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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Immersing myself into Nature .... My mantra

My life till date has been like a roller coaster ride but with lots of downs and minimal ups and during this journey of life I have had different ways of coping with failures and emotions and it was not that #onething. During the Engineering college days when I feel down and broken I used to go to the beach alone and sit for couple of hours in silence lapping up the salt laden air and listen to the waves crashing on to the beach and then I was back to being normal and take on the challenge of life. Then after the college I took up a job that entailed me to stay away from family and many a times away from the sea coast that I had to find out ways and means to counter the feeling of failures and emotions and I turned to music to tide me over this feelings and yes it did wonders to me till such time I found out a new mantra to overcome these feelings.

Once i was back to India from my overseas assignment one of my friend asked me to accompany him to Mudumalai forest for a stay in a home stay that was adjoining the forest and to be frank that 3 days stay there immersing myself with nature had a calming effect on me and yes i had found the new mantra to combat the negative feelings and emotions associated with failure. So for the last 12 years when ever I feel down with emotions and failures I pack my bags and go into the wild and immerse myself into the nature for couple of days and return refreshed and pepped up to face the challenges of the life.

This post has been written for Indispire edition-182 - When you are down with emotions and failures... what would be the one thing or thought which would lift you up.. push your failures behind and bring you back on track #onething

Friday, August 11, 2017

Indian Movies ... Does it influences the youth's mind???

Current news that is grabbing attention of the people of India is that of the stalking and chasing of a woman at Chandigarh with intent of abduction as perceived by the victim. The police have lodged a FIR and the boys from influential families have been remanded by the law. On the same day a woman, mother of two boys was stalked by an educated middle aged man at Mumbai and he had the audacity to even go up to her apartment and ring the bell and confront the woman without an iota of worry about law and showed no remorse when the cops came over and arrested him. These are only the few of the incidents that has been highlighted by media because the women in question had the guts to take cudgels against their tormentors whereas a large number of such incidents does not make it to the print or news in India.

One politician had tweeted that the stalking of women is nothing new and these are due to influence of Bollywood movies which depicts such actions by hero of the movie to woo the girl. He was trolled on twitter for this comment as the public felt that it was insensitive comment in support of the accused in the Chandigarh stalking case but then thinking back about his comment I personally feel that it is a very valid point with respect to eve teasing, rapes and such incidents.

PC: Google Images
Going to a movie has become a craze among the younger generation and the Indian movies be it Bollywood or regional ones have become an integral part of the current day youth. It does influence the minds of the youth all because of the media blitz that is associated the movie and the stars in the current days and in many cases it mislead the people to construe that if they do the similar things they would attain fame and fortune as depicted in the movie.
Sadly most Indian movies show grossly vulgar and crude romantic scenes with hero chasing the woman, cracking double meaning jokes, and singing songs to woo the woman and finally does so, corrupt politicians and government officials, power hungry villains, rags to riches by immoral methods and so forth, this in turn does create an impression in the minds of the youth who try to do the same in real life enacting their favorite actor hero. There has been various studies on the impact of movies on the youth of this country and it is generally proven that many incidents of eve teasing, rapes, suicides and other immoral activities has festered in the minds of the people influenced by the movies they see.

Gone are the days of movies being simple and conveying social cause for it does not sell in this fast paced society we live in now a days. Not all movies are so bad and some that are made showing positive notes have failed miserably at the box office and hence the producers and directors generally stick to the proven formula of commercial movies with lots of romance, sex, violence and so forth with some tilting songs such as “Chikni Chameli” or “Baby Doll” or “Zandu baam” where women ooze sex simply to arouse the movie goers which in turn leads to experimentation by public in real life.

So definitely movies does play a role in shaping the outlook of the people and if they are foolish enough to believe that what was seen on the screen would work out then they are sadly mistaken. Reel life is completely different from Real life. So my advice is to the generations of people who are movie crazy to take what happens on the screen with a pinch of salt and do not get influenced unlawful acts seen in the movies. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Portrait- Spot Bellied Eagle Owl

Spot bellied eagle owl is also know as the "forest eagle owl" and the sighting of these are pretty rare as these owls are generally nocturnal. It is said seeing a spot belled eagle owl is equal to sight 10 tigers or leopards because of its rarity. I was fortunate to sight these beautiful bird three times in last 8 years of my trips into the wild. Here is a portrait of the spot bellied eagle owl.

