Saturday, May 23, 2009

Children of God

I had written earlier about Congo being the most unsafe place in the world for women. Let me add children to the list too. Children are being looked upon as unnecessary burden. Families accuse their children of being witches and throw them out onto the streets. It is even worse if it is a girl child because once they are thrown out onto the streets; they are raped and forced into prostitution.

Earlier, families used to accuse older members of being witches and throw them out, when they no longer were useful. With non-existent economy and the civil war still ravaging, children are being viewed as un-necessary burden. Hence, witchcraft is used as an excuse to get rid of them.

Congo being one of the poorest nations in the world, has spawned corrupt Christian pastors who are making a quick buck by performing brutal and mentally scarring exorcisms. Please refer to this ABC News article that chronicles in details the horrific rituals, both in print and video.

According to UNICEF, 70 percent of the 20,000 street children in Kinshasa have been accused of being witches. Most of the families living in Congo have experienced, at one point of time either death, divorce, rape and sometimes all of them. Out of desperation and belief, when they turn to God for deliverance the corrupt pastors mislead them by accusing the children in their family as the root cause for their evils and that they are witches.

It is a costly deliverance too as the pastors’ charge anywhere between $50. It gets worse when families cannot afford the costly exorcism and they resort to beating, burning, starving and in the extreme cases – murder their children. The ordeal does not enc there for families who can afford such barbaric rituals. The children, who are exorcised, are often thrown out of the house as they appear to be tainted in the eyes of their family members.

The Congolese government is of the view that it is legal to accuse children as long as there is proof. All it takes for a child in Congo to be labeled as a witch is to have big eyes, black eyes or a bulging tummy.

I was wondering how much worse it could get. In the near future, will I be writing a blog post on cannibalism in Congo? If parents are desperate enough to throw their own children out on to streets, then the time wouldn’t be far away when we might hear about parents devouring their own children! Maybe I have watched too many horror movies.

Please visit the following links for more details on the horrific witchery that is ravaging Congo:

A quick Google search would throw up many more horror stories.

TIA – This Is Africa, the cradle of our civilization. What went wrong?

Friday, May 22, 2009

80 Feet Road in all its glory!

What an evening it was, providing some of us a much needed break. We jostled and took turns to stand near the window facing the 80 Feet Road, watching the rain in all its fury (a full 45 minutes of it dumping around 45.6 mm of water) and the hapless motorists and pedestrians struggling in knee deep water.

We gleefully encouraged the hesitant car drivers to go ahead on a 20 meter stretch of road submerged in 3-4 feet of water. We started betting amongst ourselves on which car would die in the pool of water and which one would scrape through safely. We watched in awe as the BMTC bus drivers drove through the pool of water, reminding me of WRC races.

Opportunists were earning money by offering a hand to push the stalled cars to safety. Talk about good Samaritans!

The cyclists were the hapless of the lot, wading in the water with the cars and bikes ploughing ahead around them. Some of them, including the bikers had opted to use the footpaths which were wrought with danger as some of the stone slabs on the footpaths were missing. We were watching all this from the 3rd floor window and only thing missing was a packet of hot roasted peanuts.

Once the water had drained away, the road was left covered with sand and stones, making it quite a motor cross experience riding home.

Bangalore is already groaning while the monsoons are yet to come. As usual, the BBMP, despite their tall claims that Bangalore would be better prepared this monsoon; gave inexplicable excuses for the flooding that Bangalore had witnessed yesterday.

PS: I apologize for the low quality pictures as they were taken using a cell phone camera (2.0 MP) from a window on 3rd floor.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Crazy Gamers on Dope

Winners don't do drugs... they take supplements!

Can you believe it? This was one of the slogans that turned up for FpsBrain on Google.

With the nation glued to the telly for the election results and reports of first swine flu case in India, I came across this piece of news – Performance enhancing supplements for gamers.

This company claims to have a magic formula for computer gamers that increases their concentration and reaction times. The company dissociates itself from any forms of doping, according to its website. However, they maintain that performance enhancement matters in every form of professional sport.

The company does not reveal the ingredients of its products.

Being a hardcore gamer myself a long time ago, I did not realize gaming has become such a professional sport that the players need supplements to keep up their concentration levels and improve their reaction times.

What next? Provide urine samples to the WADA before and after a tournament!

I do wish I could go back to the good old days when I stayed up all those nights playing games just for the fun of it. Pure passion was what drove me to spend all those sleepless nights playing computer games.

