3108 is coming

You got nothing to post ? Don't fret about it, in a few hours it's going to be 3108.
S0 ? you ask. But here is where I land my punch, according to various blogger, I sip on through bloglines (here, here & here). 3108 IS BlogDay2005 , the day, you my fellow blogger can celebrate your attention seeking bloglifestyle with the world .

Question - What's the funda here ?

What is BlogDay 2005?
BlogDay was created with the belief that bloggers should have one day dedicated to getting to know other bloggers from other countries and areas of interest. On that day Bloggers will recommend other blogs to their blog visitors.

With the goal in mind, on this day every blogger will post a recommendation of 5 new blogs. In this way, all Blog web surfers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, previously unknown blogs.

Read the original post Nir Ofir, the creator of BlogDay, wrote.

What will happen on BlogDay?

For one long moment on August 31st, bloggers from all over the world will post recommendations of 5 new Blogs, preferably Blogs that are different from their own culture, point of view and attitude. On this day, blog surfers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, unknown Blogs, celebrating the discovery of new people and new bloggers.

Why do we need a BlogDay?

1. Information Overflow! The more Blogs there are, the less time Bloggers spend on reading new weblogs. Because of the overload of information, you miss a lot of good Blogs and Bloggers.

2. Its Fun!
So all you have to do is some blogsurfing and find 5 blogs [you like] and tag, link and pull them in.

Catchy meme eh ?

So Here goes.

1> The first blog I've choosen is The 3rd world view, a very sharp blog from Bangladesh. Rezwan, has a very indsightful view on various issues troubling the subcontinent. I also remember reading his round up of the Bombay Deluge on Global Voices.

2> The second blog that caught my eye is hosted by the BBC as a part of their AfricaLives series. It chronicles the experiences of Lilian Indombera, a teacher and performer who’s been splitting her time between her native Nairobi and Burundian refugee camps in Tanzania. Here a picture I picked from the blog , taken at the refugee camp.

I also found this beautiful quote by Mother Theresa on the blog which said "We ourselves feel that what we are doing is a drop in the ocean but the ocean would be less without that drop."

The third blog is the personal blog a Stanford Law Proffessor, Lawerence Lessig. Who is compenplating the legalities of Pop Art and other copyright issues. Can Campell Soup sue Andy Warhol ?. Interesting to say the least.
Love Fool

4> Languages is a barrier ? Well Pictures breach that barrier. The 4th blog in my selection is the photpblog of Japanese photojourno, Hiroshi Okamoto - who is currently stationed in Iraq. Here is his Iraq photo journal and here is his general photoblog. Makes for hours of great viewing.

5> My last blog is double eddition travelougue of two self confessed Indophiles interestingly named Jamie and Michele vs. India ver 2.0.

Wow !!! doing this was great. I just travelled more than 1000miles sitting here at my computer. Browsing some of these blogs you get a wonderful perspective on now similar some of the world's problems are . Geography is secondary to humanity or the blogosphere.

We Need Book Zone

Books, Glorious Books.
They're no pleasure in life more then turning their crumply, crisp, chlorine free brown pages on a Sunday afternoon.

In Downtown Bombay the streets are really paved with gold if you happen to be a book lover. Books all shapes sizes, hardbound-paper, most especially endless reading.

Churchgate's Second Hand Book Sellers are a Bombay cultural instution. But off late, you must have read they have come under from the muncipality for "making the surroundings look ugly" . (Read more here, here and here.)

Is this Ugly ?
Books, Glorious Books - Second Hand books
If you know the answer to that one.

Then may be we could do a little to help them out. Here is how.
Mumbai Book Seller Welfare Association

I'm taking a break form philosophical pessimism

I'm taking a break form philosophical pessimism and reminding you guys that I've just put up DAY2 from my Euro Trip Diaries, BollywoodBerlin.
Here an excerpt ...

I just brewed myself some instant coffee, which the hostel is providing free, how sweet of them, they even provided free powdered milk. All in little sachets the kind you'd associate with a space flight to mars. It's free and I'm Indian so what the heck. I just walked out the door with cheap coffee in hand.

Is it an overly pleasant morning here in Berlin ? Or is it just the cheap caffeine buzz talking.

