Showing posts from September, 2007

Children's Books and DVD's

I just finished watching some wonderful interactive DVD's for kids.

The first one was Swimmy and more classic Leo Lionni Stories By Scholastic.
It consists of 5 stories, Swimmy, Frederick, Fish is Fish, It's mine and Cornelius. Watching the stories, you feel that you are reading a beautifully illustrated book. The images are not cartoonish, but gentle and calm and very soothing for a small baby. Most of the stories deal with animals like fish, mice, frogs and even a crocodile.

The other DVD was Baby Einstein, Meet the Orchestra. This DVD introduces children to musical instruments found in an orchestra and the different sounds they make. We saw string instruments, piano and guitar, wood wind and drums. It was entertaining since it included puppet shows, little babies playing the instruments, and familiar classical music by Beethoven, Joplin, Haydn, Mozart and Strauss. Mira loved to hear the different sounds each instrument made.
The Baby Einstein company definitely has a pulse on …

Cat got your tongue?

Time magazine describes the reasons that India is so silent on the saffron revolution that is threatening the power of the dictators. Here are the geo-political reasons why.

Delhi's strategy is threefold. Its initial overtures to Burma's military leaders came as India faced a growing insurgency in its northeast. Many of the rebel groups in that region are based and train across the border in Burma. As India has grown friendlier with Burma's generals the two countries have worked together — with some limited success — on eradicating the northeastern insurgents.

Like China, power-hungry India is also keen on exploiting Burma's huge oil and gas resources. This month it signed a production deal for three deep-water exploration blocks off the Rakhine coast. It is also searching for gas in two other blocks. Access to Burma's resources will help boost India's power supplies but it is important for geopolitical reasons as well. The new production deal comes only months a…

Beauty Junkies

Alternet has an excerpted article from Ms. Magazine about cosmetic surgery being touted as the new feminism.

Alex Kuczynski, a New York Times reporter and author of Beauty Junkies (Doubleday, 2006) calls these latest appeals "the new feminism, an activism of aesthetics." That ignores the work of feminists from Susan Faludi to Susan Bordo, who have argued for years against the global beauty industry and its misogynistic practices. Yet the cosmetic-surgery industry is doing exactly what the beauty industry has done for years: It's co-opting, repackaging and reselling the feminist call to empower women into what may be dubbed "consumer feminism." Under the dual slogans of possibility and choice, producers, promoters and providers are selling elective surgery as self-determination.

These days, with consumers able to "choose" from among a dizzying array of procedures and providers, even the most minute areas of the female body are potential sites of worry an…

Half Of A Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Just finished reading a very powerful book on the struggle for Biafra. The title referred to the national flag of Biafra The novelist weaves the story of families and relationships, loyalties and fears while dealing with the larger issues of war, hunger, poverty, violence and death.

The dialogue between Aunty Ifeka and Olanna was the turning point in the novel for Olanna.

.."I know now that nothing he does will make my life change. My life will only change if I want it to change."

"What are you saying Aunty?"

"He is very careful now, since he realized that I am no longer afraid"...."You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Do you hear me?" Aunty Ifeka said.

"Your life belongs to you and you alone, soso gi.."

NYT's reviews it here.

ARE we ready for a novel about an imploding nation riven by religious strife and bloody wrangling over who controls the military, the civil service, the oil; a novel about looting, roadside bomb…

The Despotism Formerly Known as Burma

NYT has a strong editorial on the Saffron Revolution sweeping Burma. Burma's neighbours, China, Russia and India, that sell the military weapons need to make definitive statements demanding that the cruel military junta step down.

