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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Full Circle- Losing it and then finding it

I firmly believe that what is meant to be, will be.

Or looking at it in another context, if you were meant to lose something you certainly will, as also applies the other way around.

The other day, I lost a part of my antique earing, one which had been gifted by my mother and which originally belonged to her grandmother.You see we were going out to a Diwali party and there was no way that I could figure out where I could have dropped it.

So I did the best that that I possibly could under the circumstance..I tried to put it out of my mind and almost did...

Until minutes ago when our cleaner just brought that piece and holding out his hand  and asked me if I had dropped it.

I saw it twinkling as he held it out and my heart skipped a beat, then two..then three.For it really was the missing piece of my earing.

Whew!! Did that feel good!And am I relieved..Yes on all counts.

It could have fallen anywhere the car, in the lift, in our friends home, on the road...but look where it was all this the guest toilet, right here in our own home!

So as I started by saying, I firmly believe that what is meant to be..certainly will!

Friday, October 29, 2010

An excerpt from my new book 'Point of No Return'

As for the ACP, he was all eyes and ears. Sometime earlier, he

had taken out his small black dairy in which he always made

detailed notes which helped him to get a clear picture and a strong

basis for his logical and analytical mind that would slowly but

surely come straight down to the heart of the matter.

 That was
precisely the reason, why he had been such a successful cop till

date. All the legends about him were quite true; there was no

other cop in the Police force who was as detailed and painstaking

in his approach as ACP Himanshu Kapoor. Something that Desai

would forever be grateful to him for, because a lot of that systematic

approach, including making the most detailed notes, had rubbed

off on him as well.

The silence in the room grew longer, then even more so, until even

the ticking of the clock seemed to get on everyone’s nerves, simply because

they were so tautly stretched by then.

Then  what seemed like ages later, but in fact was merely

ninety seconds, ACP Himanshu decided to move this whole thing


“So what happened next?”

In a voice that was by now so faint as to be termed inaudible,

Natasha replied “I don’t know... but what’s probably much worse,

is that I don’t remember ... until that particular moment that I

started walking fast on the beach, as soon as I realised that two

men were following me. I remember passing all the carts selling

chaat and other food items, feeling very scared about what those

men might do to me but I must have dealt with it, as I somehow

managed to find that lone taxi. The same one, whose driver is

here now.”

‘And so that,’ Desai thought a tad bit disappointed, ‘was that.’

But his disappointment was nothing compared to that of his

boss, who was trying very hard to mask it, but failing miserably.

Then she said something that almost stopped all of them in their


“The blood ... so much of it...”

Monday, August 30, 2010

Our very own Guardian Angels

I'm a firm believer in the fact that we all have 'Guardian angels' who watch over us and look after us.Sometimes even to the extent of helping us in choosing the right path  when things seem to be going terribly wrong or when we are in a state of confusion about the lines that can be drawn separating black from white, or then  the other way around...

But even more than me, its my mother who has particularly identified her personal guardian angel.

It's none other than her own mother 'Mataji' as we fondly called her and  who passed away almost nineteen years ago.Mummy has told me at least ten instances during the course of this period when Mataji has appeared in her dreams and told her exactly what she should do in order to resolve matters or deal with that particular quandry that she might have found herself in at that point in time.(and these are incidents or situations that she had not discussed with anyone, sometimes not even with my father)

This evening I happened to call my parents after a gap of about a  week and learnt that Mummy had been down with the 'stomach viral' that seems to be going araound in Delhi. It had been a tough three days  and extremely weakening to boot. Day before, she had even  been able to keep down a cup of tea, and that itself was her dilemma as tea is almost mandatory for her.

Then it happened ...during that time when she was in the nether regions of sleeping and waking. As she described it, I felt the hair rise up my arms for it was so very real.And exactly as Mataji would have done.

Mummy says that she was sitting at the dining table of a large bungalow (Haveli) and that was when Mataji walked in.Sitting a little distance away from her at the table, she patted the seat next to her and said, "Beta you haven't even had a cup of tea the whole of yesterday. I really think that you should. And Mummy listened to her, immediately helping herself to the tea  that was all set up at that table itself.

And then the dream faded away and she was her very own bedroom.

It was early morning and guess what she did next?
Asked my father for a cup of tea and was actually able to drink it up peacefully. From then on, she got better through the day and today she has actually eaten her first meal at lunch, after a gap of almost four days.

So that's really what Guardian angels us when we need it the most.. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Ramadan nights in the Gulf

It is that time of the year again, here in the Gulf. Ramadan the month of abstinence and fasting.
A time when people test their limits of endurance and do so happily, staying without water and food from dawn to dusk.

Then meeting up with friends and family to break the fast in the evening. This is something that children sometimes as young as ten years of age, undertake and that too...voluntarily...

A true time for reflection, prayer and following the path  that is the defined one.

Personally, while I appreciate all that happens during the course of the day, what I really like best are the Ramadan nights.

Evenings which are just beautiful and the nights which seem to go on far longer than normal.

There really is something fascinating about this whole month and something that has taught me a lot about the spirit of endurance as well.

Seven days and nights are over and three more weeks to go.

Here's wishing all Ramadan Kareem

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Diets are notoriously hard to handle

"The toughest part of a diet isn't watching what you eat. It's watching what other people eat!"

