Showing posts from 2008

Was it Premonition?

We were up early and Nandini told me as she was leaving for the Airport that she read about a fire in a Bangkok club and around 50 people had died as they were celebrating the arrival of New year 2009.
After they left for the Airport I checked the internet around 5 am and I saw this at the club's website! The small icon you see is actually a picture of a flame and it is an anitmation of an active flame!

31 December 2008 Surprisingly there was no mention of this fire either in Bangkok Post or The Nation websites while the others around the world had the news of this fire on their websites. Here is a quote from MSNBC: BANGKOK - A fire swept through a high class nightclub jammed with hundreds of N…

Sunflowers to Cheer you up!

We thought we will go and see the sunflowers as it is the season. Twenty of us Adults, kids and a baby took a whole day trip on a Train. The train was slow but still wobbled as it was on narrow gauge tracks.

Mukund gave us a lot of gyan about sunflowers, not how much oil an acre of sunflowers yeild, as Aditi had predicted.

I copy this from Wikipedia as I did not remember all the things Mukund said about Sunflowers!
"What is usually called the flower is actually a head (formally composite flower) of numerous florets (small flowers) crowded together. The outer florets are the sterile ray florets and can be yellow, maroon, orange, or other colors. The florets inside the circular head are called disc florets, which mature into what are traditionally called "sunflower seeds," but are actually the fruit (an achene) of the plant. The inedible husk is the wall of the fruit and the true seed lies within the kernel.
The florets within the sunflower's cluster are arranged in a spi…

Roy views India!

As a rambler I hesitated to take on the subject of Terror for my blog. Then I see that the editor of Guru Magazine (Bangkok Post) has written to Santa asking for many things for Christmas and eighth on the wish list is for a definition of the word 'terrorism'. While he has written this in a lighter vein, I am still relieved that I am not the only one who is confused.

There is so much written about the Mumbai Terror that I still keep getting fws. on the subject. I admired the one written by Payoshi Roy, Class XI,Bishop Cottons Girls School, Bangalore and forwarded it to others. (I know most of you abhor Fws.) Her purpose: 'We are here to figure out what exactly is wrong with us, because it is evident that there is something horribly amiss in this country and it's people'.

She is very clear about our faults. 'Discrimination is sadly practiced in every nook and corner of our country. We think it's insignificant, we think that it's just the way people are.

Seriously, is there a way out?

After the Mumbai terror, we are all upset, angry and want everything done. What is that entirely depends on the nature of the person or the position he or she is in. I see that Thomas Friedman, who called the world flat now wants it to be a village. Very sensible I think.

I quote: 'Because, I repeat, this kind of murderous violence only stops when the village - all the good people in Pakistan, including the community elders and spiritual leaders who want a decent future for their country - declares, as a collective, that those who carry out such murders are shameful unbelievers who will not dance with virgins in heaven but burn in hell. And they do it with the same vehemence with which they denounce Danish cartoons.'

Is he thinking of small manageable tribal villages and not the global village? Whatever, I wondered whether at my age, would I be consulted as an elder in one of these small segments of humanity. A modern Rishi as it were. I remember reading that the influence of th…

Something to bring Cheer.

Tara suggested I write a blog about something to be happy about. That was a few days ago as we were just recovering from the Mumbai Terror week. While we are really Punekars at heart, Mumbai too has a special place in our hearts. This could happen to a Bengalooru-born person like me as Independence happened when I was nine and I became an Indian.
Cross my heart, Inshah Ishwara, I hope to continue to be one. Seriously, as a Hindu kid in school, I had started this ritual of crossing my heart and saying 'Inshah Allah'. I do not remember why, must be because of the original 'Gandhigiri' that was still relevant those days!
Anyway, what really prompted me to write now, was this unattractiveold mutt which has adopted Rishi court, the apartment complex we live in. On our early morning walks, as soon as she sees the dog, Rhea breaks into a big smile and talks to him. I hesitate to take her closer to him as I am sure he has fleas. I do not think it has had a bath for years unless…

When East marries West.

" The day is going to remain with us for a long time to come. One of those days when you go through a roller coaster ride of events that leave you breathless and anxious while on the ride, but then, at the end, give you this sense of fulfillment and joy and achievement. That was our day on Sunday, November 9, 2008.

May be the right way to start writing about this day would be from 7 pm. That’s when the East Marries West recital began. We had the Royal Anthem followed by the lighting of the lamp by M.L. Poomchai Chumbala, a prominent member of Thai society and one of the most well known of the landscape artists and architects in Thailand.

