Monday, June 27, 2005

my favourite RD songs

Roz roz aankhon taley
Ek hi sapna chaley
Raat bhar kajal jaley
Aankh mein jis tarha khwab ka diya jaley

Tere liye palkon ki jhaalar bunoon
Kaliyon Sa Gajre Mein Baandhe Phiroon
Dhoop Lage Jahan Tujhe Chhaaya Banoon
Aaja Saajna

Raina beeti jaye,
shaam na aaye,
nindiya na aaye

Katra katra milti hai, katra katra jeene do
Zindagi hai, behne do
Pyasi hoon main, pyasi rehne do

Bahut door mujhe chale jana hai
Bahut nazdeek tumhe aana hai
Teri bahon mein mujhe aaj mar jana hai

Kya ghazab karte ho ji
Pyar se darte ho ji
Darke tum aur haseen lagte ho ji

Dukki pe dukki ho ya satte pe satta
Gaur se dekha jaye to bas hai patte pe patta
Koi fark nahi albatta koi fark nahi albatta

Waada karo nahi chhodoge tum mera haath
Jahan tum ho Wahan main bhi hoon

Mausam mastaana
Rasta anjaana
Jane kab ki mod pe ban jaaye koi afsana

Kuchh bhi kar lo ek din tum ko meri hona hoga
Hamara Tumhara
O Dilbar De Yara
Na Hoga Guzara
Arre Hoga!!!

Gum hai kisi ke pyar mein
Dil subah shaam
Par tumhe likh nahi paoon
Main us ka naam
Haye raam!

Rimjhim rimjhim
Rumjhum rumjhum
Bhigi bhigi rut mein
Tum hum hum tum
Chalte hain

Tum bin jaaoo kahan
Ke duniya aake
Kuchh na phir
Chaha kabhi
Tum ko chahke

Aati rahengi baharey
Jaati rahnegi baharey
Dil ki nazar se
Duniya ko dekho
Duniya sada hi hasi hai

Sach mere yaar hai
Bas wohi pyar hai
Jis ke badle mein koi to pyar de
Baki beekar hai
Yaar mere

O hansini
Meri hansini
Kahan ud chali
mere armanon ke
pankh laga ke
kaha ud chali

Mera kucch saaman
tumhare paas pada hai
saawan ke kuchh bheegay bheegay din
rakhe hain
aur mere ek khat mein lipti raat padi hai
woh raat bujha do
mera woh saaman lauta do

Chura liya hai tum ne jo dil ko
Nazar nahi churana sanam
Badal ke meri tum zindgani
Kahi badal na jaana sanam

Ek ladki ko dekha to aisa laga
Ek ladki ko dekha to aisa laga jaise
khilta gulaab jaise
shayar ka khwab jaise
ujli kiran jaise
ban me hiran jaise
chandni raat jaise
narmi ki baat jaise
mandir mein ho ek jalta diyaaa hooooo

Tu hai wohi
Dil ne jise
Apna kaha
Tu hai jahan
Main hoon wahan
Ab to jeena tere bin hai saza
Mil jaaye is tarha
Do lehrein jis tarha
Phir ho na judaa
Yeh waada raha

Kuchh na kaho
Kuchh bhi na kaho
Kya kehna hai
Kya sunna hai
Mujh ko pata hai
Tum ko pata hai
Samay ka yeh pal
Tham sa gaya hai
Aur is pal mein
Koi nahi hai
Bass ek main hoon
Bass ek tum ho

Jaane kya baat hai
Jaane Kya Baat Hai
Neend nahi aati
Badi lambi raat hain

Monday, June 20, 2005

Lesson from Japan’s Fishing story

The Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So to feed the Japanese population, fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever.The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring in the fish. If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh. The Japanese did not like the taste.

To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen and they did not like frozen fish. The frozen fish brought a lower price.

So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little thrashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive. Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference. Because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish.

So how did Japanese fishing companies solve this problem? How do they get fresh-tasting fish to Japan?

To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks. But now they add a small shark to each tank. The shark eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state. The fish are challenged.

