Band, Baaja, Baraat & Black….

Published on Times of India on 7th March 2011 – http://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tiger-trail/entry/band-baaja-baraat-and-black

Indian weddings are almost always psychedelic and a feast for the senses. Every state in India has a rich tradition and within every state, its diverse communities have heterogeneous practises and rituals to celebrate the union of marriage. What joy to watch a blushing bride and a peppy groom in their finest accoutrements, bedazzling in splendour and finery amidst an ocean of smiling faces and warm wishes. Marriages always bring in a carnival of rapturous merriment. It does not matter how grandly the wedding was conducted, what matters ultimately is the happiness along the journey of marriage. What also matters is the source of funds used to conduct these big, fat and vulgar Indian weddings.

Big, fat, Indian weddings are no longer made in heaven but planned meticulously here on earth. Marriages are fast becoming the union of powerful conglomerates, a merger of influential houses. Amidst the band, baaja and baraat fanfare that ear marks Indian weddings, the festivities pave an easy way out to spend that black money stashed away in club lockers and water tanks of sprawling farmhouses. No longer is the bride blushing and looking demure, instead her skin glitters off the diamonds she wears. The groom is rubbing his hands in glee and is probably waiting to take off in the chopper that was presented to him as a wedding gift. The parents and relatives of the groom have that smug, snooty and pompous look written all over their made up faces despite a tilak-shagun running into crores. Somewhere in the backdrop, Bollywood stars would be gyrating unceremoniously on an ostentatious stage. Guests would relish over the stars and devour an array of rich, greasy food topped with non-stop free flowing alcohol.

At the outskirts of New Delhi recently, it is estimated that Rs 250 crores was spent at a lavish wedding of a Congress Leader’s son with the daughter of an ex-MLA. Fifteen thousand guests were in attendance and a helicopter was presented to the groom. Guests were also presented with silver biscuits, safari suits and cash and were amply entertained by Bollywood stars. (This Congress leader’s other son was involved in a fatal accident a year ago that killed a woman when the Mercedes he was driving rammed into a taxi. Expectedly, the accused was out on bail shortly thereafter.)

Two hundred and fifty crores spent for a wedding by a Congress leader is nothing short of shameful. The money spent at this wedding exceeds even the annual GDP of Lakshadweep! Social functions on a scale like this get endorsed to be “acceptable” when the event is attended by political bigwigs and noted celebrities and treated as a page three event. In this particular case, the Rs 250 crore wedding was even featured on the main pages. Hardworking Indians, who abide by the law and pay their taxes unfailingly, struggle to conduct weddings even of mediocre standards despite trying to save for their child’s wedding for twenty-five years. Uncouth weddings such as these are never under the scanner; instead they become a media circus and celebrated over. With food inflation and corruption still a primary concern, weddings such as these showcase the enormous and growing gap (of gargantuan proportion!) between the rich and the poor. There is enough food wasted at these boorish weddings and they account for nearly 15% of India’s total wasted food grains. Mr KV Thomas, Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister has stated that the Government plans to introduce a bill in this regard and restrict food grain usage in weddings. How about the Government looking into the source of funds for these weddings as well? Can we expect this to happen?

Which makes me ask the same question umpteenth time over. When I pay my taxes, where does my money go? I don’t see it going to notably improve the infrastructure of the city I live in or to improve education and neither do I see it going to acquire more hospital beds. The Government spends less than 3% of our GDP on health care and is now even levying a 5% service tax if I admit myself in an Air-conditioned hospital. Can somebody educate me as to which hospital has a Laboratory or an Operation theatre that is not air-conditioned! There is a good chance we will all be paying this service tax when we are admitted in any Hospital. And this money paid by the common, “sick” Indian invariably funds the Band, Baaja and Baraat of the healthy, good spirited Indian, popularly known as our “Neta”.

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135 Responses to “Band, Baaja, Baraat & Black….”

  1. Comments from TOI page on FB –

    Ramanjeet Singh kuch toh hota hai. . . Jai ho neta ji ki
    Jai ho
    Tuesday at 8:09pm · Like

    Shweta Kuthiala golmaal hai sab golmaal…..neta g wah waah…
    Tuesday at 8:10pm · Like · 3 people

    Honest Critic Times now enough of Hassan Ali. now go after Ketan Parekhs and Jains
    Tuesday at 8:10pm · Like

    Saurabh Jain where??
    Tuesday at 8:10pm · Like · 1 person

    Soni Singhal what u guyz think about d showz like” shadi 3 crore ki”?????????
    Tuesday at 8:10pm · Like · 1 person

    Saurabh Kumar humse puch rhe ho kahan gaye
    Tuesday at 8:11pm · Like

    Vivek Sharma We are all sleeping. And ruling by souls. Yar mari atamo se nahi lad sakte. Bribe deni padgi
    Tuesday at 8:11pm · Like

    Vivek Sharma So funny hahaha. Soni ji.
    Tuesday at 8:12pm · Like

    Veer Vivek Singh A classic example of foolishness………:p
    Tuesday at 8:12pm · Like · 1 person

    Mustafa Choudhury yeh bi ab hum hi batai…………toh aap kya bataoge
    Tuesday at 8:12pm · Like

    Nitesh Kadam All money goes into ministers’ Tijoris…!!
    Tuesday at 8:13pm · Like · 1 person

    Abdul Baseer U tell me..
    Tuesday at 8:14pm · Like

    Chandu Singh franz hi.
    Tuesday at 8:14pm · Like

    Ketan Kulkarni aare Hamne Inhe paise nai diya.. toh ye aapne bivi-bacchoko kya khilayange…???

    thoda unkeliye b socha karo guyz…
    Tuesday at 8:15pm · Like

    Chandu Singh NZ 202-5
    Tuesday at 8:15pm · Like

    Mubashir Kashmiri You are absolutly right the same kind of marriage was celeberated just a few days before where 250crore were spended. Where from this money is coming? Taxes and funds allocated for common people.
    Tuesday at 8:16pm · Like · 1 person

    Keshav Shrivastav Trust me , i feel A££ CRRPTD LDR KI MNY POOR PEPLE MAI DNT KAR DU!
    Tuesday at 8:17pm · Like

    Ketan Kulkarni ‎@Chandu.. thanx for da skore update…
    Tuesday at 8:17pm · Like · 1 person

    Gaurav Sharma Correct. Shoot all politician and our country will grow.
    Tuesday at 8:17pm · Like

    Rahul Bali We people of India need a revolution like in Egypt Style against Corruption because its high time now. May be Stopping tax returns or some thing else….!!
    Tuesday at 8:18pm · Like · 3 people

    Parthi Deepan rights of real citizen who pays the tax…
    Tuesday at 8:18pm · Like · 1 person

    Dhiren Sayar Times of India group is only group which care for tax payers money. No other group are concerned about this.
    Tuesday at 8:18pm · Like · 1 person

    Vivek Sharma Mushabir. Please link send kar do
    Tuesday at 8:19pm · Like

    Chandu Singh kuan BANEGA KARORPATI..
    Tuesday at 8:20pm · Like

    Vivek Sharma Dhiren. Mein sirf. The times of india ke karan fb par hoo.
    Tuesday at 8:21pm · Like

    Anup Pandey You see salaries and perks of our MPs and MLAs it goes on expanding like a baloon but still they are hungry of people’s money they digest it without even burping.
    Tuesday at 8:21pm · Like

    Ketan Kulkarni ‎@ Chandu.. Politicians…
    Tuesday at 8:21pm · Like

    Chandu Singh NZ 210-6
    Tuesday at 8:22pm · Like

    Chandu Singh ‎@ketan NO.
    Tuesday at 8:23pm · Like

    Dinesh Gupta ‎@Gaurav Sharma Correct. Shoot all politician and our country will grow.