By dispatching troops into the streets and imposing a curfew, Myanmar’s cruel military junta has set the stage for a serious clash with pro-democracy activists. A firm and united international response along the lines outlined by President Bush and the European Union at the United Nations yesterday offers the best hope of encouraging peaceful change in a nation that has endured a 19-year reign of fear. The question is whether the countries with the greatest influence on Myanmar’s generals — China, Russia and India, which all sell weapons to the army, as well as the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that are Myanmar’s immediate neighbors — have the good sense to condemn the repression and exert the pressures only they can wield with an…

Sankriti Indian Dances

This dance recital was part of the incredible India celebration, I saw the Monday evening show. I felt the first half was wonderful, with each dance form, starting with Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Mohiniattam and ending with Kathak was well done. After the break the composite section which included the above dances and also featured, Kathakali and Manipuri dances was well conceived and spectacular. But then a repeat of all dances was tedious and unnecessary and took away from the magic of the evening. The Composite presentation was choreographed by Madhavi Mudgal.

Here is a bit of history on Indian dance and on each of the styles.

Indian dance follows the tradition of Natyashastra- a treatise on dance written by Bharata.

Bharatanatyam- comes from Tamil Nadu. It has songs in Telugu, Tamil and Sanskrit. The Tanjore Quartet of the 19th century created the structure, format and musical compositions for present day performances. The dance deals with nritta, abstract dance and nritya which unfolds …

Spinning Wheel Film Festival

I saw the 4th cluster of SW film festival at the Asia Society. The first thing that I noticed was that Sikh women have started wearing a turban. Here is a link to Sikh women from the Sikhwiki. I have being around Sikh women all my life and have never seen women wear turbans so am curious if this is a current development? Are these women practising a different type of Sikhism? Is it in reponse to men that are taking off their turbans after 9.11 so as not to be confused with Muslims. If anyone has more knowledge about this do send me comments.

I saw two movies, the first was Ninteen Eighty Four and the via Dolorosa Project by the Singh Twins. The 23 minute movie explores the twin's painting, 1984 that depicts the storming of the Golden Temple at Amritsar by Indian troops. The connection with the Catholic Christian tradition of the Via Dolorosa was interesting.

The second movie was 73 minutes long, titled Widow Colony and directed by Harpreet Kaur. This movie took an indepth look into…

Burma Protests and Honor Killing in Punjab

So much happening and so little time to blog. My baby is also suffering from major separation anxiety from her mother. So when I come home she cry's when she sees me, and is upset in the evenings. By the time I put her to sleep I am exhausted.

In Burma the protests seems to be growing daily with nuns, monks being joined by Burmese citizens, demanding an end to military rule. Bush's sanctions on top military leaders is a positive development.

Surjit was killed by her mother-in-law and the MIL's brother Darshan. Her husband tried to cover up the crime. Sickening and disgusting. When will Sikhs stop worrying about their family's izzat and start caring and protecting their sisters, daughters and mothers??

A 70-year-old Sikh grandmother was jailed for life yesterday for arranging the "honour killing" of a daughter-in-law she blamed for bringing shame on the family name by seeking a divorce.
In what the judge described as a "heinous crime characterised by great…

Early Morning Book reading with Pishe


Geeta Bhua


Men and Women

NYT has a wonderful article on rich women dating men who earn less than them.

Ms. Rowland, like some other women interviewed, said that she has come to the conclusion that it would be easier to date someone in the same economic bracket.

“I love traveling, going to the opera and good restaurants,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be Per Se, but good food is important in my life. It’s sometimes hard to maintain the lifestyle I’m used to when I’m in a relationship with a guy who makes less than me, since I don’t want to be paying for the guy I’m with all the time.”

The discomfort over who pays for what seems to be not really about money, plain and simple. Instead, it is suggestive of the complex psychology of what many of these women expect from their dates (for him to be a traditional breadwinner) and what they think they should expect (Oh, I just want him to be a nice guy).

On a first date at a lounge in Hell’s Kitchen, Thrupthi Reddy, 28, a brand strategist in Manhattan, watched her date …

Email Communication

CS monitor describes miscomunications that happen when people rely on email too much.

