Monday, October 16, 2006

A Nation Of Dreams

A Reproduction of a Tehelka article on Mahasweta Devi. It is Beautiful;

"Mahasweta Devi had people in tears at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair. Delivered with passionate heart, her inaugural speech about our freedoms still on hold stirs a kind of moral transformation."


Repetition and recollection are the same movement, only in opposite directions; for what is recollected has been, it is repeated backwards, whereas repetition properly so-called is recollected forward.
Søren Kierkegaard, Repetition

At 80-plus I move forward often stepping back into the shadows. Sometimes I am bold enough to step back into the sunlight. As a young person, as a mother, I would often move forward to when I was old. Amuse my son. Pretend I couldn’t hear or see. Make mockery of memory, forget things that had happened a moment ago. These games were for fun. Now they are no longer funny. My life has moved forward and is repeating itself. I am repeating myself. Recollecting for you what has been. What is. What could have been. May have been.

See the tree, the forest, the field lush with crops, a stream dazzling in sunlight. And see, the spotted deer are jumping and fleeing to the forest, the mothers are filling the pitchers from the stream, clutching their children. And the houses are the ones they left behind at Badihatta. The sun is leaning to see the earth. The peasants are irrigating their fields. What an expanse of forest. How green the hills are.

Nothing happens unless you know how to dream. The Establishment is out to destroy, by remote control, all the brain cells that induce dreams. But some dreams manage to escape. I am after the dreams that have escaped from jail. The right to dream is what allows mankind to survive. If you end the right to dream — which the entire world and everyone is doing — you destroy the world. The right to dream should be the first fundamental right. The right to dream. [...]
There’s a story about Nanak — his father made him sit in a shop, told him to sell goods… dus, gyarah, barah, tera… tera, tera, tera... and he gave everything away. Everything is yours. With me, everything became tera… nothing touches the inside. Material things don’t touch me, I remain an outsider, I can’t always be an insider. Genuine warmth, real understanding, some friendship, a few strange things touch me, but I’m an outsider and an insider at the same time. [...]

Since the 1980s, I have been vocal about the daily injustice and exploitation faced by the most marginalised and dispossessed of our people: tribals, the landless rural poor who then turn into itinerant labour or pavement dwellers in cities. Through reports in newspapers, through petitions, court cases, letters to the authorities, participation in activist organisations and advocacy, through the grassroots journal I edit, Bortika, in which the dispossessed tell their own truths, and finally through my fiction, I have sought to bring the harsh reality of this ignored segment of India’s population to the notice of the nation, I have sought to include their forgotten and invisible history in the official history of the nation. I have said over and over, our Independence was false; there has been no Independence for these dispossessed peoples, still deprived of their most basic rights.

How to save and protect one’s culture in these circumstances? Which culture do we protect? And what do we mean when we speak of Indian culture in the 21st century? What culture? Which India? Sixty years after our hard-won Independence, the khadi sari is India just as the mini skirt and the backless choli is. A bullock cart is India just as much as is the latest Toyota or Mercedes car. Illiteracy haunts us, yet the same India produces men and women at the forefront of medicine, science and technology. Eight-year-old children toil mercilessly, facing unimaginable working conditions and abuse as child labourers. That is India. On the other hand, there is another lot of eight-year-olds who spend their time in air-conditioned classrooms and call their mothers at lunch break using their personal mobile phones. That too is India. Satyam Shivam Sundaram is India. Choli ke peechchey kya hai is also India. The multiplex and the mega mall are India. The snake charmer and the maharishi — they too are India.

Indian culture is a tapestry of many weaves, many threads. The weaving is endless as are the shades of the pattern. Somewhere dark, somewhere light, somewhere saffron, somewhere as green as the fields of new paddy, somewhere flecked with blood, somewhere washed cool by the waters of a Himalayan spring. Somewhere the red of a watermelon slice. Somewhere the blue of an autumn sky in Bengal. Somewhere the purple of a musk deer’s eye. Somewhere the red of a new bride’s sindoor. Somewhere the threads form words in Urdu, somewhere in Bengali, somewhere in Kannada, somewhere in Assamese, yet elsewhere in Marathi. Somewhere the cloth frays. Somewhere the threads tear. But still it holds. Still. It holds.

