Sleepy Town of Edinburgh

It was raining heavily when we arrived in Edinburg, after a gruesome night's journey on Mega bus. Before moving further, my advice to young and old alike is that plan your trip in advance and opt for cheap Easy jet deals than bus travel. Buses are totally medieval in form and seats. Even in India we got a better deal when we went from Bangalore to Ootty. At least seats could be pushed backwards and there was space to stretch legs.

What to see:
Anyways, after arriving at our destination we ( my family and our friends) went to watch the Edinburgh Museum, which is at Royal Mile. It is very absorbing and meticulously organized. The artefacts and models trace the history of Edinburgh.

Museum of Childhood: It is some what similar to Dolls Museum in Delhi. There are toys and games of all kinds from many parts of the world. Ananya went berserk with joy on seeing so many of her favourite items (which include dolls, teddy bears, train sets and cycles). It was very difficult for me to keep her under control and she doesn't lend an ear to her father's soft don't-do-it pleas. The museum is a treat for 'young' adults also.

We had time to explore only these two museums, but there Edinburgh is a treasure for history lovers. There are 'People's Story', Writer's Museum, Lauriston Castle, The Brass Rubbing Centre, Queensferry museum, Newhaven Heritage Museum.

The Royal Mile: The Royal mile is the backbone of the Old Town of Edinburgh and no other part of Edinburgh is as rich in folklore and historic significance as this ancient street. Some of the most popular attractions in Edinburgh can be found here. Sightseeing the Royal Mile should be done at a leisurely pace mainly because there are many sights to take pictures of and stories to learn about at every step but also because it's going uphill.

Princess Street: One of Edinburgh's most famous attractions is the Scott Monument right on Princess Street. The monument dedicated to Sir Walter Scott is one of the most recognisable tall buildings in the city. The entire length of the north side of Princes Street is crowded with shops. The south side has Princes Street Gardens and is an excellent vantage point for admiring the Old Town, Castle Rock and Edinburgh Castle.

Advice: The cheapest food to find on Princes Street is from any of the 3 Gregg’s bakeries on Rose Street, the street that runs parallel with Princes Street or in Marks and Spencer. There are also many affordable pubs and cafes on this pedestrian Edinburgh Street.If you're mainly interested in sightseeing and taking pictures, walk along the south side of Princes Street, the one with the gardens, to avoid the shoppers.

Then there's Calton Hill at the heart of the city with stunning views over Princes Street, the Old Town and Edinburgh Castle.

Advice: Avoid going on Calton Hill after lunchtime if you want to take pictures of Princes Street and the Castle because the sun is in front of you at that time of the day. You can see all of the Edinburgh Centre from Calton Hill: North Bridge, Old Town, the Hub, Ramsay Gardens, Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street, and further to the right, St Andrew's Square

Edinburgh Castle: I was amazed to hear that Edinburgh castle is built on extinct volcano.Few visitor destinations around the world can boast of such an amazing historical attraction at the heart of the very compact Edinburgh City Centre but even fewer can say that their number one attraction sits on an extinct volcano. Like Tower Bridge of London, this castle was also used as a prison and Queen Mary was imprisoned here.

Advice: In summers the best time to visit and explore the castle is around 9.00 am. You should be able to have the exploring to your heart’s content and attend the one o clock gun ceremony. For taking photos, midday should be avoided because at this time the sunlight is at its strongest and shadows are harsh. Go first thing in the morning or last thing in the afternoon. The Castle is an impressive fortress waiting to be explored, a hub of history and has splendid views of Edinburgh.The view from the castle gives visitors a chance to appreciate Edinburgh's geological variety: hills, sea and extinct volcanoes as well as its man-made skyline.

Where to stay: Edinburgh is an expensive city, so prices are quite high. Some of the areas outside the City Centre such as Newington, Morningside, Tolcross, Stockbridge or Haymarket are a tourist's dream in terms of choice. It takes 10 minutes by bus to reach Edinburgh's centre. The city has very good public transport system so it is better to compromise on accommodation.

What to do:
Edinburgh Festival, which is a collection of many arts festivals and Hogmanay celebrations are kind of mascots of Edinburgh. The Edinburgh Festival has its base in Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) which was established in 1947 to heal the wounds of the war. The Edinburgh Festival is actually a number of events which take place in July and September every year.
Hogmanay is the New Year in Scotland. In Edinburgh, Hogmanay spans into four days of Winter Festival that takes place in December end. Thousands of people participate in the torch procession from the Edinburgh Old Town to Calton hill.Night afroe Fiesta is a street carnival with themes changing every year. There’s music, dance and street theatre in a carnival atmosphere.

Interesting Facts:
-The One o’clock Gun in Edinburgh Castle fires every day at exactly One o'clock except on Sundays.
-Edinburgh was the first city in the world which had its own fire-brigade.
-It was built on seven hills, like Rome.
-One of the most popular cures for baldness in the 17th century Edinburgh was the application of the burnt ashes of dove’s dung.
-The first McDonald's restaurant opened for business in 1952 in Edinburgh.
( home page- contents-a few facts)
(Aug/Sep2003-Facts about Edinbutgh)


Creepy Creeps

My husband says The Sun is UK’s most read paper because it publishes topless women on 3rd page. That may be appealing to the base male lusts but I found this report about about a spider eating its owner which was creepy as well as good read.May be we all feel good to be horrified? Here is the story:

A man who lived in his own “zoo” of lizards and insects was fatally bitten by a pet black widow spider — then eaten by the other creepy-crawlies.Police broke in to Mark Voegel’s apartment to find spider Bettina along with 200 others, several snakes, a gecko lizard called Helmut and several thousand termites had gorged on his body. A MAN who lived in his own “zoo” of lizards and insects was fatally bitten by a pet black widow spider — then eaten by the other creepy-crawlies.Neighbours alerted police after becoming alarmed by the stink.A police spokesman said: “It was like a horror movie. His corpse was over the sofa.“Giant webs draped him, spiders were all over him. They were coming out of his nose and his mouth.“There was everything there one could imagine in the world of reptiles.

“Larger pieces of flesh torn off by the lizards wee scooped up and taken back to the webs of tarantulas and other bird-eating spiders.”Loner Voegel, 30, never invited people back to his “jungle” home, a small apartment in the German city of Dortmund. Police described it as a cross between a botanical garden and the butterfly breeding ground in the serial killer movie The Silence Of The Lambs. One tarantula had built a nest the size of a swallow’s in a corner of the ceiling.

Voegel also had a boa constrictor and several poisonous frogs from South America.Spider expert and animal cruelty officer Gabi Bayer said he kept creatures “that should never be allowed in a private home”.She said: “He had spiders so aggressive they are the equivalent of a pit-bull in the animal world.”

The reptiles were allowed to roam free in the flat.The heating elements on two tanks containing spiders and their termite snacks had exploded and dislodged the metal tops allowing them to escape.Voegel is thought to have been dead for between seven and 14 days.A post-mortem will be carried out in the next few days. But authorities believe Bettina alone was responsible for Voegel’s death.

Incredible India

A century ago, when one talked about India, it was invariably about snake charmers,yogis and beggars in streets. Now IT is the main tag India shows, the progress it has made is certainly visible in growing strength of its currency (rupee) in international stock markets. Like burgeoning industry, tourism is also expanding very fast in India. Following is a list of places I have visited in India.