As soon as you reach your goals, such as finding a wonderful mate, starting a successful company, paying off your debts or whatever, you might lose your passion. You don't need to work so hard so you relax. You experience the same problem as lottery winners who waste their money, wealthy heirs who never grow up and bored homemakers who get addicted to prescription drugs. Like the Japanese fish problem, the best solution is simple.

It was observed by L. Ron Hubbard in the early 1950's."Man thrives, oddly enough, only in the presence of a challenging environment."- L. Ron Hubbard: The Benefits of a Challenge

The more intelligent, persistent and competent you are, the more you enjoy a good problem. If your challenges are the correct size, and if you are steadily conquering those challenges, you are happy. You think of your challenges and get energized. You are excited to try new solutions. You have fun. You are alive! Instead of avoiding challenges jump into them. Beat the heck out of them.

If your challenges are too large or too numerous, do not give up. Failing makes you tired. Instead, reorganize. Find more determination, more knowledge, more help. If you have met your goals, set some bigger goals.

Once you meet your personal or family needs, move onto goals for your group, the society, even mankind. Don't create success and lie in it. You have resources, skills and abilities to make a difference. Put a shark in your tank and see how far you can really go!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

International Passion for English langauge

JAPAN Advertisement for a brand vacuum-cleaner:
Buy this vacuum-cleaner: It really sucks!
In a Tokyo hotel:
Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such a thing is please not to read notis.
In another Japanese hotel:
You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.
In a Tokyo bar:
Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.
From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner:
Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.
Detour sign on a Japanese road:
Stop: Drive sideways
AUSTRIA In a hotel in Vienna:
In case of fire, do your best to alarm the hotel porter.
RUMANIAIn a Bucharest hotel lobby:
The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable. EX-YOUGOSLAVIAIn a Belgrade hotel elevator:
To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should Enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving Is then going alphabetically by national order.
In another hotel:
The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the chambermaid.
FRANCEIn a Paris hotel elevator:
Please leave your values at the front desk.
GREECEIn a hotel in Athens:
Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 A.M. daily.
In a Rhodes tailor shop:
Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation. RUSSIA : In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
You are welcome to visit the cemetary where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.
From the Soviet Weekly:
There will be a Moscow Exhibition of Arts by 150,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.
On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
If this is your first visit to USSR, you are welcome to it.
SWITZERLAND On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.
In a Zurich hotel:
Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.
SWEDEN In the window of a Swedish furrier:
Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.
CHINA Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
Ladies may have a fit upstairs.
In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.
On the box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong:
Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life.
THAILAND In a Bangkok dry cleaner:
Drop your trousers here for best results.
Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand:
Would you like to ride on your own ass?
In a Bangkok temple:
It is forbidden to enter a woman even a foreigner if dressed as a man.
GERMANY A sign posted in Germany's Black Forest:
It is strictly forbidden on our black forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance, men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.
ITALY In a Rome laundry:
Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.
In the office of a Roman doctor:
Specialist in women and other diseases.
CZECHOSLOVAKIAN REPUBLIQUE In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency:
Take one of our horse-driven city tours – we guarantee no miscarriages.
DENMARK In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
We take your bags and send them in all directions.
NORWAY In a Norwegian cocktail lounge:
Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.
HUNGARY In a Budapest zoo:
Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.
MEXICO In an Acapulco hotel:
The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Buddhist Prayers

By the power and the truth of this practice,
may all beings have happiness, and the causes of happiness.
May all be free from sorrow, and the causes of sorrow.
May all never be separated from the sacred happiness which is sorrowless.
And may all live in equanimity, without too much attachment and too much aversion,
And live believing in the equality of all that lives.

May all beings be filled with joy and peace.
May all beings everywhere,
The strong and the weak,
The great and the small,
The mean and the powerful,
The short and the long,
the subtle and the gross:
May all beings everywhere,
Seen and unseen,
Dwelling far off or nearby,
Being or waiting to become:
May all be filled with lasting joy.
Let no one deceive another,

Let no one anywhere despise another,
Let no one out of anger or resentment
Wish suffering on anyone at all.
Just as a mother with her own life
Protects her child, her only child, from harm,
So within yourself let grow
A boundless love for all creatures.

