Tag Archives: Asia

A Look Inside Myanmar’s First Real Year Of Democracy – 3

Jack continues his photo exploration of Myanmar’s first real year of democracy. Presenting the third part of the 4-part series.

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Sunset from Ubein Bridge. Locals and tourists flock to the bridge to witness the spectacular sunsets.

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A young girl plays with her skipping rope outside the tourist jetty in Mandalay. Tourism in Myanmar has boomed over the past year, topping over one million foreign visitors for the first time. However infrastructure still remains underdeveloped.

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A passenger smokes a cheroot out of the train window.

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A trishaw driver, fishing in a flooded field hopes to catch something, while a cow wanders past.

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A young boy drags a bag of recyclable rubbish, which will be sold for small change. Often people of all ages work to support themselves and their families.

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A toddler sits by himself on the banks of the Irrawaddy river.

A Look Inside Myanmar’s First Real Year Of Democracy – 3

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Bloody Northies!!!

By Joybrato Dutta

northies in bangalore

That’s what I heard most of the time in the span of 3 years that I stayed in Bangalore. A small-town guy by birth, I moved to Bangalore to pursue higher education. Well, I guess that’s what 90% of all small town aspirants do. So, is that a mistake? It turned out to be one. Since our (Northies) first day we were told that, this city is not our home and it can never be. We are not allowed to ‘disrespect’ any ‘Localite’, or date a local chick.

All that was taken into consideration, but there was one important thing we didn’t know. “We aren’t supposed to perform well”! In case you did, your teachers will make sure it doesn’t show in your results. Of course we all passed.

Coming back to the “Disrespecting a Localite” part. One of my Northie counterpart pushed a Khatta (that’s how we addressed them) while playing ‘pitto’. Inculcated with ethics my friend helped him get up. But, what does he get in return? A couple of abuses and a slight mishandling of the collar. Now, we small town guys can tolerate every bloody insult, but, someone holding our ‘Girebaan’ is something we can’t stand.

The result: A fight for dignity and self respect. Bruised faces, uprooted shrubs, torn T-shirts, a fractured thumb and a couple of half-murder cases followed. One of my friend got 17 fractures in his thumb and till today (incident happened 4 years back) struggles to bend his thumb.

We thought we won the fight, but we failed to realise the fight wasn’t over. 2 hours before his first semester exam my friend (with a fractured thumb) was denied a writer. All of us were denied a place in the hostel. Most importantly since then whenever anything went wrong we were called for interrogation, doesn’t matter if you weren’t in town. “Saaley humey talcum powder samajh ke rakhe the, jab khujli hui bula liya” (Courtesy – Sanjay Gupta’s Kaante).

I don’t really hate the city because it gave me fantastic friends and taught me many lessons. They have their reason for their actions. They are jealous of the fact that we achieve as much as they do in their hometown. They feel that because of us, many of their people are unemployed. Most importantly the population density has increased. May be they have a point, but don’t they do the same. I refuse to believe that none of them move out of their cities for a better future. How can we point at the western nations for being racially biased when the same shit happens in our country?

Exploring Goa – XXV – Sunny Palolem Once Again

Flashback – Kartik’s in Sunny Palolem so far and the adventure begins now. To read his other articles on what to explore in Goa, Click here.

When the sun comes out, you are the best judge to decide, whether you douse yourself in oil and layback on a beach bed, or to explore where the curve of the beach takes you to! I loved the hills in the background, and decided to walk along!

image001I walked along the curve of the beach, and increased my pace by walking along the wetter part of the beach. It’s a good base for your crocs to make you walk a tad faster.

image002Never Far away from the constant chatter of the boatmen and their plans to get a load of people to see Dolphins.

image003Given the heat building up, we mid way decided to walk inside the forest in the shade of the trees. The Blue and Green looked lovely.

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The Love Cartridge: The Deceitful Bullet – Chapter 5

By Joybrato Dutta

the love catridgeDay – Thursday, June 12, 2008

Time – 10:15 PM

Harsh was on his way to Ram Mandir. Enthused spirit. Alacrity in the heart. . Although it was a rainy day but the adrenaline rush glued Harsh’s feet to the accelerator, while his palm answered Vikrant’s call.

