Friday, 27 July 2007

To Dhaka on Rails

Bangladeshi railway officials are seen inspecting the line on the Bangladeshi side of the border near the railway station at Darshana, in the photograph on the right.

The railway route between Bangladesh and India was re-established recently with the commissioning of a goods train and it is hoped that the passenger traffic would also resume soon.

Railway link was established in 1884 and passenger services continued until 1965 (during the Indo-Pakistan war).

In 1972 goods train service was resumed but due to lack of goods, it had to be stopped. Right now preparations are on at both sides of the border. Renovation of platform and stations is on.

Trial runs would continue and though the final date of the commencement of the service is yet to be announced, it seems the regular train service from Kolkata to Dhaka would start from August. In the other photograph on the left, the coolies wait for the train at Gede.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Kissing in Kolakata: India's love capital!

The usual photographs of rains, which are published in Indian newspapers are that of overflowing drains, women wading through water and scooter riders braving the showers on road.

However, the photos from Kolkata are altogether different. On the left is a couple--deeply immersed in love in a public park--even as it drizzles.

Some might find the photo lovely and others might feel that is is obscene. Depends on one's perception. There are a few more photos from Kolkata in the last fortnight, mostly of couples, holding hands, or enjoying the shower. Is it that the photographers in Kolkata are peeping toms or its that Calcuttan spirit--free and fearless love, without any moral policing. Calcuttans don't make a fuss about kissing or lovemaking--after all, they are doing it for generations in the City of Tagore.

aakhir mohabbat hai, koi jurm to nahin to sharm ki jaaye

The India TV also did a story on Kissing in Kolkata, I have been told (I haven't seen it). They also termed Kolkata as the Kissing Kapital of the Country. Good to see youngsters kissing than killing in the name of caste or religion. At least, it is a million times better than seeing the moral cops in Meerut, beating lovers and blackening their faces, or burning Valentine's Day cards in the Cow Belt by Saffron Brigades. Or for that matter the brouhaha over Shilpa Shetty-Gere kiss and the Matuknath Julie love affair.

The photo on the right is that of another couple. Seems they haven't got a bench yet. One can understand their dilemma. Doin' it right there on the wet ground can soil their dress and make it impossible to go home.

But surely there can't be a better way to welcome rains than lovemaking. And for the self-styled upholders of our culture who haven't bothered to read anything from Kalidasa to Kamasutra, who oppose the celebration of love, I guess they are the deprived lot--khelenge naheen, to khel bigadenge. Better fall in love.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

South America gets three wonders out of Seven, Taj and Great Wall selected

Whether it was unofficial selection of Seven wonders of the World or not is debatable but the fact that 100 million votes selected the new 7 wonders, is enough to give some legitimacy to the selection.

What amazed everybody in the end was selection of 3 wonders out of seven from Latin America. The Machu Pichhu in Peru, the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil and the Pyramid of Chichen Itza in Mexico are three wonders of the New World.

Call it bias against Africa or favouritism for South America but the list will stay in minds for long though UNESCO may have distanced itself from the choice of global wonders.

Asia walked away with three viz. Jordan's Petra, India's Taj Mahal situated at Agra and the Great Wall of China. For Europe the sole consolation was Colosseum at Romse (Italy). Africa, with over 50 countries, doesn't have a wonder. Or the judges couldn't see it. Shall we always be politically correct and could have selected one for better representation.

Or they had at least a few wonders but Africans don't have as many cell phones as Indians or Chnese or Brazilians have. Whatever, North America and the mini continent Australia have also been left wonderless! The announcement was made at Lisbon (Portugal) and India's Bipasha Basu announced the name of Taj Mahal amidst thunderous applause.

The New Seven Wonders list and links (Photos and description)
Machu Pichu
Taj Mahal
Pyramid of Chichen Itza
Christ the Redeemer
Great Wall of China

Meanwhile, the list of contenders (21) out of which seven were selected included the following 14 others including Egypt's Pyramids:

Acropolis, Athens, Greece
Alhambra, Granada, Spain
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Easter Island Statues, Chile
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Hagia Sophia, Instanbul, Turkey
Kremlin St Basil's, Moscow, Russia
Timbuktu, Mali
Sydney Opera House, Australia
Stonehenge, Amesbury, United Kingdom/England (Britain)
Kyomizu Temple, Kyoto, Turkey
Pyramids of Giza, Egypt
Neuschwanstein Castle, Schwangau, Germany
Statue of Liberty, New York, USA

Above the photos show all the 21 contenders.

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