Saturday, June 26, 2010

Two Minutes Older: Two Approaches to Bhopal

Just thinking about the Bhopal verdict makes me despair. If the worst industrial accident in the history of this country can be treated in such a cavalier manner, with every indication – going by the Nuclear Liability Bill – that lessons are wilfully not being learned, what can we hope for?

From the law and the institutions associated with it, the answer is: not much. I will resist the temptation to quote Dickens here. Instead, I will invoke Gandhi. In 1922, he was arrested for ‘attempting to excite disaffection’ against the British government on the basis of three articles he wrote in Young India. In his statement to the judge of the Bombay High Court, Gandhi pleaded guilty on all charges. “The only course open to you, the Judge, is […] either to resign your post, or inflict on me the severest penalty if you believe that the system and law you are assisting to administer are good for the people". He also said, "I hold it to be a virtue to be disaffected towards a Government which in its totality has done more harm to India than any previous system."

Many things have changed since 1922. For one thing, being a democracy, we can no longer openly acknowledge that the law serves, not justice, but those in power – as it always has done. It is capable of acting swiftly when it wants to – such as when it made it possible for Warren Anderson to leave the country. Equally, it is capable of a superb, deliberate bungling: after 26 years Bhopal is, in the eyes of the judiciary, the equivalent of a traffic accident.

If we believe that the central figures in this tragedy ought to be the people who died that night in December 1984, or those who suffered and still suffer severe health problems with no affordable healthcare in sight, or those who still drink the water contaminated from the chemicals that leached into the ground in subsequent decades, we are clearly wrong. What the people of Bhopal need is not justice but – according to the US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake – ‘closure’. Some newspaper editors clearly agree; an editorial in the Indian Express suggests that we build a memorial to the dead and then move on.

As extralegal activism goes, it’s hilarious. As a solution, it’s a pretty rotten one.


People frequently demand solutions. ‘What’s the solution?’ they ask, impatient for results! action! (even closure!) If something is wrong and someone is complaining, it is clearly not enough to talk it out and think it through. There must be a tangible outcome of all this bleeding-heart talk and thought – even if it’s only a memorial. After all, in the absence of outcomes, how is one to quiet the conscience, put it all behind and return to the alluring call of the daily grind?

There! I said the word: conscience. Real change requires that we examine our conscience – a Pandora’s Box out of which emerge words such as ethics and morality. These are words that have fallen into disuse, but the present is always a good time to polish and wield them again.

We have grown used to thinking most things are someone else’s responsibility; that, once we have paid our taxes, we have done our civic duty. To bring the conscience into public life is to acknowledge that our responsibilities are more far-reaching than we had supposed. It is not enough to want the law to do something; we have to do something ourselves, every time, both individually and collectively.

Action is not difficult: where Bhopal is concerned, there are many ways to help and can be found at But action is easy enough – there is always something to be done, in some way.

The really difficult thing about using one’s conscience is that it will not let one rest. There can be no talk of closure because one does not cease to be responsible. And this is precisely why it can be a more effective alternative to waiting and expecting the law to work. The law is not set in stone. It can change course. It’s our job to see that the course is not one of least resistance.

(An edited version of this in Zeitgeist, the Saturday edition of The New Indian Express.) 


Extra reading

In no particular order. These are things I was thinking about while writing this piece

1. Hari Batti'' Bhopal post (of which there are many, but I'm picking this one). 

2. Juan Cole, talking about oil, but there are things about responsibility in there. [H/T: JP]

3. Rajesh Kasturirangan on expanding the moral commons.

4. Ananya Vajpeyi's review of Mithi Mukherjee's India in the Shadows of Empire: A Legal and Political History 1774-1950.

5. From SACW, a letter to Obama.

6. Mitali Saran's excellent column from a week or more ago.


I have to confess a certain discomfort with my use of the word 'we', as if I knew exactly who I was speaking for. My own inaction doesn't translate into everyone else's, nor can I claim to speak for more than a small number of people.

I also realise that I am sticking my neck out considerably, writing the way I am. I consider this a risk worth taking, however. At any rate, it feels better than wittering on about mangoes.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

absence before and nothingness after

Nearly done with John Berger's From A to X.

Some guilty pleasure involved in enjoying it uncritically, and for the memorable phrases I have been copying into my notebook (there are many of these, enough to make up for the inevitable questions about narrative vagueness and naivete).

