Firenze….here we come!!

Tanned and peeling, smelling of the sea , lots of limoncello inside us, we left the south coast behind with a sigh and it was on to Firenze..now I know where JK Rowling got her inspiration from…for the half man half horse character in the forbidden woods.

We made our way back through Naples which frankly didnt impress me too much except for its famous Napolitano Pizza but by now pizzas were pouring out from my ears so I wasn’t so tempted!

We passed thru the stunning Umbrian countryside and took in the sights that included its typical serene and quaint towns like Assisi and Orivieto. The same old rambling green hills that housed these little towns which we by now recognized as being so similar in their alleyways and cafes, cobblestone roads and stone walled houses that sprouted colorful and greenery…truly a sight for sore eyes.

The smooth onward train ride made our journey almost unnoticeable and soon we were headed to our hotel that sat just 50m from the gorgeous Duomo …Il duomo di Firenze or actually Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore.
And how breath taking was it!!

We got into our busy hotel which was housed in a typically olden style building that has existed since the Roman times. It was a bit disconcerting to see a hotel hidden within its walls…a tad incongruous yet convenient. We knew that staying in the city centre involved being a part of a traditional styling and that’s what we enjoyed here. To stay at an ultra modern hotel a la the west would have been equivalent of insulting those that left us the architecture in the era BC….to treasure and uphold I’m sure they hoped!

We wasted not a moment as we knew there was a lot to take in …we were in Florence!

Donning our walking shoes again , our trusted steeds for this trip, we stepped through a narrow lane replete with gelaterias and cafes again. Little souvenir shops and fine dining…all with a 50 m radius surrounded us and cleverly hid the Duomo fron us long enough to surprise us when we stepped onto the piazza del Duomo…let me catch my breath!!
I will insist on being audacious and will declare this cathedral to be the prettiest one we had seen yet..even more than St. Mark’s Basilica…please forgive me if any of you objects to my observation. It’s just that it is so different in architectural styles from the ones we had witnessed before..built in the 13th century, this Gothic style cathedral was awarded an exterior that looks resplendent with its geometrical green ,pink and white marble and adorned with the most intricate of sculptures …gentle, detailed, fascinating. We sat to gaze…take it all in…eyes turned upwards in awe….for a long while!!
Until of course better sence prevailed.
We recovered quickly  enough to whip out our selfie sticks and do justice to our travel diaries……point, smile, shoot!!!! Wow!!! A few dozen more photos dropped rapidly into my camera roll…justice done!
What a backdrop!!
Foreground was also not bad!!!

We took off after half an hour..to explore further, not a minute to waste…we had to find David, Pointe Vecchio, Pallazzo Vecchio Uffizi, L’academie, Palazzo Pitti , Piazza del Signoria ..more and more Piazzas, more and more excrutiatingly gorgeous sculptures and artworks…mind you, these places are not for those who are bored by art and architecture…you want happening and glitzy, go to Patayya… you want raw , unapologetic love for the arts, you’re in the right place.

That doesnt mean it is not happening…just not in the quintessential way…for us, gazing, admiring, scrutinizing was enhanced by the vino we shared in front of all these Goliaths…the rose`, the prosecco, the chardonnays only served to add a tinge of mystique to the whole atmosphere…the Italians know and love their wines and we had to learn too…after all, when in Rome…err Florence…!!!

It was probably this very glass of rouge that I put into my sisters belly that dulled her better senses enough for me to able to force her to trudge a trifle hesitantly yet sportingly behind me as I traversed the length and breadth of Firenze and its many bridges and piazzas, galleries and fountains in search of that view that had inspired me to come here in the first place!
Blame it on Instagram and travel posts…not my fault!
I blocked out her protests and I’m sure a few curses were thrown in for good measure but I couldn’t care less! I coerced her on and pulled her along…I had to reach Piazzale Michelangelo if I wanted that ultimate viewpoint. It was 100 bridges, 20000 stairs and 50 roads that we traversed before we got to the top! And it was all worth it. Even my sister forgave me !!
The Duomo in all its glory stood before us, dwarfing the red rooftops that surrounded it …the whole city lay like a river of red before us …it was a glorious sprawl worthy of a bow and a pat on the back!!
Quick, grab that selfie stick!
We finally collapsed at the feet of a green David replica…replica it was but still owned the six packs and other more famous assets for which the original is known…wolfing down our double gelato which I think we deserved after that 29000 steps we had walked to get here…minus the steep steps!
Our eyes and cameras took it all in lest we forget…!!

