Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
On Tuesday, I went to see Badminton at the Siri Fort Sports Complex; that went pretty smoothly. Even though there were no signs at the main entrance telling spectators to use the side entrance, we did manage to find our way to the gate we were supposed to use, buy tickets, and reach our seats. The area was clean, there were more than enough volunteers to guide us along the somewhat convoluted path to the stadium, and the stadium itself looked great. The entire experience was a lot of fun. Badminton is a sport that I have played and like, so I could at least dimly appreciate the skill of the players. The entire event seemed fairly well organised.
The next day, however, my mom and I tried to go watch Athletics at the new Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. I say "tried" because even though we bought tickets, we didn't actually manage to go into the stadium. The "servers were down" when we got to JLN Stadium to buy tickets, but thankfully, we only had to wait five minutes before the servers were up and the queue was moving. So, standing at Gate 14, we finally managed to buy two tickets that allowed us entry at Gate 6.
How far could it be, we reasoned, and resolutely walked the way indicated by the police officers. And walked and walked and walked. At one point, we actually left the stadium behind us and took a road leading away from the stadium because the road around the stadium was blocked. So we were supposed to walk up the other road, take two lefts, and walk all the way back to the stadium.
We walked for nearly 45 minutes before we reached an intersection point with CWG volunteers. Who then informed us that Gate 6 was at least another kilometre from where we stood, and the only way to get there was to walk. I was tired, my mother was exhausted, and we were furious. After somewhat dramatically tearing up the tickets and throwing them away, we found an auto and came back home.
Today, we went to watch the India versus Australia hockey match. Someone we knew had two extra tickets, so I don't know whether the servers at the ticket office at the Dhyanchand Stadium were down or not, but we got to the stadium easily (we took an auto rather than try the shuttle service from Metro stations). Both the matches were fun to watch, even though the Indian team got trounced by the Australians, and the audience was huge, enthusiastic and very loud.
The problem emerged when we wanted to leave. After the match was over, the entire audience trooped out of the stadium only to find no shuttle buses to take us to the nearest Metro stations. We ended up walking nearly a kilometre, I think, to Pragati Maidan, where we stood in a very long line to get through security check, to finally take a train back home.
What I've found is that the CWG Organising Committee seems to have done a good job with the actual building of the stadiums and other venues, late as the completion might be. The operations of the games, however, need some serious help. Efficient selling of tickets should not be as a big a hurdle as it seems to be! And it makes absolutely no sense to expect spectators to walk so much to watch anything, let alone matches where India may not even be playing!
Friday, October 1, 2010
Coke with Old Monk, surreptitious cigarettes.
What college tastes like.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
From meetings to emails,
From calls to texts,
How does that happen?
From so close to secretive,
From acceptance to accusations,
From forgiveness to bitterness,
How does that happen?
From understand to confusion,
From laughter to silence,
From sureness to jealousy,
How does that happen?
From love to indifference,
From caring to convenience,
From best friends to acquaintances,
How does that happen?
Saturday, September 25, 2010
However, my knowledge about what went wrong with the CWG is very basic and unresearched. It is obvious, however, that there are problems. Clear, serious problems. During August, I would drive past a board that flashed a digital countdown to the CWG, and I would scoff. Because even though I wasn't reading the newspapers and reports regularly, I knew that the situation in Delhi was definitely not what it should have been a 60 days before the games.
The whole CWG affair is becoming more and more embarassing. CNN has reports of Delhi not being even close to ready. Countries are delaying the departures of their athletes, and some athletes have even backed out of the games completely! And to top it all off, there are now reports of child labour.
There are so many things in just one report to be sad and embarassed about. The first thing is that it doesn't even surprise me: I've seen small children on construction sites in Delhi all the time, of course they'd be used for CWG construction. And the fact that the pictures that go along with this report are scenes that I have seen multiple times before is sad.
Sheila Dixit's response is another embarassment:
"If this gentleman... had come to us, told us that this is what was happening there, we would have taken immediate action," Dixit said.The minister also went on to say that "she had wished" somebody would have come and told her of the allegations.She needs to be told about this? A person who lives in Delhi and travels on its roads does not need to be told of the existence of child labour in construction, let alone the matter of the chief minister of the state wanting to "be told". Who's going to take this comment seriously? The student who reported the child labour did, it turns out, try to contact the ministry of labour, but we can all guess how that turned out.
There is a week left for the CWG to begin. There are reports now that say that Delhi is working hard to finish the preparations, and that all this last minute work might actually pay off. Hopefully, the actual carrying out of the Games won't be as great an embarassment as the preparation for the Games were.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
I was so nervous,
I was trusting you
With the centre of my life.
