September 2016


I am my own Hero

By Somali K Chakrabarti Image Source   ‘No means No,’ the message has been conveyed sharply and clearly in the movie ‘Pink’. Thankfully this time it has caught the fancy of viewers. The theme of gender and consent has often remained ambiguous or has been construed differently by different people, though lately we see that the message is being sent out and reinforced through plays, street art, and movies. The above picture is of a mural at a Railway station in Chennai on the theme of Gender and Consent. Here’s is a poem based on it.   She emerges from a jasmine sea the lovely, lissome Padmini and captivates the spunky Shivaji; — they are the golden pair of Tamil cinema of the yesteryear She is dressed in vines and petals He, in the dazzling warrior gear, Perceiving a petite maiden, he moves ahead to save the damsel in distress Into his strong arms, he must, must sweep her away… With a gentle gesture of hand, she shoves him and there she stays Looking at him in his eyes, she gives an assuring smile ‘I am my own hero,’ Ms Padmini says. © Somali K Chakrabarti, 2016      If you believe that any picture on the site infringes…

Mixed Bag

‘Making Friends with the Crocodile’ by Mick Canning

By Somali K Chakrabarti   Prejudices, biases and gender inequalities have always existed in our society, and from time to time these come to the fore front. But, when such points are raised by foreigners, there is always a risk that the writer may succumb to temptation of stereotypical or caricaturish portrayal of the characters or the culture of a country. Making Friends with the Crocodile, written by Mick Canning is a book that highlights gender inequalities prevailing in a North Indian village. Steering clear of stereotypes, the book depicts lives of people in a normal village family, and the conditions that not only dissuade a woman from reporting an assault, but also subjugate her further by holding her responsible for it. Making friends with Crocodiles is available on Amazon.  Here’s a bit about the author. Mick Canning is an Englishman, who has traveled extensively in North India, Nepal and the Middle East. Mick finely captures the essence of these places in words and in pictures in his blog that goes by his name. I have always enjoyed reading his posts on Bodhgaya, Varanasi, Sarnath, and Punjab. While I had been intending to read his book since quite some time, I managed to do so…


Camel Bus – Social Innovation for desert transportation

By Somali K Chakrabarti   “Innovation opens up new vistas of knowledge and new dimensions to our imagination to make everyday life more meaningful and richer in depth and content.” ~ Dr APJ Abdul Kalam While most people know about camel rides in the deserts of Rajasthan, not many would have heard about a bus that it is driven by a camel. The idea of the camel driven bus was conceived by a school teacher late Radhey Shyam Mishra , as a means of safely transporting students to and from school through the desert.  His friend, Mewaram Jangid, who was a skilled carpenter developed the bus in 1972, which provided an affordable solution for mass transportation in rural desert areas. Seven such buses are still used to transport over 400 students to Bhanwarlal Kala Bal Mandir School in Churu, Rajasthan. According to the school principal, the school has developed a distinct identity because of the Camel bus and other schools in the area have also followed suit. Buses currently used by the school are still based on the same design. The Camel Bus is a simple, affordable, and efficient local solution social innovation developed by creative individuals for solving a local problem. The…

Mixed Bag

Mathematics and Poetry – What’s the connection?

By Somali K Chakrabarti   “The mathematician destroyed all the poetry of the rainbow by reducing it to its prismatic colours.” is how Newton was once referred to by noted poets of his time. Poet William Blake had once said, “God is not a Mathematical Diagram“. But a flower surely is! Mathematics defines the shape of spirals and curves of sea shells, sunflower heads, wherein poetry describes their beauty.

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