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
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" 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.
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 ?
Wednesday, June 07, 2017
Monday, June 05, 2017
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.