Thursday, December 28, 2006

Flashback 2006. Let's take a look at the beauty framed by the photographers. Credit: Reuters, AP-PTI, AFP and TOI

In this file picture taken on November 09, 2006, a keeper plays with a finless porpoise, a cousin of the baiji dolphin and one of five in Wuhan Baji Aquarium. The baiji dolphin, as it has been known in China since the mammal was first mentioned in mainland records more than 2,000 years ago, is on the verge of extinction, crowded out by cargo shipping on the river, heavy pollution and illegal fishing.

(left) File picture dated 11 April 2001 shows bear Ursa with her cubs at Skansen zoo in Stockholm. Due to an unusual warm autumn, bears in Sweden went on hibernation a month later than usual.
(down) Jawans have always made India proud. A moment where they are seen before a parade.

(Down) A woman pushes a baby cart as she strolls under arched yellow leaves of ginkgo trees in Tokyo, December 03, 2006. AFP

Winter has set in Delhi. A train enters station cutting across fog that clouded the entire area.

(Down) A Kashmiri nomadic woman sits huddled together with her baby on a cold morning as they wait for a bus in Srinagar December 12, 2006.

(DOWN LEFT) A baby, accompanied by a father, reacts to an illuminated Christmas
tree in Tokyo's Odaiba bay area on Dec. 25, 2006.
(Left) A two and a half-month old female reticulated giraffe nibbles on a plant at Rome's zoo on Friday, Dec. 1, 2006.

Indian air force Suryakiran jet trainers perform
during airshow on outskirts of Siliguri.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The missing link

2006, right now am in Bangalore. Elbowing through the huge crowd in the Forum Mall on a Sunday evening . Many who throng here have more than one credit card in their wallets to buy a coffee mocha in Java City, shop in Westside and Mochi. The scene is no different in many such departmental stores in the city. But something is missing in these poshe stores __ a bond. A bond which can neither develop with the big businessman nor the buyers.

Flashback to 2002. I still remember Bishnu of Bishnu Stores, Laxman of Laxman Accessories and Monu of Priyadarshini Jewelleries. Those shopkeepers of a small township of Batanagar. A huge locality of small shops was the heart of the town. The joint where youngsters to oldies used to meet for different reasons. There was not much of a polished touch to these small stores, yet there was a friendly relation that existed between the buyers and the sellers. The locality people could pick up any thing from a shop and pay it later. It was written down in a small register kind of a book, marked as credit account. Even if we had nothing to buy at times, we never missed the chance to say a Hello to them. So was our relation.

If it was a mid-week shopping in the mandi, we bumped into our local friends and many whom we knew. Banshi, the fish seller was the well-known in the fish market. The Sunday shopping was incomplete without a visit to him, even if we did not buy some fish for the week. Sometimes, he even used to force some fresh shrimps or hilshas of the season in the bag, convincing that payment won't matter at all.

During the Bengali New Year, all these shops used to invite their customers to clear-up their payments. And the shop owners used to open a haalkhata, a new account book for the next year.

The frolic that marked the festival was endearing. We used to visit the small shops embellished with colourful bulbs. Sweet boxes and calendars were common gifts for all of us. But, it was not just an ocassion where we were invited to clear the year's debts but it was the bond that was revived and nurtured when there was no boudary between the person who stood inside the shop counter and the other outside.

Things have changed. When I pay my bill in the Food World and the salesman hands over the change and says Thanks I miss those petty shopowners, who did not say thanks yet maintained a bond.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Some cute pictures

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Who am I?

Being the only child have been quite a privilege for me since I was small. I had always got the attention that I wanted. Not that I got whatever I demanded __ not a barbie doll or a pink ballerina __ but it was great being the precious one of my parents always. Trust me, I used to love when I had fever. The care and attention was something which I used to crave for. Buy yes at times the concern was suffocating too.

I have grown up the way they wanted me to be. Exactly like them with the values instilled in me. Good or bad I don't know but I stand here at this jucture with whatever lessons they have given to me. It never came to my mind if they were right or wrong. Because I never felt it necesary to ask them back.

