Sunday, 23 December 2007

Paris Visit

I visited Paris Last weekend (Stayed there for couple of days), It was a very interesting journey to Paris where at last minute we came to realize that Belgium Trains are at strike and there were no trains from Mechelen to Brussels, we had to share a taxi with a student from Japan and another professor looking guy. It costed us 35 Euros while a train journey would have costed us at the max of 6 Euros, Long Live Strikes..

I feel that was just a beginning and in the Brussels Central station we were taken for a ransom of 120 Euros for a return ticket as we did the booking just before an hour or so. Then the train strike cast its spells here as well, as the international trains leave only from Brussels Midi station , when we approached taxi guys, we got a reply saying that its pretty walkable. When we started walking we realized that we were lied to (May be the taxi drivers wanted to take advantage of strike and preffered to take only long journeys, Human mentality hardly changes ).

We were exhausted when we finally reached Midi station and when we boarded the train we were totally exhausted and we just crashed to our seats.

It was a super fast train (above) which reached Paris (Gare du Nord) in less than one and a half hours time . We were into to the land of "Oui"s and "Bon Jour"s and booked ourself into a hotel just opposite to the station and went for a Sight Seeing tour, after couple of hours I realized why Paris is so high in the books of romantics, there is a mystic aura that prevails in this city and it just takes you with it.

We were roaming around La Opera and went to Notre Dome and lot of other places around river

Siene where i got used to hearing "This was built during blah blah century and by blah blah blah for blah blah reasons" ot was a boring norm and the striking thing was the La Invalides where they have built a huge resting place for wounded soldiers and it was heartening to hear that Napolean personally visited the place to ensure the veterans got a good treatment.

After chilling out in the cold of the open bus, we settled back in the room and it was awesome to have a proper south indian food near the Gare Du Nord.

Whole of next day we spent in the Louvre (Still have doubts abt the pronounication) and i couldnt describe in the words, it would be a pure trance to any art lover and especially the classical european art. But somehow i was not really fascinated seeing Monalisa even at a closeup, I would rather prefer other works of Da Vinci than the Monalisa. The good find of the trip was my find of the impressionist paintings which i feel is really awesome. The main birth of impressionist movement was mainly rebellious of the norm and an urge to distinguish art from the photography. Its a typical competetive strategy of creating a new market place which impressionists did, where they wanted to outscore the photography which could take more vivid pictures of portrait and landscapes. Those loose brushes which leave an impression and which leave the viewer to guess this is really amazing and is philosophical as well.

Before going to Paris , i have never realized that
art could influence your life this much and i was very happy to have spent a bit to see paris and understand its mystical aura which we all still fail to grasp.

Couple of days after our trip i saw a movie called 2 days in paris and it was just what i wanted and is a great depiction of those who really dont understand what monsieurs live for.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Distraction Theft Attempt - Antwerp

Me and my friend had a very strange experience in Antwerp, Belgium, the story goes likes this..
We were on our way back to our hotel in antwerp after a harddays job in Mechelen(later we moved there itself) and we bought an australian delight icecream (which was fantastic) and we stopped for a bit shopping (i bought dorittos and he bought calling cards, so Shopping may be a bit of an overstatement) while we were walking outside, we were stopped by a tourist looking guy.
He kept on asking for directions in different european languages and after we gave up saying that we dont belong here and just on a short visit, two guys popped up out of a sudden, the road pitch dark (Imagine 6 pm during european winter) and after flashing their Police (politie) badges they asked our details about where we were coming from and wanted to see our passports, suddenly i remembered what my older boss told long back about a similar inciedent that happened to him in Geneva and i decided that these guys could be fakes, yet we were not in a position to argue back (I was scared that he could run away with my passport) and he took my friends wallet and wanted to check for the presense of drug.
They let the first guy go and told us that dark street is known for drug trafficking and they do a routine check. Luckily my friends purse was very lightly loaded and they let us go.
This was such a trauma and in hindsight, we concluded
> These guys were fake
> The first guy was used to distract us and was let go to have a watch whether anybody is coming on the way and to give a signal
> We were not all that couragious as we keep telling ourselves
For the next fewdays we always had a suspicious eye on others and were very hesitant to initiate a conversation with others. Esp in Paris where we spent our week (Another Post)


