World Book Fair, or a giant Book Shop?

We visited World Book Fair 2015 at Pragati Maidan yesterday. We spent about 4 hours there, and while we bought tons of books, I didn’t feel excited the way I used to feel a few years ago on the sight of books. Something was missing from the fair. I remember I had a similar feeling in the last Delhi Book Fair, which was similar but in fewer halls. This set me thinking.

I think these fairs are a big waste of time as they are structured today and not worth visiting. Continue reading “World Book Fair, or a giant Book Shop?”

Living on the urban edge

Living in Greater Noida gives you an esoteric mix of experiences. If I go 2-3 kms east from my house, I reach Kasna village. It is a true blue town-village with small shops, narrow walkways and unique mix of urban and rural products for sale. I can buy vegetables 30% cheaper than Reliance Fresh. I can buy a ‘charpai’ or even ‘chai’ glasses used to serve tea in roadside tea stalls – things my nearby Spencer will be embarrassed to even talk about.

If I head north instead, I reach Grand Venice Mall, which is supposed to be “Modern India’s first mega tourist destination”, whatever it means! Continue reading “Living on the urban edge”

Is Haider (the movie) a test of nationalism?

Me: “Did you watch Haider? It is a good movie.”

A family member: “No, I didn’t. I heard it is an anti-national movie.”

I was shocked by the response! This wasn’t one of those hate-mongering, ultra-nationalists people in abundance in India these days; this was a sober, soft-spoken, family member who genuinely believed what he said.

When the movie Haider released, I wanted to watch it because I wanted to see how well Vishal Bhardwaj did the Hamlet adaptation. When I read about it being ‘sympathetic’ to Muslims and critical of Army, I dismissed it as a fiction created by media for some masala, and still wanted to watch it. When I did watch it, Continue reading “Is Haider (the movie) a test of nationalism?”

हिन्दी की दशा

अभी पिछले सप्ताह मैं 3-4 हिन्दी magazines खरीद कर लाया। इच्छा थी कि कुछ हिन्दी में पढ़ूँ, और जानूँ कि हिन्दी में क्या लिखा जा रहा है। बीच बीच में मुझे ये बुखार चढ़ जाता है। खैर, magazines थीं ये: पाखी, कथादेश, हंस, और “आहा! जिंदगी।” पढ्न शुरू किया दो-तीन दिन की सुस्ती के बाद। उलट-पलट कर देखा तो बड़ी दिक्कत हुई समझने में। फिर लगा की शायद बड़े दिनों से पढ़ा नहीं है, सो जंग लग गयी होगी मेरी भाषा में, सो थोड़ी मेहनत करके पढ़ ही लेता हूँ कुछ। काफी मशक्कत के बाद 3 कहानियाँ और कुछ कवितायें पढ़ डाली। पढ़ने के बाद काफी निराशा हुई, दो-तीन विचार आए दिमाग में जो यहाँ share करना चाहता हूँ:
Continue reading “हिन्दी की दशा”

I am Reconnecting with Myself – Thank you Asmita!

070614_0729_IamReconnec1.pngMy recent reconnect with theatre scene in Delhi was enabled by Asmita Theatre Group and their 2-month long summer festival. If you are in Delhi, do check out Asmita’s plays, they are in the last leg of their Summer Theatre festival and I can guarantee you will not be disappointed at the experience!

I was introduced to plays in 2000 (or around that time). 4 years into my career, at the height of dot-com boom, I was back in Delhi after my first stint in US and had time on my hands as I was figuring out how to set up my own company. One day, I don’t remember why, we went to India Habitat Centre, 2-3 of us, to watch a play “Final Solutions”. We were led to a basement hall in IHC where I was sitting in the 3rd or 4th row, and it was amazing to see the actors from up close. We went again after a few weeks, and this time we sat in the front row. It was even more amazing – seeing the actor right in front of me, performing with a finesse, but also with the fragility of a live performance – I was praying they don’t forget a line or miss a cue! I was hooked. Continue reading “I am Reconnecting with Myself – Thank you Asmita!”

Martyrs of Unfinished Urbanization, or just collateral damages?

I read with extreme shock this morning’s newspaper account of a doctor and his 5 yr. old daughter crushed to death by a speeding bus. While I am getting desensitized by constant barrage of news about accidental deaths, this was more shocking for 2 reasons:

  1. They were nowhere close to the road and still were killed by a bus.
  2. I stand with my daughter every day outside my apartment complex, my wife does the same for our younger one.

Continue reading “Martyrs of Unfinished Urbanization, or just collateral damages?”

Getting stopped for red light jumping

While driving over the weekend on the crowded NH-24 near Indira Puram area, I was following the vehicles in front rather than looking at the status of the traffic light. Apparently, on one of the crossing, light turned red while I was crossing the intersection. Promptly I was stopped by a police (he didn’t have his name badge on so I couldn’t find out his name or designation). He informed me that I had jumped the red light and asked for my papers and license. Then he informed me that he has to keep my driving license which I can collect from some Ghaziabad court where I need to go to pay for the challan for red light jumping. Continue reading “Getting stopped for red light jumping”

Road Accidents

ID-10097768-car wreckToday, while rushing from Greater Noida to Noida to meet someone in a client company, someone hit my car. It was a small dent in the rear bumper, while negotiating the treacherous circle in Pari Chowk. While I would like to say it wasn’t my fault, it actually was: I had no business going that route when I could have taken a different one, I had no right to try and go straight through when most of the traffic was trying to go on the expressway, and of course I shouldn’t have chosen 9:45 am as the time to pass through that area, when it is the clumsiest (since most people, like me, are rushing to an appointment they are late for – expressways give you a false sense of security that you can make up for any delays!). Continue reading “Road Accidents”

RBI can help only those who help themselves

Recently, RBI mandated that all Debit card transactions on retail will require PIN – this means putting in your PIN when the card is swiped at shops, restaurants and petrol pumps. Clearly, this is done to ensure that fraudulent transactions on debit cards are avoided. This is the same (ATM) PIN you use to access your bank account through the same card on an ATM, so the PIN is very sensitive data.

I went to a restaurant the other night, and after we were done eating and gulping down large portions of saunf and sugar cubes, I gave my debit card for paying the bill, as usual. Continue reading “RBI can help only those who help themselves”

Strangers as Neighbors

I was surprised when my doorbell rang around midnight couple of nights ago. Good thing was that I was alone, bad thing was that I didn’t have a way to see who is behind the door (we had given up chasing the maintenance guys who were supposed to put an eyepiece on the door). Anyway, I opened the door, to find the guard of our building there.I was very surprised, he never comes up to our house.

He asked me if my TV was on. I said no, and asked him why he was asking. “One of your neighbours complained that there is loud noise coming from somewhere, so I am checking on your house,”  he said. Continue reading “Strangers as Neighbors”