Saturday, October 6, 2007
I feel numb.
My jade plant, in kitschy faux-Ming vase, just fell off the window ledge. The pot broke. I don't feel well enough to sweep up the dirt.
I've been dizzy all day.
My phone is ringing. It's my mother and I won't answer it. I don't want to answer any calls. I don't want to talk to anyone. I don't want to listen to weeks-old voicemails, or see the annoying message notification on my phone, or really do anything but suck on a lime in between shoveling pasta into my gullet.
What do I do now?
Friday, September 21, 2007
Yup, my eldest sis is preggers, which will bring her count up to three. My other sis just had her bebe, Charlie, and at three weeks old, he may be the cutest and most advanced boy I've ever seen (I swear to god he sighed "Oh yeah" as he was nursing the other day). Dennis and Emma, Misty's kids, are also suitably adorable.
In Oregon, and leaving for NY again on Sunday. Didn't realize just how much I missed the Northwest, but...surprise. I do. The trees and the clear air and the sheer awesomeness of Powell's Books. Hrm.
Also, my parents have really great cable. In honor of fall premieres, watch the season 2 opener of Friday Night Lights. Sigh over the cuteness of Matt and Julie. Relive the awkwardness of high school. Enjoy! http://www.tv.yahoo.com/falltv2007/friday-night-lights/show/38958/videos
Saturday, September 8, 2007
It's been a super-long time since I posted here. Part of this is a function of having a life (I no longer come home and blog; instead, I take walks, or call friends/fam, or go slumming at Goodwill), and part of this is related to some nasty comments left here and elsewhere that weren't great for my frame of mind; I was also trying to keep the India theme alive, which is difficult when the news source closest at hand is so abysmally poor at covering the subconty. (Really, a critique of the "Kerala model" of development on your front page, NYT? That's sooooooo 2002.)
Then I went through a phase of trying to create a new blog, rebrand myself, etc., but all the good names were taken (leaving me with, oh, I don't know, SexSluuuut825642.blogspot.com). Then I got preoccupied with hummus and mozzarella, then I forgot about everything, and then I realized a month had gone by and I should get off my ass.
So here we go again. Last weekend, we went to Coney Island, so you get a picture of that. I don't know whether this is going to be a personal journal sorta thing, or a roundup of interesting news stories about topics I'm interested in, or some agglomeration of both, but I suppose we'll see. As time goes by.
(Also, an anecdote from Overheard in New York that well illustrates why I love Queens:
Female barista, scrubbing floor boards: I hate doing clean sweep 'cause I get all sweaty... Especially in my butt crack.
Male barista: You should employ the butt tissue. Just slip a paper towel in there at the start of the shift, and then just toss it at the end.
Female barista: I already do that.
Customer: Now that's legendary service.
--Starbucks, 67th & Queens Blvd)
Thursday, August 9, 2007
It took me three hours to get from the hovel to the office -- and then when I got there, I was one of only five or so people in my department resourceful enough to navigate the wild, wild world of thousands of stranded subway users, fighting for a bus heading for the Midtown Tunnel.
I did walk about two miles, snicker at a woman trying to vanquish a foot of standing water with a small mop, invite myself to share a taxi with three people who had only limited English skills, and lost my leg to the jaws of the 7 train at the Jackson Heights station, but so be it. Delhi crowds prepared me well; whereas claustrophobic Americans were hysterically imploring fellow riders to "Act like human being, not animals!", I was smugly listening to Golmaal Golmaal ... Everything's Gonna Be Golmaal and wiggling around frenetically, my eyes glazed in bliss.
That said, I thought I would stop dealing with woefully inadequate infrastructure when I left the "third world." So much for conventional notions of modernity and backwardness ...
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
I'm not sure what the impact will be, but one of the most interesting things to watch may be how W-M's reputed supply chain organization will link small farmers and manufacturers to retailers. (It's estimated that 30%-40% of India's food rots in the fields or spoils in transit due to insufficient infrastructure.) It's not an incredibly sexy topic, but it certainly could have an incredible impact.
An endnote: I have to say, I have to delight in the thought that in the near future, whether in sleepy old Sonora or dusty Delhi, people like my grandmother will be able to unite in pursuit of an ever-better buy (Grandma: "Why would I spend $70 on a pair of jeans when I can get them for $12.99 at Wally World? Are you crazy?")
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
S: "Ummm...no, I'm married to her. She works with your wife."
Co-worker's new husband: "Wait, so you're not in IT?"
S: [perturbed silence]
S to me: "Is there something wrong with this guy?"
Z to group: "Hey, don't worry about it folks, he's doing something better than IT -- he's unemployed!" (Ba dum ching!)
Their suggestions? No meat, no alcohol, and festivities finished by noon.
