Saturday, December 11, 2010

Death

Only yesterday there was a wedding. Death comes silently.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Christmas Carol

Had a good weekend. Went and saw an adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" featuring Ebenezer Scrooge. For a story that has been told a number of times, the adaptation was good and the settings were simple with a lot of Christmas Carols thrown in. The acting on the part of Scrooge was exceptionally good for a young man of 47 years. The singing was also good.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Squirrel In A Concrete Jungle



These are two pictures I took today. Just like the butterflies and the dragonflies in a concrete jungle, it was really beautiful to watch the fellow in action. The first picture is of the fellow near the lamppost and the next is a more closer shot. The fellow disappeared into the gap between the two buildings and probably has a mate or a nest there.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wages Of Sin?

Read an article on why God allows evil. The writer subscribes this to the sins that we commit. I do not subscribe to this view. If this is the reason, then why do children suffer? A couple of days back two children, a boy(7) and girl (11) - his sister - were kidnapped. The girl was raped and both the children were murdered - the boy was drowned. This is not the only incident of its kind. Some time back some small children who were watching a movie in China were burnt to death. What were their sins?
This brings us to the question of "karma". You suffer for the sins committed in your past life and as such there seems to be some truth in the concept of rebirth. The Christians say there is no rebirth. Is this concept correct? Or is the concept of rebirth subscribed to by the Hindus correct?

Deepavali

Yesterday (05.11.10) was Deepavali (Light Festival) when people buy new clothes for themselves and their children an go out on visits and on outings to films and fun places. I went to a friend's (wife's colleague) seashore bungalow and then for a movie Uthamaputhiran (a very good man). A lighthearted comedy worth seeing to pass away the time. Had lunch at a food court. Spent some time on the beach and took pictures of some riff-raff. Rested, set off some fire works (nothing spectacular), had a buffet dinner and returned home.

Shells Attached To A Piece Of Driftwood
  Helmet Washed Ashore
A Crab Scurrying Back Home

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Old Film

Last night I saw the film "Hello Mr. Zamindar"(A Tamil movie). A zamindar is something like a county Lord. I was seeing the film after a lapse of some 46 years. There is nothing much about the film that will warrant it an Oscar or a BAFRA but even after a lapse of such a long time, the film was still watchable.
The story line is quite simple - there is a mix up in the sons of the Zamindar and the actual successor to the title works as a barber. The mix up is discovered but the villain of the piece, the manager of the Zamindar's estate tries to drive out the original successor and succeeds in doing so. But the man who was brought up as the Zamindar's son is an honest man and refuses to accept the title. Everything subsequently falls into place and all live happily after.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Butterfly

Today I saw a butterfly in this concrete jungle.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Dragonflies

I live in a sprawling concrete metropolis and a few days back I saw a wonderful sight. A couple of dragonflies flitting through the air and today more than a few dozens of them all of them flying in from the direction where the Indian ocean lies into the heart of the city. They just flitted past the window that I was standing in front of. I wish I had a camera that could take photographs of them. I'd have posted them here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ayudha Pooja

Ayudha (materials of trade and vehicles) Pooja is a festival that is celebrated all over Tamil Nadu in India. During this festival, mainly, the materials and places that are used to conduct a business and vehicles are given a good cleaning and a special pooja (worship) is performed for these items so that they may bring prosperity to the owner. The markets at this time are usually busy with people purchasing the material required to perform the pooja.
Here are some scenes from a market in Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.







Here are pictures of a pooja being performed for two vehicles and the tray with a flame in it. The flame is believed to drive away evil spirits and prevent any accidents happening to the vehicle.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Signs

Sign in a Laundromat:
AUTOMATIC WASHING MACHINES:
PLEASE REMOVE ALL YOUR CLOTHES WHEN THE LIGHT GOES OUT.

Sign in a London department store:
BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS.

In an office:
WOULD THE PERSON WHO TOOK THE STEP LADDER YESTERDAY PLEASE BRING IT BACK OR FURTHER STEPS WILL BE TAKEN.