    Afjal guru was doing same thing,but we all hate him like anything,is not hypocracy?
    Tuesday at 8:25pm · Like · 1 person

    Ketan Kulkarni Wenever der iz discussion in HOUSE of Public Interests… all parties fight like CATS N DOGS… but if ny party keeps proposal of salary hike for politicians… da handz r raised unanimously…. see da diff. n how cheap these politicians r..
    Tuesday at 8:25pm · Like · 5 people

    Chandu Singh NZ 227-6
    Tuesday at 8:26pm · Like · 1 person

    Neha Sangra we should not waste so much money during wedding celebrations..not only our neta..but we ourself in first stage should stop making marriage a show…n something that manifest social status…
    Tuesday at 8:27pm · Like · 1 person

    Ketan Kulkarni KASAB ko CST Station se pahile Parliament chodna chahiye tha…
    Tuesday at 8:27pm · Like

    Anila Sosan Tirkey politics is ol black…
    black money, black promises, black practises, black faced politicians…
    wht more..
    c d CWG…!
    Tuesday at 8:28pm · Like · 1 person

    Savio Saldanha ‎@Gaurav.. Pal, we are a Democratic State and not some Theocratic or Despotic Arab Country! Our Leaders are People’s Representatives and are Elected by the Indian Populace from among a list of Candidates. You’re asking to shoot them? Well dear, if we do as you say then who’ll lead us?? Who amongst you all commenting here are prepared to enter this sewage called politics?? No, the answer lies in electing better people irrespective of their caste, creed and gender. We are responsible for whom we elect so chose wisely and please Vote, For its no use talking later.. Get my point?
    Tuesday at 8:30pm · Like · 4 people

    Vivek Sharma ‎@gaurav. Pure nata gande hei. Tum kis kis ko marte rahoge.
    Tuesday at 8:31pm · Like

    Chandu Singh A .RAJA ALSO
    Tuesday at 8:32pm · Like

    Mamata Behera JO B HO,,,WEDDING ATTEND KARNA ACHHA LAGTA HE………….
    Tuesday at 8:32pm · Like · 2 people

    Soni Singhal Two hundred and fifty crores spent for a wedding by a Congress leader is nothing short of shameful. The money spent at this wedding exceeds even the annual GDP of Lakshadweep! ……toi blog.
    Tuesday at 8:32pm · Like · 2 people

    Chandu Singh NZ 257-6,48over. taylor107
    Tuesday at 8:34pm · Like

    Dinesh Mishra bhai agar mera pass jo paisa hai woh janta ko nahi dikhega toh lanat hai aisi daulat per,bura na maniye per ijjat pane ke liye paise hona jaruri hai phir woh chahe 2G SE KAMAU YA CWG SE KAMAU
    Tuesday at 8:37pm · Like · 1 person

    Chandu Singh roose taylor naamak tuffan aa gaya hai maiddan par.
    Tuesday at 8:37pm · Like

    Rajesh Dudhate very good we should be aware of the condition & next time vote to good politician
    Tuesday at 8:37pm · Like

    Ketan Kulkarni Evry time wen elections come.. these political parties… jus sho LOLLIPOPS to common mann.. n say ‘UR 1 vote can change da Destiny…’ but nw i came to understand y ppl r not interested in voting… n den dey hav 2 take hlp of Amitabh n Sachin.. 2 make dem vote..but ppl kno dat ‘KUTTE KI POOCH HAMESHA TEDHI HI HOTI HAI..’
    Tuesday at 8:37pm · Like · 1 person

    Chandu Singh NZ 276-6
    Tuesday at 8:38pm · Like

    Chandu Singh TAYLOR 131,NZ286
    Tuesday at 8:40pm · Like · 1 person

    Ketan Kulkarni y do politicians wear WHITES… it not at all suits dem.. dey shud always b in blacks… as der type of work…
    Tuesday at 8:41pm · Like

    Pratik Arvind Jagad same old story…corruption, etc…common yaa…discussing the same old issue wont stop it…something big needs to b ddone…like wat we saw in the african continent..to b precise the end of mubarak…
    Tuesday at 8:43pm · Like

    Ketan Kulkarni ‎@Chandu.. Ross Taylor has a Birthday today… good gift to NZ
    Tuesday at 8:43pm · Like

    Ketan Kulkarni ‎@Chandu.. Ross Taylor has a Birthday today… good gift to NZ
    Tuesday at 8:43pm · Like

    Chandu Singh NZ 295-7
    Tuesday at 8:43pm · Like

    Chandu Singh yes @ketan
    Tuesday at 8:44pm · Like

    Chandu Singh wht a ining taylor.
    Tuesday at 8:45pm · Like

    Ketan Kulkarni ‎@ Chandu.. pls can u tll how many ovrs..
    Tuesday at 8:45pm · Like

    Chandu Singh total score is 302
    Tuesday at 8:46pm · Like

    Nandana Prasad Do they even know how hard it is for us to pay our taxes? Being from a service-class family, I know what we are sacrificing-our salary. A part of salary is a part of life. We shouldn’t let anybody else enjoy on our part of salary. It’s senseless to throw money on marriage. It’s just a matter of a day or two. Spending so much is insane and meaningless. Where there’s shortage of free schools & colleges, where ppl are crying for food, there are idiots like this who throw a decade’s money in just a day! Go peaheads! Go help smbdy and spend it the right way. God might bless you for doing good to others.
    Tuesday at 8:46pm · Like · 6 people

    Chandu Singh ok by ketan .nd all
    Tuesday at 8:48pm · Like

    Ketan Kulkarni ‎@Nandana.. Absolutely Rite…
    Tuesday at 8:49pm · Like

    Geetika Arya Budhraja hum hi politicians ko kursi par bathate hai aur hum hi un par illzam lagate hai,if u want change vote for change
    Tuesday at 8:50pm · Like · 1 person

    Ketan Kulkarni ‎@Geetika… new parties means new corruptions… common man iz completely entangled.. can trust no one….
    Tuesday at 8:52pm · Like

    Sudhanshu Upadhyaya sum1 tell to so called “NETA’s”..
    ..yeh public hai sb janti hai..!!!
    ..
    so, plz stop nw.!!!
    Tuesday at 8:53pm · Like · 1 person

    Abhilash Garg ‎”Yahan tulte neta noton me, yahan sote afsar seeton pe, sabke oopar ullu baitha hai, iss desh ka yaaron kya kahna.”
    Tuesday at 8:55pm · Like · 1 person

    Nitin Dsouza I have decided, not to pay tax until this tradition is stopped.
    Tuesday at 8:55pm · Like · 1 person

    Vivek Sharma Yar. Indirect tax to pay karoge ya jungle mein rahene ka plan hei. @ nitin
    Tuesday at 9:03pm · Like

    Sushila Karthikeyan Spending on marriages is a sheer waste.
    Tuesday at 9:03pm · Like

