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Monday, December 31, 2012

Ode to 2012…………...and the life still goes on!!!

Finally the eve of the New Year 2013 is upon us and in matter of few hours the clock would start ticking in the New Year and most of us look forward to a happy and prosperous year ahead. The year 2012 had its highs and lows and few incidents that will be etched in my memory for years to come. The intense hype about the end of the world – doomsday theory simply fizzled out without causing any ripple and the preparation for the apocalypse turned out to be mere media spectacle throughout the world. Good that this was a misconception for I can still enjoy my life as it unfurls!!!

Bizarre news such as a Brazilian woman Catarina Migliorini auctioned her virginity online for US$780,000 whereas at the same auction a male virgin was only able to get US$3000 made waves in the month of October on the social media network. Savitha Hallappanvar an Indian housewife who suffered miscarriage was refused to be aborted in Ireland died because of their strict abortion laws and the social media outpour has now forced the catholic population of Ireland to relook into these abortion laws and amend the same to avoid future occurrence of such deaths.

Murder, rapes, chaos and mayhem was not lacking during this year and there had been multiple shootings in US that gripped the entire world. Shooting in the place of worship killed over 12 persons, shooting in Connecticut Primary school leaving over 27 dead out of which were 22 children- first graders. A rape case in the Indian capital New Delhi where a 23 year old woman was gang raped by 6 persons and then was brutally beaten with iron rod and thrown out of a moving bus galvanized the younger generation against the government and it saw clashes between the protestors and the police. Heated debates on most of the TV news channels for sweeping changes to the law so that stricter terms are in place against the offenders….some demanding death penalty and some life imprisonment for a rape. The rape victim who galvanized the Indian public breathes her last at a Singapore Multi specialty Hospital after having endured the traumatic conditions for 13 days. Finally a closure to the 26/11 Mumbai attack’s lone surviving LeT terrorist from Pakistan Ajmal Kasab, he was hanged just 5 day prior to the fourth anniversary of that attack on the Indian soil.
Some cheer in the field of science and personal achievements such as the landing of the robotic rover “Curiosity “on the Mars -red planet and the Discovery of the elusive God particle alias Higgs Boson after a span of over 4 decades using a large Hadron Collider (Atom smashing machine). Personal achievements such as Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth and Felix Baumgartner’s incredible jump from the edge of space which is 24 kilometers above the surface hurled down at a speed of 833 mph thus becoming the first man to break the sound barrier without the aid of machine.
The above incidents or achievement has made me ponder about the fantastic life we lead in this universe and I do know there has been lot more incidents /events that has occurred in the world this year that you may be rated much higher than those I have recounted here…but then those mentioned here are my opinion!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Random Click 16 - Sea Gulls on Muscat Corniche

Last week i had been to the Corniche at Muscat along with my father and i found quite a lot of sea gulls on water edge. Here are couple of clicks

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Random Click -15 - Flowers in Oman

People generally have a misconception that Middle East is a desert without an iota of greenery ...well it is not true, for the government here does make a serious effort to beautify the public areas by maintaining lawns,and planting flowering plants,trees. Roads in Muscat are adorned with flowers and it is quite pleasing to the eye.Here are few photographs of this season.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Random Clicks 13 - Reservoir

My father who is on visit to Muscat ....his second trip to Oman likes to see various places and today being the weekly off we traveled about 100 Km from Muscat towards Quriyat where there is a dam known as Wadi Dayqah Dam. The reservoir created by the dam is quite beautiful and here is couple of pictures of the same.
Today the haze in the atmosphere did hamper the quality of the pictures yet looks great

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Freedom of Speech in India – a Myth or a Reality