Places to visit in India:

Tajmahal (UttarPradesh)-This tomb of Mumtaj Mahal,wife of Mughal emperor Shahjahan has not only found place in the recently concluded hunt for new seven wonders of the world, but also bagged the first slot in it. The Taj truly deserves this position. It is said that 20,000 workers laboured day and night to build this epitome of love. It is generally considered the finest example of Mughal Architecture. I have been here twice and still want to go back.The beauty of this monument is breathtaking.Taj mahal is built in Agra,where other places of interest are castle of fateh pur sikri.
Shopping : Agra is famous for its sweet dish called "petha".agra rugs,marble and leather is also famous.

Jaipur: (Rajasthan)-This city has got another name,"Pink City" because of its pink stone buildings and houses.this is the land of Rajputs,the tribe which is known for its courage,hospitality and deep sense of honor and pride.there are many attractions here e.g.Amber Palace, Birla temple,Jantar mantar,fort of nahargarh(people especially come here at night to watch the beautiful city in the moon light), Jal Mahal, "Water Palace" sits in the center of a lake,Hawa Mahal (palace of winds) is the most easily recalled landmarks of Jaipur and is also its icon.

Shopping: Famous for its precious and semi precious stones, Johari Market is the ideal place to shop for the same. In Jaipur you can shop for various items like handicrafts, lacquered brass work, textiles etc. Textiles in tie and dye (bandhani), Sanganeri and Bagru block print are important trademark varieties and style of fabric.

Kullu-Manali ( Himachal Pradesh)The cool winds seem to play music for your ears. Enjoy the intimacy of the town with the snowline with heat of the natural hot sulphur springs at the same holiday. Besides sight seeing you must try a hand at adventure sports and activities like skiing, hiking, mountaineering, paragliding, rafting, trekking, kayaking or mountain biking for the complete holiday experience. Worth visiting holiday spots in Manali comprise of the wooden hadimba temple in the Dhungiri Van Vihar forest area and the shiny Buddhist monasteries or gompas. Close by is the Rohtang pass the spot where the spectacle of the clouds sweeping the majestic mountains can be viewed.Kullu-manali has a specialplace in my memories as I went there with our street theatre group and we had a lot of fun together.
Shopping: You may pick up woollens for souvenirs like the splendid shawls and caps. Other Himalayan handicrafts like prayer wheels, masks, amulets, and musical instruments add a Tibetan tinge to your shopping.

Goa-If you have been to Goa ,you will return again to visit this beautiful city of beaches. Goa's beaches are what makes the state one of India's major tourist attractions. Goa offers you fishing beach, naturalist beach,rocky beach white sand beach allin one platter. Goa is a plastic free zone so any use of plastic bags etc is discouraged. The beaches throughout Goa have an abundance of seas shells. The local Indians string the small brown and black littorin shells into curtains. Calangute Beach was the first of the hippie resorts back in the 60's and 70's.
Shopping: The 'shoppoholic' will never go empty handed as the local handicrafts have great variety to offer. The beach side stall gives the chance to tourist to enjoy the beach and shopping side by side.Some of the most exquisite items produced in Goa are woodcraft including cradles, baby carts, toys, corner stands, etc. Bamboo craft is one of the major crafts industry of Goa. The list of popular Bamboo products include flower baskets, mats, and letter-holders, pen stands, fans and other decorative items.

Delhi-The capital of India has many historical places hidden beneath its modern metropolitan look.Kutub minar: The 238 feet Qutab Minar is 47 feet at the base and tapers to nine feet at the apex. The tower is ornamented by bands of inscriptions and by four projecting balconies supported by elaborately decorated brackets. Humayun's tomb: One of the greatest examples of architecture in India, Humayun's Tomb is known for influencing the structure of the Taj Mahal as well.,Jama Masjid: Showcasing a rich influence of Persian architecture, the Jama Masjid is one of the oldest mosques of India. Red fort:It was from its ramparts that the first Prime Minister of India, Jawharlal Nehru, announced to the nation that India was free form colonial rule. The piece de resistance of the fort, the Diwan-I-Khas once housed the famous Peacock Throne, which when it was plundered by Nadir Shah in 1739, was valued at six million sterling.Jantar Mantar: At first sight, the Jantar Mantar appears like a gallery of modern art. It is, however, an observatory. Sawai Jia Singh II of Jaipur (1699-1743), a keen astronomer and a noble in the Mughal court. India gate: Built as a memorial to commemorate the 70,000 India soldiers killed in World War I, India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and completed in 1931. Every year on 26th January, the day celebrated as the Republic Day of India, the Indian President places a wreath at the eternal flame Amar Jawan Jyoti under the arch of India Gate to pay his respects to the Indian armed forces. t is followed by a grand parade that moves along Rajpath, which comprise of marching contingents, tanks and weaponry, vibrant floats, folk dances and school children from different parts of India who participate in this colorful ceremony.
Shopping: Connaught Place, the modern hub of New Delhi houses many a state govt. emporia. he Central Cottage Industries Emporium, a rambling six-storey government shop where you can buy anything from a 12ft ornamental elephant god to a packet of Darjeeling tea. Prices are clearly displayed and fixed. This is a good place to buy gifts for friends at home.

Pondicherry - Pondichery was a French colony and the French influence shows clearly. The entire town is divided into 2 sections, the French Quarter or 'White town'and the Indian quarter or 'Black Town' Many streets still retain their French names and French style villas are a common sight here. The city has such a laid back attitude, nobody seems to be in a hurry to do anything or go anywhere. For sun-bathing, swimming or merely strolling, Pondicherry's beach and the 1 1/2 km-long promenade alongside, are the most delightful parts of the city. Pondicherry Museum is a treasure-house of antiques. Besides a section on French India with rooms done in typical French style, the museum devotes sections to Archaeology, Geology, Sculpture, Bronzes, Arms, Print, Handicraft and Art. The botanical garden preserves a large variety of exotic species of plants. Auroville (the city of dawn) is where 2000 people hailing from 30 different countries are living up to their dream of a united human race. The charter of Auroville is ringingly postnationalist: "Auroville belongs to nobody in particular. Auroville belongs to humanity as a whole."
Shopping:The Auroville and Ashram handmade paper factory have popularised the use of handmade paper. These papers have their own beauty of different textures. Pondicherry has excellent ceramic artists. Most of their work is in tableware and decor. Various studios have envolved distinctive styles, such as "Golden Bridge" and "Rhinestone Art" which are both contemporary and Pondicherrian.

Shimla ( Himachal Pradesh) -The Ridge is the center of Shimla's cultural and social life - an excellent place to view the surrounding mountains. Jakhu Temple, Jakhu Hill. Open every day. Offers spectacular views of the mountains from its location above the town. According to the epic Ramayana, the monkey god Hanuman rested here during his journey to the Himalayan mountains. State Museum is Housed in a reconstructed Raj-style building, the State Museum displays a collection of around 10,000 artifacts gathered from all over Himachal Pradesh.You can take a leisurely walk at the Mall - this 7km thoroughfare is famous for its Victorian Architecture, and retains much of its Raj-era charm. English author Rudyard kipling spent his childhood in Shimla.
Shopping: Shimla is famous for exclusively designed Kinnauri shawls, Himachali Caps and traditional local wooden handicrafts.I bought a beautifully crafted walking cane for my grand mother from Lakkar Bazar adjacent to Ridge.

