Saturday, 1 October 2016

Golu Set Up Tips

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Happy Navarathri to everyone!
Every year around this time a couple of my posts on Navarathri and golu set up get a lot of hits.
This post is just a collection of these tips in one place:

1. How to grow grass for your golu:
2. Example of setting up park and forest:

3. Another example of village scene setup:

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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Old Satellite Dish = New Bird Bath

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So the second satellite dish finally got turned into a bird bath.



I used thinset to set all the glass beads on the dish.
I am still debating on whether I would like to grout it or not.
I wont be sealing it, because I don't think there is any sealant safe for birds out there.

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Friday, 6 March 2015

Why I Refuse to Give up Hope

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Much has been said about the attitudes of the defense lawyers, the perpetrators and some policemen interviewed in Leslee Udwin's documentary, "India's Daughter". I would like to amplify the other voices in that documentary in this post. The voices that give me hope, because, for far too long the narrative about women's safety and the Indian culture has been hijacked by people like those mentioned above. It is time to wrest that narrative out of their hands and put into those who will make change happen. So here are the people and their actions that give me hope:

  1. Jyoti Singh: For asking that her parents spend the money they were going to spend on her wedding on her education instead. Note: she is from a lower middle class family.
  2. Jyoti Singh's parents: For creating an environment where she felt comfortable enough to make this request. For actually selling their land to fund her studies -- despite opposition from Jyoti Singh's father's brothers
  3. Jyoti Singh: for showing a strong will to live and bring the perps to justice, even when she must  have been in so much pain. 
  4. Jyoti Singh's parents: For proudly stating their daughter's name and not acting like she is to blame.
  5. Jyoti Singh's tutor and several other men and women: For thinking that a woman returning from the movies with a male friend at 8:30pm is no big deal.
  6. All the men and women who were protesting in Delhi: They were asking for justice not just for Jyoti Singh, but for several other women.
  7. The woman protester who mentioned her husband when talking about her protests. Take note, guardians of the Indian culture: there are husbands out there who fear for the safety of their wives, but fully support their need to protest. 
  8. The husbands and SOs of women like the one above.
  9. All the men and women who protested in Delhi: They kept it up for a month or more and made a landmark change in the law happen. For a large country like India, this is no mean feat.
  10. All the people who wrote to the Verma commission to fuel this change.
  11. The Verma commission itself: for pushing this change through
  12. Gopal Subramanium, Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court and Co-Author of the Verma report. For giving credit to the feminist scholars who came before the Verma commission and articulated the root cause of the problem. Pause here, Guardians of Indian culture. Here is a man in a very senior position, someone surely worthy of your respect and he just gave credit to women. Not just any old group of women, but feminists. And he referred to them as scholars. So, may be there is a lesson here for you.
So here is my salute to everyone that has helped push this issue this far. May your tribe increase and may the voices and actions of the moderates be the norm.
May the truth win.

PS: The documentary has been maligned by too many people who have not actually watched it. I have watched it and it is a balanced documentary. There was no case to ban it at all.
Here is my first reaction to the ban:

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Thursday, 5 March 2015

Silencing India's Daughter

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India's motto is brave. It says, "Satyamev Jayate": truth alone wins. Not truth also wins. Not, truth may sometimes win. Not, we hope that we will let truth win.  Not, that we trust in a God to make sure that truth will win. It states unequivocally that truth will win.

It is, therefore, ironic that a country whose motto is to seek the truth has chosen to ban the documentary that tries to do precisely this. How can the truth win, if the collective consciousness of an entire nation is sought to be buried deep into the Earth?

Those that sought the ban said:

  1. We will not allow anyone to profit from the misfortune of another
  2. The country has been shamed
  3. This is a conspiracy to defame India
  4. There was no need to interview the perpetrator, this will only titillate others of similar mind set.
This last point stirred up even those who don't normally propose banning as a knee jerk reaction to every uncomfortable truth. They sought to ban this because, who in their right minds would want to revel in the details of the crime? Having watched it, I can say that the documentary does not revel in his description of what was done to Jyoti Singh. My reaction to the documentary was that it was very sensitively done and very balanced. It tried to get to the heart of the problem. It tried to start a very necessary conversation about this problem and most importantly it conveyed a very hopeful message that there will be a solution for it. 

So why did a documentary that was not at all about the lack of remorse of the perpetrator become all about it? May be it was because this was the unfortunate tag-line that the TV networks decided to go with to promote the film.

But, let's take a step back from all this hysteria. Forget what anyone thinks of the country or the culture or whether the West is saving the East or anything at all and just ask ourselves the only real question that matters:

do we want to change the status quo for women in India or not? Do we want to make it safer for not just women but everyone else, or not?

I am hopeful that there are enough rational people in the country who will then move to the next important question: how can that be done? And the answer to that is in the quote from documentary, which for some reason has received no attention at all.

This quote from Gopal Subramanium, Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court and Co-Author of the Verma report, is where the solution lies, "Nobody is a monster that he is excluded from the society.... any society that has rapists has to take responsibility for them. This is the first thing that the feminist scholars that came before the Verma commission said ..... that these are our people. These men are ours". This truth needs to come out into the open. This needs to be digested so that we can heal and move on and make the society a better place. For all of us.

The documentary is available at :

My letter to the Verma Commission is here:

And here is why I refuse to give up hope:

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