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"Conversation. What is it? A Mystery! It's the art of never seeming bored, of touching everything with interest, of pleasing with trifles, of being fascinating with nothing at all. How do we define this lively darting about with words, of hitting them back and forth, this sort of brief smile of ideas which should be conversation?" Guy de Maupassant

Monday, August 1, 2005

It has rained all night. Heavy to very heavy showers and gusty winds expected again in the next 48 hours. Expected rainfall is in the range of 100-120 mm today. The government has asked people to stay home and not venture out. All educational institutes closed - and many offices are declaring a holiday. My husband's been busy on the phone with his colleagues, asking them not to leave for work, as they are keeping the office closed today.

Reliance Energy which supplies power to the suburbs is coming under a lot of flak as in some areas like Sakinaka and Kalina they have been unable to restore power supply since Tuesday. Their metres are under 5 - 15 feet of water. It is frightening to think that these areas have been in the dark since Tuesday, July 26th.

BPL mobile subscribers last evening received SMS from the police commissioner :

"Due to heavy rains, water logging likely in city n suburbs. Pls donot travel unless absolutely essential. Police Commissioner, Mumbai"

Visibility at airports is really low, so there is a chance flights will be disrupted.

CNBC says stock exchanges will be open today

8:43:50 AM    comment []  trackback []

BlogHer in Spirit

Nancy White, who was the moderator of the When Globalization is Good for Women panel at Blogher writes ....

Blogher Thank Yous and Remembering Bits

I realized as I jumped into Blogher blogging this morning (still no breakfast, but got a shower!) that the first thing I intended to do was to thank all the BlogHers. To the organizers, particularly Lisa, Elisa and Jory. To my panelists, Bev, Dina, Noriko and Anna (Dina, we missed you, but you were sure there in spirit. I forgot to take a picture of the sign I put up for you. Darn. I read your stuff. Fantastic.) To all the FABULOUS women I knew online before and whom I got to meet (alas, I did not keep a list) and all the FANTASTIC new women I met and learned from. THANK YOU! - Nancy White [Full Circle Online Interaction Blog]

I'm amazed at the great quality of live blogging from the conference

I sent Nancy a little message in absentia and she read it out - just got this from her - "we read your words in the panel. They were right on, heartfelt and I hope we represented your "voice" truly for you".

Thanks Nancy for giving me that voice - this is the text of what I sent : 

A little message ...

Am really sorry to be missing out on all the exchanges and fun at BlogHer ... but I'm there in spirit ...thanks Nancy for pushing so hard to get me there. Sometimes things are beyond our control.

I thought I'd share three aspects of how blogging has changed my world with you ... these are particularly relevant in my culture, but they would affect women across the world too. I'd collected anecdotes and stories from women bloggers here to share with you ... will keep that for another time. For now ... just a little on how blogging through the simple act of voicing opinions and thoughts has liberated me - to speak out loud and discover voices within me. The power shifts it can bring about especially in hierarchical structures like we have in India, that might empower you. And what changes it has brought about in my personal relationships and its impact on family.

What's blogging done for me ? I could go on for hours - but I feel the most fulfilling change its brought into my life, is that now, I control my own environment. My blog has become my social network today. Through the magical connections I have made, I can 'select' to surround myself with people who stimulate me in so many ways, and fill my space, even if they live thousands of miles away. Earlier, my social interactions were more 'prescribed', governed by familial ties and restricted to a set of habitual relationships. Today I can connect with people all over the world, select my friends and community - and that is so utterly powerful. I truly feel that I don't just live in India, that I have family all over the world.

This brings with it many problems, perhaps a little unique to India, where however 'liberated' we may seem, there are clear do's and don'ts in our relationships and traditional structures rooted in power imbalances. As I said in a recent post, the blog world is toppling and threatening many of our traditional structures, giving open voice and power to many who hitherto had none. It is a world that is not hierarchical, one that encourages an even-playing field for free speech and debate no matter what gender or age or race or religion you belong to, it does not have many pre-ordained rules and prescriptions, it is one where we need to learn to respect personal space, and to embrace team play that can be so rewarding.

How many have partners that understand their blogging. Mine still does not truly grasp what's happening. As a woman in India, there is a greater challenge, as the roles are more defined.The effect is that we are wresting away control from our spouses, from the traditional family structures. While for the blogger, it is empowering, where the connections have power or perceived status and influence, it can change dynamics in the household. I certainly do face a blog-widower syndrome at home sometimes - while earlier I'd wait for long hours for my husband to get back and hassle him to come home early, now when he does - I am usually busy. Just a small anecdote - when I was working around the clock on the tsunamis blog ... and I was dead beat and had a really bad neckache and thought I was paralyzed one night - he said (jokingly) - "Good. Now I can keep you on a leash!"

Still, I am lucky ... the exposure blogging has given me wouldn't have been tolerated by many men!

It has brought me new paying work ... lots of it ... in areas that I wouldn't otherwise had dreamt of if I didn't read blogs and write one. This sort of brings about 'validity' for my family - they say at least she isn't wasting her time

Its also allowed me to experience the magic of technology with heart during the tsunamis disaster, and its got me to get invites to conferences around the world too - and hence the opportunity to meet face to face so many people.

I spoke to a couple of women bloggers here and some of the things I wanted to share from what they told me - Aparna, who has recently started blogging, says that she has found interest in things that she did not earlier know about, and has discovered skills which she did not explore before. And that these tools have made her more independent - in her words -

"There is less need to socialize just for the heck of killing time - not that i did it always as there were always books and movies and a close circle of good friends - with social networking, there is no need to kill time anymore...i guess that would be very true of a lot of housewives. Often it starts by killing time on the Net but for many it grows into something more ... you see at-home moms launching their own websites, and you see even elderly women have taken to these new tools with relative ease. There is Malvika for example, she is an active writer on Ryze and also runs her own blog - but what is interesting is that she interacts with you at your own level so you don't feel she is older than you at all"

Neha, says :

"I think a blog is a great way to keep up with technology - since i started blogging i have been more keenly reading other's blogs, and try to tweak settings, to understand what counters, banners - you begin to understand technology. It makes me feel equal to a man who claims to know more about technology, in the sense that i don't feel like there are a bunch of men hanging around my blog telling me i am just a female and don't know what i am talking about. In a strange way it makes me more confident"

12:07:53 AM    comment []  trackback []