Capital or the erosion of the social farbric of the city

This is the second book i have read this year that has the words ‘capital’ and ’21st century’ in its title. While this smells a lot like free-riding on the popularity of the other book, it is not [1]. Capital by Rana Dasgupta chronicles the last one-and-a-half decades of the Indian capital Delhi. It is a mix between encounters (not in the indian sense of the word) with (moneyed) inhabitants of Delhi, snippets of history and more abstract reflections on the city in an globalized world. It is a f…

Delhi metro now moving more people per day than the entire Dutch national railways

This was mentioned in passing in an item on carbon trading that ran in today’s NOS evening news: the delhi metro is now transporting more passengers per day than the dutch national railways. a quick check on wikipedia shows that this is a bit of an understatement: daily ridership of the delhi metro system is 1.8M passengers per day while the NS is moving a mere 1.1M passengers per day (and struggling to do so i might add). This figure pretty much blows my mind in a number of ways. while there h…

Casino Royale

So i have been trying to buy a dvd copy of the latest James Bond movie all along my trip. finally managed to score a decent copy with proper english sound in Shenzhen (china) yesterday. in total i bought 4 different discs which gives a nice little insight in the dynamics of movie piracy in asia: 25/11 Dubai, Karama market: got a 4-1 dvd with three other crap movies on it in a upstairs room behind one of the numerous fake brand clothing shops in the Karama Market Shopping Complex. Paid 20 Dirham,…

The heat ...

… has been close to unbearable in the last couple of days. Daytime temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s and high humidity do not really constitute an enjoyable atmosphere. The fact that yesterday night’s garden reception that was hosted by sarai on the occasion of the launch of the Sarai reader #06 was surrounded by an array of ventilators pretty much sums the situation Ventilators in the garden, at 2100h in the evening! jay!…

Teach yourself german

Usually i do not really like being recognized as a german when i am in a far-away-country, but todays encounter somewhere on a road just west of Delhi’s old city was kind of hilarious. the auto rikshaw we were traveling in was overtaken by a small white car and when the guy sitting next to the driver saw that the passengers were Westerners he immediately asked me ‘are you german?’ while showing his ‘how to teach yourself german’ course-book. my reply that i was indeed german seemed to make him p…

The sudden stardom of the third world city

Rana Dasgupta has just published an essay of the same name on his site in which he explores the devellopments behind the recent rise to media stardom of cities like Johannisburg, Bombay, Caracas, Lagos and Nairobi. from the essay: Dismissive talk of Chinese “sweatshops” that would never meet EU regulations does nothing to dispel the sense of a stupendous fertility, for the contents of every western household are “Made in China”, and most Europeans and Americans are so entirely ignorant about how…