Friday, December 19, 2008

I believe I can Fly

I believe I can fly
I believe I can touch the sky
I think about it every night and day
Spread my wings and fly away
I believe I can soar
I see me running through that open door
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly
I believe I can fly

I love this song by Kelly (1996)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sarada Devi, the divine Mother

She is considered the epitome of a "mother" who was selfless and always giving.

A few of her quotes -

"I am the mother of the righteous, I am the mother of the wicked as well. Never fear. Whenever you are in distress, just say to yourself 'I have a mother.'"

"If you want peace of mind, do not find fault with others. Rather see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger, my child; the whole world is your own."

From Sri Sarada Devi's last words, spoken before passing away on July 20, 1920

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

There Was a Queen

This is a film of conflict and peace in Kashmir. This is about Kasmiri women.Atlast, we hear the voice of Kashmiri women on terrorism, militarism, peace and their daily life. It is a record of political voices of women from many sides in Kashmir.

The film was in the competition section of MIFF-2008 and was screened in VIBGYOR-2008. It was screened in the First International Video Festival of Kerala in May 2008.

“Give us guns and we’ll play our role!” - These are not the words of a hardened criminal,these are the words of a teenaged girl in Kashmir less than a week after her sister was buried.

This film is being telecast by NDTV in two parts on 17th and 18th December at 9.30 PM IST and also the full film is telecast on 21st at 1 PM.

The documentary "*Yi As Akh Padshah Bai*" or *There was a Queen* was made by an all women crew! It was a conscious and a deliberate decision as it was our belief as producers that since the film was about women in conflict situation, it would be appropriate to have a team of women who would be more sensitive and understanding in dealing with the subject and that the Kashmiri women would find it easy to articulate their views. Our objective initially was to make one film, on women in conflict situation, which includes the North East of India too. But in the process of making the film, we decided to work on Kashmir first as it was distinct from the North East though there are commonalities of situation, issues and concerns.

Pic- Other Communications Media

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Remembering Rajaji

Today is the 131st birth anniversary of Rajaji ( Chakravarthy Rajagopalachari). He not only played a very important role in the freedom movement but also was a collosal giant who strode the firmament of Indian politics post independence too with great foresight. He was essentially a statesman.

I had read his Ramayana and Mahabharata when I was in Class 7, and was deeply impressed by the way he has in a simple, plain and lucid language dealt with complex situations and made it very easy to comprehend.

It is sad that we do not remember him even once a year, and which will relegate him to the obscure corners of the History Books for a while before that too being considered not so important and the future generations not knowing anything at all about him

M. S. Subbulakshmi has immortalised a beautiful composition of Rajaji which stands testimony for the genius that he was.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

India connects to the North East

It does sound weird, but the North Eastern States of Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura have received the Cabinet Committee on Economic affairs' approval for the proposal of the Manipur Government to extend the broad gauge 27- km line from Tupur to Imphal thus providing the direct rail connection of the State capital with the rest of the Country.... 60 years after India became independent.

It has been a longstanding demand of the northeastern state to connect its capital with the rest of the country through a railway line to end the transportation bottleneck. On the request of the Government, the survey of the line was again done so as to connect Imphal directly by railway line.

The proposed new broad gauge line will be providing rail connectivity up to Imphal as well as make possible direct movement of freight and passengers from this region to other parts of the country. The increased expenditure of the extension proposal is estimated to cost Rs 2,650 crores.

In the North Eastern Region, rail connectivity had been intensified recently after the Centre had taken up many rail projects as a National Project. Recently Agartala, the State Capital of Tripura had been connected with the railway line with the rest of the country. Tripura’s State capital Agartala on October 5 this year became the second Northeastern capital town, after Guwahati, included in the railway map with regular train service beginning between the State and other parts of the country. The survey for construction of the railway line from Dimapur to Kohima, the State capital of Nagaland is being taken up as a National Project with the process of laying of 125-km long railway line between Dimapur and Kohima began from November 25 this year.

Do we need anything else to show the utter disregard of all our governments at the Centre for the past 60 years towards the North Eastern States? It is time we bring ourselves together and end any step motherly attitude to any State, Province, Region or People.

Well, atleast now than never!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Media, Politicians or a Bunch of Jokers?

It has always been a doubt, but now it is proved beyond all that, that indeed most of our politicians are a bunch of jokers. Take the case of R R Patil of Maharashtra who said that the Bombay attack was a small thing..saying.... "bade shahron mein aise ek adh hadse hote rahte hain. Woh 5,000 logon ko marne aye the lekin humne kitna kum nuksan hone diya ." (Such small incidents happen in big cities. They (terrorists) came to kill 5,000 people but we ensured minimal damage)”.

Then there was the reluctance of Deshmukh to quit. And his terror tourism of the Taj with his son and a film director.

There was the resignation of the Home Minister Shivraj Patil and the subsequent quip of Laloo that this should have happened earlier. And the advertisement issued by the BJP in Delhi during the Delhi elections.

While the Politicians are going full throttle to upstage one another, there are the media houses, which covered the terror attack saying "Breaking News, Exclusively covered by Us and such...". Are we interested in one upmanship at times like this?

And then the fiasco of Naqvi leaving the BJP blushing. And the CM of Kerala's spat with the slain martyr's father who refused to meet the CM.

By the way,there was this mail I received as a forward and I cannot vouch for its authenticity, but these people by the behaviour they exhibit do show that it might well be true!!

This is the state of Kerala Poticians, it seems!!

