Monday, February 26, 2007

Girish Karnad's Yayati at the Ranga Shankara

Via e-mail from the Artists' Repertory Theatre:

ART presents Yayati by Girish Karnad at Ranga Shankara

This production premiered the playwright's own translation , at the opening of Kannada Rangabhoomi - Namaskara on October 24, 2006, at Ravindra Kalakshetra.

A powerful script with a powerful cast!

Raza Hussain, last seen in his highly acclaimed performance as Tipu Sultan in ART's popular production of THE DREAMS OF TIPU SULTAN, plays Yayati. Sukhita Aiyar plays Sharmishtha with Veena Appiah as Devayani, Kartik Kumar as Pooru, Mythri Surendra as Swarnalata and Anjalika Kapur as Chitralekha.

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Directed by Arundhati Raja; Set & Lighting design by M. S. Sathyu; Costumes by Jayanthi; Music by Sankarshan Kini also on Tabla and vocal by Dipti Rao.

27 & 28 February: Ranga Shankara
Tickets: Rs.100/- available at the venue from 27 Feb or call 32930847 for advance telebooking (tickets to be collected by 6:45pm on day of show) Image courtesy ART.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What makes the world go round?

My father and my son, Big N, love hanging out together and spend all their time talking. Neither my husband nor I can figure out what they find to talk to each other about or how they can sustain each other's attention, patience and interest for as long as they do, but from the sporadic reports we get from each of them, at least two things are obvious: one, they cover a wide range of topics; two, Big N feeds off of my father's immense store of general knowledge and my father revels in Big N's energy and natural curiosity.

On one of his recent visits, my father taught Big N a lullaby that I grew up listening to. It's simple and lovely, but the meaning is profound. It asks (in loose translation),

Who makes the sun come up?
Who makes the moon turn?
What are those that our eyes see twinkling in the dark sky?
If you think about all these things, you realize there is something [bigger, more powerful than us]

Over the past few years, whenever I've remembered the lullaby, my mind has immediately recalled that heartbreaking Bee Gees song, "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart," and that one particular line in it, "What makes the world go around?" Even the tunes of the two songs, with their plaintive strains, are very similar.

After two days of falling asleep to the lullaby, one evening Big N sat down at his piano and plucked out the song on the keys. I was puttering around in kitchen preparing dinner and my father was busy with the newspaper and Little N. My father, who is generally happy that Big N can play the piano but has no clue about any of the songs he plays (they're all Western folk and classical songs), burst into applause when he heard it. That he was thrilled does not even begin to describe his reaction on hearing one of his favorite songs played on the piano.

We immediately called my aunt who sang this song to her siblings (my father being the youngest of the lot) when they were growing up. She has never seen Big N and Big N has not really spoken to her much on the phone given the language gap.

But there we were that evening, Big N excitedly telling his grand-aunt on the phone what he had done and was about to do again for her, my father and I taking turns to translate each of them for the other, Big N playing the lullaby on the piano, me holding the phone close to the keys, each of us trying to grab the phone to find out first hand what my aunt's reaction was, my aunt listening to the song over the phone and saying she couldn't believe what she had just heard (and I imagine, shaking her head), that she couldn't believe that Big N actually liked the song, her wanting to find out how it had all happened, and her declaring, "After all, he's my grandson, right?"

When we had finally hung up the phone, Big N said that was the happiest day of his life, my father had a big grin on his face, my aunt also probably had an equally big grin on her face many miles away, and I was just happy looking at the delight on the two faces on either side of me.

What makes the world go round? This comes mighty close to it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The trials and tribulations of a road warrior

V was out of town for nearly three weeks. He came home around five am a few days ago and went straight to the kids' beds. Big N stirred and went right back to sleep, little N woke up fully. V picked her up. She looked at him, looked at me and looked at V again, tentatively. From her expression it appeared that she did not recognize V as a familiar face.

It may have been that she was just groggy from having been woken up, but V's heart was broken. He said softly, "She doesn't know me."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Adults look really funny when...

... they are feeding young children solids.

