29 April 2006

What type of wife are you?

Here's a survey made by Lowe that categorizes urban wives in India into:

Mrs. ‘Hasmukh’ Popular (27 per cent),
Mrs. ‘Meri Awaaz Suno’ (Hear my cry) Attention Seeker (31 per cent),
Mrs. ‘Gharelu’ (Homely) Homepride (18 per cent),
Mrs. ‘Pataka’ (Firecracker) Cool (12 per cent) and
Mrs. ‘Hey Bhagwan’ (Oh God...) Moaner (12 per cent)

Now they should have one for husbands too...
Mr. Not now dear, Tendlya's batting (Sports guy)
Mr. Right away, ma'am (Petticoat government)
Mr. Meri pant kahaan hai (Where are my pants?) - confused
Mr. Kya surat hai (She looks hot) - flirt

Seriously, I'll eat my hat if companies are able to increase sales based on advertising using those categories. Luckily for me, I don't have a hat so it doesn't matter if I win or lose this one. I used to have a hat, a beret which I really liked but I lost it. Can't find it anywhere, can't get another one like it because I've never seen one again :( maybe I'll scan in a photo and put it on to remind me.

25 April 2006

When ignorance is bliss...

When I was young, very young, I watched a malayalam movie called Piravi. It won the national award and so on, art-type movie. The plot revolves around an old couple and their daily routine. After waking up, brushing teeth, taking a bath, the old man sets out to cross the river in a boat and waits on the other side all day long. Then he returns to his wife. This goes on in excruciating detail for several days. I mean when he takes a bath you hear pots and pans falling in the kitchen and so on. In the end... ok I'll spoil the suspense... in the end we figure out that these folks have been waiting for their son to return from somewhere and he never comes because he's been killed and they don't want to accept it. Well, being young, this was not the most exciting of movies. I much preferred watching Sholay (still do, I guess I have a long way to go before I grow up). However it was a well made movie with great acting and cinematography and all that jazz that movie afficionados get pumped up about. It was a very beautiful concept, but in my opinion at the time, very ill-made as you had to sit through all these pots falling until you got to the end.

Why am I writing about this? Well... as it turns out... I just found out that the movie was based on a true story. The story is about Professor Eachara Warrier whose son goes missing in the Emergency and he fights with the state for 30 years to find out what happened to him. The case led to the sacking of a chief minister of Kerala. Unfortunately the good Professor found out what happened to his son, and it involved torture and death. He then blames himself for not knowing his son better while he had the chance.

If I watch the movie again, knowing the context of it now I can appreciate it more. I think I did an injustice to the movie watching it as a child, so I promise to give it a better look next time. Heroes are in short supply... especially of the average Joe variety so it makes sense not to forget their contributions and to fight against any situation that would lead to the struggles that they faced.

Oh Say Can You See...

Since I wrote about Vikram Buddhi and the freedom of speech issue, I've been wondering when it is correct to curtail freedom of speech. Should it be illegal to exhort people to kill other people or commit other crimes? If books do so, should they be banned as well? That would put paid to all of the world's religious books, except perhaps the Buddhists', and even the Buddhist priests actions in Sri Lanka definitely does not follow the teachings of the Buddha. Countries' leaders would have to be very careful not to fall afoul of this law, as just having armed forces means that you have to train them to kill. Isn't that threatening?

23 April 2006

Hips Don't Lie

Can I get fries with that shake?

22 April 2006

Freedom and democracy

Reading about the crisis in Nepal led me to realise something about India. Our leaders fought for independence from the British, but they also wanted to ensure that we would be a democracy. In order to do this they had to take power away from the existing feudal landowners. Those guys who initially ran the country realised that the only way democracy would take root and grow was to co-opt the already existing system of village democracy and ensure that land was redistributed from feudal landowners to their former tenants. Also, they reduced and eventually did away with the powers of the monarchs, whom the British had kept around so that they could indirectly control the population. These things are what has kept Indian democracy flourishing. If the country were controlled by a narrow band of feudals, then we would only do what is good for them, rather than what is good for the nation. The power was in land redistribution.

I also believe that this is why Pakistan has not succeeded in staying democratic. Despite getting independence at the same time as India and getting some of India's best people to run the country, they did not empower the people by redistributing the land. Thus, the interests of the nation were subservient to the interests of the small ruling class who have done everything they can to stay in power, including causing a seccession of more than half of their country. Anyone with more expertise on this can feel free to disagree, and I'd welcome their input if it corrects some of my thinking on this point.

Nepal faces a similar choice now. King Gyanendra should hold elections as early as possible and allow the people's elected representatives to curtail his powers for the good of the nation and redistribute some of the wealth to the poorest of the people.