Other places: North India

Uttarpradesh: Nainital,dalhuji,dehradun,mansoori
Rajasthan: Pushkar, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Mount Abu
Himachal Pradesh:Chamba,Kangra

Western India
Gujrat: Ahmedabad, Sabermati, Champaner
Maharashtra: Mumbai, Elephanta, Ajanta and Ellora caves

South India
Kerela: Allapuzha,trivendrum,kochi

West Bengal: Kolkata,Darjeeling,Kalimpong
Manipur: Gangtok,


Celebrities: Opium of the Masses

First it was Paris Hilton, then Nicole Richie and now Sanju baba, it seems that the blind goddess of justice is finally opening her eyes towards not so virtuous deeds of men ( and women) of riches. Before getting caught in arms act, Sanjay dutt was a certified doper. And Hollywood’s drug connection is so in the open. If you don’t do drugs you are not worthy to be written about or not a worth of news byte. From smoking pot to snorting lines of cocaine in private parties and clubs, everything is acceptable.

Drew Barrymore, Lindsay Lohan, Robert Downey Jr, They all have done it and got scott free or with a lesser conviction.
Every time a celebrity goes their ( expected ) haywire way, media grabs the opportunity to inform the common man of their sins. And common man also bites the cake. Instead of thinking about bread he is more worried about
Britney Spear’s brawl
I have to agree that most of the stories shown on the news should not be there. What gets me so frustrated with the news is how much of it is about celebrities. If I cared to know what certain celebrities were doing in their personal lives or what they wore to such and such a place, I would pick up a tabloid or watch Regis and Kelly. If I turn on the news or pick up a newspaper, I want to see/read actual news!
This whole idea of celebrities getting off easy when it comes to law enforcement is tied in with the media and advertising. A famous person breaks the law.The police have to do something because they are here to protect and serve as their slogan goes. So Mr.Famous is accused and taken in. Now, Hollywood and the media love when this happens because it gives the news a big kick. Everyone wants to watch the news or read the paper Mr.Famous to find out all the juicy gossip about the accusation(s).The main stream media relies on advertising money. So they do what they think will sell advertising and get readers or viewers. There is no requirement for them to act responsibly.

Sanjay Dutt and his Ordeal

Mom called.She was upset that has been given 6 years of prison sentence. There will be millions of Sanjay Dutt fans who will be shocked to hear this news. They must have been praying that he gets out unblemished.

The verdict has shown that justice is still alive in India. The guilty was convicted. Many may argue that Dutt didn’t know that there will be so dire consequences of his little adventure. He must have been 35 or so when he got the weapons from undreworld goons. An adult who is capable of rational thinking won’t take such step, not even in the name of protecting his family. Dutt took his filmpersona too far and too seriously and that got him in trouble.
Bollywood is justifiably worried. Over 100 Crore is at stake. What will happen to the projects in which dutt was involved? At least now other film makers should learn their lessons and rethink before signing Salman Khan.

What should I do?

For the past one month ( when I started blogging) I have been discovering a new me and an old me. While I search through the internet to find some ideas about topics that I should write about, I find so many things that I knew and did but had forgotten that I knew them once upon a time. Take for example, craft. I have done paper mache, clay, skeleton leaves, stitching, weaving ( a case of jack of all trades?). It was always amateurish and I never thought of getting serious with any of the hobbies. But now when I write abut skeleton writing, I miss the experience and the joy that I used to get. It’s not so with my job. May be I should have delved before taking it.But how many of us get a job of our choice and Liking.

Sick and Shocking

I was looking for some ABC rhymes for Ananya and look what I found? A cult named The Children of God uses children and makes them in to sex perverts. sick man!!!!

Sea shells On A Seashore

She sells seashells at the seashore seashell sale. Repeat three times in 5 seconds. Didn’t we all tried our hands on this and similar lovely tongue twisters as kids! While writing on my fav subject I was tempted to use this TT again after ages. It feels good to recollect happy memories of the past.
Anyways, I was saying that we as humans have found interesting ways of using almost everything for something other than its natural purpose and sea shells are no exception. There is a whole bunch of nice items that can be carved out of seashells, like lamps, mirrors, wall hangings and many more.
On my trip to Goa the thing I most enjoyed (besides sunbathing) was collecting sea shells. My husband took to this hobby and added to my already burgeoning bag more than I did. Returning home I searched for ideas to make use of these shells. Two I implemented immediately. I had a beautiful crystal vase which was a wedding gift. The vase was lying useless because I didn't find time to look for flowers suitable to put in it. Instead now I arranged different types of big and small shells in it and it really made a beautiful decorative piece.
Second, I draw a picture of peacock and pasted small shells on it and then colored them. Later I used this idea when I started working with kindergarten kids, I would draw small pictures and put glue on outline and kids will put shells and press them. Then they will show off to other older students.
Later in my free time I improvised and made use of things lying around in the house. Here are a few ideas of how to use seashells without many hassles.
- Buy cheap pillar candles, I liked the white. Use the tip of your hot glue gun to melt a spot on the candle and press a shell into the wax. You just have to hold it until the wax starts to set. If you do the bottom half of the candle this way and then tie a piece of raffia ribbon around the centre it makes for a nice accent piece in a bathroom or anywhere.
-You can glue them around a flower pot to make it decorative.
-Drill some holes and string them and make a wind chime (add some driftwood pieces to this if you have them,)
-Glue onto a soap dispenser for an ocean theme bathroom
-Hang your large shell on the wall using wire plate hangers
-Make a seashell magnet. Make sure your sea shells are clean and dry. You can paint them or leave them natural. Glue the sea shell to a small magnet! Let dry and stick to your fridge, lockers, or other metal surface!
-For making wind chime, use string to make dowels into an 'X' shape. Glue shells onto several different lengths of string. Let dry about a day. Tie string with shells to dowel rods at all four corners and some between. Hang somewhere you, your friends, and neighbors can all see it and enjoy it. It will also give you a chance to tell everyone about your adventures in collecting your treasures.
- Toothpicks: Make your ordinary toothpicks look fancy and graceful by adorning them with shells. Small shells will come in handy here. Just glue the inside of a small shell and put the rear of the toothpick there and press it till it is safely joined.
- Bookmarks: Take a muslin rope or you can make one using craft threads and braiding them. Drill a hole in a small and fancy shell and pull the thread through the shell. You can add some colourful beads too.
Below are two links which I think can be useful to seashell fans.



Great Gift Ideas

we all know that giving and receiving a special present can be incredibly powerful and emotional. As you give time, energy, thought and love in choosing a gift, you are showing your personality and your generosity as a human being.Forget the novelty socks and bath salts and let’s see if we can find some new and funky gift ideas after raking our brains together.

So here is my list, you are free to add yours.
1. Make up a crossword puzzle and have all the hints be personal inside moments and jokes that only you two would know about. Put it on a poster board and add some clipart and some pictures to it! The crossword puzzle could be time consuming and a bit frustrating, you could do the same idea with a WORD SEARCH or WORD FIND puzzle. Put your computer skills to work! Use Excel, get clip art from Yahoo Images Search, copy them, and reformat them, use a glue stick to put on poster board.
Use graph paper, and pictures from magazines if you are not as good on the computer, and it will give it a homemade feeling.

2. Hot air balloon flights: Truly and honestly there must be few experiences as serene and satisfying as a balloon ride. The experience starts with the inflation of the balloon and after a brief chat with your pilot, off you float, controlled only by the wind. Amazing views, peace and quiet and a sense of total wonder will all be yours. Then finish off the experience, a traditional glass of champers.

