Saturday, January 20, 2007

It is all about being there

Yes, I realised this two days ago and my views were confirmed today. There's this advertisement by Nikon about photography. I've seen it only once, hence do not recollect the exact content, but the gist is that photography is not only about the camera and your skills, it is also being there at the right time.

Now, if you take a look at this photograph, you can see a streak of light appearing at the left top corner of the Renaissance building. That streak is of an airplane taking off from the Mumbai airport. Now, considering that I am in Powai and that the point of take off is more than 12 kms by road, this streak appears bright enough. This is a classic case of me being present when the plane was taking off. While my intention was to capture the Renaissance Hotel building during night time, the focus has now changed to the airplane, which is just a streak in the photograph. The meaning conveyed by this photograph has changed completely from the intention with which it was clicked.

Another example is this photograph of the monkey. This was taken from the stairs leading to my department. It was an exceptionally cold morning in Mumbai and most monkeys were trying to warm up. This monkey too was doing the same and I thought of capturing it with my camera. Now, the moment I turned my camera on and clicked the button, this monkey turned his/her head and voila!! The resulting image was as if the monkey is posing for the photograph. Well, these two incidents have convinced me that the beauty of a photograph also lies in its timing. Being there to see that is also very important.
It is all about being thereSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, January 12, 2007

This is outrageous

The media is at it again. It always loves to make heroes or villains out of nothing. For the media, anybody who has been along with the Shiv Sena or BJP is communal and therefore a villain and menace to the society. Whereas those who are not affiliated to the two organisations or are Dalits/poor are the underdogs who need to be made look like heroes. Sample these two pieces of news from

1. Enraged over the alleged desecration of a statue of Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray's late wife Meenatai on Sunday morning, Shiv Sainiks went on the rampage in Mumbai and other cities and towns in Maharashtra throughout the day. (click here to read the article).

This was rediff's comment on the incident that took place when Meenatai's statue was defiled. Portray the Sena as villains who cause nothing else but nuisance and damage.

2. Atrocities on Dalits
As Indians, we often gloat about our glorious ancient wisdom. We harp on the modernity of our ancient forefathers.
And then, we skim through news snippets about some woman being paraded naked, or some people being killed -- because they are Dalits, the lowest strata of the caste hierarchy.

This is the introduction to the killings in Khairlanji and the protest. To emphasise the effect of the protest, rediff shows the image of Deccan Queen burning. Now, here the rioters are projected as if they were freedom fighters. These rioters caused more loss than the Sena did during their 'protest'. Yet, none were booked, no venomous protests from the so-called secularists or socialists.

The media has always been known to take sides with 'under-dogs'. However, why should they sacrifice the neutrality of a situation? I personally do not like riots of any kind, but the portrayal of Hindu rioters has always been as if they are villains, while the so-called 'underdogs' such as the Dalits involved in burning the Deccan Queen are shown as a people who vented out their frustration against the oppressors of the upper-caste.

On a finishing note, the most foolish and senseless comment made by an "intellectual" Dalit poet, Mr. Arjun Dangle-

"For many decades the Deccan Queen was the symbol of Pune, seat of the Peshwa Brahminical rule. There is a meaning behind the burning of train."

Now, the Peshwas are out of the rulers' seat for the past two centuries. So, they are trying to say that we burned the Deccan Queen (which is a property of the tax payers) to as a protest against the upper-caste Brahmins. Now, that should win the best logic of the year 2006 award. The rioters burned national property, causing damages running into several lakhs of fixed capital and operational revenue.

The media should rise to the occasion and take a stand against such damages, whoever causes it. And please, stop publishing such useless and senseless comments. They are good enough to instigate those who have not received much education, but do not stand ground in an educated society.

Mr. Narayan Murthy aptly said-- "India is perhaps the only country in the world, where people fight to be called backward."
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Monday, January 08, 2007

Namaste London: Is this movie needed?

The other day I was reading about the movie Namaste London. Apparently this is a movie about the difficulties faced by first generation Indians in instilling "Indian values" in their children, i.e. their second or third generation.

