Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quotable Thursday #6 at Terataii

Go to Terataii Reiki to play along!

"A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?" - Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sun, sky, squirrels and sunflowers

It's ABC Wednesday over at mrs. nesbitt's and the letter this time is S.
S is for so many wonderful things...
Like the sun setting behind Buddhist stupas in Bagan (Myanmar/Burma)...

a sunflower in Cameron Highlands, a tea-growing area in Malaysia...

or another sunset - this time over Lake Inle, also in Myanmar/Burma.

S is for the colourful skies one often seas over Australia - this one in the Blue Mountains.

Back from my travels, S is for the squirrel that visits me every morning at 7 o'clock just outside my window at my home in the Philippines - even though, I'm told, squirrels are not indigenous to the Philippines.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Vinita Karim's next exhibition (Metro-Manila)

Some wonderful oils on canvas by Vinita Karim. Those of you in Metro-Manila, come check them out May 29-31 in Makati. Reception 28th evening.
I love Vinita's paintings and am the proud owner of two of them, one of which hangs in my Reiki room.
See details on the poster (above).

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

R is for Rangoon, Rani Lakshmibai, and more...

Join Abc Wednesdays with R today - over at mrs. nesbitt's place.

I like R. It stands for some wonderful people and places and, through some of them, for some great childhood memories too. R is for Raju, my husband and life partner. R is for Ranikhet, where I had 3 fantastic vacations as a kid with my oldest friend in this world, my cousin Abhilash. R is for Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, my childhood heroine. Here's what I've written about her on my Pamposh Dhar blog:

A 23-year-old woman on horseback, sword in hand, her young son strapped to her back, leading an army into battle against a mighty but unjust empire.What’s not to idolize? Lakshmibai had everything I could possibly want to see in my hero/ine: courage, strength, leadership, a refusal to be bound by convention, and a determination to fight injustice both in her own behalf and on behalf of others.
Read more about her here.

Also tied up with my childhood are my memories of Ranikhet, a beautiful town in the Himalayas, commanding a fantastic panoramic view of a whole range of snow-clad mountains. These include Nanda Devi (or Godess Nanda) and the three mountains that together make up Trishul (which means Trident, a weapon with three points, associated with Lord Shiva). My uncle and cousin lived in a large, double-storeyed wooden house atop a small hill – I think it was the highest point in the town. I remember waking up early, before 6 a.m., to get a clear view of the mountains from the balcony before the mountains got shrouded in mist. Go here to see a photo on the Net.

R is for Rangoon, also known as Yangon, which I visited for the first time in 2005. Rangoon is the capital of the unfortunate country of Myanmar, formerly Burma. A beautiful country with a long history, it is now ruled by a ruthless military junta.

The country's most famous political prisoner is Aung Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for 13 years and is now threatened with a prison term. Suu Kyi (pronounced Su Chi) leads a peaceful movement for democracy. She is charged with "receiving an unauthorized visitor," reports the New York Times.

Rangoon is known for its gilded stupas, its Buddha statues, its wandering monks and nuns, its gem bazaars (fabulous rubies and emeralds), and its gentle, peace-living people - all except the murderous generals in the junta that is.

Buddhism is very much a part of daily life. And monks have to eat too, you know:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Right post, wrong blog! (rueful smile)

It was bound to happen sooner or later, I suppose. I've just posted a Wandering entry on my Terataii blog!! Terataii is my blog on holistic health and spirituality. Well, and now, also on travel and art! Well, art is spiritual, so that's OK, I guess. Come to think of it, travel is too.

Anyhow, if you'd like to check out a few pix to do with Montmartre, Paris, just go wandering over to Terataii Reiki and Counselling.

Have fun. Don't forget to wander back here eventually!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Quotable Thursday #4 at Terataii

Check it out. Join in with a quote.

And here's my quotation for this week, once again from the poet Robert Frost:
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
- from Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Here's the full poem:
Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here,
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer,
To stop without a farmhouse near,
Between the woods and frozen lake,
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake,
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep,
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Abc Wednesdays - Q

Q truly makes life interesting - q is for the questions that lead one to explore new things, for the quest that takes one to one's destiny, for the quirky and quaint things that make life fun.

I'm going to focus on the quirky stuff I've come across in my travels. Do please wander over to mrs. Nesbitt's place to many, many more variations on the Q theme.

The first picture is from the northern Italian town of Verona (made famous by Shakespeare and known for its summer opera season). No, this is not a play or an opera - simply an honest citizen directing traffic on a very hot day.

Meanwhile, the lady's showing off an unusual hat at the Sunday market in Hobart, Australia. (No, it's not an actual animal on her head.)

Here's an unusual wedding party in northern Italy, along the shores of Lake Garda. The bride and groom emerged from the wedding on the local castle grounds licking yummy Italian gelati (ice creams) and made off in this three-wheeler, all decked out in flowers. I wasn't the only person photographing this interesting scene.

