Wednesday, October 24, 2007
This is the official tourist logo of Amsterdam.
I reached there by InterContinental Express ICE 224.
Boarded the train at Oberhausen which is 10 minutes
from my home in Mulheim. The journey took 2.5 hours at
an average speed of 130 km/hr and reached Amsterdam
Central by 7pm on Friday 19 OCT 2007.
The city is a typical tourist spot and is also maintained so. The tourists also help a lot in the maintenance process by littering. Gives a home coming feeling!! The temperature was around 12 degrees in the daytime and 4 degrees in the night and no breeze at all. So you don’t feel chilly. The sun was out and no clouds.
It’s a night city. Things start after 8pm and when the darkness begins, the lights are on! The streets are flooded with local and tourists and roadside music bands. Noisy I would say.
City layout – Architecture
Amsterdam means city on the river Amstel.
The city is around 8 feet below the sea level
and the water is drained through the extensive
canals. You can use the water ways to navigate
and get to any place in the city. The central station
is the landmark that one should use to recognise
Amsterdam in the movies. The style is a blend
of Gothic and Renaissance built in the 1800’s
by Cuypers. The other very famous landmark is
the Rijksmuseum build by the same architect. Unfortunately I could not make it to the museum due to time/money crunch. I need to make another trip just to visit the museums in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is also called the Venice of North. It has many beautiful bridges, even wooden ones from the 16th century.
Amsterdam goes hand in hand with diamonds. I went to a diamond
cutting industry where the famous Kohinoor diamond from India
was cut for the Queen. Well, diamonds are cheap if you have a salary
of 10,000 Euros per month!! There are several shops which sell
diamonds and they are tax free.
The Van Gogh museum is one place I need to visit again.
I had to see it quickly in just 2 hours time while more than
that is needed to capture Van Gogh’s master pieces mentally
as no photography is allowed. It has more than 200 of his
originals and also the letters he wrote to his brother Theo.
I don’t think there was blood flowing through Van Gogh’s veins. It was paint and emotions. His paintings capture the raw emotions, mainly of the farmers and his colours reflect them too.
I took this one day tour of Holland to see the famous Windmills and the capital city of Hague. It was a very nice trip to learn about the evolution of Holland the way they are utilising the resources. They are actually building a whole new neighbourhood by draining out water bodies. These are done over years
using windmills and windmills are every where
in Holland. There are several pastures for the
rearing of cows and Holland’s diary products
The city of Hague is very beautiful.
It the economic centre of Holland
and houses all the embassies, ministries and
commercial giants. The architecture is a
blend of Modern, Renaissance, Gothic and
There is a small village called Delft before Hague. It is an artisans village and famous for the Dutch clay artefacts.
The next place is the Madurodam. It is actually a war monument built 1952. It is an architecture park of miniature Holland and having the world’s biggest miniature railways.
Amsterdam and sex
Amsterdam is also designated as the sex capital of Europe.
This is a place where prostitution is legal and so are the drugs.
A big board says that pimping is illegal in Amsterdam.
As if people need them here. The girls stand in the most skimpy
clad dress and beckon the people with erotic gestures and language while the niggers ask if you want straw filled with quality marijuana and Viagra pills. I walked through the streets with pity for the body sellers and thinking about the mind set of the people who sleep with them.
There is also a sex museum which I visited. There are pornographic pictures from the late 18th century and paintings and some bizarre stuff. There is an Ivory sex toy in display which was made in India. The designs around them indicate it was from the Mugal period. Interesting!!
Travel and Food
There are a lot of Indian restaurants in Amsterdam and
many joints that have pure vegetarian stuff. Salads, French
fries and Falafel are the hottest selling items. Food is
available in all the varieties as Amsterdam is flocked by
millions around the world. Heineken is the trademark beer here.
The city has a network of trams and metro trains.
The waterways are used only for tourism.
The people in Amsterdam are very tolerant and friendly. They have a liking for Indians. There was a Dutch guy who was speaking to on the tram. He spoke in Tamil! He was there in Pondycherry and Thiruvanamalai for sometime and he picked up Tamil. There were also a lot of people who enquired about India. The main language spoken here is Dutch and almost everyone knows English. Dutch is similar to Germany and people understand it too. The population here enjoys Discotheques and casinos.
I returned back to Mulheim by ICE 125 that was from
Amsterdam central to Frankfurt. Got down at Oberhausen at
6.30pm on Sunday 21 OCT 2007.
Monday, October 08, 2007
I wouldnt have told her i miss her, for i dont, i would have told her i miss you, for i do.
I wouldnt have asked her how she was, I would have told her how I am, with you.
I wouldnt have asked her about her happiness, I would have told her about you, my happiness.
I wouldnt have talked about the past, I would have spoken about you, my present, my future.
I love you.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
December 6 1992 saw a big riot. The demolishing of the Babri Masjid. The discussion here is not about who is right and who is wrong in doing that. But the discussion is on preserving the belief. The Muslims fought for theirs and the Hindus for theirs. The funniest part is co existence and yet all the blood. The most funniest part is that the government has been celebrating December 6th as Babari Masjid anniversary and is reminding the people of all the differences.
A non Hindu sect was able to establish itself in a country called Hindustan. Its about secularism and at the same time not demeaning the existing religions. Every religion has the right to defend itself when it is threatened. Only that we should in a more civilized manner. The country needs more than fights due to religion.
But the country does not seem to realize that. The Rama Sethu project us emerging as a potential threat to Hinduism and the saddest part is that people have forgotten who a Hindu is. A Hindu is a native of Hindustan. Any citizen of Hindustan is a Hindu. Unfortunately now, people have started associating only Brahmins as Hindus. This has arisen from the political scenarios and the reservation systems.
A temple is a monument of belief. This holds good for structures that are considered to be sacred. The Ramar bridge is supposed to be destroyed to make way between India and Srilanka. Or is it being made so that LTTE can be benefited?! I was shocked at the remarks made by the CM of TN on this issue. He questions the existence of Lord Rama and he asks for proof of Srilankas burning by Lord Hanuman. What does the so called Kalaingar think about himself? He does not believe in God, we all know that. But he is forgetting that he is a Hindu. He is questioning the very base upon which India has been built and has insulted the Hindu population.
What is necessary is not proof, but belief. And the stronghold of tradition and religion in our country is only through epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata and upon this Hinduism is built. Already our country is being torn apart by the caste and now religious disputes? The CM of TN must think twice before speaking such things. I hope he realizes the meaning the Hindu and the need to preserve something that people consider sacred.
Yet again, I am astonished that there is no resistance from the people regarding this. This is a matter of religious belief and the government is planning to destroy the Bridge that is believed to be built by Lord Rama. This is a national issue and Kalaignar is trying to make it into a Brahmin issue! It feels very repulsive, sitting here and thinking about this issue.
When are the politicians going to stop dividing people? Its high time India becomes Hindustan again.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Education is the most important tool in a under developed country like ours. Now don’t raise eye brows. What is that we gain from the title Developing Nation? Its just imparts a false security and the hallucination that what ever is going on is right. Unfortunately, this system of quota is destroying everything what every Indian citizen wants to achieve and feel proud of.
I cannot oppose the quota system. It is essential when our country is divided into two major classes. The village and the city. Life is totally different in these places. Unfortunately, education is different too. This is that primary factor that actually makes the scenario worse. If education was the same, would you need a quota? See, this makes the quota system look funny. If there were a quota for the village students alone ( because of the education standards ) it case would be much simple. But caste spoils the whole thing. Why someone who seldom knows anything about the subject should, become a faculty just because of the quota system?
Our country cannot depend on Ekalavyans. Ekalavyan needed no Guru to become a master himself. Unfortunately in a population of 1,129,866,154 Indians (13-09-07, 2.15 PM IST) need gurus. The same population cannot depend on born geniuses, they need made geniuses. And geniuses are made only through proper education.
The quota/reservation system has destroyed the essential roots from where the development starts. Teachers. Let me illustrate a true and recent scenario. The government colleges needed chemistry faculty and an interview was conducted. 25 candidates appeared ( all above the age of 35 ), some already working as faculties in private colleges. The maximum belonged to a particular caste and no one was from the ‘knowledgeable class’. I would not have been angry if there was a single person who loved the subject, who spoke flawlessly, who wanted to become a teacher and who could make students understand the subject. But they were there only for the governments need to fill in the quota of teachers, get a government job and pension. A candidate who was already a chemistry faculty in a private college could not recollect the oxidation stated of common metals and struggled at equations. No body had command over the language or the subject. All of then had come into the system because of the quota.
Where are the people who actually love the subject? Who actually like teaching and are ready to dedicate themselves for imparting knowledge? Why is the government not looking at these aspects? Why does the government want anyone to teach? The answer is simple. People who qualify for all these are chucked out because their quota has been filled. ( If there are 100, 1 is the quota for such qualified people). Why do highly educated and capable people not come for teaching ( be it in any quota )? The pay is pathetic. There is no investment for teachers. I don’t know where else the investment is being made on if not on teachers!
India will start developing only when importance is given to the knowledge level and not the caste or quota. After all Who is John Galt ?
Monday, May 21, 2007
I sat down at the restaurant with my sister. She had long asked for a treat. Having competed 5 years of college and getting ready to launch myself into the next level of my life, research, I thought we would relax at this posh restaurant for dinner.
It was a brightly lit place. The menu card was elaborate and you had to spend ten minutes on going through it and another ten minutes on deciding what you wanted to eat! After successfully ordering the chosen menu we sat and talked about the things that were going around us. About the couple nearby who looked as if they were on a war front, about a family who had tasted half of what was there on the menu card, about the lonely man who was sipping a bottle of fizz…
Just sometime later, in came a family of four. There was this particular kid, six years old who was mentally retarded. They sat down near a family of three. There was a kid too in the family of three. But he was just as we were.
I saw the way the special child struggled to get on to the chair. His parents had to help him and keep his hands on the table so that he did not lose his balance. He had a inquisitive look on his face. Immediately he started to fumble with the menu card and tried to put it in his mouth. When his father did the ordering, he too wanted to say something. He was pointing at the nearby kid who was having ice creams. There was a look on his eyes that said, hey, am the normal guy here. Why are you guys behaving strange and not like me?
Looking at him, so many thoughts stuck me. Here is a kid who did no fault, but punished. As much as he wants to be free of all the restrictions, as much as he is restrained. We, the normal ones, do all possible things in life and get away with it. When there is so much freedom unbound, we act restricted and we act incapable.
What is our purpose? We live a life of certainty and dependence. Certainty has made us lazy. Everybody is certain that tomorrow will definitely come and we are going to live through it! Yet we lose out on the purpose of our life. We are capable of finding our purpose. What is his purpose in life? His existence is to prove to us that we are gifted. When you look at him, he makes you realise that you have so much in you and yet you are not capable of carrying it out. What is the difference then?
The special people are really those who can, but who don’t. He was born retarded, but many become retarded. Live you life and make the difference.