Now, at the first look why do Indians have to be obsessed about their culture and its superiority? I belong to the community of Gaud Saraswat Brahmins (GSB). Generations and generations ago, this community which is said to have dwelled on the banks of the mythical river Saraswati had to migrate because the river started to dry up. In the process the community ended up migrating to the west coast of India. Now, the majority of GSBs reside along the coastal areas of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. Now I feel there will be a very very few people who know about the lifestyle of the GSBs when they resided along the Saraswati river. These might be the only ones who know about the cuisines prepared during that time, about the language those GSBs spoke. Over time, majority of the GSBs have landed up speaking Konkani and its variants. A few of them are pure Marathi speaking GSBs. Infact, I am one such person, whos past two generations cannot speak Konkani, but we do understand key phrases. I am not sure what will it be for the coming generations.

The point I am trying to make is that the GSB community had to adopt to the lifestyle of the coastal areas of western India. They could not have survived and later on prospered if they stuck to themselves and their original lifestyle.

Now, if preserving of Indian values means asking the children to follow the Hindu/Jain/Sikh religion, then these should be done in the language that the children are used to. Look at Christianity. While the Bible has been originally written in Hebrew, all over the world, people read the Bible in which they are comfortable. In India, I have seen Bible discourses being held in Marathi, Konkani and Hindi. So, why can't the Gita, the Koran, and the Guru Granth Sahib like texts be made available in English, French, etc.? Why burden the children with learning another language, when there is little scope for formal training in that particular language?

All said and done, we would like to preserve the religion and its teachings. However, religion was never meant to be bound to a particular language. It was meant to be in a language that even the common man understands. We humans are failing to adopt to the changes. It is time, we get our acts right. You cannot live in Britain and crib about the loss of "Indian culture" and "values" in your children. They were born in Britain and for them to lead a smooth life, they have to adopt to the culture of Britain. Now, its upto the parents and the society in the overall sense to help religion adopt to the changing lifestyle.
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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Kabul Express: a few good points from the movie

The other day I was watching Kabul Express. In the movie, when all the passengers alight near a truck filled with Pepsi cans (that was bombarded by the Americans),the Talibani (actually he's a Pakistani army soldier) tries to open the rear end of the truck to get a glimpse of what is inside. In the process, loads of Pepsi cans fall upon him and he's almost burried under a huge pile of Pepsi cans.

Irritated, this guy says,
"Saara jung isi ke liye, Coke aur Pepsi bechne ke liye"
"Yeh America s**** kuch bhi kar sakta hai"
"Arabon ka tel nikalo, aur Coke aur Pepsi us mein thoos do"
"Har cheez paise ke liye, har cheez paise ke liye"

"The war is just for enabling sale of Coke and Pepsi "(read: giving businesses to American enterprises)
"The Americans can do anything"
"Take oil from the Arabs and dump Coke and Pepsi in their country"
"Everything is just for the sake of money"

This definitely sums up the game of the Americans. A simple Talibani, who probably has no lessons or training in economics or politics beautifully sums up the imperialist designs of the Americans.

Kudos to the script-writers !!!

At another point, when the Pakistani soldier(PS) is friends with John and Arshad (J&A), they start discussing about Hindi movies and PS tells J&A that he is a big fan of Indian movies and that the Talibans were fools to ban such nice stuff. He than argues

PS: Hum to kab se kehta hai, Madhuri Dikshit do, Kashmir lo
J: Woh to America chali gayi, shaadi karke
PS: Ghoom fir ke, hum log ka sub kuch achha hota hai, wahin chala jaata hai

PS: Since long we have been saying, Give us Madhuri Dikshit and Kashmir is yours
J: But she's gone to America after her wedding
PS: In the end, all our good people end up there

Wow, another powerful one-liner that sums up everything, India's brain-drain, the loss of big brains to the USA, etc.

In the end, even if Kabul Express wasn't a blockbuster, these two scenes and dialogues make it a must watch movie.

Kabul Express: a few good points from the movieSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend