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Saturday, July 29, 2006

comments on Candle Night

my comments on Short Story: Candlelit Night - Kishore


hey i don't know much but would like to share a little:)

brevity is not only the soul of wit but also of the dickensian era the writer used to get paid by the words!

that era is past

* read
* read more
* write once
* rewrite aplenty
* cut
* cut more (till any further deletion would alter the core message)
* re-read (spellcheck, obvious typos)

and do not, repeat do not take this as a gospel...i know nothing about novel or technical writing

and a post script:

Addressing both readers and aspiring writers, Prose gives example after example of literary masterpieces and offers techniques for reading more attentively, for noticing and thrilling in the language on the page. Reading for her is "something like the way you experience a master painting, a Rembrandt or a Velasquez, by viewing it from not only far away but also up close in order to see the brush strokes." Prose delights in Katherine Mansfield's inspired word choice, the rhythm of Virginia Woolf's sentences, and Chekhov's telling details and the objective treatment of his characters. She also cites specific instances, like Marquez's experience with Metamorphosis, where reading has helped deepen her understanding of her own craft. (Once, when she was having a hard time finishing a story's particularly violent ending, she turned to Isaac Babel and learned from his use of lyricism as a precursor to violence.)

excerpt from Reading and Writing

Novelist and critic Francine Prose talks about creativity, literary craftsmanship, and her new book, Reading Like a Writer.

crimson rain

if i had that choice
would have asked eve
to keep her apple

crimson rain

silences - pregnant, tranquil
silences - to revel or marvel
rivers, mounts and vales
of silences to cross
and crossing those silences
succumbing to the silence
of the heart

silence - a sky
that has put all the clouds
in a cosmic closet

wonder who shepherds
the clouds in or out

who are you a voice asked
am a wandering cloud
oh! why are you not chained
and in the cloud-house
am on a furlough
following my shadow
over vales and mounts

i like you
you are not raining crimson
thank you, am not one of them
who have cornered the truth

Uri Avnery - Junkies of War

please book mark this page. Uri is a sane voice from israel. if you have not read him before here is a brief into and his latest column


Uri Avnery

1950-1990 Former Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, "Ha'olam Haze" newsmagazine.

1965-1969 - 1969-1973 - 1979-1981 - 3 Terms as member of the Knesset (Israeli Parliament).

1975 Founding member, Israeli council for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

1993 Founding member, "Gush Shalom" (Peace Bloc), Independent Peace Mevement.

Columnist, Ma'ariv Daily.



Nobody has any doubt that the Israeli army is a good, professional army, capable of defeating regular armies. But this war proves that it is not capable of achieving a military decision against an able guerilla organization with determined fighters. If Hizbullah is alive and kicking after 25 days, the deterrence power of the Israeli army has been weakened - whatever happens from now on.

From this point of view, the war has harmed the security of Israel. It has proved that the Israeli rear is exposed, that the Hizbullah fighters are not inferior to the Israeli soldiers, that there is no de-luxe war, that the Air Force cannot win without land forces. Not even in ideal circumstances, when the other side has no anti-air defense to speak of.

Olmert wants to "gain" as many days as possible for continued fighting. What sort of gain is this? We are conquering South Lebanon as flies conquer fly-paper. Generals present maps with impressive arrows to show how Hizbullah is being pushed north. That might be convincing - if we were talking about a front-line in a war with a regular army, as taught in Staff College. But this is a different war altogether. In the conquered area, Hizbullah people remain, and our soldiers are exposed to attacks of the kind in which Hizbullah has excelled from its first day.