3. Make a newspaper: Unless someone is a royalty, their birthday or wedding probably didn't make it into the newspapers - however it can be pretty interesting finding out what was going on in the world on that special day. You can dive in to newspapers’ archives and fish out this information. Personalize this by recording the recipient’s name, the occasion being commemorated, as well as a short personal message.

Some gifts are thoughtless, rude and even offensive. Never, ever give an appliance to your wife or girlfriend as a gift. Unless you are certain that cooking is her passion - stay clear from appliances. Never give someone "A charitable donation made in his or her name" as a gift. Unless they have specifically requested that you give money to charity instead of buying a gift. Don’t give overweight friend fitness equipment or diet books. You might think you are doing them a favor but they may be offended. Think about what your gifts are saying before you buy them.

robert de niro vs al pacino

I like both of them very much, they are extremely talented. A film in which both of them work is like watching a duel of titans.I guess they are almost on the same level...but going with the movie choices over the years i wud have to say Robert Deniro. in the last 15 years Pacino has fallen into this horrible habit of over-acting and just shouting throughout his films.

the major role for Pacino was Michael Corleone in "The Godfather" and De Niro's Vito Corleone in "Godfather II." Michael is a "kind hearted guy" who transforms in to "evil mob boss". De Niro's performance in "Godfather II" was incredible - he actually made you believe that he was the young Marlon Brando. But it was a supporting part.and not to mention that coppola auditioned both of them for michael's part. n that went to pacino.for Pacino his major performance has to be 'Godfather II' and 'Raging Bull' for De Niro. De Niro learned how to box, he gained 60 pounds.

De Niro'performance prime has lasted much longer, from 1974 ("Godfather II") through 1980 with a resurgence in the late-'80s and then another resurgence in the late-'90s when he started doing comedies ("Analyze This," "Meet the Parents"). Just a more interesting, consistent, complete body of work, capped off by his improbable comedy success over these last few years.
where as Pacino's prime lasted from 1972 ("The Godfather") through 1983 ("Serpico," "Godfather II," "Dog Day Afternoon," "And Justice For All," "Cruising," "Scarface").lets just say that if you were trapped on a desert island and could import all of De Niro's movies or all of Pacino's movies, you'd probably pick De Niro (unless you couldn't live without "Scarface" and "Godfather I"). Just more to choose from.

de niro's range is rangeless.he is- Funny De Niro, Deadpan De Niro, Scary Mobster De Niro, Quiet Cop De Niro, Intense De Niro, Crazy Cop De Niro, Just Plain Crazy De Niro, Athletic De Niro, Killer De Niro, Quirky De Niro, Kindhearted DeNiro and so on. Pacino could only offer Quiet Cop Pacino, Abrasive Cop Pacino, Brooding Pacino, Crazy Pacino. There was never really Funny Pacino, unless we're talking in the Unintentional Comedy sense.
Pacino and DeNiro shared one major scene together, the diner scene in "Heat".I'm giving De Niro a slight edge.It was dead-even right until the end. Pacino did his "Brotha, you are going down" routine. De Niro did his "There's a flip side to that coin ... what if I have to take you down?" routine. And it was a dead heat. Both of them hit it out of the park. Except right at the end, Pacino broke into a slight smile, almost like he couldn't handle the moment - either it was too intense, or he couldn't believe the scene just happened. Either way, it's always bothered me. His character never would have smiled in that scene at that particular moment. It didn't add up. And it was just enough to give De Niro the win.

Al Pacino VS Robert De Niro - Celebrity Deathmatch - kewego
Al Pacino VS Robert De Niro - Celebrity Deathmatch - kewego

Harry Potter And The " Young Guard"

I am with longbottom right now and he is taking us through Hogwarts, I am realizing that it looks familiar.No the plot is not copied,its as original as it could be.
but I am reminded of THE YOUNG GUARD, a Russian novel, I read long back when I was a kid. more about it later, i have to meet others at Hogwarts.

Potty Vs Potter?

So I was right in thinking that harry potter must have vanquished all party players with a swish of his wand.Hubby dear gave a really sweet surprise today at 4 am when he woke me up and put THE 7th Book in my hands.He knows how fixated I am to Harry Potter.
But strangely I haven't opened the book yet.may I fear that once I start, I won't be able to stop and everybody in the house will be screaming over my head.
Or is it that I have finally grown up? you know grown ups don't read children's books.
Or is it the case of yearning for something and discarding it when you finally get it? May be I don't want to find out that harry really dies in the end. Being an ostrich is not a good example to set before my children so I have to get down to read it but I can enjoy my monopoly in party arena ( at least till hubby comes out of loo and claims his place in front of laptop).
And congratulations to (now) Mr. and Mrs.Gordon who had decided to head straight to a Harry Potter store after their wedding last night. Hope they got their perfect wedding gift while standing together hand in hand,dressed in white gown and black suit.

lets wait and keep a watch on more potter fans to erupt in more potter frenzy.


My husband is a proud father now days. Whenever he gets the opportunity, he showcases his 18 months old daughter's "reading prowess". Though he conveniently forgets to point out that the behind the scenes director is someone else (i.e. yours truly).My husband's joy is understandable because it is quite obvious that the book culture is on the decline. Many of today's kids would rather watch TV or play video games than read a book. Being a bookworm, or even showing an interest in reading, is perceived as a "nerdish" activity. Most of the heroes in today's society are professional athletes, actors, or music icons. Parents need to resurrect this habit as it adds multiple dimensions to a child's growth.120x60_a

Bedtime reading is considered the best quality time spent with a kid. Psychiatrists feel that bedtime reading helps to build strong bonding with the child.

  • Make reading fun! Something that is enjoyable is favoured. Act out stories from children's books, use different voices, and most importantly use enthusiasm. Presentation can be everything. A boring reader makes for a boring story no matter how exciting the story may really be. You might just find that you are having more fun as well.
  • Turn off the television and provide quiet time. Turning off the television forces our children to "find something else to do"

Forcing a child to read will yield no positive results. Most children should not be required to read each day, especially if it's forced reading for pleasure. Some families find that having a reading time when the whole family reads works. Even if the child is reluctant, he knows that the time is reserved for reading. Let him choose to read light material, if nothing else.

  • Use your child's favourite nursery rhymes. Maybe your child really likes "The Itsy Bitsy Spider." Find the book and read it. Personalized Baby Books can help develop a strong bond between a child and book reading.
  • Don't forget book browsing on the World Wide Web.
  • Display good books somewhere in your home. Let children know that books have an important place in the home. And don't limit the books to a few essentials...have a generous selection of a wide variety of books.
  • Have your child put his name in his books. Ownership is important! Some parents even recommend bookplates or custom bookplates.
  • Read yourself. Modeling to your children is one of the best ways of teaching children to read. If your children see that you read, you choose to read, and you enjoy reading, they are more likely to develop the same habit and pursue the same activity.

As your child grows and matures, introduce him or her to books for recreational reading that match their interests and hobbies. Show them how an informative book can deepen and expand their knowledge on a particular topic-and expand their horizons as well.

  • Make sure your child or grandchild has a library card. Libraries are wonderful resources for reading motivation and learning. Show your children how libraries can be places of wonder and excitement, and can open up new worlds of learning that will last a lifetime. The habit of reading can be a lifetime gift for your child.

