Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Goa trip

Went to Goa and had fun for three days as I got an extended weekend due to Good Friday. It is a wonderful place if you can ignore the blatant commericalization of the place. The cheap T-shirts, the hawkers and their consistent perstering may get on your nerves. But the beaches are great and there are some lovely views that makes you forget all the ugliness of a tourist spot.

We started off on thursday afternoon on a KSRTC bus that left at 3.40 PM. After a long and arduos journey, we managed to get to Panjim on Friday morning at around 8 AM. I was a little surprised by the bus station where the bus stopped. It was unlike most stands I have seen. We did not stay there long as we needed a hotel and a guy approached us and convinced us to follow him for a hotel room. We were three guys with two more were coming from Mumbai and that made it a total of five.

I was there with my camera which had been unused for sometime now. I decided to go on a photographic mission and leave the guys to their beach. As impulsive as I am, I did not manage to stick to my resolution. I follwed them to Miramar beach, which was empty at that time in the morning. So, we decided to go to calungute beach. To get to that beach, we had to use a ferry and then a taxi on the other side of the creek. Calungute beach is the best beach of Goa (or so it is touted). It is the most crowded and has the most beach shacks (where the sinful-drink flows thicker than water). It also has a lot of foreigners, which might explain the high density of restuarants around that place. it is also a lovely place to be when the sun falls below the horizon and the era of the moon begins. Sitting on chairs by a condle-lit table by the ocean that roars away under the starry sky and smiling moon, it was a lovely experience... The next time I go there, I am going to spend atleast a week and stay every night on that beach.

I took a lot of pictures on the beach but was largely handicapped by the lack of a zoom lens and thus most of my subjects have come out tiny framed in a huge oceanic background. Some of them are nice but most would have been better if I had an zoom lens... :(

The next I decided to take a bus tour of South Goa. They took me to another place called "Dona Paula" where adventure sports is the primary attraction plus a great panaromic view. Then came the churches. The first is the Basilica of Bom Jesus which contains the preserved body of St Francis Xavier and is dedicated the figure of baby Jesus. It is a nice church but pales in front of the Se Cathedral which is across the Bangalore-Panjim highway. The Se Cathedral is the biggest chirch in India and I was struck by the size and the height of its ceilings.

The bus tour took us to two temples and Colva beach, the second largest beach in India. This beach is huuuuuuuuuuge! and I did not get to see much of it. Finally the bus left me back at my hotel. I went to Miramar beach which was nearby and had a look at a wonderful sunset! I took some pictures of the sunset.

The next day we could nto see much of Goa as we had to leave the hotel and catch our bus at 4.30 pm.

Frankly, three days was too little for a vacation in Goa. You need at least a week to enjoy the sights and sounds of Goa.
I will put up the pictures shortly after I get them scanned....

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

International Woman's Day

Yes, it was yesterday! I spent the day working on bugs in the project I am working on, checking the scores of the first test match and reading articles written on this contemplative day. They do not paint a pretty picture...
In the Shadow of violence
"Kerala may be the most literate state in the country but it's going to the dogs. And let me tell you the women of Kerala are equally to blame. All they want is gold ornaments, a posh house, good food and rich boys for their daughters. Let us not have any pretence about it."
Is this because of the consumerist culture that has taken over Kerala since the Gulf boom and attained obscene levels now? Why else would educated women allow themselves to be paraded before prospective grooms wearing ostentatious silks and adorned with heavy jewellery, which would be considered hideously vulgar in more discriminating circles?
Why do women of Kerala who are literate, who produce the most number of doctors and engineers in the country, put up with this outrageous set up? Yet they do and nothing changes.
Can't women's groups campaign to end "eve teasing"? It's a term I loathe because it trivialises the stronger and more appropriate "sexual harassment". The change will be difficult but not impossible.
We need to change the way our films portray women

Victims of abuse

The issue is not only of gender abuse, it is to recognise the right of every individual to exist as a human being and not live as `subordinate sex'. Violence against women is the most persuasive human rights violation in the world today.
Where there should be outrage, there is denial and largely passive acceptance. A recent survey by the International Institute of Population Studies showed that 56 per cent of Indian women believed that wife beating was justified in certain circumstances like neglecting the house or the children, or going out of the house without permission.
Men's brutal behaviour stems from their warped understanding of masculinity.
"Manliness" is equated with the need to control in the existing dictatorial patriarchal system. This has been proved by the cross-border studies conducted by the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Kerala, emphasising that domestic violence cuts through caste, class, religion, age and education.

Empower Women

In our society, whether they belong to the majority or the minority group, what is apparent is that there exists a great disparity in the matter of economic resourcefulness between a man and a woman. Our society is male dominated both economically and socially and women are assigned, invariably, a dependant role, irrespective of the class of society to which she belongs. A woman on her marriage very often, though highly educated, gives up her all other avocations and entirely devotes herself to the welfare of the family, in particular she shares with her husband, her emotions, sentiments, mind and body, and her investment in the marriage is her entire life a sacramental sacrifice of her individual self and is far too enormous to be measured in terms of money. This sacrifice is mischievously embodied and engraved into the mindset of the society as the natural destiny of women by misinterpreting the benign mandates of various religions.

