Hearing the beautiful hymns from our parish church choir brought memories of another period classic from Leonard Cohen. It took a Jewish man to bring out a hymn so beautifully Catholic in its rendition. There was never a lyric or tune that stirred so much as this. Goosebumps always.
Finally found the complete interview of Dr. Denzil Pinto on Daijiworld TV, Mangalore’s local channel. As a consultant Psychiatrist, Dad spoke on the drug menace and treatment for such conditions. Mangalore has been facing what can be best described as a drug epidemic over the last few years with a lot of cases emerging and the count only increasing. So it was only natural that TV channels in the region took up this issue in this insightful interview in Konkani.
I look forward to the opening credits of certain TV series as they come out with some wacky, strange, hypnotic illusions that really set the tone for what’s going to come. Watching Jude Law in “The Young Pope” has been a revelation. He’s the cold, calm pope with a vice like grip on the Vatican. This cunning, cheeky nature is revealed in the opening sequence of Episode 3 to the tune of Devlin and Ed Sheeran‘s ‘Watchtower’. Love the ‘fuck you’ wink to the audience at the end.
For a long long time China meant Bruce Lee and the Great Wall. My first glimpse of China was through a Ladybird book on Marco Polo. A large part of this illustrated book contained images of the Mongol invaders and the Great Wall. As I grew, I got to learn more from Bruce Lee and later on Jackie Chan. With such stereotypes, I set out with my family on a trip to China in 2015.
My parents and I share an aversion to group tours except when it involves family. In this regard, I do prefer the backpack approach in a group not larger than four, but Mum decided to make things interesting and added her sisters to our China trip. And it turned out to be real fun. So you had Aunt Gemma and Uncle Vivian and Aunt Jovita coming down from the States and the four of us on a 10-day trip.
Via Hong Kong, we reached Chongqing (famous for the Chonqing Express) and got onto the Yangtze River Cruise. The cruise was amazing and we were on board for three nights going through the largest river in the world. So large, that even small ships made their way through its waters. With stops on the way at historical monuments and finally the entry through the Three Gorges Dam gave us an insight into this marvellous engineering feat.
L-R – U Vivian, Dad and me
Ladies on the deck
And that’s how big the Yangtze is
The magnificence of the cliffs
Xi’an and Beijing were equally brilliant and I must say the guides assigned to our group were really fun. They were English students who were moonlighting as guides for foreign tourists. Aunt Jovita took a real shine to our guide Lucy who helped her get a Hello Kitty case for her iPhone. We were really fortunate to have guides who were patient and really warm to us. Having reached Xi’an, a few weeks after PM Narendra Modi, we were privy to the terracotta warrior selection backdrop against which he had posed for shutterbugs. There’s one thing about China, it’s history is meticulously chronicled and maintained. Their monuments are preserved carefully and restored wherever possible.
At the Three Gorges dam
Entering through the dam
The dam from the cruise vessel. Was quite claustrophobic
Mum and A. Gemma at the dam
Beijing meant the Great Wall – that magnificent edifice against the Mongol invaders or dragons? The journey through the cable car gives you a wonderful view of the mountains around Beijing. And then you have the Wall, an exhausting and steep climb to the scenic spots, but definitely worth the effort.
More of the warriors
One more warrior 😉
Bargaining on some Chinese plums
All in all it was a memorable trip and a real fun episode with the gang. From bargaining with vendors, to negotiating the menu in restaurants, this was a real Swiss family Robinson adventure with a few more pleasures and comforts thrown in.
At the Forbidden City
Entrance to the Forbidden City
Sis and I at the Great Wall
Chinese jewellery shopping. Went overboard I thought
A lovely Chinese play and dinner
While recuperating from a bout of god knows what, I came across this tit-bit on BBC World of the ‘wind phone’ – a telephone box on the outskirts of Dublin. This is unlike any other telephone box. It does have a round dial-up phone inside but it doesn’t work. The phone box set up on a scenic mountain top, serves as a private space for anyone to deliberate on life and loss and whatever is spoken within that box is carried by the wind. A beautiful concept, it is something I could do with right now.
When I drive I need music. More so when I drive alone, whether to work or to the estate over the weekends. The latter specially deserves some real good music to set the tempo and mood as you drive through the winding roads of Chikmagalur to reach home. I have just started playing a more active role in the estate management and in a way at times I seriously think of making it a full time profession. It has its set of challenges in a different way from the corporate life, but I have grown to love a good challenge.
Now back to the music. The following songs have been playing on loop for now in my Ertiga and doing a pretty good job of keeping the mood high. Here’s my top 10 list:
- The Cars – Magic
- The Police – Every Breath You Take
- Major Lazer & DJ Maphorisa – Particula
- Motley Crue – Kickstart My Heart
- Alice Cooper – Poison
- The 1975 – Change of Heart
- Ed Sheeran – Shape of You
- DJ Khaled ft. Justin Bieber – I’m the One
- Calvin Harris ft. Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Big Sean – Feels
- Calvin Harris – Rollin
‘Rollin’ is a favourite from this set. I change my music in the car every 20 days or so. But for now, this really is the best that the highway can handle.
A week can make a lot of difference during the rainy season. For some reason last week decided it was in love with me. A push up at work with some encouraging upgrades, and some amazing miscellaneous happenings really made it a week to remember.
The Schneider Electric Software India Training Champion Awards were announced and out of the blue my name came up for the “Training Champion” Award. Now, this is no run of the mill award in the company’s scheme of things and while I was wondering where this came from, HR comes up and informs me that the “Promotions through infographics” session I conducted a while back got the best feedback results and combined with the fact of being one of the training community leaders for marketing, I was giving this award.
And that was not all. Our Software Development Center in Bangalore organised the Chess Championships and guess who win’s six matches in a row and the cup! While three of these matches really stressed me out, the rest were a breeze (yes, I am in a boastful mood). I always go in with the Sicilian Defence, something my Dad taught me as a kid. The first person I called on winning this championship was my Dad. I told him how I used the Sicilian Defence in every match and I could sense through his voice the pride he felt in me winning. There can be no greater appreciation in this world than that from a parent or loved one. Thank you Dad.
The good run refused to stop here. A weekend corporate football tournament saw us reach the semi’s and though we were knocked out via tie-breaker to the eventual champions, I had my moment in the sun in the quarter finals as I blocked all the three penalties in the shootout. However, I now have a terrible shoulder and I hope the pain subsides soon. I can’t stand going to the hospital again.
So there it is, my week of happy madness. Tomorrow is a new day and I can’t wait to see what the coming days and month’s bring up.