Saturday, March 29, 2008
Strange London In My Head
So the city I know is the one shown on the tube map. The first time that I tried going out and walking a bit, I was surprised that the city was different from the imagined city in my head. Like the time I walked from Shepherd Bush to Hyde park.
So now every time that I have the opportunity, I want to walk around and discover new areas of London.
This time, I knew that going around was going to be difficult as most of the time was going to busy for work. But my first evening was free. I was on the 12th floor of the hotel and the view outside was wonderful. That showed me that the river Thames was very close. So, even if the sky was overcast with thick dark clouds, I hurriedly left the suitcase in the room and walked towards the Thames.
Unfortunately, as I reached near the river, it strated raining. I just had enough time to take a hurried picture of the river and run back towards hotel!
So even if the view from the hotel was wonderful, there was no time to go out and discover the city. And I was forced to stay in the room and watch TV.
It was the time of terminal 5, the new terminal at Heathrow airport. First there was the inauguration. And then there were endless documentaries about the new airport, how big it is, what a wonderful fully automated computer directed bagage handling system it has, etc. There was one show where they explained how increadibly big steel beams weighing hundred of tons were hauled up over a period of 11 months to make the largest free hanging roof in the world. That really made me afraid. I would prefer not to know about hundred tons of steeel haning freely above my head, thankyou. And all those endless details about automated computerised handling systems stressed me know end, making me think of lost bagages and endless hours on telephone trying to dialogue with a machine, like it happens with most of call centres when you want to complain about problem in your telephone or electricity bill.
No thanks again, given a choice, I would prefer to pass thourgh a small airport, where human beings deal with me and my luggage. The picture below showing the construction of the roof of the new terminal is from Guardian archive.
However, I did a find a way to explore some new areas of London. On my last day, I did manage to wake up very early in the morning and went out to explore, walking from King's road in Hammersmith to Gunnersbury park metro station, passing through Chiswick.
It was strange to walk through empty streets. It almost didn't look like London without the traffic. Here are a few pictures from that walk.
Monday, March 24, 2008
A spring walk
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Sex and Hypocrisy
Here are two news items from today's newspaper that illustrate this hypocrisy:
In Tehran (Iran), Mr. Reza Zarei, head of the police department for ensuring proper moral conduct in the national capital, was discovered in the company of 6 sex workers. Mr. Zerei had become famous for his harsh stand on what he called "immoral behaviour" and had got arrested hundreds of young persons with this accusation.
In New York (USA), Mr. Eliot Spitzer, the 48 year old Governor of the New York state has been forced to resign because he was using his office money on sex workers. His bill for the prostitutes amounted to 80 thousand US dollars.
In India, persons who moralise are a plenty. Just think of the one in Maharashtra government who had banned the women in dancing bars. When people are so vehement about moralising, I always feel that they have something to hide! So I hope experts of investigative journalism and sleuths should go after such persons to look in their cupboards if there are any hidden skeletons!
And to celebrate openness, have a look at the Italian version of the Naked News that started today. This internet and mobile phone based TV channel has news shows where the newsreaders (strictly women) slowly take off their clothes, while reading the news. Obviously the TV channel is available only for paying clients.
I guess learning or practicing Italian with this news channel could be great fun - it would help you in staying awake while studying and increasing your general knowldge. Only problem is too much anything is not so good and probably once you have seen it a few times, you will be plain bored.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The tragedy of being a sex symbol
Soon the bus reached the university area and young students filled the bus. I was going through the newspaper I had found my seat, when I suddenly heard a sharp intake of breath close to me. I looked at the newspaper and I understood the reason for the sudden silence around me. I think all the persons around me were looking at the full page ad on the newspaper.
It is an ad of the March issue of a men’s magazine called Max and the picture showed the cover of the magazine with a breath-taking nude young woman. The picture shows the face and the back of the woman clearly while her breast is seen in a silhouette. The girl is Eva Riccobono and is described as the new Italian top model, a new sex symbol.
As I got down from the bus, I took care to take that newspaper with me. Usually I prefer looking at more mature woman but in this picture, Ms. Riccobono does look wonderful.
While walking to home, I was thinking about the tragedy of Ms. Riccobono. When people proclaim you as a sex symbol, when you become famous for your beautiful body, I guess in your head a clock starts ticking like never before.
I think that all professions where your face, your body are the most important part of being you, the pressure must be terrible. The pressure to be thin, to be paranoid about every strand of hair out of place, every little pimple or wrinkle that appears, every bad angle that could show you less than perfect. How long it is going to last, you must be asking yourself.
And when people love you for your body, somehow it means that rest of you is not worth much. Initially you may love being the sex symbol, but soon you must be dreading it and hating it as much as you love it. Not that I was ever a sex symbol so that I can speak about the feelings of a sex symbol, but you only need to look around at all those beautiful people and how they all, sooner or later, try to show that they are not all body and beauty, that gives you an idea of how they feel.
So many of them become a recluse as their bodies start to age. Like Brigitte Bardot. There was a time, she was the epitome of sex symbols.
And then she hid, closed herself in baggy clothes, huge sunglasses and floppy hats, trying to become invisible. Finally she did find redemption in her love for animals and found the courage to come out and be herself. Look at her older pictures and you realise that she is still wonderfully beautiful, even if it is a different kind of beauty, more gentle and relaxed.
Some of them never find the courage to come out, like Greta Garbo, who lived her life behind closed doors and died in her solitude.
More closer to home we have our Rekha. Look at her pictures from twenty years ago and now, she still looks young and beautiful and yet in a way, a caricature of herself. Even as a grandmother in films like Krissh, she continues to be a young woman dressed as a granny.
Relax Rekha ji, we would still like you even if you let yourself go and relax a little bit. It is ok even if you are not perfect always, chill and enjoy.
Yet, once you are prisoner of your image, I guess that it requires lot of courage to come out into open.
So don’t be jealous of these moments of glory of Eva Riccobono. She is sure to earn millions but she is also going to pay a heavy price for it. So best of luck Ms. Riccobono. Once the party is over, I hope you will have the courage to come out and be yourself.
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