Sunday, December 31, 2006

CONSUMING THE SELF

Like the eye of a storm;
The silence held,
dripping like blood,
Only a while it stayed.

And then the silence was gone.
It was torn apart,
By a pack of wolves,
So immense and horrific.

Peace, in shreds.
The blood dripping.
He begged of them,
They payed no heed.

They howled and laughed,
And carried away chunks
Of his flesh, in their mouths,
Red in greed, and malice

He heard his every cell
Shriek in pain,
He was going to fall apart.
He tried to choke his scream,

He had killed his dream.
Only for a while,
He hit back at the beasts,
And tried to flee.

Then he picked them up
His own body parts.
He started eating them,
Was he consuming himself ?

He had prayed to thee.
Did you hear him ?
Could you see ?
Was he consuming himself ?

Were those beasts inside him ?
Or were they outside his existence ?
To put himself together;
He had to consume the self.

From beasts to angels
They had transformed.
None can consume himself,
He had only consumed his ego.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Nobel Lecture - Prof. Yunus

" ... the assumption that entrepreneurs are one-dimensional human beings, who are dedicated to one mission in their business lives − to maximize profit. This interpretation of capitalism insulates the entrepreneurs from all political, emotional, social, spiritual, environmental dimensions of their lives. This was done perhaps as a reasonable simplification, but it stripped away the very essentials of human life.

Human beings are a wonderful creation embodied with limitless human qualities and capabilities. Our theoretical constructs should make room for the blossoming of those qualities, not assume them away.
...
By defining "entrepreneur" in a broader way we can change the character of capitalism radically, and solve many of the unresolved social and economic problems within the scope of the free market. Let us suppose an entrepreneur, instead of having a single source of motivation (such as, maximizing profit), now has two sources of motivation, which are mutually exclusive, but equally compelling − a) maximization of profit and b) doing good to people and the world.
Each type of motivation will lead to a separate kind of business. Let us call the first type of business a profit-maximizing business, and the second type of business as social business.
Social business will be a new kind of business introduced in the market place with the objective of making a difference in the world."

First read at Sujit's Orkut Profile.
Read the complete Nobel Lecture.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Journal Entries - 2 more metros.

The best things about Delhi are its wide roads and smoke free vehicles running on CNG - pollution was very low and winter was just setting in. Reaching there on 4th Dec and after finishing off with VISA formalities at the US Embassy @ Chanakyapuri on 5th Dec, I headed to Connaught Place and did some bit of impulsive shopping. Had (junk) food at Nirula's and reached the airport to find the flight delayed by more than two hours (Jet). Bought a Tintin Collection of '3 books in 1' at the airport. A short trip ...

Reached Howrah on 10th Dec, visited grandfather's place; he was hospitalized (AMRI Hospital, Gariahat) on 14th Dec - the day of a nation-wide CITU strike; as he had acute bronchial congestion and related medical complexities. Met up with all my cousins, maternal aunts and other relatives. Came back to Bangalore on 19th Dec.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Open Source Conference : FOSS.IN 2006

The CAT (for IIMs) did not go very well for me – made lots of mistakes – completely unknowingly. It all depends on the day of the exam – make or break happens – how much ever you prepare.

I was at FOSS.IN 2006 (http://foss.in/2006) conference being held at the IISc, Bangalore; for the past two days.

Java has been open sourced under GPL 2.0 – just as Sun did with OpenSolaris last year. They were one of the prime sponsors for the event along with Geodesic.

There was this nice distro from National Research Centre & CDAC called BOSS, with 3D GNOME desktop and plug&play USB support – things which are becoming commonplace these days. There were people all over the place using their wi-fi enabled laptops, running Linux. Linux has definitely matured on the desktop but is yet to catch up with Mac OS, which MS Vista has been able to copy feature for feature. The UN Development Program had a stall too and discussions on bridging the digital divide, social aspects of OSS, localization in Indian languages, the $100 PC by MIT being spearheaded by Nicholas Negroponte etc were topics discussed. There was a discussion on Day 2 about Linux in India for the past ten years – issues such as student participation. Lack of initiative in Indians and low contribution in open source came up – one speaker went up to the extent of saying “Indians still suffer from the colonial mindset and need masters to tell them what to do – only the micromanaged scenarios bring success, new innovations are not easily observed”.

Sun, Google, IBM were among the other sponsors having stalls. There was a lecture session I attended where a German kernel hacker (Harald Welte) who displayed tools and techniques (bitbake) for embedded Linux on the Amida Simputer - a handheld running Linux - made by BEL & PicoPeta (now taken over by Geodesic – the company where Atul Chitnis works - the open source evangelist and the lead organizing the FOSS earlier Linux Bangalore event since 2001). Google was on a hiring drive for their Bangalore center, encouraging resume drops etc. The Wipro stall disappointed without any data on whatever was asked, with the volunteers fumbling with general answers. Saw ABB for the first time - they are a prime player in the field of industrial automation.

We use GCC for our project extensively based on GCC ARM and also GCC PPC/WIN32; an amazingly robust compiler toolchain. Appreciable - the technical prowess/capabilities of the Open Source community and the development model.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

One of the best books I have read ...

The book I am currently reading is one of the best books I have read till date. It weaves a mellow tale so deftly, at once dreamy and languorous, yet fast paced and exciting: The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh.



More links here & some reviews here.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Saint, the Surfer, and the CEO


Update : This book is essential reading; especially the third portion regarding the conversations with the CEO. Makes a lot of sense in any professional sphere.

Here is a lovely book that I am reading currently: 'The Saint, the Surfer, and the CEO: A Remarkable Story About Living Your Heart's Desires' by Robin Sharma.



Recommended for a quick read, though it repackages the eastern and western thoughts on self-realization, wisdom and series of thoughts/quotations it does elucidate on some surprising insights. Also contains a series of modern day tales/yarns through three persons that the protagonist meets to learn new lessons and heal his life's wounds. Those searching for answers or feeling a void, may get some useful pointers from this book by the personality development expert Robin Sharma. An engaging read ...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Brush Strokes - Excuse me, as I take up the brush ...

Well thats more like a cartoon, seriously I should be doing cartooning ;)
Tried my hand at water colours after a loooong while - just to see the effect :)
Was actually triggered by this cute kid right in front of my house,
who was playing around with his toy pistol during Diwali !
Whether a cartoon or the simplest of watercolours whatever you feel, feedback welcommen ...

BackHome

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Questions I ponder over ...

