Monday, November 30, 2015

Cockscomb it is! Looking into the past

 Today unexpectedly, out of nowhere, I thought of cockscomb flower also known as Red Celosia. I like it's red velvet color and the pattern of the flower, its showing some labyrinth form of evolution. I could vividly remember its image attributed to the time I spent some time taking picture. But somehow, I couldn't recollect it's name, I thought for sometime but it led me to nowhere near. There, I was digging my files for the photograph, particularly aiming the photo-files with place's name in the south Bhutan. 

Captured somewhere in south of Bhutan in October, 2013. 
It's really a worrisome for me, if I don't remember the name of a plant/flower or even if i don't know it. It is kind of difficult to keep my mind at peace. Flowers keeps lingering and shouting in my head as long as I work my ass out. There are times that I give up but doesn't forget the flower. So, after going through for about an hour I came across what I wanted. You know the feeling, I was like on top of the world, my mind completely settled down. With picture came the name as a package. 

Close-up picture of cockscomb (Celosia argentea)

Framed Himalaya: Lachen Valley

A wonderful coffee-table book, Framed Himalaya: Lachen Valley by Tenzing Ingty, Barkha Subbha, Samar Momin and Dharmendra Lamsel, is a photo documentary of an unexplored and mystical part of the world, Lachen Valley in the north of Sikkim, India.

Authors are a group of young researchers enthusiastically exploring the unexplored. The book describes everything from culture, tradition, landscape, plants, amphibians, animals to land degradation. It contains perfectly aimed angles and high resolution photographs, of which some of it includes rare pictures of plants and landscapes.

A worth reading, exquisite and profound book. It shows us high biodiversity within a small patch of valley and portrays a true treasure trove. It reminds us how vulnerable they are, the culture and tradition of the people known as Dokpas and Lachenpas, landscapes and biodiversity. They are degrading and in a sense changing due to various factors such as human-induced activities or climate change. Hence, the book reminds ourselves the treasure hidden in the fragile Himalayas and its significance. What I like the most besides the content, is the presentation of the book, I must say it’s professional. This book is one of the first kind from Lachen. 

The book is available on Amazon/FramedHimalaya

Enjoy the book! 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

My Thanksgiving Week in Boston, Massachusetts

This year's Thanksgiving would be the first one I am experiencing! I got a week long Thanksgiving break, so I decided to pay Boston a visit, which is around four hours journey from Vermont. So, I met my friend in Boston after two years, first one being met at a conference and became a close friend. I got a chance to have Thanksgiving meal with my friends relatives in Boston, which was a great feast. Taking a break from work and hanging out with friends in a new place isn't a bad idea after all.
Here are few pictures below but no pics of the meal :( and more pictures coming soon:

Massachusetts State House

I don't really remember the name of this house :( 

Boston Clock Tower

Chapel at Harvard University

Monday, November 23, 2015

That Girl in My Dream or Am I Really Dreaming

Breathing and sweating heavily, she was looking so weary. I looked at her for a while expressionless without a thought. I felt as if I was resting and having time of my life. Rest or vacation is out of question at my work. I could hear in the background a faint beautiful song playing. I felt like I heard this song before, it was ‘Beautiful Sunday’ by Daniel Boone. And of course it was Sunday. She increased the volume and the song started to play louder and louder until I opened my eyes.

It was a call, seven in the morning. “Hello, Good Morning!” said my boss. “You got to pick a guest from Paro airport at 10, sorry for informing you late”.
I reached out for water and had a sip to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming. I thought about my plan for the day and said “Sure, I will be on my way”.
“Good, I will message you the details. Good Day!” He hung up and I hung up too.
I went to kitchen and got myself a good breakfast. I thought about my work, as I usually do most of the time. I sense that I am more efficient whenever I work alone. I had an advantage of being single and had a small office set up at the corner of my two bedroom apartment in the heart of the Thimphu city.

I thought about my dreams, I couldn’t really recognize the lady in my dreams neither I could recollect most of it. I just remembered that I had a good dream and she was there. All I could vividly remember was her pretty little face with dark long hair and her light brown eyes. She was beautiful, looked like she was in her 20’s as I am. Whatever, it was just a dream and maybe it was normal for a man to dream such things. I set off to Paro.

It was a sunny Sunday with few clouds lingering in the sky. Airport looked utterly empty when I arrived but gradually people filled in at the reception. I still had forty five minutes to kill. I checked my mail and messages. My boss had messaged me the details with a photo. It read “Channarong, Director, Thailand Transport Department, age 45. Hotel: Ema Hotel, Room 802. Take him for a coffee or lunch after check in”.

I printed his name and stood at the reception with many others. I looked at many different names flashing toward the exit door. I wondered how people created names, so many names, different names, some of which I can’t even pronounce. Name has to be unique and identifying something or someone. But then there were different kinds of name, tables and chairs doesn’t have individual names but we do. A man was heading towards me. I checked the photo on my phone, they look similar but not same. Real one looks tall and gentle, hair kept well and his face so fair. It looked like his photo was taken when he was ten years older.

