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...)

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

The Cartoon Speaks for all


The Hindu : Opinion / Cartoon : Cartoonscape, December 5, 2011

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

FDI in Retail in India

The debate rages on.
This is one area where ringing in the new may not be quite what the nation needs....
Instead of the friendly neighbourhood, dhoti-clad grocer selling you rice, atta and dal, you will be piling up all sorts of mostly superfluous items on to your shopping trolley and get checked out of store by young, suited and booted, extra-polite MBA degree holders.
Among the many pros and cons of the issue of FDI in retail, I am concerned that the aspects of consumerism and environmental burden receive no mention at all. We already have plenty of supermarket chains chock-a-block. In the race to offer items at cheaper rates, supermarkets outdo each other with very alluring offers. Those who can afford it, will continue to make use of these offers, even if they do not need the item!
All these chains most likely include CSR departments, whose most evident job is to put out notices of reduced plastic / polythene use, even as more items are packaged attractively in plastic. Why is nobody addressing issues of extended producer responsibility and solid waste management, other than cursory unimplementable notifications from the MoEF? It is ironical, besides being disgusting, to see the cityscape and the countryside littered with waste packaged in Big Retail’s branded carry bags. Amazingly, the average customer does not realise the ruse of charging additionally for the carry bag - the cost ought to act as a deterrent. Couldn't-care-less shoppers, however, happily dish out the change. (See Explicit pricing of carry bags contained in Ministry of Environment and Forests Notification, dated 4 February 2011, amended up to 2.7.2011).
Perhaps the need of the hour is to regulate existing supermarket / hypermarket / megamart / ultra-chains to display enough social responsibility in all aspects of their operation, and also to regulate quality standards in unorganised retail, instead of introducing international chains who will add to the existing civic burden.
PS: Don't look for political shades - this is just someone batting for the environment.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Font Type Inspired by Gandhiji


"Mahatma Gandhi - A different type" aptly sums up the design of a font inspired by the Mahatma. You can download the font from gandhijifont.com.

Let's strive to keep everything simple!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Indian Boardrooms


Pic courtesy - The Hindu
In Indian boardrooms, we hardly see any colour and some sense of national identity. Why do we don dresses that are appropriate in some other climate, and also use extra energy to cool. Big Paradox!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

'The riches belong to nobody, certainly not to our family'

'The riches belong to nobody, certainly not to our family'

If this has been reproduced verbatim, Hail MArthAnda Varma!

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Temple's Riches


The Lord's abode is in the news, because material treasures have been found in secret vaults under the temple precincts.
I can't help contrasting this event with the other incidents where treasure taken away from India have been merrily auctioned away.
If kings and chieftains elsewhere in India had also reposited / donated similarly, Indian history and civics and perhaps even geopgraphy would have been very, very different!
View this slideshow from a recent visit to Sree Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple, this April.

"It is sad to see intricate jewellery and artefacts displayed in innumerable museums in the West when they should rightly be displayed at where they belong — our temples. How these treasures disappeared from India is narrated in Peter Watson's “Sotheby's: The Inside Story.” Let's hope that ruthless elements do not devour the treasures discovered in the vaults of the Padmanabhaswamy temple. We need to study the history of our country in its real glory rather than reading about it in history text books. The jewels should be displayed amid foolproof security just like the arrangements made for the Crown jewels in London...." says a writer to a newspaper.
About Peter Watson - An art journalist who "spent years investigating rumors that Sotheby's — along with Christie's, the hoity-toitiest auctioneering house — regularly sold artwork and artifacts that had been illegally exported from their mother countries. Sotheby's: The Inside Story traces Watson's sophisticated sting operations in Italy and India — complete with actors posing as art sellers, and Sotheby's higher-ups caught on hidden video cameras explaining their smuggling practices — that cast serious doubt on the auction house's denial of wrongdoing. ... Watson here elaborates his crusade against devious art dealing into a provocative, exhaustive, at times exhaustingly detailed account".
The author of Sotheby's: The Inside Story has also penned "The Medici Conspiracy" (read Exposing the Culture Theives)
Just today there was a mail message that says - "As soon as the first UPA government took charge, the Italian President was one of the first visitors to India. 15 agreements were signed without much publicity. One of the agreements stipulated that Italian companies be ‘consulted’ and allowed to manage all Indian archeological sites and antique stuff, with provision to take the stuff out of India if deemed necessary.... Sooner or later therefore, the Italians might step in in the matter of the Padmanabha treasures."

Scary!

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Kerala's hartals / bandhs/ 'strike'

Arrived here night of 6 Apr 2011.
Just trying to record the days of Hartal / Strike / Bandh
29 April 2011 - Anti-endosulfan strike, by the State Government
20 May 2011 - Anti-petrol-price-hike strike, by the Transport workers
To be contd....!

