Monday, October 31, 2005

Festival of Festivals

Happy Diwali
Diwali as it is called in North India, is the celebration of the return of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana, after defeating and killing Ravana. The people of Ayodhya lit oil lamps (diya) to welcome them.

Happy Deepavali
Deepavali as it is called in South India is to celebrate the killing of Narakasura, by Lord Krishna. But fireworks are an important part, because thats how the people celebrated the death of Narakasura.

Happy New Year
This is the begining for a new year for the Jains and for different communities in North India. The merchants of many communities in North India, also close their accounts and open new books for the new year.

Happy Chand-Raat
In a day or two, the moon will be out, signalling the end of the Ramzan season. It doesnt normally coincide with the celeberation of Diwali, but this year it happens about the same time, adding more people and communities to the season of festivals.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Brownie points !!

Our good friendly neighbour is always better at scoring brownie points. There are more people willing to listen to him.

This is a bold step. But based on past experience, this has to be taken with a pinch of salt. We need to evaluate this offer and see how best we can use this as an oppurtunity to resolve the Kashmir issue. Here are two countries that are like country cousins. Difficult to tell apart, speak similar language, share a common bond, but yet are looked at as the worst rivals in this century. Specially since going nuclear.

I'm making LoC irrelevant: Musharraf - The Hindu - Oct 31st 2005

Delhi Blasts

As per the PTI, a new group called Inquilab has claimed responsibility for the bombing. So now we can add one more the list of the different and splintered group of terrrorists.

Who is a terrorist ? Who is a freedom fighter ? The british crucified Bhagat Singh and many others calling them a terorrist. We celeberate their birthdays as early freedom fighters. Can we equate the two !!! No for a moment i am not trying to. But to completely ignore their views may not also grant us the results we are trying to achieve.

Kashmir, Punjab, Assam, Manipur, even to an extend 'Tamil Nadu', all have some festering issues. Some of them genuine, some of them crazy, like the support for Verappan the vandal shot dead a year or more ago. It is time, that the Govt starts looking at these as long term issues. To some extend the Punjab issue has been solved, or is it ? I understand change cannot happen suddenly. But what we need is bold decisions, but for that you need strong power in the Parliment. When you have strong support in the Parliment, you turn to corruption, instead of solution.

And more importantly, all the educated, the intelligenia and the young turn away from Politics. How can you clean the cess-pool, if you are not ready to step into it ??

There is hope. Things are improving. Only their pace needs to be increased. Let us create a new 'Inquilab'.

Inquilab group claims responsibility for blasts

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Bomb Blasts in New Delhi

Images from The Hindu

Images from CNN (ap/afp)

Libby Scoots !!

Does this help ? Is he just a scape goat ?
The bigger question, he lied to 'out' a CIA agent, because her husband gave a report that was not helping the Bush Govt's stance on 'WMD in Iraq'.
So that must mean that Govt also didnt believe that there were no WMD in Iraq.
So we go to war, killing countless Iraqis, and about 2000 US Soldiers, and number more that are wounded.
And what !!!

Serial blasts in New Delhi

Waiting for more info.... about 50+ people dead.

The Hindu - News Update Service - Oct 29th 2005

Friday, October 28, 2005

Freeway Blogger

This is cool !!
America, i hope you are paying attention. Please go out and make the right choice the next time you vote. Please !!!!

Check out their very best. In the Hall of Fame.

One more to the list - BETA

This is crazy. Wilma just finished the havoc in Florida. Now a new one has formed. It is moving north. It may not be a big danger to the US right now.... but.. you never know !!
I am not trying to stir up paranoia. Just curious, where this all going to lead us ?

Tropical storm predicted to become season's 13th hurricane - CNN - Oct 28th 2005

The Rain

Looks like the rain is slowly moving from Chennai and B'lore.

Very soon the water will all dry up and normal, except some of the worst hit areas. Power is apparently back in most places in Chennai (so i hear !!).

Take a look at the Satellite image from the Indian Met Dept. The crazy thing is that in India this weather forecasting is still so specialized and not thoroughly exploited. Meaning only the Met dept has these resources and there are still limitations. The News channels have not invested big in exploiting these images available online with the MET dept or in working with the Govt to better the forecasting model.

IMD Web site for Satellite images

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

US Death toll reaches 2000

I saved this picture from a web page. It was created using pictures of fallen soldiers in the Iraq war. Today US Army reported that the official death toll reached 2000.

2000 is 2000 too much. No one should have died because of this war. But even in the US, people are not so sure about if they should support this war or not. About 30-40% still support it. The people who support feel that these people have given their lives to protect the terrorists from reaching the american soil !! And more importantly to clean Iraq of the all weapons of mass destruction !!! - U.S. death toll in Iraq reaches 2,000 - Oct 26, 2005

Whats with the Rain !!

