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Showing posts from 2012

Why is India no longer silent?

Looking back not only at the horrific gangrape in Delhi, but the aftermath – protests by concerned citizens across the various cities of India, protests by the youth, and the outpouring of shock and support for the survivor, the lack of respect that we Indians now have for the politicians, it’s interesting to think about the sociological implications of the changes overtaking India. It’s also important to remember the kind of protests that took place against corruption over the past year or so, with again an outpouring of support from the white-collared workers of India, software engineers, corporate types etc taking to the streets. Similar to this, in Gurgaon there have been several protests by the citizens – CEOs and other corporate types, against the lack of roads, garbage management and other poor civic services provided to us.


What’s happening to this country? Have we all become armchair activists? What does it mean for the future? Let’s start by looking at some of the demographi…

Ek Tha Tiger

The movie starts off explosively – plenty of action, fast pace, fisticuffs in inimitable Salman style. But then in comes a stale Yash Raj plot about a love story and out goes the interest. The plot is full of holes – a spy sent to find out more about a nuclear scientist supposedly selling secrets to Pakistan spends more time ogling his assistant. SPOILER ALERT!! The said assistant has free access to the scientist’s home and computer any day of the week but chooses to get in during a play that she is directing, to download something off his computer. The movie is then all about the love affair between the two spies who have RAW and ISI chasing them through picturesque locales all over the world.


The chemistry between Salman and Katrina is practically nil in the first half, which is when the said falling in love part of the story happens. The dialogue is turgid. The pace is so slow you can take a nap, then wake up and find that pretty much nothing new has happened. The second half is fu…

The Kashmir Diary…

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Well, not diary, really, since I’m too undisciplined to maintain one, more of a chronicle of our vacation. I had never been to Kashmir and neither had the kids; A on the other hand would keep retailing anecdotes about his trip there in his teens (many, many, many, many moons ago) which had clearly left behind some indelible impressions. As expected, the parents were worried about potential problems though they didn’t try to dissuade us from going.

For some weird reason that now escapes me, we had selected to spend the first day commuting, possibly because we felt that to get up early for a flight was not the best way to induce that vacation feeling. (Note to self for next vacation – getting up early and reaching destination early is preferable to spending more than half the day getting there!!!). The Indigo flight was uneventful, apart from the usual nausea experienced by Chubbocks who is not a good traveler…even the Domstal didn’t seem to have worked its trick and he wound up throwin…

Moments of Grace

I don't know if it's genetically programmed into us Indians to love the rain. Whether it comes from thousands of generations of ancestors being farmers, dependant on the rain for the good things of life. But every time I see a grey sky or get the whiff of rain-soaked earth on a puff of breeze, all my senses come alive. Even when I'm abroad in a London or France, where grey skies and rain are cause for drear not cheer, I just see a grey sky and feel a magical sense of anticipation and excitement.

Yesterday, at the end of two weeks of fabuously cool weather in Delhi, which otherwise by 3rd week of April would be excoriatingly hot, we had a thunderstorm, followed by rain. I took myself off to the veranda, where I could sit sheltered from the incredibly cold drops of rain that were falling. Yet I could be a part of it, watching the rain drip down on my plants, watching the graceful neem tree tossing its head about in the cool breeze, like a flirtatious 16 year old, smell the s…

The thing about free speech...

…is that it’s hard to draw lines in the sand and say, this is the extent, the limit to which free speech extends, and beyond this, you’ve got to pay for it, in blood and tears, in fatwas and apologies. You can draw a line in personal relationships and say this is it, the Lakshman Rekha beyond which lie discord and distress, pain or shame. But if we start doing it as a society, we are doomed.

Because there’s no thing anyone can say which offends no one else, except maybe the word yes. On the other hand, as Woody Allen said, ‘What if the question is “Does the queen have the clap?”’ So even ‘yes’ is ruled out. If we have to constantly censor and re-censor everything we say just because someone somewhere may be offended, we’ll become a mute society. Freedom of speech has to be a given in a civilized society, regardless of whether it offends someone or not. I may disagree or be offended by something someone says, but I will defend to the end the person’s right to not only have an opinion bu…