Saturday, November 27, 2010
So the video looks decent enough and touts the achievements of IT in helping the villager's day to day activities. Now obviously the villagers don't speak English, so everyone is assigned a Minder to help translate their views.
So in the end, the president (or anyone else) doesn't really ask any questions and all the responses look canned. Now why would that arouse any suspicion
Aah yes, now things look in context. So in the effort to promote the advances in India, our file pushers (or secretaries if you must), turned this whole exercise in to a propaganda campaign. Funny how one person's democracy is another's autocratic regime.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Just the other day, while watching How I met your mother (natural history), I heard a haunting melody in the background when Ted and Zoey dance. I saved the episode, trying to figure out what the song might be or who sang it. After a few days of unfruitful searched and countless replaying of that episode piece, I finally came across this lovely rendition of Serge Gainsbourg's La Javanaise by none other than Madeleine Peyroux.
She has sung it so beautifully that anyone who appreciates jazz music should definitely listen to it and if possible go to one of her shows.
French to English translation
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
This morning during my bike ride, right on recreational drive between irving park and belmont, I saw a path leading towards the lake. Having never been on that path, I stumbled onto a gravel path on the lake side of the golf course and it just happened to be another beautiful secluded lakefront area on this beautiful fall day.
Chicago gives you multiple opportunities to complain about its weather, but during this unusually mild October, it gave an opportunity to uncover yet another hidden treasure - you just needed to be out there to experience it.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
India has always had a history of inclusion and to stand up against extremism. When the temple at Jerusalem fell at the beginning of the common era, a batch of the Jewish survivors found refuge in southern India and over the past two millenia, this was probably the safest environment to practice their faith. When Persia fell to the Arab invaders, the Zoroastrians fled to the West coast of India and to date the Parsis in India are the largest surviving Zoroastrian group. When China attacked Tibet, the Buddhists led by Dalai Lama did not hesitate to seek refuge in India.
Time and time again, India has stood for what is right and what is just. Giving refuge to the Dalai Lama, led to an embarrassing military defeat to our much larger neighbor to the north, but there were no protests against Pandit Nehru's decision to give refuge - for the citizens knew it to be the right decision. Even with the latest floods in Pakistan and inspite of misgivings of misuse of funds, the Indian government did give 25m USD to the relief work - for it is right thing to do.
However we find ourselves with a peculiar situation with regards to Kashmir. As a reaction to the danish prophet controversy, there were widespread riots in Kashmir leading to local deaths. On the rumor of a Koran being burned in the US, Christian schools (in no way connected to the situation) are attacked and burnt. With the floods in Pakistan, there were also widespread floods in Ladakh and Leh. With whole towns being washed away, emergency relief material could have reached in time, if not for the national highways being blocked by the protestors in Kashmir. As with the time when the Kashmiri Pandits had to leave on threats of mass genocide, the current day Kashmiri's failed to show any sort of solidarity with the people in need - nothing was raised for the flood victims and nothing was let through.
For some reason, Indian policy makers keep fretting over the idea on why Kashmiris don't associate themselves as Indian. Unfortunately they fail to realize that being an Indian citizen should be a privilege and not a right and it should be shared only with people who share our sense of righteousness. The partition of India during independence has always been seen as a scar on our history, but in hindsight it helped seperate out the extremists from the rest. Kashmir is the last vestige of the independence process and its time the policy makers deal with it as such. Irrespective of our policies, the extremists will hold the rest of the country hostage to their wants.
Its time we retake the path of the Right, the path of the Just.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Instead of concentrating on the need for legal reform, everyone seems obsessed over how Anderson the erstwhile CEO of Union Carbide was allowed to skip bail and return back to the US. In my view, Anderson seems to be as guilty as all the other people working behind the scenes who oversaw the safety of the Carbide plant. However no one from the administration of the time have been brought to trial, even though if quick action had been taken on the initial alarm, a majority of lives could have been saved.
Even if the Indian government does what it does best, beg the US government (aka David Headley) to have access to Anderson, the Indian taxpayer will just foot the bill for an excursion for a few central government officials. In the meanwhile all the officials who worked and or were bribed in the background will never be held liable for the murder of thousands. After all, we are only concerned with scapegoats.