This was a line that I posted on my FB profile today and was amazed at the number of comments that it generated. To cut the long story short, most of them were in complete agreement with the line and ruefully acknowledged that that that it was 'oh so true'.

As someone who has been through the Yo Yo syndrome myself, I consider myself as somewhat of an authority to talk about it. Diets are indeed a hard act to follow through and it is the easiest thing in the world to fall off the wagon.

You gain some, then decide to lose it, Which you do upto a point then get fed up, or just plain bored And then the cycle starts all over again.

So at this point in my life, this is where I'm at.

I eat all that I want to for a few days, then do the balancing act for the next few. That way I'm able to successfully maintain at least the semblance of a status quo.

But for all that I do/dont do, what I definitely try and do is walk off some of it away.At least 5 evenings a week I set out and try and do about 30-45 minutes at as brisk a pace that I'm able to manage on that given day.

It works for me and I'm fairly sure that it will for you as well

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The special charm of walking through lanes, alleys and old places

There is a very special charm in walking through the old part of any city.This could be anywhere in the world but nothing like it if it happens to be in the city where one has spent the last many years.
So thse are some images that I captured while walking through Matrah Souq here in Muscat one day not so long ago. 
It was an experience indeed and one that I thoroughly enjoyed .

So much so that I don't really have any words to put it better than what Winston Churchill once famously said, "We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us"...........

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Spain are the FIFA World Cup Champions and Paul was right!

Paul the Octopus was right all along, and Spin have done it! Winning the World Cup against Netherlands- 1-0 was no mean task.
And this is the man under whose guidance and training they have done it.Del Bosque has put Spain on top pof the World Football map
As I watch the Spanish team line up to receive the trophy I feel a sense of great joy for the Spaniards, already the European Champs and now the World Champs too.

Yet there is a sadness for the team who came oh so close. Netherlands...
Yet tommorrow is another day and who knows, what the future holds for them?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bhopal revisited-25 years on

There are tragedies and then there are horror stories.Like the one that happened in Bhopal in 1984.

The Bhopal  Gas Tragedy is believed to be the world's worst ever industrial catastrophe and occurred on the night of December 2-3, 1984 at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal.Around midnight on December 2–3, 1984, there was a leak of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other toxins from the plant, resulting in the exposure of over 500,000 people. The official immediate death toll was 2,259 and the government of Madhya Pradesh has confirmed a total of 3,787 deaths related to the gas release. 

What can probably never be estimated  will be the long term effects on thousands more .As if all of that wasn't bad enough, what we are now learning over the course of the past ten days or so is far, far worse.

For it has clearly come through that Warren Anderson, the then CEO of the company was allowed to leav India on the express agreement of the then govtof India.The Congress Party was in power and the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Arjun Singh has reconfirmed that this shocking step was taken in collusion with the Central govt.

As the GOM  meets in Bhopal and comes up with the future action plan, the people of India are seeking answers.To questions they never even knew they had.

So if what we are being told is correct...that India had to take this decision to keep /maintain good relations with the USA, I shudder to think what might be inflicted  upon the people once the upcoming Nuclear Bill has been signed.

Could it be true that all that the Comminists and others like them had said while breaking off the Pre-poll alliance with the UPA Govt was corrrect..

Are you wondering as well?

Monday, June 14, 2010


Milestones are special and its only right that they should be.For each of them 'marks a moment'. For me this particular blogpost is a milestone,being my 300th.

This blog was started soon after 'A Safe Harbour' was published and Ive used it to talk about any and all issues that I've thought were relevant. And for the most part have had a great time doing so.

But since movement  and change is the only thing that is really constant, and now that I'm approaching the release of a second book( hopefully this year itself)I've started a second Blog.

Here's  the link and I will try to keep this one somewhat different from this one..
Will build it up more in a few days, but in the meantime, would love it if you stopped by.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

When a child cries..or far, far, worse...(in this case) dies

Sometimes we forget how important 'Self respect' is, or then its quite possible that  we sometimes underestimate its value for  a child of of thirteen.

But just for a moment imagine how a sensitive child would feel if he is publicly humiliated repeatedly, first by being hit by a class teacher, then made to stand outside class for a whole month. Or if all of this wasn't enough, then being caned by his schoool Principal. so very hard that the cane actually broke!

So that was it for thirteen and a half year old Rouvanjit Rawla one day...the straw which finally broke the camel's back. One cannot really begin to imagine the depths of anguish and hopelessness that the child would have felt on that early morning of Feb 2010 when he realized that he just could not go on.

Or t o put it simply and bluntly, he thought that there was no point in living any longer. So  little Rouvanajit Rawla took his own lifeby hanaging himself , and when his parents and two older siblings came home later that morning,it was just too late.

For Rouvanjit Rawla was already dead.And nothing that they did could possibly revive him.

So who is to blame for the death of this child who is no longer amidst all of us?

The culprits have been squarely identified as the Principal of La Marteneire's School Calcutta, Surnimal  Chakravarti, the man who caned him and RG Gunnon, the Middle School teacher who made him stand outside the class room for an inordinately long period of time.Both these men are still roaming scot free and  apart from a note saying that they are "Sorry for the loss of a young life", nothing more has been said by the School authorities.

I say..Punish them so severely and make such an example of that these two men so that any other School master ( or for that matter, mistress) would think a thousand times before raising a hand...(or a cane) on any other young and impressionable schoolchild..