20 April 2006

Stupid reason for visa rejection and Vikram Buddhi (u)

Studpidest reason for rejection of a tourist visa to the United States - New York is too far from Denver to visit if your base is in Denver. Apparently the consulate officer who came up with that gem is unaware that the united states has roads, automobiles and aeroplanes. He or she has missed out on the last 150 or so years.

In an unrelated story, an Indian maths student from Purdue has been arrested for telling other people to threaten the lives of the US president and veep and family and assorted "anglo-saxons" and their institutions. Apparently he did this way back in November on a site about xm satellite radio (?), got a talking to by the secret service who told him to cease and desist, which he did. They also asked him if he was insane and he said no. Then they left him alone to continue his studies and teaching. However that was not enough and now he's in jail until he gets charges brought against him next week as he's a flight risk. I think he needs a psychiatrist, not a judge. Anyway, the guy's name is Vikram Buddhi ... Buddhi means intelligence... in this case he might be forever known on campus as Vikram Buddhu ... Buddhu... which means idiot.

I didn't know that the US could arrest people for saying things online. I better watch it around here, free speech has basically gone to hell... what next, somebody gets arrested for suggesting that the Prez should step down at the end of his term? Already happens in several banana republics.

Update 30 April - Vikram's being held in some undisclosed prison in Indiana, he pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held without access to bail. Seriously, this guy is no threat to the U.S. otherwise the secret service wouldn't have waited for a few months before arresting him. Well at least the law will take its course and hopefully he'll get the psychiatric help that he needs.

Update 29 June 2007 - Buddhi's been found guilty of 11 counts. Sentencing later this year. His lawyer tried to use the defense that other people on the internet have said similar things as well as Ann Coulter the other day. Didn't work. I thought he could legitimately use an insanity plea but maybe he was in his senses at the time.

17 April 2006

Halle Berry looks like me

Halle Berry looks like me, that's what the myheritage.com facial recognition site says. Woohoo! I don't know how good their facial recognition thing is, it seems it pulled up people who were facing the same way as I am in the picture. Does that mean that I look like a girl or that the software is flawed? I tried Ginga and it didn't find anyone so at least we can't trick it that much.

16 April 2006

Junoon i concert

Last night I was at a Junoon concert. For those not in the know, they were a Pakistani rock band back in the day (90s). Since then they have broken up but the guitarist Salman Ahmed is running around with some new folks and and a new band, labeled imaginatively Junooni. He's a great guitarist but the voice... well... I think he should find a new lead singer. Now he can sing a million times better than me, but I'm not the one running around getting paid for singing. Anyway, the band was handicapped because the location had seats and people were just sitting... it's a rock concert, people, not classical... but they still managed to get the people on board. I love how the tabla guy Salim Khan coordinated with the rest of the band... The band was introduced by a very devout looking muslim guy. So the people next to us started shouting "Osama!!!" very loudly. I thought that was pretty funny, as the guy's name was, in fact, Osama. Well now he's famous on Purdue campus as he came out with, "Junoon is known as the U2 of South Asia, well, I say that U2 is the Junoon of Europe."

There were a bunch of youngsters who crowded around the front of the stage and were up and jumping around for many of the songs, little flames were out for one of the slow songs, which apparently reminded many of those guys that they needed a smoke and so they left for the next song and came back smelling of cancer sticks after a while. We had some good seats and I did get up for Sayonee and attempted some bhangra with my man FC, of the movie review blog fame. His true Punjabiyat was coming out and my fake one (because of my name). It was too bad about the chairs in the auditorium, they would have done well to have the concert at the armoury or something which is a large open space.

Now I have the song 'Khudi' running through my head -

Khudi ko kar buland itna // Ke har taqdeer se pehle // Khuda bande se khud poochhe // Bataa, teri raza kya hai?
खुदी को कर बलन्द इतना // कि हर तक़दीर से पहले // ख़ुदा बन्दे से ख़ुद पूच्छे // बता, तेरी रज़ा क्या है?
Make yourself rise above so much that before decreeding your fate, God himself asks you what your will is.

Of course I also have the alternative version running through my head, which is:
"Khudi ko kar buland itna // Ke jab himalay ki choti per pahunche // to Khuda bande se khud poochhe // Bataa, teri razai kahaan hai?"
"खुदी को कर बुलन्द इतना // कि जब हिमालय की चोटी पर पहुँचे तो // ख़ुदा बन्दे से खुद पूच्छे // बता, तेरी रज़ाई कहाँ है?"
"Make yourself rise above so much that when you get to the top of the Himalayas, God himself asks you where your blanket is."

