Feast for Thought

Not pontificating. Only trying to bat on the side of the environment. And ethics. And simple living. And slowing down. (And trying to learn and practise before preaching or teaching...)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Darshan Do, Ghanshyam Naath...

Granted that enough and more has been said about SM (स्ल-क in Hindi).
- what the director did, and did not,
- what the co-director did not,
- what ARR routinely does much better (DB got his musician right),
- how RP got world-recognition for his techniques,
- what the media Overdid.
For a very balanced take try K Hariharan's, titled 'Orientalism for a global market'. "For the majority of western audiences who are writhing under the excruciating weight of a global meltdown, a fairy tale about the ugly side of India should certainly come as an orgiastic catharsis! “Slumdog Millionaire” should be considered as one of the most gratuitous fantasies to be created about India in the 21st century. Over 200 scenes whizzing past in 120 minutes leaves one completely anaesthetised and incapable of registering the complex layers that make up the garbage dump presented in “SM” called India..... as an Indian and a Mumbaikar I am not ashamed to accept the image of slums, criminals and gangsters that dominate the text of SM. They are my reality in the same way as homeless Blacks and quarantined native Indians are a reality to North America and cheap African labour, a reality of Western Europe. This reflects in the way Indian audiences choose to watch only those films from Hollywood which show crashing cars and sizzling pyrotechnics when the reality of the average American city is far from it."

As to personal viewpoints, Soordas'(?) plea to his Lord is a regular evening bhajan chez nous, and one can't help having mixed feelings that the underworld used the lyric for their sleazy dealings - even if that was in someone's imagination (artistic license or some such).
Listen to the bhajan -

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Snack-time, on the move

These set-ups are quite common here in Delhi, but the camera was handy only during a trip to Manali. A brass vessel with a rather generous bottom tilted at an over-acute angle and stayed by strings, and mounted on a stove. Several pots of spices accompany the eye-catcher, and of course the whole setup is completely mobile. What does Mr Brahm Kumar vend? Spiced up lentils, embellished with onions and tomatoes, and garnished with coriander leaves - a rather filling snack for much needed 'interim relief'.Happy snacking!
PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Fittest minds at (the most) needy places

Why is that - invariably - concerned persons are never the persons concerned?
If you follow Nobel prize winner Paul Krugman's columns on the US economy, you'd think - why isn't he in Barack Obama's team? Then the US President could have avoided such sittings with the ever-hungry media. (though it was refreshing to see a famous political figure admitting mistakes - see Obama on his selection of tax defaulters for his team).
Only then would the power - to do the right thing by the masses (not the classes) - would be in the right hands, and the 'person concerned' is actually a 'concerned person'.

There are many such examples -
Follow P Sainath's studies and articles and the painful statistics put together by him, and you'll wonder - why is he not the Minister for Agriculture? (conversely of course why is the Minister of Agriculture not the one doing all those studies and following up on them?)

And another - Sunita Narain and India's Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) should be located at Paryavaran Bhavan, where the present occupants, Ministry of Environment and Forests seems to prefer tying itself into knots with Red Tape. Or, seeing CSE's latest 'truths revealed' - The Satyam in our Oil - CSE will fit even in the Ministry of Health, GOI.

We all know - regretfully - what didn't happen four years ago - Al Gore, the concerned candidate (at least a candidate with enough concern) was prevented from becoming the president concerned. Because not enough voters cared.

Speaking naively, am I? Then at least admit that it is informed naïveté

But let's look ahead. More concerned citizens should vote to ensure that the most concerned mind is at the right place, empowered to act as (s)he should.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

"Did Hanuman return the mountain?"

The query was popped while we were travelling in Srinagar by road, trying to have a fill of the valley's humbling views of the Himalayas all round. Here are a few glimpses of Gulmarg and Pahalgam

My son's query caught us unawares, and also got us thinking about the doubt that we never raised during childhood sessions of the Ramayana epic, and I decided to call my mom, our free encyclopaedia for all things religious / spiritual / cultural.
"Yes, Hanuman was disciplined, and he did return the Dronagiri mountain to its original locale". (was our spot answer)

Back to the query - Anyone, any idea? There are several versions, all quite satisfactory, if you spare a thought.
- Rumassala is one of several places identified by the Sri Lankan Tourism Department as being associated with Ramayana. Hanuman carried a part of the Dronagiri Mountain that was rich with medicinal herbs including Sanjeevani from the Himalayas to revive Lakshmana. 'When the chief physician extracted the essential herbs, Hanuman threw away the chunk of the mountain. It fell to the ground and came to be named Rumassala'.
- Dronagiri is in the Himalayas in the state of Uttaranchal, and it looks like it is missing a portion - its right shoulder.
- and In Yugo Sako's animated version, made especially for children, Hanuman is shown carrying the mountain as he followed victorious Rama, Sita and Lakshmana after their Lanka mission.

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