Taking Achudananandan or any other politician's remarks seriously is in actuality a waste of time...mine inclusive. Look at their Educational qualification and thereafter you could continue with your remarks!!!!
M. A. Baby - (Education!!!) degree fail

Premachandran - (Water and Irrigation) 10th class PhD (Passed with highest Difficulty)

A. K. Balan - (Electricity and SC/ST Welfare) 10th fail

S. Sharma - (Fisheries) 10th fail

Elamaram Kareem - (Commerce and Industries) 10th fail

Paloli Kutty - (Rural Development, Town Planning etc) 5th class and drill

Kodiyeri Balu - (Home, Vigilance and Tourism!!!!) 8th class and gundaism

Achu mama - (CM) 4th class - pass or fail doesn't matter
(Kerala Chief Minister)

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Want Peace

“I am afraid now the war is raging inside my house and not on the country’s borders. My PM is telling me not to be afraid and to keep calm and maintain peace and harmony. He is not angry and his body language conveyed that everything is under control. But my PM has Z Plus security which is perhaps why he is not agitated. I am an ordinary citizen. How can I remain calm when my own house is on fire?” – An anguished Indian, Naresh Kumar Jain’s letter to the PM published in “The Hindu”

A Placard held by an Indian Citizen infront of the Taj Mahal Hotel on 29th November read-

Mr. Terrorist, I am alive, What can you do?
Mr. Politician, I am alive despite you...


This indeed reflects the mood of the whole of India.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Is it finally over?

Thank God for our Security Services!! And our salute to the many unknown brave men from our forces

Thank you Suchin for this message -

"Forgiving a terrorist should be left to God. But fixing their appointment with God is entirely our responsibility"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

26th November 2008 - Mumbai's latest date with Terrorism

Mumbai is still battling with the entire city under siege by Terrorists. A shiver runs down my spine to think about the calculated manner in which these attacks have been carried out with such precision that has left the intelligence looking like fools.

It is claimed that the perpetrators of terror arrived in the Gate way of India in a boat. What was our coast guard and our defence forces doing? I used to look at awe at the huge navy ships and feel a sense of pride that they were guarding India. Now.... A boat laden with arms and explosives have been seized in the Gateway. An unestimated number of terrorists, divided into small groups and weidling hand held weapons and improvised explosive devices literally took control of Mumbai and targetted hotels, railway stations, hospitals..... How porous can our security be? Can it get worse??

The grand old lady of Mumbai was the first building to be lit by electricity. It was really heart wrenching to see the fire there. And, also the commando action at the Nariman Bhavan, Hotel Trident and Oberoi. Hope all emerge safe and sound, though reports of two ATS men succumbing has already been confirmed. It will only take a few moments for Uncle Sam and his sychophant to declare Mumbai , or it could even be India, out of bounds for its citizens, forgetting the next target could be anywhere

This is not the India in which I want to live. Give me peace. There will be thousands, millions like me who want peace.

Scary picture this...It is not like 9/11, nor is it like Madrid 2004, or London 2006. How could the terrorists have planned such an operation, of such magnitude without the intelligence world wide not sniffing this? Be it the handiwork of LET or the Deccan Mujahideen or which ever, terror is a reality, a pressing one at that, which has in the recent days moved from Jaipur to Bangalore to Ahmedabad to Surat to Delhi to Assam and now Mumbai. This is not the end of it all.

But the pertinent question which arises in my mind is how safe are our nuclear establishments? We have been assured of No- First use assurance from President Zardari with glee but have we checked the ground reality and what needs to be done?

Hoping we wake up to a bright safe and new India and world soon which is like Utopia. Will we or the generations to come see that day? But before that, hoping we redeem our Mumbai from the clutches of these terror vultures soon!!

Image Courtesy - Reuters

Courtesy -Sri. Raman, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sexual Harassment in the name of Mankind!!

Ludicrous!! I really am not able to find a word or phrase or sentence to describe the thinking of people occupying "exalted" postions with such pea-brained mentality. Sexual Harassment meted out to a woman by a man is gallantary and a favour he does to mankind. Wow!! Wouldn't some people love this?

This is exactly what was decided by a judge in Russia on a case of Sexual Harassment filed by an employee against her boss. The judge in all his wisdom ruled that "If we had no sexual harassment we would have no children," Amazing!!

I have been advocating against the Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill as I was feeling that a separate Act was not necessary but certain amendments to the Indian Penal Code would suffice as this Act would be like the proverbial Damocles Sword hanging over the heads of employers of women and consequently it would result in more and more women being denied employment. But after this judgement by the Russian Court, I am forced to do a re-think.

What are the International Organizations doing? The Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Russia is a signatory relegated to the back burner. The International Communities should pressurize Russia to ratify, accept, adopt and accede to CEDAW, else it seems like doom is spelt for Russian women.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Aamir's Shahrukh Fiasco

In a disgusting post Aamir Khan has divulged how petty minded he can be.

In a blog post titled, Settlers of Panchgani, he has stooped so low that whatever admiration I had for the man post Lagaan and Taare Zameen Par has flown out of the window. He might have been referring to the dog, but it is very much in bad taste. This spat between the two Khans is getting a little ugly. Why, is it a case of Aamir envying SRK for the success (or whatever) of the Kolkata Knight Riders?

Whatever it maybe, it cannot get worse than this while trying to maul or malign another person. Is it that we are losing gentlemen from the film industry? Sad state of affairs this!!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Australia, Germany....India..

It is nice to see the smiling face of the bride

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hail India

India has achieved what America is still struggling to..... A woman President.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Men Rule

First, about the Men in Blue. They surely won and made India proud of them. Hats off to our Cricketing team especially Tendulkar and his century, first ever in Australia against the home team. The Boys in Blue too did it in style winning the Under 19 World Cup in Malaysia. Way to go Boys!!