Let your love flow outward through the universe,
To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.
Then as you stand or walk,
Sit or lie down,
As long as you are awake,
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
Your life will bring heaven to earth.

Newton committs suicide

Recently NEWTON- the father of physics made a visit to earth to watch a movie.
He watched a few Tamil movies and had his head spinning. He was convinced that all his logics and laws in physics were just a huge pile of junk and apologized for everything he had done.In the movie of Rajanikanth Newton was confused to such an extent that he went paranoid.
Here are a few scenes:
1) Rajanikanth has a Brain Tumor which, according to the doctors can't be cured and his death is imminent. In one of the fights, our great Rajanikanth is shot in the head. To everybody's surprise, the bullet passes through his ears taking away the tumor along with it and he is cured.Long Live Rajanikanth.
2) In one of the movies, Rajanikanth is confronted with 3 gangsters. Rajanikanth has a gun but unfortunately only one bullet. Guess what he does....... He holds a knife in his hand and throws at the middle gangster & shoots the bullet towards the knife.The knife cuts the bullet into 2 pieces and kills both the gangsters on each side of the middle gangster & the knife kill the middle one
3) Rajanikanth is chased by a gangster. Rajanikanth has a revolver but he got no bullets in it. Guess what he does. Nah not even in yourremotest imaginations. He waits for the gangster to shoot. As soon asthe gangster shoots, Rajanikanth opens the bullet compartment of hisrevolver and catches the bullet. Then, he closes the bulletcompartment and fires his gun. Bang... And the gangster dies....
This was too much for our Newton to take and he was completely shaken and he decided to go back. But he happened to see a movie for one last time and thought that at least one movie will follow his theory of physics.The whole movie goes fine and Newton is happy that all in the world hasn't changed. Oops not so fast. The Climax finally arrives. Rajanikanth gets to know that the villain is on the other side of a very high wall. So high that Rajanikanth can't jump even if he tries like one of those superman techniques that ourheroes normally use. Rajanikanth has to desperately kill the villain because it's the climax. Newton dada is smiling since it is virtually impossible). Rajanikanth suddenly pulls two guns from his pocket (Probably a backup). He throws one gunin the air and when the gun has reached the height of the wall, he shoots at the trigger of the first gun in air, with his second gun.Now the first gun fires off and the villain is dead.
Newton commits suicide!!!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Do you want to know me ??

Chinese calendar brands me a rat. (Yuck !!! ) So those of you who are keen to know me. Here are some of my facets :

How wonderful it to have unique talents of smelling out secrets of other people while keeping one’s intact. You are right !!! I am always busy fishing for secrets of others. I know this may appear somewhat meddlesome but believe me – my intentions are good. (most times!). I am aware of my weakness of indulging in talkative over trifles, captious, concerned for personal gains or losses. I just cannot suppress my desire to make unreasonable haggles, No wonder I often get deceived during endless haggling.

Just like rat, I can adapt to changing circumstances. I am willing to overcome multiple difficulties to reach my final goals. I am sober-minded and vigilant and posses an outstanding instinct, foresight, and sensitivity in business. Those so-called troubles often provide me an opportunity to show the excellence of me. I do have an excellent memory and exceptional insight. I am so curious that they I know almost everyone and everything and have a hobby of making records for every piece of life. Who knows I may have all ingredients to be an elite writer.

Those of you who care for me must note this. I shall always leave a route of retreat for myself that would help me exit safely and timely in case unexpected things happen. Therefore, if you want to get out of trouble, the best thing you can do is to follow my instructions. One of biggest weakness is that my energy is never focussed on one thing as I always want to do many things at a time. I am aware that this often- rather most times- become an obstacle in my way to success.

As much I am a predictor of danger and therefore able to protect me from going too far, I do get trapped due to slow decisions caused by my hobby of making haggles and “real buys”. How many times, I have learnt the disadvantage of greediness until I suffered financial loss. However, no matter what the situation is, you may not find me kneeling on my knees. I will get over the difficult position with my excellent adaptability. By nature, I am timid to the core.