It's an interesting suggestion, and certainly one that I might support (if I knew slightly more about the political machinations surrounding the proclamation); however, I don't think it will do a whit of good, based upon an informal poll of my husband.
"No kebabs? Lamb roast? No rara ghost? Why else would I go to a wedding?"
(Addendum: I know that the reporter probably didn't insert the helpful callout box on Sikhism ["Sikhs are forbidden from drinking, smoking or taking drugs and should not cut their hair," "Every male should add Singh after his name and every woman should add Kaur," etc.], but bejesus. If people are interested in learning about the religion, isn't it more effective to do a little informed Googling than to spout four or five platitudes alleged to represent an entire system of belief?)
Picture: My modest (and modern) wedding to a Sikh.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
S: Well, it's still a little overwhelming, you know. I'm fresh off the boat -- only been here for a few weeks.
Partygoer: (Uncomfortable silence)
S: Great to meet you!
Z to S, in hushed tone: Ummm ... so Americans are a little more PC than that.
S: What do you mean?
Z: It might make people feel weird because you're talking about your recent immigrant status in what could be construed as a derogatory way. Wikipedia says, "The term "FOB" has been used with offensive intent, often to those with a foreign accent or ethnic style of dressing. Depending on the person's attitude to the culture in question, he or she may or may not take offense at these statements. The term may also be used by people who themselves were immigrants years ago, in a way turning the insult once hurled at them onto the new arrivals, and in so doing emphasizing their own progress in assimilation or improved language skills."
S: Can't we just tell them to fuck off?
Z: ... And never the twain shall meet.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Sure, Patel Brothers is great. We got lots of spices and made aloo mattar last night, which we mopped up with some precooked aloo parathas, since I am categorically unable to get the hang of traditional breads. And there are lots of stores glistening with ostentatious jewels of all kinds, and there are curry-a-minute shacks a grotty as those found in the back lanes of Old Delhi, but for some reason, some how, it just doesn't ring true.
In Chicago, when I went to Devon, it felt like I was stepping back into the insane traffic of the subconty; it felt like an outpost of civilization in a otherwise upturned world. In New York? I spent hours gazing at the RED palak paneer (red? since when is spinach RED?!) waiting for the buffet-hungry consumer in its ubiquitous chafing plate, feeling outside, outside, always outside. I know that yes, I'm technically not Indian, and yes, maybe I should feel like an outsider, but ... I can't put my finger on it; something just felt wrong to me there.
Any suggestions? Places to go for a delicious, authentic slice of South Asia? Or am I just being fussy, projecting my suspicions that Little Italy is really a tourist's playground, onto other supposedly "ethnic" (a term I don't particularly want to employ here, but so be it) neighborhoods?
Monday, July 23, 2007
(And, of course, obligatory mention of how ironic it is that India is by and large perceived [in the U.S.] as oppressive to women, while we Americans struggle to wrap our heads around the potential election of Hilz and default to either calling her a bitch or a lesbian.)
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
That said, India isn't averse to eye-catching billboards for booze. Attaching a picture of one of the ubiquitous mountain billboards for Himachal Pradesh fruit wine; I love how the juice bar is requesting a bit of a tipple (god knows it's cooler than hippies here requesting a shot of wheat grass in their damned bougie pina colada smoothies!).
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Saturday, July 7, 2007
(Although I, humble little Zoey, promise to give you hugs if you help me figure out my life. Or even just my blog. Yes, that's right -- India, Kerala, and my new life in New York, all coming together. With the loving wisdom of a mother. Maybe we'll do a darshan together?)
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
But instead, I've postponed my flight until maybe Saturday, maybe Sunday, all due to the wonder that is gastroenteritis. I'm weak, I was on an IV for four hours, and worst, I'm sad and frustrated. I haven't been able to blog because I'm just in over my head, and all I want to do is get to my new home and new life.
I'm a sad, sad animal right now.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Boing Boing has an excellent discussion of it here. I don't have much to add in theory, but I must say that the way in which people respond to me, a white woman trying to capture images of life in the subconty, vastly differs from the way in which they respond to my esteemed third-world photographer husband.
Perhaps a good project for him would be to chronicle New York as what people may assume to be a tourist. Somehow, though, I don't think it plays the effect back in the same way. Back to the drawing board.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
And, in Zoey's culturally insensitive break of the day, I will also miss tittering at signs that would be inappropriate in an American context: UTI (urinary tract infection?) Bank, STD (sexually transmitted disease) phone booths, and drivers with names like Beer Singh and Manmeet (Do you like man meat? Dude, I can't get enough of it!).
I'm sorry, god. I had to get this off my chest.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
And that's not the only good news for hops lovers -- in the same article, an Economic Times reporter notes that Crown Beer will roll out a brew called Armstrong. Carlsberg will also enter the subcontinent with Palone, a Polish brand.
