Friday, August 14, 2009

Bungeeeeeeeeee !!!!

I have always wanted to do Bungee jumping. Its just the thrill of jumping from height and still be safe ( if u r lucky ) and the idea of Freefall and flying like a bird.. Its just looks really coool...
Finally I got a chance to bungee.. I managed to jump in a place called Sigulda, 1 hour outside of Riga in Latvia. It was a jump from a cable car that is used to cross a river. It was an awesome experience, except that I dont remember most of it.. Pretty funny huh.. I was strapped etc. and then off we go in the cable with other jumpers. Then I was the 1st one to jump. I step close to the edge and look below into the River and then adrenalin pumps up and I panic. I just keep looking down and almost decided I was going to quit. Then the guy said he was going to count from 1 to 3 and then I jump at 3. Ok.. Now i feel fine.. then he goes 1.... then 3... Push.. oops.. I was almost unprepared.. and then i was going down.. So in a momentary flash.. I was almost not thinking anything and just falling... I guess i was too scared to think about anything at all... next thing i saw was the rope tugged onto my legs and I knew I was still connected and not going to fall below. yoohoo... then I could see my reflection below in the stil water... It was Awesome... Perhaps next time, i would fully enjoy it from the beginning... So I am just waiting for the next time... :)

Disclaimer: This is not a photo of me jumping as there was noone to take photos of me.. So it was the next guy who jumped. :) ..

Friday, April 17, 2009

Starry Starry Night...

"Starry, starry night.
Paint your palette blue and grey,
Look out on a summer's day,
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.
Shadows on the hills,
Sketch the trees and the daffodils,
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
In colors on the snowy linen land
Starry, starry night,
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze,
Swirling clouds in violet haze,
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue.
Colors changing hue,
morning field of amber grain,
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand" - Don Mclean

Somehow after listening to this beautiful song ages ago and some discussions with an old friend, I have always been curious about Van Gogh's Starry Night and why it is so famous... While I was in Amsterdam for the Easter, I went to the famous Van Gogh Musem and spent almost the entire day looking at some of his best works... We were also lucky that the Museum had a special exhibition " Colors of the night" and they had loaned the famous "Starry Night" from its home (NY Museum) to Amsterdam for display during Spring... What more could I have asked for... It was an amazing experience walking through thr exhibits and spending time on each of his painting to understand the psyche of the great artist (one who was not recognized while he was alive)... Starry Night especially was very interesting more so because it is not painted like how a night would be, but more of artist's imagination... I ve never been a great art lover.. but Van Gogh's themes were so simple yet complex that draws you towards his paintings... Apparently there are so many interpretations to this painting and what artist might have imagined (literally and symbolic), but it still remains a mystery....

"Now I think I know,
what you tried to say to me,
How you suffered for your sanity,
How you tried to set them free,
They would not listen,
they're not listening still.
Perhaps they never will... "

Monday, April 06, 2009

Schindler's list

After so many years, I finally sat down and watched the entire movie Schindler's list.. For some reason I've never seen this before... probably bcos i thought i wouldnt be able to stomach the cruel scenes... I thought Ralph Fiennes was the pick of all..playing Amon Goeth, the cruel pshycopath with his cold blooded eyes and complete disdain for human life... Sorto like Kenneth Branagh in "Conspiracy" as Heydrich.... Also loved Liam Neeson playinng the charismatic Oskar Schindler and Ben Kingsley as the accountant...
Having been to Krakow and seen the real location of the Ghetto,the labor camp at Plaslow, Schindler's enamel factory and also Auswitz & Birkenau concentration camp and heard from tour guide about the real Amon Goeth character and the sad history of Polish jews in Krakow, the movie appealed more to me... makes me wonder how humans could do this to each other... reminds me of a certain dialogue in the movie "Blood Diamond" = "Sometimes I wonder... will God ever forgive us for what we've done to each other? Then I look around and I realize... God left this place a long time ago".. Will such acts of cruel genocides ever stop in Human history :-( ??

Monday, March 09, 2009

Disastrous weekend at Hemsedal

hemsedal is one of the biggest Ski resorts in Norway... A big group of people from work decides to go and I joined them hoping I could take some lessons and improve my snow boarding skills... well.. i thought wrong... back pains previous falls started surfacing making my downhill experience unbearable with backpain... and to add to the woes, i hit my head at the cottage entrace on a low ceiling, which required immediate medical attention and some stitches .. No wait.. Super Glue... which basically confined me to the cofe at the ski resort playing some sudoku with a friend and a cuppa hot tea ... so much for the ski weekend.. :( ...
did you know that urban legend says that super glue was accidentally invented to find a replacement for stitches for body wounds during WWII ?? I didnt know this until today when someone mentioned it... It was relatively painless experience of getting glued in place of stitches... :)... wel.. it remains to be seen if the blow to my head has anything to do with my behavior in the coming days :-D) ... haha///