Second, Vatican says this is still a Man's world. God is Man and no feminists allowed to try to change that. I wonder, why should anyone try to tamper or tinker with what has been there for ages as long as this isnt adverse to anyone or doesnt affect anyone.

One bit of news that Kapil Sibal, Anbumoni Ramdoss and Mani Shankar Aiyar are opposing Women And Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury's move to bring amendments to the Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act making men too liable under the Act. There are special Acts for Women which many "Male" organizations are opposing tooth and nail, while the Feminist organizations are moving towards making CEDAW a reality in India with India too being a signatory.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Election Commission, Karnataka has published in a website the draft voter list and hopes to publish the final voter list by 10th March. Hopefully, this site will help in updating the voter database. This site has been conceived and developed by some good citizens in the IT Sector. Kudos to them!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Today, by far I could say was the most frustrating half day of all in the recent past. The reason was I had to deal with some Government Officials on Election Duty of updating the Electoral Rolls. I had to get our names deleted from one place of residence and add it on in the list in another area where we live now though both the places are within the same ward, same Assembly Consituency. First to delete the names, the person on duty said, no your names are not there. But I have voted from there and so was sure our names were there in the list, so I sat down and searched the rolls and found our names at last. It took me an hour to do so. Then fill up the form to get the name deleted and get the acknowledgement. Then go to another place to add on the names in the rolls there. Here again, the exercise of filling in the form and as advised by the person officiating at the earlier centre, got a copy of my husband's passport for proof of address and went and submitted all our forms. The lady who was there at the Center was so haughty that she was screaming and shooing away everyone there. I waited for my turn and handed over the forms. She said that there were instructions that they were not to take passport copies which was truly frustrating. Information on this is not publicized widely enough. Anyways, I had a telephone bill which she said was perfectly all right as proof of address and handed over the same.

The lady behind the desk who was collecting the forms also let our a wail and started weeping and crying suddenly when one person asked her why the form he was handing over was not being accepted. She started saying, she is from some other department and this was not her work and that he should not ask her such questions. Come on!! Election duty is the duty towards your country. Towards ensuring your country remains a Democracy and you should be proud of it. I do not know why they post such people to do this work. Whether they get remunerated or not is besides the point here, (There is separate remuneration in addition to their regular salaries, howmuch ever it might be)it is about doing your bit for your country.

But this should be so frustrating an exercise for people who have to keep going up and down for things and also information as to what centre they have to go for adding/deleting names in Electoral Rolls. This should be made available to people. Though today, they say is the last day for this exercise, addition can be done till the date on which elections are announced. But bottomline, interacting and dealing such people is truly totally frustrating.

And I spent half a day doing, well, almost nothing. But achievement, Yes!! submitted the forms for deleting our names and also submitted the forms for adding our names in the list of voters in two different places. Now, have to patiently wait and see if the list is updated!

In the Software Capital of India, can this updating be done through computers or some online kiosks be set up to do the updating. Atleast in Bangalore? We have a long way to go!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pepsi's Brand Ambassadors

Pepsi is tight lipped about Sachin Tendulkar continuing as Pepsi's brand ambassador. But they have confirmed that Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid have been dropped. So, as long as a person is in form, he is retained, if he so much as falls a notch lower than expected, he will be thrown out by both the people as well as the brands that they endorse. These cricketers when they are praised to heavens when they do well, should be prepared to face the brick bats too when they dont deliver. The best would be for these to do a Gilchrist and retire before they are thrown out of game.

From the world of Hindi Cinema, Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor have joined Shahrukh Khan in promoting Pepsi.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

1000 days And A Dream

Pedestrian Pictures, a media activist group, based in Bangalore and working across Karnataka since 2001 to create an understanding of socio- political realities existing in our society are presenting the film which has won the Jury Award at the recently concluded 10th Mumbai International Film Festival, 1000 days and a dream. Since its release in 2006, the film has been screened at nearly 20 film festivals in India and abroad.

The film is screened at the Institute of Engineers Bangalore between 5 and 7 PM on Saturday, the 23rd February 2008. Seems like a must-watch film

Related Links-
Coca Cola-nization of Plachimada
The Hindu
Pic - The Hindu

Sunday, February 17, 2008


This is a lovely video on how a monkey is curious to know what is there behind the lens which shows that curiosity is a trait in animals too!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Aunty Sam Indeed!!

Next quota of Amul ads.. Impressive!!!

United States Election 2008: Democrat presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama race for nomination on the road to White House – February ’08.

Indian Cricketer Harbhajan Singh guilty of uttering offensive (abusive) words ‘teri maa ki…’ in his native language to Australian Cricketer Andrew Symonds during 2nd Test Match at Sydney, Australia – February ’08.

Volatility and turbulence tumbled Indian Stock Market unnerving investors – January ’08.

Previous Posts -
Priceless Amul

Creativity at its Best

Utterly Butterly Delicious

Amul Topicals

Friday, February 15, 2008

Jodhaa Akbar

Jodhaa Akbar. The first movie of Aishwarya Rai after she became Aishwarya Bachchan and in the promos she looks absolutely breathtaking. And Hrithik in the garb of Akbar does not look one bit of the Akbar I know from the Amar Chitra Kathas.

But this, as Ashutosh Gowarikar has already claimed, has his brand of imagination. But how much licence does a film maker have in using his imagination in making a movie? Can he use his creative touch and interpret the lives of historical characters? He definitely does not have the right to distort history or malign the character of individuals if he does not have enough proof to substantiate such.

The Rajputs of Rajasthan are incensed by the movie so much so that the movie makers and distributors have wisely decided against exhibiting the film in Rajasthan. There have been other quarters too protesting against the film which they say has not only distorted History but also glorifies the promiscuity of the Mughals in general and Akbar in particular.