I don't know; Kingfisher and Cobra are both still pretty satisfying to me. Can the power of an American brand overwhelm the brew's overwhelming taste of urine?
Monday, June 11, 2007
Steamboat Shiva (the plucky adventures of a young god traveling down the Ganga)
Saraswati and Saath Hijras (an abandoned girl child takes refuge in a colony of eunuchs)
Ganesha (Shiva and Parvati welcome their child to their world...only it has an elephant's head. Can our hero's mischievious ways save him from a life a ridicule?)
Rama Against the Rakshasa (which is harder to keep in line -- your wife, or the forces of evil?)
101 Rabid Stray Dogs (a power-mad Delhi clothier attempts to cull the unruly beasts of his neighborhood to build his business selling faux fur stoles to the Capital's upwardly mobile)
Ashwati in Wonderland (one girl's sojourn to find the perfect Manali hash)
Nataraj's New Groove (who needs designer togs when you're the lord of the dance?)
Sunday, June 10, 2007
From hard_ik2002: "hi there honi any plans to rock sat nite?"
From masti_masti2000: "how are you doing? the indian sardarni?"
Is this really a new service Yahoo! India is offering? Or is this a virulent (and obnoxious) new form of spam? I don't recall ever putting my mobile number anywhere on the Internet, much less on any Y! site ...
Friday, June 8, 2007
That's right, Cox Cable and Time Warner have both rolled out services that will offer viewers 24-hour access to such gems as Krrish, Don, and Jaan-e-Maan.
I'm a little late to the party, I guess, because I now see press releases about this from last November, but no matter. I never before had the palpable prospect of being deprived of Shah Rukh Khan or the beloved Amitabh; just one more reason to believe that the transition back to an orderly American life will be somewhat less jarring than imagined.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
"[Tyson said] 'I was, anyway, in that phase when I didn't mind trying out something different ... The script seemed very interesting, with lots of excitement thrown in."
I totally think Hindi script is interesting too. All those curves, at that mysterious line from which all the characters hang! Fascinating! Thrilling!
"Tyson said there are similarities between acting and boxing.
"'In both the fields, in order to survive and triumph, you need focus and to be highly disciplined and determined,' he said."
He failed to add that in the rider for his film, he promised not to bite off Amitabh Bachchan's ear. Unless the producers found it necessary for his character's development.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Or so seems to be the message from SM Foods, the makers of such classy nips as Peppy Cheese Balls and Simba Chipniks ("Rrroaring with taste!"). When it comes to their tortilla chips, the company's Web site boasts, "Senor Pepito range is very popular with the teenagers, the young and happening crowd and the beer guzzlers. More importantly, Tortilla Chips are very trendy and considered a status symbol."
That's pretty big talk for packaging that has a cartoon sombrero on it. Unless the secret of their nacho cheese flavoring is a light dusting of gold (24 karat, natch), I think I'll pass.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
3 lemons, quartered and squeezed
Create a decoction of these three ingredients in a tall glass; when the syrup is well mixed, fill the glass with club soda and enjoy!
(I'm still in denial about leaving the subconty. We have the greencard/immigration interview tomorrow morning, and we're slated to leave in less than three weeks. I'm afraid; Delhi feels more like home than anywhere else ever has. What to do?)
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
"A German candidate essentially forwards a prolonged CV running into five or six pages whereas a Frenchman prefers a short, handwritten one. Russians indulge in detailed biographies and the Chinese present numerous recommendation letters to back them up. An Austrian candidate invariably lands up in highly formal attire, irrespective of the weather, while Americans are casualness personified. Australians display right attitude traits like honesty and straightforwardness at an interview and the Finns prefer to showcase their teamwork skills rather than their technical abilities. A Canadian aspirant waxes eloquent on his accomplishments while the British focus on competencies and competitiveness.
"To top it all, a Swede will definitely turn up with a trade union representative in tow.
"Contrary to what it may appear, this is not a satire on the individual job search idiosyncracies of different nationalities. It merely presents a window for recruiting foreign applicants in keeping with global trends. Yes, looking across the country's borders for fresh talent is no flash-in-the-pan."
The reporter neglects to mention that they must look beyond the borders because Indian applicants present lengthy CVs from headhunters' templates, then call every person they've ever met asking for internal company contacts, which they next proceed to hound for weeks until the HR department tells the applicant that the company will call the police if the person doesn't stop bugging its employees.
"At the time of hiring, it is necessary to understand the cultural background of the applicant apart from a comprehensive review of his qualifications. They should be made aware of issues pertaining to management of employees, peers, suppliers and others from local cultural issues. This calls for cultural sensitivity training to sensitise them to the nuances of customs, ethnicity and language."
