Aug 312005
 

I have been watching images on various news channels showing the devastation left behind by Katrina.

I have been following Maitri’s blog on the more personalised aspect of surviving Katrina.

And one thing struck me – however developed you may be, how ever well trained your response teams may be, when it comes to dealing with Nature’s fury – all that can be achieved is minimisation of damage. not much else.

With something like Katrina - the last one week has been “Katrina is coming” news all over the place. Evacuation has been in full swing. Yet the loss of lives has been phenomenal. Property destruction was anyway a given, nothing that could be done as far as houses or vehicles are concerned.

One of the things i do like about the MSM in the US, is their ability to highlight the positive, instead of finding just the negatives to shout about. In that sense the media in Mumbai, when it came to covering our own terrible Tuesday, was caught up in sensationalising rather than providing information. Read this excerpt from the NYT:

“If we come across a body floating?” Sgt. Chris Fisher of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office asked.
“Let it go,” Maj. Bobby Woods replied, as Sergeant Fisher and other rescue workers prepared for the day’s mission. “Let’s first go for life.”

There were policemen here too, ill equipped – who did much the same. But, there was no highlighting of the positive, until much, much later. Only the cacophony of ‘you should have’. Even today there is so much of finger pointing and so much of negativism that it is quite difficult to get past the negativism and move on to do something constructive. Maybe, it is time that the press in India realised that they don’t just have a responsbility to the bottom line of their newspapers. They also have have societal responsibility. And maybe it is time that they grew up to the maturity challenge.

Here is a much more developed nation, with a finely trained disaster management system, where evacuation of people had began earlier. And yet, on the day, there wasn’t a thing that could be done to prevent mayhem. And reports talk about weeks before people can go back to normalcy. I am not saying that we need to let up on Government inefficiencies, but there is a time when we need understand that there is only so much that can be done in a given situation. And all these recriminations of ‘you should have’ needs to give way to a slight degree of balance. We seem to like to score points. They leave that till later – after the calamity has passed and life goes back to normal.

Like in the case of Mumbai, part of the problem seems to be greed – and the ability of business and Government to stand by and rape the environment without any thought of the consequence.This a readers’ opinion from the NYT:

Upstream levee-building has also had the effect of turning a sluggish river into a fire hose, helping to destroy marshes and barrier islands that once provided some protection. The steady destruction of coastal wetlands by residential development and years of oil and gas drilling hasn’t helped much either. The combination of subsiding land and rising seas has put the Mississippi Delta about three feet lower than it was 100 years ago.

I guess that the Free Market is not as free as we think. Sometimes the price tag is so high that generations to come end up paying for it.

The one thing that we didn’t get to see on terrible tuesday here, which unfortunately seems to be happening in New Orleans is looting.
This is not the first time that one has seen pictures like this come out of the west. And, at a very primal level it is scary. The break down of civil society as we know it.

I hope that people there are as safe as they can be. That they get back and resume a normal life, as soon as possible. That they are reunited with their families and loved ones soon.

Aug 312005
 

Blog Day

And as promised here are my list of 5 blogs that i found interesting, from across the world.

a) From South Africa – African Dust – The journal of Clare. A mathematician, A christian and a white African. I loved her piece on the Merchant of Venice, that she saw recently.

b) From Iran – Iranian Truth – a blog that casts a wry look on human rights and hypocrisy.

c) From the USA – Shadowboxer – an old blogging mate from my 20six days. His piece on coming out – was one of the most poignant ones that I have ever read on the nature of belonging to a group.

d) From Zimbabwe – Manulite Delite -an extremely witty diary. with the current bout of BMC evictions and demolitons, his piece on his house getting demolished by operation Operation Murambatsvina – resembled so much of what’s happening in Mumbai that it is not funny.

e) The Chapati Mystery - the best way to describe them is Global citizens, though some of them may be South Asians. Witty, irreverent, incisive, scholarly and great fun to read – and at the best of times this is a difficult combination to achieve. Read this piece on Chaupar
and the biting open letter to David Brooks – you will know what i mean.

The strange thing is that you pick out 5 different blogs by bloggers you have never read before and you realise how small the world is. And how common the issues and concerns facing us. Each of us may write about Gurgaon or Georgia or Iran or Sind or wherever, about issues we think are unique to us. They are – of that there can be no doubt.
But, what is interesting is that the commonality of issues that confront all of us. Faith, loss of faith, System, the break down of system. Liberty. Equity, the right to lead our own lifes.

I am glad that we have a Blog Day. 5 different cultures. Yet, a global oneness. I look forward to next years’ mela.

Aug 292005
 

blogday

The mega event of blogdom is here – is around the corner.

What is BlogDay 2005?
BlogDay was created with the belief that bloggers should have one day dedicated to getting to know other bloggers from other countries and areas of interest. On that day Bloggers will recommend other blogs to their blog visitors.

With the goal in mind, on this day every blogger will post a recommendation of 5 new blogs. In this way, all Blog web surfers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, previously unknown blogs.

Read the original post Nir Ofir, the creator of BlogDay, wrote.

What will happen on BlogDay?

For one long moment on August 31st, bloggers from all over the world will post recommendations of 5 new Blogs, preferably Blogs that are different from their own culture, point of view and attitude. On this day, blog surfers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, unknown Blogs, celebrating the discovery of new people and new bloggers.

Why do we need a BlogDay?

1. Information Overflow! The more Blogs there are, the less time Bloggers spend on reading new weblogs. Because of the overload of information, you miss a lot of good Blogs and Bloggers.

2. Its Fun!

BlogDay posting instructions:

1. Find 5 new Blogs that you find interesting
2. Notify the 5 bloggers that you are recommending them as part of BlogDay 2005
3. Write a short description of the Blogs and place a link to the recommended Blogs
4. Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st) and
5. Add the BlogDay tag using this link: http://technorati.com/tag/BlogDay2005 and a link to the BlogDay web site at http://www.blogday.org

Join In. Nominate away. It will be fun.

Aug 282005
 

Almost where I stay – the red star.

A brand new site Mymapindia that

is really the first website (you may have heard of Google Maps, Google Earth, Mapquest etc.) focused PURELY on India.

I like their style of marketing – catching hold of bloggers to create a meme. slow, organic and therefore lasting :)

Check them out.

Aug 282005
 

Photography has been an on and off passion for me. Before digital cameras came in to vogue – it was a function of time. I was too busy and too mind f***ed to click stuff. And besides when most of your waking hours – and a lot of your sleeping ones – are between shoot floor, a/c offices and edit studios – there isn’t much scope to click.

Before that it was a function of money. Development of pics and all that are not really possible when you are a broke student.

Now a digital camera – my sturdy little Minolta Dimage Z1 – and a more flexible lifestyle allow me the time and energy to indulge my hobby. And flickr provides a nice gallery for exhibiting.

Today i was experimenting with black and whites. They were obviously taken in colour and then i played with photoshop.
neena-black-and-white

smoke-break-black-&-white

Nothing scientific – just playing. Goes to show how bored i must be !
Incidentally the waiting is at an end.
The diagnosis is finally in – and it is a nice large stone in my gall bladder. and an enlargemen of the liver because of that. How galling – is one of the responses. stoned immaculate is the other ! Surgery beckons. i am thinking of setting the stones in gold – a new line of galling jewelry!