Argumentative Indians

India is filled with incomplete dialectic. We have the left on one side and the right on the other side forever engulfed in this never ending tug of war on opinion. All there possibilities and counter-possibilities in the war of the Indian Intellectual. This all new to me, a world filled with an almost obstinate and bitter intelligentsia rigid in their thought.

No compromise - I feel sad that I’ve inherited such a world where an answer exists in the synthesis of the opposite assertions but every one is too proud to admit it. May be this is an historic symptom India has faced for centuries, if Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen is to believed in The Argumentative Indian. Or may be what Mr Sen is saying is Greek thought is all too new to us and we are all messed up now. Anyways, whatever it is we are now terminally unable to reach consensus.

Take the very large mohalla committee meetings [our parliament] we have for example - all that shouting, screaming, jumping up and down, protesting, discussing issues till the death isn‘t going to get us anywhere. Timed Action is.
India blogosphere is begining to reflect this incomplete Dialect where sets of bloggers have formed what seem to be blocs, catching each other on each others every move. I'm not stating example for doing this will only lead me into the battle field of forced dialectic.

"For human nature is such that if A. and B. are engaged in thinking in common, and are communicating their opinions to one another on any subject, so long as it is not a mere fact of history, and A. perceives that B.‘s thoughts on one and the same subject are not the same as his own, he does not begin by revising his own process of thinking, so as to discover any mistake which he may have made, but he assumes that the mistake has occurred in B.‘s. In other words, man is naturally obstinate; and this quality in him is attended with certain results, treated of in the branch of knowledge which I should like to call Dialectic, but which, in order to avoid misunderstanding, I shall call Controversial or Eristical Dialectic. Accordingly, it is the branch of knowledge which treats of the obstinacy natural to man. Eristic is only a harsher name for the same thing.

Controversial Dialectic is the art of disputing, and of disputing in such a way as to hold one’s own, whether one is in the right or the wrong—per fas et nefas.3 A man may be objectively in the right, and nevertheless in the eyes of bystanders, and sometimes in his own, he may come off worst. For example, I may advance a proof of some assertion, and my adversary may refute the proof, and thus appear to have refuted the assertion, for which there may, nevertheless, be other proofs. In this case, of course, my adversary and I change places: he comes off best, although, as a matter of fact, he is in the wrong."
- Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Controversy

Now Schopenhauer is telling me it's not our fault, polemics is in our genes. I don't know why most people see disagreement as natural process of thought. It defies cold logic. Thinking out loud when there is no right or wrong and because no answer exists eventhough people want one to exist, towing the other person into what you think is right seems utterly futile. This realization is leading to believe in Law of Eristic Escalation - where Imposition of Order = Escalation of Chaos.
Which could be interpreted as the second law of thermodynamics.
The second law of thermodynamics states that all work processes tend towards a greater entropy over time. Since the universe is tending towards a greater entropy , all work processes within the universe also tend towards a greater entropy.

So all this meandering brings me back to - if all thought is right and wrong at the same time why fucking argue about it all the time.Conserve you energy take it from the 19 year old.

Ok I see the paradox.

Anatomy of an Indian Kite

Kite flying or Patang Baazi is cultural sport in India which is much loved and savoured especially on Indian spring-time festivals such as Makar Sankranti and Basant Panchami.

The Kite is called a Patang and the string with which it is flown is called 'Dor' in Haryana. While in Punjab they are called Guddi and Manjha respectively. The wood and bamboo roll on which the string is wound is called a 'Hujka', and in Panjabi it is called a 'Charkhadi'. The kites are given different names depending upon the color combination and the design. Names like Danda, Pari, Gilasa, Chand Tara, Shakkar Para, Chhapan Chhuri, Adhiya, Tiranga, Budda, Patiyal, Lepo are common. Romantic verses in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi are sometimes inscribed on the Patangs to send messages to the beloved on whose roof the kite is flown. [link]

Most Indian kites are fighters kites.
Indian Fighter Kite
A "Deluxe Fighter". This is one of India's best fighters, the many pieces of paper help to prevent tearing. Traditionally, the Indian Fighter is made of tissue paper and bamboo; more recently, Mylar or plastic wrap with advertisement logos has been used with bamboo. These kites are fairly inexpensive and can last a long time if taken care of, small rips and tears can be quickly fixed with scotch tape. These fighters can run up to 37" (94 cm).

