Saturday, December 29, 2007

Benazir - Assassination & After

Benazir Bhutto's assassination came as a shock to most people despite frequent death threats & attempts on her life lately. Personally, I felt that the most tragic part of it all was when no one stepped near her SUV to get her medical aid for over 10 minutes after the bullets were pumped inside her & the suicide bomber had blown himself up. Not that it would have saved her life (AK47 bullets fired from close range hardly allow that), but the trauma of bleeding to one's death is of the worst kind.

As expected, the blame game for her assassination has already started and so has the bloodbath in Pakistan. In the mean time Benazir's last rites have been performed and her 'will' has also been read. Benazir has named her 19-year old son Bilawal as her successor to party leadership of Pakistan's People party. This truly baffles me for two reasons. One - can you really name a successor to a 'political party' in your will? Shouldn't a party leader by 'elected' by party members? Two - does Bilawal have the maturity/knowledge to lead Pakistan's most influential political party and elections looming large?

And there we were - mourning the death of democracy in Pakistan ... a little prematurely, I suppose.

Picture courtesy:

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Modi is Gujarat CM .. again

The poll results are out - Narendra Modi has won Gujarat elections again. His victory is being touted as 'historical' by the media. It surely is historical in more ways than one. People of the state have elected him Chief Minister in spite of the Tehelka expose` on his involvement in carnage of Muslims in the state, in spite of his openly admitting to getting Sohrabuddin killed in fake encounter, in spite of Sonia Gandhi calling him & his party 'maut ke saudagar' in one of the election rallies (I am no supporter of Sonia either & detest this kind of political circus jargon. Also, this name-calling has apparently helped his popularity as per this post-election analysis on and in spite of media openly writing about his religious fanaticism.

Modi's win does not come as a surprise to me. I have seen Laloo/Rabri being brought to power over & over again in Bihar or for that matter Jailalitha too in TN. The charges against leaders in both cases being that of corruption. I don't condone corruption, but I definitely consider it to be a lesser crime than merciless killing of people in the name of religion. But looks like the junta of Gujarat doesn't seem to mind Modi's wrong-doings or they think killing people is just a part of life (as evident from the crowd's response on Sohrabuddin's killing in one of the election rallies). Yes, I acknowledge that he is a good administrator and seems to have taken several steps for the betterment of the state. But the fact that he is a religious fanatic and was involved in state-sponsored killings of Muslims overshadows it.
For me Modi's win means re-establishment of the fact that we live in a pseudo-secular country and that minorities in our country remain just that - minorities. It is the vote of majority of population that eventually matters.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Read this on Itchy Feet's blog:

"Once you have travelled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey" — Pat Conroy

I think that's exactly what is happening with me right now ...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Back from Sikkim

Just got back from Sikkim and thought of writing about my travel experience. But found it very difficult to sum up the beauty of the place in just a few words. So decided to put some pictures instead ..

A view of NHPC Township in Singtam where we stayed -

The giant statue of Guru Padmasambhava at Samdruptse. The Guru's angry expression got me a little confused -

Temi Tea Gardens -

With Vandana at Temi Tea Gardens -

A view of Chhangu lake surrounded by snow covered mountains. The lake had started freezing already & was expected to be totally frozen in a couple of weeks -

This spot was around 13,000 feet above sea level and temperatures were around -5 degrees -

It had snowed a day before and everything was pristine white ...

At Rumtek Monastery near Gangtok. It is arguably one of the richest monasteries in the world and contains the relics of the 16th Karmapa -

The monastery had beautiful carvings in traditional Tibetan style. A corridor in the monastery -

At a viewpoint called Hanuman Tok. On a good day the Kanchenjunga range is clearly visible from this spot. We didn't get so lucky -

This one is my favorite .. with my nephews Shivank & Shreyas in the balcony of our guest house at Gangtok -

Who is the naughtiest of them all? At home in Singtam with Shivank & Shreyas again -

This was the last photo I took on our way back from Sikkim .. the sun was going to set while river Teesta flowed on ....

Monday, December 3, 2007

North East beckons ..

I will be heading to North Eastern part of India in a few days. I had been planning this trip for the past seven years now - ever since my eldest sister & brother-in-law moved to Sikkim. Finally I am going to be there ... with almost no cellphone coverage and absolutely no access to the Internet. That's what I call Paradise!

I am hoping to be back (not-so-soon) with loads of pictures .. and even more memories ...

Picture courtesy: