Silk Festival

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Silk Extravaganza

With the mild weather come numerous exhibitions in this beautiful city of Chandigarh. I had the pleasure of visiting an exhibition called the Silk Utsav or the Silk Festival at Kisan Bhawan in Sector 35, Chandigarh. The hand made and some machine made products are from numerous states of India including Karnataka, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, West Bengal, Assam, Delhi, Jharkhand, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh among many others.

The exhibition has a wondrous collection of silk saris, scarves and suit pieces. There are many other stalls of accessories and goods for home decoration. The products are being sold at genuine bargain prices. A pleasant surprise awaits shoppers from the 25th of September to October 6th, 2015.

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Book Dive

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Ishoo looks at an Issue of his book treasure.

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Tunnel of Books; Tons of Books

Book Dive

Book lovers are attracted to books like honey bees to flowers. My city, Chandigarh has a unique area allocated for the resale of old books in Sector 15. Chandigarh is the first planned city after independence and designed by famous architect Le Corbusier.

I remember when I was studying in the Punjab University the book sellers were located on the pavements right opposite the exit gate on the dividing road between Sector 15 and the Univ as it was called then. I spent many pleasant evenings looking for a work of fiction to read at my leisure.

Today, alas, the works of fiction for sale are not so interesting, famous or classical. These books are merely the flotsam and jetsam of quick fiction readers. After an hours search I found two books. One was ‘The Clock Winder’ by Anne Tyler and I bought it because I loved her book The Accidental Tourist. The other I took because the cover claimed it to be a New York Times Bestseller. The name of the book is Hugger Mugger. Maybe the name intrigued me. It is written by Robert B. Parker. So this weekend it is going to be Hugger Mugger.

The real book buyers here are students from the University who want cheap second hand course books. They have my sympathies for books are very expensive. You can really find all course books for school, college and university. If you tell the seller he might even find a particular book from some source. Software programming books are displayed prominently and must be much in demand.

This pursuit of fiction is not for those who have the OCD of dirt-fear. I give the books a thwack and a bang and that is reasonably clean for me. The price of course is atrocious. This guy Issue (rather an apt name for a book seller; maybe he spells it as Ishoo) gave me a flat rate of Rs. 40 per book of fiction. That is two thirds of a dollar. I’ll wash my hands every time I hold the book. I asked Issue if book sales have declined because of the arrival of the World Wide Web. ‘No Way’ he said happily as if he had just killed a dragon. The Internet does not scare us. I looked doubtfully at him and then slinked away.

One complaint in passing from an almost founder citizen of the city- the underpass I had to take from fifteen to sector 11 is filled with rain water and I am sure in their fight against dengue the Chandigarh Administration will show some alacrity in drying this hell hole. This must be the Paradise of mosquitoes.

Let’s hope some official takes notice. Don’t modern cities have informers like olden times Kings used to have? I suppose I can be considered an informer. Anyway banish the negative thoughts I am happy, I am set for the weekend with two books to read.

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Secret is a hot favorite

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Zounds even the Hounds

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A Prayer for Owen Meany

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What the Dickens?

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A Fictional Life

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Buy and Sell

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Software books

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Paradise of Mosquitoes Under Pass Sectors 15–11

Come September

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HOWDY MISTER, WHAT IS THIS BIG FUSS ABOUT SEPTEMBER?

Come September

Goodbye 44 degrees Celsius; Goodbye 100% humidity. Summer is finally leaving. As I open the door to my balcony I am brushed by a cool breeze from the Shivalik Hills right in front of me. I can see a grayish glow as the Sun yawns awake still lingering in its bed hidden behind the cool hills. The Sun will soon march in like an energetic Sergeant or more rightly like our dynamic world travelling Prime Minister Mr. Narendera Modi (right now again in the US after visiting  Ireland), checking the arrangements for its grand entry. The Monsoon clouds have departed fizzled out this year by El Nino. They had really taken the fizz out of the Sun’s strutting. At least for fifty days the Sun was smothered by a thick blanket of kidnapping clouds.

As I descend for my morning walk I check my mailbox. Summer gives a last kick in the teeth. The electricity bill is here. We have to pay the piper now for using the air-conditioning so liberally. Like the stray dogs on the road I want to bite some Electricity departmental leg. They have added a cess of Rs. 3000 that is about 50 dollars. Dictatorial as usual. Oh I really want to be away from these undemocratic bossy strutting neighbors and environ. Perhaps my current read, ‘Travels with Charley’ by Steinbeck is getting to me.