Things I wish I'd been told before I started working in India: 1) It's not necessary to speak Hindi (or Kannada, Tamil, Bengali, or Marathi), but it's quite advantageous. People don't talk about you all the time in the mother tongue, but you'd be surprised at what they'll say when they think you're not listening. It's sort of like being a superhero. 2) It doesn't matter how hard you work -- if you're not sitting at your desk, it doesn't count to your manager. 3) Everyone wants to know who you are, how much you make, why you're here, and why you left the land of the free. If you don't want to narrate your entire life story, you'll probably be considered pricey and aloof.
"Employing foreigners calls for a higher payout rate. The employers have to offer cost of relocation, higher salaries, special perks and leaves at par with the country of their origin."
Really? Why didn't anyone tell me?
"A multicultural workforce can stir a hornet's nest too. The domestic employees may view 'the outsiders' as a threat or be peeved. Cultural differences may set the stage for tussles and misunderstandings."
In one of my favorite Indlish aphorisms, cultural differences and misunderstandings are there. But if there's one thing I've learned from my time in Dilli, it's beneficial for everyone if you come into the office with humility and an open mind. Don't be afraid to explain misconceptions, but be sure to hear what other people are saying -- there's a tremendous opportunity to learn about and improve yourself if you spend time with people who differ from you, so long as you don't imagine that you are superior by dint of the geographic serendipity of your birth.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
But sometimes, the ad execs go a bit further. This week, stories have broken about two high-profile campaigns that have prompted riotous uproar (on the Internet and on the streets).
The first is Saatchi & Saatchi's abortive attempt to highlight the longevity of Doc Marten's shoes by depicting fallen rockers donning the treads. Kurt Cobain perches atop a cloud in the stompers, a hangdog expression, above the company's logo and the word "forever." Doc Marten's has since fired the ad agency and pulled the series.
The second is the Times of India's shill for its SMS dating service, which features the god Krishna as a dating guru, using his mobile phone to attract devoted gopis by the dozen. The Hindu Janjagruti Samiti has staged protests in Mumbai, claiming "'dating' is a social vice. Those advocating this concept are launching an attack on our culture. Persons responsible for this issue, detrimental from the social and religious viewpoint, should be severely punished."
Perhaps I'm just a rabble rouser, because I think both ads are fairly intriguing. If we acknowledge that advertising is 1) about selling product and 2) sales do not depend upon quality and product features, but also are a consequence of novelty, buzz, etc., then these are both fairly ingenious ploys to evoke a response. Some people will find the shoe ads tasteless and give up buying the boots; but in fact, many of the people who still wear the grunge-era staple may find the campaign caters to their self-image as rebels, brigands, outliers on the social spectrum not obligated to conform with social and cultural mores.
Furthermore, within India, phone applications are becoming so ubiquitous that companies must at all costs find a way to stand out -- lord knows I immediately delete the viral Hutch ads SMSed to me, promising hot blondes and sexy babes if I just log on. TOI is tapping into an overpenetrated audience, and sometimes they must pull outrageous stunts so their service makes it into the news -- it's all the better for them if a group of morons sets up a microphone in Dadar and starts screaming about Hindu morality. They can then run a story about the youth's reactions, affirmations of a new identity, a hip counterculture, that doesn't need to conform with their parents' views of the world. Some people will see the service (and TOI) as an objectionable intrustion, but others will find a social space they may not know have existed -- and they'll be able to (bingo!) become a part of it by exchanging money for street cred.
I suppose my conclusion is that content isn't just about content; it's about the reactions it incites and the way in which people base identity upon a perception of being with or against the larger social system. I'm not "for" or "against" either of these ads, and for me, to attach value statements to either is beside the point; what is most fascinating is the way in which advertising becomes a means of consolidating identity in opposition or in alignment with particular commercial entities. Fascinating.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Earlier this year, a Malaysian soccer team played the Indian soccer team in a match at the biggest stadium in Asia, Yuba Bharati Krirangan. During the match, play stopped for a few minutes when a large snake was found on the field.
FIFA is now investigating the stadium's maintenance practices, but I find the stadium supervisor's response entirely fanciful: "It is not possible for us to find out from where the snake sneaked in. And the snake was not at all poisonous. So, there is nothing for us to worry about."