So we shall get to the Litani River. Beyond it, there is another river, and another one. Lebanon has an abundance of rivers we can get to.

read the rest Uri Avnery - Junkies of War - 08/05/2006

dancing azrael*

'nobody runs for ever.'-Mahajirzadeh

they talk in amman
they talk in london
they talk in paris
they talk in riyadh
they talk in washington
till jaws creak
meanwhile azrael* dives
from the clouds of crimson silence
to embrace children, women, men

ensconced in consuming silence
i wish they stop all talks
__of peace__of ceasing hostilities
let them run out
of ammunition, hatred, arrogance
passion___________and rockets
like boxers past their prime
seeking refuge of the bell
they will cease by themselves

that would be the time
to talk with them
about pains, hurt and living


Azrael (ăz'rāĕl) [Heb.,=help of god], in the Qur'an, angel of death, who severs the soul from the body. The name and the concept were borrowed from Judaism.

in puzzled amazement: meh'v e hairaan

for zen - a gift of sorts

meh'v e hairaan - I
lines on her anile face
a map of seasons past
cobweb of memories
rise, submerge, contort, fade

gnarled chins, scabrous hands
nose thick and bloated
crescent wrinkled eyes
and furrowed forehead

in the south, of the north
she'd be on a rocker
knitting in the porch
of a rockwell painting

at dolman's mall, bent
and shrouded in rags
she stared in my eyes
and i was perplexed


z: is it done
t: yes
z: write a sequel
t: sequel?
z: i wonder what the beggar lady was thinking at that moment
t: you want me to get into her mind?...don't all likelihood she was unread and unlettered
z: don't be so sure. when i was going to university at Canterbury, we had this panhandler...not only was he extremely well read, but could also write poetry
t: hmmm
z: put yourself in her mind at that moment, see what emerges
t: hmmmmm


in puzzled amazement - II
abducted, abused and abandoned
street and time my teachers, am adept
at seeing through the burkas and beards

he was not local and in his demeanor
could tell that he could sit on a charpoy
and share food with workers and servants
and still be at ease
in the nasreen room, the copper kettle

in the parked car he sat and observed
people, shoppers, passers by , children
as if through his eyes he soaked his soul

and when the woman beside him smiled
jolted out of reveries he'd mumble
deep affection then displacing the hint
of somberness as i observed him
before i approached him silently
with open palms and when our eyes clashed
tried but could not decipher his poise


Rikshaaa! A Film On Three Wheels -- Gaurav Mishra

what a pleasure to read about auto rickshaws...the heading is a misnomer perhaps...tons of links...a must read for anyone who has ever ridden an auto rickshaw anywhere...

my favourite rickshaw anecdote goes back to early moin akhtar days:

An american tourist engaged a rickshaw from empress market, karachi to get back to metropole hotel. The kamikaze driver squeezed his rickshaw through cars, trucks, pedestrians, camel and donkey carts, and traffic signals at breakneck speed and just nearing the metropole hotel hit a road side tree and flipped over. The tourist extracted himself out of the overturned rickshaw. As he was climbing out of the rickshaw he saw the sign atop the building hotel metropole. Dusting himself off he took out his wallet to pay off and asked the rickshaw driver, 'how do you stop this contraption when there is no tree around?'

Top Ten Terrorist Pick Up Lines

10: I spoke with Osama's twin Bush bin Lyin' yesterday.*
9: Can we smoke after this?
8: You are more beautiful than the ToraBora lamb!
7: No, I am not a virgin.
6: Unbelievers have more fun. Try me!
5:. I am a camel-high** club member. Are you?
4: Promises, promises, promises, pro......
3: We behead painlessly: nobody has complained.
2: Your tower or my tower?
or 2A: Your camel or my camel?
1: You want to see my Pilot's License?

