Wednesday, 29 February 2012

A Tree in the Forest

One day, navigating the traffic-choked madness of Lattice Bridge Road, he tells me that it is his life's dream to get his boy into XYZ School. All problems would cease, he told me, his voice suffused with wistful longing, and life would shine brightly forever after, if he could, somehow, anyhow, get his son in there. For G, XYZ School is the portal to a world that he and his forebears before him couldn’t, and perhaps didn’t, ever dream of. A world with an endless series of portals opening out into a universe of infinite possibilities. So that his child might step into that world, G tells me he will work around the clock, deny himself even the tiniest of pleasures, tighten the belt still further, do whatever he can to somehow scrape together the money for the tuition. Because it will all be worth it in the end.
Read more.......

Meanwhile, in a Small Sliver of South India...

Last evening, my husband and I were at the Asia Society in New York, to attend a reading and performance by William Dalrymple and Vidya Shah and her orchestra. This event was arranged in conjunction with the Society’s current exhibit on Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi, 1707-1857. The evening was, for the most part, interesting and entertaining. Dalrymple’s narrative, drawn largely from his book, The Last Mughal, was studded with entertaining anecdotes that brought his characters to life. Vidya Shah complemented and supplemented his stories with songs and poetry from the great and little-known poets and songsters of that era.
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The Highway Poet

Somewhere down the serpentine labyrinth that is the organization chart of the National Highways Authority of India is a little box that is an offshoot of the Department of Highway Safety. This box is the proud bearer of the title “Couplets and Proverbs Division (L&T K-W)”. It has a single employee, a long-haired, dreamy-eyed, thickly bespectacled youth, the nephew of the Chairman of the Department of Highway Safety (S-India). This young lad, who had been a gentle, sweet-natured child, the kind parents pointed out to their boisterous offspring as a shining example of what they ought to be like, created a major commotion in his family when he declared that he wanted to study Literature in college.
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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Three matters

Archery bloodline,
Trigger happy Italian marines
Let the grains rot

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Poppies were things I looked down upon. They have this tendency to blaze for a day or two in glory before fluttering away their all in a mess on the ground. It's tempting to think of them as wastrels. They are completely out of place among superior species that hold their heads up as the well cultivated should.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Eco-friendly Vs Enviro-friendly - Some forced re-definitions

P Sainath's writes in the article The Iron Laws of the Earth Sciences - "He also became the Minister for Earth Sciences (which, as often pointed out, is seen in his home State as jargon for real estate expertise). Jealous detractors say it is his raising this sector to the level of a science that makes him priceless to the Congress."

Just as (Ministry of) Earth Sciences means more about ministering to the real estate expertise, one can come up with more re-definitions.
Here's one - for those in the Indian (media) elite circles,
eco-friendly = (neo-liberal) ECOnomy-favouring policies.
Further, the words 'climate change' probably refer more to vagaries in the economic weather of the country than the Inconvenient Truth that humankind faces!

For those who bat for the environment - let's talk about being enviro-friendly, shall we?

Giants at J-School- Clarence Page

Two-time Pulitzer winner Clarence Page gave a talk at the Columbia Journalism School this month. A compilation of running notes on my blog:

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Point Calimere - A visit over Pongal

The 2012 Pongal weekend was unusual for me, as we drove down the TN coast, and explored the Point Calimere area, along with other members of the Madras Naturalist Society.

There was so much to learn, so much to see that there are several posts devoted to the visit.

You could start with the photo summary, which shows you where we went, and a quick sample of all we saw. Then read the description of The hamlet of Kodikarai and a slice of history in Lighthouses galore!

Did you know there are Feral horses in the grasslands of Point Calimere? Probably the only place in India.

Wherever, we went there were the ubiquitous Brahminy Kites. But, Point Calimere is famous for its flamingoes and migrating birds. Where were The missing waders?

See the pictorial results of our Beachcombing at Point Calimere, and travel to the mangroves at Muthupet.

The Butterflies at Udayamarthandapuram is a fitting finale to a wonderful weekend shared with friends and family!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Comrade Jesus Christ, CPI (M)

A few days back a Kerala leader of this Party, who is undergoing a contempt of Court case, made a rather sensational remark – Jesus Christ and Prakash Karat, the All India General Secretary of the party are alike. One thing that I am sure of is that Karat will not be crucified.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Talking the walk, Swapna’s Delhi Walk

Carrying, as I do, an emotional baggage of having spent my college, and early working life in the city, I admit to reading Delhi – 14 historic walks with tinted eye-glasses that had weathered 30 Delhi summers (1950-80s)...More

Saturday, 4 February 2012

India Decides To Support UNSC’s Syria Resolution

I personally feel it is a wise decision, in terms of diplomatic strategy as well as humanity. First, it is important for India to get its voice heard in an international issue, as it will help it further strengthen its status as a power to reckon with. Secondly, there is the question of humanity and ethical responsibility, which compels India to do something to address the Syrian bloodshed that is continuing without any sign of end. More

A Walk in Harlem

The signal is red. The M 60 bus reaches the 116th & Broadway stop at 4:00 pm. It has three passengers, five more get in. Buzz-beep-slash: passengers swipe their Metro cards and find solitary seats. The driver’s belly droops over his belt. From behind his black goggles, he looks disinterestedly at those stepping in. A recorded female voice greets mechanically: “Thank you for riding the MTA.”

The bus takes a right turn off Amsterdam Avenue onto W 125 St . Outside the Harlem USA II Nails salon two black women stand smoking cigarettes. The shade of one’s jacket perfectly matches her brown highlights. The other is shorter, plump and wears a black jacket.

Are they poor?

Continue to read at Life Rules

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

I finally found my Rosy

It was a book that captured my heart and imagination during my school days. But I have no idea how it came into my hands. Read here.