Is religion a kind of psychological therapy and the rituals a method of social bonding/enhancing community feelings/ providing some peace of mind.
Why is a belief system necessary, is it again a kind of psychological anchor - the god / divine entity.
Were the rituals and the supposed high-handedness of Brahmins in the Hindu society of yore for exploiting or were they a very inquisitive, learned clan/set of people who got arrogant or was it a simple case of methods of maintaining self-confidence. Many of the customs may not make sense now - arguable; since some do have scientific moorings too.
The good/evil aspect is reinforced by religion but can also lead to misinterpretations and rigid stereotypes - as I was watching in the deftly directed movie 'Munich' by Spielberg on the Jew/Muslim divide in the middle-east and the rampant intense hatred.
Some theories are very abstract but help in explaining the unknown aspects of the universe - such as Advaita. At some point the scientific merges with the metahysical/philosophical - the short story 'The Last Question' by Asimov was a good read and talks of this.
The idealists (what is, is different from what you see) vs the realist (what you see is what there is) has been a long-standing debate - the realists seem to be winning from the prevalent emphasis on material aspects of the society but then does majority always win or is it the case of 'the meek shall inherit the earth' ?
Is there a hidden side of things/people/psyche etc; what people display as external and what is internal/hidden - or is it totally circumstance based ?
Why are certain emotions considered as negative by the society, though they are valid and part of the natural emotion sample space - probably based on the evidence that they ruin lives more than their purported positive influences.
Some emotions are considered taboo in society - it has different aspects in different spheres - the volume of thoughts also get passed on from one generation to the next and continuously evolve becoming more/less acceptable - mental evolution as against physical which reminds me of Amitav Ghosh's Calcutta Chromosome - a 'thought chromosome' that also mutates.
Well, how can people reconcile the mundane things with more universal concerns. The poor have to think about their next meal and cannot indulge in arts/thinking/philosophy/higher aspects of administration etc. but there are stories that break this stereotype too ... from both the haves and have-nots. Does that mean they are not capable of higher things? If given an opportunity anyone can break the greatest of hurdles; but when do we start diverting, deviating into unproductive activities by getting complacent. What is productive and what is unproductive activity ? Who decides ?
Why are the arts nowadays ranked at a lower position than science/engineering? Is it because they are not directly applicable to human upliftment/civilization. The utility aspect as in economics ? 'Show me the money honey' culture; unless you are a celebrated artist making millions from your paintings etc.
Everything has its rightful place in the universe/minds of men; is what I can conclude.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Lessons from life & patterns of the mind

There are ways in which certain emotions get unnecessarily amplified. Prejudice, anger, jealousy and fear, to name a few. The more you dwell on associating these with specific people/events/situations, the more they seem to gain an upper hand; and only through a sudden wakeup call, such as an incident or a counter-experience are we jolted into awareness and realize how conceited or mistaken we might have been. A re-patterning of the mind, every once a while is absolutely necessary.
Talking of patterns and networks of patterns in the mind and concentration, which, I was reading in Edward de Bono's book 'I Am Right, You Are Wrong' - one topic struck me; in one chapter he talks of attuning the mind to the current task, which tends to make completing or wading through it much more effective. For example, he says when you give the mind the signal 'look for people wearing red caps only, in the stadium' - the action of finding such specimens becomes much more easy, almost automatic - basically the patterns related to red, caps, etc become active and the search too happens faster as the mind looks only for those active patterns. Though a very simple technique it can have a huge impact on several aspects of everyday life, be it professional or academic. Having applied it consciously already, I'd say as in that chewing gum ad: 'Its working' !
The book is replete with the workings of the mind, with several lucid examples. A must read and I am still reading it ...

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

THE PUJA DAYS

They came and went with great speed. At the durga puja this time, met up with old friends including some after a long while; now all spread far and wide across India, some busy with work, others with studies. Missed a few who had gone elsewhere, during the pujas. 4-5 days of the usual pujas, serving food (bhog), revelry & cultural activity, happened. Find more at the Jayamahal Puja blog, some pics here (Soham's Flickr page). To come out of the festive mood is a bit difficult. Shubho Bijoya to one and all, and let peace pervade.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

'Samaja Varagamana'

I got the songs of the movie 'Morning Raga' from a colleague (Shashank). There is this song called 'Samaja Varagamana' (Raag Hindola ? Not sure I'd understand anyways). But the classical base and the western fusion effect (Music by Mani Sharma and Amit Heri) in the song makes one transcend the normal plane of existence. One of the best songs I have ever heard (may seem exaggerated but I have been listening to it in a loop for past three days) - it is just amazing. Sung by Gayathri the sudden shift in the melody to a high pitched tone adds to the ecstacy. Music I reiterate can be intoxicating ... !!! The song 'Mahaganapatim' by Bombay Jayashree is also good, most other fusion tracks from the movie, with a strong dose of Indian classical music (Carnatic mostly) are a treat to the ears.
Currently reading: 'I Am Right You Are Wrong' by Edward de Bono.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Jayamahal Durga Puja !!!

A brand new blog for The Jayamahal Durga Puja !!!





The Jayamahal Durga Puja is held at the Jayamahal Ladies Club grounds off Nandidurg Main Road, Jayamahal, Bangalore (close to Cantonment area).

THIS YEAR - From Sep 27 – Oct 02 , 2006.
Visit us to feel the essence of bengali culture, traditions, food and live the festive Pujo spirit right here at Bangalore !!!

Updates coming soon on schedule of events etc ...

DO LINK TO THE SITE from your blogs/websites etc.
And pass it on to your bong-mates (read bengali friends/colleagues/neighbours/girlfriends ;) etc)

http://jayamahaldurgapuja.blogspot.com/

AND ALL THOSE WHO ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING ...

BE THERE TO IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE DEVOTION & RICH CULTURAL HERITAGE from the Sep 27 – Oct 02 , 2006



Sunday, August 27, 2006

God of the people.

Ganesha (in Sanskrit) = Gana (People) + Eshwaraa (God) : God of the people

Let me see if I have the facts (basically the myth) right ...
Ganesh is the son (intelligent and very clever) of Shiva and Parvati.
For the appearance part, the story goes like this (this tale has two variants):
  • Goddess Parvati asks her brother Shani-deva to see her son, Ganesh and even after his refusals he is forced to view him, which results in the severing of his head.
  • Goddess Parvati goes to take bath and sets Ganesha as guard, who refuses Shiva into the place wherein in anger Shiva slices off his head.
  • Later as a replacement, the felled Airavata's head is used or something of the sort ...
Interestingly, this makes me think about how varied our folklores and religious mythologies are ...
Like Ganesha is the Siddhidaayakaa - the bestower of success !
He has two wives (Siddhi and Buddhi - Success and Wisdom) - not sure if everyone agrees with this line of thought.
However the symbolism attached to these tales and the underlying divinity represented by the easily recognizable forms, is what is important to remember.

