Monday, May 3, 2010

Trial Headlines

"Lucky's trial was no big deal, and it received no coverage in the press. But the morning after, the front page of the New York Times featured a five-by eight photo of Captain Perkins in handcuffs on his way to jail" ( P 280)

Trials make headlines when crimes concern celebrities, or if the crime is heinous or sensational , These past few months, the trial of Ajmal Kasab, the sole person caught in the Terrorist attack in Mumbai has been making headlines. Today, particularly, has every newspaper screaming out the fact that this is his day of judgement. His crime is quite obvious as is his involvement in it, and the people of Mumbai have already pronounced his judgement. What waits to be seen is how the court views his actions and how it judges him.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ivy League Colleges

"Black arrived shortly after, surrounded by6 a phalanx of young lawyers, recent graduates from Harvard, Yale and Columbia, aggressive and eager to prove themselves." (p274)

Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale , eight top

private colleges situated on the East Coast of the US constitute what is know as the


These colleges are known for the excellent education they provide and the doors that

open to those graduating from these institutions. The name Ivy League comes from

ivy that normally grows on the walls of these colleges.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Joining the Dots

"But this has to be solved right now! she shouted to herself. "I need some evidence.but......."
That's when she heard Shanti's voice : "Think. They are all there. Connect them." (p269)

Children love puzzles. Joining the dots one by one and seeing the entire picture emerge is something of a magical experience. Apart from the thrill of seeing something meaningful emerge out of the dots, this simple puzzle helps us to understand how things are inter-connected........often, all we have to really do to understand life's mysteries is to join the dots

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Perfect endings.

"She untied the ribbon and unwrapped the box . Inside was a glass dish of chocolate mousse, still cold , and a note with a single word on it : DESSERT. It was signed ML." ( p. 266)

A chocolate mousse especially a perfectly light and fluffy one is the perfect end to a perfect meal. However, most recipes are made of egg. This is a delightful and easy recipe made without egg. Try it!

Unfortunately for Lucky, though, receiving the mousse from Mike Lockwood was hardly a perfect ending.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

ET or Aliens?

"But that-by itself- is not likely to happen. I can document a thousand cases where aliens - Canadians, Peurto Ricans, Mexicans Haitians, Guatemalans, Somalis, Cubans, Italians, Israelis, Pakistanis even other Indians - have been arrested with illegal handguns and deported." (P257)

According to the official definition of an alien as per the US Government, anyone who is not a citizen of America is considered an alien.

By this definition, aliens seem almost normal human beings unlike the Extra terrestrial beings we consider to be aliens.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"How about the thousand a month you're putting in a Swiss bank account?'
'I don't have a Swiss bank account." (P.252)

Swiss Banks are known to be the safest banks in the world largely because Switzerland is one of those rare countries that have never really waged a war. But apart from their safety, they are also valued for their secrecy .

Sometimes, the banks' obsession with privacy can have undesired results as displayed in this video clip by Michael Moore.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New England's Dutch Connection

'Perkins scratched his neck."Actually," he said," I'm and old fashioned kind of guy. My old man , he was like twelfth-generation New England sailor in the merchant marine." (p.249)

New England is in the north east corner of the United States and one of the earliest European settlements in the New World. It was named so by the English pilgrims who landed there from England.

Everybody knows that the Pilgrim Fathers who landed at Plymouth sailed across the Atlantic on the Mayflower, but how many people know that several of the original English separatists also set sail from Leiden, Holland on the Speedwell?

The English separatists left England and had settled in Leiden for almost 11 years before they set sail for the New World to practice their faith without fear of persecution.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saying what you mean and meaning what you say

'How often did people say "I see" when they meant "I understand"? (P.246)

Words are expressions of thoughts and proper usage is extremely important. For instance people assume that you are educated when you have a degree, but actually an education goes beyond a college degree:that actually only attests the fact that you are literate.

