Monday, February 20, 2006

prayer wheels in the middle of the mall Posted by Picasa

the temple Posted by Picasa

a man selling beads in mcleo Posted by Picasa

young monks in mcleodganj Posted by Picasa


If you want to find calm and peace on this planet, you must go to Lhasa at least once in your life or at least to the Dalai Lama’s Monastery in McLeodganj (Himachal Pradesh, India). The quaint little town which nests in the Dhauladhar’s, 5 miles from Dharamshala, has been given to the Tibetan refugees by the Indian Government as a token of help to escape we all know what. As you reach the town centre (let’s call it that for the sake of convenience), you see German Bakeries, Tibetan artifact shops, Chinese Restaurants (the irony) and vegetable sellers, etc. The famed calm will hit you in the face as you walk about the market place, no noise, no pollution, and absolute serenity. The silver jewels, Tibetan precious and semi precious stones, and handmade wall hangings are nothing short of exquisite. And on the way you’ll come across spotless, ageless and beautiful monks- their skin aglow with health. The monastery seems like a microcosm of its own, and the big golden Buddha statue will hold you in its awe for quite a while. You can always pick up souvenirs and Buddhist books from the Temple Bookstore and Souvenir shop. To me it’s the most peaceful place I have been to yet.

My personal favourite glut place there is down the mall, across the veggie sellers, in a little hut shaped cake shop called “Chocolate Hut”. Living up to its name it serves old English style breakfast cakes, chocolates desserts and fresh bread, etc- it’s to die for, no kidding.

The option of trekking can be fully exploited there with the RMC (Regional Mountaineering Centre) just a couple of minutes walk from the German cake shop. They will take you to the highest peaks of Dhauladhar and even to two mighty glaciers alongwith a professional trekker. And group costs are economical. Not to forget that the temple of Bhagsu Nath is only a couple of miles away and with its stone lake with water coming out of lion statues' - is worth a decko. Looking
forward to my next trip there!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Nostradamus and the WW III

I first heard about the bloke when I was 7yrs old, not an age for very intellectual discussions, but an older schoolmate actually told me about all the horrible things he had predicted and that some guy drank from his skull in his tomb and died. Bla bla… Ok that’s close enough for a kid his age. The French Revolutionaries who broke into his tomb in 18th century were ambushed and killed to the last on their way back, just as he had predicted. But what intrigues me and I’m sure people world over is the method used by him to get his predictions and the visions themselves. Some say he saw them in a bowl full of water, some say he saw them while watching a dancing flame of fire, and of the course the very popular one- that he used his knowledge of herbology to concoct a mixture which gave him his visions.

There is a massive confusion amongst the quatrain readers about the actual year of the next world war, but most say it should be between 2000-2012- the complete annihilation. Interpreters and critics strongly disagree on the quatrains due to the faux reports where words from different verses have been combined to give a new meaning. But, if one is to read the actual verses, he would see that the words seem to be coded. The actual vindication of the seers' prophecies is spread out over the history of last 400 years. However, I haven’t been able to digest the interpretation of his Century X quatrains- that a South Indian man will rule the world in a couple of years time!! Like that is ever going to happen.

So are we really going to live for another couple of years? That’s going to be a new excuse for being a spud.


The epitome of creativity is one of my favorite poems- Auguries of Innocence by William Blake, a part of which I quoted while applying for a student post a couple of years back- “Every night and every morn Some to misery are born, Every morn and every night Some are born to sweet delight. Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night”

For all these years, when you are bred on luxury and comforts, you stop and think… what about the people who are less blessed? Will just thoughts and posts on blog sites put an end to misery and suffering? While my counterparts think of lucrative corporate careers, the inherent wish remains to bridge the gap between have’s and have not’s, a cherished dream shared between 2 people. Too short a life and too many dreams to fulfill… Sigh

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Big Brother

The two lectures I had today made me think a lot about WTO’s policies. The small farmers in developing countries who cannot even afford electricity and water have their subsidies cut at the hands of the very institution which is supposed to further their cause. The developing countries face the highest tariffs, are made to open up their markets to foreign products and given pitiful concessions. And adding to the pressure on the foreign aid starved countries are the other two biggies- IMF and World Bank. Notwithstanding these facts, the world trade share of developing nations is on a steady rise and according to some, “a bad deal is better than no deal”. But post-imperialism and colonialism, the least that the developed countries can do is indulge in reparation and help the third world grow faster, because some countries still get “no deal”. The tyrant called U.S took the baton from U.K, France, Spain and Portugal a long time ago as far as imperialism is concerned and loves to dictate to the world what it deems fit for the growth of its own economy even if it’s detrimental for its own society; a case in point being the Gun ownership laws in U.S (Columbine massacre, etc).

