Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I had never thought of doing PhD even in my wildest dreams. I joined PhD because I got a scholarship from the UGC when I cleared my NET examination soully due to the efforts of the Mr. The Mr wanted me to teach in college because then, he thought I would have more free time. School teaching is much more taxing, he felt. I was teaching in a school and he had seen we struggling with the corrections of one test after the other. I am a thorough correcter and I used to take hours to correct. Moreover school teachers were paid a pittance compared to college teachers for all the efforts they put in. Anyhow my Brat was 1 when I joined PhD and the mite was 1 when I submitted it! Now its done and I have the Mr and my in-laws and hordes of other friends, relatives and teachers to thank for it. I have not mentioned so many people who were responsible for making me Dr Diya, but still it is an initial effort to thank the many people who made me what I had never thoought I could become.
I dedicate this 1ooth post of mine to all my well wishers who have helped me to become who I am.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
After visiting the temple we were at the mercy of the auto wallah who took us to visit a huge Ganapati murti in one of the temples near the Virupaksha temple. Thereafter we visited the Lotus Mahal complex that also housed the elephant stables. We also visited the queen's bath-which is treated as a picnic spot by local sightseers. The most dramatic of the monuments according to me was the nearly a kilometer long 'paan supari' bazaar in front of the Vithala temple which is the other main temple complex in the ruins. The Hampi bazaar is a functional market in front of the virupaksha temple it is built on the ruins of an earlier bazaar, you can spot the bars of stone behind the hut ments of the banjara population that has encamped in that spot, clearly, temples were the hub of commercial activity in Vijayanagara times. We sat for some time our feet immersed in a tank at the back of this 'paan supari' market pondering the scale of the trade that existed so many years ago ( for the uninitiated that would be the 16th century AD, which is 50 years before the start of the commercial activity of the Dutch, French and British- the British east India company was founded in 1600 if I am not mistaken and that is the next century! After being overwhelmed by the bazaar we approached the temple which was also overwhelming! I guess it was made later than the Virupaksha and spoke of greater grandeur in its carved pillars and the ornamental chariot in the middle of its courtyard. The temple had a quiet view of the Tungabhadra from its back wall. I asked one of the auntie jis who had just been peering over the wall "is the Tungabhadra visible?" "no, nothing is there" said she- the next minute I found the river quietly flowing by over the very wall from which the said auntie was looking! Auntie, you need specs, wisen up!
Our last stop was the 'Sister Stones' two huge boulders placed in such a way that they look as if they are posing with their heads together!After this we felt totally drained, after all we had arrived only in the morning- it seemed as if we had been there for an age. We had had a brunch at the Udipi restaurent opposite Hospet bus stop in the afternoon which was by now digested and done with. We asked the same auto driver to drop us at Hospet. We had some coffee and idli and took another auto to Munirabad only to find that dinner had not been cooked for us because we had not informed the guest house! In the morning too, our train had been late and we reached after 10 so we had not got breakfast! By the way the auto rides from Hampi to Hospet and from Hospet to Munirabad cost 100Rs each and the bus ticket is Rs15! In the evenings the auto rides are very uncomfortable because it suddenly gets chilly in the evenings while the mornings are warm. The poor Mr had to go out again to fetch dinner from a roadside shack. We turned in early and woke up to what was going to be the most exciting day of our trip!
in the morning the Mr and I took turns to visit the reservoir before the kids got up armed with our cameras. The first dramatic thing that occured was that the Mr discovered a huge scorpion under one of our bags that was kept in the bottom shelf of a wooden wadrobe in our room.
We set off bright and early after a hearty breakfast and got the buses at the right time and reached Hampi by 11. We decided to negotiate the Matunga Hill while we still have the energy. The problem was that we did not find the stairs and inadvertently set off from the rocky side of the mountain face that was the most difficult to climb. It starts with stairs but slowly there was only a pile of rocks! There were a group of boys who warned us that it would be difficult but we carried on. Three foreigners joined us. When we reached the precariously placed rocks, the Mr and the Brat wanted to turn back but something possessed me I chided them on. We got help from a group of local boys who pulled us and the foreigners up. That sort of sealed our fate for there was no way in which we could climb back down those rocks! We had reached a rocky ledge with a pavillion, the foreigners-2 men and a woman, rested with us and then moved on. When we followed we found a huge boulder that formed a ledge like bridge to the next part of the mountain. The Mr at this point put his foot down! He has a fear of heights and a special fear of ledges, the brat too started bawling like her father. At this very moment came a couple, calm cool and collected walking lithely over the boulder. They saw the highly charged scene in progress and stopped in wonder. I asked them to help and the portion that they had crossed so effortlessly was crossed by us on our hands and knees slithering like snakes! The mite was the only cool one calmly licking his lollypop throughout the episode, he wailed only twice, once when a piece chipped off from his lollypop when his father picked him up in a hurry and second time when our helper friend picked him up and diposited him on the steps of the temple on Matunga hill......we had at last arrived! It was a deserted temple up there the roof of which afforded a grand view of the Vijayanagara city complex with the Tungabhadra flowing behind it- it was serene calm and beautiful. The city carved out of the rocks of the surroundings blending into them not defacing them-marvellous, we have a lot to learn from these guys, we the defacers of environments destroyers of the ozone layer, polluters and plastic waste creators- we appear to be pretty small before the sophistication and superiorness of this historic kingdom. The foreigner lady was glad to hear that there were steps on the other side of the hill that would afford a less perillous descent. We discovered an elderly foreigner couple in the basement of the temple lying down with a book each enjoying the peace and quiet. When I asked them where the steps were the lady hurried to find her dictionary to see what steps meant- must have been Israelites or Italian for french people would know the meaning of steps I guessed. We searched on, asking her not to bother. The foreigners who had come up with us had vanished. At last we found a flight of stone steps and clambered down, we later came to know that there were three such steps and we had chosen the one farthest from the main road we had to walk a lot through banana fields past roaring canals of gushing water before we reached the road near the Ugra Narasimha statue which we were too tired to visit. We had lost our water bottle and the children were thirsty, there was a shack on the road where farmers were having lunch on banana leaves one of them let the children drink from a glass meant for him! It was a kind gesture, the Mr was apprehensive of the quality of the water but the kids were so thirsty that I let them have it. We had let them drink the hotel water so what is the harm in