Sunday, March 1, 2009

Anger in Mumbai

This is dedicated to Sabina Saigal Sakia, who I knew briefly while in college, and have since followed her career with interest.

Anger in Mumbai
Once there was a girl who loved writing,
meeting people, talking
endlessely on things immaterial,
fascinating others around her.

She went to a party and
talked the editor into hiring her
for a job she always wanted,
to write about food and things on

So her books came out
year after year,
telling people where to eat
drink and make merry.

She went to party,
came back early to bed
to find death
instead of rest

He came uninvited
and violated the silence,
to shoot, kill mindlessly
in the name of god

And the old men watched
And prayed And talked
And condemned And promised

And did nothing.

Odds and Ends

I have been corresponding to people in some charming parts of the world like Siberia. It is quite a change from writing to people in US, Canada or India. While asking about the weather is polite noise in other parts of the world, in Siberia it is a big deal. I have been told that the temperature is -15 C… on a warm day. For a warm bloodied mammal like me, such lows are inconceivable. For instance I do know that good old steel is a material I can use down to -29C, which becomes useless material of construction in Siberia. I wonder what do they use for everyday living- Stainless Steel? Other innocuous topic of conversation like “ Would you like a drink?” is a meaningless question out there. If one does not have Vodka to serve up immediately, it is would considered quite an affront. Although the climate may not suit me, I wonder if they run tours up down to that part of the world? It would be nice to pay DJ my respects in person.

Delhi Chronicles

Modern Monuments

After the initial euphoria of the Delhi Metro and its promise to solve Delhi’s horrendous traffic jams is over, the truth is now coming home to roost. The Metro’s ubiquitous reach is after all, now, not so ubiquitous. The trains are well packed, now requiring Japanese style people minders to pack the travellers in. They promised to get rid of the cars and scooters packing the roads under them. Have they? Look for yourself. Now we have considerable part of Delhi’s humanity travelling thirty meters from the ground, while at the bottom an equal number of frustrated commuters struggle with their vehicles negotiating the traffic below. The pillars and the elevated structures made of concrete are now not looking like so good. In fact they are an eye sore. Miles of pillars looking like behemoths supporting the roads on which toy trains run look extremely ugly. The skyline, or whatever remains of it after the buildings obliterate swathes of the sky, is now uglier than ever. So while the progress in mass transport is commendable, all I have to say about the Metro is NMB- Not in my backyard.

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