Similarly, when you are searching for something, it is quite different from looking for it, the difference being really very subtle and hard to define.

One evening, when the boys were little, we were sitting in the garden while the light was fading. My young son opened the gate and came inside the compound, forgetting to shut it . His grandfather gently rebuked him and asked him to shut it after him.

"But dadaji , " he protested, "You told us to shut the gatewhile leaving the compound, not while coming in."

Impressed by his logic, grandfather replied, "hmm, I see."

With the brashness of youth, my son went on to challenge him " Oh , you can see in the dark?"

Luckily for him, his grandfather had a great sense of humour and smiled indulgently rather than scold him for impertinence!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Walking through the mountains

'He told the pilgrim of a spring he had once found on his travels, high in the mountains to the north, in the vicinity of Kedarnath, at the headwaters of the Ganga.' (p246)

This image taken from the website mentioned above, captures the essence of the Himalayas.

Craggy, unfriendly and challenging, mountains have always tempted humans to go that extra mile, to walk the rough terrain through thin air, to brace the cold and biting winds and achieve that one step closer to the sky.

What is it about mountains? Their call seems irresistible, seductive almost. And those who succumb to that siren call, experience an undeniable peace and calm, a feeling of walking in God's loving presence.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The many faces of the Buddha

' However, for one who had been blind from birth, and had not even seen his mother's face, seeing the Buddha's face would certainly have a special significance."If there was one thing I could see in this world," the pilgrim said, "let it be your face." ' ( p.245)

This statue of the Buddha in Bodhgaya, the place where Prince Siddharth actually attained enlightenment is quite different from the version of the Buddha in Thailand

Subduing Mara, Phra Pathom Chedi, Sitting Buddha

Or yet again quite different from the fat, happy, Laughing Buddha we find in China.

But essentially, we find that all Buddhas, no matter how they are represented, in stone, metal or wood, as Indian, Chinese or Thai, radiate an inner calm and wisdom of a truly enlightened soul.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Making choices

"One does not choose this kind of life. This kind of life chooses you." (p. 245)

This is one of the most profound statements in my book. There are times in my life when I wonder why I am doing what I am doing, why certain things are happening to me and then I realise that I really have no choice in the matter. I am sure most of you will agree that things happen and we really have little part to play in the way our lives turn out. There seems to be some kind of cosmic force that decides which way our lives will turn. So why then, do I feel guilty when I reach out to that chocolate cake? Hasn't it chosen me?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Making paper .

"One afternoon a package from India arrived at the cottage by courier. It was from Shanti. It container a letter and a manuscript entitled The Story of My Life. The book was written in a diary made out of homemade paper." (P244)

I love handmade paper, particularly the ones with flower petals interspersed. Apart from the fact that this paper is aesthetically beautiful, it is also eco-friendly since it is made out of recycled paper pulp. All you need is paper, water, a large tub, a frame with a sieve and some plastic sheets.

The waster paper has to be soaked in water and then blended into a smooth paste. This is then put in a tub of water for at least two days. Then a frame with a net is lowered into the water and the resulting cloudy viscous fluid is drained off, leaving the tray covered with waste paper cellulose.

A plastic sheet is then placed on the cellulose and the frame is tipped upside down rather like a cake tin and the sheet is allowed to dry. When the cellulose dries, the plastic sheet comes off easily and you have your own hand made paper!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Saving for an education

"Impending motherhood gave Lucky a fresh perspective on life. Sean would need a stable home to grow up in and money for his education. Lucky remembered how her mother had paid for her education - selling family heirlooms a little at a time until, when her mother died, the house was practically bare." (P. 244)

Tuition and fees account for 67% of the average estimated budget for students living on-campus at private four-year colleges, but only 18% for students not living with parents and commuting to public two-year colleges

It is no wonder then that Lucky has to save:not for a rainy day but to give her child an education

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lucky's Adoption option

'Now me, I come from a good Catholic family, and while I ain't in no position to raise a kid, I'm not in favour of abortion. So I asked Katie to give me a couple of weeks to find a good home, and for her to think about having the kid and giving it up for adoption.'
Lucky put her hands palm down on the table to steady herself. She leaned towards Steve. ' want me to adopt your child?' (P.241)

Truly my heroine's life is one roller coaster. After finding out that she was pregnant when she believed she could never be pregnant, Lucky has to unfortunately abort the child because it was not developing properly. So, it would seem a stroke of luck that Steve wants to give up his own child in adoption to Lucky!!!

