Showing posts from July, 2007

khuda ke liye

khuda ke Liya seems to be rocking Pakistan.

For many Pakistanis - or at least those in this theater - the movie offers an explanation for the unrest around them.

“I had been dying to see this movie,” Sara Malik, a 17-year-old student, dressed in jeans and a powder-pink T-shirt told me after the movie. “It’s an amazing story, because it explains what really happens behind things like the Lal Masjid [Red Mosque],” she said, with nods of agreement by nearby school friends. The violent weeklong battle between religious militants and the Pakistan Army this month in Islamabad was unnerving for the entire country and unlike anything the youth of the country had ever witnessed.

A synopsis of the movie, about musician brothers caught up in a post September 11th world, can be found on the film’s website. Adding to the local relevancy of the film (as mentioned by the young woman above) was the recent Lal Masjid siege (a.k.a. Operation Sunrise) against the militant Ghazi brothers:

Archie in India

Ennis writes in Sepia Mutiny, about Archie Comics. The adventures of Archie, Veronica, Jughead and Betty are being recreated in India. Growing up it seemed there were Archie comics everywhere, in Sanawar, we read them during class, tucked under our study books.

In what looks to be India’s answer to Archie, a teenage lookalike of King Khan plays a regular college kid with two femme fatales (Betty and Veronica?) who bear a strong resemblance to Aishwarya Rai and Rani Mukherji. The story is appropriately titled The Naughty Lover.

The US-based comic giant Archie Comics Entertainment is firming up its India plans. It is gearing up to launch local language content in India, besides an animation series featuring its characters. The company is in talks with three Indian animation studios for the production of the series.


Sunny from Pickled Politics discusses the social network site Facebook. He does not think Face Book will change politics in a hurry. I joined it recently, and found its a great way to stay in touch with people, and see how many friends people have, other than that I dont see it as being very useful.

I have now been fervently addicted to the website Facebook for several months now. Of course my excuse is that I wanted to learn how social networking works and what political opportunities it can offer. Unfortunately the short answer is: not much and not anytime soon. So if anyone out there is trying to sell you a political campaign through social networks now, fire them.

To be fair, Facebook has many advantages over its competitors for those interested in politics and social issues.

The most important is the homepage, which notifies you of developments on your own profile and offers a glance at what your friends have been doing. It works brilliantly as the electronic equivalent of word-of-m…

Better by Atul Gawande

The stories in Better are engrossing, well written, entertaining and educational. The Doctor, looks at the medical establishment in America from the inside as a trained surgeon, and is able to keep it light and free of too much medical jargon, and therefore, readable to a non-medical audience.

Atul Gawande describes the need to be diligent, do the right thing and to stay ingenious at the same time. His chapter on the simple idea of washing hands was good. I also enjoyed his chapter on the score, about how childbirth had been made much safer, and the Apgar score that newborns were given 1 and 5 minutes after birth had significantly reduced infant mortality. For instance if a child at one minute after birth had a terrible Apgar score, they could often be resuscitated- with measures like oxygen and warming- to an excellent score in five minutes. This score also lead to the creation of neonatal intensive care units. The author suggested an Apgar type score be created after every operation…



a beautiful farishta

a beautiful farishta became part of our family today

welcome to the world

thankyou for enriching us with your presence

we pray for your mother to regain her strength and power

and recover from all the pain that this birth caused

we love you more than words can say......

Wombs for Rent and Egg Donors

Marie Claire has an interesting article on Wombs for Rent in Anand, Gujarat, India. The author, Abigail Haworth describes, Dr. Nayna Patel the doctor that has started the begginings of surrogate motherhood in India. The women mostly lend their wombs for economic reasons, earning $5,500 per pregnancy.The Indian laws for surrogacy are still not very well defined, unlike in the US, where a financial transaction cannot take place. Also the Indian women need to sign a contract that they will not claim this child once born as their own. In the U.S. a woman can change her mind after the baby's birth.

Peggy Orentstein raised very perplexing questions in the NYT magazine a week ago, in her article, Your Gamete, Myself.