The larger Indian fighter kites which run around 48" (123 cm), are called "Chagg", and are similar to the Afghani Fighters, although the Afghani kites have more of a curve in the arch. Chagg kites can have decorative designs, but those which are entirely white or black are considered to bring good luck to the flier. This large kite is considered expensive compared to the regular fighters, and is flown by the more wealthy fliers. Sometimes fliers will even attach 100R (Rupees) notes to the kite, symbolizing prestige.[link]

The aim of Indian Fite flying is simple, string your opponents kite. You use your especially glass coated Manjha [string] for this purpose.

Manjha line is cured with a special mix of glue and ground glass. The panda, a weave of nine threads (9 chain) of cotton line coated with Manjha is the most favorite
My grandmother never let me fly any kites from my terrace. She told me that it was quiet common for kids to fall of their terraces in Karachi flying kites.

I spoke to the proprieter of M.K Fite Merchants, Muslim Khan who has been selling kites near Bandra Masjid more many years. How did he did he get into this trade I asked him, he told me that his father was a kite maker in Varanasi's Dal Mandir market and his family have been kite-makers for generations.

M.K  Kite Merchants Bombay

Remote Sensing India

I spent the evening looking through google images for some good quality satellite Pictures of India. My searches bore some fruit. Here's a image I found of our island city, Bombay. I placed it side by side with a physical map, so you guys can make a comparison.

If you look at the map carefully you can even see Mithi River [flowing into Mahim Bay] - the water body resposible for most of the damage caused to Bombay on the 26th July deluge. What I found really interested is that you can so clearly make out Bombays island face in the picture. As you guys may already know Bombay was originally seven islands reclaimed to make one big island.

Mumbai is located on Salsette Island which lies at the mouth of Ulhas River off the western coast of India in the coastal region known as the Konkan. Most of Mumbai is at sea level and the average elevation ranges from 10 to 15 metres. The northern part of Mumbai is hilly and the highest point of the city is at 450 metres (1,450 feet). Mumbai spans a total area of 468 km² (169 sq miles).

Here's a close up of Colaba. You can actually see with some detail marine lines and Nariman Point and Cuff Parade. It's almost as good as a google maps image.

I tried to find an image of Pune / Poona but the only picture I could find wasn't even on this planet, it was a crater on Mars also with the same name.

Hope they find water in Poona.

Million Shadows

Villages, Towns, Cities, Countries are nothing the silhouettes, cast by the people that call them home. Thus Mumbai must be one city just like that, a city of 15 million shadows in the midday sun.

Nizzamuddin, is one such resident, who says he came to Bombay many years ago from Tamil Nadu from a village I wasn't quiet attentive enough to the catch the name of. He now sells dall chana and peanuts at the corner of Mahim causeway. He smiles at me with what teeth that have still not left him. I photograph him as a thin haze of gentle smoke rises up from the peanuts at his feet.
Behind some smoke
Most people come to Bombay as economic migrants people looking to pave futures or trying to escape droughts or tough social conditions in their villages.

I was just turning a corner when I was greated by these bunch of kids who by some form of magic where attracted to my camera. I bunch them up as they enthusiastically bright up their faces with the ivory smiles *click . I ask them where they're from? Saurashtra, they say as they lead me back the base of this large wooden boat. The boat has a plastic sheet anchored it in the form of a tent were what their mother is painstakingly putting finishing touches a tokra [cane basket].

I promised them picture I'll print it out and give it to them tomorrow.
India Smiles

Cane Work

That's a small glimpse of Bombay and her people and as I speak more trains and buses flood into the city with more people looking for a better tomorrow - if only the state treated them better.

The Strand Book Fair

I was at The Strand Book Fair yesterday at JVPD and a part of my brain obviously stopped functioning. This would reflect on my reading list. In my opinion for anyone in the vicinity of Bombay, the book fair is an absolute must visit.

On display are approximately 40,000 titles, including fiction, thrillers, classics and poetry; books on general science, business and management, architecture, cookery, etc.

