As they say, everyone has one story to write about – their own. But when you have a story like that of Waris Dirie, it will make a book truly worth reading. Last weekend while I was browsing at the local bookstore, I picked up Desert Flower. Waris Dirie grew up as a nomad in…
Every year, I make a list of places I would like to go to. And then end up going to completely different places. But that never stops me from making the list. So today I decided to make a list of destinations I would love to visit over the coming year. Let’s see how many…
Young, ambitious, upwardly mobile and professional – without giving in to the marketing definitions of yuppies and yumps and what have you – we still can admit that this is a socially defined association often stronger than cultural, racial, gender or geographic affiliations. Life stages are often so much more uniting than we give them…
The annoying thing about those really cheap deals that you see advertised on the travel agents offices is that more often than not, they are geared towards the lazy traveler. No offence meant here, itâ€™s just that the best deals are to one location, often to a 4 or 5 star hotel which is in…
I wonder if it is the lucidity of the blood
Flowing freely down the lanky arm
Criss-crossing past the veins
Till the tip of the long yellowing finger nails?
Or is it the takeover by the bright crimson
Of the white of my ghostly pale skin
Till the memory of anything monochrome
Is just a faded image, as if it never were?
Could it be the sound of the blade
As it elegantly swishes past its enemy
Could it be the ecstasy in my heart
At the inevitability of whatâ€™s in store?
Could it be happy anticipation
Of the pain that will give me my pleasure
Could it be the pleasure of control
Of inviting death, at one’s own accord?
Could it be this moment, and nothing else
That I had spent my whole life waiting for?
Born perhaps to live, but certainly to die
If the destination is so near, why travel so far?
Defying life, defying all,
I give up my life, in happy delirium
For in pleasure, we seek pain,
And in pain, we find our pleasure.
Where do you get art and culture, crafts and folklore, warm sunshine and cool nights, colorful water bearers and mouth watering sweets, hustle and bustle yet with peaceful oases-like gardens? After much vacillation, Srijith and I picked Marrakech as the destination to celebrate the end of an eventful 2007.
We arrived at Marrakech on a bright sunny Christmas morning â€“ the contrast could not have been starker â€“ from grey wintry Amsterdam to bright sunny Marrakech, from Christmas dÃ©cor at every street corner to a country which seemed collectively oblivious to the commercialization of Christmas, from bicycles and bakfiets on the streets to mule-driven carriages and old men pulling handcarts.
Marrakech is the capital of Southern Morocco. It was once the capital of all Morocco, a majestic city that could hold its own among the large Moroccan cities of Fes, Meknes, Rabat and Casablanca. The fortunes of Marrakech have risen and fallen over the last thousand years, as it was attacked, dominated, and then lovingly rebuilt by its many conquerors. From the Phoenicians to the Romans to the Byzantines to the Vandals and to finally the Arabs, this Berber metropolis has seen many visitors â€“ wanted and unwanted â€“ and yet managed to retain a culture and tradition that is uniquely its own â€“ a splendid mix of its nomadic Berber roots blended with all that came after.
Once upon a time, there lived in Malabar, a kingly state of old South India, a master carpenter known as Perunthachan. He was widely known as an excellent craftsman, with unparalleled genius in architecture and design, and is even today credited for the aesthetic brilliance of many temples and palaces in Kerala. Legend has it that when Perunthachan grew old, there was a severe feud between him and his son, who had by then managed to build up a reputation as an architect in his own right.
Perunthachan believed that the ancient traditions of Vastusastra are too sacred to be modified, while his son had more modern notions of how ancient architectural methodologies and theories could be adapted to better suit the changing times. Versions of the tale also mention that Perunthachan and his son also disagreed on the relevance of caste system in society â€“ the young carpenter was in love with a high caste Brahmin girl and wanted to marry her while Perunthachan strongly resisted it, believing it to be unacceptably antagonistic to age-old traditions. In a rather tragic and drastic ending to the story, Perunthachan is said to have killed his son and thus put an end to this father-son feud.
That is the story of Perunthachan, an old folklore of Kerala that dramatizes the clash between the old and the new. A story that has remained popular even in the current era, as a sign of how the clash between the old and the new is as relevant now as it as has always been.
Most of us would have been confronted with the old versus new question at some point in our lives. If you are from an eastern culture, respect for everyone and everything that has walked or been on the earth longer than you has probably been ingrained into you from the moment you were born. Even in the so-called modern cultures, people cling onto traditions they know and you frequently hear stories of people who have gone to extraordinary lengths in search of their roots. Antiques are usually valued many more times than an object of the same functional value, but with a shorter history to claim. From my own experience, my treasured early childhood memories include curling up next to my aged grandmother, and listening to mythical stories or sometimes, just to the news on the radio. It was not just a grandmotherâ€™s love or the excitement of the stories that made those moments special â€“ at some level, I cherish those moments as the only links to a distant past I would never live in or which I can relate to only through words and pictures.
Why, you may ask, do we have this fascination for the old? […]
Everyone has their risk threshold – even the most devil-may-care risk taker has his or her own limits. Some people draw it earlier, some later.
I think about risks often enough. A couple of years back, I used to be paid to do it. Now I do it more about of habit. So it’s no wonder I was drawn to this piece than someone who calls himself better than your boyfriend (too bad I call my significant other my husband already). Before we get to the risk part, here’s what BTYB calls an interesting life:
“I know, from experience, that I canâ€™t possibly predict what will happen that day. By the end of the day I may be in another city, I may have met a new best friend, I may have found a new hobby, or I may have completely altered the course of my life.“
By his standards, I have a very interesting life – I never know what is going to happen in my life, no matter how risk averse I try to be. It’s an occupational hazard I have come to accept. But I am not sure unpredictability itself constitutes an interesting life. I think life can be so unpredictable that unpredictability itself can be just a predictable boring matter. Nevertheless, an interesting definition – not every day you come across a reasonable attempt at defining an interesting life.
Some things are never easy, no matter how many times you have said them before. Goodbyes are one of them.
Some things are never said, no matter how easy they should have been. Telling someone that they are the center of your universe is one of them.
I still remember the time Philip Roth’s Everyman burst forth into our lives with a huge splurge of marketing and publicity – you couldn’t walk by the city without noticing the book was coming out. After the hype had died down and the paperback had pushed the prices to reasonable levels, but just before the…