For that is the very least that we can do for Rouvanajit Rawla.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Meandering through the lanes and straight into Alladin's cave

Matrah Souq in Muscat is one of the most delightfully quaint places in the world.A true amalgamation of the best of sights, sounds and smells, this is one of my favourite places to head to. And the walk towards it is possibly even better..

Reminiscient in many ways of Chandni Chowk in Delhi, it leads one through twisting and turning lanes, bylanes and alleys...each one revealing more and more interesting sights.Silver, coffee, spices, cloth, houesehold goods, where do I start and where do I stop? For all of these and more are available here.All for the best possible bargains

Check these pics out for yourself, each one tells you a tale..

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Calm after the Storm

Its now been two days since the Tropical storm Phet passed through Oman and things have gone back to almost normal. And life is back on track or so it seems.

But look closer beneath the surface and you will see many things which will take some more time to stabilize.

For one there are severe traffic jams which are because some parts of town got severly flooded and some roads have been closed off and diversions provided,bringing traffic to almost a crawl. Then there is a lot of dust in the air and bits of debris on the sides of the road, both of which are unusual occurences in a beautiful and well maintained city like Muscat. Sadly too, the CCC Prisunic and Macdonald's suffered badly for the second time in three years and are temporarily closed( co-incidentally, today happens to the the third anniversary of the day that Cyclone Gonu battered and bruised Muscat, leaving it changed in many, many ways)

On the plus side is the thought that things could have been far worse and that we all have actually got off lightly.What was earlier predicted as a Category 5 cyclone, got downgraded to a Tropical storm and the government authorites ensured that everyone was adequately warned.In addition Saturday was declared a Public holiday so that there would be minimal movement on the roads. Of course there were the stubborn diehards who did venture out that day, but they should have known better,

Things can and will get better from hereon and here's closing with a very special 'Thank You' to those who made that day easy for all of us.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Remembering 'Gonu', as we remain concerned about Cyclone 'Phet'

As we remain concerned about the prospect of Cyclone Phet hitting Oman's Coastal areas, my mind goes back to that awful day in June, almost exactly three years to the day. It was the 6th of June 2007 and Cyclone Gonu hit Muscat. 
Cyclone Gonu leaves behind a trail of destruction at Al Amerat, and Wadi Adai areas. (My article -Oman Observer-7/6/07)

Residents of Al Amerat and Wadi Adai areas will never forget Wednesday, the 6th of June 2007. A full day and night, when many of them found the world completely turned around, and in some cases, were left with complete destruction and heartache.

Thanks to all the warnings that had been issued by the DGCAM, however prepared people were for the cyclone, what they were not prepared for was the force and quantum of water brought in by the Wadi Adai. As the accompanying photos will testify to, the water in the Wadi rose steadily, and menacingly, and for many hours on Wednesday, it resembled a raging river.

Coming from India, we were used to the sight of many swollen rivers, but this was truly frightening to watch. From our safe lookout in Hatat House, we were able to see how the lower lying areas around, were getting submerged, and we saw people move out of their houses, on to the roofs, and then, realizing that this would also probably not help them in the long run, moved away to the shelters that had been to advised by the government authorities.

At about 1600 hours on Wednesday,the Wadi Adai roundabout was overrun by muddy waters, with floating debris, comprising broken pieces of wood, and other miscellaneous items, and this continued for many hours after that. People from the nearby shops, were seen quickly carrying out items like sofa sets, tables, and chairs, so that they could be shifted to more secure areas. Compounding the situation was the fact of the total breakdown of power at about 1830 hours, which continued right upto 0630 hrs on Thursday morning.

The Wadi raged all through the night, and the road to Al Amerat was badly damaged, with some sections of it completely washed way. On Thursday morning, we were able to see people coming out to check out the extent of damage, and removing some trucks, and cars which had been tossed about overnight.

Once the rain stopped, it was a matter of time, the Wadi’s water slowly receded, and by about 6am. it had been reduced to a controlled, semi dry area. The trauma of the previous day and night, was over, leaving behind some completely changed topography
All photos - Avi Ahluwalia

Monday, May 31, 2010

Art for Atta- Different strokes indeed

Gary Coleman, famous for his role in the long running hit TV sitcom 'Different Strokes' died a couple of days ago.That thought was still running through my mind as we went for the opening of Art for Atta held at the Bait Al Zubair museum last evening
And what we saw was different strokes indeed. Designed as an Art show where half the proceeds raised are planned to be given to  Dar Al Atta a leading NGO here in Oman, it showcased some good works by artists from various genres.( Goes without saying that I found the photography section to be the most interesting one)...

Walking through was a delight in itself as the top artists in the Sultanate rubbed shoulders with all the invitees adding to the atmosphere and ambience .( seen in the pic with Avi Ahluwalia is is the well known Omani artist Anwar Sonya).

While I enjoyed the evening in its entirety, I want to make a very special mention of the young Omani artist who was doing some fantastic sand art( seen above) If there was a 'show stopper' in any exhibition that I've been to recently, this one was certainly it!

Here's looking forward to more such interesting and useful events in Muscat...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Driving through

I really enjoy taking pics while driving through. That of course really means that I'm not driving, but being driven.

Some very interesting pics that I've taken over the last couple of years have been those ones.