letting them drink water offered in such a kind manner. We took an auto to 'Mango Tree' a famous restaurent on the shores of the Tungabhadra. We had to wait for 20mins for everyone heads for this place. Our foreigner fellow climbers were there too. One of the men asked "Have you recovered from the climb?" I said " You can say we survived, there is no question of recovery" or something to that effect. The Mango tree boasts of French, Italian, Chinese, Israeli and ofcourse South Indian food- revealling the nationality of the most frequent foreign visitors at Hampi. They have little slabs of stone for tables and straw mats for seating and they cook a mean cheese pasta! We had egg curry chapati and chole chapati tomato soup and pasta washed down by mango shake all wonderful. The river flowing benignly gives an edge to the atmosphere. After having this balm of a meal we walked along the river bank and found a motor boat ferry by which we crossed the river and arrived at Kishkinda the birthplace of Hanuman. on this side of the river was a veritable foreigner settlement with small hotels boasting of English, French and even German breakfasts and film shows at night showing 'The Dark Knight' , the place was teeming with foreigners of every description. We got an auto ride to the hanuman birthplace temple atop a hill that had 500+ stairs which we negotiated without a hitch the mite singing ' Chalo chalo dil chalo chalo dil chalo chalo dil chalo' his self created song that has two lines the other being 'dha dha dha dha chalo chalo dil, dha dha dha dha chalo' and the other way round ie the chalo fist and dha later! The temple is full of frolicking monkeys, naturally and had a great view. The Virupaksha temple also had monkeys and one of the frisky kind had grabbed a pack of bananas meant for the elephant! So we kept the packet of chips hidden well inside and clambered down the stairs! Thereafter we tried to take a coracle ride which has been spoken of in one of the travel books which is near the new bridge that is being constructed. The coracles were huge and were being used as ferry boats for the locals who took even motorcycles with them! The brat refused to share a boat with a motorcycle! We took a separate boat but it had water in it and was large and unwieldy and not what we were looking forward to. On the other side we had reached near the Kings Balance but did not have the strength to visit it. We called it a day took an auto till Kamalapur a biggish stop between Hospet and Hampi and got a bus to Hospet where we filled ourselves with coffee and vadas and then pushed off to Munirabad. We were welcomed by a second scorpion which was spotted by the brat just inside our door. I confronted the 'manager' with the evidence of the second attempt on our lives in the same day. He offered non-chalantly that these chaps were found all the time around there and had not 'done anything'! We remained alert well into the night before sleep claimed us. The next morning was our last day at Hampi, we packed and left the guest house with the luggage and deposited it at the Hospet bus stand from where we would board the KSRTC bus for Bangalore that night. Once at Hampi we hired an auto to see the spots that we had missed. We started with the 'Ugra Narasimha" the figure of Vishnu in his Narasimha avatar showing his anger-an awe inspiring image! Right next to it was the huge shiva lingam. Then we went to the Pushkarni which also had the platform from which the kings watched the processions during festivals. The number of tanks and baths reminds one of the ancient civilization of the Indus Valley. This culture is very similar. Even the ruins in front of the Platform looked like the ruins of the harappan civilisation except that it was made of stones while the Harappan buildings were made of mud bricks. The stone beams were cut in such a manner that they fitted into each other tightly to form doorlike frames stretching one after another... the geometrical patterned pushkarni or a public tank was most striking as was the procession of elephants horses and camels depicted on the walls of the royal platform. Next we headed off to the king's balance which was the place where the kings measured themselves against wealth which they then distributed amongst the poor. This place is right behind the Vithala temple which we had visited the day before so we had another glimpse of the paan supari bazar and marvelled at it. There is a walkable dust road that leads from the king's balance to the Virupaksha temple and Humpi bazar which is two km long but we opted for the longer auto ride. We arrived for lunch at the Hampi bazar and entered a shack which promised Italian, Chinese, Israeli etc food the chap at the shack was conversing in French with a group of foreigners who were having lunch there. When the guy spoke in English it seemed like French he was speaking in Kanada with his helpers in a French accent, so much so that it was difficult to make out for a few moments what language he was speaking! The thali was ready so we had one. They took some time to make the chowmein and chopsuey but it was worth the wait. Thereafter the Mr set off to find a cycle for himself and the Brat. They came back with a cycle which was too big for the brat and too small for the Mr but they both seemed happy. We set off for the Lashmi Narayan temple from near the end of the Hampi Bazar. This was the road that would lead to the king's balance but we only wanted to go till the Achutaraya temple and Sule bazar area in front of it. We set off on the rocky trail first was the lakshmi narayan temple which houses a black stone statue of Ram Lakshman and Sita with hanuman. Behind this is the Achutaraya temple and Sule bazar complex which also has a pushkarni or tank. This complex of Tank-Temple- Bazar is a set model in Vijayanagara. The brat alighted the cycle after a lot of coaxing- her father convinced her to try the ride from one end of the bazar line to the other. The temple is at the foot of the Matunga hill and there were some steps leading up- so this is the face of the hill which we should have climbed! Ah well we would not have had the near death experience then! May be this is our last chance to get such a thrill! The Achutaraya temple was captivating-it is quite deserted but has some arresting carvings and is a good place to ly around in. On our way back we even got our wish of a coracle ride granted. At the river side near the Lakshmi narayan temple we met Umesh who was giving the foreigners a tour of the river that stretched into the rocky hills before us. He took us on a leisurely twirl on his coracle past meditation centres of ancient monks, past remains of temples destroyed by Khilji conquerors and into a demolished lakhmi temple over the broken stone remains to view the 101 and 1001 shiva lingas built into the rocky floor of the temple that may be destroyed but is still sacred, all the images had haldi and kum kum on them. We might put Him in temples but God is actually free and we are for ever in His embrace ! We saw a foreigner lady walk boldly into the heaps of stone, our boatman offered her a ride "no thanks" she said "I like to walk" ! This ride soothed us like nothing before. None of the travel documents mention this ride, but it is the thing! In August this part of the rocks are submerged for the duration of two months or so therefore if you want the ride don't visit during monsoons! We trudged back with the cycle, we stopped for coconut water and what do we see- the walking lady breezing past us. It took her almost the same time to come to this side of the rocks as us. Great feat! The Mr returned the cycle and we had some sandwiches and did some shoping at Hampi bazar before moving to Hospet. The bus ride home was uncomfortable but we made it and are spending the days reliving our rocking adventure. The Mr and I have done some brilliant photography which I will give a sampling of next time. so long folks and do tell me what you think of our trip!
