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September 30, 2009



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January 27, 2009


I held my father’s hand before pushing him into the furnace. That’s the last memory I have of him, a touch.
Sometime near the end, I realised that I have to clutch on to a single memory of him. Yes, there were memories of events, and conversations, and places and people, but over time they fade, there had to be something very particular, and defined, that I could keep forever. I decided to remember how it felt to hold his hand, the warmth of his shawl as he held me in his arms, the prickle of his stubble against my cheek, and the scalding heat of the hand that slapped my face.
Of the five sense we have, i believe the sense of touch is best remembered. Yes we do remember the taste, the smell, the sound too, but often we seem to recognize them when we come across similar senses many years later, but to remember, to imagine, at will, its the touch that remains.

All I Really Want To Do

January 8, 2009

A funny thing happened, and sad.  I tried to make a friend. It’s been a while since I did that. Don’t know why, but I had never felt the need to. I’m happy always with nothing ever happening.  Snug in the comfort of the status quo, I suddenly sat up and noticed.

Haven’t felt this way in a long time.  It’s a mix of many feelings,  joy, fear, excitement, worry, apprehension, embarrassment, confusion, stupidity, nervousness, relief, freedom, wonder, curiousity, expectation…yeah, there are shades of all these, and a few more I haven’t been able to define, or put a tag to.

So, I said what I felt. Didn’t know what I was doing, or where I was headed. Shut eyes and waited.

I was misunderstood, thanked for being inspiring and a nice guy.  I was never understood. It’s funny, because I couldn’t have been clearer with my thoughts. Maybe the gap is too wide, generations apart, to fill with a few simple words.

Well atleast I wasn’t slapped. Though I might, one day soon…

Bob kinda said it the best, exactly my feelings
…I don’t want to straight-face you,
Race or chase you, track or trace you,
Or disgrace you or displace you,
Or define you or confine you….


Pradip Saha posts at the new CSE blog . Follow his adventures at The 14th session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention (COP 14) at Poznan.

For daily news and updates

Buy land on the moon!

November 5, 2008


Sea of Tranquility? The Lake of Dreams? …starts from $30 and acre!


Still motion

October 31, 2008

We formed a DTE New Media team a couple of months ago. The intent is to create ‘extra’ content from stories in Down to Earth, for the web via photos, audio, video and sometimes a fusion of all these mediums. The team currently has only a single permanent member, Lavanya. She’s been churning out stuff over the last few weeks, conceiving, researching, editing and designing.

This last film, shot by Meeta, our new recruit photographer, and Lavanya, over a period of 8 hours, from the top of a building at Connaught Place with a Nikon D300 digital SLR. Lavanya then put together the 1500 odd still images to create this film.

DTE Xtra



Great job!

The head spins, the mouth is dry.  I’m not feeling well. These are hard times, at home and at work.

Head on
An old friend and a colleague is back. He rejoins us as our managing editor. While he was still a reporter, I travelled with him, shooting some of my best work. A journalist to the core, he always struggled in this research based activist organization. His stories, reportages, easy, informative and interesting reads, where often turned into forensic pieces. The transformation possible only because my friend never lacked in research, just that he wrote for the average reader, he believed what you leave out is as important as what you write. I respect him deeply, and consider him a close friend.

The friend then left. He travelled half way across the planet and worked for a year with one of the top newspapers of the world. Now as he prepares to take charge of our magazine, his belief’s strengthened with experience, advice and working with the cream of reporters, editors, his work is cut out.

Will he be able to transform our magazine from being the activist mouthpiece of a research organisation to being an inviting read for a traveller at a railway station Wheeler.

Tough, but I’m with him

“Aap to artist ho…” my friend often says to me, in a tone tone, which borders on complement and sarcasm. An amateur photographer himself, he listens to classical music and recites poetry at will. Traits of an artist, or a  connoisseur of the arts perhaps. But the friend will vehemently deny all this, he is but a labourer, a clerk, a reporter. Nevertheless, he has always had a keen sense for the aesthetic, coupled with a strong opinion of what he likes and dislikes. Especially when it comes to how a magazine should be designed.
And which is better, Serif, or San-serif, fonts.

This being a point of debate between us. Our magazine is a good mix of the two. The body copy being in a Serif font, and headlines, highlights mostly in Sans. When I joined I found the font usage to be a bit arbitrary. I rationalized it, tried to give it a logic, without deviating from the master design.

My friend loves Serif. His foreign sojourn has, as mentioned earlier, strengthened his beliefs. Serif’s are easier to read, and they “exude a class and elegance…they don’t shout, because we don’t need to…” said the Newsweek head of design to my friend.

“Why do we use Sans-serif for our headlines? Why do we always shout?”

I have no particular leaning towards either type, a mere understanding that each has its place, an opinion not based on any theory, text books or experience but a feeling.  We use San-serif because that’s how our magazine has been designed for the last 10 years, and if we want to change it, sure lets talk. Lets find a better reason, than because he likes its better.

I have a problem when someone pushes for a fiat on font usage, which essentially is dictating design, but a ‘feeling’ is just not enough to argue with the Newsweek head, and his new devotee, my friend. The managing editor.

Come lets have a drink first.

Reclaiming our selves
Life hasn’t been the same since my wife went through a surgery last month. A major invasive procedure, it has left her scheduling life around a large number of pills of various shapes. This massive influx of foreign chemicals will continue for about a year, with added side-effects.

Health is not cheap. Expenses for treatment are high, and often unaffordable unless you are insured, or very rich. We are of the former breed. Unfortunately, being insured is not insurance either.

Last week we learnt that our claims have been rejected, for reasons inexplicable and beyond comprehension.  The news has left us a bit broken. But we’ll manage. It’s going to be difficult, but not impossible. The fight. One, to repay the debts, two, to claim what is ours.

The desire to be independent has made this world a lonelier place. I miss my father.

The head spins, the mouth is dry.  I’m not feeling well. I can feel a hard-on in the butt, and a hole in my gut…Is it the water…