September 27, 2006

Begin Here ...

We keep blaming the society for everything, as I did in my previous blog, we expect the transformation of the society in which we live.. but how? Does our religious and cultural faiths lead us in the right direction? As usual got and answer by reading JK. Its quite convincing for me..

And JK's answer is "Begin Here..."

A religious man does not seek God. The religious man is concerned with the transformation of society, which is himself. The religious man is not the man that does innumerable rituals, follows traditions, lives in a dead, past culture, explaining endlessly the Gita or the Bible, endlessly chanting, or taking sannyasa—that is not a religious man; such a man is escaping from facts. The religious man is concerned totally and completely with the understanding of society, which is himself. He is not separate from society. Bringing about in himself a complete, total mutation means complete cessation of greed, envy, ambition; and therefore he is not dependent on circumstances, though he is the result of circumstance—the food he eats, the books he reads, the cinemas he goes to, the religious dogmas, beliefs, rituals, and all that business. He is responsible, and therefore the religious man must understand himself, who is the product of society that he himself has created. Therefore, to find reality he must begin here, not in a temple, not in an image—whether the image is graven by the hand or by the mind.

September 26, 2006

Believe it or not!

The movie water was released in Paris couple of weeks back, last week me and Micha got a chance to see it, with student offer, buy one student ticket and get the second student ticket was for 1 Euro. I am always hesitant to spend money on movies, but I felt really bad to just spend one Euro for this movie. Its the best movie of Deepa Mehta, unfortunately she faced lots of troubles while shooting the movie and now its banned in India. Seeing the status of women in Indian society, just half a century ago, makes me feel so blessed. The highlight of the movie is little Sarala acting as seven year old widow and the final Gandhi's punch dialogue "I used to think that God is truth, but now I know that the truth is God". This movie is nominated for Oscar from Canada, We Indians should really feel ashamed of our self for always showing the blind eye towards the bitter reality of our country. The best way to show our love to our mother country is not by idolizing her, but to see the reality and listen to her pains and work hard to fix it, thats what all the great leaders of past did to bring up our country to this admirable condition. We just like to talk and feel proud about Gandhi but fail to walk on his path. I wish this movie wins the Oscar.

September 19, 2006


Yeah..We went for mushroom hunting this weekend too, this time to a very beautiful suburb in north-west of Paris called Saint Germain en laye. Its a very cute little town, with a Chateau and a huge garden merging into the forest. The highlight of this place is kilometer long terrace of the Chateau, which have a beautiful view of the both industrial and classical center of Paris, the weather was bit gloomy, but I guess it will more beautiful on a clear sunny day, like to go back there with my bike to discover more.... Thats Ale and Nazanine having a view of Paris from the looong terrace..

September 13, 2006

Today Microsoft lunched a new search engine to compete with Google, which is very obvious from their web interface. What about the performance? Google is doing very well; even it got a ‘verb’ status and started appearing in dictionary. Now me as a big fan of Google, you may think that my comparison of vs. will be biased. But as soon as went live, I did a small and stupid test to know how strongly my name is linked with my thesis subject “Diatom”, well Google says there is almost 120 hits for this combination, and guess how much did hit?? Just 15... !!!Unbelievable!!! But still we can appreciate Microsoft’s new venture, as it can be a small challenge for the monopoly of Google over www searching. Also need to appreciate Google for making Microsoft launch something for ‘free’.

September 10, 2006

Mushroom hunting...

This weekend I went for mushroom picking with Iva and Nazanine to a forest in Meudon a sub-urban region of Paris. . Since its was the hunting season in France, we were advised to dress in bright colors to go into the forest, every year there are some incidents of people being killed by hunters in French forests it seems. The forest was nice and cool, with lots of mushrooms; we had a small book, something like dummy’s guide for mushroom picking. We were able to identify the poisonous or the non-edible ones. Finally we got back home only three different types of mushroom, we just wanted to cross check in the internet before cooking and ended up throwing away all the mushrooms and dialed a mushroom pizza for our dinner, any way there are more forests and more weekends and more mushrooms... Some people in India still consider mushroom as a non-vegetarian food. As a biologist I can say that mushrooms are 100% vegetarian and as a vegetarian we need to more mushrooms, than the non-vegetarians. More over they are sooooo delicious!! Dil Mange More..!!!

September 09, 2006

Painting is just...