Friday, December 19, 2008
Merry Christmas Folks!
Friday, December 12, 2008
The Prime Minister apologised to the nation for the attack. Sir, we cannot accept your apology until we see our police armed with state of the art guns, fitand ready. We cannot accept until we see some change happening before our eyes! this is not the time to say but to do. Every important public building should have a monitoring room which has the birds eye view of the entrance with a sharp shooter positioned in it who can deal with any gun toting visitor. For example the VT announcement cubicle provided a good vantage point for the railway announcers who did their job by asking people to leave the station from the exit that was away from the terrorists. The announcers could see the chaps from their cubicle and did the best they could under the circumstances, but what if they had had a sharp shooter with them? That would have meant the end of the terrorist wouldn't it?
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Needless to say, I am completely dependent on the Mr to get the photos from the camera into the computer so You guys will have to wait to see them!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The most foolish, insensitive, asinine and irresponsible people in our country are our politicians the whole episode has revealed that yet again (as if we did not already know)- there is no hope in this quarter nothing can change. Did you see the smiling finance minister at the press conference telling the press that he will now be home minister? His speech was full of himself , his challenges, his term of office being uneventfull or not, the economy...all the while smiling benignly. No mention of the dreadful circumstances and the duty which he is now going to do. Not even a mention of the terror strike just two days after it was over. I felt sick! If this is the attitude of such a learned man how can we blame the riff raff? Clearly nothing is going to change in the home ministry.
The whole episode shows that there is no close link between the organisations who are responsible to protect us. The intelligence department, the police the army and all the defence forces should work together. If there are so many special task forces created then by the time they arrive half the people would be dead as they were this time. There should be one organisation which should address the problem throughout the country. We were hearing of a possible attack on mumbai since the Bangalore blasts and yet the policemen at the VT station were unarmed or carried stuff that would be equivalent to water pistols before the guns of the terrorists. Why, may I ask, who is responsible for this. Rs 10 lakh has been given to the constable who bravely faced the terror duo by throwing chairs at them! Imagine the desperation of the situation! No guns for the railway police a CCTV for what purpose? So that we can see this tragi-comedy unfold?
I asked the girl at forum mall who checks my bag every time I go in "What will you do if you find an AK-47 what will you do?"- she smiled at me without answering. The truth is, she does not know the answer! We have put in place surveillence mechanisms and we are thinking that the terrorists will be so scared that they will not dare to do anything in the face of large scale checking! For our information the terror guys do not bother to wear masks anymore. They have become defiant in the face of our callousness. For every CCTV there should also be a fully armed state of the art attack team who can stop these gun toting youngsters. There is no time to call upon commandos. The anti terrorist forces should be always present at key points, near the CCTVs otherwise the device is of no use.
This was our failure, not paying heed to prior warning, not arming our men, not standing up together. Even now we are so divided- some asking for war, some asking for an NSG for Mumbai, some talking of police reforms, some tirading against the politicians. What use is a new CM if important lessons have not been learnt? Thinking that Pakistan will turn over a new leaf and capture the kingpins is utter foolishness. They are themselves under the thumb of these men. Could they stop Benazir's killing? Could they stop the razing to rubble of their five star hotel? to except help from people who cannot help themselves is utter foolishness. I am wondering whether we cannot develop strike forces that can raise fear in terrorist hearts- why can't we attack these 'stateless' criminals as Zardari calls them. What if we blow these kingpins up ourselves without relying on protocol. What if these chaps get a bullet in their skulls when they are watching a cricket match? We need a James Bond style secret police force, and we need training from the US and UK anti-terror forces. If we can import coaches for our sportspersons we can surely import trainers for our police and coast guards. We should invest in more state of the art arms for the police force guarding important public places and commercial hubs instead of undertaking a full scale war against a country which is already down and out. It is an hour of showing solidarity not divisiveness. We should accept the offer of Pak to hold a joint committee for investigation all the while developing a secret task force who can bomb the training camps in POK- leave the diplomacy to the politicians and the protection to our brave soldiers! Jai Hind!
