The Ugly Bystander

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Every man was an island as the recounting of the survivor tells us:


“After throwing us off the bus, they tried to mow us down but I saved my friend by pulling her away in the nick of time. We were without clothes. We tried to stop passersby. Several auto rickshaws, cars and bikes slowed down but none stopped for about 20 to 25 minutes. Then, someone on patrolling, stopped and called the police,” he told Zee News. 

He said nobody, including the police, gave them clothes or called an ambulance. “They were just watching us,” he said, adding that after repeated requests, someone gave him a part of a bed sheet to cover his friend. 

The victim’s friend said that he carried his badly injured friend to the PCR van on his own as “the policemen didn’t help us because my friend was bleeding profusely and they were probably worried about their clothes”. 

“Nobody from the public helped us. People were probably afraid that if they helped us, they would become witnesses to the crime and would be asked to come to the police station and court,” he told the channel. 

He said that one cannot change mindsets by lighting candles. “You have to help people on the road when they need help,” he added. 

He rued the people’s indifference towards him and his friend when they were lying on the road. “They (the people) had cars, they could have taken us to the hospital. Every minute was important for us. But they didn’t. Who will change this attitude?” he asked. 

“If you can help someone, help them. If a single person had helped me that night, things would have been different. There is no need to close Metro stations and stop the public from expressing themselves. People should be allowed to have faith in the system,” he went on to say. 

We are getting more involved than ever before.  We take out candle light marches. We press the “Like” button on Facebook.  We express online, on mobiles, on television. We are no longer afraid to “get involved”.

Or are we?

 

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— 1 month ago
#Supriyo Gupta  #nirbhaya  #India rape 

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Blue Skies are a rarity in London, blessed as it is with, as the Londoner said, with two kinds of weather: Rain and Cold. But here we were in London with the city served sunny side up. Weather is clearly top of mind for the people of the isles that form the UK. From the dressed up gladiator in the Roman Baths at Bath to the Scottish tour conductor, it was weather, and the good fortune of no rain, that occupied their thoughts. Not that a little bit of rain would have really been too off the plate for the family which had escaped the searing heat of Delhi at its peak summer.

 

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— 1 month ago
Well before the days of the Internet, ‘acceptable’ nudity was transmitted through newspaper reports.. one such on Fergie unbared triggered this comparison of media interest in Fergie naked vs the Somalian naked

Well before the days of the Internet, ‘acceptable’ nudity was transmitted through newspaper reports.. one such on Fergie unbared triggered this comparison of media interest in Fergie naked vs the Somalian naked

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Written ten days after the Babri demolition in 1992, this piece in The Observer looked at the whole issue of Indian foreign policy in West Asia which was getting driven by speculation on how the Islamic states would react rather than a careful analysis of the actual reactions. 

Written ten days after the Babri demolition in 1992, this piece in The Observer looked at the whole issue of Indian foreign policy in West Asia which was getting driven by speculation on how the Islamic states would react rather than a careful analysis of the actual reactions. 

— 1 month ago
Some write ups are just as good 22 years later! This May 16, 1992, article on the challenges for the Indian Air Force is just as relevant. The MiG-21s are still crashing, the Tejas still doesn’t fly…

Some write ups are just as good 22 years later! This May 16, 1992, article on the challenges for the Indian Air Force is just as relevant. The MiG-21s are still crashing, the Tejas still doesn’t fly…

— 1 month ago
#IAF  #Indian Air Force  #LCA  #Tejas  #DRDO  #Light Combat Aircraft  #mig-21 
This article written in 1994 for The Observer was triggered by a rather interesting judgement in the backdrop of the Babri Masjid demolition and the dismissal of state governments. While the issue has not surfaced since in this context, in the days ahead it will be interesting to see how the notion of State Secularism gets tested.

This article written in 1994 for The Observer was triggered by a rather interesting judgement in the backdrop of the Babri Masjid demolition and the dismissal of state governments. While the issue has not surfaced since in this context, in the days ahead it will be interesting to see how the notion of State Secularism gets tested.

— 1 month ago
The Diversities Page of The Observer (now defunct) provided an opportunity to write out a mish mash of reflections, experiences and anecdotes. This piece dates back to the early 1990s… a lot of water has flown through the Ganges since then.

The Diversities Page of The Observer (now defunct) provided an opportunity to write out a mish mash of reflections, experiences and anecdotes. This piece dates back to the early 1990s… a lot of water has flown through the Ganges since then.

