Showing posts from 2016

Happy Holidays

Last weekend we went to see a musical concert. The show was named "Under the Mistletoe", where musicians from Qatar performed to a packed auditorium. There were orchestra, wind symphony, singers and choirs performing separately and then coming together in unison for the grand finale.

This was extra special for us as our daughter was one of the performers. It's the second consecutive year she had performed in the Christmas show as part of the choir and we were probably among the first few to book our tickets.

I have uploaded the performances of the Choir and the Grand Finale in YouTube and invite you to get into the holiday mood for 2016.

Where are you father Christmas
Joy to the World
Tap Tap Tap
Tiny Little Baby Born in Bethlehem
The grand finale was particularly enjoyable as everyone got cranked up for the festive mood.

Demonetization - Black, White and many shades of Grey

In democracy, there is a strange feeling when it turns out that the person or motion you did not support has won. A feeling that resonates among thousands of Americans today after Trump’s triumphant win. Many Indians had similar feeling after the last general election and more recently after the demonetization of currency. As a result of that they are still burning inside with frustration.

Let us not take a bipartite approach to life or belief as Mr. George W Bush’s dictated once upon a time ..  “you are with us or with the terrorists”, he said. Let’s look at the bigger picture and try to accept the good even if it is with the customary “Umm!” and “Uuuh!”
Life offers multiple shades of grey between black and white! One doesn’t necessarily has to sweat in making THE decision as there are abundant opportunities to be selective while cherry picking own likes and dislikes.
Now that enough bytes and energy has been expended in support, opposition, criticism and debates on various aspects of  …

Amar Jawan - We are indebted to you

We are a country of 1.25 billion and since gaining independence from the British Raj, only a small percentage of Indians have served the armed forces. Even a smaller percentage got wounded in action or have been martyred.
But these small number of shoulders protect Our Freedom, Our Dignity, Our opportunities and carry Our Dreams and Hopes. They spend sleepless nights guarding our cities and borders so that we could sleep in peace.
This post is to honor all current as well as ex-service men-women who served our nation during peace, war or natural calamities at great cost to themselves and their families.

We Salute you!

Men are Obsolete

Either war is obsolete or man is. To not evolve beyond war is to choose oblivion over utopia.
My heart bleeds every time the news of the death of civilian or soldiers come in. Useful lives of our country are being wasted and families are getting devastated by mindless killings.

The idea above is of R Buckminster Fuller, a great American Architect and it was discovered on his desk after he had passed away. In my opinion he was a true dreamer in his own rights, otherwise  who in his right frame of mind would have dared to dream of a world without war. After all it's the arms industry that keeps the economic engines of so called great nations lubricated. They have made wars their birth right and seldom hesitate to bestow one upon others! . ….. and of course we cannot undermine how much craving so called great people with ego have for absolute crude power and wealth.
Or else we all would have lived happily ever after!

Zero ka Funda

Most of the time Zero is considered more negative than any negative integer and we seldom hesitate to say “he or she is a big zero”.
While the size of a zero definitely doesn’t matter, there are some excellent lessons one could take home from Zero.
We learnt that one can add colossal value in life by positioning oneself in the RIGHT place. When 0 (zero) collaborates with 1 (One) in the right position they make 10 (Ten).
Zero (0) degree, where the water starts to freeze, could give us immense warmth once arrived from a minus 10. We learnt that in spite of being the smallest, Zero does not carry any negativity.

Though careful usage Zero could be encouraging, as a manager once appraised someone. “He has improved tremendously” the manager wrote. “His English has now become zero from totally non-existent”.

How is my driving

I believe in parallel universe: Multiple versions of us are living in alternate worlds that interact with each other. Nah! I am not going to bore you with quantum theories to explain "multiverse". Rather, it’s quite simple for us to perceive.
One world exist in our home, offices, parks or movie theaters while other one could be viewed in its full glory on our roads. Once behind the wheels of those moving metals, each actor has a different character ever ready to clank at the slightest opportunity.
I once encountered a driver, who started his argument by accepting he was an idiot while questioning if I did enough to prove my genius. He must have been a lawyer of the Road world and the realization dawned on me that in this parallel world all professions exists.
The Professor: When they happen to observe someone break the law, they make every effort to let the errant know that it was wrong. Given an opportunity they give a lecture on it.
Makeup Artists: They consider cars as mo…

Divi Divi - A natural Compass

Aruba's trademark: the Divi Divi or watapana tree
This is my sketchy sketch version of the famous Divi Divi tree I chanced once upon a time in the internet. It is found in exclusively in the tiny Island of Aruba, which is 180 square kilometers in size and part of the kingdom of Nederland in the Caribbean Sea.  
The Divi Divi tree is Aruba’s natural compass, always pointing in a southwesterly direction.  The local adage is that “if you are lost in the wilderness, follow the bend of the divi-divi trees and they’ll lead you to town”.