Just as the spoon or the hand makes its way to the baby's mouth, the adult opens his/her mouth wide and holds it in that position - the eyes, lips, forehead and cheeks contorted in suspended animation - until the baby scoops up the food on the spoon or in the hand. Then the mouth clamps down shut rather suddenly, the facial parts returning to their normal stations.

I'm sure I do it every time I'm feeding little N, but thankfully I can't see myself.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Life in Bangalore: Internet Service Provider BSNL On The Blink

BSNL's service has been patchy the last couple of days. The day before yesterday there was no internet connection for about three hours and last evening and night for about six hours. I was told that BSNL's server for the entire city was down for that duration. In the past, service has been interrupted because of some construction where we live - the cables were inadvertently cut, we were told.

Before we moved to our current location we had Airtel and as far as I can remember, we did not have a single instance of service interruption due to Airtel's fault.

Unfortunately, where we live now Airtel is not an option. The only alternative to BSNL is Reliance, but they only provide dial-up service, no broadband.

For people who work from home all the time or through flex-time options provided by their employers, this is a serious issue. Imagine having to tell your employer you can't get your work done today because your residential internet connection is down. It is extremely frustrating. I know of at least one person who subscribes to both BSNL and Reliance in order to have back up on the days like yesterday or day before when BSNL went on the blink for long stretches of time.

BSNL is apparently migrating all of their customers to some kind of better service (don't have the details), so hopefully breaks in service will be less of an issue moving forward. But what is comforting for now is that there is someone to answer the phone at my local BSNL office when I call to complain and there is someone to tell me what the problem is and how long it'll take to fix it.

The Magic of Dabara Coffee

There's something about Indian coffee, and I mean South Indian filter coffee, that is out of this world. Perhaps it's the chicory, perhaps it's the dabara and "tumbler" in which the coffee is traditionally served, perhaps it's the big-bubbled froth (not the smooth kind of the lattes and cappucinos) swaying precariously at the edge of the tumbler, or perhaps it's just intense nostalgia for the way things used to be back in the day.

Growing up, coffee was always consumed in a dabara and tumbler at home. Mugs, cups and saucers came when I was well into my teens and even then we used it only to drink tea. A decade or two ago restaurants also regularly served coffee in dabaras and tumblers, only in the last few years changing over to just the tumblers, which seem to get tinier and tinier by the day.

And of course, dabara coffee is always made in the coffee filter, the mainstay of many a South Indian kitchen.

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Coffee Filter

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Coffee Filter Parts

Automatic coffee makers were unheard of. French presses are still very rare, and the percolator made a quiet entrance and an equally quiet exit.

These days every home that I go to seems to have an automatic coffee maker, its gurgling, bubbling sounds replacing the "thottu, thottu" sound of the coffee filter as the decoction made its way down from the top compartment to the lower receptacle.

After years of consuming coffee made in coffee makers sans the chicory, the first order of business when we moved to India and set up a home was to go buy a coffee filter. I bought the biggest size, so big that even my parents laughed. "Why do you need such a big filter for two people?" they asked. I didn't have a clue. The filter seemed capable of putting out just enough decoction to fill two of those huge mugs that we had gotten used to drinking coffee in. Of course, that same amount of decoction would be enough for more than five people if they were served coffee in dabaras. I had lost all sense of proportion.

Although I vaguely knew the steps involved, having never actually made coffee in a filter before, I was totally hopeless when it came to figuring out the ratio of water to coffee powder. There are many variables involved, as my dad expounds passionately: the proportion of the coffee powder to chicory in your mix (I steadily made my way up, from 10% to 25% to 35% chicory), how strong the decoction is, what kind of milk you use (whether the ready to use kind out of a carton, or Nandini/Heritage/Tirumala milk that needs to be boiled first), how old the decoction is, when the milk was boiled, whether the decoction and milk were boiled together, etc.

After months of trial and coaching by my dad, during which I gave up many times when the end result was not even an approximation of the coffee of my memories, I finally hit upon the right formula - freshly made strong decoction (which must make the "thottu, thottu" sound as it collects, drop by drop, in the receptacle); freshly boiled Nandini/Heritage/Tirumala milk; the two mixed together in the tumbler, i.e., never boiled together; the milk poured into the tumbler from as great a height as you can manage to generate the froth; the tumbler placed in the dabara, and sugar added to taste. The brand of coffee doesn't actually make that big of a difference.

