Of Cabbages and Kings

November 28, 2006

Of bazaars and colonial pasts

Filed under: Random musing — Chinmayi @ 5:36 pm

Living in a ‘big city’ with it (comparitively) sanitized supermarkets, perfumed tissue-paper, orderly beige and black queues and disinfected floors tends to push the memory of real homegrown bazaars a little further into the recesses of your memory.

I went to a proper bazaar, a few days back. A real bazaar that mushroomed out all over an old colonial mall, and took over its host like an overzealous parasite. So there are brilliant colours hanging and swirling around, crowds so thick you can’t take a step without elbowing someone out of your way, vendors selling bright red and yellow channa with onions seated all along the road, others walking along sticking beaded purses and imitation sunglasses before your face. You emerge panting from this throbbing sea of personlaties that inundate you with their colours and voices, and dive into a little gilded shop that sells sandalwood perfume. You reappear at the doorway, and dive down a tiny pathway that winds between the bangle-sellers and sticker-vendors and look up suddenly to find an old British arch hanging sheepishly out of a green and yellow hoarding.

You look at the wall, the floor and the high ceiling of the corner you have just turned and realise that you have seen this place before. Many times, in many cities. And that this burst of colour and noise obscuring an old sad grey, firm and elusive wall is so typical of your roots.


November 22, 2006

Protected: Running from shadows

Filed under: Personal — Chinmayi @ 3:31 pm

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November 20, 2006


Filed under: Music, Uncategorized — Chinmayi @ 4:02 pm

is such a beautiful song….

“And you know that she’s half crazy
But that’s why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges
That come all the way from China ”

“She is wearing rags and feathers
From Salvation Army counters
And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning”

The Trolley Problem

Filed under: Across the Universe — Chinmayi @ 3:49 pm

1. A trolley is running out of control down a track. In its path are 5 people who have been tied to the track by a mad philosopher. Fortunately, you can flip a switch which will lead the trolley down a different track to safety. Unfortunately, there is a single person tied to that track. Should you flip the switch?

2. As before, a trolley is hurtling down a track towards five people. You are on a bridge under which it will pass, and you can stop it by dropping a heavy weight in front of it. As it happens, there is a very fat man next to you – your only way to stop the trolley is to push him over the bridge and onto the track, killing him to save five. Should you proceed?

[It’s a thought experiment in ethics – is discussed here]

November 19, 2006

Devil’s Advocate: Thapar v. Jethmalani

Filed under: Random musing — Chinmayi @ 5:50 pm

The sibling and I lingered too long picking mushrooms (at the supermarket), and ended up missing our weekend’s dose of comedy. There was compensation though. And if you enjoyed that video, it doesn’t come close to the Chidambaram interview.

Somebody tell me – Does Thapar behave like that deliberately or is he just like that?

November 18, 2006

Macaulay on copyright

Filed under: Law — Chinmayi @ 4:56 pm

Found this on one of my jaunts around the internet. An 1841 speech at the House of Commons by Macaulay on copyright. Here’s a bit:

The principle of copyright is this. It is a tax on readers for the purpose of giving a bounty to writers. The tax is an exceedingly bad one; it is a tax on one of the most innocent and most salutary of human pleasures; and never let us forget, that a tax on innocent pleasures is a premium on vicious pleasures

November 17, 2006

The best way to leave work

Filed under: Personal — Chinmayi @ 6:15 pm

is skipping down the stairs, grinning in anticipation. Hurrying through chilly-air, and getting sprinkled with a little drizzle. Bursting into an old bookstore a little late, to find your friends leaning over a pile of books in a corner. Turning slowly to find that you’ve reached Wonderland again. And thinking that perhaps you’d like to stay there for the weekend.

Coming to terms with India’s missing Muslims

Filed under: Across the Universe — Chinmayi @ 6:02 pm

A article by Siddharth Varadarajan. It’s available here.

An excerpt:

“Muslims — who account for approximately 15 per cent of India’s population — are unable to cross in virtually all walks of life. From the administration and the police to the judiciary and the private sector, the invisible hands of prejudice, economic and educational inequality seem to have frozen the `quota’ for Muslims at three to five per cent. “

R-rating Roy and Silo

Filed under: Across the Universe — Chinmayi @ 5:51 pm

So homosexuality finally breaks its way into Non-hushdom. There’s Brokeback mountain and Will and Grace and so on. And then we have the liberated penguins, Roy and Silo, a gay couple that resided at the New York Aquarium. Roy and Silo adopted an egg – Tango hatched out of that egg. The children’s book And Tango makes Three was based on this story. Some parents, apparently, aren’t too thrilled with the idea of allowing their kids access to the book. It stands to reason of course, that a bigot would wish to bring up mini-bigots. So I really hope that schools and libraries hold out against these guys and give the kids a chance.

November 16, 2006

Jethmalani and the Cab-rank rule

Filed under: Law, Personal — Chinmayi @ 4:12 pm

Mumbai girl’s post on Manu Sharma’s right to defence got me thinking about some legal-ethics related skirmishes that we had at law school.

I agree with her. An adverserial system works only if both sides are presented before the judge – the lawyer’s is to defend, and the judge’s…well, to judge. This does not mean that I would lie for a client, or do anything else that I considered unethical. It just means that my client, be he the most despicable of the diabolic scum that crawls the earth, has certain rights. And that it would be my duty as a lawyer to ensure that those rights are respected – to ensure that he is not convicted if there is no evidence, that he is not arrested without observance of procedure, that he does not receive a dispropotionate punishment and so on. And a lawyer who does this zealously makes sure that the system works a little better – she’s working towards a world where  no one is convicted on flimsy evidence, where no one is tortured and so on. So I wouldn’t insist that lawyers defend only the ‘good guy’* – defending the ‘bad guy’ is really important.

I miss being a lawyer so very much.

*This doesn’t mean that I condone Mr. Jethmalani’s methods of defence in the Jessica Lall case – I’m just saying that defending a criminal per se isn’t wicked at all, it’s a question of how you go about defending him

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