    Arun Manoharan Yeah.. Our Taxes are very safely, secretly, and selfishly deposited in the Foreign Banks… But our govt will say… Its Illegal to flash those tainted…
    Tuesday at 9:04pm · Like

    Goutam Ash even their honeymoon and delivery expenses….
    Tuesday at 9:06pm · Like

    Abhilash Garg ‎@Rahul What to talk of Egypt type revolution when most of us educted people don’t even go out to use our democratic right to vote. We enjoy our holiday n curse that nothing can change here!
    Tuesday at 9:11pm · Like · 1 person

    Mayu Lungade ‎@abhilash: lekin vote kare b toh kise?? Sab sale same he…
    Tuesday at 9:15pm · Like

    Raj Saha Ek ek ko pakad k inki ____maar deni chaiye…ye netao ki to maa ki aakh…
    Tuesday at 9:16pm · Like

    Navami Bhattacharya we should ask our honourable ministers where our valuable money goes..??
    Tuesday at 9:19pm · Like

    Saurabh Kumar i am agrre with the comment but by not paying taxes we will be the same like them and a lot of important work will be affected like health care,,transportation ,,,and so many urgent operation…i m thankful to all who r payin there taxes
    Tuesday at 9:21pm · Like · 1 person

    Ameet Surana aLL THE TAXES GO TO LINE THE POCKETS OF POLITICIANS…. Are they paying any taxes.. and what about their telephone bills.. last heard mtnl had lots of unpaid dues from politicians
    Tuesday at 9:26pm · Like

    Ramkumar Ravichandran not just neta,even common people hv basic guidelines on how costly a weddin shud b!!! many marriages r cancelld just coz 1 of d parties doesnt go along on dis plan…
    indian people hv just forgotten wat marriage stands for!!!its no more a lifetime union of souls but an extravanza of a week/month!!!
    best way on dis is to
    1. Tax marriage expenditure,
    2. make it mandatory to spend 5-10% of budget on local social initiatives
    3. Declare to IT dept the gifts, etc.
    Tuesday at 9:29pm · Like

    Nitin Patkar YAH WE MUST HAVE TO GET A DATA OF THE TAY COLLECTED AND INVESTED BY THE GOV AND WE MUST ALSO HAVE RIGHT TO QUESTION ABOUT THE EXECESSIVE USE OF THE MONEY
    OTHERWISE THE TAX COLLECTED BY US IR COLLECTED IN SWISS BANK

    UNTILL AND UNLESS THIS HAPP…
    See More
    Tuesday at 9:42pm · Like

    Madhuresh Kumar ‎.Al d politicians r involvd..
    Tuesday at 10:29pm · Like

    Madhuresh Kumar ‎.Almst al politicians r involvd..dey just fil their pockets…nthng else..increasng d taxes on d local commodities…dats al dey do,wn dey feel their bnk balance has sluggish growth…al dey r makng way smooth fr dere sevn fuckn generations…
    Tuesday at 10:33pm · Like · 1 person

    Srinath Raju No doubts and the Gandhi family and to be more specific the Italian bar dancer has eaten up and still eating up
    Tuesday at 10:37pm · Like

    Sanskriti Sharma Stop paying the taxes….question them where our money goes……roads are not well constructed……no water no light….nuthing for public welfare…..if they make flyover also they are taking toll tax ther also……we cant do simple marriages for our kids and they are doin so lavish weddings……simply shameful on these ministers…!
    Tuesday at 10:43pm · Like

    Roopchandra Upadhayay SYSTEM is so corrept .
    Tuesday at 10:56pm · Like

    Ninad Dhairyawan Why just Band, bajaa & baraat. We seem to be funding their suhagrats & resultant illegitimate progeny also… excuse the language please!!!!!
    Tuesday at 11:01pm · Like

    Chandan Mehta to eradicate corruption is just like saying lets eradicate gravity..haaha
    Tuesday at 11:05pm · Like

    Lalit Wanvani that if had asked by indians a long time back we could have been somewhere on world’s chart of sucess; but its never late to wake up.
    Tuesday at 11:41pm · Like

    Nidhi Anandita hihi 😀 well written….!!
    Yesterday at 12:32am · Like · 1 person

    Karishma Singh wedding of netajis rel, costs more dan a common mans common dream….now we have 2 pay taxes on our diseases too, a common man would like 2 die happily who could not afford 2 pay heavy bills……but WHO CARES…shaadi achhi honi chahiye bas
    Yesterday at 12:39am · Like · 1 person

    Devang Desai Regressive Taxes Looting the Aam Aadmi..!!
    ==============================
    Taxes must be proportionate to individual’s income.

    Regressive Taxes like Sales Tax, VAT, Service Tax, Excise should be abolished – keep only Income Tax.

    See More
    Yesterday at 12:46am · Like

    Devang Desai What is a Regressive Tax?
    ==============================
    If I drink 1 cup of coffee a day, and say my boss also drinks a cup of coffee a day – I am being looted by the govt…!!

    Say Sales Tax on a cup of coffee is Rs.1/-

    See More
    Yesterday at 12:46am · Like

    Raghav Sharma in india one has to go through
    income tax
    sevice tax
    value tax tax
    corporate tax
    capital gains tax
    fringe benefit……………….
    ab itne saare tax me ek aam aadmi kya kamayeaga or khaega???????
    just filling the pockets of these so called “netas”
    Yesterday at 3:17am · Like

    Kabir Awadhi v indians r so ignorant,v dont even know who is looting us

    4m elite metro city to illeterate villagers v all think its just d NETAS who loot us,may b cuz v see them as villians in our movies
    our real looters r corrupt babus,netas can loot 4 minimum 5 yrs,but babus loot us till they retire
    Yesterday at 3:19am · Like

    Vishal Shahani Everywedding in India should have a FISCAL DECLERATION.
    17 hours ago · Like

    Ca Mk Arora Power to conduct search under service tax granted to Suprintendent level with permission from Jt Commissioner…Penalties also increased many folds.

    its fatal, disaterous and unfortunate to poor sufferrers Indian assessee…

    More guns to white coller dacoits ..this provision will lead to more blackmailing by badly corrupt govt officials.

    Govt should spare poor Indians from taxing as Whole india is crying because of existing powers in the hands of corrupts.

    Govt should focus on abolishing corruption in their own govt depts before giving them more powers.

    Fingure any bureaucrat in India and he can easily shed 200-300 crore & fingure any politician or established chamcha or dalal, he will shed 5000-10000 crore comfortaby and established politician can shed very easily two 3 times of Indian budget..ie 500000 crore
    8 hours ago · Like

    Harish Mishra Vande Matram well said…
    about an hour ago · Like

  2. I am entirely in favor of this extravagance.

    Now before I explain that line, let me first say that I do not support the most popular reasons ascribed to this spending by dogmatic traditions. I do not believe that this money is spent in celebration of the girl’s virginity or presumed honor. That I think is the version of either an existentialist or a pragmatist.

    This money is mostly spent by the girl’s father and relatives, be it a mere INR 10,000 of a poor farmer or INR 200 million of this local MP. The significance is not in the numerical value. The objectives are the same.

    I think it’s most improper and indecent to argue that the bride’s virginity, honor or vanity is worth such huge amounts, or any amount for that matter. The ritualists among us need to reconsider their terms of reference for disposing a female offspring.

