Tuesday, October 26, 2010
This past week I decided that my life travels would henceforth be dedicated to knocking off the wonders of the world. Why? Because the pyramids literally took my breath away. My pilgrimage to the oldest standing monument was about so much more than just upping my elder brother whose lifelong dream it has been, something I now understand in its entirety. The pyramids, physically, are inspiring; an engineering marvel that modern society can still not replicate, art and creativity representative of the very cradle of civilization. The out of body experience of visiting the pyramids is about more than just the physical wonder though. They are a testament to what the human mind is capable of. They represent, to me at least, indestructibility, resilience of the human spirit and immortality. Pharaoh Khufu created a legacy that has withstood the test of time like nothing else can. The Pyramids at
The tectonic plates the pyramids stand upon are mostly free of faults and thus earthquakes. The fertile
The pyramids were built as monuments to the dead. It was a way of ensuring that they were not forgotten. Such a basic human need, isn’t it? The knowledge that you were loved enough to be thought of even after you aren’t physically there anymore. I once read somewhere that a person truly dies when the last person to remember them dies. When the memory of them dies, a person is truly gone. The pyramids keep an entire civilization alive. The Pharaonic Age passed over 3000 years ago, Pharaoh Khufu even before that and yet, he is remembered. The Egyptians, the Pharaohs did what every human wishes they could do, be remembered, become immortal, die knowing they have left a mark upon this world. The Pharaohs left their marks and oh what splendorous marks! May we never forget them, the lessons they taught us, the sheer magnificence of the pyramids and everything they represent. Oh Osiris, Smite us the day we dare to forget you, because that day we would have lost our right to marvel and create and be human. That day our souls would have turned to stone.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
We signed up for a hike through a canyon. Wadi bin Hammad. We drove through desert for two hours only to suddenly appear at the edge of a green, foliaged canyon, with the sound of rippling water, sweetest music to our ears. A small stream snaked through the bottom of the canyon and we plunged into the water for a walk downstream through a canyon of extraordinary beauty. The stream would be no more than ankle deep in some places but then sometimes right after a mini waterfall, the ground would fall away till you were thigh high in water. Mini showers from the walls of the canyon were dispersed up and down the trail.
You feel like you’re alive once you’ve done something like that. Wading upstream is a battle often, you fight for your balance, you fall, you splash about like in a bad jungle horror flick. You sun yourself by a stream, your feet dangling in the water, breathing again after that walk. You duck under reeds trying to find the sunlight, reminiscent of a 1960’s Vietnam War movie. Eventually the narrow corridor of the canyon gives way to a large span of flat gravelly land and everyone settles down for lunch and hookah (yes they brought hookah with them… Oh
College students don’t read. At least not on my campus. I would spend hours in the library freshman year, thanks to my job and the computer station they had there so I do feel I’m qualified to speak somewhat authoritatively on this issue. No one reads for the sake of reading, for learning. Our college lives are too strenuous, we barely manage to read for class, intellectualism threatens to shroud our youth and why would you want to read Virgil in your free time anyway?
I miss reading. I don’t do enough and I wish I had the strength of character to not watch Grey’s Anatomy on a Thursday night and read Jimmy Carter’s ‘Endangered Values’ instead. There are too many distractions in college, you live with friends you’d rather talk to, watch a movie with, read fiction at the most and your semester reading list is pushed to the back of your mind. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to. It means we don’t have the time, energy or inclination to immerse in a tome of knowledge in our only time off from the intellectualism that envelops us on liberal art college campuses.
But when you come to
My name is Paromita Sen and I am abso-tota-lutely addicted to Bollywood. There. I said it. I think Shah Rukh Khan epitomizes romance and I will brook no criticism of his various flaws. He isn’t perfect but then neither are you so go away.
My relationship with Bollywood dates back to the 8th Std when I was home alone for the holidays with a TV for company. Bollywood became my sole companion, it consumed my life and I found my soul mate that year. We are yet to have a falling out. College makes everything so much tougher. Bollywood has upped and gone ahead and I’m desperately trying to catch up with the last 2 years that have just zoomed past.
Bollywood was a conversation starter even in the Badia. The pitchy notes of Mere Naseeb Mein playing in a small village in rural
That night, Bollywood and the Badia redeemed my faith in the transcendentality of Bollywood, the universal messages of love, family and community that bridge cultures, worlds and languages and the collective appeal of Shashi Kapoor’s boyish charm, Parveen Babi’s coy looks and Amitabh Bachchan’s righteous anger. A ‘killer’ combination as we would have said back in Bollywood obsessed
Oh I made a new friend last night. She’s Columbian of Palestinian origin and we live worlds apart. What did we find to talk about, you ask? Her favorite actor is Shah Rukh Khan. Veer Zaara is her go to movie and her ring tone is Haule Haule from Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. We had plenty to talk about…