Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Does size matter?

I like some things about the USA. The size of their helpings, for one. The down side is that I usually have to leave some food on my plate, thus missing out on the satisfaction of a plate wiped clean at the end of the meal. My mum was always big on “FINISH what’s on your plate!”. Yes, the usual line about ‘Think of all the poor children who don’t get enough to eat”. And no, I never did see the point of that. For one, I was never sure that there were children poor enough to want my left-over spinach or neem begun (fried aubergine with bitter leaves, very much an acquired taste). Furthermore, where was the supply chain that would take the left-over spinach to the poor hungry kids? As far as I could see, it went into the fridge or into the lady who cleaned the floors (and she didn’t take it home, she ate it ALL right there right then. And stayed reed-thin. So much for justice, thought a fat kid)

It IS nice, however, to be served a humongous platter of dead animals. (Even though Americans seem to serve fries with EVERYthing. Any day now, I’ll get tiramisu with fries on the side.) Except that the American fixation with size (no, you smutty-minded brats, I am NOT going THERE) applies to other aspects of life too. Case in point, the New York Times.

Consider this. A newspaper that has more sections than most other papers have pages. A newspaper where you’re not even expected to take the whole paper, just the sections you want. Or just the sections you can read and finish. Basically, you’re expected to leave stuff on your plate!

I’m OK with that. I only get some selected feeds from the NYT (yes, that’s the way they plan it). But what do I do when Indian papers go the same way? At home, I don’t have to read too much of my two daily papers because 75% of their matter concerns either the Kolkata Fashion Week or the Lakme Fashion Week or the Alternative Fashion Week or … well, SOME event or the other which involves men with make-up and malnourished women. Neither of which interest me. So I usually get to office with the satisfaction of Having Read the Papers. (What, the front page and the sports section DO count as the whole paper!)

But now, in Delhi, a bulging bag hangs on my door handle. ONE paper? Item, the Hindustan Times, Delhi edition. It’s like a young telephone directory! (And less informative? Well no, it’s getting to be a good paper. With some notable lapses, but hey, this is Delhi.) Four sections. Or is it five? How do I even begin to read this? (I know, in the smallest room, but don’t be facetious!) I give up. I’ll watch the news on television!

So I shall have to leave for work with a sneaking suspicion that I am Not Informed about the World. So be it.

But is there any way we could persuade these guys to Give Us Less?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

.. to meet the faces that you meet

Charukesi muses on portrait photography.

Which is serendipitous. On my recent travels, a friend told me I don’t take enough pictures of people. So I tried. And now, in the wake of Charukesi’s post, I have questions.

Is it portrait photography if it’s not just the face?

Or if the face is incidental to the context?

What if the person is too far away to see the face?

Or not looking at the camera?

Turned away from the camera, even?

How about a portrait without faces?

I suppose the basic question is whether the subject is more important than the story.

Your views, please (pun intended).

With THIS one below, there’s no confusion. I’m rather proud of it

Monday, September 07, 2009

What if ...

There are many sides to the truth. But if the evidence against the conviction and execution of this man is even half-true, then his prosecutors have a load on their collective conscience that may be greater than most convicted felons’.

Read it. It’s a cautionary tale against pre-judging anybody. It drives home (and indeed quotes) the greatest argument against capital punishment – that it may lead to the state murdering an innocent man. This makes sense to me now, even though some years ago I posted on this blog in favour of the execution of one Dhananjay who'd been convicted of rape and murder.

And it twists my insides to think of a man losing his children to a fire, then being accused, tried and convicted of murdering them, THEN spending 12 years waiting for his death for a crime he possibly didn’t commit.

Update: Krishna, in the comments section, links to The Innocence Project. Worth a look. And another.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


About a strange (i.e. curious) phenomenon.

Usually, the daily count of visitors to this blog is in single digits. Even I hadn't visited it in some weeks, which gives you an idea of how riveting the content is.

Then why, on the 12th, 13th and 14th of August, did the count go up into several hundreds? (Well, hundreds anyway)
Does anybody know? Did wossername, yes, Megan Fox, mention it on TV?