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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