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Last to last week's Mid-day column - we had Divali holiday in between. A couple of my friend's fought with me about it because they felt I did not take a clear stand on what I felt about what Arundhati Roy said about Kashmir - and I felt a bit frustrated by that. I somehow think there are many types of solidarity - I suppose one is definitely for many to say the same thing at the same time. On the other hand I guess I am a bit more invested in trying to reach out to a more "regular" audience and also in the idea of debate which eventually is not about rights and wrongs but about the ability to listen. And I don't feel very interested in making declarations about matters of national importance (which is not to say that I don't think those declarations should be made) but interested in a rather more local voice and way. Still, it's an uncertain thought, only half formed in my head and I'm still wondering.

Don't look left, Don't look right - just head to the cinema

My friend Bela Negi's film is releasing this October 29th in Bombay, Delhi and Bangalore. Please do go see it and please spread the word around! Here's my column about it from last Sunday's Mid-day

The Young and the Restless

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My column from last Sunday: Such a short journey for Aditya Thackeray and hopefully Meter Jammers now know that politics is a long haul

Munni's...

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...not badnaam enough for me... Last Sunday's Mid-day column

vamps, victims and videotape

Have been shooting so not updating but pasted below a longer version of my Sunday Mid-day column from last week , which appears today in The Delhi Guardian which is apparently Delhi version of The Independent of London (go figure). They don't have a website yet. You can watch online the VAMP video as well as the documentary it responds to - Prostitutes of God VAMPS, VICTIMS AND VIDEOTAPE Recently a YouTube video called “VAMP Protests ‘Prostitutes of God” went viral. Produced by Vaishya Anyaya Mukti Parishad (VAMP) a sex worker rights organization in Sangli, it was a series of testimonies by people who had featured in the VBS documentary by Sarah Harris - “Prostitutes of God” - which explored sex work around the cult of Goddess Yellamma and linked to the Devdasi tradition. One after another, these people asked the filmmaker why she betrayed their trust by insulting their gods, misinterpreting their culture and portraying them as craven victims. VAMPs video is lo-fi a

let them eat cake

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My column in Sunday mid-day for September 27, which resulted in some facebook argument between my friend who doesn't like any ambiguity on how we speak of Pakistan and terrorism. I don't like to dismiss these arguments even if I instinctively don't agree because I have a terror of falling into any formulaic secular elite attitude - as if it is self evident what is progressive and what isn't. But I also can't identify with any vehement patriotism. So not fully able to understand the merits of the other side. Anyway, in that vein, Shabana Azmi's slum cake makes an appearance in this column - but personally I have to say I don't feel as hugely outraged by it. I can see the intended joke but I think some of the annoyance is in response to the feeling that we are not exactly sure what the nature of Shabana Azmi's activism is, or what her politics are. I feel the cake joke reminds me certainly of the elites who are very sure they know what's good and

Aristotle for Facebook

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Mid-day column for Sept. 19 According to a new Canadian study “most Facebook users have low self-esteem.” You couldn’t tell from the friendship requests. It’s easy to laugh at the breezy: “Amazing pic wanna be a frenz”, “hey aren’t you the one who wrote/made XYZ film?” and “hi send yr nmbr as I need your inputs for my class assgnmnt.” Low self-esteem cannot explain this jaunty entitlement – poor upbringing might. More complicated are silent strangers who know of you and have 10-100 “common friends”- but don’t introduce themselves, leaving you perplexed. Low esteem doesn’t explain this – excessive mother love might. One thing does explain much of it – a crisis of contemporary behaviour. Today, more than ever before, we come in contact with large numbers of people, of different backgrounds and levels of achievement, but have very little idea how to behave with others, because good manners are considered square and courtesy or formality is old fashioned – and no new fashion has ap