Banned

The tea vendor had tears in his eyes. His shop: the one he had christened “Kajol” after his favorite idol was closed, and he knew not when he would be allowed to reopen. He had poured his heart and soul into his tea-shop, and it had acquired quite a clientele from the neighbouring offices.

Apparently, it was found that a gangster, sought heavily by the Police department, had been observed drinking tea. Therefore, all tea shops were closed with immediate effect. Nobody drinks tea, gangster or otherwise, to deter future gangsters from refreshing themselves before their drastic deeds!

Does this fictional piece sound sort of far-fetched? This is the parallel I could think of when I heard the Indian Govt had banned all bloggers, because they believed some terrorists in the recent Mumbai blasts had used the blog media to communicate amongst themselves!

God help Policy makers!

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What’s in a Spelling?

At the outset….this is a light-hearted thought on the spelling of my name, and I mean no offense to the Sowmyas of the world.

Every time I spell my name out to Indians, I always get asked: how come it is not spelt “S-o-w…”? As a child I immensely thanked my parents for spelling my name without the “Sow”. With the typical innocence of childhood, I used to explain that “sow” meant female swine, and therefore, with the gloriole of knowledge glowing bright, my parents had chosen the alternate spelling.

I can very well imagine the havoc that children could wreak on another child’s self esteem with some trivia like this! Of course, this also depends on how many children actually lay their hands on such trivia – but 1 precocious child per school could do the trick!

I can still look at my certificates – some of them with the spelling so wrong, it hardly reads like my name! I have one certificate that when translated in my daughter’s language means “Saw a cat” because it is spelt “SAW-MIYA”.

I ramble….but my point is, my name is still fun.

In so many parts of the world, the spelling of a name could be the tender line between life and death. In war-ravaged Iraq today, everybody is required to carry on them a form of national identification, called “Jinsiyas”. Apparently, the market for fake jinsiyas is thriving. For ex: Omar could mean the person belongs to the Sunni sect, while Amer could mean either Shiite or Sunni. Depending upon the checkpost where they are stopped, people know which jinsiya to brandish and live life. (Source: Newsweek July issue)

Hmm…Now what to do?!

For all that hungama surrounding the release of Da Vinci Code in India, it looks there had to post a policeman to coerce people into buying tickets: so he could do his duty, and ensure the screening went smoothly!

http://www.hindu.com/2006/07/15/stories/2006071508150100.htm

Jallikattu & Bullfighting

I guess every year around mid-January, you can safely stop by my house to hear profranities regarding Jallikattu.

“IDIOTS!” My father would proclaim before going on to give his annual lecture on the insanity of the sport that deliberately places a human being in harm’s way. Why would non-suicidal folks deliberately stand in the way of an intoxicated bull?

At least in the past, there was a reason. The pricess’s hand would be given to the brave man who could overcome a raging bull. So, it was either marriage or a brutal injury – men weighed the odds, and decided what to do. Today, there is no princess with gleaming hope waiting for her Prince charming to tame the bull. So the morbid choices are: injury, brutal injury or death.

Every year in Pamplona, Spain these very matadors display their prowess by taking on the bulls. Despite the gory nature of the sport, I am still fine with the bulls raging against the matadors (after all the matadors have made the choice that they are willing to be gored) But why not have arenas built for them, and have bulls only run around inside the arena? At least the sadistic crowds are not injured while the masochists take on the bulls?

All I can do is sigh every time another human-being is injured in this “game”.