I am posting a photo that I tweeted a few days back. A man walks past a magazine store in Delhi’s Khan Market.
This post is a part of my continued effort to give the site a Twitteresque feel. Recently I reactivated the P2 theme that its creators- Automatic- think will be useful for short updates like this one.
Whenever I go to Khan Market I make it a point to visit this and other magazine stalls. You can spend awhile browsing magazines of all kinds at these stalls. A few months ago I was surprised to see a magazine called Blogger’s Park (third issue, I think), collection of blog posts from a certain blogsite- printed in the magazine format. I always wanted to do that- once upon a time- when I used to blog almost full-time. No Nepali magazines is available at these stalls though. Nepali newspapers also don’t come to Delhi and other Indian cities where as Indian newspapers are circulated everywhere in Nepal. But a south Asian magazine that is published from Kathmandu is available here. I had bought the July issue of Himal Southasian from this stall last month. The magazine had carried an article that I wrote.
Woke up this afternoon to see the neighborhood soaked in rains. Went outside, down the street, and walked around for a while. It was drizzling. Raindrops fell on my glasses. The view was partially obstructed. I was slightly annoyed but there was no hint of heat. That made me happy. It was refreshing. Back in the balcony on the third floor, I came close to the tall tree that is attached to the building. Rain had washed away dust from its leaves. They looked so clean. They were shining. I could see droplets sliding down those leaves and falling on the ground. Splash! Oh, I could almost hear that sound. It’s a peaceful day.
On a recent afternoon I woke up to see this man at work in a nearby building. A lot of construction work is going on in Delhi. Not just the government but private citizens are also fueling up the construction boom. This building along with the adjoining one, was built earlier this year. There were two old house here that they demolished and erected these houses. The new houses are better looking and stronger compared to the older ones. But the problem with houses here in Delhi is that they don’t have enough parking space for cars that their owners own.
Bharat Bandh happened on 5th July. The following is a part of an article that appeared in the Kathmandu Post yesterday. The first part of the article, available here, is about the India that is rapidly modernizing. Indian democracy is dictated by the flourishing middle class, says a professor.
So you thought bandas solely belonged to us Nepalis? India saw a Bharat Bandh (the spelling used here) last week in protest against soaring inflation and rising prices in recent months. As it happens with many Indian things, this also got world attention. The term “Bharat Bandh” was the top topic trend on Twitter on July 5 meaning most Twitter messages posted that day were related to the Indian strike. Many opposition parties including Bharatiya Janta Party and Communist Party of India (Marxist) had called for a strike that would affect normal life and economic activities throughout the country. But India is too huge be completely banda (closed). It was just like a normal day in large parts of Delhi while protestors demonstrating in other parts disrupted the Metro rail service for several hours at some stations. Public buses, many of them operated by the Congress-led Delhi government, were on duty as were the privately run auto-rickshaws. Mumbai, the ultra-rightist Shiv Sena’s bastion, was perhaps the most affected. Delhi where the ruling Congress party is strong was less affected. Many shops remained closed in some markets, but many others were doing business as if it was a normal day. Even a cinema hall, newly opened Eros of Jangpura, was running shows without any sign of Bharat Bandh. I went there to watch a movie called “I Hate Luv Storys”. I loved the fact that the theatre was open during a banda, which is unimaginable in Nepal. But I hated the movie.
(This article, first appeared in the Kathmandu Post yesterday, continues here.)
It was not surprising when the company that build $3 billion terminal at New Delhi’s international airport recently decided postpone the beginning of the operation of the landmark building by at least two weeks because of lack of “confidence”. After all this is India, the land of contrasts and paradoxes that is being touted as the next big thing on the world stage. The construction of such a lavish structure at the airport is a sure sign of India’s arrival but the reported lack of confidence is the proof that India still is very much a third world country that has millions of hungry beggars roaming on the streets. Contrast. Paradox.
Delhi’s Metro Rail is a $4 billion (and counting) mass transit system that provides excellent service on the world class infrastructure. More than a million passengers ride in the metro daily. So it’s not really surprising to see the large crowds waiting for the train at the Metro stations. Sometimes the crowds get so large, even by Indian standards, that passengers have to struggle hard to enter inside. Pushing, screaming, pulling, swearing and yelling are parts of the process. Some days are more animated than others. Like today (yesterday actually- Monday 12 July). The sudden downpour meant unexpected surge in the Metro ridership. The rush resulted in delaying of the Metro service. Continue reading “New Delhi of Old India”
It was the hottest June day in five years, Delhi boiling at 45 degrees Celsius. I was waiting for someone at the international airport. There I met him. He had gone there to receive one of his relatives from Kathmandu who was supposed to stop overnight in Delhi before flying to Moscow the next morning (He had a 16-hour long transit). That didn’t materialise. The traveller wasn’t allowed to go out of the airport. We drove back to the city centre together.
“I have been living in Delhi for the last four years,” he said. “India is the best place for a Nepali like me who doesn’t mind working hard for a living.”
