Delhi [en]

September 17, Goa Express

We went to Delhi Haat last evening. Luckily I was running out of cash, so I managed to get out of the place without having to hire a porter. We then went to eat a pizza at San Marzano. The pizza was so Italian that it could have been served somewhere in Lausanne.

I mentioned that I was running out of cash: I had barely 300 Rs. on me to make it to Pune. As we were waiting to be granted entrance in San Marzano (these “happening” places are always packed) an ATM machine bearing the Maestro logo (identical to the one on my swiss debit card!) caught my eye. We had been discussing debit and credit cards in the car, so I thought I might give it a try. And lo and behold, jackpot! Roupies debited directly from my bank account in Switzerland.

I don’t know how much they will charge for the transaction, but it will certainly be less than the 10% I have to pay for Western Union transfers. I was so happy it gave me the strength to insist on paying for the meal!

Afghanistan [en]

A month or so back, I wrote about RAWA. I really recommend that you have a look at their site, if you are interested in pre-attack information about Afghanistan and the Taliban.

Poha [en]

Poha is the delicious breakfast Nisha made for me this morning. I’m going to write down all her recipes… As you have understood, I’m safe and sound in Pune, after a totally uneventful journey (take away the rickshawallah on departure who tried to get an extra 10Rs off me, and the same on arrival).

Even if the circumstances seem to make it a worthwhile cause, please do not initiate or propagate email petitions. And while we’re at it, snopes has collected for you a whole page of rumors following the terrorist attack.

Read, get informed, and be wiser, good people!

Thoughts… [en]

…on the current events. They might well be totally unrealistic (you know how bad I am with politics and economy), but nevertheless.

First of all, let’s remember what Kristin was saying during the Kaycee affair: things will be accepted as true because they have been heard or repeated over and over again, rather than because they make rational sense. This is the principle which allows urban legends to spread—and this is the reason media coverage is so crucial for public opinion.

People are repeating that if the US do not react (understand: strike, attack, military), it is opening the door to more terrorist actions in the future. This is being repeated so much that nobody puts the statement into question—but I definitely think it should be. I don’t believe that aggression in return for aggression is the best solution (or the only one, for that mattter).

It makes much more sense to turn to the inside, concentrating on the security issues and politics which have brought about such a situation, rather than rush into military action and bomb terrorist camps in retaliation. Vengeance makes one look weak.

Force used as a response to force can only lead to escalation of violence, particularly in a world where more than one nation has the necessary power to blow up the whole planet.

At first I was worried (like many people, I guess) that the US would react in a stupid way. I think that as time goes by, anger will cool down, and the risk of some disastrous response will become less.

As for Bush, it seems that this tragedy may in some way be a stroke of luck as far as his career is concerned. Look at the polls: 86% of americans (or something like that) approve his handling of the crisis. From a president who was not convincing to many, he has turned into a hero. This is clearly a case of what Thomas Nagel calls “moral luck”. Outside circumstances are giving him a chance to turn otherwise doubting public opinion into his favor.

Efficiency [en]

Gurgaon, September 16

I’m amazed at what I managed to accomplish yesterday. I sent a re-routing request for my flight home, got a train ticket for Pune on Monday (thanks to the Tourist Quota!), bought some books (Hindi and English), and placed a call to Switzerland.

Connaught Place was definitely a nicer experience than two years back. I am more confident, of course, but Siddharth’s AC car certainly made a difference too.

I was taken out to eat at Karim’s, first by Arif and Shireen (Delhi branch), then by Siddharth and Sandeep (my hosts here in Gurgaon). The food there is perfectly delicious—if you are looking for good non-veg in Delhi, it is the place to go.