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Coffee in a Dabara and Tumbler

The results are excellent, even though I do say so myself. Just the right color, consistency and taste.

Update: My mom just told me that the dabara set in the photo is nearly 40 years old! It was part of her wedding gift from her parents.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

IndiBloggies Nomination - Best Topical Blog

Well, whaddya know! Blogpourri has been nominated for a 2006 IndiBloggie in the Best Topical IndiBlog category.

First of all, thank you for this nomination. It is thrilling and exciting, feels great and wonderful, and is deeply satisfying and gratifying, not only to be nominated but to be in that group of nineteen that also includes Atanu Dey, Dilip D'Souza, Annie Zaidi, Rashmi Bansal, Varnam, Abi, Bombay Addict, the Blank Noise Project.... And these are only the bloggers whose work I'm aware of. There are many more in this and the other categories that I'm thrilled to know about and I now look forward to reading.

There are so many things I want to say about the nomination, the award, the votes, etc. (especially the votes - imagine the horror of finding one vote, which you can safely assume would be mine, against my blog! Oh lord!), all of which has been said brilliantly by Gawker. So I'll take the easy way out and direct you to him.

In the final analysis, I'm just plain happy that you read my blog, that you take the time to comment on my posts, that you take time to write to me, that you cry with me, laugh me with me, pat me on my back, argue with me, criticize me, and feel happy for me. I'm even happier that I've met so many wonderful, smart, intelligent, warm-hearted, funny, thoughtful people through my blog. If it weren't for this space, I wouldn't know you at all.

And what a shame that would be.

P.S. Could the IndiBloggies please make up an icon that says "Nominee - IndiBloggies 2006"? That would be so cool.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Adopting a Child From India - A Petition

Via e-mail from Mumbaigirl (I've taken the liberty of copying and pasting the petition here; please do consider signing the petition - the title will take you directly to their website):

Streamlining RIPA Re-licensing Process and NOC Process for NRI/OCI/PIO

To: Prime Minister's Offce, India

Honorable Prime Minister of India
Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India
New Delhi

NRI/OCI/PIO families currently face several delays when adopting from India. One of the contributing factors is the expiry of licenses of the RIPAs, and the subsequent delays in the license renewal process. NOCs cannot be issued by CARA for the children and the parents cannot get custody of the child for pre-adoption foster-care until the RIPA's license is renewed.

The license for a RIPA is valid for a period of 1-3 years and there is a gap of several months before the license is renewed. At this time, 16 of the 67 licenses have already expired or will expire this month (Feb 2007). These 67 RIPAs are the only agencies NRIs/ OCIs/ PIOs can go through and when over 20\% of them have expired licenses that indicates a breakdown in the process resulting in significant disruption in the adoption process. Such disruptions cause the children to remain in the orphanages for much longer than they should. The longer a child is institutionalized, the greater the probability of attachment disorders and long term trauma. Also, the NOC is just one step in the process, and once the NOC is awarded, the case still has to be adjudicated in court which could take several months.

Uncertainty in the timeframe of RIPA license renewal is quite stressful for everyone involved – the RIPAs (who should be focusing on caring for the children and on operational details rather than chasing down license status everyday), the adoptive families (whose lives are on-hold for such long periods of time) as well as the State and CARA personnel (who have to constantly answer questions on status instead of focusing on completing their scrutiny in a timely manner).

These delays are not good for either the children or the families waiting anxiously to hold them. The sooner the children can go into a loving home, the better it is for them.

We would be very grateful if you could please help us in this regard by streamlining/ standardizing the process of license renewals of RIPAs. Timely renewal of licenses of RIPAs will help the children come home to their families sooner and assimilate/ integrate better. Some of the suggestions that might be implemented are:

• Implement the timeline suggested in the 2006 CARA Guidelines of 15 days for issuing the NOC to prospective adoptive parents.

• Any dossiers submitted before the license expires should be processed by CARA based on the "time in" stamp.

