I have come to like and appreciate podcasts of lately - so much that on many a topics I would rather listen to one than watch a documentary or movie. Of course it can't match the experience of reading a book, but nonetheless serves the purpose - of keeping you well informed without having to burn your eyes out in front of a brightly lit display. BBC's iPlayer website is colourful and neat, though with a lot of options which might confuse a newcomer.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Friday, November 29, 2013
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
|Liberalization, Hindu Nationalism and The State|
The fervour in India right now is blinding and deafening. The general elections of 2014 aren't very far away and UPA (United Progressive Alliance) already is mired in controversies with various scams and the economy in doldrums. All this makes for a good opportunity for the opposition, primarily BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), to bank upon. In fact the banter from BJP supporters is so cantankerous and ad hominem that most often there is absolutely no point in arguing with BJP supporters. This is not to say that the supporters from the other side aren't engaging in such repulsive behaviour, but the intensity with which the saffron brigade is doing this is difficult to ignore - from personal attacks on the Indian Prime Minister to the Gandhi family, nothing has been left unsaid. As the tirade gathers up clout as we approach the elections, the social media, too, is abuzz with uncouth comments. I am not sure how I chanced upon this book, but it was probably a suggestion on Amazon or I read about it on Economic and Political Weekly. In the wake of the above mentioned din, it became all the more important for me to buy this book so as to educate myself about the truth - about what has been the political history of Gujarat, a state in which I have grown up and have spent nearly two and a half decades before I started running after jobs elsewhere, and also to understand what has been the legacy of Congress and BJP in the State. Narendra Modi is being projected as the leader who can do wonders to the country and can bring India out of mute subjugation at the hands of others to a dominating position. He alone, it seems, will be do-all guy: from handling finances, defence, foreign policy, home ministry and what not. His makeover being handled by APCO Worldwide is widely known and also their misdemeanours in handling the Uttarakhand tragedy. This review, I hope, will help clear out many of the preconceived notions with which people are rooting for their parties, whether BJP or Congress and also help the average Indian decide on what should be the course of action about voting next year and the average Gujarati on the course of action in the next Assembly Elections.
Monday, November 4, 2013
|(L) Asides in hardcover with dust jacket; (R) About the author on the inside of the back jacket|
If you have been a regular reader of my blog then you must have noticed a gradual increase in the posts about my experiences of watching theatre. And when you get a book on an interesting topic at 80% off, then it is hard to not buy it.
Asides by Mr. Nemichandra Jain is a book about, as the tag line says, themes in contemporary Indian theatre and was published in 2003. It is a collections of essays written over a time period of several decades. As Mr. Jain writes, "these essays are the outcome of my own responses as a spectator to hundreds of plays during the last fifty years". The author gives a good background on the state of Indian theatre and for me the most rewarding outcome was that I became aware of the rich history of Indian plays, which dates back to thousands of years. Many hold the view that Indian theatre has been influenced by Western ones and there is no difference between the two and no originality in the former. This is true for most of the plays being staged in urban centres of interest - like Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, but is definitely not true for the traditional methods which still exist in the rural parts of the country.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
|Karma Gone Bad|
Jenny Feldon's Karma Gone Bad: How I Learned to Love Mangos, Bollywood and Water Buffalo is published by Source Books and will hit the stores on November-5, 2013.
Jenny was living in Manhattan when one fine day her husband, Jay, who worked for one of the Big Four consulting firms, came home and announced that they would be moving to India for 2 years. And Jenny's life took a turn; a turn very sharp indeed. Jenny surely was leading a life of comfort amongst the Diane von Furstenberg and Cynthia Steffe dresses and Jimmy Choo sling backs. Her sudden involuntary teleportation to a Third World country wasn't something she had thought of as a part and parcel of a doting wife of an Armani-wearing husband. For her, India was still the land of the elephants and mass yoga camps.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
|(L) Not so solo ticket to 'going SOLO' for Adolf; (R) The imposing Swastika on the stage|
Mumbai surely has a vibrant culture when it comes to theatre and plays. The options one has range from NCPA to Prithvi, from Sophia to Veer Savarkar Auditorium. They could also leave one dazzled enough to decide on which one to go for. The first solo play I ever watched was Broken Images written by Girish Karnad and had Shabaza Azmi playing out the role of a woman yearning for recognition in the world of unknown faces. And she did a wonderful job in that. Since then the charm of solo plays has stayed on with me. End of the month of September had the announcement of an international theatre festival ‘Going Solo’ happening in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai. An out of the city trip, which didn’t happen later, almost made me miss these two wonderful plays by Mr. Pip Utton. Both of them had a charm of their own – ‘of their own’ because of the specificities of the characters which Mr. Utton brought out on the stage at Sophia Auditorium.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
(Please click on the orange coloured Play button above before you start reading)
"Aunty, aunty!" shouted Zakir in his shrill voice perched atop the high stool, brush in his right hand and a packet of tambaku clenched tightly in his left. The emptiness of the large room made his voice echo. It was nine-thirty in the morning and he already had been working since over two hours with his boys. The days weren't of winter yet, but the calm of the morning had a pleasing effect on him. Otherwise too he was never short-tempered or anything, just a little fidgety with his depthless words and childlike actions. He was half done with the painting job which was to be finished a week before Diwali so that his aunty could have enough time to bring a sense of order into the household currently strewn all over with dust, paint blobs and tattered newspapers.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
History, it is often said, is written by the winning side. Gavrilo Princip as a hero is rarely heard of and may even be frowned upon by the current lot of historians. He may have inadvertently triggered the chain of events resulting in World War I, but still a lot of unsolved mysteries surround him. It's been more than 99 years now and he is still being raked up on various websites and podcasts. Assassination of the Archduke by Greg King and Sue Woolmans described how Princip "had spent the last half hour wandering the quay before glumly lolling in front of Schiller's Delicatessen". They did not mention any sandwich-eating-assassin sitting in a cafe around the corner. However, things are not always what they seem.