One thing is for sure - He is the 'cutest' of gods in the Hindu pantheon :-), the chubby lord being a favourite among kids and adults alike.
With modaka (laddu) in one hand and the mooshika vahana (mouse as his vehicle - a PC sounds familiar ;-)).
'Ekadantaya, Vakratundaya, Gauritanayaydhemahi, Ganadheesha ...' the recent rendition by Shankar Mahadevan sums up all the various names for the Vighnavinashaka, fine ....



What, indeed, when he sang to Allah in Rag Bhairav (composed for Shiva) and brought to tears the Iraqi maulana who had just told him music was blasphemy, “evil, a trap of the devil”. Khan Saheb said, “I told him, Maulana, I will sing to Allah. All I ask you is to be fair. And when I finished I asked him if it is blasphemy. He was speechless.” And then Khan Saheb told me with that trademark mischievous glint: “But I did not tell him it was in Rag Bhairav.”
Read more here:

Khan Saheb in Kashi by Shekhar Gupta (Saturday, August 26, 2006) - Indian Express



Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A genius passes away ...

After a bad day at work, was coming back home; it was past 9 pm, and the cabbie was playing Radio City 91 FM. It was so atrocious with western music especially hip-hop and all those irritating new-age techno forms of music, that I got a severe headache.
Indian music is so much better ......
As soon I reached home, I found Doordarshan was playing a documentary on Ustad Bismillah Khan, who I had heard in the afternoon, had passed away.
What brilliant music, those sweet strains of shehnai, godly, as if speaking a language of its own. And then those sudden variations - so melodious. Cannot describe the sheer joy, trying to keep track of those talas etc, my headache had vanished; I was so intoxicated in the Ustad's magical spell. The intoxication through music is so high, why do people even think of alcohol ???

A genius (Bharat Ratna, 2001) passed away yesterday. A short history here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bismillah_Khan

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Three Books.

I cannot describe the joy of reading 'The Argumentative Indian' which I am reading since months; ever so slowly as if savouring a delicious dish, bit by bit; but in one of his essay which I am currently reading, he seems to be repeating very common sense things about gender disparity, class hierarchies and their economic effects – that may seem so much mundane for us Indians. Amartya Sen, the economist comes across as more of an analytical mind capable of deconstructing complex issues into social theories and economic ideas.

On the other hand is the economist, Jeffrey Sachs who is an activist non-parallel, the father of the UN Milennium Development Goals with the goal of ending poverty or atleast having mission statements to reduce it to acceptable levels by 2015; which is indeed commendable. With the extensive consultancy and economic turnarounds that he has been able to demonstrate in countries such as Bolivia, Poland etc, which is a part of the other book I am also currently reading 'The End of Poverty' – delving into the reasons for extreme poverty and the application of clinical economics to eliminate the same; these goals too, seem very much achievable.

Also read the short story 'The Mount of Kilimanjaro' by Hemingway; from his short story collection, 'The First Fourty-Nine Stories' - liked its abrupt, hallucination-like ending.



Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Bigot Repents

The Bigot

The bigot repents after a fit of violence in a frenzy of anger and retribution, mad rage and bigotry, ill-will and blind fundamentalism ...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Namesake



Having read Jhumpa Lahiri's Pulitzer winning short story collection, 'The Interpreter of Maladies'; which was a well crafted kaleidoscope on NRI lives, their emotions, circumstances and events I took up The Namesake with great expectations. The prose itself is very descriptive and starts off by delving into the life of an NRI couple in United States, a professor at MIT, Ashoke Ganguli and his wife Ashima. Soon the focus shifts to their son Gogol – the strange name is after the famous Russian writer Nikolai Gogol and the background behind this name forms a bedrock for the entire narrative and the disconnected life of the protagonist. How Gogol is frustrated with the name, wants to change it and finally gets to know the reason behind the name; as he grows up, comes of age and moves into the profession of an architect going through many transitions, relationships and many ups and downs of life.

The story revolves around various events in the lives of the members of this particular Bengali family – the same old stuff you would expect – life without moorings, feelings of angst, not relating to the bengali traditions etc; but for the pace of events and crucial turning points which are deftly handled - many shocking and jarring occurrences are handled matter of factly, and thus forms a perfect weave. No magic realism or dreamy stuff, the language is clear cut and the places and people seem straight out of some TV serial – sometimes certain portions get stretched too long. How the concept of independence is misused and people themselves get detached from the family and the selfish, amoral lives led by certain sections of the American society and the western world (Paris is a bookmark for this in the book) is something which comes out from the book. The book lacks any great intensity, but on the plus side this makes the story less cloying. Except for some evocative parts, it is overall neither disappointing nor a great piece of literature – quite readable would be my verdict.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The unthinkable happens ...

No one is infallible.
The champions were vanquished as if benumbed under some spell of that wizard Zidane and the blistering speed of Henry or were they haunted by memories of 1998 finals ? They were no match, not able to come-back after they went down 1-0 in the 57th minute. I went back to sleep in absolute silence after the match.
The South Americans now with the exit of both Argentina and Brazil must be in deep mourning - I expected these two to meet in the finals.
Current mood: Slightly dazed.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Argentina's Self Goal

Argentine coach made a big blunder when he substituted Riquelme and Crespo. It cost them in the penalty shootouts. And then the better goalkeeper getting injured and having to be replaced with the substitute goalie was a double blow; third and final blow : Messi was hidden away by Pekerman somewhere... Argentina had greater possession and were playing much better, attacking football. German keeper Lehmann also will need to be given credit for blocking off the penalties. The other match seemed to have gone one-sided with Italy winning 3-0.
Will watch both the matches today. Want England to lose ... Portugal are a better team. And hooray for Brazil - Viva Brazil !!!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

GOAAAAAAAL


HERE IS AN ARTICLE I HAD WRITTEN SOME DAYS BACK, ON THE SPIRIT OF WORLD CUP FOOTBALL ...


By the way, the first 'round of 16' match had Germany on a roll with 2 goals by Lucas Podolsky, the second one being especially cleverly setup by Klose. The Swedish side seemed totally lost, even missing a penality at such a crucial juncture ...


Saturday, June 24, 2006

'My Name is Red' by Orhan Pamuk

A book that starts with the statement 'I am nothing but a corpse now, a body at the bottom of a well' promises to be a thrilling murder mystery right from the onset, but what makes the book even more exciting, is the exotic setting of this turkish novel. Set in Istanbul during the sixteenth century, the book looks into the politics, philosophy, artistry and lives of miniaturists. The best of the miniaturists there, under a master painter are set upon the task of creating a book of paintings, by the Ottoman emperor. As the work is proceeding, one of the miniaturists gets murdered and a pall of suspicion mires the religious leaders, fellow painters and others, even as the reason or motive behind the murder remains shrouded in the numerous alternatives.