This image was captured at Bandipur forest recently. Hope you guys like this image.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Eclipse or Grahanam (Sanskrit)

This morning I got a call from my Mother in law who has gone to stay with her niece for few days asking me and my family to finish our dinner very early in the evening on account of Chandra Grahanam. This did piqued my thoughts of the blind faith being followed by us Hindus and wanted to know more about the beliefs that are linked to the eclipse throughout the world and I was pleasantly surprised that Hindus are not the only religion having belief that eclipses are inauspicious. Here is what I got to know

As per the Hindu Mythology eclipses is caused by Rahu or Ketu the sworn enemies of the Sun or Moon. The story of this enmity was the consequence of the fight for Nectar or Amruth- a drink of immortality between the gods and the demons. When this nectar was being churned out of the ocean and given to the gods’ one of the demon disguised as a god drank it sitting among gods. The Sun and the Moon came to know of this and informed Lord Vishnu who in a fit of anger severed the head of the demon who was in the form of a snake. As the demon had already tasted the Amruth he became immortal and the head portion became Rahu and the tail portion became Ketu. Since then they vowed that they would extract revenge from the Sun and Moon by swallowing them whenever they come near to them.

Ancient Greeks believed that Solar Eclipse was sign of an angry god and it was the beginning of disasters and destruction. In Vietnam people believed that solar eclipse is caused giant frog eating the sun. In ancient China a celestial dragon swallowing the sun was considered the cause of solar eclipse; similarly in Korean folklore it was considered the mythical dogs trying to steal the sun and in Norse culture it was the wolf eating the sun. Similarly American Indians believed that the bear fought the sun and bit a part of it. As the story goes the bear then resolves its conflict with the sun then goes to the moon and takes a bite of it too…may be a explanation as to solar eclipses occurring two weeks before or after the lunar eclipse. Traditionally people from various cultures would make loud noises by banging pots and pan or drums during eclipse to scare away the demon causing the eclipse.

Various Hindu beliefs of eclipse that are still being followed by Hindus in spite of no scientific proof are listed below
  • As Eclipse are considered inauspicious do not undertake any work during Eclipse
  • Pregnant women should not go out during the eclipse to avoid deformities to the child they are carrying.
  • Pregnant women should not use sharp instruments like knife, scissors needles etc since the child they are carrying can get cleft lips or birthmarks.
  • Do not cook food during the tenure of eclipse and do not consume anything till the eclipse is over.
  • Should not go out of the house during eclipse
  • Avoid sex during Eclipse
  • Do not look at Solar Eclipse with naked eyes for it could blind you.
  • Take bath immediately after the eclipse and purify yourself

I still remember my school days when we used to take a piece of clear glass and darken it with smoke by holding the glass piece over fire to view the sun during eclipse without affecting the eyes.

Fear of Solar Eclipse still exists in the present day modern world as many see it an evil omen that brings death, destruction and disasters. Scientists and astronomers has debunked most of the beliefs of the eclipse but then people still follow the age old traditions in the event of an eclipse.

I need to thank my Mother in law since it was because of her Comment this morning i made it a point to browse the net and get to know more about these age old beliefs of Eclipse or Grahanam ,not just by Hindus but by people from various parts of the world. I know many would know of all that i have written but this note is for the people around me :) 

Saturday, August 5, 2017


Image Credits: Google Images
Having passed out from school at Delhi in early seventies most friends were only boys as the society then were too traditional in India and having a girl was frowned upon. After school most of us dispersed for our studies to various parts of India and the slowly the bond dissipated due to tedious communication protocols present at those times. The bond of friendship at an early age and if it continuous then they are the best as it grows with time and are very strong. Few are very lucky to have such friends in their lives --- langoti yaar with whom you could share everything that is happening in one’s life. Unfortunately I do not have one true friend though I do have many casual friends that I have picked up at work place or during trips out into nature with whom I can spend time and relax but cannot share personal details.

