Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hello, may I speak to Dr Diya....?

So asked my father in law on the phone, being the nth person to extract a nervous half laugh from me and total loss of speech! This has been my predicament since I appeared for and cleared my viva voce examination held in November my relatives, friends and teachers have been addressing me as Dr Diya to my acute embarassment! Actually my first conscious encouter with a doctorate was in the 1980s when my father's cousin Minty pishi came to our house with her mother, my father's aunt. I touched my father's aunt's feet in respect but felt hesitant to touch Minti pishi's because she was very young and didn't look the types who had to have their feet touched. " O ke o pronam koro, o PhD korechhe!" ( Touch her feet too, she has done her PhD)said my grandmother and her sister, I got duely awestruck with this information and I remain till this day in awe of anyone who has done a PhD. To find myself in the same league makes me very uncomfortable. I had never thought that I would join MA classes at DU after doing my BA (Hons) History. I had secured 54% marks in BA and the cut off for automatic entry into MA was 55 so I had to give an entrance examination. I went for the exam because I did not know what else to do. I did pretty well, the results were announced according to merit and I was second in the South campus and amongs the first 10 in the north. I loved MA because I made 9 good friends and we had a rollicking time! In the slang of those time we freaked out! Then my father got transfered to Calcutta and I spent 6months in the Gitanjali hostel of DU South campus which was another great experience! My MA marks were good missed first class by so much because I had messed up a first year paper which I did not want to appear for again to improve the scores. All in all it was very exciting to do MA in DU. We were taught by the big three of the Sabaltern school of History- Sumit Sarkar, Gyan Pandey and Shahid Amin. I also got an opportunity to be taught by Dr Parthasarathy Gupta a wonderful teacher and a gem of a human being. When we met him he had suffered from a stoke as a result his speech and movement had been affected, still he never missed a single class and used to teach standing up. We sat in the front row and tried to catch each and every word he spoke. When I met him again during my MPhill days he tried his utmost to help me, giving me the names and phone numbers of his contacts who might be able to guide me. I know he would have been very happy to learn that I have managed to complete my PhD. Thereafter my parents enrolled me for BEd at Loreto College because I still did not know what I wanted to do and they thought that a school teacher's job would be perfect for a woman with a family-as that is what they wanted me to be. I freaked out again in BEd class and found a great teacher in Sister Lucy and many new friends. After BEd I insisted on joining MPhill at Jadavpur University, I had missed History and wanted it back in my life and this is the only time that I was sure of what I wanted to do. I also joined a part time job in a school. In Jadavpur I did not make any good friends but I found an inspiring teacher in Dr Ranjan Chakravarti who was also my guide during the writing of my dissertation and has been a rock solid source of support till date!
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

Rocking Holiday!

