25 Aug 2009

Of Alphabet (Tags) and Awards

Aug 19, 2009
5:35 pm

First of all, I must inform you that I just nominated my blog for Indiblogger of the Month award for the month of August, 2009. This month, the category is Original Literature - Short Stories. So, whenever, the voting begins, do consider my blog while exercising your Indiblogger enfranchisement.

Taking a cue from the politics, each voter will receive a bundle of the following currency notes; so in short its my version of Notes for Votes.

UPDATE: The Indiblogger of the Month contest is over. I received nine votes. So a heartfelt thanks to all those who voted for me. Click here to see the results.

Now coming back to the tags, these are some tags which have been doing the rounds of blogosphere recently and curiously, they are all related to Alphabets and Numbers. I started untagging myself of the following one at night, so will continue with it, for the time being.

Aug 19, 2009
12:15 am - 01:00 am and 5:45 pm - 6:30 am


The ABC Tag is from Anjan who tagged me on Jul 21, 2009. Sadly, Anjan left the blogosphere all of a sudden, some days after that.

Rules! Rules! Rules!
  1. Link the person who tagged you..
  2. Post the rules on your blog.
  3. Share the ABCs of you.
  4. Tag 3 people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
  5. Let the 3 tagged people know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
  6. Do not tag the same person repeatedly but try to tag different people, so that there is a big network of bloggers doing this tag!
Please bear with my ABC's... Here it goes:
Absolutely Single (actually freshly single).
So not sure if ready to Mingle.
Maybe, I am. Give it a shot, who knows!
Best Friend?
Rachna ofcourse. She also happens to be my rakhi sister.
Among the guys though there is a clear favourite among around 4-5 of them but I'll prefer to keep it under wraps.
Cake or Pie?
I'll love an Apple Pie for a change after too much of the Chocolate Cake.
Drink of choice?
Its water of course; a necessity, choice or no choice.
Essential item you use every day?
Lets start from the time I wake up; Mobile (alarm), Tubelight switch, Slippers, News paper, Shit Pot, Tooth Brush... blah blah blah!
Favorite color?
Red, Blue, Black..
Starting from my tricycle, bicycle, geared bicycle, non-geared Scooty and finally the Pulsar bike; all have been red. Definitely, the car won't be red.
When it comes to clothes, I essentially have a blue wardrobe followed by red and black.
And yeah, just check, the colour scheme of my other blog, Blog-a-Ton to get an idea.
Gummy Bears Or Worms?
Deepika Padukone
Chandigarh, the City Beautiful. Check this post to know more about it.
Blogging, I believe and more particularly taking up such tags. This is a big indulgence for a Civil Services aspirant.
January or February?
The period between 2359 hours on Jan 31 to 0001 hours on Feb 1.
I remember when in school, both the months sucked. January because, then the schools opened after Winter holidays and February because, then Final Examinations got closer.
Kids & their names?
Of course, no kid. However name for a boy is decided - Mrityunjay.
Life is incomplete without?
Family and Friends
Marriage date?
Lets see. I am not even sure of the year yet or for that matter the prospective bride yet.
Number of siblings?
One and only one, an elder sinister, I mean sister!
Just kidding, don't tell her *wink*
Oranges or Apples?
Apple as a fruit, Orange as the juice.
Well already told in previous tag post - I have fear of height and ... check that post.

Quote for today?
My favourite one - Hope for the Best and Prepare for the Worst.
Reason to smile?
It can be anything, just anything -
To see a baby smile
To see a parrot fly
To feel a loving hug
To have a beer mug
To get a nice comment
To feel her mesmerising scent
To indulge with the friends
Just smile at life's every bend.
That is a tough one. Can't choose between the ice-cream and shakes in summers and dry-fruits in winters.
Tag 3 People?
This is such an old tag that I am last on Blogosphere to take it up. If still there is some one who is left, please take it up and do let me know when you post it.
Unknown fact about me?
Well, I already divulged 5 of them in the previous post. Another one, if you want, here it comes - I don't smoke but drink occasionally, very very occasionally.
Vegetable you don't like?
Vegetable, I hate the most is Ridged Gourd, better known as Tori in Hindi. Other translations
  • Peerkankai (Tamil)
  • Jhinga (Bengali)
  • Dodaka or Ghosavala (Marathi)
  • Beera Kaya (Telugu)
  • Heeray Kayi (Kannada)
  • Bhol (Assamese)
Worst habit?
Eating finger nails; actually just bite them off, don't eat them literally; and also pulling my hair (now that might be a reason behind my balding).
X-rays you've had?
Of teeth, way back!
Your favorite food?
Punjabi, Kashmiri, South Indian, Chinese, Italian, American, Continental.....
The favourite dishes are Rajmah-Chawal and Mutton-Chawal.
Zodiac sign?
Cancer; the so-called romantic emotional fool.

