Monday, August 27, 2007


I feel like I'd almost dropped out of the blogosphere, and I must admit, I almost did. I don't think that after I've started blogging, I've ever gone without penning down my thoughts for as long as 13 days! Nah, not once! So what propelled it this time? A number of things, I guess; some really recent, some not so much; but most of which are my deepest thoughts/emotions that will never find a place here. Not that I'm in the habit of keeping a personal journal either. Anyway, after contemplating about doing away with this space, which I created almost a year back, I've finally decided against it. I realize that I need this space; if not for anything else, just to keep my thoughts in working order. Although many don't even find a spot here, this blog of mine keeps them churning in my head, keeps them alive to be savoured or devoured, if, by none else, then, by me, at the very least. Also, I've grown so fond of this virtual world that it'll be difficult to let it just dwindle off without a fair fight. So, write I will, and many more blog years at that! Amen!

I think I last left you all with news about my M.Phil thesis viva. Well, that went well, I think. I should know more in a few days time. It'll sure feel good to get that coveted degree at long last. Two of the three examiners who took my viva seemed pleased with my answers, with one nodding vigorously and agreeably at every possible moment. The third professor, though quite strict in demeanour, didn't seem too displeased either. My instinct says I will get through; only time will tell, though! In some other news, I'm taking a couple days off to attend a friend's and a cousin's weddings. Of course, A is also off to another city for 2 months, so it's back to my living alone days for a while. The moving to the new house is also right up on the agenda now and will be tackled as soon as I'm back from the overdose of weddings!

I'm glad I decided to post today; I feel more relaxed already!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

August 15th, 2007

Sixty years, long and winding,
Sixty years of freedom unbidden,
Sixty years of searching and finding,
Sixty years, has our nation ridden!

As at the stroke of dense midnight,
We leap forward into the sixty-first,
With haste, we do hope to set right,
As all our ills, through freedom, burst!

Independence, treasured like no else,
My compatriots, come one, come all,
As with national pride, up, our flag wells,
Hear ye, my Happy Independence Day call!

Monday, August 13, 2007

...And So Approaches the D-Day!!!

This coming Saturday, I have been asked to show up at the University I'm doing my M.Phil from, for the discussion (viva) of the thesis that I submitted. I am quite nervous at the prospect of standing there in front of all those professors, answering the volley of questions that are sure to be thrown at me! Considering too that I learnt of this only a day back, doesn't really give me much time to prepare! Oh well! I'm just hoping I cross this last block, without any stumbles or mishaps! It won't be good to see all the hard work of more than 2 years go down the drain!

Wish me luck, guys!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Nomads on the Move Again!

So, we're moving again. Yeah, ridiculous, isn't it?!? Our current house owner (we have an apartment on rent) suddenly decided last week that he'd like to move in to the house that he's rented out to us. All it took for him was one phone call to A and some disagreeable conversations with me (I'm not too good with the patience and being civil under all circumstances, et al!). I mean, come on, we'd just moved in some 3 months back! Is it really fair to make us go on a house hunting spree so soon!?! Anyway, as an afterthought, he did mention that we could move into the downstairs place if we wanted. Although that would have been simpler and easier, we were not too happy with the state of that apartment. We dilly dallied a lot between keeping it as the last option and just moving in there for a little while. Thankfully, as luck would have it, before we committed to moving in to that dingy place (:-D as I can now safely call it!), we chanced upon an even better apartment in our vicinity! I, for one, am quite thrilled to bits for stumbling upon it! It's a much nicer, prettier place. Also, adding on to the charm is that it is going to cost us lesser than what we are paying now!

So, we're moving again!!! Ain't so ridiculous now, is it!?! :-D

We move in to the new place early next month and you guys get to see more pictures! Pictures of two pretty houses in the span of four months! I think it's quite a nice deal! :-)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Agra Fort

Agra fort was actually our first stop in Agra. Massive and sturdily built, the fort is an absolute architectural delight! Apart from being the location of the palaces of many Mughal rulers, including Shah Jahan and his many offspring, the fort also served as Shah Jahan's prison.

Interestingly, his son (Aurangzeb) was who held him prisoner! A certain tower in the fort provides an amazing view of the Taj Mahal, and it is believed that Shah Jahan spent many a moment taking in that view.

The architecture of the fort has Islamic, Jewish and Hindu influences.

The play of light and shade inside the confines of the fort sure left me mesmerized!

The view of the Taj Mahal from the said tower was breathtaking, to say the very least!

Most of the semi-precious stones that were used in the design of the artwork are now missing; need I say more!?!