The movie itself is a good three and a half hour one and the first 20 minutes of the movie is a drag except for the narration of Amitabh Bachchan. A three and a half hour movie!! That seems too long to spend in a movie theatre but this is nothing to beat the 87 hour long movie " The Cure for Insomnia".
Let us wait and see how this movie is received by the masses, though period and historical movies have not been welcomed much, as has been seen with the Ashoka and other experiments.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Romance with Music

Music is for the soul and the heart. Listed a few of the Hindi songs I enjoy, not limited to these and not necessarily in this order..

Abhi Na Jaao Chodkar from Hum Dono

Deewana Hua Badal from Kashmir Ki Kali

Gun guna Rahi Hai Bhavre from Aradhana

Kabhi Kabhi from Kabhi Kabhi

Aap Ki Aankhon mein from Ghar

Kasme Vaade from Kasme Vaade

Hume Tumse Pyar Kitna from Kudrat

Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas from Blackmail

Pehla Nasha from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander

Ek Din Aap Yoon from Yes Boss

Jab Se Tere Naina from Saawariya

Ajab Si from Om Shanti Om

And there are lots more..

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mayhem in Maharashtra

Very bad situation indeed. Maharashtra for Maharashtrians!!! Absurd!!! If this kind of attitude is there all over India, where is India in this whole thing? Good that Raj Thackeray was arrested for his provocative speech against North Indians. He has not got bail till this evening whereas Abu Azmi has managed to secure bail. The fall out of this- Maharashtra -Mumbai in particular is burning and there is a mass exodus of people away from there. But pray who is Raj Thackeray to make such speeches? Aren't Maharashtrians there elsewhere in the country? If such an attitude or outlook is adopted all over India, doomsday is not far away. Where will India be, what after all this talk about Unity in Diversity etc. There is an advertisement in today's Bangalore edition of the Times of India by Maharashtra Tourism inviting people to visit Maharashtra. I was astounded by the timing of the advertisement.

If everyone has to go and be in the State from which they hail or go to the State where their language is spoken, I do not know where I belong to. My ancestors from Tamil Nadu settled in Kerala, my father relocated to Karnataka from where I am ( I?), lived in Maharashtra for a while, got married to a person who has lived in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Well...where do I belong? Is being an Indian not enough in India? Do we divide ourselves still further?
Racism!!! Baah!!
Pic Courtesy -ibnlive

Monday, February 11, 2008

Coca-Cola-nization of Plachimada

From one agitation in Kerala to another..

Coca Cola in Kerala has been in the news more for the wrong reasons rather than any other. The company's Plachimada set up has stirred the hornet's nest by allegedly employing many practices not taken lightly by the people in Kerala in general and the people in Palakkad in particular. It is shocking to see how Coca Cola gave back to Plachimada.

Dr. P. R. Sreemahadevan Pillai, Principal,P.E.T. Engineering College, Tiruchendur Road, Valliyoor, Tirunelveli, who has been involved extensively in efforts to conserve nature and has taken part in issues against environmental degradation (click here for one of his write ups)has written a book,
The Saga of Plachimada
which deals exclusively with the cola giant's escapades in Plachimada. The Saga of Plachimada, written in English and published by M/s. VAK, Mumbai, is being released at 1 p.m. on 14 Feb 2008, at the venue of the VIBGYOR film festival at Thrissur, Kerala, India.

I am pasting herein the Preface from the book, The Saga of Plachimada.
Environmental regulation has experienced tremendous growth in the last quarter of the century resulting in a heavily centralized command-and-control bureaucracy overseeing all aspects of environmental protection including enforcement. Still there are many regions severely polluted by the functioning of industries and stressed by resource crunch, including scarcity of drinking water, which has made the lives of the people there difficult in many aspects. Water is a prime natural resource very essential for life. The amount of potable surface water available is only 0.38% of the total amount of water available on the whole of earth. Kerala State in India is rich in such resources with 44 rivers. Palakkad (Palghat) district of the Kerala State has the highest percent of irrigated land in the State and also has a good potential of water resources. The water available at Plachimada in Palakkad district was suitable for domestic and industrial purposes. It wasin the year 2000 that the Coca Cola bottling plant was set up in Plachimada, after which there was a considerable depletion in the ground water and also degradation in the quality of the available water, making it unsuitable for domestic purposes. When the people at Plachimada resisted the overexploitation of ground water by the multinational corporation, the Coca Cola, it took a new dimension of fight for existence. Environmentalists and human rights activists rallied behind the adivasis of Plachimada in their historic resistance against the scrupulous exploitation of the natural resource with profit motive. Plachimada became a global symbol of a new movement. Though the struggle was begun by the resident adivasis of Plachimada, the involvement of the environmentalists and Government agencies gave some academic input to the whole issue. A lot of investigations were made by institutions and individuals on the depletion and pollution of ground water at Plachimada, the accumulation of toxic elements in water and plants, the health hazards in the locality etc. The author and his team have conducted two such studies from 2004 to 2006. The first study was sponsored by the Science, Technology andEnvironment Department of the Government of Kerala and the second one was sponsored by the Vikas Adhyayan Kendra, Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay). The results of both these studies as also relevant results of the studies conducted by others are included in this book.The socio-economic impacts of Coca Cola at Plachimada is also a matter of concern. Analysis in this line is worth comprehending. Being associated with the struggle from its beginning, the author had chances to address the mass gathering of protestors at Plachimada on some occasions. Plachimada has now become a catch word and hence a comprehensive document on this historical struggle is a sine qua non. This book came out because of the constant persuasion and inspiration of Mr. Ajit Murikkan and Mr.Mustafa Desamangalam. This book is dedicated to the more than a billion people of the world, deprived of safe drinking water.