The pattern shifts, flows, stutters, forms again and changes shape from one season to the other. I see one India in the pattern. You see another. Light and shadow play. History and modernity collide. Superstition and myth, Rabindrasangeet and rap, Sufi and Shia and Sunni, caste and computers, text and sub-plot, laughter and tears, governments and oppositions, reservations and quotas, struggles and captivity, success and achievement, hamburgers and Hari Om Hari, Sanskrit and sms, the smell of rain and the sound of the sea. A seamless stitching. Many, many hands have stitched, are stitching and will continue to stitch India. My country. Torn, tattered, proud, beautiful, hot, humid, cold, sandy, bright, dull, educated, barbaric, savage, shining India. My country. And its myriad cultures. From time immemorial to now, the 21st country. From the Indus Valley to the bluetooth handset, India has seen it all, contains it all within itself and its cultures. There is room in India for all faiths, all languages, all people. Despite the communal crises, despite the fundamentalism, the backwardness of rural life, the memories of underdevelopment which are no memory but reality for us, the threat of aids, tsunamis, earthquakes, floods and droughts, farmer suicides, police violence, environmental disasters wreaked by industries and farmland being bought over by multinational companies, despite the battering by history and circumstance, India still is. Its culture still is. Hence we all still are. India has learnt to survive, to adapt, to keep the old with the modern, to walk hand in hand with the new millennium whistling a tune from the dawn of time. This is truly the age when the joota is Japani, the patloon Englistani, the topi Roosi. But the dil — the dil is and always will remain Hindustani.

As we face the future, and as I stand here, invited to speak of my country’s culture before such an eminent gathering and at such an honourable occasion, I wish to share my dream of where I would like to see my India go. I have spoken of the fundamental right to dream. I would now like to exercise that right.
I dream of an India where the mind is without fear and the head is held high. Where knowledge is free. Where the world has not been broken into fragments by narrow domestic walls. Where words come out of the depth of truth. Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection. Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way in the dreary sand of dead habit.

I dream of an India to which the world ‘backward’ does not and cannot ever apply. I wish to be Third World no more but First, the only world. I wish for children to be educated. I wish for women to step into the light. I wish for justice for the common man. Survival for the farmer. Homes for the poor. And hope for all. I wish for debts to cease. For poverty to vanish. For hunger to become a bad word that no one utters. I wish for the environment to be protected, to be loved and restored. I wish the land to be healed, the waters to be pure again. For the tiger to survive. I wish for self reliance, for self respect, for independence from the shackles of superstition. I wish for equal medical aid for all.

For light and water and a roof above every head. I wish for more and more books to be written, to be published, in every language there is in the country. Let the words pour out. Let the stories be told. Let the people read. Let them learn to read. To trace their fingers over every alphabet until they can spell their names. Their addresses. Until they can write for themselves: I know. I can. I will. Let us fight ignorance with knowledge. Let us battle hatred with logic. Let us slay evil with the sword of the pen.

I wish for no more satis, no more dowry deaths, no more honour killings, no more flesh being bought and sold. Let no more parents sell their children to survive. Let no more mothers drown their daughters in the dead of night. Let the downtrodden awake, let the forgotten faces and the muffled voices arise to claim their own. Let the pattern make room, let these new threads find place, let new colours set afire the tapestry. Set ablaze the future. Into that heaven of freedom, let my India awaken again and again. It is a big dream, I know. But not an impossible one.

When I speak of Indian culture, then, I speak of all this. Culture is what will take us into the future yet keep us in close contact with our roots, our history, our tradition, our heritage. Culture will let us take a quantum leap and land on the moon bur first, before all that, it must help us take a few small steps towards understanding ourselves better, towards knowing each other better. Culture must once again remind us to be a tolerant and truly secular people.

I have tried in my own way to give you a picture of this culture. But how am I to even to begin arriving at a definition that will be acceptable to all across an India that is so chaotic. So calm. So flexible. So rigid. So rich. So poor. So understanding. So easy to be misunderstood. After all, there are many Indias, as I say over and over again. Simultaneous. Even parallel.

And whose culture is it anyway? Yours? Mine? Theirs? There are so many ‘theirs’ in the land of my birth who have nothing but the harsh landscape of surviving from day to day. The dispossessed remain with us after six decades of becoming possessed of a freedom we all fought for. They all fought for.I claim elsewhere to have always written about the ‘culture of the downtrodden’. How tall or short or true or false is this claim? The more I think and write and think some more, the harder it gets to arrive at a definition. I hesitate. I falter. I cling to the belief that for any culture as old and ancient as ours to have survived over time and in time, there could only be one basic common and acceptable core thought: humaneness. To accept each other’s right to be human with dignity.

