Thursday, November 27, 2008

Aaagghh. Someone please shoot the newsreaders and reporters. And politicians while you're at it.

As macabre as this sounds given the current scenario, we want leadership not puppets, facts not opinions. We want news reporting and not manipulation. We want someone who isnt looking only to garner brownie points for herself and her news channel but is sensitive to the plight of relatives and friends.
Why dont we have reporters who talk like normal people instead of sounding like they're on an Infomercial?! What is with the booming dramatic voice? What happened to being calm and composed on air instead of transfering panic and fear through the television screens?
Whatever happened to responsible journalism? Lalit Modi talking about the terror attacks? The only thing worse than that is him seemingly lounging about on a couch while expressing his opinions. Why is the media interested in what will happen to cricket in the country? People are effing dying here you morons!
And our politicians need to be locked up in one room and kept out of the way. A visibly pissed off Shobha De talking to Barkha Dutt rightly said that our law and order personnel need to protect the city and its people and not have to worry about the safety and protection of doddering old fools (ok this last bit is mine and not De's).
And all the supremely annoying Dutt could ask her was if it wasnt a good sign that the leader of the opposition and the PM were travelling together!! WTF! Like now would be a good time to demand seperate travelling arrangements. If they cant travel together, they're definitely not going to work together towards solving whatever is happening in this city (and lets not talk about the country).
Oh and, btw, they didnt travel together. Mr. Advani said he came, even though he had to be in Rajasthan tomorrow, to get a feel of the situation and see how the people and officials were handling the situation. Oh my. What an honour for the city. What would we have done without him?. And he came alone because it wasnt sure whether the PM would even be coming in to the city today. What no permission from Madam? Well, after his lame ass excuse for a speech on national television, we're better off with him not coming.
All over our news channels the same video loop has been playing. Clips from yesterday night and all through today are being repeated with increasing graphics and dramatic headlines. And the one thing that stands out for me is the horde of media persons surrounding the hotels while the police is constantly pushing them behind a cordone. It seems to me that they're in the way. Where is the sensitivity? Ambulances come in to collect the injured and dead and all we can do is watch the camera person angling to get a better shot of the bodies!
So while we're all hoping for someone (most probably the very calm and methodical army, navy and RAF) to stop the madness, someone needs to also control the media and their sickening ability to convert reality into reality television.

Until Now

Living in Mumbai has never been simple. Terrorist threats, riots, attacks on shops, taxis and offices, disrupted train servies, we live with all of this on a daily basis. Mumbaikars have learnt to take it all in their stride and move on with life. This indomitable spirit is what has made the city what it is. Bombs have not reduced the crowds in local trains, they have not stopped people from flocking to market places and they have definitely not made anyone stay cooped inside their houses.
Until now.
Until now Mumbai has never been faced with an act of terrorism that did not stop with one or several blasts.
Until now we have never had to face indiscriminate firing at railway stations, cafes and hotels.
Until now we thought only local trains and market places could be targeted. We were wrong.
Until now only the middle class was affected. The balance has changed and now the rich are hostage.
Until now we never heard of several top cops being shot dead a couple of hours into the attack.
Until now the terrorists never came foward in such large numbers together.
Until now terrorism in India never grabbed international attention of this magnitude.
Until now we never had a situation which lasted nearly 18 hours.
Until now Mumbai had never had the army step in.
Until now we have never felt the panic and fear we are now.
Unfortunately, until now no one took terrorism in this city seriously. It was just another of those things you get innured too. But now someone has to be accountable for the supreme lack of respect for human life and the blatant spread of terror. Someone has to have the answers.
Until now the common man accepted the apathy of the government towards their plight. But not anymore. Now we demand action.
Until now we demanded a solution.
Now we demand justice.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Addicted and Clueless

You never know how much you're going to miss something till it's gone. And i wish this was about something deep and meaningful (and maybe, just maybe it is). Unfortunately it happens to be about my broadband internet connection.

