Sunday, October 30, 2005


Originally uploaded by deccanheffalump.

The Cooks Cottage has an article and recipe for
Shrewsbury Biscuits, the famous Kayani Bakery kind.
The ones you find only in Pune, and yearn for the rest of your life...

Little India

Little India is a free monthly magazine that serves
Indians in the USA and is available at most
Indian/Pakistani Grocers, and also on the Web at

Link to October articles :


Sindhi Jazzman

A jazz player who looks like a Bollywood hero? As New York Times
jazz critic Ben Ratliff wrote, "Sachal Vasandani was a total surprise:
He looks like the leading man in a Bollywood musical, but is a very
traditional jazz crooner in the great tradition of Billy Eckstine and
Ellington's Eckstine equivalents, Herb Jeffries and Al Hibbler.
He sang swingers and ballads, and he scatted with surprising ease."

Vasandani, who grew up in Chicago, is probably the only Sindhi
jazz singer around!
He was a singer at this year’s Lincoln Center
Jazz Orchestra presentation of Don Quixote. You can swing along
with him this month at Singers Over Manhattan (Oct. 20, 21, 22)
in Frederick P. Rose Hall, overlooking Central Park. He is featured
along with jazz vocalists Carla Cook and Jennifer Sanon, backed
by the Eric Reed Trio.


Dosas are the new pizzas! Americans are acquiring an insatiable
appetite for those lacy crepes from the south of India and dosa
joints are popping up all over. Along with the traditional dosas,
savvy entrepreneurs are introducing new flavors for a new audience.

One of the dosa-pioneers in Long Island is Jay Jeyasri, whose
House of Dosas sees a steady stream of Americans asking for
— Gunpowder Masala Dosa! After this volatile concoction was written
about in a local review, Jeyasri has experienced a huge demand for it.
“Americans now eat more spicy than us,” he says. “They take out
tissues and are sweating, but they finish it and they love it! We even
have Koreans who want it very spicy.” Other favorites with the non
Indian customers are the Spinach Masala Dosa and the Paneer Dosa,
while kids love the Cheese Dosa, a triangle filled with Amul cheese.
The Cheese Masala is a blend of cheese, onions and potatoes.
For the truly adventurous or the geographically confused, Jeyasri even
has a Chinese Dosa, which is filled with vegetable noodles and sliced
into four pieces.

Actually, an non Indian couple, Gary & Isabel MacGurn latched on to the
versatility of the dosa in 1997 when they started Hampton Chutney Co.
in Long Island, introducing such offbeat fillings as Grilled Portobello
Mushrooms, Balsamic Roasted Onions, Spinach and Goat Cheese and
Avocado, Fresh Tomato, Arugula and Jack Cheese. There's even a
Breakfast Dosa with eggs, spinach, roasted tomato, cheese and avocado.
Hampton Chutney has a very popular location in Soho and a new one is
opening uptown.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Attention: Finns visiting India

Next time you go out, check if you're in a
clothes-free zone first. Then dress appropriately.
India has obscenity laws and you're sitting ducks.
Only Sadhus/Fakirs can get away with nudity here.
This could happen to you:

Tourist charged for bathing naked
Indian police have brought charges against a Finnish tourist
for bathing naked in a holy lake in a Hindu pilgrim town,
a police officer said on Monday.

Police said the tourist walked to her hotel in the nude after
taking a dip in the lake in Pushkar in the desert state of
Rajasthan Saturday, angering several local people and priests.

"We have framed charges of indecency against the lady
tourist from Finland under section 294 of the Indian Penal
Code (IPC)," Sugan Singh, a police officer in Pushkar, told Reuters.

Under India's obscenity laws, the tourist can be imprisoned for
three months or pay a fine.
- Yahoo News article via Reuters

Stolen : Baby Pics

Britney Spears is very upset and says her
new baby's pics were stolen.

You decide if they are stolen or not...

Not a whiff of Salsa in Santana's latest

Carlos Santana continues to cast a spell on fans


Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

Carlos Santana casts a spell on fans everywhere he goes.
Whether it's his music, his line of women's shoes or his
fragrances for men and women — both named
Carlos Santana
— the star's fans follow his every step.