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary. -Picasso

Everyone's life is an epic, the memories of struggle, success, smiles, tears and relationships are added to the self image of me and mine to harden our ego, and there is a constant struggle to keep this ego safe from eroding in the tough hands of time. Giving these memories a form of image, color or even words, gives reality of the moment a longer shelf life, I like PB Shelley's Ozymandias for the same reason ( Please correct me if I have understood this poem wrongly). Lucky are the people who can store their memories as a painting, like my friends Priya and V.P.Vasuhan, we frindly call him Vasu) Today I went to the opening of Vasu's Painting exhibition, with my friends, it was a great day for Vasu. I don't understand the much of modern art, but the artists who were present told that his paintings are the reflections Indian subcontinent, and his struggles in a big city. Thats V.P.Vasuhan, with his painting Dances with Rats.

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
- Ozymandias by PB Shelley

September 08, 2006

Priya's Blog

Priya needs no introduction, she was in Paris sometime back with Ullas and we traveled together to Italy. And when I disappeared from the cyber world in August, she started her blog, and I knew that she did sketches and paintings, but never got to see her works before. Yesterday I went through her wonderful collection, posted in her blog. I was really shocked to see that, knowing a person for a long time and never seen their work? Too bad! Thanks to blogs, which exhibits the people’s talents and views. Among all her works this one, touched me lot, as it was based on the photograph, which she took during our trip to Florence, I remember her saying that she is going to make one painting of this place, as she has described in her blog, it was one of the most beautiful spot in Florence. Thanks to Priya, for a adding more colors to those sweet memories!

September 07, 2006

Oxygen Lag...

As soon as reached Gare de l’Est station, one of the most crowded stations in Paris, I was suffocating and I took an underground metro for 30 min to reach home. It was a big shock, living for a month close to open landscapes with lots of fresh air and just with sounds of nature made me suffocate in the small noisy and crowded metro. I fell sick for few days, I know that sick people go to Switzerland to rest and recover . I never knew that leaving Switzerland makes you fall sick… anyways somehow got adapted to this oxygen lag of Paris, and got back to my lab and laptop, that’s why got time to update my blog…now back to work. Among all the sickness and the work burden just sitting over my work desk, I am very happy to work hard for next month because my next trip is waiting just around the corner, as soon as I came back made the bookings for my next trip. This time back to my favorite country Italy, the beauty of Switzerland didn’t manage to steal the first position from Italy. Italy along with its beautiful nature also have wonderful food, great culture and more over lively warm crowd of people, which was greatly missing in Switzerland. Since my next trip is official with a small extension for my personal sight seeing, I have to now happily get back to my work and start working hard for my work presentation in Italy conference.

Basel Zoo..

On my way back to Paris from Mont-Soleil, I went to Basel for taking my connection train. I had 10 hours to roam around the city, I started in the Basel zoo, just because it’s very close the railway station. For the first time I got a chance to see African elephants, Elephants are my favorite animals. They are very strong but they don’t use their strength for violence, unless and until it’s absolutely necessary. I treated myself with a high-calorie lunch in the zoo with having a view of these elephant from my lunch table; I felt these elephants were mocking me as I put every piece of the chocolate cake in my mouth. Sorry my dear African elephants! I feel the Asian elephants in Madurai temple are much cuter than you guys! It all happened in September 2nd, on my mom’s birthday, she loves animals and zoos a lot, and she is still not able to recover from Steve Irwin’s tragic death. I finished my Basel trip and my summer vacation in the city center, as in most of the European cities the old city center was cute and classical in Basel too. Basel photos...

Open Air Festival

I went to Mont-Soleil again, this time to be a volunteer in the meditation center, this vipassana meditation center, all around the world is run by old meditation students. People who are benefited by this meditation can go the center and work for the new meditators, starting from the management committee, managers and the Assistant teachers and the kitchen staff are all the old meditation students working there as volunteers. Depending on how much time you commit to the center, you can take a long term or a short term position, since I was there only for 10days and also because of my love for cooking, I worked as a cook. It was so amazing to cook for 50 people, that too strictly sticking to the time table that too over a top of a mountain where you get farm fresh vegetables and milk, I use to go the farm to get milk, sometimes as I walk through the beautiful landscapes in a silent evening, made me feel that I am walking inside a beautiful painting, the beauty of Switzerland seems to be far away from reality. I was there few days before the course and was lucky to get a free pass for a big and a very expensive open air music festival and for the first time I got a chance to listen to Mozart’s last composition, Requiem, It was amazing to see people frozen in rain, listing to this piece of music. More pictures of the beautiful Mont-Soleil.

September 05, 2006

A day in Geneva..