Adoption is a complicated process which involves a lot of background check on the prospective adoptive parents. So Lucky is indeed very fortunate that this tiring and tedious procedure has already been taken care of.

Adopted children, it is observed, somehow manage to look and acquire the mannerisms of their adopted parents. Perhaps it lends credence to the theory of nurture over nature where man is moulded by his circumstances and not by his genetic disposition.

Do you think Steve's child will be more like his natural parents or will he somehow acquire Lucky's traits?

Hair today, Gone tomorrow!

'Steve arrived, his quiet self again. He looked much the same except that he was no longer shaving his head: a thin, brown stubble covered his scalp. Lucky noted with some amusement that he had a pronounced bald spot on the top of his head.' ( P. 238)

Hair is truly a person's crowning glory. Both men and women spend a lot of time obsessing about their hair : is it too dry?is it too long? is it too thick or is it too thin?

While it would seem that most men just have a quick shower and rush off to work just running a brush or even their fingers through their hair, it is not true. I have seen several young men spending a lot of time and hair products on trying to get their hair just right.

The reason for this is basically primordial:to attract the opposite sex. A full head of hair implies the person is young and aggressive while a receding forehead implies social maturity.

However, all men will eventually lose their hair and if it helps, a man can predict his pattern of baldness by looking more closely at his maternal grand father than his own father since this genetic characteristic is passed on from the mother!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Uncle Jal and the Cadillac

'A few weeks earlier Alec had been in a chain reaction pile-up on the freeway. He wasn't hurt, but the Cadillac, his pride and joy, had been damaged in the front and the rear.' (P237)

The Cadillac has always been one of my favourite luxury marques. I will always associate it with the long rides Uncle Jal used to take us for in his prized Cady. Like all Parsis, this car was meticulously kept and even his driver had to wear gloves while steering the car! Every now and then as a special treat, Uncle Jal would take my sisters and me for a ride and we felt like princesses as we cruised along the road with the our hair blowing in the breeze.

When his old driver died, Uncle Jal wanted to sell the car because he felt no driver was worthy enough to drive it. Yet, selling it was a difficult proposition. Each prospective client was interviewed, his credentials examined and even the Cady's potential garage inspected. Finally, Uncle Jal found the perfect customer for his perfect car.
"Careful, dikra, "he said, "Be really careful. I'm giving you my jaan," and he quietly wiped a tear as he handed over the keys.

p.s. dikra is an endearment for son while jaan means life.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

God's Glorious Blessing

"Lucky," she said,'the foetus has a problem.' She opened Lucky's folder and spread the images on her desk. She singled one out and said, 'In the normal course of things, the baby's head develops first. In the second trimester, the baby is all head and no body. But from what I'm seeing so far, the foetus's head is small, almost what you would call proportional in a full-term pregnancy. This usually signals a brain-development disorder.' (P231)

When Lucky goes to visit Dr. Kapadia for her routine pre-natal examination, she is confronted with a new problem: the possibility of having a child with a brain development disorder.

For Lucky, being pregnant itself was miraculous, so one can imagine the devastation she must have felt on hearing this news. All parents want the most perfect child and any kind of imperfection is hard to bear and even harder to deal with. Having a baby is one of the most fulfilling of human experiences, an experience that evokes awe and admiration in the glory of God and his creation. Truly a child is a gift from God and all of us who have 'perfect' children are blessed indeed.