Hey folks,just back from a weekend spent at Hampi- it was 'rocking' not so much for the unique rocky terrain as for the fact that it was my first experience of a historical city ruin. It was like an archeological exploration for the history student in me- quite thrilling and spine tingling and all that sort of thinging! As all the livable hotels and guest houses in Hampi and Hospet (the nearest railhead) were booked, we put up at the Irrigation Department guest house at Munirabad which was another 12 kms from Hospet, the Mr's colleague fixed it for us. There were two advantages of this, firstly we got a good view of the reservoir of the Tungabhadra river dam, which looks like a veritable sea. One of the travel accounts I had read on Hampi said that there is no water at the Dam, so now we know where all the water went.....behind the dam wall in the reservoir ofcouse! The second advantage was that we had to travel from Munirabad to Hospet and then from Hospet to Hampi by the local buses and back again at night the same way. Thus we know the area like the back of our hands (atleast I do, the Mr is known to forget the way that he has come in from, on his way back out, even if the visit lasted for fifteen minutes!). When we visit a place we like to really 'get into it' so to say- eat the local food, use the local transport, and really rough it out. So now we know that to get from Munirabad to Hospet we can avail of a fairly efficient bus service which will take you to Hospet bus stand in half and hour via a breath taking view of the TB (tungabhadra) dam. There is some water in front of the dam and it looks greenish on one side of the bridge and sparkling blue on the other. Actually I saw that from the auto rickshaw that got us from Hospet station to the Lake View Guest House. Once at Hospet, you just need to disembark and breeze into the Hampi bus that leaves next, these are also quite frequent and it will take you another half hour to reach the rocks! It will start with a few boulders strewn over the fields and then you'll see them- mountains of rocks piled over each other with temples and baths and ruined palaces at every nook and crany! The bus winds to a hault near the Virupaksha temple the gopuram is visible from a distance! Thereafter, the Mr indulges in a habit of his that has brought our marriage to the verge of divorce several times! Now, I like to attack the place that I have come to see at the earliest-specially if it is visible to the naked eye- as the temple was at this time, but the Mr will go on collecting literature and gathering information from people standing in front of the object of our visit without entering it! Thus the Mr tried to acquire a tourist guide of the ruins and began chatting up various autorickshaw men brandishing maps of the ruins in our faces. We almost parted ways then and there but as usual I had to give in and the Mr had a guide and had fixed an auto guy for the rest of the day before we entered the Virupaksha temple, there was an elephant in front of the main entrance who accepted bananas from the visitors but gave blessings only if coins were placed on its trunk instead of the fruit! We were deeply moved by the beauty of the temple it was grand and yet had an endearing simplicity about it. I believe that it was originally built by the hoysalas who pre date the Vijayanagara kingdom but later additions were made by the Vijayanagara kings. The temple is dedicated to Lord shiva known in these parts as Pampapati after a local princess/goddess he married. This area was known as Pampa kshetra at one time which was later corrupted to hampi. There is a spot in the temple from where an inverted image of the main tower can be seen due to a pin hole camera effect, don't know whether it is a modern addition!
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.

I panicked and showed the dead animal to all the staff of the guest house who simply nodded solemnly, the Mr was also quite calm so I put it down to a 'gender gap ' which like the generation gap exist between the understanding of the two genders and not generations. I think living with a scorpio for more than 10 years might have also lulled the senses of the Mr to the inherent lethalness of this insect. Anyhow it was a thrill, the Mr recalled that the villain of the piece had tried to get rid of our favourite fictitious detective Feluda by leaving just such a lethal beast in his room in 'Shonar Kella' the first of the Feluda novels by Satyajit Ray! Hey, we had something in common with Feluda, wait a minute, are you sure the attendant does not want to get rid of us because we made him change the sheets on one of the beds although he didn't want to?
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

Christmas Ahoy!

Well, we have got very much into the Christmas mode with the acquisition of two Christmas trees (the brat wanted a separate small tree in her room, if you please! and she got it too, so you know who's been spoiling her the most for all these years). Then there were decorations all around and now we have a nice tree in the drawing room and a cute one in one of the bedrooms. There is a lot of singing of 'jingle bell' and 'santa claus is coming to town' and 'joy to the world'etc at the top of our lungs. We have also taken out our 'santa' hats as there is a nip in the air in Bangalore town at last. The shops are decorated and there are lots of colourful Santa pictures in the papers! Suddenly the colour red (my favourite colour) is splashed all over the place and inspite of myself, inspite of everything I am happy- I feel hope. Essentially festivals are meant to give rise to precisely this feeling. A feeling that no matter what happens there is hope and there is still love in this world inspite of all the hate going around.
Merry Christmas Folks!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Peace not Revenge!

That was one of the slogans displayed in Mumbai where thousands of people showed solidarity by forming a long human chain. Well in this case peace is the greatest revenge. What do these terrorists, or rather their masters, want? They want death destruction and the end of economic growth. So if we start a war it would be playing into these fellows' hands. No Sir, the people of Mumbai will not let that happen and they have a thing or two to teach characters like Raj Thackeray-- there is unity among the people, something morons like he and his goons cannot break! Well done Mumbai!
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

However, Life Must go on.....

Yesterday we attended our first wedding ceremony in Bangalore. Actually the Mr had attended one alone when the brat's exams were on, but this is the first time that we went for such an occassion together! I loved to see us all decked up and ready, including the mite, who kept on saying "lets go to the wedding". It was a huge affair, our landlady's brother's daughter was getting married and it was the reception yesterday. The marriage is today. In the north the marriage precedes the reception so that was something unique for us! Then there was the meal servered on the banana leaf, and so many items on the menu of that simple feast that you do not know what to eat first! There must have been atleast a thousand people in the hall but all were waiting patiently in line to meet the would be bride and groom. I took some pictures with my new digital camera which the Mr has given to me as a birthday gift. I wore a sari after a long time.
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

Is Aggression the Solution?

