Showing posts from May, 2011

A Chinese Sojourn – Part 1

This trip had been in planning for many years now. The wonders of the world had to be checked off one by one and the Great wall had been pending. And so finally the itching feet took over and we were on the move again, this time taking a 20 hour flight through Japan’s Narita headed for Beijing over the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean, covering the swath of the American northern states on the way. While I will in the course of the many more blogs hit upon specific memories of Beijing, this one will be lesser in word content and show you some of the life we saw in that lovely city. We enjoyed the hustle and the bustle of the massive city housing some 20 million people (that is the official count. The unofficial count is much higher for out of state people are not counted as Beijinger’s) and surprisingly found ourselves quickly at home. In many ways we were reminded of Istanbul, and the characteristics were similar, an immensely proud people, focused in their struggle with their daily …

Tipu, Unniyarcha and Wodeyar – truth or fiction?

The short lived people of Puthooram Veedu

When my good friend Premnath sent me details of a recent article in Manorama about Unniyarcha and her life with Tipu, I quickly read it through and was somewhat flabbergasted. It was definitely a possibility, but connecting the most hated villain to a much loved heroine in their real life was not that easy though reel life could and would easily portray such events. All kinds of thoughts passed my mind. Was it a case of Stockholm syndrome in Unni’s mind perhaps? I thought as I dived into the article. The article itself was devoid of details and skimmed over some events and situations to finally come up with an even more startling conclusion. But well, I got my thinking cap on and started checking out the facts. It did not really result in any kind of corroboration or conclusion, but the hypothesis from Mananthery Bhaskaran may or may not be far from truth. Whatever said and done, it made sense to revisit the story of the protagonists and see w…

On Presidential Pardons

America exhibits contradictions now and then, and sometimes you wonder at the time and effort the bureaucracy spends in sticking to a written rule with no regard for or the lack of common sense to the process. The other day I was going to Florida and saw on the in-flight magazine how one could fold a US currency note and make a paper fighter plane with it. On the net you can peruse umpteen sites telling you how you can make pictures of the twin towers with US currency notes, and in amusement parks you can see machines where you put in a penny into a die casting machine and get some funny flattened stuff out. Back in India I have come across kids who leave coins on railway tracks to see what happens and pick up the flattened piece off the tracks after the train has gone. But are they all things one can do without getting into trouble?
In quick summary it appears that in the US you can do all these things so long as the intent is not to cheat or defraud somebody. But if it is used for pr…