Article 19(1)A of the Indian constitution guarantee freedom speech to Indian citizen but then Three arrests in the last one month in India for voicing one’s thoughts in media against persons in power make one ponder if the freedom of speech is limited to privileged few in the Indian society…moneyed or in power people only. A common man’s freedom of speech or expression is subjective and is rarely a reality in India. I know I would have many critics against this post but then the examples that have been widely publicized in the media and the press does indicate what I say.
Image Courtsey : Google
The latest incident that happened yesterday in Mumbai is creating a furor across all sections of the population. Two girls had been arrested in Mumbai one for putting up a comment about shutdown of entire city on account of Balasaheb Thackeray’s funeral on the Social media network Facebook and the other for liking the comment based on a complaint file by a local Sena leader. Further a clinic of an uncle of the girl was attacked and ransacked by over 40 angry Sena activists because of the comment on FB. The girls were released on bail within hours after furnishing personal bonds but then the hasty action by the police in this matter to arrest the two girls under section 505(2) (statement creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes) clearly indicates the kind of clout men in power have.
The chief of Press Council of India has objected to the actions taken by the police and urged the Chief Minister to immediate action against the police official who arrested the two girls on urging of a local Sena leader. As usual this incident will die it natural death in couple of days but the two person who had been affected by this will carry the scare for a very long time. Steps need to taken by the authorities to ensure that all Indians have their freedom of speech as per the Indian constitution .
One of my friend casually stated that Gandhiji's three monkey theory needs to be changed to suit the present day India
Hear no bad ----Hear nothing told by men of power
See no bad -----See nothing done by men of power
Speak no bad----Speak nothing about men of power
Come to think of it,this is what now is happening in India these days.

 Sad !!!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fear is the key !!!

My Colleague's bike

Whenever I see my colleagues riding motorbikes in a group going out on holidays I know that I am missing all the fun and adventure of biking. I used to be an avid biker few decades back and to be exact 33 years back ….when we guys used to zoom about in the city racing one another and having fun with the rush of wind on your face while riding. Those days few makes of the bikes were cannibalized and the end product would be owner’s pride and while it is ridden through the locality one would know as to who is driving by. Also another thing of the past was throaty roar of bikes whose silencers have been removed and the racket it creates while throttling used to scare other vehicles to veer away from the bike. There were times when we used to make trips from Chennai to Tirupati just for the heck of driving and used to have lodes of fun. But after one fateful day way back in 1981 when two of my friends were crushed to death under the city bus I stopped riding bikes and till this day still have the fear of riding one. 

It is said that once a person learns to cycle he/she can never forget to balance the two wheelers throughout lifetime similar to swimming so few years down the line my friends have tried pushing me to ride a bike and when I tried my whole body went rigid and I rode the bike similar to a beginner quite unsteadily…a psychological fear that has never left me!! Recently I was browsing the net and I came across portal sharing similar experience by persons and the remedy to such fear. They describe that immediately after such incidents or accidents one must not stop riding for a long period of time otherwise they would experience the feeling I have now. I am comfortable driving four wheelers and have been doing that from 1982 but then have stopped riding two wheelers.

I wish that I had not shirked away from riding a bike way back in 1981…. I would have had greater fun here in Oman.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Random Click -12...Hawk

Last year while going towards Wadi Shad we had to drive across a patch of back waters and i suddenly saw a hawk sitting on a rock in the waters
Hawk was waiting for the fish to come up to the surface . I waited for some time to see if the hawk is able to catch a fish but then was not so lucky to capture that scene.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Amuku Pishsasi or Pei (Crushing Ghost)

Image Courtesy : Google

Few months back in the late afternoon I get a frantic call from my wife saying that she had just come out of the clutches of dark forces and she begged me to come back to home immediately. I rushed back from office and reached home in record 45 minutes weaving through the rush hour traffic from Kathipara Junction (at Chennai). On reaching home I saw my wife sitting forlorn on the sofa and on enquiry she told me that she had gone for afternoon siesta and when she wanted to get up she was unable to do so and she felt paralyzed by an immense weight pressing her down. She said she was a victim of amuku pishsasi ..a term in Tamil which means a pressing or crushing ghost and for a long time she was wide awake but then was not able to move any part of her body or limbs. I rubbished her thoughts of ghost and told her not to worry but then she was not willing to accept my explanation and she kept telling of similar episodes her grandmother had encountered and recounted about the ghostly experience to her and her siblings and warning them of such attacks. I tried my best to calm her down and to remove her fears did a Google research and I found out about “Sleep Paralysis” and the Wikipedia’s explanation is as under

Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon in which people, either when falling asleep or wakening, temporarily experience a sense of inability to move, similar to when an arm or leg goes to sleep, but not associated with numbness. More formally, it is a transition state between wakefulness and rest characterized by complete muscle atonia (muscle weakness). It can occur at sleep onset or when awakening. It is believed a result of disrupted REM sleep, which is normally characterized by complete muscle atonia that prevents individuals from acting out their dreams. Sleep paralysis has been linked to disorders such as narcolepsy, migraines, anxiety disorders, and obstructive sleep apnea; however, it can also occur in isolation.

