November 18, 2006

ISF, 2006

The India Social Forum (ISF) 2006 was held at New Delhi from 9th to 13th November. The forum saw a confluence of activists supporting various causes, along with performers from different regions showcasing their art.

The theme for the ISF – “Building Another World: Visions for the Future” – is one that focuses on stimulating dialogue, optimism and hope, by creating a space that will enable a greater mobilisation of resources for an alternative future.

There were activists from ALL kindsa backgrounds out there. From the NBA to feminist organisations to tribal issues… alternative sexualites….u name it…and they were there!

I had loadsa fun at the event… was busy roaming, sloganeering, giving sound bytes, observing, getting clicked, collecting freebies, celeb-spotting, shopping, watching movies….. PHEW!!!!!!!

There were seminars and workshops being held simultaneously across the venue, along with folk performances and street plays. Across the three main days of the Forum, I attended seminars/workshops on issues ranging from “Children’s Sectoral progress with respect to the UN’s Millennium Development Goal”, “Child Marriage and its impact on children”, “Displacement and Children”, “AIDS- Anti Retro Viral for HIV+ve”, “Faces and Vision of Children”, “Environment, Development Displacement”, “Women as Decision-Makers” and “Threats to Higher Education”.

In case u did sense it, these are the causes that I support… namely, Children’s rights, women’s rights and HIV awareness.

It was a common sight for artists (from the traditional Indian ones to African... et al!) to break into jigs at any spot!!!!!!! though, there were also many small stages put up at various corners.....where ALL through the day there were street plays, rendition of folk songs and other such rusticity was on display!

urs truly also sat thru a 70 min play in Gujarati in a musical (kathaageet) format.. outlining 600 yrs of the history of Ahmedabad.

Amongst the docu.s that i saw were....

"Kitte mil ve mahi" - a window onto Dalit aspirations to carve out their own cultural and religious space, filmed in Punjab.

"Bullshit"- on Vandana Shiva... India activist and physicist, campaigns against globalisation, bio-piracy and patenting.

"Delhi - Mumbai - Delhi" - an intimate look into the lives of dance-bar girls, shot against the backdrop of Maharashtra govt.s controversial move to ban them from dancing.

"Seven islands and a Metro" - a tale of my city structured around imaginary debates between Ismat Chughtai and Sadat Hasan Mano, the two legendary writers who lived in this metropolis, etc.!!!

as for the numeorus celebs present out there... i spotted Sunderlal Bahuguna (v. cute!!!), Medha Patkar and many others........whom i have seen and read about.

To conclude, I’d like to say that it was a great learning experience. With stalwarts from various fields all around us, it was an exposure worth it!

September 11, 2006

9/11 to US...

What happened on Sept 11, 1906
On September 12, 1906, Johannesburg’s Rand Daily Mail reported an event that had taken place in the city’s old Empire Theatre the previous day. The report said: “The united protest of the British Indian community against the Draft Asiatic Ordinance constituted one of the most remarkable gatherings Johannesburg has seen. The size of meeting, the enthusiasm of the audience — practically the entire Indian population ceased work for the day — and the depth of feeling displayed, formed a striking testimony to the indignation which the proposed legislation aroused.”
The newspaper was reporting the birth of one of the greatest ideas of modern times: non-violent resistance as a form of public protest. Its architect was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
In an old photograph published in Eric Itzkin’s book, Gandhi’s Johannesburg, Empire Theatre comes across as a stolid, rectangular building resembling a government office. But exactly a hundred years ago, the atmosphere inside was anything but officious. Around 3,000 Indians working in different parts of Transvaal province had gathered there. “The old Empire Theatre was packed from floor to ceiling. I could read in every face the expectation of something strange to be done or happen,” writes Gandhi in the book, Satyagraha in South Africa.
Many of these Indians, both Hindus and Muslims, had arrived as indentured labourers in South Africa. They were Gujaratis, Tamils and Telugus. Over the years, many had become successful businessmen and traders. Yet the proposed ordinance required every Asian to register their fingerprints and carry registration certificates . Or else, they could be deported. This, as Gandhi wrote, virtually equated them with criminals. A shocked Gandhi immediately met some influential members of the Indian community. This set the stage for the 9/11 meeting which was presided by Abdul Ghani, chairman, Transvaal British Indian Association.
The most important of the several resolutions passed at the meeting said: “Indians solemnly determined not to submit to the Ordinance in the event of its becoming law and to suffer all the penalties attaching to such non-submission.” Gandhi outlined the course of action and its consequences: “We might have to endure every hardship that we can imagine, and wisdom lies in pledging ourselves on the understanding that we shall have to suffer all that and worse. If someone asks me when and how the struggle may end, I may say that if the entire community manfully stands the test, the end will be near. If many of us fall back under storm and stress, the struggle will be prolonged. But I can boldly declare, and with certainty, that so long as there is even a handful of men true to their pledge, there can only be one end to the struggle, and that is victory.”
Historian Robert A Huttenback in Gandhi in South Africa writes, “With a roar of enthusiasm, the Transvaal Indians rose to take the pledge and a new political technique was born.”
Strangely, Empire Theatre was destroyed in a fire the next day. Writes Gandhi: “Friends brought me the news... and congratulated the community upon this good omen, which signified to them that the Ordinance would meet the same fate as the theatre.”
It did. But only after a long struggle where satyagraha was put to stern test.