I can never forget the amazement that I felt when I first saw my own little baby wriggling around on the screen. Was this really happening inside me?

This video I came across on YouTube captures the wonderment of seeing a new life developing in the womb.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Broadening horizons

Shanti's constant refrain to her had been :'One must know oneself and one's place in the world before one can know the world'
'And how do I know myself?' Lucky asked.
'Look around,' Shanti replied.'Know the world and you will know yourself.' (P229)

Pacific Centric World Map

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

Truly, the more one travels the more one learns. With every new journey of mine I come back refreshed, thinking of things a different way. No matter how many times I visit a place, with each visit I discover something new .
Meeting new people, seeing new things, experiencing new experiences ; all add up to a lifetime of learning about myself and the people around me.

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Con Women

'Hell, I might be a con, but I ain't stupid. I might have smacked him around a little, just to make my point, you know, but then I started thinking about all what you said before I got out.' ( P226)

While thieves are essentially out to get your stuff if not you, they do have a Code of Conduct. I found this out quite by accident when our cook was pick-pocketed one Saturday afternoon when he took the day off to go to the Bandra Fair.

Deciding to go by bus rather than the train, he went to the bus stop at the end of the road and was surprised to find the normally quiet bus stop over crowded. He particularly noticed a group of unruly women, something rather strange in our area. This rang some alarm bells in his head which he ignored as the bus rumbled up to the stop. As usual it was quite a struggle to get in and he just about managed to hang on to the moving bus. Pushing his way in, he found himself surrounded by the gaggle of women but he held on to the overhead strap, keep his balance and take out the bus fare from his wallet.

A few minutes later, as the bus approached the next stop, the women made their way to the front of the bus and Bahadur quickly grabbed the empty seat next to him. Just then his mobile rang and he put his hand in his pocket to find that his wallet was missing!

Ignoring the ringing phone, Bahadur looked around for the missing wallet and then realised that it had been pinched. He also realised that the gang of women had vanished - really strange considering that they had used the bus for a one stop ride - and figured that they had made off with his money! He got off the bus and tried to chase them but they were too quick for him. Upset and annoyed, he retraced his steps and to his surprise found his wallet lying on the footpath by the bus stop. Perhaps the women had dropped it in panic, he thought , as he picked it up. Alas! He was wrong: the money was gone. However, his personal photographs were intact as were his train pass and the photos of his Gods.

But all was not lost. The thieves had left the loose change intact so Bahadur could afford the bus fare back home!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Creatures of Habit

'He heard I got out. He had some China white he wanted to offload. He thought I might want some but I told him no way.'
'So you're clean, you didn't test dirty?' (P222)

Man has always been known to have taken mind altering or performance enhancing substances since time immemorial. While substances like tea and coffee have gained acceptability despite their addictive nature, they are considered harmless . In the course of time tobacco and alcohol too have become accepted. However, hard drugs like narcotics are banned and their use is closely monitored.

Despite the penalties involved and the tight security measures employed, drug smuggling is still a very lucrative trade and in an effort to track down this illegal substance, man has enlisted the help of his best friend to help stop this activity.

Every time I go through the airport, I see these handsome dogs waiting by the side - some to sniff out bombs and some to sniff out drugs. But while I know they are essential to catch the crooks, as a dog lover, I am horrified that the dogs who sniff out drugs actually become junkies themselves!

What can be more cruel than to make these wonderful creatures into creatures of habit?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Capital Punishment and the Hanged Man

"Lucky bit her lip. Until now, she hadn't given a thought to things from Steve's perspective. For her this was an inconvenience - for Steve it could mean death." ( p.222)

An eye for an eye , a tooth for a tooth:the basic tenet of justice which would seem fair because you should be prepared to pay for your crime.