In the U.S., I have a sneaking suspicion that CNN would give this 24-hour coverage (Python Interrupts Game at Madison Square Garden! At 10, How to Python-Proof Your Apartment in Less Than $10! And coming up next, Lax Officials: What Can We Do About Them, and Who Will Save Our Babies?! More, after the break!). It gives me enormous satisfaction that, although things get out of hand and people burn straw effigies of Richard Gere, a snake is sometimes just a snake, not an eerie premonition of impending doom.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
When we showed up on Friday, the previous artist was nowhere to be found, but his paintings and photos were still sprinkled throughout the gallery. There were a few crumpled price lists, some cellophane, and a few gallery hands, but no sign of the genius who was offering a blown-up print of a packet of Maggi Dal Sambhar noodles for nearly 2 lakh rupees (about $5,000). S, I, and a gang of well-wishers were ready to start hanging, but the portly, balding artist didn't see fit to wrap things up until around 3 or 4 a.m., at which point some handymen began puttying imperfections in the walls.
We unwrapped all the images and made a mockup of their sequence; however, as we were doing so, we discovered several problems with the framing -- wrong-colored mounting, scratched images, and so on. After tiring myself by fashioning a ball of duct tape and other packing material (applied art!) then batting it around the hall, I crashed in the gallery's lobby on two chairs pushed together; S buzzed throughout the night, returning home only for a quick two-hour nap, before spending all of Saturday chasing down the framer, fixing captions at the printer, and calling friends to remind them to attend. The last picture hit the wall at 6:30 p.m.; guests began arriving at 7 on the dot, uncharacteristically subverting the law of Indian Standard Time that dictates "punctual" means "three hours late."
There was a fair crowd, including some of our nearest and dearest friends -- as well as some typical Page 3 people, trailing the scent of success, glamour, and ... what was that? Burnt cocaine?
The most entertaining guests of the night, though, were undoubtedly the journalists, a great swarm of men who make a habit of attending every opening -- not because they are aesthetes, but because there is invariably free (albeit second-rate) whisky in the offing. They enter, make a quick chakkar, and then mill around for the remainder of the show, proffering limp handshakes to every bonny young lass as they explain the importance of a free press.
One such gem was a freelancer, a crooked, nearly bald man with a garland of hennaed hair ringing his dome. He haunts the Habitat Centre's openings, and I've met him before no fewer than three times; nevertheless, he doesn't remember me. "Hello, miss. You are with the gallery?"
"No, sir; my husband is the artist." I scan the room for S, hoping he'll intervene, but he's posing, fist against his chin, as he leans against one of his photographs for someone with video equipment.
"Ah, the artist, yes!"
A waiter approaches with a tray of drinks, and the man exchanges the glass in his hand for a fresh tumbler. He takes three big swallows, and then turns to me.
"Yes, yes. I am always talking to your husband. I have just given him my card. He is a great man, a very great man."
I nod, my eyes glassy, and excuse myself to oversee the sale of catalogs and ensure no one vandalizes the guestbook. He carresses my hand, then follows me to the table, requesting a press release about the show. I reluctantly hand him a catalog, and he sets to inscribing the register with his immortal words. After he puts the pen down, he approaches another waiter, downs another drink, and heads out into the stormy night. Curious, I scrutinize the guestbook, and find his scribbled hand.
"Perfection in all ways."
Indeed, indeed. There were many missteps, but for all the drama, it was a lovely event, refreshingly quirky and magical in its flaws.
The only problem with the book club? Although they've apparently written a press release for it (which The Hindu, the Press Trust of India, The Times of India, and Zee News have faithfully transcribed), there is no mention of the club on their Web site. I know my initial five-year membership will cost Rs 500, and I know my money will benefit slum children in Delhi and Arunachal Pradesh, but I have no idea to whom I give the money or how to transfer it to them.
The only site that even broaches the question of how to get involved (why would anyone want contact information if a story is about a service being provided or an event being held?) is TOI, which directs readers to e-mail email@example.com for membership information.
If you're trying to stimulate interest in a new program, isn't it of the utmost importance to eliminate every possible entry barrier? I'll still probably find a way to sign up, but if the goal is to bring the best of translated India to the masses, shouldn't it be ... a little easier to participate? And if it's really an online book club, shouldn't priority No. 1 be creating online infrastructure?
Thursday, May 17, 2007
I was reminded of this when I opened my copy of Hindustan Times and encountered a story about how a the parents of a patient at a hospital in Kerala gave the doctor their morning catch (five kilograms of fresh pearl spot fish) -- which the harried pediatrician stacked inside a freezer in the pediatric operation ward of Kottayam Medical College. (A pharmacist discovered the fish when he restocked the freezer.)
It's not just gross negligence in hospitals; it's a lack of basic hygiene facilities for a vast proportion of the country, water shortages, inappropriate drug delivery systems, insufficient oversight to address health threats encountered by manual laborers, and grinding poverty that makes it necessary to, for example, sell one's kidney to get out of debt.