After years being with them, now I am working alone in this city, miles away from my parents. I studied in a hostel. Experieced a different life. Away from them. Had to decide by myself what was right and wrong for me. Yes, at times I was baffled. But I did not go wrong. Probably the values roped me from going haywire. Then I started working here. And my work threw me into a new environment, which was different. I learnt new things and saw a different life.

Times changed so did my mind set. Experience added new lessons to my life. I never judged if what I had learnt from my parents was different from what I am experiencing now. Probably there are so many questions that come to my mind which will remain unanswered. I don't dare to ask my parents.

I know am not wrong in so many instances, but I don't want to hurt them. Don't want to argue with them for my sake. I don't want to act selfish. I just want to be me.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Reema, 24, had an arrange marriage this year and came to Bangalore from Kolkata. She is a homemaker and her husband is a IT engineer. She spends a lonely day at her place as her husband leaves at 8 am and comes back late at night.

Shruti, 25, came to the city with her husband. She too remains busy throughout the day with her household chores. Her husband works with Wipro and spends almost the whole day at his work.

There are so many like Reema and Shrutis in Bangalore who come from other cities and settle here to start a new life here. To begin a new relation with their better half.

I really wonder how much women are made to sacrifice for a relation. Ok, one might wonder why these gals don't take up a job and engage themselves. They can't escape from the ordeal even if they are working. There are many who are bound to take a break or change the profession because her job schedule is not matching with their husbands'.

Such cases are also plenty. Trishna, 28, from Tripura got married and came to Bangalore. She had been working as a journalist for six years. But left the job because her husband wasn't happy. She quit finally.

Why is it that women have to compromise? Is this possible that a man is compelled to quit his job because his work timing is not matching with her wife? Men might raise eyebrows on this question. Hardly do we come accross such instances where the husband is "understanding". Rather it is the least to be excepted.

There are many who accept what their husbands like and move on in life. Learn to live on his terms. There are many who dare to walk out of the relation. But why is it that love becomes a weakness? Isn't a relation meant to enrich the both in each other's company? Or is it forces to change thyself because they are into a relation. Will anybody explain?

Friday, June 30, 2006

Leave the God!

A strong belief that draws lakhs of devotees to the Amarnath lingam every year is shaken. Why? Controversy has already started brewing if the deformed lingam is natural or man-made.

To avoid any misunderstanding, the Jammu and Kashmir government ordered a judicial probe. First, fingers were pointed at outsiders. Then it was a twist to the whole story. Now evidence (TOI reporter) says that the governor S K Sinha had ordered for dry ice from Delhi since the lingam did not take take its usual shape. Shocked? Please, don't. There are letters which prove that the governor has given such order.

What next? Even if it's proved that who is the culprit, will the devotees accept it. Let's leave it on time

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Army in soup

First the pinch. "The comfort level to work with lady Army officers is low compared to their male counterparts and the Army can do without lady officers". Then the balm. The Army Vice Chief Lt Gen. Pattabhiraman apologises saying that the Army is proud of the performance of the lady officers.

But the saga doesn't end here. With the recent death of Lt Sushmita Chakravarty in Udhampur raises doubts about the unequal treatment that the lady officers are subjected to. Sushmita, as quoted from the letters by the National Women's Commission, was disgusted with the arrangemnets she had to make for the late night parties. Happy she was except that she was disappointed with the work culture in this male-dominated field.

Flashback to Flying officer Anjali Gupta's case. She had alleged cases of sexual harassment against three officers. The Chief, Air Marshal S P Tyagi started the probe. But things haven't changed much. And then Anjali was court-marshalled on charges of indiscipline and financial irregularities.

Back to the lop-sided behaviour within the Army. The story on the disproportionate salary scale of the lady officers compared to the men, in the Hindustan Times issue (June 23), keeps us wondering how the gender bias rules at large in the field, which is supposed to respect women the most. But high hopes.

