Wednesday 26 April 2006

April in Udaipur (and Delhi)

We took a lot of pictures this month. Do see. Comments welcome.

Tourist Attractions, Udaipur

Mr Bond is still popular.

p.s. Anyone remember Vijay Amritraj in the movie?

Ctrl + C, Ctrl + V

The Kaavya Viswanathan thingy, which we just posted about at Kitabkhana reminded us that thanks to a combination of a bit of flu, a still-aching butt and a persistent lower back hassle (ooer, we're getting old, we are) we forgot to post about Shilpa Bhtanagar's plaint.

Y'see, the lass has been plagiarised (do read her updates on the matter), and when she fought back, the plagiarist threatened to sue, believe it or not.

Anyway, everyone seems to have posted about this, so we won't shove in our tuppence, except to point you to Shilpa's new post on the matter.

Tuesday 25 April 2006


Some extracts from a A New York Times article titled Elderbloggers Stake Their Claim, by Lee Roberts.
With a breadth of experience and perspective, older bloggers are staking out a place in the blogosphere — a medium overwhelmingly dominated by the young. Perhaps more attentive to grammar and less likely to use cutesy cyberspeak,
older bloggers expound on topics as varied as poetry and politics, gardening and grandmothering. According to a recent report by the Perseus Development Corporation, a research company that studies online trends, the Internet is home to approximately 54.3 million blogs, nearly 60 percent written by people younger than 19. Just 0.3 percent of blogs are run by people 50 or older, yet that's still about 160,000 bloggers.
"I'm 81 years old and this blog has opened up a whole new world to me," Mr. Reichek said. "And I'm not doing this because I'm a lonely old man. I don't lack for social interaction. I find it a fascinating hobby, and a fruitful one."In one posting, Mr. Reichek wrote about what he thought was the insanity of the Iraq war, which prompted volleys of comments from pro- and antiwar partisans. "There were 14 or 15 people using my blog to have an argument about their positions on the war," he said.
"It's kind of like talking over the backyard fence," he said. "Like a neighborhood."
While the 65-plus age range is notoriously tech-shy, many say that the blog-hosting companies make it simple to start and maintain one. [..] "I'm a technophobe," he said. "But 1, 2, 3 and suddenly, I've got a blog."

Read the whole thing

And visit the blogs cited:
Late Life Crisis
Time Goes By ["has links to more than 100 blogs written by people 50 and older, many of them 65 and older."]
Milt's Muse

And then go persuade a senior citizen you know to start blogging.

Saturday 22 April 2006

Send your books into retirement

This in via email:
Just a line to say that the mumbai-headquartered Dignity Foundation is setting up a library for its township at Neral, near matheran : off mumbai.
I am assisting by way of passing around the hat : for any books you may like to donate.
In this connection, I am reproducing below the note that has appeared in the March 2006 issue of Dignity Dialogue : the official journal of Dignity Foundation.
Hiro Shroff : oral historian & journalist
mobile 98208 90764 :
Mumbai 22/04/26

Dignity Dialogue : March 2006
The library, at the Dignity Lifestyle Township at Neral is shaping up well.
A few books have already come in and we would now welcome your donation by way of more books, music CDs and video films.
Hiro Shroff, oral historian and journalist, and author of the book --Down Memory Lane -- is our honorary books advisor.
Your gift packets may please be sent to Dignity Foundation addressed to :
Mrs. Umadevi Krishnamurthy
Dignity Foundation
BMC School Building
Topiwala Lane
Opp. Lamington Road Police Station
Grant Road (E)
Mumbai 400 007
Uma's tel no. 022 23885090 :
Email id :

Signed : Sheilu Sreenivasan
President : Dignity Lifestyle Township
Dignity Foundation, Dignity Lifestyle Township

Friday 21 April 2006

"Don't GO Hindi" Petition

Pranay Srinivasan mails in a link to this petition:
We are a bunch of very keen, regular listeners to your Radio Station, in particular the English music. Over a period of time we have been listening to programs like “The Nightshift”, “The Midnight Shift”, “Big Brunch”, “90s on 925”, “GMM” and “College Radio”.