The dichotomy between the newer western style and the eastern form prevalent from the time of the great masters creates a complex political scene, that is handled in such an elegant manner by the author that it never gets jarring or overtly political. Literature at its height, the book seems to follow a unique style of switching to each chapter with a first person narrative by a different person. Most characters in the story get to present their perspective/their side of the tale; including inanimate objects like the paintings, corpses, the mysterious murderer. The pacing with the twists and turns, enlightening insights into the colouring, guilding, sketching and painting techniques; the turmoil in the personal lives of the miniaturists their emotions and longings, suspicions and schemes, doubts and ideas; is just right for a book that runs for more than 500 pages. The message comes through that each painter should have a style of his own and should neither stick only to the old or ape the newer western techniques. The ending is like a dream and also brings in the author Orhan as a part of the story.
A must read for lovers of literature, this superlative work of the art of fiction.







Watched the movie 'Crash' - a very good and complex movie which tries to dispell the concept of racial stereotypes in America, by portraying the characters from different races and immigrants in an interconnected set of incidents. Worth watching, as each actor gives excellent, emotive performances. Had got the DVD from a colleague (Nitin).



SOME REVIEWS HERE

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Portugal beat Iran 2:0


(Source: fifaworldcup.com)

Lots of visible talent in this Portuguese side - Ronaldo, Miguel, Deko and Figo. The 21-year old namesake of the more illustrous Ronaldo from Brazil is currently doing much better and seems to possess skills for some amazing footwork and a speed to match - a player to look out for. The shot from Deko that went into the goal like a bullet from a distance of some 30 feet in the 63rd minute and the 80th minute penallty success by Ronaldo helped beat the Iranians. But not without some good offence from the Iran team, they have a clutch of good players and had chances aplenty some so close to a goal, that it is sad that they could not convert. The players from the nation in conflict would be going back home after their next match with Angola.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Day 3 - Holland Win ...


(Source: fifaworldcup.com)

A rather tame match between Holland and Serbia; except for Robben's master skills (he plays chess too I believe), which made the solitary goal possible thus giving Holland their first win. Both sides attacked often, but could not convert their chances, definitely more entertaining and aggressive than yesterday's England-Paraguay match.

Day 2 - Lacklustre England - Superb Trinidad ...


(Trinidad and Tobago players Dwight Yorke, Shaka Hislop and Dennis Lawrence celebrate claiming a point from their opening 2006 FIFA World Cup™ match against Sweden. The contest finished 0-0. PHOTO / ARIS MESSINIS; Copyright: AFP)

The English team was so tactless, except one or two moves by Beckham, the self/own goal by Paraguay in the fourth minute carried England through to a 1:0 victory - dismal match. The next match was real good, people had written off Trinidad & Tobago and expected a drubbing, but I had my doubts about T&T - which turned out to be a very capable side, they held off the Swedes to a goalless draw. The Trinidad goalkeeper (Shaka Hislop) is marvellous, with some five or six brilliant saves which would have otherwise been sure goals. As usual did not have the energy left for the 3rd match, which seemed to have been an entertaining one (Argentina vs Ivory Coast).

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Here comes the Football season.



(Image source: fifaworldcup.com)

Wow ! What a way to kickoff the World Cup 2006, the opening match between Germany and Costa Rica was an absolute treat with each of those six goals. The last German goal was a stunner having been struck from such a long distance, leaving the goalie dazed and staring unbelievably, after the unsuccessful dive towards his left. The first goal too was a beauty - the superb curl from the left by the German Lahm, the ball striking the post and slipping inside, in a flash. The Costa-Ricans were never fully out of the game and attacked well, however both sides seemed to have weak defences. The ball seems very very light these days - would love to play with such a ball - if I get a chance; reminded of those days when I was the striker + captain, in school (12th std to be precise - you have to believe me, locate and ask my classmates if you don't). Was too tired to catch the next one between the Poles and Ecuador at 12:30 am. The kind of interest and energy the FIFA World Cup tournament can infuse is enormous. Call it a global energy switch - right now switched on !

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Da Vinci Code



(Image Source: RogerEbert.com)

I was wondering, is this the same Tom Hanks that I saw in 'The Terminal' ? He acts cold in the role of an expert symbologist Robert Langdon and yet tries to act funny at times - never manages to connect to the audience. The acting from Audrey Tautou (playing Sophie Nevue) is better, more natural and the person who plays Captain Fasche has on display a controlled emotion througout. Ian McKellen playing 'Leigh Teabing' tries to portray the quintessential British expert and succeeds only to an extent with his quirky and loud dialogue delivery. The person playing Silas the albino is pretty convincing.

Overall the movie is fine - essentially a step by step representation of the book; it is able to capture the essence of the story, Certain chase sequences are marvellous and a sprinkling of humourous scenes and the glimpses of famous paintings and the Louvre museum, make for an enjoyable one time viewing. The conspiracy theory and the events pointing to the church are all displayed in flashback during a discussion when it is explained or revealed so to speak. The conclusion leading to the royal blood line of Christ, with Sophie as the latest descendant also happens in a deadpan manner. Some violent and surprise scenes are well choreographed; for example when the albino Silas attacks Langdon inside Chateau Villete - Teabing's residence is electric. The movie tries to portray the contradictions inherent in Christianity and the Church, the Priory of Sion's attempt to protect the great secret and leaves us thinking with the question at the end: "Will a living descendant of Christ among us, help in increasing or decreasing the faith among men" ?

The audio effects - especially the bullets firing are crisp and distinct thanks to INOX's excellent audio system where I watched it. It was a reunion of sorts with ex-colleagues from BEL (including Sudhakar, Praveen, Santosh and Ranjit and a few other fresh faces) on my first visit to Garuda Mall.

NYTimes review
Roger Ebert's review


COMMENTRY:
To posit that a greater focus on aspects of the self alienates a human being from the objective of greater good towards the community and mankind at large may not be fully justified, but is definitely the general line of reasoning.


The weeping rikishi (sumo wrestler).
CRY

Sunday, May 14, 2006

INDIA'S IDENTITY

A question was raised by my good friend Naveen a few days back:

"I have always had this question.
Did India even exist before the advent of the Europeans? Geographically at one point of time the entire Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanisthan was India and even more before that. There has been no dynasty that has been in absolute power nor there has been a defined geographical boundary to India until the britons took over. Even after their taking over, we were a big chunk of land divided and ruled by Nawabs, Rajas etc. So when we refer to India before independence what are we referring to?"

At that point of time I had tended to accept the general idea that this question presupposes. However I was not fully convinced by what he had said and decided to investigate. On reading the same book further as also looking back on points that I had missed earlier, I find convincing evidence against the line of thought raised by the question. Discussed in the book in much more detail (read the book 'The Argumentative Indian' by Amartya Sen to learn more). I have not completed it yet. And thanks to Naveen's argumentative attitude and my argumentative mind I am closer to the truth, as also Naveen would definitely be if he reads this, as he has 'always had this question'.