"He can sell anything," says Gilbert Garza, who was first
in a line
of hundreds to meet the star as he signed his
fragrance bottles
recently at Foley's in the Galleria.
Hugging a bottle of the men's
version — a musky scent
in a bottle inspired by a guitar —
Garza said he's been a
fan since the '70s. "I like his music, his
style, his spirit,

This article is:

Here's Carlos' explanation of why he thinks he isn't 'selling out' :
"Humans are becoming more aware that cake and ice
taste better when you share them," Santana said.
"Because of
the lessons Mother Nature is teaching
humans, I feel that we are
becoming a better place.
For me, the clothes, the shoes, the
cologne, it's all about
giving back."

South Asian Roasts Beef for British

This Bangladeshi has a right to boast of his Roast:
It's the Most !

Who said Fish and Chips is a joke?
asks owner of new restaurant
London, Oct. 23: This might come across as a little cheeky
but a South Asian, Iqbal Wahhab, 41, has just opened a
new restaurant called Roast in southeast London with the
aim of educating the British that their food does not
deserve to be the butt of jokes.

Wahhab, a Bangladeshi who is best known for running the
most expensive Indian restaurant in Britain — the Cinnamon Club
in Westminster is the haunt of top politicians — now intends to
do his bit to restore the reputation of British food.

After a two-week trial period, the Roast in the heart of the ancient
Borough Market formally opens for business tomorrow.

It will offer traditional dishes such as Roast Beef and Yorkshire
Pudding, Bangers and Mash (sausages and potatoes), Fish and
Chips, Steak and Kidney Pie and items less well known such as
Cullen Skink (Scottish soup made with haddock) with Quails’ Eggs.
- from Telegraph

Read the article here

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Getting connected in rural India

The tech market in Bangalore may be racing ahead,
but it is a very different story for India's 700 million
farmers. Spencer Kelly ( Reporter, BBC Click Online)
has been to Northern India to see how plans to bring
technology to rural areas are working.

" many villages you will not find even a single mobile phone.
But SMS technology can be used in different ways.

For example, one village is hoping to replace its message board
with, quite simply, an LED display connected to a SIM card.

It is placed in an area where most of the villagers will meet and
discuss things, and is strapped to a tree.

But this is where delicate, city-built electronics failed to fulfil
their tough rural roles.

Getting the message board to a useful place, but still keeping
it near to an electricity supply, was a challenge. A few jolts
during the journey to the village were enough to break the receiver.

So the village will not be receiving any messages at all until it can
be repaired.

But one novel solution of providing a mobile connection stood out.

It involved strapping a GSM-enabled payphone to the back of a
bike and transporting it from village to village, giving locals the
opportunity to call friends and relatives in the cities.

Incoming calls, though, are still a bit of an issue.
SMS Bike
Mobile phone, Indian style

There clearly are advantages to introducing technology into rural
But the equipment has to be both hard-wearing and easy
to maintain. Otherwise, the suppliers service reps could be in for
some very long journeys."

Article from BBC News online

Miserable Quake Response

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
Pay for shake, not quake
Scores gets 241G, vics get just $1

By Michael Daly, NY Daily News
The hand-lettered cardboard sign yours truly held outside
Scores topless club on Friday night read:

The earthquake in Pakistan having killed more than 70,000
people and left another 3 million homeless with winter
closing in. Scores being the E. 60th St. club where a
Missouri businessman is said to have squandered
$241,000 in a single visit. A diplomat's husband is said to
have spent $129,626 the very next night.
Read : Miserable Quake Response

Friday, October 21, 2005

Indian Lawyer Opposes Lido Topless Revue

Link to PTI article

Objecting to showing Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha in their
revue Bonheur, a lawyer from Mumbai has served notice to
the world’s most celebrated cabaret, Lido, asking them to
remove the scene that hurts the religious feelings of Hindus.

Lawyer Sudhir Shah said that he had watched the revue of
Lido on September 27 at Champs Elysees in Paris and his
religious sentiments were deeply hurt.

"I have served a notice to the Lido asking them to remove
the scene from the revue," he Hindu could tolerate
a scene where topless cabaret girls are shown dancing in
front of Lord Shiva’s idol and Lord Ganesha is shown
dancing with topless women...
- Other than that, the Topless show was great ?

Xeni on E3 convention floor. No, really, on floor.

Xeni on E3 convention floor. No, really, on floor.
Originally uploaded by xeni.

At this time in her life she could be a Model, Actress, On-Air Personality,
Lecturer, Sharpshooter, Web Designer, Pro Video Gamer, Hot Date
or plain old Geek and anything in between.