I think that it gives a particularly nice of going right through, or in other cases, driving by.

Here's one that I'm sharing- this has been taken while driving through the streets of Muscat  and going towards the landmark Muscat Gate Museum.

The other one reflects the atmosphere for the National Day celebrations, something which continues for about a month and gives all of us endless hours of driving pleasure.

To put it quite simply, there's that sheer element of joy and happiness in that moment of driving past and clicking. Try it for yourself, if you haven't done so already...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Finally, Justice for Ruchika, or then...?

20 years after 14 year old Ruchika Girhotra was molested by then Inspector General of Police, Rathore, he has spent his first night in jail.

This is going to be the start of the next 18 months that he will do 'Jail time',during which he will have all the time in the world to reflect on what he did on that hot summer's day.

But even more, he should reflect on all that he did to cover up his tracks and see that this case never really came to real public knowledge.Top of mind, I recall Mr Girhotra telling the TV correspondent, his eyes welling up with tears, of how his son Ashu was arrested on trumped up charges, then beaten daily while he was kept in jai. Intense psychological pressure was exerted on the entire family,and the child Ruchika herself, finally expelled from school.

If that was not the last straw for that poor girl, it was the intense humiliation that her brother was being put through that finally did her in.And so one day, she caved in,succumbing to that awful temptataion that crops up in all our minds and heads every once in a while.

The one which tells us to take the easier way out,so that everyone will be at peace.And simply killed herself...

If it hadn't been for the relentless struggle taken up by Ruchika's best friend Aradhana and her parents, we would probably never have seen this day.For poor Mr Girhotra was just too tired and to harassed a man to be able to  go it all alone.

That and the Media in the last six months...

So that the same person Rathore we saw walking out of a Chandigarh court a few months ago,with a delighted grin on his horrible facem, now sits cooling his heels ina jail cell

Yet at the end of this day,my main thought is:Is this a case of justice delayed,being justice denied?

For the poor young girl Ruchika Girhotra is not on this earth any more Neither is her mother....

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Lost Valley

" Where do you go to my lovely?" was that very old song in the 70s. It was one that I really liked and if I introspect, probably still do..
So if you look carefully at this pic, you might wonder where this path leads to?

Hmmm.. now that's an interesting thought, for much like that old song, this too has an intriguing story.
This is the path that leads from Tiwi to Wadi Shab( Oman)  and one that then leads people onwards to the most magnificient landscape that they could ever have imagined!

Walking down that tough and sometimes treacherous path, is an experience that few can accomplish.And about one hour later when one has finally done it, these are the true rewards..

Well worth all the corns and blisters, now, wouldn't you say? Shades of real life as we know it

Saturday, May 22, 2010

My favourite walk

We all have places where we particularly like to walk.Topping all of those, is "one particular place."

Well this is my favourite walk in the

This is the wlak from the Deepak mess in Chotta Shimla leading upto NAv Bahar,and passing CJM schooland the St Bedes College.About 4 kms of pure, unadulterated beauty and lush green forests.

And for that particular element of intrigue and excitement, there is a lovely cemetry to boot.Just the kind of a place where its very possible for a priest to suddenly materialize out of the thick mist, saying "My child."..

Whenever we visit Shimla,we try and do this walk at least once, if not twice every day.And even when I'm at home, here, all I need to do is look at the numerous pics taken over the years and I can easily imagine myself walking there.

So very clearly in my minds eye, that I sometimes wonder....How 'really real' can one's imagination conjure things up?

Then realize that there are absolutely no limits to one's imagination...

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Bold and the Beautiful

It's been over twenty years,and this is the one soap that I'm still watching!
In fact, is got such a hold of me that I find it very difficult if I've missed a couple of episodes and don't know what transpired.

Ridge, Brooke, Taylor,Thorne,Eric, Stephanie, Bridgette and Dominic are among the many interesting  characters whose lives and loves are intertwined and seem to converge and diverge over the years. One just happens to fall in love and then marries the other, and while taking their vows, swears it's "going to be forever".

Some time later that's not the case any more.And so they don't ride happily ever after into the sunset....

Three generations and almost twenty five years old and the programme still continues to hold the attention of viewers (like me) worldwide.It's almost as if I know all the  characters on a 'one on one' basis, and look forward to seeing what new twist and turn the next episode is going to bring.One has actually laughed when they have laughed, cried when they have and felt the pangs of separation when  two lovers have had to separate.

Must add here that one of the highlights of  this soap is the meticulously crafted and very 'real' sets that have been used. We actually seem to know the home that has been Eric and Stephanie's  or then the log cabin up in Big Bear, or even the Cafe Ruse that has been used for so many coffee dates...

For all the criticism that I've heard about the sometimes impossible/unlikely  happenings in the soap, I say, what's the big deal? For I simply love the twenty five minutes a day, five days a week that the Bold and Beautiful gives me.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

All for the desperate need to eat a Flame Grilled burger.....

Burger King is back in town, went the Buzzword, and I found my radar on a high alert...

Hmm, now that was a burger I could eat, was what my mind told me.or it was flame grilled, unlike all the others, which I know for a fact are deep fried.
So last evening was when I informed Avi that that was what it would be for dinner( Might I add,  after a giant meal eaten for Lunch at the Great Kabab Factory!?!)
So after a brisk walk, and some basic chores, we found ourselves at the Drive In for the Burgers.Where the qeue was about 50 cars long!

