Saturday, May 29, 2010


It was a destination besotted by the pictures flooding my mail box since the time my friend went there for work. We were pursuing it to go and visit this place. Initially bunch of us friends had decided to go, but only two of us could actually realize the trip. We needed a destination where we could go and get a stimulating relief to come back and jump into the mundane life. And did it prove fruitful? Here is an account of our trip to Bhutan- the country of the dragon

The feeling of landing amidst a scenic destination mounted on us at the landing itself where the landing strip was set amongst lovely vessel of green mountains all around. Their sight greeted us first into the land blessed with ultimately colours and shades of natural greens. Two of us reached Bhutan late morning where we found our host friend waiting to receive us. He put around us a Stoll called ‘Kadar’ around our neck, we were informed that it is a traditional way to greet guests . After exchanging greetings and pleasantries we started to move in his car. One thing that kept my breath away was the unexplored nature around. Fresh air and cool temperature made me feel like a heaven. The car drove parallel to the river as the road set along the shallow clean river. I was so enthralled by the natural beauty around that we were unaware when our car drive for almost 45 minutes. Our first destination was a place called Taksang where we were informed that a trek was the first activity that we are going to pursue. We did not climb a lot but with mentionable attempt, we gave up the idea of trekking the whole of Taksang mountain. Thus we missed the opportunity to see the monasteries on top. We then drove to the National Museum which was a beautiful five storied building with all the historical and cultural artifacts displayed. After enjoying a joyride through the historical remains of this museum, we drove along the river only to be tempted to have our feet let loose in it for a while. This prompted a halt along the clean water and we had a ball of a time sitting next to the waters soaking our feet inside the already cool water.

The next day was a mix of a rest day and small outings. We went to see the archery matches. Archery being the national game of Bhutan, we were excited to see those. What interested me more was the attire of these people and the bow and arrow. The culture of a dance during the game too was of interest. It was a dance, which was sluggish and just movement of legs across. Nevertheless, local people performing the same was good enough a view. The other major outing for the day was the one being the Thimphu market where we came across a city level plaza with a watch clock right in the middle. It was a well defined space where two streets terminated into a plaza along side the road. A good relaxing and viewing space for the people and for some local level performances too. A visit to the local market was next on the cards  which took me by surprise for the kind of cleanliness and hygiene these markets follow. I saw a total contrast of the kind of markets I have been to in Indian cities than this one. Here there were defined spaces and slabs allocated to each vendor and there was fixed rate on all vegetables for all vendors. This practice helps create no confusion, chaos and shouting which prevails in most of the Indian markets. The antic objects and artifacts in the ‘Hong kong’ market attracted us and kept us on toes for long for the sheer uniqueness of the objects and its colours. Horror shaped faces, musical instruments, idols of the Buddha and several others kept our eyes busy for the time spent there. It was a treat indeed!

The next day i.e weekend started on a high note – a visit to a place called Dochula. Placed high on the altitude, the experience of the roads and the woods passing by kept the journey interesting. This place has a temple and 108 small sculptures which are worshipped by the locales. We spent sometime inside the temple where huge idols of three Buddhas commanded the space. What made me look in wonder were the impeccable paintings all around. No inch of space around us was left unpainted. We visited the main monastery of the city later and equipped ourselves with some information of the life of the monks who live there.

The following day, we were to experience the highlight of the tour. A trip to ‘Cheery River’! We drove in the morning to reach amidst rains to this river. We had carried our food and were cogitating whether we can have food in the lapse of the nature. And we deed! We had one of the most memorable lunches sitting along the cascading river. The sound of the water tumbling down the rocks made it a exceptional background score. We had a horizontal trek along the water which too was an experience in itself.

The next day – the weather made our day quite gloomy ,as it was rainy all throughout, restricting our movement and we were a party to view the rains and the clouds from the pane of the windows. Nevertheless, this didn't dampen our spirit and movies kept our spirits alive. More than appreciable for us was the enthusiasm and energy our hosts i.e my friend  Koshish and his wife Swapna showed in taking us to the places, serving relishing dishes and making our trip worth remembering. The spark of being perfect hosts was evident in their eyes throughout our stay with them which is worth mentioning. Thanks guys!!! 

 All said and done – the experience these landscapes gave, the clean air that kissed our minds, the view of the clouds romancing with the mountains, the marriage of the culture and the people, the spirituality prevalent in the air, the simplicity of the people, the surrounding pure silence, magnificently clean rivers, chirping birds around and being in the lapse of the nature made it a exciting ‘Bhutan-o-logue’

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Technology = Lethargy

Life in the 21st century is ruled by one facet which has entered almost all forms of our lifestyle. Technology!!!. Technology ‘aka’ ‘know how of things’ to put it in simpler terms has been substantially influential in shaping most of the spectacles in today’s times. As one of the definition states that ‘Technology is the application of math, science, and the arts for the benefit of life’, its repercussions are seen to be true in day today life. It has changed the present lifestyle so enormously as compared to two decades back. The most distinctive aspect of this ‘innovation’ is it brings on something new time and again. It keeps a sense of prediction a mystery which makes it appealing. What is of important technologically right now may not hold true tomorrow.