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
In our country all the opposition does is try to hurl accusations on the elected leader from day one. Remember when Sonia's PM ship was considered and there was a lot of mud slinging all around and debate on outsiders etc. Then even after Manmohan Singh became PM there was a lot of ridicule about him being a loyalist of the Gandhi family and a shadow of Sonia Gandhi. The one point program of the opposition is ti reinstate themselves in power from day one. There is no intention of working for the country together with the party that has won. I admit that there was a lot of mud slinging in the US elections too but the defeat speech brought forward what is the most important thing that this fight was about - America. This concern for the country above victory and defeat is what is lacking in our politicians.
My best wishes for Obama may is world view benifit all and bring peace and prosperity in our world.
Saturday, November 1, 2008
That is the reason why it will be of no use to ban these organizations. That is why they hold us in ransom, that is why they and not our police and administration will 'let' us celebrate our festivals. After all this is a government of the people and by the people, instead of pointing fingers at the Congress and the Maharashtra Government we should turn it on ourselves, we, the people of India are responsible for this horrific characters who derive their powers from us. The college boys who pulled the labourer out of the train and lynched him were the marathi manoos whom Raj has targetted and there are enough of this variety around to make him win the elections. Will the sane Maharashrian please come out of their houses and make a decisive vote against these goons? Nope, I doubt it. Rohit, you are right we Indians are the pits.
2bs momma, the young in New Zealand are as restless as our youth but their destructive energies are channelised to only certain forms of protest. The problem in India is the size of this restless population which must be double the size of the entire population of that country! The people as a body have to play a greater role in curding this restlessness. If the govt is assured that if it puts its foot down it will actually win the elections then it will do so. In India's case the administration is not sure what the people want. Raj Thackeray should have had serious charges put against him but his supporters convinced the govt that the vote bank is behind him and therefore he was let off. If the administration would react as a rational human being and come to the public and justify its stand then Raj would have been vanquished. By acting in the way it did, the Maharashtra govt has jeopardized its own position and shown Raj T to be very powerful so much so that he is the one assuring the Bihari people that there will be no problem during the Chhat celebrations while the law and order system watches mutely. Clearly Raj and his goons are already running the city and the govt is not even ashamed of the fact.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Have been following in horror the escapades of Raj Thackeray and his marauding hordes- and was amused to see the BJP spokesperson madam Swaraj condemn 'jatiatavaad' or some such big Hindi word that holds no meaning for the poor teeming millions. Madam your party is based upon the hatred of the 'other', she means to say that it is ok to hate the Muslims but it is inimical to the well being of her vote bank if a war breakes out between the Hindus of one state and the other. After all Raj's hordes were propped up to counter the hordes of the Shiv Sainiks who essentially serve the same purpose but have to limit their attack on alleged Bangladeshi refugees who are Muslims- Raj has a broader base his gang can bash up any non Marathi! Both groups are mentally ill as Lalu so rightly says. Mumbai is not the ancestral property of the Marathi manoos the city is what it is due to the combined effort of all those that call it home. Due to this unrest the city's peace and prospertity will be the only casualty (other than that of the hapless youth who died in the attack). Slowly but surely the prosperity of the city is bound to be affected and Raj might find himself in the position of poor Mamata Bannerji who has brought doom to industry in Bengal for the sake of her own political motives.
Another thing that troubles me and is a result of our colonial past is the use of public transportation to express personal angst! Why do the propestors have to vent their anger on trains and buses and in the process harm the interests of the common man whom they themselves represent? In colonial times the railways signified the domination of the alien government. Fecilitating the movement of troops and arms and British goods it was a symbol of domination so if the freedom fighters attacked it, it can still be justified. I am sorry to say that in the 60 years of independence we have failed to find an alternative means of protest! I remember that we had to travel for days in the biting cold on the University specials whose windows had been broken by those who claimed to oppose the Mandal commission. I bet political goons did that and did not spare a thought for the common student who will have to use those buses later! I supported the anti-Mandal commission battle but I would not go around breaking DTC buses, would I? Look at the havok the Gujjar's wreaked? Who suffered the most? The common man, whose trains were late or delayed or scrapped! Now the Biharis are setting fire to the country's trains and piling more injustice on an already unjust situation. Will burning trains keep Raj T in jail? Why can't they burn candles? burn agarbattis in a public place. Hold dharnas, and silent marches, stage street plays etc...do things that the people can suport and at the same time feel empathy with. This is crazy, they beat us so we will burn trains! Lalu, what do you have to say to that, huh?
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
I thought the mite would give some trouble while going to school after a long break but the little chap seems to be quite adjusted. He actually asks me "aami akhon school e jabo" (will I go to school now), the first time he asked I answered cautiously, " haan kintu ektu pore jabo aamra" (yes but we will go after sometime) . To which he said "naa, aamra akhoni jabo" (no, we will go now). He has taken to school so much that he actually reminds me about his home work! He has learnt to recognize the letters A-F . He is clearly having fun. The brats pre-school teacher Bindu madam did not give any homework, it seemed to me that the brat learnt miraculously. This time I have to sit with the mite so I am more aware of the amount off effort that goes in to make these toddlers learn and at the same time enjoy their experience at school.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Now an incident from real life- the Mr was standing around near his office one day not finding an autorickshaw when it began to rain, a stranger offered him a lift and he took it. After a few moments, the stranger asks- 'are you a Muslim?' -"no" says the Mr, "good" says the guy "for if you were I would not have given you the lift"! Hate is in the air folks, may I have a few stories of love and understanding? Reports of bomb blasts in two cities in Gujarat and Maharashtra has also come in! This is the pits!
