Sunday, August 18, 2013

UPDATE: Crash Bang Ow Resolved

Two posts ago (Crash Bang Ow) I discussed a car accident the Mister and I had on the way to work.  I ended with a bit of a complaint about how the lady who hit ole Bassy promised to pay and then reneged and I compared her unfavorably to Ms. Lynn Eccleston of Baraboo, Wisconsin, who hit my car, promised to pay and never did.  I think I sounded a tad pessimistic regarding whether or not we would see our car repair money.  That would be because I really didn't think we would.

However, happy news, Readers! The lady who hit our car did pay for the damages, though after quite a bit of cajoling and badgering.  We joked that we had Vicky shakedown the lady, which, I mean, she owed us the money so it really wasn't a shakedown.  But I guess he bothered he so much that finally she was like, "Alright, already.  If I pay you can I get a recipe and signed statement saying you will cease and desist with the bothering." Which we were more than happy to pony up.

Regarding all this, Mr ATK and I did have a bit of a moral quandary. You see, the car repairs really weren't that expensive--about $160.  (Side note: It constantly amazes me how cheap labor is here.  The damage horrible person Lynn Eccleston did to my car was not nearly as bad as this and that cost me $800.  For some scraped paint and a small dent. Crazy.)  Now it's true we could have paid for the repairs ourselves with relative ease (thought $160 isn't exactly chump change.)  The lady that hit us was a teacher, so I feel fairly confident in saying we probably could afford it more than she could.  But, you know, she hit our car.  And it was completely her fault.  Like, if it had been close, we probably wouldn't have pushed it, but it was just so blatant.

Anyways, we decided to donate our shakedown money to Vicky's church, since he actually did all the work in getting the lady to pony up.  Although it's not much,  I'm sure the money will be put to good use.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Indian Independence Day Mubarak Ho!

Happy August 15 everyone!

As you may (or may not) know, August 15 is India's Independence Day.  Mind you this is not to be confused with Republic Day which is January 26. What's the difference you ask?  Well, Republic Day celebrates the ratification of the Indian constitution.  Now at first I thought, Isn't that kind of double dipping?  You know, celebrating independence and the constitution? Isn't that a little much? 

Then I started reading Ramachandra Guha's book India After Gandhi.  I checked this out of the library, like, last year, but didn't get around to starting it until we went to Australia.  Mr. ATK was not too keen on hauling around a 900 page book in our shared backpack which he generally carried.  Especially since I had a nice light Kindle I could have brought.  I sympathize, but I always do the most reading on vacation and I had been wanting to read it, so along with us it came.

Me in Melbourne starting the book at the beginning of our vacation. Thanks to Mr. ATK for the flattering picture.

So why the two holidays? Apparently, on January 26, 1930 the Indian National Congress passed the Purna Swaraj declaration--the Declaration of Indian Independence from Britain.  Seventeen years later, when the British finally agreed to leave, the Congress wanted the handover to occur on January 26 as that was already their Independence Day.  The British chose August 15 because it was V-J day.  So when they finally finished writing the constitution in 1949, they chose for it to come into force on January 26, 1950--the twenty year anniversary of the Purna Swaraj declaration.  So it's not just about double dipping holidays--it has a very important historical significance.

Anyways, this book, its fairly in-depth book and I'm not going to into it here (apart from the previous paragraph.) But I will say that reading the book, while living here, has certainly given me a better of understanding of India today, by teaching me about the path India has traveled over the past 66 years.  Mr. ATK and I have traveled quite a bit around India and I've really grown quite fond of this insanely chaotic yet spectacular place.  But in all honesty, the longer I live here and the more I read about India, the less inclined I am to say I truly understand it at all.  Such is India. What I do have is a much greater appreciation for all of its complexities and idiosyncrasies.  It's development as a free, independent democracy is truly amazing especially considering the incredible diversity (in race, religion, language, culture) and the challenges of developing economically and socially with an ever-increasing population.  That is not to say I agree with every decision or action India has made or continues to make (not that India is particularly concerned with my opinion anyway).  But considering the prevailing (and pejorative) wisdom in the "west" in 1947 was that India, and Asia in general, just "wasn't ready" for democracy and that it would undoubtedly crumble into chaos before becoming an authoritarian state (or perhaps break apart all together), it is nice to see India has defied the odds and proven the skeptics wrong.*

And so, in honor or Indian Independence Day, I would like to sign off with a quote from Nehru's excellent "Tryst with Destiny" speech:

It is a fateful moment for us in India, for all Asia and for the world. A new star rises, the star of freedom in the east, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materialises. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed!

And I would also like to share this awesome Bollywood video from the movie "Chak De India." I haven't seen the movie (it's about field hockey), but the song is awesome. They were dancing to and singing this song at the India-Pakistan Patriotic Border Competition** which I have previously discussed here


*So far. And hopefully for years to come. जय हिन्द!
**Again, not the really name of the event.  I just made that up.