Sunday, April 05, 2015

My Scrapbook - Features Digest - 1

I often post articles and features that I like on Twitter and Facebook.  But these places are so overcrowded that it is sometimes difficult to extract and even remember what I posted a while back.  Hence, I have decided to create a blog post with tags that will make it easy to refer to a good article that I read.

My father read extensively and wrote extensively as well.  In his heyday he ordered a number of newspapers and periodicals.  In his bid to categorize his readings, and also for easy recall, he had built up a system of saving newspaper cuttings of the articles he read. He would then put them in file folders meticulously.

It was quite common for us to open a newspaper and find windows cut into it.  Magazines met the same fate.  There was a time when my father would cut out the advertisements from the magazines because he felt they were unnecessary.  Visitors to our house would stop short when they saw the entire house covered with books, magazines and newspapers.  The floors were laid out with newspaper cuttings that awaited being categorized and put away.

When we were young, my father sent us a scrapbook with pictures and captions.  They were clippings of pictures from various magazines that were stuck in a scrapbook.  Thinking back, I am not sure that my father made those himself.  Maybe he got help from some student of his. I remember being charmed by them.  Once of twice, I made similar picture scrapbooks and gifted them to friends.

Now, I realize the importance of those saved articles, when I rack my brains to remember something I had read but cannot recall the specifics.  With all these tools on internet available to us, it is easy to store stuff electronically.  So here goes my first digest.

Today's Literary Review by The Hindu had some good articles.  I loved the few books of Krishna Sobti that I read recently.  There was a nice article on her in this pullout. Here is a link to article, "A strong voice".  I liked this review of Geeta Hariharan's book, "Almost Home", in the same magazine.

In today's Indian Express, I came across this profile of a man who is in charge of the meteorological department of J&K, and found it quite interesting. "The Rainspotter", a day in the life of Sonum Lotus. The article was laudatory to him. When I checked him out on twitter, he was being flooded with bad press, accused of making false predictions.  It is so hard to know what is correct and what is not correct, in these days of information overload.

Finally, a humorous piece in Eye Magazine of Indian Express from my favorite author, Ranjit Lal.  It is titled "The Indian Driver's Handbook" and is accompanied by a delightful, Mario-esque illustration.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

#FixOurRoads: Opp. Comfort Banquet, Zirakpur

The Old Kalka-Ambala Road, that led from Zirakpur to Ambala used to be an abandoned road for a long time.  It had agricultural land on both sides and lay green but forlorn. Now the place is humming with activity.  All thanks to the various housing societies that have sprung up adjacent to this road. An overbridge that leads to Kalka from Zirakpur light point cuts free access to this road from the Chandigarh end.  People commuting to Dhakoli or Peer Muchhala from Panchkula have to take this road.  Their numbers grow day by day.  Comfort Banquet is a well known landmark right at the Panchkula end of the road.  It is a busy hub.  You see, there are two daaru ka thekha (alcohol shops) here. There are some small joints selling food here, a few shops and a shanty market selling vegetables.

I have to commute along this road everyday as I live in Dhakoli and work in Panchkula.  I drive a scooter and leave office by 6 PM in the evening. It is dark and bitterly cold by that time.  The drinking population rejoices at the early darkness as it means they can ‘party’ early.  The atmosphere is of happiness for a few and fears for some.  If everything was good, one can pass by this little stretch of barely 5 or 10 meters in the matter of a second or two.  But things are not good here.

The bit of road in front of Comfort Banquet always sags.  It has been filled with pebbles and built over at times, but within a few weeks it is back to its pockmarked self.  There are huge cavern sized pot holes on the road.  Two wheeler drivers have to slow down and find a good patch to drive on that will not upset the scooter.  On dry days it is still possible, as the cavern is visible and one can slowly pass it by.  But on rainy days everything gets waterlogged and it is harder to spot a good bit of road to use.  By the way, whatever light we have in this spot is thanks to the shops and the Banquet.  Move up the road and you are left in total darkness.

I have no idea who I should contact for this.  But I am putting these pictures here and in social media, hoping that someone wakes up to the difficulty the population of Dhakoli face on a daily basis.