Not Much New in the New Year
Several weeks and a new year since I last wrote, the tsunami has wreaked unimaginable havoc in Asia, though, luckily, not in Mumbai. Many of my friends and family, as well as many people I’ve never met before, have gotten a good lesson in geography, which has resulted in many more emails and calls than I got in the past couple of months. It’s nice to know people pay attention to the news every once in a while.
I’m also happy to see that the Tsunami Help blog, the address of which I posted on December 28, has gotten more than one million hits! The site looks really polished now, and has a wealth of information about everything related to the disaster. It’s amazing what the contributors have been able to put together in a little under two weeks.
I wasn’t affected personally, but I have been apprehensive about random blogging in its wake. A sort of survivor’s guilt. I am reminded of the headlines of the satire paper, The Onion, a week of so after 9/11: “A nation longs to worry about stupid sh** again.” So I took a little break.
However, there have been some interesting developments on this side of the subcontinent that may or may not have been a result of the tsunami. Over New Year’s weekend, Mumbai was *gasp!* a bit chilly and windy (we’re talking maybe 70 degrees), perhaps an effect of meteorlogical disturbances. And, speaking of disturbances, some strange objects have washed up on the beaches here. We were near the shore on New Year’s day, and saw that a whole pig had washed up. As this area is populated with Muslims, who don’t eat pork, and Hindus, who don’t eat meat, we were slightly concerned about where this pig came from. Even when we’ve traveled around the countryside and passed farms, we haven’t seen anything resembling a pig. Could it have come from Southern India? Thailand? Who knows.
Even more depressing was seeing dozens of pairs of flip-flops – mostly children’s sizes – on the shore. I’m hoping it was just a coincidence. Alas, it was a grim reminder.
Despite all of that, New Year’s was nice, as we had some friends visiting from out of town. The weather, as I mentioned, was right pleasant and January’s climes have been very enjoyable. I should be back in better blog form soon.
In the meantime, a quick rundown of what I’d be writing about if I thought the time was right:
1) Amitabh AND Abhishek on Karan
2) Klum and Seal?!?
3) The Hooch Train
4) India’s fascination with Bryan Adams and Richard Marx
5) The pleasures of Indo-Chinese food (definitely more on that at a later date…)
Seriously, back to the tsunami…I have really been annoyed by the fact that India has, for the most part, refused aid relief from NGOs and other countries. I can understand it’s a pride thing. But, this tripe is coming from a land that has yet to eradicate polio, and is currently facing a jaundice epidemic in cities and in villages. There’s no shame in asking for (or accepting) help, India. If you ask me (and I know no one is), there’s more shame in being stubborn.
I’m not sure the Indian govt refused aid from NGOs. Initially they did refuse direct “bilateral” aid from other countries. The official word was that it wasn’t needed and India was itself offering aid to the other affected countries.
Only time will tell if it was a wise decision. I only hope that the poor innocent survivors do not suffer due to this policy. As long as they can get relief … who cares where its coming from.
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