Each of these programs caters to a different section of English music lovers and most of us actually listen to all of the above. Therefore, it has come as a total surprise, or rather shock that your Station has chosen to GO Hindi leaving all your loyal listeners stranded. We believe that this could probably be because there are other Cities involved which may have a large following of Hindi music lovers but Mumbai, we think is a City apart. It has a total cosmopolitan feel and has a huge following of English music lovers. So in the general interest of the English music lovers we have chosen to write this letter to you.
Read – and, if you feel strongly enough about it, sign – the "Don't GO Hindi" Petition addressed to the folks at Go 92.5 FM. We're happy enough with our 40gb+ library of mp3s.

Monday 17 April 2006

my hosts

In order of seniority...



Partha Pantha
Sorry. The humans here tell me that my non-Bong ears mishear the 'n' sound. The little cat, though, is indifferent to my heresy as long as I have a plate in my hand.


Posting from just around the corner from here. Udaipur pictures soon, once we have tried to flog them to Outlook Traveller. :)

Monday 10 April 2006

Once more we guide you elsewhere

More good writing we should have linked to ages ago:

Samanth Subramanian's fine A writer and his web-blahg, which features some well-written essays, reviews, and his published writing. You could start with his latest piece on blogs, wikis and the web as a kind of commons.

~River~'s river's blue elephants, which features regular doses of lovely poetry and stunning art.

We're off..

..on our first-ever junket! We're feeling very important. It's so nice having tickets delivered, PR people call us to arrange pick-ups and all that. Almost makes up for having the trip postponed twice and then having to leave home at 4 ack emma.

We're a bit fuzzy on the details, but we think we're going to be resting our tired bones here for the next few days, sleeping in something like this, eating at one of these, unwinding, perhaps, here.

And then we'll have to write about it. Ah well. Tough job, but someone's gotta do it.

Saturday 8 April 2006


Oh joy. We've been waiting for Nilanjana to post her Calcutta essay, which ran in Seminar.
It was when we heard about Argha the mali selling the books that we finally accepted the house in Calcutta was dying. The house was of a type once common in Calcutta, now increasingly rare, the few specimens left either already crumbling, already neglected, or looking strangely out of place, forlorn bungalows dwarfed and flanked by multistoried buildings.

But when we grew up, it was the apartment buildings that were rare, especially in South Calcutta. There, most of the families we knew lived in houses like the one on Rowland Road: gracious, sprawling, one-or-two-storeyed bungalows in red or white or cream brick, the louvred window shutters painted in green or blue.

No one in our tiny corner of Calcutta would ever be crass enough to discuss family money, but it was easy to see who had it and who didn't. The ones who still had trust funds and deposits and prosperous folders of share certificates had their houses painted every year, the silver polished every week, the red or black stone floors swept and swabbed to a high gloss, the Irish linen or Bengal Home tablecloths washed, starched and returned in pristine condition by the family dhobi. For burra khanas, the plate and china would come out from pantries, the chandeliers or the candelabra would be dusted, the old portraits would receive another coat of varnish, the latticeworked iron door and window grills repainted--even the gravel on the driveway would be shampooed.
Read on..

Thursday 6 April 2006

In which we show restraint on the post tit le.

BoingBoing prints this letter from Bennett Haselton, founder of Peacefire, about the FCC's ludicrous decision to issue a fine for the incident that gave us the term "wardrobe malfunction" two years ago:
I usually don't send out pure opinion pieces, but let it be said: There is not one person anywhere who can give you a good reason why it's OK to show a man's chest on TV, but not a woman's chest. You can ask over 100 people why -- trust me, I have -- and not get a real answer. It's just a silly superstition that some people came up with, a bunch of others went along with it, and now we're stuck with it. Have you ever heard a real reason?
Read on.

More fool, us.

Damn. We just realised we forgot to pay our Advance Tax. We're screwed.

Ah well.

Go see Wikipedia's list of the best All Fool's Day pranks on the web this year. (And the complete list is here.)

spel it lyk it is

My Bonnie lives over the ocean
My Bonnie flies over the sea
My Bonnie has perpetual mocean
She has St. Vitus's dance, you sea.
Please go see Poems showing the absurdities of English spelling on the Simplified Spelling Society, about whom we think we will post one of these days. Or maybe not.

From the desk of Massah Gates

"At Microsoft, e-mail is the medium of choice, more than phone calls, documents, blogs, bulletin boards, or even meetings (voicemails and faxes are actually integrated into our e-mail in-boxes).

