Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Beginnings

This past year was a lost year for Andhra Pradesh’s development, as many things came to a standstill due to the bifurcation issue. It is likely that we have passed the point of no return in terms of 2- state formation. The debate is still heated however, on the pros and cons. Positions are strong and people are emotional.  Media reports are fanning the flames.  All this is exacerbated now with a high stakes election. It is therefore likely that the bifurcation will take place in an atmosphere of mistrust and argument. Do we want to start a new phase in the history of the Telugu people in this way?

1.     A role for expatriate Telugus?

 In this scenario, there is a possibility that out-of-state Telugus can play a role in having a better outcome for both the new states in the process. We expatriates are patriotic about our homeland. At the same time, living outside, we may have less self-interested or emotional views than those who live in the state. I emphasise “may”! Many of us are well-to-do and have reached positions of prominence and respect and therefore our voice may be listened to and our views given serious consideration.  We may be seen as a dispassionate group without an agenda, and therefore trusted by people from both states.  It is possible therefore that the expatriate Telugu community can contribute towards the historic bifurcation happening in a harmonious way, to the betterment of all Telugus.
As one step to realizing this, I propose a workshop that we have in Bangalore open to all Telugu people from Bangalore and surrounding areas. I am proposing this as an individual and not with an organizational affiliation, and my idea is that this can be done by interested people in the Telugu community in Bengaluru coming together.  


2.     Objective of the meeting

-         Inform ourselves about the issues
-         Reduce the wide spread in positions amongst ourselves by participating in exercises to see the others’ points of view
-         See if there are avenues for us to contribute in the days to come for a trust-based, peaceful and orderly transition to a 2 state arrangement and set up some structures for making this happen
The above objectives and the agenda for the meeting are not finalized at this point and are to be co-created by those participating in this project. However the fundamental tenets on which this project is conceived is to create unity and harmony among Telugus even if we are to be separated by administrative boundaries.
The intention is to hold the meeting on May 11 2014 in Bangalore.

3.     The purpose of this note

This note is to solicit interest to form a group that will organize this workshop.
Opportunities for you in participating in this project:
-         Get connected to fellow Telugus in Bangalore. Broaden your network
-         Take action on a matter close to your heart and on which you feel strongly about
-         Develop your capacity in the to-do areas below
The time commitment for this need not be high. You could join the communication group for this and see what tasks you could take up within your constraints. Many tasks will be doable without needing to travel.
Don’t hesitate to join on grounds that you don’t know enough about the issue. That is not at all a criterion. Few of us are likely to be very well-informed. Your participation is an opportunity to learn!

·        Come up with a nice name in Telugu for this project and the meeting.
·        Set up a communication system for the organizing group
·        Find a venue and book it. (Is there a space that we can get free or at minimal cost?)
·        Decide the agenda
·        Invite some prominent people whose commitment to greater good of all Andhraites is widely accepted, to attend and to provide an in-depth and informed view from different perspectives.
·        Raise funds at whatever level is needed to carry out the workshop. Manage finances properly and transparently
·        Create a flyer about the event and disseminate widely
·        Create media interest and coverage
·        Organise the logistics for the event
·        Document the event properly
·        Do follow ups post event

Would you like to join the organizing group or find out more? Contact whoever forwarded you this mail or Vijay Krishna at , 98801 37097.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Painting session

Trees and sunflower by me and Vibhat. Which one is by me and which are by Vibhat ?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I was at the Natural Ice Cream shop ("Ice Cream of Juhu Scheme") at 12th Main in Indiranagar yesterday and it triggered this blog post. Natural is a popular chain in Mumbai and now expanding. . They specializes in fruit-based ice-cream and minimize artificial ingredients. The founder R.S.Kamath is kinda obsessed with ice cream and spends all his time trying new creations especially rooted in the Indian experience (prasadam ice-cream anyone? Sounds gross to me frankly, you can overdo the experimentation). Nevertheless he sounds like a nice guy with all that is good in the entrepreneurial spirit.
The point of this post though is that before Natural there was a Baskin Robbins at that location which shut down. Natural started off in the same place and seems to be doing well. I like the symbolism in that. With globalization we shouldn't have to settle for what Baskin Robbins represents - clean, consistent, ubiquitous, with the strength of global capital behind it. We want the best of that along with the innovativeness, energy, fun and local-ness of a Naturals. Amen to that.

