Chatter in Virtual India…

Blogging, Festivals, an updated version of Gods, travel, rare flowers, President Mush of Pakistan, films and water art are some of the things that we look in this round-up of virtual India.

: A couple of months ago bloggers in India were prevented from accessing their favorite blogs. A group of dedicated bloggers fought back against this censorship. The fight is still on and Shivam Vij has dashed off a letter to a government official under the Right to Information Act provide information on which sites are blocked and what is the process by which the public is notified. Read Shivam's post to find out the details of this important letter.

FESTIVALS: It is the start of the festival season for Indians across the world and the festive season continues till the end of the year. My, how time flies.

This being India there are various spellings and names for Dusshera, Dasara or Navaratri, which is a 10-day festival. ‘Tis also Ramadan or Ramzan in India, when muslims fast during the day. Right after Dusshera the next major festival is Diwali, and finally Christmas.

Dusshera is celebrated in different ways in different parts of the country. Chandarsplace has a description of the festival. Saptar Shinde has a posting about Durga Pooja that is celebrated by Bengalis. Greatbong has a post about Durga Pooja and writes: “Whenever I am away from Kolkata, I impose a total media ban on anything related to the Pujo, taking a leaf out of the Government of India’s Ostrichian principle that if I bury my head in the sand and censor the flow of information about a certain thing, then that thing ceases to exist any more.”

Being in Bangalore has a post on how they celebrate the festival in India. Helen and Jay are expats who live in Bangalore. Steve of ProxyIndian has a post about a group of performers and their preparation for the Ram Lila performance.

In South India Dusshera is also the time of Golu or Koolu. Srikanth has a write-up about Golu along with pictures of the dolls that are carefully arranged in steps. Uma Gowrishankar has a nice post on Golu and remembers Navarathri of yester years.

Ramadan in Mumbai (Bombay) means heading out to Mohammad Ali Road which is the happening place to be during the evenings when some of the best food is cooked in Bombay. Arzan Wadia writes: “Now in New York, I miss that. Every year, I just see pics and satiate my appetite with images. Hope my dad and sis go this year and do justice to the feast.”

UPDATED VERSION OF GODS: It is difficult to remember the attributes of various Hindu gods and their avatars. Ganesh D of Ganesh's Corner has an updated list of gods with an IT spin. So, Ganesha the elephant god has an updated profile and is now in charge of quality assurance and documentation and Shiva is DBA (data base architect) or a crash specialist.

RARE FLOWER: There is a rare flower that grows once in 12 years in the hills of Tamil Nadu. The Scientific Indian has a post about the flower with links to a then and now picture? It looks like many things in the world, this rare flower is on its way to being included in the endangered list.

TRAVEL:Travelling has become a central fact of life for many of us.

Ram Viswanathan of Chennailiving talks about his travel from the US to India, but with a difference…he has pictures of those downtimes when we all wait around listlessly in the airport for our connecting flights. Many of us sit with that bored, seen it all expressions in our face. But, Ram is different…he captures what we trypically do while waiting around in an airport. Watch out for the Indian penchant for acronyms…we love to use ORD, SFO, NYC …these are usually the airline acronymns for various airports. So what does Chennailiving have to say about ORD and DFW? Read to find out.

Sundar Narayanan has lived in the San Francisco Bay area for over eight years, and yet it was until recently that he took time off to visit the city and discover some of its famous tourist spots.

Urbane Cowboy travels to Mysore in Karnataka State and has a great set of pictures that describe his trip.

Jai Arjun writes about travelling to Rishikesh, and finds out that the only kind of food that is served there is vegetarian. Read to find out why he was eating choclate and what kinds of books are available in this town known for its yoga retreats.

PREZ MUSH: Here in the US if you watched CNN, ABC, PBS, CBS, NBC this past week you saw that it was dominated by President Musharraf of Pakistan's visit. Prez Mush's visit to the USA and the promotion of his book is the subject of Amit Varma ‘s post who writes on how to promote a book. Amit's prescription is a simple and effective one: “Step one: Become the President of Pakistan. Step two: Appear on The Daily Show to promote it.”

Mayank Austen Soofi has a post on Prez Mush's book in India and writes:”However it was Mr Anuj Bahri, the owner of the Khan Market book shop, who put it best: “He's Musharraf, he's controversial, and he's well known — what more do you need to sell a book?” Love him or hate him, no one in Delhi is indifferent to this Delhi-born dictator.”

FILMS: There was some good new and some sad news. India's nomination for the Oscars was announced and the winner is Rang De Basanti (Color me Saffron). This will be the second time that an Aamir Khan film was nominated for the Oscars. His first film was Lagaan.

Padmini, a versatile and gifted actress passed away in Madras (Chennai). Desigirl pays homage to Padmini and writes: “A brilliant actress, a danseuse par excellence – Padmini was a phenomenally gifted artiste who delighted her audience the world over.”

Our final post is about water art. What do you do when you have a digital camera and lots of spare time? You take interesting shots of water and dub it water art and it sure does make for an interesting post.


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