To counter and answer the question in the negative, (and since I am not an expert and will rely on the research carried out by experts) I will quote a para or two from the book :

"The British belief, very common in imperial days and not entirely absent now, that it was the Raj that somehow 'created' India reflects not only a pride in alledged authorship, but also some bafflement about the possibility of accomodating so much heterogeneity within the coherent limits of what could be taken to be a pre-existing country"

Sen further writes:
"Yet ... general statements about India and Indians can be found throughout history, from the ancient days of Alexander the Great, of Megasthenes (author of Indika, in the third century BCE), and of Apollonius of Tyana (an India-expert in the first century CE) to the 'medieval' days of Arab and Iranian visitors (who, like Alberuni, wrote so much about the land and the people of India), all the way to the Enlightenment and post-Enlightentment Europe (with heroic generalizations about India presented by Herder, Schelling, Schlegel and Schopenhauer among many others). It is also interesting to note that, in the seventh century CE as the Chinese scholar Yi Jing returned to China after spending ten years in India ... is an attempt at seeing a unity of attitudes in the country as a whole, despite its divisions ... "
"Akbar was one of the ambitious and energetic emperors of India (along with Candragupta Maurya, Ashoka, the later Candragupta of the Gupta dynasty, Alauddin Khilji and others) who would not accept that their regime was complete until the bulk of what they took to be the country was under their unified rule".
...
"Neither the homogeneous conception of a unitary India, nor a view of isolated segments, could take the place of a pluralist India that was establishedwell before Lord Clive began erecting the foundations of the Raj"

This goes on to show that the concept of India and the Indian civilization existing long before the coming of the East India Company, though the borders may not be exactly as they are today. Sen also writes in another essay on how both the superior view of the British and the 'exotic' concept of India by foreigners undermines the essentially and truly rational, argumentative, scientific and cultural aspects of Indian civilization since ages.



Was watching the LOTR trilogy - got the DVD from a colleague, reached midway into 'The Two Towers', will continue next weekend ...

Of words & signals.

The past three days saw a book fair at the workplace, thousands of books on a wide range of topics were on sale. There were discussions, a lecture and a quiz on reading habits and allied topics. There was a strange case of a person who asked a puzzling question - he says he is addicted to buying the best books, but is not able to proceed after reading a few pages; and many other cases and questions that the panel tried to address. Bought a few books from the 'Fountainhead' stall at the fair.

I am having some trouble with the external Dlink dial-up modem (DFM-562E++ - V.92). KPPP is recognizing the modem - but on querying all the parameters are coming back as empty. Upto last sunday it was working fine on Mandrake Linux 10.2 Community. I am hoping the modem has not conked out. My internal modem works fine on Windows 98 - which I am using currently. Windows 98 shows the modem but on trying to query, says it did not respond and says it could be an interrupt issue.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Danger : Keep Away

Keep away from this restaurant at Airport Road called 'Royal Orchid' somewhere in the interior opposite The Leela Palace. Had gone for an official dinner to 'Limelight' @ 'Royal Orchid' on Friday, 5th May, had non-veg food and other stuff, but seems food is served stale and contaminated. God knows what they do - cooking up left over food ? Terrible.
Friday night and Saturday whole day was a cycle of tremendous torment almost torture due to bacterial diarhhoea, watery motions and vomittings. I'll leave out the graphic details ... Things are better after the antibiotics and pain killers.
But the point is it has to definitely be the food served at that restaurant, as even the doc I consulted confirmed.

Currently reading 'My Name Is Red' by Orhan Pamuk, excellent translation from the Turkish novel, which seems to be part murder mystery, part reflections on art and philosophy and much more. Hardly 30 odd pages into this 500+ page book.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Its the trust factor, stupid.


The self needs to be conquered first in order to conquer anything else. This has been the recurrent theme from ancient times, which is reiterated in all modern management books too. However too much focus on the self can be devastating as also the cause of anxiety, depression and much else. There comes a time when a particular idea or attitude becomes so inherent in a person that he is unable to see things in any other way. The manner in which a person interacts with people around him is also a direct consequence of the passive or dynamic nature of that person.

Trust becomes an inevitable part of any interaction. Trust is largely a result of the perception that the subjects in question, develop among themselves. There may be an air of mistrust when interacting with some people, that I have observed sometimes even after repeated conversations. May be an attitudinal issue or a general feeling of mistrust or plain boredom or tiredness with either of the persons.

Also aloofness can be a sign of many other things for example disinterest, arrogance, fear, or a genuine reason of the mind being focused on some other object. There is a tendency to interact with a closer section of friends differently from that with colleagues at work and there may be a strict demarcation which I guess is the most wise thing to do.

The basic premise for friendship in my opinion has many things which need to be keenly thought over before getting a stamp of approval. Firstly a wavelength match and then that is not the end of it, how the other person treats you or how you treat the other, has a bearing on the level of friendship that you develop, to state the obvious. 'It is better to have no company than to have bad company' is the old adage, which I am a firm believer in.

Though I am not very adept at making friends, acquaintances would be fine and a strict formal comradeship will never be difficult. Is it a case of being too judgmental ? Also I prefer to be alone at times, when any disturbances or the presence of someone else would irritate me greatly (probably the sense of being that develops if you are a single child). The exact opposite are some people who can make friends at an almost exponential rate. I am not saying one is better than the other just an observation as to the ability to make friends or is it acquaintances.

And trust is something that develops only over a period of time and not in a split second ... (BLINK!)
Would like to know your opinions on this and parameters that you apply & trust relations that you develop. The general modus operandi.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Quote Unquote

Shamit's Quote for the day:

If you are always frequency hopping how can you expect to be friends with anyone having the same wavelength ?


[ Only books probably come close ... ;-) ]

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Thought Stream : Indians, Matinee Idols & Ego

Reading 'The Argumentative Indian'; here Amartya Sen talks about the scepticism and dialogic traditions of Indians from ancient times, including the inherent rational inqiry in the Vedas about god, the ideals in Gita as also the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata by giving anecdotes and instances from these parables that highlight this questioning attitude. Opposing views in these epics are not totally banished, and as he says 'an argument that refuses to die out definitely remains alive, only to come back into life'. In the essay that I am presently reading he has refuted the isolationist and narrow-minded approach that the so-called Hindutva movement (namely BJP, RSS etc) wants to portray. Also discussed are the selective history propagated by changing the school syllabi to demonify the Moghuls and the tendency of the fundamentalist forces to mix up the Vedic and Indus valley civilizations as one, including creating fraudulent scholarly works to prove the same. He states that the Vedic culture and Sanskrit came from Indo-European regions and not from the region of the Harappan civilization - this of course has been a debatable topic since decades. India has always accepted and accomodated races such as Muslims, Jews and others who faced persecution in other nations which even Swami Vivekananda states in his works. It is a secular nation state with Hindus as the majority, not a theocratically Hindu nation.

