shift, ice sheets contract and seas rise several feet. With the probable exemption of one more world war, a huge asteroid, or a fatal plague, global warming may be the only most danger to our planet earth."
Imagine (I guess this is my favorite word on this blog)! This century could see temperatures rise by 3 to 8 degrees. What then will we do? I am resigned to there being more fights in the train compartments for one. Sigh!
Monday, November 15, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Shankari has tagged me for my list of favorite authors. I am supposed to list fifteen of them in as many minutes. Guess blogging is also about community and tagging. So wrote the following list and also tagged my friends who are of a literary bent. So, here's my list of 15 authors I have read and whose prose has enthralled me and still doesn't fail to encircle me in its thralldom:
- Leo Tolstoy
- Charles Dickens
- Ernst Hemingway
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- Floyd Salas
- Miguel Cervantes
- John Steinbeck
- Jean Paul Sartre
- Albert Camus
- Salman Rushdie
- William Faulkner
- Allen Ginsberg
- Jim Morrison
- Walt Whitman
- Munshi Premchand
Failing memory or what I don't know. It took longer than it should have. It's by no means exclusive and, pray, not in the order of preference. However, Tolstoy occupies top of mind recall because of War and Peace. I forgot Ivan Turgenev, another author I have loved to read. I can think of many who were immensely more talented but couldn't find a place here. That's what we marketing practitioners call "top-of-mind-recall" a marketing and branding term.
I think great authors are like good wine. The more they are bottled and preserved the more they appear exclusively exotic.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Obama has come and gone and as Amit Verma says in this article this country will never produce an Obama. Firstly, we are too racist and casteist to let an Obama rise up the ladder of power. I read a cartoon in a magazine wherein a politician – one of those typical white-khadi-wearing-platitude-spouting-farty types – says, something like, "What? Our country is going to be free, fair, and merit-based, then I see great danger for our future generations."
He means his generations. The hypocrite, the cheat, the liar, the vulgarian. Nothing personal, this to the cartoon character, okay, so chill.
So what's the Obama charisma? A man who wakes up at five a.m. in the morning for a walk has my admiration all right. Did anybody notice the athletic young man – the most powerful in the world? If he had come at an earlier stage in my life I would have imitated him through and through. If I have to imitate him now, I will have to grow some black hair.
For a black man to be the president of the most powerful nation in the world is not a joke. Yeah, not a joke. If you think of the heavy odds, he has done the impossible. You can think of all the snubs, wrinkling of the nose, the innuendos, the veiled threats he must have endured and still managed to hold his head high. Man, that guy has guts.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
Friday, November 05, 2010
takes about one hour. The reason is all the roads plunge into gorges
and climb steep hills and veer around jutting spurs of land making
driving that much harder. There are monstrous bungalows everywhere
painted in lurid colours: shocking reds, stunning pinks, surprising
violets. I can't remember the lie of the land as all the landmarks in
my head are erased by new structures, mercilessly torn town to
accommodate news ones in its place. So I have a hazy idea of where I
We drive, rather I am being driven by Babychayan, my brother-in-law,
in a Maruti Alto at a good speed and the wheels hum softly and the car
is stable and takes the bumps well. We ask directions to be sure and
three of the people we ask are fully sozzled at 4 p.m. in the
afternoon. As I have said often enough Kerala has a serious drinking
problem. And the problem isn't helped by the government selling liquor
to them through the public distribution system. There are endless
queues here at all times of the day and night, waiting patiently for
their nightly quota. The patience seem to evaporate after the first
two pegs and there are obscenities shouted at each other in the open
The benevolent leftist government has given the poor very good sops.
The daily wage for labourers has been fixed at Rs 400 ($ 10
approximately) a big amount by Indian standards. They have also
increased the supply of liquor. So the idea seems to be work more and
drink more. The government functions in a robinhood-esque manner. In
the middle are caught the middle classes, neither here nor there. They
have to pay heavy bribes and have to suffer power cuts and wait
interminably for gas connections and for admissions. They can't afford
labour at Rs 400 a day and they prefer to leave their land
uncultivated, which lie filled with wild plants and weeds. No there
isn't much useful vegetation in the God's land except perennial
long-term money-yielders like coconut and rubber.
I sit with a cousin and aunt. Both of them have lost their hearing,
suffere Alzheimer and their house has been nearly burgled recently,
the window rods were cut and a robbery attempted. The aunt is 95 going
on 96 and she has seen better days. The house is enveloped with spider
webs and there are even webs in the corners of where two walls meet.
