Sunday 14 January 2007

Computers rrrrrr!

Thanjavur. Tuesday

I have just spent the past hour writing the same thing again and again, each
time a leetle shorter. I've had a bad time with internet places. In
Pondicherry I spent quite some time trying to connect to my site before
discovering the manager had blocked the google blog site. Something to do with
Saddam Hussein. Then in Chidambaram I gave up when the ancient Windows 98 machine
hung for the third time. Now in Thanjavur on a computer with a faulty shift
key, every time I SAVe everything disappears!

Thanjavur. Wednesday
Well I wrote that yesterday. Here I am on another ancient slooow computer in
another place. My feet are being devoured by mosquitoes, but at least the
keyboard works. Here goes: this is what I wanted to say about Indian newspapers in Pondicherry (I've added the end of my stay in Pondicherry to the previous posting).

Indian newspapers

In the larger hotels I find a newspaper pushed under my bedroom door in the
morning and I've become quite attached to reading them. The indian press
appears earnest, with very little silly gossip. Here are some snippets whih
have interested me:

- A government ministry in Chennai announced that henceforth all bids for
contracts had to be done online and gave the site address for downloading the

- the Sunday paper reported that Pondicherry had been exceptionally busy with
pongal shoppers (sounds familiar?) buying mainly clothes and food. There are 15
varieties of rice for sale. One man interviewed (a taxi driver with his mother)
said that Pongal was more important than the festival of Deepavali "for those
who toil".

- the mosquito problem is getting worse, with many more in the day as well as
night 9I can vouch for that) and there have been 61 cases of Chickungune,
whatever that might be. The mosquitoes are proving resistant to pesticide and
desilting (canals) programmes ahve failed. Nobody can come up with a solution..

- doctors have expressed concern at the number of fatalities from head injuries
caused by motor cyclists not wearing helmets. It is apparently the sixth
highest cause of death.

- a woman has lodged a harassment complaint at the All Women Police Station
against her husband (the son of a former minister) and his mother. She said
that when she married last year she brought a car and gold worth 100 sovereigns
as her dowry and now they were demnding a further Rs 10 lakhs.

- a BJP leader spoke out against the proposed Indo-US deal for genetically
modified seeds to be sold by multinationals. He said that apart from anything
else, the seeds had been developed in totally different climatic conditions.

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