Category Archives: Uncategorized

Obsessive reading!

Nothing like books to bring alive people and places! A lovely post indeed

sitanaiksblog

I have watched with fascination the obsession that revolved around the Harry Potter series. I remember the pictures of the lines outside stores for the release of each new book and my sister-in-law using all her contacts to get a pre-release copy sneaked out for my niece. These compelling, addictive series seem to be the fashion of the day, especially for young and young adult fiction. I watch my own grandson, addicted to various mythology based series – Maybe at that age I too went through the rage of the time – various Enid Blyton series, Bily Bunter and a great favorite, the William books.

Even for a fairly rapid and compulsive reader, I have not been obsessive about a series or a fictional character for a very long time.  The first Henning Mankell book I read was  Daniel which I picked up one of  my increasingly infrequent visits to…

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OoGoOg the unhalved #2

2nd part of the sci fi fantasy series

theamazingud

OoGoOg was running round and round the thing blocking his escape. There seemed to be a massive place outside. “There must be a way outside, it seems that we are trapped over here,” OoGoOg  thought. “I might have to break the barrier to get out of this place to escape my clan and hopefully find another one. I have to make something which is sharp, sharper than most things we find in our food from the gods (also contains other items). Hmmmmmm……..”. OoGoOg was in deep thought.

Mr. Menidzher was elated when he read the text message of Dr. Hiburgerihatu. He started speed-walking to test lab #1 where he saw Dr. Hiburgerihatu observing one of the specimens assuming it was the human. Dr. Menidzher said, “So, you have finally succeeded Dr. Hiburgerihatu after 3 tests and a year”. “Yes, but the human may not survive, he is being hunted by…

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OoGoOg the Unhalved

Follow Udai’s latest fantasy story here….

theamazingud

OoGoOg looked at his brother. His brother had been ‘halved’ like all of his kind. Halving was supposed to be a sign of becoming a proper member of society. Halving occurred between ages 14 and 20. OoGoOg was 23 years old and still hadn’t halved. Most of his race was born half their parents’ height, became equal of their height by age 5, doubled their parents’ height by age 16 and halved by age 17. The year in the middle caused each new generation to be taller than the earlier
one.

OoGoOg wasn’t lucky to be tall though, being tall was considered bad luck. Even his parents’ said, “shame and bad luck you bring upon us”. Little did they know that if OoGoOg wasn’t noticed, they would all be doomed.
Dr. Hiburgerihatu was sure he hadn’t made a mistake this time so he went to check on test #3. He…

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Personalities

They are as different as chalk and cheese, my children. One is camera shy and a quintessential bookworm, in love with trivia, already geekily inclined. The other is a self-professed ‘Mondo’- half monkey, half dog (no space for human!). Sporty, wild, social, comfortable with considerable artistic expression. 

They are best friends and the worst of enemies, you never know which is when. They are in that stage when their personalities are beginning to emerge, take shape. And it’s fascinating to observe how much happens every passing day in their busy busy lives. 

A pic to illustrate the sheer joy of being a child. And the fun you can have when you can be whatever you are, whatever you want to be…..

Pic credits: my friend Maneesha and mom, Sita  

Learning to be unapologetic: My own brand of feminism

If there is anything I have learnt in my journey into feminism, it is the strength to be unapologetic. Let me explain.

The experience of being a woman in Indian society is hugely shaped by relationships to men. From the time of birth, a woman is defined as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother. While relationships bind men too, men are also encouraged to develop independent personalities. Cast in the role of bread winners and ‘heads of households’, developing an independent identity is seen as necessary and assertion is very much considered a masculine trait.

For many girls of my generation who were fortunate to be born into families where women were relatively emancipated, growing up was largely about finding an identity that detached itself slightly from the fetters of those relationships but we were expected to perform the balancing act and still hold on to them.

I am not cut out to be a non-conformist, so in my student years and and as a young mother, I struggled to maintain that balance. To meet my ideals of being a good daughter (excel is academics/work, be well-behaved), a good wife (supportive, a peaceable companion), a good mother (available, involved, loving, one who prioritizes her children over all else). Of course, the ideals themselves were reflective of a certain attitude to gender in our society, but that’s how it was and perhaps still is.

But somewhere along the way, it became very tiring to toe that line, to always be in the midst of that balancing act. I realized that being constantly up there on the balancing beam only diminished my chances of succeeding at those very self-expressed ideals. Each time I yelled at my kid, or over-reacted to something my husband said, I felt something was fundamentally off.