* thanks saks!
** a take on mile-high club

misconceived misconceptions (or the tale of fallen s)

will you help me O mary?
and is this muse
a mcguffin or a mcmary

sperm-ovum oscillation
pyrotechnics in eyes' vales
body's sahara, mind's oasis

imbued motherhood urges
estraying thoughts
concepts awhirl
conceptions acircle

zygotic misconcepts
geotic misconceptions

oh the misconceiving
and sleep, million lambs away

candle light tryst

in the flicker
of the kathak* flame
words on paper, you, me
bhangRa* of thoughts
machatay haiN
bay hanghaam oodham*

camouflaging candle light
flicker love fragrance
in the baithak* fireplace
and while finger tip thoughts
all over your skin
mapping contours
brows, lips, nape
sighs of exhales

--------------i wander

to the distant fire-rain
of irreconcilable hatred
of grown men's firecrackers


* kathak
* bhangRa
* baithak = family room - informal sitting place
* unbridled passion

Desicritics Editors' Picks-- July 03-July 09

Another fine set of articles. If you're in the list, please vote in one article to be featured in the next Editors' Picks:

What is India?: "I Says I's Seen It Awl" July 03, 2006 scribescribble writes:
I also guess contradictions are inevitable. The oxymoronic nature of India, and the oft-celebrated and mystical notion that one finds billionaires and starving millions, slums and high-rises, IT engineers and suicide-committing farmers in the same land, is a reality. I hate to think of it as something "special" or "unique", as is often portrayed in the media, and mentioned in individual narratives, made public or not.

CD Review: Omkara July 05, 2006 George Thomas writes:
Aah. Sheer bliss this. Worth every nano-ounce of the wait. Gulzar's way with words, Vishal's sense of sound and the flavour of the region where the movie's events transpire come together in a delicious aural offering.

A Bleak Perspective of Corporations July 06, 2006 Sanat Mohanty writes:
One can argue that despite all evidence of unethical practices against numerous companies, any generalization that 'Corporations are Evil' is unfair. That would be as true as arguing that Monarchies are Evil. Surely there were monarchs and kings who were benevolent and just. However, the reason human civilization eventually rejected monarchies was owing to the immense injustice and exploitation possible with such acute concentration of power. That argument is even truer for corporations. The power they wield through the resources they control is often orders of magnitude more than kings of the past. And they use that power to make unjust decisions, to exploit, and to oppress when necessary for them to profit. It is for these reasons that the influence of corporations must be checked.
This can be achieved through the following processes,
1. Ending corporate personhood;
2. Ensuring that corporations cannot profit through dumping externalities and in the even to externalities being dumped, all assets of the corporation becoming owned by the community till the impact of the externalities has been resolved; and
3. Making corporations accountable to local communities within which they operate.

Blogspot Vs WordPress July 08, 2006 Apollo writes:
In Blogspot the earlier posts are getting archived and lost and once your Blog accumulates a large body of posts it becomes very clumsy and cumbersome to access the earlier posts. One will have to repeat what he has already said maybe 3 months and 2291657817 posts ago.

Plus the ability to categorize can help a Blogger to either diversify or get deeper into his area of interest. This helps keep up the Blogger's interest. In case of Blogspot there has been a large case of burnouts; people who have been blogging for quite a while tend to gather a certain audience which shares those tastes and if they blog for say five posts on different matters other than the core interest their main posts will have gotten buried. This puts pressure on them not to stray too far from the topic and once they have said all that they have to say on the topic and start going around in circles they lose interest and call it a day. Some examples of my favourite bloggers calling it a day. The Religious Policeman, Secular-Right, Shaunak

The Hudood Ordinance: Zara Souchiye

The Hudood Ordinance was one in a series of five separate laws promulgated by the martial law government of erstwhile dictator Gen. Zi(n)a ul Haque in 1979, in Pakistan, to impose his distorted Islam-view on a hapless nation. The full name of this ordinance is The Offence of Zina (Enforcement Of Hudood) Ordinance, 1979.

The language of the law is such that the onus of proving a rape lies with the woman rape victim. She is saddled with the task of producing four 'pious' Muslim male witnesses to the rape. (Digression: forget your religion, just tell me how many times you have been in a foursome and have witnessed a rape in progress?).

Imagine the oppressive nature of this undertaking for a rape victim who is already suffering trauma. It is no wonder 80 percent of the women (according to some estimates) languishing in Pakistani jails are victims of this law.