I believe its pouring down like hell in Chennai. And i also saw some pictures of Banglore on Its crazy !!!

When it rains it pours. Or there is not a drop. Is it the climate or is it just us humans ? We seem never happy with what ever the situation is. There is always a greener side. This is just an observation. Or is it ?

Back to the Chennai problem. I hope this solves the water problem for the next summer. Bit knowing what the Govt has done so far to address the problem from a long term perspective, most of the water must be flowing into the sea. But the law on Rain Water Harvesting should help. Every home, office buidling etc, in Chennai ( i still prefer Madras, but i think i have started using Chennai too !!!), must harvest run-off rain water. This should help the water table. For years it has been going down, down and down. Hopefully this rain will help raise it a little bit.

More rains forecast; Army asked to standby - The Hindu - News Update Service - Oct 26th 2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Jana Gana Mana

After a long time i listened to the ARR renedition of the national anthem 'Jana Gana Mana'. The single CD contains about 30+ versions of this song, sung by the who's who in Indian classical music arena.

As Indians, and like most other citizens of the world, we are used to hearing our national anthem play out, have had many an occassion to hear and listen to it. But this collection is an unique experience. As the song is sung repeatedly my the many performers, you can actually feel the music and words of the anthem flow through you. No, ARR hasnt changed the tune or anything. Its just that you can hear it plain, with a little bit of music, just the tune, with a chorus etc, instead of the typical band music version.

Talking about Jana Gana Mana, you cannot but address the recent topic of discussion amongst the few, who are more interested in raking up issues than solving problems. Irrespective of what may have been the origin of the song. To keep my record straight, i for one, dont ever doubt the intentions of the noble man who wrote this song, as opposed the followers of RSS etc, who now tout to be more desh-bakths than anyone else. Back to what i was saying, irrespective of the origin, it is inconceivable to me to think of another anthem to substitue this. I cant even fathom how some people can suggest this. Nothing moves me more, and tugs at my patriotic feelings than when i listen to this song anywhere anytime.

Transliterated text
Jana-gana-mana-adhinayaka, jaya he
Tava shubha name jage,
Tava shubha asisa mage,
Gahe tava jaya gatha,
Jana-gana-mangala-dayaka jaya he
Jaya he, Jaya he, Jaya he,
Jaya jaya jaya, jaya he!

Source: National Anthem

Rosa Lee Parks - 1913-2005

Rosa Parks is dead. She died on monday Oct 24th 2005.

Intrestingly only yesterday i had posted some story on Mahatma Gandhi. I dont think she had heard about Mahatma Gandhi, like Martin Luther King had. But her simple act of disobedience, helped ignite a spark, in the ongoing civil rights struggle in the United States. In 1955, she refused to get up from her seat in the bus and move to the back of the bus. In some respect like Gandhi who when thrown out of the train in South Africa, began his experiment with Satyagraha, she began hers when she was asked to move to the back and refused, and went to jail because of it.

Rosa Parks defied a law, a racist law that allowed the whites to sit in front of the bus near the door. Blacks had to walk to the back of the bus. She was arrested for her defiance to sit in a seat reserved for the whites. This lead to a bus boycott, and eventually the law was declared unconstitutional. As is typical of the US, then and even today, they let the law take its course. Even though law is most times, one-side, unjust and discriminatory.

Many people in the world think that the US was always a vibrant democracy from when it started in 1776. It was not. The democracy evolved in the US, over the many years, with a struggle for women voting rights, freedom from slavery, voting rights for the blacks (rather should i say non-white), and the break down of segregation. The great 'founding fathers' as they are lovingly called in the US, didnt have the foresight to grant these to its citizens. The citizens had to always struggle and fight to get its freedom and liberty.

May her soul rest in peace.

naianam chindanti shastrani nainam dahanti pavakah |
na chai anam kledayanti apo no shoshyati marutah ||

Read more about Rosa Parks in these sites below:
Rosa Parks Library and Museum
The Mother of the Modern-day Civil Rights Movement

Monday, October 24, 2005

Gandhi and Nobel Prize

I recently came across this article, some reference to this article in an Indian paper published in the US. For quite sometime i had lost respect with the process of how Nobel prize is given out. It kind of started with Lech Welesa being given the Nobel Peace prize. But there were a few reasons before that. The Nobel Prize was originally setup only to recognize the work done by white men. People of other origin were rarely selected for this honour. This attached article is an interesting observation.

