Showing posts from October, 2008

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 …

Knee How in Beijing. The second day. ....Evening at the Olympic sport complex

As I came out of the forbidden city it was a relief to spot our ever smiling friend Charlie as he waved at me. We had to walk a little to the spot where he had parked his car, a brand new Peugeot.

I noticed that we were passing a hutong, portions of it were fenced off with sheets and workers were busy breaking up the place. I had also observed as we were driving on the main thorough fares, long stretches of newly built and painted compound walls. The surprise was what was inside the well made compound walls. They appeared to be old type of structures and the alleys were very narrow. Anyway there are no pictures as I was running behind Charlie who was walking at a brisk pace.
I did take these two pictures as 'Dhristi Bhottu' for the amazing city!

Well we thought as Tara was busy at the workshop, we could drive around the olympic complex in the evening, so that we could say that we had seen the 'Bird's Nest'. It appears that it was opened for public on that very day, …

Knee How in Beijing. The second day. ....The forbidden city.

As I walked in from Tiananmen Square, I decided to just walk around what is essentially a museum. I only wanted to soak in the atmosphere rather than see pieces on display however beautiful and unique. I suppose it was the daunting thought of walking into 9999 rooms and getting out of them which dissuaded me! I do not know if anyone has done this or even if one is allowed to see all the rooms in the city.

Here a few pictures:( Tara feels that it is a good idea to tell 'New blog viewers' that we can get an enlarged view of the picture by clicking on it.)

I thought I could make a quick buck by taking a picture of them and selling it to Nike. Anyway no way of communicating this to them. I wanted all of them in a row and with caps on!

I think this one is cute. Beauty and the Beast!
I am happy with this composition.
I suppose I missed a lot of rooms as I got into this corridor and was too tired to go back!

A poor attempt at stitching them together!

The crossing of branches is significant. …