With egg donation, science has succeeded in, if not extending women’s fertility, at least making an end run around it, allowing older women who, for a variety of reasons (lack of money, lack of partner, lack of interest, lack of partner’s interest) didn’t have children in th…



i love it


my first rice cereal


Mohammed Haneef

Barkha Dutt writes in the Hindustan Times, about Mohammed Haneef's trial in Australia and Indian's hypocrisy surrounding it.

New Delhi, July 21, 2007

Our schizophrenia as a people is astounding. Right now we are consumed with self-righteous indignation over how Mohammed Haneef, an Indian citizen and an initial suspect in the Glasgow bomb blast, is being treated by the Australians. In his humiliation, we see a sinister attack on our national pride. In the decision to scrap his visa, we see the premature death of our own emigration dreams. We want our government to be less effete in its intervention. We think this is about racism, not terrorism.

In itself, this is a worthy (if slightly selfish) and laudable emotion. By all accounts, the 27-year-old doctor from Bangalore is being victimised, hounded and tortured. A magistrate has already ruled that there is no evidence to link Haneef with the bombing conspiracies in either Glasgow or London. And yet, an innocent man continues to be…

Modesty Blaise

I have never read or even heard of her, but lots of people in India are talking about her, here is Urvashi Butalia's take on her family tree in Tehelka.

A Blaise of Glory

The recent reprint of the Modesty Blaise series has Urvashi Butalia on a quest for the spunky heroine’s literary family tree

I’m an inveterate reader of thrillers. I put one down and start another. I read them surreptitiously, consumed with guilt about the other ‘more serious’ things I should be doing. Imagine my delight when Penguin India reprinted the entire Modesty Blaise set — 13 shining, spanking, uv-laminated, metallic-spined volumes about my favourite — well almost favourite — heroine!

Who’s Modesty Blaise, you might well ask. A waif, a stray who grew up rough, fought pitched street battles, learnt karate, shooting, meditation and yoga from the greatest masters, including one called Sivaji in, of all places, the Thar. Traversed India, China, the Arab world, Hong Kong — interestingly, never the US. Ran a crime…


We saw this beautiful movie last week. I have not read Susan Minot's book, but i thought the movie was able to capture the fragility of life, the "mistakes" one lives with and the fragility of relationships over generations. I liked Vanessa Redgrave's line of be happy and not to live in fear, and Meryl Streep saying that they are not mistakes but are a part of living ones life. Claire Danes was gorgeous as the young Ann Lord.

Here is a synopsis from the New Yorker's David Denby.

In “Evening,” based on Susan Minot’s celebrated 1998 novel, an elderly woman, Ann Lord (Vanessa Redgrave), lies dying, attended by her two daughters (Natasha Richardson and Toni Collette) and by memories of a painful and ecstatic weekend decades before. In the early fifties, at the Newport wedding of her best friend (Mamie Gummer), she divided her time between two young men—her friend’s ranting alcoholic brother (Hugh Dancy) and a handsome young doctor (Patrick Wilson), with whom she fell i…

Asma Jahangir

The New Yorker has a wonderful piece by William Dalrymple on human rights lawyer, Asma Jahangir. He traces her activism, from setting up her own law firm, with her sister Hina Jilani, to fighting against the repressive Hudood legislation passed by dictator Zia ul-Haq, to surviving an attack in her office.

Jahangir helped organize protest marches against the Hudood Ordinances, and she was arrested and sent to prison for a month in 1983. There she met many women who had been arrested under the new laws, and, on her release, she took up their cases. She helped overturn a sentence of imprisonment and flogging issued against a blind woman who was raped and then charged with zina. In 1986, she helped establish the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. The H.R.C. defended women accused of adultery. It also took on a growing number of blasphemy cases filed against Ahmadis, a heterodox Muslim sect, and Christians: a single accusation could result in execution.

Jahangir’s position as a human-righ…

Pooja Chauhan

Bina Ramani has written a powerful piece on Pooja Chauhan's protest and other women like her who suffer similarly.

Naked Among Wolves
Pooja Chauhan is one woman. But she spoke up for lakhs like her.

Bina Ramani

Pooja Chauhan, a young mother of a two-year-old, should be honoured by each one of us for having the gall to protest semi-naked in public against her tormenters—her husband and her in-laws, who were allegedly harassing her for not bringing in enough dowry and for bearing a girl child.

