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Social Exclusion has its Own Consequences

This is in response to Preeti Mann's article published at UPenn's Center for Advanced Studiy of India:
http://casi.ssc.upenn.edu/iit/mann

Preeti Mann,    This was a timely piece of warning for an India that is stomping, perhaps too fast, towards a model of development which has never been well-planned, despite the endless 'planning commission sessions', and a model which, as it unfolds, turns out to be a miserable patch work of aping the West's ostentatious consumer-culture. The fault lies not just in the lack of planning, but also of course in the pitiable execution of whatever little the rules or laws dictate.
The urban poor are not a new phenomenon, however, as you mentioned, the gap between the urban poor and the urban rich has never been so extensive and so stark. Unlike in the past, when there was so much less conspicuous consumption, it is a difference now in what they eat, what they wear, where they live, how they commute and everything else visible to the nake…

Library: The Netflix of Libraries in Gurgaon and Delhi

In trying to search for the condition of those few existent public libraries in India----online data for which is pityingly absent---I came across a Private library project, currently operating in the National Capital Region (Delhi and surroundings)--Gurgaon, Faridabad included. It is called Library at Home. It is noteworthy for a couple of reasons:


a. When public provision of a good is negligible, private entities enter the field to supply to the demand for that good. With Indian authorship---in English language and Indian languages--- soaring like crazy (one just has to look at the long list of authors catalogued in the company's web-site-----heard of Aatish Taseer or Kunal Basu or Priti Narain or Varsha Das?)----it is amply clear that not only are Indians writing, but surely they are wanting to read too. That Library at Home has identified the existence of a possible market for loaned books, when culture of paid-borrowing of books technically does not exist in India, is itself c…

This one's for you: Our littlest Little one

So my youngest kid, recently cut a real birthday cake- one that was deserved after completing one successful year, as opposed to those 'fraudulent' monthly cakes she got to 'cut' on some monthly milestones, in her first year of life. V junior---- (the older sis being V senior) as we call her when referring to her with dignity, is now a year plus and has started showing signs of that graduation from rear-facing to front-facing car seat. She 'gabbles' a lot, only wants to spend time in big sister's room, with or without company, going through her tiaras and bags and wands and all, and often refuses pureed foods. And yes, most importantly, she is beginning to attempt independent walking! And that is what tugs at my heart. For the last couple of months, our lives have been filled up with this crawler, who while doing the rounds of the house, manages to spot the lowliest and tiniest of spots and specks on the floor.  With her face typically positioned parallel t…

Library: A Young Reader's Longing

My eleven year old niece-K, is cutely unique for her age. She has taken the exact copy of her six feet plus dad's gene code for height and is already the tallest woman in the family (and trust me, we are no pygmies either!). In that tall being, resides a heart that is surreally pure and untainted by the glitz and glamour of the times we live in, and most impressively her hormones appear so much at peace, unlike those of a lot of eleven year old kids who seem to be in such a hurry to reach the teenage and let loose. However, the feature that most strikes me about her is her fondness for reading. That she is an avid reader--is a cliche and perhaps an under-statement. From the longest time now, I have seen her sitting in some corner of the house, or even right in the center of a bustling party, lost in a book, pouring over it, oblivious of everything around her. 
There is a neighborhood book store in the plush neighborhood of Gurgaon, India, where she lives. From when she could answer…

Library: Bradbury-library

Today, I introduce you all, to a project that I have been working on for sometime now. It is a particular topic in my larger passion for literacy--the significance of a good Library System. My self-guided project, superly supported by my husband, focusses on the various aspect of the library system. The backbone of the entire thesis will be our joint experiences as students in India and the U.S. Throughout the work, the goal is to create a comprehensive raison d'etre for the unfortunately absent public library system in India.  


I start here with an essay that remembers someone whose larger message in life, contributes greatly to the zeal of this cause .

Author Ray Bradbury died this past week, at the age of 91. For many of my readers, like me, his name may not be a very familiar one. After all, he was most usually known as a science fiction writer, and that is a not a genre of literature that's everybody's fancy.... not mine for instance. Besides, even in that genre, he was…

Cogito ergo sum? Or minus?

My eight year old nephew boasts of knowing latin, since he has memorised the title of my blog page. And that made me ponder if its really true that I think and therefore I am...then the infrequency with which I write here almost means that I DON'T  think? I guess, I can defend myself by saying that I think, but I don't as often write. One day, if the dear nephew actually sits down to read his aunt's blogs, I hope he will read this posting and think a little better of me.

In support of International Women's Day (March 8, 2012):

In support of International Women's Day (March 8, 2012):

How can we, as a culture and as members of the global community, involve, educate, and inspire girls in a positive way? (http://www.genderacrossborders.com/blogforiwd/)

In order to answer this important question, we need to first define for ourselves what ‘positive way’ means? I hope that we can all agree that at the minimum, 'positive way' implies growth of the person. While there are various ways in which a girl child can be inspired, I think, the most important way is by creating examples and role models. Children learn more from what is not directly taught to them, but what meets the eye, than from their text books and in classrooms. I have most observed this with my own daughter. And it is thus, that I have suddenly become more aware of my own identity as a woman and as a person, than before. My interactions with my surroundings, my treatment of others--men and women included, and their treatment of me, is indel…

My Cavernous Bag

A comment/reply/(add-on?) to To Erin Morgenstern's Flax-golden tale of Feb 24 2012:
(http://erinmorgenstern.com/2012/02/flax-golden-tales-necessary-supplies/comment-page-1/#comment-50593


Whimsical sisters.
I know them. I am one of them. Women are more likely to do something like this, than men, and sisters even more so. I know now what your sister's bag's belly carries---scarves and perhaps hats for the needy trees. Just like mine..though mine is filled up with rattles and pacifiers and emergency diapers and Desitins and all that for the baby's butts and of course the caramel mocha colored lipstick for my lips and a pair of sunglasses--them demanding their own real-estate in the bag--big round goggles, in equally spacious quilted bag for them. All of them tumbled with the cell phone, the essential keys, and of course the card-laden wallet. My bag is like a laundry machine in action, you never can get what you want right away. You will invariably have to feel with your fin…

Rows and Columns

When I used to do research for a living, I needed to collect my findings, sort them into all sorts of categories, and present them such that they made sense, such that I was able to establish connections that (hopefully) no one had ever unearthed before. And for all this, and much more, I readily resorted to good old MS Excel. I selected two rows and in one click managed a bar-graph here and a pie-chart there. I added worksheets on the same excel file, and maintained thousands of data matrices on different but related inputs all in one place.

And then I became a mom, and the need to use a computer-aided sorter vastly diminished. It is real-time action now and the chances for those cogitated outcomes are rare. We are dealing here with 'pee-pee right now' and 'not hungry (forever)' situations where most presentations to the toddler are strongly rebutted with the endless 'whys' and 'hows' and the infant's desire to be stuck to her vending-machine (that&…