zigzackly's omnium-gatherum *
|Quid quid latine dictum sit, altum videtur|
Reactions, suggestions, any kind of feedback is always welcome.
We, the Media;
Son of CSF.
Now and then, when Hurree needs a holiday, i pinch-hit at Kitabkhana.
We endorse, approve of, and throughly adore:
Other Thieves of our Time
D Mervin Ffingir writes, and having writ, moves on:
Monday, April 21, 2014
An unusual thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago. A story I worked on made the cover of Forbes India.
My portfolio was and is the non-business features at the back of the book, and ForbesLife India—which I no longer work on—but it was still gratifying. More so because work hasn't exactly been a picnic over the last several months. I don't cover politics, or business in general, and while I'm interested in technology, it's not my beat either. And I'm by no means a good reporter. I fancy myself more a backroom guy, thinking up the stories and angles, matching them to the right writers, working on the stories once they come in, to make them sing, that kind of thing. So this found me way out of my comfort zone. And it was a wonderful challenge.
The metaphor I thrust on a few people was Anil Kumble's test century. It wasn't expected of him. He was a useful bat now and then, but would never have got picked for his batting alone. Nevertheless, his joy as that ugly shot cantered off to the boundary was pretty darn good to see.
I won't stretch that analogy further—I hope it's not near the end of my career in journalism!—but I would like your opinion, either here, or at the links (it's a package of several stories, two of them co-written with colleagues). Please do not worry about being harsh. As I said, I don't think of myself as even a decent reporter or business writer, so you won't be demolishing my dreams if you diss these.
e-Lections 2014: How Political Parties Turned Tech-Savvy
Case Study: The Dynamics of Mumbai South
Elections: Spawning Business Opportunities
Vote for... Start-ups!
Social Media: Limited, but 'Liked' in Indian Elections
And this interview with Nandan Nilekani, which is where the story started, which was online-only.
Sunday, April 20, 2014
I have great faith in Hinduism. As much faith as a devout agnostic can have.
How could I not?
My family has moved several cities and a lot more houses over the years, and everywhere we lived, my parents' ethnicity and faith were always a very small minority. In Bombay, in my school, I was one of small handful of Anglo Indians, one of a small handful of Protestants, and the only one who was both. Everywhere we lived, as is only natural in a country where the majority profess some form of Hinduism, we were surrounded by Hindus.
But the Hinduism I grew up surrounded by, that I am still surrounded by, was warm, inclusive, embracing. It is a Hinduism that sends sweets over at Diwali, and asks us over to celebrate. It is a Hinduism that shared its firecrackers with me because I didn't have any, that yelled at my door for me to come join in the Holi fun (and didn't mind when I declined, because I didn't like the coloured powders, and that made me one of the team captains when I joined in the water pistols-and-pichkaris war games we played in the evenings). That invited us over to celebrate marriages and birthdays and holds us close when we offer hugs at bereavements. That calls or comes over for Christmas, that joins in our parties, that learnt 'western' dance steps at those parties. That checks with us what is appropriate to wear to our marriages and christenings and graciously welcomes us in to their special events even when we, clueless, wear colours that we later discover aren't quite proper. A Hinduism that, even when it practises vegetarianism, still comes over to eat at our home and serves themselves veggies from the platter next to the meat. That didn't and doesn't give a damn what we cooked in our kitchens, really, except to exchange recipes. That made 'national integration' jokes about me when, in succession, I dated a Muslim, a Parsi, a Hindu, and much later, a Christian (who wasn't Protestant, but then I wasn't either by then).
(I'll add here, though this is not the point I'm making—or maybe it is—that this inclusiveness was and is as just as prevalent with Muslim, Parsi, Jain and Buddhist pals.)
It was and is a religion secure in its beliefs, happy to acknowledge and respect that others' paths differ in few or many ways.
It was and is a very different Hinduism from the variety espoused by Mr Modi and his cohorts. This binary view of the world. This suspicion, this distrust, this scorn for difference.
It's not 'my' Hinduism.
It's not a Hinduism I have faith in at all.
Sunday, April 06, 2014
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Via my colleague Ramnath, this glorious press release.