That was it, announced my husband.... for he just wasn't getting into that snaking line

Not to be detered, I persisted and it was then decided that we would park and go in, place the order and take it back home for a peaceful meal.

The time then was about 1030 pm.

Well, about 40 mins later we made it to the counter, where the order was placed for Flame Grilled Lite Burgers.

Just short of midnight we emerged from the Burger joing, triumphant.
For we had indeed managed to get our burgers!
So what if the project entailed a two hour schedule...

But I know now, that was the first...and the last time we would do it together..
And that from now on, I would have to find other "Burger King Company" ..or go it alone.

Not that I'm complaining. For that giant juicy biuger was all that I remembered it to be.
And then some:):)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

An Unsolved Mystery with the thought, will it ever be?

It was almost exactly two years ago that a bright young girl Aarushi Talwar, was found brutally murdered.

The fact that it happened to be in her own bed, at home was something that sent shock waves throughout India. What was even more surprising was that her parents, both doctors, had apparently slept throughout this whole period and only discovered the body the next morning.

A day later and their male servant Hemraj, was also found  murdered on their terrace.

Then the whole Media circus began and went on and on, rising to a crescendo, until one day, the police swooped down upon and arrested her father on suspicion of the crime!  Could things get any worse?

Well they did becauase he had to finally be released due to lack of any real evidence and subsequently, a trio of male servants around that very complex was rounded up and jailed.However, even with the numerous lie detector and truth serum induced tests, there was nothing that came through.

And so with the passage of time, things got foggier and foggier, until one day, they too were all released.

Where does that leave us all today? There is nothing that seems to have changed from that point onwards except tht Aarushi's mobile phone was discovered, but then again, what was revealed? Nothing that could make that vital difference.

It's been a really tragic saga, right from the day of the murder, then the botched up police invigations and silly media statements. Compounded by the fact that even the CBI who stepped in subsequently complained of the fact that crucial evidence seemed to have been lost/destroyed.

Will the truth ever really come out? Or there is that horrifying possibility...

Is it already known to a select few who have chosen to shroud it in darkness forever?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ships at sea

One of my favourite 'things to do' is to head towards Muscat Harbour and the Corniche whenever I get the opportunity.

Even  more so if it's approaching twilight.

For that is really the time when one gets to see the best possible views, combined with some great photo-ops.
Such as this one., on an evening not so long ago...

When I saw one of the biggest ships that came calling into Muscat Port and one which created a big buzz for days after that.

But I really find it difficult to decide which was the moment I liked best.

The time when it was just twilight, or when it became dark.
And the ship moved onto the seas and then headed towards its next port of call.

Wonder what you all thought... 

Friday, May 14, 2010

East Meets West- The Hanae Mori Show

Japan and Excellenceare two words that have always gone together in my book. And this was proved conclusively, yet again when I saw the Hanae Moroi show here recently.

Aptly titled 'East Meets West', the show was an amalgamation of the best that can be offered, Whether it was the spectacular set, the music, the colour, or the accessories, it all came together as a superb blend.
 Best of all was the 'finish' of the garments, something that many a designer the world over could easily take a cue from

As for the designer herself, the famed Ms Mori, at 84, she was a picture of classic elegance. Having seen it and done it all, she sat quietly watching it all unfold and when the audience broke out into a thunderous applause at the end of the show, accepted it with her customary grace.

Leaving one with the thought...
Maybe one day..

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Happiness-one version

One of the easiest ways to understand the meaning of 'Happiness' is to watch a person's body language. And it gets even better if you are are able to capture that moment forever.

I was lucky for I managed to do just that.

One lovely morning at the beach.
He was so happy and I was so happy just watching him.

Then I clicked.... and Hey presto.

Here it is
Frozen till eternity

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sudden Death in Muscat -11/5

"No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow"said Euripedes a long time ago. And this was re-inforced so very strongly to me this evening that I am still reeling..

While returning from an evening event in the Old Muscat area, we had to pass through Ruwi to reach home.Just near the roundabout we noted that there was a traffic blockage and slowly came right upto it.

Then suddenly I heard Avi telling me--"Don't look towards your right, just dont."

There was such a sense of urgency in his tone that I was shocked.Then did exactly what I shouldn't have.And saw what looked to be something,or was it someone under the wheels...

It was a man, who lay there,crushed under  the wheels of a huge trailer and it was too late.
For any kind of help at all.

People milled around with a dazed look on their faces, it really was just too sudden to comprehend.We drove on because there was nothing that we could doand found ourselves speechless for a long, long time after that..

Life's cruel irony...A pedestrian crushed to death...

Now just a body that lay waiting to be retrieved
Then sent  back home in a coffin.

Friday, May 7, 2010

'Chaos Theory.' A play that strikes a real chord (particularly for Stephanians)

Last evening we had the opportunity to watch an extremely interesting play called 'Chaos Theory'.
In essence, this play successfully captures the peculiar dynamics between two middle-aged professors at Harvard who have known each since their student days at St. Stephen’s College in New Delhi. Sunita is a fiercely  independent, witty and intelligent girl, while Mukesh, who is her intellectual equal, is emotionally very  distant. The play then follows their lives and loves over the decades.