Notice in health food shop window:
CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS.

Notice in a field:
THE FARMER ALLOWS WALKERS TO CROSS THE FIELD FOR FREE, BUT THE BULL CHARGES.

Message on a leaflet:
IF YOU CANNOT READ, THIS LEAFLET WILL TELL YOU HOW TO GET LESSONS ON HOW TO READ.

Sign on a repair shop door:
WE CAN REPAIR ANYTHING. (PLEASE KNOCK HARD ON THE DOOR - THE BELL DOESN'T WORK).

Just Something

The last line is the best.

If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can eat the same food everyday and be grateful for it,
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
If you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you when, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him,
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion or politics....
Then, my friend, you are almost as good as your dog.

Another Joke

Well, this can be taken as a joke but I think it makes on sit up and think.
   A young boy had just gotten his driving permit. He asked his father, who was a Minister, if they could discuss his use of the family car. His father took him into his study and said, "I'll make a deal with you. You bring your grades up, study the Bible a little, get your hair cut and then we'll talk about it."
   After about a month, the boy came back and again asked his father if they could discuss his use of the car. They again went into the father's study where the father said, "Son, I've been very proud of you. You have brought your grades up, you've studied the Bible diligently, but you didn't get your hair cut."
   The young man waited a moment and then replied, "You know, Dad, I've been thinking about that. You know Samson had long hair, Moses had long hair, Noah had long hair, and even Jesus had long hair..."
   The Minister said, "Yes, and everywhere they went, they walked."

A Joke

While collecting a lots of riff-raff and a lots of odds and ends I collected a lot of jokes also. Here is one of my favorites.
  A clergyman was walking down the street when he came upon a group of boys about 10 years of age, surrounding a dog. Concerned that the boys were hurting the animal, he went over and asked them what they were doing.
  One of the boys replied, 'This dog is an old neighborhood stray.  We take him home with us sometimes, but only one of us can take him home. So we're having a contest: whichever one of us tells the biggest lie can take him home today.
  Of course, the Reverend was shocked. 'You boys shouldn't be having a contest telling lies!' he exclaimed. He then launched into a 10-minute sermon against lying, beginning, 'Don't you boys know it's a sin to lie?' and ending with, 'Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie.'
  There was complete silence for about a minute. As the Reverend smiled with satisfaction that he'd gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh.  'All right,' he said, 'give him the dog.'

A Crabby Old Man

Here is another one of the odds and ends that I came up with:

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in North Platte, Nebraska , it was believed that he had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Missouri .

The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem. And this little old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this 'anonymous' poem winging across the Internet.

Crabby Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . . .. . What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . . . . When you're looking at me?
A crabby old man . . . .. . Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit . . . . . With faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food . . . . . And makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . . . . . 'I do wish you'd try!'
Who seems not to notice . . .. . . The things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not . . . . . Lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . . . The long day to fill?
Is that what you're thinking? . . . . . Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse . . . . . You're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am. . . . . . As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, . . . . . As I eat at your will.
I'm a small child of Ten . .. . . . With a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters . . . . . Who love one another.

A young boy of Sixteen . . . . With wings on his feet..
Dreaming that soon now . ... . . . A lover he'll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . . . My heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows . . . . .. That I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now . . . . . I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . . . . With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons . . . . . Have grown and are gone,
But my woman's beside me . . . . . To see I don't mourn.
At Fifty, once more, babies play 'round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . . My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me . . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future . . . . . Shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing . . . . . Young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . . . And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man ... . . . . And nature is cruel.
‘Tis jest to make old age . . . .. .. Look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles . . . . . Grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone . .. . . Where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass . . . . . A young guy still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . My battered heart swells.
I remember the joys . . . . . I remember the pain.
And I'm loving and living . . . .. . Life over again.

I think of the years, all too few . . . . . Gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . . That nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people . . . . . Open and see.
Not a crabby old man . . . Look closer ... . . See ME!!

