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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

CONCRETE JUNGLE !!!

Human habitation on the slopes of Shivalik Hills at Solan (H.P.)

 Clicked this one while driving by Solan.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

X IS NOT JUST ANOTHER LETTER




‘X’ is for Xenophobia and more:
‘X’ is the 24th letter of the English alphabet but can boast of some potent, mysterious, innovative, thrilling and awesome attributes linked to its usage.  It prefixes a peculiar word (my choice), which expresses ‘exaggerated fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign’. The scary looking word is ‘Xenophobia’.
 It originated from Greek word ‘Xeno’- meaning strange or foreign and phobia of course is morbid or unfounded fear or dislike of something or of some people.

From the inception of history, it can be traced that the feeling of xenophobia has existed all over the world in the name of culture, race or religion. In its maddening conflagration, millions of innocents have been ghettoized, banished, tortured or brutally eliminated.

Perhaps Xenophobia or irrational hatred was the genesis of Hitler’s inhuman intolerance towards the Jews in Germany, which propelled him to exterminate them in cold blood. Even in Russia during Second World War where his forces had a flimsy victory for a short time, he mercilessly massacred Jews there. (Ref. a heart-wrenching story that I read)

However, I’m not discussing more 'X' words and this narrative is not going to help Spelling Bee contestants or Scrabble enthusiasts.

X’ surely enjoys many exotic, novel and interesting linguistic references. Its personality has the clear distinction of standing tall in many semantic allusions and paradigms.

Let’s examine some of the linguistic games, which this exclusive letter plays in the semantic field of our times:

X’ is a Roman numeral, which stands for the number10 and its multiples. ‘X’ is also a multiplication sign in Mathematics. It has an important place in science and algebraic equations.

In astronomy ‘X’ stands for a comet of unknown orbit.

The mighty looking ‘X’ is used for extra effect in the mad ad world, where scramble for eye catching and innovative tag lines is perennial. Often I have noticed X being substituted for 'ex' e.g. Xtra mileage or Xtra power in the ads for cars. XL lables (extra-large) clothing for expanded waistlines.

To hold the attention of newspaper readers or TV channel viewers, the news headlines often use the word ‘Xposé’ after unearthing some alleged fraud or criminality in high places for the actual word ‘expose’.

In the media, X-rated films are meant to be watched only by adults.

“X-ray” is a photographic or digital image of the internal composition especially a part of the body, produced by the x rays being passed through it…” Then luggage gets X-rayed at airports, hotels and other strategic places.

Xmas is shortened form of the holy word Christmas. Xian is the abbreviated form of Christian.

‘X’ is used as a mark for expressing negation as opposed to tick mark.

Generation X refers to those born after the baby boom ended i.e. from 1961 to1981.

‘X’ is used in genetics too. X chromosome is one of the two sex determining chromosomes in humans.

X-files is the name given to Sci-Fi Television series loaded with fear, thrill and suspense.

X P is one of Microsoft’s operating systems.

Last but not the least is the intriguing use of the word’  ‘X-Factor’. It is hard to define the meaning except that it refers to some quality, talent, or influence, which adds ‘wow’ element to the personality.

In spite of two successive flops, the actor is still sought after, because of some X- factor perhaps.

At least this write up has made me conscious of the exotic mystique of  this wonderful letter. 

Friends,welcome to share your views! 

Cartoon courtesy: Internet

Saturday, June 21, 2014

My photo gallery of Shivalik Hills 1

Friends, I'm putting up temporarily in the  cool lap of Hills to escape the sweltering heat of the plains. Our small flat is decked  on all sides by the majestic presence of pines. Two episodes of heavy showers have brought life to the nut brown exterior of the lanky pines. In the midst of some scorched leaves there are ample glistening new leaves standing erect as if practicing permanently some Yoga Asan.
Yesterday was partly a windy day. And I was witness to an interesting exhibition of hordes of dry brown pine needles flying rhythmically before landing on the hill slopes or roofs of the houses or modest dwelling units. The sight reminded me of milk white snow flurries falling magically on the mowed lawns in the US, while you watch  spell bound,  standing safely behind the window pane.
There is surfeit of fallen pine needles on side walks on the Nahan Road where I go for a walk. The freshly oven-ed needles at least ease the unevenness of the cobbled berms.

