Friday, October 01, 2004

silicon slum

“You don’t want to go to school?” I asked. “Nahi, school me mera set nahi hota. Aur kuch pucho.” This is the reply I got from a boy dwelling in a slum. I was not surprised though. Parents don’t inculcate the habit or the need to be educated to these kids. All they think of is to earn some money and go home.

To have our own footage for the library, we visited some slums in and around the city the other day. We went in a small group, not wanting to attract undue attention. Volunteered to join so that I could allow my seat to recuperate itself.

Most of the kids indulge in child labour, sell things or work as helpers in nearby shops or restaurants, workshops. Some of them got curious and came to see what was happening. Some shots were taken and when asked if they knew that child labour is a crime, they feigned ignorance. They know where their priorities lie. Empty stomach talks! There are many NGOs involved actively in rehabilitating the slum dwellers but so much more needs to be done.

Scary sight to see a small house with almost 10 people in it. No privacy, nothing. The stench in the area, the unhygenic surrounding. And it was just the other day, I had admired the opulence of the ITPL and electronic city and the companies there, standing proud and tall. The face of Bangalore, the Silicon Valley and the Silicon Slum.

To be very honest, I wouldn’t like to visit the places again. I am no Mother Teresa, just a normal girl with normal dreams and fears. I did not feel any empathy esp. for the men there. I was scared of them and wanted to escape. Urged my colleagues to make it fast. Some of them reminded me of the men you come across sometimes while treading a lonely lane. The stare they give at you, even when you console yourself they are harmless all the while trying to ignore them or will yourself to walk a little faster.


Arunima said...

readers, please let me know if the font is too small. the space in this template is small and makes my articles or posts, so to say look very long. So, I thought changing the font size might help.

Stone said...

Situation here in Delhi is equally depressing.
Root cause of all evils is the ever-increasing "population" ; and rampant corruption in the society.

btw, font size is perfectly alright.

Truly Me said...

yea...the state of things is truly pathetic..eventhough infosys foundation and few other orgs are doing something for stopping child labour, the situation is bad. its a terrible sight to see skiny children working in garages,etc. their parents also keep on producing children till they get a boy. what a shameful state of affairs.

s! said...

i think every city has its slums, which it tries to hide away like a retarded child.. and you might be surprised that this is not just a third world phenomenon..

in my hometown of Nairobi, Kenya.. it's exactly the same as Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi etc., and now i'm in Buffalo, NY.. and there is a part of town, which is all boarded-up tenements, collapsed buildings, and families living in cardboard tv and refrigerator boxes.. even in the snow and sleet..

it takes a certain kind of person and mindset to make a social worker, and i know i don't have it in me either..

Hemanshu said...

Well its not too hard to do social work when you realises thate they are also only human. I know it sounds corny but its true. I started volunteering at a Childen's Hospital and was appalled at the sight of young children (5 months to 4 years) abandoned by their parets because of birth defects.

There was this girl who was the most adorable thing on this earth, wrapped in blankets, who was mentally and physically retarded, and could not either see or hear. But just touch her and see her face light up with the most angelic smile. It was enough to break one's heart to see how someone could leave her in the hospital for 2 years (and no one had even seen her parents ever visit)...

After that I realised that whatever the person's background, they deserve atleast one shot at your trust and love!

Brajeshwar said...

> readers, please let me know if the font is too small.
> the space in this template is small and makes my articles or posts,
> so to say look very long.
> So, I thought changing the font size might help.

NO (all in caps)
Font size of what you see on your computer have nothing to do with usability, or the pleasantries of what your audience see your blog. Just stick to the "normal size" and do not try to out-smart the thing (that is not english grammer or vocabulary or poetic phrase where you can apply your literature justice).

All browsers have the ability to resize fonts according to the liking of the user, so restricting font on your computer does nothing though it will make small for people with the usual default setting and for those who think internet means IE (Internet Explorer)!

The in-capability of IE to resize text when 'designers' give absolute points (picas, pixels) for font size is the major reason for screwing up usability of a website. But am glad that, blogger uses relative sizing as default.

So, one thumb rule for you, stick to the default 'normal size' and leave the user to the font sizing thingy, concentrate on your content and not the look, length or style! Just think what will happen to a user using something in the range of 20 or 21 inch monitor with over 2100 x xxxx pixel dimension, your text will not even be seen!

But I seem to remember that there is an option to make your text initially small by doing only the 'excerpt' on the main entry and full entry on an "extended link". Which means your main blog will contain almost all your entry with just about the first paragraphs but users click on the title of the "permalink", they will see the full post individually. But bad luck here is that I have fogotten that option. Raise your hand and I will find out for you and get it working for you.

Kevin said...

Brajeshwar, you seriously need some type of counseling! I think this not a proper way of giving advice or guidance to any person even though you might be a super Internet Guru, which I sincerely doubt!


shailesh said...

guys, lets just enjoy whatever she is posting.
haven’t actually read a lot of blogs but i guess she is going a great job here. lets not discourage her by giving comments and all.
its easy to point your finger and find fault in others but i guess people find it hard to appreciate what the other person has to offer.
- shailesh

s! said...

yeah i agree, what's with the attitude brajeshwar dude?? chill out, blogging's a fun thing, remember?! take it easy arunima, and don't bother yourself with these types!!


