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Sourav Das

Sourav Das
Thoughts, opinions and some random stuff
Articles: 1, 2

Articles

A Long Hiatus
2008-02-14 07:19:00
Yes, it's been a while. A lot has happened, much has changed and I have had a lot of stuff going on to really notice how time has flown by. Is it just me? Maybe there's light at the end of the tunnel, but for now it seems endless.Of all the things that have happened, the most exciting was a much needed trip back home to India, after a period of 27 months. We've now moved to Noida in Uttar Pradesh. Delhi has changed a lot, as has India. Everyone's flying -- no one takes the train any longer. There are many more malls and all of a sudden people seem to be spending a lot more money than before.And tucked within that trip to India was a five-day visit to Dhaka, Bangladesh.Yes, I went to Bangladesh. Why? Don't ask me. I was supposed to go there for free, but I wound up paying quite a bit due to the bureaucratic setup of Air India where no one seems to be knowing how the system works -- everything is still not that great after all. When an airline company cancels your flight, it is t...
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Anuradha Pal performs with Prof. Allyn Miner
2007-10-07 06:45:00
Anuradha Pal -- one of the very rare female professional tabla players (according to the Limca Book of Records 1991, the first and only one) -- performed with Prof . Ally n Miner in the Irvine Auditorium, University of Pennsylvania on Sept. 28, 2007.Click on the pictures to view larger sizes.
More About: Anuradha , Perform
Taal Pulse -- Lehera, Theka and Drone Software
2007-08-27 10:29:00
This is an excellent aid for students of Hindustani music. It essentially replaces the electronic lehera, tala and drone synthesizers (like these) and combines all the three into one. And the best part is that it's free to download!Taal Puls e can play a lehera in multiple ragas and across six talas -- dadra, rupak, keherva, jhaptala, ektala and teen tala. You also have great control over the pitch and the pulse. So if you're a tabla player, just turn off the tabla (and the tanpura, if you want) and use it for practicing layakari. If you're a vocalist or a n instrumentalist, turn off the lehera and use it for accompaniment. Unfortunately, the only option in terms of instruments for the lehera is the harmonium -- a sarangi would have been excellent. Also, a tabla is the only option you have for the talas.The program can be downloaded from here: http://taalpulse.sourceforge.net/. It can run on Windows, Linux and MacOS platforms, and even PDAs. The website also has a short tutorial t...
More About: Software , Heka , Pulse
The Blue Umbrella (Chatri Chor)
2007-08-21 08:17:00
This past weekend I saw The Blue Umbrella (also called as Chatri Chor). According to IMDB, the movie was released internationally in 2005, but was released in India on Aug 10. This is the third movie I've seen directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. The movie won the National Award in India for Best Children's Film.The movie is adapted from a short story of the same name by Ruskin Bond. (On a side note, I have a book autographed by him. He visited my high school in 1998.) Bond is one of my favorite Indian authors and his writings, most of which are set in the Doon Valley and Lower Himalayas of Uttaranchal (or rather, Uttarakhand), give you a sense of solitude - so typical of the Himalayan hill-stations. It is as if one is transformed to the hills - anyone who has been to the lower Himalayas would probably agree.And true to Bond stories, this movie is shot in Dalhousie, Himachal Pradesh - a beautiful hill town (though somewhat rife with commercial tourism but not like Shimla, or Mussoorie). B...
More About: The Blue Umbrella
William Dalrymple's The Last Mughal
2007-08-10 09:14:00
I finally finished reading William Dalrymple's latest book - The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi, 1857. And with this, and with much satisfaction, I have also finished reading all of his books. Dalrymple has been an excellent discovery and his works, despite being a product of scholarship, are increasingly accessible owing to his ability of storytelling. In fact, of late, Dalrymple has shifted focus from travel writing to history. Here is an extract from the book.The book is almost entirely based off of the Mutiny Papers, in the National Archives of India, which had previously been lying ignored for almost a century and a half. What makes the work unique is that for the first time, one reads about the Mutiny of 1857 from the Indian perspective (albeit coming from a British historian). For a long time, most sources on the mutiny were rife with jingoistic British racialism towards Indians and portrayed it as the uprising of the evil, uncivilized "natives" against the great ...
Sanjay Dutt's Imprisonment
2007-08-02 08:46:00
Actor Sanjay Dutt was sentenced to six years rigorous imprisonment yesterday for the possession of an AK-56 rifle which he had bought from the perpetrators of the 1993 Bombay Bomb Blasts. This article on Express India has details about the case against him.The CBI case against Sanjay goes as follows: Abu Salem and his men went to Dutt's house on January 16, 1993 and gave him three AK-56 rifles, 25 hand grenades, one 9 mm pistol and cartridges.A couple of days later he returned them two AK-56 rifles, hand grenades and cartridges to accused Hanif Kadawala and Samir Hingora keeping one AK-56 rifle with himself.After the blasts, Sanjay, who was shooting in a foreign country, called up his friends and allegedly sought their help in destroying the weapon.On Dutt's instructions, the rifle was destroyed by Yusuf Nullawalla, Kersi Adjenia, Rusi Mulla and Ajay Marwah. The rifle and cartridges formed part of the consignment, which was smuggled into India at Dighi Port on January 9, 1993, in ...
US-India Nuclear Deal - Finally Done
2007-07-28 10:04:00
I am glad the deal has been finalized, despite some earlier disagreements. Besides just addressing India 's energy requirements, it obviously carries a very important political message too - that India is in the good books of the US. More importantly, it legitimizes India's possession of nuclear technology and brands it as trustworthy of handling this technology safely, especially after being under nuclear sanctions for almost three decades. Whereas that should never have been doubted before, it is nevertheless a recognition that has rightfully been granted. And along with that is the inferred geopolitical message that of all the countries in the region (though I would probably generalize it to anywhere east of Europe), India is probably the most stable and "intrinsically strong".More importantly, it also addresses some of the energy requirements for the country. According to the Ministry of Power, coal currently provides about 53.5% of the country's electricity while nuclear ener...
More About: Nuclear , Deal , Finally , Fina
Islamophobia and Exporting Religion
2007-07-23 05:18:00
I recently hit upon a blog called The Acorn whose author Nitin Pai suggests the official promotion of an Indian version of Islam. He quotes an article from The Economist on Britain "using scholarly Islam as a counterweight to the radical, hot-headed sort familiar in the Middle East." He then makes his point about India's own homegrown, tolerant version and why it must be promoted as a global message.Unlike Britain and the West, India does not need to import scholars or schools of theology. This blog has previously argued (see Should India export its religious values?) that it is in India?s interests to promote the Indian interpretation of Islamic values not just at home, but more importantly, abroad. This may be too much to expect from the current government, whose only response to radicalisation is its policy of creating community-based entitlements through reservations, curbing free expression in the name of preventing religious offence and tolerating intolerance. Regardless of ...
More About: Religion , Islamophobia , Slam , Phobia
"Passport Baba" Gets You a Foreign Job - Maybe a "Green Card Baba" Next?
2007-07-15 08:41:00
This is the kind of stuff that might please William Dalrymple. The shrine of a mystic fakir near Jamshedpur, Bihar is attracting people who believe hanging copies of their passports on the pipal tree would get them a job abroad.Hundreds of passport copies are festooned to the old pipal tree inside the Hazrat Miskin Shah ? popularly known as 'Passport baba' ? Dargah at the Baredih Kalubagan kabristan in Jamshedpur. Every Thursday, there are serpentine queues of mostly young men waiting with copies of their passports. People of all faiths come here from Orissa, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and even as far as Punjab...."Going by the donations we receive, it is obvious the Baba who came here from Lahore and died in 1934 answers every prayer," said Pir Mohammad, in-charge of the dargah. All the tiles, furniture, lights and fans have been donated by devotees, the Pir added. [link]Of course, most of them are not US aspirants - they would have probably sent out flowers to the USCIS. But th...