• If there are no complaints or detrimental reports against a RIPA, then a provisional license should be provided for a 3-6 month period while the detailed scrutiny is carried out, so that NOCs can be issued and adjudicating the cases in court is not stopped.

• Pre-approve the NOC for families who have adopted before and are in compliance with all reporting requirements based on the recommendation of the RIPA.

• Expedite NOC turnaround time for children that might require urgent medical attention to address chronic or other medical conditions.

• Post NOC statistics on the CARA website, such as average time to issue NOC and number of NOCs issued every month and to which RIPA.

As a community, we (NRI/OCI/PIO families) maintain very strong ties to India and we would like to bring home our adopted children as soon as possible. We teach our children Indian traditions and arts and visit India very often. We greatly appreciate your consideration of our request.


The Undersigned

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Singing the post-partum blues - in a minor scale

Post-partum blues sounds like an innocuous condition, but it's not. According to WebMD, it affects half to three-quarters of new mothers of which one tenth "will develop a more severe and longer-lasting depression after delivery."

For most new mothers, post-partum blues needs no introduction - the feeling of helplessness that washes over you when the baby cries because you're just not sure what the baby wants; the sheer exhaustion that comes from lack of sleep and feeding, checking diapers, giving gas medicine, burping, holding, rocking, soothing and repeating the cycle again in an endless loop through days and nights; the shiver that runs down your back at the thought of your sore, burning, red, cracked nipples and the absolute physical pain that the first few weeks of breast feeding is; the days, weeks and months it takes to get used to feeling at home in a strange new body, to get used to the overwhelming fact that you've now irreversibly given over your body and your mind to the care and well-being of a tiny human being day in and day out.

Post-partum depression came into wider consciousness after that infamous Matt Lauer interview with Tom Cruise in which the latter criticized Brooke Shields for turning to medicine to deal with her struggle with a debilitating form of the condition following the birth of her first child.

From experience, I can tell you, thankfully, that the depression seemed to last only a few days and only with my first child. Back when my son was born, I just got up each morning and had a good bawl for ten minutes and then the rest of the day seemed to go better. Once I figured out what his cries meant and I knew how to respond to him, how to hold him after a feed so that his stomach did not feel uncomfortable any more and even get a giggle or two out of him, the feeling of sadness and helplessness was a thing of the past.

As the days wore on, I realized that there were so many things about being a new mom that no one had talked to me about. Perhaps one reason was that I was the first one among my peers to have a baby and it had been so long since my mom and aunts had babies that all they remembered were the rosy bits about being new mothers (yes, that happens - or else you think there would ever be second borns?).

So after my first child was born, if friends asked me, I told them that it was ok if, contrary to movie depictions, they did not fall in love with the tiny stranger in their arms two minutes after going through that brain-rattling experience called labor; that it was ok to ask for epidural; it was ok not to take epidural; it was ok to have natural childbirth; it was ok to have a C-section; that all we can do is to prepare ourselves for the kind of birth we want, but in the end to go with the flow; that it was ok if they felt inadequate and did not know how to take care of their own babies - that it did not make them bad mothers; that breast feeding would hurt like nothing they had ever known and it would for days; that engorgement is a good thing but that hurts too; that breast feeding is not as easy as some people make it out to be those first few days; that it's ok if the baby and you take more than a few tries to get it right; that eventually both you and the baby will figure it out; that if all else fails and you want to give up and bottle-feed your baby, it doesn't make you a bad mother; that a dip in milk supply can quickly be brought back up to necessary levels (lots of methi [fenugreek] and water); that it's ok to want a break and to want not to feel like a cow sometimes (although if you pump your milk there's no escaping it); that it's ok to sit down and have a good cry once in a while.

And I told my friends all of this and more even if they did not ask me.

The second time around when my daughter was born, I knew what to expect of course and I listened to my own advice. There is such a vast difference in attitude between the first time and the second time. Perhaps because now you know that there are larger issues looming in the horizon (such as making and keeping friendships, talking about poverty and hunger, about saving money, about family, religion, war, cricket, home) you tend to take certain things, which the first time around seemed to be insurmountable problems, in your stride. I'm just not as anal as I used to be.