What’s in your bag?

Excuse me I'm heading for my favourite sofa now.

Here the address for those who are interested
Vidyanidhi Complex, Upanagar Shikshan Mandal,
Kamala Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute of Architecture,
Vidyanidhi Marg,opposite Kaifi Azmi Park, JVPD Scheme.

Timings 10 am to 8 pm - Open all days including Sunday till Aug 28

Random Europe

I'm in the process of puting the random notes and observation I made on my trip to Europe online. You guys must be pretty sick of hearing about my here so I decided to put them up somewhere else [also helps in keeping the stuff organised]. So if you not nothing to do or are just interested you could read about DAY 1 of my travails here .

Here's an excerpt.

It's somewhat strange reading Thomas Friedmans' "Latitudes and Longitudes - The World in the Age of Terrorism". Strange for no other reason but I'm reading it on a plane, the object most of the world associates with terrorism itself. What makes reading this ironic is my destination, Berlin. The city Friedman and many modern day thinkers think of as the place where the world threw out socialism - bringing the world closer. As Friedman himself puts it 11/9 the day the Berlin Wall fell the world became smaller also incidently on 9/11 when the WTC towers came down some walls came up again.

Yeah I added some pictures too.

Moral indifference as the form of modern evil

"If many Indians were genuinely 'astonished' by the well-organised killing of Muslim fellow citizens in Gujarat in 2002 — by the fact that such evil was "still" possible in the 21st century — this was because they had chosen to forget November 1984, the one reference point which made that violence not just intelligible but possible as well."

Many people in India have an ostrich mentality when it comes to unanswered questions of the past. May be if hadn't forgotten history wouldn't have repeated itself. I was emailed this essay by unknown soul and now I'm passing it one to you. Read the rest of Siddharth Varadarajan's essay, Moral Indifference as the Form of Modern Evil.

15th August 2005

Here are some pictures from my day.

I was standing at Bandra Station waiting for my train and the sky blue window on the opposite platform caught my eye and not to mention the man siting on his honches waiting. So out comes my camera and click. Notice the tiranga* pinned to this shirt - very patriotic. There also allot of moss growing probably due all the rain bombay got this past month.

Goods Traveller
I got into the luggage compartment for some reason. Luggage compartments on any working brimming with activity from Bombay's famous dabbawallahs to vegetable ladies, fish mongers and flourist transporting their goods. Anyways, somebody offerred me a seat, looking at my camera and thinking me a tourist.

Copious Amounts of Chai
Chai (Hindi: चाय [cay]) or Masala Chai is a term for spiced tea from India. Chai is actually a generic word for tea in many South Asian countries, and also in Swahili, an Eastern African language, where it was brought by Indian merchants.

Here a picture I took of the ever smiling chaiwallah outside Bombay Unversity.

At the Crease More Cricket
Here are some kids playing Cricket at Azad Maidan

What does Jai Hind Mean ?

Coined by Indian freedon fighter Subhas Chandra Bose - Jai Hind is a salutation most commonly used in India in speeches and communications pertaining to or referring to patriotism towards India. It literally translates to Victory to India or Hail to India [I'm not quiet sure].
I incidently had to write the wikipedia article which suprise me really.


Did you know India shares her independence day with [not to the year] to North and South Korea and Congo - well I didn't.

Anyways, Happy Independence Day !

Supposed ATM Fraud [UPDATE]

I did some snooping around the internet and found that even though this kind of ATM fraud those occur there has been no indication that this is prevailant in India or Pune for a matter of fact

According to hoax-slayer.com

This warning is legitimate and was published on the University of Texas website and other online locations including the Dedhams Savings Bank website

Therefore the letter I got was either a warning from ICICI Bank to it's customers or an attempt by someone to spread rumours or create a popular email forward. Since no such warning is listed on the ICICI Bank website I would think it's the latter.
Bank ATM's Converted to Steal IDs of Bank Customers

A team of organized criminals are installing equipment on legitimate bank ATM's in at least 2 regions to steal both the ATM card number and the PIN. The team sits nearby in a car receiving the information transmitted wirelessly over weekends and evenings from equipment they install on the front of the ATM (see photos). If you see an attachment like this, do not use the ATM and report it immediately to the bank using the 800 number or phone on the front of the ATM.