Wedding PRESS Release
India based Entrepreneur [name removed] & Malaysia based HR Expert [name removed] to enter in wedlock next year
Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, 8th Nov2013:
Wedding bell will ring soon!!! A wedding is the union of not only the bride and groom but also their families and friends. [name removed], India based Entrepreneur and [name removed], Malaysia based HR Expert will tie the knot on March 2014. Wooph… It would be Monogram Themed Royal Tamil Hindu Wedding Ceremony of 2014. Depending on who you ask, you may get two different stories about how they met first. God was at work behind the scenes to bring us together, quips Vijay.
Almost one year ago, fortune and a few mouse clicks brought [name removed] and [name removed] together. They went from complete strangers to inseparable companions in love. This is how it all began.
[name removed] is thoughtful, funny, God- loving, approachable, easy going and humble. He's truly a gem of person. He believes in a strong balance between personal and professional life. Determined for long-term goals. Foodie, and never misses an opportunity to dig into quality food. He loves to explore the world. He is a versatile human being with result oriented approach. Passionate and avid tamilian by heart and Soul. He value personal qualities much more than material things. He loves to have a good & meaningful conversation about almost anything, serious or fun. Born and raised in India. Believes in living life king size.
The dashing [name removed], stated, “I will get married early next year. It will be a close knit Tamil traditional wedding. We are enthusiastically counting down the days until we are able to officially join our lives. We are getting so thrilled for our wedding and overjoyed about sharing such a happy occasion with all of you. Can't wait to see you on our big day.
[name removed] ambitious with multiple "E"s - Exuberant, Excellent, Euphoric, Endearing, Enduring, Enthusiastic, Energetic, Easy-onthe- Eye... ooohhh. ! Affectionately called " Cutie Pie' by her beloved. She embodies traditional values yet embracing all that is new, contemporary and essential. Born and raised in Malaysia, Her cheering personality won beloved [name removed]'s heart. Charming, cute, kind - hearted, ingenious, honest and committed to formulate the best out of life. She has an amazing sense of humor. Keen fascination towards cooking and currently experimenting with various recipes at home.
The beautiful [name removed] says “We are aiming to make our wedding as fun and enjoyable as possible for you. Our wedding is more than a marriage between the two of us and also commencement of a friendship between our families and friends".
She also added that “Tamil wedding ceremony is lavish and vibrant. The rich and bright coloured kanjeevaram silk sarees add to the ambience, making it very animated”.
Tamilians have their own rituals followed before, during and after the wedding, which look very vibrant. All the customs are followed with religious observance. All the people, right from the prospective bride and the groom to the family members, friends and relatives have the festive mood, which is set by the ceremony. The ambience is filled with nothing but happiness and celebration. The festive spirits are boosted up among the people, witnessing the ceremony, by the colorful and elaborate rituals that are conducted before, during and after the marriage. Tamil wedding includes many traditions that differ from community to community.
The wedding will be in India but the couple will have a reception for friends and family in Malaysia and India.
Congratulations to [name removed] and [name removed], they're really made for each other! We would like to wish the happy couple the best with their upcoming nuptials.
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Write a poem about the pain of having a perfect life when the dream is to be a tormented poet. (Ttheme donated by Anjana.)
Monday, August 19, 2013
So here's your cue for Day 1
Write a poem that uses 'moon,' 'June' and 'spoon; as end-words. Preferably in an aabb rhyme scheme. Bonus points for no meter and uneven line lengths
Saturday, August 03, 2013
Godawful Poetry Fortnight was founded in 2008. So high fives all around for the fifth anniversary. (1, 2, 3, 4, all)
Godawful Poetry Fortnight starts on the 19th August and runs up to the 31st August. This blog is its literal and spiritual home. All previous posts on the subject here are tagged thus.
Our Patron Saint is William Wordsworth.
And he gets this signal honour for saying that poetry "is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings." Way too many aspiring poets have rallied behind that banner, too few going so far as recollecting those emotions in tranquillity, let alone reading the rest of the preface to Lyrical Ballads (which can be found on Bartleby, for those interested).Godawful Poetry Fortnight isn't a competition. But we do invite all poets—beginners, much published, academics—to have a bit of fun and deliberately write bad poetry. As opposed to, you know, writing it accidentally.
The True Believers Challenge: post thirteen Godawful Poems, one on each day of the Fortnight.)
For those who need them, I'll post prompts here, one for every day.
