Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Books and Kites

A trip to a Book Store has always been very special, all through the years. And it was more so here, in Kuwait as I had as good as given up hope that I would chance upon a proper book store; one, which could weave in a sense of magic everytime you enter its doorway. Well, it truly did this time around!

Had looked up this place via the Internet , and planned to hunt for it this weekend and make a visit too, for all its worth. Even at the outset was somehow convinced that it would be good, as the website definitely seemed promising. So making our way through the most crowded locality in Kuwait, Mirqab, on a Friday, wondering all the while, where could this shop be, hidden amidst the din and almost a maelstrom of moving throng of people. And lo, there it stood, almost obscure and aloof, a small but a cosy nest of books. A sense of joy sweeps over, as I take in the rows of shelves, and the small reading couches and the books of the oh-so-familiar authors. So, pleased as a pie, with a bag loaded with books made our way back home, infused with a feeling of having met long last friends, and bringing some back home with me! And yes the pleasure of having an unread book by your bedside, is inexplicable!

Never thought I would fly a kite at this age, and experience the pleasure of helping something soar higher and higher. And ofcourse realising the all encompassing truth - when to let go and when not to. So flying kites might actually instil in this dictum in a very effective, albeit a subtle way, for individuals who fail to grasp it, in their pursuit of happiness and success! 

It was a pleasant breezy day, just right for kite flying, at the Mahboula beach. And friends were excited too, at the prospect of rediscovering the much loved activity of their childhood days. And memories of yesteryears were rekindled and it was good to watch them slip back to their past, with a bemused smile on their lips. With the sea so close by and summer setting in slowly, promised ourselves that we should do it again.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Failaka Islands

This place has always been on the to-see-places in Kuwait, but had mixed responses when queried about. So we were in two minds until now, if we should actually make the trip, and if we did, would it be worthwhile. The reactions usually ranged from, 'yeah its fine, good..' sort of okeyish...or ' nothing much to see, just the ride on the boat and back, not all that good'. But having few days to kill, decided to go for it, come what may, and yes, we were not disappointed, thankfully.

Had to leave for the boarding point, quite early in the morning, and was surprised to see a huge crowd, groups, families, lugging baggages, cycles, and the general picnic paraphernalia. The place was actually teeming with people, jostling for want of space at the ticket booths, which set off the excitement to begin with. Then there was the wait for the boat or the barge to arrive, and the queueing in, to board. It was pretty well packed, and we just about managed to secure a place, on the open deck. It was a beautiful day, and it was wonderful to see the fading coastline, on one side and the vast expanse of open sea, on the other, as we gently bobbed along to the rhythm of the waves.

It was a almost an hour long ride, but it was fun observing people, the interesting sections of the barge, and of course catching up with friends, while clicking pictures. After landing on the island, we had to find means of transport to ferry us around the place. Settled for a mini bus, which could accomodate the whole group, and few more. Headed for the man-made lake, nearby and had our breakfast, as we were famished by then. Kids went on boat rides which included the kayaks too. The geese strutting around added some interest to the scene. Was oft reminded of the lakes and numerous boat rides of Kodai and Yercaud.

Next stop was the display of tanks and ammunition used during the Iraq attack way back in 1990. It gave an insight into the severity of the attack, and also the advanced machinery used during the war. Also visited some old buildings which had to bear the brunt of the brutal attack by Saddam Hussein and his men.
Time for lunch and we headed for a beach side resort-like arrangement. Children immediately headed for the beach, for a quick dip, to be followed by ride on the Water Scooter. Had awesome fun, as it was an exhilaratingly thrilling adventure, zooming at that speed. Ravenous stomachs were filled with the local fare of Shawarmas. Lounged for a while, played a round of cards and then headed back to the Barge, which took us back home.
It was a fairly eventful trip, unlike what many had predicted. Wonder why they didn't find the islands interesting enough. Maybe we are an easier lot to please!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Our heroes

Zaheer khan you truly were a gem,
Munaf your whipping balls dug in,
Harbhajan your hands spun magic!
With charm and immaculate timing.

Raina you were as solid as ever,
Shewag you caught a stunner!
Shreeshanth you were, but a
mere rollicking entertainer.

Gambhir our hearts did lurch
and cried, for your missed ton.
Yuvraj you were a sparkling star,
twinkiling incessant, unlike none.