There’s no official data but there are estimated five million Nepalis living and working in India. Vast majority of those who work do so in unorganised sectors: security guards, cooks/waiters and other lowly positions in private and government institutions. There’s no reason to complain for the poorest country in the region that has miserably failed to create jobs for its citizens.
Every World Cup tournament is a watershed in the history of football. With the stunning display of human emotions and talents, the game rejuvenates millions of people around the world. Those who watch the games will talk about that magical goal by that particular superstar for months and years. Those goals or missed chances, in many ways, define that particular World Cup. I am not sure, as of now, what will define the 2010 edition: vuvuzela or Twitter. These are the two things whose association with the game evokes contrasting feelings in me. I dislike the “stadium horn” as much as I like the express-in-140-characters social networking site.
Vuvuzela-blowing spectators are like angry bees and wasps that make the World Cup stadium a giant hive. Some people have liked the trumpet that is apparently an integral part of South African football tradition. Many others have complained that the continuous buzz has ruined their viewing experience. On the third day of the tournament, unable to hold my frustration, I posted my displeasure on Twitter in all caps (the Internet equivalent of screaming): “#FIFA, WILL YOU PLEASE BAN THIS ANNOYING #VUVUZELAINSIDE THE STADIUM RIGHT NOW?”
My friend Mahesh Poudyal (@mpoudyal) who, according to his Twitter bio, is a “good listener, avid reader, lazy writer, enthusiastic photographer, technology/gadget freak, who is also trying to finish a phd in environment and politics” quickly tweeted back from York, UK: “oh, i love #vuvuzelas, great background buzz while i watch the match :)”
This and many other electronic conversations that I have had with many of my friends and strangers on Twitter have greatly enriched my World Cup experience like never before. This is the first World Cup that I am watching all alone in my quiet apartment in New Delhi. This is also the first World Cup to have happened in the age of web 2.0 which turns the whole world into a huge room. Viewers’ reactions on breathtaking dribbling and their excitement created by a stunning goal are shared not just among a handful of persons in a closed room. They are instantly shared with the world, thanks to the wild popularity of sites like Twitter and Facebook.
I started watching the World Cup since 1990. I was in the hostel of a school in Kathmandu, grounded by viral fever yet rejuvenated by football fever, and the world seemed impossibly too big to be connected by a network of computers. I was in another hostel of a different school in the Valley during the 1994 tournament. Two of my classmates and I used to sneak out of the hostel to enjoy the midnight matches at home. The Internet was still far away. By the 1998 tournament, the expensive graphical browsing had arrived at a handful cyber cafés and offices in Kathmandu, but not in individual rooms of the general population. I shared my 2002 World Cup excitement by email, downloaded many photos of my favourite players and match schedules from web sites, and posted comments on some online discussion boards. Four years later, I posted my first World Cup entry (blog) on my interactive web site.
Still, viewing was largely done in a group of friends with occasional collective screams of “gooooooal” or the one that ends in disappointment like “gooooooal… bhayena!” While watching the match, we would talk endlessly about the players’ performance on the field, bet over the result and take sides vehemently to the extent that a certain level of tension and anxiety was created. On most of those occasions, the gatherings of friends were more entertaining than the game itself. Watching the game alone was unimaginable.
And here I am, in the solitude of my apartment, 1,000 km from home, doing that “unimaginable” this year. It would have been impossible for me to watch the games alone had there not been the Internet. With Twitter right in my hand (iPhone) or on my lap (Dell Vostro), the urge to share my excitement is never compromised. In fact, I feel, the sharing over Twitter (or the web in general) is much more informative and effective thanks to the lethal combination of Google, YouTube and news and specialist web sites. Sharing on Twitter isn’t limited to collective screaming (all caps) and expressing your mundane views. It also involves data, expert opinions, video clips of Maradona’s “hand of god” goal and magazine articles.
Reading our tweets that expressed our support for Brazil, @yowlanku from Kathmandu tweeted to me and @jwalanta: “you on #bra side too!! :)” Bra, by the way, is the FIFA abbreviation for team Brazil. Twitter, where everything needs to be said in short, has popularised the abbreviation by assigning a cute flag of the country alongside when a hash tag is prefixed.
On the other hand, sensing that I was not rooting for Asian teams like #prk, #kor or #jpn (meaning the two Koreas and Japan), @tajimtweeted to me: “there might be a reason for South not supporting North but we as Asian need to support all Asian Team…”
“I am more for underdogs and poor economies than for regionalism,” I tweeted back.
Then there is this @nepaleeidiot who tweets from somewhere in India about his impressions of the game that are enjoyable to read. Browsing the tweets that are posted as the game is being played in South Africa is quite an experience. One can see how the world is talking while the players are playing.
All these “twitteractions” with friends and strangers about the games during the matches have made me feel that I am no more alone in the room. It feels like the people of the whole world, from York to Delhi to Kathmandu, are in a single room and watching the match together. Everyone sees the same ball, feels the pain experienced by the same injured player and hears the same noise (argh, vuvuzela).
This article first appeared on the op-ed page of today’s Kathmandu Post