The first edition of The Equator Line lives up to its name. The articles appear to strike a good balance between serious topics such as the current economic problems and the nostalgic journey back in time. The images are striking and appropriately distributed to keep the reader interested and at the same time not losing focus.
I was particularly impressed with the “India:Waiting for a New helmsman” by Bhaskar Roy. He has analysed the bureaucratic woes that beset the country extremely well. The economic assessment of 16th century India and political climate at the time is pretty accurate. The article highlights the dichotomy of economic liberalisation versus continued bureaucratic bottle neck – a legacy of British Raj! It also highlights the absence of any debate on the table about this at present. His correlation of the “head man” of 16th century and the success of the economy should hit the present politicians, if they ever read this article. The analysis of current candidates for the leader of the country shows the grasp of the political mood and characters in the fray extremely well.
I never knew of the numerous success stories of us, Indians abroad until I read “The trophies and triumphs from faraway lands”!! It would be an excellent idea to dedicate one issue on this and get the barons of business in faraway lands write about their experiences. There is a lesson for everyone in this article. It reminded me of a cartoon years ago when the Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon to be greeted by a Chaaiwala!!
The short story by Neeru Iyer tells the rather poignant, slightly improbable story of an young girl. Even though the story of “She is not afraid of spiders” starts off as how her parent meet each other, it turns out to be more of how she finds her mother and eventually her father. It is extremely well written and characterisation of the girl and her interaction with the would be adopted father has been handled brilliantly. There is no soppy sentimentality, and completely matter of fact without losing the emotional value. The mother’s role, though a major character in the story, has been underplayed
– a master stroke I think. Hats off to Neeru Iyer on a brilliant portrayal.
Sondeep Shankar takes you through the life on and in the river Ganges. The images are filled with vibrant colours and lively. Eventhough the images speak for themselves, I wish he had added a caption for the images. I was
curious to know which part of the mighty river was being captured.
The last two articles are essentially about the hill station of Mussorie. Robert Hutchinson gives a nostalgic look at the hill station and the changing face of an old lady because of modernity. It almost makes you feel sad to see an aged relative ageing faster than you want. It is essentially a tongue in cheek travelogue. Ganesh Saili brings out the inimitable Ruskin Bond in his article “A writer for a neighbour”.
Rohit Trilokekar’s “Second Honeymoon” looks at the old fashioned “seven year itch” in a slightly different view point. It is an often trod road with a modern twist. The twist is because of the onslaught of newer inventions – the ever present mobile phone! The article reads more like a well written instruction leaflet to all the newly married!
The Equator Line has started off well and I m sure it will grow into an institution before long.
Shankar N Kashyap