When women are performing their best at all echelons of the society, Pattabhiraman's comment comes as a shock.

A Bench should try to find out about the level of corruption in the Army and the plight of the lady officers.

Hope the probe yields some results and puts an end to this inequality.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Musical note

Music and India seem to be like two words that are analogous. History stands testimony to this. Even now we pick up Tansen's instance to compare one's versatality and the prowess in music.

Zoom in on Bollywood music history, names of S D Burman, Mohammad Rafi, Naushad, Majruh Sultanpuri, Kishore, Geeta Dutt, Asha and R D Burman still make India pride, whether it is in composing music or lending a lilting voice to soothe the huge audience.

Fast forward to 21st century. Things haven't changed much, except that new talents are finding place on the dais.

The flurry of singers flourishing across the country shows that music is a talent that is aplenty. Thanks to the talent hunt shows. Yes, they might be interested in business, but it is undeniable that youngsters from corners of India get the opportunity to stage their talent. And, also can shoot to fame in few days, with a huge fan following. Their lives too change for a few days __ from designer clothes to prying cameras capturing every moment of their life giving them a brief taste of stardom. The stars in the making even get the chance to work with their chahida music directors too.

From well known Sunidhi Chauhan to newly found star Abhijeet Sawant, the list is neverending when it comes to the young singers who are ruling the music world.

Talents are bugeoning in the Bollywood industry and soon there will be a whole new group of stars who can add a new horizon in this arena. Is India ready for it?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Quota cauldron

The neverending quota stir is going too far. It will be wrong to say that OBCs and the SC/STs will be able to enjoy the fruits of the bill, if it is passed. And it's unjustified to assume that merit will be sacrificed because of this vote bank politics, as the AIIMS student are claiming.

The reality is a little different.

The 25 pc reservation for the AIIMS students in P-G admission and the 33 pc quota for them is unconstitutional, according to the Supreme Court of India (2001 judgment). The Delhi High Court has found out in a survey that the 33 pc quota for these students has been statistically made so that they can occupy all the 40 seats reserved for them.

The Delhi High Court has come up with new statistics after the five-year-long survey, which shows that the AIIMS in-house students are rather the privileged ones.

In the 1996 P-G admission, it has been seen that an AIIMS students scoring 46. 167 pc (which is the lowest according to AIIMS standard) got admission , while an SC student even though got admission was denied the coveted courses of obstetrics and gynaecology. Evenmore, 12 AIIMS studenst got admission while an SC student, who scored 66.3 pc, was denied a chance.

The SC has agreed with the High Court verdict that institututional quota is bad in law.

Then whose merit is sacrificed?

(Inputs from TOI story : AIIMS docs live in glass houses)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My hostel

Three years. That's the time I have spent in my hostel. It's time to wind up from here. The hostel owner is all set to hike the rent, which is a bit too much for me right now. It was the terrace room first. Had fun out there. Perfectly owner's pride and neighbour's envy. As if we not only owned the room but also the terrace. The schorching days of summer were never so bad, as the pleasant nights used to compensate. It was nice bathing in the sun, when winter came. The crushing sound of the fighter planes used to wake me up at nights. But, I enjoyed. But, our good time ended after a theft. We left the room and occupied one of the not-so-good rooms in ground floor. But, my classmates were around. I never realised the change. After few months my room mate and I were the only ones in our batch left in the hostel. Others left. New batch came and then the next. Fresh new faces reminded of my old friends. Now, probably I am too old here. Time to say bye to my good old hostel.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Pramod Mahajan dies. After being pumped with bullets, he had been hospitalised in Hinduja since April 22. His family was shocked, so was the BJP. But, death does not end the affair there. Now the TV channels and newspapers will start flashing the breaking news and TRP ratings will shoot like anything. Everyone in the office is glued to the TV. Each and everyone is throwing opinions about how good a politician he was. But, there are so many people dying everyday, does anybody report or care? But Mahajan makes news. So his death is important.