During this digital age you gather over thousands of friend be it on Facebook, Instagram or any other social media networks but then you may hardly know about the person unless your interaction with the said person is regular basis or meet in person. Many of these friendships are based on your interests or for mutual benefits … you scratch my back and I will scratch your type. This is very evident on the social media networks including on this portal… you like a person’s blog and you would notice immediately find that person liking your blog irrespective of the content of the blog. So these friendships gathered on social media networks hardly pans out in real life unless you know the person in real life. No doubt you may share all your personal problems with your efriend since you are very comfortable to venting all your feelings to a computer screen which is the medium of communication with the knowledge that you are anonymous and would not be ridiculed or judged.

Real life friends who move away can be in touch easily this day through various medium available and the bonds of friendship does not break so easily. So my take on the friendship during this digital era is that you can be in regular touch with friends irrespective of the distances and maintain the same. Due to this advancement in technology I was able to reconnect with few of my classmates from school at the dusk of my life and we do have a very lively group meeting up and reliving our school days.

Make good friends in life and maintain them throughout and I am sure you would reap the benefits of friends.

PS: Written for Indispire 181-#Friendship

Surviving Cancer yet again

It is said that Lightening does not strike the same place twice but then it did to my wife. In my Earlier post I had written of my wife surviving the breast cancer after 8 months treatment plan including 8 sessions of Chemotherapy, Left breast mastectomy and a month of radiation therapy. All was well after these treatments and the entire family started picking up the threads of life and moving forward. But then the providence had something else in store for us. Within months of stepping out from the dreaded disease my wife had lump on the right axial which grew big in days and she rushed back to the medical oncologist who was reviewing her for a checkup and she was asked to undergo a surgery to remove this lump immediately. The biopsy of this lump came back positive for cancer i.e. Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (a type of nodal cancer). This news indeed shook up my wife as well as us for it is pretty rare for a back to back cancer of different variety. The treatment plan advised by the doctors was six sessions of Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy with gaps of 3 weeks between each session which we started immediately.

Unlike the previous treatment of Chemotherapy which used to take just about 3-4 hours this time around the session used to last for over 9 hours and quite painful. After each session of the therapy my wife would become very weak and have bouts of high fever by the 7th day thereby emergency admission as in patient at the hospital. I was quite worrying mentally and also quite expensive financially. So during the entire course of the treatment she had been admitted into hospital on emergency 5 times in addition to the therapy admission. Finally the treatments were over by end January 2017 and three weeks later a follow up PET scan confirmed no presence of cancer cells in her body. I sincerely hope that the threat of cancer has vanished and I say this because I have read the NHL can only be treated but not cured and there is a possibility of re-occurrence over a period of time and if it does happen same treatment needs to be done.

In addition to my wife undergoing painful treatment process, the mental and physical stress on me was immense. My pillars of strength during the first cancer, my sisters’ were not around this time since my youngest sister had emigrated to USA and the younger one had taken up employment. This meant that I had to be around in the hospital each time my wife was admitted. I could not go out of the country where I was employed and work peacefully…if I do not work I would not be compensated and this did add financial strains and tensions. I was almost mad with all these stress and I really did not have a shoulder to cry on and I do not know how I pulled through these times. Fortunately I have been able to tide over these hurdles and I hope that these never repeat in my life again for surely I will not be able to take up the stress and strain once again.

My wife is a survivor again the second time and am proud of the way she has faced this dreaded disease even though there was a threat to her life during the treatments.

This post is just to vent out my frustrations which has been building up inside me and I am sure you would all understand the feeling

PS: Image Credits : Google Images

Monday, July 31, 2017

A trip without any agenda --Jidar chala rasta

My friend Visu was traveling to Mysore with his mother to his sisters place and he calls me at the last moment and he calls me to come over to Mysore so that we can go on a long drive into the nature. So I pack my bags and go to Mysore and we leave the city after breakfast and coffee at his sister’s place. The original plan was to go the Nagarhole forest at Kutta side but then on checking up we were told that the solitary Jungle Lodges jeep safari on that side has been stopped because of monsoon rains and hence we decided to go to Kabini backwaters side and try our luck as walking customer at JLR Kabini. As luck would favor we were able to get accommodation for 2 nights at JLR Kabini and then first two safari’s we did not see any predators but sighted other animals such as Elephants, deers, langurs and few birds.

Third safari also was dull for about an hour for the forest was still with no movements of animals being heard. We then reached a place from where we could see a shape of an elephant far off nearly a mile away and on zooming in to check we saw that it was another safari vehicle parked with all photographers taking images of an animal on the tree and so off we went at a fast pace to that spot and to our amazement saw the animal in question was indeed the Black Panther on the tree branch. We were able to get few decent pictures of the same. Now the other vehicle while maneuvering for better angle of the Black Panther broke down as the clutch wire got cut and the drama began there with people trying to start the vehicle so that they can go back to the resort, but then even after pushing the vehicle downhill to start it would not start. As the safari timing was nearing closing time it was decided to abandon the vehicle there itself and all the guests from that vehicle transferred to our vehicle and we drove back… 17 persons in the jeep which normally carries 8 …. Black panther sighting had pacified most of the guest so all adjusted by traveling standing J. Read here about my earlier sighting of this beautiful animal Here

Fourth safari on the day out check out we were quite lucky to spot the sub adult male tiger that had just separated from its mother and female sibling. Two other vehicles crossed us and went ahead of the waterhole without any pause and we also similarly were moving out and i noticed yellow mushrooms. Our vehicle had stopped to talk to the forest department official who had come the opposite way and after he had left i asked our driver to reverse so that i could take images of the mushrooms. After few moments we started moving out and suddenly our driver stops and says Tiger tiger... and we see this magnificent animal lying down in the open raising its head now and then.

After checking out from JLR Kabini we drove down to Masinagudi and stayed at Glanton resort which is just before Sigur bridge while you get down the Kalhati road from Ooty. The high light of this place was that we had a huge tusker just in front of the room. From Masinagudi we drove back towards Mysore and while we reached Bandipur we decided to spend one night at JLR Bandipur. As this is off season there we were able to get 25% discount and we were the only guest at the resort and during the Safari time we met another regular who had just checked in… so the entire resort had just three of us for the night. 

Both the safari’s we had no sighting of the tigers or leopards however we were able to see Spot bellied eagle owl.. an extremely rare bird and is considered equivalent to 10 tiger sighting, wolf snake and elephant right on top of the mountain along with its calf.

Trip without any agenda ended on 28th afternoon and my friend dropped me off at the Railway station for me to catch the Shatabdi Express back to Chennai.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Glimpses of ordinary people - Fish seller

Be it any city in India you can find scores of vendors pushing cycle carts and selling various items like vegetables, fruits, plastic vessels, fish and so forth earning a living .

 Here is an image of fish seller who is carting the fish on a two wheeler.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Kabini Diaries - National bird Peacock

During the recent visit to Kabini during the second week of July we did see quite a lot peacocks some dancing with their brightly colored feathers spread. However i found this Image of the Peacock high up on the tree branch showing of its extremely long feathers very beautiful

Hope you guys liked the Image

Monday, July 17, 2017

Burning Paan

Traditionally in South India betel leaves, areca nut, coconut, turmeric and flowers are given to females on most auspicious occasion and is known as tambulam During weddings this given to both males and females in decorative carry bags when the guests leave the marriage hall. Chewing the combination of betel leaves, areca nut and lime (Chunna) is supposed to help digestion after heavy meals and you can see in most South Indian weddings a plate with these ingredients are place outside the dining hall for the guest. This combination is generally chewed and swallowed.

In North India it is also consumed and is known as Paan and various combinations are eaten. Saada paan that just has betel leaves, areca nut and lime, Meetha paan with additional ingredients such as sweetener and so forth, or with tobacco. Normally the paan with tobacco is chewed and then spat out… you can see splotches of red markings on roads, walls, railway platforms etc in most Indian cities on account of these.  Each of these paan shops try to bring out unique paans with assorted ingredients so as to catch fancy of the consumer and one such paan is the burning Paan. I came across this video about this paan and am sharing this with you all. It is all in the taste of the consumer and I find it quite surprising that such things happen in spite of the health hazards. Enjoy the Burning Paan :)

Adaptation of a book into screenplay


I have always have been an avid reader right from my younger days and have seen quite a few Hollywood movies based on those books. Most movies have been extremely well adapted from the book and as I had read them it was a pleasure to watch the scene unfold in visuals before my eyes. Couple of names of these books crop up in my mind as I write this blog for Indispire as examples

Guns of Navarone a fiction written by Alistair Maclean : A second world war story where a small team of soldiers are inserted behind German occupied Greece to blow up guns that guard the coast so that allied invasion can take place.I read this book long before I saw this movie and re-read the same after seeing the movie . The movie did do justice to the story told in the book.