Who knows , I might become popular like mickey mouse? On the surface, I may appear a little quiet. But this is not the truth. I am candid and honest. But my friendly manner may make others feel restrained. I am undoubtedly have a glib for communication finesse and do express myself in articulate manner. I am so fond of establishing my own group and derive my sustainence from varied individuals. I will never be bothered about the burden of life. I so easily allow relatives or friends to stay at my home and depend on them.

I may be easy to get along with but I won’t help everyone as generously with money except for those I love. Thus, if someone receives a valuable present from me, he must be highly valued by me. I am good at making careful calculation and strict budgeting and proud to have such ability. If I were to run my own company, I would easily get concerned about my employees . But, if were to about salary rise, I would not be that amenable. People will not get one paisa from me without endless negotiations and haggles.

I am real sentimentalist. I am deeply dependent on kids as well as the elder members of the family. I love to take good care of my parents and may never act as harsh as those born in the year of dragon. I completely trust my parents and try to meets every requirement from their side.

If you are Ox, beware you may get attracted to me as you would appreciate and depend on the loyalty provided by me. I can get along in perfect harmony with dragon people. Snake are welcome to form a moderate alliance with me. I can never resist charming monkey people and appreciate their way of doing business. On the other hand, monkey people are glad to follow my instructions. People born in the year of tiger, dog, pig, and rat will get along in perfect harmony with me. However, people born in the year of horse will have conflicts with me, since horse people are isolated and unfathomable while I always love to find partners. Roosters- stay away from me as you are idealists and my practical nature would only lead to acrimony. I also would like to run away from goat people, Knowing a generous-hearted goat person will squander all the saveings of me –a diligent rat person.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Van Gogh – one more letter

This poem penned by Gulzar and translated by Rina Singh is an epitome of poetic biography of
Van Gogh. Its vivid and carries essence of his life so elegantly and beautifully

Lamps of Sunlight
tempered in turpentine
I spread on my canvass

What should I do
if they don’t see the colours
in my sun?

I should serve the church
says Theo to me
that Church
where nights are mistaken
for shadows
days are a journey of mirages

Those who don’t understand reality
say my paintings are not real
they are figment of my imagination

Let them see the outline of my tree
Is it less divine
than the tree of God?
God ordered a seed to grow;
it grew
see how it grows
it grew
When a branch droops
a leaf fails
the colours pale
without any interference
from the artist

I have worked on every branch
Every leaf
The eye sees
What the heart sees
The hand draws
Just look at the contours of those trees
How upright they are
But none so proud

See how the leaves shine like copper
in the fall

Charred faces
of the “coal miners”
damned in the mines.

Let them see the “Potato Eaters”
under the lamplight
taking their meals
bodies bound together
by the halo

I saw the wind
Flee from the fields
I arrested it on my canvass

A school boy

A whore
A neighbour
I have immortalized them

For years I have painted
but my crtics said nothing
nothing at all
Their silence rings in my ears
crows wings
Beating against my ears
My brushstrokes
slashing at their beaks
I have cut of my ear

I don’t have even a yard
of canvas left
to make a pure sweeping sky
for the sun I prepared
carefully diluted in turpentine
The sunshine has dried
on my pallete

I am in Remi
admitted in St. Remi Clinic
for some repair
Some parts of my bran
don’t seem satisfactory to them
They say they are disordered
maybe loose
I think are only
a little frenzied

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The Teachings Of Buddha: Book leading to a journey of Peace and Serenity

One of the better ways to study the religion is to stay in a hotel, not to switch on TV and open the first drawer of worktable. Invariably, you will find a copy of Bible or Quran depending upon the geographical location. If you happen to be traveling to South East Asia, chances are - you may find “The Teaching of Buddha. “

This is hard bound bilingual book (English and Japanese) kept in most hotels with a donation by “Society for the promotion of Buddhism.” The type fonts of the writings are big so one can easily read under dim side lamp of the room (I always wonder why most hotel rooms are poorly lit)

This book does not extol the virtues of Buddha and Buddhism but simply explain his teachings in meaningful and simple way. Most of the illustrations given in this book are immensely practical for anyone to easily relate with daily incidents in life. The beauty of this book is that each chapter is distinct and does not link or carry forward from previous chapter. One can open any page at random and read it as a short story. Illustrations are often backed by anecdotes to make an entertaining reading for those who enjoy story narration. This book is not pedantic and does not use heavy words or innumerable references that some of other scriptures do. This makes the book interesting and enjoyable.