The equipment used to capture your ATM card number and PIN are cleverly disguised to look like normal ATM equipment. A "skimmer" is mounted to the front of the normal ATM card slot that reads the ATM card number and transmits it to the criminals sitting in a nearby car.

The thieves copy the cards and use the PIN numbers to withdraw thousands from many accounts in a very short time directly from the bank ATM.

Equipment being installed on front of existing bank card slot.

The equipment as it appears installed over the normal ATM bank slot.

At the same time, a wireless camera is disguised to look like a leaflet holder and is mounted in a position to view ATM PIN entries.

Suprisingly this happens only in Pune for some reason. Pune India's high tech crime capital.

Memento [2000]

Christopher Nolan, the director better known for Batman Returns has a jewel in his past and the jewel as I discovered is the 2000 release Memento. Memento is a psychological thriller with a difference, a cinematic jigsaw puzzle which puts any member of the audience in the shoes of the protagonist always double guessing as the fabulous plot unfolds. A warning to you this a movie for serious filmgoers, who have the stamina to focus on what going on the screen.

Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce, "L.A. Confidential") is a shattered man with ‘a condition’ whos out for revenge. The condition is that he can‘t form new memories and his last memory is that of the grisly murder and rape of his wife and now he is out find the guy who did this to him. Helped only by extensive handwritten notes, Polaroids, body tattoos from which he has to re-establish the reality every 10-15 minutes. Memento opens at the site of murder where Shelby is the obvious killer and then works it way backwards in short scenes. The regression that follow is a puzzle where Shelby is a haze and he doesn‘t know where he is or how he got there or if he knows the people around him or even the hotel room he is staying is his. Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss, “The Matrix” ) and Teddy (Joe Pantoliano) are other characters who help or deviate Shelby along the way.

Nolan does a masterful job of keeping the audience in his vise. He grabs you from the outset and leads you through his mental maze.

Memento is a movie that has to be seen from the beginning. Miss one scene and nothing else will make sense. It is a masterful piece of filmmaking one of the cleverest and original works to hit the screen.


I like your sunglasses
Mozart and Johann Strauss on their day off in Vienna

The Condition of being disillusioned that was

I quit engineering.

I once in an email described myself as a disillusioned engineering student.

It's not really , Disillusionment it's more like the condition ofbeing disenchanted. Well I guess , thats what dissillusion is. The use of the transitive verb disenchant is to free from illusion. But if then I say that I'm dissillusioned , that is I say the condition that moulds me is free from illusion. Then, I lie. For nothing is free from illusion , and in the greater picture
the world is the illusion.
Thats the paradox really.
Now I'm a engineering student no more. I broke the illusion that was and now I'll move on to something else.

Berlin Photo Diary

I come delivering pictures from the German Capital.
History, Ideology, Beauty, Evil, Old and New meet in Berlin sometimes not as successfully as we would hope but then again they do come together.

In Old it was capital of the Prussians who where warlike but were religiously tolerant then the came the World War 1 and then it became the seat od the Nazis still war like and very bonkers.
Anyways, here is the Berlin Photo Diary as always followed with some commentary.

This one of the street performances I witnissed - wandering around the streets of Berlin.
Berlin Street

This a collage of pictures I've taken of the Holocaust Mahnmal Berlin or the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It's a large memorial covering 1900 sqr meters consisting of large concrete blocks 2.38m long, 0.95m wide and or varying height. As the pictures shows you the memorial is very modern in it's context but old in it's message. The blocks start off small and steadily increase in height before they steady down again - Peter Eisenman, the architect is trying to symbolize the intensity of the Nazi campaign . Walking through the memorial one get a feeling being lost in a large concrete maze - a feeling a good reminder of what many a child must have felt being separated from his family on his way to a concentration camp. But the Holocaust Mahnmal Berlin hasn't been with controversy many accuse of it of forgetting the other victims of the Nazi purges such as the roma people, homosexuals, pacifist and communists.
Holocaust Mahnmal Berlin

