The importance of Poppy

Today walking through the streets of Edinburgh , I came across a beautiful but poignant sight. I had read and heard about Veteran’s days and that poppy symbolised remembering everyone who had lost their life in conflict. Our Main Library had a small donation counter with the poppies, and so did most of the shops.  I passed many people with poppies pinned on their lapel, people honouring their brave countrymen.

The garden on princess street had been decorated with poppies and small cross, The cross had names written on it, the names of all the brave soldiers who had died.

There was a special enclosure with names of soldiers who had lost  their lives in Afghanistan.  Looking at their photographs I had goose bumps, most of them were so young, in their 20’s with  years ahead of them, dying in a conflict which was not of their making. Its so sad that people who declare wars are the ones who do not suffer at all, they all have their Z level security, their  political careers or have lived most of their life in luxury. The war actually affects the families of these brave people , their loved once who have been left behind to deal with the pain or their kids who will never know the love of a Dad or a Mom.

There is no right or wrong in a war, the only truth is that young people on both ends die, its the innocent family who suffers. How I wish we there would be no more wars. Its the kind of naive thinking that may suit a kid but not me, but one can be wishful , even though its a wish which will never be fulfilled.

Rest in Peace all the brave men and women from all over the world who laid their lives for the betterment of others.

 

 

 

 

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Back to being a student

The New College ; which actually looks very old 🙂

 

After 9 years I find myself donning on a mantel of a student again. It feels good, I feel free; though I know the freedom is short lived once the deadline for assignments  starts coming in maybe I’ll start wishing for the monotonous work life I led.

Walking along the campus with a backpack is a wonderful feeling, going to the library, attending freshers event, suddenly I feel much younger than my 30 years.

 

Goals

After surviving for 30 years , I finally learned the importance of setting goals. It was a small task but it opened my eyes.  I never believed in self-help books, glad I never spent any money on it. In this world you need to help yourself, no amount of reading will do that,  the motivation has to come from within ourselves, or else its of no use.

This ramble here is my way of remembering what I learned today 🙂

Sri Lanka : A land like no other

Having recently enjoyed a week long vacation in Sri Lanka , I can’t help  but wax lyrical about the country, when my friend e-mailed me asking if I wanted to join her for a trip to Sri Lanka I grabbed the opportunity.

The first day was  spent sightseeing around Colombo , with lunch at Beach Wadia Restaurant, the food there is yummy and you can see the pictures of all the celebrities who have visited the place. We were told that its very difficult to get reservation for dinner , so we opted  to have lunch  instead .

the crab was awesome

Anyone wanting to  feel the  flavour of rural Sri Lanka should visit Nuga Gama, a restaurant at the Cinnamon, they have created  a village like atmosphere with the tables placed under a huge  banyan tree, the food is totally authentic Sri Lankan which is spicy and absolutely delicious.

Next day on the way to  Galle , we stopped at the estate of Jeoffrey Bawa, the famous Sri Lankan architect. The place is called Lunugunga, and is away from the main highway, we were told that Mr. Bawa  bought the place and transformed it to what it is today  because  he was inspired by a single window. Whatever the reason, he transformed it to a stunning place.

Lunuganga

The Galle fort area , lived up to my expectation a quaint place where I could just take a walk or ride a bike, its amazing how it withstood the Tsunami, its got such an old world charm that you are bound to love it. The beaches in Sri Lanka are awesome,  since I don’t know how to swim I was not too keen on taking a dip in the Indian ocean, i.e, before  I fell and got drenched ,  the waves are massive, I was told that there are other beaches which are considered surfer’s paradise.

unawatuna

After Galle we moved inland, towards Kandy,  with a quick stop at Pinnawalla  Elephant Orphanage, it was really heartbreaking to see a giant tusker who was shot at both his eyes, and a lame elephant who had one of his limbs blown off during the civil war.

Kandy is a beautiful place, its amazing how fast the landscape changes in Sri Lanka, within 4 hours we moved from the costal area to the hill country. One thing I found fascinating about SriLanka is how serious they are about keeping their Buddhist heritage alive.  The Tooth Relic Temple is amazing,  visitors should make sure that they are not wearing sleeveless top or short skirt , you will not be allowed to enter the temple premises. We also watched the Kandyan Dance , it was a hour long program, well worth the money we spent for the ticket.

A view of Kandy

We hired a cab at Kandy and moved inland towards Sigiriya and Anuradhapura , early next morning. One the way we visited the cave temples at Dambulla, the cave temple is still functional and is one of the most well preserved caves in Sri Lanka , by the time we reached Sigirya the sun was not at its peak , a  perfect time to start the climb , after 1600 steps we reached the top and it was well worth all the effort, the view was awesome I also got to watch the most amazing sunset. Sigiriya is renowned  for its fresco painting, and the 700 wives of King Kashyapa , as most guides will gleefully point out.