This law makes it easy for the perpetrator to claim consensual sex with the victim and escape the harsher punishment.

The civilian governments of former Prime Ministers Nawaz Shareeef and Benazir Bhutto set up two Commissions to 'investigate' the excesses of Zi(n)a's Hudood Ordinance. Both Commissions recommended disbanding it. Neither government carried through the recommendations.

In late 2001, while en route to Karachi, Geo TV CEO Mir Ibrahim Rahman wrote a memorandum to himself delineating the reasons he left his investment banking job at Goldman Sachs, and also what he hoped to achieve in Pakistan.

Mir Ibrahim's grandfather Mir Khalil ur Rahman and father Mir Shakil ur Rahman founded the Jang Group of newspapers and are well known media moguls in Pakistan. In a sense it was ordained that the grandson join the family empire. At 28, Mir Ibrahim is one of the youngest CEOs to head a major TV channel anywhere.

Geo was launched on August 14, 2002. On every anniversary, Mir Ibrahim measures the progress he has made against the memo he wrote on board that plane. One of the goals Mir Ibrahim outlined in that memo addressed the issue of bringing the Hudood Ordinance in to the public arena for debate. With the launch of Zara Souchiye ('Think' in Urdu), Geo TV is launching a nationwide campaign to initiate a dialogue over the Hudood Ordinance.

GEO has developed this entire initiative in house without any pressure or influence from any other agency. No support has been taken from the Government of Pakistan, non-governmental organizations, any political party or any other local or foreign agency or government. The initiative has been researched, designed, developed and implemented thoroughly by GEO's own research and production team. The members of this team are full-time employees of the channel without any association to any social or political organization, but rather, with a conscience of Geo Aur Geenay Do ('Live and Let Live').

Zara Souchiye appears as a well planned and executed nation-wide campaign designed to develop a consensus without antagonizing the entrenched 'religious stakeholders' and their orthodox and conservative supporters. Mir Ibrahim told me:
Conservatives didn't feel as threatened by GEO's approach of not involving any NGOs and even conspicuously any women in the entire campaign, and only seeking opinion from scholars themselves from each school of thought. The campaign slogan in fact is ''No Debate on Hadood-Allah! Is the Hadood Ordinance Islamic?'' Which basically makes a clear distinction between Had laws mentioned in the Koran (which aren't debatable and thus not challenged) and the interpretation that man has done in the Ordinance (can be challenged and measured against Islam).

As a first step Geo interviewed 26 'diverse and senior' religious scholars and asked them, The Hudood laws are presented as divine laws, which cannot be touched. Do you agree?

The "response from all 26 religious stakeholders agreed that the law was not only man-made but is open to change and improvements."

Geo has 'opened up the floor for debate,' and its most popular programs such as Pachas Minute, Alif, Jawabdeh and Capital Talk will be focussing on the Hudood Ordinance in the coming season.

By facilitating open and public dialogue of a politicized-religious issue Geo is providing a valuable service to the Muslims of Pakistan in general, and the affected women in particular. The Geo campaign Zara Souchiye hopes to deliver what eluded the inept and corrupt civilian governments of Nawaz-Shareef and Benazir-Bhutto, a shortcoming also shared by the present Aziz Administration. Good luck to Mr. Rahman and Geo. Geo--Long Live Geo).

Friday, July 07, 2006


youN jo kabhi t'ri yaad
chupkay say m'ray dil maiN
ooter aa'aye gi tou hum
phir baahouN maiN lay laiNgay

wasn't thinking about it
when she locked eyes and said
'what would you do if...'

labyrinthine queries
uttered nonchalantly
sound simple, surprised
i said 'will see when...'

