Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A warm welcome indeed!!!

After days of serious negotiations with well-wishers like dad, mom and sis, i finally decided to visit home last week. With this, my vow not to visit home ever again came crashing down, forcing me to accept defeat at the hands of my family. In a bid to put the bad memories behind, i gracefully accepted the invitation (putforth by my neice) and left on a wednesday night after completing a couple of reporting assignments that hardly took any time.

Railways failed to offer me a seat and hence i chose the next best economic mode of transport- the bus. One hour in the bus and i decided never to travel by an A/C bus ever again. I literally froze, thanks to the kerchief like blanket. Just when i began to warm myself with a denim jacket and get some sleep, the lights went on and the conductor tapped me indicating it was time to get down. It was 4 am and there i was standing, shivering and chattering. The autowala demanded Rs 140 almost double the actual rate. After bargaining for a good ten minutes he finally agreed for Rs 70 but not before taking an elderly couple along who were to get down on the way.With the 100 ft road dug up for flyover construction, the driver took us through narrow and unfamiliar lanes scaring the hell out of me. My mind kept wandering, thinking about all the possibile crimes that could happen. Finally, after twenty minutes of breathtaking ride, i reached my destination and hit the sack right away.

Next day it was time for a long chat with mom and convince her that this time around my purpose of visiting home was not friends but family. My neice, the two and a half year old brat, was all smiles on seeing me. The day was peaceful and home food never tasted this good.

But things dint remain the same, Friday was a fateful day. Getting up late is quite acceptable at home and hence i over slept. Later, it was time to complete some formalities of filling up a few forms for my neice's nursery admission. It was already 2 pm and my stomach was growling. Mom was yet to cook, but i decided to wait and have home food as i knew i would soon be deprived of it for the next few months. But luck had it otherwise, we ran out of LPG and hence not a vegetable was boiled. The next minute i took the bike and headed towards a hotel to pack some yum food. However, it was not a jolly good ride, as my mind kept wavering about some unpleasant incidents a few days prior to that. Somehow, i managed to enter the colony gate without a glitch and saw a herd of school students who occupied the entire road. Honking my way through i managed to reach a little further, telling myself to watch out for these little ones on the road. An accident was the last thing i wanted. Just then a girl, walking an inch ahead of my bike, onto my right side turned abruptly and crossed the road. Losing control of the bike and realizing i was going to knock her, i applied the brakes taking complete left, lost balance, skid and glided a good 10 feet and the bike came tumbling down on my foot. With this the trip not only became unpleasant i also had to go through a few tortures of taking shots and gulping yukky drugs.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Water Privatisation

"Most universities are seriously considering abandoning coke after it created such a massive campaign": Alan Sitow

By Dhanya Lakshmanan

CHENNAI: Most colleges and universities in the United States are planning to boycott the use of Coca-cola in the wake of the crisis involving the company and the Kerala Government, said Alan Sitow, a documentary film maker from US.
He spoke to a group of environmentalists, corporates and social activists at the screening of his documentary, `Thirst', at Loyola college on Thursday. Sitow said that the massive strike campaign against the soft drink company, Coco-cola, in Palakkad has led to numerous debates across America. "Most of them are seriously considering abandoning coke after it created such a massive campaign," he said.
Meanwhile, his co-director Deborah Kaufman spoke about water privatisation and said that it was painstaking to see the most important natural resource in the world being sold to corporate companies in the name of globalisation. The 62-minute film is about the agitation campaigns against the same in Bolivia, California and India.
Sitow and Deborah Kaufman were in the city to screen their documentary. The short film has created a shock wave in America. This is the first time the film has been screened outside the US. The film also shows images from the World Water Forum 2003, in Kyota, Japan. The forum included politicians, international bankers and corporate executives who were present to decide on who will take control over water supplies. Meanwhile, experts and environmentalists from across the world accused the forum of acting against people's will. Every activist present said that water is a human commodity and not a material that has to be traded in an open market.
The film focuses on the Bolivian campaign against their government that was planning to privatise water. The protest march and violence that followed in Bolivia on the matter, forced the Bolivian government to acknowledge the people's demand. The only Indian in the film, opposing privatisation was Rajendra Singh, a social activist from Rajasthan.
The documentary also highlights the citizen coalition of Stockton, California which questioned the government's plan of selling water to private companies. Hundreds gathered on the streets, holding banners reading, `Let the people vote' and `Do not sell water', pushed the tempo of the film further.
Meanwhile, Dr V Suresh, General Secretary of People's Union For Civil Liberties (PUCL), Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, said that America is thinking of new methods of carrying water and selling it. "New techniques are being propelled to transport water from places like Canada to Southern American cities by using a material that looks more like the enlarged version of a condom, and is also made of rubber," he said.