    It’s not just a coincidence that a girl child is called Lakshmi. If the bride’s father has spent about 25% of his liquidity on this marriage there is much more in the kitty for elections and other investments.

    However, I am not interested in that.

    In general, I am entirely in favor of this extravagance. The marriage is just an incidental premise. The money can be spent on any other reason and I would still support that.

    For me, 200 Crores of real cash is smuggled back into the country from the tax havens abroad and distributed to the luxury service providers in the local market. That is excellent. The RBI couldn’t do that in such a quick time even if it cut the inter-bank rates to zero.

    We must appreciate the regional sentiment of this King Lear. At least he did not hold the marriage in Malaysia, London or Singapore.

    To be continued…

    • This is a different take.. a few others thought it was the only way to keep the money in circulation in the economy. However, Rs 200 crores may have been given entirely in black and received in black ( which is another matter altogether. Regional sentiments, that is because he has his vote bank here, he paid Rs15000 per villager who attended the function!

  3. I feel the motivational factors for this sort of extravagance is mainly perceptual.

    Among Hindus I believe the girl child actually raises her father in a rather subtle sense, although structurally it appears the other way round. In this process she banks on all the available resources at her disposal including the prevailing social customs.

    There is no dearth of feel-good rituals in an ancient culture like ours. Most of them strengthen a father’s pride in his duties.

    One such tradition is a marriage that is arranged by the parents of the girl and the boy. This tradition has been around for quite some time.

    Arranged and registered marriages were not prevalent in the Vedic period because there were no Dharma Sutra (Constitutions) in that period.

    Those were the days of Manu smriti. Gandharva marriage was the norm. A girl and a boy swore affection for each other in the presence of a deity and went about their routine business, doing what young girls and boys are expected to do.

    The Upanishad era was also the time when Dharmasutra began to be written. Some famous ones were those of Hrishi Vashishtha and Hrishi Gautama. Hrishi Gautama happens to be my first ancestor in the lineage.

    Vashishtha started the caste system. He divided the society into the various castes as we know them today. He prohibited inter-caste marriages. The Kshatriyas indulged in swayamwara where a girl would choose her husband from a contest among suitors. The sack race and hide & seek were not heard of in those days. Most of the competitions involved some sort of galantry.

    The illiterate classes were permitted child marriages as the death rate among them was very high. Few of them ever lived to see grand children.

    I am straying from the subject.

    The arrangement of marriages among vaishyas and sudras was similar to that which is still common in some other religions today. The parents of the girl or the boy approached their counterparts through mediation. The mediators were usually old gossiping women or local priests.

    This part is the most intriguing. It’s a sort of negotiation even though both parties often pretend it is not.

    The girl’s father takes pride in claiming that his daughter has never had a pre-marital affair or she is a good home maker or she is very docile, religious and cultured etc. The actual unadmitted fact is that his missionary zeal in this process has nothing to do with the position of his daughter after the marriage.

    The boy’s parents make no such claims. They are rather complacent about the whole idea.

    Add some more self-defeating vain states of denial like dowry, marriage expenses, social status, caste etc. and the whole event becomes the kind of irreverant farce that we see around us today.

    The cultural movement that modernization is expected to bring about is yet to strike home in the real sense.

    I find that the reality of successful arranged marriages is rather sado-masochist in some cases. One of the spouse is saddistic and the other is a masochist. One takes pleasure in causing distress, the other makes a philosophy out of a duty of sacrifices. The two live happily ever after.

    • Simply fabulous take on Indian marriages and it’s history! WOW.. How long has dowry been in the system? Since which era? I am most intrigued now.

      • Among the Kshatriya kings the dowry was paid by the bridegroom to the bride’s father.

        The dowry from girl’s father to the bridegroom was practiced by Vaishyas (traders). It has never existed among sudras.

      • The dowry system began with the caste system. Vashishtha’s brother Agastya was strongly opposed to it. He married an asura dasyu girl called Lobhamudra breaking all customary norms.

        Lobhamudra wrote the famous Lalita Sahasranama. She is also worshipped as Kaveri, the river.

        The name lobhamudra is often misread as Lopamudra because of a mischievous purnana written by a fire worshipper to imply that those who saw her area became blind.

      • Correction: implying that those who saw her beauty became blind.

    • I was checking out the translation of the Lalilta Sahasrnamam, I listen to this quite regularly. Do let me know if you know any site which translates the sahasranama in english better than this one on Wiki
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lalita_sahasranama

      • Lalita Sahasranama are the thousand names of Shakti or Durga or Kali or Parvati.

        I would rather do a translation myself than look for one. May be you could do it yourself once you begin to recite it correctly. It’s very simple as you notice in the table at the end of the page.

      • Will do.. and hope, you do one too.. somewhere in the future. That will be a feast.

  4. Aishwarya Says:

    Sharmila,

    Most girls love an occasion to dress up, flaunt their finery, and be the center of attraction…they dream of a tastefully decorated home of their own, they long to show off their culinary and homemaking skills…they long to nurture their own…in short, they dream of marriage. Guys dream too, but I dont think it’s marriage they are dreaming about!

    It is then perhaps apt that every time a guy gets ‘trapped’ in marriage, the girl’s family ‘celebrate’:P – the richer the family, the more showy and noisier it gets and if its a major merger, then the dazzle and decibels are sure to leave the onlookers’ senses numb for a long time… Once the brouhaha is done away with, it is only natural that the guy will get bored…so we have toys for them…since guys dont play with dolls, unless they are live ones…and since we dont want to gift them THAT, we give them a car or a helicopter, as the case may be… The girl is usually busy getting accustomed to life in a new home with new people or has conceived or is being questioned as to why she isnt planning on conceiving…so she usually has no time for toys.

    I have never seen a guy clamoring for the bridal bouquet! Girls shouldnt either. A marriage is about loving, sharing and caring…its serious stuff…a lot more serious than a crass facade by rich papas for tax evasion.

    Aish.

    • Aish – Of course, agree with the sweeter aspects of the ceremony. I have nothing against the ceremony or its grandeur provided the money used was well earned in the first place. If the Ambanis and the Saharas throw a party like this, not many raise an eyebrow as to how could they “afford” it. But, when an ordinary Govt servant is spending 250 crores, then it is naturally unusual and the source of funding must be examined. I am not happy with the fact that my tax money has been used to buy the groom a toy when the roads I travel on in Bangalore is not fun and neither is the infrastructure being taken care of etc etc.

      PS: how is the course going?

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Sharmila – The course is going great. I believe there are two phases in life when we are happiest – one, when we are kids and the other, the time spend in the company of kids.

        I got carried away with the first 3 BBBs and almost missed the last B – ‘black’ and the key phrase in your post ‘the source of the funds.’ I must rather sadly admit that I dont completely understand the budget or the channeling of the tax funds…

        The heads of our nation and their bunch of cronies behave like royalty. They live life king-size like they were born into our tax money! The way Sonio glides in, I almost expect someone to be holding the train of her gown!

      • Good to know Aish!.. 🙂

      • Sonio is the word.. !! and the world..

      • Sharmila,

        Black money is not generated from the taxes paid by people. The money that King Lear above spent is not stolen from the countries treasury.

        Black money is money for which taxes are not paid. 90% of the money in the market is unaccounted cash. That is not the money collected in taxes.