The most memorable letter is one that describes a flight A'ida and Xavier take. This one chapter could be the whole book: the sensory detail that brings the world into Xavier's cell; the memory of flight, so precious to one who cannot even see the sky except occasionally (there's a Hikmet poem one should quote here); the retelling of a shared past; the past as parable; the enormity and significance of small things; the importance of detail.

We feel A'ida's world in all its sensuous detail but we can only imagine Xavier's. What would a description of flight to do a man incarcerated?

"It's a sensation of growing, of growth. When someone is remembered and emerges from oblivion, maybe they feel like we did," A'ida says.

Maybe despair is a middle-class luxury. I don't know. But beyond the second section, I begin to tire of this emphasis on hope, of the large burdens small incidents are asked to bear. Berger begins to cross the fine line between immersion and wallowing and I'm not sure I like the transgression.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The (In)compleat Disconsolate

1: Aram Saroyan:

As one who once considered himself in the vanguard of writing as writing, it is difficult for me to describe my feelings when confronted by a new generation of writers who are dedicated not to an exploration of any particular literary dimension I can identify beyond a snotty tone of voice. I know this isn't something I ever had in mind.

Beyond that, there are a number of other identifiable trends, which I would characterize briefly as: 1) Poems that prove how smart I am; 2) Poems that prove what a master of rhetoric I am; 3) Poems that prove I am a dope addict; and 4) Poems that just generally prove how hard I am to understand in any way...

I am a writer because I desire to communicate with my fellow man and woman and child and writing is one avenue open to me to do this. As I experience more of life, my respect for it grows, and it is impossible for me to regard it, and anyone else in it, as the subject or object of any kind of literary exercise. It is an experience that is bigger and more profound that any telling turn of phrase or immaculate run-on sentence. It is quite simply real. Not brilliant, not arcane, not sarcastic - but alive, and in just being alive more meaning than we could ever hope to fathom. The most we could hope for, I believe, is an honest and sincere accounting of our experiences as members of this miracle of being alive in time.

-- ca. 1974

(via Don Share)


2:  Anis Shivani in HuffPo on the Best American Poetry:

What I'd like to focus on is the aesthetic that seems strewn all over this particular anthology: poetry as a mechanical art. Walter Benjamin talked about the lost aura of the work of art in an age of mechanical reproduction. What we have here is poetry that is so seeped in the mechanics of mechanical reproduction that it seems to be looking beyond its status as a work of art, and reaching toward something of populist gnosis. It is poetry as facsimile, poetry as self-imitation, poetry as garbage in, garbage out. If there's one impulse defining this grab-bag of remainders and leftovers, it's that poetry is a robotic enterprise turned in on itself, self-sufficiently generating new items from within its own production sphere. Poetry is presented as working best when it shows least reliance on looking outside itself to be shocked, surprised, horrified at what it finds. Everything in this anthology is self-contained, sealed off, hermetically profuse.


3: Robert Hass on Yu Jian and Xi Chuan and poetry in China:

Over the years I’d attended a few international literary gatherings at which Chinese poets had read their work. In those years, in the 1980s and 1990s, you did not, in the first place, know whether the poets you were hearing were the actual poets, given the People’s Republic’s tight control of its public culture, but you did know that, if they were the actual poets, they were nevertheless writing in some utterly opaque code. Poets from around the world—from Vietnam and the Netherlands and Brazil and Canada, quite different from one another, coming from quite distinct literary traditions—were part of the same conversation. They were trying to invent in language, trying to say what life was like for them, to bear witness to it, to find fresh ways of embodying the experiences of thinking and feeling and living among others. That was what I was suddenly hearing in Beijing—that familiar, exhilarating sound, not so much of poetry, but of the power of the project of poetry. It felt like something very alive and new was stirring in China.

4: Geoffrey Hill, recently anointed Oxford Professor of Poetry, in 'Triumph of Love' (extracts here):


Obnoxious means, far back within itself,   
easily wounded. But vulnerable, proud   
anger is, I find, a related self
of covetousness. I came late
to seeing that. Actually, I had to be
shown it. What I saw was rough, and still   
pains me. Perhaps it should pain me more.   
Pride is our crux: be angry, but not proud   
where that means vainglorious. Take Leopardi’s   
words or—to be accurate—BV’s English   
cast of them: when he found Tasso’s poor   
scratch of a memorial barely showing
among the cold slabs of defunct pomp. It   
seemed a sad and angry consolation.
So—Croker, MacSikker, O’Shem—I ask you:   
what are poems for? They are to console us
with their own gift, which is like perfect pitch.   
Let us commit that to our dust. What
ought a poem to be? Answer, a sad   
and angry consolation. What is   
the poem? What figures? Say,   
a sad and angry consolation. That’s   
beautiful. Once more? A sad and angry   

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Help! Shooting in video mode on the Nikon D90

Someone else had the same problem I am having:
Audio recorded in video mode on the D90 will be out of sync with the picture when played on a pc. Plays fine on the camera. Any ideas on how to create a video that can be shared on pcs with the video IN sync?