More About: Card , Green , Foreign , Spor , Fore
Pakistan's Instrument of Surrender to India (1971)
2007-07-04 08:25:00
Somewhere in the depths of my inbox I found this image of Pakistan's Instrument of Surrender to India in the 1971 war which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh, that I had saved from The Times of India.The image is also available on Uttorshori.net, Wikipedia, and Tribune India.© The Times of India, May 3, 2005FreeIndia.org has a detailed analysis of the war, and many photographs. It was probably the only war in which the Indian navy saw action, and successfully barred Pakistan from launching attacks from the sea front and providing supplies to its arm in East Pakistan. The FreeIndia site has more details on this, including the sinking of the PNS Ghazi submarine, devastation of Bangladeshi ports by INS Vikrant and the attack on Karachi.GlobalSecurity.org also has a detailed report of the war, and it delves deep into the geopolitical history of the conflict and the sources and reasons behind the fallout between East and West Pakistan. Having read relevant portions of the report, ...
More About: Ender
Ragging in Indian Colleges, Indian Racism, Piracy in Books: Essays by Sujit
2007-06-28 08:22:00
Sujit Saraf is an engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and University of California, Berkeley. He is now a space researcher, plus a play-writer and author - he works at NASA and is also the artistic director for Naatak. (It is amazing how he manages all of them at the same time. He explains how.) His website contains a number of his essays and articles. I did not read the article on Delhi Zoo and the Indian theater in the Bay Area.The most appealing of the lot is the essay on ragging in Indian colleges. It is on the StoppingRagging.org blog, and a condensed version was published in Tehelka magazine. He starts off with going through how he himself was ragged - which is by no means light, and definitely does not "sound funny" as he claims. Not only is it physical, but also sexual in nature. Having horrified the reader, he digresses into the reasons put forward by seniors and supporters of ragging, most of them needlessly romanticizing something that is horrible and...
More About: Books , Piracy , Racism , Colleges
Ry Cooder & Vishwa Mohan Bhatt - A Meeting by the River
2007-06-24 06:11:00
This name of this album is both factual as well as symbolic - factual because it indeed was a meeting by a river (which one, I don't know), symbolic because it was themed on a poem by the Persian poet, Jelaluddin Rumi (see below for more on this). Besides, it was completely unrehearsed and was like the confluence of two streams to form a river. From there on, the speed and depth was determined by the artists themselves. The album won the Grammy Award for Best World Music Album in 1993. Pt. Vish wa Mohan Bhatt declares it on his website as "the highest music award of the world" - which I highly doubt, but it is by no means a measure of the quality of the music itself. 30-second samples of the tracks on the album may be heard on the Amazon Music Sampler.Ry Cooder clearly deserves an honorable mention in this album. Unlike guitarists like John Mclaughlin who have an understanding, and some training, in Indian classical music, Ry Cooder has none. Assuming that he had no knowledge of rag...
More About: River , Meeting
China, India, the "Asian" and "Boo-dism"
2007-06-21 07:52:00
It was a pleasant surprise for me today as the Times of India has had a great item as a headline for most of the day today. Call it breaking news or not, but I am glad it points out a very important and relevant cultural issue. The claim for Buddhism is more than just a minor cultural issue. We are yet to be credited for the decimal number system and algebra (currently considered incorrectly by many even in the academia as Arabic numerals), for recognizing that Pi is after all irrational (for more, see Aryabhatta, Brahmagupta, Madhava); it is yet to be wholly acknowledged that we possessed the oldest system of medicine - Ayurveda, practiced plastic surgery in the 8th century BC (for more, see Sushruta, Charaka), etc, etc.China seems to have hogged up most of the credit as the Asian cultural stronghold over the past century. Whether it has something to do with melanin-levels or poverty (how could a poverty-stricken people ever have achieved anything anyway?) or massive Chinese immigr...