But in reality, this extreme form of justice has several people shouting themselves hoarse in defense of the perpetrator. Sometimes the excuse is that the murderer was unaware of what he was doing as in the case of several crimes committed by persons of unsound mind; sometimes the excuse is that the life was taken in a fit of passion hence the person was temporarily insane; sometimes the evidence is just circumstantial and there is no positive proof that the murder was indeed the murderer. So very often the murder gets off with just a life imprisonment.

Is this real justice?

On the other hand, a person is killed under Capital Punishment can never be brought back if it is later proved that he was wrongly indicted and sentenced.

Finally, after killing the perpetrator of the crime, can the murdered or killed person be brought back to life?

The Twelfth trump card in the Tarot is the Hanged Man :a person hanging upside-down by one foot, often suspended from a wooden beam (as in a cross or gallows) or a tree. While this card has several meanings it essentially asks one simple question: Is the man or the world upside-down?

This hanged man seems free and liberated, almost at peace with himself. So in the end, a man receiving corporal punishment would essentially be freed of the guilt and remorse that he would have to live with the rest of his life.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Without a care in the world

"There is a tradition in India of great sages renouncing the world in order to find enlightenment. But that is only one path. There is nothing that says we must give up our things, only our attachment to things." ( P220)

Materialism is frowned upon all religions and every body condemns the pursuit of pleasure for the sake of sheer indulgence. The only people who would be opposed to this theory would be of course capitalists who believe that consumerism is the only way to expand an economy or those in the show business who would go broke if no one wanted to be entertained!

But while it is easy to condemn materialism, what people fail to realise is that looking after things does require time and energy. Maintaining a good home, maintaining a car, maintaining a life style requires a lot of effort.

Half naked fakirs smoking up outside temples are a common sight in Mumbai. With matted hair, unkempt emaciated bodies they wait patiently for handouts as they watch the world go by, oblivious to their surroundings. I wonder if they are truly happy with not a care in the world?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Magical transformation

"Change does not cause pain.Resistance to change causes pain." (P 219)

We are all creatures of habit and we crave the familiar because it is comforting and reassuring. But change is like day and night or the changing of the seasons. Because these are natural occurrences with a rhythmic constancy, this change is not seen as threatening and disruptive. But there are times when we wonder why our Universe is being challenged: times when change causes us pain and anguish. We are troubled. We are upset. After a lot of introspection we finally realize that it is our resistance to accept change that causes all the chaos : not the actual change itself!

That was rather heavy!

To lighten this rather sombre mood, I would like to share this incredible magic trick of change and transformation. Enjoy!


Monday, February 8, 2010

Salad Days

After the meeting, Alec took Lucky to the village for a late lunch. Over a Waldorf salad she told Alec that she was pregnant and there might be complications. (p.218)

Like my heroine Lucky, I love salads. Nothing can be better than the Waldforf Salad a perennial favourite. At this time of year, when Mumbai is still pleasant, when the apples are still crisp and tart and the grapes are just beginning to come into the market, February seems the perfect time to enjoy this salad.

I would like to share this quick recipe I found on the net with my readers. Just grab the freshest of fresh ingredients listed in this recipe and enjoy!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Head in the Sand

Black said,'Everybody's opposed to violence until they need to protect themselves. It's a god-given tool, like any other. It can be right or wrong.'
'Yes, but taking a life is not like taking a loan- once you've done it, it can't be repaid.'
'I don't believe in "turning the other cheek",' Black said. 'You can't bury your head in the sand' (p.216)

According to Black, the only way you can solve a problem is by tackling it, not burying your head in the sand.