Morning, noon, day and night I spent before the television and watched in horror the events unfold. Since then I have been following the tragic aftermath. The 'war' on Mumbai and then the mourning and the blaming and the strategies and the anger. The ranting and raving of the public lapped up by the media. The exit of a defunct home minister who did not have one strong word to say against the terror strikes for so many months leave alone any plan of action. The public is crying war, the channels want war....kill kill kill. more lives for the ones already lost. More hate for the hate already present there. I am devastated so see the kind of hatred we inspire among these young terrorist boys. " We have slapped you in the face" says the captured terrorist....imagine the amount of trouble many people are taking to 'slap us in the face', training , practicing and even giving up their lives to destroy symbols of our economic power. How pitiable these boys are...killing and dying for nothing!

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

A New Era In America

What people had hoped and prayed for has come true - it is President Obama in the US! But is it mere symbolism like a woman President in India and a powerful woman Prime Minister could not change the low status of women in general, will Obama too be a mere symbol of the emancipation of coloured people in America- only time will tell. although Obama is said to be the 'best public speaker' that was seen in a long time, the speech that made me want to curl up and die in shame was the speech of McCain, accepting defeat. When we compare it with the attitude of the losers among Indian politicians. McCain made it clear that he would work with Obama for the country that "we both love". Here the country is greater than the party ideology greater than individual beliefs.
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

Are We Like That Only?

Rohit and 2b's momma has got me thinking and the questions that come to my mind cannot be addressed in the comments section. Rohit you are right, how come these goon have so many supporters. It is very well to shrug off the responsibility from the ordinay Indian and blame the politicians but how come these same politicians win the elections? For every Maharashtrian who decries the violence there are ten who think that outsiders have to go. I remember a time when Bal Thackeray was at his peak and Amitabh Bachhan was shown bending down double to greet him! At that time I had felt a little uncomfortable to see that as I am a die hard Amitabh fan and I could not stand the Sena chief and what he stood for. These guys become so powerful and us Indians are to be blamed, how come their politics of hate attract so many votes? Are we Indians harbouring hate for each other while professing unity and nationalism? Are we then pitted against each other in reality?
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

What Happened This Morning...

Ah, that was a ploy to arrest the reader, since my return no one seems to be paying me any attention. There I had the Goddess in all her finery adorning the top of the page and not so much as a 'welcome back' or a 'good show' in the comments section. I know it is mean of me to always call upon 2b's momma but my mind naturally flows to her and she has not updated her blog for long so must be busy. Well nothing much happened this morning other than the mite declaring "aamar school peyechhe" (difficult to translate but loosely, I am feeling like schhool, in the same manner as we say I am feeling hungry or I am feeling like going to the toilet!). That reinforces my diagnosis that school is in for him.

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 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

The Mite and Brat in School

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.
The brat also does most of her homework herself, I just have to go on telling her to be quick , and at times switch off the TV, for she is in the habit of forgetting her homework when she is watching cartoon network or pogo! Her main problem is that she does not like to read on her own. At her age we were gobbling up Enid Blytons by the dozen! We have bought her many story books but none of them seem to have interested her. She likes to listen to stories when I read them out but she does not make the effort herself. I don't know how to get her into the habit. All my mother had to do was to get a noddy book from the library one day, that had me hooked but inspite of owning several noddy books my daughter never gave them a second glance!
I guess it is best to let the kids do their own thing, in her spare time the brat likes cutting paper and make a mess, she also likes drawing, so be it!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hail to the Goddess Durga-Destroyer of Evil!