She IS all that and more.

As one of the editors at (the most successful Blog ever),
Xeni Jardin is more than 'A good thing"; she's Martha Stewart on
steroids for geeks.

Spend some quality time with her at:

Astrologer wrong on the big prediction

He kept his day job....
Hundreds of people flocked to a village in central India
Thursday to see if an astrologer who forecast his own
death would indeed die as predicted.

But the 75-year-old man survived the day.

Kunjilal Malviya, who lives south of the Madhya Pradesh
state capital Bhopal, had been meditating in his house
after announcing he would die Thursday between 3 p.m.
and 5 p.m (0930-1130 GMT).

A police official confirmed the astrologer was fine and
quoted his family members as saying the prediction failed
because many of those gathered had prayed for him to live.

Phoolan Devi

Phoolan Devi
Originally uploaded by Thermodynamix.

This reminds me of my niece Raisa who drives around Pune
looking like a Ninja sometimes, when she's all dressed in black
with a white dupatta.

lPhoolan Devi a.k.a. The Bandit Queen was a gangster
leader who was
captured, jailed, raped, released and later
elected to Indian Parliament.

A champion of women's rights, she was murdered in 2001 and
was the
subject of a biographical (non-Bollywood) film in 1994.

IMDB link to movie

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Iraq and Roll, says Saddam at Trial

Saddam on Trial - with ZZ Top
"I Rock ! I Rock !!" screams ex-Dictator
Picture taken just before Saddam's failed attempt
to take over ZZ Top. Later, he was led offstage
while mumbling the lyrics to "Crazy".
Stay tuned...


Originally uploaded by FredMikeRudy.

Altered image, altered lifestyle. Moved from Poona, India to the USA a month before this Sears Studio portrait in 1976.

The Art Renewal Center - great collection

Arnaut Blowing Smoke at the Nose of His Dog
(Une Plaisanterie)
by Jean-Léon Gerómé
is just one example from a huge collection of
Traditional/Classical paintings including
those of Norman Rockwell to be found at the
Art Renewal Center

Many free hi-res downloads and many Fine Art Prints
available for sale. Good surfing, but not necessarily
everyone's cup ot Tea.

The ASME Top 40 Magazine Covers

The American Society of Magazine Editors
presents the Top 40 of the last 40 years
of magazine covers.
Follow this link to see if you agree :

Either way, it's a nice time capsule.

1 Rolling Stone
Jan. 22, 1981
2 Vanity Fair
August 1991

3 Esquire
April 1968

Also viewable as a PowerPoint file here :

Monday, October 17, 2005

Jolie in a Choli ?

The Western fascination with the exotic and
mysterious has always included the Indian
Sari, Salwar Kameez and Dupatta.
Here is a Link to a gallery from
showing Westerners who enhance their image
donning traditional Eastern garments.
I believe the effect is enough to make them feel
(and look)
like Maharanis for a day, but I'm really
waiting for
nanga din...

Angelina Jolie
Jolie in Pak

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Icons according to Variety

(Entertainment) ICONS OF THE CENTURY

1. The Beatles
Marilyn Monroe
8. Marilyn Monroe

1. The Fab Four
2. Louis Armstrong
3. Lucille Ball
4. Humphrey Bogart
5. Marlon Brando
6. Charlie Chaplin
7. James Dean
8. Marilyn Monroe
9. Mickey Mouse
10. Elvis Presley
Source: Variety magazine
Article in BBC News :

Friday, October 14, 2005

Blanket's journey reflects the trials of relief to India

Paperwork and holidays among the setbacks in delivering aid
Associated Press

TILGAM, INDIA - The wool blanket -- gray, blue and green
plaid with fringe -- started out in a New Delhi government
supply office. Loaded onto a rickety yellow truck with tents
and other Indian-made blankets, it traveled north to
earthquake-stricken Kashmir.

That took one day.

The blanket sat for two more days in the town of Baramulla
because quake victims did not have the right paperwork.
On Wednesday, the blanket was taken to another town but
held up by a Hindu holiday.

By Thursday afternoon -- five days and 650 miles after it left
the Indian capital -- the blanket was in the hands of a retired
farmer with one kidney and 20 grandchildren.

The blanket's journey reflects the long, bureaucracy-tangled
process of disaster relief in India, a country of more than 1
billion people that every year faces some of the world's
deadliest natural disasters, often with thousands killed and
wounded and thousands made homeless.

So far, 23,000 people are confirmed dead, but the death toll
is expected to climb further, officials said Thursday.

After a 620-mile trip, government aid workers unloaded the
blanket Monday from the truck and packed it with other
supplies into the deputy commissioner's compound in Baramulla.

The whole article via The Houston Chronicle

Thursday, October 13, 2005

I can't bear it

F u R usng SMS txtng u cn read this sign ezly.
For those of you who don't use SMS or can't
read Hindi
and are wondering what this store
sign advertises,
here's a hint:

Could you use a cold one, Bud ?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

In Houston, we have a problem

Laden rocket
In the Adult Toy Department...
'The defense asked an officer who testified Tuesday to define
what makes an adult toy obscene since there were numerous
items being sold at the store that were not confiscated.
The officer said an adult toy is obscene if it is contained in a
package with a label that indicates the toy is designed to be
used in a sexual act.'
Link to KPRC news item

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Marathoner at Age Three

He runs seven hours at a stretch, sometimes
as much as 48km (30 miles). On a daily basis.
And Budhia Singh is just three and a half
years old.

When Budhia's father died a year ago, his mother, who
washes dishes in Bhubaneswar, capital of the eastern Indian
state of Orissa, was unable to provide for her four children.
She sold Budhia to a man for 800 rupees ($20). But the young
boy came to the attention of Biranchi Das,
a judo coach and
the secretary of the local judo association.
Mr Das said he
noticed Budhia's talent when scolding him
for being a bully.
"Once, after he had done some mischief, I asked him to keep

running till I came back," Mr Das told the BBC.
"I got busy in
some work. When I came back after five hours,
I was stunned
to find him still running."

Story by Sandeep Sahu

BBC News, Bhubaneswar

Published: 2005/09/13 14:40:00 GMT

Monday, October 10, 2005

Second Wave of Outsourcing

"Where do you work?" is the one question to which Kyan
Bharucha has no easy answers. The 28-year-old is
physically present at an office in Churchgate, his mind is
thousands of miles away — overseeing a job fair in North
Carolina, chasing an electrician in Kansas; ensuring that a
trash truck arrives punctually at a soon-to-be-opened
store in Manhattan.

Bharucha works for Steve and Barry’s University
Sportswear and is part of a Mumbai-based team that
sets up new retail outlets on the other side of the globe.

He and his local colleagues may never see the actual
space that they are transforming into a cheery clothes
shop, but they are responsible for every little detail —
from architecture and visual merchandising to recruiting
shop managers. "We set up about 70 stores a year, and
in a sense make miracles happen from India,"says
Bharucha who, as head of the Projects Team, has to
ensure that every wastebin, lightbulb and sweatshirt is in
place for the grand opening of each new store.
"We constantly have to use our brains. The most
frustrating part is convincing people that I don’t work
in a call centre."

Indeed, Bharucha is one of a growing number of
Indians who are riding 'the second wave of outsourcing'.
The first breaker hit Indian shores about five years ago
and brought with it an estimated 348,000 jobs with call
centres and back-office outfits — not to mention flotsam
like India-bashing websites and digs about 'techno-coolies'.
This time round, however, the advertisements in newspapers
and on require more than mere Shalini-turned-
Sallys to answer the phone with a faux-Philadephia accent.

Link to article from the Times of India

Ready-made jobs greet immigrants

As they arrive, they find a world divided into niches
Associated Press

NEW YORK - The story of how Cornelia Zicu came to start a
Fifth Avenue spa and the story of Abdul Wadud training his
cousin to sell fruit on a corner across from Madison Square
Garden are stories as old as immigration in America.

Just as some neighborhoods have a concentration of people
from one country, so do some jobs, as one family member
brings others from the old country and helps them find work.

For instance, Indians and their descendants own 50 percent
of the nation's economy lodging properties, 1 million rooms in
all, according to their trade group, the Asian-American Hotel
Owners Association.

A 1997 report by the Carnegie Endowment said that in every
decennial census from 1880 to 1980, immigrants in the United
States were significantly more likely to be self-employed than
people born here. Their businesses are often small-scale, with
low startup costs, the report said.

Hasmukh Rama, 57, certainly started that way. Rama was
born to an Indian family living in Malawi in Africa. The family
sent him to India for school, then, in 1969, he came to the
United States with $2 in his pocket and an acceptance
from the MBA program at Xavier University in Cincinnati.

