Thursday 9 August 2007

(Why we'll be) Back soon

Poetry@PEN – New!

This month, we launch a new feature, 'Poetry@PEN'. This will be a monthly platform where we will present emerging voices, host debates on craft and concept, and create spaces of encounter that are part reading, part workshop and part masterclass.

The first event in the Poetry@PEN series is a reading by four poets: Malavika Sangghvi, Mustansir Dalvi, Peter Griffin and Rohinton Daruwala.

Date: 13 August 2007 (Monday)
Time: 6.15 pm
Place: Theosophy Hall (3rd floor), 40 New Marine Lines, Churchgate, Mumbai
We have absolutely no clue what we'll be reading, but do come if you're in the neighbourhood.

Back soon.

Away for a couple of days. Work, I tell ya. But someone's gotta do it.

Update: It's pouring madly in Mandvi, apparently. The management suggested that it might be better to postpone for a couple of days. And what with juggling the fact that there are two—not consecutive—days next week that we just have to be in town with the airline schedule (three flights a week), we're now going there next Saturday.

Monday 6 August 2007

Oh Dearie Me moment* of the day

Now that we have established the importance of the syllable in readability, we can move on to describe the Strain Index, which is based on the following assumptions:
1. The longer the sentence, the greater the strain.
2. The standard sentence has 17 words.
3. All syllables are equal ('ash', 'lash', 'slash' and 'splash').

The Strain Index can be calculated in three easy steps:
One: Choose the first three sentences.
Two: Count the number of syllables in the three sentences (S3).
Three: Divide S3 by 10.

Since we have assumed that a standard sentence has 17 words, it follows that in three standard sentences there are 51 words. Now if all the words are monosyllabic, then there will be just 51 syllables. The Strain Index = 51/10 = 5.1. If all are disyllabic or trisyllabic, then there will be either 102 or 153 syllables. The Strain Index will respectively be 10.2 and 15.3. Hence we can say that a text that scores 5.1 and less is very easy to read; and a text that scores 15.3 and more, is very difficult to read.
Clear? Right. Now let's look at the first three sentences in the article (in the latest issue of The Hoot's newsletter) that introduces this index.
In my M.Phil dissertation 'A Quantitative Analysis Of Media Language' (December 2006), submitted to the Madurai Kamaraj University, I have established the following hypothesis: Considering the fact that clarity and brevity are the main criteria of media language, it is possible to develop a readability tool that will be an alternative to the most popular Fog Index of Robert Gunning. This article is written to popularise the use of my alternative formula which I like to call the Strain Index.

Most readability formulae, such as Rudolph Flesch Reading Ease and Robert Gunning's Fog Index, are based on the length of the sentence measured in words and the length of words measured in syllables.
I make that 203 syllabubs. Let's call it 200 to make it easy. So, that's a Strain Index of 20.

What a salesperson you are, Nirmaldasan!

(And just by the way, on the Fog Index** , those three sentences give you a score over 34.)

* We're being all genteel like from now on this month this week today for the duration of this post.
** The Fog Index: [(number of words / number of sentences) + words three syllables and above, not counting proper nouns or words made trisyllabic with simple "-ing" type suffixes] x 0.4 = the number of years of formal education that a person requires in order to easily understand the text on the first reading.
Here'a a link to a description of the Flesch-Kincaid Readability Test for those who would like to raise the petard higher.

Saturday 4 August 2007

I love to singa

For all our pals who do. And can.

[From Jugal.]

Friday 3 August 2007

We're gonna be rich. Just telling.

We have reason to believe that we could get our hands on the estate of our good mate Kerry Packer (may his soul rest in peace). See, we got a letter from his accountant:
I am MR.CHEN GUANGYUAN, a personal treasurer to Late Mr. Kerry Packer the Richest man in Australia and owner of the many companies. His business empire,built around Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd (PBL), includes television, magazines, Internet-related enterprises, Melbourne's Crown Casino and the Burswood Casino in Perth, beef cattle properties, petrochemicals, property investment, resources and engineering.

I have a profiling amount in an excess of US$65.5M, which I seek your Partnership in accommodating for me. You will be rewarded with 4% of the total sum for your partnership. Can you be my partner on this?

As a personal treasurer to Late Mr. Kerry Packer, authority was handed over to me in transfer of money to a petrochemical merchant for his last petrochemical deal before his untimely death. Already the funds have left the shore of Australia to a European private Bank where the final crediting is expected to be carried out. While I was on the process, My Boss became ill and finally died on Monday 26th December 2005

You can catch more of the story on this website:

All I need from you is to stand as the beneficiary of the above quoted Sum and I will re-profile the funds with your name, which will enable The European bank transfer the sum to you. I have decided to use this Sum to relocate to another continent where I can invest and never to be connected to any the late Packers conglomerates. This transaction has to be concluded within the shortest possible time.