Nothing can get more luxurious than this Queen's bath!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Call of the Wild!

The Bannerghatta National Park is situated just outside Bangalore. Saturday last, A and I decided to visit this place, having heard a lot about the safaris conducted there. The park also houses a zoo et al, but we weren't really keen on all that. Upon reaching the park, we took tickets for what is called a "grand safari". The safari was conducted in a van with meshed windows. As we travelled into the woods, the pathway became progressively less conducive to being ridden over by vehicles, as did the undergrowth and trees become denser! We managed to spot a number of animals, including deer, bison, lions/lionesses, tigers/white tigers, bears and the like. The parts of the woods housing the bears and the members of the cat family were protected with double gates, which were opened only one at a time. Although most of the animals seemed to have a free reign within their territory of the woods, we did see a handful enclosed in bars. I know not the reason for this; maybe they were more ferocious or dangerous, or like my friend opined, maybe they were not accustomed to living in the wild, having been procured from circuses and the like.

Baby bears seemed to abound in plenty. We even saw two rolling on top of each other and playing! We managed to take some beautiful shots of them, as also of a snarling lion and a majestic tiger. Of course, we took lots more other shots, but what with trying to catch the sprightly animals before they move and shushing an excited bunch of people in the van, the ones mentioned above were our best!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Sights Along the Way

On our way to the Taj Mahal, the bus meandered its way through Haryana and Uttaranchal too. Haryana, with its beautiful fields on either side of the road, tiny huts on the fields, women with duppattas on their heads, trucks laden with crops, aplenty and auto rickshaws and jeeps filled to the hilt with people, made a real pretty picture. Almost all the boundary walls around the fields bore some message or the other, in big bold letters. Many of the messages were quite hilarious, an example being "For a happy married life, meet Dr. Raj every Saturday"!!! :-) Of course, the messages were all in Hindi and I had a fun time reading them. Remaining truthful to the picture/notion of India that prevails in a big way (even now) outside the country, we soon chanced upon a snake charmer, when the bus stopped at a traffic signal. Sensing the excitement of the people inside the bus, the man soon started playing to the galleries. Posing for pictures with his prized possession, he assumed the tone and broken English speaking skill, mainly reserved for tourists!

I must also mention the sumptuous breakfast of parathas that we had at a small eatery in Haryana, proudly proclaiming to be a resort! :-) This breakfast put to shame many an expensive gourmet meal!

While we made our way through Mathura, the city believed to be the birthplace of Lord Krishna, we passed a couple of beautiful temples. We also visited the Lord Krishna temple there, built around the prison room where he is believed to have been born. Unfortunately, cameras weren't allowed anywhere near the vicinity of that temple.

As we neared Agra, the traffic started becoming denser. However, the place still has an old world feel to it. Many of the houses and buildings there were of a dull red colour and seemed to be centuries old! Even their architecture and styling had that kind of reminiscent feeling about them! Also, around the town were numerous craftsmen shops, with artisans going about their daily work of fashioning beautiful idols and statues out of the most mundane stones and rocks! Just outside a handicraft shop that we stopped at, an old man was busy at work, carving beautiful miniature Taj Mahals out of blocks of white marble. The same shop also housed, in the guide's own words, "the biggest mini Taj Mahal"; a piece of art that was apparently made for an exhibition and was not for sale. Just below this beautiful piece, there also stood the model of a symbol of Mecca.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Taj Mahal

One thing about visiting Delhi and Agra in the midst of summer is that you'll get burnt and baked enough to look ready to be served on a plate! The day that we set out to visit the mausoleum dawned no better! A hot and sticky day, the cool confines of the bus we travelled in provided the only respite from the relentless sun. However, the magnificence of the Taj Mahal seemed to glow even more brightly in the exaggerated sunlight! Gleaming almost white marble domes, tall, looming pillars and the intricate work on the whole structure, made it well worth battling the heat! No shoes are allowed inside the precincts of the mausoleum and it's a wonder the socks I wore that day have no holes in them, what with the marble adding to the furnace effect! It's a wonderful quality that marble has; move into a shaded area and it becomes as cool as a water body, while under the glaring sun, it can, with time, most certainly roast you like a well made dish!

The Taj Mahal overlooks the Yamuna, which, sadly at this time of the year, lacks the amount of water necessary to deserve being called a river! Nevertheless, sitting on the cold marble floor of the palace, with the breeze rippling through your hair and the Yamuna gently flowing behind you, holds a serenity that not many places can produce! The inside of the mausoleum, of course, houses the tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz, but that was not what enchanted me. What enthralled me was that the structure, in itself, was indeed a spectacle, if ever there was one!