He started in the hotel business in Pomona, Calif., at age
25, at the urging of his maternal aunt's husband.

'They help each other'
"Most Indians are introduced that way," he said.
"They know some relative or friend already in the hotel
business. They learn from each other, they help
each other to locate the hotel or motel, and they also
help financially."

He is now chairman and chief executive of JHM Hotels,
where his four brothers and a nephew also work.
The company owns 32 hotels and has 1,000 employees.

"I learned on my first property after I bought the hotel,"
he said. "I learned everything from making beds to
cleaning the parking lot to making minor repairs to
renting rooms."

Link to the AP News article via The Houston Chronicle

Sunday, October 09, 2005

A timely excerpt from

I was e-mailed an article titled Rescuing Jesus
by Alessandro Camon at
"Bush & Co. have hijacked Jesus, using him as the poster child for their
callous worldview. It's time to rescue Christ from his kidnappers."

Due to its length I decided to use just this portion, which
was ironically written a day before the Earthquake in
South Asia, one that claimed the lives of so many children as
they sat in their classrooms. A well-written piece :

Natural disasters are often labeled "acts of God." Those who take the
expression literally may think that God is punishing our sins (a belief
shared by some Christians with those Muslims who think Katrina is
Allah's reprisal), or they may struggle to reconcile the idea of an
infinitely good God with the devastation he brings upon us. But you
don't have to take the expression literally to feel that natural disasters
call into question the meaning of life. They cut us down to size, and
challenge us to rise up again. They make us mourn for the dead
and reach out for the survivors. If we do believe in God, even just a
little bit, they are a true test of our faith, and an opportunity to do
what we preach: to give, to comfort, to assist.

Wars are acts of man, yet all too often are fought for a "holy" cause,
painted as deeds of "infinite justice" or "crusades" of good vs. evil.
But it's when we look at the victims that faith is truly tested. A religious
person will have the chance to show all his horror, regret, compassion,
forgiveness. In war, many parents will lose their children, a sacrifice
so profound that it is more than a human being can
be expected
to bear
; a sacrifice that is, in fact, made by God --
the Christian one -- and proof of godliness. (In one of the harshest and
most controversial biblical tales, Abraham is ready to sacrifice his son
before God, as he believes God asked him to do, but God stops him
before he goes through with it. However one wants to interpret the tale
-- whether it's about obedience or misunderstanding -- the point is, God
doesn't actually want to impose on a parent the loss of a child.)
To those
who suffer such a loss, we have a chance -- and an
obligation --
to offer utmost solidarity.*

From the BBC : Schools collapse kills 400 children

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Hat Trick

Hair hat
(I foresee a hairy T-shirt as a result of this creative endeavour)
Article in the Jamaica Star Found at Boing :
DARAIN HOUSEN HAS not taken off his hat for the last 20 years.
He bathes, he sleeps and does everything possible in it.
It is a perfect fit. But unlike other hats, his is not made of cloth
but from the very hair on his head...
"Mi an dem fi go a di party but di three of them had caps an' mi
had none so mi get two mirror one behind mi and di other in front
of mi an' mi trim mi hair like a cap an' go a di dance," said Housen.

Liz Hurley and Penguin poo

Liz Hurley and Penguin poo have absolutely nothing
to do with each other, which many people may not realize
or care about anyway. Therefore this pic qualifies as just
plain gratuitous. Enjoy.
*Penguin poo wins Ig Nobel prize*
Massachusetts: Cutting edge studies on artificial dogs' testicles,
locusts which watch Star Wars and penguin defaecation have
been honoured with Ig Nobel awards.
The spoof prizes reward scientific achievements which "cannot,
or should not, be reproduced".
Four genuine Nobel prize winners presented the much-coveted
awards in a ceremony at Harvard University, US.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Those Happy Pune People

LONDON: The happiest Indians in all the world live in Pune
and India's Western seaboard is absurdly happy compared
to both Delhi, its political centre, and Silicon Alley down
south in Bangalore, while Kolkata is our capital of
cheerlessness, according to a survey of gross national
happiness across the planet.

The survey is published here by GfK-NOP, the market
research organisation that happily boasts it figures among
the top four worldwide, with sales of EUR 672 million last
year and operations in 63 countries.