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chasing Aurora

After my last attempt at chasing Aurora in Tromso turned out to be in vain, I decided to give it another go. This time we decided to go to Alta instead. Alta is a city in Norway at 70 Deg N. Very close to being the northern most point in Mainland Norway. Quite a nice place to go to if you want to chase the Aurora Borealis. "Chasing" is quite the apt term here because even on a clear night, it is difficult to predict where the lights will appear and when they will. You might be watching the sky for hours and then go inside to get a hot cuppa, and viola it might have appeared and gone by the time you come back out again. Ofcourse, if the activity is quiote strong then it does stay for longer period of time and does appear quite powerfully.
Having spent a fortune on my last trip and possibly this time around too, we were quite cautious in choosing the correct timing for the trip and hoping for a good weather forecast and solar activity. Fortunately the weather turned out quite good and we had a clear sky, which means the temperature is really really low and it was mostly between -15 to -25 Deg C during the entire trip.
So we thought it would be best to rent a cabin outside of the city so we can lose the city lights and also rented a car from Rent-a-Wreck so we can just hop in and keep driving out in the winderness until we have a "Sweet Spot" where we get a clear view of the horizon and far far away from the city lights... It was worth it... After having spent few thousand kroners on both trips for the Aurora, Dog Sledging, Reindeer Sledging + Sami culture and Snowmobiling, I would say this was one of my best experiences of Norway...

More photos to come on my photo album....

Monday, February 02, 2009

Tribute to the legendary comedian - Nagesh

I feel a great deal of sadness reading the news about the demise of great comedian of yesteryear's - Thiru Nagesh. There is one thing about the likes of Goundamani, senthil, Vivek, Vadivelu... but I dont think I will ever like anyone better than Nagesh... Sometimes I feel comedy in today's Tamil movies is very crass and vulgar and completely meaningless... the level has declined... Its almost like the comical bits is completely off-track from the movie itself... they might as well have it as stand-up in between the actual story...
Nagesh's movies were class apart... There was a sarcasm and also meaning in his routines... I will miss it... The movies like "Server Sundaram", "Kaadhalika Neramillai", "Ethirneechal"(Maadipadi Maadhu poi maadiveetu Maadhu ayi), "Thiruvilayaadal"... the list goes on... May the Force be with you even in death... We will miss you... !!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Slumdog becomes a millionaire

So many raving reviews in the Indian and Foreign media about this one.. Had to watch it to see what it was all about.. yes.. it did portray the true reality.. from a different angle.. I really enjoyed the movie.. I didnt care much if it was made by an Indian or Foreigner. As a matter of fact, if it was made by an Indian, I am not sure if he would have portrayed the India as it is shown in this one and may be Danny Boyle had that advantage of not being attached to the theme as an Indian or nationalist and just purely as a filmmaker. Some people say that it is getting credit because of Danny Boyle.. maybe it is.. but it does bring the likes of ARR in the global arena, once again... and i will be rooting for him in the Oscarss... :)

I read AB's comments.. "if SM projects India as [a] third-world, dirty, underbelly developing nation and causes pain and disgust among nationalists and patriots, let it be known that a murky underbelly exists and thrives even in the most developed nations".. Well.. AB... maybe u should take a walk out in the the reality i.e India.. India is a land of contradictions and surprises... Yes.. we are great country.. we are proud and we are a developing country and at a fast rate at that one... But the true reality is that more than 80% of the 1.1 billion population (all these numbers might have changed by now.. :) is living in poverty... Face it.. Just becasue it is shown that way in the movie does not make it bad... As Indians, I have always felt that some of us are hyprocrits and also have an inferiority complex... Lemme explain what i mean by this..

I was once making a comment to a friend long time ago that lot of these tourist places are ridden with scoundrels and crooks who try to take advantage of the foreiners and this projects a bad image of India to them.. etc etc/... and also about beggars and how the government r the police never do anything about it... Interestingly my friend pointed out that it was a problem indeed and we should focus on solving it not because of improving our image in the international arena, but more so for the people themselves and how they should get a better life that they deserve... I thought how silly of me... How could I not think of it that way... although I had the right intentions... After a while I was chatting a different friend during a backpack tour and we came across a foreigner who was complaining about something and I had to agree with him based on the facts (dont exactly remember what the issue was)... My friend although agreed with me privately on the matter, but didnt like the fact that I was open about it in front of a foreigner and it projects a bad image of India.. I have come across many other situations with many other people, but the bottomline is always good/Bad image of the country... What I think is... Lets face it... we are a big county with many people, lot of poverty exists, we have many problems.. yet we would like to project a rosy picture of it... Why? who are we kidding ?? why live in a Denial?? Why not accept the fact that problems exist and try to find a solution rather than brushing the dirt under the carpet and make it look clean rather actually cleaning it out for the better??

so AB, I think this statement of yours such a hyprocricy... What the movie shows exists in real life.. I dont care if it portrays a bad image of India... and I dont think we should be ashamed of it either... Lets not live in a denial.. Lets accept it and try to do something about it... I dont think any movie can ever truly capture India as it is... India is so large and so complicated to be even covered completely in a movie.. Thats what makes India so interesting... If anything, I think this movie is not far from reality.. esp. the bit about blinding kids to beg in the streets was very sad to see... makes me wonder how can people do this to kids.. how can they be so cold hearted?