Sachin you firmly believed, and
so did the nation with you;
we turned our elusive dreams
come heart wrenchingly true.

Dhoni you were our dhoom dhoom
You were our gutsy valiant warrior
you slammed home the truth, that

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sand Storm

Yes, we live in a desert, reigned by sand, and it was restated in no less means, on 25.03.2011, when the lands bordering the Arabian gulf, was swamped, smothered and benumbed by a monstrous sandstorm. It was an incredible experience, a natural phenomenon that one gets to see in the National Geographic Channel, as we lounge in the comforts of our drawing rooms. 

The strangest thing was that, we were totally unaware of the enormity of the event initially, and were happily clicking away pictures, close to the sea. The plan was to grab some coffee at the Cafe along the coast, with few friends. The sky seemed to change colours, and gave no indication of what lay in store. But when it did unleash its intent, found ourselves literally scurrying for cover, rushing to the nearest building, as fine sand particles seemed to overpower everything on its way, as a huge tidal wave would. 

As we were sort of huddled up inside the huge mall, it did hit me that, what was happening here is not much different from the Tsunami; Nature dictating terms, and not man, and when it does, - you are but a speck in space. It was a humbling moment, and a startling one too. The ride back along the highway, cars shrouded in dust, moving tentatively but intent on reaching home safe, was a sobering experience, one which will stay in memory for a while. 

The heartening part of the entire episode was that, except for the infiltration of sand carried from miles across, inside homes, hospitals, schools and airports, there were no major casualties. Mother nature had been kind, and we have been fortunate, and heart goes out to the ones on the other side of the world.

Few links you might be interested in. 

` Desert Farms '

It was after much deliberation we did leave the comforts of home, into the sandy highway, which was shrouded in a mist of grey hazy sky. It was not an ideal day for a picnic, but we had enough of staying indoors, the past 3 days, being National holidays. We had to get out somewhere, not yet another Mall. We started late, around 12, with some quickly packed light lunches. The drive was good, with some good converstation floating around, as always veering towards life in India vs Kuwait. 

As we neared Wafra, not knowing what to expect or what not to rather, we ended up going in circles, trying to find a farm-resort like setup, where we could pitch tent. But that was not to be, as there was hardly any movement, and activity in any form in that zone a zilch. But we did chance upon a roadside fruitseller, who drew our attention, and stepped down with a sigh, for having landed 'somewhere'! His fares were quite interesting, especially the Bhajiya chillies, and the huge red tomatoes too. Broccoli wasnt very impressive, the small 'ezhandhaplams' (bores) were. So with some boxes loaded, we set about looking out for some more impromptu stops. 

And lo where did we find ourselves but in the midst of a an almost busy junction, teeming with people, doing what, marketing ofcourse. There was this huge market right in the middle, acutely reminding one of many such back home. So entered all pumped up with excitement, at the prospect of setting eyes on veggies and fruits and sellers with whom we could actually talk about their wares, and maybe clinch a bargain too. When was the last time you got to do it? Maybe when you were sent on a emergency trip to the local market in Trichy? It was exciting, a rustic earthly atmosphere, nudging your way in, trying not to miss out the smaller or the lesser known species of both the botanical and the zoological kind.

The rabbits were a sight to behold, dressed up in their dainty skirts! The hens looked a tad different from their Indian counterparts, and the cocks had a more severe, but smaller comb. And there was a peacock too in this melee of two legged and four legged creatures caged or otherwise. Was an amazing experience.

More so, as here in Kuwait, we hardly get to lay eyes on any mobile zoological species around! As simple as that. Yes we have cats, plumpy ones at that, languid and would seem they are distant cousins of sloths. And yes, we have the small social group of sprightly sparrows with their lovely chirpings, which are music to ears, that are more tuned in to endless vroomning and screeching of cars and bigger cars.  So much so that the other day when we happened to see a huge herd of wooly sheep, gathered in flocks found myself showing signs of intense joy and excitement much to the disdain of a sceptical better half.

And so there are farms in Kuwait, however ironic that might sound, and it was wonderful visiting a crowded colourful noisy market. And got to know, that there is an animal shelter in Wafra, where they have pets for sale/adoption. Planning to make a trip, after I succeed in convincing 'authorities' at home that cats are benign cute adorable species, akin to its canine counterparts. Lets see how long that's going to take, wish me luck!