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Showing posts from August, 2006

memories of hair

Hair has always held a special importance in the life of most Sikhs, you are either a full Sikh with an uncut head of hair, or you are a Mouna, or someone who has cut their hair. My whole family went from being full Sikhs to all being clean shaven. To even trim hair was against Sikh values. When my uncle, cut his hair after a trip abroad, his parents did not speak to him for some time. A friend in school’s brother had cut his hair, and my friend wept like her world had fallen apart, and she was so ashamed.

My earliest memories of hair, were of my thick unruly hair, that never sat still. Until twelve, I had one plait that was thick but not long. At twelve my plait was unceremoniously cut off and I was taken to Habib the hairdresser, who proceeded to chop it even further, until it was a boy cut.

The only variation in hair styles that I had, were either a center parting or a side parting, or one plait or two, before twelve. My mother or maid made my plait most of the time. After washing …

Naguib Mahfouz

Naguib Mahfouz died today. Here is a comprehensive list of his work and his ideas.

Naguib Mahfouz is considered one of the foremost writers in modern Arabic literature. Born in the al-Jamaliyya district of Cairo, Egypt, on December 11, 1911, he was the youngest of seven children and lived there until the age of six (or twelve, depending on biographer). He began his writing career at the age of 17 He published his first novel in 1939 (The Games of Fate), and since that date has written thirty-two novels and thirteen collections of short stories. In his old age he has maintained his prolific output, producing a novel every year. The novel genre, which can be traced back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in Europe, has no prototypes in classical Arabic literature. Although this abounded in all kinds of narrative, none of them could be described as we understand the term "novel" today. Arab scholars usually attribute the first serious attempt at writing a novel in Arabi…

Hina Saleem's murder in Italy

NYT has a shocking story in Italy, where a Pakistani father slit the throat of his daughter and buried her in his front lawn.

The trigger was the gruesome killing on Aug. 11 of Hina Saleem, a 20-year-old woman whose family moved here from Pakistan and who was found buried, with her throat slit, in the garden of her family home in a small town about 12 miles north of Brescia.

The tragedy ballooned into a cause célèbre after media reports alleged that Ms. Saleem had been killed because her traditionalist Muslim father objected to her Western lifestyle. She smoked and wore revealing, low-slung jeans like many young women. News reports said she had been living with an Italian man. Her body was found after her boyfriend reported her missing

I am glad that the mother has squarely blamed her husband for her daughters needless death, and did not blame her murder as a cultural crime.

[On Thursday, Ms. Saleem’s mother, Bushra Bakum, dismissed notions that religion had played a role in the killing…


papa panda

mei and tan

tan hanging

baby panda tan xiang

panda sculpture

mei xiang

panda at the dc zoo

more fountains


enid haupt gardens at the smithsonian

How does one deal with reality?

The reality of dealing with a foetus with down syndrome? What would you do? Abort or deliver? You can see the kicking moving arms and legs and body, a heart beat. But you are not sure? Its just a statistic it started with a risk factor of 1:2500 because of her advanced maternal age (35) that is.
Then a test later its suddenly became 1:13 what changed?, the test that was not supposed to be done? Now it has been done. The doctors without blinking a fat eyelash say go have an amniocentesis, here’s your prescription for it.

Thats invasive she thinks, it has caused miscarriages and punctured an intestine to a close friend’s daughter, killing her. She is not ready to die yet, nor let the foetus die for a comparative statistic. It is not a diagnostic tool.

She looks for options, scours the internet for information. There are other procedures like a detailed sonogram which look for soft markers and can let her know without invading her body with a needle, puncturing the womb and taking some…

a full moon

Democracy Now and Craig Murray

Questions have been raised over whether British authorities were pressured by the United States to make the arrests last week in the alleged terror plot to blow up transatlantic airliners. We speak with former British ambassador Craig Murray who says, "The one thing of which I am certain is that the timing is deeply political. This is more propaganda than plot." [includes rush transcript]
A judge in Britain has ruled police have until next week to continue to hold 23 suspects arrested in the alleged plot to blow up airplanes bound for the United States.
British police arrested 24 people in raids last week. One person has since been released. No one has been charged with a crime.

