Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Funny Quote

"If two wrongs don't make a right, try three." - Laurence J. Peter


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happiness & Memories Ahead ..

Two of my very close friends Rajesh & Renuka are getting married today (to each other :) ). Unfortunately I was not able to make it to their wedding. I wish them a blissful life ahead and many many years of happiness, togetherness and memories. Congrats both of you!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Of Nose Rings & Tattoos

Read a piece in today's Bangalore Times about the tattoo that the one-day cricket captain Dhoni has acquired. The writer has spoken to a tattoo artist to understand what the tattoo design represents. Also, there is a comment from Bangalore's fashion guru Prasad Bidappa that the tattoo is Dhoni's statement that he has grown up - probably from his small town background (I had trouble understanding his statement about the small town bit, but this is the closest I could get). And also, that he is capable of doing things which senior players in the team would not even think of. But then, how can one be so sure? There could be a tattoo or two hidden somewhere in Dravid or Sachin's body too, who knows! :)

I didn't think getting a tattoo could be interpreted in so many interesting ways. But then, if you decide to get some permanent change done in your body, criticism always follows - in both positive and negative ways. I have also been interested in getting a small tattoo done & my nose pierced (so I could wear a nose ring) for quite some time now. The other day I happened to discuss about nose-ring with two of my very close friends Nisha & Preethi. They had some interesting things to say about women who wear nose-rings. They said nose-ring lends an air of promiscuity to the woman and also it looks unprofessional (especially in our workplace kind of setup, where it is against our dress code even to sport a "visible" tattoo). I am yet to figure out how one "looks" promiscuous as against being one :). My nose piercing plan has been butt of many jokes ever since - like when I said I was planning to pledge my eyes for donation, pat they said "Eye donation is ok, but don't ever think of donating your nose!". I have also been threatened of being disowned if I go ahead with my plans :D.
Personally I don't think getting a tattoo or wearing a nose ring is such a big deal as long as it suits your personality. I just decided to do a dress-rehearsal before getting my nose pierced. So I bought a nose ring when I went shopping last & tried it on. I didn't think it looked bad .. so I am all set to take the plunge!
Dhoni's picture courtesy:

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I had been dismissing newspaper reports on Nandigram for the past few days as merely a political circus between the Left parties and Trinamool Congress (something like the power games in Karnataka between JD(S) & BJP). My not watching any television for the past few weeks added to my ignorance. My assumption couldn't have been further from reality! It was this article by Amit Varma on his blog that made me sit up and realize that what has been happening in Nandigram is more than just power games between political parties nor it is just a 'state subject' that cannot even be raised in the parliament.

It was an act of human rights violation by none other than the government itself in the name of eminent domain and industrial growth. Simply put, eminent domain means that the government has the right to seize private property of any citizen and put it to 'public use'. So the West Bengal government decided to give the land in Nandigram (near Haldia) to Salim Group of Indonesia as an SEZ to set up a chemical hub. The land I am talking about is no small piece - it is 14,000 acres spanning across 29 villages and currently houses a population of 40,000! That this land belonged to some poor farmers who have no other source of income other than cultivating this land was just a minor inconvenience for the government. After all, there was recourse to Eminent Domain that can get it done easily.

But things did not happen as per the plan as the farmers did not give up their land easily and decided to protest this land seize. This resulted in the infamous massacre of 14th March 2007 where activists from many factions of the ruling Left party mercilessly killed many villagers and police was a mute spectator! Needless to say that the government denied any involvement in these killings and dismissed these killings blatantly. There have been multiple rounds of violence since then (the latest being in November) and many have lost their lives. Eminent personalities like Medha Patkar, Mahasweta Devi, Aparna Sen, Arundhati Roy have raised their voice against State Government's apathy & apparent involvement in this act of violence. The West Bengal Governor Gopal Krishna Gandhi has also condemned the govt for its handling of this issue. An enquiry by CBI has also been ordered in this matter. The govt has since then announced that it would give another piece of land and not Nandigram for developing the SEZ to Salim Group - this would be a sparsely populated land in the island of Nayachar.

Probably the problem has been solved for now. But there are many questions which still remain unanswered -
  • Why did the govt choose Nandigram (well populated) and NOT Nayachar (sparsely populated) for developing the SEZ in the first place? Haven't they heard of something as simple as feasibility study?
  • If the villagers had not protested and taken the land seizure lying down, we would never have even heard of Nandigram. In our country, do we get justice ONLY WHEN we protest the injustice?
  • Will those guilty of these killings ever be brought to justice? There have been way too many scandals & expose`s but I have seen very few from the govt actually being punished
  • Does the government have the right to seize property of any citizen without providing any alternatives? Yes, I know it is the law as per our constitution, but what kind of a law is this??

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Some Funny Prints

I have a bad habit of noticing spelling mistakes in everything I read, thereby causing a lot of annoyance to people around me. The good side of it is I can think of an alternate career in proof-reading when I get fed with of my current line of work. Anyway, I found this totally phonetic spelling of Veg/non-veg in the menu card of a restaurant in Sawantwadi on our way to Goa:

When we were at Calangute beach, I noticed a board showing directions to Baga beach & Fort Aguada and along with it was that for 'Sulabh Shauchalaya'. That's a very thoughtful gesture I would say ;)

But the best one was this store which sold some 'genuine' stuff. Just the name was enough to convince the shoppers of the ingenuity of the store :). And what did they sell - leather stuff, jewelry or clothes?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Go Goa!

Just got back after my 4-day trip to Goa. My skin is all tanned but the heart is content & the mind is full of great memories. The trip was perfect in more ways than one - the place, the weather, the company. We (Vandana, Colin, Pallab, Rudra & me) managed to do things which are different from regular touristy stuff; mainly because of Colin as Goa is his native place and he knows about all the right places there. We stayed at his cousin's apartment in Aldona - a quaint little town near Mapusa in northern Goa. Each house in the neighborhood seemed to have a story to tell.

Our first evening was spent strolling at Calangute beach and a sumptuous dinner at Souza Lobo's. The all time hit songs played by the band made us all do an impromptu dance gig with some other diners. Next day was spent at Chapora Fort (the one in movie Dil Chahta Hai) & dipping & sun-bathing at Ozran beach. Evening was spent at Baga beach & a boat ride into deep sea at sunset. The dinner was planned at the jetty in Dona Paula but unfortunately it was closed that day. But the drive through Panaji, Miramar & Dona Paula more than made up for it. So we dined at Calangute beach instead where Colin cut his birthday cake & opened a champagne bottle.
Destination for day three was Arambol beach - a beautiful beach about an hour's drive from our place. On one side of the beach was the sea (it was a little rough that day) and a small fresh water lake on the other side. The water was only 4 feet deep in the lake and lot of people were skinny-dipping in it. Dinner was again at Souza Lobo's to celebrate Colin's birthday (sans alcohol as it was a dry day in Goa :( ). This time it was another band playing and the male singer had an extremely good voice (similar to Robbie Williams') and he had an eye for our 'pretty boy' Pallab ;). We managed to find a place after midnight (St. Anthony's I think at Baga beach) which was serving alcohol and we spent hours there and left when we were extremely drunk and the place closed for the night (around 2 AM).
Day four was a touch-and-go visit to Fort Aguada and the jail from where Charles Shobraj had escaped & some shopping (wines, cashews etc). And before we realized it was time to leave. Like all good things our vacation, too, had come to an end. We spent our drive to Belgaum discussing about the next weekend get-away.
I always like places where I go as a traveller and not as a tourist. I have visited Goa as both and I am glad I was a traveller this time ...