The program began with a solo recital on the cello by Saskia Rao-de-Haas. It is difficult to put in words the ambiance that she creates through her music and her presence on stage. In her hands, the cello becomes this soulful medium that adds a different dimension to Indian ragas. Many of us have heard ragas on the violin, but the sound produced b…

Zakir Hussain--a true master!

The whole evening was unexpected. I did not know I would be meeting Maestro Zakir Hussain and shake hands with him. The only thing I could think of saying at that moment was 'I was fortunate to hear your father in the sixties...' and before I could complete my sentence he said ' And still you came... ( to hear me!) ' with a smile. I had no quick response for that!

I did not tell him that I almost did not come. The program was titled 'Masters of Percussion'. I was not really sure about a program of this nature. I had heard him in India and was mesmerised by his exuberance and the sheer enjoyment he showed while accompanying on the tabla. I felt that it was better to keep my old memories intact.

The concert was held at the 'M' theatre. I suppose 'M' meant modest. We waited at the lobby tucked in between 'Starbucks' in the front and the car park at the rear! As we went up to the theater, the stairs reminded me of the fire escape. Probably it …

My moment of glory!

We were standing at the entrance of the movie theater at Siam Paragaon. A tall farang walked up and shook my hands and said 'Welcome to Bangkok,I am Nick Snow'. I said 'Thanks' wondering 'where did I meet him and how did he know that I was not in Bangkok for almost six months!' Luckily Tara caught on and told him 'Did you think he was Shyam Benegal? Well he is not, we are also waiting for Mr. Shyam Benegal!'

It felt nice to be mistaken for Shyam Benegal! It surely was an honor as I am a great admirer of his movies. While I have not seen some of his later movies, the earlier ones 'Ankur, Nishant and Manthan' are my all time favourites! Ankur changed my perception of Indian villages totally. I had this very idealistic view of a village having never lived in one. And who can forget Shaban Azmi's role in that movie! It was an astounding piece of acting on her debut.

Shyam Benegal is standing next to Gayathri!! Let me explain! Shyam Benegal is this …

My 'China' thoughts.

The question in every Indian mind would be the one Srikanth posed for me after my return. He asked: 'How many years ahead is China?' I was a bit hesitant to answer this as my visit to China was brief and I had travelled in a capsule and my only Chinese connection was that of Charlie. I did not even eat Chinese food thanks to the lunches Mala used to pack for me. Anyway I said 'fifty!' A number Nandini had mentioned in a conversation we had a couple of years ago. The comment was from their Chinese friend's father after his visit to India. He had opined that India would never catch up, could even slide back!

I did not agree with this assessment then, thought it was too extreme based on just one visit! I had heard and read that India was on the move. There was a surge in real estate activity and infra structure projects were in full swing. It is not nice to mention the stalled NICE project of Karnataka here! Also, Mutual funds in the infrastructure segment were doing w…

Knee How in Beijing. The Air Port.

Charlie our dependable friend appeared right on time to drop us off at the airport. We had spoken about taking a picture of us together. Sadly in the usual rush as we left for the airport we forgot! While we will never forget Charlie and his smile, it would have been nice to have his picture on my blog. Tara wished him all the best and hoped he would become very prosperous in his venture.

As we stepped into the new terminal 3 of the airport, the terminal is shaped like the character 人 which means people, we were in awe. We had already seen the arrival area and were duly impressed. But walking into the departure lounge was something else. It was the largest and the most modern and artistic airport we have seen so far. The feeling of space was unbelievable for an enclosed structure. The chinese really love creating space in their public places. It can be seen in the ancient palaces and parks as well as in the new Olympic complex recently built.
I have borrowed some pictures of the airport…

Knee How in Beijing. The Final day. ....The Summer Palace

I missed writing about this highlight of the second day's visit. It was a short walk around the lake Ho Hai and drinking tea at the Tea House. It was the perfect end for a very eventful day. Enjoyable surroundings and a peaceful atmosphere. Tara saw this tea house and said let us have an experience of drinking Chinese tea in a Chinese tea house. It was a great idea!

It had a nice authentic Chinese decor and was practically empty. We selected a spot over looking the colorfully lit lake. The whole place was active, with music and people strolling in a relaxed manner. A place to chill out as the young ones say.

The menu was on rectangular wooden pieces strung together, very artistic. Anyway as Mala looked at the menu she said 'My god this is expensive'. Finally she chose a pot of herbal tea. While it was not an elaborate ceremony, the hostess was gentle and courteous. The tea was excellent. I asked her if we could buy the menu scroll as memento; we could at 2000 Bhat! The most …