Sometimes we in India are always looking for this recognition of our deeds by the world. Actually by the 'white' world. So this leads us to exult when a movie is nominated for the Oscars. Inside the US, the Oscars is just one of the many awards that are offered to the film and movie industry. And of course, we believe that they have the most precise method of selecting the finest of movies. And yet very few black (african americans) were selected for this honour until recently. Similarly every year we rant and rave about nomination to the Nobel prize. And yet, Nelson Mandela who closely adopted Gandhiji's principles has been awarded this prize, and along with the racist South African President !!! Give me a break.

Gandhi needs no introduction to many in the world today. But yet, few people really know the impact this man had on the world.

Mahatma Gandhi, the Missing Laureate

Friday, October 21, 2005

Feed them and then what !!

There are over 500 prisoners in the Guantánamo Bay detention centre. They are being held there as retribution for the WTC bombing on 9/11. Many of them arent even remotely involved with the bombing, but were probably linked to the Taliban and Osama in Afghanistan. In any case, these people are being held here without a charge. There are not accused of anything. They have been here for over 3 years now. The US doesnt intend to charge them or prosecute them. Then what is the purpose of trying to force feed them. So that they stay alive and rot in prison. And how does this solve the 9/11 bombing issue.

Is the whole crux of this, to be as ruthless and heartless as possible !!

"Feed torture" alleged - The Hindu - Oct 21st 2005
Hunger strikers allege 'force feed torture' at Guantánamo - The Guardian - Oct 21st 2005

On a roll ...

The US Congress is pretty busy. I agree that these lawsuits are frivolous, but only by a shade. Meaning some of the issues raised in these lawsuits are valid and needs to be address. But all the same, it doesnt mean that there needs to be a law.

A law to protect the industry !!

House OKs "cheeseburger" bill barring lawsuits - Yahoo! News

Hands up !!

With all the money and politicians that the National Rifle Association (NRA) in the US has under its control, whatelse can you expect. What could be more important at this point in time, a law to protect the gun manufactorers vs need to solve the 100s of pressing issues in the country.

Congress passes lawsuit shield for gun industry - - Oct 20, 2005

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

39 and counting down .....

Take a look at the picture above. Thanks to SkyNews (a cousin of the Fox News). This picture was taken after the Katrina. I am sure the cheeky producer was telling more than just the news, as is very common with the Fox and its affliated TV news channels.

Unrelated to the picture, but related to the man in the picture is the story from CNN, on the latest job rating poll.
Bush's job rating continues to drop - - Oct 17, 2005

The bigger question is, what does it matter now ? The damage is done. There is a movement to impeach Bush, but i doubt if it will ever gain enough momentum. The Americans are in self-denial about this man.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Traffic Voilation

I keep travelling between US and Chennai,India often. But have no real problems in slipping into a car in either location and adapting to the traffic requirements of the place.
But attached is pic taken by the Washington DC Traffic police. This picture was taken one the hundreds of cameras installed all over the metro area. I had never bothered too much about it. Thinking it was mainly for tracking traffic problems. Well think again !!!

I was speeding. I was looking desperately for the right exit to the DC Armory. Incidentaly, i was using directions (good directions followed badly) given by a police officer at the DC First District Station. I had just finished some volunteer work for the Katrina relief and was making my way to the DC armory to offer services there. Well !!

But these are signs of things to come. Its cool, but its also frightening.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Rain Rain come again !!

Its pouring cats and dogs in Chennai. Its good. Hopefully there will be some more water in the pipes this summer.

US Geological Survey

Take a look a the web site of the US Geological Survey  which has a link to the recent earthquakes. Compare this to the Indian Met Dept - Seismology Div  website.

I have archived the published website as on Oct 13th 2003 , in my posts.

IMD Seismological Divsion

Here is a view of the IMD - Seismology Division's website as published today Oct 13th, couple of days after a major earthquake in India.
There's not much info on the earthquake !! Take a look the webpage as published by the US Geographical Services. Or you can see an archived snapshot of the webpage  on the same day in this post.

PS: Cant post more than one image in a blog (what!!), so have to post the USGS webpage in another post.

Quake in PAK an POK

30000 or more are dead.
About 1000+ people in India are dead.

Yet !!!

This hasnt created the same effect as the other disasters that have struck India. The Tsunami got a lot of press and coverage. The entire nation woke up and helped out. But here there hasnt been similar outpouring. Why ?

Or is it just that the media is not really interested in covering this story, because of the terrain ? Or is it because it is Pakistan ?
Praying for the many living, and struggling to make something of their lives.

Pakistan death toll may exceed 30,000 - The Hindu - Oct 13th 2005

Monday, October 10, 2005

What were they thinking ??