This photo of kids in the Philippines - where I live - is not my own. It comes from a UNICEF calendar. But it was simply too good to leave out!
And lastly, here's a picture I took in Australia showing a harsh punishment commemorated on a sidewalk in Tasmania. The slab tells us about a Michael Readon, age 21, from Hyderabad, India (well, presumably posted there - not exactly an Indian name, is it?). Young Michael was apparently sentenced to 7 years in prison for stealing bacon and shipped off to Tasmania.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

New Delhi as Capital of the British Raj

Guest Column by Som Nath Dhar
He has been a journalist, media person, diplomat. Now, at 83, Som – of Som’s blog – is an avid blogger. He is also my father. This is his description of New Delhi in 1936, written for his own blog and reproduced here with his permission. Read more interesting stories about pre- and post-Independence India on Som’s blog.

Delhi Darshan 1936

Father re-married in the summer of 1935, only six months after my mothers’ death in Campbelpur, the headquarters of Attock District on the border of the North Western Province of British India. He brought his new wife and me, his son, to Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir state. We had a very big house, a wonderful cook, a maid, and a night guard. Father was fond of lavish living and eating in style.

Soon father decided to take a break and travel a bit. It was the winter of 1936/37. We left Jammu by train and got off at Amritsar, where we went to see the Golden Temple. The temple built in a pool, with a gold canopy, overawed us. Inside the singing by granthis was melodious and very pleasing to the ears. After paying obeisance at the temple we went for lunch to a vegetarian restaurant in the heart of the city. We were served thalis which had twety five katoris [vegetarian dishes] in each of them. The meal lasted for more than an hour.

Next morning we arrived in Delhi [the imperial capital]. Outside the railway station was a big ‘hotel’ in which we were given a suite, comprising a hall, a bedroom with an attached bathroom and a small ante-room. Here we were treated as real VIPs, breakfast with eggs to order, ham, jam, cheese, butter and toast with tea or coffee. Lunch and dinner were one non-veg, two veggies, rice or biryani and tandoori roti. For all this board and lodging we were charged Rs.18 a day.

Father called for a taxi to show us around. The day-long trip took us to Kutab Minar, the tower built by Kutbuddin Aibak before the advent of Mughul rule. The tower has 365 stairs and I climbed them all to reach the top. Next to the tower there is an Ashoka pillar dating back to Emperor Ashoka’s time. Though it is made of metal there is no rust even after so many centuries.

Next we saw Humayun’s tomb, a beautiful mausoleum, where the last Mughal emperor, Bhadur Shah Zaffar, retreated after Delhi was captured by the British in 1857. Its sprawling lawns and terraced gardens are very beautiful.

From here we went to Lal Qila, Red Fort, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, who also built the world-famous Taj Mahal in Agra. Red Fort reminds one of the grandeur of the Mughals who ruled India for more than seven generations. Dewan-e-am and Dewan-e-khas are halls where the kings used to hold court, Dewan-e-am for the general public to hear their petitions etc and Dewan-e-khas where he conferred with his courtiers, generals and advisers. The famous peacock throne was in one of these halls. The harem where the begmat lived has a hall with mirrors studded in the walls and the ceiling to enable the court ladies to see their dresses from all angles of their body. There was arrangement for bathing in hot water.

It was an ingenious arrangement as water came into a small pool to enable the bather to relax in hot water as one can do today in a bathing tub. During the Mughal days a canal ran through the fort. Water in the canal came from the Jamuna.

The fort has much more to offer, the small museum where there are royal dresses, and Col Niclson’s uniform with the bullet hole that killed him. Inside the compound there is Moti Masjid where the king used to offer nimaz. It is a very beautiful mosque and during Moghal times it was studded with jewels.

The famed mena bazaar has small shops selling, itars [Indian perfumes], jewelry, artifacts, and ivory goods. This bazaar exists from Mughal times.

From the fort the taxi took us to see the Secretariat, the vice-regal palace [now Rashtripati Bhavan], Parliament House and Cannaught place [the main shopping centre of New Delhi]. On our return to the hotel Father asked for the bill for going round. It was Rs15 including the charges for the guide. When father paid the driver he said “Sir, some Baikshish for me and the guide”. Father gave him Rs 5. He was overjoyed and gave Father a ‘furshi salam’ [a bow almost touching the ground].

I was very impressed with the grandeur of New Delhi and wished I lived there, a wish fulfilled in 1947, more than a decade later, when I joined Nehru’s staff .

In 1936 Delhi had an old world charm and people were very polite and helpful. The language was Urdu and it was full of polite phrases. What is your name, was ‘ap ka ism-e-sharif?’

Where are you from was, ap ka daulat-khana kahan hai’? Similarly no-one said ‘sit down please’ but ‘tashrif rakhian’.

Today Delhi has become part of Haryana culturally, linguistically and emotionally. Indiscipline, rudeness, road rage, the craze for partying, drinking and brawling has become part of Delhi life. God be praised.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Quotable Thursday at Terataii - #3

It's time for quotations once again at Terataii Reiki and Counselling. This is only the third week and the response could be better. Do join with a favourite quotation of your own - put it on your blog, then go to Terataii to link up with other players. If you don't have a blog, leave a quotation in a comment on Terataii.

Meanwhile, here's my quotation for the day:
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Makes My Heart Smile Awards

You may remember that some time ago Barbara over at Barbara's Meanderings was kind enough to give me this award for two of my blogs: this blog and Pamposh Dhar. You can read about that here.

I have now given the award to other bloggers who make my heart smile. :) Please check out my favourite blogs over at Pamposh Dhar.