Questions raised by Singur

Singur is the name of a place near Calcutta in West Bengal, where the Tata Motors plan to set up the manufacturing plant of their much-hyped One Lakh Car. The state government wants to acquire the land from small peasants to give it away to the Tatas. If you have heard/read/seen Mamta Banerjee fasting lately, then it is for the cause of these peasants. The Tata controversy at Singur has raised many questions. Why is Tata being given more than 1000 acres of cultivable land for a car manufacturing plant when the actual manufacturing facility could do with a fraction of that size? Why is the land in question so near the Calcutta metropolis when the govt could have identified another site a bit farther to push for economic growth of that area? Arindam Chaudhary of IIPM has such questions in his article (the link will be posted when I can find it online).

Another article in the Times of India by a Member of Parliament, Mr. Suresh Prabhu, puts forward some common sense points for the long term land use policy as required by India. In the brief article, he justifies the need for a consistent land use policy at the national level and points how it can be formulated with the help of a little common sense and data from our very own GIS satellites. Come on guys, the cost of those satellites should be justified by putting their data to optimum use. Instead of doling out Rs 15,000 crore to our space agencies for a “manned space flight” or Rs 20,000 crore for putting a man on moon, this sum could be put to use for providing basic amenities to the 40% of our below-poverty-line population. To get the amount into perspective, the Golden Quadrilateral Road Project connecting four corners of India cost Rs 30,000 crore! I’m not against scientific progress, but what is the point of spending such huge amounts for outdated goals, except to show the world “we can do it too” which anyway, they have been doing for the last 30 years!

Living Life Backwards?

This one is for those “complaining types” who don’t feel that life is giving them a fair deal 😉

Sometime back I recieved an SMS from a friend. The gist of that message was that life would have been more fun if it ran backwards … kind of like the video of Enigma’s song which had an unicorn running backwards (maybe it was “Loss of Innocence”). Anyway, I found this thought to be interesting and googled the idea. Predictably, a lot of blogs and joke sites have this thing uploaded. I’m still not sure about the source but maybe this was discussed on the “Seinfield” too.

Post Edit: I have found the original quote by comedian/actor George Carlin. Thanks to Bob Janes site here.

George Carlin once said:

The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends.
I mean, life is tough.
It takes up a lot of your time.
What do you get at the end of it?
A Death. What’s that, a bonus?
I think the life cycle is all backwards.
You should die first; get it out of the way.
Then you live in an old age home.
You get kicked out because you’re too young,
you get a gold watch and you go to work.
You work forty years
until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement.
You do drugs, alcohol, you party,
you get ready for high school.
You go to grade school,
you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities.
You become a little baby,
you go back into the womb,
spend your last nine months floating
and you finish off as an orgasm.

I wonder how many people would like the idea of starting dead and ending orgasmically!

This might be my last post in the year 2006 … so here is wishing you all a very happy and prosperous 2007 !!

Dil Chahta Hai

The following post about the movie Dil Chahta Hai, was posted on my previous blog on Monday, July 28, 2003. I just wanted to put it here too …………………………………………………………………………………………


Saw some of it last night … and reaffirmed my belief that this is one movie which never fails to evoke a flood of emotions! Simply ‘unputdownable’, as we say for books. I can’t think of any other word to put it better. I have to literally tear myself apart from the TV screen if DCH is on-air. For me, it is easily the second “Movie of the Millennium”. Number one being Sholay. DCH’s narrative takes you along the flow, drawing you into itself and touching your emotional chords every time you see it, … how ever many times you see it. The ‘Moti si Opera singer’ scene quickens your pulse even though you know what is going to happen next. All because of wonderful acting. And later, when Preity comes out to return Aamir’s jacket and says, “Kyunki hum dono jaante hain ki us raat aankhen band karke tumne us moti si Opera singer ko nahi dekha tha.”, always brings a lump to your throat. Again because of acting. Simply superb. But it may also be because of the viewer relating to the “Both know but can’t say” feeling. Some time in your own life you have felt that way, right ?! And you know how it hurts to have the feeling of losing someone so dear.

The strains of the bass guitar in the song ‘Tanhayee’ echo in my mind even as I write this. The words drift through …

“Toote … khwaab saare … Kaisi maayusi hai chaayi”
” …. …. ”

“Khwaab mein dekha tha ik aanchal maine apne haathon mein”
“Ab toote khwaabon ke sheeshe chubhte hain in aankhon mein”

“Har khushi kho gayi …”
” Zindagi so gayi …. …. ”

“Tumse jo pyar kiya to maine sazaa hi paayi”

For me, Aamir sitting with hunched shoulders on the corner of a bench at a platform, sums up the whole concept of ‘Tanhayee’. It is just a brief scene with a train arriving in the backgound. But in that instant, his body-language shows how lonely and dejected he feels.

I can’t go to sleep immediately after watching DCH, because it opens some long forgotten chapters of life … and I can’t keep myself from reading the pages again. Then sleep comes noiselessly by the bed-side and takes the book from me … and cradles me in her lap. I fall into her arms deeper and deeper, and forget all about loneliness, pain, sadness, dejection, LIFE … at least for a night. For tomorrow, TIME will have added another page to the book called LIFE … and I’m waiting to read that page. This book is ‘unputdownable’ too.

Will the scars of 9/11 ever heal?

The news channel is replaying the news story of that fateful day five years ago, September 11, 2001. I look at the images of smoke emanating from one of the ‘Towers’. People are standing in streets, shading their eyes with their hands to look up at the building. Every one is thinking this to be an accident. One very bad accident. The newsreader’s voice does not shows any alarm, just a tone of concern with a hint of remorse. Smoke continues to rise from the building. The long antena on the roof juts out of the smoke as if mocking it. The ambulance sirens are not howling yet. They will come later.