I was surprised to note that such incidents of sleep paralysis were in folk lore of many countries around the world and was considered to be the work of a demon. British and some parts of America called it “Old Hag”, in Finland and Sweden as “Mare”, in Turkey as “Karabasan”, in Thailand as “Phi Am”, in Hungary as “Boszorkany”,in Nepal as “Khyaak”, in Tamilnadu, India as “Amuku Pei” and the list goes on and on and I can fill the entire page with the names of the demon. Only after reading this article did my wife relax much to the relief of my daughters and me.

Have any of you had this experience ???

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Random Click 11 - Sunset at the beach

                      Vividly colorful sunset at a beach in Muscat and it does take your breath away.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tree with roots on the top !!!

An unusual tree in this part of the world and when it is dry looks as though the roots are on the top ....frankincense trees

Frankincense an aromatic resin is bled out of the these trees and dried and used as incense and also as an ingredient of perfumes used in these parts of the world.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Burnt Fingers - A lesson learnt !!!!

This post is mainly about smoking and hence I need to put up this slogan “Cigarette smoking is injurious to health “. A colleague of mine regularly keeps borrowing cigarettes from all other persons at the smoking zone each time he feels like smoking instead of buying the same on his own..and in spite of subtle suggestion by some to buy his own packets he still continues live of others. The same person in the late evenings keeps popping into my flat for having a free drink and couple of smokes. Now this is quite irritating that each day you have an uninvited guest at home and also intrusion to my privacy and space but then since he is my neighbor and a friend I could not bluntly tell him that he is not welcome each day of the week. Instead another friend of mine jokingly told him that all of us here have come to earn money and there cannot be freebees on a daily basis.  From then on whenever he come home (frequency reduced considerably) he does brings over his own drink and the only thing he still ask is the cigarettes since he cannot have cigarette packet in his home since his wife would crucify him. Now days he maintains a packet of cigarette at the office and he has changed for better. 

On this note I am reminded of a person with whom I worked at Iraq in 1981 and the incident that took place with him then which I narrate now. I was just 24 years old and I took up an assignment as a junior electrical engineer with an Indian firm that had picked up a largest construction contract awarded to an Indian company at Baghdad. I and eight other persons traveled to Baghdad as one of the initial mobilization teams to set up the construction site and among us there was a senior electrical engineer from Bangalore who was aged between 38-40 and all others were in my age group.  This person whose name I am not able to recollect ( Let me call him “K”) had the same infuriating habit of living on other peoples things in spite of getting much higher salary. Initially all was well since we were just about 15 staff based in unknown land and we used to go around various places of Iraq on weekends without giving many thoughts to K’s habit. The staff strength increased constantly and in few months there were more than 150 staff (engineers and office staff) and yet K’s habit continued unabated and tempers amongst us would flare up  but then since he was our senior and the boss of a division we were never able to tell him bluntly on his face, though we have been giving indications of displeasure in subtle ways…like if he is coming to anyone’s room then that person would hide his cigarettes, drinks or eatables and tell that he does not have any to spare but then K was equally smart and  would somehow ferret out the hidden cigarette and drinks. 