During the first six months after my son was born, I documented every feed (time, which breast, how long), every change of diaper (time, color and consistency), every ounce of medicine that went in his body, every visit to the doctor, every illness and the doctor's advice. And I worried if he did not feed for the allotted time every time (although he was feeding every two hours on the dot day and night and did not fuss about feeding at all). With my daughter, from the time we came home, she fed only once in four hours and I could not tell you for how long she fed and from which breast because I haven't written it down anywhere. I could just tell from looking at her that she was well fed and happy. She slept through the night and I let her, though with my son I would be hovering nervously over his crib if he did not wake up by the end of the second hour.

This time around, my post partum blues (if you can even call it that) were definitely of a minor scale. My son, who had been told from day we found out I was pregnant to stay away from my tummy (although we hadn't told him why straight away - another post coming up) and was therefore looking forward to the day he could hold me in a crushing hug, was dismayed when he saw my stomach after my daughter was born and it was still huge. He asked if there was another baby inside. My brother, who was expecting his own baby in a few weeks and was therefore watching every item of post partum protocol with eagle eyes, asked the same thing and with about the same tact as my son. The lady that helps me with the chores in the house, B, kept mum for two days after which she said I had to do something about my stomach.

As for me, I was blissfully unaware of how my stomach looked and even when I looked in the mirror, I thought I looked great for a mother of two kids who had gained a total of 61 pounds during the two pregnancies.

And then one day it hit me.

I came down the steps from my room into the dining room down stairs and made a quick turn to the left, almost ninety degrees, to go into the kitchen. The turn was too quick apparently because I suffered what felt distinctly like whip lash around my waist. The loose, distended part of my stomach, aka, the largest part of my body then, swung to the left on its own and tugged at my back muscles. Whoa!

So I ransacked the sarees and dhotis (veshtis, panch├ęs) that my parents had brought with them, selected the softest ones, and my mom and B twisted them into ropes, laid me flat on the bed, and drew the cloth around me in coils and with one on either side of me, they pulled and pulled.

If you've read Margaret Mitchell's description of how Mammy ties the corset around Scarlett, you'll know exactly what I mean.

I would be breathless for a few minutes and light headed, but eventually got used to that thing around my waist and found that it actually helped with my back ache. Then I moved on to those elastic things you get at medical stores and went from the largest to the smallest size. My stomach is still a far cry from the washboard stomachs of advertisements for exercise equipment, but my back is much better.

Nine months on from the birth of my daughter, post partum is a thing of the past, and other issues have taken over my grey cells - such as how not to forget that my six year old, no matter how mature and no matter how many friends he's shushed up saying, "My baby is sleeping. You must be quiet!" is still a baby himself.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

After the Cauvery verdict ...

... schools and colleges are closed today. Many shops in our area are also closed, although offices appear to be open. There's a state-wide bundh call for Thursday, Feb 8th.

Last night, the three grocery stores in our area were packed with shoppers scrambling to stock up on items they needed but thought they might not have enough of in case the shops were closed today.

The items apparently everyone needed and so were gone from the shelves by the time I went in: bread, yogurt, bananas, ready made dosa batter.

The scenes at the store were similar to the scenes in the US grocery stores just before an impending snow storm or following the issuance of a hurricane alert.

Update (Feb 7th):

The bundh has been put off until Monday, Feb. 12th.

An Immigrant's Super Bowl Ruminations

That time of the year when men and women are in a supposed tussle - women fight for the men's attention, men fight for the remote and the right to sit on their ass for four hours and not budge - has just passed. For some women, Super Bowl Sunday is the most hated day of the year and they have no qualms admitting it.

As for me, I spent all of last evening here in India reminding myself to wake up at five am so I could watch the game. If my husband hadn't called me from London at six am to tell me it was a good game, I would have slept on until seven when it would have been time to wake up my son for school. But at six am I scrambled out of bed, made myself a cup of hot tea and settled down to watch the game for an hour before the mad scramble of the morning began. I would have loved to watch the game with my husband, or better yet, with my group of friends that we usually watch the Super Bowl with back in the US.