Wait, it didnt end there…we ran across the road , crossing the piazzale to hop onto a bus headed for the green hills just outside Florence with its famous town of Fiesole ….the view carried on as we climbed higher and higher and every bend uphill would expose another facet of the city that lay below us. That was the crowning glory!!

Thankfully after that ,the walk back home was much shorter and a quick meal later we had settled into bed to dream of David and the day that was to follow next!

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My holiday must involve water!!!

After scouring every street and alleyway in Rome…getting lost and found again to the point that we were actually able to give directions to other lost tourists, it was time to take the Trenitalia to the Amalfi Coast.
The trainride upto Naples was pleasant enough but uneventful…such neat and clean and dead-on-time trains with queued boarding!! What a contrast to our unfortunately stinky and crowded platforms where you dont have to make the effort to actually climb the train…you are simply shoved on by the surge of people behind you! It’s just a mindset here…why should I bother to keep the environment clean types!!
A quiet pleasant ride it was  with gorgeous countryside views….just a sighworthy unexciting trundle.
However,  as we turned the corner into Sorrento on our taxi fron Naples towards the sorrento coastline, we let out a gasp in excitement!! We were here!
Those who know me are well aware of what water does to me so that turquoise blue water freckled with emeralds, gold and diamonds on its calm surface sent a surge of contentment through me and a huge grin lit up my face!! I was quite like a Cheshire cat that time I’m sure!!
Our hotel lay atop a beautiful hill just off the road towards Positano and we were afforded the most gorgeous views of The Bay of Naple and Mt Vesuvius fron our balcony.
The next few days were a haze of events..walks and busrides to explore Sorrento and each pretty little town on the Amalfi Coast…the roads were windy and heartstopping but the views were to die for!
Sorrento was calm yet buzzing all the time..the perfect mix of new and old ..the perfect base for our next few days! It was well connected, restful yet happening and offered the best connectivity for a whirlwind of sightseeing from Pompei to Vesuvius, Amalfi to Capri, Ischia to Salerno!
Every evening we would stroll through its lanes passing high end stores and traditional ones too as local musicians brought the squares alive with their soulful, foot tapping and local and international music!
It was always a great way to wind down… eg After a boat tour to Capri and surroundings where we swam in the Mediteranean sea right in front of the famous Faraglioni arch that we sailed through to get to lovely calm spot …here we threw all caution to the wind and quickly stripped off our flowing dresses in a quest to be the first to plunge into the deep green, clear, cold water !!! We swam around happily , peeking into red  white,blue grottos…sipping wine on board the boat and taking in the wind and sun….. and snorkeling ..swimming erratically and crazily like fish..err whales???!!
Or After a few days spent taking hair raising busing rides along the Amalfi Coastline..about 30km long I think, visiting pretty spots like Positano the vertical town with its hidden boutiques, cafes and ristorantes…Amalfi, Ravello, Atrani, Furore, Praiano, Vietri sur Mare..the list is endless! Of course you cant compare the black sand or pebbles beaches here to the endless stretches of white powdery sandy Kenyan beaches , but they had a certain charm and even in the scorching sun which has turned me into a believable Kenyan by now, people were flocking to the water and sunbathing…roasting themselves to a toasty brown colour!.
The local flavors are deeply into colorful ceramic pottery which was delightful..from tiny souvenirs to crockery and decorative items in all shapes and sizes to huge vases and tables like the ones that hotels would clamor for. Linen ruled the clothing world…pastel soft fabrics and dresses adorned many a window display and seemed the most suited loose and cool clothing for the sweltering weather here!
The local bus drivers were adept at maneuvering those heart-in-the-mouth bends and very often seemed to fly off the very edge while still keeping the careening bus under control somehow!!
What an adventurous journey this was!!
What an interesting one!!
What a tanning one!!!
A great 3 days spent in an otherwise lesser traversed part of the world!! And we always had a cold comfy room to come back to every evening with the option to enjoy breakfast and dinner with a view….all over again!!
Err…..did I mention the amount of photos we took?? Good thing I emptied my memory before coming…my phone’s memory I mean!! Mine’s gone anyway!!!

The Journey continues.. Roma!!