These kind of books may well be in the direction of making more and more people aware of the implications of such a project and ensure there is minimal to nil degradation of our environmental resources which are a loan from our ancestors to be held in trust to be handed over to our future generations.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dam and be damned?

Where ever a dam is proposed to be built, it is quite common to see protests galore. In places it becomes imperative to have the dams whereas in some others it can be avoided. Often than not, it is a clash between conservation and development. Development...well that becomes a controversial subject with many views.

Medha Patkar led Narmada Bachao Andolan's struggle to stall the Sardar Sarovar project is widely publicised but we hardly hear about the Athirappilly project in Kerala though the activists feel that the damage that would occur due to the Kerala State Electricity Board's proposed 163 MW Athirappilly Hydro Electric Project across the Chalakudy River in the Western Ghats in Kerala takes off on the 31st of March as decided by the KSEB would be devastating. This has been possible due to the judgment of the Kerala High Court on 1-1-2008. The struggle against this Hydro Electric Project has been going on for quite a few years now and the Environmental Clearance granted has been cancelled twice by the High Court of Kerala in response to the PILs filed by Chalakudy Puzha Samrakshana Samiti,another organization called NIlanilpu and Athirappilly Grama Panchayat. Since the judgment of the 1st of January, two more PILs are pending before the Court against the Environmental Clearance accorded to start work which is yet to be heard. This project if it takes off will be the 7th dam across this river.

As per Environment Groups, the loss that could ensue if this project takes off -

1. Loss of Athirappilly Waterfalls – An ICON of the Chalakudy River, one of the most visited tourist spots in South India, well placed in the Tourism map of India
2. Loss of the last remaining riparian forest stretch in the river ( the rest has been mostly submerged under the six dams upstream and dried up downstream of the dams ) – perhaps the only remaining low elevation ( 200-300 MSL) riparian stretch in Kerala Western Ghats
3. Submergence of most frequently used elephant route from Parambikulam Wild Life Sanctuary to Pooyamkutty forests
4. Most frequent citing area of all the four Hornbills together in the Kerala Western Ghats – Pied Hornbill cited most frequently
5. Vazhachal Forest Division within which the project area falls has very high conservation value of 75% as per French Institute of Pondicherry’s Studies on Kerala State forests (second to Mankulam Forest Division) – need for preserving the area from further destruction
6. Endemic, highly endangered, primitive, forest dwelling and river dependent Kadar tribal community under threat of loss of livelihood and habitat due to the new dam. A tribe already displaced several times due to the dams upstream with no proper rehabilitation package so far. Around 300 out of the 1500 number of the tribe remaining on earth to be displaced.
7. The habitat of one of the highest Fish Diversity Rivers (104 sp) in India to be destroyed. Presence of riffles, pools and rapids in the river along with riparian forests at low altitude sustains the high diversity of fish species for a 144 km small river with five sp. new to science. Upstream area recommended for a Fish Sanctuary by the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (NBFGR).
8. Drinking and irrigation water needs of lakhs of people to be severely affected due to high daily flow fluctuation in the river. The Project is intended to be operated as a peak load station from 6pm to 11 pm. The summer flow in the river is already very low due to the peaking operation of the existing 48 MW HEP just 3 km upstream of the dam and regulation by the other five dams above out of which four divert around 40% water to Tamil Nadu via Parambikulam Aliyar Inter State Inter Basin Treaty.

A seventh dam would mean the death of the river itself...

The resistance against the project is growing.

Since the fresh Environmental Clearance granted to the project in July 2007, people’s resistance to the project has been increasing. Several political parties and social and environmental groups have joined hands with the movement to SAVE THE RIVER from further damming.

There is expert opinion that the Environment Impact Assessment carried out is quite porous and this project is definitely not going to bring in a revolution in the "power" scenario in Kerala. Tightening pilferage of electricity, trying to get the functional hydro electric projects to yield optimum power might just be the solution without touching this river further to ensure there is no further environmental damage

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Gandhi and Hitler

These are two men who changed the history of the world. Both men of strong character(?) in their own right. Gandhi had once said that "Man’s nature is not essentially evil" and maybe the F├╝hrer would have said "Man's nature is not essentially good either". Two men who draw passion among people, love or hatred, very strong indeed. But think about their similarities. Both loved their people. Gandhi fought against the British to ensure that his people were free, whereas Hitler fought against some "suspected" forces which were out to disintegrate his people. Both of them had unbound love for their people. Both have written books-An autobiography,the story of my experiments with truth and Mein Kampf standing testimonies to it. Both were highly religious. Hitler a Catholic and Gandhi a Hindu greatly impressed by all religions especially Jesus Christ.

Coming to their characters. Both were very charismatically hypnotic when it came to casting spells on people with their speeches, inspiring them and getting them to follow them. They were very stubborn and determined and no power could make them change their minds when set. They believed in their cause and the confidence they exuded was phenomenal. Would Gandhi have been different from what he was if he was born in some other age? What if he was born after India was free? Would we have had our own brand of Hitler sans the strong negative aspect (for we can never imagine Gandhi in that light)? Gandhi too was one who loved to have mass following and could shake the people with his speeches filled with conviction and make most follow his path, which was of love and non-violence.

One stark difference between these two men was the way the world looked at them due to the approach followed by them. The Gandhian brand of non-violence and Satyagraha brought him many admirers from all around the world including Martin Luther King Junior who used the non-violence and non co-operation principles expounded by the Mahatma in the Civil Rights Movement. Whereas Hitler believed that Force was the one and only way of subjugating people and getting them around. while Hitler's speeches were filled with power and hatred, Gandhi's speeches though powerful were soft and full of love. Gandhi Research Foundation had once said that, if Gandhi was born a Jew, he would have fought and won against Hitler too which seems just very possible given the strength of mind this man had. Gandhi is reported to have written to Hitler urging him to stop the atrocities he was committing.