Sigiriya (Lion's Rock)

We stayed the night at Sigiriya and moved towards Anuradhapura early in the morning , I would have loved to spend more time at the ancient city but we were running late, visited the Maha Bodhi Tree,  a branch of the tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment , it was bought to Sri Lanka by the daughter of Emperor Ashoka. Also visited some of the  ruins of the ancient city.

The Maha Bodhi Tree

We had to hurry back to Kandy as we had a train to catch . The driver did everything to get us to the station on time and we just managed to board the train before it took off,  it was one of the most interesting train ride of my life, the bumpiest too, we could see the changing topography through the large observation windows.

A bumpy ride from Kandy to Colombo

The last day was spent pretty much as the first one; shopping and sightseeing.  The  lunch at Colombo Cricket Club  Cafe was good, they also have a large collection of cricket memorabilia.  The Gallery Cafe just near the Cricket Club Cafe is a great place to shop for souvenirs. They have an impressive collection of  reasonably priced  items, and the ambience of the cafe is great. Since Sri Lanka is famous for gems , I also bought a few of those.

The evening was spent at the Breeze Bar at Cinnamon Hotel, celebrating my friend’s  birthday, and within no time I had to head towards the airport to catch a flight back home.

The entire trip was great, I found the Sri Lanka’s to be extremely friendly and helpful, we were fortunate enough to come across only nice and decent people. Like every place in this world maybe it has a dark side too but I was lucky to experience only the positive side of it. I’m looking forward to going back and exploring the rest of the country.

lost baggage and random shopping

The worst thing that can happen when you go on a holiday is when the airline mishandles your baggage, the term in the complaint form which loosely translates to I was there but my bag was somewhere in India.  I was stuck in a foreign country with nothing but a handbag with my passport, wallet, camera and a scarf.  For  a  person who hates shopping  it was double nightmarish. I had to do some  real fast shopping, which could have turned into a complete disaster if not for my very helpful friends.  Few months back , I had watched a documentary on TLC where the guy had lost his bag, and had wondered what would I do if  I faced the same situation, well got my answer , I did cope, but from now , i’ll stop wondering about freakish situations, thay have a very bad habit of coming true.

Well I did learn a few things from this episode

  • Always carry a cabin bag with a change of clothings and basic requirement.
  • Get your travel insurance done. ( I never thought it was important )
  • If you feel there is a problem , be the first to stand in queue, it took me 2 hrs just to get my complaint registered.
  • When traveling be prepared for absolutely anything.
  • Never laugh at others situation, it may come  to haunt you some day 🙂

Life does teach us a lot, now when I look back I can actually laugh at the situation , but I hope I don’t have to face it again, but then I think i’ll be able to cope come what may coz I can find humor in every situation life puts my way 🙂

Jai Ho!!!!

Phew!!! now that the CWG are finally over, everyone in India can heave a sigh of relief, no falling roof, no stray dogs, no cobras  no terror attacks etc etc.  The games passed on peacefully, though my younger sister was lamenting she could not go shopping as all the markets were closed a day before the closing ceremony.

As I am a total internet news addict,  I visit multiple site and blogs, the negativity  reported before the games was so depressing, some bordering on racism, it looked like no one wanted to say anything positive about India, and sadly the sports writers suddenly changed their profile and started reporting about  social issue, they were supposed o report about the games not how poor India is. It looked like they just wanted to slag us.

In-spite of everything we did host a successful games, I was wishing I could go to Delhi just to watch some of the events live, but I did keep track of every thing through the wonderful live text provided by bbc and other site.

Every game was quiet  interesting and competitive, even diving though  its very difficult for a layman like me to figure out what a good dive is . But   there was one event that no one could successfully explain to me, What the hell is Lawn Bowls? I had never seen it , never heard of it and did not understand it ,  is there any other sport as boring as lawn bowls, and are people expected to go and watch it?

The opening ceremony was spectacular, it was beyond my expectation and was very well executed, and so was the closing ceremony. I loved the fact that Mr. Suresh Kalmadi was booed, if I was there  I would have done the same.

And hats off to the Indian athletes, they sure did make us proud, it was great seeing the tricolour fluttering.  I thought the women athletes did really well,   I hope this sends out a positive message, we girls are no less,  so cherish your girl child and give her the opportunity, she will make you proud one day.