This expression of lying low till the problems blows over or hiding from the truth lies in the misplaced belief that Ostriches bury their heads in sand when they sense danger. Actually male ostriches dig deep holes in the sand to make a nest for the eggs. Both male and female birds take turns sitting on the eggs and from time to time use their beaks to turn the eggs during incubation. This makes it seem like the head is buried in the sand! In actual fact ,when ostriches sense danger they actually run like crazy hoping to distract the predator from the eggs. So contrary to popular belief, ostriches are aware of the dangers their eggs face and do not bury their heads in the sand!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Decorating spaces

Black's office was huge, cavernous, with windows looking east, towards the Statue of Liberty. The walls were lined with bookshelves, floor-to-ceiling. The chairs and sofas were upholstered in red silk with Chinese motifs. The floors were marble, though covered with a long, dark blue oriental carpet that led from the door to the receptionist's desk. ( P.214)

Fours walls and a roof are all that are really required to provide man shelter. However, geographic and climatic considerations affect the construction of each dwelling which is further modified according to the use of space - a kitchen for cooking, a family room , a bedroom for sleeping etc. etc. While personal space depends on personal taste, money also has a lot to do with it.

For instance, the latest kid on the block, Antilla, the world's most expensive home is supposed to have it all. According to Forbes who first featured this home on the Internet, every space and material used on each is different. While space can be differently decorated, I find it hard to believe that material cannot be repeated in a home that is definitely not small : 27 floors and with lots and lots of rooms!


This lounge which is supposed to be one of the many to be found in Antilla seems an oasis of calm and peace : something which our neighbourhood has not seen for the last two years since this mansion in the sky has been under construction.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pigeon's Nest

"Lucky looked out, towards the Statue of Liberty. Beyond it a cluster of jets were circling and stacking up for landing at La Guardia. There was a nest on the ledge outside Black's window, and a pigeon - presumably one of a pair - was minding it. She remembered the pigeons outside her window at the Fairdeal office in Bombay acting this way." ( p. 217)

Pigeons have been cooing outside my window for as long as I remember. While birds are essential creatures, they can be quite annoying, especially when they gurgle incessantly all day long, make nests in the air -conditioners positioned outside and more importantly cast off their feathers which get tangled up in the houseplants sunning themselves in my balcony.

This is largely because there are several spots in Mumbai which are reserved for feeding pigeons like the famous "Kabutarkhana" at Dadar.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Crime of Passion

"I mean, Ms. Boyce, let's face it:the criminal mind is an oxymoron. Most of these guys are not thinking when they commint a crime. If they were smart they either wouldn't do it in the first place, or they wouldn't get caught. They act impulsively - "crime of passion" people call it - or they think they've got all their bases covered, which they never do. That's why they get caught." (P212)

For some strange reason man has been fascinated by crime and crimes of passion somehow grab the imagination even more. Shakespeare that ever green playwright of the Elizabethan era has captured our imagination with stories of "Romeo & Juliet" and 'Hamlet" where the mind is gripped by a sensless passion that drives the characters in the play to perform mindless acts.

However, this "Crime of Passion" a song by Mike Oldfield is different. Hope you enjoy it!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A jail house that really rocks.

The state wasted no time in going after Steve and within no time he landed up in jail (P210).

Poor Steve, in a strange turn of events, finds himself back in prison for the alleged killing of Rizzo, the thug who assaulted Lucky.

The grey sombre buildings of the Charles Street Jail in Boston is one prison that people would love to visit repeatedly. This is because the buildings have now been converted into the swanky Liberty Hotel.

In its latest avatar, this building is simply amazing! I can never forget the awe I felt when I entered its central lobby to go to its famous restaurant CLINK for a quick bite when I was visiting my friends in Boston. Its slick, clean lines kept to the original theme but the obvious luxury transformed it from the cold, penitentiary where Steve found himself.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Can you feel the love?

"I love you , Lucky,' Amay said. 'Please remember that ' (p.203)

One of the most beautiful love songs I've heard is Elton John's "Can you feel the love tonight" from my all time favourite "The Lion King".

Love, that very complex of all emotions is extremely hard to define. How often do we bandy that word around, sometimes almost reflexively without real feeling?

I can never forget the time my young son came up to me and gave me a big hug, suddenly and out of the blue. I asked him what brought that on and he replied, "Nothing mama, I just love you."

