Thursday, 27 November 2008

Mumbai Burning!

I've spent the whole day in front of the television watching NDTV's coverage of the Mumbai terror attacks. It feels unreal and at the same time shockingly real. Also there is a distinct feeling of deja-vu.
India has been facing a terror attack with a frightenning regularity. Wasn't it Bangalore, Ahmedabad , Delhi just a few weeks/months back? Or have we forgotten all about it. Admittedly, this time the scale was different as were the targets. All that follows, is almost the same. There was this slight change in the script this time with both the opposition and the government standing together instead of starting the blame-game right away. Everything else remains same. The only person who seemed to make any sense to me was Shobhaa De who was outraged and asked that something be done instead of politicians just offering their usual statements. She was so right in saying that our Prime Minister's speech was totally insipid and uninspiring. It was difficult to believe anything he said as it was clear that he was reading out a speech which he himself probably did not believe in. If that was meant to reassure his countrymen - well, he sure is living in a fantasy. Or maybe, he just did not want to upstage 'Madam' by sounding too good.
I wonder, when will our politicians start thinking about the country and start doing things.. For instance, instead of trying to just pass another anti-terror law/bill in the name of fighting terror, why don't they try and imrpove our police force. I am sure our police force could do with a better pay structure and benefits for the risks they take as part of their jobs. That might also go a long way in reducing the corruption levels. If we compare our 'havaldar' with constables in other parts of the world - it almost makes me laugh. Here in the UK, constables wear bulletproof vests while our havaldar would be lucky to carry a lathi. I am also sure that our police force is also seriously under-staffed. Also, are we really using all the avenues for intelligence gathering? Is our intelligence agencies adequately staffed. It is astonishing that the terrorists entered Mumbai through the sea.. It is shocking that more was not done to secure our coastal border especially since we have victims of terror attacks so many times..
It is surprising that our politicians seem to do almost nothing to try and ensure that we donot have another attack on Indian soil. I am no supporter of George W. Bush and his government, but to give the devil his due, atleast there were no attacks on American soil after 9/11, which is much, much more than one can say for our Indian Governments!
As Shobhaa De said, the Indians have shown restraint and have been calm for too long. Maybe it is time that we held our politicians accountable for the job they were elected to do.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The Iggle-Piggle Invasion

Anybody with a pre-schooler in the Uk will need no introduction to Iggle -Piggle. For the uninitiated, Iggle-Piggle is a character from a series called 'In the night garden'(INTG) in Cbeebies(BBC's channel for pre-school children).

My daughter, since the time this series began, has been a huge fan of Iggle-Piggle,Upsy-Daisy etc etc etc. There is definitely something about it that makes children go crazy about it. Most of the characters have such funny names(that might be part of the attraction) and is somehow very soothing. My husband claims that he feels sleepy watching it.

Anyway, the series has become so successful, that merchandise of all sorts with the INTG characters have sprouted up.
Literally,you name it and you can find it - last week I found Wellies with Upsy-Daisy on them. My daughter already has all the books and last weekend we bought her an Upsy Daisy slipper:) I have to admit, I am lured into picking up these things in a effort to subtly bribe her into doing things. For instance,she refuses to wear slippers at home, irrespective of how cold it is. Now that she has an Upsy Daisy slipper, she has started wearing them-happily.

If this continues, I am sure, we will end up with the whole house having an 'In the night garden' theme. In the meanwhile, I am going to sit back and enjoy the Cbeebies' bedtime hour with my daughter. Night Night!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

'Skyless' existence

Its been a month since we moved from London to Leeds and the worst thing possible has happenned! No broadband yet. Despite having called Sky way before shifting and then reconfirming - it seems one of their 'executives' forgot to book my broadband installation so I am going to be 'Skyless' for 'upto' another 10 working days.
Though I have to say that it is not as bad as it could have been. My husband magnanimously decided to part with his precious phone on which he is almost permanently hooked so that I could important things like browse the net :)
Like they say, every cloud has a silver lining - I have found a huge repository of fantastic blogs that I am quickly getting addicted to. I would have prob never read this many blogs had I been reading on the laptop. It is so convenient to have it on the phone to just read and read more. Admitedly, it is not really easy to do much else on the phone (including typing this blog) but it was all worth it to be able to read all that.
So if anyone happens to read my blog, pls forgive the lack of formatting/spellcheck - I am literally using this as my online journal.

Monday, 17 November 2008

What are you reading these days?

I have just finished Gurucharan Das's colum in TOI - What are you reading these days? and I could relate to it so much.
He talks about libraries(or rather the lack of them) in India.
Having lived in the UK for the last 4 years, I am really looking forward to going back to India but there is one thing that I will really really miss. Libraries.. I literally cannot live without books. Living in the UK has been paradise in that regard. Access to books has never been easier. Here I can borrow upto 20 books at a time and reserve books online. At one point in time, I used to browse the NY Times bestsellers list and just reserve them on my library account online. Libraries here being part of the free services provided by the government.

I would love to be able to see this happenning in India - but I guess it would be too much expect when our government is finding it difficult to even provide primary education to every child. Still, I would like to hope that 'change' will one day come to India.