The screen shows a shadow appearing in the clear sky. Its a plane. Gliding effortlessly through the air, coming in a long lazy curve. Why are they flying so low today? Don’t they see that one has already hit a building! The plane curves more sharply, as if being drawn towards the smoke by an invisible power. But wait … it is going straight towards the smoke! No body had thought that it will too ram straight into the building. The second tower. The plane just disappears into the concrete, as if melting into it. But the other side is not the same. A huge yellow ball of flames circled by grey smoke emerges, seemingly out of the walls. There are loud shrieks. The camera-man seems confused as to where to focus. Up in the air where a hypnotising fire ball is coming out of windows like dragon breath or down in street where all hell seems to have broken loose. Screams, sobs, frigtened faces and horror filled eyes.

Next, fire-tenders are shown trying to douse fire at one of Pentagon’s wings. The walls had started crumbling after a loud noise and a huge fire. A guy thinks it was a cruise missle. Later, it will be ascertained that a commercial airlliner has crashed into the Pentagon.

Some rescue workers are shown rushing towards a smoke cloud from what seems like a jungle. An eyewitness says that a plane had come plummetting towards the ground. The tail fin was pointing towards the wrong side. It was upside down when it crashed behind the trees. Sky is falling today.

The screen conjures up the video feed of two smouldering towers. One burning almost in the middle, the other a quarter way up. The smoke has blackened and flames are leaping out from windows as if they are trying to escape the buildings too. People, mere specks, arching out of windows, waving frantically. Some others can wait no longer to be rescued. They jump out and seem to be moving in slow motion. In the street, a lady is crying out loud. Streams of people come rusing out of the Towers. The lucky ones. Some with clothes and hair disshelved, some wailing and some with bruised faces. But they are very lucky as they will later realize.

The police men are motioning the people to clear the area. Helping the hurt to move. But the crowd is still there. The urgency in the sirens has increased. Then there is a rumbling noise. Something has happened. Another plane?! A long shot of the Towers comes up. The tower hit in the middle by the second plane seems to be tilted a bit to one side. Then it starts to crumble down. There is utter mayhem. Every body wants to run now. The roof of the tower seems to be dissappearing down in smoke. It keeps going down faster and faster untill everything is covered in smoke and dust. One cameraman is running with his camera facing backwards. The video is wobbly but I can see a dense dust cloud rushing between the streets, engulfing every car, every person. There is a thick layer of ash and dust on the roads.

Some time later the second tower crumbles down too layer by layer like a card house. My attention moves to the live news feed scrolling at the bottom of the TV screen. It reads –

Al Qaeda warns of attacks in Gulf, Israel. 4 French tourists abducted in Yemen. Saddam trial resumes after 3 week break. US warns North Korea on nuclesr tests. Japan launches satellite to spy on North Korea. Malegaon blasts: Police release sketch of third bomber.

Deadly sins? Really?

“So many people/so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind,
Is all the sad world needs.”

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

I came across this article [Deadly Sins] by Khushwant Singh, a renowned Indian author, who has a talent of writing in simple vocabulary. In this particular piece, he writes about the so-called 7 sins in Christianity and 5 sins in Hinduism. The seven Christian deadlies are pride, lechery, envy, anger, covetousness, gluttony and sloth. The Indian list has kaam (lust), krodh (anger), lobh (greed), moh (love or attachment) and ahankaar (arrogance).

Are they really so bad for humanity that they could be termed as ‘sins’ ?! How come that both these religions don’t include ‘violence’ in these lists of sins? Should’nt hurting a fellow being be considered sinful? Although we all consider violence as morally incorrect, but putting it in this list would might help end much misery from the world which we live in.

My First Post!

Well, the title of this post is misleading because this isn’t exactly my first post! First post in WordPress, yes … but first post as a blogger, no. I’ve been maintaining a blog called EyesOfCalvin at RediffBlogs earlier but some how my login requests were being denied. I’m sure I had not forgotten my password, but the fact was that I have not been able to post another entry.

I guess I really liked that blog. I think there were some withdrawl symptoms too initially … palpitations, nausea … you know what I mean, don’t you?! After all, that blog had given me some friends, I had invested time into it in the form of content, template designs and the chutzpah et all. And one day I find something akin to ‘Invalid Password‘ snip at my umbilical cord with the blog! Was the red color of the font some thing symbolic? Like dripped in the blood of my murdered aspirations! Of course, I was not expecting to be nominated for Pulitzer or something for my ranting about ‘Saas Bahu’ serials, but still, it was my blog!

Maybe WordPress will be more forgiving. Maybe this rebirth will last longer. Maybe I will discover something about Life … about myself … ‘my’ ‘self’ ! Maybe … …

Abe bahut ho gaya abhi tera natak. Abhi jyada Shakespeare mat ban aur line pe aaja” (I guess I’ve already discovered some of my real self!

Writer’s block

… looking at the monitor in great concentration
… narrowing eyes a bit
… fingers hovering lazily on the keyboard
… cross arms in front of chest *hmpff*
… tilt my head a bit
… reach for the pen in one smooth movement
… hold it slightly between thumb and index finger
… roll it slowly
… take a deep breath and exhale, nodding my head
… classic ‘thinker pose’, left arm in front of chest and right fist in front of mouth
… head still nodding
… “What?!! I can’t think of anything to write?”