As Soon as I confirm your readiness to conclude the transaction with me, I will provide you with the details.

Thank you very much.

Reply to my
Now none of you so-and-sos go mailing Mr Chen behind our back, y'hear?

Thursday 2 August 2007

The "Justice for All" petition

From Naresh Fernandes. Read. Go sign. I did.

To: citizens of Mumbai, India and the world

Punish the Guilty of the Anti Muslim Pogrom of 1992-1993

Justice for All

The convictions of the accused in the 1993 Bombay blasts case are intended to be a form of redress for the 250 families who lost dear ones in the serial blasts and aim to send the message that the Indian system delivers justice for all crimes, especially mass crimes of unspeakable brutality. But the bomb blasts of March 12, 1993 were only the external symptoms of a cancer that had gnawed away at Mumbai's vital organs with the abject failure of the state machinery to protect the city's Muslim population during the horrendous communal riots of December 1992 and January 1993. More than three times as many Mumbaikars were killed in the riots that preceded the bomb blasts but the lack of action against the perpetrators of the riots � who are named in the Srikrishna report � is clear evidence of the operation of a double standard of justice, one for the majority community and the other for the minorities. India and it systems of democracy, executive, judiciary and legislature, need to reflect.

The bomb terror of March 12, 1993 must be recalled with the same horror as the mob terror of December 6, 1992, in Ayodhya, resulting in the loss of hundreds of lives all over the country. The causes of the blasts, too, must be revived in public memory. As the Srikrishna report observed: "The serial bomb blasts were a reaction to the totality of events at Ayodhya and Bombay in December 1992 and January 1993� The common link between the riots and the blasts was that of cause and effect."

Information obtained under the Right to Information Act makes it clear that successive state governments, no matter what their political persuasion, have decided to shield the guilty. The motivations of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Shiv Sena parties in refusing to implement the recommendations of the Srikrishna Commission are obvious: among the individuals named in the report are several of their leaders and cadres, including Bal Thackeray, Manohar Joshi, Gopinath Munde and Madhukar Sarpotdar. What is more shocking is the role of the so-called secular parties. Though the manifestos of both the Congress Party and the Nationalist Congress Party in 1999 and 2004 promised to implement the recommendations of the report, these promises remain unfulfilled.

The report also lays bare the biased role played by 31 police officers, including RD Tyagi, who as then joint commissioner, shot dead nine persons at the Suleiman Usman Bakery labelling them "Kashmiri terrorists". Another senior police officer, NK Kapse was promoted after a departmental inquiry exonerated him of any guilt in shooting down seven persons at the Hari Masjid located at Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg. Save one policeman who was dismissed from service, all others have escaped lightly despite being found guilty of complicity in acts of murder and arson.

The RTI findings also demonstrate a complete absence of vigour in pursuing riot-related cases through the judicial system. Cases have been closed in a seemingly arbitrary fashion and appeals have not been filed against acquittals in the lower courts. If a genuine peace is to return to Mumbai, there must be justice. Continued injustices cause schisms to widen, wounds to fester. Justice can only be truly served by implementing the recommendations of the Srikrishna Commission report. We urge the state government to do so immediately. It must devote as much energy and resources to obtaining justice for the victims of the Mumbai riots as it mustered up for the victims of the Mumbai bomb blasts. We also believe that the process must be visible and transparent. Only then will the deep wounds caused by the targeted violence of 1992-1993 heal, bringing enduring peace.

Public Release of the Statement/Signature Campaign
Indian Merchants Chamber, Churchgate
August 9, 2007; 5.30 p.m.
Justice For All Campaign, Telephone: 022-26602288/26603927


Vijay Tendulkar
Anil Dharker
Naresh Fernandes
Ram Rehman
Teesta Setalvad
Nandan Maluste
Arvind Krishnaswamy
Javed Anand

See the petition; View signatures; Sign the petition online

Also Address Protest Petitions to: 1. Chief Justice of India, Mr KG Balakrishnan, Supreme Court of India, Tilak Marg, New Delhi 110001. 2. President of India, Mrs. Pratibha Patil, New Delhi 110004. Fax: 00-91-11-23017290 3. Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, 7, Race Course Road, New Delhi 110011. Fax: 00-91-11-23019334

Public Release of the Statement/Signature Campaign: Indian Merchants Chamber, Churchgate; August 9, 2007; 5.30 p.m.
Contact: Justice For All Campaign, Telephone: 022-26602288/26603927 Email: sabrang at sabrang dot com

If you'd like a PDF of their statement to print out, sign and mail, please leave an email address, and I'll send it to you.

The Impotence of Proofreading - by Taylor Mali

Hilarious. And a great learning for the perfomance poets among ye. Even though I do think he hams it a bit too much at one of two points.

Via Annie.