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In 1992, Kashmir beckoned at the height of terrorism. Punjab had begun to abate but Kashmiri sentiment was riveted to the crumbling edifice of Soviet Russia. The lessons of Palestinian Intifada were evident. In that background, I decided to perch myself on a houseboat and Dal lake, all by myself, and get a feel of the sentiments of the Valley. This write up is over two decades old and possibly clouded by the immediacy of the India of that day.

In 1992, Kashmir beckoned at the height of terrorism. Punjab had begun to abate but Kashmiri sentiment was riveted to the crumbling edifice of Soviet Russia. The lessons of Palestinian Intifada were evident. In that background, I decided to perch myself on a houseboat and Dal lake, all by myself, and get a feel of the sentiments of the Valley. This write up is over two decades old and possibly clouded by the immediacy of the India of that day.

— 1 month ago
Modern Royalty with a dash of military coups, dictators and a dash of cruelty while dishing out punishment. A write up from the 1990s in the Observer of Business and Politics

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Sunrise in Stockholm

Sunrise in Stockholm

— 5 months ago

ROSTOV ON DON, RUSSIA

— 5 months ago
Is Social Media Too Free?

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In an alternative world, if there was a broadcast media willing to broadcast every word, thought and mind fart of the world’s new cyber-somewhat-celebrities, there would be no social media. These “somewhat knowns” of the cyber world would constantly have a press pack relay up their audio, video, textual, sensory and other expressions and exudations.

The only possible difference in this alternate world would be that since their thoughts would be relayed through third parties with interpretation, conjecture and analysis, they would be that much more careful in what, how and who they choose to speak to. Indeed, they may well hire 24x7 PR agencies to help shape their every expression.

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— 5 months ago
Enchanted Circles & Fine Cuisine

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The other day in Sweden, I happened to be hosted by a kind friend in an unusual Club for dinner. On reflection, it seemed a good idea to list out the places that were unusual, possibly quaint, and qualified by a certain amount of exclusivity. Places where I lunched/dined or simply snacked that is a little out of the ordinary and, possibly, places where your wallet wasn’t enough of a passport.

The common thread, of course, is that I did not pay for any of these and owe my entry to indulgent hosts. And since these were fairly exclusive places, they did not encourage going wild with the camera, capturing the moment. Here are my top 5 from different places around the world, in no particular order.

1. To start with the Swedish rendezvous. SÄLLSKAPET, Arsenalsgaten, Stockholm. The instructions were: No sign or banner. Ring the bell and the porter will let you in. Dress code: jacket and tie, no jeans.The Arsenal road was tucked away in a quiet corner of Central Stockholm, a stone’s throw from the Grand Hotel. It was the essential “gentleman’s club”… a place where they “got away” from their “women”. Even today, the Club continues to be out of bounds for women for membership and even their presence is strictly regulated.

Here is the description: 
On December 1,1800, SÄLLSKAPET was founded in Stockholm, the Club’s “Rules and Regulations” were accepted, entered in the “Original Documents Book” and duly signed by the 91 founding members. SÄLLSKAPET could consequently celebrate its bicentennial in the year 2000.

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— 5 months ago
Istanbul: Summer of 2013

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Shah Rukh Khan! The cry follows one as the rare brown face with “Indian” etched all over it winds through the Grand Bazar and the shopkeepers seek to catch your eye and your wallet. Reminiscent of another day, another market in Cairo almost a decade ago when the cry was “Amitabh Bachchan!” But perhaps that was the extent of “India” in a country that seemed to have the flavour of Bengali jhal muri: A medley of flavours jostling in to deliver mouthfuls of tangy, zingy kick.

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Mixed metaphors aside, Istanbul provided the roving eye much to register as the burkha clad and fez wearing mingled effortlessly with the barely dressed tourist and Turk alike. The thin minarets of Istanbul’s many mosques stand out just as much as the flatter domes (as compared to India’s more buxom domes) in a mess of modern apartments and houses.

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— 6 months ago
AN ENGLISH SUMMER: JUNE OF 2010

image

Blue Skies are a rarity in London, blessed as it is with, as the Londoner said, with two kinds of weather: Rain and Cold. But here we were in London with the city served sunny side up. Weather is clearly top of mind for the people of the isles that form the UK. From the dressed up gladiator in the Roman Baths at Bath to the Scottish tour conductor, it was weather, and the good fortune of no rain, that occupied their thoughts. Not that a little bit of rain would have really been too off the plate for the family which had escaped the searing heat of Delhi at its peak summer.

Read more
— 6 months ago