Salman Ahmed is a UN goodwill ambassador for HIV/AIDS but he didn't get into that, he was more into India-Pakistan friendship issues. All well and good, but if we become friends, then what will happen to the cricket? How can we keep the rivalry going without any incidents of trash talking the other? Even the last Indo-Pak cricket series was kind of boring because everyone was very gentlemanly off the field, except Pakistan's ex-wicketkeeper Moin Khan who accused one of our best batsmen of cowardice and running away from the field. Unfortunately noone from our side retorted and made an issue of it, which would have happened in the past. My conclusion is, let's be friends, but let's have the off-field trash talk.

15 April 2006

No problem

No Sachin, no Sehwag, no Kaif, no Dhoni, no problem. The Indian one-day team is just going from strength to strength. Imagine that half of the established stars in your favourite team in your favourite sport are not there for the match against opponents that just defeated the world number 1 team... harrowing thought, no? Well... the Indian team didn't care and beat them with a bunch of youngsters...

भारतीय टीम के खिलाफ़ खेलने वालों की वाट लगी हुई है, कोई भी नया बंदा टीम में आता है और मार कर चला जाता है, और गेंदबाज़ भी पहले आते हैं बैटिंग के लिए। तीन साल पहले कोई पेस बोलर नहीं था टीम मे, अब ६ हैं जिन्हे हम खिला भी नहीं सकते।

In the land of the blind...

"In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King."

Knowing human nature that statement is completely false. In the land of the blind the one-eyed man will either have his eye put out or will have to believe that what he sees is a result of smoking too much of his favourite hallucinogen.

12 April 2006

Kill a male, no jail, kill a deer, 5 year

Salman gets 5 yrs RI, sent to Jodhpur jail

Well... this actor Salman Khan gets 5 years in jail for killing an endangered species of deer... however he gets nothing for driving drunk and killing several people a few years ago. What is the difference between the 2 cases? The tribe that considers the deer special could not be bribed into dropping their charges, unlike the homeless witnesses to the earlier crime.

10 April 2006

Black Bush

Dave Chappelle's show about if President Bush was African-American...

09 April 2006

My kind of robot

This is my kind of robot!

04 April 2006

Snow Brown and 360 dwarves

Snow Brown and 360 Dwarves. Click here for the article, this is for you GSL

This is a great article about one of the shortest actors of India (76 cm height). What is sad is how he was ridiculed by a headmaster who refused him admission into his school. That's so horrible. Somebody who is supposed to spread knowledge is instead discriminating against the vertically challenged. I wonder how many other educators push away people who might be good students based on the fact that they are different.
I remember going to school in Delhi and being dressed down by one of the teachers for putting my shoelaces on the wrong way. Trying to escape the uniformity of dress, I was trying to change the only thing I could about the uniform. Of course the uniform code did not say anything about how one could wear ones' laces so this teacher was just taking out her bad day on me. Luckily I was only temporarily attending that particular school and could give the lady the proverbial finger. What was up with her showing off her lack of excercise in a very revealing sari anyway? Should have asked her if that was against the uniform code.. should have been against some sort of basic human code though.

02 April 2006

Indian women, Zambian men

Both receiving and giving dowry in India is illegal. However, many families practice it, a higher proportion in the rural areas. For those who don't know, dowry is wealth that a woman's family pays to her husband's family before or during the wedding. To get around the law, the dowry is paid as houses, vehicles, things for the house etc. This is done to ensure the woman is treated with respect in her new house, as far as I can tell. This system has caused more problems than anything else in society. If the dowry was not enough, the bride is either returned to her house, undergoes severe psychological stress, and in some cases is murdered by her new family. The perpetrators are usually released due to a lack of evidence and they continue the cycle.

In Zambia, the dowry is paid by the men to the family of the women that they marry. Called bride price, or lobola, this is to compensate the family for the loss of the woman. That seems like a great system, but when you look deeper the man's side of the family now believes that they have bought the wife and can basically do whatever they want with her. In this case the woman is again put down. Now, I'm not saying that every family does this. I'm just saying that it happens way more often than it should, especially in the villages.

So what is the answer if people still want to pay lobola or dowry? Why, pay them to each other. So if Indian parents would arrange their daughter's weddings to Zambian men, they could then demand lobola while the men could demand dowry. If both sides are not satisfied then they can forget about it and let the couple elope. Now this would put a strain on men of marriageable age in India as they would not find brides and they would definitely have to look outside, perhaps in Zambia. Of course these guys would demand dowry, the girl's parents would demand lobola, and as long as both are the same then we've again solved our problems as well as the world's with some added diversity.

Or, these parents could just stop bribing their in-laws to treat their children well and only let their kids go to families that love them and not the material wealth that they bring. Perhaps an easier option, considering the price of aviation fuel these days.

Another question that comes up is that did we start doing business deals during marriage or did that just come into the institution of marriage from the outside world?

01 April 2006

Happy April Fool's Day

Doggies are on the beach! And having a good time by the looks of it. Ginga would like a steak while BooBoo wants a PlayDog Bunny.


Happy April Fool's Day!