28 October 2004

Rasheda Kausar

Dont dig deep, just scratch the surface. And you'll find so many women like Rasheda Kausar, both in rural and urban India. I have interviewed a bunch of their tribe, in my brief career as a journalist. Their confidence, inspite of what they have gone through, will leave any corporate, 'personality developed' woman sadly wanting.

No sprucing up, they are always naturally 'packaged.' The strength of a woman is indeed overawing.

Rasheda Kausar
Businesswoman, Bhagalpur, Bihar

In her 47 years of existence, Rasheda Kausar's proudest possession has been a 15-year-old sewing machine. Not a Pentium-era contraption, just a chip of the old block that's now her life. (Read more ...)

Remember Salumarada Thimmakka?

26 October 2004


scrapatoriumPosted by Hello

I am right, you are dead

A god is nowhere born, yet everywhere
But Rama's sect rejects that fine distinction -
The designated spot is sanctified, not for piety but
For dissolution of yours from mine, politics of hate
And forced exchange - peace for a moment's rapture.
They turn a mosque to rubble, stone by stone,
Condemned usurper of Lord Rama's vanished spot
Of dreamt epiphany. Now a cairn of stones
Usurps a dream of peace - can they dream peace
In iconoclast Utter Pradesh?

I want my mom forever

When my parents came over for Dasara last week, I realized that mom is growing old. She complained of sleep problems. Not very serious, though. But it pained me to see the onslaught of age on her. Because she is such a young-looking, beautiful, lively, friendly, 'cool,' person.

When the pillars you lean on, succumb to gradual unavoidable forces, it is a little unnerving. That means, someday you will be without those pillars. Of course, thousands of people have never had any pillars in the first place. But I have always had them. It's difficult to think of a time without her. She's my best friend.

25 October 2004

Dasara dolls

I think this is the Dashaavatara Posted by Hello

got an amazing angle Posted by Hello

Raja & Rani Posted by Hello

More Dasara Kollu pics Posted by Hello

Dasara dolls arranged by the elderly couple who live upstairs in my apartment. Posted by Hello

19 October 2004

Microsoft PowerPoint and the decline of civilization

I heard this and jotted down some points while listening. It is a must-think-about. Pasting the points (hee hee):

Microsoft Powerpoint symbolises the ...

urge to summarise, reduce and truncate
eternal standoff between content and form

Everything becomes a sales pitch
Info has to be uniformly accessible
Forced simplicty; reduces your capacity to think, to communicate
Info presented thus tends to be soft, woolly
Every slide would be like reading a brochure
Parents love it, because they think that the children are learning something new. Teachers love it because parents love it because children love it.
It makes points, not conversation. It is for a corporate setting; merchandising.
It represents the controlling tendencey in contemporary life.
Simplify, Reduce, Oversimplify.

Critics say it is...
a crash course in stupidity
death by a thousand bullet points.

If you read this, please go and listen to it. The Gettysburg PowerPoint Presentation says it all, of course.

Veerappan is dead

Cant believe it. This guy was a terror to Karnataka and Tamil Nadu police for three long decades. A creation of bureaucratic farce and political conveniences. Maybe he threatened to spill beans. And his usefulness, too, would have reduced for the powers that be. It is a great relief. But there is news of increasing Naxal activity in the Western Ghats. The society that produced a Veerappan can well and has in the past churned out similar phenomena.

A remnant of the colosseum days?

I am reading The Kandy-Colored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby by Tom Wolfe. He heralded new journalism in the 60s, I think. Sir introduced me to Wolfe and his work. I have consciously tried to follow the tenets of new journalism. Will write more about it tomorrow. But here is something interesting from the book: demolition derbies. I ran a search on AOL and paste below what I found:

The family that demos together, stays together

Some crash for money. Some crash for love. Some crash to feel what it's like to survive.

Demolition derby is an Industrial Age ritual of redemption and resurrection — born, possibly, out of a drive to take things broken beyond all rational hope of repair, and let them live again... The basic premise of demolition derby is simple: the last car able to move is the winner. However, to become a winner is anything but simple. To win a demolition derby requires a combination of preparation, skill, strategy, and luck.