The St Stephens angle has been capatured to a perfect T. Having studied in the hallowed portals of that very same Institution, I can vouch for that -completelyThe play begins in the 60's with the two main characters meeting while Sunita Sen( from Delhi) is sitting on a bench eating her Chutney sandwich and sipping tea, while Mukesh Singh ( from Calcutta) staggers into the scene, somewhat intoxicated. That is the start of an everlasting bond and one of the most interesting conversations I've heard in a very long time. At the end of it, they are ...quite simply, "bonded forever."

The script has been inspired by James Gleek’s novel Chaos. "In physics, 'Chaos theory' states that two particles can exist into infinity, surrounding each other without actually ever connecting”, was what the writer Anuvab Pal said when he conceptualised the play. “I wondered what it would be like if I took two particles and turned them into two people and made them spend a lifetime together without either of them ever committing to love.”

And so he went ahead and did just that and how!

The professors are played by Zafar Karachiwala and Anahita Uberoi, two extremely versatile actors, who  have the emotional range to enact the period through adolescence as well as adulthood.What is really fascinating for the viewer is to watch the way the two characters  effortlessly circle each other. According to the director, Rahul Da Cunha“The characters are two parts of the same mould, they complete each other and are meant for each other but just don’t ever come around to saying that to each other.The saddest moments are when they come closest to saying ‘I love you’ but never do.”

The thought that remained uppermost in the mind after the play was over, "So near... and yet so far."

UK elections and the Unfolding events

There was a time when "Going to the elections" meant getting Clear Results. Whether it was the same old party coming back to power or the new one. But thats certainly not been the case in most Parliamentary elections in the last few years. More particularly in India the last couple of times and today in the UK, for the first time in 60 years.

I'm using some excerpts from the BBC news to illustrate  my point:

"British voters are used to seeing triumphant prime ministers on the steps of Downing Street after election.
This year things may be very different.The party leaders' statements at their counts were inconclusive.

David Cameron said Labour had lost its mandate to govern. Gordon Brown said it was his duty to play a part in Britain having a strong, stable government.

They - like the rest of us - do not know what will happen next. The party leaders now have to make sense of a confusing situation. If it results in a Conservative overall majority, things will be simple. If it does not, Gordon Brown may try to do a deal with the Lib Dems. If he fails or does not attempt that, David Cameron will have to decide whether to rely on a loose agreement with minor parties, to encourage the Liberal Democrats to support a Tory Queens Speech and Budget, or try to entice Nick Clegg with a place in a formal coalition. Should the general election of 2010 end in that sort of deal making, the true outcome could be some time coming.

As I review all that is unfolding I have an overall point of view. Very simple and very basic.

This whole situation in the UK is so civilized. There is no shouting, screaming, scenes on the roads, or even worse, vandalism of some kind. This is what the fabric of true democracy is really made of and something that the rest of the nations have much to learn from.

I now remember that there was an old saying, "The sun never set upom the British emopire."So whatever else we may have had to say about the Brits having 'lorded it' over India, we must also learn to take up the best traditions of liberal democracy.So now lets see what happens at the next Indian Parliamentary elections.

But before that, lets see which party emerges as the ruling party in the British Parliament.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Verdict-Kasab gets death

And so it is over...
Death for Kasab in the worst ever massacre of Indians with purely deliberate and evil intent .
The judge ruled that the man "had lost the right of getting any humanitarian benefit".

Kasab cried as the judgement was being pronounced and I must say that I felt a personal sense of vindication.
For this same man, had giggled hysterically as he gunned down numerous innocent men and women,almost looking as if he was really enjoying what he was doing..

Finally justice...irrespective of the fact that he can appeal against this sentence.
I really wonder, will he do that?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Kasab held guilty on all counts, while co-conspirators walk

26th and 27th of Nov are dates that no Indian anywhere in the world can forget.I too am one such and today as Kasab was held guilty on all counts brought against him,I relooked at what Id written on those two days.Here it is, unedited, in all its starkness..

"54 hours into the stand-off, and there is still no sign of the situation coming to an end.
And this, while the whole world watches in shock, horror and disbelief.

Reality TV like no-one really wants to see.Yet one is drawn to it, just as a moth is drawn towards the light...

For how can you not watch, when it is there?In all it's bitterly stark and grim format..
Maj Gen JK Dutt, Director Gen of the NSG has just gone into the Taj, and we can only hope that this will be the last battle, one that will finally bring things to a close..

Yet, the thought that is paramount, at what cost?Over 130 lives lost, scores injured, and the two major landmarks of Mumbai, the Oberoi Trident and the Taj brought to an unrecognizable state.

Who stands to gain? More importantly, are there really any 'Victors' in such a situation?
60 hours, 183 dead, and over 300 injured. The visible evidence of what has raged in Mumbai.

But what of that which is not visible, things that will remain under the surface and continue to smoulder...un-observed. Until a tiny spark will light up the fire, once more, perhaps?

Many questions raised, some answers provided. But the main one, as yet unanswered -How were 12 terrorists able to hold the whole of Mumbai to ransom, and where did all the ammunition come in from?

Someone....somewhere will have to provide these answers..Sooner, rather than later

3/5/10-Today's News
"Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani man captured during the three-day terrorist attack on Mumbai in November 2008, was found guilty by a special court Monday of all charges, including murder, criminal conspiracy and waging war against India. He could face the death penalty at his sentencing on Tuesday.