Am back folks! Missed blogging a lot. It was a hectic trip to Delhi with the agenda of looking for some documents which we had misplaced during the shifting and meeting friends and family. The brat enjoyed herself the most as she had her fill of going on the swings in the puja pandals and meeting her ex-classmates. I met a cousin after a long long time and also visited a few family friends and ofcourse Jamia! But most of all I was glad to set eyes on the most beautiful, the most awe inspiring and goose bump inducing Goddess Durga. If you are a Bengali then it is a given that the goddess will give rise to a feeling of joy, thumping heart, moist eyes and all. Inexplicably this flamboyant lady makes my Bengali heart skip a beat the moment I see her. From the time that my grandmother gave me her pictures from Pujo shonkhas (Magazines that come out during the pujas which are replete with her image and which are another part of the Bengali pujo ritual, must possess a pujo shonkha even if I do not read it!) and asked me to make her drawing on the first page of my drawing book. She is so beautiful and at the same time powerful and magical. Her slaying of the demon Mahishashur is much more dramatic and grand than the killing of Ravana by Rama. At the same time she is the mother of four who has come to visit her parent's place- so typical and commonplace yet juxtaposed with the supernatural the divine. She is so many things! I love and adore her and I wish I had ten hands like her to carry out the chores around the house. Surely, she is the invention of one such harassed mother who wanted to do everything- kill demons, raise children and visit her parents at regular intervals! Oh Goddess, please help us moms to be like you and tweak the evolution process so that women can be born with more hands to perform the various tasks that she has to perform. Amen!

Monday, September 29, 2008

What Kind of Friendship is This?

My friend and I , although we love each other can spend hours arguing about just about anything, but today's arguement was an eye opener. She has several prejudices about the Muslim community and I can place no arguement to stop her from thinking that way! She has come to these conclusions as a result of her exposure to her Muslim 'friends' and colleagues. When we were discussing the subtle exclusionist policy that is adopted by even State institutions when she said that the community itself is responsible for its exclusion. It seems that she is organising a seminar and two Muslim participants want to pray twice during that duration and return late while the others are waiting. Then she sites the case of her colleage in Loreto school in Calcutta who used to take an extra 15 days leave due to some relious observance and would insist on this. She sited further cases of nuns of a school being threatened by Muslim goons who forced them to employ their women who, without prior intimation would take leave, or ask for other priviledges on the grounds of religious observations. Then there is the case of a student whose father insisted that she be allowed to excuse herself from class twice in a day to pray during Ramzan, a teacher's house was close to the school and she was granted leave to go there by the sister's grugingly. Now the verdict is - if 'they' are so keen to follow their religious observances then why don't they go to an institution that is organised to fit in their schedule ie a Muslim institution. Thereafter there was the question of the common belief of Hindu alarmists that Muslim men can marry four times and contraception is forbidden in Islam and therefore they will multiply tremendously and finally the Hindus will lose their majority status. I informed my friend that according to the last census report there is not a single Indian male who has 4 wives , there are a few who have 3 but most of them are Hindus. To this she recoiled in horror, the census according to her is no authority since it is a sample survey. Moreover Muslim marriages are not registered hence that is no proof. To which I said that the Muslim marriage is a legal one and hence the Qazi's records would reveal the truth. The Muslim man can go to different different Qazis, said she with conviction. Why would he, said I , when he can legally marry 4? She ignored this, and said, don't I read the newspapers, the Muslims are protesting registration by saying that their religion . How come I have never seen that news item. I have seen Hindus being against registration. In fact many aviod it in the hope of avoiding payment of maintenance in case of dispute. All this arguements to no avail- then she speaks of the refugees from Bangladesh who, encouraged by the West Bengal govt, have chaged the demographic configuration of the borders, helped no doubt by their propensity to marry 4 times on the sly and proliferate due to lack of contraception. I said, you are confusing a border issue with that of Muslims all over India who have been staying here all the time. Then she said how many Muslims do I know, I said I know a few and they all have 2 children. Some have more siblings but so has the Hindus I know of that generation. My dear she said, I know many Muslims and the girls of my generaltion, my friends, have 3 or more she revealed, resting her case. They also can't take criticism, continued she, many people say of Hinduism that they have many gods, but we know that Hinduism has a strong case for the oneness of the devine. True dear but no one is procecuting us for that and what is it but procecution and suspicion if you are counting the kids of your so called Muslim pals and you are scared about changing demography. Well friendship and dialogue is not about partaking of the iftaar feast, which my friend has, but making an effort to break these preconcieved notions and work out how the two communities can truely function in unision for the betterment of nation. We watched 'Welcome to Sajjanpur' yesterday, reveallingly, all the oppressive upper caste nominee for the post of Sarpanch had to do to negate the candidature of a Muslim social worker was to write to the Collector that her husband was an ISI agent! Let me tell you that most Govt officials will believe that of any Muslim, never mind if the man even knows what ISI stands for. The Muslim is always suspect.