The Day of the Jackal a thriller written by Frederick Forsyth a story of an assassin who has been contracted by dissent French paramilitary force OAS to kill the then French President Charles de Gaulle . Truly a gripping movie even if you have not read the book. Again the adaption to screenplay is faultless.

Well there are others such as Where Eagles Dare, Puppet on a chain, Way to Dusty death, Angels& Demons, Da Vinci Code, Exodus, The Godfather, Absolute Power, The Count of Monte Cristo, Sherlock Holmes, Bourne Series and lot more that I have read and seen too. As usual in Hollywood the adaptation of the books into screenplay is well done with little changes unlike in Indian film industry where the screenplay is tweaked to cater to our local population thereby changing the entire meaning of the story as written.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Do you believe in Ghosts and do they exists

A lively discussion at home regarding the final rites as per Hindu culture to be done in case of death of the family member and the reason given was that these rituals are conducted so that the soul of the departed is appeased and proceed to heaven. In other words if no rituals are done, then the soul is left wandering as a ghost on this earth forever. Does this mean the persons of other religions who do not have any specific rituals when they die remain in this universe in form of a ghost???

If you do believe in ghosts/ spirits you are not alone in this world since millions of people do believe in them, in terms of percentages of the population it could be in the regions of 30-40% which is pretty high considering the fact that there has been no scientific evidence of the spirit or the ghost. Now why do people believe in them in spite of no proofs is that our fear of our own mortality plays an important role in belief in ghosts. Most of us desperately want to believe in life after death – and the idea of ghosts seems to offer support for such an idea. The belief offers many people comfort — who doesn't want to believe that our beloved but deceased family members aren't looking out for us, or with us in our times of need?

Right from medieval times stories of ghosts or spirits have enthralled and also frightened people in this world. Medicine men or the Oracles have swayed the thoughts & decisions of many Tribal chiefs and Kings by their actions or statements of talking with spirits and deciding the events that were to unfold. They were the most powerful personalities of the times revered even by the kings and people had blind faith in them and their bidding.

Even I used to believe and fantasize about the ghost while I was young and one particular story comes to my mind where it is said that if you get a strand of hair of a woman ghost and hide it in your body beneath your skin then you will get all that you aspire in this materialistic world. Thinking about the way I used to be looking for that strand of hair during my childhood does bring about a smile on my face even today.

The thoughts of ghost may arise as the result of honest misinterpretation of naturally occurring phenomena (for example, seeing faces and figures in the shadows or hearing noises made by animals in the night), or common but frightening anomalous experiences. An example of the latter would be sleep paralysis episodes that can occur between sleep and wakefulness. During such episodes, the sufferer is temporarily paralyzed and may experience a strong sense of presence and a variety of bizarre hallucinations. Although it can be terrifying, sleep paralysis is essentially harmless and I have written about this in a blog titled Amaku Pishsasi (Crushing ghost) few years back. I also wrote of a person hallucinating after excessive drinking while on night duty at Iraq and the blog was titled Neither here nor there..floatingin air.

Well friends many more pages of incidents by people can be written and there would be no end to this blog and so I rest my views here. I am not an believer of ghost or spirit now that i am grown up and added to it the fact that there is no scientific proof of its existence. I do not berate people who believe in them and I would surely like to know your experiences if any of paranormal activities that you have come across or some interesting stories. Please post your comments

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Bottoms Up

Well it is not the call to drink up your booze in one go or the capitalizing of the boat but the phrase that popped up in my mind when i saw couple of mallard ducks with their heads under water looking for their food.

This was captured at a water body in Chennai early this year.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Expectations -You can't always get what you want

Mankind is driven by their expectations and for most there is no end it thereby leading a feeling of regret and frustrations throughout their lives and few take extreme steps to escape it. We keep reading almost daily about suicides that takes place due to the stress of not able to achieve their expectations or terrorist attacks and so forth. These expectations can be materialistic, financial emotional, political and so forth and it is normally stems out of the society we live in.  