May 29, 2006


Hey…. I am posting in my blog after what seems like centuries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leaving the faff aside I’ll just get on with the works!!!!!!!!!

I saw ‘The DaVinci Code’ on 27th May, 2006. Not TOO late considering the movie was released in India the previous day!!

Well, I don’t have much to say about the movie. Nice flick. I am leaving the flogging to the critics… that’s what they’ve done ALL over the world…. From Cannes to Canary!!
People….. TAKE A BREAK!!!!!!

Juz relax n have a dekko. The movie is an unpretentious piece of fiction trying hard to be a racy thriller. But….. simply put…’s cool. Don’t bother about who’s saying WHAT!

You don’t need to have read the book to watch the film. I didn’t!! and I will not. Yeah… u MIGHT have many points contention if you have been the reader as well as the viewer of this thingy… but that’s okay. It juz shows that ur brains r in place n well oiled!!

Though, it’d help if u have some idea about the history of Christianity. No…. not for establishing whether Christ fathered someone or not. But just to be at ease when the Pagans and their likes come into the scene (not literally).

My fav. scene... when Sophie drives her cute car backwards at a somewhat neck-breaking speed.

My fav. dialogue… “The French cannot be trusted.”


January 16, 2006

Did u KNOW?!?

Adobe - came from name of the river Adobe Creek that ran behind thehouse of founder John Warnock.

Apache - It got its name because its founders got started by applying patches to code written for NCSA's httpd daemon. The result was 'A PAtCHy'server -- thus, the name Apache.

Apple Computers - favorite fruit of founder Steve Jobs. He was three monthslate in filing a name for the business, and he threatened to call his company Apple Computers if the other colleagues didn't suggest a better name by 5 o'clock.

CISCO - its not an acronym but the short for San Francisco.

Google - the name started as a jokey boast about the amount of information the search-engine would be able to search. It was originally named 'Googol',a word for the number represented by 1 followed by 100 zeros. After founders,Stanford grad students Sergey Brin and Larry Page presented their project to an angel investor, they received a cheque made out to 'Google'.

Hotmail - Founder Jack Smith got the idea of accessing e-mail via the webfrom a computer anywhere in the world. When Sabeer Bhatia came up with the business plan for the mail service, he tried all kinds of names ending in'mail' and finally settled for hotmail as it included the letters "html" - theprogramming language used to write web pages. It was initially referred to as HoTMaiL with selective upper casing.

HP - Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a coin to decide whether thecompany they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett.

Intel - Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore wanted to name their new company'Moore Noyce' but that was already trademarked by a hotel chain, so theyhad to settle for an acronym of INTegrated ELectronics.

