• In the past couple of years, the Indian car industry introduced us to a series of new segments. Needless to say, the sub-4 metre segment emerged the most popular, thanks to the tax benefit it enjoys. But the carmakers’ desperate attempt to cash in on the lower tax rate left us with a handful of mediocre designs that were merely squeezed up variants of existing models. Finally, we have in the market a well-thought-out, a well-sculpted sub-4 metre sedan -- the Honda Amaze.

    And that’s not all. With a 1.5L i-DTEC engine that’s exclusively developed for India, the Amaze marks Honda’s entry into the diesel segment. That fact itself makes the Amaze recognisable in the already crowded diesel segment, but has the Japanese carmaker got everything right with the Amaze to win the lost market share back? Let’s drive the Amaze to find out.


    If you thought the Amaze is just the Brio with a boot slapped onto it, hey, you were wrong. Although the front half of the car is identical to the

    Read More »from Road Test and Review: Honda Amaze
  • The Indian government has come up with an interesting proposition to form a new state ‘Baniya Pradesh’ for the ever-increasing number of banned people and groups in the country.

    Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde made the stunning revelation in a press conference. “In the view of growing number of people getting banned in the country, the Indian government is mulling to form a separate state to maintain decorum in the country,” he said. “We have decided to send such a prohibited population to this new state, which, if formed, would be known as ‘Baniya Pradesh’. Let these banned men and women exercise their Freedom of Expression here, thereby ensuring peace and order in the rest of India.”

    The Home Minister admitted that the Indian government has been meek in acting against the morale police in the country who have been announcing bans left, right and centre. “However, with such a new state formed to represent banned people, we can ensure that there is peace and order in the rest of

    Read More »from Indian government to form ‘Baniya Pradesh’ state for banned people
  • There’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news is that there is no diesel and will not be for the foreseeable future.  The good news is, CR-V is now being assembled in India and prices have gone down by a whopping 2.7 lakh rupees. Well, that’s incentive enough to show some love for a petrol SUV, so let’s find out if the new price and features make it a good bargain; also how far the fourth generation CR-V has departed from the model it replaces.


    While the new CR-V’s structural design stays true to its roots, it flaunts a more sculpted body. Major changes are up front – the old-fashioned grille has made way for a more contemporary one. The three-bar grille flanked by swept-back HID headlamps lends the car a younger and distinct stance. Changes in profile are subtle, although the large ten-spoke alloy wheels and bold fender flares create a rugged presence.The vertical tail lamps, which have been a design fixture of the CR-V for many years, get a more three dimensional

    Read More »from First Drive Review: The New Honda CR-V
  • Devi Valentine

    It was the day after Saraswati Puja. One January morning in the late 1970’s, a new-born was brought home from the nursing home. The family was getting ready to take the idol out for immersion. And the baby was me. I was just on time to see the Goddess of Knowledge depart from the household. It was a telling omen. I got plenty of chances to chase the illusion of wisdom later in life, and I guess am still on the trail.

    The fifth day of the month of Magh by the old lunar calendar is celebrated in India as Vasant Panchami, marking the arrival of spring. On this day, Goddess Saraswati is venerated and girls deck up in Basanti or yellow saris. Yellow is supposed to be the color of spring, energy and regeneration. Saraswati herself wears white, as a symbol of purity. She is beautiful and severe, and as a child, I always wondered why she rides a swan. In my limited imagination, these birds were the large ungainly creatures waddling around a nearby swimming pool, honking tunelessly, and nibbling

    Read More »from Devi Valentine
  • Read Only Memory

    The tyrannosaurus rex stood at the most chaotic crossroad of the city. A rail bridge and a fly-over were getting built. The traffic circle had been dug up and a new subway constructed. Pipes, wires, steel and concrete structures dwarfed him. He was an old and dusty dinosaur with a hind toenail missing after collision with a drunk driver. What hurt most was being overlooked and ignored by children who used to start crying as soon as they spotted him.

    He has been stationed in front of Science City since 1997. Too new to be a relic and too old to be swanky, he doesn’t have anywhere to go.

    Let me take you on a little trip through Kolkata. I could do the same in Pune and Mumbai, and an older part of ‘New’ Delhi. One associates certain things or people with certain places. What if these identifiers disappear, creating gaps between memory and reality, like roads where enormous potholes surface after the very first rain? I am not talking about “important” structures like the Taj Mahal, Victoria

    Read More »from Read Only Memory
  • The Calcutta Complex

    How old is Kolkata?

