Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Global Vipassana Pagoda : Gorai

After all the  TV coverage of the President inaguration of the Global Vipassana Pagoda, Me and Deepthi decided to make a visit there. There are 2 ways to get to the Pagoda (near Esselworld, Gorai) 1. Via Ferry From Gorai Creek 2. Via road  Bhayandar – Uttan – Gorai (details on site ) Good Things About the Pagoda

  • The 325 feet majestic monument really stands out and will surely drive more tourists.
  • Its the world’s largest stone dome built without any supporting pillars
  • Over 8k people can meditate inside the Pagoda.
  • Genuine Buddha relics enshrined in the Pagoda.
  • There are no entry fees or charges of any kind.
  • Free Bus from Car Park to the Pagoda
  • Located in a great location with great view and really breezy place.

Things to remember :

  • You cant meditate or enter the dome unless you have completed the 10 day vipassana course.
  • Visitors can just roam around the Pagoda and see the people meditating inside the dome.
  • Lotsa work is still pending and it resembles a big under construction project, It should be at least a year or two till everything looks like the pictures in the Brochures.

I will definitely wanna  do the 10 day course subject to getting leave from work :) Some snapshots of the Global Pagoda

Global Pagoda


Gaysi: The Indian Blogface of the Gay Desi

The LGBT movement in India is still in its nascent beginnings. Ashok Row Kavi, would probably punch me for this statement. However it is not for the lack of effort by the LGBT themselves. Sadly it is the lack of maturity of the general Indian populace to come to terms with any but being “straight”.

Historically it was not so. I remember going to Khajuraho as a student of architecture and noticing that within the thousands of temple carvings, was a vast encyclopedia of every form of sexual preference. If at that time this was main stream enough to become part of a temple monument, then why is it that today we, the same people and society shun it. A lot of that blame can be put on the Victorian morals dumped on India during the 400 year British presence in India.

However things are begining to change. Just last year there was a Gay Pride Parade in Mumbai and other cities and the general awareness and acceptance seems to be on the increase. At least in the urban metros.

And therefore, it is not long that this presence is felt in the Indian blogosphere too.

Gaysi: The Gay Desi is a new group blog that has been up and about for a short while now and their writing and content is crisp, fresh and interesting.


Mumbai Limps Back To Life

I traveled into town today, in the aftermath of the terror that Mumbai has lived in the past week. The reason was a Tweet-up/Peace walk/gathering at Colaba Causeway. Honestly? I stand in deep respect of the police force, the fire-fighters and the NSG who delivered us from the terror. And I’m going to wear white tomorrow to symbolize our mourning as well as a plea for peace. Yes, I will also light a candle and thank every police-person I see for the bravery of their comrades. But mostly I went out today for myself. To reassure myself that I still could. I needed to. If as a Mumbaiker, this city’s spirit resides in me, then I speak for the city when I say I’m battered, I’m crawling, I am gasping for breath.

Traffic was light as it has been since Wednesday night, even for a Sunday afternoon/evening. Even so, the journey took us a half and hour either way. We passed shops that were open, people out for a stroll with their families, cars driving down…but there was an air of barely concealed tension. I had my camera out for the better part of the journey and I know I drew some curious (and not necessarily friendly) glances from the other cars. In case you’re wondering what an atmosphere of terror looks like, come to Mumbai right now.

The photos I took today of Mumbai in post-terror trauma….

Here’s the media jumping onto the sympathy-brand visibility bandwagon, over the Western Express flyover. DNA asks…

Spirit of Mumbai



Reality Show: Terror Mumbai

I got home at around 10pm on Wednesday night. The television was blaring its usual cacophony of detergent operas and soppy suds. Then a relative called to tell us that ‘something big was happening’. We flipped through the channels in quick succession, passing a panel discussion on the consistency of chewing gum (or something that seemed to stretch on similarly), an 80s potboiler complete with gyrating Govinda hips and a tear-jerker selling the benefits of pension plans.

Then we landed on the news channel band. And there it stayed and hasn’t moved since.

The Day After: It’s Not Over As Yet

Mumbai awoke this morning (for those who did manage to sleep) to reports of commandos being dropped from helicopters onto the critical locations under attack. There was also a mention that the Taj Mahal hotel was secure but that’s something we heard around midnight yesterday too and it turned out to be a hasty (and inaccurate) wire, since there was still firing coming out from there. Several hostages from Nariman House were either rescued or managed to escape during the course of the night. The media, while hanging around desperately for soundbytes and real news manages to catch a glimpse at the most of the action and tries to piece some sense of it, often going in the wrong direction.

Later this morning, there was a sudden buzz that (more…)

Smooth Traffic & Funny Mails: Thank You, Mr.Thackeray

Raj Thackeray was arrested yesterday. Ho hum, so what else is new?

I woke up to the news channels airing footage shot hours ago, of the MNS chief being escorted into the police van at Ratnagiri and a few fancy-looking maps showing blinking dots in the areas of Borivili, Andheri, Dadar and Worli.

Violence has erupted in parts of the city.

…the TV anchor informed me over my breakfast. And..

MNS workers have been protesting the arrest. This comes in the light of the weekend attack on the railway examination centers to protest under-representation of Maharashtrians in the test.

I was still yawning, glued to the television as I was. And then I snapped the set shut, got ready and left for work.

