Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Jaspal Bhatti strikes again!

From HT, June 27

Friday, June 23, 2006

Orientalism in the age of globalisation

Being in Paris, which ranked 15th in this survey, I sure can vouch for the fact that the criteria were far too western... saying thank you, holding doors open, etc. Anyway, "Bonjour", "Pardon" and the ilk sound so mechanical on most occasions...

Mumbai disputes 'rudest city' tag

By Monica Chadha BBC News, Mumbai

People in Mumbai are upset - their city has been ranked rudest in the world.

India's financial capital came bottom in a survey by Reader's Digest magazine to find which of 35 cities was most courteous. New York came top.

"This survey is an insult," said one Mumbai resident Ritika Bajaj. "People here are accommodating and polite."

Cities were set three courtesy tests. Many in Mumbai, including the India editor of Reader's Digest, said the criteria were "too Western".

The judges' criteria were whether people opened doors for others in public buildings, whether they helped pick up papers dropped on a busy street and whether a shopkeeper said "thank you" when a purchase - big or small - was made.

Sixty such tests were performed in Mumbai.

Other Asian cities - Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul and Kuala Lumpur - also did badly. Zurich came a close second to New York and Toronto third.

Anshuli Patil, who works at the German consulate in Mumbai, said the results were "very surprising".

"People are very friendly and always helping others. I also find them very approachable," she said.

Mumbai resident George Pereira says there may be rare instances when people are impolite, but that could not be applied to the city as a whole.

Advertising film-maker Prahlad Kakkar says when he first came to Mumbai years ago, he did find people rather rude.

"Coming as I did from the north, I was very surprised with the way in which people spoke to strangers. But you realise this is only on the surface and people here have a heart.

"I think Mumbai and New York are very similar in nature and if the latter ranked number one, then Mumbai is up there too."

Mr Kakkar criticised the survey for using "Western" criteria to assess politeness.

Even the editor of the Indian edition of Reader's Digest, Mohan Sivanand, agreed.

"I think the reason Asian cities have performed badly in the survey is because of cultural differences. People here express their gratitude in other non-verbal ways rather than actually saying the word," he told the BBC.

"There was an instance when we bought something from a shopkeeper in Mumbai and he smiled instead of saying 'thank you'. When asked why he didn't say the words, he replied his smiling at customers means the same thing.

Mr Sivanand adds that at least 19 of the 60 Mumbai respondents were polite to researchers. "If these 19 are to be translated in terms of the city's population, then 32% or more than 4.5 million people are polite in Mumbai.

"That is more than the combined populations of some of the cities that ranked high up in the courtesy list."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

India on the TIME cover

Haven't you had enough of the "India Shining" story?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A great photo

I just thought that this was a very stunning picture... From HT, June 20

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Film posters in Tehran

Hoardings on Enqelab Street displaying posters of recently released Iran films. They are out of this world... One of my favourites remains Baran by Majid Majidi.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tell me it's true!

India to launch international TV channel

By Iftikhar Gilani, Daily Times

NEW DELHI: Indian government is planning to launch a new TV channel named “Channel Asia”, an answer to the CNN and the BBC in the international market. An “approach paper” prepared for the launch of the proposed “Channel Asia” says the trust would ensure that it remains independent and completely free from the government controls.It will have its own infrastructure and separate staff that has nothing to do with Doordarshan. Noted journalist Sayeed Naqvi, who has been doing a score of international programmes on Doordarshan, is tipped to head the channel which will have its correspondents in all important cities of India, Asian countries as also in the capitals of important countries.The government has earmarket a whopping Rs 350 crores for the launch of this channel.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Bajaj bikes in Iran

Bajaj bikes and scooters are quite popular in Iran. It feels reassuring to cross something that reminds you of India in a foreign country, even if Iran doesn't seem all that alien.