In fact one would be interested in catching the movie, “Why we fight”, to understand why U.S needs to go to war every now and then, to push its economy.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Gin Soaked Boy

No song has ever fascinated me more than the “Gin Soaked Boy” by Divine Comedy. The incredible combination of intriguing lyrics well permuted with soft lilting music gets you addicted.

I'm the darkness in the light
I'm the leftness in the right
I'm the rightness in the wrong
I'm the shortness in the long
I'm the goodness in the bad
I'm the saneness in the mad
I'm the sadness in the joy
I'm the gin in the gin-soaked boy
I'm the ghost in the machine
I'm the genius in the gene
I'm the beauty in the beast
I'm the sunset in the east
I'm the ruby in the dust
I'm the trust in the mistrust
I'm the trojan horse in troy
I'm the gin in the gin-soaked boy
I'm the tiger's empty cage
I'm the mystery's final page
I'm the stranger's lonely glance
I'm the hero's only chance
I'm the undiscovered land
I'm the single grain of sand
I'm the Christmas morning toy
I'm the gin in the gin-soaked boy
I'm the world you'll never see
I'm the slave you'll never free
I'm the truth you'll never knowI
'm the place you'll never go
I'm the sound you'll never hear
I'm the course you'll never steer
I'm the will you'll not destroy
I'm the gin in the gin-soaked boy
I'm the half-truth in the lie
I'm the why not in the why
I'm the last roll of the die
I'm the old school in the tie
I'm the spirit in the sky
I'm the catcher in the rye
I'm the twinkle in her eye
I'm the Jeff Goldblum in the fly
Who am i? (check it out for the video)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Religion and all that…

I started the day afresh with some good workout. Two hours of squash can be as invigorating as tiring! Phew... came back and slept off straight away. This island puts u to sleep at the drop of the hat and of course at the end of the day u have the weather to blame.

While browsing the BBC news site, I came across the whole fuss about the Mohammed’s caricature. Anyone would be offended; if someone pokes fun at my God I would be offended too. Islam doesn't allow for idol worship. Nor does Buddhism. However, can't we have peaceful demonstrations? Whether I will take up arms and cause mass shutdown is highly debatable. Whether I will kill thousands of people and call it the religious path is even more improbable. Back home when we hear news about break out of riots every now and then, we wonder why our fellow beings attach so much importance to religion. Yes, religion shows us the right path, lays down societal rules and of course gives us hope, but today the definition of religion has evolved to mean something that causes people to behave irrationally and radically; something that divides us as beings. I’m Hindu and you’re Muslim, and so on and so forth. If all religions teach the righteous path to peaceful coexistence then where does all the hatred and fear come from? I was too young when Punjab went through the horrible atrocities that the Khalistan terrorism brought to our land, but I was in the eye of it all when my doctor parents were posted with the Police in Amritsar. We have grown up watching the horrible news reports, hearing shots of gunfire at night, when our home and that of our neighbour- the Superintendent of Police, was attacked by the militants (in Ropar) who used local-made missiles and blew up the ground behind our home. Why the mass destruction in the name of religion? Who funds these terrorists and what’s their hidden agenda? Does God tell them to rape women and children, to kill people, cause mass scale devastation? And when would it end?

As the smart person I keep talking about often tells me, “we Hindu’s are more tolerant than those who have invaded our lands and ruled us”. I couldn’t agree more. The fundamentalism that Hindu’s involve themselves in seems miniscule in front of the mass scale conversions which the British did in their colonies and before that the Romans. In the Christian CM ruled Andhra Pradesh, why is that in the villages in some regions there are only churches and no other religious places of worship? Why don’t we all become more open-minded and live and let live?

