Wednesday, June 14, 2017


I like arranging things, in neat files and folders, with appropriately assigned names and descriptions, stacked in order, in order to retrieve at will. Then I forget the sequence and have to start all over again. I like arranging things, in neat files and folders...

Thursday, June 08, 2017

China Beyond The Miracle

    An adulatory book on the Chinese economic miracle by an Indian bureaucrat recently come back from a posting in China. The adulation is without qualifications but not without merit and detail. Officially communist China opened itself to foreign capital in the early 80s, and rode a magical economic turnaround in the next few decades based on low wages, cheap trade union free, labour exploitative manufacturing and exports for the world and massive investments in infrastructure and high-rise urban real estate, fuelled by low-cost credit from state-owned banks, tax-concessions enthused inflows of FDI, forcible land-acquisitions, etc. But the bubble has to burst sometime. Today's China, no longer growing in double fantastic digits, is trying to move away from being the factory of the world to its designer. It is also trying to be less export reliant, and trying to unlock the massive domestic consumption market. And the author is impressed and hopeful. No talk however of the long term impact on the environment and on human relationships, of a growth model solely based on more and more and more, of everything. While the rivers get polluted, hills get denuded and the air gets too thick to breathe...

Strangers across the Border

"Strangers across the Border" by journalist Reshma Patil, on her three-and-a-half years’ stint in China (between 2008-12, running the news bureau of Hindustan Times in Beijing) and her interactions with a cross-section of that nation's society, apparently from the angle of Indo-Chinese detente, is a contradictory read, peppered as it is with a pseudo-realist pessimism. Through her long-suffering tale she is in turn refused appointments, served dubious food (being a vegetarian), forced to hear disapproving noises about her parent country and generally made to feel insignificant. I do think that the Chinese do not particularly spend too much time thinking of India (as opposed to, say, of US of A and/or Europe). But a book about encouraging meaningful (and hopefully, joyful) contact between China and India (the Chinese and the Indians) should have been more positive.

Indian Men

We had two european girl students here on exchange last semester. One was a quiet one, the other a rebel. But both made their final fiction films on Indian men routinely harassing and assaulting women. True picture of our mother docile cow and father military bow-wow ancient land ?

Being old

I have always wanted to be old; till recently.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017


XIAMEN (formerly Amoy) - this is where I am headed, soon... (Arunachal Pradesh and part of Jammu & Kashmir state show up as Chinese territory in this apparently Chinese origin map, taken from the web - not my doing)

Monday, June 05, 2017

A bird in my barn

The pencil sketch of the sparrow is by the owner of the homestay we had briefly stayed in Kandy, Sri Lanka few months back - however just before framing it accidentally came under the typically unfeeling wheels of fast moving Ahmedabad traffic, but luckily survived with just a fold in the unused part of the paper.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Ex's Fart

Listening to the arrogant, self-righteous and blindly jingoistic ex-army generals on TV is like inhaling the stinky slimy poison which they just exhaled from you know where of their bloated handlebar mustachioed selves. And three cheers to Nidhi Razdan on NDTV for standing up to their graceless bullying.

Monday, May 29, 2017


Two nations, both once one, fight over a land, once part of them, whose people would rather have neither, left to themselves. Kashmir.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Unravelling: Pakistan in the Age of Jihad

Pakistan was conceived as a safe haven for South Asian Muslims (where they could practice unhindered their uniquely liberal and celebratory Sufi brand of Islam) by a British-educated stiff upper lip Shia lawyer whose vision was decidedly secular and modern. But it has long since abandoned its founder Jinnah’s blueprint. A blind guttural dislike of its neighbour, and once sibling, India (mainly because of the unfinished business of Kashmir) and a Saudi fed drift into Sunni Wahabbi extremism has transformed Pakistan into almost a lost cause, with the world fearfully watching its nuclear stockpile. The turning point was the anti-Soviet Afghan war of the 80s, where American (+ Saudi) money and weapons, and Pakistani shelter and training, spitefully created the monster jihadi machine. The book “The Unravelling: Pakistan in the Age of Jihad” by former American diplomat John R. Schmidt once stationed in Islamabad, lightly glides over America and Saudi Arabia’s direct responsibility in messing with Pakistan, but otherwise details in very fine print the cumulative muddle Pakistani state and society has progressively and inexorably drawn itself into. A scary read, the book ends with conjecturing about the aftermaths of a nuclear war in South Asia, almost relishing the cataclysmic details.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Gandhi Before India

This voluminous tome (nearly 700 pages), on the lives and times that Gandhi (MK) led between 1893-1914 in South Africa, brings forth fresh perspectives about his progressive development into the bare-footed, sometimes wily, ‘Mahatma’ he eventually became. Though principally an admirer’s account, Ramachandra Guha does not shy away from revealing the occasional dirt. However sometimes the efforts at appreciative approval are tediously detailed & repetitive and at times the dirt is glossed over in a hurry or in broad strokes. Gandhi was no friend of the black man in Africa, while he was in Africa. Patriarchy and baniya values, combined with extreme idiosyncrasies in the matters of food, sex and health, were the other demons he struggled with, along with an increasing understanding of the surprising power of moral persuasion. Was he right or wrong? Or perhaps his importance lies in the fact that he tried.


Kesar Mangoes anybody ? At the Gir Birding Lodge ( Mobile phone photo: Arun Gupta.

Which Tree is this ? At a Gir Forest check post. Mobile phone photo: Arun Gupta.

Somnath Temple

The Somnath Shiv Temple near Veraval, Gujarat is such an ordinary, overhyped space. Disappointing to visit it after hearing so much about it, especially from the Hindu right.

Assembly Elections March 2017

The astute Indian voter has spoken - wide awake in deep slumber.

Time for the Gandhi clan to let Congress be.

Time to rethink universal adult franchise ? Should there be some minimum qualifications needed to exercise your vote other than mere biological maturity ?

Thursday, February 09, 2017

A Year Since...

A year since I left my previous home; a year since I moved on, and away - such is life...

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

One flew over the Qutub's crest...

(Mobile phone photo by Arun Gupta)

The Shot as Shot

Qutub Minar from behind the Alai Darwaza (Photo Left: Prahlad Gopakumar and Photo Right: Arun Gupta)

Monday, February 06, 2017

An education decades too late...

Continuing to get an education four decades too late - perfect symmetry at the Mughal emperor Humayun's Tomb ! (Mobile phone photo by Arun Gupta)

I saw the Qutub Minar !

    (Mobile phone photo by Arun Gupta)

Monday, January 30, 2017


Here it is ! CHEENI KUM HAI, the interactive short fiction film me and Prahlad guided as part of the Open Elective course 'Boy Meets Girl: Kal Aaj Aur Kal' we were conducting recently at NID, Ahmedabad. Have a look and share widely.

(Note: Interactivity features will not work properly on mobile/tablet platforms)

Cheeni Kum Hai ('Boy Meets Girl' Open Elective)

Friday, January 20, 2017

Bull shit

Tamil pride rests on teasing the bull ?

The 'educated' youth of Chennai want animal welfare bodies to be banned, court decisions to be circumvented, and the 'ancient' culture of Tamilnadu saved by twisting the holy tails of already scared & agitated four-legged creatures.

India is a great country, and we are bullish about bullshit.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Patriot and Nationalist

A patriot loves his country; a nationalist hates the other's - well said Ramchandra Guha, chief guest at the recent NID Convocation ceremonies !

Ramchandra Guha @ NID Convocation 2017