I shudder to imagine the depths of despair Pooja must have suffered before daring to take such a step. I feel ashamed to belong to a society where a young woman is forced to fight for her dignity by stripping down to her underwear and walking down the streets of a small town. What I find even more deplorable is that the authorities, instead of giving her shelter and compassion, chose to arrest her along with her tormenters, albeit on a separate charge of 'indecent exposure'. My blood …

Martha Nussbaum- The Clash Within.

I have just finished reading The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India's Future by Martha Nussbaum, and think it is the seminal book for understanding contemporary India. She starts by talking about the shameful genocide in Gujarat, where Muslim women were raped, and then murdered by inserting metal objects in their vaginas.

She then contextualizes the discussion by interviewing some contemporary figures in the Hindu Right, K.K. Shastri, Devendra Swarup and the politician Arun Shourie. In sharp contrast to these zealots she presents the dignified leaders of the Indian Freedom movement, Rabindranath Tagore, the poet, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.

She goes more in to the background of the ideas, that lead to democracy in India, and the visions of pluralism, respect for all and equality, that the founding fathers envisioned in the Indian constitution. She than discusses the causes and consequences of the rise of the Hindu right. Her psychological and philosphi…

Sakharov on Intellectual Freedom

Intellectual freedom is essential to human society — freedom to obtain and distribute information, freedom for open-minded and unfearing debate and freedom from pressure by officialdom and prejudices. Such a trinity of freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorship. Freedom of thought is the only guarantee of the feasibility of a scientific democratic approach to politics, economics and culture.

–Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov, Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom, July 22, 1968

vacations and twinkies

Alternet has a great article on the differences in vacation between Europe and America.
Shorter vacations, longer work weeks and skimpy sick leave for Americans add up -- not to greater upward mobility, but to a burned-out workforce earning less than preceding generations.

Another article in alternet is on the industry that produces twinkies, the archetype of processed foods.
On a personal note, we used to read Archie Comics growing up, and at the back there was a section on twinkies and hostess cupcakes. We had never seen or eaten junk food like that, so were always fascinated about what these appetizing images tasted like.

So, I know that certain foods are linked to certain places. What's appealing to me about Twinkie, Deconstructed is that processed foods, by their very definition, are not linked to any place. They're anti-linked, they're meant to be producible everywhere and always the same. So, it was intriguing to see where the opposite of the, let's say, Belgian bee…


Doula has some inspiring posts on non-linear thinking and labour.

I actually only know how my brain, a woman's brain, works. And it's totally non-linear. My daughter's brain works like mine, and people laugh when they hear us talking, shifting from one subject to another without any apparent link. Ah, but we independently followed the link from five minutes earlier in our conversation.

Birth is also feminine, non-linear. It works like a woman's brain. There are multiple tasks being accomplished at any one time - descent, rotation, softening, opening. Almost ESP-like communication can take place between a woman and a wise caregiver - this is the "monkey-brain" or "reptile-brain" at work. Thoughts, memories, past experiences, and current understanding are accommodated, merged, drawn upon.

"It's in the core," she says. "Yes, I can hear the baby descending," I say. "No more than twenty minutes. Hear me." "Yes, I feel…
The Octagon a new building on Roosevelt Island, has a lot of features I was unaware off.

Blending Centuries

Roosevelt Island Development Merges New and Old Towers

by Natalie Keith

A new 500,000-sq.-ft. apartment complex on New York City's Roosevelt Island is wrapping various construction specialties into a development that will preserve an unusual slice of the city's history.

The new $170 million Octagon development on the East River isle blends the renovation of an historic structure with two new 14-story apartment towers.

"The most challenging aspect of the project was the restoration of the Octagon Tower," said Bruce Becker, president of Becker + Becker Associates of Fairfield, Conn., the project's architect and developer.

The renovation of the five-story Octagon Tower brings back an 1841 building designed by Alexander Jackson Davis. It first served as entry and administrative space for the New York Lunatic and Pauper Society and later as Metropolitan Hospital. It…



woman swiming

I got this image from Vancouver Doula. I think it's a beautiful shot.