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

"It's a pity...."

A lot happened in a neighbouring country on MayDay.

Here are three relevant articles that bring out the crux of the entire situation.

It's a pity...

The author, Professor Richard Jackson who is Secretary, British International Studies Association and Editor, Critical Studies on Terrorism, writes - ..."And it's a pity that so many are celebrating using violent means to fight a violent group, and that it will most likely lead to a continuing, maybe even intensifying, cycle of violence. It's sad that so few today recognise or understand that the use of violence rarely leads to any long-term solutions, but instead, most often creates ever more violence and suffering in the long run. This event and the response to it are an opportune moment to reflect on our addiction to political violence and our belief that conflict can best be solved by killing…"

...."It's a pity that this event will do nothing to end the sheer stupidity and shameful waste of ten years of war and violence."


US Military's history of changing its stories
"Stories told of Private Jessica Lynch, American footballer Pat Tillman and British aid worker Linda Norgrove were all incorrect." ... "Giving evidence at a congressional hearing four years later, Lynch said: “I am still confused as to why they chose to lie and tried to make me a legend when the real heroics of my fellow soldiers that day were, in fact, legendary ... [The] bottom line is the American people are capable of determining their own ideals of heroes, and they don't need to be told elaborate tales.” Nor was Lynch's an isolated case. In 2002, moved by the devastation of 9/11, Pat Tillman gave up a lucrative career in American football to enlist in the U.S. army. His selfless decision was hailed by President Bush, and, when Tillman was killed in Afghanistan in April 2004, the footballer-turned-soldier was held up as the epitome of American heroism. The Pentagon described him as a war hero, and he was posthumously awarded the silver star and the purple heart."

The manufacture of consensus and legitimacy
The author says - "Foreign intervention, as seen in Libya and Côte d'Ivoire, raises important questions about the limits of national sovereignty, an idea that does not seem applicable to nation states like the UNSC members."... "Put simply, instrumentalities such as the R2P devised by the ‘international community,' like the ongoing demeaning of the democratic political process in India by positing against it ‘non-political politics,' are yet another weapon being crafted to assist the relentless process of recolonisation under way in many formerly colonised countries."

Can't help but think that personnel of advanced military and much of the aggressor country's political class are really juvenile delinquents who are trigger-happy, and like to ape the monstrous gadgets and toys and automated machines that their designers churn out. They should go back to one of the numerous alien worlds that their film industry called Hollywood continues to create, and stay there.

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A cross-country move!

That's nothing new, of course, and this move is as welcome as any other. It will suffice to say - we moved from an overgrown metropolis to an overgrown village!

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Heard of a 'haiku'?

Wordsmith, the home of A.Word.A.Day newsletter, celebrates 17 years, and featured five 17-letter words this week. To further mark the milestone, subscribers were invited to take part in a haiku contest - send in a haiku to define or illustrate each of these 17 letter words. (What is a haiku?)
My entries -

predestinarianism
My will or your will
Have no doubt - it is His will
that has the last word!


triskaidekaphobia
Did thirteen say Boo?
Will you fear an extra loaf
in a baker’s doz


contradistinguish
At either end of
V I B G Y O R
reside Black and white


laryngopharyngeal
Out comes noise or sound
while air water and food go
their ways - up or down!


perspicaciousness
See, observe details
read not only ‘tween the lines -
but also letters


That exercise was enjoyable. And I continue to look forward Wordsmith's daily doses sent to a million+ linguaphiles.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

What We Too Can Do

What You Can Do « The Story of Citizens United v. FEC | THE STORY OF STUFF PROJECT: SEASON 2
Here's Annie Leonard with yet another story. I wish her all success in her efforts. The sooner they - the US citizens - succeed in their efforts at reclaiming democracy from the corporates and put the people in charge, the sooner can other democracies get back to being truly of, by and for the people.

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Monday, February 28, 2011

For the Indian Weavers' cause

Kalpana Sharma has written so eloquently on the woes of India's weaver community. See Disappearing warp and weft.
It made me wonder - All our celebrities could easily take up this cause. For example - they could sport the decent sari, or a suitable Indian handloom garment, in international forums, instead of aping the West in the kind of clothes they choose to wear. (Yes, like Aishwarya Rai and her ilk at the Ocsars)

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Delhi's Garden Tourism Festival




I have always felt that Delhi looks drab in winter, the leaves in the trees looking grey and blending with the lifeless concrete around. However you can discover pockets of plant life in Lutyen's Delhi and within parks and well-maintained campuses.
The Garden of Five Senses is a park that you can escape into, bang in the middle of the city, near the Qutub Minar.
We were lucky to catch glimpses of the Garden Tourism Festival (3rd weekend of Feb every year).
Any idea of the names of the flowers above?

Visit more worlds

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