 Here are a few shots of the landscape of the hill slopes from different angles.





Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

FRIENDS ON INDI BLOG



POST DEDICATED TO INDI BLOGGER COMMUNITY

It was my dear cyber friend Pattu Raj from Hyderabad, who acquainted me with the existence of indi bloggers community. She opined that my blog posts deserve to have wider readership. Thanks Pattu for this altruistic gesture. I miss your presence from the Indi blogs and your heartening comments. We are in the same league, retirees, but long to be heard while discoursing about the  raging societal concerns. We also wish to share our flights of fancy, our myriad impressions about life, our accounts of the miracles of nature, its cycle of seasons and the inspiration therefrom. 

It is an exclusive prospect, gifted by the Indi bloggers community, where patterns drawn by our thinking process, stirrings of our consciousness and nudges of our inner voice get inked on the screen. With the hope, that our friends here will visit our sites, read our posts, promote them and sometimes comment upon them.

Don’t be surprised if I confess that even at my age I have pure emotions that of a child. How thrilled I feel when well-wishers from the community say something encouraging or simply promote my posts

On my part, my association with indi bloggers has enabled me to have an enlightening peep into a reservoir of writings of all literary genres. Young bloggers write at length about romance its pains and pleasures.

There are poets who with their keen sensitivities weave all human emotions with the finesse of their measured words. There are photographers whose camera clicks bring out the palette of our unique lives and the world around.

The techie geeks come out with posts, which burst with information about mobiles phones, computers, share trading and much more.

Greatly advantageous is the chance to participate in variety of writing contests, which help to sharpen our writing skills and broaden our outlook

It is a world encompassing so much in its fold that the expression ‘GOLDMINE of knowledge’ succinctly describes its personality.

My only desire is to have more attention to my posts by my dear friends. I keep waiting when some posts of mine get space on the home page.

More power to this elixir of life promoting attributes!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

WORDS ARE OUR LIFELINE

ABC Wednesday

'V' IS FOR VEGETATE AND VEGETATION
We are lucky, friends, to have inherited fully developed languages. All languages have words that convey the subtleties and routines of our lives so fondly and precisely that reading structured words in myriad contexts touch our sensibilities instantly. The unique expression of the height of joy, the solemnity of sorrow and the pain of tragedy makes us relate to the gravity of the specific emotions.

Words are priceless gems in the firmament of communication. They are living entities and keep expanding their existing semantic boundaries. New words are coined and assimilated. Some popular ones from other languages are borrowed to keep pace with the need to articulate about the ever-progressing universe.
...............

Here is the tale of two words which are partially homonyms but denote entirely different semantic fields.

The word vegetate sends shivers down my spine as it often refers to the luckless ones- victims of tragic events passing into a medical coma. They merely breathe. Time spins around them without their noticing anything. For them time actually stops from the moment of some terrible happening. They are just like a clod of clay.  They present a sight, tragic and pathetic beyond words.

There is  less severe perspective to vegetate also.

There are those who have everything going for them but they prefer to be passive and indifferent.

Some parents are too busy to supervise and guide their children about things, which matter.  Children gorge on large portions of the  processed or junk foods. They switch on the TV and sprawl on the sofa with an iPad or smartphone, play all sorts of addictive games, while managing to watch the TV as well. Here the 'id' (ref.Freud) plays the pleasure principle. Such couch potatoes invite obesity and consequent image problems. This syndrome is fast catching up in India too.

There is the nouveau riche class in India who bid adios to their reasoning and harbor twisted notions about status. Their wives watch soap operas lounging on sofas, while a couple of domestic helps do chores and even prepare food. Household tasks are beneath their status and frowned upon.  No wonder, the seams of their tops come apart frequently. On doctor’s advice, they try to sweat it out in gyms or parks. Their husbands hire village urchins to wash their cars every morning and flood the roads.

Their euphoric state makes them indifferent to political and social tidings.

Old parents living with their children become so much engrossed in their wards lives for whatever reason, that they sacrifice their own interests. Mental vacuum due to the absence of any hobby of their own turns them into lazy blobs. Their passive life results in poor health and overall degeneration of their faculties.