It reports that more than half of all Pune residents say they
are "very happy with the overall quality of life". Pune is closely,
if surprisingly, followed by its richer, sassier neighbour,
Mumbai, which comes in at 42 per cent.
Article from the Times of India

Well, Punekars like the ones below seem to know what
real happiness is all about ....

The Smile Granter
Annie Thomas, 82, resident of a Pune old-age home was
recently presented with a Casio electronic organ—something
she’d wanted for a long time. Today, Annie, a former music
teacher, not only plays the organ for her own pleasure, she
provides music at the home’s prayer service.
Annie is among the 500 people whose lives have been
brightened by Anil Bora, a 50-year-old Pune businessman
who started the Grant A Smile Foundation.
“I’ve always wanted to help people,” Bora says. In 1998, after
reading an article on the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants
wishes to terminally ill children, Bora started its Pune chapter.
But wanting to help adults as well, he branched off on his own,
and four years ago launched Grant A Smile. And in 2003, he
opened Rainbow Home, where seriously ill patients and their
families can enjoy free holidays together.
More stories like this one are in the Indian Reader's Digest

And then there's... S m i l e - the Shop With A Purpose
Savitri Marketing Institution for Ladies Empowerment

The movement which begun two years ago has benefited
thousands of the women in Pune region, not only by providing
them with employment opportunities but empowering them in
many other areas. Today there are many success stories of
unemployed women turning into successful entrepreneurs.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Good Hurricane Story

A New Orleans storm victim shelled out $4.25 in quarters and
won a $1.6 million jackpot at a Louisiana casino where she had

stopped to play the slot machines on her way to shop at a

Wal-Mart discount store.

"I am a casino fanatic, it relaxes my nerves," said Jacquelyn Sherman,
a 57-year-old retired librarian whose fortune changed on Tuesday.
"I like winning but I never expected to win like this."

Sherman has been sleeping on her sister's floor in Opelousas, Louisiana,
since the storm ravaged her house and killed hundreds of New Orleans
residents in late August.
Sherman said she is determined to find a new,
comfortable home
back in New Orleans.

The casino where she got lucky with the slot machine was
Evangeline Downs Racetrack & Casino in Opelousas, near Lafayette
where many victims of Katrina and later Hurricane Rita sought shelter.

With regard to Wal-Mart, Sherman said: "We haven't gotten there yet."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Salmon Rush

“Salmon-Thirty-Salmon” aircraft underscores
carrier’s role in transporting
Alaska seafood

Alaska Airlines today landed the world’s largest king salmon—
stretching 120 feet and weighing in at 140,000 pounds—
at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

The “Salmon-Thirty-Salmon,” sporting the glimmering image of
a wild Alaska king salmon, is among the world’s most intricately
painted commercial airplanes. Complete with shiny scales,
a dorsal fin and gills, the livery on the Alaska Airlines 737-400
passenger aircraft is the result of a dedicated team of 30 painters
working nearly nonstop for 24 days.

Thanks to Boing Boing for the Alaska Air link !

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Til' Death Do Us Part (not)

Teacher clings to mother in life and death
Tue Oct 4,10:09 AM ET
A professor of English in southern India loved his mother
so much that he lived with her corpse for 20 years.
When he died, the pair were laid to rest in the same grave.

Syed Abdul Gafoor's mother died in 1985, but he refused
to bury her, authorities said.
Link to Reuters article via Yahoo News

Conjoined Twins Slideshow

Conjoined twins Saba, left, and Farah sit on a bed
at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in New Delhi, India,
Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2005. American neurosurgeon
Dr. Benjamin Carson said Tuesday he believes the
10-year-old Indian twins joined at the skull can be
successfully separated but would wait making a final
decision on whether surgery is possible until more
tests had been conducted. (AP Photo/Gurinder Osan)
Yahoo Slideshow link 

The Human Skeleton of Pakurtala

Indian performer Gopal Haldar(R) comes out of his house
as his wife(L) looks on in the village of Pakurtala.
Haldar, who suffered from malnutrition his whole life and
weighs a mere 52 pounds, has been making his living in
India's Sunderbans mangrove region as a ghost for more
than 40 years (AFP/File/Deshakalyan Chowdhury)

.....Lighting up a hemp cigarette in front of his wife, Haldar
acknowledged his love of the herb.
"(But) when I indulge myself in smoking hemp and playing
chess, I wonder if I am a real ghost or a human being,"
he said philosophically....