Anyone have any ideas/solutions?

Please help!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mani Rao reads from Ghostmasters

I heard Mani Rao read her poetry three years ago in Bangalore and have been wanting to hear her again ever since. She is one of the few poets I have heard who actually performs poetry (as against reading it off the page really well).

At Anindita's reading in Bangalore recently, the electricity went off in the middle of a poem. Later, during the conversation, I asked Anindita if she knew all her poems well enough to recite them instead of read them. She had a slightly hunted look in her eye - as I also might have done if someone had put the question to me - and said she didn't. I told her of the time Mani and Mukta Sambrani read, and remembered (or I might have manufactured that memory; it certainly feels real) that when Mani was reading, the electricity went off.

It didn't stop her. She went right on with the poem, and apart from a few seconds of consternation, the audience was rapt.

Later, in the car, Mani and Jeet both said they knew each one of their poems really well. Mani said she has often given impromptu performances to friends, if they asked to listen to a poem.

I was amazed. I still am. I frequently know different versions of my poems, and worry that I might stall in the reciting and make a mish-mash of it.

In Mani's case, it's eight books worth of poems.

So all this is a long preamble to invite you all to Mani's reading from her new book, Ghostmasters, tomorrow at 6.30pm at Akshara Marredpally.


Saturday, 19 June, 6.30pm
Akshara Bookstores, Marredpally, Secunderabad.

Do come and let folks know.

Poems from Ghostmasters can be found here. Portions of her translations of the Gita can be found here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Maoist, rebel, not-human-enough

From The Hindu. Photo by Samir Mandal, PTI.

Dead 'Maoists' clearly don't rate biers; it's enough to truss them up like animals.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

turning word into artefact

At first, we thought of a pottery workshop. Then a friend, who's been working with papier mache, suggested we make masks and get the kids to paint them. I wanted them to also mess around with the mache.

So that's what we did. One week before, we tore and soaked lots of newspaper. Every other day we tipped out the iron-coloured water. Ground, sieved, mixed with fevicol, and made masks. We decided on a couple of coats of primer, to give the kids a good canvas on which to work.

Here is both process and product:

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Other Blockade

Not Gaza, but the one that seems to slipping under everyone's radar.

Writing from Manipur, between power cuts, a guest post from Chitra Ahanthem.


Looking up “Economic Blockade”

Chitra Ahanthem

Living in Manipur has its moments of great discovery. For instance, Google “Economic blockade” and you will find some links on Cuba (one wonders how they work there) while the rest are all centered around Manipur. But what makes Manipur particularly linked to Economic blockades, one may ask. The answer lies in the topography and manner of inhabitancy of a small land locked state that depends on its two National Highways through which essential commodities like food supplies, medicine, fuel products (petrol, diesel, LPG) come in. The majority, Meiteis live in the plains while various other minority tribal groups live along the hilly regions through which highways pass. Every time the Highways are blocked, life not only gets affected but the economics of it play into the picture since several people depend on the traffic on the roads: drivers, transporters, bus passengers doing inter state and inter district travel. Every time there has been real and imaginary causes to block the highways, Manipur has had to shrug it off in casual acceptance and wait for the blockade to be lifted till the next one comes along.

The decision of the Manipur State Government to hold District Council elections led to the current blockade imposed by a tribal student group. Despite the imposition, goods vehicles trickled in till the point it came known that the leader of a Naga separatist movement wanted to visit his hometown in Manipur. Except that the said movement also calls for the inclusion of 4 hill districts of Manipur within its fold; except that this movement had led to a long history of blood shed against other minority tribal groups and that there were criminal charges against the gentleman; except that the leader wanted to have public meetings in all the areas of contention. The Central government instructed the State Government to provide security to this person and escort him. This, when the police of the State were looking for him. Can one imagine such travesty from the Central Government? But why not, if it is some small state on the periphery? And so, the blockade became a subtle political play: one community against the other. Trucks carrying goods got attacked and burnt and vehicle drivers and transporters refused to drive on the highways.