World USA Commentary Work & Money Learning Living Sci/Tech A & E Travel Books The Home Forum Home | About Us/Help | Archive | Subscribe | Feedback | Text Edition Search:

Sci/Tech>Computers & Technology
from the May 15, 2006 edition

It's all about me: Why e-mails are so easily misunderstood
By Daniel Enemark | Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor

Michael Morris and Jeff Lowenstein wouldn't have recognized each other if they'd met on the street, but that didn't stop them from getting into a shouting match. The professors had been working together on a research study when a technical glitch inconvenienced Mr. Lowenstein. He complained in an e-mail, raising Mr. Morris's ire. Tempers flared.
"It became very embarrassing later," says Morris, when it turned out there had been a miscommunication, "but we realized that we couldn't blame each other fo…

Jena again

Moorish Girl's blog alerted me to this article by Gary Younge in the Nation, which so clearly articulates, that the events in Jena were not an isolated redneck action, but racism that is endemic in American society, including the "liberal" states of New York, Connecticut and Vermont.

beneath the radar | posted September 20, 2007 (October 8, 2007 issue)
'Jena Is America'
Gary Younge

In the alleyway between de jure and de facto, Jim Crow conceived a son. Even though the deed took place in broad daylight, everybody tried not to notice, and in time some would even try to pretend it hadn't happened. For most of his long life, Jim Crow Sr. had been a powerful and respected man. His word was law, his laws were obeyed and those who transgressed were punished without mercy. But in his dotage these crude and brutal ways became a liability. Finally, and after some protest, he was banished. Some claimed he had died. But nobody found the body.

Junior, meanwhile, was adopted…





book reading time




crawlin my style


my first 2 teeth


The Jena Six

Amy Goodman reports the Jena six that are facing discrimination at school, from the law and in the town. CNN had an investigate piece and today people marched in Jena, protesting the treatment of the Jena six.

The tree at Jena High School has been cut down, but the furor around it has only grown.

"What did the tree do wrong?" asked Katrina Wallace, a stepsister of one of the Jena Six, when I interviewed her at the Burger Barn in Jena, La. "I planted it 14 years ago as a tree of knowledge."

It all began at the start of the school year in 2006, at a school assembly, when Justin Purvis asked if he could sit under the schoolyard tree, a privilege unofficially reserved for white students. The next morning, three nooses were hanging from its broad, leafy branches.

African-American students protested, gathering under the tree. Soon after, the district attorney, Reed Walters, came to the school with the police, threatening, "I could end your lives with the stroke of a pen…

Burma Crackdown

Christian Science Monitor reports the protests of monks in Burma. I saw a terrible image on BBC today of protesters being beaten up by plain clothes policemen. Also a woman activist who was demonstrating has gone into hiding, but her infant daughter has been put in police custody, the military knows the baby needs her mother for breast milk. My heart tears at the choice the mother has to make.
The Burmese military junta needs to wake up, step down and let Aung San Suu Kyi stand for elections.

Rangoon, Burma - Saffron-robed Buddhist monks have begun participating in a series of antijunta protests, pumping new life into the month-long agitation that, until now, had not seemed strong enough to threaten Burma's military dictatorship.

Hundreds of protesting Buddhist monks on Wednesday occupied one of Burma's most revered temples, challenging the country's military rulers in the most defiant wave of demonstrations in nearly two decades.

Fear of reprisals have cowed the Burmese pub…

Shashi Tharoor

I went to hear a conversation between Shashi Tharoor and Pramit Pal Chaudri, this Monday at the Asia Society. He was also releasing his newest book, The Elephant, the Tiger, and the Cell Phone: India, the emerging 21st Century Power.

The book consists of 68 essays on themes of Indian identity, explorations of work and play and the transformation within the social, political, economic and attitudinal realms.
He described ex Prime Minister Devi Gowda, giving a speech in Hindi, but since he does not speak Hindi, it was written out in his native script of Kanada. It is ironic, but acceptable for the Prime Minster to not know the national language. He compared the US where the presidents have all been white, male and Christian; while in India, an Italian Christian, Sikh and Muslim are all part of the political fray.

The second section was about Cricket. Which he felt was an Indian game that had been incidentally discovered by the British!