This advance in innovation was basically aimed to act as a benefactor to life. Boon as it may have proved, has also proved to be a curse in some cases. Its penetration in most aspects of life has left disturbing practices. The aftermath of many technological soothers has left the end user i.e man a rather sluggish animal.

See for example the innovation called photocopying, commonly called as Xerox, for the company that promoted this advance. It is indeed a fortunate thing for many of us for it creates a copy exactly the same as its original. Compared to the earlier times when students had to write several pages copying text from one book to another, now simply photocopy it for reading. The use of this technology created rippling effects in manier sectors. But these has lead to a slothful tendency. People are keen to photocopy rather than write things which are even 4-5 lines.  

Yet another example of lethargic use of the technology is camera – device to capture images. Absurd as it may sound, but there has been a lazy effect of this technology to capture imagery. Moreover with the advent of camera being installed into mobile device has made it a portable option to be languid. I was stunned to see a person clicking photographs for a piece of paper he wanted as reference note- the note not being more than 3 lines. He could have easily written those few words, but he choose the option of photographing it. There are innumerable such examples with which one can familiarize with.

Data storing appliance like the hard disk also brought in the form of sluggishness. Earlier data storage was an expensive affair with the limited space available for data storage. Hard drives came in the form of 16gb/32 gb, but with the dawn of cheaper hard drives, storage capacity propel led at unbelievable projections. Now hard drives boast of 320 gb capacities, portable hard drives comes at dirt cheap prices providing capacities in terabytes(1000gb). This mini-revolution created a tendency of storing unnecessary and loads of data. Data which is never ever accessed perhaps! Many examples can be put forth giving the ill effects of technological calmers. Markets are flooded with home appliances and products which doesn’t allow human to do basic body movements like bending, standing etc. ‘Providing relief’ is the key aspect to help infiltrate technology in daily use.

Man created technology and this technology is killing man in several ways. We created devices for our comfort and with the same technology we created devices to exhaust ourselves (treadmills, elliptical cycles, spinning etc). We created robots and now robots are meant to work like man, thus making the real man lazy. Not moving the body under the ‘blanket’ of technology is fast gaining momentum. Effects of this technological advents on human body is another issue, but the main equation of concern remains technology = lethargy

Friday, May 7, 2010

Naming buildings or ‘building’ names?

                'Rapid urbanization' is the name of the disease that has caught on the cities like fire all around.  Everyone wants to build. One can see a huge splurge of buildings springing all around in all possible directions of the city. Townships, residential schemes, commercial establishments mark their timely presence on the arena of media communications. The developers leave no space unturned to advertise these projects. But most interesting part of all these is the names these developers give to these buildings. ‘Arcon City’, ‘ XYZ empire’ , Abc kingdom’. I often wonder, do these so called developers ever give a second thought while naming their projects.  

                What drives this beahviour is to stand out from the crowd perhaps. But I feel just by naming buildings / schemes differently cannot guarantee popularity of the project. What drives them towards success is the quality of space they deliver ultimately. For me, naming a building is like creating an image in front of the end user, it is a start pointing to create that first impression for the probable customers. But for a thought, let’s track down the way the buildings are named.

                I have come across a rather ironical names for the buildings. I find some of them rather funny than ironical. For example- 'Pleasure Paradise', what the hell can be a paradise to reside in an area surrounded by filth, dirt and lacking basic amenities, I wonder how it can be pleasure to someone.  Also a trend of sorts is to name the building suffixing towers / enclave/ heights/city/ empire and more. A three or four storied building is named a ‘tower’ , we find several buildings named ‘center’ placed one next to one other. I came across this name called ‘Pratapgad’ (it is a well known fort in Maharasthra) for a bungalow which was hardly two storied. Using a 'villa' for a bungalow , or an 'apartment' for a flat is also a trend of sorts now. 

                  There has been interesting angle of religiosity while naming the buildings. Hindus name the places of their residences based on mythological characters or by the name of the gods like ‘shiv sadan’ (residence of lord shiva), Gopal Bhavan (Lord Krishna) and so on. Muslims on the other hand name the buildings based on either a urdu word like ‘Mannat’ or some ancestrally names. Christians name it by the derivatives of the names of Jesus.The use of one's surname too is popular too while naming their residences. Many bungalows are named 'Pawar villas' , ' Deshpande enclave', ' __Den' etc. This might be to give a sense of ownership to the listener.

                  In contemporary times, it has also become a fad to keep names without meanings. Everyone wants a ‘unique’ name for their buildings – thus giving rise to names like Arcon city etc. A trend these days is to google about some stylish and glamorous  names, impress the clients with it rather than providing good infrastructural facilities. 

                  Gold coast, green zone, breeze park, elysian, Beverly hills, windmill village, voyage, queenstown, costa rica, lake district, sai saheb, sonigara aangan, ashok aagam, are some of the names that are served on the platter of the newspaper / media communications. When one really sees the kind of architecture and context they try to building by naming the buildings in such an absurd manner, it surely is a debacle.

As interesting it is to document this inclination to name the buildings, all of these names makes me wonder whether they are ‘naming buildings or building names’