Posted by admin
on January 23, 2015
Riding fast along the highway/
Leaving behind strange, dusty towns one after another/
As revolting as the sleazy, powdery blue mascara a fine young lady crossing the streets wears – truck drivers’ eye candy/ …
Then all of a sudden paddy and corn fields from where sprouts ugly houses and brick kilns in equal measure/
Like undesired weeds in an abandoned garden, the expanse, the freshly bathed green hills/
The paddy fields just ploughed, watered But the ugly houses, factories and kilns keep their prominence/
As if reminding us that there will come a day when all this lush expanse and open sky will soon be consumed by their clones/
They say beauty is power, but in front of ugliness it doesn’t stand a chance. Beauty is but momentary, it lives forever only in memory
Bhaktapur to Dolalghat – 2012
Posted by admin
on January 22, 2015
Singapore by night
As we approached Singapore, passengers on board the SilkAir craned their heads to have a peek at the Lion City’s chic, scintillating skyline.
Having been in the air for nearly five hours negotiating our way through a sea of fluffy clouds, the orange of the setting sun, and then droning over lush green forests and vast flat terrain, the island’s bright lights and glitzy huddle of futuristic skyscrapers seemed like a mirage in the distant horizon. Like a gemstone sharp and finely cut out, the city shimmered in a rainbow of hues.
It was a slightly windy night as the plane encountered some turbulence while gliding over the city just before descent. And as it taxied in on the Changi International’s rain-soaked runway, I felt that, for the first time ever, I had landed in a truly global metropolis. A few minutes ago I had seen large ships and mercantile vessels trudge down the sea from my window-seat. The port is one of the world’s busiest, a Mr Know-all seated beside me had said.
Major airlines from all over the world were either parked in the hangar or taxing down the runway for takeoff. The ultra-modern terminal with its squeaky clean arrival hall was lined with bright duty-free shops, luxury stores, and an array of conveniences such as a free movie theater, an internet lounge, a gym, a swimming pool, foliage gardens and massage tables – all befitting a luxury hotel. Continue reading…
Posted by admin
on January 14, 2015
A boy sells fruits – naspati – on the rain-soaked and fog-swept trail to Gosainkunda
I knew going trekking during rainy season was not a good idea. During the lead up to the big day, a deluge of news reports on numerous rain-triggered road accidents was the order of the day in the media.
I had tagged along with a team of scientists from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who were headed for Rasuwa district on a five-day trek to Gosaikunda (Gosain means monk and kunda means pool), a pristine lake in Langtang National Park. The team was going there to study the biodiversity of the protected area designated as a Ramsar site, and observe conservation works being carried out in the entire Park.
We had planned the trip for the sacred thread festival of Janai Purnima (observed during the full moon day in August). The festival sees tens of thousands of pilgrims from Nepal and India congregate for the popular religious fair near the lake (located at an altitude of 4,380 m above sea level) and to take a dip in the holy waters.
Gosaikunda , as the story goes , was created by Lord Shiva during the Samundra Manthan, the churning of the ocean to recover Amrit (elixir of life) ). One of the products of that exercise was the Halahala poison, which the lord consumed to prevent it from destroying the world. But soon after swallowing the poison, he desperately needed cold water to quench his immense thirst and to get relief from the burning sensation. To do just this, he created Gosainkunda. Continue reading…
Posted by admin
on January 13, 2015
A festive musical procession passess by a traditional house in an old quarter of Kathmandu.
‘WHERE ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM? Where is your home?’ These are Nepali questions you usually encounter in friendly, jovial dinner parties and wedding receptions in Kathmandu when a newly acquainted person tries to make break ice.
If the questioner is an elderly, he or she will ask you about the community, the caste you belong to, and your mool ghar in an attempt to learn more about your ancestral home.
And if you don’t blow them off by giving one word responses, even though such personal questions make you want to be brusque, this will almost always lead to another question: ‘You have a house in Kathmandu?’
Most Nepalis aspire to build a house in the capital. It is a benchmark through which Nepalis gauge the financial status of their countrymen. It is indeed a cultural quirk, which can perhaps be explained by a scene in Samrat Upadhyay’s novel, ‘The Guru of Love’, in which the protagonist is hounded by his in-laws for not owning a house in Kathmandu.
‘You must build a house, Ramchandra babu,’ they said to him at family gatherings. ‘Without a house of one’s own in this city, it doesn’t matter what you do.’ Continue reading…
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul
Our Turkish guide said she moved back to Istanbul after breaking up with her boyfriend
To a friend of mine walking beside her, and I mutely followed their conversation
These three ladies, now ahead of me, walking close together, stopping for shopping, conversing, laughing, window-browsing in the thriving streets of the Grand Bazaar
Blah blah blah blah.. I wanted to start a new life, our guide said, blah blah blah… perhaps also allow him to forget…
The covered market illuminated with yellow lights from rows of shops selling carpets, jewellery; dealers of silk, shoes, Turkish bric-a-brac drinking tea
Stretched and stretched, charming my mind into its groove, transporting me many years back
A sweaty boy accompanying his mother, aunt and cousin sisters during the elaborate festive shopping spree in Ason
Carrying bags of merchandise, foodstuffs, trailing behind the ladied who strut around in evening bazaar bustle Continue reading…