Friday, September 26, 2008
I had a friend during the BEd days who said she could not take up teaching jobs as schools would order her to remove her burqa! This girl was used to her dress for so many years, leave alone the religious part of it, doesn't it seem like asking a person who has worn nothing but saris to appear at work in jeans? Why can't we accept that there are other cultures present in this country and all have the right of moving about freely-and we don't give a thought to this, we move about content in our freedoms oblivious of the rights of others.
When i heard that the VC of Jamia was planning to provide legal aid to those students of Jamia who were arrested for terror activities after the recent encounter in Jamia nagar I was taken aback. On the one hand the VC claims that the university has nothing to with the activities of the youth captured from the colony near it and on the other hand he is coming out in support of the very same youth. One of the boys were from Arindam Choudhary's IIPM but the man did his best to dissociate himself and the institute by saying that they did not have any inkling that the boy may be up to these activities and there the matter ended. Jamia however, due to the proximity of the encounter site and the religion of the boys, could not brush itself free of this burden. There was a program on CNN-IBN yesterday where I saw one of the Jamia profs speak of the isolation of and suspicion against Muslims- the same feeling of exclusion was voiced by one after another of those who were interviewed. Today in the papers there is news of several fact finding teams (Non government organizations like the Janhastakshep and People's Union for Democratic Rights,PUDR) finding discrepancies in the police's encouter stories. This news is tucked away in the middle pages of the paper whereas the sensational encounter and the other details regarding the personalities of the terrorists made first page news, so did the funeral of the hero policeman who died in the encounter. I know that PUDR is a responsible organization doing good work for many years, a friend of mine is a member and I know she will not associate with inefficient or dishonest people. What is it that they have found? It would be more useful if their findings were properly disclosed, instead of the ramblings of the police. We have TV journalists reporting from outside hotel rooms where the boys stayed and all that inane stuff, get down to it folks- what is the truth you guys? Do you even care? In this light the Jamia VCs decision does not seem strange anymore. Whatever happens the truth must be told, otherwise injustice will occur, already Muslim students are having difficulty in finding accommodation in colonies outside Jamia. One of the values of PUDR as an investigating agency is that it is not associated with any religious group, it must be paid heed to. All said and done I still believe that the VC is taking a risk. Something did happen in Jamia Nagar, the police could not have shot themselves, these guys were definitely armed- but why? If the boys are proved innocent then the VC's stance will be vindicated, if any terror link is established, Jamia will forever be embroiled in it. One of those interviewed said-" The Naxals are also Hindus, we do not hold all Hindus responsible for the violence they perpetrate, why do we do so with the Muslim population due to the activities of terrorists who happen to be Muslims?" the answer is probably the use of religious rhetoric by these guys. What I want to say is that the persons who died in the blasts were not responsible for the demolition of the Babri Masjid so why kill them and enough deaths have been brought about to avenge that incident- can we move on please? But the fact of the matter is that 90% of educated Muslims identify with India inspite of all the exclusion, they want their freedoms they want to be recognised as citizens of this country who have a different culture which can enrich the composite culture of the nation. They want to belong- so guys on this Id non-Hindus can you please befriend a Muslim family, partake of the joys of the only big festival this community has and really know and understand the significance of it. My mouth has started watering already with the reports of the delicious haleem that is prepared at an eatery near my house. Ah, the bliss of coming to know each other's culture!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Ha ha ha hee hee tee hee hee and all that sort of thing that a novice blogger does to show her/his pleasure. A pleasure doubly sweet firstly for getting my first award and secondly for finally managing to display it on my blog! As they say 'I'm loving it'.2bs momma I love you and I want to kiss and hug you! As you have noticed I do not have many friends in the blogging world whom I can pass this on to. You are my best pal! I hope in due course of time I will be able to boast of good friends too. I like Alapana, she is reserved but she stands up to be counted the moment I complain that there are not enough comments on my blog, and -nm has said she would like to meet me and so has Usha so there you are...these associations may be developed towards friendships and I want to reach out to others. I'll work on it. By the way the MR made it possible, he copied the image into the computer for me while I had passed out last night trying to put the mite to sleep. I love you too Mr.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
You will notice that the so called terrorists belong to the field of commerce and electronics, even among the Hindu fundamentalists we can find the greatest support from the business classes. These are the guys who found History boring and hence have no idea of it and therefore are liable to believe anything that is dished out to them as the stuff. It is unknown to them that a dialogue between the Hindu and Muslim religions had begun to form in the 18th century in the form of the common strain of love for the almighty in the Bhakti and Sufi movements. That was before the British in their ignorance forced the two religious groups into water tight compartments and they begun a cold war. We have moved very far off now but in both religions there are more people in favour of peace than this mindless venomous hatred. Every one must do their best to bring about dialogue and a good start would be to find out more about each other partake of each other's festivals stand together in solidarity. We must make the State declare that places of worship just cannot be attacked- it is not done. Although how a BJP government can do it is doubtful for the high point in its political career is the destruction of the Babri mosque- as if any pundit knew the exact spot where Kaushalya went into labour. Most disgusting!