Now please do not get me wrong that I am advocating that there should be no expectations and goals in one’s life for without any of those there is no life at all. I am only saying that it is natural to a person to keeping increasing their expectations once they have achieved their initial targets. The flames of these expectations are stoked by yourself, your partner or parents in individual’s life and at times it becomes overbearing and unreasonable. We all seem to be in competition with our siblings, neighbors, relatives or for the unknown person elsewhere who is much higher to your present condition. A simple example all of you may agree is that your spouse or parents would want you have better things than that of your neighbor or a known relative like a bigger house, high end model car as the guy who lives down the road or have more properties and money compared to your sibling and so forth. There is hardly any contentment in what you are achieving.

Some do achieve their expectations be it materialistic, financial, and emotional but at a steep cost to oneself and this is never discussed by those who aspire for similar success, for we live in a hypocritical society where the focus of people is in only in the success of the person not failures or pains of that person. If only one is contented with what they have in their lives then they surely would be happy and in peace with their existence. 

Just a random rant that i dreamt last night .On this note I leave an old  song by Rolling stone “you don't always get what you want” 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Love to visit Iraq and Turkey again

There are many places that I would like to visit and explore the local sites but then the IndiSpire topic was about #TimetoRevisit and two countries fall under this category one being Iraq and other being Turkey. Brief recount of my earlier visit and why I would like to go back to those countries is under

Iraq was the first foreign destination at the age of 25 when I took up a job there and I was in this beautiful country for over 2 years. Within this country you had the historical place called Mesopotamia a region between the two biblical rivers Tigris and Euphrates that was also known as the Cradle of Civilization for it was here that mankind started to read, write, create laws and live in cities under an organized government. In addition to Mesopotamia, Babylon with hanging gardens of Babylon one of the seven wonders of ancient world, Mythical Garden of Eden are also there. With so much overdose of medieval history linked with this country I was quite thrilled to be there for I could explore the place to my hearts fill.

Artistic Depiction of Hanging Gardens Courtesy Google
During these two years I have traveled the length and breadth of the country to see the marvels of the ancient country and I have seen remains of Babylon city that had paved roads, mud houses exposed by excavations in those areas, the reconstructed blue tiled Ishtar Gate that was on the northern entrance to Babylon city but then unfortunately we have no photographic records of these as those days we did not have a camera with us; On weekends I have traveled to Mosul, Erbil, Habbaniya, Hillah, Samarra, Karbala and lot more places but then due to the ongoing war between Iraq and Iran there were quite a few restrictions to travel and take photos so in my two years of stay in Iraq I have not documented those beautiful places and this is the reason I would revisit Iraq and explore the country and also take images of the glorious ancient places. #TimetoRevisit (This again is not a possibility now with so much violence happening in that country).

Hagah Sofia Istanbul . Image taken by me
The second country I would like to revisit is Turkey, which like Iraq has so many ancient cultures and places to see and enjoy. In the year 2011 I had to visit Istanbul, Turkey on a official trip and after having 5 days of continuous meeting our host had arranged for half a day sightseeing tour of Istanbul (European side) and in that short span of 4-5 hours we visited the Blue Mosque, Hagah Sofia and Topkafi palace, Basilica Cistern and the Grand Bazaar. You can read my earlier blog about Turkey here. #TimetoRevisit Turkey for the country has lot more places to explored and enjoyed.

This blog is written for IndiSpire idea of the week posted by fellow blogger Anita 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ripped Jeans

Courtesy Google Images
Recently I watching television and in one of the Bollywood function I saw the stars both men and women wearing ripped and tattered blue denim jeans pants and shirts and this was their fashion statement. I still remember that ripped jeans pants was quite a rage during late 80’s because Kurt Cobain(Nirvana) used to wear these. But then it dropped out of fashion after few years and has resurfaced now with a bang.

Blue denim jeans has been my favorite wear right from the time I started going to college way back in 1974 as they were quite rugged and fashionable as well when worn with matching shirts even those days when jeans were frowned upon by our elders. The more you wear the jeans it used to fade irregularly and more it fades it was considered fashionable. The markets came up with an idea to manufacturing new jeans using stone wash/ acid wash, sand blasting so to fade new jeans to give an appearance of being used over long period by the wearer.