Image source:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Silent Death of the Olive Ridley’s

The beaches of Orissa (Devi, Gahirmatha and Rushikulya) are one of the last nesting grounds for these turtles. Even though they are considered abundant, their numbers have been dwindling due to increased activities of trawling and mining. They are now listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List; and Endangered under US Endangered Species Act, Australia's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and Queensland's Nature Conservation Act 1992. [Source: Wikipedia]

National Marine Fisheries Service, USA quotes Marine Turtle Specialist Group (MTSG) of the IUCN that there has been a 50% reduction in population size since the 1960s. Gahirmatha, Orissa, India used to be one of the largest nesting sites in the world. Over the past five years at Gahirmatha, there has been a nesting event in only two of those five years. A survey of 27 West African nations indicated that nesting females were killed in 14 of those countries for their eggs meat and skin.

Off the coast of the Indian Ocean, the major cause for the decline of these turtles is the coming of age of the shrimp trawling. As the fishermen started to employ modern technology to increase the size of their catch, more than 76, 980 turtles have been killed; says a study on “Olive ridley mortality in gillnets in Orissa” by Wright and Mohanty, 2002.

Lepidochelys olivacea as they are known scientifically, in the wild they are known to survive upto 50 years. It is believed that Olive Ridley turtles return to nest on the same beach they are hatched. That shows how much they trust in the beaches that they were born on and that is why they return to the same beach, hoping that their babies too would survive if they are born on the same beaches.

What are we HUMANS doing? We betray their trust in Mother Nature by slaughtering the females for their meat and skin and harvest the eggs that they have laid. If that is not enough, fueled by our greed to become the most developed nation if the world; a sea port is coming up right in the vicinity of the nesting area of these turtles. The Tata’s claim that the Port limits of the upcoming Dhamra port is outside the turtle nesting area as well as the National Marine Sanctuary and the Bhitarkanika National Park. Greenpeace disagrees saying that the Tata’s should suspend the dredging work at the port for an independent and comprehensive threat assessment, which the Tata’s had agreed to earlier “in principle.” Despite the concern expressed by the authorities [you can read about it here], the Tata’s have been adamant.

I had a lot of respect for the TATA’s. I have none now. I was proud and overwhelmed when Tata’s chairman had outlined his vision for the common man. I am ashamed now. I am ashamed of myself, my helplessness. Hypocrisy should not go unpunished. If I had the money, because it is the money that talks here in India; I could have made a difference. Working 9 hours a day, I am helpless. All I can do is to write about it and clear my GUILT.

Image sources: Free Clipart Now and National Geographic.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Recession is an inescapable truth that all of us need to accept. But the politicians do not to seem to care! At least here in Bangalore recession does not exist (for the politicians), going by the obscene amounts those 34 ministers in the Karnataka Government have been spending on renovating their bungalows a.k.a temporary residences.

The Times Of India article on Saturday May 2, 2009 highlighted this very fact, thanks to a RTI filed by social activist Bheemappa Gundappa Gadad.

Is 3 crore rupees, spent on renovating official bungalows justified? Is it so small an amount, that these bungalows that were renovated barely a year ago by the previous government at a cost of Rs. 7.14 crore undergo renovation again? These are official bungalows, not one’s private home. Renovating those using public funds is bloody daylight robbery.

Hell, they could have divided the amount among themselves and deposited them in their secret Swiss bank accounts. Alas, the Swiss government has made it clear recently that the veil of secrecy is no more and information regarding bank accounts will be provided. This has really stirred a hornet’s nest in some countries, more so in India; calling for unearthing black money stashed away by politicians, babus, actors and so forth.

So why stash the monies, when you can lead a lavish life, king style by spending them!

There was more to come as I came across another article, this time by the Deccan Herald saying that the Public Works Department (PWD) will be constructing bungalows measuring 10,000 sq ft to 15 ministers on a sprawling 14.20 acres of government property. At Rs 1.5 crore each, I wish I was a politician. The reason was that these ministers were living in rented accommodation. So what? Does one become a politician only if he is given a bungalow? What’s wrong with rented accommodation?

Is it really necessary? After-all, the only thing they (the corrupt ones) are good at is looting public money. Why bother with giving them bungalows? I guess we are so busy with our lives, slaving our asses off every day that we do not have the time to question the plundering netas. Why do we even bother to vote for them?

Sometimes I really wish that India was not a democratic nation. But that “sometimes” is usually once in a ‘blue moon.’ Three cheers to democracy.