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Showing posts from January, 2008

Millennium City

Gurgaon has been fancifully named Millennium city, but craftily, politicians have not specified which Millennium. I was thinking about it yesterday, and it's a toss-up between the 18th and 19th, but certainly no later than that.

We start with the premise that electricity has not yet been invented or is in its infancy as a concept. So our day begins with a powercut between 6 and 7 am, then the power goes off any time after 8 and comes back between 1:30 and 2:30 in the afternoon. It goes around 3:30 and comes by 5. It's then off again between 7 and 8 pm at night and makes a brief appearance before going off yet again between 8:30 and 9:30 pm. Since the nights are too cold to permit any staying up, we don't know for how many hours it's gone at night.

Then of course, paved roads were neither invented nor necessary in the 18th/ 19th century since people commuted on foot or by horse-carriage/ bullock cart. So the roads in GG have been made fit for those forms of transport; by…

Notes from a Delhi weekend

We had a wonderful weekend which was a sampling of the many Delhis which co-exist and blend seamlessly into one another. Saturday, we decided to be mall-rats post a heavy South Indian breakfast chez my parents. Ambi Mall, one of the newest and largest is walking distance, only you can't walk there because of the lack of footpaths and crazy traffic. We spent the morning hanging out there, visiting any one of dozens of international brand stores which have now learnt to stock the latest merchandise rather than dated stuff. Upstairs at the Barista in Debenhams, resting our tired feet over a hot cappucino, we gazed out at the Toll Plaza which was doing brisk business, scores of gleaming cars parked in orderly lines on each side. The wide, 16 laned approach to the toll plaza was sparkling clean and looked completely international, with high-speed traffic whizzing past.

We had also visited Select Citywalk a couple weekends ago and were truly impressed by the international ambience of the…

The List

Y'all know what list...Madmomma asked us to name ours, and mine was:

George Clooney
Denzel Washington
Colin Firth
Pierce Brosnan
Cary Grant - who got Xed out for Saif, since live people are definitely more available than dead ones and Saif is drool-worthy + suave

I do notice a certain pattern in the list - either they're the suave but sense-of-humour types or intense and intelligent.

Back at home, asked A for his list. First some intense squirming and denial of any such list and how he hates talking about such a thing, then, within about 2 seconds, names are spilling out as if he spent his days doing a SWOT analysis of this - and for all I know, now that we don't work together anymore, he actually does spend his day doing this. Such hypocrisy ( she sniffs).

A's list:
Catherine Zeta Jones
Monica Bellucci
Halle Berry
Bipasha Basu
Priyanka Chopra

Aaja Nachle

Just saw this movie on VCD on my laptop while waiting for an endless connection from Ahmedabad back to Delhi. I didn't have any expectations one way or the other, but Madhuri Dixit in the movie made me want to see it. I was agreeably surprised, because going by the reviews and the poor box office response, I thought it might turn out to be a little incoherent.

The story was different, particularly from the Indian audience's perspective. A single mother who comes back to revive a theatre school in a small town...possibly didn't quite strike a chord with the viewers. That apart, the story was good, a typical bad girl/ boy makes good which is quite common in the West but not here. The cast of supporting characters all had their own mini-stories which were brought to life well without getting in the way of the main story.

The acting level was quite high. Madhuri easily played herself, as the NRI returned to her roots, and her daughter was a pleasant young girl with none of the t…

Weird convictions

Just read the cover article of the latest Economist - the one that talks about the world's most dangerous place - Pakistan - and I wondered what the columnist was smoking - or whether he had recycled an article circa 1950.

First of all, he starts by saying that Pakistan has always been a country of tolerance and acceptance. Really? Why don't they try asking the Hindus and Sikhs who remained there at Partition time how they feel about this statement - or even the Muslims who migrated from India at Partition time and who are still called Mohajirs -refugees?

Second, he says that they had never expected Pakistan to become Islamicised the way the Taliban had done to Afghanistan. Have they perhaps not heard of a certain America-supported Zia Ul Haq who reintroduced the sharia as the pre-eminent rule of law in the country?

Then they sound all surprised about the schisms - the religious and regional conflicts, the fact that Baluchistan is pretty much out of control of the government etc …

Harassment of women

I'm still pained by the Bombay incident of New Year's Eve, and wondering what is going on in our 'shining' country. What makes matters worse is people like the Police Commissioner who say, "Oh, my wife and daughters know not to step out of the house in the evening." Is that what it has come to, that women should be imprisoned, because you can't trust the men to behave like civilized human beings? That women should be confined, controlled and restrained because the men can't control their baser instincts? What's the difference between the advocates of the burqa and these people? What the difference between the Police Commissioner in Bombay and the magnanimous king of Saudi Arabia who pardons the woman who was raped and then sentenced to being punished for it by stone throwing because she was in a car with a man who was not her husband/ brother/ father, and says that "She has learned her lesson"?

Sadly, somewhere in our women's genes, w…

Culture indeed

In a recent global survey, it turned out that Indians are the proudest of their country's unique culture. Sometimes I wonder which culture we are talking about.

The culture which has us worshipping goddesses in the puja ghar and trying to rip the clothes off two girls on New year's eve, as it happened in Mumbai just yesterday?

The culture which thinks it's okay to scan foetuses and abort the girls or smother them to death as infants while continuing the religion of 'boy-is-king'?

The culture which thinks a women ought to be grateful to her husband who 'lets her work' as long as she ensures everything within the home is taken care of?

The culture which thinks it correct to let the woman earn but gives her no right over her own income?

The culture which takes upon itself the role of moral police and tells our youth, in particular young women, to stay within 'the bounds' as defined by the police?

The culture which has the time to chase young couples out of p…