This then is my fight. My dream. In my life and in my literature.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Jamghat- a million revolutions

Over the past 2 years i have come across some of the most amazing individuals. People who dont talk but do. Those who are willing to be the change and get their satisfaction from taking up tough challenges. The following is an eye-opening view that Kaivalya Desai wished to share with my walkers group (KLOD.B) and i am reproducing it for the rest of the world in my Blog:

Jamghat “a group of street children”

Sleep Out Without All Out

On 11th of September 2006, when the Jamghat team started its new project at Jama Masjid, a wild thought struck all of us. Despite so many people in front of our eyes there and on other streets of Delhi we were not able to digest the fact that these people actually eat, drink and sleep in those conditions.

So we decided to have a first hand feel of the condition of homeless people and specially kids on the streets of Delhi at night. Finally we thought of sleeping on Delhi roads for a night. While we were deciding on the date of sleep out a number of questions crossed our minds, like ‘can these people sleep here without taking drugs and suletion(solution)’ and then in the process finalized the date as 23rd of September 2006.

On 23rd before the sleep out we did a night walk which started at 7:00 p.m. from Old Delhi Railway Station. The four of us that is Amit, Vinay, Vinod and me(Kaivalya) were accompanied by John who is an intern from England and is doing a research project on street kids in Delhi and by Upamanyu who is student of Delhi University and a very dear friend of Jamghat.

From 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. we covered the the Purani Dilli area including Fatehpuri area of Chandni Chowk, Kashmere Gate, I.S.B.T. and Yamuna Bazar.

After the walk we got a very positive feedback from John who was now even more determined to work towards the problems of street kids in Delhi and then with good wishes left us behind. Then came the time to sleep out with the people on the streets and only the sky above us.

The place where we slept was a divider on the outer ring road near Yamuna Bazar. The reason why we selected this place was that it was prone to all kindsof dangers from from Police Harassment to Gundas to Accidents due to fast moving heavy vehicles at night.

We went through some crazy experiences at night. Once our sleep was broken by two big rats fighting near our toes and they scaring us rather than we scaring them. Sometimes drug addicts came and started keenly staring at us but they didn’t do anything and went away quietly. But the most scary incident was when a heavy truck almost ran over us it actually kissed our heads and went away.
In the middle of the night at around 2 we woke up because of the cold weather that night. All of us were shivering as we didn’t have any blanket or bed sheet to cover ourselves. But this forced us to think about the situation of other people on chilly winter nights of December and January. Then we got up and went to I.S.B.T. to have a cup of tea after which we went to another pavement which was stinking due to urine smell but when we found so many people already sleeping out there we thought that even we should try it out.
By this time were so tired that as soon as we laid down there we went to sleep for two hours. This gave us partial answers to some of our questions. We actually were able to empathize with people who do so much of physical work throughout the day and are therefore able to sleep in those dangerous conditions.
In the morning we did a feedback session in which each one of us in a couple of lines said what came straight from our hearts following are those statements:-

AMIT- Kabhi Paise nahi honge, ghar nahi hoga aur kam nahi hoga to in logon ki tarah mehnat karke sadak pe soke bhi zindagi ka saath nibha lenge par usool nahi bechenge.

VINAY- Yaar uth ke issue ke baare mein soch ke bhi nahi soch pa raha hoon ya log akhir yahaan har roz manage kaise karte hain.

VINOD- Ajeeb si khushi hai ki hum issue ko janane ke liye sadak pe utar aaye.

UPAMANYU- Maain Dilli mein 1.5 saal se akela hostel mein reh raha hoon par aaj tak kisi bhi tarah ka nasha nahi kiya but agar yahan 1 mahine bhi rahoonga to bure se bura nasha karne lagoonga.

KAIVALYA- Sharir se aam aadmi hone ki gandh aa rahi hai aur amiron ke chotepan pe gussa aa raha ki wo apne faayede ke alawa kuch nahi sochte but at the same time I feel very luck to have been brought up in a secure environment.

But till now a lot of questions disturb us and we seriously need to find answers to them so that we could actually WORK WITH KIDS RATHER THAN TRYING THE STEROETYPE WAY OF WORKING FOR THEM.

Also in the end we on behalf of Jamghat would like to invite more and more volunteers who could help us out in our efforts in any which way and work with us towards building a better environment for the street kids.


Kaivalya Desai

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Space tourist

I Loooovveeee Indian News ...

CNN Says "Female space tourist blasts off"
Star News Says " Haseena pahunchi Sitaron me"

why Haseena??

bloody crap

How to Dissuade Yourself from Becoming a Blogger

Something i stumbled on :-

What a buzz all the bloggers are making these days! It seems like just about everybody is pouring their musings into a text box. Are you feeling tempted to start a blog of your own? Here are some ways to bypass the trend.


  1. Find five completely random blogs, and read them daily for a month. After thirty days, you will absolutely dread your self-imposed requirement to read all that dreck. Any blog you create will most likely be on par with what you've been reading. Don't put anyone through that.
  2. Consider that your voice, even if it is truly a good one, is a tiny peep against the massive wave of tripe out there. The odds of anyone you don't already know finding your blog are low.
  3. Write on a regular basis in a text editor instead. If that doesn't satisfy your urge, and you feel that you must post your blog online, then you might just be craving attention and validation--which you'll never truly find in a blog. If you give up on your Wordpad journal after about three days, you'll do the same with a blog that just takes up server space.
  4. Ask yourself if you really have the time to commit to a blog. What about that treehouse you wanted to build? Or the book you wanted to write? Or the car you wanted to fix up? Or the restaurant you wanted to take your significant other to? Or the new career you wanted to pursue? Instead of writing about pretty much nothing, or whining about all the things you wish you were doing instead, start doing something that'd actually be worth writing about. And if it's really worth writing about, you'll be having too much fun doing it to tear yourself away from it.

  • Rest easy in the knowledge that it's perfectly okay and respectable to not have a blog at all.
  • If attention and validation are what you're looking for, know that you will get neither from blogging. As above, very few people will ever know that your blog (or you, by proxy) exists. The remainder of comments posted to your blog will be sappy treacle, which you won't trust as being sincere anyway.
  • Consider writing on a wiki instead. Unlike most blogs, wikis like Wikipedia and wikiHow are read by millions of people each month. Several wikiHow authors receive "fan mail" messages every day from appreciative readers. In addition, many authors discover that they enjoy the wiki collaborative writing process more than writing in solitude.
  • If you plan to use a blog as a way of keeping in touch with a group of people, such as friends, family, or co-workers, then you may want to make sure it's inaccessible to the public (for the public's sake as well as yours). Using a message board instead of a blog can simplify matters and help keep it interactive.
  • Try participating as a regular commentator to three to five blogs that you think highly of. This plan has the advantage of writing for the public along with not doing the publishing oneself.

  • The information you post on the Internet is likely to linger for years and years to come, as web pages are archived by "snapshot" services like the Wayback Machine. Once it's out there, you can't take it back. An employer running a Google search on your name years down the line might be turned off by your now documented obsession with your cat.
  • Keep in mind that, unless you expressly make it otherwise, blogs are extremely public. This is not your secret diary that you write your innermost thoughts in because only you have the key and you wear it around your neck 24/7. If you have stuff that you don't want your mom, your best friend, your significant other, your secret crush, or your aforementioned cat to know, don't go blabbing it to complete strangers on the internet. You cannot assume that the people you don't want to see what you're saying won't somehow stumble across your blog and know all your dirty little secrets. If you must record these thoughts for posterity, do so offline.
  • You may never know if you enjoy blogging unless you try it.

the above was a wikipost from i kinda liked what they are saying. But i have only one response. I enjoy writing and seeing my words appear on the screen and i enjoy knowing that some people out there may be reading what i have written. Some simple pleasures of life, nothing more.

Back with a Vengeance

Ladies and Gentleman,,

The Man is Back (me, myself & the undersigned) after a long hiatus.In the 5 months that i was supposed to have vanished from the face of the earth. I think i have done some interesting stuff. Lemme just see:
  • Got myself a Beautiful & Amazing Girlfriend .
  • Co-Authored a book on Delhi for Outlook Traveller (Walks in Delhi & Heritage Sites (book will be out in a month)
  • Took up Studying for a CFA (CFA institute, ex-AIMR).
  • Finally decided on a career goal, (after 4 yrs of indecision & confusion)
  • the old fire in the belly is also back (it had kinda disappeared 3 yrs ago to be replaced by an odd state of mind numbness & boredom)
  • Helped setup with my mom, a trading company in Apparels, Jewellery and Accesories (called Indus Tree)(now creating the logo & website)

hmmm,, i have been busy, will be talking bout em in future blog posts.
CIAO for now

p.s: my absence will also be explained. :)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Strange Results from Google Trends

Google Trends is a cool new tool (timepass) just launched from the fabled stables of Google Labs. And in its own words it---

"analyzes a portion of Google web searches to compute how many searches have been done for the terms you enter relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. We then show you a graph with the results -- our search-volume graph."

"Below the search and news volume graphs, Google Trends displays the top cities, regions, and languages for the first term you entered.

now its that second line that i found quite interesting & proceeded to test drive the tool. and i did get some really curious responses.

the words chosen for the experiment were:

+Shah Rukh Khan

aaaaaaand i entered the first word- "SEX"

In the top ranking cities, the results indicate 2 Indian cities (naturally delhi is the top city which searched for "SEX"), 2 Turkish cities & 1 Egyptian city. Hey! what happened to western corruption..(and what is the deal with Chicago?)

It keeps getting curiouser & curiouser (is that a word?)

The second chart shows the Countries from where the term was searched and it does seem to have some sort of pattern, Pakistan, Egypt, Vietnam, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, India, etc (a stellar collection of sexually repressed countries, I Think).

The next in line is "Bollywood"

now here our movies seem to be extremely popular in Pakistan and especially Lahore . More than our country in fact.

BTW why do people in Surat want to know so much about Bollywood (The Bharat Shah Effect ??)

Here again Pakistan takes the cake (they are more interested in our movies than we are????)

Now for the last Word Search "Shah Rukh Khan".

Either this guy is in morocco and getting covered by the Media there OR the moroccans have taken an unhealthy liking to our KING KHAN.

aaand what is Lima, doing
searching about him (it doesn't even have an NRI population ??)
The Moroccans and the Pakis are at it again, followed closely by India & Peru???

Now with the above results. I call upon all fellow armchairs researchers & fellow time wasters. we have a new tool in our hands, Make use of it, its good fun..and utterly thought provoking :)

P.S. also please get me some answers


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fun with Dick & Jane -The Chinese Version

Check out the back cover of this DVD. Rest assured that the chinese maybe wonderful at manufacturing stuff at cheap prices, but they are a bit away from world domination, if this is how they market their products. They seem to have copied a critical review(not exactly flattering :) ) from and printed it on the back of the DVD Cover.

This is what it actually says:
"This seems to be one of those films in which almost all the funny bits were in the trailer, and the trailer wasn't really all that good. For a pretty short film, I seemed to be looking at my watch quite a bit.... and thinking my watch must be broken since it couldn't be possible that not much time had passed by. Jim Carrey was definitely trying, but for as much of a Jim Carrey fan as i am, it generally seemed he had done it all before, and it was better the last few times he did it.

Tea Leoni was not bad, but did not add much to the film, either. And Judd Apatow must have used all his good material in the 40 yr old Virgin, because I only got a couple of laughs out of this one. Although I would say that there was a bit of laughter around me in the theatre, so some folks must have enjoyed it. This wasn't a bad movie maybe worth watching on HBO if you have nothing better to do. Just not worth the price of popcorn."

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Skeletor Show

hehehe found someone doing a spoof on Skeletor called "The Skeletor Show" from our favorite childhood show "He Man and the Masters of the Universe".

Actually its not that funny, but worth a dekko.

miracle & success

Saw "Miracle" yesterday on Star Movies, an entertaining sports movie about how a bunch of 20-24 yr olds won the olympics gold medal coming from nowhere, absolute underdogs to beat an invincible Russian squad in 1978.

It was an interesting movie yet in many ways average.

What really caught my eye at the end of the movie, were the credits. They talked about what the players are presently doing (the kinda job) and surprisingly all of them had become either vice presidents (of well known Consulting & Financial Kind), CEOs , Entrepreneurs , and yes! head surgeons & doctors too.(atleast 15 of the 20 guys were like that).

Makes me wonder, is it possible that successful people in one area (even as diverse as Medicine & Ice Hockey) can be successful in other areas also. Then i remember

(Geena Davis was an olympic archer at the age of 45 after a successful acting career)

(Hedy Lamarr, the famous actress of the 30s was a member of the inventor's council, and filed many patents in communication technology which would later become the founding principle of the modern Mobile Technologies).

I wonder if our achieving sports men/women could ever become as successful in another career. I dont think so, we the public would never allow them in another career (especially as tough as a Business Career or Medicine, which would require them to go to college again)

Saturday, May 06, 2006


Bet you have not heard of Reggaeton, the new music sub culture, a combination of Hip Hop, Cumbia, Dancehall & Reggae. it is a subculture with strong hispanic roots and has been 15 yrs in the making. The proponents in recent years have been Daddy Yankee and N.O.R.E. and it is going to grow bigger in the next 5 yrs. I love it because it has a strong emphasis on melody and it kinda grew on me, with VH1 promoting it big time in the last month.

In betwen all this, there is a new band called Reggaeton Ninos-- children who have taken and remixed all the great reggaeton hits, giving their own spin to the songs and removing the explicit lyrics. they are quite good, essentialy latin youths from NY (10-17 yrs). (P-Star,Rahelly, Isaac & William). They seem to have skyrocketed to the top of the billboards. I believe the concept of remade songs for tweens has also made the music bosses sit up & take notice.

Music Video Codes by

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