Use a Godawful Poetry Fortnight tag or label on your post
Use a #GodawfulPoetryFortnight hashtag on Twitter and/or Facebook and/or Google+
You can link to this post or this blog if you want to, and/or you can alert me on Twitter) and/or Facebook and/or Google+.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Several friends are organising a swab drive on Saturday, from 11am to 2pm, at the Pinstorm office in Santa Cruz, Bombay. The address: Swati Building, North Avenue, Santa Cruz (W) Bombay 400 054 Phone: +91 22 6739 3888.
North Avenue is the road that runs between SV (Swami Vivekananda) Road and Linking Road. The restaurants Dynasty and Yoko's are almost bang opposite the SV Road end, and there's a Kotak Bank branch at the Linking road corner, with Tressorie just ahead. Swati is very close to the Linking road end, on your right as you go towards SV Road.
This message from Dilip D'Souza will explain the background, and what you can expect.
My good friend Nalini Ambady, prof at Stanford U, needs your help. See the web site www.helpnalininow.org and Facebook page of same name www.facebook.com/
Saturday, April 13, 2013
My pal and colleague Charles Assisi got this email a little while ago:
From: Yogi TripathiNote, please, the air of persecution and entitlement, and the threat at the end.
Then, on 10th April, this:
On Wednesday, April 10, 2013, [Removed]wrote:Charles replied:
This is the kind of shit that constitutes spam. Reporting your email id as spam. And don't you dare assume you can keep trying to email or call me if I don't respond. Whether I choose to or not is my perogative. You can't assume anything on my behalf.And get this:
From: "Yogi Tripathi"
Monday, December 31, 2012
This is by my friend Vikram Sheel Kumar, a doctor, entrepreneur and writer (he contributes to Forbes India and is a consulting editor for ForbesLife India, in response to Imagine, a piece I wrote a few days ago...to continue: Remember when ministers tendered their resignation at a slight challenge to their honour? There was accountability. And honour. And respect. Yes, we are all accountable for a society where beastly acts such as gang rape occur. But neither you nor I can make sure our buses are safe. Neither you nor I can scare the sins out of people through a trusted and tough police force. Neither you nor I can direct precious national funds to prevent the next rape instead of sending a critical patient offshore through sophomoric medical (and political) judgement. Neither you nor I can speak a few words, on television, to the full nation to reinforce through humanity and humility that we remain the great civilization to which the world has turned for its spiritual depth and awakening, and we have just, perhaps, over the past couple decades, lost ourselves in the race for easy money, quick thrills, and our own personal Idol worship. Neither you nor I can set policies that move the economy forward, so at 9pm men are thinking of what to wear at work the next day, not how the get the next high. You and I can demand public accountability and safety, and pray our leaders find in their depth the honour, respect, trust, judgement and wisdom that justify their position of power in our nation. And if our prayers are not answered, we can take back the power by finding in our depth the honour, respect, trust, judgement and wisdom to exercise our own democratic prerogative.
Saturday, December 29, 2012
If you're in Delhi, there's a condolence meeting at Jantar Mantar at 11am.
For the rest of us:
This evening, around sunset.
If you're in Bombay, perhaps at the Gateway of India, our India Gate. Or Marine Drive, Azad Maidan, Shivaji Park, the amphitheatre at bandstand, the park near you, with your friends and neighbours.
If you're n other places, name your place to meet.
Here's what you could do.
Wear a white ribbon, or a white headband.
Bring a flower, any flower, but I suggest a rose or anything that has a thorn or two.
When you get there, use that thorn to draw a little blood from your thumb. Feel that little bit of pain. Think how much worse it was for The Girl, for the thousands of others like her who we have not heard of, may not ever hear of. Remember it. Use the white headband or ribbon to clean up that drop of blood.
Take the flower again. Pull off every petal, one by one. As you do, say to yourself, with each petal, we killed her, all of us, by never fighting the daily atrocities, by never saying, no, enough, I will not let this happen.
Crush the petals in your hand and release the fragrance. As you inhale it, say to yourself, this is where it ends. This is where I do all I can to stop it. Let the petals fall to the ground. (If you're near a river, or the sea, let the petals go into the water.) Throw the stalk in the nearest dustbin.
Sing together. Choose something you all know. Perhaps 'We shall overcome / Hum honge kamyaab' could be it. Sing it soft.