I have found some useful links which I have enlisted below
The fable narrated by a kid
http://www.ipl.org/div/storyhour/ : Different stories for children
http://www.funorama.com/easyanimals.html : Easy animal puzzle
http://wiredforbooks.org/kids/Moppet/Mm00.htm : Story of miss mopet with good illustrations and large print.
http://www.familymanagement.com/literacy/grimms/grimms-toc.html : The Grimm brothers’ tales

Any Body Having E-mail Withdrawl Symptoms?

So I am having a bad e-mail day.It seems that every body has forgotten that there lives a wonderful soul in this universe named ananya.Or may be google and yahoo have collapsed under the weight of their million bucks they got by creating stupid things like e-mails. By the way who can tell who made the first ever e-mail? Is it the microsoft giant Gates?
well whoever it was,didn't do any good to humanity.they say YOU get addicted to net.I am addicted to e-mails.I have to open my account every 5 minutes (literally) and while it is loading,I pray to god to let me see some numbers in the inbox bracket.So what If half of the e-mails is totally junk and I delete them with one click,without even reading!The sight of the inbox swelled with incoming e-mails is enough to give you a high.
Am I the only one here experiencing email withdrawl symptoms?

Hail Gandhigiri

OK, first of all I am not a baldy with a fixation with furer, so hailing is for something which is totally opposite to little hittly’s Nazism. The phenomenon I am talking about is called Gandhigiri and it has forced the US govt. to reverse a decision related to issuance of green cards.

For the uninitiated,Gandhigiri is a term coined in the Bollywood movie “Lage Raho Munna Bhai”. In the movie the hero (a thug and local goon) takes to non violence to impress her fiancee. The comedy movie underlines the importance and relevance of “principles” of Mahatma Gandhi( termed gandhigiri in the movie). The formula of opposing injustice through nonviolent means is slowly regaining popularity in India.

Another victory for the followers of gandhigiri came on tuesday,when US govt. reversed its decision to limit green cards to highly skilled workers. The disappointed Indian techies resorted to the noble protest and sent thousands of flowers to to US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ office ( As done in the movie by hero Sanjay Dutt) .

Interestingly the term gandhigiri is fashioned upon another term with an opposite meaning : Dadagiri ( which is a slang for loompanism).

I found an interesting link on gandhigiri.

ps:I wanted the link to this site’s forum section but it didn’t work so I had to upload the original site, which ironically has Home sex video as its latest post!!!!! Gandhi practised celibacy in later part of his life.


The Rome of East: Goa

Goa has a special place in my memories. It is the place where I met my husband and also because this was my first expedition alone. I had heard that the new year eve is celebrated with much fun and frolic in Goa.As I had been selected as a lecturer in a college and had been saving money for something special, I decided why not take a trip to Goa.I found that people in North India are much intruding and misbehaving towards a lone female traveler. Though I didn't face such problem in Goa.

Goan history:
Often known as 'The Rome of the East', Goa was ruled by a great number of Indian kingdoms and dynasties from the 4th century onwards.The name 'Goa' is derived from the Konkani (The Goan Language) word 'Goan', which means a patch of tall grass. Myth logically, Goa's origin is ascribed to Parshurama, a God of the Hindu pantheon.Goa became a Portuguese colony in 1510 following the urges of trade and demand of spices, cotton and indigo. Portuguese renovated Goa by erecting one of the great churches like the church of St. Cajetan and Bom Jesus basilica in Old Goa, which is a pilgrimage site for the Christians all over the world.

Goan culture
When you travel to Goa, " The jewel of India" you discover that they enjoy life to the fullest without getting tense about the unfavorable repercussions. 'Siesta' is an important part of life in Goa. I noticed shuttered down shops in afternoon, my host told me that the time from1pm to4 pm provides an afternoon nap to the Goans.Legendary Lata Mangueshkar is from Goa just like the classical singer Kishori Amonkar and the pop singer Remo Fernandes.There is a vast representation of the gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon, which testifies to the catholicity of the people's beliefs as well as their mutual tolerance. Indeed, Goa is could be loved just for this rare quality which one feels imperceptibly on even a short visit.

Goa beaches:
Calangute is my favourite beach. It is the most famous and most crowded. if u love music,dance,chitter-chatter of countless people around you then calangute is the place for you. The main road which leads straight to the beach is full of Kashmiri-run handicraft boutiques and Tibetan stalls selling Himalayan curios and jewellery. The high quality textiles from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka can be bought from here.
Anjuna Beach: Anjuna is known for its infamous full moon parties and for its flea market.
Baga beach:Baga is actually an extension of Calangute beach but it is secluded enough to gain popularity among the topless sunbathers, though it is not among the famous 'nude' beaches. It is difficult to arrange for the transport in the late evenings in the area as there are no buses to the place after the dark and it takes a long walk to the Calangute taxi stand from the beach.
Palolem Beach - is also known as "Paradise Beach". This beach is south Goa is about a mile long and it provides seclusion and idyllic scenery. If you’re looking for a most unhurried and balmy beach experience, complete with the most breathtaking coastal scene, this is the beach for you.
Mandrem or Morjim: This is a place for those seeking peace and solitude. The beach stretches across three hamlets: Mandrem, Ashwem and Morjim. Divided by little creeks, these are spectacular windswept stretches of sand, devoid of crowds of people.
Though Goa is known for its beaches, the over two dozen temples in the town are worth a visit too.

Where to stay:
If you are going for Christmas and new year then you must book well in advance as this is the peak tourist season. Not only all big and small hotels are booked out, you won’t find rooms to stay in family run lodges also. My husband's uncle and aunt were with us on our second trip and we had decided to go there on a spur of the moment. We reached there with all our baggage and confidently knocked at the door of our erstwhile host( we stayed with him previous year) but he had no room! He tried to accommodate us with his relative's but again the reply was "no vaccancy".After an exhaustive search a widow gave us her son's study (she had seen two couples wandering back and forth in the street and worried about the "ladies").The room was very humid and practically a rat hole (our benefactor charged a whopping amount for 2 nights stay). My advice is that if you are going there only for New Year eve then don’t worry about booking. Just enjoy the sun and sand and the whole festive atmosphere of Goa with a feni in your hand. We saw many people who were comfortably sleeping on beaches the morning after New Year eve. But this suggestion is only for those who are travelling alone or with friends. If you have family with you then booking the hotel must be your top priority. Or you can make a deal in local lodges which are equally good. .Hire a bike and go on long drives to explore the Goan beaches and scenery.. From Kinetic Honda Scooter to Enfield. You have a number of machines to choose from.

The Carnival:
Tour of Goa is incomplete if you miss out being a part of the Christmas Carnival. It does not matter whether one enjoys or see others enjoying. There is enthusiasm and happiness all around. . Floats depicting popular lullabies and nursery rhymes make a whimsical and colorful sight on the streets. The three-day festival primarily celebrated by Christians, has absorbed Hindu tradition-bound revelry and western dance forms, and stimulated by the artistry of the Goan genius turned into a pageantry of singular effervescence.

Tito's on calangute: TITO'S Restaurant is a favourite with locals and foreigners alike.. Stars like Richard Gere, Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Aishwarya Rai (to name a few) have all dined here.
Excellent genuine Chinese restaurant run by a Chinese expat. Situated on the junction of the Baga & C.S.M. Road
J&A's Little Italy (BAGA)
One in the list of most popular restaurants in Goa, this Italian restaurant comes highly recommended and is situated on the charming Baga river promenade.

