Sunday, December 21, 2008

India's Tryst with Christianity- St. Thomas Basilica, Chennai, India

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!!
India is a secular country. You will find people of all religions cohabiting peacefully side by side here in India. The general mass of people - the vast majority of people in India live side by side peacefully irrespective of their religions.

I, personally, like churches for two reasons-- anybody can enter without being pestered by the "Pandas" or the Touts of Gods as I will call them who will insist on your taking their help for a "Darshan" (View) of the God/ Goddess inside the temple and a conducted tour (Parikrama) AND the utter cleanliness.

Anyway without raising any hackles of anybody by comparing religions in India, which is not my main purpose I post here some photos of St Thomas Basilica at Chennai, India.

St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ, came to India in AD 52, died as a Martyr in AD72 and was buried at Mylapore, San Thome, Chennai, India. [I am sure San Thome name of the locality came from his name only). The Basilica is built over the Tomb of St. Thomas. This is one of the Only Three Basilicas that have been built in the World over a Tomb of an Apostle of Jesus Christ.

This is also the shrinewhere the next mos famous Missionary to India, St Francis Xavier (whose body is venerated in Goa) spent four months in the year 1545 and used to pray before the Statue known as "Our Lady of Mylapore". Even Marco Polo is said to have visited this Shrine in the 13th century.

When the Apostles dispersed to preach in different parts of the world, St.Thomas left for Parthia and India. His stay and preaching in North and South India is mentioned in two well known thirteenth Century Books: The Acts of Thomas (Acta Thomae) an The Teaching of the Apostles (Didascalia Apostolorum).

The Syrian Christians of Kerala, India strongly maintain the tradition, handed down from generation to generation in their Churches and Families, that their forefathers were converts were converts of this Apostle. According to this tradition, the apostle landed in Kodungallur (Cranganore) in Kerala around the middle of the first century of the Christian era (probably AD52) and founded Christian Communities in several places like Kodungallur (Cranganore), Niranam, Kollam (Quilon), Palayur etc.

The stained glass window which you will probably find in every church was constructed in 1896!!

You can download this mini book on the Basilica here. [Please click the link given to get the pdf file] or the pamphlet giving brief information here.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sunset on the backwaters off ECR, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India

Earlier also I have posted some scenic photos from East Coast Road (ECR) that connects Chennai to Pondycherry (Puducherry).The best ones, of course, are the ones where light plays with water. This is another one shot by me on 6th Dec 2008.

The photo below is from a slightly diferent angle and in Black and White.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fire in the Sky

We went driving on the ECR (East Coast Road) to Chennai looking for some photo Shoot Opportunities. I got one near Auroville. This is Bay of Bengal ocean, of course, and the boats are Indian Country Boats fishermen use to fish (what else!!)

This is a B&W rendering of a photo shot in a different direction at the same place.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Chicken Biryani at Chennai

MGM Grand, 31, Santhome High Road, Mylapore, Chennai. Good food. The joint is in the basement. The ambience is not good, but the food is tasty. Cost? Well Beer costs Rs 160/- plus taxes. The chicken Biryani cost was Rs 80/- or so ..i am forgetting now.. [tsk tsk]

Ranikhet, Uttarkhand, India

Life: There is always light beyond darkness. Just keep walking.

Deep within nature

Fairy Tale House - I will live here in my next life.. far from the maddening crowd.
Beauty forever. ............................................................................Fire Purifies.
[I do not know how I missed posting some of these photos. These had been taken by me at Ranikhet Hills Uttarkhand 2/3 years ago.]

Friday, December 12, 2008

Honda Cars, India

This post is just to test my skills at shooting cars!! Next I will graduate to modelling portfolios... hmm.. ... The above is a conversion of two photos from below..
These cars do have something in them. The Hondas and Toyota prices are a bit on the higher side. But again it can be argued that one should pay for Quality. But a word of caution here. My experience with them is that the Japanese do not believe in communication with customers. Also it is a fad that Honda cars does not have complaints-- either that or their service people are not trained-- otherwise how can brake pads fail in 30,000 kms when same driver can get 80,000 kms on same roads in Santro? And then how can the EPS fail in 30,000 kms too? So do not think that just because it s Japanese the car will be fault proof! It is not so. And I have a theory. I think when they treat India differently than other countries because we do not have a Consumer Movement like Developed Countries have. .
In fact even Toyota seems to have complaints as I did a google search and discovered. However Honda and Toyota does have something in their cars. Grudgingly, I admit that. If you are lucky you will get some wonderful experience when you buy a honda or a Toyota, I believe... So here are some pictures, because I tried my hand in car photos...... not bad I think.. However I am trying to see how I can change the backgrounds to make the cars appear more prominent in adobe.. let's see.