So, not only are commodities being over priced and in short supply, but you would consider yourself lucky if you managed to get through to someone using a mobile connection: with no diesel to operate the mobile towers, network connections often go for a toss. Electricity? Well, that is what we get on a constantly irregular basis: at most, 5 hours out of a 24 hour cycle and we consider ourselves fortunate that blockades do not mean more power cuts. Just last night, my son’s school authorities sent a notification that the school would be closed since the vehicles would have to stay in line to get their fuel ration. This is an improvement: before security forces brought in fuel supplies under heavy guard after escaping from stone pelting on the highways; schools had earlier been shut off totally since vehicle pick ups could no longer function. A courier service called me to say I should come to their office to collect a letter addressed to me: they had no petrol to deliver it. I was in Chennai for a week and bought packs of sanitary napkins for myself and my mother and do not find it amusing that a Guest speaker from Guwahtai, speaking at a public discourse in Imphal got packs of baby diapers for a friend.

There was a 52 day economic blockade on the highways in 2005, which was imposed by a Student Association that demanded for a separate Tribal University. The crisis then was the same: medicines and food stock in short supply, serpentine queues for petrol and diesel rations, LPG cylinders getting all costlier and lighter. But, thanks to “National” newspapers and TV channels that keeps the entire “North East region” total blanked out except for one paragraph news items hidden somewhere on page 28 and running tickers on the TV screens; not many people know how in the world it feels like to live with this oddity called “economic blockade”.

To be fair this time, it took only a month long blockade to make a news channel feature a panel discussion on prime time TV, called “Is Manipur part of India?” The moderator and also the Editor in Chief of the channel had to loudly put the point across and said, “when I was getting this discussion organized, my producer asked me ‘why a panel on Manipur?” He was rubbing it in.

A second news channel (the rival, of course) did another panel discussion on prime time on the eve of the blockade turning two months old and penciled in the Home Secretary. This time, the anchor whiled away time asking whether the Center had made a mistake on agreeing to letting in the said leader into Manipur. It was too little, too late: we wanted to know what was being done after the mistakes. However, print media continues with only sending back news of the region to the region while TV media does its breathless compositions of “life in the times of blockade”: focusing on the house wife who may soon have to cook on coal and fire-wood after the LPG cylinder that she paid Rs, 1,200/- finishes; the farmer who cannot till his fields (and through that story highlighting the possibility of rice produce in the state). The grim reality is that EVERONE in Manipur is affected and that not many people outside know that a State that had over 300 goods trucks coming in every day with various supplies for a near 25 lakh population is making do with bare essentials. Those who do know a bit prefer to comment on what happens at Gaza but happily blanks out their immediate brethren nearer home.

Water, electricity, roads and food: bare essentials for surviving but in Manipur, they may well be fermenting into larger frictions. Already, the people living in the valley are calling what is known as “counter blockades”: stopping essential items from reaching the hills. Certain groups along the inter state border of Assam and Nagaland have also imposed a counter blockade on Nagaland which they say will continue till the current one on Manipur is not taken off. And while we wait for people to wake up and the highways to open, private hospitals are on the verge of closing due to medicine and other essentials running out. A group of non resident Manipuris living across the country (and some, abroad) raised money to buy medicine stock which were to be distributed to people living in areas cut off by the counter blockade. Half of the medicine stocks still remain undistributed due to the scare of the medicines being stopped from reaching those intended for.

Yet, we also live with the weary resignation that the region is not on the radar of most people. Neither does it have Arundhati Roy writing in indignation for or against the blockade or with anything to do with the region. Perhaps, it is time we outsourced our angst to the brand ambassadors of civil rights. Anyone interested?

Chitra Ahanthem is a freelance writer based in Imphal, Manipur. She has been following issues around HIV/AIDS, conflict and gender in the region.

Update: The EPW's June 5 issue has an editorial on Manipur.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Two Minutes Older: How To Eat A Mango

If it’s summer, it must be mangoes. Personally, I can take them or leave them, but I know the fanatic devotion with which most people regard the fruit. So in tribute to them, and in celebration of the few times I do actually enjoy eating the fruit, here are some approaches to eating mangoes.

Take 1: My Grandfather’s Way of Peeling a Mango.