In my one month summer vacation the only known person I interacted and communicated with, was Micha and my family for couple of time over the phone, rest all were new people, travellers and mediators. I met a bunch of wonderful people. It was nice to see people from different places and background and more over amazed by their passion in life. one such person in Tamae, a swiss girl from Geneva. I met her in the meditation center and she invited me to stay with her as I was travelling through Geneva. I stayed at her place for a night and she took me around Geneva the next day. Since she was born and brought up there, she had friends at every corner of the street. She is studying music and lived in India,Calcutta close the slum people, interacting with them through an organisation to teach them dance. She also collects money by arranging small concerts with her boy friend. They play piano and Tabla together in their concerts. We walked around in geneva, the old town was beautiful, In the evening we came to the lake side, where we met some of her friends and had some nice cuban tea.Then it was time for me to leave back to the meditation center. More Geneva pictures...

Pizza Day at Micha's...

From the day I met Micha, I was wondering what makes him so admirable, he is someone who is always adored and surrounded by people....I stopped wondering about it on the day I met his family, Its a sweet mix of French and German Family, with the best of both. The days when we didn't travel, I played with his cute little nephew, Adrian who taught me lot of French words and games and Micha cooked delicious food big family lunch and dinner. one day was this amazing pizza day,the whole family worked together with Micha to finish the toppings, that was my first ever home made pizza just delecious... more photos of Micha's family taken on the Pizza day are as usual in my flickr... One week went off just like that...and then it was the day when I have to take this 40 min flight back to Geneva. And that was the beginning of a episode three of my summer vacation..

The French Riviera,Côte d'Azur

Me and Micha made some day trips discovering the beautiful cities and countryside of the french riviera. France is divided into many regions, a small region close to Italy and Monaco is called Côte d'Azur. The biggest city in this region.... I guess is Nice and also has the famous town cannes, where the famous Cannes Film Festival takes place is in this region.We went to Nice, Antibes and some small countryside around Grasse .Antibes is my favourite place. Nice is nice too...but in the Nice beach,as I was standing in the waves, a big wave gave a small bath to my digital camera in my packet. So no digital photos from Nice. Later hair dryer treated my wet camera and cured it. Micha is a walking encyclopedia, never seen a such an unbeatable combination of intelligence,good looks and extremely pleasant and humble person....had lots of fun travelling with him, he was telling me the history and geography of every stone in this region and took me to the best places and introduced to the best food of the region. Check out more photos of the beautiful Côte d'Azur....

Flight to Paradise..

Reached the Geneva airport..the trains in Switzerland are so annoyingly punctual,Its very difficult for Indians to get used to such punctuality, I reached the airport almost one and half hours did some window shopping and got into the flight and just had a small nap and the flight landed in Nice(a city in south of France), it was a shortest flight trip I ever had just 40 min on air.Micha was waiting with his mom to receive me in the airport and another 30 mins drive, I reached a absolutely beautiful house(Micha's Parent's) over a top of small mountain in a town called Grasse, between Nice and Cannes.The house had a beautiful view of three towns,Grasse,Cannes and Antibes between the valley and view of the alps dropping off in the Mediterranean. I stayed there in that beautiful house with very lovely Micha's family having excellent Micha's food and with nice trips and strolls in the small towns and villages in that region. Some more of Micha's home are here....more pictures after I get my film scanned. Thats the view from his room at dusk..

Nice Drive...

Next day the weather was still nice and sunny, we decided to start driving...Some friends from the hostel, an Australian girl and Canadian boy joined us in the drive, we went through the beautiful small villages, and mountains of the Switzerland to reach Château de Chillon. A castle next the Lake Geneva (Lake Léman)Beautiful castle, very well planned and built on a rock in the lake, most of the balcony open into the lake, amazed to see almost a small kingdom inside, had jails, royal rooms and even a 15th century toilets. we had small picnic next to the lake and then it was time to say bye to Sandra...They started travelling towards Italy and I took a train to Geneva airport to take a flight to France. was not an end of my trip but a beginning of an all new beautiful episode in south of France.

Day 2: Interlaken

It was happy sunny day! so me and Sandra decided to go up the mountains, we went up a small Green hill called harder kulm, which had a something like a Buddhist temple on the top, and had a a nice view of the town, interlaken as the name suggest its beautifully located between two lake and then it was the time for the summer snow. we had two choices one was to go up Schilthorn peak or to Jungfrau peak, it was very difficult to decide between two, later for financial reasons we ended up in Schilthorn, we hiked a bit and reached the cable car and a very scenic journey to the top of snow covered peak. It was just snow and snow and snow all around with just a small cheesy restaurant, Piz Gloria which revoles 360 degree. It was nice to have a long 3 hours lunch with some American travellers, food, nice chat and a 360 degree view of snow covered peaks...very very cheesy....
Thats Sandra having a view of interlaken from the top of Harder kulm... more snowy..summer