It is believed that attempts to plant this tree in other parts of the world have proved futile. The cooling wind that gust steadily from the northeast have carved the native divi-divi trees into natural sculptures, shapes that would rival the most artistic bonsai.

O Architecture

Architecture isn’t just methodology and science, nor can be practiced as a formula. It’s an opportunity to infuse emotions to art forms and create a new reality.
Architects' pencil is a wand that could construct a magical realism, where fantasy seamlessly blends with reality and everyday spaces around us appear different while remaining familiar all the time. The arches winks as it entices you to take the step while the handles of doors reaches out for your touch as you turn it on.
Welcome to the magical place where the future has already happened and the past is yet to arrive.

Organic, Hybrid or GMO.... Its so confusing

These days while doing grocery, we have started to look for seedless fruits. The seeds are a nuisance inside the mouth and particularly so as one can no longer consider spitting those out in our urban spaces. I am carrying a guilt because of this disturbing trend of laziness. Deep inside I know that seedless variety of fruits being against the rule of nature cannot be healthy.
I knew that these are hybrid fruits but not genetically modified and recently carried out a bit of research to understand this better.  I learnt that new varieties are created when compatible plants are crossbred. Sometimes this happens in nature due to cross pollination and sometimes it is made to happen on plantation. Grapefruits for example is a hybrid of a pomelo and a sweet orange which were crossbred on plantations in the 18th century. Oranana along with the above image however, is purely my imagination.

In addition to natural and hybrid food, we also have Genetically modified or transgenic food and crops. …

Magical Reality ... Real but inside a dream

Dreams are illusion and could also be described as magical realism for good reasons. Although science would love to explain dreams through “alpha beta and gamma” stages of our sleep. I look forward to blog on that aspect at another time but now it’s time for surreal dreams. Like magical realism, in this dream we find distant past present in every moment while the future had already happened. Here the protagonist is part of a dream which might be scary but without a doubt magical. While inside the airport facility in a foreign country, he unintentionally loitered on to the tarmac. He had been following someone who was getting into an aircraft, a smaller one. The realization suddenly struck that this he is in a place that is normally out of bounds and must be illegal. He started to rush back towards the terminal building but could not find the place he exited. From the outside it is so very difficult to distinguish between doorways and glazing, most certainly done on purpose. He final…

Vision Twenty-Fifty - Keeping dreams alive for India

We may be young as a nation as we celebrate our 70th year of independence from the imperial powers. However, this doesn’t make us a new country, one the contrary we have existed for centuries and history bears testimony to the great kings, enlightened sages and people with heart of gold. Unfortunately many among us have started to erode the core values that we practiced and treasured generation after generation.
We belong to the land where the code of conduct for the society was governed by compassion even for strangers. We said “Atithi Devo Bhava or Atithidevo Bhava”. This is a verse in Sanskrit taken from an ancient Hindu scripture (अतिथिदेवो भव), which in English translates into  “the guest being equivalent to God”.  
Today as we stand saluting our national flag, it quite apparent that noble codes of conduct of our forefather have lost in the pages of history. People have lost humanity. Every other day we learn some gore acts carried out by a common person that makes deeds by hardene…

.... and let there be Hope

The media seldom portrays the positive side of our society, while in reality good things happen constantly leading to integrity, hope and trust. Through the following narratives, I have shared two of my recent encounters in Kolkata that give rise to hope.
Adhaar Card We took the first opportunity to walk up to the bureau office to get our applications through unscheduled registration. We were elated by the professionalism demonstrated by the government officer on duty that day. After waiting for some months and a bit of follow-up the day arrived to get photographed and fingerprints taken. Fortunately for us, it coincided with our vacation time. We were pleasantly surprised to discover everything well organized and there was absolute discipline … an order not too synonymous with our land with billions. Everyone came strictly by appointment. 
My daughter and I breezed through the procedure and all waz well till it was my wife’s turn. Her residence proof document had parental home address an…

Tripura & India's Olympic dream

Gymnast Dipa Karmakar qualifies for the finals in the Olympics 2016. She has made us proud and the whole country is looking at her with hope for a medal. She is without doubt the most famous person of the small hilly Indian northeastern state called Tripura.
Here I share a few fabulous landmarks from this state which I happened to have visited during July 2016.
The ujjayanta palace, the erstwhile home of the royals and currently a museum The South-side gate of the palace On the way to the Neer Mahal or the water palace The Rudra Sagar, which houses the water Neer Mahal Ma Tripureswari one of the Hindu Mythological Pith (holy places) Bhueswari Temple, the original home of Ma. The story of this temple is immortalized in one of Tagore's stories. The story narrates how human sacrifice was abolished by the compassion of little children. you can find more about it in one of my earlier posts here Maa-tripureswari

A Cityscape .... a thought

Sometimes we stare at a distant skyline and wonder about life. The thought of extraterrestrial life confuses us as we are unaware of any living beings in other planets of this large Universe. As a matter of fact, no one else knows about their existence either.