Mechelen is a very interesting place where i was working on a short assignment for two weeks for a client.
It has a very interesting history and has several places of interest.
I had couple of interesting anecdotes which i wanted to share.
I was trying to send a courier this morning to UK (Another seperate story) and the hotel receptionist told me in broken english that meant "This being a small city we dont have any courier offices" . Cool i had alternatives.....
It was time for lunch and after we were walking for about more than one half an hour around the noon we came to realize that the place didnt have enought restaurants as well ,gradually we were ready to make any compromises to eat anything and after a great search we ended up in a place called Panos which finally served some good food (some pretty romantic scenes by a cool couple sitting opposite to me)
In the evening we went for walk and bumped across a pub (where i did my first experimentation with campari ) and we were amazed to a very good dinner , -Omlet Champignon-(We thanked the server many a times).
Sometimes what we search for is always in a reachable distance and yet we keep searching.....


I took this photo, when we went to Kulu Manali (In Punjab) by Sep 2007 and i really liked the expressive face of the Old Man.
What could he be thinking??
Will he be aware of all the thoughtfulness and thoughtlessness and all of those philosophical confusions? Nope i hope!

Friday, 14 December 2007

Define Your Past, Predict your Future

Ostensibly the question "Who Am I" doesnt warrant a big answer but when you dig more on the philosophical side, it poses a huge challenge and is really daunting as hell.

Was reading through the Art of Now and traced its orign to Ramana Maharishi and on his soulful guidance to Bhagavad Gita.

Its a very interesting soul searching exercise that who am i can reveal you. So i thought instead of sitting in a room and trying it out, which i would do eventually , i would blog my thoughts.

So who am I? Well , this really depends on the Who Am I to whom? Philosophies want the whom to be "you", then what is you? This again traces us to I.

Who Am "I"
View 1:
"I" for obvious reasons is my body and mind put together, since body is not immortal , I am not the body, So is I using the body to stay for a while and have a nice time?

If this being the case, is "I" a space time like conitnuum across(which again is under debate) ?

If "I" is a continuum across, then there doesnt exist seperate "I" , which implies we are all part of an oneness which religions attribute to God. Hence great guru's like Ramana insist you to keep asking your self the question "Who Am I" which is the starting point of realization of oneness.

But if we admit such an oneness exist, does the oneness split itself and gets into the bodies? Why would it do so? Or should we simply conclude the oneness is in all and I am You and You are me.
If it being the case, do we really need to worship/beleive in god, because we ourselves are a part of the god. If we have a presense of god in us, why there are sinners? So should we realize this connection, is this what is called as awareness or consciousness.

This is an intresting realization of I , which i seem to conclude that it is not unique and rather it is the oneness.

So the physical I which we are really bothered about is nothing but an implementation of the interface "I", which we extend to whatever we want as a matter of convienience.

I dont want to dwelve into the complexities further which may satisfy my urge to verbalise what i feel but as a conclusion i was struck by following thoughts i have read recently.

> Who Am I? which leads me to oneness
> Dont get disturbed by Past, dont get daunted by Future.
> Live in now with full conscious ness , because now is what you have to define your past and shape your future
> Concentrate on the things that you do now , have full love over others because they are not far different from what you are because the oneness is in every one
> This way you can define your past and predict your future, because you hold the key

The take-away's of my last two months study has been said above, all of the above thoughts are based on several assumptions and recently it has been changing a lot towards what i elaborated above.

I beleive , i will stick to these concepts till a radical change happens in my thought process, because
> This gets me more disciplined
> I try to treat success/failure the same
> My resolve to get my things done is increasing several fold

All of the above thought process is not going to make me an yogi and that is not what i intend to become as well.

Just want to live a happy , simple and uncomplicated life.