Truth?Or Lies?

One of my favorite ways to pass time is to go over to the TED app on my iPad and watch speech after speech.Today I stumbled across this speech by this courageous woman who fled from North Korea.This post however is not on her escape neither on the problems of North Korea.The first minute of her speech got me thinking about an entirely different topic.On how where we are brought up and what we read in our books or rather what is fed to us through them determines what we think about historical events or personalities.

Somehow I started thinking about Operation Bluestar.With two sentences, the lady had made me doubt my Political Science book. I don’t think that this incident was written in a blatantly pro-government, or pro-Indira Gandhi way in my textbook, but was it tilted towards supporting Indira Gandhi’s Operation? Did my textbook gloss over the torture and killings of the Sikhs? Have I learned about the political history of my country from a very biased point of view?

I remember reading how history is always written from the point of view of the victors. I have always been aware that the history of the same place, same incident, written by two different people or two different governments, will probably be very different. I have always known that the Pakistani textbooks talk about the Partition in a different way than the Indian textbooks. But this impersonal knowledge had never struck home. I had never made the connection that the things I studied in school, what I was taught, might be biased and inaccurate. What in the history of my country has been deliberately left out of the school textbooks and what deliberately written wrong? How much of the true happenings do I really know?
We’re all so used to hearing only about the good in Gandhiji and Nehru; when have we ever heard about the bad?

Isn’t it time we stop glossing over the uncomfortable truths of our history?

What Is India?

Was in the main market zone of Bhubaneswar a few days ago.It goes by the name of Unit III.While waiting for some Papri Chaat ,saw these two ladies.Foreigners.They came up to the Papri Chaat stall and started taking photos.Of what?No,not the Papri Chaat being made,nor of the man making it,but the photo of the fact that he was making it all very near to an open drain.
“Oh dear lord,how unhygienic is that?”,said one.
“Well,that’s India for you!”,replied the other lady.
Something snapped.I generally don’t react much,but the way in which she said it,half mocking,half derogatory,it did things to me.
“Just to let you know Ma’am,we do not go to your countries and use rolls of camera reel on how sad the state of affairs is on public spending.Nor do we say,”That’s the West for you” when another share market collapse takes place or some young boy goes straddling into a school and kills hundreds of innocent children.Have a nice stay and bye!”

Made me wonder about what ‘India’ represents to the world on the other side of the picket fence. After all that deep thinking, this is what I figured-

To many,like these ladies,India is the opposite of hygiene and a synonym to unhealthy street food.

To many, India is synonymous to a rich and aromatic blend of spices that tease the senses to explore beyond the realm of imagination.

To some, India is beautiful tanned women clad in yards of silk and dresses fashioned on mind-blowing color palettes and materials.

To some, India is hand-woven Kashmir rugs that can be bought at high-end retail stores for an arm and a leg.

To some, India is over-achieving children and their ever-worried parents crowding their neighborhood schools, Kumon centers and spelling bees.

To some, India is sandal incense sticks and small wooden elephants found at local markets.

To some,India is about the song and dance routine of Bollywood.

To many India is nothing but Taj Mahal.

To some, India is elderly couples walking the streets of their town in traditional Indian clothing throughout the year pushing strollers or holding the tiny fingers of their grandchildren.

To some, India is the population that stole their jobs, the country that lit the firecracker leading to the unpardonable ‘outsourcing’ explosion that chopped off their paychecks.

To some more, India remains a distant dot on their planet that has no relevance in their everyday lives.

To me, India is home. With its power outages, ever-increasing traffic, no-end-in-sight corruption and bureaucracy to its fabulous colorful billboards, sensational shopping alleys, mouth-watering food,even if it is made near an open drain!
If we don’t have a problem with our home,I do not see why others should!

Delhi Postcards & The 2012 Blog Report!

Hello there!And there!
Keeping in mind that I have to make up for the lost time,I would like to hit the ground running!Posts,therefore will be coming up thick and fast. To start off here are some photos from my Delhi trip.
Inspite of all the attention it is getting for all the wrong-and sad-reasons,Delhi chose to put on it’s
‘best’ show for me I guess.How else do you explain the near zero temperatures that made me forget what the word ‘bath’ means?! Here then,are the photos from among millions I clicked,ones that made it through after hours of deliberation in my mind!

To start off,is this photo of something that Delhi got me addicted to.By the end of my trip,I lost count of how many plates of aloo-tikki I had.We are talking in the scale of hundreds in here!

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Here are the rest,and I think they do their own talking.They tell us how beautiful the city is even with all it’s problems and why it hurts when something so horrific as what happened,takes place.

The Red Fort and that type of weather are a deadly combo,believe me!

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What’s a visit to Delhi without a journey to Agra?!

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In Delhi,you MUST try out this place at the Hauz Khas Village.To quote Amul,the food here is “utterly butterly delicious”!

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And then,do stop for some juice!

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I don’t think the photo is good enough to tell you just how many people had descended for shopping in Sarojini Nagar on a night where you could hardly take your hands out of your pockets-even with gloves on!

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All in all,an excellent vacation!
Here’s my 2012 report card,with the hope that things will be even better in 2013:)

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 13,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Nearing the end?Have a Coke!

Today’s post is dedicated to a friend who thinks the world might come to an end on the 21st!

As the idiotic concept of ‘doomsday’ comes near and with the eternal pessimists having the time of their lives,I suddenly remembered a Coca-Cola ad released in India in early 2012.It’s international version “Whatever” was already a hit ofcourse,but what made the Indian version more endearing was one flash line towards the end-

While some believe we are nearing the end, there are 5000000 people sending New Year wishes.

It’s not without reason that some consider it to be the best commercial ever made.
It reminds you that all is not lost in a world where greed, fear,doubt and hatred are becoming commonplace and people look at ways and means to desparately seek happiness.
As the ad ends,
“There are reasons to believe in a better world.”

Here’s to 21st December 2012!CHEERS!

The Dhauli Peace Pagoda

Dhauli Hills, a 30 minute journey from Bhubaneswar is supposed to be the area where the Battle of Kalinga was fought.The same battle which led Emperor Ashoka take up the cause of peace and Buddhism after he realized the extent of loss and destruction,and even more important,the death of millions of soldiers.The Daya river which flows by the hills is said to have turned red with the blood of dead soldiers.
Cut to today,the hill now has a beautiful peace pagoda built by the Japan Buddha Sangha and the Kalinga Nippon Buddha Sangha.

Here are some photos I took the other day in Dhauli!

The Peace Pagoda
The Peace Pagoda

View of River Daya from the hill.
View of River Daya from the hill.

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The statues of Buddha in the three avatars:-

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The inscriptions and murales,the meaning or interpretation of which is still not clear as each guide has his own story to tell!
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Dhauli is also famous for the excellent(and might I add cheapest)kaju badam!
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The thing that hits you about Dhauli is the utter serenity around the place.Even with so many tourists,there is a strange sense of tranquility and quietness.A trip worth remembering:)
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