• The only thing about our independence I know is the struggle for it. Since I was born much after the Chinese occupation of Tibet, to be a citizen of an independent country is a feeling I'm not very familiar with.

    When we were younger, the small Tibetan community evoked patriotism by watching street plays that illustrated the hardships our fathers and their fathers suffered, crossing the Himalayas barefoot and fleeing the Chinese brutality. So to me, Independence equaled suffering, violence, deprivation. Worse still, it made us "identity-less", gave us the tags of exiles.

    During teenage years, my idea of Independence Day was the function at school, before classes — the day we dressed in our (or borrowed) Indian best. It was a day when we acknowledged the importance of the maintenance staff in our lives- in a residential school. Instead of the Principal, the Indian flag was always hoisted by a watchman, a cook or a sweeper.

    In my early twenties, Independence Day was just

    Read More »from Chasing Independence


  • If you head to your local grocery store or a roadside fruit vendor, chances are you'll spot the ubiquitous 'Shimla Apple'.  A bite into the juicy, crunchy fruit transports you to the hills of Himachal where hundreds of farmers are busy harvesting the Delicious variety of the apple this season. The apple may seem synonymous to the hill state, but things weren't always like this. Around a hundred years ago, the only apples produced in the hills surrounding Shimla were the sour British variety which struggled for popularity and kept farmers of the area in the depths of poverty.

    In 1916, a man by the name of Samuel Evans Stokes Jr brought to present-day Himachal, a new strain of apples developed by the Stark brothers of Louisiana. Stokes distributed the apple seeds to farmers and helped them plant and nurture them. Orchards soon sprung up all over the area and it is these 'Delicious' apples that went on to transform the economy and much of the landscape of Himachal Pradesh.

    Not many people

    Read More »from An American in Khadi
  • At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom — Jawaharlal Nehru on 14 August 1947

    Cut to 63 years after freedom and we wake up to an India that our martyrs never dreamed of. Today, India has become a land of more wrongs than rights as our nation is symbolised by abject poverty, corruption, a huge population and lack of transparent governance, to name a few ills.

    India is free; so are we, but have we really valued the freedom that has been granted to us by martyrs who fought valiantly so that we could be born free? Do we think it's a part of our legacy that has been passed on to us through the years?

    Freedom is not about being free, it is a great responsibility. Freedom does not give us the right to misuse our rights, but it gives us the power to make better choices. This Independence Day, let us stay away from the usual festivities and pledge to free ourselves from the ills that exist in our society to build a better India.

    Read More »from Six Deadly Sins That Plague India
  • August 15th, 2010. India will be celebrating its 64th Independence Day. The radio will be blaring 'Aye mere watan ke logon'. TV channels will alternate between 'Roja', 'Rang de Basanti', 'Border' and 'Lakshya'. Schools across the country will compel their students to shed Sunday morning sleepiness and partake in flag-hoisting ceremonies. Milestones will be recounted, leaders glorified and saffron, white and green will dominate the landscape . Indians across the country will wear patriotism on their sleeve.

    But I've been wondering what are we actually celebrating? Are we rejoicing over how corrupt officials choose heftier bank balances over national pride? Or maybe we're happy about how our elected representatives decide to put the country's security at risk to further their own agendas.

    Let's sample a few headlines from this past week to determine whether 'tis the season to be jolly:

    The two biggest sports stories of the year haven't been those of individual excellence or

    Read More »from What On Earth Are We Celebrating?
  • India’s Signature Dish? Masala Dosa!

    What is made with ground rice and white split lentils batter, circular or oval in shape, golden brown on the outside, fluffy white on the inside, roasted to perfection on a griddle, with its inner white walls coated with a liberal dollop of garlic-red chilli chutney before a cup of boiled potatoes fried with sliced onions and slit green chillies is ladled onto the middle, then folded over into a perfect arc, a small tor on a plate or a nonchalant shape and served with a spoonful of butter on top and a cup of fragrant coconut chutney tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves?

    Potato-filled South Indian crepes, as Epicurious labels it in its "Around the world in 80 dishes".

    We'll stick to the time-tested, easily rolled-off-the-tongue, pentasyllabic 'Masala Dosa' that doesn't need accentuation in the form of  carets or tildes, what say?

    This could be seen as a proud moment for South Indians who've long had to deal with well-meaning countrymen from north of the Hebbal

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  • Becks ‘A Little Too Old’?

