Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Sunday, June 29, 2008

poverty - corruption - poverty

check this survey/report by the center of media studies with the transparency international india on the level of corruption in Below Poverty Line (BPL) families in India.

1. around 53.6 million households (approx 320 million people) qualify as BPL.
2. around 1/3rd of these households (17.9 million) paid a bribe, estimated to be around Rs 8830 million => Rs 500 per family per year.

dilip analyses the definition of poverty line as extremely fraudulent (worth a detaield read).
even by that estimate, if Rs 600 per month defines the poverty line, then the TII/CMS survey indicates that 7% of that earning is used to bribe government officials, extremely significant.

it just intensifies the cycle which is the post title.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

time to exit bombay

it is when news like this comes to the fore:

MHADA is the sole agency which is building housing for low-income and middle-income populations.
and this is what happened yesterday to one of old MHADA constructed buildings (picture courtesy - TOI).

this is what vitalstistix must have been fearing all his life.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

the end of a journey - which hardly started

Latif se Kabir – Ek Safar

Hajjar patthar mein miltha hai ek hira
Woh bbhi dikhtha hai ek kankar adhoora
Uspe lagtaa hai karyagaroon ka kamaal
Phir bantaa hai ek chirag, nahi mashaal
Uski roshni mein laakhon fida
Kya koi keh paayega, al vida

Aap, meri jaan, hai kamaal ka noor
Jisse dekhke saare gham hue door
Muskaan hai itni pyaari pyaari
Aap ki har andaaz hai nyaari
Aaknhoon si nikhlathi hui jwaala
Mashallah, mashallah, mashallah

Parde pe dekha, lachakthi kamar
Jhaanke dekhkha mein ne, mili aapki hunar
Woh mehnat, woh pasine, who barsoon ki taalim
Jaise beej se banthi hai paed neem
Roshan karte hain aap, bahut si zindagi
Ab neend kahan, aankhen jaagi jaagi

Chalthe raho, chalthe raho, chalthe raho
Un khwaabon ke peeche, jinpe aap jaagthe ho
Hum ne seekha hai aap se, kya hai bhakthi
Aur dekha hai andar ek nazook si shakthi
Jayeenge aap lakh miiloon ki safar
Badthe ja, jaise lehron pe lehar, lehron pe lehar

2 December, 2005

two and a half years after my initiation into poetry, my inspiration - latif urf kabir - passed away today.
latif starred in a brilliant broadway style musical called kabir and the rangeen kurta.
i had the good fortune to teach latif for a bit and his performance on stage was one tour de force displays in my life.

an astoundingly amazing youngster falls prey to the vagaries of an infection left unattended.

i use 'this is life' commonly to manage such situations, but here it is one hell of a stretch.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

the swedish education model

the economist carries a report on the 'swedish model' which is turning out to be very successful in sweden and is likely to get exported out soon to the UK.

the Kunskapsskolan (“Knowledge Schools”) are the new big idea on the education space.

leaving aside the debates over the 'business model', what is interesting is the 'education model' they use.

Kunskapsskolan gets its customers to do much of the work themselves....(through) the Kunskapsporten (“Knowledge Portal”), a website containing the entire syllabus. Youngsters spend 15 minutes each week with a tutor, reviewing the past week's progress and agreeing on goals and a timetable for the next one. This will include classes and lectures, but also a great deal of independent or small-group study. The Kunskapsporten allows each student to work at his own level, and spend less or more time on each subject, depending on his strengths and weakness. Each subject is divided into 35 steps. Students who reach step 25 graduate with a pass; those who make it to step 30 or 35 gain, respectively, a merit or distinction.

very interesting approach. seems to have a good blend of the traditional model + home-schooling model.

cross posted from

shaky skywalk

mumbai is getting a lot of skywalks. they are expected to alleviate the pedestrian misery and provide for non-intrusive, clean access across congested stretches.
the first one was inaugurated yesterday.
and by the end of the day, was shaking and closed for inspection.

here is the photo of the inauguration by the CM (courtesy TOI).
the most interesting part of this image is on the middle of the left edge.
just look at the jammed traffic lanes .
thats not going to vanish in any hurry.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

IIPM in hot water

IIPM is the 'dare to think beyond IIMs' management institute.
It is the brain child of Arindam Chaudhuri - 'management guru' or something like that.

Rashmi Bansal of JAM magazine carried a serious investigation over the claims of the institute in 2006.
The amount of hate mail it generated for her and her team is just amazing.

But the truth has ultimately prevailed.
Now the UGC has declared IIPM a fake university (see No. 8 in the list).
About time that students are saved from such monstrous, maniacal, marauding mercenaries masquerading as messiahs of management mantras.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

that sinking feeling

bombay sinking down into the sea, says DNA.

The BMC had recorded some figures over the last two years and the figures show that the average sea level is going up. The BMC is now collating more data.