Friday, February 03, 2006

Music for Soul… and the new breed of politicians

After a day of making food (bhindi), doing pranayam’s, the much needed laundry, attending the amazing Prof. Botchway’s inspiring and informative class, making some calls in the sub zero temperature, I came back to the room to the soothing voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Was listening to the Night Song and Saanu Ikk Pal Chainn Na Aave… It’s like soul food, his music that is. Every word, every note tugs at the heart making it swell with joy and cry with pain alike- it’s pure spiritual ecstasy. It was started as soul music by fakir’s singing at dargahs and mazaars to connect their soul to the God as they traveled through Sindh, Punjab, Rajasthan and the surrounding areas; with different places having distinctive versions. We had our own Baba Fakir and Bulle Shah from Punjab. Whoever has heard “hun utth gaye ne gawandon yaar” by Bulle Shah will know what a real stress-buster is.

Moving on, there was a bit of news that I came across that lifted my spirits even more. Most of my seniors and peers just talked gas, and only a handful are really doing what they believe in (reading Priyanka and Vikram?). People like Tanmay Rajpurohit don’t join politics. An aeronautics engineer from IIT-Bombay, holding two Masters Degrees from the US, Rajpurohit should by now be a global citizen, shuttling between countries in a high-profile MNC job. Instead, he and five of his IIT’ian friends have started their own political party for ‘‘the Bharat of the 21st Century’’, and called it Paritrana (the act of relieving someone from distress). It includes Ajit Shukla, Amit Besseen, the brain behind the party, which also includes Chandrashekhar, S Vasudev and Dheeraj Kumbhat—all graduates from IIT-Bombay and IIT-Kanpur. On the party’s website,, Rajpurohit is more elaborate. He came back, he writes, ‘‘due to the current plight of India and the grim future facing the do whatever is necessary for the Land’’.

I got this from a news website- A few months ago, Rajpurohit, who worked with in the tribal belt of Udaipur, was picked up and roughed up by Udaipur police. The illegal detention and the brutal treatment by the police seemed to have further fueled his discontent with the system. Chandrashekhar started out as a social worker but says he decided to join politics as he felt ‘‘betrayed by those who appeared to be the most enthusiastically concerned about the problems of the Land’’. Only if a few more of us think on the same lines and put our thoughts to action. Let’s start another party or join theirs… Any takers?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Paving the road ahead…

When I stood for the Staff Student Liaison Committee Elections, it wasn’t just another go at student politics; but it was to give a voice to the issues that lie underneath the skin, that seldom get heard as they should. The driving force of a good educational institution is a combination of its administrators, academic staff and its pro-active students. Its foundation is made stronger when a democratic platform is provided to the students that make up its very structure and body to voice their opinions and more importantly- their grievances. And we all know that no educational institution is perfect.

At the meeting today, which I chaired, as we spoke about the issues concerning us and the fellow coursemates, I felt extremely satisfied because I got the Academics present there to think about the issues concerning us and to try and resolve the same. The issues were far more serious and consequential than the last term and hence, had to be put across as tactfully as possible. Paving the road ahead for the next batch to come... How I wish that our seniors would have taken some drastic measures to fix the holes in the walls!!

My dear little cousin had come visiting to check out the Maths department in my Uni and we had a great time together. Drove down to the little Punjabi dominated area of Foleshill and picked up spices and bhindi and seekh kebabs. The best thing about staying in the U.K is that India is never too far. You’ll find your countrymen just around the corner. I heard that Leicester has even got some gol-gappa vendors!! (I won’t even mention Southall)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Judgement error as always !!!

As someone way smarter than anyone I know said once, “Colleges should examine the number of words spoken in a minute by a Prof before hiring him”… yawn… The sleep still lingers around; such was the effect of slow talk in a class.

The sumptuous chicken made my day, food helps “you see”.. he he he.. for those who know what this means, laugh on loud.

For anyone who thinks that all racquet games are similar, it’s time to do some serious reconsideration. After taking squash classes for the last 4 weeks now, I think if I don’t play tennis well in the future and respond to every down-the-liner by a lob, I would know whom to blame.

For myriad reasons unknown to the mankind (maybe with the exception of psycho-analysts), women do what they want even if they know it isn’t the best for them. I tried reading for the IP seminar in the Humanities porters lounge area when the Library was a minute’s walk from there. Whatever incited me to do that! 6 women of different shapes and sized descended precisely 4 minutes after I started feeling comfortable and starting chatting about all things I categorize as irksome- which member of backstreet boys gave up dope, which celebrity got divorced, how Ms. Jolie had her lips operated upon and so on and so forth. JEEZ!

At the seminar, I managed to get my words out and tried to make some comprehensible shit about something I was not so well versed with, thanks to aforementioned incident.

Hit the bed the moment I entered the room. Is it the cold, is it the seminar, who can tell!!