"I get about 100 e-mails a day. We apply filtering to keep it to that level–e-mail comes straight to me from anyone I've ever corresponded with, anyone from Microsoft, Intel, HP, and all the other partner companies, and anyone I know. And I always see a write-up from my assistant of any other e-mail, from companies that aren't on my permission list or individuals I don't know. That way I know what people are praising us for, what they are complaining about, and what they are asking."
From How I Work: Bill Gates in Fortune, and on CNNMoney. [Via Fosfor Gadgets.]

Darn. No mention of those emails that His Billness is supposed to be tracking and paying us 5 cents for.

p.s. The rest of the How I Work series features Marissa Mayer Bill Gross, Vera Wang, Howard Schultz, Wynton Marsalis, Carlos Ghosn, Amy W. Schulman, A.G. Lafley, John McCain, Jane Friedman, Judge Richard Posner, Hank Paulson.

Before you go register your URL

The most popular registered domain name length is actually 11 characters long, tailing off from there.
There are 253,000+ non-IDN domains that are 32 characters or longer, including 538 that are 63 characters long.
These include
That one's for sale, by the way. Heh.

And there's lots more in Interesting Facts About Domain Names over at Dennis Forbes's site, with a Part Two expected any day now.

[Via BoingBoing]

Destined to be the most popular blogtoon in the 'sphere?

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Wednesday 5 April 2006

Rock and a Ha Ha Place

Thought we'd point you to two nice themes now playing in Blogger Pradesh.

Falstaff's doing a Rock and Roll Week – read the prologue, the one about poetry and rock, the one about drugs, the one about Joni Mitchell, the one about protest rock, and watch this space for more.

And on +: etcetera :+, DoZ is writing about humorists. So far: David Sedaris, P G Wodehouse and Woody Allen.

Going legal

Do you know your online rights? Have you received a letter asking you to remove information from a Web site or to stop engaging in an activity? Are you concerned about liability for information that someone else posted to your online forum? If so, this site is for you.
Go see Chilling Effects Clearinghouse.

It's all US-centric, natch, but worth a look-see. Of particular interest to many bloggers, the sections on Linking, Protest, Parody and Criticism, and Anonymity.

(: The site is also requesting submissions to its Database of Cease & Desist Notices. Wethinks that Pradyuman Maheshwari and all the Aye Aye Pee Em fans can make some constributions to that one. Heh. :)

Love, Groucho

While we were wandering the net in search of column fodder, we chanced upon the famous letter Groucho Marx wrote to Warner Brothers. If you haven't heard of it, here's the background:
While preparing to film a movie entitled A Night in Casablanca, the Marx brothers received a letter from Warner Bros. threatening legal action if they did not change the film’s title. Warner Bros. deemed the film’s title too similar to their own Casablanca, released almost five years earlier in 1942, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. In response Groucho Marx dispatched the following letter to the studio’s legal department:
Read the letter.

Tuesday 4 April 2006

It's contextual

Didja see Google's April 1st Google Romance launch? Don't forget to take the tour.

Monday 3 April 2006

If there's nothing else you read today.. this, about Mai Lai, a gang rape, and being a hero.

[And if you have time to read some more, read Why I Am Still A Feminist, which is where we got the first link, and which we found via Hemangani Gupta.]

Kitab Festival - Delhi - 6th-9th April

Venue: Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

Thursday 6 April

19:30 Festival Opening
by invitation only
Deborah Moggach reads from her novel These Foolish Things , set in Bangalore and is interviewed by Caroline Phillips.

Friday 7 April
10:00 William Dalrymple previews his new book, The Last Mughal. Followed by a Q&A session with Rahul Bose.

11:00 Globalisation, the writer and the nation
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown chairs a discussion about whether globalisation limits the types of stories that writers can tell. Panel members include Amit Chaudhuri, Shashi Tharoor, Nadeem Aslam and Rana Dasgupta.

13.15 Muslims and the Media
Allan Jenkins chairs a discussion on the media's coverage of Islam with Yasmin Alibhai Brown, MJ Akbar, Nadeem Aslam, Muneeza Shamsie and Clare Short.

14.30 Bridging the Gap: Literary Festivals, Writers and Readers
Geordie Greig (chairing), Palash Dave, Alexandra Pringle, Catherine Lockerbie, Pablo Ganguli and Tarun Tejpal discuss the growth of literary festivals around the world and examine the potential for literary festivals in India to boost readership.