        It’s the amount we pay in cash while buying real estate and other under-invoiced goods.

        These are huge amounts. Not the tips we pay to the door keeper in the collector office.

      • No , no.. I agree. I know exactly what black money is let me clarify about the taxes bit which I pay. The money I pay as tax is for the development of the country. Now, this money is supposed to be used for various purposes as specified by the annual budget. Lets say for infrastructure, now if the project costs Rs1,000 crore the work carried is out is for 500 crores and the balance is pocketed by a cartel run by netas and contractors. This is unaccounted money and black. Also, even the 500 crores for projects would be even handed out in cash partly and would include dubious accounting as demonstrated clearly in the case of the CWG, which again leads to the money being ” black”. All this money is what is being used to fund the band and the baaja. The regular kind of black money is what you speake of in term stamp duty by undervaluing real estate etc.

      • And then there is bribe money as in the case of 2G scam which would have been paid to Raja, the source would have been generated from legitimate revenue and even expended in the correct accounting sense. This is where corporate structures and restructuring , transfer pricing come into play.

      • The Ambanis and Sahara spend money collected directly from the consumers of their products, assuming that it is accounted money.

        The government servant or a public servant spends sleaze money.

        I feel the source of funds need not be examined. We already know the source. And the statement of accounts is applicable only if the person is willing to pay taxes on that.

        In India, if I am not willing to pay taxes I can survive happily in the cash economy. It’s larger and more useful than the white economy which is wasted by ruling parties.

      • Aishwarya Says:

        How is sleaze money different from black money?
        Do we have a choice in paying our taxes as we have in greasing palms?

      • Aishwarya Says:

        On our way from the city to the outskirts, we have to pay a toll fee. We then get to go on one of the scariest bumpy rides that could put even theme parks to shame! So, were we paying for the joy ride or was that highway robbery?? May be there should be money called ‘grey’ money. It’s white but not really white…and not black because it was taxed! 🙂

      • Sharmila, Aish,

        I may be wrong, but here is how I understand it.

        In the 2G scam, the money shared by those involved is not collected from us as taxes. It is recovered from the buyers of their products in the form of inflated prices.

        In infrastructure contracts, all the money is paid to the contractors through the banking system, so all of it is white. While all the money that the contractor pays to government officers in cash is black. In short black money is becoming white in the contractpr’s account.

        And the tax money is becoming black money that ends up in the hands of the government officer.

        Conclusion: Try to avoid paying taxes as far as possible. Taxes are like an HIV infection. The host dies by loss of resistence to immunity.

      • Agree on the 2G, I was referring exactly the same thing, that comment had nothing to do with taxes, it has more to do with accounting ( inflated pricing ) and corporate structuring.
        All regarding the infrastructure I was saying (if the project costs Rs1,000 crore the work carried is out is for 500 crores and the balance is pocketed by a cartel run by netas and contractors. This is unaccounted money and black. Also, even the 500 crores for projects would be even handed out in cash partly and would include dubious accounting as demonstrated clearly in the case of the CWG, which again leads to the money being ” black”.)
        To simplify – An invoice is generated for 1000 crores, (work carried out is for 500 crores ), bank transfer of 1000, certification of works carried out 1000 crores. Book Profit made ZERO, Real profit 500 crores in cash ( zero tax paid on this income in the books of the contractor )

      • Correction: Last line: the tax payer dies because of loss of immunity.

      • Aishwarya Says:

        The white money, the tax money and the black money has been as confusing for me as watching a puppy trying to catch its tail! Thank you both for shedding light on the topic…

  5. Did you notice that the Brahmins are not in the social order?

    The Dharmasutra (Constitution) did not apply to them. They were only bound by the shashtras (code of ethics).

    A Brahmin married within his own community and his children were privileged to the education of shashtras that included all the sciences, metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy.

    Theosophy, literature and rituals were disseminated to all the other castes.

    My ancestors were very clever. They were masters at managing knowledge. I suspect one of them must have been a Jew.

  6. […] Continue reading here: Band, Baaja, Baraat & Black…. « Sharmila says… […]

  7. The Tsunamis and earthquakes have devastated northeast Japan.. the Tsunami is about to hit Hawaii any time now.. There is no hellish fury worse than the wrath of Mother Nature..

    • I am glad the nuclear reactors in the area did not break up. That would have been a catastrophic disaster.

      • But how do we know this!! I reckon this info is very sensitive, god alone knows what is happening!

      • Saw raging infernos.. not sure if the refineries are already devastated..

      • Aishwarya Says:

        Alarming!

      • The head of the government announced that the nuclear plamts are safe. I hope it is true.

        BTW, if Taiwan is on the path, is Hong Kong too on alert?

        On the other side the US west coast is already on an alert. Shipping in the mexican gulf may also be affected.

        I guess Renate is safe. She is sitting on the Himalayas North of Calfornia.

      • HK is safe, no alert here, Met says everything is fine. Tsunamis are expected to hit Taiwan. So, will see how it pans out.

      • Yes, Japan has integrity, the high command should know what its talking about,,, unlike India.,,

      • What a shocking wakeup in the morning. A whole country maimed and paralyzed. I have no idea how they can say with certainty that the nuclear reactors are fine.

        Thanks, Reader, for wondering about me. There is something to be said for a safe distance. The tsunami will come here in about an hour and estimates are between two and six feet. Fun for the local children, no more.

        A long long way to recovery for Japan.

      • Glad you are okay. 2 – 6 meters of Tsunami is safe or unsafe depending on the back-up volume of water that is pushing. Better take a proper report from the weather centers.

      • Feet, Reader, Feet!

        The US has not yet joined the civilized metric world.

        I went to gawk as the Tsunami hit and the most impressive thing was to see seabottom where there always has been water cover.

        The surfers stood on solid ground.

        The coast guard was present with ships and helicopters and parts of town were closed to traffic. The largest noticeable effect of the Tsumami was the ensuing traffic jam.

    • The domes of the refinery’s vessels are going to collapse any moment.

      • Report in – Difficulty in cooling off one of the nuclear reactors.. bracing for the worst..

      • Shocking videos coming up on all channels. Devastating to say the least.

        Appreciate the resilience of the Japanese people. The country is in a state of shock. Hope they recover soon. It’s one of the most developed countries in the world and one with the best work ethics and industrial culture.

  8. The visuals on TV are nothing short of unbelievable. Cars, homes and ships sailing like toys in an ocean of destruction. 33feet high waves sweeping inland and swallowing everything in it’s path. Passenger trains missing, airports and public transport have been crippled.Sendai has been literally decimated. The tsunami warning was extended to as near as Hong Kong &Taiwan. The chilliest bit now is the inability to cool off the reactors in Okuma, evacuation has been ordered, controlled leakage is said to be in play and a nuclear warning has been issued.
    The ocean and the earth have given vent, both have cracked, shifted their tectonic plates and released a humongous amount of energy to cause all this destruction. The Japanese, hard working, skilled and one of the most enterprising nationalities are not indulging in any chest beating, instead, with stoic reserve they face the wrath of Mother Nature. Their history has moulded their steely resolve. I have always wished though that they treated Nature with more respect. Greenpeace has had harrowing times with them to stop the whale trade. Thousands of whales have been decimated with their weapons, I wish they stopped to hear them cry like the way we now hear them cry.
    The entire universe has to be in equilibrium, if you take, you need to give, if there is a shift in the equation, destruction is inevitable, we are fast racing towards it. Is this the time that Kalki appears? I have no idea.