Demolition derby competitions generally consist of four to eight heats whose winners advance to the feature event. To begin each heat, ten to twenty stripped-down, wildly painted cars rumble into the arena with introductions from the announcer and heartfelt cheers from their supporters in the stands. Drivers line up their cars opposite one another, or around the perimeter of the arena, generally with their vehicle's rear end facing the center. Concrete highway barriers, telephone poles, or huge heavy-equipment tires laid side-by-side are used to delineate the area of competition, which is wet down to create a muddy "playing field." The mud serves as a safety factor and creates an added challenge to the competitors, as it keeps vehicle speeds low, and makes navigation difficult. Upon the judge's signal, the crowd counts down. When the checkered flag drops, drivers ram the pedal to the metal. Chaos ensues for a few minutes, and then the action slows down as the cars batter one another into submission. Tires and radiator hoses pop in resounding resonance, drawing oohs and aahs from the crowd. Thick clouds of blue exhaust and white steam rise and hang ominously over the arena. One by one the cars lurch to a halt, some due to mechanical failure, others from structural damage. The last two cars moving are declared the heat winners, and the judges or fans select a third car to also compete in the feature event at the end of the evening.

Read more

15 October 2004

Strong stomach recommended

After I found this, I am curious if there is a website dedicated to poop. Am not checking, though.

Some interesting articles I found on Ooze:

Filthy Town!

England's second largest city rose to prominence as an industrial powerhouse in the 19th century. Growth and unfettered capitalism combined to create a deadly stew of filth. The city is currently experiencing a post-industrial rennisance turning its old infrastructure —canals, trains, and factories— into picturesque views from expensive new lofts.

The finger

Giving someone "the finger" is one of the basest violations in modern culture, but its origins date back over 2500 years. The first written record of the insult occurred in ancient Greece, where the playwright Aristophanes (the Adam Sandler of his day) made a crude joke mixing up the middle finger and the penis. Even back then, the bird was considered an aggressive, phallic put-down.

By jabbing a threatening phallus at your enemy like a wild animal, you aren't just belittling him, but also making him your sexual inferior. In Greek comedies, actors often appeared with long leather flaps tied to their belts in a representation of the male appendage. These actors slapped each other around with their 'comedy dicks' in a bit of wacky shtick akin to today's whoopee cushion. Yet, the average Greek citizen probably couldn't afford (and didn't want) to wear his or her own leather cock around the Acropolis. Instead, these ordinary Janes and Platos called upon the substitute wieners within their own hands to mock, threaten, and humiliate opponents.

And boy, did it. When the Romans imported the art, music, and culture of the Greeks, the finger came along, too. Roman Emperor Caligula, a pioneer in perversity, frequently shocked his citizens by forcing them to kiss his middle finger instead of his hand. One of his subjects, Cassius, who Caligula often taunted as being too effeminate, finally had enough humiliation and assassinated him. Clearly, the bird was not to be taken lightly.

During the Middle Ages, the finger went underground. It was still known, but the Catholic Church frowned upon its use, as the middle finger was supposed to be holy in the Mass. The unholy insult lurked deep within the hearts of filthy- minded folks everywhere, hiding from sight until the 19th century when it began to crop up again thanks to a new invention -photography.

Find the full article at http://www.ooze.com/finger/html/history.html

08 October 2004

Finds of the day


Google bombing (GOO.gul bawm.ing) n. Setting up a large number of Web pages with links that point to a specific Web site so that the site will appear near the top of a Google search when users enter the link text.
—Google bomb n.

metrosexual (met.roh.SEK.shoo.ul) n. An urban male with a strong aesthetic sense who spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle.
—metrosexuality n.

06 October 2004

I am feeling lucky

Ok, go to Google and type: miserable failure, and click the 'I am feeling lucky' button.

Try this with 'slimes of India'


'French victories'

Enjoy maadi ;)

05 October 2004

Red chilli in Korea from http://joeyjoejoe7.blogspot.com/ Posted by Hello

04 October 2004

The perfect family Posted by Hello

This is Joshua, Guido's son. If Benigni and Braschi were indeed to have a kid, he would probably look like this guy.  Posted by Hello

Life is beautiful, really.