First I think we are alone and then chuckle to conclude .... maybe not!

Integrity: you & me - now & then

Integrity is the essence of everything successful......
"Integrity for me means adherence to strong moral and ethical principles while conducting our life whether or not other people are watching." Bucky Fuller’s (R. Buckminster) statement therefore implies that one has to carry out all life activities within ethical and moral limits to be rewarded with success.

Simply put, do good and it'll turn out good!
There is no denying of the fact that integrity of character is the minimum one requires for a success story although this not always the most visible trait of successful individuals. There are unfortunately many corrupts who gatecrashed into that league but we can always argue that exception proves the rule.
People have changed over the past century and today they are not so keen to retain the moral high grounds. Historian Warren Susman has opined in his book “Culture as History: the Transformation of American Society in the Twentieth Century” that the use of the word “…

The motives behind Motivation

The motives behind Motivation was published by me on the Linked In. The global economy follows a pattern of peaks and troughs and the mantra to survive those inclement phases of recession is to stay prepared in advance. Readiness calls for periodic retrospection or self-appraisal followed by an honest endeavor to upskill ourselves. There is an old saying "if you aren't growing, you're dying" and this drive for growth often is what separates the outstanding from the adequate. The thought of “further development” invariably annoys us at the beginning and a common question that haunts us is “why bother about further development within our busy daily schedule?” A gentleman once confided that he would rather be investing that resources for the future of his children. But the harsh reality of present day life is that no jobs are permanent. Over the past decades, we have witnessed numerous profit making business models employing thousands around the globe going bankrupt or …

Love is a mental disorder

It was a typical setup for such traditional restaurant,high back seats neatly packed against each other with a square table in between. He was sitting next to a young couple having an argumentative conversation and he inadvertently became part of a important chapter of their life story.

Loving is not always an easy task. Love comes with it's share of pain and guilt. Men fall in love more than women but you simply do not care.” she said.  

Yea! when women do fall in love, they become addicted to the feeling more easily. But unfortunately I am not a woman” came the reply.

People invariably find the person who they fall in love with attractive and they write poetry or sing love songs. You are so different and difficult,” she quipped.

This is not funny!” he said. “ Love is a mental disorder and I cannot transform into an insane to impress you. I am what I am. Period.”

What's that you said? Now I know, I must be mad to love you so much” she said with tears in her eyes.


Deception, thy name is Trompe-l'œil

There is an interesting story about deceptive painting involving two renowned Greek painters from around 464 BC. Zeuxis, once produced a still life so real that it convinced the birds to peck at the grapes in there. Parrahasius, a rival artist later invited Zeuxis to judge one of his paintings after pulling back a tattered curtains in his study. But when Zeuxis tried, he could not, as the curtains too were part of that Parrhasius's painting.  This form of painting would probably be categorized as l trompe-l'œil.

Trompe-l'œil as defined by Wiki is French for "deceive the eye". This is a technique of art which uses realistic imagery to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects exist in three dimensions. A typical trompe-l'œil mural might depict a window, door, or hallway, intended to suggest a larger room.
This is also written as trompe l’oeil in English and is thought to have originated much earlier than our documented history. Examples are found i…

Life is not fair

Life is not fair.It is a thought she felt started to cross her mind more often than anyone else in the whole world. This negative feelings came back without fail during her childhood whenever things went against her wishes. In the face of all odds of being a single parent, her mother was the epitome of positivity, who always kept her motivated. That was some 24 years back when she was just a little girl of 10 and could barely perceive what fairness in life really meant.
“ I am born out of a wedlock and have never seen my father” was her biggest complaint. As a teen, she could barely find solace in the assurance that she was a love child born out of deep love and affection between two persons. It was too deep a philosophy for her to understand the complexities of human lives, their social constraints, their limits and helplessness. A couple who love each other cannot always get married and it is their love that let one see the constraints and shines the light to move on. “ Life's not…

On the way to Reunion

The Reunion“I shall name him Ujjyal”, my grandfather declared soon after the birth of his first grandchild. “He shall bring glory to the family”, was his wish first time as he saw me. His dream, I learnt later was to see his grandson take charge of large construction projects. As a young boy, he was fascinated by a British Engineer in charge of constructing the long span rail bridge across the village river. He himself had done quite well considering the humble beginning and accumulated significant amount of wealth during his lifetime. Over the years he developed an uncanny habit of investing in the right business, right property and right people. If there was one thing that he missed was the genuine respect of people. The respect doctor, an engineer or a collector so easily commanded all the time. Since his children couldn’t fulfill his dream, it was passed down to his grandson. The family had moved to Lutyens’ Delhi from neighboring Haryana soon after I was born. My father inherite…