    The answers are so many that we have to list it:

    • Just 11 years. In 2001, Calcutta was renamed Kolkata.
    • The spelling of ‘Calcutta’ was coined by Job Charnock in 1690, so it’s roughly 322 years old.
    • The three-village conglomerate (Kolikata, Sutanuti, Gobindopur), have been around for centuries. Abul Fazal refers to Saptagram (a bigger village group) back in 1596 in the Ain-i-Akbari.
    • The Portuguese passed through this region often while trading/raiding Bengal 1530 onwards.
    • Manasamangal, the epic on the snake goddess Manasa composed around 1484, mentions Kalighat, the Kali temple in Kolkata.
    • About 35 km from Kolkata, lie the ruins of Chandraketugarh, with relics from 400 to 100 BC. This fort, now an archaeological site, was part of what Greek historians like Megasthenes, Plutarch and Siculus describe as Gangaridai, the land through which flows the Ganga, inhabited by the Gangaridae people. It seemed a King was around in 300 BC, and he was powerful (and prosperous)
    Read More »from The Calcutta Complex
  • Profile View

    Do you think all men with neatly combed hair and striped shirt are respectable? Do you feel any woman in a 12 yard sari is religious? We all have some preconceived notions on gender, race, culture, relationships and the world in general. Nothing can change this set of deeply ingrained ideas except a direct experience of life where convenient generalizations don’t work.

    A friend of mine believes in same-sex relations. When he declared he was gay, his childhood friends were surprisingly at ease. There was no ‘shock effect’ to his announcement. As an activist, he has tried to create awareness and an acceptance of the fact that India always had space for multiple gender orientations. Professionally a history teacher, he has been able to provide precedents from ancient myths, texts and historical records.

    In one of our early conversations in Delhi, I had pointed out that I don’t comprehend his notions of sexuality since mine would be so very different. But I do agree there’s nothing

    Read More »from Profile View
  • Code Like a Woman

    If I wasn’t in a hurry, I could’ve walked the distance in 15 minutes. The auto rickshaw guy wanted Rs 80 for it. I bargained it down to Rs 50. On reaching, the driver started cribbing again, and of course, he didn’t have change for a hundred rupee note. I counted out the coins, paid him Rs 50, and had the pleasure of hearing him mutter obscenities under his breath as he drove away in a huff. He was certain I didn’t understand his language. But I did understand a smattering of it, enough to follow what he was saying. So that was Day 1 @Bangalore. A well-laid city with lovely weather, good food, lots of friendly people and some folk who try to take advantage of every situation on the basis of their practiced lingua. Applies to people from both the northern and southern parts of the country living in the ‘Garden City’. It’s all about quick money, and has nothing to do with where one comes from.

    A strange brand of opportunistic conservatism is fostered in an atmosphere like this. Landlords

    Read More »from Code Like a Woman
  • Indian, Woman

    During the internet turbulence in the wake of the Delhi gang rape in December 2012, I noticed a trend that confirmed some of my worst fears once again. The most visited ‘stories’ either had something to do with the horrific incident or were related to ‘entertainment’ where women were being very typically objectified. In other words, one might be commenting on the apathy of Delhi police and the utility of Botox treatment simultaneously in two ‘windows’, while listening once again to Chikni Chameli. Sounds familiar? Irrespective of gender or nationality, ‘we are like that only’. Even the sahibs aren’t any better. Visit any news site and look up reports on crimes against women, and you will notice some obvious similarities running through. It stems from a need to typify women – wife, whore, dumb blonde, mother, arm candy, feminist, sweetheart – and those who don’t fit are problems to be solved.

    No, I am not over-reacting. Let’s take the case of Damayanti Sen. An IPS officer, she had the

    Read More »from Indian, Woman
  • GM crops and the food security fig leaf

    GM corn is threat to the environment, argues Greenpeace

    By Shivani Shah

    Let's talk about genetically engineered/modified (GE/GM) foods. And why the Indian Government is so adamant to have these foods commercialised in India. And why it has nothing to do with food security.

    Genetic engineering is the artificial transfer of genes from one species to another – plant or animal. This results in a genetically ‘modified’ organism (GMO). As a result, the genetic makeup or the genetic blueprint of the organism is completely and permanently altered. The objective of modifying is to bring about a certain function – for instance, in plants, producing toxic proteins to eliminate pests, developing a tolerance to agro-chemicals like herbicides, etc. In simple words it's about creating a new organism using molecular biology techniques, which will otherwise not be found in nature. So one might wonder what’s wrong. Growing scientific evidence shows that GM crops are a potential threat to human health and natural biodiversity. Moreover, once released into theRead More »from GM crops and the food security fig leaf


(478 Stories)