    Renate, MonaLisa – You guys ok??? Renate did you go to the beach? Did you take any photos?

    • Touche’, Sharmila,

      You have said in a few words what the world is going to go ad nauseam for the next few weeks.

      Kalki is the Prophet of Islam according to the Bhavisya Purana of Veda Vyasa. He is named in that book.

      • Not next few weeks, may be not next few years.. but next few decades.. yes Reader.. We wont be on this blog, but our ghosts will debate over it..just before internet ceases and computers bite the dust.. I thought Kalki is the final avatar?? ( the tenth )

      • Yes. Kalki is the final avataar before the next pralaya. According to Vedic mathematics, the description, time and date matches with the birth of Islam and it’s history.

        Earth is on it’s last leg of the Kali Yuga. The pralaya occurs at the end of one age of Brahma. It is expected now after a thosuand years from the date of birth of the last prophet. That would be around 2600 AD.

      • Correction: 2 thousand years by the Julian calender, it comes to 2600 AD.

      • Epistemically, the word “avataar” translates as prophet. THe book is published by the Foundation of Islamic Studies in Bahrain and authorized by its founders in Saudia.

    • Sharmila,
      All well…except for heavy rain and flooding condition…
      Thanx for asking…

    • Thanks for asking, Sharmila.

      Yes, I did go to the beach, which in most places in our our town lies safely below 10 m high cliffs. The low-lying areas were closed by the police.

      The photos are not very impressive, because they look just like areas exposed by low tides. Only no tide has ever been so low before. I had not expected the ocean to recede so far.

      Some boats apparently got off their moorings in our harbour and the damage is estimated to be 15 Million.

      This earthquake has no connection with what we do to the environment – it is solely caused by our planet’s plate tectonics. But it serves as a warning what Nature is capable of. Better not to provoke her wrath.

      Are we listening?

  9. Saw the King’s Speech last night. It should have been named the King’s Stammer.

    It’s been so long I have enjoyed good subtle humor of such high quality. Fabulous script I must say. These are some of the moments when I feel English should only be spoken by the English.

    I wouldn’t give it an Oscar, but that is only because the Oscar does not belong to me. It deserves every award it can get.

    There was one minor flaw I noticed. The story begins in 1925 and ends 12 years later in 1937. The King’s two daughters Elizabeth and Margaret do not grow an inch.

    I suppose that is aesthetically true about the entire English culture. It doesn’t grow up.

    • I watched it last week. Enjoyed the subtle humor! Colin Firth fully deserving of the Oscar, best movie.. not sure.. I liked Black Swan better, again Portman, fully deserving of her Oscar. ha ha.. yes, good point about the growing up!

  10. Somehow it has become a norm or a fashion to award a movie either made by a brit or a subject of that era…
    Colin firth acted very well..but in my opinion it is not the best movie comparing other nominated movies…
    Lately Oscar has lost its charm…and one of the reasons is ..that viewers meet with such an expected surprises…
    Another reason…absence of all all time sweethearts like Ahgelina,Julia,Katherine and many others… Ann was a delight though..she was the heart and soul of the entire show…

  11. Anand Khare Says:

    shocked to see visulas of Japan. Reading some zen stories to overcome the mental trauma.

    wishing good to all residents in Japan for reconstructin and recovery.

  12. The Nuclear Reactor exploded a few hours ago. About 1500 mSv of radiation released instantly. THe shell of the bulding is intact. Thats no good for hold nuclear radiation.

    The impact of this will last for decades.

    • This is indeed a nightmare.. you reckon its going the Chernobyl way?

      • Chernobyl was relatively in a safe zone, close to siberia.

        I don’t know the decay rate of radioactive cessium, but hope the dispersion can be contained somehow.

  13. Reader, don’t be silly, Chernobyl is much closer to my home in Germany than it is to Siberia!!

    • Is it? I didn’t know that. I was shown the investigation report of the Chernobyl incident in one of my DPs. It had a video with satellite picture showning it in the middle of no-where.

      This plant in Japan seems to be in the city.

    • When was the picture taken? It’s certainly the middle of nowhere NOW.

      • The pictures were live shots of the devastated plant immediately after the reactors exploded. I didn’t see any city or town in its area. Looked like one of my Oil stations in the desert here.

        But we’ll never know the statistics on civil casualities from Russia. They don’t disclose that.

        I was taught the engineering aspects of the accident and the new industrial safety procedures developed since then.

      • It seems to be still in the balance whether there will be a meltdown (or two) in Japan, the news coming out are not too reliable.

        This will certainly accelerate the general discussion about nuclear power in other countries. Germany kept delaying planned shutdowns of its plants as politicians were playing power games.

        I wonder what will happen now.

        We are lucky that in Northern California we don’t have any in the fault zone, but that is not true for SoCal.

      • Nuclear Power is good. We are still learning how to handle the fissile material. Theres no point in discarding nuclear power as a whole.

        Shutdowns are mandatory and should not be politicized. The machines don’t understand politics.

        We have mastered only a few loose ends of the supply-chain of electrical power from natural sources. We are able to tap it and transmit it as of now. We are still unable to store it like water in a reservoir or control the half life of an isotope.

        But we won’t learn till we do. Nuclear power is the end all of our energy requirements. Nothing can stop us now.

  14. Radioactive caesium in the environment

    Small amounts of cesium-134 and caesium-137 were released into the environment during nearly all nuclear weapon tests and some nuclear accidents, most notably the Chernobyl disaster. As of 2005, caesium-137 is the principal source of radiation in the zone of alienation around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Together with cesium-134, iodine-131, and strontium-90, caesium-137 was among the isotopes with greatest health impact distributed by the reactor explosion.

    The mean contamination of caesium-137 in Germany following the Chernobyl disaster was 2000 to 4000 Bq/m2. This corresponds to a contamination of 1 mg/km2 of caesium-137, totaling about 500 grams deposited over all of Germany.
    Due to caesium-137 mostly being a product of artificial nuclear fission, it did not occur in nature to any significant degree before nuclear weapons testing began. By observing the characteristic gamma rays emitted by this isotope, it is possible to determine whether the contents of a given sealed container were made before or after the advent of atomic bomb explosions. This procedure has been used by researchers to check the authenticity of certain rare wines, most notably the purported “Jefferson bottles”.

    • Caessium-134 has a half-life of just 2 years, that is it decays in 2 years. Caessium-137 has a half life of about 30 years, it is used in medical procedures and industries. It emits beta rays, not gamma.

      • Yes, that is true, but Caesium-137 (only one ‘s’) decays into Barium- 137m, which has a 2.5 minute half-life and emits gamma-rays.

      • 2.5 minutes is nothing. It’s dead even before I finish a cup of tea.

        As I said the main issue is containment of the fissile material. That should be done swiftly. It can die peacefully inside the containment without causing harm. It’s like giving a life sentence to a criminal.

      • That’s exactly what I am saying.

        The 2-min half-life gamma comes from the 30-year half-life beta.

        Think about it – that’s beta and gamma in quick succession with a 30-year half-life.

        That’s what Europe has been contaminated with and what may be about to happen to Japan.

      • Believe me, I am rooting for the containment as much as you are!

      • In the Chernobyl case, the material scattered like a cloud after breaking through the building.