My grandfather was always the designated gate-keeper to mango eating in our family. An hour before lunch, he would select a few mangoes and settle down at the table with plate, bowl and a sharp fruit knife. He would begin at the wide end of the mango, and cut the skin in a single spiral right to the end. Until I tried it, I never realised how hard this is to actually pull off. It’s easy enough to begin, but much harder to sustain – what I often get is a pile of squiggles.

Once the skin was off, my grandfather would cut the pulp into pieces one inch square, leaving a generous portion on the stone. This was traditional, from the days when children got less then one full mango and fought bitterly over the kottai.

Take 2: My Little Rebellions

I deal with mangoes more or less in the same way my grandfather did, with two notable exceptions: unlike my grandfather, I don’t leave anything on the stone. If we’re doing the delicate thing and eating tiny, even-sized pieces out of bowls, there can be no place for stones. Stones are illicit (I will come to this presently).

The other thing I cannot bring myself to do is to taste the mango until it is ready to serve. My grandfather used to eat the odd sliver and give us breaking news updates about the relative merits of each mango, but I am more austere. There’s a rhythm to the whole process – a ritual element to the task – that I’d hate to interrupt. Besides, it feels like cheating.

Take 3: Rubbing in the Salt

Some mangoes should only be eaten raw. Ripe, they are bland and nauseating. Raw, and with a mixture of salt and red chilly powder, they’re mouth-watering. These mangoes must be cut in long strips, and then into teeth, so that there’s a larger surface area over which to distribute the salt-and-chilly.

Raw mangoes are thuggish things: even the ones that are meant to be eaten ripe taste better when they’ve been brought down by a gang of kids or plucked from trees in the middle of the afternoon, warmed and jounced in pockets as they’re spirited away elsewhere, and smashed with stones before being nibbled at.

Take 4: The Hands-on Approach

More people probably eat mangoes this way than one realises. Admittedly, there is no other way to eat juice mangoes such as rasaal or dussehri, but I know people who eat all mangoes this way.

What you do is, you take a mango and smell it thoroughly first. Then you bite. Allow the juice to drip down your chin. After the first bite, strip the skin away, making sure there’s nothing edible left on it. Then, once the pulp is done with, squish the stone in your fist until you’ve squeezed every last drop out of it. Gnaw at what’s left until your hands and plate are dry.

If it’s a juice mango, spend a minute or two squeezing the whole mango until the inside is all juice just held in by the skin. Then take a tiny nip out at the top, and drink. Don’t panic if the other end breaks and drips – you did want a mess, didn’t you?

In Luis Buñuel’s film, The Phantom of Liberty, people go into a small private room that looks very much like a bathroom to eat their meals. In that film, eating is not something you do or discuss in public. If you’ve ever watched someone else eat a mango the hands-on way, you probably secretly wish they’d just go into the bedroom and eat and not keep smelling their hands in a delirious trance afterwards.

I think someone should devise a personality test based on how one eats mangoes.

This appeared in today's Zeitgeist, in the New Indian Express.

1. I apologise for unaccountably leaving out the mehendi and the peacocks. But I managed to imply a sari, so that should make things ok. (Mangoes are cliche magnets. What can I say? In an ideal world, nobody would talk about them or eat them*).

* The exception is the himayat. If there is a mango worth eating it is that one. In fact, the only one.

2. No pictures, I'm afraid. Children read this blog, I'm told.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

China Miéville's Kraken

Kraken by China Miéville
Pan Macmillan, UK.
Price: £17.99. pp: 481.

The review appeared today in the Sunday edition of The New Indian Express.

Billy Harrow, curator at the Natural History Museum in London, takes a group of people on a routine tour, only to find the Museum’s star attraction, a perfectly preserved giant squid (Architeuthis dux) – all eight-and-a-half metres of it in its tank –missing. More intriguing than the question of how such a large creature could have been stolen unknown, is why anyone would want to spirit away a giant squid.

Kraken reads like the whodunit it also is: Harrow is plunged into a London he does not know – one peopled by end-of-the-world cults, magicians and squid-worshippers. A mysterious arm of the Metropolitan Police, the FSRC (Fundamentalist and Sect-related Crimes), comprising of Inspector Baron and WPC Kath Collingswood, try to co-opt Harrow into a hunt for the squidnappers; as do the people of the Church of God Kraken, whose most devout member, Dane – a guard at the Museum – is Harrow’s guide and companion on his mad journey through this other London. Along the way, Harrow and Dane try to recover the disappeared squid while side-stepping the villainous Goss and Subby – surely a nod to Gaiman’s Croup and Vandemar? – and their boss, the crime lord Tattoo (who is exactly what the word says). All this, while trying to save the world from ending.