Indians and Moustaches - the Great Divide
2007-06-16 09:53:00
The Times of India Editorial has a pretty funny article on what is claims is yet another divide between the north and the south. It is called, "A Moustache Divide," and analyzes social trends that have resulted in the prominence of moustaches among South Indians , and their dearth among North Indians. It claims that in South India, eight out of ten males wear moustaches.The trend is attributed to films. It says that whereas actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Shammi Kapoor, etc never sported a moustache, their South Indian counterparts like Rajkumar (though I immediately think of Rajinikanth) have always done otherwise. In Hindi films, it was usually the villain who had a moustache, while in South Indian movies everyone had one. It might also be a result of international fashion trends, and with current fashion models being mostly North Indian. On the other hand, even news anchors and TV serial actors in South India sport a moustache. Later, the article attributes it to general cultural tr...
More About: Great , The G
Music and its Cognitive Effects
2007-06-10 09:11:00
The top two on the list of Most Emailed articles on BBC News today were on the effects of music on the brain and the heart. Both articles have been researched on independently.The survey conducted on the effects on the brain (Music 'makes the brain learn better') was done by researchers in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and involved a very basic test that was limited to visual memory and the ability to retain and recall words. It involved a group of children half of whom had received musical training, while the other half hadn't. The basic outcome was that kids who received music lessons at an early age showed significantly better retention capacity than those who hadn't. However, no difference was noted in visual memory.The researchers, led by Dr Agnes Chan, said giving music lessons to children "somehow contributes to the reorganization [and] better development of the left temporal lobe in musicians, which in turn facilitates cognitive processing mediated by that specifi...
More About: Effects
The Six-Day War, USS Liberty -- 40 Years On
2007-06-09 07:22:00
As the 40th anniversary of the Six-Day War, which radically altered the Middle-East, is being commemorated, I have come across some interesting articles on the same. BBC News has some pictures of the capture of Jerusalem by the Israeli forces. It also has a Special Report of the Six-Day War wherein it analyzes the day-by-day progress of the war (including positions on maps) and the sequence of events which ultimately led to a thumping victory for Israel, thereby securing its existence in the region.The pretense of the war was the removal of the UN Emergency Forces from the Sinai Peninsula by Egypt, and a call for "the destruction of Israel", which led Israel to attack the Egyptian forces. This was followed by Syria and Jordan attacking Israel. Israel eventually emerged victorious, and within seven days, had 40% more area than it did on June , 1967. Among the areas that it captured were the Sinai Peninsuala, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights.This was followed by the...
More About: Liberty , Years , Year , Ears
World's Fastest Growing Religions
2007-06-06 08:10:00
Through A Reader's Words I found an article on the magazine, Foreign Policy, published from Washington, DC, titled "The List: The World?s Fastest-Grow ing Religions ." It lists -- you guessed it -- the fastest growing religions in the world. The one thing I noticed is that India figures in each of them. Maybe it shouldn't be that surprising after all, but it seems like India now shoulders the burden of advancing almost every religion invented, and yet to be invented.Islam tops the list. Surprisingly, or maybe not, it isn't conversion but immigration and "High birthrates in Asia, the Middle East and Europe," that is cited as the reason. Among the countries factoring into this are Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Egypt, and Iran. "High birthrates in India," puts the Baha'i Faith in second place followed by Sikhism, Jainism and Hinduism. This is followed by Christianity, and finally conversion is cited as a reason. "The fastest-growing individual church in the world is Misión ...