Friday, September 19, 2008
The Mr and I have been watching a lot of films related to communal violence and terror, that are sensitively made and show us the thinking persons view on this matter. I was deeply moved by all these films and feel they reflect the angst of the humanist amongst all of us. The first was Dharm staring Pankaj Kapur in which the protagonist decides that Dharm does not mean intolerance it can only mean love and humanity. Then we watched Amu where Konkona Sen plays a child displaced due to communal violence, and here too, humanity wins. Then there was Yun Hota Toh Kya Hota points to the waste of human life due to terror strikes, next Amir which essentially has the same point and ends tragically for the hero who saves a lot of lives by foiling a terror attack, but losing his own. Mumbai Matinee deals with a lot of aspects related to terror, the helplessness of the police, the suspicion of the public, the psyche of hoax caller, the insensivity of the media, all is well illustrated and presented in a moving manner. Yesterday we watched A Wednesday which is an original take on terror, moving but far fetched-it talks of the common man's rebellion, a violent tit for tat to the terrorist. I feel that is not the solution, when you find a poisonous mind full of hatred instead of curing it you blow it up? I think one has to crack the reason for this ailment in the minds of the youth of this country, why this insecurity why this desperation ? It is like destroying a murder mystery novel whithout reading the end. I really want to know why killing people becomes more important to a software engineer who can live a fruitful life. If he has regard for his coreligionists why doesn't he go to the flood affected areas in Bihar and rescue the poor population for whom it is a struggle to keep body and soul together? Why does he chose the death of others to prove his point which incidentally is still obscure- is he rooting for the resignation of the Home Minister? My guess is that these guys just love to feel the power of killing other beings, they have no religion for religion is always pro life- it was invented so man can live in peace, to make him feel secure, to let him do good- as Pankaj Kapur's character in Dharm says pointing to the carnage in the aftermath of a riot and to the perpetrators of the violence-" yeh dharm nahi hai" (This cannot be religion, the word dharm has ofcourse a deeper connotation in India, illustrated ably by her greatest King Ashoka who a dopted Buddhism, with no protest from the Hindus, mind you, conversion has since become a dirty word).
Terror and communal hatred are two sides of the same coin there has to be a special organization to deal with the two together, a permanent set up which does not have anything to do with the political setup of the country- it must include human rights personnel as well as psychologists and highly trained special police force which knows how to capture suspects without annihilating them or letting them run away. The Delhi police shows that the boys can be found without taking recource to an oppressive law. The police need training and support from all citizens of India. There should be as many websites of communal harmony as that which spread hatred-then only can there be hope.
The other issue is the eternal strife between agriculture and industrialization that is occuring in India relating to the Nano car plant in West Bengal. Now everyone including our own Chief Minister Yeddyurappa has offered to give land to the Tatas to build their Nano plant. Clearly everyone wants industrialization other than Ms Mamata Bannerji. Actually, all she ever wanted was the end of CPM rule in West Bengal and to become the Chief Minister. Everyone in this country wants to become either the Chief Minister and when they have become that they want to become the Prime Minister-refer to Mayawati's speech, people don't want to see me as the PM says she! First do your duty as CM my dear, I say. Of course we also have people who want the PM's post straight away eg our longest PM in waiting -Mr LK Advani- waiting to put all Muslims, Christians, Gays, Divorcees, Matrilineal societies and the modern 'westernized' Indian women in their place (also living together couples, people with intercaste and inter religious marriages, and anyone who dares to digress from what is the ideal Hindu norm according to this geart man and his henchmen-which is half the population of this country- he will be left with Narendra Modi, Murli Manohar Joshi, Sushma Swaraj and such other misguided souls who will be busy finding discrepancies in the modern day and in the past instead of running the country). Now coming back to Mamata- the poor woman has to eat her words and lose her thunder because all she wanted was to discredit the CPM. She has now potrayed herself as against industrialization and progress a title formerly held by the CPM regime. In her eagerness to oppose the CPM she has forgotten that she represents people who want two square meals a day for which they need jobs. Buddhadeb ofcouse knows what he is doing, defying party lines he even showed himself to be anti-bandh/strikes. So Buddha is true to his people, he was ofcourse put in his place by the party which thinks it is its birthright to protest by disrupting the economic activities of the State for which it sites precedence from the pre-independence days. My dear chaps the country is independent and any right wrested from the colonial regime has no significance now. We have a constitution which states that we are free to persue the economic activity of our choice and to move from place to place in this country, what right do you have to take that away even for a day? Strikes can be a form of protest in a regime which is oppressive and does not allow for any other way of protesting but in a free country where the media is not gagged where anyone can give speeches or go for silent protest marches what is the need for burning buses and stopping trains and closing shops? Anyway feels nice to vent my ire, afraid a sit at home mother of two cannot do much. Sorry for ranting for so long!
Now that I have had my say I have a confession to make, I have been given an award of 'Blog Friend' by 2b's mommy but I do not know how to display it here! Thankyou 2b's mom, you are an angel, now if you can tell me how to bring the award to my blog then I will be grateful- I love you very much!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I am a very bumbling and clumsy cook. I am still figuring out the names of the different pulses. I am still remain confused with the toor dal and the urad dal the two staples of South India I have to remind myself that toor is the sambhar dal and urad the vada dal. Any small thing can make me go crazy, like the other day I found some dal packet saying udid dal and I still can't figure out whether it is a corruption of urad or a different species altogether. In case of doubt I do not buy the stuff. I went completely beserk while searching for the dal for dal makhani, in the recipe it says urad dal with skin. I went to the mall and found kaala dal which I thought was the thing, not being sure I followed an elderly lady made sure she was north Indian and asked her what is the daal makhani dal, she confirmed that what I had in my hand is it! Then I saw a recipe called maah ki dal which got me in a tizzy now is the maah ki dal the same as the kaala dal which is the same as the dal makhani dal which is nothing but urad dal with its skin on? Well, does anyone out there have the answer or what? I am saying more comments on my blog dear people!