Perhaps because I did not grow up in a football crazy culture and was not forced to spend Thanksgiving and many Sundays paying homage to men in tights bashing each other up, rather because I came to the game as an adult around the same time the men in my life came to it as well, I actually love the game. (On the other hand, I grew up in a cricket-crazy culture and am a huge cricket fan too - so perhaps it's just me. I just love to watch games on TV.)

So for the past few years, the SuperBowl ritual has been to gather at one particular friend's house, with the requisite 50 inch TV, in Maryland. We all bring one dish, an assortment of Indian and typical Super Bowl fare, a few snacks and drinks and our kids. By the time everyone gathers in the early evening, the kitchen counters are overflowing with food and drink, the corridors and the family room floor between the TV and the sofas are overflowing with kids and the sofas are overflowing with people.

There's good natured jousting for the prime seat (a single La-Z-Boy with a drink holder), with one or the other of the big men trying to stretch out on a sofa that could easily take three more people. There's noise emanating from all manner of Elmo toys, toy vacuum cleaners and tricycles. One group in a corner of the kitchen or the family room argues loudly about loyalties and which team will win. The host waves his Superbowl pool sheet under their noses in a vain attempt to grab their attention.

Most of us, not having grown up in the US, really don't have a "home" team that the whole family roots for. Our loyalties spring from where we live (and unfortunately for us, the Redskins suck big time) or where we've gone to school. One or the other of us will find a player from our college team and he or she will latch on to that team to root for. Some of us go back to the season and the playoffs and try to connect a team to the one that beat the Redskins, some of us just go by how cute the quarterback is or his status as a legend. Sometimes, we just want a particular coach to win, forget the players or the team (for me, in basketball, Pat Riley was such a coach).

Watching the game itself is a chaotic affair. People mill around the kitchen, which has a clear view of the television, change seats, run after the kids, adjudicate disputes, munch on snacks, rate the Superbowl ads, bang on the floor with all available appendages at fumbles, turnovers and interceptions, eat, drink a lot of beer, roar in approval at a touchdown - in fact, do everything but go to the bathroom.

The time reserved for that important activity is the half-time, which is when all the poor souls who could not find a comfortable seat during the game zip into any available ones.

So, at the Super Bowl two years ago, my last Super Bowl before moving to India, everyone but two of us, me and female friend, was up and about the house paying no attention to the television whatsoever. Only our squeals and a simultaneous high-pitched, "Did you see that!?" turned every one's heads. Of course, by then, it was too late. The "Wardrobe Malfunction" had corrected itself and there was nothing but confusion on the stage (staged or otherwise, you tell me) and expressions of horror from the hosts.

The irony of the situation was not lost on the guys, but the shortcoming in their Super Bowl experience was quickly rectified the next morning (YouTube would have been so handy then) thanks to downloads of what has turned out to be a cultural watermark of our times.

I know many arguments are advanced for negating the notion that football is a men's game and only men derive enjoyment from it - apparently more than fifty percent of NFL fans are women (at all the Redskins games I've been to there were a lot of women); women are more aware of statistics and the game's history than men are, etc.

But, what I'm really saying is this - what's not to love about a game in which you can watch tight ends to your heart's content; in which, once in a while, you can watch history being made as new expressions that become ensconced in the lexicon are manufactured right in front of your eyes; where some coaches and his "boys" seem to develop this bond that is displayed for all the world to see on the field; where the entire families of the teams seem invested in the success of their men; when otherwise intelligent and reasonable men happily put on pig faces and cheese heads and actually show up in public and on national television?


Monday, February 05, 2007

Life in Bangalore: Cauvery Tribunal Delivers Verdict - Will There Be Violence?

The Cauvery Tribunal, set up to adjudicate the Cauvery water dispute between the four Southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry, has delivered its verdit. Karnataka gets 270 tmc (thousand million cubic) feet of water, Tamil Nadu 419 tmc feet, Kerala 30 and Puducherry, 7 tmc feet of water. From the figures, Tamil Nadu appears to have received about roughly two-thirds of the average available every year, but both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu get less than what each had wanted.

The verdict is not the final word; Karnataka or Tamil Nadu may appeal to the tribunal and it is most likely that Karnataka will appeal.