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

What Do We Believe?

In the five years that I studied in Delhi University I did not encounter a single Muslim classmate neither did I find any Muslim teacher except in the last year of my MA class. When we went for a protest outside the BJP office exactly a year after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, there was no representation of the overtly Muslim people, neither burqa nor skull cap, there was a street play by Habib Tanveer that's all. This subtle exclusionism is the bane of the Muslim community. The Hindus are aware of them but there is distance, the Muslim friends know more about the traditional practices of Hindu homes but Hindus are oblivious to the traditions and culture of Islam. Even us so called secular types know nothing other than that lipsmacking biryani and kebabs are made on Id in our friends' houses which we go to eat. This isolationism and ignorance informs our views about the Muslim community. In Jamia burqa clad girls walk around with girls in jeans, classes comprise of students of all religions and teachers are from all faiths too. This is the true national university. My daughter saw a burqa clad woman for the first time in her life when I took her to Jamia, mind you we had visited quite a few markets including C P and cinema halls with her-nowhere had she seen the burqa. It is not so in the south where women can go about her business in her burqa, it is visible in the upmarket malls and in the narrow lanes of crowded marketplaces.
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

Hurray! My First Award on My Page Atlast

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

Vindicating Jamia

Jamia Millia Islamia is not a 'minority' institution spewing fanatics all over the place, please people, find out the facts about this great institution. It was a nationalist university started during the peak of the non -cooperation movement and it was the first university established in Delhi older than even DU. As in the case of every university there are all kinds of people studying there and all shades of opinion among the faculty. I have been a PhD student there for 6years and I continue to be a part of it as my viva is still to be conducted. I am proud to be a part of this university and as I had got a UGC grant I have interacted greatly with the administrative staff. I have also been a student of Delhi University and have expeienced it (both the south and north campuses) completely. Each university has its distinctive character. What is remarkable about Jamia is the egalitarianism, I have seen the students of the north east being isolated and stereotyped in DU but here I got the impression of equality. Atleast that is what I sensed in the Department of History and Culture. The Progressive nature of the university becomes aparent from the nature of the teaching staff specially in the social sciences stream and the faculty here is comprised of good scholars and show a lot of dedication and there is no reservation of the head of the department post for a particular religion.
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

Some Thoughts That were Left Pending.. and Now Holds More Meaning

I have been meaning to write on the pervading impact of terror on our lives when, even as I was framing my post, the Delhi police shot down two young men in Jamia nagar and lost one of theirs. That is three more lives lost, three able bodies guys who could be employed more fruitfully for the welbeing of humankind. I cannot understand why after being given the gift of life, why these young boys have to opt for death for others and finally for themselves. We are a free country, if your pride is hurt you protest, through media, through free speech, through the legal system, what compels these educated and competent youth to kill? I seriously feel that proper research must be done on the fundamentalist psyche, what makes them oblivious to the basic human value of love and consideration towards other humans, whatever faith they may belong to?
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

The Melting Pot That is My Home Cuisine

The other day while I was making dal makhani, aloo posto and a chinese sweet and sour vegetable, I started reflecting on the kind of food I keep dishing out to my unsuspecting family. Here was a pukka north Indian dish, with a pukka bengali recipe with a chinese one. The other day I made sambhar, machher jhol and chilli paneer. I think my Bratty Girl is responsible for this. If I make a full Bengali meal she will not like it, whereas the mite eats everything and specially likes fish and aloo posto, he also has a soft corner for cauliflower. The Brat hates all food but stuff she can just about manage to touch her tongue to is bhindi, karela, mushroom, capsicum and paneer (lady's finger, bitter gourd, you know what, you know what and cottage cheese- this is for my supposed foreign readers, though there is no evidence of any yet, I really liked adventure dad but he seems to be out of business now a days). She also likes some special dishes like dal makhani, sambhar, paalak paneer (spinach and cottage cheese, a north Indian dish), kachha mooger dal (a bengali preparation) and mushurir dal (also Bengali). So I have to juggle all this stuff around and make new combinations every day- she will not touch the stuff more than once even if it is one of her favourites. Tears well up in her eyes if I say that she will have to have the same lentil or vegetable as the one she had in the morning! Thus it is impossible for me to also take care that each dish goes with the other, generally our meals have traces of north, east and south India with a liberal sprinkling of China (or what goes for chinese food in India). The family is not complaining and I do hope jumbling up the many cuisines will not do their tummy any harm.
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

