The news channels have five lines of pointless text, relegating the actual visual to a corner of the screen. The Sunday papers are down to 28 pages, with a quarter of them just full of ads. Those working at the Souk and the Shamiana are are universally grateful, with nary a sneer in sight. The buildings get taller and taller. Some dividers now have plants in them. And several old haunts are now merely extinct.

But....the crowds on trains are still a seething mass of elbows, sweaty shirts and chameli tel-seeped hair. The traffic is still the real-life equivalent of dodgem cars. The sun is still bloody hot this side of the world. The hawkers still rend the mid-afternoon peace with drawn out promises of a plentiful bounty. The old neighbours still spend their evenings in quiet contemplation while staring at the passing world. And the crows still haven't forgotten how to wake you up at 4am with their daily chorus.

The little things, baby. They're still the same.

PS. Travelling back home means three things - family, friends, food. Posts will be infrequent, comments rarer. The backlog of unread posts is a task best left for newer times.


When Indians think of Zoroastrians, we think of many things immediately.

We think of the Taj, and Jamshedpur, and Godrej steel cupboards, and meat-orgies in the guise of wedding dinners, and little Irani cafes, and those mysterious fire-temples, and Duke's Lemonade, and generous educational charities, and little enclaves in prime Mumbai localities, and how they pronounce 'द' as 'ड' (ask one to pronounce dahi. Guaranteed hilarity).

We think higher education, and hot girls whose parents let them wear a lot more less than most other parents do, and boys with a fascination for Yezdi and Bullet bikes, and white-collar jobs, and large numbers of unmarried old cranks, and dark woodern furniture, and depressing Canada-based writers, and beautiful embroidered sarees, and a higher-than-average level of eccentricity.

We think of them as a community that is better off as a whole, than most others in the country.

Which is why people get suprised when they find out that there are poor Zoroastrians too, and that they also exist in rural areas, as this article highlights.

A related video can be found here (warning: It's in Gujarati), while the actual film is linked to in the last update below.

Not quite the image that first comes to mind, huh?

Related pics and info here.

: And a look at those Zoroastrians still living surviving in the land where the religion was founded.

Update 2: An earlier post of mine about the community.

Late, late Update: The article's actually written by Kaevan, who has a couple of interesting blogs on Parsis. He was also kind enough to provide the link to the actual film.


sorry. Random nostalgic outburst over.


(A belated) Friday Fun: Fpoor Fpun

Q. Why does Bill Gates love it when people now talk of the 'winter holidays' rather than the 'Christmas holidays'?
A. Because it's more PC, less Mac.



I'm certain there's a word that describes an instinctive reaction in some people to avoid for as long as possible any new thing that is glowingly praised by everybody else. And I'm sure we've all experienced it.

My best example of this phenomenon was refusing to read GoST for about three years after it had been published. I was certain I would hate it, that it was pretentious, and was only being promoted by people who refused to accept anything but novels as 'literature' (I really must do that post on defending SF&F).

Of course, I ended up loving it.

Now, in all fairness, I've only read it the once, making it one of those few books in my collection that I haven't re-read, and one of a very small number that I claim to like but haven't re-read. So, if I read it today, eight years after I first did, I possibly might hate it. Who knows?

What I do know is that the woman herself - and all her other writing - evoke mixed feelings in me. Strong mixed feelings. I mean, I know she's an idealistic nutjob, and she waffles - oh how she waffles - but she does occasionally come up with some really relevant questions and opinions.

Anyway, the point of all that intro, was to point you to her latest article. So much waffling, and so many random tangents, but some very valid issues too. Especially that bit about one particularly self-important news anchor.

And yes, posts will probably be infrequent for the near future, and the ones that do occur will probably only be related to this topic.



I'm tempted to rip apart this 'defense' given by That Annoying Reporter, but I can't be bothered. I'm just not going to give her - or her channel - any more of my time.

I even had to create a whole new label because of her.



If we knew
and if we are
and if we heard
what we are,
and if we ran in splendid rivers
that spoke the dreamwords
into blue feathers,
and if we ate all the bloated toys
and threw the world unto the boys
if then what then who then why.


Terrorist. Terrorism. Terror attacks.

We bandy the words about so often, and so casually, that they stop meaning much. As outrages become more....outrageous, it all becomes oh-so-familiar. But we forget what they're meant to denote.


Breath-denying, sweat-inducing, irrational-hatred-forming paranoia.
The kind that makes you take longing looks at your home whenever you leave it.
The kind that makes you hold on to those you hug for just those few moments longer.
The kind that gives your eyes a life of their own in public, making them jump in their sockets.
The kind that makes you shout suddenly at people for not doing a complete recce of the area they've just entered.
The kind that comes from the mass hysteria that suddenly explodes into being as everybody else realises what you've known so long.

...that you're not (as) safe anymore.

That the travels you so monotonously undertook could at any moment be exposed for the unprotected targets they are.

That the doors you waltzed through could now be treated with the same contempt by those who would willingly introduce your body to the scorched path of a few rounds of ammunition.

