Starry, starry night

Explore spectacular photos of the universe taken by the Hubbel space telescope here.


True or false?

The more news there is, the less informed we are. The NY Times believes that the world's cheapest car, the Tata Nano is in deep trouble. But Italy's La Repubblica thinks that the car is on an irresistible growth path Tke your pick.

River to River Film Festival

All about the 10th Indian Film Festival at Florence starting this weekend.



The REAL social network!

The Facebook story has come to celluloid and with rave reviews to boot but then it is virtual. It cannot match the current unfolding story of a closely networked Indian industry and media. Read and listen.


Italy from the cupola of the space station

                                                                    (courtesy: ESA)


We all saw this coming....

Fed up of the multitude of functions on your cell phone and just want to make calls? Here is the phone of your dreams, complete with a paper phone book and a one-page manual.

Two sides

The stark reality of the Rajasthan village which had its 15 minutes of fame during the US President's visit.

The perils of Cut and Paste!

The editor of the newsmagazine, India Today, (no less!) had to own up and apologize after a plagiarism charge. Regardless of the cop-and-paste supply chain that led to this fiasco, why would an Indian periodical even need to look up an American e-journal, Slate, when writing on a 100% pure Indian phenomenon called Rajanikanth?


The Orator

Whatever may or may not be the gains of the US President's trip to India, the stand out performance was the speech to the Indian Parliament (full text). Incorporating the the thoughts of Gandhi, King, Tagore, Ambedkar, Vivekananda, even our favourite Panchatantra tales, its sweep and significance is unmistakable.


What is this moaning about?

On the one hand, the American President is about to visit India with the single objective of beefing up job creation. On the other hand, look at the sums spent by individuals in the recent elections to Congress in the name of employment. Some things never add up.


Marco Polo in reverse

China’s state-run Cosco shipping company is leasing Piraeus, the port of Athens. In Italy, Cosco is expanding the port of Naples. Another logistics company  is in talks to build a giant air terminal north of Rome for cargo arriving from China. All this and more here.


The dark side of social networking

Virtual communities cannot replace real people, flesh and blood friends. Getting out and about is more important than networking in cyber space.


Always keep your trusted alarm clock handy

Many people who relied on their iPhone were late for work last Friday. The reason: it did not adjust to daylight savings time. Whatever happened to adjusting the time manually and changing the alarm as required?


Slow Food

Possibly the tastiest movement to have come out of Italy. Delicious food and saving the world in the process.


Same ol' story!

Napoli and its perennial garbage crisis. Deja vu.

Good ol' Deccan Chronicle!

Hyderabad's favourite daily comes up with a story of live-in relationships, but what's the photo got to do with it ?

The woman who launched a 1000 tirades

Arundhati Roy's views always cause a furore and if the issue is that of India's northernmost state, emotions are likely to boil over. A sampling from the popular blog Churumuri (1) and news channels (2).


Blackburn Roosters

Possibly the new name for the English Premier league club, Blackburn Rovers, after they have been bought over by Venkateshwara Hatcheries.

Tourism Tip

According to the Times of India, the CM of Karnataka has visited at least 32 temples in the last 15 days seeking blessings to defuse the political crisis in his state. It also obliges with a short list of the temples. That is indeed a useful to plan an itinerary for the next trip to South India.


Walkman retires!

Sony has ceased production of the classic Walkman in Japan.


Living it up

Welcome to Aurangabad - tour the Bibi ka Maqabra, the fabulous Ajanta and Ellora caves and watch 150 Mercs flit by!


Rough patch for Korea's staple dish

Believe it or not, South Korea's most serious problem is not its thorny northern neighbour but the spiralling price of cabbage. As a result, the price of its favourite dish of fermented cabbage, kimchi, has skyrocketed causing a lot of heartburn.


The new map of the world

A social networking map which represents websites and web communities as countries and sized on the basis of their popularity reveals interestng details. For instance, some websites are not as popular as one thinks they are and thankfully, the spoken language still rules.


The mind boggles

Coal India Ltd., almost the Bheeshmapitamah of India's public sector has offered an IPO to collect the neat sum of Rs. 15,000 crores or 15 followed by 10 zeroes. More power to it!

The Blame Games

Now that the CWG in New Delhi is over and done with, the passing the buck fest and investigations by law enforcement agencies has begun. Did it really showcase India? Hopefully, the 101 medals won and their winners will not be forgotten.


Exploring deeper

Another fascinating layer of  the gladiatorial contests in the Colloseum of Rome has now been opened up to the public. Read about it here.


A new Indian language

Did you know Arunachal Pradesh is home to 120 languages? Linguists have stumbled on a new one, Koro, while hunting for an old one, Aka. the bad news: only about 800 people speak Koro.


Chakka jam!

Mumbai (or Bombay for the old fashioned) saw a strike by taxi and autorickshaw passengers. For the second time. While the impact of Meter Jam at best is likely to be limited in a city as big as Mumbai, it might be a something to consider by the average Roman, who is harassed every week by some sciopero or the other.


Mindblowing but temper the celebrations

India's growth rate is predicted to go past China's by as early as 2013, according to the Economist. Two billion people plus economies booming is good news for the world. The sobering thought, the Global Hunger Index finds the nutrition situation for Indian children alarming at rank 67 out of 84 countries. Time to channel the trillion dollar economy into addressing their basic needs.


What's on in Italy?

As autumn builds and winter approaches, art exhibitions are the perfect place to spend chilly weekends. Here is a list of art exhibits over the next quarter.