Give me a break !!
In this day and age, it is impossible to imagine that someone sitting in pulpit of judgement can come up with a ruling of this kind. However, justified it may have seemed from their perspective, the High Court should not rule on matters, which are sure to be struck down by the Supreme Court. This is just waste of the court's time.

There is not much information available on the case itself, other than the few media reports about the ruling. So, it is not possible to make an independent judgement on why the HC Judges arrived at this conclusion. However, it almost certainly inappropriate, given the implications of this ruling. How will this impact child marriage which is still happening in this country ? Or how about abuse of this law, by men, who marry minors of reason other than matrimony ? Judges should be aware of the impact of their ruling. A case can never be looked in isolation.

Marriage of minor girl: Centre to file appeal - The Hindu - Oct 9th 2005

Friday, October 07, 2005

Late comers !!

This was captured at 8:05am at a school in Adyar, Chennai.

What you are seeing is: the gate shut, and children waiting to meet with the school principal before they are let into their classes.
Today i was spared the ordeal of having to wait it out, with my kid. But it was close.

This may not be the best way to handle this issue. But this is effective. There is no corporal punishment, as used to occur when i was a kid. The kids wait it out for about 30 minutes and are let in after a warning. The school watchmen and few other teachers, do the screening regularly to point out habitual offenders.

But raising a kid, it is tough to build an impression on the consequences of late coming, unless you actually go thru a process. All my threats are useless; because the kid is still too small understand the implications. Anyway most of these are a try and watch. I am sure the psychologists will have many a theory about this process. But i have been subject to some similar methods and have come unscathed.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

She goin to get you....

There you go, here is nature's answer to the growing threat to nature as we know it today.(hmmm !! that is sure to confuse people)

So now here is a way the nature will self fix the problem. Lower sperm count, leads to smaller population, leads to less demand on nature.

Forget Katrina, Rita and the many yet it to come. Nature, she is finally coming to get your balls !!!

Ozone exposure can hit male sperm counts

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Security Check in the USA

I have travelled many times in and out of the US. Infact, i am considered a frequent traveller. And can understand what Mr. Gaur is feeling.

However i must say, i havent personally felt harrased by the TSA (security) officials. I have always felt they have a job to do and they are just doing it. The real issue lies somewhere else, but no American (read US Citizen) are willing to stand up and change. They were given a chance in 2004, and they decided they rather live with the same bush shit than try something different. Can't completely blame them either !!

But back to Mr. Gaur. The treatment of a senior and elected official of the Indian Union is subjected to this treatment because of 'paranoia'. Nothing else can explain why they would believe that he is a threat. And also justified is the statement he has made about profiling, which is an open secret in the US. Most muslims, rather 'muslim looking' and 'muslim sounding' people are used to in the US.

One just hopes, better sense will eventually prevail.

Angry Gaur calls Americans, Britishers 'cowards' -

2000 !!

Did you ever wonder what 2000 looks like ?

Thats the new title for this video out there on the internet.
Check it out. Its worth the download time.

I found this on the MoxieGrrrl site. Thanks.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cigarette Smoking and Movies

October 2nd 2005, was the date a new ban was to come into effect in India. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had issued a notice way back in July 2005, indicating that all forms of Movies, Television shows and other entertainment must not show a person holding or lighting a cigarette. In the case of films and material produced before the Oct 2nd 2005, will carry a warning message indicating that smoking etc is dangerous.

Does this effect free speech ?

My bias against cigarettes, tobacco companies and smoking has clouded my mind completely to agree with this ban 100%. Much as i respect the freedom to air personal views and opinions, i believe such right is secondary to public health. There are numerous studies done in the US and Europe that show the impact of this subtle advertising that has been carried out by the tobacco companies.

This is probably one of the few vices that must be caught on, very early in your life. Typically if you dont start smoking before you are 18, the chances are low that you will start after. The tobacco companies are focused on catching them young, and so while advertisements are meant to sway you from one brand to another. The form of subtle advertisement, is meant to show how cool it is, the sauve, the style etc that the hero or villian goes about his business while smoking.

Smoking is fun. Smoking is stylish. Smoking is sauve. Smoking kills.

So, now what is the status of this ban ? Dont know yet. I cant find a lot of information on the web. There is supposed to be court case against this ban. There is also talk about extension provided to comply with this ban until Jan 1 2006.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Gas Guzzlers

I am not too sure what to make of this. I read it today and was thinking, could this be true. I have been on I-66 and the beltway around Washington DC, and know how crazy it gets with all those big machines on the road with you. Specially those, tanks, which are sold under the brand called 'Hummer'.

I guess it takes a Katrina and 60$ a barrel oil price to shock my friendly americans to their senses.

Americans shun gas-guzzling SUVs - The Hindu - Oct 3rd 2005