between lambs and stars
a stream of flash backs
once cherished dearly
passed in a languid stream

never imagined had
ensconced so many
seamless memories
as solicitously
i caressed her hair

fallen leaves, sanguine branches

breathing silences into cacophonous patches
instilling quiet repose as time noisily trudges
does it flop forward or fade into the past?
a past that sits on a lava of memories

on the tree innocent fresh green leaves smile, dance
cavort with leaves covered in folds of rainless dust
floating in the wind defying aerodynamics

on the ground they are embraced by other leaves
metamorphosing green, breathing fresh life
that would ferment yet more memory crystals

leaves gravitate, hug and embrace - nature's nature
but why do hatenamis annihilate blankly
impeccant leaves that have umpteen promises left

sighs sieve through insinuations, innuendoes
star gazer, leftist, rightist, apologist, traitor
i smile timorously ensconced in my safety
in distant troubled times and sip even more tea

yeh khuda hay na bhagwan m'ra

before foxa2* that furtive
fleeing, fleeting exchange
of the sperm-ovum owners
and an startled child grows

a pilot's target practice,
cambodia, chechenya
darfur, vietnam, iraq,
afghanistan and new york
famines, droughts, avian 'flu
legionnaire's disease, west nile
hepatitis, hiv aids
innocent civilians caught
in the vicious cross fire
noah tsunamis, perhaps
a few chromosome misfits
like trisomy 21**]

the litany mushroom grows
amidst champagne festivities
in a world that is not round

ghalat samajhna mut
mujh ko dost, yeh Khuda
hay na Bhagwaan na God
tumhara, m'ra, kisi ka

it is easy to invoke god
GWB's or OBL's?
the palestinian Allah
or the israelite Yahweh
our bed, our quarters, our mess
our bhagwaan, eeshwur, aur khuda
how can we outsource with such ease
our so revered creations?

** trisomy 21

some more names, billy

am moved
you have a way with words
and tears well up
as i think of mothers
wives, parents, siblings
for whom time ended
with that attack
and then i see a lanky
bespectacled black
saying chicken come home....
a remark (that most don't know)
he was to retract
when he found compassion

am moved
you have a way with words
a poet with a pulsating
muscle bundle
does it not feel the pain
of the dead - the near dead
and the near living
elsewhere in the world?
why is your world so confined
to the US, and some countries
across the big pond?

ali, bhupendra
carlos, dev, ebere,
valin, wen
xian, yuan, zoyenka
they played and lived here once
before succumbing to dictates
of being born where they were
of being subjected to the whims
of machiavelli's disciples
and hard to believe, billy
hard to believe this
they number in hundreds of thousands
as you say
So many names,
there is barely room
on the walls of the heart.


autumn harvest

where is your health card?
demanded the nurse and
with ever so trembling hands
he felt for his back pocket
in a gesture reminiscent
of slow motion pictures
and pulled out a black wallet
the effort fatiguing him
he plopped down on a chair
and clutching the wallet
rested his hand on his thighs
after a minute or two
he recovered to unzip
in one slow flourish
- bottom, to side to the top
from the now open jaws
emerged a stack of cards
held by two crossed rubber bands
with quivering fingers
he removed one rubber band
and hung it on his left thumb
then he removed the other band
and hung it on his left thumb
then he searched for his health card
and smiled ever so subtly
as he pulled it out and
placed it on his thigh
pulling one rubber band he
stretched it across the stack
and then the other rubber band
vertically across it
replaced it in the wallet
he zipped it side to side
and put it back on his thigh
over the pulled out health card
time to rest and take deep breaths
one, two....he had the same look
on his face that commercial
pilots have as they run off
a mental check-list, yet again
then with an abrupt thrust
he got himself off the chair
the wallet and the health card
clasped firmly in each hand
this effort drained him so
he just stood motionless
then in very slow motion
he replaced the wallet
back in the rear pocket
and took two steps forward
towards the nurse's window
and said, here

salaam mumbai

salaams to all mumbaikars
above faith, caste, creed
who donated blood
till the banks overflowed

salaams to grand mothers
and young and old
who handed water and food
to those in distress

salaams to sainiks also
despite loathsome disagreements
for not being modi-clones

salaam to the pakistani desicritic*
who used his earthquake experience
and in hours set up a wiki help page
for depicting camaraderie and empathy
and for shattering stereotypes

salaam mumbai, salaam
for showing grit and resolve
for carrying on business as usual
refusing to give in to the killers
for coming of age
for showing restraint and
for not being gujarat
shabaash mumbai, shabaash
tujh ko m'ra pyar bhara salaam