That there is no understanding those who would willingly hunt you down to casually destroy you, and that your only hope in escaping them is to be luckier than others.

And that there's a world of a difference between being afraid, and being terrified.

.....frikkin' terrific.


I notice that VP Singh's been cremated already.

Serious question - Didn't the death of a former Prime Minister of the country use to mean a day or two of national mourning? Or at least a state funeral?


Disjointed emotions/ What else is left to say?

Any attempt to post feels as if doing so is more about our words than their lives.

But the need to rant and hand-wring and pontificate - all uselessly - keeps battering at my skepticism of there being any use in giving in and doing so.

I give in. I do so.

On Saturday, when everything was coming to an end, and the TV channels were still behaving like idiots, a lovely little way of getting back at them - and perhaps, slightly preventing irresponsible reporting - occurred to me.

We organise a group (through blogs, word of mouth, whatever) a large crowd who will go and try and interrupt every broadcast that shows 'live' action which potentially threatens the lives of others.

Just land up behind/next to/in front of the cameras and start shouting. Something like 'SCUM!' would do for starters. Or maybe just start ullulating. Anything to distract attention and stop the morons from blathering on. All while wearing bright red tshirts (so that if the cameras did capture the scene, it would appear fuzzy and make their broadcast look less professional (yes, I know, very petty)).

If it even threw the reporters off for 10 minutes, it will be worth it. And if it really worked, we could maybe have a live on-air argument with that annoying woman where we can tell her just how stupid she (and her ilk) are being,

And what's the worst that will happen? A fistfight with the media as they protest against our behaviour, and claim we're violating the freedom of the press? You know what, haven't had a scuffle in years, and oh wait, the freedom of the people comes first. Or maybe the cops will start arresting people for disturbing the peace? Fine. We'll sue them. And get media coverage.

I'm serious about this.

I only regret I didn't think of it on Thursday, and try and get whoever was in the city to do something like this. It'd at least be better than sitting in front of the TV, cursing the lot of them.

Ennui does not equal resilience.

Having to work to earn money to live does not equal 'spirit'.

I feel tempted to blow all my money on spending the next few weeks flying to wherever my friends are and shaking them till their teeth hurt, for joining one of those Facebook groups. And shouting at them.

Oh yes, well done! You have virtually announced to the world that you won't take this lying down/that the city will fight back/you will send a strong message of defiance to those who would bring you down. Yes, now all the people who hate you/your religion/your city/your country's progress will realise how silly they are, and come begging for forgiveness. Yeah people, that's it! They may be cold enough to gun down unarmed innocents, but they will shake and scurry because you e-slapped them. Solid.

I can understand the rage and the frustration and the sense of helplessness. The need to vent. To do something. Anything. But I'd rather do something, some very little thing, even if it just means going and drinking a cup of tea at the Sea Lounge so that the Taj has a little more money.

I'm not even going to go into how joining such groups, and only joining such groups, is a smug cop-out. I'm not going to go on about how I can't - and haven't ever - seen the point of things like this (beyond the hope that with enough people getting together, some real dialogue and action might happen). I'd just wish they'd join some groups that actually try and do something. Like this one group a friend of mine has formed, which is trying to help people do something with Teach for India.

Things like that may be small, and may take a while, but at least they're doing something. How is putting a candle in my window going to help anybody - unless I bought it from a candle-hawker outside the Gateway and helped him make up for some of the lost revenue of the past week?

No wait, why waste my money flying around the world to shout at them. I'll just virtually sigh at them in disappointment. I might even tsk them.


I'm trying to think of any other major city, in an at-peace country, which has seen experienced anything remotely as public as this in the last, oh, two decades. Yes, cities have had bombs and planes and revolutions, but this....

The whole thing just keeps working better in favour of the guys who did it. After all that they did, we're left with one guy whose testimony to rely on, which means you can't compare stories between two of them to see if they match (not that they wouldn't match, seeing how thoroughly they'd been prepared).

And I bet their leaders are smiling with all the war talk. Two countries, both of whom have suffered internally, prepare to get violent externally because of trouble caused by groups they have no control over. And this talk is creating more chaos and uncertainty within, for these same guys to exploit further. And meanwhile, everybody forgets about Afghanistan.

Exactly what they wanted.

Three questions :

1. If the media were talking to guests hidden in the hotel rooms, why weren't the police (to update them, to advise them, to get more 'on-location' information from them)?

2. Do our fire rescue teams not have one of those cushion-things that allow people to jump onto? Wouldn't that have been considerably quicker than using that crane?

3. Could we make a legitimate legal case against the media for endangering lives; or, Who wants to sue the shits out of India TV News Inc?

They say India is under siege, and everbody worries how it will cope.

And I think of Beirut, and Jerusalem. And of our own parents four decades ago, frantically taping up windows to the backdrop of those scary sirens, and then huddling together inside, carefully parcelling out food, and wondering what else would there be less of on the next day.

People adapt.