The roads were not empty. They were the way a civilised, metropolitan city’s roads should be. Vehicles running at least 2 feet from each other in parallel lanes, a few stray pedestrians crossing only during the traffic signals, short signal wait-times, no undue honking. My normal 45-minute commute took all of 20 minutes. Thank you Mr.Thackeray for giving us one day of normal commuting.

People came into work. But of course. No, I’m not going to go on about the resilient spirit of Mumbaikers, our courage, our bravery etc. I’m no braver than the next person. All I am, is practical. Between floods, riots, bandhs, public transport strikes, communal clashes, infrastructure breakdowns and politico arrests, I have a job to do. And every day brings a new reason to not go to work. Yet, we do. That’s not courage, it’s just acceptance of the way things are.

From the last time this happened, I figured the media was just creating a hullaballoo as usual. No one who goes out in this city everyday really believes the news channels anymore (and certainly not a certain Dilli-based channel which thinks that Mumbai starts and ends at Churchgate and that Tardeo and Juhu are far-flung railway stations). Sure enough, come evening and I had a smooth commute back home as well. No, I did not spot any blood on the streets, no slapped-around taxi drivers, I did not get pelted with stones and the city seemed no scarder than usual.

If anything, the highlights of the day were how people chose to deal with the chaos. My Little Lord received the following email from HR:

Dear All

Due Unstable environment with regards to Raj Thackeray arrest, management has decided that all associates can leave by 4.00pm.

With Warm Regards,
HR Manager

Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 4:11 PM

My colleagues were far more prompt and shot off the following (very convincing) mail:

There is a slight issue here at the Mumbai office. Due to some political issues there is absolute civil unrest and the city is at the brink of riots breaking out. The team will need to rush home. Im not sure if we’d be able to make it to the call today.

* So I’m jaded and cynical. Go read the full story here.

Is Wi-Fi access the real front in the war on terror ?

An article in the Mumbai Mirror is deceptively titled " Terrorists have 15,000 options"

You would think that they are talking about entry points into the city, or the number of trash cans available where bombs could be left behind or some such thing. However to my dismay the article states

There are an estimated 15,000 wi-fi networks in the city that are vulnerable to terrorists like the ones who used the wi-fi networks of an American businessman and an entrepreneur couple from Chembur to send e-mails to various media companies minutes before the serial blasts in Ahmedabad on July 26 and a little after the first of five bombs exploded in Delhi on Saturday evening.

Agreed that open access wi-fi points is a safety breach, but shouldnt the government be busy in making sure the terrorists never get here in the first place. This sending of emails before blasts has been a recent phenomenon. If we clamp down on the access points, the terrorists will still set up bombs, but not email us about it, hence making them so much more difficult to trace.

As much as open access wifi is an issue in the "war against terror" it should be way down on the priority list.

"Khabardaar, Marathila hath laval tar…"

This is what Bal Thackeray has to say to BMC through his newspaper – Samna editorial section. Read More Here.

“Khabardaar, Marathila hath laval tar…” roars Bal Thackeray in his editorial in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna today.

Thackeray warns all Sena corporators to be very particular about speaking in Marathi and said he would not be lenient with people who do not.

“We will not tolerate any language other than Marathi in the BMC,” said Thackeray.

His statement comes a week after Congress corporator and leader of the Opposition in the BMC, Rajhans Singh’s proposal.

‘If you are a lion, we are tigers’


An axe to grind, an axe to fall

Raj Thackeray has just been arrested and is being driven to Vikroli for the court hearing. Now what? Let’s see. This titbit has enjoyed much more publicity in the past week in Mumbai than the falling temperatures, the art festival and all such mundane things as national news.

Mumbai and its Immigrants

Over the centuries, human population is in flux and people move from the hinterland to urban megapolii. Nowhere in India is it more prominent than in Bombay. As much as the Shiv Sena would like to claim that Bombay is all about the “Marathi Manoos”…knowing the Shiv Sena, I would say it is “despite” the MM.

There is no larger melting pot than Mumbai and Biharis rub shoulders on the local trains with Gujjubhais. South Indians (or as we love to call them all….Madrasis)jostle with Punjabis for the same square inch of pavement, to walk, to work and what not.

Migrants over centuries built this city, and that is the crux of this nice article by Bachi Karkaria in the TOI.

More than any other metropolis, Mumbai is native-neutral, whatever the Shiv Sena may like to project. Migration is a continuous-process industry here, and the city would be non-existent without migrants. This is exactly the opposite of the pattern in Chennai and Kolkata, places firmly rooted in their mono-chauvinism.

……Yet, contrary to Jug Suraiya’s premise, this does not make for a disparate anonymity where you can get away with murder or molestation. Quite the opposite. You learn to adapt, and live in the togetherness of strangers. In fact, communal angularities have full rein in the company of your own kind. Outside it, it is imperative that you emery them down. This is why the Goan makes good outside Goa;, the Bengali does better outside the stifling cultural terrorism of Kolkata; the Punjabi is so much quieter outside Delhi. As a Parsi, I could have claimed Mumbai as my patrimony, but I was a migrant too from the communal outpost of Kolkata, and the first thing that struck me was that the resident of the baugs and colonies was almost a different species from the Parsis back home.

Continue reading the entire article here.

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