The Strange World We Live In

Well folks, the terrorists did it again! After spoiling my birthday for ever the last time they struck in the pre dussehra-diwali period, they have targeted the markets again. The truth is, we are all sitting ducks. Out of the teeming millions that throng markets it is next to impossible for the police to weed out the terrorists and these guys know it! These young boys feel a sense of power, doubtless, at the easy way in which they can gain notoriety. The police are clueless and other than finding out what sort of explosives were used and what vessels they were put in, AFTER the event occurs, they are helpless. This time the guys were also wearing black, they are doing it in uniform and yet nothing will happen! What can happen if stringent laws are passed is that a few innocent chaps who happen to belong to a particular religion will be caught and tortured. I do not claim to know the solution but neither the BJP demands for terror laws nor the watered down approach of the government has satisfied me in any way. There is the lurking feeling that we can be blown apart any time, we and our children are not safe. Never before was death more powerful that life. The finality and inevitability of it never so stark and real. It has become larger than life itself, breathing down over shoulders all the time. Is live so meaningless, then, to be sacrificed at the alter of hatred and religious bigotry and assertion of political superiority. What is all this for, after all, why was religion and God invented in the first place? So that human beings should live.. they shold love each other and enjoy the world they are in, but primarily for the preservation of life. Now, religion is a means to end that same human life. None of us know what happens after death, neither us nor all those saints who have come before us. The saints essentially have taught us how to live on this earth and that is with love and tolerance. It is ironic that their teachings are so contorted that they have come to mean the exact opposite-intolerance and violent reactions. We have slowly become a rigid group of people scarcely able to stand each other having to share -due to the lack of choice-the same planet! Doing one injustice after another upon our fellow beings, thus perpetuating this chain of injustices. This hatred of the other nagates the essence of the Indian culture which is -unity in diversity. After killing everyone who thinks differently, if the fundamentalist finds himself alone with just another co-believer, given time differences will crop up even between the two living beings. So what is the solution-a separate planet for every individual??

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Is there a way to get justice?

My domestic help and I rarely have any conversation due to the language problem and I like it that way. She breezes in does her stuff and scurries off and I go on with my life. This situation changed when her daughter gave birth to her second grand daughter. I could sense that all was not well. In spite of the language problem she got accross the all to familiar scenario confronting Indian womanhood. Scarcely had the child been born the husband talking of aborting future fetuses if they were girls. The girl had to wash the clothes of the young one herself and her fingers became stiff as it is quite cold in the coorg region where she stays. After making a few trips to and fro and absenting herself from work for long intervals, Rajamma finally brought her daughter and her two children here. Then a few days later the little one got diarrhoea and she left her daughter and children at her in laws'. But they must have made her life hell again for a few days later she brought them back. My landlord's daughter informed me that here if the woman is unwell she is sent back to her mother's place to get better! She is brought back only when she is fit to do household work! Rajamma used to remain distraught when her daughter was away now she is happy and least her daughter and her children are before her eyes. The husband used to beat her also! I sounded like a lunatic when I told her " tell your son in law that hitting the wife is against the law of the country and so is sex based abortion", she nodded her head. I told her that her daughter should refuse to bear any more children, and I told her not to send her back unless she says so herself. Rajamma said the children do not have warm clothes, I gave whatever clothes I had of my two young ones. She smiled and said the clothes had fitted both the infant and the older girl. That's about all the help I could give. I know there is a domestic violence act in place and a law exists saying that sex based feotal abortion is a crime but how to apply these laws to real poeple. Will Rajamma's daughter be ready to file a case against her husband? She is so exausted just carrying on from day to day that I cannot even imagine her trying to find out the laws in her favour, in this scenario there is only one law that works, that laid down by the husband and his family.
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

Black Finger!