He felt the current politicians lacked a sense of humor…

The Reluctant Swami

A nice meandering story about Sivananda Ashram's worldwide. I have done Yoga at many places but keep coming back to the Sivananda Format. The story is from here

Sandlines: The Reluctant Swami
by Edward B. Rackley

Historically, most “first contacts” were initiated by westerners. First they came as commercial explorers and intrepid traders. Later they arrived as occupiers and settlers: Victorians, colonials, missionaries. Progenitors of Edward Said’s Orientalism. It’s easy to be ashamed and indignant about this historical aspect of global encounter. Those who aren’t point out that cruelty, plunder and occupation are immutable norms, as human as domesticity or story telling. I often wonder what of today’s norms will repulse future generations. Television, our use of chairs for sitting, other norms less benign. It could be anything.

One such norm, transplanted religion, intrigues me because of its dual aspect. Missionaries transplant religion across cultural divides and feed it to non-be…

Happy Birthday Angad


Baby Love

Madmomma has a beautiful post for her daughter Bean's 6 month birthday. It's emotional, sensitive and loving. Here's a taste.

And with the pride of being the humble vessel that carried you, comes a sadness that you are moving further away each day. Tomorrow you officially begin your solids and mama is no longer your sole nourisher. From blood to milk, the attachment and dependence you have grows less. But for me, it gets stronger everyday. Each day I love you just a little more. Just when I think my heart will explode with love, I find you've sneakily wriggled deeper in, squeezed just a little bit more love out of my already much stretched heart. And I wonder when you will turn around and hurt me. When you will have grown far enough to break my heart over some decision. When you will be old enough to callously dismiss the mother who just digs her grave deeper every single day by investing just that little bit more in you.

And last night as I lay there admiring your lashe…

Review of Bound Together

Ramachandra Guha reviews, Nayan Chanda's book. I think this is the best review of the book yet.

- A new book, American unilateralism and a look beyond
Politics and play - Ramachandra Guha

Reasoned disinterest
Nayan Chanda is that altogether rare specimen — a modest Bengali intellectual. But he has much to be immodest about. An outstanding student at Presidency College and Jadavpur University, he later went to the Sorbonne to do a Ph D in modern history. He had written large chunks of his thesis on Cambodian foreign policy, when he decided to leave Paris to take up a reporter’s job in Southeast Asia. He reached in time to cover the fall of Saigon. Chanda spent the next two decades in the region, working for and eventually becoming editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review.

In the late Nineties, Chanda moved to the United States of America to help set up the Yale Center for Globalization. He is still there, editing and directing YaleGlobal, a wide-ranging and …

JoAnn Verberg

Moma has a wonderful photography exhibit by American photographer, JoAnn Verberg. What was interesting about the exhibit was the focus on the process of creating the image, and extending it by using multiple layers of shots. Her images of people reading the NYT were great, also the photographs of water and people floating were amazing.

This exhibition of approximately sixty photographs will survey the twenty-five-year career of American photographer JoAnn Verburg (b. 1950), who often works in simultaneous series of different subjects–composed and "found" still lifes, portraits, and landscapes. Verburg slowly explores these subjects' pictorial possibilities. Her methodical process includes the use of diptychs and triptychs that demonstrate how the content of a picture can be enriched by using more than one photograph at a time, while maintaining coherence through the close formal and referential relationship of individual exposures. Verburg's use of a 5 x 7-inch-format…

Zhang Huan

Asia Society has a very in your face exhibit by performance artist Zhang Huan. His use of his own body in often torturous ways was painful, but his art is strong and powerful. Also the inclusion of Tibet (the Buddha's hands) is seminal for any thinking Chinese Artist.

Here is a review from the NYT.

Mr. Zhang’s art first became “Chinese” in a way that Westerners might understand the term when he visited the United States in 1998 for a solo performance at P.S. 1. as part of “Inside Out.” The piece he did, “Pilgrimage: Wind and Water in New York,” was conceived around a central prop: a traditional Chinese bed with blocks of ice in place of a mattress. Accompanied by recorded Tibetan music, he made his way across P.S. 1’s courtyard in a series of Buddhist-style prostrations until he reached the bed. Then he undressed, lay face-down on the ice, and stayed prone for 10 minutes. When he could endure the cold no longer, he sat up, faced his audience, and the piece — part ritual, part ordeal…