I have yet to see the first sleeveless sweater or the first windcheater. Most probably it will be a motorcyclist off to work protecting himself from the chill. At home I am still wearing well worn-out T-shirts with holes and faded cotton pants cut into shorts.  At last with the cooling weather I will be able to wear my good clothes. I have survived the sticky weather dressed like a hobo.

It’s quieter but the birds are becoming chirpier. They are enjoying the weather too. People have started coming out of their air conditioned or air-cooled rooms to stare with new eyes at the world in milder and welcoming dawns and dusks. Soon the ceiling fans will stop whirling and the air-conditioners stop buzzing from windows.  Sounds that were smothered by the air-conditioner’s whirring will now be audible. I leave windows open and the fresh cool breeze that wafts in is like a scented elixir. This is the time to travel in India.

The festival bonanza is going to begin next month. It is as crazy as Christmas in the west and culminates with Diwali. Two and a half months of cool bliss before the freeze sets in at the end of December. The Navratra fasts will be soon upon us. Eight or nine days of fasting but a fasting which allows many vegetarian things like potatoes, bananas (prices shoot up) and esoteric fried concoctions of a religious kind. Even the hardened chicken and mutton eaters give their canine teeth a rest and whimper before the TV. No alcohol for these hell-bound meat eaters too. Restaurants innovate with vegetarian combos. Some people actually gain weight during these fasting days. Then the festival season is upon us and people spend money like crazy.

Come September let me bid you, ‘Goodbye September,’ will wait for you eagerly next year.

Connect With Me//Over a Cup of Coffee

I am heating up the coffee meanwhile I’m gathering my thoughts…………………..Will surely have a cuppa with you.

Be Free 2 Love

Hey Blog Family,

We had such a great turnout for the last Mix and Mingle…so, it’s time for another one!  Let’s take a moment to say hi to someone new, and possibly gain a long-term friend!

Let’s pretend that we are sharing a cup of coffee (or some other fancy drink if coffee isn’t your thing).  Over this cup of coffee, we will share details about our week with one another.  This idea was inspired by the Writing 101 course that I’ve signed up for via WordPress.

As always, thanks for joining! Now, let’s grab a cup of coffee!

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If we were drinking coffee right now, I’d let you know that I’ve recently wrote an Open Letter To My Father.  I’ve never been so transparent before with him.  I was able to share most of my thoughts and feelings that I’ve been keeping safe since childhood.  My father…

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Travels With Charley–Book Review

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Travels with Charley— John Steinbeck

–Book Review—Part I

Having just finished the book Travels with Charley I feel as tired as John Steinbeck when he reaches close to home near the New Jersey turnpike. His home was at Sag Harbor on Long Island which is mentioned several times in Moby Dick. The book is rather a pessimistic and despondent view of America’s future as observed in the 1960s. It is also a long journey of 10,000 miles. The name is inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes.

Of course it was an honor to ride with a Nobel Prize winner. He is a great American writer in English. One of my favorites is his “Grapes of Wrath.” I treasure my copies of The Log from the Sea of Cortez, Tortilla Flat and Cannery Row. This book is a worthy component of my Steinbeck library. I found it in one of those wondrous shops that sell old books in New Delhi.

The book attracts because of the secret desire of every person to take off on an explorative expedition of his or her own country. Steinbeck did exactly that despite a reported heart condition which he does not refer to in the entire book. People discredit the book because they allege that a large proportion of it is fiction. A little embellishment should be forgiven and the personal view points of the author on various subjects are very interesting.

The legend on the front page says:–

“The #1 National Bestseller. Now only 75cents.”

Travels with Charley

My copy of the book was printed by Bantam Books in July, 1963 which makes it 52 years old.

IN SEARCH OF AMERICA

It really feels I have been with him searching for the real America of the sixties. He touches upon all subjects in his journey and fills the reader with curiosity and wonder. He has in empathetic awe of things which shines through the pages; I felt it especially when he took me to the Redwood trees in California. He says, ‘The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always.’—-“they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.’

Though the book has a sombre view of America’s future it makes interesting reading. I am sure he would have been surprised by the material progress of the country and pleasantly shocked on seeing Barack Obama as President of the country. He would be dismayed by the suspiciously prejudiced shootings of black people on the streets of America by the police.

It is a lovely journey taken half a century ago in a GMC truck converted into a mobile home named Rocinante after Don Quixote’s horse.