As much as people are talking about medical tourism, it seems -- as with so many other things here -- that adequate care is reserved only for the elite. I'd gladly pay more for my pills if that could, in some alterna-perfect world, help India's less privileged afford essentials like protection from mosquito-borne illnesses.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
The new black is belligerence, which I would like to illustrate with a short conversation shouted between a visa seeker and a visa officer.
Officer: "Why are you here again?"
Seeker, a middle-aged balding man, his rumpled purple Oxford shirt unbuttoned to reveal a delightful mass of gray chest hair: "I am needing visa! I am from Italy!"
Officer: "But you haven't followed any of the visa protocol!"
Seeker: "I have seen India! I have seen enough of India! No more!"
Officer: "One by one, you have violated the rules of the visa protocol! There is visa protocol!"
Seeker: "I WILL WAGE WAR ON INDIA AND CHINA!"
Officer: "We will put you in jail! You will be behind bars!"
Seeker: "I don't want JAIL, I want a visa! I hate your country! War!"
What surprised me most, perhaps, was that rather than being trucked off to Tihar, this individual was given what he wanted. Five hours before they addressed my concerns. I think the best thing for me to do is to stop trying to make sense of this utterly chaotic, irrational place.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
In the classified section of The Hindu, I happened upon a rather hilarious ad, which I will recreate below:
1. Mechanical Engineers - 5 yrs exp in rotating, static, PPM skills, planning and scheduling with SAP R3 knowledge. Cost estimation etc ...
2. MEP-Coordinators - able to do electrical / mechanical maintenance work in building, petro- chemical industry
3. Process Technicians - Petro- chemical exp must
4. Female (exp not essential)
5. QA/QC-Inspectors - precision industry experience must
To apply, to know salary & nature of job log on to our website. www.jobonhand.com
Does this strike anyone else as extremely shady? They're not asking for an executive assistant or an administrator, and experience is explicitly unnecessary. So what, dear friends, could the job profile for this female be?
(And, OK, if you go to the Web site, they do request a "female operator." However, I fail to see why they couldn't put this in the ad, if they're going to list details about the other jobs -- apparently targeting men -- that are a bit more salient than specifying desired genitals.)
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Earlier this year, the British Council Delhi had organized a Spoken
Word Series featuring performances and workshops by UK and Indian
poets such as Anjum Hasan, Jeet Thayil, Lemn Sissay and Patience
Agbabi. This culminated in an open mic evening at Sarai, where those
of us present felt the necessity for more such spaces, which give an
opportunity to poet performers to explore how performance and poetry
can be brought together, spaces where words can come alive on the
stage through ways and means ranging from music to rhythm to dance and
Introducing "Open Baithak", a space to experiment with words, enjoy
them, delight in them and do risky and innovative things with them. A
space where poet performers coming from different linguistic, literary
and oral traditions can find and learn from each other. A space where
new poets can try out their verses and voices.
The first five sessions of Open Baithak are being sponsored by the
British Council Delhi. Come to participate, or as audience to good
poetry and to daring, dazzling performances.
WHEN: 18 May 2007, 6.30-8.30 pm
WHERE: The Attic, 36 Regal Building, Connaught Place (see theatticdelhi.org)
To sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org or show up at the Open
Baithak. Email the same if you have questions!
*OUR THREE RULES*
1. You get 7-8 mins on the mike. A bell will signal when your time is up.
2. Bring new material at every Open Baithak. You can perform the same
material twice max, if you wish to try it in a different way.
3. You can bring poems or prose readings in any language.
I'm not one for reading my work, and let's be honest: I haven't written anything I'm proud of in a long, long time. But it's great to see someone's trying to cultivate a more stimulating literary scene than book launches that are more about P3Ps than prose.
Tamil daily Dinakaran wrote a story summarizing the poll, which, among other things, apparently touched on who would be the political heir to Karunanidhi (who you may know as the guy in the sunglasses in the ad I just blogged about). Karunanidhi has three children, one of whom was pegged the overwhelming winner -- which so insulted the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (a political party) that brigands burned the offices of the newspaper, as well as Sun TV, ultimately killing three people. (Hindu story on the incident.)
Why? Why do these things happen with such frequency? I'm glad that (from reports I've seen) the rioting was rather isolated; then again, am I really finding a silver lining in a totally senseless act that ended up costing lives? How does one try to reconcile the image of multibillionaire technocrats with the embers dying out in the Dinakaran rubble?
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
"A lifelong free pampering session and someone to pay for that laser treatment." -- Pooja
"Unlimited sex and that too with social sanction." -- Vishal
"No more waking up at five in the morning to fill the water tank." -- Nitin
"Funding my MBA course." -- Arati
"My partner can take my pets for a walk and I can workout in the gym." -- Rahul
Ah, romance. So sweet and meaningful. How I abhor those crass people who marry for companionship, intellectual stimulation, and emotional support!