11am on 11/11 the armistice day for us
remembering the fallen ones
then came 9/11, 3/11 and now 7/11
7 blasts 11 minutes apart
yes sodium's atomic number is 11
the convenience store across the road
is called Seven-Eleven, borne of a time
when it opened at 7 am, closed at 11 pm
the eleventh sign of zodiac ushers
the age of aquarius (the water carrier) and
the eleventh hour, one hour to midnight
represents the last moment to act or abstain
and for some reason we have eleven players
in cricket, soccer, football, and field hockey

in the days past i used to say 'a penny for your thought'
and she'd shed the worried look, smile and come closer
with inflation first the pie disappeared, then paisa and penny
suppose now have to say 'a loonie for your thought'

a loonie is a canadian dollar coin
with eleven sides - a hendecagon
(for trivia buffs: A regular hendecagon has
internal angles of 147.272727... degrees.)

not a colloquial expression for a lunatic
which has an indo-european root in leuk
luna - lunaticus - lunatique - lunatik

even though have many a strikes against me
- wrong side of the divide, wrong religion
wrong appearance, wrong-wrong-wrong most things
will say with least hesitation, they were lunatics
any one who kills a civilian for any reason
is a lunatic, is a criminal, is a zombie

Mumbai Trains Targeted: Helplines and Useful Contact Information

If any of our readers is looking for friends or relatives or for any other information in Mumbai, Mumbai Help can help you get you the information. Please visit and perhaps you could pitch in and help too.

In Bombay most phone lines are jammed. Getting in touch with anyone on a cell phone is close to impossible. Landlines are easier to get through. Following are some phone numbers of hospitals that the injured have been taken to. You can call these numbers for further details.

List of those injured
Western Railway Enquiry 131, (022) 2306 1763
Mumbai Helpline (022) 2200 5388
Cooper Hospital (022) 2620 7254, and 56
Bhabha Hospital - Bandra (022) 2642 2775
Hinduja Hospital (022) 2445 1515, 2445 2222
Leelavati Hospital (022) 2643 8281
Nanavati Hospital (022)
Raheja Hospital (022) 2446 7569
Sion Hospital (022) 2407 6380 / 2444 9161

To send messages on TV News Channels:

CNN IBN SMS "Mumbai" to 2622 followed by your message
Or call (0120)4341 895
Headlines Today HT Message your name to 2424
NDTV SMS message to 6388
Times Now SMS YOU Message at 8888

For Blood donation, logon to
Sion Hospital needs 1600 bottles of blood
Holy Family Hospital on Hill Road, Bandra is running a donor's clinic

It has been reported by NDTV that a series of five blasts have rocked Mumbai. Most of the blasts occurred in first class compartments of the tains full of commuters returning homes. The first one was on train between Khar and Mahim. The second blast on a train at the Mahim station. The third near Bhayandar station, the fourth at Jogeshwari and the fifth at Borivili.

There are reports of two more blasts. The sixth at Khar and the seventh one has been reported from Matunga.

The Western Lines have been closed down and the injured are being rushed to local hospitals.

Seven blasts rocked suburban trains in Mumbai on Tuesday evening, Police Commissioner A N Roy has said. The police control room has reported that 139 passengers have been killed and more than 300 injured. PTI reports that the blasts took place in a span of 30 minutes in first class compartments of suburban trains.