Yesterday I out did myself, I was making lassuni dal and I was sure that I had asafoetida stashed away somewhere. I had the impression that it was a white powder, I spent the good part of half an hour murmuring 'asafoetida.....asafoetida...' while rummaging through all the kitchen cabinets, getting up on the chair and checking the farthest corner. I found ajinomoto, baking soda and sundry other things that I had stored away and forgotten all about, but there was no asafoetida in sight. Finally I decided I will buy a pack on the way to the mite's school as it was time to get him back I'll stock the other pack when I find it, I thought. While I was getting ready to leave it suddenly came back to me asafoetida is nothing but hing which is a yellowish crystal like substance which I had kept on the kitchen platform itself. Hail to the great bumbler!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
There is a requirement of a network of social organizations that work in the space between the laws and the women for whom they are made. The majority of women who need these laws are totally oblivious to them. My entire PhD thesis is about this basic problem however, even I who has studied about these laws for 5years am unable to help Rajamma and her daughter in a real situation. The son in law will probably spit in her eye if his wife tells him that domestic violence is illigal. Our social order has laws of its own where constitutional and legal assertions like equality and non discrimination makes no sense.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Well Ma and Baba had gone to the market and bought a few things and suddenly in the middle of the service road a guy comes on a motorbike and speeds off with Ma's bag and Ma rushes after him in full speed. By God's grace the man gets stuck in a traffic jam soon after and Ma reaches him in a huff and says "give me back my bag" or something to that effect and the robber hands it to her because he has no place to run! Then Ma looks back and there is no sign of Baba and none of the crowd help her in any way. The robber could have taken out a knife and hurt her and made off with the bag and no one would have said anything, this is the state of the crime capital. But nothing of that sort happened and the MIL escaped unscathed with her bag too which had her cell phone, her purse, and the purchases which they had made. She says only a cake (worth 20Rs) was missing, it must have fallen out or something.
It is true that some guardian angel was looking over Ma Baba otherwise they would not have been let off with so little loss. But this incident has made us very worried for them. Elderly people are easy targets for these robbers and this has reminded us how vulnerable our parents are. But there is nothing that one can do other than tell them again and again to be careful. Tell them not to go out late in the evening to the market. This is unfair, why should their movemnet be restricted because the law and order system cannot deter goons. I remember right after the bomb blasts in Delhi security was beefed up in the market area. If the guardians of law cannot prevent these snatching incidents how will they combat terror which operates in a much more clandestine manner. Making Ma Baba report to the police would add to their hassles but a complaint should be registered somehow. for the time being I am feeling very proud of the MIL she is a pettite lady but she surely has guts! Baba is known to be absent minded, once in the days when he used to drive his scooter he actually sped off without checking whether Ma had taken her seat behind him and poor Ma was left standing on the steps! Baba did not even notice that Ma was catching a thief! Ah well, all's well that ends well for now folks.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
There are a few north south alliances too. The first one I witnessed was quite entertaining. Since 7 in the morning the carnatic stuff was playing. Suddenly at about 12 there was a ear splitting din- the baraat had arrived! Eveyone in our house was out. The bride's party, a few elderly people amongst them, were standing on the steps of the hall in open mouthed horror as bedecked women and men contorted in punjabi dance steps in front of the loud band. It was great to watch the expressions on the south Indian group. I witnessed some change also proof of how Bangalore is increasingly getting used to such alliances. The first groom could not manage to get a horse where as the last one I saw was on one and the bride's family were enjoying the hullabaloo of the baraat.
The other day I was surprized to see that more than 40% of the groom's welcome party comprised of foreigners. There was a gentleman in a beautiful kurta with a garland standing awkwardly at the foot of the stairs. When the groom arrived some south Indian ladies did the traditional stuff and one of the ladies directed the gentleman to put the garland on the groom. I thought how nice that the bride's party is letting the foreigners get involved in the ceremonies. Later I found that the bride was a foreigner! At the end of the function I saw her resplendent in red with elaborate flowers in her hair chatting with her brothers/colleages/friends. The Indian bride would have been stuck next to the husband after the ceremony, here was a bride free of such cultural obligations, laughing and enjoying her own wedding day. Indian brides can only remember how tired they were on their wedding day!
Friday, August 22, 2008
I continue from where I left off two days ago. I was very concerned about the mite regarding two things- I had taken him along for so many saree buying sprees that when he played make believe in the afternoons he would say- "aami shari kinte jachhi" (Iam going to buy saris) he cleared a toy shelf and then put his head inside it reaching for saris then he would be asking me (I will be sitting or lying down trying to take an afternoon nap) "tumi kon colourer shari nebe? " (which colour sari will you take?) I would mumble some colour then "tumi kirokom blue shari nebe?" (what type of blue/red/etc sari will you take) I would mumble some pattern-stripe, dot or check. Then he would take himself out of the shelf along with the make believe sari and land on my stomach " aami tomake poriye dichhi" (I will make you wear it) " botam lagiye dichhi" (I will put on the buttons!). Thereafter he would buy a sari for himself and wear it buttons and all! I knew then that he must go to school and quickly! He occassionally goes for make believe vegetable and fish shopping with a little bag but I do not mind that!
Another cause for consern was his habit of watching the hindi film music channel 9xm. The brat and I watch it and the mite likes it too specially the katrina Kaif numbers! Now, whatever other programme we watch he will appear and ask "eta kon gaan hochhe"( what song is playing) even if it the news channel or discovery or cartoon network. I would proceed to explain that all programmes are not songs but he insists on asking "eta kon gaan? " even now! This too would change I hoped after going to school.
There is yet another sign that my mite is developing intellectually. Previously if I asked silly questions like- "Ke choco drink khabe?" (who will have chocolate milk) he would say "Babu khabe" because that is what he calls himself. Now he answers "aami khabo" (I will drink) so he has learnt to put the pronoun in place of first person, which is a sign of verbal development.