“Welcome to Bhutan, it's a pleasure to have you here” I said smilingly. “Thank you” he replied with even broader smile than mine. We introduced each other and returned. While on journey we talked about weather and transportation and checked him in the hotel. We agreed to meet for a dinner later at his hotel. Hotel had an exquisite touch of traditional and modern architecture and located few minutes away from town overlooking the Thimphu river.
At the dinner, we had long conservation about our work. He wanted to see the transport system in Bhutan, so he will be traveling to others parts of the country for around eight days. My job was to pick him up and drop him at the airport. We ordered rice, ema datsi and sikam and two lager beers. He told me about the life in Bangkok and how time run so fast without one’s knowledge, and how he started to feel relaxed in Thimphu. That was contrasting to me, as I didn’t take a break from work for ages and all I thought was work. I really needed to come out of this realm and be myself and have a good time of my life at least for a while.

I asked “Channarong, do you take a break from work sometimes?”
With a grin he said “Well, I take some break every year. You know, we humans can’t be robots, even the robots shut down. I spend most of my time with my family and friends. I think everyone takes a break at least once in a year!”
I questioned myself “Am I the only one, who doesn’t even care to rest myself? I don’t know how to care myself?” I thought over what to answer and replied “It is true. I am also thinking of taking a break soon but I didn’t decide anything on it”
He said with excitement “Why don’t you visit Bangkok? I would recommend that!”
I thought it was a good idea to go to a far place for a while and I also got saving enough for the trip. So, that was it, I decided to visit Bangkok after two weeks in December. It might also help me to get rid of cold winter here. At around 10pm, we were done for the day.

I sat on my couch and started to read. Out of nowhere, I remembered that dream girl. She seemed to be saying something to me, I can’t recollect anything besides her pretty little face. I couldn’t get rid of her image, she was just there, implanted in my mind. I turned the TV on, went briefly outside, nothing seem to work. I got a bottle of beer from refrigerator and took a long sip. It looked like it is working somehow. I wondered what if I see the girl for real.
I would say “I saw you in my dream last night”
She would say “Wow! You don’t even know me, how comes?”
“I don’t know”
“I don’t know either”
So be it. Our conversation would simply end. I went to my bed and started to read again until after few minutes I fell asleep.

I dreamt of her again. She was lying naked with me in my bed with her soft and slim body against me. She was in deep sleep and looked so vulnerable, sleeping like a child. I watched her and a faint thought aroused in me, saying that I knew this girl somehow. I have met her somewhere, but she doesn’t seem to be familiar to me. I touched her hair, it was so silk and had some floral smell. I tried recollecting but couldn’t even figure anything nearer. Suddenly, call rang from afar, and grew louder and louder until I opened my eyes. It was an alarm clock and 8 in the Monday morning. I still continued to think about the girl for a while but in vain. My boss called me after some 30 minutes to accompany Mr. Channarong to his office, ringing Beautiful Sunday on Beautiful Monday.

The day arrived for me to be in Bangkok. Channarong was also in Bangkok and I met him the first day I arrived and had dinner together. I stayed in a not-so-expensive hotel. There I was in a busy city but with a good amount of time, time to do whatever I like and go wherever I like. I went exploring city and seen most of the things for the first time in my life. I was lost somehow in my own thoughts. At night I went to bars and day I went to malls, beach, parks and restaurants. It was one of those nights in a restaurant, I saw her, the girl in my dream. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Maybe she is just similar to the girl in my dreams or maybe she is the one. I thought I was dreaming. I went to restroom and washed my face. It is real, I am real. It was so creepy to see her. She was sitting idly with a tiny coffee cup on the table. I stared at her for how long I don’t know, but it seemed to be long. She looked more beautiful than in the dreams wearing pearl necklace, dark skinny jeans and long textured black top and had a tiny bag.

She walked towards me and said in English “Sir, can I talk to you for a moment”
I replied expressionless “Sure, sorry I was staring at you. It was… just… out of curiosity”
“Not a problem, I am Kanya by the way”
“I am Yoezer. I don’t know whether you will believe it or not, I wanted to tell you something. Something that seems crazy and out of the world. It’s a fact and it has been around me for a while now. I wanted you to know that I saw you at least two times in my dreams” I said carefully thinking I might sound stupid.
“Oh… how should I respond to that? I never heard of anything like that, but I believe you. You seem like an honest guy. You look familiar to me but I don’t think we have met before. You are not a Thai too”

We started to get close and had dinner together. All I could think was her in my dream and her in front of me. I saw her naked lying next to me and I knew her floral smell. I couldn’t believe these things were happening in real. I thought everything is possible in this world, but I still mulled over it. I met the girl in my dream and now what. We became really good friends and we exchanged our numbers before I departed back to Thimphu.

Back to work and now I got something extra to work on. This dream thing kept lingering in my mind almost every hour except while sleeping. I didn’t dream of her anymore. I called Kanya after some gap, asking her whereabouts and had some usual friendly talks.  That night I went to a music club for a couple of beers and to socialize myself after an office brainstorming meeting. Club seem to have a pleasant number of customers and a local band playing “Nge Thimphu”. I like the song though, reminds me that this is my Thimphu and this is where I belong. I sat around the corner and ordered a beer. I thought about the dream girl again. I turned around to familiarize myself and suddenly I saw the dream girl in Thimphu too.