More About: Fastest Growing Religion , Rowing
Yuppies vs. Bhaiyas, and Desiring Lower Caste Status
2007-06-04 09:25:00
I came across an article on Kafila by Shivam Vij, in response to Hindol Sengupta's on CNN-IBN about Mayawati's election victory in Uttar Pradesh. Politics is, for the most part, dirty business in India and is not something that I follow. Sengupta writes about how there are no longer any leaders who represent the "middle-class, educated, metro-bred, Christian-education raised, young" people like him, while leaders of the likes of Mayawati, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav, etc, hailing from uneducated, rural backgrounds have taken over politics.Vij fires back by claiming that Sengupta and others like him (he uses the term "yuppies") are what they are since they belong to a higher caste, while Mayawati and team indeed represent the rise of the lower castes and the shifting of the tide towards equality for all.But no one can dispute that the Indian middle class is composed of the upper castes. Yet they choose not to admit this. Sengupta honestly admits that his convent educatio...
More About: Status , Lower , Caste , Stat , Lowe
Siachen: India's "Cold" War
2007-06-03 10:21:00
While reading about the failed US-India nuclear deal on BBC News, I was inevitably taken link after link to the Kashmir conflict. One of the articles, Q&A: Kashmir Dispute, contained a link to a special report on the conflict, shot on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC). It was filmed just after the nuclear tests in 1998, but prior to the Kargil Conflict in 1999. The report starts with the Siachen Glacier and then enters into the heart of the conflict in the valley itself. Whereas the true depiction of the conflict may be debated (as is with anything related to Kashmir), what was surprising to me was Siachen. It might be notable to mention that the region contains some of the highest mountain peaks in the world (including the K2 - second highest peak in the world).What keeps India and Pakistan from retreating is fear of the other taking over. As a result, you have soldiers fighting one another under extremely tortuous conditions at altitudes of almost 6,000 mete...
More About: Cold War , Cold , Chen
Material - Hallucination Engine
2007-05-29 01:06:00
It took me a while to really understand and appreciate the album. Material is an experimental jazz group, led by bassist Bill Laswell, which plays around with funk, dub, electronics and a variety of world music. Hallucination Engine features a long lineup of guest artists, quite a few of whom I've been listening to a lot over the last two years. The list includes Liu Sola, Fahim Dandan (spoken vocals); Nicky Skopelitis (guitar, electric sitar, baglama, Fairlight synthesizer); Simon Shaheen (violin, oud); Jeff Bova (synthesizer); Zakir Hussain, Trilok Gurtu (tabla); Vikku Vinayakaram (ghatam); Jonas Hellborg (bass, fretless bass), Wayne Shorter, L. Shankar (electric violin), Williams S. Burroughs, Bootsy Collins, Sly Dunbar, Bernie Worrell and many others. Obviously, most of them are artists I hadn't previously heard of. This also tends to create too much a mix as a result of which it is impossible to figure out who is playing when. Also, sometimes it is hard to distinguish betwee...
More About: Cina , Rial , Teri
"Matrubhoomi" - Quite Radical
2007-05-28 03:41:00
I have stayed too aloof from Bollywood to have noticed it myself. From the blog of Amardeep Singh, I got to know of Matrubhoomi - A Nation Without Women - a 2005 movie based on the gender imbalance in India as a result of female infanticide and the preference of male children. Matrubhoomi translates into "motherland" in a variety of Indic languages. The movie shows a very extreme consequence of this trend - a society wherein there are simply no women left. A concept as abstract as this gives the movie the ability to steer its way in any possible direction, as there really is nothing like a proper storyline. I think that is where it is up to the director as to what he or she wants to convey.With no marriageable women left in or anywhere around the village, a wealthy villager pays a huge amount of money to the one man who does have a daughter, to have her marry all his five sons. She ends up being shared between not only the sons, but even the father himself and is abused by all but t...
More About: Quit , Radical
Talvin Singh Gets Bottled
2007-05-23 21:32:00
The lack of respect and appreciation among Indians for Indian classical music is something which has often bothered me too. As amateurs (I can speak for my group here), for us the only avenue for performing is at Indian events on college campuses which are typically flooded with Bollywood music and Indipop, and an audience, mostly Indian, that does not understand or care for classical music. Often are the times when we have aren't given enough time for sound check because some average dance group needs to rehearse.In this case, Talvin Singh performs in the Bradford Mela before a crowd comprising mostly of confused 2-gers. The Bradford Mela usually features artists like RDB, State of Bengal, etc, so it's definitely not the ideal location to play classical music. But regardless of that, it was wrong and immature to react by throwing stuff at him. Besides, from the clip it doesn't even seem it was purely classical; and a bit of a change isn't a bad idea after the endless stream of ...