Natural is active on Twitter @naturalicecream if you want to follow them

PS: I like the tropical fruit flavours - jackfruit, sapota, sitaphal. But then, I just like those fruit anyway

Sunday, September 01, 2013

That we are all imperfect or flawed is obvious and a truism. One deeper understanding of it is: there are times when we are helplessly dependant on others, and there will be times when the vice versa is true. This is often true with a significant other. We should let this be, instead of trying to be tough and independent and not allowing oneself to be 'at the mercy' of others. Being dependant or vulnerable is a passing thing, and you can be sure that the tables will be turned at some point.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Good buys

A pair of Timberlands that I bought in 2008 for 4000/- or 5000/- which have served me well since then. They're pretty beat up now, but after resoling I still use them on rural field trips.

Recently bought these (Hush Puppies) for 2200/- . They're very comfortable and look nice 

These floor mats are available for 25 Rs each at Commercial Street. Love their vibrant colour and uniqueness. My guess is that they're made of discarded fabric from the garment industry so they reduce waste and are environmentally friendly too. Even using discarded material, I'm surprised that they are able to sell them for such a low price

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Recent family photos

The Italian connection

(Image from )

Looking back at my childhood I find a surprising number of Italian icons, even if I didn't think of it like that back then:
- Vespa scooters (now making a comeback on Indian roads)
- Lambretta scooters. Interesting history here, with the Government of India buying the Italian company (or the Indian subsidiary).
- Fiat cars
- Bambino Vermicelli (used to make 'semia upma' in our community in Vizag. I am curious if semia upma existed independently in India or whether it happened just because of vermicelli (which, as an irrelevant aside, us kids mispronounced as 'vermicellini'). There is a story here, how did this particular variety of pasta make inroads into India way back when, when India was completely insular to foreign cuisine? The Wikipedia page seems to suggest that the Indian vermicelli existed independently. 'Bambino' is Italian for 'baby' and little did I know that I was speaking Italian when I was a little kid and referring to this particular food item)
- Bisleri soda. Interesting Bisleri, an Italian company was aquired by Ramesh Chauhan of Parle foods in 1967 to fill out the Parle product line with a soda. I don't know if Bisleri operated in Italy after that, but its a household word in India. Parle also launched Limca under the Bisleri brand, and for a while, until I did some reading for this blog, I thought Limca was also an Italian brand. It sounded Italian but apparently it was coined from 'Limbu ka'. This and other interesting trivia from this article : 

Are there any more prominent Italian brands that entered India successfully in the 80s or prior ?

Some idle historian should look into this and try to understand how this disproportionately large number of Italian brands and products became successful in India. Is there an Indian-Italian cultural affinity ?

This 1976 Lambretta was on sale on ( is the 'Bambino Vermicelli' company in India.

Mondrian for children

I sit with Vibhat now and then and do some painting. Once we copied a couple of paintings of Mondrian, the Dutch painter. I like Mondrian paintings and it occurred to me that the simplicity of the figures lend themselves well to painting by children. At the same time, there is power in the paintings, that is why he was respected. Mondrian paintings have stark simplicity and the colours stand out dramatically. After we finished our paintings (him the top one, me the bottom one) this impression of the strength of the paintings was reinforced for me. So perhaps copying Mondrian would be good for introducing children to painting ? The paintings are simple to do and if we as adults find his paintings get to the essence of colour, its quite likely they will have the same effect on children.

Interestingly, Mondrian designs have been also used in dresses and in shoes (see below).

Here is the original of the second painting above:

Much on Modrian can (obviously) be found on the web: The Wikipedia entry on him would be a good starting point, as always. And  this google search link will give a quick look at a lot of his paintings.

A Mondrian dress, by Yves St Laurent. (Image used, without permission, from )

I have been getting interested in painting, while sitting with Vibhat. Here is a tree I did, copied from a painting on the web: