Friday, February 28, 2014

The Burmese Days by George Orwell

This is a book set in 1934's colonial Burma (then part of greater India) and is really ahead of its time because it tackles issues like racism & the injustice of the social hierarchy of colonial India, at a time when these things sadly, were simply acceptable. It's not a book of misery & torture though, its a rather engaging read. It pre-dates "The Animal Farm" and its said that this book is partly autobiographical (because Orwell did live in Burma for a few years as a gora-sahib); so it lends a window into how Orwell was shaped in his initial years into the socialist thinker he eventually became famous as. A good read.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Trip to Borobudur, Central Java

Its amazing how indulgent people in power are & have been through out history! There's this absolutely stellar Buddhist temple built by an ancient king of the Saliendra dynasty in Borobudur; and then as a Hindu response to the Buddhist Borobudur, there's another stellar Hindu temple built by another extravagent king concurrently in next-door Prambanan. And between these two neighbouring temples, what an artisitic feast this place offers!

The temple of Borobudur is astonishingly ancient... "300 years before Cambodia’s Angkor Wat was constructed, 400 years before work began on the great European cathedrals", say the brochures. Its majestic at first glance and then the more closely you look at this temple, and the more you hear about its philosophical & architectural roots & multi-layered complexity, the more you fall in love with it. I feel sad for that competitive Hindu bloke from ancient Java, because our man from the Saliendra dynasty has nailed it. What a sight!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The volcano that spoiled our trip

So Mt. Kelud decided to erupt the same week when we had planned our trip to Borobudur (non-refundable flights too!). What are the chances! I have been wanting to visit Borobudur for so long that I'm quite grumpy about the situation (apologies to the thousands of families who lost their homes due to the eruption, I don't mean to be disrespectful to you!). All hope is not lost though - the eurption was in East Java and although Borobudur (in Central Java) is not affected in any serious way, the ash deposits on the Borobudur sites have rendered them closed to visitors while the site is manually cleaned by sweepers. Fingers crossed, we get to see those beautiful Buddhas!

Saturday, February 01, 2014

The Selfie

With a sparkly red pout & a victory sign she posed,
Clicked; brightness adjusted; a few filters tried,
Chosen was the one that made her lips pop, of course.
Off went the upload,
#bestdayever, #newlipgloss, she labelled it.
She was 15 & pleased at how much she glowed in the glossy tint.
She aspired for gloss. It surrounded her: on the streets, on her phone, even at her school.
When did it first start it's seductive lure?
She couldn't vaguely tell how glossiness had crept into her life; then taken it over.
She flipped absent-mindedly through her Instagram.
There was no hashtag strong, or smart over there.
There just wasn't.
Why is that so awful? she looked up from her phone, puzzled, defiant. Why is it not enough to look fabulous?
She had never heard a good reason why not.
She just hadn't.