    I hope David will be OK to come and play his last game at Wembley in the next friendly game to come and wave bye-bye to the crowd — Fabio Capello

    England has decided to bid farewell to its super-servant David Beckham. A veteran of three World Cups for England and remarkable stints with Manchester United, Real Madrid, AC Milan and LA Galaxy — David will surely be missed who just loves the game. Such is his passion in the white shirt that Beckham never complained being amongst the substitutes under Capello. He missed out on a fourth World Cup after injuring himself in March.

    I've always said I won't retire from playing for my country. If I never get picked again or whether I get picked again for one more game or 10 more games I'll be available, said a modest David Beckham before the 'probably a bit too old' news.

    David made his national debut during a World Cup qualifying match against Moldova in 1996 and since then has been the mainstay to England's plans. With 115 caps, the

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  • How to Quit A Job With Style

    Have you heard of the HPOA girl?

    A day after Steven Slater, a disgruntled flight attendant with Jet Blue airlines in the US, abused an uncooperative passenger with some choice slurs and slid down the emergency chute, and managed to bid his job goodbye, came the story of the girl with her resignation in big letters on a dry board. Jenny, the girl, supposedly sent out an email to all her colleagues with 33 pictures attached, each showing her holding up a whiteboard with a message on it. In the 33 pics, the young lady "called out" her boss on harassment and sexist remarks and quit her job.

    Take a look at the pictures.

    It's now been revealed that this was a hoax and the girl in question is an actress from LA whose name isn't, in fact, Jenny.

    Details about the Slater incident — what prompted him to act the way he did.

    Do you think Slater and Jenny will inspire a new flamboyant trend in resignations?

    Read More »from How to Quit A Job With Style
  • Maruti Swift, probably the hottest car in India, has been facing tough competition this year in the Indian market. Since the 2010 Auto Expo in January, the small car segment has witnessed a phenomenal growth with international players like Nissan, Ford, Chevrolet and Volkswagen entering the fray.

    Now, Toyota is also set to enter the mass market with its super hatchback, Etios, along with its sedan variant. However, Toyota has not revealed yet which edition would go on sale first in the Indian market. Compounding Maruti's woes, Toyota-Kirloskar MD Hiroshi Nakagawa announced that the main competition for Etios would be Swift and Swift Dzire in both hatchback and sedan segment, respectively.

    Toyota is already one of the most loved and admired brands worldwide as well as in India and Etios is sure to generate many more happy customers, thus making Toyota a major player in the country.

    Toyota Etios has been developed on a new platform and has a completely new engine which is not present in

    Read More »from Toyota Etios to Lock Horns with Maruti Swift
  • Does the name Nek Chand ring a bell? Well if you've been to India's own 'The City Beautiful' — Chandigarh, chances are you've had a glimpse of Nek Chand Saini's legacy.  The once upon a time road inspector for the Public Works Department decided at some point in the 1960′s to build a garden on a patch of forest land near the famous Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh.

    Nekchand began by using rocks and stones to build his garden on the clearing of forest land. He then expanded by using materials from demolition sites around the city. His job as a road inspector aided his endeavour. The only problem was that what Nek Chand was doing was illegal — the area he was using was a land conservancy which nothing was allowed to be built on . The garden soon became Nek Chand's passion and he spent his nights working on it in secrecy for fear of being discovered by authorities.

    By the time authorities uncovered the garden in 1975, it was a 12-acre complex of interlinked courtyards with hundreds

    Read More »from The Man Who Put Waste to Use
  • In the wake of a soaring competition in the small car segment and a nose-diving market share, India's largest carmaker Maruti has launched a more powerful version of its largest selling model Alto. The new Alto K-10 is powered by a bigger 1-litre (998 CC) K series engine that also powers the Estilo, A-Star and Wagon R.

    Maruti's move will bring cheer to those customers who thought the largest selling five-seater car was underpowered. Currently, the Alto's top-end Lxi model contributes to 70 per cent of sales and competes with the Rs 2.7-lakh Hyundai Santro standard and the Chevy Spark that costs Rs 3.23 lakh. The new Alto is claimed to return 20.2 kmpl and can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 13.3 seconds.

    Maruti has refurbished the suspension and braking system to cope with the enhanced motor. Moreover, it's is longer by 125mm to accommodate the bigger K-series engine. It has a new aggressive front, with a differently styled combination of dynamic hood, bold eagle-eye headlamps

    Read More »from Super Seller Alto Gets a Facelift

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