Questions have been raised over whether British authorities were pressured by the United States to make the arrests. A senior British official told NBC News that British police were planning to continue to run surveillanc…

cricket and Pakistan

B.B.C has described the details of what happened between the umpires and the Pakistani cricket team. The umpires decision seems to be unfair considering it cost Pakistan the match.
Cricket is seminal in Pakistan in uniting the country.
The second generation Pakistani men in England are obsessed with cricket, it often comes before family and work. The cricket team makes them feel whole, beating England makes them feel strong, like it is their front against racism they have faced growing up.

They penalised Pakistan five runs and allowed England batsmen Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood to select another ball.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was clearly upset at the decision, but play continued without further incident until tea.

After the interval, however, the tourists failed to return to the field, and the umpires eventually removed the bails after walking onto the pitch for a second time.

Thirty minutes later, Pakistan finally made it onto the pitch but were told to head back to th…

Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna

I saw Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, this weekend. It was a terrible movie, with Rani Mukherjee and Shahrukh Khan pretending to be lovers but with no real chemistry. Preity Zinta had the best lines, for instance she said why is a man never questioned when he does not spend a lot of time with his child, but a woman is questioned ? Abhishek Bachan was the most genuine and the best actor among the group. The movie lacked passion and was filled with a lot of fake tears by the actors and actresses that lacked genuine emotions. By the end of the three hours, we left with a bad taste and a feeling of how empty the movie was.

Namrata Joshi has reviewed the movie in Outlook and I agree with most of what she says about it.

Despite an unprecedented media hype, Karan Johar’s KANK remains a largely underwhelming experience. It’s overlong and plodding but the core problem is the two key players, Dev (SRK) and Maya (Rani) and their extra-marital relationship, which is neither convincing nor moving enough to …

Khushwant Singh, Upinder Singh and the History of Delhi

The Attic Delhi is organizing 12 talks at IIC on the history of Delhi. The first talk was very well received with a sold out crowd at IIC, overflowing into the gardens outside. Khushwant was articulate, funny and filled his talk with a lot of anecdotes. I do not have a transcript of the talk, but I do know it has been videotapped and look forward to hearing it.

Amardeep has written about Khushwant and his writings here

The Attic is proud to announce the first talk in a series of 12 talks at the IIC. Details of the others will be sent soon. The first is by Khushwant Singh who talks about his father Sir Sobha Singh

Sobha Singh was a 22 year old contractor working on the Kalka-Simla railroad when he visited Delhi in 1911. He was present at the Delhi Darbar at which King George V declared that the capital of British India would be shifted from Calcutta to Delhi. He saw his opportunity and took it.
“Rarely was a man so identified with the birth of a city as Sir Sobha Singh was with New Delhi, …

little miss sunshine

Interesting article in Yale Global on India’s response to terrorism. It seems to be quite different from the U.S. response.

Since 1994, India has suffered almost 20,000 fatalities as a result of acts of terror, losses that dwarf those suffered by the US and Israel. Despite these losses, New Delhi has been very reluctant to initiate cross-border military strikes against targets based in Pakistan, where supporters and perpetrators of acts of violence directed against India have found safe haven.

The author, Micheal Krepon, concludes the article by describing the situation if India did strike targets in Pakistan and the consequences that would follow. He also shows alternate routes to controling terrorism.

Because this scenario is sufficiently grim and plausible, preventive action in India and Pakistan is worth taking in the form of heightened domestic security against extremist groups and renewed diplomacy. A disproportionate share of this burden falls on India because its leaders understa…

boudin sourdough

happy rakhi august 6th 2006


mechanical images

steaming crabs

fisherman's wharf

sfo tram


museum of african diaspora MOAD SFO

church entrance


park on a sunday