Monday, August 25, 2003

A big fat greek wedding!! :D

Today was the wedding of my classmate Alexey and Angie. I have been sharing an office with Alexey for the last five years, and the last year and a bit that he has been dating Angie is the happiest I have ever seen him! I attended with Gayle, another classmate, roomie and all around great friend, and her boyfriend Peter. The wedding took place at St Demetrius (sp?) Greek Orthodox Church in N. Chicago. The bride looked beautiful and Alexey very proud. He was also very dehydrated and managed to faint in the middle of the ceremony!! Luckily he recovered soon and finished the ceremony pale but fine. The guests were mostly from the bride's side - but the groom's side made up in variety! We counted Russians, Belorussians, Thai, Canadian and Indian (moi of course) among the groom's guests. I was very visible in a yellow almost ochre sari - which garnered a lot of compliments. Mostly though I felt that they were a polite expression of surprise at my dress !

The wedding reception / party was fun and loud and involved traditional Greek dancing. Angie's dad surprised us with a solemn round of twirling and legs in the air dancing. It was a charming and sweet display. We left around 10:30 after a little shaking of the ankle on the dance floor (nah, I just pretended). Hopefully I will be able to post some pictures from the wedding soon.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

WTO and agriculture and protectionism in developed countries

Pragmatic Indian politician and former central minister of Commerce and law at various times, P Chidambaram writes in the Indian Express about alliance making and trade negotiations. He talks about agricultural support / subsidies in the US and the EU.

An obvious yet difficult to change fact is that the Western countries' subsidies and high tariffs in agriculture makes for very poor economic logic. Western farmers produce at higher costs yet sell at lower prices because fo government support - and continue to do so because of that very support. So you not only distort the present market, you distort the investments and future plans of economic agents in a way that benefits few (Western farmers) and costs many (poor farmers in the developing countries, & the Western consumers). An interesting contrast is the status of the sectors where developed countries do have comparative advantages. IPR laws, drugs and insurance anyone? See the Guardian's blog about abolishing agricultural subsidies kickaas for some interesting readings.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Rabindrasangeet - after a long time

If you are a Bengali away from home - missing the 16 volume Rabindra Rachanaboli and the ubiquitious Geetobitan, hope is at hand. is a searchable database of Tagore's song lyrics.

I remember hearing old 8-track tapes of Rabindrasangeet recorded from old 78s and LPs and from the radio. In my hands were meticulously organised index files, typed and handwritten on thin airmail paper. The lists included the name of the song, the singer and the corresponding page number in Geetobitan for each song. The rabindrik pronounciations and stresses along with the vocabulary of the songs were beyond the comprehension of an eight year old's ears otherwise.

For that matter, its the same way I watched the BBC productions of Shakespeare that they showed on Doordarshan. Rolling the words on my tongue and seeing them in print made it a much more enlightening experience all around! Thank you Baba!!!

The FIRST one

Well here goes, my first blog ever! Really! All I am trying to do here are:

1. Avoiding any semblance of 'real work' like working on the data work for my thesis,
2. Attempting to see my name on the web in the public domain, even if not exactly as shiny and starry as I always imagined it ought to be... hmm.

I just swore to myself that I would not get sucked into the quicksand of chatting in the Calcutta chat rooms of Yahoo! Chat for at least the next three days. The theory is that this will give me more time to spend on my 'real work'. Of course ever since I made this rather well intentioned yet desperate kasam nothing of the sort has happened. The fact remains that I will be going home for three weeks on the 27th - five days from now - and the paper needs to be done by october!

My advisor is a very sweet mild mannered man - I am sure that I am nothing like who he expected or hoped his first ever 'advisee' to be. The thing he needs to realise is that two things drive me - a fear of my inevitable absolute failure becoming public and guilt!