The chronology of the seven bomb blasts that ripped through the seven suburban trains at various stations during the peak hour on Tuesday evening is as follows:

Khar -- 1824 hrs
Bandra -- 1824 hrs
Jogeshwari -- 1825 hrs
Mahim -- 1826 hrs
Mira Road -- 1829 hrs
Matunga -- 1830 hrs
Borivali -- 1835 hrs Link

CNN reports that PM Manmohan Singh has called an emergency meeting of his ministers. Airports and other transportation hubs have been placed on high alert all over the country.

This is reminiscent of the Bombay blasts of 1993, when 13 bombs exploded all over the city claiming over 250 lives.

We will be continually updating this.

Desicritic Kim updates:

* 147 killed 439 injured
* Train services resume from
Bandra to Andheri - Harbour and
Churchgate to Bandra also
Goregaon to Borivali and
Vasai to Borivali
* Administration jammed the phone lines to prevent rumor mongers. Didn't realise they created more panic for 100 % of mobile-using Mumbai population who couldn't contact or be contacted by anyone
* All blasts in first class compartments
* Paramilitary forces deployed at major airports
* All trains from Ahmendabad to Mumbai cancelled.


Bhagwati Hospital, Borivili 24 dead 50 injured
Sion Hospital, Sion 38 dead 40 injured
VN Desai Hospital, Santa Cruz 9 dead 32 injured
KEM Hospital, Parel 18 dead 50 injured
Hinduja Hospital, Mahim 36 Injured
Cooper Hospital, Vile Parle 26 dead 25 injured
Bhabha Hospital, Bandra 22 dead 25 injured
Malika Hospital, Oshiwara 16 injured
Nanavati Hospital, Vile Parle 2 Dead

For added perspective you can check out desipundit also.

thanks Aniruddha, Kim, Sujatha, Apollo and Sakhshi

fullmoon blanket

sun fusing life, moon tide
eros' psyche floats alone
horizon to ocean

friendships bloom, enmities blossom
wars stand-in for battles
peace an ever shrinking pause

bird on a leafless tree branch
musing rumi like
undaunted by warring truths

each person's truth
estranged in a cacophony
unabashed, proudly owned
wandering friendless in sky

the sun rays denied comfort

truth, volition and violation
owned by zealots
in the company of living
smile at death
the surviving truth

grateful acknowledgment for using NF's bird

Desicritics Editors' Picks - June 19- July 03

Another fine week, another fine set of articles. A few selections - name your own, and if you're in the list, please pick one yourself to be featured in the next Editors' Picks:

Small Arms Sales: A Reasoned Response June 21, 2006 - Richard Marcus writes:

You can't hold the industry responsible for how their products are put to use; that would be like holding car manufacturers responsible for traffic fatalities. How is a company supposed to know when they are given a contract to supply ten thousand semi-automatic rifles what the purchaser is going to use them for? Of course they have a general idea, they are weapons after all, but they are not in a position of being able to say are you going to use these to form a child army, burn women and children, and chew veins in your teeth.

Guru Arjan Dev Controversy and the Manipulated Indian History! June 24, 2006 - Desh

In my personal view, it is very saddening that the ruling party comes out with such nonsensical take on History when a Sikh himself is the Prime Minister of the Country with a Congress Government. I am not sure what his views are. However, given his record, he would not have a very different take on this. I remember when he lost the only elections he ever fought from West Delhi. He remarked that the 1984 riots were the handiwork of the Rashtriya SwayamSevak Sangh.(RSS) - which was a utter falsehood! When I had raised this point in my alumni forum, his daughter (a senior of mine) has sent back an email that she was helping him out in that campaign and although she was not with him on that day, but Dr. Singh had said to her that he was quoted out of context. And she said as honest as her father is she took his word. I will too. But he doesnt seem to have conducted himself with ways above board on such issues when Congress was the perpetrator!

Global Warming: The US, India and Gandhi June 23, 2006 - Vikas Chowdhry writes:

Scientists have been trying to re-enforce that the time period we now have to act is not centuries but decades or even years. Many amongst us might end up seeing the face of the earth as we know it change during our lifetimes, or we might be lucky enough to see some truly great leaders stride on the world stage to guide humanity through this unprecedented crisis.