An Athiests Holiday

As I said I had collected a lot of odds and ends and they are scattered around in different scrap books. I was going through one of them and I came across this:

In Florida, USA, an Atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter and Passover Holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians and Jews and observances of their holy days. The argument was that it was unfair that Atheists had no such recognized days. The case was brought before a Judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the Lawyer, The Judge banged his gavel declaring, “Case dismissed!"

The Lawyer immediately stood objecting to the ruling saying, Your honor, How can you be possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and others. The Jews have Passover, Yom Kip Pur and Hanukkah, But my client and all other Atheists have no such holidays."

The Judge leaned forward in his chair saying, "But you do.  Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant." The lawyer said, "Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists." The judge said, "The calendar says April 1st is April fool’s Day. Psalm 14:1 states, 'the fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that if your client says, There is no God, and then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day.  Court is adjourned.." You got to love this Judge, who knows his scriptures.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Anger

     What is anger? Buddha once said: "Anger will never disappear as long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten. Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; but you are the one who gets burned. You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. This is one side of anger. It is resentment against others.
     But what about the other side? Is not anger guilt that is directed towards ourselves? It is not the result of what the world does to you. It is a manifestation of your inability to take control of a situation. It is not born out of deficiency of others but out of your own inadequacy.
     It is the transcending of anger that is required. Because as expressed in a Chinese proverb: " If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow". So, you should become aware of the reason of your anger. The more you become aware of your anger, the lesser will be its intensity.
     And when you are angry what should you do? You should identify the cause of your anger and direct it towards the problem and not towards people. Anger is futile. The more you become aware of the futility of anger, the more you will become aware that it neither serves you nor your relationship with others. You should concentrate your energy on answers and not excuses.
     It is easy to become angry. Controlling it and finding the cause for that anger is difficult because we give way to our emotions the moment that we become angry. But again anger is a great force. Control it and divert it into other channels of constructive action.
     Just remember that "for every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness"; as stated by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Commmon Sense

"Common Sense Is Not So Common" - so said Voltaire.

I read this in the Quotes section of the October 2010 edition of the Reader's Digest (Indian Edition) when I was reminded of the days when I was working as an Assistant Engineer under a very senior Executive Engineer who was a qualified Mechanical Engineer and had spent all the days of his service practicing mechanical engineering till his promotion as an Executive Engineer at which point he was posted to a Civil Engineering Division. Fortunately for him he had as subordinates, all experienced Assistant Executive Engineers who took care of the day to day problems arising in the construction of the head works of two reservoirs and he was left practically solely with the maintenance of the machinery in the control of the Division.

He always used to boast that Mechanical Engineering was an exact science and that if you made a mistake in the setting an engine's tappets by a thousandth of an inch, the engine would not function effectively, which of course is true and he would degrade Civil Engineers, especially to me, who am a Civil Engineer and was in charge of the maintenance of heavy earth moving machinery and other earth dam construction equipment.

The trouble started when the excavation of the canals leading from the reservoirs started and he was burdened with Civil Engineers who had no experience in such matters, having spent all the years of their services in the construction of buildings with no experience in the excavation of canals and the design and construction of cross masonry works.

My Executive Engineer, being a very intelligent man, studied the textbooks of his son, who was doing his Civil Engineering Degree and came up with the solutions that the field work required.

It was then that he found out about the nuances of Civil Engineering and one day when he and I were doing an inspection of the canal excavation and appurtenant works going on (I had then been transferred to a Civil Engineering Section and was in charge of the excavation of a 7.50 km. long canal), he made this comment,

"Oliver, do you remember me saying that Mechanical Engineering is an exact science?"
"Yes", I replied.
"Well", he said, "Mechanical Engineering may be an exact science, but Civil Engineering requires a lot of common sense, and many people do not have any common sense."