“Haan Vik wassup man”

“Wassup ke bachhe kahan pahuncha hai”

“Bas aur 10 minute mein pahunch jaunga

“Sahi hai Riya ko pick karne ke baad call karna”

“Pukka karta hun”

“Chal best of luck. Happy journey”

Harsh disconnected the call

Thud!!!!!!! Screeeeech!!!!!!

Harsh’s vehicle hit something. He manoeuvres the steering as fast as he could and stops the car just before it could crash against a tree. He steps out of his car. To his misfortune he finds a little girl lying on the street. He runs towards her. She was unconscious and covered in blood. Panic struck. He lifted the girl and put her in the car. Amidst this chaos Harsh drops his phone on the road without realising.

He takes the little girl to the hospital, where she is taken to the emergency ward. Harsh looks at his watch which was wrapped around his blood stained wrists. It was 11:30 PM. He looks for his phone, but is unable to find it. His clothes were soaked in the little girl’s blood. He runs out of the hospital, gets into the car and drives as fast as he could. He reaches Ram Mandir. He notices Riya’s car. He searches the car all over. He does not find her. “Riya’s father must have taken her back”, he thinks to himself.

He sits in his car and drives away. He returns to the hospital. The doctor tells him that the little girl is ok. But her family needs to be contacted. By the look of the clothes she looked like a street urchin. Harsh took her responsibility.

He goes to the hospital’s reception and calls Riya. Her phone was not reachable. He calls Neha. She didn’t answer. Harsh had Riya’s landline number, but he didn’t have the guts to call. He called Vikrant and explained everything.

Vikrant rushed to the hospital. He paid the bills and took Harsh with him.

Harsh cried all night. He had no idea what had happened to Riya. He could not contact Riya or Neha. Unanswered questions didn’t let him rest.

Next morning Harsh finally had the guts to call Riya on her landline. A rugged voice answered.

“Uncle Riya hai?” harsh asks politely

“Tu wahi launda hai na, madarjaat tu kata, teri wajah se Riya gayi, abb tu bhi katega, tu nahi bachega, saaley neechi jaati ke madarchod.

Riya gayi matlab? A cold shiver passed through Harsh’s veins as he asked this question?

“Abbey uske baap ne usey katwa kar uske tukde wahin Ram Mandir ke agey jheel mein phenk diye. Abb tu bhi jaageya madarjaat

Harsh hung up. He could not believe his ears. Riya was dead. She was murdered. Brutally. His love killed her. He cried out loud, but no voice was heard. His shrieking shout scared Vikrant who came running to him. Harsh collapsed.

The Love Cartridge: The Mistimed Bullet – Chapter 4

By Joybrato Dutta

the love catridge

Day – Thursday, June 12, 2008
Time – 10:30 PM

Neha drives the car through water-clogged streets as Riya checks her bag. “Didi kya dhund rahi ho?”

“Bas check kar rahi hun, make-up ka saara saaman liya ki nahin” she chuckles as she says.

Rain starts pouring heavily as they get closer to their destination. Riya is constantly glued to her phone and her face gets tensed.

“Kya hua didi, pareshan kyun ho rahi ho” Neha inquires

“Harsh apna phone nahin utha raha hai” Riya answers in a tensed way

“Uffo Didi woh drive kar raha hoga, usey bhi utni hi jaldi hai jitni ki humey”

She drives through a forsaken lane and parks the car behind the temple. As soon as Neha gets off the car something hits her head and she falls unconscious on the ground.

After sometime Neha regains consciousness. She finds herself in the car. She hurries out of the car and tries to find Riya. Tries Riya’s number. But phone was switched off. She looks at the watch; it was 11:15 PM. She cries out loud. But all she heard was her echo. She runs all around the temple. She looks for Riya everywhere possible. Her worst nightmare came true. And she had no idea who to call. She tried calling Harsh, but he didn’t answer his call. She didn’t have Vikrant’s number. She cries helplessly.