The other day my aloe vera plant had a near death experience when the pot containing a cactus, which I had strung to the railing above it fell. The poor aloe vera lost nearly all its leaves which I put in a packet and am storing in the fridge till I figure out how I will use them. A few months after arriving in Bangalore, a friend's neighbour told me that it is rather easy to have plants here because the weather is very good and they hardly need any special care. In spite of this I have managed to kill three tulsi plants, one flowering plant and two decorative plants! This record surely makes me the holder of a black finger (the opposte of a green fingered person). Anyhow, I continue to maintain my modest balcony garden and have also managed to get a few compliments too!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Daredevil MIL!

My parents in law gave us a scare when they reported that a bag that my MIL was clutching was snatched from her in the bustle of the Malviya Nagar Market in Delhi in broad day light (rather evening light). Delhi is not the best place for elderly couples who are living on their own, but being robbed in your own back yard is too much. This market is the nearest from our colony where all the daily needs are available. We go there once at least in a week sometimes more. Ma Baba go there together, sometimes we go with them sometimes Baba goes alone. So even if we had been in Delhi there is no guarantee that we would be with them when this incident occured.
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

Of Weddings and such like

Usha's son's wedding has prompted me to write this post. I had read somewhere that there is no restriction regarding marriage dates in Karnataka. Unlike in other parts of India where you cannot get married in certain months! This is a significant fact for me because my house overlooks a marriage hall, which also holds other get togethers and students' convocations, but chiefly it is a popular venue for marriages and I have had a birds eye view of all the fun and frolic of marriages in Bangalore for the past so many months and there are loads and loads of stories to tell. The marriages announce themselves with the playing of drums and a shehnai like instrument with the typical carnatic flavour to it. The moment we hear such sounds we used to rush to the balcony and I am happy to say that I got a good glimpse of all the couples who took the plunge at this venue. About twenty or so in the past 6 months! Now we don't hurry at the sound of drums and bugle, we say stuff like, "oh the groom must have arrived" we know that the welcome ceremony will take sometime. An umbrella will be arranged for, trays full of haldi kumkum and sundry other welcome material will be employed so there is no hurry. After the puja the couple comes out and they have some ceremonies in the open when a coconut is broken by the bride's brother, I guess, its better fun to watch that! The brides here are very bold wearing really low backed blouses! Bengali brides would look conservative compared to brides here with their veils! Once I saw a guest with her entire back exposed right till her waist piping the bride to the post! The elaborate flowers worn on the head ofcourse seems quite heavy. Once I saw a bride all decked up in the morning head gear and all, it looked as if she had a long plait. In the evening she was about in a beautiful salwaar kameez and bobbed hair, having got rid of the heavy flowers! Needless to say I get to see a veritable fashion show of the finest kanjeevaram saris and saris that I don't even know the names of ! I like how the men and children are turned out too but the women are the best!
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

Finally the Mite Goes to School

Yes, it is true, my little one is in school! He started on the 20th. On the 19th the Mr and I agreed that there is no reason for delaying the matter any longer. His cough was better, his nose had stopped running, he was his active self talking away till 11 at night and not sleeping in the afternoons. So we dug out the application that I had got from the nearby play school over a month back and filled it up. The headmistress was taken aback so see me pop up suddenly out of the blue! "I thought you will not come" she said smiling in surprise. We completed the formalities and quietly slipped away while the mite was engaged in counting the fish in the aquarium. I was told to collect him at 11 on the first day. I rushed off to the temple while the Mr went to office. The visit to the temple reassured me and I did my daily chores till it was time to bring him back. I went with beating heart only to find him enjoying a nice picnic with the helper in the playground. There were two other babies with him. I had sent his favourite autorickshaw toy with him. One of the babies had taken a fancy to it, I saw the mite snatch it from the hapless child! No auto for him from tomorrow, I decided. He was very happy and excited all through the day. He went off to sleep after lunch. He refuses to ly down now a days, he just sits on my lap while I sing or recite a poem and he slowly passes out and then I wait for sometime and put him on the pillow! "Amake borro laal ball diyechhe" (they gave me a big red ball) he said excitedly. On the second day I was told to fetch him at 11:30. As I entered I saw him trying to squeeze himself behind a girl on the plastic see-saw. He managed to sit with both the legs on one side and not finding the position comfortable he stood up again and was about to try a different strategy when I intervened. "he has taken a fancy to the see saw" said the headmistress indulgently. While going to school he had said "Mamma tumi thakbe" (Mother you will stay with me) to which I had said that I will be waitng outside the gate. On the third day he said "school e jaoa hoye gechhe, aami auto chhalabo", (school going is done now I want to play with the auto, at home obviously). But when I said see saw he was ready to go. He had started doing school work too. On the second day his madam showed me a whole page of colouring that he had done. He had shown the eyes, chin and cheek on a doll, to the surprise of the teachers. If they knew that he knows and can point out the forehead, eyebrows and eyelashes in two languages, then they would really be amazed!