There is too much going on..too quickly!! It’s already been almost a week here in Italy now and theres too much to say..no time to say it.
Rome brought back memories of my schooldays and textbooks!!
The first thing that hits you about Roma are the solid stone structures a la Roman and Greco Roman architecture!! Tall imposing and old…adorned with history and culture, they hit you like a ton of bricks and leave you gasping at every turn !
Walking the streets endlessly, our quick steps took us through all kinds of alleyways, that housed cafes and ristorantes and boutique style shops that added a quietness to the already enriched cultural feel that Rome gives you!
We walked and walked till our feet ached and our legs begged us to sit down! Every step took us to a new facet of Rome and left us yearning for more! Piazzas, fountains, ancient buildings and monuments, good looking Italians, flocks of tourists, mixed of languages used to scream out the awe and wonder that every visitor here was experiencing!
They yelled in French, called out in Spanish , screamed in Chinese, hollered in Italian!! They danced in English, fox trotted in Mexican, did the Bhangra in Hindi!!
They pushed and shoved their way to get a spot for the perfect photo or selfie!! It was a sea of heads and smiling faces! It was a holocaust of tourists!
And it isn’t even peak season yet!
How the Spanish Steps clamored for attention, how the Fontana Trevi awed everyone, how the Vatican stunned, how the Sistine Chapel overwhelmed and trivialized humanity, how the colloseum imposed upon our meekness, how the Basilica San Pietro left everyone open mouth and agape!
There are more fountains, statues and churches then humans in Italy, more ruins standing tall than our self respect, more cobblestones than people that walk it!!
It’s the land of Saints and Virgin Mary, Bernini and Michelangelo, Constantine and Nero…its stands since BC and has held it’s own centuries later in AD!!
It hides stories of emporers and queens, undying love and glory battles, bloodshed and tales of romance…Roma!!!
A country of contrasts, a veritable anglicized India with its family values, love of food and life, loudness and enthusiasm, gusto and volumes!
That is Italy!!

Buon Giorno Roma!!

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We sped along in our chauffeur driven ride courtesy Emirates towards the very heart of Rome ..Spagna where our aparthotel was situated. After having my heart in my mouth as a result of having done a whole lot of blind bookings for our our impending trip, a bit nervously cos my sister was depending fully on my judgement and selection I was at least relieved to learn that the place that was to be our home for the next few days was in a very central and happening part of the city.

We had barely entered Roma and we had already passed a whole series of Cathedrals and fountains..the most significant one being Santa Maria Maggiorre. An awestriking facade with its huge marble walls and intricate sculptures and statues!
As you already know by now if u have read my other blogs that I am a sucker for old traditional architecture, imposing stone structures and anything Romanesque. Greek, Edwardian or Victorian!! We had already had a fair taste of what was to come and we werent even home yet!

I had read enough forums and online advice to be speculative about a number of things and not allow myself to be lost in my overexcitedness at actually going to Italy..a life long dream for me!!
No heavy suitcases…no porters!
No open bags and wallets and phones etc…pickpockets galore!!
No gaping blindly and stupidly at the amazing sights without being aware of the surroundings especially in crowded areas…snatchers!!

I had been scared enough by trip advisor forums and their variety of warnings before I walked up the steps to the gynormous aircraft to be a bit wobbly in my stride as I trundled my bag along the cobblestone path towards the entrance of our Aparthotel on Via Sistina, having passed the massive Obelisk and its stone statues ..The Column of the Immaculate Conception…in Piazza Mignanelli that marked the south east extension of Piazza de Spagna with my sis following close behind. The fear of the unknown I guess !!

We were confronted with a very traditional wooden pulley type quaint lift inside a 17th century building that took us up 2 floors to our amazingly fresh and newly done up apartment…all fixed and furnished with the choicest of modern accessories and its grey and white interiors! We smiled at each other and laid our suitcases to rest for the next few days!
We were in Roma!!!

An article by David Frawley..American Institute of Vedic Sciences

A very thought provoking article where the writer seems to have got hold of the root causes of what ails our society and country….spot on!!!

By Dr. David Frawley, (American Institute of Vedic Studies, New Mexico, U..S.A.)

A defeatist tendency exists in the psyche of modern Indians perhaps unparalleled in any other country today. An inner conflict bordering on a civil war rages in the minds of the country’s elite. The main effort of its cultural leaders appears to be to pull the country down or remake it in a foreign image, as if little Indian and certainly nothing Hindu was worthy of preserving or even reforming.

The elite of India suffers from a fundamental alienation from the traditions and culture of the land that would not be less poignant had they been born and raised in a hostile country. The ruling elite appears to be little more than a native incarnation of the old colonial rulers who haughtily lived in their separate cantonments, neither mingling with the people nor seeking to understand their customs. This new English-speaking aristocracy prides itself in being disconnected from the very soil and people that gave it birth.

There is probably no other country where It has become a national pastime among its educated class to denigrate its own culture and history, however great that has been over the many millennia of its existence. When great archaeological discoveries of India’s past are found, for example, they are not a subject for national pride but are ridiculed as an exaggeration, if not an invention, as if they represent only the imagination of backward chauvinistic elements within the culture.

There is probably no other country where the majority religion, however enlightened, mystical or spiritual, is ridiculed, while minority religions, however fundamentalist or even militant, are doted upon. The majority religion and its institutions are taxed and regulated while minority religions receive tax benefits and have no regulation or even monitoring. While the majority religion is carefully monitored and limited as to what it can teach, minority religions can teach what they want, even if anti-national or backward in nature. Books are banned that offend minority religious sentiments but praised if they cast insults on majority beliefs.

There is probably no other country where
regional, caste and family loyalties are more important than the national interest, even among those who claim to be democratic, socialist or caste reformers. Political parties exist not to promote a national agenda but to sustain one region or group of people in the country at the expense of the whole. Each group wants as big a piece of the national pie as it can get, not realizing that the advantages it gains mean deprivation for other groups. Yet when those who were previously deprived gain power, they too seek the same unequal advantages that causes further inequality and discontent.

India’s affirmative action code is by far the most extreme in the world, trying to raise up certain segments of the population regardless of merit, and prevent others from gaining positions however qualified they may be. In the guise of removing caste, a new castism has arisen where one’s caste is more important than one’s qualifications either in gaining entrance into a school or in finding a job when one graduates. Anti-Brahminism has often become the most virulent form of castist thinking. People view the government not as their own creation but as a welfare state from which they should take the maximum personal benefit, regardless of the consequences for the country as a whole.

Outside people need not pull Indians down –
Indians are already quite busy keeping any of their people and the country as a whole from rising up. They would rather see their neighbors or the nation fail if they are not given the top position. It is only outside of India that Indians succeed, often remarkably well, because their native talents are not stifled by the dominant cultural self-negativity and rabid divisiveness that exists in the country today.

Political parties in India see gaining power as a means of amassing personal wealth and robbing the nation. Political leaders include gangsters, charlatans and buffoons who would stop short at nothing to gain power for themselves and their coteries. Even so-called modern or liberal parties resemble more the courts of kings, where personal loyalty is more important than any democratic participation. Once they gain power politicians routinely do little but cheat the people for their own advantage. Even honest politicians find that they cannot function without some deference to the more numerous corrupt leaders who often have a stranglehold on the bureaucracy.

Politicians divide the country into warring vote banks and place one community against another. They offer favors to communities, like bribes to make sure that they are elected, or stay in power. They campaign on slogans that appeal to community fears and suspicions rather than create any national consensus or harmony.They hold power based upon blame and hatred rather than on any positive programs for social change. They inflame the uneducated masses with propaganda rather than work to make people aware of real social problems like overpopulation, poor infrastructure or lack of education.

Should a decent government come to power the opposition pursues pulling it down as its main goal, so that they can gain power for themselves. The idea of a constructive or supportive opposition is hard to find. The goal is to gain power for oneself and to not allow anyone else to succeed.

To further their ambitions, Indian politicians will manipulate the foreign press to denigrate their opponents, even if it means spreading lies and rumors and making the country an anathema in the eyes of the outside world. Petty conflicts in India are blown out of proportion in the foreign media, not by foreign journalists but by Indians seeking to use the media to score points against their own opponents in the country. The Indians who are responsible for the news of India in the foreign press spread venom and distortion about their own country, perhaps better than any foreigner who dislikes the culture ever could.

The killing of one Christian missionary becomes a national media event of anti-Christian attacks while the murder of hundreds of Hindus is taken casually without any real importance, as if only the deaths of white-skinned people matter, not the slaughter of the natives. Missionary aggression is extolled as social upliftment, while Hindu efforts at
self-defense against the conversion onslaught are portrayed as rabid
fundamentalism. One Indian journalist even lamented that western armies
would not come to India to chastise the political groups he was opposed to,
as if he was still looking for the colonial powers to save him!

