startling banals

28 February 2006

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27 February 2006

"School is dead"

"Schools learned long ago that the way to keep children from thinking is to keep them busy."
Everett Reimer wrote this book in 1970.
I feel it contains one of the most original and radical ideas on alternative education.
And it is rare. But great ideas never die and the internet will keep them alive.
It is here.
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26 February 2006

tata haiku just re-remembered it

Campus fireflies
Some near some far in the dark
Everywhere goodbye
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19 February 2006

"In the Jailhouse now" singalong blues

This song is from the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou" which has other good songs like "I am a man of constant sorrow" and "Go to sleep u little babe". Santosh and I used to jam randomly with him playing the guitar very innovatively and me trying to sing. Singing songs like "Mahiwal mere", "Yaar bina dil mera nahi lagda", "Khudi ko kar buland itna", "Kaha jo unhone", "Mast Kalandar" and of course "Sayyonee" from Junoon's Azadi album was great - hail Baba Bulleshah! One of our victims was Harry Belafonte - esp the song "Jamaica Farewell" and of course Julie Delpy's song - "Let me sing you a waltz" (lyrics)from the movie "Before Sunset" - a must watch. Then Santosh changed the rhythm and tempo of Nancy Sinatra's "Bang bang" (which was used by Tarantino in Kill Bill I opening titles) making it jazzy. And "California dreaming" used both in Forrest Gump and Wong Kar Wai's Chunking Express (which had another good song - "What a difference a day makes"), Nancy Sinatra's "Summer wine" , "Yellow bandana" and Elvis Presley's "Fools rush in". Let me add sheepishly that we also had wild goes at hindustani classical (like "Aayo kaha se ghanshyaam" :D) with tabla, guitar, flute and vocals. Again thanx to evenstar for the file sharing idea. And thanx to President's Day so that I have a long weekend to indulge in blogging... And this is "Jungle Jungle baat chali hai pata chala hai" - from the DD Jungle book serial starring Mowgli, Bagheera, Bhalu and company.
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Great Photos by Zishaan Hayath

A person from IIT whom I knew by his face and never talked to. He has taken terrific photos.
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Powai to Bandra & back

Santosh and I intended to photograph our way to Pali Hill to buy some cotton shirts from Fabindia on this hot 20 October 2004 afternoon. But the sun got the better of us and by the time we reached Bandra station by BEST bus 422 (takes around 1 1/2 to 2 hours via the unassailable Saki Naka), we were dead tired. So the meagre number of pics. We returned that evening and went straight to "el profesor joven" Shashikant Suryanarayanan's home in Staff Hostel IITB and our kind host created a blissful environment in his living room and treated us to an exquisite liquer made from aniseeds (Sauf) - kya mast strong taste tha yaar. The feeling was so pleasant that we walked the whole kilometre to the YPoint Gate and had Chay - Sutta in Hotel Harish.
Watchman Saab @ Main Gate
Schoolkids in the burning sun
Thanda juice aaah.
Santosh @ PaanWala's shop
Bulls in the shade @ bus-stop

Caught contemplating her candy

Md. Rafi Chowk Bandra Stn

In 422

Pali Hill Chaloge?


Halo (have u seen the movie by Santosh Sivan?)

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Fundoo website with lots of goodies
I was always amazed by the great collection of e-books on education (yes a word file of the book - Totochan, then really unconventional and original books like School is Dead by Everett Reimer and some cartoon publications) and some really good childrens' stories and games ebooks in english, marathi and hindi. You won't find these in any library. "Arvind Gupta - nice person must he be". (Yoda from Star Wars :D)

Also look at this website on education matters.
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18 February 2006


The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you,
not knowing
how blind that I was
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere
They're in each other all along.
Like a thief,
Reason sneaked in and sat amongst the lovers eager to
give them advice.
They were unwilling to listen,
So reason kissed their feet
And went on its way
For years, copying other people, I tried to know
From within, I couldn't decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.
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15 February 2006

Excavated haikus

you close your eyes
my lips feeling your soft cheek's edge-
shy for the first kiss

sleepy dog on road
looks up, sleeps again -
my footsteps

a cool mountain wind
hills clouds locked in deep embrace
thousand shades of green

bushes by the lake
multitude of monsoon fireflies
leopard are you there too?
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14 February 2006


life on earth is not-so-special and special at the same time. Not so special because its no creation of god etc but just a coincidence - an expression of an event of miniscule probability - which makes it special. It is something rare. The fact that the life forms have such a variety of emotions in contrast to their insignificance in the huge universe is bewildering. The ability to feel and the opportunity to live on this beautiful planet is like winning an inter-stellar jackpot for the pieces of stardust we all were once. Who am I, who are you?
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12 February 2006

Red Wine Haikus :)
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10 February 2006

If I know a song of Africa...

Haunting quote by Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen)

From OUT OF AFRICA by Isak Dinesen (1885-1962), chapter titled "Kamante and Lulu," page 83:

"If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?"
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02 February 2006

Where were you on 26/7 in Mumbai?

Read Evenstar's passionate post on NGC's programme on Mumbai. Reminded me of the 26th July 2005 deluge. What a day it was! Was relaxing at a friend's room in Hostel 8(Woodlands :)) in IIT. At around noon the water started to rise and within minutes Powai lake was in his room with mud, plants, insects and even a snake in his neighbour's room. Packed his computer and mattress to the loft and waded to Staff Canteen and spent a record 18 hours there. The water was literally pouring (944 mm in 24 hours), the road was like a river of tremendous force and the power was gone. It was the first day of classes of the autumn semester for the institute and what a welcome for the freshies! Later came to know about the horrible human loss in Bombay and the many stories of bravery (one assistant police inspector Kadam's story and a Koli lifeguard's story were really filmily heroic), how the BEST and railway people did their duty and BMC's unpreparedness.

Wikipedia's entry
Photographs from 26/7
Cloudburst Mumbai blog
Oulook's "Heroes from hell" issue(create a login)
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