Image courtesy Google Images
Then one day when we all were fed up to the core we decided that we need to teach K a lesson that he would never forgets for ages to come. This task was left to one of my colleague who used to lose the entire packet of cigarette K on many occasions and the plan was quite simple but effective. What we did is that we bought a packet of cigarette and removed the tobacco from few cigarettes and put in match stick head and refilled the same. All the cigarettes were replaced inside the packet and left casually on the table within the room. As usual our bumming friend K dropped into my friend’s room and found the packet of cigarette on the table which he casually pocketed thinking that he has taken it without our knowledge and walked away. Eight of us were now waiting for the inevitable to happen since K’s room was just across our row of room…then we heard a loud shout as the match flared up and burnt his fingers. We guys were stifling our giggles and we did not give much attention to the shout and acted as though nothing has happened and were waiting for fireworks to begin from K but then nothing was forthcoming. Then couple of hours later we saw K with a thick bandage on his fingers trying to avoid looking into our eyes. We learnt later that he tried smoking five more cigarettes from the same packet and three of the cigarettes burnt between his fingers. That was the last time that K ever asked for cigarettes from us and for that matter from that day he totally avoided us till the end of our contract….good riddance.  Indeed a lesson learnt by him. I know what we did was not fair but then we were quite young and this could have been avoided by a firm no in the first place.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Scarab Beetle ...the ones you see in the movie " Mummy"

The movies shows millions of beetle come down in form a flood devouring humans in their way within minutes....fortunately for me i found only one of them in the desert here ;)

It is a myth that these beetle are flesh eating and they are actually dung eating beetles.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Is everything okay?????

This evening after couple of beers i switched on Sony mix channel and the song that was playing on the screen really caught the essence of my mood at this point of time,the song sung by Jagjit  Singh for the movie Aarth is quite emotional and it really touches each on at the  bottom of the heart. A quote by Eric Hoffer comes to my mind  " It is loneliness that makes the loudest noise. This is true of men as of dogs". Hahahahaha

A person who laughs the most is either lonely or are hiding their pains behind the facade of a happy true as in my case for i do state that i am feeling lonely and i do laugh a lot among my colleagues....:(( 

It is not because i am staying alone in the gulf and working my A** off trying to earn for the family but then i  sense that i am emotionally empty . There are so many issues in day to day life that seems to drown you but then the facade i put up is totally untrue and the reason for that is to keep the family in good spirits. Now the critics out there on blog sphere would tell me that what i do is not correct and i need to share my feelings with my wife but then if i do that i think i would slide down even further instead of being comforted. Life is such for me and it need not be the same for the is my opinion. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Random Click 10 - Al Nakal Fort, Oman and the colours in it !!

Nakhal Fort is one of the most prominent historical monuments in the Sultanate. It derives its name from the Wilayat itself. The fort lies amidst palm orchards in Wilayt Nakhal in Al Batinah South Governorate. It is an entrenched building that rises above a rocky hill at the base of Mount Nakhal in the northeast of   Al Jabal Al Akhdar ( Green Mountains).

The fort, also called Husn Al Heem, lies 120 kilometres from the capital Muscat and is located at the entrance of Wilayt Nakhal in Wadi Ar Raqeem..This fort’s architecture does not follow a particular pattern, as it was designed around an irregularly shaped rock. You'll find that some rock parts become part of the building. This can be observed in some towers, particularly on the fort’s western side.
The construction of the castle dates back to the pre-Islamic era.

Colorful cushions in women's Majalis in one of the rooms in the fort

Some of the colorful ceramic plates and cups placed in one of the rooms of the fort preserved from the last inhabitants

Friday, September 28, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dragon Face

Last year at Salalah took a photograph of the mountain side which looked like a dragon bending down

Don't you agree that it does look like a dragon !!!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Milestone Achieved

Phew…at last crossed the hundredth blog mark which is a huge milestone for me for I never expected to do so for at least next one year. But then this year did post few photographs that did the trick on the count but then personally I still feel my posts just about mediocre and I am bit surprised with the kind of hit I have got for few of the posts. Like for instance of a post titled “ Howzzz That” about the ban of DSLR cameras by Kuwaiti Government some time last year  has the maximum hits of all my blogs –2338 hits as of yesterday, similarly a post “ Rain god’s Kolevery” had 1148 hit and the reason I feel was due to fact I had used the word Kolevery in the title and at that point of the Dhanush’s song why this Kolevery D was making waves around India and the world and I am sure people who googled  “Kolevery” would have landed on to this post…hahaha. The post that I wrote from my heart was Work life Balance and this also had over 1000 hits and it did please me though I have been stating all along and even now that I am just writing for myself and not for an audience …hypocrite aren’t I one !!! Others in region of over 500 hits are generally about Salalah and the Khareef season here.

Thanks everyone once again and hope to be around and post better blogs/photographs.