Monday, December 24, 2007


You are sitting wide eye like a four year old,
trying to stay in synchronism
with the fast way of life today.
You give a smile from your heart;
a smile that does wonders on whom its grace falls;
feeling amused at how things are different today.
Your wrinkled face – a measure of your experience, living.
You are struggling to munch a few biscuits.
Your child-like desires still alive,
overriding the not highly armed jaw line.
Your beauty, devoutness and calmness,
remain as an etched memory.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Differentiating Responsibility in India

“Was Bali a success? Absolutely not, unless you were one of the diplomats present who could reasonably define success as the avoidance of complete failure - and by a last-minute turnaround too.” Alun Anderson, Former editor-in-chief of the New Scientist magazine (from Open

These two lines say it all about the climate change summit at Bali. But I see some hope. A recent report published on the issue of assigning responsibility of climate change (CO2 emissions) to the countries of the world, gives me hope. This report has considered the following to decide the contribution of each country in the world to the carbon present today:

1. Harmless emissions – as calculated today, the terrestrial sink can absorb 7 billion tons of CO2. This number divided by the global population gives the harmless emissions per capita allowed.

2. Subsistence allowance – the emissions required to bring people living under $1 per day, above the poverty line.

3. A part of the warming today is due to the CO2 emitted in the past. Thus, taking 1890 as a cut-off year (from this year records of the emissions are available), the contributions of the countries to carbon emissions is calculated till date.

4. The emissions which have taken place since the knowledge of its effects on global warming (late 1980s) are taxed more than the emissions that took place before the time.

Taking these factors into consideration, the report says that the responsibility on the developed world is far more than that on countries like India and Brazil. The Indian scenario was analyzed by the report and it concluded that India was the least responsible of the present predicament. Promode Kant, Director of Institute of Global Warning and Ecological Studies, has summarized the implications of the repot in India in his recent leader page article in the Hindu. But he also suggests that India should choose the lowest carbon path for development and bring more people out of the poverty loop through such means. The publishing of such a report is not an end but surely the means towards one. It will still be difficult for the countries to come to an agreement over the acceptance of this report.

The Indian scenario shows the big divide between the rich and the poor. A recent report by Greenpeace India, suggests that the Indian poor have subsidized the Indian rich with regards to carbon emissions ( see article). This would mean that the even if the world accepts the Differentiating Responsibility report and works on its basis, the Indian government must make sure that the allowances in carbon emission must trickle to the lowest rung of the society and help its development and not augment the allowed emissions for the Indian rich.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Democracy Questioned

I was amused reading about the mudslinging campaign that has marred the Gujarat elections. One particular accusation which both the parties made at their free will, initiated the thought process in me.

Both the parties completely blamed the ruling party for the terrorist strikes that have taken place in the past few years. What they tend to forget is that in our democracy, the onus of anything good or bad that happens, ought to be shared by both the party in power and the parties in opposition. Blaming the ruling party alone about the lack of security measures taken before a terrorist strike, after the harm is already inflicted on innocent citizens, shouldn’t be the way things work. Bluntly, even the opposition would have been sleeping during the pre-terrorist-strike period. If they were awake, they would have questioned the competence of the security of a particular area before the strike, which is not observed in any case.

All the finger-pointing takes place only after lives are lost. That being the time the country should be united against the common enemy and not fall prey to in-fighting. Being a democracy, every citizen is responsible for whatever happens in the country, albeit in a small way. I request the political fraternity not to forget this.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Freedom Writers

“We are all ordinary people. But, even an ordinary secretary or a house wife or a teenager can within their own small ways turn on a small light in a dark room.”

This is the message that Erin Gruwell, a school teacher in Long Beach, California, tries to ingrain in her students’ minds. Her task is not made any easy, with racial tension at its peak during the times after the race-driven riots in California in the early nineties. She leads her class, with students from varied backgrounds – blacks, Hispanics, Cambodians, whites – from animosity and distrust, to form a closely knit group of youngsters who had all found the meanings of their lives, through the stories and experiences of their classmates. She initiates this change with the introduction of an assignment that involved the students writing and maintaining a personal journal. In this they jotted down all their inhibitions, their harsh experiences, and all what they thought life was about. This journal was the healer for their hearts wounded by the experiences they had had. The journals of these students from Erin’s first batch, who named themselves as the ‘Freedom Writers’, were compiled and made into a book “THE FREEDOM WRITERS DIARY - How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to ChangeThemselves and the World Around Them”, which inspired the movie.

This movie helped me imbibe in myself, more strongly, the lines I had started with.

Related Links -

The site of the Freedom Writers Foundation

The official site of the movie

Reviews on the movie

Go here for the soundtrack - A dream - wonderful words

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Not Just a Cricketer

I read an article yesterday, in the Magazine supplement of the Hindu on Anil Kumble being given the additional responsibility of leading the Indian test side . The title of the work rightly went – ‘Justice delayed, not denied’. The article had a photo of Anil bowling in the Antigua test in 2002 with plaster supporting his broken jaw. Seeing this, I reflected on the reasons for him being a truly great sportsman.

The very first instance that came to my mind occurred during a test match (I was too young to remember against whom or when and where it was played). I vividly remember him taking a go at a shot from the batsman that seemed to be a caught and bowled effort. As soon as he had caught hold of the ball, he turned to the umpired and gave a shake of his head, clearly conveying to the umpire that the ball had pitched on the ground before he had caught it. This scene stuck in the young child’s mind, and even today, I respect Anil for the honesty he had shown that day. I also remembered the handful of times he was kept in the sidelines, even when playing at his peak. We did not hear anything untowardly from him. He had recently spoken about his disappointment during those days, but I feel his exclusion from the team only brought out a much stronger competitor.

Many would count the ten wickets he took in one innings in the Kotla test against Pakistan, his number of test wickets or his century against England earlier this year as things that make him a great cricketer. Without devaluing these, I would add that just the ‘person’ he is, makes him a greater sportsman.

Photo courtesy of