You promised to call,
You promised to be ready,
Today was to be the day,
What a fail.
When I call you, I get no news,
Only bland, apathetic assurances,
Getting angry solves nothing,
How do you make me feel so helpless?
Life without you is empty,
Incomplete, boring, difficult,
Please understand my feelings,
Don't keep me waiting.
O Sony, return to me my Vaio,
It's been ten days, I can't give you more time.
Don't lose my data, don't mess up my hard drive,
And please, please don't take two weeks.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
The last few weeks at my mami’s place have made me marvel at my cousins’ seemingly endless capacity to watch TV. My mami has two daughters, aged 6 and 13, and a live-in babysitter. All three of them are permanently planted in the front of the television all day long during these vacations.
The daytime is spent with my two cousins fighting over what to watch: the 6-year old wants to watch Dora the Explorer or Mr. Bean or some other show on Pogo or Disney, while her elder sister is equally determined to watch the rerun of Dill Mill Gaye (though she watched the same episode the previous night).
Late afternoon, my six-year old cousin calls a friend over so that both of them can watch CID together. She has now taken to declaring that she’s a CID officer and goes through all my stuff when I’m not at home, looking “for drugs”, as she sweetly informs me when I reach home. I have now taken to carrying anything that I don’t want her to find with me to work, because telling her not to search my stuff has no effect whatsoever. Apparently, a good CID officer is immune to complaints from their suspects about any invasion of privacy.
The TV is off for about an hour at 6 in the evening, when both the cousins go downstairs to play and the babysitter goes for her daily walk. And then it starts again. I didn’t catch the name of the show that’s on currently, but the grandmother with the pistol aimed at her grandson is now chasing said grandson through a park as he escapes from her clutches (he effected the escape by telling her that there was a cockroach on her hair, which obviously made her screech, stop her car and start a search for the cockroach, at which time the kid leaped out of the car and took off). The heel of one shoe has now gotten stuck in keenchad (wet mud) in the park. One hopes that the kid is now safe, but I’m sure there will a new twist soon.
The night starts with Rang Badalti Odhni. Which is followed by Geet – Hui Sabse Parayi, and then Dill Mill Gaye. There are the “reality” shows such as Indian Idol and Desi Girl and one more involving child magicians, I think. And once the kids sleep (at around 11), there’s another show that I didn’t quite catch the name of that keeps the babysitter up for another half an hour.
The TV, unfortunately, is in the guest room, which is currently occupied by me. So the children and the babysitter are glued to my bed all day long. After one weekend of trying to follow the dramatic sound sequences and the repeated scenes and the convoluted story lines of Dill Mill Gaye and Geet, I gave up and have set up house on the sofa in the hall. My bedtime is dictated solely by what show is on that night (and so, by what time my room will be emptied).
In those two days that I spent trying to unravel the mystery of why the story-less drama unfolding on the television set interested anyone, the babysitter saw fit to explain to me the basic story of each show. I was wrong. The shows are definitely not story-less. After all, Geet was abandoned by her fake husband who happens to be her new boss’s (and love interest’s) brother, which is a storyline that’ll progress no further for a couple of weeks. Armaan did love Ridhima before Siddharth came along. If it wasn’t for the disease that forced Ridhima to jump into bed naked with Siddharth, and so, obviously marry him later, Armaan and Ridhima would still be a happy couple.*
But all jokes aside, the storylines of the shows aren’t even the point. It’s the unnecessary and extremely blatant and forced drama of the shows that gets to me. Star One has even picked up this annoying technique of showing the last scene of the episode three times with advertisements between each occurrence! And yet, my cousins keep the TV on. There were 20 minutes and two advertisement breaks between the time the host of Desi Girl announced that he was going to declare the winner and the time he actually declared the winner. And yet, no one changed the channel.
I am quite baffled.
*I may be wrong about the storylines. The dead-but-not-dead characters and the time jumps kept me quite confused.
Bits of conversations between my cousin and her parents (I have paraphrased a bit, but I think the meaning behind the statements remains intact). The cousin is either 13 or 14 years old.
1) Mami: “Those cousins of mine stayed at bed-and-breakfasts all over Switzerland, and they really liked it”.
Cousin: “Chee! How could they?” (As far as I am aware, my cousin has never actually stayed at a B&B)
2) Cousin: “That bakery was so good, but it was in an all-Muslim area, hai na mumma? All those people in the shop, with the big beards, they all looked like Osama Bin Laden. I was quite scared”
3) “In those photos, nani was wearing Western clothes and looking just like a foreigner! Who gave her those clothes? She never wears them, she’s a grandmother.”
4) “Yuck. I feel like vomiting every time I see that man’s face.”
5) “Oh, those people? They’re damn fat no?”
And then there are the conversations between my mama and mami about how Maharashtrian men are damn lazy. The generalisation doesn’t seem to bother them at all.
I don’t protest, or say anything at all when such conversations take place. Both my mama and mami are very sweet and helpful; they took me in for the entire month when I needed a place to stay in Mumbai and generally, I like it here. But conversations like the ones I’ve mentioned above happen often and are commonplace. I believe they would be very surprised to think that someone might object to the statements they make.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
I used to love rain. It transformed the world into green, wet wonderfulness and got me a couple of days off school. It made all kinds of crazy games possible by flooding the garden. It allowed me the great joys of jumping hard into puddles, making awesome splashes and swooshing sounds with my bicycle, and following earthworms as they wriggled around the driveway.
Then I came to Bombay, started this internship, and started using public transport. Which requires walking. And then the rains started. And suddenly, I'm not so fond of the rain anymore! From being the amazing phenomena that meant green leaves and awesome rain-smells, now it means perennially wet feet and wet clothes. Umbrellas do not manage to keep me (or my bag) fully dry, so I'm always stuck with damp clothes, hoping that my bag is waterproof enough to keep my laptop safe. And with wet feet.
Then there are the umbrellas themselves. Practical, helpful inventions, I know, but so messy. There's always the problem of where to keep a wet umbrella after walking in the rain. There's the problem of actually holding the umbrella while walking in the rain and simultaneously trying to cling on to two bags and a cell phone (I realised later than texting is really not meant to be done in the rain, so the cell phone went into the bag: one less thing to hold). And then there's the fact that people on the road can't seem to comprehend the obvious reality that holding an umbrella will require more space than not holding one. So that 2-inch space between me and the wall that you're trying to squeeze through? The only result is going to be the pointy ends of your umbrella stuck in my hair, water from your wet umbrella dripping onto my already damp clothes, and you right where you started.
And then there are the wet feet.
There are still some cool things about monsoons. Primarily the awesome swishing noise that my umbrella makes when I press a button and it zooms open. And the feeling of efficiency I get by opening and shutting my umbrella in 2 seconds flat, as I go from covered space to non-covered space while walking. But writing this sitting in a crowded train, watching the rain outside, and knowing that I’m going to be out in that rain again in 10 minutes, I'm having a hard time thinking of more things I like about the rain.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
What do you think?
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
I didn't know too much about the topic, so I stuck to what I'd studied in Political Science in class 11 and 12. The book had stated that she was killed by her two Sikh bodyguards because of Operation Bluestar and the damage done to the Golden Temple, so that's what I said in class yesterday. When the prof asked me to elaborate on Operation Bluestar, I started talking about the separatist movement and amassing of weapons in the temple. But the prof interrupted me, saying "Yes, please do go on. Let's see how you're going to tell us about the torture and killing of the Sikhs. Let's see how you're going to put that".*
I didn't know what to say. I had no intention of trying to twist the facts to make them sound favourable to Indira Gandhi's actions. I didn't even know the facts well enough to even attempt to twist them, even if I had wanted to. My stammered explanation that I had no intention of trying to manipulate the issue in any direction was laughed away, and the prof moved on to talk about Rajiv Gandhi.
I was still lost. I didn't know much about Operation Bluestar or Indira Gandhi's assassination, but with two sentences, the professor had made me doubt my Political Science book. I don't think that this while incident was written in a blatantly pro-government, or pro-Indira Gandhi way in my textbook, but was it tilted towards supporting Indira Gandhi's Operation? Did my textbook gloss over the "torture and killings of the Sikhs"? Have I learned about the political history of my country from a very biased point of view?
I remember reading about how history is always written from the point of view of the victors once in an article somewhere. I've always been aware that the history of the same place, same incident, written by two different people or two different governments, will probably be very different. I've always known that the Pakistani textbooks talk about the Partition in a different way than the Indian textbooks. But this impersonal knowledge had never struck home. I'd never made the connection that the things I studied in school, what I was taught, might be biased and inaccurate. What in the history of my country has been deliberately left out of the school textbooks and what deliberately written wrong? How much of the true happenings do I really know?
*In that class, the prof also talked about Gandhiji. She talked about nonviolence and the freedome struggle, then mentioned his difficult relations with his family. She talked about Nehru and his years as Prime Minister, then mentioned his affair with Lord Mountbatten's daughter (wasn't it his wife, not his daughter, that Nehru was involved with?). Again, I was slightly surprised. We're all so used to hearing only about the good in Gandhiji and Nehru; when have we ever heard about the bad?