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