Mandya, understandably, given that agriculture is the mainstay of most of its citizens, was and is the hot bed of the discontent on this issue and as expected, television channels have parked themselves in that town.

A news item in yesterday's newspapers about police being deployed all over Bangalore and in Mandya district in anticipation of violence in the wake of the Cauvery Tribunal verdict brought back memories of the chaos that enveloped Bangalore 16 years ago, in 1992. Schools and colleges and business establishments had shut down for more than a week because of the violence.

I debated this morning whether to send my son to school and phone calls to friends, parents of his classmates and to school administration officials allayed fears of violence. A driver who works in a neighbor's house even assured me that he had called his "contacts" in the area and he was told that there would be no violence, and even if there was, it would only be after 4:30 pm. How reassuring. A short while ago, though, two kids in my neighborhood from another school were sent home early as a precautionary measure. Television channels are confirming that some schools as well as some offices are closing down.

If your livelihood depends on water, then this cannot be good news for those constituents who had wanted and had hoped for more, which is basically people from both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Good rainy seasons over the past few years may have alleviated the problem somewhat, but this decision will have to be adhered to even in those years when the rains are not as abundant.

We will have to wait and see exactly what this decision means and I am sure the talking heads will have a field day with this issue in the coming weeks. What we also need is for cooler heads to prevail, so that violence does not overpower a calm consideration of the issues.


Karnataka has stopped telecasting Tamil channels and Tamil Nadu has suspended bus services to Karnataka. The Karnataka Raitara Sangha has termed the decision 'unfair'.

Update 2:

The state government has declared a holiday today (Tuesday, Feb. 6th) for schools and colleges in Bangalore (urban and rural areas), Mysore, Mandya and Chamarajanagar districts.

The Akhila Karnataka Gadi Horata Samiti has called for a state-wide bandh on Thursday, Feb. 8th in protest against the verdict.
Deccan Herald.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

How to engender respect in men toward women

Joe Zobenica, in an article entitled Are We Not Men? in the Jan/Feb 2007 edition of Atlantic magazine quotes Nelson Algren who wrote the following, back in 1963, regarding his visit to the Playboy mansion,

However paradoxical it may appear, the young male who assumes early that physical relationships with women are part of life is more likely to develop respect toward women than is the young male who abstains from such relationships.

How relevant is this in the Indian context?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Expat life: Obtaining a US citizenship if your baby is born in India

Disclaimer: A friend who went through this process suggested I put this up. This is meant to give you some general information. Please consult the appropriate consulate for all the relevant and up to date information before proceeding with the process.
If you (one or other of the parents) are a US citizen and you plan to have a baby in India, you can record your your child's birth with the US consulates here in India and obtain a US passport for your baby.

You will first need to locate the US consulate that serves the city in which you live. This website of the US consulate (look under "Reports of Births Abroad" and "Passports") in Chennai, for example, provides all of the information you need to gather the necessary documents.

If you are pregnant before you move to India or if you know you are planning to have a baby when you move to India, then you can save yourself some grief by bringing these documents with you before you move here:

1. Your marriage certificate, or if divorced, your divorce decree;
2. Your hospital records with all the original ultrasound scans;
3. Proof of US citizenship;
4. Proof of residence in the US.

You can call ahead and request a package that'll set out in detail all of the requirements for obtain the record of birth abroad and the passport. One of the requirements is the baby's birth certificate (which of course you can only obtain after the baby is born here). For that you need to figure out the city corporation office that serves the area in which your hospital is located. Once you do that, they will need the birth report that the hospital will give you when you leave the hospital and an application asking for a birth certificate. A couple of days later you can collect it from the corporation office.

As I mentioned, your first stop should be the consulate's website for all of this information. Also filling out all if the forms they send beforehand would be a good idea.


The Indibloggies are back (via DesiPundit) and nominations are open until Feb 5th.

The 2006 Indibloggies are officially underway with five more categories. The nominations are open until February 5th so head over and nominate your favorite
blogs(pssst…self nominations are welcome too). Plenty of prizes are in store for the winners so it is no small affair.

And if you are nominated, the very best of luck to you.