Special Judge M. L. Tahiliyani found Mr. Kasab guilty of all of the 86 charges levied against him. He can appeal to the Supreme Court; his defense counsel couldn't be reached to comment after the verdict.

"I am satisfied with the verdict for Kasab, but I am sad that the two accused Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin have been let off," public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam told reporters outside the court. He said he would recommend to the government that the acquittal of the two Indian nationals be challenged."

So now we have to wait till the sentence is pronounced on Tuesday.

Will it bring some element of closure to hundreds of people directly or indirectly impacted or will it go on interminably, with appeals in the Higher courts?

Time will indeed tell...but this visual to me..SAYS IT ALL

Friday, April 30, 2010

"Mumkin Sura? "Can I please click your pics?

One learns very quickly how to behave and act in unfamiliar surroundings.And coming on top of the list is good old fashioned courtesy..something which can really get a person miles ahead.

What Ive learnt to do in the course of my wanderings across the hamlets and villages here in Oman is to politely enquire everytime I wish to click a photograph.More so if it involves an older person or a lady as thats the only way one can possibly do it.

So there's a particularly interesting phrase- "Mumkin Sura,"(Or May I click your photograph)? Ask and the most likely answer will be a Yes

Thats what I did recently in Al Hamra, the oldest village in Oman( some say, over a thousand years old)and these are what I managed:)

Viva La "Mumkin Sura"

Monday, April 26, 2010

This evening at the Corniche

Most people thought it would rain today, particularly after it had rained heavily in the interiors yesterday.
So towards 430 pm, I headed towards the Matrah Harbour where I wanted to catch the sunset. Then walked around clicking some shots and finally sat by the Corniche watching the sky as well as the sea change colour.
People walked, jogged, laughed and talked.

All the while the promise of rain lingered, right until it became dark.....But it eluded all
So now one waits and watches, for tommorrow is yet another day

Sunday, April 25, 2010

IPLGate- A possible scenario.

IPL Gate-As the saga continues to unfold with stops and starts and its daily ups and downs we can't help but think about its possible outcome...

One of the things I relish most about writing my blog is reading the comments and feedback that I receive, particularly from those I send it on to via e-mail feed. This is what I've just received from my brother, Dr Navtej Serna,a keen "life and cricket watcher" and I liked it so much that I'm sharing  with all.

"This delay could be because suddenly, with Tharoor having to go, the Congress might now be gunning for Mr Pawar, always a rebel and a threat, president of the BCCI, creator of Mr Lalit Modi, and possible beneficiary himself !

But because there are SO MANY potential suspects, AND so much money at stake, in the end, Mr Modi will, like Mr Tharoor, probably quit himself, after fronting some quasi honorable explanations, Mr Pawar might. in another 6-9 months, resign his BCCI Presidency, some other BCCI bigwigs might also leave and then, APPARENTLY cleansed, Brand IPL, with it's billions of dollars, will go on an on and on!!

More Franchises, more billions, more matches, more money for the BCCI and more entertainment and thrills for it's audiences and viewers ALL OVER THE GLOBE."

Think about it, what if this really was to happen .....

What then???

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Going Home

One of the best things that people look forward to is going home at the end of a day.

To rest their 'work weary' bones and relax in the comfort of their own familiar surroundings. Where they can unwind and simply 'be'...

Then of course, there are some visuals that strongly evoke that very same feeling. So here's one that does it for me, tell me if if you feel the same way too...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Real life can actually be more interesting than fiction

Almost a week after the 'IPL saga' began and with the MOS for External Affairs having already gone, it might well be the turn ofthe IPL Commissioner, Lalit Modi next..

In the bargain, a whole host of other issues that so far had been ignored have come upto the forefront as well. Tales of sleaze, dirty money and wheeling/dealing are growing by the day.As the IT slueths began their  raids on various companies today, one couldnt help but wonder....

Wasn't all of this in the public domain earlier as well? And why only now, is the government taking note of all these 'misdemeanours'?

But then again, this might well be the start of a whole new ball game altogether.Now all we need to do, is to sit back, and watch.

Who knows what the next morning might bring?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

End Game

It really was a matter of time and the writing was quite clearly on the wall.As the news channels had been ominously reporting since yesterday, it was not a matter of 'if', but rather than a matter of 'when' Shashi Tharoor would resign.

Just over twenty four hours after the PM, Dr. Manmohan Singh returned from his eight day foreign tour, Shashi Tharoor went across to his residence in his personal car, a Maruti Esteem, and the next we heard was that he had tendered his resignation.

A mere half hour later and the Government's official statement was out. The resignation had been accepted.


Where does he go from here? And what lies ahead?

 That is a question that only Dr Shashi Tharoor can answer, and in fact, right now, he too  probably has no clear answer. It was only a year ago that he came into politics, a savvy, career diplomat, with a wealth  of intellect as well as experience. Many people had a lot of hopes 'for' and 'from' him. Most particularly, his constituents in Kerala..

A very complex situation and one for which there are no clear answers. All I feel right now, is some amount of sadness. Here was a man who had it all.


Friday, April 16, 2010

'Tharoor-gate'-just the tip of the iceberg

The last three days have seen a new drama playing itself out-in Parliament, on the news and just about everywhere one looks.