Was watching 'Dev' an excellent movie yesterday - could catch only the last part of the movie - with Amitabh Bachhan in the lead role, a movie which draws parallels to the Gujarat riots and the hand in glove scenario of the police force and the government with perpetrators in targetting muslims. Om Puri in the role of one such senior police officer gets a house with several families burnt alive as retribution for getting a politician arrested in a riot case, when Amitabh having witnessed the carnage reports to the government, Inspector Tej (Om Puri, who is Dev's long time friend) gets Inspector Dev killed, and finally commits suicide. Other actors included Kareena, Fardeen, and Amrish Puri.

Today was an officially declared holiday.
With the passing away of the kannada matinee idol, Rajkumar - the state saw unprecedented violence; the police being the target of the mobs' ire. He was indeed a much admired personality, but the sort of violence unleashed due to emotional outbursts, only goes on to tarnish the icon's image. I remember some of the movies that used to be telecast on DD and had watched a few in which Rajkumar plays James Bond'esque roles. Loved the song 'Naadamayaa', not sure if he had formal training in singing but this raga-based song was an absolutely amazing, lovely rendition by him.

With all this happening, I was thinking about the nature and consequences of ego which tries to establish itself as prime and rejects everything else, a false illusion that it creates. The 'I or you' concept is indeed very foolish. It has to be 'I and you' - everything has a rightful place in this world and cannot be wished away. What one decides to follow of course is a pruned path; saying no to certain things and accepting others more benefitial in the wordly pursuit.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Mental Angioplasty

Like clogged pipes, sometimes the mind gets clogged, unable to do anything productive outside the banal sphere of what is termed 'work'. Whether that very work is responsible for this or the pursuit of too many other interests, I do not know. Not being capable of concentrating and focussing on what you would like to do can be irritating. For example it has been some time since I have written something interesting; apart from blog posts that you get to read or some other junk or some very formal article that I was forced to write due to prior obligations. How will I justify that?
Probably I need to keep a little book that some people suggest for writers as if as a surrogate for the biological memory - which can be used to jot down ideas as and when they come to mind. Ideas do come and go; but to expand it into a story or sustaining the idea to a larger form of a book requires tremendous patience and dedicating ample amounts of time. With a life which demands priority in other areas, it tends to become very difficult to achieve the same. Need to unclog those neural paths ... and soon, before there is a mental arrest.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A bengali movie today ...

Sometimes movies on television can be a valuable means of generating thoughts; though most often it acts as a medium of unidirectional communication stifling the thought process in its wake. Was watching a bengali movie on ETV Bangla called 'Chayasurya' literally translating to 'shadowed-sun'. The story is of a bohemian girl who grows up in a well to do household in Calcutta where she has a sister who is her exact opposite. She is of a dark complexion, naughty and always with a 'dont care' attitude. Also she repeatedly seems to fail in examinations, becoming a cause of great ire for her parents and relatives because of her ways - playing around cricket with the boys on the street and giving studies a damn.
As she grows up and becomes notorious for her ways, with unkempt hair and an indifferent attitude; the story portrays the difference in how the family treats her as against her docile and good-mannerdly sister; however the movie doesnt fall into the trap of overdoing it, it does not show her as the extremely rude and cheeky sort that you may have watched in some of those hindi extravaganzas. This role is portrayed by the young Sharmila Tagore in the film. As the movie proceeds she rescues a child, seems to sketch better than her sister who formally learns painting and wants to learn tabla; referring to her sister's sitar as an instrument that cries.

Later on she actually develops a liking for an unemployed man whose face is never shown in the movie and visits him everyday to learn tabla right at 5 in the evening. He even after repeated interviews is not able to obtain a job. In the mean time she visits a place in Bihar with her uncle who is a writer and is like her friend and whom she confides in, comes to know about her lover and asks her to tread judiciously. By the time they come back home her sister's marriage has been fixed with an affluent foreign-returned engineer. This causes her further anxiety and she tells her uncle that she would bring down the dignity of her family if she were to marry the boy, however she would run away if they did not give her permission; on which her uncle admonishes her. She also tells her uncle, that he is not well. In the hustle on account of her sister's marriage everybody forgets about her.

On the day of the marriage it is found that her aunt is missing some money from her purse. First they suspect the servants and then when the servants deny; they spot the protagonist looking totally distraught coming home, on which they ask her where she had been when she confesses she had stolen the money from the purse and says she has spent it but refuses to disclose where. Here an emotional scene shows everybody including her mother, accusing her except her father. The end of the movie shows her standing, staring out of the window, in her uncle's room when he enters and asks her if she spent her money for her lover's illness and she says, she never got that opportunity, and she had bought some flowers and had paid some money to his friends for his funeral. She had expected nobody to notice a hundred rupees missing, when they were spending thousands for her sister's marriage who was a perfect doll; however even this was found only because she had been a 'bad' girl. She laments that should not have been born which would have saved all of them from so much embarrassment and she breaks down, crying that she had been totally neglected. An excellent performance by Sharmila Tagore, also the movie has many famous bengali actors of that time. The whole movie is as a narrative by the uncle who writes about her in his book as requested by her.

I liked the movie as it also reminded me of an argument I had once had with my cousin. The movie is an adaptation of a short story by Ashapurna Devi. Need to rummage in the pile of bengali books at home to see if I have any short storie by Ashapurna Devi. (Links on Ashapurna Devi - [1] [2])

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A right mix ...

You are what you think.
That is so true. How much of what you are, should be externally demonstrated ?
What about hidden feelings or latent talents ?
I get the point that the world understands what is demonstrated, but that can seem so irritating sometimes; as if I am playing to a crowd and all the world's a stage !
What about changing attitudes - it gets affected by this 'visible is right' - a faulty system of judgement, as this can make someone pretend or act out, even though he/she may not be what he is projecting, or doesn't like what he is supposed to be; but needs to fit into the circumstances. Its a clear tradeoff between choice and circumstances along with societal demands that decides what one does or achieves, atleast in most 'normal' cases. But true achievers are not a subset of the 'normal' or is there an overlap ?
There is no straight-jacketing achievers, however the trend is interlinked with 'wealth' someone possesses. I am not saying that is the only criteria; it is one of the most 'visible' indicators of achievement in today's materialistic society. However true talent may have nothing to do with wealth - some musicians and great artists live and die in penury; giving glimpses of the other extreme. Both going hand in hand would probably be the best route. A right mix of practicality and creativity - not being completely oblivious of worldly pursuits or being 'street smart' as they say.
Being true to one's actual self is above all, much more important in my view; given that the person has decided the path to tread in future. Taking that as the goal and a duty, to pursue it heart and soul.

