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Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Walk in the Park

This evening saw us at the Qurum Park from 4 m till about 6.Great weather, great companions and an even greater walk!
I actually managed to spot some birds in tne swamp and that was a novelty.

Moving on it was 'Sunset time' and that only added to the overall flavour of the evening.
I must confess that I havent been to Qurim Park in the last whole year so that made for a change too. Lots has changed but many things remain the same.

For instance the magnificient fountain in the centre of the Park.

Or the 'chaiwallahs cum popcorn sellers' along the periphery.

And whats the fun of being in the park without a hot 'cuppa'?

So that is exactly what one did next.

Two hours, a sense of exhilaration and many, many photographs later we headed back home.

Promising ourselves that we would make it back there..

One day, very, very soon....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Postcards from the Eid Holidays

We've had a week of Eid holidays here recently and there's been a lot of going 'out and about' in this glorious weather.

Sure, we did have a spell of heavy rains, but the major part of the holidays were fairly 'dry'

Instead of trying to describe all that we've been doing during this period, I've decided to try another approach.

Presenting my collection of the Eid Holiday postcards for all of you.

Happy viewing friends!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Launching 'An Autumn Melody' and 'Stephanian Spice'- 9/9/11.....

Its been a while since I've blogged so this is just one to check out if I still remember how to.

Lots has happpened in the last couple of months, but the real highlight would just have to be the release of my third book 'An Autumn Melody'. The book has been published by Rupa publications and was launched at the India International Centre, New Delhi on the 9th of Sep, 2011.

It was a great evening, made even better by the fact that I was surrounded by family and friends -from school, college, Mass communications and even those very recent ones.These are the moments that one learans to treasure in life, that of being with people who care about one and those who will make it a point to be here to share all those special moments in one's life.

But the launch of the book was not the only good thing that happened that evening for it was a 'two in one treat', certainly for me and hopefully for all those present there.We also launched 'Stephanian Spice' a newsletter for St Stephens (college) old students worldwide.This is a newsletter that I'm editing and have a team of three co-editors,Nalin Sharma, Urvi Sukul Singh and Amardeep Singh  along with a Guest editor/consultant, the veteran journalist and documentary film maker, John Dayal who have made the impossible happen! The design and Layout of the newsletter have been done by my daughter Neha and some might say that its the icing on the cake!So effectively, we  now have a bi-monthly online n/l to be able to share our thoughts, ideas poems, photographs with old college mates, some of whom we havent met or spoken to for decades! Topping that would be the fact that one gets to know and learn about people who one hasn't ever met  and (sadly) not likely to, either...

I think that this is enough for this post, so I'm going to close, but am very happy to be sharing some pics of that evening with you...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rioting and unrest in the UK- what lies ahead?

It started as all such things usually do, with an isolated incident on Tottenham Road, in London. One man dead and the rest left outraged. That night a riot broke out, was controlled and one would have thought that that was the last we would hear of it. But some things have a way of multiplying when one least expects it and so it was with this.
It went on and on and then some more.

For four days and nights there was looting, arson and violence on the streets of various neighbourhoods, which in fact escalated once 16,000 cops were called to police the London streets.Most of us were astonished and horrified at being able to watch (almost) real time videos where we could see hoodlums, in hoodies, trying out clothes, and shoes for size, before making away with them.But not before setting that particular shop or store ablaze, or in any case, irreparably damaged.

"Shops looted, cars and buildings burnt out, young adults in hoods on the rampage.London has woken up to street violence, and the usual narratives have emerged – punish those responsible for the violence because they are "opportunist criminals" and "disgusting thieves". The slightly more intellectually curious might blame the trouble on poor police relations or lack of policing." (Exerpt from an article in the Independent-by Camila Batmanghelidjh: Caring costs- but so do riots.")

But there are many other factors that go a long way as well.The kind of immigration policies followed by the various govts in power over the last couple of decades, coupled by the severe economic downturn tin the last three odd years, have bred all kinds of insidious feelings in the hearts and minds of the 'have nots'. This is particularly intensified if one couples them with the lure of exciting, enticing things and goods displayed in those 'touch me not' stores, where one can look, but is probably never destined to enter, leave alone purchase something.
Day 6 and things seem to be under some sort of control and I for one, would dearly love it if things got better from here on.

Let this serve as an eye opener for all those who matter and can take charge of things. It is probably still not too late to course correct- something which will have to be done with real and single minded determination. Let not politics alone be the guiding light, it will have to be a genuine sense of concern for all those who have been left on the fringes for far too long.

Always remember, they found a way to vent their frustrrations in the last week, so give them reason enough to have some kind of hope for their future.Most of all ensure that all those who have suffered at their hands now get the opportunity to go back to their way of life and living, sooner rather than later....
The moot question-How soon can it be done?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Memories- On Reading

I lay curled up in a corner of the den, book in hand with just one table lamp on.Nothing else mattered except finishing that particular book.If I could help it, all in one go!

Completely lost in another world- that of fantasy, where goblins, trolls, fairies, The Famous Five, Secret Seven and so many other fascinating characters resided.This is what comes to mind when I think of myself -as far back in time as I can reach into the inner recesses of my mind.

Did I learn something, did I grow as an individual, did I feel better about myself?

All these were things that didnt seem to matter then. But with the wisdom of passing time and years, I now know the answer.

YES I DID- to all of them....

Reading is undoubtedly a key factor in shaping one's mind and overall personality. And so, all I can say is -encourage the younger generation to read, and you will be doing the right thing for them.


Friday, July 29, 2011

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...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Flowers to make you happy

I am convinced that one of the easiest way to make oneself happy is to go and look at flowers. They are just so....

And any word you can think of is probably the right one to fit in here.

But even better, why dont you make someone else happy by gifting them flowers?

Take it from me, that is really the best present you can give.

Try it and see...the rewards can be something that will wrap you up in a warm glow for a long, long time...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Imagine, a street called...Suneinah....

Suneinah Street, PDO heights

Coming from India, one is well used to the idea of streets being named  after VIP's and celebrities. And therefore, tend to take it in one's stride.

But truth can sometimes be stranger than fiction, for I've actually discovered a street called 'Suneinah', right here in Muscat.

Its a lovely little street, up in PDO heights and I've managed to click some closeup shots too.

So here's it is....

Presenting 'Suneinah Street' for all of you. ...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Ostrich farm

Sometime back we headed to Barka to check out some interesting picnic spots there. En route, we decided to make an unplanned detour to the Ostrich farm which we had last seen a few years ago. 
Methinks he smiles

Going off road, we could see that the approach to the farm was still pretty much the same as was the ruggged terrain all around. Must say we were all excited and anticipating some interesting sights... you see we had the advantage of having been there, done it earlier.

That was when we noticed that things had changed and how! For one, the farm was now much bigger and better than beforeand there  there were entry tickets as well. Topping it was the fact that we were given a neatly typed sheet of paper with facts about ostriches that we obviously didn't know earlier.

Parking and then getting off the vehicle we saw that there number of ostriches had also increased significantly. The best part was that they all really looked like happy families, as they stood in groups. If one let one's imagination run a little wild then one could actually see them engaged in some 'serious conversation' with each other.  
Just look at those eggs!
We really did have a good time that morning and all of this in temperatures well above 40 degrees!

But I have saved the best for the last, for these are what we bought on our way out from there.

You guessed right, these are real ostrich eggs and yes, ostriches certainly lay the largest eggs in the world.An omelette for breakfast anyone?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Al Sawadi beach, a great day out

Al Sawadi Beach
One of the best ways to plan a great day out is to head to a beach which is meant 'just for you'. And the Al Sawadi beach in Oman certainly qualifies as that!

A solitary boat

With lovely white sand, water which is almost transparent, fishing boats to take you where-ever  you want and miles and miles of walking space, this is a spot to which you can go to again and again, and enjoy it differently each time.

At a distance of just over 150 kms or so from Muscat, Al Sawadi lies within easy driving distance and the route itself is a very well planned  one. To top it all, there is a four star hotel resort there as well, so if you want to plan an overnight trip, well that poses no problem too.

So the next time, youre looking for a place to chill out and relax, try Al Sawadi.I'm quite sure that you will find yourself returning there for many more trips...... 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Try, try and you will succeed. A lesson re-learnt from two little boys

Delighted with his find

Many, years ago I read a story of Robert Bruce of Scotland and the spider.From what I recall, the Earl had been fighting the English for a very long time and at one point, he was at his wits end-would he ever manage to defeat his enemies?

Then one day in Rachrin, off the Irish coast while he sat terribly troubled in a small cottage where he was in hiding, he witnessed something that was to give him a new lease of life and victory. It was just something as small and inconsequential as a spider trying to spin a web and move from one beam to the next.He watched the spider try six times and fail in each of those attempts.He told himself, were the spider to succeed then he too would be able to fight the English, yet again, and win this time.( for he too had tried and failed six times already.) 

And miraculously, the seventh time the spider was lucky! 

His web held and he was able to
Try, Try and Try again
And they really did- Succeed!
get across to the next beam.And that was all that Robert Bruce needed.Never looking back from the next day on wards, he went on to become King Robert Bruce of Scotland.

Something similar was witnessed by me some time back afternoon and I think the photographs will really tell you  the story.

After finding this piece of thermacol, this  little boy and his friend, tried, tried and then some more, before they were able to ride these waves and how!

A lesson that I re-learnt, nothing ever really comes easy, ask those who have failed and then succeeded...

Friday, March 25, 2011

La Brasserie- a great new place in town

I firmly believe that a great view is one of the pre-requisites for a superb dining experience.

And when that is coupled with some authentic French cuisine, then that makes for a complete evening...

Which was exactly what we found when we tried out the 'La Brasserie' resataurant at the Mutrah Corniche recently.From the soup, to the superbly aromatic grilled fish, one really couldn't have asked for more.
The cool interiors
The view from the top

The French onion soup- to die for
 So for all you foodies out there, you can either take my word for it, or in this case, you might want to personally check it out, for many a time, "eating is truly believing"

More adventures of Arabia-Wadi Bani Auf

In February we went to Wadi Bani Auf and then owards to check out a bee- keeping farm over there.

It was great fun, all the more because it was a really rough ride.
The bees and their honey
Followed by a long trek upwards to the farm itself.

Now that was one of the most unique things I've ever seen, since the bees and their honey were sealed into logs of wood. There was just enough place for the bees to get in and out and most probably that was the secret of some of the best honey I've ever tasted!

As someone rightly said, "There is usually a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."
Heading there
Dwarfed by nature

Lush green!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Zafaraniya, Old world charm personified

Last weekend, close to sunset, we found ourselves in 'Zafraniya', or as is sometimes better known, Hillat Al Zadjali. It is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Muscat and certainly one of the prettiest.
A lovely old home
Unexpected delights
Walking through, we came upon an old graveyard, with some children playing nearby, sometimes even running across the unmarked graves. It all seemed so natural, the football, the cycling and the running around. Yet one thought did cross my mind, whose graves were they sometimes stepping on?

Moving on, we came across one of the prettiest houses that I've seen, and here are a couple of pics to show you some of it. It was just like  a picture book house, yet there was a clear difference. It was all so 'lived in' with some hens clucking and eating their grain in the courtyard, kids swinging on their 'jhoolas' and ladies having their tea.

But the 'adventure of Arabia', as I like to term it. wasn't yet over. Moving on, we reached an old Shiva temple where worshippers were just going in for their evening prayer.

Just as I stepped in the temple bells began to toll, and simultaneously, I could hear the sound of the 'Muezzin' calling the faithful for their evening prayer.

Talk of harmony, it was really and truly in that air...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Royal Equestrian and camel festival, 1/1/11

There are events and then there are some more events!
What we saw on the first day of New Year was truly the stuff that great memories are made of.  

The Royal Equestrian and camel festival, (1/1/11) held at the Wattayah stadium, showcased the best possible combinations of sound, light, music, spectacular animals and people.It was a three hour feast for the eyes and the ears and one that just kept on getting better and better.

While  we enjoyed every moment of that event thoroughly, what will forever stand out in our memory was when  His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said came into the arena. The tumultous roar that came from the crowd was  that indicator that told us more than any words or text possibly could that here was a ruler who was loved and admired by his people...those very same people who he has selflessly devoted his entire life to.

As we celebrate the 40th National day,here's wishing  'Mabrook' to all the people in the  Sultanate of Oman and many, many milestones to be reached ahead.....