Shopping in the famous traditional markets of the Mapusa and Anjuna area is a fascinating experience. These markets are a mirror of Goa's ethnic culture and provide a glimpse of the typical Goan way of doing business. The Friday Market at Mapusa, where stalls sell everything from curios and old coins to dried fish and spices. The Wednesday Market at Anjuna Beach started by and for foreigners is an extremely lively spot where souvenirs, beachwear, trinkets and handicrafts are sold at bargain prices. Be sure to sharpen your bargaining skills before you go, the vendors, who’re surprisingly fluent in English, are quite sharp-witted. There are many tattoo shops also. Al’s tattoo studio in goa is the best on baga road opp ronel hotel.

Feni Feni is the native liquor of Goa famous all over the world and almost synonymous with the region.Goans still believe that any ceremony require the joie de vivre sans, the company of alcohol as they are prefect celebratory of goenchi feni. The birth of a child is cheered with feni, a death is mourned with feni apart from fiesta, football and fish as are the 'famous fours', which go into making any goan happenings.

Taj Rules

So Taj has been voted the top most of the new 7 wonders.i bet the site must have made a few million bucks out of this hoopla.
But somehow I feel connected.I have been to visit Tajmahal twice.I liked the scenery and the white ambiance surrounding the tomb.Now when I hear that It has become The Chosen One, I feel proud as if I own Taj!Yea you are also right if you think that I am going to bang the gong and tell whoever will care to listen that I have really seen Tajmahal.
Taj is called the epitome of love.It is the evidence of the eternal love of emperor Shahjahan for his wife Mumtajmahal.
But one thing I can't understand is that if Shahjahan so deeply loved his wife then why he had hundreds of other wives in his Harem?Isn't it more near the fact that Shahjahan, like any other emperor, wanted to prove his greatness in front of the whole world. Mumtaz was only a medium to serve his purpose.what say you?60+ Attractions - 1 Ticket

Long time no see?

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Its been ages when i was last here.It was a busy week.what with tour de france,wimbolden,guests coming and going and of course catching up with family.I am still recovering from the hang over of finding my place crowded with people and now totally lonely.


Such a relieving news at last! Alan Johnston,the BBC reporter has been released.He was captured by Palestinian extremist group called the Army of Islam and kept in captivity for over 100 days.His captives have confirmed that they were not interested in freedom of Palestine but wanted to wage a holy war against Britain.The rise of AL-QAIDA has seriously affected Palestinian cause.More and more Palestinian youth are turning to it.
Now HAMAS will also take this opportunity to forward their "benevolent " face to the world.By posing for photos with Johanston,the HAMAS leaders wanted to convey that their has nothing to do with the al-Qaeda inspired kidnappers and can impose law and order.But is it really the case?

Femme Fatale: on Parade?

Priyanka Chopra is all set to play a new rloe.She will be the Grand Marshal to lead this year's India Day Parade in New York,on August 19th.The theme of this year’s parade is Women’s Shakti (power). Let’s hope Chopra has the power to cope: last year the sultry Bipasha Basu refused to participate in a similar parade in the Big Apple, alleging harassment by two of the organisers volunteers.Though Priyanka could use some tips and tricks which she must have learned during filming of super flop DON.Which reminds me,how many real action heroins are there in bollywood? Back in old days we had Nadia who starred in WADIA MOVIETON's films.Esha deol with all her sporty physique and brawny genealogy could have been the one but she has virtually disappeared after DHOOM-1. (thiugh there is a talk that Director Anubhav Sinha’s movie Cash has Esha doing many action sequences).Mallika is supposed to have done some stunts in THE MYTH but given the tiny length of her role in the movie,she doesn't qualify as action heroin.Even otherwise also,she is better suited for smooching than kicking asses.Shilpa Shetty delivered some good punches in DUS,which is a good action movie.Other than these names nothing comes to my mind.Guess Bollywood heroines are destined to play swooning hapless girls for another century to come.
Too Busy to Lose Weight? 1 Free Week of Medifast.

Eggshell Vase

This is a very easy to make craft. When I was a kid i used to make such vases.Hollowed-out eggshells make naturally beautiful vases for tiny flower arrangements. Save that egg shell from breakfast and make a sweet little posy vase for tiny flowers. This looks lovely on the breakfast table, on a breakfast tray or in any corner that needs a little splash of bright color.
You will need an egg, some fabric colors, beads/mirror pieces( small)/eyelets/brads, craft wire, and some glue, plasticine clay, candies or jellybeans (mm sounds deliciously interesting!), tissue paper in color of your choice.
We will take this exercise in steps:
1. To make them, carefully break open egg near the top (it will be the mouth o the vase) so that a small hole appears. Empty the content of egg in a bowl. Lay it aside. You will need it to make French omelet after you finish with your project.
2. Roll the plasticine clay and glue it around the bottom of your vase. This will give stability to the vase and it won't wobble. Alternatively you can put a small screw in the egg if you don't want to "disfigure" the egg or place it in an eggcup for stability.
3. Now you have to decide how you want to decorate the vase. You can paint some motifs, designs or draw a simple smiling face; it's all up to you. But if you want to put in more labor then you can use beads, mirrors/ eyelets or brads. You may like to use them singly or all of them collectively, it's again up to your imagination.
4. Another way of decorating the eggshell vase is to decoupage it with colored tissue paper. It is a process of gluing pieces of paper, pictures and other thin materials to an object. Through the use of many layers of the glue medium, the finished product appears as though the work has been painted on, instead of simply glued on.
5. Our vase is ready!
Now we need something to put in the vase. Fill it with jellybeans or other small candies or use it to display small floral arrangement.
6. If you want to add flowers, then craft paper can be cut into different flower shapes and wire be pierced in it, which will be the stem.
7. Flowers can be made of beads also.
8. Better still, Cut a few short stemmed flowers and arrange in the eggshell. There is nothing more wonderful than lovely smelling fresh flowers.
9. Put your vase on your T.V. or a bookshelf and enjoy your work while taking a bite of French omelet.

Why I Love Saratchandra

My Ma introduced me to literature and Saratchandra made me fall in love with it.
On learning about my fetish with stories, my father's friend gave me Badi Didi'. I won't say I wept like hell when Surendranath died, but the story was good. And when I read Ramer Sumati, I couldn't help imagining myself in Ram's place. Same thing happened when I was reading Parinita'. Only this time I was Lalita. Such is his style of writing that every word became alive. For a long time I read his stories and novels for their sheer romantic appeal. But Sesh Prashn (Final Question) opened my mind's eyes. t took me to another world, of right and wrong, of arguments, criticism. Kamal, the heroin of the novel, urged me towards asking questions.

I was in my final year of graduation ,when we were asked to write an essay on Taj Mahal in Russian. when I started writing, I thought about Kamal . She denounced Taj Mahal as epitome of eternal' love. She said if Taj Mahal was a token of love of Shahjahan for his wife Mumtaz then how come he had hundreds other wives in his harem. Shahjahan, like any other emperor, wanted to prove his greatness in front of the whole world. Mumtaz was only a medium to serve his purpose. As I fully agreed with Kamal I penned down my' thoughts. Though my family and especially my brother doubts my literary ability, but (fortunately) my teacher had other opinion. I got an A in that test.