The mite brought some homework for the weekend! Drawing standing and sleeping lines and colouring a square and a triangle! He did it all by himself! he got carried away with the standing line and on some places he drew the lines all across the page when he had to make half page lines. When I explained it to him he did the work swiftly and even asked me to make other drawings on which he could make standing and sleeping lines. This morning he cried a little when I said we are off to school. then he said "auto kore jabo" (I will go in an auto). In school I stayed for a little while talking to his teacher- he therefore started crying in the hope that I will take him home. I slipped away quickly and swore that I will slip away right after handing him over to the helper from tomorrow!
We spent a wonderful Sunday afternoon at the Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum. The Fun Science Pavilion was a treat with lots to do. The Brat and the mite had a lovely time there. The ground floor has the mechanical sections with trucks and models explaining the use of water , air and animal power, There is a moving dinosaur too on the mezzanine floor (but the dinosaur gallery at the Science city in Calcutta is a lot better) the Fun Science gallery is on the second floor and the most striking thing was that all the displays were in excellent working order inspite of being fiddled with by all and sundry. The scientific toy shop in the mezzanine floor and the book shop on the second floor is very good. We gave the third floor a miss because we were hungry. We expected to find a huge canteen on the fourth floor but it was a disappointment. it had nothing but samosas and chips and icecream. The children had pop corn and some banana chips that I had brought along. There was coffee and juice too. The museum authorities should develop the canteen they can do brisk business for a round of the museum can make one very hungry! Anyhow we called it a day and told ourselves that we will be back soon.
Monday, August 11, 2008
The mite is still out of school. We were thinking of putting him this week but he is still coughing and he also has a runny nose. We want to make the affair as little of a horrifying experience for him as possible. In theory he has understood the stuff, he says he will go to school and learn ABC etc, but in practice we are sure that he will put up a fight for a week atleast. A runny nose will make matters worse. So next week it is folks. Meanwhile he has crossed the 2 and a half year mark on the 9th of August. Fingers crossed for the mite too!
Monday, July 28, 2008
The Mr came back singing praises. I was apprehensive, I (like most Bengalis) cannot see anyone other than Soumitro Chatterji (the original hero of Ray's Feluda movies) as Feluda. The role was done by Shashi Kapoor in the Hindi serial version-crazy really, Feluda is tall thin and athletic, Kapoor looked short and plump and un feluda like. Sabyasachi Chakravarty did a moderate job but still it wasn't it. Now this chap had used his imagination and placed the play when Feluda is 50+. There was another anxiety unrelated to the play, the Mr would be left with the kids alone for the first time for quite a few hours.
Well, the programme was a great hit! My friend and I enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. Barun Chanda (the person who played Feluda) was good. He is an ex-Satyajit Ray hero. He has put on some weight in all these years that has done him good. The person who played Jatayu Feluda's friend was good too which was a surprise for if it is difficult to find a Felu, it is impossible to replace Shontosh Dutta as Jatayu but this guy had done it. There was good performances by all the others too and the director himself as the arch villain was superb. The downside, props were shabby, cups are not moved from the previous scene, some dialogues overlapped and Feluda loses to the villain in the end, but what the heck, it was thrilling! Rangashankara provided a friendly atmosphere. When the show was over the cast as making their appearance all together on stage, the director appealed to us to spread the word around, Topshe said "there is not much time to do that" the next and last show was an hour away. I said "why? we can always send an sms", and Barun Chanda sent a flying kiss my way! I felt like saying "..and Topshe if you come in putting on your shirt, buttons done up the wrong way and looking very cute as a result as you did in there, then I will send some friends from close by to catch the show", then I thought it would be too much. I returned happy with the flying kiss and my friend returned with a smile on her face.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
The problem is that these guys in trying to avenge the injustice done to them is perpetrating more injustice by killing innocent people and so the cycle goes on. There is no need for more oppressive laws there is a need for self analysis among the govenments, why are we targeted and what can we do to regain the trust of the people. Otherwise I can't see this tragedy coming to an end. As a visitor to the India Gate put it-"Its part of life now".
Saturday, July 26, 2008
On the day we visited Shankey Lake our owner's daughter informed us that there was a communal riot in the Shivajinagar area as two pig's heads were found in front of two masjids in that area. However we had not experienced any untoward incidents. The matter was hushed up and any protest suppressed and one tabloid says that the bomb attacks were in response to this incident. Doubtless communalism and intolerance is creeping in in Bangalore and terror outfits are going to fan the fire. I wonder who in Bangalore would take time out of their busy schedule to pop pigs heads in masjids, someone who has been paid to do so I am sure. It is the legitimate right of the Muslim population to protest, the frustration of the youth in their inability to vent their displeasure makes their minds a fertile ground for the seeds or terror. This is how rage and a sense of injustice finds an outlet. Has any investigation taken place to find who the culprit is in the pig head matter?? I know for sure that the answer is no. This is a dangerous sign in Bangalore. There will be investigation in the blast case and there will be suppression and retaliation. As we all know that if everybody follows the principle of an eye for an eye then soon the entire world will be blind.
In any form of terror the worst sufferers are women and children as the four dead children in the Srinagar granade attack proved and so did the death of poor Sudha in Bangalore who is the only casualty of the blasts. It is a matter of concern that where as communal forces are organised, secular forces are not. Since children cannot voice protests it is for us women to get together across communities to sensitize their families and explain the futility of violence.I pray to God that the people of Bangalore are given strength to counter intolerance and show themselves as being above the machinations of divisive forces.