Miéville’s eighth work of fiction could so easily have been a run-of-the-mill environmental Armageddon that draws neat lines between human action and their consequences. Instead, it chooses to tell a tale about a creature from the deepest depths of the ocean and a world that will shortly end for no comprehensible reason.

It’s a departure from Miéville’s usual style. Reading a Miéville book is often a performance of patience: his difficult, baroque style both tries and rewards it in the reader. With Kraken, the writing is more casual and accessible, but no less packed with ideas. If anything, Miéville is prodigal with them, as if to say that the imagination, unlike other natural resources, can be mined in perpetuity and still be productive.

Running through the book is an argument that Miéville seems to be having with himself and his readers about metaphor and literality in science fiction and fantasy. Miéville has long held that in his writing the weird elements of the story are not just metaphoric but also literal, and that the realness of his creatures in the narrative should be accorded the respect they deserve. It’s an argument that forms the backbone of Kraken: does the squid-as-god represent something other than what it is? And what does metaphor have to do with faith – that other abstraction found in abundance in Kraken?

This semiotic tension between what something is and what it means is about the act of writing itself, and the world it conjures temporarily. At one point in the book, Harrow says as much, though about something completely different: “This has always been about writing,” he says, and it is something Miéville could be saying directly to the reader.

Perhaps no other kind of writing in recent times – barring only poetry – has had to bear the burden of what it really means more than science fiction and fantasy. Possibly as an antidote against this expectation of weighty meaningfulness, Kraken is often very funny and playful. Miéville’s register spans throwaway puns and offhand characterisations that are hilarious and sharp. There is a constant, mordant wit at play that suits the apocalyptic events in the book.

In exchange, Miéville sacrifices variety in his dialogues, so that everybody sounds alike when they speak (with the possible exception of the assassin Goss). One could argue that he more than makes up for it with the inventiveness of his plot and the ideas and characters that populate the book– one of the most memorable being the spirit of a radicalised Egyptian servant, Wati, who has escaped through the millennia into present-day London and who has unionised all the magical assistants and is leading them in a strike.

Kraken is also full of affectionate literary and pop cultural references that anybody – but most especially those born in the seventies and eighties – should thoroughly enjoy.


Like Aishwarya, I thought that though the book was very enjoyable, it is probably not Miéville's very best work*.

My main dissatisfaction (apart from thinking that everyone spoke the way Miéville might have written a fun-to-read take down of seasteading, or the film version of The Road) is with Dane: I thought he was a wonderful, wonderful character (whom Aishwarya thought reminded her of looked like Miéville himself - ha!) but one who was owed too much by too many people with too little explanation.

How does he know his way around the other London so well? Why are so many people willing to do him favours? When Wati can get an entire chapter to himself, why can't we get a couple of paragraphs in explanation? Dane was a soldier, we're told. That explains precisely nothing.

Anyway. Flawed though it is, it is still a fun book with plenty to remember and think about.

*Expectations certainly have a lot to do with disappointment; one wants a good author to at least match his best work without replicating its style or strategies. On the other hand, one also wants to see an author try new things even if they fail somewhat.

My interview with China last month here.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Ten (It's not about you, it's about me)

Yes, flood of posts, apologies. 

The kid turned ten yesterday*. 

Ten years since the last ultrasound, where - though no one was allowed to say a word - an unpractised tech and sharp eyes told me it was going to be a boy. Ten years since the most major surgery I've ever had. Ten years since I was scared out of my wits holding a tiny bawling, jaundiced creature with an unsteady head.

And all the events in between. I feel most feline.


*No birthday party. That will happen later, once school begins. It's going to be a papier mache party - the kids will mess around with pulped paper, making masks and things and painting them.

"Lost bet"

So that's what it was: a bet.

Via zunguzungu, whose earlier post on Atwood and Ghosh is a must-read.

Top Kill or Bottom Nuke?

Since the top-kill (a phrase that needs a post all to itself) has failed, BP now wants to nuke the well. 


Of course the US disagrees. Spills need to be in other backyards before bad ideas begin to look like good ones. (Though, of course, one hopes no one considers it an 'option' in Nigeria or elsewhere.)

Maybe they should consider the worst case scenario.