The CRV is fantastic.. and of course price is too.. 22 lacs on road... it has motorised seat movement.. none of those muscle twisting movements!!... The automatic accord- new Honda city too comes with automatic transmission.. 10.5 lacs or so on road... do not ask me for technical specs.. like I do with other objects of my photos.. I leave the writing to other people.. who have already put up lots of details.. in this case you can visit the honda site itself. and since they have not given me commission I will also not say anything in their favour.

Remember one thing in India-- In India it is a  caveat emptor. situation.. it is a sellers' market here and even the Japanese forget their kaizen ad TQM etc when they sell cars here.. You may find to your chagrin.. if you are unlucky. Of course if you ask me what I like.. nothing beats a Ferrari... sighhhhhhhhhh I am dreaming .!! me with a Ferrari? Haha Next life maybe!! LOL !!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Barack Obama's US Election victory speech: full text

Although my blog is about INDIA.... and a PHOTOBLOG too... I cannot help posting this speech of the newest President of USA... He speaks what we dream of in INDIA- an India bereft of Provincial Politicians who do the opposite of what America practises --- break INDIA into pieces on lines of caste, language and what not to get their votes. I love OBAMA!!

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled - Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics - you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to - it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington - it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America - I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you - we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek - it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers - in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House - a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friends...though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn - I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world - our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down - we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security - we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright - tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America - that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing - Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time - to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth - that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America."

Monday, October 27, 2008


Today South India celebrates Festival of Lamps as we call it Diwali or Deepavali. "Deep" in Hindi means Lamp or rather earthen lamp. North India celebrates tomorrow. For Bengalis it is worshipping of Mother Kali- another form of Goddess Durga. You can get the information on this activity in my earlier post.
Actually I first tried with an animated gif then Flash but after posting it became still. So am now testing how to do this.

Heyyy!!! I GOT IT ! Yesss!! Yesss!!. The problem was not with the codes or my file. Problem was I was not using a direct link to my file on the servers. Since I use free servers, I was using and but now I used which has free and paid service. The free once allows people to direct link. Good ehh! This is a flash file. By chance the link gets disconnected please tell me someone... thanks..

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Here are a few photos of Jaipur City. Since I went for work there I could only take photos wherever I went. I had visited this place as a tourist when I did not have a digital camera and so all my old photos still need to be scanned (dont think it will ever happen-- or maybe after I retire !!)

The Road to Jaiour from Delhi

The gate to Pink City -Hawa Mahal (the palace ) and the market. They are trying to maintain the colours. The Hawa Mahal (Hall of Windis- the umpteen windows were for the several queens to look out from their chambers and the design is such that during the heat of Summer in Rajasthan air circulation was maintained and hence the name.)

The busy market place during off period. This market was the bomb blast target recently.

The last one is a National Library I think, if I am remembering correctly. Or maybe the University.

I need not tell anyone about Jaipur. Foreign tourists know more of this than me!! LOL! They can be seen here in plenty. I have heard that some women fall prey to local love and marry locals - some of them just guides [who in Indian society are from the lower strata in terms of economic and educational status) (half of these women do not know probably that the locals marry to go abroad and of course the fascination Indians have for white skin (Alas!).

Image Map from some of my Photos - Click to visit the linked blogs

Colonial days at Calcutta, India Agra Fort Madurai Temple Architecture Fruits, India Silk Worm Cocoons, India Fish Market, India Happy Children, India Logging in Andaman Islands, India Tramcar, Calcutta, India Dharamshala, India Snowy Roads, India Painting by my wife, India Catwalk, India Fashion Show, India Beas River, Manali, India Autumn Leaves, Manali, India Snow in Manali, India Vagator Beach, Goa Mussoorie, India Mysore Palace Jaisalmer Desert, India Tamil Marriage Indian Market Scene Rajasthani Village Girl Birds of India Bay of Bengal, Pondycherry Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary Hogenakkal Water Falls, India Indian Roads Gulab Jamun, India Globalisation, India Indian Map Indian City from Sky Clay Pot Art, India Himalayas, India Benares, India Indian Palace