Archive for December, 2009

Na’vi and Naxals : Does Pandora (in Avatar) parallel India?

Posted in India, Society with tags , , on December 25, 2009 by samudranb
Avatar (2009)

Avatar

I finally joined the legions of fans that James Cameron has picked up. I do not have any new words to describe “Avatar”, so I will repeat whatever others have said about it – marvellous, path breaking, jaw dropping, epic, yada yada.

But I could not help but draw parallels between what was happenning in the movie to the Na’vi, to what is happenning to the Naxals.

In the movie, the Na’vi are sitting on top of huge reserves of “Unobtainium”. Here, it is minerals.

In the movie, a big corporation tries to push out the Na’vi from their homes. Here, it is the government and big corporations (in their corrupt forms).

In the movie, the Na’vi use bows and arrows and spears. Here, the Adivasis use the same.

In the movie, the “civilized people” bring the heavy artillery, including air strikes and ground troops. Here, it is Chidambaram.

In the movie, the “civilized people” believe they are “developing” the Na’vi. Here it is all of us right leaning people.

In the movie, the Na’vi live in perfect harmony with nature. Here, the Adivasis depend on it for their survival.

I used to be firmly in the “development is good” camp. After watching Avatar, I am not so sure anymore. Are we becoming blind to reality, as soon as we take off the 3D glasses?

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Lessons Learnt – 2009

Posted in About me, India, Lessons, Life. Or something like it., People, Society on December 21, 2009 by samudranb
  • Bali is beautiful. Thailand is incredible. And the people of both these places know more about “Indian culture” than most Indians.
  • Voting in a general election is pretty useless. But you should still do it.
  • Employment is over-rated. Quitting a job is no big deal. Just be sure to have enough money to last you a while without any inflows. And keep an eye on the credit card expenses.
  • It is possible to have an expensive DSLR, and be made to feel like an idiot by a 18 year old kid with a Point n Shoot.
  • Shutter block is BAD.
  • It is possible to mail the President of your company and expect (and get) a reply. It is possible to tweet Pritish Nandy, Chetan Bhagat, Gul Panag, Imran Khan and Barkha Dutt and expect (and get) a reply. It is possible to tweet Mallika Sherawat and Priyanka Chopra, and expect (and  get) promotional merchandise from their latest movie.
  • It is possible to find your ideal job, and go for it. It is however not in your hands whether you will get the job or not. Just give it your best shot.
  • It is OK to delay BIG plans. It is NOT OK to give up on them.
  • Dress code for a wine tasting festival – collared t-shirt, khakis, as ridiculous a hat as you can find and a nose angled at 15 degrees higher than usual. Strict NO-NOs – formals of any kind. (Suits? Die you pretender! ) Also, it helps if you can keep a straight face and use adjectives like “herbaceous” / “comfortable” / “smoky” / “high notes” / “oaky” to describe a wine (never mind if you dont have any clue about what they mean).
  • I prefer white wines to reds. Chardonnays to Chenin Blancs. And Reveilo reserves to Chateau Indages or Chantillis.
  • I prefer wheat beer to dark lager to premium lager to apple cider (The last one should actually be called “apple shudder”).
  • Never EVER trust directions given by a woman. 15 minutes later, you will end up at the place where you got an indignant “Of course!!” as reply to your “Are you sure this is the right way?”.
  • God invented porn. Just like everything else in this world.
  • Dating is fun. Not dating is fun too.
  • People who do not value your time, are not worth it.
  • Most people are more interesting than they seem.
  • Always ride your bike at 20% lower than the speed that seems safe.
  • No protective gear is ever not worth the money.
  • There are way too many India’s in India. And there are way too many TVS service centres in South India. And not enough in the rest of the country.
  • The Indian government is doing an OK job. I only wish they would do it faster.
  • Having patience is the most difficult thing to do.

Update:

  • Use sunscreen.
Wine tasting dress code - ©Chaitanya

Would you exchange 2 cappuccinos for peace?

Posted in India, People, Politics, Society with tags , , , , , , on December 13, 2009 by samudranb
Priyanka Borpujari, friend and freelance journalist, has been working closely with the issue of violence in Chhattisgarh. She is headed to Dantewada district in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh on December 20, 2009. A place which has become a living hell — tribals from 644 villages have been thrown out, some villages have been burnt over 10 times, women raped, murders rampant daily, and where the perpetrators of this might be the state police, through the alibi of Salwa Judum. Why the hell is she going there?

She is also trying to raise funds to take to Dantewada, for the Satyagraha, at which 50,000 tribals from Dantewada alone are expected to congregate. All she wants from you is a minimum of Rs 100 — the cost of 2 cappuccinos with a friend at barista — which will take care of one adivasi person’s one day’s food and lodging in Dantewada during the Satyagraha. The donations need to be made in cash, and I can collect the same in Pune, on behalf of Priyanka. You will be furnished with a receipt once she is back from Dantewada. The donation would be made to Vanvasi Chetna Ashram, about which you will find in her blog. You can always get in touch with her directly (her contact details are at the end).

You might be tempted to think that this does not concern you. That this is not really your responsibility and hence, you would wonder about the need to respond. But in truth, the idea of civilization, culture and country means that problems, responsibilities, benefits and accountability is shared. Sooner or later, for better or for worse, everyone is affected. And responsible.

Especially if the problem is large-scale and involves millions of people as it does in this case. There’s a war for justice going on in the tribal hinterland of India. The people may be denied justice once, twice, thrice… maybe even 10 times. But everyone has a tipping point. There comes a time when those who are denied justice rise up against oppression and then everyone comes in the line of fire, you and me included. Millions of Adivasi people have been denied justice guaranteed by the constitution. This is an attempt to give them that, so that they don’t feel cheated by the country and the government that is supposed to protect them. It is everyone’s collective responsibility to ensure that they get it, so that they do not lend an ear to those that are telling them to take up guns to get what they deserve.

Your sacrifice of two coffees (Rs. 100 or more), goes a long way in ensuring this. Let’s, for a change, do something real. Lighting candles at the Gateway of India is a start, but in this case wont it be better to save that money on candles and instead give it in the pursuit of justice and fight against violence? Can peace prevail without justice? You decide.

I do not subscribe to many of her political views, nor do I share her opinion of the administration at the centre and big corporations. But I do agree with her that injustice has indeed been done, and that more needs to be done to bring those issues to light, and resolve them peacefully, for everybody’s benefit.

And yes, I am donating.

Priyanka can be reached at 9820741992 or aa.priyanka@gmail.com. Please read Priyanka’s blogpost to know more. She would be more than willing to take your queries and doubts, and reply to them.

Who invented porn?

Posted in About me, Life. Or something like it. with tags , , , , on December 5, 2009 by samudranb


Heehee.

On a completely unrelated note,
surprise birthday party 1 hour too early
+facial
+sleeping till 10
+lunch with friends
+coffee with a friend
+prayer
+nice time with someone nice
+dinner with family
= The perfect birthday. 🙂