Brajeshwar said...


To Kevin,
> Brajeshwar, you seriously need some type of counseling!
May be, but not in this area. Thanks anyway

> even though you might be a super Internet Guru, which I sincerely doubt!
Yes, your doubt is true, I am not a guru at all, not even close to it.

To Shailesh,
> lets not discourage her by giving comments and all
Commenting is encouraging and flattering at the same, or did I got my 'queen's english' in between slips. I am not not sure about the 'all' though. Duh!

> its easy to point your finger and find fault in others
> but i guess people find it hard to appreciate
> what the other person has to offer.
It is not fault finding, it is appreciating and helping someone towards the better path and I think that should be done than just sit by the sideline and 'eve tease' her kick-ass writings.

It is not just her, I have said many things to many people if that could correct to the better way and to the best I know. For things I don't know, I would love to accept to be a punching bag.

When she blog and writes, she took the path less trodden and the one less taken by the common girls that we have in our society. I feel that I am not really that wrong to stand up on every of her way she makes a mistake. And I have been doing that without even knowing the people benefitting from it.

It is now the lady's choice and wish to snarl back, "f**k off" if she really thinks my suggestion and discussion is something she does not like.

To Saurabh
> yeah i agree, what's with the attitude brajeshwar dude??
> chill out, blogging's a fun thing, remember?!
> take it easy arunima, and don't bother yourself with these types!!
yes, it is fine, and it is also a responsibility.
When you think of writing responsibly, which she is doing, her blog is no longer just her personal property, we all are loving and enjoying her words. She is creating content for people when people do searches on googles and other search engines. Blogs are not e-mail forwards or IM chats but are more intermingled with others for information.

Ok, for the conclusion, I read her blog on a feed aggregator and not on the site, it never makes a difference for me. It is for the common visitors! Unless I come in to tell her when she is making her first mistake, she will make many in future and I do not wish that such good writer should do that. A small step to the start would be cool. Right?

[Damn! I am commenting more on this blog an anybody's else. Sorry Lady, we would be choking your bandwidth someday, I think you can start applying for Google Adsense, it will earn you some extra money through your blog. It helps to run the blog more easily in the long run.]

FootNote: I think I wrote something similar on font's about a year ago. If you wish, refer
And here is a good one on "How Do I Size Fonts?"

Handa said...

baap re baap... itna jhagda... dont lose ur heads guys.. go get a beer.. chill out :)

shailesh said...

man u r something,pls...control paaji, try to control your emotions:-) ...see if this was a tech forum and she was asking a question related to font size than your comments would have been appropriate, but man this is a blog yaar!! for heaven’s sake, you don’t start explaining on how you have done the coding to your clients when they are only interested in getting the final product (can’t think of any other example, being in IT makes you think at one direction only :-) ). How is the knowledge of font size going to help her improve her writing? Mr John Kerry said – the war on iraq is a war at the wrong place at the wrong time, I would say your comments were right, but at the wrong place at the wrong time. I am sure that you will be itching to comment on my comment :-) but I would really appreciate if you don’t and make things moving here again….and pls don’t use the ‘f’ word here, you only said this blog is no longer private property, so since it is public, lets try to maintain some decency here.

s! said...

interestingly enough, arunima (the owner of the blog!!) has not even deemed it fit to answer to all this 'activity'!! maybe that's a hint to all the boys slugging it out here!! chill!! :-))


Hemanshu said...

Dude "Braji", if what you speak is considered the Queen's English, atleast 5 Queens must have turned in their graves already, with the next one wanting to visit it soon, thanks to you!

As for usability and all the voodoo that you were just talking about, I kind of agree with you, but more with the others in saying thats not the way to preach it. And anyways, it is better to sometimes set the fontsize yourself to a readable level and this does nothing to harm the usability of a site. Anyway I will not get into a discussion on that here. But I will say, take a look at your own website once again and see how bleeding cluttered it is, just for usabilities sake!

Arunima said...

where am I ? Is this my blog?:-) :-)

umm, ah yes, Hemanshu and Saurabh. Cannot agree more with you people I have been with orphans, cancer patients, special childens too. they moved me no doubt.

I need to be more brave I guess to work with slum men. Some of them had scars too. Actually I have had bad experience.

Chakshu said...

Please change the commenting method. This ones a little to cumbersome.

Ankz said...

Sounds scary and something for which 50 yrs of independence made worse and did not improve....have we progressed in 50 years???

Anamika said...

First time I visited your blog. Yes the slums in our country are something, which government must look in such that the unhygenic tents are replaced by some roof & wall. It is not something impossible, the people should be more kind enough to let allocate the home to needy , the real needy than bieng greedy.

Anamika said...

First time I am visiting ur blog.
Yes Slum in our country denotes the poverty level or represent how poor the country is in front of global world. Government should really work to replace the unhygienic tent with roof & wall. The people should be so kind enough to let the govt allocate the home to really needy needy person than being greedy

Alka Dwivedi said...

A very honest post. Yes, normally most of us won't like to visit these places again.