In 2006, the highest sea level at high tide was increased by 4.52 m and in 2007 it was 4.62 m and this year the level is expected to be 4.82 m. It indicates that the sea level is rising.

of course, sea level rise could be attributed to melting polar regions.
Marine biologist Vishnu Kanhere said, “The sea level is actually rising due to global warming, but the 30-cm rise over the past three years could not be is not due to this. This is a very rapid rise. In Mumbai, the seashores have been reclaimed. Mumbai itself is a reclaimed area comprising seven islands.
i had posted a year ago on the news from orissa on rising sea levels swallowing up coastal villages.

what man taketh, nature taketh back.

Friday, June 20, 2008

swept away by development

remember 'swades'-starring shah rukh khan. it was a real life story.
the place where the micro-dam was built to generate electricity was scheduled for submergence under the sardar sarovar project and it has met its fate.

this is a fantastic piece of coverage, by madhukar.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

the last post on dasavatharaam

this is the third (and certainly the last) on the same topic in a week.
this could be either:
1. kamal's genius OR
2. overworked high IQ brain of a true fan.

he (true fan) has explained the 10 avtaars and their connection to the avtaars of vishnu. i am inclined to believe in no.1.

either which way, it is close to genius.

btw - the net is going just ballistic over dsvthrm, dunno about the box-office.

Monday, June 16, 2008

WTF news of the day

the commissioner of bombay municipal corporation says this here:
Civic officials say the massive construction activity undertaken for the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing has increased demand for iron ore globally. As a result, they claim, organised gangs are now operating in Kurla, Bandra, Mankhurd and parts of Byculla to systematically steal the manhole covers. (emphasis mine)
earlier wtf series - 1, 2, 3,

Saturday, June 14, 2008

dasavathaaram - review

well, well and well.
first day last show happened.
just after i had finished writing about it here, i landed up at the swankiest theater in mumbai and easily got 2 tickets.
felt wonderful at the start to be surrounded by fellow tams.

ok, here are some other reviews.
1. rediff raves repetitively.
2. a disappointed fan writes.
3. the hindu is congratulatory.

i had a above average experience with the film and more later on some details.
i think overall, the film will perform badly as it is certainly nowhere close to the hype created.

the things i liked:
1. the premise of the script and the story: very well written story and concepts and linkages between the different characters and events.
2. kamal is certainly outstanding as each of the 10 avtaars. especially his voice modulation is brilliant. that some of them were really unnecessary comes later.
3. casting - it was good to see a lot of earlier generation actors and actresses in action. the surprise packet is certainly mallika sherawat. short and spunky role she does. kamal does little justice when he says - "she is there for the same reason she is there in other movies"
4. one of the beauties of kamal's writing, is the subtle gems he places in scenes and dialogues. lots of that here, especially in the role of an dalit activist, who takes on the sand mafia (those who illegally dredge river-beds and are creating a environmental disaster). the climax has his japanese character screaming tsunami!!
5. the last climax special effects of the tsunami was spectacular.

some sore points:
1. the heroine, as in, asin, is asinine. screechy and high pitched and cringe-worthy.
2. too long. at least 30 mins of chases and fights and violence could have been deleted. the editor seems to have gone to sleep doing his job.
3. the direction was really not there. the super-hit maker k s ravikumar should have done a much better job. kamal-worship reeks right through his efforts.
4. make up quality was sub-par. the overdone-noses (i should know!!) really gave it away. i think the earlier efforts in indian (hindustani)/avvai shanmugi (chachi 420) were far superior.
5. 1 role too many. the afghan (khalif ullah) was certainly completely unnecessary.

overall i would end by saying that i could watch it one more time. to understand some of the subtle messages better. hoping that enough viewer feedback will flow by that time for the editor to do some snipping.

Friday, June 13, 2008

dasavathaaram releases today

one of the frenziest movie releases in recent times - dasavathaaram - releases today.
kamal will always be my all time no. 1 favourite and in spite of his earlier hyped movies, i remain a true bhakth.
the pre-release digest. with links to tons of articles, interviews and total gushing adulation.
rediff has an entire section.

planning to watch it asap.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

our cities and their budgets

this is from the RBI report on municipal finances.

leaving aside mumbai, all the other 7 cities add up to just less than mumbai.
for the record, the latest Mumbai Corporation Education Department budget for 2008-09 is over Rs 1000 crore, which itself is more than the overall budget of all the cities.

considering that over 50% are slum dwellers and of them, the per capita figures are just amazing.
the city is quite astonishing.

the budget values is in Rs crore.
city budget per capita
greater mumbai 4162 3417
surat 662 2577
pune 507 1890
ahemdabad 599 1668
chennai 591 1385
hyderabad 338 964
delhi 880 872
bangalore 369 810