Kamal surprises men by her rational thinking and independence, be it of ideas or life. She is accused of parroting Shivnath's immoral thoughts. It doesn't bother her. Imagine the accusations of high and mighty of society not worrying a woman! Here I m reminded of Anna Karenina .Who yearns to be free from a life of pretence and lies, finds love but succumbs to the pressure of living a life of pariah and inacceptance. Kamal couldn't have met the same fate because she lives what she believes and she has the courage to stick to her beliefs, which is thought as a man's prerogative even today. Kamal says she is not anybody's property. he owns herself and no other human can own her. At one point Nilima says, "had Kamal married traditionally, if she had husband and kids, then she would have totally devoted herself to her family. But if she felt that her husband is trampling her "self", she would leave all the happiness in a second." I agree with Kamal that marriage is one of the many things happening in life. The day it was made the sole purpose of woman's existence, the biggest tragedy of her life started.

kamal is my favorite (may be because we both are misfits) but I also like Bharati (Pather Davi) and Vandana (Vipradas). Some people say that the lady characters of Saratchandra's novels are weak and emotional and he glamorized their silent sufferings in feudal India. They are emotional I agree but I don't agree with the weak and fragile part. Take for instance, Abhayaa of Srikant. She comes to Burma in search of her husband who had promised to come back soon. She finds out that he has (re)married a Burmese girl. Abhayaa still stays with him. But when he physically abuses her , she leaves him. And decides to start life afresh with Rohini babu who has been in love with her. She asks Srikant that her husband took same vows in front of Agni but those were mere silly utterances for him. He broke each vow then should I be the only one to fulfill the vows and duties? Then there is Vijaya, (dutta) the brahmo girl, who does not shirk her responsibilities after her zamindar father dies leaves all the inheritance to her. Her rebellious nature makes it difficult for the wiley Rasbihari to take over her land. She also steps forward in recognizing her love for Narendra. She is not a pretty damsel (in distress) who needs prince charming to be freed from the clutches of evil Rasbhihari. She is capable to think for herself and her PRAJA. Her fiance doesn't want to allow villagers to hold durga pooja. He tries to force her to accept his decision but doesn't succeed.

Depiction of women was Saratchandra's forte. With an accurate and deep insight he could bring out subtle shades in the psychology of the contemporary Bengali woman whether an educated Brahmo girl of Calcutta, or an unsophisticated rustic housewife, or a prostitute. His sympathy for and understanding of their sufferings, their often unspoken loves, their need for affection, their fight for emancipation, made them stand out as authentic pieces of portrayal. Although he could never completely break away from certain traditional values and sentimental fads like admiration for enlightened landlords or a wistful longing for virtues in so-called fallen women, one has to admit that Saratchandra created a world of fiction where every woman could find a place for herself.

I miss Switzerland

Just arrived home and I am already missing Switzerland with all its scenic beauty,cow bells and marvelous and ever-ready to help people.One of my husbands friend had already been to Switzerland and he provided us with a tour plan for four days.We had four days and there was so much to do and see. we tried to squeeze in everything that we could. Instead of staying at a hotel in Interlaken( it was suggested by our friend. and all the Indian crowd invariably land there). Interlaken is in the center of Switzerland, so it can be made base for the tour, but my husband had already talked to his friend in Lausanne and we stayed there for our trip.Laussane is the Olympic Capital" since 1994.It is home to the Olympic Museum, the most visited site in Switzerland.Béjart Ballet of Lausanne is world-famous. From what I have seen of Switzerland, I can say that every inch of this country is beautiful.Not only the landscapes but people too.It is also worth mentioning that the swiss people don't talk in English but that won't be a problem if you want some help. They always try to help strangers.(I got a rude shock and back to reality message on board the N2 bus from London Victoria station.a drunkard started cussing a lady with a child, saying she wasn't a good mother. The baby started crying.The lady asked the driver to throw the man off the bus but got no reaction, ultimately she herself had to get down earlier.Then the guy turned his attention at ananya, who was blissfully sleeping through all the clamour,but thankfully nothing untoward happened.) THINGS TO DO : For adventure sport enthusiasts, Switzerland is a gold mine.You can go trekking on beautiful alps,river rafting, ice skiing, skating, cycling on mountains.Switzerland has a cycling tradition which is not generally seen in London.swiss trains even have special space provided for cycles.I saw double decker trains for the first time here.There are 3300 km (2046 miles) of well-marked interlinked trails, most of which offer easy cycling. Bicyles can be hired at most railway stations and at many other locations. Those hired at stations can then be returned to any station at the end of the tour.Lakes such as Lake Geneva, Lugano, and Neuchâtel offer sailing, water-skiing and canoing. Rowing can be done on Lake Zurich. hiking is a national passion in Switzerland, and hikers are very well catered for. Approximately 50,000km of trails lead through all kinds of terrain in this spectacularly beautiful country.We went to rhein falls on the first day.It is a photographer's delight.We had luggage with us and there was no place to put it. So we had to drag it with us all the way up and down the stairs.While coming back to the platform we found out that the place where people were depositing their belongings for a ride in boat was very near to platform.
: If you have luggage with you then go down to the left from platform,its hardly 50 meters.The person who takes care for the luggage charges 1 frank per suitcase.

: Chocolates :Swiss chocolates are world famous.they give good competition to Belgian ones. My husbands colleagues at office had demanded that he get them swiss chocolates.We thought of buying them at duty free shops at Geneva airport but all the shops had already closed except one.( our flight was at 9.50 pm)The shop that was opened had very expensive brands but we had to buy them anyways.Advice:Buy chocolates from supermarkets like coop or migros. Frey is a good brand as well. Teuscher (try the champagne truffles) and Sprüngli are for fat wallets. Swiss Army Knife:this knife has a blade as well as various tools, such as screwdrivers and can openers.The term "Swiss Army knife" was coined by US soldiers after World War II, as they couldn't pronounce its original name, "Offiziersmesser".. Cow Bells: Of varying sizes, these cowbells are a great hit among Indian tourusts.hindi movie Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jaenge has this scene where kajol and shah rukh khan argue over who got first to the shop to buy the cow bell.I also bought one but smaller and more cute.
: Rollex, omega,tag heuer,swatch,mont blanc, yes all these brands are swiss. cuckoo clocks:Its not a Swiss product, but clichés are stronger than fact.the cuckoo clock has nothing at all to do with Switzerland. It was invented in the Black Forest of southern Germany in 1738, the area which is still the center of their production. cheese Its said that anyone canmake the holes butonly swiss can make the cheese.Hard cheese, soft cheese, cottage cheese, cheese made in mountain chalets, cheese made in valley factories, cheese shaved into rosettes, cheese boxed in red pine, cheese melted in wine to make fondue, hot cheese dribbled over potatoes to make raclette...and what not.
Some Interesting Facts About Switzerland
: Many celebrities have made Switzerland their home.Boris Baker lives in Schwyz, in central Switzerland. The great Irish writer James Joyce moved to Switzerland from Paris because of the War. French actress Isabella Adjani settled in Geneva. Charlie chaplin lived for over 20 years in Switzerland. Roger Moor, the man who incarnated James Bond has lived in Crans-Montana since the end of his acting career. Former Formula 1 champion Michael shumacher has been living in Switzerland since 1996. Bollywood Connection: On an average, 25 Bollywood movies are shot in the picturesque backdrops in switzerland every year. Switzerland was first used as a location by Indian filmmakers in the 1960s, when Raj Kapoor and Shakti Samanta went there to shoot "Sangam" and "An Evening in Paris" respectively. In 2002, leading Bollywood director and producer Yash Chopra was conferred the Swiss Filmfare Award by the Switzerland government for his role in promoting the country as a preferred location. Switzerland is also home to the huge Nestlé food company. Punctuality:Not surprisingly for a country that is known for making clocks, the Swiss have a near-obsession with being on time.trains are never late.
Tour Information Tickets
: No need to feel hassled if you missed your train and now stranded on platform.Ticket counters at every station will give full detail (printed on small leaflets)of the timing,number of train, platform no.,trains to be changed and at which station to go to your destination.You can easily plan your journey with the help of these small leaflets. Geneva is no tourist paradise.Tourists expect a lot here in the international capital of Switzerland,but Geneva doesn't match to those expectations.Our last day was reserved for Geneva. We reached there around 4 p.m. Geneva is the costliest city in Switzerland. We got on a ride on city train, similar to the one at Lucerne but were fooled. The train only circled round and round in the botanical garden, never allowing us any glimpse of the city. There are private bus tours which will take you to the offices of a horde of international organizations.but Other than the Saturday flea market in Plain de Plainpalais where you can hunt for that rare music record there is nothing to do in this small city. The United Nations building that neighbors other international organisations like ILO, WTO, and UNHCR is a desolate structure.But like Lucern, Zurich andLausanne, you can take a streamer here too and spend four hours enjoying the scenery.Swiss rail pass gives access to all ferries and streamers.
CHAO There is a lot to write and share, but for now I wind up here.Lets meet some other day and discuss Switzerland over a bite of chocolate.