"Really?How much?" I asked him impishly, the accountant in me somehow getting out.

Without batting an eyelid he replied " I love you 5."

"Only 5 ?" I asked him.

"But that's my whole hand," he said as he showed me his outstretched palm.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Dangerous house break- in

'Who's there?' Lucky asked, louder now. Instinctively she shot out her hand and threw the deadbolt, a split second before whoever was outside kicked at the door. Lucky screamed and threw her weight against it. The person outside kicked it again and she felt the frame giving.' (p197)

Lucky had decided to leave Amay and had packed her bag but just as she left the apartment, she remembered Mike's pistol on the night stand so she returned only to find that someone was waiting outside trying to break in.

Having your house broken into is a horrid experience but sometimes it can become a worse experience for the intruder! In newspaper article I read long ago a cat burgler in rural Orissa was stunned to find himself at the receiving end. Ramu, the cat burgler had scaled the wall of the local landlord's home and jumped into the compound. He began to walk towards the house when the landlord's pet leopard leapt at him and grabbed him by the throat! Wondering whether he was about to breathe his last, he was relieved at seeing the gardeners and house boys come to his rescue. The cat burgler was taken to the hospital instead of the police station.

The ultimate irony was that Ramu made a police complaint against the landlord for keeping a wild animal in his home. The land lord had no option but to pay a compensation to the cat burgler for breaking into his home and facing bodily harm.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Upside Down reality

'And then she remembered something else Shanti had said."When the world turns upside down, stand on your head." ( P195)

Though the Shirshasan is the King of all Poses, I myself love doing the hand stand.
Like any yogic inversion, this requires intense concentration while getting into the pose so that a perfect balance is maintained.

Infact I've always been fascinated by Circus clowns walking on their hands and have wondered what the world would look like if I really stood on my head.

Is this our reality?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fears are Illusions

'Let go of your fears. They too are illusions, a self-imposed slavery.' ( P195)

Completely thrown by the news that she is pregnant, Lucky has a disturbed sleep in which Shanti her mentor comes to her in her dream. Shanti advises Lucky to let go of her fears because according to her they are just imaginary. So often we find ourselves gripped by irrational fears which when we work through somehow just vanish!

I would like to share some amazing examples of optical illusions that I came across on These examples of metamorphic art are by Mexican artist Octavio Ocampo

Optical Illusions - Abuelo y Abuela - Dos Musicos

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Nasik - India's Wine Country

'She thought of Shanti, who she knew was now in Nasik, living with her granddaughter. Her seemingly ageless body had finally let her down...........Lucky closed her eyes and pictured Shanti lying on a bed in a sunny, well-lit room. Outside her window were the green and fertile rolling hills of central Maharastra.' ( P.192)

Situated 180 km away from Mumbai, on the banks of the Godavari, the second most important river in India, Nasik is an ancient temple town. With pleasant climate all year round and rich fertile soil, it has always been known for its agricultural produce. In the recent past, however, it has emerged as a major wine manufacturing area in India with at least three important wineries in its environs and many more grape farmers.

While discussing the anomaly of Wine making, a distinctly Occidental industry, thriving in a typical Oriental town, my Uncle Jal came up with this theory which I still have not been able to verify or establish. Perhaps it was just one of his imaginary tales or perhaps there is some inkling of truth:

"You see, Baps," he told me, " the British had established a Prisoner of War Camp in Deolali during World War 2 where they kept a lot of Italian POW's . And they say that one of these prisoners had smuggled a stem of a grape vine in his jacket to remind him of home and when he came to Deolali, he planted it in the compound. That is how Nasik had its first European grape which of course multiplied and multiplied till it became a full fledged vineyard!"

Seeing my look of utter disbelief he went on: "Honestly, I know you don't believe me but it's true. In fact, Mussolini's army had a unique tag line to attract potential recruits : Join the Italian Army and see India."

Do you believe this story? I still don't.


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