Aug 25, 2009
12:15 am


Here is another tag related to alphabets, The Favorite Alphabet Tag. It is from Shilpa who tagged me on Jul 24, 2009.

The tag wants to know my favourite alphabet and asks me to share my favourite beginnings with that alphabet.

Frankly speaking, I never thought of choosing between the 26 beautiful alphabets of English. Each plays its role to perfection in order to make English such a beautiful language. So I'll have to forego this one.

P.S. This is the way to take up a tag of a blogger buddy without taking it up :)

Talking of Shilpa, she honoured me with the Zombie Chicken Award yesterday. Yeah, I know it sounds too zombie. Read about it to know the reason behind this peculiar name.

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken – excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.

These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words.

As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.

So now, do I want to risk the wrath of the zombie chickens. Yes, I am ready to do that. I won't be awarding it to 5 but only one blogger buddy and mind you this is the first award I am awarding till date.

It goes to my dear Blogger Buddy Bharathi, whom I once gave the title of Empathic Libertarian. Actually at that time, I mistook him for a girl and was just trying to impress her.. oops, I mean him. Jokes apart, he is a great thinker but too ideological at times. This difference between our perceptions feed our mammoth debates. He also happens to be the top reflector, i.e. commentator on my blog while I am trying hard to become one on his blog.

So, in short, I am very happy to pass on this award to him. And ofcourse, thanks to Shilpa for passing it to me.

And yeah, number tags, some other day.

Image Courtesy:
From Personal Collection created on http://www.photofunia.com/ (edited)
http://shilpaagarg.blogspot.com (original)

22 Aug 2009

The Cream and Scum of Television

I appeared for an exam today where I also had to write an essay among other questions. Of the four given options, I opted for The influence of television on our lives.

So when I have already written one, why not reproduce it here and see how many marks you grant me before it gets checked by the real examiner. I am reproducing it by memory with help of some pointers that I jotted down on my question paper.
The influence of television on our lives

A sudden commotion in the house, everyone leaving their task at hand and running frantically towards the common room, Granny is already seated strategically on the cushioned couch with her hands folded. The young one runs towards the T.V. and switches it on. A sudden silence engulfs the room. Then suddenly everyone smiles as the T.V. lights up and shows a fuzzy picture. It reads, Ramanand Sagar presents Ramayana.

Two and a half decade hence, T.V. has changed, channels have changed but the love for the television still persists. Is this love vital or fatal, that's what we'll see here.

We have come a long way from Doordarshan and Black and White era. The coming of coloured television revolutionised T.V. viewing which got a further boom with the entry of Cable T.V. in the last decade of the previous century. Now with the Direct to Home services available, there is no looking back.

The liberalisation that took place in 1990's gave a new power in the hands of the middle classes and they wanted to avail all these goods and services. Now, seeing a couple of televisions in the household of four was nothing to be surprised of.

Television has had a strong influence on our lives, be it at the individual level or at the societal level at large.

Television has been a great source of entertainment for the common man, giving him a breather in the otherwise melancholy and monotony of the daily life. Serving varied interests from drama to sports, news to cartoons, music to comedy and action to reality, it has something to offer to everyone. And even within this something there is a lot to choose from.

However, the days of Ramayana are gone when T.V. acted as a medium to bring the whole family together. Today, if the wife is watching her favourite serial on the T.V., the husband prefers to go to the other room to watch the cricket match. With time, people are preferring to live in this virtual world as the real relations become distant due to the lack of communication.