The word vegetate connotes negative elements existing in our social fabric.
...........

 On the other hand, the word vegetation transports me to a joyful mental state. It conjures up beautiful images of dense forests, home to ambling animals, exotic bird species, orchestra of insect sounds, botanical marvels and indefinable mysteries.

Picture the sprawling gardens with stately trees, flowering bushes, mesmerizing variety of roses and manicured beds of seasonal flowers.  The small herbal kitchen gardens cared like gems by the dedicated few, enrich the ambiance. Surely, these are the images of which dreams are made of!

Mother Nature sustained and secured the first inhabitants of earth with its fruit and sheltered it from inhospitable conditions and dangers lurking at every step of   their  living.

If there is a lesson in hope and resurgence, it lies in nature‘s endowment of cyclic presentation. It has variety and dynamism as its permanent avatars.

Winter ushers in snows, shivers, family reunions, good food and gala festivals. Spring is kingly with its glisten and gleam of rebirth of plant life. Summer hosts us with cool drinks, exotic ice creams, lemon sherbets, juicy watermelons and honey sweet mangoes.  Autumn glorifies the atmosphere with shed leaves of golden hues. The miracles of nature are mind boggling.

Vegetation in some form or the other is the principal actor in all seasons!

Friends,your views are awaited.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

SUNRISE AT KUMARHATTI

HERE I'VE TRIED TO CAPTURE THE RISING SUN FROM THE PRECINCTS OF MY BALCONY.



 FRIENDS, HOPE YOU LIKE IT!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

PINES GALORE ON SHIWALIK HILLS

Friends, I'm in the midst of Shiwalik hills for a couple of months to beat the heat of plains. That is the upside.   But the down side is that I don't have Internet connectivity. I'm trying to improvise with an instrument which is  inserted into  the computer. But the response is erratic and speed worse than that of a snail.  I can do a little bit only in the morning. Browsing is out of question as links do not open. I won't be able to promote or comment at my favorite jaunt of Indiblogs. Please bear with me if i can't reciprocate. I thought i should tell you.

Here are a few photographs of the lovely pines I clicked on NAHAN road at KUMARHATTI (HP) which i want to share with you.




 Thanks!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

'U' IS FOR USURP

ABC Wednesday


'U' is for usurp
The word USURP has a weird body language and tongue twisting articulation that aptly suggest the nature of its semantic contours. It has to do with something, which is against propriety, righteousness or harmony of life. It pertains to some sort of injustice; taking something by force which is legally or otherwise not yours.

History is replete with such instances where to achieve ignoble ends the usurpers perpetrated untold sufferings and miseries on innocent people. After assuming power through dubious means, the usurpers resorted to inhuman treatment to subjugate the ruled to perpetuate their hegemony by guile or threats.

For example, the two world wars bear testimony to the inhumanity of man-to-man. These happened because of the perceived notion of Germans belonging to a superior race, fiercely propelled by Hitler. His maniac dream of conquering the world and becoming its supreme leader, led him to usurp power through shrewdly crafted psychological methods. To this end, he destroyed everything, which came in the way of usurping power. It is another thing that he could not succeed in his vile ambitions. His megalomania made him exterminate the Jews through a holocaust so terrible that it changed the history of the world.

Dictators everywhere manage to usurp power with the help of the army or through the cunning shenanigans of an Oligarchy. This is what Russian despot Stalin did after the October 1917 revolution. There exist countless such dreadful examples if we peruse world history.
On a micro level in India, there are numerous reported cases where a cunning sibling annexes the share of other siblings in property and betray their trust by conniving with dishonest revenue officials.

Most of us are witness to situations where an aggressive person usurps the chance of others to express their opinion by out shouting them.

A bully in a school or college or in the play field does grave injustice to others who are too mild to resist. It is however, a blot on the skewed social fabric of our times.

The usurpers or aggressive ones in any field of life appear to be gainers as compared to the righteous and mild mannered but eventually they land in the abysmal pit of diseased mental state. So do i think! Perhaps it is a false consolation!

Friends, I await your reactions!