Monday, May 7, 2007
The reporter explains, "The logic behind the argument is that owing to early sunset in the North-East, lights have to be switched on in offices in the evening, leading to excess consumption of power. This can be avoided by advancing the clock by one or one-and-half hours so that offices close before sunset."
Wikipedia weighs in on the subject, and at best, the argument is debatable. But it certainly is an interesting topic -- and I thought daylight savings time was just a plot by shadow governments to undermine the focus and resolve of the American public by continually disturbing their biorhythms!
S's exhibition offers a peek behind the scenes of India's burgeoning fashion scene. From hair stylists to models, the ramp to an aspiring designer's barsati, the hub attempts to capture the image-conscious industry off guard. Dr. Alka Pande curates the exhibition, a culmination of more than four years of work that began while S was a grunt photographer at an afternoon tabloid in Delhi.
The show runs through May 24, and the gallery will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. If you're lucky, you can hobnob with the artist himself -- or, even better, his lovely firang wife!
Saturday, May 5, 2007
So I quite enjoyed this week's Outlook, which had two passable articles on Indian identities to which less attention is paid: Franco-Indians living in Pondicherry (and preparing to cast votes for either Sarkozy or Royal) and young people from the Seven Sisters (an increasing presence as employees in the capital's hippest shops and cafes).
On a related note, I just finished Pavan K. Varma's Being Indian. It's interesting, in that it tries to debunk some of the myths that have been created about India. Varma writes:
"The Indian reality is transparent and opaque simultaneously. What is visible is as much a part of the truth as what remains unseen. Foreigners see what is overt, and conflate it with their preconceived notions of 'the great Indian civilization.' In the process many assumptions evade critical scrutiny, and a great dmany inferences are either incorrect or only partially true. But foreigners can be forgiven their errors. Not so the Indians. Over the years the Indian leadership, and the educated Indian, have deliberately projected and embellished an image about Indians that they know to be untrue ... What is worse, they have fallen in love with this image, and can no longer accept that it is untrue.
"The image has been created by a quantum leap of logic, an ideological sleight of hand that derives an untenable ought from an undeniable is. India has been a parliamentary democracy since Independence in 1947; therefore, Indians are undeniably democratic by temperament. Several important religions were born and flourish in India; therefore, Indians are essentially spiritually in their outlooks. People of different faiths have found a home in India; therefore, Indians are basically tolerant by nature. Mahatma Gandhi defeated the British by relying on ahimsa; therefore, Indians are peaceful and non-violent in temperament. Hindu philosophy considers the real world as transient and ephemeral; therefore, Hindus are 'other-worldly' and unmaterialistic in their thinking. India has nurtured a great deal of diversity; therefore, Indians are of an eclectic and catholic disposition.Although there are points within Varma's narrative with which I disagree, this excerpt fairly accurately reflects the relationship I've embraced as regards explaining India. People want quick and easy answers, a 30-second soundbite about how spiritual and loving and wonderful my two years here have been. The thing is, they haven't been. Certain moments fall into these categories, but to generalize -- to try and synthesize a country of more than a billion people into neat little boxes -- is simply impossible.
"India is much too important today, and its potential far too significant in the coming decades, to be held hostage to this simplistic myth-making."
It sounds vaguely menacing to me -- so formal! -- but apparently this company offers training in the fine art of tasting, appraising, and appreciating foreign and domestic wine, beer, and whiskey. In addition to product info, there are also cocktail recipes, including India-specific delights such as "tar-booze" (a play on tarbooz, or watermelon).
They also seem to be trying to build a booze-centric online community, which (in my humble opinion) is far superior to the scrapping about who made out with whom and why on Orkut. But sometimes, they miss the mark.
The pub rating system for users to vote on local bars is entirely incongruous. People can typify the experience at the city's most glamorous hubs, from Tuskers to Tabula Rasa, as: 1) Five orgasms in a row; 2) One orgasm; 3) Hand jive; 4) Coitus interruptus; or 5) Like getting sodomised by all the Harlem Globetrotters.
Umm ... is that really necessary? I don't really think the categories are cute or hip, which is what the site seems to be aiming at, and I somehow think that their clientele -- the city's elite -- might be somehow beyond sophomoric college humor. Then again, what do I know? Maybe sodomy is the new black!
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Aiming to spread awareness about HIV/AIDs and to destigmatize the usage of condoms, I applaud this new effort -- stories about which have been run in every major English-language newspaper in Delhi.
But conspicuously absent? Any accompanying visual. Is an image still too taboo for a morning read, or (as all these stories appear to have been ripped directly from a press release) was there simply no camera-ready art?
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
On Monday, the Bush administration announced that it had put 12 countries -- including India -- on a "priority watch list" for failing to sufficiently protect U.S. producers of music and movies from piracy.