Courtesy Google Images
I can still hear my mother scolding me not to wear the faded, torn and tattered jeans for she used to say it makes me look like a beggar and we used to discard the jeans when the ripping at the knee became too big or if it was not possible to stitch a funky badge over the tear or sometimes we used to convert it to shorts. Seeing the current trend in the market where a tattered and ripped jeans cost lot more than a normal pair and it does makes me wonder as to why we all discarded the jeans then J

Stars and well known personalities from Hollywood and Music industry come up with such crazy ideas of fashion and immediately everyone laps it up including the stars from our country. I have had trouble standing and wearing the naturally ripped jeans for my toes used to go and get stuck at the tear and at time make the tear bigger so I keep wondering how does stars wear the ripped and tattered jeans …possibly they would wear these only once and discard it. Just a thought!!!

The latest 2017 fashion trend in men’s clothing that was unveiled in USA this year was Homeless inspired fashion dress or the street people and this fashion show was mired in various controversies. God knows when the leaf/ loin cloth is going to return as fashion for the trend seems to going back in times.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Experiences at Baghdad in 1980's

Baghdad was one of the most modern cities in the Middle East late 70”s and 80’s with lot of infrastructure projects taking place with the advent of increase in petrol price in the world as Iraq was the largest exporter of oil then. It is in one of the infrastructure project for Amanat Al Asima (Municipality of Baghdad) which was building of 2000 housing units and service buildings that was awarded to an Indian company called Makers Development Services Pvt Ltd.  I had joined the company as a Junior Engineer Electrical and was among the first few engineers who had left India in first week of April 1981 to set up the mobilization works on the ground. Those days on account of the war with Iran there were no direct flights hence had to land at Kuwait city and then proceed by land and you can read about it in my earlier post Carnivores-brahmin.

First few months we were busy with setting up of the camp, setting up prefab factory and other support building for the project and were getting ourselves ready to start the construction phase and  during the second month beginning we had an Israeli Air raid on Baghdad and you can read that in another post  Reminiscing of times at Baghdad. We used to venture out to local market at Al Baaya or go to a theatre there to watch Hindi movies at time (Hindi movies were quite popular among Iraqis) or to the Mall at Al Mansur in the evenings after working hours. Weekends 7-10 of us would pile on to a vehicle and drive down the country side or go to a lake called Razaza and you can read about it in my post Old Memories of Times in Iraq.

Till about 8 months into stay at Baghdad we had never ventured out in the night seeking the fabled nightlife of the city but arrival of a new engineer whose father was in Indian High Commission Baghdad changed it for he was aware of the hot spots of the city . We started going to night clubs and used to have fun with scores of dancers on the floor and female companions to give you company on your table…. What more did we young guys need then :P .One nightclub stood out those day and it was known as Moulin Rouge… yes the same name as the one in Paris but not a franchise and here they used to have similar can-can dance on the stage. This club used to charge us Iraqi Dinar 2 for entry and on table would give us a roasted chicken and a can of beer free. Scores of beautiful girls (Various nationalities..Ceylonese, Egyptians, Lebanese) would line up along the bar or on the sides and you could call them to your table for a drink. A drink that costs you 1dinar would be charged 10 dinar for the girls drink and she would not stay long on the table when she finishes her drink. This was first time we had been there and we never knew the cost of having those girls on the table and we all 7 freaked out there and finally we had to pay a hefty bill in the process. Next time onwards we were pretty judicious with our calling out for these bar girls.

Tried to get to know more about this nightclub on Google but no hits regarding various nightclubs of Baghdad of 1980’s at all except for passing statements that the city was renowned for the nightlife until 1994 when Saddam Hussein shut down all bars and nightclubs. There were few other nightclubs but their names have faded in my memories and am unable to recall them. I believe the nightclubs have opened up once again in Iraq but not much action in Baghdad because of moral policing however up north at Erbil the bars are flourishing without any fear of ISIS or moral policing.

