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Amrita Tripathi
Tuesday , April 08, 2014

Never too old to vote

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I've been informing colleagues, the country at large, and well, whoever I can over the past few days, that there is no age bar to voting. You're never too old to be a first-time voter, after all! Case in point. And as my enthusiasm bubbles over, I presume it's going from "infectious enthusiasm" to "eye-roll inducing annoyance". But... But how exciting! How exciting to be at the cusp of this major milestone! I can't believe it. I also can't believe it's taken me this long to get involved. (Or almost - don't want to jinx myself!) To be honest, I've never actually felt the burning desire to vote, till last year's Assembly elections in Delhi. The tragedy with that experience, since you ask, was my name, which had been on the rolls till September but was bounced off the list in October. Major....

Saturday , January 25, 2014

Decompressing post-Jaipur

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Every January, for the past 7-odd years, I've been one of those lucky enough to hit the Jaipur Literature Festival. Usually we get to soak up the sun, along with the high-calibre talks, and great music. This year, it was the rain and cold, but equally, if not more, intellectual stimulation. Perhaps what did the trick for me was that - as you've heard by now - there were no controversies... Apart from someone throwing a bottle at Ekta Kapoor (Which I thought was a shoe. Now a shoe would have made the news, I'm sure... Nothing doing!) As a result, this year I had a chance to actually attend a few sessions and listen to the speakers. I'm not sure I have a 50 minute attention span, but there was certainly brilliance on display. I enjoyed Reza Aslan's session ("There was absolutely no difference between religion....

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The fight for gay rights is our fight, India

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It's not just gay people who are angry and distressed and anguished, not just the LGBT community which feels the blow of the Supreme Court verdict, the decade-long apathy of our legislators, the backlash from the socially conservative but viciously vocal. It's every single person who believes in equality for all. The fight for gay rights is the fight for equal rights. The fight for gay rights is a fight India must undertake not just to join the rest of the 21st century (where the people who came up with that archaic Section 377, have marched on to debate and allow gay marriages, hello!) but also to express its humanity. The gay person isn't the Other to demonise, criminalise and hound of bed. Too many gay people in this country have felt hounded for far too long -- and you and I may be aware of those in....

Monday , May 27, 2013

Fully booked this summer

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So little time, so many books - and with the weather gods doing their usual number on Delhi, it's possibly the best time to get your reading in. Thanks to enthusiastic recommendations from three colleagues, who between them have a fairly eclectic reading list at any given time, I borrowed 'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn. It's gripping from the get-go but it's at a major plot point that she hits you with the unexpected and then goes on to finish you off with finesse. Lovely. In a nut-shell and without giving away too much of the story (trust me that would be the mother of all spoilers!), Flynn takes a look at how a couple unravels. It's delightfully witty, don't get me wrong, and laugh-out-loud at moments, but fundamentally is a long dark look at how you don't always recognise who you end up with, or how....

Monday , April 29, 2013

Child sex abuse: The horror show stats and signs to watch out for

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As the country reels under the sheer number of cases of child sexual abuse and brutal sexual attacks on little children, it bears repeating that India has a history of violence towards children and girls (of all ages). Child sex abuse is not a new phenomenon. And the statistics here in the country are particularly grim. A 2007 landmark report by the govt found that 53.4 per cent of children surveyed had suffered some form of sexual abuse. What experts across the board tell us is that the perpetrators are often known to the child, to the family. A lot of child abuse is going on within the four walls of our homes. From Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding, to the media reports coming to light every day, the only glimmer of hope, seems to be that we're starting to acknowledge the scale of the problem. And yet,....

Saturday , March 23, 2013

Sexist is as sexist does

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The MLA who told the national kabaddi women's team coach that she should wear appropriate clothes - that is, a sari instead of shirt and pants ("shirt-pant" is really the last domain of the Indian male, according to one school of thought) - should really face some sort of action. Unfortunately it wasn't him, but the coach Sunil Dabas who reportedly fainted, and needed medical help. This after MLA Rao Dharam Pal told her this in public, though he now claims that he didn't mean to humiliate her, only to tell her, in a paternal sort of way, and through her, spread a good message to the students at a college he was addressing. It doesn't take a genius to realise that this is really the wrong climate to make idiotic, sexist remarks, disparaging women or women's choice of clothes. In fact, after decades of "putting up with"....

Tuesday , December 18, 2012

Aghast at New Delhi

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It's no surprise that our national capital is a horror story - or a series of horror stories that play out, often far from the limelight. Often we turn away. Women duck their heads and scurry away. I see it, I do it. I mean, I use public transport, and despite heaving a huge sigh of relief at the efficacy of the metro, am well aware that metro stations are the weakest link. I've been stared at, scoped out, and am always on my guard. If I'm not, I know that I'll be blamed. "She was asking for it" has morphed beyond syndrome into cliche. I've not been groped on the metro, thank goodness, not like DTC buses of yore... not like years ago walking back from Defence Colony market to the house I was renting in C block. Not that there was anyone to hear me yelp (I couldn't....

Tuesday , November 06, 2012

On the election trail: race for White House

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A hectic day in - just hours to go now till we know who the next US President is going to be. There's a lot of rhetoric, I can tell you, and a lot of talk of the final moments...Both sides are going to be at it till the very end. CNN-IBN will be looking to hit a polling station too, in Massachusetts (a state that votes Democrats and is seen as "blue" but is far from uniformly "blue", we learn today, with some areas like S Massachusetts conservative). If we luck out, we'll be getting you updates from Elizabeth Warren's (almost-certain-to-be according all popular wisdom doing the rounds) victory party. (And here's a big thank you to the US State Dept for helping us foreign press get some access!) Warren is fighting for the Senate seat from sitting Senator Republican Scott Brown. This is....

Sunday , September 23, 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi in the house

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Aung San Suu Kyi has been drawing the crowds right through her US trip. It's the pro-democracy activist and Nobel laureate's first trip to the States since being released from house arrest in 2010. Suu Kyi, who met US President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, has received a Congressional medal of honour, and yet says - incredibly disarmingly - that she is here, at Columbia University, to interact with young people and ask them for advice and their suggestions. She receives a standing ovation as she enters Columbia's Low Memorial Library, that is packed to capacity with more than 400 people and assorted press. Some of the audience members are distinguished personalities themselves, Nobel laureate Mohd Younus is spotted on his way out, and I think I caught a glimpse of IPCC chief RK Pachauri in the crowd as well. But The Lady is here to meet....

Friday , September 21, 2012

On Rushdie (being Joseph Anton)

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Salman Rushdie seems in his element, chatting to a crowd, reading from his own work in his sonorous voice - pitch-perfect, except when the mikes fail him, the lapse almost imperceptible. He seems to have an ear for a joke, a laugh, working his crowd really well, inviting them in, and who doesn't like to be made to feel part of an inside joke, anyway! His legacy isn't ever in doubt, his confidence in that legacy helps makes him quite the power performer, and yet he doesn't come across as a huge snob. It's always a relief to note that some of the most wonderful voices, the biggest names, also wear it so lightly. But then with writers, you don't expect the sort of movie star baggage we've grown accustomed to with our pop icons. What's clear is that Rushdie transcended that writer tag long ago -....


More about Amrita Tripathi

Amrita Tripathi is a news anchor with CNN-IBN, and also doubles up as Health and Books Editor. An MA in Philosophy from St Stephen's College, Delhi University, she has also taught a few undergraduate classes at her alma mater, informally! When she is not tracking health issues, Amrita is busy chasing the literary dream. Her debut novel Broken News was published in 2010. Before joining CNN-IBN, Amrita worked with The Indian Express.



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