How arduous the task must have been for the authors to capture essence of Buddha’s teaching that are recorded in 5,000 volumes and that too extract those practical aspects of human life

One can request for a copy of this book from:

Bukkyo Denko Kyokau
(Society for the Promotion of Buddhism)
3-14, 4 Chome, Shiba
Minato Ku, Tokyo Japan 108
Tel: 03 3455 5851

Though this book is copy righted, it allows the contents of the book be quoted without permission but with an acknowledgement/ credit to Bukkyo Denko Kyokai, Tokyo. This reflects the openness this society espouses in spreading the teachings of Buddha.

Before I hit the “enter” button to post my review, let me write some of the wisdom quotes that made an indelible impact on me:

Quote :

A fool who thinks is a fool is for that reason a wise man. The fool who thinks that he is wise is called a fool indeed.

There are three kinds of people in the world. The first are those who are like letters carved in the rock; they easily give away to anger and retain the angry thoughts for a long time. The second one are those who are like letters written in sand; they give away to anger also, but their angry thoughts quickly pass away. The third is those who are like letters written in running water; they do not retain their passing thoughts; they let abuse and uncomfortable gossip pass by unnoticed; their minds are always pure and undisturbed.


I am sure all of you would enjoy reading this book as much I did.

Monday, June 13, 2005

news that touched me and shall remain etched for a long time

Florida : Girl trying to save turtle from highway killed by car ( june 9th 05)

Fort Meyers: A 6-year-old girl darted into traffic to save a turtle and was killed when she was hit by car, officials said. Emily Kent was riding with her mother on Sunday when they spotted the turtle trying to cross busy US41, Geraldine Kent pulled over so they could help, and Emily jumped out as her mother screamed at her to wait, friends said. The first grader was struck by car and dies of her injuries.

Istanbul : confluence of cultures

How interesting would be to reside on one continent and go to work on another. One can so easily do that in Istanbul with bridge over Sea of Marmara connecting Asia to Europe. With almost 65% out of 12 million population inhabit on the Asian side But European side is the nerve point of Istanbul's cultural heritage.

Turkey may have just applied for EU membership but country has already set a tone to be EU country. The best example of this change over is Istanbul airport. This is modern, spacious and more functional airport than most I have come across. Despite being governed by traditional Islamic party, Turkey remains secular in character. Mosques- symbols of Istanbul are as much tourist monuments as prayer halls with open access to both sexes and all religion. Guards outside mosque however provide plastic bag to carry your footwear and even provide wrap for those who are scantily dressed. Islam is major religion but weekend is Saturday/Sunday. During Ramadan no special concession with less working hours are offered as in Middle East.

But in terms of tourist security, it still has some work to do.Visitors to Istanbul need to be agile so as not get duped by smart operators. Unfamiliar language, some crooked people and currency complication can make visitors easy victims. Lira has so many zeros on her currency that it takes few days to get used to. By then, you may have accepted 10 cents as a dollar. Beware of touts who tempt you to go to pubs only to leave in the clutches of Mafia rogues. Tourist police are at service and I am told they are not corrupt.

Most of hotel rooms are small like in Western Europe but not that expensive. One can get better deals over internet than booking it locally. Restaurants are plenty and night life is abundant. Sultana is one such joint which have belle dancing, Turkish folk dances over dinner. Direct booking would cost 60Euro, going through hotel be 40Euro inclusive of transport. I also had an opportunity to have dinner at Cirgan Palace Kempinsiki Hotel – on the banks of Bosphorous by far the most luxurious palace I have ever been.