Suddenly she notices Riya’s bag at a distance. She runs towards it, but only finds Riya’s burnt clothes. She carefully looks on the ground and notices blood. Horror strikes her.

Fear and sadness crept into her. She runs towards her car. Suddenly she sees Harsh. She notices his blood stained hands, and hides behind a bush. Harsh’s shirt was drenched in blood. He was searching the car frantically. Neha’s eyes were glued to Harsh’s blood stained hands. Assumptions turned into convictions

“It was him. He killed Riya? But why?” she thought to herself.

Vengeance swept away the fear in her. She could not believe her eyes. She came out of her hiding as soon as Harsh left. She sat in her car and drove away as fast as she could. A solemn oath strengthened her: “You will pay for this Harsh”

A Look Inside Myanmar’s First Real Year Of Democracy – 2

Second part of Jack Hoyle’s pictorial blog on democracy in Myanmar. Here’s his work behind the lens as Myanmar completes a year of democracy. 

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Two boys hanging out at Yangon’s main bus station. A poor diet and lack of access to basic healthcare could be reasons for the smaller boys unhealed wounds.

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The daughter of the charcoal shop owner in her Sunday best.

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A drizzly day in Pyin Oo Lwin, the former British hill station, now a popular summertime retreat for the wealthy.

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A sand carrier sprints to dump his heavy load. Sand is dredged from the Irrawaddy River and used for ever increasing construction projects around the country.

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A family of rubbish collectors in Yangon, stand amongst what they have scooped out of the blocked storm drains. They use little more than a wicker basket and their bare hands.

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The sun goes down over Ubein Bridge, on the outskirts of Mandalay. Dozens of fishermen line the bridge during the rainy season, when the waters are high enough and the fish are in abundance.

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A Look Inside Myanmar’s First Real Year Of Democracy – 1

Single Woman In A Village

malathy in a village

By Malathy Madathilezham 

This is the first time I am living on my own in a remote little place in Maharashtra (actually not as remote as some of the other places my travels have taken me.. but yet). This is my first job after graduating from Tata Institute of Social Sciences this March.

All my life I have been travelling. “I have studied in 14 different schools!” is something you will hear me say as part of my introduction. Yeah I know its a bit corny but yet. But all the traveling and living has been in a sheltered and protected manner and largely very comfortable. The culture and way of living mostly urban. I have never experienced rural life until very recently during the course of my two year study and the training that I received in my organisation. I have read enough and more but experiencing it shows how different life in ‘Bharat’ is from that in ‘India’. Even more so being a woman…

No, I am not going on a tirade against gender discrimination here… don’t worry. Just a few points on what I constantly find myself thinking about.

I am really privileged. Yes, I am. My birth has guaranteed me certain success in life even if I am mediocre in my performance. Unless off course I am really stupid or have real bad luck!! I cannot imagine being born a woman in one of these villages. Off course then I would simply be blissful in my ignorance and thankful about whatever I have.

(Lack of) Information is power. This is the game people play here. It is not that there are not enough government schemes, or opportunities to help people. But there is no smooth flow of the information regarding these to those who need it. Illiteracy is not the only reason here. A few people have the monopoly over the access to this information and they try their best to keep that monopoly.

The slow pace of life. Its really slow. In addition, the more you make someone wait, the more important you are. This is the culture here. Getting used to it takes time.

A single woman living (so far) away from her parents and native is a shock for many. “ Even boys will not be so daring!” was a quip by a Gram Sevika when I told her that I am from Kerala. Everyone is curious to know what I am doing here. To add to that curiosity is the fact that I have really short hair right now. So then dealing with the number of questions that a random shopkeeper, autowala or tai on the road can sometimes be simply frustrating! There are days that I don’t feel like going out to avoid this!

I love to cook!! I never thought I would say this but it is true! Yeah am not so organised or planned as my mother but yet I realise that I actually look forward to cooking something different and tasty everyday .

Well that is it for now… Looking forward to more learning and understanding the rural reality…