An Unsuitable Boy: Shashi Tharoor, India and the UN Secretary-Generalship June 27, 2006 - gautampatel writes:
Barkha Dutt of NDTV is, arguably, the best TV journalist in the country today — tough, polished, very au courant, incisive and unafraid to call a spade a spade, not easy to overawe. But even she seemed to be overwhelmed by Shashi Tharoor. The only thing I've seen that comes close is when BBC's Tim Sebastian interviewed the redoubtable Nina Simone. It's the first time I'd seen the man — who can be thoroughly obnoxious — completely non-plussed. While Tharoor is no Simone (thank God, but that's not for want of his trying), nor Dutt Sebastian (double thanks for that), she certainly seemed to be under his spell.

Two Paths to God June 28, 2006 - Hiba Tanvir writes:

When it was his turn to share his learning, the man said "I never got a chance to learn, or wonder about God. Everything was simply taught to me by people who seemed to have learnt all that there was to know about God. God to me seemed like some distant force that had to be constantly pleased by my good deeds. I never got to meet people from different places or people with different understandings of God. People who were homogenous in every possible aspect surrounded me. Nothing and no one ever challenged me to think, or question my self. Life was rather robotic, rituals filled each day. And God's love that you keep talking about, I never felt it. In such a rigid approach to God, there was no space for God's love, kindness, or justice. There was only talk about His Power, His Rage, His Punishment. I wasted my whole life believing I had understood God, and I had not even felt a glimpse of Him."

Dastangoi - The Lost Art of Story Telling June 29, 2006 - Kim writes:

Dastangoi is very difficult to describe. It needs to be experienced. But let me try to give you an idea of what to expect. It's a cross between a theatre performance and poetry reading. The words are wonderfully descriptive and conjure visions in your head. The perfomers are seated but use expressions, gestures, tone of voice and a myriad other techniques to transport you into a realm of fantasy consisting partly of "tilisms" (alternate worlds), aiyyaars, sorcerers and magicians.

Website Review: Spiffy Drawings with Gliffy June 29, 2006 - Mathangi writes:

You can create graphic representations for abstract concepts such as "data flow" or "network security". The best part however comes only after all these. The "Share" option enables you to publish your diagram to your blog or web site. You can download the images in different sizes and send them across to people you may want to show them to.

Gliffy interface is extremely user-friendly and fast considering it is still in its beta. We can look forward to more features and functionalities in the successive versions.

Second Hand Love July 01, 2006 - ShoeFiend writes:
Sometimes I buy books for silly reasons. The 'To mummy...' at the beginning of this piece was in a book called Slow Boats to China by Gavin Young. When I saw the spine of the book today, I realised it was the name of a blog I read. Intrigued to see what had inspired the name, I picked up the book and saw the inscription inside. It somehow made me want to read the book.

I like the idea that a book I'm holding has been read, loved or hated by someone before me. I like to think that fingers over the grainy pages and tucked old bills or pressed flowers as bookmarks. I like to think that someone else was amazed by the writer's lyrical prose, incensed by a character's actions or horrified at the sudden turn of events on page 234.

The Vidarbha Farmers' Crisis - Made in India July 03, 2006 - K writes:
Now, this is just the mad-cap suggestion of a 27-year old journalist, one who has seen the utter devastation of the area. One who has seen how suicides of the primary earner can crush a family. Not much, just a few thousand bucks (ten thousand in some cases - sums that were petty cash for Rahul Mahajan), less than most of our monthly salaries, but enough for people to kill themselves.


the maginot lines of ideals and idols
of impenetrable himalayan suspicion
berlin wall of fortune
divine palisades of bursting indignation

and the other fences
we surround ourselves with

smiles of touch and tremor
askance, innocent, lost,
quivering, cold, aloof,

poking at the hermetic wall of dust and ash
and buoyant abandon
fences that outlive hate pulverize soundlessly