However, on the programming front, Television has taken a very positive stride by taking up social issues as the plot for the serials. Child marriage, female infanticide, women empowerment, etc have become the staple diet of an average T.V. viewer, sensitizing them towards these critical issues. But in their effort to out-do the other serials, sometimes they over-do the things, hence presenting an unrealistic projection of the society.

On the information front, the burgeoning news channels have revolutionised the delivery of latest happenings around the globe. Now, one do not have to wait for any special news bulletin or the morning newspaper for the same. However, with the ever-increasing news channels and the associated competition, sometimes these media houses act irresponsibly while covering some sensitive issues which may lead to serious law and order problem. Moreover, to fill their air-time, they end up showing irrelevant stuff including shows full of superstition which have a regressive influence on the viewers.

For children, T.V. has provided a lot of useful programs on channels like Discovery and National Geographic which act as an important addition to their regular curriculum. However, how much time children actually spend watching them as compared to cartoon and animation channels is a question for research.

Cartoon channels may have no serious negative influence on children other than being poor substitute for educational programs or playing in the evenings, but a serious threat to their innocence comes from the Reality television. There are a number of such shows where contestants abuse more than they speak. In the name of modernisation, they are dishing out a poor copy of the western culture with no roots in Indianness.

Moving from those who view television to those who make their living out of it, we may see a similar dichotomy of influences.

Television has given a chance to many talented amateurs to showcase their talent in front of the world. Sunidhi Chauhan and many others like her are findings of such shows only. However, with increasing opportunities, competition has also intensified. When the people cannot get the money and fame they are promised or they have dreamt of, they are forced to start from the scratch. Those who are unable to handle it are lost in oblivion.

So, television like any other medium has its positive and negative influences. It depends upon an individual that how he/she perceive and manage it.

Of late, Television is facing a stiff competition from the internet. Youngsters today prefer to spend their time on social networking websites and to watch videos directly from the video streaming websites. However, it seems that television will somehow manage to retain its position by adapting as it has always done by offering something new to the viewers.

However, self-regulation on the part of the channels will help to negate to some extent the negative influences of the television. Moreover, the onus also lies on an individual to realise the difference between the reality and non-reality and extract the best out of it.

After having written it, I believe I was able to recall most of the essay, word to word and expression to expression. It was difficult to resist the temptation of editing it as with the keyboard in the hands, somehow better expressions flow into the mind of a blogger.

This essay was for 30 marks out of the total 100 marks paper. I took about one hour to write it, including selection of topic; after having spent the previous one and half hours, doing other questions. Lets see how many marks you grant me. Well remember, this essay is different from my posts as here I have to take a very neutral stand trying to touch as many dimensions as possible in the limited time provided. And not to forget that all that time my bottom was wriggling with pain, somehow fitting itself on a bench meant for primary school students.

And all of a sudden, I remember, I forgot to write the title above the essay. I am doomed!

Image Courtesy:
http://www.clipartheaven.com (original)

20 Aug 2009

Presenting the all new IndiVine 2.0

I believe one of the coolest feature of IndiBlogger is IndiVine. Here we can easily find some real nice blogposts on highly relevant topics.
However, there is no way to know the quality of the post without reading it. Here, I believe posts are stacked as they come and get accepted... So, its very important that such a feature is added to it, which allows the better posts to reach the top of the stack.

This is how I started a dicussion on Indiblogger forums a couple of months backs, suggesting the Indiblogger team to come up with an improved version of IndiVine.

Renie Ravin, the man behind Indiblogger replied promptly

Vipul, I'm really glad you brought this up at this time - we have had IndiRank on our must-revamp list for some time now. I love the direction of your thoughts, and I'd love to see the suggestions from other bloggers as well.

and with that started the suggestions from other Indibloggers and further inputs from my side as Renie and his team started implementing the changes.

Finally, on August 19, 2009; the Indiblogger team has revealed the all new Indivine 2.0 and it looks really interesting.

