back from gray

it was not really black, i have to say. otherwise, instead of the unimportant post that i am writing right now, i’d have published something different. however, gray, it was only gray and only because i didn’t have much time. nothing more. but, since a couple of friends – actually exactly two, just enough to use the plural – have asked me what was going on and why i was not posting anything in the last weeks, here i am, with my latest updates from india.

what has happened while i was grayed out of the blogosphere? a couple of nice things that i like to share with you now:

  1. february 14th, 2009. valentine’s day in india can be an opportunity for political debate (let’s call it like that). a few days before valentine’s days, sri ram sena, a fundamentalist hindu group, has announced that they would have patrolled the streets of bangalore looking for couples of lovers. boys and girls found together in the streets would be forced to get married: “If we come across couples being together in public and expressing their love, we will take them to the nearest temple and conduct their marriage”. i was not in bangalore on valentine’s day, but apparently the result has been that a number of young couples who did not receive authorization from their families for their affair have been intentionally wondering around in the city in search of sena’s activistis in order to get married!
  2. february 14th, 2009. again on valentine’s day. i received this by email from some unknown person. most likely it is only spam, but i found this interesting in a moment when india is claiming paternity of anything, from the invention of numbers to invention of radio. it seems, according to this email, that india has also invented valentine’s day. for what this is worth, that’s the story:
  3. In spite of what you have been told by everyone, the truth is that Valentine’s Day originated hundreds of years ago, in India, and to top it all, in the state of Gujarat.  It is a well known fact that Gujarati men, specially the Patels, continually mistreat and disrespect their wives (Patelianis). One fine day, it happened to be the 14th day of February, one brave Patelani, having had enough “torture” by her husband, finally chose to rebel by beating him up with a Velan (rolling pin to make chapattis). Yes, the same Velan which she used daily, to make chapattis for him. Only this time, instead of the dough, it was the husband who was flattened. This was a momentous occasion for all Gujarati women and a revolt soon spread, like wild fire, with thousands of housewives beating up their husbands with the Velan. There was an outburst of moaning “chapatti-ed” husbands all over Anand and Amdavad. The Patel men-folk quickly learnt their lesson and started to behave more respectfully with their Patelanis.

    Thereafter, on 14th February every year, the womenfolk of Gujarat would beat up their husbands, to commemorate that eventful day – the wives having the satisfaction of beating up their husbands with the Velan and the men having the supreme joy of submitting to the will of the women they loved. Soon The Gujju men realized that in order to avoid this ordeal they need to present gifts to their wives: they brought flowers and sweets. This is how the tradition – Velan time – began. As Gujarat fell under the influence of Western culture, the ritual soon spread to Britain and many other Western countries, specifically, the catch words ‘Velan time’ ! In course of time, their foreign tongues, this got anglicized to ‘Velantime’ and then to ‘Valentine’. And thereafter, 14th of February, came to be known as Valentine’s Day and now you know the true story of Valentine’s day.

  4. February 16th, 2009. India announces the plan to launch an incredibly cheap computer for the masses: the 10 dollars PC! the world remains with no words and everybody asks how that would be possible. nobody asks if that would be useful. like for the project OLPC (one laptop per child), i am totally convinced that this initiatives can bring only harm for the people they claim to be able to help(*). however, before any evaluation is even started it becomes clear that that’s all just a big misunderstanding: india wants to distribute low costs hard disks, not pc. well, better than nothing ;-)
  5. February 28th, 2009. Well, that’s a little personal story. On a sunday afternoon, while coming back from the beach, I took an autorickshaw from Auriville to Pondy. That’s about 10 km. it happened that the driver met a friend, another rickshaw driver, just after we entered his auto. he decided to help his friend and he pushed him with his foot for 10 Km of highly trafficked road! that’s the incredible video (you can skip the first minute)

well, i think that’ all i had to say for the prevous weeks.

(*) trying to solve the problem of access to education and knowledge distributing computers is like pretending to solve the problem of hunger distributing forks.