I have always loved Steinbeck. Cannery Row and the Log from the Sea of Cortez are two of my favorite books. Grapes of Wrath made me cry at the sad lot of the migrants from Oklahoma and other states during the depression and the dustbowl phenomenon working in pitiable conditions in California. Everyone loves ‘Doc’ based on his marine biologist friend Ed Ricketts.

I remember once I sort of fell into a chat room of a man and a woman discussing Steinbeck on the Internet. They were pondering over the fact that Steinbeck never wrote funny stuff. I interjected without a pardon me that perhaps they should read Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat. There was a stunned net-silence and net-raised eyebrows and the gentleman said in a profoundly amazed text which I believe was “thank you kind sir” and the chat room shut down.

Steinbeck discusses everything from coin operated machines to hairdressers and real estate. He describes his coffee drinking bouts with strangers in such detail that I had the urge every time to make coffee for myself; I did not add the whiskey which he seemed to proffer to strangers with or in the coffee. It was the same way with me when I was a small boy reading Famous Five books by Enid Blyton. When the Famous Five went on picnics I quickly made sandwiches to appease my aroused hunger pangs.

He is disappointed by the rapid growth of Seattle. The reader gets the unapproving drift from Steinbeck who wrote, ‘I came out on this trip to try to learn something of America.’ He finds the people of Ohio open and friendly as opposed to those in New England—“The natural New England taciturnity reaches its glorious perfection at breakfast. Early-rising men not only do not talk much to strangers, they barely talk to one another.”

I learned and some extra which I had to Google– like the ‘poor boy sandwich’; ‘ci git’; braceros, mulsed, hame bells and fleered.

He has many things to say about ‘resisting change’ Pg107; Lonesome Harry Pg 139; desert and spirituality Pg 214; Texans Pg 225. ‘what are Americans like today’—Pg 241. The South and Negro issue Pg 245.’Cheerladies New Orleans.’

His aphorisms are amusing—“A Texan outside of Texas is a foreigner.”

‘The meanwhile frightens me, sir.’

One of the people he encounters says, ‘I remember a time when Negroes had no souls.’

Elsewhere–“No sir,” he said, “I’ve been practicing to be a Negro a long time.”

“Yellowstone National Park is no more representative of America than is Disneyland.”

“A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a gun.”

“There used to be a thing or commodity we put great strike by. It was called the People. Find out where the People have gone.”

He talks about Martin Luther King and Gandhi while discussing the race issue in America. He wanted ‘passive but unrelenting resistance.’ “There’s improvement, there’s constant improvement. Gandhi proved it’s the only weapon that can win against violence.”

Let’s hope you are right ‘Captain Sir’ as the scared old black man who fearfully agreed to take a ride in Rocinante called you. Let’s hope you are right Captain Sir.

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Bill Steigerwald in his comments steered me to this page on the net which makes interesting reading including his book “Dogging Steinbeck” on Amazon.com.

http://truthaboutcharley.com/

Bar Fight

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Bar fight

You’re alone

You’re drinking

Satan is rising

This is the time to decide

This is the time to anchor

Your mind.

Tonight I will not let the devil escape

I will let the rude answers lie dormant

I don’t want another scar.

I don’t want to hurt a just-met drinking buddy

This time I must smother the devil.

Only morning will tell if I succeeded

Now I am in hyperspace

Good night.

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His Master’s Choice!

His master's Choice

Autumn Chill cools the nights as we live near the hills and it is five degrees cooler here in Panchkula than New Delhi the capital of India. This doggie is trying to heat up his body after the night’s chill.

Donald Trump–General U-listen-I-Grunt–Oink Oink–Grunt Grunt

GENERAL ULISTEN I GRUNT

Has he been putting his thing where his mouth is? As he is prone to commenting about women and Mexicans in a derogatory way. Remember the wolf in Red Riding Hood!

Donald Trump–Dirty Dick

I remember in old novels and movies DT used to mean delirium tremens or the shakes after a drinking binge. Now it means Donald Trump or Dirty Talk or Dirty Dick in the mouth white racist pig. America has got a big hangover with this foul mouthed school bully.

Someone needs to give him a verbal response. I can only think of the North Korean president. They would be great friends I am sure.

He will be America’s Caligula if elected. The world is laughing at America’s Republican Party. Really? Just money makes the mare go? I think he is a braying donkey.

Wash Up Dick especially your mental cavities. Floss them before you take the stage.