I must thank Renie for acknowledging my contribution towards this effort on the forum

A special thanks to Vipul Grover and the gang who pushed us to do this. Personally, I think it's something IndiBlogger badly needed - a fact I never would have realized if not for the forum!

and the F.A.Q.'s and Indiblogger's official blog as well.

IndiVine in it's present avatar is a direct result of the collaboration among bloggers on the forum, where Vipul Grover and all the usual suspects decided how it should be in order to help the Indian blogging community.

Its always nice and easy to make some random sugestions and take the credit, while the real hardwork of implementing them is done by someone else. So, I must congratulate Indiblogger team and thank them for doing a great service to the Indian blogging community.

Well, I have already added 43 of my 67 posts on the IndiVine and I don't have to wait for the moderators acceptance as earlier. All my posts went live as soon as I hit the 'Enter'.

Now what are the other cool features of IndiVine 2.0, you must be wondering.
Well, for one, now there are a lot more categories and sub-categories under which you may add your blog-post.
But the coolest feature is the fact that you can vote for the posts you like reading and push them up the queue. Voting score, a post gets is partially dependent on the the submitter's IndiRank; so higher your Rank, higher score, you'll get each time someone votes for your post.
Other than that on the sidebar of IndiVine page, there is a widget showing the top contributors to IndiVine. Presently, I rule the roost thanks to the recent submissions. Lets see for how long I can stay there.
On the sidebar, there are also the trending topics, the legacy of the old IndiVine.
Moreover, you can choose to see the latest post submissions as well as the most popular ones on the IndiVine.
And if you find any post in the wrong category, obscene or plagiarized, you may also report it to the moderators in just a couple of clicks.

For any further queries visit the F.A.Q.'s and for any further questions, reporting of any bugs or suggestions for improvements like adding new categories or sub-categories, visit the forum. And as Renie says

Freak out and fill up the categories with your blog posts - and vote away!

Talking of the vote, do not forget to vote for my posts if you like them.

Further talking of the votes, I must inform you that I also nominated my blog for Indiblogger of the Month award for the month of August, 2009. This month, the category is Original Literature - Short Stories. So, whenever, the voting begins, do consider my blog while exercising your Indiblogger enfranchisement.

Before leaving, I must thank Indian Pundit for giving me the Humane Award yesterday. He describes Humane as being characterized by kindness, mercy, or compassion; marked by an emphasis on humanistic values and concerns.
Also Shankar gave me the Beautiful Blogger Award recently and endowed me the title of Reflector for (my) great reflections and reviews about various topics. Thanks buddy.
You can see both the awards on my sidebar widget Fellow Bloggers' Affection Reflected.

And last but not the least, I must congratulate a dear F.B., Shilpa Garg on reaching her Diamond Jubilee post.

Image Courtesy:
http://www.indiblogger.in/ (original)

17 Aug 2009

The Epic 'Untagging' Post - III

Aug 13, 2009
4:20 pm

Its been some time since I wrote any long post, much dreaded by my blogger buddies like Bharathi, who even dedicated a 55-Fiction recently to his fear for my lengthy posts. Fact remains that I am a little busy these days with my studies and these lengthy posts not just drain out my readers but me too.

Any way, I decided to take up all the pending tags which will satisfy my thirst for long posts, give me a breather in between study time, keep me jumping back up on your blogrolls and help you to know me better for sure.

Aug 13, 2009
4:30 pm


This tag, Mind Game is the latest one from Dhiman and Shankar. Both of them tagged me today.