The most emotional moment for me was when Saina Nehwal won her gold, her never-give-up attitude is worth emulating,  to come back from brink of defeat and win is phenomenal, it shows positive attitude and mental strength. Her win put us in second place which is a great. The women relay was awesome, sitting glued to our TV we were urging the girls on, and they didn’t disappoint us.

Now that the games are over, I would like some answers from Mr. Kalmadi and co. There should be proper probe into all allegations, the taxpayers deserve some answers and the guilty should be punished.

Jai Ho, Jai Hind 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

$#*&5$*(#@$&$%$^

Right now I’m going through a gamut of emotions:  Happy, sad, confused, scared, apprehensive……..

Sometimes I’m soaring high, feeing ecstatic, and then the next minute I come down with a big thud, feeling all depressed. I know its not healthy but I can’t help myself, don’t know if  I’m making the right choice in life, or what the future holds for me. Its feels like I’m taking a plunge towards the unknown, will I come out of it happier, satisfied,  wiser, I hope so , I really hope so.

I HATE SHOPPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can’t understand how people especially girls find shopping therapeutic, I totally hate it, it leaves me feeling frustrated, tired and generally unhappy. Moving from one shop to another and trying ‘n’ number of clothes is not my idea of fun, after the third shop I start getting irritated. If it’s a shop that sells standard size cloths its  OK, I can directly try the L sized stuff, but shopping at Gangtok can be a nightmare, especially for people like me who are not thin. Go to the famed Lal market and you will find  many  “foreign shops” selling  trendy but impractical stuff  with no proper size,  a size S may actually mean L, so you’re left going in and out of the trial room.

In my ideal world, someone else would do my shopping, unpack everything and hang it in my closet and my only job would be to wear it and look pretty, but I don’t live in an ideal world, so i’ll have to continue struggling with shopping 😦

Going gaga over everything Korean

Every electrical appliance in my house from TV to refrigerator to microwave oven is by Samsung , I have a Hyundai car, the best seminar I’ve ever attended till date was by a Korean professor on change management, I have been constantly listening to the song ” What should I do”  or ” ho to ka jo ” by Jang Guen Suk, the last thing I watched on DVD was a Korean serial. Looks like I’m going bonkers over everything Korean.

Korean movies, serials, songs and fashion has stormed our small town,  here, Lee Min Ho , Gu Jun Pyo of Boys Over Flower is more popular than Ranbir Kapoor, his posters, key chains and stickers sell like hot cakes,  the last time I was inside a theater  I saw a teenager with his picture as her mobile wallpaper.  Every teenager tries their level best to emulate the Korean actors in terms of hairstyle, cloths and mannerism. Sometimes I’m glad I was born early,  being a teenager now must be so stressful, I’m sure I would have been a social outcast, but the downside is  I have crush on Korean actors who are much younger to me, which according to one of my friend is pretty shameful 🙂

The first time I heard about Korean movies was 4 years back when my younger sister while doing her graduation from DU had a part-time job of teaching  English to Korean students. While home on vacation she bought along some movies given to her by her students, and from the time I watched “A Moment to Remember” and “Classic” I got hooked  to Korean movies.  And now I can’t get enough of Korean serials which are fun to watch with beautiful songs and the best part is they are only 16 to 25 episodes long. My current favourite being ” You are beautiful”.  The songs are so soulful and the lyrics are amazing.

So Cheers to everything Korean.

For anyone reading my blog here is a link to my favourite song from my current favourite Korean drama, maybe u’ll get hooked to it too. 🙂

Compassion

Few days back I was in Kolkata,  my sister wanted to have breakfast at Flurys , the legendary tea room in Park Street,  when we reached the place, there was a queue outside,  generally I hate waiting for a table, but since my sister had never been to Flury’s , I  decided to do it for her sake.  There were many people around, some waiting for a table like us, people just walking ,  tourist, locals  it was a  nice Sunday morning  and also the magazine vendor, it was fun browsing through the latest fashion, there was also a small boy , must not be more than 8 years old, selling chewing gums for Rs. 10/-. He kept on requesting everyone there to buy at least one pack of gum, but everyone was shoving him away, myself included, the expression on people’s face saying “how dare he touch us” , the one that is reserved for street urchins.

There was a family with a small child the boy was almost the same age as the urchin, and that is what made me think  how unfair can life be,  two small kids , one waiting to have a bloody expensive breakfast, and the other begging us to buy gums for Rs.10/-, I went and bought the gum, if everyone of us waiting had bought a pack of gum each he would have done  good business, but no one did,  we all were ready to spend 1000 rs on breakfast ( two eggs with a bits of shredded chicken cost 300), but could not  spend 10 rupees, which could have maybe helped the little boy buy something to eat.  Why is it difficult to feel compassion, to be more understanding? Why has our hearts hardened?