Monday, August 24, 2009

Airport Restaurant menu - Beware!

In May this year, a friend's flight was delayed in Mumbai by nearly 8 hours (the airline revealed the delay(s) in gradual 2/1.5/2/1.5 hour slots). With a hungry kid in tow, they found the waiting time irksome. Assuming that the airline was likely to be considerate enough to provide some options for a snack to 'valued' passengers, they decided to find out.
Apparently the airline did, and the passengers - just the few who took the trouble to approach the staff - were told that they could visit a certain eat-out adjacent to the lounge and take away snack worth at the most Rs 800 (about US$16).
They were bemused -to say the least - when they tried to 'digest' the rates listed in the restaurant's menu card. One decent tummy-satisfying meal would have cost them no less than Rs 1200 (about US$25), which is Big Deal for the average non-business non-leisure Indian traveller. That's why many prefer to travel across India, in comfort by train for that princely amount.
For the delay that extended nearly over 2 meal sessions, the airline decided that the 'whining' passengers could make do with a light snack!

(Each item is priced at 8 times its average worth elsewhere)
This in a nation where hundreds of millions subsist on half a dollar a day.
That's one of the less bright sides of my developing world. Discover plenty of other worlds.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

An old-world briefcase

Grand-father-in-law was a very special person - if you were to hear his twin grandsons speak of their 'muthachan', you would agree readily too. Krishnan Kutty Menon was an agriculturist, who tended daily the small plot of land he had in Annanad, in central Kerala. He would escort the twins to school and back while patiently giving satisfactory answers and examples to (millions of questions)X2. One can easily attribute the twins' respect and regard for, and awe of, the land that feeds, nature that nourishes, trees that live and give - to this simple genuine villager who was untouched by material possessions.
Here are pictures of the single (singular!) item that dates to his lifetime, (most likely earlier), from the family home. It is a simple wooden briefcase (called kaipetti - a handy box of rosewood) that may be valueless, but is nevertheless priceless! The size is about 18X12X4 inches.

I wonder what those small nooks, crevasses, and other sections held. Whatever that was, it could never have been more precious than the old-world knowledge, wisdom and values that their owner passed on to the next generation. I missed meeting him by just three years, but his presence continues to be evident - in the trees that he planted, the home and village that he cared about, and his grandchildren's evergreen recollections.

And what would I wish everyone? - Hope you get to be a grandparent like him!
That was a glimpse into my world. Here are others who wish to share theirs.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Gotipua dance of Orissa

Have a good look at these pictures of a dance form from the state of Orissa, a coastal state in India.

The boys - yes, little boys! - have been trained in this dance form by Guru Birabar Sahoo (79), a national award winner. The word Gotipua means 'single boy'.
The dance repertoire consists of an invocation to deities, followed by several numbers that bring out the nuances of that particular dance form, invariably based on devotional themes and folklore.
We marvelled at those flexible figures displaying the art form with dedication and near-perfection.

(Gotipua dance performance on July 18, 2009 at CCRT auditorium, New Delhi by students of Birabar Sahoo)

Take a virtual tour of other interesting places around the world

Monday, August 3, 2009

Raksha Bandhan - My world Tuesday

This Wednesday is the festival of Raksha Bandhan that celebrates a sister's love and affection for her brother. Symbolically, the sister ties a 'Rakhi' on her brother's wrist. The Rakhi is "a sacred thread of protection embellished with the love and affection of a sister for her brother". In return, the brother avows lifelong protection for his beloved sister. The festival celebrates the glory of not only sibling affection, but also all kinds of platonic relationships, and the festival's social message is harmonious coexistence with one and all.
Feast your eyes on these glimpses of millions of wrist bands...

Of late the festival is 'used' to celebrate other relationships as well, and you can guess that the 'friendship' bands are very popular.

This one is a handmade band made by my son's playmate for him.

I showed you a glimpse of my wonderful India with its myriad festivals, where each day is a celebration, Visit other wonderful worlds.