So i come home one evening and find my internet connection gone poof. At first i thought my computer was being cranky. But restarting it (twice) didnt help, neither did talking to it lovingly. So i took to unplugging the modem and the wi-fi transmitter and replugging them (more than twice). When that didnt work either, i gave the MTNL guys the benefit of doubt and figured the sever was down and would be up and running in time for my daily quota of facebook, gmail, wikipedia, google news, gtalk and all the tv shows downloading.

But my faith was misplaced. All night (while i wondered what to do with my laptop now that i couldnt get onto the world wide web) i kept checking to see if all the lights were blinking on my modem. I alternately stood looking at the box willing the lights to come on and checking my computer to see if the small blue dot appeared on the screen. I even organised the files and folders on my computer since there was nothing else i could do.

I stopped doing it after a day and a half.

3 days later i didnt even bother switching on my computer.

Today evening the lights all came on again and i rushed here to clatter this out.

Im back to walking with a bounce in my step and a smile on my face.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Avantika Inked. Again

My first tattoo hadn’t fully healed when I started planning another one. That was October 2007. After months of not getting the time and then the time not being right, I finally went and got inked again yesterday. And it was as exhilarating an experience as I remembered it.


My first piece was quite small and something I got done on a whim. Luckily for me it turned out nice and I still like looking at it. This new one I’ve been thinking about for quite some time, and have spent hours looking for designs and checking with the few people I know who have some aesthetic sense, and will not hesitate to tell me if I’m about to get a disaster permanently marked on my skin.
(Later Observation: Thats a seriously terrible picture of my foot. I need to practice foot angles now i think!)

My friends of course all think I’m crazy to volunteer for the pain. I think the pain is quite therapeutic. Of course it helps that they (on request) apply some numbing gel (which I think is more of a placebo than anything else). But the fact of the matter is that I quite enjoyed the noise and movement of the needle as it went about inserting ink into my skin. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not denying the pain. Nor am I masochistic. All I’m saying is that the dull (and at times sharp) throbbing pain was quite tolerable. And once you’re through you really don’t think of the pain in all the post-tattoo excitement.

So after an hour’s wait, another hour under the needle (a new one, fresh from a sealed packet) and a quick squirt of dettol-water to wipe away the extra colour and blood, I was the proud owner of a brand new tattoo.

I knew where I wanted my third piece even before I left the studio.

My poor (needle phobic) fellow says we shall discuss it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Dream of Hot Buttered Toast

I don’t know if it’s age (I’m young enough to admit to how old I am) or if it’s just stress (which I’m stressed enough to admit to), but I find myself increasingly thinking about food. There seems to be no pattern that I can make out in my day dreams, except that they’re all about food. And once a craving hits (yes, the dreams then go onto trick my brain into annoying me enough to go in search of the food) nothing satisfies it except the object of my fantasies.

Now if I was fantasizing about gourmet, fancy stuff, I could blame it on good taste and discerning taste buds. But no. My unconscious insists on bringing up memories and images (and smells) of hot buttered toast (that I can gratify immediately with a holler to the maid), steaming hot wanton soup at my favourite Chinese eatery (which, since the place has shut down, I continue to dream about), mum’s rajma chawal (isn’t it the best always), the bhel I get just down the road (oh ya that’s the real thing, not the sterilised, hygienic stuff mum makes at home), my aunt’s fried potato sabzi and baked vegetables (anything fried and anything layered with cheese has to taste good), dosa at my friend’s home (us north Indians just don’t know how to do a good dosa), nani’s besan ke laddoo (as clich├ęd as it sounds, my nani made killer laddoos till she went all healthy on us), Gooey chocolate torte with a friend at a place i can never get to on my own, caramel popcorn at….oh well you get the picture.

My sister is quite fed up with my cravings. She tells me to save it for when I’m pregnant. After all why should she be the one to have to listen to me talking (almost reverently) about hot vada pav and masala dosa (with a mangola) at the udipi next to my college? Let that poor unfortunate fellow of mine struggle to get me a choco-bar at 2 in the morning.