Disperse. Go home. And start changing our world.
Imagine, if you will, a world where women are not treated like possessions.
Imagine a time when bride prices are a forgotten term, when language professors will puzzle over the meaning of terms like "eve-teasing" and "honour killing" because their usage has no currency.
Imagine a time when anything that is fine for a boy to do is appropriate for a girl to do too.
Imagine a time when the only time we tell our mothers and wives and sisters and daughters what they should wear is when it is raining outside and they haven't noticed and are going out without their raincoats.
Imagine a time when film students will wonder how songs picturised around the glorification of sexual harassment ever found an audience, how the stars and the makers of those movies ever got rich and famous instead of ridiculed and scorned.
Imagine a polity where 'leaders' who make primitive sexist statements are hounded out of public life.
Imagine a society where rapists, not the raped, are shunned, disgraced and have their lives ruined.
Better still, imagine a time when rape is something that no longer happens.
Imagine being the generation that made it possible, by raising their voices, by being the change instead of demanding it, by being furious with the government (and rightly so) and the politicians (and rightly so) and the police (and rightly so), but also recognising that they, this generation, let it be possible for venal people to flourish and perpetuate these horrors, and by screaming out loud and long, enough!
We couldn't. You can. Imagine that.
Thursday, December 27, 2012
An email to my office address. I've tried to preserve the formatting. Yes, it came in with all-underlined text. I've removed the company name. Do not miss the bit about "There are at least 10,000++ people on this email."
I have pleasure in sending you the link to the very first MHAP e-Christmas Card.
Read every line of my email dont miss it..
Its once a year that i have to thank you all for all the support you have bestowed upon me. Believe me without the support of the corporate and media and travel world i would not be able to reach and achieve my goals which i have.
If this email reaches you more than once here's a sincere apology as your name might be marked in my mailing list on different names but rest assured you are remembered and i have the "Gratitude" for you all which i should.
My address is attached below so please post/courier/drop me your visiting cards not on email but a hard copy of the card.
Now, why do i need the visiting cards...yes..I call the entire team to join me once a year for a luncheon and i would like to send out the invitations for it. No, dont rush after you are finished with your holidays and new year i shall have my party closer to Valentine's day..So send in your cards...I have a lucky draw...plus my best relationship manager, my best friend, my best (loads and loads)of gifts... The industry has seen my get togethers in the past and they know it has been awesome.
So complete all your work and believe me you will have a network to connect with which no party or organisation can provide..There are at least 10,000++ people on this email who you will meet and connect with..So happy holidays compliments of the season and yes dont forget to Click Me! below and see the brands i am associated with my best wishes.
GOD BLESS YOU!! Stay Blessed!! you are in my PRAYERS...
[cheesy graphic of cask with the words 'click me superimposed on it]
Miss [Name removed]
[Company name removed, but it's a world-famous premium alcohol brand]
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Air-dashing we will go
As soon as ma’am-ji says
O'er the states we go
On mantri discount fares!
Can you see my bling?
Don’t I look a sight?
What fun it is to be giving
Prime time news hour sound byte!
(Oi!) Single girls, single girls,
Why do you protest?
Now I’ll have to use the hose...
See? You’re getting wet.
Single girls, single girls,
Why you questions ask?
I answer with aasu gas,
And you forgot gas mask!
Now Rajpath is all wet
And all you people, young,
Are getting lathis on your butts
Ooh! I bet that stung!
Go home and watch TeeVee
We’ll hold special I Pee El
Go to malls, spend money!
Or go to bloody hell!
(Oi!) Single girls, single girls,
Why do you protest?
Now I’ll have to use the hose...
See? You’re getting wet.
Single girls, single girls,
Why you questions ask?
I answer with tear gas,
And you forgot gas mask!
Inspired by Deepanjana and her colleague Colleen, and Samit.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
If you haven't been discomfited by a government form that demands a father's or husband's name, you're part of the problem.
If you think that a woman must change her name, first or second or both, when she marries, you're part of the problem.
If you are not ashamed of laws that treat women as if they were possessions of a man, or less than men in any way, you're part of the problem.
If you work for, or patronise, a company that insists a woman has no identity of her own, that she ceases to become part of her birth family once she is married, you're part of the problem.
If you think that ladies compartments in trains and ladies seats in busses are a solution, you're part of the problem.
If you think security cameras and banning sun-film on vehicles are a solution, you're part of the problem.
If your son can stay out late but not your daughter, if your daughter must be 'dropped home' but not your son, I know I'm being hard on you, and I would do the same in our cities, but you're part of the problem, as I am.
If you are not distressed by playgrounds where little boys run wild but where you don't see any little girls, by boys coming out to play cricket on the street during a bandh, but not girls, maybe you're not observant enough, or maybe you're part of the problem.
If you run an ad campaign that has hunky male film stars asking the world to 'be a man' and join him in protecting women, you're part of the problem.
If you think that getting men to think of all women as their mothers and sisters and daughters is a solution, perhaps you're not a problem, but I'm sorry, I think you're very wrong. It should be enough to think of them as fellow human beings, with rights of their own as valid and as important as yours.
If you think offering bangles to a man, or saying he should be wearing a sari, is an insult, you could be making a very subtle point about gender imbalance, in which case I'm sorry I didn't get it. Or you could be part of the problem.
If you call sexual harassment 'eve-teasing,' you're making a crime sound like boys-will-be-boys mischief, and that, I'm afraid, makes you part of the problem. If you think that 'outraging the modesty of a woman' does not smell strongly of woman-as-possession, then perhaps we have different sensibilities, but I'm inclined to think you're part of the problem.
If you think that chow mein or other foods result in uncontrollable libido, you're a lunatic and definitely part of the problem. If you think anything can result in uncontrollable libido, you're a very serious part of the problem and should be restrained for your own good and the good of all around you.
If you think the solution is giving young men child brides so that they can satisfy their lust, you're part of the problem.
If you think rape shames a woman, that her izzat has been stolen, that she is henceforth a "zinda laash," you're part of the problem.*
If your stock visual for rape stories is a woman with her face hidden, you're unimaginative, wrong, and yes, part of the problem.
If you think people having sexual intercourse, or even marrying, outside the religious, communal, economic or gender boundaries that you are comfortable with (and no, I don't include children and animals here) is against your culture, you and your culture are part of the problem.
If you think that she shouldn't have been wearing those revealing clothes, because dressing that way is provocative; if you think that she shouldn't have been out that late, alone; if you think she was being 'adventurous' because she was returning from work at 2 a.m.; if you think rape happens because 'men and women interact with each other more freely'; if you think she invited trouble because she had a drink—or two, or three, or six—or because she smokes; if you think her being the only woman in a group of men was foolish; if you think her having had sexual intercourse with someone—or several someones—she's not married to makes it understandable that other men would think they can have sex with her against her will; if you think that her having sexual intercourse for money makes it okay to have sexual intercourse with her against her will; if you think her working at a bar is a reason why she will be targetted; if you think that her husband has a right to have sexual intercourse with her whether she wants to or not, you're part of the problem.
Yes, if you think there's any possible justification for rape, if you imply in any way that a woman is asking for it or provoking it, you're part of the problem.
And if your reaction to young people protesting a culture that makes rape commonplace is not standing up and saying, "We hear you, we're sorry that you're upset enough to come together like this, we're upset too, we're doing our best to stop this and our resolve is strengthened because we know we can count on your help," but instead you fire water cannons and tear gas shells at them, and then decide to lock down the area, you're not only part of the problem, we will lose faith in your ability to ever find a solution, because you are central to the problem.**
* Sentence rephrased after a suggestion from Harini Calamur
** Some very smart people I respect said, on Twitter, that this last paragraph took away from this post, referring, I guess, to the violence and vandalism that took place today. I must clarify that I was referring to what I had learned from reading about the situation yesterday, and leaning a lot on Nilanjana Roy's from-the-spot tweets and subsequent blogpost, and a chat with her on the phone last night. Which is that the mostly young people at Raisina Hill yesterday afternoon were not just protesting peacefully, but also actively stopping fellow protesters when they crossed the line. For example, telling each other not to throw back tear-gas shells, because that would give the police an excuse. Later yesterday, I know, and definitely today, various opportunistic ruffians and/or political parties descended on the protests, and things changed. I do not, by any means, seek to condone the violence that has now happened, and never will agree with violence as a means.
Note: [*] = The site linked to requires registration.
Zig's on TwitterFollow, all ye who must know more.
We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually produce a masterpiece. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.