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The Better India


written by Dhimant Parekh on Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Moving to a new place

This blog has now moved to a swanky new place: www.dhimantparekh.com

RSS Feeds will most probably continue to operate, so you don't need to make any change in your reader settings. However, just in case, I would suggest you visit the new blog and update your reader with the new RSS URL.
E-mail alerts would cease to operate, so head over to the new place and sign up (once again) for e-mail alerts.

And please feel free to leave your comments on the new blog. Enjoy.

written by Dhimant Parekh on Monday, February 02, 2009

War on Want

On Sunday, I was invited by a volunteer to visit the premises of a school which is crumbling in terms of infrastructure. The school is Deena Seva Sangha, located close to the old Kino theater.

We first entered a small room termed as 'hostel'. It was a dark room, perhaps 20 feet by 7 feet wide. Aluminium chests were stacked wall high in one corner. Various pants and shirts hung on top of one makeshift wooden wall which served as a provider of privacy.

Going ahead, we were taken to the main hall that served as the dining and sleeping area for the 65 students who study and live here. Then we were shown the store room, where the food rations are kept. The school sends its students to the city market once a week to get vegetables, which are given free to them by some generous and charitable vendors.

Moving on to the school building, which lay adjacent to this 'hostel', we were shown a pipe jutting out of the wall, gaping with its outlet wide open. In the past, the volunteers have put a tap on it to facilitate drinking of water, but every time they have done that, someone has stolen the tap overnight. A measly 10 rupees for us, but perhaps a meal for someone else. I then entered the building, which is two storeyed. Walking through the corridors, I see the empty classrooms with wooden benches strewn around. I reach the last classroom and look at the blackboard. Someone has scribbled the famous four letter 'f' word on the board, in cursive handwriting.

I move back towards the entrance and by now one of the volunteers has managed to get the door to the library opened. I enter the library and find that it is being used more as a junk yard, with all sorts of things lying around. There are broken tubelights jutting out of brown dusty cardboard boxes, a broken abacus lying in the middle of the room. In one corner, is a small two door cupboard that has the much sought-after books (much sought after by the visitors, since this was a libary after all). The books are few and most are torn. I then get out of the building and look at a smaller building in front of me. This one has the words 'War on Want, UK' engraved on top of it. "Why would someone provide war when you want it", I wondered to myself. It took me a few more moments before realizing that the word "want" was used as a noun, not as a verb. Which meant that the word "want" here referred to the property of being in need of something. A little google-ing later gave me the website of this organization - War on Want. We then get out of the building and there is a tea session held by the volunteers. Their aim? To showcase the state of the school and garner some funds.

If you would like to visit the school or donate, contact these folks: Yuva Bengaluru

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written by Dhimant Parekh on Thursday, January 29, 2009

Another Slumdog Article

Keeping in spirit with the previous post, check this article out by Ashish Chadha in the Hindustan Times:
Dharavi's real slumdog stories

Very well written, I would add.

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Slumdog Millionaire

Couldn't stay from that title for a blog post for too long now, could we?

Do watch the movie, well worth your time. There are enough reviews on the internet world about this movie, so I shall not be wasting your time here.
Instead, once you have seen the movie, I would like you to read this article by Mandakini Gahlot in the Indian Express:
On R-Day eve, city ‘Slumdogs’ see Millionaire, dream to break free

Sanjay, a 25 year old who led a life from the slums to now working at an NGO, talks about these slum kids:
“Why do you think they wear dirty clothes and look unwashed?” he asked. “They can afford to wash themselves and their clothes but if they look too clean, the cops will harass them.”

Link courtesy: Mrs. Dhi Only One

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written by Dhimant Parekh on Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ISB Moves up in Global B-School Rankings

A year ago, I had written about ISB (Indian School of Business) having made it to the number 20 spot in the Financial Times ranking of best global business schools.
This year, ISB has done even better. It was ranked at #15 by Financial Times, London. Click here to check out the ratings.

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written by Dhimant Parekh on Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rediff's (in)Famous Message Board

If you are a regular reader of Rediff's articles, I am sure you are aware of how much fun the message boards of those articles are.
Sidin Vadukut takes a dig at those messages/comments in this article written at, surprisingly enough, Rediff:
A gem from the article:
Recently Raja Sen reviewed the Priyadarshan flick Bhool Bhulaiya and gave it a One-Star rating. This was not well accepted by the public who demanded an apology from him and said that he was, and I quote, "Stupid idiot".
Over 900 messages were left after Mr Sen's review, and this bodes well for Rediff's stock valuations.
Of course eager participation can lead to problems. Let me illustrate.
Recent headline: UN seat for India looking shaky.
Commenter one: UN sucks
Commenter two: Kaun hai is UN ka in charge?
Commenter one: Ban Ki Moon
Commenter two: SAALE! BAS MAIN NE EK SAAWAL POOCHA AUR TU BAN KO GAALI DETE HAIN! SAALA BAN KE !@@#$$
Commenter one: TERA !!@## ka !!@@#
Commenter three: Click here for hot bollywood videos
Commenter two: Thanks for the link.
Read the entire article here. Link courtesy: Faiq G, who incidentally, has written the first comment on the article. 
Ironically, this particular article on Rediff has not (yet) got a single nonsensical comment!

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Masala Chai

Masala Chai is a visual arts blog that features South Asian art and design. I found some of the designs shown really wonderful and you must check them out.
Some of what I liked:
The second photo in this post (the paper boats one)
The blog has also some wonderful furniture and living space concepts. 
Click here to check out Masala Chai.
Link courtesy (via gtalk): DannyCG, who is a wonderful photographer.

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written by Dhimant Parekh on Friday, January 16, 2009

And the joke continues

MNS is at it again
Many comments on that article are asking the same question - Where was the Shiv Sena when Mumbai was attacked?
Link obtained from Death Ends Fun

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Stop Coding, Start Marketing

Some useful advice from Steve Barsh to entrepreneurs and start-ups:
Link obtained from facebook status of Mukund Mohan

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written by Dhimant Parekh on Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Voice from the Grave

Lasantha Wickrematunge, the editor of Sri Lanka's Sunday Leader, was assassinated on Jan 8th this year. He wrote an editorial piece about his impending murder, which he believed could happen any time. He had the option to walk out but he chose to stand for his principles.
Click here to read his last editorial, which was published 3 days after his murder.
Excerpts:
No other profession calls on its practitioners to lay down their lives for their art save the armed forces - and, in Sri Lanka, journalism. In the course of the last few years, the independent media have increasingly come under attack. Electronic and print institutions have been burned, bombed, sealed and coerced. Countless journalists have been harassed, threatened and killed. It has been my honour to belong to all those categories, and now especially the last.
Many people and friends asked him to move away from the field of journalism in Sri Lanka and move to safer places. Yet, he did not bow. He stood up for what he believed in. In the article, he explains why.
Read the complete editorial which turned out to be his last editorial, unfortunately. Link courtesy: Karthik J via e-mail.

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