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

Progress of the Mite and the Bratty Girl

The elder one is doing well in school. She is intimidated by me so she is very timid. I had told her to keep answering in class and speaking to the teacher, and to volunteer to participate in extra curricular activities. I don't know why, but she followed this advice and has won two second prizes for solo song and English Recitation competitions. She has gained in confidence. She also took part in a class play and today she has come home with the monitor badge. Al these activities have given vent to her restless spirit. She is doing her studies herself most of the time. Although she still springs the occassional 9 pm surprise or rather a shock, declacing that she has unfinished work due on the next day! She still remains highly strung, ever complaining and prone to burst into tears at the slightest provocation, but there are signs of improvement that I cannot deny. I am keeping my fingures crossed.
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

...And Life Goes On

I had bombs going off all around my house but a friend had a bomb which went off almost next to her gate! Yet, let me add that when I called her on Saturday evening asking whether she would go to see a theatre performance with me, she agreed. Actually Srijit Mukherji has written and directed a play on Feluda ( Satyajit Ray's private detective hero of many a murder mystery). I am a diehard fan of Feluda and when Feluda Pherot (Feluda Returns), got good reviews I had this urge to see it. I said to the Mr in passing "We can watch it one by one" (kids obviously are not allowed at such performances. The Mr said "aah yes " absentmindedly because he is not that crazy about you know who. Then, I guess, he saw the reviews and the venue was Rangashankara which he had wanted to visit for a long time so he said on Saturday "I'll go see it today and get tickets for you for tomorrow's show" and added "ask your friend whether she will go along". I called the friend immediately and asked her. She claimed I sounded desparate and distraut on the phone so she said yes quite quickly although she was not sure about this sudden play watching session.
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

Scarey Psychic is that ME?

Scarcely do I mention the word terror and all hell breaks loose! I had not got over being surrounded with bombs than Ahmedabad happens. BJP is reaping what it has sown- hatred. I remember when BJP first emerged as a force to reckon with. In Delhi walls all over was defaced by the slogan- ' garv se kaho hum Hindu hain'- this sermon from a group who do not understand the meaning of Hinduism which is a way of life preaching tolerance and perseverence. Anyhow who might they be, a political party, telling us what to feel about our religion! Advani is pressing for the reapplication of POTA. No sir that will not solve anything. Bring on the goons who cut open a woman's womb and brandished the feotus and torture him, is there any law against communal violence?Will the BJP government's police arrest the rioters? Will you apologise for the demolition of the Babri Masjid? Will you punish the policemen who looked the other way while innocents were slaughtered?That is the solution. The people should have faith in the government if they feel that their life is at stake and the State will do nothing to protect them then they will become desparate and then they are fertile ground for terror.
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


I am still recovering from the shock. In my last post I spoke of terrorist attacks and next thing I know there are blasts all over the place in Namma Bengaluru. The blasts occured right around our house, Madiwala, Adugudi,Langford Road, Richmond town, Koramangala and this morning I heard in a news channel that a bomb was difused at Forum. If a line is drawn from one to the other of these locations it would form a circle round our house! Why us? We have come from one serial bombing city to another! Is the BJP government going to make a Gujarat out of Karnataka. Here I was soaking in the communal harmony of the south when this had to happen.
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.