Ooh. Time to check the freezer.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

700

While visiting this blog, i read about full2faltu and his interesting tradition of inviting guest writers to post on his blog. In turn he donates money to charity and gets to the enviable 700 posts milestone on his blog.
I took a chance to step out of my own page (and readership of maybe three people) and am now linked at full2faltu's blog (which you must visit for some very interesting writing).
Cheers,

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Imbeciles All of Them

I fail to understand how people can be so apathetic and ignorant when it comes to recognizing, appreciating, respecting and valuing the history this country has to offer.

The heritage of our country, instead of being preserved and managed, is being neglected, and what is worse, abused. Museums are for the most part devoid of visitors and those that do attract tourists are suffering from public apathy. For most of the people who visit museums, it is just another 20 minute stop in their itinerary and once they realise that all the rooms are full of glass cases with old things, they look for the nearest exit.

I visited the Albert Hall (Central) Museum in Jaipur recently which is housed in a hundred and thirty two year old magnificent building. The museum has been refurbished recently and made more shiny and nice looking in an attempt to rid museums of the reputation for being dusty and morose places. And on the whole they have succeeded pretty well. Except that they did not take into consideration the utter lack of interest and value for heritage in our people. All around the museum there are signs asking people (in two languages) not to touch the glass cases. Do we read them? Maybe. Do we follow the instruction? You think?


The museum has a lot of different types of artefacts ranging from metal to textiles. In the sculpture section they have several rare pieces which will be difficult to find now. Unfortunately the curator has too much faith in people and more importantly parents. While I stood there, a family of 5 arrives and while the parents look around them confused, their 8 yr old daughter rubs her hand along the length of the sculpture are she walks past it. And mind you we’re talking of something that could be as old as 600 years. Several countries in the world aren’t that old.

On the lower level the building has open court yards (protected as much as they can from pigeons using it as an open air toilet) with marble fountains as old as the building. But do we care? No. We encourage our children to go play in the water while we take photographs. Morons.


I also happened to visit the Amber fort in Jaipur. Here I see people who decide to test the strength of 400 year old marble railings opening out on a 100 foot ledge. I did my good deed of the day and went and told this couple reposing on one such railing, very politely may I add, that although I understand they are tired and want to sit, a 400 year old railing isn’t the place to do it. They thought I was loony. Fools.

And then there is the whole forbidden fruit syndrome or more culturally appropriate Laxman rekha temptation. A lot of areas of the fort were cordoned off for restoration purposes, for conservation of the monument or for the safety of the tourist. But no. We see a rope and we have to cross it. So then we have people making their children cross the ropes and pose for pictures in the middle of a no walking area and buffoons leaning over ropes to run their hands over the original walls just because they are told not to. Luckily the guards are either being paid more or are really satisfied with their jobs because they burst into whistle and movement when this happened. More power to them.

And don’t even get me started on how we feel the need to express our love (or stupidity) on any surface that stands still enough. Imbeciles. Should be shot or something.


We’ll go to other countries and pay big money to see three feet of crumbling wall cordoned by thick ropes, we’ll wait hours in a line to see empty stone rooms with small square panels of cloth under plexiglas depicting what ‘might’ have been used as drapery, we’ll voluntarily go to museums and look at collections of old pots and pans, we’ll even ooh and ah at pictorial depictions of the history (measly 100 or 200 years of it) of whichever country we are in at the time, - all in the name of tourism.

What about all that our country has to offer? What about our own walls which are still standing proud and strong, the rooms that are still lined with gold and paint, the museums that tell you that which was, the history that reverberates across the land in every fort and palace there is?

Is it a case of having so much that you take it for granted? Or is it that we’re a race that just doesn’t know how to appreciate what we have? Whatever the reason, we end up looking like imbeciles and fools.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Dog Tails

I'm spending all my time in Jaipur washing my hands - apparently they taste better than the expensive chewy toy we got for the dog. I wanted to write a post on the madness that is my dog, but there is so much one can say that i decided not to. Pictures are so much easier to put up.