RANDOM THOUGHTS
To sleep or not to sleep
The Hamlet-like dilemma would seem trivial compared to the one of the Shakespearean hero, but it is relevant to me anyway. Simply said, is it wrong to catch a nap during the day? These days for the advancing years perhaps, while lying horizontal on the sofa after lunch and scouring the newspaper, my eyes want to go for a shut-eye. Slowly, the words become blurred and the most enticing thing in the world seems to be, what else, a snooze. After coming back to earth with a start, I immediately feel guilty. Waste of time, I rebuke myself, when I should have finished a chapter of the new book, I slept!
When the hills cry
Monsoon time. The sky pours, the earth looks fresh and distressed at the same time as flood waters submerge the landscape. I remember a time like this a couple of years ago. We were travelling to Guwahati from upper Assam. It had been raining heavily the previous day but now the sky was blue and a cool breeze was blowing. We were about to reach Jorabat. The name connotes a twin or joint- road. It is from this junction that one drives upwards to Meghalaya, the abode in the clouds, or continues towards the capital city of Assam, and vice versa.
When we were at the threshold of teen years, the hugely popular song Lipstick on Your Collar by Connie Francis took over our imagination. It had the delicious tang of tasting a forbidden apple.
Watching the news channels on 16 June, a sense of déjà vu overtook me. So the PLA at it again! I remembered our trip to Ladakh in autumn of 2009, the beautiful Nubra Valley through which we drove on to reach Pangong Tso lake, the astonishing play of colours on its serene water and us scanning beyond to the east to catch sight of, unreasonably, some Chinese soldier.
One of the positive fall-outs of the lockdown due to Coronavirus, though ‘positive’ is hardly the right word, is that there have been many home grown chefs. In Indian households many a husband who would rather not make a cup of tea if he could help it, now turns out delicious khichdi. Another whose wife is a great cook now flaunts a chicken curry to rival her. You wonder, where did all this culinary talent was hiding?
Once in school, in the fourth or fifth standard perhaps, I remember that I had an attack of Chicken pox. So no school- strictly for 21 days. It had to be followed even though I had recovered quite soon.
Ljubljana is a beautiful city. The capital of tiny Slovenia, once part of Yugoslavia before it broke up in the 1990s, sits cozily on the bank of the river Ljubljanica. I had heard much about its charm but even then couldn’t help being pleasantly surprised by its air of serenity and casual air, unlike in many capitals today.
A few days back a small news item caught my eye: ‘Star architect to pay Venice Euro 78,000 over bridge too fragile for tourists’. Apparently the glass and steel bridge that was opened to the public in 2008 is facing multiple problems. The architect , an Italian court said, did not foresee or ‘neglected’ to take note of, that Venice’s great tourist explosion and their luggage needed a sturdier design for the bridge. Should he have taken advice of local people who were familiar with this problem?