Venus Rocks

Williams, seeded 23rd, defeated Marion Bartoli 6-4, 6-1, becoming the lowest-seeded woman to win Wimbledon.
With Wimbledon paying equal prize money to men and women for the first time this year, Williams won $1.407 million. Bartoli received $703,500. Williams has been among the most vocal proponents of equal prize money.
She also equaled Billy Jean King's record of 4 wins at Wimbledon.

Knocked Up

We saw a comedy this week, "Knocked Up". It's on par with last year's hit, "Little Miss Sunshine". I especially enjoyed the pre and post pregnancy scenes.

Here is a review from Jeanne Aufmuth, from the Palo Alto Weekly.

“Knocked Up” comes with the kind of built-in buzz you can’t buy, courtesy the near cult-following of director Judd Apatow’s “The 40 Year-Old Virgin”.

Apatow plays it characteristically simple. Luscious E! News reporter Alison Scott (Katherine Heigl) celebrates her new promotion by getting smashed at a local bar. Where she meets Ben Stone (Seth Rogen), a perma-loser whose short-term career plan is launching the website, a comely counting of cinematic nude scenes.

Ben lives with his pubescent roommates, each more arrestedly developed than the next, while Alison has bigger fish to fry. Not a match made in heaven.

Naturally Alison gets knocked up when the pair hook up in a frenzy of itchy lust and bar fumes. The premise is…you wil…

Lawrence College Ghora Gali Muree

I had posted earlier a report of a visit by Sanawar Students to Ghora Gali, here is the Gallian's visiting Sanawar.

Tue Jul 3, 2007 3:09 am (PST)
(2006), Lawrence College, Ghora Gali, Murree.


Ali Umair
Head Boy
Lawrence college,
Ghora Gali, Murree

29th September, 2006 was the historical day when Principal Lawrence College, Ghora Gali, Murree Pakistan headed a delegation, comprising two staff members, College Head-boy, four Prefects along with twelve other boys from class 10th and 11th to India.

Gallians crossed the border on 30th September with great enthusiasm and spirit. They reached Amritsar where they visited Golden Temple and the DAV Public School hosted a lunch for them.

Madam Kalpana Bakhshi along with an other staff member from the Lawrence School, Sanawar received the guests from Pakistan warmly and remained with the young gallians throughout the trip.

Next day, in Chandigarh, the students visited the shopping mall and attended an excellent lun…

Breast feeding Conspiracy

Marjorie Ingall writes a humorous piece on the Breast feeding conspiracy, believe it or not formula is not poison.

And is formula really so horrid? Dr. Minkin has a succinct answer for the lactivists, mamabloggers and playground experts who say that formula is "poison": "Bullshit!" She elaborates, "The major advantage of breastfeeding is that formula just can't provide the antibodies a mother's milk can. But at around two months, the baby's immune system picks up and it's far less of a concern. So don't let Great Aunt Tillie with pneumonia cuddle your newborn!"

If I bottle-feed, will I fail to bond with my daughter? Will she end up in a biker gang?

And formula is closer to breast milk now than it used to be. In 2002, two essential fatty acids in breast milk, DHA and ARA, were added to formula. Says Dr. Allan N. Schore, a developmental neuroscientist at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA who studies attachment and bonding and is a majo…

Mira with her grandma puppet!!


Summer of Love

Whitney has an exhibit on Summer of Love, art of the psychedelic era. This car is in the basement of the whitney and a part of the exhibit.

Bags anyone?


a full moon


Face Paint


Mr. Clown Man

This juggler was juggling balls while telling young kids and their parents this wonderful poem by Dorothy Law Nolte.

Children Learn What they Live

If children live with criticism
They learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility
They learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule
They learn to be shy.
If children live with shame
They learn to feel guilty.
If children live with suppression
They learn to hate.
If children learn to live with neglect
They learn to not care.
If children live with pain
They learn to feel hurt.


Children learn patience
If they live with tolerance.
Children learn confidence
If they live with encouragement.
Children learn to appreciate
If they live with praise.
Children learn justice
If they live with fairness.
Children learn faith
If they live with security.
Children to like themselves
If they live with approval,
And children learn love
If they live with acceptance
And friendship.

it has to be a good day when a butterfly sits on you


i love my grandma


Sophia with her grandma