Where do you want your kids to study?

The world of education has changed enormously. Young talent from a country going abroad to study is no longer 'brain drain'  but 'brain exchange'.


Indians have been worried about the national image being cast in the bad old dirty-toilets-and-rope-tricks mould in the run up to and during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. But probably no Western country is as stereotyped as Italy. Pasta, pizza, scooters, Mafia, pickpockets - from 'Roman Holiday' to 'Eat,Pray,Love', from travel books to Ipad app-the same images flit across. No wonder, Italians are complaining (oops, that is a stereotype too!).

A home in the wall!

This former porter's closet in the heart of Rome is currently the smallest apartment in the world and costs
€ 50,000. One person may be one too many for what the French would call a petite pied-à-terre (or foot on the ground)!


Van Gogh in Rome

An exhibition of more than a 100 works by this Dutch artist will be showcased at the Vittoriano (also known as the Big White Building in Piazza Venezia) from October 9,2010 to Februarr 6, 2011.


Full length movies on You Tube

Indian movies are slowly spreading all over the world but if you are ever hardpressed to find a DVD, just go to You Tube ( As a bonus to make you feel good, they are all legally uploaded!


The other

SPQR or Senatus Populus Que Romanus (the Senate and People of Rome) is the tagline of the city. Like all acronyms it has an alternative and derisive expansion, recently used by Berlusconi's most important ally. Much fun and indignation in the press.


Believe it or not.....

.....the University of Vienna is holding a 3-day international conference from the 30th of September to the 2nd of October on "Shah Rukh Khan and Global Bollywood"! (Link in German)


Italian affairs... update

Read here about the recent churning in Italian politics (that can betranslated as Aaya Ram and Gaya Ram in Indian politics!)

The Billboards of Venice

Venice today is one big advertising board albeit a tastefully designed one. But it has a crucial benefit, funding the tottering city's maintenance. Link.


The eccentric Kishore Kumar

The owner of this immortal voice (watch some some gems here) was also a comic genius and a weird character. Read his rollicking madcap interview of 1985 here.


.... and being Indian

The New Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010, 7 years in the works and still churning. Read.
But did you know that the Asian Games 1982 organising committee still exists? Read.
We are like this only!

Being Italian...

All about boutique merchandise and the problem with guilds (better known as unions or sindacati). Read.


Is there a modern Rome?

The New York Times asks the Eternal question.



Sad about Italy's exit from the World Cup in South Africa? Never mind, here's something as blue as the colours of Gli Azzurri, soft mozzarella cheese. To bite into it, click here.


To tap or not to tap!

No, this is not about water supply. According to the New York Times,
"Last year, the Italian authorities monitored more than 112,000 phones and 13,000 locations, according to the Justice Ministry, figures widely seen as among the highest in Europe. "
Interested in recent wiretaps? Click on the NYT link.


La Dolce Vita- here and now

Worried about the Euro, the hung parliament in the UK (how familiar that sounds to Indians!), or the volcanic ash! Here's a tip from columnist Ayaz Amir: "We are too grim about things. If we need a strategic partnership with any country it should be Italy. At least we would take a less frenzied view of the universe. La Dolce Vita, the sweet life, is not just about material things."
Indeed! Maybe the IPL could consider this.
In passing, the article from the NY Review of Books quoted by the writer.


Ok, tata, bye bye!

One is India's first home grown car, the other is an evergreen, all terrain scooter which at one point had years of waiting lists. Both vehicles - the Maruti 800 and the Bajaj Chetak -are now being phased out. A trip down memory lane from Time magazine.


Business as usual

A stampede in a temple in Uttar Pradesh kills scores in another entirely avoidable tragedy. The state government has no money to compensate the hapless victims as all the currency notes have been sewn up in garlands. Meanwhile, Rome (and Italy) is having its second transport strike in 2 weeks.

Recommended: Always cap your lunch with a caffé!

This is fast moving field of research. In December 2009, an article reported that people drinking three to four cups of coffee or tea day had a 25 percent lower risk for Type 2 diabetes. Now a new study shows, that for optimal results, it is best to combine lunch with black coffee. It lowered the risk of Type 2 diabetes by one third (in a study that involved nearly 70,000 women).
Of course, it also keeps you awake the rest of the day!

Hindi,Chini, Fratello, Fratello!

The most popular bit of news among Indians here is that China Airlines now offers direct flights to New Delhi from Rome. Something that Air India should have done but can't be bothered. No doubt, Indians in Italy will add another 0.1% to Taiwan's burgeoning GDP!


The youth and print media

The 459 million strong youth population of India is holding up the popularity of newspapers, in the age of 24 hour TV channels and the Internet. A sharp contrast from the situation in the West but owes much to the relatively poor penetration of the Internet in India. Details here.


60th Republic Day

The Republic of India turns 60. The popular blog Churumuri calls this, the country's sashtiabdhapoorthi, an opportune moment to lean back and look into the rear-view mirror. Also a link to a remarkably mature view of Indian patriotism (' not nationalistic, not imperialist, not aggressive, but rather self-critical') in Slate. Last but not the least, the new version of 'Mile sur mera tumhara' (in two parts) released today.


IPL on YouTube!

IPL 2010 and 2011 will be telecast live on You Tube. That certainly is good news for Indians living in the backwaters of the cricket world (like Italy!). YouTube claims that this is the first major sporting event to be streamed across the globe. That the IPL and Google are confident of making money out of free webcasting suggests that T20 can spread virally but is not a virus as suggested by some!