And then realization dawned. I realized I was constantly apologizing for myself in my head. I was being so hard on myself, holding myself to some golden standard and apologizing- to myself, to my family, my friends even. That was something I was determined to change.

At about the same time, I started to read feminist texts and blogs and interact with feminist thinkers. I was fascinated by the idea of sprouting wings that would help me detach myself from bounds. But the emphasis on freedom and emancipation puzzled me. Not only was it important for me to be unapologetic about what I did and how I behaved (within the bounds of humanism and reason), it also became vital for me to challenge those notions of feminism that urged me to feel ashamed of my dependence on my spouse, my sense of involvement with my children or my unwitting endorsement of patriarchal social rituals. I became truly unapologetic. I became a follower of my conscience. I began to hold a harsh mirror to myself, but with one big rule. To never feel sorry about myself. To do what I think is right. To never allow apology and shame to haunt me, but to learn from my errors and keep moving forward.

Happy International Women’s Day!thumb_DSCN0914_1024

My Christmas in 2015

Udai’s Christmas was very exciting this year! Check it out…

theamazingud

My Christmas this year was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed. My family and I went to visit my mother’s friend’s house. Kimberly is my mama’s friend from work and she with her mother, Jean, and father, Wilson, invited us to their home in Mumbai to celebrate Christmas.

The Noronhas are Catholics and so began my experience of an actual Christmas. My previous Christmas experiences consisted of getting a tree inside the house, going to sleep jumpy on Christmas eve, then waking up on Christmas morning and opening my gifts. This, however was a different experience maybe not so much because of the things I did, but maybe because of the way I did the things and the mood of the event.

These were things we did-

  1. We set up the tree and put a lot of decorations on it. Unlike the tree back home this tree looked extremely good. We also…

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2015 in review, from WP

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 35,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Competition Alert! FILM CITY TOWER MUMBAI : BOLLYWOOD RE-IMAGINED

Urban Design Collective

Film city tower_main graphic

archasm invites architects, students, engineers, designers, artists and philosophers to send in their entries for our competition.
Idea based competition
Single stage competition
Team of maximum three members
No professional qualification necessary for eligibility
Teams can be interdisciplinary

Mumbai, or erstwhile Bombay is the largest metropolis of India and an answer to the likes of Shanghai, London or New York. It is the financial capital and trade epicentre of the country, a city of lifestyles and narratives. The ‘Maximum City’ of Bombay is renowned all over the globe for the enormity and surrealism of BOLLYWOOD, which is the nickname given to the Hindi language Film Industry located in the city. The industry has come a long way and bloomed since its inception, to a multi-billion dollar industry, only second in capacity to its American cousin, Hollywood. Bollywood is a goliath in terms of revenue generation and employment, both direct and…

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FIELD URBANISM [a book review + recommendation]

Really interesting. We need newer ways to think about cities and this seems to be a good way to begin…

{FAVEL issues}

All (urban) fields are (urban) fabrics but not all (urban) fabrics are (urban) fields.

For this post I want to talk about a fascinating book that just came out, Changing Chinese Cities: The Potentials of Field Urbanism. The author, Renee Chow, is not only a Prof. of Architecture at UC Berkeley and Principle at StudioUrbis, but she was my supervisor while I did my graduate studies at Berkeley, and continues to be a mentor and friend. Aside from having a personal relationship with the author and the research done, I have to say, in the most objective way I can, that this book is full of thoughtful analysis, reflecting a new understanding of the potentials of urban fabrics, and more particularly of field urbanisms.

field urbanisms

The book offers case studies, essays, and design explorations (illustrations and diagrams) of Chinese cities to demonstrate how field urbanism can identify the…

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Karachi: The City That Was – 1

More inspiration for those who are still struggling to pen their thoughts for #TheCityasMuse contest! Nostalgia and Karachi….

TheSouthAsianIdea Weblog

By Ahmed Kamran

Yeh laash-e be-kafan Asad-e khasta jaan ki hai
Haq maghfarat kare ajab azad mard tha! (Ghalib)

If Karachi could be likened to a man, with a little liberty taken from Ghalib, this couplet could be a very appropriate epitaph for the tombstone of Karachi, the city that was! This is a series of some musings on the social and cultural aspects of the history of Karachi; how the city’s life was developed and transformed over time. It focuses on the period of 1960s and 1970s when I was young and had many dreams. What was the Karachi that my generation had inherited and what it is today? These writings have a clear ring of nostalgia. Paul Getty said, ‘Nostalgia often leads to idle speculation’. Indeed, nostalgia is distractive, breeds inaction, and, often, depression. But like some sweet-bitter memory of childhood or a sad song or a symphony…

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