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Santanu's Blog Page

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Al Vida

This is a view of the flat plains of Bangladesh from the hills of surrounding India. The white spec in the horizon is where I blogged from in my spare time for the last one year. However, my assignment in now on the verge of completion. Soon, I will pack up and return to India to take up my next assignment.

I will miss the place and the people here. The place because it is so much like India yet is so different. The countryside here reminds me of my childhood vacations in rural (West) Bengal. The folks here are more soft spoken than in the Indian Bengal. However, religious sentiments and years of propoganda has built an invisible wall which is unlikely to follow the Berlin Wall example in my lifetime.

Inevitably, this blog too ends here.

Thanks to all those friends who cared to return to this page repeatedly and share their thoughts and feelings. Some are in my blogroll, many are not. It was a wonderful experience - blogging and reading blogs. A pity it had to end so soon.

Al Vida ... Shabba Khair ... Au Revoir ... Sayonara ... Bye-bye!

Namoskar ! :-)

PS: e-mails r olwez welcum

Friday, November 25, 2005

A Modern Wonder - Akshardham Temple

"After 5 years of non-stop, round-the-clock construction, the massive and awesome Akshardham Temple Monument to World Peace was inaugurated. The Akshardham Temple in New Delhi, India, constructed by the BAPS foundation -- the builders of the various Swaminaryan Temples across the world, is truely a modern day Wonder of the World. It is one of the biggest and most intricate religious places of worship ever constructed. Combining several completely different and contrasting architectural styles of Hindu temple architecture of northern India -- Rajasthani, Orrisan, Gujarati, Mughal and Jain -- the Akshardham Monument is entirely constructed of marble and the red-sandstone that Delhi is famous for, and that so many of her monuments are constructed of. It was completed in only 5 years (a world record of sorts). So after years of waiting, the Temple was yesterday opened to the public -- and to photographers. Below is the New Delhi Akshardham Complex as seen through the eyes of a BAPS photographer.

At its inauguration, it is widely being heralded as one of the greatest monuments India has ever produced. I hope you enjoy viewing this architectural marvel as much as I enjoyed having the honor presenting it.
Monument of Akshardham:
The Akshardham monument, built without steel, is entirely composed of sandstone and marble. It consists of 234 ornately carved pillars, 9 ornate domes, 20 quadrangled shikhars, a spectacular Gajendra Pith (plinth of stone elephants) and 20,000 murtis and statues of India's great sadhus, devotees, acharyas and divine personalities. The monument is a fusion of several architectural styles of pink stone and pure white marble. Pink stone symbolizes bhakti (devotion) in eternal bloom and white marble of absolute purity and eternal peace. The monument was built after over 300 million man hours of services rendered by 11,000 volunteers, sadhus and artisans. It is one of the wonders of the modern world."

I withdraw my comments on this post due to objections from some readers (a few are not published). While my opinion remains the same, I respect the religious sentimentalities of the Indian masses and am proud of the secular nature of the nation, even though it curbs my freedom of speech within justifiable limits.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Just for fun

This is really true....
Left brain, right brain !!!!

While sitting at your computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.

Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" on your screen with your right hand.

Your foot will change direction and there's nothing you can do about it:)

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Photos of Shillong

It took almost 2 hours over the last 3 days!

I searched for guidance and browsed discussion forums over the net. My query was regarding method of uploading photos from a Samsung E330 mobile phone to the PC through a USB data cable. And the conclusion was that no one was quite sure how to go about it! A few samaritans suggested methods based on their personal experience of successful trials. But there were five times as many who complained that it did not work on their systems. I tried the installation CD. I tried downloading the software from the net. All I got was error messages. Wondered how the same method could possibly have succeeded on the samaritans PC if it did not click on mine!
I rushed to a friends PC and behold! Mobile to PC, PC to internet. All photos uploaded within 20 minutes :)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Shangri La!

4 days a very short for a vacation, but then, beggars are not choosers!