This a picture of The Fernsehturm (German for "Television Tower"), a sight you'll be accustomed to seeing when you're in Berlin. It's located in what was originally East Berlin. The Socialist Unity Party which governed East Germany wanted to build something large and shiny to show that East was better and the end product is the Fernsehturm.
Berlin TV Tower

The Berlin Wall. This is a section of the wall which is preserved as a gallery. It has many beautiful murals, politically motivated and otherwise most of which has been vandalized by tourists who want to leave their mark. I even say a Jai Hind somewhere.Here are some pics.
Shots from the Wayside

Here a soviet propaganda mural - a friend tells me this kind of art now is called socialist realism.Personifying the communist dream - well we all know the reality.
East German Communist Propaganda Wall Mural

Most Berlin was destroyed in the war and what came up afterwards sometimes is very modern. Architecture one doesn't see in India atleast allot of glass and sky.
More glass and sky

I'll leave you with this shot - a picture I took at a Saturday morning flea market.
Things People Find in Flea Markets

Here's some of my older Photo Diaries -

Döner kebab

Turks are to Germany what Indians and Pakistanis are to Britan [ no not terrorist suspects]. Also as the Indians introduced chicken tikka masala, curry and chai to Britan the Turks introduced the döner kebab.

Here is a half eaten example of the same. [I'm a messy eater I know]
And at only 1.50 euro is probably the cheapest thing people with devalued currencies can afford [me]. Germans consume 200 to 300 metric tons of döner kebab per day. In 1998, they spent about €1.5 billion on döner kebabs. Also they're are supposed more popular then the home grown Currywurst or the frankfurter [read chiken tikka vs fish and chips in Britan]

Bollywood Berlin

Trivial Thoughts in Berlin

Bollywood Berlin

Hello and welcome to Bollywood Berlin, here is where I'm going to showcase berlin as I saw it.

Berlin is very much a city which has been a product of being a guinea pig of the cold war - a sort controlled experiment of ideology. As all you know for greater part of the century it was very much capitalism versus communism and since one ideology lost in the end so did one part of the city and so did the wall that divided them. I've probably mentioned all this before in my previous post on the city but I thought I might as well visit it again and move forward to my thoughts.

Germans are very different from Indians - they follow rules with a vengeance. They follow road signs, stop at zebra crossings, signals, vacate their seat for the elderly, are polite at all times and they pretty much don't talk. They're much the antithesis of any Indian generalisation. But all this dissimilarities makes them a suckers for procedure and therefore they're probably as bureaucratic as any babu [indian public servant] anywhere .
Berlin's West and East are filled with stark dissimilarities. For one most of the east berlin is old pretty buildings filled with cafes, restaurants and shops whereas the west is filled with shiny ultramodern glass pyramid like structures housing corporate offices of sony, ibm and their likes. The east is obviously poorer and more underdevoloped and the the unemployment rate in the east is as high as 40%.
As Geetanjali mentioned in her comment, Berlin is the city of museums and it is there is actually a island on the river Spree in berlin's east that's called museum island.
Most people think I'm Brazillian or Argentinean for some reason and greet me with Ola. Thank god I'm not in London.
Indian fashion is really 'in'. It's quiet common to spot women in kurtis ,indian jewellary, jutis , and even lahengas [All pointed out to me by my sister]. There is also this very prepy store my sister likes looking at called zara which actually sells them for 100 euros [5000 rs] a piece. My sis sees bussiness opportunities.
India is popular destination with germans - kerala and goa are hot favourites. It's not rare to bump into people who've spent as longs 6 months to 2 years in India. Many a person you meet also wants to visit India to enjoy Indische Kultur as they call it.
"They love their nudity here", a grinning brit resident of berlin told me. "Don't be suprised if you find some berliners sun bathing nude in the park or enjoying events like nude volleyball or marathons.

U2 was actually named after one of berlin's underground lines U bahn 2.

The Punk movement - marked my a philosophy of Individualism, anti-authoritarianism, political anarchism, free thought, and ethics are concepts, among others - is said to have started in Berlin.
Hitler's bunker [Führerbunker] is now a parking lot - in an apartment block.

If you want to read other posts in the Trivial Thoughts series you could read Bombay ,Dehli and Pune at the links given.