The paint is faint and peeling, their's is a life of slow dissipation,
of a life that has gone past them, nothing left to look forward to. No
expectation. No future.
I see a snake, a sliver of motion sweeping into the cow pen, I see a
huge spider, large and lethergic with some recent meal. There's rain,
hard pounding and irresolute. There's unrest and dissolution in God's
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
train journey I mean. Have we accepted anomie as a part of our life?
Immediately after entraining, I noticed the tendency to be corrupt and
cheat that we are born with, something genetically linked to us.
Anyway I entrain to find a crowded compartment, overflowing with
people who don't have proper reservations. There's a mother with only
three ticket for four people, there are two people joy riding on two
other people's reservations (their tickets are in the waiting list),
and the compartment is full of people and luggage. This disturbs me a
bit. I am at discomfort because there is a person on a seat on which I
should be sitting. There are nine children running amock in a space of
six by six foot area.
All the children happen to be little monsters. One monster's (pardon
my impertinenece but I have to call them monster) favorite strategy to
attract attention is to cover his ears and scream at the top of his
lungs. For everything he screams. Seeing him the other children also
become loud and scream. Children are good imitators, which is how they
learn. Then one monster clambers to the top berth and jumps down not
looking at who is below. Another too. Then he kisses another boy on
the mouth and say "I love you." They do these things without being
conscious of what they are doing? Where do they learn this thing? I
thought it might be an isolated incident but when all the monsters
exhibit this sort of behavior I suspect it is the genetic signature of
the present generation brought up fast food, television, and attention
deficit syndrome. Sadly, they are influenced by and are repeating what
they see on television.
Why do I say television? Because the only time they were a bit quiet
was when they played a television song request program complete with
"where are you calling from?" and "what are you doing?". Then, you
won't believe this, they sit and repeat verbatim the advertisements
that pIlay with such tiresome regularity on televisions. They repeat
exactly the words of "Dar ke aage jeet hai (there is victory after
fear)", "You and I in this beautiful world" and the lyrics of all the
bawdy item numbers. And they say television should not be regulated
and we should give a free reign to the programmers. Can you imagine?
We are bombarding impressionable minds with the most dangerous of
human depradations and base characteristics. And we think it doesn't
I know I may be in the ranting mode here. The children's mothers
seemed lost and didn't even try to control their wards. I suspect
their teachers also do the same, as a child of five says in Malayalam,
"I will bury you," to another and the mother watches and laughs at the
smartness of her child. No, she isn't embarassed. Nothing personal
here, but is this what the child hears from them? When I used to
travel to God's Own in my childhood I remember I used to sit without
moving in one place because my strict dad was around. All the children
in the compartment barely moved. But that may be glorifying the old
But tell me, in this knowledgable and enlightened world isn't there
anyone to advocate discretion in viewing of mass electronic media?
Isn't anything there like parental guidance and self regulation? I am
amazed by my discovery inside a compartment of the Garib Rath to
I am sorry to write all this drivel when I am on vacation and I am
supposed to enjoy myself. It took the joy out of my journey of
discovering and filling in gaps in my understanding of God's Own
Country. I am in for some serious introspection in the coming days.
Monday, November 01, 2010
Apropos of this post. Are writers and writing under attack? Why this intolerance with expression of ideas? Is free speech being curtailed? It happened with Rohington Mistry's Such a Long Journey in Maharashtra. How come the law keepers arrived at the scene of the protest after the slogan-shouting ended and the television crew arrived even before the protest started? Questions? Questions?
Today I am off to Kerala for a short vacation, for some rest and recuperation, R & R, as they are called. I am travelling by Garib Rath, the train service introduced by Lallooji, thank you, ji!
Something about the Arundhati Roy incident about secession has been bugging me. I want to write about it, but I don't know what. I am a confessed admirer of her writing and her activism for the poor, but I don't know if a writer should take sides in political debates. In my humblest of opinions, a writer's duty is to observe and not to jump into the fray. A writer should be a voice of reason and not a strident voice of anything besides. She has ended in a sticky situation because of her talk on a public platform. Such platforms have to be chosen with great deliberation, with prudence. I don't know the basics of the Kashmir questions, nor am I in a position to comment knowledgably. But I know this: Kashmir is something we have bungled very badly.
There's news that some rightist activists have damaged property at her residence. That's something unlawful and shouldn't be encouraged. It is said that the news broadcast vans appeared even before the protesters did. So did the rightists tip of the news channels so they could watch the tamasha they created in the evening in the comfort of their drawing rooms? Whatever happened to law and order?
Dilip D'Souza, who is a better writer by far, has put it succinctly in this blog post.