Lotus (Notes) - Mitch Kapor got the name for his company from 'The LotusPosition' or 'Padmasana'. Kapor used to be a teacher of TranscendentalMeditation (by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi).

Microsoft - coined by Bill Gates to represent the company that was devoted toMICROcomputer SOFTware. Originally christened Micro-Soft, the '-' wasremoved later on.

Motorola - Founder Paul Galvin came up with this name when his companystarted manufacturing radios for cars. The popular radio company at the timewas called Victrola.

ORACLE - Larry Ellison and Bob Oats were working on a consulting project for the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). The code name for the project wascalled Oracle (acronym for: One Real Asshole Called Larry Ellison)

Red Hat - Company founder Marc Ewing was given the Cornell lacrosse team cap (with red and white stripes) while at college by his grandfather. He lost it andhad to search for it desperately. The manual of the beta version of Red Hat Linuxhad an appeal to readers to return his Red Hat if found by anyone !

SAP - "Systems, Applications, Products in Data Processing", formed by 4 ex-IBMemployees who used to work in the 'Systems/Applications/Projects"

SUN - founded by 4 Stanford University buddies, SUN is the acronym for StanfordUniversity Network.

Xerox - The inventor, Chestor Carlson, named his product trying to say 'dry' (asit was dry copying, markedly different from the then prevailing wet copying). The Greek root 'xer' means dry.

Yahoo! - the word was invented by Jonathan Swift and used in his book 'Gulliver'sTravels'. It represents a person who is repulsive in appearance and action and is barely human. Yahoo! founders Jerry Yang and David Filo selected the namebecause they considered themselves yahoos.

Juz wat did he say??

British treasury chief Gordon Brown said on 14th Jan. ’06 that Britons should be more patriotic and openly celebrate their nation’s history, achievements and culture. “Think for a moment: what is the British equivalent of the US Fourth of July, or even the French 14th of July for that matter,” said Brown, the heir-apparent to PM Tony Blair in a speech to the Labour Party’s Fabian Society.

Ahem, Dude…that’s what happens when your country’s history comprises ONLY of going around colonising the world and trying to bring as large a no. as possible underneath the Crown. Well, when almost every nation around the world has an Independence Day to be proud of, you guys lose out on one (and a VERY important day) reason to celebrate!! Poor guys!!

Maybe, just maybe, the scenario would’ve been slightly different if the Brits wouldn’t have gone around the world trampling already happy/ self-sufficient/ independent civilisations.
Well, simply put, it’s a classic case of,
“As you sow, so shall you reap.”
Celebrate! Celebrate!!

January 7, 2006

Watch out!

One of the not-so-important- but imperative nevertheless- things that I wanna do is… watch the following movies.
As you’ll see they r some of the best Hindi movies released in 2005.And I missed out on them due to various, but kinda similar, reasons. AND it wouldn’t be before March 2006 that I’ll start seeing them. So, it’s a long wait till then!!

Mentioned here r the films, followed by (in short), why I wanna watch them…

BLACK (for obvious reasons)

PAGE 3 (I love that notion)

PARINEETA (haven’t yet read the book. But, it’s ‘good’ cinema)

KYA KOOL HAIN HUM (I liked MASTI, n I wanna watch this one for being on the same lines, except for not featuring marriage in the plot.)

MEET THE FOCKERS (complete laugh riot!)

SALAAM NAMASTE (wanna see Preity n Ness- they aren’t together, of course!)

HANUMAN (for the fun of it)


GARAM MASALA (to enjoy the experience)

NEAL N NIKKI (what’s the BIG deal!)

KALYUG (nice story plus, I wanna see Deepal)

BLUFFMASTER! (for the spunk of it)

A-N-D the movies I’ll make a beeline for in 2006 are…

RANG DE BASANTI (love the story!)

SAANWARIYA (what’s the story about?)

KRRISH (what happens next?)

KABHIE ALVIDA NA KEHNAA (hopefully, I can sit through!)

UMRAO JAAN (how beautiful will the Lady look?)

VIVAAH (should have the utility of HAHK)

CORPORATE (what’s the idea?)