I always wonder how Gandhi would have been in a Free and Independent India. When Gandhi was killed today 60 years ago, there was a newspaper in England which was quoted as saying, we put up with him for so many years and you Indians could not keep him for more than 5 months.

With their unique abilities both these men changed the world, one brought about freedom to the masses he loved and the other almost achieved the "Holocaust". The main difference between these men - Gandhi, his people love, Hitler...well....!!!!

A Salute to Gandhi and the multitude of men who lived for our India,laid down their lives for India, and those who are continuing to live and laying down their lives for our country.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bharat Ratna

The controversies regarding the highest civilian award is totally unnecessary making the award seem like a political gimmick.

Capt Sunil Kumar Chaudhry is an example of exemplary dedication with which one can serve the country and it is indeed touching to read bout the Captain giving up his life hours after he got the Sena Medal. He is one worthy person for Ashok Chakra and he is my Bharat Ratna. More power and glory to people like him who unflinchingly fight the destructive forces. I am sure our country is safe as long as such sons are born to Mother India.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Save the Theppakulam

I received a mail from a friend who has written about the state in which the Perumal Theppakulam is in Madurai. I will reproduce the message I received below -

Recently I had been to Madurai. While walking along with my brotherin law in Town hall road , we wanted to look the water level in Perumal teppakkulam

as lot of efforts were there by previous govt. in rainwater harvesting and pouring it into teppakkulam. We found that the Teppakkulam was completely surrounded by shops in all the four sides. There was only a very narrow space at the south eastern side as approach to it. We went through that passage and found a shocking atmosphere.

It was a Sunday. At western side, the bank of the Teppakkulam was shrunk

And illegal construction was going on by encroachment. While we were looking into it suddenly a lady appeared and asks us to get inside. We shock to notice that there was a small passage which lead into the gap of periphery wall of Teppakkulam.We understood what is going on there and who was the Lady. The entrance to the Teppakkulam is controlled by criminals. Between the gap of shops and periphery wall of the tank four square streets were established as Red light area. The activities are not visible from out side as the Teppakkulam is completely covered by shops from all the four sides.

We are sure if the condition is allowed for some more time the tank will vanish.

This is the high time to save the Teppakkulam.

All shops surrounding the tank must be removed from all the four sides and

Water filled tank must appear for darshan of devotees and tourists.

Tepporsavam should be conducted for Koodal Alagar Perumal.

We are losing a lot of water bodies due to a variety of reasons. If this message is true, I fervently hope that something is done to protect this Theppakulam which is part of our ancient heritage

Friday, January 25, 2008

Amul Topicals

Cricket still seems to be the pet topic for the Amul ads

Selectors exclude Sourav Ganduly from the Indian Cricket Team one-off Twenty20 match against Australia and the triangular series with Australia & Sri Lanka in Australia – January '08.

Rahul Dravid left out from the Indian Cricket Team for the lone Twenty20 match against Australia and the upcoming tri-series with Australia & Sri Lanka in Australia – January '08.

Tata Motors unveil “Nano” the world’s cheapest, cost-effective and technologically advanced car with affordable price tag of Rupees one lakh at the 9th Auto Expo in New Delhi, India – January ’08.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Smile and Drive

The expression on the faces of most drivers in India, well atleast in Bangalore is either a scowl or a grimace. We hardly find any drivers who smile. The reason for all this being the utter chaos on the roads with people jumping signals, lanes, honking incessantly and we all end up blaming our city and other road users for it.

What are some of the things that we can do to ensure calm on the roads and see to it that we are smiling drivers? Inter alia,One, follow traffic rules to the T, two, be caring towards our fellow drivers, three, dont jump lanes, four, dont honk unless necessary, fifthly, of all pedestrian pavement not to be used by two wheelers.

Check the "Smiling Drivers" who strive to make the roads a pleasant place to be on, to make the drivers smile as they drive and it is all about making Namma Bengaluru a better place to be in.

Visit their site and learn as to how this movement can be strengthened

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Utterly Butterly Delicious

Though the Indian team has moved on from Sydney to Perth, Amul seems to be having a "Sydney Fixation"

Earlier posts here and here

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Salman Khan at Madame Tussauds

Well, Salman Khan beat among others, Lata Mangeshkar, Madhuri Dixit, Hrithik Roshan and Abhishek Bachchan in a poll to have a place in the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. He is reported to have polled 10,000 votes to be chosen the next "Bollywood Star" at Madame Tussauds. He personally is reported to have chosen the clothes his wax image would wear. He is the fourth person from Bollywood after Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai to be immortalized at Madame Tussauds.

It is defnitely an amazing world at Madame Tussauds. All life size wax images, most of them life-like.

A good honour for Salman Khan, but is he worthy of it? The actor, who has been sentenced to five years in jail for poaching, was given permission by the Jodhpur High Court to travel to London for the unveiling of his wax image. Is it only about being an actor?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Roads and Lanes

I enjoy driving, though of late driving on Bangalore roads can really drive you up the wall. Still with my music on, that is an hour and a half of time I spend with myself, listening to music most of the time and generally relaxing, not minding the unending traffic snarls or the incessant honking by fellow motorists.

Many roads in Bangalore are changed from two way to one way overnight and it sometimes becomes a little difficult to keep tab of that. I have had an experience, quite nightmarish of entering a lane which was two way till the previous evening and which had overnight become one way (the lane which connects Cunningham Road and Ali Askar Road, parallel to Millers Road), I had a tough time coming out of that lane. Driving on the Outer Ring Road used to be a pleasant experience always but the past couple of years with that bustling with activity, it is traffic jams galore.