Tag Rules: It’s harder than it looks! Copy to your own note, erase my answers, enter yours, and tag your friends. Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the following questions. They have to be real… nothing made up! If the person before you had the same first initial, you must use different answers. You cannot use any word twice and you can’t use your name for the boy/girl name question. Have Fun!!
  1. What is your name: Vipul (It literally means Abundant, just like my weight and hopefully, the grey cells too.)
  2. A four Letter Word: Vent
  3. A boy’s Name: Vikrant
  4. A girl’s Name: Vipula (That doesn't mean Abundant with an 'A' as indeed it is with an 'A' only; it means Earth.)
  5. An occupation: Vallet (My dream job outside the Taj; can run away with some luxury car one day)
  6. A color: Violet
  7. Something you wear: Vest (and a V in the brand too - VIP Bonus)
  8. A food: Vanilla Ice-cream (Do suggest something better starting with V)
  9. Something found in the bathroom: Ventilator
  10. A place: Venice
  11. A reason for being late: Very unpunctual by nature (However, I am very punctual and two things I hate the most in any person are irresponsibility and unpunctuality.)
  12. Something you shout: Voila (I never shout that word. Its too western for an Indian to exclaim. Actually when I shout, its just that the decibel level in the surrounding atmosphere goes up but no one understands what I am shouting. Sometimes even I fail to understand what I shout.)
  13. A movie title: Vishwatma (of सात समुन्दर पार मैं तेरे पीछे पीछे गई fame)
  14. Something you drink: Vodka (with soda and lime cordial; I drink such stuff just once in a blue moon.)
  15. A musical group: Viva ( [V] Popstars, couldn't think of anyone else)
  16. An animal: Viper Snake
  17. A Street name: Vidya Path (Chandigarh)
  18. A type of car: Van (Maruti Omni)
  19. A song title: Vande Mataram (This one I couldn't think of instantaneously, shame on me!)
  20. A verb: Vacate

Aug 17, 2009
03:15 pm


This one, 5 lesser known things about me is the oldest of the lot. It is from Subhayan who tagged me on Jul 14, 2009. I doubt if he will even read this one as he is temporarily off the blogosphere. Any way, here I go, spilling some beans about myself, keeping the deep dark ones to myself.
  1. Food is my biggest weakness. My emotions are directly related to the kind of food I have. I live to eat or I eat to live is an unsolved mystery to me.
  2. Thanks to the above point, my weight has been fluctuating around a quintal for last 8 years or so. Whenever it goes past it, I go on a strict regime of walking and dieting. Once it comes down by some kilograms, I go back on my dirty habits. I just love this routine.
  3. I am a hirsute. Friends and family can't resist calling me a bhalu (bear) when I decide to go half monty. The pity is that despite this, I have started balding. God is Great!
  4. I am Acrophobic. Yes, I have an intrinsic fear of heights but not very acute.
  5. Continuing with the phobias; till the age of 18, i.e. till I entered my graduation; I had an acute fear of talking to girls, all thanks to my all-boys schooling. So, in short, its only been about 6 years since I started interacting with unrelated girls. My girl-friends (don't read it as just GF's) find it difficult to believe. Even I've started doubting its authenticity. But alas, its a truth. I know, it sucks big time!
As you can see in these images, I've made many strides in the past 6 years. Today, women just can't get over me and I just can't get over them. They cherish my images and dream about me while I can't help my eyes from wandering here and there *wink*. But we prefer to maintain a healthy distance. A mutual symbiotic relation, we have developed.

Aug 17, 2009
03:45 pm

That's it for the time being. As always, I tag all my blogger buddies who have not taken up this tag before. I'll soon return with the remaining ones too.

15 Aug 2009

The Journey of His Lifetime

"That looks like a nasty wound, Khan Sahib", said the fellow passenger, seeing his bandaged forearm.
"Its better now", he answered cautiously, a drop of sweat coming down his forehead.
Within some hours he was off the train at Karachi and onto the ship to independent India, away from his homeland.
He hurriedly removed the itching bandage to reveal his tattooed name - Lachhmi Narayan it read.

A Happy Independence Day to all of you. Celebrating the day of our freedom, we sometimes forget the pains associated with it. I recently saw the BBC Documentary The Day India Burned and the movie Train to Pakistan, both portraying the horrors of partition.

The pain I just mentioned is not just the physical one felt by those who travelled miles through days and nights and even got killed mercilessly at the hands of the anti-social elements, but it is also the emotional pain of leaving one's homeland, parting from the loved ones and the fear of the difficult times to come.

Here, I have tried to relive the journey made by my paternal grandfather, Late Shri. L.N. Grover from his homeland (in present Pakistan) to India upon the partition. He was lucky that he survived this journey due to the small trick he played and thanks to that I am in the world today. (Update: And as IP corrects me in the comments section, thanks to that I am in India today, rather than Pakistan.)

