December 8, 2013
A visit to the Museum is one of those things you think you should do but your heart doesn’t beat faster like it would when planning a trip to a beach or Mall. I think of Somerset Maugham who said one should only visit one cultural spot a day - an Art gallery or Museum or Church and look at only one thing; a painting maybe and then go home .
Still, here in Australia the visit is not exhausting but in fact, rather interesting. The wonderful part is the presentation. Artfully lit rooms, few objects at any one spot, information presented in various forms of media ; it becomes a very pleasant experience.
Since the history of Australia is relatively short, a mere two centuries, the museum relies heavily on natural history and the histories of other lands. Since we had Advaith with us, the natural history was of course of great interest with life sized, well preserved animals, who had passed on at the local zoo.
At the Art Gallery next door, there happened to be an exhibition of Indian art with Tibetan Jain and Moslem influences. We saw a great deal of rich art which we may not have been able to see in India at one place. A volunteer guide told us she was ready to take us around, saying a little wistfully you probably know more about than I do. Anyway let me tell you that god is Krishna. I was so happy to agree .
December 6, 2013
December 3, 2013
Every town in India has a public playground in some small lane. Put there by a long forgotten town planner and has managed to escape greedy eyes. A hard, bare area where the earth has been tamped down firmly by countless bare feet, the places under the swings and slides dented into deep trenches, with no scope for anything green to escape pounding feet and hands. The chains of the swings may end up swinging empty or a few lengths of rope may have replaced the missing wooden seat, the hand rail of the seesaw will be partially broken, the rungs of the ladder of the slide may have a few teeth missing.
Yet on any evening, there will be dozens of children there waiting their turn; in one corner there will be young men seriously swinging from the bars and twirling heavy objects, building up their muscles as much as they can on un-nutritious food.There will be several games going on in the remaining space, all overlapping one another. There will be sound and cries and lots of life.
Here in Australia, the Council strives hard to provide facilities to children. The City of Marion, part of Adelaide, an area of 55 sq km has allotted $ 7 million to improve the 89/playgrounds and parks it has. Each one of them has a play area with swings, slides, climbing equipment. The bigger parks have walking/cycling tracks. There is a bench or two to sit down and have a picnic meal. They are beautifully planned, safe, colourful and imaginative. Only the children are missing.
December 3, 2013
The male notion of shopping seems to be : Make a list – Buy – Get back home. ‘Browse’ doesn’t seem to exist in their vocabulary. What a delightful activity they are missing out on.
Back home in India, before I started to Adelaide, I thought this trip I won’t spend time and money and won’t exasperate family here by buying things for family there. No one needs any thing more really. But now, at least 20 people back home seem to need a little something from me. And how does one satisfy that need without a little browsing?
The point of browsing is just to know what is available. At what price. Followed by a quick calculation of whether it is cheaper back home. It usually is The things that you want to buy for people are usually way above your budget and those that fall within, are …yawn.
But still, wouldn’t you want to just wander through the wonderful Rundle Mall (picture above) just to look ?
December 2, 2013
November 30, 2013
Sunday afternoons have become hiking times.(that’s a grand statement considering I’ve been here two Sundays, but..) Last weekend, it was Victor Island, home to many different species of birds. This week it was up the mountains at Mount Lofty.
On the map, there were many different trails with intensity and lengths clearly charted out. The clarity of organisation and perfection in execution seem to be the hallmark of Australia.
Another aspect that hits one squarely in the wellpadded solar plexus region is the focus on outdoor sports and just being outside in the blazing sunshine. People are at the beach, surfing, swimming and doing a variety of things with boards and boats or at the least, cycling or running. Very few are doing just the walking that we favor.
On the trails, people huffed up behind me and it was music to my ears which could hear me panting loudly and then, they magically turned around and sauntered down again.
This is a nation that worships the sun and the body. We in India, are so used to having other people do things for us that we progressively become more and more unfit . A walk everyday and we feel terrific about ourselves. Then we travel and we feel the limit of our bodies as we huff over the littlest things like lifting our own bags. Sadness.
Fittingly, I hear about Sri Chinmoy here at the summit of Mount Lofty. Yet another guru from India who managed to influence his share of the West bringing them peace and meditation, adding in an unusual twist, long distance runs and weight lifting!
November 29, 2013
Strawberry picking! The first notion to go is that one gets paid by the farmer.
We pay for the rush of pleasure one feels when sighting rows of carefully tended plants, each with its little bunch of red red berries hanging there waiting to be plucked and bitten into with heightened senses.
The sunshine, the ease with which we pluck the fruit, the feeling of doing something very romantic and new and straight from all those books we’ve read all add to the moment.
And then we carry away boxes to be eaten, turned into jam,smoothies, puddings … Promises in the offing