It is very normal during foreign soil postings to explore the country of posting during leave. But with Eid being the national festival in Bangladesh, I feared massive crowds in every tourist location here. So I ran north from Sylhet. Through the Tamabil-Dawki check post into India. Up the hills of Meghalaya to Shillong.
Meghalaya, in Hindi ( and quite a few other Indian languages), means the abode of the clouds. From the marshy plains of Bangladesh (20-40 ft above sea level), the Khasi hills of Meghalaya (India) suddenly rise to 5000 ft within 2-5 kms. The people too look very different from the native Bangladeshi. The Khasia, Garo and Jaintia tribals of the hills have typical Mongoloid features with small eyes, snub noses, fair skin and pink cheeks. The slit eyes with the wrinkles in the corner and the high cheekbones give them a perpetual grinning appearance - which goes well with their cheerful happy-go-lucky nature. The land itself is rocky with thick vegetation along the hill slopes and scant shrubs on the plateaus. This is in sharp contrast to the flat, treeless, slushy paddy fields of Bangladesh, a stones throw away!
As we switched from a sleek Toyota to a hardy Maruti Gypsy van, I could make out the difference in nature of the drivers. The former was mature & sober, while the latter was a Formula 1 aspirant! He took us up the hills, into the clouds and through the clouds into --- the HEAVENS!!
Shillong, and its surroundings have to be seen to be believed. The air is cool and fresh. The view is out of the world. The people are warm and friendly. The food - marvelous. And yes, the tea is home grown!
We saw the fantastic view of the flat plains of Bangladesh from Cherrapunji, the 'rainiest' place on planet Earth. We experienced the sublime feeling of timelessness as we watched clouds form over the still waters of Umiam lake. We viewed the panorama of Shillong town from the nearby Shillong peak. We rode up and down the green carpeted undulating hills of what was called 'The Scotland of the East' by the colonial rulers. The deep, deep gorges and ravines, the sparkling and roaring waterfalls, the flora and fauna, add to it a creepy limestone cave with stalactites and stalagmites .... ! I have to recheck the photos to make sure it wasn't a dream.
Which reminds me that I need to do something to upload some snaps from a Samsung E330 mobile to my PC. I bought a USB cable from Dhaka which turned out to be a fake. The CD software does not work. I am desperately trying to download it from the net, but my connection is too slow and unreliable!
Which again reminds me that I am back to normal daily life :)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Strange Findings

I have been Googling a bit of late. Especially with Google Earth. It is just fantastic. I am able to see each and every place I have stayed in during the last 38 years! It is fun revisiting all the tourist spots that I have seen over the years. The hills, lakes, et al. Hats off to Google for the site.

Another useful thing is Google is the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button in their search page. It opens the top ranked web page of the search you have tried and saves you the hassle of downloading the result page. A rather peculiar search result is operating at present if you try "I'm Feeling Lucky" button for the word "failure". Bush bashers will be delighted :) I'll advise you to try it immediately - before the officials realise it and step in!

Meanwhile, I am off to my first vacation in 18 months. Will post pics (hopefully) after I return.

Happy Deepawali and Eid Mubarak!!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

What on Earth!

Can someone explain to me why we are continuously getting such catastrophic natural disasters from two diametrically opposide sides of the world?

It's almost like one is yelling to the other: "It's your turn!"

First the Tsunami.
Then Katrina and Rita.
Then the earthquake of Pakistan.
Now, a hurricane named Wilma is Catagory 5!

It's like the Indian subcontinent and the Gulf of Mexico are playing out a game.
And lives, especially at the end I post from, are apparently worth peanuts in this game.

South Asia Quake Help

Please go to the blogpage below for latest information. You can also find means and ways to contribute to the relief efforts.



NB: The latest I heard is that the death toll has crossed 79000!
This is one of the deadliest earthquakes of modern times!!

Monday, October 17, 2005

Veni Vedi Vici

Not very recent pic, not too clear either. But the gear, posture and background!!

I am not showing off, folks. This is posted just for my records. Just in case my hard disk gets wiped off.



Saturday, October 08, 2005

India Shakes

India shook its head with a 7.4 Richter this morning. Buildings in Islamabad, Pakistan collapsed. Casualties in Kashmir are not yet known, but may cross 1000!

The tremors were also felt in Delhi, western Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and in Ahmedabad.

The Hindu News Update Service