Let us look at the type of leaders that India has had, with it’s Laloo Prasad Yadav (ex CM Bihar), Mulayam Singh Yadav (ex CM UP) or Jayalalita to mention but a few. Such individuals are little more than warlords who surround themselves with sycophants.

Modern Indian politicians appear more like colonial rulers looting their own country, following a divide and rule policy, to keep the people so weak that their power cannot be challenged.

Corruption exists
almost everywhere and bribery is the main way to do business in nearly all fields. India has an entrenched bureaucracy that resists change and stifles development, just out of sheer obstinacy and not wanting to give up any control.

The Congress Party, the oldest in this predominantly Hindu nation, had given its leadership to an Italian Catholic woman simply because as the widow of the last Gandhi prime minister, she carried the family torch, as if family loyalty were still the main basis of political credibility in the country. And such a leader and a party are deemed progressive!

The strange thing is
that India is not a banana republic of recent vintage but one of the oldest and most venerable civilizations in the world. Its culture is not trumpeting a militant and fundamentalist religion trying to conquer the world for the one true faith but represents a vaster and more cosmic vision. India has given birth to the main religions that have dominated East Asia historically, the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh, which are noted for tolerance and spirituality.

It has produced Sanskrit, perhaps the world’s greatest language.

It has given us the incredible spiritual systems of Yoga and its great traditions of meditation and self-realization.

As the world looks forward to a more universal model of spirituality and a world view defined by consciousness rather than by religious dogma these traditions are perhaps the most important legacy to draw upon for creating a future enlightened civilization.

The irony is that rather than embracing its own great traditions, the modern Indian psyche prefers to slavishly imitate worn out trends in western intellectual thought like Marxism or even to write apologetics for Christian and Islamic missionary aggression. Though living in India, in proximity to temples, yogis and great festivals, most modern Indian intellectuals are loblivious to the soul of the land. They might as well be living in England or China for all they know of their own country.

“They are isolated in their own alien ideas as if in a tower of iron. If they choose to rediscover India, it is more likely to occur by reading the books of western travelers visiting the country, rather than by their own direct experience of the people around them.”👆👆👆👆👆as recd

My LittleTwins!

