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Showing posts from March, 2013

Don't screw Holi!/ Epic battle: tradition v/s ecology

Its Holi time. :) The best time (for some) to be in India. It is a global party to prepare ourselves of the terrible weather that will soon turn us into homebodies - scared of stepping out in the day time 45 degree dust bowls. One last day of being out and enjoying it - beat the heat with style.

Social media, the zeitgeist barometer, though indicates a different Holi to me this year. On the one hand, there are people talking about the HoliCow party - stripping holi to its most basic ritual, and turning it into a modern dance banality. And on the other, there's concerned city folks who are advocating abstention from the whole thing - save water/ "Think of the poor" - droughts across India/ natural herbal colors as replacement for the more energetic color+water combination.

(Should we blame this on ACs? I have a hypothesis - Holi will be played more vigorously in towns where there is low penetration of Air-Condition machines. There is a correlation between 'forever w…

Delhi baby

Scene 1. At the grocery store.
The cashier is finalizing my purchase. busy tallying my bill. A woman enters, puts a bunch of bananas on the scale and orders to give some 'sooji'. Insistently.
The cashier is an experienced guy. curt. efficient. grey hair. he ignores her.
another woman enters and questions 'dalchini hai kya?'. in another 3 seconds, 'jaldi batao dalchini hai kya?'
Cashier asks her to wait. he gets flustered and pauses before resuming to tally my purchases. The second woman impatiently starts looking here and there, murmuring something. leaves.
The first woman can see that after my bill is made, it will be her turn very soon. But it seems that she is incapable of waiting. she pushes ahead and again says 'woh sooji bhi dena'. Its amazing how she tries to reframe the reality with she being at the center. she is assuming that its her purchase that is being entertained.

Scene 2. Traffic light. (any NCR traffic light.)
Red light. Cars stopped…

On why it took a firang to start FabIndia/ OR why India still can't chart its own modernity

Exhibit 1a. Girl wearing a chuda, off for clubbing late at night

This is one of those simplistic visual tropes one might expect in any 'tradition meets modernity' narrative.
In one of the automobile brand ads, I believe there is one such shot too.
(the brand champions the insight about modernity being tempered by the Indian youth in Indian terms. What this assumes is - to be Indian is to be ritualistic. and to be urban/modern is to reject the rituals. Brands come to rescue us here and provides an in between truce. 'adjust kar lo'.)


Usually the narrative is set in the premise of 'victory of the young', as 'smart strategist'.


Smart strategy - yes - to the extent that traditions and modernity, both are reduced to mere symbols that are entertained for maintaining the status quo. That's the strategy- to strip our acts off their meanings.
Why wear a chuda? 'I am supposed to. must be the right thing. I am confident now of being Indian. This is ethnic…

what i learnt from the recent 'entrepreneurship' pecha kucha

I attended a pecha kucha event recently where a few entrepreneurs came to share their experiences. 
The experience was illuminating in a whole different way. Hence this post.

What I am writing here, is less of criticism, and more of a reminder to self of what not to do. Especially because, people tend to congratulate for even wrong things as long as you have a podium. So while I am in audience, and have my faculties unencumbered by reality-distorting-praise and encouragement, I will write down the pitfalls that I should avoid. 

About entrepreneurship
1. "Indian people don't understand"/ "Indians haven't evolved."/ "Its so tough to teach Indians"
My jaws dropped with horror as 3 entrepreneurs made such comments at the event.  I really felt like helping their poor souls. But then I caught myself in the irony of my wish - I wanted to 'teach' them, as they wanted to teach 'me' (an Indian).
But how can any entrepreneurs succeed if t…

moments of silence

It was around 10 o clock. I was hungry - about to cook dinner. But for the next 15 minutes, I was stalled by one thing. It wasn't a phone call, it wasn't a neighbor, it wasn't a pressing task, nor nature's call. It was me. I was looking through my music folder, searching for a few good tracks to play. Couldn't decide on anything. Then I turned on the TV app on my PC - nothing interesting was on. I went through my movie folder, but didn't feel like watching any movie.
So for 15 minutes, I was scrambling around trying to find sounds that I could hear while cooking. As time went by, I was getting more and more bothered for not finding anything. Then I wondered -

why do I need sounds really? 
How much time in a day do i spend in quiet by myself?

I live alone and yet I am never quite alone. I am either reading something, talking to someone, watching some video or listening to music. Days on end I spend, consuming media - incessantly.

I realized something else too. …

laughter

I am reading Kudera's 'Immortality'. (and for the first time, I am pissed off with his writing. it seems to be too whimsical - paul, laura, goethe, bettina, laura, ruben! where the fuck did he come from? where's immortality now? where did goethe go? why did her death come after Paul's life after her death? multiple strands woven together irregularly, whimsically. this book is almost a "modern art" (said disdainfully) with its whimsical (but intelligent) movements playing in a private symphony without a thought to audience's public nature. )

Anyway, Kundera makes a beautiful revelation (as he always does) about laughter (surprisingly in this book. instead of his 'laughter and forgetting'. perhaps a post script - a draft piece that had to find a place 'somewhere'.) 

He compares modern photographic images to classical paintings and sculptures - the key difference illuminated here being that of the countenance of the protagonist in the imag…