It all started so innocously-with just one simple 'Tweet', where the IPL Chairman Lalit Modi exposed who had bid for the Kochi team.It so happened that one of the major stakeholders is a lady who is currently closely associated with Shashi Tharoor, something which was brought to the forefront in a matter of the next few hours.

What followed, was something that absolutely no-one, including Modi himself could have visualised,not  even in his wildest dreams.From then on, it has become a dangerous game of one-upmanship, with Tharoor and Modi hurling allegations and counter-allegations.

While the government of India has promised a full and final enquiry to ascertain the real facts in this case, I seriously wonder what this whole episode will bring upto the forefront.For it is very clear by now, that this is merely the tip of the iceberg and that once people find out who the real stakeholders in so many of the IPL teams really are, or more importantly, where the money is actually coming in from, the Pandora's box will be well and truly opened.

I'd like to hope that a completely impartial enquiry will be put into place and that when the report comes out, it should be something well worth the paper its written on, otherwise it will be a case of first pulling the wool and then some more... over people's eyes.

Only thing is that people by and large, have really come of age, and can easily sift the wheat from the chaff...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The best meals in life are also...the most ...

I absolutely love a Juicy Burger, accompanied by French fries and a ( Diet)Coke.
Or rather there was a point in time that I 'used' to, having given up this indulgence about ten years ago.
That was because I became aware of what was really going inside my body when I devoured my burger and fries.

But then do we have to give up almost everything that we like to eat or drink, simply because.....?
Yet again, shouldn't we?

Such a dilemma and one for which every person will have to find his/her own answer.

But this is what makes great sense to me and I've decided to share it.
Figuring out healthier options at one's favorite fast food burger chain can actually be quite tricky.
A typical meal at a burger joint consists of a "sandwich", some fries and a drink, which can quickly come in at over 1700 calories for something like a  Triple Whopper with a large fries and a 16 oz. soda.

A better option, would be a regular single patty burger, small fries, and water, which is about 500 calories.

Alternatively you may enjoy a veggie burger smothered in grilled onion and mushrooms. Or if you want a large beef burger, then skip the fries and soda and have a side salad and water instead.

Here's some more food for thought

We also  love all types of sandwiches: hot, cold, wrapped, foot long, and usually eaten with a salad instead of fries. Most of the the ads promote the health benefits of sandwich shops. But this is easier said than done...

Studies have found that many people tend to eat more calories per meal at a sub shop than at a regular Burger chain.. But ironically, it then may happen that  because people feel so virtuous eating “healthy” like the ads promise, that they go on and reward themselves with chips, sodas, or extra condiments.

So here's the thing- Eat that burger, as an occasional indulgence, but let it  not be a regular way of life and living.As can then be the case for so many,many other old favourite foods or drinks.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tum Milo to Sahi- A Different kind of movie

This evening we saw 'Tum Milo to Sahi' . It was a different kind of movie and one that has something in it for everybody. For it successfully reaches across all age groups and tells a story from their perspective

The film is primarily a story about three  couples: The olderst being Subramanium (Nana Patekar)who  is a retired, cynical person. With nothing more to do in life, he meets Delshad (Dimple Kapadia), a spirited Parsi woman who is running the Lucky Cafe  who finally shows him what it is like to really fall really in love.Probably for the first and only time in his life...

Amit (Suneil Shetty) and Anita (Vidya Malavade) "were" in love. But now that they are going through a mid-life crisis, love is not exactly a part of their life.Along with a hundred work related issues that he brings home with him each night

Bikramjeet (Rehan Khan) wants to have some fun before joining the army, so he comes to Mumbai. That's where he meets Shalini (Anjana Sukhani) and somehow manages to ...

What I liked about it is -that this movie is about relationships, the numerous ups and downs in life, and more importantly,what it really takes to stand by what one thinks is right. Above all, the film is about the coming together of souls, minds and hearts.

See it, if only to come out thinking- Dimple and Nana Patekar have really played their roles to perfection. In fact, I'm seriously wondering, was this Dimple - Delshad Irani really the same person 'who came in as the sensational 'Bobby'?

Then I remember, that was well over thirty years ago. Time, like tide, really waits for no-one...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Unforgettable-A trip to Tiwi and Wadi Shab, Oman

Beautiful shades of the Gulf
Sometimes we reach a particular spot which surprises us with its unexpected beauty and then that becomes a benchmark for many future expeditions or trips that we might undertake in the future.

Thats exactly what happened some time back when I was in Tiwi and Wadi Shab (Oman) for I saw and managed to click some of my most unforgettable shots ever.

Shots that I choose to go back to time and again......then again... if only to relive the sheer beauty and magnificence of that place.

 What a view

Wadi Shab is a must see destination in Oman, located 40 kilometers southeast of Dibab along the coast road (though the signs are not very helping). Wadi Shab has a set of amazing natural pools ;waterfalls in the midst of the desert, and all of that with a crazy turquoise water colour. The swimming is very refreshing since it is usually hot. In 2012 it was the final stop of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series 

There wasn’t too much to see until we reached the first of the Wadis in the afternoon, Wadi Shab. The entrance to the Wadi is marked by the main dual carriageway slung across the entrance, we parked the car and headed into the Wadi. Throughout the Wadi you will find lush vegetation and turquoise pools of water. After about one hour we reached a  final pool, and inside the enclosed cave was a beautiful water fall.

As I started by saying, "Its the unexpected that can really bowl us over."