AFP Story via Yahoo News

Monday, October 03, 2005

Under Kilimanjaro

In his last book, ‘Papa' Hemingway meets an Indian
Under Kilimanjaro, the last novel by Nobel laureate Ernest
Hemingway that hit the bookstores this month, has an
Indian character.

The 850-page manuscript was kept in a Cuban bank. It saw
the light of day on September 27 2005 - more than
44 years after Hemingway's death in 1961.

Under Kilimanjaro - based on Hemingway's experiences of
an actual African safari months before he received the
Nobel Prize in 1954 - was released at a simple ceremony at
Grand Forks in North Dakota, where its editor,
Robert W Lewis, is based.

Talking to
this website's newspaper, Lewis revealed that this
was the first time that a Hemingway book had an Indian
character and a liberal sprinkling of Hindi words.

“I had a tough time in learning the meanings of these
words and getting their correct spellings,” Lewis said.

The character, Singh, owned a general store in Loitokitok
- the town closest to the safari camp, said Lewis. This was
the shop from where Hemmingway got his supplies.
Singh's wife, Turkana, was an African.

It was during his interaction with Singh that Hemingway
made liberal use of Hindi.

Sharing his experiences of editing the manuscript, Lewis
said: “It was a terrific responsibility. We decided that we
would be very conservative while making any changes.
But I have enjoyed every part of it. This has been a great
-As reported by

US visa rules and frustrated Indian wives!

As reported by
Press Trust of India
Posted online: Monday, October 03, 2005 at 1840 hours IST

Washington, October 3: Thousands of wives of skilled professionals
from India and other countries who come for temporary work,
extending over several years, are increasingly frustrated because
the visa regimes in the US does not allow spouses and dependents
to work, however qualified they are, a report said today.

Nearly half a million H-1B visas have been issued in the last four years
and about 300,000 visas have been issued for the professionals'
dependents, who cannot work, according to a front-page report in
The Washington Post. "Having a trailing spouse in today's day and age
is not dealt with," said Immigration lawyer Elizabeth Espin Stern of
Baker and McKenzie LLP. We have neglected these individuals and
their families. It is an arrogant stance and an insensitive one,"
the daily quoted her as saying.

The backlog of applications for green cards or permanent residence
visas which are the gateway to citizenship and which allow holders to
work is now 300,000. A typical case is that of Hanuma Samaveda
living in the Greater Washington area. She came to the US after
marrying her husband who is on H-1B. She has an MBA degree and
experience as a finance manager at an accounting firm in India.
But here she cannot work unless and until her husband gets a green
card or permanent visa.
Full story here

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Gandhi's Shadow Speaks Boldly Now

“If Gandhiji were to return to life now, he would take the next
flight to London, fall at Queen Elizabeth’s feet and beg her to
come back. He would take back his observation that self-
government is better than good government.”

These are the words of a man who was virtually the Mahatma’s shadow in
his last five years.

V. Kalyanam, who joined Gandhiji’s staff on his release from Agha Khan
Palace in Mumbai after the Quit India Movement, believes Gandhi’s
followers and successive generations have let him down. “At least
Manmohan Singh had the courage to admit the British had good
governance. But for their exploitation and racial discrimination, you really
can’t fault the Raj. Now you not only have a corrupt administration but
exploitation and discrimination in the name of class and caste,” he says.
- from a Hindustan Times article, Oct. 2nd 2005

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Cenk Uygur: There is No Iraq

I try to keep Politics to a minimum here but had to share this link to an
article by Cenk Uygur.
He co-hosts "The Young Turks" on Sirius
Satellite Radio, a show that covers current events from politics to pop
culture under the motto, "We don't make the news, we make the news

Everyone is wrong -- from the arrogant neo-clowns who brought you this war to
the mindless bureaucrats who maintain it to the well-intentioned intellectuals

that are grasping for a decent and humane way out. Humpty Dumpty has fallen

off the wall and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put
back together again.

Whether people want to leave or stay, the assumption is that they have what is

best for Iraq in mind. But there is no Iraq.

Today General Casey and General Abizaid admitted in the United States

Senate that after two and a half years, they have only been able to train one

Iraqi battalion. One! You could blame this on the incompetence of the
or the administration – and one is tempted to because that is usually
the correct
answer these days – but there is a better explanation.
The Iraqis have no
allegiance to their central government. They do not wish to
serve in its army or
to die for its goals.
Read about Cenk