My work kept me locked in convention center located next to Hotel Hilton overlooking Black Sea. With just a half day at my disposal, I visited Sultan Ahmet - Blue Mosque, the most celebrated site of Istanbul. It is believed to have been built by some of the same stone masons who helped construct the Taj Mahal. Interior walls of the mosque have 20,000 blue ceramic tiles and 260 stained glass windows. This and other mosques have unique architecture of central spherical dome along with semi spherical domes placed in cascading fashion. Minarets too are slender with top end similar to Cathedral. Near by Turkish Islamic museum houses the relics of different period of history, they also have carpet section forming the richest collection of carpet art in the world.

There is so much to see, observe and enjoy not just in Istanbul but all over Turkey that only package tour of minimum 7 days would do justice to immense natural, historical, cultural legacy provided that Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires of the past.

Naples Isalnd : Slice of Venice in southern california

Rendition of O' Sole Mio..
Do labzon ki hai, dil ki kahani
ya hai mohabbat, ya hai javani

This melodious song composed by RD in movie The Great Gambler made my first impression of Gondola ride and Venice. Boat rides on Thames in London, La Siene in Paris, Amsterdam Canals or even Nile in Cairo didn't bring a semblance of ambience to what the above song picturization did for Venice.

It did come as surprise when I learnt that not so far away from downtown Los Angeles lies a piece of Venice- known as Naples Island on Long Beach. Why the Naples and not Venice, I never understood. But thats USA.

Naples Island is a manmade island along the Long Beach adjacent to Belmont Shore. It has crisscross of picturesque canals with either side lined up with exquisitely designed multi million-dollar homes with as much expensive and impressive yachts along the Gondola Getaway. You can either hire motor driven Gondolas or take a ride with Venetian looking American Gondolier who amuse you with stories about Long Beach history and neighborhood. During Christmas, canals are lit up with dazzling reflection of beautiful light decoration on these houses. Though Gondola rides start from noon, prime time is evening but as evening descends chill breeze can unnerve you. So dont forget to carry wind cheater or sweater.

A gondolier wearing a traditional striped shirt and Venetian straw hat personally escorts you to the Gondola. They provide French bread, Cheese, Salami and also ice bucket for wine. In the Venetian style of rowing, the gondolier stands on the edge of the deck, faces forward, uses only one oar, and steers the boat by placing the oar in one of six positions on the forcola (oar post). The forcola, which is made of solid walnut and carved in Venice, is shaped in a double curve. It seems the art of rowing is most difficult and in order to assess their skills Gondoliers from Naples Island do compete in annual gondola race held in Venice's Grand Canal.

There is an anecdote that if couples fail to kiss during Gondola ride, Gondolier will fall into the water. Naples Island has ensured that there are enough bridges along the canal for romancing couple to kiss while passing under. But if you want to play O Sole Mio or Do Labzo ki song, you better get your cassette with you.

Dead Sea : Everything Stands Still

This is no ordinary sea. There is no sand beach but mix of small and big cobbles coated with silvery white color like crystallized sugar on balushahi sweet. With 75 kilometers long and 6-16 km wide, the only inlet to Dead Sea is river Jordan and it has no outlet.
Everyone knows that there is high salt and mineral content in Dead Sea. But how high? Almost 350 grams of salt per kilogram of water as compared to about 40 grams in the world's oceans. Often Dead Sea brings exotic images of people floating on sea and reading newspaper or ocean that has no marine life. Is Dead Sea so benign and benevolent ? If one sees loud and clear warnings on warning board, It doesnt seem so. Dont let water go in your eyes!! Dont Drink Water!! Dont take kids!! Dont Dive!!

I was keen to experience this extinct piece of land as the first ray of life hits the earth. The guard at Move-in-Pick resort wouldnt allow in early hours but later relented to let me go. Water was not exactly still, it did create small waves, bigger than ripples. They bounced back on rotund white/gray.brown stones to give eerie pulsating noise. Dipping fingers in the water gives a funny sensation. Bit of sticky? I am not sure but heavy yes. Water was transparent. One could see base of the ocean devoid of any small fish or plants of fungus. With no human being in the vicinity, I was all by myself sitting on the cobblestone with feet in the water facing barren hills of Israel shore; gazing deep in the still water of Dead Sea. For a moment I was transported to alien world. This was the closet I came to realize how the life on other planet be without any living organism of whatsoever kind.