I dedicate this 66-Fiction (rather non-fiction; inspired from 55 Fiction, on the occasion of my 66th post) to all those who were not lucky enough and perished making this journey of their lifetime. My mother's both grandfathers were two of them. The paternal one died saving the honour of his daughter-in-law(my maternal grandmother). Also, my mother's maternal aunt and her daughter jumped into a river to save their honour.

P.S. I can't help but write 55 Fictions, cinquains and now 66 Fiction these days because of the lack of time, thanks to the upcoming examinations.

Image Coutesy:

12 Aug 2009


Blogger's Block
Further ticks Clock
I ponder in Shock

I heard that the shortest poem in the world, titled 'I' has a single word, 'Why?'.

At least mine has 11 words.

Actually, I just tried my hands on cinquain, a form of poetry with just 5 lines and 11 words. As evident from my composition,

Line 1 has just one word, i.e. the title; line 2 has two words that describe the title; line 3 has three words that tell the action; line 4 has four words that express the feeling; and line 5 has one word which recalls the title.

It need not rhyme. Nonetheless, I composed a rhyming cinquain. An achievement indeed, for a blogger who claims to be experiencing a block as massive as a rock!

1. Before someone objects to my tampering with the semantics, I must admit that the action in line 3 and the feelings expressed in line 4 should be of the same subject. However, in my poem, while action is performed by the clock, the feeling is mine. Now that's what they call poetic licence, isn't it!

2. Cinquain has many variants which can be checked here, here, here and here.

Image Courtesy:
http://www.coloringbookfun.com and http://playingspoons.files.wordpress.com (edited)

7 Aug 2009


A congested train; a rickety bus; an overloaded boat; a bullock-cart; on foot through jungles. Finally, he was there, his home in the cradle of Himalayas away from the noise and the smoke of the city and the sahibs. She was waiting for him impatiently by the fence. He was ready for a new life.

This 55-Fiction is inspired by a recent post by Shilpa on the kaam wali bais (maid servants). It is based on lives of numerous Garhwalis (from Uttarakhand-Nepal/Tibet border) who stay and work in Chandigarh away from their homes and the loved ones. This long journey back home is as described (with some modifications) by my home maid who lives with her family in our servants' quarter. And its true, they have to cross a jungle by foot to reach their village.

P.S. On an important query raised by a fellow blogger, I have explained in the comments section, how this story satisfies all the criteria of a 55-Fiction as mentioned in the Wikipedia article. Do not miss the explanation.

This post is by no means inspired by the movie Swades.

Image Courtesy:
http://www.bollywoodheaven.com (edited)

4 Aug 2009

Who'll Give the Life and Who'll Take it Away?

Not just another philosophical treatise

In one of the episodes of popular American drama series, Boston Legal, a Democrat lawyer (Alan Shore) takes a dig at his Republican colleague (Denny Crane) for his stand on capital punishment, "On one hand, you Republicans favour capital punishment and on the other hand, you call yourselves pro-life."

For those who are unable to comprehend this amusing statement, pro-life campaigners are the ones who favour criminalisation of abortion, as against the pro-choice campaigners who argue for the reproductive rights of the woman, i.e. her right to continue or terminate a pregnancy.

Curiously, while the Republicans view the foetuses and embryos as a person, hence argue for their right to life, they also argue for the continuance of capital punishment, which the Democrats find violative of the right to life of a person.

This is the paradoxy that I'll try to understand here and see where do I stand in these two debates.

If I try to see from the Republican perspective, somehow I can reconcile this paradoxy. The embryo and the foetus form the initial stages in the evolution of a human being, the starting point of the life. Embryo comes into the existence due to the act of someone else. So why should it be deprived of the opportunity to come out of the womb, into the world because of no fault of his/her! On the other hand, capital punishment is granted for an act committed by a person which has resulted in some serious loss to someone else. So, the culprit is liable for his/her grievous action.

I am a liberal, so how come I am upholding the conservative stand of Republicans! The truth is, there are no strict divisions on the two questions. The different viewpoints lie somewhere on an axis, where the so-called Republican and Democratic stands are the two ends. The question is of the degree.

