That Lazy Sunday Afternoon, Many Moons Ago

Many years ago, when I was a kid, the British group, The Small Faces, sang a song called “Lazy Sunday Afternoon”. This was a great hit at the time, and the BBC Radio’s programme “Top Of The Pops” gave this song great air time.

As we walked along we came to this mammoth structure, photographed above. This is, I think, the Plaza de Espana. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon indeed. I did not even bother to figure out where the hell we were.

The Plaza, for all it’s classical structure, was built in 1929 for the Ibero-American Exposition.

What I did recognize was, that the structure was marvellous, and that I could have spent many afternoons lazing around, photographing the place.

I regret not going to the La Giralda. That would have been very nice indeed, but I think that I was seduced by the sight of people like the young lady below. The Small Faces would have been very happy indeed, to see her.

Seville, or so they say, is famous for it’s ham and bacon as well. We had dinner with a colleague, who was talking about ‘acorn fed pigs’, from where the ham and bacon come. For some reason, I kept hearing “Eight corn fed pigs”, and I was thinking, “Wow!. This is cool.. Feeding pigs with eight kinds of corn, to ensure that our gastric juices get some really good, tasty pig meat to digest.”

Acorns they were, and the ham and bacon was really tasty. Sadly, I ended up with diarrhea, and thought of tourists who come to Delhi, where they claim they get the Delhi Belly, and produce Smelly Jelly!!

Smelly poetry!

An Afternoon in Seville – 1

I went to Seville many years ago. I remember that I transited in Germany, where there was snow on the ground, and then we flew to Barcelona and from there on to Seville. It is indeed a wonder of Lufthansa’s efficiency that my bags did not get lost either on the way in to Seville, or the way the way back to China.

I have sworn by Lufthansa ever since, and I definitely hope that they do nothing to fail me in the future!

Seville was warm and sunny, and I decided to wander around the streets with my two Chinese colleagues.  It was a sunny, happy afternoon, and it was the last time that the three of us went out together as colleagues. Our paths were to go in three separate ways several months down the line, but none of us was aware of that at that point. Sadly, I am not gifted with the power of foresight and fortune telling.

Coming to think of it, fortune tellers are all frauds. If they were so good at telling the fortune, they would have been successful at telling their own, and they would have all been rich.

Anyhow, such cynical thoughts were far from our minds as we walked along the roads. It was a Sunday, a bright, sunny Sunday. The sun was shining on us, and on our futures.

Or so we thought.

Two days in Amsterdam

 We spent two days in Amsterdam last year. It was one of those rare times, in recent years, that I have chosen to stay back for two days in any place after a trip. This time, I was with my wife, so we spent the weekend in Amsterdam.

In general, this was a good idea, because I normally spend a lot of time at the airports, but not so much time exploring the town.

It is a nice town indeed, though I have to say that I am more partial to Maastricht. I find Maastricht to be smaller and more relaxed. However, some of my friends in Amsterdam did tell me that this is because I was floating in the areas that are populated by tourists, and not the typical, more local areas of Amsterdam.

The canals, like the one I photographed above, are really fantastic.

What I did not like so much, are the sights of rowdy tourists. The ones above are Brits. It kind of brings me back to the old days, when people were very critical of Indian tourists. However, whether your skin is white, brown, black or blue, rowdy behaviour is rowdy behaviour.

The Keukenhoff is fantastic. We made it to the last days of the tulips.

What I did like, is some of the street life. The street rappers are, or were, fantastic dancers. They gave me quite the complex..

While this is a bit of a boring post, the question remains: do I make it back to to Amsterdam, to explore it once again? Life is short, and the world is big and beautiful.

Is God Beyond Time?

Religion has existed, I think, from the time that mankind started to think rationally. Many philosophers, writers and other people have written about early man sitting around a camp fire, smoking strange stuff, looking up at the stars, and generally wondering what the hell was up there. From these early days, came the first questions, which people believe to have been generally naive, before more sophisticated philosophy took over, analysed and codified much thought.

The earliest hymns in the Rig Veda speak of this wonder, and postulate that the Gods came after the Universe was created. This hymn that I refer to, even postulates that God may not know what came before.

Thereon, as we became more sophisticated, more sophisticated religious theories spouted. However, it is pertinent to note that most of the great religions of the world originated more than 2,000 years ago. As religion became more sophisticated, the question of which God became more important than the question of God. In general, God became a symbol of temporal power.

As Hindu myths became more corrupt, the concept of Brahmanicide became popular. So, killing a priest, or a Brahman, became the most heinous sin that could be perpetrated. Even a God was subject to this sin, thereby putting, in a not so subtle way, the Brahman above God. To me, these myths are the earliest form of propaganda, propaganda that was later perfected in the last century.

The Hindu God, Shiva, has a form called Mahakaal, which means “Lord of Time”, and in this aspect, Shiva controls the cycle of life, death and rebirth. Yet, impassively, he stands beyond time, is unaffected by it, and is therefore the Lord of Time.

When I took the above photo in Maastricht, I thought a bit about this, and I was struck by the concept of God and time.

When Nietzsche wrote that “God is Dead”, I am sure he meant something quite different from my own interpretation.

Like the good God Pan, who died, is it indeed time for us to move beyond the concept of God? Is God indeed beyond time?

If God indeed does die, who or what will fill the void? God has not managed to prevent war, pestilence and evil.

Has the time come for something else, another concept, to replace the concept of God? 

Death Becomes Us All

I had thought that the last entry was my last one, for pictures taken in Maastricht, but there will be two more, including this one.

I was walking by the river side on one Saturday morning, when I chanced upon this scene. Was it a Sunday morning? Either way, it was on a weekend, and I am sure people would have been carousing through the night.

Sometimes, after a night of revelry, you feel as though you are dead. It happened to me one morning, in Chengdu, China. I had had dinner with a distributor, and I drank over half a bottle of Mao Tai, which is really potent stuff. Then, after a foot massage, I found myself at the bar street, guzzling some beers. The next morning, when I woke up, I felt like a terrible, mangled version of Death, and I asked my self some deep philosophical questions about the very meaning of life. There was, I felt, a certain futility to the whole point of making money, about pondering the nature of life, death and God, when it all had to end with a busted liver, and in a very painful death.

Yet, Death itself, sometimes more than life, has fascinated men through the ages. There have been more depictions of Death throughout history than there have been of life. However, it seems that the ancient Greeks would uncover their heads when in the presence of a pregnant woman, as they felt that they were in the presence of the mystery of life.

Philosophers through the ages have become quite sophisticated in the way that they deal with life, death, ethics, and morality. I am reading “Indian Philosophy Vol 1” these days, and it seems that the early Vedic hymns were considered to be quite simplistic by later Hindus.

Yet, as we have become more sophisticated, we have lost the sense of wonder. We try to cheat death through the miracle of medicine.

Yet Death comes to us all, and no one really knows what lies on the other side. Death indeed, is still one of the unsolved, and possibly unsolvable mysteries of life. 

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