The phone rang at 7.48 am. Helen had just entered the house after her daily morning walk and yoga session in the park nearby. This was her routine since the past 35 years and was probably the reason for her svelte and fit figure at 62 yes. She never missed a day unless she was bed ridden , which was not very often.
She had lived alone for 10 years now after her husband passed due to a cardiac arrest and she was determined to keep herself well enough to be independent and non intrusive upon her son’s life.
She heard the phone ringing just as she inserted the key into the lock and rushed to pick up the phone before it went onto the answering machine. It was her son’s voice and she didn’t want to miss the call.
He didn’t call as much now as she would have liked since getting married almost 3 yrs ago. She told herself it was because he was occupied by the new job in NY but heart of hearts she knew it was more due to her unsocial and selfish daughter-in-law.
What John told her on the phone was something that couldn’t knock the smile off her lips for the next 3 days. No leaking kitchen sink, dripping bathroom tap or jammed garage door could ruin her mood.
She sang through all her daily chores, skipped to the nearby supermarket for groceries and whistled noisily through her shower ! She didn’t let anything ruin her days or wipe the smirk from her mouth.
She had become a grandma…of twins he said…Little Anne and Andrew!
She was a grandmother finally!!!! She could scarcely believe it ! She had waited so many years for such news !
Three days later she was driving down the expressway , bag and baggage in tow, all prepared for the 2.5 hours drive to her son’s apartment in the city…it was a lovely one through the countryside which was beautiful this time of year. The mixed hues of rust and yellow tempered with the reds of autumn on the trees that dotted the hills and lined the road cheered her up even more! By the time she drove into the parking bay of her son’s NY building, she was practically leaping off her seat in unison to the hip hop beats emanating off the radio.!! ” Yes I’m happy” , she sang to herself!
She was received by a beaming John who gave her a quick hug and carried her bags to their guest room after switching on the coffee maker. “Why don’t you put your feet up a while while I make you some coffee, mom”!
She realised she actually was tired and sank into the couch even as she expressed her joy and excitement to her son.He listened quietly, amused at her childlike rapture and happy to see her so well and alive!
“When do I get to see my grandchildren”, she asked?
“They’re asleep but we could have a peep”, was the answer.
She practically gulped the delicious aromatic coffee that had a dash of cream just as she liked it. It secretly relieved her to realise that he still remembered that about her. She had thought he had distanced himself enough to forget all that they had shared for years. Her motherly heart always sank at the idea of being forgotten and no longer needed by her only son.
Oh God they were adorable! Golden curls and cherubic faces greeted her as they lay in their cribs! They were wide awake! Anne’s blue eyes were just like her John’s and Andrew’s light brown ones looked suspiciously like their mother Linda’s.
She was too entranced to ask where the mother was, by the way, but soon learned that she had gone into the city for a couple of hrs and would be back soon.
Who cares! She shrugged her shoulders and continued to admire her little Angels while exclaiming “they’re so sweet or so adorable”, every 2 minutes.
All of 5 days and 5hrs old, they already looked so big and alert to her. They were listening intently and staring back at her with bewildered yet wisely eyes.
“So sweet”!!! A voice rang out, slightly tonal, suspiciously mocking, that was not hers. She looked over her left shoulder, expecting to see John and Linda, now back home , making fun of her but the room was empty!
She was alone with the twins as John had stepped out to call out to Linda and inform her that their ‘guest’ had arrived.
Her forehead drew frownlines as she shook her head at her own stupidity.
” So sweet”!! A baby voice called out again, as if to make fun of her , followed by a chuckle.
She looked down at the crib in disbelief! Anne and Andrew were exchanging looks. As she gasped, they turned back to stare wide eyed at her, innocent yet wiley . “Am I crazy! They’re all of 5 days old”, she scolded herself!
“So sweet”, Andrew said again and they both laughed heartily.
Thats when she panicked and stumbled out of the nursery, looking for John and trying to catch a breath as her heart almost stopped beating in her chest.
“John”, she screamed!!!
John and Linda came rushing out of the kitchen on hearing her cry and she practically fell into his arms , acting all crazed and depraved !
” What happened , mom? Are you okay”?
“I..I..I” !!! The words refused to leave her lips and she just stood their clutching him and panting like she had run a marathon!
He shook her hard, trying to get to get her to speak but she just stood there in shock!
“Linda , get some water for mom”, he said as he propelled her towards the couch and set her down gently.
“Mom, calm down and tell me what happened! You’re scaring me ! Talk to me, mom”!!!
No answer could she give.
Just then a voice rang out.

 

 
“Its okay, Dad”, said Anne as the twins strolled into the room holding hands and smiling crookedly.
“Grandma and us were just getting to know each other” !

First Impressions…but not the last!!!

 

It was the 15th of March when I touched down. The weather predicted was highs of 17 degrees and lows of 6 in Shanghai…mostly cloudy. And so hje light jacket came out.
It was cloudy ! Foggy and quiet..the cars travelling in discipline within their own lanes .The houses we passed on The way from the airport to the hotel stood in identical rows much like the terracotta warriors of Tian…morose and solemn.
After a while signs of cityife began to show, still shrouded in mist..nothing bustling or lively about it.

I love the Chinese script..it’s very artistic.

Population demands the unending columns of residential highrises.

So much for the disciplined driving…when people speed coincidently within their lanes, they probably didn’t expect to be part of a pile up too often..I was greeted by one on the way …when one person applies the brakes the rest have to be vigilant.
Indians are good at missing !!!

Terrible weather..started drizzling !
Looks like a foggy Delhi.

Right hand drive…steering on the left still looks weird!
Getting closer to the city centre and the lights come on..
One tall building lit up with kaleidoscopic lights , throbbing bright against the dull dismal backdrop added cheer to the landscape.The majority of the buildings have a grey stone or terracotta facade.

We were approaching the bright city lights that excite me , the flyover , the interesting silhouettes, …..better! We’ve been driving for an hour already.

One more accident involving only two cars this time..the police are there in a jiffy and the rest of the people moved on in straight lines and straightfaced too like nothing had happened. In India there would have been a traffic jam by now when curious bystanders or drivers would apply the breaks in the middle of the road and rush to get in on the action . They obviously have more time to spare.

Now I need to get to the hotel, have a hot shower and a cup of green tea.

Apparently whatsapp, Google etc doesnt work here. What do Indians do here if they cant send their barrage of good morning messages at 5am every day?
We chat?

My pickup lady didn’t speak a word of English so it’s a quiet drive and hence the typing.