I always tell people that if you can drive in India, you can drive anywhere in the world. Am I right in thinking so?

I read this which was written by Ross Koeser, who is the Executive Director of ICPHSO.

I am in England with my wife visiting our daughter and her family – husband Andy, a pilot in the US Air Force and two young daughters. I rented a car because I wanted to see the English countryside. Most of you readers are international travelers and have rented cars in the UK and survived. But, I was not prepared for the shock of riding on the left side of the road, shifting with the left hand, round-abouts (always look right), narrower than narrow roads, and trucks traveling at 60 mph missing you by 9-½” and never slowing down. In addition, I rented one of those GPS travel guide systems where “Stephanie” supposedly guides you effortlessly during your travels – NOT. Now I’m sure some systems are better than others, but I would say that our “Stephanie” did not graduate at the top of her class. For example, she says “turn left” – I turn left; after ¼ mile I hear, “at first opportunity – turn around”. What did I do wrong? – I turn around and after another ¼ mile I hear at first opportunity – turn around”. OK, get the map out and strangle Stephanie.

I now more than ever understand the meaning of safety, because I never felt safe. Somehow I managed to not have an accident in 5 days, although many a British driver increased their curse word vocabulary over my driving.

Do not ever underestimate the power of prayer.

The first time I saw traffic on the right side was when my flight was about to land in Dubai. It seemed odd to see traffic on the "wrong side" of the road. One experience I have had was when I was in New York and waiting for a bus. This was a "One Way" and so I walked upto a point where there indeed was a post marking a bus stop. I stood there and was watching the bus come, but it stopped on the other side and went away while I stood on the opposite side. Only then did I foolishly realize that, I should have stood on the right side and here I was standing on the left.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hello Nano

Ratan Tata has done it. A car for about a lakh Indian Rupees. Unimaginable even a few years ago, but a reality today when Ratan Tata unveiled it at the Auto Expo in Delhi. He aims to market it around the world. Newspapers across the world from Washington Post to New York Times to Reuters are agog with this news.

Moreover, environmentalists are also taking up cudgels against the Tatas for the pollution that might ensue. But Ratan Tata says it conforms to the Euro-4 Standard which is still not mandatory in India.

The launch of the Tata Nano in all probability could result in many, who otherwise would not have dreamt of owning a car going in for cars in India and it could definitely benefit many but do we have the roads for new cars. Traffic problems are galore in cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune and most other cities which witness chock-a-block traffic through the day. This will only add to the number of vehicles and thus adding to the congestion, confusion and chaos on the streets and not to forget the ever-increasing road rage.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Taare Zameen Par

Oh What a movie!! A very moving, realistic one. Aamir Khan, the perfectionist he is, has done extremely well in his debut as the director. The child, Darsheel Safary is too good, what expressions. A knock-out performance. The parents of Ishaan too have acted very well, Tisca Chopra is very beautiful indeed. A moving movie. Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy too very catchy. Some songs, lyrics and music all make an impact.

It is the journey of an eight year old which you travel through the movie, share his frustrations, apprehensions, and all the emotions and in the end, it leaves you feeling joyful and uplifted. Aamir Khan is a thoughtful, silent, observing, director who does not overdo. Even sarcasm is underplayed which leaves a very strong mark on the audience. A very special movie with the tagline, "Every Child is Special".

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Monkey Business

Australia might have won in Round One but Cricket as a game has lost. What one fails to understand is did Harbhajan really call Symonds that, all this when Channel Nine Technicians say they have no evidence of that? Why should Symonds feel hurt and imagine being called a "Monkey"? The Ugly Australians are at it again, at what they are good at, sledging!!

India has lodged a protest against Hogg saying he has called an Indian player names. This will be taken up in a separate hearing.

Days after the unpleasant match between Australia and India, not every Australian is happy about the way in which the Australians have "upheld" the game. Even the Prime Minister of Australia has called for settling this issue amicably as soon as possible. One thing we should remember is, that culturally we Indians are very different from many others in the world and not by any stretch of imagination can anybody hold Indians "racists". We have seen the way the British contestants treated Shilpa Shetty and the uproar that was subsequently created.

It is a relief that Harbhajan has been cleared to play the 3rd Test beginning in Perth and that Billy Bowden will officiate in the place of Bucknor. But the other umpires remain. Let us see what we have in store for us in the remaining tests. What was surprising earlier was that neither the two officiating umpires could hear any racist remark nor the Channel Nine Techinicians could pick any audio or video evidence of any remark. God alone knows how Michael Proctor came to the conclusion that Bhajji had indeed called Symonds names.
Cricket in Australia is at its all time lowest. Possibly this could be the lowest in Cricket in general after Jardine's Bodyline Controversy of the 1930s.

Meanwhile there have been calls for the sacking of the Australian Captain Ricky Ponting. I cannot imagine the captain of a cricketing nation behaving the way Ponting has. All through his cricketing career, I have never seen Sunil Gavaskar wait even for a moment if he was out, to see if the umpire had noticed it. He would just walk back. That is an Indian for you

The next that the BCCI should ensure is that the Sydney Test is taken off record and BCCI should stand firm on this. After all, India contributes to around 70% of the revenue that ICC generates and ICC cannot just ignore India's concerns. Whatever might ensue, India has been wronged and it will take more than the ICC's superficial gestures to assuage the hurt Indian sentiments.

Truly Monkey Business this!!!