flying away to switzerland

Hi ppl. wat's up. I'll be leaving for Switzerland tomorrow early morning. Wish me happy journey and lets hope I bring home happy memories which I can share with u all.

Musings on Primary Education

MY nephew is two years old. He is loquacious, mischievous, naughty and what not. Above all he is the apple of our eyes. My sis is planning to admit him in a school this session. She is worried of course; will he get admission in city's most reputed school? How would he perform at interview? How should she and her husband prepare for that particular meeting? All these apprehensions and chaos for admission in a nursery class!

Well, this is the reality of the day. For me it is a crime to send a three-year-old kid to totally unfamiliar surrounding, in the name of educating him. When he should be running after birds and butterflies, he is being taught to count their number in a lifeless book.

When he ought to be making stories out of his own imagination, (whenever it's Manu's turn to tell a story, he improvises the ones he has been told by me or other elders.) and forced to cram and parrot rhymes whose meanings he doesn't know!

It is for the benefit of parents who are anxious to show their child's talent in front of drawing-room gatherings. Neither parents, nor teachers are ready to admit that classroom teaching is not enough to equip a three-year-old
to start learning about life.

Conventional schooling stifles curiosity and bland diet from textbooks kills motivation. These two essentials to learning are generally extinguished when, indeed, they should have been fanned to brilliance. A child is shown a picture of kingfisher and is expected to remember it, but how and why should he? Shouldn't the teacher rather take the kids out on a nature walk and show birds, animals and insects that are in abundance in their surroundings? Why is it necessary for them to cram the name of seagull which they've never seen? Why can't they be told about the weaver bird which has made nests on babul tree outside their school or the tiny sunbird which hovers on flowers in their school garden?

Why aren't they told about the trees in their surrounding environment instead of being told about pines, again in entity unfamiliar to them? It's not that everything should be taught by providing a living example in front of kids, but it should be made relevant to them with the help of examples, pictures and stories.

One day I was showing a picture book to kids in my nursery class, there were large pictures of different species of apes and monkeys. For a while we transformed ourselves in to these monkeys and played a game of war. There was total chaos in the class; everybody was shrieking, shouting and crying (including me) trying to sound like real monkeys. When the mayhem subsided, I gathered them around me and told them that very long ago people had tails just like monkeys. I remember that my statement was instantly rebuffed by the little devils. To prove my point, I had to find and show them another book which had man-like creatures with tails. I was obliged with okay nods. And we resumed normal activities. When we got promoted to grade I we had a conversation on how to write an essay in English. I told them that we should write all we know about that animal (the topic). Like what it eats, where it lives, what are its characteristics and in the end you may insert other information like how many legs, eyes....and so on. So we started discussing on this pattern.

And from no where popped up this topic about how to write on man. (In some earlier discussion, I had floated this idea that may be man is an animal too and I was again criticised for not knowing anything!)

And lo! Someone remembered it. That man had a tail long time ago and it disappeared with time. There was a whoop of excitement and everybody started speaking at once.

Why are today's children not being taught to explore, to enquire, to marvel at the beauty of nature that surrounds them? The reason that comes to my mind is that the teachers themselves aren't conversant with such things. In India, many kindergarten teachers have no professional training, have a minimum education and they are generally working as KG teachers because they need money and not because they love the job.

Some of them may be BA, B.Ed. They are always waiting for better opportunities. In defence of these teachers, it may be said that they are paid poor salaries. Let's not blame them if they take their job in a mechanical way. It is the duty of the school management to provide and recruit staff which is capable of handling such impressionable and delicate minds.

So what must be done? First and foremost, a kindergarten teacher should be jack of all trades, be it art and craft, music or story in telling. He should be keen to learn, should plan the day's work ahead create an atmosphere in which the kids feel free to express themselves. It will help them in self-learning.

Try explaining unfamiliar topics with the help of various teaching aids like pictures, story, books, music, masks and puppets. Music can be of great assistance to channelize the kids' energy.

Go on nature walks. Children enjoy being outdoors. No need to pester them (to mug up the name) each time you see a Black Drongo sitting on a wire. Let them enjoy the association with their surrounding. You can tell them all about the fork-tailed black bird when you get back to school. Learn to keep your enthusiasm in check. Kids relish information they can associate with.

Start attending drama classes. Mimickry and buffoonery sometimes play an important role in reaching out to shy and introvert kids.

Worry not. parents

Ananya is 19 months. she likes me reading books to her, especially noddy ones by Enid Blyton.kids r fascinated by colors and pictures. Nannu also likes to watch animal pictures, either books or on net. she has started recognizing many things . though i don't intend to force her in to being a 2 year old intellectual wonder, but being a parent i relish the her stock of knowledge. my father-in-law used to say that we know she will walk and talk but that first step she took, the little mumbling-utterances r the sweetest words right now. we eagerly wait when the child will start saying mama, papa. some times when the natural growth seems to be delayed, its natural for the parents to be anxious. but NEVER compare your child with another child. each child has her own pace of development. some start walking as early as 8 months and some may take their first step well after one year. same is the case with speech. the son of my husband's colleague is 20 months and hasn't yet started speaking( most of the time he yells). i asked his mother to place all his toys out of his reach so that he will have to ask for her help. sometimes when kids get everything easily and without demanding then they don't feel the need to communicate.as their needs are being met.

raising kids

raising kids can b an hair raising experience especially when the power struggle goes endlessly. yeah! forget bush n saddam. our modern day autocrats are 1 or 2 yrs and yet making us dance to their tunes( which can vary being simply charming to hellish screechy). i devote most of my time running around little annaya. thought to preserve these moments of bliss and blast. so here i m.