Yayyy…city centre lights..love them!! Puts a smile on my face anywhere I go…. even India looks clean at night.
If it wasn’t for the Chinese inscriptions on the buildings , I could have been in Bombay.
What if I was told to look for a building that didn’t have the name written in English too..many do and many don’t. Guess I won’t be finding it too soon.

I could soon make out that we getting close to the Swissotel Hotel in Jingan city centre cos I spied the Shaanxi Business Hotel , one of the hotels I haf been looking at. Little do they know there no business going on here…only PLEASURE!

A cross between Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong with vertical garden lining the roadsides….Love it!
We will continue to blame our population for the regression we face in infrastructure and conveniences but we won’t learn from these Chimes how to use this very resource to our advantage rather than make excuses for sheer indiscipline, laziness and selfishness.

The Great modern Shanghai that emerged from a humble fishing village was in all evidence now..they have come a long way!

They have a totally dedicated road for two wheelers seperated by a verge so no hanky panky on tje main higjway…impressed! We need one for cows and trucks!

I think every country in the world sends their garbage to India to recycle cos I’m.sure the amount of rubbish that lies around in the streets and neighbourhood can’t be produced by us alone!! No….even the smallest country in the world is spic and span while we dodge garbage with every step on the roads.

Random thoughts!

Ok we’re here…later! 

Keep your f……. Nose Out!!

Why Does Everyone on Social media Have to Have An opinion ???!!!

It’s raining trolls out there!! I feel for you my friend!!

The one thing that hurts people the most is the fact that those who know nothing about what one has gone through or is going through, thinks they have the right to judge, pass comments, mock, call out, disgrace, insult and condemn.
I wonder if they looked back at their own lives , would they also not come across phases when they or their family has gone through hard times without making it obvious to the society they live in.
After all a family has a reputation or standard of living that they have earned, worked hard for and maintained with great difficulty.
This is life and the tide may turn for anyone but to sit and wallow in self pity and change ones living style so much that people notice, may be against one’s principals and pride!
Isn’t it better to appreciate ones friend or business acquaintance, fellow townsman, childhood friend, school pal or whoever he/she may be for tiding over the hardships without creating a flutter or situation where the world could have scoffed at you or derived satisfaction from.
Do you have his passbook with you? Do you know how they payed their bills? Did you give them monetary aid in their rough time?
Did you expect them to sell the house , car, assets they made in the better days just to prove to you that they are struggling so that you may not call them out after years. Were you aware of how they worked their assets off to get their shit together without causing distress to the children and family as a while? Were you even barely born then?
Were you present when they couldn’t pay for that extra treat which seemed once paltry, but assumed the size of a mountain when the bad phase set in?
Did you stand there and gather proof of high living standards when they actually had to scrounge for a few years to make ends meet and get back on their feet.
Can a parent not expect a child to support him in his efforts to spring back into action by giving up certain luxuries for a period of time or for teaching them to show strength of character, mind and body by sweating it out .
Do you have proof that the low phase did not happen just cos they had a roof over their heads, a vehicle to drive in that they bought while they were ahead, a school to attend whose fees were nominal…are you their accountant?
Who gives anyone the right to guess anything about a person’s life or why they did what they did? Does anyone call you out for saying or doing something …you must have your own reasons and just cos you’re living under a brick while others are out there in full view, it doesn’t give you the right to judge unless you have lived their lives for them.
They have been on top, they have slipped for a while, they have suffered things, tolerated stuff, cried, smiled, been tough, been weak, been strong.
They have fought their way back to the surface while maintaining their dignity, social position, humanity, pride and have gone on thereafter to ensure that they make up for they lacked in the past struggle, whichever way they could , so that the rough times would just only  seem like a far away nightmare they woke up from thankfully.
Haters, go hate somewhere else!!
Get on with your own lives rather than messing around with others!!
You don’t have a damn clue so ……!!!

There, my friend , I said it for you!!

Believe me Guys ..it exists!!

 

evil-eye-pin-flat_largeAfter an prolongued bout of laziness, I finally got into an enviable workout regime that involved retaining my treadmill as a running tool rather than the clothes horse I have seen in other homes , as well as stepping with determination on my elliptical trainer, a stride worthy of your applause (so pls oblige), followed by a long brisk walk in the evening. However throughout all my huffing and puffing , I had also been disturbed by a constant niggling feeling that I was being watched, followed too, as I strode down the road every day at top speed .