More About: Bottle , Alvin
Behind my Grandparents' House in Cuttack, Orissa
2007-05-20 10:53:00
Behind my Grandparents' House in Cuttack, Orissa Originally uploaded by souravdas. I took this picture on my first trip back home, a year after came to the US for college. I remember I was bored to death since I no longer have any cousins or uncles and aunts living in Cuttack anymore. Most of them are married and/or have jobs elsewhere. So I headed out with my camera and walked all the way to the backside, and was simply mesmerized by this scene. It was post-monsoon so it was green and wet all around. But the amount of greenery here surprised me - and it's something that you don't find as much in the interiors of India as on the coastal plains which are hit by the monsoons directly.But for some reason, it reminds me of Southeast Asia - Burma isn't really that far from here if you come to think about it. I remember John Keay - pretty sure it was him - in Into India talking about the Southeast Asian feel of Bengal, Assam and other parts of Eastern India. There's bamboo growing a...
More About: Rent , Ouse , Parent
Kavita Chhibber Interviews Shujaat Hussain Khan
2007-05-19 09:02:00
A while back, I had stumbled upon this interview of Shujaat Hussain Khan on the website of Kavita Chhibber. I liked it because it was simple and down-to-earth, and enlightening. Unlike most musicians who tend to make a point of the painstaking rigidity of their practice and strictness of their teachers, Shujaat Khan wasn't pompous. And what I like about him is that he is mostly self-made, despite having Vilayat Khan (the hands-down God of sitar) as a father, and does not possess any of the vanity or pride. Of particular interest to me is the fact that he walked out on Vilayat Khan - that takes guts - after being fed up of his strictness. He then played music for movies, and even played in marriages in the US. It was out of his own interest (and out of desperation, as he says) that he returned to performing professionally.I have a few albums of his, and most of them are semi-classical and folk songs. Apparently, Lajo Lajo was a big hit and he followed with many more albums. I person...
More About: Interviews
Article on Outlook: The Miracle that is India
2007-05-04 06:27:00
As India is about three and a half months away from its 60th year of independence, Outlook India has an article by Ramachandra Guha that is very romantically titled, "The Miracle that is India." A very detailed profile of Guha may be read here, but Wikipedia spares one the long read. Over the last two-three years, I have come across quite a fair amount of nationalistic stuff on Internet media, mostly from Indians beaming with pride - an example of which may be this Powerpoint presentation. I believe it was propelled by Thomas Friedman's book: The World is Flat. I haven't read the book yet, but it essentially brought forward a pro-globalization view with a lot of emphasis and support towards India for it's democracy, truly secular society, etc, much of which its competitor China lacks.A lot of the same is reflected upon in this article - democracy, pluralism of religion, linguistic diversity, romanticizing Bollywood, etc. However, what I liked of the article was his counter toward...
More About: Article , Look
Cricket World Cup 2007 - The Most Uninteresting Ever
2007-04-30 09:32:00
It's odd I'm writing about this - because I didn't watch even a single game of the Cricket World Cup this time. I wonder if it was because of my aversion to cricket, or the lack of a television, or my being away from home for too long. There were times when I watched entire one-day games ball-by-ball. But I guess it was the Indian cricket team which made me hate the game itself. It just became frustrating to watch the team - pampered at home to an extent other more deserving players weren't - play like complete unprofessionals. I became sick of wasting the entire day, only to curse the team in the end. And I guess my departure from home was the final catalyst.Of course, a game must be appreciated in the true spirit and not simply along nationalistic lines. But I feel we give too much importance to just one game - considering that we haven't qualified for the Soccer/Football World Cup in decades (do we even try any more?), our dismal performance in the Olympics (and the pride wh...