I do not know if he had read Voltaire's quote.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Corn On The Ear

Here is another of the odds and ends that I had collected. The stuff that I have are scattered over a lot of scrap books and I'm now only finding them.

Where can a man buy a cap for his knee?
Or a key for a lock of his hair?
Can your eyes be called an academy?
Because there are pupils there?
In the crown of your head what jewels are found?
Who crosses the bridge of your nose?
Could you use in shingling the roof of your mouth?
The nails on the end of your toes?
Could the crook in your elbow be sent to jail?
How can you sharpen your shoulder blades?
Could you sit in the shade of the palm of your hand?
Or beat the drum of your ear?
Does the calf of your leg eat the corn on your toe?
Then why grow corn on the ear?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Your Friend

What is a friend? Traditionally, "a friend in need is a friend indeed". But do you really have such a kind of friend? A friend is someone who is there with you, some one who loves you and some one who cares for you. Some one who is there with you in the times of your tribulation. And if you really want such a friend, there is only one entity that you can turn to, and that is God. He is always there with you, whether you like it or not. You may not believe in God, but he believes in you, and you are definitely his friend. So in case you do not believe in him, it would you do a world of good if you now begin to believe in him. In health, adversity or what ever problems you may have, turn to him and you will find that he is the best friend that you can have.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Cat

Here are some more pictures of the cat I have at present. One sated cat. It took him nearly six months to build up the confidence to climb up to my bed. He climbs up and messes up my bed looking for a cozy place to sleep in. He still will not let me touch him. What a wonderful pet cat, and I feed him daily.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Limericks

Of the odds and ends that I had collected are some limericks. Most limericks are bawdy but here are two that I particularly liked.

There was a lady from Tiga,
Who went for a ride on a tiger,
They came back from the ride
With the lady inside
And a smile on the face of the tiger

  The next one is more imaginative and goes like this:

A Wonderful bird is the pelican.
Its mouth can hold more than his belly can.
He can hold in his beak
Enough food for a week.
I wonder how the hell he can.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Some Stuff

Here is another of the odds and ends. I have them in all sorts of places that I have to search for them and then post them. I believe that this is by Margaret Gibbons though I am not sure about it.

Give me your tears; your laughter I have known,
Blithe as a singing bird that takes the sky:
But all your sorrows are and hid;
As if revealed would cause you shame thereby.
Your troubles are my own and who but I
Should ease your heart and stem the tears you shed.
Is not a sorrow shared a sorrow halved.
Are not the tenderest words “Be comforted”.

Here is another one .....

If ever in your salad days – as one of my comic Uncle calls them – you were compelled to do a Latin unseen you will find that it presents an acute parallel with criminal detection. You have a long sentence full of inversions, just a jumble of words it looks at first sight too. The subject is the murdered man, the verb is the “modus operandi”, the way the crime was committed, the object is the motive. These are the three essentials of every crime. First you find the subject then you look for the verb and the two of them lead you to the object. But you have not discovered the criminal – the meaning of the whole sentence – yet. There are a number of subordinate clauses, which may be clues or red herrings and you got to separate them from each other in your own mind – reconstruct them to fit and amplify the meaning of the whole.

Coffin

Why is it necessary to nail down a coffin?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sikkim

Went on a weekend jaunt to Sikkim in Northern India, bordering China. Left on Friday (30.07.2010) from Chennai at 10:50 hrs. and made a transit stop at Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) in West Bengal. Here are some snaps taken from the aircraft during its approach to Kolkata.
Just Clouds
Agricultural Fields
Water Bodies and Brick Kilns (The Red Portions)
People Waiting To Deplane (Chaos)
Arrived at Bagdogra, also in West Bengal, at 14:30 hrs. Sikkim being a mountainous State, does not have an airport. You have to deplane at Bagdogra and motor to Gangtok, Sikkim's capital. Some pictures taken from the aircraft on its approach to Bagdogra.
View Of A River
The Meandering Of A River
Gangtok is some 125 Km. away from Bagdogra Airport. Had lunch on the way at this place in Siliguri. This is a way side eatery specializing in fish food. Fish is considered to be vegetarian in West Bengal. Not knowing the language the fellows really took us for a ride and charged an exorbitant amount for just a handful of rice and a half inch thick slice of fish. But the taste was good.
Wayside Eatery
Wayside Fruit Stall
There were heavy rains and the roads were horrible. Roads in India become bad when it rains. They are laid in such a way that they become bad when it rains. This is so, that after the rains and just before the next rainy season starts expenditure can be made on the maintenance of these bad roads. Contractors have to make a living.