A poem LINEAR - an outflow of the same thought stream ... [Poetic Injustice]

Currently reading a book called 'The Master Strategist - Power, Purpose & Principle' by Ketan Patel.
Also started 'The Argumentative Indian' by Amartya Sen - an excellent book, from the outset.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

'Never Let Me Go' by Kazuo Ishiguro

One of the books that I was very excited about reading, and which did not disappoint me. The book with its melancholy and mellow narrative makes a story on a difficult scientific topic, completely believable, by its sheer depth. It starts off as a first person account by the protagonist, Kathy who is now about to enter a crucial phase of her life and as she starts to tell her story the narrative shifts to her school days, when they were growing up in a special school at a remote corner of England, Hailsham – that becomes a leitmotif for their struggle in life.

The story revolves around her classmates and their interactions with the teachers at the school – how they get to know the reasons for their existence, the boundaries within which they will need to lead all their lives and their coming of age. As they grow; their angst, tensions, passions and quarrels among close friends makes for an interesting read.



New relevant terms and meanings are introduced without being jarring. The book tries to project the social misgivings and consequences of certain less thought about facets of scientific growth. Through this it also tries to show the inherent fragility of life. As Kathy, Ruth and Tommy grow from one stage of life to another, searching for answers and trying to avoid the ultimate purpose of their life, the whole scenario shifts as they come to stare at reality and find that rumours that they believed in are false and their worst fears will come true.

As life goes on and close coveted friends drift apart and meet again, memories and persons fade away; the story retains its gentle pace until it leaves you tottering at the end for an answer as to - could the happenings been avoided with a little more thought on how we treat those who are not normal, those not part of the mainstream, how they lose out and the immense pain and agony they might be going through.

An excellent read which was the front-runner for the Booker award 2005. Kazuo Ishiguro's style of writing is very evocative and filled with pathos and as gentle as the light, cool evening breeze. The underlying theme, which is hardly ever made explicit, makes for a poignant yet compelling form of science fiction.


Currently reading 'India Unbound' by Gurcharan Das.



Sunday, March 05, 2006

Rang De Basanti

Finally watched 'Rang De Basanti' at Rex, yesterday evening.
There are sparks of brilliance at times, unconventional too, but the movie tries to fit things in place that at times seems artificial, almost laughable.
Especially the parts on killing people and violence are a bit too far fetched.
The cinematography and screenplay is very innovative ...
Some scenes are thrilling, like the one in which Amir Khan plays the role of Azad and escapes from the Ram Lila grounds in a motorcycle.
There are some pathetic comparisons too, like when the character of DJ and Sue are kissing and the scene cuts to a part of the documentary where the freedom fighters are on a fast unto death.
Certain dialogues, captions and narrative from the diary do evoke patriotism.
The tenor is so comic even when the protagonists have occupied the AIR studios. The humour spoils the mood towards the end.
Probably I knew some parts of the story and hence was critical of things, as I expected something better. However some portions are plain boyish probably trying to show that it is after all by a bunch of college guys; who dance mindlessly at times.
The music is great, and the best song I felt was Lata Mangeshkar and A R Rehman's rendition of 'Luka Chuppi' and the picturization for the song I was not able to imagine; until I saw the movie. Poignant. Brilliant. Most other songs are good too, A R Rehman is getting better and better.
Talking of recent movies, the message of being constructive (Swades) is always better than being constructive by being destructive(RDB). All in all, a good attempt; that fiery idealism is indeed missing from the present youth, that is us and needs to be ignited and this movie is in the right direction.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

LAMP - Open Source Experiments

LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl) configuration on OpenSUSE Linux 10.0.

Here is some useful information :

The configuration files are in
/etc/apache2/

I had to create an empty file named include.conf in /etc/apache2/sysconfig.d
Else 'httpd2 -k start' (the way you need to start the daemon) was giving an error.

HTML files and other stuff like images go by default into :
/srv/www/htdocs
CGI files in /srv/www/cgi-bin


Also did some experimentation with 'mysql' based on info that I had got from the LFY magazine.
First installed the mysql server. Then the following commands to craete and update databases.

linux:~ # mysqladmin -u root -p XXXXX

linux:~ # mysql -u root -p
Enter password:
Welcome to the MySQL monitor. Commands end with ; or \g.
Your MySQL connection id is 2 to server version: 4.1.8-standard

mysql> create database testdb;
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.17 sec)

mysql> show databases
->
-> ;
+----------+
Database
+----------+
mysql
test
testdb
tmp
+----------+
4 rows in set (0.07 sec)

mysql> use testdb;
Database changed

mysql> create table registration ( memid int not null primary key, name varchar(20),
emailID varchar(30), Location varchar(25));
Query OK, 0 rows affected (0.06 sec)

mysql> describe registration
-> ;
+----------+-------------+------+-----+---------+-------+
Field Type Null Key Default Extra
+----------+-------------+------+-----+---------+-------+
memid int(11) PRI 0
name varchar(20) YES NULL
emailID varchar(30) YES NULL
Location varchar(25) YES NULL
+----------+-------------+------+-----+---------+-------+

mysql> insert into registration values(1,'Surendranath Boral','suboral@gmail.com',
'Jayanagar Bangalore');
Query OK, 1 row affected (0.04 sec)

mysql> select * from registration
-> ;
+-------+--------------------+-------------------+---------------------+
memid name emailID Location
+-------+--------------------+-------------------+---------------------+
1 Surendranath Boral suboral@gmail.com Jayanagar Bangalore
+-------+--------------------+-------------------+---------------------+
1 row in set (0.07 sec)

mysql> quit
Bye

Another thing:
Kaffeine gives this problem and doesnt play any mp3 or video by default
WIN32 Codecs...
No WIN32 codecs found in /usr/lib/win32. You're not able to play Windows Media 9 files,
newer Real Media files and some less common formats.

Friday, February 10, 2006

From 'Shame' to 'Light'

What a book 'Lajja' is; I don't know if you will get the same effect if you read the translated work. But I enjoyed it, even though it repeatedly stresses the injustice meted out to the Hindus in Bangladesh with statistics and facts after facts; the narration and the climax is just too good.



Read very few books with this kind of ending except Marquez's A Hundred Years Of Solitude. Nasrin has a knack of keeping you interested through each page and making the reader feel the pathos, sorrow and angst of the characters, except when she is rattling the facts in a non stop stream.

Also read the poem 'Lead me to the light'.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Poetic Injustice

Of unfulfilled duties, And unearned rights, Of worthless works, And stupid fights. Of loveless affairs, And heartless flings, Of remorseless apologies, And unattached strings. Of untrue lines, And mindless talks, Of late realizations, And retrospective walks. Of unleashed potential, And an unachieved dream...

Poetic Injustice - A collaborative blog of poesy ...
Nakul, Shreyas and yours truly.