PS: Most of what has been written are my personal experiences during my stay in the country from 1981 to 1983 and at that point of time the rule was we needed to spend 30% of our salary within Iraq and being flush with money during the war times was great. We have had great times as a group there and i always tell my relatives that my assignment there was just like my stay at engineering college... a carefree life it was. Hope you all enjoyed my recount. Thanks for passing by.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Gadgets affecting ones memory

Getting old is the way of nature but then the human mind is pretty sharp right until death unless of course the person is suffering from ailment that affects ones memory. To keep it sharp we need to exercise the brain regularly similar to going to a gym for maintaining good physique. But these days we have new gadgets to help us out and we hardly work out our brain as we have started depending on the devices for simple actions such as recalling a number or doing simple mathematics in our day to day lives and am sure you would agree with it.

Image Courtesy: Google Images

Off late when somebody asks me for a contact’s telephone number I immediately take out my mobile phone and scroll the contacts and give them the number. But this was not the case in good old days (35 years back) before the advent of the mobile devices; for I could remember over 100 telephone and recite them from my memory. Reason for this decline in memory is not due to your grey cells are dying .It is because  that we do not attempt to etch the numbers to the memory like we used to do it earlier days ,as now we have all grown too used to referring the mobile phone’s memory .

Image Courtesy: Google Images

Similarly simple additions, subtractions, multiplication and divisions were done in the mind good old days but now days I have noticed that most people would immediately take a calculator or mobile with that application for simple calculations instead of remembering the basic mathematics that they had studied in their school days. You can notice it quite prevalent in super markets and shops most cashiers use the calculators for working out the balance money to be given back even if the subtraction is a simple one. It is quite possible that they are paranoid of having to pay up from their salary in they make mistake when they calculate without use of devices.

This is just a random ramble of a bored mind and not advocating that gadgets of current times are bad only that I feel bad that the younger generation is too dependent of these gadgets that they can do it in their minds. My suggestion is that each one of you make attempt in memorizing few numbers of your loved ones so that any failures of the devices you depend on does not affect you in contacting them in the event of emergencies.

I sure would love to hear your thoughts about the same and your experiences of utilizing your grey cells J

Friday, June 16, 2017

Unusual happening around world

A recent news report I read tells of a Kuwaiti women finding out that her husband has taken a second wife without informing anyone of that decision. A secret kept for over 8 months is exposed by pure chance when the woman telephoned a local hotel for ordering pre dawn meals Suhoor as it is the holy month of Ramadan. She requested the hotel to ensure early delivery and the hotel employee asked her for telephone number for verifying the address and to avoid confusions and she promptly gave her husband’s mobile number. This number was already registered in hotel’s system with the address and the hotel employee started reciting the address against this number and the woman realized that this was a different address and not that of her home so she jotted it down after giving the correct address for delivery.

This Kuwaiti first wife later went to the address and rang the bell of the flat and she found that the door was opened by an expatriate woman (non Kuwaiti). She then asked the expat woman the name of the flat owner and when she got her answer her worst fears were confirmed that her husband had married again without discussing about this with her or any other relatives. The expatriate woman stated that she was legally married to the man after meeting him 8 months back in a shopping mall.  In a fit of anger she assaulted the expatriate woman verbally as well as physical and the neighbors had already called the cops. Both women we taken to the police station and the husband was summoned to the police station to resolve the issue. The report does not mention what happened thereafter and it is left to the readers’ imagination.You can read the original news report here  

This incident made me look up Google to check that if a Muslim man has the right to marry again without informing the first wife as they practice polygamy and this is what I found

Islam permits man to have more than a wife but it stipulates that certain conditions are to be met in this regard, “If a man is able to take a second wife, physically and financially, and he can treat both wives in a just manner, and he wants to, then he is allowed to do so according to Islam. Allah says, “Then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four.” (An-Nisa’: 3)

But it is not obligatory for the husband to have the consent of his first wife, if he wants to take a second wife. However it is considered it is good manners and kindness to deal with first wife in such a manner that it will minimize her hurt feelings due to husband’s action. So it’s incumbent on the husband to be kind to his wife, discuss the matter with her in a gentle and pleasant manner, and this should be coupled with spending whatever money may be necessary in order to gain her acceptance of the situation.” 

I hope all is well that Kuwaiti man who was unfortunate to have been caught by his first wife in an unusual way.