        In Japan, at least what was shown on TV, the buildings are intact. The material lies inside. However, the walls of the building cannot hold the radiation. The material has to go back into its containers.

        That should not be difficult.

      • Let’s hope so!

        My guess is that the people who know exactly what is going on there right now are too busy dealing with it to talk to the news media.

        To be honest, some of the guys on CNN going on and on about this seemed like idiots.

      • You are right. The media goes overboard because the engineers are too busy to talk to anyone.

        Besides, there will be a lot of opportunities for companies like Bectel and Snam to re-build a new plant.

        There will be very little of any worth for cannibalising after the event.

  15. Cobalt-60 is preferred for industrial procedures, because it is less chemically reactive.

    We used to have a cobalt source on our campus and long ago I even used it to irradiate flies. Now methods for mutagenesis have become a bit more subtle.

    Also, DNA sequencing, which I have done regularly since 1978, has used radioactively labeled compounds until fairly recently, including P-32, P-33 and S-35, all beta-emitters.

    • Chemical inactivity of C-60 only preserves the materials that it is used on. HUman body degenerates on contact with C-60. I have a presentation that we show our raditaion technicians. It was shot in Peru. The guy pocketed a source and took it home. His entire body decayed slowly over 10 months.

      There are strict rules on how to prevent exposure to isotopes. Certain types of clothing block the radiations. Sometimes the source is boxed up in such a way that the radiations are released from controlled openings and focussed on the targets.

      Human body needs to be safe in any case. We are not a metal or inorganic substance. Our cells react in wierd ways. Disintegrating or degenerating or becoming cancerous.

    • Yikes!

      The poor guy.

      Our source was very well protected and nobody untrained was allowed near it.

      I must say I am shocked by occasional reports of large amounts of radioactivity in Indian waste dumps. How can that happen, is there no oversight?

    • PS, our cells react in a very predictable manner. DNA is mutated in specific chemical pathways and accumulation those mutations lead to cancer.

      • Does an electro-magnetic wave dismember the DNA structure? Does the helix break open or does it just heave and fall?

      • With ionizing radiation the chain breaks.

        With chemical mutagens sometimes one base is changed into another, thereby changing the information. If you happen to hit an important spot in an important region, even one base change can be catastrophic.

        Mostly the cells have safety-systems in place, like redundancy of certain processes, so if one component is taken out, another can take over.

    • Come to think of it, the same story has been used in our training, too. I had almost forgotten, it’s a long time ago.

      I have not worked with radioactivity in close to 10 years, as a matter of fact, our lab relinquished the license so we could eat our lunches in the lab.

      The new methods are all based on fluorescence instead of radioactivity.

      • By fluorescence, do you mean using spectrum analysis?

      • In a way.

        Labeling certain molecules with compounds lets you follow the fate of those molecules. For example in DNA sequencing single nucleotides (the A,C,G,T in the genetic code) are labeled and then incorporated into larger DNA molecules. The exact position of the label is followed in the subsequent analysis.

        The label of choice went from radioactive compounds to chemoluminescent ones, meaning a molecule that emits light.

        In some cases we can use even the same x-ray film for detection of either.

      • Does the molecule emit a spectrum on its own or is it refracted from the chemical stains injected in the sample?

        What is the use of X-rays in this process? Are the DNA strong enough to generate an impression on an X-ray film?

  16. Hello, I think there needs an explanation about the word shutdown you used earlier.

    I think you used it to mean a complete closure.

    In the Oil & Gas sector a shutdown is a planned event when an operating plant is stopped for preventive maintenance. It’s started again after the systems are repaired and tested.

    For complete closure we say, “Abandon”. A field or a well is abandoned if it is not viable.

    I don’t know what German’s are upto. But a shutdown is a mandatory requirement for keeping the system fit for operations.

    • OK. I meant abandon, as in getting rid of.

      • That’s sad if you are advocating a complete closure because the technology has not improved enough to be called safe.

        Hopefully the rest of the world will not do the same.

  17. WOW .. I am fascinated with the chat between Renate & Reader.. learning a lot! Scientifically!/..

  18. I just heard that the first few people working in the power plant show symptoms of radiation sickness already. I can only hope that the report is exaggerated.

    It would be the equivalent of your guy in Peru and I feel sick with sadness. Nothing in this world can save them if the report is true..

    • Radiation effects whow up in different ways. It could appear as a pink patch on the skin that feels like a burn and then grow inward decomposing the flesh.

      Dehydration or effects on the digestive system are not common. There are normally no immediate symptoms. It begins at the cellular level which takes time to show up.

    • The damage is the same – a change in the DNA sequence – mutation.

      In radiation sickness caused by high doses the DNA is so corrupted that the cell can not function properly and it dies.

      In the case of cancer the damage is more subtle. The cell survives but is mutated in specific genes (and there is a vast array of possibilities for different cancers) and loses its ability to properly respond to signals that arrest its growth. So it keeps growing and growing.

      Radiation therapy is designed to kill those cells specifically without killing the person that grows them.

      • How does radiation therapy kill only those cells and spare the others?

        Is a cancer cell differently alive as compared to the rest of the person?

      • It kills the rapidly dividing ones because they are more sensitive to the damage.

        Cells are tightly under control internally and in response to their environment. Cancer cells lose the control and do not listen to the cues any more.

        It’s a multiple step process, many events have to come together to create a full blown metastatic cancer cell. But once it is there, it is almost impossible to stop.

        Imagine them to be a criminal. The internal control is gone, so he is willing and able to commit the crime. The external control would then be the environment,victims and cops who fail to stop him.

    • In radiation sickness he digestive system is affected strongly as is the immune system.

      Both rely on rapid cell division, which is a complicated process. Damage in its control will show up very quickly.

      Both radiation therapy and chemotherapy kill rapidly dividing cells including those of the digestive system. That’s why the patient feels so nauseous.

      • I have often wondered what causes the decomposition.

        If a high frequency, long length wave passes through a cell, is the natural frequency of the cell affected? Or can any cell ride the wave like a tidal surfer?

        Does the passing wave release energy or merely increase the polarity within a cell?

        What is the physical meaning of decay? Does the cell burn; is it infected; is it fynctionally disabled; or do the different parts of a cell breakaway? WHat happens during decay?

      • Correction: High frequency, very short wave….

      • Sometimes Wiki says it best.

        Effect of Ionizing Radiation
        Ionizing radiation, the type of radiation released by radioactive materials, also contributes to DNA mutation. Like UVB, ionizing radiation causes direct DNA damage that lead to mutations. Exposure ionizing radiation leads to double-stranded breaks in DNA, so both parts of the DNA molecule are broken at the same spot. This type of breakage is repaired by the cell by reattaching the DNA strands together.

        If the cell is exposed to ionizing radiation, double-stranded breaks occur along the entire length of the DNA. Mutations occur if the repair mechanisms re-attach the wrong piece of DNA back together, so that a part of the DNA strand goes missing. This may lead to the deletion of important genes, or a change in the location of a gene within the DNA. These types of mutations are linked to the development of a number of cancers, including leukemia.

  19. TV pictures deceptive. Nuclear cloud is released.

    • Damn.

      Please tell me more.

    • I hope there is nothing more to hear.

      There is good news on the other. The relief and recovery should be a lot quicker than what was thought earlier. Although it won’t be so apparannt and significant till the tremors are continuing.