More About: World Cup 2007 , Cricket World Cup
Nikhil Banerjee & Zakir Hussain - Chakradar Gone Bad?
2007-04-25 19:30:00
This clip was uploaded on Youtube about three weeks back, and makes a direct dig at Zakir Hussain - quite easily among the best tabla players, and definitely the most popular, currently. Since it has Nikhil Banerjee playing, it is most likely from the early 80's - Zakir looks young too.He plays a 16 beat cycle called Teen Tala, and while Nikhil Banerjee holds the lehera (background cyclic tune), he goes on his signature full assault which is often deadly. This time though, he goes a bit easy and plays something more structurally complicated. The solo is very off time, and for an untrained ear it is almost impossible to keep count. He plays the basic theka at different speeds, and at the 45 second mark he starts with a chakradar. A chakradar is essentially three identical rhythmic structures cascaded together. A pause is allowed, but it must be of the same duration. Zakir makes a pause after the first iteration, but after the second iteration he adds an additional dha tite (at aroun...
Rockford, and Convent Boarding Schools in india
2007-04-23 03:07:00
Let's see - I'm late by about eight years in writing about this movie. The only memorable part of the movie might be the song Yaaron by Kay Kay (the India n version of Bryan Adams - he even semi-copied a bit of Aap Ki Dua off him) which is still quite a popular tune. The soundtrack also has Indus Creed's Comatose. You can listen to the entire soundtrack here.The movie isn't too great though. Released in 1999, it come out at a time when low-budget non-mainstream movies were still a relatively new trend, and Bollywood was neck deep in pelvic thrusts and all in one romance-tragedy-action movies. Nagesh Kukunoor's previous and maiden attempt at a low-budget film, Hyderabad Blues, had been a major success - despite its extremely limited budget and poor, amateur photography and script. But whereas his budget seems to have been slightly higher this time round, there is still much of the same stuff here too. There is no continuity in the scenes - one event abruptly leads to another and ...
More About: Schools , Vent
Our Rich Indian Culture Blemished
2007-04-20 05:36:00
Its a bit late (actually quite late) to be mentioning this, but its really quite a shame at how we still make ourselves look like an insecure, cultureless, immature, jobless people. Apparently, Rich ard Gere's kissing Shilpa Shetty is being seen as "blemishing our rich Indian culture", "an attack on our cultural ethos", etc. Whether Shilpa Shetty has a personal problem with it is nobody's business, but to call it "their culture, not ours" is not only a misunderstanding of our culture, but also theirs. It seems she has absolutely no problems with this. According to the Guardian Unlimited: Arts Blog, Gere was simply parodying his moves from Shall We Dance? after being complimented by Shilpa Shetty for the same - which in my opinion, is a very celebrity-like thing to do.But since when and on what basis is this against our culture? What does this even have to do with culture in the first place? To me it is nothing but a shameful reminder of the Victorian values that we continue to clin...
More About: Culture
Effects of Excessive Gaanja
2007-04-14 05:45:00
As if the search for God wasn't reason enough, we now have the Gods themselves visiting India on six-month visas. I came across this article on BBC News of a Britisher, diagnosed with gender identity disorder, who likes to dress in a sari (because he finds the act very sacred) and who is currently being worshipped as a Goddess. Apparently, he is being considered the messenger of Bahuchara Mata - the Goddess of the hijra's (eunuchs).Here is what Stephen Cooper, the messenger himself has to say about this."All this while I never connected to anything. During my travels I came across pictures of several Hindu gods. On seeing the picture of Bahuchar Mata in one of the shops I could feel my energy being reflected in a different way."It was then that people told me about this place and asked me to visit India," he says.The article doesn't clearly mention why he is being considered a Goddess in the first place. I suspect it has more to do with melanin than spirituality after all, and of...
More About: Effects
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