PS: This is my first attempt to write a story, just a random thought 

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History ~ Elizabeth Kolbert

A Review

A thought-provoking book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize winner, shows how human have major influence in extinction of any kind of species. There were five mass extinctions which led to reduction in diversity of life over time. We are here in the period of Anthropocene, where thousands of species are disappearing before our eyes.

Kolbert, as a reporter tells us how species are being led to extinction through history and science which date back before the era of dinosaurs. Also describes how fossils tells us story and chronology of extinct species and the drivers for extinctions. Extinction history brings to light the major concept, what lies ahead in the face of human destruction. Book takes us back to the very ancient era of evolution and describes the wonders of species. She shows how scientists are risking and devoting their lives to trace back and document the lost species and conserve the present day endangered and critically endangered species. She also shows that humans are the one endangering the species around the world since thousands of year back and will continue to do so, eventually risking their own species. The lost species are gone forever, from giant dinosaurs, mammoths to great auks to micro bacterial, except for some of bones remaining in the museums, book tells many more species are in queue.

Kolbert explains very well with hard science, history and at times with humors. She managed to extract as many as information from numerous scientists around the world and delivers as an entertaining and engrossing legend. This fact-based book is an eye opener to the general public at large and contributes toward immense understandings of sixth extinction. It also reminds us the sense of urgency to contribute towards conservation of diversity of life directly or indirectly.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Visit to Camel's Hump, VT

Was on a hike to Camel's Hump mountain in Vermont, which was indeed great we did on the Sunday otherwise I would have wasted it. This four-hour hike was worth it, icicle-like snow cover on the dwarf fir tree shimmering in the sunlight was an unforgettable memory. The mount indeed looks exactly like a camel hump hence the name says it. Quite a people though, expected very very less people at this time of the year, which is usually very cold. 
Here are few pictures from the trip:   

Icicles on a fir growing among the rocks

View of New Hampshire mountains 

Deciduous trees, an aftermath of the fall

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World ~ Haruki MURAKAMI

A Review

Haruki Murakami never leaves stone unturned when it comes to writing hilariously funny, thrilling, mysterious, seductive and inventive novel. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of The World has the touch of sci-fi data processing, fantasy in the hard-boiled wonderland, info war, suspense and some comedy. We are kept in suspense, often plunged with some odd characters. We tend to dwell in some kind of parallel world, not exactly the scientific parallel world we know. So, the story runs parallel, same time, one person but in two different worlds. One world seems to be real though.

Murakami’s trademark, a nameless character narrates the story. A data processing genius, working for a company had had his life placed somewhere mysterious by a professor, who seem to conduct neuro-physical research for good. There, this nameless guy thrives in both the worlds until he is brought to knowledge on it or in other words, expiration time.  

He somehow involves in the info war with granddaughter of the professor, who has his laboratory established underground besides INKling dwelling (INKling seem like some kind of folklore animal related to fish family; prefers rotten human flesh). Rival companies as well as INKlings are after them, all in want of the data. In another world, it’s the end of the world. Surrounded by high walls, where one’s shadow is cut off, with it goes one’s consciousness and the people of the town got no mind at all, a hard-boiled wonderland. In this wonder world, memories are no more and yet no feelings, no love. Somehow, he thrives here or may be lives here.  

Story in the end somehow expects the unexpected, revealing how mind is feeble and flexible. An easy to read but hard to grasp at times, this novel takes some stake in neuro-data processing or in simple words, processing data with conscious mind but through the brain (professor explains well though). All in all, a worth reading book and if you ever feel like to imagine some faraway surreal world, this book is the ticket. 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki ~ Haruki MURAKAMI

A Review

Haruki Murakami has his book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years of Pilgrimage set as number one New York Times Bestseller. His work as usual has mesmerizing and mysterious touch which keeps us going till the end. His book wonderfully describes how simple things matter the most in life and how unnoticed ordinary actions drag us down at times. It touches in detail the small things in life, the endless thoughts and dreams with never diminishing excitement.

Intelligently written, seducing, mysterious and detailing everyday lives, the book resonates lives of Tsukuru and his high school group friends. Tsukuru here is obliged to go back into the past and lighten his burden which he carries for more than a decade. Things turn up unexpectedly, whereupon he decides to move on, although he continue carrying burdens which he hardly recognize. Struggled and challenged enough with his burden, in other words with his own identity and destination, he is lost in his own thoughts. Though, he tried to move forward and still trying. And his love for train station never fades whatever is the reason.

It has a smooth storyline with deep touch on the isolation and loneliness which is often disturbing. The depth of disturbance is well described which reflects vivid images within us. It’s the story revolving around mystery, friendship, love and sadness over ages. Murakami’s book certainly hit bull’s eye with this one more remarkable masterpiece, no wonder it’s the best book of the year.


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