I remember taking part in an extempore some years back where I had to speak in favour of the capital punishment. Luckily, my personal stand was in coherence to the task at stake and I emphatically declared, "If a person can take away someone's life, the State has the right to take away his/her life". Even today, I am pro-capital punishment but as it exists in India. According to the Indian Supreme Court ruling, capital punishment is reserved for the rarest of the rare cases.

On the other hand, I am against the use of capital pinishment as it exists in countries like China and Saudi Arabia where it has been employed as an instrument in the hands of the Communist Party and the Monarchy, respectively to quell any kind of resistance, hence leading to major human rights violations.

However, even in India, a lot of ambiguity lies in the usage of the term 'rarest of the rare', hence leading to different interpretations at different times. There is a need to form a stronger concensus on the types of cases that might fall under it and the types of safeguards that need to be employed to ensure consistency as well as prevent any innocent from being deprived of his/her right to life.

I can understand to some extent, the argument of those against capital punishment that a life-long imprisonment in jail is a harsher punishment for repenting a heinous crime like say, rape and murder of a minor, committed by someone than an instant punishment of death.

However, in Indian scenario, capital punishment is a must to handle issues like terrorism. Keeping the dreaded terrorists in jail for longer periods can act as an incentive for their accomplices to re-enact Kandahar like hijackings or other such operations.

While the issue of capital punishment has been there in debates in India for long, the abortion rights came into limelight just a year ago with the Niketa Mehta case in the Mumbai High Court.

Again the question is of degree. While the Indian law permits an abortion of a foetus upto 20 weeks old; in some western countries, its allowed upto 26 weeks. This upper limit has been decided keeping in mind the concern for the health of both the pregnant woman and the foetus. So, here one of the conflict is based upon deciding this upper limit.

In the immediate case, the foetus was 25 weeks old but had been diagnosed with congenital heart problem. Niketa Mehta moved the court for termination of her pregnancy. However, the court ruled against it exactly an year ago on Aug 4, 2008. Incidentally, she had a miscarriage soon after.

In such a case, where it is known, the child once born will be forced to lead a painful life, one may argue for the right of the mother to decide upon carrying the foetus or not, but in the Indian context, abortion is related to a major social problem of female foeticide too. Today states like Punjab and Haryana are having skewed sex ratios due to the misuse of ultrasound tests and selective gender abortions. Though such tests have been outlawed for long but still the misuse is on.

Hence, it is not easy to take any particular stand without looking at all these aspects. One cannot blindly adhere to pro-life or pro-choice perspective, nor can one totally discard or accept the capital punishment.

As, I say so often, things are not always black or white. Its important to identify the different shades of grey that lie within. However, a person must strive to recognise his distinct shade of grey rather than hopping from one blurry grey to another all the time. This post was an attempt to find my distinct shade of grey. Though I failed in this endeavour, I find myself closer to it. So while I keep trying, you too give it a thought!

The image relating to abortion might look insensitive to some of the readers. I'll like to apologise to them for the same.

Don't miss my latest review and recommendation of Frost/Nixon

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1 Aug 2009

The Cream and Scum of Blogging

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 1, the first edition of the online marathon of Bloggers, where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following my other blog, Blog-a-Ton.

This also happens to be my Golden Jubilee post for the year 2009. So, I surely have double reasons to celebrate.

We’ve not been there, but we debate;
Our half-baked knowledge we create;
And then dish it out with best verbiage;
Expecting others to hail us as a sage!

It might seem that I am in a self-indicting mood, roping in all the bloggers in the process. However, that is not the case. I thought of starting this post with a candid admission and a blunt accusation at the same time.

Blogging has given a new found freedom to many across the globe as we find it easier to put across our views to others. However, in the process, I find many who just dish out their half-baked viewpoints to their readers. I might have indulged in the same earlier, though now I try to resist any such temptations. However, there is no guarantee that I won't repeat it in the future.

Recently, a very popular Indian blogger reviewed a novel by a non-resident Iranian female author. However, while doing so, she could not refrain from giving her personal opinions about the Iranian society which were largely formed from the readings of this very novel. She even perched out on giving her one-sided opinions about the present Iranian socio-political turmoil.

