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Showing posts from November, 2007

Khan Market

HindustanTimes has a wonderful piece on Khan Market, what it was when we were young. Now it's a nightmare, with ugly, over priced designer wear. I do miss the chat wala, where we ate chaat, chola bhaturas, fountain pepsi and Orange bars. I miss shopping at Chunmun, for dresses, with the lady who recognized my mom and me. The badly lit, The Book Shop, which always had great selections. I remember the hunch back of Faqir Chand and K.K. Lee. And waiting in line at Bittoo's for a lined exercise book, pencils, fountain pens and ink. Enjoy Renuka Narayanan's piece below.

Home was Lutyens’ Delhi for 13 years when I was growing up. I didn’t know then that Khan Market, the centre of my universe, would be ranked India’s most upscale mall and the world’s 24th most expensive. Lots of old shops are gone now along with the old neighbourhood feeling. Yeh sansaar ka niyam hai. I’m glad for the good times that were. As for what happens now or tomorrow if there’s one, I say, “Jede din lang …

mama and her sunshine

thanks maya for the image

manhole covers in nyc

I always felt a strange pride, when I saw manhole covers with the made in India logo. It seems now that these covers are made in dangerous conditions.

Eight thousand miles from Manhattan, barefoot, shirtless, whip-thin men rippled with muscle were forging prosaic pieces of the urban jigsaw puzzle: manhole covers.

Seemingly impervious to the heat from the metal, the workers at one of West Bengal’s many foundries relied on strength and bare hands rather than machinery. Safety precautions were barely in evidence; just a few pairs of eye goggles were seen in use on a recent visit. The foundry, Shakti Industries in Haora, produces manhole covers for Con Edison and New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, as well as for departments in New Orleans and Syracuse.

The scene was as spectacular as it was anachronistic: flames, sweat and liquid iron mixing in the smoke like something from the Middle Ages. That’s what attracted the interest of a photographer who often works for The New…

out of sight, out of mind

It is hard to decide which is more unappetising — the spectacle of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee declaring that the CPI(M) had paid those against the West Bengal’s industrialisation programme in Nandigram “back in their own coin”, or the BJP and the Congress condemning the violence there while ignoring their own culpability for similar behaviour in Gujarat and Chhattisgarh respectively. The use of vigilante groups or armed cadres, supported and sanctioned by a pliant bureaucracy, to physically defeat an opposing group, rather than relying on legal means and political discussions, is evidently the latest fashion in governance. It is time, we are told, to forget the old expectation that it is the police that is meant to maintain law and order and not gangs of party members.

What happened in Nandigram at the behest of the West Bengal Chief Minister is not very different from the Salwa Judum — ‘peace mission’ — being run jointly by the Congress MLA of Dantewada, Mahendra Karma, and the BJP gover…


Tehelka has a strong indictment of the Indian state and it's unemployed goons that repress, harass and kill. Taslima Nasreen is being shuttled from Calcutta to Jaipur and now stationed in Rajasthan House in Delhi. The CPM, the party in power in West Bengal seems to have suddenly tried to distract public criticism and attention from the pogrom going on in Nandigram, to making Taslima Nasreen a shuttle cock for political purposes.

The Cowardice of Mediocrity

Nandigram shows that the CPM is just another face of the forces that threaten the polity, says ASEEM SHRIVASTAVA.

“Not being able to fortify justice, they justified force.” - Blaise Pascal

Delhi 1984. Mumbai 1993. Gujarat 2002. Nandigram 2007. Signposts of pathology on the putrefying landscape of Indian politics. What sort of a future does this sequence of events portend for this beleaguered country? A red thread of publicly endorsed savagery runs through the heart of these chilling episodes of recent Indian history.

The matter is …

aish and angu


to work or not

Madmomma has another wonderful post on working or not working. I like the words of Anna Quindlen, about living instead of just existing.

This was a speech made by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Anna Quindlen at the graduation ceremony of an American university where she was awarded an Honorary PhD.

'I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don't ever confuse the two, your life and your work. You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree: there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank accounts but also your soul.

People don't talk about the soul ver…

Balotra The Complex Language of Print

This is a wonderful book brought out by Anokhi Museum of Hand printing. It gives a historical background of the prints, which community wore which prints and a description of the processes that created the print. There was a wonderful picture of the different turban tieing techniques used by Langhas, Rabari, Maldari, Maali, Gujar and Chaudhurys.

Boriya print is a geometrical block print that is worn as a ghaggra by married Kumhar and Chaudhry women. The pattern on the cloth is similar to the decoration on pots created by the Kumhars.

If the ghaggra's of the women have a large red border at the hem, it means they are married, if the woman is a widow, she does not have a border or a piping on her skirt. As a woman ages her skirt print becomes duller and the motifs simpler, the reds became rusts and the yellows are removed.

Gadia Lohars, itinerant iron workers, wear the bhalka print, which is a bold repeat of a large spear or arrow head motifs. Maalis, a community of gardeners, wear pr…

Suicide station

Outlook reports on well educated brides coming from Punjab, to be married to uneducated men and their mothers, are leading record numbers to jump in front of trains. When will their parents realize that marrying a person from England or the US is not a passport to the good life. Background checks are essential.

Flawed marital priorities fuel a thickening tragedy among young brides in Southall

Circle Of Death
Suicide among South Asian women in Britain is three times that of the national average

Of 240 suicides on rail tracks in Britain last year, 80 were Southall women, mostly Sikhs

The victims typically come from Punjab, are educated, and married off to men who lack similar educational or professional backgrounds

Brides are trapped into domestic slavery, suffer abuse and have no one to help them

The cold figures tell a chilling story. Take the many thousands of miles of rail track in Britain on the one hand, a couple of miles of of rail track through the west London subur…

Sebastiao Salgado

BBC has some photos from Salgado's latest project Genesis. Here are some of my favourite images.

Asma Jahangir

Washington Post
has an article by Asma Jahangir on the current situation in Pakistan.

The Real Musharraf

By Asma Jahangir
Friday, November 9, 2007; Page A21

LAHORE, Pakistan -- It was close to midnight last Saturday when Gen. Pervez Musharraf finally appeared on state-run television. That's when police vans surrounded my house. I was warned not to leave, and hours later I learned I would be detained for 90 days.

At least I have the luxury of staying at home, though I cannot see anyone. But I can only watch, helpless, as this horror unfolds.

The Musharraf government has declared martial law to settle scores with lawyers and judges. Hundreds of innocent Pakistanis have been rounded up. Human rights activists, including women and senior citizens, have been beaten by police. Judges have been arrested and lawyers battered in their offices and the streets.

These citizens are our true assets: young, progressive and full of spirit. Many of them were trained to uphold the rule of law. They are…

Chini Kum

Tehelka has a review of a new book about Chinese in Calcutta, Chinatown Kolkata, by Rafeeq Ellias. The slide show captures some wonderful photos of this community. Seems like a good book.

Happy Diwali

Delhi is hazy, the rain helped bring some clarity. Diwali seems to be quite low key, lots of gift giving of dry fruits, chocolates, gift hampers and some mithai. Fireworks are not available in most markets, which will hopefully curb it's use and help the environment. Respiratory diseases are up, due to the smog and pollution.

Single Motherhood by Choice

Babble has an article about single women having kids without husbands.

Indeed, what is truly remarkable about this single mom trend is that women are refusing to either give up having children or settle down into an unhappy marriage. They are, in essence, saying: "I want the job, the career, and the power that comes with all that, but I also want to experience domestic joys — of raising a child and connecting to something larger than myself — and if I can't find a partner, I'll do it anyway, even though it will most likely mean a substantial economic burden." It comes down to this: women have built strong networks of friends and support systems independently of marriage. They no longer have to settle for partners who, for whatever reason, lack suitable qualities. In a strange twist of the old standard, contemporary men may simply not be "marriage material."

Rather than pine for Prince Charming, single women are using the skills they have developed from over …

Brand Free Kids

Alternet has an article on the difficulties of raising kids brand free. Mira already enjoys the Disney and baby Einstein music and logos!! It's going to be a challenge. I like the article's conclusion, that parent's values are most important, they need to practise what they teach their children, the show don't tell idea. We grew up without watching TV or drinking sodas and that helped in not getting addicted to brands. The current issue of Mothering has wonderful information on soft toys that are natural, organic and non branded.

Parents, be warned: It takes only a single visit to McDonald's for your child to get hooked on the greasy stuff for life.

Okay, so that's an exaggeration. But the three-year-old son of Angela Verbrugge still remembers his one and only meal under the golden arches. Which has Verbrugge worried.

And Kyla Epstein swears if her young son Max ever wants to eat there, he'll be doing it on his own dime.

These parents aren't raging against …

Moms rule in NYC marathon

The results are
here. What an inspiration!

Situation in Pakistan

For an accurate situation in Pakistan, check Chapati Mystery.

Today at the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan a meeting of lawyers and human rights activsits (around noon) was held to discuss the present situation. A statement from Asma Jehangir who has been detained for 90 days was read and subsequently the compound was surrounded by police officers in riot gear and with tear gas threatening to arrest everyone inside (around 1:45). Inside people sang songs while the police remained outside, after sometime all (as far as I know) were rounded up into buses and detained. Journalists were released. Currently they have been taken to the Model Town police station in lahore. I am unsure about the number of people currently detained.

I have received information from my partner, a US citizen, who is a research fellow (ironically researching detentions and disappearances) and who had attended the meeting at HRCP. He is also currently detained. Although they have seized most cell phones, some p…