      The human tragedy at present is about missing people. Over 100,000 people are searching for one another. The entire region seems to be nearing a nervous breakdown. The government, military and the rest of the nation is doing a commendable job keeping up the communication and rescue operations.

    • Yes, second explosion already. This is just shattering!! What will be the implications. I think the Govt is naturally underplaying it!

  20. Watching Robot on Sony… worth the wait… I already know everything about it that I didn’t need to know…

    • It would be interesting to know how much Sony paid Sun to show this on TV..

      • Must be a considerable amount. It went on for almost 6 hours with all the ads. In between Rajni made a visit to Japan, stopped the quaking earth, put all the radiation back in the cylinders and re-built the city. He came back just in time to see the end.

  21. Anand Khare Says:

    Japanese have given the safest trains and cars to the world. Only Germany can give them copetition in this quality of these two products.

    That means they put human safety in highest priority. I fail to understand where they lapsed in putting proper safety and emergency procedures in case of nuclear plants. Ideally, the moment the earth quake erupted, chief of safety should evoke emergency procedures and plant to be reduced to near passive mode in less than a minute. There is a catastrophy mode operation in all the high risk operations. Emergency controllers remain alert round the clock. Practically,it is a boring job and most of them have strange ways to keep them busy.

    I feel the lapse is something to do with complex approval systems in place in japanese research and high tech organisations. They enhance the quality but deadly slow in movements.

    Anand

  22. Anand,

    Do you know for a fact that there was a window of opportunity to prevent the disaster we are seeing now and it was squandered?

    How do you know the planned emergency procedures were even possible under the given conditions? If there is no power, a process requiring power can not function. If there is instant earthquake damage to a sensitive part, a machine may not wok as expected.

    If a precious and irrevocable chance was squandered by waiting for an approval process, that would be the greatest tragedy in all of this.

    And a great opportunity for future learning.

    But are you sure we have all the facts to sit in judgement?

  23. Reader – your statement on Rajni and Japan is staggering!! 🙂

    • 🙂

      Actually I was surfing channels without missing the scenes of the movie. Thats what I meant Rajni went to Japan and came back in time!

      🙂

      • lol… whats your take about the meltdown?

      • The nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima looks very bad.

        But this a power plant. It’s not carrying weapon grade fissile material.

        It’s not an ordinary earthquake, but given Japan’s industrial strength, it should not be difficult for them to make a comeback.

        Science and technology is a human right. It is not in conflict with the rights of God as defined by religious charters.

        I agree that this is not entirely a natural disaster, but it is not a deliberate nuclear attack on Fukushima, like the Little Boy of WW II.

        The ethics of war and the ethics of science should not be bundled into one in the name of religious rights.

        Five thousand years of Vedic religion has not given us even a paracetamol for a headache.

        Tragedies are often turned into opportunities by undertakers. It’s a business boom for people in cemetries and religious places. Media is also playing the chorus in this symphony.

        The recovery is not going to be done by coffin makers. It will be engineered by science. Hope they are allowed to feel proud, and not guilty for doing their best. Gratitude ned not be reserved for an unknown God. There are people right here among us who deserve it more.

      • There is an instrument called Nuclear Densometers that we use on our work sites for measuring the specific gravity of compacted materials. It’s a small hand held device which carries a radioactive source.

        Some day, I hope we can have electricty generators of that size that I can use in my house and car. This will keep vox populi out of this technology.

        I believe the earth is not as malevolent as human opinion makers and those priests of a religious God who infect the doers and prime movers among mankind with guilt and sacrifice.

      • Reader,

        While the contaminated clouds descend upon the world, you might be the lone crier in the desert with this.

        But I am hoping with you that reason will prevail over panic and science over incompetence.

        Time to reassess what we need, what we want and what we are willing to compromise.

      • You want the people and their divinities to decide what an intelligent person should think about or how he should live or how he should be used to serve the interest of the society.

      • Reader,

        You know I don’t want to curb anyone’s thinking or a scientist’s research.

        I want ‘the people’ to think about what they are doing and why.

      • Thats a contradiction in terms Renate.

        “People Think”… there is no such thing as a collective mind. Remember Sartre’s quote from our chat page… “Hell is other”.. l’enfer, c’est les autres

      • Reader,

        Yes, that is true.

        Saying it like this in my admission that I know nothing about politics and have to trust in the existing system and that it implements successfully what ‘people think’.

  24. Reader – I think the earth may not be benevolent as well if man keeps abusing her. She is bound to turn. Once my blog is put up here, I am sure I will hear more from you on this. There are some interesting comments demanding proof, sourced up some research which states that nuclear testing in the Pacific and the atolls have caused earthquakes and tsunamis. I have put it on the comments section on the TOI site.

    • Sharmila,

      I don’t think the earth has any choice. It is what it is.

      Human intelligene is always on trial. I don’t think man is abusing her (Ignoring your usage of genders for the moment.)

      BTW, while on genders, your assignment of genders is not accepted in the Netherlands and Germany. The earth in their part is masculine. It’s called fatherland, probably it has certain features there which make it eligible for that. So, if you would call it an abuse in Germany, it would be a man abusing a man. That sounds very presumptious to me; Firstly, as if the feminine gender does not have the appropriate tools to abuse anything or anyone and secondly, as if human perceptions are used as tools for philosophical detectoin. Both are invalid in the context of nomenal evaluation.

    • Hmmm…Reader,

      Should I let that pass? Nope, time for A German lesson.

      Die Erde = earth is feminine and it means just what it means in English.

      Das Vaterland = fatherland is neutral, not masculine. In a compound word the last part determines the gender, so while father is masculine, land is neutral.

      Besides, it is a term not much used in modern Germany. We have lost the innocence of your “Vande Materam”.

      • Hmm.. need to learn German and Dutch. My CEO is Johannes from Shell, Amsterdam and you are German.

        I didn’t know fathers are neutral in your part of the world. In India, we are mostly masculine. I can never say what new technology you’ll come up with next.

        “Vande Mataram” is quite something else. “Vande” is a respectful salutation. I would do that for both father and mother. Matru Devo, Pitru Devo, Guru Devo… Mother, father and teacher are my deities.

      • I said above Vater is masculine.

      • I know. I was kidding.

        I prefer “Mother” Earth. But for entirely different reasons.

  25. Potential Hazards in the far east:

    Easterly rains carrying contaminated clouds. Wind directions from over Japan right up to Philippines.

  26. Lighten up. There is a lot of work to do.

    My elder brother, Ravi, was an air-force cadet of the 61st batch at the National Defense Academy in Pune . The cadets in NDA are divided into squadran’s named in codes Alpha, Beta, Delto, Echo etc. He was in the Kilo-Squadran.

    There is a large notice board in the lounge room of the K-Squadran which displays an emergency response procedure, written in clear steps. Here it is in a nutshell:

    In the unlikely event of the enemy detonating an atomic bomb over this buildng, you must take the following actions immediately:

    1. Open the windows of the room.

    2. Stand still in the center of the room facing the window, with your feet 1 meter apart.

    3. Keep your hands square on your waist and watch the sky through the window.

    4. As soon as you see the bright light of an atomic explosion, bend forward from the waist.

    5. Take a deep breath, and

    6. Kiss your ass goodbye.

    I bet this method works.

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