By the time we reached Gangtok it was around 20:45 hrs. and the journey was so tiresome that we just had dinner and turned in.

View From My Room At 05:30 hrs.
Same View At 07:15 hrs.

Started for Nathu La early the next morning at around 07:30 hrs. Nathu La is a pass connecting China and India ("La" means "Pass" in Tibetan) and lies on the old "Silk Route". Nathu La is situated at a height of some 14,140 ft. above sea level and it is at the border between India and China. The distance from Gangtok to Nathu La is only 50 Km. but it is all uphill all the way and the roads are extremely bad. This was due not only because of rains, but also because the ghat (mountain) roads were being widened by the Border Roads Organization. It was raining heavily also. Rain really spoilt the whole trip. There is an observation post out there from where you can look into China. You can get more information about Nathu La here.

There is a small water fall on the way to Nathu La known as the Kyongnosla Waterfalls. There is only a small stall there where you can get some snacks, coffee and tea.
Kyongnosla Falls
Arrived at Nathu La at around 11:30 hrs.
Entrance Arch To The Border Outpost

The Conference Hall and Observation Post At The Border
The Ramparts On The Border Between India And China (Indian Side)
 On the way back to Gangtok we went to see the "Samadhi" (memorial) of a soldier named Baba Harbajan Singh. He was an ordinary soldier who died in the line of duty in 1968. Later on it seems that he appeared in a fellow soldier's dream and wanted a memorial built for him. This was done and was originally frequented as a pilgrimage center by military personnel and is now also by civilians and is now a tourist attraction.
Small History Of Baba Harbajan Singh
Entrance To The Samadhi (Memorial)
Photo Of Baba Harbajan Singh
Another Photo Of Baba Harbajan Singh
Army Personnel At Baba's Memorial
There is also a souvenir shop located here where you can buy some odds and ends from China and from India. In case you are interested, a certificate that you have visited this pilgrimage spot can be printed out and given to you for a small fee.

You can also see a waterfall from this location but which cannot be accessed.

Further down you pass the Tsongo lake situated at a height of some 10,000 ft. There are "Yaks", hairy large cows, on which you can take a ride if you are so inclined.
Foldable Fan At The Souvenir Shop
Waterfall
The Yak At The Lake
The next day, Sunday, we spent by going to a local church and then were back on the road to Bagdogra to catch the 15:25 hrs. flight back home to Chennai.

The other places of interest in Gangtok are a Cable Car Ride and a Monastery which we did not visit as there was no time.

The best thing about going to Sikkim is the drive from Bagdogra to Gangtok were on your side you are accompanied by a fast flowing river. The air is pure and fresh and the scenery is quite breathtaking. So is the drive from Gangtok to Nathu La. Unfortunately, it was raining throughout the trip and so the scenery could not be enjoyed.
Roasted Corn Cobs Being Sold
The other places of interest near Gangtok are Kalimpong and Darjeeling, both hill stations.

 Incidentally, the world's highest Golf Course is the Yak Golf Course at 13,025' (3970 m.) in Kupup, East Sikkim as measured on 10 October 2006 and can be found in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shimla


Went to Shimla for a few days. These are some of the pictures that I took.
ISHKON Temple, New Delhi, India
Lotus Temple, New Delhi
Loner
The Train To Shimla
Self at Shimla
Temple Art
Dog on a van
Himalaya range of mountains

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