Dead Sea at Jordon is at 400 mt below sea. It is lowest point on this earth. Journey from Amman takes just 40 minutes by road amidst hills. As Dead Sea approaches, there is no habitation except few resorts and a public beach. After getting a feel of water, I wanted to float. But how can I float without letting water touch my eyes. Normally when we go into water, our natural instinct is to move our limbs to float while natural gravity combined with our body weight drags us down. Here it was opposite- I was confused But before I could realize, my body toppled for few seconds only to make me float again. I had warning board etched in my brain. I had clasped my eyes close and opened them only when I could see sky above. But inevitable had already happened!!! As I opened my eyes, trickle of water drops on eyelash or forehead did the damage that I would never forget in rest of my life. This sea is no ordinary water but concentrated pool of chemical. Eyes were at flames, the only remedy- as suggested on warning board - was to reach to the shore and wash them under tap water. This journey seemed eternal with eyes closed, feet unable to grasp cobbles, fear of getting tripped and hurt. I couldnt even dare to open my eyes to check if I was in right direction. I could make out only by receding water level. That was my first and last attempt to take my picture of reading newspaper while floating on Dead Sea.

If this is what it is at the shore what it must at depth where it gets saltier in enormous proportions. I can imagine how deadly it must be for living things. Those unfortunate fish who accidentally swim from one of the several freshwater streams of River Jordan that feed the Sea are killed instantly, their bodies quickly coated with a preserving layer of salt crystals only to be tossed onto shore by the wind and waves. Scary isn't it?

But this eerie place is in danger of getting wiped out in next 50-100 years. Water level is dropping at alarming levels of almost 90 cms per year. Water from River Jordon ・only source of lifeline for Dead Sea ・is being diverted for agriculture, with industries are also in the business of evaporation of water to extract chemicals. Although there is a talk of Israel and Jordon pumping billions of gallons of water from Red Sea but would Dead Sea be the same as before?

I really hope and pray that this place remain intact the way it is

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Seattle: city with european touch

Most American cities are predictable in appearances. However, Seattle defied all my pre-conceived notions. This place is not only plentiful in nature but an epitome of modern art and technology. Everything about Seattle is fresh and new: Be it sprouting leaves from frequent rain, brewed coffee or abstract paintings at the public places.

Seattle seems more like being in Freiberg – a city in southern Germany nestled to Black Forest or Salzburg in Austria. This city offer seasonal combinations at any given time- mix of sun and rain, mountainous snow at driving distance, adjacent lake and seashore. Most buildings are innovative in design combined with abundance of Glass . Shopping areas have cobbled stone-streets like in Paris. Abstract paintings or ceramic creations are conspicuous even in business like environment of convention center. Influence of pacific eastern countries is prominent with their cuisine, art galleries, and music.

Symbol of Seattle is ‘space needle’ but if one had been to petronas tower in KL or Montparnasse in Paris, it is not worth paying a price of $13.00 to see a sky view of Seattle. However, this tower at night looks spectacular. With shimmering golden yellow glowing light along the rims of revolving restaurant gives an impression of Saturn rings. Walking along the Pine Place Market that houses fresh seafood, vegetables and eatery joints could be unique for Americans but it is no match to vibrant Asian bazar or Souq. Riverside mall at New Orleans adjacent to Mississippi river with Jazz music in air would make Pine Market pale in comparison. Arial monorail and electric run buses make city environment friendly.

If one has a day to spare, a visit to Mountain Rainier is worth it. This snow-clad mountain housing an active volcano is visible on clear sky day like Mount Fuji. Travel to this mountain goes through National Park. Tall sub-alpine meadows make the place serene and mystic just the way Alps in Switzerland would do. Snow is very powdery and remain shining white despite continuous melting. Cascading melting water transforms streams into four rivers to be source of water for the city. One of the beautiful waterfall is aptly named after Narad muni – a divine link between heaven and earth.

Seven-day stay in Seattle let me have had glimpse of downtown and nearby suburbs of Bellevue, Redmond etc. But it also fueled a growing interest to explore this area which extends upto British Columbia.