Call it my imagination or call me finicky but I was determined to follow this suspician into the bushes. And lo and behold you non believers …there lurked the culprit..daring, wicked, jealous and mean!

4 months ago, in my tracks that fitted with less vulgarity and a tee that was a teeny weeny bit more flattering to the emergence of a waistline and a pair of firmer breasts, I plunged headfirst into a prickly rose bush and yanked him out by the collar…my resolve strong and undeterred , a daring and fearlessness unseen ever by anyone.

As I shook him mercilessly, screaming dramatically, “Who are you and why are you following me”, he smirked at me , no sign of guilt or shame, unperturbed and shrugged his bony shoulders as he proudly pronounced, ” They call me the Evil Eye”!!!

I died!! Almost literally!!! A shiver akin to 1000 volts surged down my spine, my legs buckling under me as I staggered to retain my composure and pretend that his jibe didn’t affect me any!! This was exactly when that offer of a course in dramatics I had waved off in disdain back then would’ve come in mighty handy so that I could pretend His retort had not affected me!

I spun around, launched myself away from him in a bid to save myself even as I cursed myself for not having learnt how to look nonchalant and in control when actually the ground underneath my feet had miraculously disappeared , my tshirt embarrassingly drenched in sweat and my legs wobbling more than my son’s favourite strawberry jelly!!

As fate would have it I didn’t get far and a minute later I found myself cringing and shouting out in pain as I heard a loud snap and sank to the floor, gasping in pain as I landed knees first on the rough tarmac !! The last I heard from my prisoner who had now become a captor of sorts was a loud guffaw that sounded suspiciously like a snorty taunting elephants fart as my ACL ligament twisted and strained rendering me helpless and a firm believer in old folk tales!!!

That cruel mocking laughter that rang out behind me is still playing it’s magic on my knee 120 days after that fateful evening , giving me nothing but pain…albeit I do now pocess a lamentable excuse to blame someone for not being able to get into all my jeans whose waistline buttons now sit 3inches apart from the loophole they struggle to make contact with in order to preserve my ‘izzat’ (read honour ) !!

Intolerantly tolerant..proudly so!!

 

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There has been a big hulabaloo over remarks about India and Indians being an intolerant country with intolerant citizens. I beg to differ.
If there is any show of tolerance in the world it is here!
We live in a place where only tolerance keeps us alive…
Tolerance for rampant chaos and In discipline
Tolerance for rowdy dadagiri in every sphere eg. on the road where even the worst road hog who has financed the purchase of a car with Daddy’s money has come onto the road without a basic driving test or knowledge of road ethics and throws his weight around while driving on the wrong side of the road and is very capable of whipping out a knife or gun at the slightest altercation.
Tolerance for the in-the- face mechanics of corrupt bureaucrats, politicians, police force , Medicos, educators, governance, financiers and engineers …everyone of which thinks only of filling his pockets with no regard for his country or countrymen.
Tolerance for the lack of empathy for human life in India…I almost feel as if the government almost welcomes the idea of a few lacs of people dying in some tragic circumstances en masse hence reducing the population of the country by default for a few minutes. Where their family planning campaigns have failed miserably maybe mother nature would step in and oblige them with a hurricane or two, a landslide or a traffic pile up wherein a few lacs of lives could be involved and they could turn their backs to readiness or rescue efforts and look up at the sky while shrugging their shoulders in resignation.
Tolerance for the rapist, the unruly youngsters or sons of self styled power crazy thugs who reckon that their money can buy anything..even the blessings of the devis that they bow down to before defiling a living devi in the back of their Mercedes or the godforsaken rogues who don’t mind a shared taxi to pick unsuspecting girls off the streets to vent their frustrations as they mutilate her sanctity !!
Tolerance for lack of basic infrastructural facilities that each tax paying citizen dishes out crores of their hard earned money for…tolerance for no power, no clean drinking water, no roads, no ethical medical and educational practices.
Tolerance for screwed up and now almost obsolete spirituality and morality that we Indians were once so proud of and looked up to by the world! Those who travel to supposedly Incredible India to seek peace and God go back with not so incredible experiences!!
Actually, the list of examples of our tolerance is so exhaustive that anyone seeking to Indulge in name throwing directed towards us , should think twice before doing so lest we shove our tolerance down their esophagus and sit back and gloat over the halo hovering above our heads!