When we talk of equality, we are talking about equality in status, equality in opportunities, and equality of rights. It is wrong to misinterpret this quest for equality as equality of abilities. Nobody denies that men, in general, are more brawnier than women as we wont deny that women, in general, mature faster than men and are more emotionally stable.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Weird Referral URLs

Ok, I put in this sitemeter for monitoring the traffic on this blog. Was just curious as to how many people read my blog as I never seem to get any comments :(
Sitemeter has other fringe benefits like referral urls and a nice graph representation of the traffic and also, a traffic prediction functionality! it is a nice service and one of the few things that has emerged is that I am getting a lot of traffic thanks to Jaya. In fact, I get almost all my traffic from her readers! Thanks, Jaya!
But there are other referrals that have started emerging, thanks to google/yahoo(which is powered by google). Check these out -

Well, I suppose some are understandable but some of them are just ridiculous like the one with "common words used by americans and indians..." as its search string!

Anyway, it definitely is interesting to analyse the traffic...

Monday, March 07, 2005

Weekend in Bangalore

It was a fun weekend for me this time. I decided to find out all the bookstores in the vicinity of my office and check them out after my office ended on Friday (work finished early on friday and I got to leave the office at 7 pm).
The first thing I did was to get a list of bookstores from the net and get a printout of that. I looked at the list and marked the places that are nearby and they were...

  • Higginbothams - I liked this one as I have fond memories of Higginbothams of Madras

  • Gangaram's

  • Book Cellar

  • Premier - quite well known

  • Crossword

On friday night, I went walking all the way down MG road to the first three bookstores in the list above. I found Higginbotham's collection to be very disorganised and it also seemed to have a very limited collection. I looked around and when I got out of there, I realized that I had not stayed there for long. Next I went to Gangaram's. Now this is a quaint old bookstore with a really old lift, you know the ones we used to see being used in old Amitabh Bachchan movies. The general section was on the second floor and I took the opportunity to ride in the lift. You had to manually open and close the doors when they reached the destination. Seems incongruous in the modern world, doesnt it? But it did not in Bangalore. I will explain in another post. Anyway, the store turned out to be great; well, after the disappointment in Higginbothams, I suppose I was happy to be in a store that had kept the books in a organised manner. I liked the collection too and I ended up buying three books there - James Joyce's Dubliners and the portrait of the artist as a young man, and *Oh crap! I have forgotten the third one!*. I think it will come back to me. Let me think about it for a while. I really wanted to buy Joyce's Ulysses but it was not available in Gangaram's. I am actualy in the middle of many books now. One of them is Ulysses. I got the book from (an online library that delivers books anywhere in Bangalore (thanks, adi!)). I really found it to be a hard read as there were a lot of words that I did not know and a lot of european language words interspersed in between. Plus, the author puts in a lot of christian references that I have no idea about. There were some portions that I was able to understand and there were brilliant! I was also looking for a non-fiction book titled Gender, Politics, and Islam. Actually, I read a review in The Hindu and I thought the book sounded promising. But I was disappointed in this respect too as Gangaram's did not have this book either. Well, they said that I could order the book for Rs. 1150 (apparently, it is a foreign edtion). I refused saying that I want the Indian edition that I know cost around Rs 350.
Book Cellar was right next door to Gangaram's and I went in asking for the couple of books I did not get in Gangaram's. While I got Ulysses, I did not get the other book. That was when I decided that I had seen enough books for one day and as it was quite late, I decided to head for a bite and back to my room.
On Saturday, I visited a relative and I did not get a chance to visit the other book stores on the list. On sunday, I woke up a little late and washed my clothes (well, it costs Rs. 10 for a pair which I think is preposterous but I suppose I am influenced by the fact that I used to pay Rs. 75 to the dhobi in IITK for washing and ironing my clothes for a month!). After that, I sat down to continue reading Contact (another easylib book). I have developed a distaste for the standard sci-fi and Contact jarred me inspite of the physics in it! At around lunchtime , I decided to chuck the book and go see a movie and visit some other book stores. It turned out to be a great decision. Plus, it pays to stay close to MG road. I found out that Plaza was showing Ray at 12.30 pm and I had missed it :( But it was showing The fockers at 3.30 pm, which I could catch. Since I still had about 1.5 hours to kill, I decided to check out Premier bookstore on church street. I did not find/get to Premiers but I got to Blossom Bookstore, a store full of second hand books. As I entered the store, the shelves were full of romance novels or "woman's literature" (easylib seems to classify these books as woman's literature which I found to be offensive...)! I thought that I had come to wrong store but I decided not to be hasty and check out the entire store. As I walked past these shelves, I came to neatly labeled and categorised sections. There was a Crime/Mystery Section where all the authors were arranged alphabetically. Then there was Indian fiction and here for the first time in the store I was happy. I found Pather Panchali and it was priced Rs 100! It was then I began a systematic search of the shelves. Then there was Sci-fi and fantasy. Then, I came upon Classics and what a wonderful classics section too. Then there was humour and I came upon tons of Terry Pratchet. I ended up buying three books there - Pather Panchali, Feminism - From pressure to Politics and The hunchback of Notre-Dame.
Then I went to see The Fockers. After that, I went to Crossword, which is a big store with a lot of variety in books and music but expensive. I came out buying nothing.
So, If you are in Bangalore, check out Blossom Book store! A book lover would like the store.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Hope for a better world

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