I'm not sure whether they're targeting cheap pirated CDs and DVDs or the larger issue of intellectual property rights, but I certainly hope they're not going to lead a crusade against masala-fied adaptations of Western culture. Because really, where would we be without silver screen gems such as Fight Club: Members Only (Fight Club), Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai (My Best Friend's Wedding), and Deewane Huye Paagal (There's Something About Mary)? Whither the dulcet tones of Pretty Woman (originally by Roy Orbison) or Saiyan Dil Mein Aana Re (Spice Girls, who I realize are not technically American, but potato, potahto)?
You simply must watch this video (which has been spreading across the Internets like a global wildfire) of an Infosys account manager dancing -- nay, shaking a leg, getting down, gyrating, vibrating on a completely different plane.
And lest you think this is some kind of divine setup, let me assure you: I have witnessed even more horrendous acts than this, including an 8-year-old son of an executive assistant singing "Smack That" (unedited) while wearing leather pants and grabbing his crotch. Nightmares, my friends.
The Indian Express has failed us. Because check out the caption (lower right corner): "While mourning for the brother of a former Hizbul commander, this militants."
Obviously, in lieu of the full stop, the sentence should have continued, "... contemplates the politics of identity, mulls the implications of terrorism in the subcontinent, and contemplates the merits of butterscotch over chocolate chip."
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Reporter Riddhi Shah exposits, "Much has been written about the NRI experience -- their conflicts, their battles, their struggle to come to terms with their mixed identities. But the stories of these reverse NRIs -- white on the outside and brown on the inside, 'white chocolate' to the NRI's 'coconut' -- have gone largely untold."
The story itself leaves a lot to be desired -- it's only about 300 words and attempts to synthesize the narratives of five or six people, all without really offering context or relaying the particularities of any one person's situation. Still, the topic poses interesting questions about identity and belonging in a world in which traditional boundaries are increasingly blurred. It stings when I hear people calling me gori and firang, and when children point, laugh, stare, sing songs. But I can only imagine how it would feel to have grown up in the subconty, to consider oneself Indian, and to experience the same day in and day out, endless explanations of life never quite either here nor there.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
It's a quick read and a powerful story -- she offers a glimpse of the life a woman who was married and a mother by 14 who, after years of harassment from her husband and the community, picked up everything and disappeared to Delhi; after a few bad jobs, she found herself working for a man who caught her looking at the books on his shelves and, rather than remonstrate her for slagging off on duty, gave her a pen and a notebook and told her that she should think of reading and writing every day as one of her daily chores.
I don't have a coherent perspective on the writing/execution/style of the book (largely because I find myself confounded by the tension between literature as literature and literature as therapy or social tool), and I haven't read a great deal of other subaltern autobiographies, so I'll just highlight two passages I found particularly compelling:
"One thing that had become clear to me by this time was that man or woman, everyone was basically concerned about themselves and about having enough to eat. Had I understood this wisdom earlier, I would not have had to suffer so much."
"I like cooking for people and feeding them and even when I was with my husband, any time I made something new, I would share it with everyone around. Perhaps that was what made him so unhappy with me! I also liked looking at cookery books as much as I liked reading books and poems and stories. Reading the newspaper had become like an addiction and everything that Tatush read to me or told me about was a new discovery for me. Perhaps this was why I waited at the gate every morning for the papers to come."
Juxtaposing them, I guess what I like is that, despite an absolutely bleak outlook on the state of humanity, she still finds something, some way, to make her life positive. I've been accused of being an incurable cynic, so to try and capture some of this attitude in my life would probably be beneficial; shitty things happen, and sure, people are jerks, but there are too many good things to get caught up in feeling sorry for myself.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Next to a picture of women carrying earthen urns on their heads, text reads: "The glory in carrying an urn, Health through carrying an urn These women rarely developed cervical spondylosis. They were physically active and many of today's diseases were thus prevented."
Then, by a woman grinding wheat on a millstone, comes this reproach: "Health through grinding your own flour in glorious India. These glorious Indian women never developed a frozen shoulder. They were physically active and home ground pure whole grains were being consumed which are very healthy to the body. Health was through eating whole grains, health through physical activity through their daily chores."
The key message seems to be right on -- physical activity is good. But the subtext seems to be that women, in embracing urban lifestyles, are dooming themselves to unspoken tragedy. This wouldn't bother me so much if there was also a section on how men should return to the agrarian life, say, urging them to embrace manually sowing fields, but there isn't. Instead, it is presumed that women should stay in their traditional places, shunning convenience for the sake of slaving over an open fire to provide the family endless freshly made rotis (and, of course, waiting until the men finish their meals before serving themselves leftovers).