Sunday, January 20, 2013

Snatch from me, can you?

Your eye’s set on my nest, I know,
From the first grass blade
To the hay-yarn I’ve just twined.

I can sense
Your constant gaze,
Your threat to sweep away the nest,
Shadow of your blood-thirsty claws.

You will eventually succeed, I know.

When I breathe my last
I will have pain - seeing the death of my toil;
And joy - as come alive the smells
Of the unwinding after each trip for grass,
Of the content that each weave brought.

Mortal are a weaver bird and his little nest,
And you, inevitable.
But listen,
My unfinished nest is not just my lust for life;
It is a proof of creation,
That has happened.

Snatch from me, can you,
What I have lived up?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Talking of advertisements

I was provoked to write this small piece on design… Provoked by the discussion on an advertisement I was witness to this week. 
I just draw your attention to four aspects that we are likely to ignore: 

First, the space. You cannot fill all the space of a page layout or an advertisement, thinking that you are able to say more in the same amount spent. If that were the case, the Google homepage would not be that clean but be cluttered with advertisements, if not other content! 

Second, the flow of lines. Don’t the lines going up and to the right denote growth vis-à-vis those in opposite direction? Plants grow tall, children grow ‘up’, sun rises, charts depict higher values up and right… Then, why do we place arrows going from right to left and steps going down when in an ad graphic we try to depict growth? 

Third, colour. No lecture on the theory of colours. Let me just let you imagine what looks vibrant to you. Don’t we find flowers and freshly rain-soaked leaves more lively than mud and dirty foliage? Don’t plump babies with pink cheeks look more full of life than their malnourished counterparts or the aged? Then why do we use so much of dark shades, especially blue and grey [as in gentlemen’s formal jackets] while projecting good times? 

Fourth, symbolism. Do we need to always put a beard on a face to say it is a Muslim face, or Himachali cap on a head to tell it’s the head of a hill guy? When talking of a diverse and peaceful India, do we need to put oft-repeated icons of the four main faiths of India? Why do we insist on hackneyed symbols or icons when we need to give a universal message? Even a niche ad need not carry symbols that give a narrow / uncharitable tag to racial / religious / regional identities, isn’t it?

Monday, January 14, 2013


3rd January, 2357

This page of my diary is going to be very different from others. It is on this day last month that I had seen the face of my grandfather the last time and I have been missing him all along. So depressed had I been that I did not write my ‘daily’ diary for a full month.

I won’t be able to forget grandpa even if all my organs are changed, including my brain. Let me mention here that concepts about humans are changing fast after the first full brain transplant two years ago. We have long achieved sort of immortality thanks to in-situ cloning of organs, organ transplants and what not. The concept of being a grandfather, even a father, has almost lost its meaning. Yet, only if you had suffered the loss of your grandfather – or grandmother if you were lucky to have seen one – would you realize their value in your lives.

Till the last moment of his life, grandpa was active like a child. Part of this energy, I am sure, he had regained from our child Coxy. He would play with her all the day till he and the child went to bed together early in the evening. He would tell her his real life experiences of the world he had lived in over two centuries ago and which Coxy often refused to believe.

Unlike others of his times, grandpa had decided to let scientists experiment cryo hibernation and resurrection on him. His only condition was that when he was made ‘alive’ again after two hundred years, he should be allowed to live as a normal human being and no experiments done on his body. He wanted to live naturally – as an old man of seventy years plus.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Is today's media accountable? For whom?

India has perhaps the largest number of news channels, airing news, entertainment and 'entertaining news' day and night. The print media has also been in good shape in India, as against the global trend. To add to this information regime, various forms of new media have arisen, some changing the very concept of 'the press' or 'mass media'.  Questions have often been raised about media's accountability.
In the paper reproduced below, I have tried to analyse how much accountable does the present day media is and should be, and for whom.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My moment

My moment was etched
In the clay that would last
A lifetime of creation.

I borrowed scales,
I set alarms,
I grieved, wished, anticipated,

I did measure
My part of my moment:
Hours, days, years...
The units that the clay
Had ignored to engrave.

from Blog Surf [2008]

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Tell me, ghost

I'm impressed
With your relentless toil the whole night.

Your collecting bricks from the ruins,
Scooping pyre-baked earth
From the river bank,*
Carrying water in leaking palm-cups.

It's nearing dawn.
Take some rest and tell me,
The expansive funeral ground
Is all there for you.
For whom are you erecting
This rickety wall?

*: Traditionally, Hindus have been cremating their dead ones on the banks of rivers.

English rendition of Bhoot [2010]

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Communication for development: a much-ignored tool for public participation

How much do the beneficiaries of various developmental / welfare schemes know about these schemes? Even if they know about them, is the information relevant and actionable? 

My argument is that if we weave communication in developmental and welfare schemes, we'll get greater  public participation and better implementation of these schemes. My article written sometime back in a popular mag emphasises this.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013