More on the history behind this initiative on Shreyas's blog.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Ajantrik

Dramatic and full of exaggeration, yet a very sentimental, realistic and good movie; just watched 'Ajantrik' (Pathetic Fallacy or The Unmechanical) by Ritwik Ghatak, which I have borrowed. The movie speaks about the attachment of a taxi driver Bimal (played by Kali Banerjee) to his old classic style car, which he calls by name. The car is in a dismal state, it is in shambles yet does its work, reaches the place where it is supposed to and in time. The movie revolves around a few scenes about the travels in the car and the driver's love for his car - he has no one else except for the car whch is his lifemate and a small boy who is his neighbour. Midway in the movie the car breaks down. He brings it back home, to the ridicule of his neighbours and vows to get it back to life. He spends all his money to repair it; everyone suggests he sell it off, but he works on it day and night relentlessly and finally makes it run again. As soon as he starts climbing a slope, the car works for the last time, sputters and falls silent. He is infuriated and in anger breaks the windows and finally sells off the scraps to a trader - the movie ends with the scraps being taken off in a push-cart; suddenly he hears the familiar sound of the car's horn. He is baffled about where the sound is coming from and looks around to find a little boy playing with the horn. The driver smiles at the smiling child, as tears stream out of his eyes.
The accompanying classical music by Ustad Ali Akbar Khan in the movie, is just amazing and blends perfectly ...
LINKS: [1] An excellent Essay on Ajantrik and Ghatak [2] [3]

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Ganashatru

What an excellent movie. No frills, no pretense, no exaggeration, thought-provoking and leaving decisions on the viewer, meaning taking the audience to be intelligent. Ganashatru (An Enemy of the People) by Satyajit Ray is a movie that portrays the lack of principles in those who are actually supposed to be conscious and responsible for the good of the people, especially people in the press and the administration i.e. the government machinery.
The story starts with Dr Ashok Gupta (played by Soumitra Chatterjee - Satyajit Ray's favourite) getting a series of patients suffering from a specific kind of jaundice, in Chandipur hospital, where he practices. On sending samples of the water to Calcutta labs, the doctor is able to ascertain the contamination of water, as the results suggest. He wants to publish the findings. His brother (played by Dhritiman Chatterjee) the municipal chairman is opposed to this, as he does not want to bring disrepute to Chandipur, and has helped in building its reputation as a tourist attraction and a progressive and developed town. In an argument with his brother he says that to locate the point in the pipe system where drinking water is getting mixed up with sewage water, will be a very difficult and costly affair. He starts to oppose him and the doctor also warns that the central source of the diseases spreading could be the local temple where holy waters (charan-amrita) are given to the thousands of devotees everyday; and this is used by his brother as the main weapon to instigate people against the doctor. A newspaper promises to publish the truth, along with the lab reports, but later the editor (Deepankar Dey) refuses to publish it once he sees references of the temple in the article and is also threatened. Also displayed in the movie is how certain personal and vested interests can not only hinder the benefit, but also harm the masses at large. He is not allowed to speak out the details of the report at a public conference he calls, as a part of a conspiracy by his brother. Both the doctor and his daughter (played by Mamata Shankar) lose their jobs as a result of public displeasure. How something beneficial is completely misconstrued as harmful and projected as anti-people with a game-plan set by a handful. Finally the sub-editor of the same newspaper who wants the truth to come out, resigns and informs the doctor that he would send the article as a freelance journalist to all Calcutta dailies and also a local group of young people decide to print pamphlets of the article and distribute it all over the town. Here the movie ends as the doctor is shown instilled with relief, that there is still hope that an epidemic will not happen. The unwavering commitment of the good and the challenge that they are ready to face to defend the truth is the central theme in the movie in my opinion. The acting is brilliant by all the actors, most of whom are prominent and talented bengali ones. The movie is an adaptation of the play 'An Enemy of the People' by Henrik Ibsen.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Some bengali reading ...

Currently reading the bengali novel 'Lajja' by Taslima Nasrin, that was banned by the Bangladesh government and a fatwa was issued against her . Set in Bangladesh, it speaks about the communal frenzy and retaliation against the Hindu community in Bangladesh, after the Babri Masjid was demolished in India, through the eyes of the members of a particular Hindu family. Some info on Nasrin here: [1], [2]



My speed of reading bengali has really come down, need to read more.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Imperialism Again

A new form of covert imperialism is being gradually unleashed by the USA. It is in the name of democracy, that the US government indiscriminately uses its military might to establish and dislodge governments, at will and is quite unrepentant about it. What is disgusting is that these open displays of human rights violations and use of force are easily ignored in India. Probably we are indeed doing the right thing by making use of their money and power to develop ourselves or is it ?

However we cannot be blind to the security concerns that are inherent. We need to guard ourselves against the betrayal that the US government is capable of. We are establishing joint military co-operation with that country, which may be dangerous if not totally foolish. Especially the ultra-liberal Manmohan Singh government may be playing like puppets in the hands of the US and other world bodies controlled by the US, such as the World Bank etc. The Prime Minister was immature enough to criticize Vajpayee on US soil; an unprecedented lapse on the united stand that India takes, whatever the differences may be within political parties. The nuclear deal for separation of civilian and military installations and opening up and feeding them with information of our nuclear capabilities seems to be openly calling for a security disaster.

The US multi national companies (MNCs) that enter India are not at the behest of the US government, but they could be doing so many things including making links and interfering with internal matters of our nation, under cover. Essentially they are coming here to reduce the cost of operations and make profits; also to make use of the immense talent available in our country. So it is not as if we are getting jobs, and the MNCs are doing a favour to us. I'd like to set the record straight as I work in an US MNC. It is only because we are able to provide them value for money, that they are coming here. Their entrepreneurial skills are appreciable, but clearly it is a two way street. It is simple business logic, not to be anyway construed and mixed up with emotions such as: they are our saviours, and without their help we would not have been able to become liberal and capable of modernizing ourselves, which seems to be the mentality with the majority of educated youth in India. Yes I would like to emphasize the word 'educated' as the educated seem to be under full sway of the Americana.

We have already faced immense cruelties, bondage, complete political and social slavery at the hands of the British; the freedom struggle was not very distant from now on the time scale and those valuable lessons cannot be forgotten so soon. The way they treat their own poor and powerless country men was visible after the Katrina hurricane, with relief not coming in, even after weeks. The capitalistic doctrine that renders any form of social justice impossible and at the mercy of huge corporations is indeed not the right way forward. Technology may not be the right way forward too. We cannot yet again become slaves to the western technology and socio-economic lifestyle. Or have we already become so ? Brace up for a future fraught with immense chaos and unthinkable political and national consequences if the current trends continue. A civilization falls when it reaches the height of moral and ethical decadence. That may be true for the American 'empire' too. Are we planning to duplicate the same ?