I can not blame her. This post was just an exception. Moreover, when for each post, she is getting more than 100 responses and that too mostly positive, she is bound to take strong stands, though at times without authentic information. Moreover, I have no problem with bloggers airing their views because that's what blogging is all about.

The point I am making here is that, how honest you are while penning your blog and what is your real motive behind it. If the blog is just an online personal diary, then you are free to dish out any whims and fancies of yours. However, if a blogger is aiming to cater to a readership on some relevant issues, then being honest is very important. Here the blog takes the form of a third dimension to news media, the other established ones being print and broadcast.

Just like a newspaper reader and a news program viewer will like to get unbiased opinions from these mediums, a blog reader like me will want substantiated opinions, even if they are biased. However, its not all that scummy as I might have inadvertently, made it seem to be. Even within this scum, I can extract the cream. Lets see how.

Blogs are a great medium for generating debates. Even, if some blogger comes out with half baked opinions, there are the readers who are sitting there to correct him/her. For this to happen, one must have readers at the first place. For this to happen, his/her blog should be interesting enough. For this to happen, the blogger should be honest enough. However, honesty doesn't guarantee freedom from biases. On the contrary, it brings out your biases in a candid manner. So, the readers are always there to correct you and to fill the gaps.

Here lies the beauty of blogosphere. Blogging is not just a one way process of airing your views but also about accepting and inculcating others' views through their comments and their blog-posts. In this sense, on a personal level, blogging has been quite rewarding to me by helping me to meet other passionate Indian bloggers from whom I have learnt a lot. However, there are a lot more, I'll like to meet in the future. Blog-a-Ton was initiated with this very mission in mind.

Now that I have moved from the general to personal level, I'll like to elaborate on other creamy facts about blogging pertaining to me. After having graduated, I have been mostly at home preparing for my civil services examinations. There's a lot, I have learnt in these couple of years through texts, television and internet as well. This time which I've spent with myself has also helped me in substantiating my viewpoints and perceptions. This blog was started as a medium to voice my ideas and ideology as the name itself reflects.

The journey till now seems satisfying as my viewpoints have been appreciated by many of the readers. Wherever, there has been a difference of opinion, they have aired them candidly. Either, I have corrected myself or corrected them or we have agreed to disagree. But in this whole process, I find myself as a net-gainer.

Recently, I have also diversified, writing short stories, poems and memoirs in addition to social and political issues. Sometimes, these posts are not totally related to the subject of this blog but then who loves monotony. Even while writing about relevant issues, I have tried to diversify my writing style, like the hypothetical dialogue between two friends in case of the post on gay rights, a fictitious story to share a curious case of corruption or a poem to reflect upon the materialistic values of the society.

All this has helped me a lot as I find, both my quality and quantity of writing has improved manifolds. Bulk of my posts have been published in last couple of months and this blog has helped me to do what I have always loved to.

However, the picture is not all that creamy. Blogging has been eating into my study time as I find this new hobby quite addictive. I am trying my best to strike a balance and can just hope, I'll succeed in this endeavour too.

Now, that I started this post with some indicting lines, it will only be fair if I end with some vindicating ones. That's what Empathic Libertarianism is all about.

We know the half truth, we search for more;
In an honest endeavour, try to fill every pore;
Only then do we go on and publish our tale;
Expecting others to correct us when we fail!

P.S. Of the numerous posts, I've read of the popular blogger I mentioned in this post, there have been only two instances that I have not agreed to her viewpoint. I commented about this on her blog and she was gracious enough to respond and appreciate my viewpoints. The reason, I gave her example was to put across the point that when revered bloggers like her can make a mistake (as per my perception) once in a while, one should not be surprised to read many others who use blogging as a medium to air their obscure views in the worst possible language.

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton are Arjuna, Saimanohar, Dhiman, Avdi, Daisy Blue, Sid 'Ravan' Kabe, Shankar, Shilpa Garg, Bharathi, Ranee, Ranee again, Pawan and Ajinkya.
Click on their respective names to read their posts on The Cream and Scum of Blogging.
To be part of the next edition of this online marathon, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

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http://edutech.csun.edu (edited)