16.00 Women's writing: what is it and do women want it?
Muneeza Shamsie chairs a discussion including Catherine Lockerbie, Deborah Moggach, Malavika Sangghvi, Manju Kapur and Urvashi Butalia.

18:00 Penguin Book Launch – Edna Fernandes's Holy Warriors

Saturday 8 April

10.00 Bihar and India's new modernity
While talk of nuclear power and globalisation preoccupy the Indian capital, the Indian state of Bihar is wrought with poverty, corruption and violence. How do such regions figure into the narrative of contemporary India ? Somini Sengupta chairs a discussion with Sam Miller, Vir Sanghvi, Tabish Khair and Siddharth Chowdhury.

11.30 Small presses versus multinationals
Alexandra Pringle chairs a discussion including Pete Ayrton, Richard Beswick, Pramod Kapoor, Renuka Chatterjee and Boyd Tonkin.

13:30 Media Culpa: Does the media fail literature in the UK and India?
Geordie Greig chairs a panel including Alexandra Pringle, Richard Beswick, Allan Jenkins, Tarun Tejpal, Jai Arjun Singh and Toby Lichtig.

15:00 Wasafiri Panel: Writing Across Worlds and Between the Lines
A discussion of little magazines and their role in promoting South Asian writing with Susheila Nasta, Aamer Hussein, Tabish Khair, Maya Jaggi and others.

16:30 ‘A Lotus Grows in the Mud'
Goldie Hawn will be discussing her recent spiritual memoir A Lotus Grows in The Mud and will then reflect on seminal life experiences with Geordie Greig. Followed by a Q&A session.

18:00 Penguin Book Launch – Sanjay Suri's Brideless in Wembley

19:00 Wasafiri-Routledge Literary Reception. Readings by Tabish Khair, Aamer Hussein
and others.

By Invitation Only

Sunday 9 April

10.30 Readings : Rana Dasgupta and Amit Chaudhuri

11.30 Humanity, fallibility and truth in contemporary politics
Vir Sanghvi chairs a discussion with Clare Short, Rory Stewart and Shashi Tharoor.

13.30 From snake charmers to call centres
Rana Dasgupta chairing a discussion with William Dalrymple, Pavan K Varma, Randeep Ramesh, Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi and Amit Chaudhuri on new trends in literature, narrative non-fiction and reportage from South Asia.

15:00 Readings : Pavan K Varma and Rahul Bose

16.00 The Home and the World
William Dalrymple chairs a panel on the role of the South Asian disapora in contemporary literature with CP Surendran, Tabish Khair, Aamer Hussein, Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi and Manju Kapur.

19:00 Roli Books Launch – C.P. Surendran's debut novel An Iron Harvest

The Blookers..

..are out.

Sunday 2 April 2006

The sound of blogs

Our pal Bala has just started the Indian Music Blog Directory.

If you'd like to be listed,
please send in the following information to bala [dot] pitchandi [at] gmail [dot] com:
Name of the Blog
Blog Description
Your Name
Blog URL
Language (Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada etc)

Saturday 1 April 2006

ChildLine Fundraiser - April 2nd - Shanmukhananda

We have this featured in our column tomorrow, and ethics prevent us from putting the entire section here when the paper that's paying for it isn't even on the stands yet, but here's the bit that we think needs a push, the earlier the better. Do pass on.

ChildLine India, which has its tenth birthday this year, is hosting a fundraiser today at Shanmukhananda Hall on the 2nd April, with Shankar, Loy and Ehsaan. Contact 55447776 or mail or see the "What's New" page on the site.

More on the Bahrain ferry disaster

Angelo also sent me this:

Filipinos who have survived:

Lilia Hermoso
Bayani Hermoso
Lanette Salgado
Segunda Siena
Hyacinth Dacay Perez
Abigail Silva
Pamela Belardo


Bahraini Survivors:

Khalil Mirza

Indian Survivors:

Jaikumar George


Singaporean Survivors:

Ng Khee Seong

Cindy Liau


Angelo is keeping the info flowing on CSF II, and may be joined there by Ashish Gorde, who wrote about losing a dear friend in the tragedy.

Scott Adams..

..took questions.

And answered them.

The Bahrain ferry disaster

World Wide Help stalwart and pal Angelo Embuldeniya has been blogging about it. Please go here, here here, here and here.