Friday, April 23, 2010
The cartoon show 'South Park' continued its trend of mocking animals by having a bear on the show. I did not realize but quite a few groups seem to sensitive to bears. A group called Revolution Islam actually warned the show's producers Matt Stone and Trey Parker that they might suffer the same fate as Theo Van Gogh (who was killed for making a film on the treatment of women in Islam). It's quite surprising how this group and other similar groups have the license to impose their views of wildlife on other non-believers.
Comedy Central, has now taken the stand to protect Revolution Islam's right to free speech over the writers of south park. Episodes on Buddha, Jesus, Moses, Scientologists, Mormons and Krishna are fine, but apparently bears are taboo.
Maybe it's just that followers of the bear are special and are held to a different standard than everyone else on the planet.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Unfortunately the case of Satyendra Dubey (linky, linky) might be one such case where justice is completely denied. The police in India has graduated from being a completely corrupt organization to a living breathing force going to any ends to protect one of its own.
This week 3 people got a life sentence for the murder of Dubey. Ofcourse the three were petty criminals, juveniles at the time of the crime and in no position of authority in the Golden Quadrilateral project (Dubey was trying to expose corruption in the project). Its a cruel game played on the Dubey family but I'm sure the police have no intention of finding the guilty party.
Maybe its time to have a rethink on India's nation motto of Satyameva jayate (truth alone triumphs)
Monday, March 22, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
I felt longing to land in the country of my birth.
I felt joyous to spend a few days at home.
I looked forward to a trip of discovering the south.
I basked in the warmth especially coming from a cold place.
I felt frustrated by the sheer inefficiencies at different places.
I felt helpless when you don't have the power to change anything.
I felt angry that the politicians and the police rule as if they are above the constitution of the country.
I couldn't surmount the challenges of trying to converse in a language alien to me in a country which was my own.
I mastered a sort of sign language to assist conversation.
I loved the feeling of a light breeze while enjoying the 4 o'clock cup of tea on a terrace.
I still have an insatiable appetite to try out the different cuisines available here.
I had pangs of guilt when a man almost twice my age called me sir.
I grew sick of the pollution and the bad traffic.
I am going to be cautious stepping out incase people decide to celebrate holi a day early.
I feel lucky that the bomb at the German Bakery in Pune wasn't set for the day before.
I am glad that in spite of the time I have spent out of this country, I don't feel like an outsider.
I feel amazed that the poorest of the poor still have a smile on their face at the end of the day.
There has just been one main feeling to sum up my past 6 weeks here, I've felt alive.
You will always have the kid who is generally jumping off the wall, but as soon as he sits on that chair its like he might as well be in a coma. The fear of the scissors is all pervasive. You will also have the balding man hanging on to his old sense of self. Sure enough, in he walks asking the owner if his hair has grown enough to require a haircut which is obviously met with a resounding yes.
I sat down for a haircut, a shave and a good dose of tel maalish (oil massage). The burning aftershave did have me reminiscing the couple of layers of skin that I lost to the shave though. Ofcourse the tel maalish did wonders and I'll really miss that part till I can visit a barbershop in India again.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Monday Dinner - Went to Bounty Sizzlers. Its been a while since I've had sizzlers and the food was scrumptious.
Tuesday Lunch - After passing by Burger Barn on numerous occasions, I finally tried the veggie burger with desi options and I can honestly say it was one of the best veggie burgers I've had.
Tuesday Dinner - Tried out italian at one of the places at the ABC farms. The pizza wasn't all that terrible.
Wednesday Lunch - Went to casanova for a multi cuisine lunch. Make your own pasta had its charm and the buffet was generally good.
Wednesday Dinner - Didnt want to head out for dinner as I was engrossed in the cricket game and Mike was gracious enough to grab me a McVeggie from McDee's.
Thursday Lunch - One last trip to Kathi Cottage to have a couple of kathi rolls. I'm going to miss this place the most.
Thursday Dinner - After a lot of searching we finally found the hidden Hard Rock Cafe. The food was so so but I can see the attraction for those who miss America. It was great to see Raju breeze past the security checks with utter disdain though we werent as lucky.
Friday Lunch - The last day of the pune leg of my trip saw us at the Great Punjab at Koregaon park. The food was amazing and the title seems well deserved.