Pic- Deccan Herald

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Umpiring Goof-Ups

Second Test Match between Australia and India
Venue - Sydney
Players - India - 11
Australia - 14

It is sad that India had to play against 14 in the Second Test Match at Sydney. In a very controversial and unfair game, India lost by 122 runs to the cheats, the Australians. The thing that riled me most was the attitude of Ponting and Clarke. When the "God Almighty Benson" asked the fielders in the Second Innings if the catch off Ganguly's bat was taken, they said "Yes" and Ganguly was given out. What business does the umpire have asking the fielders when there is a "bigger than thou" 3rd Umpire sitting up there with high-tech gadgets to help him. Can Clarke, a person who would not walk out when he was caught till he was given out, be depended on to give his verdict. And Ponting stand there saying, "Yes Caught". Not to speak about Dravid being given caught and out by Bucknor when the ball was not touched by the batsman. Despicable umpiring indeed!!

Ganguly's Wicket

Even in the first innings there were decisions galore which went against India. But is it too much to expect the players to be fair even if the "umpires" arent. For now, the score card will show that India has lost to Australia in the Sydney Test though we all know how it was that India lost. Sad that Lakshman's, Tendulkar's contributions and in the Second Innings, Kumble's grit all went in vain.

A question that comes to mind is are these umpires really competent? Bucknor seems to be quite old to be standing there in the middle of the field all day long for 5 long days. Time he bade a goodbye to the game.

BCCI should lodge a strong protest to ICC and also ensure that this test is taken off record for bad umpiring. That will set a precedent of sorts and will make people have some faith and trust in ICC as well as the umpires.

Ofcourse Tendulkar could have played better in the Second Innings and also Dhoni cheaply sacrificed his wicket too. They could have played a little more responsibly. What saddens the mind most is that had India managed to stay on and faced 7 more deliveries, they could have drawn this test, but ultimately..Umpiring surely did India in.

Updates- One, Two and Three

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Horn Ok Please

Horn OK Please!!

We have seen this phrase on trucks mainly. I always used to wonder what this means with the OK in between and found the Wikipedia entry on this. This is supposed to mean that if someone wishes to overtake, they have to honk.

Probably this shows the Indian psyche of honking incessantly on the roads at the slightest or no provocation whatsoever. As I sit in my office and listen to the blaring of horns, it is like one single continuous sound, with the variation in pitch, strength and also the output decibel.

I read this bit--

As our one and a half hour drive (only 30 kilometers) continued, I began to realize that in this mess of cars, people and huge puddles, honking is the only organizing factor.

"Honk, honk-hoooooonk, honk-honk! Watch out, I am intending to go non-stop where I am going! I am not going to stop just to save your life!"

"Honk-honnnnnk, Honk-Hon! I see, you are on my tail, going non-stop where you are going. Aye, why do you rush so much?"

Honkkkkkk-honk-honk-honk-hooooonk! I am trying to kill myself and these two stupid foreigners."

"Honk-Honk. You must do what you must do."

And so it goes, non-stop, the music of Indian roads. We make a sharp left turn and with a brave acceleration, speed towards a very (and I mean VERY) narrow street of Maja-ka-Tilla (a small Tibetan quarter in Delhi). I am convinced we are going to kill a few people but no, despite our speed and incessant honking, a few pedestrians (many of them red robed monks) respond with a surprising sense of calm and trust. Trust in the driver? Trust in the inevitable? Divine intervention? Our mini-van barely misses; sometimes it actually brushes against their torsos. Only later do I learn that personal space is highly negligible in India: especially on the streets. Cars, cows, donkeys, motorcycles and people, all rub each other as they negotiate crowded streets and small spaces. Amazing, there are few accidents.

where Misha narrates her visit to Delhi.

And another site which gives instructions as to how to drive in India, it says dont hesitate to honk. Honk to let someone know you are behind them, honk to tell someone they better move out of the way or else, honk to get someone's attention, basically honk for just about anything.

Yes!! It is democrazy on the Roads. Go ahead, Honk or you might be a murderer.

There are reports that there is a crackdown in Mumbai on noisy motorists.
But now the Mumbai traffic police, in a move that runs against the very culture of driving in this city of 18m, have begun cracking down on noisy motorists. Police have booked 368 car owners for shrill and "non-regulation" horns and for violating silence zones that prohibit honking near hospitals, educational institutions and places of worship, according to the Mumbai traffic police website.

The offending horns ranged from the shrill high-pressure variety used by trucks on the sub-continent to other kinds that have been modified to play the latest Bollywood melodies or even to sound like dogs barking.

Still, honking is second nature to Indian drivers. Hope we too are able to effectively introduce noise-less driving on our roads soon.
Pic- The Internet

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

"Love" by Swami Vivekananda

I am reproducing here an article on Love by Swami Vivekananda.

I once had a friend who grew to be very close to me. Once when we were sitting at the edge of a swimming pool, she filled the palm of her hand with some water and held it before me, and said this: "You see this water carefully contained on my hand? It symbolizes Love."

This was how I saw it: As long as you keep your hand caringly open and allow it to remain there, it will always be there. However, if you attempt to close your fingers round it and try to possess it, it will spill through the first cracks it finds.This is the greatest mistake that people do when they meet love...they try to possess it, they demand, they expect... and just like the latter spilling out of your hand, love will retrace from you .

For love is meant to be free, you cannot change its nature. If there are people you love, allow them to be free beings.

1. Give and don't expect.

2. Advise, but don't order.

3. Ask, but never demand.

It might sound simple, but it is a lesson that may take a lifetime to truly practice. It is the secret to true love. To truly practice it, you must sincerely feel no expectations from those who you love, and yet an unconditional caring."

Passing thought... Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take; but by the moments that take our breath away....