31 August 2006

Found on a bookmark

'The path of excess leads to the tower of wisdom.

'The pleasure of satisfying a savage instinct undomesticated by the ego is incomparably much more intense then the one of satisfying a tamed instinct. The reason is becoming the enemy that prevents us from a lot of possibilities of pleasure.'

-- Source unknown

They know all about you

Every time you use an internet search engine, your inquiry is stored in a huge database. Would you like such personal information to become public knowledge? Yet for thousands of AOL customers, that nightmare has just become a reality. Read more.

I used to work for a search engine not so long ago, and am quite familiar with the in's and out's of what is talked about in this article. But I still cant fathom how AOL ever dared to put out such data... Even if it is a mistake, it's pretty scary, coz such 'mistakes' must never happen at all.

23 August 2006


What is Indlish? It's all these: mistranslated expressions from Indian languages; a khichri of officialese, legalese and commercialese of the eighteenth century; meaningless fad coinages; vague abstractions; automatic expressions; the use of nouns instead of action words; un-English use of the passive voice.

Go get a copy guys. Very interesting read and not your run-of-the-mill 'improve-your-english' type books.

Especially, journos would profit a lot.

More about the book here.
Read excerpts here.
Can't find the book? Tell the publishers here.
You can also mail the author at indlishthebook@gmail.com

21 August 2006

Important backyards

Here's U R Ananthamurthy's apt analogy of the frontyard and backyard of a traditional Indian house applied to literature. Some excerpts:

"... the backyard (was) the most magical space for me. Had I not frequented it and eavesdropped on the gossips there, I would never have become a writer.

"... The two worlds of the front and the back have ever since been meeting creatively in our literary works. The back-yard is inexhaustible. As literacy spreads and more and more people emerge into the frontyard of our civilization they bring their own richness, as memories, and desire to integrate with the mainstream of world literature.

"... When the royal path becomes pompous and loud and artificially rhetorical and, therefore, a voice of public emotion only it loses the flexibility and truthfulness and earthiness of the common speech. It is at such moments of cultural crisis that the traditions in the backyard make a come-back and revitalize the language. This is what Wordsworth, Blake and Hopkins have done to the English language in their own country, and in our country the saint poets like Tukaram, Basava, Nanak and Kabir have done it with much greater consequence for our culture. The Shudras and women were empowered by the great saint poets of India. No one can talk about literature in the Indian bhashas without recognizing its intimate relationship with larger political and cultural questions."

(Immensely homesick, his description of his house makes me.)

20 August 2006

What is the main point?

Yesterday, I attended a talk by my boss and teacher Jyoti Sanyal on writing. The audience consisted of school teachers who taught English. Sanyal, essentially, was trying to drive home the point that children, when left alone, uninterrupted by adults, can be creative. It’s we adults who spoil the fun.

Of course, quite a few teachers were up in arms at the idea that teachers in India often stifle the child. But this woman had me stupefied. She gets up and throws this question at Sanyal, “I’d asked the children to write an essay on going to a picnic in the forest. And this kid comes out with the story that he was lost in the forest, and then he became a tree, and bore fruits. When children go away from the main idea like this, don’t you think we should correct them?”

I wanted to ask her, “What then is the main idea, ma’m?” I didn’t have the opportunity to, because she was being already being ragged by quite a few.

What is this obsession with the main idea? Is there a main idea at all? Does there have to be a main idea? And how does the teacher assume that becoming a tree and bearing fruits is not a main idea for the kid? Why, oh why, do we have to assume that there is one main idea, and it is, was, and always shall be for the rest of mankind?

If the same story was written by some damned pseudo-academic and then included in the curriculum, I am sure the same teacher would be cramming the story down her students’ gullets. But, it was just a kid who’d written this non-sense. It was her bounden duty to correct him. The child would then be forever doomed to searching for the main idea. Remember, he’s been told it’s out there.

And then, morals. Oh, I must tell you this one. Sanyal asked the teachers why they couldn’t tell children stories without morals, like that of Ashwatthama. Again, a very disturbed teacher asked him, “What do you mean? We don’t need to teach our children morals? Should there be no morality at all?”

And it suddenly struck me that this is the root of all fundamentalism. The need to see things in just two colours, the denial of a million other hues that do exist, the urgency to defend ‘yourselves’ against ‘them’ - all spring from the thought that there is a moral to a story and that there is a main idea.

This world sucks way too much man.

11 August 2006


Ardh Satya... instant biting quatrains on what's happening in this great country. Apolitical creatures, stay away though.

Another recommendation: Kailash Kher's Kailasa. It's medicine.

09 August 2006


Here's the former Asya's post on Rabbi. Cant agree more with her. And am I glad she's back!

08 August 2006


Why do we always need to place people in certain contexts? Why do our conversations with strangers mostly begin with where he is from, what language does he speak, etc? Is connection possible without contexts?