I watched Life is Beautiful on Saturday. I was alone at home, and when the movie ended, it gave me such a jolt. This was one movie which had me grounded. I had no readymade reactions. First, I had to reconcile myself to the fact that Guido (Roberto Benigni) is dead, after all. Secondly, it is a movie that's set in Fascist Italy. And about half the movie is about life of the three leading characters in a concentration camp. You cant see a speck of blood though in the entire movie. Yet, the movie is so beautiful, simple, and shocking.

I am copy pasting the summary of the movie, for those who have not been as lucky as me:

"At the center of the fable is Guido (Roberto Benigni) — an enchanting individual with childlike innocence and grand dreams of owning his own bookshop. It’s 1939 and he has come to the Tuscan town of Arezzo with his poet friend Ferruccio (Sergio Bustric). With unabashed humor and joy, the two seek fortune and romance, ignoring the growing anti-Semitism and Fascist government that surrounds them.
Guido falls in love with Dora, a beautiful young school teacher (Nicoletta Braschi, the Italian actress who has starred in most of Benigni’s films). Unfortunately, the woman he calls his “Princess” is already engaged. Worse, she is engaged to the local Fascist official with whom he has had a run-in. Guido, however, is not deterred and a fairy tale romance ensues.
Several years later — Guido and Dora are married and have a son, Giosue (Giorgio Cantarini), and Guido has finally opened the bookshop of his dreams. But now, the occasional bigotries Guido once ignored have become Racial Laws with which he must come to terms. Throughout it all, Guido determines to shield his son from the brutal reality governing their lives. This determination becomes a matter of life and death when Guido and his son are sent to a concentration came three months before the war’s end. Of her own accord, and out of her love for them, Dora deports herself on the same train.
Now, in this unimaginable world, Guido must use his bold imagination and every ounce of his indefatigable spirit to save those he loves."

There are no profound cinematic statements: like oh-so-perfect freezes, or clich├ęs. The language is simple, lucid, and brief. Sure, there is loads of humour. So where is the pain of the Holocaust? It is in your mind. I mean to say, Benigni has chosen to not talk of pain. But he isn’t really turning away. Else, he wouldn’t have chosen the theme. The narrative of the movie is as simple as the protagonist. Throughout the movie, the audience is always conscious of the historic situation: like when Guido pulls down the shutter of his shop, you can clearly see the graffiti on the shutter that says: Jew shop.
I have seen The Pianist. Good movie, no doubt. But LIB is more about how things happen 'just like that' in life. Guido went marching to his death. His son saw him go and giggled. He never realized his dad would be dead. We don’t see Guido dead. But that's how it is. Larger-than-life events happen with no warning, no alarms, no sound effects. You are born. And you are dead. Just like that. Guido chose to laugh all the way to his death. You can take it as you will, but you cant deny that life is indeed beautiful.
I'll have to see this movie again. It's kind of decoded my response system.

01 October 2004

Mad Girl's Love Song

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

- Sylvia Plath.

Absolutely love this poem. Everyone is a mad girl at one time or the other.

On a lazy Friday afternoon in office

I want to get away from the city. From the honking cars and carbon monoxide. From the sight of plastic-eating cows.
Want to get up in the morning and smile. Want to read each letter of the newspaper like a novel. Savour each empty minute like cappuccino.
Want to do some goddamn uncool thing like reading a book and staying at home.
To do something about the overflowing dustbin near my house, like joining Janaagraha.
Want to look into your eyes and make a face at you.
Want to answer a child's questions about why there aren’t any black flowers.
Want to sit with my granma (god, she's here for a very short time) and tape all the home remedies she knows, so I can tell my kid.
Want to stare into a starry smokeless sky and not know when I fell asleep.
Want to earn a lot of money and adopt a child, and many more, God willing.
Want to have a flat tummy ;)
So goes my life …

Right now, my mind is vacant, courtesy my job. I am beginning to learn to switch it off and on. I am not thinking or feeling anything. Just reading random blogs, listening to random music. As I write this, I am beginning to miss home, parents, loved ones, friends, and want to be any place other than office. Sigh, tranquility is short-lived. But work goes on :(